Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Steal My Sunshine" by Len

This past weekend marked the 15th anniversary of the release of Len's album You Can't Stop the Bum Rush.  The band, of course, is known for their one hit, "Steal My Sunshine," which was on that album.  The song shot all the way up to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was an international success as well, cracking the Top 10 in Australia (#3), Canada (#1), Ireland (#3), and the UK (#8).

For me, the song is so much more than a happy-go-lucky '90s one-hit wonder.  It became popular the summer before my senior year of college, and I took a quick liking to it.  I am normally a subpar dancer and have no desire to dance, but this song struck a chord with my inner rhythm.  As I mention on my "About GMYH" page, if you want me to dance, you better play "Steal My Sunshine" or give me a lot of booze.  Better yet, do both.  And then back up.

If you attended a wedding with me between the years 2000 and 2005, you know what I'm talking about, as you've likely witnessed me flying through the air, break dancing, attempting to do The Worm, or sliding head first through the legs of some mortified woman who I now call my wife while this song is playing.  It got to the point that I had to retire it because I left too much of myself out there on the dance floor, but people still request that I do it at the occasional wedding, to which I usually say, "That part of my life, like so many others, died the day I put this ring on my finger."  What can I say, the song speaks to me.  As soon as I hear that opening swirl and the repeating "More More More" sample, my hips start to thrust suggestively and a demented smile comes across my face. God damn, I miss the '90s.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: If I Roll a Seven . . .

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a bachelor party in Wisconsin.  There were 13 guys, and we rented a house on a river about a half hour south of Madison.  Saturday evening, we went up to Madison for dinner and some post-dinner drinking.

It was at dinner Saturday evening at a nice steakhouse that I was introduced to a game that can spice up any bachelor party (or pretty much any event).  The premise is quite simple.  You have a pair of dice.  The roller singles someone in the group out and gives that person something he/she has to do if the roller rolls a seven.  That person must agree to it.  The roller gets one roll.  If the roller rolls a seven, the person must do that deed.  If the roller rolls a two, the roller must do that deed.  If the roller rolls a twelve, both must do that deed.

Here's an example.  If I have the dice, I say, "If I roll a seven, Horace has to finish his beer."  Horace, being a man of integrity who enjoys a good bet (and a good beer), agrees.  If I roll a seven, he has to finish his beer.  If I roll snake eyes, I have to finish my beer.  If I roll boxcars, we both have to finish our beers.

As you can imagine, this played out pretty hilariously, as we played it at dinner and at the subsequent bars in Madison Saturday night, and at lunch Sunday, where we sat on a patio at a lakeside supper club near the town in which we were staying.  

Here are the ten best successful (or unsuccessful, depending on which side you're on) rolls of the weekend –- well, of the ones I can remember anyway.  To protect the innocent and depraved alike, I will not mention anyone by name.  "Roller" will refer to the roller and "Mark" will refer to the person who is the subject of the bet.  And remember, these are only the things that people actually agreed to do and where a 7, 2, or 12 was rolled.  Imagine what was left on the table.  They're in chronological order.

Honorable Mention:
-[At dinner Saturday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to take a shot of grappa.  Seven.
They didn't have grappa, so the waitress went ahead and gave him a shot of ouzo warmed to near-scalding temperatures.

-[At dinner Saturday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to go to that empty table over there and sit by yourself for the rest of the meal.  Seven.
Thankfully for Mark, it was after he was done eating.

-[At a bar Saturday night, to a female] If I roll a seven, I get to write a tramp stamp on you.  Seven.
It said "I love boobs!"  Because that's what a 30-something married man writes on a 20-something girl's lower back.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to eat a packet of butter.  Seven.
Mark described it as "buttery" and "terrible."

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to keep this chunk of fat from my prime rib in his mouth for two minutes.  Seven.
Mark is a vegetarian.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to go down to the dock [the supper club had a dock you could walk down to from the patio], put his feet in the water, and sing "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay."  Seven.
And he knew all the words.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to eat his French onion soup without his hands or any utensils.  Seven.
It's hard to eat soup –- especially soup with a layer of thick cheese on top of it -– with bread and rolls.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to break open this bag of tea and eat the leaves.  Not all of them, but at least a spoonful.  Seven.
Bigelow describes their classic Constant Comment tea as a "secret recipe of black tea, rind of oranges and sweet spice."  Mark described it as hard to eat.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to say "pretty please with sugar on top" every time he asks for anything from the server.  Seven.
His first request was for the location of the restroom.

