Days of Lore
“But what a fool believes he sees / No wise man has the power to reason away / What seems to be / Is always better than nothing / And nothing at all keeps sending him …”
—The Doobie Brothers, “What a Fool Believes”
What I believe I actually never knew what the hell Michael McDonald was saying in that song until just a few days ago when I finally looked up the lyrics. Taking in his words sent an unexplainable chill down my spine … and life just seems to make a little more sense now.
I grew up listening to radio hits from The Doobies, Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins—and they surely contributed to me being the sensitive person I am today. You see, right there … I was going to make a wise-ass comment about Christopher Cross.
Yeah, back then, pop music looked a lot different than it does now. In the early ’80s, dudes with Hawaiian shirts, feathered hair and beards (wait a minute … ) were considered cool. And they sang about cool things like taking it to the streets and, well, sailing. How the times have changed. Driving down Main Street with Kenny Loggins’ “This Is It” blaring from your speakers nowadays would be like driving through Baghdad with an American flag strapped to the hood of your SUV.
Rocking the boat At least there are some people who remember with fondness the days when session musicians crafted sappy, unobtrusive pop songs that conjured up images of carefree days of setting sail and letting the wind blow through their hair.
The creators of Yacht Rock have devised such a brilliant piece of parody that it might just bring the song stylings of Michael McDonald back again. The mockumentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the interminglings of hit machines like Loggins & Messina, Hall & Oates and Steely Dan as they lean on each other to keep the music “smooth.”
Episode I, titled “What a Fool Believes,” has a distraught McDonald struggling to come up with a hit song as fellow Doobie Jeff “Skunk” Baxter threatens to boot him out of the band. Of course, all ends well as Loggins helps McDonald find his way.
The episode’s cliffhanger is classic as Hall & Oates challenge Loggins and McDonald to a back-alley songwriting contest. Oates is the feisty one: “Hall and I will not stand idly by while you California vagina sailors stab the American airwaves in the balls with your shit music!”
J.D. Ryznar created Yacht Rock for Channel 101, a clearinghouse where amateur filmmakers can send in their own pilots to be reviewed by audiences and shown at live screenings.
The online channel is also responsible for House of Cosbys, a show about a guy who clones Bill Cosby from a piece of his hair and before he knows it finds himself with a houseful of Cosbys—with each clone dumber than the previous. Four episodes were made before a cease-and-desist order was filed by Cosby’s lawyer; but you can still see them here: www.channel101.com/shows/show.php?show_id=121.
Yacht Rock was also recently canceled; however, it wasn’t from fear of being sued, but from Channel 101 audiences finally killing it. Ryznar will continue to hold screenings of Yacht Rock this month in Chicago. You can check out all 10 episodes on You Tube, or on Channel 101 at www.channel101.com/shows/show.php?show_id=152.
Better yet, you can see one of the main Yacht Rockers, Michael McDonald, Oct. 4 at Gold Country Casino. You should go, if not to see him then to see if any Yacht Rock fans show up sporting sailor hats and Hawaiian shirts.
Something completely different I recently talked to Number One Gun bassist Trevor Sellers, and it turns out he’s working on a new metal project with Red With Envy drummer Nick Harris while their respective bands are on hiatus. You heard me. Armed for Apocolypse, which also includes Scott Wallace and Matt Pendry from Oddman, and Cayle Hunter (Oddman, Abominable Iron Sloth, Will Haven), will play their first show Fri., Sept. 15 at LaSalles, and the following night they will open for Floater at the Senator Theatre.