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Musically Speaking: The First International Music Olympics!

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JJ Rocks Article # 112: The First International Music Olympics!

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After watching the Olympics in Beijing I started thinking about what it would be like to have an international music Olympics every four years. And with the many genres of music and all the instruments being played, it would be a grand event for all to see. Just try to imagine musicians from around the world going for the gold in their individual styles and techniques. There could be events for every popular instrument and category of music being judged on composition, tasteful phrasing, emotion, technical achievement, and even crowd pleasing musical acrobatics. I can visualize the names of countries from all over the world printed not only on the backs of shirts, but on instruments, cases, bags, and of course tattoos!

So let’s go to the very first (imaginary) musical Olympics where the opening ceremonies are now in progress! And reporting live from Nashville “Music City USA” are our very own writer and editor JJ Rocks and Dorothy!
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JJ: Well Dorothy, here we are at the first international music Olympics! You can feel the energy coming from this huge crowd of spectators all gathered here in this new stadium built especially for this event.

Dorothy: Yes JJ, and I love the fact that it was designed to look just like a giant pile of unused cables like the kind that gather in bottom of your gig bag. You know, like the ones that I have to unravel once a month!

JJ: Yes! You are so right! I think that it’s called “The Cable Nest”. And I love how the supporting columns resemble huge beer bottles, and the floor resembles lost phone numbers, sticky guitar picks, and rusty harmonicas. But the coolest thing is the seating! There are 80,000 tables with candles and ash trays and more waitresses than I’ve ever seen in my life! And security is very tight for these events. They brought in bouncers from all over the world. But wait! Is that the sound of Harleys that I hear?

Dorothy: Yes it is JJ! The opening ceremonies are about to begin and bikers from all around the world will be riding in while the song “Born to be Wild” is being pumped through those giant sub woofers that resemble, well, sub woofers! I think this is to signify that Rock n’ Roll plans on taking home a lot of gold medals!

JJ: What is that on top of the guy’s head who is leading this pack of riders?

Dorothy: I’m not sure JJ. It’s either a large helmet that resembles a naked woman, or small naked woman that resembles a helmet!

JJ: Yes! That’s the kind of improvisational planning that shows the viewers just what kind of great event this is going to be!

Dorothy: Yeah, whatever.

JJ: So Dorothy, what do the viewers have in store for the opening ceremonies?

Dorothy: Well JJ, I had it all written down but the wind keeps blowing away the bar napkins. But I know that the first thing is going to be the ceremonial lighting of the bar candles on 80,000 tables! I think that there are going to be rock musicians marching in time, and progressive jazz players marching out of time. And of course there will be the acoustic guitar bar players with those funny little things on top of their tip jars that supposed to make you want to give them more tips.

JJ: I thought that tips were not allowed at the music Olympics.

Dorothy: Yeah, well what can you do? They are acoustic guitar bar players. Taking away their tip jar is like castration.

JJ: And what balls they have!

Dorothy: Yeah, whatever. What about classical music? Didn’t you have something written down about that?

JJ: Yeah, I used that napkin for my beer but it got wet and all the words started to run together. But wait! I can still make out some of the writing. Cool! It say’s here that 25% of all the money made from the musical competitions will go to Asians around the world! I guess good help is hard to find.

Dorothy: That’s agents JJ!

JJ: Whatever... just give me back my bar napkin! My beer is dripping!

Dorothy: Don’t forget, since the Music Olympics is being held in Nashville there is going to be a country music competition that is the first of its kind!

JJ: That’s right Dorothy, in this event the audience has to decide who wins medals! They will have to choose between a country band that’s trying to sound like a rock band and a rock band that’s trying to sound like a country band. Their decision will determine the new “Nashville sound”!

Dorothy: I can’t forget to remind everyone that just like the sports Olympics, only non professional musicians are allowed to compete.

JJ: You mean the players with day gigs right?

Dorothy: That’s right JJ!

JJ: They should have built a bigger stadium!

Dorothy: OK. I have an idea. Since the entire Olympics already happened and we are just pretending to be broadcasting live, why don’t we just move up to a video clip of the first event?

JJ: You shouldn’t have told people that! We are supposed to seem like we are on the air live! Our viewers don’t need to see the clips where the marching band got high for the first time and fell down because they became friends with the classic rock musician’s right before the show. Or how those tuba players got thrown out because of their stickers that read “size does matter”. Or how about that…..

