Category: MP3

Christmastime is here…

     For the fifth year in a row, I’ve helped assemble the Suburban Sprawl Music Holiday Sampler. We got more submissions this year than ever before (34!), and while they’re all available on the website, they wouldn’t all fit on the limited run of CD’s we put together. My fellow ‘organizers’ and I had to gather on the night of the deadline and struggle over what to keep and what to cut, which was pretty excruciating.

     The final product is available here, along with all submissions dating back to 2002. That works out to exactly 125 tracks of pure holiday spirit — all for free. If you place an order or make it out to any SSM shows in December, you can pick up a free copy of the actual CD, with a screenprinted cover by Lansing’s favorite poster-maker Craig Horky.


     After all was said and done, some of my favorite tracks this year include:

Frontier Ruckus – “Driving Home, Christmas Eve” (MP3)

     I know nothing about Frontier Ruckus aside from the fact that they’re
from Lansing. They know someone else associated with the label and
came to submit a song through them, as so often happens. I think the
well-written lyrics, the delivery, and the production aesthetic all
compliment each other perfectly. Yay.


Lickety Splits – “You Set My Christmas Tree on Fire” (MP3)

     Ex-Michigander Tim Schreiber howls his way through an original R&B
Christmas song that legitimately sounds like it was recorded in 1958.
I heard via Dave that this is Tim’s ‘Favorite thing he’s ever recorded.’


The Next Door Neighbors – “How to Make Egg Nog” (MP3)

     The Next Door Neighbors have been fine-tuning their holiday-specific
songwriting for a few years now, and I think this song is among their
most fully realized. A classic Christmas recipe is set to verse, and
as the instructions are followed the environmental sounds evolve into
the music. I’m all about how they took the recipe as the basis for
the song, but built a narrative story around it as well. LAYERS.


     Sadly, I didn’t find the time to record a ‘Surf’ version of a christmas classic this year, as I have for the past four years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). Unwilling, however, to let a year go by without making some contribution to the ever-growing Christmas music pool, I offer the following mix of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’ (iTunes) and Dinah Washington’s Version of ‘Silent Night’ (iTunes), complete with cover art (mouseover to see the original I based it on). I figure the whole ‘Mash-up’ concept is sufficiently played out for me to begin taking part.


Happy Holidays!

Download MP3 Download Cover Art

MP3: Kevin Gilbert's 'Suit Fugue'

     I first heard Kevin Gilbert’s name in a random digression on a music-related mailing list. Here’s the quote that piqued my interest:

     “I’m no expert on Kevin Gilbert, or Sheryl Crow, but do know some things… KG pretty much made her. She played keys for him on part of the Toy Matinee gigs I think. KG and some other LA guys had a lil project where they’d all get together on Tues nights (hence Sheryl’s debut albums title) and jam/write songs. They had enough material for an entire album, and Sheryl had been around some of the tues nights (was KG’s girlfriend) so she sang the demo. It made the rounds, someone decided to pick her and the album up and it was produced out and released. When it blew up and she was famous overnight, she talked and acted like it was her baby and she was responsible for the whole thing. So she dumped Kev and started her career. In my opinion it really sucks to claim material that isn’t yours, and then turn your back on the person that wrote most of the stuff and got you your big break. Kev was pretty bitter about this… And yes Kevin died whilst wacking off. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a brilliant musician/writer.”

     Intrigued, I pulled the quote and pasted it into my ever-growing list of nerdy things to investigate, and forgot about it for a year or so. A few months ago I vaguely remembered this story, so I did some googling and found what appears to be the most thorough investigation of the scandal and Mr. Gilbert’s subsequent death: “More Than ‘The Piano Player'” by Joel Selvin, which you can read online here. The article brings the specifics of Mr. Gilbert’s complaints with Ms. Crow into focus:

     In August 1992, (Bill) Bottrell convened Gilbert and other musicians at Toad Hall with the simple agenda of collaborating for the fun of it every Tuesday night. “We were all good, not to be immodest,” Baerwald said. “We were also all cynical, embittered by the process of pop music. We were trying to find some joy in music again.”

     A party atmosphere predominated — “Bill would sift through (the music) the next morning while we were all nursing hangovers,” drummer Brian MacLeod recalled. Then Bottrell introduced a project he thought might force a little focus onto the freewheeling, chaotic sessions. Crow had finished an album for A&M Records, but despite the $500,000 spent on it, nobody at the label was thrilled with the results. Hoping for a quick fix, A&M hired Gilbert to remix the album, which was, in the immutable illogic of the record industry, already scheduled for release. Crow’s manager asked Bottrell to step in as well.

