Not sure if you remember, but a couple of times in this space I’ve talked about Moe Greens, my friend who is the golf course superintendent over at Pretentious Golf, Polo, Yacht, Bridge and Country Club. He and I have known each other for a while.
Moe loves to tend grass, and he loves to play golf. He also has a fair amount of musical talent. Moe played flugelhorn through most of high school, switching to the sousaphone for marching band during the football season.
Moe began playing guitar, as he tells it, when he was about 12, shortly after hearing The Dictators’ first LP, “Go Girl Crazy.” That was understandable; it’s a great album.
Moe kicked around in various groups for much of his life, playing bars and parties. A few months ago, though, he hooked up with some people who are on the same page as him musically. It’s a rock ’n’ roll band that takes popular songs and changes around the lyrics, much the way Weird Al Yankovic does, except Moe’s band switches the words so all the songs have turf and golf themes. They’re called the Real Mowers. Moe plays guitar, mostly rhythm with a little lead, and tries to stay as far as he can from a microphone.
Over on the other guitar is the mechanic from the Carp Lake Club, an ultra-private facility about 40 miles from Moe’s place. They call him Jazz because of his disdain for any music that approaches that genre. He told me his biggest musical influence is an obscure studio guitarist named Bumpy Chimes.
The drummer, affectionately known as Buzz Kill, or BK, is the first assistant over at Wampummagog Golf Club. BK models herself after Mo Tucker of The Velvet Underground and has been known to replace her drums with empty 5-gallon pails and her cymbals with hubcaps.
The bass player is Teeball. He’s on the crew at the local municipal golf course. He claims to have learned the bass from his neighbor across the street who once shook hands with Stiles Bitchley, the bassist in Rodney Dangerfield’s touring band back in the 1980s. Teeball spent a lot of time recently listening to Lloyd Cole’s new electronica album, “1D,” and tells everyone he meets that they need to check it out.
I stopped in during a recent rehearsal. The band’s first gig is just around the corner, playing the cocktail reception of a local turf conference.
Jazz told me they plan to open up with the instrumental “Brass Bonanza,” the song to which the defunct NHL team the Hartford Whalers used to take the ice. The Real Mowers call the song “Grass Bonanza.”
They are thinking of following it up with “Agronomy,” a take on the Ramones’ “Lobotomy.” Here is the new first verse: “Weeds and fungus are after me/D.D.T. makes my unhappy/Now I guess I’ll have to tell ’em/That I got no cerebellum/Gonna get my Ph.D./I major in agronomy, yeah.”
Later in the set they also turn the Ramones’ “KKK Took My Baby Away” into the “EPA Took My Spray Tech Away.”
From there it’s right into “Walk Mow This Way,” an alteration of Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way” — “I met a team leader/was a young turf breeder/Oh the times I could reminisce.”
They also venture into reggae, as “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley and the Wailers becomes “Buffalo Blower.” Tasty solo by Moe on that one.
The Willie Nelson-Waylon Jennings song, “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” becomes “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Golf Pros.”
I was so impressed with what I heard that I took on the role of the band’s roadie. No, I can’t get you backstage passes.