Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chestnuts from MTV's past (aka "Fun With YouTube")

Most of you don't need me to tell you just how addictive YouTube can be, especially to a guy like me whose parents never got cable back in tha day, when MTV actually showed music videos, and the videos were as cheesy as they come. A lot of those great videos are now available for your free viewing pleasure!! (OK, humor me; it's meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek.) Join me if you dare on a trip down memory lane...
This one is a knockout '80s classic both in terms of song AND video. It's got that charming, British 16mm feel to it, and Tracey's suitably wacky in it. But the song is a flat-out, undeniably charming cut written by the incomparable Kirsty MacColl, and the video even has Paul McCartney at the end of it. Definitely a keeper...
Todd has never been at a loss at telling the world just how much of a visionary he is; at times, he's actually been right about that. The premise behind this album was that there wasn't a single sound on this album that wasn't created by his own voice. Of course, that doesn't mean he hasn't put it through a sampler, or put sh!tloads of phasing on it. Some of the songs on this album are downright breathtaking; some merely drab. But by and large, it was a worthy experiment. This single is a memorable Todd stab at relevance, and I think the song holds up to a degree. This video, though? Again, Todd made it entirely himself, with what he thought was bleeding-edge technology. Too bad he didn't fire his hairstylist!!
I still think this song is a classic, a timeless slice from the '80s when the Tubes tried to shed their '70s weirdness for something a bit more popular. From a musical standpoint, they were successful; the two albums they put out at the top of the '80s (The Completion Backwards Principle and Outside/Inside) were classic pop songs which very much captured radio's attention. Visually however, this video is Fee Waybill and the guys up to their old arty tricks again, trying to see if they can get a shock. For as cool as the song is, the video only leaves me scratching my head.
Interesting sidebar, however: Fee Waybill can be credited with being a matchmaker to two relatively high-profile musicians. Richard Marx met (and married) Cynthia Rhodes (a former Tubes backing vocalist) after Richard and Fee worked together. And Todd Rundgren met (and married) Michele Gray, another former Tubes backing vocalist, no doubt after working with the Tubes on their '86 album Love Bomb. Any fact checkers with the truth, pls. feel free to correct me.
Yeah, again, see, great song, of which I'd only caught bits and pieces of the video. This is the longer, extended version with, egads, the members of Yes morphing into various woodland creatures in order to convey some sort of hallucinatory deeper TRUTH to this ordinary, average Londoner just trying to march himself to work. I'm certain that at the time, the band thought it was a good storyline. You have to admit, it's not your run-of-the-mill here's our band screwing around, lip-synching to our music on a soundstage type of video. For that, I give them credit. Besides, the song is still great.
See, we have a relatively dumb song from a reportedly dumb Andrew "Dice" Clay movie, but the video smokes. Even though this was technically a '90s video, it's definitely got an '80s hangover feel to it. Besides, it's a cool kind of story; Mr. Button-down get's his world invaded by the weird, sexy neighbor, who just happens to be an apartment trasher. Echoes of 9 1/2 Weeks are present with the light-casting-shadows-through-Levolor-blinds effect.

Those nutty Australians; they mix just enough corny humor to make a memorable video.

OK, so I realize that this was one of my lazier blog posts, but for one reason or another, these videos kinda resonate with me. Enjoy!

NOTE: Links have been updated, and are current as of May 7, 2008.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Some Random Sh!t...

