Dennis Anderson and Lois Kahlert stand alone in the feckless cult of Mekons fans. Not because they claim to have seen the band “around 1000 times,” but because they cling to a vision of superstardom even the Mekons have surrendered. “They have great songs and so much personality,” says Anderson. “If they could just do a live thing on MTV, so people could see them interact. . . . ” The couple first saw the Mekons in 1978. “We didn’t think much of them,” Kahlert says. Like most loyalists, they didn’t fall in love with the band until the Sin Records period, when the Mekons acquired a country bent.
“It was a sound check at Maxwell’s in 1985,” recalls Anderson. “I heard one song, and that was it.” Anderson and Kahlert, who have day jobs in “customer relations,” have become part-time Mekons themselves, staffing the merchandise table at gigs and providing housing at their Bensonhurst apartment. Known by the band as the “Toy People” for their legions of action figures, they have not given up fandom. “I collect towels Jon Langford has used on tour,” says Kahlert. “And bottles they leave on stage.” (Their one foray into the business was booking a disastrous tour by The Fall.) “They aren’t fans, they’re collectors,” says Sally Timms. “They’ve collected us.” The Toy People have also collected Happy Mondays, who recorded a song (“Dennis and Lois”) about them, and Oasis, who adopted them on their last tour. “The Mekons make fun of us because Oasis aren’t communists,” says Kahlert. She may be missing the point. “We get enough fans,” complains Timms. “We want more groupies.”
The Mekons play at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and at Maxwell’s on Sunday.