The other night I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, because it’s important to sleep at least 18 hours a day, when a punk band started up next door. The apartment buildings on my street are of such a nature that a punk band playing next door is exactly like a punk band playing on top of your eyeballs. Except in the case of this band, the drummer was playing on one eyeball and the lead guitarist was playing on the other eyeball and suddenly I couldn’t coordinate my blinks. What I’m trying to say is that the band wasn’t very good. But I wasn’t too indignant about it because I really didn’t have anything else to do but lie there and listen. Eventually I fell asleep.
I was woken up at 2am by another punk band, this one far superior. They were loud and snotty but technically skilled, and I found myself regretting that no one had invited me to the party next door. Then again, I hadn’t invited anyone to come party with me in my room with the Hulu and the mac and cheese and the regression and the tears, so it was probably karma.
Then the superior punk band started playing a familiar song. This was the last thing I expected to happen, for the night I start recognizing songs that bands play at Brooklyn rooftop house parties is the same night that I’m officially cool, and I’m just not equipped to handle that kind of pressure. But I immediately recognized the song as “Sleeping Aides and Razorblades” by the Exploding Hearts. I fell asleep thinking, “Wow, the Exploding Hearts are right next door. I must have made some respectable life decisions after all.”
Then I woke up and googled The Exploding Hearts, just to confirm that I’d caught the Brooklyn leg of their Summer 2013 tour. I read that in July of 2003, when driving back to Portland from a gig in San Fransisco, the band’s van crashed on Interstate 5 in Oregon, killing three out of four members. They were 23, 21, and 20 years old.
Life is like this too often. You hear music in the night. It brings you a moment of pleasure. And then in the morning you find out that all the musicians are dead.
But I’m reluctant to leave on that note. In a few days the psychotropic drugs will finally kick in and make me regret being so liberal in my sadsack observations. So let’s try to fantasize about what it was to be happy, what it was to hear music, what it was to make it. One book I have about beating depression says that you should store up ten joyful memories that you can access when you get down. Number one: I cruise down the highway in a van with all my best friends. Number two: I win the heart of the girl next door.
On Tuesday night (October 14), Tom Scharpling of The Best Show on WFMU interviewed my main man (the bbf) for a radio segment called “Smash or Trash.”
Scharpling has a booming internet presence thanks to his podcast and his MySpace and his Friends of Tom online forum. I avoid the forum because I feel like it’s the bbf’s personal clubhouse and it would stop being cool the second the girlfriend started showing up with snacks for everyone. Sitcom cliches have taught me everything I need to know about relationships.
Anyway the point of “Smash or Trash” is to play a relatively unknown song on the air and then let random callers decide if the CD should live or die. On Tuesday Tom played a song called “Interesting Chinese Cigarette” by the bbf’s band Bucks & Gallants. Now that you have all the background information, here is the audio:
I won’t divulge here whether the song was rated “a smash” or “trash.” You’ll have to listen for yourself. The bbf appears around the 02:34:00 mark, but everything on the show before and after that historic moment is good too.
If you’re wondering why you can’t hear me in the background telling the bbf that he left his dirty dishes in the sink or that he needs to take out the trash, it’s because I was at an arm wrestling match at the time of the interview. Thank you, Tom’s podcast, for not making me choose.
The Canonical List of Weird Band Names serves as a study both in teenage psychology and in vulgarity. “Study in Vulgarity” actually makes a good band name. STD N Vulgairity playing at the Atlantico tonight with Meatloaf and the B-52s!
Last night Onestarwatt.com assigned its roving reporter to the CLAW (Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers) match at the Blue Moon Diner. For the first time the wrestling bouts were held outdoors in the beer garden/parking lot, a location which provided spectators with more room to throw their money around. According to the roving reporter, the highlight of the evening was a rowdy set by the band Straight Punch to the Crotch. Although the band competed against Catholic schoolgirls, Wonder Women, a saucy fairy named Tinkerhell, and Halloween-caliber cleavage for the attention of the crowd, they managed to be just as compelling as the wrestlers. The reporter found it difficult to drink and take notes at the same time, but she did write one word in her notebook during a post-show interview with Punch frontman Gene Osborn. That word was “husky.” But she could not elaborate this morning.
At the June 10 CLAW show, members of Straight Punch to the Crotch wrestled not with their arms (lucky for them, because Tinkerhell would have crushed them), but with their various musical instruments, and the band emerged from the fight victorious. Billy Hunt took out the drums ninja-style. Kathy Compton rearranged the keyboard’s face. Zach Snider whooped the bass guitar’s sorry ass. Marita Delgado crushed the ukulele like a baby worm. And Gene Osborn busted notes on his guitar until it bled. In short, it was a spectacular show worthy of the tasteful spectacle that is CLAW.
