Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: Santana and The Doobie Brothers at Xfinity Center, 8/20

PHOTOS: LAURA KILGUS JENKINS AND CHRIS JENKINS IN MANSFIELD, NH | The air was filled with the scent of incense burning on stage as images of Woodstock illuminated the space, setting the tone for a tour that commemorates the milestone anniversary of Santana’s infamous performance some five decades ago.

Only a few days following the 50th Anniversary of their performance at the Woodstock festival in August 1969, the band named after Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Carlos Santana and the iconic musician himself brought the house down at the Xfinity Center outside of Boston.

Santana’s show is a true bounty of musical stylings. The set featured Latin and African beats, Latin rock, sounds of Jamaica, bluesy vocals, and guitar solos that no-doubt is a check off the Bucket List for long-time fans. Much like a maestro, Santana gestures to bandmates for smooth and subtle arrangement changes all while showcasing the skill of the artists and enriching the overall performance.

Fans were on their feet as the evening began with a hit-filled set from special guests, The Doobie Brothers. “I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland, pretty momma come and take me by the hand…” The Doobie Brothers sang in an engaging sing-a-long with the audience.

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TVD Radar: Boyz N The Hood OST, 2-LP vinyl debut in stores 9/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On September 27, Qwest/UMe is set to release the groundbreaking, multi-genre Boyz N The Hood soundtrack on double vinyl in two different color options: black and translucent blue. This will mark the first time the soundtrack for Boyz N The Hood has been reissued on vinyl since the album’s initial release on July 9, 1991. This special new 2LP edition also honors the indelible legacy of Boyz N The Hood director and soundtrack executive producer John Singleton, who sadly passed away in April 2019.

As the perfect sonic companion piece to Singleton’s incendiary 1991 directorial debut, the Boyz N The Hood soundtrack masterfully stacked cutting-edge of-era gangsta rap alongside a fine selection of R&B, funk, and jazz tracks. From the visceral thrust of Ice Cube’s West Coast gangsta manifesto “How To Survive In South Central” to Tevin Campbell’s New Jack Swing-styled Top 10 R&B hit “Just Ask Me To” (featuring rapper Chubb Rock) to the East Coast boom bap of Main Source’s spitfire take on “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball (Remix),” the Boyz N The Hood soundtrack encompassed the full scope of Singleton’s singular vision for the film. Two tracks on Side D had been included on the initial 1991 CD release—Quincy Jones’ sultry “Setembro” and Stanley Clarke’s still poignant “Black On Black Crime”—with the latter making its vinyl debut.

Boyz N The Hood, a coming-of-age film starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, and Laurence Fishburne (then billed as Larry Fishburne), followed the trajectory of three friends growing up in early-’90s South Central L.A., and it established Singleton as an insightful chronicler of the then-shifting urban landscape.

At the time, urban film soundtracks were also on the rise, and Boyz N The Hood (which reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart) built on the success of the popular soundtracks for March 1990’s House Party and January 1991’s New Jack City. For his part, Singleton would go on to direct 1993’s Poetic Justice, 1995’s Higher Learning, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, and 2011’s Abduction (his final film). He also co-created the acclaimed TV crime drama, FX’s Snowfall, which began airing its third season in July 2019.

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Graded on a Curve:
REO Speedwagon,
You can Tune a piano,
but you can’t Tuna fish.

I love this album, you most likely loathe this album, and you know what? I don’t give a shit! Feel free to mock this 1978 classic for its stupid title and awful cover, and even to hold your nose at the music contained within said cover, but be aware that proud know-nothings such as yours truly simply laugh at such criticism before drowning it out with the totally brilliant opening track, “Roll with the Changes.”

I’ll be the first to admit You can Tune a piano… isn’t the perfect album. The perfect REO album would include such earlier gems as “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” “Keep Pushin’,” “Anti Establishment Man,” and–it goes without saying–”Prison Women,” which includes such immortal poesy as “Like tears to a mouse, a biting to a clam” and “Life from limping eyes, yeah.” And how could I have forgotten “Light Up,” which is actually a Styx song but who’s counting?

