Friday, November 30, 2012

Li'l Punks

Toddler wear, vintage clothing store, New Hope, PA

Hello hello

Steve Hogan here. I'm humbly accepting John's invite to contribute to his music blog. I do so as a guy who, like John loves music, but unlike John sucks at actually creating any. Seriously, I still need to get beyond merely learning how to tune the ukulele my wife bought me. I blame my parents for being too cheapjack for me to get a band instrument, as well as elementary school music classes having us sing stuff like this: Yes, yes, it's all very cute when there's an adorable moppet involved, but when you're a man cub pushing ten, this is the sonic equivalent of Ralphie being forced to wear the pink bunny costume at Christmas. I went through classes sullenly mouthing words and not singing so much. When I started to do a lot of theater in high school, I'd swear they staged "Once Upon a Mattress" just so they could have a musical where I'd play a mute king who sang in pantomime.

So as I post here keep in mind that at best, a friend in high school taught me how to play the main riff from Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". That's right, a song whose guitarist was MISSING TWO FINGER TIPS. Whuckachuckawhuckachukca dahdahdah!

Yer Morning Moptops - Your Outside is In

The Feelies - "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guitar Town

Hey, check this out. You can go on a 3D Google Maps tour of my favorite guitar store in the world, Action Music in Falls Church, VA. If you love vintage, this is your favorite store, too.

Soundalike Central

"Always the Sun": the Stranglers' weird decision to channel Lou Reed's singing voice (he does have one).

Yer Morning Moptops - Paul Sings All Things Must Pass

Didn't realize yesterday was George's birthday.

CORRECTION: anniversary of his death.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Luciana Souza

On the Other Hand, LPs Were Great

Check out Sergeant Pepper with its cut-outs and photos and lyrics. You could buy it that way for decades.

Oh, and look what came with The Beatles (The White Album) LP. There was a big poster, too. Compare the LP to the shitty cassette version. (My copy came with the cases scotch-taped together.)

London Calling was a thang of beauty. In addition to the great front and back design, you got these great hand-written lyrics on the sleeves. (click to embiggen)

Even bands I didn't much like at the time had some cool stuff. Led Zep's Physical Graffiti had push-pull sleeve action, with images and letters appearing in  the little windows.

So did the Stones' Some Girls, which got them in copyright trouble with the likes of Lucille Ball, and they hadda re-do the cover as a result.

And I always loved Tull's Stand Up.

Yer missin' out with yer MP3s and yer I-Tunes, kids.

Nostalgia Proof: Cassette Tapes

Hate 'em, don't miss 'em.

The tangling, the warping, the hiss. 

The massive amount of time it took to make a mixtape.

The crappy sound quality, the inordinate cost.

The stupid record companies shuffling the song order of an album just so it would fit on a cassette. (That should be "She's the One", not "Night".)

To hell with 'em. Good riddance.

Oh, and screw VHS, too.

And CDs, while we're at it.

Yer Morning Moptops - Your Mammie Will Scold

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Straighter Than Narrow

Harry Nilsson, "Me and My Arrow" from The Point (1971)

Crowded House

This blog will soon have three new contributors. Stay tuned.

Yer Morning Moptops - Two Foot Small

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Dinah II

Sorry to say, there was all of one view of last night's Dinah Good-Night video. You guys are missing out, I'm tellin' ya! Here's another chance.


 This 9 to 5 bullshit don't let you forget
Whose suicide you're on.
- Paul Westerberg, "World Class Fad"

Swipe File

Garbage's "Stupid Girl"

has the same drum riff as

The Clash's "Train in Vain"

Yer Morning Moptops - 25 Fingers

Paul and his other collaborator with famous glasses.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Flying High

"I Was Never Part of That Scene"

Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show, 1988

The Weenie List

1. Scott Stapp
2. Nickelback
3. Mike Love
4. John Mayer
5. Kid Rock
6. Axl Rose
7. Coldplay
8. Yngwie
9. Glenn Frey
10. Bono

EDIT: Li'l Davey McKitrrick of Church Falls, W. Va. writes: "But we need some reasons for each listed weenie! Snark brother--snark away!"

Reasons after the jump.

