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Category Archives: music

Classic Bands Rebooted – Part Two

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recordalbums

It seems there is no end to the list of bands and singers in immediate need of renaming. Luckily, a few of those performers are about to get a free upgrade.

LIMP FITBIT

MY CHEMICAL BROMANCE

OK GOPRO

ZZ PODCAST

DEATH UBER FOR CUTIE

ARCADE DROUGHT

THE SMASHING CRONUTS

JAZZY JEFF AND THE ORGANIC PRINCE

TINDERLAND

REO SPEED TESLA

RAGE AGAINST THE SELFIE STICK

JOAN DRONE

NEW KALE ON THE BLOCK

AIR BNB SUPPLY

3D PRINTED DOG NIGHT

ROBOCALL OUT BOY

BINGE WATCH TV ON THE RADIO

Let the world tours begin!

Singer Names That Are Just Sick

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singingwithacold

Being a sick singer can mean one of two things. Either the cool kids think you’re so talented that you’re sick, or you’re a vocalist in need of medical treatment. Here are some instances of the latter.

SKEEVY WONDER

EWWIE LEWIS & THE NEWS

BLISTA RHYMES

WOO-Z

YUCKO ONO

RASHFORD AND SIMPSON

OW WOW

LICE GIRLS

NAUSEOUS BY NATURE

BLEECHH SABBATH

BLEARY MANILOW

MC REEK

PEACHES AND ERP

CHAKA CONGESTED

Come to think of it, I’m feeling a little verklempt myself.

Superfluous Singers in Movies

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glencampbellduke

For some reason, a lot of movie folks believe a good way to bring people into the theater is to plop a famous singer into the proceedings. Sometimes this works out quite well, such as when Barbra Streisand stars in “Funny Girl,” or when Justin Timberlake appears in “The Social Network.” But often it stinks.

TAYLOR SWIFT IN “VALENTINE’S DAY”

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In a film overcrowded with actors trying to work out various romantic entanglements, Swift’s contribution is exactly nil. Her subplot involves another acting lightweight (who doesn’t have a singing and songwriting career to fall back on), Taylor Lautner.

TRINI LOPEZ IN “THE DIRTY DOZEN”

trinilopezdirtydozen

This didn’t work on any level. Lopez, a nice, amiable guy, was cast as part of a rotten, violent crew of deranged soldiers on a suicide mission. And then, he didn’t really have anything to do during the movie. His acting wasn’t anything to write home about either. He made Clint Walker look like Olivier.

BEYONCE IN “AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER”

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The great singer Beyonce isn’t a particularly good actress, but in all honesty, she wasn’t given much help in this comedy by the ever-inventive Mike Myers. Her dialogue was wretched and there was absolutely no attempt to create chemistry with Myers. I suspect Dr. Evil had a hand in it.

JAMES TAYLOR IN “TWO LANE BLACKTOP”

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“Two Lane Blacktop” has a legion of fans, and I understand why. Its atmospherics and vibe are uniquely compelling. It suits its early 1970s era. But I would argue that it would have worked just as well or better without Taylor (or co-star Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys). The dialogue was minimal and the characters had a laconic, empty feel to them. I know, I know – that was the point. Still, you didn’t need pop stars to accomplish it.

SNOOP LION IN “STARSKY & HUTCH”

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Aside from having Snoop wear some truly hilarious 1970s clothing, “Starsky & Hutch” didn’t give the illustrious rapper a reason to shine. I thought his TV commercials with Lee Iacocca were a lot funnier – and more intelligent.

JESSICA SIMPSON IN “THE DUKES OF HAZZARD”

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Admittedly, you’re not going to get new insights into the human condition by playing sexy Daisy Dukes. But it’s possible to at least be funny or knowingly sarcastic. Poor Jessica Simpson didn’t really have the chops to do either.

BOB DYLAN IN “PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID”

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In a way, this was a perfect situation for Dylan to do some screen acting. Think about it. A 1970s, counter-culture take on the Old West almost requires a mumbling, awkward, self-conscious performance. Mission accomplished.

