The list of fabled bands from New York City is long and distinguished. But for every storied NYC band like the Velvet Underground or the New York Dolls or Kiss or The Ramones or the Beastie Boys or ______ (insert your favorite here) that became known across the globe, there are innumerable droves of others who, despite their best efforts, largely failed to make household names of themselves.
Alice Donut is one of those bands.
While something of a regular fixture on the NYC rock circuit since the late 1980's, Alice Donut didn't seem to belong to any single, solitary scene. Though ostensibly a punk band, Alice Donut (their full name being the Scorsese-tweaking Alice Donut Liver Henry Moore ... geddit?) were far more than just power-chord-crazed, amphetamine-fueled noise merchants. Funny, weird, surreal and psychedelic, Alice Donut were simply too strange to be conveniently pigeon-holed.
The thing I remember most about Alice Donut, however, is this dude named Chet. After initially recognizing him from the album artwork of several Alice Donut records, I started spotting Chet all over town. Sometimes tending bar at some of my favorite East Village watering holes, sometimes at shows, sometimes wandering the streets like a loon (that's him at the top of this post in a photograph I snapped at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in the summer of 1998), Chet became something of an amiable acquaintance of mine. It wasn't until I saw Alice Donut perform at some point in the early 90's at the late, great McGovern's on Spring Street (don't look for it now, it's long gone ... although, bizarrely, its neon sign still hangs above its former entrance), that I realized that I was completely mistaken. I'd always assumed Chet was the lead singer of Alice Donut -- being that he appeared on at least three of their album covers. As it turned out, Chet was to Alice Donut was Eddie is to Iron Maiden. He's kinda their suitably bedraggled, slightly deranged mascot. Go figure.
In any case, an old publicist friend of mine named Mark put up a link on his Facebook page today about Alice Donut, and it all came floodin' back. As it happens, while Alice Donut may have never gotten their proper due, someone has gone and made a bona fide documentary about the band called, appropriately enough, "Freaks in Love." Watch the trailer below and click here to learn more.
Somewhat tragically, Chet does not appear in the trailer.
As a suitably incongruous bonus, here's a clip of Alice Donue from 2004, playing an instrumental cover of Fugazi's "Waiting Room." Crank it up.