Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sassy's Deathrock Garden

So I'm in Vegas right now, to pick up Kristina's car. Ms. Honey Bunny is taking a power-nap, which looks like it's going to turn into an all-nighter, and the jury's out as to whether Kwadwo and I have the heart (or lack thereof) to wake her up. We were supposed to go shooting today, but we took a little too long at the Bellagio buffet, and fucking about in the casino. I tried my hand at playing War, which is basically gambling for special bus types who think Blackjack is too math-heavy. Hey, I took trig in college, bee-otch! But Lisa told me she made $3000 playing it whe we stopped by her house in B-town. (That's Bakersfield for you city slickers.) So I tried my hand. I only put in $30, unlike the guy who sidled up next to me and cashed in a grand on chips. I think I could've made a go if I'd have invested more, but I lasted about ten minutes, including the $10 that Honey B fronted me. Just long enough to get my palms sweaty and feel like the guy in that Twiliight Zone: "It's inhuman! It let's you win a little, then it takes it all back!" Kwadwo and Honey had to pull me off the table.

We've been using our "street names." Kwadwo's is Cheeseburger, because that's all he ingests. We had to substitute "Meatball" for it at the Bellagio buffet, though, since they don't have cheeseburgers and he had to fuck up a couple plates of Swedish meatballs. Mine is "Tinkler Sprinkler" for the piss I took in Honey Bunny's backyard. We got here before she did, and my bladder was full to bursting, so I had to call HB and ask if I could pee in her yard. I climbed the fence and started peeing, then Kwadwo started after me. I was still peeing when he was done. Hence the name. Honey got stuck with "Vagistat," since K and I walked by a box of it in Walgreen's, and like all immature males, the "vag" part made us giggle. She wasn't really down with having a yeast-infection-related street name, but we told her you didn't get to choose. Sorry, sweety.

Well, I'd love to regale you with more bullshit, but I've come to realize that Vagistat's wireless keyboard is an utter piece of shit. You have to hit everything three times. So I will just leave you with this photo of the Deathrock Garden which Sassy made for me for Christmas. How rad is she? She's made a Glamrock Garden too...the idea is, for you slow-on-the-uptake types, that it's a cooler version of the desktop Zen rock gardens that drive you batty when you're waiting for the results of your HIV test and you're too stressed out and nervous to make anything good. Don't act like it hasn't happened to you.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pillow Fights, Not Boogie Rock

Went to the Thrasher Skater of the Year throwdown at the Great American, featuring Turbonegro. My friend S. works there, and he was a little shaded about getting Heather and I in, since it was all invite-only and strictly for the glamorous types. I was supposed to pretend I didn’t know him when I got there…just in case. We ended up getting parking right around the corner, and walking past this big clusterfuck of a line to the “V.I.P.” line…not because we were V.I.P.s, but because it’s better to be rejected sooner than later. The security guy asked the guy in front of me for his ticket, and I thought, “Ah shit, the jig’s up.” But he didn’t ask either of us for tickets, and everything was golden…

Except for Eagles of Death Metal. So ironic, it’s even dripping from their name! Not only are they not death metal, they don’t rock as hard as the Eagles. Yeah, no shit—a forty-five minute version of “Hotel California” would’ve been better. Whatever hype is getting them booked to open for bands like Social Distortion and Turbonegro has apparently not died down—i.e. people are still giving them clout because of the Queens of the Stone Age connection. When all the hipsters realize that the emperor has no clothes, and that mustaches are no longer ironic (were moustaches ever ironic?), they’re going to be pointing the finger at each other saying, “Wait, you’re the one who said these guys were cool, right? Hey, you have a mullet.” Speaking of mullets, the drummer’s pretty boy shag was the best thing about EoDM—but only because it frames a face so singularly ugly he gets sympathy cards from the Phantom of the Opera. I guess I’m not immune to irony. Really, though—what the fuck is this shit? You’ve got a guy with a Telecaster, too tight jeans, a pompadour and a wishfully ironic Reno 911 moustache doing the Achey Breaky shuffle, an ugly pretty boy, and a clapped out old dude with a flying V, looking every bit like a geriatric Richie Stotts from the Plasmatics, sans tutu, and they’re playing fucking washed out feel-good dance rock that wouldn’t fill a Humboldt State bar to half-capacity. This is the next thing? This is what the kids are crying for—the return of Boogie Rock?

