Hello and welcome to the Smile Syndicate Music Hour – the home of Funtime music. Check us out on Patreon.com/thesmilesyndicate and join the Smile Squad!
I’m excited to hear today’s songs. Let’s go, Jason!
Thanks, Miss Elizabeth. And hello, friend. Thanks very much for downloading and listening to this episode of The Smile Syndicate Music Hour. It’s always a better show with you here listening. Your enthusiasm is infectious. Your ready smile and eagerness to help has gotten you pretty far in life so far, so it really is amazing that you’re now choosing to help out our little show.
And, who knows, maybe you’re enjoying the show. “How would I know if I was enjoying it?” Well, maybe one of the songs got your foot tappin’ a little bit. Maybe one of the delightful comedy presentations made you chuckle. Maybe you woke up Monday morning and cursed us under your breath for not having a new episode ready for you. There are many ways to know. If you’re enjoying the show, make sure you share the love. Tell your friends. You got a seat on the Smile Syndicate bus early and you should be bragging about it.
Well, Miss Elizabeth and I have cooked up something pretty special for you this week. Most importantly, we have a brand new song for you. It’s the latest entry in the 2000 Series, where an older Smile Syndicate song is given a radical makeover, usually in acoustic form. This week, the marquee song slot at the end of the show will be featuring THE SUN IS A JUKEBOX 2000. The classic Smile Syndicate number that you hear at the beginning of every Music Hour episode, has been transformed into an acoustic singer/songwriter kind of thing, but it’s got brio, spirit, gusto – in spades. We think you’re going to enjoy it. Plus, we’re going to be checking in on the Smile Syndicate Charts and firing up the old Smile Syndicate Jukebox, so you’re gonna get lots of music over the coming hour.
We’re also going to have some zany funtime segments for you. Miss Elizabeth will be presenting the latest Death Metal Update so the rest of us can learn about what’s been going on in that strange, off-putting world.
And we’re going to continue the special feature we introduced last week: Miss Elizabeth’s Picks. We’re nearly at 50 episodes, our little family is growing every week, with more and more new listeners joining the party, and we wanted to dip back into the archive for some treats. Newer listeners maybe get up to speed a little, and it’s like going back to an old favorite for our long-time friends.
But first, the ever-chaotic Smile Syndicate Music Chart. The music industry as a whole watches this chart with a laser-eyed intensity. Movers and shakers are moved and shook by the goings on here. Songs are in an all-out war with each other. They betray everything they believe in just for a shot at that prime spot on the charts. Dignity, honor, virtue – all left in the dust as the songs struggle for supremacy in the most combative music chart in the biz. This week, another surprise. We’d expect nothing less, but this one really is quite a shock. Coming in at number 3 with a bullet, this is The Smile Syndicate with their cover of BREAKING THE LAW.
THE SMILE SYNDICATE CHARTS – Breaking The Law
One of the songs featured during April Insanity. A hard rocking number goes all introspective on us. If you liked that, you can go to your favorite digital music supplier and buy or stream it. It’s taking a while for that one to show up on Apple, so head over to Spotify or Google Play or something in the meantime. All five covers done during April Insanity are or will be available as singles – you won’t be able to download them from thesmilesyndicate.com – but go stream them. Add them to your playlists or your song to dos. Tell all your friends, tell the whole bunch.
Speaking of telling things, I understand you’d like to tell us about all the happenings in the Death Metal world.
NEW – DEATH METAL UPDATE
Local death metal advocate and podcast host Jorg Flurnstadt has announced the formation of a new death metal action committee. Helping Death Metal Hands has been organized around the idea of change school curriculums so that death metal is introduced to children starting at age 5. According to Flurnstadt, “Children at this age are so engaged with learning that it seems criminal to deprive them of the learnings that death metal culture offers. The feedback I’ve been getting from my presentations to primary schools has told me that political action is needed now. The children must be allowed to learn. A five year old who hasn’t heard a Corpse Fingers or Flying Death Face album is a child who isn’t being allowed to grow to their full potential.” When questioned about Death Metal’s place in the province’s schools, education minister Freetus Mezlin said, “Have you seen those album covers? We’re not playing that stuff in schools.” Yet another reason it’s so important to vote, people.