-[At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, if the server asks Mark how his meal is, he has to stand up and say "It's grrrrrrreat!" like Tony the Tiger.  Seven.
He did and it was.

10.  [At dinner Saturday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to walk into Woof's, order a drink, drink it without saying a word to anyone, and leave.  Seven.
Woof's is the kind of gay bar where the dudes wear a lot of black leather.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, except that Mark was not wearing any black leather.

9.  [At a bar Saturday night, to a female] If I roll a seven, you have to take off your shirt and run down State Street yelling "Fuck the Pack."  Snake eyes.
Of course, when we walked out of the bar, there were two of Madison's finest standing right there, so Roller made sure to ask them if what he was about to do was going to get him arrested, and they assured him it would not.  State Street was closed to traffic, so Roller went a block down, took off his shirt, and ran down the street yelling "Fuck the Pack" while twirling his shirt over his head.

8.  [At a bar Saturday night] If I roll a seven, Mark has to eat that nacho off the table without using his hands.  Snake eyes.
That nacho had been sitting on the table since before we got there.

7.  [At a bar Saturday, to a female wearing a Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets jersey] If I roll a seven, you and the bachelor have to switch shirts right here in the bar.  Seven.
They both took off their shirts right there in the middle of the crowded bar and traded for about ten minutes.  Can you imagine a man wearing a WNBA jersey?  And a woman wearing a collared shirt?  The bachelor described the jersey as surprisingly pungent BO smell.

6.  [At a bar Saturday night] If I roll a seven, Mark has to snort a bump of salt.  Boxcars.
Both guys did their best Ty Webb and put some salt on the back of their respective hands, then snorted it right up.

5.  [At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to turn his chair around and eat his entrée on his lap facing away from the table.  Seven.
What made it better was the guy next to Mark saying, "Mark, you're being ridiculous.  Turn around and eat with the rest of the table.  Why are you doing this?"

4.  [At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to refer to himself in the third person for the rest of the meal.  If he refers to himself in the first person he has to take a drink.  If he does it three times, he has to finish his drink.
Mark did a pretty good job of referring to himself as Mark, which was especially funny when Mark was ordering drinks and food from the server.  "Mark would like a cheeseburger.  Has Mark told you he finds you attractive?"

3.  [At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to rub butter around the outside of his lips for the rest of the meal, and you are not allowed to acknowledge it when anyone asks about it.  Seven.
Mark had a butter goatee for about a half hour, and probably will now have an acne goatee for a half week.

2.  [At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, Mark has to stand at the end of the dock along the river at the house wearing only a Speedo for at least as long as it takes him to finish a beer.  Boxcars.
Thankfully, the local Family Dollar had the closest thing to Speedos in the form of glittery Spandex short shorts.  I was taking a nap when Roller and Mark made good on the bet, and I'm glad I was sleeping, as apparently the "shorts" didn't do much in the way of keeping everything within them.

1.  [At lunch Sunday] If I roll a seven, for the rest of the day, Mark has to wear whatever outfit I can buy for him for $15 or less in your size or larger.  Seven. 

The nearby Family Dollar had grey athletic Daisy Dukes made of stretchy material that came down just below Mark's boxers, on one leg anyway, and this shirt, which presumably is licensed by neither Lucas nor Shakur.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Satisfied" by Richard Marx

Back in the last few years of the 1980s, Richard Marx was huge.  His eponymous 1987 album spawned four Top 3 hits, including one #1 ("Hold On to the Nights"), and his second album, Repeat Offender, which debuted on the Billboard album charts this week 25 years ago, had two more #1s ("Satisfied" and "Right Hear Waiting"), along with another Top 5 hit ("Angelia") and two more Top 15 hits ("Too Late to Say Goodbye" and "Children of the Night"), and has gone 5x platinum in the US alone.  

It's no wonder that I joined his fan club as an 11-year-old.  What is a wonder is why I didn't join any other band or artist's fan club until at least 15 years later.  It's not like Richard Marx was my favorite artist.  Why didn't I join Def Leppard's fan club?  Or Guns N' Roses?  Or Skid Row?  These are questions I, myself, cannot answer.

