The Usual Gang of Idiots.
"Pay up." -- Tom, requesting that Elastica throw the members of Wire some of their hair gel loot
"You’re dropping a bomb on me here, buddy." -- Tom after finding out about MAD magazine
"Help me." -- Trent L. Strauss, alive but not necessarily well
"[Foreign language], [foreign language], [foreign language], Paul Simon." -- A native, recognizing the marauding musicologist
"What, are you getting paid by the note?" -- Tom to the overplaying Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo
"I promise that the poetry I’m going to read is not toilet mouth. It’s clean and it’s family-friendly. I could read this poetry to my grandma." -- Mike from Wet Rat, before reading his haiku
"If this show was Otto Preminger, that would be Skidoo." -- Tom on a bizarre call from Laura, Wet Rat's manager
"I believe everybody’s equal, Tawm." -- Larry, feminist crusader
"Oh my god, dude. Are you still feeling it?" -- Darren from Work, asking Tom if he's still high from their Battle of the Bands victory
"Why the hell did I ever doubt that I could be a rock star?" -- Darren, delusional from a brief taste of minor stardom on the corporate stage
"Kim says I should get my you-know-what pierced." -- Darren, recounting an accessory request from his mistress
“It would be bad news if this stuff was made public.” -- Darren on his collection of erotic paintings
“Oooh, what a wonderful theater." -- Robin Williams on the UCB, his new comedy home
*Three new subscribers since last week, but the numbers remain "shamefully low". Tom grovels and says that the the blue wire will be pulled the second week of June unless the numbers improve.
Three heists for Tuesday!
Elastica - "Stutter"
I couldn't find the 7" for digital transfer, but I assure you that "Stutter" is a total rip-off of "Mongoose", a song I wrote while in a college band called Loose Cannon. We mainly did Let's Active, Spin Doctors, The Feelies, and Anthrax covers (I put on the headdress for "Indians" just like Joey Belladonna!), but we also released several influential singles that did fairly well in the tri-state area, getting some burn on WFMU. We've been name-checked by Karen Orzolek in Spin and Thurston Moore was known to put us on mix tapes. Bobby Christgau gave the track "Choice Cuts" status in his Consumer Guide column, saying: "Punk-pop as self-consciously noncanonical market ploy, wound tight as a methedrine high. I love LC's bright, tough veneer and hectic sexuality. I'll happily get juiced on their quick charge." A little creepy, but we were very grateful, and it led to selling out of our initial press run of 25 copies. If you're interested, the single pops up on eBay from time to time. It's "Mongoose" b/w "Soaked" (1994, GOMP! Records). Yellow vinyl!
I made the mistake of playing the song on my acoustic guitar when Justine Frischmann visited my dorm during the fall semester of my sophomore year. We'd met the previous summer when I was in England working as a ball boy at Wimbledon. (Boris Becker said I was the best ball retriever and towel getter he'd ever seen. The Duchess of Kent agreed.) We stayed in touch, and she hopped across the pond to see me when she was taking a break from writing the Elastica debut. We did rails (+ other things) and everything seemed great, but then it became really weird and she started acting like a total bee-otch. I ended up getting knocked unconsicous by Damon Albarn (he wielded a bejewled scepter) outside of a club in NYC, waking up the next morning in front of Toad's Place in New Haven. I later found out that she also hooked up with our drummer (he looked like fading Yankees hurler Randy Johnson at the peak of his mulleted glory) and my 66-year-old History professor. After that, I soured on Brits and focused my romantic attention on America's girl next door: Juliana Hatfield. I'd rather not get into the details, but I will say that I still have a restraining order against her. And at the time, she claimed she could land us a deal with Mammoth Records and that sure as hell never materialized. I recently contacted labels about releasing a compilation of the entire Loose Cannon catalog, but no takers yet. I got Gerard Cosloy's number from Byron Coley (he agreed to do the liner notes), so I called him last week to make sure he got our letter. He was clearly annoyed and said: "Leave me alone, I'm watching the Mets game." He hung up. Jerk.
Juliana Hatfield - "Universal Heart-Beat"
Annotated highlights of a show best described with the word "wheeee":
- Tom from Brooklyn calls (starts at 24:36) to inform Tom that “the usual gang of idiots” is originally from the masthead of something called "MAD magazine". Tom doesn’t know what that is, and the caller thinks he's feigning ignorance. However, Tom honestly has no idea what he's talking about. Tom recalls the MAD film, Up The Academy, and knows the sketch comedy television show, but is unfamiliar with any periodical under the MAD umbrella. Tom asks if it’s an entertainment publication like Premiere or Movieline, and the caller says it not real entertainment news -- it's a humor magazine filled with mostly cartoons (“funny pages stuff”, as Tom says). The caller mentions Cracked, which Tom has heard of, and says that it was an imitation of MAD. The caller still can’t believe Tom is seriously ignorant about the magazine, but Tom confirms that he very much is.
