Lately, Ike Turner’s been getting a lot of mentions around our house. A while back during a rare couple of hours in which we indulged in the quaint, antiquated ritual of watching TV together, Jen and I saw “What’s Love Got To Do With It: the Tina Turner Story” on VH1 Movies That Rock (or was it Lifetime?) It’s been said that Ike was the Darth Vader of Soul. Now far be it from me to impugn the sweet soulful sounds of domestic abuse – I mean just listen to the Jackson 5! – but Ike was a hard-chargin’ slave-drivin’ sumbitch if there ever was one, at least according to VH1 (Lifetime?). Ike would laze around the apartment all day with a harem of quaalude-poppin’ soul-sisters while brandishing a snub-nosed .38, snorting coke and drinking Wild Turkey out of the bottle. But when it came to Tina, he’d just as soon smack a bitch up as look at her if she didn’t execute the dance moves with laser-like precision during a rehearsal of “Proud Mary.”
So who, between Jen and I is the Ike Turner figure? A little explanation of our creative process is in order here: If you liken the Dutch Holly music production process to the manufacture of, say, a luxury car, then I would be the factory manager. I’m responsible for ensuring that the assembly line runs smoothly. I program the robotic car-door welders. I order the materials, schedule the workers, pay off the union bosses, and keep the middle managers in coffee and donuts. If necessary, I might be called to testify at a congressional hearing on yet another auto-industry bailout. By contrast, Jen is the freelance goateed minimalist Belgian designer who, for 600 Euros hourly, comes up with the artist’s (artiste’s?) conception upon which the prototype is based. She then critiques said prototype via Skype from her post-modern loft in downtown Brussels: “Eet ‘as ze curvature of an unripe peach, where eet should ‘ave ze curvature of a Ming vase.” I obediently nod, scurry from the boardroom back to my corner office where I decipher said critique to the best of my sadly American aesthetic ability. I then roll up my sleeves and start reprogramming the robots. Fortunately, I have a bit of a knack for that kind of thing so I may get to keep my pension when the whole company is taken into receivership by the Obama administration.
Extend this metaphor to the sweet soulful sounds of domestic abuse, add a few liberal dollops of tongue-in-cheek humor (no razorblades, please!) and Jen becomes the Ike to my Tina. (I kid…I kid because I love).
A couple of months ago, we signed a deal with Expat Records to put out a 5-song EP: What Rhymes With You? coming out this fall. Now you wouldn’t think that five songs would be that big a deal, especially considering that two of the songs were already done when we started and another one is mostly done but just needs to be remixed.
But, Jen’s eye and ear for detail is even better than Ike’s and she’s not distracted by a harem, mounds of coke on the coffee table, or Wild Turkey. Thankfully, she also does not own a snub-nosed .38. Even more thankfully, there’s no choreography.
So with all of the production that I’m doing, added to all of the strokes of genius being Skyped at me from Brussels, I’ve taken to saying: “Why ya Ikin’ me?” At first, whenever Jen asked about my progress, I would do my impression of Ike: “Now you get on in there and produce me up some songs, Anna Mae, ya hear?” But the Elvis-like accent I used was unclear and she thought I was saying “Edda Mae.” That resulted in the note you see here (written on one of the many to-do lists I’ve had to make just to keep track of everything I’m doing).
As we all know, impressions get old really fast, especially if the one doing the impression is bereft of any ability to actually sound like the person he’s impersonating. It’s worth noting that unlike Anna Mae, I actually don’t mind Jen’s Ikin’ because it results in great stuff, and I don’t actually have to shimmy or get bitch-slapped. Love’s got everything to do with it.
I really think that “Why ya Ikin’ me?” has a real chance of catching on. It could be bigger than “Don’t Tase Me Bro” or even “Top Kill” because it has universal applicability. Say, for example, you’ve just put the birthday cake you’re baking for your 4 year old into the oven. He has one of your legs in a bear-hug worthy of the WWF and he’s repeatedly demanding cake in his shrillest Elmo voice. Sure, you could go into a long-winded explanation of how the cake has to bake, his birthday’s not till tomorrow, patience is a virtue blah blah blah, or you can just say “Why ya Ikin’ me, kid?” It just might work. But wait! He won’t really know what you’re talking about because it’s not a real catchphrase yet. Hmm…
“Why ya Ikin’ me” needs a plan like BP CEO Tony Hayward needs a new job. So here’s a win-win strategy that will get Tony that new job he’s been dreaming of, AND will forever emblazon “Why Ya Ikin’ Me” on the hearts and minds of millions:
Listen up, Tony: the next time you have to testify before the US Senatorial Comittee on Evil Atrocities, and they’re all like “Why didn’t the backup plans work? How much was your bonus this year? How come Corexit doesn’t seem to correct anything?” Rather than inflicting a new jargonistic buzzword on our already overstretched lexicon like “Top Kill” or “Junk Shot,” just be like “Why ya Ikin’ me, senator?” True, it may not be a satisfactory answer to the question, but it only took a day for the national media to make “Top Kill” a household phrase. Just think what those rabid jackals could do with “Why ya Ikin’ me?” I mean, this could be the out you’ve been looking for, Tony. You haul off and coin an epic catchphrase on the floor of the US senate in the morning, I guaran-damn-tee you’ll be selling “Why Ya Ikin’ me?” T-shirts with your picture on them that afternoon! You could stand a career change anyway, right? You want your life back Tony? Call me. (Leave a message if I don’t pick up, I have alot of work to do).