If you have a stupid question you would like Leper Pop to answer, please send that question to firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Amanda Hugginkiss. Who knows, maybe it will become a recurring bit.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
If you have a stupid question you would like Leper Pop to answer, please send that question to email@example.com, attention Amanda Hugginkiss. Who knows, maybe it will become a recurring bit.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sid: I bet we could find some cheap tickets to the Bears game today.
Mrs. F’er: The wind chill is 12 below zero.
Sid: So you wear your windbreaker – you’ll be fine.
Mrs. F’er: I have a windbreaker – it’s called my apartment.
Needless to say, I’m watching the game from her windbreaker.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Live music is better. You might need a cup of coffee the next morning. It might even ruin television for you. But trust me - that's not a bad thing. I've never regretted missing a night of television. I have regretted missing too many concerts.
Thank you to Juliette and the Licks, Suffrajett, Broad Tosser, and The Von Ehrics for reminding me of this.
Oh, and Simon Fuller and Mark Burnett - fucking bite me.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Now that I’ve explained my inpromptitude for this blog posting, we can move on. Note to self, write a book consisting of lame excuses. Note to self, don’t steal Norm McDonald’s “note to self” bit.
This week, the potential great next bands decided, with the encouragement of the producers, to perform Queen songs. I reined in my potential agogness knowing the bands would not choose any of my favorite Queen songs, like Tie Your Mother Down, Liar, Sweet Lady and, let me not forget, Radio Ga Ga (How the hell did Queen degrade from Tie Your Mother Down to Radio Ga Ga? The damn 80’s ruined everything.). I was not disappointed, because, of course, I had already reined in my agogness. Let that be a lesson to you folks out there. The secret to happiness is a function of your agogness reining ability. Do not ever get too excited about the unknown. Fear the unknown and hide under the bed. God didn’t put you on this one and only planet that everything else revolves around to get noticed.
Speaking of not getting noticed, let’s get back to the show. The bands who made it out of the green room also played an original song. We’ve been given a wonderful gift. In ninety years, we’ll all be able to sit on the back porch with our grand children and tell them the story of the first time we ever heard the timeless mega-hits, A Matter of Time and Go On.
Dominic Bowden, manus extraordinaire, first set free The Clahk Brothers, who come from the land of trucks and dogs. Being in fast paced Los Angeles for so long, they’ve been feeling like a pickle in a fence post wrangling contest, according to their video expose’ snippet. Lucky for them, hardly any of the music business happens in LA, so once they win the show, they can get back to their sedentary lifestyle.
The Clahk Brothers took Dicko’s advice and hired a rhythm section. I cry foul. Or maybe fowl. Quack! It’s no fair bringing in other band members at this late stage. It changes the whole dynamic of who the band is. “Yeah, Dicko, we did what you said and brought in some extra help. I’d like to introduce to you Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Oh, my throat is a little sore, so I’ll just be lip syncing to Freddie Mercury vocals, if you don’t mind. The rest of the guys will just sit on the side of the stage and pray.” In my book, The Clahk Brothers are disqualified, especially since the two new guys aren’t even their brothers. But, Moist, what about the Doobie Brothers, they weren’t brothers either? Good point, I stand corrected.
They covered Queen’s These Are The Days Of Our Lives. What ever happened to Patch? I don’t like this song. It reminds me of the dying days of the AIDS ridden, skull headed Freddy Mercury. Now I’m sad. I didn’t choose to watch this show in order to be cast down to the sewers of depression. I go to work all week for that. I have no idea how well they performed the song because I couldn’t hear it over the sounds of my wailing. Goo thought they were amazing and liked the band member additions. E. said they were fantastic, and Dicko christened Ashley the Reluctant Rock Star. I thought David Lee Roth already earned that title.
The Clahk Brothers’ original was called Homestead. The beginning of the song reminded me of Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive, which is neither good nor bad, it just is. One of the lyrics derailed me, causing me to not be able to pay attention to the rest of the song. “Eating fried chicken with the girls in the yard.” Why don’t you invite the girls to come in and eat fried chicken with you? Why did you leave them in the yard? You are not the polite boys we thought you were.
They officially declared tonight that they did not want to win the competition. They can’t handle LA. They had to bring in extra help (which should have included a guy on the washboard and another one on the wash tub bass). And their original song laments missing the country life. All signs point to go back home. Goo thought they were great. E. loved the passion and conviction. Dicko took a crap rain on their parade.
Next, Dominic released the Light of Doom hoons just in the nick of time before Adam from Dot Dot Dot shared with them what happened to him when HE reached puberty. We learned from their video piece that Dillon’s mom looks like she’s lived some of her own hard driving rock and roll years. Way to pay it forward Mrs. Dillon’s mom. The walloping whippersnappers chose to perform We Will Rock You. This was a strategic career move so when they get eliminated from this show, they will have a demo tape to submit with their high school pep band application. They began the song, typically, with tribal drums, emulating the Bantu tribes of west Cameroon who perform this song while waiting in line for a bag of rice meal at the Peace Corps aid station. Soon they seamlessly (if you consider tripping over guitar cords, banging into the drum set and bonking their heads on microphones “seamless”) transitioned to an amped-up, generic version of the song, where the vocals tasted like rice meal and the guitar solo wreaked of rice meal powder with lumps in it. But, they are only thirteen and are better than most of the rest of us, so what can I say? I’ll tell you what I can do – not buy their album, that’s what. Now I sound like a beleaguered old man whose own rock and roll dreams were never realized. Well, I’m not. They WERE realized, only not by me. FERGIE IS LIVING MY ROCK AND ROLL DREAM AND I CAN’T BEAR IT!!!!!! Whew! That felt good. What a relief. Goo, E. and Dicko spanked Light of Doom for being uninspired, dumb and uncool. Light of Doom was ok with that as long as there were still juice boxes and cookies back stage. Goo agreed and told them to save some for him.
Light of Doom then played their original, A Matter of Time. It sounded like a YouTube cover of Iron Maiden’s Two Minutes to Midnight where the lyrics were “It’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, Don’t you know it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of time, etc.” (note: the "etc." is actually one of the lyrics) Goo spanked them again because the song had no hook (reiteration is not a hook) and told them to go to their room and think about not being their influences. E. told them that Bon Scot said it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. Dicko had reined in his agogness before they played so he would not be disappointed, and thusly was not.
Sixwire, like The Clahk Brothers, does not want to win this competition, either. Their behind the band video told us they miss their kids, they have families and mortgages and are ready to go home. We can all sympathize with them because most of us are in a similar situation. Coincidentally, most of us aren’t on the road in a band. That comparison is as parallel as the six wires on a guitar, if you ask me.
Queen songs pose many challenges for other bands to cover, mostly because of Freddy Mercury’s vocal landscape. I don’t know what a vocal landscape is, but I’m sure Freddy’s is a difficult one to mow. In the face of such a formidable undertaking, Sixwire rolled up their sleeves, tucked in their boots, set a fresh chaw in their mouth, loaded their shotguns and cowered by choosing Queen’s most renowned country song – Fat Bottomed Girls. Way to test your limits S'wire. The only thing I discovered from their version of this song is that their lead singer should grow the Chester Arthur mutton chop, mustache combo on his face. That’s the kind of hook Goo would like to see. The judges loved them, even without the Chester Arthur influence.
Their original song was named Go On. If you like insipid televangical hopeful songs of gloriousness, this is the song for you. I expected to see Tammy Faye Bakker crying on a couch behind the fiddle player during the song. Since she has found her salvation, and is no longer with us, they had to settle for Kirk Cameron. I wanted the song to go on. Go on and never come back! HA! Good one, Moist. Goo thought the song was a hit, as good as anything he listens to on the radio, which is why I never drive anywhere with him. E. and Dicko both liked the song. I’m not going to drive anywhere with them either.
Which of the remaining two bands would live to “rock?” another day – Denver and the High Orchestra or Dot Dot Dot? We were all hoping Dominic had locked the green room door so neither band could escape. This show is all about disappointment. Denver and his mates snuck out through the ceiling tiles. Dot Dot Dot was no more.
Before I move on to Denver and the Omelettes, I’d like to say one positive thing about Dot Dot Dot. Hooray, now Catfight can re-band! But they probably won't.
Like the other bands, besides Light of Doom, who don’t know any better, Denver and the High Orchestra do not feel they fit in well in LA. They miss back home, it’s been heartbreaking and then they said something about church, so I turned the channel to TBN to see if Kirk Cameron was having a cage match with satan. He wasn’t, so I switched back to hear Denver announce themselves as DMHO. Ninety-third rule of rock and roll, if you are going to refer to your band as an acronym, then name your band the acronym and forget about the long version of the name. Isn’t that right, Alternating Current/Direct Current? DMHO sounds just as dorky as Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. Besides, you left out the “a” and the “t” for “and” and “the”. It should have been DATMHO. Datmho actually sounds pretty cool for a band name. Stick with that.
