Out at my parents’ house they have satellite TV. As a rule I don’t even sit down in front of their TV unless I have at least three hours to kill. I don’t know if all satellite users have this many channels or if they have some kind of mega-channel package, but the amount of choices available is totally overwhelming. There are something like 200 channels devoted to sports, with coverage of everything from slamball to motorcycle ice racing. Cooking shows take up channels 500 through 650, reality and home improvement shows are in the 800s, and you can usually find any sitcom ever made if you flip through the low channels. And of course there are 20 different versions each of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz – and that’s not even counting the channels en Español.
With this many choices it’s hard to really enjoy whatever it is you end up watching. Sure that re-run from the original season of Iron Chef is cool, but what if you’re missing something better? It’s almost guaranteed that one of the 1000+ channels is doing a special on the world’s craziest bar fights started by explosions as described by naked co-eds to a soundtrack of rare Motörhead live recordings. And you could probably find it too, if you take the time to browse through all the channels.
Like I said, it’s totally overwhelming. I usually just end up watching the last 15 minutes of a bunch of movies I’ve already seen. Maybe that’s a little ADD, but it’s the only way I can reconcile the thrill of all that variety with the assurance of knowing I’m watching something at least half way decent. My dad, on the other hand, goes one better. He insists that most of the programming itself is worthless and that the true genius is in the commercials. Recently I’ve found myself agreeing with him.
Here’s why: those (relatively) new commercials from the National Milk Processor Board featuring a fictional glam rocker named White Gold. I’m sorry, but that shit is hilarious. Each commercial (not to mention the website, online ads, subway posters, etc.) is filled with so much tongue-in-cheek, self-referencing, semi-arcane rock symbolism that it’s almost like a game of Where’s Waldo for insider music jokes. Songs like “Is It Me Or Do You Love My Hair?” are played against a video back-drop that would make the boys in Spinal Tap proud. The website features tons of pseudo -Led Zeppelin iconography and a video game that allows you to assume the role of a sassy fashion photographer while White Gold and his back up singers strike various “awesome” poses. White Gold himself can be found playing the “infinite guitar solo” on his one gallon axe, which looks like a cross between a Flying V and one of Prince’s weird ass guitars. Needless to say, the guitar is filled with milk.
The first time I saw one of these commercials I realized that the actor playing White Gold had to be in a real band. He was just too good at playing an indulgent rock god. Nobody could step into that role without having spent some serious time in rock n roll fantasy land. Well guess what? I was right. White Gold is played by none other than Joe Hursley, front man for LA trouble punk band The Ringers.
Normally I would say actors and rock bands don’t mix (I’m looking at you Keanu), but in this case we can definitely make an exception. The Ringers play a brash style of punk rock that has the balls of The Stooges, the hooks of The Hives, and all the style of Los Angeles on a Saturday night. Their songs are full of sex, mischief and whiskey soaked growls. The band is all spit and vinegar and they bang out tight little rock songs like they’re getting paid 100 bucks for every party they start. I’ve never seen them live, but I’m willing to bet that the first three rows get wet.
What’s ironic is that The Ringers music is catchy enough that it will probably find its way into some commercial or another. If and when this happens, the result will be a commercial with music by a guy who plays another guy who plays music in another commercial for something totally different than the other commercial. Which is like, more confusing than a TV with 1000 channels.
MP3: 'Holy Zipper'