18 June 2016

Archie's Titty Twister (Part One)


INSIDE CHERRY VAGINA INTRO

WHO Put The C*NT Into COUNTRY MUSIC?
Inside Cherry Vagina
Words + Music by The Archies
Yet another Cartoons + Castanets Pop Art Fantasy
by DC Hampton Jacobs
Pop Art Images of Archie Comics characters
drawn by Stuffed Animal
with Cartoon Cameo Appearances by
Trace Adkins, Mandy Barnett, Garth Brooks, Laura Bell Bundy, The Cadillac Three, 
Miranda Lambert and The Pistol Annies, Jake Owen, Cassadee Pope, Ray Scott, 
Jussie Smollett, Frankie Staton, Rick Trevino, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood, 
Dwight Yoakam, Chris Young 
and
Dolly Parton

In the year 2001, The Archies made a fateful decision. It involved repertoire, and it would profoundly affect their fortunes as an adult Rock band. As everyone knows, they scored an international smash hit with "Sugar, Sugar" as teenage recording artists. The group also released five albums of original material. Album sales were decent, but nothing less than spectacular was going to please Veronica Lodge! Babe always believed the teen Archies could and should have been more successful . . .

INSIDE CHERRY VAGINA CAST PAGE 1

The band called it quits in 1992 but reformed nine years later. Now married, Archie and Roni-Lodge Andrews teased the music press: "The Archies are back, b*tches! And this time, we're gonna be superstars." Added sound engineer Alan Mayberry, their partner in a new indie record label: "The band isn't approaching this reunion in a half-assed way.  They're dead serious about becoming a top-drawer act!  If a song isn't a smash, we won't even think about recording it."   Going forward, the group decided to only cut classic tunes written during the 20th century.  Veronica, especially, insisted on a band book full of proven hits.  Archie laid their ambitions square on the table:  "We admire how stars like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald created Pop standards, and we plan to do the same thing for Rock 'n' Roll." 

Even at this early stage, Archie, Betty, Juggy, Reggie and Roni knew they were excellent song interpreters. They had no qualms about tackling the Great American Pop/Rock Songbook, and after working with Carole King on a never-released album of her legendary tunes, they were eager to do so. Gambling that the public would accept them as a "covers" band was risky, but it paid off in a big way! Between 2002 and 2032, The Archies scored a string of memorable Gold, Platinum and Double-Platinum albums and singles. Among their smash hits are remakes of "Lonely Weekends", "Soul Deep", "Jet Airliner", "Sugar, Sugar" (in Spanish) and "San Francisco" (Flowers In Your Hair)".  Their runaway success with golden oldies is going to inspire a "Retro" movement in popular music; by the latter 21st century, covers bands will dominate the recording industry.

TITTY TWISTER 1 4

The adult Archies almost never recorded original songs after 2001; but does that mean they never wrote any? If they didn't, then grits ain't groceries, sh*t don't stink, and Playboy is a Gay men's magazine! Members of The Archies wrote a good many tunes, and what's more, several became huge hits. How is it, then, that you've never heard of them? It's because you've never before heard the story of Archie's publishing empire. Get ready to learn about a whole other side of your favorite cartoon characters!

As indicated earlier, Archie, Veronica and Alan M ran their own record label. The adult Archies cut nearly all their hits for Archie Records. It isn't as well-known that the power trio headed up a production company, too. All of their non-Archies product (as well as a couple of Archies albums) was released under the auspices of Archie Americana Productions. This company owned and operated Archie Sound Studios (ASS) and also housed its own song publishing firm; but would you believe the firm was called . . . Cherry Vagina Music?

CHERRY VAGINA HERALD

The provocative moniker came about when Veronica wanted to name the subsidiary after her favorite ice cream flavor. Upon learning that "cherry vanilla" was already copyrighted, her horndog of a husband put a wicked twist on it. "Cherry vagina, that's MY favorite flavor," he snickered. "I'm so sure," Roni deadpanned. Naturally, babe resisted his idea, but she eventually went along with the name change. "It's woman-empowering," she reasoned. "It's all about context." But when Archie suggested We Put The C*nt Into Country Music! for a company slogan, his wife gave him thumbs-down in no uncertain terms: "Have you f*cking lost your mind???!!"

