22 January 2016

A Spicy Tribute to the Great Bob Crewe: Oedipus Ram, Act Five

OEDIPUS RAM MIDPIECE 7

OEDIPUS RAM
A Toon Tragedy
inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex
Directed, Staged and Written by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Original characters and Archie Fan Art Images
Created and Drawn by
Stuffed Animal

THE PLAYERS:
Donna Dante, the wife
Lana Suzuki, the guitar player
Mal Hypster, the drummer
Chaiwat Bunyasam, the sound engineer
Tempestt Spangler, the drug addict
The White Lady
and the star
Ramsay Khalid Sharma

ACT FIVE:
SATISFACTION

SYNOPSIS:
The life and career of Ramsay Khalid Sharma, Asia's biggest Pop idol of the 2060s, takes several unexpected turns.  First known as a successful Bollywood soundtrack composer, he establishes himself as an actor with two critically-acclaimed indie movie roles. He also morphs into a best-selling male vocalist. Ram starts out recording hits by 20th century Pop divas; then he switches gears, releasing a much-praised Gene Pitney tribute album. On the personal side, the Rad Asian Manchild and his wife Donna Dante welcome two adorable children. However, Dody's jealousy threatens the stability of their marriage.  Ram takes a lover: Tempestt Spangler, a beautiful exotic dancer he meets on a movie set. An extortionist and crack addict, she introduces him to her drug dealer, Puchi Schneider. Together, they introduce the Bollywood Balladeer to cocaine; Puchi also becomes his manager. Ram's affair with Tempie heralds life and career changes of an even more profound nature!

The year 2069 will be pivotal for Ramsay Khalid Sharma. His growing drug habit will bring him more suffering than he’s ever known; but the singer won’t be suffering much on vinyl anymore! Most of his repertoire will be happy and upbeat. What's more, Ram will all but abandon lyrics sung in the female persona. His new material invites, and receives, attention from Straight male Pop music consumers.

His movie roles change, too: Dude will only play the masochist/slave/victim on screen one more time. Yet his reality will come to mirror the tragic story of Sanjay Singh to an astonishing degree! He will morph into (and even smoke crack with) the same kind of drug addict he studied in order to play Sanjay convincingly.

When it becomes apparent that Ram can’t finish his new album without help, Donna Dante calls on their music industry friends: The former members of The New Archies!  Predictably, Garcy Briseño is too busy; in addition to being a major Pop star, she's directing films now.  Toby Maxx is helming the Newport Jazz festival; Rikki Ninja is on tour in Europe; and Frankie Fujiyama has abandoned his music career.  "I regret ever getting involved with The New Archies!" he tells the press.  In a few more years, Fuji will join a fundamentalist sect and renounce his past life completely.

However, guitarist Lana Suzuki is available again, and this time, so is drummer Mal Hypster. They fly to Bangkok to collaborate with Ram @ his home studio, DALEKtable Sound. He scraps tentative material he'll have cut @ Witch Queen West in 2068, and asks sound man Chaiwat to take over as producer.

Publicity pictures shot prior to the album sessions show a playful trio of ex-bandmates, happy to be working together again. However, all will not be sweetness and light in the studio!  Chi and Susu encounter a side of Ram they’ve never seen before: Abrasive, immature and unreliable!

GOIN' PLACES HERALD

For the album theme, Lana Suzuki suggests a Frankie Valli + Four Seasons tribute. "Frankie was a tenor, and you're a baritone," she notes, "but I think it can work." Ram doesn't, but her suggestion evolves into a celebration of Bob Crewe, The Four Seasons' producer and primary song source.  That opens the door to covering classic Pop tunes like "Silhouettes", "Silence Is Golden" and "Lady Marmalade", although none of those hits end up on Ram's shortlist.

At one point, Crewe’s 1963 smash “Navy Blue” is a candidate for inclusion; the song is Mal Hypster’s suggestion. “Diane Renay’s original record has polyrhythms that are f*cking amazing,” the percussionist raves. “I’d love to try and duplicate them.”

