Say it ain't so, you lonesome loser....
(c) David Volk 2003

"Have you heard about the lonesome loser?
Beaten by the queen of hearts every time
Have you heard about the lonesome loser?
He's a loser, but he still keeps on tryin'"
--The Little River Band

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Even now it's so upsetting that I don't know what to do. I can't recall being this disturbed since I heard about the Supreme Court giving George W. the White House, but there it was in black and white.

The Little River Band was appearing at a local casino.

Just stab me in the heart, why don't you?

Those of you who have been on the rant list for some time are aware that I follow who is playing the casino circuit with keen interest. It's not because I like going to hit the tables and play the slots, mind you. No, I'm doing it as a service for you, my subscribers. I figure if I can't be the sponge of popular culture and know who's hot the way I used to, at the very least I can find out who has made that ugly progression from has-been to candidate for the next season of "Help, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" and tell you about it. To my way of thinking, the gambling parlors in this great nation of ours are just one step below the fair circuit on a band's slippery slope to obscurity. Sure, there are exceptions. Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte occasionally appear at county fairs. So do big name country acts and Weird Al Yankovic, who is in a class by himself. But, then again, so did Bob Hope and we all know where he is today.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the fair circuit marked the end of most performer's careers before casinos came along. Now, however, there are so many casinos hungry for entertainment to keep their customers amused that it's possible for numerous semi-talented acts to play bookings long after they're dead. You don't have to take my word for it, though. Just take a look at some of the people appearing in our local palaces of pai gow and poker: The Doobie Brothers, Mel and Pam Tillis, Jan and Dean, and that great crooner, Tony Orlando (without Dawn). As I've said previously, I can hardly wait until the day I see ads for appearances by Hansen and Brittney Spears. Heck, in the short term, I'd even settle for word of a show featuring Air Supply.

And then there will be much rejoicing.

The only trouble with tracking such a trend is that occasionally I will see something that disturbs and saddens me.

And that would be the news that the Little River Band just appeared at a local casino. And not even one of the good ones.

No, they weren't at the local big name ones like The Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma or the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn. Instead, they were at the Grand Central Casino in Lakewood, Washington, a place so obscure that it doesn't even have its own web site and has a house band named EYRE whose chief attraction is that it's "ALWAYS FREE." And there are other places on the Little River Band's schedule that are equally as disturbing including the Six Flags Amphitheater in Aurora, Ohio; the Hon-dah Conference Center in Pine Top, Arizona where they don't know how to spell the name of a popular car model to save their lives and the Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs, Missouri.

A high school for crying out loud!

This, the band that I once found myself hoping to get a ticket to see by standing in the cold outside a jazz juke joint on the edge of Seattle only to have people repeatedly ask me where I went to school because I looked so damn familiar. After much puzzlement, some of the people realized why they "recognized" me. They thought I looked like then-local news broadcaster-turned-CNN-anchor Aaron Brown (photo at Others thought I looked more like local sportscaster, Tony Ventrella,  ( Then, both groups decided I was the bastard son of both Brown and Ventrella.

I wouldn't go through that indignity for just anybody, mind you. But this was the band responsible for such great hits as "Lady" (and not the sappy one by Styx), "Reminiscing," "Help is On It's Way," "Worldwide Love," "Son of a Famous Man" (Okay, that one wasn't a hit, but it should have been) and "Cool Change" in which they proudly proclaim "The albatross and the whale they are my brothers." Granted, I'm not sure what it means, but I'm sure it must be profound.

And, yes, the lyrics are "have you heard about the lonesome loser?" not "have you heard about the loathsome loser?" or "Have you heard about the lonesome cougar?"

As the song says,

"Unlucky in love, least that's what they say
He lost his head and he gambled his heart away
He still keeps searching though there's nothing left
Staked his heart and lost, now he has to pay the cost."

Oh, man, I can take just about anything. Hit me with news that John Ashcroft is the Attorney General and I'll just shrug it off. Tell me that we have to go to war with Iraq because it has weapons of mass destruction and I'll laugh. Inform me that we must find Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice, then tell me when we can't find him that locating him isn't all that important and I'll wink along with you. But this is almost too much to bear.

It's so unspeakably sad that I find myself rendered so speechless that I will guess it's best to rely on the conclusion to Lonesome Loser to sum it all up:  

"Have you heard about the lonesome loser
Have you heard about the lonesome loser
Have you heard about the lonesome loser
Now tell me have you heard about the lonesome loser"

Yes, I have. Yes, I have. Yes, I have. Yes, I have. Now will you please stop asking and just go away?

From a man who knows that it's time, it's time, it's time for a cool change. Now that my life is so prearranged, I know, I know, I know.....

That I'm out of here.

David Volk