     On Crow’s first Tuesday night with the club, Baerwald showed up with musical sidekick David Ricketts (from the 1986 David and David album), both of them high on LSD, with the first verse already written to a song, “Leaving Las Vegas.” Baerwald picked up a guitar, Ricketts the bass, and the band fell together to pick up where it had left off.

     For most of that year, Bottrell and his Tuesday crew — now working all week long — scrupulously fashioned and reshaped Crow’s album. Because everything was a collaboration, songwriting credits were equally shared. “Everybody was equal,” said Baerwald, “except Sheryl. She wasn’t one of us. We helped her make a record.”

     Gilbert’s name wound up on seven of the 11 songs; he sang and played keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. His relationship with Crow was kept separate and even a secret from the group. “I’d see long conversations in the parking lot,” Baerwald said.

     After nearly a year of working together, all for one and one for all, the Tuesday Night musicians were shocked to learn they didn’t figure into any more of Crow’s plans. Bottrell got the news when he met her to hand over the finished master in a Sunset Strip coffee shop. Although there had been much talk of hitting the road together to promote the record — bassist Dan Schwartz even bought a new bass for the tour — “she essentially told me to get lost,” Bottrell said.

     From there, the article goes on to detail some of the particular grudges held towards Ms. Crow:

     “I add Sheryl Crow to a long list of people in Hollywood who told me they were my friend until they got what they wanted from me,” Schwartz said.

     “I think I’m a tinge jealous over her upcoming release [1996’s ‘Sheryl Crow’],” [Gilbert] wrote in his journal. “It’s probably going to be huge so I have to prepare myself mentally for that. If she gets what she wants after behaving this way, she’ll be absolutely intolerable.”

     For Gilbert, the final straw came when Crow sang “Leaving Las Vegas” [From 1993’s ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’] on the David Letterman show. Afterward, when Letterman asked her if the song was autobiographical, a flustered Crow blurted out, “Yes.”

     “I’ve never been to Las Vegas,” continued Crow, who nobody remembers having contributed greatly to the writing of the song. “I wrote it about Los Angeles. It’s really metaphorical.”

     The next day, she and Gilbert exchanged angry words over the phone. He wasn’t the only one furious. Author John O’Brien — who wrote the novel that inspired both Baerwald’s early song lyrics and the movie starring Nicolas Cage — was still grumbling about Crow’s gaffe to his literary agent on the day he blew his brains out, a scant few weeks before the movie deal was complete [The film was released in late 1995].

     Despite the tension with Crow, most of the Tuesday Night Music Club attended the Grammy Awards in March 1995… Crow sat in the row in front of them. Crow picked up three awards, including Record of the Year for “All I Wanna Do,” a Tuesday Night instrumental with lyrics borrowed from verses in a little-known volume by a poet in Vermont. A week later, Gilbert was still wearing his Grammy medallion around his neck like a badge of valor.

     So yes, all this scandal, followed by death by autoerotic asphyxiation (See the article) — an insane story in and of itself. Then I find out that his friends have posthumously released a concept album he had been working on — a song cycle about the music industry called “The Shaming of the True.” Naturally, I had to hear this. If you feel the same way, you can listen to clips of each song here, or buy the whole album here. The production on most songs isn’t my cup of tea, so I don’t necessarily recommend the album as a whole, but the narrative thrust is every bit as hostile towards the music industry as you might imagine. The track below is a perfect illustration, and the arrangement is hard to beat.

Kevin Gilbert – Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men) (Download)
From: “The Shaming of the True

[audio:Kevin Gilbert – The Shaming of the True – Suit Fugue.mp3]

     ‘Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men)’ is an actual acapella fugue, sung from the points of view of several A&R men, to a new prospect (‘Johnny Virgil’). The lyrics are available here (excerpted below).

