In July 2007 we decided to expand our ranks and bring in some more bartenders to the Saloon. Nick was the first to join the fray, writing under the pseudonym "The Hundley". I was able to talk with Nick recently to discuss this memorable War Hero piece.
Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan: How much of this do you remember writing? It's been nearly 9 years ago.
The Hundley: To be fair, I was doing a copious amount of peyote at that stage in my life. That being said, it would be tough for a boy to forget that video as he was coming into adolescence. If I remember correctly, that article was my "test piece" to see if I made the cut for TMS. I remember it went pretty quickly because obviously that video had a profound effect on me.
JTCF: Yeah it was your "test piece" as you were the first outsider we brought into the fold. We didn't have a vetting process in place (Did we ever?) so I just sort of let you write whatever you want. I have to say it's the most impressive debut we ever had. Bursting onto the scene with the swagger of a young Doug Dascenzo.
Music videos seem to have fallen out of favor with today's kids and aren't really that big of a deal anymore. You have two young boys now. When the time is right, will you teach them the ways of the "Wicked Game" video, or will they have to find their own path?
TH: There's no way that I'd want them to suffer from the awkwardness of watching something like that in the presence of parents. You have to remember, that was a super risque video in the 90's. I'm not sure if Cinemax showed that much at the time. I think videos still have a place, if they didn't, then they'd stop making them. Thus far I've been blessed to have toddlers that incessantly ask for Johnny Cash and Nathaniel Rateliff videos instead of Wheels on the Bus and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I'll take that.
JTCF: Well no one's probably fighting off boners to Johnny Cash, that's for sure.
TH: Can you be so sure? (ruing the fact that I wore sweatpants)
War Hero: The Wicked Game Video
The full version of this post ran on July 2007 and can be found here.
Have you ever stopped to look back on your life? Thought about certain things that you've experienced and how they had a profound impact on your life? Maybe you learned the valuable lesson of taking nothing for granted after living through the 2003 Cub postseason or Brant Brown's gaffe in 1998. Perhaps you were taught a lesson on how to be a 'Class Act' by worshiping guys like Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, and Walter Payton growing up. Quite possibly you learned to never give up after watching Jim Valvano's speech or simply by watching Stallone, Pele, and Michael Caine in "Victory". Yes, sports and pop culture have the power to teach us valuable lessons that will help us all on our journey through life. One of the greatest things I've learned in my 29 years from television, is how to fight off a boner. And I have Chris Isaak to thank for that.
When 'Wicked Game' was shown on MTV in the early 90's, I was but a lad trying to transition from elementary school to junior high. You remember, don't you? All of the girls were starting to get breasts and wearing bras while you sat there with a few whiteheads, your hair chock-full of Dapper Dan, parted on the side, sporting "The Wave" hairstyle that Tyler from "Life Goes On" had (sans mullet, of course). Hypercolor shirts were taking precedence over your Rude Dog shirts from 6th grade. Those were the bomb, but could do little to suppress the stiffy you got from staring at your partner's chest in Spanish class. Something had to be done, and quick. You couldn't possibly sit cross-legged all the time. Sure baggy shirts were in, but what if you got called up to the chalk board? You can't hide that thing.
Luckily Chris Isaak helped me out. This was back when MTV actually showed videos (a novel concept). My family had exactly one TV in the house so consequently, we watched it together as a family. Perhaps I was being punished by God, but 'Wicked Game' seemed only to come on when I was watching TV while my parents were around. Talk about awkward. Hopefully my parents were distracted reading the paper or playing Jenga, because watching Helena Christensen rolling around on a beach half naked was a bit "off-putting" to view in the presence of your parents, to say the least. Changing the channel was out of the question, you couldn't bring attention to it, and goddamn, that was one video that was too steamy to leave. Nevermind the fact that Chris Isaak looked like he was stuck in the 50's with his get-up, that guy quickly became my hero. It was a video you watched over and over, thinking perhaps you missed a nipple slip the first 100 times you saw it. It made good conversation in the lunchroom, bragging up your macho-ness by saying jugs, tits, rack, set and the like. As a good friend of mine states, "Any male between the ages of 22 and 32 remembers EXACTLY where and when they saw 'Wicked Game' for the first time." This was life-altering stuff. Once I found that I could get through that video while still managing to hold back "The Glory", I pretty much had Junior High figured out. No longer would I feel that slow dancing with a female was impossible. Teen Night at the YMCA swimming pool? Bring it on. Walking on a nude beach in Cancun as an 8th grader? Well...okay, just like the Pull-Out Method of birth control, it isn't 100% effective, but it's better than nothing.
It sure was a groundbreaking experience for me. And I'll be damned if I've ever seen a video since that leaves me more uncomfortable when in the presence of family. Christ, that's saying something when you're 29 years old. God bless you, Chris Isaak. Now, if we could only get your show back on the air and more of you on Leno...