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Showing posts from August, 2007

Two hours

From what I've seen, if there's one MTV show that's still beloved by people these days, it's 120 Minutes . As someone who watched during the Matt Pinfield years, it still is very much beloved for me. Serving as an introduction to bands from Pavement to the Promise Ring to Belle & Sebastian, I'm forever grateful. With a number of clips played on the show back in the day, as well as in-studio performances, on YouTube, now there's a Tumblr site devoted to them. (Kudos to Idolator and Jason for pointing this out to me.) The strange thing for me is: I dont spend hours upon hours watching old clips these days. If this was twelve years ago, I would, but it's not what I'm really into now. Not to sound like a party-pooper, but it's like watching commercials for a product you already bought. The record, like the band, is the product being peddled to you. Since I bought the CD, do I really need to watch the videos again? This said, I enjoy watching video

Would you like some coffee?

As stingy as I am with buying almost anything, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and quit making excuses. I often remember this whenever I go back to my copy of Scott Walker's In 5 Easy Pieces box set, which I picked up from the Tower Records liquidation sale last fall. I had sampled just a few tracks and read rave reviews, but it was still a rather pricey gamble. But I thought: where else am I going to hear all this material and get it for $25 off the regular price? Plus, being a liquidation sale, it might not be there the following week. So I just shut up and bought it for $40 and some change. I haven't regretted the decision as I've been looping back around to his material as of late (after listening to it almost every week from October to March). Kind of in the same vein is my decision to pre-order the DVD set people have waiting quite a few years for: the entire Twin Peaks series , including the 2-hour pilot episode and a load of supplemental goodies not fou

Then I wake up and you're not there

I think now would be a good time to resurrect my version of what Frank often does on his blog. Except in my case, I want to share videos of songs from my childhood before Nirvana and grunge came along. To recap: I was not born with a hip taste in music, so a lot of Top 40 music in the Eighties was my introduction to modern music. Since I'm not one to piss all over my past and pretend like it never happened, I like to bring up songs that I still like even though I have a much different perspective now. One of the most inescapable hit songs of 1986 was Glass Tiger's "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)." It was a regular on the playlist for New Orleans' B97, so I heard it quite a few times and always liked it. But these days, it seems like one of the many big hits from this era that you don't hear often on the radio or in clubs. I guess it's not as danceable as "You Spin Me Round" or tests as well with focus groups. For me, even though its pro

Come on and wash these shores away

Selling out is a topic I've touched on here so many times before, but like other topics, the reason why I bring it up again is when I gain a new perspective on it. So, allow me to tread some new ground in familiar territory. As someone who has followed a specific genre that often discusses selling out (punk rock and its various off-shoots), I've seen full cycles with bands from indies to major labels. I believe it started for me firsthand in 1996 when the Offspring moved from Epitaph to Columbia. The band's popularity had become so big that moving to a major label was a must. Did I really care about this move or how popular the band was? No. Did I think their next record would be an abomination because it was on a major label? No. The only thing I thought about were the vocal minority who feared the worst was on its way. What was "the worst"? Well, it depends on who you ask. As proven over and over and over again, punk rock bands making the jump to a major label r

I'm playing twice tomorrow

I've never done two apperances in one day, but that will change tomorrow. I will be drumming with J.D. Whittenburg early in the morning and again much later in the evening. Here are the details: #1 Good Day Live , Fox 4 morning show When? Sometime in the 8am hour. Where can I see this? If you live in the DFW area, it's channel 4 on your TV. How long is the set? Two songs. How many funny faces will you make? A few. More info: #2 The Cavern When? Midnight Where is this place? Lower Greenville How long is the set? 45-50 minutes How much does it cost? $6 and it's 21+ Who else is playing? Somebody's Darling and Hardin Sweaty & the Ready to Go. How many funny funny faces will you make? Plenty. More info: The Cavern

Out of Step (TV edition)

