Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Not a whole lot to report today. The holiday came and went. I made it through my 38th birthday unscathed. I got one present from the in-laws and I'm sure my mother will get me an Old Navy gift card as she does every year. I discovered an old tape of the first punk songs I wrote back in 1990 and that was present enough. I wonder if other guitar players ever go back to old tapes and wonder how in the world they could play certain notes. There were things on that tape I can't get close to figuring out today. Into this swirl of nostalgic finds, my mind raced back to those late 80's and the next thing I knew I was rocking the house with my Sly and the Family Stone records. Sly was what I reached for when I was tired of slam dancing. From the positive vibes of the early AM hit making days to the There's A Riot Goin' On bittersweet blissed out funk era, Sly and the Family Stone laid down perfect grooves spinning me to the future and back into the past.
Soulfish Stew is climbing up the blogosphere of the Truth Laid Bear system. I'm still a slithering reptile, but man I'm getting close to flappy bird status. If anybody wants to trade links with me, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see what can be done.
My fabulous review of a new Peter Frampton CD will be up soon at blogcritics. I'm sure everybody's looking forward to that. I was fully prepared to trash it, but Frampton just seems like such a nice fellow. I actually met him once when I worked at Phonoluxe records. He was very polite in addition to being much shorter then me. Of course, most of the big rock and roll stars I met there were smaller then me (I am 6 foot 3) except for Rick Neilsen and David Allen Coe. Maybe I'll post some stories about the rock and rollers I met there. Let me know if there's any interest. Use the comments - hint hint.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Just for once I would like to see a television network rerun the WKRP In Cincinnati turkey tossing episode "Turkeys Away" with the memorable quote from Arthur Carlson: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
I'll end this week with a link to what will be the BIG movie for me this Christmas:
The Life Aquatic will definitely bring us all glad tidings!
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
One of the things I loved as a kid was the Planet Of The Apes series. I always asked for apes figures, but for some reason I never got any. I later ended up with plenty Star Wars and Micronauts figures, but the apes eluded me. I'm sure the neighbors thought I was strange when I would come running around the side of the house and then leap into the air and hit the ground (I was pretending to be snared by the Apes' nets), but a kid that grows up without brothers and sisters makes do. I know that on a birthday to come I will finally get one of the Apes figures. In the meantime, here's an awesome Planet Of The Apes chronology to read.
Monday, November 22, 2004
If you want to go straight to the entry without having to look for it go here.
Of course I forgot to check the cache at Google. Here's the original post again:
Switching Sides To The Blogfather
Of course, how can you switch sides if you never were a member of the Alliance? Friends and relatives all know that I have been an Instapundit junkie for quite some time so it really makes no sense for me to want to oppose Glenn Reynolds and his greatness. Plus he's a Tennessee homeboy and a member of the Rocky Top Brigade like myself. So I am now declaring myself a member (if they'll have me) of the Axis Of Naughty. I now see that my outreach to the Alliance in a feeble attempt to improve my bolgosphere status was not right, spiritually or mentally. I feel a whole lot better about myself now.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
I was accused by some of my co-workers yesterday of being a blue state person and all because I called a guy sweet. “Guys can’t be sweet,” I was admonished by the lady who sits in front of me. “Why not,” I replied. “You shouldn’t ever call a guy sweet,” I was once more told. Here’s what led to the whole discussion – I had placed a call to one of our customers (I work for an automobile parts manufacturer) to discuss packaging. Usually these packaging calls are unpleasant with lots of bantering back and forth, but yesterday morning I was surprised when the person helping me was efficient and nice. So later in the afternoon during a call to our other facility who had ordered the packaging I had to quote to the customer I let them know how pleasant my earlier contact with the customer had been. Somewhere in that conversation I said the guy helping me was sweet. That’s when my office mates let me have it. I confess my naivety to the whole thing, because I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was about a guy being called sweet. I think of myself as being sweet. I’m not rude, I hold doors for people, and I’m a good husband and father. All of which seems to fall under the heading sweet to my obviously sheltered ears. It finally hit me that my co-workers use the word sweet as a euphemism for something else entirely from what I meant. Well I didn’t mean that. From the American Heritage Dictionary copyright 1983: the 3rd definition given for sweet – Having an agreeable disposition.