PHIL COLLINS IN “HOOK”

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Collins has had some stage training, so it’s not quite so unusual to see him in a movie. The odd thing is this particular role. It’s just a cameo, and a distracting one at that. Making it even worse is that “Hook” requires some attention to detail in order to follow the liberties taken with the Peter Pan story. The last thing viewers need is to be scratching their heads thinking, “What the hell is Phil Collins doing here?”

BOBBY VINTON IN “THE TRAIN ROBBERS”

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A person who watches “The Train Robbers” would be hard-pressed to say much about Bobby Vinton’s performance. It’s non-existent! Even worse, his scenes look as if an extra mistakenly walked onto the set after a smoke break.

TOM PETTY IN “THE POSTMAN”

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The cool thing about Petty here is he seems to understand how utterly weird it is to find him in a major motion picture. The bad thing is that we know it, too. If there’s a saving grace, it’s that “The Postman,” a post-apocalyptic fable starring Kevin Costner, is so downright goofy we sort of appreciate the nutty casting.

ASHANTI IN “JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE”

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Even a bitter, sarcastic teen movie needs a little acting to keep people interested. Ashanti tries her best, but it’s still painful to watch.

GLEN CAMPBELL IN “TRUE GRIT”

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Mr. Campbell, a singer whose voice I’ve always liked, remains the sentimental favorite in this category even after all these years. He often joked that his bad acting in “True Grit” was what enabled John Wayne to finally win an Oscar. He may have been right. Campbell’s line readings as a cocky Texas ranger have a certain William Shatner-like quality in their weirdness.

I’m sure there are plenty of good examples I’ve left out. Feel free to suggest more!

Music Festivals No One Wants to See

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The Jimbo List understands it’s never too early to make your summer music festival plans. After all, that perfect sunglasses-and-sandals combo isn’t just going to find itself, am I right? It’s also important to know which festivals to avoid. But never fear. Here is a handy List of events you’d do well to skip.

POUGHKEEPSIEPALOOZA

LIVE ACHE

KAMIKAZECON

ABUSIVE COACHELLA

SYRIAROO

CONCERT FOR A FREE BOCA RATON

GWYNETH FAIR

DRIFTWOODSTOCK

ANTFARM AID

And please remember: Don’t take the brown acid.

Great Odes to the Open Road

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Oh, but the tug of the open road is contagious. We’re draw to the uncertainty, the adventure and the promise of new experiences. Any number of artists and ordinary souls have been inspired to share this excitement. These are some of my favorite examples.

ON THE ROAD

For many, Jack Kerouac’s classic story of wondering and wandering is the last word on road trips. It’s a marvel of stream-of-consciousness writing. “On the Road” perfectly conveys the intoxicating, surreal, gritty, dangerous sexiness of hitting the open road.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a road trip and found myself warbling Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” It has such a pleasing lilt and sense of movement. Road trips may be grueling sometimes, but they usually start off happy.

MIDNIGHT RUN

Here’s an action movie comedy, featuring odd couple Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. DeNiro is a bounty hunter bringing in a mob accountant, played by Grodin, who has skipped bail. Like many great tales of the road, it’s a journey of transformation – in this case, with guns, punches and comedic slow burns.

TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY

Toward the end of his life, the great John Steinbeck directed his magnificent reporting skills and humanity to a cross-country road trip. He and his dog, Charley, traveled the highways and byways in an RV. Through brief interactions and keen observations, he painted an insightful picture of postwar America. Some critics have questioned his journalistic accuracy, but the power of his writing is unassailable.

ROADFOOD

In a way, road trips are just an excuse to search for the best slice of banana cream pie or the best plate of cheese fries. Jane and Michael Stern dug deep into the heart and soul of America’s glorious greasy spoons and dreamy diners for this gem. On a personal note, I found the best banana cream pie, ever, while traveling a mountain road in Montana.

TRAIL JOURNALS

For more than a decade, Trail Journals (www.trailjournals.com) has provided a digital home for hundreds of thousands of photographs and pieces of writing by long distance hikers around the country. The Appalachian Trail is prominent here, but there are many other trails represented, as well. The best trail journals are utterly engrossing. They tell stories of beautiful vistas, animal encounters, physical hardship, budding friendships and deep, solitary thought – all unfolding day by day.

