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Showing posts from 2008


I did another write-up for Late Night Wallflower . This time it's on one of my favorite records of the year. Probably my utmost favorite album of the year is not something anybody I know that’s into punk, hardcore, or post-hardcore would truly like. Matter of fact, it would probably make people question my credibility and taste in music in general. Yet I see not guilt in something that I truly like, and see no real reason to have my tongue in my cheek as I write this. I can’t help but be rather defensive in describing my fandom of Journey’s 2008 album, Revelation . Read the rest here .

At the Movies Revisited

In the last few days, I've read this Los Angeles Times article on Ben Lyons, one of the critics on the rebooted, Ebert-and-Roeper-less version of At the Movies , a few times. I've also checked out Stop Ben Lyons! a few times. This prompted me to watch some reviews on the At the Movies site . Do I think the overall nature of film criticism is going downhill? Nope. Instead, I'm getting a better understanding how I find out about movies and decide whether or not I should see them compared to how I used to find out about movies and decide whether or not I should see them. There was a time when Siskel and Ebert was the only place I really found out about movies beyond trailers, commercials, magazines, and Entertainment Tonight . Like what 120 Minutes was to me as a music fan, Siskel and Ebert was where I could see more coverage on stuff beyond the mainstream. But this was in the mid- to late Nineties. Hard for me to believe because it doesn't feel like it, but this wa

Above all . . . it's a love story

This week's A.V. Club inventory focuses on twenty-three films that have yet to appear on Region 1 DVD. Reading through it, I'm reminded that not everything is on DVD, and there is still a hunt for hard-to-find gems. I knew there was a good reason to still have a region-free DVD player and a VCR. Thanks to Trailers From Hell and almost any interview with Quentin Tarantino, there is no shortage of lost films that I might like to see. Part of the enjoyment in these movies is the scarcity of finding a copy. As nice as it is to have old films restored and readily available on DVD, there seems to be something special with the hunt. Case in point, a few months ago, I watched Freebie and the Bean for the first time. I enjoyed the film even though what I watched was a DVD-R rip from an old VHS tape. Since the aspect ratio of the film (2.35:1 I believe) was shrunk to fit the pan-and-scan 4:3, plenty got left out of the picture. Still, I found the film to be enjoyable and I hope someda

Happy Holidays

Blogging will be scant for the next couple of weeks because of the holidays. I hope everybody has a nice holiday. To tide you over for now, here are some links: My book is a great stocking stuffer. I did a quick rundown of three great shows I saw this year for Frontburner. My first column for Late Night Wallflower is online. I was on TV earlier this week. Cake Wrecks is a chance to laugh at cakes gone wrong. Stuff White People Like is a chance for people my age to laugh at themselves. Finally, here are a few Christmas videos to enjoy.

You're only as good as your drummer

Throughout the month of October every year, I think about what all I'd like to put on my Christmas list. This past Halloween, I decided that a certain item will not be on my list this year: Guitar Hero World Tour . I have no problem with playing guitar on the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games. I have no problem with friends of mine playing these games and having a good time. It's just that my exposure to the drum parts on Rock Band , and especially Guitar Hero World Tour , has made me rather annoyed with these games. When I played GHWT at a Halloween party this year, I tried various degrees of expertise and I could barely get through the songs. Super-simple songs, like the Smashing Pumpkins' "Today," were difficult to pull off for me. I can play the songs with no problem on my drumset, but no dice in the virtual world. Probably my biggest gripe here is that a sense of rhythm is not needed. When it came to keeping a beat, no problem. When it came to doing fills, fo

Sometimes They Come Back . . . Again and Again

Well, the timing was weird for this, given the topic of yesterday's post: Variety reports today that Rob Zombie will be making a sequel to his take on Halloween . If this is as any good as Zombie's director's cut of Halloween , I will probably wait until his director's cut comes out on DVD. What's frustrating about slasher sequels is that they all seem like a ploy. No matter how gruesome the apparent death of a monster, the monster always seems to come back. My cynical side says the real monster is not the one you see on the screen: it's the producers that keep wanting to audiences to come back each new installment. And yes, this is somebody who likes all of the Saw sequels. At least when the lead villain was killed in those movies, he didn't come back (for now).

