Monday, July 29, 2013

Ted Nugent - Cat Scratch Fever

Can we cut the shit and finally admit that maybe, just maybe, Ted Nugent doesn’t deserve the notoriety that he continues to receive some forty-plus years after he dodged his military obligation and chose to become “The Motor City Madman” instead?

The fact is that the Nuge hasn’t produced anything worthwhile in over thirty of those forty years, and his greatest accomplishment-Cat Scratch Fever-isn’t all that it’s stacked up to be.

Come to think of it, this record, and the two preceding it, are only a Ted Nugent solo record in name alone, as the large burst of creativity was just as much a product of the rest of his band as it was to  his own compositional "prowess."

In fact, Nugent enjoyed the attention that Cat Scratch Fever provided him so much that he began acting like a complete asshole. And when he alienated himself so much, the talent left him, the hits stopped coming, his impact turned into caricature, and his political commentary began to outweigh anything else he composed in song.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at his chart performance and sales totals after Cat Scratch Fever. They are as slippery as the notion that trickle-down economics somehow can trigger a robust economy.

But let’s go back and take another look at his 1977 high-water mark, a blistering 10-song set that features fellow Michigan-native Derek St. Holmes as the lead singer of a band fronted by a hairy dude in a loincloth, playing a big ol’ Gibson Birdland.

Originally written by Skunk Tarver, “Cat Scratch Fever” is a strange, minor-key ode to promiscuity and the effects of syphilis on the male mind. To study the title track of Ted’s most notorious song is to squander its precious moment: a riff that is to die for. When you combine the riff along with chorus, essentially a lather-rinse-repeat of the song title, you have a legitimate contender for one of rock ‘n roll’s most awesome songs, even if the content and actual lyrics are completely inane.

Beyond that, the rest of Cat Scratch Fever the album in nothing more than a decent 70’s hard rock collection that undoubtedly served its purpose in every Monte Carlo that cruised Main Street on a Saturday night, but it’s hardly a song that defines the decade or the emotional triggers that stemmed from it. It’s is the musical equivalent of a one night stand, an evening where the parties remember each other’s names for prosperity, but with no emotional connection beyond the orgasm (read: riff), “Cat Scratch Fever” is not the kind of song you’d plan as a wedding song.

Leave it to the Nuge to top this with a song that’s so offensively awesome that it too deserves a tip of the hat to old Ted, “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” Again, it’s the riff that matters here, and with the lyricist being sort of a dumb witted misogynist, you tend to allow a wide-birth for the fact that it’s essentially a song about how the female reproductive system can make men do (and write) some pretty stupid things.

These two moments of flawed perfection were released as a single, and even with the content being so questionable, Ted managed to score his only Top 40 hit, sans Damn Yankees, of course.

And if it weren’t for the fact that “Cat Scratch Fever” the single contained a pointless edit that only shaved a half-minute off the album version’s running time, I might be inclined to suggest that everyone save their money and seek out just the single.

But there are a few more enjoyable tracks within the full-length, albeit all of them are riddled with clichés and endless machismo. What makes them the best thing in Uncle Ted’s discography is the fact that Cat Scratch Fever (as well as his debut and Free For All-both recommended for further listening) was the product of a band.

Regardless of the fact that Ted’s name is the primary composer on nearly every song, it doesn’t deter from the fact that these songs were conceived, arranged, and executed with three other men who compliment Nugent’s shortcomings.

When vocalist Derek St. Holmes left (the bassist and drummer followed shortly after), Ted was left to his own isolationist views, taking a “my way or the highway” approach that signaled a serious loss in quality while promoting his asshole opinions ahead of anything he could manage to strangle from his guitar.

A  waste of talent for sure, but Cat Scratch Fever also shows that it was nothing more than a mid-level entry to a very prolific decade, particularly when it came to hard rock entries. It is Nugent’s most notable moment, but given his endless parade of political nonsense and a mouth as loud as any humbucker pickup, listeners who want to distance themselves from any contact with the record’s primary creative force will not be missing much by placing Cat Scratch Fever into quarantine.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Built To Spill Announce Fall 2013 Tour

Bundled up and ready to tackle the upper Midwest, starting now.
And there's an Iowa date!

I've been spinning Live and Perfect From Now On recently and, if you didn't know this already, both are holding up remarkably well.

I'm getting stoked at the notion that they're going to try and cram all of that gear into the Iowa City venue they've chosen. Should be fun.

Jim Roth-the dude in the hat-is best know around these parts to anyone over the age of 35 as a one-time Hollowmen bud and the head honcho of the most awesome Voodoo Gearshift.

These guys are friggin road dogs-check out the one-a-days below. They haven't had a new record out in 4 years, so maybe there's lots of new material on this run.


Built To Spill, one of the most endearing and enduring bands of our generation, have announced a string of fall headlining tour dates; select dates will go on sale July 27th. In addition to touring the U.S., the band is currently writing songs for their next Warner Bros. Records release.

Vocalist/guitarist Doug Martsch, guitarists Brett Netson and Jim Roth, drummer Steve Gere and bassist Jason Albertini have been on the road all year touring throughout North America. They also performed at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee show in Seattle and will perform at the Rock for Oklahoma City benefit concert on July 23rd. Built to Spill released its most recent album There Is No Enemy in October 2009. It was the band's first album since 2006'sYou In Reverse. Previous studio albums include 2001's Ancient Melodies of the Future, 1999's Keep It Like A Secret, and their major-label debut, 1997's Perfect From Now On. In 2013 Built to Spill remain an influential force in compositionally intelligent, lyrically thoughtful, melodic, guitar-centric rock music.

Built to Spill's upcoming tour dates are as follows:

08/10 Olga, WA Doe Bay Festival
10/16 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court*
10/17 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater*
10/18 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room**
10/19 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck**
10/20 St. Louis, MO The Firebird**
10/21 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theatre*
10/22 Newport, KY Southgate House*
10/23 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel*
10/24 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse*
10/25 Jacksonville, FL Free Bird Live*
10/26 Orlando, FL Beacham Theater*
10/27 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room*
10/28 Gainesville, FL High Dive*
10/29 Charleston, SC The Music Farm*
10/30 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle*
10/31 Richmond, VA The Canal Club*
11/01 Washington, DC 9:30 Club*
11/02 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer***
11/03 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club+
11/05 Hamden, CT Spaceland Ballroom***
11/06 Pawtucket, RI The Met***
11/07 NewYork , NY Irving Plaza***
11/08 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club++
11/09 Ithaca, NY State Theater***
11/10 Buffalo, NY The Town Ballroom***
11/11 Millvale, PA Mr. Smalls Theatre***
11/12 Cleveland Heights, OH Grog Shop***
11/13 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall***
11/14 Chicago, IL Metro***
11/15 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom***
11/16 Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre***
11/17 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue***
11/18 Iowa City, IA Blue Moose Tap House*
11/20 Little Rock, AR The Rev Room*
11/21 Dallas, TX Granada Theater*
11/22 Houston, TX Fitzgerald's*
11/23 Austin, TX Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheatre*
11/24 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls*
11/25 Tucson, AZ Club Congress+++
11/26 Las Vegas, NV Vinyl*
11/27 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge*
*with Slam Dunk and Genders
**with Lee Ranaldo & The Dust
***Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair
+with Slam Dunk, The Warm Hair, and Crosss
++with Slam Dunk, The Warm Hair, and Parasol
+++with Slam Dunk, Genders, and Lenguas Largas

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tegan and Sara Might Have Their First Top 40 Hit Next Week

We'll see if the power of radio has any power over the worthless Billboard Top 100.

I noticed on last week's chart, a song from Pitch Perfect (currently playing on HBO) is in the Top 10.

It seems like only yesterday when the Bever Brown Band did the same thing.

Eddie Lives!!


Tegan and Sara performed their hit single "Closer" and "I Was a Fool" on CBS This Morning this past Saturday. Watch their stripped down performance now on the show's website. They also just performed on NPR WNYC's "Soundcheck" yesterday, listen to the interview and watch the performance


Tegan and Sara recently asked their fans to submit their own fun video of themselves performing "Closer" in the vein of the official music video. The result, the "Closer" Karaoke montage video. Speaking of "Closer," the song recently went to Top 40 radio and just got added by New York's Z100, WIOQ/Philly and WMVQ/San Francisco among others.

Tegan and Sara are on the verge of charting at Top 40 for the first time in their career, a subject they discuss "Soundcheck" interview.