THE FUGITIVE

I loved everything about this old TV show from the 1960s. The variety of locales, the gritty narration by William Conrad, the central storyline of a guy on the lam from the law for a murder he didn’t commit. Mostly, I loved David Janssen’s low-key, understated hero. After four seasons, “The Fugitive” ended with one of the most satisfying finales in TV history.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

Hundreds of films since 1934 have attempted to recapture the chemistry and romance of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in “It Happened One Night.” It’s a silly story about an heiress and a newshound making their way across the country during the Great Depression, but it’s sheer bliss. Witty banter, funny supporting characters and a classic hitchhiking scene. For a different sort of road story from the Depression, there’s …

THE GRAPES OF WRATH

We return to Steinbeck for one of the great American novels. “The Grapes of Wrath” follows a family searching for work and dignity as they flee from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Instead, they encounter greed, poverty and indignity. It’s a harrowing journey, one that strips individuals down to their core beliefs and little else. I’ll never forget reading this book for the first time and thinking about the pure poetry of a human being deciding who and what he is.

Now let’s go a bit beyond the reach of the American road.

THE AMAZING RACE

This show actually IS amazing. You want to test a marriage/friendship/relationship? Send people halfway around the world in the middle of the night and ask them to go from the airport to some out-of-the-way local landmark as fast as they can without killing each other. It exposes every hidden grudge and emotional sore spot before the first commercial break. Want to have your mind blown? Imagine your parents as contestants.

THE WIZARD OF OZ

Best. Road. Ever.

DANCING MATT

Matt Harding, also known as “Dancing Matt,” has recorded a series of videos of himself doing a crazy, happy dance in dozens of countries around the world. Millions of people have watched these videos and been charmed by the simple joy of a goofy, global dance. That’s what I call a great road trip.

So tell me, what are your favorite road trips from pop culture?

10 Terrific Tigers

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I’m hearing some great things about the special effects tiger in the film version of “Life of Pi.” This has me intrigued. Tigers just may be the most beautiful creatures on the planet, and if this pixelated critter is as wondrous as advertised, he’ll join an illustrious roster of pop culture tigers.

SHERE KHAN

I’m going with my favorite tiger first. Yes, he’s the villain from “Jungle Book,” but he’s undeniably great. He’s droll, he’s cunning, he’s merciless. He also has the voice, heavy-lidded eyes and lantern jaw of the urbane British actor, George Sanders.

TONY THE TIGER

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Frosted Flakes icon Tony the Tiger. He’s no villain – he’s more like that gregarious uncle who let you stay up past your bedtime and showed you wrestling moves like the Backbreaker and the Spinning Toe Hold. He’s not PC, but he’s ggggrrreat!

DETROIT TIGERS

Can’t say this is one of my favorite teams, since I’m a National League guy. But still, props to a Major League franchise that’s been around since 1894, boasts four World Series titles and has had players such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline in the lineup. Best of all, the Tigers stayed in one city all these years.

TIGGER

Dear lord, what a great creation Tigger is! Anyone with little kids (or grandkids) knows that Tigger is a welcome infusion of energy, action and humor in all situations. He’s dangerous and tame, simultaneously. Thank you, A.A. Milne and Paul Winchell.

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON

Ang Lee’s 2000 film classic is the cinematic equivalent to a tiger: it’s powerful, graceful, violent and visually arresting. You want tragic heroes and villains? You want epic history and scope? You want some kick-ass swordplay and wire walking? Your search is over. Also, it’s only fitting to include Mr. Lee in a List inspired by “Life of Pi.”

DIEGO

Dennis Leary is the voice of Diego the prehistoric tiger in the “Ice Age” movies. Although he curbs his normally robust language as Diego, Leary does a nice job of lending a soulful quality to the proceedings.

DANIEL STRIPED TIGER

Of course, there is no pop culture tiger with more soul than Daniel Striped Tiger from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” This little gent had the voice of Fred Rogers, which explained why he was so darned nice. Another thing in his favor? Sporty wristwatch.

TIGER WOODS

No, he is not a model citizen. He’s a tremendous golfer, though. For years, he absolutely commanded the attention of his competitors and sports fans in general. Very tiger-like.

