Monday, February 27, 2006


“Why can’t we have some guts?”



Thursday, February 23, 2006

Just Things


Raspberry yogurt, Iggy Pop dancing on VH1 Classic, 13 pounds down, tinnitus, Alfred Hitchcock films, The Iceman Cometh, oatmeal raisin cookies, jumping jacks, getting creeped out, The Royal Tenenbaums, Liam and the candy machine, a porch in Mississippi as microcosm of life, rejection of genuflection, loose change, terminals in ports, Gonz in purple, Hemingway as the next big thing, screamo in the sticks, My Space as buzzword, "Rock & Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" but it can damn sure move Nike product, and getting ready for the spring that will suely come.



Monday, February 20, 2006


I attended the visitation for my friend "Smooth" on Friday and saw many of the people I would have likely seen at the 20th anniversary high school reunion that I did not attend back in October. It was a weird scene: a room full of smiling people getting reacquainted while Smooth lay in state; cards atop his body saying "I love you Daddy" made by his children, a picture of him as a child beside the casket, and a picture of him and his wife and kids by the registry. I should have brought a Happy Meal toy from the mid-80's and surreptitiously placed it inside the coffin. Most of my memories of Smooth were from the days when we worked at McDonalds years ago. He went from fry cook to manager while he went to college. He refused to go on salary and at the end of his tenure there he was making more than the store manager. He was a smart dude. He was a great person with a snickering kind of laugh that will live in my memories long after I've forgotten things like when he dragged Bruno across the Mercury Plaza shopping center parking lot - Bruno hadn't quite gotten all the way inside Smooth's Toyota, or watching him change the grease out in the fry machines at McDonalds in 1985 (something he did every week - a messy and thankless job that he had volunteered to do), or the day he showed up to work so hoarse he could barely speak when I was on my second go around at McDonalds just to raise money to go to NYC. Smooth was hoarse because the girl he had gone out with the day before had fallen off a trail seriously injuring herself and he spent hours calling for help since he couldn't get down to where she fell and didn't think he would be able to find his way back there in the dark. Somebody eventually heard him screaming (a park ranger I believe) and a Lifeflight helicopter came to rescue his date. That girl later married Smooth and you figured nothing would ever harm them again. But life never goes as planned. It's a fluid thing and you never know when something unexpected might happen. Smooth left the party way too soon, but we were lucky to have him while we did. All of us that knew him were blessed by his good nature. It's why we could smile on Friday as we updated each other on our lives. Truly it was a sweet sorrow



Friday, February 17, 2006

The Big Chill



A guy I knew since the 7th grade died on Tuesday. It was a car accident - a case of being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I've mentioned him at least once here before in the story about the night I went commoding. He was known as Smooth; Jason Gray was one of the nicest persons I've ever known. He leaves behind a wife and three young children. There has been a fund set up to pay for his children's education: Gray Children's Education Fund @ Bank of America.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dreaming In Sitcoms

Lately I've been dreaming in sitcoms. All new original episodes of old classics playing just for me. It was <i>Sanford And Son</i> a few weeks ago and last night was <i>Seinfeld</i>. It's my own subconscious fan fiction. The <i>Seinfeld</i> dream was as good as some of the original shows with George and Jerry visiting a mall before heading to a movie. George is in his unemployed stage and he's concerned about being able to pay for dinner, the movie, and snacks. He goes on about the indignity of getting an allowance from his parents and mutters that'll he only have $2.25 left after buying dinner and movie tickets. A store manager hears this and he yells out that he has shirts for only $2.25. George then goes browsing through a collection of the most hideous shirts. It doesn't read funny, but trust me; it was. If only I could dream an original sitcom series.



Friday, February 10, 2006

Ipod Shuffle

William Bowers at Pitchfork has a great piece about the Ipod's impact on his life. Here's a taste:

Listening to an album from start to finish begins to seem peculiar, or redundant, like something that a Dickens clerk would do at night. Whenever I actually get around to brushing the cat litter off of my record player, it's stagey and deliberate: Lookee, tee-hee, I am going to perform the quaint/archaic act of sitting in a rocking chair and listening to something in its entirety. Surely a pipe and a sweater vest are the only barriers between me and a guy who listened to FDR on one of those old, cathedral-shaped radios.

