Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Finished! Hayoth - ...And Getting Dollars Back

All Tracks are available for free download at Soundcloud, or for streaming at MySpace.

Check 'em out. Comments and criticisms welcome. I'm sure to have a few after I live with it a while.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Confusing Videos - Knocking at Your Back Door

OK, so....I'm not going to beat around the bush. This song is, straight up, about anal sex.

Now, I also get that MTV wasn't going to play a video with that sort of theme. Well, I guess unless Madonna wanted to. Still, all the director (who I cannot find a credit for) could whip up was a sub-par Mad Max riff?

Although, I guess a lot of those survivors are on their hands and knees....

I'm still trying to figure out if the brouhaha at the end is supposed to be a fight, or a dance party.

You just KNOW the director was pushing for the band to be those guys in the helmets. I'm sure that went over well with Richie Blackmore. He's not the kind of guy to dress up in silly outfits as part of some "image"...No way, no how...

Y'know...Forget what I just said.

Deep Purple deserved better.

Knocking at Your Back Door
by Deep Purple

Sweet Lucy was a dancer
But none of us would chance her
Because she was a Samurai
She made electric shadows
Beyond our fingertips
And none of us could reach that high
She came on like a teaser
I had to touch and please her
Enjoy a little paradise
The log was in my pocket
When Lucy met the Rockett
And she never knew the reason why

I can't deny it
With that smile on her face
It's not the kill
It's the thrill of the chase

Feel it coming
It's knocking at the door
You know it's no good running
It's not against the law
The point of no return
And now you know the score
And now you're learning
What's knockin' at your back door

Sweet Nancy was so fancy
To get into her pantry
Had to be the aristocracy
The members that she toyed with
At her city club
Were something in diplomacy
So we put her on the hit list
Of a common cunning linguist
A master of many tongues
And now she eases gently
From her Austin to her Bentley
Suddenly she feels so young

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stuck in My Head: The Chase is Better Than the Catch

I have the documentary Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch at home from Netflix, and it's really, really great. You just can't argue with Lemmy Kilmister as a true rock god, and an indisputable icon. The film is a ton of fun, and present Lemmy as the no frills, no nonsense, no bullshit person he is. If you have any interest, it's well worth a look.

It's also inspired a lot of listening to Motorhead. Motorhead, much like Lemmy, himself, is no-frills hard rock. You really just can't argue with what they do. I've said in the past, and stand by it, Motorhead does everything AC/DC does, but better.

And I love this track. Not the most politically correct thing in the world, but is rock and roll supposed to be?

The Chase is Better Than the Catch
by Motorhead

You know I'm bad, the times I've had,
I've got a bad reputation,
I don't care, I get my share,
Don't feel no deprivation,
The more I get the better it is,
I like it fine, I like a little whizz,
Treat 'em like ladies, that's a fact,
You know The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

The silver tongued devil, demon lynch,
I know just what I'm doing,
I like a little innocent bitch,
You know I ain't just screwing,
I ain't.

I love you baby, know you're too much,
I like it fine, I feel your touch,
But your appearance don't hold no class,
You know The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

A little beauty, I love you madly,
Come on home with me,
I know you're hot, I know what you've got,
You know I want to shake your tree,
Come on honey, touch me right there,
Come on honey, don't you get scared,
Come on honey, let me get you in the sack,
You know The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

All right! Let me hear ya!
I can't hear ya!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You Want a Hayoth Update? OK.

So, for those of you keeping track, we are very near the end of the ...And Getting Dollars Back project. I did final mixing on Reason, and re-mixed Haunting last week, and I'm extremely happy with the results. I think I've stumbled onto a way to record and mix my vocals that is pleasing to my ears.

Which is a pretty good trick.

I'm still not 100% sold on the lyrics I've come up with for Reason. They looked good on paper, but sound a tad clunky. So, I revised for the re-mix. Still not 100% sold. I may let the tune live with me for a while, and see if I can't come up with something better before the end of December. If I can't think of anything better, it'll stand. I mean, I don't find the lyrics embarrassing, or anything.

The big news is that I started on the musical side of the final track, Getting Dollars Back. The original concept in my head has been dialed back a bit, but I really like how it's working out. On Sunday, I was able to record a scratch guitar track, then the drums and the bass. I sort of astounded myself. It was just an incredibly productive day.

At this point, I have to build a final guitar track, which should be interesting, as my current plan is to have the verse riff change each time through. I'll probably have to build it in sections, in fact I know I'll have to, as the concept is for the wah-wah pedal to come in and out a lot during the track. It's just easier to do that in separate takes, rather than trying to switch it on and off on the fly.

Save that for some theoretical live gig, in the future.

The Reason experience has also left me feeling very critical of the lyrics. So, I think I'll probably work on some revisions there, too. I think, right now, I'm erring on the side of specificity. I often get too involved in storytelling, lyrically, rather than trying to create an emotional mood. As with my soloing, I think I need to learn to let the lyrics breathe more.

Well, what do you expect? My favorite songwriter is Springsteen.

A good example of this is how Dark Water ended up. The original lyrics were just bursting with me Dark Water may be the strongest song on the record. I like how the lyrics and vocal came out, and the solo, which is a long guitar solo, may be the best playing I've ever done on record.

Which is hilarious to me, because the song is a total compromise. If you recall, Dark Water used to be called Zep, and was a acoustic number heavily inspired by Zeppelin's Ramble On. Now it feels, to me, like a mid-tempo blues number. As I re-listen and evaluate my work, I keep thinking maybe I should do a re-mix on it (make the bassline more prominent, specifically), but then I just sort of sit back and find myself thinking, "this pretty much works for me as it is." I mean, I still flirt with doing some re-mixing, if for no other reason that a couple of tracks are mixed slightly more quietly than others, and I'd like to try to find a consistent volume level.
trying, probably desperately, to get the point across. What I ultimately came to (and I hope you'll agree when you hear it) was a pretty simple recurring phrase with variations. Honestly, right now, as I write this, I think that

But, then again, the volume differences aren't that huge. The tracks, so far, sound pretty great together (to my ears). I have those, "if it ain't broke..." feelings.

I'm so close to done, I can taste it. We've got house guests coming soon, and I'm gonna be able to pack up the drums completely. I won't need them until probably January or February. I have no intention of letting another six years elapse between these projects again. I've felt so inspired and creative since I really buckled down on this album. It all started with the drum purchase, which was in March, I think. Since then I've (almost) recorded eight complete songs.

Although, I've also learned to not rush. As I look back at Where Have All the Heroes Gone, my last "album" from 2006, that was so rushed, and almost every song was pulled out of my ass. So much so that I can't even remember how to play most of those songs. I was truly making it up as I went, and clearly not taking very good notes. The time that I've taken, even if it was too damn long, allowed me to write what I think are 8 solid numbers. I was more prepared to record, song wise, than at any time since my first "solo" project.

So, as I'm moving into the last phase, figuring out song order, artwork, deciding how to distribute the thing, I'm really happy with how this is all turning out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In Tribute to Geezer Butler

From the Bass Player Live! 2013 event, hosted by Bass Player Magazine. This year was a tribute to Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler.

