JULY’S LOCAL HOT SPOT OF THE MONTH: CAMP ANAWANNA.

salute your shorts

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Nickelodeon’s golden years of 1990 to 1995 were nothing short of a revelation. If you spent anytime in front of the tube during this time, the network was a hotbed of nonstop entertainment because of shows like Hey Dude, Double Dare, Wild & Crazy Kids, Are You Afraid Of the Dark?, Clarissa Explains It All and the mackdaddy of them all, SALUTE YOUR SHORTS.

Everyone knows summer days as a kid were dreamlike, but can you imagine a summer without rules, reading lists, the neighbor’s killer dog or parents? Some of us dreamed of what it would be like being dumped at summer camp for two months, and those of us who did had fantasies swirling around in our heads thanks to a little place we visited in our minds for a half-hour each afternoon…

So reach for that watermelon Italian Ice and kick those hi-top CONS up on your desk as Uncle T takes us back to camp with July’s Local-Hot-Spot-Of-The-Month: CAMP ANAWANNA!

salute your shorts

The Squad! 

Every summer camp disciple knows a camp is only as strong as it’s campers, and this place had a wrecking crew like no other: Dina, ZZ, Michael, Telly, Pinsky, Sponge, DonkeyLips and Budnick…FUCKING BOBBY BUDNICK. This prankster was Anawanna’s #1 troubled teen and Budnick held the title of most obnoxious camper year after year with high prestige. The ratty, redheaded-stepchild really deserves a spotlight feature on his own around here, which clearly has a lot to due with him playing John Connor’s punker friend in Terminator 2, because he’s still 100% “Budnick” in the movie. Nothing was radder on a young, impressionable mind than a couple kids riding dirt bikes, listening to Guns N’ Roses and ripping off ATMs. Okay, back to Camp…

bobby and donkeyBobby and Donkey Lips, crude dudes 4 life…

At the surface, Salute Your Shorts seemed to have all the stereotypical “camp” characters, but it became something else entirely. All the kids at Anawanna had completely different personalities, and sticking them in a couple cabins together for a summer brought out the best in them. Take for instance Donkey Lips, a fat oddball with a heart of gold who became friends with kids he never would have back at home or in school. As annoying as he was, even Donkey Lips taught the others a thing or two, like when he won over Dina’s heart during a “spotlight dance” at one of the camp socials. Of course, Dina was forced to dance with him, but she learns an important life lesson about kindness from ol’ Donkey Lips, of all people. Then there was Michael from the show’s primere episode, who’s first experience at camp involved Budnick and a couple of his goons stealing his trunks and running them up the flagpole for all camp to salute!

These motley camp-goers were the rebellious type (the way they should be). Being clever and brave to achieve some kind of victory was a quality shared in other Nickelodeon shows at the time as well. Kids acted like kids, not mini-adults obsessed with status, cell phones and “likes”. At Camp Anawanna it was all about food fights, telling ghost stories, smuggling salami into camp, lighting things on fire and giving someone an awful waffle*.

*Administering an “Awful Waffle”: 1) Pin somebody to the top of a table. 2) Pull their shirt up. 3) Firmly press a tennis racket into their stomach. 4) Pour syrup on their stomach.

salute your shorts ug

Kevin “Ug” Lee!

“Ug” was the neurotic, goofball camp counselor who everyone pulled pranks on. Nothing was funnier than seeing Ug go bananas after trying to discipline the campers and failing miserably. His trademark features were his bucket hat, sunscreened nose and floral shirts.

I’ve always wondered how old Ug was supposed to be and also how he landed the head counselor position in the first place. 

Zeke the Plumber!

The introduction of Zeke the Plumber in the first season of Salute Your Shorts was a nightmare of epic proportions that rattled the memories of ’90s kids even to this day. The story of Zeke begins in the Philippines when his nose was bitten off by a parrot. He couldn’t smell a gas leak created when he hit a gas pipe while digging a hole, so he makes a big mistake and lights a match, causing an explosion. The only item that remained was his toilet plunger which now bared a curse. It is said, according to paranormal historian Bobby Budnick, that Zeke wanders the camp trying to find his plunger and anyone who touches it will be haunted in their dreams.