The girls are presently on the road with Fun. as part of the "Most Nights" Tour. The tour kicked off earlier this month and A portion of the ticket sales from it will benefit The Ally Coalition, a partnership created by Fun. and designer Rachel Antonoff, devoted to encouraging and inspiring the music, fashion, and entertainment communities to take action in support of LGBTQ equality.

Each tour stop will showcase The Ally Coalition Equality Village, featuring TAC as well as other local and national LGBTQ equality organizations. For a complete list of upcoming tour dates, check out the list below. 

Confirmed Tegan and Sara Tour Dates:

07/23 Hudson River Park­ - New York, NY*
07/25 The Paramount - Huntington, NY
07/26 The Wang Theatre - Boston, MA
07/27 State Theatre - Portland, ME
07/29 MILE ONE CENTRE - St. John's, Canada
07/30 Metro Centre - Halifax, Canada
07/31 Casino New Brunswick - Moncton, Canada
08/01 Imperial de Quebec - Quebec City, Canada
08/03 Osheaga Festival - Montreal Canada
08/04 Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL
08/21 Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Denver, CO*
08/22 Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Denver, CO*
08/23 GREAT SALT AIR - Salt Lake City, UT*
08/27 Lake Tahoe Harvey's Outdoor Arena - Stateline, NV*
08/28 Idaho Botanical Garden - Boise, ID*
08/29 Edgefield - Portland, OR*
08/30 Britt Pavilion - Jacksonville, OR
08/31 Ambleside Park - West Vancouver, Canada*
09/01 Bumbershoot - Seattle, WA
09/03 The Greek Theater - Los Angeles, CA*
09/04 The Greek Theater - Los Angeles, CA*
09/06 Greek Theatre - Berkeley, CA*
09/07 Santa Barbara Bowl - Santa Barbara, CA*
09/08 Greek Theatre - Berkeley, CA*
09/10 Comerica Theatre - Phoenix, AZ*
09/12 Gexa Energy Pavilion - Dallas, TX*
09/13 Stubb's Waller Creel Amphitheatre - Austin, TX
09/14 Sunset Station - San Antonio, TX
09/15 House of Blues - New Orleans, LA
09/16 Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre - Tuscaloosa, AL*
09/18 Mizner Park Amphitheatre - Boca Raton, FL*
09/19 UCF Arena - Orlando, FL*
09/21 Music Midtown - Atlanta, GA
09/22 The Woods at Fontanel - Nashville, TN*
09/24 Family Circle Cup Stadium - Charleston, SC*
09/25 Red Hat Amphitheatre - Raleigh, NC*
09/26 nTelos Wirless Pavilion - Charlottesville, VA*
09/27 Starland Ballroom - Sayreville, NJ
09/28 Webster Bank Arena - Bridgeport, CT*

*"Most Nights" Tour with Fun.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Phil Hall Tackles The Worst Movies Of All Time

Jerry Lewis as a Gore Vidal-inspired extra-terrestrial?

Immediately placed Visit To A Small Planet on my Netflix queue after hearing about this!


ALBANY, GA. - BearManor Media announces the release of The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time, the latest book by noted film writer Phil Hall. This new celebration of cinematic inanity will be available beginning August 12 for a suggested retail price of $21.95.

These are the films that inspire wonder - you are left wondering how seemingly intelligent people could gather together and spend money to create such bizarre productions. From A-list atrocities to Grade-Z zaniness, 100 of the most wonderfully warped anti-classics have been gathered together for this celebration of cinematic kookiness.

Relive the jaw-dropping spectacle of John Wayne as Genghis Khan, Halle Berry as Catwoman, Jack Palance as Fidel Castro, and Jerry Lewis as a Gore Vidal-inspired extra-terrestrial. Sing along with a naked Anthony Newley, tap your toes to a "Pennsylvania Polka" dance number in the middle of an unauthorized remake of A Streetcar Named Desire, watch a suicidal Elizabeth Taylor run amok in Rome and appreciate Coleridge's poetry with topless women.

Hook up with Edward D. Wood Jr., Phil Tucker, Tommy Wiseau and their peers in the so-bad-they're-good genre, and marvel at how cinema royalty including Stanley Kubrick, George Cukor, Michelangelo Antonioni and Clint Eastwood could conceive celluloid debacles of an unprecedented scale.

When it comes to shock and awe, nothing compares to The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phil Hall is a contributing editor for the influential online site Film Threat, where he is best known for his long-running weekly column The Bootleg Files. His previous books include: The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies (2004), Independent Film Distribution (2006) and The History of Independent Cinema (2009). His film writing has also been published by the New York Times, New York Daily News, Wired and American Movie Classics Magazine.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Founded in 2001, BearManor Media is an independent book publisher specializing in titles related to all aspects of the entertainment world.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Supersuckers To Release First New Album In Five Years

...And a free e.p. to boot!


Acetate Records announces the addition of legendary Seattle band Supersuckers to their roster. The as of yet untitled album will be recorded at Willie Nelson's famous Arlyn Studio, in Austin, TX. It will be the band's ninth studio record and their first since 2008's Get It Together, released on the band's own Mid-Fi Recordings label.

"The band is really firing on all cylinders here lately and we're super stoked to get into the very same studio where we recorded Sacrilicious (SubPop, 1995) and create this rock-n-roll juggernaut," writes frontman Eddie Spaghetti. "We're also excited that we'll be releasing the record through Acetate Records, a new home for us and we're all in the honeymoon stages of the relationship now, so things are rosy and looking up."

To celebrate this union of rock, Acetate Records and Supersuckers are offering fans a FREE E.P. entitled 50,000 Middle Fingers Can't Be Wrong, featuring selections from their past catalog.

"It's been a rough few years for us, but that means more angry rock for you to enjoy! So batten down the hatches, lock up your wives and trim the hedges! The Supersuckers are fucking BACK!!!," concluded Spaghetti. The new album will be released at the end of 2013.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

D.O.A. Announce Farewell Tour Because It's Time, Quite Frankly

Not to be a dick about it but, yeah, it's probably two decades too late but D.O.A. have finally announced their retirement and the obligatory farewell tour coming to a local dive near you.

What a send off!

Joey Shithead is excited about the news because people will finally stop calling him 'Joey Shithead' when his nametag at Lowes finally presents his real name, Joe Keithley.

Oh, and the band recently announced a new beer (no shit, shithead) called D.O.Ale, which is really just old expired cans of Blatz beer with a D.O.A. sticker stuck on it.


D.O.A. announces USA / Europe Farewell Tour, D.O.A. Beer, plus a New Video Farewell Tour of USA Midwest and East Coast this September

D.O.A. Farewell Tour of Europe this October

D.O.A. teams up with Old Yale Brewing to produce D.O.A. Ale New D.O.A.

Video "Boneyard" feat. Hugh Dillon (Headstones, Flashpoint) from the We Come in Peace album Coming this fall on Sudden Death Records Welcome to Chinatown: D.O.A. Live new double live album and Sudden Death reissues the classic D.O.A. 12" War on 45

D.O.A., the Hardcore Punk Kings are gearing up for a farewell tour of the America's midwest and east coast this September. As well they will tour Europe and the U.K. this October. Canada's punk godfather Joe Keithley will lead his talented henchmen: Dirty Dan Sedan (bass) and JJ Heath (drums) on a punk rock rampage to forty, soon to be shaken to the core, cities this fall.

The Men of Action will employ their over the top, no holds barred, deafening combo of riffs, politics and humor to a wide collection of older D.O.A. classics, as well they will jolt you with some more recent nuggets as well. This farewell tour also serves as promotion for the latest studio album We Come in Peace and the upcoming D.O.A. double live album coming out in September entitled Welcome to Chinatown.(Complete date listing below)

It's like a dream come true, on many a long tour around the world, the D.O.A. guys have always speculated about what product would have the perfect association with D.O.A. The answer to that was always "a D.O.A. beer!" Well now you have it, the band has teamed up with award winning micro brewery Old Yale Brewing of Chilliwack, BC, to produce some top notch suds called D.O.Ale.

Joe Keithley, somewhat of a noted beer connoisseur, after recently trying one of the early batches, had this to say "D.O.A. Ale, it's wicked, powerful and tasty! It will get the gig rockin' and the kids going crazy. You'll race back for more!"

And a big thanks to CBC Radio 3 and their band beer series.

Right now D.O.Ale is available around greater Vancouver in private liquor stores. It will soon be coming to Alberta and Ontario.

D.O.A. has teamed up with old friend and film maker Marcus Rogers to make a wildly innovative new video for Boneyard, which is the lead track from D.O.A.'s blistering new album We Come in Peace. The video also features Hugh Dillon (Canadian rock legends Headstones lead vocalist and star of the hit series Flashpoint) splitting the lead vocals with Joe.