Guitar - Zakk Wylde (ex - Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society)
Bass - Jason Newstead (ex - Metallica, ex - Flotsam and Jetsam, Newstead)
Drums - Charlie Benante (Anthrax)
Vocals - Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour)

Pretty awesome cover, IMHO.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

First off, and I cannot state this any more strongly:

I will NEVER pay to see a Marvel Studios film in 3-D again.


Marvel's use of this technology has consistently been sub-par and mercenary. It's simply a gimmick to inflate the box office numbers, and I've had enough. Especially in a year with a film like Gravity showing us how this tech can be used creatively and intrinsically to immerse the audience in the world of the film, Marvel's consistently half-assed presentations simply make me angry.

However, what can I expect when I see a film like Thor: The Dark World.

Is the film bad? No, not at all. It's diverting and provides entertainment. Yet, as with Iron Man 3, I just felt like the whole escapade was simply a matter of going through the motions.

Let's start with the good. I've come to the conclusion that Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman are going to be the only couple Marvel ever gives us who actually seem to have a honest physical attraction or relationship. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts seem like a mommy and her petulant child, and, while I loved it in the context of the film, The Steve Rogers/Peggy Carter relationship was SO chaste. Portman and Hemsworth have moments of true sexual chemistry, something sorely lacking in the rest of the franchise.

The cast continues to be game and engaged with their roles. Hemsworth, however, seems a bit trapped by the limitations of the thunder god (Rush showed what he's capable of as a leading man in a way these films can't even remotely come near). Portman, as opposed to the Star Wars prequels, where she just stopped trying, is engaged. Of course, Tom Hiddleston steals the show to the delight of women everywhere who like pale, thin, non-threatening British men.

The film also looks good, with Game of Thrones vet Alan Taylor building some grunge into the Nine Realms, which, in retrospect, seemed lacking in Kenneth Branagh's original film. He coaxes some good moments out of his cast. The pacing and action are handled well. Like I said, it's not a bad movie, and the fact it's not be attributed to Taylor and his cast.

Because the script is awful, for the most part. Christopher Eccelston, a truly gifted actor, is utterly and completely wasted as Malekith, the leader of the dark elves, who are on the hunt for the Aether, which is a really, really uninspiring and ill-defined maguffin. Somehow, the Aether can return the nine realms to the time of darkness, when the dark elves ruled. It's also fluid/gaseous, and is able to worm it's way into Portman's Jane Foster. It could kill her...I guess. The whole function and nature of this stuff is frustratingly ill-defined, and Malekith's hunt for it really lacks much in the way of drive.

(Of course, it's also part of a larger crossover-universe thing, but I'll get to that.)

Which shouldn't be construed as saying nothing happens. Plenty happens, but it all seems really perfunctory. Without getting too spoilery, in the final moments of the film it becomes very, very clear that this entire move was an excuse to move a few pieces around the "Marvel Movie Universe" board, rather than a fleshed-out narrative on it's own.

Which is really frustrating, because it plays right into the biggest pitfalls of this shared narrative universe. The idea of a shared universe is exciting, but this film, much like Iron Man 2 with The Avengers, felt like it was a tossed off story simply there to set up Thor 3. Because it's REALLY obvious where the third film will head, at this point, and everything important that happened in this film probably could been part of the first act of that film.

Then there's the during/after credits, I'm sure it's no surprise, is designed to lead us to Guardians of the Galaxy, which I am excited about. However, the teaser, which Alan Taylor wants us to know he had nothing to do with, is kind of alarming. I want to believe in James Gunn, but it looks cheap. Like Sci-Fi original cheap. It also gives us the sense that the Aether is tied directly to a BIG piece of Marvel Universe Mythology.

To that I say, "fuck you Marvel." You spend a whole movie with this stuff, and make it confusing and less than inspiring. Then you try to make it important...for the next movie.

In short, this movie didn't need to exist. It's a placeholder, like The Matrix Reloaded, just there to put plotlines and elements in play for other movies. Which would be fine if it was wildly entertaining, but it isn't, it's passably diverting.

So, yeah. I didn't hate it. I didn't get up angry or feeling gypped, like with Man of Steel or Star Trek into Darkness. It happened, and I went home. Being a completist, I'll buy the Blu-Ray. Maybe I'm being too harsh, it's not offensive or insulting. It's just by-the-numbers franchise filmmaking, but after enduring the rampant ego of Iron Man 3, I really wanted this to be better.

Persistance Is Rewarded

So, here's the story -

An Italian fan was following Bruce Springsteen around Europe with a huge banner that said "NYC SERENADE." Show after show, Bruce would see this guy's banner...and then they played Rome on July 11th....

Bruce hired a string section to come up and play this one tune at this one show, and dedicated the song to this persistent fan.

Amazing song. Amazing performance. Amazing story.

New York City Serenade
By Bruce Springsteen

Billy, he's down by the railroad tracks
Sittin' low in the back seat of his Cadillac
Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
She falls so softly beneath him
Jackie's heels are stacked,

Billy's got cleats on his boots
Together they're gonna boogaloo down Broadway and come back home with the loot
It's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute
It's a mad dog's promenade
So walk tall, or baby, don't walk at all

Fish lady, fish lady, fish lady,

she baits them tenement walls
She won't take corner boys,

ain't got no money
and they're so easy
I said, "Hey baby,

won't you take my hand,
walk me down Broadway
Well mama take my arm and move with me down Broadway
I'm a young man and I talk real loud,
yeah baby, walk real proud for you
So shake it away,

so shake away your street life
shake away your city life
And hook up to the train
Hook up to the night train
Hook it up,

hook up to the, hook up to the train"
But I know that she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
She's afraid them tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns, this boy'll be gone
So long, sometimes you just gotta walk on

Hey vibes man, hey jazz man, play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the blues boy
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the darlin' yearlin' sharp boy
Straight for the church note ringin', vibes man sting a trash can
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
He's singin', singin', singin', singin'
All dressed up in satin, walkin' past the alley
Watch out for your junk man
Watch out for your junk man
Watch out for your junk man

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stuck In My Head - The Envoy

The Envoy
by Warren Zevon

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad does whatever she please

Looks like another threat
To world peace
For the envoy

Things got hot in El Salvador
CIA got caught and couldn't do no more
He's got diplomatic immunity
He's got a lethal weapon that nobody sees

Looks like another threat
To world peace
For the envoy
Send the envoy
Send the envoy

Whenever there's a crisis
The President sends his envoy in
Guns in Damascus
Oh, Jerusalem

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad do whatever she please

Looks like another threat
To world peace
For the envoy
Send the envoy
Send the envoy

Send the envoy
Send for me
Send for me
Send for me
Send for me

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I want to achieve. I want to create. I have turned my life to these ambitions.

In the back of my head, I have a neo-noir screenplay I want to put on paper. Something that's about mood and style, not big action. I want to wallow in cliche, but put my own spin on it. A down-on-his-luck, somewhat, or maybe more than somewhat, alcoholic private detective, confronted with a dangerous woman from his past, and a case that takes him too far. A man who's moral failings are only matched by this righteous anger. A man past his prime, and all too aware of it.

Like I said, wallowing in cliche, but fun.

