Posts filed under ‘music’
2016 was a big year for celebrity deaths. It became kind of a competition in some ways. David Bowie’s death hit a lot of people hard, but then the famous people kept dropping, and soon it was like “oh yeah? Prince was whatever. GEORGE MICHAEL really had an impact on my life!” and then the person would have to talk about how everyone is celebrating/mourning/talking about _____, but nobody is mentioning ______ as much as they should blah blah blah.
I’m not about to do that. Everyone’s death in 2016 was tragic (except possibly Phyllis Schlafly’s and Antonin Scalia’s, but that’s another entry). However, I would like to bring your attention to one death in particular that made me think: Paul Kantner.
I grew up a cynical, cranky Gen-Xer raised by hippies. My upbringing was not that unusual; many people of my generation were raised with the idea that everything in the 80s was boring, and that nothing was as good or exciting as it was in the 1960s. Baby Boomers adopted a superior attitude of “you weren’t there, you have NO IDEA how boring it is now!” Note, “the 60s” = 1967-1974.
I loved 80s music and was totally into punk and New Wave. In 1986, when this video came out (see below), I was heavily into U2, Big Country, Simple Minds, and other bands which my parents deemed “crap.” In their minds, in order to be cool, I had to listen to 60s music. They sat me down and made me listen to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen (RIP), whom I have an appreciation for now, but to the ears of a 13 year old obsessed with British New Wave, it just sounded like dreary noise.
60s music was played as background music in every store in my neck of the woods. New Wave was spectacularly un-cool. In my time-forgotten corner of Upstate NY, all my peers were into Pink Floyd and The Who. The Beatles were omnipresent, but they were so cliché at that point; I had heard every song a million times, and their music had become shorthand for “what follows is supposed to appeal to old people.”
Out of all the 60s music I was forced to listen to, the Jefferson Airplane was the only one I could relate to. I liked “White Rabbit” a lot, and I discovered that when a group of Baby Boomers were together and reminiscing, I could name drop the Jefferson Airplane (after many caveats that no, I did not equate it with Starship, the band’s incarnation at the time), and Boomers would think I was “cool” and that I “get it” and didn’t have to give me the lectures on how everything we did was boring and pointless and how they engaged in Real Activism Back In The Day, unlike whatever crap passes for whatever now.
Which brings me to the song “America” by the KBC Band (a band comprised of Paul Kantner, Marty Balin and Jack Casady from the Jefferson Airplane). This is the first song I had heard that actually celebrated the youth of America that was released in my lifetime. It was optimistic!
Streets of gold
Streets of wonder
Streets of people growing stronger
Revolution and voices of thunder
It’s a New world, new people
New dreams for all of the children
Young country, new love
New dreams of freedom
The part that really resonated with me was this:
don’t be afraid of anything
don’t be afraid of anyone
young men are dreaming and
young girls believing
and asking questions like
where are the frontiers?
how do i get there?
I was inspired. I was uplifted. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it, but it made me resent my parents’ generation slightly less. I thought, hey, if the members of the Jefferson Airplane can maintain optimism about my generation, anyone can! Throughout all my Babyy Boomer dominated childhood, I had internalized that my entire generation was doomed because we were lazy slackers who listened to shitty music. Maybe we don’t suck so much after all! I mean, even Paul Kantner sang:
something’s happening in america
can you feel it? can you feel it comin’?
it’s like the green party in Germany
young people with visions and dreams
in Nicaragua n’ Chile, Poland and South Africa
freedom brewing, it’s an uphill dream
At this point in my life, I was harboring secret desires to be a revolutionary (I wanted to join the IRA), and this song made it seem like maybe I wasn’t the only one. Of course, the closest thing I ever got to revolution was writing a lot of letters to my Congress people and on behalf of Amnesty International, but still. This song had a giant impact on my early adolescent life. My generation (it didn’t really have a name yet; I don’t think Generation X was yet coined as a term for my peers) wasn’t just a cheap imitation of the one before it, we could make our mark for ourselves!
Jefferson Airplane was awesome, but they belonged to my parents’ generation. The KBC Band was something that belonged to my generation. Even though it was made up of Baby Boomer icons, the music was still new, and mine. It wasn’t me discovering something from the old days, that I could bring to my elders and they would condescendingly talk about how great it was and what’s wrong with me that I was just discovering it now? I heard the KBC Band first. My parents would not hear it unless I played it for them, because they were too busy wallowing in the music of the past to ever bother with anything new. I felt that unlike with Starship, the Jefferson Airplane made finally itself into a version for me.