Tom is surprised that the magazine pre-dates the television show because he assumed that it was a companion piece with articles about the cast. The caller explains that the magazine started in 1952 as a parody of old superhero comics, before moving on to advertising spoofs, and then movie satires. The caller references Elvis Costello Horror Comics (known as Eric Clapton Comics in some collecting circles), which prompts Tom to reference Creepshow. The caller tells him that the film was a tribute to the EC Comics. Tom becomes understandably confused because one of the actors in Creepshow was named EG Marshall. At this point, the caller starts being really silly and Tom threatens to move on if he does not get back on track and stop making things up. He can’t provide any good examples about the magazine's content so Tom GOMPs him because the show is not a haven for lying.
- Trent L. Strauss calls (starts at 29:24) and Extreme Cinema fans all over the world breathe a huge sigh of relief. Trent survived the Everest debacle, but he appears to still be in considerable peril and asks Tom for help. Trent is only able to say a few words: “Avalanche. Buried. It took us all.” He thought Corey died, but Tom tells him that he's alive. Trent's upset by the news and refers to Corey as “that little creep”. Tom asks him if he's back in the United States and Trent responds with the non-answer of “snow everywhere, still” before hanging up. Tom suspects that Trent is still buried under the avalanche’s wall of snow somewhere within the hill. Hopefully Trent will be rescued in time to attend the Belgian film festival where he's set to receive a much-deserved award for Face Peelers 3.
Tom and Mike the Associate Producer are impressed by Trent’s patience since he went through the normal screening process before getting on the air and pleading for assistance. I hope the harsh conditions don't turn Trent blind or even something else:
Also: the stripping sherpa!
- Tom wants to know (starts at 31:20) whether Wire was ever compensated for the Elastica rips and plays samples of "Three Girl Rhumba" and "Connection" to confirm the similarities. FOT Sparkiepop informs Tom that they did not get paid, but she's later corrected by an e-mail from a member of the band called Carp Brain. There was in fact an out-of-court settlement between the bands’ respective publishing companies. As Pimp City’s Big Money might say: Wire got pizz-aid! For the record, I never received any compensation from Elastica, unless you count a brief e-mail from Justine that read "All pop bands have borrowed ideas and all music is eventually recycled. Quit your whingeing, Omar." Like I said earlier: stone cold bee-otch.
Tom inducts Elastica into the Best Show Hall of Shame and puts them next to Paul Simon's exhibit. Tom heard some tracks from his new album and declares it "bad news". Tom sings a lyric (“Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone”) and is surprised that Simon could not find another group of people to rip off. Tom pictures Paul traveling the world with a tape recorder, capturing the given foreign culture’s musical offerings . He’ll stumble upon a native who recognizes him and then he's forced to flee the area and board his plane to consult a map for another strange land to harvest for new sounds.
Some FOT chatters criticize Tom for what they perceive as stale Elastica/Wire riffage (this topic obviously hits close to home for me, so I applaud Tom for bringing it up), so he recaptures the zeitgeist by declaring that Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere stinks. Tom purchased it and found the awesome “Crazy” and a whole lot of filler that's not even worthy of an Unfair Record Review. Tom recommends avoiding it at all costs and would rather hear a Charles Barkley record. Who wouldn't? Sir Charles' little-heard 1993 album, The Round Mound of Sound, remains one of the decades most underrated releases and the marketing wizards at Geffen really dropped the ball on the promotion. Think Up On The Sun-era Meat Puppets mixed with effective doses of early Geto Boys. The label apparently was never pleased with Steve Albini's abrasive mix, but not even a glossy touch-up by Scott Litt could make a hit out of the first single, "I Am Not A Role Model". Trivia tidbit: Barkley and Kurt Cobain share a birthday.
Here's some hott Charles jams:
Tom's primary criticism of the Gnarls record is that they drop five notes when one will do, joining the ranks of overplayers like Frank Zappa, George Clinton, or Joe Satriani. Tom thinks these guys should ease up on the gas pedal and realize that a single note sometimes does the job. Tom's very disappointed because he hoped that he could slather on some SPF 69 sunscreen and have a summer of sonic fun with St. Elsewhere. If CD’s were softer, he'd clip it to the spokes of his tall bike and let it flutter in the wind. I hope that Tom at least respects what they’re doing.
- Tom promotes and praises (starts at 37:37) these very recaps. Thanks, Tom! Tom says that he now does the show because he looks forward to reading the recap. While this is a tremendous compliment, I think we all know the real reason that Tom does the program: so he can talk hoops with Larry the Perv. Tom suggests doing a recap of a show that didn’t happen. The faux show would then be recreated on the air based on the recrap. Blooper reel!
