Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fuck The Kiss Army

"Kurt Cobain—no, that's one or two records, that's not enough. Amy Winehouse—that's one or two records, that's not enough. What, just 'cause you died that makes you an icon? No, no."

That's a quote from Chaim Weitz...a no talent schlock master, a perennial suckwad.. and the only person on earth with more ego and worse hair than Donald Trump. His "act" (certainly not a band) Kiss was just inducted into the 2014 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I couldn't be more crushed, not because those ridiculous brain dead, nacho eating, acid washed jeans- wearing, knuckle dragging lowest common denominator tool and dye guys called the Kiss Army voted them in this year.....But because they'll be inducted on the same night as a game changing, legendary band like Nirvana.

See the above quote again. This act is a product, a sham, a revolving door replaceable- membered caricature of itself existing only for product placement(get your Kiss tampons, here ladies!!.Comes with the same blood packets Chaim uses on stage!!!) and background music at back alley strip joints and bowling leagues. For Chaim Simmons to open his mouth to even have the Schwetty balls to mock Nirvana as not worthy(did the same with Foo Fighters)..is pathetic heresy..and should be punishable by having him stick that pointed tongue of his right up his own quivering, pouting, almost geriatric asshole an hour after catered burritos at a Kiss show on a hot July day. Right after he takes his squirrel wig off.

This is manufactured group that stole Alice Cooper's entire act,   gave us 2 and a half chords per song and prize winning lyrical content like "Lick it up, Lick it Up...Oh, Oh, Oh,"....and who could forget their earth shattering endeavors like "Music From the Elder, "God gave Rock and Roll to You" and Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park..a movie even Ed Wood would laugh at. Speaking of laughs..if you want a few..check out Stanley(Paul) Eisen's classic phoned in stage banter HERE: https://soundcloud.com/christopher-armes/45-minutes-of-paul-stanley

They've had more members than both the Polyphonic Spree and/or the Vienna Boys Choir and claim that once Chaim and Stanley get too old, even they will replace their characters with new members, finally becoming the first act to become a tribute act of themselves.

You wanted the best, you got the best, Rock Hall of Fame! Deep Purple, Yes, Thin Lizzy, King Crimson, The New York Dolls, The Runaways, Devo, Motorhead, and Iron Maiden thank you.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The 10 Best Albums of 2013 (using the word BEST so more people will link to this) (more like the 10 Most Tolerable)

For most of the year, as with every other year the grumpiness that rained down on my already wet head was caused by the musical distaste in my mouth. This taste was akin to a curdled milk sandwich on a hot day after ten beers. A real yumfest. I could not shake the displacement between me and most of the critics out there. I've read a bunch of year end best of lists...and I'm stunned into either silence or rumbly guffaws from the couch. Eh. I shouldn't be surprised. It is revolting and sad that the bulk of these alleged tastemakers get their opinions to stick..ripe and rote for the people who want to dance more than they want to listen, and for those who habitually compare their personal misogynist goody bags with those of the fool- aid drinking Yeezus sect.The critics are getting younger every year, and feel inclined to bring along assloads of entitlement and disdain for the so called dinosaurs. These hipster pundits are so young that they don't even notice the blatant derivative dreck dredged up and spat out from oft- lauded bands like Vampire Weekend and Parquet Courts and Savages and Best Coast and on and on. And yet the blogosphere is abuzz.,like a bunch of blind bees in a dead field.  The gap between mainstream media hype and real talent gets wider every year. And though I continue to give myself a break and try out a few musical pur..suits every year and the end result always seems to look like a big man in a little shirt. It don't fit. And it feels like shit.

I like what I like. I've never subscribed to anything "best". Its a beat up, empty, bargain bin word. These are merely suggestions that ain't any better than anyone else's out there on the internets or in dead tree media. But they're mine. They got the most spins in my household. I didn't need to multitask while listening to them.
What a shock. When's the last time you "listened to music". I mean, just sat down and listened with no distractions, no miles to run, laundry to fold, car to pass, When did music stop earning your undivided attention like fucking Homeland or The Voice????
May these humble choices inspire you to do something other than fill yourself with faux empowerment, dance like everyone's looking and jack yourself off by taking a mental tally of your accoutrements.

#10) The Next Day- David Bowie
#9) Whales and Leeches- Red Fang
#8) Ultraviolet-Kylesa
#7) Southeastern-Jason Isbell
#6) Ready to Die- The Stooges
#5) Ghost on Ghost- Iron and Wine
#4) The Bronx IV- The Bronx
#3) Black Pudding- Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood
#2) The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight The More I Love You-Neko Case
#1) Earth Rocker-Clutch

H.M.- Civil Disobedience For Losers-Indian Handcrafts
          Moistboyz 5-Moistboyz

Biggest Disappointments after MANY listens:

1) Like Clockwork-QOTSA- would've, could've should've but didn't.
2) 13- Black Sabbath. Meh. Lots of living and dying lyrics, horrible drum production.
3) Amok-Atoms for Peace- How about a song one of these years, Thom?

Would rather be curbstomped after being caned than to ever have to listen to again:

1) Days are Gone- Haim-
2) Yeezus-_____ _____
3) Modern Vampires of the City-Vampire Weekend
4) Mechanical Bull- Kings of Leon
5) Trouble Will Find Me- The National
6) The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here-Alice in Chains
7) Silence Yourself-Savages
8) Light Up Gold-Parquet Courts
9) The 20/20 Experience- J. Timberlake.....Take off that stupid hat.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The trees are still albeit for a few coughed out gusts blowing back a branch or two. They look like they have been dodging buckshot, anchored to the forest floor, patches of nude leafless extremies adjacent to the fledgling orange and rusted presentation of Autumn. The rain has dried up to a mushy dampness, the clouds chock full of chalky grey, glued together in a stoic laziness over the neighborhood. They pose no threat until the next front meanders in like a bully on a full playground.

