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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 Four – Some Kind Of Wonderful Soup Formation

In which Young Southpaw confuses even himself wondering whether or not he is at a wedding, wrestling with the conspiracy theory behind the song ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’ while professing his love of all things soup

Taking in soups, broths, and consommés, that crazy Freezepop band, Thomas Pynchon, ‘The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock’, The Soup Diaries, Happy Mondays, The Boomtown Rats, Loudness, Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot, Aquirax Uno, and much more.

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Episode Three – TLC’s “Waterfalls”

In which Young Southpaw posits that Stephen Hawking must have been touched by the hand of Van Halen’s Fair Warning.

Taking in the nature of water, snow, Boston Celtics, Celtic Frost, TLC, a vast array of alcoholic beverages, Van Hagar, snake wine, and the film Titanic.

“Welcome to this third installment of The Young Southpaw Part Of An Hour. I hope you meditated on my koan from last time, you know. The water implied in that Melissa Etheridge song was of course, you know the Moon. You know, by the light of the Moon that she’s singin’ like that. All full of feelin’ and stuff. You know, the Moon controls the tides so Boom, there ya go…

Well there I was you know… Wait, now what did I wanna talk about now? Oh yeah, another water song… You know that one by TH, TLC… what was I thinkin’ of? ‘Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls’? Well I mean I love TLC, you know. Saw em live at the Boston Garden, back right after a snowstorm. Snow was piled real high outside the cars. Well not that high, ‘pretty’ high, you know it was January. But one time I was in Boston – I wasn’t livin’ there anymore – went up to visit after the blizzard of 2013 and the snow was piled over the cars. It was 7 feet tall, it was insane. The snow coulda played for the Celtics, you know like that band Celtic Frost. Then there’d be the issue though of the way you pronounce the ‘C’ – hard or soft – like tacos you know. And then maybe an issue about Celtic Frost being a Canadian metal band and not technically in the National Basketball Association. Now wait just a second, Celtic Frost were Swiss, I’m thinkin’ of Voivod. They’re from Canada, you know like the Expos and Toronto Blue Jays. But those are baseball teams not basketball, but you just add a K and a T to baseball and voila, as they say in the French speakin’ parts. That’s a hard K like in Celtic Frost and not like Boston Celtics. But you know all that snow kinda relates to the song I wanna talk about… because… if the snow starts meltin’ real fast we would be getting’ some waterfalls, you know…

But my problem is – and again don’t get me wrong – nothin’ against THC, but ‘don’t go chasin’ waterfalls’ I mean, ya know… Waterfalls don’t move, you know. It’s always in the same exact geographical location. I mean the water moves. I mean if it said don’t go chasin’ the water in waterfalls, you know. It would kinda make sense. But I mean don’t go chasin’ water anywhere. I mean the water’s fallin’ but it’s still movin’ like it’s in a river or something, you know. I mean Stone Roses had that song ‘Waterfall’, that was real good, you know, I love that first Stone Roses album…

But uh you know, uh, I just don’t understand. That song, the THC one, was a huge hit. But it’s not gonna scan if you say ‘don’t go chasin’ the water in waterfalls’ cause you repeat water, sayin’ it twice, you know. That’s kinda redundant, not an oxymoron like, like I said it wasn’t in that first episode. Anyway I remember seein’ them at the Boston Garden, this was in January, then when my birthday rolled around in April I had my birthday cd shopping list and I had, well I think I had T Boz’s solo record on there. Already owned that crazy CrazySexyCool album, and you know what? I even had the Ain’t Too Proud To Beg cassingle cassette when it came out, you know, two spools one tape little cardboard box, heck of a long thing to name a product… But you know, I had that album on my birthday shopping list and I went to my birthday party and someone saw it and they were joshin’ me about it and I stood up and just said ‘I love THC’…

But I didn’t have as much of a problem with the Waterfalls song then as I do now. Now that I’ve had decades to reflect on it. You know years go by, flowin’ like the sands of time, like the water in a waterfall…like the liquid in a waterfall. That’d be an even worse song title – don’t go chasin’ the liquid in waterfalls. Might get confusin’. I mean people dump their, well people pee in water. That’s inappropriate to have a pop song on the radio like that… Except first time I was ever in Sweden… you know, we were sittin’ at some café listenin’ to the P3 POP radio show. Turned it on, wanted to hear that rock stone ‘cherry vanilla’ single and you know, first song we done gone hear is ‘pissing on the panda’…which blew my mind, still blows my mind, I mean that’s hilarious…

