American actor and comedian David Gurland has written
an exclusive funny piece for MadonnaTribe explaining his Madonna
inspiration. David will be back in New York this summer with three
special performances of "Neurotica",
his collaboration with musical director and arranger Michael
Holland at the Metropolitan Room, New
York's hottest music venue.
You can catch Neurotica on:
Thursday, August 24th at 10:30 p.m.
Friday, August 25th at 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 26th at 10:30 p.m.
at 34 W.22nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, New York, NY 10010.
Please call 212-206-0440 for reservations and information.
It all started one very drunken night at a juke box in a very
scary gay bar on west 46th street and 9th avenue in Manhattan.
I had been singing in the New York club scene for over 10 years.
And I had some moderate success.
I had been able because of what minimal success I had, to make
a record. Mostly consisting of covers of songs that other people
had made famous or had written. Some very well known like Billy
Joel's Vienna, and Sting's Every Breath You Take.
Some much more obscure country rock. A good record, but pretty
much a very expensive 10 song demo.
I had been singing songs from this record plus dozens of other
songs I always loved in night clubs in New York, Pennsylvania,
LA, Dayton Ohio wherever I could get booked and wherever I could
I had been working with an amazing new musical director on a bunch
of music projects.
Mostly, a fusion of Pop Rock in a concert format into a more intimate
nightclub setting, with or without a band.
This musical director, named Michael Holland,
and I were having a good ole time at one of our favorite watering
holes, when "Ray of Light" came on
the Juke Box... a song which we both loved.
And out of a drunken stupor I suddenly said, 'ya know what I should
so an evening of all Madonna songs'... and I remembered when the
song "Erotica" came out, I used to
sing it, but change the lyrics to.. 'NEUROTIC, NEUROTIC, OH MY
GOD PLEASE DON'T TOUCH MY BODY!!!!!''... and I said to my friend,
'and I want to call the show 'NEUROTICA.'
We laughed and drank some more and kind of forgot about it.
I was neurotic after all, so it made perfect sense.
That was well over a year ago... since then I had been doing more
soul searching about what I was doing in this crazy business,
while at the same time performing whenever I could.
I started singing slighty hipper, more progressive and more aggressive
tunes when I 'gigged-out.'
By more aggressive, less happy go lucky songs by older songwriters,
but more uncompromising songs about how I really felt about things.
I didn't write, so singing other peoples songs was my only outlet.
I was going through a bad breakup, and wanted to sing about it.
I rediscovered "You'll See" by Madonna
from "Something to Remember" -- a song
I had known and loved for years.
It really stuck.
I loved singing it and it felt so good to sing.
I then spent the next 6 months or so creating
what would become "Neurotica".
I really listened and listened and listened to Madonna's enormous
catalog of songs.
And found that I knew so many by heart, as they were sort of part
of the soundtrack to my life for the last 15 + years. And I never
realized how much I loved her as an artist.
I also found that many were intensely theatrical, and many were
simply great pops songs with great hooks that were just fun to listen
to or dance to. When I was ready, I brought a list of 30 or so songs
that I loved, and believe could work in a live performance format,
to my arranger/producer/collaborator friend Michael, and we began
working on re-creating many of these songs, as well as presenting
them just like she had.
process of creating the show, and eventually doing the show was
a catharsis for me for so many reasons. One, I felt that Madonna
and I had a lot in common, more than I realized. The main thing
was that in our own communities, hers in the world at large, and
me in the incestuous nightclub world in New York, were both kind
of outcasts in way.
Different from the mold. Always doing our own thing. Going against
the grain because we could and felt comfortable doing so. Not because
we just wanted to be different, but that we were different, and
weren't afraid to express ourselves that way.
I never felt that I had the best
singing voice, and I know neither did she. But I felt I had something
to say to people, and could present it in a unique and inviting
way. That is exactly what Madonna had done and had always done.
I was also a gay man EXTREMELY comfortable in his sexuality, and
not afraid to talk about it in a public or live performance forum.
I also loved to dance, and loved fashion. A perfect Match. Two real
Performing her songs finally gave me the outlet to do that. I felt
that I was truly finally being myself, but using her songs as way
to convey exactly what I am feeling. She and I were one, even though
I don't dress like her or wear a wig or anything like that. I am
myself. But more myself, because all of my anger , hopes , my loves,
my losses, my feistiness, my sexuality, dreams, fantasy's and political
points of view were expressed through her music. With my voice leading
And finally, during the genesis and productions of this show,
Madonna herself had come out with "American Life"
and "Confessions on a Dance Floor".
Unlike "Ray of Light" and "Like
a Prayer", these albums were not universally praised
nor did they sell as much as we Madonna fan's would like them
And I wanted the world to remember what they loved so much about
Madonna, and why she had become an icon and a legend, and one
of the major forces ever in pop culture.
And what I found was that her appeal was very simple. She is a
pop artist. And pop music is what she does better than any body.
And that's what her legacy will be. Just listen to the catchy
hooks of "Open Your Heart", "Crazy
For You", and "Borderline".
They are infectious. Even if she didn't write them, they are hers.
It is no wonder that much of what I do in my show is from those
"Ray of Light" and "Like
To me those
are her finest hours. Just listen to the ingenuity and production
of "Ray of Light" and "Frozen".
I had never heard songs recorded or performed that way in Pop music
Totally enigmatic. Or the amazing gospel power of "Like
a Virgin", or the haunting arrangement and pain in
"Oh Father". Perfect pop songs that will
last a lifetime. Endlessly listenable.
Madonna inspired me a more daring performer. I am braver and more
fearless than I ever have been. And I want the world to see and
Special thanks to David Gurland.
For more information about David Gurland and
Neurotica please visit his official website www.davidgurland.com.
Pictures courtesy of David Gurland. All rights