I find myself thinking about Robert Rodriguez, and his advice about micro-budget filmmaking....what do you have?

I have Chicago.

Chicago, to me, screams detective fiction. I get inspiration just walking around downtown.

Maybe I could never actually shoot the thing....but maybe I could. All I know is that this story has been percolating for far, far too long, and I need to dig into it. Break out the laptop and the screenwriting software.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Have My Reason

"Reason" is aaaallllmost done.

I laid down some lead guitar, intro stuff, and vocals on Sunday. as I was working on the mix, I began to feel I should take another run at the main solo, and maybe re-record the vocal track. It's actually turned out even more "rock" than I ever expected.

The main riff was written with a bit of a swing groove in mind, and I think a bit of that is still there, but the arrangement has become much more aggressive. Switching back and forth from the main riff to vocals. It gives it a bit of a...I guess start-stop feel would be accurate. It's not a track you could dance to, but that's not my goal anyway.

Although, it would be cool to pull off a good dance track, just one. Ahh...on the next disk, maybe.

The opening and closing solos made me pretty happy, and I was feeling good about the main solo until I listened back to the track about 14 times, working the mix. Just seemed too much like what I always do. Which, really, is probably me just smacking hard into my own limitations. I wanna try to get more adventurous with it. I also need to just learn how to lie back and NOT play, instead of trying to fill every second with a note. Feel, man...that's the deal.

Same with the vocals. They were energetic and raw, flowing relatively well, but I felt like maybe I was playing to the top of my register too much. Sounded a bit shrill. Vocals are always difficult for me, because I tend to cringe at the sound of my singing. It's mot even a matter of singing "well," or not (because I think I've been doing relatively well on these tracks), but just that the timbre of my voice doesn't please me. Something to accept/fight/work through.

I re-strung my bass on Sunday, too (don't even ask how long it'd been). And started mucking about with a line that sounded really cool, along the lines of Jane's Addiction's "Coming Down the Mountain." Started hearing guitar stuff that could go over it. Long story "stop at eight" decision may get reversed if this can come together for me.

As it is, I just have "Getting Dollars Back" to finish for the eight. I expect that "Dollars" will take a bit of time, but who knows? I am, however, still committed to finishing by the end of the year.

Maybe even Christmas.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

I've always found it hilarious that, while I can take or leave Lou Reed (except "Walk on the Wild Side" - EVERYBODY loves that song), I believe the first album (cassette, really) I bought with my own money was his 1989 New York album.

Which, now that I type that, makes it absolutely impossible that it was the first album I bought. It was my Senior year of high school. By that point, I'd been heavily into The Beatles, and had sought out that entire catalog, at the very least. I guess I should look at it as my first "what the hell is this?" purchase. Funny how the mind makes that into a much larger deal.

Lou Reed was not mainstream, no matter how often classic rock radio plays "Walk on the Wild Side." He lived in a shadowy world that was near the mainstream, but refused to play to it's rules. Obscure and challenging seemed to be built into the man's DNA. I was always sort of flabbergasted by the mainstream critical reaction to Lulu, for example, because it really does feel part-and-parcel of the Reed catalog. It's obscure, only flirts with melody, and generally challenging to the listener. The metal community was never going to get it, that was a given, determined to judge it as a Metallica album, when it was absolutely not.

But I digress.

After hearing of Reed's passing, I flashed immediately to the point where I could honestly say I LOVED the man's music, and that was New York.

Honestly, I'm not enough of a scholar of Reed's work to really put the album into any sort of
perspective, but I can describe the experience I had with it. The memory I have is being on some sort of trip with my parents, one of those long road trips where were were going somewhere, and the destination seemed to never get any closer. It just felt like unending hours in an uncomfortable back seat of a car (I had hit 6'3" by the time), with small towns a farmland going by.

But I had my Walkman, and a few tapes. I had New York, and I found myself listening to it over and over again. I was particularly taken with track 3, "Dirty Blvd," but the whole album, with it's dour sense of America and rampant pessimism, was compelling in ways that were brand new to me. Music was about melody and catchy hooks, for me. Still is, honestly, but Reed, with his almost-monotone delivery, evoked something that other music had not. Something that felt utterly unpolished, and utterly real. He was evoking his New York, and it was pretty alien to a kid from Colorado.

Plus, he swore a lot. That was cool, and it didn't feel like shock tactic, like the rap and hair metal bands were doing. This felt like a glimpse into Reed's world, where saying, "stick a fork in their ass and turn 'em over, they're done" was just how one expressed themselves. It was poetry, and I think my immediate and unceasing love for David Mamet probably had it's seeds there, as well.

It was also probably the first overtly political album I owned. With pointed comments about "the statue of bigotry," the plight of Native Americans and the natural world. The Beatles dealt in hopes, "all you need is love," Reed talked about the way things really were, and how frightfully shitty that is.

No, I can't say that I'm a "Lou Reed fan," but I am a fan of New York, and it opened music up, for me, in a big way.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Stands to Reason

Don't let the fact I'm back in reharsal make you think the Hayoth sessions are on a back-burner, or anything.

Track number seven, "Reason," is in progress. Drum and bass parts are recorded. Really, super happy with the drum part, actually. It took some work to get a good take, but I love the way it moves and plays counterpoint to the guitar and bass parts. The bass part, as well, is sounding good, but I think it's going to change what I'm playing guitar-wise. Which is really no big deal, since I discard the scratch track at this point, anyway.

The song has evolved, as it was one of the tracks that I worked on with Paul and Morgan last year. The idea at that point was to give it some swing and a bit of funk. I don't know if we hit that, but, honestly, I'm not enough of a drummer to get EXACTLY what I was originally going for anyway with the sessions now. "Reason" has become more of a straight ahead rocker. Which is fine.

It's one of the most exciting things that's come out of doing the drumming myself, and not being slaved to the machine. I really do feel like each track has an identity at this point. They feel part-and-parcel of a whole, but also individual facets of that whole.

Obviously, "The Rain Came Down" and "Cliffs of Moher" are distinctive for being primarily acoustic. "Rain" is in the ballad realm, and "Moher," to my ears, has just the right touch of folk song to it. "Deliverance" has a bit of backwoods flavor, I think, which fits with the lyrical inspiration (the film). "Dark Water" tends toward a blues-based ballad, and "MonkeySex" straight-ahead rock. "Haunting" is a full-out 12-bar blues structure, very simple, but with a kick. They all feel part of the whole, as I said, I'm talking about stylistic shadings, rather than swinging violently around the spectrum.

It's exciting. I'm feeling very confident, and and I'm tending not to second-guess everything to death. Decisions are becoming easier. For example, I have pretty much decided that after Track number eight "Getting Dollars Back," I am done with formal recording. I have one more track floating around that's evolving, but these eight tracks represent the best of what I have right now. They're the strong material available, and anything else would involve some scrambling.

So, the project will consist of eight tracks. I always shoot for twelve, but I'd rather just have eight solid songs. I could come up with four more, but why not just make them the first four of the second disk?

"Rain" and "Moher" are DONE. I cannot imagine any amount of tinkering I could do would improve what's there. As is "MonkeySex." That track represents what I am aiming for when I begin final mixes on the rest of the "full band" tracks. The drums are there, but not overwhelming, the bass is present, but not obtrusive. The vocals have just the right amount of processing to my ears. The trick is to re-mix the other five track to find that sweet spot. Probably re-record some vocals.

