You Know, I Used To Be Kind Of Cool Once

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Highlights From ‘Go Set A Watchman’

Harper Lee’s buzzed-about new release, Go Set A Watchman, went on sale last week, taking the world by storm with its new investigations of Scout Finch as a grown woman and its divisive portrayal of her father, Atticus Finch, as a racist figure. Here are some highlights from the new book:

Leonardo DiCaprio Agrees To Donate It-Factor To Science

LOS ANGELES—Saying the gift would immeasurably improve their understanding of the ineffable quality that makes certain big-screen stars positively radiate, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles announced Tuesday that A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to donate his it-factor to science.

How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Comic-Con Survival Guide

San Diego Comic-Con is expected to draw more than 130,000 fans to Southern California this year to participate in cosplaying, attend panels, go to film screenings, and learn more about their favorite series. Here are some tips for surviving the four-day conference

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.

A Timeline Of Upcoming Superhero Movies

Following the massive successes of the Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, and X-Men franchises, studios Marvel and DC Entertainment have announced as many as 40 upcoming superhero movies to be released over the next six years ...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.
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You Know, I Used To Be Kind Of Cool Once

You know how, every so often, something you haven't thought about in the longest time will just sort of pop up out of nowhere, and all of a sudden you're like, "Hey... Wait a minute"? Well, that happened to me last week, when it occurred to me that I actually used to sort of be cool once.

I guess, like everybody else, I've gotten used to thinking of myself as, you know, one of those guys on VH1. Some vaguely "adult contemporary" artist like Billy Joel or Elton John or somebody. The sort of musician you'd find your dad listening to or hear really quietly in the background at the bank. I mean, "cool" is the last thing I'd normally think of myself as being.

Looking at it now, who would think that the composer of "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" used to be cool? Sounds crazy, huh? It seems ridiculous, but it's true. I was kind of hip, in a way, if you think about it.

Isn't that just so weird?

It hit me the other day, and it was like, "Whoa—that's so bizarre." I was sitting at one of my pianos, working out some chords for my forthcoming album The Tepid Heart, when the wife asked me to pick up some diet soda. Since the staff was off (it was a Sunday), and the kids were due home from football practice soon, I said sure and drove down to the cornershop.

When I got there, the kid behind the counter had a tape playing that sounded oddly familiar. It wasn't really my cup of tea—polyrhythmic and uptempo, with intense emotional energy and electrically amplified guitars instead of acoustic. And the kid was, to be honest, playing it a bit loud. But instead of being annoyed, I found it compelling in a weird sort of way. When I asked the kid who it was, he said he'd found it in a bag of stuff that used to belong to his older brother. "It's old, but I like it," he said. "It's kind of reggae, but it sounds punk, too."

Well, several weeks went by, but it kept nagging at me. Then, finally, last Thursday, I figured it out. I was in the den, watching some figure skating on TV and reading Parade. (Isn't it funny how these things always hit you at the oddest times?) Anyway, there was an article about a policewoman who volunteers teaching schoolchildren about pet safety, when suddenly, it clicked: That kid was listening to Outlandos d'Amour, the first record by my old band, The Police!

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Wow... I haven't thought about The Police in years." And neither had I, but you know what? It sounds nothing like what you'd expect after hearing "Fields Of Gold." At first, I thought, "Wait... Is this just my memory playing tricks on me? I mean, I recorded the love theme from The Three Musketeers with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, for Christ's sake. How cool could I possibly be?" But then I dusted off a bunch of the old LPs and, boy, was I amazed. Those records were actually pretty rockin'! You wouldn't think that kind of stuff would come from me, but, hey, the opening track, "Next To You"? Come on! And the rest of the album, too: "So Lonely," "Born In the '50s," and you've got to admit that "Sally Be My Girl" is one cool song. I was like, "Did I write this stuff? No way!"

Come to think of it, I did lots of cool things back then. Sure, now we all think of me as starring in duds like The Bride, but I was in Quadrophenia, too. Heck, I was even in Urgh! A Music War. Remember that one? I'd totally forgotten until now. Man, I used to watch that on USA Network's Night Flight back in the '80s, and I just thought it was so awesome. It had X and Devo back when they were really punk. Even the Go-Go's were hardcore in that show! Shit, man, things sure do change.

And it wasn't just the early years. The whole Police catalog was pretty cool. I mean, the chorus on that one song, what was it, "My wife has burned the scrambled eggs / The dog just bit my leg / My teenage daughter ran away / My fine young son has turned out gay"? That one actually had the mosh-pit kids slamming. Can you believe it? Teenagers, moshing to me of all people! Sure, nowadays, most people think of "(Don't Stand So) Close To Me" as a deodorant commercial, but at the time, it was pretty out there, what with the whole Nabokov-pedophilia thing.

I know the idea of me being cool doesn't seem to make sense (it didn't to me at first, either), but just listen to those albums. Even Synchronicity isn't bad, and I didn't start really laming out until "(Don't Stand So) Close To Me '86." Go figure, I guess.

Then again, Eric Clapton, of "Tears In Heaven" fame, really used to tear it up, too, come to think of it. Or, hell, just take Paul Westerberg. Now there's one to ponder.

Makes you wonder, you know? I mean, I guess it just really goes to show you.