Arch, Roni, Ethel Muggs Mason (AKA Big Ethel, Archie Records' very first recording artist) and Kevin "Kelly" Keller were signed directly to the company as songwriters. Cherry Vagina Music administered other publishers, too, most prominently: Betty Jones's Peaches 'n' Cream Music; Jughead's Chok'lit Shoppe Music; and Bree (Sabrina) Spellman's Witch Queen Music. Foreign-language compositions (like Spanish lyrics written for The Archies' Exitos en Español album) were published by Chupacabra Music, another Cherry Vagina affiliate. Sea Bastion Music, the publisher that handled songs written by and for Josie + The Pussycats became affiliated in 2009; Trevor Smith, who wrote for Sea Bastion, joined The Archies that same year.

CHUCK CLAYTON

When they were teenagers, Chuck Clayton subbed for various absent members of The Archies on tour. Dude was the perfect sub, too: He played several musical instruments well and sang like a young Neil Diamond! When Reggie Mantle was suspended from the band in 2008, Chuckii was the leading candidate to replace him; but then Trevor Smith auditioned and turned Archie's head around with his fabulous bass playing. Chuck Clayton proved much more valuable to The Archies as a song plugger in Nashville.  In his personal life, Chuckii was involved in a long-term romance with Riverdale High School counselor Geraldine Grundy.

As is the case with every song publisher, certain contract writers consistently deliver hits. Archie Andrews turned out to be the most commercial Cherry Vagina songwriter: His uptempo tunes gave the firm its first Gold Record, its last, and several in-between! Close behind him in earning power was Betty Jones: Babe had female vocalists lining up to sing her torch ballads. Her hubby Jughead (writing as Forsythe Jones) made his mark collaborating with anyone and everyone. Some of his best songs were written with Trev Smith, whose eclectic compositions yielded surprise best-sellers. Trevor's first hit for Cherry Vagina, "St. Kevin, Apostrophe", came nearly two years before he actually joined the firm.

REGGIE THE DEMO QUEEN

Bringing up the rear was Veronica, who usually teamed up with Kevin Keller. Roni could write lyrics in several languages, a skill that yielded Archies hits unique to Sweden ("Lite Av Allt") and Italy ("Mi Ricordano Maria"). Every member of The Archies wrote songs except for Reggie Mantle; but dude sang most of the demonstration records his bandmates composed. In fact, Gino's voice graced so many song demos in the early 2000s, he became known as The Demo King (or Demo Queen, depending on who you ask)! The vast majority of those discs were cut at Archie Sound Studios (ASS), under the Alan Mayberry's supervision. The Archies seldom cut masters there because Roni didn't like the acoustics; however, songwriter sessions kept the place jumping year round.

A good many Cherry Vagina demos feature The Archies playing whoever's song it is; but there were times when one or more of them weren't available. Jughead and Archie got in the habit of overdubbing every instrument themselves, but Veronica, Betty and Trevor usually liked some studio accompaniment. That's when Alan M would call on Riverdale's top nightclub act: Katz + The Fiddles, a transplanted group of Southern musicians. Although basically a Country band, Katz Rockland and her cohorts in twang could play any music style well. Arch dug their chops so much, he stopped overdubbing in order to work with them. "Katz + The Fiddles are my favorite roots band," he declared. In the year 2050, drummer Matty Carmine will return home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama and start a band with members of his talented family. In 2067, The Carmines will cut hits with future New Archie Ramsay Khalid Sharma . . . but that's another story.

KATZ + THE FIDDLES

Music publishers use demonstration records to sell songs.  Most demos are produced by their composers, but not the ones recorded at Archie Sound Studios (ASS).  Every Cherry Vagina copyright had A & R supervision, just like tracks intended for commercial release.  Demo producers included Ralfi Chingas (The Archies' producer from 2002-12), Dilton Doiley Briseño, Chuck Clayton, Bree Spellman and Alan Mayberry. Alan M produced more demos than any of the others; over 500 at last count! Archie and Veronica hired him away from Josie + The Pussycats to be chief engineer at Archie Sound Studios (ASS). Later, dude co-founded the Archie record label with them. The handsome blond hunk had long since broken up with Josie, and for a time, he was married to her hated rival Alexandra. That marriage produced a daughter, Remy Yvonne Cabot-Mayberry, who's destined to become a sound wizard just like her daddy! Beginning in the 2030s, Yvonne Remy will engineer hit records by both The Archies and The New Archies.

ALAN M

A century from now, a wealth of Cherry Vagina demonstration records will be found in the archives of Riverdale Music Academy. Founded by Archie and Veronica in 2017, this prestigious school will house a great deal of historical material relating to The Archies. If you could hear these demos now, you'd get an idea of what the group would've sounded like had the members cut their own material. In a nutshell: They'd have been Country Rock to the max!