Still, I should have all of December for that, and I'll make my self-imposed deadline. Then, I can go into 2014 focused on the acting job I spoke about yesterday, and write until next summer. Then I can start over again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Onward and Upward

Happenings in the theatre realm.

Last night marked the first rehearsal for Shadow Over Innsmouth, with WildClaw Theatre. I'm feeling pretty good about this project, seems like a decent group of folks. I've got a number of good character parts to chew into, in a horror story, which is always fun.

The director is Shade Murray, whom I worked with on The Petrified Forrest at Strawdog last year, and the adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novella is by Scott T. Barsotti, who wrote the lovely Your Teacher is Out Today, that I was lucky enough to be involved with during this last Summer's Leapfest X for Stage Left.

I also got word that I've been cast in a really, really exciting project for next year. I haven't got the high sign to reveal all the details, as yet, but I am beside myself with glee. When I revisited the script to prepare for the audition, it spoke to me immediately. The show, the role, I can only call a gift. A pure, true, and exciting gift. I am so looking forward to getting to work on it. I'll let you, my loyal readers, in on the details as soon as I get the go-ahead.

Honestly, I'm really thankful for these projects, because I feel like they've re-invigorated my enthusiasm for acting. Something that's been taking a beating in recent months.  This "mystery" project for next year, in, so exciting.

However, I have decided it was time to move on in certain areas. I have resigned from the ensemble of Stage Left Theatre. I still have much love for many of the fine people there, wish them well, as I hope they do for me, and will offer my support to them when they need it. That said, I felt it was time to move on, for my own good and well-being.

Time for a new chapter.

How Could I Not?

More Here

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations

So, the always-controversial process begins anew....

The nominees are:

Hall & Oates
Linda Ronstadt
Peter Gabriel
Cat Stevens
LL Cool J
The Replacements
Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Deep Purple
The Meters
Link Wray
The Zombies

So, sixteen acts that will be whittled down to...some number. The last few years have seen seven to twelve.

Nirvana is a sure bet. There's just simply no way they don't get in. It's also no surprise to me that they're virtually tied with Kiss on the Hall of Fame's fan poll. Based on that, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that Kiss gets in, too. I'll also guess that The Zombies will get the nod, as they are truly a well-respected, classic act. Same goes for Link Wray.

I think Peter Gabriel has to wait, Genesis was just inducted in 2010.

Can you believe Chic has been nominated SEVEN times, and not gotten in?

 Of course, this is going to drive another round of "what is, or isn't 'rock and roll" bitching from the unwashed masses. Chic is a disco band, for God's sake! Lina Ronstadt!?! N.W.A!?!?!

So annoying. So narrow-minded. I'll say, as I've said before, When Little Richard stared playing "Good Golly Miss Molly" the idea was to get folks to dance. "Rock and roll" evolved from that time, and splintered into different forms. If you want to eliminate "pop" music, The Beatles become questionable. If you want to cut out folk, Dylan becomes a question. In my opinion, both of those artists absolutely belong in the Hall of Fame. As do those forms, because they're all part of the tapestry that is "rock." Rock is about rhythm and rebellion, so rap and R&B fit. Elvis had strong country influences, do we ignore that because we only want loud guitars and drums?

Lots of different music "fits," in it's own way.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Haunted to Haunting

After some thought, I've revised "Haunted." I re-recorded at a faster tempo, and it all went very smoothly, I also reverted to the original title, "Haunting." It was always a short track, but now it's really short. Not even reaching 3 minutes.

I am pretty happy with it. I actually love the lyrics, some of the best I've written, I think. I may need to take another run at the vocal track, but I think that's gonna wait until right before I finish everything up. I'm feeling a sense of forward momentum now, and I don't want to lose it.

To that; "Reason" is on deck, I've been playing around with the progression and riff, worked out a bridge, and am generally ready to start working toward putting down the basic guitar track. This is usually a fair arduous process, because I don't like to piecemeal the basic track. I like the backbone guitar part to be a single flow. Now, with me, usually this track gets wiped, anyway, but jitters and starts tend to make the drum track difficult. You can make smooth, but it's also just a guide track for the drums and bass. Who wants to work that hard.

Although, I've been experimenting with building tracks out of separate recordings. "Haunting" has a drum track built out of two takes, with the bridge, key change section having a beat I was finding difficult to switch to on the fly, and it sounds good. Now, after "Reason," my plan is to move on to "Getting Dollars Back," and that basic guitar track I am anticipating to be an amalgamation of several takes. My hope is for that track to move around a bit, style-wise.

Work is progressing. I feel good about it. With Rehearsal for Shadow Over Innsmouth starting up next week, I'm hoping to at least get a good chunk of "Reason" completed this weekend.

Sometimes, You Just Need a Little Something...

To make you happy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stuck In My Head: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Possibly my favorite Metallica track.

For Whom the Bell Tolls
by Metallica

Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for the right, yes but who's to say?
For a hill men would kill why? They do not know
Stiffened wounds test their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from this pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It is the last time you will
Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they will see what will be, blinded eyes to see

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Metallica: Through the Never

I think Metallica takes WAY too much crap.

I certainly don't love everything they do, and, yes, they're thirty years, and multiple millions of dollars, from the greasy-faced kids that cranked out Kill 'Em All in 1983. You can read multiple online rants about how they've lost the "fire" that drove their early work. That's probably true, but, folks, you can't be 20 years old forever, and if you try to, you end up a giant act of fakery like David Lee Roth.

The trick is to find a new kind of fire.

They aren't those kids, nor should they be. Too many years, deaths, arguments and dollars have passed. One can mock and criticize them for standing up to illegal downloading, making a documentary about their group therapy sessions, the resulting chaotic, ugly album, or creating art-house rock with Lou Reed. To be clear, much of the criticism would have valid points, but I would also ask how many major, world-renowned music acts would do those things? Would take those risks? Very, very few, and frankly, the vehemence and unreasonable nature of the criticism the band has endured probably has more to do with fans who can't get past not being who they were in 1983, rather than a band who's run out of ideas.

I am nowhere near the rabid fan I was for many years, but I will always be interested in what Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Trujillo do. They've given me enough enjoyment, excitement, and straight-ahead anger management that I figure I owe it to them to give a fair listen to what's turning them on, rather than just demanding they hew to my vision of what "Metallica" should be.

I don't have to like everything, and I haven't, but I get it. I get the desire to create, and not be placed in a box, forbidden from exploring anything outside of a rigid fan's desire.

So, Metallica put up a bunch of their own money, and made a movie. Metallica: Through the Never. It's been playing in IMAX 3D at select locations, and will go wide tomorrow, October 4th. I managed to make it to the Navy Pier IMAX last night to check it out (frankly, I didn't know it was playing there until Monday - somebody at Navy Pier needs to get their stuff on Fandango, something).

For the most part, Through the Never is a pretty straight-ahead concert film. There is a "narrative," of sorts that plays out as the concert goes on. With Dane DeHann playing Trip, a Metallica roadie sent into a nightmare city of revolution and violence to procure, and return, a special item needed by the band. Really, this whole element of the film is complete hooey, and I mean that not as a criticism.