Hi, John, it’s Mel from Megalophone
I’ve been listening to your tape for the 19th time
Oh that’s another call – can I call you

Back when I was in a band we used to sound like this
And I loved your songs, they reminded me of myself

You sound like Air Supply meets Gwar
In a good way; Here’s my other number

Can you wait for just a sec –
That’s another call coming in
I’ll get back to you –
Have my girl take your information

Hi, John, it’s Guy from Groanophone
Heard some talk about the band and the way you sing
I really think it’s great – Can we make a

Deal with me, call me a friend, we’ll be a family
You’re a talented individual

If you sign here on the dotted line … that’s good
And my nephew will be your producer

     …and that just leaves one other loose end. The mysterious, unreleased first sheryl crow album – the debut that ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’ replaced. The album is pretty easily found on file-sharing networks – I’ve posted one song below so you can asses for yourself the trajectory her career may have taken had she not met Mr. Gilbert. It’s not nearly as immediately dismissable as I’d hoped it would be, but it’s still a far cry from the ‘organic’ production found on ‘Tuesday Night Music Club.’

Sheryl Crow – The Last Time (Download)
From: Unreleased 1992 Debut

[audio:Sheryl Crow – Unreleased Album – The Last Time.mp3]

SSM Holiday Sampler 2005

     We’ve put the annual Suburban Sprawl Music Holiday Comp up for download over at This is the fourth year we’ve put the comp together, and all four year’s worth of MP3’s are available for free download. Some highlights from newcomers to this year’s comp:

The City On Film – “O Holy Blanket (A Christmas Waltz)” [MP3]

     I was a huge Braid fan, and Mr. Nanna’s post-Braid band Hey Mercedes was kind enough to play a benefit show for the Art Scholarship we set up in memory of my younger brother, Chris. The City on Film is Bob Nanna’s long-running one man band-ish project. Needless to say, I’m really excited to have this song on the comp.


Knight & Doble – “The Man With All The Toys” [MP3]

     Shawn Knight (New Grenada, SSM’s resident sleeve artist of late) and Christian Doble (Kiddo): Even greater than the sum of their parts!


The Canadian Dollars – “Outsourcin’ Christmas (The Unemployed Little Elf Song)” [MP3]

     I’m not sure yet if the ‘Canadian Dollars’ name is just for fun or if he really wants his identity kept secret, so I’ll play it safe and say that this guy has impeccable production abilities, is super nice, and writes music you can hear on the Cartoon Network.


Hairshirt – “Xmas in Mesopotamia” [MP3]

     Local favorites Hairshirt serve up an oblique Christmas card to Iraq, Run through a Depeche Mode filter.


Timothy Monger – “Airstream” [MP3]

     Tim (of Great Lakes Myth Society fame) delivers a stripped down Carol that has made me notice way more Airstreams this year.


     Of course, many of the SSM standbys also appear in one configuration or another, contributing both characteristic and uncharacteristic holiday songs.

     Chris Hatfield of Those Transatlantics isn’t a newcomer to the comp, but I love the crap out of his song, because it’s like a painstakingly researched history lesson crossed with a comic book, and I harangued him into writing it just a few days before it was due. So good!

Chris Hatfield – “Born Again Pagan” [MP3]

     “Born Again Pagan” taught me the history of Christmas that everyone should know.


          “It’s very tough for us North Americans to imagine Mary and Joseph trudging to Bethlehem in anything but, as Christina Rosetti memorably described it, “the bleak mid-winter,” surrounded by “snow on snow on snow.” To us, Christmas and December are inseparable. But for the first three centuries of Christianity, Christmas wasn’t in December — or on the calendar anywhere.

     If observed at all, the celebration of Christ’s birth was usually lumped in with Epiphany (January 6), one of the church’s earliest established feasts. Some church leaders even opposed the idea of a birth celebration. Origen (c.185-c.254) preached that it would be wrong to honor Christ in the same way Pharaoh and Herod were honored. Birthdays were for pagan gods.

     Not all of Origen’s contemporaries agreed that Christ’s birthday shouldn’t be celebrated, and some began to speculate on the date (actual records were apparently long lost). Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) favored May 20 but noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. Hippolytus (c.170-c.236) championed January 2. November 17, November 20, and March 25 all had backers as well. A Latin treatise written around 243 pegged March 21, because that was believed to be the date on which God created the sun. Polycarp (c.69-c.155) had followed the same line of reasoning to conclude that Christ’s birth and baptism most likely occurred on Wednesday, because the sun was created on the fourth day.

     The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273, reflects a convergence of Origen’s concern about pagan gods and the church’s identification of God’s son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “Sun of Righteousness” whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.”