Pretty Good for A Bad Girl

Great interview here with burlesque singer-songwriter Sabrina Chap. I met Sabrina at a wedding this past summer and she was cool and funny as hell. And her work is brilliant.

"Never Been A Bad Girl"

I'm a white straight male, and sad to say, I have behaved in my time as a totally clueless white straight male asshole, so what I can add to or comment about Sabrina's eloquent complaints is pretty much zero. Here's something: most guys I know who play music would not be able to handle the added pressures and hassles as women who play music. They would crumble and cry like babies. This is a fact.

"We Are the Parade"

What I do know is good music, and good musicians, and Sabrina Chap is one of the best. She deserves to be rich and famous as hell, so go to her website and buy all her albums, and go see her live. And tell her hi!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yer Morning Moptops - Many Rivers to Cross

Produced by John Lennon for Harry's Pussycats album, and features the same string arrangement used for "#9 Dream".

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Bumpin' on Sunset


In January of 1964, Colonel Parker talked Elvis into buying the presidential yacht Potomac, once used by Franklin Roosevelt. The idea was to give away the yacht for charity (and publicity), but Elvis and the Colonel soon realized that no one wanted a 'gift' that would serve no useful purpose and would be expensive for charities to maintain. Eventually, the yacht was accepted by Danny Thomas on behalf of Saint Jude Hospital.

"In the end the event generated a good deal of publicity, but Elvis was furious nonetheless. What had the old man been thinking, buying this piece of shit that nobody wanted and turning him into a laughingstock in the eyes of the world? He had agreed to it, it was true; as a student of history, and as an admirer of Roosevelt and Churchill and General MacArthur, he had been proud to purchase the boat on which the great issues of the Second World War had been discussed. But the way this thing had gone, he was beginning to wonder if maybe Colonel was slipping. And besides, what did the old man mean, interrupting his Las Vegas vacation?"
  - Peter Guralnick, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

Yer Morning Moptops - How Do You Plead?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - "I Walked"

Spooky and beautiful.

Close to My Chest - 10 Songs Featuring Accordion

It's a good bet that the first musical instrument I ever heard  up close was the accordion. My Dad had learned to play it during his childhood, and he brought it out every so often to amuse his five kids.  I loved when he played, because I loved how warm the accordion sounded, and I loved the strange and exotic songs he'd wheeze out, most of which were polkas and German folk songs. But interestingly, it was not me but my sister Mary Ann who decided to follow in Dad's footsteps, at least for awhile. I wish she had kept at it.

The older us kids got, the more Dad's accordion became a running gag. Every time one of us had a recital, or a play, or some event where we were going to perform or be recognized, Dad would jokingly threaten that at some point during the proceedings, an announcement would come over the PA that a 'special guest' would give an accordion performance. My sisters were duly (and humorously) horrified, and I kind of wished he'd do it, just once. When this classic cartoon first appeared, you can bet that we couldn't share it with Dad fast enough.

But I think the jokes and teasing eventually took their toll, because by the time grandchildren had entered the picture my dad had sold off his accordion, and that was that. Over the years I have asked him if he would ever want to take up the instrument again, and once we even offered to buy him a concertina, but he just isn't interested. I think a part of him is sad about it, maybe, and wishes perhaps that his children hadn't given him such a hard time about it, which I can completely understand. (On the other hand, he may have simply decided he hated the dumb thing. It is tough to read my pop sometimes.)

Either way, the absence of my dad's accordion is a bit sad for me, because I miss his playing and whenever I hear an accordion, especially in a pop song, my first thought is of Dad sitting in the living room in a suit and tie, playing something warm and funny and totally corny. I wouldn't mind hearing him play it just one more time, and maybe even jam with him a little. (see photo above) In the meantime, here's a list of songs that evoke to one degree or another those warm, fun, long-lost living room performances. Bravo, Dad, bravo.

One thing about this list -- I avoided stuff like zydeco or cajun songs, not because I don't care for them but because that isn't the style my dad used to play. These songs resemble the same warm, kindly feel of his accordion, which isn't something I can readily explain or illustrate. But that should answer any questions about why certain songs or genres have not been included. And, no, I am not including "Squeezebox".

