(He's Wang Chunging.)
Hiya, Kids! Time for another round of peek-a-boo from a skeleton in my musical closet!
This time, we’re going to go back, back, back – way back into the Dark Ages, sometimes referred to by historians as 1986. This was a terrifying time, full of exploding space shuttles, exploding nuclear power plants, and cassette tapes exploding from the stomachs of teddy bears named Ruxpin.
Unfortunately, I was too young to start drinking the pain away, and my insensitive parents forced me to go to – shudder – school. One thing I did have was my clock radio, which kept me abreast of popular music. One of the hits was “The Rain” by that year’s most deliciously named act, Oran “Juice” Jones. Below you’ll find the video for this… ur… masterwork.
As a teenager, I thought there was something haunting about this song, and whenever it came on the radio (which was like, every eight minutes) I would stop everything and listen carefully, as though for clues; another hint that Paul was really dead.
Now, with adulty ears and eyes, I watch this video and feel… weirdy. What’s with the tuxedoed trio? They seem to dissolve in order to form the singer, like some prom-date Voltron. Also, why so many references of cereal? When you consider the man’s name, you can begin to see some kind of breakfastal obsession.
Now back to our Winter 2008 tour of Italy and perhaps I should warn you ... you should anticipate a terrible, terrible pun. I apologize now, but I had too use it.
Years (decades?) of bad habits, an ever shortening attention span, little actually useful talent, and the never ending need to disrupt and push the limits of wholesome god fearing good taste has taken a toll on my musicianship. There is little precision in what I do, I'm not really a loose cannon, but more like an untethered crate of oranges cracking against the hull of a Listing Ship.
The catastrophic effect of such imprecise methods was really hammered into my heart last year when I mistakenly took a gig playing pieces by Erik Satie in a classical guitar duet. My performance, lets say, was flawed. Flawed like you've never seen flawed before!
They may never have made as big a splash commercially as some of the other "grunge" (a genre they pioneered) acts out of the Great North West, but Tad (named after band leader & ex-butcher Tad Doyle), who formed in 1988, sure made their mark in other lasting ways.
They were banned by MTV, sued by Pepsi, dropped by their label and got into heavy drinking and drugging, not to mention heavy situations, it seemed, wherever they went-- including landing in legal trouble over the found picture of a couple that they utilized (without permission) as an album cover.
Now finally there is a film about the long-defunct band Tad. Titled Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears and made by Ryan Short and Adam Pease for King of Hearts Productions, it's planned for release on DVD on February 19th. Check out the clip above and visit the film makers' MySpace for more info on this documentary which looks like it will be pretty damn good.
Exactly twenty years ago, in early '88, Tad was formed by singer/guitarist Tad Doyle and bassist Kurt Danielson who recruited both Gary Thorstensen as guitarist and Steve Wied (formerly of Skin Yard) as their drummer. That was the original lineup and the band signed to the then new label Sub Pop, who released their debut album God's Balls in early 1989. The album track "Wood Goblins" was released as a single and video but was reportedly banned by MTV over content (scroll down to see the video).
Well, holy shit. I got to go out to a show last night. Did Hell freeze over?
I mean, "It was a dark and stormy night ..."
As some of you know, I don't get out much. Too very chronically sick, too very tired, too very many things that make it impossible to travel across town - much less across the bay. I mean, damn, maybe if we had something more like the Paris Metro instead of the wallet-breaking Bart (see bart.gov, out of towners, see the pathetic the bit of land it covers, down Market Street or Mission Street as if the rest of the city doesn't exist - and see the prices one pays for such paltry service.)
I could make my way around, with decent public transportation if it existed. Erm, most days.
But even the beloved and precious to me Paris Metro couldn't do a thing about the fact that I feel constantly as if I'm first day out of the hospital after a long stay for serious pneumonia. I'm quick to exhaust, wobbly baby deer legs, you name it. But I have a big brother who loves music.
My big brothers Kevin and Brian were instrumental in where I ended up today. Yes, I spent my childhood with a transistor radio glued to my ear, running it up the AM and FM in search of anything, which back then meant pure magic like Gladys Knight & The Pips. But it was my brothers' voluminous collection of vinyl records that brought me above what was easily found on the radios. Lest I forget, I am eternally grateful to my beautiful sister Jill who introduced me to the B-52's when I was 11, and my brother Scott who brought to me gems like Madman Across the Water, and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy from Elton John. I eventually graduated to a clock radio which was heavier to hold against my head but did sound better, and a bit later on had my own turntable and a generous donation of vinyl spanning big band jazz LPs, Tom Jones 45s on the Parrot label ... to Jesus Christ Superstar from my beloved Godmother, Aunt Helen.