I see some 90s Nostalgia has swept in, with two musical acts in town whose heyday are firmly affixed to a 15 minute allotment in the last decade of the last century…

The Presidents of the United State of America… who are, I believe, the Steve Miller Band of today — in that back in the 1990s, I’d always hear on my “AORock” station listings of the various concerts and it never seemed to fail — good old reliable Steve Miller Band was playing this County Fair or The Gorge or wherever, whether anyone wanted them or not.  I assumed they’d put on a show their audience wanted to hear, and pluck the right notes, but I just always had to shake my head and say “sheesh”.
I am a tad bemused by this write-up in the Willamette Week… for fans of  “Pizzeria Pretzel Combos, The Drew Carey Show, singing along”.  It takes me a second to remember that they did the second theme song to Drew Carey — is that all that’s about or is there some connection similar to that to Pizzeria Pretzel Combos?  As for “sounds like” — : “Early Green Day without the fat basslines or affected accents; the Cars without synthesizers; Cheap Trick without all the heavy sociopolitical commentary; a dude version of the Donnas” — well, the Green Day reference is probably not all that coincidental, as they both came to big big off of a reaction against the early 90s Seattle Grunge — Cheap Trick is interesting, as I imagine that if we get a “90s Show” sitcom, this band would be as obvious a choice as Cheap Trick was for the 70s Show to throw out a theme song…

Memories of this band… One weird one — shortly before they took off, at a moment where I knew this was supposed to be the Next Big Thing and on the verge of a break-through, but weren’t as yet played on my small market’s radio stations — I saw their debut album in tow under the arms of one student.  He was a misfit of a kid, though certainly no more than I — he wore a suit and tie to school, apparently just to define himself as differently as he possibly could from everyone else.  It seemed like a weird omen of things to come for this band…

Skip ahead a few seasons, and the song “Peaches” is played ad nauseum on Top 40 Radio.  And it’s a cheeky little favorite.  I recall this kid singing it incessantly at CCD Confirmation class.  And, you know… “Ugh”.  The biggest hit of a band I like is something I basically hate.

Beyond that… the wacky morning djs played the damned Weird Al Yackovic “Gump” song every damned day, and the last said about that monstrosity the better.

Next we get Marilyn Manson.  There are some weirdly positive notes in the Portland Mercury to this show — most notably, “there are plenty of rabid fans out there—the Portland show is well sold out—and honestly, I couldn’t be happier for them“.  This shows an element of the trajectory to an act like Marilyn Manson in his post-“Big” heyday — one decade ago, the Portland Mercury’s write up for a Marilyn Manson show was entirely mocking in its comment on the audience, something along the lines of the Onion parody.  One other note here deserves some comment:

 He was recently photographed getting out of a limo with the words “Fuck You” scribbled across his face with a black Sharpie. If there’s a lazier way to offend, I haven’t heard it.

Hm.  As these things go, we’ve slid into an awareness on the part of Marilyn Manson, and move to a kitschy mock-shock.  Seems appropriate to me.

From his heyday, I recall a mildly amusing ironic fan in this cheerleader type (a “Things You wouldn’t expect from me” question in the opening day of school.)  The teacher referenced, naturally, Alice Cooper as someone to show “nothing all that new and original with Marilyn Manson”.  And I recall Bill Maher… who put him on as an obvious foil for, who else?, Christine O’Donnell — most famous now as the Republican Senate nominee who knocked off Mike Castle in Delaware — and where the conversation devolved to Christine demanding to call Marilyn Manson by his real name.

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