They Queened us with Sleeping On The Sidewalk. I’ve never heard this song before. They chose it to fool the listeners into thinking they had successfully Datmhoed the song into their own style without offending the original. Well, it worked, because nobody else knows how the song should sound, either. Goo offered some forgetful comments to them. E. suggested Denver take ball room dancing lessons with his trumpet. Dicko liked the song choice but told Denver to hook up with Carrot Top for some fashion advice.
Finally, Datmho finished us off with Big White House, another song I’ve never heard before. They enhanced the song by choreographing the horn section into a circle jerk on stage. The saxophone solo sounded like a goose with a tracheotomy performed with a pen by a construction worker in the street. Otherwise, the song wasn’t bad. Goo wanted to put grease on their song and pretend it was his bass player Robby Takac. E. thought it was powerful and energetic with no hook, kind of like the large pointy metal rod attached to a car battery she used to use to keep Joe Piscopo away from her drums back in the eighties (a decade that ruined everything, by the way). Dicko believed the song would make a good album track, but not a hit. Good point, toots.
The truth is I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys in a club one night, in the background while I’m waiting for hot chicks to hit on me. The ladies love when I tap my foot almost in time with the beat. But, Brian Setzer is currently holding the one musical position reserved for big band music in the pop world. Unless he switches genres to Hungarian Folk Death Samba, there is just no room for Datmho, which pretty much prevents them from becoming a Great American Next Band.
That and the fact that they are not a great American band, like the rest of the bands on the show.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
But since I started this show, let’s keep going. Winners never quit and quitters don’t get stuck watching crap television. We’re down to like, what, five bands and they’re still dragging this out to an hour? I hope they do it by adding commercials since I watch this on DVR. Now I find out it’s Queen week. I like Queen, which means this is going to piss me off. I like a nice steak, but I know better than to order one at Denny’s. Hmmm… I made a steak reference in an earlier post this week – maybe I need a good filet.
The Clark Brothers took on two new band members so they were called in from the green room to take on Those Were The Days Of Our Lives, Queen’s tribute to daytime television. I still like these guys and I can see that they reluctantly added the new members to appease the judges and stay on the show, but for me it took away some of what made them unique. I wanted to say it just made them a less cheesy version of Six Wire, but I didn’t want to insult the Clark Brothers like that. Let’s just say it was like asking for A1 at a nice steakhouse. Wow, another steak reference. Somebody get me a cow, stat.
America kicked me square in the nuts again and voted Light of Doom back to the stage to perform We Will Rock You. Our miniature wannabe rock lords this week started their song demonstrating their Japanese taiko drumming skills, so that in case the whole metal thing doesn’t work out they can don some hachimaki and apply as entertainment at their local hibachi restaurant. Crap, another steakhouse reference. But I digress. The song lent itself to some good guitar riffs, but the singer took all emotion and melody out of the vocals and the lead guitarist substituted a generic metal solo in place of anything even close to the original, classic guitar solo. Fortunately, all three judges placed an ice pack on my sore nether region by agreeing with me this week and almost making the boys and their fans cry.
Six Wire re-elevated my pain when they were called out to perform Fat-Bottomed Girls. Even though I don’t care for these guys, I usually give them their props as talented musicians, but this just sounded flatter than the earth before 1492. Maybe it just points out how great a group Queen was. I distracted myself from their music by trying not to believe that the Burden Brothers broke up because that was really Vaden Todd Lewis on guitar duty for Six Wire. That would make them even more despised. At least they didn’t inspire any steak references.
Two bands left in the green room, one band leaves. I’d rather have Denver and the Invesco Field Orchestra and Dot Dot Dot fight it out with chain saws, but the producers went with the standard, but boring, let America vote option. I’ll give Dot Dot Dot credit for making it to the top five, but there’s just something a little bit more humiliating by having to to go home after losing a head to head faceoff against a swing band. And America gave us Denver and Company to perform Sleeping On The Sidewalk. Way to go, Denver, you get a catalog like Queen’s to choose from and a band big enough to do any of it and you pick an obscure deep side-two cut that very few people know. Surprisingly, it sounded like a Denver and the Ivesco Field Orchestra song. Pretty good but not exactly groundbreaking stuff here.
Okay that moved fairly quickly…oh, wait, my DVR shows we have 26 minutes left. I’m hoping for a 26 minute infomercial for the ab-rocker, but I don’t think I’ll be so lucky. Ah, the remaining bands get to do an original, too.
Clark Brothers – Homestead
Cool tune even though the lyrics were a little Six Wire-ish (that’s not a compliment), but I’d rather see them back as a threesome. Even Charlie didn’t add any Angels when he made the transition from television to the big screen. Nope, Charlie had conviction. With the drums and bass, it seems like they’re destined to be a more interesting opener for a cheesy hit making band like Six Wire.
Light of Doom – A Matter Of Time
The band actually sounded decent here even though the song was as distinctive as a bowl of mashed potatoes. And by band, I mean the music, as any song sung by anyone under the age of 17 sounds like it belongs in a school pageant instead of on the radio or my iPod.
Six Wire – Go On
It’s too bad they made the decision to sell their souls to Simon Fuller and the American Idol franchise – with a little more patience they probably could have gotten a record deal since breaking into the safety deposit box that holds the secret formula to cheesy Nashville success.
Denver & IFO – Big White House
The actual song was pretty good, but not as performed by them. I might have voted for them had they dropped Denver and hired a woman with some soul to bring it on home. Like Eleanor Roosevelt.
And like Eleanor Roosevelt used to do on those long cold nights in the big White House, I’m calling it a night and curling up with a bottle of cheap scotch and a dog-eared copy of the Kama Sutra.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Crystal Bernard? Serious? Of course she was irresistible on Happy Days. But I stuck with her in the 80’s during her Love Boat days until she served up the cuteness on It’s A Living. I watched her work the lunch counter at the Nantucket Airport on Wings. I listened to her music and pretended there was nothing wrong with pairing up with Peter Cetera. That should have been the first warning sign. I even downloaded one of her tunes just because I saw her singing it on a Stairmaster during a commercial for a now defunct health club. I suppose my crush should also have been defunct by then, but she had grown as comfortable as an old sweater that’s no longer in style. But I wore that sweater out in public – carrying her music on my iPod, sleeping on my Crystal pillowcase and even using valuable blog space promoting her movies sight unseen. Where was the intervention from my so-called friends? Huh? I’m talking to you guys.
But on October 14, 2006 there appeared the first sign of weakness in the Bernard levee.
Every couple years I find a new artist that knocks the boxers right off my ass. The kind that makes you stop what you’re doing the first time you hear them and immediately put clothes on and go buy their entire back catalogue so you can catch up on everything they’ve done. It was that date I first discovered and listened to a new record called Four on the Floor. It was raw but tight, high energy and hook-laden, and rocked from start to finish under the guidance of the imperfect yet befitting female vocals. Unfortunately, some personal issues took precedence over iTunes about the same time and I didn’t get to rock out as much as I would have liked, so Juliette and the Licks lamentingly gathered a little dust in the mp3 bin of my hard drive for a few months.
Fast forward a year and I’ve returned to my regularly scheduled life, which includes perusing the weekly
I spent most of the week leading up to the show reacquainting myself with the Licks’ two records nearly non-stop. The energy spewing forth from the speakers even allowed me to give up my meth habit, and I can once again use my bathtub for its rightful purpose – making homemade wine coolers. Again, I digress.
On the night of the show, we were all to meet up early at Reggie’s since they have a bar and grill right next to the venue and I can only get people to go out with me if I promise to buy them beers and stuffed jalapenos. I also noted there was a signing at the record store upstairs before the show, but I wasn’t planning on going since I always feel like a dork when I meet somebody famous. I mean, I always feel like a dork, but even more so around people that rock the Richter scale of cool. Juliette fits that bill for me. In case you don’t know or haven’t figured it out by now, the Juliette of whom I speak is also the Oscar nominated actress Juliette Lewis.
