7 a.m. On A Sunday: Damn Yankees

I was up way too early today, watching this Damn Yankees video.

It’s what I do.

I caught this song on Satellite radio (Hair Nation) a few days ago, and was confused. Perhaps my memory was flawed: was it really TED NUGENT who played in this band?

Aside from the melodic and restrained guitar playing, I had a hard time believing he could even play in a band context. He could definitely compete with Yngwie, as far as derailing a song to make it all about him.

There’s no way. Maybe every time I watched this video on MTV I just assumed it was him. And maybe there was no guy with a blonde mullet and John Lennon sunglasses, singing harmonies.

Yep. That gum-chewing asshole. It’s funny to me how the subtext of open-mouthed gum-chewing creates the illusion of confidence. “This is all easy for me, I don’t care about anything.”

I like to imagine that everyone (everywhere) does what they do consciously. And I mean, on purpose, and that they’ve said it out loud at least once. As if Ted Nugent was planning it with the director, and they ordered a bunch of chewing gum for him. “I want to be chewing a lot of gum in this video. I’m talking like TWENTY BOXES, because I want it to be just right, and we’re going to have to shoot a lot of takes. And let’s make sure the two singers wear round sunglasses, and that the drummer has no sunglasses and no shirt. I’ll wear these ridiculous Oakley things. Trust me, it will work. I know what I’m doing.”

It was probably all written into a script somewhere, along with the rest of the video that has nothing to do with the lyrics.

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Justin Bieber Is A Shit Bomb That Exploded In The Air And Splashed On Everyone

Thank you, field correspondent Augustus Larch. And now, for a very important and personal message about the reader’s creative career:

I know. You finish a creative project… then it’s the obligatory hurricane of WordPress Blogs and Facebook Pages and Domains and YouTube clips and Tweets and Tumblr accounts and Advertisements Pretending To Be Informative Articles and Apps and Mailing Lists and automatically Feeding this to that and PLEASE TELL EVERYONE TO CLICK ON MY LINK AND REPOST EVERYWHERE and then POOF! you’re gone again.

I’ve watched this happen over and over — not only because I’ve been paid to do it, but also because I’ve done it for my own projects a zillion times. All of this spamming and self-marketing doesn’t work.

It’s because people are interested in other people.

It’s a primal thing. We pay attention to things that are alive. Things that move and change, grow over time, have flaws. Authentic things we can interact with.

Look at Kevin Smith. He doesn’t disappear for two years when he doesn’t have something to sell you. The guy never stops. His entire life is his creative career. Even if it’s just him and his friends farting into a microphone, he’s generating content. He can’t help it. If he’s talking, he’s making stuff that people will pay attention to. And it has absolutely nothing to do with whatever movie he’s making at the time. It’s just that sense of, “I wanna hang out with that guy. He’s cool!”

When I go to an event like NAMM, it’s not hard to spot the posers. They’re the ones who still pretend to be that one product they made twenty years ago. You can see them TRYING to be boring. Avoiding doing anything in The Now. Terrified that anyone will see through their rock star Halloween costume.

(And then there are the copycat posers who wish they were the real posers. Wearing sunglasses indoors, paying a company to build a single custom guitar for them and calling it their Signature Series, hiring a friend to pretend to be their guitar tech. Hmm!)

When you meet the real deal, like David Hayter, it’s obvious why he got the job. I’ve also watched probably 20 of Augustus Larch’s YouTube videos, because I think he’s dangerous and funny — and what an impressive voiceover actor that guy could be, if he didn’t live in an attic the middle of nowhere.

Too often, the process of encapsulating oneself in an inanimate object is a process of sterilization. That doesn’t make strong art, it just makes more dead things on a broken hard drive in a landfill.

In an era when we pretend not to have bodies, hide behind weird screen names, and can’t get an actual human on the phone (“we’re sorry, that is not a valid option, goodbye”), the most valuable thing is organic experience. Media is a way to connect, not to disconnect.

My advice: You, yourself, have to be more interesting than the products you honk about.

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