Auf Wiedersehen Scorpions

January 27, 2010

So, I began to see reports pop up here and there the last few days that The Scorpions are calling it a day.

The German export was one of the few metal acts that I cared enough about to buy an album or two as a kid. My interest in the band began during the summer of ’82, coinciding with two events. One was a heavy dose of them on the radio with the song No One Like You.

The other thing which prompted an interest in the band was a friend, Beej, who made an annual pilgrimage to spend a few weeks in Arizona with his dad each summer. He’d usually return with music that we weren’t hearing in the Midwest. In ’82, his return home was with a passion for The Scorpions album Blackout.

It struck me as odd because his younger brother was a little metalhead and he caught his share of grief from us for it.

But we dug Blackout. It was metal, but it had ridiculous hooks. It had a sheen. It was wiry and lean.

I’d stare at the album cover and wonder what the hell was up with that.

(and is that Rollie Fingers?)

Beej would call the nearest rock stations, long-distance, and request No One Like You. He’d tell DJs he wanted to dedicate it to his girlfriend who had downed a lethal dose of Coke and Pop Rocks on a dare. He’d go into graphic detail as to how the urban legend was true and her stomach had burst.

(the entertainment value of this skit to me and my friends was incalculable)

Two years later, I think all of my friends had a copy of Love At First Sting. No matter how varied our individual tastes might have been, we all dug The Scorpions.

(and they had a drummer named Herman “The German” Rarebell which, for some reason, amused us)

And then I pretty much lost interest in and track of The Scorpions. Their next album, Savage Amusement, didn’t come out until I was in college and my head was in a different direction musically. I heard some of it, but it dropped from my radar pretty quick.

I couldn’t escape hearing Winds Of Change years later. This was not how I wanted to remember The Scorpions of my childhood and that whistling in the song…I wanted nothing to do with it.

But the band has had a good run and they will always occupy a two, two and a quarter album space in my heart…

The Scorpions – Arizona
from Blackout

“Arizona really was a gas.”

Me and my friends were bummed when Beej took off for Arizona each summer. We were stuck in Sticksville and he was in exotic Tucson.

Arizona was a favorite even if it did make us feel like we were missing out on the fun that Beej was experiencing out West.

The Scorpions – No One Like You
from Blackout

Not only were the rock stations I was listening to playing No One Like You, but so were the pop stations. It was fine by me as the song was an excellent reason to turn up the radio.

Nearly thirty years later, few songs conjure up the summer of ’82 more vividly for me than No One Like You.

The Scorpions – Big City Nights
from Love At First Sting

Sure, Rock You Like A Hurricane was the big hit from Love At First Sting and future staple on every Monsters Of Rock-like compilation to come down the pike. But, I did burn out on the song pretty quickly.

(also, I was at an age where my taste in music was undergoing a seismic shift)

So, the album didn’t get nearly as much attention from me as Blackout, but Big City Nights was one of its better tracks.

The Scorpions – Rhythm Of Love
from Savage Amusement

As I noted, Savage Amusement came and went for me in a fingersnap. We played it a few times in a record store where I worked and I seem to recall MTV showing the video for Rhythm Of Love a lot.

I remember the video having a spaceship in it. It’s 2010 and I could easily confirm that detail, but it can’t be as entertaining as I picture it in my head, so I won’t.

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Bedouin Bait Shops And Giant Pumpkins

January 28, 2009

This global economic crunge has added a delightful extra layer of stress to the usual drudgery of working for a living. I’ve expressed a desire to Paloma of vamoosing from the rat race.

“We should open a bait shop.”

She nods.

“How do we become Bedouins?”

She reminds me that I like to say the word Bedouin.

(I wonder if the Bedouins fish)

Of course, if Paloma and I end up running a bait shop, we’d likely be living in a setting which would allow Paloma to assemble an ark-worthy menagerie.

I think that I might try to grow a giant pumpkin.

“We saw that show on giant pumpkins,” she says.

It’s true. We stumbled across a documentary one night on PBS about people who grow giant pumpkins. We had to watch.

After a grueling day working at the bait shop, trying to produce a pumpkin the size of a small car seems like it might be a good way to unwind.

I wouldn’t be entering the competition chronicled in that documentary. It seemed like it made things too much about the people when it really should have been about the pumpkins.

I feel more Zen already.

And tomorrow, if things should get stressful at work, I vow to take a moment to stare into space and think of giant pumpkins.

I have one song with pumpkin in the title, but I have numerous songs by Smashing Pumpkins. Paloma and I saw them in ’95. The show was more memorable to me for the tiny toy raygun Paloma found and wore in her hair as an accessory.

And, yes, Jackie Blue and Landslide are cover versions of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Fleetwood Mac.

Smashing Pumpkins – I Am One

Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm

Smashing Pumpkins – The End Is The Beginning Is The End

Smashing Pumpkins – Jackie Blue

Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide