BMCJMMC: The Outfield

Here’s a fact: my cousin Josh is cooler than your cousins. He’s cooler than you.

OK, although those statements are most likely true, I don’t have evidence to back them up. (For all I know, our audience is really cool.) This one, however, we know is true: my cousin Josh is cooler than me.

josh power, gentlemen rogues drummer

I found this photo of my cousin Josh on Brooklyn Vegan. It was taken by Glen Brown last year at Stubb’s in Austin. His Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/glen.brown.14.

Let’s compare our current musical careers. This month, I sang karaoke at The Red Lion in Cedar Rapids. I performed Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” Two of my friends danced behind me as if they were robots. We were a big hit, I think.

This was around the same time that my cousin Josh and his band, Gentlemen Rogues, were in the midst of their first UK tour. On May 2, they played the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Yes, THAT Cavern Club. My cousin Josh played drums where John & Paul & George & Ringo (& Pete) performed hundreds of times.

My side of the ledger: I sang karaoke in the same space as some guy who played a mean harmonica during his sing-alongs.

(Which, by the way, isn’t that cheating, bringing your own instrument to karaoke? Open Mic Night, sure. Karaoke? GTFO. I wanted to call bullshit, but I also didn’t want a nasty confrontation to prevent me from being allowed to later sing “A Boy Named Sue,” so I held my tongue.)

 

So yes, my cousin Josh is cool. And there was a time in 1987 when he made me cooler, giving me Memorex tapes full of good music at a time when I was listening to a good deal of not-so-good music. The era preceding this moment is known as BMCJMMC (Before My Cousin Josh Made Me Cooler).

I wrote about this once before. In the days of BMCJMMC, I was into Wham! Nowhere to go but up, I suppose.

Anyway, thinking about my cousin Josh and thinking about the UK…

(Quick sidebar: Queens Park Rangers are 90 minutes away from returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking! Yesterday’s cracker of a match saw Rangers deal with Wigan Athletic, 2-1 in extra time, at Loftus Road in the second leg of their Playoff Semi-Final. A brace from striker Charlie Austin put the Latics to the sword. Now it’s on to Wembley to face Derby County; it always had to be Steve McLaren’s squad standing between the Super Hoops and Premier League promotion ecstasy. NOTE: most of this terminology I’ve lifted straight from UK newspaper articles and my Football Manager computer game.)

So yeah, I was thinking about Josh and the UK, and it made me wonder: what other British artists did I like in the BMCJMMC era that make me cringe now?

I still love Duran Duran. I’ve already made an example of Wham!

Howard Jones? Nah, I never bought any of his stuff…

How about the Outfield?

There was a point in my life when “Your Love” was pretty much the greatest song ever. By the time this song came out, I had my own boom box/ghetto blaster/insert lame name for boxy cassette player, and the Play Deep album found itself in constant play. Of course, seeing as I hardly ever listened to any other song (I honestly don’t know that I ever flipped the cassette to Side Two), I probably should have just bought the 45 RPM of “Your Love” and thrown the song on a blank tape, along with Paul Young and Julian Lennon and Jan Hammer (fuck yeah, Miami Vice) and whatever else I was listening to that year. But whatever. It was worth the full album price to have that song at the ready at all times.

The song actually came in handy when I transferred to Iowa State and needed to make friends all over again. One night, some guy was blaring the song from his dorm room, so I wandered in, as OBVIOUSLY this is where the party is. In a matter of seconds, I took a seat and started air-drumming the shit out of the song. (In particular, the part with a bunch of sweet fills and what not.) By the time I was air-drumming into the chorus, I had new best friends. (Amazingly, I wasn’t able to convert the moment into a girlfriend situation.)

Anyway, that was AMCJMMC. In my days of youth, I taped the video one night, likely during the WTBS show Night Tracks. (Unfortunate kids who didn’t grow up with MTV thought Night Tracks was incredible.) If you are unfamiliar with the cinematic vision for this song, I have embedded the video below.

 

Naturally, talking points come to the forefront after reviewing this video…

I can’t believe the headless bass guitar never really caught on. Must have been ahead of its time. (Nearly 30 years later, it’s still apparently ahead of its time.)

