Best read with The Call’s “I Don’t Want To”
This site gets roughly 60 unique visitors a day with each visitor reading an average of 3.2 posts with each visit. I get about ten emails a week asking why it looks as if there’s nothing new. I write every day and, unfortunately, for the past year or so, most of it was derivative crap. That’s not to say that what is below is not derivative crap, it’s simply far less derivative crap that what I’ve been writing for the past twelve months. I heard the middle part to a most excellent love story via text last Tuesday while sitting on a plane. It is the middle of a friend’s love story and hers to tell….which she has been telling for a few years. And I have been listening, intently, since July, 2012. It’s a damn fine story. Then, on the little, bitty Delta regional jet from Salt lake City to San Antonio this afternoon, the GoGo wireless punked out, leaving a man who wears a 50 long suit stuffed into a little, bitty regional jet seat for three hours thinking about the middle of that beautiful love story. Which kicked off this derivative crap. That’s a damn fine love story you have going there, B. Bravo to you. Bravo to both of you.
Love Stories, Break Up Songs & An Ocelot
I have always been a sucker for a good love story. “A Tale of Two Cities” was a love story wrapped in a revolution story with a dude getting his head chopped off at the end so that another dude could make out with the woman he loved in perpetuity. That is a damn fine love story. I read it when I was very young and that “tis a far, far better thing” ending was one of the first things I ever memorized. A long standing student of the game of love, yet an erstwhile and rare participant, preferring to watch from the sidelines…….I truly enjoy love stories because they combine two of my favorite things: stories and women.
My favorite love stories are the ones I hear in person.
Through the years, to couples (both strangers and friends), I have asked the following battery of questions until bread rolls or napkins have been stuffed in my mouth rendering me question disabled. And I have listened to the answers, intently and with purpose, for decades because they are some of the most fascinating stories of joy, terror, humor, anxiety, loss, redemption, and emotion that you’ll ever hear. And, I remember all the stories. The mundane stories and the fancy stories. They all tend to be very interesting stories. I remember them all.
First day of school and first sky diving adventure questions pale in comparison to the answers to the following questions, asked with sincerity and in the correct order. How did you meet? When did you know you were in love? What did you do about it? Would you like another cocktail for the rest of the questions? Me, too! What made you the most nervous? Did you like his/her family? Really? Promise? How about now? Did you realize it was going to be an emotionally dangerous adventure from the get go….or did it take a while for it to sink in? What did you do to get over that anxiety? What was the first thing you laughed at so hilariously that you both cried? What were the courtship rituals? Who had the best one? Did you compete? Do you challenge each other? Did he/she open up new worlds to you? Really? Which ones? Do you make each other better? When did it go from black and white to full color? Were you more “safe” or “sorry”? How fast did you jump? Did the fall feel like it took forever? How was the landing? Did you stick the landing? What did the Russian judge give you on the landing? 6? That figures. Damn Commies.
And four dozen other questions. Perhaps five dozen.
Many times, with the best love stories, you don’t even have to ask the detailed questions. You can sit back and just ask “….and then what?” And listen. The “and then what?” ones are generally the best love stories.
I’ve never really answered those questions because unlike those people who sit across from me ……I am a runner. A world-class sprinter. I could beat Usain Bolt in the regular Olympics and Oscar Pistorius in both the regular Olympics and the Paralympics. This is one of the things that makes me such a good listener to these stories. And stories, like songs, help us figure out the most basic of our own questions. I would have asked Oscar a different battery of questions. More basic ones including gun safety and girlfriend protection
A long standing student of the game of love, yet an erstwhile and rare participant, preferring to watch from the sideline………..I truly enjoy break up songs because they combine two of my favorite things: music and women. If you have ever listened to our band Two Non Blondes, you’ll notice that 97.4% of the tunes we sing are break up songs. Break up songs are far more fun to play, especially to a crowd at 710 Beach Club. Because while only a third of the audience may be in love at any particular time, one hundred percent of that audience has been through a break up and will emote with each tune. Pearl Jam’s “Black”. Cee Lo’s “(Expletive Deleted) You”. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone”. Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”. Cake’s version of “I Will Survive”, minus the bad ass bass solos. Ad infinitum. 97.4% of the songs we have done since 2010 are break up songs. 2.2% of what Two Non Blondes does are whiskey songs. The remaining tenths of a percent of the Two Non Blonde songs are love songs. We enjoy the angst. We also enjoy the irony.