The band didn't want to just do a concert film, citing Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same, with it's fantasy sequences starring each member of the band. Metallica, probably wisely, based on the Zeppelin example, felt they should not be directly part of these sequences. Trip travels through a series of surreal episodes tied to each song the band plays, as well as the concert staging, giving the entire enterprise the feel of a giant music video. Sometimes this works perfectly, the sequence around Cyanide, from 2008's Death Magnetic, is legitimately creepy and disturbing, not just for the surreal landscape of hanging bodies Trip walks through, but the video imagery of people finding themselves sealed alive into coffins that surrounds the band as they play.

It's these moments when the narrative really works, even if it makes not a lick of sense. Trip's journey is illogical, with the character apparently dying at least twice during the film. However, Director Nimrod Antal effectively sets up the entire world he's operating in as wildly dreamlike and surreal, even before Trip leaves the arena. The introduction of each band member, as Trip first sees them, play as weird jokes (My favorite being Hammett conferring with a tech about a damaged guitar that is gushing blood).

So, yeah the entire narrative is silly and rife with heavy metal horror movie cliche'. Never bothered me, because the film knows what it is up to. It's more than happy to poke fun, as with the "first in, last out" screaming uber-fan who opens the film. When the film, and filmmakers know that this is all sizzle for the steak, I can roll with that.

Because the steak is so good. Antal's cameras are everywhere in the arena as the band plays. At several points you see the crews dodging flashpots, and band members, on the stage to get up close. When the advertising says that you'll best seat in the house, it's not hyperbole, the cameras are literally inches from the band members, and the audience.

It's also a really effective use of both the IMAX format, and 3D. As with most of my favorite 3D films, the effect isn't Count Floyd poking something at you moaning, "sacry, scary," but a sense of depth and actually being in the arena. Frankly having a wall of people behind the band in nearly every shot really helps. Not to mention that the IMAX format makes all those people, and the silly things people do at concerts, very, very clear.

The spectacle of the whole thing is also tied to the truly amazing stage set the band had constructed for these shows. Featuring props and gimmicks from throughout their career. It was kind of amusing to see things like "Doris" the lady justice statue from the ...And Justice For All tour constructed and destroyed just like the old days. Each new prop and bit brought back memories for me.

As pure spectacle, the film is well worth the money. If you want to hear the band sound spectacular in full surround sound, it's worth the money.

It's worth the money.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Haunted" Comes Together and Other Stuff

Hello, peeps!!

I'm back with another music project update. I managed to complete recording on "Haunted" Saturday, mixed a bit, then re-recorded the bass part (which I'd screwed up) on Sunday. I also re-did the vocal track on Sunday, and I'm pretty happy with it.

I just need to finish mixing, and master it, and track 6 will be complete. I believe I'm still on track to complete this project for the end of the year. I'm facing down the reality that I probably won't make 12 tracks, but 10 will probably be fine.

I've been listening to the completed work on a pretty regular basis, and, aside from the couple of tracks I really want to re-mix, as I've written about before, I really think, moving forward, I need to pick up the tempo. I'm realizing that the tracks I've finished are generally falling into a 95 to 105 BPM range, and, while I think they work individually, I wonder if it won't feel like a lot of sluggish tracks. I mean, one of my inspirations on this group of songs was Kyuss, and the "stoner metal" genre, but I don't want things to feel like a slog. I'm going to make a concerted effort to drop in some quicker tracks.

Still, that aside, I am feeling good about my work. I think that my drumming is...evolving, but serviceable. I actually get excited about how my next set of tracks will sound, having the benefit of a few months of just messing around with the kit, rather than trying to figure out how to solve the current problem...i.e. how to play under this riff and progression I'm working on RIGHT NOW. Although, that said...I have found that I respond well to diving into the deep end of the pool, and struggling my way out. I actually find it...well I find it deeply frustrating, at times, but then something will click, and I start to put things together. Then, damn it's rewarding.

Usually this comes at the point where I say to myself, "the simplest way to do it would be..." I stop trying to be complicated for the sake of being impressive. I just play, and maybe I can't drum as good as a real drummer, but it's me. I've been re-listening to the completed tracks, taking notes, thinking and considering what can be re-done, made better, and I can't help it. It's so cool to know that I played all of it. Everything I'm listening to is ME. Maybe it's not the greatest song in the world, the greatest singing, the greatest playing, but it's me, top to bottom.

I know how Prince must feel. Without that massive talent, and massive crazy.

In other news, saw Ron Howard's new film, Rush, last night, and really just flat-out adored it. I've always respected Howard's way of adapting his style to each project he shoots. I think it helps him get out of the way of the characters and story. That's an important point with this film.

It's being sold as a sort of adrenalin-rush racing film, and I wouldn't call it that, at all. It's a character study of two men who were locked in a Formula One racing rivalry in the mid-70's. James Hunt (Chis Hemsworth) and Nikki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl - who is, flat-out, Oscar worthy), if the film is to be believed, had a deeply intertwined and compelling relationship. Lauda served as a consultant on the film, yet he is portrayed in a fairly harsh light, so...I feel the ring of at least emotional truth here.

Rush excels showing the contrasting personalities of these two men, Lauda calculating and obsessed with planning, Hunt a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants playboy and risk-taker. Both actors just shine, Hemsworth pays off all the attention from his portrayals of "Marvel's Thor," and is effortlessly charming. He may have already been proclaimed a "movie star," but this film fully shows how big a star he could be. Bruhl, on the other side, is just awesome. Catching a character driven by precision and ego, and putting that into seemingly every choice he makes during the running time. Both are vastly entertaining, and neither is a "villain."

Much like Warrior, a mixed martial arts film I truly wish had reached a wider audience, the racing scenes are used primarily to illuminate the characters. They're exciting and powerful, with a couple of really horrifying crashes, but Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen, The Audience) continually bring the focus back to the characters. Who will win is important not because the story hinges on it, but because the characters have hinged their lives on it. It becomes apparent that, in racing each other, they're really battling with themselves.

There is a bit of a misstep in the coda, where a voice-over basically just spells out a relationship that was completely obvious from the performances and the film, itself. It's unneeded, and the information imparted about the men's later lives would be just as effective in a title card. The brief use of actual footage and pictures of the two men, the sort of thing that just made me livid in What's Love Got to Do With It?, for example, didn't really irk me here. In fact, I was sort of excited to see what Lauda actually looked like.

Bottom line, it's a terrific film that transcends being a "racing movie." I'd call it my favorite film of the year, so far, bearing in mind that Gravity comes out next week. Highly, highly recommended.

Yesterday also marked a release long hoped for by Rush (the band, I'm talking about now) fans.  A remixed/remastered version of their 2002 album, Vapor Trails, that marked the groups return after a long hiatus, due to personal tragedies for drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. The album has always been considered a victim of the "loudness war," where tracks were compressed heavily, so that the overall volume could be increased. Mainly because it allows tracks to sound louder on iPods and other portable devices. This results in distortion and lack of dynamic range.

...Another thing to lay at the feet of the "digital revolution."

