Friday, June 24, 2005
It's a shame that the Digital Age has taken away our ability to monkey around with our record collections. Oh, sure, you can get VST filters and such that will let you speed up or slow down a record, but it's nothing like the giggles you'd get from just switching the turntable up to 45 RPM to hear the Monkees sound like the Chipmunks.
I think the best gut-laff I ever got from this now-closed avenue of pleasure was the time Pasq Wilson took a 45 of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" and played it at 33. With the volume on his thousand-watt Marantz amp turned up to 11. And the speakers pointed out the window at the Deke House.
The Seventies. Didn't take much to amuse us, back in those days.
I can say this with complete confidence and in the full assurance that I will not be gainsaid:
Grand Funk Railroad sucked longer, louder and with more consistency than any band in the history of Rock and Roll. By a moonshot. By a light-year. By a parasec. Take three REO Speedwagons, four Golden Earrings, eight Nazareths, two Starships, and three Status Quos, mix 'em up in a big-assed blender, toss in some Olson Twins videos for crunch, and you will still have only a small jigger-load of what you'd need to make up a bowlful of brand-clean Grand Funk Suck. When the the Great Scorer comes to mark against their name, he writes not that they won or lost, but how much they just plain Sucked.
Even when I was thirteen years old and very impressed with ELO and Brownsville Station, I could tell how bad they sucked. My eighth-grade classmate Bob Something-or-Another, a major Funk-head, announced to me, with a glint of pride in his eye for his exquisite taste, that Mark Farner had "the longest hair in rock-and-roll."
That was an important criterion back then, I guess. Bob also loudly dug Chicago, which should tell you something.
So this morning I'm driving in to work on Route 7, past the park where they have the annual Ashburn Summer Music Festival, and what to my disbelieving eyes should appear at the very top -- headlining! -- the sign announcing the Festival: Grand Funk Railroad in all their glorious suckaliciousness.
Oh, dude, I am so fuckin' there!
According to their tour schedule, the Funk will be fresh from stinkin' up the house at a two-day stand at the Casino Rama Entertainment Center in Rama, Ontario, and lookin' forward to blowin' some dead bear at the North Branch Lions Field Sesqui-Centennial Celebration in North Branch, Michigan.
Jesus Honking Christ, look at that schedule. And to think, I once wanted to be a musician. Can you imagine the Spinal Tappian backstage scene at the Miccosukee Indian Village Fest in Miami, the groupie action at the Texas Twister Rally in Waco... Last night at the Thunder Valley Biker Rally in Crandon, Wisconsin, put me in a haze... Feelin' good, feelin' right, it's Saturday night at the Moondance Ranch Jam 14 in Walker, Minnesota -- the hotel detective he was outta sight!
(Turn the turntable down to 33!)
Now these fine ladies,
They had a plan
They were out to meet the boys in the band
They said, Come on, dudes!
Let's get it on!
And we proceeded to tear that hotel down!
(Fish in a barrel. I know. Next week: The Grateful Dead. Now there's some Suck!)