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Showing posts from February, 2009

When We Were the . . . um, young adults?

I still don't like to refer to teenagers and college students coming out to punk and hardcore shows as "kids." A few years ago, I did a lengthy rant about this, and my opinion still stands. That said, when I encountered a title that fits perfectly for my next book, I made an exception. My friend Kyle had a band called Hirudin and one of their songs was called "When We Were the Kids." The song was recorded but never released as Hirudin. The band broke up before they put it out. However, since two-thirds of Hirudin were in Snd On Snd and Snd On Snd played the song live, it made sense when they released the song on a split-7-inch with J Church. So, this great song did see the light of day, and I still really, really wanted to use the song's title for my second book. Besides, When We Were the Young Adults just doesn't sound right. It's been years since I've heard the song, but basically, the lyrics touch on what it's like to be young and gett

Terrified of telephones and shopping malls and knives

Due to a recent moving around of folders on my hard drives, I had to reload all of the music I had in my iTunes library. Since I had stuff in a number of different folders on each of my drives, not only did I find almost everything that was there before, but I also discovered stuff I had completely forgotten about. And frankly, I'm having a hard time trying to remember how and when I got most of this lost stuff. I don't think there's an element of surprise that I found a lot of Jimmy Eat World demos, B-sides, and live tracks circa 2000 and 2001. What is surprising is how much material I had. The search for the then-unreleased "Sweetness" led me to Napster, along with other unreleased material by my favorite bands at the time. At that time, I thought Napster was a haven for people like myself who wanted something beyond just the album: those hard-to-find B-sides, along with live tracks and alternate versions and so on. Of course, as I've written elsewhere, with


I might have spent almost five years working on a book that covers a portion of the DIY underground in the '90s, but I have no problem reading more about the genre. Not only is Brian's book set for a spring release, and Adam 's book is still in the works, there's another book in the making that I'd really like to read. Mike McKee, who has written for Punk Planet and Razorcake (among others), has a book in the works called More Than Music . As I've always said, more books about the different aspects of a particular scene is a great idea. A lot of books covering the same aspects, essentially saying the same things, is a different story. As much research as I did for my book, I always like to hear different takes. As far as my post- POST book(s), things are still in the research phase. Let's just say that in the case of When We Were the Kids , Chuck Klosterman's first novel, Downtown Owl , has been helpful. His Fargo Rock City was a tremendous inspira

Certain People I Know

One of the nicer things about all of the bands featured in POST is that most of the band members I interviewed are still active in playing music. I was surprised, but very happy to see Jawbreaker's Blake Schwarzenbach is back with a new band called the Thorns of Life. Now I'm glad to see that Bob and Damon from Braid are in a new band called Certain People I Know. Their first show was exactly one week ago, on my birthday, and on a Friday the 13th. Eric has their first show up on his site, split up into seven YouTube clips.

The Saga continues . . .

Maybe it's the combination of recently watching Olivia-era Cosby Show , playing The Force Unleashed on PS3, and reading that interview with Fanboys director Kyle Newman, but I think I've cooked up an understandable metaphorical situation with Star Wars fans. Take the tone of the storyline of The Force Unleashed and compare it with the tone found in Episodes I, II, and III, plus take into consideration what Kyle Newman says about the Saga itself, and consider the fact that Olivia was a step-child. Imagine this: growing up, you and your two siblings get along pretty well. Together you do things that define your childhood and adolescence. Well, unfortunately, right as you're making the transition from teenager to adult, your parents decide to divorce. A couple years later, your parents choose to remarry people that already have children from a previous marriage or they choose to bear new children with their new respective spouses. For you and the siblings you grew up with,

To feel 30

Last Friday, I turned thirty. Do I feel like I'm thirty? No. Do I look like I'm thirty? Frankly no, because the more weight I lose, the more I look nineteen. But I do wonder what exactly happened to my twenties. It's not like I miss them or anything. I'm just wondering how fast the time went and how that time was spent. So, here's an inventory: 20 (Feb. 1999 to Feb. 2000) -- Half of my junior year and half of my senior year of college. Spent a lot of time listening to music, watching movies, and working at the campus radio station. Listened to a lot of post-hardcore/emo bands, thanks to the station and going to shows in Denton and Dallas. With only one week left before I turned twenty-one, I had my first beer. A Corona, no less, and didn't love it or hate it. Yeah, I'm not somebody who wanted to start young with beer. 21 (Feb. 2000 to Feb. 2001) -- Lived in Austin for the summer of '00 so I could intern at a Top 40 station. It was a summer my friends l

The small stuff

I still remember the first time I ever heard the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff." During one of my night classes at TCU, my sociology professor allowed me to leave class a few minutes early. Something was greatly weighing on my mind and I wanted to deal with it (plus, I was done with the in-class assignment). If I remember correctly, I was convinced that I was about to be fired from the campus radio station. And that was "small stuff"? I begged to differ, but I just nodded, smiled, and left the classroom. Earlier in the day, I had received a very, very terse voice message from the program director at the time. Her strict rules are something I still think about all these years later, and I hope I never come across as such a hard-ass to my co-workers. She didn't like how I was a regular guest on a show, and that I didn't have "permission" to do that. The deal was, I didn't know I had to ask permission. The hosts wanted me on there, so