Death Metal legend Count Vilifia continues his quest to recover his stolen guitar. Last seen selling on eBay for $240, the Slime Bride guitarist has been on a cross-continent quest to recover his beloved instrument. The Count has been posting a series of Facebook posts, detailing his quest. He’s hitchhiked across the country, caught a ride in a box car, crossed a desert on foot, all in hopes of reuniting with the love of his life. Says Vilifia, “It’s a precious item to me. I played all of Slime Bride’s best-known songs on it. The fact that it shoots fire, spurts blood and is twice as loud as a normal guitar make this a unique treasure, but it’s the love and soul that I’ve poured into it that make it so invaluable.” Constant rumors of the guitar appearing in local Craigslist ads around the continent has Vilifia continually on the go. “I’ve logged 40,000 miles so far, and I’ll go 4 million more before I give up my quest.” A quick search by this reporter has revealed that the instrument is currently for sale in Austin, Texas and the seller is asking $280. I’ve messaged Count Vilifia and I hope his quest ends soon.
The next time you’re at a convenience store, make sure you keep an eye out for products featuring the logo and likenesses of Death Metal pioneers Angry Carcass. These monsters of classic Death Metal have teamed up with the The Electric Food Company and together they have released a series of puddings and jerkies, each made to recipes contributed by members of Angry Carcass. I’ve tried the Charred Remains jerky and it’s pretty good. Just with an ever so subtle hint of sweetness and it isn’t too dry like some jerkies.
Lots of new Death Metal albums being released this week. It was hard to pick my three favorites, but I did my best.
* Contuded – “Hay Rides of My Youth”
* Eternal Negatory – “Sky Full of Sunrise”
* Lady Snake Bite – “Cowgirls’ Night Out”
Which Death Metal band currently on tour in Australia has found their dark, demonic image may be in jeopardy if videos of a recent event Down Under ever surface. Rumor has it, the dark lords of Death Metal were in a kangaroo preserve, having unwisely left their jeep, found themselves surrounded by ‘roos in the mood to tussle? A spy tells me that panic soon gripped the band as the kangaroos unleased a boxing clinic on the band. Jab, jab, jab, cross, UPPER CUT! All six members were knocked out in the first round, all without getting a single hit in on any of the ‘roos. The band’s fans angrily deny the incident took place, but it’s likely a question of when, not if, video of the incident appears online.
JASON: Hey, I’ve got a blind item, too. Which local death metal nuisance has going to be defeated at an upcoming duel with a cheerful local podcaster?
I’ve decided that I’m not going to fight having the Death Metal Update appear on this show anymore. Miss Elizabeth co-hosts another podcast, Jorg Presents: The Ultimate Death Metal Hour, hosted by Jorg. He and I have been butting heads, arguing, pranking each other. We even had him on the show for a roundtable. Didn’t go well – we ended that by challenging each other to a duel. (That’s the Goldfinger episode if you haven’t heard it.) But, I’m going to win the duel. Bulgarian Mountain Duel. I’ve been preparing.
Went to the armor shop – Clenched Steel Fist. I’ve never heard of a business that had the word “Clenched” in their name. But they’re great. Got measured. The guy working with me, French Steel (his real name), wasn’t all that interested why I needed the armour. I was giving him lots of specifics – I need to be able to pedal that unicycle like a demon, I need to be able to move and dodge and deliver the winning blow. I need to withstand the schemings of an unscrupulous opponent. I gotta look boss in it. So he showed me the sketch – it’s going to be form fitting. I’m gonna look like a metal statue. Got the unicycle covered, gonna have some armor, after that, I just have to get a custom lance made, then I’ll be set.