Last night Straight Punch to the Crotch debuted the new CLAW theme song. It made a resounding impression on everyone but the roving reporter, who at the time was inside the diner buying another beer. But she did catch “When Animals Attack” which you can hear on MySpace or through the stuffed bear implanted, Teddy Ruxpin-style, with the band’s recordings. You can also attend Punch’s CD release party at Zinc on June 21st. The roving reporter will be there with her notebook, trying to remember that she is a serious journalist and not the queen of the dance.
The alternative title for this blog post is, of course, “Warped Tour Lineup 2008.”
3OH!3 whole tour
A Day to Remember jun 20 – jul 20
Against Me! whole tour
Aggrolites whole tour
Alesana whole tour
All That Remains jul 22 – aug 17
All Time Low jul 22 – aug 17
Anberlin jun 21 – aug 17
Angels and Airwaves whole tour
As I Lay Dying jun 20 – jul 18
August Burns Red jun 20 – july 6 Read More →
For those of you with superior taste who have lived in Charlottesville for a couple years, you may remember this as THE shopping and music event of the holiday season. Last year I bought homemade manatee stationary while listening to Sarah White and drinking mimosas. Patrick Critzer sold curry, Thomas Dean sold silk-screened t-shirts, Junkyardoll sold vintage clothes, and a good time was had by all. I hope that everyone comes out to the Satellite Ballroom this year to support Charlottesville’s best vendors, craftspersons, and artists. I swear to blog that you will end up finding some kickass Christmas presents there.
The fair is on the afternoon of December 2nd. Let me know if you want to help organize or publicize the event, or if you need information on how to reserve your own table and make tons of cash money.
Poor Tanya Tucker. She has to sing to the Republican Party for her supper, and now she has to battle the fire that is menacing her stage costumes:
About 1,400 firefighters battled the Malibu fire that started Sunday morning and had spread more than 2,200 acres, destroying 25 structures — including five homes, a glass company and Malibu Presbyterian Church. Officials ordered the evacuation of several hundred homes — including those of James Cameron, director of the movie “Titanic,” and singers Olivia Newton-John and Tanya Tucker.
“All my stage clothing, boots, belts and wardrobe is in that house,” Tucker said. “I have so much memorabilia since I just moved from Nashville to Malibu.”
Why do I get the feeling that famous peoples’ homes are like museums to themselves? The only thing that relates in my life is my fridge, which is like a Wistar’s Half-Eaten Sandwich Hall of Fame.
This is Duane’s song “Crazy.” He is my friend who plays guitar and sings back-up vocals in Dark Horse and the Carousels. I love the song, but I think we should all send the band some money to reshoot the video so it isn’t set in a bedroom under purple lighting and no one is smoking or showing off his chest hair on camera. I could also get behind a boy meets girl sort of back story. Perhaps less graffiti. Shorter haircuts. Some tube tops. I feel like Martin Scorcese here.
I drive to DC fairly often to visit friends, and when I’m there, left to my own devices, I take pleasure in listening to the worst radio stations in the world. I usually have fairly decent taste in music, but the second I get into the DC/Northern Virginia area I want to listen to Top 40 Billboard countdowns or DC 101. [Haha – the DC 101 homepage is currently featuring “Sum 41 Pool Party Pictures.”] I will be driving down Route 29, listening to something really cool on CD, and then the second I get on Route 66, I start hunting for the radio station playing Rihanna’s Umbrella song. I tell myself that I just want to be familiar with what the kids are listening to, so I’ll know the songs next time I get invited to a high school party, but really I just have a sick fascination with bad popular music. Like the new Fergie shitfest that is supposed to be so heartfelt. That is truly one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. And yet it goes so well with Northern Virginia’s endless chain restaurants and strip malls. If I tried to listen to the Pixies or Sonic Youth while driving through McLean, my stereo would probably explode.
Last night I went to DC to visit my friend Keith, whose birthday is tomorrow. Everyone say happy birthday to Keith! Keith is the best. He does not judge you for thinking tapioca pudding is a good late night drunk person food. He is also the ideal person to accompany you when you go the wrong way on the Beltway at 3 in the morning. This is because he knows all the words to every Meat Puppets and Shangri-Las song, and those CDs happened to be in my car. The Shangri-Las help me and Keith relive our teenage years – growing up in small mid-Western towns in the early 60s, drinking malt milkshakes, putting nickels in the jukebox. Keith likes to question why the rebellious leader of a motorcycle gang is hanging out in a candy store. I respond that when I say I’m in love, you better believe I’m in love L-U-V. He had never heard the PSAs at the end of Myrmidons of Melodrama, so that was a treat. Mary Weiss advises the young lady on a date not “to barge on ahead like a baby elephant.” In the early 60s, baby elephants were controversial figures, infamous for their wanton and whorish ways. They were thought to be perverted and sick little beasts capable of corrupting women from good middle class families. But then in the late 60s, Keith and I launched the baby elephant civil rights movement, redeeming baby elephants from their undeserved reputation. However now the public service announcement’s baby elephant simile doesn’t make as much sense. Just try to understand it in its historical context.
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