Thursday August 29, The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA
Friday August 30, El Corazon, Seattle, WA w/ The Fastbacks
Saturday August 31, Hawthorne Theater, Portland, OR
Wednesday Sept. 4, TBA
Thursday Sept. 5, Crunchy Frog, Green Bay, WI
Friday Sept. 6, Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI
Saturday Sept. 7, Reggie's Rock Club, Chicago. IL
Sunday Sept. 8, Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids, MI 
Monday Sept. 9, The Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH 
Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013, Bug Jar, Rochester, NY
Wednesday Sept. 11, Bogies, Albany, NY
Thursday Sept. 12, Middle East, Cambridge, MA 
Friday Sept. 13, Firehouse 13, Providence, MA
Saturday Sept. 14, Europa, Brooklyn, NY
Sunday Sept. 15, The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ
Monday Sept. 16, TBA
Tuesday Sept. 17, The Note, West Chester, PA 
Wednesday Sept 18, Black Cat, Washington DC 
Thursday Sept. 19, 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA
Friday Sept. 20, TBA
Saturday Sept. 21, Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
Sunday Sept. 22, Wander Inn, Mishawaka, IN

D.O.A. Farewell to Europe and the U.K. Tour - October 8 to October 27 all dates TBA

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shaun White's New Band Sucks Just As Bad As His Stride Gum Does


What the fuck.

The snowboarders isn't even the frontman, but a lowly guitarist, while another cat takes up the lead singer spot. $10 bucks says that this minor problem won't be around for long, particularly when Warner Bros. signs his band.

Do you think that they were signed for their talent and abilities, or just because they're a band that features Shaun White in their line-up?

Here, listen for yourself:
Now be swayed by the press release that convinces you how a band featuring Shaun White on guitar is what you were looking for all along:

In ten years, you'll be embarrassed about this shirt, dude
LA rock band Bad Things - that consists of front man/lead singer Davis LeDuke, bass player Jared Palomar, guitarist Anthony Sanudo, drummer Lena Zawaideh and lead guitarist Shaun White, the professional snowboarder and skateboarder - has signed to Warner Bros. Records and will be putting out their debut album later this year. Shaun, Lena and Anthony grew up in North County San Diego, CA and have been friends for years. Jared and Davis joined this past year, and together, the band has written a collection of songs for their debut, which is being produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith, The Vines). The first offering from the album is a booming track called "Caught Inside," which is now streaming on the band's SoundCloud.

Bad Things will be hitting the road next month, playing two shows in NYC - Popshop July 11th at Santos Party House and Brooklyn Bowl on July 13th - followed by a Northeast and Midwest headlining run.

A full list of dates is below.

7/28 - Philadelphia, PA - Milk Boy
7/30 - Washington, DC - DC9
7/31 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
8/1 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
8/3 - Providence, RI - Fete Lounge
8/4 - Montreal, QC - Parterre Parc Jean Drapeau/Osheaga Festival
8/5 - Toronto, ON - El Mo
8/7 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
8/8 - Madison, WI - Frequency
8/9 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It Is Now One Month Before The New No Age Record Is Released

You're welcome.

Now write it down or enter a reminder into your PDA.

Then buy it, play it, and conduct a little bit of PDA with your D/MILF who is DTF after the BBQ.


 No Age will release An Object, their 4th album, on CD, LP and digitally August 19 in UK & Europe and August 20th in North America via Sub Pop. The album, led by highlights “I Won’t Be Your Generator,” “C’mon, Stimmung,” “An Impression,” and “Lock Box”, was recorded by F. Bermudez and No Age at Gaucho's Electronics in Los Angeles. We’d like to share photographic evidence of An Object's tracklisting at this time:
More info on No Age's An Object: With An Object, their fourth full-length album, No Age has forgone the straight and narrow route, landing in a strange and unexpected place, feet planted in fresh, fertile soil. This new LP finds drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt exploding from behind his kit, landing percussive blows with amplified contact mics, 4-string bass guitars, and prepared speakers, as well as traditional forms of lumber and metal.

Meanwhile, guitarist Randy Randall corrals his previously lush, spastic, sprawling arrangements into taught, refined, rats' nests. Lyrically Spunt challenges space, fracturing ideological forms and complacency, creating a striking new perspective that reveals thematic preoccupations with structural ruptures and temporal limits. As the title An Object suggests, these eleven tracks, produced by No Age and their long-time collaborator Facundo Bermudez, who recorded tracks on their Weirdo Rippers LP (2007) and toured with the band in support of Everything In Between (2010), are meant to be grasped, not simply heard. Whether in the fine grit of Randall’s sandpaper guitar scrapes on "Defector/ed," or Spunt's percussive stomp and crack on "Circling with Dizzy" and "An Impression," created largely through the direct manipulation of contact mics, these are songs that pivot on the sheer materiality of music-making. Spunt's creative deployment of bass guitar accented through a modified speaker on the beautifully catchy "I Won't Be Your Generator" is a case in point: even at its most lyrical An Object incorporates the process of its creation into the very backbone of the songs.

Monday, July 15, 2013

As If Wayne Coyne's Life Wasn't Cartoony Enough...

Sure. Why not.



July 15, 2013 - (Burbank, CA) - Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has announced the release of his first ever comic book, entitled The Sun Is Sick. The adult-themed comic is a 40-page 6 ½" x 8 ½" full-color psychedelic fantasy in classic comic book form. It will go on sale at Comic-Com 2013 (at the San Diego Convention Center) beginning July 18th through 21st in an extremely limited print run and is sure to sell out.

After that,The Sun Is Sick will be available through the official LIPS web store only beginning July 22nd where it will disappear fast. WARNING!! The Sun Is Sick may be a comic book but make no mistake; this is not suitable for children and depending on what sort of person you are, it may not be suitable for some of you non-children either. If you have doubts at this moment then The Sun Is Sick is not for you. If you happen to be a LIPS fan that has enjoyed Wayne's beautiful artwork in the past and like adult-themed comic books then by all means this instant Collector's Item is waiting for you, but you better be quick.

In other LIPS news, the band has been nominated for a 2013 AIM Independent Music Award for "Best Live Act." AIM is a trade body established in 1999 to provide a collective voice for the UK's independent music industry.

THE LIPS are signed to Bella Union in the U.K.

Coyne is featured on a track called "The Perfect Life" on Moby's new album Innocents, which will be released on Oct 1st in the U.S.

The band are currently touring in support of their latest album The Terror.

West Coast tour dates will be announced soon. For now, see tour dates below:

07/15 Wallingford, CT Oakdale Theatre (Spiritualized supports)
07/16 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE Outdoors (Spiritualized supports)
07/17 Lewiston, NY Artpark
07/23 Oklahoma City, OK Rock For Oklahoma Benefit / Chesapeake Arena (with Kings Of Leon, Jackson Browne, Built to Spill and more)
07/25 Salt Lake City, UT Twilight Concert Series, Pioneer Park
07/27 Troutdale, OR McMenamins Edgefield
07/28 Seattle, WA Capitol Hill Block Party
07/30 Reno, NV Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
07/31 Costa Mesa, CA The Pacific Amphitheatre
08/01 Las Vegas, NV Bud Light Music First, House of Blues
08/17 Omaha, NE Maha Maha Festival
09/06 Isle Of Wight, UK Bestival
09/07 Stekene, Belgium Crammerock Festival
09/30 Boston, MA Agganis Arena (w/ Tame Impala)
10/01 New York, NY Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/02 New York, NY Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/03 Philadelphia, PA Penn's Landing, Festival Pier (w/ Tame Impala)
10/04 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion (w/ Tame Impala)
10/21 Tokyo, Japan Blitz
10/22 Tokyo, Japan Blitz
10/23 Osaka, Japan Hatch
10/24 Nagoya, Japan Club Diamond Hall

Additional West Coast tour dates will be announced soon. Keep an eye on for details, new merch and important clues.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Detroit's Rock & Roll Heyday Chronicled On 'Blowing Fuses Left And Right'

I loves me some good ol' Detroit Rock and Roll music and right after that, I loves hearin' me some stories about good ol' Detroit Rock and Roll music.

And then someone shows me a recent picture of the disrepair of the Grande Ballroom and then I begin hating that city all over again.

Wait up, Barry Gordy! I'm coming with you!

Another interview movie appealing to only to music geeks like me is now available and probably worth viewing.