     So… the ‘Reason for the Season’ is actually to make sure that all those other guys who had the idea first didn’t win out.

Xmas House

TGIF – The Ballad of Jesse Frederick

     At the beginning of 2005, I resolved to spend much of my free time figuring out how to run a tiny indie label by actually doing it. In the past eight months or so, I’ve learned:

  • …the nuts and bolts of pressing and ‘releasing’ a CD by working on the Javelins’ ‘No Plants, Just Animals’ release (March 2005).
  • …how the college radio and promotions business works, following the release of my band The Recital’s ‘Colour Up’ (July 2005).
  • … and more than I ever needed to about the world of ‘mechanical licensing,’ in order to obtain the rights to the four television theme songs that make up my other band, The Pop Project’s ‘TGIF’ EP (September 2005).

     So, yes — it’s been a busy 2005 so far. The fruits of all this learning can be viewed at the Suburban Sprawl Music website, which I recently spent a good deal of time rescuing from the varying states of disrepair it has languished in for several years now. Several bits of the site are still in a state of disrepair, I’m just hoping not to let them languish this time.

     What’s the story with this ‘TGIF’ EP, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked, because it is a ridiculous and great story. Some might even say ridiculously great. If you don’t care about behind-the-scenes shit, click here to skip ahead.

     I play the drums in the Pop Project – A four piece (Guitar, Bass, Keys, Drums) band from various points in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. We get along very well because we are all ridiculously nerdy about music. At some point in the past year or so, Zach Curd (keys), and Dave Lawson pointed out to Will Yates (Bass) and I that the impossibly catchy theme songs to all the TGIF shows we grew up watching were composed (at least in part) by the same guy — a gentleman by the name of Jesse Frederick. Naturally we had to find out everything we possibly could about him.

     I soon became obsessed with the idea of recording a tribute of sorts to this guy, and harangued my bandmates at any opportunity to help me realize this project. Somehow, this actually worked, and we spent some time earlier this year learning and recording four of our favorite Jesse Frederick-penned TGIF themes — “As Days Go By” (Family Matters), “Everywhere You Look” (Full House), “Second Time Around” (Step By Step), and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” (Perfect Strangers).

     At some point in the negotiations, it was decided that we would each sing lead vocals on one of these songs. Despite my emphatic recommendations that someone else take my song after the first of many lacklustre attempts, they were steadfast in their resolve, and a version of my shaky tenor warbling the theme to “Perfect Strangers” has now been cast out into the world.

     Those of you paying attention to the above impromptu roll-call of the Pop Project know that we are all males, so I should probably explain that the female counterpoint to Zach’s lead vocals on ‘Step by Step’ was provided by our friend Korin Cox, of The Hard Lessons.

     After finishing the recording, I think we were all surprised by how nicely the project came together, and we started to think about actually ‘releasing’ it. So it was that we began to consider the legal issues involved with releasing a CD consisting entirely of cover versions of television theme songs. Now, if the band “Me First and the Gimme Gimmes” are good for any one thing in particular, it’s for making the fact that you can cover almost any song you want for 8 cents per CD common knowledge. This is done via a ‘mechanical license.’ In order to have any reputable pressing plant replicate the EP for us, we would need to obtain a license for each of the four songs.

     While the recording was going on, we were learning all sorts of stuff about Mr. Frederick. Several years ago, Zach was given a copy of the one solo album that he released, on Bearsville records (Found via It is long out of print, but it served as a decent starting point (It’s available for download below). Eventually, Zach attempted to track down Mr. Frederick via Google. He found a telephone number associated with his publishing company via the ASCAP site, so he called and left a message explaining that we were recording several of his songs and sought his blessing. A few hours later, Jesse Frederick called him back and they discussed both the project and Mr. Frederick’s musical career at length. Zach eventually described the idea for the TGIF EP to him: “I explained what we wanted to do, and he responded with ‘Wait, you want to do what?'”

     What did we learn? All sorts of great stuff. He doesn’t see a cent from any of those compositions. There are two unreleased Jesse Frederick albums languishing in studio vaults somewhere, both recorded closer to the era in which his television work was written than the Bearsville debut. The second album supposedly even features Michael Bloomfield on guitar. Zach adds: “It was pretty insane to hear someone say things like ‘Yeah, when we cut the theme to Step By Step, we actually recorded a song-length version of it, with an extra verse, maybe a bridge or something.’ and be totally straight-faced.”

