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Tag: Bon Jovi

Episode Six – The Anthony Burgess Van Halen Connection

“Talk about extremes, Gary Cherone joined Van Halen! Got to play with the old Edward Van, as Anthony Burgess woulda said had he written ‘Clockwork Orange’ in the 80s, you know 1984, and then Anthony Burgess had that 1985 book, and Van Halen are Dutch, what’s the national colour of the Dutch? I think you’ll find it’s orange…”

Young Southpaw traces the not-so-hidden connections between the British novelist and the ultimate hard rock band, taking in along the way the idea that Bad Brains should do a James Bond theme, Billy Joel & Billy Joe Armstrong should duet, using the Eiffel Tower as a unit of measurement, and much more.

“Has Billy Joel figured out why he goes to extremes yet? I mean you think he woulda let us know, you know. I mean figured it out written another song, helped everyone else who has that problem you know. I mean maybe for him it’s just a song but to some people it’s a way a life. I mean to Jovi, you’ll remember last episode, that second Bon Jovi album bein’ called 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, I mean that seems to be the very definition of extreme. Well, I guess you got the band Extreme, you know More Than Words etc. And then for Gary Cherone, their lead singer, I mean talk about extremes, he joined Van Halen! Got to play with the old Edward Van, as Anthony Burgess woulda said had he written Clockwork Orange in the 80s, you know 1984. And then Anthony Burgess had that 1985 book, you know. And you know Van Halen are Dutch and what’s the national colour of the Dutch? I think you’ll find it’s orange. So that woulda made sense, you know. And remember Alex’s eyes are all bug-buggin’ in that one when he’s watching the film? I mean what if he had been watchin’ the Pretty Woman video? I mean who’s eyes aren’t bug-buggin’ as they say when they see that video? It’s like givin’ everyone the Ludovico technique. And I mean doesn’t Alex Van Halen play Ludwigs? I can’t make this stuff up! The old Alex Van playin’ Ludwigs. Man, it’s gettin’ too real!

I mean what did Anthony Burgess write in the late 70s when Van Halen first started releasin’ records? He was probably workin’ on Earthly Powers. Well 1985 came out in 1978. Confusing I know but also the year the first VH record appeared. Then you had Van Halen II in 1979 and then Gary Cherone joined years later for Van Halen III. Years later so it’s kinda like releasing  a book called 1985 in 1978. But I’ve still never heard Van Halen III, I’ll be honest with ya. But you know, I appreciate the legacy. When I saw that Sam & Dave tour back in 2002, Gary Cherone joined Sammy Hagar on stage for some songs. Top Of The World I think, you know, I love that song. I mean people draw lines and of course I mean you know I love Roth but I’ll still listen to Van Hagar, I mean I still love 5150. And Top Of The World, you know. I remember being in the line for the bathroom at that show, you’ll excuse my bathroom talk but it hit me when I was there, like a ton of bricks. The realization that, well I saw this dude I went to college with. Jamie we called him, that was his name. He was in that same line, the one at the show, I don’t remember there bein’ any lines for the bathroom at college. Well not at the university buildings themselves but obviously at parties you know. There were lines as long as the Eiffel Tower. Well you know what I mean, horizontal lines not vertical, but the same distance for both. But if you prefer to look at it like the line to get into the Eiffel Tower well then you’re free to see it that way too. But anyway we weren’t in college anymore, though I’m sure at the same concurrent time – this was 2002 remember, and even nowadays I’m sure – that there are lines for the bathroom while concerts are going on even in the places the concert isn’t. You know what I mean…

So anyway I saw Jamie and he yelled across the line ‘who are you here to see?’ And the question just totally shocked me, you know like that KISS song. But KISS wasn’t playin’. But you know that Gene Simmons recruited Alex and Eddie to play on some demos back in 1976 or so, and I’ve been waitin years for them to come out. Christine Sixteen and a couple others, three in total I do believe. You’d always hear the rumors but now they’ve released that Gene Simmons boxset and it costs $2500 you know. So anyway Jamie asked me who I was there to see and said ‘well Dave of course’. And then this started a whole big argument in the bathroom line – again I’m sorry about the potty talk, but – well that but was an interjection to change the subject, not more bathroom talk, so I didn’t realize that people were there to see Sammy. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t there to see Sammy, you know I love a lot of those songs and it was a good show, Sammy was real good. But it never occurred to me that Dave doing all those songs again wasn’t the main draw. It certainly never occurred to me that there’d be people screamin’ about it across a line for the bathroom, again I’m sorry…