OK, it may be a long shot to attribute the stalling of my rapidly snowballing cynicism of an entire generation to one pop song, but that one pop song forever cemented in my head that Paul Kantner was awesome (along with Balin and Casady). Rest in Peace.
I got to see Big Country this week!!! If you’ve ever met me for longer than 47 seconds, you probably know that Big Country is my all time favorite band. I’ve been listening to them since I was about 10. In their heyday, I lived in the middle of nowhere, and they never played any concerts near me. The year after I moved to Boston, their lead singer, Stuart Adamson, committed suicide. I thought my chances of ever seeing Big Country live were dashed.
However, they reformed a couple of years ago, with Mike Peters from the Alarm as their singer. I was a little dubious at first; I mean how could they still be a band without Stuart Adamson? Then Tony Butler, the bassist retired. He was one of my musical idols too. What? How could this be?
But, I have been waiting to see Big Country for now around 30 years, so I went to the show. It was awesome!!! Bruce Watson and his son Jamie nailed the guitar parts! Derek Forbes, who played bass with Simple Minds was really good too. Mark Brzezicki is a god on drums, and he was amazing as ever. Mike Peters isn’t my favorite singer on earth, but what he lacked in Stuart Adamson-ness, he made up for with enthusiasm and sincerity. All in all, I was a grinning ball of drooling fangirl stupidity! I brought a copy of the 7″ of “Fields of Fire” I had for people to sign. I always feel creepy and stalkerish asking people to sign things (I’ve done it like 3 other times in my life), but now I have a signed cover. I am psyched!
They played most of the songs on “The Crossing,” plus the song “Look Away,” and “Wonderland” as well as some songs from their new album. Mike Peters injected some local flavor into the songs by occasionally mentioning Boston or Massachusetts at opportune moments. One of the funniest moments was during “Wonderland,” when he said “This is Wonderland, BOSTON!” He probably didn’t realize that Wonderland is the last stop on the Blue Line, and also a now-abandoned dog racing track. Rock on!
By me, of course. In a fit of nostalgia, i’m going to nominate the Videos That Sum up the 80s the Best. By “the best” I mean “in the most hilarious ways possible.”
Journey, “Separate Ways”
here are some highlights:
nobody ever actually looks at the chick who’s meaningfully stomping around the warehouse.
Did I mention the entire thing takes place on the ground of a warehouse?
0:01 AWWW YEAH ROCKING THE AIR SYNTH!
0:53 I can’t tell if the air-drummer is actually sitting on a real stool or on an air stool. Either way it’s impressive.
0:56 more air synthing– the guy looks like he’s at an air scratching post.
1:31 The drummer is wearing a ripped-off collar sweatshirt advertising a foosball tournament.
1:44 the awesome grimace on the keyboard guy’s face
1:55 you finally see the chick who’s stomping around’s face. WOW HER AMAZING SQUARE PUFFY MULLET HAIR!
2:18 Whoa, extreme close-up of Steve Perry’s teeth!
2:22 Steve saunters backwards through a maze of pallets, but not without a quick look behind him to make sure he doesn’t smack into machinery.
2:31 two guys are facing each other singing with the chick in the middle. They are not looking at her.
2:45 synchronized head turn!
3:12 Bass dude’s got a Steinberger! SO JEALOUS!!! He shows off some sweet moves
3:51 keyboard guy has his keyboard mounted sideways on a wall again. The 80s were a tough time– it’s hard to look cool while playing a synthesizer. One had to break new ground!
the end: was it all a dream?!?!?!
I LOVE this song. Seriously. I love Journey, and I don’t care who knows. I realize I lose like 85% of whatever small shreds of indie street cred I ever had by admitting this, but I do! I also realize that I get most of my dance moves from Steve Perry. I just realized this this moment. I can’t dance for shit, and I mostly flail my arms and occasionally make fists. This video must have imprinted on my subconscious somehow.
I went bowling last night with some co-workers of Doug’s– the dude turned 23. (yes, I felt old). The bowling place was playing The Outfield’s “Your Love” and the birthday boy’s girlfriend’s best friend’s roommate squealed and said “I love this one! It’s from 1985!” and proceeded to sing the entire thing from start to end.
I was obsessed with this song Back In The Day when I was 12. I loved the lead singer’s chipmunky face and earrings and mullet. I loved everything about them. However, they were kind of a one-hit-wonder, and this song was only popular for a couple of weeks, and not very popular at that.