Dorothy: JJ, Drop it. I think our viewers got the point. So now that you have blown the wind out of the sails that were driving the opening ceremonies, why don’t you just be quiet and pop the top on your favorite beverage and let me do the driving. OK folks! Now to our first event! (Even though its prerecorded) Thanks JJ!!!

JJ: Alright, let’s see it before my beer gets warm!

Dorothy: The first event is a prelude to the actual performances of all these fine musicians from around the world. It is dedicated to the unsung heroes of the music scene. These are the people whose contributions are usually undetected by the average audience member. This is the ‘Hundred Yard Dash for Beer” that will be executed by the girlfriends or wives of the band members who are performing in the Music Olympics. Their goal is to read the most inconspicuous hand gestures from a band member with clear interpretation which is judged by how fast they run to the bar and sweet talk the bartender into giving them a drink for their boyfriend or husband that is playing in the band.

Now don’t forget that points will be deducted for taking too long to get the bartenders attention away from talking to a costumer about his wife leaving him. Points will be deducted for spilling any portion of the beer that is intended for the thirsty and frantic musician!

JJ: The girl in front looks familiar.

Dorothy: Yes she does. I think I saw her last year at the Kaopectate Festival in Tijuana Mexico. She was a marathon runner!

JJ: Yeah, I heard that she got burned out at that event. No butts about it!

Dorothy: Bottoms up!

JJ: What a gas! Let’s move on to the first musical competition!

Dorothy: OK, here is the first clip, but I can’t make out what’s going on. The air in the stadium looks so smoggy!

JJ: This is the Reggae band competition! And that’s not smog you are seeing!

Dorothy: JJ where are you going?

JJ: Mmmm, nowhere. I was just going out to get a breath of fresh air.

Dorothy: Sit down! We have a lot of commentary to do! And this next clip is really worth talking about!

JJ: Yes Dorothy! It’s the guitar gymnastic event! And the first musician to compete is a Native American by the name of “Whatafa”! He has just finished his drink at the parallel bar and is now ready for the floor.

Dorothy: Do you mean floor exercise?

JJ: Whatafa!

Dorothy: And here he goes! I love his “windmill’ strumming motion that he is starting with! It reminds me of the Who! You know JJ, the first time that I saw this guy’s act he was playing behind his back!

JJ: I divorced my first wife because of that.

Dorothy: JJ! Watch! There he goes! He’s throwing his guitar 30 feet into the air and then does a triple back flip and lands into a split and ends his routine by catching his guitar in his teeth on a perfect Bb7 chord! The judges are going to love that! I think that he’s reaching for the gold!

JJ: No, he’s just trying to pick up the fillings that fell out of his mouth onto the floor after he caught his guitar! Anyway, he was out of tune and that has to mean point deductions.

Dorothy: No, because the types of people who like to watch this kind of competition don’t have ears anyway so it probably won’t be noticed.

JJ: Can you bring up the clip of the harmonica competition?

Dorothy: There aren’t any clips.

JJ: Why not?

Dorothy: Because they show up and sit in at all the events anyway so we didn’t need one! So let’s go to the drum competitions!

JJ: It looks like they are not completely set up yet.

Dorothy: Well JJ, you know how drummers are! We’ll check back in a while. Please allow me to bring up another video clip.

JJ: What in the hell is that! It looks like a giant mountain of flesh in a diaper with antlers! Is the computer malfunctioning?

Dorothy: No JJ! This is the newest Music Olympics entry from Japan! It’s the “Sumo Bagpipe playing” competition! I hear it’s the hottest craze since Sushi!

JJ: I think I’ll wait for it on “YouTube”. What about the “Solo Bar Entertainer” contest? Can we find that clip?

Dorothy: Yeah, if you wake me up when it’s over.

JJ: No man! You have to see this one because there are several interesting categories! First, for the keyboard lounge lizards there is the “How long can you hold a fake smile while playing Feelings” event. And then there’s the one for the refurbished yuppie neighborhood bar acoustic guitar players. It’s called the “I’m dedicated to Jerry Garcia and it doesn’t matter because you’re too young to know the difference” competition where the player has to pretend that he is in another time zone and everyone is his friend and faithful follower.

