Headphone Amp, Grado 125s

DAVE: Well, this is a headphone amp and it just boosts the volume and makes the clarity off the hook, and then these are Grado 125s, which is just really, killer, killer portable sound.

A headphone amplifier, or headphone amp, is a low-powered amplifier that raises the low-voltage signal from an audio device so that it can be converted into sound waves by the speakers inside headphones. It works like the amps used to power full-sized speakers at a lower scale.

Grado 125s [pictured] are headphones made for the home market by Grado Labs in Brooklyn. They are stylish, reasonably priced, and good quality, but apparently not very comfortable to wear.

Demo, Drum Machine

DAVE: I can play you a song we demo’d a couple weeks ago using a drum machine.

A demo (short for demonstration) is a song or group of songs recorded by a band that can be handed on to record labels, producers, or other artists. Bands also record demos for their own use and reference.

A drum machine [pictured] is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion sounds, drum beats, and patterns. Drum machines may imitate drum kits or other percussion instruments, or produce unique sounds, such as synthesised electronic tones. A drum machine often has pre-programmed beats and patterns for popular genres and styles, such as pop music, rock music, and dance music. They have been commonly in use since 1980.

Dave’s band obviously used a drum machine on their demo because they didn’t have a drummer – now they do.

The Clash, The Kinks

LANE: So, um, what’s your band like?

DAVE: We do a lot of cool covers – uh, the Clash, the Kinks, et cetera.

The Clash, English rock band formed in 1976, previously mentioned. Billed as “The Only Band That Really Matters”, they were key players in the original wave of British punk rock, contributed to the post-punk and new-wave movements, and used elements of a range of genres, including reggae, funk, and rockabilly. Their classic line-up was Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass), and Nicky “Topper” Headon (drums). The Clash achieved critical and commercial in the UK with their first two albums The Clash (1977) and Give Them Enough Rope (1978). Their third album, London Calling, gained them success in the US; released in 1979 in the UK, it was released in 1980 in the US and was named the best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone. Combat Rock (1982) was even more successful in the US. The band broke up in 1986. The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, shortly after the death of Joe Strummer. They are regarded as one of the best bands of all time.

The Kinks [pictured], English rock band formed in 1963 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. Regarded as one of the most influential bands of the 1960s, they emerged during the period of British R&B and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the US, until they were banned from touring in America in 1965 because of their rowdy on-stage behaviour. Their 1964 single “You Really Got Me”, became an international hit, going to #1 in the UK and Top 10 in the US. The Kinks have had numerous hit singles in both the UK and US, and among numerous honours received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Service to British Music”. The original members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Malcolm in the Middle, the Butthole Surfers

DAVE: Or maybe Malcolm in the Middle fronting for the Butthole Surfers.

Malcolm in the Middle [pictured], sitcom which ran from 2000 to 2006. It stars Frankie Muniz as the title character Malcolm, one of four sons (later five) in a comically dysfunctional lower middle-class family. When Malcolm’s oldest brother is sent to military school, that leaves Malcolm as the middle child of the three boys still at home. Malcolm is an adolescent with a genius IQ of 165, forced into special classes for gifted children that are made fun of by the other students. The show was critically acclaimed and highly influential.

Francisco “Frankie” Muniz (born 1985) was one of the most popular teen actors at the height of his career. He gave up acting in 2008 to pursue a career in open-wheel car racing. From 2012 to 2014, he was the drummer for indie rock band Kingsfoil, so he did actually end up in a band.

Butthole Surfers, rock band formed in San Antonio, Texas in 1981 by singer Gibby Haynes and guitarist Paul Leary. Emerging from the 1980s hardcore punk scene, Butthole Surfers quickly became known for their chaotic live shows, black comedy, and a sound that incorporated elements of psychedelia. Although respected and with a loyal fan base, Butthole Surfers had little commercial success until their 1996 album Electriclarryland, containing the hit single “Pepper”, which went to #1.

“Urkel joining the Wu-Tang Clan”

LANE: Yeah, what’s next – Urkel joining the Wu-Tang Clan?

Steven “Steve” Urkel [pictured], fictional character from the sitcom Family Matters, which aired from 1989 to 1998. The sitcom revolved around a middle-class African-American family called the Winslows who lived in Chicago, and Steve Urkel was their nerdy neighbour. Originally scripted as a one-off character, he proved so popular that he quickly became part of the regular cast, and eventually, the main character.

The charter was portrayed by actor Jaleel White (born 1976). He has gone on to have a successful career in film and television, as well as bringing out his own strain of cannabis products called Purple Urkel.

Wu-Tang Clan, previously discussed.

“That kid from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”

DAVE: Yeah, now their front-man’s that kid from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

When the Dead Kennedys reformed in 2001, Brandon Cruz replaced Jello Biafra as lead vocalist. A Californian surfer and skater, Cruz had been the frontman for punk band Dr. Know in the 1980s. Brandon Cruz left the Dead Kennedys in 2003.

