"The idiots I work with all think I'm in love with someone, because I'm grinning, and because I drew hearts all over the backs of the order bags..."
August 7, 2006 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Meet Gary Tivoli, Staples' Storage Media Aisle Specialist. "It's strange -- this morning, when I get up, I'm on the floor, halfway stuck underneath the bed, on the wall, with the mattress stacked over me. I don't even know where I am for a minute..." Providence, RI musician/producer Gavin Castleton and poet Cyrus Leddy recorded Tivoli's ramblings and then transformed them into a narrative album, backing his erratic but engaging storytelling with plush beats. Think "A Grand Don't Come For Free", except compelling and with much better music. (Via NPR's Open Mic)
posted by Embryo (23 comments total)
Leddy on Tivoli: "...plain and nebbish, expressively sad and anoyed, anxious to talk and tell his story. Gary seemed completely unaware of his own comic value and the poignancy of his rantings, once distanced from his physical repellency. He also didn't really seem to know anything about Storage Media."
posted by Embryo at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2006

I am boycotting Staples because they have not been willing to invest more in recycled paper products and buy products from paper companies that log in old growth forests. But if all of their employees are as comically unaware and long-winded as Gary Tivoli, I'll have a reason to continue the boycott for another year.
posted by parmanparman at 9:07 AM on August 7, 2006

original pirate material was a much better album.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:22 AM on August 7, 2006

Is the Staples guy getting any money from this? It seems to me like they are taking advantage of him.
posted by gminks at 9:27 AM on August 7, 2006

Ok, now that the snarks have had their fun, I'd like to say I'm very intrigued by this. His cadence and style of speech had me sort of on edge, and I really enjoyed it.
posted by splatta at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2006

It was interesting, but I can't figure out why they felt the need to re-record Tivoli's voice with one of their own "posing as Gary Tivoli." I mean, if his cadence and tone made him such an interesting person and all, why not use his actual voice? Maybe it's because I read the story before listening to the piece, but the voiceover in the song feels inauthentic, like a performance rather than a real person.
posted by mediareport at 9:37 AM on August 7, 2006

Wait.. that wasn't his voice? That dissapoints me.
posted by splatta at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2006

Awww, that's not him? Now all I hear is a hipster "artiste" who is trying to be such an outsider artist and failing so badly he just defines status quo. Authenticity has value, yo. And other fancy words.

Here in hell Wesley Willis plays a beat-up casio to a slightly drugged up and tied to a chair Richard Wagner, and hell if Wesley's stuff isn't growing on the old man. Just don't tell the boss.
posted by the ghost of Ken Lay at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2006

Yeah, was very disappointed by the voice/spoken component, and then more disappointed to find out it was just one of the musicians re-recording the original vocals. What's the point of that?
posted by jonson at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2006

The myspace comments from the "artistes" about their subject are sorta mean:

from Gavin Castleton emphasis mine):
This record is by far the strangest and most interesting release I've done to date. The lyrics were transcribed by RI-based playwrite Cyrus Leddy from interviews with Gary Tivoli, who works at a Staples Office Supply Superstore. The vocals were performed by me under Cyrus' direction, and the soundtrack was composed by me with the aid of Gruvis Malt's Steve Geuting on guitar (track 8). The album chronicles a hectic week in Gary's life and most likely will leave you either identifying with him, or hating his crappy guts.
and the other guy has a post that makes it really sound like he was just using Gary to get material...doesn't sound like he could stand him (and Gary seems really aspie to me).

I just hope Gary is making some money off this.

ps not everyone likes the producer either (quicktime link).
posted by gminks at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2006

how can you be "slightly tied to a chair"?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2006

seems rather clear to me Gary is not making any money b/c he is a fictional character.

(http://www.myspace.com/garytivoli )
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2006

Haha. Monty Are I are good friends of Gavin's, that's some Rhode Island sarcasm at play in that quicktime video.

As the album proceeds, the voiceover makes more sense, and the way the pieces are arranged really draws the listener in. I'm sure that Tivoli's original ramblings would not have served as a compelling or focused source material for an album like this.

Here's Tivoli's myspace, which adds an interesting perspective:
About me:
I don't want to talk about myself until i know who i'm going to be friends with. It's suprising but i have a rap album out. Or should I say, there's an album out that is ABOUT me and it's rapped. It's called graceland which is stupid because it's not the paul simon graceland album. Art students did it. I met one of them, his name is Cyrus. I've heard 1 track only. It's basically about what i do when i go to work. The guy rapping the song says my name at the end of it, "Gary." It's strange. I'm guessing the album is mostly about me. It's dramatic i guess. The music behind what "i'm" saying is not good.
This is all in humor/fun.

Also, "A Grand Don't Come For Free" is a far less effective execution of a similar concept, in my opinion. That album is lazy and the beats are terrible.
posted by Embryo at 10:16 AM on August 7, 2006

drjimmy: he does exist, and that is his actual myspace.
posted by Embryo at 10:17 AM on August 7, 2006

embryo, since you know so much about the project, what is Gary getting out of this?

love that ri sarcasm, esp when it leads to lawsuits.
posted by gminks at 10:24 AM on August 7, 2006

wow, Cyrus' blog post that gmlinks linked to is really interesting. As are Gary's comments below it. crazy.

gmlinks, I don't know the answer to that question. I'm not sure anyone involved is getting a great deal out of this.

p.s., that's more sarcasm. Gavin obviously knew the camera was on. You didn't catch the humor in him saying that he liked the whole band, and then member by member dissing them?
posted by Embryo at 10:34 AM on August 7, 2006

I'm sure that Tivoli's original ramblings would not have served as a compelling or focused source material for an album like this.

How do you know? Have you heard Tivoli's voice? Honestly, I'm trying to understand why anyone would take a rich vein of source material and mimic it carefully instead of letting it shine. Was it legal issues or something? Either way, it seemed to me that it seriously weakens the piece. The "posing" is obvious and off-putting.
posted by mediareport at 10:38 AM on August 7, 2006

No, mediareport, I've never heard his voice. It's just an educated guess based on the knowledge that 35 minutes of rambling is not the same as hours and hours of rambling, trimmed down and focused through a thematic lens into a 35 minute album. Gavin and Cyrus are writers and artists, and Gary is a real person. Why should the album that resulted not contain elements of all three of those people?

Honestly, when I first heard this track, I also was not enthused. It sounded forced and uncomfortable. But this album really is something special, and the more you listen to it and come to understand Tivoli and his forced/uncomfortable relationships/situations it all makes perfect sense. That's why I made this a FPP.
posted by Embryo at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2006

so pretentious...
I thought too that Gary is a person that no one is interested in hearing from, people talk about "regular folk" and aspire to re-create that in art, but that's just melodrama and artist's guilt.
so they ply him with PawSox tix and forced friendship? nice guys.

anyways did you post that story here to promote the album or what? it may not be self-promoting....and I guess you probably aren't getting paid for it either...but still. If they can get someone to pimp their project here, they should at least give the guy a cd of the work based on him!
posted by gminks at 10:51 AM on August 7, 2006

This whole project has a really bad smell to it...
posted by runkelfinker at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2006

Haha. Monty Are I are good friends of Gavin's, that's some Rhode Island sarcasm at play in that quicktime video.

So tell me, is the Staples in question the one behind University Heights?
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 1:09 PM on August 7, 2006

I've been pushing Gavin for details, and my efforts yielded this: The entire album.

But they have not yielded any details about Gary. I'm beginning to suspect that he is in fact a fictional character after all.
posted by Embryo at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2006

Thanks, embryo.
posted by shoepal at 11:29 PM on August 9, 2006

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