Monday, March 15, 2010

Fan of the Month!

In last year's Songs for March, here's how I described this, my least-favorite month:

"Facts about March:
1) It is not spring.
2) It is not winter.
3) It is cold (kind of).
4) It is mild (sometimes).
5) It does not come in or out like a lion.
6) It does not come in or out like a lamb.
7) It does come in and out like a crotchety geezer, one foot in the grave, one foot in the bathtub, temperamental but never dynamic, inconsistent but never interesting.
8) It is a stagnant and tepid puddle that you can't jump over.
9) It is probably the worst.

...It will piss tepid rain enough days in a row to give you constancy, at least, only to vary with a petulant thunderstorm. It will fluctuate so much in temperature that nobody can possibly remain healthy. It is not the end, and it is not the beginning, but thirty-five miles of garbage that you just have to endure on this, your drive to better weather and happier times."


One year (and one northern move) later, all of that remains true. I dislike the month of March, the same way I dislike all liars. And make no mistake: March is a thieving, filthy, remorseless, craven LIAR.

To outweigh the month itself, March's FOM had to be extra-awesome: someone from faraway lands with exotic tastes and quixotic pursuits; a man of mystery and of passion, transcendent radness, resplendent beauties, and enough imported tea to kill a sherpa.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you a man for every month of every year...

March's Fan of the Month, Sanjeet in Grand Rapids!

(If you'd like to be a future Fan of the Month, just email with "FOM" in the Subject. I promise every email is read, so fire away!)


Sanjeet, but my friends call me Jeet, and my lovers call me Wicker Sangria.


Where y'at?
Right now I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Depending on how awesome I want you to think I am, I can be known to also claim Detroit, Nashville, Georgia, or the entire upper Midwestern United States as needed. I also can claim the sub-continent of India by virtue of my brown skin, quick wit, and natural skill with machines.

(Editor's Note: And he can predict the future with ease!)

Something the average interweb browser wouldn't know about me is…?
(Not answered, puzzlingly.)

The music scene in Grand Rapids is…?
Not as good as the one I left behind in Nashville, but not terrible either. To be honest, the music scene I regularly take part in these days starts and ends in my shower, but I do know Grand Rapids has a wide array of venues both large and small that attract some decent talent. We get a tour stop from most of the big names (Lucero made a stop in early 2008, and I think I saw David Archuleta driving a Prius to the local Dairy Queen last week). There’s no shortage of kids with guitars in this town, but what we’re missing is a real Chris Milam type who is going to transcend the music scene and make this city known for more than Gerald Ford and Amway.

(Editor's Note: Chris just canceled plans for his next album, titled "Gerald Ford and Amway.")

Whatcha do for a living?
I’m a third year medical student at Michigan State University. I specialize in being poor, kissing ass, and making it happen. I meet lots of interesting people, too. A few weeks back I took care of a man who used to work in a traveling fair and ran the Elephant Ear tent (it’s actually real bits of elephant that make them good).

When was the last time you ate at Burger King?
I probably had some French toast sticks in 2000 from BK. Unlike previous Fan of the Month Luke, I’ve actually been tempted to go back ever since the creepy King started making an appearance on television and at Halloween parties. Did you know BK makes their fries out of dehydrated powder that is reconstituted with oil? The mixture is then poured into molds, fried with some proprietary process, and then served to you with a smile. That’s what I heard. I hope I didn’t ruin them for anyone reading this. Actually, I do.

You have one meal left in life but it has to be fast food. You can pick and choose different items from different joints. Name that meal!
Chik-fil-A 1/2 lemonade-1/2 sweet tea, chips and queso from SATCO, a chipotle chicken burrito, a 6-pack of chicken nuggets from Chik-fil-A, and an M&M + Cookie Dough concrete from Sheridan’s Frozen Custard. Of course I’d trade all of this for a couple bites of Prince’s Hot Chicken any day, but you asked for “fast” food, and we all know that Prince’s has to make chicken for far too many hookers, politicians, and masochistic Vanderbilt students to possibly be very fast.

(Editor's Note: If you live anywhere near a Sheridan's, go to it now and forever like you might Mecca. Pray in its direction thrice daily. And, for the love of God, try the Buckaroo.)

