Jukebox Wars

Ace was a shitlord theorist even back in high school. In this story, “D.J.” is named after his former calling. Bobby struck gold and now lives idly for women and wine, both in moderation.

Ace: I drove to the Jersey shore with D.J. and Bobby this past weekend. Remember the dive last year that you called the “dinosaur bar,” which was full of old rednecks?

PA: Yeah. I drank Miller Lite from a plastic cup. But it was our oasis from the dindu noise they played at all the other bars.

Ace: Rock music on the jukebox was nice, but what sat wrong with me, when you and I were there, is that we had to settle for that dump to finally hear our sound. And then, remember how those two scrawny Cholos went up to the jukebox and put on Reggaeton? You and I wondered why the fuck we’re in a place that’s full of drunk tough guys and nobody does a damn thing about this blatantly disrespectful act.

PA: They were more drunk than tough. But yeah, you and I didn’t do anything either. “It’s not the time yet,” is what I said. Not my home turf, pick your battles, the bartender isn’t doing anything so why should I.

Ace: So on Saturday, D.J., Bobby, and I popped into that same “dinosaur bar” and the music was good, if a bit long in the tooth. Older acts like Guns N’ Roses. Then, a fat thirty-something woman waddles over to the jukebox.

PA: Oh shit. That’s trouble.

Ace: Oddly though, she put on some of those old-school crooner selections. Perry Como and the like. I don’t mind it, but it wasn’t the right vibe.

PA: Definitely could have been worse.

Ace: Superannuated is what it was. So Bobby says “I’ll put something on” and gets up from his chair. He puts on Lush.

PA: Heh, we all know your feelings about Alternative Rock.

Ace: Yeah, it’s the faggiest fucking crap. Well, the song starts, and my reaction was “this sucks, this sucks…” and then the intro halts and… “THIS ROCKS!” And I told Bobby that this is surprisingly good. He laughed and said “You know I wouldn’t do you wrong, brother.”

After that, things went downhill. Someone put on ten, or realistically, more like six songs of pure undiluted hardcore ghetto rap.

PA: Who did that!?

Ace: It was a normal looking, forty-something White gentleman. There were three blacks there, and they started monkeying it up. And then D.J. commences to bust my balls: “I told you people enjoy that music — see, even the bartendress is feelin’ the beat.”

PA: The bastard loves to kick you when you’re down.

Ace: But I said “This is war” and asked him to remind me what was that Death Metal band he once played to drive the schwoogs from his venue. He said it’s Meshuggah. I asked him to spell it for me, and I went over and put that on.

PA: Nice move. What did the blacks do?

Ace: It was funny, the life went out of them and they just kind of sat huddled together.

PA: I remember D.J.’s explanation about how those arrhythmic parts unsettle them, besides of course the insane growling vocals. Something about how every fifth beat is off, that fucks with their heads.

Ace: So then, one of them goes up to the jukebox.

PA: Bring it on, jukebox wars! Did they escalate?

Ace: Surprisingly, no. They put on black artists but nothing obnoxious. Michael Jackson, that kind of stuff.

PA: See, you show some firepower and the other side is willing to negotiate.


We’re a fractured nation. More accurately, a hodgepodge of nations elbowing at each other in contested public space. The stuff of wars. Back in America, kids rocked around the jukebox. Today, smart proprietors control all music, usually by streaming Pandora.


I had some thoughts about the cycles of popular music here.


It’s time for a coffee. I take mine with Meshuggah.


25 thoughts on “Jukebox Wars

  1. First random mental association at sight of title: Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero.” I had the Foreigner 4 album as a kid. This when I was literally young enough to think that “Cold as Ice” and “Hot Blooded” were meditations on the fascinating concepts of Cold and Heat (there was an Ice Man and chick Firestarter character on one of my Sat. morning cartoons, who once were yin/yanged into a deathmatch by a villain who locked them unwittingly in adjacent rooms, turning their superpowers against each other as each respectively tried to heat/chill their confinement).

    I remember though being enchanted with a song on side 2 called, I think, “Girl on the Moon”. One of those songs I haven’t revisited because I don’t want to know if it was about lesbianism (cf Quarterflash) or something like that.

    Anyway, years later at college, I’m chilling with my bf and the guy manning the college radio station that afternoon puts on “Jukebox Hero” while exploding with enthusiasm for how this is the greatest rock song of all time or something. I was like, ‘that song I used to listen to as a kid?’

