Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kanye Loses the Definition of Irony


If you attend an Occupy Wall Street protest with bodyguards, have a spokesperson in the form of a multi-millionaire (who even wrote a book on it), and happen to perform songs that worship the excesses of capital, I believe it is safe to say the definition of irony is lost on you.

Kanye West apparently, if the video is to be believed, did not want to make a statement (I'm not sure he'd know what to say), but his mouthpiece made it known that West offers spiritual support of the movement.  I'm not sure what that means, but I think it means West thought it may make an interesting photo op.

Love or hate the protesters, you have to admit that Kanye making an appearance there is the height of stupidity.  Even moreso than Jay Z making shirts about the movement.  Kanye looks befuddled and sometimes scared.  It's like he didn't know what he was getting into and feared that at any second people would start chanting in unison at him.

Stay home, West.  Stay in your mansion and write your songs.  It's better for everyone.  Yes, you've looked like a dope countless other times, but this one sort of takes the cake.  What's next?  A tree sit.  Come to think of it ...

Your Satanic Majesty

If you went to Pocono Mountain Senior High in 1986 and listened to Iron Maiden, you were considered a Satanist.  I know.  I was one of them.

It was easy to see why Iron Maiden frightened teachers and administration.  The skeletal Eddie.  The Number of the Beast album.  Loud guitars.  Of course, if anyone ever took a moment to listen to more than one or two songs they would see that Satanism was about the last thing on Iron Maiden's collective mind.

Metal, in whatever form it takes, has always scared those in authority.  Whether it be the sexually questionable (and utterly harmless) hair rock bands like Poison and Cinderella (I have always even questioned lumping them in with metal, but I will concede to history).  Or the seriously evil sounding (and often evil acting) black metal.  There is something about metal that has those in power grabbing for their Bibles and signing people up for re-education camps.  Not even punk has such a widespread effect.

I've always had various theories on why this is, why metal seems to make parents, teachers and politicians fear for their lives.  After all, there are far more insidious types of music out there, some of which a fear of could be warranted.  Metal, on the other hand, is diverse enough that any kind of group reaction should be mitigated by the sheer amount of subgenres, but I've noticed that time and time again the fear and disdain is all-encompassing.

I guess the mixture of loud, aggressive guitars, "frightening imagery," and confrontation is too much for some people to witness.  People may fear their teen son will kill himself to Ozzy, but chances are it will be some loathsome pop song on FM radio on a Saturday night that actually sets the bullet in motion.  Nothing makes you feel more lonely than pop music on a Saturday night.  Metal makes you feel empowered, and maybe that is what people fear.

Metal has always played around with violent and evil imagery.  Old blues has done the same.  So has country.  Metal mixes it with something more powerful, though, and that power transfers to listeners.  Let's face it, losing one's virginity to Marvin Gaye may well be romantic, but losing it while Motorhead plays in the background is how gods are made.

So, authority types, keep fearing it.  Keep calling it "devil music."  Those who know better will continue to listen and continue to scare you.  And isn't that what is truly empowering?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Synchronicity

I had just written about the music I'd be listening to when I start work on the next manuscript, and it happened.  Strange.  Prophetic.  Powerful.

I had scraped the ice from my windows, got into my car, and turned on the MP3 player.  The first song was none other than Non's "Predator/Prey."  The exact band I'd be listening to.  One of the songs I envisioned.  It was as if the dark universe I'd be tapping into gave me its approval. 
The magic of music is its ability to transform an otherwise normal situation into something sublime.  You're at dinner with a friend and you hear just the right song.  You meet someone special you are interested in and the moment you realize it you hear a song that seems to sum up your mood perfectly.  You are driving in Boston during the Big Dig and Skinny Puppy is doing its best to kill you.  Yesterday was one of those moments.  This manuscript will require a lot of work, a lot of research and my job is just going to get in the way, so as I was scraping I was wondering all the things I could do about it.  I came up with some solutions, and then when that song hit, I knew I was on the right track.  Magic, indeed.

Those who have heard "Predator/Prey" know how the tones change just enough to make you feel on edge.  It is almost sublime.  It's the kind of song that a friend will ask you to change when it comes on.  It makes listeners uncomfortable.  That's my manuscript idea.  (That's usually the idea behind my stories, actually.)  To have that come on at a time I was thinking of it seems perfect.  Pulling out of my driveway as the noise continued unabated I could only laugh.  Even the song title was an omen.  Predator.  Prey.  That is the central theme of the next manuscript.  That is the central theme of life.  You are either predator or prey ... and somewhere there is a soundtrack to whatever end of the hunt you are on.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me some cash.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Next Manuscript ...


I usually listen to music while I write.  For Nothing Men (look to your right for how to purchase), I listened to a lot of old country music.  For the manuscript I'm working on now it is primarily classic rock.  For the one after that, the one that's been bouncing around in my head for the past month or so, it will be music like Non's "Between Venus & Mars."  Grinding, destructive, pure.  Italian music from its fascist history may also come into play.  If you've heard it, you'll understand why.

There is something amazingly beautiful about music that most people would dub "noise."  It lets you escape into your mind to unleash whatever hungry beast lurks there.  It is confrontational.  It is the opposite of the prefabricated madness that pushes itself as "art."  It is a god amongst swine.  When the future manuscript is finished, it will be easy to see why this music was my soundtrack.

Every manuscript calls for different music.  Some writers can only write in silence.  Some need a crashing chorus to help set the scene.  I could do either, but I prefer the latter.  I like losing myself into the flow.  When I was writing a scene for my current manuscript, "Sympathy for the Devil" was playing.  It was a nasty scene and it got nastier as the song went on.  Would I have written it differently if I were writing in silence?  Maybe.  I know the music added an element to it that fit what I wanted to create.  It only helped what was going to already be there.

Grinding noise.  Confrontation.  Purity.  I cannot wait.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

May I Suggest You (Watch Out Adele)


Whitehouse has always been ... interesting.  It pretty much embodies the sound of a insanity.


A friend of mine once said that listening to Whitehouse made him think people were after him.  I laughed at that and told him that was the point.  Whitehouse is the sound of someone after you.  It's that hand you feel on your shoulder at 3 a.m. as you struggle to get the keys in the door, a little too much to drink.  That hand makes you piss a little bit.  That is Whitehouse.

Of course, the band has had its share of controversy.  (Peter Sotos was a member for a time, so how could it be anything but controversial?)  I think the controversy wouldn't be there if the music sounded ... different.  It rubs people the exact wrong way. Put it on in the car at night, driving around looking at the people walking the streets, and suddenly you get it.  This is what will play when some stalker does in Adele.


Whitehouse isn't content to just present the filth.  It absolutely wallows in it.  Not like a pig, but like a hungry worm with teeth.  And that worm eventually finds its way into your brain.

It's not a band that will get air time or ever find its way onto a Disney cruise.  It exists solely to make you uncomfortable, and I have to admit that makes me quite fond of it.

