I can’t hear you over that whistling sound.
Archive for February, 2007
Behold the number of Dark Knight-related bands on Myspace:
– a fairly out-of-tune boy band from Norway called Batman
– far too many rappers calling themselves Batman to list; this one partners with somebody called Big Daddy Snipes to spit hot fire about Nike shoes (probably the best rap ever written about Nike shoes)
– A French drum n’ bass Batman
– the rockabilly group called Batmobile
– An electronica Joker
– a totally awesome metal band from Florida called Gotham City
There’s so many more, but I really need to go roll down an asphalt hill naked.
Hearing those Jim Steinman Batman songs really jazzed me up for more lame Bat-antics. I went searching on Youtube and discovered these boffo clips:
Bonus non-musical clips:
Hey, remember that Batman musical from 2002? You know, the one Jim Steinman wrote all the songs for? You don’t? Oh yeah, I forgot – God exists. That’s why you don’t remember it. God exists, and He decided humanity had enough shit to deal with. Thus, He destroyed the Batman musical. Unfortunately, He forgot to destroy Jim Steinman, who is keeping the spirit of the all-singing, all-dancing Dark Knight showcase alive on his website. If you have a strong resolve, Bat-fans, click on that link and endure the following:
– “In the Land of the Pig the Butcher is King” (sung by Gotham City fat cats)
– “Catwoman’s Song” (she needs all the love she can get)
– “We’re Still the Children” (sung not by children but by grown-ups)
– “Wonderful Toys” (the Joker’s show-stopping number)
– “(Vespers) Angels Arise/Graveyard Shift” (the latter half marks Batman’s fist appearance)
Steinman, of course, is Meatloaf’s right-hand man. The Loaf apparently dug this Bat-jive; he recorded his own version of “In the Land of the Pig” for Bat Out of Hell III. Holy Friendship.
If you give Marky Mark an Oscar tonight, you might as well give this guy one, too. I mean, he pretty much fooled the entire planet into thinking he was the best rapper in the world for five minutes. That’s worthy of something.
Who decides what music to play in chain restaurants? I found myself wondering this as I inhaled my dinner tonight at Whataburger, sitting almost directly under a Bose speaker that was blasting out disco hits from the 1970s. I know that almost every nationally franchised eatery in this country fills their dining rooms with playlists pumped in from satellite radio stations; they’ve been doing it that way for years, long before XM and Sirius took the technology to Joe Public. However, who is in charge of picking the specific songs we hear? Regional managers? Corporate folk? The ghost of Wolfman Jack? Who is it already? “Funkytown” didn’t just interrupt my bacon cheeseburger and fries by itself, you know.
I’ve been curious about this for a long time. None of the on-site managers at the various low-paying and utterly demeaning food service jobs I had as a teenager/young adult seemed to know who was directly responsible for the tunes the customers were hearing. Most of the time, their only music-related duty was turning the receiver on and making sure the volume was at the right level. Everything else was out of their hands. The stock answer seemed to be, “I don’t know, it’s all computers now, shooting it here from some shack in Arizona via satellites. You know, robots and shit.” Then they’d change the subject to the dishes and how I needed to do them. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh, well. There’s no way this will be nagging at my brain one night at two in the morning when I’m twenty-eight.”
Some restaurants seem to cater musically to their largest demographic. Almost every Taco Bell I’ve ever been to has had the current Top 40 in rotation. That’s because teenagers primarily eat there, and I haven’t met too many thirteen year olds who aren’t totally obsessed with mainstream radio or MTV. The Bell I used to work at put an emphasis on R&B and dance cuts late at night; seemingly, this was to put the raver crowd at ease as they came in for their 10:00 P.M. breakfast. Arby’s, on the other hand, which appears to aim its eats at blue collar adults, usually has some variation of light rock or country going in its locations. Because after a long day toiling in the steel mill, no workin’ man wants to mosey on in to his favorite roast beef supplier and hear Kanye West droppin’ mad rhymes over a sick beat. No sir, he wants to clog his arteries to something peaceful and serene, like Harry Chapin.
Of course, not every chain is so in tune (pardon the pun) with their regulars. Some places don’t seem to care what’s going on over their airwaves. The Perkins that enslaved me as a bus boy for six months around the turn of the century is a good example. 90% of their cliental was approaching the age of 90, yet they insisted on an aural smattering of post-grunge, assaulting old fogies with the likes of Weezer, Green Day, and that annoying “If I Could Be Your Woman” song. Once I even heard Alice in Chains on Radio Perkins – and it wasn’t one of their soft acoustic numbers, either. Rather, my ears were confounded by the hard-driving “Get Born Again,” an obscure cut they recorded for their 1999 box set. I wouldn’t be that shocked by restaurant music again until 2003, when I found myself in a Bennigan’s that played nothing but 1980s hair metal. Let me tell you, nothing kills a romantic dinner faster than Trixter.