Somewhat related: check out the Metro Times story from almost a decade ago detailing the whereabouts of Detroit rock photographer Leni Sinclair, most noted for that iconic MC5 shot from back in the day.


25 Year Old Interviews With Members of MC5 and Stooges Finally See Light Of Day in 
Blowing Fuses Left & Right on DVD and Deluxe DVD July 2

O-Rama LLC and MVD are proud to release Blowing Fuses Left And Right: The Legendary Detroit Rock Interviews digitally and on DVD on July 9.

The thought-to-be-destroyed original tapes from 1988 were recently re-discovered in an attic in NJ - the five hours worth of footage include interviews with Ron Asheton (the Stooges), Dennis Morgan (the MC5) and Rob Tyner (also from the MC5 in, apparently, his final interview).

A deluxe DVD will also be released that includes additional interviews with Scott Morgan (The Rationals), Russ Gibb (owner of Detroit's Grande Ballroom) and John Sinclair (manager of the MC5 and former head of the White Panther Party).


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another Band With 'Las Vegas' Reference In Their Name Releases A New Video

This time without William Shatner and this time with a Nikki Sixx connection.

I've actually seen The Last Vegas live once and thought, "They're a perfectly decent afterthought." Probably in the same way people view the bands Shooting Star or Missouri today.

But I'm old school: The Last Vegas ain't got nothin' on Shooting Star.

So they have a new view out, a new record in the works, Nikki Sixx discovered them, blah blah woof woof.


The Last Vegas back with a video for "She's My Confusion," US and Euro Tour announced with Buckcherry and Hardcore Superstar, new album in the works!

Chicago rockers The Last Vegas are back with another eye-catching music video for the song "She's My Confusion" off the band's fourth full-length album, Bad Decisions, released last fall through FrostByte Media.

The video is produced and directed by the Chicago-based video production company Motion Source Video Solutions, the same team responsible for the "Evil Eyes" music video.

The video is based on a well-known Chicago area ghost story named Resurrection Mary that's been around since the '30s. The young woman, Mary, had spent the evening dancing at the Oh Henry Ballroom (now the Willowbrook) with a boyfriend. Following an argument that evening Mary stormed out into the cold winter's night, leaving the ballroom behind and walked along Archer Avenue. Not long after, she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who fled the scene leaving her to die. The story survives through the many men who claim picking up a young female hitchhiker along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom (which is the locale for the video) and Resurrection Cemetery. When reaching the cemetery, the young woman is let out only to disappear into the cemetery.

"The Willowbrook Ballroom is a Chicago musical institution; one bad-ass, old-school place which drips of mystery, intrigue and aura. What better place to film an unconventional rock video for 'She's My Confusion?' We stepped back in time and addressed whether those noises we hear in the night are real, or just a dream?" - Adam Arling

TLV are a straight-up rock n' roll meets garage/punk rock band that turn any event into a raucous. Hailing from Chicago and formed in 2005, TLV burst onto the national scene in 2009 when Motley's Crue's Nikki Sixx saw them play live in Los Angeles and subsequently co-produced their third album, Whatever Gets You Off. More touring followed, including a stint opening Motley Crue's "Saints Of Los Angeles" tour. The Onion referred to their sound as "Swaggering, stomping, balls-out guitar rock", while The Chicago Sun-Times declared them to be "Red hot garage-rockers."

The Last Vegas is: Chad Cherry (vocals), Adam Arling (guitars), Danny Smash (bass), Nate Arling (drums) and Johnny Wator (guitars).

TLV are in studio this month laying down tracks for their fifth full-length album, title yet to be determined, working with the great Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Sepultura) and immediately following up with a North American tour and then a European tour supporting Buckcherry and Hardcore Superstar, but they're not doing any of that alone.

Partnering with fans through PledgeMusic, TLV are offering up a variety of great exclusive opportunities like a studio hang, an acoustic performance/backyard BBQ and more! For more details on specific dates and chances to win, visit!

Remaining tour dates listed below.

 North American Tour:

Jul 18 in Chesaning, Michigan at Chesaning Showboat Music Festival w/ Theory of a Deadman
Jul 19 in Pecatonica, Illinois at Breast Fest w/ Pop Evil, NonPoint, Wayland, SOIL
Jul 20 in Kenosha, Wisconsin at Brat Stop w/ Sevendust
Aug 17 in Chicago, Illinois at Glenwood Ave. Arts Fest
Aug 24 in Hillsdale, Michigan @ Checker Records Street Dance
Aug 30 in Burnsville, Minnesota @ High Five
Aug 31 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin @ BMO Harris Pavilion w/ Halestorm

European Tour:

Nov 8 in Cologne, Germany @ Essigfabrik w/ Buckcherry
Nov 9 in Berlin, Germany @ Columbia Club w/ Buckcherry
Nov 10 in Vienna, Austria @ Szene Wien w/ Buckcherry
Nov 12 in Munich, Germany @ Backstage Halle w/ Buckcherry
Nov 13 in Zürich, Switzerland @ Plaza w/ Buckcherry
Nov 15 in Roncade TV, Italy @ New Age Club
Nov 16 in Bologna, Italy @ Estragon w/ Buckcherry
Nov 17 in Milan, Italy @ Alcatraz w/ Buckcherry
Nov 19 in Aschaffenburg, Germany @ Colo-Saal w/ Buckcherry
Nov 20 in Vauréal, France @ Le Forum w/ Buckcherry
Nov 22 in London, United Kingdom @ Koko w/ Buckcherry
Nov 23 in Coventry, United Kingdom @ Kasbah w/ Buckcherry
Nov 25 in Manchester, United Kingdom @ The Ritz w/ Buckcherry
Nov 26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom @ ABC w/ Buckcherry
Nov 27 in Belfast, United Kingdom @ The Limelight 2 w/ Buckcherry
Nov 29 in Dublin, Ireland @ Button Factory w/ Buckcherry
Nov 30 in Nottingham, United Kingdom @ Rock City w/ Buckcherry
Dec 2 in Bristol, United Kingdom @ O2 Academy Bristol w/ Buckcherry
Dec 3 in Cardiff, United Kingdom @ Solus w/ Buckcherry
Dec 4 in Exeter, United Kingdom @ Lemon Grove w/ Buckcherry
Dec 6 in Vosselaar, Belgium @ Biebob w/ Buckcherry
Dec 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg w/ Buckcherry
Dec 8 in Hamburg, Germany @ Markthalle w/ Buckcherry

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Will Work For Ensure: William Shatner Appears In Glasvegas Video

In a never-ending quest to fend off dementia, William Shatner appears in the new Glasvegas video, "If." The video is a parody of the British music show The Old Grey Whistle Test with the 83 year old actor serving as host.

In unrelated news, Shatner also appears as a spokesman for an Eastern Iowa law office that specializes in workman's comp claims.

So who are Glasvega? Without the obligatory Google search, I'd say their name is a "clever" combination of "Glasgow" and "Las Vegas." As far as the connection between the two locales, I have no idea.

And the music?

From what I see and hear, they are fans of The Joshua Tree, the lead vocalist tries to look like Joe Strummer, and they have a drummer from the school of Teresa Nervosa. It's all very polite and forgettable 80's pap, as evidenced by the title track of the band's new digital e.p.

Have at it and judge for yourself.


Glasvegas premier the new video for "If" starring William Shatner.

The new video features the legendary William Shatner and is Glasvegas' take on the iconic BBC Music show "The Old Grey Whistle Test." James Allan, Glasvegas song-writer, guitarist, vocalist, frontman, beloved people's poet (and profound Glaswegian) explains... "When we played on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson a while back, William Shatner introduced our live performance as he is a fan of the band. I then thought it would be a cool thing to incorporate his introduction of us into our new video since it also has a 'late show' theme. We got in touch with him to ask his permission and he got back to us almost immediately to give us the thumbs up!"

Taken from their forthcoming album Later...When The TV Turns To Static, 'If' melds trademark Glasvegas' soaring choruses to a martial drum and Phil Spector inspired opening. 'If' is accompanied on the EP, which is now available on iTunes by three exclusive recordings from the band. A cover of PJ Harvey's 'The Words That Maketh Murder', 'Press ' a brand new track written especially for the EP by James Allan and a demo version of 'Finished Sympathy' which is the last track on the new album.

