In 1987 while in the midst of a team-collective hangover, Mets OF Darryl Strawberry caught major heat from the NYC media for asking out of the lineup the morning after what was described by the would-be Dick Young’s-of-the-day as a “rap recording session”.
Since I was probably in an individual hangover of my own, I probably mistook this episode for late/lazy reporting on Darryl’s cameo on the very unfortunate “Get Metsmerized” project overseen by former Met/contractual albatross George Foster a season prior (perhaps a remix commissioned by Foster, still nursing a grudge).
But the real lazy researcher was me, because Darryl was in fact, ensconced in a New York recording studio in July of ’87, recording “Chocolate Strawberry” with U.T.F.O. and Richie Rich.
“Strawberry spent part of the day in a Queens recording studio with The Kangol Kid, UTFO (Un Touchable Force Organization) and another renowned rap group, Whistle. First, Whistle gave its rap (‘The pitcher threw a pitch and we all stared, and Darryl hit the ball to Korea somewhere’), then UTFO (‘Four years in the major leagues, started at 20, once had nothing, now has plenty’) and then Strawberry. Between raps, the female chorus would coo ‘Chocolate Strawberry.'”
“While this was going on, Mets captain Keith Hernandez was in his New York attorney’s office in a quite different session, giving seven hours of depositions concerning his divorce case. It was a bad day for Hernandez all around: Jack Clark of the Cardinals passed him in the voting for National League All-Star first baseman.”
“‘Everybody in the stadium screams for me Strike one, strike two, but no strike three ‘Cause I’m def, that’s right, I ain’t soft, I even get paid on my day off.'”
“For those of you not in the know, “def” is short for definitely, as in definitely cool, definitely strong. When Strawberry declined to play in Tuesday night’s game after another session at the recording studio—arranged primarily for publicity purposes—he was def, all right, definitely in trouble. He also inadvertently lent a certain irony to the last line of the above verse.”
There’s a lot of great stuff happening around town this weekend. There’s too many parties to keep track of. Some tire fire masquerading as a record label has a free show at Beerland tonight featuring some wonderful folks flying halfway across the country to play in front of a few dozen freezing people. The Gospel Truth bring their impossibly great live show to the Sahara Lounge tomorrow night and maybe if you’re very lucky, the venue’s magical crock pot will fill the room with an aroma that can only be described as ALL ENCOMPASSING.
But perhaps more crucial to the interests of those who appreciate the highest of all art forms, we have not one, but TWO remarkable independent wrestling cards taking place within 24 hours of each other. The first of which, despite a somewhat unfortunate name, features a ridiculously stacked megastar bill of globally-recognized fixtures from the independent circuit. An embarrassment of riches, if you will. And while I’m sure it’s gonna be a very entertaining show, I would liken it to Montgomery Burns’ fielding the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team with Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Roger Clemens and Darryl Strawberry. An staggering array of talent, but at the end of the day, HEARTLESS MERCENARIES.
Conversely, over the past 3 years, Austin’s Inspire Pro has seamlessly mixed international names with the best Texas has to offer, always with a creative vision that’s as quick-witted as it is unpredictable. Whether you love this stuff on the reg or you’ve never attended a similar event before, I cannot recommend their shows enthusiastically enough. Not until the promoter takes his foot off my throat, that is.
So you’ve got a choice. Do you opt for the glitz of Monty Burns’ Barnstorming Craven All-Stars or the company that manages to embody so many of the things about this region that don’t suck? It’s hardly a sophie’s choice (sorry, sophie) and there are no losers in this situation. Its like that age old question, what would you do if Infa Riot and the 4 Skins were both drowning and you could only save one. Of course you’d try to save both and possibly risk drowning yourself.
12XU, possibly the region’s 14th or 15th most important independent label (sliding down the ranks from last year, anyway) is once again marking the holiday season with a FREE SHOW at Beerland. You’re asked to bring a can of food (or two) for the Capital Area Food Bank Of Texas* but as always, such donations are entirely voluntary (which isn’t to say I’m above shaming non-donators on social media).
Much like past editions, this year’s cast of participating players is a collection to be reckoned with. LET THE RECKONING COMMENCE
UNHOLY TWO (Columbus OH) – ONLY TEXAS SHOW
Hot on the heels of their instantly sold out ‘Tongan Death Grip 2016’ cassette (Loki), Unholy Two interrupt the finishing touches on their long-feared follow up to ‘Talk About Hardcore’ (due in 2017) with an all-too rare Austin visit.
It’s been an uncharacterically quiet 2016 (on the recording front, anyway) for Cleveland’s Lamont Thomas but next year promises amazing new albums for 12XU and Ever/Never, a long-rumored summit meeting at Electrical Audio and more periodic reminders that Bim’s an unparalled live performer. Through the auspices of ECONO AIR, he’s dropping in for this special one-off appearance.
Understatement of the century to say this trio are operating at the peak of their powers and their forthcoming Ian Rundell-recorded 2nd LP (early 2017) is going to leave jaws agape. Not Richard Kiel, however, he’s been dead for a couple of years now, and I’m told he prefered environmental music.
After a couple of years worth of impossibly great shows and a criminally overlooked debut 7″, these fellas have now scaled heights their peers can only dream of (ie. being asked to play a free show for a food bank during a time of year normal people are on vacations and shit). New material coming via 12XU in the new year.