Are any of you restaurant satellite radio programmers out there reading this? Can you give us some insight into this strange process and why some of the more baffling decisions are made? Why are you forcing “Buddy Holly” on World War II veterans? Who wants to hear P.J. Farley while they eat? Who do you think you are, where are you located, and most importantly…are you by any chance hiring?
Fudgeland posted an awesome Tiny Tim bootleg today from September of 1968 (the height of Tinymania). The beginning of “Rock-A-Bye Baby Days” is missing, but the rest of the concert is so seriously friggin’ good you won’t even notice. Tim was just on for this performance. If you’ve never heard musical murder before, download this concert, ’cause I can’t think of a better example.
More thoughts on recently unearthed promo CDs from the days of yore (read: 2003):
The Lovetones – Be What You Want
This is like the soundtrack to a CW teen drama. Pained, “reflective” pop. Sample lyric: “He never knows what he sees/he’s just a monkey in a tree…” Oy vey. “What Am I To Do” is the worst aping of the Beatles I’ve ever heard. The singer is just doing a Lennon impression. There’s no way he can be seriously singing. This is the type of music that’s really to blame whenever a kid in a Rammstein shirt brings a gun to school. I consider myself a mature, responsible adult, and the music on this CD is making me want to run outside, grab a raccoon, and throw it into traffic.
Big Midnight – Everything For The First Time
Attack of the overblown 1970s rocker song titles: “Doin’ Alright,” “Treat Me Too Bad,” “Make It,” and my personal fave, “Take the Blow.” I’m sure these guys are opening for Longwave somewhere right now. The Strokes really gave any band of skinny guys with that throwback sound a shot, didn’t they? Ooh, the singer wants to set “Little Miss Mercy” free. Good luck, dude – you look like Kimmy Gibbler on the cover of your album. Wait a minute, I just noticed something: Big Midnight has a black female guitarist who is not in any of the pictures on the outside of the album. She is, however, included in alternate shots that are obviously from the same photo session seen in the CD booklet. Are these guys racist, or did she join the group in the middle of that photo session? I guess it doesn’t matter; Everything For The First Time bores me no matter what their story is.
Very Ape – Kosher Boogie
From Sweden, Very Ape picks up the beat. Fairly generic, straight-foward rock – disappointing considering they appear to be named after a Nirvana song. But hey, at least it’s kinda fast. No doubt some kids in Sweden put this on when Mom and Dad go out so they can have a rockin’ soundtrack while they do bong hits with their pants down. Is Frampton playing guitar on this record? “Loaded” has a great riff. Almost makes me glad I didn’t throw this one away. I think he’s saying, “I’m not afraid of the dark, I wanna live!” in that one. That’s funny.
The Ruiners – How’s That Grab Ya?
Half-baked punk n’ roll. Singer sounds like Iggy Pop sucking helium. Okay, instead of just saying “boner” in “Vampire Dating,” they substituted a “BOI-YOI-YOI-YOI-NG!” sound. That instantly makes this CD the worst thing ever created. Half-baked punk n’ roll with BONER SOUND EFFECTS. Osama called; the terrorists just won.
Q: What happens when two guys who spent a lot of time hanging out with Rob Zombie get together and form a band?
A: The world doesn’t blow up.
What, you were expecting a joke?
Ahem. So, former White Zombie drummer Ivan de Prume has this band going with former Rob Zombie guitarist Riggs called Scum of the Earth. Not surprisingly, their stuff sounds like White Zombie. If you wish WZ had put out more albums during their formative years as America’s number one horror-themed groove metal band from New York, then I highly recommend scooting over to SOTE’s Myspace page. It’s got a nice platter of riffs, gore, and children singing about the Devil.
That reminds me – I have absolutely no White Zombie on my iPod. What am I supposed to listen to the next time I’m wandering around the highway at midnight, blasted out of my mind on ‘shrooms and cat brains? Pavement? I think not.
Born in the Basement, a great source for long-lost punk of all varieties, posted two rare Screeching Weasel EPs today – Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions and Formula 27. Haven’t heard the latter, but the former consists of some pretty righteous live cuts and a rewrite of “Tulu is a Wimp” by the Queers.Â Cool stuff.Â Check it out, Weasel fans.Â After all, it is your right.