Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Annals of Assholishness (An Occasional Series)

So the other day I was, as is often my wont, immersed in the great comforting warm bath that is the New York Times Arts & Leisure section, when the following interesting and alarming item caught my eye.

Chevy Chase Leaves Cast of ‘Community’

Chevy Chase is leaving the NBC sitcom Community under a mutual agreement with the producers and will not appear in the final episodes of the season, Sony Pictures Television said on Wednesday.

Mr. Chase had expressed his unhappiness with the low-rated show’s storylines and had clashed with Dan Harmon, the creator and former executive producer of the series. The show returns for a fourth season on Feb. 7 and is still in production...Mr. Chase played Pierce Hawthorne, a bored, wealthy, older man who goes back to school.

And immediately I thought -- ah yes, Chevy Chase. Boy, that brings back memories.

And now a seemingly tangential digression whose rationale will become obvious in a paragraph.

Attentive readers with long memories may recall that back in March of 2009, when both this blog and the world were young, I wrote about a 1989 article I had done for Rolling Stone, one which ultimately did not run (for reasons I won't get into, except that Jann Wenner is an asshole) but for which I was nonetheless lucratively paid. The premise of the piece was that most celebrities, in all fields of endeavor, now tended to have rock bands in their pre-celebrity pasts. In pursuit of this thesis, I interviewed a bunch of interesting people, including pre-rehab Insider host Pat O'Brien, Marvel Comics auteur Roy Thomas, vice-presidential spousal scold Tipper Gore and the late Republican strategist/devil incarnate Lee Atwater.

One of the other celebs I interviewed for the piece was (you guessed this, of course) Chase. I did this because I was a fan, obviously, but also because he'd been a member of a band called The Chameleon Church, who made one LP as part of the ill-fated "Bosstown Sound" hype that MGM Records attempted to foist on an unwilling world in 1968.

I had heard the album, which while not terribly memorable was at the least pleasant by the standards of its day, and I also knew that Chase was a really good Jimmy Smith-inspired Hammond B-3 guy. More important, as the only writer on the planet who had said nice things about his 1980 solo album (this in the pages of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review), I thought we might have an interesting conversation about his musical career.

The shorter version of what happened is that we didn't. When I talked to him, by phone from the set of whatever bad movie he was making at the time, he was a thoroughgoing shit who could barely conceal his annoyance at having been tasked for the interview by whoever his long-suffering publicist was. It was a profoundly unpleasant experience, and the thing that particularly appalled me was what he said when I asked if he'd ever been in touch with his former bandmates. "No," he replied. "They wore faggy little suits, they wrote faggy little songs, and they were all junkies and they're probably dead."

Chevy Chase: A real asshole, in other words.

In any case, when I read that squib in the Times last week, it brought back, as I mentioned, a lot of memories. But it also moved me to revisit that 1980 solo album -- of which I alone, amongst those who walk upright, had said nice things in public -- after lo these many years.

Having now listened to it again, I must confess to you guys that I couldn't bring myself to actually download mp3s to share with you.

You can, however, stream the complete album, track by track, over here.

I suggest you start with the just barely amusing Chipmunks version of "Let It Be," due to the fact that the other cuts range from mildly unfunny to staggeringly unfunny to really fucking offensive and what the hell was anybody connected with this thinking?


cthulhu said...

I bought that album based on your review in SR; I haven't listened to it in years (it's vinyl and I no longer have a turntable set up), but as I go through the songs in memory, several of them (the parodies of Short People, I Shot the Sheriff, and Rapper's Delight in particular) still seem funny. Politically incorrect, yes; tasteless, yes; but funny, yes.

But I'm not particularly tempted to revisit it for real; I'll stick with my perhaps faulty memories :-/.

steve simels said...

I bought that album based on your review in SR

Words fail me.

FD13NYC said...

I listened to snippets from that site. Although a piece of pompous dreck, You're right, Let It Be is a little Chipmunk weird.

DJWildBill said...

When astronomers point their radar telescopes at the constellation Sagittarius to observe the black hole at its center, they must be listening to noise akin to the downward spiraling wails and caterwauling that comprises this album.

Even when considering that this was made prior to his first taste of fame and success, this album provides clear, bold, and blatantly evident proof of just how talented Weird Al Yankovic really is.

Hell holds a special place for Chevy Chase where one day... he is and you're not.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Chase played Pierce Hawthorne, a bored, wealthy, older man ........."

Yeah, he couldn't phone in this role.....

Anonymous said...

the word cunt comes to mind. . . .

GLLinMO said...

And the problem with Lee Atwater was? Take him over anything with a Gore last name. Tipper had a great rep in the rock world if I recall... That said - did the un-drun article ever make the light od day? Would love to peruse it.

Why would I ever want to listen to music by Chevy Chase? No words to fail me there. Then again, as I recall, the entire cast of the series Bonanza each mack at least 1 LP.

Lastly - Agree - Al Yankovic does have talent.

Brooklyn Girl said...

And the problem with Lee Atwater was?