Sunday, December 25, 2005

F**k-in' Freeman!!

John Freeman. One-man Rock Assault!

An extremely late Merry Freakin' Christmas to all you unwashed masses! And Happy New Year while I'm at it. It's about time I paid tribute to a man that you are probably famliar with if you live in the DFW area, and pay attention to local undergound music. If you don't live here you might have heard of some of his bands, and since relocating to New York a few years back he's taken to spreading his disease there as well. He's had a buncha these "groups" but some include: The Dooms U.K., The Dutch Treats, The Meat Helmets, The Cockouts, The Psychos, Duck Duck Annihilation, Telethon, Danza, Alan Parson's Projectile, The Delicious Bulls, Pink Mistake, The Golden Vipers, and The Thrilling Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House. John Freeman (also known as Johnny Murder, Uncle Sloppy, etc.) started out as simply "The Dooms" when he wrote a set of songs about Emmanuel Lewis, Patrick Swayze, Chewbacca, and other noteable subjects to be performed with his own guitar accompaniment at a friends's party in Denton, Texas. He soon had a band that seemed to start out with the intention of being a "rap and roll" band (mind you this was the early '90's). They quickly evolved into a more experimental beast that came to full fruition with the release of the now classic album Greasy Listening. Though truly a band, it is widely accepted that John was the "brains" behind the group, writing the lyrics and forging the direction in which they would head. His songs inhabit a world I can truly relate to; equal parts Bad T.V. and Pop Culture, Dungeons and Dragons, Punk/Metal, Extreme Sarcasm, Ernest Borgnine and a encyclopedic knowledge of Rock and Roll both good and bad. The word genius gets tossed around a lot these days so let me throw this fools name into the ring. (Robert Wilonksy said nearly the same thing in this weeks Dallas Observer, but I wrote this before I saw that rag.)

In addition to making music this Super-Nova is a cartoonist, writer, actor/voice over dude and Nanny to the stars. His comics are really funny, and drawn in his trademark jittery style, and though I'm most familiar with his writing via his song lyrics, what little else I've read was very well done. I have witnessed a "performance" of one of his plays, and the name escapes me but it took place at a science fiction/comic book convention in the '80's. Needless to say...It was a gut-blasting riot. Watching him perform live is the best way to get a feel (if you know what I mean) for his whole shtick, as he is an amazing improvisational comedian. I guess a large part of his appeal is that he is literally one of the funniest people ever to grace this world, and I can't undertand why he isn't at least as well known as any of those Blue Collar Comedy tour guys or Ruth Buzzie. I didn't make it up to Dan's Silverleaf in Denton for his only DFW appearance this year last night but I can only imagine there were smiles, and lots of bodily fluids all around.

I'll never forget the time I was treated to a very intimate solo performance of "Waterfalls" by TLC in my truck during a run I took John on to retrieve his guitar to play some keg party, or the time he scared an army of zoned-out hippies by opening the Fry Street Fair with the song "Hippies". (basically a rallying cry for the death of that type of hairy person.) The Dooms U.K. realeased one more album enititled Art Rock Explosion which documents the later Dooms fairly well. I love both discs for different reasons, but if you want a little taste you can check out some of these links:

Some of his comix, as well as those by other local peeps can be found here:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A homecoming of sorts...

Bob and I made the treck up to lovely Denton, Tx. to the Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio to see The Apeshits, Birthday Suits, and Marked Men ply their punk, and/or rock wares Friday night. It turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. Having seen the Men only once before their year-long break I was ready for them to move my ass, and they have only gotten better. One of the tightest bands of the rock and roll underground in my opinion, with the added bonus of power-pop hooks played with punk intensity. But you've heard about them before. When we got to the club Austins' Apeshits were on and based on the couple of songs I managed to check out I'd love to see more. They had the same kind of intensity but a wilder , noiseier, and more playful/sloppy attack. I was jealous of the fun they seemed to be having up there. At least one of these cats was in the Carpetbaggers, and since my good buddy "Wild Bill" Ivy digs em I need to delve deeper. (The mans got taste!)

But the guys who blew me away that night were The Birthday Suits. Comprised of two former members of Sweet J.A.P. the Suits have a very full sound when you consider it's just a drumset, a guitar, and an amp turned up really loud for that "natural" distortion we all know and love. I can see how garage and/or punk purists might cringe at what these guys are doing but let them. It's their loss. I was trying to categorize them somehow (I hate labels but they are an excellent shorthand for describing music), and phrases like "jammy-garage" and "space punk/punk space" didn't seem to be sufficient but you might get a vague idea. The drummer did and amazing job of laying a strong foundation(not your typical punk beats but very rocking) for guitarist and vocalist Hideo to alternate between short bursts of structured pop-like intensity, and leg-kicking punk rock and roll swagger. He was flying all over the stage, even running up to the wall and kicking off in a 180 turn all the while continuing to bring the noise. I wish Bobs camera-phone had managed some better pics of any of these bands but we'll have to settle for the really blurry one of Hideo (top/right) and the grafitti from Rubber Gloves restroom( bottom/left) for now. We think it says "I f***ed your Dog" under the tag. I stole the other two pics from various sites.

This night made me remember why I loved living in Denton. I hadn't been there for a show in a couple of years at least and I talked to a bunch of old friends, most of whom weren't even there for the show, and some of whom live here in Dallas. There's this crazy Extreme Wrestling League in Denton that I've got to check out...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Still wasted but now with focus!

This photo was taken a few months back during my trip to Corpus Christi. I include it now because I like the photo, and I'm having a bit of deja vu relating to that period of my life again. And let's not forget Freddy, who loomed large over popular radio when I was a tot. My folks were way into him, and it saddens me that he would never make it in pop music today. His big songs were Wasted Days and Wasted Nights and (I'll be there) Before the Last Teardrop Falls for those of you that might be unfamiliar. His brand of Tex-Mex rock and roll meshed perfectly with that of Doug Sahm when they teamed up for The Texas Tornadoes. I saw him on an endless-loop type infomercial for a Classic-Country cd set on cable at Kara's grandma Judy's place in Claremore, Oklahoma last night so it all ties together somehow.

I basically drove the nearly six-hundred mile round trip to drop her off for about three weeks to help her granny run her gift-basket shop during this busy holiday season. That and the fact that we are both losing our minds due to our nebulous realtionship made this "vacation" necessary . It's hard for me to decide how much to comment on about this so I'll err on the side of caution and just say we'll see what happens. No need to bore you, my imagined audience, with such matters. This ain't no EMO-journal. I did get to listen to some great music on the trip back including a bunch of great, random punk I downloaded off of various Mp3 blogs, and some Sir Douglass Quintet cds, and pretty much the whole Reigning Sound discography in order. Greg Cartwright never ceases to amaze me. He'll fool you with some song you think is kind of a throwaway, and then on a subsequent listening it kicks you in the head with its kickassitude!

I'll probably be posting more regularly as I have much more time on my hands now. And if you happen to pass Buford's Fun and Nut Company in Sherman, Texas (right on I-75 North) stop in and pick me up a post-card. (There was a mildly disturbing mural featuring a "mad hatter" type character out front and the whole thing made me ruminate over the thought process involved in such a venture. "Well, people love FUN and people love NUTS, right?")

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Link Wray R.I.P.

