Episode 258: Party Of One Pat and Kyle are joined by Humorist Dave Holmes to discuss his upcoming memoir "Party Of One." From June 23, 2016
With your host:
Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. It's another week here on Rock Solid and it's another guest filling in as a co-host. Please welcome the very funny, very talented Dave Holmes! Dave has a new book coming out called Party of One, available in hard copy, Kindle, and audiobook, narrated by Dave himself. He recorded it in his home studio over the course of a few weeks. Of course he was beholden to all sorts of outsides noises: airplanes, barking dogs, the laughter of a precocious child on a summer's day. Nuisances, all of them. Pat heaps praise upon Dave's new book, he loves it!
Pat and Dave were supposed to record on Sunday, the 12th. But then the Orlando massacre happened. Pat's daughter and her friends had plans to go to the LA Pride parade, but those plans were ultimately nixed. Dave worries that he's become too numb to these kinds of tragic events. So say we all.
Dave writes for Esquire. As a gay man, he felt that he needed to write something about Orlando. He also went to the parade. People were having fun, but it was a little more somber. On the East Side, people were taking up collections. It's a scary thing for Pat and Dave that some guy can just get an assault rifle and mow down a huge group of people. Dave says it's odd that the shooting happened during his "gayest summer ever." He's entered a stage where he's much more comfortable with his homosexuality, so he's going out and just painting the town rainbow. He's telling his story and being as open with his gayness as possible. "Everyone should have their gayest summer ever," posits Dave.
Dave talks about his "second wind" as a gay guy. He feels like he's an adolescent again with this renewed energy. He also hopes that the gay community can rebuild and be stronger than ever. Pat decided to write letters to his senators. And he wants the high profile celebrity people to actually use their fan base to help, rather than just offering "thoughts and prayers."
Serious business to start the pod, but it's all related to Dave and his life. Going back to Party of One, the subtitle of the book is "A Memoir in 21 Songs" and each chapter starts with a song title. We're gonna see how many songs we hear. The first one is "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac, from the album Rumours. Sometimes the chapters are about the songs, sometimes the titles just illuminate the themes. "Go Your Own Way" is about Dave growing up as a kid--small town, sports, Catholic family--with a strong interest in pop culture and the seed of knowledge that he preferred the company of boys rather than girls.
Pat likes how his daughters are more concerned with the issues of the day than he was when he was a kid. Perhaps it's time and place, perhaps it's social media. Kids these days with their Friendster and their Google Plus. Dave is excited about people reading the book. He just can't believe that this is all happening. It took him about a year to write it. Dave credits going away from his boyfriend and dog for a couple times and just doing nothing but writing. Change your surroundings, be around strangers, and you will be inspired. Oh, and the panic helps too. The crippling, dreadful PANIC of an editor's deadline.
Chapter Two: "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen off the album The River. The River was Pat's introduction to Bruce. "Do you have any brothers?" asks Dave. Oh yes. Pat tells Dave all about Kirk Dodson and his musical tastes: Perry Como, Andy Williams, etc. He is an old soul, that Good Brother Kirk. Dave asks because the chapter is about how Dave would listen to his older brothers' albums and get into music through them. They revered Springsteen.
We turn the page to Chapter Three, "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince. Dave fears that he was the one who called the demise of Prince because he was at a David Bowie dance party (hosted by our own April Richardson) and he mused that some day Prince will die.
Just weeks later, there was a Prince dance party. "Let's Go Crazy" is about Dave's experiences in junior high school.
"You went to an all boys school."
"That's like a candy store."
It was an all boys Catholic school with everyone dressed in a suit and tie. That said, Angus Young does NOTHING to stir Dave's loins. Pat tells a story about a school friend who had a very pretty girlfriend (and later wife). He also liked to wear purple robes and give himself facials. Very fashionable. Years later, the friend wrote to Pat that he was gay and getting a divorce. But Pat didn't think a thing of it back in school. He had no idea! Dave agrees, it was the 80s. You could get away with anything! Boy George, George Michael. Even Prince. Nobody said anything.
Speaking of George Michael, we move on to Chapter Four, "The Edge of Heaven" by Wham! from the album Music from the Edge of Heaven. The summer of '86, right in the middle of high school.
Here comes Chapter Five, "Drifting Falling" by The Ocean Blue from their self-titled album. This chapter is about Dave's disastrous college experience. Dave knew what he wanted to be, what he wanted to do, but he still felt the urge to be a "normal guy" with a "normal job." He wanted to write and create, but he had no direction or wisdom towards that. In regards to being the good student, Dave admits he "Max Fischer'd" it and then crashed and burned. Pat agrees, he just wasn't made for it.
