Monday, July 23, 2007

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Yeah, it's a song by the Beatles but that's probably another blog about great influences in music in the last decades. Nan usually writes those kinds of historical musical retrospectives, probably because she's got more history than I do.

(Checks email for ConCLAYve pink slip)

I was thinking about cars. Probably because my daughter is bugging us for her first car. The marketing people at the big car companies must sit there with a thesaurus to try and come up with yet another jazzy description to get you to buy the car when everyone knows that as long as the stereo plays Clay in the front and back, everything else is just superfluous. I mean can it get me to the Newark concert on time? OK, then I don't care if it is bright yellow and looks like a Tonka car and the horn sounds like Britney Spears without studio correction software.

So I started looking through the automaker websites and it seems everything reminded me of Clay Aiken. First, the Toyota site which talked about cinema-quality surround sound. I can attest to that, in my Toyota Clay's music makes a vibration in my…..chest. Then they note, "with amenities like these, you can surely sense it."

Then there's the claims of powerful performance which I'm sure they meant on the concert stage and not in the privacy of his own home or anything. After all, on the tour of his house, he wouldn't show us the bedroom because of underwear on the floor. I guess those performances were done in haste.

Finally, it seems my Toyota has a comprehensive safety system. I need to write to them and tell them that Jerome did NOT come in the trunk as promised.

Then there are the hybrids. This quote is perfect… "When a car becomes more, it surprises you at every turn." We heard those same quotes from a reviewer from Columbus, OH

Aiken’s strongest moment was his performance of Lover All Alone, for which he wrote the lyrics. In spite of jarring intonation problems from his guitarist, he loosened his grip on the polished, practiced stage manner and truly connected with his own soul.

And for those few minutes, the squealing fans, the strong-willed women, the devoted husbands and the rest of the audience fell absolutely silent in appreciation.

as well as a man seeing Clay for the first time since American Idol who said to a fan
Man, this is a great show isn't it?' "What guy is an entertainer! I always thought he had the best voice. My wife made me go to the American Idol show when it was here, but I haven't seen him since. This guy is great!!

Clay first bought Volvos after he became a professional singer. He probably related to the fact that the Volvos have a "unique front structure."

They also offer a great rear seat entertainment system for backseat listening pleasure. He must use that from time to time because as he reminds us nightly...

But last week at a tour Meet and Greet, he told fans he likes Audis now too. I found this interesting but once I saw the Audi marketing people at work, I knew why. It seems that "Audi represents Vorsprung".

Now, I've never found a tractor sexy and I lived near farms years ago. But apparently, I will find his tractor sexy since John Deere tells us that we don't have to worry about stalling and that their LoadMatch can adjust speed and force to maximize available power in all applications. Phew? Do they take American Express?

Must be something to do with that unique front structure in the Volvo. I know my volvo's never been the same and I don't even drive one.

Clay's on tour right now, check out his fanclub site for the schedule through August 19th.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Clay and Kimmel: Ding Dong, Perez is Dead


Celebrity gossip blogger and frequent defendent Mario Lavandeira, aka Perez Hilton, died tonight as a result of fatal injuries suffered in a freak accident off the Pacific Coast involving the Coast Guard. Mr. Lavandeira was aboard a yacht belonging to a celebrity who has asked to remain anonymous. “One minute he was there leaning on the railing, and the next minute, somebody pus--I mean, he must have fallen overboard. Nobody noticed him missing for a while, but when we did, we called the Coast Guard, pretty much right away. I think. Hey, there was a lot of alcohol involved,” revealed one anonymous source. Arriving on the scene, Coast Guard officials tragically mistook Lavandeira for a rare species of orange-crested killer whale and shot him repeatedly in the posterior with a harpoon. The Coast Guard regrets the error; an investigation is pending.

The first of Mr. Lavandeira's VH1 specials, What Perez Sez, was due to air in September, but was shelved due to pending litigation.

(Pitch darkness in Clay’s bedroom. The phone rings. A loud groan from Clay. The bedside light comes on. His eyes squeezed shut, Clay picks up the receiver and hears...)


Clay (yawning): Jimmy, y’ could wait until yore done havin’ sex ta call me. Makes me feel like some kinda creepy voyeur or somethin.’

