The March 21, 2021 TGU Live broadcast featured songs that were connected to the songs that preceded them in the playlist. Here are the notes on the connections between the songs, as written by each contributor.
“Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Mama Cass Elliot
This song figures prominently in the episode of the TV show “Lost” that focuses on Desmond’s emergence from a long stay in The Hatch. Pandemic life often feels like life in The Hatch.
By Cass McCombs & Steve Gunn
I’m just going to riff off the Mama Cass name and go with the first thing that came to my mind. I listened to the Mama Cass song, and my wife and I both thought it was the theme song to 70s TV show and had a fun time searching our brain for the random TV reference. We’ve never watched the show and don’t know anything about the show, but it reminded us of the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore show which was somehow lodged in our collective consciousness. Anyway, this song was a sleeper single release from last year from two artists that I like [one of whom shares a first name with Cass Elliot]. I’d almost say that I’m a bigger fan of Steve Gunn than I am of Cass McCombs. But I believe the song is both great and somewhat unheard.
By Louie Armstrong
Right on. As soon as I read the “sweet” in “Sweet Lucy,” I flashed on sitting on my veranda in New Orleans in the evening heat with the smell of sweet persimmons and honeysuckle drifting up from the Street and the sweet sound of “Sweet Lorraine” moving through the heavy air.
By Cold War Kids
I’m going to go with the Cold War Kids’ ‘Broken Open’, as it shares the same kind of vibe as “Sweet Lorraine” in a much more rocking modern way. Louis Armstrong is clearly bowled over by Lorraine–totally floored by her greatness–as is the man in my song.
By Elvis Costello
I went with an end-of-the-Cold-War theme. This one reminds me of late Cold War times not only because of its vintage but also its opening lines, which are among my favorites. History repeats the old conceits / The glib replies, the same defeats / Keep your finger on important issues / With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues. Matt Maust, the bass player, is born in 1979 and named the band after visiting Europe and realizing he’s a Cold War kid himself.
By Stiff Little Fingers
Elvis Costello reminds me of the movie High Fidelity (Top 5 movies for me). Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello is on that soundtrack. The first time I hear the Fingers was in that movie. And Suspect Device is also on that soundtrack. Great band and great song.
By Willie Williams
The connection to “Suspect Device” being the powder keg of the stark difference between the haves and have-nots. Sung in a much calmer, much more weeded, less heart-thrashing way.
By Wu Tang Clan
Both “Armagideon Time” and “Fast Shadow” are in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, a Jim Jarmusch movie.
“Protect Ya Neck”
By El Michaels Affair
I was given a song by WuTang, so the connection is the artist. This was an instrumental cover(ish) if the WuTang Classic. This song was also featured in the title sequence of the Showtime docuseries.
By Lana Del Ray
This song reminds of drinking 40s in high school while rolling around in my buddy’s little red hatchback Datsun (the “el toro rojo”) blasting gangsta rap from his 10″ Kickers, cuz that’s what white boys in Montana do. Those 40 ozs of Freedom make me think of Lana Del Rey’s delightful cover of “Doin Time”.
By Nicole Atkins
Off her late-May 2020 album: Italian Ice. Associating both the release timing and her album title with this last summer … Livin’ was easy, yet we were doin (quarantine) time. The Spotify video loop that accompanies this song is not as sexy as a giant Lana walking through California, but it’s just as weird to watch. Nicole, like Lana, is a queen. Starts off a little slow but picks up and has a nice beat. Feels a bit 80s even? Makes me happy.
“I Smell a Rat”
By Big Mama Thornton
How a guy smells.
“Moving to the City”
By Jason Anderson
Naturally ‘rats’ led me to thinking about this deserted island of ours (Manhattan) and how excited I was to move here and how much it’s changed. But NYC is coming back baby!!! With stories of strangers porking in SOHO dive bars, the reemergence of drunk cackling youth on Stone Street, camp pop-up gigs in Times Square,… It’s only a matter of time before this empty bucket fills right back up and starts up its crazy NYorky ways!
