Classic Folk-Rock, EDM Style, for Gay Pride 2019
LGBTQ Culture has influenced everything from the black leather you see in heavy metal bands to the gender-bending you see in classic New Wave. Fags like me also enjoy injecting some “Queer Eye” fabulousness into whatever the fuck we want to influence. It’s part of our sinister agenda to recruit young, innocent, straight people to committing horrible acts of sodomy and overly-sweet cocktails with tiny pink umbrellas. This has become a sort of “institution” for us: LGBTQ Culture. I admit, as a publicly-closeted gay man, having grown up with flamboyant hairdressers and classy uptown waiters in my weird 1980’s Portland upbringing, I have developed quite an aversion to gay culture. Aside from the pleasure I get being a sort of iconoclast undermining the very thing that Stonewall has awarded us to flaunt peacefully, I often find myself destroying the stereotypes that set us apart from the breeding kind of people. RuPaul, sing Supermodel one more time and I’ll shit bricks. That’s one of the reasons why I like Bear culture. The “gay bears” include those who are too fat, too old, and too wooly to be accepted in mainstream gay culture. That brings me to yet another deplorable rant: I found that I’m not fat, old, and hairy enough to have much of a social life (and a sex life) in that culture either. Another tidbit of irony about the bears is their love of cheesy, bubbly, techno, disco-pop. Why reject the stereotypes of gay culture only to exclude most forms of music except stereotypical-gay-music? Most heterocentric older-male playlists I’ve been exposed to contain a lot of classic rock. Rock with beards. I’d love to go to a gay-bear-party where they listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd. But no. They listen to Lady Gaga. Another confession: Lady Gaga is awesome. I’m not really sure about her music though.
Another awesome force that holds the world together is CSN&Y before there was the Y. Seriously, I simply can’t stand Neil Young. He should have held off at least a few more records before he joined. He’s just about as overrated as Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep put together. I don’t care for his singing nor his lyrics. Perhaps I should actually sit down and listen to one of his solo records, but it would take a lot of weed. I’d prefer that over the Pet Shop Boys though. Classic Rock (beard rock) has developed into quite an institution as well, perhaps even more so than queer culture. It’s OK to make fun of Boy George, but don’t fuck with Jerry Garcia. You mess with Jerry, you mess with a Modern-Messiah who’s on such a pedestal that no wizard or muggle can topple him over, especially if you claim to be a musician; be prepared to face the Great White Throne of Judgement from this institution so ingrained in our lovely culture of peace, love, and freedom. But what about Crosby, Stills, and Nash? What’s wrong with them? Nothing really, I just like to find ways to piss off certain groups of people. I just have a problem with Real Music. “Real Music”, in my twisted definition, is just another pack of Starburst Candy: it’s naturally and artificially flavored. It’s real because they play with a lot of wood as opposed to a lot of plastic objects to make their noises. Real people have bad haircuts. Real people love each other, and make daisy chains and drive Volvos.
Real music, in my opinion is a caveman singing in a cave. Recordings are fake, just as a put-together folk-supergroup is fake. CSN&Y is fake. It’s a business. Did they love each other? Read their history. Did they copy anything others were doing? Who hasn’t? The caveman. Another incomplete sentence. Thanks, Grammarly, now leave me alone! Classic Rock Snobs, leave me alone as well! I played this sacred music for too long, on too many stages, to too many drunk people. It’s a religion, just as Gay Culture has become a religion. Don’t you dare mock the fag on that reality show, you’ll be the first to be voted out (I didn’t check my history books for that, it’s pure speculation). It’s not rebellion anymore if everyone starts doing it. The institution of Rock lost it’s mission the day it became a popular, defensive hyper-sensitive watchdog. Did it die somewhere between Woodstock and Monterey? Or with the Sex Pistols? Some think that if rock has given up the ghost, it must have happened when Cobain died (ask me about that sometime, that is for another time).
What’s the big deal with David Crosby? Is HE the Walrus, or is it Wilford Brimley? Is it that I am totally gay for Crosby? (That is also for another time.) He’s so damn cuddly. There, I said it. The reason why I picked this old trio to market a sonic scam for Gay Pride 2019 is simply because of some media magic that touched me. They touched me, they touched me, and oh the joy that fills my soul. When folk monster Richie Havens began the sacred sonic ceremony of Woodstock, the magic began, especially for me. That’s one of my favorite moments: the first few minutes of the music. No loud band, just a black hippie, totally shredding his axe while pouring out his vocal passions. It’s captivating, even after all these years. Another magic moment for me was the Judy Blue Eyes suite when the newly formed Crosby, Stills, and Nash arrived on that sacred stage. It’s a beautiful song, or four songs, rather. Yeah, it’s four songs in one! Such a bonus, especially because I buy licenses for my cover songs so I won’t get sued by Big Music. I pay for one song that’s got four parts, I totally score. Kinda like my version of Supper’s Ready. Sweet! This suite is an upbeat rocking catchy tune, a ballad, a sort of George Harrison thing, and a sort of latin thing. Four for the price of one!