Kimmel: I just can’t believe it. Oh, my God. This is big...REALLY, REALLY big.

Clay (bemused smile): Y’know what Ah cain’t believe? That Sarah’s still puttin’ up with yore puffed-up ego. Conceited much? (laughing) Hey, put her on...Ah bet she’d tell me a different story.

Kimmel: Clay, turn on the TV...NOW.

Clay: Jimmy, it’s three in the mornin’ here. The only thangs on are reruns o’ those dang Ta Ketch a Predator shows, bad slasher movies an’ infomercials fer that Miracle Mop. An’ Ah alriddy bought one.

Kimmel (insistently): Turn on CNN. DO.IT.

(Clay stumbles out of bed in a ratty UNCC t-shirt and pajama bottoms and flips on the TV. He sinks onto the edge of the unmade bed and jabs clumsily with the remote. Bathed in the TV screen’s flickering blue light, he stares in amazement as we hear the somber drone of a newscaster.)

Clay: Holy crap. What--

Kimmel (gleefully): Incredible, huh?

Clay (beginning to smile): How the heck--?

Kimmel: I know! Can ya believe it? Talk about ironic. I guess now we'll never know What Perez Sez.

Clay (drily): Isn't that a tragedy. (silence, as they watch some more) Boy, how embarrassin.’ Ah mean...Ah always said karma would bite him in the ass, but Ah never in a million, zillion years thought--

Kimmel (laughing): It’s classic! A modern day Moby Dick. Heh heh heh.

Clay (bewildered): Hey, Jimmy...what’re YOU so happy about? Ah mean...y’know Ah have a few reasons ta have a beef with him...but what did he do ta YOU?

Kimmel: Clay, are you kidding? This guy is a bleeding barnacle on the Botoxed butt of Hollywood--

Clay (wincing): Whoa, Jimmy -- too much alliteration fer three in the mornin.’

Kimmel: --And New York. Nah, I’m ecstatic. And so is most everybody else out here, I’m sure. (teasingly) Sooo...of course you’re going to the funeral.

Clay (incredulous laugh): Oh, aren’t you funny. An’ ANYone? Most of showbiz is prolly breakin’ out the champagne. Ah bet they’ll declare a citywide holiday and organize a parade down Hollywood Boulevard. Go ta the funeral? HAH! Ah’d rather walk around with a house cat in heat plaistered ta the top o’ mah head than show mah face thayre. ‘Course, mebbe Ah should...somebody rilly needs ta shovel some lime inta that grave.

Kimmel: Yeah, just like the outhouse at boy scout camp.

Clay: A rose garden compayred ta this. Although mebbe what he rilly needs is a stake through the heart.

Both: Oh, wait...

Clay (slyly): know everbody out thayre...any idea whose yacht it was?

Kimmel: many candidates, so little time. Still, brilliant idea, huh? Whoever did it deserves a medal. Sure wish I’d thought of it. Of course, they probably wouldn’t let me keep my show in prison.

Clay: Ah don’t know, Jimmy...if VH1 would give Perez Hilton a reality show, Ah don’t see why they wouldn’t let YOU do one as a jailbird. Rilly,’s somethin’ ta think about. ‘Course you’d hafta commit some kinda felony first.

Kimmel: Oh, I’m sure I can think of somebody else I’d like to bump off. After all, a certain blowhard "comedian" who looks like Woody Woodpecker is taking over the Tonight Show in two years. I sure wouldn't mind THAT gig.

Clay (giggling): Lemme know if you need money fer ammo.

Kimmel: Will do. Anyway...I thought you’d wanna know about this.

Clay: Oh, absolutely. Well, Ah guess Ah better git on the phone an’ call off that hit man. So sense in wastin’ the money now, huh?

Kimmel: Nope. (off, to Sarah) Hey, would it’ve killed ya to take that jam outta the fridge first? Yow. Okay. (to Clay) Later, dude. (He hangs up quickly.)