1. A guy driving a big truck vrooms past Tom, showing him his middle finger. Tom suspects it was because the driver had a George Bush bumper sticker on his car and objected to Tom's energy-conscious hybrid.
2. Tom was stuck in traffic on the Garden State Parkway, which annoyed a guy behind him who wanted to go fast. He apparently thought that Tom's car had an Inspector Gadgetmobile or some other special features allowing him to elevate over or swerve around the 8,000 other motionless cars in front of him.
Tom tells all aspring bird flippers that it's going to be a long, hot summer and they should keep the road rage in check and not fight with each other on the highways. The only interesting flip-off story I have is getting a double-bird from Rick Springfield at a concert in Florida two years ago.
- A guy calls (starts at 44:49) to complain about not being able to get WFMU when he's in the tunnel at the Port Authority. Tom recognizes the low-energy, marble-mouthed stammering -- it's No Smoke, last heard spinning a fantastical yarn about some hunger march. The website he mentioned during his last call is now active, but Tom simply cannot trust anything he says. Since No Smoke claims to be fighting world hunger, Tom suspects that the worldwide hunger issues has been completely resolved. No Smoke does an odd segue into something about Kris Kristofferson to avoid the topic at hand. He also disses the new Ray Davies record, which makes Tom think that it's probably great. No Smoke tries to blame mental illness on his weird behavior, not unlike Vito trying to give Tony Soprano a doctor's note in order to get back in his good graces. Tom GOMPs him.
- Mike, a 17-year-old (on his next birthday, he'll be 18) from Cornwall, calls (starts at 50:04) to talk about his WFMU-influenced band, Wet Rat, and read some unrelated poetry on the air. Tom had his finger poised above the GOMP button, but became strangely intrigued by the band name. Mike describes Wet Rat as the most ridiculous music imaginable, especially the outlandish lyrics by Little Dill. After pledging that the poem is suitable for on-air recitiation, Mike reads his haiku:
I see the cold air
The cold grass on my hand
Wow, I’m drunk on WFMU
Tom pleased that he and the station might have something to do with the success of Wet Rat and hopes they won’t forget them when they make it big. Tom wants to put Wet Rat in a Smash or Trash segment, and Mike thinks it’s “ridiculously awesome”. He says "word", and Tom can think of a few words in response, but he will not say them because he’d be hypocritically toilet-mouthed as a result. One word is “you” and it’s connected to another word that Tom can’t articulate on the air. Some FOT chatters want to vote for Smash or Trash based simply on the call, which Tom disallows. Tom does prefer Wet Rat to the bush-league, lightweight, soft-serve Gnarls Barkley album. Mike the Associate Producer gives Mike from Wet Rat the mailing address for sending the CD.
- Jeff from Middletown calls (starts at 56:14) to thank Tom for saving him from an emotionally fragile girl who sat in the adjoining cubicle during his IT internship last semester. She would not stop babbling about her troubles, so he tuned her out by listening to Best Show archives on his headphones. He will cry if the podcast is pulled. That’s all he’s got, so he graciously tells Tom to abort the call.
- Laura calls (starts at 58:39), and while she claims to be some random girl, she’s actually the manager/literary agent for Wet Rat. She's also dating their drummer and does all their promotional artwork. She pretends to be let down by the quality of the haiku and says she wants to wring Wet Rat’s neck just as Tom GOMPs her. This call is to The Best Show as Skidoo is to the Otto Preminger oeuvre.
- Ron from Westland, MI., follows up (1:00) on the MAD magazine confusion and instructs Tom to check out the About section on the official MAD magazine website. Tom looks forward to the educational experience and recognizes the weird-looking dude on the main page. Ron tells him that it’s Alfred P. Neuman, who Tom assumes is the host of the MAD TV show. Tom is puzzled by the image of Tom Hanks looking at a Mona Lisa that has Mr. Neuman’s face on it. Ron’s very giggly and Tom asks him if he’s been smoking pot. Ron denies it and says this is just his usual friendly demeanor. Tom thinks that’s fantastic and the world could use more people like Ron.
- Tim from Brooklyn encroaches (starts at 1:03) on Larry’s turf a bit by checking in with Tom about the NBA playoffs. Tom’s three for four on his predictions (though it must be noted that he picked the Pistons to “clobber” the Cavs), missing only the Heat-Nets series. He blames the Nets loss on the suspsension of Uncle Cliffie for using booger sugar. Tim doesn’t think Cliff would have made much of a difference, but Tom disagrees, citing his ability to spread out the offense and take advantage of the Heat’s weak perimeter defense. Tom’s sticking with the Pistons to win it all; Tim’s got the Mavs.
