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The Ethel-or-Fozzie Rule, applied to the top 200 bands of 1980s.

I have a rule that states that in rock music, there are Ethel Merman singers or Fozzie Bear singers. This rule applies only to singers with careers that begin after April 1970, the month the Beatles broke up. I call it The Ethel-or-Fozzie Rule.

In this rule, I attempt to demonstrate divide in singers among showtune histrionics (Ethel) and holier-than-thou groans (Fozzie). To skeptics, I refer to the episode of The Muppet Show, in which Merman sings a medley with the Muppet troupe, among them Fozzie.

The first Ethel Merman Band, formed in April 1970, is Queen.

What follows is a list of the top bands/artists of the 1980s, according to this random site, along with my E-or-F ruling.  Bands or artists whose careers begin before April 1970 are ruled as NA, or Not Applicable.

If anyone would like to appeal a specific ruling, I invite your feedback in the comments section. My rulings on bands/artists of the 1990s appears here.

1. Michael Jackson
Solo Michael Jackson is Fozzie

2. Prince
Ethel

3. Madonna
Fozzie

4. U2
Ethel

5. Bruce Springsteen
Ethel

6. Run-D.M.C.
Run is Ethel; DMC is Fozzie

7. Van Halen
Ethel

8. Public Enemy
Chuck D is Fozzie; Flava Flav is Ethel

9. Billy Joel
N/A

10. The Police
Ethel

11. Phil Collins
Fozzie

12. Guns N’ Roses
Ethel

13. Def Leppard
Fozzie

14. Janet Jackson
Fozzie

15. George Michael/Wham
Ethel

16. Whitney Houston
Ethel

17. Metallica
Ethel

18. N.W.A.
Eazy E is Ethel; Ice Cube is Fozzie

19. Dire Straits
Fozzie

20. AC/DC
Bon Scott was Fozzie; Brian Johnson is Fozzie

21. Rush
Perhaps the most Ethel band of all time

22. Iron Maiden
Wait–maybe this is the most Ethel band

23. Judas Priest
NA — formed in 1969

24. Lionel Richie
Fozzie

25. Bon Jovi
Ethel
26. Talking Heads
Fozzie

27. Genesis
NA formed in 1967

28. R.E.M.
Fozzie (IRS years); Ethel (Warner Bros.)

29. Duran Duran
Fozzie

30. Motley Crue
Ethel

31. The Cure
Fozzie

32. Journey
Ethel with Steve Perry

33. John Mellencamp
Fozzie

34. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
Fozzie

35. REO Speedwagon
Ethel

36. Kool and the Gang
NA formed in 1964

37. L.L. Cool J
Fozzie

38. Tina Turner
NA

39. Queen
The first Ethel band

40. Beastie Boys
Ethel (Ad Rock, Mike D), Fozzie (MCA)

41. Ozzy Osbourne
Solo years are Ethel

42. The Smiths
Ethel

43. Huey Lewis and the News
Fozzie

44. Bryan Adams
Fozzie

45. Hall & Oates
NA formed c. 1969

46. Pat Benatar
Ethel

47. Eric B. & Rakim
Fozzie

48. Billy Idol
Ethel

49. Peter Gabriel
Solo years Ethel

50. INXS
Fozzie

51. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Ethel

52. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Fozzie

53. Eurythmics
Fozzie

54. The Cars
Ric Ocasek is Fozzie; Ben Orr is Ethel

55. Aerosmith
NA

56. ZZ Top
NA

57. The Rolling Stones
NA

58. Heart
NA

59. David Bowie
NA
60. Elton John
NA

61. Rod Stewart
NA

62. Foreigner
NA

63. Stevie Wonder
NA

64. Toto
David Paitch is Fozzie; Bobby Kimball is Ethel

65. Bob Seger
NA

66. The Pointer Sisters
NA

67. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Fozzie

68. Salt-N-Pepa
Salt is Ethel; Pepa is Fozzie

69. Fleetwood Mac
NA

70. The Go-Go’s
Fozzie

71. Paul McCartney
NA

72. Pet Shop Boys
Fozzie

73. Don Henley
Solo Don is Fozzie

74. Paul Simon
NA

75. Tracy Chapman
Fozzie

76. Cyndi Lauper
Fozzie

77. Depeche Mode
Ethel

78. Sonic Youth