I’ve listened to this song zillions of times (I own the 45!) No really, I do. Here it is:
I have no idea what the lyrics are. I watched the video I posted above and I still can’t make out the lyrics. Anyway, how does this girl, who obviously was born post-1985, know this song? Was it in a movie recently? Knowing songs from before your generation isn’t unheard of, I mean I know “The Locomotion” better than my parents probably, due to it being constantly everywhere. Ditto for “Stairway to Heaven” and anything by the Beatles. I could sing you Simon and Garfunkel’s entire catalog and ditto the Andrews Sisters, and that’s my grandparents’ generation. “Your Love”, however, is kind of obscure. It’s not obscure in that “I know this garage band from the 60s that only people in Topeka remember” way, more in that “one near-hit-wonder” way.
My mind was boggled. I love seeing what 80s music is popular these days. They played The Powerstation’s “Some Like It Hot” in the grocery store the other day, which is hilarious because nobody would have ever played it in a public place frequented by people over the age of 19 back in the day. However, now that I’m an Old Person, all the music is retro and therefore, safe. I LOVE BEING OLD!!!
You’ve been hearing Christmas music since the beginning of November; probably so much that you completely tune it out by now. However, some of you are probably thinking “oh crap, it’s Christmas, and I should bust out the Frank Sinatra… or whoever sings that Mele Kalikimaka song or whatever.”
I am a giant snob, and don’t like many Christmas songs written after 1900, but I know them all by heart of course, due to years of having worked retail with them on in the background.
Here is a summary of what you could be listening to in order to make your yuletide a little more gay. Or, rather, here’s a condensed version so you can read this list and feel the warm, roasted-chestnut glow of Christmas without actually having to hear the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
- White Christmas*
::strangely fitting commentary on global warming
- Silver Bells*
::Tinnitus is a bitch, particularly in urban areas.
- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…)*
::Christmas discriminates against 7 out of 9 nonogenarians
- The Little Drummer Boy
::I’m poor, so all I can do in the face of inequality is annoy everyone.
- Walking in a Winter Wonderland*
::marriage officiated by snowmen is a valid relationship goal.
- Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow*
::there will be some hanky panky due to inclement weather.
- Baby, it’s Cold Outside*
::date rape was much more romantic/humorous in the era before roofies.
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas
::too bad it’s only October.
- Carol of the Bells
::it’s very very very very repetitive. Very very very very repetitive.
- Have a Holly Jolly Christmas*
::”holly” is apparently an adjective
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year*
::”mistletoe” is apparently a verb
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? +
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas*
::Being in a war sucks, so please control the weather for my benefit.
- Santa Baby*
::daddy issues are a terrible thing
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
::Guess who your real dad is?
- Santa Claus is Coming To Town
::Santa is Big Brother
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer*
::being different is only cool if you’re extremely useful. LIKE A LIGHTBULB!!!
- Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree*/Jingle Bell Rock
::hey, remember when rock n’ roll was relevant?
- Feliz Navidad
::Hey white people, you too can sing in Spanish!
- Mele Kalikimaka
::Sleigh bells, schmeigh bells. face it, you’d rather be somewhere where the weather doesn’t suck.
- Frosty the Snowman
::Magical snowmen don’t need to heed the police.
- We Need a Little Christmas*
::WE ARE IMPATIENT! p.s. who the heck has a spinet anymore?
- Chipmunks’ Christmas Song
::I will personally kill anyone who buys Alvin a hula hoop.
* written by at least one Jewish person
+ Bob Geldof had a Jewish grandparent!
It’s been so long since I’ve had any Lil Bitch related drama, last weekend was almost a trip down memory lane. OK, it would have been if I hadn’t been so freaking annoyed.
I bought tickets for Lil Bitch and I to go see Mission of Burma at the Brighton Music Hall months ago. I was positive it would sell out. I mean, who would miss up a chance to see MoB in an awesome tiny venue like the former Harper’s Ferry? Apparently lots of people because it didn’t sell out. But anyway… It had snowed the night before, so Lil Bitch came up in the afternoon to hang out so he wouldn’t have to drive in the snow at night. Or something. He brought burritos and tequila as well as a bottle of what he thought was Margarita mix, but actually had tequila already in it. After mixing it with tequila it was pretty strong, to say the least. I had had the lovely norovirus all week and so I didn’t drink so much. At some point Lil Bitch and Dee got the idea that they wanted to go to Deep Ellum (a local bar) and get some hot cocktails. So, we went down to the bar and drank hot buttered rums which were delicious… but alcoholic. Lil Bitch insisted upon buying us shots of Jameson on the way back since he didn’t think he could make it all the way back to my place through the snow (we were walking), so we stopped at The Draft and had shots.