(Clay switches off the TV and climbs back into bed, singing softly to himself in the darkness)

Clay (smiling dreamily): “Ding dong, Perez is daid...”
Many thanks as always to my partner in crime Fountaindawg for her fabulous 'shop.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Houston - We've Got Interviews

On July 3rd, a really good interview with Clay Aiken was printed in the Houston Chronicle. The interviewer, Joey Guerra, actually asked interesting questions and elicited some great responses from Clay -- who was his usual funny, chatty self:

Clay Aiken embraces his inner dork
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Clay Aiken — despite the stylishly shaggy 'do — still isn't hip.

"I'm never going to be, and I'm fine with that. We all must embrace our inner dork," he says with a laugh.

Aiken has still managed a successful post-American Idol career as the soundtrack of choice for enthusiastic grandmothers. He performs Friday with the Houston Symphony, and he doesn't expect to see a lot of people his age in the crowd.

"People always come up to me and say, 'My grandmother's your biggest fan,' " Aiken, 28, says. "There's a misconception among these ladies that I'm cool and hip and now. And they think that by liking me, it makes them cool and hip and now.

"But shhh. We aren't going to tell them that I'm not cool and hip at all."

An affable Aiken took time to talk about his future as a talk-show host (maybe), turkey basters (keep reading) and how Claymates saved Jericho from TV extinction (seriously).

Q: Fans still get worked up over you. What's with the enduring Claymania?

A: I don't get it. I don't know why. They don't see me right now in my pajamas, with my hair all messed up, one contact out. There's nothing to be excited about, honestly.

Q: What's the most unique gift you've received from a fan?

A: You mean turkey-baster unique? Like that? Because I've gotten one of those. Let's just let you sit on that for a minute. (Brief pause.) And there it is.

The show Jericho . . . I loved it. I started blogging about it on my fan site. It got canceled, and I blogged about how upset I was. I said, "The Claymates can do anything. How do we get this show back on the air?"

Honestly, within a week they had organized a campaign amongst Jericho fans to send nuts to CBS. It kind of started in that place. And it's back on the air! It just blows my mind.

Q: Do you feel that Aiken love in Texas?

A: Texas is really a tough market for pop. I think sometimes the fans don't understand, and they think I hate Texas. I love Texas. It's just people there don't love me that much. You want me to come, you've got to come to the show!

Q: Any songs that didn't make the cut on A Thousand Different Ways?

A: Things other than covers. Sorry, I'm being way too honest today. How do I say this politically correctly? I was strongly encouraged by other sources to do an album of covers. There was the feeling that it might be successful because there'd been success with Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow doing covers. I guess the argument against that would be I don't have the reputation that Rod Stewart has. I really don't have the credibility that he has, so there's no reason for me to do them.

Q: Do you like the disc at all?

A: It did turn out to be something I was really proud of. My mom's always told me, 'Take lemons . . .' I think we really did that.

Q: Are you itching to do new material?

A: The goal for the next album is to go with one producer. The person we picked is very credible, has won Grammys and has really done an eclectic mix of stuff. The hope is that we'll be able to find really great songs that suit me and produce them in a way that . . . makes me hip without trying too hard. I'm sorry I'm teasing you, but you're getting more than anybody else.

Q: Do you hear anything on Top 40 radio that you can relate to?

A: This Rihanna girl — she's got a great voice. I really think she deserves to be where she is. . . . (But) what happened to Whitney Houston on the radio? Not literally — let's not go there — but what happened to that kind of stuff on Top 40? I think nowadays radio doesn't care how good someone sings. They just care whether or not people can fake having sex while standing up dancing to it. That's all they want.

Q: What was the first record you purchased?

A: I got in big trouble when I was 6 or 7. They had that Columbia House, seven albums for a penny or something like that. I was young enough to not really know what I was doing, and I stuck the little penny on. You want to talk about being completely not cool and hip? One of the ones that I remember was Crystal Gayle. God help me. It's somewhere around the house.

I don't know if that's my first album, but it's the one that I remember — and it's got a better story.

Q: What one record would people be surprised to find in your collection?

My brother's a Marine, and he's into this group called Breaking Benjamin. I don't know much about them, but I own that. I wanted to kind of see what he was listening to. There's a song called Diary of Jane that I think is pretty good. . . . Breaking Benjamin is going to kill themselves because they got mentioned in the same article (as) Clay Aiken. There goes the rep.

