Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23

Welcome to chapter 1. I learned my daughter was going to be born today, and it got me wondering who was born today. I’m a former rock journalist, aspiring writer, eternal trivia addict, and current blog junkie. So I started looking around today, and here’s the interesting stuff I found:

Ytcracker’s a nerdcore artist, so if you like your hip-hop with cheat code references, he’s your man. He’s not your typical net-saavy hip-hop poseur; the boy was programming in BASIC at the age of 4, and made national news vandalzing government websites before he was out of high school. He got out of the game to spit flows over Nintendo beats.

Shifty Shellshock
’s blowing out candles today. He was the lead singer in Crazy Town, which was kind of like Sugar Ray before they figured out what kind of music girls want to listen to.

Today’s a great excuse to listen to “Butterfly”, a catchy ditty that did for CrazyTown what “More Than Words” did for Extreme: totally made them an ironically-named one-hit wonder. But how can you hate this song? Actually, the dude’s girlfriend’s in the video, so he got his, and we never heard them on the radio again. Everybody wins. (Just kidding; Shifty kept busy.)

Do yourself a favor, and check out "Orange County"; they do the best job of explaining just how inescapable “Butterfly” is, and what kind of people actually listen to this music. Mike White always gets the best out of Jack Black.

I could write about Julian Casablancas, lead singer of the Strokes. I love the Strokes, think their first three albums are genius. But I got four more chances to write about the Strokes. Why use it up with Casablancas or Hammond? I’d rather write it for the birthday of that bass player with the Prince Valiant haircut.

No, it’s time to put somebody like Dean DeLeo in the spotlight. When you’re in a band with somebody like Scott Weiland, you don’t get a lot of time to shine. Lord knows he and his brother have tried for their time. When it became clear Scott was going to be gone for a while, he and the rest of the Pilots got a new singer and called themselves Talk Show. Then the brothers DeLeo teamed up with Richard Patrick to form the alt-rock supergroup Army of Anyone. After that went nowhere, he and his brother started producing albums, for bands like Alien Ant Farm. And in the end, they still have to reunite with the Barry Bonds of Rock, just to get some play. At least we get a new Stone Temple Pilots album out of the deal, at the end of 2009. Which will be worth it if we get at least one song as catch as “Big Bang Baby”

There’s quite a few guys you’ve heard of- even your parents have heard of – that were born today. Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Gene Kelly…
But I have to save something for next year.

This column is really for guys like Jimi Jamison, the second lead vocalist for Survivor. Remember that song from Rocky III, “Eye of the Tiger”? He ain’t singing that. Dave Bickler blew out his vocal cords (and I can’t wait to tell you what he does now…) and Jamison replaced him on tour. If you’ve ever noticed Survivor since “Eye of the Tiger”, you’ve heard this guy. You’ve heard him singing “The Search is Over” and “Burning Heart”. You’ve seen him in the Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso commercial, singing in Glen’s ear on his morning commute. Heck, you might have seen Jimi Jameson touring around with a bunch of other guys calling themselves “Jimi Jamison’s Survivor.”

But Jimi Jameson deserves a Happy Birthday from you because he gave us, quite possibly, the last great TV theme song. Observe:

So, that’s how things are going to work around here, in a nutshell. Enjoy, reminisce, maybe send an e-card to the artist. I’ve started compiling my list, but I can always use a little help: if you know some birthdays I shouldn’t miss, send me an e-mail at

Tomorrow, we talk about Anthrax, “Classical Gas”, and the guy who taught Michael Jackson to moonwalk. If you’ll excuse me, I have to run in slow motion now…

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