Here’s hoping he doesn’t turn out to be the Marion Barry of the NFL.
In many ways, Michael Vick’s saga mirrors that of disgraced former mayor and current Ward 8 councilman of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry. The two fucked up bad, and in a major public way. Out of jail, both got their former jobs back— Barry reelected to a fourth term after smoking crack on videotape ; Vick quarterbacking for an NFL team after being caught running a massive dog-fighting operation, all the while electrocuting, drowning and hanging dogs he deemed unfit for service.
Much of the reaction to the two men is the same as well: bitterly divided down racial lines. Some, upon release after his six-month sentence, wanted Barry to just piss off already and disappear into the ether, while others shouted loudly about the power of benevolence, redemption and forgiveness. Sound familiar? Barry and Vick have both been touched by the sweet hand of the uniquely American idea of The Second Chance. Barry squandered his. Then he squandered it some more. Here’s hoping Vick will make something of his comeback, and can live up to even a third of the magnanimous platitudes Jeffrey Lurie and the gang down South Philly way are spouting.
After news of Vick’s signing to the Eagles hit like an atom bomb last Thursday, I—like Ghandi with headphones—started combing through my iTunes to make a mixtape for him and for the city, to begin the healing. I skipped the obvious (Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out,” anything by DMX or Raggaeton artist Pitbull), songs that made no sense contextually (the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” just doesn’t work ) and those that felt wrong alongside the others (Steve Miller Band, “Fly Like an Eagle”). What remains is air-tight: the official mix of your next Eagles tailgate party. Head over to philadelphia weekly.com and give it a listen.
There you’ll find a swampy blues track by Doo Rag called “Bull Dog.” The lyrics, like all Doo Rag songs, are indecipherable, but it just feels like the type of song some backwoods neck who’s into pitting dogs against one another would listen to—it sounds like the opening credit sequence of True Blood looks. There’s also “The King of the Dogs” off Iggy Pop’s new album Prèliminaires , a sultry, horn-stamped cabaret romp that’s especially eerie if you imagine it was written for Vick. Howard Tate’s “How Come My Bulldog Don’t Bark,” his ode to a promiscuous girl, has a title that’s particularly apt. (Ditto Ghostface Killah’s “Shakey Dog.”)
Anyway, enjoy the mix. And remember—no matter how you feel about Vick’s arrival, one thing is undeniable: the next season of Animal Cops: Philadelphia just got a whole lot more interesting.
9) “Dog Meat,” Condo Fucks (aka Yo La Tengo’s cover band)
Speaking of mixes and Philly, last week a young man who didn’t leave his name dropped off a CD for me at the office, and it’s a thing of beauty. It’s called ...This Fuckin City and it’s “100% Philly D.I.Y.;” two burnt, homemade discs wrapped in ratty, silk screened denim, with a 24-page photocopied booklet smashed between, all held together by two unfurled paperclips. Do It Yourself, indeed.
In it, 34 bands, all from Philly, rifle through a diverse array of tracks. There’s the brilliantly (if not insensitively) named pounding hardcore of Retard Strength on “Less Stance, More Dance.” Love City hit hard with a potent dose of their retro-garage cool on a fuel-injected track called “Days.” Gabe Zander brings the acoustic-folk love on the straightforward “Marijuana Song.” And David E. Williams gets truly macabre with a track that out Cramps the Cramps called “That Skirt’s Too Short For A Funeral, Honey.” But my favorite by a bit is from an act called Bucketflush, “Peeping Tom,” which sounds like a carbon copy of the hundreds of bands on those Thrasher magazine cassette compilations kids at the skatepark used to listen to.
The only way Vick can begin to make up for his heinous crimes is by dedicating a generous portion of his salary to animal welfare organizations here. After that, shut up and go win us a Super Bowl.
Pop star and Doylestown native P!nk has weighed in on the Michael Vick situation via Twitter:
[I know this is a music blog, but this whole Michael Vick thing is on my mind so I'm just gonna vent real quick. We'll get back to the music shortly.] I’m 39 years old. I’ve been a Philadelphia Eagles fan since I was eight or nine years old, drawn into it by the excitement of [...]
The Michael Vick signing has stirred outrage among animal-loving Eagles fans. But this city is already one of the worst in the nation for homeless animals. Will Philadelphians put their money where their mouse is?
PW's Music Issue 2014