Monday, November 21, 2011

Bedridden and Bewildered

Two days ago I had my first asthma attack in over 20 years. It was a bronchial shutdown of epic proportions brought on by a perfect storm of bronchitis, and two very resistant and painful ear infections and it landed me in the hospital, after the treatment in the ER did nada.

My admittance to this hospital comes at a time when I have no health insurance and this three day stint will cost me thousands that I don't have. Usually at this point of a post, sticking to the sarcastic banter that I'm often thrilled to demonstrate, I would ask you to send in a list of songs that reference breathing or the lack thereof, lungs, or airways of any kind., and I'll bet you I would have gotten a few Pink Floyd or Jethro Tull references thrown back at me.

I don't think I'll be doing that. I'm reflective of my life and where I've been as I've had this scare, this surprising health conscious downtime and silence in a beige room with country comfort wallpaper, the sounds of phlegm rattling behind the nebulizer/vader mask that I'm donning. I've been second guessing and sort of ashamed of the paths I chose into this adulthood, a bit non-conformist for the tastes of the good friends I grew up with, and most of my neighbors in this sleepy enclave of NW Philly.They love me or are amused by me anyway, but they could never do what I've done(or chosen not to do) The comforts of stability far outweigh the risks for most everyone I know. Comfort is conform.  I sometimes think of my travels, my nomadic decades between 21 and now, the delicious, dysfunctional and dynamic of it all, and how, even though at some of the most creative and fulfilling times of my life, I was never able to turn that spark into something that would bridge a gap between dream and career.

Now at this time in my life, after a truly disastrous three years full of death, divorce and depression, I wonder if it all was worth it. Now, right now, when I can't pay my bill. I can't find steady work. Sure, I have many tales that I could tell of the experiences, but what is that worth? What is that worth on the scale of comparing it to what is really happening right now, right on the streets where we live... now that we are living in the midst of the most intense displays of mistrust, disgust, dissension and uprising throughout the world. And right here in America, as I lay here, budgets cant get passed, demonstrators are getting beaten, the middle class is gone, the jobs are outsourced, more tax dollars go to rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq than go to rebuilding schools, bridges and roads right in our own cities. People no longer trust their banks, clergy, police or politicians unless they're comfortable or a constituent. The majority of the values and freedoms of living in the US have been raped, pillaged and sold off to the highest bidder and held hostage by big business. Mini revolutions are starting in back yards and basements, and citizens are frustrated, tired, unhinged and unruly. And they mean it.

Where should my energy go? One minute as I lay here, with what little money, possessions and patience thoughts waver....... Should I join the 99 percent?  Or should I get a job, I don't like, with no gap between career and dream even considered, with little pay and a health plan, so I can be healthy ...and unhappy. And save the stories for my grand kids, without living through new ones on my own...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Fallon King Can Do Anything

Just Phenomenal. Jimmy channels Jim doing a smattering of Bedtime Stories......

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ozzy, Geezer, Tony and Bill

Black Sabbath fooled nobody today..11/11/11 and announced a reunion, a new album and a tour starting in 2012. But if you listen to fools...the Mob Rules!!!!!.(yeah, I know..Dio- era quote). I'm fairly excited, even though the median age of the band hovers around 62 and despite hearing that Rick Rubin will produce the album. Rubin to me is the Barbara Walters of Rock. It seems a given that everyone in music throws themselves at him to him when they have a reunion or comeback, much like everyone goes to Baba Wawa in exclusive interviews. Rick, don't fix it, it was never broke. You may have to punch in a few Bill Ward drum takes , but that's it, OK. Don't stick your beard where it don't belong.

I have heard that rehearsals have been going on for a while now, and Tony Iommi has written a shitload of material, plucked from the endless riff filofax in his grey matter...and that's along with putting out his memoirs. It will be their first album of all new material since Never Say Die in 1978...Here are a couple official announcement on Youtube(no actual press conference footage, just a couple photos.)

Friday, November 04, 2011

And For my 600th Post, A Short, Half-Assed Review of the New Lou Reed/Metallica Album "Lulu"

I'm trying to like this. It's harder than I thought it would be. Fuck it, it's as impossible as passing a stone through staples.

 First of all. Just so you know, almost everyone I know, and probably everyone you know... loves Lou Reed in some capacity....Velvet Underground and Nico, Loaded, Transformer, The Bells, Berlin, Coney Island Baby, New York....all in the rock pantheon. So with that said......

