Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Was Elvis Presley a Spy?

Even though he was “conscripted” by the U.S. Army at the time his singing career just started taking off, has Elvis Presley ever did secret espionage work in behalf of the U.S. government? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Back during the time when America still has the draft, Elvis Presley – the newly crowned king of rock ‘n’ roll – was “conscripted” into the U.S. Army back in 1958, at a time when his singing career has just started taking off to a stratospheric rise that made him RCA’s biggest cash cow at the time. As RCA faced an 18-month hiatus by the then greatest cash cow in their stable, Elvis’ then manager – the old carny who called himself Colonel Tom Parker – managed to wrangle a two-month draft deferment before Elvis was shipped off to Freiburg in the then West Germany as a Jeep mechanic after completing basic training in Texas. Given the relative ease of his manager managed to get a two-month U.S. Army draft deferment, many wondered if Elvis Presley has powerful friends in the Pentagon, or even in Washington D.C.; but the very idea of Elvis doing secret espionage work in behalf of the U. S. government using his “lowly” position as a Jeep mechanic in a U.S. Army base in Freiburg just a short hop away from the Sudetenland and thus spy into the Iron Curtain at the time of rising tensions in the Cold War?
Though the very idea was “lampooned” in the 1984 comedy film Top Secret!, where Val Kilmer played an Elvis like pop sensation named Nick Rivers who inadvertently wound up doing espionage work in behalf of the U.S. government behind the Iron Curtain using his music stardom as cover. Given Hollywood’s intimate involvement in some of the U.S. government’s secret covert operations during the 20th Century – i.e. the 2012 movie Argo where a science fiction filming crew was used as a cover to rescue U.S. embassy personnel in Iran that were trapped during the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution with the help of the Canadian government. The “Argo” operation led by C.I.A.’s master-of-disguise Tony Mendez was only declassified back in 1998 in order for then U.S. President Bill Clinton to commend the main players involved in the top secret operation.     
Even though no light-hearted or serious movie has ever been made yet about Elvis Presley’s secret espionage mission in the Sudetenland, one could probably be made as soon as the U.S. government feels safe to declassify dossiers pertaining to the operation. Would the movie be titled “Elvis in the Sudetenland”?   

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Should Beoncé Star In A He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Movie?

It might be the “unflattering” 2013 Superbowl Halftime Show that made everyone ponder, but should America’s most beloved pop diva Beyoncé consider starring a new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie remake? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Even though the pop diva had been requesting her fans on Facebook not to further share her “unflattering” photos of her 2013 Superbowl Halftime Show performance – i.e. that leather bodysuit that made her look like the villainess Evil-Lyn of Mattel’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon of the early 1980s - should Beyoncé star in a new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie remake? After all, she really looks the part, right? 

Even though He-Man’s original creator, Roger Sweet, only got scant credit after the gargantuan U.S.-based toy company Mattel got the distribution rights when it first aired back in 1983, the 1987 live action movie of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that starred the up-and-coming action star Dolph Lundgren and a then newcomer named Courtney Cox who would later burst to stardom in the 1990s friends, never appealed to the fan of the original 1980s era TV aired animated series. But will a new movie remake that stars Beyoncé Knowles be the brilliant solution for blockbuster success? By the way, in the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, Evil-Lyn was played by Meg Foster and despite a catchy soundtrack by Living in a Box, the movie was only moderately successful in box office terms. 

Though the villainess Evil-Lyn in the original animated TV series of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe might have been probably “inspired” by one of Roger Sweet’s ex-girlfriends – maybe named Evelyn – whose break-up was never amicable is one of the most notable main characters of the original animated series to the hearts of fans who’ve seen the show first hand during the 1980s. But will Beyoncé feel comfortable playing the villainess, if Halle Berry is cast as the Sorceress?  

Monday, July 7, 2014

July: A Musically Auspicious Month For Ronald Reagan?

Basing from his “contentious” 8-year presidency, can one safely conclude that July is a “musically auspicious” month for the former US President Ronald Reagan? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Whether you love him or hate him, it seems like the month of July – at least from my own perspective – was a really auspicious month during the 8-year presidency of former US President Ronald Reagan.  I mean it is the very month that any big event that could either make or break him seems to “go viral” during the pre user-friendly online social network days of the 1980s. 

