Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oooooooooooooo-klahoma: Where the Wind Yada Yada Yada…

 I feel bad for Oklahoma, really, I do. The dustbowl, having to be so close to Texas all the time, living life shaped like a stock pot, this is no way to live! Pennsylvania doesn’t have to put up with that crap. Hell, even Kentucky can fall back on that whole rhymes-with-gettin’-lucky thing. What does Oklahoma have? I mean, even the state abbreviation is just OK.

Well just OK isn’t OK enough for me. We’ve got to find ourselves something OK-TASTIC to say about the poor folks who live upstairs from the rowdy partiers in Texas. These people have had to spend the last hundred-and-four years beating on the floor with a broom handle, yelling KEEP IT DOWN! To those shit-kickin-truck-driving-neighbors-down-stairs, and it’s high time somebody showed them some love.
Let’s start by shining a light on all the wonderful things Wikipedia can tell us about Oklahoma.

- Oklahoma is Nicknamed The Sooner State. This is because sooner or later something cool is bound to happen here. That’s just statistics. Math doesn’t lie.

- Oklahoma is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and agriculture. Don’t light a match in Oklahoma.

- The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma, literally meaning red people. After years of immigration, migration, dodgy blanket giving, dust storms, and hopelessness, most of the red can now only be found on resident’s necks.

- Contrary to popular belief, most Oklahomans do not own pretty little Surreys with fringe on top. Also, very little is actually up to date in Kansas City.

- Oklahoma is the 20th largest state in the union. Yup, just OK.

- The state holds populations of white-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, elk, and birds such as quail, doves, cardinals, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and pheasants. In prairie ecosystems, American bison, greater prairie-chickens, badgers, and armadillo are common, and some of the nation's largest prairie dog towns inhabit shortgrass prairie in the state's panhandle. That explains why their only pro sports team is called the Thunder. Sure are no ANIMALS in this state you could name your team after.

- The OKC Greater Prairie-Chickens would be my FAVORITE basketball team.

- Native American leader Geronimo was from Oklahoma. He was famous for jumping off of high things whilst screaming his own name.

- General Tommy Franks is also an Okie. Pleasedontsmartbombmeforsayingbadthingsaboutyourstateokaythanks.

- Noted Werewolf, Lon Chaney Jr was from Oklahoma, though he’s often been referred to as being of London. AAAOOOOOOOOH!

- Actors Ron Howard and Clint Howard were both born in Oklahoma. Ron is also a Director and Producer. Clint is also Ron’s brother.

- Heather Langenkamp, noted sufferer of insomnia and bad dreams grew up on Elm St., Somewhere in Oklahoma.

- Oklahoma is apparently a place where lots and lots of people are born, then they leave. People like James “Rockford” Garner, Joan “No Wire Hangars” Crawford, Gary “Endocrine System” Busey, Kristin “Good Lord She’s Tiny” Chenoweth, Blake “God Rest His Soul and the Soul of the Pink Panther” Edwards, Rue “Slutty Golden Girl” McClanahan, Chuck “I Thought Walker was a TEXAS Ranger” Norris, and the people I’m about to profile below!

Solo Artist: Eddie Cochrane

In my time, I have raised both a fuss, and a holler. It happens to the best of us when we are expected to work an entire summer, just to earn ourselves a dollar. I guarantee you, it’s not going to do any good to reach out to an elected official for help, especially if you’re too young to vote.

On April, 16th car accident in the UK stole Eddie from the world before he could realize his true genius. The term ‘ahead of his time’ is often bandied about, especially when speaking of musicians taken from the world before they had a chance to truly shine. Eddie Cochran might just be the best possible example of that trite-but-true bit of sorrow. In the words of Lester Bangs, writing in Rolling Stone in 1972, "Eddie may have imitated Elvis vocally even more than a dozen or so other stalwarts of the day such as Conway Twitty, but his influence on pop consciousness of the magnitude of The Beatles and The Who was deep and profound".
If only Eddie could have had a chance to lean on those contemporaries who were able to stand on his shoulders.

We all know ‘Summertime Blues’. It’s a classic, oft imitated, never replicated, still as high energy and rebellious as it was in 1958. For my money though, nothing shows the snuffed potential of Eddie Cochran like a B-Side from the same year, C'mon Everybody.

Band: The Flaming Lips
If I was ten years older, it would have been The Gap Band. If I was 10 years younger, it would have been The All-American Rejects. There is no way on God’s green earth it was EVER going to be Hanson. Though if I were really drunk, and feeling super-nostalgic for junior high dances, it could have, for a split second, been Color Me Badd. OK, not really. It was ALWAYS going to be The Flaming Lips. I mean, this is ME. They’re a mid-90’s-Dada-inspired-psychedelic-space-rock band. Is there anything here NOT to love?

Alright, to be completely fair, I don’t actually LOVE The Flaming Lips. As a matter of fact, I think you could say I’m woefully under exposed to TFL. I’ve heard maybe a dozen tracks in my time, and other than the radio track ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ played ad-nauseam my Junior year of High School, I can’t say that any of their other songs ever really stuck with me.

But I SHOULD love them.

And they’re NOT Hanson.

Oklahoma, you have my solemn pledge to give your native sons The Flaming Lips a second chance. Now that I’m no longer held captive by a minimum-wage salary and the whims of FM rock radio, I am free to more deeply explore the bowels of your Lips.

Lips of your bowels?

OK, this is just getting worse. I promise I’ll download a few albums, give them a fair listen, and if I don’t end up loving them as much as I think I will, I’ll come back here and write a treatise on the greater social merits of Mmm Bop.

It’s probably been a good 15 years since you’ve heard this track 12 times a day, so hopefully it’s no longer sickening…

Honorable Mention: Reba McEntire
It should come as no surprise to anyone, anywhere that I am not a fan of the country music genre. It ranks up there with New Age, Opera, and Gansta’ Rap on a list of things I typically-would-rather-sack-wrestle-a-rabid-weasel than listen to. Really though, weasels are meant to be wrestled just as rules are meant to be broken,and when in Romelahoma, do as the Romelahomans do.

The Romelahomans… Err… Oklahomans do country.

It was a foregone conclusion that I was going to have to include a purveyor-of-the-twang on this list, and I just couldn’t bring myself to sing the praises of Garth Brooks, or Roger Miller even if he WAS the King of the Road.

Luckily for me, one of country’s rare exceptions is a product of the panhandle state. Reba McEntire was born near Kiowa, Oklahoma and began her solo career at a rodeo in Oklahoma City. She sang at least one song that I somewhat enjoy, and she was in Tremors.In my opinion, that is more-than-enough for her to have earned her moniker, The Queen of Country.
Enjoy Fancy, it’s shit-kickin’, dramatic, and has a Tom-Jones-esque touch of melancholy story telling that makes me long for the days when the heroes of story telling songs went to prison for killing their underage girlfriend’s fathers…

I’ve linked to an on-screen lyrics version, ‘cause you all know you want to sing along at home. Here’s your one chance… Don’t let me down.

That’s it for the Okies. Next up will be Oregon. A state that I like, with music that I like even more! This is exciting for me, but probably not as humorous for you. I’m sure you can’t wait!

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