Smile Politely

Wang Chung to perform in Coulter’s backyard

I’m really looking forward to the weekend because I have a buddy coming in from Texas and he really likes to party. He used to live here and sing for the band Steakdaddy Six. Now he comes back to visit every so often and we drink beer and eat ribs. If it all goes well, and I’m guessing it will, sometime early Sunday morning there will be a group of drunken idiots in my garage throwing lawn chairs and yelling along to an Afghan Whigs CD. It’s just like the old days except we’re far more likely to break a hip than we used to be. Let’s get it on.


I had no idea how much music I dislike until I got that XM radio. If I decide I want to expand my world and listen to some new music, I spend more time switching from channel to channel than I ever do listening to something. The XM was free for three months when I got my car a few years ago and I mostly kept it for the talk channels; baseball, true crime, comedy, whatever. Those are all still just fine. It’s the trying to listen to actual music part that can drive a person crazy.

The only thing this has to do with this section is that one band that sort of intrigues me is The Decemberists. They seem to get played a lot on a few of those satellite radio channels. They’re fine and I really like a couple of the songs, but what is weird is how they’ve finally sort of “made it.” I saw them a long-assed time ago at Highdive and it was one of those “yeah, that’s really great, let’s go to the other side and finish watching the baseball game,” kind of shows.

At that time, they were supposed to/possibly be the next big thing. I vaguely remember them wearing Civil War outfits or something along those lines, but other than that it felt sort of uneventful. They seemed oddly cool, but just not enough to hold my attention that evening. I’m happy they are getting some exposure now either way. It goes to show you that it’s probably best to pay attention, even if you don’t really want to. It also goes to show you there’s something to be said for perseverance.

Another band I saw before they became sort of popular was far worse. That band’s name was Wang Chung. I think I was in high school. This was a much bigger show and they opened for The Cars in Indianapolis. The whole thing went far past regular sucking and into a special sort of sucking that I almost felt proud to experience. I should point out that The Cars were doing their little Heartbeat City deal, which sort of ruined them for me, but even without all of that, the Wang Chung show was almost unexplainable, the best/worst show I’ve ever seen.

I think it was right when their gloriously stupid “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” song was coming out, but I hadn’t heard it yet. God, how I look back longingly to the days when I hadn’t heard that song. In case you didn’t know, Wang Chung supposedly means “yellow bell” in Chinese. In English, it means “terrible fucking band.” If I remember correctly, there were only two of them and yet they still made it seem like a veritable parade of douchbaggery.

When they came out and started playing their first song, my friends and I looked at each other, that terrified look of “Hey, we’re in quicksand and we’re going down quickly. Oh, I bet that’s how it got its name! Quicksand.” The first song consisted of them saying the words “look at me now” over and over again. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t breath, I suppose because we were jokingly singing along with a song none of us had ever heard before. It may have also been the bottle of cherry vodka we drank in the parking lot before the show.

At the end of this song the guy actually had the stones to say, “That song was called Look At Me Now.” No shit, fuckhole. It’s not like Baba O’Riley where the title is hard to figure out or anything. They followed that piece of crap with a slightly catchier piece of crap called “Dance Hall Days.” It was terrible, but at least it had other words besides “dance hall days.” There were a couple of other songs in there before they closed out with “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight.” Most of the audience was from the Midwest and had no idea how to “wang chung tonight,” but if it meant throw yourself off the balcony and die on the concrete below to end your misery, most of us would have obliged. It was like seeing Toby Keith open for Joy Division.

I have to say though; we made fun of them all the way home that night and laughed quite a bit. Hell, I still think of them and laugh from time to time.

As I end this, I sort of have to laugh at how much I despised Wang Chung in a completely comical way. I mean, it’s pretty innocuous and all, but it happily pissed me off at the time. Oh, sure, I bought a t-shirt, but only because the word “wang” was printed very big on it. Once they became popular I even had to ditch that for fear of looking like a complete jackwagon. The joke’s not funny if no one gets it. Some bands stick around forever, like The Decemberists and end up doing okay. That’s swell. Some bands don’t stick around very long at all, like Wang Chung, and still manage to get on my last nerve. In a weird way, it’s almost hard to figure out which one gave me the most joy.


  • Boy, that Coupon Suzy sure has some pretty big breasts. I wonder if she had a coupon for those?

     Buona Sera, senorina, kiss me goodnight.

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