Thursday, December 06, 2007

Yes I do know

Holiday season officially started for me this morning --

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" came on the radio without me wondering about it or waiting for it. Just got on the highway, one song in, heater finally kicking on, really starting to wake up, and bang! My Jam.

Every year I look forward to having that surprise me in the car. Some people need to see "It's A Wonderful Life" to really kickstart it. DTKIC is my trigger.

And admittedly, being an 80s kid, this song just hits it. It's a such a perfect snapshot of what 1985 was musically in pop music. Yeah yeah, all the top pop artists of that time were singing, but I'm talking more than the all-star cast. It's more an all-star musical cast too;

The stark wide landscape intro, setting a nice dramatic open feel. (very Dream Academy)
The slow burn build of the vocal melody
The insta-enjoyable chorus hook
The galloping bass guitar line ( I dare say started by my pals Level 42)
Phil Collins propulsive drumming/drum sound (*and don't forget his ever classic PC over-the-bar line drum fill during the organ solo after the bridge)

And next time you listen, think about how perfectly chosen the voices were, and that for each voice, the *way* they sang they're part was a perfect historical snapshot of what that singer's trademark was. From the actual lyric line they sang to how they sang it. You could teach your grandkids about these people;

"See Timmy, this "guy" Boy George, the way he sings this line... all his songs, he was just that smooth. He was the male Sade. And when he adds that soulful "OOOOOO, HOO..." to tag the pre-chorus hook, he was really good at that.
"And Bono, who sings probably the most famous line of it all, well, at that time he was the ultimate passionate political singer. He was known for delivering cynical comments about humanity's ignorance or denial of human suffering in his own music. The words themselves sound cruel, but when Bono sang, you could hear his own distaste thru his sarcasm. He literally was raising a flag about everything in U2 concerts. this video from Red Rocks. Ohp, there it is, see the big flag he's marching around with?"

"And this Sting guy, though he doesn't have his own solo line, at that time everyone was using him to add a vocal harmony over top of other people's singing which gave it an otherworldly effect, at once soulful but angelic too. It was very distinctive. and at that time in the 80s, you heard more of Sting hovering over things than singing them at you."

I obviously could go on and on.

But anyway, if you were there in the 80s, think about this song as a musical history lesson. Simon le Bon's voice is spot-on.

And for bonus points, quiz yourself with "who was the only American artist(s)/band that was invited to be part of this song project. If you don't know, you'll be surprised. I'd give you a clue, but it's not cause for celebration yet. Because if it was, you'd have seen the clue already in this post.

Merry Holidays.
(Yes, I'm starting my own saying, Frank Costanza-style)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Well, hoi

It's been awhile. A whole summer and half a Fall in fact, but it's felt like a full sweaty tumble down some stairs if you ask me (and get my clever joke)

[sipping my wine. "Conundrum", 2004. No, really. It's a nice white that starts sweet like a Riesling but finishes with a black TV static-ey fuzz to the taste buds. It's label talks about how it's a conundrum to figure out because it's flavor/taste can kinda go with anything. Oh wait, I forgot to mention I'm in my comfy purple Lazyboy with my iPod playing Romantic Addagios II as I blog using my company-issued PC laptop, which I found on the shelf (the addagios) at All Media Guide before I left there for my current job.

This blogging is the most time i have spent in this chair since I moved in mid summer. Since I started the new job. Befoe the dark times... before the Empire.

I'd love to go on and on about how I have been more stressed and tweaked in the past 3 months than I ever have with a job, ever. But I can ironically get the immensity of it across by saying that it's so true that you can ask anyone who knows me, even those who haven't seen me at all. Because everyone has noticed that Dave the "Hemingway of email" up and essentially digitally disappeared since mid June. Retina's everywhere have been rejoicing in re-moistured glory for almost 4 months now. My job at this startup has delivered on every web article's promise of how stressed and crazy a startup is. And more. When Pointdexter the red haired nerd in thick glasses from Revenge of the Nerds got high for the first time at the Tri Lamb/Omego Mu party, he asked aloud of the nerdgirl trying to get in his pants "No, really... would you rather live in the ascendency of a civilization or it's decline?" Nerdgirl blew off the question with her reply: " you wanna f*ck, OR NOT??". He nodded, she grabbed his crotch very aggressively and let out his weird Bill The Cat-esque "uwrACK!!" scream he does a few times in the movie, and the scene cut to some other impending nerd sex situations.

The point is, people... I think about that scene every day now.

