Friday Fives – He’s a Juicy Fire!

A mondegreen is a mis-heard lyric. What is your favorite misheard lyric? 

A boy, I got a good one. I recently bought the remastered box set of U2’s ‘Unforgettable Fire’. It is such an amazing album, and is mixed so poorly, I had great hopes. In the HUGE hit song ‘Pride in the name of Love’, in the first verse there is a sentence that goes ‘one comes here to justify’. I never knew that lyric until I got the box set last week. In the original CD, they only print the lyrics to one song, which is the first song.

Now, I was always pretty sure what I was hearing was incorrect, but listen to the song. Right now. Here, I will embed if for you. Now, go to that first verse. The exact moment is 57 seconds. I always heard ‘one man come, he a juicy fire’. Go ahead, sing that with that line. He a juicy fire. That isn’t the heart of this story.  Not anymore. Don’t worry, this story gets WAY worse.

As with all things, I was discussing this with my pal Jamie. I asked him what he heard. This is no lie. He said “I always thought he was saying ‘one man come, he set Jews on fire…’. Wow. That is brilliant, and fucked up. Obviously, it’s not brilliant to set jews on fire. It’s brilliant that that is what Jamie thought all these years, and gleefully sang along. Kinda puts my ‘juicy fire’ into perspective, doesn’t it?

A spoonerism is a deliberate (or accidental ) error in speech or words. Do you have a favorite? 

I found this to be too kitschy to interest me. So, how about another mondegreen. In ‘Every Breath you Take’ from the Police. There is a line that says ‘how my poor heart aches’. Makes sense. That is not what I heard, and I listened to this song thousands of times. This album was incredibly influential for me. Really, it changed my life more than any other album. I was such a fan of this record that my brother took me to see the Police live. It was on this tour, Synchronicity. It was their farewell tour, and they were firing on all cylinders. It was incredible. I knew that night that rock and roll was all I ever wanted. It’s what I wanted to do, to think about, to talk about, to be my job, to be my nights and weekends… all from that Police show. I was 10, I think.

FOCUS, man! What I heard was ‘how my pool hall aches’. Go ahead, watch. Its at the 50 second mark. Tell me he is not saying ‘how my pool hall aches’.


A malapropism is an incorrect word in place of another.  Can you remember one used?

This one also does not interest me. It’s strange, I am a word guy. I am super passionate about words. I got a degree in literature, that is how much I love words. Yet, I am not inspired. I think it’s because I need to just get to bed.

So, how about this? The funniest mondegreen of all time comes from Dave Barry. There was a classic great soul song called ‘ain’t no woman like the one I got’ Makes sense. Touching, and sweet. What Dave Barry brings us is this – Ain’t no woman like the one eyed Gott’.

Lastly, no conversation about mondegreens can be complete without this. My favorite band, and someone trying to figure out just exactly what the hell Eddie is singing.  In fact, there is not even an official studio version of this.  The recording we all know was done on the fly at a radio station that Ed and Mike were visiting.  Mike brought an acoustic and they knocked out two songs that day.  Both were largely improvised on the spot.  The other song was Bee Girl.

To be fair, this song never had official lyrics, and I am about 90% confident that he changes the words night to night a bit to fit his mood.

An earworm  is a snippet of catchy tune that gets stuck in your head. Do you have a common one? 

Goodwill Halloween, goodwill Halloween, goodwill halloween

Btw, I… and I alone, have pioneered a way to fix them. It will sound dumb and obvious… but it works. Your mind needs closure when this is happening. To fix the earworm, you need to listen to the song in its entirety. I have had to actually reach over to my phone in the middle of the night and download a song online and listen to it with headphones while wifey is sleeping to get closure. It works.

The Tetris effect occurs when so much time and attention is devoted to an activity it affects other parts of your life.  Do you do this? 

Really? I disagree. For me, the tetris effect is all about organization. It could be packing the back of a moving van with everything you own. Every spot counts. It could be about time management… trying to fit in all the shit you need to fit into your day. My wife is the master of tetris in real life. Need stuff packed? You just sit back, keep your hands and feet away, and watch the art.

Friday Fives – music at the movies

What was the first DVD you ever purchased?