     We also learned that we were not the first to hit upon the idea of paying tribute to Mr. Frederick. He told Zach about a documentary being produced by a student at Penn State University. Zach explains: “There is an entire generation of kids who have grown up and know all of the words to these themes, but no one knows his name, or even really knows he exists. You know, victim of the global village and shit.” I tracked the student, Brian Morrison, down via the Penn State film department faculty, and we have since been in touch. Small world!

     Back to the licensing. Since we were only looking to license the compositions, and not the recordings it turned out to not be the ginourmous pain in the ass that it could have been. The organization that I was most frequently recommended for licensing was the Harry Fox agency. Three of the songs on the EP were easily located in the Harry Fox database, as they had been released on one of those ‘The Best of Television’ Theme song collections. The theme to ‘Step By Step,’ however, was proving elusive.

     We eventually were able to license the song directly from Warner Brothers, via the absolute worst user-interface ever created in the history of man. It only worked in IE on Win XP, and even then, it didn’t correctly pass the song data to the final order form. After submitting my form, I was contacted by the ‘webmaster’ who politely asked me via form letter exactly which song it was I was licensing. It seems to me that fixing that form would save Mr. Webmaster a lot of time and email, but I digress.

     Now, even with four songs licensed and ready to go, this EP is BARELY five minutes long. Sensing that additional content would be nice, We decided to put together a brief bit of documentary footage on ‘the making’ of the TGIF EP, culled from Dave and Korin’s off-the-cuff taping. We also had our good friend Shawn Knight (of New Grenada and BoyArm) make everything look nice, via a series of emails discussing the psychology of place and sunset gradients, which has everything to do with why I love working on album art with him (He’s done the other two releases I worked on this year as well). We packaged it all up with the following blurb, which won’t do much to dissuade the cries of ‘Gimmick!’ — but it is sincere.

     It seems like a joke: cover the theme songs to four popular early 90’s sitcoms and release the results for hipster consumption. In reality, this release is a painstakingly crafted tribute to the work of Jesse Frederick.

     In 1971, a 19-year-old Frederick recorded his self-titled debut for legendary manager Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records. In the wake of the relative silence following the album’s release, Frederick recorded a pair of follow-up albums for two different labels – neither of which ever saw the light of day.

     By the late 1980’s, Frederick had found his way into the world of TV theme music – composing a number of memorable themes with longtime writing partner Bennett Salvay. We feel that the songwriting, arrangement, and density of craftsmanship on display in these four short themes is legitimately mindblowing.

     Fittingly, syndication ensures that each of these compositions will receive perpetual airplay — resulting in a uniquely modern, pseudo-anonymous eminence.

     Without further ado, here’s a sample of each of the four tracks that make up our completed TGIF EP. If you’d like to order a copy, it’s $5 shipped anywhere in the US, just click here.

The Pop Project – TGIF Preview (Download)
From: “TGIF

[audio:The Pop Project – TGIFpreview.mp3]

     We turned up all sorts of ridiculous information in our Jesse Frederick-related research. Here’s a fairly thorough summary, aurally annotated with MP3’s throughout.

     The starting points for nearly everything we found were Frederick’s IMDB entry and his ASCAP listing. and, were both invaluable for tracking down obscure themes. A good starting point for tracing TGIF lineage is the TGIF wikipedia entry.


     The LP that Frederick Recorded for Bearsville in 1971 has long been out of print. Those curious to hear the beginnings of Mr. Frederick’s recording career can download sides one and two below. My verdict? Uninspiring. The song ‘Victoria Lenore’ was pulled to represent this album for the Bearsville boxset, but my pick of this batch is ‘When She Goes’ so I’ve separated that song as a point of reference for those who don’t want to bother with the full album.

‘When She Goes’ (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – When She Goes.mp3]

     SInce it’s not in print, here’s an mp3 rip of both sides of the full length, complete with tracklisting:

Side 1 (MP3):
1. Prelude: To A Woman
2. Bless Me Daddy
3. Victoria Lenore
4. You Can’t Hide Away
5. Finale: To A Woman

Side 2 (MP3):
1. Sweet Bye And Bye
2. Slave Runner
3. Alley Lady
4. When She Goes
5. No Reunion

     There’s a November 1971 article from some sort of MIT publication here, which reviews both the LP and a live set at a venue called the Pee-Nut Gallery. Some highlights:

     “To help the Pee-Nut Gallery get rolling, both Warner Brothers/Reprise and A&M records have brought in new musicians to debut at the club. The
first to arrive was Jesse Frederick, the second to sign on Albert Grossman’s Bearsville WB
subsidiary label (the first being Lazarus, who released a fine premiere album last month).
This young man from southern Maryland is definitely someone to keep your eye on. His music
ranges from solo guitar and voice to a rocking three or four man electric back-up. He has a decidedly interesting voice that grows on you, somewhere between a Joe Cocker and a Randy Newman, with a bit of a Band vocal thrown in.”