When we got back home, LB was in that special surly phase of drunkeness. He started talking about how his stepsister got raped in France and how she deserved it because she had narced on her classmates in high school or something. After about the 15th exclamation of “The bitch DESERVED it!” I tried to change the subject to no avail, but it was time to leave for the show so whatever.
LB has been already pretty tanked for some time now, yet still we get beers at the show– $4 for a 16 oz PBR, which LB rants on about being criminal. He even texted Pete a poorly spelled and even poorly worded rant about how it’s all his fault PBR is so expensive damn hipsters. I wasn’t quite sure of his logic, but this is Little Bitch we’re talking about. Logic is not one of his strong points on the soberest of days.
The opening band were called Shepherdess, and while they weren’t exactly my thing, LB decided they were the worst band in the history of music and proceeded to tell me this in between yelling “YOU SUUUUUUUUUCKK!” at them. I tried repeatedly to shut him up, which of course just made him rowdier. Eventually the bouncer came over and cut him off from further drinking. Thus, he tried to get me to buy him a drink. The conversation went like this:
LB: Buy me a drink. I can’t get one myself.
ME: there’s a reason you’re cut off.
LB: I want a drink
ME: sucks to be you!
LB: I want beer.
ME: I want a pet unicorn.
LB (shouting): UNICORNS CAN SUCK MY DIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!
When he realized that I was not going to buy him a drink, he yelled “THIS IS FASCIST BULLSHIT! I’M OUTTA HERE!” and stomped off. I was a bit relieved, to tell you the truth, and pushed up closer to get a better spot to see Mission of Burma. This is the one time being short is awesome– you can pretty much shove your way to the front of a concert and nobody cares because pretty much everyone can see over your head anyway. it almost negates the fact that if you’re short, you can’t see a damn thing at concerts unless you are in the very front anyway!
Anyway, the band starts and, as always, they are awesome. They get 2 songs in when I start getting texts.
“Where are you? I’m scared and alone.”
I tell him to go wait for me at my house. He replies that he doesn’t know how to get there. I text him directions (it’s less than a mile home). He saysto come get him, he’s still confused. I text him the house number and tell him to get a cab.
“But I dint [sic] do anything! I’m cold and lost.”
Finally it dawns on me that if he really does manage to find his way back to my place, he will get into his ginormous SUV and drive home, probably killing himself as well as mow down a bus full of nuns chaperoning orphans to a party with kittens or something. I leave after the third song and all the way home he rants about how it’s a conspiracy and he has every right to heckle crappy bands and it’s because of the Obama administration that everyone is forced to be polite and how he’s going to vote Republican and he’s never going back to that fascist place and fuck Mission of Burma, they’re not really punks if they let bouncers kick rowdy drunks out of their shows etc. I stick up for the bouncer, and, after calling me a “dumb bitch” and a “stupid cunt” several more times, he says possibly the best line of the night:
WHY DON’T YOU GO FUCK NEWT GINGRICH, SINCE YOU LOVE THE DOMINANT PARADIGM SO MUCH!
I don’t know, the unicorn line was pretty good too, but it didn’t contain the phrase “dominant paradigm” used without irony.
We get back to my place and I physically wrestle his car keys away. He calls me many more bad names and insults my political views, my hypocrisy and mentions how “slaves like [me] exist to suck the cocks of the dominant paradigm.”
“Well the dominant paradigm is telling you to get your fucking ass into bed and sleep it off!” yes, I couldn’t think of a better witty comeback. I was fairly furious at this point.
Cursing, he climbs onto my bed and, after muttering about fascism and stuff a bit more, falls asleep, snoring loudly. I go downstairs to sleep on the couch. Sometime in the early morning, LB finds the keys I left for him and leaves. I go back up into my bed, since I’m sleeping on the small 2-person couch because Tanya is sick and crashing on the big couch. I notice that the pillow is upside down– it’s the pillowcase I decorated myself of a menorah, and it’s menorah-side-down.
That’s what it looked like after I finished it (it came with crayons)– The punchline to the night is… it no longer looks like that because when I turned it over I discovered that it was covered with used burrito. Yes, LB had turned the pillow over rather than clean it up. W.T.F.!?!?!?
I wish I could say
That’s when I reached for my revolver.