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Showing posts from November, 2007

"If you could've found out what Rosebud meant, I bet that would've explained everything."

I accept the fact that writing a biography is bound to have some debate about portrayal. Even stating in Post 's prologue that this is an in-depth peek at certain bands and an underground style of music going mainstream, I'm sure I'll hear about how I'm missing something or there's stuff I forgot. It's not because I'm a lazy researcher; I argue it's because I cannot fully replicate a complete experience in book form. No one can. A book offers a window into life, and can show a very balanced view of it. But experiencing life only comes with living life. That said, I can't think of anything worse than a significant period in rock music going undocumented. Debate all you want about who or what was more influential, but at least trying to put some sort of thoughtful perspective is better than doing nothing. I've taken much time and concern for the past four years to make sure my findings are as accurate as possible. I didn't set out to be a &quo

This is not a charade. We need total concentration.

Anybody else have trouble reading and/or editing while listening to a podcast? As much as I'd like to listen to the latest Sound Opinions or SModcast episode while I edit a blog post or another Post chapter, I can't. I can listen to music in another room while I read or edit, but when it comes to listening to people talking, I'd rather be doing something lighter, like cruising through MySpace or playing on the drumpad. I figure it's a concentration matter. I tend to slightly tune certain sentences out from the podcast and then think, "What are they talking about?" So, I rewind and realize I've missed something. I find this all odd since I can play a drumset and listen to others, but I'm not coordinated enough to do this.

Over and over

From time to time, I tend to look over at my DVD shelf and stare. There are plenty of movies up there, but what takes up some precious shelf space are TV shows split up by season. Seinfeld and Dinner for Five take up a quarter of a shelf while LOST and Chappelle's Show take up about one-fifth. As I've watched the entire Twin Peaks series, I've wondered about how often I've actually re-watched entire seasons on DVD. The answer is none. Keep in mind, I love all the shows I own on DVD, but I have to work up a strong desire to rewatch entire seasons start to finish. Since I like to watch an entire season in one blast (ie, one or two episodes a day), that tends to put other things awaiting to be watched on the backburner. Plus, watching an entire season is mainly for catching-up purposes for me. In the case of LOST , since I got into the show a couple of episodes into the second season, I had a lot of catching up to do. But have I rewatched the entire series so far to a

I practice daily in my room

In regards to the previous post (and Py's post on the same topic), I figured I'd share some more thoughts on the subject. Py mentioned how drum instructional videos "let you see superstar drummers break down complicated beats so you can feel like a talentless idiot." And I agree. But I think I've reached a point where my attitude about drumming has changed for the better. Back when I was in middle school and high school, I had a desire for being a virtuoso on either guitar or drums. I chalk it up to getting into more technically proficient bands like Metallica, Rush and Dream Theater. Playing a lot of notes means you're a virtuoso, right? Well, that's one way of looking at it. When I realized I didn't have the patience to learn guitar solos or complicated drumbeats, I forged ahead with a style that has been the style I like: simple, but not too simple or too unorthodox. Play for the song and don't over- or under-play. What all does that entail? W

. . . and most importantly, how to dominate a jam session

Major kudos to the AV Club for posting this interview with SNL 's Fred Armisen and his alter ego, Jens Hannemann. The YouTube clip is priceless as it spoofs a world I knew a lot about during my teenage drummer years: the instructional drum video. If you've ever looked up at one of the TVs in Guitar Center, chances are you've seen one of these instructional videos. In no disrespect to those that want to learn an instrument beyond the basics, there's a blurry line between playing and over-playing. Oftentimes people go a little overboard. In the spirit of great satire, Armisen's nailed another memorable character here, even if it's just for drummer nerds like myself.