"A lot of thought went into the If EP" says James "from the decision about the cover track right down to the wee <> symbols in the 'Press title, which I wanted to make look like a button on a VCR. The reason for choosing 'The Words That Maketh Murder' was that some of the covers we have done in the past have been older songs, so we wanted to go for something newer. The PJ Harvey album Let England Shake is a record we had been listening to and it seemed an obvious choice to pick a song from this record. Press is a new song and is me speaking in a hypothetical sense, a 'what if-scenario', and the demo of Finished Sympathy, well it's a bloody good song from the album that we are really proud of, based on my opinion that "sympathy" is something that's finished at too young an age. You can expect heavy fireworks from the album version."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Saliva Preps Another Shitty Album

Dumb hard rockers Saliva are getting ready to release a new album, one that will probably rank as being shittier than the last one.

In keeping with their tradition of combining their shitty name with shitty album titles, the band has decided to call it In It To Win It, a homage to their favorite television show Minute To Win It starring Olympic warrior Apollo Creed.

And in the "you can't make this shit up" department, the new album will be released on Rum Bum records.

Press release:

(New York, NY) - Multi-platinum rockers Saliva's brand new album In It To Win It has now been confirmed for a September 3rd North American release date via new label home Rum Bum Records. The full track listing for the album can be seen below.

The first single from the forthcoming album, the aggressively anthemic title track "In It To Win It" is now available on iTunes and can be purchased here. Saliva is currently playing select tour dates in North America in advance of the album's release; please also see below for the itinerary.

In It To Win It, Saliva's eight full-length release, was produced by Bobby Huff (known for his songwriting work with Meat Loaf, Halestorm, Drowning Pool, Saliva, Papa Roach, 3 Doors Down and more) and executive produced by Rum Bum Records Owner Luis Bacardi.

Saliva is an American rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996. Saliva self-released their self-titled debut album in August, 1997 after competing in the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Grammy Showcase competition, where they advanced to the final round in New York City. The album sold 10,000 copies independently, prompting record labels to take notice. Saliva signed with Island Records and went on to release six more albums with the label including the double-platinum certified Every Six Seconds, the offering which also contained their Grammy-nominated single, "Your Disease." Saliva has enjoyed widespread success at Rock radio with such hit singles as "Always," which nabbed the #1 spot on the Modern Rock Chart and climbed to #51 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In late 2012, Saliva signed to Rum Bum Records to begin a new phase of their already impressive career with new lead singer Bobby Amaru on board. To date, Saliva has sold millions of albums worldwide and has toured with the likes of KISS, Aerosmith, Godsmack, Sum 41, Nickelback and many more. Saliva is Bobby Amaru (vocals), Dave Novotny (bass), Paul Crosby (drums) and Wayne Swinny (guitar).

About Rum Bum Records Rum Bum Records is an independent record label based in South Florida. Led by a team of industry veterans dedicated to finding original talent of all genres, the label offers worldwide distribution, and provides artists with the resources necessary to develop and expand their careers. By utilizing a variety of platforms including imaging, video production, marketing, social media, and publicity, Rum Bum Records is able to create versatile portfolios for talent, opening the doors to as many opportunities as possible. Additionally, the label has a full state of the art HD Film studio to successfully build an artist's image and brand identity into one that is fully recognized and sought after by the public.

Saliva In It To Win It track listing:
1. Animal
2. She Can Sure Hide Crazy
3. In It To Win It
4. Choke
5. Redneck Freakshow
6. Lost
7. 1000 Eyes
8. Flesh
9. The Enemy
10. Rise Up
11. I Don't Want It
12. I.D.N.A.E.
13. No One But Me

Saliva North American tour dates:
10 Minot, ND The Original Bar & Nightclub
12 Enumclaw, WA Crystal Saloon
13 Yakima, WA Speakeasy
14 Meridian, ID New Frontier Club
16 Moorhead, MN The Garage Bar
17 Oshkosh, WI Rock USA
18 Janesville, WI The Back Bar
19 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company
20 Springville, IN Lawrence County Recreational
21 Columbus, OH Screamin' Willie's
23 Arlington Heights, IL H.O.M.E.
25 Royalton, MN Halfway Jam
26 Marshalltown, IA Impala Ballroom
27 Battle Creek, MI Planet Rock
28 Oglesby, IL Prime Time Tap

1 Jerome, ID Diamondz Bar
2 Denver, CO Casselman's Bar And Venue
3 North Platte, NE Sculley's Shooters
4 Sturgis, SD Easyrider's Saloon
5 Sturgis, SD Glencoe Camp Resort
10 Three Forks, MT The Bridge At Three Forks
22 Viroqua, WI Vernon County Fairgrounds

6 Akron, NY Braun's Bar And Grill

6 Kokomo, IN Centerstage Bar & Grill

Monday, July 8, 2013

80/35 Festival: 2013 Recap

“That band from Cedar Falls is playing 80/35 this year.” Advised my father, a bastion of knowledge concerning Des Moines’ entertainment schedule.  His database is the entertainment section of the Des Moines Register and another local weekly that he keeps close at hand, usually underneath a decretive bowel that holds his remote controls.

The “that band” he was referring to is House of Large Sizes, a now defunct power trio that provided the Hawkeye state with some of the most intuitive and original blend of rock music during their initial run. Since going on hiatus over a decade ago, the band has re-formed sporadically for quick Iowa/Minnesota weekend reunions and for special occasions like headlining the Kum and Go free stage, one of three areas at the 80/35 festival with live music offerings.

The comment I made to my dad went something along the lines of “I don’t want to diminish the memories that I already have,” which is partially true as H.O.L.S. would qualify as a band that I’ve seen more than any other, beginning with their second gig ever over a quarter century ago. There is nothing like watching a band start from uneasy footing and progress into a remarkable one, and H.O.L.S. turned into exactly that.

With a year, House of Large Sizes became a very potent live band, and I can safely tell you that, while not every performance was transcendent, a large portion of them were and I can’t ever recall a moment where I wasn’t disappointed in attending.

Probably the only performance that came close to qualifying as a disappointment would have been one of those weekend reunions where many Iowa natives returned home to witness H.O.L.S. reunite. There was nothing to complain about from a music perspective, but from the audience it was quite unsettling watching your peers, visibly older, pretending to be in their 20’s and navigating the Mevlevi Order directly in front of the stage.

That’s a problem for me to address. Not the band. Not the 45 year-old fellow caught up in the time machine, screaming “I used to walk to school! I used to walk to school!” while H.O.L.S. tore through their first hint of awesomeness with their early standout track, “1½ On A Hill.”

The visuals obtained from these gigs were enough to have me keep my memories of this great band intact by abstaining from any further reunion shows or one-off engagements.

So when Dad dutifully mentioned “that band from Cedar Falls,” I confessed my predicament and admitted that there were really only two bands in 80/35’s schedule that I wanted to see this year-Wavves and Deerhunter-and out of those, only Deerhunter made me want to get my wallet out and purchase a ticket.
The two headliners this year were David Byrne/St. Vincent (Friday night) and Wu Tang Clang (Saturday night), both of which were not enough to save 80/35 from their lowest paid attendance since the festival’s first event, six years ago.

When I went to that inaugural show, I was a buzzkill. I was suffering from the belief that I had grown beyond the challenges that any festival event prevents (drunkenness, heat, lack of manners, etc.) and that somehow the festival needed to adapt to my expectations.

It’s a ridiculous complaint, and the only way around it is to simply make the choice not to attend, which I have done in the past. But each year the festival presents at least one or two acts that I would like to see, so I’m forced to make some form of compromise if I want to see them.

This year, that challenge came from the band Deerhunter, a band that I admire a great deal and one that has not touched Iowa soil since their inception.

I bitched and whined about my choices until the last day of the festival, where I finally headed over to Des Moines without a ticket, hoping to score “a miracle,” to use Grateful Dead parlance.

Leave it to my mother to save the day, handing me $50 bucks from her purse and telling me just to go and buy a ticket at the gate. I didn’t see the value in spending $45 for what would have been one band, two if I felt inclined enough to battle the heat and check out Wavves mid-afternoon.

But as temperatures hovered in the mid-90’s and my parent’s two new kittens falling asleep on my chest after a hard afternoon play, Wavves didn’t make the cut.

That left the agenda wide open, and only two bands remained in the running.

For everyone else, it was the Wu Tang Clan, who I enjoy to a certain degree haven’t paid attention to since O.D.B. died. This isn’t to suggest that his input isn’t as essential to the Wu as a creative unit, but you know, when does the point of a collective turn into the whims of a few select members? When does all of it turn into a money-grab after the solo efforts begin to not get the attention that they once did?

And when does it all turn into an ungrateful booking where the remaining members finally hit the stage 45 minutes after their scheduled start time?

