Man oh Man…have I ever been a bad boy. That is, it has been a considerable time since I decided to share my thoughts about anything with anyone, let alone to plunk them down for all to see in this unique space. But a promise is a promise, and as I have been saying for almost 40 years, “I never said I'd be good, I just said I'd be HERE!” So live with it. Here I am.
In our last volume, I promised to tell all about “My Dinner With Jimi,” the Rhino-produced full-length feature based upon my memoirs of some bizarre sixties experiences. Well kids, I lied. Again. Or at least, have decided to postpone said backstage peek until the film has secured international distribution. I know, that really sucks, but “Jimi” is a little movie, and while it's done very well on the “festival circuit,” a real release would warm the cockles of my heart. Not to mention the hearts of producer Harold Bronson and director Bill Fishman. So, stay tuned. I'll let you know when we're all a little closer to seeing the picture in a theater near you.
Instead, let's turn our attention to other things.
As predicted last year, Firefly—the Joss Whedon series—was forced off the air after only a few episodes. We await the feature film, and the presence of Gina Torres, with anticipation, especially now that Angel is gone and for all intent and purposes, so is the known Buffyverse. We are saddened. It made us this sad, if not even more livid, to note the disposability of Sci-Fi's brilliant Farscape series, although this one too appears to be headed to the land of motion pictures, albeit for television. Hey, that's OK…I'll take my Farscape any way I can get it.
So what are we left with out there in TV Land? What is my tivo set to record? Perhaps by the time you read this, the really great shows will be back: I talking your Six Feet Under, here. Your Dead Like Me. Your Arrested Development. Sure, we've still got Monk, Survivor, the Amazing Race—the only two reality shows that I look forward to. I don't count American Idol in here, cuz I picked Fantasia out on Week #1. Didn't we all? Wasn't it an incredible waste of time? Sure, I hear you shaking your heads, but how many times did YOU vote? I voted plenty. That's right—I'm a sucker. Sue me, ya bastards! Charmed, on the WB, continues to jiggle moronically—just the way I like it. And Touching Evil is amazing—Jeffery Donovan alert to the estrogen infused and the hopelessly ambiguous—great scripts and the soundtrack will rock your house. Wonderful. I watch Celebrity Poker Showdown and Dinner for Five on Bravo, home of the much-copied Queer Eye phenom, Tru Calling—we'll see how long this one lasts—Eliza Dushku is better when she's a smart ass, like Faith was in the Buffy series, is flawed, but she's great to look at. Did I mention that she's great to look at?
It's amazing to me that while brilliant series come and go, Stargate SG-1 continues to be so ubiquitous. On local stations and prime-time cable, MacGiver continues to retain his adolescent sparkle through his middle age. Boy, you gotta feel that Richard Dean Anderson was really at the right place at the right time to glom onto this film franchise, lo those many years ago. Now there's an annuity.
There aren't any more good sitcoms. No one is funny. Except for late night TV, when at least we have our precious Jon Stewart. And Louis Black. The Daily Show is the only news program on television that makes any sense. Add to it the occasional flash of monolog brilliance from Conan or Dave and see why no one watches Brokaw anymore. Of course, in December, he'll be gone too. Replaced by Brian Robbins, who at least, HAS a sense of humor. It's just depressing. Luckily, we still have our DVDs. From Shout! Factory comes the first 5-disc compilation of genius from our friends in the Great White North. Lovingly transferred to digital are 90-minute-long episodes of SCTV, the best sketch comedy show ever to air on television. From here came Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis and Andrea Martin. On shoe-string budget and working out of Edmonton, Alberta—a tiny town in Canada's prairie—for much of it's run, the mind-boggling hilarity of these pioneer television clowns could never be duplicated by the slick “live” shtick of SNL or MAD-TV. These were belly laughs for baby boomers from the talents that were to deliver A Mighty Wind some twenty years later. Great comedy is timeless.
