Thursday, September 13, 2007

Have some fun with it

Modern-rock god Elvis Costello is all the more admirable for being so humble, down-to-earth and funny. So I was totally unsurprised to see him admitting to a clever and creative prank:

"I recorded some new melodies for some of my older songs, and for a gag I recorded them on just a cassette player. And I didn't have a microphone so I plugged in headphones into the tape recorder, because you switch them backwards, they work as a microphone. I didn't want to be like a Luddite, so I put them on a CDR, and I put 10 of the CDRs in 10 copies of the 'best of' record that we released in April, and hid 'em in the shops in America, just to see whether anybody bought records anymore.

"And as nobody's found 'em yet and it's now September, I guess nobody buys records anymore. But somewhere somebody's gonna get a little surprise one of these days . . . They're gonna be in Wal-Mart or somewhere, and they're gonna buy one of these records and they're gonna discover a little free gift from me. . . . There's not enough fun with the business of music. It's all very serious. The record thing for as long as it's gonna last, it needs a little mischief put back into it." - Elvis, Sept. 7 (2007), in The Tennessean.

(Thanks Elvis Costello Home Page!)

Here are a couple of a classic Elvis performances:

The rebellious performance of "Radio, Radio" on Saturday Night Live in 1977. Costello was asked to perform "Less Than Zero," which he starts here before stopping and relaunching into "Radio, Radio." For this, he was banned from SNL for 12 years. (The irony to me is that they preferred he play a song about a man with a Swastika tattoo.)

Then, in a genius comic twist, Costello mocked his own rebellion on SNL's 25th anniversary special in 2000, interrupting a performance of the Beastie Boys "Sabotage" so they could perform the iconic Costello song together.

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