I was long gone before this, so I don’t have a dog in this hunt. But I do get a bit defensive when an act comes in to my state without any evidence of respect towards the people who paid to see them. That includes festivals, county fairs, and any opening act that gets on stage and mocks patrons like those fucks in Los Lobos.

I’m glad Paul Simon ripped off your shit and you don’t make a dime off Graceland. You don’t deserve it, you smug fucks.

The sun had begun to set when Deerhunter-specifically frontman Bradford Cox-fought with some unruly guitar pedals and barked orders at the soundman before the set began. When the music did finally start-right around the scheduled time, so fuck you, Wu-the soundman had apparently done his magic, appeasing the crowd and Cox with some very luscious sonics.

Beginning with “Cover Me (Slowly)” > “Agoraphobia,” the set pulled heavily from Halcyon Digest, which is fine, because Halcyon Digest is most awesome. For some reason, I felt the need to tell anyone near me that I had driven from Cedar Rapids (2 hours) and paid full price ($45) just to see Deerhunter. “Really?” said one of my neighbors standing next to me, feigning interest. He moved before I had a chance to tell him that my mommy bought the ticket for me and pushed my curfew to Midnight.

Cox is looking older these days, and he was nowhere near as flamboyant as I would have liked him to be. He made the curious decision to wear a black Cramps t-shirt with dark green corduroy highwaters and sandals. It was the look of someone who merely woke up in Atlanta, GA, hopped on a plane to Iowa, played 60 minutes at a festival and then flew home.

This is exactly what happened, probably. But I’m sure the shocking blue Teisco Del-Rey he was manning came with him on the plane. Most awesome.

Bassist Josh Fauver is no longer in the band, apparently having grown tired of this type of thing (touring). This was a concern at first, since he had a hand in one of the most awesome Deerhunter songs of all time (“Nothing Ever Happened”) and it meant that it probably would not be a part of the set list that evening.
New bassist Josh McKay has a pretty nifty look about him, and as far as I could tell, filled Fauver’s shoes nicely in terms of the band’s increasing reliance on strong 4/4 rhythms
All the girls love guitarist Lockett Pundt, who worked “Desire Lines” into the evening’s most memorable moment. Fans of his reverb-laden Jazzmaster are advised to check out his band Atlas Sound, although I’m sure I’m speaking to the converted if you’re a fan of Deerhunter already.

Don't you cry, Timmy. There's a heaven above you, baby.
They have an additional guitarist, Frankie Boyles, who is actually the drummer in Atlas Sound, so go figure.
Drummer Moses Archuleta is pretty solid player, and I was impressed with his consistency.  His timekeeping was critical in matching the band’s more extended pieces into credible forms of translation. When they were on, they were perfect. When they were off-which was rare-they were nowhere near the troublemaking persona that made this show such a must-see-with-your-mother’s-money event.

The most tomfoolery that took place was Bradford’s banter with the timid crowd; most of their fans stood towards the front while the sourpusses waiting for Wu Tang Clan sulked in the back, discounting the weird white boy singling out audience members for some gentle ribbing.

“What’s with Nic Cage?” he asked, noticing that a member of the audience had taken the time to attach a big picture of Nicolas Cage’s head to a broom handle and brought it to Deerhunter’s set.

“What happened to Nic Cage today?” he continued to ponder, looking for an explanation as to why someone would find the need to bring a big picture of the star’s head to a rock concert. “You guys in Iowa like irony and humor, don’t you?” finding out that the gag really served no purpose other than to confound.
He then noticed a young man wearing a Black Flag t-shirt, who he promptly named “Timmy,” and complimented him on his attire. “Timmy” then suffered regular dedications and even a few alterations to song lyrics (“Don’t Cry” from Halcyon Digest became “Don’t Cry, Timmy” for example) on his behalf. Then Bradford noticed another youngster in a Swans shirt, complimented him on his choice, and then dedicated the next song to him.

“You guys have cool music t-shirts here in Des Moines.” He noted.

You could probably tell that I didn’t hang around for the Wu set, although I could sense it was going to be a long night for those that promptly made their way to the front of the stage just as Deerhunter’s fans were moving away from it. It would be an even longer wait thanks to the Wu’s poor time management skills.

Courtesy of David Byrne's journal. 
As is the case with any 80/35 main stage act, Deerhunter’s set was restricted to the allotted 60 minutes and it was clear that there would be no encore when the stage crew began shutting of the amplifiers still omitting feedback and tearing down the microphones.

The night was still young and the early July evening was shaping up to be a very beautiful thing. I decided to take a look at some old friends at the Kum & Go stage, a poorly named convenience store here in the Midwest that even David Byrne noticed when he was in town the night before, performing and riding some of Iowa’s extensive bike trail systems.

House of Large Sizes had already begun when I made the three block trek to the stage. The street directly in front of the stage was packed. There was a higher proportion of older people at this show, but a pretty big crowd for an act that hasn’t been together for the past decade.

The band tore through a catalog now measured in decades, and it seemed like they were trying to cram everything into an abbreviated set (again, one hour). I remember a few early gigs when HOLS was gaining popularity in the region when I loudly lamented to their drummer at the time that the band was losing speed by the end of the set.

He didn’t appreciate that comment from me, and I probably had no right in saying it.

I can safely say that this is never a problem with drummer Brent Hanson, who keeps the proceedings fit ‘n active by propelling a bunch of these classic cuts into double-time territory. Seriously, it was like those stories about the Ramones and how they managed to trim the fat on every tour, to the point where they would keep tabs at how quickly they could pound through a set, often ending a tour a full quarter-hour faster than comparable sets towards the beginning of it.

Hanson spends his time these days laying the foundation for metal bands in the Twin Cities area (see the badassed Bastard Saint for more insight into his skin work) when he isn’t commuting down to Ioway for HOLS practice on one of their regular reunion shows.

Good thing too: Hanson exudes enthusiasm with nearly every beat, transforming HOLS into a clarion of ass-kicking rock that’s inspiring to the crowd under the age of 30 who hasn’t been swayed away with EDM soundtracks and safe surroundings. House proved to be incredibly dangerous during their set and just as powerful as any other gig they may have implanted into our collective memory.

Barb Schlif. Tuck-and-Roll.
Bassist Barb Schilf jumped and twirled her braided ponytails around like a woman possessed, and I caught at least a few moments where she turned to face her ginormous Kustom cab like she was challenging it, the speakers pushing the air with so much intensity that her eyes began to roll back. The music was literally transforming her into La Dame Blanche right before us in a transfixing display of performing from a completely different space and time. That moment alone made the brief walk to the Kum & Go stage completely worthwhile and it made me miss the fact that House was no longer around  full-time  to recreate this kind of supernatural magic on a regular basis.

I was reminded of when this band started. Barb was still learning the instrument, and many performances found her looking down at the frets, making sure her fingers were on the proper location of the neck. There is none of that anymore, as Schilf has the notes embedded inside of her, but it’s the joy of executing those rumbles that practically make her the focal point of House’s live show.

This fact takes nothing away from the band’s designated driver, Dave Deibler, who commandeered the proceedings like an old pro. He joked with the crowd concerning his age, fibbing that he recently celebrated his 40th birthday recently. After receiving a few bits of audience approval, he then admitted that he subtracted 10 years from the figure, which only made the speed that HOLS was chugging along with that much more impressive.

What I feared would turn out to be just another nostalgic offering was instead an honest attempt at getting old-school natives like yours truly to miss the possibility of what this band could accomplish with just a few more years of navigating the circuit. Mission accomplished, but with Dave and Barb now committed to their family and their businesses, it would be hard to have them justify a return when they’re making a bigger impact with the gear tucked away.
Big as a house and twice as wide, indeed!

Not only was my opinion of House of Large Sizes changed, but so was my overall opinion of the 80/35 Festival. It is a small-scale festival that regularly brings healthy support from fans of music from across the state. And while that may not seem like much to any fan of music that has a major music festival within a short drive of their home, for us in the Hawkeye State our options are limited based on our population and perception.

The only way around this is through events like these, where financial supporters and the festival organizers put their money and time on the line and we come out and participate, even when we have multiple reasons not to.

Iowa is hot around the 4th of July and it can stay brutal like that for weeks afterwards. But it can also be a place where we use excuses like that to stay at home, only to whine when the heat breaks that nobody ever comes here to play. Des Moines is changing that with some really active venues, and the organizers of 80/35 are a big part of putting our state on the radar.

My issues with the event are of my own prejudice-a natural part of the aging process that grows tired of large crowds and drunken shenanigans. But the moment you have confined yourself from opportunities simply because you're unable to control the actions of others is a sign that you’re moving away from the very appeal of music: the ability to enjoy the human experience through song.

