Arms Aloft (Where To Now?)

You see, Sherman done moved on up.

sherman-hemsleyBut there’s no need to worry about that any longer.

And I think maybe Weezie had done so before him, but I can’t be certain. And that’s not the point at any rate, now is it? No, the point is that Sherman done kicked it in the 21st century, and when he left, he took a piece of my childhood with him. Now to be sure, it was a piece I gave freely, but still, a piece forever gone as a result of his departure.

Seeing as I had mentioned last time that I had pretty much “checked out” musically by the end of the 90’s, in lieu of immediately addressing new acts for the new century, I thought I would take a moment to breathe. Instead, devoting Part One to the those individuals who I entrusted a piece of my youth with, and who then took it with them as they rushed up unannounced to Saint Peter’s gate.

As far as a “mix” goes, this will most likely be shaky at best, but as far as a confession of unadulterated devotion and love goes, this is about as close as I’ll ever get, Again, musically speaking that is…

Joe. I still miss you. I never met you, but still I miss you. Honest to God! You really did help to make me the man (?) I am today, and you showed me that it’s not about “them,” or their actions – it’s about Me. It’s about Me, and what I do with that knowledge that counts…

Alan Meyers, you and the other Spud Boys taught me that it was OK to be “less” and still achieve more. You taught me that even plugs without sockets, still get theirs from time to time. Human Metronome, bang on my brother…

Adam. Dear peaceful Adam – I’ve been told all too often (most usually by a certain someone I used to know) that I was far “too white” to ever truly grasp the genius of rap. Thank you for opening that door to me, all while playing a mean-ass bass, to boot…

Back to post-punk in a second, but I do have to take a moment to say goodbye to Dave. God bless Dave.

Say what you will. Pontificate on any number of given topics, but you must admit, without Jazz, you have no rock and roll. Without jazz, you have no punk. Without jazz, you have no Two Tone. Without jazz, there is no black people playing with white people in harmony. There is no Jew playing with Christian. There is no musician simply looking at another while saying, “Let’s jam, man.” Without jazz, you don’t have modern music. And – in my humble opinion – without Mr. Brubeck, well man, you just don’t has jazz…

OK, so that was that, and this is this. I end Part One of the 00’s with Joey. Because of all the musical family members lost in the 21st century, his was to me the first. And as such, it hurt the worst. His death forever stole from me the idea I had long-held that there could somehow ever be pieces of my youth that would never die, nestled as they were gently in the arms of my Rock Gods.

A lot more would eventually die for me in the 21st century, and a lot more most likely will. But it was these musical nuggets of my past – my serenity while growing up, really – that have eventually proven the hardest to truly say good-bye to.

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mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300Jen’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday is Phat with a “P. H.” (I’m in the right decade for that, correct?) and I really wish you would play along to show me your musical memories. Next week we conclude the 00’s to date, and I’ll try to show that I at least have somewhat of a grip on the current goings on…

The Final Scene

When first tasked with writing about the musical 90’s, I was a little depressed to realize that I could no longer speak of The Clash. And then I remembered, I began the 90’s in Okinawa. And in Okinawa was where I first heard this:

The Blue Hearts were termed by many as “the Japanese Clash,”and while they’ll have no further say in this post, I just couldn’t leave the 90’s – or Okinawa – without a shout out to them.

As we discovered last week, not all were part of the club kid scene of the decade. But there were others to choose from, and it could be safely said that there wasn’t one singular breathing person on the planet’s face – sans a certain Richard and Judy Stover – who did not at least dip a toe into a little known scene coming out of the Seattle…

Now did I just use the same band there twice? I believe I did. But in all honesty, I never felt as if the Mother Love Bone end of their existence received its proper due. So there.

Of course, if that scene didn’t tickle your musical funny bone (or if you simply preferred over-sized rain gear and floppy hats, to flannel and torn jeans), you only needed to look to Manchester, England to find a slightly more refined sound…

The “Madchester scene” as it came to be known, opened the door just enough to allow for yet another British invasion of sorts. An invasion that. also never really received its proper due…

Of course, telling people in the U.S. to kill their television is akin to going to India and asking for a cheeseburger. So while all this madness was being thrown at us from without, we were busy at work creating a bit of it from within as well. In addition to grunge, the indie scene kicked it up a notch in the 90’s, with the aid of some pixies and a chick named Jane…

“So t, did you actually get into all these scenes?” You bet your sweet parachute pant-wearing booty I did! And then some!  But as the 90’s drew to a close, I was back in the states, and I was busy making babies. Babies that would quickly eat up my time, my attention, my love, and – sure as hell – any budget I had previously had in place for new music. As such, I had just one last scene to attend to, before the decade drew to a close.