Fooled Around and . . . Liked a Remake

In my continuing effort to arm myself with reasons why movies should not be remade, I've found myself defending a remake of one of my all-time favorites. No, it's not Zack Snyder's take on Dawn of the Dead (which isn't that bad and is surprisingly decent). And it's definitely not the Black Christmas remake (which looks good, but that's about it). I'm talking about Rob Zombie's take on Halloween . The original Halloween is something I watch about once a year, usually near the end of October for obvious reasons. I still jump at the scares, find the acting believable, and find the film's look still really special. I thought a remake was a bad, bad idea for several reasons, re-stating my reasons why the idea of remaking is asking for trouble. Now I'm not about to say Rob Zombie's take on the material is better than the original, but I will say see this movie if you're curious about the Halloween sequels and/or connection-in-name. If you w

A year in watching movies

Earlier this year, between the completion of Post and its release, the amount of DVDs I watched rose significantly. Now it's to a point where I see an average of three DVDs a week, all while finding time to do others things. Again, in lieu of having cable, I choose to watch a lot of DVDs. I don't see a lot of new movies in the theater, mainly because there are a lot of movies out there on DVD that I want to see for the first time. Four movies I actually saw in a theater And those four were: Iron Man , The Dark Knight , Saw V , and Zack and Miri Make a Porno . I still gripe about going to a theater, but these were movies I could just not wait to see them on DVD. Iron Man and The Dark Knight packed a visual and audio punch my home system couldn't, so I'd have to say these films were more satisfying to see in the theater. DVD I bought just for a commentary track, even though I had never seen the film before It seems rather risky and stupid, but I bought the "Direct

In hopes of not sounding like Matt Foley

Credit goes to Scott for this one, based on a recent post . The day after Halloween this year, I came to a realization. Ten years ago, I spent my Halloween alone in my off-campus apartment watching Halloween and Halloween II on my 13-inch TV. This year, I spent it watching Zack and Miri Make a Porno in a theater and then going to two different Halloween parties hosted by friends. It was upon comparing these events based on my ten years of living in the D/FW area that I thought it was safe to say that I have made progress on the social front. Upon this realization, I was reminded of how I had to keep a sense of faith with going to a university where I only knew a couple of people. My social life would have probably been easier if I went to the university my friends went to, but I wanted to go to a smaller school. Call it the road not taken or something like that. I thought I should just stick with making my own path. I was still in touch with my friends, and I'm still in touch wi

Anywhere But Here

I'd say one of the things I truly enjoy with Wes Anderson's film is their look. Some of them look like they could be filmed anywhere. In the case of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore , they were filmed in Dallas and Houston, respectively, but they don't look like the Dallas or Houston most people see. Maybe that's why I don't always think of those films when I drive around their filming locations. Now, on the flipside, with a recent viewing of RoboCop (after not seeing it for seventeen years), I couldn't help but think of Dallas whenever there was an exterior shot. Save for the scenes in the saw mill, the exterior shots were shot around downtown Dallas. Dallas City Hall and Reunion Tower are very visible, and I couldn't imagine the story was set in Detroit. I guess it boils down to the landmarks that are used in a film. Aside from the big Fair Park ferris wheel being visible in a scene in Bottle Rocket , nothing really screams "Dallas!" Same with Rushmo

Bottle Rocket Tour Re-revisited

As I patiently await the arrival of Bottle Rocket on Criterion Blu-Ray, I think about the day-long Bottle Rocket tour I took a few years ago. Since most of the film was filmed here in Dallas, I figured I should venture out sometime and see where it was shot. Just my luck, it was on an overcast day, the type of day you normally see in a Wes Anderson film. I hit up the hotel where Bob, Anthony, and Dignan hide out, the bookstore they robbed, the school where Anthony talks to Grace, Bob's house, the street where Anthony and Dignan discuss the "Things Dignan's Not Supposed to Touch" list, and the location of Hinkley Cold and Storage. I never knew where the mental hospital, the prison, the Lawn Wranglers' hideout, the country club, the fireworks stand, the drug store, or the Mexican night club were, so I didn't try to find them. But still, I saw a lot in one day. The weird thing is, as much as I love the film still to this day, I tend to forget that the film was

