Weird day. First the good news. I found the greatest musical mashup ever.
The day’s major oddity landed when ESPN basketball analyst Dan Dakich responded to my tweet where I referred to him as a gasbag. Dakich frequently trolls University of Louisville basketball fans, repeatedly gloating over the school’s NCAA troubles.
Dakich claimed that I was making fun of his dead father, a person I do not know or have any information about his life status. I’ve since been informed that Dakich refers to his dead father as a means of shaming anyone who challenges him. Very odd.
Please enjoy the comment threads on both of my tweets.
One more kick in the face: @ESPN assigned gasbag @dandakich to call Wednesday's @LouisvilleMBB tourney opener in @theACC. 📻 Choose the radio call w/ @paulnrogers1 & @jdemling on @840WHAS https://t.co/EMYwUGhNZA pic.twitter.com/op2YKpGJHW
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) March 5, 2018
I learned two things today. (1) Now that he’s a co-worker, I need to follow @JohnRamseyUofL, and (2) pathetic @dandakich must search for affirmation from among the marginally literate. Sad! 😂 pic.twitter.com/rhYtl36Kc4
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) March 6, 2018
Last month, Dakich claimed to have “someone in the room” with the NCAA appeals committee who informed him that Louisville would lose its 2013 championship banner (true) and that the school would be fined $15 million (false). Louisville officials say their fine is approximately $600,000.
“OK, fellas! Smile for the album cover photo shoot! Your fans love you! Give ’em a smile!”
“Well, OK. Just look up. We’ll make it work.”
Our favorite singers and musicians sneered or looked bothered to appear on their own album covers. A look of complete detachment validated their street cred. We idiot kids shelled out our grass cutting money to buy their albums, dreaming of being half as cool as these hedonists we idolized.
A funny thing happened on the way to the old folks home (or cemetery).
Twitter & Instagram put us in instant contact with people who suddenly became quite human. More of today’s artists walk the walk and participate in societal change. Some of these old school pampered douche nozzles matured and actually learned how to smile. Behold.
Well…some of them get it. Up until the 1960s rock and roll revolution, marketing always relied upon sunny, positive imagery.
Artists like Frank, Nat, and Ella smiled on their album covers. It relayed a bond of friendship, even if only to separate a bobby soxer from her babysitting money.
But rock and roll delivered an arrogance and separation of marketer and consumer. The message was simple. You’ll never be me. Now worship me and buy my albums and concert tickets. Your life is better for getting a whiff of my greatness.
Why did Led Zeppelin usually look like they were traveling on the Hindenburg? Dude, you’re killing it! Show some teeth! You have accomplished what so very few musicians could ever dream of attaining.
At the Kennedy Center Honors, the three survivors were able to muster some joy.
Hip hop brought an entirely new level of condescension and detachment. Beyonce sings about “a billion dollars going down (on an) elevator.” MESSAGE: I have lots of things and a private jet but, yo, I’m down with the struggle, y’all. Just keep buying our hype tripe.
Hold up. I got a billion? Yeah, I’ll smile now.
After all of that attitude, it turns out that the kids are alright.
And some just never stopped being douche nozzles. Ask The Eagles if they wish they’d have been nicer to each other. Glenn Frey is dead. Don Henley is bitter. Don Felder still believes Hotel California would have been better if he had been the lead vocalist on Victim of Love. Seriously.
There are happier people performing today, delivering powerful messages of empowerment, renewal, societal change, and doing it with smiling faces.
2016 features many more popular songs touting personal development instead of “look at me…I’m cooler than you.”
Life is a quick ride for everyone. Smile and savor every day. You never know where the road ends.
Hey Steely Dan. You’re not too hip for this planet. You’re grandpas now. Take it down a notch.
I have always had an affinity for African American people. Their music always moved me more than the bland songs sung by white performers. Their distinctly different clothing choices made me want to be colorful like them instead of rigid and uniform like all of the white kids.
In high school in the 70s I had a crush on Clemmie, a pretty black girl who never gave me the time of day. After school, I worked in the kitchen at the old Baptist Hospital and was treated like a brother by the mostly black staff.
Even as a young kid, I envied African Americans for their spiritual freedom. I felt like people of color seemed to have more animated, joyous reactions to things that, given the same material, would elicit barely more than a whimper out of the white folks.
We were stuffy. They were cool.
It wasn’t until January 17, 2011 that I really felt totally accepted by the African American community.
Months earlier I was asked to co-host the Dr Martin Luther King celebration at St. Stephen Baptist Church, Louisville’s largest African American congregation. My co-host was church associate Bill Stokes, a gadfly with a deep voice and mischief in his happy smile. He told me that our job was to crack a few jokes while introducing choral groups and various luminaries who would speak about Dr. Martin Luther King’s mission of peace and progress for African Americans.
When he invited me, I informed St. Stephen pastor Dr. Kevin Cosby that I would be a bit late since his program began at 7 just as my radio show ended. He said that was fine because Mr. Stokes would just get the program going and I could join him whenever I arrived.
Somehow I had it in my mind that Mr. Stokes and I would at least spend a few minutes backstage during a musical segment where we could decide what we’d do on stage.
I arrived at 7:16 where an idling police cruiser saved a parking space just for me. The policeman directed me to a different back door than I was originally told to enter. Jogging through the rain, I rapped on the door and a member of the governor’s security detail opened it and said, “They’re waiting for you.” He directed me down a hallway and through a door past other security agents.