     “At the Pee-Nut Gallery, Jesse
Frederick was the more impressive of the two: Both albums
suffer from over-orchestration
which is mercifully eliminated
live. As Frederick leans more
heavily on the music, the fact
that his backing musicians were
very tight and competent only
enhanced his set.”

Second Album

     In 1973 Bearsville released a promo 45 featuring both stereo and mono versions of the first single from Frederick’s second album, which would never be released. The song was called ‘I Belong to You.’

‘I Belong to You’ (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – I Belong to You.mp3]

Theme Work

     One pleasant discovery I made is that there are several more obscure themes listed in Frederick’s ASCAP file. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I’ve been able to track down most of these theme songs.

The only themes I’ve seen attributed to Mr. Frederick that I haven’t been able to track down are the theme to a short lived (6 episodes) series called “Pride & Joy” (Starring Jeremy Piven and Caroline Rhea), and the theme to an NBC pilot starring Tatyana Ali that was never picked up – “Wally and the Valentines.” Any kind frequenters of the Museum of Radio & Television in NYC are encouraged to contribute!

     Here’s a comprehensive listing of Jesse Frederick’s Lesser-known television works:

Better Days

Better Days (1986). IMDB description: “Brian McGuire is a California teenager who lives and loves life in Los Angeles, until something happens to his family and he must move to his uncle’s place in Brooklyn. He has a hard time fitting in with the crowd but makes two friends he can count on, wisecracking Luther and the very hip Snake.”

Better Days Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Better Days Theme.mp3]

Family Man

Family Man (1988) is very poorly documented on the internet. The internet should be ashamed of itself.

Family Man Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Family Man Theme.mp3]

Going Places

Going Places (1990). IMDB description: “The production staff of The Dick Roberts Show has its hands full booking guests for the outrageous talk show and dealing with its egomaniacal host.”

Going Places Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Going Places Theme.mp3]

Getting By

Getting By (1993) was a sitcom about “two women living together in a large house.” What a premise. Turns out this show was a spin-off from Family Matters (see here). Telma Hopkins, the actress who plays Rachel Crawford (Harriet Winslow’s Sister), also apparently sang backup on a number of Motown records (see here).

Getting By Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Getting By Theme.mp3]

On Our Own

On Our Own (1994) was a sitcom about a group of kids who continue to live in the family home after losing their parents.

On Our Own Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – On Our Own Theme.mp3]

Pride & Joy

Pride & Joy (1995) bears the distinction of being the only televised Frederick theme I can’t find. The IMDB comments describe it thusly: “The cast of this sitcom was made up of several now-familiar faces, but at the time they weren’t particularly well-known. It was a fairly forgettable tale of two young married couples who were neighbors and friends. All four characters were plain vanilla; this was before comedic performers like Caroline Rhea and Jeremy Piven developed their distinctive personas we have come to know and appreciate.”


Meego (1997) was Bronson Pinchot’s series following Perfect Strangers. He played an alien named Meego, from the planet Marmazon 4.0. Meego only lasted six episodes, and also starred the kid from Jerry McGuire. This theme is instrumental, but does feature some ridiculous Bronson Pinchot-as-alien dialog. I’d be interested in seeing an episode of this.

Meego Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Meego Theme.mp3]

Two of a Kind

Two of a Kind (1998) was an Olsen Twins-centric series. The theme is instrumental and fairly unremarkable, but it’s here both for completeness and to illustrate the post-TGIF glory days patronage that Frederick recieved.

