"How much do you believe in your cause?" -- Tom, challenging the elderly Bob Grant to a bare-knuckled fist fight for political dominance
“The live version of 'Porcupine Pie' is the most important and innovative heavy metal song of the 1970s.” -- Chuck Eddy via e-mail
“The DVDs are selling like hotcakes.” -- Todd Hutchins on LifeChanges' Tornado Todd’s Soriority Skank Patrol series
"You’re sick." -- Todd, assessing Tom from supposed video footage he has of him
"We kind of fudged the boundaries of reality and fontasy in this thing." -- Todd, on the world of Pimp City
"Fred Savage paid the price and so will you." -- Todd on Tom's grisly fate
“John Wilkes Boothe? He’s good?” -- Tom on the seemingly incongruant name check in “Done Too Soon”
"If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!" -- Sage advice from a tough t-shirt
“You don’t come around here pushing Peter Tork under the bus. Not on my watch.” -- Tom, sticking up for his favorite Monkee
"It just always feels right and then it always feels wrong." -- Scag Winesack on his eight trips to the altar
"Then there should be more pork chops in the lyrics." -- Cindy Winesack-Goldfarb on an oversight in "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)", a song about the fontasy lives of Rupert Holmes and his portly wife
Scratchy Record has an ear for impressions, but one thing Scratchy Record doesn't have an ear for is noisy, Midwestern guitar units. And to that I say heave ho, five in a row:
Eleventh Dream Day - "The Lure" (from Zeroes and Ones -- dumb dunce jerks; good guys)
Eleventh Dream Day - "Way Too Early On A Sunday Morning" (from Stalled Parade)
Eleventh Dream Day - "Makin' Like A Rug" (from El Moodio)
Eleventh Dream Day - "I Could Be Lost" (from Live To Tell)
Eleventh Dream Day - "Sweet Smell (from Prairie School Freakout)
Bonus track: Tom's Uncle Bill - "Gonna Fly Now" (Theme from Rocky)
Pop open a nice cold sodey (preferably a fancy Lime Rickey or Black Cherry varietal instead of some weirdo swill like Diet Coke), grab a bowl of chicken ripple ice cream, and dig into some annotated highlights of the Hot April Night:
- The penultimate week of the Theme Song Contest (starts at 27:43) included a remix of The Plarns' "Best Theme #1", Sireel's "Aborted Trout Song", and "The Best Show on WFMU Theme Song" from DT (Will Croxton, formerly of DT and the Shakes), who knew how to cut to the front of the line by incorporating the Volcano Suns' "JAK". DJ Terre T called to discuss a station issue with Tom, but not before expressing her love for the DT theme, citing "JAK" as her fave Volcano Suns track, if not the best song ever written. She also got in a pre-segment vote for Worst Song Ever: The Beatles' "Hey Jude".
TheCleef then delivered “Can’t Melt Juice”, a jazzy walk down Memory Lane filled with clips ranging from obscurities like barbershop quartet enthusiast Zachary Brimstead, Esq, who has not called since 4/3/01, to recent classics like Marky Ramone's Lady Wainsworth's Desires reading. This is my favorite of the clip-based themes. The final entry of the evening came from notorious kook Seafaring Willis, who ranted against Tom for expedited mailing costs and lack of airplay last week. Turns out that "Tom's The Bomb" (version #14) is not too shabby.
For me, it still comes down to The Big 3: ThemeWeavers, LLC vs. Shock The Claw vs. County Mounty, with DT a possible wild card due to the Tom button pressing. There's also a rumor that Wizardzz are working on a 38-minute theme called "The Hidden Fortress in Lake Newbridge" that they hoped to send overnight in time for a spin tonight.
