Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
My primary Writing.com blog.
Logocentric (adj). Regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality (especially applied as a negative term to traditional Western thought by postmodernist critics).|
Sometimes I just write whatever I feel like. Other times I respond to prompts, many taken from the following places:
"The Soundtrackers Group"
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
"Take up Your Cross"
Thanks for stopping by!
"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #6
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
Brandy and Monica.
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Beyonce and Lady Gaga.
Everybody knows that, as a musical artist, what you can accomplish on your own can often pale in comparison to what you can accomplish with another talented performer. Since the beginning of the modern recording industry, duets and musical collaborations have become hit songs, breakthrough concept albums, and ways to create exciting new sounds for audiences to enjoy.
Which is not to say that the collaboration between Andre and the mercurial artist known professionally as "The Muse" was purely about public exposure or money, even if it was mostly about those things. Andre's portative organ playing was renowned in the world of folk metal, but he had very little exposure to mainstream rock. And The Muse was looking for a new sound to supplement the guitar-bass-keyboard-drums quartet that's been so popular among rock bands for years.
It all started late one night when The Muse finished a set early and decided to wander the streets in search of some late-night life. He was walking by the Banana Bar when he heard the haunting sounds of a portative organ doing a rendition of Van Halen's "Panama." He wandered into the bar and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Muse invited Andre up to his hotel suite to discuss a potential collaboration. After spending the night in a booze-and-narcotics-infused creative frenzy, they awoke to a trashed hotel room, a ten thousand dollar room service bill, a basically finished song, and two-thirds of the first act of Breakdancing My Way Through The Bible sketched out. They also woke up in a completely drained jacuzzi tub wearing each other's clothes, with no memory of what led to that.
And they've been working together off-and-on ever since.
"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #5
Andre is as susceptible as anyone else to getting earworms (the songs that get stuck in your head, not those gross things that cats sometimes have to get medication for). The tune du jour changes from time to time, but the one he's currently been stuck with for the past few months has been "We Don't Talk About Bruno" from the Encanto soundtrack. Which isn't surprising, really, as that's a very popular song among kids and their parents right now. However, Andre was never one for following the status quo, and he does have a background in folk metal to consider, so he's instead opted to have a heavy metal cover of the song by Skar Productions featuring Alina Lesnick:
Obviously Lin-Manuel Miranda's lyrics are genius, but for those of you who find the Disney version a little too tame, or have ever thought to yourself, "This song from a family-friendly musical would be way better with someone absolutely shredding a bass," then this might be the right choice for you. Love kids' songs but don't want to be caught dead blasting them from your car stereo at a stop sign without some sick speed drumming? Maybe consider this version of the song.
This is exactly the song that Andre needs to get into the mental headspace necessary to work on his Christian K-pop folk metal passion project. Just a couple quick versions and guitar riffs are enough to get the creative juices flowing. He's even considered inviting Skar Productions (and Lin-Manuel Miranda, obvi) to collaborate on a couple of the tracks. But even if it's a no from them, he'll always have this sensational match-up to lift his spirits. Andre can't see himself replacing this song with another earworm anytime soon, although he might be tempting fate by listening to a number of different grindcore covers of Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight."
"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #4
Andre's initially studied under Terence Fletcher from the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory.
While most people avoided Fletcher after his abusive methods were laid bare with his treatment of Andrew Neiman, Andre's parents thought to themselves, "Well there's a guy who knows how to push others to achieve greatness." They immediately enrolled a young Andre in the music program at Shaffer and specifically requested Fletcher mentor their son in the ways of the portative organ.
Fletcher, of course, was more than happy to find a new student with nearly as much promise as Andrew. Fletcher worked with Andre and it was an environment brimming with positive energy, creativity, and mutual respect.
On graduation day, Fletcher pulled Andre aside and offered his favorite pupil some kind words of encouragement as the collegiate chimp was about to embark out into the professional world.
For better or worse (mostly worse), Fletcher made Andre the monkey he is today. Both in terms of his musical ability and his psychiatric bills.
Andre also studied under other great organists like Steve Winwood and Booker T. Jones, but he doesn't really like to talk about that out of respect for their privacy and fear of breaching their NDAs. After a youth spent studying under some of the finest organists and music teachers, he was ready to strike out on his own.
Just a monkey and his portative organ in the city.
