Tiny Ugly World
I was at work yesterday and my co-workers all disappeared for lunch, so I took the opportunity to listen to my favorite Pandora Station: Alice Donut's Punk Kaleidoscope.
As I sat typing away, I focused on the lyrics of one of my favorite Alice Donut songs that began to play, Tiny Ugly World.
....A job well done is not enough without a front page photograph
Death comes quickly to the poor and obscure
Booby prizes for the kind and unsure....
And I paused.
I paused and I looked around.
And I stopped working.
When I started Beacon of Speech, I told content partner Ted that if he didn't balance me out on the video version of BOS, that I'd just ramble on about the greatness of Alice Donut and the subtleties of indoor soccer.
The concept of the greatness of Alice Donut haunts me.
This is from my love letter to the Donut in 2017:
For the uninitiated, Alice Donut was the greatest second generation punk band in the history of music. By the late 80’s, most first generation punks had burned up or burned out, leaving the lads from New York City to pick up the torch. When Hair Metal was popular, Donut was better. When Grunge was popular, Donut was better. Burning bright from 1986-1996, they captured the purist blend of punk, skree, and freakery ever recorded. Their problem? You can’t compare them to anyone. Not as hard as the Dead Kennedys, not as mainstream as Green Day, they chose their path and walked it alone.
And to this day, it is hard for the streaming algorithms to find the band. I had to load Pandora with Alice Dount suggestions to make the Kaleidoscope work.
What infuriates me is that Stranger Things "helped" another generation find Metallica? Metallica is one of the biggest bands in the world, if dumb kids can't find Metallica, they'll never find Alice Donut.
You want to argue Alice Donut isn't that good? You should know better, you took the bait.
Sadly, sometimes music is like any other commodity.
Did Alice Donut move enough units? No.
Did they get name dropped by famous celebrity fans? No.
Did they win popularity contests? (aka - Grammys) No.
Did they get on a soundtrack that defined a generation, like Natural Born Killers? No.
Let's make some mean observations:
Alice Donut was like the cool local food truck. It showed up at local festivals and sometimes a local business, and sold you great food that you'd never had before. Unfortunately that food truck didn't have a good business model and doesn't exist anymore. There's worse food at every corner McDonald's in America. You know which bands can be compared to McDonald's. Bands that everyone "loved" but their music wasn't that great and you can find on nearly every rock station in this country.
There's a new Yoko Ono Biography clocking in at over 550 pages. Yoko Ono is another one of those overrated "geniuses" from the 70's. If she didn't f@ck John Lennon, her music would be forgotten by history and she certainly wouldn't have had an opportunity to make music into her 80's. John Lennon saved her from being a smelly old hippie playing at hoity toity art galleries. If I was a millionaire, I am confident that I could interview every person who has every been in Alice Donut and churn out a 500 page biography making them sound more important than the Beatles. Because if it was about the music, no one would know who Yoko Ono is.
As much as I love Alice Donut, in hindsight, I'm convinced that they were victims of bad luck. When the band released their magnum opus, Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children, I think that if the band didn't have Chet on the cover and simply named the album Things Have Never Looked Better, while showing the urban decay of New York, that album would have broken through.
Alice Donut was a true American original. They sang songs about people on the marginalized edges of society. Bob Dylan mumbles about the tragedies of the American Experience and he's a genius. Alice Donut purposely off-tuned their instruments and had the most unique voice in the history of punk music and they are left on the curbside. They don't have musical peers, the only have friends and label mates. It's hard to market the uncategorized....
But I'm telling you, they were great.
And they have nothing to show for it.
Well, nothing except for my unhealthy obsession for them.
I once knew a girl named Lisa, which is another story for another day...
I went to the Rock Hall a few months back and technically Alice Donut is there.
Maybe one day they'll surprise me and release more music-