Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Quiet, Scared Good Night

Oh Yeah, And

Roy posted this clip on his blog once, which is where I first saw it, and it has since become one of my favorites. (Roy also was my introduction to TroLoLo Man, so you haveta revere him just for that, if nothing else.)

Look Out, There's A (Mad Monster Party) Coming

Okay, turns out I DO have a fun Halloween post in me after all.

Years ago, I had this friend (I still have him, but this was when we first met) whose level of knowledge of and affection for kitschy lowbrow fantasy entertainment -- and by that I mean comic books, sci-fi films, horror movies, and off-the-wall toys, i.e. all the really wonderful reasons for living -- knew no bounds. He was and is a joy to talk to, because he knows all about weird shit you know about, and loves it just as much, if not more. He also loves stuff you've never heard of, stuff that astounds you and sparks your imagination and makes you want to read or see whatever it he's describing, and again, you've never even heard of whatever he's talking about.

Case in point: my friend let me know once that one of his deepest obsessions was tracking down a copy of something called Mad Monster Party, which he said was a 1960s stop-motion animated masterpiece, featuring comedians and horror movie stars voicing every classic horror movie character, and that it was funny and stupid and musical and just plain wonderful. I thought he was nuts. He's not that much older than me, but I figured if I hadn't heard of this 'Mad Monster' thingie, it couldn't possibly have existed. He had to be wrong, or at least misremembering. "Are you sure you're not mixing up 'Monster Mash' with one of those old Rankin-Bass puppet holiday numbers?" I remember asking, douche-ly. No, he insisted, stubbornly, proudly: Mad Monster Party. Greatest animated movie ever made. Now, I thought it did sound wonderful, if it really existed, but I was absolutely certain he had simply gone off his nut. Listen, here in Obsessive NerdLand, finding out there's something totally beyond cool that you've never heard of can be a shaky experience.Your whole reputation and self-regard as an Obsessive Nerd is on the line.

Well. I don't have to tell you that the advent of the Internet, aka the sudden easy availability of anything ever put in front of a camera in order to make money, Mad Monster Party finally became a reality for me. I watched it for the first time a few years ago, and damned if everything my friend ever said was absolutely true: it is funny and stupid and musical and just plain wonderful. But what made it all the more wonderful to my friend, and to me, was that in the pre-Online era, you loved stuff from memory alone, and you never knew when -- or if -- you'd ever get to see it again. The Wizard of Oz can't possibly mean as much to a kid who can watch it any time she wants as it did to a kid who had to wait all year long to see it. And so to a guy who had waited and hoped and yearned for almost four decades to see a film he could now watch again and again, whenever he wanted, well... there's a lesson in perseverance in there somewhere.

But, y'know -- so what about perseverance. All that matters is that Mad Monster Party is fun and stupid and musical and wonderful, regardless of when or how many times you've seen it. If you never have, or if you know a kid who hasn't, watch it tonight, or this weekend. (It's on Netflix.)

Swipe File

"Boyfriend", by Best Coast

has the same drum intro as

"Badlands", by Bruce Springsteen

That's the only part of these songs that sounds similar, except that they both rock pretty good. But when "Boyfriend" comes on the radio, I get faked out every time.

Shadows on the Wall, Noises Down the Hall

It's Halloween, and theoretically I should post if anything some fun musical thing to do with ghosts and goblins and witches and Great Pumpkins or whatever, but beside the fact everyone and their brother will already be doing that, and probably a better job, it's also true that my heart is simply not in it this 31 October. The only reason I can think of for that is that these days I can't find anything particularly fun about fear. Of course, your mileage may vary.

