MUSICAL PURSUIT #44 trivia quiz

Good times at the now annual quiz. Thanks to Debi Marks for donating enough Sony CD Walkmen and Poison prize packs to make me feel like Oprah!  See you next year.

MP page oneMP page two

MP page three

SECTION TWO: GREATEST OPENING RAP LINES (10 points)

Name the RAPPER (not the crew) that spit these rhymes as counted down by Complex.com They’re listed here in order from #10 to #1.

  1. “I wanna rock right now/I’m *********** and I came to get down.”  
  1. “Don’t call it a come back/I’ve been here for years.”  
  1. “Thinkin’ of a master plan, ’cause ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand.” –
  1. “Back in the days when I was a teenager/Before I had a status and before I had a pager.”  
  1. “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy/There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.”  
  1. “6 in the morning police at my door/Fresh Adidas squeak across the bathroom floor.”  
  1. “First off, fuck your bitch and the clique you claim/West side when we ride, come equipped with game.”  (STUMPER)
  1. “Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground.”  
  1. “Broken glass, everywhere/People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care.”  (STUMPER)
  1. “It was all a dream/I used to read Word Up!magazine.”

SECTION THREE: THEY’RE BETTER LIVE (10 points)
Name these songs with live versions that became more famous than the originals.

  1. The dancehall, countrified 1977 single from In Color didn’t chart in America. It did, however, go to #1 in Japan, where the smash live album At Budokan was recorded, sending this song to #7 in the US.
  1. The studio version of this song originally appeared as the last track on In Utero. However, the MTV Unplugged in New York version became the video played by the network when the song was released as a single. The acoustic version was used on the band’s 2002 self-titled best-of compilation. (STUMPER)
  1. This song first appeared on the 1974 album Natty Dread.  It was chosen as the first single for the following year’s Live! album and became the definitive version, ending up on the band’s greatest hits album Legend and coming in at #37 on a 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the greatest songs of all-time.
  1. This song was the first track on the 2014 album Singles but gained notoriety when singer Samuel T. Herring’s singing and dancing caught David Letterman’s attention on the Late Show and the clip went viral.
  1. The original version of this song from 1970’s McCartney was never released as a single but the live version from 1977’s Wings Over America went top 10 in America.
  1. This song first appeared on The Unforgettable Fire but gained fame when the band played it for twelve minutes at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium. While the band’s singer jumped down to help save a girl in the crowd and dance with her, the rest of the band was stuck playing two chords and had to cut the last of three songs they were supposed to play. They thought they’d blown it on a global stage but it turned out to be the most talked about moment of the day.  A live version from the Wide Awake In America EP usually gets the radio play, not the studio version.
  1. A six minute version of this song originally appeared on 1973’s Frampton’s Camel but the 14 minute version from Frampton Comes Alive made it famous. A six minute edit of the live version went top 10 in America but the song stopped getting local classic rock airplay in the 1980’s.  I never heard it until I went to college in the 90’s. Now KGB plays it regularly.
  1. Half of the name of this 1967 song was used for the title of the Who album it first appeared on. The studio version is an awkward, poorly edited series of short song sections. A year later, it became infamous when the band played it on the Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus. Legend had it that their one song upstaged the Stones so badly that they shelved the film.
  1. This single went to #4 on the country charts in 1955.  13 years later, it led off the At Folsom Prison record. That version went to the top of the country charts and #32 in the pop charts.  
  1. This song from Talking Heads: 77 only got to #92 on the pop charts. A solo acoustic/boombox version of it famously started off the live concert film Stop Making Sense.

SECTION FOUR: YOUTUBE KILLED THE VIDEO STAR (10 points)

Answer questions about the music in some of the most watched Youtube videos of 2015.

“Pint-size dancer Heaven King dancing to….” 145 million views

  1. What song does this kid dance troupe led by a pink Barbie car driving girl dance to? (STUMPER)

“Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart” 61 million views

Name any two of the six songs from this clip.  Take an extra point if you can name all six.

32.

33.

“Justin Bieber’s epic carpool karaoke on ‘The Late Late Show’” 67 million views

  1. Name the show’s host
  2. Name any of three Bieber songs in the clip.  Take an extra point if you can name all three.
  1. What Boyz II Men song does the clip close with?

“Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council” 56 million

  1. What Mary Lambert song accompanies this short film of a video screen showing skeletons in a city square, only to reveal the identities of people walking from behind in a “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover”/interracial, religion feelgood lesson?

Calum Scott’s powerful and emotional audition on “Britain’s Got Talent”, 51 million views

  1. What song by Robyn does Scott sing?

Mean Tweets- President Obama edition” 41 million views

  1. While reading mean tweets about himself on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, what alterna-hit played behind the President?