Tom attacks college basketball for being the domain of nerds where coaches are the stars. Tom prefers to cheer for players. While it took a while to come up with his name, Tom has no use for the hustle of Duke’s
JJ Reddick, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Trajan Langdon, Chris Duhon Rudyesque guard Steve “WoJo” Wojciechowski, who’s currently one of Coach K’s underlings. As a result, Duke has set the all-time record for number of letters in the last names of a basketball coaching staff. Tom calls WoJo a dweeb and does not believe he could be the 12th man on the worst NBA franchise (i.e., the Knickerbockers). As a 5’ 10” white who plays basketball, Tim can relate to and live vicariously through players like this. Tom wonders why he would live through someone who's probably an inferior player. Tom compares it to doing the Best Show and then going home to live vicariously through Sean Hannity.
This call included an impromptut Build a Movie segment: Rudy II. Rudy is selected in the 85th round of the NFL draft and gets his faced mashed into the turf. He's told to clean out of his locker and go home.
- Mike from Wet Rat calls back (starts 1:10) to respond to Laura and reiterate that their songs have nothing to do with the poetry he read. He simply wanted to express himself to WFMU and, like Jim Croce, he needed to do it with his art. He then accuses Tim from Brooklyn of ripping off Tool by using the word “vicariously” since he had not heard anyone use it since the release of Tool’s new album. He had heard more intellectually people like intellect like people with intellect say it, and Tom tells him it’s incredibly damning to trip up on the word “intellect”. Mike says he’s nervous because he’s speaking to so many people.
Tom announcess that he’s a Wet Rat fan and he’s ready to hear their tunes. Mike says the songs they play try to change what people think of music -- their stream-of-conscious approach is highly original and can turn anything into a song. They even changed the "Happy Birthday" into something completely different. His friends in the background are causing a ruckus by turning the radio up too loud, and it turns out that they are also in Wet Rat. One of them is the drummer and the other is Dylan, their Jim Steinman-like hitmaker, who also acts out their songs when they play them. I think Wet Rat is just a $6,000 Myspace page and a few well-placed demos away from being the toast of the .mp3 blog circuit. Wet Rat wins in 2006!
- Larry calls (starts 1:13) to apologize for single-handedly ruining the show the last time he called. Tom assures him that he simply ruined a stretch of it since it takes a team effort to truly ruin the entire show. This is another wildly uneven call from Larry, suggesting that he’s simply not ready for primetime. He’s the WoJo to Tom’s Lebron James -- a lot of hustling, but not enough juice. With better preparation and tighter focus, he may be able to remain on solid ground.
Larry tries to win Tom back with a 20-20 Sports Flash on the Miami-Detroit game, and he’s still pumping Larry’s Debate Corner. Tom had previously vetoed his proposed pornography topic, so Larry broadens the spectrum to strippuhs. Tom declines, and Larry then comes up with double standards for women and men. This one gets Tom since he wants to hear Larry’s take on the topic. The cracking sound dissipates and Larry walks out on sturdy Rockefeller Center ice filled with other skaters. Larry thinks that women have it a lot harduh in the business world out there, and he doesn’t think that women should be called names for being promiscuous. Tom tells Larry that he sounds like the liberal, even-handed Alan Alda. Larry, however, can't keep it going and scares the skaters away. He wants to make a cawment about a movie remake he’s interested in greenlighting: A League of Their Own 2006. He’s replacing Madonner with Halle Berries and Rosie O’Donald with Angelina Jolie. Yeah.
Tom tells him that last Sunday night, Vito was on the same Rockefeller Center ice and a day later they found him dead. Tom sees parallels between Vito’s demise and this call. Tom then starts an analogy that involves Larry getting a cup of coffee and tasting its glory. Before Tom can continue, Larry questions where the coffee came from (Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-11, etc.), and the request for specificity pulls Tom back in. Tom points out that Larry’s calls are a series of second-by-second vacillations between intrigue and repulsion. Larry refers to winning Tom over as a “second wind” and loses Tom again. Larry tries an example of an unbalanced hammock on a hot summer day, which Tom could go either way on. Tom gives him credit for improving, and Larry retorts with a Michael Scott-inspired “that’s what the ladies say”, yielding a GOMP.
- Darren from Work (starts at 1:38) makes his first call to the show since the cooling off period in his friendship with Tom. As you recall, this was prompted by Tom being unable to put a positive spin on Darren and two other Consolidated Cardboard associates conspiring to bronze him inside a soundproofed "El Grande" box and leave him for dead outside the office back in January 2005. With things patched up, Darren checks in to see if Tom is still high from their victory at the corporate Battle of the Bands competition last Friday. Tom's still excited, and Darren is so wired he hasn't slept since then.
