Excellence Makes Wack Irrelevant
Some jottings, findings, and sharp darts thrown by Josh Drimmer, playwright, pontificator, patriot. Live from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. All writings except extensive quotations (C) Josh Drimmer, 1999-2007. Follow the light.
and now, a public service announcement.
(Deleted...Excellence is strictly for the filthy, filthy act of self-promotion.)
That being said, this dude is a little too prolific and all the same kinda one of my favorites. I stole the blog title from him anyway. Word to Sensational.
(And also Gnarlgnash.)
#Cornyness avoided: If I ever have a family, our Holiday cards are going to feature our efforts to replicate this classic. I'll play Ice Cube.
"Little Lies" (Fleetwood Mac, Tango In The Night)
Next in what I think might becoming a new EP, at least in my head, consisting of tracks created almost entirely from Fleetwood Mac samples, is this indubitably cheesy but rather catchy Mac song from the 80s, possibly their last hit single. It's the production more than the tune that makes this into pure Gouda, but I used to live in a place where the local Pizza Hut offered a pizza topped with Gouda, and goddamn was it good. (Not as good: the local liqueur, a slightly more interesting thing than triple sec and nothing more. [Also, not as good in Margaritas.]) The sample I'm going to use if I ever throw this record together (working title: Return of the Mac) is just the first few seconds from the top of the record, by the way, maybe until 0:13.
I really do believe this song might have been a truly good one if it wasn't for the fact that it was released in the 80s. Christine McVie is the underrated Mackette of their best-known lineup, with Stevie Nicks as the overrated one, Buckingham the Brian Wilson of the group (something like a genius at times, but fans already know that), and the rhythm section...a reason for the band's name.
Rather than post the song, I'm giving you the video. It's pretty bad, in a standard 1980s video fashion. In other words, I kinda love it.
"Ho" (Ludacris, Back for the First Time)
Rarely do the free papers give you anything you can't get elsewhere, but NY Metro hit ESPN right on the head, deservedly. It's bad enough that espn.com kills me with the shock of ads blasting at me from ESPN Motion every time I try to check the front page--I'd probably have already quit looking at the damn site were it not for ESPN Insider--but lately "ESPN the Network" is absolute whoredom. I miss CNNSI, man. It was boring sometimes, but at least it was honest.
(This post brought to you by the NFL on ESPN! Sweet as Diane Keaton soaking in apple juice! Catch it!)
The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (Grandmaster Flash)
"Onomatopoeia" (Todd Rundgren, The Hermit Of Mink Hollow)
Quote of the day, source which I failed to write down:
"If there was ever a word that sounds like what it is, it's 'scrotum.'"
"Happy Birthday" (Stevie Wonder, Hotter Than July) [Except, you know, act like it's about me and my 26th birthday instead of MLK. I guess.]
I've been thinking lately about recording another album...EP, maybe...but the biggest problem is that I've been thinking more about building tracks from samples, but have neither the powerful computer, microphone, proper software (unless an okay quality sound can be created on GarageBand) or technical know-how to do it my way, straight from the Monitor Street residence. Sure, I'm tempted to tap my man DJ Canoli again, but I'm not sure how much he enjoyed it when I forced him to sample an ill loop from The Walkmen's "Wake Up", since samplage isn't really his style.
It's interesting to go from listening to almost nothing but hip-hop (me through age 15) to more often listening to people I discovered from tracking down samples from the songs I love, to listening to music and discovering loops that could really be exploited. And being as most cats aren't really looking to loop Tom Waits no more, there's some creative opportunities to be exploited.
My discovery from yesterday, listening to the overstuffed Fleetwood Mac album Tusk, one of the most excessive things ever created (I doubt the one million dollar cost of this record's creation is at all accurate when you factor in the cost of cocaine), was "I Know I'm Not Wrong." I relate to the song in having relationships go awry that make years go bad, at least insomuch as almost every relationship I've ever had broken off, um, for me, snapped between September and December. But more importantly, it's a banger. Seriously. This was the period of the Mac's existence when in Lindsey Buckingham's tracks, they almost started to sound like a marching band; on the title track, they (unnecessarily) even brought a marching band in.