Now that I remember well. I bought this DVD before I owned a DVD player. It was the greatest and dumbest and most perfect movie ever: Spinal Tap

Do you still watch it?

Oh yes, I put it on in the background when I am cleaning. Just like Princess Bride, it gets better with each screening. Did you know that whole movie was improvised? I am talking about Spinal Tap, not Princess Bride. In addition, those songs were all written by those guys. The recordings are them on guitar and vocals as well.   Not that is commitment to a role.  Also, like Princess Bride, I know every word to the movie.  Watching either of those movies with me isn’t much fun.  Inconceivable, I know!

Oh, and then… the fake satire movie novelty original music. It wasn’t tied to a movie or anything. They (Michael McKean, Chris Guest, and Harry Shearer) just found after making the movie they really enjoyed each other and making music. After their second CD, they went on tour. So, at this point, Spinal Tap is a real life band… putting out original CDs and touring.

Not only was the whole movie improvised (Chris Guest is the genius behind all that, and several other movies) but when the actors did press, they only did it in character. They were just winging it, constantly. I was lucky enough to see them play live a few years ago. They did a Spinal Tap Unplugged tour. It was amazing. They not only played their hit Spinal Tap songs, but they played songs from their other amazing and improvised music movie – A Mighty Wind. They released a DVD and CD of this tour.

Keep in mind these guys are doing this truly for the love of the music. Harry Shearer is the voice of about a third of the Simpsons, including Mr Burns and Smithers. After 25 years, he is not only a millionaire, he could be a billionaire.  The actors are likely getting about 10 million a year.  Best part about voice over work, no one knows your face.  Bart Simpson is likely one of the most recognized icons on earth, yet Nancy Cartwright could be sitting 5 feet from you and you wouldn’t know it.

If you could only save five DVDs from a house fire, what would they be?

Well, music DVDs, of course. Even though they are all likely totally replaceable, I mostly just buy music concert DVDs, because I can watch them over and over again.  I very rarely feel that way about movies.

Lesse, how about these. These are amazing performances, and you should own them as well:

*** Yes, I understand that was more than five.  What are you, a cop all the sudden?

Have you purchased any Blu Ray discs or do you just rent now?

Oh yes, I only buy Blu Ray now. However, I didn’t go back and re-buy my collection to upgrade from DVD to Blu Ray. When I got my Blu Ray player, though, at that point I began only buying Blu Ray going forward. The best thing about my Blu Ray player is that it is SO much more. It has the wireless internet stuff. So, it is also my Roku box, my Pandora music player, my Amazon pay per view movie player… all of that. Best $99 I have ever spent.

What is the jewel of your disc collection?

I have some really cool bootleg Todd Snider DVD shows, from this wonderful guy. Todd Snider is awesome. Here, just watch this. If you buy a CD of his, make SURE it is a live one. He is seriously more famous for telling his stories as he is for his songs.

 

Friday Fives – more music and michael vick, too

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Which music artists football players* have changed the game?

Well, I will tell you about something a lot of people don’t talk about. Michael Vick! Yes, he is a horrible person and a psycho who killed dogs for sport. However, he also changed the game of football… completely and single-handedly. Allow me to ‘splain.

Before Vick, the guys on the line of scrimmage (both sides, defense and offense) weren’t designed for endurance or distance. They were big fat bastards. There only job was to run into each other at top speed, and allow the fat, planetary-like collisions to buy the QB enough time to dump the ball (to a running back behind him, or a receiver down field). So, if you worked on the line you didn’t have to be fast, or in shape. All you had to be was a fat motherfucker. Remember William ‘the refrigerator’ Perry? He was 382 pounds. That was his single only contribution to the Bears. He was AWESOME.

Quarterbacks didn’t run, for the most part. Dan Marino, for example, held every passing record in the NFL. He had 32 yards running, in his CAREER. Vick changed that by being incredibly mobile. Once you hiked him the ball, he just took off. Not even forward, necessarily… just everywhere.   So, the guys in charge of chasing him… just about fell over dead. This allowed him to take all the time in the world.

This changed the game. His mobility meant those guys on the line (again, both sides) had to be fit and fast and have endurance. Yes, other quarterbacks moved before him and after him… but no one like him. I think he changed the game of football more than any one single person before him. Also, don’t worry about the dog thing. He not only went to jail and humiliated himself… but if you believe in hell I assure you he is going there.