You Won't Forget

Over the weekend I received a very nice postcard from one of the most prominent people featured in Post . He congratulated me on the publication of the book, thanked me for sending him a copy, and said he looked forward to reading it. I found his gesture to be very, very kind and I immensely appreciated it. Sometime while processing this I came back to an idea I've discussed before: you never forget the experience of doing something yourself. Whether it's putting out records or books or making your own movie, that experience will probably stay with you for the rest of your life. I have yet to meet somebody who deeply regrets doing any of the aforementioned activities. Not everybody has the drive and/or desire to see something from beginning to completion to release, so it's still somewhat of a rare thing these days. For me, I find way more common ground talking to a punk band about DIY than say, interviewing a member of KISS and wondering if it's OK to talk about KISS M

New Born

Well, it's only taken me nine years, but I can now say I am a fan of Muse . It's not like there was a time when I hated the band's music. It was just not the right time when I first heard the band. Well after Radiohead released OK Computer but before they released Kid A , there seemed to be a number of Radiohead-like bands getting a push on college radio. Palo Alto was one of the many, coupled with a large number of bands with Jeff Buckley/Thom Yorke-like singing. Hearing falsetto after falsetto got to a point of breaking for me. So when Muse's "Uno" and "Muscle Museum" were added into high rotation, I was not impressed. (Adding fuel to the fire: I remember getting a call from a woman asking about that new Radiohead song I just played.) Basically, the Radiohead comparisons had to stop. Radiohead had to put out a new record. I followed Radiohead through Hail to the Thief and still enjoy them, but I don't listen to them as much as I used to. With

A post-Thanksgiving of thanks

In addition to my family and friends, I'd like to thank the following: --People having a genuine interest in reading Post . It's very nice to just tell somebody about a book and he or she is interested just because of the pitch. No DVD players, concert tickets, or vacations are necessary to bargain. --Quarterly royalty statements from the book publisher. One of the bigger reasons I went with the publisher I went with. --The breakfast taco place down my street. Amazing what happens when a place offers great food and the owners truly appreciate your business. What a novel concept. --My dog for not peeing on my bed, so far, this year. --Working a job where random strangers are not allowed in so they ask you tons of questions while you're trying to work. --A nice, long street to run and walk on. -- LOST Season 4 for being awesome. --The DVD selection at Movie Trading Company and Borders. All hail DVD prices $8-$12!

A year in music

So, here's my attempt to summarize my year in listening to albums. Once again, I don't see any harm in talking about records that weren't released in 2008. If they were records that rocked my world more than in previous years, they get listed. Also once again, no clear-cut ranking here, just a listing, save for the last few. British Sea Power, Do You Like Rock Music? Knowing someone who's a big BSP fan and knowing that another person had a copy of this record, I decided to take a listen to "Waving Flags" on the A.V. Club's "The best tracks of 2008 so far" feature . Sounding like the Doves covering the Flaming Lips' "Race for the Prize" (in a good way), I had to hear this record. I'm quite a fan of the drumming and the lead guitar playing in this band because of this record. I haven't really checked out their previous work, so I'm a latecomer. This record definitely reminds me of great U.K. rock bands from earlier in the

The Core Principle of Our Metareality, and/or Pat Riley's Head

Donna recently had the pleasure of Chuck Klosterman visiting her university for an appearance. Yesterday she wrote a few things about Klosterman and I was reminded of why I like his writing. (I know I've written about him before, but I simply wanted to reiterate a few things.) I blame my slow reading habits as to why my copies of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs , Killing Yourself to Live , and IV have sat on my "to-read" shelf for months. I will get to them eventually, but for now, all I really know of Klosterman's work are his articles in Spin and Esquire , and especially his first nonfiction book, Fargo Rock City . Fargo Rock City really inspired me in tackling a subject matter in a serious manner, knowing full well that it is often ridiculed by a lot of people. His personal take on hair metal goes beyond the surface of hair metal itself. In short, his experience as a hair metal fan was the gateway to deeper things. In reading his stuff, I realized how I can use wh

It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive.

