It didn’t take a stroke of genius to come up with the idea for this year’s Jheri Curl June podcast. Rick James may be the most important architect of the genre we call Jheri Curl Music who we hadn’t already commemorated with a long-term feature. He also has a hell of a story: one he told in not one, but two posthumous memoirs–2007’s Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Superfreak and 2014’s Glow–which makes him a perfect candidate for the Dystopian Book Club. A “habitual line-stepper” in both life and art, James was vital in bridging the gap between 1970s P-Funk and 1980s Jheri Curl; his later decline into drug addiction and imprisonment was unfortunate, but could only somewhat dampen his boundless talent and charisma. So join us on this most sacred of occasions as we celebrate Mr. Cold Blooded himself: a man whose artistic potential was the only thing bigger than his larger-than-life personality and appetites. Gimme some ganja!
I know it’s hard to remember–because these days, new outrages emerge practically by the minute–but early this month, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act: a brazen effort to reduce both millionaires’ tax burdens and the federal government’s social welfare responsibilities by killing poor people, which might have been a brilliant work of Swiftian satire if anyone involved had a sense of humor. And look, we know, the bill probably won’t make it through the Senate (where, one hopes, a few Republicans might even have the decency to read the fucking thing), and even if it does pass, it will surely end up with the Supreme Court. But it’s hard to take comfort from these Civics 101 platitudes when American democracy is falling apart around our ears and our elected officials are throwing keggers celebrating the imminent demise of our grandparents.
Basically, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the possibility of death; in our rapid descent to Third-World autocracy status, our only refuges are righteous anger and gallows humor. So here are 17 songs about illness and disease: a condition with which most of us will probably get a lot more familiar if the AHCA continues unabated. At least we’ll have something to listen to while we waste away on our death beds!
Well, here we are: for the second consecutive year, we’re turning Memorial Day weekend into a time of remembrance for the many great artists we lost since last May. But because this is still Dystopian Dance Party, and we’re constitutionally incapable of being reverent for more than a few minutes at a time, please be aware that the resulting podcast is about 70% wake, 30% roast (well, maybe 60/40). Just believe us when we tell you it’s all coming from a place of love. Hopefully, while everyone good continues to die and leave us trapped on this smoldering husk of a planet, we can at least entertain you (and ourselves) with our impressions of “The Force M.D.’s Meet the Fat Boys”… R.I.P. to Trisco Pearson. Show notes and Spotify playlist below.
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been doing Dystopian Dance Party for three years now; I’ve had actual relationships that didn’t last as long as my relationship with this stupid blog. Even harder to believe is the fact that we’re still not running out of steam. Basically, at this point the blog is an act of aggression; we’re going to keep inflicting it on the world, whether the world likes it or not. If you do like what we’re doing (for some reason), check the list below for my completely subjective choices for the 12 best posts in our third year of operation.