The originals are quickly leaving us

As I come to consciousness this morning I am listening to Joe Belock's excellent THREE CHORD MONTE radio show on WFMU via the world-wide-web. The music he's playing is the inspiration for this post. He's doing a well-deserved tribute to the father of the power-chord, and perhaps the father of all raw, aggressive electric guitar-playing as well...LINK WRAY. He was buried on November 18th in Copenhagen, Denmark to little fanfare per his request, and most likely due at least in part to the obliviousness of most critics and fans of popular music. Hell, CNN didn't pick up on it until he had been in the ground for 4 days!!!...

I won't go into detail about this great loss( even if he was only 76 years old for pete's sake!). I will say that Link was influencing my life path before I was even aware of him though. It's common knowledge that Link was the inspiration for Pete Townshend to pick up a guitar, and The Who were in competition only with Van Halen for the title of my favorite band as a kid. Neil Young was also quoted as saying that if he could go back in time to see any band it would be Link Wray and his Raymen. It was inevitable that I was later drawn to the punk rock that Link hinted at with his deceptively simple, beautifully distorted guitar work, and attitude. It's hard to imagine a world in which Mr. Wray never existed, and I don't even want to try. I regret that I just missed getting to see him at last year. I guess I thought he'd be around forever. With that in mind here's the part where I put the link to the second petition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I've posted( The first being Doug Sahm/Sir Douglass Quintet)...

If you have ever enjoyed a "dirty" guitar tone or believe in any kind of justice take a minute to sign the petition. And then proceed to poke pencil holes through the speaker-cones of every guitar amp that you are in proximity to...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

...The one and only Jimmy Carter!

Well, now I've done it. I managed to get my little blog here listed amongst many other blogs that in general seem to kick-ass, especially in comparison to this 'un. Kopper, of fame has turned that site into a blog with the requisite large number of links(one of which leads this way). Don't fret though, he still manages the Herculean task of doing a radio show, running a garagepunk and related forum, and probably a bunch of other projects that he's either too modest or busy to gab about. I need some of his focus and energy. It's time to step up to the plate. I'd feel that I had more to offer if I only knew how to post an Mp3 on my site( hint..hint!). I have tried to find out for myself but as I am mostly HTML illiterate I haven't found anything that spells it out well enough. And Blogger.coms own podcast/audio section won't let me register, so for now I will just have to try to dazzle you with bullshit, so here goes...

"This isn't the real America" is the title of a suprising article by former president Jimmy Carter in the most recent LA times. It was suprising to me at least, as it closely echoed my own feelings about the general direction our country has taken, especially in regards to the war. Carter was the first president that I was conciously aware of being in office and his presence was felt strongly even in pop culture at the time. He was a colorful character, with the whole peanut-farmer, big-toothed smile, and drunken brother thing. My Dad still proudly displays his lone surviving can of Billy Beer in his hunting room. I think Jimmy gets a bad rap today, though it's no surprise, just look what they've done to Clinton's image. Check it out, it's a short read and it might give you some glimmer of hope for American politics.,0,7164514.story

On a side note the title of the photo and text posts from today are a line from a song called "Jimmy Carter" by the sadly defunct "insurgent country" band Blue Mountain. If you like what is known as Alt-Country, Americana, Ya'llternative, Cowpunk, etc. etc. pick up some of their stuff. I can't recommend the album Dog Days enough, but they are all above average.

It's finally getting cold here, and I'm excited about it. I like cold weather, and snow more than I should for someone that calls the Lone Star state his home. One day I may migrate further North but I would either have to become an expert Mexican-style chef or convince some Amigos to go with me. Yes, I live for Mexican food. Speaking of Tex-Mex, this Friday, November 18th has been declared ( unofficially I assume) Doug Sahm Day in Dallas. What this means other than the fact that Shawn Sahm & His Tex Mex Experience featuring Augie Miers with special guest Eleven Hundred Springs will be playing at The Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum, I don't know. Shawn is the son of Doug( R.I.P. ), Augie was in some of Doug's bands, and 1100 Springs are as close to old-school country as you can get as well as owing a great musical debt to Doug(this in common with any band that has a twang and is any good) , so the show should be great.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Men of a thousand faces, and as many talents...

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Paul Slavens and Lon Chaney

I'm slowly emerging from my zombie-like haze and it feels very nice. I've been getting out and socializing more and more, like last nights trip to The Dallas museum of Art, and a couple of other spots. Mark Sharon (who happens to have been my college roommate) and I went to the DMA for a showing of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME starring Lon Chaney, but with the added bonus of having a live soundtrack performed by a group of local musicians. This film was originally silent and the new score written by the versatile Paul Slavens made the already amazing even more so. Paul played piano, and did some vocal sound-effects I believe while backed by a "super-group" of primarily Denton-related musicians that are mostly known for their work in various punk/rock/indie/experimentalish bands that I have seen many times over the years. Bands represented include Baboon, Mission Giant, Ten Hands, The Dooms U.K., March Arc, Brutal Juice, The Banes, and others I might be unaware of. The added touch of a talented female vocalist that employed the subtle use of an effects processor along with other analog keyboards, and equipment complimented the piano and rock-oriented instrumentation. I'd love to see this kind of thing catch on.

Lon Chaney has always been somewhat of a hero to me and this might be his masterpiece. I had never actually seen the film but I knew the stories of Chaney suffering the 40-pound hump strapped to his back while performing his own death-defying stunts. Sure he's an amazing stuntman, and special effects make-up artist but you don't hear much about his acting ability. He somehow managed to take what could be a very one-dimensional cartoon of a character and make him multi-faceted, and likeable despite his gruesome appearance. He actually gets you to empathise with the deformed, and surreal hunchback primarily through the use of body language and facial expression. I don't think I could ever watch this again without some type of musical accompaniment and that would still never come close to the soundtrack I heard last night.

I was coerced into going to The Tom Tom Noodle house in the West Village, which is a part of town I usually avoid like the plague for a late meal after the show. The lure was 1$ sushi and we missed the mark by a couple of hours but still managed to avoid doing the dishes in lieu of payment. Though it was chilly on the patio the warm sake and excellent food worked together to keep us happy. I had an amazing dish that is supposedly the most popular dish in Malaysia called Beef Rendang. It was basically a curried-beef dish served over a large portion of jasmine rice and garnished with bits of mango. I highly recommend it. I even managed to run by Stout on Greenville Avenue to catch a few songs by my friend Jeff Hill's band The Sutcliffe's. Jeff was rocking the key-tar(keyboard worn like a guitar), vocals, harmonica, washboard, and Fisher-Price xylophone in fine form. I slept eventually...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Saturday, October 22, 2005

...Latest victim of "art" filters.

Mimus is one of the first, if not the first character that my best friend and I created together. Colin and I met when we were just about to enter junior high. We bonded over a love of rock and roll, comic books, movies, and general lunacy. We both had older brothers that were quite influential to our interests but when we got together those interests grew exponentially. We were both aspiring artists of roughly the same ability, but Colin was also quickly becoming an accomplished guitar-player. Even before we began to create our own comics we were in the habit of creating characters for as yet unnamed projects. I remember many a conversation that began, "We could have a guy that...", and went on to describe some unusual character. The concepts discussed were often visual in nature so it's only natural that we both gravitated to being cartoonists. Ironically the first project we ever worked on together was a "film" entitled THE BATTLE OF ZENON, which was named by Scott Franzke, who along with his brother Bobby, Colin and myself comprised the film crew. We never got further than the creation of a miniature set which was comprised of dirt, and Star Wars toys painted to reflect battle scars all placed on a card table.

