Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recent Record Release Roundup

Queen, The Cosmos Rocks -- there isn't enough invective in the English language to describe how I feel about this record. Like -- I love Queen, okay? Freddie Mercury is the greatest singer in the history of rock music. It's that simple. Elvis had the sex, the soul, the appeal, but there has been NOBODY EVER with chops like Freddie that still made you care deeply about what he was singing and wanna shake your ass at the same time. And as a replacement, we get journeyman bloozeman Paul Rogers? The fuck? How is that even a correlate? Has Paul Rogers ever, even when he was actually good back in the Free days, had even one scintilla of the flair and the power of Freddie? Does anybody still enjoy hearing Bad Company on the radio? Were they even ever any more than Zeppelin third-stringers? Wasn't The Firm already a sick embarrassment 'cause of Paul Rogers 25 years ago? I could name you thirty guys who'd be better than Paul Rogers in Queen, and make more sense -- the list starts with George Michael and goes from there, and no, I'm not kidding -- but apparently formerly-thrilling-guitarist Brian May is content to play with safe. And that's just what this record is -- competent, well-played, extraordinarily safe rock and roll music, and it makes me absolutely sick to my gut, because that's what Queen NEVER were, EVER, was fucking safe. Dig? Don't bother, don't even look at this record or play it on iTunes or steal it from the internet because if you like Queen and you like rock music, it's just gonna piss you off and you'll end up wanting to pull your own fingernails out. Like I did. Fuck you, Queen And Paul Rogers.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Cardinology -- Okay, we've already established that it's super not hip to like Ryan Adams. I mean -- Pitchfork gave this thing a 4 out of 10, and Pitchfork are the arbiters of What's Hip Right Now, and I'm sure right now are listening to the new Black Kids record and patting their own backs at their unimaginative slagging of the "classic rock." 'Cept Ryan Adams ain't really about hip, and never was. Ryan Adams' influences are about as unhip -- the Dead, mid-period Stones, U2 or something, whatever else you'd care to name -- as you can get. Ryan Adams doesn't care. Ryan Adams is about writing pretty songs about his own pain, and if you can't get behind that, you ain't never really gonna get him, which don't matter much to Ryan Adams, as he's gonna keep on writing pretty songs about his own pain probably as a form of therapy, and hell with you anyway, and that kinda makes him cooler than a lotta guys who pose and act all indie and whatever else, that not giving a fuck what you think-ness.

Ryan Adams would like you to know, but doesn't care if you don't dig it, that "Cardinology"'s kind of a corker, and that the first four songs are pretty much solid all the way through. I especially like "Fix It," which is probably the best piece of musical rumination on getting left by someone I've ever heard. At its base, this is a good old-fashioned breakup record, with virtually every song lamenting somebody (Parker Posey?) who left the poor sad sack in the dust, but man, does he manage a buncha great tunes about it. It starts to lag right around "Sink Ships" but wow, the first half just slays. And yeah -- it's "classic rock" in just about every way you can name, and terribly uncool and unhip, but damned if I dont' like it anyway, not that Ryan Adams cares one jot. He's just gonna keep putting out records whether you or I like it or not. Luckily I do.

AC/DC, Black Ice -- Meanwhile, we have the new AC/DC record, available quite conveniently at your local WAL-MART store, and nowhere else, because Brian Johnson thinks the internet steals your vital fluids or something. And the good news is that it kicks lots and lots of ass. The guitars drill themselves into your skull, the vocals shriek and squeal and scream in all the right places, the drums you can feel in your gut (BOOM -- KSHHH -- BOOM -- KSHHH, and nothing else, ever) and the songwriting is tight and heavy and stupid, absolutely irredeemably wonderfully stupid. The other good news is that the band have not changed AT ALL. They haven't gotten any better or any worse -- they're frozen in suspended animation in 1981, and that's kinda what you want, right? You don't WANT AC/DC to write a concept album about each of the 50 states, or make an album of country covers or something. You just want them to be loud and dumb and that's it, and do you really need any more? Hell, we need a band like that, right?