It was a scene that incorrectly gave the credit to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It was scene that would throw its creator, Fishbone, firmly under history’s bus one last time. It was a scene that would eventually die under No Doubt’s steadfast removal of any semblance to what made it fun in the first place. And it was a scene that would give birth to the SKAturday’s I still occasionally make my babies suffer through till today. It was a scene that followed two others like it, (Jamaican and Two Tone), and it was as a result called simply “3rd Wave…”

It would prove to be my final scene, but no worries. It was a good place to hang up my hat of music snobbery, especially when considering what the next decade would eventually bring – or more succinctly – take away from us.

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Another Tuesday over at Jen’s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday, and yes, I did take full advantage of the “two for Tuesday” clause buried deep within the contract. So this week saw a total of (5) scenes, (2) songs per. Plus a helping of Blue Hearts to help make the whole thing go down real smooth-like. Next week we walk into the 00’s, so you’ll be able to see my knowledge of the topic drop to levels lower than the IQ of the average Kei$ha fan… See you then!

Justified & Ancient – a 90’s Dance Party

I think that if we’re honest with each other, we can all admit that the 90’s really came down to just (2) little words:

Mu, Mu.

This decade saw a one-time club kid (solely in an effort to increase his already robust instances of getting laid – look – I had an issue, OK?), step off the dance floor to take up residence behind “the booth,” replete with my oversized headphones wrapped loosely around my neck, and my mini flashlight clamped firmly between my teeth.

I went by “DJ Mimizu” (Japanese for “worm,” as all the girls said I danced like one) and much like The KLF, along with my partner DJ Kero Kero Keroppi, I tried desperately every night to kick out the jams, sometimes even asking Tammy Wynette to help…

Of course, when your main focus was to get the kids dancing and grinding (sweat + prospect of sex = increased booze sales), you sometimes had to step back half a decade or so, and slap something onto the turn table that would make them feel “Divine…”

In general, the songs were chosen for the girls. Because every good DJ knew that wherever the girls went, the boys would follow. That being said, hip hop was beginning to invade even the most alternative of scenes, and this sort of music seemed to have both sexes jumping from their seats, hitting the floor in unison…

As the lines continued to blur, it became harder for DJ’s (both the good and the not-so) to discern which scene a particular act was “romancing” with their sound, and this confusion would help to bring about an almost delicious musical crossover…

The blend was upon us, the confusion as to where the musical lines now lay were driving some of us to distraction, as scenes merged and begat wholly new scenes as a result. In short, the world was as it always was, and as it always would be – forever changing and new.

And then this happened…

Good DJ’s everywhere realized that James Brown was dead, and that the game had just changed. Possibly forever, and regardless of whether or not they happened to be getting laid robustly at the time…

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Yes, we’re up to the 90’s already over at Jen’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and while I thought I was going to struggle through this decade, by closing my eyes and clenching down once again upon an imaginary flashlight, the above track list came flooding back to mind. Next week we’ll get a little edgier, and discuss why some roses are stone, why the best jelly comes from pearls, and how it is that pixies can sing without moving their mouths. Until then kids, remember…

The 8 t’s (well, 5 of them, at least)

“This is a public service announcement… With guitar!”

We blatantly ripped that intro straight from Joe Strummer’s pre-recorded lips, and following it would be the commercial for Club Harvey’s New Wave Night with DJ Jane Doe. It was the first commercial voice-over work I would ever do, and to my knowledge, the last as well.

Yes, I was one of the kids who was “in,” back then, despite a whole wealth of problems coming into bloom just under the surface. How “in” was I, you ask? Well let’s just say, of the battle between Chess King and Merry Go Round… I bolo-tie shopped at them BOTH.