Fozzie

79. Pete Townshend
NA

80. Culture Club
Ethel

81. Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Fozzie

82. De La Soul
All-Fozzie

83. Luther Vandross
NA

84. Chicago
NA

85. The Bangles
Fozzie

86. Thompson Twins
Fozzie

87. Yes
NA

88. Men at Work
Ethel (Colin Hay solo is Fozzie)

89. Pixies
Ethel (Frank Black); Fozzie (Kim Deal)

90. Pink Floyd
NA

91. Robert Palmer
Fozzie

92. Kenny Loggins
NA

93. Whitesnake
Ethel

94. Sade
Fozzie

95. Steve Winwood
Solo work is Ethel

96. Billy Ocean
Fozzie

97. Tears for Fears
Ethel

98. Bobby Brown
Fozzie

99. Scorpions
NA

100. Simply Red
Ethel

101. B-52’s
Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson are Fozzie; Fred Schneider is Ethel

102. Boston
NA

103. Rick James
NA

104. Joan Jett
NA

105. Stevie Nicks
NA

106. Berlin
Fozzie

107. Sting
Solo sting is Ethel

108. New Order
Ethel

109. Poison
Ethel

110. The Pretenders
Fozzie

111. Quiet Riot
Ethel

112. RATT
Fozzie

113. The Clash
Joe Strummer is Fozzie; Mick Jones is Ethel

114. The Stone Roses
Fozzie

115. Squeeze
Ethel

116. Styx
NA

117. Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Ethel

118. New Edition
Michael Bivins is Ethel; the rest are Fozzie

119. Stray Cats
Fozzie

120. Paula Abdul
Fozzie

121. The Human League
Philip Oakley is Ethel; Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley are Ethel

122. Violent Femmes
Ethel

123. Elvis Costello
Ethel

124. A-Ha
Fozzie

125. Blondie
Ethel

126. Anita Baker
Fozzie

127. Milli Vanilli
Fozzie

128. Sheena Easton
Ethel

129. Loverboy
Ethel

130. Asia
Fozzie

131. Skid Row
Fozzie

132. Tiffany
Fozzie

133. Debbie Gibson
Ethel

134. Crosby Stills Nash (& Young)
NA

135. Madness
Fozzie

136. Aretha Franklin
NA

137. Afrika Bambaataa
Fozzie
138. UB 40
Fozzie

139. Patti LaBelle
NA

140. Tone-Loc
Fozzie

141. Falco
Fozzie

142. Simple Minds
Ethel

143. Earth Wind & Fire
NA

144. KISS
Gene Simmons is Ethel; Paul Stanley is Fozzie

145. The Jam
Fozzie

146. Marvin Gaye
NA

147. Bananarama
Fozzie

148. New Kids on the Block
Fozzie

149. Billy Squier
Ethel

150. Slayer
Fozzie
151. Adam Ant
Fozzie
152. Spandau Ballet
Ethel

153. Dokken
Ethel

154. The Jesus and Mary Chain
Fozzie

155. ABC
Ethel

156. Cinderella
Fozzie

157. Bonnie Raitt
Ethel

158. 10,000 Maniacs
Ethel

159. Accept
Fozzie

160. Eric Clapton
Fozzie

161. Kool Moe Dee
Ethel

162. The Cult
Fozzie

163. The Fixx
Fozzie
164. Air Supply
Ethel
165. Richard Marx
Ethel

166. Bruce Hornsby & the Range
Fozzie

167. Starship
Ethel

168. The Replacements

Fozzie

169. Fine Young Cannibals
Fozzie

170. Mr. Mister
Ethel
171. Boogie Down Productions
Fozzie
172. Irene Cara
Ethel

173. David Lee Roth
Solo DLR is Fozzie

174. Twisted Sister
Ethel
175. Corey Hart
Ethel

176. Doug E. Fresh
Fozzie

177. Laura Branigan
Ethel

178. Dio
Ethel
179. Europe
Ethel
180. A Flock of Seagulls
Fozzie
181. Eddy Grant
Ethel

182. Husker Du
Bob Mould is Ethel; Grant Hart is Fozzie

183. Black Flag
Fozzie

184. Dead Kennedys
Ethel
185. George Thorogood
Fozzie

186. John Lennon
Ethel

187. Terence Trent D’arby
Ethel

188. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Fozzie

189. Rick Springfield
Fozzie

190. Paul Young
Fozzie

191. Black Sabbath
NA

192. Howard Jones
Fozzie
193. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Ethel
194. Level 42
Fozzie

195. John Farnham
Ethel
196. Tom Waits
Fozzie

197. Mike Oldfield
NA

198. Chris De Burgh

Ethel

199. Alan Parsons Project
