Friday, April 14, 2006

Ear Worms

I have a song stuck in my head. Chances are you have never heard of this song. A few years ago my husband ended up a drummer in a punk band. This is funnier than you could ever suspect. Bob is not a raging, anti-everything punk kind of guy. As drummers go he has a really serious problem with playing punk. Here it is.

He's a really good drummer.

He studied jazz drumming. He plays Latin rhythms. He reads music, for God's sake. Are punk drummers allowed to read music? I mean, would the Sex Pistols have been any good if they were, you know, great musicians? This is not to say that there aren't punk musicians who are really good. It's just that at some level, I think it might be a bit of a handicap. I say this without much real appreciation for punk. I like some Ska-Punk. That's punk influenced music played by all of the people who in high school were band geeks. So it's got trombones and shit. I like Streetlight Manifesto. But I am offering mostly baseless opinions on punk.

A couple of years ago, friend was doing a play called The Loud Americans, about the sort-of-nearly-rise of and precipitous fall of a punk band. The actors on stage were backed by a shadow band, that is, four people playing the music that was ostensibly the music of the punk band. The music was all original and when you went to see a performance, you got a free CD. Although reviews of the play were mixed, the band was pretty much universally described as 'Kick Ass.' The writer's brother was a musician, and he put together the little band, and in a remarkably short period of time they wrote the songs, rehearsed them, cut a raw but quite good sounding CD called The Loud Americans Project and then went on stage. There was a guy in his 20s, a girl in her 30s, a guy in his 40s, and Bob, who was 50.

Hence Bob's brief, glorious career as a punk rocker. (He has a lot of t-shirts from that brief period, including a Ramones t-shirt I secretly covet.)

For no reason, today one of those songs has risen from the depths of my subconscious and I have been singing quietly to myself, "I'm burning with fever and I'm all stitched up..." I was going to link to a site where you could listen to The Loud Americans Project but alas, they've finally taken it down. I was thinking about putting the MP3 up so you could listen if you wanted but I don't know how to do that. I'd have to contact Steve (who put together the band) and Chris (who wrote the play) and ask them for permission.

I'll ask you to just trust me when I tell you that the band was really pretty good. They got some airplay at colleges but about a month after the play ended, Howard Stern got fined for using a swear word on the radio and for awhile nobody would play Pink Floyd's "Money" because it had the word bullshit in it. The Loud Americans dropped the F bomb a lot in a manner befitting their punk outlaw status, so they disappeared from the airwaves forever.

I like the idea that art is ephemeral. It's weird, but I don't mind that art sometimes disappears. Of course, I've got the CD so its not really ephemeral for me. But letting go of stuff like this is like learning to let go of books. It's like knowing that in one hundred years, no one will read my books. It's something of a relief, in an odd way. I don't want Shakespeare to disappear. But there's so much out there, it feels as if it is going to suck up all the available space. When things disappear, they leave space.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Indeed, googling "Loud Americans Project" brings up a now-defunct site, and while you can access Google's cache of it, you can't play the music.

Too bad -- I wouldn't have minded hearing "Punk in my Pants" or "Politiclly Erect."

April 15, 2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Austin said...

We should start a cleveland-literari-punk band. we could be the house band for all the readings around town, and then at the Poets and Writers center or mac's backs or whatever. there'd be rock, reading, and chocolate chip cookies...

who's game?

April 15, 2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

I always wanted to be one of those chicks who plays the bass.

April 15, 2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

I think you'd look great behind a bass, Maureen, but for maximum effect you'd have to lose the hair again. I advise against getting cancer once more; barber's shears should do the job nicely.

Bob, on the other hand, needs to release his inner geek. I'd advise polished wing-tips, an ill-fitting black suit with thin lapels, a white shirt, and a skinny black tie. Plus he should get one of those haircuts where the hair is short and mostly vertical and goes in many different directions at once, like Boreanas had on "Angel." Radical shades are permitted with this outfit to add a touch of color.

"Undead Anthology" might make a good band name.

April 15, 2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

I don't know that Bob has enough hair to go in all different directions. But everything else sounds pretty good to me. Of course, I'm gonna have to learnt to play the bass.

April 15, 2006 10:26 PM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Chick who plays the bass and is married to the drummer is just too Talking Heads.

April 17, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

If Bob lacks sufficient hair he should get hair plugs a la Silvio Berlusconi. And then he should dye the hair some weird color to make the plugs even more obvious.

April 19, 2006 12:25 AM  

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