So there are all these hypothetical situations people talk about – five famous people you can have over for dinner; you can – apparently – traverse time with this (makes sense I guess, being that it’s a hypothetical). You can cherry-pick from the eras, have a seating plan that includes Abraham Lincoln sitting across from Lady Gaga and Norman Mailer leering at Drew Barrymore. You could of course play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – or, you know, just have Kevin Bacon there. And, since I’m suggesting this online I should probably have Adolf Hitler along for the party right? Or I could just invite Mike Godwin. Let him join the dots…
Well I thought we could play a much simpler game today – what one musician would you like to have for dinner. That is to say you have a famous musician over to your house, you cook for them, you plan the evening. Maybe they get to thumb through your records – or maybe you’re too embarrassed for them to see your collection. You might have made up a playlist, introduce them to some material you think they’ll like – or remind them of some old favourites…
You can make the call – any era, live or dead – but I’ve usually found the best dinner guests are indeed the living.
You might want to pick your all-time favourite musician. You might want to pick someone that you think you are interested in as a person – more so than for their music. People say they’d like to chat to Madonna for example. I hear the best way to win her over – and she can be tough – is by getting her some hydrangeas. She loves them.
So you might want a challenge – or you might want a pushover. Pick Jeremy Taylor and there’s a good chance he’ll cook for you.
I’ve never been the “Star Star type” – as The Rolling Stones (so delicately) put it. So I don’t have stories of famous musicians coming over for dinner. Nor do I have stories where I have desperately stalked musicians – or even planned the business of an interview in public.
So it was difficult for me to think of someone for this hypothetical – and probably my answer is very boring, but you’ll get the chance to tell me that. I probably should have picked up the phone and done some research before planning this. Silly me, but here goes…
For my hypothetical “guess which musician is coming for dinner” I pick Bob Mould.
I’ve always been a fan of a lot of the work that Bob Mould has done – but lately I’m revisiting the great Husker Du records (my favourites are Warehouse: Songs And Stories and Candy Apple Grey) and I’ve always loved his first solo album Workbook. There are other solo albums I dig too – and then there’s Sugar.
I’ve gone back to Sugar (I never really left) and back to Husker (I never really left) and in and around some of the best solo records. So many great records.
What I like about Bob Mould is the work – there’s so much of it that’s great. And the survival story. Here’s a guy who has done the battling-with-demons thing, moved on – in some way at least – from the acrimonious band break-ups. And he’s continued to create.
For me there’s still great material I’m discovering/re-discovering.
And I think he’d be interesting to talk to.
It’s really that simple. And really that boring. (I guess I should say I’m sorry, somehow).
But hey, didn’t I read that at one point Bob Mould retired from music and was, for a while, writing storylines for pro-wrestling? That’d be kinda fun to talk about, right?
What actually appeals most is that the evening could be spent – in all likelihood – talking about anything but music. That really appeals.
So that’s my pick.
Now – if you’ve actually had dinner with a famous musician and have a great story about it then by all means share. But the point of this “guess which musician is coming to dinner” gimmick was purely to do down the hypothetical path.
So pick one musician from any era – dead or alive – and bring them to your house for one night, for one meal. Who would you pick? What would you pick their brains about? What music would you play? Would you get them to sign your copies of their albums? Would you prefer to not talk music at all? A science lesson and build-your-own-guitar workshop from Brian May perhaps?