Thank you, Whitehouse, for existing in a world of country crooners, hip hop stars who want to be pampered Beverly Hills housewives, and pointless pop stars who couldn't create music without a fucking committee.  Thank you for the soundtrack to the madness.  You may (thankfully) never win a Grammy, but hard work is really its own reward, right?  You bet.  Let's bring back the awful and do away with the offal.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Garifuna Music

Garifuna Music: Field Recordings From Belize is exactly what it sounds like. It is the music of the Garifuna performed by various musicians and recorded between 2002-2004. It is 16 songs with titles you can't pronounce celebrating things we don't understand. A lot of it is played on instruments that aren't exactly the electric guitar and bass.

Turtle shells, shell rattles and conch shells are combined with drums and other instruments to create music that is a celebration of the Garifuna and where they live. What does this mean to someone not familiar with the culture or its history? Surprisingly, not much. Without that knowledge, the music lacks much of its punch.

I'm sure if I had any knowledge of or interest in the Garifuna, I would find this music to be a fascinating cultural study of a people out of time. I don't have knowledge of or interest in them, however, so this affects me in much the same way modern hip-hop does -- something to be shrugged off and used to sell hamburgers. The more cultured among you may have a totally different reaction, but I'm left with less of a sense of wonder and more of a "eh, it's okay," dismissal.



Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this free to review. Click on a link, and I could earn some cold, hard cash.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Egypt ... Unveiled ... Unfettered

The cover seems almost mystical. Symbols, slightly forboding, floating in the night sky above the pyramids. An end of the world scenario? Perhaps. Only the musicians behind this, Hossam Ramzy and Phil Thornton, know for sure.

Egypt Unveiled follows the duo's other Egypt-centered releases, Eternal Egypt, Immortal Egypt and Enchanted Egypt. (Typing "Egypt" that many times makes the word seem almost unreal by this point.) It is kind of a love letter to Egypt and all that it encompasses, and if you don't read the song titles, it's actually not too bad. The music is modern Egyptian utilized through various Egyptian musicians going to town with traditional instruments. These aren't old folk songs, but new compositions meant to inspire awe and wonder. If you read the song titles, though, it sounds like you may have stumbled onto a metal band from the '80s.

"Cleopatra's Secret," "Sett in Stone," "Egypt Unveiled (Part 1)," "The Sword of Orion," and "Storm Over Giza" are just a sampling of the 13 songs to be found here. Seriously, if you picked this up and knew nothing about it, could you not picture a wonderland of guitar solos and at least one ominous spoken word intro? "The beasts of Stygianhall came forth from the skies upon steeds of fire to take home in the mighty pyramids. That night it was said a warrior was born. That warrior, bonded by the blood of pharaohs, carried forth a magical weapon ... the only weapon that could kill the Stygianhall beasts. That weapon ... The Sword of Orion!" Cue the manic guitars and thudding double-bass.

All kidding aside, this is fairly interesting release. I run hot and cold on Ramzy, but this release is not about merit. Those song titles, though, have got to go.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this for review purposes. Clicking on a link could earn me a commission.

If You Like John Mayer, Here's More Crap You Might Like

Why Big Fat Cat (the public relations firm) sent Miller Howell's Habits Can Be Hard to Break to me for review is a mystery best left up to NASA scientists. I am not a fan of male singer-songwriters. Not even close. Even looking at the songs on this told me all I needed to know.

"Tomorrow Comes." "I Need You." "Missing You." "I'm Here." "Kirksville." And last, but surely not least -- you guessed it -- "Miracles." I swear I am not making this up.

The PR paperwork informs me that Howell was "the master of the gradual crescendo." If you have to be master of something, and you can't be original, that's what you should go for, I guess. The gradual crescendo. Screw interesting songs. The gradual crescendo is where it's at.

Reading through more of the paperwork of this 2006 release (I know) assured me with earnest that these six songs were about "traveling through life, getting from point A to point B, and experiencing all moments in between." I can't believe I even re-typed that. Seriously, this entire project seems piece-mealed out of other similar projects. It's all cut and paste.

Granted, I know I am not the target audience for this. I'm not a mid-20s to early-30s gal who is coming out of a relationship and is worried I'll be a spinster cat lady. I'm also not the young woman who just hops on a bus and goes to the big city for some grand adventure. Those are the people this is made for. In fact, Howell's music is custom made for them. It has just enough emotion to make it seem edgy, but is about as confrontational as a rabbit. Women who aren't sure what they are looking for in life will find their answer here. Paint-by-numbers. Enjoy a class of expensive wine and think of yourself as decadent.

I "dissed," as the kids would say, John Mayer in the title to this blog. I'm not a fan of his, though I appreciate that he has some talent and enjoys a good prank now and then. The reason I referenced him is because this release is for the ladies who used to like him but gave him up when he got "too mainstream." (The irony of that statement speaks for itself.) And again, keep in mind I am not the target audience. I'm baffled as to why I got this, quite frankly. Did they think the guy who loves Nashville Pussy would write a glowing review of this? I seriously doubt it.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: As previously noted, I received this for review purposes. If you click on the link and purchase it, I will earn a commission, and I will wonder what it was in my review that appealed to you. Did you read it?

In The Fields They Hollered in Pain

Most people know I'm a huge fan of anything and everything on Voodoo Rhythm Records.  I've only said it about 5,368 times.  The Dead Brothers, a funeral band like no other, have always been a favorite.  5th Sin-Phonie is no exception. Thirteen (yes, I know) songs of pure "delinquent jazz" and and horn-heavy musings on death, love and life.  Standards in many a band's set list, but no band does it like this.  No band ever will, either.  The Dead Brothers is one of a kind, and this release holds quite a few surprises for die-hard fans.  Surprises and secrets.  All are delightful, of course.  All are worthy of your time.  Enough hyperbole, though.  Let's dig into the meat.
First things first, there are plenty of original songs on here, but there are also two covers: the obvious "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and the less-so "Teenage Kicks."  Both are done in the Dead Brothers' own unique way.  Fans of Bauhaus' original song should like this one quite a bit, too. 

The next thing, which I find fascinating, is who is helping out with the song writing.  None other than M.A. Littler, filmmaker, pirate and general thorn in the side of mainstream thinking.  Littler has always been linked with Voodoo and the acts on it, but seeing his name pop on here was quite the pleasant surprise.  He is as every bit as good as I would expect, but then again, I'm a big fan and have been for years.
Focusing on a single Dead Brothers song is a lot like not being able to see the forest for the trees. Each release is a complete circle in and of itself. And while each and every song can stand on its own, when taken as a whole (something rare in this age of iPod shuffle dead dance) they create a decadent, perverse Disneyland of despair and delight. You will not possible understand that, however, until you actually sit down and listen to an entire release. This is a good place to start ...


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I got this sent to me to review. That in no way influences what I think of it. Clicking on a link may earn me some cashola.