Buffalo Springfield - "Down To The Wire"
- Tom launches (starts 57:44) a discusson on the Worst Song Ever, a welcome return to the fun world of worst-of anthologies (see great late 2005 runs through unfunniest funny people and ugliest bands). Any song from the annals of the 900-year history of music was fair game (even cantatas), and Tom wanted to stir up some skin-crawling, heebie-jeebie inducing, transcendentally bad tunes. He was pretty sure he knew the the right answer, but wanted to get some listener feedback before the big reveal. Here are the votes:
1. Kiss - "Rockin' In The USA"
The caller pointed out that this track was from the Side 4 studio portion of Alive II, which also featured a cover of the Dave Clark Five's "Anyway You Want It". He noted that this was also the final song The Ramones played at their final gig. He then dished a bit of trivia: Edward Vedder was the night's Pinhead and sang harmony with them on that song. Proud moments.
To illuminate its badness, the caller laid down some of the grammatical genius of one G. Simmons: "In France, they really had the chance, yeah, there was plenty romance / I've been to England too, there wasn't much to do / One thing I know is true, what I would rather do is / Rockin' in the U.S.A."
The Dave Clark Five - "Any Way You Want It"
The Ramones - "Any Way You Want It"
Kiss - "Any Way You Want It"
2. The Steve Miller Band - "Abracadabra"
3. Debbie Boone - "You Light Up My Life"
4. The Eagles - "Hotel California"
5. Alan O'Day - "Undercover Angel" (the caller was quite passionate in her disgust for this song, calling it "execrable" and "detestable" with absurb subject matter about a night prowling angel who fornicates with a man to reassure him that he will find another human lover.)
6. "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" This song was originally composed by Scotty Wiseman and has been widely-covered. I think the caller had this rendition in mind:
Ringo Starr - "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"
7. Collective Soul - "Shine" (This has always been skin crawler for me, which is odd because it's a fairly innocuous southern rock'd up post-grunge deal, but a few seconds of that main riff and it's queasy time.)
8. Bonnie Tyler - "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
10. The Beatles - "Glass Onion" (The caller declares this the band's "clip show" song; Tom admits it's goofball but rejects its place on the Worst Song Ever list)
12. "American Anthem" (This caller was GOMPed.)
13. Paula Cole - "I Don't Want To Wait" ("So open up your morning light / And say a little prayer for I." Caller says me no likey.)
14. Richard Harris - "MacArthur Park" (Tom thinks this is one of the best songs in history)
15. "Do They Know It's Christmas After All" (Tom disqualifies this one because its a song of love, not hate, and it helps people)
16. Jefferson Starship - "We Built This City" (4th Worst Song Ever per Tom, garnering back-to-back votes; despite its fontastical urban planning, I admit to liking this song.)
17. Minnie Riperton - "Lovin' You"
18. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Achey Breaky Heart" (5th worst)
19. Styx - "Babe" (3rd Worst)
20. The live version of Neil Diamond's "Porcupine Pie" from Hot August Night. WINNER. Rich successfully names the worst song in the history of mankind. Tom plays the track and does a brief analysis, pointing out that of the hundreds of decisions that must be made when writing and performing, Neil got them all wrong. One of his major transgressions was unleashing a cartoony, Zeph Marshack impression ("Who sings like that?," Tom wondered) on paying customers at the Greek Theater. The live setting ups the ante as Tom played some of Neil addressing the crowd, including the "tree people" in the back. Neil proceeds to do a bizarre riff about the Greek being a place that God made for performers to go when they die, where they will be greeted by an robe-clad MC who looks like Guy Kibbee. As pointed out in the chat, it appears that Mr. Diamond smoked some payotay prior to taking the stage. Tom also notices that Neil himself sounds mortified when saying "Oh my God" during the song.
When Tom harmonized along with Neil, I was amazed that even the Worst Song Ever sounds good when El Goodo is belting it out.
Neil Diamond - "Save Me A Saturday Night"
- Tom conducts (starts at 1:21) a follow-up to the wildly popular 2003 interview with Todd Hutchins, nicknamed "The Miracle Man From Missouri" for his well-publicized five-mile jaunt inside the maelstrom of a twister, escaping with only a broken ankle. While on a media tour that included an appearance on The Sharon Osbourne Show (checked YouTube for a clip, but no luck), Todd stopped by the WFMU studio for an emotional chat. Tom played a snippet featuring a distraught, crying man determined not to blow his bonus round in life and vowing to live a more purpose-driven life of helping the sick and downtrodden.