Fozzie

200. Ministry
Fozzie

 

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A special deal if you buy The Incredible Sestina Anthology now!

SidebarTISA2

You knew this post was coming, didn’t you? The holiday shopping season is ramping up, and I’ve got my final grades in, and there’s a book to pimp.

Well, guess what? Here it goes. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy blog post.

This book, The Incredible Sestina Anthology? It’s beautiful. Over 300 pages. No one has named it yet, but it’s the best poetry anthology to come out in 2013. It has a good chunk of canonical sestinas from American poets, as well as some super-dynamite contemporary poets’ sestinas. It lists for $25 dollars.

For the poet-friend in your life, or the creative type who is looking for a new form for their work, or general inspiration, this is the book to get them this year. Buy it for your doorman or the precocious teenager. Wherever you buy it, be it Powell’s, Amazon, an indie store, or from the publisher, Write Bloody Publishing, the recipient will not be disappointed.

It slices. It dices. It juliennes. It spirals. It sestina-fies anything you put inside of it.

butwait2That’s right. There’s more. If you send me a photo of you with the book before you wrap it up for a present–or perhaps you’re buying it for yourself, some selfish retail therapy; either way, it’s good–and I’ll write you a poem. And not just any poem–I will write you a crappy sestina. That’s right–I will craft you a rushed, crappy sestina, inspired in part by the photo you send and whatever else is going on in my brain. The turnaround time will be 24 hours from the time you send me the photo to danielnester at gmail. I’ll mail you a hand-written sestina as well as a digital copy.

This offer expires on December 20, because by then I will be so overwhelmed writing crappy sestinas, I will need a break.

If you’ve read this far you must really want to get the book. So get it! Buy multiple fucking copies! And get your Incredible Sestina Anthology and crappy sestina today!

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Follow and help with my “Double Clap Single Clap” Spotify list.

I love songs that use the double-clap single-clap. You know, that thing? Sometimes it’s used in the whole song, other times it’s in the bridge or the intro or outro.

No matter where it is, I love it.

So I started making a Spotify list to help put them all in one spot. The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes.” J. Geils’ “Centerfold.” The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.” Sometimes it’s down in the mix, other times right in the hook.

There are limitations to Spotify, of course–no Beatles or Led Zeppelin–but what I have there, with the help of record nerds and Facebook friends is pretty good. Do you know others? Help a Double Clap Single Clap brother out. And follow along as we add songs.

 

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Stuff I’m doing at the #AWP13 Conference in Boston.

WriteBoodyAWP2103

The annual overwhelming overload of writerly writerness, or AWP, is upon us. It’s in Boston, and I’ll be there minding a table, taking part in readings, and trying to stay sane while doing same.

Here’s a list.

Every Day: The Table-Minding. I’ll be minding the table of The College of Saint Rose MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Our table number will be G9 in the AWP bookfair. Stop by!