Rhythms of Morocco ... and Then Some

Forget for a moment, if you will, April 28 of earlier this year. That is when 15 people at relaxing at the Argana cafe were blasted in pieces while 19 others were injured. Forget that the threat of terrorism against U.S. targets in Morocco remains high. At least the music's cool ... or so one would want you to think while listening to Chalf Hassan's Rhythms of Morocco. I don't only listen to abrasive, nihilistic music. Shocking, I know. Sometimes I prefer something lighter, more worldly. This is not what I had in mind. Granted, the eleven tracks on the disc are lighthearted fare that would cause any Westerns listening to it in lands both foreign and domestic to consider themselves part of an authentic ethnic experience the likes of which can only be found on the Travel Channel and in movies, but the music is actually too flighty for my decidedly more aggressive tastes. These songs are traditional Moroccan maqams played on both modern and traditional instruments, which may be part of the problem. While you can tell these are old songs, they just sound too modern. Take, for example, "Aita Jilaliya," which translates into "Spiritual Call." The history behind the song is that when ladies would organize a spiritual "party" at night, they would try to connect through their chosen spirit through song, dance and dress. The song should sound old. Instead, I picture George Clooney wandering the streets of Rabat-Sale while asking citizens in stunted Moroccan Arabic if they know where he can find an "American in black." In other words: too modern. When I hear traditional songs, I like to hear them played on traditional instruments, not a mixture of old and new. Playing these things on the instruments they were intended for keeps the magic in the music. Let's face it, nobody likes "Jumpin' Jack Flash" played by an orchestra. It doesn't sound right. That is the case with this release, too. It lacks magic ... and that is something that should never be lacking from Moroccan music. Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Yes, this CD was sent to me to review. And, yes, if you click on a link I may earn some cash, which I shall use to buy far better music than this stuff.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1999

Some love for GAW.
If you are a Prince fan, you know what 1999 means.  Double album.  Penis drawn on cover.  "Little Red Corvette."  Mommy, why does everybody have a bomb?  It brings back memories.  You can sing every single song on it.  (There were 11, which is a small number for a double album.)  I was 11 when it came out.  I still have it today.

It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite song on the release.  It is, like Pretty Hate Machine from Nine Inch Nails, a perfect album.  Even the songs that don't hit quite as hard as "Let's Pretend We're Married" are still pretty damn incredible.  And would such a combination of sexuality and patriotism fly on any other album?  Unlikely.  This is Prince before Purple Rain, before the symbol, before he pretty much dropped out of the public mind.  Anyone who listened to it prior to Purple Rain would be blown away.  "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" were all over the radio (even with LRC's incredible sexual imagery -- "Because you had a pocket full of horses/Trojans and some of them used.").  It was the album to have, and nothing else released in 1982 was dripping with as much sex and funk.  An anomaly?  Of course, but a delightful one.

Listening to this album today not only brings back memories (some of them quite obscene), but it also makes me realize just how timeless 1999 it is -- unlike most other releases from the early '80s.  It could be released today and still be as strong.  Few other performers can make the same claim.

When Prince dies he will be remembered for many things.  Purple Rain will probably outshine 1999, but it shouldn't.  The former may have been a bigger hit with the public, and while it was a great album, the latter was far more artistic and impressive in scope.  Michael Jackson thought he was always in some kind of competition with the diminutive one, but from where I stand there really was no competition.  Jackson never did anything like 1999, therefore: game over. Prince wins, and this album did it.  Take that, dead Jackson.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I paid for this release, and if you click on a link, you may get me a commission.  Buy the damn thing already.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Devil's Rain

It has been a long time coming ... almost a decade really.  The Misfits released an album of all new (mostly) material last week.  The Devil's Rain, named after that Shatner movie I've written about on The Last Picture Blog.  Awesome cover art from that artist who did all the Marvel Zombies covers.
With any new Misfits release, however, comes a small bit of dread.  I've been a Misfits fan for over half my life.  I've hung out with Mo and Doyle.  I gave them stuff to use in their lawsuit with Danzig.  I still have my Doyle Fan Club card (handed to me by Doyle).  I'm Member 00171.  I used to call them just to chat.  They gave me their cassette release of Kryst the Conqueror.  Dr. Chud, who came later, gave me a Sacred Trash release.  I blew off getting flown to Los Angeles for an interview with Korn to interview the Misfits instead.  Favorite release?  Legacy of Brutality.  I used to sing Misfits songs to my daughter to put her to sleep.  She's grown up with them.  I'm not just a casual fan.  But let's face it, Fiends, we all know the hesitation that accompanies a new release.  All the line-up changes.  The misguided songs.  The in-fighting.  The wrestling. It is sometimes like a soap opera.

I was excited about The Devil's Rain.  The cover itself gets the blood boiling.  I bought it (no freebie here), and then I hesitated to play it.  A day or two or three, actually.  Afraid that what I would hear would not please me.  Now, I know the band can't do another Legacy ... or Earth A.D..  Nor would I want it to.  But I feared a serious stumble. 

It's not a serious stumble.  There are some missteps, and it is bound to irritate people who think the Misfits died when Danzig did Samhain, but this release is a natural progression for a band that has been influx since the 1980s.  Perfection?  No.  Solid?  Definitely.  More solid than it should be given the circumstances. 

I'm not going to do a breakdown of every song.  I figure that is pointless and best left to people who write reviews solely for Amazon.  I will, however, say, that when you hear a song like "Cold In Hell" or "Jack the Ripper," you know you are in Misfits country.  The landscape is a bit different, but it still feels like home. 
I won't go into some of the more obvious problems, either.  Bad makeup choices and some lackluster singing in spots speak for themselves.  I'm also not going to compare this to Misfits of old, which if many of you remember, featured some line-up changes, as well.  What I will say is something that every Misfits fan can understand.

Gone are the days of old, and that's okay.  Had this release come from any other band it would be worthy of a few listens and then brought out only once a year or so.  This is the Misfits, though, and at this point anything that isn't a total disaster is a godsend.  We will listen to it enough to make the songs stick in our heads, and we will grow to love some of it, and skip the rest.  It could be far worse, and we know it.  The lyrics are pure Misfits.  Some of the hooks recall the bygone days.  The subject matter is what we've come to expect.  It's a class reunion, and while everyone has gone on to different things, they still seem oddly familiar.  More importantly, they're still fun to be around and it's comfortable to be there.  Do I sound like an apologist?  I sure as hell do, but I'd rather be an apologist for the Misfits than any other band any day of the week.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me some cash, and as noted earlier, I bought this ... as did many a Misfits fan.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joy to the World -- New Monsters Release!

The Monsters is the only band tattoo I have.  Seriously.  It was the first Voodoo Rhythm Records band I heard, and it made me fall in love with the label.  Well, now there is a new release out.  ... Pop Up Yours.  I do hope this one finds its way into my mailbox.  Life wouldn't be right without it.

I can't review it yet, because I don't have it, but ... here is a video from the new album.  Listening to it gave me goosebumps, as the band usually does.  It is garage rock/rockabilly/fuzzed nightmare music.  Remember that hot girl from school you always wanted to have sex with but were afraid to because she looked dangerous?  She was dangerous.  She now listens to this.



Of course, a tour has been announced.  Of course, I am not anywhere near any of the cities it is hitting.  Though, if I were in Germany, I'd be all over this every night.  The Monsters is one of the few select bands I would bother to see live.  And hey, who wouldn't want to catch these guys at a Coffin Festival?

Go to the website.  Order the CD.  It won't disappoint.  Of this, I am certain.  Oh, and if you are overseas or will be, below is the tour schedule.  Man, I'm jealous of all these lucky foreign folks ...