1. "Memories" - Van Morrison
2. "Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" - Live version - Bruce Springsteen
3. "Oh My Heart" - R.E.M.
4. "C'est la Vie" - Greg Lake
5. "Liz Radley" - The Jam
6. "Withered and Died" - Linda Thompson
7. "Done with Bonaparte" - Mark Knopfler
8. "Backstreet Girl" - Rolling Stones
9.  "Leslie Anne Levine" - Decemberists
10. "Constant Craving" - kd lang

SPECIAL ADDED BONUS. "The Injun Song" - featured prominently in my sister's lesson book, and in her repertoire. Dumbest and funniest song she has ever heard, let along played, and oh, not the least bit offensive nor racist, heck no.

EDIT: Dad (and Mom's) response to this post:

John:  We just spent two hours or so listenting to Bruce on your link!    We especially enjoyed the Seeger Sessions Band! What a treat! Thank you so much!

Your thoughts on my accordion playing were very moving;  I treasure them!

We're going to keep the link up so we can hear some more!
 From what I can glean, I sent my parents on a fun-filled Springsteen YouTube fest. Which is great!

Still don't know why he abandoned the accordion,  though.

Yer Morning Moptops - The Celebrated Mr. K.

Love version of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

And Now, A Word from Mr. Zappa

"No one has forced Mrs. Baker or Mrs. Gore to bring Prince or Sheena Easton into their homes. Thanks to the Constitution, they are free to buy other forms of music for their children. Apparently, they insist on purchasing the works of contemporary recording artists in order to support a personal illusion of aerobic sophistication. Ladies, please be advised: The $8.98 purchase price does not entitle you to a kiss on the foot from the composer or performer in exchange for a spin on the family Victrola. "

From Frank Zappa's Statement to Congress, September 19, 1985

Yer Morning Moptops - Out of Town Edition

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yer Morning Moptops - Saturday Morning Cartoon Edition

I doubt there was a kid watching this who didn't recognize Paul Frees' voice a mile away.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Gary Clark Jr., "When My Train Pulls In"

Lester Bangs - I Never Met A Hero

It took me nearly twenty years, but today I finally replaced my long-lost copy of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, the seminal, posthumous 1987 collection of the work of Lester Bangs, the volatile, brilliant, Detroit-born 1970s rock critic. Lester wrote for and practically co-founded CREEM, where he not only set a brash and funny standard for the then-unheard of field of rock writing but was also an early champion of influential performers like Iggy and the Stooges, the MC5, and the Ramones. In New York, Lester became a mainstay at CBGBs and began chronicling the rise and fall of punk rock (a term he created, by the way) as well as carrying on an epic and funny feud with Lou Reed. And not for a minute did Lester take anything, least of all himself, very seriously.

Except, of course, his writing. Bangs was a howlingly great writer -- not just funny, not just influential, not just outrageous, though he was all of those things -- but great, in that his work continues to be timely and filled with profound, funny, and touching truths. Lester was known for writing scathing and hilariously mean pieces about artists he despised, like Chicago and James Taylor, and for going nearly overboard for artists he loved, such as the aforementioned Iggy and MC5, and his addiction to speed and booze gave his work a frenetic quality that rivaled that of Hunter S. Thompson. But like Thompson, Bangs knew how to write, and he wrote exquisitely. Some of his most powerful work is found in more serious pieces, like "The White Noise Supremacists", his examination of racism in the New York punk scene, and "Peter Laughner is Dead", about the founder of Rocket From the Tombs (which became Pere Ubu), whose death from drugs Lester painfully chronicled, foreshadowing his own demise. But perhaps the most famous and most beautiful article Lester Bangs ever wrote was his touching but unsentimental paean to Elvis, shortly after Presley's death. He ends the piece thusly:
If love truly is going out of fashion forever, which I do not believe, then along with our nurtured indifference to each other will be an even more contemptuous indifference to each others' objects of reverence. I thought it was Iggy Stooge, you thought it was Joni Mitchell or whoever else seemed to speak for your own private, entirely circumscribed situation's many pains and few ecstasies. We will continue to fragment in this manner, because solipsism holds all the cards at present; it is a king whose domain engulfs even Elvis's. But I can guarantee you one thing: we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis. So I won't bother saying good-bye to his corpse. I will say good-bye to you.