I may stay on top of things like new music and movies, but when it comes to certain technology, I'm way out of step with the times. And I have plenty of reasons why. The TV situation in particular is laughable by today's standards. My 32" TV still works fine, but it's not a widescreen TV. As much as I'd like to watch widescreen DVDs on a widescreen TV, buying one isn't in the budget right now. Along those lines is recording TV shows. Well, I still don't have cable hooked up in my house, but I don't miss it. I'm too busy reading, writing and watching DVDs. I find myself way more productive when I don't have the nag/guilt of watching my fill of something I'm paying for. So I still rely on my VCR to tape episodes of LOST just in case I miss them. TiVo just isn't in the plans either. Connected to the VCR is my Playstation 2. I rarely play it, but sometimes I'll play a Tony Hawk game, NHL 2003 or Guitar Hero II . I enjoy it and I'm

Come Away With Me

Back when I worked at Best Buy, I often encountered a rather peculiar type of music fan: those who had passed the 40-year-old mark and wanted soothing pop-rock/easy listening to contrast their hectic life. I'm talking the people who bought Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love , the Titanic soundtrack and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me . A certain percentage also liked new age and smooth jazz as well, but the point was, they wanted music that was easy and polished. Frankly, seeing this type of music fandom was scary to me. Why fear crept into me was, from what I could tell, these men and women used to be fans of rock 'n' roll. Yet with the decision to get married, move out to the suburbs and drive their kids in SUVs meant they had to "grow up" and ditch that rock 'n' roll music. Modern rock music scared them, so they wanted music that was light and elegant. Their idea of "variety" was not far-reaching: Kenny G, Celine Dion and Matchbox

The Photo Album

Here's another example of looping back around to a record and finding it to be fantastic. As of late, I've finally understanding the greatness that is Death Cab for Cutie's The Photo Album . The Photo Album is the band's third proper and was released in 2001. At that point, my fandom of the band was very bizarre. I couldn't get into their second album, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes , but found their Forbidden Love EP incredible. I kept telling myself to stay with the band and try to find tracks as strong as the ones on the EP. This would end up taking a few years. Back during my brief 2002 MP3 pillage, along with getting into XTC, the Pernice Brothers and the New Pornographers, I downloaded the rest of the Death Cab's catalog. I also had a promo copy of The Photo Album , but I found myself with so much material that I didn't know where to start. Somehow I started listening to their 2003 album, Transatlanticism , and found myself really enjoyin

Words only got in the way

Reading Nathan's interview with Frank Oz yesterday brought up a lot of memories of an interview I did a few years ago for Post . If you haven't read the interview, Oz often cuts Nathan off and comes off as condescending with certain responses. At the same time, Oz takes the blame about various matters in his career. It's an interesting read, but at the same time I felt weird reading a totally competent interviewer be berated because he doesn't seem to use the right words. In my case, the person I was interviewing -- who will be unnamed here -- is a major, major person featured in the book and I was thrilled he agreed to do an interview. He seemed very approachable and accommodating via e-mail correspondence prior to the interview, but things were a whole lot different once I got him on the phone. One of the first things he said to me was, "I don't know why you're interviewing me for this." Gulp. Deer in headlights. Make your stand now or you're g

Girls Can Tell

This week's edition of Leah 's Podqast series is on "dating advice for single guys." All three guests hit on some really sore spots for me and that's probably why I liked this episode. As painful as it is to hear about this stuff, it actually puts things in a better context for me. I'd love to be on a rebuttal episode, but even if that happens, I'd probably talk the whole nineteen minutes non-stop. So, in order to rein in my response, here it goes in written form. Three key pieces of advice given in the episode are: Women are really not that difficult . It's not rocket science. Guys don't really have to think about it a whole lot. Just be yourself and be confident. You can smell fear. You can tell when a guy is afraid to come and talk to you or a guy doesn't really feel too confident about who he is. It sort of makes you not take notice of them. Dating is ultimately a numbers game. It would be easy for me to take this advice and just relax. T

Energy for what?

As I noticed an unopened can of Rockstar Energy Drink in my fridge this afternoon, I got to thinking about energy drinks in general. What's the appeal of something like Red Bull or Rockstar? What kind of "energy" do you really get from one? And why are they so popular when mixed with hard liquor? I've only had one experience with Red Bull and it was quite a trip. While attending a party one block away from my house, I decided to try this beloved mix of Red Bull and vodka. Funny thing is, I don't remember if I had one or two cups of this concoction; it was that strong. The whole night was not a blur, but I was pretty buzzed until I went to bed at 3am. I was talking really fast and was not very restrained. And this was with Diet Red Bull. I think energy drinks would come in handy if you were really tired at work and trying to get through the day. I've had no interest in having one at my job. Sometimes I'll have a half-cup of coffee and that will be enough.

