swing time (george stevens, 1936)
i am cuba (mikhail kalatozov, 1964)

music friday: mink deville

I wrote the following back in 2007:

Mink DeVille, "Spanish Stroll." Somehow, this song manages to be vaguely New Wave while recalling the kind of culture that might have also spawned disco. We saw these guys once, and the opening act was an unknown local comic named Dana Carvey. Carvey was funny enough, but who comes to a rock concert to see a comedian? So he wasn't going over very well, and at one point he did some bit about a then-current commercial for Irish Spring soap. When no one laughed, he ad-libbed "what, you guys don't wash?" To which I shouted in reply, "We don't stink!" It was the only good heckle I ever got off. Robin liked Carvey, though, and so she wrote him a note on a napkin saying she thought he was funny and had our waitress take it to him. No word on whether or not he actually saw the note. He doesn't stink anymore, though.

The band was touring behind their first album, which made #29 on that year's Pazz & Jop poll. They had begun as Billy de Sade and the Marquis. As Mink DeVille, they were a house band at CBGB. That first album had a few memorable songs besides "Spanish Stroll", including a favorite of ours, "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl".

The band lasted until 1986, and Willy DeVille had a solo career, releasing albums through 2008. He died in 2009.

Here is an Irish Spring commercial from the late-70s:

As for Dana Carvey, well, you know him. Here is my favorite Dana Carvey bit ... I believe this is from his tryout tape for SNL:

A few decades and a lot of money later:


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