But you know, it takes all types to make a world, people say. And then Roth didn’t play Unchained that night and it broke my heart, broke my heart you know. That’s what I wanted to hear. The most exciting rock song ever written, closely followed by Panama and Everybody Wants Some you know. And you know I think they’ve got the Top 5. Somebody Get Me A Doctor is a real good riff, but I’d put at number 4 Pavement’s Unfair you know, shake em like you just don’t care Steve Malkmus. That song’s real good, I love it. That’s a rocker you know, like that AC/DC song I’m a Rocker, I’m a roller, I’m a right down out of controller you know off Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. You got all the DCs in there you know, they should toured with Bad Brains. I mean that woulda been the best tour ever! Bad Brains, you got Dr. Know on guitar, Whooooooooah Nelly, you know. And Dr. Know, Bad Brains shoulda done a James Bond theme. That woulda been amazin’. They prolly coulda timed it right, you know, when hardcore was getting popular, right before emo, maybe done GoldenEye, or maybe Die Another Day. Madonna and Bad Brains, you know wow, let me tell you…

I mean that crazy Fall Out Boy band, I mean they remind me a Quicksand. Especially that crazy Sugah song you know, sugah-shoug-shoug. You know ‘down down’ etc. I mean Bond’s always fallin’ outta airplanes you know, maybe they shoulda done a Bond theme. Well I mean the first ones that come to mind are GoldenEye and The Spy Who Loved Me but they weren’t around then. But hey Anthony Burgress wrote an early draft of the screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me, and I think the whole underwater lair thing was his idea. I mean obviously the ideal would be for Van Halen to do a Bond theme. You got lotsa eyes in the Bond titles, so I’m The One comes to mind immediately or I’ll Wait. I guess we’re all waiting for that. Were they talking about the wait that we’d all face for them to get asked by EON Productions? Did they know it would be this long? Maybe Fall Out Boy and Van Halen should collaborate. And Bad Brains and Madonna! Maybe that could be the whole film, just the four of them in the studio. A bit avant-garde for a blockbuster James Bond film I know, but the times they are a changin’…

But where was I..,oh yeah, extremes you know. Billy Joel. And then you got that Billy Joe from Green Day. That’s just confusin’, imagine if the two of them duetted. Call their song, El Billy. Get the mariachi goin’… or they should cover AC/DC’s Who Made Who, that’d be amazin’! Mariachi style or otherwise… Or do a whole mess a Billy songs – Billie Don’t Lose My Number, Dollar Bill by The Sceamin’ Trees, Billie Jean, I mean that song always confused me growin up. Cause you had that tennis player Billie Jean King, and Michael Jackson was called The King Of Pop and he was the one doing the song. So no, maybe they better skip that one. No need to lead to the Land Of Confusion, like Phil Collins also said. But I never cared for that song and that video you got puppets pressing the button for nuclear war like Anthony Burgess had that book The End Of The World News, and that video’s all too much for people to take who are dealin with the fact that David Lee Roth had just left Van Halen! Well they could do Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now, like Van Halen themselves did on Diver Down…

All these Ds… Thinkin back on it Anthony Burgess wrote The Doctor Is Sick, first one I ever read. And then you got Van Halen II’s Somebody Get Me A Doctor, like I said before. And then The Pianoplayers came out in 1986, spookily the same year as 5150. Which if you’ll recall was synthesizer heavy. Don’t get me wrong I love those songs but it was always conjectured that it was the move towards synths and away from guitars that led to the split with Roth. But I’m sure it was much more complicated than that. But what really gets me is that Burgess’ Mozart and The Wolf Gang came out in 1991, the very same year that Wolfgang Van Halen was born. I rest my case.”

