Originally posted June 12th 2009
Every now and then, I get the feeling that I’m not in Kansas anymore. By that, I mean that I sometimes get the feeling that I have popped into a parallel universe. Urth, instead of Earth, if you get my drift.
This is probably a result of growing up watching movies like The Time Machine, Invasion of the Saucermen, Teenagers from Outer Space, and that one with the guy in the gorilla suit and a diving helmet terrorizing the countryside. Add to that stacks of comics with titles like Mystery in Space, Weird Science Fantasy, and Tales of the Unexpected, and TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Space Patrol and Tales of Tomorrow, and you’ve got one little kid with a great big imagination.
When I was 12, I used to lay on the roof of my folk’s house in Stockton on a clear night, and, staring at the stars, wondered if I were from Venus, or Mars, and when my real parents were going to come and pick me up and take me home.
I still wonder where the hell they are.
This strange little personality quirk was joined in my 20’s, by occasionally reading a printed word and thinking to myself that that is not the way I remember it being spelled, or finding that someone I thought had died was still alive, and just fine, thank you very much.
One day I found myself saying certain words over and over again until they sounded wrong, or foreign, or simply nonsensical. Try saying these words, (out loud or in your head), 10 times in a row:
See what I mean?
I used to keep this kind of stuff to myself, fearing that my friends would think I had slipped a cog or worse, but nowadays, these things no longer sound that crazy. ..and I don’t give an Owl-fart about what anyone thinks of me.
The world we live in is crazier than any of those movies or comics I read when I was a sapling.
We pay for water.
We don’t travel by train or Dirigible.
Entire cultures don’t look up to us, they hate us.
Kids take automatic weapons to school and shoot other kids.
Music is no longer the defining factor of youth or our fondest memories.
Radio is not the primary place where we get our news, sports, or music.
People with little or no talent become stars thanks to television, and some people’s desire to make fun of, or enjoy the suffering of others, has made it acceptable to revel in other people’s misfortune.
And worse…there seems to be no respect for originality, talent, or other people’s success.
We over-analyze and fret about everything we do and say to the point of not being able to just say what we mean, or do things we find interesting or appealing because no one else wants to do them with us, may be offended, or, (shudder) not agree with us. Conformity is King. Be different, just like we are.
This is definitely not the world I grew up in.
Fuck history, I’ll just rewrite it…
In 1986, I wrote the first chapter of what was going to be a book called, The Real History of Rock and Roll. It’s around here somewhere, but I’m too lazy to look for it.
It was an alternative time-line of events that I believed should have played out differently than they did.
Using hindsight and a desire to see what I considered wrongs righted, I endeavoured to re-write that which personally annoyed the crap out of me. Bad decisions by good people. Tragic shards of destiny cutting short the lives or careers of those who still had so much left to give. Idiotic manipulation by self-serving individuals that destroyed other people’s lives, like the studio bosses that gave Judy Garland uppers and downers when she was a child star so that she could work longer hours, or Rita Hayworth’s husband whoring her out to advance her career, Or Col. Tom Parker.
Especially, Col. Tom Parker…
In real life, Parker stopped Elvis from starring in a biopic about James Dean, a part that, reportedly, Elvis wanted very badly. Parker, instead, made the deal with Paramount that would give Presley a million dollars a picture. Pictures, (with the exception of Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, and King Creole), which are derided and dismissed as crap, good only for their cheese factor, and laugh out loud songs, my personal favorite being Do the Clam from Girl Happy. You can Google Parker and learn how much of a weasel he was on your own.
In The Real History of Rock and Roll, I used that James Dean film as the turning point in El’s career. In my universe, Elvis argues with Parker about playing the role, Parker refuses to budge, so Elvis fires him and takes the role. He wins an Oscar. He studies, gets good parts, and becomes a successful and well respected actor. Yes, his music career suffers until 1965, when he gets a phone call from John Lennon. Lennon tells him that he and Paul have written some songs for him, and so have Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Leiber and Stoller, and Buddy Holly, (whose plane didn’t go down in ‘59), and some 24 year old kid they liked named Otis Redding.
Elvis records the songs. He is back on top.
Otis, meanwhile, becomes so successful as a writer, that he opts out of a tour with the Bar-Kays, and in September of 1967, like the rest of the music world, is saddened to hear that Diana Ross and the Jackson 5 have perished in a plane crash into Lake Michigan while touring their new albums.