We’re getting closer to setting the date of the duel. Has to be before summer. French said, “you don’t want to be wearing this if it’s hotter than +20 out there. It could get dangerous.” When French speaks, I listen. So, soon. Jorg and I keep arguing about the location, time… We might need another roundtable just to get the logistics sorted.
But while that headache’s a-brewin’, I think we can switch our attention to something more positive. Miss Elizabeth, if you could please roll the Round Wheel of Mystery over here, take off the suede cover. We’re going to spin the wheel and do as it commands. Hopefully, it’s just play a song, but you never know. Miss Elizabeth, spin that thing.
THE SMILE SYNDICATE JUKEBOX – (Maniac) From (Beyond Time)
So this was the very first Smile Syndicate song conceived. I wrote and re-wrote it. Recorded different versions. Lots of work. Got stuck. Finally decided to put it aside for a bit, then songs started appearing “Shall We Rock”, “Everybody Smile Now”, other stuff on Lovestorm. It didn’t get finished for Lovestorm, but I thought it would be a good finale to the first series of this podcast, back in 2015. Didn’t happen then, either, so it had to wait until this podcast was re-born last year.
I was listening to those demos and thought it might make a nice little feature. I could play clips and talk about how the song evolved. Maybe we should do that and put it up for our Patreon friends. Something nice for the hardcore members of The Smile Squad, the elite level of Smile Syndicate fandom.
One of the ways we try to help you, dear listener, is to try to tell you something you may not know about. Edutainment is a dirty word these days, but if you notice feeling smarter after listening to an episode of this show, it’s no accident. We’re teaching you all kinds of stuff. And one of the ways we do that is to explore our distant past. Geology, anthropology, sociology, rambanology all collide when Miss Elizabeth presents a feature we call Crack the Books. It’s a new name, but we’ve done a few of these before. Always insightful, always highly dubious. Miss Elizabeth, what research have you got for us this week?
THREADS OF HISTORY – Shanidar Update
I’ve been doing some research into the life and times of Shanidar-3, a Neanderthal who lived 50,000 years ago in a cave in what’s now called Iraqi Kurdistan. He’s been sighted throughout history, like a continous thread that links all our people and all our time together. And if the rumors are true, he’s currently alive and well, somewhere in our hometown of Smileton.
Immortal is a strong word, but he has had an amazingly long life span, and one of his adventures may hold the key to his longevity. There’s a huge mystery at work here and I’ve made it the focus of my research to unravel these threads, discover the secrets, truly get to know and understand Shanidar-3.
Today’s thread leads us over and back to Neolithic Scotland, 3600 BC, in a place called Rhynie, Aberdeenshire in the Clashindarroch forest. There is a place called Wormy Hillock Henge.
The very soil there is infused with legend. Tales of a monstrous beast that terrorized nearby towns. Villagers eventually got fed up with this. They were pretty can-do and had a tried and tested method for fixing all their problems: forming a mob and getting down to it. They dispatched the beast, gave themselves a pat on the back, then began the tedious process of burying the frickin’ thing. The people here turned out to be pretty lazy and they only half buried the beast. This is where the Wormy Hillock Henge comes from. It’s the grave site of a half-buried beast from long ago.
But my investigator senses were tingling. Things weren’t adding up. I filed this story away as one needing further investigation.
Sometime later, I came across the Rhynie Symbol Stones which are actually located in a car park in present day Rhynie. These are real. Check our website for links and pictures accompanying this story. If you have the source material in front of you, that’ll help you follow along as I walk you through this.
I hopped a flight over to Scotland, got out the magnifying glass, and got to work. Turns out, the symbols on these stones gave me some vital information. They depicted a beast, but the beast, while large, didn’t appear threatening. There was a crescent shape representing a ship bringing Picts and treasures to the shores of Scotland. A single man, a Rhynie Man, is prominent. Perhaps he’s the leader. He isn’t threatened by the beast. There are also 2 circles, drawn very large and clearly. These circles are a perfect match for the structure of the Wormy Hillock Henge. Plus, there are sheep on there. Why sheep? Who knows? Maybe comedic relief, later vandalism, who knows.