With two Platinum Country music albums (Archie Country! and Return To Archie Country), The Archies were widely perceived as Country rockers. Their 2009 single "Jacky Daniels And You", remaking an obscure Dottie West B-side, certainly reinforced that perception: The record went Top Ten Country!  So it makes perfect sense that Nashville would be the place where Archie, Betty, Roni, Juggy and Trev's original material got the biggest reception. Cherry Vagina demos circulated in Music City for roughly a decade, and around 60 of them got recorded. Sales and airplay was primarily Country, but a couple of these compositions crossed over to Pop and R + B markets.

ARCHIE'S TITTY TWISTER

The Archies’ string of Country best-sellers kicked off with a song about a potent rum punch: “Titty Twister”! Naturally, Archie came up with the concept; while he never took drinking alcohol to extremes, dude loved his liquor and was heavily into cocktail mixology.  Arch and Jughead wrote the music and collaborated on the lyrics with Big Ethel. Betty was first to hear the hit potential: "A song with that kind of title will either go nowhere or straight to the top," she predicted, "but I think you've got a hot property there. Get that son-of-a-b*tch recorded, like, yesterday!"

The spicy title gave some Nashville acts pause, but not The Cadillac Three. Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray and Neil Mason loved everything about the roaring rocker. They pounced on it, had their wicked way with it out behind the barn, and pulled a #6 hit for their trouble! “Titty Twister” dominated Country radio in the summer of 2004.  It was the kind of drinkin’ song people in the South couldn’t get enough of; for a while, it was just about the only record you heard blasting out of pickup trucks!

Can you get to the bottom of your glass?
This drink will knock you on your ass!
Vodka with rum,
Titty Twister!
Hella good fun,
Titty Twister!

TITTY TWISTER 1

The following year, The Archies cut their own version; but by then, the group was racking up huge hits with cover tunes. "Don't f*ck with a winning formula!" Veronica warned. Too, Archie fretted over further Country Rock pigeonholing: "Do we really need another hillbilly single in our catalog right now?" Reggie was incredulous: "Dude, you wrote the damn song!" "I know," Arch acknowledged, "but let's put this release on hold for a while." That hold will last for over a century; but the flow of original Country material had only just begun.

Betty and Juggy Jones bagged the next big hit: A great ballad called “On A Wrong-Way Street To Love”. Trisha Yearwood fell in love with Betty’s demo and chose it for her next solo release. Hubby Garth Brooks heard her rehearsing the song, loved it, too, and suggested a duet. Predictably, this 2005 single had no trouble cracking Country radio and lodging in the Top Ten; what’s surprising is that it narrowly missed the top spot, peaking at #2.

Garth and Trisha decided to cut a longer version for her new album, and they invited The Joneses down to Nashville to sing background vocals. Betty and Jug were thrilled! The session was a riot of booze, barbecued ribs, laughter and high harmony. It was the start of an enduring friendship between the superstar couples. In 2011, “Wrong-Way Street” was covered by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt for one of their multi-Platinum Trio collaborations.

WHO PUT THE CUNT INTO COUNTRY MUSIC

Reggie sang lead on the “Titty Twister” demo and also did the honors for “Me Voy A La Danza/Down On The Spanish Side.” Archie co-wrote this Tex-Mex stomper with his old friend Dilton Doiley Briseño. They aimed the song at the Tejano market, which is why Gino was tagged to sing it. “Nobody can sell that kind of tune better,” Arch believed. “”Latin music is second nature to him!” agreed Dilton. Reggie's great bilingual vocal proved their point; but the composers were floored when one Tejano act after another turned up their noses.

DEMO SESSION

During this time (late 2006), Country star Jake Owen booked a session at Studio Briseño, Dilton’s recording facility in El Paso, Texas. Noting how glum the proprietor looked, Jake inquired what was the matter. “I’ve written a Tejano tune that I'd swear is a hit,” Dilt complained, “but coño . . . nobody seems to like it.” After listening to the demo, Jake declared: “That ain’t no Tejano tune, hoss. That’s a motherf*ckin' Country song! I like it, and I'm gonna record it.”

Archie and Dilton helped Jake cut a basic track in El Paso, but most of the single was tracked in Nashville. The writers were less than happy with what Music City musicians did to "On The Spanish Side"; they complained that the Tex-Mex flavor had been watered down. Give Jake Owen credit, though: He knew his audience better than they did. His soft rock interpretation landed at #4 on the Country charts and stayed in the Top Ten for over a month!