I always liked the quirky or twisted roles and movies she chose as an actress – Cape Fear, Kalifornia, Natural Born Killers, Titanic, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Old School – but I was too busy with that other woman Crystal to pursue any further stalking activities. However, as Juliette hit the circuit to promote the latest record I noticed she was way cooler than Crystal Bernard and Peter Cetera put together. Can you believe it? So when Moist Rub said he might go to the signing, I didn’t hesitate to jump on the bandwagon. After all, how often do you get to meet a bitchin’ Oscar nominee rock star without having to pretend to be a lost home healthcare worker and accidentally showing up at their door? Oh, and I was joking about Titanic - just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
Me and the Mrs. got to Reggie’s right on time and checked out the store – that alone was worth the visit. The Licks weren’t there yet – fashionably late, of course – but it gave us the opportunity to frolic amongst the homemade bins of CD’s and LP’s from every genre. It brought back memories of skipping class with Moist Rub to go to Record Swap to pick up vinyl gems like Lydia Lunch’s The Agony is the Ecstasy and the self-titled debut from German metal masters Underdog (Shut Up You Dudes). But I digress. There were about 20 people in line for the signing when the light through yonder window broke and the band showed up. I didn’t have anything for them to sign except for my bony ass so I continued to peruse the store’s offerings while watching the band through a hole I cut in a newspaper to remain inconspicuous. Some observations from my Nancy Drew notebook:
You could have substituted random Republican presidential candidates for the Licks and not many people would have noticed. Most were there to see Juliette and ignored the other Licks like chicken breasts in a steakhouse. I kind of felt bad for them until I realized that they don’t have to wake up every morning at 6 a.m. to work on spreadsheets all day.
The douchebag memorabilia dealers who lined up with their binders of photos for her to sign seemed just one step above paparazzi. You know how when you buy a new car and you finally negotiate your deal with the sales guy and you think you’re done and then they sic the finance guy on you? So after the paparazzi get their pictures, then the memorabilia jags sic themselves on celebs during appearances and try to ruin it for everyone else. However, she appeared accommodating without showing too many obvious signs of displeasure. Just like most of my ex-girlfriends.
“This is so old… why do you even have this?” (I’ve heard that before…)
She was super cool to the real fans there to meet her and took the time to talk, pose for pictures, and personalize the signings.
JL (to a fan presenting a CD insert): Do you want me to personalize it?
Nervous Fan: Yes.
longer than expected pause…
JL (very politely): Okay, can you tell me who you want it made out to?
The line was dwindling down and Moist Rub wasn’t around so I decided to jump in to get a picture. The chick in front of me had something signed then handed me her camera to take a picture of her and Juliette. I, of course, like most people in that situation, turned into a blithering idiot caveman that had never seen a camera before.
“Ack! What is this strange device?? How do I work it?”
“You press the button the top right just like every other camera that’s been manufactured since the invention of photography by George Eastman in 1888, dumbass.”
“But of course! Smile and say ‘Bite me!’”
Finally it was my turn and I froze like Cindy Brady on Quiz the Kids. Not really. I told her I didn’t have anything to sign (I decided to keep my bony ass rightfully in my Wranglers) but asked if I could just get a picture. She turned and got right in my face, stared directly in my eyes and said, “You look really familiar…” I told her that she looked familiar, too, but she ignored my witty reply and kept staring. It felt like 10 minutes, but it was probably just a few seconds. After she convinced herself that I didn’t look familiar in a bad way, like an ex-boyfriend or a stalker or a multi-level marketer, she obviously became quite smitten with me. [“True, I talk of dream/Which are the children of an idle brain/Begot of nothing but vain fantasy.”] The Mrs. had coincidentally heard her do a radio interview earlier that day and fed me some good information, including a couple of her favorite words of the moment. I had her at “wild antics”. Before I knew it, she was posing for the picture with her arm around me and suddenly I was no longer lame. The Crystal curse was lifted and I was filled with Lick love and enlightenment. I thanked her and told the band I was looking forward to a muscular show, another adjective she had touted on the radio earlier that day.
As we walked off and looked at the picture, it was awesome – she totally rocked it, Elmer Fudd hat and all. However, I had decided to close my eyes when the shutter snapped. Son of a bitch. Fortunately there were only a couple people in line behind us so I hopped back in the queue and was up again a few minutes later to resolve our first star-crossed meeting.
“If I look familiar this time it’s because I just got a picture a few minutes ago but I had my eyes closed so do you mind doing it again?”
Without hesitation she again popped up next to me, struck another totally different but rockin’ pose and we nailed it. We would become American Gothic for the next generation. I thanked her again, told the band that the new record totally rocks (although one of them looked suspiciously like Mitt Romney), and then I made a hasty retreat before she had the opportunity to ask me back to the bus for tea. My wife had been accommodating, even encouraging, up to this point so I didn’t want to push my luck.
After dinner back at the bar and grill with Moist Rub and Stiv, which was probably just as good as tea with Juliette, we made our way to the music club. We missed Scissors For Lefty, but I found their name annoying so didn’t feel too bad about missing them. Suffrajett was just getting ready to start – the sound was reminiscent of the dirty, fuzzy germ-ridden teddy bear that your kid just won’t let go of. I loved the show, but it didn’t leave me with a burning desire to weigh down my iPod with any of their tunes. But I’d see them live again and a couple tunes I’ve been listening to online are starting to grow on me. A lot.
Mrs. F’er (to Suffrajett’s singer at the merch booth): You rock, man!
Simi from Suffrajett: No, you rock!
The Licks finally came out and delivered, but you can’t get the sound from a story in a magazine or a blog post. But I’ll try. Take some riffs from KISS in the 70’s and throw in some female vocals and energy from The Gits in the early 90’s, and then add a costume or two from Zayra Alvarez and you’d be pretty close. The live show is muscular, just as she promises, and the band is solid all around.
Just like basketball players want to be rappers, and rappers want to be basketball players, it seems that actors want to be rock stars. In most cases, it results in tragedies like Mandy Moore, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, Eddie Murphy, Keanu Reeves and Russell Crowe. But don’t discount Juliette – just consider her a rock star that did some acting to cover the bills before hitting the road. It paid better than waiting tables so don’t hold it against her. Instead, go buy a CD. Check out a show. You’ll be way cooler for doing so.
How fares my Juliette? That I ask again;
For nothing can be ill, if she be well.
Sorry, Crystal, there’s a new Indian Princess in town.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The last album I got ga-ga over was probably Green Day’s American Idiot. Of course, like the repressed teenager that I am, I played it over and over and over until the very mention of St. Jimmy caused me to become violently ill. Maybe I shouldn’t have been listening to it during those Clockwork Orange procedures my family interventioned me with. Although, when I was finally good and broken down, we all had a good cry together, which was comforting.
I can’t remember the last time a band threw me into a fanatic tail spin. Maybe The Pixies. Or the Lovehammers. Possibly Light of Doom. I don’t know. I remember the feeling, but never the memory (note, if you are writing a song, please feel free to use that as a lyric). Recently, however, a band came my way that almost shifted my revvers into gung-ho spastic flamboyance.
Sid F’er had sent me some CD’s he may or may not have copied illegally. I’m kidding. They were all store bought from Target. Sid loves shopping at Target. The only thing he loves more than shopping at Target is buying CD’s for me at Target, so leave him alone, coppers. One of those CD’s was Juliette and the Licks’ Four on the Floor. When I received the shipment, I did not notice the Licks CD because I was so excited about the other ones, especially the Guy and Ralna compilation from the Lawrence Welk years (don’t bother getting any of their recordings after 1982 – it’s a clump of heroin laced caterwauling). A few weeks later, after I sated my Guy and Ralna jones and listened to the other CD’s, I found the Juliette and the Licks CD peddling around in my underwear drawer. Just like I do to my dogs as punishment for peddling around in my underwear drawer, I jammed the CD into my CD player to give it a few spins. Instead of hearing irritated yelps and seeing looks of confusion on dog faces, as is the experience with my dogs and the CD player, the Licks CD produced glorious sounds of punk based rock and roll. I was enticed.
Juliette, of course, is Juliette Lewis, quirky movie star extraordinaire. Movie star. What a silly term. Anyway, I was surprised to hear such unabashed fury coming from the voice of this actress who I thought was retarded. The only movie I had ever seen her in (that I remembered) was The Other Sister, where she played a mentally challenged young woman who single handedly overthrows China’s communist regime. From that performance, I thought she was really mentally challenged, like Chris Burke who has Down Syndrome and played Corky on the TV show, Life Goes On (ABC 1989 – 1993) or that DiCaprio kid who played the retard in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. There was also a very talented actress in that movie who played Johnny Depp’s love interest, but I forgot her name. Darlene Cates, maybe? Nevermind. As it turns out, Ms. Lewis is a very fine actor.