Todd joined Tom via telephone and appeared to be in a similar emotional state having listened to the clip of himself in a fragile, repentent state. Todd noted that the incident is indescribable and it's impossible for anyone to ever know the terror of being enveloped by a tornado and thinking you have only seconds to live. At the time of the tornado attack, he was on the fast track to the Big House due to heavy abuse of alcohol, pot, cocaine, harder things, as well as participating in crime. In order to capitalize on his second chance, Todd founded a non-profit charity called LifeChanges to finally make his mark on the world. Todd says it's the greatest feeling to know that he's giving birth to so many smiles, and as it nears its second anniversary, the organization is thriving thanks to brisk sales of all 17 volumes of Tornado Todd's Skank Patrol DVD series.
Tom is baffled since he was under the impression that LifeChanges focused on building houses for the poor and drug counseling. Todd said that he did build some homes and help people get medical treatment, but in the past two years he learned a lot about himself and what his main strength is: bringing the most skankalicious soriority girls into the living rooms and frat houses of America's horniest men. Tom thinks it's a complete 180 from his original goal, but Todd thinks there is no difference between helping an underprivileged family pay their heating bill and providing the nation's most sexed-up frat members with videos of the nation's trashiest skanks doing some things that Todd admits are "just plain sick and weird." In Todd's mind, they are both public services that deserve equal apprecation.
Todd questions Tom's right to judge him, but Tom counters by saying that he donated money to LifeChanges with the expecation that he was supporting a legitimate charity that helped the needy. Tom wonders what happened to the man who was crying his eyes out two years ago, and Todd fills him in on another life changing day he had after the miracle survival. Todd was in El Paso overseeing the construction of a hospice, and after a long day of hard labor in the hot sun, he saw an ad for one of the GGW (Girls Gone Wild) videos. The promo took him back to his days in Missouri when he would frequent the bars and strip clubs of his old stomping grounds.
At this point, he realized that while he was doing good charity works, he somehow felt empty inside. He felt the urge to return to certain elements of his old life -- primarily the sex and the drinking. Since he could never go back to drinking, he chose to focus on the sex, which he claims to be quite skilled at, prompting Tom to "ask anybody" should he desire corroboration. The next day, Todd went to Radio Hut and bought their best POT80 camcorder and starting filming his first video that night at the Armadillo's Gunnysack, a popular frat and soriority hangout. The shoot was apparently quite successful, as Todd informs Tom that under the right filming conditions, "those ladies would gladly show the camera everything the dear Lord gave them."
Tom’s completely flustered and horrified, but Todd assures him that he's still helping people. Tom asks him why he would release the videos under the banner of a non-profit, and Todd points out that it's for tax purposes: LifeChanges "don't have to declare nothing, like earnings." He does donate some of the charity's profits to his brother's charity -- "The Hippy Johnny Foundation", based on a compound in Mellow Grove, N.J. Having talked to the hippified tyrant last April, Tom declares him a "complete dirtbag", though Todd says he's always been nice to him. Tom's anti-HJ stance makes Todd think that Tom might also come down on the Tornado Todd's Celebrity Smut Patrol. This series feature very erotic footage of today's biggest stars, although Todd cannot reveal them due to ongoing legal entanglements.
The footage is captured by Celebrity Smut patrol foot soldiers, who do whatever it takes to film celebrities doing sick stuff. They travel all over the world to befriend stars by posing as agents, rich people, or even members of royalty to lure them into cinematic debauchery.
Todd claims to have footage of Tom, though it's too sick to describe over the radio. Todd's pretty sure that it's actually Tom, but either way, he'll say it's him when the video is released and let America judge him on Tornado Todd’s Sickest Celebrity Sex Tapes. In this contest, a panel (Ron Jeremy, Danny Bonadoose, Merle Allin, and Tom's favorite director, Trent L. Strauss) watches the tapes and votes on the entry that they think is the sickest. The winner gets his or her own DVD, appropriately and simply titled I'm Sick.