Historians take these symbols to mean that the henge was simply a Sheep Round, a circular dugout to store the sheep during storms and to protect them from predators – the beast in the picture.
I say there’s a bigger picture here. The story actually told by these symbols is clear: I say Shanidar arrived in Scotland with a small beast he befriended overseas. It went by many descriptions including a worm, a dragon. Shanidar kept and raised this mighty beast. They were friends and together they protected the village from harm. Its home was in the hillock – a great entrance led to a vast series of underground caverns and caves. The beast grew and grew and became ever more mighty. Finally, the villagers began to mistrust Shanidar and his dragon. To protect the beast, Shanidar collapsed the cave roof, claiming the beast was dead inside. The mob of villagers were satisfied and moved on to terrorizing other things. The beast was in fact now free to roam the world – the network of caves had many exits. Beastie soon appeared in various local legends. Some know him as Nessie or the Loch Ness Monster. Others know him as the Yeti.
How do I know all this? Why bring Shanidar into the story? Because I forgot to mention one symbol – craved into the stone with a flourish. A signing off from a tale well-told. A simple symbol – the number 3. Just like Zorro, Shanidar-3 leaves behind his distinctive signature when his work is done. Like the Littlest Hobo, it was time for Shanidar-3 to move on. Who knows where and when he’ll pop up next?
Wormy Hillock Henge is a real place in Scotland! Here are some links with more information:
Here is a map to help you get from Rhynie to the Wormy Hillock Henge.
Twitter – follow us there and you’ll get unique comedy content, stuff that doesn’t show up on the podcast, get notified the next time we’re on Periscope, see what we’re up to, Facebook – like our page and be privy to the more intimate side of The Smile Syndicate. Communicate directly with us, share your ideas, hopes and fears and get communiques straight from Smile Syndicate HQ , and…
Improbo – this is a new one. People are on social media because they want to connect, get distracted, feel good. Instead, they usually come away feeling deficient, down on themselves, upset. Improbo is supposed to be the antidote to that. Get on there and get blasted with can-do messages. Follow our stream and you’ll get the most over-the-top positivity you ever heard. “Tomorrow, you will be president of the United States. You can do it!” “It’s not too late to be a brain surgeon – you’ve got spare time, get after it!” Your self esteem will get the badly needed boost it needs. Improbo.
Don’t forget YouTube. Now that we start thinking about video content, you’re going to see more and more stuff there. Might as well subscribe to the channel today and beat the crowds.
Patreon – we’re actively thinking about how to make this even better for our Smile Squad members. Head over there, sign up at a level that works for you, support and help ensure the long-term viability of The Smile Syndicate Music Hour podcast. Thanks in advance for any support you can offer.
And in return for your support, you get golden nuggets like the one we’re about to present. The reason for the season, the Marquee Song Slot. Today, we’re presenting THE SUN IS A JUKEBOX 2000. A classic wine is presented in a new, ergonomic bottle. Let’s spread that picnic blanket out, open that bottle, pour out two glasses. Let’s take that first sip. Together. Listen.
That’s it! We hope you enjoyed the show. If you did, you are going to LOVE the benefits of membership in The Smile Squad! Join our just cause as we pursue the values of independent music, side-splitting comedy, fantastic histories, true mysteries, and smiles in general.
Go to Patreon.com/thesmilesyndicate and select the level of membership that feels most comfortable to you, remembering that sometimes it pays to push beyond your comfort zone. Patrons of The Smile Syndicate get extra stuff, including the secret (but shareable) knowledge that you are supporting true independent art directly out of Smileton, Planet Earth.
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So it’s bye bye from Jason.
And bye bye from me. See you next week.
And as always, remember friend, the sun is a jukebox.