It is a perfect day to saturate with the songs of Mark Lanegan. This soundtrack will be the last perfect ingredient in my cauldron of unabashed joy, that will simmer all day until the murky cusp of the evening, upon which I will breach the winded path of aimless motorists, hitting the city to see the man himself in concert. That day has finally come.

Mark Lanegan's music has been more than an occasional sonic bullet point, more than a fixation or phase in a long life of listening. His voice and lyric have taken shape as the vessel, the escape pod, the parachute, the remedy, the accidental elixir, the lubricant, the glass punched through in case of fire, the jump start, the come down, the virtual warm blanket, the dim beacon, the conduit, the flint, the skeleton key, the antagonist, the soothsayer, the tarot, the rhyme and reason to many a heavy moment in my life.

Ive seen him in concert before, yes but for some reason today feels more right, the conditions seem precisely optimal, the yin seems more lego-ed into the yang.

This mood is what music to me is defined by.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"What is this that stands before me?"

I had the privilege of seeing Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, and a phenomenal drummer named Tommy Clufetos the other night in Philadelphia. There was also a front man who waddled around in a stupor(sober as can be) singing Black Sabbath songs along with them, inbetween endless head dunks in a water bucket and a handful of teleprompted cliches. His name was Ozzy. Lets just say(then go on to comment in torrid detail) that the only song he should be singing is "Mama, I'm Coming Home. Home to rest. Rest up, drink tea and watch the History Channel until the bats crawl up into the belfry one last time.

Ozzy Osbourne has lived many lives and survived several deaths and conquered many arenas of heavy music and high pharma in his 64 years. He, along with Keith Richards will outlive all of us to entertain the advanced strain of cockroach left after the next and last apocalypse. I mean, the guy just got out of his 30th rehab and makes an album and decides to tour. But even after all of the hype of a true Black Sabbath Reunion, and the Bill Ward in/then out drama, and the Tony Iommi health issues, I decided to go and see the old gang.

Tony Iommi has cancer. Tony Iommi went back and forth from England to Los Angeles this past spring to work long hours in a studio on one end of the trip and take a chemo drip on the other end. Tony made the call to move on after Bill Ward's non committal stalemate took hold. Tony wanted to beat the devil. Finish the album. Tour the world maybe one last time. Tony came on to that stage the other night with something to prove to himself, to his fucking disease and his fans.

Mission accomplished. The SG blazed. The capped fingers flew. The tri- tones triumphed. The problem was not the problem. His health was a total non issue, even evident from the ridiculously overpriced nosebleed vantage point. The victory was spoiled. The man in trouble is not Tony. The man in trouble is Ozzy.

Ozzy can't sing anymore. Yeah. Yeah. We expect Ozzy to be the spectacle.The shaky prince of darkness that he is at this advanced age, and after all of the damage. But this is deep doo doo, for 50 dollar cheap seats and the darkest of dark dark blasphemy for the 100 floor seats.  But why take the piss on us Yanks? Either there was no possibility he was tour ready, or there's just plain no possibility at all anymore.  He was off key so bad during War Pigs/ Into The Void/Under the Sun/Black Sabbath/Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B. that my thoughts went from giggly anger to blatant concern. I kept thinking his old mates Geezer and Tony(as amazing as they were) just didn't have the nuts to throw a flag somewhere on this tour, let alone that night. Disclaimer: I've perused footage from the other tour stops with carbon copy set lists, and the Ozzman doesn't Cometh. The Ozzman Isnt Eventh Therefh. Ditto, people.  Back to Philly though:  He pulled out all three of the standard stops on the mic between songs ad nauseum to the point where I kept thinking "I wanna see your hands!!!!" and "We love you motherfuckersssss!!!!" were the only things non- teleprompted that he could think of to say. The waddle, the clap-stomp, all in force and enforced in drunken robotics. Sharon gets more dog jewelry, I guess.

Sad Shite. Sabbath Cruddy Sabbath. And I'm feeling a bit fleeced.  Even the outstanding out of body- like drumming of Mr. Clufetos(very you tube worthy) and the most brain- cuddling contact high I've
 had since my mullet was in check didn't change my sentiments.

And no new tour t shirt sold by any band (geriatric or not) is worth 40 bucks, even if they were made from black headless goat hair and printed with bat blood.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

so faux so foe

Precious minimum of care. Repercussions like land mines in the sand next to my toes on a phantom vacation. On every other day the spirit leaves, the spirit comes back to a larger room with the soul hollowed out just a little more. Just a little more. A little more to give, to wring out of the day, like a bloody towel used to wipe up the puddles of blood beneath the thrashed . A little more to take. Take cover take charge. Take cover take charge. Bide time . Bid on extra years for improvement, bid on the priciest wet bag of lies in the silent auction. Screen your callers. Reinforce your pillars, so faux, so foe?

Please don't line up the candles. Trade ten of mine to give her a decade more to get her house in order, to strip the blame from her husbands mouth, to shame the mother into proper exile on an isle of lepers and lifers. To thrust this beast I do the dirty spoon with into oblivion. Instead, we wallow in the wreckage , the shadow stealer and I bring the rear up to new lows . we wade through puddles of dust rapel down cliffs of frozen blood. we land on the moors of the annointed forgotten. we rub bones together for fire.I pitch the shards and shrapnel as a screenplay to myself. I wear the pigs head. Fully catered with yesterday's bones and gizzards and smut gluttony to set a course unpaved and ahead, behind, beside, beyond, within.

Where to go from here but another dog eared page in the beat pleading for contact, kneaded wafer thin in need , cooked on the corners, raw in the middle of nowhere. Ah the laughter cued up, aligned with the film, cooked into melted focus by the burn of the bulb. A quick edit, a stealth exit. Whipsmart agony  from dragging the deep forbidden lake , sizzled in the coals rake.

The endless serenade. The quelled chorus, the heady refrain. Cheer up Charlie, your golden ticket is one way, southbound, hot to the touch. Window seat please.
Ghosts with the skin peeling off in the napalm mist, in their molten grip, they hold your boarding pass.