OK, I’ll fess up. I knew Juliette Lewis wasn’t retarded. I merely concocted that entire paragraph so I could call Leonardo DiCaprio a retard just because his life is so much better than mine. I never said I wasn’t a shallow, vitriolic cur. Nonetheless, Juliette sings with lovely unabashed fury. I didn’t make that up, and I even threw in the “lovely” just so you know how serious I am about it, but she does sing lovelyingly.
The Licks enfronted by Juliette began to grow on me the more I listened, almost to the point of ga-ga, but not quite. I’m so mature now. Or do you say dilapidated? When Sid told me about their show in Chicago, I just about hit the roof (I had been cleaning my chimney when he called - luckily, I missed the roof and hit the patio). By this time, I had grown quite sweet on Ms. Lewis’s ability to rock out (this is even before I discovered her ass dimples – more on that later). The show was scheduled for the day before my birthday. I thought for sure, at midnight, she would call me on stage and give me a rock and roll birthday kiss full on the lips. I told Sid I was in.
Between then and the concert, I continued to listen to their CD, or as I refer to it, studying for the show. I also viewed some of their videos on the Internet. From what I saw, Juliette seemed like a bonafide rocker. This surprised me, because, with the exception of Ed Asner, no other acclaimed actor that I know of has ever transformed xeself into an authentic rock and roller. I grew suspicious. After studying the antics of the actor, Juliette Lewis, by renting all of her movies and watching them over and over and over and over, looking for clues, I determined that the dude is only ACTING like a rocker. I’m speaking of the Licks’ bass player. But if he’s acting, what’s to say that Juliette isn’t acting as well? We all know what a great actress she is. How do I know she isn’t just playing another role? She made me believe she was retarded. She made me believe she was a cold blooded murderer. Good gilbert grape nuts, she even made me believe she was the daughter of Chevy Chase. Even Meryl Streep couldn’t do that!
Luckily for my investigation, Juliette and the Licks had scheduled a record signing before the show. I planned to get there early, cut in line, confront this hoity-toity Hollywoodlander and pelt her with some very rude accusations of disgracing that which I love about the soul of rock and roll – guitar solos. And, the other thing about playing a rocker role.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a parking spot. By the time I got to the record store, the Licks were packing up and leaving. But, as I circled the building eighty-seven times searching for a parking spot, I shook my fist with disdain out the window at the record store. Surely, like the Princess and the Pea, she felt the lump made by my fist in the pile of mattresses that is our atmosphere.
I met Sid and Ms. F’er and StivOO in the bar and grill section of the Reggie’s rock experience facility (which also included the record store and the rock club where the band was to perform). We ordered some libations and some food. Ms. F’er had a mushroom on a bun, Sid opted for the chicken quesadilla, StivOO, who was late getting there because he was eating stuffed pizza with his family, took it easy and went with the half pound cheeseburger (which he finished and then ate most of my hot wings – the man is a pig) and I ordered the Reggie’s sampler platter, which included hot wings, onion rings, cheese sticks and a gallon of Rhine wine. Ms. F’er ate most of my onion rings and made me order some more for her. My rage for Juliette cooled off after a few beers. I was ready to give Ms. Lewis a chance to prove me wrong.
And prove me wrong she did (for those who don’t know me, it’s no grand feat to do that, just ask people who do know me). But before I get to that, I’d like to say a few words about the opening band, Sufrajett. Electric violin and lead singer’s voice and hair – good. Bulging leotards on lead singer, not so good – made me think I was watching a Richard Simmon’s workout video.
Juliette and her Licks took the stage. We waited around for about fifteen minutes when they finally brought it back and began their show. They had had it waxed. I watched with jaundiced eye, probably from too many beers at dinner. She sounded and acted authentic, but I wasn’t buying it. She was the master thespian and was merely acting. Although, her voice did sound very good and the band was rockin’ like an unstapled pig on a rodeo clown. Eventually, my foot started tapping. Then my head started bouncing with the beat. Finally, my right hand started doin’ a little air strummin’. This is full rock out mode for me, in case you didn’t know. I tend to rock out on the inside, where it hurts. She was winning me over. But I wasn’t sold yet. I felt the crowd quaking around me. She had riled them up, too. She couldn’t be that good of an actor, could she? She couldn’t fool that many people (around three hundred or so, I would say.) Remember when Foghat was at the peak of their popularity and the sold out stadiums (stadia) to which they would perform? That many people couldn’t be wrong.
Or, maybe that many people could be wrong.
Juliette began the show wearing a red leather jacket that she soon stripped off. Since she was in Chicago, she made sure to wear layers, because a cold snap could hit at any time. As she heated up during the show, she removed more and more clothing. Eventually, her most beloved asset was revealed – darling little ass dimples right above her butt cheeks. She had me and there was no turning back. I loaded up the Chapstick and took a Bianca blast mouth bath.
Then I noticed she was hanging on the rhythm guitar player much more than she was interacting with the rest of the band. “What’s going on here?” I asked. The woman standing next to me said, “What?” The music was very loud so she couldn’t understand what I said. So I repeated it louder, “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” She replied, “Your breath smells lovely.”
Look, don’t go authentically rocking out, showing your adorable ass dimples, making all the fellas swoon over you and then start playing body footsie on stage with the rhythm guitar player. First of all, he’s the RHYTHM guitar player. Don’t waste your time with him. He gets the roadies' leftovers. Second, even if there is some hanky panky going on between them, save it for the dressing room. We in the audience with rock and roll boners don’t need to see that, and it certainly isn’t going to help any repeat sales of concert tickets. Third, now, when I go on stage to get my birthday kiss, I’m gonna hafta kick that dude’s ass, and he looks like he works out more than I do (so does Homer Simpson, for that matter). And finally, I want those ass dimples all to myself.
Being the professional that Juliette Lewis is, she sensed the impending argy bargy between me and the guitarist, so she ended the show twenty minutes short of midnight. I would not receive a birthday kiss from her this year. I was sad, yet relieved that I was not beat up on stage.
In spite of my inner turmoil soap opera with Juliette and her ability to rock righteous-like, and the whole thing with the pointy-headed freak and that jerk guitar player and the luscious ass dimples, the show was flagrantly fantastic. At the end, the whole band played a drum solo and then switched instruments. I haven’t seen something like that since that episode of ER when they all got drunk before the brain transplant and switched positions in the operating room. Oooo, that poor character played by Doris Roberts. She would have enjoyed the Licks show. Too bad her brain is now attached to her arm pit.
Before I left the venue, I talked to the pointy-haired, superfan asswipe and gave him my number so he can call me when he finds out where Juliette will be playing next year on my birthday. She owes me a kiss and maybe she’ll let me massage her ass dimples. Unless my retina is too hard by then to effectively endure their music.
Below is a snapshot I took of Juliette during the show while she was singing Paper Roses.
F'er needs a new pair of shoes.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Dot Dot Dot. Damn, damn, damn, they get to continue and take on Young Turks. Man, the vocals here were all wrong for me, and the arrangement didn’t help much. You wouldn’t hire Rosie Perez for the audiobook reading of Catcher in the Rye.
Denver and the Ivesco Field Orchestra somehow got a ticket out of the green room again to do Baby Jane. Guess what… it sounded just like every other performance of theirs. Sure they’re consistent, but so is McDonald’s. And I’m not lovin’ it.
Six Wire. I feel the life just getting sucked out of me right about now, but stuck it out to hear Hot Legs. They’re definitely talented musicians but cheesier than Shania Twain in a bathtub of Cheez Whiz processed cheese sauce. And I’m not in the mood for gettin’ crazy with the Cheez Whiz.
Finally the Clark Brothers got the call and took on You’re In My Heart. And when I really needed them, they slowly poisoned me by taking a mellow song to begin with and stopping it down even further such that it would put the Lawrence Welk crowd to sleep. The judges called it moving, overwhelming, and magical, but I didn’t get it. I’m still on the bandwagon, but to me it’s one of those songs you endure by your favorite artists to get to the good stuff. If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!
Crunch time… two bands remaining in the green room and only one band leaves – Tres Bien or Light of Doom. The only way that the night can be salvaged is if the Twerps of Doom get sent packing. Unfortunately, it was one of those days where not only do you oversleep, but you get kicked in the nuts by your grandma. Tres Bien got the boot, but were consoled by Johnny Goo Goo telling them they had a career touring the country in a beat up van and playing crappy clubs and Sheila telling them they have a future as a Saturday morning cartoon. Thanks, guys.
So Light of Doom came out and dedicated Infatuation to Light of Doom. Weird. Can Rod Stewart sue LoD for doing that to his song? I’d award Rod whatever he wanted and also consider a class action suit in favor of anyone that had to witness that massacre.