I'm thinking the harmonica break can be the chorus of something, and a really dense section of this song like around 0:48-0:52 could make an interestingly dense backing track on verses. Hear this thing on headphones if you really want to hear just how much time/cocaine was spent on getting the sound wandering from channel to channel.
Fleetwood Mac- "I Know I'm Not Wrong"
Out of my window I saw a four-foot guy (approx.) in thick black framed glasses and a vintage ski coat. And I think I just came up with a great children's book title: The Littlest Hipster.
Feel free to co-op that. I ain't writing the damn thing. I'm going to sleep.
"Sum Shit I Wrote" (Common [Sense], Resurrection)
Felt like cleaning out some ol' shit lying around my cellar; this one, a little doodle I wrote in the Fix before it even had a record shop, was actually what I spun up off a Craig's List ad to get me into SNR. And the rest is history. Of a sort.
And if you didn't know, OK Soda was this, and squagels were the subject of David Cross' ire, once.
Jed and James are sitting on beanbag chairs around a table with a very large water pipe on it, and a dinner bell. Jed is scribbling frantically in a notebook with a big Spongebob Squarepants sticker on it. They are clearly very, very high.
Jed, it’s a bad idea.
What d’you mean it’s a bad idea?
Who’s going to buy a greeting card that says, “Sorry you died”?
Wrong question, man, wrong question. The question is, who isn’t going to buy a “Sorry you died” card. Death is, like, a part of life, man. The end part. Everyone loses loved ones, no one wants to go to funerals, but oh, what can they do about it? (James doesn’t respond) I’m asking you, what can they do?
What can they do.
(quickly, thrusting a “Eureka!” finger) They can send a “Sorry you died” card. That’s what they can do, my friend. (with the pipe in his mouth, garbling his words) This is gonna be bigger than birthday cards, my man.
How are people who are dead even going to receive “Sorry you died” cards? Jesus, you come up with some stupid ideas when you’re high, but this is worse than when you made me join your ukulele jam band.
We were ahead of our time. Our followers are still catching up.
Or the dancing doll of Robert Smith from The Cure?
The Dancin’ James Brown people ripped me off, man.
Look, man, it’s not my fault people weren’t ready for soda with little globules of gelatin floating around in it, alright? No one laughed at bubble tea, did they? Huh? (picking up the dinner bell and ringing it) Edmund!
Edmund, a butler, enters.
Edmund, tell Sam to get off the phone with the people from Berlin and come down here, a-sap.
I believe he’s attempting to sell Germany on the Kung-Fu Dodgeball League, sir.
Kung-Fu Dodgeball sells itself! Get him down here!
Oh, and could you also bring us some squagels and a jar of jelly-jam? We’re quite hungry.
(slightly revolted) Square bagels and peanut butter and jelly in the same jar. Yes, sir.
And maybe a couple cans of OK Soda?
Peanut butter and jelly doesn’t taste as good out of the same jar! And OK Soda tasted like flat orange soda!
James, I apologize for not asking if you would prefer a Crystal Pepsi. I’m sorry.
And square bagels? Of all the useless…
Whose house is this? Whose pot were we smoking? Whose Electric Light Orchestra album were we listening to?
(after a pause) Yours.
That’s right. This is my house and if I offer you a snack of some of my finest inventions, you will say thank you. If this was your house, I would gladly eat all the foodstuffs you got mass-marketed.
Enter Edmund (with a tray of squagels, jelly-jam, and OK Soda) and Sam, a loud-talker in a sharp double-breasted suit.
Boss, I got good news! The Berlin Buddah Monks just became the 15th franchise in the World League of Kung-Fu Dodgeball!
I see a rivalry with the Rotterdam Ronin!
Not to mention the Amsterdam Eagle Fist!
(ripping a page from his notebook and handing him his OK Soda) Sam, have an OK Soda to celebrate, and then you get back up there and sell Hallmark on this. It’s a sure-fire sell.
(looks at the page) “Sorry you died” cards? You’ve done it again, sir! (downing the OK Soda) Ah, the taste of Generation X!
Sam leaves, Edmund enters.
Sir, a Mr. Dave Matthews is at the door. He is asking if your ukulele band wants to “jam” with him.
Tell him I’ll be right there.