I think a lot about what I am afraid of, and why, and I have in many ways come to the conclusion that my fears are really just old, bad habits. For instance: I still sometimes fear checking the mailbox because back when I was single and broke and in horrific debt, checking the mailbox meant seriously bad news. (You should have seen how overstuffed the thing would get after weeks of scaredy-cat procrastination. Wotta bonehead.) Other fears however are very real, especially the ones having to do with keeping a job and keeping health insurance. (At the moment, I have the former but not the latter.) And I feel a great deal of genuine fear knowing we may soon face a brand of leadership that believes some people matter, and some people don't, and that cutting the second group off at the knees is not just moral and right but also brave and true. And as always, I fear losing those closest to me, whether through death or desertion. All of this is far more effectively scary than the zombies on WALKING DEAD (who can at least be stopped by a bullet in the noggin).

Not surprisingly, the most effective ally I have against these fears (besides prayer, which is none of your business and we'll not discuss that here) is rock 'n' roll music. For my money, the best songs to fight fear are songs about fear, which I bet you saw coming. They don't always vanquish fear, and some aren't the least bit comforting, because they aren't meant to be, but they manifest and express a shared fear in a way no other manner of expression can -- including prayer. So here is a list of some of my favorite songs about fear. Consider them little flickering candles in the dark. Sometimes that's all you have. And if you haven't heard all or some of them, I hope they fortify you the way they have me.

Oh, and feel free to add your own.

(YouTube Links)

1. "Scared" - John Lennon
2."Waves of Fear" - Lou Reed
3. "Chill Factor" - Pretenders
4. "Trouble Waiting to Happen" - Warren Zevon
5. "Reach Out, I'll Be There" - Four Tops

Entry title from Maya Angelou's "Life Doesn't Frighten Me"

Yer Morning Moptops - All My Loving

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Quiet Good Night - The Water's All Around Us

For everyone still struggling with the storm and its aftermath.


I am proud to help announce and promote a new science fiction novel by my wonderful friend K. Ceres Wright, entitled COG. The book will be released in the summer of 2013 by Dogstar Books and features the absolutely nifty cover shown below by artist Bradley Sharp. Congrats Ceres, and make sure you save me a copy!

Yer Morning Moptops - It's All Too Much

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Quiet Good Night

Nick Drake - At The Chime Of A City Clock

The A&H Book Club

Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story
by Nick Tosches

(Click on pages to read)

This is Really Heavy Weather

This song is about, I kid you not, waiting for a hurricane to hit New York City.

Living A Cliché

This morning In a Trader Joe's they were playing "Workingman's Dead" in its entirety, and I thought "Aw c'mon, who's filming this?"

Yer Morning Moptops

Clearly, George's friendship with the Pythons was having its effect.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Quiet Good Night

Song About Traveling - The Innocence Mission


"As Joe said, everyone was always 'a little tense not knowing how Elvis was from one day to the next.' Linda had as much reason for concern as anyone else. She was not about to forget the incident the previous year when Elvis had shot at a light switch while she was in the bathroom, and the bullet went through the wall, nicking the toilet paper holder and shattering the closet mirror. When she emerged, understandably shaken, all Elvis had to offer by way of apology or explanation was, 'Hey now hon, just don't get excited.'" - Peter Guralnick, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

Yer Morning Moptops

Ringo Starr with Conan O'Brien, "Act Naturally"

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Quiet Good Night

Monsters Of Folk - The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me


In my school back in Jersey, during the 70s, when it came to radio stations you were pretty much either an WNEW fan or a WPLJ fan. I was the former, because WNEW played the first airings I ever heard of songs by Elvis Costello, the Clash, Graham Parker, Ian Hunter, the Ramones, the Good Rats, the Boomtown Rats, Greg Kihn, and so many other artists who cured me of my then-diet of not much more than Billy Joel and Beatles. WPLJ acted as if none of those artists existed. They stuck with the usual mainstream basics of what eventually became known as 'Classic Rock'. Sure, WNEW played that stuff, too, and plenty of it -- just not as often, and they stuck in the hip 'n' cool stuff where they could. Also, whereas WPLJ had popular, sexy, throaty hottie Carole Miller, those of us with a certain appreciation of smart women preferred Meg Griffin (who, like many of her compeers, is now working on satellite radio). And most importantly to me personally, it's the station where I always first heard the new Springsteen single, and where I first learned of John Lennon's death, no small events they.