You really can’t get more gimmicky than Turbonegro. I mean, c’mon—a fat Norse made up like King Diamond in a fur cape, a pudgy Baby Huey in a sailor outfit, a tranny in a SS officer’s hat and Marilyn Manson make-up, the Mad Hatter, a jailhouse rock drummer in Elvis shades, and a manic homo who forgot to take his Ritalin fronting to play the keyboards, singing songs like “Wipe It ‘Til It Bleeds.” Fucking ridiculous—a Viking Village People. However, they bring the fucking rock. They’re entertaining, and oh yeah—once again—they bring the fucking rock. If they didn’t have all the silly ass costumes and anal sex references, they’d still be worth paying to see. EoDM’s J. Devil (ooh, fake names, how punk…) can say “We’re in it for the ladies” as much as he wants, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that anyone under 50 shouldn’t be listening to the goddamned Doobie Brothers, let alone playing that shit. Take your lightweight, ironic ass to the parking lot, smoke the ass end of a joint from a feathered roach clip, and get the fuck off the stage, because that shit isn’t funny enough to laugh at or good enough to rock to. You rock like Carrot Top tells jokes, man. Your moustache says it all: prop rock.

So the famous Ted Shred was the DJ. I know this because Heather is an undercover scenester. And while it’s interesting to hear someone mix beats into Johnny Cash and 80’s butt-rock, and it’s good to hear a DJ who actually does something creative instead of change records, the guy is the epitome of self-indulgent. Maybe it’d be more enjoyable to just hear “Ring Of Fire” all the way through—the man is one of the most powerful, understated vocalists since the dawn of recorded music. I’m not so sure he needs your spastic Eric B. on bathtub speed scratch attack over every fucking line. I will say this was the first time I saw people breakdancing to Slayer. I’m all for the one love, brothers of different mothers, Hands Across America thing, but I’m not sure this type of cross-pollination is entirely good.

Turbonegro. All right! That’s really all I have to say. Much better than the only other time I saw them, at Slim’s. During the encore I got smashed into by two guys doing some kind of Greco-Roman wrestling thing…being a peaceful, lover not a fighter type, I decided to break it up. Somebody grabbed one guy, I grabbed the other. He was lanky fellow and squirmin’ like an eel, so I relived my club-workin’ days and locked him up in the legendary Full Nelson while delicately screaming into his ear to mellow the fuck out. He screamed back “I fuckin’ work here!” over and over. That’s when I saw the laminate hanging from his hip. Oops—my bad. I think he was the sound guy or something. The Good Samaritan is always the last to know.

So Heather and I went to the Grubstake, since I was Somalia-style dying of hungervation. I wanted to get to the show early, get in, get stamped, and go get Indian food…little did I realize that there were no ins and outs. Oops. And we were too late to fuck up the Thrasher deli tray. So we went to Grubstake after, wherein my hunger and crankiness and Heather’s hastily pounded Rockstar lead to a strange miscommunication and awkward stare-down of sorts. I like to think I’m a communicative type, but when I feel that someone is fucking with me, or a situation is past the point of no return, I’m big on the disconnect. I was right about to throw down some cash, get up, and get in a cab… It all worked out in the end, however… if you want the play by play on that, you’ll have to wait until I become a foxy camgirl, showing the world my private boudoir moments. As of now, I don’t kiss and tell—much.