The event featured eight different companies fielding bands and squaring off against each other. The bands included Darren and Tom's The Consolidated from Newbridge, a band from Tribridge, an ad agency from Oldbridge, McKinley-Severson from Upper East Westbridge (their main competion), and a farm equipment place from Redbridge. Tom thought it was kinda fun, while Darren honestly thinks it was the greatest night of his life, giving him a taste of the rock spotlight and a boost of confidence about his frontman abilities.
The Consolidated's lineup for the show was:
Tom on bass
Darren holding it down on lead guitar and vocals
Rick on rhythm guitar
Todd on drums
Milt (“Dr. Keys”) on keyboard
Kim on tambourine (“keeping the scene percussive”)
Darren asks Tom if he saw the jerks from McKinley-Severson singing along to the chorus when Darren was doing “Taking Care Of Business”. Darren could have died right there and felt like “damn Mick Jagger”. His control of the audience made him feel like Robert Plant on top of the Riot House (as depicted in Almost Famous) declaring himself a Golden God. Darren says he felt like a Graying God or, as Tom suggests, a Cardboard God. The event has made Darren seriously question his path in life, and he wonders why he bothered going to college and wasting his time with 15 years of "corporate b.s." Tom was more into the charity aspect of the event, which was to raise money for a Music for Teens program.
Darren asks Tom for his take on all the chicks from Accounting who were going nuts even though they’d never give Darren the time of day otherwise. During “Jump”, Darren swears he could have gone into the crowd and done all of them. Tom didn’t have the same mindset during the performane. Darren, who's married with two kids, ended up doing it with Kim after the show. Darren tells Tom that this is acceptable becaue his marriage to Helen is dissolving and he moved in with Kim last Sunday. Darren thinks that sometimes destiny comes in one moment and everything changes -- despite the inevitable growing pains, you have to ride the wave. Darren is confident that his kids, Mindy and Greg, will understand that their daddy needs to fully take the plunge into rock music. Darren does not think that trying to get people to buy cardboard boxes is where he needs to be at this point in his life. Tom is baffled that a four-song set (and a jam) as part of a lone rocking night has led Darren to make these sudden changes, but Darren said the contest made him fully realize his true calling. He thinks Tom needs to be in the same place.
Darren tells Tom that this is just the start as they are about to embark on a tour. Ty, the guy who was running monitors at the battle, said they were great. Ty is an authority on music since he was a member of White Tiger, the biggest band ever from Newbridge. They signed to a major label, but fizzled out because their publicist dropped the ball. Tom did not realize it was him, but Darren explains that he had to shave his head because he went real bald. He had to retain his coolness a la Jason Bonham and Scott Ian, whose bald domes can now been seen on VH-1's Supergroup series. Ty is certain that the band is bound for glory, and Darren think it's now or never -- at 44 years old, he can't let his dream slip by.
He wants Tom to quit his job and come live with Darren, Kim, and the other band members, who have all already quit their CC jobs (Kim was just a temp). Earlier in the day, Darren e-mailed Old Man Dalrymple to tell him that his life has taken a different turn and that he has to follow the dream. Darren doesn’t understand why Tom is being such a downer and speculates that it’s because Darren and Kim are lovers. Tom is incredibly uncomfortable with all of it, and thinks Darren is talking like a crazy man. He reminds Darren that he was only on stage for 20 minutes, performing "Taking Care of Business", "Jump", and "Basket Case". After a jam, Darren put on his costume and afro wig, closing out the set with an Outkast song. Tom said that Darren went off-book with that stunt, but Darren said he had to do something to try to top McKinley’s use of a cannon during “For Those About To Rock”. Tom doesn’t think he had to do something racist, and Darren assures him that while he put on some stuff that darkened his face, it was not intentional blackface. Tom's not happy about it, but Darren says they’ll just work it out in upcomig band meetings.
Tom finds it hard to believe that the band members are going to quit their jobs and risk financial stability on the longshot of rock stardom. Rick's the VP of Customer Relations making in excess of $160k/year, Todd is married with triplets on the way, and Milt can barely play his keyboard due to arthritis and plans to retire at year's end.
Darren is most worried about Todd because he’s getting heavy and needs to lose 30 pounds to be up on the big stages. He think Milt just needs cortisone shots before gigs. Tom thinks they might not want to be on the big stage and would rather just continue working. Darren disagrees because they tasted it.
