What Could Have Been…

Was the title of the mix listened to on my most recent solitary sojourn.

You see, somewhere along the “for me” series creation cycle, I had discovered something. I discovered that I seemed to always have a theme for each mix. This then led me to discover a second something. I discovered that I had a whole grab bag’s worth of earworm gems that I wanted to share. But a great number of them were of the type that I would ever never ever be able to create an entire mix for. So I created an alternate mix. A mix about all the themes I would never ever never be able to mix.

What? It made sense at the time.

As a result, this mix is most likely the one that would have the smallest number of fans. And if the disc were to be viewed as a city, it would be one in which you firmly rolled up the windows until such time as you had escaped its outermost limits. You see, in this “ville,” Matisyhu lives side-by-side with Devo (both representative of the “cover songs that were better than the originals” mix, that was never to be produced). Both Greg Kihn and The Kinks share space with the likes of The Sisters Of Mercy and Mission Of Burma. That’s right, I did say Greg Kihn just now. I told ya, this one gets scary.

OK, t, so what’s the deal with this mix then? Did it make you all weepy, teach you some grand lesson, or bring some sort of spiritual elephant into to full view? Well, no, no, and no. And I’m not including an easy-to-read track list this time either (but for those of you dying to know, the Mission Of Burma song was “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver”). No, very much like the Gay-ties mix, this one really only served to provide me with a nice soundtrack, on an easy yet overly sweaty, evening solitary stroll. A soundtrack that is as weird as it was soothing.

You see we start the mix with Fred Rogers, singing his beloved theme song. Asking the question that I still – after all these years – wish I could answer in the affirmative. Yes Fred, yes! Yes I will be glad to be your neighbor Fred! Even if I’m far too big to fit on the trolley to the neighborhood of Make-Believe, I would be honored to be your neighbor! From there we jump right into “Tenderness” by General Public. Seems right, right? Happy meets happy. Nice. This is followed up by The Housemartins smelling winter, and then it dips pretty dramatically. For you see, it’s immediately after the stink of winter being acknowledged, that Mission Of Burma goes reaching for their revolver, followed by The London Suede prattling off about Animal Nitrate.┬áNow, if you know the London Suede, you know that following them, the mix can go anywhere but up. Definitely not up. So that is of course right when Mr. Kihn makes his appearance.

Now don’t worry, I won’t verbally bully you through the entire track list in this fashion. I just wanted you to hopefully get an idea as to this mix’s schizophrenia. It’s unwillingness to stick to one thing for any length of time.

I suppose if I had to declare a life lesson to this particular mix – for those of you who wish that this post would hurry up and result in one already – it would be this: on the whole, when you look at it, you wouldn’t think that you were looking at much. Again, I can’t imagine that there’d be too many fans of this mix, based solely on the diverse amount of artists and styles represented. To my knowledge, even K-Tel never pulled a stunt like this. I mean, beside myself, who else here enjoys both The Scorpions and The Timelords? (Go ahead, click on the link – you’ll be forever glad you did!) Who else could get down to both “Yakety Sax” (yes, the Benny Hill theme song) and “Native Love” (yes, the song by Divine)? As a totality, it’s one big hot mess. See? A lot like life sometimes. That being said, when you look at the pieces of the whole, each individual song, you can see that you’re holding in your hands something that’s pretty damned awesome. You can hear that you’ve got within this mix, joy and anger, love and hate, tears and laughter. You’ve got life. Not as a package deal, but in each and every track. It’s beauty can’t necessarily be seen when looking at it as a whole, but rather, only when looking at each element individually. Only when focusing on each moment. So, if you put a gun to my head demanding the life lesson, my immediate response might be “now why’d you go and do that???” But my stating that I could see the connection between the mix and life in this fashion, would quickly follow that. It’s the moments that count, not the overall package. It’s the quality of the time you have, versus the length, that’s the thing.

My life, much like this mix, is a grab bag of moments. A cornucopia of memories and events, of all different makes and types. If I look at them as a whole, I could be tempted to say that there was more bad than good – especially considering I was proof-reading this while being stuck in an airport for twelve hours, for a flight was eventually cancelled any way. If I look at them as a whole, I might even be tempted to say that it’s simply a jumbled up mess of things (ideas, stuff, songs, whatever) that is somewhat of a wreck – however – when looked at individually, each is quite beautiful unto itself. Unique even. Good.

