SLUG Mag masthead August 1990

The Metal Scene: Scatterbrain


The Speedway Cafe played host to Truce and Scatterbrain on Thursday, July 12. It was a fine show, all in all, even though it was played to a less than capacity crowd.

The opening band was a local, punk group that went by the name Maggothead. No headbangs for these guys. They lacked all-around stage presence and any show of energy. It seemed, at least to us, that their feet were nailed to the stage. However, they did execute the covers they played well. Also, a bit of a sense of humor was displayed, which isn’t at all bad. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? So, no headbangs but rustle your horns, guys, and keep after it.

Truce played next and showed why they are considered one of the best rockin’ groups around. A very aggressive set, highlighted by “UGG”[cc] and “Be All That You Can Be,”[cc] we were impressed by their overall musicianship and powerful group presence. They controlled the stage well and seemed to give the crowd just what they were asking for. The singer, Shawn, has a powerful voice, but we feel he could develop a fuller, wider range. On the plus side, what he lacked in vocal ability, he more than made up for with his animated faces and wild-eyed, mad-man appearance. We both felt the guitarist, Tracy, was the highlight of the band.

Two headbangs. If you haven’t already, you really should catch these guys at their next gig.

Scatterbrain. What?… Are you kidding? These guys are lunatics. Stage left, Glen Cummings, guitar, sporting pigtails. We can honestly say we have never seen anyone in any male band wearing pigtails.

Stage right, Paul Nieder, guitar, long, black hair tied out of his eyes. Late start but he prowled the stage through the night like a panther. First rate bass work by Guy Brogna, as his left hand seemed to glide effortlessly up and down the frets. Mike Boyko rounds out this group of escaping musicians from the St. Ignatius Home for Wayward Bands. Mike sat behind his drums and pounded the skins for all he was worth. We can’t remember him ever losing the ear-to-ear grin that graced his face.

Tight, what else can you say? They were incredibly tight and genuinely seemed to enjoy performing on stage. Even though these guys have only been together as Scatterbrain for a year, they have known each other for a long time, and it shows in their interplay on stage–everal of the members previously played together in Ludichrist.

They started with a couple of songs from their newly released LP, Here Comes Trouble. Real crowd pleasers, these guys. They kept the small crowd entertained with their humor and originality. A cover in the middle of the set of Zappa’s “Titties & Beer” fit right in with the rest of the set. At the end of the set, Tommy disappeared offstage, and the band treated us to some old rock favorites, “Hotel California” and “My Sharona” among them. Well, it isn’t fair to say they played them, as they would start the tune and promptly abort after about eight measures.

For their encore, Scatterbrain did perhaps the best song of the night, “Don’t Call Me Dude.” The video for this can currently be seen on MTV. We asked about this song after the show, and the band said: “We are at a party in Long Island [where they are originally from], and there was a guy who went up to another guy and was saying, ‘Hey, dude, your girlfriend is fine dude, do you think I have a chance with her dude? or ‘are you serious dude, dude…’

“So, we’re watching this go down, and the first is getting real annoyed, but this other guy keeps pestering him, until finally he grabs him by the front of his shirt, and pulls his face up close. Then he screamed, ‘Don’t call me DUDE!!!!’ It’s like he wasn’t listening to anything else this chump was saying, but it really irked him being called ‘dude.’ We thought this was the funniest thing we’d ever seen, so we wrote down the story about it. Later, we wrote the music to fit around the story.”

This band has no egos whatsoever, and it comes through in their show. They very rarely take themselves seriously, let alone anyone or anything else. Definitely catch these guys on their next trip through town.

We wish to apologize for not including more of their interview, but our notes got soaked in beer and became illegible. We put this together using all four of our remaining brain cells.

We rate Scatterbrain at three and one half headbangs plus a twelver of brew on the side.

Good luck underground survivors, and, until next month, remember the words of the prophets: Reality is simply an illusion caused by alcohol deficiency in the bloodstream. 

Check out these other articles reviewing concerts at The Speedway Cafe:
Concert Review: Faith No More and Pollo Elastico 04.06 @ Speedway Cafe
Punky Reggae Party: Toots @ The Speedway 05.20