Just when you think he couldn’t get stranger…
Too many people know Bobcat Goldthwait from his lesser accomplishments – several Police Academy films, that screeching banshee voice (too many people missing the great jokes within) and lighting Jay Leno’s chair on fire (in retrospect, something more people wish they did). But Goldthwait, who occasionally returns to the stand-up stage, has made his mark as a television director, and with three unique films in five six , as a screenwriter and filmmaker as well.
It seems like a billion years ago that Bob made Shakes The Clown, “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies“, but it holds up twenty years later as a raucous and psychotic comedy. If you laughed at the gang-fight in Anchorman, you might want to check out the movie they lifted the idea from.
But while his later movies have been funny, they have mined humor from uncomfortable and disturbing situations. Consider the sick relationship in Sleeping Dogs Lie, the creepy father-son bond of World’s Greatest Dad, and finally this year’s God Bless America, which on first pass sounds like a cross between Repo Man and Natural Born Killers. Goldthwait’s newest film reportedly kicked ass at the Toronto International Film Festival. I can’t wait to see it. (Goldthwait told the L.A. Times that he thought the gun-happy film “was his own Springtime For Hitler”.)
Many people bailed on Bob after it seemed that his career would be a series of loser films like Burglar and Jumping Jack Flash. But Goldthwait, 50 next year, has found his true calling as a filmmaker with a unique voice.
As one of the biggest Kinks fans on the planet I am thrilled that he is making Schoolboys In Disgrace with the full cooperation of Ray Davies. Maybe Bob will get The Kinks the recognition they deserve…and get his own in the process.
I love to have my ass kicked by a great rock band as well as the next guy. But I can also appreciate that a true songwriter and performer can be just as incredible with just a piano or guitar in a solo show. Maybe it’s the economic necessity, maybe it’s the desire to retain total control, maybe both. But more and more artists are hitting the road acoustically, and usually in an intimate enough setting where the artist-audience connection is truly electric.
Some started out this way, of course, and the bands came later. But many of them discovered their innate ability to command the stage with stories and humor as well as the gift of their songwriting. I’ve been fortunate enough to see magic over the years.
And yes, it was seeing Todd Snider on Thursday night that prompted this week’s TGIF, so here are Ten Solo Saviors – artists playing in your small club – or maybe even your living room – who you should be making a pilgrimage to see. Have a safe and happy weekend…
(01) – Todd Snider
(02) – Graham Parker
(03) – Nick Lowe
(04) – Pat DiNizio
(05) – Peter Case
(06) – Elvis Costello
(07) – Ray Davies
(08) – Ian Hunter
(09) – Todd Rundgren
(10) – Ian McLagan
Filed under Film/TV, Music
I first came across The 88 when I heard one of their songs and thought a band was channeling The Kinks. Little did I realize that a few short years later, this band would be backing Ray Davies on tour, essentially standing in for my favorite band of all time. And although you might not know the band nor the names of anyone in the group, you’ve no doubt heard their music peppering the soundtracks of many television shows and films.
Video: “Theme from “Community”
Their knack for hooks and melody exudes an inescapable charm, and lead singer Keith Slettedahl darts around the scale with the ease of Fred Astaire on a dance floor. The current lineup (with keyboard player Adam Merrin, bassist Todd O’Keefe and drummer Anthony Zimmitti) is a tight-knit unit, and their sound is as strong on a delicate ballad as a full blown rave-up. I really like the way the keyboards are used on this album, adding flavors from garage rock to piano pop to the music hall DNA The Kinks mined in the early 70s.
Video: “All ‘Cause of You” (live)
I felt they were on quite a roll from album to album but thought the last one (This Must Be Love) was a bit of a dip. A solid record, it just was more sedate than the other efforts; I think they’re at their best when playing more uptempo fare. So this eponymous album, their fifth, was a return to form in my book and one of the best listens of the year.
Fans of Fountains of Wayne, The Zombies, XTC, The Kinks…hell, anyone with a pop heart will eat this stuff up. Great vocals, great songwriting – go buy their records so you won’t have to sit through tripe like Gossip Girl.
Video: “They Ought To See You Now”
Listen to tracks at Amazon – on sale for $5 today!
The 88 homepage
The 88 on MySpace