29sept. swiss zurich STALL 6
30sept. austria dorbirn transmitter fest.
1st october nl eindhoven effennaar coffin festival
2nd october germany frankfurt moonshake party ponyhof
3rd october germany, Dreseden, Groove Station
4th october germany, Rostock, Mau Club
5th october germany munster gleiss 22 .
6th october swiss fribourg Nouveau monde ..
7th october swiss wintherthur GASWERK
8th october france METZ les trinitaires
14th october swiss, Rolling Rock, Aarau (record release party !!)
15th october swiss, Reithalle, Bern ( record release party !!)
27th october germany, SO36, Berlin
28th october france, Mains d'oevre, Paris
29th october england, the lexington, London
2012
20th january swiss, kofmehl, Solothurn
21th January, swiss, Zoo L'usine, geneva






Monday, September 5, 2011

Letters from GG Allin 10

It's time for more GG Allin letter fun.  I keep finding these, and people seem to like them, so I'll continue until I run out of them.


Doug,

I got issue #6 and the m.o..  I'll be getting in touch w/my people on the outside to take of it.  Send #7 as soon as it's out.  Enclosed is a missing flyer for you to include in the next issue also.  Make copies and post the motherfuckers everywhere.  Fuck these pig bastards.

GG Allin 206045

I couldn't find the flyer online, and I don't feel ambitious enough to scan it here, but I did hang them up in various places, including at my factory job that I had at the time.  It prompted plenty of questions and helped solidify my insanity in management's eyes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Be Ready to Fucking Burn -- The GG Allin Interview

"I kill everything I fuck" -- "I Kill Everything I Fuck"
This interview was originally published in one of my 'zines and then was stolen by a glossy magazine, which no longer exists.  It is not my favorite interview I have ever done for several reasons.  First and foremost is because it was done through the mail.  At the time of this interview (1992), Allin was in prison, and all my phone calls with him were repeatedly cut short.  He and I both agreed that rather than break up an interview over several weeks (and possibly having to recap everything), it would be best to do it via the mail.  The second reason was because of his answers.  Granted, my questions are not the best.  It is far easier to interview someone when you are working off an actual conversation (and our conversations, as one could imagine, were pretty varied in topic).  Instead, I had to think of questions that I hoped he would give interesting answers to.  If you ever listened to Allin speak, a lot of what he said was the same thing over and over.  His usual cliches came out with almost every question, and that is the case here as well.  I think we are both to blame for that one.

You'll notice that one of the questions I asked was about Allin's feelings toward Nazi skinheads.  There was a reason for this.  When I first heard of Allin it was through some white power skinheads I knew.  They hated him, and they were planning a mission to kill him at a show in New York.  I figured anyone who got them that riled up had to be worth looking into.  I was right.  Enjoy a decidedly lame interview, conducted via mail while Allin was in prison in 1992.  (If you've never read or listened to one of his interviews, you may actually find this interesting as an examination of danger personified.)

Doug:  What are you in prison for?

"Watch me kill the Boston Girl" -- "Watch Me Kill"
GG:  Because of the war I have waged against society through my rock 'n' roll mission.  Because I can generate my own visions and live by my own fucking laws.  They fear the realities in which I live because I am in touch with my inner demons and run wild with them without fear.  They know I'm the real motherfucking nonconformist that cannot be bought and sold.  Not a puppet of the industry.  I'm the real one man army warrior.  That's the bottom line as to why I am in prison.

Doug:  Why did you go on Geraldo?

GG:  Geraldo's producer called for us to be on the show.  I went on to say what I had to fucking say.  I don't change for anybody.  But I knew my appearance would piss off a lot of people, so that's why I went on.  When you see the show, you'll know what I mean.

Doug:  What do you think of Nazi skins?

GG:  I believe in the alliance of violence.  I take from the left and of the right and use whoever I have to use to get where I have to go.  My only concern is w/myself and my own mission.  Your [sic] either part of it, or your [sic] the fucking enemy.

Doug:  What gave you your ideas?  What made you you?

GG:  My fucking chaotic life and desires of lawlessness.

Doug:  Why hasn't anyone killed you yet?  Enough people hate you.

GG:  I have had threats on my life for the past 10-15 years.  But I'm still out there in the battle zone.  Most people are all fucking talk.  So if anyone tells you they plan on killing me tell them I'll see them on the road in '93.  I'll fucking be ready.  Will they?

"My demons lay beside me as I kiss them one by one" -- "Son of Evil"
Doug:  Whatever happened to that girl you set fire to?  Was that true?

GG:  Yes and who gives a fuck what happened to that useless cunt?  You play with GG Allin and put yourself on the GG Allin altar, then you better be ready to fucking burn with the master of diabolical deeds.

Doug:  Explain your mission.

GG:  Revolution.  Destroy those in the power seats.  Destroy those who are trying to institutionalize rock 'n' roll.  I want to return the rock 'n' roll underground to its original purpose: to be a dangerous threat to society and [illegible] and a terrorism towards morals and values that are forced upon us by our legal system and those who try and brainwash us from birth.  Destroy r 'n' r as it now stands and rebuild it in the name of GG Allin.

Doug:  What are your plans once you are released?

GG:  Revenge.  To take the GG Allin mission back on the road and to the streets.  To create havok [sic], chaos, violence, destruction.  A war if you will.  The blood must be spilled in the name of the GG All R 'n' R Revolution.  It has to be fucking real.

Doug:  Explain some of your sexual adventures.

GG:  There are way to [sic] many to get into.

"I'm here to wipe you out" -- "Fuck Off, We Murder"
Doug:  Who will be the next band you perform with?

GG:  The Murder Junkies.

Doug:  Are you still planning the suicide?

GG:  When I am released [the] final date will be set up.  But first I have to create my alliance.  All battles must be fought.  When the time is right, then I will take my life my own way.

Doug:  Most fucked up incident to happen to you?

GG:  Nothing to me is a fucked up incident.  Everything that happens to me just makes me stronger.  I seek tragic situations.  I accelerate danger.  I put myself through torture every fucking day.  That's why I can face any situation I am confronted with.

Doug:  Last words ...

GG:  It's time to fucking wake up and realize that my mission is the only fucking real rock 'n' roll mission that really does matter.  If we are to remain the true nonconformists rebels that our government seeks to destroy, we must be willing to stand up and fight.  It's better to die standing up than to live on your knees. -- GG Allin 206045

Who Runs This Dump -- Al's Bar '82 Misfits Bootleg

As I readied myself for a day of nonsense, I put on my vinyl copy of the Misfits bootleg Al's Bar '82.  If you are a Misfits fan, you've probably heard this, and maybe own it as I believe there are actually bootlegs of the bootleg.

My copy is a clear blue or purple vinyl (I'm color blind, so it may even be aqua).  The sound quality is pretty good compared to many other Misfits bootlegs.  Of course, you get the usual Danzig banter between songs, which is always nice, and the song selection is a solid blast of Misfits goodness ("Bullet," "Attitude," "Horror Hotel," "Devil's Whorehouse" and many more).  As noted by the title, it was recorded at Al's Bar in Los Angeles back in 1982 (apparently, from my research, April 17).

