A strange thing happened a few months ago, and it perplexed us at Numero HQ to some degree (not that we haven’t seen our share of strange phenomena already). There was a lot of local interest in one of our favorite local garage rockers, The Cave Dwellers and their frontman Gary Goldberg. By local interest, we mean suburban newspapers and historical societies, who are not necessarily ready to pile on support for any of the artists we work with. Gary was having a great time doing his own rogue promotional work for our release of The Cave Dwellers only single (packaged with their unreleased second single). Every new piece of press he received he proudly touted, dropping copies off at our bustling office. (We covered one of the pieces here, which comically refers to records as “vinyls” and states that the release is available for sale on youtube.)
What we failed to notice is that he was also claiming to have opened for The Beatles at their 1965 show at Comiskey Park (it’s briefly mentioned in the caption). Alert readers of our liner notes will recognize that this was nowhere in The Cave Dwellers’ history contained in our release. It’s not that Gary didn’t claim this to be the case… it’s that a modicum of research revealed it was likely untrue. At Numero, we’re simply immune to tall tales told by performers, producers, and songwriters at this point….These things just wash over us, barely noticed, just as your average Chicagoan barely notices their city crumbling around them.
However, not everyone is so immune. In LaGrange (a mid-size Chicago suburb off the Burlington Northern train line), a paper printed an article that trumpeted, in great detail, the fantastical night when The Cave Dwellers opened for The Beatles in front of armies of legions of throngs of hysterical fans. Thus it appears that making outlandish claims to a loosely factchecked media outlet is now subject to only the self-correction of internet backlash. The problem, of course, is that Goldberg is barely aware of the internet, and expected his false claims to be scrutinized whatsoever.
After the LaGrange Doings article ran, a few former members of The Cave Dwellers wrote the newspaper and revealed that The Cave Dwellers certainly had not opened for The Beatles that night in 1965. (It’s worth mentioning that none of those former members was actually in the band at the time of Goldberg’s alleged opening slot. The Beatles, however, were at the height of their popularity and their concert bills would not have gone undocumented.) One of the former Dwellers who wrote to the paper conveyed the news that he would attend a talk that Goldberg was giving later that week at the Elmhurst Historical Society, expressly to refute Gary’s claims.
The event, dubbed “The Cave Dwellers, The Numero Group, and Reissuing Music’s Vinyl Past” was intended to be more about wallowing in obscurity and not at all about The Beatles. But several former Dwellers appeared at the talk to set the record straight. What ensued was a bit chaotic, but it’s covered pretty well in a Daily Herald article that ran the following week. Instead of a lecture, the event became a public forum in which a former member aired his most petty grievances, 45 years after the fact. It was a scene that would have seemed fitting for a reality show, rather than a local historical society lecture. At one point, accusations of guitar theft were thrusted and parried. It wasn’t all negative, as other former members waxed nostalgic, sharing mostly positive remembrances.
In the aftermath, Gary Goldberg seems a bit shell-shocked by the chain of events he unintentionally set in motion. Like a child who realized that he could get attention by swearing, Gary realized quickly he could get attention by saying “Beatles.” And like that child, Gary got punished. He was called a liar in print by several local papers, but worse: his softball team has consistently ridiculed him ever since. Perhaps worst of all, his record has seen virtually no bump in sales through all the resultant publicity! But there is a positive: he now craves, and appreciates, the obscurity he once had.
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