Free at last.

I know a man

I know a man who's family dynamic broke apart not once,twice but three times in his life. Mother leaves because she's a selfish distraught lesbian who couldn't take being a mom or a wife anymore, abandons her pre teen son and has a restraining order placed on her own daughter. Years later she turns into a broken down grandmother who never sees or contacts her own grandchildren,who makes promises , obliterates those promises and becomes a fucking pariah who wouldn't even know her own grandson if he was standing in front of her while she smoked her 20th cigarette of the day , skin leathery and loose from all of that time in the Florida sun wandering codependent and aimless.

Beloved sister dies, a best friend, a replacement matriarch for the absent mother. Instead of every family and friend member that remains forming a bond full of love and honor and remembrance, they split, un amicably and end up incommunicado, avoiding any sort of conflict or discussion . The children left behind don't even know each other as cousins, friends or anything resembling a normal family relationship. The miles,combined with fear and bitterness ad up to a fading photograph of a long gone era, that ended a mere 5 years ago.

Man marries the wrong person, they make each other miserable, they have monumental differences that lead to betrayal and abuse. Their only child is in the middle of an ebb and flow of a horrible situation which at times borders on alienation. The verbal abuse of the man continues, and he is helpless to do anything about it because lawyers can only help if you pay them, which the man cannot do. Man has been awarded something but will never collect on said judgement and even if he does, his life will be made even more miserable by the anger of the aftermath. Man chooses less misery, and chooses to let go of the energy it takes to fight, in order to conserve it for the energy it takes to be a single dad on the
low end of a pay scale, in a job with no benefits or paid vacation. Man has to fight to get by every single month. Man has no family, few friends, no partner in a city he feels trapped in for the next twelve years.

Man loses interest in the music and the written word which were once his foundations and ensconces himself in the glorification of self pity, depression and anger. Man is fully aware of the scale of the problem and has very little to complain about when there are people out there whose bodies are riddled with disease, are homeless, whose children have been lost to war, abuse, terrorism, addiction, etc.

But man sees no real..finite end in the endless cycle of fear,loss, anger in his life despite temporary pauses filled with hope and fleeting contentment.and devotes himself instead to the raising of his son, alone...with no family to help, no network to rely on, no money to burn. It has become his identity, his dominant reason for being, and sometimes his burden. The exhaustion causes the feeling of it being a burden from time to time, the exhaustion holds the lead and the chain.

Man knows the ex wife will read this and laugh and either use it against him or ignore it all together. Man is well versed in her etiquette of calling him a useless, selfish loser who doesn't groom, or a piece of shit who is a lousy father and half of a man. Man has been put through the motions of being spat on in public and slapped in front of his child. Man can take it.

Man wants to stay here on earth.
Man wants to be able to feel good for at least 24 hrs straight before his son is old enough for college and he can wander this earth looking for truth, looking for self. Parents lose most of that when bringing up children. Those who are partnered make time for the other parent to continue his or her search.
Man doesn't have this benefit. When he is not with his son, he works, wanders or wallows.

Man writes on this blog just to write. The anticipation of pity, glory, conversation or reciprocation is moot. The Internet is the ether. The feelings expressed are merely easier to find here than in a moleskine or composition book.

Man realizes how silly this all is.
Man realizes how stupid this all is.
Man realizes how serious this all is.
Man will forget this

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good Dad Bad Dad Stage Dad Sad Dad

I had a kid. I had a plan. I'm sort of a has been/ never was rocker with a plethora of pride in my step when it comes to being a rock purist. I have my foundations, my pillars of rock architecture and cultural touchstones with which, no matter how far I got as a musician, I knew I could pass on to my offspring as a good old kick start to his or her own legacy as a musician.
For surely my kid is gonna be a musician. For surely my kid is gonna know so much about rock music that he/she would just fall into the prodigious nature of musical study and appreciation, piano, guitar, drums, production, voice....those were the avenues. The streets with names for the he/ she that he/she would be allowed to drive down, blindfolded with passion. I ended up with a boy. A boy who was listening to the Beatles in utero. A boy who had a Led Zeppelin onesie. A kid who had his first drum set at three, his first guitar at four, his first keyboard at six. He wrote his first song as a five year old..lyrics and melody. His music teacher said he was advanced and should be in lessons right away. It was all headed in the right direction, weaving into my chosen path.

My plan was to not be overbearing rock dad inundating him with heavy guitar rock to confuse and overload his little ears. That would have been selfish and stupid. After his mom and I split up, I chose to expose him to everything and anything but sugary, overproduced throwaway pop songs, and misogynist  based  hip hop riddled with ridiculous braggadocio, knowing that this decision was based on my opinion of what was good and what was horrific and bad.I taught him all about the songwriting process, let him ask questions about the artists and the instruments, and how a certain sound was made.I let many genres wash over him and watched him soak them in. He was always fascinated, inquisitive, engaged.I believe I've been successful from that standpoint so far. So far.....

So far that plan is riddled with snafus. I've been sandbagged. I've been sabotaged.I need a kinder gentler approach...because last night my seven year old son went to the Taylor Swift concert...and liked it. He likes all of it. He knows the words to mommy's songs and none of mine. He sings them and knows that it upsets me. Yeah it upsets me. Who is the child here, right?

I have to be realistic. He's just a kid, right. He's more drawn to the big machine pop and the sunshiny chick rock that his mother favors because its easier to sing in the car. It's less moody. Simple arrangements, shiny happy chord progressions and melodies which are catchy, especially to a kid who just wants to be happy and laugh and grow at his own pace. He may never like what I like and may never be influenced by what I've passively, gingerly tried to program him with. I get that.
So why does it suck when he says to me that he "doesn't like rock" and doesn't want to sing in a "rock band".
Why does it hurt so bad. I could be over reacting. Projecting on my son my own "failures" as a musician...being in the wrong place at the right time over and over again, saying no to more than a handful of promising projects, the frustration with lack of DIY mentality when a lack of  management led to a loss of direction and output...etc. As a parent you always want your child to do better than you did. That seems to be a rite of passage. I guess I'm using my own wanna be rock star model from 20 years ago model as the opposite of what I want  his to be.