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m in the middle of a heat wave, I’m going to find shade (and if there are no shades like there wasn’t during Fucked Up and Dinosaur Jr.’s 100+ degree performances during last year’s 80/35Festival, then I’ll lather on sunscreen and drink water like it’s going out of style). If there’s drunken revelers, then I’ll stand clear of the mouthbreathers and find a calmer area.

And if I can’t find a cheap ticket, I’ll ask my mom if she can grab her purse and help contribute to one our state’s best outlets for good music.

Monday, July 1, 2013

W.W.E. Live In Cedar Rapids

Randy Orton, poster boy.
W.W.E. Live
U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
June 29, 2013

‘There’s a Ryback t-shirt,” I offered to my son as he intently studied the merchandise table during the intermission of Saturday night’s WWE event at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

“I don’t like Ryback anymore”  he immediately countered, forgiving that I wasn’t up to speed on the relatively new character’s inevitable turn to heel on the never-ending soap opera that is professional wrestling.

Admittedly, I keep a lazy eye on the world of “sports entertainment,” but it is an exhausting barrage of characters and story arcs for me to keep a full head on it. My son, who just turned 10 this month, is an encyclopedia of current WWE matters, even showing interest in some stories of old when it used to be known as the “WWF” and the company’s logo was a cute black and white panda.

He doesn’t get that joke either.

When I pepper him with information on what wrestling was like during my youth, his mind chastises him for asking the question. He recognizes a few names from my history and pretends that my antidotes are interesting.

It gets cloudy to him when I begin to explain the world of professional wrestling prior to the WWE.

During my hometown’s introduction to cable television, the channel selections went from three to four over-the-air channels to a whopping 13, all housed on the television’s VHF bandwidth.

One of those channels, KPLR in St. Louis, was a unique entry. It was an independent station that featured a heavy line-up of reruns, cartoons, and Wrestling at the Chase every Saturday night.

We only had two televisions in our house at that time with one in the living room and a small 19” in my folks’ bedroom with no remote control and subsequently, no sleep timer to shut the thing off after Carson. I remember waking up in the middle of the night as a child, hearing the TV. on and seeing the glow of the screen casting shadows on the stairwell outside of our bedrooms.

“Shit, those guys watch a lot of TV.” I thought. Maybe the thought didn’t include the profanity.

I had little influence on the channel selection of either TV, so when I saw “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair doing promos for matches that would appear later in the broadcast, the imagination required me to determine what the outcome would be since Mom and Dad never agreed to let Wrestling At The Chase stay on for too long.

Rarely, the folks would let me use the TV in their bedroom and I would use this time to check out Monty Python’s Flying Circus on the public television channel and for a few matches on KPLR channel 11, “The One’s To Watch.”

That privilege ended one evening when I tried to copy the “Nature Boy” by standing on the armrest of one of the pair of antique chairs in my parent’s bedroom and jumping on to their bed, just as Flair did from the top ropes. Many pillows laid out length-wise on the bed suffered from my natural talent, but not as much as the arm rest on one of those chairs did. After a few dozen jumps, the arm of the chair snapped, plunging me onto the floor instead of the soft protection of the bed.

If I was in pain from the event, you wouldn’t have heard about it. I was punished for wrecking the chair, which was by then receiving much more attention than any wounds I would have obtained from the incident. I was immediately banned from watching any more television in my parent’s bedroom for quite some time.

We have three televisions in our home now, and the boy is welcomed to watch wrestling on at least one of them whenever it’s on. I must confess that I wasn’t aware that wrestling is now on multiple channels over the course of many evenings, but he has them all narrowed down and is beginning to understand how the wrestling universe works.

He first began to take an interest in it at the beginning of this year, undoubtedly the product of his peers at school and a desire to fit in with the boys in his class. Nobody likes to be on this side of oblivious discussion of characters you have no clue about, so suddenly, he began navigating the living room tele to such titles as Monday Night Raw and Smack Down.

It was his mom that first took notice of this as his selection was usually followed with such parental objections like “You’re not watching this!” and “Turn it, Ethan!” Her intolerance of wrestling is a product of bad memories of an abusive relationship years ago where the creep also managed to assert dominance over the television by making wrestling a non-negotiable viewing pattern. I can understand how this has led to a fairly narrow opinion of the entertainment.

At the same time, wrestling is practically a rite of passage among young boys who are curious about this hyper-idyllic image of the male form and id, putting large, emotional topics into easy to understand feuds and rivalries. It is the species at its most basic, and the roster is placed into its most simplistic categories of good vs. bad.

As a form of compromise, the boy could watch wrestling on a television that wasn’t being used by his mother or sister.

From that exposure, the various marketing tools began taking shape. At first, he was confused. When the wrestlers announced some pay-per-view main event, he failed to understand the concept of “pay-per-view.” On one such Saturday evening this spring, he finished dinner quickly and retreated to the basement to look for the live event that they had been promoting endlessly since the last pay-per-view event.

I had to explain that you had to actually pay to watch the show. He immediately determined that it would be a worthy investment. As one of two authorized account holders to our checking and savings accounts at the local credit union, I can tell you that our budget does not include paying $50 or more for any pay-per-view specials this year and probably for any years to come. He seemed to understand that the fee was relatively excessive, particularly when I pointed out that he could save his money and wait for the DVD to come out in a few weeks at half of the sticker price of the pay-per-view.

“You’ve got a birthday coming up,” I reminded him. “Maybe that’s something you can get with the birthday money you receive.”

I watched as he began formulating his own opinions of the wrestlers, unsure if he was to support or groan at a character’s bravado.

“Who do you want to win?” he asked as the rivalry between the two main event wrestlers for Wrestlemania 29 heated up in their weekly promos.

“The Rock.” I said without hesitation. He didn’t know that my answer came because I remembered him from my limited exposure to the world of wrestling entertainment. The last time I barely kept track of things was as a novice viewer of Mick Foley’s career. I would share with my son the stories of Foley’s legendary “Hell In The Cell” match against the Undertaker, and the bloody “King Of The Death Match” he had against Terry Funk in Japan. Foley cleaned up his act after mutilating his body, resorting to such oddball characters like Mankind, who hoisted a dirty sock on his hand and called it “Socko.”

He wrestled in tag-team matches with The Rock as “The Rock & Sock Connection” which is probably the only reason why I pretended to have a dog in this hunt. Personally, I thought the Dwayne Johnson must have banked big to leave Hollywood for a few monthly to return to wrestling, but as I said, I know nothing about the current state of the WWE.

None of this knowledge impressed him that much as he turned to his mother and asked the same question.

“The Rock, of course.”

Her answer was based entirely on familiarity, having no firsthand knowledge of the various styles and nuances of wrestlers throughout its history and growth. He was the dude in that Fast and Furious movie. She knew his catchphrase and would sweetly ask, “Can you smell what the rock is cooking?” if I was burning something on the stove.

With two very influential parents behind him, there was little the boy could do but to align with his family and declare that he too would like to see The Rock as the victor of Wrestlemania 29.

My son got the DVD of Wrestlemania 29 for his birthday. I had taken a X-Acto knife and cut a slit in the shrink-wrap, sliding a pair of tickets to the WWE show at the US Cellular Center. Every morning I would drive by the venue on my way to work, getting daily reminders of the commitment on the big event marquee facing the interstate in both directions. A wrestler’s face comprised the WWE evening. A big picture of Barry Manilow’s face followed it.

The boy needed no such reminders. Every morning he would glance at the calendar in our kitchen and count the days leading up to the event, an exhausting three weeks from his birthday.

Two blocks down from the U.S. Cellular Center is a Taco Bell. It’s not just any Taco Bell, but perhaps the worst Taco Bell in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To my son, location is only relevant to the finish line of his target, and since this Taco Bell was closest to the WWE event, we would be enjoying our 5-layer burrito at the worst Taco Bell in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I say, “we would be enjoying our 5-layer burrito” because he could only finish half of his and because I could not stick to my “only order the Beef Meximelt” rule. After he hit the head for a post meal whiz, I scarfed down the rest of his burrito, which promptly triggered the “You shouldn’t have done that!” warning message almost immediately after entering my piehole.

I noticed a Mexican-American mixed family sitting at a table next to ours, the Mother holding court with a friend or relative while her young teenage boy made regular trips to the counter to order more food. When he would return to the table, his mother would lecture him about spending his money prematurely, to which he would always respond with “Why? It’s my money!”

