Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1

Sometimes I think like a journalist; sometimes, I think like a fanboy. Looking over today, I found a quartet of reality TV stars, and started concocting an insightful analysis about the nature of acquiring 21st century fame. But then I saw some of the other birthdays that I just had to talk about instead.

Joe Trohman’s the lead guitarist for Fall Out Boy. And just how out there does Fall Out Boy have to be when the lead guitarist is the Ringo Starr of the band?
I haven’t given their latest album a chance; I can’t listen to them without reflecting on how star-baiting and studio-dependent they’ve become. But I still got a sweet spot for “Under the Cork Tree,” when the CD sounded like the band does live.

As long as I’m talking comic books, I have to mention birthday boy Jhonen Vasquez, the creator of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Invader Zim, and the man who made Hot Topic a mint. If you want to raise your children to be world conquerors, read them “Squee” when you tuck them in at night. He’s put down the pens for a bit, and returned to his college major: film. He directed this music video for Mindless Self-Indulgence:

It hints at what he might unleash on the world when he finishes his first feature-length film. And now you know as much about it as I do.

While we’re talking about more-than-average Joes, let’s talk about Joseph Williams. Joe was the lead singer for Toto, during their “I’ll Be Over You” era. He was Matthew Broderick’s singing voice in “The Lion King.” But we’re talking about him for his songwriting, a talent that he may have inherited from his father, 45-time Academy Award nominated composer John Williams.
While John Williams is celebrated for his music, he’s not hired much for his lyrics. Son Joe got the assignment of writing two songs for “Return of the Jedi:” the Ewok celebration song, and “Lapti Nek,” a dance track by the Max Rebo band, the house band of Jabba the Hutt.

Conway Twitty always existed in another universe to me. Growing up in Georgia, I used to see the bumper stickers everywhere for “Twitty City”, some family vacation rite of passage in the South. I thought it was some sort of amusement park (that was Dollywood,) instead of another would-be Graceland constructed by country music’s appeal for a whiter Elvis Presley (He was rock and roll enough to inspire the 60’s Broadway play “Bye Bye Birdie”.)
Twitty City’s now a facility for the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and country music today sounds more like the Eagles. But, since I never miss a chance to play a birthday song, here’s Conway Twitty’s “Happy Birthday Baby.”

Tomorrow: we rock out. I promise...

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