Dover Police Dashcam Confessional”, 38 million views

  1. What song does a Delaware police officer lipsync to while driving in this video?    

SECTION FIVE: ….AND THE REST (27 points)
****EVERY QUESTION IN THIS SECTION RELATED TO A PRIZE AT THE END OF THE NIGHT

  1. What is the official name of David Bowie’s last album?
  1. What band’s lead singer had a reality show called Rock Of Love?
  1. What Sony portable device hit the market in 1984?
  1. Coverband the Little Richards was started by Robert Lopez (El Vez/Zeros) to celebrate the one year anniversary of what North Park vintage resale shop named after a Little Richard song?
  2. What Beatlesque fictional band starred in the 1978 TV mockumentary All You Need Is Cash?
  1. Pop Will Eat Itself’s 1989 #38 UK hit “Can U Dig It?” is made up of references and samples from what 1979 gang movie?
  1. The song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” was rush released as a single after appearing in a commercial for what in 1971?
  1. The seventh single from Michael Jackson’s Bad album generated a 1930’s styled ten minute video, part of a longer forty-minute segment in his Moonwalker full-length video.  Name it.
  1. In 2004, Disneyland started screen printing vintage ride posters on demand and I bought a Skyway print because, that week, I was opening for a member of what band that had a song of the same name on their 1987 album Pleased To Meet Me?
  1. Who wrote the books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works?
  1. What Danny & The Juniors 1958 #19 single was performed by Sha Na Na in Grease along with their #1 debut “At The Hop”?
  1. What lesbian duo scored a minor alterna-hit in 1994 with the song “You Suck”?  I once saw them looking bored waiting for their SD Pride parade car to move onto University Avenue. They seemed thrilled to be recognized when I walked by and said, “Cheer up. You suck.”
  1. What movie features Adam Sandler pulling up to a highschool in a Trans Am wearing an REO Speedwagon shirt and trying to impress students by cranking Billy Squier’s “The Stroke”?
  1. What band had a hit with that terrible cover of “Boys Of Summer” in 2003?
  1. Who were Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Frankie Banali, and Carlos Cavazo?
  1. What Beatles song is this Wikipedia paragraph about? (STUMPER)

In the song’s final bridge section, at 2:58,[67] the spoken phrase “Fucking hell!” appears. Scott admits that although he was told about it, he could not hear the words originally.[10] Lennon attributed the expletive to McCartney, according to Emerick,[56] who reports Lennon’s comment in his autobiography: “‘Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,’ Lennon gleefully crowed, ‘but I insisted we leave it in [at Trident], buried just low enough so that it can barely be heard. Most people won’t ever spot it … but we’ll know it’s there.'”[68] Womack considers that the expletive was actually uttered by Lennon.[67] Malcolm Toft, the mix engineer on the Trident recording,[69] also attributes it to Lennon.[70] In Toft’s recollection, Lennon was overdubbing his harmony vocal when, in reaction to the volume being too loud in his headphones, he first called out “Whoa!” then, two seconds later, swore as he pulled the headphones off.

  1. Who wrote and performed the theme song for the Dukes of Hazzard?
  1. The last time I went to Coachella was in 2002 for the first of two days.  Everyone I remember seeing that day was European: the Charlatans UK, the Beta Band, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bjork. We left before the headliners, a British DJ duo, “performed”.  Who was it?
  1. About 10 years ago, my Dad met Connie DeLonge and arranged a lunch for us to discuss possibly having her help with a mortgage loan. She excitedly told me how her son’s new band had him really passionate about music again.  I bit my lip since his old band had screwed my friend out of at least half a million dollars. What was his new band?
  1. What band played the United States Postal Service’s annual National Executive Conference as part of a settlement on the band’s name infringing its trademark?
  2. What East Bay band opened for Big Star at the Fillmore in 1994 under the name the Shatners because they’d just done five sold-out shows there?  They were huge fans, name-checking Big Star in their biggest hit and taking Alex Chilton on tour as their opening act but didn’t want their fans to sell it out.

  3. What band put out their fourth studio album, A Ghost In The Machine, in 1980?
  1. As this is the 44th Musical Pursuit, I almost included a question about the song “88 Lines About 44 Women”. As I was putting the quiz together, I ended up taking Austin record store Sound Gallery to task on Facebook for stealing and reposting a video while adding a caption about supporting musicians by buying vinyl. The guy who responded was very cool, letting me know that a lot of the clips they post are from his own collection and I felt a little guilty for mentioning it. By an unreal coincidence, it eventually came up that it was none other than Marc Campbell, who wrote “88 Lines” as the singer for what band?

“PROMOTE MY GRANDPA’S BAND” CORNER

Friday April 8th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. GEEZER, NERF HERDER, FARTBARF, ALLIE GOERTZ.  

  1. Nerf Herder’s lone 1996 hit was an homage to the glory days of what band with their lead singer? (STUMPER)

Friday, April 15th at the Music Box in San Diego. FOOZ FIGHTERS, SLAVES AGAINST THE MACHINE, GEEZER.

  1. I saw the Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys at the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco in 1996.  What musician was the event’s main organizer?

BONUS POINT FOR HILARITY

To celebrate the recording of the new Geezer b-side “We Ain’t No Weezer Tribute Band”, come up with a name for a Weezer tributeband.  Best one in the room gets an extra point

WINNER: MANY RIVERS TO CUOSS

NAME TODAY’S CD OF THE DAY

Still bringing in one cd a day to work which I’ve done since 1995. I’ve been posting about them on Yer Doin’ Great but it’s been on hold for months while our offices reorganize. The last band I wrote about was the Rolling Stones but now I’m on the letter S (that’s a hint).

Year: 1992

Label: Murder Records

Track 1: “Marcus Said”

Why I have it: They’re one of my favorite bands, though this debut EP was definitely before they were great.

Trivia: The EP features an early version of their first hit, “Underwhelmed”. In 1996, the music magazine Chart conducted a reader poll to determine the best Canadian songs of all time, in which it was voted the second greatest Canadian song of all time. This version is….like the song says.