I don't exactly have a whole lot to add, but I want to at least staunch a bit of recent entropy. So that said, here's a bunch of random thoughts...
  • It shocks and saddens me to no end that Webb Wilder doesn't have a bigger audience; a guy like him shouldn't have the majority of his catalog out of print. For those of you unfamiliar with the guy and his band, imagine the Stones as if they were sung by Foghorn Leghorn. I mean, sure he has a schtick, but ultimately, his music rises above mere novelty to rock hard. Recently, I just got a copy of his now-out-of-print Acres Of Suede. The first listen didn't impress me; I thought it was a lesser chapter. But the more I spin it, chestnuts come out. "No Great Shakes" is a truly great song, a slice of Southern-fried power pop. "Why Do You Call?", even though it's similar to a lot of his songs, somehow manages to channel mid-70s Clapton, with the chorused harmonies of girls in the background (think the song "Promises"). "Fall In Place" is a slower song, but grows on you, with its minor key and easy rhythm. Ultimately, if you're a neophyte to Webb, I'm gonna recommend It Came From Nashville (easiest to find), Hybrid Vigor, and Doo Dad as more logical first steps. But honestly, a guy could do a hell of a lot worse than buying Acres of Suede.
  • The only reason that I sometimes censor the curse words in this blog is in hopes that at least one parenting web filter software only looks for "major" text and such, so that some kid will be able to read this and be turned on to some cool tunes and hopefully cool stories. I'm also the father of a really cool two-year old who, his teachers tell me, loves music. Not that he's gonna read this for quite some time, but since he's repeating everything that Mrs. Murph and I are saying, we've taken to either substituting clean words or spelling out the salty ones. I guess the habit is crossing over to the blogosphere, who knows why.
  • Lowen and Navarro just had a wonderful XM Loft Session, which I was able to record and throw onto CD, for posterity's sake. How does a guy who doesn't subscribe to XM get this gem? Simple; they have a 3 day trial, and there exists a cool piece of software called Replay Music which tapes esoteric 'Net streams and gives you a limited demo. You coincide the two "free" elements to be valid at the time of the broadcast. You find out at the last minute that there's a broadband option, which offers a high-quality stereo stream. You start recording in .wav format (for best quality, of course), and carry on with the party going on at your house at the same time. You stop recording as soon as it's over, so as not to choke out your hard drive's remaining free space. You wait until clean up from the party is done, kiss your wife good night, then stay up until 1:30am boosting levels, inserting track markers, and burning it to CD. Oh, the lengths of geekery that some of us will go to. But you know what? I have a great CD out of the deal. BTW, to Eric and Dan? I'm more than willing to buy this Loft Session should you guys ever find a way to get it a limited release, and then make sure that every Starbucks on this globe sells it. You know that it would sell, especially if the stores play it while they sell their lattes. And then you guys will get the payday you deserve, gentlemen. Thanks for the great music, guys. It's truly amazing.
  • Today's the 27th anniversary of Disco Demolition (7/12/1979, for those of you keeping score at home). Disco still sucks, the artifice, empty glitz, and the fact that all those peckerheads got to do tons of blow without worrying about the consequences tomorrow. Rehab didn't have to happen until Nancy Reagan's "just-say-no" '80s. Am I jealous? Sometimes yes, mostly no. The music, with a few notable exceptions, does truly suck. Drugs, so time has shown me, aren't my thing. And most importantly, disco was a fad for the Beautiful People; I've never considered either myself or any of the crowds I've ever hung with to be Beautiful People (except my wife, of course). Which is totally cool by me; it's a hell of a lot less pressure to have friendships without all that added pretension and competiton on top of it. Steve Dahl rammed disco into the ground; just ask K.C. and the Sunshine Band. He points to that day as the moment that his playhouse burned to the ground. Metaphorically, of course. It's good that Donna Summer found Jesus, because after Mr. Dahl's Wild Ride, she sure wasn't finding even half as much cash. It's amazing that one nutty baseball promotion had such shockwaves. And yes, I recommend the Disco Demolition 25th Anniversary DVD; it's a well-done look at the event, with interviews with most of the principals.
  • I can't wait to receive the new Loud Family / Anton Barbeau CD, What If It Works?. It's been six long years, during which time we the few, the proud, the LoudFans hoped and prayed that Scott Miller hadn't hung up his rock 'n roll shoes for good. The bit I've heard sounds promising. Early reviews seem to indicate that Miller and Barbeau are simpatico foils to each other. I'm stoked, and wish would get it in the mail ASAP. Also, in the same parcel is the latest Lowen & Navarro CD, which is also highly anticipated by yours truly.
  • It's only fair that I note the unfortunate passing of Syd Barrett (check out my buddy's blog for a much better epitaph than I can offer) with my one-and-only Syd story, which doesn't even directly involve the late man in question. I was working at the Coconuts at Randolph and Wabash, as a manager trainee. Paul, Jeff, and I (can't remember their real names, so sue me) were idly chatting about Syd Barrett, and I lamented about how he was Rock's first acid casualty. Jeff, a modern hippie, suddenly looked really nervous; he asked what I meant. Paul, patiently, explained the story (that we all thought was the case at the time), that Syd had taken way too much acid, and went insane. This, of course, only made Jeff even more nervous, which I find hilarious. Of course, we all now know that it was more than just the lysergic that pushed Syd over the cliff. I hope that his later years were peaceful, and that the demons that haunted his earlier years didn't come calling anymore. Thank you, Syd, for the lunacy you gave us.
That's all for now; coming up later, I'm gonna tell you all why it's important you get to know Deborah Holland's music. Let me post a question to you all: if you were ever to be a rock artist (or even performer), would you be interested in doing an interview with a lowly blog such as mine? I mean, here's my platform to throw stuff against the wall; I am my own editor. Do bands spend time answering questions for dudes like me, so they can have worthy content for their blogs? Hmmmm.... any thoughts would be appreciated.

And remember:

Friends don't let friends watch Rock Star: Supernova!!!!