Liner Note #38: February 2014

ctan: Okay, so yesterday, we finished one whole section of DGC. Any comments about that?

Daron: No comment. Well, it’s actually that I can’t comment without giving spoilers. You’ll all find out what I did next after you find out what Ziggy did next. That’s all I’m allowed to say. You should tell people about Best Bi Short Stories, though.

ctan: Ah yes! Launching today, a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to pay the authors in Best Bi (Bisexual) Short Stories. It’s going live today. Here: Kickstarter. Let’s do Ziggy proud.

Daron: Speaking of lead singers with ego problems, I’d like to complain about Morrissey.

ctan: Again?

Daron: Yes. You know I already have a thing against him for doing everything he could to push Johnny Marr, Smiths guitarist, out of the spotlight, eventually breaking up the band to pursue a solo career…

ctan: I could see why you might be… sensitive about that sort of thing happening, but what’s got you upset now?

Daron: So, Morrissey’s autobiography was published last year. It became one of the bestselling books in the U.K. It was also released here in the U.S. Apparently he didn’t like that people were talking about the part of the book THAT HE WROTE where he talks about a gay relationship he had. SO HE MADE THEM EDIT IT OUT and now it’s gone from the book. And he felt the need to issue a statement that he is “not a homosexual.” I feel the need to kick him in the balls. Except I guess he doesn’t have any.

ctan: You’re saying no one else, including you, has ever wished they could go back into the closet?

Daron: No. I’m saying what the fucking fuck. Okay, rant over. But let’s not use any more of his songs, okay? Hearing his voice turns me into a ragemonster.

ctan: I sincerely swear I’ve never thought about the Smiths or Morrissey half as much as I have in the past few months. You’ve become obsessed about them.

Daron: Whatever. Let’s talk about someone much more deserving of time. Like Mdou Moctar.

ctan: Explain.

Daron: Have you heard of the Tuareg people, so-called “nomads of the Sahara”?

ctan: Only in passing.

Daron: Mdou Moctar is a Tuareg guitarist and apparently there’s a big history with the Tuaregs and the guitar, and now he’s starring in a film being Kickstarted loosely based on “Purple Rain.” Kickstarter ends TODAY, in fact. Watch:

ctan: That is cool. I just hope Prince doesn’t sue them. Speaking of flamboyant lead singers whose former band members complain bitterly about…

Daron: Seriously. Did you ever read the interview with Wendy and Lisa dishing on him? I love Prince. Don’t get me wrong. As a musician, as a band leader, he’s unimpeachable. But as a human being? Well, I guess once you lose your grip on reality because your ego’s so big, it’s hard to treat other people well. Here’s a link to the interview in OUT Magazine, where Wendy & Lisa call Prince “a fancy lesbian.”

ctan: They seem amazingly well grounded for two girls who joined Prince’s band when they were only 19.

Daron: Hey. Watch it with the “only 19” comments.

ctan: Right. Sorry.

Daron: Another bit of news from the international music scene, which is relevant to the recent chapters in Hiroshima, did you see this? “Celebrated Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi, often hailed as a Japanese Beethoven because of his deafness, abruptly confessed on February 5 that he has been paying a ghostwriter to write most of his work since the ’90s.” Link to SPIN:

ctan: Wow.

Daron: Not only that… the ghostwriter claims he’s NOT EVEN DEAF.

ctan: So the claims of going deaf were, what, a publicity ploy? Or was that how he convinced the ghostwriter to start writing his music in the first place?

Daron: Nothing I’ve seen yet actually tells how it all got started.

ctan: But what an angst-filled gay romance novel that would make!

Daron: YOU. Have a one-track mind.

ctan: Me? Okay, how’s this for a change of pace then. I know we usual share totally awesome guitar videos but it’s about time for a drumming one. Drumming and juggling:

Daron: Okay, that means we have to show this one that has juggling with a hammer-style guitar solo, though:

ctan: I’ll see your hammer-style guitar solo with juggling and add fire:

Daron: Cool! What I think is funny is he played the same solo every time! Like he actually had a specific solo in mind and took three tries to get it right. I approve. Okay, while we’re having a YouTube Party, corwin shared this and I wanted to pass it on. It’s Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” slowed down 25%. Her singing range is so high this makes it sound like a guy singing a really great folk version:

Daron: What’s lame is a couple of other artists have now performed covers of the song where they’re basically just singing it slowly. No one has tried to recreate the slow finger-picking which makes the guitar part so awesome. And a decent fingerpicker really could.

ctan: “Fingerpicking” always sound like something obscene.

Daron: You think that about everything. Hey, can I dish on Sebastian Bach now?

ctan: Former lead singer of, uh, what band again?