  1. Artist:
  2. Title:

SECOND HALF

50 POINTS (& 13 POSSIBLE BONUS POINTS)

Section 6-8 & two bonus questions

 

SECTION SIX: NAME THAT TUNE (50 points)

Answer questions about the songs played. More than just the normal name the song and artiste!

Here’s a Youtube playlist of the songs played for Name-That-Tune, some of my favorite Bowie covers….

 

SECTION SEVEN: BEST IN THE ROOM (5 BONUS POINTS)

I’ll read a question for you to work on while Name-That-Tune is played.  Write your answers on a separate piece of paper. The team that answers the most questions gets five points.  In the event of a tie, all tied teams will get five points.

Name as many of the musicians in Ranker.com’s list of 100 most famous Davids.
Winner got 9 out of 20.

SECTION EIGHT: SUPER EXTRA HARD (5 BONUS POINTS)

Before the last Name-That-Tune song plays, I’ll read one last hard question to work on while the entire last song plays.

What song did Bob Geldof suggest and practice with David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the hopes of a satellite duet for Live Aid?  Answer (STUMPER)

 

91X, 1987 & ME

XXX-logo

A watershed year for alt rock radio thanks to DMode, Cure and Smiss all releasing big albums. If I had to pick a fave, it'd have to be "The Vanishing Girl". Remember "My Boyfriend"?  That's why it's my least fave on this countdown.

A watershed year for alt rock radio thanks to DMode, Cure and Smiss all releasing big albums. If I had to pick a fave, it’d have to be “The Vanishing Girl”. Remember “My Boyfriend”? That’s why it’s my least fave on this countdown.

Ace jazz guitarist Greg Camphuis at my sister's bat mitzvah reception at the Catamaran Hotel shortly before finding and stealing a gavel in a podium upstairs in an empty ballroom.  Hoodlums, I tell ya.

Me and ace jazz guitarist Greg Camphuis at my sister’s bat mitzvah reception at the Catamaran Hotel shortly before finding and stealing a gavel in a podium upstairs in an empty ballroom. Hoodlums, I tell ya.

1987. Tenth grade rolled on. I settled in to my new neighborhood finally and had plenty of friends in every social circle from jocks to nerds to punks, thanks, no doubt, to my painfully neutral clothing and hairstyle choices. Parties started to become a regular weekend occurance and everyone was drinking except for me.  As a September baby, I was young for my grade so my friends couldn’t wait for me to turn sixteen so I could drive their drunk asses around.  Joy.  As a result, I was happy to stay home with a movie or late night television more often than most folks.

Whoa dude. To be young and a little scared watching locals get a little too into their first slam dance exposure. Saw a rubia get taken down and her top ripped off of her. Ok, maybe a lot scared....Apparently, the band/staff afterparty resembled Caligula

Whoa dude. To be young and a little scared watching locals get a little too into their first slam dance exposure. Saw a rubia get taken down and her top ripped off of her. Ok, maybe a lot scared….Apparently, the band/staff afterparty resembled Caligula

Listening to 91X seemed to quench my musical fascination.  I didn’t go to many shows or buy a lot of records yet but I was completely obsessed with all things pop culture. I gobbled up whatever music magazines I could get and would beg my friends to let me come over and watch MTV’s 120 Minutes on Sunday nights. This would’ve been a great time to pick up a guitar and play, like some of my friends were starting to do. My parents were encouraging, getting me lessons and renting me an electric guitar a couple of years before but I just didn’t have the discipline for it at that age. I figured out Sex Pistols basslines on one string for a month or two and we returned the guitar.

A week before I turned 16. I never did get the San Diego Reader ad for this back when I was obsessively keeping a scrapbook. Thanks, online archives! That whole page is quite the 1987 time capsule (below with scrapbook) Previously posted….At this legendary '87 show, Peter Hook came out for an encore and silenced an arena by screaming that someone up front needed to sit down and not move for the rest of the show. AWK-ward. Echo came on after and were amazing.

A week before I turned 16. I never did get the San Diego Reader ad for this back when I was obsessively keeping a scrapbook. Thanks, online archives! At this legendary ’87 show, Peter Hook came out for an encore and silenced an arena by screaming that someone up front needed to sit down and not move for the rest of the show. AWK-ward. Echo came on after and were amazing.

This might’ve been the year that my friend Dan and I started to predict what songs would be in the countdown.  I don’t remember what we did later that night but I do remember another friend actually ended up in his bedroom with a girl at midnight. When “Just Like Heaven” came on 91X as the #1 song, she was surprised that she’d never heard of it.  A HUGE “Boys Don’t Cry” loomed over them.  I swore I’d only ever date someone who liked good music, as if that is what had been preventing me from having a girlfriend.

I absolutely stand by these.....except for the blatant U2 ripoff.

Ballot never sent, I absolutely stand by these…..except for the blatant U2 ripoff.

BACK TO THE MAIN XXX PAGE
XXX-logo

HARDY HAR, an unpublished piece on laughing in San Diego

Back in 2008, I wrote an article for San Diego CityBeat about places to laugh in San Diego.  I’m not sure whose idea it was but somehow I ended up seeing how many I could do in one night…and the following morning.  It was a fun concept but there wasn’t enough room to do a good job of describing all of them, so the piece went unpublished and we never did them separately, even though the Mystery Cafe Dinner Theater at Imperial House gave us two free tickets and dinners for a possible article (again, unpublished). All of the venues were nice enough to let me take a complimentary peek inside their establishments so I always meant to put this up somewhere as thanks. So….thanks.

