Memories of… “Deep Shag”

Few things can trigger a long lost memory like music. It can happen anywhere.  For me it usually happens in the car. The other day, I was driving to work and flipping channels on the satellite radio. I stopped on Lithium the 90’s alt-rock channel. They were playing a cool old song from the early 90’s that I had forgotten all about, Luscious Jackson’s “Deep Shag”.

I was quickly taken back to Fall 1994. I was driving around smoking Camel Lights and listening to Nine Inch Nails when I decided to stop off at a friends house for a bit. I pulled up to the house and noticed hanging out front was the same group of dopy 15 year old skateboarders I saw every time I stopped there. They always asked me for some smokes. I always answered back (usually with one dangling from my lip) “No, that shit will kill you”. They would grumble something back and that was the extent of our relationship. My vehicle had an alarm system but for some reason I didn’t turn it on. I must have thought my little buddies out front would keep an eye on things.

So I went into my friend’s place and we hung out for a couple of hours. When it was time to go I hopped in my car and drove off sensing something was amiss. Nine Inch Nails “Head Like a Hole” was still playing and I decided to change CDs in my super high tech Discman. On the floor of my car I had a small 10 CD case in which I kept my go-to music of the week. I reached for it and to my surprise there was no case! My heart skipped several beats. Back then the thing I valued the most in life was my music collection. I was 19 and had a crappy part time job. Replacing 10 CD’s would be next to impossible.

In a panic, I pulled over to calm down and search my vehicle. Easy Todd, maybe you just misplaced the CDs. Maybe you left them at home. After a quick search, I realized they were definitely gone. I had been burgled. This was a travesty! Who would do such a thing to me? I reached in the console between the seats for a delicious and calming Camel Light, but hey were gone too! Who would take my CDs and my smokes?………….Those little fuckers! Now I was more pissed knowing that I had been burned by that group of prepubescent criminals. I was sure they were laughing it up. Listening to my music and smoking my smokes. Bastards.

I drove back to see if I could find the little bastards but it was late and no one was around anymore. The next few times I went back over to my friend’s place I tried to find the culprits but I never saw them again and I didn’t have much proof even if I had found them.

The real problem came after the fact.  What do I do about replacing these CDs? As already referenced, I had a crappy part time gig and couldn’t afford to replace them all right away. There was also new music coming out all the time that needed purchasing. So I had to prioritize. I organized the lost CDs into tiers of importance.

Tier 1: You Fucking Assholes. I Love That CD and I Must Sell Blood, Semen or Organs to Get the Money to Replace It.

Smashing Pumpkins, Gish

Songs of note: Well, all of them, but “Bury Me” may be my favorite today.

Replacement Status: Repurchased 1 week after incident at full price. I have purchased this album in every available audio format over the years. Cassette, CD (twice) and digital download.

 

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stoned and Dethroned

Song of note: “Sometimes Always”

Replacement Status: Repurchased 2 weeks after incident at full price.

 

 

Beastie Boys , Ill Communication

Songs of note: “Sure Shot”, “Root Down”

Replacement Status: Repurchased one month after incident at full price.

 

 

Tier 2: Awe man, that sucks. I’ll have to get that back when I get the chance.

Luscious Jackson, Natural Ingredients

Song of note: “Deep Shag”

Replacement Status: Not replaced yet. Will be scouring the inter-webs for a suitable torrent as soon as I am done with this post.

 

 

Weezer, The Blue Album

Songs of note: “Say it Ain’t So”, “Undone – The Sweater Song”

Replacement Status: Not replaced yet. Napster-ized a few of the key singles on this release but have not as of yet replaced.

 

 

The Sugarcubes, Stick Around for Joy

Songs of note: “Gold”, “Hit”.

Replacement Status: Repurchased summer of 1997 for $1 at CD Xchange. What a bargain!

 

 

Tier 3: You can have it. I won’t be buying that one twice.

Helmet, Betty

Song of note: “Milquetoast”

Replacement Status: A friend recommended it. Never liked it. Never considered replacing it.

 

 

Medicine, The Buried Life

Songs of note: “The Pink” ”She Knows Everything”

Replacement Status: Liked the record but never really considered replacing it. Also had other releases by Medicine to help fill the gap. Medicine is a bit different.  I wish I could have seen the look on those little assholes faces when they first heard this one.

