J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)

Rumsfeld and the Kyrgyz leader absolutely adore the letter “E”

I have a 3-year-old girl. It’s challenging to find music that we can both agree on. She likes Beck, though, so that’s cool. However, it hasn’t taken her too long, upon hearing “Motherfuker” on his Mellow Gold album, to start questioning the lyrics of said song. That’s problematic. That’s why we listen to They Might Be Giants together. They’re creating kids albums these days and even if you don’t have a tot the albums are worth checking out. “E Eats Everything” is on their Here Comes the ABC’s album. No! is an even better album. There’s a song on it about a belligerent broom. And, as a plus, there’s no reference to mother fucking. I’m a good parent.

The young country singing lass has made some good company in her career. She’s a friend of the spacey Lance Bass of N’SYNC. They were members of the traveling choir Mississippi Show Stoppers as kids. That must have been something to see(!), little Mississippians singing their little hearts out. Actually, kid singing groups creep me out. I see a boy choir and get a feeling there’s a Stephen King story lurking amongst them. So, yeah, Lance Bass, and on her first album, Reach, her producer was one Richard Marx. Richard “I’m Right Here Waiting For You” Marx. Richard “Check Out My Mullet and My Leather Jacket That’s Too Small For My Sexy Frame” Marx. Richard “Derivative Adult Contemporary Syrupy Crap” Marx. Sadly, country fans, Edwards isn’t singing anymore. She’s earned a double degree in Political Science and History at Belmont University and is studying law at University of Mississippi. Too bad, she had a future for sure as a country singer hanging out with a guy who wants to fly in a spaceship and another guy with a receding mullet hanging on desperately to the proceeds of albums that were hits 20 years ago. Now she’s just going to be a lawyer, saving the world. What a chump!

Sure, you walked down the aisle of the gymnasium during your high school graduation to “Pomp and Circumstance.” You owe it to yourself, however, to listen to all of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches (1909-1910). Seriously, it’s pretty good and classical music makes you smarter and smarts is what you need because you didn’t do well in high school, did you? You squandered your potential. You didn’t apply yourself. You didn’t play with others. You ran with scissors.

One of progressive rock’s first supergroups, I knew almost nothing about them (except their names) until I started studying up on them for this little piece. I should know more about them. Why? From wikipedia…

1) “Emerson was interested in further exploiting the range of the Moog synthesizer.” Really? He was interested in a Moog synthesizer? What an interesting thing to be interested in. Then again I’m interested in further exploiting the range of Yoo-Hoo. A delicious unheralded chocolate beverage, Yoo-Hoo is. Mmmm….Yoo-Hoo.

2) “Their March 21, 1971 concert at Newcastle City Hall – featuring the group’s adaptation of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.’” Really?! Mussorgsky? Wow! That’s like Snoop Dogg adapting Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”

3) “..a track that became virtually the band’s signature tune, a version of Aaron Copland’s ‘Hoedown.’” Really!?! Copland? Wow! That’s like Snoop Dogg adapting Copland’s “Hoedown.” Well, I can see it actually, Snoop Dogg’s “Ho Down.”

4) As they crumbled… “the rise of punk and disco seemed to undermine any notion of intellectualism in rock.” REALLY!?!! Disco didn’t expand the intellectualism of rock? Of music itself? “My Boogie Shoes” didn’t showcase the true intellect of our nation as a whole? Think again, stupid.

The euphonium is a conical-bore, tenor-based instrument whose name is derived from the Greek euphonos, meaning “sweet-voiced.” Are you kidding? Euphoniums sound like muted farts. My buddy Randy played euphonium in our college marching band. We weren’t sure if he was tooting the fight song on his horn or tooting his ass due to the faulty meats served at the nearby dining hall. Either way it was bad.

”More Than Words,” that was their big hit. Remember it? That sweet rockin’ kick ass ballad that made girls swoon? Yeah, you know it! Swoon! So, in college I had a little radio show in the stairwell of the student union building and I put on the Extreme CD and kept the mic on, singing along with the bad ass Extreme team, in hopes of wooing hot college girls with my “More Than Words” interpretation. I figured that they’d listen, some hot little vixens, hear my powerful, yet soulful voice, call me up at the station and ask me out. We’d go to a coffee shop, watch a black & white Audrey Hepburn movie at the theater on campus, then have sex. I got a call, from Brian. He told me to, “shut the fuck up.” Brian then refused to go out to coffee with me, watch an Audrey Hepburn movie, and have sex with me. What’s a guy have to do?!

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