Daron: Skid Row. Got into so much trouble when he was like 20 in the 80s. But in particular I’m thinking of how he was “caught” in 1989 wearing a T-shirt that said “AIDS Kills Fags Dead.”

ctan: Why are you bringing him up now?

Daron: I follow the motherfucker on Twitter and he just posted a photo of himself partying with Lance Bass for Grammy weekend. Gay Lance Bass. Granted, Bach did put two pretty women between them, but check out the Instagram Bach posted.

ctan: Maybe he realizes the error of his ways.

Daron: Maybe he realizes that these days Lance Bass is a bigger star than he is.

ctan: Oh snap. I can’t remember now. Did we already share the Youtube video where Henry Rollins and RuPaul drive through L.A. together and RuPaul gives him advice on his crappy love life?

Daron: If we did, let’s do it again:

Daron: I’m a little fascinated by Henry Rollins, who has clearly gotten sucked into this Hollywood reality where his ego itself is the star of the show. Like, it has a separate dressing room.

ctan: This is the guy who started a publishing house and named it with the numbers of his birthday. 2.13.61

Daron: I’m not saying Rollins is bad, mind you. Just… on a different planet from the rest of us sometimes. Not that we don’t know plenty of people like that. Amy pointed us at this op ed piece he wrote on why the guitar will never be supplanted as the ultimate rock and roll instrument:

“The appeal of guitar music will never die. There, I have predicted the future, and it’s full of guitars. It is the most mass produced and sold instrument in the world and works just fine electric or acoustic. It is an instrument that is easily enjoyed alone to preserve one’s sanity. It’s one of humankind’s best inventions.”

ctan: Okay, wait, but back up, I want to talk about how Henry Rollins, at age 50-something, says to RuPaul that every one of his relationships has failed after two months.

Daron: I really don’t want to talk about failed relationships of rock stars right now.

ctan: Yeah, okay. Is the subject of lead singers who went solo off limits, too?

Daron: Why, whatcha got?

ctan: Did you know that the guy who is now the lead singer of Journey is filipino? Arnel Pineda. And they made a documentary about him. Here’s a clip of him meeting the guy who replaced Pete Cetera in Chicago.

Daron: Wow. Mind blown.

ctan: Apparently Neal Schon found him on YouTube singing Journey covers and decided to hire him when the most recent guy who replaced Steve Perry left.

Daron: I had no idea that the “Rock Star” method worked for other bands, too. I knew about the guy in Judas Priest, the one they based the Mark Wahlberg movie on.

ctan: We talked about that over three years ago. ( Show the trailer again so people know what we’re talking about.

Daron: Here. From 2001.

ctan: Definitely one of the best movies about rock and roll ever made. But all I remember is it was the first movie we watched after 9/11. First time we left the house after the attack. We needed to see something that wasn’t too heavy.

Daron: Speaking of heavy, sorry about all the atomic bomb stuff. But it really affects a person. And the whole thing about how we and Russia had enough bombs to destroy the entire human race 200 times over, that stuff was real, you know.

ctan: I know. It’s all right.

Daron: Here, have a video of the Swedish Marine corps doing a video cover of John Travolta’s “Greased Lightning” from the movie Grease.

ctan: There’s no topping that. I’m going to give folks a little something to think about now, before they start reading Ziggy’s Diary.

Daron: Okay, what?

ctan: Here’s a quote from a Guardian article by Crystal Chan that came out on Chinese New Year:

“When you’re a mixed race person in a monoracial world, you learn that it’s hard, if not impossible, to fit in as you are, so you learn to take on the identities of those around you.”

Daron: That describes Ziggy pretty well.

ctan: Or me. Here’s more:

“You also learn that the lines of race and culture aren’t solid. They blur. They shift depending on the context… Interestingly, these lines are hard and fast for everyone else–so monoracial people tend to stay in their boxes while you hop in and out, depending on the situations, depending on the need.”

Daron: But aren’t well all sort of mutts?

ctan: Maybe, but most people don’t think of themselves as such. I think most people, if they can fit themselves into a box comfortably, whether that box is “white” or “gay” or “straight,” will do that. Ziggy’s been forced his whole life to be straddling the edges between the boxes. He’s proud of his ability to do so. That’s his identity, in fact–he sees himself as above the boxes, tightrope walking on those edges, looking down into the boxes other people have to live in. His chameleon nature, his ability to hop from one box to the other–he considers that his superpower.

Daron: I’m just not that flexible.

ctan: You don’t have to be, dear. Why don’t you finish up with a sound-alike?