Andre spent two years playing the finest subway stations and park benches the Big Apple had to offer. And, ultimately, it was those two years of living on spare change and old bananas that taught him more than anything. He honed his craft and sustained himself on nothing but his love for music and reclaimed bananas from the dumpster behind the Whole Foods at 7th and 24th in Chelsea.
Whenever people ask Andre which musical greats taught him the ropes (or pipes, at the case may be), he will often say Fletcher. Or Steve. Or Booker. But in his heart of hearts, his greatest teacher will always be The City That Never Sleeps.
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"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #3
During the first of Andre's two appearances as one of the musical guests on Saturday Night Live, he really hit it off with Ariana Grande who was hosting that night's show and for whom he was performing backing vocals (and backing portative organ-ing, of course). After the show, they split a half-dozen donuts from the 24-hour Dunkin' in Rockefeller Center. While Andre was a little miffed at only having half a French Cruller to himself before the svelte songstress scarfed the rest of them, he had to admit that the idea of a collaboration appealed to him.
The plan was to debut their new song at Yankee Stadium during the home season opener of the MLB season. Unfortunately, while Andre was riding the M train to the stadium, a portly passenger parked himself on top of Andre's portative organ and pancaked it to pieces. And unlike guitars or keyboards, you can't find them at just any music shop.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, and the only place Andre could find a viable replacement was at Holy Mother of God Church down the street from the stadium. In a panic, Andre broke into the church sanctuary, disassembled their organ piece by piece, and transported it to the stadium where he erected it again on the infield where he was to perform with Ariana.
Was he four hours late to rehearsal? Yes.
Was the game postponed on account of instrumental interference with play? Also yes.
Andre was arrested for trespassing, grand theft pipes, and organ trafficking (although he's pretty sure that last one was a misapplication of the penal code). Needless to say, he was fired from the gig and Ariana Grande had to distance herself from him for P.R. reasons. While all that was to be expected, he had to admit that it hurt a little when he discovered he had been replaced by Curious George doing a soft-shoe number to accompany her singing "34+35."
Anyway, that's the story of the one time Andre was fired. And why he has an irrational loathing for The Man In The Yellow Hat.
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"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Bonus Prompt
I wake up with a pounding headache thanks to the hot afternoon sunlight blaring down on me.
Where am I?
It appears to be some sort of back alley.
Why does it stink?
I'm in a dumpster. Thankfully it's mostly empty.
Why am I cold?
I appear to be wearing nothing but a sombrero.
Getting to my feet, I crawl out of the dumpster and strategically move the sombrero south of the border to offer a modicum of decency. Peeking out at the busy street beyond the alley, I noticed the street sign. Avenida Benito Juarez ... HOW DID I GET TO MEXICO?!?
Last I can remember, we were all at the Banana Bar celebrating Adherennium - Mad March Hare's birthday. Andre had given him an extraordinary gift in promising to name a major character after him in his magnum opus . The drinks flowed like a river (as did Andre's portative organ melodies), and everyone was in good spirits. At least until ... well, things get pretty fuzzy after that.
I borrowed a phone off a nearby tourist who took pity on me with a "been there" look, and called up Andre at the Banana Bar. I had so many questions.
"Andre?" the person on the other end of the phone asked.
"No, I'm looking for Andre," I reacted in surprise. Andre was always at the Banana Bar.
"H-He... he's missing," the voice on the other end of the line stammered. "I thought you might be him calling to tell us he's okay."
"When was the last time you saw Andre?"
"The night of Adherennium - Mad March Hare's birthday party. On the 3rd."
"Wasn't that last night?"
"That was four days ago."
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PAST FOUR DAYS?!?
"I see..." I began, not really knowing how to finish that thought because I didn't.
"Andre and a bunch of friends made a particularly strong batch of Rumchata Banana Cream Pie cocktails and, well, it kind of went downhill from there."
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. Those damned drinks. Every single time I tell myself it's the last time I'll ever drink one of those infernal drinks ... and every time someone (usually Andre) talks me into trying it again. On the plus side, if Rumchata Banana Cream Pies were involved, waking up naked in Mexico four days later would be considered by many to be getting off light in the consequences department.
Now I just have to figure out how to get home.
And how to find Andre.