Speaking of camgirls, I was guest star on Sassy and Sedusa’s Crafty Cam last night. It was all under control until an hour long, no-holds-barred, Superfly-Snooka-from-the-top-rope, pillow fight broke out. This was no joke. I mean, serious commando-style, Green Beret, hand to hand pillow-fighting. Sassy’s nose got elbowed, my wrist mala blew apart, and socks were stuffed into mouths. Needless to say, at the end of an hour, I was bashing the ladies at will, screaming “Capitulate!” but they put up a valiant fight and refused to surrender. In the end, the sweaty specter of Exhaustion ruled the day. It was positively cathartic; I recommend pillow fights as a cure for what ails you. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun sweating on a couch with two hot chicks with my clothes on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The B-58 Hustler Was a Gorgeous Killing Machine

Got the new Luna album, "Rendezvous" in the mail today. It came out in October, so it goes to show you how much I've been paying attention. It has Chas Krider photos on the front, which is great. For the two people who are reading this and like me enough to maybe go in on a Christmas present, Chas Krider's photo book of hot women in retro lingerie peeing in dingy motel rooms, "Motel Fetish," will do just fine. Just remember: if Luna used his photos on their album, they are sensitive and romantic, and not cheap porn.

Ah, sensitive and romantic. Yes, Luna. This is quite possibly the best make-out album ever. Though I've yet to put it to the test. This is a romantic, blissful make-out soundtrack--lots of eyelid kisses and earlobe nibbling, lots of staring into each other's eyes and feeling like you've come home, like this moment could really be elongated in the space-time continuum--the subjective feeling of forever in the midst of a heartless vacuum wherein time marches on (until it folds in upon itself). I suppose, that in its way, it's like every Luna album.

I guess Jetset sent me this CD two months after the fact because Luna is playing at the Fillmore soon. I think I'll talk to Kimberly and see if I can do a piece on them before the show. I need to make some amends on that front--I was amazingly lackadaisical and lame with my mclusky article. I was in Miami, partying with garbagemen for my day job, and I sort of dropped the ball on the edit. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the brand manager from Glad, who is gay, stick his face in the ass of your drunken co-worker as she gyrates from a stripper pole in South Beach.) Actually, I really dropped the ball--as in dropping a 100 pound medicine ball on my foot. Don't let anyone tell you Kimberly Chun is a bad sort--she is a good egg with infinite patience to deal with the likes of me.

I am a moody, depressive sort, and hypersensitive to boot. I look tough (I'm told), but I'm all weepy on the inside. I feel one of those "always on the edge of crying" periods looming ahead...the Clash were "overpowered by funk," which resulted in one of their worst records--certainly the worst side B to any of their albums. (Of course, there were the 3 good songs on the SIX SIDES of "Sandinista!"...to all the Clash apologists out there...fuck you, dearly...that three record set could've easily been an EP.) Anyhow, I'm "overpowered by weltschemerz." I get into a serious funk—overpowered by it, no less—wherein I find it hard to believe anyone’s happy. I can smile, but they’re sad smiles, like you smile at your father when he has Alzheimer’s disease and you finally get over the annoyance that he’s said, “You do nice work” nine times as you put the lights on the Christmas tree, and you realize on the tenth time that it’s really the first time for him, and that his mind is running the same circles on the Habitrail, round and round, with maybe a sneaking suspicion that he’s annoying his impatient son. This is the man who put himself through Stanford Law by working in an ice factory, by riveting the sheet metal to make the B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber.