    At this moment, I couldn’t tell you what it was ‘about’–but maybe it’s an anthem that requires revisiting. Like Quarterflash’s lesbianism, perhaps the DJ was proto-shitlording.

    I also recall a request from an alleged campus gay organization (likely a loner or a troll) requesting Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth”, a song I understand sold millions in its time but which somehow I had never heard in the wild until then.

  2. ‘There were three blacks there, and they started monkeying it up. And then D.J. commences to bust my balls: “I told you people enjoy that music — see, even the bartendress is feelin’ the beat.”’

    I’m not certain whether D.J. is giving his sober “professional” musical opinion or just, in context, yanking your buddy’s chain, but I can’t really believe “people” are “feelin’ the beat” on that stuff.

    Now, I can see the bartendress swaying to something like, say, Madonna’s “Secret”, if that’s a sufficiently recognizable example of a certain kind of comparatively svelte r’n’b. That En Vogue style of pop, which I assume still is carried on under certain banners, is superficially not esp. unpleasant, but it’s still propped up by an artificial cache because it “sounds black”. Fundamentally, it’s no more highbrow than bubblegum techno of the “Barbie Girl” variety (and minus the self-deprecating humor), and if I’m going to borrow Plato’s hat for a moment, I wouldn’t want my children marinating in music that consists largely of basslines rolling in and out like the tides. Better to jump around fanatically for a few mins. to 130bpms and get it out of their system (NB: not that I’m saying I’d tolerate either under my roof! lolz)

    But actual “urban jamz radio” “hip-hop”? I can only understand the bartendress’ reaction in terms of kultural programming. If she’s “feelin’ the beat”, it’s because she’s trained to think that’s what she (as a White woman) is supposed to do under those conditions–whether she’s being ironic about it or not.

    Fundamentally, it’s a corollary of what Sailer would call “Whites breed poorly in captivity.” Whites are “supposed” to adopt certain stances around “black culture” to avoid a shock and get a cheese pellet. “Hey y’all, it’s black muzik on. We all gone get hour funky on, yo?”

  3. Btw: when exactly do “hips” “hop” in “hip-hop”?

    The very expression “hip-hop” has always, since the very first time I heard it, struck me as a “white girl” aerobics instructor kind of thing to say. Was “hip-hop” coined as an attempt to appeal to “white chicks”? Or is it purely an example of black verbal dribble (drivel): hippety-hoppity-yo-mofo?

    Black “dancing’s mythic stature notwithstanding, what one saw in rap videos was a lot of chin-nod, even from da hoochees splayin all over dat leased BayEmDubayoo an sippin dem floots uh Ceegrammz jeenjuhrail.

    Der be twerkin un all dat sheet too, but if there’s one precise sweet spot I never see black “dancing” strike, it’s that whole fantasy Turkish chick in a harem hip-sway.

  4. — I’m not certain whether D.J. is giving his sober “professional” musical opinion or just, in context, yanking your buddy’s chain,

    D.J. has a sadistic streak. he was messin’ with Ace. I think your take on the bartendress is spot-on. I wasn’t there, but I imagine that people who work full-time in a loud music environment eventually tune it out and bop along with whatever beat they pick up in passing, especially when they’re serving a busy crowd.

  5. Pingback: Jukebox Wars | Reaction Times

  6. Juke Box Hero is where it’s at. Had a story entitled that and it was a throwback to those mega rock concerts of yesteryear. I should flesh it out. A girl I worked with like one part of it, since it was dealing with a guy who sold his soul to the devil.

    I had envisioned it as a rock film, akin to what Moulin Rogue did with pop tunes, but at least try to keep the original sound, not deviating too far from the source material.

  7. Thinking more on this post, I recall some of my old friends who were all about the nignog music. Each time we’d hang out they’d always have that shite on. I would only tolerate it because I was listening to the lyrics to find absurdities to throw in their faces.

    I recall once we went camping and I put on some Zeppelin because I had rediscovered the brilliance of Led Zeppelin II. It didn’t last long.

    And at college, one guy approached his roommate and said “if I were to purchase a rap album, what would I buy.” He was a bit of a goober and was at that impressionable age. Later on he had a slew of rap albums and I don’t think he ever actually liked the music, but did so to “fit in”.

