January 20, 2007

Becoming a Mature, Responsible Adult

Legally, I am still a resident of Riverside. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I'm too damn lazy to constantly be filling out "change of address" forms. While I've lived at four different locations throughout Southern California in the past six years (not counting my parents' house), my parents have owned their home for more than thirty years. They aren't going anywhere (if laziness is inherited, they're probably too lazy to fill out change of address forms, too), so I figure it's way easier to keep the important documents - DMV stuff, voting stuff, etc. - going to the one place where I know I'll be able to retrieve them and won't have to worry abou the Post Office not forwarding something to me.

A side effect of this situation is that my father subsequently believes it is his right to open any piece of mail addressed to me that looks important. While it could be considered a violation of my privacy, it's actually a blessing. My dad knows I need the help. Case in point is my vehicle registration. Last year, when the DMV sent my truck's license renewal to my parents' house, my dad, of course, opened it, called me immediately, and made sure I took the forms with me after my last trip to Riverside, along with a reminder, "Don't forget to send that in!"

He should have been more forceful.

Not immediately having the $153 it would cost to renew my registration, I wrote out the check, placed it in an envelope, stamped and sealed the envelope, and placed in my desk drawer at work, with the thought that in a couple of weeks, when my bank account had the benefit of another paycheck, then I'd mail it in.

Then I promptly forget about it.

And not just forgot that it was in my desk, as opposed to it being somewhere else, but entirely forgot that such a thing even existed in my desk drawer...or anywhere else, for that matter.

Until three months later, when I got a phone call from my dad, who'd opened a letter addressed to me from the DMV, and learned that now I was delinquent with my registration renewal. He was FURIOUS. I promised to mail in the now $277 registration renewal, after convincing myself and insisting to my dad that I HAD intended to mail it in on time, but that it must still be sitting in the pile of papers next to my bed, and I'd just forgotten about it. But darndest thing, I never was able to find the forms in those piles of paper.

Because, as I discovered, EIGHT MONTHS later when I was clearing out my desk at work, having given my two-week notice at the radio station formerly known as KZLA, that that damn form had been ready to go after all, and was sitting right there in my desk drawer, just waiting for me to walk across the building and place in the mail crate. Who knew?!

With this change in job came a decision to make myself over as the girl who has her shit totally together. The weekend after Thanksgiving, I started mailing out Christmas cards...an event which, in the past, I started thinking about on December 23. Last year, many of my friends reported receiving their Christmas cards shortly after the New Year. This year, I disgusted many of them with my togetherness. My Christmas shopping was completed weeks beforehand (thank god for online shopping). I'm trying to make it a point to pay bills on time, to send "thank you" cards (and to send them promptly), and to at least put a little effort into my appearance at work - meaning the days of unbrushed hair at the workplace are over (unless I'm working on a weekend - then the "real" me takes over). It's all about the baby steps, people.

Well, last year's fiasco subsequently convinced my dad that I was COMPLETELY unable to take care of myself WHATSOEVER, and when my vehicle registration renewal arrived at the beginning of this year, it sent my dad into conniptions, because clearly, I couldn't be trusted to send ANYTHING in on time ever again. On top of that, my truck would have to get smog checked this year, too, and if I couldn't even handle the simple task of writing a check and putting it in the mail on time, surely I would be unable to drive to a smog center and have it tested, too, on top of all that. During the 36 hours that I was home at the beginning of January, my dad clearly thought I should make it a priority to take my truck to a smog center. Having enough other stuff to do, I told him I knew a good place in Burbank that could be trusted with such a task, and that if I didn't get it taken care of by the next time I was in Riverside, we could take care of it then. Thinking that I'd probably lose them, my dad volunteered, "Why don't you leave the forms with me, and then when you come back we can take care of it, then?" I had a better suggestion: "Why don't I just keep them with me, and then no matter what I decide to do, I'll have the forms with me?" He was clearly displeased with this offer, but he grudgingly accepted my logic.

It took a couple weeks longer than I'd wanted to finally make it to the smog center. The only mechanic I trust with my truck is named Fred, who works at a Shell Center on the corner of Verdugo and Hollywood Way in Burbank. He only charges $25 to change the oil in my truck, and doesn't try to sell me a bunch of extra services just because I have tits and clearly don't know any better than to take the suggestions of anyone in a pair of coveralls with grease underneath their fingernails. He's gotten more business from me than any of those yayhoos at EZ-Lube.

Unfortunately, Fred doesn't do the smog check himself, he takes it to a place just down the road. But he'd had some problems with his helper at the shop, and didn't have anyone to watch the shop while he ran down to the test-only center. He did, however, give me the card of the center, so I could theoretically take it down there myself. A few days later, when I had more time to drive all over the Valley, I took it down there, bright and early at 8am. But, oops, the guy who does the smog test wouldn't be in for another half hour and did I want to wait? Not a problem, I walked down to Lancer's, a nearby restaurant on Victory that I'm a big fan of, mostly because it's populated primarily by old people, so it's usually QUIET in there.

A couple hours later, I got a phone call from the smog center; did I know my gas cap was missing? Well, I did, but I'd planned to get that taken care of soon, too. It had only been stolen a couple of weeks ago...oddly, just before I got the notice from the DMV. The mechanic informed me that I couldn't pass the smog test without it.


Usually, the mechanic has extra gas caps for sale, but today he was out, did he mind if he went out to the auto parts store to buy one for me? NOT AT ALL. And once the new gas cap was in place, I was proud to receive the certificate saying that my truck had passed its smog test, despite the workings of some evil person who tried to screw me over by stealing my gas cap.

And on January 17, a full two weeks before my fees were due, I not only wrote out the check for the renewal, stamped and sealed the envelope, but also PLACED IT IN THE MAILBOX. No $277 late fee for me this year.

My dad says there's hope for me yet.

Posted by darlin at 12:13 AM

January 6, 2007

How Not to Hit on a Girl

::Security guard spots my "My Little Pony" backpack as I'm leaving work one night::

"Oh! You must have a little girl."

"Uh - no - it's mine. My friend's daughter saw it and wanted to buy it for me, because she knows I like 'My Little Ponies.'"

"You must be a Sagittarius."

"Um, no."





"Oh! Aquarius."








"Uh, Aries?"








"What's left?"


"Oh! Cancer. Yeah, you like to cook."

"Actually, no, I don't cook."

"You only cook a few things, but you cook them really well."

"No, I really don't cook anything. The only things in my refrigerator are beer and the occasional cold pizza."

"Oh. Well, when you're dating someone, you don't have to worry about your cheating on them, because you're not even attracted to anyone else."

Reluctantly, I admit, "Yeah, that's very true."

"Yeah, I was pretty faithful when I was married."

What a keeper.

Posted by darlin at 6:10 PM

December 17, 2006

Record Weirdo - RIP Tower Records

By Kevin Hillskemper

I will miss Tower Records. In an attempt to achieve closure, I loaded up with marked-down stuff at their going-out-of-business sales. More about that later.
The old Tower Records store in Brea always had special significance to me. It opened at the corner of St. College and Imperial Hwy in 1980. I was in High School and it was the first Tower I ever visited. It seemed huge. I had grown up buying records at rinky-dink mall stores like Music Plus and the Wherehouse. From there I graduated to smaller independent stores like Musix Box in Fullerton and Record Trading Center in Orange.
Tower was a whole new kettle of fish. Tower had everything. As you walked in the door, they had singles to the right, imports on the left, tapes (cassette AND 8-track) in the back, and acres of albums in the middle. I was in hog heaven. They even had Ticketron. Remember Ticketron? The first tickets I bought there were to see the Clash at the Hollywood Palladium.
When times were tough, I counted change to buy records. When times were good, I counted folding money to buy records.
I even had a romantic relationship begin at the store -- sort of. There was a girl that I knew from school. I would see her occasionally after that, at clubs and such. I even saw her when I was selling peanuts at Angel Stadium. She was at a baseball game with her dad. I thought it was really cool that she was reading a book during the game. Anyway, it took a chance meeting at Tower Records in Brea for me to finally ask her out on a date. She listened to The Cure but I liked her anyway.
As my world expanded to include larger, more exotic Tower Records stores in more glamorous, more exciting places like Hollywood and San Francisco, I realized what small potatoes the Brea store actually was. I have since been to Tower Records stores in Canada and Europe, but the Brea store will always have a special place in my heart. You never forget your first.
Sometime between my moving away from Orange County in the late 80s and my return in the early 00's, the Brea store moved from its original location to a much bigger and snazzier building across town. The older building is now a skate shop. Pretty soon all Tower Records stores will be something else, like earmuff and girdle factory outlets or beekeeper supply warehouses.
The going-out-of-business sales began sometime in November 2006. That's about when shameless scavengers like me started picking at the bones. Heres most of what I got in no particular order. Most of them were just a few bucks each. I excluded stuff that I will be giving out as Christmas presents because someone I know might read this.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts-Sinner. A little too slick, but still pretty darn good. Great covers of AC-DC by Sweet and Androgynous by the Replacements. What's she hinting at?

Lord Sutch-and Heavy Friends. Great early 70's hard rock self-indulgence. This album was produced by Jimmy Page and features Page, Jeff Beck, John Bonham, Noel Redding, and so on. A lot of it sounds like Led Zeppelin leftovers - Sutch was considered to be a horrible singer, but he's nowhere near as horrible as Robert Plant. In retrospect, he's not so bad at all. You can hear Sutch's influence on 2nd generation English punk singers like Jimmy Pursey, Charlie Harper, and Stinky Turner.

Lord Sutch-The Hands of Jack the Ripper. Not as good as "Heavy Friends." In fact, its not very good at all. Guests on this one include Keith Moon and Ritchie Blackmore.

Roger Daltrey-Can't Wait To See the Movie. Someday, that big 80's sound will become retro-cool. You know that sound - tons of synthesizers, big echo-drenched drums, four billion background singers, and those cheesy saxophones that sound like broccoli farts. When it does come back, I'll be able to say Ive been listening to this stuff for years. Truthfully, this album is a big bucket of shit. I like it.

Buzzcocks-Operators Manual. As a best-of compilation, I prefer "Singles Going Steady", but you can't go wrong here. There is some overlap with the two albums, but not enough that you shouldn't have both.

Buzzcocks-Flat Pack on to Sanity. This came out in 2006. The last couple of their albums that I heard were pretty dull. This one is better.

Curt Kirkwood-Snow. Where can you go after the Meat Puppets? This album is mostly acoustic and almost folky. Actually its amazing. He hasn't changed his style, he's simply figured out what it is, refined it, and has even improved on it. This was a real find. I dont know what it is but it makes perfect sense to me.

Deke Dickerson-Deke Down Under. Its the same old Dick Dekerson stuff but I like it. This is a combo-pack containing a CD and a 7-inch record. It is the last vinyl I will ever buy at Tower Records. I think it was the last piece of vinyl in the store. Sniff.

The Minus 5-Down With Wilco. In case you dont know, The Minus 5 is a revolving-door collective led by Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows. The band usually includes Peter Buck of REM and one or two of the Posies. I saw them quite a few times when I lived in Seattle. Their shows were usually good, but their albums were not -- too many inside jokes and stuff. This one, from 2003, is surprisingly good. It is almost-but-not-quite conventional pop with a few odd bits thrown in.

Elvis Costello-Live With The Metropole Orkest. Im wary of the "Elvis Costello With Strings" concept. He tends to over-sing in situations like that. I prefer his rock albums where he just yells. I'm not alone, judging from the number of these left on the shelf, but this one is really good. He is backed by a big-band jazz outfit with horns, strings, and the whole shebang. "Watching The Detectives" is reworked to sound like a TV theme song from the 50s and it works perfectly. It could be the definitive version. There is a bonus disc containing the instrumental score of an opera composed by Mr. Costello. Since I am not an expert on classical music, I can't tell if its good or bad but I like it. It sounds like a mish-mash of movie soundtracks.

Wrecking Crew-Static Dreams. Heres one for the kids. These talented youngsters sound kind of like the Adolescents. I like the last song with added keyboards and backing vocals and stuff. They have the good sense to stop before they get to the broccoli fart saxophones, but I'd probably like that too.

Epoxies s/t 5 song EP. Heres another one for the kids. I saw this band open for The Damned last month. They seem to exist in an alternate new wave universe where it's always 1980. They cover both "Beat My Guest" by Adam and the Ants and "We're All Clones" by Alice Cooper. They are respectful to both songs while making them sound not only like each other but like the Epoxies. I think the singer, Roxy Epoxy, has true star quality. She looks good and she can yodel. You cant beat that.

Hellbound Hayride-Stampede. This is from 2000. They sound pretty much the same now as they did then. If Johnny Cash were alive today, he would probably still sound pretty much like Johnny Cash.

Flaming Groovies-Teenage Head. The Flaming Groovies also exist in an alternate universe, but in theirs it is always 1965. This album originally came out in 1971 and it is fleshed out here with a couple of hundred bonus tracks. The song "Teenage Head" should have been the Stairway to Heaven of 1971. Something about that last statement doesn't seem right.

Flaming Groovies-Slow Death. This is a compilation of mostly unreleased recordings from 1971-1973 on Norton Records. I trust Norton and so should you. I might have paid full price for this if I had known it existed. But I didn't so I didn't.

Misfits s/t. What a bummer. The disc has a manufacturing defect. There is a blob of label ink on the playing side and the disc freaks out and skips all over the place. I used rubbing alcohol to remove some of the ink but it still won't play all the way through. There is an All Sales Final policy. Caveat emptor.

The Dictators-Bloodbrothers. This was their third and final album. It may not be their best, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Soul Asylum-The Silver Lining. I wrote my history-should-be-kinder-to-Soul-Asylum manifesto in my last record-store-going-out-of-business story and it still applies. I could be in a rut.

Big Star-Extended Versions. This was a pleasant surprise. It looked like another budget-bin best-of compilation. If you read the fine print, it says "Recorded Live" but not when or where. It is a post-reunion recording, sloppy and no-frills, with an uneven mix, feedback, and plenty of bum notes. I like it a lot.

Motorhead-Bomber (2 disc deluxe expanded version). Every home should have this. You should keep it in the medicine cabinet and periodically use it to clean all of the worlds impurities out of your ears.

Stiv Bators- LA Confidential. In between the Dead Boys and the Lords of the New Church, Bators recorded a couple albums worth of 60s influenced garage/power-pop/Nuggets type stuff. He did it well. Since the Dead Boys covered "Hey Little Girl" and the Lords did "Live For Today", Im guessing that's where his heart really was. He probably would have done more if there were a buck in it.

ADZ-Live Plus Five. A recent release from Tony Reflex's other band. Its funnier and more rock n roll than the Adolescents. I like it.

Dave Davies-Kinked. This is a pretty good compilation of solo stuff recorded by the other brother in the Kinks. “Death of a Clown” is here as well as “Living on a Thin Line” and a couple others that a casual Kinks fan would know. This holds together pretty well.

Dave Davies-Chosen People. I liked the “Kinked” CD so much that I splurged one whole dollar for this one. I didn’t really like it on first listen and I haven’t bothered to listen to it again. I may never.

Thunders, Kane, and Nolan-You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (DVD). This is a 1987 Johnny Thunders show captured on a single video camera. Whoever shot it sure liked to zoom in and out. I actually like it better than a “professional” looking live video. It’s a little grainy and blurry, but it does a good job of capturing the essence of the show. It’s weird to think that all these guys are dead now.