Hardy har by Adam Gimbel

There’s quite a variety of places to get laughs in San Diego.  In addition to the unintentional hilarity of open-mic nights, drunk karaoke singers or your local DMV, there are quite a few clubs that feature comedy on a regular basis.  Places like Lestats, Winstons, Moondoggies, Bamboo Lounge and the new Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Aubergine all play host to regular stand-up comedy nights.  On a Saturday night, however, there are three places you can always go to get some laughs.  If you plan well, you can do all three in one night.

A good starting place is The National Comedy Theater (3717 India St, NationalComedy.com), which specializes in improvised comedy, something that many famous comedians don’t dare try.  For two decades, the NCTs here and in New York have been doing unscripted shows that come completely from audience suggestions.  Modern improv dates back to the 1940’s but most Americans got their first taste of it via the US version of British television program Whose Line Is It Anyways?  This local chapter has done so well over the years that it has its own versatile theater near Little Italy and teaches improv classes of its own.

Every Friday and Saturday night, performers are matched in a mock-competition with two three-player teams switching off doing short sketches that are moderated by a referee.  There are a few hundred improv comedy games that the NCT troupe uses to incorporate the crowd’s ideas and sometimes the spectators themselves end up onstage.   It’s a family-friendly affair (teams are actually penalized for inappropriate material) with the teams wearing matching bowling shirts that are a little hokey. However, the second they get started, there’s nothing to distract from how incredibly fast the comedians come up with material.  Whether it’s a rapid-fire charades session acting out “insipid oscillating elephant”, a series of recreations of an audience member’s recent charity walk or a rhyming exercise disguised as a rap battle, the cast members are all mind-blowingly quick-witted.

Comedian Robert Lariviere at the Comedy Palace

Comedian Robert Lariviere at the Comedy Palace

Up in Kearny Mesa, a very different night of comedy takes place every weekend.  Local comedian Tarrell Wright starts out the late show at the Comedy Palace (8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, TheComedyPalace.com) with a simple question: “Where my weed smokers at?” The crowd erupts at the surprising ceremonial first joke.  San Diego has long been a breeding ground for up-and-coming comedians like Jamie Foxx, Whoopie Goldberg, Bobby Lee, Rene Sandoval, Darren Carter, Bobby Lee, Dante and many more.  Our proximity to Los Angeles, long considered THE place to get noticed in comedy, means new talent can get good without the pressure of Hollywood looming too large.  Plus, there’s something hysterically familiar about watching local comedians deliver material about Santee, surfing, the Chargers, and Asian UCSD students.har2 In a town where it’s hard to keep any kind of entertainment club open, comedians are usually left to find a music venue or other unconventional establishments to host a night or two a week.  The Comedy Palace is no exception.  The shows take place in a Mediterranean restaurant that local comedian Sean Kelly approached a couple of years ago.  The large room works surprisingly well as a comedy setting and, three nights a week, you can catch some stand-up AND a buffet.  Trying to keep down gyros can be a challenge when someone like Dangerous Dick talks about his experience with an interracial relationship:  “You know what they say.  Once you go white….you go back to black.”har1 Just a few minutes away, you can catch a late set at the only full-time comedy club in town, the Comedy Store in La Jolla (916 Pearl St, TheComedyStore.com).  Since 1977, the more southern version of the famous Los Angeles club has played host to everyone from David Letterman to Robin Williams.  The town’s best locals perform here and Sunday’s open mic allows newbies to perform at the best joint in town.  The club’s iconic motif is “none more black”. Black walls, floors and tables feature caricatures of greats like Abbott & Costello, Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy while a huge stained glass design lights up the ceiling.  Of course, the big draw is that the country’s biggest comedy stars perform here regularly since it’s only a short freeway ride away from Hollywood.

On a recent Saturday, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garln headlined two hysterical sets of storytelling from his long career.  While young comics have to hone short bits and keep things moving, a veteran star like Garlin can just tell true tales about his life and keep a large audience’s attention for an entire set.  Of course, it helps if you were once saved from a dildo-wielding psycho at 3am by WWF star King Kong Bundy at an all-night disco with porn being projected above your head.  This kind of respect allows Garlin to go off on tangents, talk about distracting breasts in the front row at length and even have a pianist onstage to accompany a strange song repeatedly sung in French gibberish.  In Garlin’s case, you can even afford to retire from “the road” this year and be in your car and back to LA before your audience is.

If you wake up Sunday morning and want to keep laughing, you might try heading down to Mission Bay Park and join a group that meets to stretch, breathe deep and laugh like maniacs.  The group is one of 5000 worldwide “laughter yoga” clubs (LaughterYoga.org).  It’s a global movement started by Indian doctor Madan Kataria in 1995 that takes laughter being the best medicine quite literally. There’s no question that it’s good for your oxygen intake, breathing passages and lungs but there are many that believe it helps reduce stress, blood pressure and depression.  Whether you believe in its healing qualities or not, there’s one thing for sure: any decent stand-up comedian would have a field day with a bunch of earthy looking folks clapping and forcing themselves to laugh while chanting “Very good, very good YAYYYYYY!” in unison.

