Saturday, January 20, 2007

Great Moments In Radio, Volume II

This story comes via the engineer I worked with at our little station in Blue Springs.  He was previously a DJ in the late ‘60s at KUDL-FM in Kansas City when that station changed music formats with alarming frequency, and during one such switcheroo, the station went from middle-of-the-road Geritol-generation Perry Como/Dinah Shore/Bing Crosby music to Rock & Roll.  One evening, he gets a call from this old lady bitching about the music, "This is terrible! What on earth is that?" "It’s Jimi Hendrix, ma’am," he replied.  "Well that’s awful—you shouldn’t play that kind of music on the radio, blah blah blah."  Well, this old hag would call him every night bitching about the music, until finally he could no longer take it, and one night he went off on her and said, "Oh, go fuck yourself, lady!"  Next day, he went to the station manager and told him what happened just to cover his ass, and the manager said, "Yeah, she’s been calling me too—don’t worry about it."  Sure enough, the old hag calls the manager that day, and says, "Your disc jockey last night was very rude and used profanity, blah blah blah."  The station manager replied, "Did he tell you to go fuck yourself?"  "Yes, he surely did!" she said, to which he replied, "Well, DO IT!"

So long, Mr. Harbor Master

Was very saddened to learn today of the death of former Mamas & Papas singer Denny Doherty at age 66 from kidney failure.  John Phillips always seems to get the lion's share of the credit for that group's success, but Doherty was the unsung hero here.  He was a very underrated vocalist--it was his voice you heard most prominently on all their hits harmonizing with Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips, while John Phillips sang mostly backing vocals.

I refer to Denny as the "Harbor Master" because that's the character he played on this quirky little PBS kids program called "Theodore Tugboat".  When I was working evenings back in the late '90s, I often caught the show in the mornings while doing housework and such, and found it to be a total hoot.  Doherty voiced all the characters on this live action animated show featuring these little boats that talked and tooled around this miniature city.  It was rather inventive, and got its point across to kids without losing its cool and/or being so condescending to kids like that "Barney" and "Teletubbies" drivel.

R.I.P., Denny, you done good...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

World's Dumbest Song Lyrics of All-Time, Vol. II

Again, in no particular order

"Play Me"—NEIL DIAMOND (1972) "Songs she sang to me/Songs she brang to me."  Brang?!?!? A in’t no such word as "brang"!  Unfortunately, neither the words "brought" or "provided" rhymed with "sang", so Brother Neil just made up a word…

"Just Like Paradise"—DAVID LEE ROTH (1988) "Susie’s woozy."  Diamond Dave will never be renowned for his brilliant lyricism.  Too bad, in this particular case, because he spoiled a really good song simply for a cheap and easy rhyme.

"Gimme Some Slack"—THE CARS (1980) "I wanna shake like LaGuardia…"  Huh?  Are we referring to LaGuardia, the man or La Guardia, the airport here?  Either way, it’s too abstract for my feeble brain to deal with.  Ric Ocasek’s lyrics always were pretty strange.  In the words of the late Keith Moon: "Arty-farty, he is!"

"The Look"—ROXETTE (1988) "Kissing is the wet sand…her loving is a wild dog"  They should have renamed this song "Things That Make You Go ‘Huh?’"  "What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?"  Well, cutting off her air supply is one way…

"Blinded By The Light"—BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (1973)/MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND (1976)  What the hell was Bruce smoking when he wrote this song?  Someone find out because I want some.  I could probably write a whole book about this song, but I don't have the time at the moment. I  always misunderstood the line "Wrapped up like a deuce" to be "Wrapped up like a douche"!

"My Love, My Life"—ABBA (1977) "I know I don’t possess you/So, go away, God bless you."  Well ain’t that a fine how do ya do?  Go away, and God bless you at the same time?!? I'm confused…

"Bad Medicine"—BON JOVI (1986) "Your love is like bad medicine/Bad medicine is what I need."  Thanks, Big Jon!  Your words are like dumb lyrics, and dumb lyrics are what I need…

"Aqualung"—JETHRO TULL (1971) "…as he bends to pick a dog end."  What the fuck’s a dog end?  And why on earth would you want to pick one?

"Take Me To The Pilot"—ELTON JOHN (1970) "If you feel that it’s real, I’m on trial/And I’m held here in your prison…Through a glass eye, your throne is the one danger zone/Take me to the pilot for control/Take me to the pilot of your soul."  Another classic case of lyrics that sound really cool when you sing them, but don’t make a lick of sense!

