Pat welcomes us to the show. Today's special guest is the host of the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast. It's comedian Paul Gilmartin! Paul is finally on the show after months of intense negotiations and secret deals. He's the last of the poker buddies to be on Rock Solid. Today's topic ties into Paul's podcast: It's songs about being crazy, cuckoo, nuts, off-the-walls bonkers, etc. Is "crazy" a derogatory term? Like everything else, it depends on how you use it. Paul's podcast is very popular. Not so much Rock Solid. This show has less juice than Leonard Part 6.
"You guys are in the iTunes category 'Wasted Effort.'"
- Paul Gilmartin
It's time for another edition of
Here's how it works: Pat sometimes writes reviews for Pop Culture Beast and he'll get CDs from bands that he's never heard of. So we're gonna hear some songs with completely fresh ears. Today's album is Sub-Lingual Tablet by seminal post-punk band The Fall.
"Venice with the Girls" --- The music is fine, but the vocals... not so much.
"Dedication Not Medication" --- They don't like this one.
"Quit iPhone" --- "The singer is making strong choices," says Paul.
"Pledge" --- It's not me. It's you.
Overall the album is not their cups of tea. But even with that rave review, you can always email Pat at the Rock Solid email address for the album.
Paul is both an expert on the subject and a musician himself. Pat and Mike both have useless acoustic guitars in their house, collecting dust like nobody's business, while Paul actually has the drive to learn and play an instrument. If you want to hear snippets of Paul's work, you can go to paul-gilmartin.squarespace.com. Pat plays a song called "Mr. Cale." Good stuff.
Pat is reminded of a story about Bon Jovi. He was a janitor at a studio and he would secretly record his music after hours. "And was he also a horrible janitor," asks Paul. Oh Paul. He hates Bon Jovi. Pat understands. In Pat's head, he thinks that Paul thinks that Pat only listens to three bands: Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Kiss. Let's be honest, he's not that far off. But let's get to the music. Paul starts us off with a song by the weepy and wistful Canadian Sarah McLachlan. The song is "Possession" from the album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Paul thought it was a love song at first. It turns out a stalker sent Sarah letters, she used the letters to write this song, then the stalker tried to sue her, failed, and then he killed himself. Ah, the tender frailties of young love.
Mike's first pick is a hot little number from Queen. Off the album Sheer Heart Attack, it's "Stone Cold Crazy". Discussion of Freddie Mercury as a frontman leads to talk of David Lee Roth: He kept the body, but not the voice.
Pat's first pick takes us to the Bad Boys from Boston Aerosmith. It's "Toys in the Attic" from the album Toys in the Attic. The three praise Toys in the Attic. Was there a band or album that made Paul pick up a guitar? No, but when he heard "Eruption," he thought, "What was the point?"
Brief detour: Pat plays a bit of "Panama" from the new Van Halen live album. It's not good. The band sounds fine, but Dave sounds like a patient at Bellevue. Paul started playing the guitar at 13. He collects guitars too. He once had a limited edition Brian May guitar, but he sold it. His family needed the money. Paul also sold some of his guitars which then quadrupled in value. So yeah, Paul has made some pretty bad investments.
The next song on Paul's list is from the Dave Matthews Band album Busted Stuff. The song is called "Grey Street". The song is about a depressed woman who sees everything as grey.
Speaking of depression, it's also found in Mike's song. It's "Manic Depression" by Jimi Hendrix Experience off the album Are You Experienced. Paul had a tapestry of Hendrix on his wall. His dad told him to take it down because the life insurance company he worked for lost a quarter of a million dollars on Hendrix. Paul didn't, the rebel.
When Sgt. Pepper's came out, Hendrix not only learned how to play the title track, but performed it in concert that weekend. Meanwhile, John Entwistle and Pete Townshend used to separate the channels of The Beatles' stereo mixes and make fun of how bad the music was. Nice to see such camaraderie between the British.
Pat chooses a Ramones cover for his next pick. Off the album Under the Covers, Vol. 2, it's "I Wanna Be Sedated" by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. How is Paul doing these days? He's good. He just got off a medication that at first worked wonders, then it turned around into insomnia, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Paul shares his suicidal thoughts with his wife because she helps him through it.
Paul also shares his troubled moments on his podcast because it's very therapeutic. He says there's a difference between suicidal thoughts and actually planning to kill yourself. He's managed them long enough to know how to deal with them and let them pass.
"Is the side effect of your medication never folding when you have a shit hand?"
- Mike, with the line of the episode
Going back to the music, Paul's next pick is from a band that enjoys sex and candy. It's Marcy Playground with "Wave Motion Gun" off the album Shapeshifter. Paul believes one of the lead singer's parents is a psychiatrist. He finds that a lot of children of therapists are screwed up, as are a lot of therapists themselves.
Mike's next pick is genre jack-of-all-trades Joe Jackson. He plays "Beat Crazy" from the album Beat Crazy.
With those shoes, Joe Jackson should have been committed. Am I right, guys? Come on, who's with me? Okay, the next comedian coming to the stage...
Pat's mental illness is that he buys every album of every artist ever. Nowadays buying physical CD albums on Amazon is cheaper than buying them on iTunes. Mike brings up a story of a guy in Britain who bought every 45 that ever hit #1 on the UK charts. He's dead, so they are auctioning off his whole collection. Paul had a vinyl collection that got very ugly. Some albums are more conducive to vinyl than others. Pat doesn't play his next pick off of vinyl, however. It's off of handy-dandy mp3. And it's by former guest Ricky Warwick! Off the album Hearts on Trees, it's a song called "Psycho".
Paul goes quirky for his next pick. Off the album Long Tall Weekend, it's They Might Be Giants with "(She Thinks She's) Edith Head".