In my last rant, I was super-critical of Universal for it's refusal to release Northern Exposure on DVD or anywhere else, depriving all from the warmest, quirkiest series that TV has ever aired. Well, not for nothing, I hold the complete first season in my hands right now. And it's amazing. All dressed up in a bright orange zippered and Velcro windbreaker. Kudos to NBC/Universal for finally delivering this amazing David Chase (The Sopranos) created series to our homes. It has made our long wait justifiable.
This is the year that I have been waiting for this entire decade. This is the year that the Pixies, the greatest American rock band of the 80's-90's, hit the touring trail. OK, I'll admit that, perhaps I am a bit biased. I mean, when I love something, I LOVE something. In music, these obsessions don't happen that often for me. I obsessed about the Beatles growing up along side of them. Sure. And Dylan. Once. And the Stones. With each new record. And, back in the day, I was easily that hung up at one time or another, on the Replacements, REM, Soul Asylum…hey, I never said that I was a pioneer: I obviously know the best of the best, however. And there was never, NEVER a better band than the Pixies. Most of you know this. So I'd be retarded to recommend Surfer Rosa or Dolittle, two of my top ten all-time albums. You most certainly have them already or at least have heard David Bowie or Avril Levigne extol their virtues. But just in case you missed them ten or twelve years ago, do yourselves a HUGE favor and at least buy the new “Best of the Pixies” release on 4AD Records. You think you know why you like the music that you do. But you don't. The Pixies are responsible for everything you love on the radio. You are moron if you don't know and love every song that they ever performed. Period.
Speaking of great, have-to-own records look for the all-new Turtles Anthology and the completely re-mastered Turtles Greatest Hits coming soon from Shout! Factory/Sony Music. And keep your ears open for Happy Together, our original master recording, in upcoming advertising campaigns from Coldwell Banker, Britain's N-Power, Critique's Happy fragrance, Heineken Beer, and of course, multiple plays on The Simpsons. Thanks to all you advertisers and producers for your support. Happy Together will soon even be available as a downloadable ring-tone, so you'll never be too far away from your favorite over-aged hippie pals.
At the movies, I have yet to see the CGI-Vampire epic, Van Helsing, but this is my weekend to attend. I'll take a pass on Troy, but I know that Shrek2 is in my future—that's just the cut of my jib. Super Size Me doesn't interest me…I already know I'm fat, and Michael Moore's not saying anything new either. So I think that I'll read instead. Seems like I've been waiting for the two long-promised James Elroy books for over a year, and I am a man not known for his patience. In the interim, Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas is his best book in years. You'll laugh, you'll cry—really—and if you order the limited edition from Charnel House Publishers, you'll have a beautiful collector's item that's a pleasure to read and will go up in value too. You guys should try collecting first edition, signed books. It's a wonderful investment that brings daily and long-term pleasure. And you can't say that too often these days.
Also, if you're a fan of noir or you liked last year's amazing Clint Eastwood mystery, Mystic River, do yourself a favor and try reading Dennis Lehanne. He is, quite simply, amazing. Even his debut book, circa 1994, A Drink Before the War, reads like F. Paul Wilson, present day. And that's a really good thing. But, cut to the chase, literally. After Lehanne introduced his guy/gal detectives to the world in a series of five page-turning paperbacks, came Mystic—his most successful work—and now Shutter Island. I can lavish no higher praise than to totally advise you to read this book. You will thank me. It's like recommending the Da Vinci Code, I know—you would have to try very hard to miss this one—but many would have. So I feel vindicated. I have done a good thing.
The Turtles are out on the road again as the summer of 04 rolls on, but though I am away from home I know that I shall be entertained.
My Tivo—the most important invention since air conditioning—BUY A TIVO, YOU JERKS! —Is set to record Aqua Teen Hunger Force (the best animated show since South Park), my ipod is loaded up with Pixies…(and they are going to record and sell copies of each and every new concert performance), and I'll be on the next flight to your town to sing (and sell you Turtles stuff) wearing my noise-canceling phones and watching Dr. Joel Fleishman trying to deal with the good people of Cicely, Alaska on DVD. It promises to be a most satisfying summer after all.
the artist formerly known as Eddie