Seriously, this stuff is pure comedy gold; uncut, uncensored, and usually unintentional. There’s this one program, VlogTV, where these two kids sit in front of a laptop and show clips off of youtube. It’s sort of like “Homemovies” that used to air on KBDI in the 80s, except everything is viewer-requested, so nobody reviews the content beforehand. There’s always this breathless, nerve rattling moment while the hosts wait to see if they’ve been duped into downloading hot MILF action.
Then there’s the “Chuck and Linda Lee Show” - Linda Lee is a new-ager of the “angels talk to me” variety, who talks all about creating your reality, while she herself pantomimes drinking a cup of tea. Chuck’s reality consists of getting the smackdown from Linda Lee anytime he opens his mouth to say something. And playing guitar.
The other thing I love about public access is that anytime I watch it, I’m sure to see someone I know. The wife - she used to do naughty with a guy that had a speaking part in Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”. Me – I watch channel 57 and see Rebecca, an avant guard artist who went by “Becky” back when she was cheerleading at dear ol’ Northglenn High School.
Last week, we got the kids to bed early so we could watch the monthly live broadcast of the “First Friday” event on Santa Fe. Right there on stage, belting out "Roxanne" in front of a group of middle aged guys, was a girl that I used make out with on a semi-regular basis.
You know how you have those paradigm shifting revelations about your own life? And you know how they don’t generally occur when you’re actually meditating, or hiking to the top of one of Colorado’s many 14,000 foot peaks?. Yeah, I had one of those, right then. A clear, cognizant reflection of my own reality; not one I’ve so much created, as one that’s a product of my advancing age.
Do you know how old I am?
I am old enough to actually know people who play in cover-bands. (!)
I kid, of course. I kid, because I love. And because I can relate. Who am I to knock somebody for whatever it is that gets them through their eight hours of day job? And really, she effectively re-created that early to mid-nineties college rock growl. I mean, it wouldn’t be unheard of if they garnered some measure of success for mimicking their influences.
I remember, there used to be this band in Boulder called “Fluorescent Echo”. The lead vocals were handled by a dude who was a dead ringer for Erasure’s Andy Bell. The keyboardist looked like Jane Childs, and the bass player was Flea, just like every other bass player on the planet in 1991. While most bands Northwest of Denver were known for approximating The Grateful Dead, Fluorescent Echo effectively channeled Depeche Mode in order to achieve their 15 minutes of fame.
And it’s not as if they were the only ones – In the late 80s / early 90s, you couldn’t hock a loogie without hitting a sack full of Yamaha DX7s, all programmed to mimic the Mode. After some quick Googling, I realized that no one yet has put together a list of those bands. And you know what that means - - it's time to get bloggin'!
Now, these guys were just flat-out brazen. Not only did they recreate the Mode's sound, note for reverberating, hammer-striking-anvil note - but the lead singer had the audacity to raid Martin Gore's closet as well. But these guys knew who they were ripping off - you had to give them that. Their first album was like 10 songs worth of "Strangelove" - and their remix album, "Naive Dance", had tracks produced by Paul Robb of Information Society. So that's like a double dip of synth-y goodness.
MODE-O-METER: FOUR STARS
Sure, I could have gone the easy route, and just put up the video for "The Great Commandment"; but I had a dream JUST like this one time. I was watching a government controlled TV network in Germany back before the Berlin Wall came down, and Matt Damon was wearing some Z Cavariccis and doing the Molly Ringwald side-to -side. Besides, I thought the hardest working band in Eastern Europe deserved some of the spotlight. You think it's easy to produce that kind of techno-pop when the commies in charge only let you use a conventional drum set? RESPECT, yo.
MODE-O-METER: 5 STARS
7 RED 7
Seven Red Seven (myspace page)
Okay, so I couldn't find any youtube clips for these guys. Which means nobody had a video camera at the Sacramento mall opening where they performed their triumphant live show. But listen to that music on their myspace page, and just try not to feel nostalgic.
(if you can do it, just leave me alone. You're dead to me.)
MODE-O-METER: 3.5 STARS
CAUSE AND EFFECT
To be perfectly honest, this track always kind of bugged me. I mean, sure, it has a good beat, and you could do the new wave "sweep a penny" dance to it; but the best Depeche Mode songs were always about longing, obsession, need. "You Think You Know Her" is a dark, haunting ode to taking some "me-time", in order to really be sure what you want out of life. And while that may be good advice for the average 17 year old who listens to this kind of stuff, it's doesn't exactly fit a grinding dance track. And what's up with their monicker? Do you think they go on couples spiritual retreats with Hall, Oats, Milli, Vanilli, Captain, Tenille, Big, and Tasty? And that hair - dude, didn't you get the fax that sportin' it like Rico Suave is no good for your alternative-radio street cred?
MODE-O-METER: 3 STARS
So there it is, folks - my comprehensive list of bands rockin' it in The Mode.
Why? Why not? This is how I get through my eight hours of day job.