30 July 2006

Hoist the Black Flag

I stumbled upon that Mencken quote to your left and just had to slap it on DMBYSC. Pretty evocative.

Today is my birthday. Tony and Sarah came to visit, we went out to dinner with Will and Michelle, Helton showed up and in what must have been an age-induced moment of stupidity, I ordered sushi rolls when I thought I was ordering nigiri. Plate after plate kept coming from the sushi bar. I'm sure I looked a fool. I ate as much as I could and brought about two pounds of leftovers home. The cats were delighted.

But the night was not over. We played pool for a while then we went home and burned stuff in the fire pit. Then a few more people showed up and we were up until 4 a.m., drinking, eating cake and burning stuff.

Tonight: Strangers With Candy -- IN A MOVIE THEATER. Wish me luck.

28 July 2006

Landis Just Too Manly for the Europeans

From the Associated Press:
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Floyd Landis said the high testosterone that showed up in a drug screening at the Tour de France is the result of his natural metabolism -- not doping of any kind -- and he will undergo more tests to prove it.
I shudder to think what those tests that will prove Landis is a veritable testosterone factory may involve, but I'll hold off until the second test is completed, because as somebody mentioned over on Can't Stop the Bleeding, since Landis has a certain advantage when compared to Lance Armstrong in that department.

21 July 2006

Peace, Love and Understanding

I contributed to an article called “Genres We'd Like to See Dead” in the current issue of LEO. The other writer and I dissed several musical styles, and we got pretty scathing. My chosen targets were hair metal, AAA and jam bands.

I knew I was playing with fire when I took on this assignment, and sure enough, once the issue hit the streets, the comments started trickling in. I expected to offend aficionados of all three genres, but apparently your average fan of AAA radio and/or pop metal has either a) a sense of humor or b) better things to do than type hysterical e-mails and send them to LEO.

To wit:

You must be sorry misearble men to have such a hateful distorted view on musicians. Here you are trying to publish the "2006 Music Issue", which should be recognizing and appreciating musicians not trashing them.

Its one thing to have an opinion about certain genres and artists, but to place such stereotypical judgement on people is ignorance in its finest form. I believe intelligent arguments are made using wit and knowledge not profanity and pompous vocabulary.

T.E., its pretty dispicable that you say you can't name certain Hip Hop albums because "your children need their father", well I quite frankly feel sorry for your children. If my father was firing off GD, Asshole, and the F-bomb in public articles, and referring to people as nitwits and telling them they have shitty taste in music, I would be pretty ashamed to be your daughter. What a great role model you must be.

So...what white horse did you two ride in on? What is it that you guys do or know so well, because obviously it's not writing or music. Most people I know that are masters of their craft have an implicit respect for it, and don't abuse it to be crude and unkind to fellow artists. But I shouldn't refer to you two as even in the same class as "artists," because you have not created anything but HATE.

I noticed that your editor said he hoped that this article would "create some laughs." Well, I hate to tell you, but it wasn't very funny. I don't see the humor in tearing people down just to make yourself feel better. You must be pretty insecure in yourselves.

To all the editors and publishers that let this article go to print, you should be ashamed to claim it as LEO material. Don't forget that many kids and teenagers read your paper every week.

And not to mention that your paper is owned by a politician running for State Congress. Boy...he must be so proud.

Valerie K.

(All spelling errors included in original e-mail, naturally.)

Short answer: Dig the sand out of your vagina, Val, you’ll be a lot happier.

Long answer: If you’re going to criticize an article or book or whatever, make sure you spell everything correctly. Trust me, I learned that lesson the hard way.

Also, get your facts straight: LEO is not owned by a politician running for Congressman; LEO’s former owner is a politician running for Congress. There is a difference.

Furthermore, Valerie blames the other writer for using profanity, when as faithful readers of this blog should know, the potty mouth was all me, baby.

At least once a year, some unsuspecting asshole with his or her panties in a knot sends me an e-mail wondering “what gives me the right” to be critical of the music about which I write.

Two things give me that right: The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and the fact that LEO (among other outlets) hires me to, well, write what I think about music, be it CDs that I like or horrible crappy musical styles that I don’t. It’s that simple, and if somebody doesn’t like what I have to say, then they are more than welcome to submit samples to the local papers and see if they land an assignment.