Of all the bootlegs I own (not pirated music of legitmate releases, but actually bootlegs on vinyl, cassette or CD), I own more Misfits stuff than anything else.  I'm a bit partial to it.  There was a time I would make regular pilgrimages to some dive record store in Scranton, PA to get whatever Misfits bootleg tapes the owner had in stock.  He was getting these shows from some source that would put a show or two on a black cassette, give it a name, and then do a photocopied cover using either a Misfits picture or some "eerie" photos or artwork.  The sound quality on these was piss poor, and more than one was the exact copy of another release with a different name.  Since few had song lists, there was no real way to tell what you were getting, but I didn't care.  The Misfits was the Misfits, and even if they copied one another, there was sometimes an extra song on one that was left off the other.  It made for a frustrating, but kind of fun search, and the price was right at between five and eight bucks a pop.

Long gone are those days, but I still have all those bootlegs to break out when the mood is right ... like this morning.  A day of nonsense that will be made a bit better by "Ghouls Night Out."

Eating People With the Juke Joint Pimps

 If you read my other blogs, you know I've been prepping my cannibal manuscript for the Kindle.  When I write I tend to listen to a lot of music.  This song, by the Juke Joint Pimps, has been played more than once ... for the more pleasant moments in the manuscript.

Music is important to viewers while watching a movie.  For some writers, the process of creation practically requires music for it to feel complete.  The other manuscript I'm working on, one that involves a complex mix of sex and violence, has a classic rock soundtrack.  Everything I listen to while writing it is stuff that can be found on classic rock stations.  The Rolling Stones, Edgar Winter, Blue Oyster Cult, Grand Funk Railroad.  You name it.  If it's appeared on a classic rock station, I probably listened to it.

The reason I blast music while writing creatively (for the record, I have CNN on as I write this) is to help set the mood.  Sometimes I find that the rhythm of my writing matches the music, and the scene I'm writing will match the music.  It not only helps set the mood in the story, but it keeps the atmosphere forefront in my mind, as well.  When I listened to the Juke Joint Pimps while working on the cannibal manuscript, it invoked certain feelings, as did old country music and a select few other bands.  It enabled me to stay in the right frame of mind to make sure my characters had the certain swagger I wanted.

Writers are split on whether or not you should listen to music while writing.  Some find it distracting.  Some thinks it actually takes away from the experience.  Others, like myself, find that aids either the creative process or the actual "work" aspect of writing.  To each their own.  I'm going to stick with the Juke Joint Pimps as I edit the scenes where captured teens are being told their fate.  It just feels ... right.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me a small commission.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letters from GG Allin 9

Another letter from the rock 'n' roll terrorist, GG Allin.  You may notice that in the opening of the letter he asks for some money for "Geraldo."  The "Geraldo" in question was the one who now has a show on Fox.  I had wanted a copy of the show Allin appeared on.  I did actually send money while Allin was in prison, and I never got the tape.  When Allin got out I asked him about it, and he told me that his brother, Merle, had probably just took the money.  Then he told me he would make a copy of it that weekend.  Unfortunately, death took him before that happened.  No matter.  He would've forgot anyway.


Doug,

If you want Geraldo, send some money ... if you want to do the interview -- send the questions ... but only if you are serious about putting it out.

Your friend sounds like one stupid fuck who has lived a very shallow life.  Ozzy is nothing but a fucking pussy assed family man dork phoney.  What a fucking moron.

Also-don't send a tape.  They won't let it in.  No tapes allowed in prison.  Wait until I get out.  I do like what you represent.  Sex, violence, political assassination.

Legalize Murder,
GG Allin


The friend in question had sad Ozzy was far more outrageous and that Allin was a "pussy."  I tried to point out dozens of ways Allin had Ozzy beat, but Allin's antics were so outrageous that my friend couldn't comprehend it.  As for the Geraldo bit ... it's on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Music to Murder By

I've been listening to Skinny Puppy since the late '80s.  It was a mainstay in the Walkman on the way to school, an outlet from the human misery that was high school.  The sounds swirling in my brain were nothing short of a nightmare.  There were rumors (I have no idea if they were true or not) that Jeffrey Dahmer looked for victims at Skinny Puppy shows.

That seems about right.

These days I listen to the band on the way to work as part of my "meet, greet and beat" the day routine. Tonight I was blasting a little of the industrial mayhem when I got a call from a friend.  He could hear the music in the background and surmised that I was either writing or carving up some door to door salesman because, as he put it, "Skinny Puppy is music to murder by."  Hell, it beats reggae.

Skinny Puppy is by no means an easy band to digest.  You aren't going to listen to it while trying to study for a big final or paint landscapes (unless those landscapes are what Vlad the Impaler saw from his bedroom window).  It's not that it's too bleak or violent (though it is), it's because it really is a nightmare made audible.



I remember when I first had a fairly decent stereo system in my room.  There were speakers in every corner, and playing Skinny Puppy on it and sitting in the middle of the room was quite the trip.  My brother's girlfriend came over, and while waiting for my brother to show up she made the offhand comment that she didn't think I could scare her.  (She didn't like me much, as I often made fun of her love of Air Supply, but if there's one thing I do well, it's scare people.  I will go that extra mile to get the desired result.)  So I took her up on the challenge.

I placed a chair in the middle of my room.  I had her sit down.  I turned out the lights and put on Too Dark Park, which is a classic.  I let her know all she had to do was say she was scared and I'd turn off the music and turn on the lights.  She said the music was weird, but it wasn't scaring her.  I didn't think it would, but the things I started whispering in her ear did.  Wonderfully dark and forbidden things.   By the time we made it halfway through the second song, "Tormentor," she was done.  She was shaking, and she never really talked to me again.  I proved my point.  She was wrong.



I don't always listen to Skinny Puppy while writing.  I typically only listen to it when I'm writing certain scenes, as I can't see making it a soundtrack to a manuscript.  (There is a scene in Melinda that was written under the influence of Skinny Puppy.  If you've read the story and have listened to the band, you can probably guess it.  The story itself does not seem like it is inspired by the band's music, and it's not, but that scene has a Skinny Puppy feel to it, and the way I wrote it directly corresponded to the song I was playing as I wrote it.  The song was "Testure (God Lives Underwater Remix)," if you were curious.)  It is too busy to center an entire novel around, but as a scene setter few can beat it.

I wasn't murdering anything but characters tonight, but Skinny Puppy was playing.  Had a door-to-door salesman come to the door, however, I can't guarantee I wouldn't screwed with him just a bit.  Maybe said some of those dark and forbidden things.  And people think hip hop is dangerous...


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me a commission.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Embarrassing Musical Moments

I was 10.  In my hands I held an 8-track I was supremely excited to own.  The Christmas Gods had bestowed it upon me.  I wanted it for ELO.  Years later, looking back on it, the Xanadu soundtrack is probably a lot better than I give it credit for now.

We all have these releases we were thrilled to get and then, as time passes, we wonder what the hell we were thinking.  If you don't have some embarrassing musical tragedy, you are lying.  I'm laying mine out on the table, like an autopsy gone haywire.  Xanadu 8-track.  A soundtrack to a movie that I found to be god-awful even back then.  (I know it has developed a fevered fan/cult following, but that doesn't give the film any real kind of value or integrity.)  I wouldn't buy this now.  I shouldn't have wanted it then, but I wasn't the only one who wanted it, either.  That thing sold like GHB at a frat party.