I guess what I’m trying to say as succinctly as possible (so we can get to the music already!) is that, outside of becoming a parent, the eighties proved to be just about the most important event in my life, as far as  my trail of self-discovery goes. The decade saw quite a few different facets of me – far too many to be round-up in just (5) little tunes.

Brief Aside: So here’s what I’d like to do for just this week (promise!). Each song will represent a different facet, and then directly beneath (or on top, or somewhere in between) will be a link to find the (5) songs proper chosen for each of these facets. Please, after you’ve read the other writers submissions, feel free to listen to as many or as few as you’d like – I promise they’re all Golden! Even IF I’m not even scratching the surface here…

OK, back on task. So where were we? Oh yes, me – multi-faceted. Blah, blah, blah. Here’s where we get to the tunes. To keep things simple (and believe you me, not a damned thing is ever simple with me), we’ll keep the 8 t’s down to 5 – Mopey t, Happy t, Angry t., Club Kid t and the “definitive 8 t’s” t.

Ready to go? Wicked!

OK, first thing’s first, with the Mopey t (of course)…

Followed quickly (and I mean that – I was damned near maniacal back then) by Happy t!

Followed just as quickly (see special “maniacal” note above) by a t that was really Angry

Of course, all those emotions bomping about inside all the time, gave me the craziest urge to hit the dance floor. I mean, I was a Club Kid t after all.

And before we (presumably) move on to the 90’s, let me give my version of the songs you MUST know in order to be a true eighties aficionado, The Definitive 8 t’s, if you will…

•••

So there we have it. Or, at least just one small tiny piece of it. And look at that, we made it all the way through without any Yanni or Kenny G references…

Care to take us out of here Joe? I mean, it wouldn’t have been a proper decade – or a Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday for that matter- without you.

Hell Bent For The 80’s

In the final analysis, the 80’s were to see (2) distinctly different me’s (neither of which got laid, until damned near decade’s end) which is odd, considering that 2013 finds me in very much the same utterless boat.

But during the 80’s, 2013 was too far off, and much more about flying spaceships (and getting laid as a result) than anything else. So seeing as I had my tape recorder, and Snortin’ Norton with his “Mu-Mu-Mu-Metal Shopppp…!” Metal Shop broadcasting at midnights to help me along, we’ll just stick to what I knew back then, OK?

As has so often occurred, the decade began with me trying to “find my way.” And seeing as Liberace was considered far too “old folk” at the time, my way went a little something like this:

Now to be sure, “Hell Bent For Leather” was and is, my Priest jam of choice, but this comes in at a CLOSE second, AND unlike the former, it was 80’s as hell. So there.

Here was another “80’s as hell” ticket, on the metal front:

Now if I could, Dio would be my personal Metal Drag Momma, similar to Marian and k~ being my Blog Drag Momma’s (that’s right ladies, you’d be drag momma’s along with Ronnie James – pretty awesome, right?) But – with their perfect blend of speed, weight and nihilism – it would eventually be these boys, who were the ones to trip my metal ragings into full speed:

Which of course leads us to Maiden, as I can’t hear that last track without immediately thinking of possibly The BEST metal tune of all time. Yes, I mean that. Listen, and you’ll agree:

“Hey t, that places us at (4), when (5) is required. Are you gonna share (1) more?”

Two, in fact.

What? Everyone else does…

For #5, I will go to a cover – yet another in a long line of covers that bested the original by ten fold. Made by some poor kids hoping for a chance they never truly got, this lil dittie would go on to best the original, to the point where many would forget that there ever was one in the first – here’s the boys from Quiet Riot, doing it right:

Yes, from here I could also go on to regale you with tunes from acts such as Twisted Sister, Def Leppard, and any number of other metal and/or hair bands. But even in their midst, already a new troy was emerging, and the segway between the Metal me and the Next me, was coaxed (rather accidentally) along by strange new sounds like the following…

The 80’s.

I didn’t get laid until damned near the decades end.

But who cares?

Coming in Pt 2 – the shit that would eventually make me what I am. Or what I was. Or what I might someday be… Or whatever

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I hope you liked my entry for this week’s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday. Please drop in and play along, because honestly, I could spend about a month’s worth of posts on the music of this decade; so your assistance in exploring the musical landscape of the time (sans any mention of Kenny G or Yanni of course) is appreciated!