Todd will submit the tape featuring who he thinks may be Tom to the contest and believes it will come down to either Tom or Joe Simpson. Todd filmed Simpson himself, taking him in a ruse in which he pretended to be Sahib, the King of Salty Arabia, a bit of intentional mispeak to avoid potential legal trouble should Simpson ever try to get him.
Todd proposes something that Tom could do to make the tape disappear: agree to supply the voice for Big Money in Pimp City, a new LifeChanges video game launching in December. The game's narrative involves the hilarious adventures of Big Money, the city’s most vile pimp who is totally bad news and takes no s hit from anyone. The game is also obviously heavily influenced by Grand Theft Auto, which Tom says aloud, but Todd will not because he's already in trouble with 113 other companies, so to to be safe, he won’t cite any official product names.
The city's female population does not like Big Money and the local cops are after him, led by Officer Harrups, who will be voiced by Ron Pallilo. Todd thinks it's a real honor for Tom to be a part of the project and his only competition for the voicework is Dave Matthews, who is also being blackmailed. Todd claims to have filmed Dave doing stuff that would make Hugh Hefner blush. Dave is very upset with Todd, and Tom cannot understand how he could actually release these tapes. Todd thinks Tom sounds like he's madder than a rattlesnake at a Thai wedding, and wants to run some lines.
He gives Tom some direction to really feel it and lay into the role, reminding him that Big Money is a big, mean guy with no desire to take any s hit. He also notes that Tom is his preference because Mr. Matthews is not so cool in his book. He promises Tom that if he reads the lines, he will get rid of the tape. He attempts to issue a fake pledge, "I, Todd (with one d) Hutchings, will destroy the tape that is allegedly of Todd Scharplin, if he reads these lines"), but appears to eventually get through it without any abnormalities.
Tom's audition for Big Money:
1. "Big Money needs to get pizz-aid." (Nails it on the second take)
2. Which one of you [ladies] is gonna go get me a handburger?"
Tom notes that the food item is a "hamburger", which is a revelation to Todd, who thought it was "handburger" for his entire 38 years on Earth. He's a bit confused since it's not made from ham, but seems receptive to Tom's corrective.
3. "My pimpmobile needs to be detailed. Which one of you skanks is gonna do it?" (Tom nails it)
4. "Which one of you [jerks] stole my hot dog?" (Nails it on the second, more angry take)
5. "Where’s Pippin?"
Todd explains that Pippin is Big Money’s coke-crazed pet ferret, who will be voice by Todd. While it's not perfected, Todd gives a sampling of the high-pitched, weasely voice he will use for the character: “What up, Big Money? You gettin' pizz-aid? Can you set me up with some rails, my man.” Tom questions the notion of a talking, cocaine-addled, domesticated animal, but Todd reveals that LifeChanges has fudged the boundaries of reality and fontasy in Pimp City. The latest odd pronounciation prompts Tom to bust Todd's hump about what he's doing to the English language, and Todd doesn't like it. He claims that he does not have to make good on the deal and destroy the tape because of a nuance in the way he said his last name during his earlier pledge.
Todd then offers Tom the role of the face/pitch man for Faux Nuggs, LifeChanges new line of "legal weed" that will be sold in head shops. Todd admits to Tom off the record that the product is in fact actual marijuana that is treated so it does not smell like weed. It's also purple so it looks like incense, but word eventually leaks that it is real doobage. Tom hopes that the drug pushing lands Todd in jail; Todd threatens that if Tom rats him out, he will get an exclusive tour of the Jersey marshlands from Yuri, a soulless bastard from Siberia that works as his enforcer. Todd once saw Yuri shove Fred Savage's face in a toilet for pawing a LifeChanges skank at a party.
Tom's disgusted by Todd's descent into depravity, and replays the 2003 interview snippet. Todd laments how that guy was in such a bad place then, and feels that everything is great since he found his calling as a Skank Patroller. Tom thinks Todd sounds creepy, which leads Todd to predict that Tom's head and arm will end up in the swamps of Jersey after being "pretty much dismembered" by Yuri. At this point, Todd realizes that he was on the air and calls for Yuri to start the car so they can head over to the WFMU studio.
