From the title of this post, you might think a discussion of 'Raging Bull' vs. 'Midnight Run' was about to follow. Sorry! Another time, another blog. (For the record I would choose 'Midnight Run' if I had to show someone one piece of work to define DeNiro...don't even argue, I'm right.)
No, this post is far more obscure than the title suggests. Once again, I must go back into the murky depths of my past.
Somewhere, out there in this enclosed space we call Earth, a cassete tape or LP sits. On it, a song called 'Robert DeNiro Movies' rests, unplayed. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
I spent 4 years of high school and 5 years of college in Kingston, RI. Music then, as it is now, was my passion, my escape, my obsession. From the moment I got my driver's license I made constant road trips to Providence to see punk bands in the various shitholes that presented all-ages shows. I scoured the local and national newspapers for any story that vaguely mentioned this underground world I'd become a part of.
A local URI band seemed to be gaining quite a bit of popularity and notoriety. Called That'll Learn Ya, they were comprised of 5 guys. 2 guitars, bass, drums, singer. This would have been 1984 or so. I think the guitarists were brothers. They had entered some Snickers songwriting contest and a record contract seemed quite possible.
I saw them play at the Student Union on the URI campus while I was still in high school. Occasionally I'd be on campus to visit my dad in the library, or go shopping in the record store that had the strange stuff I was into. Quite often in the afternoons That'll Learn Ya would be rocking away on a small stage. People wandered in and out, it seemed more like a public rehearsal than an actual concert.
I'd also seen them play an outdoor show on the Quadrangle and I think I'd seen them open up for a traveling punk band at a club in Providence. I bought the 45 they put out that had a great REM jangly number called 'Pulling Up the Night' on it. Think REM with a more growly Eddie Vedder type on vocals. I remember them being quite good live and I thought the few songs I heard on the 45 were okay.
But they had a masterpiece. I bought a small hand made cassette of theirs. Red construction paper insert with strange little cartoons on it...4 songs or so on each side. I think I paid $4.99 for it, or something like that.
I remember nothing of 7 of these songs. But one has stuck in my head for the last 20 some years. 'Robert DeNiro Movies'. I can hear the damn thing in my head. Unfortunately, I lost the cassette somewhere along the way. It is the only piece of music that I wish I had access to that I cannot get access to.
The snippet of lyric that comes back is as follows:
God, are you the one who rents me Robert DeNiro movies?
When you get drunk do things mean more than they should?
I can sing those two lines.
I'm putting it out into the ether right here and now. Anyone know the dudes in that band? That'll Learn Ya. I think the singer was named Terry Fallon.
In my mind it is like a pebble thrown out over a lake that will never drop into the water, creating the preordained ripple. I want that ripple.