Barring that, they can start a blog about all the mean music critics who think the Grateful Dead and their ilk both suck and blow.

God bless America!

13 July 2006

Stop the Presses

From a press release I got today:


July 13, 2006 -- Hot off the presses…former McAuley Schenker Group (MSG) frontman Robin McAuley has replaced Jim Jamison as the new lead vocalist for Survivor.
I'll bet you thought the same thing I did when I read those words: "Fucking Survivor is still together?!?"

I'm man enough to admit that I love me some classic rock -- and not in a smarmy, ironic, above-it-all Chuck Klosterman way -- but Survivor was and always will be a crappy band.

Blast from the Past

This is an article I wrote for LEO in May 2004 that was never printed because Local H weren't playing a gig that year in Louisville (once again, thanks, LEO!).

The punchline is that at a Local H show in 2005, I was chatting with/sucking up to Scott Lucas and Jen actually mentioned the fact that I wrote the article and it was never printed and Lucas said, "That was you? That was the best interview I've ever done." Whether this is still true is up for debate, and whether he was blowing smoke up my ass is also up for debate. But I felt somewhat vindicated.

Still, the fact that an interview was conducted and an article was written about the band and it was never actually appeared in print is kind of typical for Local H. They are, hands fucking down, the best live rock band in America and they deserve to be as successful as Fall Out Boy or whoever the kids like these days.

Read it and weep.

- - - - -

Local H was a two-man band when two-man bands weren’t cool. They weren’t the first self-contained power duo – bands like Flat Duo Jets, House of Freaks and the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies blazed this particular trail – but now that the White Stripes are being hailed for their "innovative" line-up, the H deserves props for carrying the mantle.

Best-known for their minor 1996 hit “Bound for the Floor,” Local H has maintained a highly consistent level of quality in all their subsequent releases, and their brand-new album, Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?, is possibly their best ever. The album is named for actress P.J. Soles, who worked steadily from 1975-85, appearing in many cult classics.

“She’s just someone who would always pop up in movies when I was growing up and I always thought she was cool. I must’ve seen Halloween a million times and Rock ‘n’ Roll High School at least half that. She was in Carrie, she had a great scene in Stripes,” enthuses Local H singer/guitarist Scott Lucas. (Drummer Brian St. Clair is the rest of the band.)

P.J. Soles is not a concept album per se, but it does have a theme running through it.

“There’s some stuff on the record that’s kind of about the whole VH1 “Where Are They Now?” type of crap that you just see everywhere,” Lucas says. “It’s just this attitude of what have these people done lately, and it’s being asked by a bunch of people who never seem to have done anything themselves. You’ll see these people on TV making these snide remarks… Who the fuck are these people, where do they come from, and what contribution have they made? It’s ridiculous.”

All this talk of wistful ruminations on icons from yesteryear might lead the uninitiated to believe that P.J. Soles is an introspective record, and indeed, the title cut and “Dick Jones” are both tearjerkers, but Local H always brings the rock. Tracks like “Everyone Alive,” “Heaven on the Way Down” and “How’s the Weather Down There?” hit like a semi truck full of all the songs that Cheap Trick and Nirvana never got around to writing.

And then there’s “Buffalo Trace,” the album’s majestic centerpiece. Clocking in at a manly 10:14, this Zeppelin-esque behemoth was inspired by Lucas’s love of premium Kentucky bourbon, and it name checks the Bluegrass Parkway, Heaven Hill Distilleries and our own fair city – thanks for the shout-out, Scott!

“I wanted it to be big and sprawling, sort of like a western epic. I read this article about whiskey tours in Kentucky, so I just thought it would be kind of funny to write a Neil Young song about taking a whiskey tour, with cowboys on the Bluegrass Parkway -- drink until we get our fill. I thought it was pretty funny,” he says. Funnier still: Lucas is a Maker’s Mark man, but the name “Buffalo Trace” worked best for this theme from an imaginary western -- “Old Grand-Dad” or “Elijah Craig Single Barrel” just don’t have the appropriate ring

“That’s just what me and a bunch of my friends drink,” Lucas says of his tipple of choice. “A friend of mine owns a bar, and [Maker’s is] all we drink.”

