Baby, we were born to die!!!

Sudafed-inluenced incoherence about Bruce, the worst concert I've ever seen, and the song "Come On Eileen."

Through circumstances I don’t feel like getting into, I recently found myself at a fancy cocktail party attended primarily by celebrity actor-types. I cannot recommend enough the experience of meeting someone so famous that they introduce themselves merely as a formality, them asking you what you do for a living, and you responding by saying you write an email newsletter. “Yes I have watched literal hundreds of episodes of your beloved syndicated network television show but please allow me to tell you about my favorite pastime of emailing strangers about pop punk.” True humility if I’ve ever felt it.

But! I am proud (horrified?) to report that my beautiful lil newsletter keeps growing! Not to brag but my subscriber list pretty quickly hit quadruple digits (four people) and gained a bunch more this week thanks to my extensive interview with The Menzingers. Will this growing platform I have here lead me to take this seriously and produce higher quality content? Friends, I assure you that it. will. not.

I will not shut the fuck up.
I will not get any smarter.
I will make no attempts to improve myself.

This is my promise to you.

Sometimes you will get comprehensive 4,000-word interviews with bands you like. Other times I will word-vomit all over your inbox. I don’t really have a point to this particular email so I’m just gonna ramble about music for a spell if’n ya don’t mind. That’s why I prefer this newsletter thing to writing for publications. With publications, you have to deliver a clear-cut, unified topic with a singular thesis and an appropriate headline. But with a newsletter you can just sort of start writing and jump to another topic whenever you get bored of the hey so Bruce Springsteen turned 70 this week. I guess since it was The Boss’ birthday, we’re all required by internet law to post our stories about either meeting him, hearing his music, or seeing him concert. My only Springsteen story is this. 

One time I was hanging out at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park and some older townie kept telling me about how he knew Bruce back in the 70s. Voluntarily, mind you. I never asked, nor was I really interested. But he kept going on. After a while of this, the guy then excused himself to go get something out of his car. He came back a few minutes later with an album full of old newspaper clippings and photos of the two of them on a softball team together. Then the bartender yelled across the room, "Dammit, Gary, you know you're not supposed to be doing that in here no more!" That’s it. That’s my Bruce story.

Now let’s start a new REPLY ALT segment called This Has Been Pissing Me Off Lately. Something that’s been pissing me off lately is that viral video of J-Lo wearing that green dress she wore at some award show years ago. Obviously, yes, J-Lo looks fantastic. I’m not out here tryna bodyshame anyone. In fact, would I leave my entire “career” behind if I were offered the job of being the guy who lugs her thigh grease around from gig to gig? Without question, absolutely. Sign me up for the greaseboy gig.

I guess what’s Been Pissing Me Off is the way people reacted to it. Every response was some version of “omg this woman is *50*!!!” Of course J-Lo can look like this at 50. J-Lo is rich.

It reminded me of that slogan you see sometimes that says “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce.” I see this a lot on shirts and mugs sold at those stores that market cutesy #resistance/pop feminism tchotchkes to well-off white people in bougie neighborhoods. They’re usually located right next to the coffee shop that sells a $6 latte and has a sign in the front window that says, “Refugees are welcome here.” 

It’s meant to evoke a combination of inspiration and tough love, right? After all, Beyonce is a regular human just like you but look at how successful she is and you could be just as successful if you stopped wasting time playing Fruit Ninja on your phone and did something with your life you fucking piece of shit. If only you were as organized as Beyonce! Maybe if you got a task scheduling app and turned into one of those people who wakes up at 4:30 AM and eats nothing but peeled almonds you also could be the most famous entertainer on the planet!

But here’s the thing. You actually do NOT have as many hours in the day as Beyonce. You have much, much fewer hours. To use a clinical term, Beyonce is Rich As Fuck. She has near limitless resources and can afford to not waste any of her hours. Think about your week in terms of menial tasks. How much time do you spend on the subway, or preparing food, or cleaning, or taking your kids to school, or waiting in line for things, or silently sobbing in a bathroom stall because of any combination of the aforementioned things? When all of that is added up, you have mayyyybe 6 to 14 minutes to yourself each week. Beyonce wastes no time on any of this peasant bullshit because when you’re rich, people come to you and do things for you.