Ask any kid who grew up watching this show how difficult it was sleeping at night after this episode aired in 1991 (only the 2nd episode of the 1st season!). Zeke wore a mask that appeared to be made of flesh, and as silly as the scene may look now, people watching a Nickelodeon show about summer camp in ’91 didn’t see this coming. The ability to strike a nerve using a story like this speaks to the genius of Nickelodeon during this time. So many kids were left feeling something after watching this episode, to the point that by 2016 Zeke the Plumber has generated a certain cult following.

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It sucked when parents, teachers and child psychologists used to say that pint-sized TNUC’s brain was turning into zombie mush from watching too much Nickelodeon. This mere myth couldn’t have been further from the truth, as shows like Salute Your Shorts and Are You Afraid of the Dark? made me want to run outside and have neighborhood super soaker wars, play laser tag and face plant into giant piles of leaves. What a time to be alive.

[Local-Hot-Spot-Of-The-Month is a adrenaline-thrusting history lesson and celebration of signature hangout spots one might recognize from television, film or real life. Our objective is to not just rediscover and dissect these places, but more importantly create a feeling like you’re really there. Take your time with these entries. Hang out. Turn some music on.
To visit the rest of ’em, go here.]

HAMBURGERS FOR AMERICA.

tnuc burger paradise

tnuc burger paradise

Leave it to a wise-cracking, America-loving neanderthal like Uncle TNUC to declare that this weekend we’ll be hosting and hoisting the almighty hamburger as the #1 symbol to celebrate our nation’s big birthday.

It prompted a mandatory screening of 1986’s Hamburger: The Motion Picture, a movie that should be on everyone’s must-watch list this time of year after the required viewing during the winter months of the film’s kid brother, Hot Dog: The Movie. Both of course are directed by Mike Marvin, the same guy who did The Wraith.

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Hamburger is the story of Russell Proscope, who’s “beef” is that he gets kicked out of every university he attends from getting too frisky with virtually every set of toasty female buns that come into his path. If he doesn’t earn a diploma soon, that promised trust fund from his family will be out of the question. The only prep school that will take him is Buster Burger University – where they educate the fine youth of America on how to manage a Buster Burger franchise. The BBU campus is filled with no shortage of sleazy coeds, lewd hijinks and weekend pool parties – plus a paranoid drill sergeant *played by Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears*. All our young scholar needs to do to achieve that prestigious Buster Burger diploma is to stay out of trouble and keep the girls off his manmeat.

One of my favorite qualities of Hamburger is the plethora of sunglass-tippin’, high-fivin’, leg-slappin’ music featured throughout the movie. Nothing will stick in your head for YEARS to come than the intro montage music, which TNUC has the proud privilege of sharing today. Listen/Eat/Dance/Repeat!
 

 
I don’t know about you, but this juicy dance number makes me awfully hungry, so it’s definitely time to crush a meaty burg’. Whichever sleazy hamburger joint you plan on invading this weekend – Buster Burger, Whammy Burger, Big Kay’s, The Max, The Peach Pit, Honker Burger, Clown Dog or All American Burger – just remember to queue up this song before you head out the door.

“COOKIN’ BURGERS AIN’T EXOTIC…BUT SOME FOLKS SAY IT’S PATRIOTIC!”

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But wait…don’t rest for a second this 4th of July without revisiting BIG MIKE’S ALL-AMERICAN MEGA-MOTIVATION MIXTAPE from last year! It will turn that mush into muscle and send you soaring high with the proudest eagles in the sky.
 

CRAZY FROM THE HEAT.

crazy from the heat

ferocious

If you live a lifestyle anything like the TNUC lifestyle, it means you STILL spend a wealth of your time shirtless air-guitaring on the couch and watching music videos.