Marshall Crenshaw-Field Day. This guy’s songs are just too perfect. It’s hard to grab hold of something that has no flaws. That’s probably why he never became hugely successful. I defy any sane, rational person not to like “Whenever You’re On My Mind.” It has more hooks than a pirate barn dance.*

Marshall Crenshaw-Good Evening. This has more great songs messed up with cluttery 80’s overproduction. Big Music Biz had no idea what to do with this guy. If you want a good Marshall Crenshaw album, get his first one or a compilation of demos and home recordings called “The Nine Volt Years.”

*The phrase I had originally written was “more hooks than a pirate convention.” I was very proud of this phrase until I googled it and discovered that I didn’t invent it after all – it has been used at least 78 times before. Damn. Among the other phrases I considered was “more hooks than a slaughterhouse” but I thought it might be too rough. Besides, it is too similar to another music writing cliché “more chops than a butcher shop.”


The Final Day – December 20, 2006
All CD’s were a buck or a buck twenty-five – buy 4 and get the 5th for 1 cent. Being the way I am, I had to buy in multiples of five. I ended up with these ten items.

Hank III-Rising Outlaw. A friend of mine used to refer to him as “Hank Williams Junior the Third.” I can’t think of him any other way now. I like the way the major label slick production on this album contrasts with his wild quivery voice.

Hank III-Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’. On his second album, Hank Williams Junior the Third was given a little free reign. He wrote most of the songs and the whole thing has the back-porch feel that I think he wanted. However, I have a problem with the song “Seven Months and Thirty-nine Days.” Based on a thirty day month, wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it “Eight Months and Nine Days?” That’s like me saying I’m four feet and twenty-three inches tall.

Thin White Rope-The One That Got Away. I remember seeing this band sometime in the 80’s or 90’s. They were critical darlings from Central California. They sounded kind of like Television with a little bit of twang. It’s okay, but I’m thinking that I should have got that CD by Blackmores Night instead.

The Waitresses-The Millennium Collection. A guilty pleasure. I liked the blasé, hipster art chick singer. When KNAC was a new wave station they used to play the song “No Guilt” a lot.

Starz-Stadium Rock. This band was kind of like UFO Lite. They had a great song called “Cherry Baby.” It isn’t on this CD but I got it anyway.

VH1 Hair Metal Unplugged. I forget the real title, but it’s something like that. I don’t have it in front of me right now so I’ll just take a guess. It has bands like Winger and Dokken doing stripped-down acoustic versions of their songs. Who would have known that behind all of the makeup, all of the hairspray, and all of the silly costumes were a bunch of really bad songs?
I bought this as sort of a gag gift – as if I owe anybody an explanation.

Melvins-Houdini Live 2005. Heavier than dirt. Heavier than wet stinky dirt. Heavier than wet, stinky, polluted dirt from a nuclear test site. I think you get the idea.

The BellRays-A Little Faith. I like the way they sound with horns. They should do more of that. Just when you think they start getting pretentious and showy, they throw in a song with a title like “Snot Gun.” I hope they have a good lawyer because the title track sounds a lot like “Have A Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt.

The Pirates-Home and Away, Live in the 90’s. This is ridiculous and great. The Pirates were best known for the 1960 hit “Shakin’ All Over.” The 1990’s version consisted of guitarist Mick Green, his son on bass, a drummer, and some obscure “could have been a contender” heavy metal singer. Almost every song sounds like “Shakin’ All Over,” but the only time we hear the real song is during the last minute of an eight minute jam/medley. A magnificent train wreck.

Ben Vaughn-Designs in Music. Ten years after the revival of instrumental space age bachelor pad music and forty-some years after its peak, Ben Vaughn has the final word on the genre. The word is “beautiful.”

Posted by Big Kev at 5:27 PM

November 9, 2006

America, Land of the Pee

I am rapidly becoming one of those crazy old ladies that yells out "This is America!" at every turn. I know this because I want to shout this at panhandlers, kids who want me to buy candy outside Sav-On, people who want to discuss religion with me on my doorstep, and my neighbor across the street, who shall be henceforth known as "Wee Willie Winkie."

Let me explain: "This is America!" is shorthand for "I'm Free! I don't have to buy your candy, give you money, or follow your religion!" As the child of first-generation immigrants and grandparents who survived the Armenian holocaust, this declaration of independence is nothing short of patriotic, an anthemic glorification of rights.

Lately it has come to mean more.

While folding clothes one evening in my bedroom, which faces north, by the way, I witnessed my elderly (60-ish) Filipino neighbor open his garage, back out his Mercedes (it seems important that I identify the car here), and then close the garage. As if in afterthought, he exited the car, walked to the side gate separating his yard from the street, and lifting the leg of his shorts PEED ALL OVER THE SIDE OF HIS HOUSE!

And while doing so, he sort of looked around, as if to see if anyone had observed him. Which I did.

Now, we live on a busy street. There are cars driving up and down all the time. Our street is crossed by another street that bisects two large avenues which feed onto the freeway. There are a school and a park at the end of the street, and although it was Saturday, there is always a lot of traffic coming and going to the schoolyard and park, which are used for adult softball. Really. What was he thinking?

And my response? I wanted to run to the window and yell, "Hey, this is AMERICA!" Which in this case would have been shorthand for, "We don't pee in the street like dogs, we don't pee on our $750,000 houses, we don't live in a Third World country, you pig! My ancestors fought to get here so I wouldn't have to see some guy peeing on the side of a house!" Which is not very patriotic, but you get my drift.

I was raised with really strict manners and no where was I ever taught to pee on the side of your house when you are five feet away from the door of your own home which presumably has working plumbing. Really. I've also been taking some classes in conflict resolution and how to Conduct Tough Conversations. One of the first things they teach you is not to jump to conclusions, in other words to "Master Your Stories" and find out objectively why someone has done what they did without accusing them of ill intention. So, I tried to think about why someone would pee on the side of their own house. Maybe he has prostate cancer, maybe he's incontinent, maybe he's in a big hurry, maybe his plumbing is broken. MAYBE HE'S A TOTAL PIG.

Maybe his parents or he himself came to this country and worked hard to buy a suburban house just so he could pee on the side of it whenever he wanted. Hey, this is America, Land of the Pee. My Country Tis of Pee, Of Pee I Sing.

Posted by DJWanda at 10:29 PM

September 27, 2006

Record Weirdo - In Recovery

Text and Photo by Kevin Hillskemper

Why did the record collector cross the road?
He heard there were some rare records on the other side, past some quicksand and a minefield, in an old abandoned munitions factory under a pile of toxic waste.

How many record collectors does it take to change a light bulb?
Three – one to fall off the ladder, one to stick his finger in the socket, and one to offer you fifty cents for the light bulb because he says it’s scratched.

What do you call a woman that lives with a record collector?
His mom.

How do you disperse a crowd of record collectors?
Yell “Hey look, a bar of soap!” and they’ll scatter like cockroaches.

I’m in recovery. I sold off another chunk of my collection at the September 24th Orange County Record Show. I hadn’t even done any accumulating in the last year and a half since I last sold. I wanted to cut deep and make it hurt. I didn’t just want to lose some excess fat -- I wanted to lose some muscle and bone too. It went well.

I started out with a system. In July, I started going through my records. If I couldn’t name one song on an album – it goes. If I could name one song on it, I listened to that song for thirty seconds. If I didn’t like it – out it went. Singles were slightly different. Since I don’t bother to play 45’s any more, I just tried to cut my collection in half. My old punk singles are safe – they have immunity. My Elvis, Beatles, Stones, and Who aren’t going anywhere either – unless they’re duplicates of course. Pretty much everything else, however, is fair game.

I used the one-year rule on CD’s. If I haven’t listened to it in a year, it went. If it was a review copy and I hadn’t listened to it since I reviewed it – gone.

I didn’t actually abide by most of these rules but I still gathered up about 600 albums, 400 singles, 250 CD’s, a couple dozen 78’s, a couple music related books, a dairy crate of VHS tapes, and a smattering of 8-tracks for good measure.

I was off to the races.

When I arrived for load-in at 7:00 am on the morning of the show, I found out that the promoter had lost my reservation. Since he is a nice guy and he remembered me, he let me have a table in the foyer of the hall and promised that he would move me into the main room if he had any no-shows. He even offered me a cut rate. I took it. I'm easy - yes, I'm easy like Sunday morning.

Before I set up my wares, I went to the snack bar and filled my 16-ounce travel tumbler with fresh, piping-hot, Union Hall volunteer coffee. It would wreak havoc on my bladder for the next six hours.

I think my location worked to my benefit. I was the first table people saw when they walked in and the last one they saw on the way out. I sold so much stuff it was ridiculous. I sold stuff that I didn’t even know I had. I could have barfed on a plate and sold it as a rare psychedelic picture disc.

Whenever I sell, I separate my stuff down the middle. I put my valuable stuff on one side of the table and my cheap stuff on the other side. I occasionally throw a record that’s worth a few bucks in the budget bin with a bunch of one-dollar records. This gets the attention of the bargain hunters and keeps them flipping through the debris. More often than not, they become blinded by their good fortune and start gobbling up more records - seemingly at random. They will be so proud of their bargain-sniffing abilities that they won’t notice that they’re also buying a bunch of crap.
In business, these types of low-priced items are called “loss-leaders.” Since I’m not being paid anything extra for being original, I will call them that too. I could also call it “priming the pump”, “stacking the deck”, or “baiting the trap” but I’d rather not.

I didn’t sell anything that I can’t live without.

I did sell something that I never expected to. It was a two-record radio interview show from the early 70’s sponsored by the US Army. It was complete with cues for the announcer and recruitment commercials. The artists interviewed were Kiss, B.J. Thomas, Larry Coryell, and Charlie Daniels. I found it in a thrift store ages ago. It’s not listed in any price guide so I just arbitrarily slapped a 20-dollar price tag on it and forgot about it. I must have hauled it to ten record shows. The price tag had yellowed with age. I assumed it would have value as a Kiss collectible. I figured that fans of Thomas and Coryell probably wouldn’t want it because it has Kiss on it. Charlie Daniels fans wouldn’t buy it because they can’t read.

Sure enough, a Kiss fan bought it. I can be right sometimes. It just takes a while.

At these shows, there are always collectors that buy more than they can carry. I’ve seen them use shopping carts and little red wagons to haul their loot. You usually see a few people with those fold-up luggage caddies to haul boxes with. With more than one box, you need a dolly.
This time I saw something new – a wheelchair.

Some guy who was obviously experiencing medical problems was half pushing and half supporting himself on a well-worn wheelchair. The weight of a few hundred records in the seat of the chair was providing more that adequate ballast. He stopped at my table and talked for a few minutes. He selected a few Neil Diamond records from the one-dollar bin and explained that he was a performer in Las Vegas and needed to learn some Neil Diamond songs and add them to his repertoire. Because he was wearing one of those big Dr. Seuss looking hats, I didn’t believe a word he said. His elaborate story wasn’t even necessary. You don’t have to explain your tastes in music to me. If we learned anything from the 1970’s, it’s that Neil Diamond means never having to say you’re sorry.

Kiss fans never offer any explanations or apologies. I respect that.

A few hours into the show, the promoter offered me another table. He even offered to have my stuff moved for me. I declined. I liked where I was.

I saw Davie Allan from Davie Allan and the Arrows. I may have mentioned this before, but he is one of my all-time guitar heroes. He didn’t buy anything from me. Cheap bastard.

I sold off most of my Elvis impersonator records. I think I’ve written enough articles about them and I don’t need to hold on to my research material anymore. The guy who bought them owned a store and he said he couldn’t keep enough Elvis items in stock. He had some customers that would buy anything Elvis – even fake Elvis. He even bought an Elvis Costello single from me. You never know, someone might snatch it up before they finish reading the label.
Elvis stuff always sells like hotcakes. I hope nobody steals my idea of selling Elvis-shaped hotcakes. Note to self – buy Bisquick.

I’d like to go back to the topic of fan loyalty. A number of years ago, I was selling at a record show in Tacoma, Washington. A young disabled guy came up to my table wearing at least seventeen pieces of Ricky Nelson flair. Like a dork, I asked if he was looking for anything in particular. He pointed at a Ricky button the size of a hubcap on his chest and said “This guy right here.” I fished out a four-song EP from the 50’s and showed it to him. It was something he was looking for. I knew it was worth more than a buck, but that’s all I charged him for it.
I don’t know why I remember that, maybe because I question my own motivation. I don’t think I cut him such a sweet deal out of pity or able-bodied guilt - maybe I just admired his dedication. Jaded old cynics like myself are somehow incapable of that.

I couldn’t take advantage of a Ricky Nelson fan. I would, however, have no qualms about ripping off a fan of Jimmy Buffett or the Insane Clown Posse.

I didn't sell a single 8-track tape. I sold a few 78's and then gave the rest away.

When three o’clock rolled around, I was itching to go but I was trapped. Earlier in the day, some guy bought more stuff than he could carry. He asked if I could put it in a box and hold it for him behind the table. Since he already paid me for it, I felt obligated. About 2:30 in the afternoon, dealers started packing up and leaving. A few scavengers showed up looking for scraps but the action was pretty much over. At 3:01, one minute after the show officially closed, I went into the main room to look for the guy. Since the room was almost empty, he was pretty easy to find. He was at a table in back preventing a dealer from closing up shop. I handed him his box of stuff and jokingly accused him of leaving a trail of filled boxes at every table. This seemed to upset him and he vehemently denied it. He acted like I was a spouse confronting him about an infidelity.
I just thanked him and left. He bought a lot of stuff from me.

People. I’ll never understand them.


Posted by Big Kev at 9:44 PM

July 25, 2006

We're from Canada; What's Your Excuse?

"Thank you for your time!" the border patrol jovially says to Jessee Havey, as she exits customs while wondering, "What the hell is that all about?"

Meanwhile, another agent gruffly asks Leonard Podolak, "What are you coming into the States for?"
"I'm going to LA to shoot a video." No more questions asked about the nature of said 'video'; Leonard is stamped through.

Such were the experiences of The Duhks as they made their way from their Canadian home of Winnipeg to the outrageously hot climate of LA to shoot a video - no, not for that - for their new song "Out of the Rain" from their forthcoming CD Migrations. Stopping by the Altville studios to tape some songs for the show, they were tired from their flight, and frustrated that the airline lost their luggage. Fortunately, they were able to borrow an acoustic guitar from their labelmates Shurman, and I was able to find a bongo drum in one of our studios, so they wouldn't have to make do with an upside down cardboard box as a makeshift percussion. Despite the setbacks, they were in good spirits.

The Duhks performed "Mists of Down Below" from their last record The Duhks, and three songs from their forthcoming record, including "Ol' Cook Pot", "Mountains O' Things," and the first single, an achingly beautiful ballad called "Out of the Rain", the first song lead singer Jessee Havey has written. If the rest of the album is as good as that sampling, the Duhks' third album will see them soaring to new heights.

Look for Migrations to hit stores on September 12.

Posted by darlin at 10:45 AM

July 19, 2006

Finding Love - A Moment with Shawn Mullins

"Somebody came to my show not too long ago, and she goes, 'I wish you would do that song.' She didn't know how to say it without criticizing me. It was really sweet, though; she was like, 'You know, you almost get that note. You don't quite hit it, but that's what I like about it.' I think there is something about that kind of emotion, though - there definitely is, not just for my voice, but for a lot of stuff that a lot of us listen to, and you end up hearing stuff that's not perfect, but there's something human and emotional because of that."

That's a story Shawn Mullins shared (not realizing I was rolling tape) when he came in-studio earlier today to tape some songs for Altville, the radio show I produce. He said that in reference to one of the most beautiful songs on his latest CD 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor, "Find Love." I'd asked him to play "Find Love" live so we could air that version on Altville, as well as the studio version we've been playing, and I have never seen anyone perform a song so intensely and so passionately. He shyly confessed afterward that that particular song is a very, very personal one, and he rarely plays it live, because it's so close to his heart, which made me feel so honored that he'd be willing to allow us to play it on Altville.