The bad news is that its about six or seven songs too long, but hey, that's what they make skip buttons for, right? There's a buncha killer tunes lumped at the beginning -- "Rock 'n' Roll Train" and "Skies on Fire" and "Big Jack" and "Anything Goes" and then you gotta hit skip and then "Smash "n' Grab" is killer and "Spoilin' for a Fight" and then "Decibel" is super damn heavy and "Stormy May Day" and skip skip "Money Made" and then skip skip skip skip and you're back up atop again. It ain't perfect. It's too long. But it's loud and dumb and will crunch the shit out of your skull and leave you bleeding, and I think that's worth the price of admission. Have fun at WalMart, folks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Lost Friendship

Trix and I have been ruminating and chatting about loss of friendship a lot because it's been happening a lot recently.

I don't mean the slow, gradual burnout that happens to some friendships -- because those are, in my experience, totally reparable. You lose contact with someone, you reconnect with them a year, two years, five years down the line and it's like no time at all has passed. My childhood best friend Adam Lee and I do that all the time. We lose contact with each other for, like, a year or two or ten at a time, but when we finally do reconnect, we're still those dorky kids on the playground with our Star Wars toys. Really, our friendship never died, it just gets put into suspended animation occasionally due to circumstance, but it's still totally real and fierce, y'know? I'd still take a bullet for that mothafucka even thirty years later.

No, I'm talking about the abrupt, sudden stabbing death caused by actually having to shove a friend out of your life for whatever reason, or alternately, being shoved out of someone's life. Sometimes, it's really just a case of "who's the first person to call it quits" -- the friendship was probably over already, otherwise no shoving would have to be done, right? Other times, one person still wants the friendship to continue but for whatever reason the other one doesn't. Either way -- it hurts. People tell you "oh, it's for the better" or "oh, really, you're better off without those people in your life," or come up with all kinds of excuses WHY it happened or HOW it happened, but it still hurts. It's no less real than actually losing those people entirely, like if they actually died. That's what it feels like. That's the only thing I can compare it to.

And it isn't just an "ouch, it hurts," either, like a jab from a needle at the doctor's office; it's more a multiphased pain that lasts a long damn time.

You go through the questioning phase, like -- did I ever matter to that person in the first place? What the fuck did I do so wrong that's causing this? Am I a bad person, or am I a callous person, or was I not enough of a friend in the first place? Was our friendship ever even real to begin with? This phase probably hurts the worst, because you feel like you're to blame for the friendship ending. You start going over and over and over in your head what you could have done differently and keep coming up with no answers, or answers that don't fit the bill, or answers that only solve PART of the problem. I mean, nobody's a saint, right? It's always two-sided, but sometimes you don't come up with enough that accounts for something as harsh as the end of a friendship, and that just leads you to question yourself more. You're sure it had to be your fault.

And then you go through the demonizing phase. And that's like -- fuck that person. I mean, how could they not see that I'm good enough for them? How could they be such a horrible person that they could do this to me? I suppose your typical "five stages" model would see this as the "anger" phase, but it's more than that. It's a kind of ritual hardening-of-the-heart, a protection against further pain, an assurance that your feelings for that person become less than they were before because if they were as strong as they were before, you just know they're gonna hurt you again, right?

I suppose the final phase is something like "acceptance," but you never really accept it. Not really. It's like -- it's over. Sure. That person isn't my friend anymore. But it still hurts. There's still that last lingering shred of pain that might fade to a dull throb but never really leaves your heart. There are triggers -- they're everywhere, right? And everytime you run across one, you get that reminder again. Oh yeah. There was this person in my life, and they're not there anymore, and they will never be again. And even if the pain is just a dull throb, it still hurts.

Losing a friend is no less painful than losing a relationship, frankly. I mean, who do you have in your life except your friends and your family? And for lots of us -- especially someone like me who didn't have siblings growing up -- your friends are just as important as your family, and your loyalty is fierce and unswerveable except in the face of what I'd call X-Treme Circumstance. But I think people don't realize how painful it is, because some people haven't gone through it. It's like how some people don't understand how much divorces hurt, right? 'Cause they've never had one? "Get over it," they tell you. "Divorces happen."

