Friday, November 7, 2008

My Sports Life is a Rock Song: We Built This City

Oh yeah. I did. Believe it. It's been a while since we drug this feature out, and why not bring it back with something really, really bad. If you're new to the game, this is the part of the week where we make feeble efforts to portray our lives as sports fans through the agency of songs. It's a grand ol' time wherein trips down memory line are all but assured, as is album cover art and the occasional Tube of You. So jump back into the 80s for an abundance of mulleted white guys doing the proverbial white-guy dance.

First things first, though. Jefferson Airplane was the first incarnation of this band. It included Grace Slick, Jack Cassady, Jorma Kaukonen, and about eleventy billion other people in its various stages. This version of the band -- which was eating lots of drugs and doing their rockin' out in the mid and late 60s -- produced Surrealistic Pillow in 1967, which delivered key treats "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." Then, in the early 70s on into the 80s, the outfit continued to swap out various band members for various reasons, and they became Jefferson Starship. They didn't really do much worth mentioning until 1978 when Gold came out -- it contained the single "Miracles" (Editor's Note: You can download that track here, but the House of Georges doesn't advise doing so) -- and again in '79 when they released Freedom at Point Zero. That album had the single "Jane" on it, which you can listen to a live version of here, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. And in 1981 they cranked out Modern Times, which had "Stranger" on it and you can dig into that below if you like. I strongly suggest you do not like.

Anyway, the 80s are reaching the halfway point and it's time to jump (Jefferson Star) ship again. This time they just go with Starship, and in 1985 they put out Knee Deep in the Hoopla. And let me take this opportunity to mention that if you ever title an album Knee Deep in the Hoopla and then use the phrase "knee deep in the hoopla" in a song on that album, you are beyond hopeless. Either way, that's the song we're featuring today for the simple reason that that's what Kansas City sports is doing right now: building this city. They aren't building it on rock and roll of course, but championship sports franchises.

Please. Go ahead. Pause and consider what crafty phrase you'll offer in the comments about not being able to use the words "Kansas City" and "sports championships" in the same sentence. I'll wait...

You got yours? Good. I'll be looking for it. They are, nevertheless, showing signs of improvement. I'll point to this fine product as the building block. I'll then mention that for the third consecutive season, the Royals won more games than the previous campaign, did not finish last in the AL Central this year, and have already added a tiny bit of power to their batting lineup. Royals GM Dayton Moore has speculated that that might be the only move they make this off-season with regard to free agency. There are rumors, though, that they're looking at getting a shortstop in here and moving Mike Aviles to second base, his natural position. I hate using that phrase, but they made me do it. Anyway, if the one-through-three of Greinke, Meche, and Bannister can improve upon last year's performance, and the Royals really are doing the right thing in terms of getting sticks in here, then a shot in the post-season could very well be two seasons away.

On the other side of Truman Sports Complex, the Kansas City Chiefs have, in the last two weeks, shown that they can at very least, hang around in a professional football game, which, with the exception of the Denver game, had not at all been the case in this all-time, depression-invoking season of football in KC. Now, do I want to hang my marbles on Tyler Thigpen? Not exactly. Do I think that Larry Johnson will re-gain his once-dominant backfield form? Let's ask the magic eight ball...

That's what I thought. I am, however, stoked for Charles in Charge to get his high-level game on. I do think there's some talent on this defense, and I do like having Mark Bradley around to complement Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. It is certainly possible that Chiefs GM Carl Peterson made the right move in hiring Herm Edwards, and that Edwards has this club headed in the right direction. Before the Jets game two weeks ago, I didn't see it. I still don't; it's possible their play the last two Sundays was a fluke. But I'll hang around a bit longer and check 'em out. I'm eager to get rid of this kind of writing (props to Arrowhead Pride).

Therefore, call the thimbles full of "right moves" rock and the vats of patience roll, and I guess we can, so long as it's Starship-free, say we built this city on rock and roll.

And in case you're really that bored, 'Hoopla also had "Sara" on it. You know: "storms are brew-in' in your eyes, o-oh..." Both singles hit number one, which none of the previous versions of the band had managed. The album itself went platinum and hit number seven, which hopefully, in hindsight, totals up to a lot of really embarrassed Americans. Then, they produced "Nothin's Gonna Stop Us Now" as their contribution to the soundtrack for the movie Mannequin,

which I never saw because one track is a wee too much Starship for me, but whatever. They broke up some more, re-assembled some other versions of the band, then made Jefferson Starship -- The Next Generation, and things got way too Star Trekky for most folks to handle. They had all kinds of side projects and solo albums rolling around in the early-to-mid 90s, and in between various live album and greatest-hit album pilferings, the guy that runs this production company booked some variation of them to play a gig at The Iron Horse Inn in ol' Durango. Us three House of Georgesters were scribin' away at THE Fort Lewis College newspaper, and since I was the A&E dude, and had a working relationship with said production company proprietor, I went to the gig. It was probably part of this tour.

He and I will both tell you that it was downright awful. I think Paul Kantner got pissed off at the crowd -- who was pissed off at the band for making them drive out to The Iron Horse, and for sucking -- and said some mean things to them. The thing might've even been cut earlier than slated, but who knows and who cares. Starship, nevertheless guessed it: continued through these past years to play Musical Band Members, continue touring, and hell -- they even put out an album in September. It's called Jefferson's Tree of Liberty. It's got 19 tracks, 23 musicians, and according to Dave DiMartino at Yahoo!, it doesn't suck. Bill Brotherton of the Boston Herald doesn't really agree, though.

And you, precious reader -- if you're feeling daring and daunting, you can buy it here. But I wouldn't necessarily say that that would be a wise investment.

(Note: Other Sports Life/Rock Song installments can be found here.)