Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Tim Curry Rocks - a custom designed dream concert
TIM CURRY ROCKS – SO I DESIGNED THIS DREAM CONCERT…
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Tim Curry has enjoyed a vastly and inexplicably underrated music career.
Like many (most?), he first hit my radar as Frank ‘N’ Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I first caught while visiting Austin Texas in summer 1978. A few months later, my first appearance in my hometown <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />
(October 16, 1978 – let the mocking commence…)
(An aside - after above pic was published, underwear girl’s parents forbade their daughter to date me…as did the parents of several other local ladies….)
Anyway, I continued to follow Curry’s musical career. Post-Rocky, he started up an amazing rock-n-cabaret band, with Alice Cooper’s fiery lead guitarist Dick Wagner.
Curry’s big, booming voice was perfectly suited for the theatrical rock opera-esque songs, most of which managed to be both gritty urban and feather-fay at the same time – think Springsteen concert as staged by Twyla Tharp.
Over several solo albums, Curry enjoyed a few moderate “hits,” including “Paradise Garage,” a snarky rocker about a famous New York City disco – the (excellent) video includes a shot of Curry making faces at a guy walking by dressed as Frank ‘N’ Furter –
“I Do the Rock” was probably his best known tune, with its stream of consciousness namedropping rap. Curry even updated the tune for a performance on the Tracey Ullman show!
But most every song on Curry’s albums was a jewel, especially smoldering burners like “Sloe Gin,” an all-out “Stairway” style masterwork still frequently covered by guitar gods –
Checkout this amazing version by the amazingly(ly obcure) Joe Bonamassa (hand to gawd, if you haven't heard this guy, wailing THIS tune, you will seek me out wherever I may be in this whole wide world, just to shake my hand and thank me for turning you on to this):
However, for some reason, Curry’s rock and roll fire never quite caught – his deep voiced operatic style clearly foreshadowed the VERY similar music in the two Eddie and the Cruisers movies, as performed by the Beaver Brown band (and lip synched by the actors). In addition, groups like Sisters of Mercy, Oingo Boingo (whose original Mystic Knights cabaret act was directly inspired by Rocky), the Cult, and even Guns N’ Roses and U2 may well some of their inspiration to Curry’s music. Many similarities -----
Certainly Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell looks, feels, AND sounds like a direct descendent of Tim Curry’s rock and roll experiment, as do the Dresden Dolls, the Killers, and a number of other contemporaries.
Curry kept singing, tho, first in movies like the low budget Blue Money, on up through Muppet Treasure Island, Annie, etc.
Up until recently, he was rocking the stage in Monty Python’s Spamalot, as King Arthur. Just last weekend, he co-starred in an Ion TV movie The Colour of Magic, based on the Terry Pratchet stories and co-starring friend-of-Frodo Sean Astin. It was watching that movie that gave me the idea for this blog ----
Here’s a Dream Concert I designed, with what I feel would be the ultimate Tim Curry performance, assuming he’d ever agree to do such a demanding, wide-ranging career retrospective. Me, I’d like to think he could make a lot of people wealthy doing such a show, say in Vegas, but - truth be told – the musical side of Tim Curry still seems to enjoy no more than a small-but-dedicated cult fanbase.
Betcha a show like this could change that, tho ----------- click song titles for links to sound or vid files provided where possible (all highly recommended, whether or not you’re already one of the converted) -------
“Charge it ”
“Hide this face”
“Birds Of A Feather” (from his 1978 debut Read My Lips)
“Wake Nicodemus” (WITH live bagpipes, of course!)