What a sexy, well-named machine, the B-58 Hustler. It’s a little known fact, but Jimmy Stewart flew them, toward the end of his time in the Air Force. It’s a goddamned shame that the B-58 Hustler was never used in combat, spreading her sleek, sexy legs to rain death upon some unfortunate, poor bastard in a steel helmet, with some canned cabbage and a stamped-metal Kalashnikov clenched between his legs as he pissed his pants. Actually, he would have never heard the plane until he’d been blown apart by the bombs, so he wouldn’t have had the warm, yellow comfort of losing bladder control. That’s the beauty and the humanity of a supersonic bomber—silent death. The sonic boom is for the trees to enjoy—everyone else is dead. Actually, the B-58 flew at twice the speed of sound and carried nukes, so the chances are relatively few of the people destroyed by it would’ve been soldiers. It became outmoded by ICBMs. There’s something about global, thermonuclear destruction delivered by a real live air crew that has a personal touch, really tells the Russkies, “Hey, we care.” Ah, the Cold War, doesn’t it seem quaint? But do you remember when the Russian Air Force shot down the Korean Airlines jet? Those were some scary fucking days, man…”I’d like to protest, but I’m not sure what it’s for/ I guess I got no control, over the threat of nuclear war”—Hüsker Dü. I drew skulls and mushroom clouds all over my Pee-Chee folders. It was almost a let-down when the Soviet Union collapsed like a sick dog as I graduated high school. What to do? What to do? Where will all the amorphous paranoia and ambiguous malaise come from? Kids these days don’t understand what we went through—we weren’t afraid of war; we were afraid of being vaporized in our sleep. I really thought Kruschev would end up right when he said “We will bury you.” Of course, I thought we’d bury him too. But not in Levi’s and McDonald’s franchises.

Instead of the B-58, the world has been saddled with the blunt, abject ugliness, the Jimmy Durante aesthetics of the B-52 for over half a century. They don’t call it the BUFF--“Big Ugly Fat Fucker”--for nothing. If the Air Force would’ve de-virginized the Hustler, there’d be some dead people with my father to thank, at least for the rivets. “So long, and thanks for all the rivets.”

I just looked up Mr. Stewart on Wikipedia. Apparently, he flew over 50 bombing missions over Europe in a B-24 Liberator, and retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General. No fucking shit. His final mission, at his request, was over Vietnam. Mr. Smith goes to Hanoi. It’s time for a Heroine Sheiks quote: “And there’s some Viet cats, who got their asses waxed, if there’s one word they know, it’s G.I. Joe, Joe, Joe.” It’s a wonderful life, eh Jimmy? As my tour guide at the Cu Chi tunnels—underneath a free-fire zone called the Iron Triangle by the U.S. because it just couldn’t be destroyed, just outside of Saigon—said, “the U.S. soldiers had a hard time getting through the tunnels—too many cheeseburgers. Too much Tiger beer.”

My dad trained to fly a B-25 Mitchell. But he flunked out of twin-engine, and then the war ended. He retired from the Air Force Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel without ever dropping an explosive in the middle of someone’s day.

Anyhow, yeah. So. Know what I mean? I look at everyone, and I feel sadness. I feel the first noble truth: Life is suffering. It’s unsatisfactory. Off-kilter. That’s the original Hebrew meaning of sin—off-cenetered. When people look happy, I think they’re faking it. Or, I think of the saying “this too, shall pass.” Everything is ephemeral, grasshopper. Those moments of bliss are just road signs on the Superhighway of Despair.

And everything is cyclical, of course. That paragraph above? I’ll leave it to the Duncan Scott Davidson critics of the future to find the five other times I’ve written the exact same thing.

Interviewed Jay Munly or Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots (and of his own solo works) earlier tonight. He is an interesting, kind-hearted individual with a degree in English from Columbia University who isn’t above admitting he finds hockey violence entertaining, and that there is some degree of fear in his Catholicism. If you don’t have any of his records, please get some. I’m wearing this one out, but I’ll say it again: Tennessee Ernie Ford meets Nick Cave. So good. I’m supposed to be doing an article for Skyscraper, but the editor is still planning the winter issue. Of late, things are imploding, so I won’t count on it.

Did I mention tomorrow is my last day at Plan B? I will be getting a weeks work of freelance work a month, which is good. Now I need to find the other 3/4 of a job. Dear Understanding Individual Who Isn’t Reading This: why don’t you read this? Why don’t you look beyond your nose and beyond the tattoos on my hands and have the wherewithal to realize that though I may be moody, I am paper-trained and at least nominally brilliant, aside from being marginally self-obsessed. Like the retarded man on the bus-stop poster, “I can help your business.”

