Esera Tuaolo's new CD contains a cut that is a strong contender for what could be called the "Gay National Anthem."
When "Esera" -- ah, comes out this month, it will be the most personal collection of songs the former Vikings and Falcons defensive lineman has released. "A lot of it has to do with stuff that's happened in my life," Tuaolo said when I tracked him down over the summer. He divides time between the Twin Cities, where his two children live, and his native Hawaii, where his mom, Maina Tuaolo, lives.
Like writing his autobio "Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL," Tuaolo told me that this CD has been "an incredible journey. For me, it was great to put a lot of my thoughts and feelings into music. It took a friend like David Kellogg [a songwriting partner] to pull that out of me. We have become this dynamic duo as far as songwriting. I can sing the melody and he can play it."
Tuaolo clearly doesn't know what he has in the inspirational hymn "Oh God" because when asked about the song that sounded like a gay anthem, he replied, "Which one?" The ballad stands out because it was written by a couple of the greats, "Dreamgirls" Tony- and Grammy-winning composer Henry Krieger and co-librettist Bill Russell. After Tuaolo sent them his bio, they wrote five songs for Esera's one-man show in development.
"'Oh God' was taken from my religious conflict about who I am as a person, growing up basically in fear," Tuaolo said. "It's kind of like that song from Christina Aguilera, 'I Am Beautiful,' because it can relate to anybody who's feeling neglected or left out and judged by other people. That's what the song is all about -- a lot of things in today's society.
"A lot of the people doing the hollering are Christian fundamentalists. I grew up Pentecostal Assembly of God, reading the Bible, and I know a thing or two about the Bible. It's very difficult for me to listen to all this hatred, so-called preaching in the name of Jesus and taking it to heart when I know the truth. There is only one judge. We all fall short of the glory of God. God loves all of us. "
Tuaolo sings about growing up in the church, being frightened by hearing about God's wrath and trying to combat his sexual feelings with prayer. Because God doesn't make mistakes, Tuaolo sings, then why are there so many people like him?
The most powerful refrain in "O God" is when the chorus is singing, "I'm a child of God, I'm a child of God."
There is also a song for his children, 7-year-old twins Mitchell and Michele. "Butterfly" discourages kids from growing up too fast. Tuaolo is joined on "Butterfly" by Twin Cities Christian rapper Knowledge MC, whose refrains include You don't want to raise a child when you're a baby yourself.
There also is a song that Tuaolo said would make a great NFL players' anthem. "Hopefully they'll be playing ['Whose House Is This?'] at all the stadiums across the country," said Tuaolo, who maintains that the tackling urge dies hard. "During football season, this is the time where I just feel like hitting somebody." At startribune.com/video, you can see he delivers that line with a smile as he pounds a gigantic fist into an enormous palm. To hear his music, go to tavai.net.
While playing football's no longer an option, Tuaolo will gladly take some hits of the musical variety instead.Petters patter
Two well-known figures, whose images are swirling down the porcelain outlet -- Tom Petters and George W. Bush -- share a photo op in the October issue of Lake Minnetonka magazine.
On page 18, there's businessman Petters, who has been accused of fraud by the feds, all hugged up with a President Bush lookalike, Steve Bridges. "Bush" welcomed Petters on stage at the recent John T. Petters Foundation gala, which was also attended by Tani and Bill Austin; Peggy and Ralph Burnet, an honorary co-chair; and Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy, who has been looking positively buoyant since dropping that dead weight of an ex-husband, Eddie Murphy. I realized my chance of reprinting the photos here was slim when I dialed the mag for permission and the receptionist answered: "Petters Group Worldwide, how may I direct your call?"
Word from a group insider about the atmosphere over there these days: "It's kind of martial law." And that was before Petters got arrested Friday.Brosnan: Bottoms up
Pierce Brosnan asked for Nutrisoda to be supplied for the VIP and celebrity golfers at Friday's Children's Development Institute Charity Golf Classic in L.A.
Brosnan's people claimed that the former "007" has been a fan of the "good for you soda" for some time when telephoning Nutrisoda's Minneapolis people at Roepke PR, who arranged a mass shipment.
Shock Doctor, a Plymouth protective sports gear company, provided the bags for the event's VIP swag.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org.