But anyway, you know, people it’s, you say liquid that’s a bit too vague cause you know people gonna be dumpin’ some beer, throwin their empties in with liquid. The water could go in the hole at the top of the can you know where you press that thing it opens and you drink the beer out of it. Throw it away there’s prolly a little bit a beer left in it… People be…people be…throwing that in the water, you know. It mixes in with the water, will flow with the waterfall, same thing you throw a rum bottle or a vodka bottle or a whisky bottle a gin bottle a champagne bottle a red wine bottle a white wine bottle a rosé wine bottle…a jenever bottle a Cointreau bottle an Armagnac bottle a cognac bottle a sake bottle a snake wine bottle – do they even have snake wine bottles? But uh, I think you get the point… And I’m sayin’ the liquid will mix in and then come out or maybe the whole bottle, you know the cichasa bottle the slivowitz bottle the lambiek bottle, the bourbon bottle – double B! – the Kirschwasser bottle the ouzo bottle the tequila bottle the poteen bottle the absinthe bottle the brandy bottle – another double B! quadroop! – the Old Krupnik bottle the Mad Dog bottle the Nighttrain bottle – GNR you know… Maybe the whole bottle just goes flowin over the waterfall. Don’t go chasin’ that, it’s litter it’s already been thrown out, why’d you chase it?… Unless you wanna recycle it like some eco warrior…I mean that’s…laudable... But you know why don’t you just wait at the bottom of the waterfall like with some giant net you know like the one Van Halen didn’t have on their live video video tape. You know VHS, you’ve got the Van Halen initials right in there, I’ve said it before you know with Sammy, it’s actually Van Hagar, let’s be honest, but initials stay the same… But when he first joined the band they had Live Without A Net recorded live in New Haven, CT… they opened with a Sammy Hagar song, There’s Only One Way To Rock and they’re runnin around, Eddie just smilin’, Sammy’s playin’ guitar on a few songs. They covered Led Zeppelin’s Rock N Roll you know ‘been a long time’ etc. It was real excitin’, wish I had seen that show… I never saw em with Hagar, I never saw em with Roth back in the day but my very first concert was Roth’s Eat Em And Smile tour Cinderella opening. They had that Night Songs you know, stage all dark and purple, you know what Cinderella song I always liked was that Shelter Me from the third album… But that’d be weird if they opened for Dave and Van Hagar, that never happened, I wonder if there was any band that ever did… I mean it’d be weird but prolly not that important in the brief history a time as Stephen Hawking might say, you know… I mean, I wonder if he ever saw Van Halen. I mean he must’ve, to be a genius like that I think you must be touched by the hand of ‘Fair Warning’… I don’t know, I’m not Stephen Hawking…

…But maybe he knows about snake wine. I mean I’m sure it’s in a bottle, have to be to ferment… Unless you do it in a bathtub and then once it’s ready people just come like pigs to a trough and lap it up. I guess you can tell I’ve never had snake wine before, never even seen it in the movies… Or maybe I have, I can’t remember every single scene a every single movie I’ve even seen. I coulda got up to use the facilities come back and when I asked what’d I miss no one wanted to tell me there were a bunch a people hovering and slurping over a bathtub full a fermented dead snakes… Or maybe they use straws. If they were real long straws it’d be a whole lot more civilized…

And speakin’ a civilized you’d think they woulda changed the name of iceberg lettuce after the Titanic happened… I mean I guess farmers can be insensitive just like anyone else… Or maybe the farmers don’t care and it’s the agricultural marketing people… And I guess agricultural marketing people can be insensitive just like anyone else… I mean they prolly don’t mean to be insensitive… Now I gotta go look see if there are any books detailing the long sordid history of the name of iceberg lettuce… But then again you woulda thought they woulda changed the name of the movie Titanic after the Titanic happened… But those Hollywood people I guess, well, they’re not just like anyone else but insensitivity knows no bounds. And who knows where the line between agricultural marketing and blockbuster films begins and ends… I surely don’t. If it hasn’t kept me awake at night before it sure may well do now… Not to end this on a sour note and I don’t mean to be distressin’ y’all… Go listen to some TLC, that Boston Garden show was real good… So until next week, have yourselves a fine one”

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Episode Two – Madness, Melissa Etheridge, & The Secret History

The Young Southpaw Part Of An Hour

Episode Two – Madness, Melissa Etheridge, & The Secret History

In which Young Southpaw apologises, runs into some trouble betting on the order Def Leppard would play their ‘Hysteria’ album shows in, is confused by Madness’ ‘Our House’, and is spotted in Bermuda.

Taking in James Bond, Scooby Doo, quarry diving, Desperate Journalist, Morrissey, Madness, My Favorite, The Secret History, Donna Tartt, Sweden, Melissa Etheridge, and more.

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Episode One – The Breeders’ Pod

The Young Southpaw Part Of An Hour

Epsiode One – The Breeders’ Pod

In which Young Southpaw almost latches on to a conspiracy theory that the Internet is all a hoax started by The Breeders’ 1990 debut.

Inspired by his favorite podcasts, Harmontown and Greg Proops’ The Smartest Man In The World, Young Southpaw decides to start one of his own. Wondering what the word ‘podcast’ actually means, he takes in The Breeders, Bruce Dickinson & Iron Maiden, Van Halen of course, Slade, Quiet Riot, Saint Etienne, New Order, Monopoly, The Divine Comedy, Risk, and more.

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