Anyway, this is the video for "Satisfied," the first #1 from Repeat Offender.  The song is catchy as hell, and the video is, well, all over the place without any real narrative.  It just has a bunch of vignettes of people working, boxing, playing pool, dancing near vintage cars, watching ballerinas practice, and releasing pigeons from cages on the roof of a building on which someone is also drying laundry.  It is unclear whether any of these actions result in satisfaction for the subjects, other than the adolescent boys watching the ballerinas.  My favorite one has to be the three businessmen in suits having a race down a sidewalk.  Only in the '80s could a guy with a ponytail have a job that required him to wear a suit.

Interesting tidbit:  this song was preceded at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts by "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" by New Kids on the Block and succeeded at #1 by Milli Vanilli's "Baby Don't Forget My Number."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Important Lessons From Road House

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of one of the most awesome movies of all-time, Road House.  I have probably seen this movie (or at least parts of it on TNT or TBS) 50 times, and it's a movie that I will watch whenever it's on, no matter what part of the movie I happen to come in at or what time of night it is on.  I have even started watching the movie on TV, and then put in the DVD to watch the rest of the movie, so that those damn commercials don't get in the way.  And to see Kelly Lynch naked.

If you haven't seen it, here's a brief synopsis.  Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is a hot-shot cooler -- that's basically a head bouncer -- with a philosophy degree from NYU and a penchant for kicking ass.  He is wooed from his high-profile bouncing/cooling job in New York City to Jasper, Missouri to clean up a rough-and-tumble club called the Double Deuce.  He's not exactly welcomed with open arms by the local ruffians in Jasper, but he does meet a hot doctor (played by Kelly Lynch) after he gets in a dust-up at the Double Deuce.  He refuses anesthesia while she stitches him up.  They bang later while listening to Otis Redding.  In the meantime, this guy named Brad Wesley (played masterfully by Ben Gazzara) pretty much owns the town of Jasper.  He is the personification of the phrase "absolute power corrupts absolutely."  He lives in a mansion and throws lavish parties, which is great if you're in his circle, but he is also a giant dick.  His henchmen beat women, coerce local businesses to pay Wesley money (and trash their stores if they refuse), drive monster trucks over the local car dealer's lot, and apparently fuck guys in prison that look like Dalton. 

So Dalton cleans up the Double Deuce.  The clientele is nicer.  The bar is cleaner.  There aren't nearly as many fights.  They can even take down the chicken wire in front of the stage so that Jeff Healey doesn't get pelted with beer bottles.  (Side note:  what kind of an asshole throws beer bottles towards a blind man?)  But what to do about Wesley?  After Wesley and his henchmen go a little too far (killing Dalton's bouncing mentor, Wade Garrett, played by Sam Elliott, by literally stabbing him in the back), Dalton takes things into his own hands.  I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so I'll let you watch it the next time it comes on TNT at midnight to find out what happens.  Rest assured, Wesley's uppance comes.

The movie has a lot of good lessons, and someone has written a fantastic post called "10 Important Lessons That We Learned From 'Road House,' On Its 25th Anniversary."  (Thanks to Creature for the link.)  Here are the lessons the author has in his post:
1.  "Pain don't hurt."
2.  "Be nice until it's time not to be nice."
3.  Age ain't nothing but a number when it comes to kicking ass.
4.  Terry Funk, the actor > Hulk Hogan, the actor.
5.  In the '80s, bars were nothing but fights and table dances.
6.  Anyone can look and sound awesome by just retelling the story of Dalton and the Double Deuce.
7.  Everyone can sing.
8.  If enough people conspire to murder a man in cold blood in his home, the police look the other way.
9.  People shouldn't yell things about having sex with other people in prison while they fight.
10. Please don't ever tear out my throat, thank you.

These are all great lessons, and the fact that the post has video clips illustrating each lesson is even better.  Here are three more that I would have included:
1.  When a guy walks into a bar, always check to see if he is wearing a boot knife.  If he is, break his fucking ankle.
2.  If you major in philosophy, even at a great school like NYU, your career options are limited, so make sure you gain other skills, such as kicking ass and smoking.
3.  Never marry an ugly woman because "it just takes the energy right out of you."