Everyone knows when a David Lee Roth music video comes on, it’s like being treated to a mini-movie. His productions were some of the most over the top, innovative, bizarro music videos to ever hit MTV airwaves. I can’t be the only one who’s ever sat and marveled at the idea of a real DLR movie actually existing…

crazy from the heat

Well folks, Guitar World rocked the TNUC universe recently with the shocking revelation that during the summer of 1986 we almost really had a full blown theatrical film called Crazy from the Heat, starring Diamond Dave himself!

The article is too heavy to reiterate, so here it is straight from Guitar World:

By the fall of 1985, David Lee Roth had seemingly put the breakup of Van Halen in his rearview mirror. 

Hoping to capitalize on his MTV-driven video stardom, Diamond Dave now set his sights on the big screen. 

Along with his creative partner and manager Pete Angelus and writer Jerry Perzigian, Roth wrote a screenplay entitled Crazy from the Heat. Angelus and Roth then sold it to CBS Theatrical Films, secured a 10 million dollar budget, and camped out on the CBS movie lot in Burbank to do pre-production for the musical comedy. Angelus recalls, “I was going to direct it and Dave was going to star in it.” If all went according to plan, Crazy would hit theaters in the summer of 1986.

But in early November, just days before they would begin shooting, the phone rang in their studio offices. It was Roth’s attorneys calling to deliver some terrible news. CBS, facing serious financial woes, had shuttered its film division, leaving Angelus and Roth without a means to make their movie. Angelus says, “When we put the phone down, I remember we were both kind of speechless for a moment. We’d spent the better part of a year preparing for that film. We’d done the casting. We’d done the location scouting. We’d been working with the set designers and the wardrobe people. We were fully into it and fully prepared.” At that moment, it appeared all their work had been for naught.

This setback seemed tailor-made to trigger a crisis of confidence for Roth. He’d trumpeted his movie plans in the press throughout the summer past, previewing a bikini-packed plot that would see rock star Roth squaring off against his greedy manager while on an island vacation. He’d minimize the challenges inherent in filmmaking, declaring on the David Brenner Liveshow that both starring in and making a film was the “next logical step” after his success with video. “It’s the same thing…except our movies have been three minutes and twenty-eight seconds. So now it’s time to just bump it up to 90 minutes.” But now it seemed unlikely that his movie would ever arrive in theaters.

Meanwhile, Roth’s former bandmates in Van Halen had seemingly suffered no ill effects from his summer 1985 departure. They had a new blond-maned, leather-lunged lead singer, Sammy Hagar, and had begun work on the follow-up to their multi-platinum smash, 1984. Roth also had to live with the fact that Eddie Van Halen, who’d told Roth in the spring of 1985 that he had no interest in scoring Crazy because the guitarist expected the film would “probably stink,” seemed to have made the right decision after Roth’s deal disappeared.

The article goes on to explain that in the months that followed, Roth remained aggressive and re-emerged with a band lineup made up of heavy metal virtuosos Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Gregg Bissonette. The band would of course eventually release the chart-topping album Eat ‘Em and Smile and crush MTV with two massive hit videos, “Yankee Rose and “Goin’ Crazy”, all built upon the creative foundation Roth had laid down for the now abandoned Crazy from the Heat screenplay. Back to the article…

Bassist Billy Sheehan likewise remembers that as filming drew closer, the tunes they wrote soon made their way into the script. “I know songs like ‘Goin’ Crazy’ were going to be integrated into the movie somehow. I remember reading the dialogue in the movie, and there were a lot of scenes with the band.” These musical scenes included a concert performance of “Shy Boy” and a nightclub scene that featured Roth crooning his way through Sinatra’s “That’s Life.”

davesickleDiamond Dave playing the ‘Davesickle’, a steel-stringed electric acoustic guitar shaped and painted like a popsicle.  

All of this planning and scheming, however, came to a standstill on that fateful November day when CBS pulled the plug. Angelus says that after the initial shock dissipated, they began discussing their options, asking each other: Apart from litigation against CBS for breach of contract, what’s our next step? Sheehan recalls telling Roth that day, “ ‘The hell with it. We’ve got a band. We’ve got songs. Let’s go out and tour!’ Not that he already didn’t think that, and not that he needed any encouragement from me, but I just remember thinking, I’m ready to play.”