* I felt like talking about football.  So, I made an executive decision

What’s the best acoustic version of a song?

I have to go with Everlong on the Howard Stern show. Again, that single leaked recording was a revolution that made acoustic cool again. It was a breakthrough for everyone, ESPECIALLY Dave Grohl. He clearly hadn’t planned to play guitar for Howard. They probably had a guitar in studio. It was also apparent he had NEVER played the song on acoustic before. This is unusual, as almost all songs are written on acoustic.

Also, he didn’t choose the song, Baba Booey did (Dell’Abate, the show’s producer). So, he wings it… and creates an historic moment.

Keep in mind, ‘Unplugged’ had largely fallen off the radar… especially for rock groups. His performance is amazing. It also shows how unbelievable good that song is. It stands up without distortion or a big band or special effects or overdubs. To this day, Grohl plays that song with an acoustic intro all because of that day. Now, we don’t have video of this. It was when Howard was on terrestrial radio. We do have the audio though. Listen to this with headphones. Seriously, that is an order. Note his singing, as well. When Foo Fighters play live, Dave Grohl screams. There is little nuance to his singing OR playing, historically. In this performance, he sings carefully, and plays carefully. He is a good and talented musician.

Now, if I may generalize, 99.99999999% of the time I prefer an acoustic version of anything.  It shows the actual musical proficiency of the artists, and shows when a song can stand on its own without special effects and studio magic.

What is something you were a huge fan of BEFORE it got really popular?

Your mother. Ha, just kidding. Never liked her at all. How about this, I knew Guns and Roses before they were big. Before their first album. Before ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. Now, I don’t get credit for discovering them. That goes to Tim Ashton. He had a very obscure limited EP ‘Live like a fuckin’ suicide’ on cassette. Once Guns got big, they re-released that EP as side two of ‘Lies’. In fact, lemme tell you about that summer. Tim and I were inseparable. We spent every waking moment together. We had a cassette that we listened at all times. It never got pulled out of the cassette deck. We were, and it was a blank tape. One side had Appetite for Destruction and the other side had ‘in the Dark’ from the Grateful Dead. Two masterpiece albums

Also, I was a fan of Pumpkins years before ‘Today’ and all their hits off of Siamese Dream.

What are you listening to right now?

Mr Wonderful on Shark Tank. Oh.. you meant in music? The usual suspects, Pearl Jam bootlegs, Grateful Dead, early Dylan. Also, I picked up the new free U2 album today. It is quite good. Though I don’t listen to U2 like I used to, I think they are biggest and best rock band in the business today. Their disc from about 7 or 8 or 5 or 10 years ago (editors note:  2000.  So, it was 14 years ago)  is one of the top five albums EVER made. It’s called ‘All that you can’t leave behind’. It’s super duper good. You should not even finish reading this. Find that album and download it. Don’t even talk to me unless you have heard it about 45 times.

What’s the saddest song in the world?

Idiot Wind. Well, I dunno. Each and every song on that album is a serious heartbreaker and soul crusher. The album is Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’. It is his masterpiece form 1974 about his divorce. Dig these lyrics from Idiot Wind.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I’ll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Every single song on that album is that well written and that sad. This album, most famously, produced ‘Tangled up in Blue”.

OOOHHH WAIT. Even better and sadder – John Prine. Which song? Try every song he ever wrote. More specifically, look at this song – ‘Lake Marie’. At first glance, it appears to be sweet. The subtext of sadness is so well written, it simply defines the issue of heartbreak.

Yes, that it what it looks like at first… like ‘My Last Dutchess’. But look closer at the words. Holy fuck this song is sad. Here is a verse, and here is a clip of him playing said song.

Many years later I found myself talking to this girl
Who was standing there with her back turned to Lake Marie
The wind was blowing especially through her hair
There was four Italian sausages cooking on the outdoor grill
And Man, they was ssssssssizzlin’
Many years later we found ourselves in Canada
Trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish
Whatever seemed easier
That night she fell asleep in my arms
Humming the tune to “Louie Louie’
Aah baby, We gotta go now.