By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
There were lots of naked chicks hanging around the bar while Bishopsgate, an original Long Island rock and roll act, ripped through the hot chicken-wing-scented air with bar chords and screaming leads that no TV, video game or Internet garbage could ever duplicate. Wrestling matches featuring big-mouthed lunatics played out in the background. Golf and baseball games played inside Sgt. Pepper's in East Northport. No windows were broken.
Not to knock Bishopsgate or the audience or the bar, but a band consisting of John Lennon, Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix and John Bonham could have been playing and not many people would have paid attention. There are just too many video screens in the world. I can no longer decipher reality from TV, so I'm not even sure if anything you're about to read here write actually took place inside Sgt. Pepper's or on one of its 34 TV screens.
Kurt Loder suddenly appeared. He showed up right after a Toyota SUV drove through the bar while Lenny Kravitz' dreadful "Fly Away" blared. I'm not sure if it was the Beck's Dark I was drinking, the rotten cheese I ate for lunch or my dementia, but I soon turned to drinking Guinness because it was Irish Heritage Night at Shea Stadium and everyone in the ballpark was wearing green Mets caps. Loder eventually approached me and said, "Well, Bishopsgate ain't Madonna or Cher, two of the hottest women in rock out there."
I was glad Loder cleared that up for me, because I thought rock was about crunching chords, vicious guitar leads and a seamless bass and drum section. I didn't realize rock had transformed into Madonna and Cher. If those two "divas" play rock, then Bishopsgate is definitely not rock. Bishopsgate is made up of above-par raging guitars, basslines and stampeding drums all done under no pretense.
Headman Ed Fields plays his guitar and sings with a passion that Mel Gibson as Braveheart can only envy. Bob Waszack plays a bass more complicated than the spelling of his last name. Sean Cloon's guitar work is as simple as his Irish name, while Brendan O'Keefe's drumming is as lyrical. But to write of musicianship in an article about music is boring. Remember, there were naked ladies present, I think. Maybe even a few riots and fires.
I am not going to bother comparing Bishopsgate to other, better known rock bands. It doesn't matter that this is a group of four talented musicians who have been playing together since they were 15 years old (with the exception of the drummer), survived New Coke, movies like Red Dawn, Trans Ams, Natalie Merchant leaving 10,000 Maniacs and people buying bottled water en masse. Now, with all of them in their early 30s, Bishopsgate is probably hanging it up, giving way to things like paying rent and mortgages, LIPA, adhering to wives and children and avoiding road rage on the LIE.
It doesn't matter that Bishopsgate wasn't invited to Woodstock. Whatever rock is, it no longer belongs to people like Bishopsgate and those who go to bars to see original music. It belongs to bands that played at Woodstock '99, the fans who went there sporting credit cards and laptops and the corporate sponsors.
As for the naked ladies appearing at the bar: I think if you pump a quarter into the slot, play your cards right and answer a few trivia questions correctly, a naked lady will appear on the screen. Never mind that there's a live band playing. They can be live only if they are via satellite.