Rush reunions? The Police patchings-up? Tres yawn. Last week Vegas saw one of the most anticipated re-get-togetherings in recent history—at least as far as fans of ironing boards, tubas and ditties about intestinal disorders are concerned—when Dino’s Lounge hosted not only the surprise 40th birthday party of multitalented public defender-by-day Dayvid Figler, but a performance by his 10-years-gone band Tippy Elvis as well.
“Now that we’ve finished saying all our lovely things about Dave, what Dave doesn’t know is that we reunited Tippy Elvis,” announced guitarist Brian Weiss after a good-natured roasting and six-candled cake. “Exactly when did Brian start talking for Tippy Elvis?” wondered the singer, settling the porkpie hat tossed from the crowd on his head. “By the way, I’ve never met this man behind me,” he added, referring to newly recruited drummer Rob Weidenfeld. After rifling through piles of lyrics hand-written by keyboardist Sean Jones, Figler decided upon opener “Local Celebrity,” a number touching on Kansas backstage passes and Steve Guttenberg’s career that, much to his sarcastic surprise, contained “hardly any dated references” at all.
The quintet took its name from the entertainer who died 30 years ago that same evening, but its sound, as always, was more indebted to polka-punk and the lyrical absurdism of The B-52’s. Rapid-fire descriptions of titular ink inspired Jones to precariously rock his ironing board-cum-keyboard stand and tuba player Ginger Bruner to flash devil horns during “Tattoo,” while the “hacky-sacky, Kerouacky” “Surf Poet” came with Figler’s warning, “This one I usually did with my pants off.”
A couple slow-danced to the herky-jerky strains of “Angry Grr Grr”’s “My nostrils are flaring wider than Judd Nelson’s on a bad Monday morning!” and “Hate Henry Winkler ... It’s cold out! Brr! Brr!,” but it was “Allergy Song”—“the worst song I ever wrote”—that prompted Figler to unbutton his shirt to the waist and dance spastically during a samba dance-breakdown.
“Is that it? Are we done?” the winded frontman asked after raising himself from the floor on which he’d rested during “Birthday Clown.” “We’ll do the encore that you didn’t ask for.” Closing with “Punk Rock Tuba,” Jones pogoed behind his ironing board while Bruner’s solo took her on a victory lap around the room. “We are the Tippy Elvis band!” proclaimed the beaming Figler, whom Weiss addressed as the future mayor of Vegas. “See ya in 10 years!”