Ladies and gentlemen, it’s officially time to freak out. Why you ask? Is it because we’re well into our 2nd week of this adolescent government shutdown? No. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that one of your best friends is getting married in a few days and, like you, he’s an underdeveloped and severely frightened child living in an adult’s body? No, well, yes, but no. Maybe it’s the fact that in exactly 100 days, The Prudent Groove turns 1 year old? Possibly, but I think it’s something much more offbeat and divergent than that. Why can’t we all just freak out for freak out’s sake? I mean, it’s good for the beat-loving soul to freak once and a while, right? Yes. Well, all right then.
A day that goes by without a Richard Pryor quote is both a sad, and extremely rare day. Literally every time someone mentions a year from the 20th century, my tuned Pryears : ) perk up, and I do everything within my power to stop from breaking into the classic Sugar Ray Robinson routine. “Nineteen what?!” One of the best gifts I’ve truly ever given myself was the countless hours of listening to Richard Pryor. Because, in doing so, I’m now able to conjure up Rich’s voice in my head, seemingly at will. It’s an overwhelmingly comfortable feeling to have Richard Pryor with you every moment of every day. One of life’s little gifts, I guess.
The following is a list of everyday objects and well, whatevers that will forever be linked to the funniest man to ever walk the Earth (sorry, Jason Hardwick): fish sandwiches; dice; change for $1; craps; pet monkeys; walking in the woods; snakes; winos; 11 o’clock; blackjack; polar bears; (I’m literally crying I’m laughing so hard just thinking of these comedic bits) Mongo Santamaría; turtle soup; license plates; a cool breeze; and anything deep (to name a few).
I’m strongly considering dedicating Saturday mornings to Richard Pryor, much to the dismay of my girlfriend and our uptight neighbors. If you’re unfamiliar with the crowned prince of comedy, start with Craps (After Hours). Keep an open mind and the kids out of earshot. You’ll thank me.
Podcasts as a whole are a dime a dozen. They seem to spring up out of thin air and tend to be that bright, shiny new ear-toy for about as long as it takes to tie your shoes. FILLintheBLANK is no different.
I’ve been a fan of this podcast since their first season aired back in 2009. In its simplest form, the show’s creators (Jason Hardwick and Nathan Lueptow) come across as bumbling cretins who blather on, comically I might add, about the nonsensical happenings of everyday life. Apart from being a petri dish for undergraduates at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, what makes FILLintheBLANK different is that each podcast is represented by a classic or recognizable album cover that’s been, well the best way I can explain it would be, FILLintheBLANK-ified.
Each podcast teeters on the 10-minute mark and is a striking example of two individuals with way too much time on their hands… but you know, surprisingly endearing. I almost feel as though I know these guys when listening to their show. If I met them in real life however, I’d probably just spit in their collective eye for not producing a new show in over two years.
I recommend checking out FILLintheBLANK if only for their clever take on several championed album covers. I heard from a friend who knows this guy who saw Jason at a Spider-Man on Broadway audition and, albeit 4th party information, there were talks of FitB (as they are known to their fans) venturing into the world of sketch comedy. Since last I read, Jason and Nathan were no longer on speaking terms (some nonsense about making a decision to purchase or not to purchase a tea set), so you know, I’m not going to hold my breath.
Many of you know and love Jason Hardwick for his comedic brilliance, his Ohio chili and his patented white belt and thumb ring. We here (me) at The Prudent Groove invite you to take an inside look at the legend (man-child and closet bed-wetter) with this insightful, informative, and need I say humorous interview with the man. Ladies and gentlemen, get to know Jason Hardwick for who he pretends to be, instead of who he truly is.
I recently sat down with Mr. Hardwick to discuss collecting records, chicken noodle soup recipes and proper restroom stall etiquette.
PG: What got you into collecting records?
JH: My love of classic rock, Half Price book stores (www.hpb.com), and being a poor college bastard that couldn’t afford a box of mac & cheese, let alone new, incredibly over-priced music. Plus, CDs are just lame.
PG: What was the first record you ever purchased?
JH: If memory serves (and it always does), I believe it was Jethro Tull’s third album Benefit (1970). To this day, it is still one of my favs. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a man with a flute. Wait…
PG: What is your favorite record?
JH: Really? You’re gonna make me choose? Well, shit, man. If pressed, I would have to say, from start to finish, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (1970) is consistently among the revolving door that is my top 10 list. There may be many other albums that I deem to be near perfect, given that my “top 10” list consists of roughly 30 albums, but I’m being forced to choose, so this is my choice. Deal with it. Celine Dion’s Les chemins de ma maison (1983) would be a VERY close second. My heart will, indeed, go on, Celine.
