Suzanne- Paul Warren & Explorer One Of The Kids
Strangers When We Meet- The Smithereens Especially For You
Rock and Roll Love Letter- The Records Rock and Roll Love Letter 12"
Red Lights- Marbles Red Lights 7"
My Purgatory Years- The Quick Mondo Deco
Oh Babe- Van Duren Are You Serious?
Adventures In Solitude- The New Pornographers Challengers
^Here It Goes Again- OK Go Oh No
All The Kids On The Street- The Hollywood Stars The Hollywood Stars
The Man Who Has Everything- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Big City Rock- The Atlantics Big City Rock
Spring Collection- The Vapors Anthology
Hang On For Love- Off Broadway On
*The Origin Of Love- John Cameron Mitchell Hedwig And The Angry Inch: Original Cast Recording
*Keys- Stew Passing Strange (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
*Everyone's A Little Bit Racist- Avenue Q Original Broadway Cast
*The Bitch of Living- Spring Awakening Spring Awakening: A New Musical
Feel The Pain- The Bureaucrats Feel The Pain 7"
She Was Something Else- The Tremblers Twice Nightly
Someday- The Zippers A Six Song Mini Album
Ich Liebe Dich- Advertising Advertising Jingles
Please Don't Go- Madness The Business
Understanding- The Rockers The Rockers E.P. 7"
>Lies- The Knickerbockers Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
^Power Pop Peak: #38 Billboard Hot 100 9/25/06
*SacroSet: Power Pop On Broadway
>Power Pop Prototype: 1965
In 1975 the Love family did their own version of the Jefferson's Theme, "Movin' On Up" from Brockton, MA to the affluent beach town of Duxbury. I was in the fifth grade at the time and the move was cultural whiplash. I'd had a lot of friends in Brockton and while there was always plenty of mockery to go around (about new haircuts, crying in a fight, wearing a raincoat when it was raining, etc.), I was ill prepared for what was coming. No one in Brockton seemed to care about clothes or shoes but these were top priorities in Duxbury. Anything other than Levi's corduroys and Addidas sneakers was social suicide. My mom refused to pay the $20 for pants and $30 for sneakers so in my Sears Tough Skins and PF Flyers I was a dead man walking. Despite this fact, Andrea McPherson still asked me to square dance in gym that fall, though much to her horror, I acted like I'd been doused with acid at her request. Ahhh the monstrous, unrepentant cruelty of children...
Anyway, perhaps because I was feeling like a pariah myself that year, I became more aware of social dynamics than ever before. So, when I first witnessed Kevin Ruderman's performance of "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler On The Roof in our Chorus class I was flabbergasted. In front of all his classmates, and subsequently the entire school community at the spring evening assembly, Kevin stomped his feet and snapped his fingers channelling Tevya and belting out "ya da digga digga dada dada digga digga dum." It is still one of the bravest things I've ever seen anyone do. I was barely singing as member of the chorus and this dude was bringing it.
Duxbury was the first place I ever heard people called "gay" or "gaylords" and many used these terms to describe Kevin and his Tevya performance. I had no idea what they were talking about but I could tell I didn't want any part of it and thus began my distrust of musical theatre. Many men carry this prejudice with them their whole life but luckily for me two major events "cured" me. First, when I was 12 my father took my Cousin Rich and I to a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have no idea how he found out about it, but one night we left the cozy confines of Duxbury, returning to our old stomping ground, Brockton's Westgate Mall Cinemas. It truly was a horror show- having no sense of the film's structured interaction with with toilet paper, toast, newspaper, etc. people in the theater went wild that night. My dad stood in the back and said he saw one dude launch about five large sodas over the crowd at one point. Rich and I loved it! The film blew our minds and the thrilling/scary crowd was the frosting on the cake. In one night the word "musical" had a new definition for me. I bought the soundtrack and my Dad asked me to tape it for him so he could listen in his Subaru. What's more, and I know this may sound freaky considering the story in the film, I'm convinced that seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at such an impressionable age helped me see gay people in a different light; as another "outsider" group worthy of inclusion and thus contributing to the worldview I hold to this day.
The second factor that brought me around on musicals is that I married a theater major. I still dislike a lot of "classic" musicals like Brigadoon or Oklahoma! but thanks to Jaime's influence I no longer wince when people break into song walking down the street. In fact, one of the greatest experiences in my life was starring as Seymour Krellborn opposite Jaime's Audrey in the Sonoma Community Center's production of Little Shop Of Horrors. I even stopped the show one night during "The Meek Shall Inherit," my own Kevin Ruderman moment.
Of all the musicals featured in tonight's SacroSet, Hedwig & The Angry Inch is closest to my heart. It's a great companion piece to Rocky Horror with an even better story about an "outsider" longing for acceptance- and you can't get any more "outside" than a gay East German man with mangled genitalia living as a woman in rural Kansas, USA who goes on a quest for rock & roll fame and fullfillment. Come to think of it, Hedwig shares themes with Passing Strange's alienated black "bohemian" from LA finding himself in Amsterdam, Spring Awakening's late 19th Century German teenagers who are, as Wikipedia says, "discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality," and the post-college angst of Avenue Q's overeducated/underemployed 20-somethings. I consider myself very lucky to have seen all of these musicals performed live: Hedwig in San Francisco, Passing Strange at its A.C.T. debut in Berkeley, Spring Awakening and Avenue Q Off-Broadway before their Tony winning runs uptown.
Turns out I liked musicals all the while, I just hadn't seen the right ones, or they just hadn't been written yet. Songs and stories put together- really what's not to like?
You can download Hour 1 of tonight's show here (right click and "Save Target As"):
and here is Hour 2: