Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Death Says: "Remember Me?"

It’s gotta be like this: when one thing takes flight another thing lands. And now an upcoming death has got me thinking about mortality ‘n shit ‘n purpose ‘n happiness. Just when you think you have it all figured out, someone passes on and you get angry when you understand that they didn’t have it all figured out. You want to shake them from death’s grip and say “Listen up! See what you’ve missed! Look at what you could have had!” I’m talking about the things that money can’t buy. I’m thinking about the things that should be important.
So will death’s reminder bring my own Father the epiphany that he needs? Probably not. My thinking is that the death of the last substantial lineage with where he comes from will either cause him to retreat further into himself or produce a resentment that has been increasingly noticeable in the past few years. There are things that he can’t control, and it bothers him. The sad thing is that what he actually could control isn’t being addressed. He’s very lucky to have my Mother; I’m not sure if others would receive his emotional shallowness in much the same way as she does. I really hope that one day he can put away the baggage and demonstrate some feelings. The mindless bickering that he often creates does not serve his intelligence well and is extremely unpleasant to be around. And regarding that epiphany? I’m not waiting around for it to happen.
So with that bummer in mind, some things that have brought things into perspective. Think of it as the “enjoy every sandwich” list.

  • Episode III-Quite simply a badass piece of work that renewed my faith in the whole George Lucas franchise. Aside from a few minor flaws, it’s the best thing since “Empire.” And even “Empire” had a few minor flaws. Let me remind you that Billy Dee Williams was in that thing, and even he makes Samuel L. Jackson look Shakespearean. There were times during the film in which I was actually thinking “This thing is totally awesome!” If you don’t believe me, consider the Godshonesttruth that I went into the theatre expecting just a hair better than Episode I or II. About halfway through it, I began realizing that is was on par with the original trilogy. By movie’s end, I was firmly convinced it was right on par with “Empire.”
  • Take 5 Candy bars-I want to thank the pothead who came up with this motherfucking delicious confection. Don’t let the “let’s throw a bunch of shit in there” ingredient list fool you. It’s most awesome and, again, even I went into my first one with a “what the fuck are they putting pretzels in candy bars?” attitude. Every single Goddamn person I have recommended it to has walked away from one with a “damn, that’s a tasty sucker” comment. Except for one douchebag at work, but that fucker is into Butterfingers. Hershey is the shit. Fuck Nestle.
  • Cat Power’s “Willie Deadwilder”-Now before you think “Oh great, here’s Worpswede going off on yet another Chan Marshall jerkoff” let me declare how fucking great this two-chorded eighteen plus minute piece of work is. Swear to God, this song has brought me close to tears and perfectly summarizes my love of the S.L.F. in more ways than I could possibly compose myself. It’s like Chan got into my head and wrote down the words I was too chickenshit to admit. Sample:

With your love I have foothold

I can carry on

But please don't let me worry you now

Please don't let me worry you now

There's nothing I am saying

That could ever be made wrong

I love you, love you so

I love you so strong

Please remember your heart in me

Please remember it's not anatomically correct

Please know there's no boundary

And if God is willing to protect

Our love, a world of love

I think you'd be willing too

Where are you from

And where are you going to

We have so much to do

Where you are going is

Where you do come from

And where I will be is with you

We have so much to do

We have so much to do

We have so much to do

Hurry, hurry, hurry let's go

Hurray, hurray, things are gonna be okay

Hurry, hurry let's go

All them children are waiting

It's time and they are ready

We got so much to do

And if God is willing

We have got so much

We have got so much

And if you thought the post would end without another picture of Chan, you'd be wrong...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fucking Tweekers

The SLF and I recently visited our “friendly” fuckers at Wal-Mart to buy some allergy medicine. This event happened at 6:00 pm on a Sunday. In the aisle featuring all good things that mask allergy symptoms, we found disclaimers instead of products. Essentially, the disclaimers said that we must ask the pharmacist for these non-prescription items. The trouble was, the pharmacy closed at 6:00pm. We asked for a manager to ask why we could not purchase a non-prescription medication to complete our wonderful one stop shopping experience. He informed us that Iowa law prohibits selling allergy medication beyond a certain time. When we asked if Wal-Mart was going to extend the hours of the pharmacy to better serve the customers, he advised no. In retrospect, I guess we were a little hard on the fuckface, as he really was the messenger and we were just looking for yet another reason not to shop at the Smiley Store.