PG: Have you ever purchased an audiophile version of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors only to return it the following day? If so, please explain.
JH: I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about. And yes. Let me set the scene for you: It was Record Store Day 2012, and after waiting in line for nearly four hours–for three Kinks albums, which I was led to believe were actually being sold in the U.S. (mis-information perpetrated by Mr. Prudent Groove, himself)–I was exhausted, not in my right mind, had a stack of records, many decisions to make, and a profound inability to make said decisions. Needless to say, the album was purchased and promptly returned. Returned, not because I don’t like Mic and his marry band of Fleetwoods, but because I’m a cheap bastard that couldn’t justify spending nearly $50 on something I already owned in one form or another. I also have a distaste for double LPs. Too much turning going on there. I’m lazy. But that’s beside the point. Stop making me feel bad about this, dammit. I’m writing your friggin’ blog today!
PG: What are the top 2 records on your “WANT list?”
JH: I don’t have a “want” list. I have a “need” list. And those TWO records are… the THREE re-released, 2012 Record Store Day, colored-vinyl, U.K.-only KINKS albums: Face To Face (1966), Something Else (1967), and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall Of The British Empire) (1969). Thanks again, by the way.
PG: Do you collect any specific artist and/or label? If so, what is/are it/they?
JH: I’ll buy anything by Jethro Tull. I have nearly completed my collection of all their proper studio albums–at least the ones released on vinyl, that is. I will also buy any vinyl release by The Beatles, Radiohead, and Pearl Jam–even if I already own it on another format. As far as specific labels are concerned, I love WAX TRAX! No, I don’t.
PG: Living in Los Angeles, I’d imagine (because I also live there) there to be a slew of great record stores. Which do you prefer?
JH: Wait, you live in Los Angeles?!!! Moving on… Amoeba Music, in Hollywood, is a must for any vinyl collector. It’s a veritable Mecca of music. Record Surplus, near Santa Monica, is also a hidden gem.
PG: Is there a record you passed up but wished you could go back and nab? If so, what was it?
JH: The re-released, 180 gram, audiophile version of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.
PG: Can I have your collection? Thanks! Please bring them over.
JH: Yes. Omw.
Remember when coupons were records? Coupons… Those redeemable offers usually printed on paper. Remember when you could play your coupon on your turntable and jam out to a new song by your favorite prime time television puppet sponsored by your favorite fast food burger joint? (Dammit do I miss the 80’s!)
So, in my research for this post (research which I almost never do), I discover a hidden corner of the interwebs called, ALF Wiki. I know, right? A fuggin’ ALF Wiki page. (Dammit I’m happy to live in the present!) Anyhoo, the good folks over at ALF Wiki offer some insight into this obscure release. In 1988, Burger King (with their old logo) had a promotion for a plush ALF doll, complete with chef’s hat and “Cookin’ with ALF” apron. The paper record, or flexi-disc (sorry if I’m dumbing it down for you) accompanied the plush doll and offered $3 off on up to five eligible ALF plush toys manufactured and distributed by Coleco Industries, Inc. (from 6/1/88 to 1/31/89). Apparently the offer was only good for the 18” ALF toy (Coleco item No. 6601) and, here’s the rub: mixing and matching of other Alf products was NOT allowed. NO MIXING AND MATCHING, KIDS! DO IT RIGHT OR NO ALF COOKING FOR YOU!
I have to wonder how many people, after having just finished their delicious Whopper (with diabetic fries and diet Love Handles cola) ran to their local K-Mart (or Shopko) and bought five, 18” ALF dolls. That’s 7’ 6” of ALF, people! My guess is not too many, but I may be underestimating the popularity of the 18″ plush ALF market.
Cookin’ with ALF is described, in gory detail, by the informative, yet unplayable B-side. A balloon protruding from ALF’s mouth (nose, beak, whatever-the-fugg-it-is) reads, “What do you get when you combine a cooking show with rap music? Rap cooking! Ha! Dig it!” And since the “rap song” was offered by a “restaurant,“ the alien, technically isn’t wrong. So, with the term Rap cooking in mind, I invite you to indulge.
I’VE NEVER HEARD SO MUCH BASS FROM A PIECE OF PAPER!!
I’ll conclude this epic post (not taking myself seriously) with the flexi-disc playing instructions found under the grooves. Remember, kids, this is a piece of paper… that plays music… on your turntable. The digital world can collectively kiss my ass! (He said on a blog post on the internet, half ironically, half sarcastically.)
1. Place phonograph on manual setting at 33 1/3 rpm.
2. Wipe record with clean cloth before each use.
3. Place coin near record center if record slips.
4. For best results bend record so it lies flat.
To remove coupon – bend at perforation and tear off gently.