Read the whole thing.

Myself: I don't have one and probably won't be getting one for several reasons. The cost is too high for me, downloaded music doesn't sound that great, and I'm not in situations where I could make use of one much.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Plasmatics Get Some Acknowledgement At The Shammys

Nice to see ex-Plasmatic and Ramones producer Jean Beauvoir invited to the Shammys this year....what you're telling me that's really Sly Stone. Damn. He reminded me alot of Brian Wilson when he first started performing in public again - having to be behind a keyboard that he didn't really play, looking really uncomfortable at being there and basically not caring. Who can blame the dude...having to be up there with crap artists like Fantasia, that dude from some boy band, Maroon 5, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry who haven't been good since Toys In The Attic couldn't have been very inspiring. If the Shammys were actually about quality of music and not RIAA pushed artists (I use that term loosely) of the moment they would have invited the Red Hot Chili Peppers who've covered "If You Want Me To Stay" of Joan Jett who did "Everyday People" in the early 80's. Multiple music star medley's always suck.

I know this isn't related to the Sly performance, but who told Edge he could play blues guitar? Having him and that Limey Declan McManus on at the end for the tribute to New Orleans was total bollocks in my opinion. Quit rewarding those that imitate American music. It's cool that they love American music and Elvis has made some geat country and soul based albums, but they should have left the stage to those who were from Chocolate City. And why wouldn't they let Irma Thomas sing by herself - she's got one of the most beautiful soul voices ever. Don't even get me started on "looks like he's been hitting the Nautilus machine again" Springsteen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sly Stone Could Kick Prince's Ass

I had no intention of watching the lame Grammy's tonight and then I read that Sly Stone might show up. I guess I'll have to turn on my TV and flip to the show every so often.

Sea Monkey Punk: CD Review: The Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart

Hey man I know you got this thing out a comic book. I saw the add, two-ninety-five, it's right next to the sea monkeys - Dazed And Confused.

Categorize Keep Your Heart as a guilty pleasure. It's sea monkey rock - a derivative of a derivative of a derivative. Something that can be gotten out of the back of a comic book. The Loved Ones don't do anything that hasn't been done to death, but for necrophiliacs they can write some damn catchy songs. It's standard punk rock not afraid of a melody - what used to be a skinny Seventies corpse, but is now bloated and putting off a stank just waiting to be consumed by hip hop and manufactured corporate pop. The Loved Ones take the pop punk genre and with a few bolts of electricity and good songwriting make that monster rise from its shallow grave and do a few slamdances. Who cares if it's missing a head.

Fact is that they're slightly more original than fellow Philadelphia critical darling Marah who've spent a career aping Bruce Springsteen. I'd love to see a rock and roll cage match between the two groups with the winner to face off against The Roots. The Loved Ones have been together since 2003 which is long enough to perfect what they do. Anthemic guitar chords provide some bite to the bittersweet vocals while the bass divebombs under the lock step of the drums. Even if you've heard it all before like the old and jaded me you'll find yourself singing along by the time the 2nd chorus starts. It's a Pavlovian reaction first instilled by Chuck Berry songs and leather jacket toughboys trying to impress the good girls who don't.

So the final conclusion is that I like Keep Your Heart despite knowing better. Pop punk is like professional wrestling at this point: you suspend your disbelief or the fun is all gone. The Loved Ones keep the lyrical material personal and I like that too. There's too many protest singers and not enough martyrs in music. "Breathe In" should be a hit single. You can listen to "Jane" if you like. "Player Hater Anthem" is directed to those engaged in that pursuit and critics always love it when they're addressed in song. So go out and get Keep Your Heart when it comes out on February 21st. My guilty pleasure could be just an outright pleasure for you. Besides that quote I used at the beginning is by that Clint asshole from Dazed And Confused. What would that burner know about good music. Keep Your Heart is available from Fat Wreck Chords.