You can Tune a piano… was the Champlain, Illinois band’s seventh LP in as many years, and it was the one that answered the question, “If this bunch of journeymen hacks really insists upon sucking, why can’t they at least sell a few records while they’re at it?” The critics hated ‘em; hell, even the rare plaudits they did receive were back-handed ones at best. “Pioneers of AOR schlock-rock schlock-pop,” Village Voice scribe Robert Christgau called them, and I think he meant it as a compliment.

But populist types like this guy knew better. Sure, their albums were uneven–a fate shared by You can Tune a piano… –but they all showed glimmers of originality; say what you will about the hard-charging “Roll with the Changes,” it’s anything but your hard rock same old same old. On it Gary Richrath lets loose on guitar, Neil Doughty struts his stuff on Hammond organ, and vocalist Kevin Cronin almost doesn’t sound like a pussy, and it evokes images of the band as entertainers on a 19th Mississippi riverboat, say the one in Herman Melville’s 1857 novel The Confidence Man. Although I suspect that’s just me.

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TVD Radar: Three Social Distortion vinyl reissues in stores 9/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | This fall, Craft Recordings will reissue three titles from Social Distortion’s independent catalog on vinyl. Set for a September 27th release, the LPs include the band’s 1983 debut, Mommy’s Little Monster, their 2004 studio album, Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and 1995’s Mainliner (Wreckage From the Past), which compiles early singles and rare B-sides. Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, the enduring So-Cal punk icons just kicked off their extensive, two-month North American tour.

Social Distortion formed in Orange County, CA, with front man Mike Ness and guitarist Dennis Danell at the helm. With their distinctive blend of punk and primitive rock ‘n’ roll, the four-piece (whose bassists and drummers would fluctuate over those years) found equal influences in bands like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and the Clash as well as the early country music of Hank Williams and the classic blues of artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Their 1983 debut, Mommy’s Little Monster was released on the band’s own label, 13th Floor Records. Full of raw vocals, powerful guitar-driven hooks, and plenty of attitude, the seminal album gained Social Distortion a national following and went on to inspire the likes of the Offspring, Rancid and many other well-known artists. Standout tracks include “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)” and “Another State of Mind.”

The next two decades would bring the band continued lineup changes, a rehab stint for Ness—who has maintained his sobriety since 1985—a major label deal, some of their highest-charting singles (“I Was Wrong” and “Bad Luck”), and two Gold records (for 1990’s Social Distortion and 1992’s Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell). In the late ‘90s, the band returned to their indie roots and signed to Time Bomb Recordings.

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Graded on a Curve:
Rod Stewart,
Every Picture Tells
a Story

The Decline and Fall of Roderick David Stewart is one of rock’s great tragedies. Five years, tops, is how long it took for “Rod the Mod”—the lovable rogue with the rooster-cut and the great cackle whose unique talents as a singer and songwriter gave us the magnificent Every Picture Tells a Story—to transform himself into “Rod the Bod,” the sleazy, self-proclaimed sex symbol and trend-following hack who bequeathed us “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Since then Stewart has released a slew of desultory LPs (does anybody remember 1983’s Body Wishes or 1988’s appropriately titled Out of Order? If so, you have some explaining to do) and reinvented himself as an interpreter of popular song via his five “volumes” of The Great American Songbook. (Me, I prefer unpopular song. As Oscar Wilde once noted, “Everything popular is wrong.”) And I’m forced to ask: Am I the only one who wonders what happened? Because Stewart’s precipitous plummet from genius to sex goat is nothing less than a riddle wrapped in an enigma, or to be more accurate a mystery wrapped in the awful suit he’s wearing on the cover of Body Wishes, which makes him look like Don Johnson in flames.

Stewart’s singing career began in the early sixties, and he played in some half-dozen bands including The Steampacket (with Long John Baldry and Brian Auger) and The Jeff Beck Group before joining The Faces at about the same time he released his first solo LP, 1969’s The Rod Stewart Album. Rod was an ambitious lad, splitting his time between the Faces and his solo work and somehow managing to put out both a Faces album and a solo album nearly every year. Unlike the Faces’ rough-edged but smart good-times rock’n’roll, Stewart’s solo albums tended to cover the waterfront from rock, country, R&B, to folk.