WHO YOU CALLIN’ YER DOIN’ GREAT?

tonyWhen I was deciding on a name for this page, I didn’t want to reference any one song or band because I knew my writing would be all over the place.  I liked the idea of calling it something fairly random and turned to some of my favorite phrases for inspiration.  I’m not sure when I started saying “Yer doin’ great.”  For years, when a conversation would get too depressing, I’d say “I saw the cutest puppy today” and faces would light up. “Awwww, what kind of puppy was it?!” someone would ask.  I’d reply, “I didn’t see a puppy” and we’d talk about something else. After awhile, friends in the know could simply say “cute puppy” or I would hold up a picture of a beagle puppy I kept on my first flip phone to lighten the mood.

ydg shirtAt some point, I started saying “Yer doin’ great” to cheer people up instead. It somehow had a calming effect on people stressing out by making them self-aware. I work at a lot of events, setting up gear at meetings, weddings and shows and there’s always someone losing their mind.  Telling them that they’re doing great seems to give them pause and realize that things aren’t so bad.  I was only doing a music page to put a smile on people’s faces so it seemed like an appropriate moniker.  I added the words “muzak clickclack” so it wouldn’t look too vague out of context and broke a bottle of champagne over my laptop.

hang in thereI love hearing from friends that they too now use it to calm people down or cheer them up. The phrase has come to mean different things. Sometimes it ends up being sarcastic more than caring.  At our charity anti-karaoke night, if someone I didn’t know was singing terrible, I could tell them that they were doing great and they’d take it as encouragement, while my friends knew I was taking the piss.  At my music trivia night, as people got frustrated, I’d get on the mic to say they’re doing great to make everyone angrier. One of my bandmates in Geezer forbid me from saying it when he missed a note because it would piss him off and make him mess up more.  Teehee.

I don’t do much of anything to spread the word about the page, so it’s strange to see it anywhere other than a computer screen. But, when I wanted to send a get-well note to a friend last New Years Eve, I decided to send him the biggest Yer Doin’ Great ever.   ydg1ydg2ydg3

ydg4Visitors had fun playing with the balloons and spelling all kinds of things.  That’s his granddaughter Audrey spelling her name. They stayed inflated and floating for months, so they started giving them away as gifts to spread the love.  Great!

Feel free to use it yourself. If anyone can remember how or why I started saying it, please let me know.  Until then, we’ll just pretend it was Ferris at 2:08….

JONATHAN RICHMAN, SUMMER & FEELINGS

I once read a woman write about how she couldn’t completely judge someone from the music they listen to but she also couldn’t imagine dating someone who didn’t love Jonathan Richman.  I understand.  I’m surprised I wasn’t converted sooner. Hearing his songs covered by the Sex Pistols and on the Repo Man soundtrack didn’t make me want to dig deeper as a teen. But when I saw him during the Conan O’Brien’s first week hosting Late Night, years later I was ready. 

When he came through town a few years later in 1997, I primed myself with a best of the Modern Lovers cd and was instantly sold. So was my girlfriend, Summer, but she was a few months shy of getting into the Casbah, so I went alone.  I was literally in tears, loving it so much.  When I got home, I insisted that we go see him up in Long Beach at the all-ages Blue Cafe.  Jason Falkner had told us that he was opening up but it was in the middle of the week so we weren’t going to go. After seeing Jonathan, there was no way I’d let her miss it.

We braved traffic up from San Diego to meet our friend Mike Byer. Summer, sporting Flashdance shoulder that night, had started to bring a notebook to shows to draw and tell tales, which is good because I don’t remember much about that night.  Jason played a solo acoustic set and then Jojo transfixed her so much that she couldn’t bother with a pen.

jojo by sb1jojo-by-sb2jojo by sb3jojo by sb4We sat on the floor, looking up at Joantahan and drummer Tommy Larkins, along with 147 or so entranced, cheering people.  Hearing all of those songs for the first time was just magical.  So much sweetness and hilarity within seconds of each other.  When he was moved enough, he’d lay his guitar down on a pillow and take a dance solo.  I watched out of the corner of my eye to see Summer falling for him just as hard.  I couldn’t wait to see him again.

The show ended late and it seemed even later after a full day’s work and a 100 mile drive. We both had work again in the morning and another drive ahead of us. Half-awake, we looked around to say goodbye to Jason and when we found him, he smiled and said, “Look who it is!” pointing to a large, bespecatacled man. We both looked at him unknowingly and Drew Carey looked genuinely offended that we didn’t know who he was. “Sorry,” I sarcastically offered. “We don’t have a tv.” He rolled his eyes. “Are you college students?  I hate college students.”  Normally I live to argue with assholes but I was way too tired.

A year later, Summer was battling cancer and I was doing my damndest to cheer her up any chance that I could.  Jojo was coming through town and, before his show he agreed to let me film him singing to her.  After the show, he sat at the front of the stage with the PA playing music and a still-full room of people talking and asked me to come in close until I was almost on top of him. I assumed he would want to sing “That Summer Feeling” but insisted on singing a new song called “There’s Something About Mary”.  He looked right into the camera, wished her well and softly sang a sad tale about a man who can’t seem to let the memory of a past love go.summer feelingShe loved the video, of course, and Richman’s merch man insisted on giving me a “That Summer Feeling” t-shirt, which she wore throughout her last days. Jonathan called to see how she was doing afterwards. Somewhere I have the saved message he started to leave before I picked up to tell him the sad news.  When we decided to make Songs For Summer, an album full of her favorite artists for charity, Jonathan and Rounder Records let us use “That Summer Feeling”, which seemed like a fitting closer.  It was.  It is.

That Summer feeling, that Summer feeling….

Thanks, Jojo.

sfs artworkPlenty of copies of Songs For Summer to be found on Amazon

More Summer tales here.