I think I spend too much time on the Internet. I think most of us spend too much time on the Internet. But I wonder if this is an addiction or just a necessary way of modern life. Furthermore, can something like this be considered an addiction? I believe I spend roughly seventy hours a week online. It's a staggering amount of hours, and it doesn't seem like such a big deal. I like checking my e-mail regularly and surfing the web, and a portion of my job requires being on the Internet. Is it a crime to be up to date on everything sent to me virtually? I don't think so. So, what gives? Maybe addiction is really only a problem until it starts to affect how you interact (or don't interact) with people. For example, there have been a few Dr. Phil segments on married men addicted to watching Internet porn, treating the topic as a problem. Men choosing to look at naked women online more than their wives naked? Then that's a problem. Men checking the score of a college foo

Goodbye 20th Century

I recently finished David Browne 's superb biography of Sonic Youth, Goodbye 20th Century , and was quite amazed by how many people Browne interviewed for it. To me, it's a matter of the people he didn't get to interview for it (which, I gathered, was a really short list). In other words, he interviewed pretty much everybody who's still alive first-hand, including ex-members, friends, record label people, and roadies, as well as the band members themselves. As a result, I found the book to be a really well-rounded view of a band I've always wanted to know more about. Throughout reading it, I was reminded of how hard it can be to interview that many people. I'm not talking just about the interviews themselves. Getting somebody on the phone or e-mail was quite a chore in quite a few cases while I was researching Post . I made every effort to interview everybody I wanted to, but I didn't get everybody, unfortunately. I'm proud to say I did interview at lea

The calls are coming inside the house

In an effort to have better ammunition for an argument, I decided to do some research into the world of modern horror movie remakes. After recently watching Zack Snyder's decent take on Dawn of the Dead , I decided to check out Glen Morgan's take on Black Christmas . All I can do is groan and roll my eyes after seeing this flick. But I'm glad I watched it for several reasons. Bob Clark's 1974 original has become one of my favorite horror flicks, right up there with the original Halloween . My review basically states all the things I dig about the film, but I'd also add that the scares, pacing, and (especially) the visual style are what make this a great film. In regards to the 2006 remake, the visual style is quite good (especially with all the Christmas lights), but that's about all I can praise about this film. I have a long list of complaints about the remake, but I'll just share a few for right now. My big complaint is with the "protagonists"

Is There a Way Out

In Post , there's a good reason why I excluded quotes about bands never getting back together. Those quotes never look good when a band does get back together. It's one thing for band members to say in articles that the band will never reunite. It's another thing when a statement of that magnitude is said in something like a book or documentary. There was only one band member I interviewed who said his old band will never get back together. I'm not saying who it was or which band it was, but I will say this, it wasn't a member of the Get Up Kids. With their reunion show on Sunday , I'm very thankful none of them said a reunion would never happen. Maybe I'm comparing apples to grapes here, but I came of age when super-popular bands, who swore off all possible reunions for years, reunited. I remember the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over concert, album, and tour all very well. I remember the Pixies and Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters) reunions. Basically, all thos

For Me This is Heaven

Reading over Scott's post on Jimmy Eat World's upcoming live performances of Clarity , I got to thinking. First of all, this is a great idea for the band. When I saw them open for the Foo Fighters earlier this year, I was surprised they played "Blister." Since they have done three albums since Clarity , I figured set lists were becoming less on material from their second and third albums. (As an amusing side note, I'm curious if they'd ever try to play their first album, a turbo-charged pop-punk collection, front to back live.) As somebody who was very much a Jimmy Eat World fan back when Clarity came out, I'm very happy that these shows are happening. If they came anywhere close to where I live, I'd try to see the show. The response to Clarity was not like Jawbreaker's Dear You was received. It was not almost-universally-hated when it came out in early 1999. Quite different. There was something very special about this record that, aside from a


For some reason, whenever we hear stories of people's lives drastically changing once their first book, film, or record is released, we think everybody's life drastically changes when that happens. Well, for most of us, there are plenty of moments of pure joy mixed in with the day-to-day activities of life that were there before the release date. And that's perfectly fine by me. Maybe it's reading a book like Rebel Without a Crew (especially the part where Robert is in the middle of a bidding war between large studios) or hearing how Kevin Smith's life changed after Clerks , there's this sense that the proverbial snowball effect either happens completely or not at all. Well, the maybe not-as-entertaining story involves a lot of downtime with some great highs and great lows. I know this all too well. In my case with Post , the phone hasn't been constantly ringing. Editors at large publishing houses haven't been chasing me or my agent down with offers fo

