#974: I Was a Bit of a Jackass

RECORD STORE TALES #974: I Was a Bit of a Jackass

Part of my process, after breaking up with Radio Station Girl in 2003, was simply to explore new things.  Music, piercings, and movies.  Moving on, adapting, becoming a new me, and resurrecting parts of my old self as well.  The immature inner child that persists.  As kids, we weren’t bad boys, but we did get into mischief and play pranks.  I always felt that if we had access to a video camera back then, we could have been Tom Green before there was a Tom Green.  But we didn’t, and Tom Green was the real pioneer in that regard.  And he took things way further than we did.  Still, Green reminded me of me when I was younger.

It’s not a controversial statement to say that Jackass, particularly Bam Margera, owe a debt to Tom Green.  Green was pranking his parents before Margera was on MTV doing the same.  Where Green did it with a coy faux innocence, Margera’s version of the same was with manic violence.  Jackass turned everything up several notches.  As soon as a copy of Jackass: The Movie entered the store where I worked on used DVD, I grabbed one.  I was curious.

Soon I was hooked!

I could remember taking shopping carts for a ride when I was teenager.  Early teenager.  When Bob started working at the grocery store, he told me “Do you know how much those carts cost?  $1000 each.  So from now on we return them.”  Before that though…yes, we sure did give them a spin in parking lots.  Parking lots were empty on Sundays and you could do just about anything.  We never took serious tumbles like Johnny Knoxville and crew, but we did race them around a bit.  I could live vicariously through Bam, Steve-O, Knoxville, Ryan, Ehren, Dave, Pontius, Preston and Wee Man.  They could do the things I thought were funny but would never do myself!  I killed myself laughing when Johnny rented and destroyed the car at the smash-up derby, then refused to pay for the damage.  Just the absurdity of it all.  You know that everybody signed waivers and got MTV reimbursements after the fact, so all’s even-steven in the end.  In other words it’s OK to laugh.

Another reason I dove hard into Jackass:  girls that I thought were pretty cute seemed to really like them (especially Bam).  So if I was into Jackass, that was something I had in common with the cute punk and goth girls I liked.  I also took style pointers from the guys.  I had piercings and a couple tattoos, and I had one photo with curly blond hair that I thought looked just enough like Ryan Dunn.  I bought wristbands and shirts at Hot Topic and skate shops.  I dyed my hair frequently.  I looked the part.

Visiting my parents regularly was something I really enjoyed doing after moving out and getting my own place.  I liked to watch movies with them.  Rather, I enjoyed making them watch things of my choosing.  And so it happens that I tricked them into watching Jackass: The Movie with me.

They liked documentaries, so I told them that “Jackass is a documentary about stuntmen.”

I just re-watched the movie recently to refresh my memory for this story.  Calling it a documentary was a bit of a stretch, but calling it a documentary about stuntmen was really pushing it.  There are stunts, yes, but there was also poo, pee, puke, and bottle rockets firing out of Steve-O’s anus.

My mother was not impressed.  “I hated it!  I don’t like crude things,” she insists.

Jackass was indeed crude, with the climax being a prank involving Dunn sticking a toy car up his ass and then getting a hilarious reaction from an X-ray doctor.

“That kind of humour to me is not very intelligent,” says my mom, correctly.  It’s fact it’s quite anti-intelligent.  But that can also be escapism.  My mom didn’t see it that way.

I asked her which sketch she thought was the worst.  “The only one I can remember is the guy pooping in the toilet.”

Ah yes!  Dave England walked into a hardware store with a newspaper in hand, sat on one of the display toilets, and took a dump right there.  This is funny?  My mom didn’t think so.  But as kids, when we were dragged out into hardware stores by parents for (seemingly) hours on end, did we not sit on those toilets making farting sounds?  I bet we did.

That’s the side of me that Jackass appealed to.  The inner child, the immature side that still laughs when someone farts in a movie.  That’s OK.  What makes you laugh could be very different and that’s OK too!  I needed to get back to that a little bit, and rediscover my childish side after having my heart crushed by a Radio Station Girl.

Just don’t share this side with your parents.  Trust me, they won’t get it!

Part 219: Parental Advisory – Explicit Lyrics

Thanks to 80smetalman for the inspiration.


Parental Advisory – Explicit Lyrics

Remember the PMRC? If you were around in the 1980’s you might. The Parents’ Music Resource Center was an organization cofounded by Tipper Gore. They caused a lot of grief for musicians and fans alike. The PMRC wanted albums to have ratings, much like a movie, and to restrict certain albums to certain age groups.

PARENTALBoth Dee Snider and Frank Zappa raked them over the coals in a Senate hearing, but much damage was done. The PARENTAL ADVISORY – EXPLICIT CONTENT logo has defaced many rock albums. Sometimes it’s just a sticker, but almost as often, it’s printed over the cover art.  Frank Zappa’s instrumental album Jazz From Hell was even stickered “explicit content” – an album that has no words at all!  Huge chains such as Walmart refused to carry many albums such as this, and this eventually led to the rise of “clean” and “dirty” versions of albums.  It was one way to get the records in the stores.  This way, grandma can buy little Johnny the “clean” version of Eminem for Christmas.

This had an impact on us, an independent chain, as well. In the senate hearing, Dee Snider advised that if a parent is concerned about the music their kids are listening to, “I think a parent could take it home, listen to it. And I do not think there are too many retail stores that would deny them the ability to return the album for something different.”

Dee was 100% right. That was the policy that we had. If a parent wasn’t happy with the lyrical content of their kid’s purchase, we had no problem returning it.  Even though there were times that I’d been yelled at for doing a refund instead of an exchange, we made exceptions when it came to explicit lyrical content.  In those cases we often offered a full refund, and normally getting a refund out of us was about as easy as Steve-O removing this snapping turtle from his ass.

