Saturday, January 24, 2009

In The Zone

Imagine if you will...two posts- a Flashback and a Song of the Moment, having nothing to do with each other except the fact that they were thought of at the same time. One is sad, the other gross. Both will find a home the Twilight Zone.

There once was a band, one of the first to be signed to Geffen records. We'll call this band Quarterflash. Supposedly named after a Shakespeare quote that says man is one quarter flash and three quarters fool (so speaketh the soothsayer Casey Kasem). Before that title the Portand, Oregon band went by Seafood Mama (which probably went over well at seafood restaurants. Have the Silver Platter special for $5.00 along with some Seafood Mama!). Led by the husband and wife team of Marv and Rindy Ross, Quarterflash were able to play mainstream soft rock as well as any Firefall or Ambrosia. They hit it big right out of the gate on their debut single, the Pat Benatarish "Harden My Heart". Quarterflash got decent album sales out of their smash and gained a reputation for playing their big hit early in their live sets to separate the pop fans from their true followers. Unfortunately, Quarterflash couldn't come up with another "Harden My Heart" despite their best efforts and by 1986 they were playing the County Fair circuit.

That's when I saw them perform live at the local County Fair. It was the Summer after High School Graduation and with my city not being a big Rock town, I was able to stand in the front row. In the front row I ran into a classmate who I knew casually but had never hung out with. We hadn't talked to each other much in High School but weren't on bad terms (it was that sort of we're-just-out-of-high-school-and-you're-someone-I-recognize-so-we're-cool-now kind of thing) and he left right after "Harden My Heart" played about the fourth song into the set. Before he left I remember shaking hands with him as we probably wouldn't see each other around much afterwards.

A few months later I read in the paper this guy had died in an accident returning from a camping trip. He was the first person I knew of from my class to pass away. Since then, when I hear Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" I think of the last time I saw this guy, full of life, standing in the front row before Rindy Ross yelling "You can swallow my tear baby!" as she warbled her ticket to one hit wonderdom. If you told me that guy would no longer be alive a few months later I would not have believed it. Quarterflash seemed to end shortly after that, leaving their music tied to that moment of this guy's youthful exuberance as a permanent record in my memory.

Quarterflash "Harden My Heart"

The Song of the Moment is inspired by tonight. Warning - this one is a little gross. My wife cooked up some delicious chili with cornbread for dinner. I ate it along with two glasses of milk, a dangerous thing for a lactose intolerant person like me to do. The hours that followed were tough for my wife as she sat through...we'll say a carpet bomb attack of chili powered explosives. As the night wore on, a song that fit the occasion for me popped into my head (obviously something that happens to me often...songs in my head, that is). So I'll say sorry Bunny, here's a song so we'll always remember tonight.
John Parr was a British rocker in love with American AOR. He even played with a guitar painted as the American flag and had a minor hit in 1984 with the excellent Naughty Naughty. He then teamed up with Producer David Foster for the title track to the film St. Elmo's Fire which became a #1 hit. How does this relate to tonight? Because I can feel St. Elmo's Fire burnin', burnin inside of me (big rock howl while the music plays on at this point). Take me to where the future's lying - St Elmo's Fire! Oogada Boogada Ah Ha Ha.

John Parr "St. Elmo's Fire"


Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Wow Mr. Mike, that's some sad and funny stuff. yeah, it strikes you kinda hard when a death occurs like that. Hard to understand.

I can't say I was a big fan of Quarterflash. They sounded like a rip-off of that Patti Smythe group, Scandal. But I did like John Parr.

Mr. Mike said...

John Parr is cool!