(beside himself with anger, shaking his OK Soda) It’s…not…fair.
Dude, take it easy. I’m angry OK Soda didn’t make it out of test-marketing either, man, but…que sera, y’know? Now is Uke Juke gonna play with Dave Matthews or what?
(pause, then reaches for his ukulele, hidden behind the chair) Uke Juke will play.
(grabbing his ukulele and getting up) I told you this was a good idea. Let’s rock.
In honor of your day off, I present to you possibly the worst rap song ever. I first heard this one at about 4 a.m. on Mexican radio on my way to Benito Juárez International Airport. Strangely, it hasn't gotten any less surreal since.
"Pokerface" (Ghostface [Killah], More Fish
Someone once asked me...
Suggested blog topic: Why do white people like Ghostface so much?
I'll tell you what, I'm White People and I don't really know. I call here for a greater explanation from Professor-to-be Cameron L-Picone of a certain University clad in crimson to write me a few lines on this, since he is the blackest white person I know, but I'll give you two reasons I do.
1) Shuffling poker chips on a hip-hop track sound are awesome. I genuinely understand what Pretty Toney is talking about here.
2) I love Speed Racer.
Miles Davis Shouldn't Rap #4: Easy Mo Bee
Easy Mo Bee created "Flava In Ya Ear" for Craig Mack, "I Love The Dough" for Biggie (which I've actually come around on since I wrote this even if it is just a bumped up Angela & Rene song), a nice chunk of Ready To Die, and.....Doo Bop.
But I don't blame him for this record. No, I still blame a Miles Davis who went quickly from a period of recording few complete records (even Get Up With It was table scraps) to making something, following his producers' leads more than he did with Teo, because the wear created by the drugs were finally making it difficult. He produced a decent record with a Danish guy ("Electric Red"?) and a weird vaguely political record with crappy pop covers. (And both of the original songs are good songs!)
And yes, I'd rather Doo Bop never exist, but artists of Miles' caliber are allowed mistakes. On The Corner was one to a lot of people too, especially at the time.
And yes, young Easy Mo Bee couldn't possibly turn down a chance to work with Miles, and Miles probably died too early to complete this record, much like this one.
The experience of going through this Divine Comedy through this pop-rap-jazz-crap-whatever record, which ends here, has made me realize that there is something to be gained to hearing almost any LP in the proper context, albeit not on headphones. I've bored a little deeper into this one than I wanted to but I'm happy I did it.
But fuck a Grammy. I mean, seriously, fuck a Grammy.
"Pimpin' Ain't Easy" (Big Daddy Kane, It's A Big Daddy Thing)
Oh dear god. As my friend Matthew Schneider-Mayerson (one of the auteurs behind the Lincoln piggy assassination, clip below) put it, right in this clip, "larry the cable guy enters the national debate over the war."
For the record "Larry The Cable Guy" is a stupid, exaggerated character created by this lame comic...
...who has transformed quickly into the redneck Andrew "Dice" Clay. Clay, of course, was a (perhaps) once entertaining character created by one Andrew Clay Silverstein which became just plain irritating. Both are fun to use in one's individual ironic contexts. But how exactly would Andrew Dice Clay's Iraq policy work?
Jack and Jill went up the hill
And Jack would try to hump her.
Jill said No / and Jack said So
I'll ram it in your dumper.
"Jill" was actually a group of several friends: Sheila, Sunny, and Karla. They were miserable because they were being pimped by a guy named Saddam. Without a plan, we shot him in the head, somewhat like Travis Bickle shot Sport in Taxi Driver. Sheila and Sunny and Karla were kind of hoping we'd actually give them a better life thereafter. Not so much so.
Miles Davis Shouldn't Rap #3: "The Doo Bop Song"
"The Doo Bop Song" is the dumbest thing I've ever heard, possibly. Which explains why it's attached to the dumbest post on the dumbest movie ever, Finding Forrester.
Seriously, this is a song in which Miles Davis blows three notes while some guys you've never heard of sing...
"Just kickin' that doo bop sound, just kickin' that doo bop sound..."
...and you have to ask, what the shit is that? Hip-hop plus doo-wop plus Miles' first style, be-bop?
