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Upper Crust brings the bar roque

Posted by Scott McLennan  May 15, 2013 02:03 PM

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The Upper Crust, from left, Jackie Kickassis, Lord Bendover, Count Bassie, and the Duc d'Istortion (Photo by Jay Elliott)

Lord Bendover is not pleased as yet again his band the Upper Crust finds itself performing in an oh-so-working-class rock club.

A ballroom, he says, would provide the proper ambiance for his band of aristocrats. Alas, the Upper Crust will be playing the decidedly non-ballroom-ish Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain on Monday, May 20.

"We continue to mingle with the common folk," Lord Bendover sighs.

For nearly 20 years, the Upper Crust has done its best to rep the gentry in rock (or roque), going so far as to maintain the look and airs of 18th-century nobility. The group splits its time between New York City and Boston and is responsible for four studio albums, a live record, and a documentary.

Drummer Jackie Kickassis, bass player Count Bassie, and guitarist the Duc d'Istortion join Lord Bendover in the Upper Crust.

When asked how these famously foppish fellows have hung together so tightly through the years, Lord Bendover offers an explanation.

"We have a bond among us forged by the hardships of our youth," he says. "One day, we had to wait an hour for our afternoon tea. That gave us the right to sing the blues."

The Upper Crust is actually much better at warping those blues into AC/DC-style riff rock, and in true mega-star fashion most of the band's songs deal with how much better it is to be rich than to not be rich.

Asked how the band weathered the bad economy, Lord Bendover simply says, "We were unaware that there was an economy at all. " He assures that he and the other Crusties were never without enough cake an confections.

The good sir, though, has a beef with a certain pizza company that got into hot water for not paying its employees.

"It's a point of honor not to talk about money. We don't pay anybody anything. But we are dismayed that a pizza chain would steal our name and then put a blot on our name in Boston. We reserve that privilege to blot our own name," his lordship says.

So in light of those shenanigans and the utter absence of a decent ballroom for a band of this stature, Lord Bendover made a generous offer to the citizens of Boston in the wake of Mayor Tom Menino's retirement announcement: The Upper Crust would not mind if the city forgoes an election and simply defers all decisions to the band.

"Short of being responsible or having to work, we offer ourselves to the people of Boston should they want us as their undisputed leaders and commanders," Lord Bendover proclaims.

You can test such regal waters Monday when the Upper Crust plays at the Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St., in Jamaica Plain. The Honeysuckles, Chris Colbourne, and Todd Thibaud are also on the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Upper Crust will also be joining a bunch of other bands on June 13 at TT the Bear's in Cambridge for a fund raiser to benefit Eva Lipton. Get details here
Here's the band performing its classic "Let Them Eat Rock"

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About the author

Scott McLennan is a Boston Globe music correspondent and previously wrote a music and entertainment column for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 15 years. After seeing the band Boston in the Boston Garden as a teenager he never looked back and eventually figured out how to be a professional fan. Scott is very good at writing in the dark. This blog is an ongoing discussion about music happening in and around Boston. Scott will be leading the trek across genres looking for new releases and hot shows as well as just checking in with the people who make Boston such a great place to listen. More »
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