Did I tell you I got hit by a car? They cancelled the races at San Ramon last Saturday. Once again, the track was too wet. I love and respect Shane for being the track operator at two BMX tracks despite having a real job, so I will refrain from being snippy about that particular let-down. So Scott and I hit the trails in Golden Gate Park, along with the few jumps that are hidden on them. I popped out of a trail onto the sidewalk on Fulton, saw the light for the crosswalk was green, and hit it. There was a lady poised to make a right turn, and I imagine she’d already looked my way. When I wasn’t there. So she started going, and there was a little car/bike friction. I didn’t even get knocked over, and I was much more worried about my bike than myself. She was very concerned and apologetic. I thought my bike was cool, but it’s emitting a strange noise, which I think is my pedal. My bike is my baby, and I can’t countenance loud pedals. What is it with me and pedals? I paid $100 for a pair of magnesium pedals from Specialized, and I broke the spindle trying to tighten the play out of them. They’re sending me a new pair, though—in time to replace my car-christened DK magnesiums.

Is magnesium really better? Probably not. But it’s fun to have magnesium and titanium parts on my race bike. It’s so exotic—makes me feel like Howard Hughes.

Oh, and sorry to let the air out of the bag, but I just did some digging around online, and it seems that B. Gen. James Stewart flew “in” a B-58 Hustler—meaning he took a Mach 2 ride in one, but was never assigned to the aircraft. Also, piecing the dates together, I think my dad riveted something else…I think he was a little early for the Hustler. Oh well. She still was a beautiful plane.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Soul Check

I'm in the car with Miss Dolly, listening to Hank Williams "Lovesick Blues": "I'm so lo-ooh-o-ooh-onesome, I've got the lovesick blues." Dolly's kind of nodding her head, and she says, "You know who this sounds like?"

"Who, sweetheart?"


And you know, she's right. Spongebob takes a lot of his mournful stylings on "I Ripped My Pants" from Hank Sr. With a healthy dash of the less obnoxious Beach Boys tunes. I know it's a cover, but I have to say I get a little choked up every time I hear "Sloop John B."

So the banner up above me as I write this is for Neighborhoodies, and it keeps going from this girls face to her "jezebel" t-shirt, stretched pleasingly over a really nice set of tits. (I wrote this on MySpace.) And, like Ann Magnusson in the Bongwater song "Nick Cave Dolls," I'm thinking "I want some." (Actually, she says "I want one," referring to the mythical Nick Cave doll, but if I said "I want one," what would that mean? One girl, sure, but since I referred to her breasts, one breast wouldn't make much sense, especially sans girl. Tell you what, though--someone ought to make Nick Cave dolls. You could have different years--like the "From Her to Eternity" Nick could have poofy hair and dirty syringes, and modern Nick could have tailored suits and children.)

Okay, enough of that. I just wanted to check in and let everyone know how much I love Hank. If listening to him doesn't stir your soul and make you feel that eternal lonliness and isolation of being an individual on the lost highway, just moanin' the blues, well--I guess you're dead. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but country is the soul music for the poor peckerwood. It speaks from the heart, and nobody yodels or croons like Hank. (Except maybe Spongebob--but, like Hank, he knows suffering...)

It's really a shame what happened to country music, though the whole Americana get-down holds a ray of hope. It's like country got so fucked over, they had to rename it. However, I still kind of hold to "country" as a name--I mean, they didn't rename Rock and Roll "Granite and Locomotion" after all bands like Korn nailed the coffin....because it rose again! ...and again...it ain't noise pollution and it'll never die...though they really ought to consider renaming Punk. It's been punked out a little too much since Legs McNeil coined that one. I was subjected to a A Simple Plan video while waiting for the Spongebob Movie to begin with Dolly and Kristina the other day. (See--everything comes full circle.) My lord, what an awful load of shit that band is. It's really supposed to be about more than haircuts--I mean, can you put spiked belts and flouncy mohawks on 'N Sync and make a punk band? Is that all there is to it? I guess so: some record executive just did. And to think Good Charlotte went as far as getting tattooed...that million dollar nest egg's going to be eaten away by the laser. The video was all about "I'm young and disaffected and you just don't understand me, man." Which, to be honest, is what 95% of all punk songs are about, but "All the kids wanna sniff some glue, all the kids want something to do" gets across the disaffected youth part a little more vigorously and imaginatively.