Daron: Sure. Have you heard Haim’s “The Wire”?

Daron: You may notice the fake hand-claps are essentially right from The Eagles, “Heartache Tonight.” And they use a little Joe Walsh-like guitar riff, too.

Daron: Note though, that otherwise, the Haim song is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in construction and style. Which makes me wonder, what was the point in using such an obvious riff from something else?

ctan: Other than it seems like it’s actually trendy to have your song sound like an older song?

Daron: Um. I guess you’re right. That’s a thing now. Which is why we keep finding so many of these.

ctan: Yeah. What are you going to do when someone decides to borrow the opening riff from Candlelight?

Daron: Sue them. No, just kidding. But just because I wouldn’t doesn’t mean that my record company or song publisher might not sue anyway, like Sting’s publishers did with Dire Straits “Money for Nothing.” We talked about that one already a year ago.

ctan: Yeah. All right, time for you to take a vacation.

Daron: It’s not a vacation!

ctan: I know, dear. Can’t help but goose you in the nads when I can, though. So, readers, starting tomorrow, we’ll be presenting Ziggy’s Diary. Ziggy’s Diary posts are going to be EVERY DAY Mondays through Fridays, leaving the weekends for folks to catch up. It’ll run through March 28th. Daron won’t be around while that’s going on. I’ll still be here to answer comments, though. I *don’t* think Ziggy will be answering them… This is his mysterious and inscrutable phase. Once the diary has run its course, we’ll pick up with Daron’s narration again, and the beginning of a new plot arc!

Daron: And a new Kickstarter campaign? To do the next omnibus book?

ctan: Yes, but that’s later. Say bye for now.

Daron: Bye for now. See you on the other side.


  • Tryslora says:

    Woohoo for the next Omnibus book! I’ve been wondering about that and looking forward to getting it in hand eventually. Also looking forward to Ziggy’s diary. Every weekday? I’m going to be spoiled!

    • ctan says:

      Yeah, sometimes Ziggy writes long and sometimes he writes short so every day seemed like a good way to do it!

      The Best Bi Kickstarter ends on March 14, so I’ll plan to launch the DGC one probably around April 2…? We’ll see how my schedule shapes up!

  • cayra says:

    Congrats at finishing another arc of Daron’s story. I’m excited to see what the diary will bring.

  • sanders says:

    Every day? Oh, I’m never getting anything done again. On the other hand, February is a month that has been horrible for me the past few years, and this improves the outlook for 2014 by 10 million percent. Nothing can be *that* bad with daily DGC and Ziggy, right?

    I’m excited to read Chan’s article and see what else she has to say. I’m not sure yet how I feel about the quotes you included; they don’t seem to take into account people who can’t pass, who can’t move as easily into one half (or one part) of their identity because of how they’re read by people around them. I hate even bringing him up, because politics, but President Obama is a great and highly visible example of this. I doubt there was any space in his life that he could hop into the box of his white mother, or even really live on the line between his parents’ races. The speed with which he went from being a biracial candidate for president to a black candidate and now ‘The First Black President’ says a lot about how the US, at least, reads race and the mobility between potential identities.

    In the context of DGC, the quotes make me wonder how Ziggy deals with a world that will identify him as “other” or “ethnic” without pinning down what either of those mean. On one hand, I know from experience that can make things incredible awkward when people want to know “what” you are, but it also allows for movement through and with communities of color that may not actually be part of your own heritage because there’s some mutual understanding of being the other.

    And, yes, Daron, we’re all theoretically basically mutts. It’s just a really different experience to have people constantly trying to figure out what variety of mutt you are, like people looking at dog in a pound and arguing that, clearly, it’s part Chihuahua and part pug with a touch of poodle. The dog, though, has a better chance at finding acceptance than the kid who might be part white, part Native American, maybe black, could be Hawaiian, might be none of those or all of them.

    • ctan says:

      Actually Obama is a great example of this, where he code-switches all the time, language-wise. This infuriated his opponents who pointed their fingers at him and said he was hiding the “real” Obama, who they assumed must “really” be a jive-talking black guy who was “pretending” to be a well-educated graduate of Harvard! How dare he! What they fail to realize is that of course both those Obamas are real. They can’t even comprehend that a person can maintain more than one identity, much less the fact that to navigate modern life, anyone who isn’t white upper-middle class pretty much HAS to maintain multiple identities to succeed.

      There are always people who are going to put you in a box, even when you CAN pass most of the time. Ziggy… is not so good at accepting anyone putting him in any boxes. (Just occurred to me he’s Like a cat. He’ll climb in and out of every box on his own but will fight like hell if you try to force him. And he probably wants you to leave the door open when you pee, too.)