WNEW was just a radio station, and probably not really even a very good radio station (by the time I left Jersey it had sunk into a deep and lousy shitty state), but it left its mark on my musical soul just the same.

Yer Morning Moptops

Brian Wilson with Paul McCartney, "A Friend Like You"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Quiet Good Night

I Shall Be Released


This list is non-negotiable.

1. The Doors, The Doors' Greatest Hits
2. The Who, Tommy
3. The Rolling Stones, Some Girls
4. Anything by The Grateful Dead
5. Cream, Disraeli Gears
6. U2, Rattle and Hum
7. The entire Eagles catalog, especially Hotel California and whichever one had that crappy godawful "Take It Easy" and that one about sleeping with you in the desert tonight (they may all be on Hotel California, what's great is I'll never have to know)
8. Every Pink Floyd album, except strangely enough Dark Side of the Moon
9. Led Zeppelin 4
10. Fucking Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell

Free at last! Free at last!

Same As the Old Boss

Missed this somehow:  Streets of Fire: Bruce Springsteen in Photographs and Lyrics, 1977-79

Probably my favorite era of Springsteen, looks-wise, as these kinds of things go. I dug the Elvis sideburns, the troubled look, the messy, greasy, just-woke-up hair, the skinny build. (Strangely, it was a look I could relate to.)

Of course, you can imagine my shock upon seeing this big dope on TV just a few years later:

 I mean geeeezzz...


I decided I wanted to do a Dylan blog  post, because like any right-thinking musical type rocker person, Dylan is in my blood, and once you have a blog, well, you gotta do a Dylan post, right?

Well, after aborting my first, incredibly boring idea ("My Top 10 Dylan Songs" -- who cares?), I started wondering whether anyone had compiled a Top Ten worst Dylan song list, and, this being the Internet Age and all, the answer was "well of course someone has compiled a Top 10 Worst Dylan Song List."


BobFest: 10 Worst Dylan Songs

Yer Morning Moptops

John Lennon, "Only You"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And A Quiet Good Night.

From Lone Star (1996), directed by John Sayles
"My Love Is" by Little Willie John

Best Cool Guy Driving Late At Night While Sexy Song Plays Movie Scene ever.

(For a better view, watch it on YouTube. The embedded version is all messed up for some reason.)

Swipe File

Badfinger, "Day After Day"

has pretty much the same intro as

Joe Jackson, "Breaking Us in Two"

Great Lyrics, Part 1

"He wandered far from the accustomed haunts of boys, and sought desolate places that were in harmony with his spirit." - Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer

(OK, yes, technically Tom Sawyer is not a song, unless you're a fan of Rush, which I am not, and technically those are not 'lyrics' as such. It is however a great line.)

Yer Morning Moptops

Rosie Flores, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Direction Home

I am adding to and altering the mission and object of this blog. It will continue to be the step-by-step chronicle of my already-titled CD, Abandoned and Heartbroke, but I will also be using it to discuss and  celebrate music (mostly pop music) and its surrounding culture  -- which can include nearly everything. Nothing grand or monumental is planned here, just my view of pop and what it has meant to me all my life. Perhaps it will mean something to you. Mostly I will keep the tone breezy and fun, but I have no doubt it will veer often into the realm of pompous and perhaps even stupid. But even those realms can be their own brand of fun.

I intend and hope for this blog to be participatory, meaning that ideally it will generate discussion and disagreement, and anyone who would like to chime in can consider the blog as much their home as it is mine. I also intend and hope to feature guest bloggers, so if there is something in particular you would like to say or have said, email me and we'll pop it up on the thing.

There won't be a long blather every day, but there will be a post every day. I have gotten into the habit of posting videos quite often on Facebook, sometimes based on a theme or a topic, or other times a specific genre or era of music, so I will be shifting that habit over here (while linking it onto my Facebook wall). But there will be something posted here every day, so I hope at least some of it will be entertaining enough for people to make a habit of visiting.