Jesus Fuck: 3/4 of the Ramones are DEAD! When Tommy dies, we'll see the four horsemen of the Apocalypse on the horizon and know it's really all over. Then what are you going to say? How are you going to account for yourself when the goats are seperated from the sheep and your name isn't in the Book of Life: "Oh, I'm sorry, I was just too busy that day when I had a perfectly decent chance at blowing up A Simple Plan's tour bus. I had to do my laundry." Yeah--there'll be a reckoning.

Okay, this chick's tits are somewhat enervating at this point. I get the selling point, fellas. "Direct from Brooklyn...Neigborhoodies Spread the Love." Well, what fucking good does that do me here and now, jack? The camera pan in your banner is making me Blair Witch dizzy, and those beauteous breasts are on the wrong side of the country. Digital tits...what good are they?

Anyhow, this mullet-headed Achy Breaky shit is to country what A Simple Plan is to The Ramones, or what the "baby-ooh-ooh-ooh, you look so fine but you broke my heart, ooh-ooh baby, let's drink Remy and get romantic" shit that's called R&B nowadays is to a guy like Otis Redding. I'll tell you what--it might be a good thing Otis died young, because he was a big man, and he'd be knocking some goddamned sense into some of these young weepy-eyed brothers. "I've been loving you, far too long, to stop now..." Otis was a loving motherfucker, but he was nobody's "baby ooh-ooh-ooh" bitch, he was a fucking man. To quote Chuck D: "Your general subject love is minimal--it's sex for profit." You got the rhythm but you go no soul.

Self-reflexive moment: Man, it sure feels good for a whitey college boy to quote Chuck D, even at this late a date.

I know it's a fart in a hurricane, but what the fuck good is it when a song that's all about love, about the deepest part of the heart, is just a fabrication to sell product? When Hank said "I went down to the river, so lonesome I wanted to die" do you think he didn't feel it? Was he thinking about a possible cross-polination with the fast food market on the new Burger King compilation CD? Listen to a song like the Vibrators "Baby Baby" or the Ramones "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" or The Saints "Messin' With the Kid" and you can feel the desire and yearing and heartache. Tell me whitey ain't got no soul, motherfucker.

Oh fuck, who am I kidding? I'm banging my head against a wall trying to figure out how to get the young, artful nonconformist to drink Red Stripe. Really--it's like, such a free-thinking beer. My boss is all about being true to the "everyday hero" and the common man, but he wouldn't know the comman man if a common man bit him on the ass.

Soul check: Hank, Brian Wilson (at times), Ann Magnusson, Nick Cave, Otis, Chuck, Vibrators, Saints, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy, and Spongebob. Me (at times).

Gas Face: Korn, A Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, 'N Sync, Billy Ray, Brian Wilson (at times), me (at times), Billy Ray's mullet, the whole fucking retro glam-rock 80's electroclash, ironic post-modern rehash flounce-mullet, 21 year-old über cool cocaine scene. I saw the art director of a supposedly very cool lowbrow art rag wearing motherfucking acid wash jeans at Social Distortion. Are you fucking kidding me? Sweetie, you can't polish a turd, you'll just get your hands dirty. Recontextualizing only goes so far: wearing the same retarded pants and slouch boots the cheerleader cunts wore in high school twenty years down the line does not make you a forward-thinking cultural iconoclast. It makes you a victim. What next, the return of those godawful VISION STREET WEAR shirts? (I know--slow moving cows with a shotgun.)

And Nike owns Converse--even Chuck Taylor's are fucked now. To think there was a time when Hank Williams was popular culture. And Otis, and Sly Stone, and Al Green. There are still good things out there--it can't be bad that Social D sold out the Warfield two nights in a row. But the shit is starting to come over the top of my waders.