“Simple Twist of Fate” (Yep, the Dylan song, an early Curry concert staple)
“All I Really Want”
“I Will” (Curry’s wonky reggae version of the Beatles tune, from his 1978 Read My Lips album)
“Working on My Tan” (Another reggae number this one from Curry’s 1981 album Simplicity)
“Gimme Some Lovin” (another cover from his early shows)
“When a Man Loves a Woman” (Helluva cover)
"Tumbling Down" (By the Venus in Furs, from the movie Velvet Goldmine - tho never covered by Curry, it should be)
"Suffragette City" (Bowie cover, 'nother one he hasn't done but should do)
"Suffragette City" (Bowie cover, 'nother one he hasn't done but should do)
“SOS” (slow fadeout of sound and lights, with only the ringing buoy bell, accompanied by the rising applause)
INTERMISSION screened on a Drive-In style screen backdrop:
1 – Film clips from Curry’s Saturday Night Live appearance 12-5-81, including his Mick Jagger impersonation and the Rocky Horror Fire Sale with Meatloaf
2 – Curry duet with Tracey Ullman from the February 1989 ep of her TV show
3 – Clip from Blue Money (1982) of Curry singing the title song
4 – From Rocky Horror, Frank ‘N’ Furter intro scene
5 – A couple of clips from the excellent 1979 West German Der Musikladen TV show appearances
6 – Clips of Curry purring into a mic as DJ Johnny LaGuardia in the cult classic
7 – “The Pluck Song ” (“I’m such a lucky plucker…”) from the 2001 movie Blood Moon
8 – Compilation video of his many singing movie roles, including “Easy Street” from Annie, in which he played Rooster Hannigan
“A Professional Pirate - ” (from Muppet Treasure Island – perhaps with a Muppet guest star??)
“Toxic Love ” (Written by Thomas Dolby, from the animated film Ferngully)
“zucchini song” (Hysterical dirty ditty from his SNL appearance)
“ Rose Tint My World ” (Rocky Horror snippet)
“Street Signs” (from his Rock Follies of ’77 show)
“ Tim Curry singing Losing My Mind ” (Piano torch tune by Sondheim)
“Cry For Love” (Iggy Pop cover – Curry has never performed it, to my knowledge, but he’d tear the mutha up)
“Fire Woman” (Cult cover, also never in a Curry setlist, but I actually thought Curry was singing when I first heard it…)
“Celluloid Heroes” (Kinks cover he used to do in the ‘70s)
“Alan” (Nice barroom croon)
“Anything Can Happen on Halloween ” from The Worst Witch (false start, a few bars only, just enough to make the audience gasp “No effin way” --- the song is Curry’s most ridiculous musical moment, from a no-budget 1986 TV special, tho a clip of the song from the show has become a popular internet laughing stock, simply for being so crappy)
"I'm Going Home" from the Rocky Horror Show (rarely performed live since the old stage days)
“No Love on the Street” (with Clarence Clemens sax solo)
“Origin of Love” (Tho never covered by Curry, this rocker from Hedwig and the Angry Inch would be OWNED by him)
“I Do The Rock”
Finale: "Sloe Gin"
Encore: Spamalot medley, accompanied at the end by surprise walk-ons Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and – what the hell, it’s a dream – the late Python Graham Chapman, dressed as Brian from Life of Brian, revealed by an opening curtain to be hanging on a cross, as they all sing Eric Idle’s closing track from Meaning of Life “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
The concert ends with everyone whistling “Bright Side,” as Curry and the Pythons walk off stage, to thunderous and deafening applause……
ROCKY HORROR SPOOF from the Hillcrest-based comic book BARF
TOP FIVE MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS OF THE ROCK ERA
As detailed on Wikipedia, the English musicians who played under the name The Venus in Furs on the soundtrack were Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, David Gray, Suede's Bernard Butler, and Roxy Music's Andy Mackay. The American musicians who played as Curt Wild's Wylde Ratttz on the soundtrack were The Stooges' Ron Asheton, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, Minutemen's Mike Watt, Gumball's Don Fleming, and Mark Arm of Mudhoney.
The soundtrack features new songs written for the film by Pulp, Shudder to Think and Grant Lee Buffalo, as well as many early glam rock compositions, both covers and original versions. The Venus in Furs covers several Roxy Music songs with Thom Yorke channeling Bryan Ferry on vocals, Placebo covers T.Rex's "20th Century Boy," Wylde Ratttz and Ewan McGregor cover The Stooges' "T.V. Eye" and "Gimme Danger", and Teenage Fanclub and Donna Matthews cover The New York Dolls' "Personality Crisis." Lou Reed, Brian Eno, T.Rex, and Steve Harley songs from the period are also included. The album is rounded out by a piece of Carter Burwell's film score.
All three members of the band Placebo also appeared in the film, with Brian Molko and Steve Hewitt playing members of the Flaming Creatures (Malcolm and Billy respectively) and Stefan Olsdal playing Polly Small's bassist.