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 sell CD's.

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.


The 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 communicators.

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 the way.

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 to.
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 a Virgin".


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 before.
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 hear that.


Special thanks to David Gurland.

For more information about David Gurland and Neurotica please visit his official website
Pictures courtesy of David Gurland. All rights reserved.

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