    My one college roommate and I had the same taste in music, though he was more on the alternative-alternative side.

    Sadly, never hung out with chums who could enjoy the classics like myself. Interestingly enough, an ex-girlfriend of mine shared similar tastes in music as did I and she was a music trivia fan, so she’d read up on all she could.

    it’s amazing how connection via same interest in music can hold people together. Or keep them together, let alone pair them up.

    I wont’ even talk to a girl if I know she likes rap or hiphop or shite like that. It’s all just one big turn off.

  8. Hip Hop started out as a somewhat serious art form that looked askance at R&B crooning, rump shaking, dancers, etc. You had to have a booming voice that could carry a public performance without amplification, auto-tune or other bs, and you had to be able to rap on the fly and not use ghost writers, producers and such.

    R&B fused with Hip Hop somewhere in the late 90’s.

  9. ‘There were three blacks there, and they started monkeying it up. And then D.J. commences to bust my balls: “I told you people enjoy that music — see, even the bartendress is feelin’ the beat.”’

    In Atlanta when I pull up to a stoplight if there’s a group of people in the car to your right/left I’d estimate that blacks are literally dancing in their car at least 10% of the time, maybe more.

    When you see a young “teen” walking down the street by himself there’s also a huge percentage of the time they’re literally rapping their way along listening to their headphones.

  10. Yes… It is easy to not fear the sick muse when you have inversed yourself in his imitation for so long. This is good and bad. A sign of control and losing control. In a sense, one loses sense.

  11. Most black people walk normally, but maybe a few times a year I do see one dancing down the street. If a white person did that I would assume he was mental.

  12. I like the occasional hip hop song, but if that is all they are playing, I will soon be out of there.

  13. — When you see a young “teen” [.. . ] by himself there’s also a huge percentage of the time they’re literally rapping their way along listening to their headphones.

    Like that guy?

    I laughed but also felt a bit sorry for him.

    “Mah Beats! mah Beats!”

  14. The funniest is still the “teen” idiot who stole a laptop in the UK and didn’t realize that the video app was still connected to the Instagram of the owner, so he posted videos of himself dancing that were used to identify him:

  15. but I imagine that people who work full-time in a loud music environment eventually tune it out and bop along with whatever beat they pick up in passing

    It is a well-known cliche that is probably true that a person’s tolerance for noise correlates inversely with his intelligence.

    Blue collar guys who work in road construction and whatnot almost all develop hearing damage. A lot of hearing damage ear problems are cumulative in their causes, so that the noise every day adds up and eventually you are half deaf.

    In other words Grampa says protect your ears.

    PA’s descriptions of the juke box bar scenes feel East Coastey. The bars seem like Atlantic City or something out of a Springsteen song.

  16. Most black people walk normally, but maybe a few times a year I do see one dancing down the street. If a white person did that I would assume he was mental.

    I used to practice two-stepping on the side of the street while waiting for the bus.

    It feels good. And it beats standing there like a half-wit.

    Any average athletic White person can figure it out (the two-step) if he has musical talent. You basically count one two and alternate your steps with that, and then throw in half-steps and the variation spins out into infinity right quick.

    At then at the higher levels you can do it (ooooh you can “do it”) w other people in lines aka line dancing.

    I am not quite socialized enough to successfully engage in that ceremony. In my defense there is no line dancing that occurs within twenty miles of here.

    The last time I saw some real old school dancing was ‘up in the Woods’ in WI in this riverside bar, and it was a waltz and they were German-stock boomers. “And as you know, they were quite good.”

  17. I’d guess Seaside Heights, or somewhere south of Stone Harbor. Wildwood Crest is full of Philly and Camden nogs who come to nog it up for the summer. Seaside has more of a Staten Island wigger crowd.

    My job involves listening to some hip hop but mostly Euro EDM, and there’s a distinct difference despite having bpms in similar ranges. You can sense the race of the artist without even hearing a word spoken or sung.

    Recently watched a movie with the kids. Guardians of the galaxy. I liked it. Terrific soundtrack full of cheesy pop songs from the 70s. The kids want to listen to it all the time, and I don’t mind. It’s heaps better than the stuff assaulting my ears lately.

  18. The bars in the East Coast are a lot more fun.

    I don’t think that there are any jukebox bars in this whole metro area.