[Two Of a Kind Theme (Download)

[audio:Jesse Frederick – Two Of a Kind Theme.mp3]

Film Work

     Frederick popped up in a few films, both musically, and on-camera. Though he didn’t write the music, he performed the lead vocal duties for the main character in the 1980 Taylor Hackford film “The Idolmaker.” One single from the Idolmaker soundtrack was pressed. It contained both stereo and mono versions of the song ‘Here Is My Love.’ Download it here. He also apparently played Alice Cooper’s roadie in the film ‘Roadie.’ He also did soundtrack work for the Troma film ‘The Fanatic’ (also known as ‘The Last Horror Film‘ There’s a screengrab of the relevant bit of the end credits crawl here. MP3’s may or may not be forthcoming.

      In the brief ‘documentary footage’ accompanying our TGIF CD, the members of the Pop Project can be seen speculating that the theme to “Camp Wilder” may be free jazz. I was not able to track down this particular theme to confirm, but I was able to determine that Jesse Frederick was not the composer – Fred Wolf bears that distinction. It does appear to have been played on KFJC in october of 2004, so I remain hopeful that I will one day happen upon it.

MP3 of the week: Internet Success Story

     Lessons of the internet: If you’re looking for something, put up a webpage asking for it. Eventually someone who can help you will stumble across it and get in touch. That’s what happened with this particular song. I posted the following early last year:

     “I’m on another ridiculous quest.

     In 2001, I heard that there was a tribute to the Who’s ‘The Who Sell Out’ in the works, featuring the likes of Zumpano, The Flashing Lights, The Young Fresh Fellows, Swag, and members of the Blake Babies, Cheap Trick, the Smithereens.

     Towards the end of 2001 a 30 second clip of Zumpano’s track surfaced on Audiogalaxy, and that was the last I ever heard of the project.

     A little poking around this week has revealed that the project was being put together by a label called Futureman records – apparently a Detroit based project run by someone called Keith Klingensmith. There used to be a website at but it’s gone now. I’m hoping someone loosely connected to me by friendster might know something about it.

     It sounds like a fun project – “The original album, we are doing every word, every chunk, in order. The Radio London stuff, and the ads between the songs, are all going to be covered.” Does anyone know what happened to this release?”

     A few weeks ago, Jeff T. contacted me with the whole track. It probably won’t hold the same appeal unless you’ve also been looking for it for four years, but here it is either way. I’ve also added it to the Zumpano Rarities Page.

Zumpano – ‘Silas Stingy’
From: The never-released “New Sell Out” album
(A tribute to ‘The Who Sell Out‘)

[audio:Zumpano – Silas Stingy.mp3]

     Hoping for similar success, here are two more obscure bits of media I am (passively) searching for:

     Apparently there was an episode of Darkwing Duck that was a parody of Twin Peaks. It was titled ‘Twin Beaks.’ I’d like to see this.

     I’m also looking for a specific clip of the November 7th, 2002 episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Guests on this episode included both David Cross and Amy Poehler. During her chat with Conan, Amy told an anecdote that was lifted from the ‘Customs’ skit on Mr. Show. The crazy part was that David Cross (Co-creator of Mr. Show) was sitting right next to her when this happened. If my memory is operating correctly, Cross looked bemused, and I couldn’t figure out if it was a bizarre ‘fake plagiarism’ gag, or if Poehler had just committed the comedy equivalent of submitting a plagiarized paper to its original author.

     Update: Yupislyr provided a link to a transcript in the comments. It’s not as similar as I had remembered it. Here’s the transcript of the Poehler bit, and the transcript of the Mr. Show sketch is here (Near the bottom, it’s called “Shampoo”).

CONAN: I’m told you were just traveling? You were…where were you? You were in Canada pretty recently.

AMY: Yeah, I just went to Toronto for the day and, um, we had to go through immigration, you know? And, uh, because of the heightened security, I get really nervous now even though I’m not doing anything wrong.

CONAN: Right.

AMY: And I’m always afraid that for some reason they’re not going to let me back into the country. Like, that they’re gonna be, “No, we’re full.” You know? “You can’t come back in.”

CONAN: Right. (laughs)

AMY: So I got to immigration and I just started babbling like for no…and I don’t have anything to hide, and, uh — well…. Um, but, and the guy was like, uh, you know, “Why’d you go to Toronto?” and I was like, “Oh, I was here for a confirmation. I mean, a christening. I mean, I mean, I was here for a day and, uh, you know…I know how to make a bong out of an apple!”

CONAN: (laughs) It just comes out, yeah!

AMY: It just comes out!

CONAN: How do you make a bong out of an apple? (Amy laughs) We’ll talk later.

AMY: Very slowly!

