Sometime during high school, my three best girlfriends and I decided to form a rock band. Of course, no one in the history of adolescence on this planet has ever done such a thing. We were unique.
This grand decision was made despite the fact that only one of us (me) played any kind of musical instrument (the piano, and not too well). And at that stage, my repertoire consisted of Schumann's "Kinderscenen" and Beethoven's Sonata in G, but only the latter's allegro ma non troppo as I hadn't made it to the tempo di menuetto yet.
Fleetwood Mac might have made this work. Stevie could have growled out some lyrics about songbirds and skylarks and then created a diversion for the remaining measures by spinning around in a lacy Gunne Sax dress that looked like an oversized doily.
Blinded by bad pronunciation
Not only did my friends and I lack instrumental skills, we had no original songs. Well, we had one. Amid a fit of giggles one day, we came up with a country tune, wailing in Conway Twitty style, "I stubbed my toooooe. And it hurt me soooo. Oh the blood did floooow. When I stubbed my toooooe," which was strange, since we weren't even a little bit country, but a whole lot suburban.
Really, our best option would have been to sing covers -- yet we were unsure about the words to many tunes of the time, and we couldn't look them up on the Internet as you can now.
I mean, I still don't understand the lyrics to Manfred Mann's cover of the Bruce Springsteen song "Blinded By the Light." I always thought it was: "Blinded by the light, racked up like a goose, you know the plumber's always right," which makes just as much sense as -- possibly more than -- the actual lyrics: "Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night." What does that even mean? What's a deuce in this context? Who's running? Who was the first runner, if this runner is "another" runner? So many questions.
Mostly, we just liked the idea of being in a rock band. We even came up with a name: Iris. I have no idea why we chose that, but I even painted a large painting of an iris (the flower) with an iris (of an eye) cleverly superimposed on the blossom. I made it big enough, on a huge piece of cardboard, so that we would all be able to pose in front of it for the album cover. The painting lingered in my closet until it eventually warped like the drooping petals of a forgotten flower, a faded dream, a crushed hope. Wow. That would a made some killer lyrics.
Well finally, at last, after all this time, I now realize where we went wrong: We didn't utilize the advice of ghosts.
According to "Super-Natural Strategies for making a Rock 'n' Roll Group," a 250-page treatise by Ian F. Svenonius that arrived at my office the other day, the secrets to a successful rock band are buried in the dead heads of the deceased, former rock 'n' roll greats who are "no longer contaminated by the stultifying climate of competitive capitalism," the author writes.
Svenonius claims to have researched this through various seances, held in candlelight at an old house. Answers came filtered through a spirit medium, who offered a disclaimer of a 3 percent margin of error.
The first to be contacted was Rolling Stones founder, the late Brian Jones, who, while not visible, was said to be accompanied by "a vague scent of Moroccan spice and the rustling sound of suede on corduroy." He asserted that forming a rock group is basically like starting a cult that " ... should be imbued with the incomprehensible contradictions of the mystical, the esoteric, the most venerated of mumbo jumbo," Svenonius said the medium said Jones said.
Soon, along came Jimi Hendrix, who "only appeared as a breeze in the curtains, but he was very loquacious," saying that people (alive ones) are right to question the need for yet another rock group. "Rock 'n' roll at this point can seem like a despicable pursuit -- or at least a singularly embarrassing pastime." Had I been there, I would have asked if the rumor was true that he slept with Twiggy, but maybe he's not a die-and-tell kind of ghost.
Alas, all this was tongue-in-decaying-cheek, really to say there's no magic to it all and stars owe their success to "savvy managers." Yawn. I was not blinded by this light. Maybe I should have asked a plumber, who is always right.
Contact Angela Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @giveemhill.