That's something I don't ever wanna hear again. I guess all things "just happen," right? That's kinda self-explanatory. But it doesn't make the pain any less real, or palpable.

Anyway, losing friends sucks.

Sanctuary is a LIE!!

My favorite scene from Logan's Run!

Dig that crazy hologram effect! Did you know they make those with lasers? Like honest, real futuristic lasers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Think I Discovered The Reason Watergate Happened

(This entire post is dedicated to Chris Hill.)

So this weekend Trixi and I were in San Juan Capistrano. See, we've decided we're going to take these cheapy trips every weekend to places that are not Los Angeles, in order to maintain our sanity. San Juan Capistrano is where, like, the monarch butterflies go and hurl themselves off the cliff every summer, or something. I saw that on In Search Of, so it must be true. Also, there is a Mission there, and its really quite astonishingly magnificently ruined and awesome. If you like Ruined Stuff, you have to go there and look at it, 'cause wow.

Also, I bought a Mego Captain Kirk from the 70s.

Here's the Chris Hill part though, and is related to his obsession with the Presidents -- so apparently Richard Nixon really dug San Juan Capistrano, right? There's this plaque at the mission talking about the time he came there and rang the bells. So we went to this awesomely cheesy mexican join in town called, like, "Adobe" or "El Adobe" or "Las Ketchup" or whatever, I forget. But they had an item on the menu called "PRESIDENT'S CHOICE." It was one chile relleno, one enchilada and one taco, and apparently not only did President Nixon eat this particular dish every time he was in town, he had it specially prepared for him at the white house too. And of course, I had to order it -- "for Chris," I said, because I knew he would order it too.

Here's me, making a Nixonesque pose next to my "President's Choice."

And it was yummy, and all -- but it gave me horrible, painful stomach and intestinal issues for two days.

So my theory is: the reason Nixon was such a surly, insane bastard during the latter half of his presidency probably has to do with his stomach being a painful, acid-y mess the entire frickin' time from eating this angry Mexican food.

So, I guess, when you think about Nixon, give the guy a slight break. You probably would have broken into the DNC Headquarters, too, with a gut like that. Seriously.


Led Zeppelin To Maybe Tour Without Robert Plant.

Lissen: Page. Jones. Bonham. READ MY BLOG MORE OFTEN.

Of all the bands that are proposing this travesty, you are the one that is least the band you'll claim you are without your lead singer. Last I looked, Robert Plant was a) the guy who wrote half the songs, b) the most memorable and apeable thing about your band and c) the guy who got the most and best squirrel in the group.

I know I can't stop you from doing this nonsense. But if you're gonna replace one of the best singers in the history of rock at least get the guy he was a replacement for in the first place.

Terry Reid is still alive and looks better than any of you do. Just an FYI.

Still not going, and you can't make me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, for heaven's sake.

Link to original blog post if anybody cares.

Did anybody -- scratch that, anybody remotely intelligent, who knows me even a weency, tiny little bit -- think I was serious in the post below when I said that given a hypothetical choice between a huge sum of money and the ability to punch Trix's exes in the gut I'd pick the latter? Anybody? Honestly? Serious as in "gee, I'd really like for that to happen and I'm taking steps to get that together?"

Just to clarify, for the sane and the insane: it's called blowing off steam. I was living through a week when they (as a unit -- do you guys call each other and discuss how best to get our goat?) were causing one or the other of us consternation and turmoil on an almost daily basis. For one thing, I've never enacted violence upon another human being, ever. Seriously: the one time I got into a fight in elementary school, I let the guy kick my ass while I laughed at him. Didn't even swing a single punch. It hurt, but man, it sure was funny. I think I developed a reputation for being either fearless or crazy, and nobody ever touched me again. For another, I tend to write hyperbolically. Dunno if you've noticed that, but I tend to exaggerate for comic effect on a fairly regular basis. I could weed through for examples, but meh -- why bother. If you've half a brain in your head, you've noticed them. Example: If I say, for example, that I'd like to kick Bob Seger's ass nine ways to Sunday for writing "Like A Rock" (which is something I've thought about, certainly, he's been asking for it since about 1972), just for future reference:


Plus, the logistics involved in getting all of her exes together in one place AND rendering them somehow immobile while I punched each of them in a line without the others kind of banding together and defending themselves like a kind of crazy Trix-crazed phalanx would be insurmountable.