Just about all of the artists that come through Altville are super-appreciative of the radio play, but Shawn went above and beyond that by sharing "Find Love" with us. My respect for him only increased when, after breaking a string at the end of a song we were taping, he insisted we record the song again. No complaints from the peanut gallery - we were more than happy to listen to him play again. In addition to being extremely generous, Shawn's also a perfectionist - a dangerous combination.

Shawn had a top 10 hit on the pop charts back in 1999 for his song, "Lullaby," but 9th Ward is without a doubt an Americana album. In fact, some people (and I'm one of them) would argue that Soul's Core (the album that included "Lullaby") is an Americana album, too (don't believe me? Listen to "Twin Rocks, Oregon" or his cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down"). Shawn continues his "tribute to country's past" in 9th Ward, with the murder ballad "Cold Black Heart," but also includes progressive Triple A-type songs like "Beautiful Wreck" (which has already reached #1 on the Triple A charts) and "Blue As You." Half of the album was recorded in the New Orleans studio, the 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor, and after Hurricane Katrina destroyed it, Shawn named the album after the studio as a tribute, making his cover of "House of the Rising Sun" particularly poignant.

Altville airs locally on KZLA Sunday nights at 11pm. Listen to the show in the next few weeks to hear more about Shawn Mullins, or even better - pick up a copy of the album itself, and find out why "Find Love" - not to mention Shawn himself - is so darn special.

Posted by darlin at 5:48 PM

July 18, 2006

Stranger than Fiction: A Summer Guide to Books About Music

It's summer. The days are long. It's hot. And if you're like me, you are looking to stay cool, perhaps by the pool with a book, or lounging between the aisles at the library, or at least in a Barnes and Noble sipping Frappacinos and reading books without having to buy them for a long time.

Which is why Big Kev and I have come up with a list of books you may or may not want to read this summer. Forget the best sellers, these are books by, for, and about music lovers. Rock on!


The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography by Charles White

DJ Wanda: Little Richard's influence on music is indisputable. There are also some great rare photos and interesting tidbits in this book, which bills itself as the "Authorised Biography" of Little Richard. That being said, when I finished the book, I didn't really like Little Richard as a person or care what happened to him. He writes extensively about his deviant sex life, his drug use, his homosexuality, his redemption and numerous "falls from grace," but somewhere in the middle, I stopped caring. It's all strangely hollow. I think he might be insane. I remember that when I saw him at SXSW, he worked the crowd, with helpers to hand out religious tracts. I have a signed autographed picture that says "God Loves and Cares for you. Please don't forget that."

Big Kev: I believe Little Richard is insane. That makes him a better rock star. The book might have been intended as a way for him to confess his sins in order to redeem himself, but the confessions come off as just plain bragging. I don’t know how much of what he says is true, probably not much, but he is quite a teller of tales. It’s up to the reader whether or not to believe stories of his airborne religious awakening or his backstage three-way with Buddy Holly and a stripper. Yes, it’s hollow and empty, but at least it’s sleazy.
About your SXSW experience - he’s been handing out the same picture and religious tracts for well over a
decade. I got one when I saw him play in 1994 and my wife got the same one a couple of years ago when he
jumped out of a limo in Hollywood and started handing them out to people on the sidewalk.


Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates by John Albert

DJ Wanda: Out of all the books we've read so far, this is easily my favorite, which is surprising because I am definitely not a baseball fan. This is not a book about baseball, however, although if you love the game, you'll find much to delight you here. John Albert actually writes a book with believable male characters, and there are precious few of those around. Yes, the characters are not always likeable; they make poor choice after poor choice. But they are fallible, human, and struggling and you root for them just as much as any sports team. In that way, I believe John Albert has written an essentially "human" story; his character captures the male voice just as well as "male" authors like Hemingway, Faulkner, and Cormac McCarthy. Unlike Hemingway (too unfeeling), Faulkner (too hard to read) and McCarthy (too dark), Albert really voices a kind of "everyman" in his protagonist, if that "everyman" were an unemployed ex-junkie. And really, who hasn't felt like that? The book spares no one: the female characters are just as culpable as the male (no hookers with hearts of gold here) and everyone struggles with their own demons.

The book is bleak at times, funny at others, and sometimes downright gross. Well-written and captivating. A good read, any time of year.

Big Kev: Not really a music book per se, it’s actually more of a feel-good sports story, but it has some musicians as real-life characters. Wanda’s favorite guitar hero Dave Navarro makes an appearance as well as an un-named, wig-wearing rock star that is probably Gene Simmons. As the saying goes – close enough for rock and roll. Anyway, we made the rules so we get to break them whenever we want to.

Here’s the story – a bunch of misfits, 12-steppers, and bohemian types get together and form an adult-league baseball team. Superficially, this book is about baseball but you don’t have to have an interest in baseball to enjoy it. It’s full of fascinating characters, each of whom has their own hard-luck story, finding each other and establishing friendships and support networks. Before I make it sound like some kind of corny Norman Rockwell painting, I have to say that not all of the intertwined stories have happy endings. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, sometimes it’s hilarious, but it’s never boring. There’s some pretty disgusting stuff here, but I mean that in a good way. Highly recommended.

I met John Albert, the author of this book, twenty-some years ago through a mutual friend. I barfed at his house and he made an audio recording of it. Long story.


Don't Try This At Home: A Year in the Life of Dave Navarro by Dave Navarro and Neill Strauss

DJ Wanda: My boyfriend got this for Christmas, so I read it. This is the ultimate cheesy vacation read - all calories, no nutrition. Even if you are a huge Dave Navarro fan (and I don't know any), I can't imagine why you would want to spend 10 minutes in the life of a self-centered, narcissistic asshole like Dave Navarro, let alone a year. I kept putting this book down, and swearing I would never pick it up again, then picking it up. I kept wishing he would overdose and die, but I knew he was still alive, and had a cheesy reality show, so he wouldn't. What a shame. After finishing the book, I couldn't tell you why the man is famous. Almost everyone near him dies at some point; I believe that the man sucks the life out of people, like a modern day Dorian Gray. Read this if you have absolutely nothing better to do and don't pay for the book, by any means.

Big Kev: What a snooze-fest. For a book about an egotistical rock star, this is incredibly boring. He’s certainly no Little Richard – as a talent or even the subject of a book. For some reason, I want to compare him to Courtney Love. They’ve both become the kind of celebrity that is famous merely for being famous. Sure, they both make albums once in a while but nobody ever hears them or buys them. Both Navarro and Love have worn out the welcome mats of countless drug rehab centers, but at least Courtney Love does interesting things like breaking into houses and starting bar fights. All Dave Navarro does in this book is stay home and take drugs. One of the few highlights is when his whole body breaks out in scabs.

If this book were made into a movie, who would you cast as Dave Navarro – Corey Feldman or Gary Coleman?

Posted by DJWanda at 10:48 AM

July 2, 2006

This Should Go On Forever - Wanda on Wanda


This article appeared in the June 29th edition of the OC Weekly. Imagine my surprise when Wanda actually performed "Right or Wrong" (along with "Mean, Mean Man", "Fujiyama Mama" and "Riot" at the Hootenanny! I was melting, and not just from the heat!

Among the performers I’ve met—a stellar lot that includes Janice Martin, Larry Collins and Buck Owens—Wanda Jackson is the only one who actually had me shaking in my boots. Backstage at the Crazy Horse, I was sweating so bad and shaking so hard, I could barely speak. So when I started thinking about Wanda, I couldn’t stop: most folks are in the dark about what a phenomenal songwriter she was. At a time when squeaky-clean cupcake Kitty Wells was the standard for female country singers, Wanda stood out with her amazing vocal skills and raw sexual presence. In fact, music writer Nick Tosches once famously described Wanda Jackson as “the greatest menstruating rock & roll singer whom the world has ever known.” I don’t know if I’d put it quite that way, but I couldn’t agree more.

Here are 10 of my favorite Wanda Jackson songs:

1. “Wasted” (1955): Written by Wanda Jackson and her father, Tom Jackson. This is kind of a rare one; in fact, I didn’t know this was a Wanda Jackson song until the Stumbleweeds covered it, and I thought it was the best song I’d ever heard. Now I know why. This song should be more famous than it is.

2. “Fujiyama Mama” (1957): An Earl Burrows song recorded in 1957, this song languished until becoming a huge hit for Wanda in Japan late in 1958. When Wanda toured Japan, she was received with a red carpet and thousands of bowing fans. It’s still a scorcher live.

3. “Right or Wrong” (1960): This song has a Patsy Cline vibe to it, but it is pure Wanda. Recorded in 1960 and released with the B-side “Funnel of Love.”

4. “Funnel of Love” (1960): Vaguely suggestive and still hot 46 years later, Wanda’s sexy growling and Roy Clark’s amazing experimental guitar (yes, Hee Haw’s Roy Clark) make this track sound contemporary today. It’s no surprise that the Cramps wanted to partner with Wanda on this for her 2003 album of duets, Heart Trouble.

5. “I Gotta Know” (1956): An early Wanda song penned by Thelma Blackmon, this features a slow-fast-slow-fast rhythm that alternates between rockin’/tearful and country/rockabilly and allows her to demonstrate her powerful pipes and emotional range as she implores her boyfriend, “If our love’s the real thing/where is my wedding ring?” Guitar whiz Joe Maphis took the solos, while Buck Owens was the session guitarist.

6. “Riot in Cell Block #9” (1960): Wanda’s cover of Lieber-Stoller’s classic switches the setting to a women’s prison and makes earlier versions sound tame. This is always a treat live.

7. “Let’s Stop Kicking Our Hearts Around” (1961): Written by Wanda for Buck Owens, this was never a hit for Wanda but went to No. 8 for Owens in 1962. Owens, who was a session musician before he realized his own fame, played guitar on all Wanda’s major recordings from 1956 through 1958.

8. “This Should Go On Forever” (1961): A more mature Wanda sings this tear-jerker. She never does this one live, but it’s still one of my favorites.

9. “Mean, Mean Man” (1958): Written by Wanda after a suggestion from her father, this song chronicles the singer’s frustration with a “mean, mean man” who is never around, calls late for dates, arrives late, doesn’t kiss her, and is generally “low down.” I know this guy. And like Wanda, I love him all I can.

10. “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad” (1956): I’m not sure whether I like this song more for its tune or its message, an instruction manual on how to infuriate your boyfriend by laughing in his face, flirting with strangers, and dating his friends. The carefree nature of this song may prove that Wanda was into girl power long before the Spice Girls.

DJ Wanda hosts Howdylicious! on KUCI-FM 88.9 every Sunday, 8-10 p.m. Visit www.kuci.org for more info.

Catch Wanda Jackson at the Hootenanny with Rev. Horton Heat, Tiger Army, Flogging Molly, Supersuckers, Horrorpops, the Living End, Chris Spedding & Robert Gordon (Reunion), Lee Rocker, Manic Hispanic, Big Sandy, James Intveld, Ricky Warwick, 3 Bad Jacks, Hellbound Hayride and Calavera. At Oak Canyon Ranch, 5305 E. Santiago Canyon, Irvine; www.ticketmaster.com or www.thehootenanny.com. Sat., noon. $35-$100. All ages.

Posted by DJWanda at 6:39 PM

June 3, 2006

Record Weirdo - More Adventures in the Budget Bin

by Kevin Hillskemper

I’ve been to a few record shows this year but I haven’t spent very much money. It hasn't been a conscious or deliberate thing but I believe my method of collecting is becoming more focused. I am more selective in my purchases. I only buy crap.
I don’t understand collectors that are obsessed with “first pressings” or “mint condition.” What does “VG++” mean anyway? It means you have bad breath, a comb-over, and a Sun Records t-shirt that’s four sizes too small.

Each of the following records was purchased this year at record shows for a dollar or less.

Hank Snow - Songs of Tragedy
I bought this for the cover alone. I haven’t listened to it. I don’t want to ruin a good thing.


David Bowie – La grande storia del ROCK
I really like this series of albums that came out of Italy in the 70’s. They always have great colorful covers and what appear to be randomly compiled songs that are seldom representative of the artists. This is a good one. The pictures on the cover show Bowie in his 70’s incarnations of Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, but the songs are all his pre-fame 60’s slightly psychedelic pop recordings like “The Laughing Gnome.”

Rick Nelson – The Singles Album 1963*1974
This compilation from England goes from “Fools Rush In” to “Garden Party” with a lot of good stuff in between. I like it. It's a shame that Rick will always be overshadowed by Ricky.

Vomit Launch – Exiled Sandwich
I lived in Chico, CA for a few years and used to see these guys (and gals) play in bars and barns all over town. It’s kind of jangly in a Siouxsie and the Banshees meet early REM kind of way. This is a nice time-capsule of 1980’s small-town bohemia. The best song title is “Clowns Are Whores.”

Mrs. Millers Greatest Hits
This record is very popular with collectors. Listening to “outsider” music makes them feel smug and superior. Now that I have a copy, will they accept me as one of their own?

The Southern Death Cult
This is a hodge-podge of demos and live recordings made before this band changed their name to The Cult and got famous. It’s pretty good in a Roger Corman directed Vincent Price movie based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe kind of way.

Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson was a tribute artist before it was such a common thing. He used to do a Jimi Hendrix show that was said to be quite convincing. I’ve never seen him play, but I met him once. I think I heard that the Hendrix family is preventing him from doing his Hendrix act any more.
The songs on this album are all originals. So what does it sound like? Has anybody ever heard of Robin Trower or Mahogany Rush? Not very much like that.

The Titanics
These guys were from back east somewhere – I don’t know – Massachusetts or one of those other “M” states. They had some great songs. I like “Drag You Down To My Level,” “You Just Ain’t Good Enough,” and “Going Out Of My Way To Be Nice To You.” The music is fairly standard post-Replacements guitar rock but with titles that good, who cares? Other song titles of note are “Staying On The Right Side Of Satan,” “Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” and “High On Drugs.”
Why didn’t stuff like this catch on instead of all that Smashing Pumpkins drivel?

Surf Punks –My Beach
I remember song “My Beach” being funny in a Ramones kind of way but I had never heard the whole album. I didn’t miss much. Most novelty music doesn’t age well and this is no exception. It’s not very surf and not very punk. Drummer Dennis Dragon’s brother was the Captain in Captain and Tennille. I really don’t care either.

Elvis Presley – the Ultimate Performance
This is a made-for-budget-bin live compilation from K-tel UK. Not the most exciting recordings I’ve heard, but remember what you’re reading.

Devo – Freedom Of Choice
I was a big fan of the first two Devo albums. When this one came out, the luster had pretty much worn off for me. Then “Whip It” became a hit and I had to stop listening to Devo because everyone else started to. I had some silly self-imposed rule about not liking anything popular. I got over it.

Nite City
I paid fifty cents for this bad boy. There’s something about it that I like, but I can’t figure out what it is. This combo, led by Ray Manzerek of the Doors, also featured Nigel Harrison of Blondie. The music is a cross between slick 70’s rock and new wave pop. Doors biographer Danny Sugerman contributes some goofy Morrison-esque lyrics.
The album is like Velveeta and Spam over a bed of brown rice.

The Rhino Brothers Present The World’s Worst Records, Volume 2
The highlight of this collection is “Goodbye Sam” by Shad O’Shea – a long, rambling narrative using a woman’s descent into prostitution, insanity, and suicide as a metaphor for America’s moral disintegration. It’s a little more hard-hitting than John Wayne’s spoken word album.
“The Troggs Tapes” is pretty good, but it doesn’t really fit the theme of the album. I like “Split Level Head” by Napoleon XIV. I will only mention “Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage” by Killer Pussy for titillation and shock value. Approximately 92% of this album is empty made-to-order sub-Dr. Demento novelty fodder.