"MacArthur Park"—RICHARD HARRIS (1968)/DONNA SUMMER (1978) Let me get this straight—there’s this cake named after a dead General and a park and someone left it outside in the rain causing it to melt and on top of all that, the dumbass that baked it lost the damn recipe?  And this was considered topical enough to write a song about?  Okey-fine…

"Love The One You're With"--STEPHEN STILLS (1970) "She's a girl, and you're a boy..." Gee thanks for clearing that up, Steve!  As Archie Bunker once said to Edith, "Well, now that we know what we are, can we GET ON with it?!?"

"A Horse With No Name"--AMERICA (1972) "The heat was hot, and the ground was dry..." Direct from the Department of Redundancy Department.  I do hope the water was wet too

"Show Me The Way"--PETER FRAMPTON (1973) "Someone drops a cup, and I submerge." This song is chuck-full of oddball lyrics like this one, yet somehow, it was a huge hit when the live version came out in '76.  Anyone have a clue here?  I don't

This and that...

Is there anyone else who’s as tired as I am of hearing about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt?  Does anyone really give a damn that they’ve adopted some poor Guatemalan child (or whatever God-forsaken country their kid’s from)?  These two are nothing but publicity whores to begin with, and I’m sorry folks, neither of them are worth it!  Jolie, in particular, is insanely overrated (both in terms of beauty and acting ability), and Pitt’s an idiot for dumping Jennifer Aniston (who’s 100 times prettier) in favor of this airhead.  Today’s headline sez they’re moving to New Orleans so they can operate their opportunistic "save the world from itself one-child-at-a-time" crusade from there.  Whatever, kids…

Can someone explain to me why all of a sudden this Barack Obama guy is considered a potential candidate for President in ’08?  Don’t get me wrong—I am certainly ALL FOR some fresh faces and new ideas in Washington, but why is this guy suddenly everyone's sexy choice to be Prez?  I realize the Democraps are desperate for someone—ANYONE—to trot out there and lead them, but this guy with the terrible initials has only been in Congress a short while, so what’s so special about him?  Surely, it’s not just on the strength of the big speech he gave at the Dem. Convention in ’04 alone, is it?  The fact that he’s black doesn’t bother me at all (hell, I’ll take a PLAID President at this point, if he’s worth a damn!), but I just don’t get how someone can just suddenly come along out of nowhere and get everyone’s tongues wagging over him when he hasn’t really done anything.

Ringo Starr--"Oh My My" (1974): "It’s guaranteed to keep you alive…"  When I first heard this song at age 9 on the ol’ AM radio, I thought he was singing, "This parakeet should keep you alive…"!

It’s rare that I would even have an opinion on professional golf, but why is it every other weekend I tune into ESPN and hear about Michelle Wie not making the cut in some men’s tournament?  Seems to me she isn’t even good enough to beat other women right now.  Can you say "overmatched"?

I can’t believe no one’s used that headline yet!  The soccer world in America is all in a whirl over the L.A. Galaxy’s signing of David Beckham for 250 million semolians just to kick a ball around for Major League Soccer.  Yes, I know he’s world-renowned and a great player and married to Skanky Spice and all, but this whole thing smacks of desperation on the part of a struggling league hard up to sell tickets—the guy ain’t THAT good!  It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they go after that French head-butt butt-head Zinedine Zidane too.  The old North American Soocer League prostituted itself around and snagged over-the-hill South American and European stars like Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia, et al, to play for them in the late ‘70s, and while it yielded great initial results at the turnstiles, they paid through the nose for it in the long run and the league went bankrupt by the mid ‘80s.  I predict the same thing happening in MLS, and as for Beckham, I think he’s more style-over-substance than anything else—he’ll fill the seats for a year or two, not to mention provide plenty of tabloid fodder, but eventually people will get bored with and cease giving a hoot about him (and Skanky Spice) anymore.

Speaking of British guys, I love this story about the TV show "The Nanny".  Seems that several viewers complained during the course of the show’s run that actor Charles Shaughnessy, who played tight-ass Mr. Sheffield, didn’t sound "British" enough, even though he’s from merry ol' England.  Many often asked why he couldn’t sound more like the guy who played Niles the Butler (Daniel Davis).  What cracks me up about all this is that Mr. Davis hails from Arkansas, yet was able to pull off a British accent better than the British guy!

Q: What's the difference between the Lawrence Welk Orchestra and a moose?
A: For one thing, a moose has its horns in the front and its asshole in the rear...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The continued pussification of America...