Darren says that Tom was a God up there and Rupert agrees. Rupert Threadwell is their new manager, secured by Darren on Friday night after the show. Rupert was watching off to the side of the stage, wearing an ascot and smoking a pipe. Tom saw him but thought he was some bank president. Rupert was blown away and he knows what he’s doing because he's managed tons of big bands over the years. He gave Darren an index card with his Newbridge-heavy roster of clients: Mother 13, Pout, The Gas Station Dogs, Sister Sheila, Barbershop Sweat, Kenny Dupree, The Gorch, White Reign, I-ron’s Reggae Challenge, The Hey Now, Old Skull, Brett Haskins’ The Clash, Hippy Johnny and The Original Hippy Band, Punk (ft. Mike Jackyl), Glass Houses, and Reggie Monroe and The Survivors.
Rupert rocketed them to stardom and he will do the same for Hell Toupee, which is the new band name that Darren thinks is brilliant. Tom thinks it’s the worst name he’s ever heard, and Darren's irritated that Tom’s being such a stick in a mud. Rupert said the name will suck a lot of people in and look good on the Billboards chart. Rupert actually registered the name in the late 80s and has been holding onto it until the right band came along. Darren says that Rupert promised to get them on Myspace and Friendster so Darren paid him $6,000 to do it. Tom doesn’t understand why they could not have done that for free like everyone else in the world, but Darren doesn’t think that anyone could do that since it’s a website. Rupert will also get them prominent placement on Myplace.com, which is where the big dogs run. Tom’s never heard of it, and Rupert told Darren it’s a more exclusive portal, but he can grease the wheels with his network of connections.
Rupert said it takes a lot of money to get places, a theory that is backed up by his 45-page "mega-pamphlet", How To Make It Big In The Rock Music Scene By Somebody Who Already Has, which he sold to Darren for $65. Tom doesn't understand why he's spending good money for things that are insane, while Darren thinks it’s insane that they are not doing originals like Rupert recommends. Darren finds the songwriting process easy and has written four original songs since Friday. He called Rupert earlier in the day to run a new song by him, and he flipped, saying it would totally hit the top of the Billboards. While he doesn't have his mother axe handy, Darren's willing to sing a portion of "Little Lover Girl", a song inspired by his relationship with Kim. It’s ballady, but will get heavy at some point when Tom starts working his fuzz pedals. Darren busts it out:
People will say a love is never gonna last
But when I lay you down on my big oak bed
I know it’s gonna be forever
There’s no other lover for you, my little lover girl
Rupert thinks it’s chart-bound, but Tom doesn't care for it. Darren wants to know what Tom's favorite part was, but Tom prefers to cite his least favorite part: the "big oak bed". Darren can't believe he didn't like that phrase. Rupert also said the band needs to be topical, so Darren wrote another, more heavy song with a vibe that recalls JCM’s Scarecrow record. Darren tells Tom to imagine that big, bald drummer rocking it.
He’s our President, and we should respect the man
The Jewish liberals, you’ve got your head in the sand
It’ll take some time to make Iraq strong
You think you’re so smart, but you’ve got it all wrong
[big drum roll]
Stand tall and fight for freedom
Stand tall and fight for truth
Tom asks Darren to guess his least favorite part, and Darren can’t even guess. It's the line about "Jewish liberals", and Tom thinks he’s covering all the bases with his afro and now his anti-semitic sentiments. Darren also wrote "Blue Sugar", but after duplicating the main riff, he scratches it because Tom confirms it’s a rip-off of "Brown Sugar". The final new song is totally vibe-y, the result of a skiing trip he took with Kim after the show on Friday. Tom asks him if he's in town, and Darren said it wasn't that kind of skiing. Darren loved it and bought a whole bunch of it the next day. He can't get enough, and Tom tells him he's an addict. Darren disagrees.
Darren's "snowman" is Werner, a trenchcoat-clad German who used to hang out at the Consolidated Cardboard loading dock. He looks like Rutger Hauer but he's 5' 2" with a black mustache and blond hair. He spent some time working in their cafeteria, but Old Man Dalrymple fired him. At this point, it's revealed that Kim's last name is Dalrymple -- she's the daughter of their boss at work. Tom is compelled to summarize Darren's journey of stupidity. Darren thought Tom was his buddy, but Tom said he's forced into straight talk to try to break through his head.
Tom hits the highlights: Darren plays a benefit show for kids music program, performing fours songs and one jam. Since then, Darren has left his family, hooked up with a manager who is bleeding him dry, he’s having an affair and moved in with the 22-year-old, tambourine-playing daughter of their boss, she has him hooked on cocaine, and now’s he’s in trouble with Werner, a total dirtbag who got fired from CC after being accused of using the company to deliver drugs by slipping baggies into boxes in the shipping room and diverting them to his customers.
