First: why is this called fanboy archive? Because that's what I was circa 1980's. I was a fan of the local Nashville rock music scene. I didn't play in any of the bands. I didn't even live in Nashville. I was a half hour down the road in Murfreesboro buying the records, listening to WRVU and WKDF, picking up the local music rags, and sometimes journeying up to Nashville to see a club show. And it was a journey then. Everything was new and exciting and nothing seemed impossible. That said; it wasn't an uncritical time for me. I held strong opinions on just about everything, but especially music, which is a great privilege and responsibilty almost of youth. Which brings us to the second question you might have: what is the purpose of the fanboy archive? The purpose is to share some of my thoughts about the music and players from that time and what it meant to me plus provide some historical relics from that time. This first installment is about Lee A. Carr. If you want to add anything to this or send me some Mr. Zero mp3's it would make me very happy.
Lee A. Carr was one creative and restless guy. I was first exposed to his genius via his comics in the 'zine Weasel Weekly (Published Monthly). I picked up a copy at a White Animals all-ages gig at Cantrells. It had the "mange" strip which was later reprinted in the Fireplace Whiskey Journal. Next, I learned he was part of The Enemy. Their song "Jesus Rides A UFO" was burning up the airwaves that summer of 1985 when WRVU increased their wattage, but I was late to the party when it came to Joey "Offbeat" Blanton and crew. Lee's cousin Kelly Butler had left The Enemy behind and so would Lee as The Enemy was busy morphing into Royal Court Of China.
The next I knew Lee had picked up a gig as Raging Fire's bassist. I dug Raging Fire more than The Enemy. I was building up Lee to be my rock and roll hero. Not only was he a funny cartoonist, but the dude got to play with two legendary mid-80's Nashville acts. But like I said, he was a restless man. He left Raging Fire and I don't recall ever hearing why. I suppose he wasn't content to be a sideman forever. He had grandiose ideas hip hopping into his head thanks to his cousin Kelly.
Mr. Zero would come charging out of Gallatin intent on melding hip hop and rap into one seamless trunk of funk. . Rock had been no wallflower at the hip hop dance before; check out Blondie's "Rapture", Run-DMC's "Rock Box", and the Beastie Boys, but Mr. Zero was close to being, if not the first, straight up metal/rap mix to firecracker into consciousness with Lickster Lee, Machine Gun Kelly, Slick Chris, and Grandmaster E. Their shows were gigantic parties with Grandmaster E. coming "into the place, kicking over chairs, people get mad, we don't care" urging the crowd to burn the roof off the mother while giving us white hillbillies a lesson in race relations at the same time. Maybe their high spirits had something to do with the "Terror Twins", Kelly and Lee, making sure their van was always stocked with Boone's Farm and Busch.
Maybe this was why Mr. Zero only lasted for a short time. Their antics had even gotten them banned from Cookeville, TN. The band disintegrated mutating into the Hard Corps, a rock/rap hybrid led by Machine Gun Kelly, who landed one of the first record deals with Interscope where they released an album Def Before Dishonor which featured a well received cover of "Back In Black", but they never could win me over like Mr. Zero had. All I know is that the Limp Bizkit's and Linkin Park's of the world owe some mad props to the cousins from Gallatin.
I don't know what Lee did after Mr. Zero. I've got an mp3 of him doing a song titled "Tanya", but I don't recall when it was recorded or who even sent it to me. It reminds me of Peter Laughner for some reason. I wish Lee was still around, but he committed suicide a few years ago. I bet he would have gottten a kick out of all of the attention being focused on the Nashville rock scene all of these years later.
I'll leave with you a quote from his sister Joannah Carr:
"Lee loved every minute he spent creatively whether it be music, writing, comix etc. He was truly one of a kind."