AMERICAN ANGLOPHILE INVADES 1999 READING FESTIVAL

99 reading posterI recently came across some handwritten notes I wrote about going to the 1999 Reading Festival in England and thought it might be fun to share.  MIGHT be. The notes were scrawled in a daily planner a few days after the festival while I was in Scotland.  Looks like there’s quite a bit missing. Let’s see how my memory is….

In 1999, I was looking for any excuse to get out to the east coast, as I’d started dating Katie, who I met online while she was attending Columbia University in New York City.  She came to visit San Diego first and soon we were trading off turns visiting each other in between long phone sessions.  As a lifelong Anglophile, I’d always wanted to go to a British festival and be in a sea of people who knew how to jump and sing in unison to bands most people in America didn’t know or care about. While the lineup wasn’t as amazing as it had been through most of the decade, there were still plenty of favorites on the bill plus bands I’d never heard of with names like Doves, Orgy and Coldplay that I might learn to love….or not. So I finally planned a trip to England and Scotland with stops in NYC on the way to and from.

tom'sJudging by the few photos I took in New York, it appears that we went cd shopping, ate at Tom’s Diner and saw Detroit Rock City.  It was summer so it definitely wasn’t the trip there where I saw snow fall for the first time at age 28. Off I went to London, where I stayed in Hampstead Heath with olde highschool friend Vivienne and her husband Josh. We went out to dinner my first night there and Josh excused himself to make a phonecall, then proceeded to go to a corner and talk to himself.  I’d never seen a hands-free phone device before and I thought he was nuts for a quick second. 99-reading-matt-lotions-shirtsI’d been to London a few days back in 1993 but this time, I had more time to see some sights, hang out with Comes With A Smile‘s Matt Dornan (above), meet Pat Fish and Max Eider after a fantastic Jazz Butcher duo show (click for JBC tale) and wander a bit.  My surviving notes begin the day before the festival…

Pat Fish, Max Eider, chins, Lotion shirt.  12 Bar, London

Pat Fish, Max Eider, chins, Lotion shirt. 12 Bar, London

I slept late, walked round Hampstead for awhile then went off to the outskirts of London to visit Minus Zero Records, home of all things pop.  It’s a great little shop crammed with cool stuff and the main man, Bill, was nice enough to give me some goodies in exchange for the hush-hush cd’s and videos I’d brought them.  In a story straight out of a movie, the two owners of the shop had got in a row years ago and split the shop right down the middle, both doing business separately in the same room.  Unreal. I’m sure I could’ve stayed all day with them, trading stories of various concerts and (Jason) Falknerdom.  Finally ended up back in Hampstead and went off to meet up with Viv, Josh and internet friend Julia to have dinner.

Julia’s wonderfully mad, definitely a rocker.  Jason Falkner is her one concession to pop.  We found a place in Chinatown for us to have a great Chinese meal, all of us sharing a variety of dishes and gabbing away.  Julia saw a friend of hers on the way back to the train station and we left her to club hop the night away.  I was off to Paddington Station where I took a train to Reading, about a half hour away.  My hotel was a 15 pound taxi ride away and plenty posh.  A bit useless with me and two beds.

I channel surfed awhile, watching “soccer” programs and a not-to-be-believed game show called Naked Elvis.  A host asks random trivia questions to two teams while a bloke dressed as the King takes off clothing after every round until he’s fully naked, shaking his little Prince Charles for all the world to see.  Unreal.  They really use sex more here than in America.  Adverts use scantily clad women like it’s going out of style, no matter what the product.  Also, saw a clip of a ridiculous song called “Mambo #5” and laughed at the stupid stuff that becomes popular in Europe and never reaches American ears.  Wrong again, Yankee.99-reading-train199-reading-train299-reading-train3

The next morning, I’m up and out to an unmanned (meaning free) train station into Reading proper. Quite a bit cheaper than another 15 pound cab ride. Loads of kids to follow to the festival site, just on the edge of their beautiful, small town.  Bootleg tees are quite good and I nab one with all of the bands on a shiny soccer style jersey for just five pounds. People are buying cases of beer from huge trucks parked along the side of the road.  You can bring in almost ANYTHING to the festival except glass bottles.
99-reading-charlatans-sign99-reading1a-crowd-entering99-reading-beer

99-AG-at-ReadingPast the main entrance is a SEA of tents where people camp for the festival.  It’s a little muddy  from recent rains and already lined with trash.  I tossed up my camera to a guy in a tower to take a picture of the view.  He was nice enough to return it.
99-reading-from-above

Right away, I recognize the main stage that I’ve seen so many times on the telly.  Black backdrop, huge banners and tv screens on either side.  The grounds are huge with food, clothing and whatnot throughout.  There is a main stage, a BBC1 tent, a stage for lesser known groups sponsored by Carling beer, a dance music tent and a comedy tent.  They’re packed for almost every act.
99-reading-sign99-reading-atp

I spent most of the first day by myself.  I broke down and paid six pounds for a program which came with a series of laminates with set times for all of the bands playing for the whole fest.  I took a few seconds each day to write down every band I’d like to see so I could have a loose schedule. I arrived just in time to watch bratty all-girl Cali band the Donnas open the mainstage activities.  5000 miles just to see Bay Area girls start the show.  The crowd didn’t know quite what to make of them but they were great as always.99-reading-donnas-far 99-reading-donnas-stage

Photo from musewiki.org

Photo from musewiki.org

The day previous, I talked briefly to producer John Leckie (Pink Floyd, Stone Roses, Radiohead), who I do an extremely lo-fi website about.  He was very nice and we made plans to meet up at the festival, which we did after seeing a very good new semi-Radioheadesque group called Muse that he recently produced.  He took me back to meet the band who were as nice as everyone else he ran into. We spent a couple of hours walking around, seeing bands and talking to people he knew, some of whom had heard about or even seen my site.  I  felt like a disappointment by not being a raving obsessed fan but did manage to ask him a few questions without being too crazed.  He was full of stories and was more than generous.