Colin and I progressed as artists, and unintentionally as writers as well. Encouraged by local small-press publishers, and cartoonists we met at The Dallas Fantasy Fair we created Milk Vampire Babies which was a magazine sized, and fairly ambitious project for a couple of teenagers. The final product, which was put together with help from my brother Andy under the Permanent Press imprint, was a bit rough but the experience gained was indispensable. Next we did the mini-comic MIMUS which got published by Starhead Graphics in Seattle. Starhead was a small-press comics label that was started by a couple of guys that used to live in Dallas, and I've since forgotten how we hooked up with them. As cool as that seems now we decided that we could easily self-publish our own stuff in exisiting formats we became familiar with through the mini-comics scene and so Permenant Press was reborn. We got reviewed in a few related publications and began to get orders from all over the country to our amazement. This was by no means a lot of interest but to us it was the coolest thing in the world.

Colin and I started doing more comics on our own, as opposed to as a team, but we continued to record our silly, and sometimes disturbing music under the name THE SONS OF GRAVITY. The name is laughable now, but to my addled teenage mind it was perfectly appropriate. As time went by Colin went away to college at The University of North Texas in Denton, while I stayed at home to complete my senior year in high school before going to North Texas after two years of community college. We rarely spoke during this period, and by the time we met again we had changed in unexpected ways. I had grown up a bit and become invloved in a serious, but ill-fated relationship, all the while partying with old high school friends. Colin had immersed himself in bohemian college life with all that comes with it. Without going into too much detail, Colin had a mysterious, life-changing experience that would permanently alter his behavior and life. It was years before we had a "normal" conversation but we eventually began to speak farily regularly.

Recently Colin has been putting together a new mini-comic called PERMANENT PRESS PRESENTS, which showcases many of our characters in new stories, some old sketchbook pages, and other loosely related comics. He has asked me to contribute but up until now I have been extremely lazy about producing artwork. The reasons for this are numerous but I am attempting to break the cycle. It's not much, but the drawing of Mimus is one sketch on a page I'm working on of our old characters. This is just the beginning.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

These guys are cooler than we'll ever be. Posted by Picasa


If you've been living under a rock for awhile you may not have heard that the incredible Gang of Four are back together and playing shows, in addition to putting out a new record of re-recorded versions of their classics. To this you might say, "Yeah, and...?", and I would in turn reply with the order, "Go see them play live immediately!". Seriously, if you have any kind of appreciation for live music, do yourself a big favor and check 'em out if you can. I dragged Bob along to the show, and even though he was unfamiliar with the songs, he enjoyed it quite a bit, and that says a lot. You know, the kind of show where after the first few notes, or beats of a new song the venue is littered with groups of friends giving each other the "Dude, it's this one!" look.

I'm going to rip-off some other reviewer of this particular tour and say that Andy Gill prowled the stage like a panther, or some sh*t, and was the first to take the stage, staring with a convincingly menacing look into the crowd. He did this as he played the first few jagged notes to one of their best songs. You'll have to take my word for that as I can't for the life of me remember which one it was. I CAN say that it's on Entertainment, and if you like I can try to recall which ones I'm sure it wasn't. That's easy because nearly all the songs they played where from that album, which is rightfully considered to be their best work, with Solid Gold right behind it.

Aside from being really tight, really rocking, really punk, and really funky these elder statemen of punk( sorry, I hate that phrase too...forget it ever happened.) were suprisingly hip, and energetic too. Vocalist John King prowled the stage like...uh, ran all over the place, did a lot of "hands in the air" disco contortions, did the crouching-froggy sideways leaping thing, and generally sang his ass off while often glaring over the upturned lights under each microphone. This dramatic lighting was among many of the effective elements forming the minimal aesthetic of the stage presentation that would go un-noticed if you didn't really pay attention. In an odd, couple of psychic moments Bob and I each got flashes of both Bauhaus, and Cheap Trick which surprises me in more ways than I can describe. And since they are so integral to the sound of the band I have to mention bass-player Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. They were cool too...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Drawing with a dried-up Sharpie kinda sucks! Posted by Picasa

Zee moment of truth...

Who knew that the hardest part of the whole "seat-of-my-pants" recording project I've been yammering about would be deciding which mix to use?....And it's dri-ving me cray-zee! Matt sent me two final mixes to choose from, and in the simplest terms one of them is kind of rough, and the other is a bit overblown. I was ready to go with the latter until I played it for my friend Bob and he preferred the stripped-down version. I'm usually all for a less is more aesthetic when it comes to music and many other things but somehow this case is different. Maybe it's because I can't really look at the song objectively any more, who knows? I'm sure you've had the experience of being so close to a project that you can't get back far enough to look at it, well that's what I'm going through here. So what did I go and do? I sent both versions of the song to 5 friends and/or relatives to get their opinions. This accomplishes two things: I get to show off, or perhaps show how truly stupid I can be, as well as getting the feedback I need from a group whose opinons on music I respect.

It's going to be really interesting to see what kind of a response I get. Not only from the folks I've mentioned but from other friends, family, and fellow contributors to this project. I can't wait to see my parents faces when they hear this thing. My Dad listens to light alternative or something on the radio, while my Mother is into horrible young country, Celine Dion and other mind-rot. They won't really have a context to judge this in so it could go in any direction. Most likely they will smile, and nod with some sort of vaguely positive, obligatory response. I'm looking forward to hearing what my nephew has to say. Jonathan is a very cool fifteen year old with good taste in music. He's also an aspiring musician amongst many other talents.

The best thing is that I'm finally starting to feel like I'm using my creativity again. In addition to the music thing I've been slowly getting back into working on my more natural aptitude; drawing. I've been completing a two-page story I did most of a few years back for a comic my old friend Colin is putting together. Colin is an extremely talented artist and guitar-player, as well as being very influential to me in my youth, which I'm almost completely in favor of. It's like a Garagepunk forum dork-out month around here but I wanted to mention that the image above is what I drew today to label the excellent cd I recieved from rontokyo a few months back. Yeah, I'm kinda slow...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Soon these worlds collide! Posted by Picasa

I've just returned from Mecca... not actually the holy land but a holy land amongst Dallas' diners, The Mecca. It's been around for at least 20 years (I'm guessing), and despite the fact that it's basically in the neighborhood I grew up in I've somehow avoided it until now. It's in a cool, two-story building on a slightly disreputable street known as a good place to run into ladies of the night, Harry Hines Blvd. It's your typical diner/greasy spoon, maybe a bit cleaner but with great food and a decent ambience, if you will. I had the stuffed bell pepper, with whipped potatoes, green beans almondine, rolls, cornbread and iced tea...TASTY!

In other culturally significant news it seems that THE ROCKENING will be held in Memphis this year, rather than New Orleans for obvious reasons. Here' the scoop via Eric Oblivian on the Goner board:

at the risk of blowing scott's thing... (it's now SCOTT'S THING!), here's what he's working on (THIS MAY CHANGE, and BANDS ARE NOT PLAYING IN THIS ORDER necessarily... )

Thursday Oct 27 @ Buccaneer TearJerkers ,River City Tanlines ,Dutch Masters ,Die Rotzz, Redondo Beat Friday Oct 28 @ Hi Tone King Louie One Man Band, Carbonas,Tough & Lovely, Jenny Jeans ,Live Fast Die Saturday Oct 29 @ Hi Tone Quintron, King Khan & BBQ Show ,Black Lips, Kajun SS

maybe after parties, goner instores tba. stay tuna.