Also from the culture war front – why are people so bent out of shape over the Monday Night Football opening? I’ll agree that it was in poor taste, but that’s about it. I keep hearing about how it plays to stereotypes and how horrible it was to do so. I think lots of people are offended if they’re not being offended these days. And then there’s the ludicrous Condoleeeza Rice remarks from that idiot disc jockey who claims he was calling her an Aunt Jemina because she had a servile position in the Bush administration and not because he was some racist jerk. Doesn’t everybody except for Bush have a servile position?
My first music review is up at blogcitics. It’s on the band of the week here at Soulfish Stew, The Faint.
You can go directly to it here: Fainting Spell
More reviews will come in the next few weeks.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
I have joined the sinister cabal of critics over at www.blogcritics.com so please go check the site out. I should start having some reviews over there soon. It's a very well done site with lots of good reading material. Christmas is coming up and I'm sure blogcritics can help give you ideas for gifts. Was that a shameless plug or what?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Two blog links recently added: Jen Speaks and Kelly at Suburban Blight belong to the two of the best lady bloggers around - Jen and Kelly. Be sure and check them out.
I know I'm a day late, but who would have thought a stabbing could have happened at the Vibe Awards? Who do those rappers think they are: Hell's Angel's doing security for the Rolling Stones?
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
If you like this blog, please link up with me and I'll do the same for you.
Added a Friends Of Sound link to the sidebar.
Monday, November 15, 2004
So what does the Wally household do for fun on the weekend? We usually hang out at home of Friday nights. The highlight for the adults is watching the latest episode of Joan of Arcadia. It's sort of a weird show to air on that night with its aura of constant tragedy, but the wife and I dig it. I just wonder why the set is always so dimly lit. It does give the show a distinct look. Afterwards I either watch cartoons with the girls or play games with them until their bedtime. Then I just continue to unwind from the work week usually catching VH1's Best Week Ever.
Saturday's are a free for all. We went to Murfreesboro this weekend and saw The Incredibles which was incredible. The action was fun, the storyline was excellent in its irony laden way, and I liked the subtle commentary about mediocrity and achievement. "If everybody's special, it really means that nobody is." I've read several reviews of the film that all mention the similarities between The Incredible's costumer, Edna Mode or "E", to the "M" character from James Bond, but for a little while I was beginning to think I was the only one to see that she's a tribute to the great Hollywood costumer, Edith Head. Here's an excellent take on the movie from the Armed Prophet 2004 blog: http://armedprophet.blogspot.com/2004/11/conservatives-if-you-havent-seen.html. It expounds more on the message of the film and has a picture of Edith Head besides Edna Mode, but Edith's not wearing her usual eyeglasses that are a match for Edna's.
Later, we visited a long time friend and his wife to see their new baby girl, Molly Elizabeth. Then it was on to the hell on Earth of Wal*Mart for groceries. I hate shopping there, but sometimes it just has to be done. Smithville gives us the choice of Food Lion - their meat is terrible, Save-A-Lot - lots of junk and the shopping experience is worse than Wal*Mart, and a local grocery that has changed hands so much in four years I forget its name - always had lousy meat and moldy cheese. So we take the nearest decent grocery and that's Wal*Mart. Plus I had a twenty dollar gift card from my employer since my birthday is this month. I bought The Features - Exhibit A album and a Dean Martin compilation with it. Then it was back to the hills of Smithville.