      • sanders says:

        You raise a really good point about language and education as part of racial identity. It’s a huge marker of white privilege, and of class privilege, to take for granted that a certain vernacular is universally understood. For someone raised outside out of that manner of communicating, it’s like learning a foreign language. And we are pushed to assimilate early, whether we’re monoracial or multiracial, to adopt the dominant language standards. (I’m cringing a little, even now, at how much I’m reverting to the language defined by predominantly-white academia to discuss why that sort of standard is questionable.)

        One of the ironies of the 2008 election was the outrage that both Obamas would be articulate and intelligent, but on the other side Palin’s attempt at being ‘folksy’ was embraced, no matter how insipid she sounded, and that both sides were equally far at times from the ways most of us likely speak at home or among friends and family.

        I’m not sure a fair number of the GOP members are able to understand even the simplest levels of multiple identities. The platform of strangling women’s rights and objecting to even basic economic advances for women, attacking healthcare and reproductive rights, makes it pretty clear that the challenge of understanding even the needs of white upper-middle class women is beyond many of the male Republicans in Congress, and their female colleagues are willingly complicit in their ignorance. I have next to no hope at all that they might, as a party, ever understand the complexity that comes with being anything other than white, heterosexual, or comfortably classed, let alone any combination of those things.

        Oy, I could go on rants for days about race, identity, and language in the US. I think it’s better for my sanity to go reread the first of Ziggy’s diary posts. Feline is a very good description for him. Not only is he contrary about boxes, he’s very good at only paying attention to you when he wants to and often at inconvenient times, but is an attention whore himself. He leaves presents of random animals. He’s more than a bit sneaky, pouncing when you least expect it, and when you’re looking for him desperately, he goes into hiding.

        • ctan says:

          “Not only is he contrary about boxes, he’s very good at only paying attention to you when he wants to and often at inconvenient times, but is an attention whore himself. He leaves presents of random animals. He’s more than a bit sneaky, pouncing when you least expect it, and when you’re looking for him desperately, he goes into hiding.”

          OMG, we’ve figured him out. He’s a cat.

          Daron, he’s a CAT!

    • daron says:

      Yeah, whereas I only have the problem that I pass for straight. I’ve kind of wrestled with it a little, too. Like… do I dress and talk and even STAND the way I do because of some bullshit conformity that was drilled into me when I was desperate to pass and keep passing? If so… should I change that? To what? I want to be myself, as an artist for me to be anything else is a kind of death, and yet I find myself wondering how much of the way I am is really me and how much is me bowing to society pressure? This question comes up for me a lot.

      • sanders says:

        That’s a very good question–what would you change into?

        A friend and I keep periodically coming back to conversations about being teenagers and figuring out we were girls who liked girls, and it’s almost like there was a checklist of things we both did (despite being a few years apart, and in completely different areas of the country, with radically different ethnic and cultural experiences) to define ourselves as out and queer. I also did my undergrad thesis on representations of butch and femme identities among queer-identified women, and again, I found that there was the sort of checklist that reached across ages and geographical location, that was very rooted to the time span identity as butch or femme was initially being formed or claimed. I think it’s normal to go through a phase of really needing those checklists and boxes to start defining yourself against and with others, but there’s a point, too, when we look up and realize we don’t have to cling so tightly to those definitions anymore.

        What I’ve come to for myself, after being out for more than half my life, is some of the supposedly “straight” things and some of the “queer” things are just me, and some of them really, really aren’t. Some of those things are also complicated by what society says a woman is, and what a woman of color is, and again, picking and choosing from those boxes.

        For you, I wonder how much the way you present yourself is about masculinity and perceptions of gender vs. how much is about sexuality? I don’t think it can be neatly separated, but I do wonder how much of that is about passing as straight and how much is tied to the examples of masculinity around you.

  • Sue says:

    Hi Ctan I just finished reading all the ebooks and postings. I love the series just can’t wait to hear from Ziggy! How can I get the additional 6 stories? Thank you 🙂

  • LenaLena says:

    Hey, did you see this review of Morrissey’s book: It is awesome! It won the Hatchet Award for the most scathing review of the year. (

    You’ll love it.

    • daron says:

      “Morrissey is plainly the most ornery, cantankerous, entitled, whingeing, self-martyred human being who ever drew breath. And those are just his good qualities.”

      Wow, it’s kind of interesting to me that that’s exactly how he comes across musically to me, too.

      I hear he announced ANOTHER tour of the U.S. Spin snarkily headlined it “Morrissey Announced Another US Tour He Can Cancel.” Heh.

  • Averin says:

    Great liner note and discussion!

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