And for those of you keeping score at home I should be able to post an Mp3 of my song for the UNDER THE COVERS comp. by early this week. (Anybody know how to?...e-mail me PLEASE!) Matt's too busy to finish the mixing right now. Coincidentally, Sundazed Records has just released a 45 rpm/7- inch single featuring songs by the 1960's incarnation of West Texas' own Sparkles and wouldn't you know it but the song I'm covering (HIPSVILLE 29 B.C) is on the sucker. I gots to get it...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Relevant picture won't work...Gratuitous Dobbsheads for you!! Posted by Picasa

Losin' It the title of a cheesy, "coming-of-age" movie from the early-eighties that starred Shelly Long, and Tom Cruise before they were very well known. For some reason certain scenes from this film have been etched on my brain. The plot involves a small group of high school buddies that make a trip to Tijuana to lose their virginity. They somehow run into Long's character and one of the guys actually ends up "losin' it" to her instead of the obligatory hooker. Various memories include a rather racy song performed by the dj guy at a strip club/whorehouse that cleverly uses the word "Tijuana" in place of the phrase "Do you wanna?"(as in "Tijuana take your mother to the gang bang? Yes you do, it's been a long time since she had a screw..") and a scene in which some thugs have hoisted one of the kids into the air with a crane at a junkyard, and while preparing to fry his genitals with a blowtorch exclaims, "You are huugge!!" in an exaggerated Mexican accent(this was in response to the fact that said teen had stuffed his pants). It's one of those movies I'm not sure if I'd enjoy today, but I sure loved it as a youngster. The title also describes my current mental state pretty accurately.

Matt and I got the drums recorded last weekend but we haven't had a chance to do the final mix. He's got his wifes' whole family from Houston at his place right now to wait out Hurricane Rita. We had to haul all his recording equipment over to a friends place to use his drum kit. I managed to bang out the rhythm without too much trouble, and I'm anxious to see what it sounds like with the other tracks. There was one casualty in the form of Matt's monitor. He clipped the corner of the driveway when we pulled in after the recording and the base of his clear, plastic Mac monitor was broken. This was slightly ironic as Matt had stated earlier that Mac products are quite durable. I still think the Mac cult is mostly an image/ aesthetic thing. They make some cool stuff but the cultists are usually a bit snobbish in my opinion. That doesn't mean I wouldn't mind having one of those I-Pod Nanos though...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Under-rated Geniuses of Rock and Roll! Posted by Picasa

"Things Are Getting Better"

Things ARE getting better, and that is also the name of a song on the Kinks, self-titled first album.I've got a Kinks sticker on my car that I made at work( I do that kind of thing for a living so it looks berry professional, thank you!), so you could say they are one of my top five bands. I feel like a bit of a poseur about it though as I only have like three of their albums. This is something I plan to remedy just as soon as the finances permit though. Despite the lack of Davies-penned albums in my collection I feel that I am entitled to display his bands logo on my vehicle. The only other stickers presently on my car are an "anti-Bush" sticker a friend made, and a Riverboat Gamblers sticker. I have two of the three Gamblaz' albums and I have seen them a gazillion times so I feel fine about that one, and I want the world to know that I hate GWB so that's great too. I'm at that crucial point in stickering ones car where I might start to become one of those guys with a lot of stickers on their (insert car synonym here). I'm trying to keep it minimal you see.

I've really been getting into other peoples blogs as of late and it makes me feel that mine is little more than an online diary. So be it, besides I really only look at mp3 blogs, and I shamelessly download a ton of great music off of them. There are actually too many to realistically see them all(or list them), and there are very few that I can say that I read with any amount of retension of information. I have recently run into a little trouble, however. At first I was playing Russian Roulette with the mp3's I would download, burning them to disc without so much as one listening in many cases. This was done based on band name/song title/ and style, and I had great initial results. There's not much that can go wrong when you have The Wipers, The Big Boys, The Angry Samoans and other relatively well-established artists to work with. It was when I began to get cocky, and/or greedy that I set myself up for a WHOLE lot of song-skipping. It's fun to have a mystery cd to some extent but those little slabs-o-digital fun aren't free, and I guess I'll have to start being a bit more selective.

This Sunday Matt Louis and I really are going to finish up the recording project. Last Sunday got cancelled as the fellow with the drum kit was holed-up watching what I consider to be the equivalent of watching paint dry, The Dallas Cowboys. YECHHHH!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sacred ground now underwater. Soul great Ernie K-Doe's(1936 - 2001) world famous Mother-in-Law Lounge.
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For what it's worth...

This was originally posted by Kopper, the fine fellow that runs the forum, and is also the host of The Wayback Machine radio show in St. Louis. Like a lot of these online petition/letter sending campaigns I'm not sure what effect it will really have but if it has ANY effect at all than it has served a purpose:

IS IT TIME TO BRING THE NATIONAL GUARD HOME FROM IRAQ? (take action now) After 5 years of laughing off or suppressing sound policy advice, the criminal neglect of our REAL homeland security by the Bush administration has now resulted in the total loss of a major American city. And where is our National Guard and all their equipment that are supposed to be here to protect and save us? They are being ground up in the sand half a planet away for absolutely nothing but the arrogant, uncaring and obstinate pride of our chief executive, who is mentally incapable of admitting or correcting any mistake ever. We must DEMAND that our national guard come home now. The form above will send your personal message to all your members of Congress, and now you can send a letter also to the editor of your nearest daily newspaper at the SAME time, all with one click. Our troops in Iraq need to come home immediately. Not a year from now, not a month from now, NOW now. Is there not a SINGLE politician with the courage to stand up and speak the truth? When enough of US speak up it will happen. We must take PERSONAL responsibility for our government and what it does. Is it the destiny of our country to be utterly destroyed in pursuit of vain foreign conquests, as was Rome so many centuries ago, to where they could no longer protect their own homeland? Is that what is meant by the words "finish the job"? What insanity misled us to this terrible PREVENTABLE tragedy, where pleas for critically needed levee repairs were ignored to finance war profits and tax cuts for this administration's personal cronies. They can't even recruit for the National Guard anymore because it's nothing but a ticket straight to a desert hellhole. Bring the guard home now. We must reach out to our fellow citizens every way we can. Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.

And if you don't think you should care about the people of New Orleans out of compassion for your fellow man, then read this (which I also snatched off of a post made by Don Julio Blanco on

Mop Top Mike mentioned that he has friends in New Orleans. Anybody who's ever enjoyed jazz, R&B, rock and roll, and soul has friends in New Orleans. Anybody who thinks of music beyond symphonies or elevators has friends in New Orleans. That music was created by and for the same people who are now homeless, dazed, hungry, and sick. They shared their homegrown music with the rest of us. For that alone the residents of New Orleans deserve our eternal gratitude. The world is a better place because of New Orleans music and musicians. I can't think of another city anywhere that I could make that statement about. Other cities' music histories can usually be summarized neatly in a book or two, if that. New Orleans music history requires its own bookcase.

People today don't realize that 100 years ago, there was no such thing as an improvised solo in band music. That was a New Orleans concept. A group or orchestra playing from head arrangements instead of written ones was a New Orleans concept. Incredibly important, innovative ideas that we now take for granted were not created at the great centers of western culture by comfortable, trained white musicians but rather the sons of slaves and prostitutes in the back alleys and disreputable dance halls in the same neighborhoods that are now underwater. Millions of words have been written attempting to understand how that happened. Nobody has successfully answered that yet. Classically trained musicians in Chicago called this music jazz as a put-down to discourage people from listening to this horrible new sound when it first came there. New Orleanians got the last laugh. They always did. New Orleans has been fighting for its individuality against the ever increasing onslaught of rigid Anglo-American orthodoxy for 200 years.

