Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
AC/DC - "Problem Child"

In my ongoing quest to find The Song Of Summer 2014, which for some reason in my head is to find an old song I dig and have a hip-hop crew sample it and make something exquisite and funky for me to blast on my iPhone while I sip on a Sierra Nevada Kellerweis or a Bell's Oberon Ale or a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita (finances might dictate this one) and stare out my kitchen window into the sunshine and imagine what people do outdoors when the temperature gets above eighty degrees. (Me? I end up blasting the AC at some point and watching The Wire on Amazon Prime.)

My latest candidate to be turned into a hip-hop wonder is AC/DC's "Problem Child", the song so fine that they put it on both their Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock albums. (Research indicates that this is the result of international releases having different tracks than AC/DC's home Aussie releases, but that's no fun. Part of me thinks the Young brothers said: "F*ck it, we're putting 'Problem Child' on this LP also!")

Bon Scott throws rap-worthy challenges all over this one. He starts out with a "cop this" (BEGGING SOMEBODY in the future to use it!), tells us he's "cold as ice", then offers up this:

man in blue
it's up to you
the seed is sown
what I want is stash
what I don't I smash
and you're on my list
dead or alive I got a .45
and I never miss

Later, Bon assures us that "even my mother hates me"! Go Stagger Lee!

The tune has an awesome beat, a simplistic-yet-killer riff … and after the song seems to be over for some reason they tack on a low-fi recording of the beat and riff as if they are looking into the future and BEGGING SOMEBODY to sample it! Who dares offend the memory of the late Bon Scott? I demand a rap-rock "Problem Child" remake! My birthday is in August!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
The Jaggerz - "The Rapper"

Thrown onto a bubblegum anthology that I put together ten years ago, I always forget about this one until I listen to said DIY playlist. But how could I forget about this one? It's got everything except the kitchen sink in it! To wit:

Written by band member Donnie Iris (!), it has Creedence chords, a fuzzbox chorus that sounds like an attempt to be additional members of the Family Stone, and said chorus also has the Latin-percussion break that was so popular during the era. (See also: The Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", The James Gang's "Funk #49".) Sure it seems to always be in a hurry to get to the chorus, but it clocks in at under three minutes, so what do you expect? The lyrics are about a pick-up artist who "needs somebody to sock it to" (ugh) and yet the group applauds itself at the end. You wonder if AC/DC took note and decided to have itself booed at the end of "The Jack". (Where Bon Scott acts as if it is applause anyway.) You also wonder why there hasn't been a hip-hop adaptation of this one. C'MON: It's got heist-worthy beats, the singer throws down a what-ya-got sneering "heh" towards the end, and IT'S TITLED "THE RAPPER"! Hollywood remakes everything and most of those are horrible decisions, but we can't get one left-field attempt to stretch this tune into The Song Of Summer 2014?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My interpretation of the lyrics of the closing theme from WKRP In Cincinnati

Went to the bartender
Bartender, I said: "Yeah"
Said to the bartender:
"Microphone did uh uh"

I said: "Good bartender
I had better a head"
I said: "I would good
and good that I did ah hah"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
The Standells - "Try It"

(Early draft of a personal ad - do they still have these? Back section of City Pages? - written to get the attention of a certain young lady.)

To the punk rock girl dressed in black shoes, black shorts, black top, with dreds and sunglasses outside of Extreme Noise Records on Lake Street May 28th around 7:15 pm who aimed a huge smile my way as I was unlocking my bike:

Hey Killer Smile - I merely smiled back at you that evening. Here's what I should have come out and said -

I got eighteen beers - Six Summit EPAs and a twelver of Premium, all in cans - in this rear bike basket. I got some great punk rock albums ready to play on my Technics sound system: The Very Best of The Standells on the Hip-O label and Paul Revere and the Raiders' Greatest Hits on the well-respected Columbia label. (And if you plan on staying longer, I got the Nuggets and Children of Nuggets box sets.) You can simply hop on these handlebars and we'll take the six blocks home. I can wear all black also (black Nikes, black gym shorts, black Cheap Trick teeshirt.) I don't have cool sunglasses like you, but I do have transition lenses so I can block out the sun pretty quick when need be (which is almost always, right?); these kinda-shades look especially great on me in the winter when I'm also sporting my long-sleeve black-and-gray Led Zep teeshirt ("Communication Breakdown" = punk rock riff?) and UND hockey hat pulled low … and for further street cred my favorite sports team, said UND hockey squad, sometimes also dresses in all black.

As you can see from the above, my punk rock credentials are pretty darn good. I should also mention that I once shook Wayne Kramer's hand. And that when I was a toddler, I stabbed myself in the head with a blue pencil and still have a blue dot to prove it. I've even been in Extreme Noise once or twice. I "get" punk rock. So let's splurge, buy the Los Nuggetz box set, and spend the summer together with it and discounted Tecate in cans.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
Len - "Steal My Sunshine"

Jack FM is now my go-to fun music station. K-Twin was my fun station but they’re classic rock now and I’ve heard all those songs a thousand times. I’ve heard many of the songs on Jack FM a thousand times also but not all of them. Some had been lost to me over the years with my evolving (ha ha) tastes in music and preferences in radio stations. So when it’s time to lock in a radio station and read the paper or shave or stare into a scotch and think about life or writing or both (at times they are one and the same) sometimes I just gotta hear The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter” or Greg Kihn Band’s “Jeopardy” or some other gem from my past.

Or that night a couple of weeks ago where I was staring at my financial situation spreadsheet trying to figure out how to pay for said (cheap!) scotch … and groceries, health care, cat food … and had Jack FM on and some song I had never heard before came on and I kept turning up the volume until all the solutions to avoid going broke came shining through. Temporary solutions, sure, but patches are all that are needed until that property tax refund comes riding to my rescue in July. The song was “Steal My Sunshine” by Len, and honestly I hadn’t heard it before and if I had it did not stick with me. Good, because it came out in ‘99 and I have the feeling mid-thirties Tuomala would have thought it dumb and beyond redemption.

According to Wikipedia, Len's Marc Costanzo said he wanted to make a song like The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” (Len’s song is better) so he alternated vocals with his sister, Sharon. Throw in that the band is Canadian and all of this is as sweet as the song is with its Andrea True Connection bump and sunny vibe. As one-hit wonders go, this one is GRADE A. Throw in that Jack FM recently ran promos that feature clips from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Caddyshack, and The Troggs' "Summertime" and it's clear that my Jack FM phase isn't going away any time soon.