When Mark Farmiloe, a beloved fixture on the mid-’90s Columbus music scene, died last year, old friends came together to mourn. From that collective grief sprung the Rock and Roll High School Reunion, a series of six shows at Ace of Cups benefiting Farmiloe’s wife. The second show is Saturday night, and it features bands and musicians who haven’t been on stage together in years.
Two of the reunion’s many organizers, longtime Columbus musicians Artie DeLeon and JD Dallas, chatted recently over the counter at Swamp Dogs Music about the shows and rock ’n’ roll.
(DeLeon) There was a woman at [Farmiloe’s] memorial service who said it was kind of cool because it was the high school reunion she’d always wanted to go to. Afterwards I was having shots and conversation with some of the guys who used to be in the Econothugs and we thought, OK, once again Columbus will rise to the occasion and do a benefit show. But rather than doing one show and handing someone a check and hoping things get better, we decided, hell, we’ll go full hog and we planned six shows instantly.
(Dallas) You ever have that feeling that you’re, like, you’re throwing a party and nobody’s going to come? And through the 20 years that we’ve been doing shows together we’ve always felt that way. We’re like, nobody’s gonna be there. And then there’s a big relief. If you go to the website, there’s some pictures of the crowd and stuff. It was a--es to elbows.
(DeLeon) You expect me to leave the comfort of my home for what? A loud rock show from bands I haven’t heard in 15, 20 years, and they probably suck anyway? But people turned out. It was a constant flow all night long. Sure, the bands are great and it’s a real special deal that they’re playing for the first time in two decades, but the excitement is being there. It was very electric and you could feel it. Everybody there, it was just kind of coursing through them, this overall goodness.
(Dallas) We’re a little bit more mature. We pay a little more taxes. We’re probably not in as many bar fights as we used to be. Not as many. The one thing I heard after that show, the next day there was this silence. Everybody was like, did that really happen? Yeah, it did. And we actually took pictures this time. Everybody was like, I’m so glad there’s more to come because how depressing would it be if that was it?
(DeLeon) I’m sure there were people who thought this was going to be a traipsing through the past and they were going to go through the motions. But every band that went up there went for the throat. It was totally for the jugular. Every band that went up there just punched everybody in the teeth. And it was succulent and you were showered in it. It was really electric and everybody went bananas for it.