Thursday, September 30, 2004

Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to tonight's debate. Oh, I know nothing substantial will likely come from it, but there's always a chance either candidate might flip their wig. Bush will project his good old boy image and Kerry will try to dazzle America with his blue blood intellectualism. Who would you rather hang out with? I bet most people would prefer to hang out with the good old boy. We'll find out for sure in November.
I'll give a rundown of the debate tomorrow plus I hope to get back to more frequent posting soon. Don't worry it won't all be politics.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Saturday At The Dumpster

Another Saturday and another trip to the dump. The joys of adulthood!! Actually it's not so bad. I get out of the house for a little while, run errands, and get to think away from the hubbub of two daughters and a wife who's usually grumpy in the morning although lately we seem to be shifting moods a little. It's a long way from the Saturdays of youth when I would get up as early as the first cartoon, then spend most of the morning watching my favorites before going outside for the rest of the day. Now, with cable and videos, DVD's, and computers kids can see cartoons 24 hours a day. I probably watch more now. The current faves are Teen Titans and Codename: Kid's Next Door.

Dumps have changed too. When I was a child the main dump was open to everybody. You'd just drive right in and throw your trash wherever you liked. I used to love going to the dump with my father because he used to try and find treasure out of the chaos. The sickly sweet decaying smell made me want to gag, but there was always the chance I might get a battered toy out of the deal. Some people are just attracted to junk and my father is one of those people. But he's not quite what I call a dump person.

Dump people live their lives rooting through trash. There were even folks in Ripley, Mississippi that lived in the dump. My grandmother lived a few miles down the road and we would see the dump people's children riding their bikes to a convenience store up the street. These kids were always half naked under the hot sun riding bicycles cobbled together from ones that had been discarded. There were chopper style bikes, bikes with steering wheels instead of handle bars, ape hangers, banana seats, and they were all different colors since they had been pieced together. We were instructed to never speak to them because they lived at the dump. We were poor white trash, but they were even beyond that. I guess they were just plain trash.

My father didn't care. When we lived in Ripley briefly during the early 70's running a restaurant named Raney's Cafe he would go to the dump and talk to its inhabitants. It never mattered to him that they lived in tarpaper shacks among the garbage. All of grandmother's admonitions to us grandchildren to stay away from them worked on me. Even my father couldn't convince me that the dump people were okay, that either they were down on their luck or just simply had chosen to live a different way from us. When I visited my grandmother I would lay awake at night in terror that one of the dump people were going to come in through an open window (this was summer Mississippi with no air conditioning) and drag me off to live with them.

Now on Saturday mornings I ponder garbage and cartoons. Don't even get me started about lawn mowing.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Godspeed Johnny Ramone

Way back in the 80's I once tried to get a friend of mine to listen to Black Flag. He was a guitar player who was into heavy metal and he thought Greg Ginn played terribly. We went our separate ways for a few years, but when we started hanging out together again he was more open to my musical tastes. We would cruise around Murfreesboro blasting Black Flag, Descendents, Metallica, and the almighty great RAMONES. We ended up starting a punk band named the Dislocated. Later he told me I would have won him over to punk rock quicker if I had started with the Ramones instead of blasting him over the head with Black Flag. The commercial success of so many pop punk bands whose sound comes straight from the Ramones legacy is a testament to my buddy's wisdom.

I learned to play guitar at the age of 23 by playing along to the Ramones debut. Night after night I struggled to get my fingers to fit the barre chords right until finally I could do it. I could play along to the whole record. I moved on to Leave Home and so on until I mastered them all. I still tune my guitar to the opening chords of "Blitzkrieg Bop".

Just a few weeks ago my electric guitar lay in a corner dusty and forlorn. I popped in a Ramones compilation CD, picked the guitar up, and proceeded to tear through each song feeling the love of music in my heart renewing itself through those timeless songs. Here's to Johnny and an idea born in the Bowery - today CBGB's, tomorrow the world, and now forever a legend. I felt awed both times I saw the Ramones play Nashville. Now I feel very lucky too. I'll break out my Ramones albums tonight as I did when the world lost Joey and Dee Dee. I'll listen and appreciate. I will dance and I will break out my guitar.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What It Is

I'm pleased to announce that the next member of the Bangs clan will be a boy!! He will be named William, but we'll call him Liam. We haven't decided on a middle name yet. I'm pushing for Rory. He's due 6 Feb. He'll have two older sisters to spoil him, plus have his own room. What a lucky dog.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Baby On Board

I've found myself humming the B-Sharp's greatest hit of late. My wife goes in for her ultrasound tomorrow. We should know the sex of our baby after it's over. I have two awesome daughters, Emily and Harper Lee, already so we naturally want a boy. If it turns out to be a third sister, it'll still be great. But I'm more apprehensive this time then I've ever been. The unkown will just drive me ape until tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2004

what's the frequency, Kenneth?

REM is coming to Nashville to play the Ryman. Tickets sold out quickly, but I wasn't planning on seeing them so I'm not bummed. I've heard scalpers are charging up to 2oo dollars per ticket. REM hasn't been good in well over a decade in my opinion so I'm stunned people would want to pay so much. I saw them once in 1986 and that was enough. Though I will admit that their "What's The Frequency, Kenneth" song is running through my head in light of CBS News touting what will likely be forged documents in Dan Rather's crusade against Dubya. Mainstream media is over.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

A Few Of My Favorite Things

A quick trip through a few of my favorite things -

I like a good horror story and I sometimes try to write them. These can be found at - a site run by an old Murfreesboro, TN friend, Shrub, who now lives in Dallas, TX.

One of these days I hope to find the Conchy paperback books. Until that day happens I will occasionally visit and

Some old buddies of mine that used to play in a band with me called Dragula are in a group called the Exotic One's today. If you like famous monsters style rock and roll check them out at

If you've ever wondered where the great band Guided By Voices probably got their name you should visit this site about my favorite Beat poet, Lew Welch

An awesome site to visit if you're a member of the mellow romantic international hip hop movement is

I'll list more sometime soon and I hope to get a link bar going too. Let's recap: I dig monster movies and horror stories, HP Lovecraft hallowed be thy name. I like an obscure comic strip written by a man who committed suicide. Along with monster movies, I dig rock and roll that's about monsters. I may not "drive cab" but I am "guided by the voice" of a poet who also committed suicide. But we do end up on a positive note at friendsofsound which is fast becoming the internet equivalent of the Style Wars movie.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Ranting As Usual

Man, I haven't gotten off a good rant in a long time. So here goes:
How can anybody vote for John Kerry in November? The man is a certified waffler so full of nuance I'm surprised he can manage to Lurch his way through life. I wonder if the kind of indecision he exhibits extends to his personal life. "Do I want to put on my left sock first this morning or my right? Maybe I better get my staff to poll the people. I bet if I put on my right sock first they'll think I'm a fascist."
Next on the list: How can people listen to crap like 50 Cent? Gangster rap in general is terrible. The lyrics are hateful and the music is abysmal. I find it comical when somebody refers to some old song as being sexual due to a line of innuendo. Have they not listened to what passes for top forty these days? The sexual lines are right there in the open with no attempt to disguise their crude and base observations. The standard defense of gangster rap is that it is purely a reflection of people's lives. If this is the case, there are some people living like animals out there for one, and two if you are living that sort of life, why in the hell would you want to be reminded of it?
Finally for today: Television is only getting worse and worse. Now that's shooting fish with a remote control.