Another boy, probably my son’s age, would occasionally come inside the Taco Bell and whine to his mother about wanting to leave. She impatiently reminded him that they were waiting on his father and that there was plenty of time before the show started.

My son returned to the table, angered at the fact that he had to use the women’s restroom because some guy locked himself in the men’s john and had been in there for a long time.

Apparently, the dad from the table across from us did not follow the Beef Meximelt rule either.

Event parking a few blocks down was a bargain at $3 while the entire out of town schmucks forked over $5 an hour to park in the skywalk connecting parking garage.

The entrance to the US Cellular Center is now open, bright and airy-a trend that continues up the escalators and into the arena concourse area.

A group of special needs men, ranging in age from 21 to 65 formed a close circle in the middle of the floor, where a very solid black woman stood before them dispersing directions.

WWE promotional announcements filled the concourse area at high decibels. A father placed a blanket over a pumpkin seat to protect his newborn’s ears. It was ineffectual in my mind and I questioned why any parent would bring an infant to a wrestling event to begin with.

As I found out, wrestling fans are an obsessive breed.

We made the way to our section where I tried to make sense of the new arena layout. It’s still the steep angled concrete utility that it once was, but at least it’s a nice shade of black instead of the hazard-orange seating of the past thirty years. I think the seats have gotten wider since we’ve all gotten morbidly obese in the 21st Century, but the newly tweaked venue holds around 7,500 fully seated.

Only seventy percent of those seats were filled on Saturday night.

I gave an usher our tickets, who studied them intently and looked at our section like he was trying to remember the all-important seating layout training they had earlier in the afternoon.

“I think there’s someone in your seat.” The usher said, without much conviction to suggest that he was going to take care of that little problem for me.

Instead, he pointed to the other end of the section-accessible by the next door down-and timidly pointed out to some open seats at the end of the row.

“I think you’re over there.” He admitted, subconsciously acknowledging that he didn’t learn fuck-all during the staff registration meeting.

Whatever. They were next to the aisle, which was a bonus because the remaining quarter of my son’s 5-layer burrito was beginning to intimidate everything in my lower g.i. to visit Uranus. I fought through sharp, stabbing pains in my bowels while my son explained to me who was in the first match, oblivious to my plight.

Having to take a shit in the men’s room of the U.S. Cellular Center was something I needed to avoid as much as possible. I began to close my eyes and focus on minimizing the stabbing, overwhelming each wince of pain with relaxing breaths.

I began to go towards a better place.

That better place had a cozy chair, and I was about to fall asleep in it. Actually, I did for a bit. Missed the entire ladies match and part of another.

I felt bad about it a little, until I noticed the father in front of me spent the entire night on his phone while his kid watched the matches.

At least my indifference was from sleep deprivation and Taco Bell and not from general malaise.

To the left of the father/son, a well-groomed gay couple in their early thirties. It was at that moment when the entire notion of wrestling’s homoerotic undercurrent shot through me like an Edison filament. Suddenly, as the crowd erupted four times-one for every top rope pose that the sculpted Randy Orton did-you could see men and women alike, shouting their approval.

And for what? Because a sweaty man who defeated another bodybuilder in a pre-ordained mock wrestling match got up high in the ring so everyone could examine every bit of flesh their eyes could desire.

I saw it later too, after the show.

One of the event staff was helping an elderly man-probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s-from his special needs section to the elevator. A man in his 50’s was pushing his wheelchair-obviously a courtesy chair from the venue-until all three stopped in the middle of the merchandise area.

The elderly man was speaking softly to the staff escort, a girl in her twenties with a walkie-talkie, secretly hoping that another courtesy call would come in and take her away from the white-haired gentlemen, quietly conversing with dry, crusty lips.

“He walked around the entire ring after the match, shook hands, signed autographs and posed for pictures.” He told the young woman. She politely listened and acknowledged the old man as he continued the story, tears welling in his eyes.

“And then he walked to the end of the ramp….and then he turned around and came back and started shaking hands with the other side!”

He was speaking about the end of Orton’s match, where he was allowed over 15 minutes just to exit, his video loop and entrance music playing the same sixty seconds over and over.

Orton was clearly the fan favorite, and even though his match came right before intermission, you could tell it was really the main event. There were hundreds of his autographed posters flying off the merch table at twenty bucks a pop and both men and women were breaking out double-sawbucks left and right for the privilege.

What brought the old man to near tears was his feeling that Orton was doing something selfless by taking his time to touch and pose with as many fans as he could in the arena. There is a misconception among wrestling fans that just because wrestlers extol great brutality on their own bodies that this sacrifice is somehow a mutual reflection of their own toils.

Admittedly, it may take decades of sitting in a cubicle to lead to that degenerative disc in the lower back. But it won’t be too long before we’re all using a venue-issued wheelchair to get pushed around in button-down shirts and red sweatpants, attempting to explain the concept of “sacrifice” to some polite young woman getting paid $8 an hour to listen to our bullshit.

Maybe I should see if the live broadcasts are better in person, but I have to confess that I’m not looking forward to going in any more wrestling matches. I spent top dollar for a match that was nearly the same kind of matches that took place in my high school fieldhouse, only with more muscle, video screens, and better scripts.

It’s true: we once came in from football practice when I was in high school and found about a half-dozen wrestlers laying on the benches in our locker room, getting rested for a rare hometown showing of professional wrestling-independent, low-overhead style.

I have no idea who put it together or remember any of the wrestlers. All I remember is a sad batch of middle-age men hitting the anywhere-that-will-host-us circuit, doing ham and egg jobs for the 50 or so paying patrons that show up. This is pre-Cindy Lauper shit matches we’re talking here.

Mainly I just felt uncomfortable about showing my penis in front of a bunch of hairy fat dudes.

Ironically, that’s kind of how I felt about Saturday night’s exhibition. Wrestling brings out some freaks, and don’t think that you can just “blend in,” like I noticed several dads attempting to do, because you will encounter a freak at some point during a WWE wrestling event. Period.

Some dads were trying to walk with purpose, praying that their boy won’t want to get his picture taken with his favorite WWE Star at some $30 photo booth with a Photoshop program. For real: $30 for that shit! And it’s heavily staffed and operated, making it impossible to pull down your pants so that the picture would have your penis right next to Triple H.

I’m here to tell you that the look forward and walk fast approach will not work at events like the WWE.

Suddenly, that kid has to take a leak, and blend-in dad will have his work cut out for him navigating the social Mecca called the men’s restroom. Everyone’s at about a nine on the testosterone scale, having been through over two hours of violent eye-candy and homosexual repression. Dad will be expected to participate in such bravado, and he will forever remember the guy in the XXL Goldust t-shirt checking out his junk at the urinal, mouthing the word “nice” to him.

I’m exaggerating. I’m not trying to suggest that wrestling is filled with conniving homosexuals or have a problem with the LGBT community. I just think it’s hilarious that the most consistent pattern in Vince McMahon’s roster is the belief that carefully sculpted Adonis-types are the most bankable characters. His fascination with the male physique goes beyond mere appreciation, to a point where you take a look at his superstars in the WWE and can’t help but hear the gaydar sirens going off.

For me, the freak that approached my personal space was not of a sexual nature, but one of fragmented conversation-the result of methamphetamine use.

A gentleman came up to me and smiled while I was standing off to the side of a merchandise table while my son was waiting in line for John Cena wristbands ($15). After keeping an eye on the kid, I turned and noticed smiley standing directly behind me. He was thinking that I was in line for merch, even though I was not directly in front of the table, and even though the signs posted there clearly stated that you couldn’t buy anything from the side table.

“Do you know what you’re going to get?” he asked, apparently eager at the prospect of his own wish list. I finally understood what he was implying after piecing together a couple of false starts from the jittery guy in his late-twenties.

“No, I’m not in line.”

Before I could direct him to the proper place of where he needed to be to buy shit, his eyes looked beyond me as he saw a familiar face.

Suddenly, a loud back-and-forth between the man and some girl on the other side of the table ensued. She quickly made her way around to the side that we were at, and then I found myself next to their reunion, complete with hugs, excited introductions, and an obvious history between them. Two or three of the woman’s front teeth had been broken in half, the result of some kind of trauma. I gave the couple some space to sort out their conversation.

Again, all of this isn’t to suggest that wrestling fans are all weird, tweaked-out bottom dwellers, but there is a much higher proportion of strangeness taking place at these event then, say, at a Bon Jovi concert. I was prepared for a night of people-watching, but was surprised at how profound some of the characters I witnessed really were.

Even more so than the ones in the ring.