The idea clearly irritates Ram. “Trust a f*cking queer to want to cut something campy like ‘Navy Blue!’” he sneers. Lana Suzuki is so shocked, she nearly drops the cup of coffee she's drinking! “It's only the most f*ggoty Pop song ever written,” the singer rants. “No way!  I’m done recording music for c*cksuckers.” 

 Susu steps in: “Seriously, dude?” An awkward silence follows, and suddenly it dawns on Ram that he’s insulted his old friends Chi and Chaiwat; both are Gay. He starts sobbing uncontrollably and becomes too distraught to continue the session!

The next day, Ram treats the entire studio crew to lunch; he's desperate to patch things up. “Please accept my apology,” Ram pleads. “Most of my fans think I’m Gay, after all: I’m the last one to be throwing sex and gender slurs around.  I must’ve gone brain-dead for a minute! 

Chaiwat smiles and gives his colleague a fatherly bear hug. “Apology accepted!” he beams. “Let's forget about the whole thing,” Chi urges. “If you were a homophobe, I’d have known it years ago. Besides, you were right to reject ‘Navy Blue’: That’s a b*tchin’ song, but it's not your style. Tell you what, though: I just remembered an obscure Four Seasons flipside that might be perfect for you!”

DODY PROMO

Santi Music SMX-071
Dody (Crewe, Gaudio)
I Won’t Tell (Crewe, Gaudio)
Rag Doll (Crewe, Gaudio)
Too Many Memories! (Crewe, Gaudio)
Dody/I Won’t Tell
Ram
Club Mix XI
Produced by Chaiwat
Remixed by Yasmin Rudi + QZ
released in Europe, Asia + Australia

That obscurity ends up being the first release from the new sessions. The title, Ram's pet name for his wife, couldn't fail to catch his fancy; he also digs the sexy, libido-driven lyrics. Chaiwat pulls out all the stops on his hard-rocking production.  Then he assigns the remix to his young studio protégés, Yasmin Rudi and Quincy Zen. They dial the Funk Punk energy level up even higher! 

 The Scopie video, featuring Ram in frantic Retro Hip-Hop dance mode, creates more sensation around an already sensational track.  Donna Dante makes a cameo appearance; with a more zaftig figure than in the past, she struts her stuff in skintight red leather.  As a result, "Dody" comes across as a musical celebration of plus-sized women. 

The record goes Top Ten on three continents! Near the end of the year, a second breakout smash will emerge from the club mix: “I Won’t Tell.” This song is a Girl Group cult favorite dating back to 1964; Ram interprets it as a satire of Gay men’s dating habits, complete with an infidelity-themed Scopie. Gaysian dance clubbers will turn "I Won't Tell" into an anthem!

GOIN' PLACES FRONT + BACK COVER

Santi Music SM-69115
Walk Like A Man (Crewe, Gaudio)
Up And Over (Crewe, Knight)
Goin’ Places (Crewe, Linzer, Randell)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (Crewe, Gaudio)
The Company You Keep (Bloodworth, Brown, Crewe)
The Lights Of Night (Crewe, Weiss)
I Won’t Tell (Crewe, Gaudio)
Barbarella (Crewe, Fox)
Swearin’ To God (Crewe, Randell)
You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself (Calello, Crewe)
Too Many Memories (Crewe, Gaudio)
Rag Doll (Crewe, Gaudio)
Watch Where You Walk (Crewe, Gaudio)
Everything Under The Sun (Crewe, Knight) duet w/Donna Dante*
Goin’ Places!!!
Musical Colors of Bob Crewe
Ram
A Secret Asian Man Production
Vocal Arrangements by Malachi Hipp
Arranged by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Conducted by Lana Suzuki
Produced by Chaiwat
Executive Producers:
Malachi Hipp, Lana Suzuki +
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Engineers: 
Yasmin Rudi + Quincy Zen
*A Sharmante Production
Music Supervision:
Donna Dante
Arranged + Produced by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Engineer: 
Chaiwat
Recorded @ DALEKtable Sound Studios, Bangkok
released in Europe, Asia + Australia
2069

Santi Music releases Ram’s sixth studio album, Goin’ Places!!! in June of ‘69. Another Favorite Album winner @ the Pan-Asian Pop awards, critics hail it as his most radio-friendly LP. With good reason, too: One or the other of its fourteen selections rule Asian satellite radio all summer long! Future generations of Ramsay Khalid Sharma collectors will mainly know him from having heard those tracks (as well as "Dody", which doesn't appear on the album).