The Aeroplane Flies High

Despite my suspicions about the resuscitation of the Smashing Pumpkins brand name, I must say seeing the reconfigured line-up last night was a good time. As a matter of fact, it was a really good time. And probably better than previous tours with previous line-ups. Yes, I'm probably out of line for thinking that, but let me explain. Maybe I'm not recalling the right performances, but I don't think I'd ever seen the Pumpkins perform where it didn't feel awkward. Be it tension between band members or the playing was sloppy, but something felt off. What I saw last night was a well-oiled show with a sense of spontaneity. This was a $70 ticket show for me and I didn't feel gypped. Aside from the not-so-appealing-to-me tunes from Zeitgeist , I enjoyed the mix of singles, album tracks and "Drown." Yes, "Drown." New members Ginger Reyes, Jeff Schroeder and Lisa Harriton fit well with Jimmy and Billy, coming across as valued members more than hired gu

Two Roads Diverge

The wait for Richard Kelly's Southland Tales has been long. Very long. I'd even say it's been too long. In development since Donnie Darko wrapped in 2001, along with other writing and directing projects, the six years saw expectations rising to monolithic proportions. With a negative buzz overshadowing it (and the flood of even more now that it is out), I just wanted to speak up about why I really liked this film. And I mean I really liked it. I'm not surprised Southland Tales has generated polarizing reviews. I could not tell you a clear-cut synopsis of the plot or what everything exactly means. I couldn't with Donnie Darko after my first viewing and it will take repeat viewings of Southland Tales to do the same. But that brings up an interesting question: is Southland Tales worth watching again and again? I say, by all means, yes. This is one of the few films I've seen where a short and simple review cannot justify its merits or faults. If Donnie Darko

Milk It

When I started writing Post , I didn't know of anyone else even attempting a book on post-hardcore/emo's history. Nothing Feels Good was on store shelves, but that only presented a superficial glance filled with typos. I always hoped more people would come out of the woodwork and write portrayals of how things were back in the proverbial day. As the years went on, I heard about Norm's book , Brian's book , Trevor and Leslie's book , and Ronen's book , and was relieved to find out we were all coming from different angles, writing distinctly different books. Still, there's been a fear of somebody putting out a book almost exactly like your book, at the almost exact same time. It takes thunder away and it can scare off readers. I know about this topic all too well as a reader myself. For me, I usually read only one definitive book on a band, mainly to know their basic story. In the case of Nirvana, I haven't read Heavier Than Heaven , Journals or Nirvana:

This is beginning to hurt . . .

James Montgomery's latest Bigger Than the Sound piece hits on a topic that's been mulling around for years: how does Weezer remain popular despite being a pale version of themselves when they were with bassist Matt Sharp? For me, it's been a slow decline of receding interest. To put things in context, when Weezer's Blue Album came out, they were a rare, distinct band. Instead of hiding their geeky side, they embraced it in a very sincere way. Nobody else was doing that in a popular rock band and, with those ten snappy tunes, Weezer were kings for a couple of years. Yet when Pinkerton dropped, it seemed like the band was phoning it in and being really bitter about life. I still remember Tim telling me the day it came out that the record " suuuuuuccccccckks " and based on my viewings of the "El Scorcho" and "Good Life" videos, I wasn't that compelled to check Pinkerton out. I think a lot of people did the same since the record disapp

John Congleton Punk Planet interview (extended)

The following interview ran in the final issue of Punk Planet , albeit slightly edited for space. Here's the full thing: Tackling macabre in rock music often involves dressing up in costumes and putting on make-up. It’s a surefire way to sell fantasy, but thankfully that’s not the way everyone does this. John Congleton, vocalist/guitarist/mastermind behind Dallas-based the Paper Chase , is not some gloomy guy who puts on an act for those who wish every day was Halloween. Congleton, with his blonde hair and slender physique, is a sharp, level-headed guy who draws more from what he learned as a pop-punk/post-hardcore fan in the Nineties than the movies he watched growing up. Since ’98, Congleton has done four albums, as well as a few split singles and EPs, with the Paper Chase. As evidenced by their material, including 2006’s Now You Are One of Us on Kill Rock Stars, their sound is filled with tonal and atonal melodies found on pianos, orchestral strings and samples from obscure sou

A place for . . . potential readers

If you're on MySpace and don't have a very restricted privacy level, you've received more than your fair share of unwanted Friend Requests. I have received plenty from crappy bands and aspiring porn stars, but it's never gotten to a point where I couldn't handle it. Yet I've done something for my newly-created page for Post that could be misconstrued as committing a similar annoyance. I'd like to explain myself. Make no mistake, I want to get the word out on my book. This is not for fame or a feeling of warmth because I have a lot of friends on my list. The deal is, how I've spread the word (and will continue to) takes a lot of time and energy. I spent almost four years getting everything just right and I don't want this effort to go unnoticed outside of my friends, family and regular readers. Instead of trying to befriend those who might have a slim interest in reading the book, I decided to go for ones I think might be very interested in reading.