In the end it was the water, not conformity, that did them in. They will rebuild. The levees will finally be reinforced, new power lines will go up, shiny prefab houses will replace the 19th Century plantation and shotgun houses out in the West End. Students will file into Layola and Tulane like they once did. But the soul of the city will never be rebuilt. Who in their right mind would want to go drink a 'Hurricane' on Bourbon Street ever again, knowing the horrors and devastation that occured in 2005? The city went from a place of celebration to a place of mourning in 24 hours. This is an irreplacable loss for America.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Priorities: Unsure...Giant Tub of Beer: Check! Posted by Picasa

Obligatory post!

That's right kids, this is that "oh-so-special" blog entry that comes when it's been a while since my last one. Expect little, and you might enjoy it. Which brings me to a bit of advice I think would benefit many of you(this is primarily directed at people that probably don't read this tripe). It seems that there is an ever-growing trend out there, particularly among the young( by young I mean below middle-age...and what IS middle age now?) of feeling unjustly entitled. In other words, everybody wants something for nothing. Well, all I have to say about that is unless you've got dirt on someone, a sugar-mama/daddy, or just a rich daddy, it AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. Oh, and if you think I'm going to put up with the behavior that this mindset inspires you can think again. This is where all these "30 thousand-dollar a year millionaires" are sprouting up from. I don't know about anywhere else, but Dallas is literally crawling with them. You might have noted that I've been a little bitter lately. I'm hoping it will subside soon.

In more important matters my deepest sympathies go out to those who have been effected by hurricane Katrina. I don't personally know anyone that currently lives there but it's overwhelming to think about what has happened nonetheless. On the purely selfish side I noticed that on the Goner Records message board that they are thinking about relocating The Rockening from New Orleans to either Jackson, Miss. or Atlanta, Ga. I mention this because I'm really looking forward to it and it would be really cool to meet some of these folks, many of which are going through a very difficult time. This may be a good time for them to blow off some of this tremendous stress and celebrate life with some great music. I'll admit I haven't been watching any of the flood footage on TV but I've seen some photos on the web, and the most connected to the event that I've felt has been from reading personal accounts from the many musicians, and fans on the Goner board. It has been very inspiring to see how generous people have been with offers of accomodations, food, and job leads. For someone who only a few years ago was anti-internet, and particularly anti-forum/chat room (still hate IM/chatrooms) I have learned not to citicize things I don't know about once again. I have this recurring trend where I end up fully embracing the very things I was adamantly against at some earlier point. I don't think of this as a lack of conviction, or flakiness, but as the talent to recognize my ability to be wrong, as well as the need for personal evolution. How you say PSYCHO-BABBLE!?

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Kings of Budget Rock! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I can SING! (sort of)

Well, Matt Louis and I wrapped up the majority of the recording last night, and if I do say so myself it sounds pretty durn good. We basically started from scratch as I had my head planted firmly in me arse the previous night but it worked out better this time anyway. We even finally got that "fuzzy" tone I wanted for the overdub of the main guitar riff. But the most suprising part of the whole process was recording the vocals. As far as I know I had never done any kind of decent recording of any of my "music" let alone documented my attempts at serious vocals. If I hadn't been in on all the action I wouldn't have known the voice that emerged was mine. This isn't to say that I sang in an overly affected manner, or that Matt put some kind of crazy effect on my voice, it's just that the sound you get from a decent microphone when singing over your own music somehow sounds better. Of course I'm biased, but it sounds pretty cool.

The only things we need to do at this point are replace the sampled drums with real ones and do the final mix. What's even greater is that Matt says he'd like to do more of this in the future. He's used to playing and recording at the same time so this has been a good way for him to get more experience with recording. I've been really lucky to have friends like I do that can allow me this type of experience. Thanks to Randy Parker and Matt Louis! I can't wait to get the comp. cd and listen to my song amongst all the other contributions.

In more exciting rock and roll news my buddy "Wild Bill" Ivy just hipped me to the fact that the legendary Mummies are supposed to be playing at the Rockening in New Orleans, La. just before Halloween. I'd sell a kidney to be there, but I may be able to avoid that.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I do not know the nice lady with the SCARY clown paintings. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

People still freak me out!

You know how things will be going along just swimmingly and then all of a sudden some (I hesitate to use the word)...PERSON has to go and do something to remind you that not everyone thinks, or behaves the way you do or would like them to. Why does this have to happen? I'm just constantly amazed at the oblivious and thoughtless behavior exhibited by many of my peers. (and by some of those well above, or below me on the social heirarchy... oh yeah, sometimes by me too!) I guess the reason I mention this is that a friend of mine that I have known for over two years casually asked me what I did for a living during a conversation recently. Now I realize that I don't talk about work much, but unless you have a really interesting job then I'd suggest you don't either. It just kind of sends a signal to me that this person might be a bit more self-centered than I thought. I already knew he was absent-minded with a tendency to drone on about his every activity. Maybe it's just me.

A few random thoughts...

This weekend Matt Louis and I are going to record my opus...a mind-bending version of Hipsville 29 B.C. by The Sparkles. We plan to use anything we can get our hands on for percussion and to keep it really crude. I plan to channel the spirit of the seemingly more-alive-than ever Roky Erickson( of Thirteenth Floor Elevators fame) when I let loose with my patented demented, white boy vocals. Roky has been more lucid in the last few years due to taking his medication, and he's been performing more and more around the Austin area. I must see him at all costs.

I'm ready for summer to be over. Bring on the Nordic Frost, post haste.

What was going on in the 1970's that made scary clown paintings, big-eyed kid/Margaret Keane paintings, and depressing music so popular? I mean I love them all, but I'm a little odd. It seems like there was some kind of hazy, yellow melancholy that blanketed most pop culture of that era. What's popular in the mainstream today couldn't be more different. Gordon Lightfoot could only exist as some kind of college/indie/Drag City recordsish character. If for no other reason than the fact that an attention span, a capacity for abstract thought and the ability to appreciate music with real human emotion are required to enjoy this type of expression it couldn't happen today. I still can't explain how anything other than ironic humor is gained from that weird ass artwork though.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Old Ink Drawing with NEW cheesy color. Posted by Picasa

Hipsville 29 B.C... the title of a song originally recorded by a West Texas band called THE SPARKLES that was active in the '50's and '60's. They seem to have started out like most groups of the time playing early rock and roll, which was an mix of country(and western), and blues that sometimes careened into rockabilly. They stayed together long enough to change with the times and this song in particular is the only one I'm actually that familiar with. It sounds like a lot of "garage" type songs with simple fuzzed out guitar, and the singer channels a little James Brown to great effect, but the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts as they say.

I'm going to record my own version of it with the help of some friends in the next few weeks and I'm getting pretty amped about it. I haven't recorded music in any form since college and never in a manner approaching professionalism. I may end up playing a majority of the instruments but I will at least play rhythm guitar and sing lead. The motivation into these largely uncharted waters came in the form of a call for entries in the Shakin' Street forum on They are asking for '60's covers focusing on garage rock. They seem to be pretty lax in their standards though I think they're expecting people to suprise themselves which I hope is the case. I remember the reference to something like "a guy with a tape recorder and an out-of-tune guitar" and this can be a beautiful asethetic if you are at all familiar with tastes that run toward the LO-FI or RAW/PRIMITIVE. This is not to say that there aren't some certifiable "legends" of various eras involved, like Tom Kirby of TONTO AND THE RENEGADES fame whose song "Little Boy Blue" is a very well known example of the genre. The tentative title for the compilation is Under the Covers, and I like it.

