The first time I saw "Mr. Friendly's" scary spastic side, was at one of the performance nights on the rooftop of the building next to mine. The band Deerhoof was playing. The party was pretty crowded, and everyone was having a good time. It was a beautiful, active, loud, summer evening in the noisy 'hood.
Now if you're familiar with Deerhoof you know they have a really noisy, wacky, sloppy kind of rock sound. Not loud... just bizarre and fun.
Fun to everyone except "Mr. Friendly" that is...
After Deerhoof completed one number, to much applause (even from the windows of the people in the project buildings across the street who yelled 'Rock on whitey!') ...they went into another skronky number, and suddenly, out of nowhere... "Mr. Friendly" came storming out of the roof door - in a very UN-friendly way I might add - and pushed his way through the crowd and literally walked into the area where Deerhoof was playing and stood there and started shaking his head at the guitarist/vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki like a nursery school teacher would scold a child. Matsuzaki, who was kind of already crouched down on the ground playing and screaming, just kept playing and looking up at him, wondering who the hell he was... so did everybody. It seemed like part of the show. It was one of the funniest rock moments I've ever witnessed. Matsuzaki continued - smiling and unfazed, but "Mr. Friendly" meant business. He stormed off the stage and through the smatterings of people at the event, shouting "Who's in charge here!" He eventually found my friend and got into some kind of heated debate with him abut the "noise problem."
Now the contrast in "Mr. Friendly's" apocalyptically friendly hallway persona was like black and white. In the hallway during the day, he's all desperate smiles and a pathetic comedy routine... pleading to win your approval. When he's trying to shut down kids playing live music... it's the exact opposite. Or is it? Could it be the same need for control that fuels both impulses? Is it a total contrast in behavior? Or is it exactly the same? You say tomato, I say psycho.
Speaking of vegetables, did I mention his face was corpuscle beet red during this anti-music fit? He looked terrified and filled with the kind of panic and screaming you see on those photographs of little kids sitting on Santa's lap at the mall who aren't too happy about to be there. His persona projected "fight of flight" skittishness and "menace by default." He was terrified and clamoring for control of the situation.
As he just stood there flailing his arms and shaking his fingers at my confused friend, the band continued to play. After my friend was unsuccessful in getting him to try and calm down, and more and more people started to stare in disbelief, "Mr. Friendly" stormed away from him, right through the band (walking across the stage again), threw his arms in the air like a screeching child having a shopping mall tantrum... then flung open the door leading to the stairwell again and disappeared. What a performance! Did I mention this guy is in his 50's?
People were kind of laughing, smiling... no one knew what to think... and many people thought it was part of the performance. The band kept playing (they had never stopped) and it seemed like just one brief moment in time that had been burned into everyone's retinas. But about a minute later... "Mr. Friendly" reappeared behind the band and said something inaudible as he shook his finger at everyone in the direction of the band and audience, then disappeared into the doorway again. It was really surreal.
Then... about an hour later, after Deerhoof was done and another band had begun (about 9pm), the police showed up. "Mr. Friendly" was leading two reluctant-looking policemen onto the roof... and literally started pointing out the members of the band to them. The cops warned my friend to turn the noise down, and he promptly did. The cops and "Mr. Friendly" left.
Added by username on January 20, 2005