In 1968, during Redding’s set at the Monterey Pop Festival, Elvis walks on stage to tumultuous applause, and joins Otis for what becomes a milestone in pop music history. It is his first live appearance in over 4 years. A year later, they release an album together, Otis and Elvis in Memphis. It becomes the largest selling album in history.
What about The Beatles, you ask?
It is Mark David Chapman that shoots and kills President Ronald Reagan. John Hinkley shoots and wounds John Lennon, who recovers and continues to record and tour.
George Harrison’s tumour turns out to be a speck on an X-ray and a misdiagnoses by a nervous doctor. He recovers from a minor blood infection and continues to record and tour.
In 1983, they reunite with Paul and Ringo, and record a new Beatle album and tour the world to celebrate 20 years of number I hits. They continue to reunite every 10 years to record as the Beatles and do a tour.
You get the idea…
Maybe I’ll write more of this alternate history someday.
Anyway, when things look bleak, I like to think that somewhere, somewhen, this is actually how things played out. And as much as I wish it were true, there are wonderful things going on in this world too…you just have to look a little harder to find them.
Which brings us to…
This week’s A_R Online is inspired by a live performance I saw last week at the awesome Hugh’s Room. The opening act, Lori Cullen, will have a track or two here next week.
This week, a few tunes from one of my very favorite groups, Cadence. They’re from Toronto, and are in the studio recording their third album as we speak. Until I get my grubby little paws on it, a few tracks from their last effort are included here, along with a few new tunes by some great new artists.
In my alternate universe, all of these tunes would be hits already.
As always, you can hear these tracks as you read about them by going here, scroll down, and click on ‘A _ R Online Volume 15?. This edition of A_R Online is again, short and to the point…nice to be able to hear these new tracks in just over 20 minutes isn’t it…and, as far as I know, they are 100% Canadian.
Twenty minutes…just enough time for a Pom-tini and a foot rub.
Alas, my main computer continues being a dick, so no V/T, just music.
Anybody out there have a fully loaded, high end, brand new PC they don’t need? Huh? Anybody?
1. Michael Behm-Love
I honestly don’t know if this is the whole song, a snippet, or what. What I do know is it is one massive hook, a bit retro, a bit Beatle-y, and as unique as can be. At 1:43 I found myself looping it because I kept wanting to hear it again.
2. Cadence-Sittin’ in the Cellar
There are no drums or other musical instruments in the Cadence tracks. Everything is done with voices. This is a jump-blues track that swings like crazy. After seeing the band live at Hugh’s room last week, I can tell you that they are this good live. Enjoy…
3. Brad Johnner-Lookin’ At You
If this had been recorded by Tom Petty or someone with his history, this would already be a smash. More proof the Country and Rock are more than cousins. A great lyric, and an involving vocal…and the sentiment is universal, we have all experienced this feeling.
4. Damian Robitaille-Mot de Passe
Do I know what he’s talking about? Nope…it’s all Greek to me, but the delivery of the vocal is so cool and conversational, and it reminds me of the playfulness that made Robert Charlebois’s music so much fun. Is there a reason English stations can’t play Quebec or French recordings? Again…nope.
5. Cadence-Hit That Jive Jack
Holy Waffles! This is sooo cool. Harkening back to Cab Calloway and the Immortal Mel Torme, Cadence prove that the voice is as much a musical instrument as a guitar, saxophone, or Hammond B3. The sheer joy of this kind of singing just makes me want to shout! When you hear this kind of stuff done live, it restarts your belief in music and performers. Dig it…
6. Ian Kelly-Triste
It’s French! It’s English! It’s Bilingual! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Why aren’t there more recordings like this in Canada. Makes so much sense my head hurts…
7. Cadence-The Things We Do For Love
Personally, I prefer this to the original. Why? I dunno…I just do. This version makes the song the star and not the artist. In fact, I didn’t realize what a well crafted song this actually is until I heard it done this way. I hope that doesn’t hurt 10CC’s feelings.
Fail of the Week
This just gets weirder and weirder.
Somewhere David and Michael Hutchence are hanging around trying to figure out what the hell happened.
Win of the week
Me, Pie, and Fans of the Fry
Comedy Central mans-up and writes a check for 26 new episodes of Futurama. Pie and I have been dancing with the cats since we heard the news. Next on our wish list is a spin off of the Uber-Shatner/Troy McClure of space, Zap Brannigan. Yes!
New episodes start airing in mid 2010.
I thought so…
Alright Jimmy…smile if Conan O’Brien is funny.
I knew it!
That’s enough for now. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, complaints, and thoughts…and remember…don’t believe a word I say.
Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.