As for the rhymes, I dunno, Easy Mo Bee, the producer of this record and of such actual good songs as "Flava In Ya Ear" by Craig Mack (1994?), just can't rap. Consult the lyrics if you like...I can't seem to find them in the ten minutes I'm taking to write this on my lunch break...but I'd rather use the lyrics I made up for a play I wrote the first draft of six years ago. (And man, was it rough then.)
When I rent a car, a-yo I rent from Avis/
And I'm chilling on the corner with Miles Davis!
Absolute madness. More on Easy Mo Bee next time. And yeah, if you're reading this, just like Sean Connery in above-mentioned bad movie about two writers who could not exist, one based off one that does, well, what can I say? You're the man now. Dog.
Saw a guy wearing a black Yankees cap, of a sort, waiting for the E train to move from 23rd-Ely. It had a golden hundred dollar bill pattern stitched to the side. And rather than find it ironic, I thought, "Cool." But then again, a few minutes later I was staring at the subway map as the train stayed in the station just wanting the damn thing to move, so my opinion of the moment might have been a bit disjointed.
"All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother." -Abraham Lincoln
(My friend Matthew Schneider-Mayerson wrote the below introduction for his video I'm putting up per his request. I have yet to see it, but I await that viewing eagerly. Enjoy. -jd)
Here you'll find two clips from our 262 part series, Scenes from the Life of Lincoln. You'll note, of course, that Honest Abe is played by a pig. This is not a coincidence, but it is not necessarily intentional.
First, a note on our actor. This is Minibus' first major film, and we thought he was perfect for the role. Primarily, he is a domesticated sausagebowl, provided the stability that your average wild animal just can't provide. The zebra we imported bit the cinematographer time and time again, and the elephant was unable to display the subtle emotional shades that this film required. The lion did a striking (if somewhat inappropriate) version of Lincoln, but was unable to cry on cue.
The opening sequence, with a steroidal Americana song and a series of images of Lincoln, is meant to invoke both the open-endedness of history -- the way even basic historical facts are open to subjective interpretation -- and of the tendency toward revisionism. Did Lincoln really wear a dress? Doubtful, but who's to judge?
Perhaps the most jarring moment is the opening of the Gettysburg address. What's meant by this? Do the filmmakers intend to compare Lincoln to a domesticated ungulate and imply that his message of "a new birth of freedom" and equality for all seasons was merely rhetoric? Are we to infer, further, that the slimy yet sexy words of all politicians are to be equally distrusted? As a character says in the classic film Glitter in response to the self-posed (and to this discussion very relevant) question of "Is she white? Is she black?", I don't know.
The other critical moment I want to talk about here -- and I have so little time, my boat is leaving, hey there, you! give me back my catamaran! -- is the assassination sequence. This has become the controversy of our time, now that angry seas of Brangelina and TomKat have settled. Minibus, as Lincoln, begins eating the ketchup, his own blood. This was entirely improvised, so maybe only the star himself can address this question. What is meant by this? The blood of Lincoln sanctified, deified the great man, and cemented the resolve of a nation (although blood is actually not useful as cement). In his death, he became more than a man -- he became a man-God. Perhaps, as in the Borges story about Irish town that stages an assassination, Lincoln actually orchestrated his own death. Perhaps he had betrayed the Union, and his punishment was to save it by martyring himself. Is this what's meant by the pig drinking the ketchup? And why does the pig refuse to sit lifeless after his putative death, even as military taps swell around his piglike head? Is it because Lincoln refuses to die, is it that he remains even more relevant and politically powerful today than when he was actually president?
Thank you for your time.
Miles Davis Shouldn't Rap #2: "Human Nature"
(Presently I don't have the song file necessary to finish this post, second of a series on Miles Davis' Doo Bop, but later today, an awful Miles Davis cover of a Michael Jackson record [not on said Doo Bop album] will explain this haiku. Seriously. Unless I forget it tonight because this is the worst holiday ever.)
Blow your horn away.
Liked the original, but,
Just die already.
(Video from 1991. Nearly dead.)
[Edit: a few hours later.]
Here's "Human Nature" if you can possibly stomach it. Oh, and happy valentine's day. Whatever.