There are other albums I've owned that are equally perplexing.  This one, however, takes the cake.  I can't explain it, other than I've always had a soft spot for ELO.  I can't justify it.  And, if put under torture, I can't remember any songs other than the popular ones (and even those memories are sketchy).  I loved it, though.  I played that thing over and over on my stereo and portable 8-track player.  I whispered its name as I fell asleep.  "Xanadu ..."  It sounds almost like a spell or a DC comic book.  (In reality, Marvel put out the comic book, and DC has a character called "Madame Xanadu."  Tell me, though, that it doesn't sound like it should be a DC comic.)

I've come clean on my shameful moment.  Now I'd like to hear from some of my readers.  What releases are/were you embarrassed to own?


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link could get me a small commission.  I promise to use my money to only buy worthy releases that I won't mock thirty years from now.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Skinhead Justice and a Lion's Heart

Youth on the Street, Pressure Point's 1998 release, holds up pretty damn good.  It is a solid release filled with angry and inspiring street punk performed by a multi-racial band of misfits and skins.  That's important to note because when one hears a song like "Skinhead Justice" and "Strength Thru Oi!" (a horrible song title) the alarms go off.

"Heart Like a Lion" opens the CD with what has become an iconic line "See that girl walking down the street/Boots and braces, she looks so sweet."  It's a great song about a woman who sticks by the singer "no matter what [he's] done."  With a "heart like a lion," this girl is "always there when the others hide."  If singer Mike Erickson is growling about one woman in particular, he doesn't call it out.  Based on his description, it's obviously a skin chick, and having known several of those females throughout my life, I would say "heart like a lion" is a fairly accurate description.

The second track is a cover of "Never 'Ad Nothin'" by the Angelic Upstarts.  The final track on the CD, "So Ends Our Night," is also a cover.  This time by Last Rights.  Both are competent songs, but the Sacramento-based Pressure Point really shines when it does its own songs.  Oddly enough, "Blue Collar" is not indicated as a cover song, but it sounds like it is.  I believe I've heard this before (perhaps it's the traditional Jamaican sound throughout the song that can also be briefly heard on "Youth on the Street"), but can find no indication it isn't an original Pressure Point tune.  It is so unlike anything else on the release, yet it fits right in.  

"Skinhead Justice," "Guts Alone," "Pride & Glory," and "Strength Thru Oi!" all have titles that invoke the feeling that people get when they hear of skinheads.  These songs have zero to do with race, and everything to do with honor, the working class, unity and how the classes are played against each other.  "Pride & Glory" is the most blatant when it comes to pointing these issues out.  "When we fight each other/We're just pawns in their game/Black versus white/They treat us all the same/You can fight me, and I can fight you/When we fight each other/We do what they want us to do."  It continues, "Right wing, left wing, I got no choice/The bastards in power give me no voice/Token promises are never kept/Working class souls finance their debt."

Pressure Point is liberty spikes and shaved heads united against hypocrisy and deceit.  It's a hard order to fill, but this release shows the band is more than capable of putting up a fight against it.  It speaks some hard truths, and its only fault is that it can be easily ignored by people who come to the table with their prejudices already firmly in place.  Yes, the lyrics speak of violence, but not the violence you expect, and that is probably the most pleasant surprise of Youth on the Street.  It is intelligent and thought-provoking while at the same time avoiding all the stereotypes far too many people associate with this brand of music.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  Yeah, I got this to review (for free) way back when it came out.  I reviewed it at the time in my 'zine, and decided to revisit it here to see if it held up.  It does.  Clicking on a link may earn me a commission, too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Out of Step (With the World)

I don't download a lot of music.  Sure, I'll buy a song here and there on Amazon, but it's usually songs I already have on vinyl or cassette.  I guess I'm helping the artists since I know there are scads of "pirates" downloading their shit for free because, you know, musicians should just serve the people and not get paid for their efforts.  In that case, I don't mind paying for something I already have because it's usually only a buck, and I believe people should be compensated for their efforts.

This isn't about the ethics of stealing music, however, this is about the days of my youth.  In particularly, what it was like trying to find new music.

Before the Internet gave you everything from bestiality to revolution with the click of a mouse, if you wanted new music you had to search for it.  This wasn't easy for a true music lover, a person who wanted to go beyond what was on the radio and MTV (back when it played videos).  This meant going on an expedition where everything avenue was explored.

I spent countless hours talking to music store employees, friends who had the same taste in music I did, and going through interviews with the bands I liked hoping a name would be dropped.  Not only did I read the interviews, but I read the thank you lists on releases and looked at photos of the band hoping someone would be wearing a t-shirt I didn't recognize.  (How many people found out about the Misfits because Metallica wore the band's shirts?  Cee Lo wasn't the first to wear one, you know.)  I read 'zines and traded tapes through the mail.  This was how I found out about new music.  I lived in an area that didn't have good record stores.  I relied on outside sources for just about everything I liked.  It was a lot harder than jumping online, but there was also something more satisfying about it.  It made the music mean something to me.  It added a sense of wonder to everything.  It's not like that now.

The Internet is a double-edged sword when it comes to music.  More people around the world can hear your band, but look at what shit is still sought after.  It's the same garbage that polluted the airwaves before.  Those who truly love music will still go out of their way to seek out quality material, but most of what gets mentioned is Ok Go.  If it weren't for an "amusing" Youtube video would anyone care about this band?  Unlikely.  This is what the Internet has done.

The good music is still out there.  Finding it now, however, means you have to swim through a sea of crap to get to it.  You have to go onto crowded Myspace pages, click on questionable links, and scour forums. You can still find the stuff if you try, but it seems like part of the thrill is gone.  When something is so easily obtained, does it hold any value for the listener?  Sadly, I think not, which is another reason stealing music irritates me.  The music has become what the major labels have been trying to make it for years -- product.  A product to be stolen and disposed of as easily as a pair of threadbare socks.

Enjoy the crap.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Here is Bald Truth ... Nailed to the Wax

Hipbone Slim and the Knee Tremblers.  Have Knees, Will Tremble.  This provided the soundtrack to tonight's editing of the cannibal manuscript.  It was fitting, to say the least.

I often listen to loud music when I write and edit.  There are times when the music fits the scene I'm writing, and that is magic.  If you've never experienced something like that, I can only tell you that it is unlike anything you could imagine. 

Voodoo Rhythm Records put this out oh-so-many years ago, and it holds up.  Described as traditional rockabilly meets swamp blues meets '60s beat, I can't think of a more apt description of a band's music.  And while the soundtrack I envision for the cannibal manuscript is mostly old country, this fit quite well.

"This record is a lesson for every teen-ager and a warning for every parent!"  That's what the cover says.  I doubt many teens are listening to this, as they are too absorbed with whatever shit passes for music these days.  This harkens to the past, a time when music was actually seen as dangerous and were never seen on the Today show with Al rocking out. 

If only they knew ...


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this for free to review.  Clicking on a link can get me a small commission.  Listening to the music can be liberating.

Info on the New Juke Joint Pimps Release

Regular readers know I'm a huge fan of Voodoo Rhythm Records and all it produces.  Here's the info I got on the new Juke Joint Pimps CD, Boogie The Church Down.  I expect this will be as awesome as every other release on the label.