Mike knows for certain that his next pick drives Paul crazy. It's the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar, with his song "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" from the album Three Lock Box.
"Whenever I hear that, I play air channel switch."
Pat drags David Lee Roth back to the Rock Solid mental ward with the song "Goin' Crazy!" off the album Eat 'Em and Smile. And, as is customary whenever a song from Eat 'Em and Smile is played on the show, Pat plays the Spanish version of the song as well. It's only fair to our Spanish-speaking listeners that they can also enjoy the majesty of David Lee Roth.
Paul has a very simple reason for his playing his next pick: "If you like this song, you are fucking crazy." It's "Precious and Few" by Climax off the album Climax featuring Sonny Garaci.
It seems Mike really likes the word "crazy" (or perhaps it was the only word he bothered to type in his iTunes search bar) because his next song is "Crazy Mama" by The Rolling Stones from the album Black and Blue. The Stones are very much a riff band. Keith Richards' hands have suffered over the years, however. Fun fact about Keith: He only plays with 5 strings on his guitars. So if you walk into a guitar store, pick up a guitar, and decide to play "Start Me Up," it's not going to sound like "Start Me Up."
If you follow the right path, it will lead you to the Key of Time!
The next song on Pat's list comes from an album called From the Inside, which is a concept album about Alice Cooper's time in a mental institution. The song is called "The Quiet Room".
Paul uses the term "Rock and Roll" very loosely with his next pick. It's a selection from a piece of classical music called "The Goldberg Variations" by pianist Glenn Gould off the album Bach: The Goldberg Variations. In this case, the musician himself is the unstable one. Look at Mr. Smartypants Gilmartin over here, doing his research.
You wouldn't catch Mike Siegel doing that kind of homework. No siree, he leaves that to the nerds. Mike is too busy snorting Satan's Sweetness up his nostrils by the pound, all the while using his trusty iTunes search bar to do ALL the work for him. You know, like how the COOL KIDS do it. Mike plays "Crazy Mixed-Up Kid" by The Smithereens off the album Especially for You.
Pat has been having a very hard time trying to contact Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons. Apparently she doesn't have a phone. Of course she doesn't. Pat does have her voice, though, with his next pick. It's "Mental Hopscotch" from the album Spring Session M. Paul finds them very annoying. Pat only likes their hits like "Destination Unknown" and "Walking in L.A." Kyle quips, "Of course they're walking in L.A., they don't own a car either." Young Master Kyle, sniping out a laugh like the sneaky bastard he is.
Paul's next pick features a guy who unfortunately did not seek help for his suicidal thoughts. Off the album Nevermind, it's "Lithium" by Nirvana. Butch Vig produced Nevermind. Steve Albini is the guy who produced In Utero. He's also the idiot that doesn't take royalties. I understand artistic integrity, but come on! I don't know if you noticed this, Steve, but money is kind of important.
The new Kurt Cobain documentary "Montage of Heck" is brought up. It's very depressing, especially the parts where Kurt is whacked out on drugs in front of his baby daughter. "I love that Seattle's monument is a needle," Paul mentions. Oh, what shenanigans we have here on Rock Solid. Mike decides to go away from Seattle and straight into the leather heart of heavy metal with Judas Priest. He plays "Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days" from the album Turbo.
As if the show couldn't get any nuttier, Pat decides to unleash Kiss. He plays "Psycho Circus" from the album Psycho Circus.
Behold the epitome of late 90s graphics.
Pat saw Kiss on this tour on Halloween at Dodgers Stadium. The Smashing Pumpkins opened the show dressed as The Beatles. I'm sure the drunk audience was wondering why they were seeing a stark bald Paul McCartney scream into his microphone on that night. Paul's first concert was M&R Rush, where he almost died. He was at the front of the doors to the venue when they opened and everyone surged forward. His first bonafide band was either Rush or AC/DC with Bon Scott. Speaking of upcoming concerts, Pat has three: He's seeing Bryan Adams with Jimmy Pardo, then U2 with Mike Siegel (if the band hasn't completed injured themselves by falling off their bikes or falling off the stage or whatever), then Whitesnake with Kyle. Yes, Pat and Kyle are seeing Whitesnake together. Soak that in.
Paul must have a case of technological anxiety, because his next pick is "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead from the album OK Computer.
The three discuss Tweeting and the riskiness thereof. It's hard to get people to acknowledge your tweets, especially if you're a nobody like Pat Francis. There's got to be a prime hour for Tweeting for maximum exposure. You know who doesn't care about Tweeting? B.B. King. Because he's dead. He went bye-bye in the box, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate his music. Mike plays "How Blue Can You Get? (Live)" from the live album Live at the Regal.
Paul asks how Rock Solid can play songs without paying the artists? Pat figures if iTunes gives you 90 seconds to preview a song for free, they can do it too. Every artist who was in the studio was okay with Pat playing the songs, except Greg Kihn. He made Pat sign something that said he wouldn’t make money off of it.
"No one is making money from Greg Kihn right now."
"Greg Kihn isn't making money from Greg Kihn."
Pat's last pick is another one from Queen. Off the album Innuendo, it's the song "I'm Going Slightly Mad". Paul is surprised that no one played any Pink Floyd. They have a ton of songs about mental illness. Hell, 3/5ths of Wish You Were Here album is about crazy Syd Barrett. Pat can't say the word in "Comfortably" in "Comfortably Numb." Paul Stanley, funny enough, can say it like a master thespian.
Plugs out your ears. You can get Paul's podcast at his website MentalPod.com. You can also find him on Twitter @mentalpod.
Thank you to Paul for being here and bringing a lot of funny. We end the show with his pick. Off their self-titled debut album, it's Black Sabbath with the birth of heavy metal in their song "Black Sabbath".