Some stray thoughts on the song “Joey” by Concrete Blonde.
Is it fair to consider Concrete Blonde a goth band? Or at least “goth band adjace”? Yes, they were moody and kinda brooding although would we even be having this discussion if it weren’t for the fact that they once had a song called “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)”? If you check out their early hits like “God is a Bullet”, they were pretty much hard rock, looking like the Cult and sounding like the 4th and 5th Joan Jett albums. I’m curious if “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” was a conscious attempt at a rebrand, not unlike the Black Rebel Motorcycle and their fairly forgettable tune “Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song)”.
I like when “Joey” was featured on an episode (“One Man and a Baby“) of Beverly Hills 90210 where Brandon started hanging out with a teenage mother who had an infant called (spoiler alert) Joey. So literal. This babies-having-babies swerve was the second most memorable placement of modern rock du jour in the first couple of seasons of “Bev”. The first most memorable is the episode (“Beach Blanket Brandon“) where Dylan listened to “Losing my Religion” by R.E.M. as he and Brenda broke up inside a parked car at the beach. Third place: obviously, the season five episode (“Love Hurts“) where the Flaming Lips showed up at the Peach Pit After Dark and Ian Ziering famously declared, “I’m not usually a fan of alternative music, but these guys rock the house!”
Thanks to that guy on the Internet who pointed out that “Joey” was Concrete Blonde’s attempt to fuse itself with mid-period Pretenders. They morphed sound-wise and image-wise. It’s fair to say that Concrete Blonde and the Pretenders were the same band for a 6-8 months stretch in 1992, not unlike when Lou Reed and Robbie Robertson strangely became the same guy for a brief period in the late 1980s, as pointed out in #ignored18.
Canada’s version of Concrete Blonde around this time was National Velvet.