One final note:  I understand there is a remake in the works, and that is really unfortunate because this movie can't really be made in any other decade than the '80s.  Please, Hollywood, stop trying to remake movies from the '80s.  Making a shitty version of Road House will not immortalize the movie; it will only give younger generations a negative association with the movie title.  That's not good for anyone.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Book: Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

I finished reading Any Questions?: The Complete Art Brut 2003-2013 by Eddie Argos a few weeks ago.  As I mentioned, it is a crowd-funded book by Art Brut lead singer and songwriter Eddie Argos, and the book is a complete volume of Art Brut's lyrics, with commentary from Argos. As expected, it was a pretty quick read.  I found it to be interesting, but then again, I am familiar with Art Brut, so it was nice to find out what the songs were about.

I have since started reading Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, a memoir about Burroughs's insane childhood, in which, after his parents divorced, his mom essentially sent him to live with her psychiatrist and the psychiatrist's odd family.  Apparently, it was made into a movie in 2006 with a pretty decent cast, but I don't think I ever heard of the movie before seeing the "Now a Major Motion Picture" seal on the cover of the book.  I have read a couple of Burroughs's other books -- Dry, a memoir about his struggles with alcoholism in adulthood, and Possible Side Effects, a collection of autobiographical essays.  He's a good writer, and funny, although there are parts of Running With Scissors thus far that are pretty disturbing.  After finishing the book, I'd be interested to see the movie to find out what the left in and what they left out.

Books read in 2014:
Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin
Any Questions?: The Complete Art Brut 2003-2013 by Eddie Argos

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Undone - The Sweater Song" by Weezer

This past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Weezer's self-titled debut album, known colloquially as "The Blue Album."  While that sentence makes me feel very old, I can think of only a handful of debut albums released in my lifetime that I enjoy more than Weezer's.  The songs are catchy, thoughtful, and rocking.  It was kind of the perfect antidote to grunge, proving that, even in the '90s, you could rock without brooding and wearing flannel.  This is one of those albums that I never get tired of listening to.

Despite the album's success in stores (it went platinum in the U.S. in less than a year), it only reached #17 on the Billboard album charts and spawned exactly zero Top 40 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.  However, that's not an accurate indication of how awesome this album is.  From top to bottom, there's not a bad song on The Blue Album.  It was critically acclaimed when it was released, and has been acclaimed even more so since then, finding its way onto tons of "best of" lists, from Best Albums of the '90s to Best Debut Albums of All-Time to Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All-Time. If you don't own this album, you should probably buy it right now.

Rather than go with the more popular Happy Days-themed video for "Buddy Holly," I decided to go with "Undone - The Sweater Song" because it was the band's first single and their first video, and it was what introduced most of the world (including me) to Weezer.  The single was the only song off of the album that charted on Billboard's Hot 100, peaking at #57 (although this song, "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So" all made the Top 40 on the UK charts, the Top 10 in Canada, and the Top 10 on Billboard's Modern Rock charts), and the video was directed by Spike Jonze (one of his earlier music video directing efforts, although he blew up pretty quickly around this time).

Here's to feeling old, but loving good music.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: 10 Mistakes New Parents Always Make

Exactly two months ago today, Jester finally birthed a male heir to my record production empire.  We ended up naming him Son, since it was both descriptive and the only name we could agree on, given our mutual love of Delta blues pioneer Son House.  

Here is a photograph of Son.  As you can see, he has already mastered the wry smirk that has gotten his father into a decent amount of trouble in the middle of what some spouses consider non-amusing arguments.
Thus far, Daughter and Lollipop have not tried to murder him.  Note:  I did not say they haven't tried to kill him.  They just haven't intentionally tried to kill him.  Apparently, the concept of not coughing in a newborn's face despite repeated warnings that he has no viable immune system is lost on 2- and 4-year-olds.  

Nonetheless, Son has so far proven to be a valuable addition to the family, providing comic relief in the form of audible and surprisingly pungent flatulence while the rest of us are eating dinner, earning him the nickname "Ripper."  He seems to have taken an interest in the Sweet Science, shadow boxing all things hanging-plush-animal-related.  He cries at an appropriate volume, which is to say, not at a piercing level.  And, last, but not least, he's fucking adorable.