Given the largely political nature of punk rock music, it might be more than a coincidence that Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedy’s chose July 3, 1983 to launch the Rock Against Reagan tour. By the way, the punk rock extravaganza Rock Against Reagan tour also includes The Dicks, Crucifucks, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) and MDC which probably where MDC played their iconic Elvis in the Sudetenland (or was it Elvis in the Rhineland?). 

And who can forget that big, blue 1,960-page Ronald Reagan Pornography Report that was launched way back in July 1986 that many criticized as being a colossal waste of American Taxpayers’ money because it proved that pornography is not that harmful to the average person. Speaking of former US President Ronald Reagan’s rather “low opinion” on music making during the first half of his presidency, remember when he used the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act / OBRA to drastically cut the funding of public high school music programs that lead to the over-hyping of the “Mozart Effect” during the Clinton years?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ronald Reagan: The Music-Hating US President?

Even though he was an accomplished actor and a host and music program supervisor of the General Electric Theater before going into politics and being elected into the US presidency, but is Ronald Reagan the “music-hating” US president? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Maybe it was that notorious Omnibus Regulation Acts of 1980 and 1981 that not only gave birth the “Ketchup is a Vegetable” controversy but also allowed the then US president Ronald Reagan to be put on trial for cutting the American public high-school music programs in favor of team sports. Maybe the powers-that-be of the Reagan Administration really decided to cut funding for the American public high-school music programs in favor of team sports in order to advance the US Republican Party’s political interests at the time, but does this action ultimately make Ronald Reagan the “music-hating” US president? 

During his high school days, Ronald Reagan’s two main interests was his school’s football team and his school’s acting program before eventually cutting his acting chops in Hollywood; And then later on eventually becoming the host and music program supervisor of the General Electric Theater which was forever immortalized by Ronald Reagan’s collaboration with movie orchestra conductor Elmer Bernstein 20-years before Reagan being elected into the White House. Given his career track record before going into politics and then the US presidency, it is quite inexplicable that there is truth behind the claim that Ronald Reagan hates the 1980s era public high school music program funding schemes that he eventually decided to make serious cuts on the program – but is it? Or maybe Reagan got frustrated that his signature “bland baritone” is more suited for program hosting and B-Movie roles than a full-fledged theatrical or operatic Heldentenor. 

Basing on his choice of inviting Ol ’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra to perform on his January 1981 presidential inauguration and to “romantically serenade” the then US First Lady Nancy Reagan, its quite hard to conclude that the then US President Ronald Reagan is a “music hating US president” given that this White House musical extravaganza is something only George W. Bush can dream of. But whether it is just unfortunate luck that some thermionic vacuum tubes of musical merit – like the 7591A vacuum tubes and the Mullard EL34 – became scarce during the Reagan Administration or Reagan choosing a strategic nuclear arsenal build-up instead of hosting a Classical Music showdown between the Soviet Union’s Leonid Kogan and Itzhak Perlman only fosters the speculation of Reagan’s Philistine outlook when it comes to the artistic aspects of music creation. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Should There Be A Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime The Musical?

Given that there’s already a Green Day based American Idiot and Rock of Ages Broadway musicals, is it high time that one should me made about Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime?

By: Ringo Bones 

Green Day’s American Idiot the musical – which might be about the George Dubya Bush presidency - had been a runaway Broadway hit, so does Rock of Ages – the musical unabashedly glorifying 1980s era hair metal, but is there another “untapped” musical movement in the punk rock and heavy metal world? Had you checked Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindrime album for its Broadway musical potential?  

Based on Queensrÿche’s 1988 album depicting the political spin and media-manipulation of the Reagan Administration to suit its own political ends, although the narrative of this Album Oriented Rock (AOR) tends to get muddled towards the end despite the music keeping its own holistic theme. Despite being a compelling listen, one planning to make a Broadway style musical based on Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime album must inevitably borrow elements from the next Queensrÿche album – as in Empire. 

Given the spoken word part of the title track of Empire (the last song of Side A for all you lucky vinyl LP owners) goes – “In the fiscal year 1986 to 87, local state and federal governments spend a total of 60.6-billion dollars on law enforcement. Federal law enforcement expenditures rank last in absolute dollars and only account for 6 percent of all federal spending. By way of comparison, the federal government spends 24-million more on space exploration and 43 times more on national defense and international relations than on law enforcement.” Add some Ronald Reagan era pornography and you now have the makings of an instant classic Broadway musical, though there is no guaranteed financial success formula yet when it comes to Broadway musicals. Or would Lunachick's Spoilt The Musical prove to be a more financially secure Broadway musical?