The wife and girls watched Teen Titans and Justice League with me and then it was time for them to hit the hay. Normally I'm not left up alone after 8 PM, but the wife is nearing the 6 month of her pregnancy so she's resting a lot these days. I stayed up long enough to watch the Venture Brothers on Cartoon Network. That show is the bomb. I've heard it described as Johnny Quest on LSD.
Sunday was a bummer of a day. The back story: I play Spades most days at lunch. On Thursday of last week one of the players gets a call about a local resident killing themselves. After another call that verified it I learned it was one of my daughter Emmy's t-ball coaches from this past year. Lots of rumors were flying about why it happened, but I really don't need to know the story. All I know is that somebody we loved was dead. He had been absolutely wonderful with Emmy. T-ball is taken very seriously in this town since baseball and softball are two of the few sports that the high school is competitive in, so many of the t-ball coaches treated the 4 and 5 year old players like dirt. Many of the teams' coaches spent whole games screaming and berating the children as if they were adults. Emmy was lucky to get on a team that didn't take that approach. They wanted to win, and they did win finishing second for the season, but the children having fun and learning was more important. I'll remember Emmy's coach climbing into the McDonalds fun land with the kids, bringing every kid and coach water pistols so we could have a water pistol fight after the championship game, and always remembering to give Emmy's 3 year old sister a treat too. After hearing the news the one thought running through my mind was why and I understand that the rumors are out there trying to answer that and no malice is intended, but I'm trying to avoid them. I can't imagine ever being so depressed or desperate that I would take such action, so even if all of the whys were answered it wouldn't satisfy me. My wife and I visited the funeral home yesterday and it was a traumatic scene. The guest register had been signed by probably more than a hundred people and I was struck by how sad it was that he didn't reach out to any of those hundred people before making the dreadful decision to end his life. I played organized sports for only two years back during the 70's in the Jimmy Carter Softball League and I still remember my first coach. Emmy will always remember too. I'll try to make sure she remembers the fun and not the final chapter.
Sunday night, we watched The Simpsons. I felt tricked since I was under the impression it was going to be a Bart episode instead of a Marge one. Then I watched the great Dr. J in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.
That was the weekend. It was a mixture of movie going, dead legged shopping, television watching, and out right tragedy.
Friday, November 12, 2004
In case you haven't noticed I've been sprucing up the blog with lots of new links. Yes, it is true that I am a mere slithering reptile in the blogosphere, but I hope I can become a large mammal someday. If you don't know what terror level we're at I've added a button that will always let you know. If anybody's feeling especially generous my humble little wish list at Amazon has been posted.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I love the scans of the 45 covers, plus the site has lots of links to other incredible places including a new wave discography that includes a cover scan of the "Anarchy In Music City" 45 by Nashville's legendary first punk band Clover Bottom.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
It was the fall of 1993. The air was cool and the leaves were falling. I was busy burying a punk rock band concept named Kill Whitey that had never gotten beyond rehearsal stage when the sky grew dark and ominous. Wolves began to howl and lightning struck the headstone of another former band of mine, Michael Landon’s Ghost. It split in two leaving a smoldering heap of stone. It was time to get out of this band graveyard before something really bad happened. I said my last goodbyes to Kill Whitey and began to walk away when the ground began to shudder beneath my feet. I heard a sound like thunder. I smelled rotten flesh and gasoline. I turned and saw a dragster emerging from Kill Whitey’s shallow grave. A vampire was at the wheel. He snatched me up as he roared by and said, “Blah, you will now lead a mighty garage band inspired by Thee Headcoats and The Sonics named Dragula. We shall speed to Lucy’s Record Shop and arrange your first gig, just make sure it is after dark, blah.”