Big, giant, bolded-for-obviousness DUH on this one.

You know how I know my girl is hot?

...because we were sitting across from Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath last night...

(...just a refresher in case you don't remember him from his late-90s heyday...)

...and he couldn't stop staring at her all damn night!

I agree, Mark. She's a freakin' gorgeous girl, ain't she?

Sigh. My heart skips a beat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So...Chinese Democracy.

I'm famous (check it out if you don't believe it -- LITERALLY FAMOUS) for being the guy to doubt that famously long-gestating albums from legendary bands will EVER come out. I swore up and down that a second Stone Roses album wasn't on its way (and maybe its better that it wasn't, right?) and I swore up and down that there wasn't any way in hell that My Bloody Valentine would ever pull their shit together and release a followup to "Loveless," but...

...oh. I was right about that one.

But of course I also swore that ""Chinese Democracy" would never be released in our lifetime, and I turn out to be, happily or sadly, dead wrong about that. So far I am wildly underwhelmed by what I'm hearing -- it has none of the incendiary punk rock charms that "Appetite" did, nor the thrilling bloat of the "Use Your ILlusions." I'm also pretty sure that it doesn't have a chorus to speak of. Sigh.

Go here and let me know what you think. 'K?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Music Thoughts

- So you all know I was a proponent of the Killers' last album, right? After the first album's anemic by-rote 80s rip, I found the gigantic scope of their Springsteen Try to be ambitious and kinda awesome -- ultimately a failure, if you're stacking it up next to "Born To Run" or even Springsteen's latest, but an intresting, huge, bloated, beautiful failure. So last week, right, Trix kept mentioning this song they were playing on the radio. "It goes (she sings) 'Aa-a-a-a-are we huuuuman, or a-a-a-a-a-are we DAWWWWNCERS.' And it is the worst song I've heard in my entire life." Imagine my extreme disappointment when I finally heard it for myself -- not only is it the latest Killers single, of course, but she's absolutely right, it is appallingly, bone-crushingly awful. The music sounds like fucking third-rate bedroom Casiotone demos; there's NO grandiose sweep, no hook, no good melody; and the lyrics are so fucking horrible they just about made me cry. Killers: the fuck is up, guys? What happened to bloated ambition? Couple years you had to piss off and make something better, and nineteenth generation watered-down Spandau Ballet is the best you can do? Are we DAWWWWNCERS indeed.

- Very interested in the new Byrne/Eno album. Haven't heard it it all the way through yet, but an iTunes sampling tells me it's shockingly pop-oriented and really quite amazing. God knows I like Brian Eno, and God knows I like David Byrne, so what's not to like? Has anybody heard this thing yet?

- "Womanizer" -- pro or con? I vote pro. Joe Escalante on Indie 103's morning show was chuckling at it (c'mon, man, it isn't even COOL to chuckle at Britney anymore) and complaining that it sounded too much like Devo. Why is that a bad thing? I think it's a great song, even if her voice does sound rather pieced together, almost like someone's playing it on a Fairlight Synth.

- I'm also of two minds about Raphael Saadiq's latest, "The Way I See It." I mean -- it's good, and by all means go download it as soon as you can, because a closer and more loving Motown tribute you'll not hear this year. He hits all the marks, and the singing is actually damn near astonishing, the more I hear it. He ain't Smokey, but he's got something, this kid (*yes, I know he's not a kid.) But the question I've been asking over on my fave music board is: does it transcend? Does it pull an Amy Winehouse and actually become as cool or cooler than the thing it's borrowing from? I've listened all the way through about five times and I'm still of two minds. Every time through, I enjoy listening, but I'm still hit with the urge to put on ACTUAL Smokey Robinson after its over, and that might portend that it doesn't transcend. But man, is it fun. I mean, really really fun. And unlike a lotta people who channel the "old school," or think they do, this thing isn't just milksop balladry and slow jams -- it actually rocks in places, and you gotta give the man credit for that, at least. Minus two points for the Jay-Z cameo at the end. I loves me some Hova, but he sounds so outta place.