Some of the players are really into looking all ’80s. Which makes sense, since this was released in the mid-’80s. The blond big-hair dudes seem to recognize the look of the era, especially the guitarist who goes for a stroll to get a closer look at the painter girl’s masterpiece. The others just kind of look like normal joes (although the blind keyboard guy, who apparently wasn’t really in the band, is a nice touch). So NOT ’80s, non-blond dudes. Although the singer’s attempt at ’80s hair is very ’80s, just not cool ’80s, which isn’t all that cool, but…well, you get it.

I always liked “The Girl.” (Not sure why I put that in quotes.) She was cute, for sure. Not a knockout, I suppose. Nor was she doing cartwheels on car hoods or whatever it was that Tawny Kitaen used to do in those Whitesnake videos. But she was pretty, and she basically smiled politely at the nerds in the Outfield before leaving the warehouse with her painting, presumably to find cooler dudes to hang with (like, say, Van Halen or Prince or Motley Crue).

She ended up playing one of the girls on Just the Ten of Us. She recently did an interview about the “Your Love” video. I still like “The Girl.”

Perhaps the greatest takeaway after going down Memory Lane is that not everything I listened to in the BMCJMMC era was cringeworthy, even if said band was flirting with one-hit wonder territory. (“Since You’ve Been Gone” was a modest hit, and “Say It Isn’t So” was actually a decent song, too. But that’s about it.) Look past the “One Night in Bangkok” purchase, ignore the Billy Ocean “Loverboy” 45, pretend I didn’t fool myself into thinking that Eddie Murphy “Party All the Time” song was cool. There were moments where good taste entered the equation. After all, I loved the Purple Rain singles, and I thought Van Halen was great. And for one near-chart-topping moment, I was able to see the legitimate pop power of the Outfield.

Only one thing left for me to do: work out my “Your Love” routine for the next karaoke night.

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MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : Finals Results

moss mad 16The final results are in!!! After hundreds…well… dozens…well…almost double digit votes, the 2013 MoSS? Madness Champion is Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle.” We placed calls into the representatives of Axl Rose hoping for comment on this glorious victory. Unfortunately, Axl Rose was unavailable for comment due to a prior commitment. Apparently, he was entered into, and ultimately won, the 2013 San Luis Obispo County Pie Eating Contest. I guess that would explain his shapely figure of late.Axl

Check out the original “Welcome to the Jungle” video from a time when Axl and the rest of us were younger and thinner.

Thanks to you all for voting. I know this year’s competition was a bit rushed. Now it’s back to the daily grind. Just back to work with no silly competitions or brackets to distract us. You may be wondering,  “What will my bosses think when I’m all the sudden productive at work again?”. I have the solution. If you feel as though you are doing too much work or going above and beyond your normal work day tasks, stop what you are doing and watch this ridiculous YouTube clip of Kevin Bacon from the movie Quicksilver. He “bike dances” with his hot ballet dancer girlfriend. Someone thought that was a great idea. Here’s the pitch.

Movie Mogul Guy #1: You know that Footloose movie made a boat load of cash right?

Movie Mogul Guy #2: Yeah so what?

Movie Mogul Guy #1: Well I have an idea for a new movie. It’s like Footloose except there’s bikes.

Movie Mogul Guy #2: Let’s make a movie!

Enjoy!!!

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Finals

moss mad 16The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here. The MoSS? Madness 3013 Finals!!! With an unprecedented run to the finals, the Whitesnake song “Still of the Night” went from vote-in candidate to potential champion. #1 seed Guns N’ Roses rolled through all of their match-ups and are now poised for finals victory. Can Whitesnake do the unthinkable and survive one more round? Will the favorites Guns N’ Roses dominate yet another match-up? You, the readers, will decide. Voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Final Four

moss mad 16

We are down to the Final Four songs in this year’s MoSS? Madness competition. Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” pulled off yet another upset defeating Van Halen’s “Panama.”   This sets up an all Whitesnake battle for the finals on that side of the bracket. On the other side of the bracket we have a match-up between #1 seeds Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi. Final Four voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Elite 8

moss mad 16

The votes are in and Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” pulled off another upset defeating Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”  Quite handily I must add. I thought Def Lep  would cruise on to the finals. The Ratt song “Round and Round had the most impressive victory having only one vote go to Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane”.  Elite 8 voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Sweet 16

moss mad 16

The votes are in and Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” advances on to the Sweet 16 with a one vote victory over Def Leppard’s “Photograph.” Whitesnake was behind for quite awhile but a late comeback put them ahead just as the voting closed. Well done to the tie breaking voter. That song deserves to be in the competition just based on David Coverdale’s scream at the end of  the epic bridge. Now the entire Sweet 16 bracket is ready. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