Friday, February 03, 2006

CD Review - The Love Drunks

The garage bon vivants and primal rock and roll connie sewers are all talking smack about Atlanta, GA's The Love Drunks. It's good smack talk lending credence to the theory that there is life after crunk in the city that Sherman used to light his cigars on his way to spring break weekend on the Georgia Atlantic coast. Alive Records has just issued a self titled platter by The Love Drunks and it's being used for than just target practice at my local shooting gallery. The mix of The Love Drunks's tuneage and pistol shooting is a perfect marriage of form, function, and sound.

Especially when you consider that vocalist Patrick A. often sounds like he's been shot by a small caliber weapon. Small caliber only because he never comes completely unglued or unbridled (pardon the metaphor but there's a glue factory right down the street...sniff). The album lacks that little extra oomph that comes out during a live show by The Love Drunks. But it comes damn close Mr. and Mrs. Rockabilly blues country garage punk rock fans. Because at base The Love Drunks are your basic three chord louts with a fine lyrical parade of lowlife and anti-hero pop cult references with titles like "Lindbergh Baby", "Riot In Haymarket Square", "Women And Livin' (Dirty Bits)", and "Mortician Blues" that should hip you to the Lux Interior motives of such fine young lads.

A friend of mine used to live in Atlanta some years ago and said the town was filled with rockabilly pompadour grease grooming sleazeballs and sleazebags (what is the difference between a sleazeball and a sleazebag?) and that they only liked to come out at night. They'd look normal during the day, but if there was anything happening with even a tangential relationship to Fifties rockabilly they'd retreat to their batcaves at the end of the working day and transform themselves, with the help of whatever Alfred was on hand, into Hasil Adkins worshipping freaks and walk among the norms. I wonder if a similar phenomenon will manifest itself in Nashville on February 16th when The Love Drunks bring their brand of rock and roll retro-viral thud to The Basement that night.

The Love Drunks have plunged right into that needle hole knitting one and pearling two of the great rock and roll tapestry and whether they eventually make a big weave out of that piece of fabric or not they make music that's fun to weave to whether you be sixty or seventy and craving some Fifties flashbacks or a modern day punk out to bring anarchy to the world while drivning your momma's Lexus. Listen to "Revenge" and make up your own mind. I'm late for my telepathy class.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Anti-Society #1976

Since I'm really busy this week and don't have time for regular posts I figure it's time to post the 4th issue of my old fanzine Anti-Society. I put out 5 issues of it starting in 1993 and the 4th issue was the biggest boasting 22 pages of content. For the first time ever I'm going to annotate it for you.

Front & Back Cover: The front is a picture of Elvis Costello's shoes that I lifted. The back is the Beastie Boys before they became insufferable.

Pages 1 and 2: There's a couple of actual letters to the zine and one great review from Limp, pics Shannon Doherty and Billy Corgan - that issue's patron saints, and Casper shilling for Blood Feast. I think the picture of the dude typing is from a Jarmusch movie.

Pages 3 & 4: DD Blank had just moved to Knoxville to pursue his PHD. He eventually got it and he now poisons the minds of kids at another school - just call him Doctor Blank. Rolling Rock was the brew of the time.

Pages 5 & 6: A little bit of the Nashville rock history with an inexplicable Planet Of The Apes and Starsky & Hutch background.

Pages 7 & 8 : Some great Weekly World News covers on one side and the always dashing Abe Vigoda on the next. The graffiti piece was by Hugs.

Pages 9 & 10: I've always been a Betty Boop fan. Nobody ever answered any of the questions in the article and the offers not good anymore.

Pages 11 & 12: An appreciation of Shemp by John Hudson.

Pages 13 & 14: The truth is revealed - there never was a band called Stinkfinger. It was just a joke by Buck and no...Buck was not one of many pseudonyms.

Pages 15 & 16: Those really are pics of me as a kid.

Pages 17 & 18: More Planet Of The Apes love and the cartoon letters are something I lifted from a magazine.

Pages 19 & 20: Ladies and gentlemen - the future Mrs. Beck Hansen!

Pages 21 & 22: I love Village Of The Giants, but I haven't seen it since I was a kid. The girl on the highway is the sister of one of my best friends. The picture of her is from 8th grade when she was a drum major. The poor girl later got sucked in by a religious cult down in Chattanooga and I haven't heard from her in years.

Just click on the pictures for bigger versions.