Mar 202013

I dare you

Three words used to prod each other into doing or sharing stupid things. We’ve all done stupid things in our past. A rock nerd’s past is probably chock full ‘0 stupid things worth being prodded to share. In that spirit, I dare you to play along with the following game, a game in which we dare each other to step into the RTH Confessional

I dare you to call out a fellow Townsperson and ask them to share a specific rock-related adventure, mishap, or so forth. After or as we await that Townsperson’s response, you may chime in with your own tales on the same subject. When we feel the dare has been satisfied, we can move onto a new dare. Make sense?

Last year you blew your chance to share a particular category of rock ‘n roll misdeeds, so beware going down that vomit-strewn path. For this thread we’re wide open for rock ‘n roll-related dares. I dare you!

I’ll kick things off with an easy one: I dare you, ladymisskirroyale, to tell me the last band you pretended to like, at least a little bit, so as not to hurt a friend’s feelings!

I look forward to your dares and answers.


  50 Responses to “RTH Confessional: I Dare You”

  1. One more dare to start things off: HVB, I dare you to tell us the first song you recall hearing while making out!

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    “Firsts” in the category you describe are hard to remember. As you know, I remember a very early (perhaps first?) slow-dance with toothy Diane X, to the tune of “Wild Horses.” I remember junior-high romantic drama with Cathy X as “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” played somewhat incongruously in the background. The closest distinct make-out soundtrack memory I have is making out with the love of my high school life, Carla X, after putting “Empty Glass” on the phonograph. I timed it perfectly: the smooching got hot and heavy just as the needle arrived at “I Am an Animal,” just as I planned.

    Sorry if this induces squirms in those of you who would rather not picture me as a pimply-faced Lothario.

    Turnabout is fair play, Mod — ‘fess up!

  3. Fair is fair. Enjoy this excerpt from something I’ve been working on. This is from an 8th grade experience that also included my first time getting wasted with music I didn’t like playing in the background:

    Someone put Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on and dimmed the lights. With my first-ever buzz the music sounded as sluggish as ever, but I was set on following the lead of the experienced boys. As the singer with the scratchy voice began grinding out “Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom,” the boys who’d been “going steady” took their dates’ hands and began slow-dancing. My date took my hand and led me through the process. Fleetwood Mac bored the snot out of me, but at least slow-dancing was less excruciatingly awkward than trying to dance to upbeat music at Bar Mitzvahs and my date looked even better up close.

    Slow-dancing to “Dreams” went on for an eternity. The next thing I remember someone changed the record and dropped the needle on “Stairway to Heaven.” There was no longer any point in dancing. The two of us crept off to a corner and began making out. My head was humming, in case you didn’t know. And as the band wound on down the road my hands wound through previously unexplored roads I’d only dreamed of navigating.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    Just saw your post now…Hmmmm, well, that’s sort of hard, although Mr. Royale may correct my perceptions.

    There are all sorts of easy answers to this if I think of my high school years. The first thing that comes to mind would be Bruce Springsteen: I wanted to appear cool, and since all the cool kids were exclaiming in French class that Ils aiment Le Boss, I had to go along with them, even though I couldn’t have told you a song by him other than Born To Run. Then there was the boyfriend who liked Southern Rock, and another who was a drummer in a heavy metal band. Both required serious acting when talking about their musical preferences.

    As I’ve become older, music has become more and more important to me, and if a friend doesn’t have at least some overlapping taste, we don’t spend that much time together. Or I change the subject away from music. I can say that I have kept my dislike to myself of a certain Cirque du Soleil soundtrack that a friend plays during dance class. And when my brother talks about some crazy grand guignol band that he likes but I just ignore him and change the subject.

    Now, Mr. Royale just got home and said I was misinterpreting the question: what you mean is which of my friends’ bands do I pretend to like so as not to hurt their feelings. Clarification, please!

  5. I mean a band that your friend likes, whether said friend is in it or not. It’s OK if you answer the band I’m in:) The truth should at least entertain, if not necessarily set us free.

    It’s funny you mention music from a dance class. I was going to dare you to name the worst music you ever found yourself having to dance to. Feel free to take me up on that dare too.