Wednesday, March 6, 5:30-10:30pm
Festival of Language at Dillon’s in Boston (next to the Hyne’s convention center). Three 90-minute sessions. There will be a cash and carry bar. I’m kicking off the third set at 9pm. Facebook event page.
Thursday, March 7, 7pm
Reading to celebrate Old Flame: The First Ten Years of 32 PoemsMcGreevey’s, 911 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02111. Event held in the Player’s Lounge. Facebook event page.

Friday, March 8, 12pm-1pm
Make sure you get your copy of Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine, which will be available at the University of Iowa Press tables (E1 and E2) at the AWP Bookfair. Co-editors Mari L’Esperance and Tomas Q. Morin will be signing books. I’ll be there admiring copies as well.

Saturday, March 9, 4:30pm
Hating Your Writing: A Love Story (AWP panel)

4:30pm A panel! An actual panel! During the last period on the last day!

Hating Your Writing: A Love Story (AWP panel); Room 305 in the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, MassachusettsFacebook event page; with Richard Bausch, Molly Peacock, Daniel Nester, and Adrian Matejka, and moderated by Melissa Stein.

We’ve all been through it: we write the last euphoric word of our draft, but by the next morning, somehow brilliance has plummeted to dross. Are such literary mood swings a destructive deterrent, or a natural part of the creative process? Can periods of avoidance and dejection actually lead to breakthroughs and better writing? Five award-winning poets and prose writers weigh in on the ups, downs, and ups of creative endeavor and share insights, strategies, and tools they’ve gained along the way.

Saturday, March 9

7pm
Write Bloody’s AWP All Star Super Ridiculous Super Reading!


The Community Church of Boston 565 Boylston St. (A 7-minute walk from Hynes Convention Center!) $7, $5 Students and Veterans

Never before have this many Write Bloody authors been in one geographic location. We are pulling out each and every stop to put on a live literature event to be remembered for years to come. But let’s not get nostalgic for the present JUST YET! Join your hosts Derrick Brown and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz for a high-stakes evening of poems, music, heartbreak, and (almost) TOO many hard-wrought good times.

Featuring: Anis Mojgani! Mindy Nettifee! Derrick Brown! Jeanann Verlee! Jon Sands! Cristin O’Keefe-Aptowicz! Buddy Wakefield! Taylor Mali! Lauren Zuniga! Laura Yes Yes! Jade Sylvan! Victor Infante! Lea Deschenes! Elaina Ellis! Jeremy Radin! Daniel McGinn! Daniel Nester! Megan Falley! Miles Walser! w/ special musical guest Gracious Calamity! & on the keyboard, Mr. Adam Falkner!

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My 16-bar rap challenge.

We all rapped 16 bars in my Poetry in Performance class tonight. It’s a new assignment, and since they were all nervous I wrote and performed as well. The directions were to write 16 bars, or lines, or 8 rhyming couplets, to the instrumental track of “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The students all came with their rhymes and took a turn on the mike. It was evident they practiced, and they did great.

It’s a super way to learn how to compress and elongate lines of poems for performance, as well as being fearless as a performer. I am, however, kind of sick of the ‘G Thang’ groove, at least for now.

Lyrics follow.

***

It’s my classroom so I ask your attention

Preaching mothafuckas like a Baptist convention.

Droppin’ funky lessons make the sucka teachers mumble

When I’m on the mic, sucka profs they all crumble.

Try and get close, your brain’ll get smacked

My mothafuckin knowledge cause an asthma attack.

That’s ‘cause I never slip my lesson plans,

Got a Honda-full of handouts to help the short attention spans.

My class is democratic, sporadic, Hippocratic,

Aristocratic, never bureaucratic–

Yeah, and ya’ don’t stop

I told you I’m like Rick Roll when I rock

tweed jacket elbow patches but not stodgy

Never gonna mack it with a dodgy pedagogy

Drinkin’ Bacardi like a Wall Street investor

My name is Prof. D and the last name is Nester

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Kentucky Prophet perform’s “Now I Know,” Daniel Nester-themed battle rap from two sources.

Partial screen shot from Rap Rebirth website.