The Juke Joint Pimps meet their alter Ego “the Gospel Pimps, TRASHED UP WILD FRANTIC RAW RHYTHM N BLUES CHICAGO STLYE meets holy grail preaching Gospel Louisiana Soul. Not only on this record, as well live on stage the Band Jumps into two Suits.. once into the BOOZE GUZZLLING SINNER PIMPS then got saved by the Holy .. THE GOSPEL PIMPS, incl. authentic Gospel Choir and Roman Catolic preacher uniforms, what does a sinner like you want more from live! The whole album starts up with EAT FOR ME, a song that could be written by R.L. BURNSIDE. It has slow songs as well like the I NEED MY BABY or SWEETEST HYMNS the flipside of the album is dominated by the gospel music of the early and mid 50’s THE STAPLE SINGERS the PEACOCK catalogue inspired them to do such a recording.. invited a gospel choir into the studio and start recording I FEE GUILTY is a fine example of very strange gospel and raw rhythm n blues .. sung by sinners for sinners and the outcast.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Still More Letters From Doug Evil

I have not reproduced the band logo he is referencing here, as I think he may not like the logo now if he were to see it.  Doug Evil designed two logos for my band, JFK's Head.  I don't know if we ever used either because the band was pretty short lived.


Doug,

Here are 2 versions of your logo.  If there's anything you don't like just write.  It would be no problem to do another.  In the future I won't make you pay.  We can simply trade tapes or 'zines or stuff.  I feel guilty making you pay after you give me free ad space and free publicity.  I'll also give you my new address but if you don't get a reply right away then the mailman can't find Doug Evil in Pitts.  Also, I should soon be in a full band within the next 1 or two months.  Till then ...

Haplessly Yours, Doug Evil


I did not mind paying for the logo.  Artists need to be compensated for their work.  (Even the ones from whom you steal music.)  I don't remember what I paid him, but I do think we stopped writing soon after this letter ... as Doug disappeared for a while.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letters from GG Allin 8

More letters from the man, the myth, the guy who bled everywhere ... GG "I Will Not Act Civilized" Allin.  Always fun.



Doug,

Got the article.

Mykel may or may not respond to you, but your best bet is to include a SASE.  I do still correspond with him occassionally, but not as often as I had in the past.  But we are still both very much in contact when we are in the same area.

The comp. idea sounds cool.  No objections on this end as long as it's put together right.  Try and find as many diff styles of torturous individuals + bands, etc..  Like maybe a fucking violin version of of "Drink Fight + Fuck" etc..  You get the picture.  Instead of bands trying to copy it the way it is on the records.  Let me know how it comes about.  Send #7 as soon as it's out.

GG Allin 206045


As you readers know, the compilation never came out.  We did get a few bands sending us stuff, and some of it was quite interesting.  Allin's death derailed the project, however.  I was not into the idea of looking like I was exploiting his death.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More Letters From Doug Evil

That's right.  Another missive from the man behind Orgy of One -- Doug Evil.  In this letter he writes a poetry anthology which I doubt I contributed to, as well hallucinations I was apparently having at the time.  I remember no such thing. 


Doug,

[Phone number censored for obvious reasons.]

I'm still only considering doing that poem anthology.  Send poems anyway.  Most likely I'll do it.  If I do the book will be called Severed Fairy Tails.

You've sparked real interest in me about your hallucinations.  Please go into further detail.  As for unbelievable ... I'm a vampire, remember?

How soon do you need that cover?  To be honest I haven't started it yet.  I have vacation from Dec 11 - Jan 11.  Can you wait until then?  If not I'll make time.

Get the light out of here!!!- Doug Evil


The only part of this letter that sounds remotely familiar to me is the cover of 'zine he was working on for me.  Other than that, I have no recollection of anything he is talking about.  Strange.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Give 'Em the Boot ... Again

Hellcat Records has some good music.  Not all of it, granted, but enough to warrant some attention.  One of the best ways to get an idea of what is being offered is from the Give 'Em the Boot series.  Back in 2004 the fourth part of this series came out, and it is worth looking into.
Opening with Rancid's "Killing Zone" is a good way to start any release.  Following it up with The Aggrolites' "Dirty Reggae" is a good way to kill it.  That is precisely why this CD does not see a lot of rotation in my stereo.  Yeah, I like The Slackers as much as the next guy, and you can't go wrong with the Dropkick Murphys or HorrorPops, but for all those good bands there's stuff like Chris Murray's "Let There Be Peace," which makes you wonder just what the hell you it is that happens to be coming out your speakers.

I know some can view Hellcast as boutique label for Tim Armstrong, and I have nothing wrong with that.  If that is the case, I do have to say that Armstrong's taste in music is very questionable in places.  Maybe he really, really likes Tiger Army.  I don't know.  I do know that this sampler makes me wonder what he is drinking.  I know this came out in 2004, but looking at the stuff on the label now shows that little has changed at this Epitaph offshoot.

At least Armstrong is consistent.

The first in this series of CDs had much the same problem, but it felt fresher.  It felt like it mattered more.  Listening to this fourth one makes it sound like status quo.  That said, it is still a great introduction to the type of music you can expect to find on the label.  Just don't expect anything truly mind blowing to come out of the experience.



Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  I received this to review, so it was free.  Clicking on a link can earn me a small commission, which I desperately need so I can quit my job.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Voice

If you tune into NBC for more than three seconds you are bound to see a promo for The Voice, a show that claims to be nicer than American Idol.  What else sets it apart?  Judges nobody cares about and singers who may be ugly.  At least that's what I get from the commercials.  I haven't watched the show and have no desire to do so.  The TV ads tell me everything I need to know.

I know these talent shows appeal to a certain segment of society, and I know they help keep television writers out of work.  I know family and friends of contesants love tuning in to see if they'll win, and then get their towns to hold celebrations if their favored son or daughter moves up far enough in the competition.  The world loves an underdog.  The world hates George Michael.  It makes for compelling television on some level.  It has little to do with the music or the art behind it.  This is entertainment.

In the end, shows like The Voice are quite harmless.  They do their job, and the "artists" they produce are usually forgettable after a few years.  Some have gone on to some degree of fame, which makes you wonder if they would have ever had the opportunity otherwise (doubtful knowing how the world of music works).  For the most part, however, these souls are forgotten by the time the next inevitable season starts, only to merit a nod once the flashback episode arrives.

Will The Voice lead to a promising career for its winner?  The only person who cares about that is the soon-to-be champion.  The rest of the world will move on, and that is perhaps the truest lesson that can be learned from this show.  These musicians are disposable.  They are fodder.  They are the filler in between ads for Dodge Chargers and iPads.  They may think they are more than that, but in the end, that is all they are to the executives at NBC.  Who would've thought the world of television and music would have so much in common?



Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  Clicking on a link could earn me a commission.  Blah.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Purity of Disaster


I received the Foundation "Purity/Disaster" 7" for review way back in 1992.  I remember giving it a favorable review then, and after listening to it recently I have to say it holds up.

Foundation was out of NY, and while it was a hardcore band, the songs on this release have a certain emo feeling to them.  Real emo.  Not Hot Topic emo.  The 7" itself is on white vinly (classy), and it includes lyrics to the two songs.