Q: You've got a great sense of humor. Ever consider hosting a talk show?

A: I'd be great. There are probably 15, 17 different shows I could pitch. One of the basic ones would just be going around and letting America tell their story. Everybody has a story, if you let them tell it. I'd love to do Charles Kuralt's On the Road again, somehow. I loved that.

But (by) the same token, I'd love to have a variety show. Like Andy Williams or Carol Burnett or Donny and Marie. I remember my mom watched the Mandrell sisters' show like it was some sort of religion.

Q: If you're the anti-cool singing star, who's the ultimate pop hipster?

A: I think that Justin Timberlake's going to have that market cornered for a while. And I honestly believe that he's extremely talented. He can believably pull out an album like (FutureSex/LoveSounds). I'm not a huge fan of that one, but I'm a fan of his.

Q: Will we ever see you bring SexyBack?

A: I'm actually going to do — God help me for saying this — with the Houston Symphony, a little bit of SexyBack. We're going to do a little medley of songs that people wouldn't expect to hear with an orchestra. I know that it's not going to be cool. I have no problem making fun of myself.

I could never pull songs like that off without knowing where my place is, and it's not as Justin Timberlake. Thank God we have him. I'm happy to be the person who gets the old ladies covered.

Stripedshirts had given us a heads-up that this interview would be happening. She has been in correspondence with Mr. Guerra, and was fortunate to receive 4 excerpts of answers that were saved but not put into the original article. Thank you stripedshirts! Wonderful Extras:

On today's music:
`If it doesn't have a melody or a hook, I really can't get into it. If it's just people screaming, I get confused. It reminds me of my childhood too much.''

``The first preset on my radio is the top 40 station, and I try my best to listen to it. But I find myself switching away and going to the AC station or the country station or the Christian station. There are so few real songs on top 40 anymore. And so few real singers. I'd love to try to find a middle ground between songs that are great, hopefully good singing and production that's current.

``I think nowadays radio doesn't care how good someone sings. They just care whether or not people can fake having sex while standing up dancing to it. That's all they want.

On being roommates with Kimberley Locke:

``She and I became really good friends. I think she was probably a better roommate than I was. I was lazy and kind of messy. She's very meticulous and likes to get her stuff done on time. She would wake up at 6:30 in the morning. By the time she was back from the gym, I was just rolling out of bed, sitting in my pajamas watching TV. She would say, 'Clean up this kitchen! Leaving dirty dishes in the sink.'''

On Idol: The Musical:

``I just heard about it not too long ago. I don't know what to think about it. I think it's kind of flattering, a little bit. Someone put some money into it. They think people are going to show up. I kind of want to see it. That way if they do make fun of me, they'll have to deal with me sitting right there. And then I will boo them loudly. :hehe

On his Broadway aspirations:

``When you grow up in N. Carolina, you don't really think about being a pop singer. Maybe you might be a country singer. But when you sing in school, the thing that you do is theater. I never really had any aspirations to do (Broadway). But I'd never really seen a real Broadway play until after I got off of Idol. When I watch them, I'm like, 'Wow - people think I can do this?' I've seen Wicked, and I'm like, 'Whoa!'''

Joey also included this lovely remark about his interview w/ Clay:

He has been warm, funny and sincere. This recent interview was particularly entertaining. I often laughed out loud, as did he.

Yes, Joey . . . He is quite an entertaining and charming man.
And not bad looking either!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Aiken's Aching Feet

After a blog at the Official Clay Aiken Fanboard about the media's lack of attention to really important matters like the plight of the Ugandan children and the lack of attention to Unicef's plea for the children of Afghanistan . . .

Clay made the following statement to Entertainment Tonight regarding the Terror Over Tulsa:

Now, in an exclusive statement to ET, the singer tells his side of the story, saying, "While sleeping on a plane over the weekend, my foot evidently found a home on the arm rest of the passenger seated directly in front of me. I didn't realize I was causing the woman any distress until she woke me up with a quick hit to the chest.

