David Bruce: 250 Music Anecdotes — Originality, Photography


• Moby, who is most famous for the theme to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne movies, is an original guy. In a 1997 interview, he spoke about a family of cockroaches living in his apartment and often standing on a clock. Because of his born-again Christian beliefs, he would not kill them. Moby takes his Christianity seriously, but it may not be the Christianity that the reader is familiar with. At first, in the 1980s, he was celibate and did not indulge in alcohol and drugs; however, he realized that Jesus was not an ascetic person; after all, “he swore, and he drank, and he ran around, and he screamed at people. He loved his friends and was a very human, passionate figure. So I rejected that weird asceticism after thinking about who Christ really was and realizing that I was forcing myself to be something that didn’t feel natural.” As you may expect, people regard Christianity in different ways. Moby was signing autographs at a Detroit rock festival when a woman said to him, “I think it’s really cool that you’re a Christian.” But the man standing beside her said, “You’re a Christian? That’s f**ked up.” Moby said in the interview, “I wanted to say to them, ‘Look, I like both of you, but neither one of you probably understands what that word means.’”

• The Ramones sometimes opened out on tour for the band White Zombie — something that embarrassed White Zombie member Sean Yseult because she felt that White Zombie should be opening for the Ramones. The Ramones were grateful to White Zombie for taking them out on tour with them. Joey Ramone would tell White Zombie, “You guys are so cool for taking us out.” The Ramones would also say that few bands would ask them to go out on tour with them. Ms. Yseult would reply, “Well, there’s a reason. People are probably too scared to ask one of the greatest bands on earth to open for them.” By the way, the band Sonic Youth sometimes opened for the B*tth*le Surfers (the band did not use asterisks in its name). Despite selling many more records than the B*tth*le Surfers, Sonic Youth had a good reason for opening for them. When the B*tth*le Surfers played, things happened such as beer getting spilled and chaos being rampant and mass numbers of people getting rowdy. By the time the B*tth*le Surfers had finished their set, the stage was always a mess, and Sonic Youth avoided playing in the mess by opening for the B*tth*le Surfers.

• Culturcide became underground punk legends by taking other people’s records, singing their own lyrics over top of the real lyrics, and then releasing the records. One thing they did was to sing their own lyrics over top of “We Are the World,” a Live Aid/Band Aid single on which many major stars such as Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder sang. Culturcide’s version was “They Aren’t the World,” and some of the lyrics were “There comes a time when rock stars beg for cash … There are people dying/whooah, and they just noticed.” “We Are the World” was a good single that made a lot of money to help hungry people, but “They Aren’t the World” is major-league satire that drove the music industry crazy and gave a lot of work to lawyers.

• Mickey McGowan, creator of the Unknown Museum, enjoys collecting odd records. Among them is an album titled Music to be Murdered By. As you may expect, the portly suspense movie director Alfred Hitchcock introduces each musical selection and tells jokes in his distinctive voice: “Why shouldn’t I make a record? After all, my measurements are 33-45-78.” About a record titled Companion to TV, Mickey says, “When I played [it], I discovered it was absolutely silent — there’s no sound on the record! Whoever made this was pro-television and wanted to make sure that if you got the urge to play a record while watching TV, you couldn’t possibly interrupt anything.”


• Milt Hinton is an African-American jazz musician who took many, many photographs of fellow jazz musicians, both black and white. Whenever he would print a photograph of one of his white friends and the photograph came out dark enough for someone to comment on it, he would say, “I can’t help it — that’s just the way I see everybody.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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