AMGS roundup

A few things that come to mind after browsing through the AMGS threads for a few hours.The Hoppers: This isn’t properly an AMGS thing since sogospelluvers was, I think, the first place to fly this balloon, but I was reminded by a thread at AMGS that the Hoppers probably have some pretty big changes in the offing. Not that I think there’s necessarily much to this speculation about Claude and Connie’s retirement from the road happening in the near future. It very well may, but that was just as likely (and not) before as after this rumor picked up speed. Obviously, Claude and Connie can’t travel forever, and if they want to enjoy some of their golden years they’ll get off the road pronto. And clearly the time off Kim Hopper will take for her second child’s birth will doubtless present the Hoppers with a chance to road test some new combinations of voices. Claude’s absence as the front man will probably be over-interpreted once it does happen, but it really only matters symbolically, since he’s vocally a non-factor in the Hoppers’ sound. But Connie Hopper’s contributions to the group’s ensemble work are going to be enormously difficult to replace and impossible to replicate (plus she dresses really, really well, which can’t always be said for some of Kim Hopper’s histrionic outfits). I assume Dean and Kim’s daughter is the most logical person for the job, and her youth will indemnify her and the group from some of the letdown that is sure to set in once Claude and Connie leave and people start comparing the new Hoppers to the old Hoppers. Still, since some kind of reconfiguration is imminent, I hope it will be an occasion for the Hoppers to sharpen up and refocus … that is, take a few moves from the Perrys’ book. Until then, enjoy them in this form because they’re still one of the best acts around.

The Talley/Wilburn Thing again: As pleased as I’ve been to see so many people rightly question Jonathan Wilburn’s judgment at the Fan Awards (where he took a few spirited swings at everybody’s favorite gay piñata, “Adam and Steve”), I’ve been slightly baffled by how many people have grounded their criticism in empathy for Debra and Roger Talley, Kirk’s brother and sister-in-law, who were within spitting distance of Wilburn during the whole thing. I guess on some level there’s a legitimate point to be made about Wilburn’s callousness (though I don’t think it was thoughtlessness at all, insofar as Wilburn probably thought very carefully about what he would say and how he’d say it; people who like to bloviate about this kinda thing usually aim for maximum casualties, mistaking the pain they inflict on others as signs of exposing hidden sin to the convicting force of the holy spirit, nevermind that I doubt any holy spirit needs or wants the likes of Jonathan Wilburn to do holy-spirit business in that way). But I’ve got to believe that the Talleys made peace with this issue a long time ago one way or another. As have people like George Younce (and before his death, Glen Payne), assuming they knew. I can’t imagine someone in the business as long as George (or either Roger or Debra Talley for that matter) was unaware or unsuspecting of Kirk, and I’ve always suspected Kirk pursued a solo career to avoid the problems that his sexuality potentially represented for group owners and managers (regardless of their own feelings about the issue) with whom he might work as a quartet man. Unless the Talleys assumed Wilburn’s remarks were aimed directly at them (that is, unless they assumed Wilburn somehow blamed them for Kirk’s situation, which seems unlikely), then the most likely reason Debra or Roger Talley had to be upset at the Fan Awards was because they, like at least a few other people, felt that Wilburn was simply out of line and embarrassing himself and everyone else. If Debra Talley did in fact lower her head as Wilburn cut loose (I wasn’t paying attention to her at that moment so I can’t say), I imagine she was doing so out of exasperation.

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