By Volcano Choir
From Jason Anderson’s bandcamp page: “He’s collaborated with Mount Eerie and, most recently, Thomas Wincek of Volcano Choir.” Perhaps most interestingly, Volcano Choir was a side project of Justin Vernon, before he was Bon Iver. You can certainly hear some of what was to come in this track.
“Watch the Corners”
By Dinosaur Jr.
This was off of “I Bet on Sky,” which was cut on the JagJaguar label, same as the Volcano Choir album.
“I Know a Place”
By Jay Reatard
Jay’s connection to Dinosaur Jr. is that he shares a first name with J Mascis, the mastermind behind Dinosaur Jr.
“Alfie from the Bronx”
By Toy Dolls
Jay Reatard HAS TO HAVE BEEN influenced by the Toy Dolls.
“Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song)”
Connection being the name Alfie, which is a very random name, no offense to all the Alfies out there.
“We’re Going to Be Friends”
By The White Stripes
I never heard “Alfie’s Song” before and listened to it twice. I really liked it. Following instructions [of this project] the first thing that came to my mind while listening to it was positive, nostalgic, youth. And then the first song that came to my mind that made me feel like that was this one.
“Michael D Rockin’ in the Dáil”
By The Saw Doctors
Bill Freeman introduced me to the White Stripes on a drive back from a Russian Orthodox wedding in Albany circa 2000 or 2001. Following the reception at the hotel, Bill jumped in the pool with his suit on. While perhaps this should lead me to should pick REM’s ‘Nightswimming,’ it’s both too well known and too slow, so I’ll go with another band Bill introduced me to, back in 1997 — in honor of the season we are in: The Saw Doctors’ ‘Michael D. Rockin’ in the Dail,’ written long before Michael D. Higgins was elected president of Ireland. By the way, Bill now hates Jack White – but Michael D. belongs to the ages.
“Michael” by Red House Painters
“All I Ever Wanted”
By Michael Stanley Band
I did an association with the song title “Michael,” and with one of my favorite artists Michael Stanley. I thought it appropriate especially with his passing on March 5th. A true Heartland rocker if there ever was!!! And I totally agree let’s get it ROCKIN’!!!!
“Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp”
By George Harrison
Like Michael Stanley, George Harrison died of lung cancer.
“Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
By She & Him
They ripped the piano backing from G Harrison’s Crisp track.
“The Song That Ended Your Career”
I felt a connection to this song by Verbena (AA Bondy’s 90s band). I can’t explain the connection; it just felt right.
“Mercy Mercy Mercy”
By Marlena Shaw
Associated with the organ of the Verbena song. This song’s writer is Joe Zawinul, a famous organist. This cover this more upbeat version, with lyrics.
“Mother of Mercy”
Connection to the word “Mercy.” Samhain was an American rock band formed by singer Glenn Danzig in 1983, immediately following his departure from The Misfits. Samhain played in more of a death rock- and heavy metal-infused style of horror punk than Danzig’s previous band. By 1987 Samhain’s membership evolved into a new band, Danzig.
“Life Fades Away”
By Roy Orbison
This song is written by Glenn Danzig, of Sanhain. Though tempting to include a Danzig cover of Elvis or someone’s cover of Danzig, there’s a more interesting option. Danzig is a prolific songwriter with credits well into the hundreds: songs for The Misfits, Samhain and his solo act. After recording “November-Coming-Fire” with Samhain, which “Mother of Mercy” appears on, Danzig was approached by Rick Rubin to sign on to his new record label, Def America, in 1986. According to Wikipedia, Rubin’s original vision was a super group with Danzig as the leading vocalist, but that never materialized. Instead, a year later, the first pieces of music that Danzig would write for Rubin’s new label were for the “Less Than Zero” soundtrack. The first to appear on the soundtrack is a song Danzig wrote for Roy Orbison and swoons in typical Orbison fashion. The music is cinematic and sweeping (you can almost see the credits rolling), while the lyrics are simple and melancholy. It’s a solid offering from an unlikely duo and well worth the excavation to find it. Bonus errata: the other track is rumored to have been written by Orbison for Danzig and is called “You and Me (Less Than Zero)” and is performed by Glen Danzig and the Power & Fury Orchestra – the only song by the group of that amazing name.