Why did I gay-ify this classic? Lotsa reasons. I couldn’t find anyone else who sang this to an EDM backdrop, so that’s kinda cool. I also believe that if I cover a song, I don’t want to create a substandard reproduction; and anyone who has tried to reproduce the 1969 recordings of Judy Blue Eyes has done a super-substandard job. Seriously, there are some really shitty versions of this song (or four songs rather). I love producing acoustic music just as much as I love producing electronic music, even stuff that’s almost entirely made from virtual instruments. But I added a little something that a few EDM-addicts might have heard of: it’s called an “electric guitar”. I played my new travel guitar that I bought when I was producing mobile-music and running around in a little motorhome last year. I actually never plugged it in until after my travels. I never even recorded with it until this year. It gets out of tune a lot to my surprise, especially when I whammy the heck out of the tremolo bar. It’s amazing what drowning a crappy track in reverb and burying it in the mix will do. Another reason why I wanted to do this piece, aside from the fact that I couldn’t get it out of my head this winter for some reason, is that 2019 is fifty years from this musical magic.
What is magic? Is it when music is “real”? (Don’t make me repeat myself.) I think it’s simply a recipe. For instance, the Beatles had a perfect recipe, perfect timing, and perfect everything; even in some of their shitty stuff. (Yes Virginia, the Beatles did some shitty stuff.) Why Gay Pride? Because they simply won’t play it. My spidy-sences tell me that, along with my experience with having practically no acknowledgment as an artist from the gay community; I’ll be ignored. I’m considering penis enlargement, that might improve my chances. There’s a guy in the Philippines that can hook me up with a doctor-guy. Anyway, I’d love to hear this blasted as they kick off their stage events at the post-march festivities on the Portland Waterfront like they do at Pride every year. There’s drag queens that come in all sizes, epic dykes with dreadnaught guitars singing about how easy longterm relationships are for them, Faggity Anne and Andy, and the who’s-who of the global clique I call the Gay Community. Since we are not nearly as oppressed as we were fifty years ago, we might as well oppress each other. Heck, most of us don’t have kids and we are bored. We can marry each other and openly tell people that we do things like butt-sex, and we like to watch people’s faces because most of them are afraid to say something that might offend us. Then, we also like it when they do say something that is “homophobic”, for instance: “the Pet Shop Boys suck.” Bigot! How dare they?!
A reason why I want to taunt EDM fans is that I thought it would be funny to see them dance for nearly twenty minutes at a tempo thats over 140 beats per minute, although if I actually learned more about them, I bet that’s actually not a big deal. They’d need a lot of X to keep up with this shit maybe, I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just buying into a stereotype. A cool thing about it, is that the last minute or two of my evil rendition is designed to crossfade into another piece of DJ art. Yeah, I admit it, a DJ is an artist (oops, I meant to put the word Artist in quotes). I’d like someone to fuck with my music, just like I’ve fucked with CSN. I’d like it to fade into something with the same tempo (just as long as it’s in D mixolydian, but who needs music theory when you’re playing beats and and other people’s recordings? Isn’t getting laid the point of being a DJ and not considering the jarring effects that unintentional bitonality has on ex-music-teachers?)
I decided to use a virtual instrument called a Vocoder. It combines the timbre from a microphone with the tones of an instrument, typically a synthesizer. It’s what we heard with Kraftwerk and ELO when they sang like pretty robots. I used it because my voice is too amateur to sing CSN. I also wanted something different. I even changed a lot of the harmonies. I faked some of it too. But the Vocoder wasn’t enough to hear the lyrics – I have some background tracks of a two part harmony with some low-cut EQ… But enough with audio production ramble. It just makes me feel smart, sorry about that. Oh yeah, one more thing. The mastering! Something most hobby-local-type producers think they know about. I used a software trial. It turned out so freakin hot! (“Hot” meaning volume.) Not good enough to pay for it, so after my nine days, I let it expire. It’s not the process that matters to me anyway. I’m product-driven. I made this in an unfurnished house on lawn furniture, not a fancy studio. Such a letdown. What I tried to do though, was to capture the beauty of the music with the limitations of the EDM genre. I also wanted it fun for kids, so I added plenty of space stuff like swooshes and poofs. I think gay bears will like it too, but it will take me a while to get chubby enough to get their attention, so we’ll see. I hope that some of the dynamics and space stuff will inspire people to move like Deadheads. I dance like that sometimes, it’s fun. I’d especially love to see Deadheads dance to this.
What am I actually saying? Nothing really, I just like to try my best to make people chuckle, aside from upsetting those who are too comfortable. I just wonder if the post-millennial world is getting tired of us Gen-X and Baby Boomers enforcing our beloved cultures on them and not allowing them to challenge us. This tribute to two worlds needed to happen somewhere, and I got stuck with it. It’s queer with a beard. I’m a gay bear. Here’s proof: I’m actually eating sugar-free chocolate almonds with a gluten-free beer as I write. This song puts hair on the slick-stainless-sounds of EDM as much as it turns an untouchable classic into a plastic Play-dough Fun Factory. It’s sacrilegious, and it could make some people quite tired of dancing that fast for that long.
Another confession I have is that I secretly do love the LGBTQ community. Especially the T – brave souls, they are. I’m glad they are there for those who need to come out, and shamelessly march down the street in tight rainbow colored pride-wear. It’s very empowering.