Right now, I have to ask myself, has my course load overwhelmed my young musical paduwan or was it never his in the first place. The suspense is killing me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm Over Mick Jagger

Right now, I have Mick Jagger at the very top of my list of Biggest Assholes in Rock.

I bet Mick hasn't had fun in the Rolling Stones since around Some Girls.

The lippy dictator told Bill Wyman (who is 76 years old) on this current 50th anniversary tour that he could perform two songs. No more than two songs per show. He was so nice that he invited Bill on the whole tour.....for two songs a night. Bill said fuck you very much.

He did the same thing with legendary stones saviour Mick Taylor, but Mick took the bait..and probably needs the cash. Mr. Jagger, Mick Taylor was gold to you and your legacy from 69-74....the best years your band ever had. Take that to the grave with all of your filthy lucre. Please make sure that the great grandchildren of your seven children(a stones record) are taken care of.

I love the recorded Rolling Stones right up to Steel Wheels.....just for the record. Why am I bitching now?

it's been a perfect storm of bad reviews, bad hype and just plain snobby greed...that I'm seeing.

I've seen the Stones 5 times...mostly way back when they were in their 50s. I never thought about it until now but Mick Jagger was going through the motions then and the bullshit has been piled on thicker every tour since then.

His lyrical output has always been underrated (from 19th Nervous Breakdown to Tumblin' Dice to Shattered)...its all good, bumping the borders of genius in some places..yet the stage banter is a disconnect, has been for decades, emotionless, scripted blasphemy. ...it used to make me sad to see him phoning it in on stage...now Ive seen footage of the latest tour...and he looks so robotic, so bored. Who gives a shit about moving like jagger, Mick. Try singing like Jagger.

Maybe its me....but these guests he's bringing on stage, including Carrie Underwood and Katy Perry, dont' make the Stones look hip Mick, it makes you look like creepy Gramps in black Danskins about to yell some version of "Hello Cleveland" any given moment between a missed lick by Keef or Ronnie.

Try not charging an average of 275 a ticket at age 70, Mr. Business first...rock second....wait, cricket is second, then comes merchandise, then fucking(however well septuagenarians fuck).  Goddamn, why didn't you fall out of a coconut tree..it might have given you some perspective. Also,  try having some respect for Darryl Jones who has been your bass player for 20 years and has never been in a press photo and is probably still hovering around hired gun status....try making me believe that "Its Only Rock and Roll".

..and maybe I'll like it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Queens of the Stone Age: Like Clockwork -A bullet point review

Queens of the Stone Age have come (somewhat) roaring back after six years since their last album of all new material, with Like Clockwork, out June 4 on Matador Records. The hype surrounding this release has already reached monumental proportion, and the fascination with whatever hydra head honcho Josh Homme touches in whatever conglomeration of players he chooses to be a part of, remains as a consistent chunk of his mystique.

I'm a super fan boy of Josh since Kyuss was kicking up desert dust, but I've also been respectful of his searing desire to rid himself of the stoner rock stamp branded on his forehead ever since the first riffs of Wretch... so although it has been very hard to be objective as I spun it around seven or eight times in the last two weeks, shouting profanity filled question marks out to a non living car stereo, then allowing some problem spot areas to properly? marinate, as it pertains to a band's, or musician's(whom of course I don't personally know) artistic progression. I was able to calm down, dig in, and dig..it. This is what I've come up with in short bursts of opinion.

-The first track "Keep Your Eyes Peeled"- Hmmmmm ,although it thuds and rumbles with enough balls to suffice...seems such an odd choice for an album opener after six years of waiting. Was the QOTSA  fanbase hoping for something less midtempo, or gosh, more melodically singable as this album kicked off? Perhaps. Is catchy the word I'm looking for? Dunno...it didn't grab me and still doesn't. The first bridge comes in from the cold and leaves without any impact at all....

-Catchy comes calling with the second track "I Sat By The Ocean", with verses carried by a hypnotic doubled up slide guitar and tight crushing staccato drums.This song burns and returns..strong vocals for the most part, albeit for the strange overuse of falsetto which has become Josh's style for the most part. It is a recurring sting that pricked me, probably because I'm a vocalist and can tell when falsetto is used for artistic purposes and when its being used because the singer can't hit the notes he chose for his own vocal melody. It could be a combination of both. But man, he goes to that breathy well wayyyy to often on this record, sometimes switching it up from full force to breathy word or phrase in the SAME LINE . I really can't imagine how he'll pull it off live. " Silence is closer, we're passing ships in the night"  is both a triumph in chorus and lyric......

More piano on this album than any other Queens record..not a bad thing if you lean towards the respectful of progression side of things....it can't hurt if Trent Reznor, Sir Elton and Queen's multitasking duo of Dean Fertita and Troy van Leeuen are manning the keys. It still comes a surprise nonetheless and starts off "The Vampyre of Time and Memory" A meandering heartwrung ballad, shit..".I want god to come and take me home cause I'm all alone in this crowd." "I feel no love" "Does anyone ever get this right" are some of the lyrics, but the reveal is startling, refreshing for someone with the evident, cocksure swagger of Baby Duck himself. It's the vulnerability that has replaced the smirk for the lyrical bulk of this effort. Most of the time it's presented as such a fresh wound, you feel like calling the guy up and asking him if everything's ok? Need a hug, bro?

"If I Had a Tail" has the most singable chorus on the album....but the rest of the song is glamorously overproduced and sullen, and a bit repetitive.

"My God is the Sun" is shall I say it..."classic" QOTSA, the ratatat RPM of Mr. Grohl lights a fire under this albums ass, a midnight blurry drive of a song, the barnburning single that should have opened this fucking record. Rocks Socks. Burns without sun block.