“My Ass is on Fire”
By Mr. Bungle
Roy Orbison is featured prominently in Blue Velvet, and this song samples lines from the movie.
“Patch It Up”
By Elvis Presley
I chose ‘Patch It Up’, by Elvis Presley. The song that led me here, “My Ass is on Fire” by Mr. Bungle, had 37 different musical styles in it. But the overwhelming musical and lyrical vibe was of a man uninterested in any sort of compromise (see: verse 6 “Don’t you fuckin’ look at me!”) It led me to a contrast – “Patch It Up”. This Elvis song from 1970 is in the rhythm and blues style. It is conciliatory and hopeful and kickass upbeat and written by Eddie Rabbit.
“Rip It Up”
By Little Richard
Because of the similar title.
By Real Estate
In “Rip it Up” Little Richard sings about going out on a Saturday. My first thought was, “Another Saturday Night” by Sam Cooke (which was a favorite of my Dad’s)…but I was trying to get more current. This brought me to “Saturday” by Built to Spill, but thought that might be a little obvious for this crowd…which brought me to “Saturday” by Real Estate, a band that was influenced by Built to Spill.
By Kenny Chesney
Playing off the word Saturday. During the pandemic, my wife and I were fortunate to have both of our kids home. Every Saturday night, we all hung out together, cooked appetizers, had a few pops and a lot of laughs (and listened to TGU Live quite a bit). That’s rare when your kids are 25 and 21, because they are usually living their own lives with their friends at that age, not hanging with their parents every Saturday. We always talked about the fun we would have when this craziness was over, especially in the summer, by attending more concerts together. The last concert we all went to together was Kenny Chesney in Philadelphia, which was a blast. And the Summertime just represented something that was fun in the past (the concert in Philly) and something we all looked forward to…while hanging out at home every Saturday night. The Pandemic has been a freakin drag but there have been pockets of fun that would have never happened in a non-pandemic word and Saturday just reminds me of that. And this song just connects to me that way.
“Ichiro Goes to the Moon”
By The Baseball Project
Connection is summer and baseball and the Chesney song has the following line: That old ballpark, man, is back in gear.
By Chastity Belt
Connection is that Ichiro famously played for the Seattle Mariners, which made me think of this band that I really enjoy and hails from Seattle. The song pick is off one of their older albums but a good one and seems to work in that we also will sort of be “having a party tonight”.
“Help, I’m Alive”
Metrics’ answer to “Are We Having Fun?”: “If we’re alive / what shouldn’t you do? / I get wherever I’m going / I get whatever I need / While my heart’s still flowing / and my heart / Is beating like a hammer.” Also: I imagine this song would be fun to listen to in a big crowd (gasp!)
By Love and Rockets
When I saw the word ‘Alive,’ the first thing that popped into my head was “So Alive” by Love and Rockets. That brought me back to a particularly balmy day in August of ’89, when I was 14 and got to see the Cure, Love and Rockets, The Pixies, and special guest Shelleyan Orphan. I remember tons of Robert Smith look-a-likes with the hair and makeup getting carried out of giant stadium on stretchers due to “heat exhaustion” or drugs.
“Hands Around My Throat”
By Death in Vegas
“So Alive” made me think of death, which made me think of the band Death in Vegas. When I lived in Red Hook, the band’s frontman, Richard Fearless, lived across the hall from me for a short time. He was a very nice guy that came from London to New York to live with his girlfriend from Staten Island. I had never heard of the band but there were definitely a few fan boys hanging around him at the Bait and Tackle, our corner bar.
“Hands” [Live from the Christmas show at The Vatican]
Tie in is in the title “Hands Around My Throat” lyric vs. “We are God’s hands”, “We are reflections of God.” Hands can be used to hurt or help others. Juxtaposition the pain “hands around my throat” versus our “hands” in a prayer.
“Choked Out” by The Mountain Goats
To continue to hands-and-choking theme, I chose this concise, peppy ode to the sad things desperate people do when they really need money. Wanted to end this shitty year with a reminder that lives have been destroyed by this thing. Many people are desperate, and they’re going to need a lot of help coming back from it. We can do it.