I phoned my parents recently. I was hoping to get their voice mail, but my father tricked me by answering... Not that I do not want to talk to my dad, we just travel dissimilar mental roads, so our conversations resemble 2 people that speak different languages that have run out of the few words that they know of the others tongue; saying "OK" over and over while nodding. The discussion my dad and I had on the phone is a microcosm of our divergent modes of operation. My father has a keen ability to draw you into something you are unprepared for and on this day it was a sermon on anti-diarrhea medication. He was recommending a particular brand when I asked him how he came to this ultimate decision. When he told me that my uncle had turned him on to this, a chill ran through me, for that meant that I was not the first person that he was having this uncomfortable conversation with. The blame for it continuing is mine, because I could not let it go and prodded him with more questions. "What does this man know about these products that the rest of us as citizens do not?" My father replied that my uncle did not have an anus. I was stunned yet thirsty for more, so I asked him to explain. I was informed that my uncle had has his anus surgically removed. My follow up was calm and sarcastic. "Did he get it done for cosmetic reasons?" There was a long silence broken by my dad's voice. "Let me get your mother on the phone."
Fathers and sons are different by design. The advantages going to the son for they are able to somewhat look into the future by analyzing their dads, think to them themselves "FUCK! That's not to happen to me..." then choose a proper course of action. I am actually named after my father, ironic for that might have been the only thing that I followed him into. Had my dad been a musician, things would have been different. My dad is actually a good guy, but Billy Gibbons, he is not. Those of you not fortunate enough to have rock star dads should be advised that being a legacy in the music business opens doors locked to everyone whose parents haven't mastered post-concert bathroom stall sex. Once through the door, the difference between being a second generation musician who gets signed to a record label and the first born taking over at the family bakery is having your own voice and style that distinguishes you from the music your father made.
Chris Mancini never really had a choice. When your father is Henry Mancini, the most well known and accomplished composers of the 20th century, you are going to pick up some ability simply by having your clothes mix with his in the laundry. Not performing initially, Chris focused on the business side of the music industry in publishing and producing TV's "The Midnight Special." When he eventually recorded an album, the goal was to take what he learned from his father but have his own footprint. How? First, the album title "No Strings" was a coy reference to his genealogy yet how he intended to be his own man by not featuring the orchestra as his father did. This is rock music and you only use an orchestra when you run out of ideas...Secondly, using a page from his father's playbook, Chris enlisted a studio full of crack musicians like Waddy Watchel, Carmine Appice and Rick Derringer to create a slick and polished record that positioned itself to be one of those "out-of-left-field" songs that were embraced by both rock radio and FM top 40. 1983, however, was a tricky time to put music out. New Wave, Rap, and about 12 other styles were emerging, making it easy for a straight-ahead rock album to get lost quickly. Plus with music videos on every channel by this time, radio was no help as stations scrambled to keep pace with MTV and it's clones. Playing in a 6 shoe deck did not stop Mancini from delivering a glossy number ready to be pumped out of an open window with "Gonna Find Me A Girl Tonight." Crisp and layered with the scanning eye and confidence of a shoplifter; knowing once he clears the door and hits the street, the game is his. All this was not enough to get Mancini any airplay, and chances are the first time you heard this on the radio was also the last.
Listen To "Gonna Find Me A Girl Tonight"
The story goes the term "Rockabilly" came about when brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnett of the Rock and Roll Trio, recorded a song about their sons (Johnny is one hit wonder Rocky Burnette's dad and Dorsey is Billy's father) called "Rockabilly Boogie." That is a lot of pressure on a kid who at the time was still working with safety scissors. When you have shoes that big to fill, you had better start early. Billy Burnette recorded his first single at age 7 and by the time he was out of high school he had a full album on the streets. By the time the third self titled Billy Burnette record came out (following the lead of Peter Gabriel's run of self titled albums), Rockabilly music had re-emerged with a tougher punk style that contradicted Burnette's Country influenced crooner melodies. The separation was a benefit that kept him from being lumped in with every rockabilly band that found a way to put "Cat" in their name. Burnette's grasp of Rockabilly style was genuine and traditional enough to be the guy that snuck off with your girl while you were at the rumble. "Don't Say No" has the magic of sounding like it is being sung to you from the street 2 stories down through an open window. The innocence of the vocals and rambling rhythm charm you as if it were your pants Burnette was trying to get in. This slick sales pitch for sex made it up to # 68 on the Billboard charts and rambled in to medium rotation on MTV.
Listen To "Don't Say No"