Sunday, March 23, 2014

Breaking

 There was a piece of the 80s that exploded into something HUGE at one point, but you really don't hear about it any more. This, of course, was the breakdance. Originally known from the early 70s as b-boying, or breaking, this dance consisted of amazing skills that gave the illusion of gliding, flying, and contorting the body as young dancers flipped and spun about with apparent effortless ease.

 Elitists of the dance will insist on calling it "b-boying" and that the term "breakdancing" is sacrilegious. I, however, think of that tiny era of 83-84 as breakdancing when suddenly everyone wanted to learn a move, to show off on a piece of cardboard on the playground like the guys in parachute pants on Night Tracks. The elitists can call the dance whatever they want for the time before and after that era. But let's leave the "breakdance" title for that particular time. After all, do the serious dancers REALLY want to associate their sacred image with the funky outfits of 83-84? Really?

 This is the bit of time where the news was suddenly filled with stories of young dancers who were "breakdancing" their way to the hospital because they were doing advanced moves that they were not ready for. "Breakdancing" was suddenly associated with broken limbs and joints, and the question was raised whether this fad dance should be banned, but those who loved watching and participating in the dance defended it passionately. In the end, it was determined that this dance, like any other dance, is dangerous only when those who practice it attempt moves that they are not physically ready for.

   This craze during that era was the blip on the radar screen that caught my attention and made me ask the one kid in my class who knew breakdancing if he could teach me a few cool moves. After a full minute, he was done trying to manipulate my awkward moves into anything cool, but we both got a good laugh out of it, which made the whole dance lesson worth it! Since then, I have been content to leave the breaking to the pros.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Got It On!

 What do you do when a band changes a member for a different one? Do you welcome the new sound they bring to the music, or do you pine for the original? Are you conflicted if they are both good?

 The point of my entry today is about, of course, Power Station. 

 And many of you are saying, "Who?"

 Duran Duran was at its peak in 1984-85, when the world of Duranies was suddenly shaken up from two of its members stepping out into a new music project; Power Station.

 What? 

We tuned in, hoping that John Taylor and Andy Taylor's influence would have this new group sounding like, well, more Duran Duran. It didn't, but us faithful Duranies were very quick forgivers. Power Station's music sounded fabulous and fun so we were in!

 So, there were John and Andy. The rest of the band included Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson. 

Who and Who?

Well, the teen heartthrob magazines assured us that they were cool fellas, Palmer being an established musician who worked in bands many of us Duranies had never heard before but we recognized his amazing hand in influence, and Thompson, also a seasoned musician, whose music many of us Duranies "grew up" to, but he wasn't old enough to be... like... well, old. That was good enough for us. Palmer and Thompson were making music with a couple of gods in training so what they did was GOLD. 

 The sun was shining on me the day I learned that Power Station was touring and doing Live Aid in the process. What Bop and Star Hits failed to inform me was that there was a slight change in the band member lineup. 

 So there they were at Live Aid, just weeks before I was to see them in Seattle myself. There they were; John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Tony Thompson and Michael Des Barres. 

 Wait. And who?

 Where was Robert Palmer? Surely Tiger Beat should have mentioned something to the effect that Palmer was doing his own solo thing now and didn't want to tour with Power Station and they had to replace him? I wasn't sure that a switch like this without informing me was even, well, legal!

 But who could replace the sexy so-cool-he's-hot Palmer? Who would DARE?!?

 Well, Des Barres. 

 That's who!

 He came on, not trying to be Palmer, but being himself. That was all that was needed. Palmer did a bang-up job in the recording studio, super-cramming sexy into the grooves of vinyl, but Des Barres made it his own and brought it all to life in the concert experience. What he lacked in Palmer's cool he made up for in HOT! 

 August 1, 1985, he went and did it again in Seattle. I know, I was there. 

 So, what do you do when a band changes a member for a new one? In this case, both lead singers did extremely well with what they were there for. I am content with the Power Station experience both on and off the vinyl. Although the need for a replacement was unfortunate, their choice was an excellent one and I am very glad both Palmer and Des Barres now have their foot prints embedded on the Duran map.  

  


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy I'm Back Day

 It's been a long recess but I am happy to be back to make new posts for Bleached Bangs!

 Every now and then, a forgotten song will suddenly appear, whether it's at a store, a newly uncovered cassette that you don't ever remember existing, or a radio station would have a small hiccup and play something other than the same five songs that are repeated throughout the day, and most people would say, "Where did THAT come from?" while a few 80s nerds will say, "Oh yeah! I hated that song but it's cool to hear it now!"

 Guess which category I tend to fall in.

 One such time that this happened was a couple of months ago. I am active on Twitter and I follow various celebrities. When my birthday rolls around, I tweet various celebrities and cheekily ask them to Tweet me a "Happy Birthday." While most Tweeters get a large volume of Tweets and do not see my request (I like to think that this is the case. The alternative would be that they are ignoring me) I do get some sweet acknowledgements. (So far, John Taylor has been too overloaded with Tweets to respond to me.)

 One kind acknowledgement came from comedian Rob Paravonian (Pachelbel Rant guy. Find him on YouTube.) His kind response was "'Happy Birthday, happy birthday!' sung to the Altered Images tune."

 Altered Images? Happy Birthday? Who is Altered Images? What was I to do but to seek it on YouTube?

 "Happy Birthday," it turns out, is one of those songs that you either have never heard of, or you have heard it once, forgotten it, and then it just kind of strangely appears back into existence. Rob Paravonian is the kind of person with a rare sort of special who actually knows it enough to refer it to somebody else.

  And so, this rare sort of special has been passed on to me.

 And now it is yours too. You're welcome!