The band was made up of: myself, Wally Bangs, on guitar and vocals, John “Whitey aka Dr. Groovy” Hudson on guitar, Toby “Black Belt” Holmes on bass, and Brian Hickman on drums. We practiced in the front window of Neal’s Lighting Showroom in Murfreesboro weekly until we were ready for our first gig at Lucy’s Record Shop in Nashville. We played with Ballpeen Hernia to a sparse but appreciative crowd. We had a jet fueled genius blast playing so we kept it up until the end of 1997. The most notable shows were opening for Man Or Astro-Man?, Nine Pound Hammer, and the Woggles. We also played some shows at the ‘Boro club in Murfreesboro and we once shared a bill with local legends, jack, at a redneck bar named Gentleman Jim’s where each band had to do two one hour sets. We made it through alive and didn’t even need chicken wire across the stage.
Somewhere in the four years we managed to contribute two tracks to Spinout Records first CD release: “Rock, Don’t Run Vol. 1” that came out in 1995. Local weatherman and all around cool guy, Leland Statom came down one night to introduce the band at a Lucy’s show. We played a Halloween show where John got to emulate his hero, Gene Simmons, and spit up blood. We made him leave his fire breathing act at home. Toby left the band to get married in 1995 and was replaced by Drew Rydberg just in time for the Spinout tracks to get recorded. Drew is a great guy, but the band lost a spark with Toby’s absence. We flew under the radar of the Nashville music critics and perhaps didn’t promote ourselves enough. Drew left the band to go to work as a recording engineer in Nashville. A girl who looked like Wednesday Addams named Christy joined the band and worked really hard to learn our songs.
I decided to steer the band in a different direction toward the end of 1997. I was bored with our garage rock sound and wanted to make punchier and brighter sounding songs. Power pop was my new religion and it was leading me to the band graveyard again. We would lay Dragula to rest and change our name to the Most. Everybody played along with me. We vowed to promote ourselves better. I quickly got us a show in Huntsville, Alabama, but in the graveyard storm clouds were brewing again.
John started to miss rehearsals. Even after we were booked to play a show during Lucy’s Record Shop’s last month of operation in January, 1998, John still kept missing practice. Something called GIA was looming on the horizon and I was blind as a bat. Christie, Brian, and I practiced as The Most and it sounded good. It would have been better with John’s sizzling Gibson SG fretwork, but it was okay. I was revved up for the Huntsville gig. The night before I called Brian to coordinate the logistics and he told me he couldn’t make the show. I was taken back, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Until he then told me he was quitting the band. He gave no reason. I had not given enough blood to the drag racing vampire and now he bit my neck. Dragula was done and it took the Most with it.
I did play the show at Lucy’s the next month as the Most with help from Jimmy and Brett from jack. It was a good show, but it wasn’t Dragula. What made Dragula great was the interaction between us. We’d spend half a practice talking about cartoons and horror movies. We’d tell silly jokes and discuss our favorite professional wrestlers. The band was like a club, especially in the early days when Toby was around. It couldn’t be slicked up into something different as long as we were together.
John and Brian went on to play in Girls In Action. GIA sprang up in 1997 while Dragula was still going on and they never bothered to let me know. I guess they didn’t want to break my heart. After that split up they went their separate ways for a few years. John played with Trauma Team and The What Four while Brian formed the Reverbians. They have recently reunited in the Exotic One’s who look like they will be big. Toby got married to the daughter of the owner of Neal’s Lighting, moved to Lynchburg, Tennessee and I haven’t heard from him since. From a Yahoo lookup: A Drew Rydberg was a founding member of the Voight-Kampff Trio with Brady Sharp and Matt Hamilton. He also collaborated in a duo with Bill Stinson in a project called Sound From Squares. Knowing his love of John Zorn, I’m pretty sure this is our Drew.
I went on to oblivion in the musical sphere. The Most only played the one show. I continued to write songs and record on my four track recorder, but I’m afraid the only thing left for me is strolls in the band graveyard. I visit them all from time to time. Humor a man without a band and take a stroll with me as I revisit my rock and roll past.
The first band’s gravestone is crumbling and the weeds are knee high, but I can still make out the initials D.L.D.S. which stood for Dalai Lamai Death Squad. It came together in 1988 after I wrote a song about a pizza restaurant I once worked at. The song was a simple three chord bash called “Work Sucks”. Once it looked like this would end up being a real group we decided to change the name to something a little less controversial. So next to its grave lies the marker for the Dislocated.