Bruce Springsteen - "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
Toots and the Maytals - "Pressure Drop"
- Evan in Montclair
0704207039 calls (starts at 2:13) about his ill-advised decision to fill the final two minutes on his wedding mix tape with "Porcupine Pie". Nobody liked the track, though his marriage is about to hit the 10-year mark. He still listens to the tape in his car, but has to remove it when Zeph comes on. The topic of the Hot August Night album cover comes up during this call, but Tom abstains from any commentary because he fears that its content would get him thrown off the radio. I've certainly seen the cover image before, but its outrageousness -- the full-on phallic pantomime of it all -- never fully registered until now. Wow.
- Teased in past shows, Tom finally does his riff (starts at 2:18) on macho, tough guy t-shirts, especially those offered by Big Dogs, who supply all the clothing for the LifeChanges Smut Patrol foot soldiers. Mike the Associate Producer is a fan of this line and was actually wearing one of their shirts during the show. Tom's appalled by these Master Race-promoting tops, and recently saw an obese subway hoodlum sporting a "Pleased To Beat You" t-shirt featuring a dunking basketball player. Tom doubts the kid could even make it up the floor during a 3-on-3 full-court game. Shortly after the show, I ordered my first tough t-shirt. STONES.
- A caller switches the topic (starts at 2:21) to The Monkees, having recently read The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the 60s TV Pop Sensation. He thought Mickey Dolenz came off as cool in the book, but recalled a sour run-in that Tom had with him. Tom recounted the incident, which occured at a prestigious, star-studded event.
Tom spotted Dolenz standing by myself, so he approached him to tell him that he was a huge fan of Head. Dolenz blew him off, responding with "Yeah, a lot of people say that", and turning away. The caller mentions that the book reveals the band members to be sour and bitter, citing Peter Tork as the most insufferable. Tom disputes that, opting for Davy Jones, and GOMPs the caller for bersmirching Tork and pushing him under the bus. Tom speculates that Dolenz's dismissal of The Kid led to the demise of morning show on WCBS-FM, and calls for Dolenz to apologize to The Best Show to reverse the kaybash put on him.
Tom proposes two tough t-shirts:
1. Front: "You Don't Come Aroud Here Pushing Peter Tork Under The Bus" w/ picture of a guy shoving Tork under a bus with the slash/circle "No" symbol. Back: "Not on my watch!"
2. Front: “I’m a big dog, Dolenz” w/ picture of Tom and cartoon dialogue bubble Back: "CBS-FM RIP". Mike would not wear this shirt.
- Scag Winesack calls (starts at 2:26) from outside the WFMU building and wants to come up to the studio. He's only in town for a few days and doesn't want to miss his window of opportunity to finally meet Tom. Tom lets him up and after some headphone modulation issues, Scag explains that he's been on a road trip en route to the Edgar Awards, honoring excellence in the field of mystery writing. Scag has had some undocumented excellence in this field, including a consulting gig for the 1980s television serial, In The Heat Of The Night.
Scag brought along his fifth ex-wife, Cindy Winesack-Goldfarb. He's currently single and has had three ex-wives since his 8-month marriage to Cindy ended. Cindy was driving through Eerie, PA, because Scag owed her some child support, and he asked her to take the road trip to the Edgar Awards so they could split the gas bill. Cindy picked out a dress for the show, but Scag did not actually secure any tickets. Scag is certain that he will get in, but Cindy might be on her own, which she won't mind since it will give her a night off to look for a Hot Topic in Times Square. Tom mentions the Hershey's store and Cindy is impressed that even though Tom just met her, he could identify her weakness. Cindy notes that she is weaker than most when it comes to chocolate and choices in men. Scag’s weakness is free James Lee Burke novels, and Tom informs him that he can get his fill of those towards the end of the ceremony when tables of mystery novels are wheeled in and attendees are given carry-out bags. Scag thinks it sounds fantastic and asks Cindy if they can shift her crap in his Peugot 505SI to make room for the loot.