U.K. Squeeze
Squeeze’s first album was a little rougher and edgier than their later pop hits. John Cale produced it. “Take Me I’m Yours” is the poppiest thing here. It’s on red vinyl.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Goodbye Cruel World
The Only Flame in Town (12 inch single)
Everyday I Write The Book (12 inch single)
“Goodbye Cruel World” is arguably Elvis Costello’s worst album. I’ve owned it before but I got rid of it because I didn’t like the way it sounded. I gave it another chance. I like it now. I’ve either become more open-minded and accepting or my ears have become soft and mushy from prolonged exposure to horrible music. The production is very 80’s, but the songs are good. Elvis Costello has said he hopes that sound never comes back.
Among other things, Costello is known for collaborating with his musical heroes. He has worked with George Jones, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Chet Baker, and Allen Toussaint among others. On “The Only Flame in Town” he sings with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates and fulfills his lifelong dream of being Oates.
“Everyday I Write The Book” was a hit as it should have been. It has a couple of good non-album b-sides.

Grand Funk – We’re An American Band
The Funk of Forty Thousand Years. Okay, let’s weigh the pros and cons here. The title song is great. It stands today as one of the great anthems of 70’s rock and roll decadence. The other songs are okay. The production by Todd Rundgren is fine by me. The shiny gold metallic cover is very nice. I like the yellow colored vinyl. So far, so good, right? If you open up the gatefold sleeve you’ll see this:
What the hell were they thinking? They must have been on dope.

Posted by Big Kev at 12:08 PM

May 2, 2006

An Interview with the Flametrick Subs

buzzbomb.jpg missfortune3.jpg

The following interview with Clem Hoot and Miss Fortune, of the Austin voodoobilly band The Flametrick Subs took place in the middle of their April 9th live performance on the Howdylicious and Trash-o-matic Garbage A-go-go radio shows (KUCI 88.9FM in Irvine, CA) and was conducted by Trash-o-matic host, Filthy Rotten Wes.

Filthy Rotten Wes: Why don’t you both introduce yourselves for our listeners?
Clem Hoot: Well, I’m Clem Hoot. Lead guitar, some vocals, I guess, for The Flame Trick Subs.
Miss Fortune: I’m Miss Fortune. I play drums.

FRW: Can you tell us about the other members briefly?
Miss Fortune: Buster Crash is rhythm guitar, lead vocals,....general sense of humor.
Clem: And Lefty DeMarco, upright bass.

FRW: I’m gonna ask you right now, who’s the bad influence in the band?
Miss Fortune: Lefty.
Clem: Definitely Lefty
FRW: How so?
Clem: He’s evil, pure evil.
Miss Fortune: He’s always slipping bottles of alcohol into our luggage.
FRW: It sounds like he’ll be your downfall.
Clem: That’s right...He’s the T.V. thrower.

FRW: You are actually out here, playing a few shows to promote your new album “Voodoo Doo.”
Clem: That’s right.
FRW: What are your upcoming stops along the way?
Miss Fortune: Vegas baby! That’s next! We head out tomorrow to the Double Down, Tuesday and Friday.
FRW: You’re gonna be there during Viva Las Vegas. So all the folks out here who are heading there can see you play as well?
Miss Fortune: Right.
Clem: As early as Tuesday the 11th and then on Friday the 14th .

FRW: Are Satan’s Cheerleaders going to be performing with you at these stops?
Miss Fortune: Yes.
Clem: Yeah. We (The Subs and Satan’s Cheerleaders) played last night in San Diego, down at The Zombie Lounge and the night before at The Doll Hut. It was a packed house. We love playing there. And after Vegas we’re heading to Prescott, Arizona to play with The High Rollers -our good buddies- Then Albuquerque, and then heading back to Austin.

FRW: Sounds good! And I’ve heard that you usually make two stops out here, in California, during the year. Can we expect you again out here later in the year?
Clem: Oh yeah.
Miss Fortune: Around October or November.

FRW: Now, for those who are less worldly and do not know the story about the Cheerleaders, can you tell us the story of how they came to be a part of the live performance?

Clem: Wow...yeah. We’ve actually just had a ten year anniversary with the girls. They’ve been dancing with us a better portion of these last ten years now. Before that, we were just, you know, good old boys from Waco. Haha!
Miss Fortune: It started out as a joke one Halloween and they never went away. But we’re happy about that.
FRW: And I’m sure that a lot of the viewers are happy about that too!

FRW: Now, one thing that I’ve noticed with your albums is that they’ve got a number of cover songs. You’ve got The Sonics’ “Psycho” on the new album and Warren Smith’s “Uranium Rock.” How does the band go about choosing a song to cover. Is it a unanimous decision?
Clem: We play a lot of live shows and it’s the songs that really go over well, usually, that we feel “well, lets give this one a shot in the studio.” And that’s why, I guess, we’ve come up with some of those songs.

FRW: Amongst yourselves, do you feel you’ve got pretty diverse taste in music?
Miss Fortune: Oh yeah.
Clem: Its insane.
FRW: Where does that take you?
Clem: Oh gosh...Well, I think its more of what the common bond is among us. We all like Johnny Cash. That’s a huge influence on us. We all love The Ramones, The Cramps, Iggy Pop
Miss Fortune: Just a lot of old rock and roll from the 50's, 60's garage bands. That’s where a lot of it comes from... Just not wanting to do the same covers that everyone always does, pulling out our own original ideas from these roots.
Clem: We like the obscure ones, we don’t like to do what everyone covers.
FRW: Well, speaking of obscure, here’s where the obscure questions come in.

FRW: If the band were to star in its own cult movie, a la Guitar Wolf in “Wild Zero,” what would it be about? Would it be a horror? A comedy?.....An epic, perhaps?
Miss Fortune: A Three Stooges movie.
Clem: You hit the first two right on the head.... Lots of blood.
Miss Fortune: Lots of gore...flying heads.

FRW: Any movie plans for the present?
Clem: Well, we have a new live DVD coming out, which is really cool. We recorded it at Antone’s back in Austin.
Miss Fortune: Its called “Six Feet Deep in the Heart of Texas.”
Clem: Yeah, it should be ready in a couple of months. We have a couple of cool features on it, like a Buzz Bomb music video that we shot last year here. And there’s some weird animation on there, so you can look forward to that.
FRW: So we can expect the DVD to come out later in the year?
Miss Fortune: Yes.

FRW: If tomorrow the band found out that it would be headlining a live, one night only, sold out performance in Hell, who would you choose for an opening act?
Miss Fortune: Alive, dead, whatever we want? It doesn’t matter?
FRW: Yeah, that’s why its in Hell.
Miss Fortune: Ha! It would be everybody we knew.
Clem: I was thinking Buddy Holly would be perfect.

FRW: Anyone else?
Clem: Oh yeah, tons...Satan. I hear he plays a pretty mean guitar.

FRW: Moving on....Between me and you Clem....This one’s kind of hard for me to ask...If some charming, sophisticated radio DJ were interested in taking Miss Fortune’s hand in marriage, what would it take to win her over?
Miss Fortune: (laughs)
Clem: Oh man....I don’t know...a billy club?(laughs)
FRW: So go caveman style?
Clem: I guess.
FRW: Is violence the only thing that warms her heart?
Miss Fortune: Rufies...
Clem: Kitties?
Miss Fortune: Violent kitties!.... Kitty zombies....that like to drink whiskey and...dress in vinyl...and drive ‘55 Chevrolets......and drugs.
FRW: I’ll start figuring out how to do go about doing that...

FRW: The band is stranded on a deserted jungle island and pineapple and coconuts are just not cutting it. Who would be the first to be made into a “Stew of You,” so to say?
Clem: Lefty.
Miss Fortune: The Cheerleaders
Clem: Oh, yes! The Cheerleaders! They’re more meaty. Chomp! Chomp!
FRW: That sounds like it would be good eating!
Clem: You’re getting us in trouble here!

FRW: Lets see. So, we can look forward, next fall, to seeing you around the California coast. But until then, how can fans or those interested in finding your music or learning about upcoming shows do that?
Clem: We are quite independent. I guess the best way is “Flametricksubs.com
Miss Fortune: And we’ve got a spot on Myspace!

FRW: Well, I’ve got to say that meeting you all in person has been really an honor because not only are you excellent musicians, but you are nice people. I can tell that you really care about your fans, you care about the music...and its really an honor having you out here tonight.
Clem: Hell yeah!
Miss Fortune: Thank you! We love it!
Clem: We love the west coast and can’t wait to come back!
Miss Fortune: We love your shows! Yours and Wanda’s (Howdylicious!). They’re amazing!
FRW: Well, thank you! And I’d like to thank the two of you and the rest of the band for coming down today.
Clem: Right on!

Check out The Flametrick Subs brand spankin’ new full-length album “Voodoo Doo” on the Texas Flat Lizard label! Also remember to tune in to Wanda’s Howdylicious (Sundays 8PM-10PM) and Filthy Rotten Wes’ Trash-o-matic Garbage A-go-go (Sundays 10PM-Midnight), both on KUCI 88.9FM in Irvine, CA. (streaming live online at www.kuci.org )!

Posted by DJWanda at 10:05 PM

March 12, 2006

Record Weirdo - Tom Jones, An Appreciation and Buyers Guide

by Kevin Hillskemper
Is there anything left to say about Tom Jones? Only that he is the king of the universe and has been for over 700 years. He has contributed much to our culture. Women throw their underwear at him when he performs. If that doesn't seem very substantial, think about how much you have accomplished.

I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of useless history – he is the son of a coal miner, he learned to sing while defending his home from Viking hordes, he has healed lepers, he invented the electric pencil sharpener, he rescues kittens from trees, families from burning buildings, and so on.

I’ve seen him perform live three times – all of them in Las Vegas. That does not even come close to qualifying me as a fanatic. The first time I saw him was over a decade ago. The second and third times were within the past two months. He is a lot better now that he was a decade ago. How many performers can you say that about? With the possible exception of Danny Bonaduce, I can’t think of any.
Although you can’t top Tom as a live performer, his recorded legacy is pretty spotty. I don't know how many studio albums he has released and I really don't want to. The same goes for his live albums. There are twelve zillion “Best Of” compilations and they all have “It’s Not Unusual.” Most are diluted with sub-standard filler.

His all-time best album, in my opinion, is “Tom Jones & Jools Holland”. It was made in 2004 but, as far as I know, has not been released in the US. It is only available as an expensive import.
If this were recorded by someone other than Tom Jones and released on some respectable blues or jazz label, it would be heralded as the rebirth or salvation of American musical something or another, but I haven't figured out what. He is a great blues singer. Although his reputation as a lounge singer might keep him from being taken seriously as an artist, I doubt he loses any sleep worrying about it.
The songs on this album include blues classics such as "200 Lbs. of Heavenly Joy", "Good Morning Blues/One O'Clock Jump", "St. James Infirmary Blues", "A Mess of Blues", and "My Babe". Of course, Tom took some artistic liberty with "200 Lbs." - the Willie Dixon/Howlin' Wolf song originally weighed in at 300 pounds, but he is still Tom Jones and not Barry White. Anyway, what Tom does to these songs is amazing. He not only keeps them truthful to their gritty origins but adds to them with his own bombastic bellowing. I think I'm trying to say that he's being truthful to both the songs and himself. The album slows down with some well-chosen country songs and then speeds up with "Slow Down". I enjoyed writing that last phrase.
There are even a few songs that bear a Tom Jones co-writing credit. Has that been done before? I don't think so.
Overall, the album sounds great. It even rocks in places. Jools Holland's piano is suplemented by guitars, drums, horns, and other actual instruments. There are no fake-sounding synthetic strings, drum machines, loops, or samples that have rendered much of Tom Jones's latter-day output into smarmy, instantly-dated, trendy novelties.

Here are some more critic-style comments that I couldn't find a smooth seque for:
I am not smart enough to understand metaphors, therefore I can only interpret “Hang Up My Heart For You” literally. That being said, it reminds me of the song “Kill” by Alberto Y Los Trios Pananoias and the immortal lyric “I’m gonna rip my liver out and nail it to your door.”
“It’ll Be Me” Let me give this metaphor thing a shot. If you find a new lump in your sugar bowl, I think you should see a doctor.
“The Glory of Love” and “Mom and Dad Waltz” are the only true pieces of fluff on here. I suspect that if Tom Jones did an album that was 100% schmaltz-free he would go into withdrawals. If you don’t like it, then that’s okay – no hair off Tom’s chest.

The CD closes with Jerry Lee Lewis’s “End of the Road”. I hope not. He should make more albums like this.

I'm not sure how many Tom Jones albums I have and since I'm not really in a counting mood, let's just say I have more than 10 but less than 20. They’re all not all good. Here are some interesting ones.

“Live at Caeser’s Palace” has a great cover. This is not only the best Tom Jones album cover , but it could possibly be the best album cover of all time - period. If the music on it were half as good as the cover it would be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, it's only about 35% as good, which is still 35% more than any given Doobie Brothers album. It came out sometime in the 70’s and was pressed on thin, inferior vinyl that became brittle over time. Like any anal-retentive collector, I’m pretty gentle about handling my records but I recently pulled this one out of the cover and it broke. This is a two-record set and record two is definitely better than record one - especially since record one is broken.

“Live in Las Vegas” is one his better albums. It doesn’t have many dopey ballads to slow it down. It has the expected hits like, "Delilah" and "Unusual", plus versions of "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude" that are better than the Beatles versions - "Yesterday" actually swings. It also has a rocking “Hard to Handle" and a show-closing medley of "Twist and Shout/Land of 100 Dances". Great horn arrangements - for some reason I'm into horns lately.

"A-Tom-Ic Jones" Has a great title and a great cover. It is not necessary to even listen to this to appreciate it. If you insist on listening to it, I recommend the songs "Dr. Love", and "Thunderball." This is a picture of the UK cover - the US version does not have the mushroom cloud. Why? I don't know. Go ask a stranger in the street.

I have “Close Up” on 8-track tape. It has a great version of Redbone’s “Witch Queen of New Orleans” and a few other good songs. It also has some not-so-good songs. Most of the album has a slightly funky early 70's R&B feel to it with some great Stax-style horns. Get a load of those sideburns.

Other albums with great titles and/or covers are "The Tom Jones Fever Zone" and "This is Tom". Avoid compilations with words like "classic" or "duet" in the title. Avoid the word "lite" in packaged foods.

Posted by Big Kev at 3:07 PM

February 4, 2006

Record Weirdo - Going Out Of Business Sale

by Kevin Hillskemper

CD Warehouse in the city of Orange went out of business last week. They had been there almost 18 years and were one of the first stores to sell CD’s exclusively – meaning that they were never a “record” store. Anyway, they’ve always had a pretty good selection of used CDs at fair prices. They had a large budget bin but I never really bothered with it. Ever since I started getting bad CD’s for free, I’ve had less interest in buying them.

The store announced that they would be closing about a month ago. As the end approached, the store started getting serious about clearing out their inventory – first it was 50% off used CD’s and 25% off new ones, then it was 50% off new CD’s and 3 for $5.00 on the used ones, then a buck. And so on. I had stopped by a couple of times and picked up a few things but nothing worth mentioning. I’ll mention some anyway – a new Iggy Pop “Live on Avenue B” DVD, a used Velvet Underground “Live at Max’s Kansas City” CD, a reissue of William Shatner's "A Transformed Man" – you know, stuff like that.
Towards the end of the month the racks were pretty much picked clean.
I wasn’t until their very last day of business that I finally combed through their budget bin. All used CD’s were 50 cents. I went nuts and spent almost six bucks. Here are the gory details in no particular order.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore “Spinning Around the Sun”
This guy has a weird-ass voice. It’s also very effective. Most fans of real country music agree that the music lost its spark when it lost its twang. Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s voice is ALL twang. This was released in 1993, but it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday or 50 years ago.