I’m exhausted. Like check in to the hospital exhausted.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
First band up after nearly going home last week was Tres Bien with Get Off Of My Cloud. Wow. Four bars in and I know this week is going to suck. If they were auditioning for High School Musical 3, then they would have killed. This isn’t High School Musical, so they should be killed. But I’ll give them a reprieve if they promise never to do that again.
Who dares to be called next – Denver and the Invesco Field Orchestra. They did a cover of I’m Free that actually made me miss the Soup Dragons. The performance was so lame it may have been more exciting to watch them eat soup. Especially Campbell’s Chunky Soup. Those commercials crack me up, and the athletes who do them are cursed. I feel the same fate awaits Denver and crew.
Six Wire strutted out to do The Last Time and sped it up enough such that it didn’t suck as bad as I thought I would. That’s a compliment, although I wasn’t too keen on the Oak Ridge Boys harmonies going on. They are good musicians and very polished, but that’s not what I want to see on this show – I want to see scantily clad women and car crashes. But since that’s not possible, then how about a band that’s not a template for the Billboard charts?
Light of Doom got their permission slips signed to perform again and did Jumpin’ Jack Flash. They annoy me and the vocals sucked, so enough about them. But Dicko did mention that the Stones are good role models and LoD should research them. Yeah, a couple drug overdoses should give them some credibility.
The Clark Brothers were called out to give the show some real credibility and did Gimme Shelter. Wow. The other bands should just be ashamed of themselves.
Final slot came down to Dot Dot Dot and Cliff Wagner. Unfortunately, Cliff had to go home. I think it says a lot that I missed hearing what the Old #7 was going to do with the Stones catalog this week. May their moonshine run clear and may their jugs always be full. Or some sort of Tennessee blessing that might make sense to them.
So Dot Dot Dot performed Let’s Spend The Night Together. Dicko summed it up nicely for me – as lead singer you need to command attention instead of looking like you’re desperate for it. (Ed. Note: That works pretty well for sex, too.)
I don’t see how Denver can survive another week, but I’ve been saying that since I finished my Labor Day hamburger. Tres Bien always seems to be living on the edge, but they seem to be working that like Nadia Comaneci. Light of Doom makes my head hurt, but will probably continue. I can’t figure out if America is on board with D3. Six Wire and the Clark Brothers are safer than a Marine in Disneyland. See you next week!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Light Of Doom got called out first to annoy me. Nobody under the age of 30 should ever be interviewed about anything since they can’t possibly have anything interesting or insightful to say. Not that I do, either, but I’m not on television. Their cover of Jailhouse Rock was acceptable from a musical aspect, and it reminded me of something you might hear over the closing credits of a mediocre light comedy, but the vocals seemed to work as well as a corroded battery on a cold winter morning.
The Clark Brothers were saved from elimination to perform Saved, a cool tune I don’t ever remember hearing before. Their manic performance inspired me to look up the original by LaVern Baker. That alone is a good enough reason to keep them around. The Goo Goo Doll guy accused them of hating drummers because they don’t have one, but it’s a family act and maybe the drummer was a chick, which would ruin the name of the band, or, even worse, maybe their mom was the drummer, and we all saw what happened to Danny Partridge after he had to tour with his mom. Yeah, I know Shirley played keyboards and not drums, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t know she was banging Reuben on the side.
Dot Dot Dot chose to sing Love Potion #9 and the producers let them. The uber-annoying lead singer played guitar this week, which kept him somewhat tethered and made him considerably less annoying. I have to be honest and confess it wasn’t horrible. Like avoiding Tab because it’s a diet cola and comes in a pink can but then finally trying it because everyone already drank all the good stuff and realizing it’s not that bad and then dedicating your life to spreading the word. That’s an inside joke for the other 18 people watching the Sarah Silverman Show with me. The first season was pretty good, but too many duty jokes in the second season.
Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 got the call to sing Poison Ivy. It wasn’t that exciting, but it was something I’d want to listen to while eating a slab of ribs at a church picnic. I’ve never been to a church picnic and I’m not even sure they would serve ribs, but it doesn’t matter since they’d probably never get the call to perform at a church picnic unless it was one of those churches that likes handling snakes. Now that’s a picnic.
Denver and the Invesco Field Orchestra somehow survived the cut again and performed Ruby Baby. I think it was supposed to show their funk side but it sounded more like something Charlie Brown and the Peanuts would throw down for the Black History Month pageant.
Six Wire did the just written for their cheesy country asses I Keep Forgettin’, but somehow made me keep forgettin’ why anyone might be inspired to vote for them, unless there’s a bunch of cheese brained rural housewives fantasizing about leaving their beer-bellied Pabst swilling husbands for some slick-singing musical hucksters.
Tres Bien somehow outlasted Franklin Bridge somehow and did Some Other Guy. I still like them against my better judgment, but have to confess this week’s tune sounded more like it should have been coming out of Greg Brady’s console stereo system before Mrs. Brady had to come in and ask him to please turn it down because Marsha was busy studying etymology in the other room to impress Harvey Klinger and couldn’t concentrate.
When Franklin Bridge got eliminated, they looked stunned. So did Tres Bien – they were in the process of putting their liquids and gels in quart size zip lock baggies to get through security for their flight back home to the 60’s when America decided to Grim Reaper the funksters from Philly instead. I was as stunned as I am every time I write a blog celebrating the greatness of Crystal Bernard and she doesn’t thank me. The Mrs. was as stunned as she is every time I manage to get out of bed before hitting the snooze alarm 14 times. Sheila E. was as stunned as when she met Prince and found out how short he was. America was still pretty clueless – after all, they did elect Bush to a second term (hell, they elected him to a first term), so Franklin Bridge shouldn’t feel so bad.
My hopes and dreams don’t change – the little turds from Light of Doom need to be flushed next, but I have a feeling I’ll be stuck with their stink a while longer. We’ll just to tune in next week to find out. The sacrifices I make for you people…
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Franklin Bridge was the first out of the green room this week, and their cover of Big Shot reminded us all how white Billy Joel is. So white that it his songs are funk-proof. I still thought they did what they could with it, but still want to see them just rock out one week.
Cliff Wagner and the Old #7’s were saved from the confines of the green room next and treated us to a cover of You May Be Right. Okay, I confess – I like country music. Not the new Nashville over-produced stuff, but the kind of stuff you find on the AM side when your so far out in the middle of nowhere that even your iPod doesn’t get reception and you get to hear classic country in between the farm report and pork belly prices. Cliff’s version seemed more country than bluegrass and a little mellow, but it made me want to crack open a cold can of Coca-Cola and go on a hayride with a girl in Daisy Dukes and a red and white shirt tied off above her cute little country girl belly button. I hope they stick around.
Denver and the Invesco Field Orchestra somehow survived the cut and left the green room to Tell Her About It. The Invesco Horns rocked it with a version that took elevator music to a whole ‘nother level, but I’m getting bored with Denver. If my wife doesn’t dump me by then, I think I’d still hire them for a 25th anniversary party.
Dot Dot Dot was unfortunately pulled out next to cover Pressure, which they claim made it the coolest day of their lives. If that was true, I feel sorry for them. If not, I resent their insincerity. But I figured out why they bother me so much – they make me regret all the money I spent on bad 80’s music. So it’s me, not them, but I still have to break up with them.
Six Wire came out to perform She’s Always A Woman and didn’t make it their own, but somehow made it the Eagles own. Nonetheless, it turned out to be the perfect end to a night at the barn dance before getting knocked up, getting married and kicking off that five pound a year weight gain until you realize you’ve turned into your mother.
Tres Bien got pulled to perform Movin’ Out and did make it their own. It was a little Billy Joel, a little Beatles, a little Maroon 5 and shouldn’t have worked, but somehow I think they pulled it off. Kind of like Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
The Clark Brothers were finally brought out and did She’s Got A Way. Just when I though they might fall prey to the wussdom of Billy Joel, they kicked it up at the end just enough to remind people that they’re badass enough to lick the batter off the spinning whisks of an electric mixer while it’s still running.
The final band to be saved from the picked-over deli platter and eventual starvation in the green room was Light of Doom who chose to play The Stranger. Unfortunately they did make it their own. I can appreciate a good metal band, but the thing is, unless they are really, really good, it just sounds really, really bad to me. It’s like risotto – not an easy dish to make and even the most expert chefs can screw it up, but it’s very good when they learn the right touch. I have no idea what I’m talking about, but made that all up based on watching one season of Hell’s Kitchen. Risotto seemed to be the dish that brought the wrath of Gordon Ramsey and made contestants cry. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d prefer to eat an overdone dish of risotto rather than be subjected to another serving of these pint-sized doom-mongers.