Of course, anytime you bring a newborn home, the first question people ask is, "How are you sleeping?"  To which I respond, "Usually on my stomach, unless I have the spins."  Son sleeps on his back, with his arms and legs bound, as he is physically unable to roll onto his stomach just yet.

This brings me to this week's Tuesday Top Ten.  Wisconsin-based news outlet The Onion has put together a slideshow of "10 Mistakes New Parents Always Make."  It provides valuable tips for new parents and refreshers for those of us who are a little rusty.  Most importantly, it's nice to see that it's okay to make mistakes and that you're not the only one.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Greatest Misinformed Compliment I've Ever Received

Saturday evening, our neighbors were over at our house for an impromptu BBQ, along with their three kids.  Their two nieces (ages 15 and 19) were staying with them for the weekend, so they came over as well.  While the adults were grilling and drinking on the deck, the nieces were playing with the kids in the house.

Jester and I have a fair amount of music-related "artwork" framed on the walls in our house.  One hallway has several Lollapalooza posters and a very cool White Stripes poster from a concert I didn't attend in Detroit in 2003.  There is a Hold Steady concert poster in our powder room, and another one hanging in our girls' room.  Jester has kindly given me one staircase to display my rock and roll memorabilia.  It is known in the house as the "Rock and Roll Staircase," although usually only referred to in the style of the beginning and chorus of The Ramones' "Rock and Roll High School" (i.e., "rock, rock, rock, rock, rock and roll staircase"), and it has what little rock memorabilia I have collected over the years, including a couple old Beatles fan magazines, the legendary KISS comic book made with their blood, a couple autographed items, and some other random items, as well as a couple framed LPs to add to the ambiance.  I should also note that I was wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt Saturday, although not the sleeveless Union Jack t-shirt that I have worn to Def Leppard shows in the past.

In my life, there are two specific compliments people have given me that really stand out.  The first was at a frat party my junior year of college.  I was conversing on the party patio with an average-looking girl, who was good friends with another guy in the house and was semi-stalking me at the time, although it's fair to say that I was far more interested in getting hit in the head with a two-by-four than I was in her.  An attractive girl walked up to us, mid-conversation, and told me "I think you're hot."  To my knowledge, this is the only time in my life someone has said that about me, at least to my face.  Of course, I had no game (and still don't!), so it was physically and mentally impossible for me to remove myself from the conversation with the average-looking girl and go find the attractive girl to discuss the next eight to ten minutes of our lives together.

The second was a couple years later at a summer job.  A female co-worker knew that I listened to CDs all day at work and asked if she could borrow a couple of CDs so that she, too, could listen to music while she was working.  I liked to keep things fresh, so I would always listen to mix CDs (for those under 25, a mix CD like an iTunes playlist, but limited to 74 minutes).  I gave her a few mix CDs that I had with me, and when she returned them the next day, she said, "Wow, your taste in music is really eclectic."  Much appreciated.

"But GMYH, how does this all come together?"  I'm getting there, fair reader.  Patience.  What seems like normal home décor and a regular t-shirt to me apparently seems like platinum records on the wall to suburban teenage girls.  At one point, one of the nieces asked her aunt, "What do they do for a living?  Are they music producers?"  This is by far the coolest thing anyone has ever thought I do with my life, and whatever money I might have spent on those posters/memorabilia and getting them framed is totally worth it.  I now have the third specific compliment I will remember for the rest of my life, even if reality is far more boring than what this girl thought.  

