Virtually everyone on Long Island knows Valley Stream-born comedian Jim Breuer.
We know SNL Breuer: Goat Boy and spot-on Pesci impressions. We know Half Baked Breuer, from the 1998 hit comedy he co-starred in with Dave Chappelle. We know radio and podcast Breuer. We know Breuer from VH1’s That Metal Show. We know Mets fan Breuer. Of course, we know stand-up Breuer.
And if you know Breuer, you know he is a diehard 1980s heavy metal superfan: Judas Priest, AC/DC, Metallica. His renowned impersonations of the bandleaders are born from hero worship, a true love of the craft, and pure, unmitigated joy.
On Saturday night at Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh, Long Island got to meet a Breuer they’ve never seen before—Rock Breuer—and he absolutely killed.
Breuer wasn’t feeling well, but the audience would never know it, as he busted out onstage with raging riff-heavy guitars, explosive drums and very, very loud, shrieking metal vocals. He and his band “The Loud & Rowdy” lived up to their name, in spades—melding the worlds of sheer comedic hilarity and glorious, no-frills metal-mania chaos. On this Long Island stage, Breuer played out his ’80s metal fantasy that wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention.
The real surprise? He’s good. Like, really, really good.
Jim Breuer is a legit rock star.
Breuer doesn’t rely on laughs or mere enthusiasm, but actual talent as a rock singer. His voice carries with it a James Hetfield-tinged raw grittiness. His stage presence is magnetic. His album Songs from the Garage was produced by Rob Caggiano—former lead guitarist for thrash metal warlords Anthrax—who also plays guitar in Breuer’s backing band The Loud & Rowdy, along with bassist Joe Vigliotti and drummer Mike Tichy. The musical offering is an ode to the parent in all of us: past the age of 40, having given over our lives to the little people we made, plus soccer practice, music lessons, school lunches. It’s all about them now, not us. But there’s a small piece of us still inside, that teenager who geeked out over something creative, something that spoke to us on a complete individual level, but connected us through space and time to others.
For Breuer, that was metal. It was his own personal calling, yet it bonded him with every black-leather-jacket-and-Slayer T-shirt-wearing kid in his cafeteria. His “garage” is where he lets that kid come out and play, in family-friendly songs that are as funny as they are impressively real.
Breuer opened with the riff-heavy “Thrash,” a song about losing your ever-lovin’ mind whenever you get the house to yourself. Loud, with killer hooks, this song let the audience know he wasn’t playing a rock star, he actually was one.
“Can you handle three minutes of metal?” he bellowed out into the crowd.
Yes, we could—evident in the resounding roar of the packed club in response.
In between songs, Breuer interjected stories about his life: kids, coming up in Valley Stream, seeing shows at Nassau Coliseum and in Franklin Square. He entertained the audience with a story of getting to ride in Ozzy Osbourne’s private jet to the MTV Icon awards, and being star-struck enough to shove Ozzy’s shrimp into his pockets.
Of course, he delighted the audience with a spot-on impression of Ozzy, zig-zagging toward the back of the place, his incomprehensible slurs disguised as words.
Breuer busted out impressions throughout the night: Metallica’s James Hetfield’s signature “Yee-ahh!”s punctuated his sentences, AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson’s wail pure perfection. (Johnson lends vocals to two tracks on Songs from the Garage.) Taking requests from the audience, Breuer initiated a heavy metal version of the children’s song “B-I-N-G-O,” as sung by legends Ozzie Osbourne, Brian Johnson, Hetfield and Kermit the Frog.
Each tune had a story, a personal bent, a memory of his early days, as in “Be a Dick 2Nite,” about that one friend we all have, living at home, not paying rent, who gets us into all kinds of trouble.
“I can’t wait to be that old guy on the beach with a metal detector,” he told us while introducing the song “Raising Teenage Girls.” “I made it. No pregnancies. No addictions. I made it. I’m getting skin cancer. I don’t care.”
Breuer, who has three, takes us through watching our teenage daughters dress up and go out to face the world. And by world, he means teenage boys.
“Tell me,” he sang. “What are you gonna wear?”
Judging by the resounding applause and cheers from the packed audience, everyone at Mulcahy’s could relate. For the entire Loud & Rowdy set, we were one—metal heads in the school cafeteria that somehow became over-40 parents, invited into Breuer’s garage—separate, but all in it together.
Jim Breuer is heavy metal hilariousness, personified. His unique collision of these two personal passions—comedy and metal—inspires fans to both head-bang and laugh, uncontrollably. He exudes an enthusiasm that is contagious, and up there on stage at Mulc’s with The Loud & Rowdy, his genuine talent was perhaps best embodied in his prolific, devastatingly accurate impression of Metallica frontman James Hetfield:
Main Art: Jim Breuer and The Loud & Rowdy shredded Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall with heavy metal hilarity on Nov. 26, 2016. (Long Island Press / Jaime Franchi)
For more about Jim Breuer and The Loud & Rowdy, including future tour dates and videos, check out officialjimbreuer.com