Stewart’s first two LPs—for which he basically dragooned the Faces as a backup band—didn’t chart particularly well, although they included such excellent songs as “Handbags and Gladrags,” “Cut Across Shorty,” and “Gasoline Alley.” So come LP no. 3, Stewart tried a different approach, limiting the input of the Faces (excepting guitarist Ron Wood) to basically one tune—a cover of The Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You”—in favor of a sound that accentuated the mandolin of Lindsay Raymond Jackson (of Lindisfarne infamy), the violin of Dick Powell, and the 6,000 different guitars of Ron Wood.

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Bernard Fowler,
In-store with TVD at
DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Bernard Fowler has been singing with the Stones since the ’80s and his CV reads like a Who’s Who of music legends. But this veteran rocker is anything but intimidating—in person he’s warm, charming, and full of great stories. Cratedigging with Bernard feels like cratedigging with an old friend, even if you just met him five minutes ago.

When we met up at Som, his most recent record, Inside Out, was up on the wall. It’s a collection of Rolling Stones songs, but instead of merely covering familiar tracks like “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Dancing with Mr. D,” Inside Out uses elements of free jazz, funk, and spoken word to completely reinvent songs you thought you knew. Nobody’s better qualified to do this than Bernard, with his impressive musical pedigree and years of personal experience with the Stones.

The day before the No Filter tour’s rescheduled stop at FedEx Field, I asked him what his favorite thing was about playing with Mick and Keef and Ronnie and Charlie. He’s got the best seats in the house, he said, with a laugh. What song would he add to the setlist, given the opportunity? “Dandelion.”

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Needle Drop: Morsifire featuring Emily Afton, “Contact”

Frisco-based alt hip hop artist Morsifire is well versed in the art of committing his mental anguish to tape.

He’s experienced an unbelievable amount of trauma in his young adult life, and his honest songs bravely explore the depths of his pain. Yes, his debut LP, Metanoia, is clearly a therapeutic exorcism of his inner demons, but it also shows the boundless promise of an MC who is not afraid to tackle more substantial themes.

“Contact” is about the untimely loss of his younger sister, (one of the several family members he’s lost along the way), and Morsifire succeeds in honoring her by constructing a cathartic memorial of heartfelt verses that delve into the past and project into the future—all weaved together with a beautiful hook from San Fran songbird Emily Afton. It’s an evocative interplay of tones that recalls Eminem’s career high collaboration with Dido, “Stan.”

The forthcoming LP, Metanoia, arrives in stores on October 11, 2019.

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Graded on a Curve: Fairport Convention, Unhalfbricking

If folk music scares me–and it does–English folk music really scares me; I’m still trying to recover from the traumatic consequences of inadvertently viewing a YouTube video of Pentangle performing the pro-virginity dirge “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.”

That said, I’ve always made an exception for Fairport Convention in general, and their LP 1969’s Unhalfbricking in particular. Unhalfbricking was the work of a band moving away from American influences towards the Ye Olde English-style minstrelsy, and the music they performed during said transition is some of their best.

Fairport Convention’s take on folk rock is decidedly English–as English as eel pie. And how couldn’t it be–listening to Sandy Denny, who remains arguably the best English folk singer in the history of recorded music, is like walking the Cornish cliffs of Tintagel on a lovely May morn. But–and the caveat is critical–you never get the awful sense you’ve wandered into the bucolic pagan setting of the 1973 film The Wicker Man, where you’ll be shoved into a wicker totem and burned alive, a sacrifice to a bountiful harvest, as the happy villagers sing “Sumer Is Icumen In.” (A tune I’m sure Pentangle performed all the time.)

