Lead singer Ernie Papp of the band Ten Ton Mojo is a pal of mine who has seen me perform an improvised sermon as the Reverend Raymond Nader. A long time ago he said he wanted to get me up onstage to improvise a sermon to introduce his band, and on December 1, 2012, at the band’s album release show at Arlene’s Grocery, it finally happened.
I’d performed before at Arlene’s Grocery a long time ago in the context of its show Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke, but this time I’d had enough years under my belt that I might as well have forgotten those incredible experiences. This sermon performed before the band’s packed house was different from my usual sermon act in that I didn’t solicit an audience suggestion and didn’t have a rough form to follow when I got up onstage. I let the moment feed the course of my sermon.
The sermon is followed immediately by Ten Ton Mojo’s incredible show-starting song “Gotta Get That Love,” with Ernie on vocals. My friend and an Arlene’s Grocery crowd-packer Angie Atkinson did the videography and got some breathtaking shots — you feel as if you’re at the concert.