NRBQ “Message for the Mess Age”
Another timeless one. It will never be out of fashion because it was never IN fashion. Perfect pop songs, slightly loose mid-tempo rock songs, and a couple slightly annoying novelty songs. “A Little Bit of Bad” and “Designated Driver” – thumbs up. “Big Dumb Jukebox” and “Girl Scout Cookies” – thumbs down. Overalll – a bargain.

Gone “Country Dumb”
Gone was an instrumental combo led by former Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn. If you like discordant hard rock but don’t want to hear a bunch of dumb lyrics, this is for you. Some of the song titles are very dated, like “Filegate” or “Paula Jones Clinton”, but they’re instrumentals so who cares? I like it.

I would have gladly paid two bucks each for those, which means that my investment of $5.93 (tax included) was justified. But wait – there’s more.

Big Audio “Higher Power”
Why, Mick Jones, why? How could you besmirch the legacy of the Clash with this?
Dropping the “Dynamite” from “Big Audio Dynamite” didn’t help anything, it's still BAD (sorry). There might be some decent songs buried in here somewhere but I can’t get past the electronic bells, whistles, and doo-dads.

One Hit Wonder “Who The Hell is One Hit Wonder”
There’s a lot going on here. A punk band with two lead guitars – and good ones too. At first listen, it sounds like your basic fast and hard whatever, but the songs creep up on you. There’s no poetry or anything here but there shouldn’t be.

Mr. Marainga
This band had roots in Orange County bands like HVY DRT, Doggy Style, and D.I. Apparently one of these songs was a hit. I can’t tell you which one though. I just don’t get it.

Roger Daltrey “Rocks in the Head”
I like The Who. I’m not a completist, but when I see something like this I have to get it. It’s not as good as any Who album, or even as good as a John Entwistle solo album, but it’s mine now. This CD is severely water-damaged. The insert is all fused together and I had to scrape some of it off the disc. I can’t open the booklet to read the credits or the lyrics, but I guess that’s just as well.
How does it sound? Although it was made in the early 90's, it has a very 80's sound to it - big electric sounding drums, keyboards, processed guitars - not very good.

Soul Asylum “Candy From a Stranger”
Remember the “Minneapolis Sound”? Not many people do anymore. These guys ran a distant third to the Replacements and Husker Du. Their 1987 album “Hang Time” was a big favorite of mine. In the early 90's they got a big fat MTV hit with the worst song they ever recorded. That basically ended their career right there, but they kept at it for at least a couple more albums. By the time this one came out in 1998, most of their fans (including me) had cruelly abandoned them. It’s not very rocking, but it’s not bad. It’s mostly catchy, well-thought-out, melodic, cleverly-worded songs that can mean only one thing – commercial suicide.
History should be kinder to Soul Asylum.

Crowded House “Weather With You”(single with 4 live bonus tracks)
I have no explanation for this.

The Law “Profiled”
This is a minor footnote in the sad demise of major-label old-school classic rock. I couldn’t resist this. The Law was an attempted “supergroup” built around former Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers and former Faces/Who drummer Kenney Jones. This disc is a promotional fake interview/infomercial for their debut (and only) album from 1991. My favorite part of this disc is a series of station liners such as “Don’t touch that dial, you could get into big trouble with The Law”, “Open up, it’s The Law, if you don’t have our new record it’s a crime,” and “This is your morning wake-up call. It’s time to rock”.
I think they look quite irritated on the cover. Just think, in the 70’s they had shaggy hair, beards, and filled stadiums. How did they one day find themselves in a photo studio all gussied up like Wham!?

Various Artists “21 Golden State Greats From the Covers of BAM – California’s Music Magazine”
This comp is from sometime in the late 90’s. It features Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Muffs, The Donnas, Mark Eitzel, Fu Manchu, Mr. T Experience, and Victoria Williams. I haven’t listened to it yet but I probably will.

Posted by Big Kev at 10:33 AM

September 17, 2005

Americana Music Conference: Sept. 8 - 10 in Nashville

Stuff I Learned From the 2005 Americana Music Conference:

For those who don't know, the Americana Music Conference is like a mini-SXSW, geared specifically toward the Americana music industry and all that it encompasses. Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, it takes place in Nashville, and with less than 700 attendees, only four showcasing venues, it's much more manageable than SXSW. There's still more live music than you could ever possibly see in three days, plus the Americana Music Awards, which will air on GAC next Monday, September 26. You’d think that after four and a half years of radio, I’d be an old hat at conferences like this. Turns out, not so much! The following is a list of things that I learned for the first time (and some of them, for the second or third time!) that I picked up from this year’s Americana Music Conference:

1. You might feel that bringing two pairs of socks per day is a waste of space in your luggage: it’s not. Nashville in September is really muggy. Three pairs of socks per day is probably not enough; four might not even be sufficient. You just never know!
2. The best meal EVER is waffles & fried chicken at 2am at the Compadre Records’ “Chicken and Waffles” Party at the Ernest Tubb Record Store. Of course, what else would you expect from the label genius enough to have Billy Joe Shaver and James McMurtry on its roster?
3. It’s okay to attend panels not geared toward your profession. Chances are good you’ll learn more from attending other panels that don’t focus on your specialty.
4. If Shiner Bock is sponsoring a lunch at BB Kings, make sure that BB Kings has Shiner Bock to serve. Somehow, the Shiner Bock t-shirt just doesn't completely satisfy.
5. There are lots of western wear shops on Broadway. Finding one that sells jeans is nearly impossible. Do your laundry BEFORE you go to Nashville.
6. Adrienne Young informs me that if you sit long enough, you can pee twice. She learned that from a lack of suitable restrooms during her many months of being on the road touring.
7. Eat dinner at Monell’s if you get a chance. Wear your “fat pants.”
8. No matter how lengthy an awards ceremony is (ESPECIALLY if it’s being taped for television), a duet with Emmylou Harris and Guy Clark will make it all worth it.
9. Go see Elizabeth Cook perform as much as possible. You won’t regret it.
10. Consult as many sober people as you can prior to getting a tattoo on the back of your neck.
11. Don’t make any promises after several rounds of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
12. Billy Bob Thornton fancies himself a singer, and is the biggest subtle flirt ever. I love him anyway.
13. The best advice comes from Marty Stuart: “There's the chart, and there's the heart. It's great when they both line up, but given the choice, you'd better follow your heart."

Posted by darlin at 10:17 PM

June 26, 2005

Record Weirdo Book Reviews

By Kevin Hillskemper

Passion is a Fashion, The Real Story of The Clash
By Pat Gilbert
This is the best of the two biographies I've read of the Clash. It's much more insightful and enjoyable than "The Last Gang in Town". While the "Last Gang" author set out to prove that all of the hype the band made up about themselves was just load of hocum, he forgot to mention how great the band was and why. "Passion is a Fashion" assumes that you already know that all the PR is BS and gets on with the music and the people that made it. The author, a former editor or MOJO, was granted a lot more access to the band and it shows. I now know too much about The Clash but still like them.

Lost in the Grooves, Scrams Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed
Edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay
This is a nice compendium of fanzine reviews and essays celebrating a slew of obscure and overlooked rock, pop, blues, jazz, and country albums. I've seen too many smarmy and condescending books covering the same ground but this one is pretty good. There is very little hipper-than-thou pretension here. Not only do the various authors dig up some fascinating unknowns, but they also reconsider critically underappreciated works by major acts. There's really no use mentioning names - the obscure ones are so obscure that they wouldn't mean anything and the big names might scare you off. There is a lot of emphasis on 90's alt-rock. I find the older oddball stuff more interesting.

I Am Elvis - A Guide to Elvis Impersonators
It took me a long time to write about this. The used bookstore where I found it has since gone out of business. I meant to include it in my "Elvis Impersonator Round Up" article but I didn't. You don't care, do you?
This is a fairly straightforward listing with biographies and contact information for 63 Elvis impersonators. Some of them are funny, some of them are sad, and others are downright pathetic. I can respect those that actually perform live, but the majority of Elvi in this book are simply lip-sync-ers or self-proclaimed "guardians of his memory" who don't do anything but dress up in a white jumpsuit, paste on some fake muttonchops, and hang out near public restrooms. It's kind of scary how serious most of them are. The anonymous author of the bios seems almost apologetic for including El Vez in the book. El Vez's crime? He's funny.
This book came out in the dark, pre-internet-proliferation days of 1991. How did we manage to live back then? Now, if you google "elvis impersonators", you get approxiamtely 12 gazillion results. Back in the early 90's you had to pay $8.95 to find 63 of them.

I have no idea where I got this.
I know nothing about poetry, so I can't tell if this is good or bad. I skimmed through it and there weren't any dirty poems, just a bunch of mopey stuff about rain and trees.

Posted by Big Kev at 3:58 PM

May 3, 2005

Record Weirdo - Elvis Impersonator Round-Up

One Trick Ponies Flogging A Dead Horse.
Is It A Mixed Metaphor If Both References Are Equine In Nature?

By Kevin Hillskemper

I wrote some smarmy intro to this, but it was just a bunch of words. I'll cut to the chase.

Let's start off with some International flavors.
Wojciech Gassowski is the Polish Elvis. Actually, he could be the Polish Neil Diamond but he's done at least two albums of Elvis songs. He sounds kind of like Bryan Ferry. The songs here mostly snappy and uptempo like "That's All Right Mama" and "Blue Suede Shoes", but my favorite is "Fever". The almost-learned by phonetics method adds new and exciting lyrics like "Sun lights stop the daytime, moon lights all over night". He also gets the fever "when we kisses". It sounds like karaoke night at the White House.

Komar Laszlo is the Hungarian Elvis and has the good sense to sing in Hungarian. I have two of his albums but this one is the best. I like knowing that "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" is "Arva Bus Ejszakan" in Hungarian and "Don't Be Cruel" is "Ne Legy Kegyetlen". There is no translation for "Lawdy Miss Clawdy".

"Elvis Presley's Golden Hits Sung By Big Ross & The Memphis Sound" Big Ross is from England. He is betrayed by his pronuciation of Chicago as "Shi-CAR-go" when he sings "In The Ghetto". Come on, Ross, even Wojciech Gassowski got that one right. The album cover is dull so I won't show it.

Moving over to Canada, we have The Golden Ring Tribute to Elvis.
As you see, the illustration captures Elvis during his little-known "skinny as a junkie fashion model" period.

Johnny Rusk was the biggest Elvis tribute artist in Seattle even though he was only about four-foot-three. I also have his "Live at the Seattle Airport Hilton" album, but this one is better.

"The Elvis Presley Story" by ALAN(!) is okay, but he should have picked a flashier stage name. He is wearing a lei on the cover of the album, ala "Aloha From Hawaii" but I won't even bother to show it.

Ronnie McDowell is a pretty well-known tribute artist. His album "A Tribute To The King, In Memory" is pretty good but the cover is pretty dull. it's all white with title in gold calligraphy in the middle. It looks like those "In Memory" epitaphs that street racers put on the back windows of their cars. I won't show this one either.

Orion had some great hype. Behind the mask, he was supposed to actually be Elvis. I think he would have made a pretty good Batman. This album has goopy 70's hits like "Honey" done in the Elvis style. His other album, called "Sunrise", is slightly better than this. He did an entire album (uncredited) with Jerry Lee Lewis called "Duets" which I like even better.

This is Rory Allen. I found his press kit a garage sale. It came with a video which shows him in action. What makes his act unique in the two Secret Service/Memphis Mafia guys that stand up on stage with him. Mostly they just stand with their arms crossed Public Enemy style, but occasionally they do little robot dances or act out the words of the songs - like marching in place during "G.I. Blues".
He's big in Canada.

How could I end this with anything else but Extreme Elvis?
You have to admire this guys stick-to-it-iveness. When he runs out of money for costumes, he simply performs naked. He also refuses to let little problems like lack of bladder control get in the way of putting on a good show. Extreme Elvis - you are an inspiration to some.

This is where I say something about leaving the building.

Posted by Big Kev at 8:24 PM

March 1, 2005

We Will Rock You - The Musical by Queen

Le Theatre Des Arts
Paris, Las Vegas


By Kevin Hillskemper

We Will Rock You is set in a future time when one mega-corporation runs the government, all commerce, and all culture. In other words, it takes place about 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. The narrator is an old hippie librarian that looks like the singer of Blue Cheer. He tells a story about a sacred guitar buried in stone and the chosen one destined to remove it. In other words, the story is stolen from the King Arthur/Excalibur legend – with parts of “The Road Warrior”, “Waterworld”, and “Herbie Goes Bananas” thrown in.
Here’s how it goes. The hero, Galileo, gets kicked out of a boy band or something and decides to become a rebel like Robbie Williams. He meets an annoying Valley Girl that becomes his love interest. Together, they run from villains that look like William Shatner and Tina Turner. They meet up with a bunch of other outcasts and they all sing Queen songs. Then a giant monster comes out of nowhere and eats everybody.
Okay – there is no story. The whole thing is a bunch of awkward segues in between completely unrelated songs. The dialogue, written by British comedy writer Ben Elton (who created “The Young Ones”), is actually funny. It was obviously dumbed down for American audiences but it still went over the heads of most of the crowd. I’m sure I was the only one in the theatre that caught a Mott the Hoople
reference. To quote Homer Simpson, “I am so smart, S-M-R-T!”
If you’re a Queen fan, you probably won’t like it.
Instead of using GOOD Queen songs – like the first six albums (I draw the line at “News of The World”), they lean heavily on dippy ballads from the 80’s. Songs like “Liar”, “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Stone Cold Crazy” would be great show-tunes but they get left out. The show unfortunately contains glop like “These Are The Days of Our Lives”. Nobody likes that.
There are lots of big ridiculous production numbers with dancing and flashy costumes, but no tits. I liked it anyway.
I would rather see this than “Tommy”(songs by The Who), “Mama Mia”(songs by Abba), “Movin’ Out”(songs by Billy Joel), or “Smokey Joe’s Café”(songs by Lieber and Stoller), which are some of the other twelve billion “Rock” musicals that I am aware of.
What’s next? Probably “Takin’ Care of Business” based on the songs of Bachman Turner Overdrive or “Come On Baby, Light My Fire” based on the songs of The Doors.
Why stop there? I’m on a roll. How about “Maneater” with songs by Hall and Oates? I would suggest “You Can Still Rock in America” based on the music of Night Ranger.
Do you like punk rock? I give you “Manimal” based on the songs of the Germs and “Gimme Gimme Gimme” with music by Black Flag. Imagine the choreography.
For Country and Western fans I recommend “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound”, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, or “Achy-Breaky Heart”. I quit. Feel free to send your own suggestions.

Here’s my advice if you absolutely must see “We Will Rock You”. Go to one of those half-price places on the strip and get cheap tickets. Make sure to buy a couple of drinks before the show because there is no intermission.

Posted by Big Kev at 7:37 PM

February 8, 2005

Record Weirdo: Why Record Weirdo?