You have one meal left on earth, period. Name that meal.
Probably something at Charley’s Crab, a somewhat limited chain of seafood restaurants in Michigan, Florida, and Hilton Head Island. The original is located in Troy, Michigan and the proprietor disappeared at sea in the 1990's, which lends a certain mystique to the place. During the month of June there’s a two-week period where they have fresh sockeye salmon from the Pacific Northwest flown in every morning. I’d probably have some of that. Well, either that or an entire Prince’s Hot Chicken, extra-hot. If I actually finished an entire chicken it probably would be my last meal on earth because of the gaping hole it would leave in my gastrointestinal tract. Not even a slice of Mama Prince’s chess pie could stop that from happening.

What music publications/blogs/sites do you read? Any of them good?
Chris Milam’s Blog, Lucero’s website, sometimes the Billboard charts. I read lots of non-music blogs too.

Pick your dream concert. Any three (living) artists, anywhere, any venue, any month, any time of day. What is it? What's it called?
The concert would be on my birthday, June 2nd, at some kind of contemporary outdoor amphitheater. Maybe Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado or DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan. 3EB (Third Eye Blind) would open with a half set for Lucero, Counting Crows, and Journey who would play complete sets. Stan Bush would join everyone on stage at the end for a rousing rendition of “The Touch."

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Committee would design and choreograph the fireworks and laser-light show for the conclusion of the concert, except this time the fireworks would be real and the Chinese military wouldn’t be present with extremely loud drums. Everyone in the audience would receive free BBQ Nachos with their ticket for every shot of Jameson or sip of beer Ben Nichols takes throughout the night. (Kind of like free tacos when Vandy scores 80 points at a home game….do they still do that?)

(Editor's Note: Score 80 points? I don't think so.)

I heard you had an encounter once with Ben Nichols at a bar. Care to elaborate?
Yeah, I ran into him after the Grand Rapids show in the spring of 2008 at the bar. I bought him a shot of Jameson. We talked about the Mercy Lounge and how the band enjoys playing there. I’m wondering if something in this conversation caused him never to return to Grand Rapids since that show. Maybe that bear hug and ass grab was a bad idea.

You can pick one album as your morning alarm for a year. The songs and their “wake-up” segments will shuffle randomly, but you are stuck with this album for a full year. What is it?
Probably “Blue” by Third Eye Blind. I feel like that album has a bunch of songs that would be good to wake up to, each for their own unique reasons.

If you could fight any public figure, who would it be and why?
You know, I think the answer to this question changes weekly. For instance, if you asked me last week, I’d have said Senator Jim Bunning from Kentucky or Bob Costas. This week, it’s Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook). I’m not jealous of his fame or money or admittedly awesome idea, but it blows my mind that folks are willing to throw billions at him without any promise or expectation of profitability in the future.

Recently, I was wasting time on Facebook while a patient of mine was getting a colonoscopy and I managed to find my way into ol’ Mark’s Facebook profile. Have you ever checked it out? Browse through his pictures. He seems like a huge dick. It’s something about his grin. To confirm my thoughts, I looked him up on Dickipedia, and truth behold, THERE HE WAS. Zuck has hot sisters though.

(Editor's Note: That entry is ridiculous, awesome, and ridiculously awesome. One highlight: "In the grand dick tradition that has been passed on for hundreds of years, Zuckerberg attended both Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, a combination which boasts a 97.5% total-dick graduation rate towards advanced degrees in 'General Entitlement' as well as 'Being an Asshole.'”)

Spring break! Any big plans?
None, wanna make some? In reality though, for the first time I have a Spring Break that’s actually in spring (last week in April). Maybe I’ll come to New York.

Fill in the blanks!

Five favorite artists from the 60's are…?
Oh, great. The Scooby Doo Gang? Did JFK have a band? Honestly, my musical education began in 1996 when a girl in 8th grade told me it was no longer acceptable to listen to “Soft Rock Favorites of Yesterday and Today” in my mom’s minivan. I don’t really know what was around in the 60s. The Beatles? I’ll say the Beatles. Absolutely the Beatles. Four more? You tell me.