My life is good. That’s the moral for this story kids. It’s up, down, all over the place and sometimes even requires a bit of Greg Kihn, but overall it is good. The “What Could Have Been…” mix didn’t teach me that, but it does represent the idea nicely.

So, what track from the mix will we end this post with? I was sorely tempted to make use of Pat Boone’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” (representative of the “cover songs that should have NEVER been made” mix that was never to be produced), and I was also toying with using the “Wonder Woman” theme song as well (season two, of course). But as I’m assuming most of you have heard the second, and none of you would enjoy the first, I’m instead ending this with the one track that can simply NOT be played without me and the two younger of my three children performing an impromptu air-band rock concert.

A song by The New York Dolls of course, which immediately follows Pink’s “U & Ur Hand,” and is the second to last track on the mix (here’s the last). And, much like it can be with our jumbled up mess of a life, I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, who am I kidding?

I can’t leave like this. Sorry Pink. Here, here’s “U & Ur Hand” to boot…

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Stranded in the jungle with an all night party

Johansen felt slighted. I know he did. He told me so.

Figuratively speaking of course.

He told me “yo t! You mean to tell me that you own all my shit from my New York Dolls days, AND you actually own BOTH Buster Poindexter discs from the eighties (had no idea about the other shit that I released in the early nineties, did ya?), and all I get is a mere nod and a ‘shut up! David Johansen was so too punk!’? Really? You mean to say that even tho’ two outta your three kids have spent hours with you, having dance parties around all my way cool remakes of old fifties shit like ‘Showdown’, ‘Bad Detective’ and ‘Stranded In The Jungle’, that’s the best you can give me? Just a ‘shut up! David Johansen was so too punk!’???? Hell, even Allmusic.com said that me n’ the boys helped to ‘create punk rock before there was a term for it.’ Never mind the fact that Morrissey is a huge fan. We’re talkin’ MORRISSEY here. And if that weren’t good enough, don’t you and C spend every damned Christmas, at least once running through the whole ‘Frankie angel’ schpeel I did in ‘Scrooged!’? Damn man, give me my due!”

OK David, here’s your due.

I loved the Dolls since the first time I heard them. “And when I say ‘love’, I mean LOVE, L.U.V.” But then after a while, I started to hate them. Well, not so much “hate” really. I just lost interest is all. However, this was only to be followed by my loving them again once more, and later on. The process then repeated itself. Several times. In fact, they are one of the few bands who has seen me hand over cash multiple times in exchange for their discs (I have a bad habit of, once I no longer like an act, donating their stuff to either a library or a Salvation Army. Slowly spreading the disease, one listener at a time). This latest round of purchases I’m keeping though. For one, it’s a damned expensive habit to indulge in, and for another, it’s becoming harder and harder to actually find their stuff on the shelves. This is true for even their last album, put out not too long ago by the new New York Dolls (I won’t post it here, but I highly recommend you seek out and give “Gotta Get Away From Tommy” a listen – a jolly romp, and one that the two outta the three particularly love to dance to).

And Buster Poindexter? He’s even harder to find. In fact, I found his second disc in a used bin at a local record shop. Truth be told, I believe I found his first album in a similar location. In fact, should you be interested in picking up some Poindexter, you may want to just start there. I’m not sure why this particular incarnation never really took off (especially given the never ending and inexplicable fame of “Hot, Hot, Hot” – another song I will NOT be including in this post), but I suppose that doesn’t really matter in the end. Johansen doesn’t seem the type to stick with any one thing for too long. And again, back to Allmusic.com, I was pleased to find there that it was this character of his that caught the eye of the “Scrooged” casting folks. The Ghost of Christmas Past wouldn’t have been worth the price of admission had not Johansen plunked on it’s elfin ears. Just try imagining anyone else yelping “it’s a BONE, you lucky dog!” with even half of the streetwise charm he muscled into the character.

Go ahead, try. I’ll wait.

Yes, I am also aware that he was in “Freejack.”

But so was Mick Jagger.

And Emilio Estevez.

Yep, Anthony Hopkins too.

Look, I suppose what I’m saying here is that everyone is capable of making mistakes. OK?

So there David. There’s your due. On a Friday no less, and in well under my usual one thousand plus words. I hope you’re happy, and I hope you’ll enjoy the two songs I eventually chose to end this with. Turns out, you’re almost as hard to find on Youtube as you are in the record shops. But I still love ya man…