I also wanted to mention the fact that my big screen debut occured on Wednesday night at of all places The Studio Movie Grill in Plano, Tx. I had a walk-on in my friend Justin's short film THE HISTORY OF THE LURKERS which is going to be part of an anthology of shorts based on H.P. Lovecraft stories. This is just a warm up for the debut of his feature length POT ZOMBIES in which I have a larger role. This should come out in the next few months.

(Check out Pot Zombies at Myspace!)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Kind of... Posted by Picasa


Oh yeah, I have this blog thing. I've been lost in the sauce for a while, but one thing I'm pretty sure of is the fact that most blogs truly suck. Add that to the fact that there are so dang many of them and you've got one big, nasty mess. The worst of them all are the ones that document the minutiae of some (usually boring) fools life, and I guess the second worst are the ones that simply parrot other sites for news, or links in lieu of any real content. I won't even touch on the half-assed attempts by teens, children, businessmen, or religious zealots. About the only ones I've been able to tolerate are the cream of the crop of the underground music blogs, and photo blogs. Some folks seem to view their blog as the new milennium's answer to the "family newsletter". Every family has at least one relative(usually that oddly chipper aunt) that compiles an all-encompassing list of the activities and major events in their clan, right? Blogs and this type of document share the following attributes:

1. They often blather on and on about insignificant information.(Lil' Timmy took his first poo today, etc.)
2. They gloat about personal accomplishments.
3. The information is generally about people and activities that
are either unknown or irrelevant.

That being said here are some links to a few blogs that seem to have some merit. At least they post easily downloadable mp3's of music I actually enjoy...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Musklat Rove... Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 15, 2005

Willis Alan Ramsey, and Jim Lauderdale.

I had a lucky birthday yesterday. It started off well when I awoke to a lovely hand made card ftom Kara, and then received a free breakfast-pizza(?) from some poor Papa John's guy when I was getting gas on the way to work.(?) I then proceeded to get a free lunch consisiting of a steak, baked potato, green beans, Texas toast, and iced tea. The best part was getting free tickets to see two of the most talented singer-songwriter's alive today at the Granada Theatre. The Granada is one of the nicest, if not THE nicest venue in Dallas and if they would book a more diverse group of bands I'd gladly go there more often.

Bob and I walked in just after Jim Lauderdale's set had begun and though I was familiar with the name from KHYI (95.3-The Range) and the paper I was hesitant at first. I was completely mesmerized within minutes. This Nashville based(go figure) musician is extremely talented and has a long list of accomplishments including having songs recorded by George Jones, and making records with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley(made really famous by the O' Brother Where Art Though? soundtrack.) As I listened I realized that I already really liked a few of these songs as I had heard them repeatedly on The Range and I had no idea who they were done by. If you like Gram Parsons, Gene Clark, George Jones, Johhny Cash and others I suggest checking him out. I need to buy some of this stuff.

Willis Alan Ramsey took the stage with all the stage prescence of somebodys stoned uncle wipping out his guitar at a barbecue to play some Skynnard, Dylan or some such fare. But after a bit of a rough start he proceeded to blow minds. I won't go into too much detail here but Willis Alan Ramsey(WAR) is one of those legendary artists that is very well known, and loved amongst Americana/Country/Folk/Blues musicians and the die-hard fans but otherwise completely unknown. He released ONE self-titled album in 1972 that was met with much acclaim. Apparently it was too much acclaim for the young WAR to handle so he backed off from the whole affair, WAY off. As far as I know he hadn't performed at all until the last year or so since the mid-seventies but that didn't stop him from influencing virtually every artist that could fall under the nebulous Progressive Country/Americana/Alt-Country(eww!)/Outlaw/yadda,yadda umbrella. Lyle Lovett is perhaps the most obvious example of this and WAR even co-wrote some of Lyle's songs including "That's right you're not from Texas". The crowd of mostly grey-haired folks knew all the words and get very excited when WAR played the hits, so it made for a great time.

I'll have to admit that I was a bit let down that he didn't play his best known song "Muskrat Candlight", renamed "Muskrat Love" and made famous by The Captain and Tennille, but at the same time I can undertand his aversion to the song. WAR is releasing a new album and I hope for his sake that it catapults him to the level of fame and fortune he so greatly deserves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shriners. NOT Oddfellows. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 08, 2005

I.O.O.F. and the proposed Freedom Tower.

I don't believe I've mentioned this before but I am a member of a secret society. That's right, it's SO secret that I'll tell you (almost) all about it and our members are proud to display related emblems, and symbols on their bodies, cars, and clothing among other things. There are secret rituals, signs, and grips that can't be revealed to a non-member but the wacky, mystical incantations and human/animal sacrifice are kept to a minimum. I've been a member of the International Order of Oddfellows(I.O.O.F) , Waxahachie Lodge # 80 for more than a year now and I'm currently trying to interest a few friends in the group.

The Oddfellows are referred to as "a friendly society" meaning that membership is open to anyone, and this goes along with the strong themes of socialization and helping one another out. The motto is Fellowship( or Friendship), Love, and Truth or F.L.T. for short and is most often represented within three links of chain. In some ways it is not so different from the Mason's parody on the Simpson's where the "Stonecutters" are wearing cloaks and other ritualistic garb and then someone screams, "Now let's get drunk and play ping-pong!!", but it's more serious than that and we do more than our share of charity work.

This might sound like something your grandpa would be into, and if it weren't for the extremely diverse make-up of our lodge you might be right. There is a core group of gentlemen in their 60's and above that have been members for many years but there is a larger group of younger men that have such disparate professions as gallery owner, artist( tattoo, fine art, graphic-design, etc.), software developer, contractor, teacher, musician, etc. Many of these individuals own their own successful businesses as well. It's been a worthwhile experience and I plan to get more involved as time permits.

The following is from David Byrnes journal NOT blog. It's about the proposed replacement for the Twin Towers and I thought it was pretty dead-on:

"The new proposal is a glass tower on a massive fortified concrete base. 20 stories (!!) high almost windowless concrete. Basically, a fortress. Or a prison. It wouldn’t look out of place to have a gun turret or anti-aircraft weaponry on the roof. My daddy’s reaction was, “this says: ‘we have no faith in the future.’” I think he’s right. The site could have stood for all that is good and open and innovative about the United States. The can-do spirit, the possibility of re-invention, tolerance of all kinds of weirdos, mixtures of a multitude of races and creeds, all living together. Sometimes the U.S. is like that anyway. And the site could be a way of saying THIS is what we believe in and what we stand for.
This instead is a big fuck you to the rest of the world at the entrance of NY harbor, it says we are isolationist, protectionist and closed. As dad suggests it says we don’t think things will get better, we don’t believe good will triumph; instead we think things will get a lot worse. It’s back to medieval days for us..."

"On a purely practical level, what kind of attack are the people who thought of this expecting? A car bomb that could somehow get across a well-protected plaza? Didn’t the previous attack come from the air?
I think it’s not really about the practicalities of security or protection, but about symbolizing an attitude, a climate of fear and of a walled-in nation."

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Big Suit. This sums up the overall mood that hangs over our lives right now, one of apprehension, fear, and confusion. But what's with a grown man referring to his father as "daddy"? Creepy! The challenge is balancing awareness of the trouble in the world with a complete disregard for the same. It seems that distancing ones self, or desensitizing to some degree is appropriate. I plan to immerse myself even further in my obsessions.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The namesake of one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches. Posted by Picasa

Juan Epstein...Ubu...Wiki-Wiki-Wiki!