Yet the recording sessions will have been difficult. Once a model of professionalism in the studio, Ram is now chronically late, arrogant, moody, given to bizarre food cravings (strawberry ice cream with maggot topping? Really?) and his legendary breath control and Perfect Pitch are seldom in evidence. Chaiwat is often @ wit’s end, but Chi and Susu pull their ex-bandmate kicking and screaming through the quintet of record dates it takes to finish the project.

Both of them suspect he has a drug problem!  Susu shares her suspicions with his wife, but she finds Donna Dante in deep denial. “Nipples, doing drugs? Never!” the actress/singer insists. “He’s just overworked.”

Denial persists even when she falls afoul of his mood swings, which cocaine abuse has honed to razor-sharpness.  Dody will have been scheduled to sing background on the album with Mal Hypster.  @ the first vocal session, she’ll be Skype-linked to the studio from her Mumbai office. As tracking progresses, babe will have a screaming fight with her volatile hubby! 

"You're flat!" he accuses. "You're always flat. Are you ever going to learn how to sing?" A torrent of invective pours from Dody, reminding everyone of her years as a tough street kid. “I don’t need this sh*t,” she fumes. “I’ve got an actor’s academy to run.” Nastily, Ram retorts: “Later, b*tch!  Don’t let the door smack you in that fat ass of yours.”

I WON'T TELL

A profoundly embarrassed Chi listens in silence; dude can’t help but recall in-studio spats with his own spouse, Toby Maxx. Back in The New Archies' heyday, their clashes over Chi's infidelity were legendary!  Subsequently, both Ram and Dody ask Chaiwat to erase her voice tracks. Chi and Susu intervene, but they’ll only succeed in getting a previously-recorded husband-and-wife duet added to the album’s final track lineup.

Attentive listeners discern that Ram’s singing sounds hoarse and even veers off key @ times. (There are latter-21st-century versions of AutoTune, but he refuses to use them.)  However, most fans rejoice @ his most exuberant singing to date; a wealth of hook-laden Pop melodies; the snappy production values; and the superb harmony voices supporting Ram, all of which end up belonging to Mal Hypster!

THE LIGHTS OF NIGHT

Santi Music SMX-079
The Lights Of Night (Crewe, Weiss)
You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself (Calello, Crewe)
Up And Over (Crewe, Knight)
Goodnight, Goodnight (Bob Crewe)
The Lights Of Night
Ram 
Club Mix XII
Produced by Chaiwat
Remixed by Spyce 99
released in Europe, Asia + Australia

Of ballads that break for club hits in the latter 21st century, “Lights Of Night” is one of the biggest! In fact, it will become Ramsay Khalid Sharma’s best-known and best-loved ballad performance. Spyce 99’s symphonic club mix tops the Pan-Asian charts, and for years after its release in Australia, the song plays as a discothèque closing theme. Ram will make it his concert closing number, too.

“The Lights Of Night” enters his repertoire thanks to Lana Suzuki, who’ll remember the tune as one The New Archies wanted to record. “It comes from a Pet Clark album,” she’ll tell him, “and it was shortlisted for our tribute to her. If I’m not mistaken, we laid down a backing track . . . I know we never got around to adding vocals, though.” Susu retrieves the long-forgotten track from her cache of digital music files; Rikki Ninja's arrangement forms the basis of Ram’s smash recording.

