Musical smorgasbord

Monday, October 3, 2005

One reason I'm glad school is back is because of the music. Jazz to marching band to orchestra, its a joy to hear, and its always priced right.

I like to consider myself reasonably open minded about music. My go-to CD stack in the office has everything from southwestern American Indian to cajun blues to Miami Latin - I can travel cross country without leaving my new chair. The rotation ranges from James Taylor to Guns N Roses, Bob Dylan to Chris Issak, Five For Fighting to Mozart, the Goo Goo Dolls to B.B. King, The Nadas to U2, Jimmy Buffet to Bach.

I may feel a bit out of place at something like Edgefest in Storm Lake (nothing pierced, inked or spiked) at a country bar (no cowboy boots) at a rap party (no street cred) or at a chamber music event (no tux), but I did learn early on that there's something good to be found in every genre of music.

Can't convince my kids though. They laugh at most everything I like - and steadfastly refuse to believe that anything that isn't the top 40 flavor of the week is music. They do play in band, though, and have no choice but to experience some range, like it or not.

We agree on a few. Like "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day... their taste isn't bad, it's just narrow.

I wonder what my parents thought when I was in junior high listening to KISS? I think my dad used to sneak my Springsteen 8-tracks to listen to in the garage, but he wouldn't admit it.

You can hear a wide variety here - from beach music at the Spectacular to classic rock at Rock & Remember at Marathon. Big Band in the bandshell. Country at the BV and Clay county fairs. Classical and jazz on stage at BVU. There's even a zydeco festival up the road at the Lakes.

And it's all good. If we aren't going to bring the Cobblestone back, I hope that music can find a home in Project Awaysis.

The plan for a Great Lawn screams for a portable stage for informal concerts. The hotel perhaps could make space to accommodate regular nights for area bands to show their stuff. How about a surf music contest at the new beach or the water park? An open rap mic at the proposed skate park? An acoustic Concert for the Wetland fundraiser outside the proposed interpretive center? An education demonstration of fusion sounds and dance from around the world at the new playground, courtesy of Storm Lake's diverse population?

Music makes anyplace colorful and vibrant - all kinds of music.

One thing any genre of music has in common is the search for a band name that will get you noticed. We got the Fish Heads this summer, Salamagundi is a favorite at Rock and Remember, the Chain Smoking Altar Boys played the Blues Festival here, Unintentional Dissonance at BVU. Pretty interesting stuff. That got me thinking. I searched the internet...

Here are my choices for the best unique band names (I swear, I did not make any of these up!):

10. Barbeque Bob and the Spare Ribs

9. Above Average Weight Band

8. Don't Hit Your Sister

7. Jif and the Choosy Mothers

6. New Squids on the Dock

5. Rebel Without Applause

4. Snotty Scotty and the Hankies

3. Stark Naked and the Car Thieves

2. Swearing at Motorists

1. Admiral Poopy Pants and His Dancing Teeth

And the all-time worst (also guaranteed genuine!):

10. Bedwetter

9. Alcoholics Unanimous

8. Jehovah's Waitresses

7. Grandpa's Become a Fungus

6. Disappointed Parents

5. Hard Drinking Housewives

4. Cap'n Crunch and the Cereal Killers

3. If Pigs Could Talk Would You Still Eat Them

2. Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children McNuggets

1. Mary Tyler Morphine

And a few that are simply inexplicable:

Shower With Goats, Skanorrhea and the Burning Sensations, Sorry About Your Daughter, Willy Nelson Mandela, Well I'm Sure I Left it There Yesterday Band, Vic Vacuum and the Attachments, Coconut Dwarf Assault, Orange Juice After Toothpaste, The The...

I wonder if the songs are half as creative as the names? Music by any name is part of life. It helps keep your heart pumping. I'd love to see Storm Lake earn a reputation as a musical melting pot, and we don't even need to build a new building to do it. We have much of the talent right here. So play on. But put a tarp down if Bedwetter comes to town, won't you?