Last weekend I embarked on a journey back to Kenosha, Wisconsin to attend Dr. Destruction’s Sidekick Reunion Party. Joining me was Illinois Public Access host, Count Gregula, along with his wife – The Countess. Kenosha is about 2 hours from my Chicago suburban home and I certainly didn’t mind the company. We chatted about a range of topics, most of which revolved around the upcoming Horrorhound convention which is a major event in the horror hosting world. Countess, for her part, was snoozing in the back seat reserving her strength for the big event.
Attending Destruction’s party was an opportunity to get some great pictures for SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE. My story on Dr Destruction (“The Reconstruction of Dr. Destruction”) is tentatively slated for summer 2011 release and publisher, Dennis Druktenis, assured me that there was still time to add some shots. In the ten years that Dr. Destruction has been hosting films, he has had a prolific group of sidekicks. Over a dozen, in fact, and he has always tried staying in contact with the majority. While interviewing him for the SM piece a few months back, the subject of his sidekicks often came up.
Unfortunately, a full reunion was not possible. Two of Destruction’s past sidekicks are now deceased – losses the Kenosha host has never fully recovered from. He still often speaks of Sore Johnson and The Great Lampini; two men who died before their time and had both played integral roles in The Crimson Theater’s decade long history. Other sidekicks were unable to attend due to illness or out of town engagements. When I entered the DMZ lounge and saw Destruction’s face, he did not appear happy. His appearance at an expo earlier that day was less than stellar, attracting more business class, “stuffed-shirts,” versus monster fans. Such is the burden a horror host living in a more rural setting must bear. At the time of our arrival, the Gregulas appeared to be the only ones in costume aside from Destruction which, is fine, however they are their own hosts and not supporting cast members of The Crimson Theater.
Fortunately, the “Sidekick Reunion” wasn’t all about sidekicks. The highlight of the evening was Dr. Destruction performing with his punk band, “The Dead Leathers.” As Destruction geared up his equipment, the guests began to arrive. The first and most noticeable was one of Destruction’s more recent sidekicks, The Bedbug. This hulking monster came complete with scary mask and arm gear that reminded us of Virginia host, Karlos Borloff.
The next to arrive was the beautiful Tatiana. Tatiana enjoyed a nice run on The Crimson Theater back in 2005. For about six months she provided beauty to Destruction’s beast!
Just before Destruction took to the stage, his current sidekick – Deadgar Winters arrived. I had met Deadgar on the two occasions I had been a guest on The Crimson Theater and, despite his appearance, he is actually one of the nicest people in the horror host world. I remember the last visit o the show (taped on Friday mornings at the Time Warner station in Kenosha) we were all sitting in the control room and Destruction was looking at the newly posted Horror Host Report. As he scrolled down the list of hosts, he suddenly stopped at Reno’s Zomboo. “Hey Deadgar, looks like they got YOU on here!” he joked. There did appear to be a slight resemblance between the two and, as I saw Deadgar enter the lounge, I noticed he was sporting an all-new silver wig as opposed to his customary blond one. “I can’t go to Horrorhound looking like Zomboo,” Deadgar quipped.
Deadgar’s arrival coincided with that of a missing band mate (whom I mistook as a sidekick due to his own gruesome appearance). After a few moments to finish setting up, the show began. Prior to this night, I had seen photos of Dr Destruction performing and had heard some of his music courtesy of a CD he gave me back in October titled, “My Darkness Grows.” This was my first time seeing him LIVE and hearing him with “The Dead Leathers.” It had been a long time since I had attended a show with as much volume in a confined space. I felt my rib cage vibrate as Destruction let loose. I must say, however, I enjoyed every minute.
After the show was over and the second act, “Republicans on Welfare,” took the stage we posed together for shots. Destruction was concerned that his make-up (which was literally sweating off of his face) would be an issue. I assured him that no one will notice – one of the advantages of being featured in a black & white magazine.
The next day I wrote my friend, Jason Lucas, about the event. Jason is a big metal fan whose experiences in the rock world are worthy of their own publications. “Nothing like live music,” said Jason. “It’s a great way to let off some steam…especially punk or metal.” He was absolutely right!