    When you’ve taken your dare, throw one out to a fellow Townsperson.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Hmmm, the worst music I’ve had to dance to: probably some muzac-esque faux New Age crap that someone thought was soulful. Blech. It probably involved scarfs.

    So that leads us to our next dare:

    Big Steve, what is your favorite music to dance to?

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    Ooh, good one!

  8. While we await BigSteve, I dare 2000 Man to tell us the one Pre-’80s Stones song that even he can’t defend!

  9. BigSteve

    If you mean in public, that’s too long ago to remember for the most part, though I do recall dancing with abandon at an early REM club gig.

    But in general the answer would be James Brown.

  10. 2000 Man

    Hmm…I can think of a couple. But really not very many. But If You Really Want to be My Friend is definitely the biggest turd in that punchbowl.

  11. ladymisskirroyale

    Ah, a favorite for floor cleaning abandon Chez Royale.

  12. ladymisskirroyale

    Big Steve, it’s your turn to ask a question. But because I’m so curious, I’m jumping in to ask MOD:

    Mr. Moderator, there must be at least ONE synth-pop song from the 80’s that you enjoy. What is it?

  13. Yuck, I don’t think I’d ever heard that song, or I’d only heard it in the background. Thank you for stepping forward and taking the dare. As ladymiss pointed out to BigSteve, I hope you turn the tables on another Townsperson and give them a dare.

  14. I’ve been meaning for years, ladymiss, to roll out my list of probably 20 clearly identifiable ’80s hit songs that I like – and liked even during my Too Cool for School days. Maybe the list wouldn’t total quite 20, but it would be headed by “Don’t You Want Me Baby.”

    Other super ’80s songs that come to mind include the New Order song about blue eyes and red eyes…ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh; that ABC (?) song that goes “You know this love is TRUE!”; the Cure song that had the remix version video with them in a Sid and Marty Kroft-style “underwater” set; and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”

    What was that, 4 hit songs from the ’80s? I’m not including The Boss’ massive ’80s synth-pop smashes, “Born in the USA” and “Dancing in the Dark” (the latter my favorite Boss song) because he’s not really an ’80s artist.

  15. Andyr, master of not only greatest hits albums but the appreciation of songs driven by a cool drum and bass arrangement, I dare you to tell share with us the lamest song that you can’t help loving because of the drum and bass arrangement. I can imagine you dig some massive turd based on your hots for the rhythm section alone.

  16. BigSteve

    I’ll challenge Oats to tell us which band would have become his obsession if Pulp had never existed. (And it can’t be another band that’s kind of like Pulp.)

  17. I’m guessing that The Kinks and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are both too kind of like Pulp. (And yet nothing like each other; Pulp would definitely be in the middle of that Venn Diagram.)

    So this is actually not a difficult question for me. The non-Pulp band I am obsessed with is Wussy, from Cincinnati. I’m pretty sure at least a few of you know about my strong feelings about this band. If you’ve read any of Christgau’s writings about them, I pretty much agree with everything he says about them, particularly their Beatles/Stones level of consistent excellence. They have four albums, plus assorted offcuts, alternate versions, etc. I think there is maybe one song of theirs I flat out don’t like. Everything else they do is basically perfect.

    My challenge to HVB is to concoct a wardrobe he could wear that would pay tribute to his trinity of rock. Here, I’ll get you started:

    (Side note to Alexmagic: that etsy page is connected to a thrift shop in South Philly.)

  18. ohmstead

    At the risk of letting my 80s geek side show, Mod – I think that might be Spandau Ballet you’re thinking of (not ABC – although Poison Arrow would be on my list).

  19. Yes, thanks for the correction. That’s the band! Sorry. I can’t recall the songs of ABC, but I do remember liking their first album and the big Yaz album more than most other stuff like that at the time. Perhaps when I compile and release this long-awaited list I will revisit those album’s big hits.

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    Big ups for loving “True” by Spandau ballet. I remember when that song came out, I found myself really digging it, despite my efforts — catalyzed by the horri-horri-horrible video — to dislike it. I suppose, now that I think of it, that it was basically a pretty good Style Council song in hair gel and a trench coat.