It's late here, but I have to rant after noting that they're closing the schools AGAIN tomorrow around most of the city here, in spite of the fact that there ain't a damn thing wrong with the roads!  Okay, it was like 0°F this morning, thus why they closed the schools today, even though most of the roads were clear and passable, yet it took me ten minutes less to get home from work today than it normally does.  Meantime, tomorrow morning's forecast isn't quite as cold, and the high is supposed to be ABOVE freezing tomorrow, yet many of the area's school districts are closing anyway! In the words of Col. Potter on "M*A*S*H", "Mule fritters!"

At the risk of this sounding like sour grapes, it took a fucking act of Congress to get them to close the schools 30 years ago when I was a student!  As much as I used to love pining to hear "Raytown Consolidated School District #2" mentioned on the radio at 4AM on the official school closing list when I was 13, I now find it rather repugnant that they seemingly close the freakin' schools nowadays every time a dark cloud hovers overhead.  And I certainly don't remember them EVER closing the schools because it was too cold out—WE were expected to suck it up and freeze to death at the bus stop.  Sadly, the school districts are now so paranoid about potential lawsuits in the event a bus full of kids goes off in a ditch in the snow, etc., they evidently have no choice but to close the schools at the drop of a hat.

Hell, in early 1977, the Raytown school district dilly-dallied during a freezing-rain event (as they call them on the Weather Channel now) and waited until the last minute to call off school.  My Dad and I were totally unaware of this fact, thus he drove me to school that day, and I waited and waited for the janitor to unlock the door to let me in.  When he finally did, he informed me that school had been called off for the day.  Thus, I wound up walking—er uh, sliding—the 1.5 miles back home, falling on my ass twice in the process.  It was more than a tad ironical (pun intended) that the big hit song on the charts that week was Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away"...

Fallen Idols

My apologies for the length of this post, but please indulge me a bit here, if you will...

"It’s not the pain that hurts—what hurts is finding out that one of your idols is a real asshole!"

Those are the words of a cocktail waitress at the famed Troubadour nightclub in L.A. who was accidentally punched by an out-of-control and drunk-off-his-ass John Lennon in 1974 at a Smothers Brothers show, during one of Lennon’s infamous lost weekends while separated from Yoko Ono.  Although I’ve never been assaulted by one of my idols, I can relate to that quote in terms of watching those who I once worshipped go over to the Dark Side, so to speak.  I guess it’s a sign of my own personal growth that I’m able to sort through the B.S. and see them for who they really are now, but it still sucks to realize they aren’t (or never quite were) the person I idolized when I was young.

The poster child for this phenomenon is Ted Nugent.  When I was 14, I wanted to BE Ted Nugent.  His music was loud and testosterony—perfectly suited for adolescents like me.  I Ioved his attitude in concert:  "Anybody wants to get mellow, you can turn around and get the fuck outta here!"  I still love his music today (and always will), but I’ve grown really weary of all the right-wing psuedo-patriot histrionics he spews forth now via TV interviews, as well as his own radio show and lame reality TV show.  Nugent has always had a big mouth, to be sure, but back in 1978, his cockiness and bravado were funny and rather endearing.  Now it’s all just pure arrogant macho bullshit in my eyes.

My current distaste for Nugent began in the late ‘90s when he started portraying himself as "Mr. Conservative Family Values Man"—riiiight.  This coming from a guy who played on-stage wearing nothing but a loin cloth, not to mention a guy who has had more paternity suits slapped on him than Hugh Grant.  Conservative, my ass!  Then he started kissing up to the Republican Party, campaigning for Dubya under the guise of being a "patriotic American", when I know damn well it was all just to ensure he and his NRA buddies could keep their precious guns.

My my, what raging paranoia these NRA-types have, by the way!  Just for the record, my official stance on guns is if you just have to have them, fine, whatever, but they are way too easy to obtain in this country (witness Columbine, et al) and there need to be stricter gun laws to keep them out of the wrong hands.  Oh yeah, one more thing:  don't bash me just because I choose NOT to own a gunthis means YOU, Ted!  I'm the last person you want owning a gun anywayif I did, every barking dog within 200 yards of my house would be dead.  But, I digress...