- Don't like Of Montreal now, never have, never will. Sorry, folks.

- High School Musical 3 -- how's the MUSIC, though? I didn't see 2, either (shame, I know!) but, y'know, I gotta hand it to whoever wrote HSM1, the songs stick in your craw. Someone who's heard the choons tell me whether I need to hit the theaters or not. I don't have a Daughter Excuse, so I need it to be really good to drag me into the theaaaatre.

- Bands: please stop hiring tribute band lead singers. I'm giving Journey a pass, but ONLY JOURNEY, okay?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Damn STRAIGHT I'm voting no on Prop. 8!

I'm rather thrilled by the amount of attention my awesome friend Prince is getting over on Bamboo Nation for his unswerving and extremely vocal opposition to Proposition 8, which is a bill essentially overturning the recent California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage and banning it for good. I mean, seriously? Fuck that.

Lissen: I'm gonna come right out and say that I'm a Christian. (Surprised? You got a problem with that? No? Then let's move on.) However, my particular brand of Christianity (a nice Scottish Presbyterianism with a healthy dollop of Unitarianism and a smattering of old-school hippy-dippy philosophizing) doesn't find any problem at all with allowing gay people to get married. It has a hell of a lot more problem with hypocritical "family-rights" advocates who seem to think that letting two people who love each other and are committed to each other get married somehow undermines the very institution of marriage itself. For the love of Peter, Paul and Mary -- HOW? How does it do that? Two men or two women get married and somehow your own marriage is now less real? It seems to me the realness or unrealness of your marriage has more to do with the particulars of your relationship with your spouse than it does anybody else in the world -- in fact, I'd have to say it has literally nothing to do with anybody else in the world at all.

If anything, I'd say the wholloping divorce industry in this country (which I've contributed to on a number of occasions -- you're WELCOME, lawyers, I expect cards and letters) does more to undermine the marriage institution than anything else. I'd say the lack of importance people place on their marriage vows, and the general relationship malaise in this country (backed up by mass media signals) that lets relationships -- that are supposed to be permanent -- flounder and die on a regular basis with nothing more than a how-do-you-do does more to undermine the institution of marriage. I'd love to take a poll of, say, your local right-wing superchurch and find out how many affairs happen. I'll wager it's a percentage point just about equivalent with the rest of society (like 50%, shockingly). I'd also wager THAT does more to undermine your marriage than Sulu and his boyfriend getting married (which was the most awesome thing ever btw).

And I'd absolutely love to talk to you about the hottest gay relatonship in the history of ever, which just happens to be in the Bible. Yeah, I'm talking about David and Jonathan, and if you don't think that's a gay relationship then maybe your friendships are a lot more intense than mine. Maybe yours frequently involve things like this: "...and they kissed one another and wept with one another, until David exceeded. (1 Samuel 20:41)" In which case, my friend, I have news for you: you are gay.

Jesus himself (see: below, with TEEN) had not one word to say about being gay. Not one single word, my friends. He had a lot to say about loving your neighbors, and about judging not lest ye be judged, and about letting he who is without sin cast the first stone, but those little items frequently get tossed by the wayside around election time, don't they? And the worst phrase in the history of ever -- EVER -- is "hate the sin, love the sinner." I heard that so many times when I was growing up in the Evangelical Church (bleh!) as a way to justify their basic hatred of gay people -- "well, we don't hate them, we love them. We just hate their SIN. Therefore, we won't let them teach our children. Or have basic rights that everybody else has. Or be treated as equals. But seriously -- we love them." Hypocritical nonsense. It made me angry at AGE NINE. It makes me angry now.

So anyway -- VOTE NO ON PROP 8, my California brethren and sistren. And read Bamboo Nation if you're not already. That is all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Calm down, now, Jonny...

What would JESUS WITH TEEN say?

I decided today...

...that if someone gave me these two options::

a) a million dollars, over the course of the next 3 years, completely tax free --


b) the ability to line up all of Trix's exes* against a wall and slug each of them, one by one, REALLY FUCKING HARD, in the guts --

I would most certainly pick B.