Clocked In

Another crazy thought that enters my head after hours upon hours of thinking: what if all books were intended to be read, start to finish, in the same amount of time most movies run? Meaning, what if you had only ninety minutes or two or three hours to read an entire book? If that were to be the case, I would read way more books in my lifetime. But it's not how it is. It takes me at least two weeks to read an entire book, averaging four to ten pages on a regular day, twenty to thirty on a not-so regular day. And this is with plenty of free time on my hands. So I'm amazed when I read friends' blogs about reading entire books in under a week. How is this possible, and I am a super-slow reader? I've touched on this subject before, but what takes so long for me is reading every single sentence. What I read has to resonate with me. It's hard to understand what's going on without knowing that. So I wonder: how can I spend one ninety-minute sitting watching a document

Plug time

-Here's a little plug for my author page on GoodReads. I must applaud the site for allowing the actual authors to maintain their own pages. Why? A certain, widely-read site thinks it's a conflict of interest for this kind of ownership, and bans anyone who tries to maintain their own page. Don't you just love the game of Telephone the Internet can be? -Looks like Brian's book will be coming out next spring on Revelation, with a really big release show planned in Chicago.

Be Your Own Publicist

Time for some more advice to those thinking about writing a book, inspired by Robert Rodriguez's "ten minute film school" featurettes. Yesterday I found out that I saved quite a bit of money by not hiring a publicist to promote Post . How much? Well, based on what my publisher quoted, it would have been equivalent of buying two 42-inch flat-screen TVs or a quarter of the price to buy a brand new car. Now, I'm well aware that many other publicists charge far, far less, but a general rule of thumb became abundantly clear: use your own contacts and go from there. Long before the book came out, I envisioned giving the book out to people who would want to read it right away. I knew I couldn't afford to give away a lot of copies, so I had to really narrow my list down. I was fortunate enough (and quite flattered) to have a number of people buy a copy right as it came out, so that helped narrow the list down even more. My prevailing hope with sending out these copies was

The Big Takeover

The commentary track is done, and hopefully will be online soon. Until then, I thought I'd share this nice review that will appear in the next issue of The Big Takeover . Post Eric Grubbs James Mann In tracing the evolution of the “post-hardcore” scene, Eric Grubbs has done a vital and laudable job at shining a light on the leaders of a genre that hasn’t seen a lot of critical inspection, despite its growing influence. Nirvana’s “Nevermind” acts as ground zero for the bands depicted here- from Hot Water Music to Jawbox, Fugazi and Dischord Records, but where they went from there is an arresting tale, well told. Grubbs discovers the personalities behind the faces, such as his compelling look at Sunny Day Real Estate, or the Promise Ring. While stylistically divergent, all the bands spotlighted here share the same sense of experimentation within musical forms, and a dedication to the emotional honesty that true creation demands of an artist. So does Eric Grubbs- and

When Crazy Ideas Aren't Crazy At All

Every once in a while, some idea hits me and I think I'd be stupid not to follow-through with it. In regards to the proposed book commentary track, as much as I appreciated the feedback from people saying it was good idea, I pretty much decided to do it whether or not anyone said anything. If anything, even the worst naysayer wouldn't have stopped me from doing this. The deal is, I don't often think this way. It's just sometimes I come up with something that I think it very doable and plausible and I should not pass it up. Better to risk and see what happens rather than to not do anything and only wonder, right? In the case of the commentary, I know where and how I can record this, I have a good idea about what I want to talk about, and I have a pretty good feeling about being able to get this whole thing out there. Usually if there's any serious doubt that pops up, the idea stalls on the tracks. Maybe this is some TM by way of David Lynch and Wayne Coyne talking h

When Crazy Ideas Attack

A temporary Internet outage a few hours ago somehow inspired me to come up with this seemingly not-so crazy idea. Since I like listening to DVD commentary tracks, and find them very inspiring and helpful, what if I did a pseudo-audio commentary for the chapters of POST ? What I have in mind is recording eleven relatively short (5-10 minutes at most) clips and post them on a site. Each clip will be devoted to a chapter, discussing the process and whatever stories I'd like to share about writing and researching the chapter. I have plenty to share that I haven't shared on this here blog, so I don't think I'll be at a loss of words. I have the means to record and produce the tracks already at my disposal. Now I'm just wondering how many people would actually like to hear these tracks. Feel free and leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Plot Does Matter