    And if there are they are fagged out.

    The one bar around here tries to have a country theme, but it’s all marketed, there is nothing real about it.

    Except there is one thing real about it, and that is the well-shaped country-style butts of the girl servers.

    You know the type. Classic tight jeans and basically healthy country style girls — which type i doubt (seriously) you can find in the whole of NY state. They don’t make em like that out there.

    Even still today in this faggey gay fucking lame-ass piece-of-shit suburb — even still here come the cowgirls! three or five generations in off the Dakota farmstead.

    The management gets the pass in hiring them and only them. No one less than an 8 need apply.

    What does that lifestyle to them, over the long term though? Those girls come into the city and make 200 bux per night in the restaurant biz and get showered with infinite attention — and the next thing you know they are 35 and how many kids?

  19. The point I wanted to make about the bars around here and that one in particular, in which i have some less than fond memories, is that country dancing? forget about it.

    Rather it is ten televisions up above the U-bar and twenty others in the corners etc. And glaring with CNN, or maybe at least they have the good sense to turn it to Fox, except as i recall it was Sports Center or whatever the latest niggerball.

    It’s the PEOPLE who are the problem. The White people can’t figure out how to have and maintain a Commons.

    Of course that is a classic problem that commentators have been running the game theory on for a long time, and it comes up hard to solve.

    You can’t maintain a commons without advantage accruing — to he who takes advantage!

    Classic catch 22.

    But the problems with establishment bars is (obv) not the (same exact) problem of the Commons. Though they intersect and have similarities.

  20. The best Commons that I have seen, in recent times, is little league sports and particular teenage girls lacrosse.

    It sounds like a joke — teenage girls lacrosse? — but for whatever reason, that is the self-sorted and most whitest family night out there.

    They take over the local parks in force and it is like White Night. I think the local niggers must be in shock.

    But it then becomes the Syndrome of the Girl Athlete.

    I watch some of those games matches and it is purty funny. These shapely 14 year old girls, half of them taller than me, prancing around like ponies and trying to socialize and have fun and look good, and all the while having to worry about this ball-on-a-stick and act like they’re trying.

    Stay the hell out of the way of bulldyke prodigy, she is out for ten more points.

    To put it in sperg-terms, the goofy dynamic is the conflicting status markers. Who is the toughest bulldyke versus who is the prettiest, and in the case of lacrosse playerettes most statuesque?

    Uh, not the same girl. Hahahaha

  21. — the goofy dynamic is the conflicting status markers.

    Good call on that one Elk and pretty funny observation. Lacrosse is the apex-status high school sport here as well.

    Spot-on too:

    — prancing around like ponies and trying to socialize and have fun and look good, and all the while having to worry about this ball-on-a-stick and act like they’re trying.

  22. I recently attended a heavy metal concert in Toronto, which you may recall is the fourth-largest city in North America (I don’t consider Mejico to be part of N.A.) and phenomenally diverse. And yet, I looked around at the stadium of alabaster faces and felt a sense of being at home among My People, like something one would have felt at a Nuremberg rally.

    Now, one of the things I like about classic heavy metal is attracts the right mix of My People: some geeky, some blue-collar and tough, some smart, some dumb, some old, some young.

    Interestingly, the only mino near me was a native-Canadian, who are a sort of mino that I appreciate, being the only mino group who really have a claim to “belong” here.

  23. The jukebox wars are one reason I don’t bother going in to bars anymore. I’m practically allergic to rap (it makes me break out in a rash of anger), and I hate throwing money in to get past it, and having to wait an hour to get to my selections. I’m pushing 60, so I love my classic rock (but only what hasn’t been driven into the ground by commercial radio), but I also love to poke the wiggers with Amon Amarth, Tyr, Sabaton, and Babymetal. It hurts me to my soul to see and hear young whites playing ghetto.

  24. midnightavej: You got it. It was Seaside Heights.

    In my experience, ocean towns without boardwalks is where you minimize the mud. Example from NJ: Sea Isle City.

    SJ, Esquire: I enjoyed reading your anecdote.

    Greywrath: My indulgence is an occasional evening at a craft beer brew pub with a friend or two. I have the music down to a science. Any place with a jukebox is out for the reasons you provide. And it’s a shame, because I like to occasionally pick some songs.

    Diversity is why we can’t have nice things.

    No segregation, no peace.

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