"TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! TENTPOLE! -- Tom & Co.
"What is it with you and the orange crate?" -- Spike on Tom's obsession with his eccentric furniture
"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candies and nuts, we'd all have a helluva Christmas!" - Tom on Spike's infuriating indeciseveness
"I got a lot of stuff that you don't not got."-- Marky Ramone, negating himself
"When did you start using chords?" -- Tom on Petey's pop gem
Imagine a circus tent in the middle of a field. The tent's exterior is painted with 4 letters: WFMU. But, sadly, this tent lacks a tentpole. Nobody (except maybe Timmy von Trimble) can get inside to watch the show -- it's just a big blob of canvas being thrashed by elephants. Displaced DJs mingling around outside with disgruntled carnies and depressed clowns. But wait. Guess who's coming to save the day? It's El Goodo! He's got a tentpole -- no, he is the tentpole -- and he raising the tent. People rush in. No tentpole, no tent. No tent, no mirth, music, and mayhem. If you dig walking into tents and partaking of the magic factory inside, then CLICK MAHKY'S HEAD AND PLEDGE! If you don't, Tom will be a sad little prince.
A Kid eBay-approved Two for Monday:
( Click here to buy On Fyre from Insound.)
Annotated highlights of the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel known as Tuesday:
Simply put: Tom delivered a tour-de-force performance -- anchoring the three hours of rough fun by leading chants, making passionate pleas for support of the show, and treating listeners to several minutes of wounded animal noises. And let's not forget the funkalicious work by Evan Davies, holding it down on the other side of the glass.
Kudos to the star-studded crew -- including actual ladies! -- of phone bank volunteers: MattFlux, Monroe, Therese, Tony Clifton, The Queen of WFMU Terre T, everyone's favorite Washington insider/male escort, and anyone else who captured pledges until blood poured from their writing hands.
While listening to the show, I was struck by the sound and feel of the pledge drive. That old-school PBSness, conjuring up those Stephen Keaton-moderated pledge-a-thons where they bring out all the heavy-hitters (Julia Child demoing a coq au vin, Bob Ross scraping out a vivid forest, Louis Rukeyser bemoaning interest rates, some Pythons) and give away Sierra Club tote bags and Breakfast with Mozart coffee mugs. The glorious sound of receiver-rattlin', land-line rings. Not the chirp-chirp of office phones cutting through the silence of corporate drudgery. Not credit-card-sized cells blaring the Inspector Gadget theme song or Napoleon Dynamite dialogue. And people standing by to take your call. This was vintage stuff but like 180% more entertaining. With superior swag. And Tom yelling. A lot. Nice.
- The old-school feelgoodery was temporarily derailed by Spike (starts at 34:12), who took a break from watching his b&w Sylvania and eating a gluten-free dinner on a tv tray while seated on a wobbly, wax-coated orange crate. Spike briefly touted WFMU, which he listens to on a library computer or his walkman. In addition to The Best Show, Spike cited Rex, Dave the Spazz (if he's up -- Spike turns in at 4 p.m. most nights), and Terre T as his fave programming.
My government contact has been tracking Spike's e-mails for the last month, and he sent me this intercepted missive to Terre T:
From: Mr. F
Date: Mar 1, 2006 11:02 PM
Subject: FW: Song Request
Here's that Spike e-mail to Terre. It's a pretty good one. Remind me to send you the e-mails (12 of 'em!) he sent to Wes Craven. Unbelievable. He wrote a script for a sequel to LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Basically it's about this dominatrix who terrorizes the suburbs. There were _nine_ decapitations before the opening credits!
Hope all is well with you.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Spike < spike_be_goode @ gmail.com >
Date: Feb 25, 2006 3:20 PM
Subject: Song Request.
To: Terre T
Heeeeelllllllooooo, Terre. One of my slaves is acting up. I made the mistake of accepting a younger client. Can you help dithipline him by playing the DC Snipers' "All Humans Under 25 Are Garbage"? Thanks.
If I forget to turn my $8 transistor radio off after Fool's Paradise I end up listening to the first 20 minutes or so of your show every week. To be honest, I don't really do obscuro punk, weird pop, psych, glam, garage, mod, acid, krautrock, hiphop, artdamage, sXe, or "bent-edge" (whatever that is), but keep up the great work anyway! Play more Del Vikings!
Tom e-mailed Spike about co-hosting an entire Best Show. Three hours of Tom and Spike. Dueling Spike voices! While such an offer should be met with immediate acceptance, Spike was unable to commit because he gets up at 4 a.m. for his government job, and he's leery of making the trek from Queens to WFMU on a weeknight. Evan reminds Spike that Tom does it every Tuesday, but Spike is unimpressed because he is under the false impression that Tom has no other job that requires early rising. In fact, Tom gets up at 3 a.m. for his Consolidated Cardboard shift where he often has to be on guard for co-workers conspiring to get him fired or killed.
