December 14, 1996
Scene and Heard
Vancouver city council’s biggest muckraker Brian Godzilla Salmi, the man who ran for mayor as Ronald F. McDonald and convinced 54 people to run as gonzo politicos in Vancouver’s civic election, is spending his nights booking acts at the Mighty Niagara. As usual, his imagination is working overtime, which can be a scary thing.
Salmi’s been running Metal de Frommage nights on the occasional Saturday, and as you might guess from the name, they are a cheesy celebration of heavy metal sludge. Tonight is one of those nights, and contrary to the rumour mill, Judas Priest will not be making an appearance, says Salmi. Instead, JP5, an ensemble of veteran Vancouver headbangers from Slow, Spank Machine and Tankhog will be grinding out metal covers from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath ands Wasp. You might think that’s all the stale smoke and condensed sweat your poor lungs can take, but there’s more. Think of it as experimental therapy, and Salmi is the patient. Metal lovers will also get a chance to, “hit-a-hippie for a buck,” which may sound like a case for the BC Human Rights Commission but it will be done humanely, he insists.
The first time Salmi did this he went to Granville Street, found a hippie (the definition is unclear), tore a $50 bill in half and promised him the other half if he showed up at the Niagara that night. When he showed, Salmi says he covered him in hockey gear and for a dollar allowed patrons to take a whack at him with dried-out children’s hockey sticks (if they hit too hard the sticks broke). After 20 minutes the hippie was unharmed and got his full $50 plus several pints of beer. Tonight they’ll be using sponge whiffle bats. Now for the really big question: Why?
“I hate hippies,” growls Salmi. “I was working for Greenpeace five or six years ago, and my job was to round up people and bring them down to Vegas for a protest at the Nevada nuclear test site. We had 5,000 hippies, and I had to put up with hippies for five days in a row. Now I can’t stand hippies.”