In Bruce Campbell's book If Chins Could Kill , one picture shows him wearing a T-shirt that spoofs the Godzilla ad campaign of "Size Does Matter" with "Plot Does Matter." Knowing I will probably catch heat for saying this, I must say that the plot is the reason why I paid good money to see Saw V in the theater this weekend. Reading Nathan's review of the film the day before, I wasn't swayed. Based on what he wrote, I figured if you hated the previous Saw sequels, you were going to hate this one as well. The same went if you loved the sequels. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit and thought the entire series could end with this film. (Not so, Saw VI , the apparently final film is already in the works.) All the earmarks that have made the series a bankable box office and DVD franchise are there. I still don't enjoy watching torture or excessive gore, but since I know it's actors with makeup and CGI, I'm able to suspend belief and not be weirded

And in June reformed without me

The recent Ben Folds Five reunion, where they played The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner in its entirety, is now online . Definitely something worth checking out. Don't know much about these guys? Read my guide to them, along with Ben Folds solo material up to Songs for Silverman .

Five years later

Five years ago today, we heard that Elliott Smith passed away. Now, I'm not one to celebrate an artist's death or birth, but I think it's worth mentioning today. Norman did a great post on his site yesterday. As far as my feelings on the matter, I point to that Complete Idiot's Guide piece that I did on Elliott's music for

The "So What?"

Part of my constructive (or sometimes, destructive) self-talk about committing to a major project involves a question of, "So what?" I once heard Simon Cowell say those words to a finalist on American Idol , and I've always thought he's got a valid point. Why should somebody read this book? Who do you imagine reading this, outside of your friends and family? Why should anyone care? This isn't a call to bend over backwards and please everyone. Far from it. But it's a question of understanding why you're doing what you're doing and why you want it out there. In the case of the second book, knowing full well that any accolades I received for Post could be zapped (or not) because of how people respond to it, I think there's a lot of value in this risk. No matter how maligned the sophomore effort may be received (or not), I think people should do a sophomore effort if they believe in their heart and mind that there should be a sophomore effort. With Wh

Book #2

Looks like this week will be the week I start back to work on Book #2. To recap, here's a rundown. --Though it's a fictional book, it's heavily based on real life experiences of playing in bands. Specifically, high school garage bands. So, there will be no passages about seeing naked grandmothers, being chased by mind-reading zombies, or meeting people online while living in New York. --It will be told like an oral history. No, this isn't about dentist visits, Oral Roberts, or stories about Deep Throat . Nope, it's just all quotes from various characters. Look at books like Fool the World , Please Kill Me , and We Got the Neutron Bomb for examples. Except those are nonfiction oral histories. Max Brooks's World War Z is a fictional oral history. But again, no zombies in my book. --The tentative title is When We Were the Kids . The title is also the title of a song by this now-defunct band . I liked the song title, "When We Were the Kids," even though

Cover design

Part of the whole idea of "make a book I'd want to read" was designing the cover of Post . I knew I wanted to use that picture I had taken of Red Animal War (at the show that pretty much changed my life) in some way, so I started there. Using Word -- yes, Word -- I laid things out, including the entire pic, which not only features Justin playing live, but also Jeff and Jaime. Nick suggested I crop the other guys out to focus on the shot of Justin screaming his head off away from the microphone. Coupled with the advice from Nick's partner in Mission Label at the time, the title itself was in a different color than the rest of the artwork. Since hunter green is my favorite, I just went with it. It's an odd coincidence that the picture of Red Animal War was at a place called Green Means Go! Since I realized that, the phrase "green means go" has meant a lot of other things to me. Where I placed all the lettering of the book was intentionally to the right. T

I'm somewhere in between

Being a regular reader of Modern Drummer from 1994 until 2000, I often heard about drummers playing along to the dreaded click track. Essentially a glorified metronome, it was sometimes the reason why a drummer was replaced in the studio with an ace drummer-for-hire. As in, it didn't matter if all of the band members sucked at playing their instruments; if the drummer couldn't pull things off according to the producer, he or she's out of there, or worse, out of the band. On top of this, the click track was to blame for why a song sounded so non-energetic in the studio compared to how the band played it live. Usually the tempo was slowed down so that everything sounded "right." I've thought otherwise. Given how long I've played drums in bands, the amount of time I've spent recording songs is far, far less. I've recorded a few four-track stuff where I played all of the instruments myself. When it came to band stuff, it was usually recording everythi

