We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
In the mid-’80s, there were three ways to learn about rock history without making a significant investment at the record store: (1) read back issues of Rolling Stone or Creem at the library, (2) listen endlessly to the local AOR station, or (3) plop on the couch and wait for MTV to play one of its Closet Classics, which showed the dinosaurs in their original habitats. Those black-and-white television clips—sometimes embellished with hippy-dippy effects—were usually just an impediment to enjoying Quiet Riot or Run-D.M.C. But one was truly a straight freak ticket: “Summertime Blues” by Blue Cheer. Those guys were hairy. They were mean-looking. The song was loud—and, actually, it was kind of awesome. If anything, that song’s maxed-out blooz riffs and the video’s caveman visuals were tangible proof—at least to discerning preteens—that ’80s pop metal was a bastardization of something far more pure and scary. These days, bassist/singer Dickie Peterson (pictured) still rocks those wavy locks, but he looks more like a wraith than a Cro-Magnon. Original drummer Paul Whaley is back in the fold again, and guitarist Andrew “Duck” MacDonald—who joined the trio in one of its many post-’60s incarnations—rounds out the lineup. Since the ’70s, the band has toured Europe on occasion and released an album here and there, but the time for a U.S. revival couldn’t be better: A new generation of hipsters is copping the same proto-metal ’tude that Blue Cheer pioneered on Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside—both of which, by the way, predated Sabbath’s debut by a couple of years. Feel the noize when the trio plays at 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 16, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)