"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #2
While Andre is a true renaissance monkey when it comes to musical genres, where he and his portative organ really shine are in the up and coming Christian folk metal scene. Everyone knows that folk metal has been around since at least the 1990s, and Christian metal goes even further back into the 1970s. But Christian folk metal is relatively new, tailor-made for audiences who say to themselves, "Sure, Korpiklaani is great, but would they be even better if they sang about Jesus?" It's like Heidevolk meets the Holy Spirit, Geasa inspired by the Gospel ... a faith-based Finntroll!
All that said, Andre's favorite artist is obviously BTS.
Obviously, he could point to any number of reasons why BTS is his favorite artist right now: J-Hope's sweet dance moves, V's Insta, or even Jungkook for the sheer number of internet trends he's created. But what it really comes down to, more than anything, is that Andre respects their truth and sees himself on parallel journey.
Just like BTS, he strives to make his portative organ playing "smooth like butter."
Just like BTS, every performance is an exercise in, "light[ing] it up like dynamite (whoa oh oh)."
And just like BTS, Andre gives off serious K-pop boy band energy everywhere he goes (seriously, the lady apes cannot get enough of this guy)!
One day, Andre hopes to marry his two passions and create something in the Christian K-pop folk metal space. It's an ambitious project, to be sure, but after so many years as a successful performing artist, Andre is now content owning and operating the Banana Bar while he works on his magnum opus concept album. The work in progress is currently entitled Breakdancing My Way Through The Bible: A Folk Metal Odyssey and he hopes to debut it for the public some time in late 2022. If you're a regular of the Banana Bar, you might even be surprised by Andre testing out his new material with an occasional impromptu setlist!
"Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" | March Musical Monkey Madness Day #1
My very first visit to the Banana Bar was also the first time I experienced Andre's brilliant musical stylings. As a talent scout for a number of popular late-night shows, my job is to find new acts to perform live on the shows. I've been doing this job a long time, and I had grown tired of yet another singer/songwriter strumming their guitar, or keying their keyboard. I had been longing for something new.
Imagine my surprise when a pint-sized primate by the name of Andre took the stage with a portative organ !
I hadn't seen one of those since my time at Julie Ard [sic], and my jaw hit the floor while I marveled at the dulcet tones that this soulful simian was able to produce. I knew immediately that I had to book him on one of my shows. Probably not any of the actually popular ones, but definitely something of the "Late Late Late Late Night" variety, the kinds that battle with informercials for the attention of insomniacs at two in the morning.
That first introduction was a long time ago, though. Years before Andre bought the Banana Bar. Back when he was just a musical monkey with a dream trying to make a name for himself. Andre and I got to know each other over the years as he worked his way up from Late Late Late Late shows to the Late Late Late shows to the Late Late shows to the "big league" Late shows. I learned that his first love was the actual (non-portative) organ, but those prove very difficult to transport on road tours and gigs around town, so he opted for a more transportable version.
I learned that he's played with a number of other recognized performers in the "portative" space, including Umberto (master of the miniature upright bass), Bartholomew Bartovsky (the world's premiere player of the baby contrabass balalaika), and Hamish Hazelton (celebrated virtuoso of the dwarf hydrophone). He's also rather proud of that one time he ended up doing an unintentional duet of "Endless Love" with Sting while they were both standing in line at Pink's Hot Dogs in Los Angeles.
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I keep meticulous track of all the books, scripts, and comics I read every year. Plus the podcasts I listen to. But the one thing I don't do very often is write about the things I watch. I don't really know why I haven't until this point, but I recently noticed that a friend of mine writes up a "media consumption" post on Facebook every month and I thought I might start doing the same.
To qualify for the list, it has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, it just can't be reruns of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I won't list the stuff I lost interest in quickly, but I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.
So without further ado, here's February's watch list:
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The Tinder Swindler
Only Murders In The Building
Pam & Tommy
Sweet Magnolias (DNF)
Top Chef (Season 19)
I was riveted by The Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna, but ultimately they don't have a ton of rewatchability after you figure out what happened in the real life course of events. And even though my top recommendation this month is another "true crime" type show, the accuracy with which Lily James and Sebastian Stan play Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee is really uncanny. Not to mention the fact that the show gets you to care about both Pam and Tommy as victims of a crime, as well as make Rand (the person who stole the tape) incredibly sympathetic in the lead-up to the theft.