 

Various Artists, DGC Rarities Vol. 1

Songs of note: Counting Crows, “Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)”  Nirvana, “Pay to Play”

Status: I Napstered the crap out of the Counting Crows song but the rest was of little interest to me. Never considered replacing.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 20 years now since that Luscious Jackson CD was taken. I also can’t believe I had forgotten all about it until they played it on the radio.  Is there a moral here? Probably not. I did learn that you can’t trust a pack a 15 year old skateboarders unless you give them cigarettes upfront. And hey, things could have been worse.  They could have found the 3 cases of Milwaukee’s Best in the back seat.

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Memories of… “Boom! Shake the Room”

Few things can trigger a long lost memory like music. It can happen anywhere.  For me it usually happens in the car. The other day, I was driving to work and flipping channels on the satellite radio. I stopped on the Old School Hip Hop channel. They were playing a horrible song from the 90’s, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Boom! Shake The Room”.

I was immediately taken back to December 17th, 1997.  I was living in Ames, Iowa and was taking my wife (then girlfriend) Jess to her first Prince concert. We were pumped up for days leading up to the show.  To make things more exciting we heard a rumor that Prince was hosting an after party at a local bar. Being huge Prince fans we were beside ourselves that we may have an opportunity to see The Purple One up close and personal. We decided to play it by ear and hope the rumors were true.

The concert was awesome. We had decent seats and he played mostly hits (there are a lot) and didn’t play too many songs from the new record at the time Emancipation. I even bought this  super cool hockey jersey featuring the logo of Prince’s band The New Power Generation. By the 2nd encore we had pretty much given up on any sort of post show party and were both ready to head home. That’s when I spotted a guy handing out flyers  advertising an after concert party for some charity I don’t remember.  Prince was actually going to be there!  Now I know you’re asking yourself , “Where in Ames, Iowa was Prince going to host a party?”  Well Ames’ premier cowboy bar, Hunky Dory’s, of course. That’s right, Hunky Dory’s.

We hurried over to Hunky’s as fast as possible. Most of the trip I had my head out the side window because the windshield was frosted over from the December cold. When we got there the line wasn’t too long so we got in early enough to grab some booze and score a table near the roped off VIP section. Then we waited. And waited. And waited…

We amused ourselves by watching the people on the dance floor.  This was a cowboy bar remember so the DJ had a very limited hip hop or dance music collection. The crowd reaction to these random outdated dance songs was entertaining to say the least.

Finally, Prince arrived looking almost exactly like he did in this picture. Security took him immediately over to the VIP section which was about 20 feet from us. I couldn’t believe it.  Jess and I had been so excited about getting to the party that we didn’t really discuss what we would do when Prince actually showed up.  This is the point in the story where my wife and I disagree about the evening’s finer details. She claims that I hid behind a nearby popcorn machine upon Prince’s arrival because I was scared. My claim is that I didn’t want to be a Prince Fan Boy and rush up to stare at him like all the girls. From the best of my recollection this was our exchange:

Jess: Well? Are we going over?

A Star Struck Me: Uhhhh…

Jess: Really? Fuck you, I’m going over there.

A Deflated Me: Wuh?

So she went by herself. I watched her walk over (looking extra cute in MY newly purchased super sweet NPG hockey jersey) and somehow made her way to the front of the pack of adoring women. She was less than a foot away from my music idol. Prince ignored the hoard of other girls, looked right down at her and smiled. I was so proud. Prince thinks my girlfriend is hot!  My pride quickly turned to panic as I remembered Prince’s taste in women was exactly like mine.

Prince’s appetite for hot brunettes is well documented.  Apollonia, Vanity, Mayte, Sheila E and Carmen Electra have all been linked to the Purple One. The only aberration I’ve ever heard about was blonde bombshell Kim Basinger. They met during the filming of Tim Burton’s first Batman movie for which Prince provided the soundtrack. He pulled the cool musician move where you bring the hot movie starlet into the studio and let her make an album with you.  They recorded The Scandalous Sex Suite EP  together and she promptly moved  into his Paisley Park mansion/studio.