ST. KEVIN, APOSTROPHE

With its psychedelic elements and throwback Folk Rock sound, “St. Kevin, Apostrophe” wasn’t the most accessible of Cherry Vagina demos for a Country singer. However, Darryl Worley connected with it immediately; dude was so enthused, he claimed the tune after hearing just the first few bars. The Jughead/Trevor Smith composition was a perfect fit for his genre-bending album Trailer Trashin’, released in 2007. Interviewed by Nashville Network’s Lorraine Crook, Juggy later admitted that the lyrics were about his pal Kevin Keller: “It’s my gentle send-up of his perfectionist tendencies!” Kelly obviously took it in stride, because when The Archies cut their own, unreleased version in 2012, he sang lead vocals.

EUNICE DANVERS

In early 2008, the short-lived Cherry Vagina record label made its debut. It came to be after Reggie demoed a new Veronica/Kevin Keller song, fell hard for it and then lobbied just as hard to cut it himself. "Let's launch a sister label for Archie Records," Roni suggested, "and make Gino's new single our first release." The recording session took place in Memphis at legendary Sun Studios; Ralfi Chingas, The Archies' regular producer, helped Veronica cut the master. Roni played a haunting refrain on her guitar, Matty Carmine played drums, and Country star Laura Bell Bundy sang harmony vocals. Laura also appeared in the music video.

Inspired by the murder ballads that proliferated in early Country music, "Eunice Danvers" was the tragic story of a woman, her closeted Gay husband and the lover they both share without knowing. The song builds to a harrowing end: Two grisly homicides and a suicide! Veronica felt it was the best song she ever wrote, and reviewers agreed: They fell all over themselves praising it. However, the Bisexual subject matter proved too daring for Country radio; "Eunice Danvers" died a second death on the charts!

NOTHIN' LIKE A HEARTBREAKER

Later in 2008, Reggie's follow-up appeared. "Ain't Nothin' Like A Heartbreaker" was a team effort from Veronica, Betty, Jughead and Archie, and this good-time rocker couldn't have been more different from its predecessor. Initial airplay was promising, but then Archie and Gino clashed. The reason? As always, Reggie was pushing the envelope on nudity and sexuality, but generating more scandal than usual! Tabloid reports of him staging pansexual orgies had leaked into mainstream news, as did a racy nude centerfold spread that Riverdale's bad boy posed for a Spanish Gay magazine.

Yet Archie had his own share of sex scandals; in 2006, grocery checkout newsstands screamed details of his torrid affair with a Middle Eastern starlet!  Gino accused Arch of hypocrisy ("How can a slut shame another slut?"), which prompted the headstrong redhead to suspend him from The Archies.  Subsequently, Reggie refused to promote the new single: "Kiss my Australian/Cherokee ass, b*tch! And you can shove that fledgling record company up yours." When "Heartbreaker" tanked, it unfortunately took the Cherry Vagina label down with it. Reggie Mantle's tenure as Demo Queen ended for a while, too; Big Ethel subbed for him in the studio during the nine months it took him and Archie to patch up their differences!

Right after the second Reginald single flopped, Chuck Clayton came on board as a staff writer. However, songwriting was never his main job at Cherry Vagina Music. Chuckii was the first of Archie's classmates to leave Riverdale; right after graduating high school, dude moved to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Years later, Arch and Roni realized that they needed an experienced "leg man" in Music City: Chuckii was the obvious choice. Cultivating relationships with radio programmers, artists, managers and record labels proved far easier for him than chasing elusive star dreams. As talented a graphic artist as he was a promotions man, dude also designed the red-and-white company logo.

INSIDE CHERRY VAGINA 2

Then as now, the Country music business was dominated by a handful of powerful publishers: Universal! Sony/ATV! Big Yellow Dog! Atlas, Bluewater and Sea Gayle Music. Even so, Chuck Clayton wedged a foot in the door and opened a crack wide enough to let Cherry Vagina copyrights flow. The handsome urban cowboy could schmooze with the best of them, and he wasn't beyond publicity stunts (like stripping down in public to reveal custom Cherry Vagina undershorts)! It didn't hurt that dude also had the tenacity of a pit bull. In just two years, his exceptional song-plugging skills produced a string of hits for the firm; the explosion began at the end of 2009 with a song every pregnant woman could relate to!

INSIDE CHERRY VAGINA


The story you're reading right now is pure fiction, but there's nothing fictional about this news: Cleopatra Records will release the first-ever, real-life ARCHIES BOX SET! 
Sugar, Sugar: The Complete Albums Collection will hit the streets on 29 July 2016. 
Tell all your friends . . . SELL THAT MOTHERF*CKER OUT!!!