By Kevin Hillskemper


Why “Record Weirdo”? It’s not something that I call myself or something that I wish to be called. It just happened.
Here’s the story. It started in June, 1998. On a slow day at work, a co-worker and I had been discussing music and record collecting. I dinked around on the computer a little bit, discovered “Newsletter Wizard” and spontaneously concocted a brief one-page publication I called “Record Weirdo”. I wrote about some records I bought at a yard sale and pasted in a picture of Neil Diamond that I was using as wallpaper.
No thought went into the title. Record Weirdo was simply one of several derogatory terms I used for music collectors other than myself. Although it had kind of a creepy, stomach-churning, groaniness to it, it seemed less harsh than “Record Geek” and not as obscure as “Record Squirrel”. A record squirrel, by the way, is a jittery, nervous collector who accumulates records like a squirrel gathers nuts. He then takes them back to his den and hibernates.
As dumb as it is, "Record Weirdo" was actually a pretty good title. It was short, memorable, and accurately described the target audience. It would appeal to record weirdos in the same way that a magazine called “Organic Gardener” would appeal to organic gardeners and ONLY organic gardeners. It would be the opposite of something like “Playboy” which, although it claims to be for sophisticated
men-of-the-world, is primarily consumed by lonely guys who are not only too shy to talk to women, but are too shy to even buy real pornography.
“Record Weirdo” just made sense.

I made a few copies of the premier issue and passed them around the workplace. Reaction ranged from luke-warm to indifferent, but a few people got it. That was all the encouragement I needed.
On the way home and I stopped by a record store and left a few copies with the flyers and fanzines.
The clerk at the store liked it and immediately offered his services as a contributor. His writing was good. He knew a lot more about music and collecting than I did and he added some credibility to the project. Issue number two was on its way.
Although it was not discussed, we both wrote under pseudonyms in addition to our own names. His nom-de-plume was Norman Tabernacle and mine was Darold DeMellons. This made it seem that there were more that just two people involved. Our alter egos came equipped with their own distinct writing styles, tastes, and opinions.
The page count and circulation grew with every issue. Soon "Record Weirdo" was available at finer record stores and conventions in the Seattle area. It was a hit. More people offered to contribute and some actually did. Bands sent CD’s for us to review. Blah, blah, blah.

The whole thing lasted about a year and half. It started to suck so I killed it.

Fortunately, right before the end, most of the articles were archived on the Record Weirdo website. Due to lack of a better name, I kept the old one.
Unfortunately, some things were lost in the transition. One key contributor had his own unique style of punctuation which relied heavily on dashes and underlines and sentences that ran on and on with little or no regard for comprehensive comprehension that did not translate into HTML. The impact of his writing was definitely compromised. FortunateIy, it didn’t seem to matter to him because he was anti-technology and wouldn’t look at the website anyway.

The random graphics that were used as visual relief and filler were left behind. So were personal ads and the contests which offered such prizes as an autographed Cheap Trick 8-track or a copy of “The Ventures Play the Jim Croce Songbook”.

Nothing new was written once it went online, but because the website exists, I still get “Dear Record Weirdo” emails from all over the world. They think I actually know something.
If you do a yahoo search for “Zamfir”, “all sports band”, or “sphere clown band” you will see that the Record Weirdo website is sometimes the first site that comes up. This makes me the worlds foremost authority. Right? How about that Zamfir?
Last time I checked, I was getting more hits about Zamfir than Romania on line, the number two response. I get many emails in broken English both insulting me for insulting Zamfir and agreeing with me that he lost his artistic integrity when he sold out with those TV ads.
I recently got one asking the name of his wife. Her name is Marie-Noele. I looked it up on Romania on line.

The All Sports Band is another story. I have received more email about this article than anything else. Most of it is from people who also saw them on American Bandstand or Solid Gold and had a similar reaction to mine. I think one person said that they were hung-over when they saw them and thought they were hallucinating. I also heard from relatives and ex-girlfriends of the band. Some of them liked the story and some didn’t.
Eventually, I even received an email from the singer of the band himself. He didn’t like the story very much. In my reply, I told him that when I called his album a "turd” I meant it in the nicest possible way. He didn’t respond.
After he gave up being a rock singer, he got religion and is now a pastor of a church in San Jose. According to another email that I received from one of his flock, he foretells the future, does faith healing, and has even resurrected the dead.

I like the Sphere Clown Band. Some time after this story of their album appeared, I got an email from Patty, who was an original member of the troupe. She actually liked it. She sent it to another member and he liked it, too. He said it was the best review the album ever got. He also said it was also the only review they ever got.
Because of them, I no longer believe that all clowns are scary.
Most clowns are scary.

Speaking of scary, if you do a search for Frankie Laine, you will not get directed to the Record Weirdo website. I yanked the Frankie Laine article offline because I was getting inundated with hate mail. Let’s just say that Frankie Laine has a devoted legion of fans. I found this out the hard way.
Darold DeMellons wrote a rather hard-hitting review of Frankie’s “Hell Bent for Leather” album. The author claimed that the violence and anti-social behavior contained in this collection of western themed songs was responsible for both death metal and gangsta rap. I’m not sure which offended them more – comparing Frankie Laine to Tupak Shakur or exposing the satanic references inherent in “Mule Train”. It could have been the scatological interpretation of “Cry of The Wild Goose” or maybe it was accusing Frankie of advocating the genocide of Native Americans.
They didn’t specify. They were freaking me out, man.

It seems that the most controversial, and therefore more interesting, articles were being attributed to Darold DeMellons. I liked his stuff but he was getting out of control. His writing was better than mine.
The final issue of the newsletter contained the following obituary –

Darold DeMellons, whose “Poetry Corner” feature has appeared in several issues of this newsletter, has announced his retirement through an act of ritualistic interpretive dance.
DeMellons will not be fondly remembered. That wasn’t even his real name anyway.

Posted by Big Kev at 6:56 PM

January 14, 2005

Catching up with Throw Rag

Throw Rag

Interview by Wanda
Photos by Jenifer Hanen at the House of Blues - Anaheim on 9/9/04.

I caught up with Captain Sean-Doe of Throw Rag in early December at their rehearsal studio. The band is currently rehearsing new songs for an album due out in February, 2005. Cameron Webb (who recorded Social Distortion, Motorhead, Danzig, just to name a few) is on track to record the album. Captain Sean and I talked about making albums, making dinner, and staying sane on the road…Captain Sean Doe of Throw Rag

How do you make an album?
Go into the studio
Record the music in 5 days.
Record the vocals in 5 days.
Mix the whole thing in 5 days.
On the last record, we did everything in 5 days. We’re going to take a little more time with this one.

How do you make dinner?
I make dinner the same way I make a record.
I only make two things:

Boil the noodles; add some butter, cayenne, or other spicy sauce.
Or, you can take some beans, with some veggie dogs, maybe a fried egg, use an avocado, add some cholula and some sour cream, and put that in a tortilla. That’s dinner.

How is making a record like making dinner?
It’s kind of the same. Some people try, and they don’t plan it out. Some people have to try… there are so many ways.

090904throwrag4.jpgWhat will the new album be like?
Somewhere between the first and the second, but it will be the third!
We're trying to write new songs – coming up with lyrics and working on tapes. There will be some ballads, some medium-paced songs, some fast-paced songs.

I love your ballads. Whatever happened to the song “Halfway to Heaven”? (a song that never made it onto Desert Shores).
We’re going to release that song as a split with Dexter Romweber (legendary guitarist from the Flat Duo Jets) on Demonbeach Records. This would be a very small pressing that would come out, maybe 1000 copies or less. (editor's note: this 7" is in fact available from Demonbeach and independent record retailers in the Raleigh, NC area).

Is the writing process still how you told me it was before – with you and Dino exchanging music and lyrics over the answering machine?
Yes, we still do some of that. But the whole band is involved, too. Craig wrote two songs, Frank wrote one.

What do people expect from Throw Rag?
I’m not sure… a lot of people missed 2nd Place (an earlier album also recorded by Cameron Webb that was never released) so it’s almost like they missed the second part. I guess people expect different things.

090904throwrag5.jpgYou’ve been in this band for a long time (about 10 years) – what’s the best thing about being in Throw Rag?
The lack of responsibility while still being responsible. I try to remember that I get to do this, I don’t have to do it. This is all I ever wanted to do, and I get to do it every day.

How do you stay friends – or do you?
Yes, we’re friends. I guess you get to know each other’s deal, and you give them leeway to be themselves. You don’t take their shortcomings to heart. Being on tour is like rock n’ roll jail – you’ve got six boys in a smelly van – all there is to do is read, watch DVDs, listen to music.. it’s a hard life! (laughs)

What is “making it” to you?
Well, what’s IT? Is it money? I guess if it is, then we’ll know when we get some. If it’s music, then we’re already making it. Three years ago, we couldn’t get anyone to take us on tour, and now we’ve been on tour ever since. Our initial goal was to go to Europe; that was “making it.” Now we just spent three months there, and we’re going back in May and in the fall. So, I guess we “made it.”

Posted by DJWanda at 3:02 PM

September 23, 2004

Paul Westerberg Likes to Smoke Cigars - Parts 2 and 1

By Kevin Hillskemper

Let me explain. Part Two is a review of “Folker”, the latest album from Paul Westerberg. As of this writing, I haven’t written it yet. Part One is a review of the two albums and one DVD that he released last year. I wrote it last year but it didn’t get posted. The title that I intended for Part One has nothing to do with Part Two but it really doesn’t matter. Let’s get on with it. Here's Part Two:


Paul Westerberg
Vagrant Records

This is either the fourth or fifth album from the newly embiggened Paul Westerberg. He seems to have come to terms with his status as a cult artist and is comfortable with it. As long as he keeps cranking the literate low-budget rock out of his basement studio, the same people will keep buying it.
I like this one better than the last one or two. The sound and the feel of the songs are more consistent and less ramshackle than before. “Folker” achieves a good balance between funny/sad, quiet/loud, ugly/pretty, and I will stop before get to black/white or good/evil. I will not use any two-bit, wanky words like “dichotomy”.
In short, the funny songs aren’t too goofy and the sad songs are not too depressing. If you are seriously bi-polar, you will have to wait until the next Grandpaboy album.
When I throw around words like “consistent” and “balanced”, I am not using them as euphemisms for “boring” by any means. Maybe he’s just discovered subtlety. Or maybe he’s been using it all along and I haven’t noticed until now.
“Jingle” is goofy. I lied. Sue me. I like it.
“$100 Groom” has a memorable line in “I promise not to leave the room even if I have to vomit” which only proves that I am very simple and easily entertained.
“Folk Star” is the least folky song on the album and I’m sure that was intentional.
For fans of the sensitive side of Paul Westerberg we have “My Dad”, “Lookin’ Up In Heaven”, “23 Years Ago”, and pretty much everything else here.

For those who want to go backwards in time, I suggest
The Replacements
“Sucking Wax”
Lady Butcher Ltd. (bootleg)
This is a compilation of demos, rehearsals, and other rare unreleased goodies from 1980-1986. There are a couple b-sides like “If Only You Were Lonely” that have been released, but are pretty hard to find legitimately. The sound is cruddy in places, but you would expect nothing less.

Part One (from 2003)
Paul Westerberg Likes to Smoke Cigars

“Come Feel Me Tremble” DVD (Redline Entertainment) and CD (Vagrant Records) by Paul Westerberg
“Dead Man Shake” CD by Grampaboy a.k.a. Paul Westerberg (Fat Possum/Epitaph)

I liked the Replacements. So what? A lot of people liked the Replacements. But instead of setting the world on fire like they were supposed to, they just fizzled out in 1991. After that, Paul Westerberg did a few albums, a few tours, and then disappeared. In the past couple of years, however, he has been quietly flooding the market with some pretty good albums and now a feature-length DVD.
“Come Feel Me Tremble”, the DVD, is a non-narrative documentary following his solo mostly-in-store-appearance tour of 2002. It is inter-cut with interviews, performances, backstage rituals, and no-budget homemade videos shot by Westerberg himself. There are over thirty songs, including a bunch of Replacements songs, featured – mostly performed live and taken from audience videotapes. The production values are by no means slick but they really capture the intimate feeling of the performances (I was at the first show in Seattle and it was pretty darn good). Overall, the live footage is great but some of the other stuff, like scenes of him walking along the sidewalk, crossing the street, sulking, creeping through alleys, smoking cigars, mumbling, trying on shoes, flossing his teeth, smoking cigars, fixing a toaster, changing his oil, rescuing kittens, smoking cigars, solving crimes, and organizing his sock drawer drag on along like this sentence.
Did I mention that Paul Westerberg likes to smoke cigars? During the course of this DVD, he smokes approximately 426 cigars, some of them the size of a horse’s leg. He smokes more cigars than Ulysses S. Grant, George Burns, and the Buena Vista Social Club. I realize that it’s his only remaining vice but, cinematically, it’s a distraction.
One technical criticism: The DVD does not have chapter breaks and it’s a lot to take in one sitting.

Now for the Paul Westerberg/Grandpaboy split personality thing,
It’s getting harder to tell where Paul Westerberg ends and Grandpaboy begins. It used to be that Paul was the sensitive singer/songwriter and Grandpaboy did the sloppy, home-brew, funny rock songs. On the 2002 double album “Mono/Stereo”, it was simple Jekyll and Hyde act with Paul doing acoustic and Gramps doing electric (for the most part). It was all recorded mad scientist style in Dr. Westerberg’s basement studio/laboratory. “Mono” was actually released as a single album months before “Mono/Stereo” came out. Confused? It gets worse.
Now it’s seems that Paul Westerberg is the rock guy, Grandpaboy is a blues guy, and they’re even on different labels. But they still both record in the same basement, which is good.
“Come Feel Me Tremble”, the CD, continues along the same lines as “Mono/Stereo”. If you liked that, you’ll like this but maybe not as much. It covers both the sensitive singer/songwriter side (“Soldier of Misfortune”, “Crackle and Drag”) and the sloppy rock side (“Dirty Diesel”, “Hillbilly Junk”). I think he’s onto something here.

I like “Dead Man Shake”, the Grandpaboy CD, better. The songs are more basic and the sloppy lead guitar playing fits a lot better in a blues style suit. Westerberg’s guitar playing has always been more emotional than technical and it’s about time he did something like this.
About one third of the songs on “Dead Man Shake” are covers and they are good ones. “Take Out Some Insurance” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” are done fairly straightforward and are quite effective. The real revelation here is “What Kind of Fool Am I”, which was made famous by Sammy Davis Jr. Instead of trying to fit into Sammy’s tux, Paul/Grandpaboy-or-whoever-the-hell-he-is takes this big overblown lounge classic and re-interprets it as one of the saddest, most depressing, miserable things ever recorded. Of course I mean that in the best possible way.

One more thing: Is it me or does the fold out cover of “Dead Man Shake” look like an homage to “Frampton Comes Alive”?

In conclusion, four cigars for the “Tremble” DVD, three cigars for the “Tremble” CD, and fifteen men on a dead man’s chest for “Dead Man Shake”.

I don’t believe that Freud ever said anything about the phallic symbolism of cigars, but he might have said something about 4x4 monster trucks.

Posted by Big Kev at 8:59 PM

September 18, 2004

Catchin' Up with Watt : Mike Watt That Is

By Michael Coyle

I recently had the chance to sit down with legendary bass player Mike Watt. From his early days with the seminal outfit the Minutemen to the music on his current record, a punk rock opera recounting the details of his recent, almost fatal, stomach ailment, Watt has always been a unique and fascinating master of the low end.

We met at small, one-room Mexican restaurant in San Pedro. There were pictures of lighthouses on the wall and beef tongue on the menu. Watt pulled up in his white Ford Econoline van, aka The Boat. He still jams Econo. He still flies the flannel.

We talked until the tape ran out and the cook turned up the stereo so loud we couldn’t hear each other. Sadly, when I went back to transcribe the interview, I found that nearly three quarters of the first side of the tape were unlistenable. I have no idea what happened, but, as you can see, there was plenty left. Much of what is missing included Watt talking about playing with Iggy and the Stooges, and his preparations for his 53rd tour, in support of The Secondman’s Middle Stand. So we pick up where all good stories start – in the middle of things.

