Round the Dial
Tuesday 29 October @ 16:52:14
by Tom Hallett
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Today, a revolution can be accomplished by mass media, with technical advances that Madison Avenue is using to sell you washing machines and a loaf of bread and everything else. This can be used to change the whole country around—painlessly. The sloppy kind is blood-in-the-street and all that bull%@!#$&.”
-—Frank Zappa, 1967
SONG OF THE WEEK: “The World Is On Fire”
-—Matthew Ryan (In memory of late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone)
I suppose I could dedicate this week’s column to ranting and raving about “Mysterious Crashes,” famine, abberant weather patterns, war, and rumours of war, but hey, even Halloween isn’t supposed to be as scary as the real, %@!#$&ed-up world out there. So I’ll try and keep things a bit on the lighter side here in Dial-land this time out—you can get your fill of true-to-life horror and heartache just about anywhere else you turn. On the other hand, who wants to read another cheesy All Hallow’s Eve list of “Cool Free Events?” Naw, for true Samhain delight, one must momentarily suspend belief, sensibility, and rationale—for some of life’s most horrific surprises lie hidden in record and CD collections somewhere very close to you right this moment. In the spirit of the season, I’ve compiled several spine-tingling scenarios for your sensory enjoyment. Pour yourself a stiff one, put another log on the fire, and curl up for what I like to call...
(Or, How Michael Jackson Ruined Halloween For Me Forever)
Spooky Scenario #1:
The Drooling Dust Monsters In The Closet
I know some of my own most memorable musical shocks have come when I most needed to hear some decent tunes—somebody at a party would say, “Hey, my brother left all of his albums behind, man! Pull those out and go to town!” So I’d dig dutifully into some dusty bedroom closet, rifling past lone, cracked hockey skates, crumpled suit pants, and crusty pages torn from salacious girly mags to finally arrive at a meager pile of ten or so vinyl albums, two or three invariably without covers, and drag them laboriously over the wasted remnants of some loser’s teen years and into the light. After several violent rounds of sneezing, some feeble swats at punch-drunk flies, and a couple fist rubs to my foggy eyes, I’d inevitably focus only to find my worst nightmares lying in silent wait for me...yes, they’d all be there...Michael Jackson’s Thriller, (sometimes, inexplicably, two or three copies, as if Jacko had cast some bizarre spell in the Cthulu Chamber of his Haunted Hollyweird Manse that caused MTV-influenced fans to—in the words of another Evil One, former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald—”keep forgetting” that they’d bought the previous copy. What other explanation could there be? Unless the albums actually SPAWNED new copies when left in a dark closet with just the right amount of dust, spooge-stained porn rags, and filthy articles of outdated clothing...) Steve Perry’s Street Talk album, with a loud, rude-colored sticker screaming “CONTAINS THE SMASH HIT SINGLE “OH SHERRY!!” displayed prominently above the Journey-Maestro’s gargantuan, hooked beak and garish, ridiculously tight silk/satin outfit. Maybe the brother thought having “Oh Sherry” on hand would help him score with the babes if M.J.’s ’80s opus failed to do the trick? Next up, the depressing grey facade of Whitesnake—the grandest Led Zep rip-off since, well, Led Zep, creased and worn with obvious over-use, and upon closer inspection, scratched in all the right places—”Dude, did you HEAR that solo? I’m playin’ it over again!” Argh. Foghat Live, with that dorky inner sleeve torn and turned wrong-side out. Lulled by the thought of old Chicago blues—even played by coked-out white boys with monstrous handlebar mustaches and huge, bug-eyed sunglasses—I’d forget about the ever-present FINAL SHOCKER!! Yes, as the Foghat album slid easily in a coat of dust through my now-chapped fingers, I’d see it glaring angrily at me from the bottom of the stack: THE BODYGUARD SOUNDTRACK!! AHHHGGHHH!!! Just the sight of it caused the album’s evil juju to kick in and launch the horrifying lead track spinning maddeningly through the mind’s ear—”AND IIIIIIIII-EEEEE-IIIIII WILL ALWAYSSSSS LOOOOVEE YEWWWWW.....” No, Junior, you won’t be waking up from this dream...Mwah, ha! Ha! Ha! Haaa!!