"Unfortunately, being that this happened on a plane, the FBI was called in to investigate and eventually we were all sent on our way. I'd like to thank everyone for their concern; I am fine and have taken steps to prevent any foot wandering in the future."

Clay cleverly implies that there are far greater sources of distress in the world. "Now that I have your attention," he continues, "if you'd like to learn more about how you can help the world's children, please visit"

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

The Associated Press is reporting that Clay Aiken was detained on an airplane due to a disturbance. He was flying to Tulsa from Houston after rocking a sold out show there Friday night.

I guess the disturbance was some woman who has a sandal phobia. According to an eyewitness who gave a statement to the FBI (and Clay himself at the Tulsa pre-concert Meet and Greet later that day,) Clay fell asleep with one leg crossed so that his foot was touching the arm rest of the chair near him. Now despite perceptions that Clay is short, he's actually 6'1” with very long legs. (Not to mention, very big feet....) See Exhibit 1.

The witness reported that the woman smacked his foot and told him to move it but he didn't wake up. So she continued to swat at him and smack him until he woke up to her assault. Clay confirmed this story at the Tulsa Meet and Greet and during the Tulsa concert Saturday night, he joked that the woman “hit my toe out of my shoe.” You can see it here in this video from the Tulsa concert. It's a 9 minute video with other funny stuff so watch it all the way through but the first reference is right at the beginning.

The woman was led away to be questioned by authorities when the plane landed but the AP reports no charges were filed. I wonder what her issue is? Is she just really an angry person? Did she have a bad day? Did she think Clay's foot had been in Kelly Ripa's mouth?

Of course, because the AP story fails to mention that Clay was asleep and the woman assaulted him, all of the news outlets this morning are carrying this story like it was a fight between the two of them. Journalism at its best (worst?) once again.

Now, if I had the great fortune of sitting next to Clay Aiken on an airplane and his foot was touching my armrest, I would wait until he deplaned and carve out the piece of the seat pleather with my teeth. Ebay Gold. And probably a cracked tooth.

I would probably also get arrested but that would be because I was either massaging his foot or sucking his toes. I mean they must hurt because he used to bite his toenails. I wouldn't want him to get an infection or anything.

I also think the FBI may have missed the boat. The report should have included the standard Clay sighting information required of anyone spotting Clay. What did his hair look like, how was he dressed? Does he snore? Drool? His roommates from American Idol claim he sings in his sleep, does he take requests?

Clay joked about the incident during the Tulsa concert. He has a week off before the tour continues for six weeks and I hope he won't have to appear in Federal Court as the victim of the Podiatric Assault. Will they submit his shoe as evidence? Is there an evidence bag big enough to hold it? Can I have it when they are done?

Clay has a tremendous sense of humor and even though getting woken up while being assaulted by someone who doesn't want an autograph has to be disconcerting, he was able to laugh about it tonight. And just like this incredibly funny bit from the Houston concert, he's found a way to make this very strange incident funny too.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Clay sings "Lover All Alone" in Houston

The fabulous Clay Aiken sings "Lover All Alone," a song from his album A Thousand Different Ways (this track available only via download on iTunes). Clay wrote the lyrics; David Foster and Emanuel Kiriakou wrote the music. This clip is from last night's concert at Jones Hall in Houston, Texas. Fantastic video by spotlightlover of an incredible performance by Clay. Enjoy!

I'm so glad that Pink posted this gorgeous rendition of Lover All Alone. Back in May of 2006 (WOW - that's a long time ago!) I posted a story about my acting experiences and I talked a bit about the fabulous Barbara Cook in my blog What GB Shaw Doesn't Know Won't Hurt Him. I talked a bit about "inner monologues" and how I could see the amazing growth in Clay's emotional connection to his music. Now, more than a year later - we come to this beautiful performance. With a camera that is inches from his face - there's no hiding. The camera picks up everything and it's impossible to fool it. Sometimes, as an actor, I found it was easier to embody a character farther from myself than to simply be myself on stage. That Clay is sharing something so personal with his audience is amazing. That he is able to convey it so simply and purely - without artiface - is incredible. The vulnerability and pure reality of it is exquisite and so real -- that Barbara Cook would be tha-rilled with his simple honesty. Bravo Clay and Thank You.

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