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Saturday, October 28, 2006

I <3 Okkervil River

Hello all.
Here's a picture I took of Okkervil River's Will Sheff when the hubby and I saw him in concert last week :


U2/Green Day, "The Saints Are Coming"

Okay, I know what you are thinking. Why is she posting a video from two of the biggest bands in rock and roll? Story time...

Yesterday, I'm driving home from work, listening to commercial radio, which normally serves as aural background filler when my iPod's battery is depleted. Suddenly, my ears perked up when I hear a familiar opening couplet of "I cried to my daddy on the telephone/How long now?" Can it be? Am I really hearing The Skids on the commercial radio? Granted, Richard Jobson now sounds like Bono, but still...

Story within a story time...

Many years ago, in the days before the Internet made import music acquisition much easier, I had a little music shopping spree at Tower Records in Picadilly Circus, picking up CDs I know I wouldn't have been able to find Stateside. One of these CDs was The Skids: BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert. In hindsight, I have no idea how this ended up in the shopping basket. I guess I had read good press about the band, and I had always been a fan of Big Country (the band featured Stuart Adamson), so I picked up the CD.

Many years later, Stuart Adamson sadly took his own life, and the reality of the music business in the 21st century led to the closure of most Tower Records stores, including the one in Picadilly Circus. However, I still play that Skids CD, and now the music of the Skids will live on thanks to U2 and Green Day's cover of "The Saints are Coming." In addition, the cover is for a good cause: Hurricane Katrina.

On an anecdotal roll...

Steve Wynn, "Tears Won't Help" (Live on Onion World)

Many years ago, before my trip to London, I was a homesick New Yorker recently transplanted to the heart of Dixie...and hating every minute of it. One of my coping mechanisms was music, specifically the alternative music shows on MTV like 120 Minutes. One night, Dave Kendall (remember him?) introduced a new video from Steve Wynn, "former lead singer of the Dream Syndicate." At this time, I had never heard of Steve Wynn or The Dream Syndicate, but I fell in love with the video ("Carolyn"), so on the next trip to the record store, I picked up the cassette of his full-length, Kerosene Man, and was blown away. The rest, as they say, is history, as my close friends and family all know how much I love almost everything Steve Wynn has ever recorded, which is quite an inventory of music over the past twenty-plus years. Kerosene Man still has a special place in my heart, though, thanks to great songs like "Tears Won't Help," which would definitely find a place on my top ten favorite Steve Wynn songs.

This acoustic clip of "Tears Won't Help" was from a short-lived show on the Comedy Channel called Onion World. Do you notice I said the Comedy Channel and not Comedy Central? In the late eighties, two cable comedy networks were launched: HA! and the Comedy Channel. I guess the market wasn't big enough for the both of them, so they merged in 1991 to form Comedy Central, and the rest is humor history. Anyway, Onion World was a variey show of sorts, hosted by comedian Rich Hall. (You might remember him as the brainchild of the sniglet, a cast member of SNL (playing Doug Flutie in a classic skit), or a favorite guest of Conan O'Brien). Like I said, Onion World wasn't on the air for long, and honestly, the only things I remember from it were its theme song from the Jazz Butcher, a funny line about a Laura Ashley factory, and most memorably, this clip from Steve Wynn.

Now, somewhere in a pile of unorganized, unlabeled VHS tapes, I have this episode of Onion World taped. One day, I went on a fruitless search for it. As I gave up, I remember thinking that I will never see this clip again. It's not like Onion World will ever see the light of day on DVD or be broadcast in reruns. Sometimes, I think I may have been the only one to have ever seen this show.

So here is another reason why I think that YouTube is the greatest thing to ever happen to cyberspace. Someone not only saw this episode of Onion World, but taped it, and now he's sharing it with the world. You rock, Mr. Grumpy.

I'll end this post with a couple videos from the best indie band out there, Okkervil River.

Okkervil River, "Ends with a Fall"

Okkervil River, "Westfall"
(I love how the crowd sings along with this one.)

I think I posted the promo version "For Real" before. Darn my long-term memory. :( If I'm remembering incorrectly, check it out on their MySpace page. Here's a live version:
Okkervil River, "For Real"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't seem to get on RT. So, I just decided to see what was happening over here...

Great entry, K.A. It's full of anecdotal goodness. Even though most of your references were lost on my sensitive Canadian ears. Onion World? The Skids? Dave Kendall? ;)

I didn't exactly fall out of my chair my when the names U2 and Green Day appear in your journal, but I did let out a tiny gasp. :D

YouTube: The Greatest thing to happen to cyberspace? You got that right. I can't count the number of bands I discovered because of that site.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Karim Amir said...

You know, I can't say that I've actually discovered many new bands via YouTube. Sad, I know. There's just too much good stuff from the bands I already know.

Click here for the Skids wiki
Dave Kendall's site
Dave Kendall was the British host of 120 Minutes. Click on the TV tab for clips, including one in which he interviews Nitzer Ebb.

Onion World...uh...there's not much out there in cyberspace. I don't know if you're familiar with Rich Hall's brand of humor, but the show was built around that. There was a show a few years back called Lewis Theroux's Weird Weekends which reminded me quite a bit of Onion World.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the Skids lots... There's a great book by a Scottish crime novelist named Christopher Brookmyre where a song by the Skids is essential to the plot. It's called Country of the Blind...

I really need to get that Okkervil River record - I keep hearing nothing but good things about it.

3:48 AM  

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