Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Thud: Growing Up With The Bee Gees

June 29, 2014
My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: "Bee Gees Gold."

My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: “Bee Gees Gold.”

I was thrilled to receive a gift of a Bee Gees puzzle from my younger sister Lars last month.  This is not a joke: I was thrilled to get a 200 piece puzzle of the Bee Gees.  I love the Bee Gees, and not in the half-assed way that it’s become acceptable to love the Bee Gees, either.  They’re not a “guilty pleasure.”  Nor is “their early stuff actually pretty good” to me.  I love the disco stuff from the 70’s just as much as I love their British Invasion stuff.  They were my first favorite band.  I grew up with them.   My love, like all first loves, is crystalline and perfect: unencumbered by the cloudy complications that attend my “grown up” affections.   (I love Neko Case, for example, but I’ve backed away from her latest work, which seems stiff and agenda-addled to me.)  As a Bee Gees fan, I’ve become accustomed to snide comments and backhanded compliments.  After all, the Bee Gees have been given a bad rap. When called upon to do so, I’ve been their defender and I’ll defend them again in this story.  Like the contents of the box handed to me by my sister, this story is a jumble of pieces of the past: a past as distant as the summer of 1981, when my love for the Bee Gees became a full-tilt obsession and as recent as May 27, 2014, when I attended Barry Gibb’s “Mythology” Tour at the United Center in Chicago.    (more…)

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On Wisconsin: Fight Songs

August 19, 2012

There are two kinds of battle anthems: those in the Sousa idiom and the good kind.

“Fight Songs” is the sixth chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

Here in the good ol’ USA, we love our college football fight songs. We like the boastful smack-talk of the lyrics, the militaristic marching band music, the purposeful feeling of “us vs. them” that pumps in our veins when we all sing along.  It could be argued that no other state in the union loves their college football fight song more than Wisconsin, which actually adapted theirs into the official state song.* “On, Wisconsin” is such an epitome of the fight song genre, it was once praised by none other than John Phillip Sousa himself, king of the marching band battle anthem.   It is a pretty rousing tune, if only for the fact it mentions the word “fight” four times in a single line.

But for my money, there’s no better fight song than the one recorded by Pat Benatar in 1979.  “Heartbreaker” dispenses with the jingoistic clap trap of the classic fight song and its attendant arms-forces hoo-hah and focuses directly on the “fuck you” core element of the fight at hand.  (more…)

On Wisconsin: Ochsner Park Zoo

August 11, 2012

“Ochsner Park Zoo” is the second chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”  It is dedicated to Amy Winehouse, that guy from “Jackass”, and Laura Norman (RIP just in case).

A little after the mid-way point of our visit, a severe thunderstorm rolled into Devil’s Lake.  Following the storm, the skies took on the look and joie de vivre of a Brillo Pad that’s seen better days.  The wind smacked of sweater weather, sending our plans to spend the day on the beach tumbling down the Ice Age campsite black top like so many bottle rocket duds.  What better way to kick off this day of dashed hopes and depressing weather than a visit to Baraboo’s Ochsner Park Zoo?   “Someone told me it’s all happening in the zoo“, Paul Simon sang long ago.  If by “it” he meant “obesity, malaise, violence, dreams deferred, and a bonus existential sucker punch”, then I, too, do believe it.  I do believe it’s true.  Let us now roll the highlight reel: (more…)

The Lost Genius Of Robin Gibb

May 28, 2012

This is a story about alienation and beauty.  It is a story of thoughtless cruelty and heartbreak.  It’s the story of tempestuous youth in 1979.  It’s set on a school bus, mostly, and it has actual villains.  It is at its heart a story that is laughably sad, and sadly laughable.  (We are talking about puberty, after all.)  But it’s mostly about the voice of Bee Gee Robin Gibb: its haunting desolation, its exquisite ache, the hope despite hopelessness it conveyed.  It’s about how I came to find solace within the voice of Robin Gibb when I was young and the inspiring legacy he left behind.   I hope to do it justice. (more…)

Meisters Forever

September 19, 2011

Meister and Meister: Labor Day Weekend 2011

I wasn’t always middle-aged. I wasn’t always a mom. I wasn’t always trapped in the suburbs, fighting for air in a cubicle 5 days a week. I used to be free, dangerous, and utterly idiotic. I did amazing things. I once set up camp in my car, just a few blocks away from the French Quarter during a full-blown Mardi Gras hellraiser riot. I drove to the top of the highest mountain I could find, just to cry at the distant, cloud-shadowed beauty of the world I left behind. I shut down bars. I broke hearts. I smoked a pack a day. I was indestructible. In short: I was young.

Meister was not only there with me, but many of those amazing things were her idea. She, too, was free, dangerous, and utterly idiotic. For a short, yet memorable span of time during the Clinton era, we embarked on what could best be described as a bromance with boobs. (more…)