That might be the most non-sensical title for one of these here posts yet but it is based in reality, and here's how. Kara and I are switching gears yet again but I'll get into that soon enough. We made our traditional weekend breakfast of scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa on a bagel a couple of times over the holiday. I decided that as they are a sort of combination of two very different cultures cuisines a fitting name was in order, and from now on they shall be known as Juan Epsteins after the character from the TV show WELCOME BACK KOTTER. For those of you not in the know he was the self-described "Puerto Rican Jew".

The UBU part refers to the web site which is temporarily down except for the bit I'm about to talk about). From what I remember the site usually covers avant-garde and experimental music leaning towards performance art. I believe they had some footage of Joseph Beuys, and Michael Peppe among others and the Ubu may refer to the band Pere Ubu but I digress. In 2003 they embarked on the ambitious project of posting one mp3 by an Outsider Musican a day for a year, thus THE 356 DAYS PROJECT.

I've only scratched the surface with these songs but I can say that the version of Kenny Roger's "Lady" by Wooshie Spkamoto now ranks among my all-time favorite songs. Even those familiar with the genre known as Outsider Music will find a lot to take in. The conspicuous absence of the usual suspects (Wesley Willis, Hasil Adkins, Mrs. Miller, Daniel Johnston, etc, etc.) makes one realize that we are in the midst of the TRUE devotees and obsessives of this stuff. WFMU dj Irwin Chusid is represented along with The Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia and the track "Next", and the selections were curated by a looong list of folks including musician R. Stevie Moore. RSM brings me to my next subject, the website WIKIPEDIA.COM the free and interactive encyclopedia. Here's the entry I made for him yesterday which some kind soul already took the time to expand, and improve upon...

I found the site when it kept popping up while I was Googling various subjects. I finally gave in and it's pretty amazing just for the sheer amount of information it contains and for the revolutionary hands on feel. I felt honored that my entry wasn't just automatically deleted, and I just felt Mr. Moore deserved a mention.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stolen from somewhere..."The Symbolic Lotus of a Thousand Colonels." Posted by Hello

More Wacky Social Commentary!

"This is the real battle occurring on planet Earth. The winners and losers of this battle are what truly determine the "evolution" of societies and the world. Now, and in the past, most of what is being sold is trash, as it usually denies and oppresses that which is capable of believing and attaching meaning - you and your mind. Your mind and everyone else's minds are the true source of any quality of life that will ever exist. Solely and completely. Recognition, education into the functions, and empowerment of minds results in success, decency, morality, strength, sanity and greatness. Denial and suppression of these things results in failure, perversions, immorality, weakness, insanity and mediocrity. Materialism as a belief system has the effect of denying these things."

"This is not an argument of materialism versus spirituality. Almost all historical periods, even when characterized by "religious" or "spiritual" influences, have been actually "materialistic" because Man's mind was largely neglected and oppressed in favor of arbitrary belief systems about the physical universe and man's relationship to it. The history of this planet has been mainly characterized by the use of force against Man and his mind to alter belief and behavior, whether these forces were "religious", "political", "economic" or "social". Any perceived dichotomy of "materialism" versus "spirituality" is an illusion and is not part of this discussion. Materialism here means the viewing of everything as inherently physical, with the neglect of man's mind a usual by-product of such a view. Religions have done this as much as any modern "scientific" materialism. "

...uh, cool. I wish I knew where I got the above quotes from because I think it's good food for thought(no pun intended). Since I'm getting all quote-crazy (or lazy) here's a great, and much shorter one from a formerly brilliant comedian...

"The Theory:

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends up. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death. What's that, a bonus? I think the whole life cycle is backwards.

You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months finish off as an orgasm."

-George Carlin

Yes you guessed it...I have nothing to say right now but I didn't want ya'll to think I forgot about you. I'm greatly looking forward to this weekend for many reasons including: seeing my brother Andy and his family who are moving back from Cincinatti after years away, a four-day weekend, and having money for the first time in weeks. I think Kara and I are going to go to a cook-out at my folks place much like most people.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Young Steve Alba. Posted by Hello

I'm coming out of retirement...

That statement is really applicable to most aspects of my life at this time but I'll focus on the area relating to the cool photo above(which was taken by the great Glen E. Friedman and hastily edited by myself). I'm itching to do some "real" skateboarding again for the first time in years. I never lost interest in it, but I haven't skated more than a day or two a year for some time now. Reasons for this renewed interest are numerous but include feeling like getting back to my roots, having friends that are into it/back into it, needing some exercise, missing the feeling of skating, availability of good decks and wheels again, the explosion of cement skateparks, and the movie Dogtown and Z-boys.

Having said that you might find it strange(if you're an obsessive old-school skateboarding nut like me) that I chose to have someone other than Tony Alva, Jay Adams, or another of the infamous Z-boys pictured above. I thought this was a very cool photo of a great pool-skater, and he is riding an Alva board. Not only that but it reminds me of the time I was skating at the best ditch in the world(or at least Dallas), whip 'n dip and some smartass "new school" skater kid thought he was insulting me by calling me Steve Alba because of my "dated" skate-style. I'd be willing to bet that in the 15-ish years since then he has either got a clue and loosened up his trucks, quit skating( because how fun can it be to ride on a board that doesn't turn), or become a roller-blader(yechhh!). It makes me feel fortunate to have been exposed to real skateboarding just before the advent of the new-school. The guys I skated with were old-school even for the time. Their trucks were so loose they were about to fall off, and they had little or no desire for their wheels to leave the ground. It was a real education in carving, grinding and riding ditches and parking garages. Thanks especially to Dave and Mandon.

I also skated with some guys that were more into street-skating and that was fun too but I'm glad I got the foundation I did by just riding a skateboard the way it was designed to. There's a kick-ass new cement skatepark in Allen which is about 30 minutes North of here that I'm dying to ride. I've got to get a good set-up before I do though. Right now all I've got is a 4-foot long Powell longboard, and a popsicle board and neither of them would do for carving transition. I'm currently researching all the "pig" boards I can but the Factory 13, Deathbox, and Alva boards are looking pretty good to me. I really don't care what I ride as long as it's fat and feels good when I'm grinding coping. I'm actually on the lookout for ditches and abandoned pools a lot lately as I drive around. I wonder if I can wash my salty, smelly old rector pads?

These here are related linkage:

Pretty cool article I stumbled upon...

See this before LORDS OF DOGTOWN...

Best Skate mag around...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Leonardo gets introspective. Posted by Hello

'Bout to jump outta my skin!

I realize I've been getting boringly personal, and whiny lately but as this is a non-commercial venture that's probably more about the act of creating the blog than trying to address the "audience" I don't feel so bad. If it is more about the act itself I guess that would make it conceptual and I generally try to avoid that term and things it encompasses with a ten-foot pole. So in other words I'm going through a period of great transition, a crossroads in life as it were. I'm engaging in some cliched "soul-searching" type activities like growing a beard, going on solo walks, listening to depressing music, playing my acoustic guitar a lot, and questioning my beliefs. It's a laugh riot.