Open the floor . . .

Ripped directly from a post on Donna's blog, I thought I'd do the same. With a 220-page manuscript needing another edit and the holidays coming up, the amount of time I have for blogging is a little uncertain. Even as a single guy with very little responsibility, it's becoming a little hard to juggle all the things I'm doing and want to do. Plus, I feel I've been running a little dry on ideas for blog posts as of late. So, I figured it was time to hear from you the reader. I'd like to find out what you want me to write about. Leave a question or topic in the comments or in an e-mail , and I'll do my best to address as many of them as possible. Don't be shy -- what have you always wanted to know about the enigma that is Eric? (Or about the faceless proprietor of the blogspace you happen to have wandered into by mistake.)

That's What (Music-Related Write-Ups) Often Do

Despite reading books that aren't on music (ie, Stephen King's Cell ) and watching DVDs that aren't centered around bands ( Twin Peaks , The Fog ), as well as beginning another full edit of the Post manuscript, I've been very active with reading articles and watching documentaries on bands. I might be wrong, but it's been a little more than usual. As a result, I've been going bonkers wanting to hear more music by these bands. I have to give full credit to Decibel 's cover story on the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan for this recent surge. Dissecting the last few years of the band into a coherent and non-tabloid-ish affair, I felt compelled to dig out my copy of their '04 barnburner, Miss Machine . With their next album Ire Works dropping next week, I'm pumped. But why get all excited about a band when I read about bands all the time? I say it's in the way the story is told. In the case of the Dillinger article, how Kevin Stewart-Panko details the

Knock-Down Drag-Out

While having a meaningful chat with Ryan at our favorite bar a few weeks ago, a track from Weezer's apparently-universally-abhorred Make Believe came on the sound system. The track was "The Damage in Your Heart" and I found it surprisingly charming. I had never heard the song before as friends of mine advised me to avoid the album and I didn't have much interest in the album anyway. Now, I understand the band may never cook up something as potent as The Blue Album or Pinkerton , but I got to thinking. Since bassist Matt Sharp departed from the band and they regrouped from a long hibernation, Weezer has released three albums: The Green Album , Maladroit and Make Believe . All three records have sold well, but longtime fans feel they don't hold a candle to the band's seminal material. If I remember correctly, my friend Matt felt Green was a decent pop rock record, Maladroit was embarrassing and Believe went back and damaged a few great songs in their back

Blow out that cherry bomb

This past Friday night was my maiden visit to the slightly new House of Blues in Victory Plaza. There has been some negative hubub about the mere existence of this place on local blogs, so I figured I'd chip in with my experience. As always, albeit a few months late. I could be misunderstanding this, but it sounds a lot like criticism people have with the House of Blues is that it's just another big company gobbling local business up. It's considered the CVS, Starbucks, McDonald's, Blockbuster or Clear Channel of music venues. Yet an important note to clear up is that there is only one House of Blues in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Denton area. It's not like every single live venue has been taken over and rebranded. Nope. It's just one venue out of many venues. Based solely on my attendance of Friday's Spoon/New Pornographers/Emma Pollock show, I had zero problems with the place. I was even impressed with how there were options with where to park. I lucked out get


Earlier this week, Josh did a post devoted to Emmylou Harris after watching Knocked Up . What's the connection? Well, Knocked Up features "We Are Nowhere and It is Now," a Bright Eyes song where Ms. Harris contributes backing vocals. He also mentioned other songs on the soundtrack , namely Loudon Wainwright's contributions. I strongly agree about the greatness of the songs in the movie, but one song I was not familiar with really took to me. And it comes from a very un-hip source: Tommy Lee. I mean no offense to Josh, his blog or his readers, but a part of me felt like I had to be really brave to post the following comment: Great songs on this soundtrack, including the Tommy Lee song during the drive to the hospital. Why this feeling? I think it comes from the numerous times I've felt berated by people who think my taste in music is suspect. No matter how many times I've written about this general subject, the level of mean and callous statements I've re