It’s Friday. And I guess it’s summer. But you wouldn’t know that shit here in the Pac NW. Back in MY day, in the carefree times of my youth in 1980s St. Louis, by June 18th your lil’ ass had been outta school for almost a month, the weather was scorching and you spent every day either swimming or playing Nintendo and thus saving princesses and fighting mutated turtles with frightfully enlarged shells before/after swimming.
The music of my youth…
This is not the case in mid June in Seattle. Kids are still in school. People are wearing coats and still sleeping under down comforters. Oh, poor deprived Seattle area youth. My fave nabe blog tells me that today is the last day of school for Seattle city school students. About time! It’s summer, whippersnappers! Now go put on your summer sweaters! Don’t worry, it will be August soon and you can wear shorts for two weeks before it’s fall! And get off my lawn! I keed. August and September are usually pretty rad here. Anyway, the time of year and all the graduation parties and picnics I’ve been seeing around town are reminding me of a song and a time from my youth. Interruption by the old curmudgeon in me (who looks pretty much like one of these guys):
What’s up with all this “graduating” that kids do these days? Graduation from day care, graduation from diapers, graduation from preschool, graduation from kindergarten, graduation from 5th grade. Come on! Kids today are growing up thinking that they shit gold! End curmudgeon transmission.
I had my first graduation in 1989. Eighth grade graduation is a big deal to Catholic school kids, because it’s time to leave the nest of your 25 or so classmates whom you’ve been with for the last 9 years and go to high school. Scary! Hell, at the time even I knew that “graduating” from 8th grade was kinda pushing it. The soundtrack to that year, my 8th grade year, would be incomplete without today’s forgotten song, “Rock On,” by Michael Damian.
It’s weird. You know how this forgotten song reentered my memory? I’m on the bus yesterday (sucks!) and it came on shuffle. I was head nodding, ya know, cause it’s MICHAEL DAMIAN! And then I was singing along in my head to the “Jimmy Dean…JAMES DEAN” part. And then I remembered that Jimmy Dean the sausage dude died this week. And then I remembered “Rock On,” and how my friend Steve (Everyone always laughed that we were IN LOOOOOOOVE! Oh, how little they knew…) from grade school, and how we always used to laugh at the fact that Michael Damian was singing about the down home sausage king (that’s what she said) Jimmy Dean, and not the brooding James Dean. James Dean, for any youth who might be reading this (shyeah! right!), was a 1950s Robert Pattinson.
So then I listened to “Rock On.” And then I watched the video. Can we talk about the video? I had a sense that “Rock On” was from a movie starring the Coreys. I never could differentiate the Coreys, and I never will. Even though one is dead. Too soon?
Anyway, the Corey that’s in the “Rock On” video is totally doing a bizarro Michael Jackson impression. Double Ewe. Tee. Eff. Question marks!
So Michael Damian decided to shoot his “Rock On” video during that hot minute that Corey Feldman was going through an MJ phase. “Rock On” is on the original motion picture soundtrack (official!) to a little film called Dream A Little Dream. Corey Feldman played a teenage rebel obsessed with MJ. Because yes, rebels in the 80s were often obsessed with the most popular commercial artist of the time. But he was also obsessed with MJ (as Double S likes to say…) IN REAL LIFE! The hell? Did we not all think this was bizarre? Why didn’t we do anything? I mean, I was only 13, but I could have intervened. I could have tried to raise my voice in protest. You know, first we let Corey Feldman dress up like MJ, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Corey fan. Next we let Justin Bieber dress up like a lesbian. Do we all know about this lesbians looking like Justin Bieber thing? It’s creeping me out. BT dubs, I do not condone all the queers mugging for their webcams (are they still called webcams?) on this website. I merely pass on the news to you, friends. Anyway, the Beiber looks like a lesbian craze has finally affected me because now a few people have said that I look like the Bieb. Umm, I had this hair and wore hoodies when the Bieb was but a glimmer in his Canadian pop’s eye. In your face, Bieb!
Anyway, what was I saying about Corey Feldman dressing up like Michael Jackson? Oh, yeah. WTF!? For more of Corey as MJ, check this out. I hope you’re sitting down. This is a clip from Dream a Little Dream, where you can find the song on the soundtrack. Cuz I know you’re looking.
If that didn’t load, do please click to watch it on You Tube. It’s worth it.
But I just watched it, and…My Eyes! That was truly horrible.
See what I mean? Feldman somehow manages to capture’s MJ’s late 80s increasingly unnaturally whitening skin, even though Feldman is white. Weird.
So you also had Corey Haim in Dream A Little Dream. Speaking of looking like a lesbian, Corey Haim was the proto-Bieber. Full disclosure: I never saw Dream A Little Dream, License to Drive, or any movie starring the Coreys together. I did, however, see Rudy. I like to think I had good taste, even as a pre-pubescent. Here was my favorite movie from 1989.
UHF, starring Weird Al Yankovic! Allow me to make a case for UHF: It had Weird Al. Awesome! It had fast paced parody like Conan The Librarian. Come on! It’s funny because it’s making a big guy with muscles and a loin cloth act like a librarian. A librarian! He shushes people! Is this thing on? Oh and UHF was very much in the vein of other 80s comedy classics like Airplane! and the The Naked Gun, which I loved with all my might. It also had late 80s topical humor such as the emerging trash talk show trend. Check it out this weekend! Fun fact: My first concert was Weird Al at Six Flags Over Mid America. And it was AWESOME!
Anyway, back to Michael Damian. Michael Damian came to fame as Danny Romalotti on The Young and the Restless from–get this, 1981-1993. Holy crap that’s a long time! Remember how popular soap operas were in the 1980s? Oh, friends, this just in, and this is awesome. I just got a tutorial from Double S on 80s soaps. According to Double S, General Hospital was popular amongst our peers at the time because it was on at 3 “so kids could watch it.” Isn’t Double S so awesome? I argued back that at my school, Days of Our Lives seemed most popular, especially amongst the cool. Double S agreed that cool people watched it. And they always and only called it “Days.” Double S knows her shit too because she watched All My Children, General Hospital, and One Life to Live. I love picturing Double S binging on soaps! Now soaps are yesterday’s news, am I right? The soap that my mom watched my whole childhood (and taped on some ten millions times taped and retaped and taped over again VHS tape when she wasn’t home) was the one that was on since people were still wondering about this whole “teevee” thing: Guiding Light. I had some childhood crushes come out of there, as even I succumbed to the soap craze during summers, then didn’t watch again till the next summer. Don’t worry, friends, I pretty much got caught up on the storylines within 10 minutes once the next summer came around again. Reva in the 80s? Oh, and Harley? I was thinking, are you there god, it’s me Briggsy…uh oh, I may be a homo.
Anyway, like all 80s celebrities, Michael Damian is still around, trying to milk a few more seconds of fame out of his 80s celebrity from aging Gen X’ers who can’t believe they’re in their mid 30s. Oh, hello. That’s me! Here he is with a version of “Rock On” from 2009. It sounds kinda street, doncha think?
It’s the weekend! Go to some kid’s 3rd grade graduation, hope that Corey Feldman isn’t next to kick the bucket, listen to a Weird Al tape, whatevs…. have fun! Happy Friday everybody!