"Kalopsia" can be summed up by its excellent lyric "copycats in cheap suits are playing it safe, while cannibals of bad news consume the parade." A punchy tussle between the sounds of opiate aftermaths and the ferociousness of the clearer picture. Stunned and gunned.

"Fairweather Friends"...is melodically perfect, everything fits, like your best girlfriend on a blue ball free night, a perfect mesh of guitar, piano and Grohl's pleasant bash.  The highlight of the album for yours truly. Even if you can't quite figure out where Josh is going with the lyric, it feels right. It feels like he wrote it for you or about you, which of course he didn't . But sometimes the best songs allow you to slip right in, leave your understudy position  and take over the role. "So what's it gonna take?"  If you listen verrrrrrrry close with headphones on, sans distraction..you can hear Lanegan give his three words for the album, and Elton give his two.

My non-musical picked bone for the album, and the blame may fall with the hypemongers at Matador, is the laundry list of all stars who " helped" with the recording. Elton John, Reznor, Lanegan, NICK OLIVERI(holy shit,they're getting the BAND BACK TOGETHER, wait, didn't Josh sue Kyuss Lives?????, dude from Arctic Monkeys, dude from Scissor Sisters(double who? for most of you) Jon Theodore from Mars Volta!!!-Barely drums on the last track, but how can you tell, or should you have been listening for him in the first place?...and that's the problem. I don't remember Josh hyping the guests this much in print while the album was being tracked. In fact, details were bled out unceremoniously with mysterious studio pics. Josh has a lot of hand in a lot of dirty cookie jars...and for the most part, at Rancho De La Luna, where Queens tracks primarily, whoever happens to show up, might get asked to shake a tambourine here, double a melody line there. Grohl showed up because drummer Joey Castillo was ousted, and Josh made a call. Dave seems to always answer Josh's calls. Elton CALLED Josh to guest. Queen meet Queens.. Lanegan was wandering the high desert looking for a pack of smokes and stumbled in...Reznor growled out half a chorus... Lots of weird coincidences with very little planning and a handful of seat of your pants run- throughs with seasoned vets has turned into huge guest star hype where it ends up being indecipherable and unwarranted. Nobody's rolled out on a portable oval stage here, people. Lanegan hasn't been in this band since 2005.

This album is a grower, not a shower. It has masterful highs where you'll feel asphyxiated with bliss as the return of this band falls over you like you've just copped a feel from God, and a clinging midrange of emotions that never really veer out of "what if?" or "what's this"? There are spots where it reads more like a soundtrack to a druggy art film than a rock record. Yet, the lyrics have never been stronger, and the reveal of a vulnerable and down but never out rockaholic like Josh Homme is a welcome surprise. Although it did make me think sometimes..."Shit, are things with Brody that bad?" Wonder is almost always good in rock, and this album is definitely a wonder.

Friday, March 01, 2013

A Letter to My Son


 I’m so sorry that I’m so sad all of the time. I try my best to keep it from you, masking it with silliness and conversations about truss rods and You Tube videos about how to make your little plastic guitar sound better. Like we did last night. I’m sorry that we had to wait in the cold for a bus home from your school yesterday. We made the best of it eating a soft pretzel, and you furiously embedded in ipod games, playing with your cold little hands, on a bench as all the nice cars whizzed by. But really I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I didn’t have enough money to pay my parking tickets and the city put a boot on my car, right out in front of our apartment where you can see it and will ask about it.

I’m so sorry that I lied to you and told you it was being fixed, I didn’t know what to do and had to think fast to figure out a way to pick you up from school. I just wanted to be there at the normal time so you wouldn’t worry. You seem so resilient, mostly happy in our small apartment for which I am perpetually behind on the rent. In which there are no kitchen cabinets, and the heat goes off every once in a while without you noticing. It is very different from a 3500 square foot house, but there is more love here in our little space. We make due, but barely. It makes Dad really tired all of the time. Too tired to play with you sometimes. Too tired to figure out a way to make the best of our free time without any money. My creative brain is bombarded with stress every day. I know you see it. It makes me raise my voice when I shouldn’t. It makes me distant and exhausted.

Hudson, I may have to get a roommate. I’m going to give up my room and rent it out. I’m going to pull out the trundle bed which adjoins yours, and sleep next to you in your room when you’re here with me, and sleep there when you’re not. It’s the only way I can figure out how to lower my expenses so you don’t have to choose between mac and cheese and turkey sandwiches all of the time, so we don’t have to skip every other birthday you are invited to. So I can buy something brand new for you and not wake up every Saturday morning to go to garage sales. So I can take you on a vacation away from this city. So I can be less sad for a while. There will be another person here sometimes when you’re here. Sharing this small space, crowding your two tiny play areas. Another situation for you to question. Another adjustment for you to make on this 4 year hell of an unsteady roller coaster. I always wonder when you are going to fall off, but you never do. It is I who rides hands free.

Dad loves you Hudson. Dad loves you more than anything else in the world. Dad will make this easier for you, even if you don’t really see it. Dad can’t see any other way right now. Dad has tried so many other ways…….

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The 100 Most Influential Albums: A Response

Do I Have any thoughts on being the curator of this list?

It is an impossible task. Let's face it. Some of the choices are just pure fact. If you poll a thousand pundits, over 70 of the ones that made the cut would also be on this list for a large variety of reasons much to long winded and counterproductive to the aim of this little blog. You can do the research on your own. I did, and that's why Loveless and Daydream Nation made the list. They are both in my opinion ponderous and highly unlistenable, but there would be no shoegaze, noise rock or even post punk without them.

 I was on my fifth draft of the list and didn't even note  the years that these albums were released, and probably could have explained the process a little better, but I'm medicated most of the time, so sorry about that... I will address the comments I received from the list as best as I can. First of all Derek...thanks for submitting your list, I can always count on you for input. And thanks to Andre, Erik, Sean, Anthony and anybody else I forgot.

