And Next…Domino’s Will Split The Atom

September 22, 2010

A headline that Domino’s is, for the first time, having a location near the University Of Dayton that will be open ’round the clock popped from the screen at me.

Pizza at all hours is an idea is so obvious I have to wonder if anyone at the top of the food chain at Domino’s has taken time to calculate the millions (billions?) of dollars in revenue lost by not providing drunken college students an alternative to small, square burgers sold by the dozen.

Imagine the sights you would surely see delivering pizza at four in the morning to college kids in various altered states.

(and Col. Kurtz thought he had witnessed horror in Apocalypse Now)

The concept of pizza being brought to you has to be considered one of mankind’s greatest achievements and, unlike most advances made by the humans, home-delivered pizza is not something that can be weaponized or has military applications.

As wonderful as the concept of pizza available at all hours might be, for several semesters of college I existed in an even more blissful state.

I had a housemate who was a perpetually stoned, unscrupulous manager of a Pizza Hut.

I was a couple years younger than Kirk, but when I moved into the house, I think I had already accrued more credits than he had.

The rest of our housemates were all within a couple semesters of graduating and several that had occupied the house – who had all moved in with Kirk initially – had already done so.

Mostly, he dropped acid like it was Pez, openly discussed the idea of a road trip to Chicago to kill a drifter, and took just enough credits to retain a student parking tag.

(add in pizza and it was a bit like some demented dinner theater)

And there was pizza.

On the nights Kirk worked, it was the closing shift. Half an hour or so before close, one of us would give him a call and make our requests. There were five of us, so he’d arrive home some time after midnight with half a dozen or more pizzas and bags of breadsticks.

And we would feast.

The remnants would clutter the kitchen table for days. The sliding doors to the deck were never locked and friends would come and go, helping themselves to cold leftovers. The empty boxes would eventually end up in the fireplace.

The house was drafty and barely insulated, so those cartons were much needed kindling in the winter.

Yeah, Domino’s might be mediocre pizza, but pizza at any hour of the night is an idea whose time has come.

Here are four songs that I remember from the first few days of autumn in 1988, when it seemed as though there would never again be a day without pizza…

Dreams So Real – Rough Night In Jericho
from Rough Night In Jericho

Dreams So Real were contemporaries of R.E.M. and a part of the ’80s music scene in Athens, Georgia, but I don’t recall being overly familiar with them during that time. I think I might have known their name.

I don’t remember where I heard the song Rough Night In Jericho, either. It might have been in the record store where I was working, but I tend to think it might have been late one night on MTV. It’s relatively straight-ahead rock with a bit of twang to it and a big, dramatic chorus that got my attention at the time.

When In Rome – The Promise
from When In Rome

I knew nothing about When In Rome when The Promise became a hit. I know nothing off the top of my head now except that I believe the act was a British duo. I never even heard another song by them.

But I know The Promise like the back of my hand. It pulsates and it truly sounds like it should have come out in 1983 rather than 1988. I have no trouble hearing this played as an import on 97X alongside Tears For Fears and Echo & The Bunnymen.

And for a band that pretty much vanished into the ether (this was apparently their only album), the song has been surprisingly enduring even popping up at the end of the movie Napoleon Dynamite.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Peek-A-Boo
from Twice Upon A Time: The Singles

I wasn’t a fan of everything by Siouxsie & The Banshees, but there was stuff that I thought was brilliant and quite inventive. They’re undeniably one of the iconic acts of modern rock.

Peepshow, on which Peek-A-Boo first appeared, got a lot of play in our record store. Peek-A-Boo was genius – a bizarrely hypnotic pop song comprised of samples, backwards masking, accordion, discordant guitar, and Siouxsie Sioux’ haunting vocals.

Michelle Shocked – Anchorage
from Short Sharp Shocked

There were a number of female acts in ’87/’88 who found mainstream success with their folk-inflected music.

(Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman being the most notable)

There were artists like Michelle Shocked who didn’t become a household names, but did earn love from critics and devoted audiences on a more intimate scale.

One co-worker at the time was rabid about Short Sharp Shocked, playing it often in our store and much to my dismay. It’s sound wasn’t really where I was then, but, twenty years later, I understand the charms of songs like the gentle Anchorage.

Fire In The Sausage Factory

January 13, 2010

I scanned the headlines the other evening and my orbs flitted right past the usual fare – health care, underpants bombers, the economy, Tiger – settling on an item that resonated.

Sausage Factory Burns In Lebanon

Sausage is a fantastic foodstuff, with trusty sidekick bacon, augmenting the goodness that is pancakes…it’s little wonder the headline caught my eye.

I wondered if the air smelled like the parking lot outside a sporting event. It had to.

Fire in the sausage factory…it made me think of band names like Panic At The Disco! and The Arcade Fire.

I could imagine coming across some album, on vinyl, by a band I’d never heard of called Fire In The Sausage Factory. Perhaps they’d be some ’70s punk band from the UK, spitting slogans with a sneer, that made one, two albums, maybe an EP, and a couple singles for a small label to little notice.

I don’t think I would be inclined to buy an album by a band called Fire In The Sausage Factory.

Names were extremely important to me as a kid purchasing music for the first time. I bought three Tangerine Dream cassettes out of cut-out bin simply because I liked the name.

(the music turned out to be a mixed bag to me)

In the three decades since, there have been numerous groups/singers whose name elicited enough interest from me to gamble meager funds on unknown music. But it was early on, when I knew far less and information about bands wasn’t simply a few keystrokes away, that the name of the band was oftentimes the determining factor as to whether or not the album was coming home.

Here are some songs by acts whose names helped earn them a shot at earning my teenaged allegiance…

Hanoi Rocks – Village Girl
from Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

I’ve noted before that I never really went through a heavy metal phase. However, one of the few music magazines that our hometown drugstore carried was Circus which I would peruse at the rack until the old woman behind the counter would eye me disapprovingly.

It was in Circus that I likely read about the Finnish, glam-rock quintet Hanoi Rocks. Not only did I dig the name, but they were Finnish, and had an album titled Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks.

Actually, by the time I checked them out, the band was already on its fourth or fifth album. A lot of folks predicted that they were ready to break in the States. Instead, their drummer was killed in a car wreck and the band split up.

Bananarama – He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’
from Deep Sea Skiving

I didn’t buy Bananarama on name alone. I had heard a couple tracks on 97X when their debut finally arrived in the States. Then following autumn, Cruel Summer was everywhere.

But Deep Sea Skiving was fun. The three girls were cute as buttons. And it’s still the only Bananarama I need to own.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dazzle
from Hyæna

Like Bananarama, Siouxsie & The Banshees was a personal discovery from listening to 97X when the station gave heavy airplay to their cover of The Beatles’ Dear Prudence in the fall of ’83. It must have been the following spring when I purchased a copy of Hyæna.

As for Dazzle – it was my favorite track on the album and, though I now own most of Siouxsie’s catalog, it remains one of my favorites.

Zebra – Who’s Behind The Door?
from Zebra

During the summer of ’83, several friends were twitterpated over Zebra. They were hardly alone as the trio quickly attracted fans (and detractors) for the heavy Zeppelin influence in their sound.

The comparisons to Zeppelin were irrelevent to me at the time. I knew Stairway To Heaven and not much more by the band (and, at such a young age, I had already been burned out on Stairway).

I did like the name, though – Zebra. It was concise and fun to say. Who’s Behind The Door? began to get some airplay on our local rock stations and I took the plunge, buying their eponymous debut.