Lester Bangs died in 1982 at the age of 33.

UPDATE: My pal Tim Miller reminded me about Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant portrayal of Lester in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.

Yer Morning Moptops - My Baby Don't Care

I have always thought, if you wanted to teach a course in How to Write A Pop Song, that "Ticket to Ride" should be your syllabus.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - A Lost Art (High Fidelity)

High Fidelity final scene. Rob describes the perfect mix tape.

And because the above clip cuts off the nifty end credit sequence:

Yer Morning Moptops - Nobody Loves You

From John's 1974 Walls and Bridges. When I was an angsty 15 year-old, I wanted so badly to perform this song. It fit in so nicely with my ongoing self-pity crises. I always got through the intro fine, but I could never figure out what that second chord was in the verse, and so I was defeated. (It's a Bb+5.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Crossing You in Style

Like A Lust in My Body

'All I ever wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing - and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to serve Him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent.' - Antonio Salieri, Amadeus (1984)
There is one film of which I have memorized every scene, every line of dialogue, every actor's expression, and every single spectacular note of music. That film, of course, is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. But there is a second film I knew almost as well, and that film is Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (1984, directed by Milos Forman). It is to my mind a perfect film, it is the perfect film, one where every single moment is exactly and exquisitely right. (Note: I admit I was not too crazy about the 2002 Director's Cut, which I think is a perfect illustration of Emperor Joseph's classic admonishment: "There are too many notes. Just cut a few, and it'll be perfect.")

I can still watch the original Amadeus and be as enthralled as I was 28 years ago, because it is not a film you just watch, it is one of those movies you visit and become immersed in from the first scene to the last. It is a sumptuous feast for the eye, as well as one for the ears, and you feel marvelous and giddy just watching the story unfold before you. It is rich in cinematic rewards, with plentiful helpings of comedy and drama and even moments of horror, and every blazing, candlelit ballroom and concert hall is so rich in detail that you have to watch the film several times in order to take it all in. (It took me probably 50 viewings before I realized that nearly every scene shows someone turning a knob or a latch and walking through a door. I have no idea why, or whether it means anything. But there it is.)

And of course, there is the music, which is why we're discussing it here. I am an utter dunce when it comes to classical music, and to be honest much of it tests my patience, for example about 75% of all operas. I realize this is my failing, and not of the art form, which I hold in the highest regard. But when it comes to classical, I could listen to nothing but Mozart all day long and be deeply happy. (I once told that to a cute harpist, who wrinkled her nose at me in disgust -- which she might have done anyway, yes I know -- and then stomped off. Temperamental, these music types.)  It is music that transcends almost every other  composer's work and makes us wonder what the hell it really is and where the hell it came from. "It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God," Salieri murmurs, transfixed.

"It is miraculous."

The film and the play it was based on are complete fabrications, as any classical scold of an historian will tell you. Salieri was in fact a great supporter of Mozart and his music, and he hardly tried to murder the guy. But that doesn't matter, because Amadeus was not intended to be historical drama. Amadeus had bigger fish to fry. It uses allegory, rather than history, to ask: What is 'genius'? What is 'talent'? Does God have a hand in art, especially art that is designed to worship Him? Why do some people seem to have tremendous talent, while the rest of us strive to rise above mediocrity? There are no answers to these questions. But I love that we are left to ask them, and I love those unfathomable individuals who we cannot plan for or even see coming -- the Mozarts, Dylans, the Miles Davises, the Muddy Waterses, the Beatles. No one can even begin to explain them, except possibly the fictional Salieri, who in this great, shattering scene is faced with the undeniable force of Mozart's ability and talent and becomes as enthralled and transfixed as the rest of us.

Yer Morning Moptops: Ringo Wants to Sing More!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Going Home

The ending scene from the lovely, gentle Local Hero. Music by Mark Knopfler.

FRANKIE FRIDAY - Fly Me to Dat Moon, Baby

G.I. Johnny Cash: Now with Kung-Fu Grip!

A collection of rock and pop action figures. If I'd played with these growing up, instead of G.I. Joes, I might not have turned out to be the tough-guy warrior killer I became.

(Lots more dolls -- I mean, action figures -- after the jump.)

Yer Morning Moptops - Paul Sings "Tragedy" (with sitar!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Peace of Mind

I need peace of mind
And a hopeful heart
To lose this rage
And move out of the dark
I ain't looking for rainbows 
Or shooting stars
Just some peace of mind 
And a hopeful heart

I Tell Myself I Could Be Should Be - Giveaway Records Pt. 1

I loved cheesy free floppy giveaway records from the 70s. I'm gonna try to find every one I remember owning, and post them. You have been warned.

If you have any of your own, add 'em to the pile!

Yer Morning Moptops - Life Goes On

Alternate outtake version of "Obla-di, Obla-Da".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Night to All That - Presidential Edition

The Day I'll Always Remember: Political Pop of the 1970s

I became a news junkie when I was still just a kid. I'm not quite sure how it came about, but I seem to remember grabbing my dad's discarded copy of The New York Times so I could have something to read with my cereal, and finding the shenanigans the grownups got up to pretty fascinating. So even though I was only in the fourth grade when Watergate broke, I was utterly caught up in its saga. I watched the hearings, the special reports, the installation of Gerald Ford, and I especially remember running in from playing outside to watch Nixon helicopter away from the White House one final time. I was a weird little kid.

The 1970s were my primer for Liberal politics, and as skeevy and gloomy as the era may seem now (and it does), there was a lot of social upheaval and radical change going on -- maybe not as monumental as in the previous decade, but certainly enough to give me more than a few life lessons. Learning about stuff like busing, feminism, abortion, contraception, gay rights, and of course political scandal set me on a path of Liberal obnoxiousness that led to the loudmouth you see before you. But as always, nothing reached me harder and faster than pop music. Before I was a Jersey boy, I lived during the early 1970s in West Virginia, where I was born. One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of my mother driving us kids on Saturdays to the Kennedy Center YMCA in downtown Charleston, because she wanted to make sure we got to meet and know and play with black kids. I remember one day on the drive over, watching as the neighborhoods grew poorer (and darker), while "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" played on the car radio. It dawned on me then that the story those men were telling in that song reflected exactly the experiences of the kids I was meeting, and enjoying. It was my first hint that pop music could tell truths you couldn't hear anywhere else.

(Note: Sex me no Pistols; I set out to make this an All-American list.)
(Note no. 2: h/t to Steve Hogan, who got me started on this by reminding me of song #5)

2. Edwin Starr, "War" (YouTube)

and finally, the most radical political 70s anthem of them all:

Yer Morning Moptops - Here Comes the Son

George Martin and his son Giles show Dhani Harrison how they remixed his father's song.

A Weary Good Night - "Long Emotional Ride"

The first new song by Graham Parker and the Rumour in over three decades. And how fitting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


"Look, let's quit this business. It's after eight, and the night's pretty outside. After all, I am one of the night people. The sun's down, and the moon's pretty. It's time to ramble." - 1965

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good Night Midnight Moptops, or How Did I Forget to Post THIS One

"Remember... the fifth... of NOVEMBER!" (boom)

Big Wheels Roll Through Fields Where Sunlight Streams

In my early years as a Springsteen fan, say 1976 onward, I remember wondering what Bruce sounded like when he talked, or looked like when he moved, because I was too young to see him in concert, and the odds of seeing him on TV were pretty low. So the massive bandanna/muscle shirt era was a big shock to me, and took some getting used to (and getting over). We create a sometimes unfortunate idea that performers we love somehow 'belong' to us, and it's hard to let them go into the arms of a larger, more lucrative audience. You have a feeling of being left behind, which sounds absurd and kind of dopey, and of course it is. But that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real, or that they don't matter.

So here was Bruce Springsteen today, the day before the worst and most rotten election in my memory, standing with his arm around the President of the United States, not to mention the first black President of the United States, and regardless of politics, this was to me a great thing. It is fitting and proper that Bruce is saying the things he said today, not just to help get a decent president re-elected but to state once again, eloquently and simply, the fundamental beliefs that run through his work, the beliefs we all share about hope and dreams and honor and fairness. Springsteen is saying that he does belong to us, and that we belong to each other, and if he had his way, nobody'd get left behind.