The Dislocated were a fun band. We did some Black Sabbath, Danzig, Black Flag, Odd Man Out, and Descendents covers plus a handful of originals. It was punk with a metal edge. We played in front of the student body of my old high school, Riverdale, and caused a near riot. The teachers didn’t know what to think of all the slam dancing. We were the last band to play a complete set at legendary Murfreesboro venue Jabbs. It was the last night of shows and the punks had taken over. jack was the last band to go on and the owner pulled the plug a few songs into their set because everybody was stealing pieces of the club. It was a decadent youthful era. I try and place flowers at this grave every spring.
The summer band would have to be Michael Landon’s Ghost. I’ve fixed their headstone and it’s shining once again. This was the first group I played guitar in. MLG was a kickass Didjits loving trio with an emphasis on originals and Ramones covers. We blazed a fast trial through open mike nights at the ‘Boro. Our biggest show was opening for Bedlam Hour at the Pantheon in Nashville, but our finest was a gig at a skateboard park in Decherd, Tennessee. The kids went nuts for us with a mosh pit full of slamming bodies that threatened to lift us off the stage. Next to its memorial lies a smaller but no less impressive monument for Pipebomb.
Pipebomb was MLG with a new more explosive name. We thought we were going to be big time and we didn’t need any hassles with the estate of Michael Landon. We kept playing shows in Nashville and were heading for punk rock glory when I pulled the plug. A pattern had developed with me of never being satisfied. When the unsatisfactory feeling settled over me like a horde of zombies eating my brain I would reverse my current stance to counteract it. If I had long hair, I’d shave my head. If I was studying hard, I’d stop studying. Pipebomb was a good band with a future so I nixed it. Just like that, it was over. My biggest thrill was being written about by Erica Jones in her Sky Flying By fanzine. I wish I knew what has happened with her since those days.
A few years of jamming with Brian and Toby resulted in the Kill Whitey idea. The name was inspired by watching one too many blaxploitation films. The music was sub atomic Mudhoney inspired sludge rock. It was not going anywhere until we added John Hudson. A few weeks after he joined I ran into the drag racing vampire and Dragula was born. This is the horror show circle I now go round and round. The band graveyard is spooky with regret and the bad notes sound extra chilling, but I still take comfort there. I’m sure that when I die the zombie remnants will still be ringing with the noise and the love of playing rock and roll. And who knows, there might just be another headstone to put there one day.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Evidence that people are moving forward after the election? You make the call.
A friend of mine sent me this link today: http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2004/11/they-voted-for-this-mess.html
What is going on out there? Is the water spiked in the public schools or something? I just can’t figure out extreme liberals. It seems like they all spent too much time reading Abbie Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg. When people like the writer of that post at Steve Gilliard's blog drop out of this corrupt Western society and live off the land without buying anything from an evil corporation I might think they’re sincere about their beliefs. Otherwise they just seem like the power hungry inverse of those they criticize.
Enough politics for one day. How about the band of the week? In light of John Kerry’s loss last week I thought I’d share a Boston band that I enjoy – The Lincoln Conspiracy. Their song “Science Fiction” has been running though my head all weekend. If you dig great piano based power pop these guys will not fail to please your ears.
Be sure and visit again tomorrow as I continue to figure out what bloggin’ means to me. I may even have part one of the Wally life story ready for you. Let’s see, it begins with “my family was so poor we didn’t get an air conditioner until 1980”.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I hope everybody's going out and voting today. I voted weeks ago and even though I was asked if I had committed any felonies since I had last voted I didn't feel intimidated. I just laughed and went and made my choice between dumb and dumber knowing that the lawyers will probably decide in the end.
I should get back to more frequent posts soon on the usual subject: popular culture and my life.