One for Friday: Thelonious Monster, “Lena Horne Sings Stormy Weather”

I’ve haven’t meticulously combed through all the One for Friday entries meticulously to verify this assertion, but I believe today’s song represents the first time I’m featuring a track from someone who utilized his skills as a drug counselor to help out Drew Pinsky on Celebrity Rehab. Apparently, Bob Forrest, the chief songwriter and frontman for the band Thelonious Monster, went on to a career in drug counseling, even as he occasionally kept his various musical outfits going enough to put out the occasional album and play one-off gigs. Not only is that totally unexpected, I never even would have though to look into it until the time came to write today’s post.

I didn’t know very much about Thelonious Monster back when I was pulling their albums from the C Stacks to play them on air at the college radio station in the late-eighties and early-nineties. They were solid albums, always good for a spin. I didn’t seek out deeper information about the band’s influences and history, nor would I have likely found much if I had. It was just good music, there for the playing. And the band’s name, naturally, provided some easy banter on the air. At 90FM, it also afforded the opportunity to promote the nightly Jazzsides program when talking about the performer they name-checked. We took our opportunities for cross-promotions when we could.

Due in part to that lack of curiosity at the time, the band has remained locked in amber in roughly their 1989 derivation for me, even after all these years. I don’t think of them growing older, breaking up, moving on to other bands or entirely different professions. I’ve grown up, but it’s remarkable how easily I prevent the bands I used to listen to from doing them same, at least in the canals of my memory. I may be transported back in time when I hear certain songs, but my erroneous notion is that the bands playing them are waiting there for me, not having moved an inch.

It does funny things, that mix of history and nostalgia, especially when there are songs (or movies or books or…) to trigger the sensations. Sometimes the shifting sands of time don’t move as dramatically as they should, at least in the pliable realms of perception. Then again, if the journey is from a great song to playing second fiddle on an fairly exploitative TV show, maybe a little stasis is all right.

Thelonious Monster, “Lena Horne Sings Stormy Weather”

(Disclaimer: It looks to me like the Thelonious Monster records are largely, if not entirely, out of print. That said, it seems like a likely candidate for some level of artist reclamation that leads to the material being hawked on some site they eludes my cursory detective work. If someone with due authority to request its removal, I will gladly and promptly do so. Just ask R.E.M. I took their songs down this week after I was asked nicely. Well, nice-ish.)