So, fuck how you’re “supposed” to look at 50. Fuck being pressured into becoming an unrealistic multi-tasker. Fuck fitting into clothes you wore 20 years ago. This world sucks so bad for regular people like us and if you can chase the pain away by eating the occasional donut over the sink I say go for it.

Speaking of dumb things making their way around the internet, I kept seeing people filling out that tweet where they list their concert history—the first concert they ever went to, the best one, the worst one, and blah blah. Usually I avoid chiming in on this normie shit unless I can think of a joke to ruin the entire premise of it—basically the equivalent of kicking a ball into the next yard so no one can play anymore. Then I saw this tweet from Jason Isbell:

I didn’t reply because I didn’t want to seem like I was dunking on Jason Isbell. I met him and his wife briefly in Philadelphia once and they were both EXTREMELY hospitable. Like, scary nice. But I gotta disagree with The Bell here. Bad concerts can be wonderful experiences. It reminded me of the worst concert I’ve ever seen.

In 2014 I was in the backyard of the Beauty Bar in Vegas watching Jon Cougar Concentration Camp open for Riverboat Gamblers. They hadn’t played together in a long, long time. Years, in fact. This was immediately evidenced by the fact that they were all playing at vastly different speeds. The first song was a struggle. The guitarist kept looking back at the drummer, trying to sync up with him but it just wasn’t happening. Maybe two minutes into the song they just gave up. The dude put down his guitar and walked off stage. Everyone watching was sort of dumbfounded and no one clapped or said anything. A two-minute set that ended in silent confusion. The next thing I saw was Ryan from Off With Their Heads running at me through the crowd and saying, “That was the best set I’ve ever seen in my life!”

OK one more thing. Let’s talk about Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ 1982 single “Come On Eileen.” Bet you didn’t think I was gonna say that.

It’s a song whose title is in DESPERATE need of a comma. Seriously, how do we not constantly talk about the fact that a once #1 hit single has a glaring punctuation error in its title that makes it sound like a porn parody of itself? Or is that maybe the point? Is it one of those cheeky radio hits that most people don’t realize is actually about sex, like “Summer of 69”? LOL remember the time that CBS morning show asked Bryan Adams what that song was about and he said it was about 69ing? Fucking legend. 

Anyway, back to “Come on Eileen.” I fucking love this song. It’s only three and a half minutes but it’s got like six different shifts in it. There are violins on it and a banjo and it speeds up out of nowhere towards the end and I genuinely am not sure how I would categorize it for someone who’s never heard it. Celtic disco, maybe? One night when I was procrastinating on doing work, as I often do, I was diving through YouTube and found this performance of it:

Granted, there are like a dozen musicians on this song so it’s a tricky one to pull off live but good LORD. The whole thing is pretty ramshackle, and generally looks like an Eric Andre skit, but the first minute… my GOD. Whaaaat is going on in those 60 seconds? I’m actually going to stop analyzing it further for fear that I might start looking too deep into this and have no choice but to write a 10,000-word oral history on what went wrong here. (Some publication please pay me to do this.)

Now, if you were in charge of the band, you would scrub this from the internet and bury it so deep that no one would ever find it, right? Except that this video was posted by the official Dexy’s Midnight Runners account! They wanted the world to see this! This is like voluntarily posting your sex tape in which you call your partner Mommy, puke all over them, and pass out.

I really wish I could turn this trainwreck “Come On Eileen” performance into some sort of rah-rah inspirational life-coaching like I did above with the J-Lo dress. I wish I could spin it into a positive message about how you should embrace your failures and imperfections in life and become stronger for it. But uhhhhh maybe the lesson in this is to never go to a karaoke bar, do a shitload of painkillers, and sing “Come On Eileen.”

Alright thanks for reading. I swear I’ll have a point next time. Maybe.