(Editor's Note: You'll get the Monkees and like it!)

Five favorite artists from the 90's are…?
Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, Green Day, Eve 6, Oasis, Eminem, Live.

I said five!
Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, Green Day, Eve 6.

Five favorite artists from the 2000's are…?
Lucero, Chris Milam, Pawtuckets (formerly), Jimmy Eat World, Black Eyed Peas, Owl City, My Morning Jacket, Snow Patrol.

I said five!
(Not answered, puzzlingly.)

Some more singer/songwriters I love are… ?
Eminem, Journey, Owl City, MGMT, Jimmy Eat World, Three 6 Mafia, Tenacious D. my favorite Beatle.
Shit, I’m caught. Ummm…Definitely Ringo.

(Editor's Note: Yes--Ringo's on the big-board!) my favorite adjective in the English language.

Is non-contributory a word?
Absolutely. We use it in medicine all the time. When giving a case presentation on a patient, if something in the history, physical exam, or laboratory studies is unimportant, you say it’s “non-contributory” to the diagnosis. That way, the people listening to you know you’ve thought of those things, but that they’re unimportant to think about at this time. I always say things are non-contributory, especially when I haven’t thought about those things. my favorite month of the year.
October my least-favorite month of the year.
March, although being Fan of the Month this year might shift my least-favorite month to January.

Favorite wrongly-heard song lyric is...? (e.g. "Excuse me while I kiss this guy...")
I really enjoy it when Night Ranger sings “…and Peebo rides tonight” in their song "Sister Christian." I always picture Peebo Bryson in a Batman costume taking to the streets in the Batpod, getting ready to punch faces (probably Mark Zuckerberg’s). It’s comforting. Like warm oatmeal.

(Editor's Note: Here's the song. Supposedly the real lyric is "You'll be alright tonight," but I have my doubts.)

Favorite rock album of the Oughts?
That Much Further West by Lucero.

Favorite non-rock album of the Oughts?
The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack was pretty enjoyable.

Favorite movie (you can pick separate ones for comedy and drama)?
Comedy: Transformers. Drama: Transformers.

Favorite TV show (you can pick separate ones for comedy and drama)?
Tie between Scrubs/The Office and Heroes.

Rank these items in order of awesomeness: Green Day, bears, Supernachos, David Letterman, tuxedos, March Madness, early childhood.
1) Early Childhood
2) March Madness
3) Supernachos
4) Bears
5) David Letterman
6) Green Day
7) Tuxedos

Out of the 12 months (12 being worst), where would you rank March? What's #1?
March stands dead last. Number One is October. This month kicks off the end of the year holiday season, starting with Halloween and giving way to Thanksgiving and Christmas. October is when the leaves are most vibrant and the cold wind gains teeth. Starbucks rolls out the pumpkin spice latte and the Michigan cider mills are pumping out gallons of liquid gold.

(Editor's Note: Yes to everything he just said, forever and always.)

I did a "Monthly Playlist" throughout 2009, and have taken a brief hiatus. I need your help. Give me 5 "Songs for March."
I’m terrible at this, but here goes nothing:
1) Lucero "Can't Feel a Thing" - On my playlist right now, I enjoy how the song steadily builds up, kind of how warm weather starts to creep in over the course of the month of March in Michigan.
2) MGMT "Kids" - A good time. I play this one in the car often.
3) Owl City "The Technicolor Phase" – I enjoy this song and it makes me think of Springtime.
4) Dropkick Murphys "The State of Massachusetts" - It’s March and that means Irish is in, and I didn’t want to pick a Flogging Molly song.
5) Journey "Don’t Stop Believin'" - I don’t think it matters what month it is, this will always make my top 5.

On a scale of 1 to the Girl-from-Slumdog-Millionaire, how awesome is St. Patrick's Day?
About a 7. I enjoy the holiday and all the merriment that goes into it, but leprechauns don’t quite excite me quite like the magic of Christmas or the ghouls of Halloween. I do support the Irish though, the castles, and their peoples, and their corned beef and hash.

(Editor's Note: McLove!)