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Episode Five – Extreme Bon Jovi

In which Young Southpaw gets confused by the titles of the Bon Jovi records, the bathtub one and the releases surrounding the bathtub one

Taking in My Chemical Romance, Steve Vai, Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey, Nick Rhodes, Randy Rhoads, Cynthia Rhodes, ‘Slippery When Wet’, Fugazi, Van Halen, the film Runaway, Ionescu, and much more.

“So today I’d like to, like to talk about the album titles of Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. Or the band Bon Jovi, of which Mr. Jon Bon Jovi is, well, an integral part I would say. Named after him. Unless he named the band after one of his ancestors also named Bon Jovi. Maybe, you never know. You really never know. I mean you could ask him but I have no way to contact the man. And you know, time is a flowin’ like all those waterfalls. Not over the edge hopefully. Just flowin’ on, ridin’ on as that mellow AC/DC song goes. But I mean I do get confused. I didn’t get too confused, but enough confused you know. I’m sure you can get confused by any bands album titles once you think of them for a very long time. Or even a few minutes as the case may be. I mean Public Image Ltd. is probably the only band that’s ever had an honest album title, you know. With Album, Cassette, or Compact Disc…whatever format you had it on. You know the one with Steve Vai, 1986, year of the Fire Tiger, you know, Joan Rivers all that. Well it just hit me, Steve Vai went from working with John Lydon to DLR in the course of a year. From punk rock to Roth rock as they say. And Album and Eat Em And Smile came out in the same year. That just blew my mind…

But yeah I mean what I wanted to talk about is – well gimme a minute to get over this whole album Eat Em And Smile thing…

Ok well then, let’s go. This one also came out in 1986. I’m talking about Slippery When Wet of course. I mean I get what they’re sayin’, believe me…I get it. It’s uh, it’s innuendo. But it’s also something you’d say about a road, you know, and I don’t think anybody named Rhodes played on that album. Imagine if Nick Rhodes and Randy Rhoads played on Slippery When Wet. And Cynthia Rhodes was the singer. I mean she was a singer, maybe still is, I don’t know. Be good to find out. Again I don’t have any way to contact her. But you know Dirty Dancin’ Flashdance coulda been called Dirty…Flash…vocals… But they weren’t called that. You know, those were not the names of those films. But it woulda been a wildly different sounding record if Slippery When Wet had been made like that. Heck, maybe even my favourite record of all time.