Tom tells Spike to suck it up and recommends coffee to stay awake, but Spike doesn't do coffee. Spike has no trouble inflicting pain on others, but he can't imagine the thought of forgoing a full eight hours of shuteye for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spike says he will think about it and will have to work it into his busy schedule of keeping people in line. He eventually says "maybe next year", a bizarre counteroffer considering we're only two months into 2006.
Tom can't take it anymore and GOMPs the weak, soft, fragile man. He bans him from the show and declares him an FWD. Tom requests that people insult Spike in their pledge comment field, and many obliged, such as Mr. John Junk, who suggested that Spike should be smashed in the face with a Tokelys drum set.
Spike returns later (starts at 58:25) with a Poltergeist-y "I'm baaaaaaaaaack" to discuss the chatter about his banishment. He also does one of the most disturbing cackles I've ever heard -- it was like a mixture of one of Roy Ziegler's gigglefests merged with Steinbergian chuckling. He's still thinking about the offer, and Tom wants him to also think about the moment he will look back and realize that he got banned from The Best Show. Spike is unconvinced and mentions that Lynn Samuels once unsuccessfully tried to ban him. Tom GOMPs him again.
- Petey checks in (starts at 1:18) and is not thrilled with Tom's unenthusiastic "hi". Tom's not thrilled about Petey's voice, which makes him feel like a cuckolded pornographer unable to make the transition from 1979 to 1980. Petey honors Tom's request and (sort of) talks like a grown-up when declaring The Best Show a haven of stress relaxation.
Petey debuts a new tune to help people "realize their pledging power" -- a white-hott, chord-filled cover of a track by The Pillows.
Tom asks Petey to tear his father away from American Idol for a brief chat. Faffer thanks Tom for playing his 19 theme song entries last week and hopes that "The Scary Theme" did not jolt him too much. Tom suggests that without The Best Show's embrace, the Petey clan would be like Capturing the Freidmans, but then duly withdraws the untoward association. Faffer gives a brief WFMU pitch highlighting its committment to originality, the free format, and its openness to non-mainstream ideas.
- Marky Ramone calls (starts at 1:34) from an Intrudahs tour stop in Seattle (the night's gig was at a "Rock 'N Roll pharmacy", a far cry from The Paramount), so he's a bit pressed for time. Marky thoughtfully reminds listeners that the show doesn't happen unless everybody pledges because the show it don't run itself, so you gotta keep the money comin'. Unfortunately, Marky is talking about pledges to keep his Punk Rock Blitzkreig on the air at Sirius. This elicits a round of boos from Tom & Co., which Marky rejects because "You don't boo me, I boo you."
Marky thinks Tom's Fun Kit is about as funny as Johnny Ramone was on the Subterranean Jungle recordin sessions (i.e., not fun). Evan takes Marky to task for not properly answering Tom's query about his premiums and Marky is not pleased: "None of youse guys talk to me like that. I talk to everybody like that."
Here is what Marky is offering pledgers:
Dust-level ($175): A rickety "paperback" edition (printed from Marky's laptop) of the The Princess and The Drummer Boy (Erotic Knights #2), the hotly-anticipated follow-up to Lady Wainsworth's Desires
Voidoid-level ($250): Marky Ramone mini batting helmet that says "Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" on the back of it. He's forced to ask $250 for this premium to cover legal expenses for using the slogan on his merchandise. He got the helmets from Dairy Queen and wrote on them with a Shahpie. So far Mahky has only garnered one pledge at this level -- from Bill in suburban Detroit.
Speed King For a Day Supah Pledge (
$12,000 $4,000 $22,000+): Marky will come to your house and play for seven hours.
Tom presses Marky on his debt situation, which Marky deflects by asking Tom if his sneakas were in the Rock and Roll HOF. He also makes it official: He invented punk rock. The declaration was first published in the Marky Ramone Newsletter, which you can subscribe to at Marky Ramone Erotic Knights Fiction (site's down).
Marky is intrigued by the ladies chimin' away in the background and wants to work them into his next erotic story. Basic premise: it's about these sexy ladies who take pledges for a high school radio station. Marky criticizes Tom's voice for being badly accented and unfit for Sirius, unlike Marky's rich, deep tones. In fact, he questions whether Tom has brains or much practice at all with speaking his native tongue. As with previous Marky calls, things take a violent turn in the form of Marky threatening to put a drum stick down the throats of Tom and all of his cronies the next time he's in the area. They are all on his s hitlist, and Tom's gonna get a sneaka up the keesta (which may or may not be preferable to a Capezio up your arse).
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Ira discusses the time he went a s after Rick in Albany soaked his luggage, Spike attempts to pledge his way to a YLT rendition of the Del Vikings' hit "Whispering Bells", but gets a feedback-drenched take on the Maude theme instead because he's dead (not an actual threat) to the show, Gordon calls to inquire about the unusually high number of covers from Missile Sunset, and Dogmo consumes three bad guys for dinner LIVE ON THE AIR!
Wake up the neighbors, and turn up your amps:
Yo La Tengo - "Big Day Coming"