Darrens explains that Werner says he was just trying to raise America’s spirits, and from what he’s experienced, he’s successful in doing so. However, Darren is dispirited over the amount of money he owes Werner. He’d rather not say the amount, but ballparks it at $32,000. He told Werner that he’d write a song about him, and he guaranteed him that it would be a smash hit. Earlier that day, he gave Werner a rough demo of the track. Werner told Darren that if he liked the song, he would not smash his face. Darren does not have the song's melody nailed down, but he gives Tom a taste:
Some call him a hero, some call him a saint
He’s a hero with a bag of magic
Here’s he is, the man who makes the snow come
Tom thinks it sounds very similar to the Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane", but Darren thinks Tom is just jealous. Darren predicts that Tom will regret the way he’s treating him once things get rolling. Tom wants an example of what lies ahead for Hell Toupee. In a nutshell: the band all moves together in a rented house near Newbridge College so they can totally bond as music bros and sisters. Tom thinks this is fantasy land. Darren says they will all drink beers, play tunes, and go joyriding. Darren and Kim will make love. Darren thinks this is the key for Tom to change his life, but doesn’t want it because he just did it as a goof. Darren thinks that Tom's reluctance to fully commit to the band indicates insufficient bravery.
After a week of writing and rehearsing, they will go to NYC to play a showcase show at CBGB’s. By this time, Rupert will have piqued Clive Davis’ interest, securing a front row seat for him. Clive will be blown away by Hell Toupee. Tom cites about 15 things wrong with this scenario, most notably the notion that after one week, the band is playing a showcase for a major label head, one of the most powerful men in the music industry, at a club that is pretty much on its last legs. Darren assures Tom that the club is "totally legendary", citing the recent book documenting its history. Tom’s favorite part about the book is how CBGB's stops having anybody even vaguely relevant playing the club after 1991. Darren counters by noting that the last band pictured in the book is Mel and the Mel-Tones, but Tom does not consider them relevant.
Tom also does not think that Clive Davis will check them out, but Darren says that Rupert’s grandson lives near where Clive Davis has a summer home in Nantucket, so he can bop by and put a CD in his mailbox. Tom thinks this is sci-fi. After that, the band will check into the Four Seasons and sign a record contract. Rupert told Darren that while they’re a new artist, they will get $6 million (Todd’s cut is dependent on the weight issue), 30-album deal because they are so good. Rupert said they could write their own ticket and get any producer they want, such as Robbie Robinson or Dr. Dree.
They record the album and it’s released a month later, promoted by spots on Leno, Conan, Regis & Kelly, and SNL. Tom thinks that getting on those shows would be an act of magic, but Darren says they will simply have to ask them and when they hear the CD, they will book them. Tom suggests that industry standing is also a factor, but Darren says that by this time, they will be at the top of the Billboards charts as well. They do brief warmup tour of theaters before opening for Bruce Springsteen. Tom tells him that Bruce does not have opening acts, but Darren believes that he’ll change that policy after hearing the Hell Toupee debut. Rupert says that Bruce will switch mid-tour and open for them. After a few months, the album will go gold, and the band will kick back in the Bahamas until it’s time to do it again.
Tom thinks this is all the saddest, most delusional thing he’s ever heard. Darren hates to say it, but he thinks this is why Tom might not be a part of this -- he doesn’t have the requisite attitude. Kim showed Darren that he could do it. Kim also thinks that Darren should get his you-know-what pierced, and he’s thinking about doing it. Kim’s mother is a New Age healer who says that the body has a lot of energy zones called “shockies”, and the piercing will help to release them.
Darren needs a little favor and wants Tom to commit to executing it before revealing what it is. Darren needs to retrieve some stuff from his house while his wife is at work. He's certain that she will be a total bee-otch and fight hard for custody of the kids. He’s got some stuff in the basement that could really look bad if it was brought out in court. The first damning item is Darren’s “spank vault” of pornography, and he asks Tom not to judge because it’s not like he’s the only guy addicted to the stuff. The vault weighs a ton so Tom will need to bring Todd, Rick, and a winch to bring it up. Darren predicts that the excavation will be a bee-otch.
Darren also has 30 5’ x 4’ paintings that he’s done over the years depicting him and the cast of M*A*S*H in “very erotic situations”. Tom can’t resist judging on this one. Darren is particularly concerned about a painting of him and Colonel Flagg doing stuff after his plane went down in the Sea of Japan. There’s also an “underwear bag” -- Darren saved every pair of underwear he's owned since childhood. Finally, he needs Tom to lure his son into his car with some Peanut Chews. As Darren sees it, Helen can have Mindy since a little girl needs her mom, but a little boy needs his dad. Tom refuses to abduct his child or retrieve any of the other items.