One of the nation’s foremost songwriters/guitarists/multi-instrumentalists whose tenures in Come, Codeine, The New Year, Pullman, Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, playing alongside Thurston Moore, Jennifer O’Connor, J.R. Robinson etc. have sealed his all-around MVP status. We don’t know exactly what he has in store for December 17, but it’ll be a clinic of one sort or another (and chances are very strong you’re overdue to visit a clinic).
World premiere of an all-star ensemble featuring Stephen Svacina, Garrick Thurston, Alison Eden Copeland and Gabe Pastura. You may or may not know some of the above from their prior/ongoing works with Sweet Talk, Slow, Que Pasa? and Church Shoes, though if your answer is “not”, chances are I didn’t invite you anyway, in which case I could give a flying fuck what you’re doing that night. In the words of Eric Bogosian, “how about a movie or something groovy / chinese food or a quaalude?” There’s a world of choices out there!
(UPDATE : YOUR DJ FOR THE EVENING IS THE ONE & ONLY JOHN VOMITNOISE)
Chris Brokaw’s on at 9:15pm sharp. We’re giving away a pedal of to-be-determined awesomeness from Earthquaker Devices, Waterloo Records has graciously provided us with a $50 gift card and Xetas have a surprise stocking stuffer for the first 25 people who donate a can of food for the Capital Area Food Bank.
(* – if you cannot or would not rather attend but would still like to assist the Capital Area Food Bank, donations are accepted here)
Though my own Mount Rushmore of WFAN telephone fixtures would sooner include the likes of Eli from White Plains, Doris of Rego Park and the one-and-only Jerome From Manhattan, Newsday’s Neil Best pays homage to longtime Jets obsessive Ira Lieberfarb, aka Ira From Staten Island, whose musings on all-things Gang Green have graced the airwaves for the past 23 years.
He is so successful at getting through that many people assume he has a special hot line to producers. “Nope, nope, nope,” he said. “Nobody believes me, but it’s the same number everyone else dials.”
How does he do it? “Persistence. Re-dial. You usually can get through if you stay with it.”
Surely, though, he has the juice to get priority over other callers on hold, right? “I might not wait as long,” he said, “but there have been times I’ve waited an hour, too.”
“Um, why do I do it?” he said, repeating the question. “Well, over the years I feel like I’m part of the family. I’ve gotten to know pretty much all of the hosts.”
Has he ever called in on a subject other than the Jets? He vaguely recalled a couple of basketball-related discussions with Mike Francesa long ago, “but you can count them on one hand. It’s 99.9 percent Jets.”
Prior to kickoff, fans had sang Christmas carols outside the ground targeting the club’s London owners and chief executive, Joy Seppala.
Throughout the televised clash, home fans continued to make their feelings known.
They delivered choruses of “we want Sisu out”, while after five minutes supporters from the area of the ground known as ‘singer’s corner’ made their way down the stand towards the pitch – in full view of the television cameras. Others continued to blow whistles, which Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp later admitted confused members of both sides.
One City fan managed to pass stewards during the half, making his way onto the playing surface and sitting in the centre circle as play stopped around him.
(there’s a reason why the members of The Star Spangles are to this day flossing their teeth with $1000 bills, while the members of Shellac toil in unforgiving day labor – read below)
Like many of my friends, I was saddened this week to learn of two of my favorite bands were going on self-described hiatus. Both are trios composed of awesome human beings with the sort of talent, ingenuity and wit we should never, ever take for granted, not for a second.
Their respective reasons for putting stuff on pause are certainly no one else’s business and neither band owes us anything — not after the countless amazing shows (and in the elder band’s instance, a run of 6 astonishing albums in just 3 years). That said, I cannot help but point a finger of blame in the direction of “Miami” Steve Van Vandt, who laid the groundwork for this turn of events with his open letter to participants in the 2004 “Underground Garage Festival” at Randall’s Island (“it is extraordinarily unlikely for anyone to make it as a three-piece band”) in which trios were encouraged to “add a fourth or even fifth member if at all conceivable.”
“If your band does not have a ‘look’ this might be a good time to consider it,” warned Van Zandt, who went on to state, “one of our main goals is to continue to establish a new infrastructure that allows Rock and Roll bands to make a living playing music,” (“the better your songs are, the better you look, the more musical you sound, and the more exciting your performance, the better our chances of winning this war we are waging against the exclusive domination of hard rock, hip hop, contemporary pop, and rootless, soulless, mindless, lifeless, hopeless, joyless mediocrity in general.”)
Fast forward a dozen years later and we all know how things turned out. Every band you know is making a decent living playing music. Much the way Little Steven vanquished apartheid and managed to pull off other miracles-against-all-odds (for instance, making Nils Lofgren look relatively cool by comparison) today, Rudi Protrudi earns a salary in the high six figures presiding over the Fuzztones Fantasy Camp. Hip hop and contemporary pop are mere rumors on the cultural landscape compared to the Chesterfield Kings revival that’s swept the world ever since.
Against this backdrop, I think it’s fair to say that Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes and Spray Paint never stood a chance. I appreciate their quixotian struggle and do hope in the years to come, Van Zandt’s stranglehold on the public’s imagination is finally broken.