Also, be sure to check out today’s dispatch of “From the MoSS? Pit.” We made it to a couple of shows this week and Chris has some spot on analysis.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition: The Vote in Match-up

moss mad 16It’s time again baby! That’s right. MoSS? Madness 2013 is finally upon us. Better late than never right? This year we are doing things a little differently and starting at the Sweet 16. No early round snoozer match-ups this year. We’re jumping right into the good stuff. Also different this year, you are going to be voting for your favorite hair band songs. With only 16 songs in the competition, many bands didn’t make the cut. Groups like Slaughter, White Lion, and Firehouse all had to settle for the NIT this year.  You may be wondering, “How can one choose between such beloved classics as “Here I Go Again” and “Welcome to the Jungle?” A difficult task no doubt. You’ll have to figure that out if you want to help us crown the MoSS? Madness 2013 Champion.

First things first, we have to vote the final song into the Sweet 16 bracket.  This year’s vote in match-up is between Whitesnake’s epic “Still of the Night” and Def Leppard’s classic “Photograph”. The winner of this match will not only take the final spot in the Sweet 16 bracket, it will also be the only multi-song artist on the bracket. Take a listen to both selections and vote below.

Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me valuable time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly rock out! So on days like today I sit back, relax and turn on my Sirius Stiletto. (Special thanks to my brother who so foolishly gave up this beautiful piece of technology. I love it. Endless commercial free channels of fantastic music) After four hours alone with my thoughts and the radio, I came away with a few revelations.

Lana Del Rey is over-hyped but talented

Yes, she’s been over-played. Yes, she tanked on SNL. Yes, she talks like Betty Boop. I don’t care. She’s great.  I listened to her song “Radio” around four times today and defy you not to sing along by the 2nd chorus.

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a fucking dream i’m living in
Baby love me cause i’m playing on the radio
(how do you like me now?)


Too much coffee makes you piss a lot

Side note: If your trip is over 2 hours long, cap the coffee at 12 oz.  Today I had roughly 24 oz and found myself with that uncomfortable feeling. Not to worry. I have the entire eastern half of the state mapped out by establishments with suitable bathrooms. I try to avoid the rest stops. I’m tired of the long looks from bi-sexual truckers named Carl. I’ve found that the best location for an emergency pit stop is McDonalds. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a McDonalds in this part of the state and you usually don’t run into some hobo washing his testicles in the sink…usually.

Anyone can cover Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and it will be awesome

Today I heard versions of “Running Up that Hill” by Placebo and The Chromatics. Surprisingly enough they are both pretty damn good. I guess this Kate Bush gem is the perfect song to try and make your own.  You can’t get much better that the original though.  Check it out below.

Jack White is in a lot of bands. Also, there are a lot of bands with “Bear” in their name

The White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and now Jack White solo stuff. I listened to it all on the road today. Good god man. Take a break. We get it. You can write a lot of songs. 15% of them are good. Slow down a bit and maybe you could get that number up to 75%. Please just think about it Jack.

Today I also heard songs by: Bear in Heaven, Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands, Panda Bear and Minus the Bear.  I will pose to myself the same question once asked of Dwight Schrute from The Office . Which Bear is Best? I’m glad you asked. That’s a toughy. While all have their merits, today(based solely on car stereo volume levels) Bear in Heaven is the best bear.

I will skip any song by Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel, or Animal Collective

I’ve tried to like these bands. I just can’t do it. I even change songs if I’m on the phone and one of these bands come on. Nice try Sirius but you cant sneak one by me while my celly’s blowin’ up.

I will not skip any song by Modest Mouse, Pixies, or Whitesnake

Yeah that’s right, Whitesnake. Sometimes you just have to tune in to Hair Nation and bang your head. Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Rawk!

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of pit stops. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime in the future go ahead and wave. Just please don’t laugh while I’m doing my David Coverdale impression.