Are you doing anything political, allying with any groups?
Watt: I gave some lyrics away to the People for The American Way to auction off. I gave some lyrics away. Double Nickels On The Dime, all original, handwritten.

The election is coming up; the beauty contest. Of course I’m going to vote. I’m just telling people on tour that they don’t have to vote, because it’s important to have the right not to vote too. But, you know, at least think about it. Think about what’s up. And really, politics is more than every four years. It’s kinda weird how we reduce it down to that. If people paid more attention, maybe we wouldn’t be given these weird choices. Quote unquote choices. Sometimes it seems like it’s just two branches of the bank party.

This is what I tell people, too — it’s really weird, you get on stage, you’ve got the microphone; it’s kind of like you’re playing cop or something — hopefully the country is strong enough to survive whoever is elected. You know what I mean? They’re always throwing the threat on us of outsiders tearing us up, but if you look at history — D. Boone was big into history — the war where we lost the most dudes was the civil war. Any kind of group of human beings can get to that point, nobody’s immune. It’s a weird kind of fever that gets us.

It’s different now too, because it’s a different kind of war. People are always comparing the U.S. to the Roman Empire, and the Roman Empire wasn’t conquered by another army, it was gradually overtaken by barbarians, the modern equivalent of which is terrorists.

Watt: Yeah. They kind of lost their center, too. A little bit. They had these games of murdering people and the ruling elite got really closed off and got all corrupt. The barbarians wanted what they had. I don’t know what they wanted, really. I don’t think they knew what they wanted.

They probably wanted something to eat.

Watt: Yeah. The cities that they sacked, they wouldn’t even sleep in. The whole idea of cities to them was kind of trippy. They were people from the east. I think the Romans kind of lost it inside. They were maybe too much hooked to the material things. The barbarians, they wanted material too, it seems, maybe it was food.

The Romans set themselves up, just by going for empire. You look at the Dutch, they’re doing OK, they don’t have to run things. It’s a big burden. There’s the big danger – we have to defend ourselves. But we just made it so there is no competition but now you’re talking about, yeah, unorganized people, like terrorists. How do defend against them. We’re not talking about countries anymore.

[Raymond] Pettibone talks about, ‘What about nuke hand grenades?’ How do you defend against that anyway? Maybe the genie is out of the bottle anyway.

It’s kinda spooky. Pete Townsnd [made] this album called Who Came First, this solo album. [On the cover] he’s got combat boots on and he’s standing on all these eggs. And that’s how it is. We’re so convinced that we’ve got it all together, but really were in the most fascist situation. What’s he gonna do? Jump up and down? He’s gonna break all them eggs. It’s the greatest image, for me, to sum up this world and the hubris, the fucking arrogance that we get going. Maybe not on purpose, sometimes; it’s just near sightedness. It’s shows us what we’re all about.

Which is the purpose of good art.

Watt: At least it can show that we’re alive.

Speaking of being alive, I want to talk about your health and how good it feels to be putting out another record.

Watt: The gap between this record and the last one was actually longer than my entire career as a Minuteman. The gap is so big. Here I come from this tradition with the Minutemen, we were making records every nine months. I had to prove I was alive and I’m going to try and start making albums every year again.

It wasn’t like I wasn’t doing anything between albums. I did 11 tours in that gap, and that sickness. But there’s something about a record. A gig just goes in the air, but a record, it’s creation. In a weird way it’s like a tombstone. It can be there when you are gone. You don’t have to play in there town for people to hear you. So I want to get back into that.

In the early days, me and D. Boone talked about the whole dealy-o. We decided to divide the world into two categories. There was gigs and flyers and everything that wasn’t the gig was a flyer. You made records, you did speils, you took pictures, later on videos. All these things were to get people to the gig. As I’ve gotten a little…less younger, it seems that records have another value, too. People can get to know you musically and maybe they’ll never get a chance to go to the gig. Like D. Boone, his music can live. These kids come up to me and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, the Jackass song.’ They don’t even know it’s the Minutemen. Scotty, the drummer of The Stooges, we were chowing somewhere and it came on the TV. I go, ‘Who’s that Scotty?’ He goes, ‘I don’t know, I hear that song all the time.’ I said, ‘You know that’s The Minutemen?’ He says, “What?’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s D. Boone.’ And he didn’t even know. So by making a recording, ya know? It’s not the whole dealy-o, but it is some kind of work. Like what we have left of the Romans.

And we look at them as a great society because of what they left behind.

Watt: Works. Yeah. We’ve got some traditions, like they say ‘Roman law,’ and stuff like that, but we got works, too.

What was it that you were diagnosed with?

Watt: Well, it’s called a peroneal cyst. Might have come from riding a bike, like a saddle sore, or an ingrown hair. It should have been lanced, but these clowns kept giving me pills and it just grew and grew, and it became septic. Fucker got huge and blew up. Actually, it blowing up saved my life. I went to the emergency room and it was like ‘Oh my God, there’s a huge hole in me.’ They sent me up to county and they operated on me. First they had to put a bunch of blood in me because I hadn’t been making red cells.

It’s weird, you know, it’s kind of obvious the record is about the sickness, but I wonder sometimes if you could still deal with the thing if you didn’t know that. Sometimes when I hear it, maybe because I’m so close to the sickness, when I hear it, it sounds like middle-aged punk rock.

I could have never made a record like this – for example, I had pneumonia when I was 22. The weekend Darby [Crash] died. I almost died. Had ice between my legs and arms. After I had gotten well of that, I didn’t want to write a song. Here it happens twenty years later – I mean a different thing, but it still almost killed me – and I want to write a whole opera.

This kind of goes along with what you were saying about feeling more important about a record. Do you think that the older you get the more motivated you become to leave something?

Watt: Yeah. You’re right on it. What happens is, when you’re a younger man, you’re resilient, you bounce back. Like that pneumonia, 22, bing-bing-bing, I’m up, back in the game. And it seems like, whoa, I’ve got a lot of time. As you get not as resilient, you feel more mortal. It’s also weird, too. When you’re young, I never thought of middle age. I thought of old, but I never thought of the middle. Now that’s a weird period, right? Then when you are there, in a lot of ways it’s a neat period, because, yeah, you feel blows more than you did as a young man, but you ain’t there with a cane and a wheelchair yet. You also have the advantage of having lived a life, so you have wisdom – well, in my 20’s I knew everything [laughs]. But you don’t have to theorize, you’ve actually got some miles under your belt.
Most people my age, carrying a family with the mortgage, they’re not riding around in The Boat [Watt’s name for his Ford Econoline Van that he tours in]. in a way I have like Peter Pan elements to my life. I mean I’m not a rock star or anything, but I still share this middle age thing. I mean, let’s put it this way. The average thing is for a guy in mid-life to get a divorce, get a 20 year old girlfriend, a convertible. Right? Live like a 20 year old. He’s competing with them so he tries to live like them. But me, because of my strange work, I think I leap-frogged all that and went back to nine because every morning I ride my bicycle, I’m paddling – I mean, I’m no jock, I’m no athlete. But there is something about paddling and riding a bike. It’s like little boy shit. When you just did it to do it.

It’s hard to tell people about that because we kind of, quote, grow out of it. But then why do we like gigs and stuff? There’s gonna always be a play element with humans.

You get older and make all these arrangements and responsibilities. Me, I’ve never had a manager. In a way I’m self-employed, which some people might think is the greatest thing, and I like it. But, you know what? I have to come up with all the ideas. I don’t have a boss to tell me – I know everybody thinks that’s the greatest, but also, you’re under the gun. Like ‘What am I gonna do next?’ I guess some people still have baby sitters and stuff – but not in this boat. So I guess I have a lot more responsibility.

Everything is up to you. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

Watt: You see a lot of rock n roll bands, they all go for some kind of day care center. They have a baby sitter. For me, maybe ‘cause I come from old punk, I just want to do stuff that’s kind of crazy. It doesn’t matter if I have a thing to show on Cribs.

But you are on Columbia Records.

Watt: Yeah.

Do they give you a long leash? I mean, do you have to pitch your ideas to the suits?

Watt: The deal I made was, I didn’t take a bunch of money. The contract I made with them was like with SST, I deliver the finished masters. I give them a lot of credit for being open minded. I’m making a song about three guys in a boat. Now I’m making one about a sickness. They’re not the most commercial things. But then I don’t take any tour support. I don’t try to live like the other bands. I come from punk.

I have a lot of respect for them for giving me autonomy. But most of my money comes from touring; playing for people. That’s how I make a living.

It does matter to some people, though. They see a major label and think it’s evil.

Watt: If I want to call you long distance [I would use] AT&T – not too indie of a company. But as long as they don’t jump on the line and tell me what to say, I’m not gonna hang up. Life is about striking bargains. What are your priorities? Do you want to be a rock star and have some guy take you to dinner, stay in some fancy hotel? I konk on people’s floor. It’s what you’re willing to do for your music, your art, your endeavor.

Pettibone, you go to his pad, and his work’s allover the place. He’s not living like some mooch but his work gets into big gallerys. I guarantee you we don’t have magic wands, we’re not tricking any boby. We’re just working our hardest.

I’m lucky, I think, coming from punk, I never wanted to ride on a tour bus and all that. I never wanted to. No. The way I look at Columbia is, they’ve got a lot of different acts. What I can give them is maybe something they don’t have somewhere else, I don’t know. I never wanted to be a Xerox machine, a cookie cutter. There’s prettier guys. I wasn’t really a musician. I got into this stuff to be with my friend. I just loved D. Boone. His mother put me on bass. He’s been gone 19 years and it’s trippy playing without him. When people ask me what kind of bass player are you, I tell them, ‘I’m D. Boone’s bass player.’

I’m trying to learn about music.Thurston [Moore of Sonic Youth] has got a lot of knowledge. The Stooges, Perry, Raymond, all these people I’m trying to learn from. I haven’t got anything by the balls, but I try my hardest. But I can give back a little. I’m taking this young man on tour with us.

Would you ever go back to an indie? Greg Ginn still has SST going on 4th Street.

Watt: Yeah. Of course. I would do records with anybody who respected my artistic control. I spent 11 years at SST and 13 with Columbia and I don’t really know if I could make commercial records, you know? They’ve got plenty of other people doing that. I like the tradition that the Minutemen started. You know some people use punk rock as a way to start and then they wanna grow up and be a big rock n roll band. I kinda liked what we started doing, I never really felt the need to grow out of it. So I’m gonna try my hardest. Gonna jam econo.

Did you have health insurance when you got sick?

Watt: No. That’s very heavy. I just finished paying off my doctor bill. I never regretted paying one penny because they saved my life. And now I do have health insurance. I got it through the musicians union.

Yeah, I had the van, The Boat, insured all this time, but I never was. It costs me about $2200 a year. It’s a lotta bones, but if you go in the hospital for a few days, it’s incredible how much it costs. I mean the County [Hospital] people, they did great work and saved my life, so I never regret it, but man, it took me some years, and lots of work to pay that off.

Last time I spoke with you, you said you were listening to almost nothing but John Coltrane, what are you listening to nowadays?

Watt: I love John Coltrane. I usually wear a John Coltrane button. I ripped my shirt at practice and the button fell off. But, yeah, I love it, it inspires me a lot. I had never heard that as a kid, Pettibone turned me on to that stuff. I actually thought he was playing punk, too. He was just older. It was trippy. I didn’t know what he was playing. I grew up more with Cream, Credence, T Rex. My first gig was T Rex in 1971, in Long Beach. Wow.

I got a radio show that I do once a week when I can. When I’m not touring. It’s called The Watt From Pedro Show, twfps.com. I play a lot of stuff the kids give me after gigs. The only rule is I start every show with a Coltrane song.

Posted by Ms. Jen at 5:15 PM

August 15, 2004

Record Weirdo - Rhino Westwood Collectors Expo

Rhino Record Collectors' Expo (a.k.a. R/RCEXPO!)
March 21, 2004

By Kevin Hillskemper
The Rhino Records store in Westwood has always had periodic parking lot clearance sales, but I don't know exactly how often. This time it was combined with the first Rhino Record Collectors' Expo (a.k.a. R/RCEXPO!).
The action, so to speak, was mainly at the clearance sale. It was mostly cutout, used, and promo CDs for one to three dollars each, some fifty-cent vinyl albums, and a smattering of videos. I saw the usual geek types pushing wheelbarrows and pulling little red wagons to haul their loot but I would have been disappointed if I hadn't. Having recently sold a big chunk of my collection, I was determined to be more selective. I'll cut to the chase, here's a brief rundown of my haul:
Streetwalking Cheetahs - "Maximum Overdrive"
I am guilty of prejudging this band on their name alone, especially when they released an album entitled "With a Heart Full of Napalm". How stinking obvious can you get? I bought this anyway. It was a safe investment since it was only three easily recoupable bucks. Guess what? I like it. It's one of those leftovers type collections that I like better than most "real" albums. In addition to what you'd expect from them, they have some nice pop stuff too. One standout is cover of the Runaways anthem "Cherry Bomb" with guest vocals by Cherie Currie. I forgive them for taking their name from an Iggy lyric. You could do a lot worse than Iggy. Just imagine, they have been "Some People Call Me Maurice" or "Sucking On A Chili Dog Outside The Tastee Freeze".
Joe Jackson "Live 1980-86"
I forgot that I bought this. I remember picking it up to look at it but I thought I put it back. However, my merely showing interest in it makes it worthy of merit. I've always liked his stuff, but I think it was too complicated musically for me to really appreciate. This has aged well. He made some really good Elvis Costello/Graham Parker meets XTC type rock before he got bored with it.
George Jones "Greatest Hits"
These are some of his really early songs. The packaging is cheesy, the sound is muddy, and it's only about 20 minutes long but it's good for the price.
Bob Marley and the Wailers "In the Beginning"
See above.
Buddy Blue "Sordid Lives"
Here is a jazz album from the original Beat Farmers guitarist. The songs are good, well played, well recorded and everything, but I don't like his singing. It sounds like he's trying too hard to be "authentic". For all I know, it could be authentic but it just sounds fake. I want my dollar back.
Rhythm & Blues All Stars Vol. 4 "Jump the Boogie". A various artist compilation of late 40's R&B from L.A., Chicago, New Orleans, and other hot spots. Some of these people I've heard of, some I haven't. It has great titles like "Wake Up Old Maid", "Bar Fly Baby", "Fly Chick Bounce", and "Fat Girl Boogie". You can't go wrong.
Various Artists "Program Annihilator II - A Soundtrack for Destruction"
Yee haw. This historical oddball is from SST Records during their short-lived flirtation with heavy metal. Featured artists include Soundgarden, St. Vitus, SWA, BL?AST, Bad Brains (okay, I can see that), and the Descendents(?!). The late 80's were a very confusing time.

From the fifty cent vinyl bin I got
Johnny Doe "Sings The Million Seller Country Sound Made Famous by Johnny Cash". Brilliant. I like the canned audience noises. I wonder if John Doe of X has this album. He really should.
There were less than ten dealer tables selling vinyl, but they were more than worthwhile. I upgraded my copy of the first album by The Damned on Stiff with a slick German pressing for only three bucks. For the same price, I also found the R&B/Sleaze/rockabilly compilation "Born Bad Vol. II". It was put together from a very Cramps-centric point of view, but it's good enough to stand on it's own merit. And then there's "Sitar Power" by Ashwin Batish. It's the rocking-est sitar album ever if you don't mind the new wave electric drums.