I tried looking the band up on the Internet and found nothing really helpful.  Even Round Flat Records, which put this out, doesn't seem to have copies of it anymore.  Not surprising.  This is a solid release, and the band members (Bill Colgrove, John Drenning, Steve Korol and Mike Waney) have already probably moved onto to other things that are hopefully music related.  (No sense in wasting one's talent by working at a diner.)  Mike Waney as of 2/11 responded to a posting on the Coregasm blog, so he's at least around and checking out what the world has to say of his old band.

I never got to see Foundation live, but I imagine it would've been quite an energetic and positive show.  The sound these guys had is due for a resurgence in the next few years.  I doubt any of it will be as good as this 7" was, though. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Letters from Doug Evil

Doug Evil was the man behind Orgy of One, a one-man band that did some Misfits covers and original tunes.  He designed my band's logo (JFK's Head, for those keeping score), and did a cover for one of my 'zines.  We wrote each other off and on and talked on the phone on occasion.  Below is a short letter he wrote about some distribution stuff and ad space in my 'zine (Chaos Into Power). 



Doug of C.I.P.,

Here is your order of Orgy 5 "Single" tapes plus Misfits cover tapes.  1 for you & 1 (one) for the Misfits themselves!  (If you get in contact with them.)

Please copy the ad I sent you to help with the distro process & enclose a copy of the Misfits cover album flyer with any order of my tape.

Also I'd like a list of names and addresses of people who buy my tape so I can send them flyers & shit.  If there are any problems call me at [phone number listed]. 

Haplessly Yours,
Doug Evil


I did send a copy to the Misfits, but I do not recall the reaction to it.  At the time, the Misfits hadn't signed Michael Graves or Dr. Chud yet, so it was in a state of flux.  I do remember talking to Doyle prior to sending it, and he was excited about hearing it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Release to Get Excited About ....

Voodoo Rhythm Records, a label I consider the best on the planet, has released a split CD/LP.  (I hope I get a copy of this one.)  Mama Rosin Together With Hipbone Slim and the Kneetremblers.  Both bands are seriously freakin' good.  Cajun meets garage rockabilly.  If that release sucks I'll cut off a finger.  I just don't see it happening.  In fact, I can't think of the last time something came out on Voodoo that I didn't like.  Nope. 

Both bands have released great records before.  Both bands are highly capable of getting asses out of their seats.  Together?  Oh, that is the sweet spot.

There was other exciting news in the e-mail I got, but seeing this release kind of made everything else just fade into the background.  It isn't every day when you hear of such incredible news.  This was that day. 

For all you readers overseas, here's the tour dates:


13 Apr 2011 L'Ecurie, Genève SWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

14 Apr 2011 Cafe Kairo / bern SWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

15 Apr 2011 1. Stock, Basel SWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

16 Apr 2011 Hacienda, Sierre SWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

14 May 2011 Bearded Theory Festival, Derbyshire UNITED KINGDOM

17 May 2011 Electroacoustic Club @ The Slaughetered Lamb, London UNITED KINGDOM

19 May 2011 The Railway Inn, Winchester UNITED KINGDOM

20 May 2011 Wood Festival, Oxford UNITED KINGDOM

25 May 2011 Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris FRANCE

26 May 2011 Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris FRANCE

29 May 2011 Evolution Festival, Newcastle upon Tyne UNITED KINGDOM

11 Jun 2011 Halt auf Verlangen Festival, Grünenwald OW SWITZERLAND

18 Jun 2011 Mundial, Tilburg NETHERLANDS

19 Jun 2011 TBC Oerol Festival, Terschilling NETHERLANDS

24 Jun 2011 Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury UNITED KINGDOM

28 Jun 2011 Festival de la Cité, Lausanne SWITZERLAND

01 Jul 2011 Skagen Festival DENMARK

02 Jul 2011 Skagen Festival DENMARK

09 Jul 2011 Festi'Cheyres SWITZERLAND

15 Jul 2011 Larmer Tree Festival, Wiltshire UNITED KINGDOM

16 Jul 2011 Pod'ring, Biel SSWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

21 jul 2011 paleo festifal, Nyon SWITZERLAND ( with HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS)

27 Jul 2011 Musicas do Mundo, Sines PORTUGAL

09 Aug 2011 Broadstairs Festival UNITED KINGDOM

10 Aug 2011 Broadstairs Festival UNITED KINGDOM

13 Aug 2011 Summer Sundae Weekender, Leicester UNITED KINGDOM








Mandatory FTC Disclaimer Time: Clicking on a link can earn me a commission.  I have not received a copy of this release to review yet, but I hope to.  If I do, I will write about here, of course, along with any place else that will take it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Lost Art of the Album Cover

I've always preferred vinyl over CDs, cassettes, 8 tracks and MP3s.  Part of this preference has to do with cover art. 

Cover art is something that seems forgotten about these days.  Yes, it still exists, but I think any serious lover of music would admit that the cover art for a CD is seriously lacking when compared to that of an LP.

When I was a kid, I got lost in cover art.  Whether it be Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast or Massacre's Killing Time.  It didn't matter.  I'd put the record on, listen and look.  My cassettes had cover art, but it was too small to see.  Same with my CDs.  My 7" singles were even better than cassettes and CDs.  The cover art seemed to matter.  It looked like art.  It was art.  It was important.

Now the art is nothing more than a picture.  It doesn't help sell anything.  It tells no story.  It is as cold and impersonal as the MP3 format.  There seems to be little thought put into it because the people consuming it (and don't kid yourself, MP3s are a consumable product and nothing more) put no thought into what they are buying. 

Years ago, when going into a record store, I'd look at everything.  If a band I never heard of had a neat sounding name and a cool album title, the cover art would often make or break my decision to buy it.  That's how I actually ended up buying Killing Time.  The cover art appealed to me. It was as mysterious as the names of the songs on the release (and in hindsight fit the music perfectly).  The cover art of a CD never swayed me to make a purchase.

If you compare the vinyl art on any Iron Maiden album to the exact same art on the CD or cassette, you quickly realize how much detail you lose.  There are subtle touches that just aren't there when you shrink down the image to fit the format.  The LP cover was the perfect size.  Above and beyond the music, it was often art that stood on its own.  In fact, when I got Kiss' Creatures of the Night for my birthday, I actually displayed the album cover in my room for quite a few months, much like someone would hang a painting or display a sculpture.  Again, I never did that with a CD.

MP3s are meant to be played on tiny devices, the portability of which is the selling point.  Some of these devices display the cover art for whatever music you are listening to at any given time.  The art is so small, though, that it becomes pointless.  I've purchased MP3s, and like CDS, I never bought one on the whim of a cover ... because I can barely see it.  I definitely can't display it, either. 

Maybe I'm old, or maybe I romanticize too much.  I don't think so, though.  Many of my music loving friends feel much the same way.  They long for the days when buying an album meant something.  When a record felt like an event.  Sure, vinyl is still being made (and I still buy it), but the industry has changed.  The art seems less inspired.  The compact format has led to compact ideas.  There are always gems, of course, but they are no longer the norm.  Long gone are the days where I would examine every detail of a photo or painting, pondering how it fit into what I was experiencing coming from my speakers.  Upsetting?  Of course.  But it's also a sign of the times, where art has little meaning and everything is meant to be disposable ... including the music.


Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  Clicking on my links may earn me a commission.  I'll use the money to get a new record player.