While “lovely” best describes the songs on Unhalfbricking, you get plenty of variety: a trio of exceptional Dylan covers; one instant classic; a pair of slower numbers that creep up on you, and one Cajun-flavored rock’n’roller that sticks out, if you’ll bear the obscure allusion, like Beau Brummell at a stevedores’ convention. Oh, and there’s one simply incredible song that somehow manages to bridge the gap between the English traditional folk form and the Velvet Underground.

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Graded on a Curve: Alexander Tucker,
Guild of the Asbestos Weaver

A native of Kent, England, Alexander Tucker’s musical roots span back to hardcore in the 1990s, but he’s come to prominence through the interweaving of drone, electroacoustic elements, psychedelia, post-industrial ambiance and honest-to-goodness songs. Tucker’s latest solo effort (he’s also part of Grumbling Fur) is Guild of the Asbestos Weaver, his eighth full-length and the fourth to be released by Thrill Jockey. Offering five expansive tracks and a “classic” album runtime, the contents blend focused experimentation and trad tunesmithing to a result that’s as inviting as it is edgy. It’s out on vinyl, compact disc, and digital August 23.

The title of Alexander Tucker’s new record derives from the underground opposition in Ray Bradbury’s dystopian science-fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, a borrowing that’s representative of the artist’s stated desire to combine his longstanding interest in sci-fi and “cosmic horror” (from comic art, filmic and literary forms) with minimalism, drone and dream music.

To elaborate on that last style, it’s not dream-pop Tucker is tapping into but rather, explicitly stated, the “Dreamweapon” modus operandi of Angus MacLise, a legendary 1960s NYC-based percussionist-composer who was part of La Monte Young’s groundbreaking drone endeavor the Theater of Eternal Music. MacLise died in 1979, and it took roughly two decades for recordings (both under his own name and as a part of Young’s group) to become commercially available.

Still, MacLise’s biggest claim to “fame” (notably a goal he never strived for) is as an inaugural member of the Velvet Underground; that no recordings featuring his contribution survive from this era only adds to his mythic stature. As mentioned above, the impact of MacLise’s aesthetic on Guild of the Asbestos Weaver is right there in Thrill Jockey’s promo text, and it’s worth expanding upon due to Tucker’s similarity, both vocally and compositionally, to MacLise’s associate John Cale.

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TVD Radar: Big Star,
In Space translucent
blue vinyl reissue in stores 10/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Vinyl edition to be available on translucent blue with printed inner sleeve with liner notes from original album contributors and the surviving band members.

Big Star formed in 1971, and in its brief four years together, created three albums that consistently make “Best of All-Time” lists. Eighteen years after officially disbanding, original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens joined forces with the Posies’ Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow for a live performance, which led to a tour (documented on Omnivore Recordings’ Live in Memphis), and years of concerts. While the live shows were a joy and surprise, a bigger surprise happened in 2005, after more than a decade playing together: a new studio album. As Ryko A&R’s Jeff Rougvie said, “It was the easiest approval for a project I ever got.”

In Space featured new 12 tracks (10 originals and a cover of The Olympics’ “Mine Exclusively” and French baroque composer Georg Muffat’s “Aria, Largo”) recorded where Big Star began, at the classic Ardent Studios. The new lineup was creating a new chapter for the band while honoring its past.

With original albums going for outrageous prices, In Space returns as an LP on translucent blue vinyl, and expanded CD with six bonus tracks including “Hot Thing” (previously available on the out-of-print Big Star Story) and five previously unissued demos and alternate mixes. Packaging contains liner notes from Rougvie, original album co-producer/engineer Jeff Powell (who also cut the new vinyl), assistant Ardent engineer Adam Hill, and surviving band members Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, and Jody Stephens.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Animals,
The Animals

In addition to The Beatles and Stones, the British Invasion produced numerous other noteworthy groups, and one of the most successful was The Animals. A serious-minded bunch led by that brawny-throated student of American blues and early rock ‘n’ roll Eric Burdon, they persist in the modern memory mainly for their hit singles. But on the subject of albums, they also had a few very good ones, though differing US and UK editions have frustrated collectors on both sides of the Atlantic for years. Of the two versions of their 1964 debut The Animals, the Brit issue may not be the best, but it does give a deep glimpse into what this no-nonsense, solidly rocking band was initially all about.