TOP PICK: Pam & Tommy
"The Soundtrack of Your Life" | Day 28
"You Can't Kill My Rock 'n Roll"
by Hardcore Superstar
I think it's fitting that I started "The Soundtrack of Your Life" with a song from a Norwegian glam metal band, and I'm finishing out this year's playlist with a Swedish heavy metal band from the country next door. This is also the perfect song to end this year's playlist with because it's a really high energy song about how music endures. At least in this context, it's a promise that there's more music blogging to come. The song says it all: "you can't kill my rock 'n roll."
I'd actually like to dedicate this year's final blog entry to all of my fellow Soundtrackers who shared some fantastic music over the past month. In particular:
eyestar~* for including "Happy" and "Can't Stop The Feeling," which are two of my kids' favorite songs.
♥HOOves♥ for some great classics like "Layla" and "Come A Little Bit Closer."
Alex Morgan for reminding me about how great Alabama and The Pointer Sisters are.
Anni Pon for the eclectic collection of artists including everything from Cage the Elephant to Sara Bareilles and Dan + Shay.
buddhangela's Brave & Crazy for giving the Soundtrackers a try for the first time. I hope we see you again for future activities (don't worry, not all of them are daily challenges for a whole month! )
💙 Carly for the great worship bands and being a fellow Lip Sync Battle aficionado.
Jess stands with 🇺🇦 for a playlist that has a bunch of my all-time favorite artists on it.
Elfin Dragon-finally published for giving Soundtrackers a shot this year.
Witchy woman prays 4 Ukraine for reminding me how great the P. Diddy and Faith Evans cover of "I'll Be Missing You" is, along with bands I haven't listened to in forever like Linkin Park, The Fray, Fleetwood Mac, etc.
Redtowrite for the Chris Isaak throwback and some great tribute versions of hit songs.
Legerdemain for probably my personal favorite playlist (other than my own ), and reminding me that Taylor Momsen is actually a really decent musical artist.
Still a LeJenD for being another Cage the Elephant fan and for featuring that George Harrison tribute, which is one of my favorite performances ever.
Olivia🇺🇦Quill Winner! for writing serialized narrative entries, which is really cool.
Choconut ~ Busy Writing! for including some truly iconic musical acts, and everything from Whitney Houston to The Kinks to Superchick.
🌸 pwheeler ~ happy spring! for some really amazing worship music, which is a genre I've been enjoying a lot lately.
BlueMoon for some great cover versions of some of my favorite popular songs.
Steven (PLEASE BUY MY BOOKS!) for consistently being one of the first to post their entry every single day.
zwisis for the race to the finish, adding a ton of great catch-up songs in the final days.
You guys (and gals) are all awesome, and it was a pleasure to blog my playlist from last year alongside you all. I hope that you'll all join me for "Musicology Anthology" and the rest of "The Soundtrackers Group" activities coming up later in the year. In the meantime, keep writing, keep blogging, and keep on rockin'!
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"The Soundtrack of Your Life" | Day 27
"I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"
by Meat Loaf
R.I.P. Meat Loaf
I was never a huge fan of Meat Loaf the way a few of my friends are. I really like "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" and of course the classic I'm featuring today. But he was never an artist I spent a lot of time listening to outside of his hits. I've even been listening to some of his catalogue since his passing and I can't say I've had any new revelations in terms of songs that I just have to add to my playlists. But this one I could listen to on repeat for days.
More than the song, though, I want to devote my entry today to the music video linked above.
First of all, it's a nearly eight-minute retelling of Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera.
Second of all, it was directed by Michael Bay. Yes, that Michael Bay.
Third of all, the cinematographer was Daniel Pearl, who won the first-ever MTV Award for Cinematography for his work the video for "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, and was the cinematographer on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie from the 70s. Pearl has repeatedly mentioned in interviews that this is his favorite project that he's done.
The thing that I found most amazing about this video, though, is the fact that the featured singer in the song, Lorraine Crosby, isn't the woman in the video. The woman in the video is actually supermodel Dana Patrick. Although this is Michael Bay we're talking about, so in retrospect I shouldn't have been surprised that he decided to cast a hot model for the female lead. Dana Patrick actually did the same thing for Patti Russo's part in the music video for Meat Loaf's "I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth)" (which starts out as a continuation of the story from this video and was also photographed by Daniel Pearl), and lip-synched so convincingly that she reportedly received multiple offers for record deals from music executives who assumed she was the one doing the actual singing.
This is one of the first music videos that really got my attention for its production value and storytelling. It's a big, bold concept for a big, bold song, and I think it still holds up today.