Mike & Ted's Excellent Adventure?
|August 1, 1999
GRAND RAPIDS - One of the great things about living in the West Leonard neighborhood is all the interesting stores. Lots of Mom-n-Pop places, antique stores, mini-bakeries, tattoos, bars, groceries, used furniture, all sorts of interesting one-of-a-kind businesses, all within walking distance (even for me).
It was while visiting one of these stores (mostly used furniture) with Joseph and Rachel last week that I ran across this months surprise. I was not shopping for furniture, but I did see through the window of this place that they had a large eland head stuffed and mounted on the wall, and I was wondering what other dead animal parts they might be hoarding inside. Besides, it was beastly hot outside and I knew they had air conditioning.
I did not find anything in the above mentioned category to purchase, but they did have all sorts of interesting odds and ends in there, so I resigned myself to happily browsing around. One whole corner of this particular store was nothing but cardboard boxes crammed willy-nilly with unsorted and assorted "junk" which the proprietors had seen unfit to even display. After getting permission (see, I have matured somewhat) I proceeded to wade through this heap and see what I could find. Boy was I in for a shock!
About a third of the way into this pile, I found a box full of old albums. Most were severely water damaged, and moldy. One in particular caught my eye, as the person on the cover looked familiar. After wiping off the dust and grime, and scraping off the mold I was proved correct in my belief that the visage on the cover was indeed our beloved Mr. Murphy. I immediately ran to the counter and gave the lady my dollar. I raced home and hopped on the computer in order to verify what my better judgment said could never be true. After returning to the store to get Joseph and Rachel, I resumed my research.
Well, it turns out after contacting representatives at 4 recording companies, as well as a frantic call to an obviously annoyed person by the name of Ted, the existence of this recording was verified. Not only that, but it was now available on CD!! Due to contractual obligations to the aforementioned annoyed person it was not being advertised and only mentioned in hushed tones, but they did send me a copy.
As you can see, the cover is quite amusing and by itself I would think that it could cause nothing but amusement on the part of anyone viewing it, including Ted. But after listening to it I must say that his blatant expressions of perturbance were, if anything, restrained and justified. What a gentleman!
Now a whole slew of questions were bouncing around in my head-- Why had I not known about this? Why was Mike keeping this a secret? Does Eileen know? What about the ASPCA? How did he find the time?? Are there any others?? What other secrets does he have?? What in blue blazes is going on?!?!?!? Obviously it was time to confront the source.
I talked with Mike for about 3 hours before he would even admit that he had any knowledge of this subject whatsoever. Finally though, he did admit that yes, it was him, yes it was real, and yes he would fill me in on the gory details. So here is the background, abbreviated because I have already babbled enough at all of you.
Several years ago, Mike was involved in an automobile accident, which would have caused no second thoughts except for the fact that the other driver was the aforementioned Ted. Tempers flared, and both parties ended up in the clink for the evening.
Unfortunately it was a busy night and the company in the holding cell got less and less desirable. As you might expect, Mike (being gifted in this area) remained quite calm and as relaxed as one could be under the circumstances. Ted however, became increasingly nervous and agitated as the company grew more anti-social, so to speak. Eventually he reached such a state of panic that he could do nothing but hide under the cot and weep hysterically. Mike could not help but think what a pathetic coward he was being.
When they were finally released Mike was given an overly generous display of gratitude for not revealing the true identity of Ted to their cellmates, and told that he could have anything he wanted that was within Ted's power to grant. Mike, having always wanted to record an album, named that as his request. It was immediately agreed to. Unfortunately, this agreement was made before anyone knew what the album content was going to be.
Basically, it is a parody album, which song after song describes what a craven little coward this supposedly virile, masculine person really is. Fortunately, the recording company did not agree to any promotion or distribution!! So this potentially career ending recording never saw the light of day. Till now. Since the career in question is now over anyway, and since musically it seems to fit in to the current trend in 70's remakes, and since several pertinent statutes of limitations have expired, the record company in question (they asked to remain out of this) has decided to reissue (but not promote) this particular opus on CD.
I would not recommend it personally, but if you are interested, here are the songs included. In addition to the title track, there is:
Wing-Ding Sweet and Sour
Death by Fricasee
Fry it Up
Home Bound (as fast as I can run)
Workin' hard, Hidin' hard
A Thousand briquettes
Fear Fightin' son of a gun
Out of Courage
As you can probably imagine, with songs like these, who needs enemies! Anyway, I thought about including a wav file sampling of one of these beauties, but then I thought better of it. I will let you see what I saw that day in the store on Leonard street though, sans dust and mold (you get to see the CD version), and let your imagination do the rest.....
Till September, eat a good chair!