By now, you all probably know that Frankie Yankovic died in October. He was known as America’s Polka King and he probably deserved this title. He was well-known outside of the polka world, yet never really compromised his allegiance to polka. Once his style was established, he didn’t stray much, unlike other polka stars that have crossed over into mainstream success. Speaking of style, his was Slovenian, which originated in Yugoslavia. Frankie lived in Cleveland, the Slovenian polka music epicenter. This brand of music is one of the many distinct polka styles in the United States, including Polish (Push and East Coast), Tejano/Conjunto, Czech, Ukrainian/Russian and German. Brave Combo fits all and none of the above. When we were first playing polkas we didn’t know enough to pick sides. All we knew was that polkas in general were cool. We’ve learned as we’ve gone along and the education continues. Our crusade has become more serious and focused it seems. Music is struggling with its purpose these days and somehow polka, at its very best, reestablishes the importance of it all, either by returning to some solid ancient truths or by blasting through doors never before opened. Polka always encourages you to look for your true nature. It is without a doubt the least self-conscious music on Earth. And although the innocence that goes with it leaves you vulnerable to ridicule, it comes with a great power as well.
I am currently putting together and editing a big polka compilation for Time/Life Music (which you will all see advertised on television soon) and I plan to include at least three or four cuts by Mr. Yankovic. Actually, it will be hard to narrow it down to that. Back when radio was magic and knew what variety meant, the Polka King had about ten hits, two of which sold over a million copies each. Brave Combo is honored to have shared the stage with Frankie Yankovic and is pleased to be on a brand new compilation with him, Here Come The Polka Heroes on Cleveland International Records. Our cut is a live recording of “Flying Saucer.” Frankie’s is a version of “Who Stole The Kishka” with Kinky Friedman on vocals. Here’s to you, Frankie Yankovic.
Well, well, well. It’s November, 1998. That means Brave Combo will travel and perform as usual. Please check our itinerary and see if we will be near you. Outside of Texas, catch us in Little Rock, St. Louis and San Francisco. Everyone is welcome, especially those of you with open minds that are easily corrupted.
Hey, here’s something to think about. 1999 will be our twentieth year and we plan to get past members back together for a few shows around Texas. We’re already discussing this with the Westfest folks and it’s looking good. Imagine the scenario. As Gina Barnes says, “A butt-rocking stampede of horror!”
Did you know that the Teletubbies theme song is a polka?
Brave Combo is in the studio this month making music, I hope.
Don’t eat any turkey this November.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m truly thankful for your interest in Brave Combo.