Long about that same time, Nugent got on this bigoted "Get out of America if you can’t speak English" kick during his concerts, which had absolutely nothing to do with the performances thereof, and I was really turned-off by it.  When I attend a concert, I’m there to be entertained, not to be fed a bunch of radical right-wing political folderol and/or racism, and Ted crosses the line time and time again.  I also find it highly hypocritical on his part to malign Hispanic people when his own bass player's last name is Mendoza, yet he constantly refers to him as a "blood brother"!  Nuge has also been known to spout off about gays, liberals and anyone else who isn’t "just like him" and while Ted’s entitled to his opinions, I personally think he’s talking out of his ass most of the time now.  The real shame about it is he can still play guitar with the best of them, but he doesn’t seem to care that much about his musical career anymore.  There was a time when I’d have walked the proverbial "mile for a Camel" to see Nugent in concert—now I wouldn’t even walk to the end of my back yard to see him play because he’s become such an insufferable jackoff.  Hey Ted, why don't you take the late Frank Zappa's advice: "Shut up and play yer guitar!"

As much as I love Kiss, Gene Simmons is another of the idols of my youth who’s become a major disappointment to me in recent years.  While not nearly as offensive as Nugent, this once-great Rock & Roll warrior whom I idolized when I was 12 has revealed himself to be a total money-grubber and egomaniac, all the while pissing all over his own band’s legacy.  True, the whole merchandising thing was part of the Kiss arsenal 30 years ago, but it seemed innocent enough then.  Now, it’s become a joke to watch Simmons (and Paul Stanley, to a much lesser extent) look for every possible way to milk a buck off the band’s name to the point where you can now buy everything from Kiss tampons to your very own Kiss casket ("Death, I hear you calling…").  Sebastian Bach of Skid Row accurately pointed out recently that the ultimate piece of merchandise for the average Kiss fan right now would be a new Kiss album, but Gene doesn’t seem interested in providing the fans with one of those anytime soon.

Meanwhile (with all due respect to Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer—both fine musicians, indeed), the band itself now looks more like a Kiss tribute band than the real thing.  Five years ago, it would have been unfathomable that I would miss a Kiss concert in Kansas City, but they’ve been through here twice since then and I passed both times—it’s just not the same without Ace and Peter, and it’s mostly because of Simmons that they are no longer in the band.  Gene’s insatiable ego also manifests itself in other ways, like his lame reality show "Family Jewels", not to mention his arrogant claim to have had sex with 3,000 women (or whatever his current figure is).  Give me a break already—if he’d tried to fuck that many women, he’d be dead by now!

A couple years back, I nearly lost all respect for Simmons when he showed up on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" to obstensibly play the game, when he was really there just to hawk his latest tell-all/Ace-and-Peter-bashing book, and the fucker didn't even know what a pachyderm was!  Then I wanted to hurl when I found out the fire-breathing, blood-spitting demon I once idolized was also hawking his book on "The View" (witness this photo) with Baba Wawa and Co.  See also my beer commercial rant on him a few posts back.  Gene still talks a good game about how the fans are #1 and that he still cares about the music and all, but I'm not buying it anymore.  I'd rather watch the old videos of then it was real...

Ted and Gene are just two examples, with another being Eddie Van Halen (whom I previously discussed a couple posts back), and I'd even include Danny Bonaduce in that league (although I never really idolized him all that much).  I guess it's a testament to my own maturity that I'm not all starry-eyed and blindly worshipping these guys anymore.  Still, I can't help but feel betrayed sometimes...

Great Moments In Radio--Volume I

My radio career might’ve been brief, but it yielded more than a fair amount of funny stories, which I’ll share from time to time here.

Back in 1987 at the "Mighty 1030" in Blue Springs, MO, I stumbled across an album in the files one day by Huey "Piano" Smith, who did the original version of "Rockin’ Pnuemonia-Boogie Woogie Flu", which Johnny Rivers later successfully covered in 1972.  On the back of the album jacket, someone scrawled a huge note next to that particular track title that read, "DO NOT PLAY—IT SKIPS IN THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE!!!"  So, just for shits and grins, I put the record on the turntable (off the air, of course) and sure enough, midway through the line, "I wanna squeeze her, but I’m way too low…" it skipped.  Imagine the horror the poor unsuspecting DJ had to deal with: "I wanna squeeze her but [CLICK]/I wanna squeeze her but [CLICK]/I wanna squeeze her but [CLICK]…"

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather once told a similar story about when he worked in radio back in the '50s and was playing this religious program that was on a vinyl record.  The record got stuck on the last three words of the preacher's sermon where he said something like, "If you fail to do so, you will go to hell," whilst Dan was outside smoking a cigarette or something.  Thus, the radio audience was treated to a good five minutes-worth of "Go to hell!"  Fumble!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I'm so damn thankful...

...I don't have to wake up next to either of these creatures on a regular basis! In the words of Fred Sanford: "I'd rather kiss Mighty Joe Young's armpit!" Fuck that--even kissing Meat Loaf's armpit would be a step in the right direction!