Here’s the Iowa law, in case your thinking about cooking up a batch:
Under new SF 169:
o Licensed pharmacists may dispense, on a nonprescription basis, products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine, as the sole ingredient or in combination with any other ingredient, pursuant to rules currently being developed by the Board. An individual may not purchase from a pharmacy more than 7500 mg. of these substances during a 30-day period.
o Purchasers must be at least 18 years of age and, if they are unknown to you, must show a photo ID. Purchases must be logged. Pharmacies are not required to disclose the contents of a dispensing log to law enforcement officials unless the log is the subject of a court order or subpoena.
o Larger amounts of pseudoephedrine may be dispensed by pharmacies for legitimate medical purposes pursuant to a prescription issued by an authorized prescriber.
o Retail (non-pharmacy) outlets may sell only limited amounts of select pseudoephedrine products in controlled settings. Retailer sales are limited to one package of liquid or liquid-filled gel caps containing no more than 360 milligrams of pseudoephedrine to a single purchaser in a 24-hour period, and no more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine from a pharmacy or retailer, separately or collectively, in a 30-day period. Retailers shall NOT stock or sell any non-liquid pseudoephedrine products or any products containing ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine.
o Retailers must keep liquid and liquid-filled gel cap pseudoephedrine products behind a counter inaccessible to the public or in a locked case, shall require a government-issued photo ID, and shall maintain for 12 months a pseudoephedrine purchase log including the purchaser's name, address, and signature.
o A pharmacy may elect to keep ALL pseudoephedrine products in the pharmacy and dispense the liquid or liquid-filled gel cap products in compliance with requirements and limitations for dispensing Schedule V pseudoephedrine products.

Jesus Christ, is there really an army of tweekers out there gobbling up allergy medications (even infant formulas) for their own recreational usage? Since these dipshits are up all night, can’t they just as easily drive to a neighboring state and purchase the ingredients there? A friend who’s a pharmacist foreshadowed this inconvenience by purchasing some extra pseudoephedrine products prior to the law, but I had no idea this shit was now as heavily monitored as heroin. Can I now purchase smack at the Wal-Mart pharmacy just as long as there’s a pharmacist on duty? Twenty bucks says the meth problem continues to rise even after SF 169 has been around for a while. Fucking tweekers. They always manage to throw a wrench into people’s business.
In the “good idea” department:
• A friend and I think it would be a good idea for me to throw a pair of men’s underwear on stage at a Judas Priest concert. You know: show Rob Halford a little love.
• I’m thinking about commissioning some art from a guy at work. Apparently, he will, for a modest fee, create a work of art from photographs. Many people are using him to create artwork containing images of deceased family members. This way, a family member who’s dead can be combined with those that are living. My goal is to have him make an image of Dale Earnhardt and Jesus Christ. Kind of taking the whole halo above the number three thing to the next level.

This is just a few examples of how my mind operates. Another example is to get off line for fear that the Man will see this post, check the time of the posting, and then conclude I’m cooking meth down in the basement.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Anton Newcombe is unstable. This is why I just e-mailed him asking for some different guitar tunings to work with. I’ll let you know if he replies, but you’re probably asking why I would e-mail a crazy person. My thinking was: why not start with someone who is completely committed to thinking outside of the box. Anton Newcombe definitely thinks “outside of the box.”

