In Praise of Perch, Glen’s Band From ‘The Real World: Los Angeles’
It’s useless to complain about MTV’s mindless reality programming. The kids want their ‘Teen Mom’ and their ‘Catfish,’ and cranky pre-millenials nostalgic for Kennedy and sweet, refreshing ‘Liquid Television’ need to concede defeat. The network will never be good again. But that doesn’t mean we can’t reminisce, and if there’s one thing worth remembering, it’s ‘The Real World: Los Angeles.’
Fresh off of the groundbreaking New York season—the model for much of today’s vastly inferior reality TV—’Real World’ producers went West for the ’93 sequel. They fared better than the Donner Party, but not by much. The L.A. iteration featured abortions, heavy drinking, a sexual assault and racism galore. All of the clothes were neon, and everyone in the house was loud and crazy. Still, there was one cast member worth looking up to, a man who dared to speak truth to lunacy and rock the occasional earth tone, and his name was Glen.
Glen fronted a grungy Philadelphia rock band called Perch, which wound up crashing at the house and thoroughly pissing off Tami, the sassy actress, model and R&B singer. It all comes to a head on Episode 19, where Dominic, the perpetually drunk Irish writer, organizes a music showcase. John, the aspiring country singer, puts his talent (and his glorious mullet) on display, as does Tami, who debuts her low-rent En Vogue knockoff, Reality.
Perch headline, and still beefing with Tami, Glen opens the set by dissing Reality for lip-synching. Glen, you see, believes in a little thing called authenticity, and later, after he’s slayed the audience with what a spot-on Dominic deems a Jim Morrison-esque performance, he offers a treatise on showmanship that might have come from Eddie Vedder.
“It’s not enough just to get up there and sing—you also have to have a strong presence for people to get attracted to,” Glen says. “People have told me I have that charisma. I think that’s what gets me by. I’m not as good of a singer. I’m a vocalist.”
Make that was a vocalist, as Perch seem to have called it quits. According to Planet Perch, the last show was in 2008, but YouTube clips speak to the wonder, the glory, the sheer ’90s-ish-ness of this crew. Below is the aforementioned Episode 19, as well as concert footage shot in December 1992, before Glen landed in that Venice Beach house of the damned. The live video reveals Perch to have been a kind of wild-eyed punk-funk party band with a slight ska bent—the quintessential ’90s band, in other words. The crowd at the Fiesta Motor Lodge loses its s—, and rightfully so.
Check out the running on-screen commentary by YouTube uploader perchglen11—perhaps the actual Glen Naessens—and hang with the tune until at least the trombone solo. Farty, proudly amateur and above all real, it’s “whatever” in brass form, the perfect sound for a time and place we can never go back to.
Watch Episode 19 of ‘The Real World: Los Angeles’
Watch Perch Perform ‘Food Coupons’