Dorothy: That sounds too easy because everyone knows that they are stuck in another time zone anyway! Where is the challenge?

JJ: That’s when we bring in the “Hecklers” to increase the difficulty of this event! They will be yelling things like “Play free bird!” and “Play something that we can dance to!”

Dorothy: Yeah, but I’ve seen these performers make it through this kind of pressure before. The points are too easy to get!

JJ: That’s when the waitress walks up to the stage and says “Could you please turn down? The couple sitting at the front table by the speaker is trying to have a conversation”. That’s when the real test for professionalism comes into play! And if they pass that test there is a chance for a gold medal! Those extra “kiss ass” points make all the difference!

Dorothy: Ok JJ, let’s move on to the some other events. I’m about to make a request for “Wooden Ships”!

JJ: Actually Dorothy, since it would take too long to watch every video clip of all the events, why don’t we just give our viewers a summery of the up coming competitions. That way they can go on line and see it when they want. Anyway, I could use a fresh beer!

Dorothy: Great idea JJ! But first as you know there has been some controversy about the age of some of the musicians. But since their parents are backing up their age and also spend a lot of money at the bars they take them to play in, there is no way to confirm how old they are. Maybe their guitars are just larger than they appear.

JJ: That looks like a normal Strat to me being playing by a child!

Dorothy: They are now using the words “size impaired”, so let’s just go to the up coming competitions!

JJ: That sounds good to me! But first let’s go to the drum competition one last time to see if they are finally set up!

Dorothy: Ok, here it is! Wow! What was that!!!

JJ: I’m not sure Dorothy But it looks like someone has ran out onto the floor where all the drums are set up and they are carrying some kind of package!!

Dorothy: Is it a suicide bomber?

JJ: Hold on! The bouncers just threw him to the ground! Now they are taking his package away from him! It’s alright! You can come out from under the desk! It was just a guy with a drum machine trying to sneak into the competition without being noticed!

Dorothy: What a relief! My heart can stop pounding now!

JJ: That’s OK Dorothy! Just remember that the last guy who tried that maneuver wound up doing hard time at the Holiday Inn in Plant City Florida! Let’s finish this so we can go downtown and catch the protesters at the Karaoke convention.

Dorothy: Sounds like a great time! So JJ, tell us about the up coming events and competitions!

JJ: Alright Dorothy! Coming up we have the big hair 80’s bands contest! I can smell the hairspray already! Then the blues jam competition where points are deducted for playing the same old blues licks and also every time the singer turns around and dictates who should take a solo. Then there is the horns competition where players get a chance to turn brass into gold! And of course the long anticipated “Bass player/ limbo event whose motto is “how low can you go”. And one of my favorites, the top 40 female vocalist competition for “how long can you last in the band” where a brand new first time girl singer is forced to share not only a school bus going across the country with five funky guys, but also is given the job of sweet talking the club owner into not canceling the bands contract because they sucked.

And don’t forget the Groupie/ band wives boxing matches (it may not be musical competition but it’s a hell of a time!). And for the younger local “rock star guitarist” hopefuls, there is the “how many effects pedals can you use in one song” showdown!

And of course there are the biggies like “how many instruments can you play with a beer bottle”. But in my opinion the most intense event of the entire Olympics is the songwriting competition! This is the event where the competitor has to write an entire song during a 20 minute break using only a bar napkin and a borrowed pen from the waitress! How can you top that!

Dorothy: Well JJ, for me it is the closing ceremonies when the Olympic flames from 80,000 candles are extinguished by the largest group of waitresses that has ever been gathered in one place!


JJ: I have to agree Dorothy, that’s a lot of bending over! Could you make me a tape of that?

Dorothy: JJ, we can’t forget when the Mayor of Nashville walks up to the podium with the Mayor of Cleveland where the next Music Olympics are being held in four years and say’s “last call” and “You don’t have to go home but you have to get the hell out of here!”

JJ: Yeah, that brought tears to my eyes. Especially when he handed over the bar tab for 80,000 tables to the Cleveland Mayor!

Dorothy: Actually, I think it was tears from your eyes straining to see the waitresses bending over!

JJ: Well, it’s motel time! Let’s leave the rest of this up to the imagination.

Dorothy: So this is JJ and Dorothy almost live from Music City USA saying, “We’ll see you in four years at the next Music Olympics!”
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