MP3 of the Week: Holy Cripes.

     I lied. Here are a few (emphatic) christmas music recommendations. My friend Jason sent me a link to Pledge Drive’s “X-Mas Rhapsody” (Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reimagined as a christmas carol). Totally good. Here’s a link to Pledge Drive’s site. [via jason, via]

Pledge Drive – ‘XMas Rhapsody’
From: Here (2003)


     Also recommended by me is that ‘Where Will You Be Christmas Day?‘ comp that Pitchfork wrote about last week. Good stuff for fans of all things archival and old-timey.

'Tis the Season

     For the past three years I’ve been involved in an annual effort to get local members of a growing Michigan(ish) music community to record Christmas songs. Getting 20 plus part-time music-makers to agree to contribute a Christmas song is one thing, collecting the song in order to meet a deadline is another entirely.

     It is in the interest of encouraging everyone to contribute that we stress a Lo-Fi friendly policy. We typically set a deadline around the beginning of December and keep pushing it back as we try to gather everyone’s submissions to burn a master. Once this is done, we put together a few hundred hand-packaged CD’s and distribute them.

     Over the course of three CD’s we’ve collected 63 original and traditional holiday songs with production ranging from Parsons to Barlow, all of which are available for download in a variety of formats (mp3 / zip / torrent) here. This year, I play on these songs and recorded the basic tracks for this one.

     Over time, this compilation has become an excuse for people to write and record in groups independent of their ‘normal’ band situations. This inevitably leads to a slew of pseudonyms and joke songs, which punctuate the more somber/sincere offerings nicely and keep the mood ‘balanced.’

      It’s worth noting that we used a wiki to organize this year’s efforts. Everything (With a few exceptions) went smoothly, and we finished up about 2 weeks earlier than last year. Imagine that! Wiki + Musicians = Productivity!

     Also still available is my Christmas Mix from last year. I haven’t stumbled across enough new christmas music to justify a new installment, so I defer to last year’s page, which I am very glad I left up.

Resisting the tinfoil hat…

     Speaking as a person who has done some programming, the following bits of information are troubling:

  • Instances of computer errors in Bush’s favor (In Ohio) have been confirmed (Link, Similar story in NC).
  • “One thing that is very strange is how much the exit polls differed from the final results, especially in Ohio. Remember that Ohio uses Diebold voting machines in many areas. These machines have no paper trail. Early in the campaign, Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell, a GOP fundraiser, promised to deliver Ohio to Bush. He later regretted having said that.” – (link to O’Dell Quote)

     I’m trying really hard to just accept the situation and not get sucked into the crazy conspiracy theories that are already circulating, and I certainly don’t doubt the willful stupidity of my countrymen. But still…

MC5 – ‘The American Ruse’
From: Back in the USA (1970)

[audio:MC5 – The American Ruse.mp3]

50 Cent Bin

     Back before I started ‘updating regularly’ again, I wrote a big piece on obscure Canadian 70’s rockers Klaatu (There was a persistent rumor that they were the Beatles re-formed). You can read it here. Jamie Vernon, the man responsible for the recent spate of Klaatu CD reissues posted the following on a Klaatu-centric mailing list the other day:

     “Klaatu’s John Woloschuk just called me to ask if I could track down a rap song for him called “Lay You Down”. Apparently, a sample of Klaatu’s 1974 song “Dr. Marvello” is used in it, and John’s starting to see royalty cheques from sales. Because Klaatu has no control over their master recordings outside of Canada, John’s curious to find out the context of the sample under which Capitol in the US agreed to license it.”

     “Turns out….the song is 50 (fiddy) Cent and his posse G-Unit from their 2003 Interscope album “Beg For Mercy”. The “clean” version is called ‘Lay You Down’….the “dirty” version is called “Lay Ya Ass Down.”

     “Also, their song “A Million Miles Away” has also been covered recently….a rather luxurious royalty cheque has popped up for that one out of the US. Can’t seem to find a source of who recorded it though. Anyone?”

     I’ve included MP3 samples of both below. They didn’t even bother to isolate the parts without singing – The Klaatu vocals are audible beneath the raps!

Klaatu – ‘Doctor Marvello’
From: 3:47 EST (1976)

[audio:Klaatu – Dr Marvello.mp3]

G-Unit – ‘Lay You Down’
From: Beg For Mercy (2003)

[audio:G-Unit – Lay You Down.mp3]