Eric Burdon seems like the kind of cat who’d rather keel over dead than quit singing. Nearly fifty years after his first album came out he’s still out there doing it on stages, and like the R&B legends that provided him with his formative inspiration, his continued activity comes without a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. Because he played an enjoyably quirky role in the landslide of ‘60s psychedelic rock by fronting a later incarnation of The Animals and proceeded from that to get his fingers nice and funky on a pair of albums in collaboration with the California groove merchants War, Burdon’s profile has easily transcended the outfit that began in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1962, when he joined up with a group then called The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo.

In addition to Burdon and organist/keyboardist Price, the other members were Hilton Valentine on guitar, John Steel on drums, and Bryan “Chas” Chandler on bass. Rechristened as The Animals and following the advice of Yardbirds’ manager Giorgio Gomelsky, who obviously saw something in the band’s early stage act that was comparable to the act under his supervision, they moved to London and quickly hit the big time.

Along with some minor rumblings in the US, their first single “Baby Let Me Take You Home” landed at #15 on the UK charts, and deservedly so, for it’s a good one. Though credited to writers Wes Ferrell and Bert Burns (the latter notable for penning such ‘60s warhorses as “Twist and Shout,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and “Here Comes the Night” by fellow Brit Invasion figures Them) it’s basically a rough retooling of the trad folk number “Baby Let Me Follow You Down,” then popular for its version on Bob Dylan’s debut LP (as borrowed by the unjustly obscure folk personality Eric Von Schmidt.)

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Graded on a Curve:
Redd Kross,
Beyond the Door

Led by siblings Jeff and Steven McDonald, Redd Kross is a byproduct of the original Los Angeles punk scene. Having been through myriad changes and periods of inactivity across the decades since, that they are releasing quality music in 2019 is a circumstance worth celebrating. That is to say, the McDonald’s latest is a beacon of inspired punk-edged pop-rocking, a record brought to fruition with guitarist Jason Shapiro and Melvins drummer Dale Crover (this duo part of the recording process for the first time). A tidy and consistent slab of muscular catchiness, Beyond the Door is out digitally, on CD in a 4-panel digipak, and on black or opaque purple vinyl August 23 through Merge Records of Durham, NC.

Researching the Blues, which marked a return to activity for Redd Kross, was one of 2012’s most pleasant surprises. ‘twas such because the band didn’t exactly cease operations on a high note in the ’90s (though I do rate ’96’s Show World, their third and final album before the long break, as their best of the decade). And let us face it; by 2012 the brothers were frankly getting up there in years, and while this 48-year old doesn’t want to come off as ageist, older folks dishing out shit-hot rock ‘n’ roll is still very much the exception and not the norm.

Crover and Shapiro (who was in ’80s punk-glamsters Celebrity Skin and before that San Fran hardcore act Verbal Abuse) are no spring chickens either. As the McDonalds’ pop-rock elder status intensifies, their ability to deliver lively hard-pop hasn’t diminished, perhaps because they’ve resisted the formulaic, and not only by opening up the recording process to the current live band; it’s made plain in the promo text that Steven is more involved in the songwriting process than ever before.

Opener “The Party” underscores the collective engagement in the process as the track outlines the band’s “total commitment to having the best fucking time we can have while we’re all still here.” This might radiate vibes similar to Urge Overkill in smoking jackets with cigars and brandy snifters, but the band has resisted any impulse to direct the above mission statement into a retro-sophisto-livin’-the-high-life costume trip, and for that, I’m glad.

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TVD Radar: Western Stars, Springsteen’s directorial debut in theaters this Autumn

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Warner Bros. Pictures will release a cinematic film version of Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, ‘Western Stars’, worldwide, on the big screen. Longtime collaborator Thom Zimny directs together with Springsteen in his directorial debut. The announcement was made today by Toby Emmerich, Chairman Warner Bros. Pictures Group. ‘Western Stars’, which will make its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, is slated for release this Autumn.

