It’s been a long while since I’ve had a favorite band. Far too long, really. In fact, when I think back over all of my life since I’ve been probably seven years old, I’ve always had a favorite band, a favorite singer or artist. It may have been The Partridge Family at first, or perhaps that’s how I choose to portray my cute-as-a-button young self. I can picture little Stevie sitting cross-legged on the floor of the living room, as Dad, bell-bottomed and thick side-burned, changed the 45 on the record player from Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain” to The Partridge Family’s single, “I Think I Love You.”
But the chronology of this imaginary flashback is all fucked up. And my parents were not hip enough to have The Partridge Family album in their collection. Neil Sedaka, sure. That part rings true. And it wasn’t a groovy LP my dad, and later, I, would play; it would be a nifty little rectangular 8-track tape. And Barry Manilow. Lots of Barry Manilow. Manilow I, Manilow II, Trying to Get the Feeling, This One’s For You, my dad had them all.
I think what I’m trying to say, is, perhaps Barry Manilow was my first favorite artist.
I won’t go through the long list of subsequent favorite bands, all 40 plus years of them, because that just seems like a lot of work. Obviously, the teenage years and the twenties are going to be the most intense favorite-band period, and for me that was 1980-1995. If you’ve read my other posts, you are probably already guessing that Rush played that important role for a good portion of those years and you’d be right. But, like best friends, favorite bands could change on a dime, and my undying adoration for Rush might suddenly shift to Joe Jackson. Or maybe Public Enemy. Bam! Sorry Geddy! Sorry Neil and Alex! The fan is a fickle beast!
Now, as a man of a certain age, with arthritic bones and sensitive ear drums, a good portion of my listening time is spent on podcasts. And if I find myself really enjoying a new band, it’s usually not reaching all the way down, not like artists with a deeper catalog and history. And would I really call any of these newbies “my favorite?” Like moreso than Richard Thompson? More than A Tribe Called Quest? That’s just not gonna happen; my musical DNA is mostly written.
My last favorite band, the most recent one that, during their peak, I loved so much I would buy their new CD the first week of release; the band I would buy tickets to any show the minute they went on sale, was Ween. I think I must have seen the music video for “Push the Little Daisies,” from their Pure Guava album and been alternately frightened and intrigued. They were a duo of smart aleck brothers (Gene and Dean Ween – though I soon would learn Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo were unrelated) who played bizarre, silly, dark and ear worm-quality catchy music unlike anything I’d ever heard before. My buddy Colin and I then saw them perform in concert at the Kennel Club (now The Independent) and the impact on me was what I imagined seeing Nirvana or Devo at the beginning of their ascensions must have been like. Over the next decade I’d see Ween play on every bay area tour, eight times at least. In fact, I’m about to see them for the 9th time in little more than a week! (Or, if you are reading this after Sept. 23rd, then I’d just seen them for the 9th time and it was amazing! Or, I would have recently seen them for the 9th time if not for Trump’s sudden cross-state travel ban. Ok, even I’m not that cynical…)
I’ve done such a great job not mentioning my newest favorite band; partly because this is a much deeper topic than I ever imagined, partly to see how long I could stall, and partly because I simply got distracted.
And now I’m kinda sleepy so I think I’ll just tell you next time. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day.
No. That’s mean. And my readership is already as thin as wheat. I’ll tell you. But I’m going to talk about them next time. Cause they deserve all the attention. Not just a coda to a rambling post.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. My new favorite band. I don’t expect you to agree, especially after watching the below video. But to me, this is the band I would follow like the Grateful Dead if I were 25 and independently wealthy. Which I’m not/not.
More to come about them.