Break up songs are infinitely more interesting than love songs. There are 3,908,904,873 ways people run into trouble and break up. There are only three or four ways that people spend that first three to six months falling in love. Therefore, there are only three or four basic themes to all love songs, while there are 3,908,904,873 specific themes to break up songs.
Unlike the love story questions, I only ask two questions regarding break ups. The only two questions I ever ask regarding break ups are: “Are you OK?” and “Is there anything I can do to help you through this one?”
When it comes to the “boy loses girl” and the corollary “girl loses boy”, that’s when things get interesting. This is when break up songs truly begin kicking the dog snot out of love songs. This is how Johnny Cash started his empire, how Bruce Springsteen won the hearts and souls of America in the late 1970’s and how (unfortunately) James Blunt was allowed to make all of his whiny albums.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Given that the average song is three minutes long, listening to 3,908,904,873 break up themes would take you 11,726,714,619 minutes….roughly mathematized, this would be 8,143,552 days. Twenty-two thousand years. Given that you’re definitely not going to live to (please add your age here to the number 2,200 and say it aloud), here are the thirty-one you may need down the road. You are welcome.
Pulp: “Like a Friend”
Dave Mason: “We Just Disagree”
Smashing Pumpkins: “Disarm”
Lia Ices: “Love is Won”
The Killers: “When You Were Young”
World Party: “Way Down Now”
Coldplay: “Violet Hill”
Hothouse Flowers: “It Will be Easier in the Morning”
Wilco: “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” (cover)
Wilco: “Via Chicago”
Wilco is well-represented….clearly, Jeff Tweedy had some heartbreak.
Mike Ness: “Don’t Think Twice”
Against Me: “Thrash Unreal”
Sand Rubies: “Goodbye”
Blues Traveler: “Conquer Me”
Bee Gees: “I’ve Got To Get a Message to You”
Third Eye Blind: “How’s It Going to Be”
Natalie Imbruglia: “Torn”
Norah Jones: “Black”
Steve Kazee: “Falling Slowly”
Tim Fite: “Big Mistake”
James Vincent McMorrow: “We Don’t Eat”
Radiohead: “Fake Plastic Trees”
Beth Hart: “L.A. Song” (acoustic version….with piano)
Smith’s Cloud: “Change of Days”
REM: “Wendell Gee”
Black Keys: “Little Black Submarines”
Silversun Pickups: “Panic Switch”
Blue October: “Hate Me”
Van Morrison: “I’m Not Feeling It Any More”
Bob Dylan: Stuck Inside of Memphis With the Mobile Blues Again”
Replacements: “Here Comes a Regular”
Replacements: “I’ll Be You”
Hayes Carll: “I Wish I Hadn’t Stayed So Long”
Third Eye Blind: “How’s It Going to Be?”
Blink 182: “I Miss You”
Eminem: “Love the Way You Lie”
Guns & Roses: “Estranged”
Rolling Stones: most anything from “Sticky Fingers”…and “Let It Bleed”
Foo Fighters: “Monkey Wrench”
Kris Kristofferson: “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
Johnny Cash: “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
People like choices….you choose between Johnny and Kris. My preference is the Kris version because it is the original; however, some prefer the Johnny version.
And, without question, the finest combination love song ever written or performed is the one up at the top by The Call. “I Don’t Wanna”. Like the best love songs and break up songs, you can hear it from one year to the next and make it a love song or a break up song. Which is, of course, most excellent.
To those of you in love: well played and good for you. I look forward to hearing your stories down the road. To those of you breaking up, feel free to borrow any of the tunes listed above. They all have their place, depending upon your circumstances and mood. B! I look forward to sitting at the picnic table with you and your man down the road, asking all the questions above and the many, many more not shared. I agree wholeheartedly with all those people who said “you two look awesome together and ought to live in the same city.” Yep.
As always, thanks for visiting and reading.
As promised in the title block above, here is your ocelot. Remember to fasten your seat belt while seated and to use the bottom cushion for flotation.
Question came in three months ago…how are these written. They are written on long, long plane rides. On the back pages of books. As all derivative crap should be written.
While looking at really cool clouds while other people discuss their travel habits.
2 responses to “Love Stories, Break Up Songs, & An Ocelot”
You had me with your first sentence and hugged me with “Wendell Gee.” Hat tip.
Lots of folks miss that “Wendell Gee” is a most excellent break up song. Not us, though…..you and I know that from the first “C” note.