If you believe the Prince folklore, she stayed there as girlfriend/prisoner for a few months until she could take the weirdness no longer. She left in the dead of night leaving behind her dignity and her BMW.

Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that shit. My future bride would not be joining that long list of discarded brunettes. To quote The Joker from the previously mentioned Batman movie “Never rub another man’s rhubarb!”  I stood up about to take action when DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s song “Boom! Shake the Room” came over the sound system. A look of disgust washed over Prince’s face. Honestly, he looked like he had just stepped in dog shit. He quickly had a lackey take a stack of CDs to the DJ and ordered him to play music from that stack only. With his attention pulled away from Jess, Prince moved on to more pressing business. Like ignoring everyone in the bar.

So thank you DJ Jazzy Jeff. Thank you Will Smith.  Prince’s distaste for your awful song saved my future marriage.

Memories of … Snap! “The Power”

Few things can trigger a long-lost memory like music. It can happen anywhere. Standing in line for coffee you can hear some old song and instantly get transported back to another time and place. What is great about this experience is that there can be endless different reactions to same tune. A U2 song might remind you of a junior high school dance, but could remind your next door neighbor of the time he/she was carjacked. So, I thought that I would share a few stories and the songs that are linked to them.

First up: Snap!, “The Power”

That song reminds me of when I was a freshman in high school. I was in morning gym class turning lap after suicidal lap. My lush full head of brown hair was bouncing lazily back and forth as I ran. I caught sight of my reflection and it was as if my hair was waving to me. Calling out to me. Reassuring me. “I will always be with you, Todd”…I digress.

I looked up and saw the assistant principal enter the gym. Now at my school, the AP was “The Enforcer.” This meant that if he interrupted a class to get you, you were fucked. He briefly confers with the gym coach and then they both scan the gym until they find the poor sap in trouble. Me.

Normally, I wouldn’t freak out too bad, but the whole scenario reminded me of a scene in the C. Thomas Howell movie Tank.  Young C. Thomas’ school principal and gym coach drag him out of practice and take him to the locker room. A corrupt police officer then pulls a gigantic bag of weed out of his locker. He is immediately thrown into prison and horrible prisony things happen to him. That is until his father breaks him out with the help of a Sherman tank and a spunky prostitute with a heart of gold.

(How have I not seen this movie? —Chris)

So now you understand my distress when the gym coach motions for me to come toward them. I had no idea what I could possibly have done wrong. Thinking of nothing obvious, I ran through the top 3 transgressions that 15-year-olds get busted for.

  1. Fighting- Nope. I’m a lover, not a fighter.
  2. Unexplained Absence- Nope. My attendance record was beyond reproach.
  3. Possession of Tobacco Products- The gig is up! There was a fairly large assortment of smoking and chewing tobaccos in my locker at the start of business that morning.

I walked toward them planning what I would do during my certain 2-day suspension from school. Imagine my relief when instead of accusations of wrong doing I was greeted with a note. Apparently, I have a doctor’s appointment and my brother is in the front office waiting to take me.

This was odd considering that my older brother had recently moved out of the house. I rarely saw him, and he definitely wouldn’t be the one to pick me up for some forgotten appointment. I didn’t question it though and quickly hauled ass to the office. There he was, BS’ing with the school secretary. I don’t remember what was said between us before we left, but I do remember thinking that everyone in that office (including the AP) knew that this was no ordinary trip to the doctor. No, this was a jailbreak.

Much like Andy Dufresne escaping a lifetime of cruelty at Shawshank, I was elated to be free of a morning filled with calisthenics and calculus. We hopped into my brother’s gigantic and obnoxiously loud truck (he had recently bought some early ’70s red behemoth that was two steps down from a monster truck). As we pulled away from the school, he slipped a cassette into the tape deck. Snap!’s “The Power” blasted over the speakers. The cassette was a single with no B side so when the song was over it just flipped sides and played again and again.

With no real destination in mind, we drove around town wasting the day with Snap! as our soundtrack. He dropped me off at school just in time to hop on the bus and go home. All I heard in my head the whole way home was…

“I Got the Power!”

“It’s gettin’, it’s getting, it’s getting kinda hectic.”

“It’s gettin’, it’s getting, it’s getting kinda hectic.”

“It’s gettin’, it’s getting, it’s getting kinda hectic.”