Years ago during one of the many waves of Britpop Mania, I got this promotional book from some major label that was touting their hopeful Oasis Jr., "These Animal Men". The whole full-color, oversized deluxe booklet revolved around documenting what must have been a $100,000 press trip to New York to hype the band, who were dutifully trotted around town in their moptops and Adidas wear to pose Christlike on rooftops, pout at tourist traps, sneer at the baggage carousel at JFK Airport, reflect on their place in Rock & Roll via giant quotes, and of course do the prerequisite photo op brunch with Quentin Crisp who probably had no idea who they were (and likewise). If you are for some reason wistful for that era and that kind of behavior and Oasis' Wibbling Rivalry is your favorite CD in their catalog I invite you to enter the world of Baz and Reg Lumley, the brothers known to the world at large as the Special Moments.
I first saw these scrappy lads at the Cooler circa 1997, playing to screaming Suede fans with their masterful ditties that fell somewhere between Lonnie Donegan and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Their debut vinyl EP in fact documented them live filling in for "Ned's" at a Glastonbury Festival to a less-than-adoring mob (Reg yelling "Ned's sucks a hairy c**k" to the crowd probably didn't help); they seemed poised to ascend to stardom in America though, but then they'd disappear as quickly as they took this town. No one knew anything about them. Some spiteful, jealous people insinuated that the band was a hoax, made up of Brooklyn rock guys that looked, okay, somewhat like two of the dudes in the Satin-Jacket-Hooters-circuit rock act the Low Down Dirty D.A.W.G.S., but there's no way that could have been, especially because their manager, Mick Keith, told me so. Thanks to him, I was able to lure the brothers to perform on WFMU's Stork Club, where they regaled all with their songs of whimsy, a somewhat racist play, and assurance that they were here to stay (in fact check out "the Brothers Is Back" (MP3) from a WFMU live compilation CD, where several DJs get name-checked, perhaps, uh, not so flatteringly to them).
I lost track of the Lumleys once again, but ran into Baz being dragged out of the HMV store in Times Square for causing a minor disturbance at a CD signing for Joe Cocker, and he told me that while he hated his brother deeply, and Mick Keith had run off with their money and instruments, he was still stuck with them and they decided to put together their opus: a rock opera revolving around the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. In 1998, WFMU was in the middle of moving house to Jersey City, and I invited the Moments to play what would have been an outdoor grand opening concert at Exchange Place, but unfortunately the Brits brought rain and the whole thing was scrapped. However, the CDR of Eric: The Falklands Follies remains a dear album to my heart since it popped up in 1999. It's the sad tale of two mates shipped off to fight amongst sheep ("They Want the Islands") for a war they didn't understand, encountering doubt ("Three Days"), misadventures, and halfwit shipmates along the way ("Scrubby Nate"), only to wind up with one of them killed ("Where's Eric (Oh My God He's Dead)"). This album renders the Who's entire existence null, and sadly is yet to be released. Finally last week, I was passing by the Brit ex-pat food hangout in the Village, A Salt and Battery, and lo and behold I looked in the window saw Reg performing solo to diners. I bemoaned the fact that Eric never saw the light of day, and asked him if I could put it up on the blog, to which he kindly agreed. Grab these MP3's before Mick Keith slaps us with a cease and desist. Oh, and please listen to them in this order (it's a rock opera). Long live the Special Moments.
"Stoke (Intro)" / "Ya Take the Bus" / "Good Old Stoke Newington (Doesn't Seem the Same)" / "Funeral Procession" / "Me and Eric (We Need a Bigger Game)" / "Listen Up Stoke (To the Paperboy)" / "They Want the Islands!" / "Please Argentina" / "We're Going Off To War Today" / "All Aboard (A Tribute To Brian Wilson)" / "Scrubby Nate" / "Three Days" / "Funky Falklands" / "War Is a Bitch" / "Where's Eric? (Oh My God He's Dead)" / "Mockingbird Hill" / "Stoke Outro" / "They Dropped a Bomb (On Me)"