Yacht Rock Redux

December 23, 2006


Shortly after Channel 101* viewers voted to cancel Yacht Rock following a subpar episode where the Eagles terrorize Steely Dan, a screening of the entire Yacht Rock series packed the Empty Bottle. Writer/director JD Ryznar and four of his cohorts introduced the screening and promised that they would unveil Episode 11 not on the Internet but at Chicago’s own Dark Room in September.

Episode 11 never materialized, although Ryznar began to host events in cities all over the country, screening the shows to rapt audiences. In Austin, a local band called Captain Smooth even covered Yacht Rock tunes “flawlessly,” as Ryznar told me on the phone.

All this excitement for late ‘70s/early ‘80s soft rock seems to have been conjured out of nowhere by the show. Maybe Yacht Rock has catalyzed an Internet-based retro phenomenon, and that Ryznar is doing for Kenny Loggins et al. what Lawrence Kasdan did to Motown when The Big Chill sparked nostalgia for the ‘60s. But that seems unlikely. Tonight’s Empty Bottle event has tagged on glam-rocker Bobby Conn and noisy Fashion Dictator, a far cry from the smooth sounds of Toto or Christopher Cross.

No, what Yacht Rock offers is not mere tributes to artists already bedecked with gold records and Grammys, it’s genuine insight into the creative process and the mysteries by which a handful of hysterical personalities can produce works of genius. Now, if Ryznar and crew would finish basking in their success, get the sack of mustaches back out and get the camera rolling again!

*Channel 101 is an Internet television site that shares five-minute episodes of shows for free, mostly produced by L.A.-based artists. The most popular shows run “prime time,” while failures are “cancelled,” but any show that garners approval from the panel of judges is available for free download. The shows lack the polish of professional TV but make up for it with home-movie style enthusiasm and wacky premises.



One Response to “Yacht Rock Redux”

  1. Johnny Ola Says:

    I will do whatever it takes for smooth music !

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