Mike Rowe Remembers Fred King
September 8, 2011 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Mike Rowe remembers his high school music teacher, Fred King.

Dirty Jobs star and all-around good guy Mike Rowe wrote the story a few years ago as a personal eulogy, but only recently recorded it, "in a way that I believe will make Garrison Keillor jealous." It's about 27 minutes long. You can read it here but the recorded version really is fantastic.

"Aside from my Dad, no one impacted my life like Fred King. Hopefully, if you give this a listen, it’ll remind you of someone in your past. Someone that made a difference."
posted by Balonious Assault (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've always wanted to make the pun Mike-Rowe-cosm and now I have.
posted by smithsmith at 8:25 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's uncanny that no matter who you are, or what you do, making music will change your life. In nearly every case over my 53 years, I've made friends through music. I was lucky (?) enough to have to take piano lessons, and I toted around a trombone for thirteen years that paid for college. It's still great to walk into a bar where there's a piano and bellow with the boys. Karaoke takes on a whole new meaning when you can sing it instead of just reading it, no matter how many cocktails you have had. Everybody needs to get them some music.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 9:17 PM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

Mike Rowe from Discovery..

posted by raymorphic at 9:23 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hell yea! My high school band director is my most formative role model after my dad, too, and a noted hardass. Anybody our there play for Mike Smith at FCHS? "you swing like a rusty gate!" "you swing like a dead monkey!" "Play the damn PART!" "You have to PRACTICE, you think you're gonna wake up one morning and be JJ Johnson? PRACTICE!" "You gonna get hit by lightning and become Miles Davis? PRACTICE!". We also did unauthorized indoor marching band, with the whole marching band. I could reminisce for hours about the music I heard for the first time on listening days in jazz bands. Also nicknames, and bleacher incidents at sporting events. And the time Otter and I missed the bus to the contest and drove all the way to CO springs behind the bus, smoking in our tuxes and laughing at bus riding suckers... and we didn't get in trouble cause we won that shit, even got to drive ourselves home! And when he asked me if I was smoking the sweet leaf... also didn't get in trouble but got an ultimatum to PRACTICE OR ELSE! It was always music first, everything else second. He retired just a few years ago, poor kids... cheers Mr. Smith!
posted by MNDZ at 10:02 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Why is Mike Rowe an all-around good guy? Because he takes ad money from the Koch family and coincidentally spews anti-union speech on his blog? Oh right, I don't believe in coincidence. Even if he always felt that way and thus decided to shill Viva paper towels, it's bad form.

Anyway on top of that, is there anything the guy won't fucking sell?
posted by Roman Graves at 11:00 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you link to the anti-union sentiments?
posted by PinkMoose at 11:06 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

The first link in the FPP is to his podcast (and his blog). If the back episodes are still available, his 4H bit will show some of his anti-union (and anti-food safety) sentiment.
posted by crataegus at 11:14 PM on September 8, 2011

Sorry, I'm tired, but I did dig up this thread about teachers and farmers...which is kind of baffling. I read the initial article and didn't understand why the two were being compared. In the discussion that follows Rowe argues with various forum members about collective bargaining. I'm not familiar with his stance on food safety, but I'd love to read something on it if anyone finds the material.

If he doesn't believe in public sector (or any sector) collective bargaining, that's his call; but it does make him more than a little suspect considering his association with Viva. And to steal a quote, his other associations with Lee, Motorola, Ford, Caterpiller, etc. make him "just another whore at the corporate gang bang" in my mind. He's Billy Mayes with work boots.
posted by Roman Graves at 11:46 PM on September 8, 2011

Seconding the the request for the anti-union sentiment. I'm going to give Mike Rowe my unheard-of benefit of the doubt when it comes to most anyone on American television, because, gollygoshdarnit, he really does seem like decent folk to me.
posted by NoRelation at 12:25 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why is Mike Rowe an all-around good guy?

Presumably because his parents raised him right and he had good role models like Fred King.

I don't begrudge the guy cashing in on his celebrity, and I don't expect to agree with his or anyone else's opinions about everything. The link to the the discussion about unions and collective bargaining is interesting. I didn't know how he felt about those issues. Didn't care, really -- hadn't thought about it at all. Now that I've read his opinions, and even though I may not agree with all of them, there's no question in my mind that they are thoughtful, nuanced, and his own. In fact I think I actually admire him more now that I know he's willing and able to engage in a respectful, intelligent discussion about them with strangers on the internet. I reject the popular idea that having different political or ideological opinions necessarily makes somebody a bad person. Add in his support of Eagle Scouts, the American Hiking Society, Breast Cancer Awareness, American workers, and the list of good causes goes on, and I'm quite comfortable sticking with all-around good guy.

My high school music teacher was cool. He let me hang out in the practice room and play my guitar or mess around on the piano during my lunch period, he put me in charge of things like Christmas carols at the mall when one of the ensembles had been booked but he couldn't be there, and he gave me a bunch of other responsibilities with the different singing groups and musical productions. I thought it was a pretty sweet deal. It was years later that I realized he never really challenged me, or taught me much of anything actually, and all the special perks and responsibilities I got were probably just because he was riding out the tail end of his teaching career and wanted to make things as easy as possible for himself in the last few years before he retired. He was a good guy, and I have a lot of good memories, but he was no Fred King. But who is, really?
posted by Balonious Assault at 1:20 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

In the Reddit interview (five-part video) from 2009 (?), Rowe addresses the pro-/anti-union question. He's careful how he answers, but it's more nuanced than just "thumbs up" or "thumbs down."
posted by wenestvedt at 6:02 AM on September 9, 2011

I certainly don't begrudge him his personal politics, and even in the thread I linked to you can see that he's thought about the issue instead of blindly pushing it. What I'm uncomfortable with is the intersection between his politics and his paycheck, and the fact that he essentially seems like a salesman to me. That means I can't trust what he says.

Do I need to trust what some guy on tv says? Not when he's just sheering sheep and joking around with Barsky, no. When he's addressing congress or giving a TED talk, then yeah, it matters and I am much more reluctant to take him seriously.
posted by Roman Graves at 6:19 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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