Anyway, both the band, and fans, have long been critical of the original production, credited to Rush and Paul Northfeld, for the muddy quality and distortion. This has been a controversial issue for the Rush community for many years, the album is loved for being the signal that the band would not break up after Peart's difficulties, as well as being the first Rush album since 1975's Caress of Steel to not feature any keyboard or synthesizer parts. Yet also viewed as flawed because of the production.

For myself, I actually love the album as it was. I'm not militant about it, but I did. Yes, it felt muddy and raw, but the lyrical content, touching on Peart's pain as it does, did as well. It felt set apart from that rest of the catalog, and that felt right because of all that had happened. It sounded, to me, like a Rush that was healing, but still felt raw and wounded.

...and I REALLY like the songs.

I'm also very pro allowing artists to revisit their works. I support it, as long as the original is available to me, and I do still have my original Vapor Trails. This is why I don't get in a twist about the Star Wars Special Editions.

I've listened to the remix a few times. It's good. I like it. It sounds a lot more like the rest of the Rush catalog, and I admit there are sonic elements I've never heard before. In particular, a guitar solo on Ceiling Unlimited was either inaudible before, or the sonic qualities popped so much better that it felt like a new element. However, I just can't call the album a "revelation," as some have. It sounds like Vapor Trails, the songs are still great, and they're played extremely well. There's some new bells and whistles, but the heart of the thing is the same.

Which, honestly, strikes me as a good thing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Snake Plissken: The Video Game

Sweet baby Jesus...I am depressed that this never came out.

How much would I pay to play as S.D. "Snake" Plissken?

$60, easy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Retro Review: Queen + Paul Rogers: Return of the Champions

I recently found a used copy of this 2-disk set, Return of the Champions, and picked it up. I'd always wanted a copy, but even digital it was fairly pricey. For five bucks, I couldn't pass it up.

Replacing band members is this sort of weird thing. Sometimes, it heralds a change in tone and direction that reinvigorates a band (look at the 2500 versions of Deep Purple that have existed). Sometimes, nobody notices (Anthrax gets a new lead guitarist quite regularly, in the grand scheme). Then there's the times when you really can't imagine how anybody could think that a band member could ever be replaced. When their personality is so central to the chemistry of the group, you just can't see how it can go on.

Such was Freddie Mercury and Queen.

Now, what really sucks about this is, often the remaining members would like to, y'know, continue their careers, and don't want to take the Joy Division-into-New Order route of starting a new band. I get that. Brian May and Roger Taylor wrote those songs, too. They played all those shows, and the thing that was "Queen" was just as much theirs as it was Freddie's.

It's just that Freddie was such a HUGE personality.

So, when I heard they were going to go on tour with Paul Rodgers, I was a little perplexed, but then I saw a bit of genius in it. Now, look, I personally think Paul Rodgers is, give or take, the best voice in rock and roll. His voice is pretty much what I love in a frontman, a full, powerful, bluesy kind of sound. When I sing, I wish I could sound like Paul Rodgers.

But that's nothing like the soaring, cabaret vibe of Freddie Mercury. Which is honestly why I dig this album, and, to an extent, the studio disk they put out in 2008. First, they don't pretend it's "Queen," it's "Queen + Paul Rodgers," and, while of course there's a musical connection, because it's the same guitarist and drummer, they let Paul be Paul.

Which is why I can accept this pairing, and yet I feel like the shows they did with Adam Lambert were just painful, sellout moves. Why? It's clear that May and Taylor drooled over Lambert because he was a flamboyant, gay rock singer...that whole escapade REEKED of desperation and lack of imagination. A desire to simply try to re-create what they had before.

Paul Rodgers, on the other hand, was established. They were peers deciding to try to work together. It was new and different, and, to my ears, exciting. It felt like moving on, and moving forward. Did Rodgers sing The Show Must Go On like Freddie? No, he sang it like Paul Rodgers, and taken as's pretty goddamn awesome.

I an say that about a number of tracks here, Tie Your Mother Down, I Want to Break Free, Fat Bottomed Girls. Yeah, they keep Rodgers to more of the rocking end of the Queen catalog, but that makes a lot of sense. May and Taylor also take lead vocals on a number of Freddie's songs. The bottom line is that it works because Rodgers simply isn't having anything to do with A) pretending to be Freddie, or B) worrying about not being Freddie. Frankly, with his career, he has every right to that.

My only real complaint is that, of all the numbers they do from Rodger's career, they don't pull out Radioactive by The Firm, which I think May and Taylor could've KILLED on.

Freddie Mercury was the only lead singer for Queen, but Queen + Paul Rodgers was it's own animal, and it worked pretty damn well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I will still give it a few episodes before pulling the eject lever, don't get me wrong. I think it's weak sauce out of the gate, however.

My friend Linus Lee made a few comments that crystallized a lot of my feelings about what I think just doesn't work. They don't explain exactly why this special team is being created very well, or set it up very well as a "mystery," if that's the idea, in contrast to this HUGE S.H.I.E.L.D. organization we've seen an understand from the films (not to mention that that context makes the show feel REALLY rinky-dinky - which I absolutely acknowledge as unfair, TV budgets, etc, but the impression is there). The Coulson thing? They basically dropped a "Life Model Decoy" road sign right in the middle of the first act, so...I'm simply waiting for that shoe to drop.

I don't understand why this show exists, why this story needs to be told, in the context of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe." Outside of that context, on a corporate level, to exploit the brand? I get it.

"Next Wave," you say? Fine, but the context of that is horribly muddled "psudeo-Kitty Pryde" is connected to them, but not? They're trying to make superheroes? Wasn't that a subplot of about half of the movies so far? "Everybody wants a super-soldier!" Got it, check, can we move on? They're not defined, and not immediately interesting enough to pose much of a mystery aspect.

I also dislike most of the characters. Let's be honest, that's where a show like this will live or die. I find they fall into REALLY obvious "Joss Whedon" tropes, and the cast seems unable (talent regardless - they're at sea) to breathe real life into those tropes. There are exceptions, the great Clark Gregg manages to at least spit out some truly awful "jokes" (the "dark corner" gag is truly one of the most clunky things I've ever had to watch an actor struggle with, and fail). Ming Na was also great, but the character's arc was blindingly obvious and telegraphed, not to mention that what we do learn about her personality is about as generic as it comes. (I've heard her character called "bad ass" in a couple of conversations....Really? She beat up one guy. That's "bad ass" now?) The rest of the cast become pretty much forgettable, even Whedon's beloved "Kitty Pryde stand-in" character. "Agent Handsomeface" (kudos to Linus on that one) would actually be more memorable if his name was actually Handsomeface.

I honestly don't think I had very high expectations. I should point out that the only Whedon show I actually can stand to watch is Firefly (half of you have now discredited my entire opinion, fine), and that's because the cast absolutely crushes the dialogue. The AOS cast simply doesn't seem to have the facility with it. To that, I found it all pretty contrived and stilted, and groaned at pretty much every "easter egg" joke.

"Join us on our JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY." Really? GROAAAANN....