Bruce's Speech from Madison, WI

Morning Moptops: The Jam, "And Your Bird Can Sing"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Quiet Good Night: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Sweet Honey in the Rock, "Beatitudes"

Slow the Whole World Down: A Dramatic Reading

Photo art (c) John E. Williams
Double yer make-fun-of-me fun, as I go for the extra credit assignment in my Narrative Storytelling class and read my own short story.

My singing voice, I can stand. My speaking voice, beh.

'Mad Monster Party' Addendum

(c) Chris Mason
Update on last week's "Mad Monster Party" post (which, interestingly, is the second most-read post on this fledgling blog): commenter Steven Lewis, creator of the nifty comics blog Murdercake, informs me that there is apparently an entire fan art movement devoted to MMP. As Johnny would say, I did not know that.

Sayeth Steve:
I first saw it on DVD a few years ago and loved it. I had the same "How have I never heard of this?" experience. It's a fun little movie; so delightfully bizarre. 

One of the best things about its availability is the amount of fanart that's popped up in recent years.

Yer Morning Moptops - Turn Back the Clock Edition

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Standard Time Good Night

Don't forget to turn them clocks back.

These Are Places That Are Gone

Sadly, a fitting song these days.

Another Request

Little Tommy Spodee from Merseyside writes, Howzabout posting Thats What Life Is All About by Paul Collins Beat for an irritated Italian New Jersey guy

The Trouble I Was In

Another performance from the old days at the now-defunct Tex-Mex Grill, Rosslyn, Va., circa 1996-97, a cover of the song"Dim" by now-defunct 90s band Dada. This time I am accompanied by my old pal and music partner, the non-defunct Rob Flowers. This gig was also performed outdoors on the patio, on yet another blisteringly hot night.

Pawing Through the Dross of the 1980s: Punk Rockers in Mainstream Movies

The early 80s were for some a time of scavenger hunting. Us hip wannabes liked our music on the outer edge of popular culture and ahead of the curve, which really meant we just happened to be exposed to soon-to-be popular stuff before most everyone else. In the meantime, a steady diet of awful MTV New Wave and Corporate Rock was driving us crazy, so all us hip wannabes would look desperately to movies and TV shows for some acknowledgment of our weirdo demographic. It was kind of fun, actually -- you'd go to a lame teen comedy or horror movie and lo and behold, there was an appearance by a song or a band that you thought only you and maybe three of your friends had ever heard of. Here then is a list of semi-obscure punk songs and performers that popped up unexpectedly in popular places.

(YouTube links)

1. The Plimsouls, "Oldest Story in the World/A Million Miles Away", Valley Girl  (1983) A smarter film than it had a right to be, but real L.A. punks from that period would have kicked Nicholas Cage's ass.
2. The Specials, "Little Bitch", Sixteen Candles  (1984) There's a great scene of Joan Cusack wearing a neck brace and dancing to this song with another girl, but of course I can't find a clip of it on YouTube. Jerks.
3. Oingo Boingo, "Dead Man's Party", Back to School (1986) Only kind of counts because most of us liked OB for about three minutes before they grew tiresome. (There was actually a law that said Oingo Boingo had to have at least one song on every soundtrack of every teen comedy made during the 1980s. You can look it up.)
4. The Clash, The King of Comedy (1983)The Clash were the Holy Grail. Before Combat Rock you rarely saw them on TV  -- Tom Snyder, of course, and on local news stations when they played their legendary Bonds shows. And as we know, Combat Rock and its ensuing success were a classic case of being careful what you wish for. During that in-between time, us guys heard that the great Martin Scorsese had declared himself a Clash fan, which was too awesome for words, and that he was going to feature the Clash in his next film, The King of Comedy, which was too awesome to even be too awesome for words. When the movie was finally released, all we got was about a .03 second glimpse of Strummer and the boys, plus a longer shot of what appears to be their pal Ray Lowry, portraying "street scum". Well, back then ya took what you could get.
5. Flea, Back to the Future and its sequels (1985-1989) "What's samatta? Chicken?!?"
6. Circle Jerks, Repo Man (1984) A bit of a cheat, since this wasn't exactly the feel-good family mainstream comedy hit of the year. Still, it was a real movie, shown in local theaters right alongside stuff like Beverly Hills Cop, so it counts. Added bonuses are that the film was produced by Monkee Mike Nesmith, who makes a cameo as a rabbi, and features Jimmy Buffett (!) as "Additional Blond Agent".
7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "From Her to Enternity", Wings of Desire  (1987) More than a mere cameo, as Cave and the Seeds don't just pop up in the background playing a house band or something. Their scene is integral to the film's storytelling, and the band performs the entire song.
8. Lou Reed, One Trick Pony (1980) Lou gleefully plays the world's biggest a-hole record producer.
9. Stan Ridgway, "Bing Can't Walk", Slam Dance (1987) I have never seen this film, but I probably should -- it's a murder mystery about a cartoonist, it features Tom (Mozart) Hulce and X's John Doe (as a cop), and has stuff about punk rockers (I guess). I'll look it up and review it some time.
10. The Ramones, Rock 'n' Roll High School  (1979) A total cheat, but it counts because the Ramones show only up a few times in what was otherwise a by-the-numbers almost-80s teen comedy. Also, it's great.

