Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Small Rock Invades VH1

mike and scrap, originally uploaded by starbexxx.

Jealous much? Last Friday, Mike Doughty and his upright bassist, Scrap (note: Scrap is both an upright man, as well as a player of the upright bass) rocked our office. VH1 is playing his new video for "Looking at the World From the Bottom of the Well" (watch the video) and ATO records put together a little "Thanks, VH1 Talent Department" performance.

I am not part of the Talent Department but I snuck (sneaked?) into the gig.

Actually, I didn't sneak at all. I'm friends with some of those Talent cats and we're all one big happy fambly under the Viacommunist umbrella.

And I got to watch Mike mingle with the bigwigs, and I talked to Scrap about Balactica for a long time, and it was a swell way to end the week. (NOTE: I was erroneously informed that Balactica picks up in December. Alas, this is not true. The DVD of Season 2.0 comes out December 20th. Le sigh, le sigh).

As you can see in this photo, Mike and Scrap were performing in the head-of-the-department area. On my floor, we call this region the "Creative HQ," but I'm not sure what Talent calls it. Often, VH1 employees are treated to VH1-pimped artists performing in the VH1 reception lobby. Most often, I am far to busy to go see Trey Anastasio or Jaime Cullum or Maroon 5 or Keane or Aqualung. In fact, I am usually out of the office when these perqs are happening. Sometimes, like when Trey Anastasio performed, I try to be as far out of the office as possible.

The only other VH1 performance I ever attended was when Darius Rucker performed in the reception lobbby. And right now, you are scratching your head and asking, "Bex, who, pray tell, is Darius Rucker?"
And I answer:


Now, I am not a Hootie fan, nor am I particularly fond of Darius Rucker's solo, gospel-tinged work. I went to the Hootie performance because I wanted to get Hootie's autograph for my friend, Chris.

Chris is also not a Hootie fan, nor is he particularly fond of Darius Rucker's solo, gospel-tinged work.

I wanted to get Hootie's autograph for Chris, because once upon a time Chris and I spent an entire languid, August evening driving around New Jersey with a copy of Catcher in the Rye, asking everyone we saw if they had seen Hootie.

Yes. We were Hootie-hunting.

It started earlier in the day. Chris and I were trying to figure out how to entertain ourselves that night. Chris had just graduated high school and was about to head off to college. I was about to be a junior at Glen Rock High School. We were bored. And we were hot. And worst of all, we were angry.

We were angry because every time we turned on the tv or the radio, we heard Hootie. Hootie was everywhere that summer, and his assault on music-loving eardrums was just too much. We decided that Hootie had to go.

And so we did what any music-based assassin would do - we stuck Catcher in the Rye in the glove compartment and prowled the not-mean-at-all streets of northern New Jersey, searching for Hootie. And if we found him, we were going to sit him and tell him that if he didn't stop singing everywhere and all the time, we would be forced to do something mean.

We weren't going to shoot him or anything, we just thought he needed to learn an important lesson. And we were going to teach him that lesson. And we were also going to teach his grandmother to suck eggs.

But, alas. We would approach a pedestrian, roll down our windows and ask if they'd seen Hootie, but no one has even caught a glimpse of the homogenized lead singer. We gave up the Hootie hunt.

And then, a few years ago, Chris saw Hootie in Disneyworld. And then, a year or so later, I saw the bass player from Hootie in front of Space Mountain. It seemed the Hootie forces were aligning in our favor.

And then came the day when a superspecial email landed in my mailbox. I was cordially invited to a Darius Rucker performance right in my very own lobby.

And so I went. And I showed up just as Hootie was finishing his last song. And I waited as the crowd thinned out, and I asked him to sign my notebook. I said, "Could you sign this 'To Chris', please?" And he said sure.

And he wrote:
God bless man.
- Darius.

ZUG??? As Chris says, it's quite the unusual theology. Was he telling Chris that God blesses Man? Does that mean Man singular (Chris) or Man plural (Everyone Else)? Is it a command: Hey God, please bless man! Is it a prayer: I hope in the future that God shall bless man? Or did he intend it to read "God Bless, man." Like he's sooo cool and casual that he just throws that out: God Bless, Dude. Yo Chica, God Bless.
Who knew Hootie was such a mystic?

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