I only wish I would have been there when the question was posed, so I could have said something like, "Guilty as charged.  You know, I've always been a huge music fan, but with no discernible musical talent or desire to learn an instrument, it was hard for me to break into the industry in the traditional way.  One day, after about the thousandth time I unsuccessfully auditioned for a band, I said, 'Fuck it, man, I'm gonna be a producer.'  And that was that.  I did Kings of Leon's first two albums, some on-and-off work with Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, and Ke$ha, some uncredited production work for Paul McCartney -- great guy –- co-wrote and produced a couple songs on Metallica's last album, and produced and sang backing vocals on Katy Perry's upcoming album.  Have you heard of Pharrell Williams?  I co-produced some stuff for Usher, Pitbull, and Daft Punk with him.  Right now, I'm working on kind of a supergroup project, with Ozzy Osbourne and Lorde sharing lead vocals, Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar, Eddie Vedder on backing vocals and rhythm guitar –- two Eddie Vs in the same band, I know -– Billy Joel on keyboards and harmonica, everyone in Mumford & Sons on handclaps and homemade percussion instruments, Ron Jeremy on bass –- who knew? -- and Taylor Swift on drums.  For the most part, it's straight grindcore, with elements of country, pop, disco, tejano, and melodic death metal mixed in.  They're calling themselves Five Shit Monday, and I gotta tell ya, we are having a blast making this record.  What's that saying?  When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.  Now who wants some cocaine?"

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Blondes in Black Cars" by Autograph

I mentioned this song in yesterday's post of my Top Ten Hair Band One Hit Wonders, as this is the only other Autograph song I know besides "Turn Up the Radio," thanks to its rotation on VH1 Classic's hard rock and metal video program, Metal Mania.  As I said yesterday, this is one of those songs that could only have been made in the '80s.  Released as a single off of the band's 1985 sophomore album, That's the Stuff, "Blondes in Black Cars" made it to #38 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, making it Autograph's second-most successful song behind "Turn Up the Radio."  I am somewhat surprised that "Blondes in Black Cars" didn't chart on Billboard's Hot 100, given the fact that its subject matter seems to embody just about everything that any male in 1985 between the ages of 10 and 30 would have wanted out of life.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Midwestern Eavesdropping

A woman: "I always assume whatever way I'm facing is North.  Especially when I give others directions."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Tuesday Top Ten: Hair Band One Hit Wonders

As you know, I love hair band music, but my love is not limited to the Bon Jovis, Def Leppards, and Mötley Crües of the world.  The '80s were a bastion for one hit wonders, and the hair band genre had its share.  After hearing Steelheart's "I'll Never Let You Go" a week or so ago, I decided that it's time for a Tuesday Top Ten dedicated to hair band one hit wonders.

"But GMYH, what is a one hit wonder?"  I'm glad you asked, fair reader.  It's a relatively fluid concept, but generally, a one hit wonder is a band or musician that had one and only one song that made it into the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  I think that's a fair and objective standard.  In my mind, if Casey Kasem (or Shadoe Stevens) didn't play your song on American Top 40, you didn't have a hit.

This was actually much tougher than I expected.  There were a lot of bands who had multiple Top 40 hits who I only thought would have had one.  Who knew Vixen had two Top 40 hits, other than, say, the members of Vixen?  And, on the other hand, there were a lot of bands who I thought would have had a Top 40 song that had none, but perhaps I am retroactively overvaluing the popularity of the likes of Dokken and BulletBoys.

As a result of these issues, I had to fudge a couple of the entries on the list and expand my scope to the Top 50.  There is one band whose song wasn't a Top 40 song, and another where the band actually had two Top 40 songs.  For your peace of mind, I will be sure to identify both of those.  With that, here are my top ten hair band one hit wonders, with the song's highest peak on the charts in parentheses.  And, of course, following each song is the video because you couldn't have a hit song in the '80s without a video.

10.  "Fly High Michelle" by Enuff Z'Nuff (#47)
Enuff Z'Nuff was an Illinois-based glam band that often sounded more Beatles-influenced than metal-influenced.  A friend of mine that I grew up with claimed at one point that the band's drummer grew up on his block, and I have no reason to believe or not believe that.  "Fly High Michelle" was the band's biggest hit, topping out at #47 in 1990.  It's the only song on the list that didn't crack the Top 40.

9.  "Honestly" by Stryper (#23)
Who says glam metal can't include some Jesus loving?  Stryper was, as far as I know, the only Christian hair band that had any measure of success.  "Honestly," off the band's 1987 platinum-selling album To Hell With The Devil, was their highest-charting song, and it is a pretty sappy ballad.  I much prefer the title track, but "Honestly" does provide at least a glimpse into lead singer Michael Sweet's vocal range.

