This one puts me in a Cold Sweat…or…makes me wanna put your ray gun to my head. Either way you figger it, someone seriously ripped someone off here and the guilty party is either David Bowie or James Brown.
A couple of weeks ago Mr. Moderator made a west coast trip to The Back Office to discuss some Q3 RTH ventures. As part of this company retreat we attended a taping of Conan, complete with VIP tickets (true story).
Stick with me for a few minutes, OK? I want to tell you about some cool behind-the-scenes workings that sammymaudlin and I experienced a few weeks ago, during a taping of our first appearance on Conan. First, it may be out of our jurisdiction, but I’d like to issue an official RTH SUMMONS for the show’s host, co-host, band members, and crew to join us in the Halls of Rock.
I’ve long suspected that Conan O’Brien would make a fine Townsman. He’s got a self-deprecating sense of humor, for starters, which helps when any one of us decides to duck away from work or family responsibilities for a few minutes to chat about an obscure record label sampler album or the role of the headband in rock. As many of you know, there are times when we find ourselves taking this stuff a little too seriously, at which point it helps to know the joke’s on us.
Conan’s always been comfortable with the musical aspects of his show, from his rapport with his always excellent band (originally the Max Weinberg 7 [?] and now known as Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band) to his enthusiasm for his musical guests. I remember the night he introduced The Soundtrack of My Life, a band I’d not yet heard, with the anticipation of a teenage boy ready to rock. Thirty seconds into their performance I extended a virtual high-five to Conan to share in his appreciation for the band’s ability to tap into the Power & Glory of Rock. I bought the album the next day. Another time he had one of my heroes, Nick Lowe, on with Conan’s his band backing him up. It was magic. I had tears of joy streaming down my face, and it was all the better knowing Lowe was performing this magic under Conan’s watch and not some soulless asshole like Jay Leno. (Leno strikes me as one of those guys who doesn’t actually hear or perceive the qualities in music. Yeah, I like all kinds of music, he’d say, shrugging his shoulders unconvincingly. As a side thread in whatever discussion ensues, Quick: Name an album Jay Leno may actually own and know!)
In recent years Conan has been more open then ever about his love for rock ‘n roll: buddying up to Jack White; performing with White and others on his NBC show’s farewell; and as I was lucky enough to witness, popping up on stage to sing “My Bonnie” with The Fab Faux, the awesome Beatles cover band featuring Vivino. Whenever I’ve seen Conan onstage playing music it’s a kick. He’s not a “real musician,” but he’s clearly in heaven whenever he gets a chance to play onstage with real musicians. It’s a feeling with which many of us can identify.
I don’t know about Andy Richter‘s tastes in music, although I’ve read his is rumored to have appeared in the film Tommy. Regardless, he makes me laugh my ass off. If he’s got any rock nerd chops I could see him working under alexmagic‘s wing. It’s easy to register, Andy.
The story behind our appearance on Conan (indisputable proof can be seen here) still amazes me. My wife, boys, and I were a couple of days away from our grand West Coast tour. We were at the kitchen table running through the itinerary. “We should have looked into getting tickets for a taping of Conan,” I said.
“I’ll try Quinn,” my wife said, “she knows everyone!”