When I opened the door, I saw that I was actually on the side of the stage. A church sound man handed me a microphone and said, “You’re on.”
Well now. That’s a hot cup of coffee in the lap. I walked in out of the rain and into the bright lights with no clue what was going on.
The crowd of over one thousand people was 99% African American and they began to laugh as I walked across the stage toward Mr. Stokes, who had apparently just finished playing a funny song on the piano.
With only a scant few white faces in the large crowd, Stokes introduced me: “Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the funniest negro in Louisville, Terry Meiners.” The crowd laughed and cheered.
Jumping into the tenor of the moment, I replied, “Yes I am the funniest negro in Louisville, and it’s quite an honor.” The crowd laughed as I went on: “Is this the part where we sing Ebony and Ivory? I’ll be Stevie Wonder.”
My brain was churning at a thousand miles an hour to try and figure out where we were going next without being disrespectful to the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. I was clearly in someone else’s comfort zone.
Mr. Stokes and I both had the stage instincts to do the next best thing, crack jokes about the prominent men in attendance. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was right up front and is a good sport about hearing his southern accent mimicked. New Louisville mayor Greg Fischer (“Just like Oprah, he could reward everyone in the audience… ‘You get an ice machine! You get an ice machine!, But unlike Oprah, ‘You pay the taxes.’ You pay the taxes.'”), former mayor Jerry Abramson (“He asked Madeline…’What are these?’… ‘They’re keys, honey. You have to start driving yourself everywhere now.'”) each got a little love.
Sen. Rand Paul sat quietly over to the side, but his vision of austerity did not escape the monologue. I promised that someone in the crowd would win a pay-your-own-way to Washington vacation where “you get to stay in that tiny apartment with Rand Paul and his daddy,” whose television is turned up to nursing home levels.
Despite the riveting moments of the evening where the Pastor Cosby or U of L president James Ramsey spoke about inequality and suffering in the beleaguered black community, or overhead screens showed images of black men hanged from trees in the 1930s, Stokes knew how to bring his audience back to humor. And he included me in the mirth just to make it appear that we had rehearsed our jokes.
We faked arguing about who got to speak next. We declared that we were brothers from different mothers, separated only by the pitches of our voices or the nine extra hairs still clinging to Stokes’ head. We were just making it up as we went along.
And Stokes was able to make jokes that only a man of color would dare to try in such a setting. He demanded of the white University of Louisville president to answer why the only black singer in the Cardinals chorus “also got to play the piano.”
Stokes noted that all the tickets for the evening had been distributed, but the reason there were some empty seats on the second level is because at yesterday’s church service at St Stephen, he told the assemblage that “the police was gonna be here.”
The crowd roared.
Had I told a joke like that, I’d have been run out of town, and rightfully so. A white person’s frame of reference on the black experience is devoid of the emotional infrastructure necessary to see the entire picture. And vice versa.
But Stokes was masterful in pulling me into the black family at St. Stephen and making me feel like a brother from another mother. Dr. Cosby invited me to return as co-host next year, although I was more of a sidekick for Stokes’ comedic leadership.
The entire evening was billed “Education is King,” meaning that Martin Luther King would’ve continued to stress that education is the only way out of poverty. All-black Simmons College formed a partnership with U of L to solidify its position in the community and that was the major theme of the evening.
Dr. Cosby said that Sen. Paul “came to meet with me” and that they’d found common ground in helping each other understand the needs for carefully screened government education grants tailored for African Americans.
After the event, I had a brief conversation with the freshman senator Rand Paul, a lightning rod who represents the Tea Party conservatives who’d recently made big strides in elections. Sen. Paul had cancelled multiple telephone interviews on my radio show, causing me to taunt him on the air with claims that he was “a-scared of me.”
After we exchanged pleasantries at St. Stephen, our first face-to-face meeting, Sen. Paul exclaimed, “You’re not as intimidating in person as you are on the air.”
Let me assure you, senator, you don’t know intimidation until you walk in out of the rain and onto a stage at a racially energized memorial where you’re the outcast and a gentle old soul helps you hide the fact that you are literally wet behind the ears.
Now that’s intimidating.
—originally posted 19th January 2011 by Terry Meiners—
As boomers weep over a few rock star heroes dying, it’s a good time to appreciate the ones who are still above ground.
I wasn’t perceptive enough to know that Marvin Gaye’s dad was going to shoot him before I got a chance to tell him that “What’s Going On” redirected my life.
Once I heard the title track, well, mercy mercy me…inner city blues made me wanna holler, too.
This incredible album took me away from my white boy working class neighborhood to places that I hadn’t considered. My musical tastes and capacity for empathy grew exponentially.
But Marvin was gone long before I had a radio show that could have allowed me to thank him. It’s not too late for any of us to thank the people who led us down fascinating journeys of discovery.
Hit up Stevie Wonder or Graham Nash on Twitter to thank them for writing the soundtrack to your teen years. Yo, Aretha. Mad RESPECT! Hey Ted Nugent, I wango tango’d last night! Tito & Jermaine aren’t too busy to read your email. And Keith Richards would totally critique your latest batch of meth. Reach out and touch somebody’s hand before it assumes room temperature and we have to hear about it for a solid week on CNN.
Here are memorable musical offerings that twisted my head. Thanks, rock stars. Now get off my lawn. I’m old, too.
MOTOWN BONUS: the a cappella version of Billie Jean from Michael Jackson