Editing advice

Time for some more advice on book-writing. Again, this is not The Word. Rather, this is just sharing some lessons I learned while writing POST . Your name gets top-billing, not your editor's No matter what all happens behind the scenes, when your book comes out, your name is on the cover. You're the one who has to answer for what you say, so it's best that you stand behind what you wrote. Sounds like a big "duh!" right? Well, it's possible to lose your own voice in the editing process if you have the wrong editor. I didn't have the funds nor the desire to hire a professional editor for POST . So, any major punctuation errors, run-on sentences, grammatical errors can be directed towards me and my anonymous editor. Frankly, I'd prefer things to be that way. Why? Because at the end of the day, my name is on the manuscript, and I'm proud to say there weren't any ghostwriters involved. There's a certain author who wrote a certain book that is fi

Should never have left the crysal lake

I might not have any interest in seeing (or revisiting) any of the Friday the 13th movies (or its upcoming remake), but I'm quite interested in seeing His Name Was Jason , a recently-released documentary on the entire series and its legacy. To me, the story of the series is way more intriguing than hearing that cheesy music, seeing bimbos get hacked to pieces, and seeing an unkillable killer coming back again and again. Like the Halloween retrospective, Halloween: 25 Years of Terror , His Name Was Jason looks at the entire series up to a point. As much as I enjoyed the retrospective on all of the Halloween movies up to Resurrection , I was reminded of how crappy most of the sequels are. I don't think I'm missing much by deciding to not watch The Curse of Michael Myers again. I think that will go double for most of the Friday the 13th sequels. There's something odd about a series that has nearly a dozen sequels and a TV series to its name. Mainly, why there are th

Rolling down the road

It's not like I was waiting for this day to come, but I've decided to let my subscription to Rolling Stone run out. I'm not trying to make some bold political statement here. I just have found my tastes and the magazine's direction on diverging roads. And this decision wasn't solely because of their recently slimmed-down size, but I won't lie, it was a big part of my decision. In the last year, I've found myself reading less and less of each issue. I can remember a time when I read almost everything in each issue. But that time has passed. When I was in high school, there wasn't the convenience of the Internet or MP3s. There was a degree of mystery and guess work on whether or not I should check out the Buzzcocks' Singles Going Steady or Series 7 . Rolling Stone was incredibly helpful in introducing me to bands not on the mainstream airwaves and movies not playing in big cineplexes. Now, the ways I find about those things aren't solely from th

It wasn't that bad

I wanted to share a very, very excellent interview with Kyle Newman, the director of Fanboys . If you're not familiar with the movie and the controversy surrounding an edited version of it, that's tackled right away. What's even more compelling is how well-spoken, tactful, and honest this life-long Star Wars fan is about Star Wars . I wish more people sharing these views would have chimed in during the last ten years. (Kevin Smith did a great job, but he seemed to be in a minority.) Not really since April of 1999 have I come across a Star Wars fan that didn't grimace or groan at the mention of George Lucas or Star Wars . Since May of 1999, I've heard and read enough about people's childhoods being raped by the content in The Phantom Menace and the subsequent prequels. To quote Daisy from a Spaced episode: "It wasn't that bad." So, read and enjoy.

What Might Have Been

Though I often worry about what might happen in the future, I'm not someone who really thinks about what might have been. In other words, I don't often wonder or dwell on what might have happened if I stayed in a band longer, if I decided to go to a different college, or if me and this certain girl became a couple. Like how I feel about nostalgia, thinking about what might have been often sheds the context of the past, making things seem more black and white in retrospect. And that's not really a good thing. The few times that I've thought about the bands I was fired from, I took the firings as a relief from more drama that was to come. All of the bands encountered major drama after I left not because I left, but due to problems that were already there when I was in the band. That stuff really came to a head and I'm thankful I was spared from any more than I already dealt with. In the case of college selection, just a few days in Lubbock a few years ago made me real


Something that I've avoided during most of my time playing music is singing. The reasons why? I can't really sing in a voice that 1) is tuneful to my ear and 2) doesn't rip up my throat. I've never taken singing lessons and am frankly utterly embarrassed by my attempts to properly sing lead. That's probably why I like doing songs in karaoke where I don't have to properly sing. Doing "Copacabana," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," and "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" don't necessarily require pipes; you just have to talk really fast. Well, something has recently developed where I actually sing harmonies, and I don't feel weird about it. Playing music with my friend Nick is always something I've enjoyed. We played together in the 11:30s and have jammed for fun many times since then. There's a great degree of comfortability in playing with him, and I don't feel self-conscious about