That means that Rocket and The Muggs get sent to the morgue, where Dicko Was His Name-O declared it death by lead singer. In the words of the late, great Mark Twain, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, and perhaps the egos leading this band will realize that hanging hopes on frayed vocal cords ain’t gonna cut it while trying to repel into the jagged edges of the American public’s consciousness. I know that last sentence was totally ridiculous, but I wanted to see if I could pull it off in case this Leper Pop thing doesn’t work out and I decide to apply to a pretentious music magazine.
I just noticed that Rubson tuned in to this week's festivities, so keep reading below - he's not an old guy so he knows what he's talking about.
This was my first time watching this show so I didn’t really know anything about the bands. So here it goes.
That John guy from the Goo Dolls has very simple responses and just repeats it 500 times more and hopes that adds insight. Dicko is my favorite judge because he seems like he knows what he is talking about, he actually explains his answer, and he’s fat.
Franklin Bridge sounds like a good band, but the song didn’t really match up with them. I liked the effects on the first part of the guitar solo. That one fat back up vocals guy is not very good at singing. He doesn’t bring good harmony to the band.
Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 is a crappy band, but I did like the mandolin because those are cool.
Denver and the Mile High Club has got to get out of their little imagination that they will get big with the horrible crap music they play. I don’t like his voice, some of the band members have stupid hair, but they do get a positive feeling out of the music.
Dot Dot Dot just gives another reason for the world of music to go down to hell. The keyboards are more annoying than The Cars and they all have a really silly look. I can stick my head up a bulls ass and their look is still worse.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
They're fun. They're quirky. And they're full of surprises. Now more than a century of adventures and photographic memories from the magazine's archive are just a click away.
Wouldn’t that be grand if that were the case? But the surprise of which the above quote speaks is a beastly, sick sense of humor prostituted by none other than National Geographic Magazine.
This quote is National Geographic’s description of their Flashback feature that displays old photographs in attempt, as it seems, to horrify and disgust for the purpose of gathering a few yuks. The Flashback series appears (or used to appear, I don’t have any recent issues of the magazine) on the last page to send their audience home with a gruesome smile. It also appears on their web site, which is where I nabbed the above quote.
Below is scan of the last page of the December 2006 issue. Get ready to have fun.
(You may have to click it to make it bigger to read it. Or you can rub it - that seems to work for making some things bigger, too.)
As you can see, just in time for Christmas, the quirky image is that of a World War I soldier with half his head blown off while a Salvation Army worker takes a letter from him describing to his mother how much fun he is having in Europe. “I’m having a blast, Mama!”
I have circled in red National Geographic’s directive to go to their web site to access the Flashback Archive where they have these kinds of photos stored under the Fun Stuff section. Bloody war wounds – what could be more fun than that? To find out, I took a quick look, hoping to experience a whimsical beheading or some regaling pestilence. Sadly, National Geographic was not as hilarious as I had hoped, but I did find desolation in an icy world, instant death in the Alps, wild goat abuse in Ireland, earth quake destruction, and what kind of a fun web site would forget a reference to pedophilic royal guardsmen on all fours? Not National Geographic, that’s for sure!
Apparently, the editors at National Geographic aren’t as serious as we thought they were. How can we entrust them with documenting and protecting our natural world? How do I know those naked pygmies I masturbated to in high school (and last week) weren’t staged clay animation extras from Rankin and Bass holiday specials? I feel so cheap and dirty right now.
I need to renew my subscription.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
For the party I was assigned the role of Chief Wiki Wiki, the Polynesian tribesman and suspect in the murder of Detective Chase, while the Mrs. played the role of fellow suspect and swimsuit model Nadia Seymour. We did get a few double takes from our neighbors while leaving our building on a brisk fall evening in beach wear and war paint, but most of our neighbors are senile and probably thought it was still Halloween so we picked up two Snickers, a Blow Pop and some M&M’s on the way to the car. Wait, wrong blog. Back to the show.
This week on NGAB featured the same format: one original and a cover, this week from the catalog of Elton John and the other guy that writes his lyrics. How did Elton transform from Captain Fantastic to the Queen of England so quickly? I’ve always wanted to do a top ten list of artists that have gone from so good to so bad, but I’m too lazy and Rolling Stone hasn’t given me an advance on the article so it remains undone. Elton and Aerosmith would probably make the cut – feel free to add your own nominations in the comments for your chance to win the praise of your colleagues.
I wasn’t planning to post any reviews but once I started watching I decided I had something to say whether anyone wanted to hear it or not. Probably because Six Wire kicked off the show. Oh, here’s the deal – twelve bands enter the green room and only ten get called to leave. The remaining two bands get locked in the room until the deli platter runs out and they starve to death.
Six Wire’s originals always seem to feature some rapid fire lyrical hook that makes them sound like they were formed after listening to John Michael Montgomery singing “could ya would ya ain’t ya gonna if I asked you would ya wanna be my baby tonight, yeah I’d take a chance, slow dance. make a little romance, honey it’ll be alright. Girl you got me wishin’ we were huggin’ and a kissin’ and a holdin’ each other tight, so could ya would ya ain’t ya gonna if I asked you, would ya wanna be my baby tonight” and decided to try and base a whole genre around it. Sure, they’re polished, but so is a polished turd.
Tres Bien got the call next and did their 60’s thing. Just like a new girlfriend with a quirky habit (like screwing other guys), it’s cute at first but then becomes increasingly annoying until you decide you just want to be friends and then stop talking all together and don’t really mind that she never returned your Tres Bien CD since you really don’t listen to them anymore.
Franklin Bridge was brought out next and I agreed with Judge John – this show sucks because it doesn’t give the good bands enough time to rock out. But I also agreed Judge Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton that there’s too much shit going on in some of their arrangements. And when a drummer like Sheila/Sheena E. tells you that there’s too much drumming going on then you had better believe there’s too much damn drumming going on. But I’ll give them a pass.
The Clark Brothers were rescued from the remaining freaks in the green room and performed an original called Country Time. It’s good to know that if they get kicked off the show that they can get an endorsement deal should Kraft Foods choose to reinvent the Country Time Lemonade brand. If I were Kraft’s ad agency, I’d be all over this. The boys could probably make more money doing ad jingles than trying to sell records. I like them, but this country has turned into one giant billboard.
Lords of Doom were pulled from the green room so the rest of the bands could finally enjoy a beer. Kids are annoying even if they’re rockers and these little shits deserve a swift uppercut to the gut of their miniature heavy metal t-shirts from the Nigel Tufnel collection in JC Penney’s young lads department.
Dot Dot Dot tried to tone it down a bit this week, but I still think they are best suited to be the band in the background at the 25th reunion for the cast of all those John Hughes' movies from the 80’s.
Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 got the call next and I’m digging these guys more and more because they seem to just want to have some beverages and play some music and if you happen to like it then, hey, it’s all good with them. Versus a band like Six Wire who is seemingly managing every single detail of their music organization to achieve the goal of a world tour with Faith Hill and an appearance on the CMT Kind of Country Music Awards Show. I’m officially throwing my support behind Cliff this week, and I’m sure he is thrilled.
The Muggs were saved next and did another hard rocking original that cemented their position as a band that I would most want to see open for another band. I like these guys and mean that in the best possible way. Then they performed I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues which I was very sorry to say might be one of the worst covers I have ever heard. I would rather listen to the Brady Bunch cover of American Pie than to hear this again. Worse yet, the judges tried to give the band some feedback on how to improve the vocals and the singer gave them the thumbs down and implying they’d rather continue playing dingy taverns for unemployed auto workers in the worst local economy in the United States. But that’s cool if you don’t want to tune down a key like the judges suggested.
Rocket was lured from the green room next and continued to not impress me. And I’m a guy. I don’t agree with the whole “girls need to rock harder to prove themselves” bit. If anything, because I’m a stupid guy, I set the bar a little lower for females since I generally enjoy watching chicks rock out more than loser musician guys that get more chicks than I do because accountants supposedly aren’t as cool as rock stars. I’d like to see them look as sexy as I do while using Excel to figure out the return on equity, baby. But I digress. Besides not being half as good as many other all girl bands I’ve seen, Rocket’s vocalist is horrid. The judges, rather than saying she’s horrid, tried to give her specific constructive criticism that might postpone their impending demise, but like her counterpart in The Muggs, she told the judges they were stupid heads and don’t know anything. Later, babe – have fun waiting tables.