Chapter Six is "Everybody Loves Me but You" by Brenda Lee. Dave's first boyfriend: Another misstep. Dave appreciates these missteps in his life because they gave him material for the book. Have his parents read the book? Yes they have. They were fine with it, although they were a little worried about what the neighbors would think of the sex and drugs (of which there are actually very few stories in the book). Dave talked it out with them and it was very cathartic.
Dave talks a bit about his family and their acceptance of his homosexuality. Times are certainly changing. We inject a bit of girl power into the mix with Chapter Seven: "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue off the album Funky Divas. Pat got to see En Vogue perform as part of a show he's working on and they sound great.
"Free Your Mind" is around the time when Dave comes out as gay. His goal was to write a humorous book, even though there are some sad stories in it. Pat wonders what Dave refers to himself as? An actor? Writer? Comic? Dave himself doesn't know because he does a lot of things. Right now he calls himself a writer and comic. Pat suggests "humorist."
Pat jumps ahead to Chapter Twelve: "Wannabe" by Spice Girls off the album Spice.
Pat loved MTV so much. He lists off the various VJs like Kevin Seal and Adam Curry. Pat and Dave lament the loss of MTV as the hub for music news and music videos. Dave recalls when the turn was made to have shows that had a beginning, middle, and end, shows which could generate ratings.
In 1998, MTV put out the call for new VJs. Dave felt like this was his chance to break out. Wanna Be a VJ was the name of the show. He got in line early because he knew the MTV people would get sick of faces after a little while. At the very least, he wanted to be at MTV. He did not win the competition, but he ultimately ended up as a "winner."
"You were like Clay Aiken in this whole thing."
"In so many ways."
- Dave, with the line of the episode
Although he lost, Dave kept at it. He got a writing job and these shows got picked up and he was at MTV for a while. The man who did win was Jesse Camp. EVERYONE asks Dave about Jesse Camp. How does one describe Jesse? He looked like a laid-back pseudo-punk rocker, was a bit spaced-out, but Dave says he was a very nice kid. Jesse did not last that long. Dave, meanwhile, did all kinds of stuff at MTV, including on-air stuff like MTV Spring Break. A bunch of drunk college kids on a beach in Cancun with TV cameras around them? Boy, what fun!
Dave expected a party. And the party was there, but so was work. And belligerent teenagers with whistles. A story in Dave's book relates about one particular go-getter of a girl who decided to "go the extra mile" in a couples dance contest. With her mouth. Think about it. My goodness. Pat turns the page to Chapter Fifteen: "Unpretty" by TLC off the album FanMail. Dave has some stories about Mark Wahlberg, Kid Rock, Tara Reid, Puff Daddy. He didn't want to write a tell-all, but he's got stories.
Dave was at MTV for four years. He understood that he had a shelf life at MTV, so he decided to leave on his own terms and live in LA. Up next is Chapter Seventeen, "Any Little Town" by The Push Stars off the album After the Party. Dave was in New York during September 11. He slept through it. Dave had come home real early in the morning and just slept. Then he woke up in the afternoon and beheld what happened.
From the apartment, he and his roommates had a view. Dave describes it as "a dome of dust and smoke." It was all quite jarring. In the aftermath, they just roamed the city and took it all in. Pat skips ahead a few more chapters and lands on Chapter Twenty: "Losing My Edge" by LCD Soundsystem off their self-titled album.
"Losing My Edge" is about Dave's realization that he had lost touch with the current dealings of music. The Strokes--the whole band--walked by him and he didn't know who they were. Pat lets his daughter Sara play some of her music in the car and it's all a bunch of bands he's never heard of. He calls it refreshing. The show that Pat is working on is Greatest Hits on ABC, where classic and contemporary artists team up to sing hit songs. Dave credits The Hold Steady for keeping him current.
Some friendly plugs: You can find him on Twitter @DaveHolmes. Dave's book Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs is available everywhere on JUNE 28 for your reading pleasure. There is also a special website for the book at DaveHolmesParty.com
Thank you very much to Dave Holmes for being here. Funny man, smart man, kind man, author man. Pat takes us out with a very special song. In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, former guest Melissa Etheridge wrote and released a song called "Pulse" as a tribute to the victims. The proceeds of the song are being donated to Equality Florida. Pat plays the song in its entirety to close the show.