Brandon Cruz (born 1962) is best known for his days as a child actor, playing Eddie Corbett on the sitcom The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1969-1972), with Bill Bixby playing his dad. He continued working as a child actor for several years after the sitcom was cancelled. Cruz won a Former Child Star Lifetime Award from the Young Artist Foundation in 1991, and has worked as an assistant editor on animated TV series South Park.

Jello Biafra predictably did not approve of his replacement, describing the new incarnation of Dead Kennedys as “a karaoke band”.

[Picture shows Brandon Cruz in 1972]

Dead Kennedys and Jello Biafra

LANE: But how’d you know I was me?

DAVE: The Dead Kennedys shirt was a tip off.

LANE: Good thinking. Hey, uh, isn’t it a drag that Jello Biafra isn’t singing for them anymore?

Dead Kennedys, punk rock band formed in San Francisco in 1978 with its classic line-up of Jello Biafra (lead singer), East Bay Ray (guitar), Klaus Fluoride (bass), and D.H. Peligro (drums). One of the defining hardcore punk bands, their lyrics were usually political in nature, satirising political figures, authority, popular culture, and punk itself. From 1978 to 1986 they attracted controversy for their provocative lyrics and artwork. They released four albums and one EP before disbanding acrimoniously in 1986.

Jello Biafra (born Eric Boucher in 1958), former lead singer and songwriter for the Dead Kennedys. In the mid-1980s, Biafra became an active campaigner against the Parents Music Resource Center, a committee formed in 1985 with the goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music, via labelling music with Parental Advisory stickers. Biafra’s campaigning culminated in an obscenity trial between 1985 and 1986, which resulted in a hung jury.

In 2000, Biafra lost a legal case initiated by his former Dead Kennedys bandmates over songwriting credits and unpaid royalties. In 2001, the band reformed without Biafra. Although Dead Kennedys have continued to perform live over the years, they have not released any new material since the release of their fourth studio album, Bedtime for Democracy, in 1986.

[Picture shows Dead Kennedys in the early 1980s; Jello Biafra is second on the left]

Lane Meets Dave Rygalski

DAVE: Excuse me, Lane?

LANE: That’s me.

DAVE: Okay, great, I’m Dave Rygalski.

LANE: Right, hi. You’re a guitarist.

In this scene, Lane meets Dave Rygalski, who answered her ad because he has a band that needs a drummer. He almost immediately becomes her love interest.

The character of Dave is based on the real life Dave Rygalski, the husband of Helen Pai, producer on Gilmore Girls, who the character of Lane is based on. The real Dave Rygalski has been a writer for Jay Leno and David Letterman, and also plays guitar, just like his fictional namesake. He has been in a few bands, and played some of the music for Lane’s band on Gilmore Girls.

On the show, Dave Rygalski is played by Adam Brody. At this stage, Brody had played Barry Williams in the TV film, Growing Up Brady, and been Greg Brady in an episode of The Amanda Show. Like several other actors on Gilmore Girls, he’d also been in Judging Amy, another show about mothers and daughters set in Connecticut – he played a guy called Barry Gilmore!

There has already been a character named Rygalski on Gilmore Girls – a bank manager in Hartford where Lorelai tried to get a loan was Mr Rygalski. Quite possibly this is Dave’s father.

It seems a bit unlikely that Lane is available to meet Dave on a Saturday night – as a Seventh Day Adventist, she has church on Saturday, and when Lane asked her mother for permission to go out on a Saturday night after church, Mrs Kim told her that after church she should be thinking about what she learned in church. However, perhaps has mother has softened slightly, or Lane is allowed out to see Rory.

“Holed up in the Chelsea”

RORY: I don’t know. Your parents just made it sound like . . .

CAROL: Like I was holed up in the Chelsea with a needle sticking out of my arm screaming “Sid” at the top of my lungs?

A reference to Nancy Spungen (1958-1978), American girlfriend of English punk rocker Sid Vicious, and a figure of the 1970s punk rock scene. The two of them were habitutal heroin users, and eventually Nancy’s body was found in the bathroom of their room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York, stabbed to death. Sid Vicious died of an overdose before he could be brought to trial.

Their story is told in the film Sid and Nancy, previously discussed [pictured]. Carol seems to have all the same references as Lorelai as well.

Stalking Tom Waits

CAROL: I worship [Tom Waits]. I even mildly stalked him once … Last year, I heard he was staying at this hotel so I went there everyday and sat in the lobby, drinking massive amounts of coffee, waiting for him to walk by.

I can barely speculate which hotel Tom Waits could have been staying in the previous year. The only concert he had in 2001 was one in his home town of San Francisco, and he took a trip to Copenhagen in Denmark early in the year. He attended the ASCAP Awards at the Beverly Hilton in May, which might be what Carol is referring to (if so, she was in Los Angeles at the time for some reason – where the Palladinos live, probably not coincidentally).

Like Lorelai, Carol worships Tom Waits and drinks huge amounts of coffee. Her mild stalking of Waits at a hotel is replicated later by Lorelai, who stalks Bono at his hotel in exactly the same way.