Beware we get into some Michael Bolton facts: Not everyone’s a douche. This is a summary of how a mullet-wearing pop star changed the lives of many, including Pedro Barbosa).
So, we have a RWR contributor’s WhatsApp group, recently established by the headmaster, Henno Kruger. Now, try to imagine the minds of a bunch of creative people all together on a WhatsApp group. You HAVE to mute the notifications, because they do not stop (in spite of Henno spreading lies and filth in the intro: “This group shouldn’t be too busy.”)
I could write a small, Karoo library full of stories about what happens in the group, but tonight I’m going to focus on one topic that spawned from the confines of technology. And it is Michael Bolton. I would completely understand if you chose to move on to another – far more interesting – column on this site. But don’t. It gets interesting.
Pedro Barbosa also just so happens to be thrown into the pool of contributors on the WhatsApp group. Naturally, ideas get flung around and funny comments are sent in response. Two people started talking about Michael Bolton (yes, why? you ask me. For five six, I honestly don’t know). Pedro mentioned that he had some serious and embarrassing, yet fond memories of Michael Bolton. He mentioned stripping, STRAB and Conrad Jamneck. Naturally, I was curious.
Turns out Pedro became an overnight sensation at STRAB when Michael Bolton’s “How can we be lovers” played on the sound system in the bar on the deck. Within seconds, Pedro’s clothing (apart from his boxers) was draped across all tangible objects in the bar area. Random Strabbers were doing body shots off Pedro’s belly (with the shot of alcohol neatly placed in the hollow of his belly button). Apparently, there is a video doing the rounds (although Pedro has made some serious forensic and investigative efforts to have it removed from social media). Oh, it was also filmed by the Akkedis brothers so here’s a head’s up: if you are going to try to find it, I would start with them. #sorrynotsorry
Michael Bolton’s music followed Pedro to FORR later that year and there is this story of Pedro and Conrad in bikinis on stage. But hey, let me leave it at that and why don’t you ask them yourself when you bump into either of them at Mieliepop or STRAB this year?
Moving along. It turns out via the WhatsApp chat among us, that Michael Bolton wasn’t necessarily the douche I always imagined him to be. So, I thought I’d spare you the embarrassment of having the words “Michael Bolton” in your Google search history, and I did it all for you.
Here are 6 things you DID NOT know about Michael Bolton:
1. He was into some serious power ballads. I mean, that’s how we got to know him and also discovered he seemed to be a bit of a douche. However, did you know that he was into heavy metal? His band Blackjack was a hard metal band who once opened for Ozzy Osbourne. Hell, he even “auditioned for lead vocalist for Black Sabbath”!
2. He “wrote a children’s book, Secret of the Lost Kingdom.” I am unsure of the success of this children’s book, however. I seem to only find raving reviews about the art work (done by illustrator, David Jermann) and not so much about the story (pop-star-gone-author Michael Bolton). Nevertheless, the man wrote a book.
3. “Bolton founded the Michael Bolton Foundation in 1993, which now goes by the name Michael Bolton Charities. The organization supports at-risk women and children, and works to combat the effects of poverty and abuse. Bolton is also involved in numerous other charities and causes that include lobbying on behalf of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide more assistance for victims of domestic violence, such as affordable housing options.” It was in this paragraph over here where my mind-set and my terrible opinion of Michael Bolton took a turn for the better. The music at the time may not have appealed to me much, but the guy used his quick-lived fame and small fortune to do some good in the world. That scores serious points with someone like me.
4. “While best known for his music career, Bolton also has some impressive film and television credits. He has appeared in films like Snow Dogs and High Voltage, as well as on Two and a Half Men. He also was an executive producer on works like TV’s Terror at Home: Domestic Violence in America and The Other Side of the Tracks.” None of these titles, except for Two and a Half Men, even rang a bell to me. But hey, the guy did some acting. We shall give credit where it’s due.
5. “In a Daily Mail interview, Bolton says he’s been a vegetarian for over 40 years and that he used to love meat, but wanted to eat better to remain healthy and to maintain his voice.” I almost wanted to attribute this to the douche music we were first introduced to in the late 80’s, but then remembered his voice was actually not really the issue. It was the cheesy loops and sounds that tarnished this poor man’s reputation!
6. “The singer was born Michael Bolotin and is descended of two sets of Russian-Jewish immigrant grandparents. His first album was self-titled using his original surname, Bolotin.” Russian Jew. Hardcore. With an ancestry that includes Siberian winters, dictatorship, cold wars as well as holocausts and oppression, there has to be some kind of warrior blood in this guy.
So, there you have it. It’s not all bad. To me, Michael Bolton’s music will always be iconic to a time in my life where fashion was a disaster, music dumbed down and hairstyles were horrorshow. I am glad to have learned that some good came out of it somewhere along the line.The elevator-music-douchebag-mullet-wearing-power-ballad-icon-of-the-late-eighties, named Michael Bolton, turned out to be a guy who shouldn’t actually sing. But be a charitable has-been at heart. Let’s hope the likes of Nicki Minaj follow suit!
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