"What?" (Devin The Dude, To Tha X-Treme)
Seriously, I'd heard of it before, but what is this bullshit? (Sorry that's not a free NYT article anymore, but I picked it of a paper I found on the G train.) The more times I read this, the stupider it is. And I'm a little surprised that this isn't badly written.
I'm not sure what this is beyond being a semi-esoteric brief monologue built from a stolen quote that sort of baffled my friend Nick, but that's pretty much the reason I'm posting it. Thoughts appreciated.
Nothing's that big a deal. If you want to hit a baseball, you practice hitting a baseball. If you want to play shortstop, you practice playing shortstop; if you want to play third base, as I now do, you practice playing third base. There is no mental element if you tell yourself there's no mental element and just swing the bat. (beat) If Joe wants me to take out the trash, I take out the trash. I don't question authority, honestly.
Joe enters with a bag of trash. Alex takes it, Joe leaves. Beat.
I don't think I meant that literally.
Pause. Alex sort of shrugs, goes off to put the bag of trash out. It's a heavy bag. End.
Miles Davis Shouldn't Rap #1
Today is the first day of an attempt to truly understand what a bad record actually is. A daily analysis of Doo Bop, one of the most inexplicable creations in our godless universe. Probably about four days worth but the four days worth may be spread out over six.
Doo Bop is essentially Miles Davis' rap record. I wrote a play with a fake reference to it before I'd actually heard the record because the concept of Miles Davis on a rap record is just that stupid. There are things to contemplate about it that I'll probably post tomorrow.
"Si Acabo (La Malanga)" (Bobby Hutcherson, Montara)
The most well-known quote from Malcolm Lowry's Under The Volcano translates oddly online.
"¿LE GUSTA ESTE JARDIN, QUE ES SUYO? ¡EVITE QUE SUS HIJOS LO DESTRUYAN!"
(Rough simple translation: "Do you like this garden that is yours? Be careful that your children don't destroy it!")
(The soft voice of http://ets.freetranslation.com/: He likes this garden, that is its? Avoid that its children destroy it!)
But there are worse translations.
I like me:
- For You is hard to explain in one line.
- Love Is Good was about a rock trio featuring a robot playing a mean keyboard.
- Waiting For The N is slowly creeping into the station.
- To write Rejected Showgirl I became Tory Ross and wrote an invisible script.
- Saturday Night Rewritten...what once was and may be again.
- Original SNR writings...don't expect new ones.
- Dusted record reviews.
- Stylus music articles.
- Junkmedia reviews and interviews.
- MySpace whoredom.
I like them/they like me:
- Rob Bates is sometimes a Jewish rapper.
- Christina Casa strongly dislikes bad coffee.
- Erik Marcisak doesn't remember names well.
- Devon T. Coleman probably isn't that angry with you.
- Laura Buchholz draws well.
- Matt Koff is Monster, not a monster.
- Dan McCoy should be writing Cliffhanger 2.
- Stacy Mayer smiles a lot.
- Tom Wojtunik needs to stop working on one-person shows.
- Jon Kern used to have an internship reading bad manuscripts.
- Freestyle Love Supreme is dope.
- Eric Zuckerman doesn't say my last name without a Simpsons reference.
- "Invisible" Ben Gross teaches but doesn't want you to know where.
- J. Laakso doesn't want you to know a damn thing.
- The Manhattan Comedy Collective is at the Sage Theater.
- Adira Amram will kick your ass in Mortal Kombat.
- Banrock Station hides behind the name of a cheap wine.
- I drank cheap white wine with people at the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab.
- Constance Thackaberry doesn't just act no more.
- Andres Du Bouchet should start Giant Tuesday again.
- Yard Work (Absurd baseball articles.)
- Fametracker (Pop cultural humor paradise.)
- Homestar Runner (I put my best foot flowered.)
- Rotten Tomatoes (Only you can prevent you from seeing bad movies.)
- Metafilter (They read the Internet so you don't have to.)
- Robowriters (My lazy ass will get involved with them one day.)
- Kissing Suzy Kolber (Unleash the Sex Cannon!)
- Boston Herald BoSox news. (Fuck the Globe.)
- No Mas (They make dope t-shirts too.)
- The Breaks (Sample sources revealed)
I like them/that?
Contact the author on the comments.