It’s that magical time of year, where I have to dig in, eschew all social contact, and sacrifice myself to finals. I’ve been spending the rainiest day in recent memory reading academic journal articles on Abstract Expressionism, and when this paper is finished and handed in, I will never want to look at a Jackson Pollock painting again. Maybe it’s oxygen deprivation making me feel compelled to overshare this with you.
I used to work at an upscale men’s clothing store down at the Jersey shore (just to give you an idea: men’s golf shirts, $50 each) that was so mind-numbingly boring that we used to place bets based on how overplayed the songs on the South Jersey lite FM radio station were (i.e., how many times will we hear this song this week?). There was a period of time where the song of the week was “Leather and Lace,” but they never identified the artists. We all knew it was Stevie Nicks and somebody, but we couldn’t identify the male vocalist. It took a full week before someone finally correctly identified it as Don Henley.
You know your job is mind-numbingly boring when you can write, in your head, a full gender-studies article on the cultural relevancy of the lite-FM chestnut, “Leather and Lace.” It made me fall in love with the song. It wasn’t a great summer, but there are worse fates.
Years later but still years ago, I convinced my friend Jeremy to sing this at karaoke with me. Being completely blotto, I blew it so badly that I still owe Ms. Nicks an apology.
So, that might explain why I find this pee-myself hilarious, at least through the first 4 minutes.
Ferrell’s comedy takes a while (and it’s not work-safe, you have been warned), but at 4:15 or so, Dave Grohl just takes it back and owns it (and me). I’ve never been a huge fan of, specifically, The Grohl- his presence is ubiquitous enough to have become cultural wallpaper at this point. But his ability to simplify and perform this overplayed song compellingly shows you why, much like Chickenman, he’s everywhere, he’s everywhere. Guy’s got some chops, and I wouldn’t mind that served up with some caramelized onions.
But then Ferrell breaks the absolute cardinal rule of the guitarist-worshiper. No matter how funny you think you are, no matter how complicated your bromance, YOU DO NOT DISTRACT THE GUITARIST. Guitarists in general tend to be skittery creatures, and it’s a complicated juggling act for them to perform and make it look like they’re not self-conscious. One wrong move and they will tear back to Mom’s basement, the six-pack of Schlitz and the stack of vinyl records before you can say Stairway To Heaven. Deep down inside every guitarist is a kid who finds a complicated, ancient and beautiful stringed instrument less threatening than people.
Musicians make good partners for writers. When you need to go crawl into a cave and scribble and scrape out a few hundred words and try to make sense of them, they will not miss you when you’re gone. They will, in their weird way. You might come out later on and find a mouse on your doorstep. In reality, they’re off doing their own scrambling and scraping. Whatever you do, when the machine is in operation, do not distract them. You might end up with a 12-string neck in your ribs, and you will deserve it.