I am getting very amped up about my sadly-neglected creativity though. I'm about to burst with the desire to start a band, a loud band, a cathartic, rockin' band. I need to find a drummer that plays like a shitty Keith Moon, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. I'm at the point with my guitar playing where I either need to learn more technical information or start bashing out some rock AND roll(filtered through punk, natch). I vote for the latter, especially since the aesthetic I have the greatest appreciation for stresses expression over virtuosity. I feel like painting, and doing some print-making and other artsy stuff. Hell, even interpretive dance is starting to look good. (This is in jest, of course) I may do some painting, but what I am going to do is finish this comic book that's been hanging over my head for a few years now. That's right, I've had my head so far up my ass that I haven't been able to bring myself to complete a nearly-done comic that will be published upon completion. I'll scan some pages to show you what I'm talking about, but it's based on a local film called CORNMAN: AMERICAN VEGETABLE HERO by Barak Epstein, which is really quite funny in a Troma kinda way. I know Barak wishes he'd never met me because though he's liked what I've done, he wanted it a loooong time ago. I need to finish it so I can start work on my next comic project which will be created entirely by myself. Somebody kick my ass if I'm not done with Cornman by 2006!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rick Griffin art featured at the Texas Surf Museum. Posted by Hello

I'm back, I think...

If I ever again have some kind of weird logic for coming back to work on a Friday when I could have had the day off you have my permission to smack me. At least I will be that much closer to reality when I return after the weekend. Forgive me if this is short, and not to the point. perhaps bordering on cloudy. Kara stayed in Corpus for a bit of an extended stay and when I got to the casa last night I felt like being sociable so I went to Bob's place. I ended up having a few beers and then I didn't sleep very well, so I'm feeling sorta rough today. I don't miss feeling like this and usually worse at work on a daily basis. I'm glad to be a lightweight these days, and for few years now.

The trip was a lot of fun, despite the lack of activities. It was relaxing and I even enjoyed the drive. Kara and I had a good time with Steve, and Ericka. Steve and I even got in some guitar-playing, and skateboarding. We ended up skating a couple of ditches, my favorite one was called HOT LIPS, which seems to be a completely arbitrary monker. Corpus is a nicer town than I'd imagined. It's pretty laid-back, and if you're into the beach thing you can sort of think of it as a poor man's Cali. The architecture seems to have hit a plateau in the 60's and 70's which is mostly a good thing. I guess that's when the town stopped growing, which I believe had something to do with the oil industry( don't most things?). I even visted the TEXAS SURF MUSEUM, which isn't as pointless as it seems. The waves can't really compete with more famous surf towns but you can really surf there. The museum was kinda cool, and they even had some original Rick Griffin art including some covers and illustrations for Surfer Magazine. Rick Griffin was one of the original psychedelic poster artists and underground cartoonists of the 60's.

It was great to see my old pal Billy in San Antonio. It was exactly as predicted and a nice way to break up the drive back home. I ate nothing but Mexican food the two days and nights I was there. I could eat that stuff everyday. We drank beer and listened to good music while filling each other in on the last few years. Bill was living in Brooklyn and hanging out with a large contingent of Denton musicians and artists all loosely related to the former Good/Bad Art Collective. He had too much fun and realized that he's happier in a less metropolitan town. I guess it really says something about Dallas that for years now whenever I visit another place I immediately want to move there. Corpus and San Antone started looking really good to me, but I'm still trying to find some utopia in the Northern U.S.

On a more somber note Kara and I are taking a break from each others company for a short time. Without going into too much detail, it's something that needs to happen if we want our relationship to be successful in the future. We've been dealt a tough hand since we got together and though it will be a big adjustment we both feel it's the right thing to do. Maybe I'll get off my kiester and produce some artwork now.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The cover of this ESSENTIAL album only vaguely relates to the following... Posted by Hello

Decompression Time!

Kara and I are leaving tomorrow for a much-needed, and long overdue vacation. I hear Paris is amazing this time of year, but Corpus Christi, and San Antonio are going to be just as good to me. We're going to hang out with her sister Ericka, and Steve "The Boyfriend". It should be fun, as they've lived there a little under a year, so the town is still new to them but they know where to go. I look forward to a little beer drinking, skateboarding, and goofing off around the beach. Steve is about my age and still skates regularly, and fortunately he's into old-school skating like me so it should be fairly mellow. There's a skatepark in Corpus, and I think they have a bowl, which I would be into riding. I'm bringing along plenty of bubble-wrap. I'm going to San Antonio after a few days to see my friend "Wild Bill" Ivy.

I suspect that Bill and I will drink more beer, and eat endless amounts of excellent Mexican Food. I think that's about all there is to do there if you're not into the tourist trip. It won't take much for this to be a successful break. I can't wait to get on the highway and "open her up", if you know what I mean. I expect this all to go a long way to maintaining my sanity. See ya Dallas!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Good Grief!! Posted by Hello

A.D.D. Special!

I'm feeling spread-thin, all over the map. I don't think I've really got a.d.d., but I am easily distracted. I think it's way over-diagnosed. I do think that most people that grew up when I did and watched tons of bad TV have short attention-spans. I also think that there probably are a lot of folks that actually have a.d.d., but I think medicine is over-prescribed. But whenever there's money to be made you'll suddenly find a large portion of the populace that can't help but buy what their selling. This gets me to thinking about the whole "People have always been like this/We are just more aware of it because of the super fast transmission of information" argument. Topics that lend themselves to this are generally of the negative kind such as pedophilia, teen pregnancy/drug alcohol use/delinquency, violence, greed, fraud, and a slew of others. Topics that are perhaps more controversial or hard to classify in nature that prompt this debate include homosexuality, mental illness, child-rearing, materialism, family values, and the mysterious obsession most dudes and some women have with sports.

I tend to lean towards the side proclaiming that people are basically the way they have been since the dawn of time. There are more people alive today than the sum of all people that lived before them (supposedly), so it makes sense that one and all of the many quirks of the hairless ape would be exponentially widespread. This in combination with the fact that for whatever reason bad news is the most popular kind, and the fact that this news can travel the globe instantaneously would create the illusion that the world/this country/kids today are going down the toilet. I won't even get into the fact that I believe the media is intentionally instilling us with an irrational fear. This brings me to something that has been on my mind more and more in the last 5 years, human nature. People never cease to amaze me, and like it or not the ones that have the greatest impact on me are the assholes. I am constantly blown away by the highs and lows of the way people treat others( or themselves for that matter). Let me just say that I am far from saintly, selfless, or philanthropic but I like to think I give as much as I take in most of my dealings with others. I have seen recent examples of extreme generosity(see previous posts) and of extreme selfishness.

I must have been living in a fantasy world to a larger degree than I thought while going to U.N.T. in Denton. That and the fact that most of the people I mingled with were delusional as well (ie. artists/musicians/freaks) made for a harsh reality-check when I moved back to Dallas to become a part of the rat-race. The faster pace, materialism, and lack of a sense of humor or an interest in culture I was accosted with nearly every day caused me to consider relocating many times as I plan to in the next few years. It's really due to a combination of things that I had to deal with more truly evil people in any one of the 8 years or so I've been back than the whole 6 or so I lived in the little college town 30 minutes to the North. For example, I have had far more landlord/housing problems in Dallas. The worst being the cute, little grandma types. They get away with murder because most people are afraid to ask them for anything, and when you do they play dumb like a little wrinkled pro. And don't get fooled if they happen to be "artsy" or liberal or "laid back", they're the most dangerous. I just feel like venting and everybody else is already sick of listening to me. I've got a lot of craziness in my life that is beginning to come to a head right now despite my best efforts. If things get just a little better soon I'll feel like the last few years of struggle have been worth it. At least I'm starting to feel like my cajones are back if you know what I mean.

So as not to be a complete bummer here's some mindless fun:

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Ambassadors of Dino Park, and "me" in the future. Posted by Hello