Every video ever made is a requiem mass. You just don’t know it at the time.
Every video ever made is a requiem mass. You just don’t know it at the time.
First, from France, the Spunyboys:
And in this corner, from Maine, Unorganized Hancock.
Er, I have a personal favorite for some reason.
The kids have a gig in Ogguster tonight. The drum set is now smaller, and the drummer is much, much bigger and can carry it himself, thank Jeebus.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day from everyone at the cottage.
[This video is dedicated to Kathleen Murphy, whose support of our boys is as constant as the sun]
If you’re new in these parts, Unorganized Hancock is an Intergalactabilly Band from Maine. If you’re a regular reader, well, Unorganized Hancock is still an Intergalactabilly Band from Maine. The band consists entirely of my two sons, a plywood bass player named Laverne, and a whole lot of gumption. I call them The Heir and The Spare. Sunshine and Ravioli. Garlic and Gaelic.
This video is fresh off the assembly line, but they recorded Go, Go, Go! sometime in 2015, I think, when The Heir was hey nineteen, and the The Spare was eleven years old. The Heir sings and plays the guitar, bass, and keyboards, and The Spare plays the drums and tells jokes.
It’s a song about gumption, as I said.
initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness:
With his gumption he’ll make a success of himself.
courage; spunk; guts:
It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
common sense; shrewdness.
My kids have gumption, and recognize it when they see it, hence the video, but that dictionary definition is way off. It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job? That’s like telling me it takes gumption to rope and brand a Sasquatch. Let’s stick to the possibles, as the cowboys used to say. It takes gumption to keep working for peanuts. It takes gumption to keep going when it’s hard, not to quit when it’s easy.
The Heir and the Spare know all about that. They recorded this song in an attic room without heat or electricity. They dutifully dragged an extension cord down the hall whenever they wanted to play. That’s gumption.
Stay with me, and I’ll explain. In 2015, the boys entered a contest to write and perform the fight song for the local minor-league hockey team, the Lewiston-Auburn Fighting Spirit. The couple who own and operate the team are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It’s hard to run a semi-pro hockey team in an out of the way place. It takes gumption.
The contest was promoted by the local radio station, Z-105. They’re in Auburn, Maine. They have an affiliated station called WOXO, too, which broadcasts from Mexico, Maine, just over the river from where we live. They also have a studio in Norway. Norway? Mexico? Maine’s funky, isn’t it? It takes gumption to live here.
The children were interviewed on the radio station as part of the promotion. I was amazed by the people that own and operate that company. It’s nearly impossible to make a go of it in the radio business in this day and age. They manage it while being pleasant to everyone. That’s impossible, I know, but they do it all the same. They have gumption.
The universe still rewards gumption from time to time. My kids won the contest with another song they wrote called Spirit Score!. The hockey team loved it. They were all 19 years old or so, and wonderful young men. They treated The Spare Heir like a little brother, and made him feel ten feet tall. One of the greatest moments in my life was standing in the concrete runway between the rows of seats in the Lewiston Colisee and hearing Spirit Score! blaring over the PA system when the team skated out onto the ice, and again every time they scored. They scored a lot. That team has gumption.
Unorganized Hancock signed a contract to have the song played for one year at the rink, to make it all legal. The following year, the team had another band write another fight song. The hockey team refused to play unless the old fight song was restored. It was. That took gumption.
My boys were interviewed on Z-105 a few more times after that. The station noticed that The Heir had a sonorous voice, and he had the kind of aplomb that radio hosts need. They hired him. He’s now on the air six hours a night, five nights a week. He sometimes hosts call-in shows on the weekends, too. That takes gumption.
The radio job was too far away from our home for him to drive back and forth, so we lost him to the world. It’s a hard thing to raise your children to leave you. It takes gumption, and breaks your heart a bit.
The Unorganized Hancock YouTube page recently passed 100,000 views, a notable milestone for them, I thought. Their performance of Minor Swing has over 25,000 views, although their live version of the song is, er, livelier. But Go, Go, Go! is their own thing. It encapsulates their approach to life. They have gumption. I hope the Go, Go, Go! video helps to Give America Gumption Again.
Say, that’s a cool slogan. We should make hats.