HOBBES

This guy – how could you not like him? Half of cartoonist Bill Watterson’s brilliant comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes,” tiger Hobbes is the savagely sophisticated counterpoint to incorrigible little boy Calvin. Young Calvin believes Hobbes is an actual tiger and not a stuffed animal. I’m inclined to agree.

EYE OF THE TIGER

There are several tiger songs I could have chosen, such as “Hold That Tiger” and “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail,” but instead I have selected Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from 1982. Why? Because it’s in “Rocky III,” fool.

And now I’m off to see “Life of Pi.”

Baby’s First iPod Playlist

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In this era of personal branding and endless accessorizing, I think babies should have their own versions of classic songs. It might be just the thing to revitalize the music industry. Same great songs, different point of view. I’ve got your first playlist right here.

SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL OVER

PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW DIAPER BAG

WAAH THIS WAY

TAKE THIS NAP AND SHOVE IT

I GOT YOU, BEAR

TIMEOUT IN A BOTTLE

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHCHAIR

LEADER OF THE PACK ‘N PLAY

CRYING IN THE CHAPEL, THE BANK, THE GROCERY STORE…

CALIFORNIA TEETHIN’

WHAT’S GOING ON (IN THAT CAR SEAT)

BE MY BINKIE

UMBRELLA STROLLER

FREE BURP

CRIB OVER TROUBLED WATER

HOUSE OF THE RISING SON

YOU CAN ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT

I smell a winner!

Popeye Sings The Hits of Yesterday and Today

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Here’s an idea that’s perfect for this age of branding and synergy. Take an iconic cartoon hero – Popeye – and unleash his distinctive voice and phrasings on some of the biggest pop hits of the past 50 years. What could go wrong? Consider these tracks:

I KISSED A GOYL

SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPINACH

GOOD VIBRAYSHKINS

I LEFT ME HAT IN SAN FRANCISCO

WELL, BLOW ME DOWNTOWN

SAVE THE LAST CAN FOR ME

WHAT I YAM

HOUND DOG-GOG-GOG

WE ARE THE WOYLD

I ONLY HAVE EYE FOR YOU

THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD WIMPY DOWN

BEYOND THE SEA HAG

I’VE GOT YOU UNDER ME SKIN

If this works, we move on to Elmer Fudd (“Hit The Woad, Jack”). In the meantime, feel free to add to The List!

Band Names For Politicians

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Slogans are great, but nothing connects a politician to the electorate like music. We’ve already seen Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sing for the camera this year, and Bill Clinton got tons of mileage for playing his saxophone on TV years ago. I think political figures should drop the pretense and just start forming their own bands. Here are a few to get us start

IT TAKES A VILLAGE PEOPLE – Hillary Clinton

BWAH-HA MEN – Dick Cheney

ZZ GAFFE – Joe Biden

EARTH, WIND AND CRIER – John Boehner

NON-BLINK 47 – Nancy Pelosi

AVERAGE WHITE BLAND – Tim Pawlenty

OBAMARAMA – Barack Obama

MITT THE HOOPLE – Mitt Romney

CREEDENCE WHITEWATER REVIVAL – Bill Clinton

DEATH PANELS FOR CUTIE – Sarah Palin

OLDPLAY – Harry Reid

24 HOUR TEA PARTY PEOPLE – Michele Bachmann

You have to admit, it would make the Democratic and Republican National Conventions a lot more interesting.

Rock Songs for Seniors

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Now that the Rolling Stones have decided to do some 50th anniversary concerts this fall, it seems only fitting to adapt some classic rock and roll songs to the particular needs of senior citizens. See what you think.

IN A GADDA DA GEEZER

HEY! YOU! GET OFF MYLAWN

CATARACT SCRATCH FEVER

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DENTURES

WHO ARE YOU? NO, SERIOUSLY, WHO ARE YOU?

PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW SAG

SWEET NURSING HOME ALABAMA

A MUCH WHITER SHADE OF PALE

WON’T GET FOOLED (BY TELEMARKETERS) AGAIN

THE HOUSE OF THE RISING BLOOD PRESSURE

SLOOOW RIDE

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO TO DUANE READE

BROWN EYED GRANNY

I CAN’T SEE FOR MILES

BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE BIRD

Can you think of any others? Add to The List!