Also, Joss? What happened on the directing front? It made me INSANE that the direction was just flat as a pancake. Here's Joss, makes a couple of really well-done, exciting features, comes back to TV, and it's just muddled. Run over here, do something, talk fast, witty comment, run over there, rinse, repeat. There were no clearly defined stakes, unless you've seen Iron Man 3. I felt no narrative connective tissue, just a series of events. The social commentary was just lame. In that, I got it when I saw the guy was out of work, there was no need to spell it out, and, literally, beat somebody over the head with it.

I this even really a "Joss Whedon" show, or is it a corporate synergy move? It's certainly about as "work for hire" as the man's ever gotten. Joss is not the showrunner, or apparently even going to be very hands-on, at all (he's got Age of Ultron to make, and apparently doing script fixes on everything else Marvel does, I don't see how he can be). The show feels cobbled together out of Marvel's desire to move into TV, having Clark Gregg be available, and Joss gave them a framework for someone else to try to flesh out.

Could it get better? Of course. It's just a pilot, and all pilots are usually very different from the series proper. (Look at Encounter at Farpoint - a solid pick for the WORST Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, ever). That's why I'm sticking around for at least a few more episodes. That said, I think we, as a fanbase, have a duty to be critical and honestly say that something feels amiss (without going overboard into ultra-hateful "Prequel territory"). Hopefully the team has already figured all of this out, and is making adjustments.

The stinger for upcoming episodes didn't give me much hope, however. I quote, "you won't want to miss the end OF EVERY EPISODE!!!"

So, what? There's a big twist at the end of every episode? Major game-changers? No? (Really, how could there be?) So, you're just spouting ultra-generic marketing doublespeak, instead of selling what the show is, and why I might want to tune in.

That doesn't make me all that confident. In act, it makes me feel like somebody in a suit thinks slapping "Marvel's" on almost anything will make fanboys tune in, no matter the quality.

Sad thing is, they're probably right.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stuck In My Head: Already Dead

Already Dead
by Walking Papers

with friends like this
who needs enemies?
it just all happened
our adventures are over
tonight stars will burn out

it's too late to cooperate
i should've seen it coming
i've burned all my bridges
i'm not looking back

i'm already dead
i just don't know it
i know what i said
i swear i did't mean it
i'm a lot like you
tonight the stars will burn out

i'm a casualty
of who i used to be
i'm without direction
i can't stand my reflection
'cos i don't like what i see

i'm just like you
i'm only passing through
i'm coming and going
never quite know it
what i'm trying to prove

and i'm already dead
i just don't know it
i know what i said
i swear i did't mean it
i'm a lot like you
tonight the stars will burn out

tonight the stars will burn out!

i'm already dead
i just don't know it
i know what i said
i swear i did't mean it
i'm a lot like you
tonight the stars will burn out

Monday, September 23, 2013

Check Out This Album: Walking Papers

When I FINALLY dived into the digital music realm, I found myself discovering a lot of new stuff. I'll concede that, with physical record stores all but a thing of the past, and those that do exist not really catering to an old hessian like myself, it's nice to hear about a band like, say, Kadaver, and be able to just quickly download an album.

Of course, this damn digital "revolution," the the devaluation of music attached to it, is why there's a fraction of the record stores around from when I was a kid. That, however, is another rant.

Last week, I was surfing the web, and came across a interview with Duff McKagan, of Guns 'N Roses fame, taking about a new project called Walking Papers. A project sprung from McKagan's Seattle roots, featuring former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, Jeff Angell (guitars and vocals) and Benjamin Anderson (keys), both from The Missionary Position (a band I confess I've never heard of). Mike McCreedy from Pearl Jam also guests on a couple of tracks for lead guitar work. I was curious simply because I've been interested in McKagan, and his various projects, since reading his autobiography.

So, out of curiosity, I listened to the album a bit on Spotify Friday at work. I couldn't blast it, being in a work environment (far, far from it), but I was struck by the rhythmic choices, and the snippets of lyrics I caught. It was basically underscore to my day's activities, but I found my toe tapping quite often. So, Saturday morning I downloaded the deluxe edition of the album (with 3 live tracks), and listened to it most of the weekend. It's catchy, and rocking without being "in your face" guitars and drums. The tone shifts from a Seattle grunge feel, to a very Rolling Stones sort of vibe, to tracks I would've sworn were Tom Waits covers.

It's simply one of those records that treads a lot of ground, sonically. I get excited with almost every track. There's just a ton of balls here, and this albums has quickly risen to one of my favorites, if not THE favorite record of the year. It's not often that I think everyone should check out a band...I mean, I really love The Sword and Mastodon, but their appeal is very much in the "metal" mode. Walking Papers is definitely rock, but I think with a very wide appeal.

This is great rock and roll. Take my advice and check it out.

Favorite Tracks:

- Two Tickets and a Room *(Favorite)*
- The Whole World's Watching
- Your Secret's Safe With Me
- The Butcher
- Capital T

Happy Birthday, Boss!!

Happy Birthday to a man I consider the world's greatest living songwriter, and an personal hero.

An artist who embodies self-reliance and actualization while never forgetting our duty to our fellow man.

A man who, in the face of a tough, cynical world, writes songs and stories of transcendence and heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness, that really inspires me. Inspires me in the sense that I can rarely drum up that myself.

You show us the way, Boss. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Must See This Film

Sometimes you hear about a film that you just can't imagine actually exists. Escape From Tomorrow is such a film. A "horror" movie shot guerrilla-style inside Disneyland and Disney World. The internet has been swirling about it, and if Disney would ever let it actually be released, since it premiered at Sundance.

well, now we have a trailer. The first actual footage I've seen.

Just fascinating.

Monday, September 9, 2013

One For Krog

I can't help it, the imagery of this card, handed out at the Iron Maiden show in Kansas City, is cracking my ass up.


To be clear, the song is about a nightmare of Revelations, inspired by watching one of the Omen movies. It was written by Iron Maiden bass player Steve Harris, who explained: "Basically, this song is about a dream. It's not about devil worship."

The Number of the Beast
by Iron Maiden

"Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the
beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the
beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and
sixty six."


I left alone my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind


What did I see can I believe that what I saw
that night was real and not just fantasy


Just what I saw in my old dreams were they
reflections of my warped mind staring back at me


'Cos in my dream it's always there the evil face that twists my mind
and brings me to despair


The night was black was no use holding back
'Cos I just had to see was someone watching me 

In the mist dark figures move and twist
Was this all for real or some kind of hell
666 the number of the beast
Hell and fire was spawned to be released


Torches blazed and sacred chants were praised
As they start to cry hands held to the sky
In the night the fires burning bright
The ritual has begun Satan's work is done
666 the number of the beast
Sacrifice is going on tonight


This can't go on I must inform the law
Can this still be real or just some crazy dream
But I feel drawn towards the evil chanting hordes
They seem to mesmerise me ... can't avoid their eyes
666 the number of the beast
666 the one for you and me


I'm coming back I will return
And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn
I have the fire I have the force
I have the power to make my evil take it's course


Five Seconds of Greatness

Just take it...take it like a man!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jonah Hex - Time Traveler, Role Model

From All-Star Western #23 - Written by the great Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray - Jonah Hex has time-traveled to the present, and met a bartender named Gina:

Hex: This here country never did seem to have it's head on straight since we kicked them damn Redcoats out. If'n ya ask me we always had a funny sense of justice and equality set ta benefit one group over another.