At long last, I present the Daniel Nester battle rap, “Now You Know” performed by Kentucky Prophet, with lyrics from Richard Allen and Jesse from Rap Rebirth.

The backstory to this track goes like this. Back in April, I wrote about a post at We Who Are About To Die about a story in The Awl, which tells the story of Jesse Kramer’s startup company Rap Rebirth, which provides “custom hip hop lyrics.”

You can shell out $24.99 for a “custom 16-bar sample,” which sounded like fun. So I did. In the add ask about “expectations” (see right), sort of a design brief. I asked for a “battle rap.” Self-referential and stuff. Here’s part of what I wrote:

If you could integrate my name somehow (Daniel Nester), mention I am a professor, a writer, a husband and father of two little girls, and otherwise include as much profanity as you can, that would be great. PS Oh, and I am strictly LL and Tribe and PE. Just FYI.

In the comments box, fellow writer and occasional We Who Are About To Die blogger Richard Allen wrote, “Although I think $25 is much too cheap for a 16-bar verse, I would write you one for free, Dan.”

So he did.

The Rap Rebirth lyrics came, then Richard’s, complete with guide vocal.  I had 32 lines of battle rap lyrics. But I can’t rap. I lack flow.

A couple days later, I tweeted how I would like to find and MC to make this shit come alive. Writer Erin Keane mentioned her friend Kentucky Prophet, and after checking out his stuff and emailing back and forth he seemed to be a perfect candidate. I sent him my Queen books.

A couple weeks later in may mailbox comes an mp3 file entitled “Now You Know.”

“You will find a neat bit of sampling on this song,” he wrote. “You’ll know it when you hear it.”

Of course I did. They sampled and sped-up a snippet of Freddie Mercury singing “now I know” from Queen’s “The Prophet’s Song,” from A Night At The Opera.

His friend Russell Brooks helped him produce this. “I should mention that I took a minor amount of liberty with the verses in order to make them fit the meter and tempo of the song. I would say I got it about 95% accurate.”

Hearing one’s own custom-written and -rapped hip hop anthem has many layers and signifiers and signified, I’m not sure how to unpack it at this point. All I know is, I rule Albany.

I  might be pushing my luck on the work-for-free-front, but a video for this would be pretty cool. We’ll see.

Here are the lyrics I presented to Mr. Prophet all those weeks ago.

Richard Allen’s lyrics

It’s motherfucking Nester from the woods of Jersey.
When I do a reading, better reimburse me.
Freddie Mercury? Own every LP.
Penning many poems like my name was H.D.

My goddamn students are overjoyed
To take my classes and to avoid
A professional curriculum, and then annoyed
To graduate and be unemployed.

But it’s still my objective each semester
To touch more kids than a child molester.
Though I don’t play. GPA? Don’t tempt me.
The name is Nester, but the threat’s not empty.

I got a wife and I reproduce
So I blow a lot of dough on apple juice
And disposable diapers. When the kids get hyper,
It’s time out, bitches. I’m a time out sniper.

But my rhymes stay tighter than a lit mag stiffing a writer
Out of two bucks. I do not give two fucks.
Criticize my op-ed? Fuckers, you can drop dead.
That’s my policy. I run Albany.

Rap Revival Lyrics (i.e., the $24.99 one)

Check it motherfuckers sucker bloggers call me sire
Finger fucking words til the day that I retire
Higher than ya lame brained self-inflated ego
Spitting acid rain while you tryna take a free throw

A crazy rap animal, a cannibal of brilliance
A lazier Scorsese with mechanical resilience
Ill since A Tribe played it live on Arsenio
Married dad of two spittin’ game at a skinny hoe

Name’s Professor Nester, I chronicle my own life
Sharp as a rusty fork cutting through a butter knife
Much to your chagrin I win, I’ve never heard of sin
Potent as a pickled fart, you farting in the wind

Inappropriate on opiates with Opie drinking goat’s milk
Shitting on your sofa without an ounce of guilt
Silk smooth, I move like a tampon in the Red Sea
Coffee with Gaddafi, and Ill Kim brought the lychee

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