Today’s (Not-So-) Random Song in My Head: “Axel F”

record lodged in headRemember that time Todd and I went to the shitbag Union Bar in Iowa City to go see Neon Indian, and had to endure a couple of opening acts, one of which being Kreayshawn? (The oft-repeated Senior Picture Incident happened that night.)

The other opener, according to our crack research team (read: me Googling “neon indian kreayshawn union bar iowa city other guy”), was a rapper who goes by the moniker Probcause. In between incredible blasts of bass (the Union’s sound guy was struggling to equalize that night), he threw some stage banter at us. Now, granted, this is paraphrased, but Todd can verify the following quote is pretty much on point:

“Yo, yo, Iowa City! Yo, for realz, tho, for realz, Iowa fuckin’ City, yo! Shit, this is the shit right up in this bitch, Iowa City, yo! I be all walkin’ around, you got fuckin’ pianos on the sidewalks and shit, yo! Anyone can play ’em. This place is crazy, yo! People aks me where I want to be livin’, like Hawaii or some shit, I be all like, Iowa City, yo! They got pianos and shit!”

First, Probcause was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than Kreayshawn.

Second, let me affirm what Probcause is preachin’: Iowa City has pianos and shit.

And people do play them. Sometimes it’s just someone fucking around playing “Chopsticks” or “Heart and Soul”; other times people are laying down some really great stuff; occasionally some individual of lesser fortune uses them as Porta-Potties. (I’m kidding: no one plays “Chopsticks.”)

This afternoon, however, as I was walking back to my office, someone decided to bust out one of my old stand-bys when tickling the ivories: “Axel F,” the famous instrumental by Harold Faltermeyer (born Harald Faltermeier) from Beverly Hills Cop. Hear it below; ignore the unrelated images.

First reaction: Who’s throwing down the Faltermeyer?

I look over and see three kids, more or less, by the piano. The one who was playing followed my playbook to a T: play the popular synth line twice, and then get the hell out. They giggled after finishing the second part, running off to presumably find the sheet music to the Fletch score to further their Harold Faltermeyer repertoire.

Harold FSecond reaction: Kids know “Axel F”? Maybe from that ringtone years ago?

Third: I didn’t get to see that movie in the theater.

This was devastating to me. Some of my friends were allowed to go, but not me. I was told the F-word was used too often, so I couldn’t go see it. I couldn’t believe my parents were being such hardliners; I was 10 years old, for fuck’s sake! Certainly old enough to enjoy the comedic leanings of Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold! And if my folks feared I would be exposed to subpar cinema, consider that Jonathan Banks, who plays the lovable Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad, was doing his thing as the hired muscle in this film. And the script was up for Best Original Screenplay! (The dialogue for Axel’s Detroit boss, Inspector Todd, probably sealed the nomination.)

My mom did offer me one option: go see the movie, then go to confession at St. Pat’s. Whether it was a bluff or not, I’ll never know; Catholic guilt kicked in and I ended up waiting for home rental from the local video store. That would have been one interesting confessional conversation…

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been however long it’s been since the Catholic grade school I attend forced me to admit to you a small sample of my transgressions.

Tell me your sins, my son.

Well, I said “Jesus Christ” once or twice while playing kickball at recess. I lied to my parents about eating Twinkies for breakfast the other day. And I saw that fucking Beverly Hills Cop movie.

Judge Reinhold was hilarious as Billy Rosewood, wasn’t he?

I know! And that soundtrack?

Indeed. Five Hail Marys.

Fourth thought: “Axel F” wasn’t even the best Harold Faltermeyer song in the movie. That would be “Shootout,” the B-side on the “Axel F” 45-RPM record. Feel the synthesized tension…

Side note: “Axel F” was not the lone instrumental theme song in my collection of 45s. I also had the Jan Hammer “Theme from Miami Vice” platter, but it paled in comparison to either side of the “Axel F” vinyl.

Fifth thought: Linda Cohn’s got all sorts of Crazy Eyes going on tonight. (Sorry, I have SportsCenter on while I’m typing this.)

Actual fifth thought: I made an omission in my post about my famous pretend girlfriends. I should have included Lisa Eilbacher—or more specifically, her BHC character, Jenny Summers—somewhere in the 1985-1986 period. She was blonde, living in California, cool enough to be pals with dudes like Axel Foley, and she could wear that 1980s-sweat-clothes look as well as anyone.

jenny summers and axel foley

Jenny Yummers, er, Summers, Axel Foley’s ’80s-hot friend in Beverly Hills Cop.

So yeah, I guess I went back to work at some point. But not before laughing about Catholic guilt and daydreaming about Jenny Summers. All because of Iowa City, with its pianos and shit.

5 comments on “Today’s (Not-So-) Random Song in My Head: “Axel F”

  1. On Probcause: Probcause was his name? Really? Wow, that’s just awful. Your quote is spot on though. He also had a few ramblings about all the “hot bitches” running around Iowa City as I recall. Probcause…such a player.

    On Thought 5: Linda Cohn is the worst. Her and Mr. Boo-Yah Stuart Scott are both insufferable. I can’t watch SportsCenter when they are on.

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