Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pinball Wizard


Capt. Fireball has been trying to get Umlaut over to the Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Gallery in Alameda for at least a year... but it hadn't happened.... until now.

"Come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know.."

This visit across The Bay appropriately coincided with Umlaut's recently renewed WHO obsession.. and I firmly believe that nothing happens by chance. The Rock Godz KNOW. Example: On this Saturday afternoon, hours before Umlaut was to head to Alameda, his copy of the Mojo / Q magazine WHO special edition arrived in the mail from England. I shit you not.

"From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.."

Lucky Ju Ju has 26 vintage pinball machines dating from the 1960-70's set up. For a mere $5 donation at the door you can play until midnight.. and enjoy the snacks and beverages that are also provided.

The space also has an old jukebox to complete the experience. The likes of Thin Lizzy, the Cramps, and Zeppelin all blasted from the speakers to create a wonderful cacophony with the buzzers and bells of the machines. Among the things tacked to the walls was a picture of members of the New York Dolls (Johanson and Thunders) and Ramones (Dee Dee) playing pinball. Lock 'N Loll!

Best Quote: Capt. Fireball - "Isn't this THE geekiest thing ever?!"

Umlaut playing the 1976 'Elton John - Capt. Fantastic' machine

To expand on Capt. Fireball's quote, THE geekiest moment came as we played 2-player on the 1974 Bally 'Wizard' machine. Its artwork features likenesses of Roger Daltry and Ann Margaret from the movie version of Tommy (Click on the ad to see it larger - Image courtesy of the Ju Ju web site).. Of course, what else but 'Pinball Wizard' blasted from the jukebox as we started up the machine and started hitting all the bumpers... always playing clean. The Rock Godz are indeed mighty. Printed on one of the machine's bumpers is "Table King" (from the song's lyrics) and Umlaut couldn't help but geek on that.

THANKS to Capt. Fireball for the invite. The Geeks shall inherit The Earth! This was THE purest Old School experience I've had in quite awhile - It was like being a kid in 1977 all over again. A couple of little kids seemed overwhelmed by the pinball machines with their flashing lights and "organic" mechanical noises. I caught them staring at the counters and artwork of a machine as if it was something from outer space.

"He stands like a statue, becomes part of the machine.."

On the way home I stopped at Cafe du Nord to see a co-worker's band (20 Minute Loop)... but my head was still spinning from Lucky Ju Ju.

As I was typing this up over morning coffee, I couldn't find my fucking Tommy CD ANYWHERE... so I had to listen to the Live At Leeds version instead. Listen to Tommy with a candle lit and you will see your entire future. Geek out.

Joey Ramone
"I don't wanna be a Pinhead no 'mo..."