Roth would get clarity about the next moves to make once he, like Sheehan, considered the full breadth of the creative endeavors they all had underway. “The movie was just one part of a whole program,” he explained to Creem Magazine. “Obviously, when the movie fell out, we just continued with the rest of the program.” Angelus observes that what Roth termed “the program” had included “a coordinated release of the film, the [soundtrack] record and of course the tour to accompany it.”

With his film in limbo, Roth and Templeman held pre-production meetings for what would now be a stand-alone rock record rather than a soundtrack album. They decided that the forthcoming Eat ’Em and Smile would include covers and originals, ones that represented a middle ground between the pop flavored, big-band sound of Roth’s Crazy from the Heat EP and the guitar-oriented pop metal showcased on his albums with Van Halen. As Diamond Dave would later say, even though he’d put together a band capable of playing the most technically sophisticated heavy metal, he didn’t want fans of “California Girls” wondering “what happened to the brass on this record? Where’s the saxophone? Where’s the shoobee-doobee-doo-bop?”

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With the success of his Van Halen days still raging through the decade and Roth on the brink of something spectacular, I can’t help but fantasize about all the madness that would’ve ensued building up to a Crazy from the Heat movie coming out. Even if the film turned out to be a complete pile of pig slop, the Diamond Dave mania surrounding the film (TV appearances, merchandise and promotional goodies galore) would have been fun to be a part of.

Since everything with this guy was 3,000% bonkers for most of his career, the Crazy from the Heat movie would have been right on that level. The film’s premiere would’ve probably gone down in history books, with bikini-clad girls, zoo animals and rock’s chosen warriors parading the red carpet in mass numbers. Who knows, if the film had been a box office hit, DLR might have moved into a steady acting career. Things have been weirder. Remember when he worked as an EMT on ambulance calls in New York City?

MIDNIGHT SAX.

midnight vampires

midnight vampires

Even though yesterday was the first day of summer and the original plan was to have this year’s “TNUC Wet Hot Summer Anthems” list ready to go, I think we’ll take a rain check on that due to the following song swooping into the TNUC spectrum and legitimately stopping me right in my tassel loafers w/ no socks.

Plus, it’s 100 degrees right now in Los Angeles and we don’t need any reminders about how toasty the weather is. Instead let’s cool off under the midnight rain…

She stepped out of the ominous looking, slicked, black car onto the wet asphalt. Her thigh-high nylons glistened under the streetlight. The look on her face made it seem like she’d just seen a ghastly spectacle until she looked up and cried out “SAX, PLEASE?” The Midnight answered. 

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I’m admittedly a sucker for saxophone, but not every sax-riff clobbers me over the head like the sultriness spread over this song by Los Angeles synth duo The Midnight. Hopefully it generates a few tingling sensations for you and a loved one as you enjoy a chilly 6-pack of Zimas tonight.

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Since the title of the track is Vampires and it involves thick layers of unforgiving saxophone, we figure the spirit of boardwalk brute Tim Cappello was a deep motivator here. All kidding aside, songs like these have so many rich “moments” that produce different feelings in all of us, whether it’s exhilaration, dreams, nostalgia, fantasies or a quick escape behind the wheel of your Lamborghini Jalpa for a self-reflecting night ride montage. Maximum respect to the artists who bring out these feelings in all of us.

The Midnight’s new album ‘Endless Summer’ is poised to strike any day now, so keep your eyes and ears locked on the group’s Soundcloud page.

vamp babe of power

CRUDE DUDE RECORD REVIEW #4.

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||| If you’re new around here, the following is part of an on-going series that you should first read about in an official Crude Dude “manifesto” at this location |||

americas-least-wanted

CRUDE DUDE RECORD REVIEW #4
UGLY KID JOE – AMERICA’S LEAST WANTED
Review by: Uncle TNUC

Choosing an album by a band who call themselves Ugly Kid Joe for a brand new Crude Dude Record Review was a decision that had far more meaning than just a clever name that fit so goddamn perfectly for this feature. Released in September 1992, UKJ’s debut album America’s Least Wanted is probably the quintessential “crude dude” era record because it not only breaks down the barrier between eighties hard rock and grunge, it’s also the only album I truly believe was DANGEROUSLY close to changing the entire heavy metal/hard rock scene of the early nineties, for the good.