Here's the deal. The era of influence I focused on is all of them from the birth of rock and roll as a popular form of music. Jazz and blues gave birth to rock and roll in the early 50s,however some rock is pop and some pop is rock. Big band music and Jazz was the "pop" music in the 20s, 30s and 40s, so pop(short for popular)as a genre has always been vague, overlapping and intertwined with a combination of sounds coming from one or more genres. I thought Jazz had to be included, so did everyone else...You can't have rock or pop without jazz and blues....so there BEGINS the influence I talk about on this list. I could have omitted the Everly Brothers and put Miles Davis- Kind of Blue in, I could have put Dave Brubeck in, but we chose Coltrane-A Love Supreme, and Bitches Brew. I could have put Bill Haley in but instead Robert Johnson makes the cut. So...making the cut in some cases can and will be based entirely on opinion, but for this list I really went with a law of averages from the lists submitted for at least 89-95% of the choices.

  That being said, 50 some odd years is a lot to cover...or is it? It is really just a blip in time and compared to other genres of music, rock/pop is a youngster. So the fact that this list may lean heavy on what some may deem "Classic Rock" may just seem that way because SO MANY classic rock albums were almost instantaneously , massively influential because of the very age of the music.  More legitimate, historically significant genres and sub genres were being created during 1967-1980 than any other time covered on this list. Power pop, punk,heavy metal,rockabilly, country rock, prog ,reggae, disco and even hip- hop...all emerged within this bracket of time. These are like the main branches of a very big tree.

I believe that it's been much more difficult for anything after say, 1998 to have as much of an influence as the first massive branches stretching out from the stump of pop/rock. There are twice as many( 3x, 4x?) branches of genres,sub genres that have popped up since 1998 sure...new wave, trip hop, dub step, rap rock, trance, Swedish Death metal, murdercore, indie?.  But as time goes on, it may come down to one factor that I believe presents an argument as to why in the realm of INFLUENCE as I defined it in the post, the bulk of anything after '98 will fall short of making this list. Time....will have to tell.

It's the Internet, stupid.

Technology- Sure the advent of the internet changed the face of music forever, but it also splintered it into an almost infinite cauldron of possibilities, rendering it good for, bad for or impartial to INFLUENCE. For the average consumer all the way up to the professional performers and the music fanatics, everything has fucking changed, and the morph continues with a pace and structure that is in constant construct/deconstruct mode.

 It's simple math, really. For the masses(yes, I truly believe this) music of TODAY isn't even tangible, it's disposable or temporary, simply because of the ease of access to songs, band web pages with embedded media, online stores and you tube videos. Et cetera, et fucking cetera. We're up to several generations now( if you agree with me that a generation since the advent of the internet, is around five years)that have been bombarded with "faster, smaller, thinner, more storage, bigger screens, clouds", advertised in the very pages of magazines and on commercial TV, though on the cusp of making the "old way" of getting the word out using these vehicles...obsolete. By the time they get used to something,in the realm of technological ease and speed, the general public gets threatened by being left high and dry with the endless digital tsunami of new technology rolling out on a monthly basis.

Because of this technological vortex, the modern day attention span is nowhere near what it was even five years ago. How does this pertain to music and influence? It has forced many a brain to try and keep up, we live in an era of you snooze you lose, really, I mean, my 1st grade son mentioned Mozilla Firefox the other day. He has a new favorite song every other day because he CAN. It's out there if he wants it,at the swipe of a screen, with nothing to hold on to, nothing to look at, no pictures of rock stars to emulate unless you have a high speed internet connection or a parent who didn't digitize their entire collection and sell their CDs and cassettes at a yard sale for 25 cents each...The era of perusing your parents or big brother's record collection is over.You've got to head for the bins and hope your overprotective Mom or Dad lets you ride your bike there after school...More choices can lead to the simple lack of time spent on one song, one group, one genre. There's another screen over there that has every season of VH1's Behind The Music  on it, and in the time you decide to click on it or swipe it, the tablet or phone you used to complete that task is already too slow and doesn't have the sleeker faster features that the cool kids have.

I sound like an old fogey, but I pay very close attention. I'm in my 40s. I'm a performer and a music nerd. I read 20 blogs a day, go to 30+ shows a year,  still buy cds, while sampling and buying singles online, am immersed in social media and I STILL can't keep up with everything going on. There's a part of me that doesn't want to. Because even as a music junkie who partakes in Pandora, Spotify, Last FM, Facebook, Soundhound, Soundcloud, Twitter. I know that's already too much. I know they'll all be obsolete in five years or sooner. And the top tier geeks will say even those are passe. I'm the very last one in my 20-30 year group of friends who even has time for being influenced by anything musical from the last ten years and wanting to combine preservation of "the way it used to be" and "the way it is now" when it comes to being exposed to, being either appalled, inspired, fascinated, or INFLUENCED by music. I'm too busy collecting and arranging it to stop and listen to it.

For people of all ages, technology  caused a gap in how a borderline Luddite, who's musical heyday or self -proclaimed "generation" (god forbid) was 20 years ago, even FINDS music, let alone enjoys it. Record stores are for dinosaurs and/ or vinyl junkies new and old...this lack of tangibility and the loss of the very emotion of that manic journey to the mall or the record shop to buy the new album on the day it comes out...ALL of that...has been replaced with a click.

How is anyone younger than a fucking thirty something going to even relate to that? That emotion is lost. Its a critical piece of how influence is spread.  Most teenagers buy singles on iTunes now. They don't know what a record store is. But what about that large(yes still large) part of the population in the small towns, the fly-over states or those families who can't afford the internet? What do they do when they want to listen to music, if there's no record store? If there's no screen to look at? If there's no newspaper advertising the new album by Shania Twain or Linkin Park.  The commerce behind music marketing and absorption  has drastically shifted because of technology, to the point where it has trickled down to an immense lack of exposure to those less fortunate. Believe it.

