"Do you always have to offend everyone?" So ran a comment anonymous, of course on a piece I'd written for an undergrad creative writing class, a piss take on the Our Father titled "Our Father II." This was in the early '90s, when I was still planning my escape from junior college and the burbs. Read more »
"When you're smilin'," Satchmo sang, "the whole world smiles with you." Likewise, when you're on acid, the whole world is frying with you, like that egg in the Just Say No commercials of the '80s. After watching Richard Elfman's black-and-white, semianimated, vaudevillian, blackface, sadomasochistic, surrealist musical masterpiece Forbidden Zone, my dosed-up high school friends and I were convinced that Elfman and the entire cast must have been on copious amounts of mind-altering substances. Read more »
"Have you heard this yet?" I asked the cashier at Green Apple Books and Music's annex, laying The Weirdness (Virgin) on the counter. The black cover with the ominous Stooges logo in reflective silver seemed somehow dangerous in and of itself.
"Yeah. It's all right," he answered. "It could've been worse."
"So it's no Fun House?"
"Not even. But it's not bad. It could've been really embarrassing."
So, how is The Weirdness aside from not too embarrassing? Read more »
Sometimes you get lucky. Every week I have to find a picture to run in the club guide, and one week I picked Low Red Land. They later sent me a self-released 2006 CD titled The Weight of Nations. The disc stayed in my truck's deck for a week.
The trio of 26-year-olds Mark Devito on drums, Ben Thorne on bass, and Neil Thompson on guitar and vocals is also no stranger to intuition. Having met at Hamilton College in New York, they'd originally been a four-piece called Great American with another college buddy, Matthew Stringer. Read more »
FILM I had a lot of hope for Rad. Every month in BMX Actionthere'd be a new scrap of news about some top pro who was going to ride in the movie, including my personal favorite racer, "Hollywood" Mike Miranda. When photos of the Helltrack — site of the film's climactic race — came out, you could lean your ear to the ground and hear the hearts of BMX groms beat just a little faster.Read more »
True to the post-postmodern hyperreal world of the inner-Web, I hit the Trucks' MySpace page before I'd heard their 2006 self-titled CD (Clickpop). Browsing through their photo pages, I saw toy xylophones, lots of keyboards, underwear on the outside, leg warmers, pigtails, and more stripes than a Quiet Riot promo photo. A brief listen to their posted tracks left me feeling old and arrhythmic. Read more »
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Dwarves are as close to punk rock royaltyas San Francisco is ever gonna have. They've been in the game since emigrating from Chi-town in the '80s, with nary a letup for soul-searching acoustic meandering or trips to rehab.
"What you wanna do, B? What you wanna do?" a voice queries in "Demented," from 2004's The Dwarves Must Die (Sympathy for the Record Industry). Read more »
I guess I'm a snob. It's not easy to admit, since I like to fancy myself a salt of the earth type, but there it is. I'd just assumed that after making two albums for Fat Possum, 2005's Stairs and Elevators and last year's amazing All This Time; opening shows for the Drive-By Truckers and Lucinda Williams; and touring clubs relentlessly in the headlining spot, the next logical step for Cincinnati's Heartless Bastards would be a change of geography.
I've got to admit I was intimidated. I've done enough interviews that I don't usually get the jitters beforehand, but San Francisco songwriter Rykarda Parasol's sheer self-possession on last year's full-length Our Hearts First Meet (Three Ring) had me a little spooked. Yeah, I've sat through enough interminable creative-writing workshops to know not to confuse the author with the story, the narrator with the narrative, the singer with the song. Read more »
My daughter, Dolores — otherwise known as Dolly, though only to family, as she's getting a little too sophisticated for nicknames — is a born rocker. The first music she heard, pipin' hot out of the womb, was London Calling by the Clash. Now that she's five, she wants more of the same when her father, mellowing in his old age, tries to catch the news on NPR on the way to kindergarten: "Dad, what is this? I don't want talk.... Read more »