It’s not such a bold statement when you comb over the facts.

Believe me, nothing burns my beak more than remembering back when record label execs and radio stations completely abandoned bands like Motley Crue and Ratt during this time. However the harsh reality was that a new decade had begun and an influx of new bands taking over was inevitable. Not to mention much needed to some degree, thanks to sub-par bands way overstaying their welcome (Warrant, Poison). This is why they call it the record business.

jimmy wing airheadsScummy record executive Jimmie Wing (Palantine Records) and some other butt-puppet at KPPX Rebel Radio in LA. 

Even so, this wasn’t the big issue. The problem for many of us was the Seattle infestation being the focus of the big wigs up at the top (see above photo). The departure from party metal, guitar solos, power licks, denim warriors, leather gods and music that didn’t need to take itself so seriously was too abrupt and hard to ingest. A fresh new genre with at least some of those elements would’ve been a much healthier transition. Or at least a little wiggle room for some of those existing bands to still…exist.

Instead the complete opposite happened as the whining anti-crude dude took over the mainstream. The guy who hated guitar solos, wrote all the lyrics to his album at Starbucks and stared at his Doc Martens on stage. That’s not to say that guy couldn’t write a good song or play an instrument well enough, but even he should understand that a powerful, thrashing beast of a frontman needs to be present in mainstream rock n’ roll.

Pause. Reverse. Forget everything you know for a moment and give Ugly Kid Joe’s Americas Least Wanted a proper spin.

The band delivers a sound that’s almost like if Skid Row, Alice In Chains and the trigger-happy surfer nazis from Point Break all lived in a ratty apartment complex together and jammed on their instruments all day. One part reminiscent of our beloved metal bands who were drifting away from pop culture – another part sounding like sunwashed surf punk from the bowels of the Malibu boardwalk.

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From start to finish this album captures a vibe that I really, really, really hoped the hard rock world would’ve progressed more towards during this time. An understandable break from spandex and glossy production was a good thing. In its place: nasty, funked out riffs and a stomping-down-Venice Beach attitude. The unapologetic Axl Rose-style obnoxiousness comes through both in the lyrics and vocal approach, but it’s less abrasive and somewhat more soulful. A choice recipe for a new generation. Even lead singer Whitfield Crane had all the makings of what should’ve made him one of the new Gods of twisted steel and sex appeal of ’92 and beyond…

America’s Least Wanted still killed on MTV and radio. The album spewed three hit singles and ended up going double platinum by 1995. Hit single ‘Everything About You’ features a spoken intro by SNL’s character Pat (It’s Pat) and the song also showed up on the Wayne’s World soundtrack. The Metal God himself Rob Halford (Judas Priest) even lends some shrieking vocals to ‘Goddamn Devil’ as well.

Even a strong album that had more than enough unique qualities to stand on it’s own couldn’t compete with the Seattle epidemic in the end. The media and the record industry were pushing the grunge scene so hard that Ugly Kid Joe didn’t have a chance at real longevity.

born to raise hellMotorhead with Ice-T and Whitfield Crane “Born to Raise Hell” from Airheads: The Original Soundtrack!

It’s too bad because having two or three different rock genres at the time could’ve done wonders for the heavy metal bands who were pumping out platinum albums just a couple years prior and now were barely hanging on for survival. Some of those bands were releasing some of the best material between ’89 and ’93, yet radio and MTV had already made their clear choice.

TNUC’s TOP ADVICE: Get this record, steal your cousin’s new Jeep Wrangler, rip the doors off (toss em’ in the ocean) and cruise through the worst neighborhoods in LA with it on full blast while chomping on a giant juicy burger.

CRUDE DUDE RICHTER SCALE = 5/5 PERSONAL PAN PIZZAS

Buy Americas Least Wanted here.

ugly kid burgs

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