I'm also going to see Don Rickles do standup this Friday and then Van Halen (Roth, Eddie, Al, and Wolfie) the next on Saturday. My life deserves such a weekend, and so does yours, you hockey puck.

Don is literally the last of the generation of Rat Packers, is still sharp, and when will I get a chance to see any legit comic of that era today? Much could be said similiarly of the Van Halen. But what do i know? For all you care, I could be sitting in Palm Springs in the sun, the chicken fat on the body, getting a nice burn, not botherin' anybody. And really, why should you care? Like you have something better to do than stay in Valencia all day and watch the oranges go bad? Nice way to support the family there, dummy.

Goshdamn it, I'm tired.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I had a good feeling about the new Wilco album from a recent Pitchfork interview with Tweedy. I hardly, if ever, visit or especially consult Pitchfork but something made me go there one day on a break from work stuff. I got a different vibe from Tweedy this time around for some reason. I've read interviews to help me find my way into "getting" Wilco, and they hadn't helped yet. Something still can't push me over the cliff totally, I don't know why. It's like Italian foods I guess - technically you like all the fundamentals like the sauce, pasta and cheese. But some combos of those don't grab ya the way others do. Took me forever to finally love Lasagna, so maybe Wilco will be my new lasagna?

Tonight I think I figured out part of it, pro and con-- I wish he'd enunciate better. I can never tell what he's saying much of the time. And with the verse phrasings so spread out, it's hard to string together the full stanza's by deduction. The ratio of instrumental melody/phrases to actual vocal phrasings over the measures is pretty polar to my ears. I get impatient waiting for the next lyric to come and join the last one. I get a little bored waiting for Tweedy to muster the effort and air (per his delivery) to get out whatever next sentence he has which is supposed to blow my mind, because, well, he's Tweedy, right? He usually sounds really tired to me. But to quote Fripp (as usual): "What we hear is the way we hear." I just have to get used to Tweedy's ebb and flow which I do like a lot of the time. But the music sure is perdy. And damn if this album doesn't just feel niiiiice.

On dark back-country farm Michigan roads at 1am with no one around for miles, the only connecting thread is a charcoal gray plane (headlight'd black asphalt) and a glowing yellow median line. Murky silhouettes of giant ancient trees lining the road that appear like giant Rorschach blotches just slightly denser and darker against the black sky... a safe, lukewarm, post-game remnant beer buzz is my cozy, loose fitting flight suit -- and the new Wilco is wonderful. Like hearing a healthy campfire one lot over, the heat more heard than felt. I like that I can't tell what brand or model of instrument is being played by the band members. It's color, plucks, ticks, taks, and some booms. It could be '07, '47, '27. (Well, maybe a Martian '27.)

I can't fully express enough how much I am not an authority on Wilco... but I felt that that SBS is like their Beck's 'Sea Change'. It gave me the same feelings. Or a Harvest Moon for 2007.

There's gonna be lots of herbalizing to this one, just you watch.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Da' Jack Wabbit go from HERE...ta' DERE'.

It's been a long while, but man did I make up for it.
I can't introduce this with only one clever line, I need a few.

1. An SNL or MAD TV sketch triumphing public access can't and won't ever top actual Public Access.

2. Keep in mind this woman is talking to her mother this whole time, on air.

3. You thought Nicole's admissions to Tom in that Eyes Wide Shut bedroom pot smoking scene was an intense example of "what women really think"...

4. You can't get any more "Wait for it..." than these clips. Just when you think this woman has boldly covered it all and spoken her mind, she hasn't. She's got more to say, uh-huh. So wait for it if you knows what's good fo' ya's...

Vagina Power vs. Penis Power

Then watch Vagina Power: Halloween Show

It's public access, so it's safe. On headphones.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Workin' for The Blog

It must be tough to be a rock n roll Dad --
Imagine being the now middle-aged lead singer of Loverboy, trying to tackle a parenting issue with your wife involving your teenage daughter -- regarding dating and high school reputation/gossip stuff... yet knowing that your own daughter knows that you once wrote and sang these lyrics.

You're trying to keep her from dating some guy you can tell only wants in her pants and nothing more. Yet you essentially rooted for this same guy, via song, when you were in your 20s and 30s.

