July 12, 2007

brian [Brian:] “Good evening and welcome to this special Goodboys Nation edition of Booknotes. I’m Brian Lamb, your host. Tonight we welcome acclaimed author Victor N. Cugini, who has written a truly forgettable book about one of America’s most inconsequential and long-forgotten garage bands, Top Priority. The book is called, “The Band That Never Changed Rock: A Definitive History of Top Priority”, soon to be published by Permanent Press, and soon to be excerpted in installments right here at Goodboys Nation weblog. Welcome, Mr. Cugini.”

VC: “Good evening, Brian. Thank you for having me.”

BL: “To start with, why did you write this book?”

VC: “Well, the book was actually planned for more than a decade ago. My houseplants were in desperate need of a good dusting, and my mother had locked me down in the basement with only three days worth of rations. It was just me, a bedstand, and my trusty Commodore 64. I was originally planning on using the time to write a major 150,00 word treatise on the sociological significance of that old TV show, ‘My Mother The Car’, but I couldn’t get anything started beyond the words, ‘Who cares?’. I was thinking about trying another subject equally as nonsenical and inconsequential when all of a sudden, I remembered a backyard rehearsal I had attended years ago by this band called Top Priority – it mighta been back in 1977 – and the story came to life right before my eyes. I intended to call the book, ‘Who Cares?’, but then, while tranferring the file from my 2 Mb hard drive to a 5 1/4″ floppy, the Commodore froze, mom called me upstairs to take some pork chops out of the refrigerator, and I forgot all about the story.

“Fast forward to this year. One day, a package arrived on my doorstep with three beat-up cassette tapes labeled ‘Top Priority’ inside – nothing more. Well, I put the first one on, and was amazed to hear Top Priority playing their non-hit “The Boucher Shuffle” at what must have been a poorly-attended dance at some school or wedding or something. It rekindled my desire to find out who the heck these guys were, and I knew I had to write this book. I knew why they were and are still forgotten; I just felt it necessary to tell their story, since I knew no one else would.”

BL: Why did you choose Goodboys Nation weblog as a vehicle for excerpting your book?

VC: “While doing research on Top Priority, I came to discover that one of its members (the bassist, in fact), Doug Richard, a.k.a. ‘The Great White Shank’ had this weblog, and after playing phone tag with him for three and a half months and just missing him twice at his local Fry’s – once he avoided me by slipping underneath a large table of watermelons in the produce section – I convinced him this was a story that needed to be told. He disagreed, but then realized his annual golf tournament was coming up in mid-July and that, rather than blog while he’s out golfing and boozing it up with his fellow Goodboys, it would be better to allow me to post my excerpts as a kind of world-premiere, if you will, which he subsequently and unenthusiastically agreed to.”

BL: What can readers of this weblog look forward to in this four-part series?

VC: “Oh, I lay it all out – the entire tawdry history of Top Priority. Their beginnings, their endings, the albums they never released, the support from the public they never earned or deserved, everything. They were a garage band – actually, more appropriately, a cellar band – that never accomplished much beyond playing a number of poorly-paid and fairly well received weddings and dances. Nevertheless, they had a story that needed and deserved to be told, and that’s what I will do in this series.”

BL: Your thoughts on their musical legacy…

VC: “…There’s a moment on one of the tapes – I forget exactly which one it is – where the band is playing a party. Because the people are eating, the group is playing various easy-listening fare such as Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Let Me Be There’ and The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ as instrumentals when, all of a sudden, the people at the party finish eating, and the band kicks into their Top 40 repertoire, starting with the Bay City Rollers‘ ‘Saturday Night’. The band plays it well, the people applaud, if not enthusiastically, then politely. To me, this defines the essence of what Top Pririty actually was, and all of a sudden you just get it; you realize that this is a band that was, and that there’s a story there that doesn’t really need to be told. And I think, that’s what makes the story both irresistible and intriguing.”

BL: Victor N. Cugini, congratulations on your new book, and we’ll look forward to your four-part series on these pages starting a week from Friday.

VC: “Thank you, Brian, and Goodboys Nation weblog, for having me.”

(Victor N. Cugini’s four-part series, “The Band That Never Changed Rock: The Definitive History of Top Priority”, begins here at Goodboys Nation weblog starting Friday, July 20th.)

BTW, my latest post over at CrabAppleLane Blog, called “Hare Raisin’, can be found here.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:36 | Comments Off on A C-SPAN Booknotes Special
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info