I just discovered this Yacht Rock thing today: a Behind the Music exposing the behind of a heretofore unclassified musical genre popular between 1976-1984, "really smooth" rock music purveyed by hitmakers like Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Toto, and Yacht Rock-the-show's primary progenitors, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina.
The show, clever, esoteric five or so-minute shorts in which the famed musicians are distinguished from each other by really bad wigs, ran on the Channel101 website through, well, a couple of weeks ago. I just discovered it thanks to Chicagoist (which I read with teeth on edge because it oh-so-wobbily walks the line of annoying and edifying ).
Ironically, Channel101's creators are Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon, they of the Scud The Disposable Assassin comic, begun during the glory days of The Dead Alewives sketch troupe back in Milwaukee. I always thought what those guys did was cool, but the problem was just that--they were all guys. Maybe that's when the seed of my ambition to be a sketch-comic chick germinated.
Anyway, ironically-even-more, I actually like a lot of these artists. I mean, you must realize by now that I do enjoy some music that is universally regarded as craptacular [This phrase is hereby fully credited to J. Maravegias --Ed.]. I mean, I can get into some "99" by Toto. That piano breakdown at the end is pretty jive.
Profane, belligerent and giant-mustachioed John Oates (who calls his smooth-rock nemeses "California Vagina Sailors") had me howling during the early Yacht Rocks, but the final episode, "FM", which details the genesis of the singular Steely Dan contribution to the soundtrack for the 1978 film of the same name, as well as their feud with the Eagles, made me run to my shut my office door so I could expel a worthy cackle. Although Glenn Frey and Don Henley probably didn't noogie Walter Becker and Donald Fagen on a playground, there indeed was a lyrical fracas between the two AOR heavyweights--if you believe that "they stab it with their steely knives" is a response, slipped into "Hotel California," to the Dan's exhortation on "Everything You Did" to "turn up The Eagles the neighbors are listening." Yeah maybe the "steely knives" line is only about the "beast" (drugs? music industry?), but look at these two pairs of guys. They're all a-holes, in their own way. This was the best musical warfare since Skynyrd got cranked on Jack and wrote "Sweet Home Alabama" to flip off Neil Young.
I love that Donald Fagen speaks his own language. Except when he says "eat bat, prick."
Hmm, I've actually never looked at the soundtrack for FM, which all in all is pretty damn good.
At least to a craptacle-loving music fan like me.