I want to play a game

For several reasons, I had never gotten around to checking out any of the Saw movies. I knew what they were about, and I heard plenty of groans of displeasure from people with each new installment. I knew full well they'd be heavy on gore and non-plausibility with each consecutive film. But still, I wanted to check them out, mainly because I see copies of each film (filled with multiple commentary tracks and featurettes) everywhere I go for a really inexpensive price. Besides, since I like horror movies, why not brush up on a modern day horror franchise that doesn't involve remaking classic horror movies or rehashing the Halloween formula? I am not someone who enjoys watching people get tortured. I'm not one of those dudes who will be in a screening of Hostel and cheer uncontrollably when the protagonists lose limbs or worse, their life. No, I'm somebody who likes horror movies because I can face my fears in a situation where I'm in the safety of my home, watchin

Because not knowing how to cook . . .

As I've said before, how Robert Rodriguez explains his process of making films is inspiring to me. Even though I'm not tempted to make a movie, he's a message of "green means go!" to whatever you want to do. So it's not just with writing another book for me; it's now translating into cooking. Since I cook for myself, I tend to take the really easy path: heat up something in the oven between fifteen and forty minutes. I get frustrated really easily with trying new things, but every once in a while I come across something where I believe I could possibly do. (I'm well aware that's something that goes beyond the kitchen, but in order to stay on track, let's stay in the kitchen mindset.) Recently, I checked out the "10-minute Cooking School" featurette on the Sin City double-disc DVD set. The dish this time: breakfast tacos made from scratch. The first thing he recommends is making your own tortillas. Since he has a very simple recipe


Today marks the day that I've done this blog for four years. Though I originally started the blog to track the progress of Post , I found a lot of other things to talk about. Here's a list of some things I'm thinking about expanding upon in the next week: --Volunteering to babysit is not a bad idea. --I'm curious if the makers of the Saw franchise think they're playing a game with the audience. You know, one that is not that far removed from Jigsaw's games. --The click track is not an evil thing when laying down drum parts. --Making homemade breakfast tacos from scratch does not seem that hard.

The Good Show

Barring any sports pre-emption, I'll be on the Good Show tomorrow morning promoting the book. You can listen live here , and I have no idea exactly when I'll be on between 9am and noon. A podcast of the show should be available sometime next week.

Book notes

I'm quite honored to have Post featured on Largehearted Boy's Book Notes series. Here's the link . It's an essay discussing some of the integral moments for me before I decided to write the book. Also, looks like there's another book in the works on 90s post-hardcore. There are some similarities to my book and Brian's book as far as bands covered, but it looks to be a pretty promising book on plenty of other great bands.

Now, for my next trick

I can't think off the top of my head exactly why this idea sounds bad, but something doesn't sound right at first. The idea: somebody writes a nonfiction book and decides his or hers next book will be fiction. Maybe it just seems like the writer thinks he or she can write anything and people will read it. Depending on the person, that can seem like a really egotistical, bad idea. All this said, I'm still planning on going ahead with writing another book, and it's going to fiction. But I have a lot of reasons why I'm doing it this way. I don't read a lot of fiction. Only six of the books on my "to read from scratch or never finished" shelf are fiction. Two are by Bret Easton Ellis ( American Psycho and Lunar Park ), one is by Nick Hornby ( High Fidelity ), one is by Chuck Palahniuk ( Fight Club ), one is by Stephen King ( Cell ), and one is by Max Brooks ( The Zombie Survival Guide ). Those, coupled with a handful of graphic novels/trade paperbacks, ar

Time takes time, you know

Since last week, I've given a number of spins to the majority of Ben Folds's third proper solo album, Way to Normal . Reading Jeff's post about his thoughts on the record, I'm finding myself in a bit of a pickle. Longtime readers are probably aware of my fandom of Ben's work with Ben Folds Five and solo, so I'm a little torn with saying what I really think of Way to Normal and reflecting on previous Ben releases that didn't immediately grab me. Right now, I can't say I'd go beyond the Sound Opinions rating scale of "Burn It" for Way to Normal . Something seems a bit off in the sense that the record is mostly whimsical and bitter at the same time. I dig tracks like "Brainwascht," "Hiroshima," and "You Don't Know Me," but I'm not getting much mileage out of them, or really any of the other tracks. But before I go into a ritual I find strange and bizarre with some critics who get paid to spout their opi

A word of thanks

Thanks a plenty to everyone who's bought a copy of Post . I don't have exact sales figures, but I know it is selling well. Selling a lot of copies was not the intent when I decided to write it, but I did want people beyond my friends and family to read it. More coverage is coming in the next few weeks, and regular blogging will hopefully return next week.