These are just some of my thoughts on how much harder it is for anything to do with music to be "influential" to the masses. I'm talking genre exploding, band building, total immersing  INFLUENCE. Its gone for now.

So back to the list. Derek, If we put J-Dilla or Yo La Tengo on there, what do we take off? There can only be 100. I can't see either of those in the top 100, even 300 for that matter.  Hugs and kisses to you though.

TAD- Van Halen I merely caused around 20 million teenage boys to pick up a guitar(more than MR. Hendrix)..and countless other already budding axemen to emulate EVH. It changed electric guitar forever, just like Are You Experienced did. Its on every list...everywhere.

The Eagles' 71-'75 is the best selling album of all time. Around 30 million copies. That's a fuck of a lot of influence. That transcends album sales.

As for the Grateful Dead, American Beauty is a vastly influential album. But it sounds very different than anything else they ever did. It could be (along with Eagles-On the Border and Flying Burritos) one of the first country rock albums of all time. For most deadheads, though it was about the jams...the live shows. They(along with the Allmans to some extent) were the first jam band. They created a genre, which is evidenced quite clearly on Europe 72.

Thats all I got today peoples. Let me have it, if you've got it.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The 100 Most Influential Albums

There was a peculiar "quiz" that surfaced on Facebook about a month back called 100 Influential Albums http://www.influentialalbums.com/ which reeked of being written by a 20 something with a fondness for Brit pop. I asked my friends and self proclaimed rock/pop pundits to help me come up with a true list of our own...your own everyone's own. This was compiled with no particular intent other than to school that young lad across the pond but really just to amuse ourselves, and possibly throw stones at each other like bullyish rock snobs.

I really hope you do two things with this list. Steal all of the music on here and play it for someone who really has no clue, and is mired down in the sugary sweet excesses of processed pop, or  argue with me.

Either way, the list wins.

To be clear. INFLUENCE has zero to do with album sales....sure, there will be plenty of platinum on this list, but these albums for the most part ignited a genre that previously didn't exist, or inspired a very large percentage of musicians/writers/artists within the generation of the release of an album on the list, or future generations in garage and basements galore until the end of time.

To be clear part Two. INFLUENCE and "favorite" some of the time do not go hand in hand. There will be entries, you don't own, you've forgotten about or were appalled with in the first place. Respectfully, I've tried to cover as many genres as I could with the help of my brethren in the know. So here goes in no particular order

1) Chuck Berry- After School Sessions

2) Elvis Presley-Self titled

3) Buddy Holly-Self Titled

4) Aretha Franklin-Lady Soul

5) The Beatles-Revolver

6) Bob Dylan –Highway 61 Revisited

7) John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Featuring Eric Clapton

8) Beach Boys-Pet Sounds

9) James Brown-Live at the Apollo

10) The Everly Brothers.-Self titled

11) Van Morrison-Astral Weeks
12) Byrds-Sweetheart of the Rodeo
13) Big Brother-Cheap Thrills
14) The Beatles-Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
15) The Doors-Debut album
16) Love-Forever Changes
17) Rolling Stones-Let it Bleed
18) Bob Dylan-Blood on the Tracks
19) Jimi Hendrix Experience-Are You Experienced
20) Led Zeppelin- IV

21) The Stooges-Debut Album
22) New York Dolls Debut
23) Joni Mitchell-Blue
24) Stones-Exile on Main Street
25) The Who-Who’s Next
26) Led Zeppelin- I
27) CSNY- Déjà Vu
28) Sex Pistols-Never Mind The Bollocks

29) Miles Davis-Bitches Brew
30) Pink Floyd-Dark Side of the Moon
31) Neil Young-Harvest
32) Bob Marley and the Wailers-Natty Dread
33) Iggy and the Stooges-Raw Power
34) Black Sabbath-Debut
35) John Coletrane- A Love Supreme
36) Deep Purple-Machine Head
37) The Eagles- Greatest Hits 1971-1975
38) Yes-Fragile

39) Simon and Garfunkel-Bridge Over Troubled Water
40) Sly and the Family Stone-Theres a Riot Goin' On
41) Marvin Gaye-What’s Going On
42) Cream-Disraeli Gears
43) David Bowie- The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
44) Big Star-#1 Record
45) Roxy Music-Debut
46) CCR-Cosmos Factory
47) Ramones-Debut album
48) Fleetwood Mac-Rumours
49) Brian Eno-Another Green World
50 The Clash-London Calling
51) Wire-Pink Flag
52) Elvis Costello-My Aim Is True
53) The Cars-Debut album
54) Frank Zappa-Apostrophe
55) Funkadelic-Maggot Brain
56) Velvet Underground and Nico
57) Television-Marquee Moon
58) Lou Reed-Transformer
59) REM- Murmur
60) U2-War
61) Guns and Roses-Appetite For Destruction
62) Prince-1999
63) Beastie Boys-Paul's Boutique
64) Sonic Youth-Daydream Nation
65) AC/DC-Let There Be Rock
66) Slayer-Reign in Blood
67) Lynyrd Skynyrd-Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd
68) The Allman Brothers Band- Live at the Fillmore East
69) Bruce Springsteen-Born to Run
70) My Bloody Valentine-Loveless
71) Nirvana-Nevermind
72) Radiohead-OK Computer
73) Metallica-Master of Puppets
74) Kyuss-Blues For the Red Sun