    “Like a Virgin” is okay, but when it comes to Madonna, I gotta go with “Material Girl.” I love the song, I love the video, I just love it.

  21. hrrundivbakshi

    See Main Stage for my answer to your excellent challenge, Oats.

  22. Ahh. Been thinking about this for a little while….

    I would have to say “Mercy Mercy Mercy” By the Buckighams. Love the drums/bass but *despise* vocals.

  23. I get to challenge Chickenfrank – what is the most current CD/Record you bought that wasn’t from a group you play in or personally know?

  24. THAT’S what I’m talking about!

  25. “True” is fantastic. I saw Spadau Ballet at something called the Carlton Celebrity Room near the old Met Stadium in Bloomington MN, at the height of their popularity. They had so few songs that they opened and closed with “True.” Also lots of screaming girls at the show.

  26. Excellent one to nail me on, AndyR!

    I’ll open by defending the fact that for new music I prefer to support the local scene over so much national/international music, and am honestly blown away by the talent level of local people I’m fortunate to enjoy in person or on their minimally selling CDs. I truly think it’s a simple twist of fate that some of these people dwell in obscurity. So I do have very current local stuff.

    That said, wow am I lame in staying current otherwise! I’ll ignore any new stuff given to me as gifts. I “wish” I could write the new Big Dipper release, but my forgetful ass keeps making me forget to get it.

    So let’s get in the way-back machine and find Beck’s The Information from 2006 (usually skipped in favor of earlier Beck releases), Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black from 2006 (still listen to!), and the winner Lucinda Williams’ Little Honey from 2008! (hit or miss songs) 5 years old!

  27. Even though AndyR hit me with his, I’m flipping the question to Mr. Mod.

    How long will it take you to name a local artist’s release that you can honestly say has the songwriting, performance, and production value qualities putting it on a level that you enjoy and admire? Does such a local release exist? Does one ever get multiple listens?

  28. misterioso

    “True”: possibly the wussiest song ever. Makes Dan Fogelberg sound like a badass. Is there some kind of “it’s so bad it’s good” thing going on here?

    I always liked the “Material Girl” video, but “Like a Virgin” is kinda great. I still like “Borderline” best, though.

  29. misterioso

    Yeah but “Look of Love” kicks “Poison Arrow’s” butt.

  30. First, chickenfrank, may I award you with this month’s Reggie Evans Award:
    The Reggie Evans

    As you know too well, I’m highly opinionated, critical, competitive, disgruntled, and petty. It’s hard enough to get my ass out to see bands live. National or local act, I’m tough on recorded music. I want to hear something special when I listen to a record. I can’t help but put local artists’ records under the same scrutiny, even my friends’ bands.

    There have been a number of local bands I’ve sincerely dug seeing multiple times over the years, but when I buy their record I’m usually faced with a shameful mix of disappointment and threat to my own competitive take on things.

    Our old friend Ben Vaughn, for instance, is a joy to see live. I marvel at his craft, humor, warmth, and discipline. In sports terms, few artists with local roots or well beyond are better at “playing within themselves.” Each of the Ben Vaughn albums I own contains a few songs that capture enough of the vibe of his craft, humor, warmth, and discipline that I can listen to them repeatedly, but I usually have a constant complaint that his mixes are timid. When he has a weird instrument or part in a recording he often downplays it. I always wish he’d let that part blast into my brain. The very early recordings featuring the Giant Slugs horn section, for instance, which was such a great treat whenever they joined the Ben Vaughn Combo live, always disappointment me because it sounds like Ben was unsure whether to let the horns fight for space in the mix on the records. In concert, the massive presence of the two actually giant horn players (including old friend General Slocum) could not be tamed. Ben Vaughn’s records consistently come closest to charming me as much as his live shows do.

    How many times did we see the Dead Milkmen? I don’t ever recall coming home from one of their shows feeling cheated. I love the way they interact on stage; the way their weird, personal styles of playing fit together so well. On their second record, Eat Your Paisley, in particular, there are songs where I can drop the needle and feel all the cool things about that band and those guys jumping off the record. Songs like “The Thing That Only Eats Hippies,” “Beach Party Vietnam,” and “Where the Tarantula Lives” sound like they come from a specific place that does not require my knowing the artists personally. Sometimes I can do without repeated spins of the joke-based nature of Milkmen songs, but they could capture their special vibe. “Punk Rock Girl” is simply a fantastic song, local legends or not.