Anton Newcombe is also completely committed to his music. Anyone who fucks with it, be it audience or band member, will soon feel the wrath of his manic ways. If you’re not all too familiar with the manner in which Anton runs his life, band, and career, I strongly urge you to purchase the documentary “Dig!” which chronicles his band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and his fixation on The Dandy Warhols.
After filming over 2000 hours of footage, you know there are some great moments that make up the rockumentary. So rather than repeat what you really need to witness anyway, let me say that “conflict” is a part of Anton’s life and musical direction. Those that try to work with him end up fighting. Those that try to assist him end up frustrated. Those that try to understand him end up confused. In the end, only his music manages to reveal him and even that is hidden under a retro fabric from a time and place that he wishes he had taken part in.
Anton is probably one of the most notorious targets for confrontation since Henry Rollins during his long hair phase. People actually attend a BJM show to either 1.) witness a meltdown or 2.) create one. And while you may not be able to control #1, it’s hard for me to understand why you would even want to provoke someone who obviously has challenges with dealing with confrontational people. It’s the equivalent to challenging a retard to a spelling bee; it’s just too easy.
Take a performance from Schubas in Chicago, Illinois. A man threw a full glass of beer directly at Anton only to be hit and escorted out….by his girlfriend. Prior to this incident, Anton got into a verbal argument with his guitarist over the volume of his instrument. The guitarist attempted to appease Anton, gave up and then increased the volume of the instrument again. Angry, Anton marched over to the guitarist’s amplifier and adjusted every control knob until his vision and his anger were under control.
While this incident is not on the movie, “Dig!” provides viewers with many other examples of “confrontation,” some of which end with broken sitars. “This doesn’t happen in my band!” reminds Courtney Taylor of The Dandy Warhols after performing with the BJM, as if anyone really expected differently.
The fixation that Anton has on the Warhols is fascinating. It’s almost as if he wants to live vicariously through them and use their success as both a rationale for his own band not succeeding and as a focal point for his own self esteem. The Warhols are also used as creative fodder, causing Anton to resort to bullying tactics both in song composition and as a marketing tool. Anton may be the star of the film, but the Dandy Warhols certainly come off as the hapless shells that jump when their major label asks them to do so. They have nearly no power over their direction while Anton meanders through the states with complete control over whatever he wants to do. It’s both an envious and unhealthy situation which adds to his own instability. This is clearly a man who needs direction and a peer that he can relate to. Courtney Taylor is unable to provide either as his own drive places his band as priority one. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I consider The Dandy Warhols as a guilty pleasure, but nothing they’ve done will be treated with the same amount of reverence as what The Brian Jonestown Massacre has managed to accomplish. Never mind the fact that the BJM’s own catalog is filled with misfires and severely crippled ideas. While the movie may boost the catalog sales for BJM, it goes without saying that not even a lucrative inclusion on a soundtrack to a Hollywood smash would make them successful. And that’s what makes Anton’s band and music so appealing in the end: with this understanding, Anton continues to work out of sheer passion which is exactly what rock music needs more of these days.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Spoon-Gimmie Fiction

If you’re like me, Spoon’s 2002 release “Kill The Moonlight” took you completely by surprise. Typically, most bands become too bitter, too fractured to really rebound from a major label dropping. Their fans, typically, become too uncaring of such a drama to really give a shit about a band having their feelings hurt by the aftermath of a R.I.F. at WEA. Being dropped by a major was probably the best thing that ever happened to Spoon: “Kill the Moonlight” plays like a classic on the cusp of larger acclaim. In short, it sounds like a call up from the farm league rather than an effort of a band who’s time in the majors had come and gone.
And for that Cinderella story, Spoon suddenly found themselves the dubious distinction of trying to top themselves. Considering how good “Kill the Moonlight” was/is, it’s no shock then how their latest, “Gimme Fiction” comes up a few songs short of “Moonlight’s” majesty. That much you should know before entering into their latest, but it shouldn’t prevent you from hearing what they’re doing now. Because any band that possesses as much knowledge about rock music as Spoon does, deserves to have more attention than Soundscan currently acknowledges.