I bought a bootleg/counterfeit 4-song Dangerhouse EP by The Bags. I realize that The Bags never put out a 4-song EP on Dangerhouse, but it's kind of a cool artifact anyway. It was fairly cheap (about the cost of a CD) and I believe that original Dangerhouse 7-inchers currently change hands in the low billions.

The highlight of the day was meeting one of my personal guitar heroes -- Davie "King of the Fuzz Guitar" Allan. If you are not familiar with Davie Allan and the Arrows and their unique brand of pre-psychedelic fuzz-tone instrumental garage rock, then you have probably already fallen asleep reading this. Probably their best-known album is the soundtrack to the American International biker flick "The Wild Angels". Davie was at the show selling some sealed original copies of his albums, which command some serious bucks from serious collectors.
I guess I'm not serious enough because I didn't buy any of them. I already have a few of them and, as great as they are, they all pretty much sound the same.

Another highlight of the day was eating a gyro for lunch at Astro Burger in West Hollywood. The meat was seasoned and cooked to perfection, the dressing was abundant yet not overpowering, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.


Posted by Big Kev at 3:34 PM

Hoot '04 - Worth The Effort?

Was it worth the effort? I think so.

By Kevin Hillskemper

A lot of people had a hard time getting there. Enough about that.

I arrived in time to catch most of Deke Dickerson�s set on the side stage. He did his usual aw-shucks, gee-whiz, Mid-western corn fed countrybilly rock thing and did it well. It�s the same old bag of groceries, but he delivers it on time and with the courtesy to ensure continued customer satisfaction.

I wanted to see the Kingbees but I didn'�t. Did they even play?

I caught a little bit of Ricky Warwick. He had a song that went something like "�three sides to every story � yours, mine, and the truth"� over and over for about six years. I wonder if he has seen "�The Kid Stays in the Picture�?"

I liked James Intveld. Not only is he an accomplished musician and songwriter, but he makes a strong fashion statement with his grizzled old prospector look. He�s only about 40, but it seems like any second now he�s going to lose his teeth and start walking all hunched-over and bowlegged. See him now before he changes his name to �Muley�.

Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys were next. Very good as expected. It takes a lot of talent for a man to remain so cool in a black suit on a hot day.

Then came the Blasters. Phil Alvin was drenched in sweat before the band even started playing. I'�ve seen the �Blasters Mach II or whatever� several times and they'�ve never really overwhelmed me �until today. Something clicked in place after a few songs and they just caught fire. It was one of those things that could only be described with a mixed metaphor. Part of the greatness of the Blasters legacy has to be Phil Alvin�s repertoire of rock grimaces. Mick Ronson may have invented the highly influential �rock guitar solo face� (watch the �Ziggy Stardust� concert movie and �Spinal Tap� back-to-back sometime), but Phil Alvin has given birth to countless facial contortions for singers that few could ever come close to duplicating. It must be said, however, that very few people would actually want to.

I watched the Horrorpops for a few minutes. They really had a good visual thing going on with the dancing skeleton chicks and stuff. They were a little too goofy for me so I ventured back over the side stage to see Jesse Dayton. It was a wise decision.
His recordings that I�ve heard do not do justice to his live show. He�s an amazing guitar show-off and he whooped the tar out of the rinky-dink sound system.

The Supersuckers belong outdoors. They have great larger-than-rock stadium anthems. In a club setting they can come off as overblown and obnoxious but at an outdoor festival they make perfect sense.

The Reverend Horton Heat reminds me of Ted Nugent. Don�t ask me to explain it because it doesn'�t make any sense.

The Cramps were a powerhouse rock and roll machine. Former Blaster Bill Bateman played drums and he made them even stronger. They�ve become downright legitimate and that�s bound to offend somebody.
Anyway, Lux and Ivy are aging tastefully. Lux Interior looks eerily like Boris Karloff and I�m sure he would take that as a compliment. Boris Karloff was a consummate professional. As is Lux.
It doesn�t matter what songs The Cramps played. What matters is that when a pair of panties were thrown on stage, Lux put them on over his face and chewed through them. He also crawled on his belly like a reptile, chugged a bottle of wine, dropped his pants, bent a mic stand into a pretzel, climbed the PA speakers, ripped his clothing into shreds and all the other things that Wayne Newton should be doing if he really wanted to wow them in Vegas.
I enjoyed the show very much.

Posted by Big Kev at 12:21 PM

July 6, 2004

Hootenanny 2004: Horrorpops

The Horrorpops are visually interesting, with gogo dancers, props and pop galore. Lead singer Patricia, clearly influenced by such diverse women as Blondie, Siouxsie, and Bettie Page, has a style and look all her own. Their retro/neuro look seemed to fascinate a lot of folks.

Photo essay by Wanda.

Posted by DJWanda at 11:37 PM

Hootenanny: Best and Worst 2004

(L-R: Miss Erica and DJ Wanda; Courtney and Katie; Lovely Hour Glass Gals)
1) The weather this is what people move to California for perfect weather! Not too hot, not too cold, and very few annoying bugs, unlike our friends on the east coast. Yes, it was hot, but that soft breeze made things wonderful.

2) The location I am glad they moved back to Oak Canyon, but the traffic situation ye God! (see Worst) #1) Still, seeing the bands silhouetted against the hills (thankfully devoid of development for now) as the sun went down was a uniquely Southern California moment.

3) The vendors many more vendors than last year, with a good assortment of fun things to buy. And many independent vendors, rather than the usual corporate junk. Nice to see.

4) The lack of cell phone reception it was kind of nice to see folks without a cell phone stuck in their ear. The lack of reception forced everyone to talk to one another.

5) My friends, new and old even though I never managed to find the people I actually drove with, I did run into an awful lot of other folks that I know and like, some of whom I only see once a year at Hootenanny. This is what makes it so fun for me the people watching even above and beyond the band watching and the music.

1) The traffic what was up with the traffic backed up to the toll road? Get some rent-a-cops, get some more ticket takers, whatever it takes. That was a nightmare and totally deprived the bands of audience, since most folks were at least an hour late getting in. Why not just build the price of the parking into the ticket, rather than make everyone stop to dig for $5? Nice job, Bill Hardie.

2) The location while I love Oak Canyon, this was not an easy in/ easy out situation. The parking at Hidden Valley was much easier, as was entering/exiting. If you are going to have that many people at a venue like Oak Canyon, its got tp be thought through a bit more.

3) The lack of security now, I am not a person in favor of a lot of security, but I saw several pretty bloody fights with not one security guard in sight. And the door security very lax. Given our current climate of terrorism and fear, the fact that you can bring in a parasol, but not a ballpoint pen, is somewhat laughable. You dont have to be a national security expert to know that the combination of too much beer, sun, and loud music are going to make people violent. More security was needed, especially near the vendors, where I watched one guy get the crap beaten out of him by a girl.

4) The lack of cell phone reception I must be a big city girl, cuz I was frustrated by the inability to use my phone to find my friends. The lack of reception made it impossible to ever find the folks I came with, the folks I was trying to meet, and the folks who were trying to find me. This bugged me for about 20 minutes and then I got used to it. I remember life without cell phones.

5) The bands what can I say about such unoriginal booking? Sure, it was supposed to be the anniversary line up, so why not do the traditional headliners and then add some newer acts that folks actually want to see, especially on the smaller stage. How many times can one person see James Intveld, Russell Scott, or Hellbound Hayride? Why not add some bands from out of town? As one person noted, the best music seemed to be coming from the Guitar Center booth next to the KUCI booth. At least those musicians were innovative.

-- Article by Wanda

Posted by DJWanda at 10:46 PM

May 10, 2004

Hitting the Brix:

by Kris Brix

Here are some random interviews I conducted this winter on Sunset Blvd. I initially wrote them for the now defunct Destroy All Magazine and it was going to be a regular "Man in the Street" article published every month to add levity. Well, we all know what happened to Destroy All and I'm glad I have the opportunity to resume this hobby and hope to continue it as a regular item!

I promised Norma Jean (RIP) that I would get her l'il article published one way or another so I am grateful to Barflies.net for providing me the opportunity to fulfill my small promise. It's rather poignent to read it now, I remember as she excitedly talked to me about boys out
back behind the Dollhut...

These were just general questions I chose for my first interviews ever. They are about MP3 downloading and internet dating sites and some of the answers are kind of amusing, ENJOY!

The Tony Voltage Interview
The Jon Interview
The Steve Interview
The Norma Jean Interview
The Dani Interview
The Jinx Interview
The Jennifer Interview
The Edwin Interview

Posted by Ms. Jen at 1:05 PM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Tony Voltage Interview

Tony VoltageName - Tony Voltage
Age - 24
Location Los Angeles
Occupation Human Resources Clerk
Favorite bands A shit load Destroy, Code 13, Chaos UK, Varukers

How do you acquire new music?
Through interpunk.com or Headline Records in Hollywood

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
They are too high when it comes to mainstream corporate music. As for punk that I am into, sometimes I get bargains and sometimes they are high, depends on where I buy.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
Screw the artists, its a free enterprise. They still make millions so if they get hurt, big deal.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
Very difficult because people have high expectations. You have to impress and try hard to get attention, unless you are the go-getter type.

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?

I use them to meet people and if it turns out to be a date then fine. I have met many people from the net, some I keep in touch with and the others I dont.

If yes to the above question, any stories youd like to share?
Um Sex, booze and punk rock n roll, ha-ha! Whatever happens happens is what I say!

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:56 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Jon Interview

JonName - Jon
Age - 32
Location Silverlake
Occupation - Production Mananger
Favorite Bands - Alkaline Trio, Clash, Rise Against, Maxine

How do you acquire new music?
I buy at Amoeba or Lous in San Diego. Sometimes I burn copies off my friends.

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
Too high! I look for stuff used first, but if its more than $13 Ill download it or burn copies off my buddies. Most chain stores like Tower and the Wherehouse arent even worth walking into. Best Buy has good prices on new titles.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
Well it hurts the artists and the labels but its justified. Music is too expensive. Sometimes the (MP3) quality sucks and its hard to find an entire album sometimes...

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
Its difficult for sure. People in LA are less friendly than in other parts of California. Dating is weird and lame for the most part.

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?

It never really crossed my mind that it was a real way to meet someone. It seems like a scam to collect emails, I dont know about it enough. If a friend said they had luck, then maybe Id try it.

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:10 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Steve Interview

kbsteve.jpgName - Steve
Age - 33
Location - Santa Monica
Occupation - Electronics Technician
Favorite bands - The Cult, NIN, Social Distortion, Sex Pistols

How do you acquire new music?
I do it all. I buy used and new CD's, download them, copy off of friends

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
The price of new CDs now is way higher than what they were when I first started buying them in 1985 then it was only $9.99! Most of the CDs I buy are used now.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
I think I can see both sides to this, sure the artists might have lost some money to downloads, but I think it also can help them also. I have bought CDs because I have liked tunes that I have downloaded.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
With all these people crammed in so close, its easy to find a date. But at times the quality of these dates is less than desirable.

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
I have met a few girls here and there online.

If yes to the above question, any stories youd like to share?
I dated a couple of the girls I met for a little while. Also went out on a few dates with a DJ from one of the local stations, and we are still good friends. She was a freak!

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:09 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Norma Jean Interview

Norma JeanName Norma Jean
Age - 21
Location - Orange
Occupation - Student/Beauty Advisor
Favorite bands - Aces & Eights, Wanda Jackson, Depeche Mode

How do you acquire new music?
I buy CDs at shows a lot, or friends give me CDs. My friends burn CDs for each other.

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
I dont see why people would buy CDs when you can burn them for so cheap. And then you can make your own CDs and leave out songs you dont like.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
I dont really think about it that much. I dont go out of my way to download music; my friends do it for me.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
I think its MUCH easier up here, guys from LA dont give up so easily, they are persistent even if you say no at first. In Orange County the guys there are a little bit more scared, they wont come up to you.

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
I met a guy in Vegas and took a picture of us all partying. A year later I saw his picture on Rockabillydating.com and recognized him and we got in touch through that.

If yes to the above question, any stories youd like to share?
I hit it off with that guy for 3 months and then I found out that he was back with his ex that he hadnt completely broken up with. That sucked but I learned a lot about relationships in those three months

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:08 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Dani Interview

kbdani.jpgName - Dani
Age - 22
Location - Palms
Occupation - student/record store clerk
Favorite bands - White stripes, Outkast, Snoop

How do you acquire new music?
I burn it, and buy it new and used.

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
CD prices are way too high, about double the price they should be.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
I think its amazing and it should be legal and it should be fine.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
Very difficult; youre always in your car, no ones ever just walking, no ones ever just going some place; its always like a big deal to get in the car and go somewhere. And typical reasons like so many people in LA are superficial especially in Hollywood where the bars are, and once you get drunk its not very easy then either!

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
I dont use those but I intend to, I havent used them because it either costs money or its a pain in the ass.

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:07 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Jinx Interview

kbjinx.jpgName - Jinx
Age - 18
Location - Lancaster
Occupation - between jobs/keyboardist
Favorite bands - Pantera, Metallica, Nirvana, Black Sabbath

How do you acquire new music?

Internet, music stores, downloading mp3s and burning cds. Listening to it on the streets I guess, in the car, stuff like that.

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
A lot of them actually are going up pretty fast; you actually almost have to wait 2 months to get a CD almost at a reasonable price. A lot of places, you just have to know where to go, when to go, stuff like that.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
It hurts the artist a little bit because it takes away from what he could be making but it also gets, if the people really like it, it gets them to go out and buy the album afterward if they really like the whole album, since you cant get the whole album on mp3, you can only get one or two songs. So it gets the person, if they really like the person, to go out and buy the album afterward.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?

It depends who you know, where to go. It depends actually a lot on where you go because you can just walk up to somebody just walking down the street. I dont know its kind of easy, you could say I guess

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
Not so much, I mean Ive got friends and stuff like that over the internet, and I go in chat rooms and stuff like that. Here and there I guess, you could say.

If yes to the above question, any stories youd like to share?

Thats why its nice to have a picture, and stuff like that, on the internet so you can send it so you know exactly kinda what the people look like, here or there. I havent had any weird experiences myself. Ive met a few way out people a couple times, thats why I like having pictures so I can look, see what the person looks like before I meet em

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:06 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Jennifer Interview

JenniferName - Jennifer
Age - 26
Location - Burbank
Occupation - costume maker
Favorite bands - Voltaire, Hours, Delirium, Bella Morte

How do you acquire new music?
I buy them at concerts or online. I buy new CDs online, but not often!

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?
$17 for a CD is an awful lot, I would definitely wait for it to go on sale or buy used or online when they are cheaper.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
I think its a bit of both

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
It can be difficult, yes. People are often unapproachable, intimidating

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
Yes, just online dating.

Any stories youd like to share?
I only met one person and he was fine

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:05 AM

The Streets of Hollywood - The Edwin Interview

EdwinName - Edwin
Age - 14
Location - Lennox
Occupation - student/guitarist
Favorite bands - Ramones, Buzzcocks, Peter and the Test Tube Babies

How do you acquire new music?
I hear about the bands from friends and then look it up on the internet and download it, and if I like it I keep downloading so I have their CD and so forth and then I burn it.

What do you think of new CD prices; too high, too low, just fine?

They are just right, some of em are too high though.

What do you think of MP3 downloading, do you feel its justified or hurts the artist?
Its pretty good for me; I dont think it really hurts them.

Do you think Los Angeles is an easy or difficult place to meet others for dating?
Easy I guess.

Have you used online services or personal ads to help you find people to date? If so, were you successful? If not, why not?
Nope, most of them just jack your money or I find them pretty dumb.

-- Interview by Kris Brix

Posted by Ms. Jen at 10:04 AM