Gene

Gene

I’ve already written about most of this part of the day, seeing bands like Guided By Voices and Echo & The Bunnymen with John, in “My afternoon at Reading Festival with an invisible rock legend”.  Me giving him a real rockstar moment right as the Fall was writing a legendary Reading tale backstage was maybe the highlight of the whole trip, so do give it a read. After John left, I caught Gene and Stereolab and got ready for the nighttime festivities. Watching a popular British act in a massive crowd was high on my to-do list but I still skipped seeing the headlining Charlatans, who I’d been missing for eight years to see Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Elastica absolutely destroy in the big tent.  It’s still my favorite concert crowd I’ve ever been in the middle of.  Absolute insanity.  I ran over to the mainstage just in time to see the Charlatans encore with “Sprongston Green” too.

justine-overbite Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 199999-reading-charlatans Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 199999-reading-jsbx Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 1999

Phoning Katie in America on hard to hear phone.  Marginal Prophets shirt by Keith Knight. One guy stopped me and asked "Sheep in a toilet?" I nodded.  "Right," he said and walked away.

Phoning Katie in America on hard to hear phone. Marginal Prophets shirt by Keith Knight. One guy stopped me and asked “Sheep in a toilet?” I nodded. “Right,” he said and walked away.

The other highlight of the day came in the Melody Maker tent, where bands signed autographs for masses of fans all day long.  Afterwards, they did indie-karaoke, which I’d read about last year.  I’d always dreamed of getting up at a UK festival and singing something quintiscentially British, namely Pulp’s “Common People” but, unfortunately, someone had already chosen it. I picked Blur’s “Country House” off of their list and watched as person after person ruined song after song.  They handed out thumbs up/thumbs down cards to the hundred or so people watching and after the first verse, the hilarious MC would let the crowd decide if they should continue or not.  Most everyone got the big buzzer, including the people who got up and did “Common People”, who were AWFUL.

This guy was hilariously not having it as hundreds exited a tent around him.

This guy was hilariously not having it as hundreds exited a tent around him.

When my name was finally called, I walked onstage and said how I’d always dreamed of getting up at a festival to sing in a British accent.  The crowd was instantly against me and the thumbs down signs went up.  I knew it didn’t matter because I was ON and, after the first verse, I was greeted with a sea of thumbs up.  Unfortunately, the guy manning the karaoke machine misunderstood the MC and cut me off during the big “IN THE COUNTRY!” buildup, leaving everyone screaming at him.  All the people running the thing were apologizing to me, shaking my hand and making sure I got my prize (a free beer).  A couple in the train station reognized me on the way home and told me how great I was.  My best review ever.  Praise from real life Brits!!! I vowed to return the next day and get it right.

Another night in my posh hotel was enough for me to decide to cut short my stay there by two days. $100 a night to sleep nearby just wasn’t worth it, as tired as I was by day’s end. I left my bag at the train station the next morning and planned on going back to London at the end of day two.  I met up with Julia and her boyfriend Ray at the festival and they had an extra backstage pass for me, which meant nicer toilets with shorter lines, rock stars everywhere and actual places to sit (chairs and tables or grass, which by this point was hard to find on the trash strewn festival site).  It also meant meeting Julia and Ray’s rockset friends.  I assumed I’d be surrounded by the pageboy haircut wimps but here I was hanging with the leather/stud clad mob, all of whom were funny and nice as anything.

On the train from London to Reading for day 3.  One of the worst pictures ever taken of me.  Yer welcome.

On the train from London to Reading for day 3. One of the worst pictures ever taken of me. Yer welcome.

Wouldn't you insist on getting your picture taken with this car too?

Julia & The Pink 1. Wouldn’t you insist on getting your picture taken with this car too?

Claudia Schiffer lookalike, Julia, Ray

Harry, Julia, Ray

No sooner had we arranged my backstage access than it was time to go see Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s fame.  He’d been making headlines lately, taking out an ad of himself in a dress in some prominent music paper.  Sure enough, he came out in drag and, joined by two lingerie clad stripper types, did a few Vegas style classics (“Concrete & Clay” and “Greatest Love of All”) on a bare stage.  At one point he got underneath and licked the bum of one of the girls with a full close up showing on the screens.  The water bottles rained down upon him as he held his ground in all too hilarious seriousness.  He lasted about four songs. 99-reading-rowland-1 Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 1999