Yer Morning Moptops - Special Spodee-O-Dee Bonus

For my pal Tom, whose nickname is in fact Spo-Dee-O-Dee.

Stings Like A Bee

By request, here's my solo acoustic version of "Where Did Our Love Go?" as performed in the summer of 1995 at the legendary, long-gone Tex-Mex Grille in Rosslyn, Va.  Played that night in 90+ degree heat, outside on the restaurant's patio, with jets roaring overhead on their landing approach to National Airport. Made for an interesting musical mix.

Yer Morning Moptops - Hey Bulldog

Beatles - Hey Bulldog(1999 Remix) by rooroo

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - In Sleep

Great Quotes

"Given the choice between accomplishing something and just lying around, I'd rather lie around. No contest." - Eric Clapton

Yer Morning Moptops- I'll Be Back

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - Sam Cooke, "I Fall In Love Everyday"

Swipe File

Sharktape, "Eyes on You"

is a heckuva rip on

The Replacements (almost any song, but this one's close)

Facebook Friends I Have Got: Stan Ridgway

This is the first in a continuing series that will showcase my Facebook friends who have made a go at the music thing, whether just at a bar gig level or at some level of fame and fortune. The rule is, in order for a friend to be featured I have to have had some direct contact with the performer in question, even if it was nothing more than a quick Facebook post or two. So it could be someone I have known in person for years, like the great Dave McKittrick, or it could be a singer I have just had some nifty conversations with online, like the great Stan Ridgway.

And speaking of whom...

If you're asking "Who's Stan Ridgway?", he's this guy:

After Wall of Voodoo more or less gave Stan the boot, he embarked on a remarkable solo career, beginning with the great The Big Heat in 1985 and continuing with works like Holiday in Dirt, which he made in conjunction with 14 different films by 14 different filmmakers, each one based on a song from the album. He also did worked in a band called Drywall, which featured his wife Pietra Wexstun.

Stan's recent solo albums are Neon Mirage and his latest, Mr. Trouble, for which he is currently on tour.  

I love Stan's work because it delves bravely into great, writerly sojourns that are more like harrowing novels than pop songs, and because he takes chances with massively different musical styles, from punk to country to Mexican folk. But above all, Stan's work is infused with great humor and great humanity, and I get the sense that he is someone who has a ton of great stories, a love for great music and musicians, and that he has not one mean bone in his body. Listen to a song like "Act of Faith", or "Across the Border", and you will hear behind the nasal twang a voice that expresses great volumes of humor and compassion.

Best personal encounter: on Facebook, of course. Stan posted a tribute to Record Store Day one afternoon, and he and I swapped some comments about what it was like to work in a store selling vinyl way back when.

Stan's official website is, where you can check out his entire catalogue and tour info, and here's a link to his Facebook page. He posts often, and is a lot of fun, often commenting or pontificating on everything from artists he loves to the current political landscape. Go sign up, and tell him hey!

Here is a fan-made video created for Stan's autobiographical story of Wall of Voodoo. It's a great cautionary story for anyone looking to enter the business.

Yer Morning Moptops - Here We Go Again