As always, Local H is touring behind the album, but unfortunately, it looks as if the closest they’ll get to Louisville is Covington, where they’ll play at Radio Down on May 13. They’ll never get a Maker’s Mark endorsement if they don’t come closer.

11 July 2006

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett, the man who founded Pink Floyd, has died.

From the Associated Press:

LONDON (AP) -- Syd Barrett, the troubled genius who co-founded Pink Floyd but spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, a spokeswoman for the band said Tuesday. He was 60.

The spokeswoman—who declined to give her name until the band made an official announcement—confirmed media reports that he had died. She said Barrett died several days ago, but she did not disclose the cause of death.

What a bummer. Pink Floyd was an almost entirely different animal under Syd's stewardship than it was when Roger Waters assumed control after Syd's breakdown. Floyd circa '67 were a psychedelic pop band with a dark edge, and even before he became rock's premiere acid casualty, Syd's songs had an unsettling undercurrent.

I had wanted to name our cat Fletcher "Lucifer Sam" after a song from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but my wife wouldn't let me. She thought it would be bad voodoo since Fletcher is a black cat.

And "Interstellar Overdrive" is the best rock instrumental ever.

06 July 2006

Heavy Metal Bake Sale

Against my better judgment, I started watching Rock Star: Supernova. I really enjoyed VH1's Supergroup and I figured Rock Star would be a similar venture. It is, but it is also highly similar to American Idol -- both shows are glorified karaoke contests. Not that there's anything wrong with karaoke; I've done it a few times myself and it's fun, especially when you get to follow somebody who's memorably bad and then everybody thinks you're Robert Plant, provided you don't screw your selection up too horribly.

But anyhoo, on Rock Star, the goal is to win the singer slot in a nascent supergroup which consists of Gilby Clarke, Jason Newsted and Tommy Lee. The three stooges here have a hard rock/metal background, which means that the contestants should probably try and sing as much hard rock and metal as they can, and sing it well. Furthermore, image is a consideration, so the contestants need to look halfway comfortable on stage and perhaps most crucially, they need to look as if they actually belong on stage with Guns 'n' Motleytallica, er, I mean, "SUPERNOVA."

So naturally, in each and every contestant's introductory segment, they all glared and glowered at the camera, or else they stared soulfully into the middle distance, or they strode purposefully down dingy alleyways. Most of 'em did all three. You know, to exude street cred. They also all mentioned how rock they were. If you made a drinking game and took a swig of an alcoholic beverage each time one of the hopefuls said the word "rock" or any of its little friends (i.e., "rocked," "rockin'," "rocker"), you would die of alcohol poisoning before the second commercial break.

Fact: If you have to constantly tell people how rock 'n' roll you, or your outlook, or your attitude, or your way of life is? You ain't a rock star. You're a douche bag.

So the format goes something like this: Each singer picks a song, performs it with the house band (named "House Band") and then Supernova, plus producer Butch Walker (nice guy, but most of the stuff he works on is pop fluff) and host Dave Navarro (and seriously: these other guys are all sell-outs to some degree, but they have nothing on Uberwhore Navarro) offer criticism.

Keep in mind, this is supposedly a hard rock band. So does anybody bust out some Black Sabbath? Does anybody play a Motorhead track? AC/DC? Soundgarden? Pantera? Does anybody attempt a note-perfect Judas Priest cover, which would easily prove that you have vocal chops and a passing familiarity with metal? Negatory, good buddy.

The first singer, a lady named Storm Large (!!), did a decent version of "Pinball Wizard" while eye-fucking the camera every time it was pointed at her, which leads me to think she spends more time perfecting her come-hither looks than her vocal scales, but, well, heh heh, she is kind of hot, so I'll let her slide.

After that, a little sissy bitch named Ryan Star (not to be confused with the Ryan Starr who was on American Idol and then The Surreal Life) sang "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls, which kind of set the tone for the male contestants. Badass Ryan also spends a lot of time with a scowl on his face, as if he's just so ready to beat the living shit out of somebody, anybody -- but remember: he sang a fucking Goo Goo Dolls song. Dude, if you perform anything by them, you might as well tattoo the word "pussy" on your forehead.