If you give this one a shot, don't be a die hard Velvet Underground fan, don't be a Transformer fan, don't even be a Songs for Drella fan.  Be a Metal Machine Music or a ReLoad fan. A tone deaf, patient or medicated one.

You must know by now, if you are well schooled on Lou Reed, that Lou Reed doesn't give a shit about us, fans, critics, writers, bloggers, innocent bystanders, the guy that delivers Chinese to him and Laurie Anderson on a Friday night, pigeons, or anyone passing a disagreeable thought his way. He's the toughest interview in rock history, he's a curmudgeon's curmudgeon. The last time he smiled, it caused a quadruple rainbow and then a spike in worldwide births nine months later.

Quite simply, there's no need for this album in any capacity. THIS is the Metallica album they should have pumped through speakers in Afghanistan. Every terrorist would have ejected out of their ratholes instantly bawling their eyes out, laying down rifles and returning to their mountain side farms to raise cattle and garden for the rest of their lives.  I could only get through CD 1 and that's under the influence of a strong anti- biotic/percoset cocktail and a shitload of time on my hands.

This album fits sonically snug as an open mike through dual ear infections.

 It's the world's most expensive unorganized basement jam. The scenario probably went like this...Lou gets off the plane in San Francisco and is driven up in a limo to Metallica' studio in San Rafael. He stares out the window, dour faced and unfazed. Same flatlined expression through the rolling hills of wine country and the mesmerizing terrain of Marin, like it was raining piss on his best leather.  The boys have not received anything in advance and when Lou gets there and sets up, he pulls out some dog eared legal pad, spends five minutes waxing with James and Lars about some prostitute named Lulu then immediately rolls tape.

Poetry in general is tough to transfer to tape, especially a poetic narrative about German Expressionist Theater barked out in monotone.

Yeah, I know, monotone is Lou's thing. But here, he's croaking and gasping in compressed spurts trying to half howl some kind of a story over that horrible Ulrich crummy crutch of Cymbal/Snare stoccato over and over and over. he can't keep up, even with Lars' lack of tempo,..its all brash and bash and I'm lost and distracted and running for vicodin to drop in my iced tea.

The Lowlights include "Pumping Blood" a dreary half stomp of stutter and start, half demolished meter with my favorite lines of verse from the entire album

"Blood in the foyer
The bathroom
The tea room
The kitchen, with her knives splayed

I will swallow your sharpest cutter
Like a colored man's dick"

Another crushing blow is a "song" called  Cheat On Me. Its a 12 minute repetitive mess that plays out like some raspy old codger at a poetry slam, bleating out self deprecating verse next to a tunebox on a stool playing St. Anger with the treble up way too high.   "Why do I cheat On Me? Why do I piss my dreams.?"  Fail to clear throat. Repeat.

"Iced Honey" is really the only thing I could get through without grinding my teeth and keeling over. Its the only track that has a semblance of melody and a beat that matches the meter.

The combo of Lou's voice and James Hetfield's background growls of the unintelligible come and go like shrapnel to the temple. I don't know why they're there. And I don't care.  At one point he says..."I am the table" ??????  Makes me think he read Lou's chicken scratch wrong and they just kept it.

To summarize....No.   No means No.  An Iron Maiden would be more pleasurable....not the band, a real iron maiden.  Please don't let this pave the way for a Leonard Cohen/Slayer or Bobby McFerrin/Cannibal Corpse offering.

   Thank You and Goodnight.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Give It Up For the Black Keys' New one, "Lonely Boy"

Well, The Black Keys are just about to enter another mammoth album cycle, with the upcoming release "El Camino" on Dec. 6. Hoo! Fucking!  Rayy!   Frankly, I can't think of a band that's had a more stellar run in recent years, and if this album( even with its "highly anticipated" tag attached) lives up to the hype, it could very well give both Wilco's The Whole Love and Mastodon's The Hunter a good jostle in my annual end of the year Top 10. Shit makes me wanna dance without moving my legs, makes me wanna shimmy different than my usual delerium tremens.  Makes me wanna roll my nether-region in something freshly killed and rub up against you.

If there's anything better than the Black Keys that ever escaped from Akron, Ohio, I haven't seen it yet.