Step aside, Red

A recent Crosstalk asked a really good question: Are Superhero Comics Played Out? It's a question I've asked myself over the years and my answer has always been yes. As a matter of fact, it's a big reason why I don't read them. I think, "how many times do I want to read about Spider-Man's origin, certain X-Men members dying and resurrecting, Marvel/DC crossovers, et al?" This stuff may be played out to me, but that's OK. I think there's a fundamental reason why superheroes stick around and should stick around. I can't speak for people my age who still read superhero books, but I will say new generations of kids are always getting into comics. And they don't always want to read a reprint from the Sixties bound in a trade paperback. So, reintroducing an iconic hero is going to happen over and over again for the foreseeable future. With my own experience, as campy as the Super Friends and Spider-Man cartoons were, they got me into superhero

Defensive Bickering

It fascinates me how we get really defensive with people we don't really know. Meaning, somebody we only really know through a message board post, a comment in a comment section, a random e-mail or even a phonecall. Yet we somehow take stock in these people. I wonder why. It's one thing to get slightly defensive with a good friend over something like a record. But it seems much different when it's somebody you don't really know. I recently had a friendly debate with Matt over Metallica's St. Anger . He absolutely hates that record while I think it's an underappreciated gem. Is our friendship hanging in the balance over which one is right? Nope. This is a matter of personal opinion. He hates the record for his own reasons and I love it for my own reasons. If this was on a message board and I had never met Matt in real life, this would be a whole other matter. For so long, it seemed like the only places I could discuss my various favorite bands was online. Be it

Once there were parking lots/now it's a peaceful oasis

So many band names come from all kinds of pop culture. Some are funny inside jokes, like how At the Drive-In got their name from Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me." Some are just random little things. Well, what happens when you hear about where a band name comes from and then you see where it comes from (or vice versa)? It's a strange coincidence that's happened a few times to me over the years. Back in college, I really dug a melodic hardcore band from Chicago called 88 Fingers Louie. I had no idea where they got their name from until I read that it came from an episode of The Flintstones . I had seen so many episodes of that show growing up, but I was blanking on the episode for some reason. By pure chance a few weeks later, while visiting a friend in Austin, his little sister had The Flintstones on the TV. Turns out it was the "Hot Piano" episode with . . . 88 Fingers Louie. Weird timing I thought. Last year, I was very taken with Clerks II for various re


Ryan brought it up: Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction came out twenty years ago. This also reminds me: it's been twenty years since I moved to Texas. I must say, it doesn't feel like twenty years; it's more like twelve years.


Blame my imagination, but whenever I'd read about essential albums released at least ten years before, I thought the times were a tad more "innocent." Meaning, this great record could never be made in this day and age and there's no way something new will ever come close. Well, seeing how that's a load of baloney, but credit should be given where it's due. In the latest issue of Alternative Press , there's an article devoted to the "Class of 1997: a look back at 10 albums that shaped that punk of today." Being a reader of AP off and on since 1997, it was rather surreal to read about records I remembered being released back in the day. I was a freshman in college and dug for a lot of music that wasn't so easily found (or not found at all) on MTV, VH1 or daytime radio. This was not an innocent time per se, just a different time compared to my life before and after it. While certain magazines spun about trying to make bold statements in the now

"What is this obsession people have with books?"

As I go through another round of edits on Post , not only do I wonder when this will come out, but how it will come out. Moreover, I wonder if there will ever be a time when the books we read will be via the Internet. Akin to how we listen to music with MP3s, get news from websites and read about bands via blogs, I wonder if books will be next. I highly doubt it's going to happen in the near future, but consider the question: would you really want to read a novel on your computer? Books are portable and can be read anywhere at any time. Unlike an MP3 or CD player blaring music, you don't worry if reading a book is bugging someone next to you on a train. (That is, unless you're reading aloud.) Plus, there haven't been any advancements in making a book completely available online and compatible with something like an iPod. There's something inherent with surfing the Internet: it's hard to stare at something for very long. As much as I appreciate well written artic

Back to School

Once again, I'm the guest on Leah 's Girl Talk Podqast this week. This week's edition is devoted to high school. I discuss matters with a high school senior and my ten-year high school reunion.