When the economy’s bad, crime get worse. That’s why I decided to hire a new lawman to clean up this one-horse-because-of-all-the-horse-thieves town.

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s called Bootleg City. If you outlaw the outlaws and start doing everything by the book, aren’t you defeating the purpose of the place? Isn’t there some sort of town charter you’d be violating? Seriously, Mr. Mayor, how stupid can you be?” The thing is, I agree with you. (Well, except for that rude rhetorical question you tacked onto the end of your thought. That seemed unnecessary.) After all, the welcome sign at the edge of town says the following: BOOTLEG CITY — A PLACE FOR BOOTLEGGERS AND SCOUNDRELS AND EVEN RAPISTS, AS LONG AS IT’S JUST THE VIKING KIND OF RAPE WHERE YOU WANTONLY DESTROY THE LAND, BUT BE A DEAR AND JUST DESTROY THE POOR SIDE OF TOWN, OKAY? WE’VE BEEN MEANING TO LAY WASTE TO THAT EYESORE FOR YEARS NOW. THANKS, AND ENJOY YOUR STAY!

Even so, crime is out of control here, so I’ve started interviewing candidates for the job of police chief (and judge, jury, and executioner if they have a talent for multitasking). Unfortunately, due to a nearsighted oversight on my part, I misread the caption on one particular photograph attached to a candidate’s resumé and ended up scheduling an interview with a guy named Marshall Crenshaw. See, I didn’t notice that second L at the end of his first name — it turns out he’s a musician, not the former marshal of Jaggedland. The imagined typo didn’t come up for the first 20 minutes of the interview, though, so I sat there wondering how this bespectacled Columbo-type character was going to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, and he was wondering why he had to meet a town’s mayor before playing a club gig.

Eventually we got the whole thing sorted out and had a few laughs about it. He told me I was his new favorite waste of time, so I told him rape was my favorite waste of time but go-nowhere interviews were a close second. At that point he started looking for the door and said he had to get to the hotel and take a shower before his show.

Musicians are so hard to read. Maybe I just need new glasses.

Mr. Crenshaw left behind a CD containing what appear to be some of his soundtrack and tribute-album contributions from the ’80s and ’90s, plus a bunch of demos and rarities, including a live version of “‘Til I Hear It From You,” a song he cowrote that became a hit for the Gin Blossoms in 1995. The song debuted on the soundtrack for Empire Records, which also featured Evan Dando‘s cover of Big Star‘s “The Ballad of El Goodo”; nine years later Crenshaw and Dando became temporary bandmates when they toured with the surviving members of the MC5 under the moniker “DKT/MC5.”

Wingnuts (A-side of 1974 single by Astigafa, one of Crenshaw’s first bands)
Oh My Lady (B-side of above single)
I Hate Disco Music (1978 single by the Sides, Crenshaw’s one-off duo with Glen Burtnik)
You’re My Favorite Waste of Time (1979 home demo released as B-side of Someday, Someway single in ’82; credited to “Marshall Crenshaw and the Handsome, Ruthless and Stupid Band”)
She Can’t Dance [1981 Version] (B-side of Something’s Gonna Happen single, recorded for Shake Records in ’81; rerecorded for Crenshaw’s debut album on Warner Bros. a year later)
Rave On (B-side of Cynical Girl single, 1982)
Jungle Rock (B-side of Whenever You’re on My Mind single, 1983)
Little Sister [Live] (from the U.S. Remix EP, 1983)
I’d Do It All Over Again (from Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander, 1994)
Silver Wings (from Tulare Dust: A Songwriters’ Tribute to Merle Haggard, 1994)
All or Nothin’ at All (from One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, 1997)
It’s Only a Movie [a.k.a. But, But] (from the Get Crazy soundtrack album, 1983)
Rock On (from Superman III, 1983)
You Belong to Me (from Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986; credited to “The Marshall Crenshaw Band”)
Crying, Waiting, Hoping (from La Bamba, 1987)
Bad Boy (theme song to the NBC sitcom Men Behaving Badly, 1996)
What I Didn’t Want to Do
‘Til I Hear It From You [Live]

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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