    You know I was fully behind Baby Flamehead, but I thought their one record had a little bit of the shortcomings that sometimes trouble Ben Vaughn: a lack of engagement with the audience.

    Other “cousin” bands from the ’80s, like the Wishniaks and Electric Love Muffin, were a joy to see live. Both bands have songs on record I can fully enjoy, although my favorite Muffin song was produced expertly by Ben Vaughn of all people, the same artist whose own records I felt sometimes lacked the immediacy of his live performances. The one Muffin song he produced benefited by having some of the onstage fury toned down and released at appropriate levels. We were such control freaks back then, but I sometimes wonder what a joint production with Ben Vaughn would have sounded like. I think we could have had fun making a record together.

    A band I wanted to hate, when they came out, but ended up liking over the course of a few albums is Marah. At their best they knew how to make records. I’ve got a few of their songs on my iPod that I purposely scroll to and play.

    Go to Blazes also made some good records despite carrying some Americana baggage that could bore me in the privacy of my home or car. I much preferred seeing them live, watching my friend Tom’s awesome guitar playing and eternal cigarette ash that never seemed to fall off the cigarette balanced at the edge of his lips.

    You have and do play in a number of bands beside our band with musicians and recordings I dig, but you know I’m a hardass. As much as I liked Rich’s songs in the Rolling Hayseeds, for instance, I never understood why Kevin didn’t sing 75% of the songs AND play 75% of the lead parts. This is no cut on the other guys singing and playing lead parts, but I thought Kevin was dynamo on stage. Playing the “If I Were Your Manager” game, I would have pushed him out front and demanded that you guys let your hair down a bit more. The second album had some of the band’s best songs, but I didn’t like the production. It was too “pro.” Your new release with the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra, on the other hand, has a lot of vibe, warmth, spirit, and strong performances. I will be writing about that record in more detail in the coming weeks and interviewing, I hope, a couple of band members. Don’t be surprised if I ask you some especially hard-hitting questions. You’re presently in 2 other bands whose records I typically like, but whose next releases I will withhold judgment on until they see the light of day.

    There’s some Mysterious Unknown ’60s Band with presumed local roots and possibly close personal connections whose records I like a lot. The only problem I have with their records is that I seem to know some of the songs so well in some strange, psychic way that it brings up deep regrets concerning another band I used to play in.

    Our friend Gary’s band, the Rose Parade, put out a really strong album last year, No Silence Was Ever So Clear. I truly dig Gary’s voice and songwriting, and the album has a good sound. Songs come up on my iPod and I’m not sure if I’m hearing a Lloyd Cole song I’ve forgotten about. There’s a vibe and confidence behind the recordings, as if this guy singing actually exists, whether I know him or not. Does that make sense? (Now I’m scratching my head trying to remember Gary’s RTH handle.)

    The first Weird Hot album is on my iPod. Townsman Shawnkilroy is another guy who is able to project something personal on his recordings. I’m leaving many bands I like to varying degrees out of my overview, but I guess the struggle for me in judging the records of local bands I know is centered around that question of “Can I feel like I know these people from the music as if I don’t actually know them, even if I do actually know them?”

    Another Townsman whose records grace my iPod is Saturnismine and his Photon Band. They’ve got some killer songs, even though I’ve known the guy for so long and have so much in common with him that my competitive side is inevitably called into play. The Original Sins is another band whose records I can spin and fully enjoy, although eventually I get bugged thinking of our bandmate and close personal friend Sethro being hijacked by them for a few years.

    In short, being a local musician and trying to enjoy fellow local bands is a bitch!

    Someone’s gonna pay for the public hell our Reggie Evans Award winner chickenfrank just put me through.

  31. Now that’s how you “Bring It”! Your hail marys were certainly said with conviction. You had me worried that you were going to save all your hosannas for the 1980s, but you gave some great more recent examples. I know how competitive and honest you are when it comes to complimenting any of the “Stones” to your “Beatles” so I know you had to dig deep. Well done.