There is some discussion about whether Scag is the biological father of their daughter, Jessalyn, but Scag would rather not get into it on the radio. He prefers to detail what Cindy calls a "humiliating" matter of infidelity that ended the marriage. While working as a bodyguard for Rupert Holmes in 1979, Holmes's wife had an affair with Scag shortly before the release of Partners In Crime. Scag claims that he's the subject of the song "Him", and brought a Greatest Hits compilation to play it for Tom. He hopes that there is no bad blood with Holmes since he's always had a massive amount of respect for him as an artist and did not engage in adultery to spite him.
Tom's excited to hear it after getting the juicy backstory, while Cindy can't understand why she could not bring her toothbrush on the trip. Scag explains that he was concerned that his car wouldn't be able to hold both the toothbrush and the Holmes disc. Cindy cannot remember how long she has been sans tootbrush because her sense of time has been replaced by throbbing in veins she did not know she had. The Peugot's radio is not functional, so the driving time has creeped by with alternating angry and awkward silences between Scag and Cindy.
Scag carries the Greatest Hits CD with him at all times and wrote the liner notes. He presents the booklet to Tom, who sees normal liner notes with red ink markings throughout. Scag said the printer made some serious production mistakes, causing him to have to make some substitutions, replacing any "I" or "My" with "Rupert Holmes". There is also a vital mistake at the bottom of the third page in the form of a Rupert Holmes signature, erroneously suggesting that he is the author of the liner notes. Scag scribbled out the error and wrote his name in red ink over the top of it.
Just before playing "Him", Cindy zings Holmes's wife by calling her fat, but doesn’t fault her because cinnamon rolls are delicious. Prior to the segment, Tom always thought "Him" was just a song about fontasy characters in Holmes's mind, but Scag points out that the characters were actually in his bed. Scag tried to get into music in the mid to late-1980s, and, in addition to Holmes, was influenced by Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" and the faux blues of Bruce Willis’s Return to Bruno. He recorded a demo of "Knockers At 9", a track he thought might become a hit and get some MTV airplay. The song's premise involves Scag pulling up to stop lights and gazing into the car windows to his left to check out the enormous gazongas of the drivers.
He sent Rupert Holmes the demo, but never heard back from him. He last contact with Holmes was the day he fired Scag in 1980. Tom wonders if Scag is hoping to see Holmes at the Edgar Awards since he now straddles the camps of songwriting and mystery, but finds his novels to be soft-boiled, “Mary” stuff. Scag has no time for such swishery on the streets and the marina where his houseboat is docked. Cindy asks to stay with Tom instead of Scag's unfortunate lodging choice -- the hourly rate Libert Inn. It's not a good week for Tom, so Cindy will probably spend the night in the passenger seat of the Peugot. Tom recommends brushing her teeth with the Rupert Holmes CD. Tom inquires about why Scag is always rushing to the altar, and Scag said he feels like it's "The One" every time, but it always ends badly. His shortest marriage was a 3-week fling in which Scag was drunk for the entire duration. He thinks his ex-wife took care of the divorce papers, but he has not followed up on it -- it's one case he was not interested in solving. Scag eventually sobered up in another part of the country. Tom's intrigued by the layers of story that can be peeled away from the onion of Scag.
Tom apologizes on behalf of Scag and feels sympathy for Cindy's efforts to get child support, but then realizes that Jessalyn is 26 years old, so becomes neutral on the Scag-Cindy dispute. Cindy asks Tom about the availability WFMU internships for Jessalyn, but none are available.
Rupert Holmes - "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: MC John Junk will reign supreme, Tom hits all his cool music queues, and Marky Ramone calls to discuss his soundtrack work on Internet hype sensation Twenty Miles To Newbridge (brilliant work, BoboKick):
And remember: Your influence counts ... use it!
Robert Pollard with The Ascended Masters - "Maggie Turns To Flies" (Live at the 40 Watt, 1/26/06)