But once I started to think about it, it just started to bug me out, you know? Got my mind all bug buggin’ as they say, as I’ve said before. When something gets my mind all…bug buggin’, you know. But Slippery When Wet’s the big one outta all his confusing albums. I mean, I just don’t understand. And it’s on the front cover like that, is it some sorta warning? I mean who…who gets their records wet? They won’t play. Precisely because they’ll be slippery. It seems like common sense. I mean the jacket all damaged, you know. I suppose I mean maybe there was an epidemic in America at the time or maybe they heard it someplace else around the world, people just dippin’ their, takin their records with them in the bathtub. I mean I know I love Van Halen’s 1984 but even I could…afford to…put it down for a little while while I took a nice soak..you know? And then you got New Jersey, I mean that’s confus- I mean I get it. They’re from New Jersey, but then forever on after once people say they’re going to New Jersey they could just be talkin about going to listen to that Bon Jovi record. I think that’s my favorite one, it’s got Born To Be My Baby – Na Na etc you know. Not like that My Chemical Romance song – you know that crazy My Chemical Romance band, also from New Jersey I might add – but they had that song Na Na Na…and then a whole bunch more Na’s in parentheses, you know… From their Danger Days album – Double D! Well not like that comic by Steve Horry and Eddie Argos, but speakin of comics you got Grant Morrison in the video for Na Na Na etc. with all the Na’s. Well I think Bon Jovi says Na 11 times in each phrase and MCR has like 13 goin on, you know like that Blur album 13 and Teenage Fanclub had an album called 13 as well and I don’t remember any comparisons between the two in the music press at the time. And then Fugazi had that 13 Songs but that was really a compilation of the first two releases. And listening recently to Margin Walker, that second half of the 13 Songs, might very well be my favorite Fugazi album. Though I am fond of Repeater too. Not Repeater 2 that doesn’t exist, but Repeater also. And the funny thing is Glue Man is probably my favourite Fugazi song and it is the glue that holds together the two previous releases that make up 13 Songs. But I think that Teenage Fanclub album is also named 13 because it has 13 songs on it and I would love to hear Teenage Fanclub and that crazy Fugari band cover each other’s 13 albums. Then Bruce Springsteen’s got that Nebraska album you know, and he’s from New Jersey too! That’s utterly confusing as well. Was like ol Jon Bon tryin to set things right? Maybe they shoulda done a concept album dealin with all that. But then again we wouldn’t have had I’ll Be There For You, you know. And that one’s got that line ‘these five words I swear to you’. Well if you look close enough – well any way you look at it really – you’ll notice Born To Be My Baby is also 5 words. Hmmm? Well, you know… A lotta B’s in that title as well. 3 if you again look closely. But then you got Bad Medicine too. It’s like a plethora of b’s, a bee hive if you will. Some won’t. I do not know currently if I do. But you got ‘bad’ again like ‘you give love a bad name’ from the previous album, you know the bathtub one. And bathtub the word begins and ends with a B. And then you got, goin back in time to before the bathtub one, you got that crazy Fahrenheit one. I mean that’s, that’s inconceivable as to how much, how hot that would be. 7800 degrees it is, let’s be precise. And you’ll notice it’s a number evenly divided by 13, make of that what you will. But 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, the vinyl would melt, forget Slippery When Wet, you’d have to put it in the bathtub just to cool things down. And what if some kid thinks that’s the temperature you have to put in on the record player at. Remember this was 1985, cds weren’t, well cds would melt too! I mean the kid’s thinkin you gotta put this on at 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, well you couldn’t even get close enough to the record player. And then you had that first one with Runaway, you know.. And that was a film with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons and Cynthia Rhodes who you know I’m a big fan of. You know, Flashdance and Dirty Dancin’, I don’t remember her dancing in Runaway but I remember that was a big deal cause Gene Simmons didn’t have his make-up on, you know. And then Bon Jovi became an actor later on so there ya go. Both that Jovi album and the film were released in 1984, you know the year of Van Halen, but I don’t think either had anything to do with each other. But imagine if Cynthia Rhodes had been in the Hot For Teacher video. I mean how awesome would that have been?!

And then you got the Young Guns soundtrack or Young Guns II the number two not also but I guess you could use also or too as also if you were conversing about both films in the same sentence like I did but I didn’t mean it. And you got Blaze a Glory ‘shot down’ etc. you know. And then I lost track so I had to look this up on Wikipedia just to see if maybe their record titles started making more sense. But they didn’t need to make any more sense, it’s strange cause you figure once you establish yourself you can just do these crazy art installation album titles, you know. Livin’ On A Prayer, I mean prayers don’t have any physical substance to them. Unless he meant prairie all along. I mean they just confuse the heck outta me, but I ain’t never seen em. Maybe their live show is some sort of elaborate play that explains all this. That’d be cool, you know like maybe written by Ionescu you know, the Rumanian playright, The Rhinoceros, you know. Did you see that Gene Wilder film with Zero Mostel? I started watchin it earlier this year, I really wanna finish it. I was a bit tired that night but I dug the music and the mise en scene as-they-say-in…Paris, and all a France prolly, the whole French speakin’ world. And well even if you’re not in the French speakin’ world and people are still speakin’ French they could say it there too, you know. I mean why not?

Back in Boston there used to be this great bookstore called Avenue Victor Hugo. Not there anymore RIP. But I bought J.P. Donleavy’s Schultz there, first edition, orange cover, one of my favourite novels of all time. It was right across the street from Newbury Comics on Newbury street. The bookshop I mean, not the novel. That takes places in a fictional universe and anyway well Ally McBeal was set in Boston, you know. Like that band….Aerosmith… And Mr. Jon Bon Jovi speaking of his acting career well you know he McBeal’d it up. And the Bee Gees they had that song Massachusetts you know, not a whole album like New Jersey but I think I’ve proved my point.”

 

 

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