Archive for October, 2006

October 30, 2006

Hallowed Cab

Another Madison Halloween Weekend is in the can and this time around there were (apparently) no riots on State Street. I drove my longest shift of the year (thanks to Daylight Savings ending), pausing only to eat and catch a few minutes of my friends playing in YAAR! down at the High Noon. There were plenty of freaks out but for the most part my passengers were no different in attitude than folks I might pick up on any Saturday night. Skimpily Dressed Girl again was the #1 female costume. This year men favored pirates and costumes with fur. The smurfs I picked up were among the best costumes I saw–they left an awful lot of blue paint in the back seat but tipped really well and the paint came off with a dry towel. Lots of people still thought I’d stop and pick them up if they jumped in front of my moving cab (“Those customers have a special name…” said one of my co-workers at the end of the night “PEDESTRIANS!”) but nobody slammed or rocked my cab this year. In order to maximize the tipping power of my (mostly) twentysomething passengers, I spent much of the evening listening to Modern Rock rather than my traditional Classic Rock (or Oldies). Over the hours of boring stuff I heard a strange cover: Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” done in a sort of Nu Metal Pop style, complete with throaty metal singer trying to emulate Phil Collins! Hilarious! And I also heard Gerry Rafferty’s ” Baker Street” done as a noisy guitar arena rock track. The song was done straight but suffered from being too simple–some cheesy keyboards would have cleaned that mess right up. In checking the All Music Guide I see that quite a few folks have covered Mr. Raffery’s biggest hit, including: Foo Fighters, Rick Springfield, The Shadows (!) and, most surprisingly, Waylon Jennings.

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October 22, 2006

20 years later…

I recently got out an old bag of cassette tapes and selected U2’s The Joshua Tree as my travelling companion (I was on my way up to watch Deanna in a triathalon) and doused myself in 1987. I spent that summer washing dishes at my childhood YMCA camp and indulging in the freedoms of being 15 (and turning 16) and not living at home. I had more or less abandoned modern music a few years earlier and was on a race to own all the Who and Pink Floyd records but found myself steeped in alt-rock (REM, U2, The dB’s, The Jesus and Mary Chain) after a summer of working side by side with college kids. Seeing as I hadn’t actually sat through The Joshua Tree in about 10 years, playing it on the road to Devil’s Lake was quite a blast from the past. I, of course, was in love with this record but got quite tired of it after a year or so. My favorite U2 record is still The Unforgettable Fire which has a much moodier feel and was a key piece of my road soundtrack for many years. Later in 1987 my life changed all over again when my brother brought home XTC’s Skylarking which I also trotted out recently for a good smile. I absorbed all this new music while still endlessly spinning my beloved The Who Sell Out at the same time. The Who record was 20 years old at the time (and out of print in its original form) and now in looking at The Joshua Tree I notice that it is suddenly (almost) 20 years old. After spending most of my life obsessed with records older than I am, it is a bit odd to realize that I was around to witness an era of music that some younger than me might view with the same awe I have for music of the 60’s.

October 4, 2006

Friday on My Mind

I have a solo show on Friday at Mother Fools. Opening the show at 8 pm is Josh Harty who is apparently a guitar playing whiz. Ma Fools has been good to me over the years, providing me with a nice all ages venue to do my stuff in. I’ve often thought of myself as being part of the coffeehouse crowd–or at least a coffeehouse crowd wannabe. I played exclusively in bars back in Ames but I’m guessing that if I went back to Iowa to play shows I might well be hoisiting a latte to the crowd these days. Please come on out and request some silly (or not so silly) songs for me to play.