Denver and the Invesco Field Orchestra was the last band saved and did their big band thing again sounding very big banded. Not sure how long they’ll last but the exposure should keep them booked solid for quite a long time after they leave the show.
That means the two bands going home were The Hatch and The Likes of You. America had spoken and I guess I didn’t give America enough credit because they did a damn good job getting these douche rockets out of town so I can enjoy the show a little more.
Of course, the lead douche from The Hatch commented that he didn’t think America had spoken, but 300 people in Nebraska. Wow. I’m not sure if he meant to insult the people of Nebraska, the network, the other bands, the judges, the viewers or the fans or whatever, but what a dickhead. I guess I’ll let you get back to your “indie-rock business model to drive forward your radio-ready rock songs dressed in RnB style.” Word.
I never liked The Likes of You, but they were gracious in losing and left inspired to hit the road and keep working. Cool. Rock on, bald guy. I take back that douche rocket thing I said.
By the way, Week 2 videos are up here - Week 3 isn't up at press time, but will probably be posted soon enough if you're interested in playing along at home.
Friday, October 26, 2007
After the obligatory intros (in which Dicko looked exactly like Darrell Hammond impersonating Bill Clinton), Tweedle-Dom asked John if he had any advice for the bands. I quote: “Just make sure you’re playing together, convey a message to your audience, and, uh, just dig down into it and bring it out onto the stage.” Thanks, John. I’m sure that was invaluable to the bands that were planning to half-ass it tonight.
Sheila E. was asked about the caliber of the bands. She decided to ignore the question, which should have been obvious since the judges picked them to move on to this round, and instead told us that they were diverse. Thanks, E.
Dicko explained the rules in Australian, but I think he said the bands would do a cover tune and an original. Or that they would down some Coppertone and perform as Aborigines. I’ll have to wait to find out.
The covers would all be Dylan tunes – not the tortured heartthrob from 90210, but the guy from the Wallflowers' dad. A bowling ball came down the road and knocked me off my feet, so let’s get this party started.
Denver & the Invesco Field Orchestra
Freight Train Blues - It didn’t sound like Denver had the blues. At best, like he had minor annoyance over their tour van getting caught at a railroad crossing.
One Time Show - It sounded like Freight Train Blues, except with your typical mindless big band lyrics. However, they were appropriate because I can’t see these boys doing more than one show before heading home.
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Goddam these guys are annoying. I hit fast forward on the DVR.
Stretch Out The Time – Exponentially more annoying, and was about as memorable as a night of drinking Wild Turkey straight out of the bottle.
Light of Doom
All Along The Watchtower – I guess they were okay for a bunch of kids. Or pretty mediocre if they were a bunch of thirty something burnouts. Which they’ll be in twenty years. The fact that Jimi owned the song doesn’t help.
Eye Of The Storm – It sounded like a bad Iron Maiden cover band that was pissed off about an inaccurate Al Roker weather report.
The Likes Of You
Blowin’ In The Wind – Where did I go wrong in life in that I’m sitting home on a Friday night watching this?
Love and Gravity – You know what? I’ve run out of shit to say about these bands. I feel like I’m wasting your time the same way they’re wasting mine. You know how you’re hoping to read something somewhat amusing, but aren’t? That’s how I feel right now hoping to hear something tolerable. The only difference is that these bands think they’re the next Men At Work, but I’ll apologize for my writing. I’m sorry.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Oh, how I wanted to like them. Really. After four pathetic bands before them I was ready to like them. I was so hungry that I would have been satisfied with a sandwich from a gas station. But it still sounded like dog piss.
Mean To You – The vocals are killing them. Girls can rock, but they aren’t doing their sisters any favors so let’s forget we ever heard them and go back to listening to The Donnas. Okay?
Cliff Wagner and the Old No. 7
Don’t Think Twice – They seem very likable and their style fit the Dylan tune like a pair of boxer briefs.
Old Fire – I’d love to sit around a bar and listen to them while drinking beer and eating peanuts. Unfortunately, I gave up drinking and I’m allergic to peanuts, but I wish them well.
Meet Me In The Morning – Very Zeppelinesque, except without all the crotch shots of Robert Plant. I dig them.
Slow Curve – Very Zeppelinesque. I dig them. Do you sense a pattern? The song kind of remains the same. I’d really just like to see them open for another band. Way better than when Skid Row opened for Guns n’ Roses.
Maggie’s Farm – I don’t know what kind of drugs Dylan used to do, but it certainly didn’t appear to be speed. But if he had given that a try, it might have sounded like the version these chaps threw down.
Billy The Kid – As much as I hate to say it, because I like these guys, they’d also be a fucking awesome opening band. But until they start mixing it up a bit, I’m not sure I could keep up with them for more than 40 minutes.
Subterranean Homesick Blues – Here’s a Dylan tune I don’t mind, and I didn’t mind the cover, either. Somehow these boys have managed not to annoy me even though they’re very annoying. We’ll see how long my new tolerance initiative lasts.
Easy To Love Me – Ted Leo and the Pharmacistish without the edge. They should definitely be headlining weekend shows at a Division I college bar.
Tangled Up In Blue –They rocked it, but to the point that it was unrecognizable. Like trying to find to find the banana in my morning smoothie.
Incredible – You know, it’s too bad more guys don’t knock off that hip hop gangsta crap and just choose to rock out like this instead.
Dot Dot Dot
Like A Rolling Stone – Please please please
Another Stupid Love Song – go far, far, far away.
Mr. Tambourine Man – The only thing worse than hearing a Dylan song that I don’t like is hearing a glam putz country band cover it. I wanted to shoot each one of them in the foot.
Good To Be Back – I could have sworn that they got kicked off the show last week after playing this song. I wanted to crack each of them over the head with a beer bottle.
So the shows ends and you’re supposed to vote for your favorite and then I guess a couple of them get kicked off. I’m not sure when and I don’t care enough to check. Someone get back to me on that. Thanks loads.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
So the show. Any age, any style, no rules, coast to coast, families torn apart, dying friends, struggle, triumph and shattered dreams. You know the drill. But if you win, you get to hang out with the bald dude from American Idol and get to date Tony Romo. Or date the bald dude and hang out with Tony. I really don’t care.
Fox stole the intro for Monday Night Football and somehow made it even more lame than it already was. At least we didn’t have to put up with Faith Hill or Hank Williams, Jr. As soon as that wrapped up, Dominic Bowden introduced himself but I wasn’t paying attention because I thought it was an Outback Steakhouse commercial. Why does an Australian accent sound so hot on a woman and so annoying on a guy? Is there a difference between a New Zealand accent and an Australian accent? Or is it subtle enough that someone in the Northern Hemisphere needn’t worry?
So the show. Sixty bands. We can only hope MiGnition is included.
For some reason the American Idol producers are some greedy bastards who don’t wish to share the wealth so they force these jokers to do the show in the middle of the freakin’ desert which makes it look more like Saudi Arabian Idol than The Next Great American Band. Maybe if the main stage bands suck we can go to one of the side stages for an exhibition by The Next Great American Beach Volleyball Team. I don’t mind watching as long as I’m out of the danger zone.
So the judges. First is Dicko. I have a little trouble understanding Dominic’s accent, so all I picked up about Dicko is that he gave birth to Ozzy Osbourne and has a side business selling Pear Jam. Must be an Aussie thing, but I’d be willing to try it. I tried some sautéed goat this summer at an African restaurant, so pear jam is nothing. I also had some salami and green olive pizza at lunch today. I bet sautéed goat would be a decent pizza topping. Italian-African fusion… cuisine of the future. But I digress. As Moist Rub predicted, Dicko is the Simon for this show. Except a lame substitution. Kind of like when Shemp replaced Curly in the Three Stooges.
Sheila E. also signed on as the sensitive, nurturing judge and brings street cred from her experience working with Prince and Ringo Starr. Yes, Ringo. Remember in Pulp Fiction when Samuel L. Jackson keeps calling the guy robbing the diner Ringo? That was badass.
Rounding out the judging panel is John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, who apparently there to evaluate the commercial viability of each band’s name. MiGnition is so going to win this thing.
Let’s get started.
The Sizzling Happy Family Band from Cunningham Tennessee attempted to show they are the Next Great American Band by poorly doing a cover song that is nearly 40 years old. I almost immediately regretted turning on this show. However, they updated it by adding a Van Halen riff played with the assistance of a rubber chicken. Thankfully, the guitar player was so hopelessly whipped by his wife that he agreed to give up his crappy band if he didn’t win, so that she could make him have a kid to appease her maternal instinct. Is that any way to treat the greatest guitar hero in Cunningham, Tennessee? I was a little worried after seeing how much the judges seemed to love the rubber chicken, but they eventually sent them packing to my extreme satisfaction.