She's so young at heart
She likes the pleasure of his company
She cuts the inside groove
With her silver spoon
She likes her tapes on 10
And it's the same as her anatomy
She's on a rainbow cruise
All the way to my room

She's turnin' on the heat
She's got the magic touch
She's turnin' on the heat
And it's a little too much
She's turnin' on the heat
And it's a hundred above, yeah
Hot girls in love
I'm in love

Too many men to please
She counts them all on her rosary
You know you might get burned
So be careful where you touch
She gets it when she can
Don't need no anniversary
And she deserves the best, yeah
A cut above the rest

She's turnin' on the heat
She's got the magic touch
She's turnin' on the heat
Ooooh, it's a little too much
She's turnin' on the heat
And it's a hundred above
Hot girls in love
And baby, I'm in love

Some say she do
Some say she don't
Some say she will (she will)
And some say she won't (she won't)
Some say she can't
Well, I know she can
I say I got to be
Her lovin' man, yea-ah

She's turnin' on the heat
She's got the magic touch
She's turnin' on the heat
Ooooh, and it's a little too much
She's turnin' on the heat
It's a hundred above
Hot girls in love
Hot girls in love
It's a hundred above
The hot girls in love, yeah
Be careful where you touch
'Cause it's a little too much
She's got everything she'll need, yeah
But she doesn't want me
She's turning on the heat
She's turning on the heat
She's got that look in her eye
I think I've got to know why
Oooooh, hot girls in love, in love
In love
In love

Thursday, March 08, 2007

We Need A Plan...

I love being a guy. Because unlike women I believe, I can appreciate the utter brilliance and beauty of this whole vignette

I think it's a factor of boldness. The balls as an actor to not so much act, or emulate, or attempt to be funny, but to channel the absolute true nature of the male mind and reveal it to the world. Whether it's Evel strapping into the rocket cycle and saying "No really, I really can pull this off" and you can see in his eye that he believes (because in every man's mind, they thought "yeah, technically, it's possible. I'd give it a try to if I was him." --- or Carrey and Daniels unleashing their inner 9 year olds for Dumb and Dumber, it comes down to the power to be vulnerable. To reveal truth, to open up and show what we guys are capable of thinking, imagining, and planning. In the face of all reason.

Guys get Dumb and Dumber because we were once those guys. To see adult males nail that perfect blend of the sharpest emotional imagination coupled with a blunted inexperienced social awarness (i.e. 9 year old boys), is a work of art. We all KNEW we shouldn't be smuggling small explosives into the treefort to upgrade our army guy wars, but c'mon. Somewhere deep down we knew we had "being kids" in our head as a legit excuse if sh*t went down. Or up (in flames) I should say. That diplomatic accord between ignorance and can-do imagination is what fuels the genius adults who find a way to keep riding that mindspace as they "mature"; "How can I push the envelope of making something as cool as possible without letting social practicality persaude me to cool my ideas?"

Well, I'm tangenting again. Point is, in times of drama, when no one's watching, we'll likely revert to the light, flexible, mobile, imaginative mind of our former 10 year old self.

Ladies, remember this when you're sons get to 8-10.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

VH. What else?

It's been awhile. And Rolling Stone provided us a shot of the Van Halen 2007 lineup. I wrote this to a friend regarding the pic and how Wolfgang Van Halen looks older than we imagined he might. And of course, my thoughts on all the debate about Wolfie being the bass player, when it should be original bassist Michael Anhtony, who's been in the band all along, and now out because of bullshit with Eddie and Al. Whatever it is.


I'm thinking that Wolfie being 15 and the son of a rock star in 2007, he more than anyone is handy with a computer and internet, he grew up with one. He likely knows more than anyone how much hatred is probably being aimed his way. Rich rock star kid or not, if you were 15 and knew 30 years worth of diehard fans (who he grew up seeing hate Sammy and expecially Gary), and now HE's the orange among the apples? He spent his dinner table conversations growing up listening to Mom and Eddie deal with all that new singer backlash.

Then again, to play Devil's Advocate, how mad would we be if it wasn't Wolfie? If it's not going to be MA for whatever reasons, think about how pissed we'd be if it was someone like GnR's bassist, one of the Velvet Revolver pukes, or some L. A. session f*ck? Track record or not, in my opinion, if it's gonna be someone not MA, Wolfie is the next best potential candidate from a "keeping it in the family" perspective. (I know, I know... the pun, har har.)

I don't get a sense that Eddie and Al would strategically use him like this just for that PR reason. God damn'em if they are, just to keep the upper hand from a PR spin standpoint.

Then again - many of my friends and I have been in bands and understand that bands and rock and roll are petty activities at best - it's just a rock band. And if Wolfie can play bass and is a prodigy as much as Eddie proclaims, it totally makes sense. How much crap have we musicians dealt with in finding replacement players? Wolfie has no baggage, what 15 year old doesn't want to go on tour and rock out?, there's no worries on whether he'll make it to practice or not, no wife and family to deal with... the real world stuff that can get in the way of a band's progress.