8.  "Love Is On The Way" by Saigon Kick (#12)
I have always assumed Saigon Kick is a hair band, based on the fact that their only hit, "Love Is On The Way" was a ballad in the style of other hair bands' ballads at the time.  Then again, the extent of my knowledge of Saigon Kick is relatively limited.  Anyway, this song was pretty big, reaching #12 on the charts in 1992, at the tail end of the Hair Band Era.

7.  "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Kix (#11)
Baltimore-based Kix struck a chord (pun intended) in 1989 with their anti-suicide power ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes."  Like many hair bands (see also Extreme and Mr. Big), they are unfortunately and unfairly mainly known for their ballad, but most of their stuff is a lot harder rocking.  While I have never seen Kix live, they are apparently a legendarily good live band, so if you get the chance, check them out.

6.  "House of Pain" by Faster Pussycat (#28)
Faster Pussycat was fronted by Taime Downe, who co-owned the '80s Sunset Strip club The Cathouse with Riki Rachtman (of MTV Headbangers Ball fame), and "House of Pain" was the band's only charting single.

5.  "The Ballad of Jayne" by L.A. Guns (#33)
The original incarnation of L.A. Guns has the infamous distinction of being the "Guns" in Guns N' Roses, when L.A. Guns (featuring Tracii Guns) merged with Hollywood Rose (featuring Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, and Izzy Stradlin).  Of course, Guns was replaced in GNR by Slash, and then he reformed L.A. Guns shortly thereafter.  They put out a couple pretty good glam/sleaze metal albums that cracked the Top 50 of Billboard's album charts, and like so many other hair bands on this list, their highest-charting song was their ballad, appropriately titled "The Ballad of Jayne."  I have always liked this song, and for one reason or another, I think it's better than most hair band ballads.

4.  "Turn Up the Radio" by Autograph (#29)
"Turn Up the Radio" is a great, fist-pumping song with a sing-along chorus, and as I learned today, guitarist Steve Lynch won 1985's "Guitar Solo of the Year" award from Guitar Player Magazine for this song.  This video can be seen now and then on VH1 Classic's hard rock and metal video show, Metal Mania, as can the band's video for their song "Blondes in Black Cars," a song that could only have been made in the '80s.

3.  "I'll Never Let You Go" by Steelheart (#14)
This was the only one hit wonder that made my list of Top Ten Hair Band Power Ballads, and with good reason.   Lead singer Miljenko "Michael" Matijevic hits notes that most female opera singers can only dream about.  Matijevic also provided the vocals for Mark Wahlberg's character in the 2001 guilty pleasure film Rock Star, which I could watch a thousand times and not get sick of.

2.  "Round and Round" by Ratt (#12)
It's tough to call Ratt a one hit wonder, since they technically had one other Top 40 song ("Lay It Down" reached #40), but the system isn't perfect, so it is what it is.  "Round and Round" was Ratt's first single off their debut album, 1984's Out of the Cellar, the cover of which featured a scantily clad Tawny Kitaen crawling on her hands and knees towards, well, a cellar.  The song is a gritty, rocking Sunset Strip song that put Ratt on the map.  Even though they didn't have Top 40 singles success, out of their first five albums (released between 1984 and 1990), four went platinum, two were Top 10 albums, and all five were Top 30 albums. And let's not discount the fact that the video for "Round and Round" featured Milton Berle.

1.  "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister (#21)
Give how ubiquitous "We're Not Gonna Take It" has become over the years (I think most college pep bands have had this in their regular rotation at some point), I sometimes forget that it was Twisted Sister's only Top 40 hit.  This is not only a top hair band one hit wonder, but has been ranked as the #21 overall one hit wonder of all-time by VH1.  The video is also a classic. Neidermeyer: what a dick.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

What is Photocopying Machine Anyway?

A co-worker sent this around a few days ago, and you may have seen it.  Apparently, a few years ago in Ohio, there was a lawsuit challenging a county recorder's office's decision to remove digital files and charge $2 a page for hard copies.  During the course of that case, the lawyer for the plaintiff deposed an IT administrator in the recorder's office, and the lawyer asked the IT guy about a "photocopying machine."  The resulting discussion is an example of why people hate lawyers, since the witness was obviously coached to be a giant dickhead.  But the best part is that some dude made a dramatization of the deposition into a short film, using the script verbatim.  Here it is.  It's pretty hilarious.