You can download an MP3 of Go Go Go! at their Bandcamp page for 99 cents if you like:
Of course you’re welcome to listen to it for free by hitting play on the YouTube video, too. Unorganized Hancock just wants to get a little more gumption out in the world, and doesn’t care how it happens.
[Update: Many thanks to Michael K. for leaving a big fat tip on the boys’ Bandcamp page. It is very much appreciated]
[Update: Many thanks to Kevin S. for leaving a tip on the boys’ Bandcamp page. It is much appreciated]
[Additional Update: Many thanks to longtime friend Dinah H. for her generous contribution to the PayPal tipjar. It is very much appreciated]
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century. –Mark Twain
The video’s more fun, but the album has better sound:
[Update: Many thanks go out to longtime supporter Kathleen M. for her generous support of the Heir and the Spare. It is much appreciated]
[Further Update: Many thanks to Sam L for his generous support of the Heir and the Spare, and this blog. It is very much appreciated]
[Still More Updates: Many thanks go out to Larry G. for his generous support of the Heir and the Spare. It is very much appreciated]
That was four years ago. We have to turn on the radio if we want to hear the big one’s voice now. And the little one is five-foot-ten.
Tonight I’ll dream while I’m in bed
when silly thoughts go through my head
about the bugs and alphabet
and when I wake tomorrow I’ll bet
that you and I will walk together again
Oh yeah, you betcha.
[Update: Many thanks to Thomas M. for his generous contribution to our PayPal tipjar, and for the message he sent along with it. It is very much appreciated]
[Additional Update: Many thanks to our friend Julie C. from Florida for buying my boy’s Go! Go! Go! song, and leaving a big, fat tip. It is much appreciated]
[Yet More Updates: Many thanks to Philip M. for buying the boys’ song, and for leaving a big, fat tip. It is much appreciated]
Minor Swing might be Django Reinhardt’s most recognizable tune. I like Django’s music, so I was especially pleased when my kids took a whack at it. This video is sort of a documentary. They pointed the camera at themselves, slung two mikes in view, and let fly. It’s the equivalent of turning in a homework assignment. This video is more than two years old. The big one isn’t a minor anymore, and the little one is six inches taller. They both play better than this now. They don’t play very often, I’m afraid.
This is the most popular video the kids have ever made, if you go by YouTube views. Well, what else would you go by? It recently passed 20,000 views, for reasons I understand with a certain amount of contempt.
I live in two worlds. One has www in front of it. I must admit I don’t like the imaginary place that’s become the ironclad version of reality for most people. The jackanapes who rule the Friendface planet are the worst people extant, if you ask me. By the way, if you’re reading this, you asked me.
I don’t like the invertebrates who run the Intertunnel. I’ve decided they need a name. Let’s coin the term right here and now: The Wobblies. The Website Wankers of the World have united into a Voltron of suck, and they rule this alternate ecosystem that’s taken over the real world. They don’t care if anything productive happens in the brave new world they’ve created. As long as they lord over the nonproduction, of course.
Anyway, IIRC, this is the first video the boys ever made that got a downvote on YouTube. It’s got 322 upvotes and 2 downvotes now. I remember pointing out their first downvote to my children. I thought it was a notable thing.
I explained the motive behind it. I told them they couldn’t always trust upvotes. Many people upvote everything for reasons that have nothing to do with quality. All of my children’s contemporaries, for instance, can’t sing or play their musical instruments, but are constantly told they are wonderful. Audiences are assembled for them, mostly in school, and they receive applause, and it’s all fake. People sit still and then applaud, but it’s only because it’s over and they can stop listening. Sooner or later, this endless stream of fake enthusiasm tempts the unwary to “follow their passion” and perform in front of strangers who aren’t in on the Wobbly gag. They discover quickly that the world is a very harsh place, they get the tomatoes, and they wonder where they went off the rails. Of course they didn’t go off the rails. The railroad just doesn’t go anywhere.
Wobblies are Philistines. They know right from wrong, harmony from discordance, good from bad — but they deliberately choose bad, every time. That’s why I thought this video was a success. It was the first time someone knew my kids were good, and went out of their way to let them know they hated them for it.