This is the fifty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous fifty-four.
This week is ANOTHER theme week! It is “Comic Books and Rock ‘n’ Roll” Urban Legends week!!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: James Kochalka performed the theme song for the FOX show, “The Loop.”
STATUS: True, with a band.
James Kochalka, noted comic book artist whose work include his current project for Top Shelf, Superf*ckers…
is also a cool musician.
At his neat Kochalkaholic blog, Alan David Doane interviewed James, and they talked about The Loop theme song, “Hockey Monkey.”
Doane – The song “Hockey Monkey” by yourself and The Zambonis was the theme song of a Fox TV series called “The Loop” that debuted this year, and the song has gone on to gain significant radio airplay. How this experience has affected your life and your work?
Kochalka – It has not really affected my life and work in any way whatsoever, that I’ve yet noticed. We got $25,000 for the song, but we split that five ways. Certainly the song was heard by millions and millions of people, but it hasn’t led to huge sales. It did give us inroads to commercial radio. Up until now, my stuff has only been played on college radio, but after the show premiered we took a chance and sent the Hockey Monkey single out to 400 commercial and modern rock radio stations. Of those, I think about 20 or 25 started playing it. Most significantly, the SIRIUS satellite network started playing it on their most popular music channel, Alt Nation. It quickly climbed the charts there, eventually becoming the #1 most requested song. It’s still way up there, it’s been high on their charts for a couple months now. They’ve played the song HUNDREDS of times, it’s unreal.
Now, I will get money from BMI for all this airplay and television play eventually, but I don’t know how much. BMI’s payment schedule has like a one-year delay. So this time next year I should know what it all adds up to.
The Burlington Free Press has a great story here about how the deal came about.
I like the song a lot (and I think The Loop is pretty good, too).
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Paul Simon named some of the rhymes in “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” after the old Marvel bullpen.
Awhile back, a commenter asked the following question. I forget who it was, so if the commenter reads this, let me know and I’ll edit it in:
Was Paul Simon really thinking of the Marvel staff when he wrote “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover”:
“Slip out the back, Jack” (Kirby)
“Make a new plan, Stan” (Lee)
“Don’t need to be coy, Roy” (Thomas)
“Hop on the bus, Gus” (?)
“Just drop off the key, Lee” (Stan)
I’ve never heard Simon mention comic books at all in any interview he’s ever
given, so it seems highly unlikely that his song had anything to do with Marvel,
even in a wink-wink kind of way. But who knows?
It was an interesting theory, so I went a-lookin, and a very nice Paul Simon fan forum pointed me in the right direction, to an interview Simon gave in the 70s, posted on the web by Jean-Marc Orliaguet at his fan website.
According to Eddie Simon, in a 1975 Timothy White piece,
“Paul loves to play these little improvisational rhyming games with his three-year-old son, Harper James,” Ed reveals with a laugh. “You know. ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon’ and all of that–that’s where that stuff comes from. It all started a while ago when Paul was teaching him this ‘Fe Fi Fiddle-eye-o’ song, and just grew from there. Harper James laughs like crazy when he does it!
and from Paul himself, from the same piece…
“I woke up one morning in my apartment on Central Park,” he says, “and the opening words just popped into my mind: ‘The problem is all inside your head, she said to me . . .’ That was the first thing I thought of. So I just started building on that line. It was the last song I wrote for the album, and I wrote it with a Rhythm Ace, one of those electronic drum machines so maybe that’s how it got that sing-song ‘make a new plan Stan, don’t need to be coy Roy’ quality. It’s basically a nonsense song.”
So I think we can pretty safely (while not 100% certain) say it wasn’t about the Marvel bullpen.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The co-creator of Tank Girl co-created The Gorillaz
In the late 1980s, Jamie Hewlett Alan Martin created Tank Girl, which is set in a future world where a girl, well, drives around in a tank, having all sort of really strange adventures.
It was really stream of consciousness, and the book became popular among music groups who would then appear as themselves withIN the comic.
The strip continued in the magazine Deadline from the first issue of the magazine until its last.
At about the same time that Deadline was folding, in the mid-90s, Tank Girl had a movie, which did not do particularly well.
Hewlett did design work for various places until, a few years later, while Hewlett was sharing a flat with Blur frontman Damon Albarn, they came up with the idea for the Gorillaz.
In an interview for Wired (conducted by Neil Gaiman!), the formation of the Gorillaz is discussed…
GAIMAN: How did Gorillaz come about?
HEWLETT: We were flatmates. One day, we were home watching MTV with our eyes just kind of glazed. Because if you watch MTV for too long, it’s a bit like hell – there’s nothing of substance there. So we got this idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that.
ALBARN: We’re the generation whose stars come from Pop Idol and celebrity-wrestling shows. And it’s all a bit like a cartoon, really.
Hewlett designed the group, while Albarn created the music for the group.
The Gorillaz have become extremely successful, selling millions of records and going on crowded tours. In addition, the design work on the group recently earned Hewlett Design Museum’s ‘Designer of the Year’ award.
Pretty cool, eh?
Well, that’s it for this week, thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!!