Speaking of foreheads, there's an ugly little homunculus named Lukas something-or-other who bellowed a gruesomely affected Billy Idol song ("Rebel Yell?" I forget). Naturally, Navarro loved it.

Some unfortunate no-talent -- who would later, without the slightest hint of irony, refer to himself as one of the best singers in the world -- did a radically reworked version of noted hard rock staple "Roxanne" by the Police and thoroughly fucked it up. To his credit, Gilby told him it sucked.

A Pueto Rican goth chick sang that Evanescence song that everybody's sick of and made a hash of it, but since she too is kinda hot, Supernova graciously overlooked her vocal shortcomings. Navarro tried to bond with her by habla-ing some espanol and he sounded like the whitest Latino ever, which, of course, he is. Shut it, Dave.

One semi bright spot was Danila (sp?), a woman from Texas via South Africa who did a highly mannered version of "Lithium." She sounds just like Tina Turner, of all people, and when she rocks out -- take a swig! -- rather than try to bump and grind like the other chicks, she runs around and stomps and twitches. This will probably become very tiring after a few episodes, but beggars can't be choosers.

After the show as over, America voted and three douche bags were put in the hot seat. Each picked another song and then the Supernova brain trust voted on who would get the axe. The guy they booted was some geek from Chicago whose redemption song was, ahem, "Planet Earth" by Duran Duran. I don't think he understood the nuances of the show.

I'll keep watching this train wreck for now, if only to smirk at what are certain to be many more ridiculous song choices, as well as to enjoy the Hot Topic-flavored pulchritude of some of the female contestants. And I think at least once, I will play that drinking game I just invented and see what happens.

Less Like My Cousin, More Like the Vagrants I Occasionally See Downtown

KFC is updating Colonel Sanders's "image" once again:

From the C-J via Gawker:

The new Colonel is younger, better defined, a video-age celebrity chef. And he doesn't have to share his space with the letters KFC. He's meant to represent Kentucky Fried Chicken again. His new look is less like your grandfather and more like your cousin.


Anybody remember those animated spots they did with a "hipper" Col. Sanders, featuring the voice of Randy Quaid ("Go, Colonel, it's your birthday")? Didn't think so.

05 July 2006

Death of a Salesman

From the AP:
HOUSTON (AP) -- Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, has died of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64.
Call me a paranoid cynic, but when you're as connected as Ken Lay was, faking your own death, fleeing the country and then spending the rest of your life (and your ill-gotten gains) on a private island in the Caribbean isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility, no?

04 July 2006

Don't Worry, I Have No Problem Relaxing

A declaration
Of the intention
To stop extension into my airspace
I'll put the flags up
Pull up the anchor
And then you'll know you're
in a different place
And I can't stand up and I can't sit down
'cause a great big problem stop me in my tracks
I can't relax 'cause I haven't done a thing
and I can't do a thing 'cause I can't relax

You've got your habits
I've got my customs
I'm sure you know it's got to be this way
No hesitation
And in the future
We'll celebrate on Independence Day
And I can't stand up and I can't sit down
'cause a great big problem stops me in my tracks
I can't relax 'cause I haven't done a thing
And I can't do a thing 'cause I can't relax
Independence Day
Independence Day
Independence Day
Independence Day

Hang out the flags ring in the new,
We should be dancing on the city streets
I know the tune, I know the words,
My mouth is open but I cannot speak
And I can't stand up and
I can't sit down
'cause a great big problem stops me in my tracks
I can't relax 'cause I haven't done a thing
And I can't do a thing 'cause I can't relax
Independence Day
Independence Day
Independence Day
Independence Day

It's pretty gay to paste song lyrics in a blog entry, but it seemed appropriate today. I wish I'd bought more Comsat Angels records when I was in high school, because they're all out of print now.

Anyway, it was a pretty nice 4th of July. For one, it rained most of the day here, which meant all the white trash in my neighborhood were unable to set off fireworks all day long. It always amazes me that people with no apparent means of support always manage to scrape together enough cash for six solid hours' worth of fireworks every year. Prioroties.

I probably shouldn't complain: There was one household a couple streets over that used to begin shooting off fireworks on Memorial Day and wouldn't quit until Labor Day, but they've either moved or somebody lost a hand last year, because it stopped this year. God bless America.