Springsteen’s first studio album in five years, ‘Western Stars’ marks a departure for the legendary singer/songwriter while still drawing on his roots. Touching on themes of love and loss, loneliness and family and the inexorable passage of time, the documentary film evokes the American West—both the mythic and the hardscrabble—weaving archival footage and Springsteen’s personal narration with song to tell the story of Western Stars. ‘Western Stars’ offers fans the world over their only opportunity to see Springsteen perform all 13 songs on the album, backed up by a band and a full orchestra, under the cathedral ceiling of his historic nearly 100-year-old barn.

Emmerich stated, “Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead. As one of his many fans for over 40 years, I couldn’t be happier to be a rider on this train with Bruce and Thom.”

‘Western Stars’, Springsteen’s 19th studio album, has achieved global success. It has been #1 on the iTunes charts on every continent, including such countries as the U.S., the UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, India, South Africa, and all of Scandinavia, among other countries. It has also received rave reviews, with critics using words like “hauntingly brilliant,” “beguiling,” “gorgeous” and a “masterpiece.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Easy Rider, OST

Today we remember actor Peter Fonda who passed away on Friday, August 16 with a look back at the soundtrack from one of his most iconic roles, Easy Rider.

After seeing Easy Rider for the first time, I wanted nothing more than to take off across America on a chopper with a tear drop gas tank emblazoned with the red, white, and blue, smoke tons of grass and gobble lots of acid, and meet a lunatic ACLU lawyer in a gold football helmet looking to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as my first motorcycle ride also turned out to be my last, after losing control of the thing and crashing head-on into our next door neighbor’s barn. And nothing’s changed over the years; the last time I tried to ride a bicycle I decided to smoke a cigarette at the same time, and ended up toppling into some rat-infested shrubbery.

So Captain America I’m not. But I love the movie, which was all about freedom, man, freedom to wear your hair long and get stoned and do whatever the hell you wanted to do without kowtowing to the Man, man. Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Captain America (Peter Fonda) represented the outlaw biker life, which came without the shackles of job, home, and hearth, but carried its own risks; as the ACLU lawyer Hanson (Jack Nicholson) tells Billy and Captain America, their freedom makes the squares “dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!”

But the thing I love most about the world’s greatest hippie exploitation film is its soundtrack, the rights to which cost more than the film itself. It includes two great Steppenwolf tunes and one and a half Dylan tunes, both of which were performed by Roger McGuinn, and intersperses dope anthems with dismal songs of doom, in keeping with the movie’s groovier moments and lingering sense—what with homicidal rednecks and pigs everywhere—that things won’t end well for Billy, Captain America, and Hanson. (Spoiler alert! Shit, too late.) And when I talk about the soundtrack I’m not talking about the 2004 Deluxe Edition, but the one you could listen to in your groovy pad with its beaded doorways, day glo ceilings, and black light poster of Three Dog Night (okay, so you were one very unhip hippie; don’t beat yourself up about it).

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The Lilacs,
The TVD First Date

“It’s remarkable how the music that resonates with you through the years depends at least as much on who you were when you first heard it as it does on some”objective” criteria of its quality.”

“The first record I ever owned was Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits which I got when I was 10 in 1978. His big hit at the time was “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” which was used to great effect in the Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase thriller Foul Play (which I also loved, by the way). So everything from “Daybreak” to “Can’t Smile Without You” to his “rocking” numbers like “Copacabana”—I loved all of it. I loved the singing. I loved the instrumentation. I loved the over-the-top sentimentality.

All of those qualities found themselves into my own work. Not that I would ever put myself in the same category either talent-wise or obviously success-wise as Barry Manilow. But man I loved that record and I wore it out, and I remember even being assigned to be the lead male dancer at my camp and the tune was the theme to American Bandstand that our choreographer had chosen and discovering that song also had been written by Barry Manilow just felt quite perfect to me.

Predictably, as I got to high school and wanted to seem cooler and probably also not get pummeled, I wasn’t as willing to publicly acknowledge how much I loved that particular genre of sappy love ballads. But secretly I still did. And then something funny happened as I entered the punk and indie-rock phases of my musical career.

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