Spooky Scenario #2:
“Wow, thanks for stopping! I’ve been out here for a couple hours and you’re the first person who even seemed to notice me!” “Yeah, I’ve been there. Hop in! “Hey, how ya doin’?” “Great, great. Where ya headed?” “Oh, I’m goin’ all the way to Spokane, but I’ll ride as far as you’ll take me. It’s damn wet and cold out there!” “Yeah, no kidding. Well, I’m only going to County 6, but I’ll drop you at the truck stop outside of Pennyville, and you can hook up with a trucker going the distance.” “Oh, great. Thanks, man.” “So what are ya doin’ in Spokane—you got family there, or what?” “Naw, I got a job working at this paint factory with a friend of mine. Not my life’s dream, but it’ll be a steady paycheck.” “That’s always a good thing, eh?” “Yep, yep. Say, do you mind if I smoke?” “Go right ahead—just open that window a crack—I gave it up a couple of years back.” “Wow. You’re smart. These things suck. (Coff! Coff!) I’m gonna quit myself, just a few more years.” “Hm.” “So, where are you headed?” “I’m going back to my place—just got back from a—well, I guess you could call it a ‘Sales Convention.’ Heheh.” “Oh yeah? What do you sell?” “A little of this, a little of that. I like to pride myself in making people feel really, really relaxed—hell, catatonic, even! Heheh.” “Really? What do you sell, painkillers? Ha.” “No, no. Something far better, and all natural. Older than time itself, you might say.” “Hmm. Well, whatever it is, you must be doing pretty good. This car is awesome! Looks like the control panel of a spaceship in here, especially in the dark.” “Yeah, it comes with the job. One of the many, many perks my -er—firm gives to all its loyal employees.” “Cool! Hey, this looks like a kickin’ stereo—mind if I try it out?” “No, no, go right ahead. I’d love to hear some music.” “Great. I’ll check the radio out....damn. It’s all static. Must be the weather. I don’t suppose you have any tapes or CD’s with you?” “Hm. No, no CD’s...my collection was stolen last time I went through Memphis. As for tapes, there might be one or two in the glove box. Go ahead and check.” “Oh, alright. Hey, I don’t mind tapes. You get a mix tape or two together, it just might save your life on a night like this when the radio goes out.” “Save your life? Heheheh. Yes, but who thinks to bring a mix tape with when they’re hitch-hiking?” “Huh? Oh, sorry, I’m digging here, trying to find some tunes...wait! Here’s one! Can I turn the dome light on?” “Sure! Go for it!” “K...there we go. Now what do we have here? Oh, no!! NO!! It can’t be!!” “HA! HA! HA! HA! HAAA!!” “It—it’s you!! KENNY LOGGINS!! But how?? Why??” “Surely you won’t mind if I sing along with my own Greatest Hits album, will you? WHENEVER I CALL YOU FRIEND....EVERYBODY CUT FOOTLOOSE....AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE YOUR MAMA DON’T DANCE AN’ YER DADDY DON’T ROCK N’ ROLLLLL!!!!” “AHHHGGGHHHH!!!!!”
TOP TEN SCARIEST SONGS / ARTISTS TO HEAR ON HALLOWEEN (Or Any Other Day):
10) “Feelings” by Morris Albert
9) “Happy To Be Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis And The News
8) “We Built This City” by Starship
7) That stupid song that talks about central heating—no, scratch that, ANYTHING by the Dave Matthews Band
6) “I Love Rock And Roll” by Britney Spears
5) “Theme From Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer
4) “Let’s Talk About Me” by Toby Keith
3) “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred
2) “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White
1) “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand And Neil Diamond
Whew. All that trickin’ and treatin’ has left me exhausted. I think that’s the bestest Halloween I’ve had since people quit slippin’ pills into candy. I’ll leave the toilet paper hanging, egg-throwing, and wax-art to those of you with more energy and gas money. Me, I’ll be blowin’ out the punkin candle, shuttin’ off the porch light, and headin’ down to the basement to brew up another batch of my own special Hallows Eve concoction—one that’ll make reality seem like the badly written Thursday night TV sitcom it really is—and listening to one o’ them life-saving mix tapes. Beware those dusty closets and convenient late-night rides, children. I think I hear Bobby Goldsboro blaring outta the windows of that passing Cadillac as we speak....”AH-M WATCHIN’ SCOTTY GROWWWW... HA! HA! HA! HAAAA!!!” Until next time—make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/events that you’d like to see listed in this column, or you’d just like to complain that the cyanide-laced purple punch I gave you this year wasn’t nearly strong enough, send replies to: TMygunn777@aol.com.