While “Kill the Moonlight” examined some insanely catchy medlodic patterns, “Gimme Fiction” replicates that direction with the electric guitar stepping up, front and center. There’s less of a cut and paste feel to the album, but it’s still a little difficult to understand why it took nearly three years to come up with it. I mean, I probably would have been thrilled to death if “Gimme Fiction” took a year to make but the shear fact that after all this time, the forty-four minutes represented here is the best that they came up with, well, it makes me feel a little disappointed. There’s a sense of some songs just on the verge of being finished and a few more songs that feel like they could’ve gone just a few steps further. “They Never Got You” is a prime example of this. It’s a song that maintains a new wave chord progression, but fails to really build a memorable agenda and after three minutes, you’re tired of the whole track. “Merchants of Soul” follows suit, this time with a neat piano pattern that once again fails to get past the idea that it may have made a nice bridge in some other song if they’d put some extra time behind it. There’s also a few Anglophile elements spattered throughout the entire effort but it only points to the sad fact that there’s a ton of other bands out today that focus their entire musical direction on post-punk Britpop and they’re doing a better job than Spoon is of replicating it.
Just when you’re a little testy about it, they’ll throw in a few songs that would fit right at home on “Moonlight” (“My Mathematical Mind,” “The Delicate Place,” “The Infinite Pet,” and “Sister Jack”) and then add a few that actually build upon that album. “Was It You” sounds a few yards away from a Talking Heads song and “I Turn My Camera On” may be the reason why this album suddenly reaches a few more music fans. If anything, I’ll bet you there are a ton of cellular phone manufacturers that would pay top dollar for this song to be playing underneath commercial images of their new camera phones. There’s a reason why marketers would be drawn to it: because it’s a crafty little pop tune that posses more heart in a mere three minutes than most contemporary soul songs do in an entire full-length outing.

It took its time a-working into my soul/I got to believe it came from rock and roll” Britt Daniel sings on the opening track, “The Best And Dragon, Adore,” and “Gimme Fiction” took its sweet time hitting the streets. The members of Spoon have a good understanding of their rock history and their passion for it is prevalent throughout the new album. I’m still a little pissed at why it took so long to get released, at the same time, I’m glad it’s finally here.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Cinco De Mayonnaise

Another shitty week. It's been a while since I've been this bumming. It's like an old friend that you really don't care for much anymore. Lots of life dramas, werkloads, and financial poopyness fill each day. It's easy to get lost in the routine and smoke more cigarettes. Fucking sometimes allows you a little solitude with it and music provides a brief distraction. I've gone from The Human League to Iron Maiden to Public Enemy to Superchunk to Black Flag to Richard Marx in single bounds, and I woke up the next morning to breathe again. I think I can shake this funk. I've kicked the shit out of depression ten times this bad.
On top of this, I need to move.
One has to ask themselves: What would Keith Richards do?

Now I understand that Keith is relatively wealthy now and has the ability to buy his way out of any major problem. But there has to be a few times a year where Keith just doesn't have things go his way. My guess is that he throws down a few Rebel Yell's, picks up a Telecaster and lights a smoke. My dream is that he throws a needle in his vein, slips his cock in the ass of a underage chick and lights a smoke.
Today kept reminding me of the Liz Phair song of the same name. The lyric "Cinco De Mayo/burn down Ohio" kept repeating through my head. Notable activity from today:

  • A near retired woman felt sorry that the new Muslim girl had to wear that clothing all year long.
  • I had two conversations with a guy we call "Milton." I used to jokingly bet that every time we had food, he would suddenly show up and ask for the leftovers. I would then purposely give him donuts and candy thinking it was quite humoring. Until I noticed his hands shaking. Then I became concerned. Indeed: a quick investigation with input from the training lady revealed that Milton shouldn't be eating sweets at all! He has diabetes. The fucker also drinks like a gallon of Mountain Dew each day. So anyways, I talked to him a few times today. It's a trip. Part of the conversation was about Keith Moon.
  • I had my one-on-one with my boss. I still haven't quite figured her out and her departing Administrative Assistant didn't reveal much intel. I did learn that some of the other supervisors hate me. Ha! Me and the new guy are quickly becoming a threat and we're throwing down enough jack to be in first place overall.
  • I missed "Flap Jack Day" again and saw a stunned hummingbird fly out of the building after getting trapped in the cafeteria. Some dumbass almost stepped on it. Geese also come up and poop in the smoking section outside.
  • The Shins' "Chutes Too Narrow" is a fucking incredible album