Tres Bien was all about the 60’s and I thought that they might had gotten lost on the way to the Ed Sullivan show. I was about to relegate them to the classic car show circuit, but it was kind of annoying, yet catchy, in the same way as the Time Life infomercials featuring those oldie compilations. They won the judges over and moved on to the next round.
After the first of many commercial breaks, we were treated to a brief Lake Las Vegas infomercial. If you take your vacations at a golf resort, chances are I don’t like you as a person.
Next, the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad covering Kids in America while dressed in a crude cardboard horsehead. Other members were dressed as the Frito Bandito, Mad Max, Friar Tuck, and Nacho Libre. Neither the judges nor I were amused, and if I were Elvis I probably would have shot my television at this point.
Light of Doom featured some 13 year olds with old school Hanson haircuts playing some Iron Maiden type stuff that sound like 13 year olds playing Iron Maiden type stuff. Look here, Junior, if I want to hear Iron Maiden then I’ll play some actual Iron Maiden instead of your attempts at it. I appreciate your shunning of the Top 40 and hip-hop crap that the rest of your classmates are listening to, but that doesn’t make you cool. Dicko agreed with me and wanted to send them back to math class, but Sheila E. loved them and talked John into agreeing with her by threatening by to jam her drumsticks up his Goo Goo hole.
The Hatch got in because the panel thought the singer had rugged good looks, which I know is what I look for in a Great American Band.
Before moving on, they let us know it was 110 degrees in the desert. Really? Who would have thought that?
Then they knocked out the next six bands in a single clip featuring one liners that sounded like they were written for Dicko by the same people that bring you the witty banter on award shows.
Big Toe took the stage next, but not before we learned that their bass player was born without any arms. However, instead of focusing on something that he could naturally excel at, like river dancing, he decided he would instead form a mediocre rock band and play bass with his feet. The panel agreed it was inspirational, yet mediocre, and left to start paper routes.
At this point, John’s really bad tats and Sheila E’s solar panel earrings were becoming more distracting than that booger hanging from your co-worker’s nose.
CJA was so bad it wasn’t even amusing. I was getting pissed at the show for wasting my time and really wished I was Elvis and owned an expendable television.
The Clark Brothers rocked pretty good, especially for a Jesus song. And I’m not talking Jesus Jones or Jesus Lizard. They move on and will be around for a while.
Now on to Day Two. I might have to pick this up a bit.
The Zombie Bazooka Patrol looked to be a novelty act with their white face paint and claim that they were, in fact, actual zombies; however, the original tune was actually pretty decent and possibly best described as the Violent Femmes on moonshine. I thought the judges voted them into round two, but they must have been later disqualified for being undead or something.
Dot Dot Dot claimed to be from Chicago, but I’ve never heard of them so they’re probably lying. I dig 80’s music but only from 80’s bands, not current bands playing 80’s music after the fact. Dicko liked them but thought they might be grating after a while. He was wrong – they’re grating about four bars into the song. Despite that, they move on to the next round.
Northmont got all serious on our ass, talking about the promises they made to their children to be all that they can be or something goofy that I can’t possibly understand because I don’t have any kids of my own and am missing out on the greatest love of all and the chance to change dirty diapers. The band seemed to have as much charisma as their hometown of Dayton. I’ve never been to Dayton so if you guys secretly rock out there, then my apologies. Their performance also left much to be desired and I would suggest they spend a little more time practicing instead of doing bicep curls unless they’re planning on playing the gun show circuit for the rest of their lives. For some reason, the judges thought that they could improve overnight and gave them a chance to come back the next day. That’s horseshit. This show blows.
The Muggs showed up next and staked their claim as the ugliest band in the competition. They also filled the inspirational spot for Day Two with the story of their bass player that had a stroke in 2001 and was half paralyzed. But instead of relearning to play with his foot and one arm, he just bought a Casio keyboard with the bass guitar setting and was back in business. They sounded like a cross between the Jimi Hedrix Experience and the Black Crowes. Sheila E had an orgasm, and John admitted he slept through the last three bands until The Muggs woke him up. They move on to the next round.
There was a brief clip of some crappy bands that were neither good nor bad enough to make the broadcast. I thanked the producers for sparing me, until the next band arrived.
Fifi LaRue lives with his mom and spends his time and money recording gothic heavy metal in his home studio and then performing it while dressed like KISS. Actually it looks more as if you tried dressing Ron Jeremy up as Gene Simmons and tried to pass him off as the real thing at a KISS convention. He and his band got sent home to Mommy.
Day Three… are you kidding me? Now I understand why Paula is smashed all the time.
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra kick off the morning with their big band sounds, showing what band geeks can accomplish by working together. Besides selling candy bars to pay for band camp. They would totally win if this was The Next Great American New Year’s Eve Band or Wedding Band. But somehow the judges put them through to the next round even though they thought the lead singer was ugly. But if you’ve seen what they did to that Elliot guy from American Idol, I guess anything is possible.
Zolar X from Plutonia was brought in just so Dicko could use his “you sound like Uranus” joke. Of course, we’re only reviewing this show because there’s a guy named Dicko on it.
Six Wire came from Nashville to represent today’s Nashville and not your grandpappy’s Nashville. They gave us some “good to be back home” generic country lyric crap which would be great fodder for a crappy generic country music video showing the small town girl living in a lonely world going off to the big city and getting bumped into on the streets and breaking a heel in a sewer grate and crying and then taking the Greyhound bus back to her rural roots where she has gained a new appreciation for her previous life and feels “good to be back home.” Apparently these boys already had a record contract and failed miserably the first time and didn’t take very good notes on what doesn’t work. The judges agreed they were tight but nothing special, and should go home and think about what they’ve done and not come out of their room until they’re ready to apologize.
Cliff Wagner and the Old No. 7 was next and did some bluegrass stuff that was rather boring, but technically proficient. Kind of like watching someone solve a Rubik’s Cube. Old Cliff looks like the Reverend Horton Heat raised on gravy and moonshine. I liked them, but I think they belong in Dollywood or another theme park rather than on this show. They disagreed, saying that Appalacia will vote for them… as long as the rabbit ears on the cinder block entertainment center can pick up Fox.
The Likes Of You had me stuffing bananas in my ears to stop the pain (and keep the alligators away), but they also have a singer with a shaved head which apparently means their music is a surefire hit and John moves them into the next round.
Red Halo is what Motley Crue might have turned out to be if they had replaced Vince Neil with Rod Stewart and become a Soul Asylum cover band. At least as far as I could tell from the 10 second clip they showed. They didn’t make the cut.
Lexicon appears to be a white boy Run-DMC tribute act and also got the ax.
Blackbird had some really nice fros and hoped to sneak in on the Wolfmother bandwagon. It didn’t work.
Franklin Bridge comes to us from the club scene in Philly, and they reminded me of some of the R&B lite bands that play those upscale clubs where divorced 40 and 50-something men and women go to hook up. I was about to write them off, but then they showed some potential to rock out near the end of their abbreviated song. I’ll have to defer judgment before saying anything else. Besides, people from Philly scare me.
440 Alliance decided it would be really cool to have four people collaborate to do a heavy metal cello solo. It was anything but really cool, and they’ll go back to Texas to think of something a little better.
I’m not sure how good the music by Lords of the Highway was because I was distracted and disturbingly aroused by the girl humping the stand up bass during the performance. But they were sent home to Cleveland to figure out another way to make it into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
The Van Dells did some nice doo-wop stuff and are available for your high school reunion since they will not be moving on to the next round.
If Heaven Bound, a gospel quartet from Buffalo, is actually heaven bound, God may have to change the name of his kingdom to Hell II.
Rocket, a girl band from LA, made it clear that they were not a typical girl band and are doing something that hasn’t been done. To prove their point they did a Ramone’s cover and sounded exactly like a typical girl band. They weren’t bad and move on to the next round, but might want to ease up on the cookie dough and spend a little more time practicing.
Mescal was the token Latin band that was brought in so that Sheila E. could jump on stage with them for a gratuitous drum solo and remind everyone why she is/was famous. After the solo, she hopped off the stage and told them they sucked and can go home.
Northmont was brought back for their second chance where they would prove they have what it takes and keep their dream alive. It would have made a great story, but I thought it was way better when the judges had to tell them that they sucked so bad that they need to go home and find careers that don’t involve music. They might even want to avoid places of employment that play music.
There was some wrap up stuff, I guess. Class was over for me and I was packing up my book bag even if the professor was still talking.