For all the ridiculousness the VH family has brought to us VH fans, my spidey-sense tingles that Wolfie is going to impress us, whether we want to be or not. There's something in Eddie's voice, the words he chooses (and can't choose) when he talks about it. I've been listening to Eddie talk for years, I've heard him make banter, I've heard him make excuses out of nervousness, I've heard him cut right to it. And whether stupid reasonings or not, later on when everything shook out, in hindsight his comments were consistent with what went down. I think he's a an emotional savant, like the Trey Anastasio's of the world. 110% in touch with their emotions which comes thru in the awesome music, maybe not the best critical thinkers (and that emotionalism gets them into trouble to keep that circuit hot. Usually it's drugs.)

Anyway, point is - I believe Eddie when he talks about how good Wolfie is. Not because I want to believe it, or because he should because he's his Dad, but because Eddie talks about it in this way where he's still kinda weirded out about it. I've heard Eddie talk of other players, the way he grants compliments or praises their styles and chops. Gushing Dad's aren't at a loss for words, it just pours out from my experience. They might stammer because they don't want to seem gushing. When Eddie talks about Wolfie, it's like he's still getting his head around it. That he actually has a son, and his son can actually play.

It should be MA on the tour. Period.
It's gonna be Wolfie.
Might as well get used to it.

And who knows - it might be Wolfie who acts as the innocent bridge who brokers a peace between his Dad/Uncle and MA. Maybe Wolfie won't handle the tour rigors or freaks out. Maybe it's him saying "Dad I can't handle the backlash, I'm just a f*cking kid. Get over your sh*t and get Uncle Mike out here. For me."

"After School Special"-ish I know... but Roth and Sammy toured together. We've seen weirder. At the end of the day, Wolfie is the last final straw in Eddie and Al's life. It ain't Valerie anymore, or one of Al's ex-wives. Wolfie is the barometer. And if he bails, Eddie's emotionalism won't handle it, they'll either get MA or call it off. If they didn't they'd be absolute bastards.

I'm going to give Wolfie a chance. He's the only person I would if it ain't going to be Michael Anthony.

Ah, Van Halen.
Oy f*cking vei... again.

I think the best part is that I think Wolfie and Roth will bond like nobody will believe. Remember how much you and Dave bonded when YOU were 15?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

The Van Halen Memorial Day '84 radio special --

The peak and best of times for VH, a sweet 4 hours of full VH tunes spliced with them partying in the radio studio, cracking each other up, wasted, and Roth being Roth telling great stories to sequeway the songs. The Top of the World period for them. And you can hear it.

It just got posted at the Van Halen News Desk and talk about a time capsule. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

My best pal in high school Dan taped this off the air and we'd pound beers in the summer and replay this out the car speakers at the drinking spots. This special covers everything we all loved about the VH. I've looked for this for years online. This recording should go in the R&R Hall of Fame archives.

If you don't have the time to hear thru all the songs, you can move slider to end of songs and hear Roth doing his jive. I just got full body goose bumps re-hearing (for first time in over 20 years) the one Roth quote my buddy and I used to drunkenly recant all the time:

At 19:18 in:
"...we're havin' the biiiig first weekend of the summer celebration babies, we're talkin' Mu-mu-mu-mu-mu-...Memorial Day! So remem-ber-er-er-er-er...stick with me, cuz I'm with Michael, Alex, Ed's gonna be joinin' me in a minute...Flame On!
[announcer]: Our party with Van Halen is just getting started, so don't go away."

I haven't hit a Memorial Day since and not said that to myself. Every year.

Don't put this in your notes, put it in your life.

Friday, January 12, 2007

HD will win out over Blu-Ray. Period. I call it now. I have been wondering for awhile how HD and Blu-Ray would fare, but this cinched it.

Adult film industry embracing HD DVD

Has anyone ever read any history, ever?? Any tech format that went with porn, they won. Always and forever. Market share, changing tech parameters, improved laser bit read rations per sq. inch of media, blah blah blah...the common denominator is if this guy can see Ginger Lynn play hide the salami's.

"Sony suffered by their reluctance to sign licensing agreements with studios to have films made available in Betamax. Sony also refused to allow pornographic material to be released for their system. Betamax's combination of lower market share and a lack of software both strengthened VHS's hand, and gradually the public turned away from Beta. In 1983 the top selling video recorder in the UK was the Sanyo Beta VTC5000. 1984 was Beta's best year with a 25% market share, but by 1986 it was down to 7.5% and continued to decline further."