PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral

You always wanted to see this hardcore punk band, only to discover that it doesn’t exist. Makes you want to start a hardcore punk band just so you can call it Artic Sea Ice Death Spiral. Sorry, too late. I just formed my own hardcore punk band with that name.

The opening track on our debut album Out of Control is going to be called “Permafrost?” Notice the question mark. Believing that there is such a thing as permanently frozen anything on earth requires a person to ignore the long and fiery history of our planet.

I’m also planning to have the tracks “Reflective White Ice” and “Absorbent Blue Sea” listed side by side to provide contrasting moods. The album will end with the taut little gems “On the rocks” and “Greenhouse Gas Station.”

Since you can't use Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral, why don't you try Executive Takeout Order?

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Crampy

I find that the best way to connect with the youth of today is through punk classics of yesteryear. For example, The Cramps are a band that you can enjoy with your own son or daughter. You don’t remember The Cramps because you were busy listening to The Carpenters in the 1970s and 80s, but they were out there whether you were aware of them or not. I was introduced to the Cramps by my friend Roy way back when he was my friend Roy. (Yes, that Roy!). As Roy had a superb sense of humor, he loved The Cramps, a band that had a superb sense of humor. Take their stupendously funny song “Chicken” and the lyrics it contains:

Yeah Chicken

I said, boiled chicken

Any kind, any kind of chicken

Boiled chicken, fried chicken, cotton-pickin’ chicken

oh my baby-baby-baby

she fixes fixes chicken for me.

Alas, you and I will never see The Cramps, as their lead singer, Lux Interior, has been playing in that great punk/rockabilly band in the sky since circa 2009, but of course, you can always enjoy a smattering of their live act on Youtube, as I often do.

 

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Oober Alice

Why have I become so obsessed of late with this video of the Dead Kennedys doing their punk classic California Über Alles? Is it that the first images we see are those of 4 geeky dudes in a recording studio who haven’t pierced themselves, colored their hair, or otherwise taken on a punk demeanor? Is it the green rubber gloves that front man Jello Biafra wears in various live clips? Or is it simply the line “It’s the suede-denim secret police/they have come for your uncool niece,” which is the kind of rhyme my daughter became famous for making when she was about 3 years old?

First, see the video:

 

Part of the reason this video works so well (for me – maybe not so well for you!) is the excellent studio audio, which provides the structure and muscle over which a series of film clips of the band playing the song at various live and studio venues are overlaid. This is not the first time I’ve encountered this editing technique: there is a well-known Led Zeppelin video of The Immigrant Song, which used bits of concert footage that could not be synced up with an audio recording. Obviously, it works much better to have a seamless audio recording of a song underpinning video/film of varying quality than to have a single seamless video/film running over a mishmash of audio takes of varying quality.

In the mid-1980s I had urges to see the Dead Kennedys but never sought them out and didn’t have my finger on the pulse of the local music scene (because I wasn’t making use of the Boston Phoenix enough, I guess), but all these years later I wish I had seen them. Even if the band mates put aside their differences and were willing to do a tour, I can’t imagine Jello coming at his audience these days with the same vigor he displayed all those decades ago.

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Boredom

When I was a bored adolescent getting dragged off to the Jersey Shore and Myrtle Beach on family vacations, what I came to love most wasn’t riding the waves and eating the ice cream cones, but finally having the access to cable television. Most families in my neighborhood already had cable by then, but my Dad refused to allow it, regarding it as a hippie plot to penetrate the minds of his Catholic children with liberal ideas and lots of bare flesh.

One day in Myrtle Beach, I must have had to use the bathroom and went into the hotel room while my parents hung out by the pool. Now was my chance! The hotel room had all kinds of naughty channels, things like MTV. I turned the TV on and soon was watching a video of this skinny and odd-looking musician doing a song that had never come out of the speakers of my parents’ car radio.

 

This is not the official video of "I’m Bored" that was in heavy rotation for those couple of weeks of our spring vacation in 1979, but it still takes me back to the eye-open hotel room experience. All these years later, what I find most striking is just how much Britt Daniel of Spoon has an Iggy thing going when he loses the falsetto and allows his voice to drop several octaves.

I know that soon there will be large numbers of people clamoring for examples of Britt sounding like Iggy. Stay tuned for that.

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The New Look, Feel, and Smell

Suddenly, just when you were finally getting comfortable with my website, I go and reorganize information into 3 columns instead of just two, add links to other sites (right hand column, scroll down a bit), and install a tag cloud (just below it) that's claims to be unused. Why?! “The next thing you know he’ll be running ads!” Read On

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Produce This Audio Play!

Ever wanted to produce a radio play?  Think you have the mettle?  Read on!