Sunday, October 15, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Laughter Lou

Me with Lou Whitney, Duck Room dressing room, 10/12/06

(Photo by Toby Weiss)

Last Thursday’s show at the Duck Room was the first time in our 30 years of friendship that Lou Whitney and I found us on the same rock show bill. Lou was playing bass for a great new “young” band from Springfield, Mo. called the Rugs. Over the years I’ve seen Lou play live literally hundreds of times, mostly with the three bands he’s partnered with Donnie Thompson: the Morells, the Skeletons, and the Symptoms. Whenever anyone asks me who my favorite bass player is, I’m always quick to reply, “Lou Whitney!”

Of course Lou was great with the Rugs the other night. He’s still going strong at age 63, still kicking total rock ass. I’ve been fortunate to have Lou as sort of my own personal rock professor all these years. Just from watching him play so many, many times, I’ve learned more about what to play and more importantly what not to play as a rock bass player from Lou than I have from anyone else. Each and every show I’ve ever seen Lou play, no matter who he was on the bandstand with, I’ve walked away from it with some new piece of rock knowledge I could then plug into my own various musical situations. And then there’s the countless offstage pearls of wisdom Lou offers as well, like, “When in doubt play what Dee Dee Ramone would have played...” or, “You can never go wrong naming your band after a car...”

I’ve also learned a hell of a lot from the man about life both inside and outside of this rock racket. Years before that “WWJD” saying crept up on us, I had a little private saying I would say to myself whenever I hit a particular musical or music career related brick wall, and that saying was “What would Lou do?” And whenever I stopped long enough to ask myself that question, the answer and path to take always became perfectly clear. Without lifting a finger and by just being himself, Lou’s been the best mentor one could ever ask for in this game, and more important, a really great and loyal friend. May he forever keep on keepin’ on...


Anonymous said...

A wonderful, fitting, deeply-deserved tribute! I'm betting you'll hear from others you've never met who have always felt the same way.

Anonymous said...

Lou kicks ass...always. i just wish i had time to edit together all of the "between song banter" that Lou has so expertly laid on us over the years. Henny Youngman...look out...Lou is the king of one-liners.

j ellis

Dana Smith said...

The first I heard of Lou was when I was writing a review about a band called Drench from southeast missouri back in 95, 96???. They were smart enough to employ him as their producer/engineer. Of course the production on their release was top notch.

Since then I've always kept one eye open for his name and was lucky enough to have met him and shake his hand at the late, great Fredericks' Music Lounge when he had a gig there with the Skeletons.

63 wow!, I'm 32, how old are you? It's too amazing to think about.
a true Missouri Great!

Lin said...

Steve, Nice tribute to Lou. (fyi, I have moved the Skeletons web site you have in your links to:

thanks, Lin

steve scariano said...

Thanks, Lin. Was hoping that Skeletons site would make a return return.