*Of course, Trevor, you are exempt, because I drunkenly told you I loved you last weekend. You're my homey, bra.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh, and the BEST thing happened this weekend!!

On Saturday... the middle of an empty parking lot...

...and I swear this is absolutely true...

Trixi slipped on a banana peel.

(I caught her, though -- it wasn't a full on fall, but man -- outside of cartoons, does that ever REALLY happen? And who knew they were slippery?!)

Back Hooooooooome

Visited Minneapolis this weekend. It was absolutely lovely. The height of fall, and the leaves were all a-dapple with bright, shining colors. We spent the weekend walking around and BREATHING NON-SMOG-ENCRUSTED AIR, and it was lovely. We visited an apple orchard. We sang karaoke. We visited relatives. And we hung around with my daughter, who is officially the coolest kid in the history of ever. And we RELAXED. There's something about Los Angeles that totally tweaks the "you can't relax EVER!" part of the brain, and something about Minneapolis that's a bit like living, breathing Xanax. Yes, I think I can officially say I'm a bit homesick.

In other news: CONGRATU-FREAKING-LATIONS to my pal, longtime bandmate, and general all-around-awesome-dude Marc Iwanin and his wife Katie for giving birth to an alarmingly cute baby this weekend named Lilah. Isn't that a lovely name? Lilah? Anyhow, the couple are cute as buttons so it's really no wonder their kid is as well.

And so: regular work resumes after a nice looooong weekend. Sigh. I wish life could just be a constant vacation. What is this work bullshit, and why do we do it? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Thoughts:

- Sometimes you just need to take a break to recharge. Sometimes you just gotta step away from the computer and go "hells bells, there's sunshine out there."

- Turning older doesn't mean you turn any wiser. Hello, forty -- I see you in the near-distance, and you terrify me, but I'm gonna kick your ass anyway.

- My favorite Queen album is "Jazz." I know that's not the popular choice, but nevertheless that's the one I turn to most often, because it contains both "Bicycle Race," which is Queen's "Heroes and Villains" in a way, a tour-de-force of batshit crazy composition and production, and "Fat Bottomed Girls," which is their most kick-ass rocker.

- I hate television posters. I like doing theatrical projects a lot because there's tons of freedom, and movies encompass a number of different ideas and themes which opens you up to some pretty creative thinking. Television? Sucks. Try taking a picture of Arsenio Hall and making something cool out of it. Seriously: try it.

- Palm Desert, Oct. 31, 2009. Save that date in your hearts, my friends. We found our wedding hotel.

- Homesickness sucks. Let me just tell you honestly. It was a delayed reaction for me -- almost a year -- but when it hits, it hits hard.

- Been rockin'. Got half a new album recorded. Fans of the last Silvergirl thing are gonna be shocked -- there ain't a LICK of country here. Its gonna be dark, fuzzy, mean and rock and roll.

- It's genuinely hard to forgive. Sometimes you have to go through intense amounts of pain to get there, but let me tell you that sometimes, it is so worth it.

- Meanwhile, sometimes people can hurt you without even realizing it. Or if they do realize it, they don't even care. Or if they do care, they just pull the hell away even further, which causes further hurt. That's kind of a toughie. I don't know what to do with that. Sometimes you just gotta stop caring so much, which hurts even more.

- Another band I realized don't suck at all? Jefferson Starship. No, seriously -- pre-"We Built This City," when Paul Kantner was still involved with the band, they were fantastic. Especially whenever Marty Balin came to call. If you aren't moved by "Miracles," then you ain't got no heart, and it's time to dial one up.

- I haven't seen "Burn After Reading" yet, and I really wanna. Is it good? I've heard phenomenal things from Cheryl of Silver Phial fame, but what do you all think, Hatesexy readers, if there are any of you left?

- There is nothing funnier than King Kong with a balloon.

See? Doesn't that just put a smile on your face? I don't care how fucking depressed or whatever you are on any given day, King Kong with a balloon will make you smile.

- I get to see my daughter this weekend, and any weekend involving Trix, my daughter, karaoke, and both my parents and my birthmom cannot help but be a GREAT weekend.

Folks -- sorry about the delay. I'm back, I swear.