There are five Mondays in April. This is a Monday month.
So lately I have been driving in a car, and that car has a tape deck, and that means that I’ve been listening to all my old cassettes from the mid-90s. They still play just fine.
I have no problem with most of my early 20s music New Jersey music. I was really into Charles Mingus, Astor Piazolla, the Replacements, Thelonious Monk, Tom Waits, the Archers of Loaf, Man or Astroman, and Duke Ellington. Robyn Hitchcock and Elvis Costello aren’t really holding, but they do write some interesting music. There are only two bands that I really cannot fathom what I liked so much about them. They are the Pet Shop Boys and the Judybats.
The Judybats have become something of a puzzle, because I put them so determinedly on so many mixtapes, and they so clearly do not have what it takes. But they tried so hard! Here, check this out:
Okay, the next song on this one tape is:
1: one of these bands has it, and one does not. That’s undeniable.
2: Dead Can Dance isn’t even trying! I mean, that song is a fraud, it is barely there. It’s some guy reciting in an echo box in a weird meter while a one-fingered man plays the keyboard. The “jam” section at the end is the musical equivalent of a fog machine. It is nine unbearable minutes long and has less music than the Judybats do in four.
Because Judybats, on the other hand, are trying their fool heads off. They are jumping around and yelling and playing really fast and there’s a guitar solo that’s obviously by somebody who specializes in guitar solos.
But it is all for nothing, because they sort of suck.
I don’t really like Dead Can Dance anymore, but there’s a reason why people still know who they are and the Judybats are essentially forgotten.
I really liked the Judybats. I liked them so much that I even liked the next band they were in after the Judybats broke up, called Doubters Club, who I went to see play at a club called Brownies in NYC. It was at this show that I realized they weren’t really that good. I knew there were such things as rock stars in the world; I’d already seen Man or Astroman twice. Doubters Club weren’t good at this. They were just pretending to be rock stars.
I used to put a lot of thought into my mixtapes. I have more theories about the Duke Ellington/John Coltrane album than Alex Jones has about the Kennedy assassination.