  32. I’m gonna shine the light on Slim Jade: I dare you to tell me what song or artist you most identify with your first girlfriend.

  33. I dare cliff sovinsanity to host tomorrow night’s Saturday Night Shut-In!

    Tune in at 5:00 pm EST on Saturday and see if he comes through.

  34. Wellllll….Do we mean first actual girlfriend? I had a friend who was a girl when I was about 5, and I developed this huge crush on her. Her name was Sherry, and this was about the time The Association’s “Cherish” was a hit. I misunderstood that lyric, and thought they were singing “Sherry”, so this became the soundtrack to my longing.

    After that, I had a long gap of being a romantic loner, a spell I broke by asking a Junior girl to my Senior Prom, figuring if I didn’t do something I’d be a doomed loser forever. It was a disaster, and Genesis’ “Misunderstanding” stood out from the airwaves and spoke to me.

    My first actual girlfriend, the first scenario that actually involved kissing, phone calls, and lasting more than a week? I guess that would have to be Aztec Camera’s “High Land, Hard Rain”, because it played three times in a row during a long makeout session that resulted in an awkward loss of virginity.

    I call out misterioso. I have several dares for you, most involving a boxing ring, but for now I ask: What are your top 5 desert island albums?

  35. Well done, my man, on all counts! Thank you.

  36. ohmstead

    Yippee Yi Yeah!

  37. cliff sovinsanity

    Done and done.

  38. cliff sovinsanity

    You’re next Misterioso. Which band or bands formed after 1983 that had hair touching their shoulders (or past their shoulders for bonus points), can you admit to liking ?? Show your steps just like in math class.

  39. Thanks for the honesty, Chicken.

  40. AWESOME question! The Hall awaits misterioso’s answer…

  41. misterioso

    Let me run the numbers on this, Cliff. How strict are you gonna be on the hair length issue? I would not want to make a false confession.

  42. misterioso

    Bring it on, Sugar Ray Slim!

    I’m mighty tempted to get up on my high horse and say how much I hate this sort of reductive exercise, but what the hell, let’s play ball. In no special order:

    1. All Things Must Pass (less “Apple Jam”–gotta travel light)

    2. Highway 61 Revisited

    3. Face to Face

    4. A Hard Day’s Night

    5. London Calling

    Man, I had to throw #1 Record, Hunky Dory, Country Life, Innervisions, St. Dominic’s Preview, The Who Sell Out, Achtung Baby, VU, the Star Time box set, and Snap! overboard to get this from 15 down to 5. Are you happy now? I still have a copy of This Year’s Model hidden somewhere on my person. I dare you to look for it.

    I am disappointed at the Conventional Wisdom nature of this list (which is limited to the world or rock and/or roll, as I believe that was the intent of the question), but there you have it. Ask me tomorrow and it will likely be different. Now, go to your corner and come out fighting.

  43. cliff sovinsanity

    Ziggy Palfy provides a good starting point.

    NHL Career stats:
    GP: 684
    G: 329
    A: 384
    Total =713
    Penalties in Minutes :322

  44. misterioso

    Hmm, well. That takes a short list (bands formed after 1983 that I like) down to a negligible one. I like some Nirvana, they had long hair. How’s that? I’m open to suggestions: what are other post-1983 bands that misterioso might like but can’t bring to mind who had hair touching their shoulders? (A hint: hair metal bands need not apply.)

  45. misterioso

    5 years old? For God’s sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period.

    And are you sure it was the Association’s version of “Cherish” or was it David Cassidy’s? These details matter. I’m not sure how, but they matter.

  46. cliff sovinsanity

    I will certainly accept Nirvana. Hell, I would’ve accepted Soundgarden for that matter.
    Dinosaur Jr. was really shaggy in the early days.

  47. misterioso

    Excellent! But, problem is, I detest Soundgarden and have no interest in Dinosaur Jr.

  48. cliff sovinsanity

    Don’t expect me to do all your homework.

  49. misterioso

    I reckon that’s all I’ve got, then.

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