The response to Post 's release has been very positive. A number of write-ups have surfaced online, and here's what I've seen. Tickle me, emo Traffic Reporter Eric Grubbs Is Way More Emo Than You Could Ever Be Congratulations . . . A Post About "POST" I'm friends with famous people! My cousin wrote a book! Finally, An Emo Book to Be Proud Of The Big Takeover Death to Traitors At the Expense of the Listener Summer Reading: Get Schooled by Local Music Scribes

Now available in physical form

The day has finally come: you can purchase POST: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 . Here are the links: Amazon Amazon U.K. Barnes & Noble Target Books A Million Borders U.K. Powell's Books AbeBooks Alibris If you're interested in carrying the book in your store, click here .

The Good in Everyone

With power pop fans, I've often found this kind of grouping. If you like Teenage Fanclub, you also like the Posies, along with Matthew Sweet, Jellyfish, and Fountains of Wayne, to name a few. Another one is Sloan , a band that, for some reason, has only now clicked completely in for me. Other than the enjoyment of One Chord to Another 's "The Good in Everyone" and Never Hear the End of It 's "Right of Wrong," I had yet to find the band's material worth checking out. Something rubbed me the wrong way when I listened to the A Sides Win singles compilation, and felt unmoved by my first listen to Never Hear the End of It . I thought I was supposed to like these guys since I liked all of their sonic power pop brethren. Where was the disconnect? I'm still not sure, but a light came on in my head right before I headed over to Ryan's place yesterday. I believed he had all of the band's material in his iTunes, so I loaded up on blank CD-Rs. When

Type Slowly

It's not like it wasn't going to happen, but I wondered when this was coming out. Well, details on the double-disc reissue of Pavement's Brighten the Corners have finally surfaced. I'm glad that it's set to come out in a couple of months, and I don't mind essentially re-buying an album I already own. Make no mistake, other than the Slanted and Enchanted reissue, the digital remastering was not why I got Matador's reissues. The extensive liner notes are nice, but the whopping amounts of extras have made every Pavement reissue worthwhile. Just having "Painted Soldiers" back on CD for the Wowee Zowee reissue was justifiable for me. I must admit, I haven't gone through every single reissue track by track, but it's nice to have way more material to sort through. Heck, I'm excited just to finally hear "Westie Can Drum," a song I read about in Rolling Stone while they were making the album, and I think the song was called "

That's Entertainment

At times in the last forty-eight hours, when I haven't wondered whether my parents have electricity again or felt woozie because of my Monday night food poisoning, I've thought about something Jason Heller wrote on From the Jam. Who's From the Jam? Well it's a band comprised of Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, formerly of the Jam, with two other guys, playing songs by . . . the Jam. Whether or not to call this a tribute act, cover band, or just a bad idea is not really my call. What I've thought about is this comment I left: I have no problem with Journey continuing without Steve Perry and Steve Smith. However, in the case of From the Jam, this is like Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Something about having the rhythm section from an iconic band with note-perfect hired hands replacing the still-alive-but-still-bitter-ex-members is a tad off. The Creedence Clearwater Revisited, not Revival, reference is to the band that bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford formed

New Orleans in the fall

I'm not usually one to blog and just say, "download this, now!" but this is a major exception. Plus, it's not by some young, emerging artist that has yet to release a full album. So there will be no tremendous praise quickly followed by a large backlash in the next few months. This week's edition of Popdose's Basement Songs features one of my favorite ballads by Tom Waits: "Kentucky Avenue." Scott's writeup on the song is pretty strong and very well-said. All I will add is that this song really touches me whenever I hear it. Even though none of the childhood stories Waits describes in the lyrics were nothing like what I experienced, I think about random scenes from my youth. The final line about "We'll slide all the way down the drain to New Orleans in the fall" especially resonates with me, being born in New Orleans and living there until I was eight years old. Like Waits's other ballads, like "Tom Traubert's Blues&qu