Julia and Ray joined me on my return trip to the karaoke tent only to find that AGAIN “Common People” was already taken.  I spied “Alright” by Supergrass and when it was my turn, the Saturday crowd was MUCH bigger than it’d been the day before.  I got up and noted that I’d been listening to these British people ruining American songs (crowd: “Rar!”), that they should show some respect when singing songs from another country (“RAR!”)  and then asked them who’d won the war in 1776 (“RAAARRRRRRR!!!”).  Again, I knew I could antagonize because I could actually sing a little and proceeded to produce a dead-on Gaz, including some loverly falsettos that wowed them.  Even *I* was surprised by their reaction until I realized that the sound guy was pumping in a festival crowd’s roar over the speakers.  Still, I finished in fine form, holding the last note forever and doing a Johnny Rottenesque finale (“Aaaaaaal-RRRRight!”).  People yelled “SUPERGRASS!” at me all day.  Heaven.
99-reading-karaoke The British concertgoers are great.  Massively appreciative, huge singalongs and all jumping up and down in unison if you’ve got a good, punchy chorus.  I spend a lot of time hoping to engage in conversations but only have a few good ones for most of my time there. They’re all pretty amused I want to take pictures of their shirts. Very few recognize me as American right away because it’s so noisy and I’m lapsing into Britishisms anyways.
99-reading-ping99-reading-roses-shirts

RFTC!

RFTC!

There is an incredible mix of people at the festival.  Lots of freshly dyed hair, goths in full black attire, LOADS of tshirts displaying American bands and folks of all shapes and sizes, some 30-40,000 strong. This year, the same acts travel to Leeds in northern England and stage the exact same show the following day but it hasn’t seemed to lessen the size of the crowd here at Reading (Leeds had around 20k folks, so I hear).

 

 


99-reading-random-couple99-reading-lotion-
99-reading-softee99-reading-me-w-ic

99-reading-beth

Beth the Orton, Sebastian Steinberg from Soul Coughing on bass

The Pavements by me and NME

The Pavements by me and NME

99-reading-bluh-x3

Coffee and watching TVs from far away

Left Bluh to watch Cinerama for a bit!? Yep.

Left Bluh to watch Cinerama for a bit!? Yep.

I only have vague memories of seeing Pavement, Beth Orton and Cinerama during that day, thanks to some pictures.  I’d already seen Bluh do a set of entirely new songs that year and there were worries that the same would happen here when they opened with “Tender” but when they went into “End Of A Century”, we all breathed a sigh of relief.  After a night at Julia and Ray’s, we returned for Sunday, traditionally more of a “Rock Day”, which started out in fine fashion with their friends the Backyard Babies, who didn’t disappoint.  After that, it’s all a bluh of seeing Cornelius, Hepcat, Fountains of Wayne and a brilliant Flaming Lips, early in their blood and video days.

Backyard Babies, adverts.  Offspring played that day.  I made sure to be elsewhere.

Backyard Babies, adverts. Offspring played that day. I made sure to be elsewhere.

Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne

Cornelius.  Projected 1 from "Count Five Or Six"

Cornelius. Projected 1 from “Count Five Or Six”

Flaming -lips Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 199999-reading-sunset1

Couple dutifully posing with our 1998 year end list, "Stuff".

Couple dutifully posing with our 1998 year end list, “Stuff”.

99-reading-sunset2

99-reading-jarvis cocker Reading Festival from NME Sept 9th 1999

Jarvis sang one with All Seeing I at Reading and I missed it. Oooops. It only took me another 15 years to finally see them again.

I didn’t get the traditional British festival downpour, more closely associated with Glastonbury, but it was still everything I’d hoped for. I departed the next day, by train, for Scotland where I hit the three main cities, taking a bus tour upon arrival in each one, all owned by the same company.  I was mortified to see I’d missed seeing Pulp in Edinburgh by a day so I could stay in London an extra night to go to the Garage and see Fountains of Wayne, who I’d just seen twice. I saw Pulp were playing a festival in Ireland with Cornelius the next night and almost cut Scotland short to go there.  I’m glad I didn’t or I would’ve missed beautiful green landscapes, olde buildings, quaint bed-and-breakfasts and ridiculously hard-to-decipher tour guides.  I turned to some British tourists behind me for a translation at one point and they shrugged, as lost as me.  I took loads of pretty pictures of forests and olde castles but you can see those anywhere.  You’re probably here because I’m the kind of guy who takes a picture of Kelvin Hall in Glasgow because the Kinks recorded a live album there.

Because Superdrag.

Because Superdrag.

Because I Could Be Happy.

Because I Could Be Happy.

Because…..I'd never seen a cricket game before.  That's the ₤5 bootleg Reading shirt.

Because…..I’d never seen a cricket game before. That’s the ₤5 bootleg Reading shirt.

Because Sultans of Ping.

Because Sultans of Ping.

One of the train stations in Scotland was having a Thomas the Tank Engine Day and cute little kids were losing their minds.

One of the train stations in Scotland was having a Thomas the Tank Engine Day and cute little kids were losing their minds.

Yes was definitely slumming it in the Scottish countryside.  Surpisingly inexpensive if I remember right.

Yes, I was definitely slumming it in the Scottish countryside. Surpisingly inexpensive actually.

Just know it was this pretty almost everywhere there.

Just know it was this pretty almost everywhere there.

I hadn’t been able to see online friend Richie Merrett with his band Mercedes playing Reading the week before but our schedules synced up when I got back to London for one last night.  He and his girlfriend Talia met up with me near Hyde Park and we spent HOURS talking pop culture of all kinds until we were all hoarse and peeing into the London fog at 3am.  I still quote his disapproval of Episode One: The Phantom Menace: “Fart jokes in Star Wars?  FAHT JOKES IN STAH WAHS?!” Unquestionably one of my favorite conversations of all-time and a great way to end the trip.

If I had a brain, I’d have never left.  Stupid American.