The dazzling Scopie video once again showcases his dancing skills; this time, he performs a traditional Thai dance learned from his mother as a child.  Silent movie buffs will discern that the video duplicates a ballroom scene from the 1929 British film Piccadilly. Tempestt Spangler appears as one of the dancers accompanying Ram; sadly, both of them will be strung out on coke during the filming!

Ram’s Goin’ Places!!! tour of 2069 will be his most successful. It stops in 50 cities all over the world, with a concentration of dates in his fan strongholds: Asia, Europe and Australia. Most of the shows are sold out, and ticket scalping is unreal: Prices range from $500.00 - $700.00 in American money!

For the first and only time, dancers appear on stage with Ram.  His mistress helps choreograph the show: Tempie suggests using Folk dances to link each song on the album with an Asian country. “That's a b*tchin’ idea!” Ram enthuses. “Who’s a b*tch?” she teases. “Watch your language, slave.  Don't let me have to beat your ass!”  Dude lifts a seductive eyebrow @ her and whispers: "Mama spank?"  "Assume the position!" his lover barks, switching to dominatrix mode.  Minutes later, the loud smack of a paddle on bare butt cheeks echo through his trailer.  Ram's dancers derive much amusement from these BDSM interludes!

The mostly-female dance troupe hails from India and is known as The Dehlicats.  Drawing on his past experience working with Asian Folk acts, the Rad Asian Manchild has them perform folkloric interpretations of Bob Crewe’s music.  The dances celebrate indigenous traditions from Thailand, Japan, China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines and eight other countries. This Asian Pride festival-within-a-concert-tour gets a huge audience response, especially when Ram and The Dehlicats dance together! He has loads of fun, although the many ethnic costume changes leave him exhausted.

RAM WORLD TOUR 69

Unfortunately, dude is never too tired to snort cocaine after his concerts!  His manager, Puchi Schneider, is always near @ hand with a fresh supply. The dancers abstain; but Ram and Tempie are often joined in their vice by members of Tabernacle, his all-Japanese touring band. Their hearty late-night partying results in trashed hotel rooms, several shows starting late and two near-cancellations!

Even so, @ the 2070 Pan-Asian Pop Awards, Goin’ Places!!! wins Ram another raft of trophies. Tempestt Spangler attends the ceremony @ the Hong Kong Coliseum.  Spying her from the stage, he slips away from his wife and they meet in the crowd.  Dude wants to know: "Are you in the mood for a rendezvous?"  "Anytime, anywhere," she confirms.  "And baby, your d*ck had better be hard.  My c*nt is dripping wet!"

While Donna Dante chats with the press, they retire to the Sharma’s limousine.  Once inside, they do a line of coke each and have quickie sex. "Right there, baby . . . right there!" he gasps as she crooks a finger up his anus.  "Say my name!" Tempie squeals, and ejaculates all over the upholstery.  

After they finish exchanging oral pleasures, Tempie adjusts her gown and makes a beeline for the ladies room. She finds Dody there, touching up her lipstick. Made reckless by cocaine, babe confronts Ram’s startled wife. “Your husband just ate my p*ssy,” she drawls with an evil smile.

DONNA DANTE HAULS OFF AND 
SMACKS THE SH*T OUT OF TEMPIE!!!

DONNA DANTE MEETS TEMPIE

The exotic dancer finds herself sprawled on the tile floor! She springs back up with fists flying, but Dody decks her again!  "Sit your skank ass down," she roars.  The women ultimately have to be separated by security staff. 

Tabloid websites have a field day with their cat fight!  Predictably, it’s the cause of a huge post-Awards row between the Sharmas.  Once more, Dody demands that Ram admit his affair.  When he feigns innocence yet again, she hurls a glass of wine in his face.  "Wash the taste of her cl*t out of your mouth, motherf*cker!" she screams.  

That night, they sleep in separate bedrooms.  Ram is furious with Tempie and breaks off their affair; but they make up less than a week later. Crack addiction is the tie that binds!

RAMSONGS PROMO