February's Fan of the Month said she wanted a longer month. Are you willing to sacrifice a few days of March to go splitsies with her? Or is sharing for chumps?
Please, sharing’s for chumps! I think I learned that from a Snicker’s commercial I think. I’m an only child, and besides, I have no idea what this question is asking.

March Madness! Who ya got this year?
I’d love to say Vanderbilt, except after watching Ogilvy put up more travels than points in the semis of the SEC tournament yesterday, I’m having a couple doubts. Still, I’d love to see the ‘Dores make a big run into the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight. Also, I’d say Michigan State’s got a shot regardless of their intermittently shoddy play during the regular season because Izzo’s got some kind of magic voodoo that can get them farther than they should year after year.

(Editor's Note: FYI, nothing makes Chris cry faster than March Madness. The Memphis Tigers have permanently scarred him. I'm pretty sure, though I can't prove it, that all of his songs are really about Joey Dorsey.)

You can move anywhere in America for six months. Money, time, and job situation are no object. Name the place.
I think I’d check out San Francisco, California, especially if the six months included summer. I visited there a few years ago and thought it was a pretty cool city with lots of things to do and a great climate. I’m also curious about living in Savannah, Georgia. I hear lots of the houses are haunted there and there must be great seafood.

You can move anywhere on earth for six months. Same deal. Same place, or do you become an expat?
Udaipur, India. I’ve never been there, but my ancestors ruled the place with an iron fist and plenty of Tandoori Chicken. And by ancestors, I don’t just mean the people of India ruled the place, I actually mean my blood ancestors. We lived in a place called the Udaipur Lake Palace and fought off invaders for years until the British arrived in the 1600s under the guise of the East India Trading Company and infiltrated our ranks by providing what we crave most.

The city has a beautiful palace that appears to float in the middle of a lake, and a temperate climate that is much more tolerable than the rest of the sub-continent. And since I’m basically in line for the crown by blood relations, I’d be welcomed back to the seat of power with open arms and plenty of gulab jamun.

(Editor's Note: Everyone at Disney just started reading this blog.)

Of the many places you've called home in the past (Detroit, Macon, Nashville, mythical parts of India, etc.), where would you most like to claim home in the future?
Probably Detroit. It’s a severely underrated city and it needs a mending more than most places in the country. We need young professionals to stay and re-build the city so that it can survive in a post-automotive future.

You are going out tonight. You are going out to do whatever it is you would like to do for a fun night of festivity and frivolity. This can include anything from gulab jamun wrestling to horse-fighting to karaoke with Burt Bacharach. Anything. You get to assemble your posse for the night. You can pick ANY FOUR MEN OR ANY FOUR WOMEN on the planet, friends, celebrities, athletes, etc. Who is in your entourage and why?
1) Chris Milam! He KNOWS people!
2) Andre Agassi: My favorite athlete. I’m reading his book now and it sounds like he was an even bigger badass as a teenager than his loud clothes and fake mullet might have suggested.
3) Megan Fox: We’ve been dating for 8 months and I don’t think it’d be fair to leave her behind. 4) Steve: My best friend since childhood and someone who’s always got a plan.

Where will music be in 5 years? What will be the next "big thing"? Where would you like to see it go?
Digital distribution is already mainstream and hardly worth debating over anymore, but I think you will see physical media in the form of LPs and CDs persist for collectors, although volumes of production will decrease substantially. I think you’ll see Sony try to come out with another proprietary format like DVD-Audio, and it will fail. Subscription models for music delivery will persist and flourish, with company like Comcast, News Corp., Apple, Microsoft, and AT&T jockeying for a position to be the leader. I’m not sure exactly what the trend in sound and lyrical quality will be like. Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift will try to take over the world and there will be nobody but Wolf Blitzer to stop them.

(Editor's Note: Everyone at Sony/Universal/EMI just started reading this blog.)

Finally, how can I ever thank you for the support?
Please just get booked for Leno, man. My mom keeps asking about when it’s going to happen and she’s come to believe that this whole Conan/Leno ordeal was actually a fight over who gets to have you play on their show first.

Done and done. NBC gave me their word, after all.

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