75) Public Enemy-Fear of a Black Planet
76) Grandmaster Flash-The Message

77) Johnny Cash-At Folsom Prison

78) Van Halen-Debut

79) White Stripes-White Blood Cells

80) Pixies-Doolittle

81) Queen-A Night at The Opera

82) Weezer-Blue Album

83) Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

84) The Replacements-Let It Be

85) Joy Division-Closer

86) Michael Jackson-Thriller

87) Talking Heads-Remain in Light

88) Saturday Night Fever- Soundtrack

89) Kraftwerk-Trans Europe Express

90) T Rex-Electric Warrior

91) Grateful Dead-Europe ‘72

92) Bad Brains-I Against I

93) Minor Threat-Self titled EP

94) Willie Nelson- Red Headed Stranger
95) Robert Johnson-King of the Delta Blues Singers
96) The Police-Outlandos d' Amour
97) The Smiths-Meat is Murder
98) The Band-Music From Big Pink
99) Nine Inch Nails-Pretty Hate Machine
100) King Crimson-In the Court of the Crimson King

Missed the Cut but would Probably be in the next 50

The Cure-Disintegration
The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
Elton John-Tumbleweed Connection
Daft Punk-Daft Punk
Iron Maiden-Number of The Beast
Jane's Addiction -Nothing's Shocking
Boston-Debut Album
The Beatles-Rubber Soul
Husker Du-Zen Arcade
Pretenders-Debut Album
Patti Smith-Horses
Curtis Mayfield-Superfly
Rush -2112
Madonna-Like a Virgin
Genesis-The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Pearl Jam-Ten
Stevie Ray Vaughan-Texas Flood
The Flying Burrito Brothers-Guilded Palace of Sin
U2-The Joshua Tree
Frank Zappa-We're Only In It For the Money
The Feelies-Crazy Rhythms
Jeff Buckley-Grace
Jimi Hendrix-Electric Ladyland
Pink Floyd-The Wall
Tom Waits-Rain Dogs
Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures
The Buzzcocks-Singles Going Steady
The Faces-A Nod is as Good As A Wink.....
The Minutemen-Double Nickels on the Dime
Devo-Are We Not Men

The ratio of those I missed on your list to those you missed on my list should cancel each other out, no? 

Personally I can't get through 5 minutes of  #s 70, 80,95, 97 and 99 without wanting to launch myself out a window and impale myself on the nearest fencepost...while using a nail gun to my forehead on the way down.

But let's argue the omissions anyway.

In the meantime, I'll be kidnapping Beliebers, scratch that....I'll be rounding up random tweens in my neighborhood for brainwashing..err, listening session in my living room....with their parents permission of course. For reals,  most of the parents should be forced to attend as well...



Sunday, January 06, 2013

More, More, More (how do you like it)

These are all floating around my crystal balled semi- hallucinogenic anticipatory hype/ wishlist for 2013. My future ( and yours,should we choose to accept it)  looks amazeballs....

More More More

of a non- perspiratory existence with the obligatory small stuff/ having those final eight more hours with Walter White/ of what Josh Homme has up his gifted sleeves/ Rube Goldberg machines/ who the fuck is directing the new Star Wars movie/ removal of training wheels(metaphorically and no)/ deep cuts on the spring Soundgarden tour/ vast improvements in voice texting / Sound City!/ background checks/ an oasis called Obamacare/ parkour fails/ virtual cupcakes/ of the 50th state/ listening not hearing/ reading not skimming/ purple states?/ Rainbow Ribbons/ critics who've gigged/ knocking on(down)(through) the door of the elusive truth/ upgrading my bullshit filter/ Adventure Time!!(real AND animated)/ of anything that has to do with Austin TX/ Man of Steel in June/ World War Z in June/Sin City in October/ Anonymous vs. anybody/ The Kurt Cobain Documentary/ anti-snoring technology/using reclaimed wood and pissing off lumberjacks/ WHITE WALKERS!/ Rebuilding the Jersey Shore/demolishing "The Jersey Shore"/ mermaids/ Atoms For Peace/The real return of Beck/ a Son's first guitar lesson...../ More...of less.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

(Much, Much) Less Continued

This should be your resolution :  Less.......

Housewives / Pokes/ Bud Lite Commercials/ Skrillex appearances at festivals/ Viral videos with allegedly cute domestic animals/cliffs/valleys/ "amazeballs"/ spanx/ Beliebers/ pregnancy press coverage/ Gronk/ Norquist/ Hefner/Trump/Jenner/ Boo Boo/ Boenertears and tantrums/ Swift faux surprise/ Kimye/ bangs/ Pitbull(2 legs)/ Pitbull (4 legs)/ "who are you wearing?"/ handlebar mustaches/ striped tanktops/ grown men wearing docksiders/ east coast hurricanes/ Mindi Kaling/ pageant moms/teen moms/tan moms/ 8- bit anything/ tollbooths/surcharges/ subpar hip hop endorsed bright colored headphones/ corn and soybeans/ one person shooter video games/one person who shoots/ Fred and Michael Phelps/ birthers and/or breeders/ Vampire weekdays and Vampire Weekend/ circling the drain for Superhero movies/ planking/ Joseph Gordon Levitt/Carly Rae Jepsen/ Bromances/ Superfoods/ Kidz Bop/ J Pop/ bald action heroes/ dancing supermodels/ Suburbia/ "Jeah"/ YOLO/ "redonkculous"/ "legitimate rape"/ meggings/ vajazzle/ canoodle/ Leo Decaprio+ Marty Scorsese/ self- proclaimed somalliers/ The Golf Channel/ metermaids/ commercials featuring DJs/ dark chocolate/ "ginormous"/ duos/ Arizona/ Kevin Smith,Hart and James/Dora and Diego/ EDM/TMZ/ KKK/NRA/OPP/ GBV/ sloths/ guitar face/ unibrows/ ALL CAPS/Apple Maps/ Pinterest Cupcakes/ Hoodies/ "Lil anything"/ Basketball felons/ Stephen Colbert/ vest rock/ trilogies/ coconut water/autobiographies from musicians with one album to their name/ Fun/ Betty Fucking White/ Rebecca Black/ Blue Ivy/ 90s Nostalgia/ fibromyalgia/ who cares about My Bloody Valentine/ this track "featuring" that artist/ How You Met Your Mother/ child stars who find god/ Florida and Flo Rida/ Zynga/