Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Aldo Nova - "Fantasy"

Aldo Nova burst upon/was forced by the Powers That Be upon the scene in 1982 with an AOR gem in "Fantasy":  The tune has a great riff, synths that don't hold the song back, and a decent guitar solo. Problem was, there was a video …

Nova - and I like calling him "Nova", kinda like how when Mr. Carlson is being terse with Dr. Johnny Fever he simply calls him "Fever" - simply looks like a goof while sporting a ridiculous leopard one-piece outfit tucked into boots (needed, a friend once rode in an elevator with him, said he's tiny) and Oasis-brothers-like eyebrows. The beginning is some sort of caper movie, it turns into a performance - Aldo-and-band-rock-a-club! - then has asides where Nova steps out of character, points at the ladies of the night, and informs us they aren't there for true love. (Thanks dude, most of us had been misled to believe such ladies are secretly harboring hearts of gold!) And I don't know if it's the quality of the YouTube video, but I experienced some Fight Club-like editing flash stuff while watching it. I didn't see this video until months after the song raced up the charts, I had been assured during lunch time in high school that it was powerful, powerful stuff. Doh-kay.

I got to see Nova live when he opened for Blue Oyster Cult in West Fargo, North Dakota in September of 1982. He was trying to warm up the crowd and said:

"North Dakota is a great town!"

Years later, I related this tale on an email list (pre-social-media communication thing, tweet me if you want further definition) I was on with some fellow musicheads. One guy chipped in with this Nova onstage quote, also from September of 1982 but this time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

"Alright, Sioux City!"

As I theorized at the time of reading that:

Nova said these things as an inside joke with his Canadian bandmate buddies as a way to get some laughs while out on the weary road in heartland America as an opener for an American smart-metal band who was hanging onto its last act of stardom. 

Aldo Nova would go on to co-write the lead track off Blue Oyster Cult's next album, The Revolution By Night. As these things go, that album was also the one that signified the end of BOC's powers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Bill Murray - "Physical"

The YMCA is not my social club. The goal of going there is simple: Get an elliptical workout for thirty minutes with my iPhone blasting some metal; walk on the treadmill for forty minutes while listening to more music; stretch; and then get the hell out of there.

The YMCA is not my social club. I’ve been going there for over twenty years, but have not made friends. The people who work the front desk never fail to be quite friendly. I will give them a smile and a nod, small talk if need be. I'll also sneak a glance at the gal behind the counter that I have a small crush on. But once I get through the turnstile, it’s time to get a workout done so that I can get the hell out of there and back home.

The YMCA is not my social club. I don’t talk with the other members, I don’t bond over exercise. I don’t want to bond over anybody while wearing polyester pants and a ratty teeshirt, while sweaty and out of breath. I may tell another member that the machine is all theirs after cleaning it after my workout, but in most cases a gesture will do.

The YMCA is not my social club. I don’t use the locker room. I walk home and shower there. I can do without the naked men walking around, the naked men applying various lotions and powders to their bodies, the naked men with their wet towels hogging all the stools as if they are setting up an office in the locker room - when the goal of being in the locker room should be to get the hell out as soon as possible. I can do without the seventy-year old man with his compliments, his standing there naked putting his hand on my arm while talking to me like old guys do. I do not want to have lunch with old naked man, despite his friendly invitation. Like I told him, I like to grab lunch alone and read the sports page.

The YMCA is not my social club. I’m just there to listen to metal on my iPhone while working out, looking out the large windows while all the cars try to find parking spots those weeks when lots of folks join between New Year’s Day and Valentine's Day. I’m sure many of these new people end up making friends with other members, the front desk staff, the personal trainers, the janitors. Some of them may even end up having lunch with a naked person that talks to them in the locker room. I just want to make an effort to get healthy, get the hell home, rehydrate, and mark off another appearance that goes towards my health insurance discount.

The YMCA is not my social club. I just go there four times a week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
The Rods - “Crank It Up”

The Rods - whose name kinda sounds punk - were obviously nodding to The Ramones on the album cover with the jeans/tees/leather jackets look (except one of the Rods needs to mix in a salad), which makes you think this might be some sort of brilliant early-eighties metal/punk crossover. Instead, The Rods at times simply serve up at-times-punkish metal with absolutely no cleverness. Consider some of the song titles from their self-titled major label debut: "Power Lover", "Hungry For Some Love", "Getting Ready To Rock And Roll", "Rock Hard", "Roll With The Night". And that they would go on to release albums titled Let Them Eat Metal and Heavier Than Thou. Throw in that their frontman was David “Rock” Feinstein, which just might be the greatest nickname in all of, uh, rock, and that all of this was served up with no irony whatsoever, well you just wonder if they were any sort of influence on This Is Spinal Tap.

Like Shooting Star's "Hang On For Your Life", released the same year, The Rods' "Crank It Up" is stripped-down, speeded-up hard rock. It's evidence of how the AOR game had (oh-so-ever-slightly) changed in the early eighties. The rest of the album is weighed down by a lack of energy and lacks the sheer go-for-brokeness of this tune, but don't tell that to The Rods cult. (Wha? Hey I just became aware it also.) This album is going for $26 for a new CD and $24 for a new vinyl LP on Amazon. As one of the true believer Amazon commenters writes: "The Rods have surly (sic) delivered the goods."