Monday, September 4, 2017

"I felt the raw power of really smooth music."

I tell this story in a little more detail on this week's podcast, but back in 2007, I saw on a friend's Livejournal a link to a ten-part web comedy series that would absolutely change my life. Yacht Rock charted the fictional rise and fall of the highly-trained, West Coast pop music that pretty much soundtracked my entire early childhood. Much as I do WKRP, I associate the music of Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Christopher Cross with a more innocent time in my life, when the stereo of our huge station wagon was always tuned to Top 40 radio and these guys dominated the charts with their signature smooth sound.

The Yacht Rock series's combination of lovingly comedic piss-taking and dead serious respect for the music pretty much won my heart from the get-go. I guess the impulse in diving back into this music from the late '70s and early '80s is pretty similar to Rob's and mine in starting Hold My Order. You take a piece of pop culture that loomed large in your childhood and you critically engage with it as an adult, ferreting out all the mysteries within. I am guessing that the Yacht Rock guys had a similar feeling in finding the connections between all those session players in the liner notes of old vinyl LPs that we might in, say, connecting Jane Addams to Edie McClurg.

Over the past decade I've taken a lot of pleasure in sharing the series with friends and family who I think will "get" both the humor and the appeal of the music the show featured. Also over that same decade, the genius of the series (and of giving a name to this genre of music) has been co-opted and pretty blatantly misunderstood by mediocre tribute bands, feckless satellite radio stations, and washed-up sports writers. (Sorry, Bill.)

Last year, four of the guys from the series started a podcast called Beyond Yacht Rock, where they do for other as-yet-undefined genres what they did for Yacht. Reconnecting with the music, getting a new favorite podcast, and meeting tons of Yacht Rock fans on the internet has been for me one of the brightest spots in what's been (for a lot of us I think) a pretty crappy last twelve months or so. Getting to know the Yacht Rock guys as they've graciously given me a chance to talk about Yacht as revolutionary force and to defend Billy Joel on their website has been even better.

So this week, join me in welcoming our very special guest, Koko Goldstein himself, David Lyons, to Hold My Order! Dave's kept the WKRP fires burning on the BYR podcast by prominently featuring Steve Carlisle's WKRP theme on one of their episodes, and when I found out he was a big fan of WKRP I knew I had to ask him aboard our vessel. Our episode drops as usual on Wednesday and it's a jampacked edition of the podcast, with all kinds of backstage Hollywood stories from Dave, as well as a look at two very good episodes of WKRP: "You Can't Go Out Of Town Again" and "Pills."

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