You want to see something awesome? Like, really, authentically awesome? From a place you never thought you'd see something this awesome from?  


Have a look at this:
     That was a clip from the movie "Head", a 1968 Jack Nicholson-penned, Bob Rafelson-directed movie staring the "Pre-Fab Four" themselves, The Monkees. This is a group that was, for all intents and purposes, grown in a test tube. They were the boy band of their day. Packaged, cultivated, calculated. So, what is this movie and why does it have a surreal and completely out of place song and dance number that ends with a conversation with Frank Zappa and a German accented bull? The truth is that "Head" is one of the greatest examples of intentional career suicide ever committed. This isn't one isolated scene of greatness in a otherwise crappy film, either. The movie is packed with surreal elements that made most of their young, impressionable, female audience revolt against them. Two years before directing "Five Easy Pieces", Rob Rafelson made this film with the input of his producing partner, Bert Schneider, Nicholson and Dennis Hopper, as well as the Monkees themselves. All parties were interested in ending the Monkees with "Head" and end them it did. The bizarre marketing and promotion coupled with the overall strangeness of the movie itself caused it to earn about  $16,000 in it's initial release. I've always been a fan of works that are acts of defiance. Things that are intentional career repositioning where an artist gets rid of the fans they don't want and keeps the ones they do. If you like the sound of what I just described, check out Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music", Fiona Apple's "When the Pawn", Tod Browning's "Freaks" or Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" . Still "Head" is less a career renovation and more of a complete teardown. Imagine if David Lynch had directed "Spice World" and you get the basic idea. By the way, in case you were curious, not only did I see "Spice World" in theaters, I did so with my brother and sister during the Superbowl. Here you were thinking I was a sissy. Take that!
     I was thinking about the Monkees because I recently went to so see them in concert. My significant other (Or, as she shall be referred to in these posts, The Captain) has always been a big fan of the Monkees, having fallen in love with them when the reruns of their TV show started to play on MTV back in 19(mumble-mumble-mumble). She'd never gotten the chance to see them in concert and considering their advanced age and the fact that they were playing a mere 112 miles from us made it an easy decision. I've seen a few rock concerts in my time where the artist(s) have been older than my dad and I can tell you from personal experience that they are a very hit-or-miss proposition. When you factor in that this is a group of guys whose main trade was their youthful exuberance, the scales tip far more in favor of "Miss" than "Hit". Still, the Monkees proved to be a unique and certainly interesting experience. They have enough good songs to keep you entertained for a while and despite the fact they they took a lot of individual breaks, they gave it their all. It should also be noted that Peter Tork looks every minute of his sitxy-nine years and Mickey Dolenz has a balding problem that rivals Brett Michaels in proportion. 
     Still, there came a portion of the show where The Monkees did a medley from "Head", to the thunderous applause of myself, The Captain and almost a dozen other people in Bakersfield's historic Fox Theatre. When it came time for "Daddy's Song", the Wavy Gravy, hippy-dippy, retro 60's aspect of the evening gave way completely as Davy Jones emerged form backstage wearing an eerily similar pair of coattails to the ones he wore forty-three years ago in the movie. Strobe lights began to flash and Davy Jones, aged as all holy hell and as culturally irrelevant now as he was relevant then, came out and did the very best he could with what dancing ability age and habit would allow him. The Captain and I have always agreed that, despite his popularity, he was always the weakest link on the Monkees. I still think that, but that night he proved an interesting point to me which is this: If you are trying to follow a trend you are by definition going to become irrelevant. It might happen sooner, it might happen later, but it will happen. However, if you do something purely because you want to, something that doesn't follow any ideals of what is popular at the moment, there is a chance, just a chance, that it will remain interesting forever. Let that be both a lesson and an inspiration to all of you. The next time you're stuck in line at a supermarket and a magazine cover of some superficial, disposable reality star's wedding makes you want to puke from your basket of veggies and lube all the way to the conveyer belt's plastic divider, remember this and how blissfully temporary it all is. It might just save both your life and the life of the cashier.
  
Sometimes, what's not in style then will stay out of style for as long as it damn well wants. Thank Christ for that.