Buffalo, NY—After clicking on a “Days Like This,” video by Van Morrison in his Facebook feed local Spot Coffee espresso technician and music snob, Hartford Wagmuzzle was shocked to learn the classic Irish rocker plays saxophone. In the video Morrison blows a short yet soulful alto sax solo leading Wagmuzzle to exclaim to his cat Boris, who was sitting next to him, “Van the Man plays sax?”
A quick scan of YouTube provided further evidence of Morrison’s sax acumen—in several live videos he’s standing at a mic with that alto slung coolly around his neck and not only does he solo, but he also plays the melodic jams with the rest of the band. Checking his streaming library Wagmuzzle noted over a hundred songs which equates to about ten full length albums. These albums included the big ones from early in Morrison’s career: Astral Weeks, Moondance, Tupelo Honey, along with a recent live record and some of his work with The Chieftains.
But it was this little black hole of Van Morrison knowledge that led the music snob to recall what he termed his personal Chappaquiddick: “I was just getting over a nasty cold and had a head full of Nyquil. I was at my friend Oscar’s apartment with a few other people—Oscar has like 100K albums and is the best damn burrito maker ever to set foot inside a Chipotle. Anyway, I’m always trying to impress Oscar, and I don’t know what happened, but he puts on an album and I’m like: “Oh, I love this Bowie record. I haven’t heard it in such a long time.” All of the sudden everyone is looking at me and I can feel the room go silent. Of course, the David Bowie album is playing, so the room really doesn’t go silent—it just feels that way. And, the looks and feelings of the world stopping came from the fact that it wasn’t a Bowie album spinning on the turntable, it was Pavement’s Stephen Malkumus electronic record, “Groove Denied”—from 20019. I was never so embarrassed in my whole life. I rushed out of there and didn’t look at or answer my phone for like nine days.”
Eventually, Wagmuzzle said he did look at his phone and it was filled with tons of supportive texts and voice messages from friends which really helped him get over this horrific mistake. Even Oscar left a message of support which he chose to believe wasn’t full of snark.
Wagmuzzle, who is known for his boisterous opinions and haughty declarative statements went on to say, “Before I shoot my mouth off about hearing the dysfunction in Fleetwood Mac the first I listened to “Rumors” at thirteen or say The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the most overrated, fascist bands ever to puke in a back alley or laugh when I tell people I was listening to Lana Del Rey back in 2008—a full two-years before her first album was even released—I’m going to think twice.”