Some parents used to get upset that I would knowingly sell an album with swearing on it to their kid. Now, to be clear, we wouldn’t sell 2 Pac to a 10 year old. We didn’t do that. We would tell the 10 year to come back with a parent, and they’d whine and leave. However when a kid is in their mid-teens, and it’s harder to tell their age (or if their parents have a pickle up their behinds), we’d sell them the disc. And that’s when some parents would get mad. “Isn’t it illegal to sell this to a kid?”

No, it wasn’t illegal, thankfully. I would have hated to live in a world where I couldn’t hear Twisted Sister until my 18th birthday. But I was smart enough to know fantasy from reality, and my parents were trusting enough to give me that much credit.

Once you give the parents a refund, they were always happy. You never know what a parent would be offended by. One guy refused to buy Nirvana for his son, because Kurt committed suicide. One parent refused to allow her kid to listen to “black music” such as Backstreet Boys. No shit.


Very hard to tell just from this if it’s “clean” or “dirty”

For us, selling used CDs, I think the biggest problem was the “clean” and “dirty versions”. On some discs, it was nearly impossible to tell by the cover if it was censored or not, because often those kinds of stickers would be on the plastic shrinkwrap. Once the shrinkwrap was off, and the CD made it into a used shop like ours, the only way to tell would be to listen.

I spent a lot of time sampling Wu-Tang Clan albums to see if they were clean or dirty. Thankfully I knew where on the disc to check easily without spending too much time on it. We had to sell clean versions for less, because the majority didn’t want them. We had to exchange a lot of clean versions for something else too, when it wasn’t obvious by the packaging.

Looking back at the kind of music people used to get upset about, it seems hilariously blown out of proportion. I’ll end today’s tale with a quote from Dee Snider’s testimonial at the senate hearing:

“The PMRC has made public a list of 15, of what they feel are some of the most blatant songs lyrically. On this list is our song “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” upon which has been bestowed a “V” rating, indicating violent lyrical content.

”You will note from the lyrics before you that there is absolutely no violence of any type either sung about or implied anywhere in the song. Now, it strikes me that the PMRC may have confused our video presentation for this song with the song with the lyrics, with the meaning of the lyrics.

”It is no secret that the videos often depict story lines completely unrelated to the lyrics of the song they accompany. The video “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was simply meant to be a cartoon with human actors playing variations on the Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote theme, Each stunt was selected from my extensive personal collection of cartoons.

”You will note when you watch the entire video that after each catastrophe our villain suffers through, in the next sequence he reappears unharmed by any previous attack, no worse for the wear.

”By the way, I am very pleased to note that the United Way of America has been granted a request to use portions of our “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video in a program they are producing on the subject of the changing American family. They asked for it because of its “light-hearted way of talking about communicating with teenagers.

“It is gratifying that an organization as respected as the United Way of America appreciates where we are coming from. I have included a copy of the United Way’s request as part of my written testimony. Thank you, United Way.”

REVIEW: The Tom Green Show – The Complete Series – Inside & Outside the Box (2005)

Thanks Dave FM for the chance to meet Tom Green!

GREENTOM GREEN – Inside & Outside the Box – The Tom Green Show: The Complete Series (2005 VSC)

As longtime LeBrain readers know, I was named King of the 4-O’clock 4-Play by Craig Fee on Dave FM.  I won a lot of stuff on that show.  One of the best things I won was a pair of tickets to see Tom Green at Crysalids Theatre, 9/22/11 with my best buddy Peter.  Tom was great, it was a celebration of the true spirit of stand-up comedy and he stuck around to take photos and sign stuff with everybody afterward.  I don’t think Tom Green gets enough respect for being an innovator as a comedian.  That’s why I felt inspired enough to write this review.

The most important thing to know about Tom Green:  MTV ruined Tom Green!  The MTV years, although peppered with some genius sketches such as “Undercutter’s Pizza”, was not at all what the original Tom Green Show was about.

This 3 disc set comprises Tom Green’s entire Comedy Network shows. In other words, the good stuff.  The weird stuff.  The offensive stuff.  The stuff that Jackass ended up ripping off (particularly Bam Margera).  Best of all though, this is the pre-fame stuff.  Tom Green could still run around downtown Ottawa without people knowing it was for a TV show.

You will see herein:

* Tom throwing all of Glenn Humplik’s clothes out of a plane in an evil double-cross.
* Tom burning Glenn’s shirt.
* Will Ferrell proclaiming that he hates Glenn and wants to punch him.
* Tom turning grape juice into pee (for science)!
* The dead raccoon.
* Tom demonstrating how a bus cannot move if you place your face on the bus.
* Repainting his dad’s car with a huge portrait of two naked women (the “slutmobile”).
* “Scuba Hood”.  He robs from the poor (fountains in malls, apparently) and gives to the rich (banks).
* Hanging his painting, “Tiger Zebra”, in the Ottawa Art Gallery, and then defacing it.
* and much, much more….

What you won’t see:

* You won’t see any bums on Swedishes.  That’s MTV stuff and not even half as good as this earlier stuff.

What I still like about the Tom Green show is that it is seldom mean spirited.  He picks on his friend Glenn a lot, which I can’t help but think that Kenny Hotz ripped off later on.  Everything else was done in this pseudo-naive childish fashion, and that is why I can watch The Tom Green Show over a decade later and laugh like the first time I saw it. This DVD for me has rendered obselete all of his old VHS tapes that I collected religiously. That stuff is on here, and it’s as fresh as ever.

I wonder whatever happened to Glenn’s clothes?

5/5 stars