At this point, Darren finishes crafting an e-mail from Tom to Old Man Dalrymple, informing him that he will be quitting his job. He hacked into Tom's work e-mail account with some help from Vince in IT. Darren says this is one of the perks of being a higher-up in the company. Darren also wrote e-mails on behalf of the other band members. He thinks this is justified because the guys were totally into it. After the show, Darren asked Rick if he thought the show was great, and Rick responded with “Yeah, man, it was great.” Darren interpreted this to mean that Rick wanted to quit his job and become a full-time rock star. He told Todd that he couldn’t wait to do it again, and Todd said “Yeah, maybe."
Darren is a step ahead of everyone because he got a full-on taste, and he thinks that once they get it, they’ll all be glad that he quit his jobs for them. Tom realizes that he will now have to scramble to retain employment. Darren says that while the e-mails for the other guys were pretty standard resignation missives, Tom’s was more cathartic.
Darren starts becoming very nervous because he looks out the window and sees Werner coming up the driveway carrying a straight razor that’s glistening in the moonlight. Darren assumes that he did not like the song, which he now admits was stolen from Werner's countrymen, and starts running. He’s out of breath and thinks he lost that “stupid Nazi”, but he did not. Werner confronts him and Darren asks him what he thought of the song. Darren tries to explain the Scorpions lift, but it sounds like Werner starts poking him with the razor. Darren begins yelling in pain as Werner seemingly launches into a full-on assualt, and the call is disconnected. Tom thinks that Darren may be dead, which is part of a trend in recent callers to the show -- the Everest expedition that wiped out over 60 people and rogue postal worker Keith Garfinkle’s death-by-machete. Tom’s creeped out by the rough stuff because he likes his stuff smooth.
John Mellencamp - "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A."
Scorpions - "Rock You Like A Hurricane"
- Joe from Cornwall calls (starts at 2:29) to request some Wet Rat and gets it in the form of Sonic Youth’s “The Neutral” from the forthcoming Rather Ripped.
- Tom reaches (starts at 2:41) the secret spy phone of Matt Walsh and leaves a message for him to call The Best Show. Walsh calls a few minutes later, noting that he was just involved in a crisis in which he held up foot traffic while struggling to place his luggage in the overhead compartment. He’s on an airplane leaving the street filth of Portland, OR, to return to L.A. He's also gearing up for the June 7th premiere of Dog Bites Man on Comedy Central. He says the show “should be good” and gives a brief summary: an improvised sitcom in the real world revolving around a news team based in Spokane. Walsh plays a Charles Perrault-like field correspondent named Kevin Beekin, whose main attributes are that he drives a Chrylser Sebring convertible and played quarterback while in junior college. The solid cast includes Zach Galifinupagus, A.D. Miles, and Andrea Savage.
The cast is with him and Walsh is talking a bit weird because he doesn’t want to disrupt anybody sitting next to him. He's also afraid that his co-stars would give him a hard time if they heard him promoting the show. The show has already generated buzz from a disgruntled history professor who was not amused by their hijinks, and Tom asks him if it's a prank show like Crank Yankers. Walsh assures him that it's fully live-action comedy that Comedy Central is promoting with a USPS tie-in for National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Tom asks Walsh to talk about his new comedy friend: Robin Williams, the Elastica of comedy. Mr. Happy recently discovered the L.A. branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater and has been showing up to interrupt shows with his recycled Jonathan Winters riffage. Walsh is a second-wave member of UCB, having joined after the arrival of Amy Poehler, which is when it finally got funny. Zach started tickling him, so Walsh had to end the call.
- Darren calls back (starts at 2:54) and he’s moaning in pain. Werner stabbed him approximately 31 times, but he’s just going to stitch himself up with masking tape because the slashes are not that deep. Darren cancels the Thursday Hell Toupee practice, but will be ready to go on Friday. Darren is happy to inform Tom that he was able to make it back in the house, so the e-mails to Old Man Dalrymple went through. Darren then has an interesting blackout. Tom tells him to go to the hospital for treatment, but Darren will probably stick with the tape and might call Rupert for some assistance.
- Anonymous calls (starts at 2:56) to use the show to solidify the recovery from her year-long addiction to the Internet. Her fiance was forced to block Flickr, Myspace, and Friendster from her computer since she was spending 8-12 hours/day online. She couldn't hold down a job and was completely consumed within a cyber netherworld. She's doing better -- no posts in over a month and no online reading for over two weeks. At its worst, she put herself in debt to visit people she met online and almost cheated on her boyfriend of 9.5 years with someone she met via Friendster. Tom wants to hear more and she promises to call back next week.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU:: John in SF calls to discuss his work preparing airplane food for the Portland Trailblazers' flights (everyone loved the dried tuna except Kevin Duckworth), Anonymous fills in the details on her cautionary Internet addiction tale, and Marky Ramone checks in to talk about OSAKA POPSTAR, his new punk supergroup.
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