Gina: But we've come a long way toward fixing that.

Hex: Yer tellin' me ain't nobody dyin' fer a God that promises heaven an' lets ya live through hell? Ain't nobody bein' robbed or murdered or killed fer how they look?

Gina: No. All those things still happen.

Hex: An' that's why ah say give me a strong drink, a good horse an' a willing woman. An' the rest of the world can go ta hell. Now we're gonna do it again, only this time, yer on top.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Actors Do Not Belong to You, Being the Latest "Fanboy Entitlement" Rant

Y'know, stuff like this bugs me, for many reasons.

Now, granted, this is a relatively harmless little bit of, well, fan-fiction poetry. It hurts no one, and it's all good. That said, the underlying entitlement is fairly oppressive, honestly. The inference of a continuing relationship that, simply...Does. Not. Exist.

"Don't be sad, Matthew?" He decided to leave the show, for his own reasons, and he's off to make a movie with Ryan Gosling. Why in the hell would he be sad? I'm sure he's well aware that where he is now is almost entirely because he said "yes" to Doctor Who.  If he doesn't, he's a fool. He has to know that maintaining a relationship with the fans will be useful for his future career.

And, make no mistake, that is what Matt Smith is thinking about right now. What comes next, and how to make his time in the spotlight not about the show, but about him. The way the show, itself, has changed will help him with that, but...if you think he's laying awake nights worried about how long Whovians have to wait for the next series to begin, I think you need a reality check.

"Go to them?" Really? Like he's some sort of holy man?

The 11th (12th if the John Hurt rumors are clear) Doctor is gone, or will be soon. Just like the ten actors before him. They'll move on, to whatever level of success they may be destined for, and do some interviews from time to time.

I'll tell you this, I don't get the impression that ANY of the Doctors from the newer incarnation of the show are interested in carrying on the fan service that people like Peter Davison and Colin Baker have done. You're not going to see Tennant, Smith or Eccelston as fixtures on the convention circuit (MAYBE Capaldi, but only because of his deep ties to Who fandom...he might enjoy it), because, in the way that the show has become personality-driven, these guys are now on the radar of Hollywood.

I think that every fanbase has to go though a point of realization. Where you see that while I'm sure Matt Smith does love the fans, the power, adulation, and attention they brought, he doesn't LOVE you. He's not going to jump in front of a bus for a fan, he's not going to place fans over personal relationships, and he doesn't owe you any of that.

He owes you the performances he's already given that you enjoyed. So, his part of the deal is done, baby.

He doesn't have to hold your hand through the change to a new Doctor, or assure you that it's all OK. Of course it's OK, it's Doctor Who! Regeneration is the name of the game.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Music Update: Haunting, Sammy Hagar and Rival Sons

After yesterday's micro-mini update, I thought I should expand a bit.

Deliverance is done, well, close enough. I reserve the right to go back and tweak all of this stuff for a final mix before I start running off disks. Frankly, while I'm kind of agog with how much I just like the five completed tracks, the only ones that feel "finished" are MonkeySex and The Rain Came Down. The rest sound good, but I think another pass on mixing, effects, and just a bit of re-recording can make them pop a bit more, I hope. Just trying to make something I am (surprisingly) quite happy with sound even better. However, I consider that all "final mixing," and I want to have the tracks set before we go there.

So, I've started on a new track, Haunting, which was a bit of a discovery for me. It was something I had literally forgotten about. I had done a run on it with my 8-track, just me on an acoustic, and it just popped up on my iPod one day. I really think it's some of my best lyrics, and an incredibly simple number. I think the whole acoustic version is Em, that's it, just one chord.

I want to expand that, of course. What I've worked out is kind of a pseudo-"bucket blues" thing, the melody line still works, with some added changes so it's not so, literally, one-note. There's no chorus, per-se, and I still have to work out exactly what I was doing in the bridge section. Even with that, I'm feeling energized and excited about it. The riff is simple but sounds perfect, and , like I said, I think it's some of my best lyrics.

After that, I have 2 more numbers that are "done," in that I know exactly how they work, musically. I need to tweak and edit the lyrics, but they're in good shape. That'll bring me to 8 tracks, and my goal is 10-12. I have some riffs and stuff that I'll start mining at that point. After this stuff that's "set," my plan is to stop worrying about complexity, or if something is "too simple." I'll play, and let it be what it is. Clearly, the amount of time I've spent on this set is way too long, and it's allowed me to over-think everything, over and over again. That needs to stop. Time to go with the gut. Especially since I'm aiming for rockers to finish out the set.

Haunting has helped me see how effective that can be. The recording I found is just me pounding on the guitar and growling, essentially, and it might be the most exciting thing I have on tap.

In other musical thoughts, went with CByrd, Sean H and Kim L to see Sammy Hagar for my birthday on Friday the 23rd. The tour is in celebration of his 40 years in the music biz.

Great show. Starting off with a selection of Montrose numbers, then into solo hits, and Van Halen tracks. I was a little disappointed there was no Chickenfoot represented, despite Michael Anthony being on hand (I mean Sammy and Mike represent half of that era Van Halen AND Chickenfoot). Oh well, guess I have to hope for another 'Foot tour (I skipped the last, just because Kenny Aronoff, who is still a MONSTER drummer, is no Chad Smith, who was the highlight of the Chickenfoot show I saw a few years ago).

What's obvious is that Sammy has a good time, and it's infectious. I really try to stay out of the whole Dave/Sammy Van Halen thing. I love all eras of that band, but the fact of the matter is that Sammy, as a vocalist, is miles beyond Roth (as a frontman, you can debate), and Sammy has managed to keep his voice in tremendous shape. I was blown away by his energy and the sheer power of what his voice can do. Yeah, a huge chunk of his stage antics are fairly rote stuff, but, like I said, Sammy is obviously having a good time, and it's shared with the crowd. That, the undeniable talent on display, and a really strong catalog of material trump just about anything.

I had a blast, and screamed my ass off.

- Space Station #5 (Montrose)
- Rock Candy (Montrose)
- Bad Motor Scooter (Montrose)
- Red
- I Can't Drive 55
- There's Only One Way to Rock
- I'll Fall in Love Again
- Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy
- Three Lock Box
- Right Now (Van Halen)
- Why Can't This Be Love (Van Halen)
-  Best of Both Worlds (Van Halen)
-  Top of the World (Van Halen)
- When It's Love (Van Halen)
- Finish What Ya Started (Van Halen)
- Heavy Metal
- Mas Tequilla
- Knockdown Dragout

- Winding Down
- Eagles Fly

The other story about that evening was the opening act Rival Sons. The mix wasn't the greatest for them, but I was liking enough of the show to check out their latest, Head Down.

All I can say is, wow.

Great band, I'm enjoying the hell out of them on Spotify even as I type this. They have a solid blues-based sound, in many ways what I'd like Hayoth to sound like, ultimately. There's a ton of Zeppelin influence visible in their live show, but they don't sound like a copy. Sean hit the nail on the head when he said they sound influenced by a lot of things, but unique. I'm looking forward to digging into more of their back catalog.