♫♪  A.P.Mike - Michael Perry

While life grants some lucky few the freedom to live according to their own will, death permits no such volition. Most people don’t get to choose when they go and no one can decide how history will honor their memory, if indeed they are remembered at all. The truly fortunate among us have their lives immortalized in music that matches their own worldly glory. From the ballads of medieval bards to the symphonic homages of the classical era to the 1990s output of R.E.M. and Puff Daddy, artists throughout the ages have felt compelled to confront the specter of death with the life-affirming fusion of melody and memory.

Then there are those who eschew such sentimentality in favor of an unsettling funeral march. One such dirge comes to us courtesy of Mike Lisk, better known as Associate Producer (A.P.) Mike on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling. On last Tuesday’s installment, Lisk was given the floor to premiere “Michael Perry,” a tribute to a fallen friend composed of Lisk’s shaky voice reverberating on top of a spare acoustic guitar accompaniment (provided by collaborator Jesse Elsener). Over the course of three and a half minutes, “Michael Perry” presents the title character as a dice-eating, dick-obsessed weirdo. These are the bygone memories of Lisk’s childhood when he knew Michael Perry as the “hellbent” kid in the neighborhood who thrived on being revolting.

Sadly, the song’s opening lines make clear that Mr. Perry is thriving no longer, his life cut short “last week” when he drove his car through the front of a 7-Eleven. Although Lisk described the track on air as a parody of the confessional style of singer/songwriter/dummy Mark Kozelek, “Michael Perry” is far more fascinating when considered outside of this context. Because while the tune certainly lies under a sad shade, its sinister, repetitive riff and shuddering vocals have more in common with Throbbing Gristle’s terrifying “Hamburger Lady” than most things in the Sun Kil catalog. It’s even odder when you consider that Lisk isn’t a musician at all: one day he simply felt compelled to ascend his own tower of song and this is what he walked down with. It all makes for a curious piece of outsider rock that makes one wonder who is stranger: the song’s subject or its singer?

R.I.P. Michael Perry. Long live A.P. Mike.

• The Best Show: http://thebestshow.net
• A.P. Mike: https://www.facebook.com/TheMikeShow

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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