Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fear and Loathing In Seattle: Prequel

As always, there’s the long version of this story, and
then there’s the short version (that somehow becomes
long by the time I’m done).This is my attempt at the
short version.

I’m not sure what inspired Fran the Man and myself to
road trip up the West Coast, but an inspiration it was.
We would fly to San Diego,rent a car, then proceed up
the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping only for major
cities, baseball games, pee breaks, fast food and loose
women. The trip would conclude in Seattle.

So as not to make this entry any more drawn out than
it needs to be, here’s the bulleted re-cap of the
first half of the trip, with key learnings:

- Philadelphia

Key learning:
This airport sucks.

- San Diego
Sketchy EconoLodge. Mission Beach = Girls in thongs,
meatheads. Mexican food. Getting drunk in Tijuana
and paying way too much for a pull-over hoodie thing
from a totally hot 15-year old Mexican girl. Over-
active bowels. Jack Murphy Stadium kind of stinks for

Key learning:
don't forget the sunscreen.

- Drive from San Diego to Los Angeles

Key learning:
As long as the ocean is on your left,
you’re going the right way.

- Los Angeles
Cab driver says that Hollywood actually isn’t anywhere
near our motel in Long Beach. We should have
researched this. Fran the Man drives us to the Rainbow
instead. (Where the fuck is Lemmy? I thought he lived
here…) Lost as shit trying to get back to Long Beach,
we go over the same bridge three times; end up at the
same waste transfer station each time. Next day:
lunch with Fran the Man’s buddy, Lieutenant Dan.
(That’s his real name/title).

Key learning: LA is bigger than you think. Check out
a map before you book your shitty motel. Or just go
to a fucking bar in Long Beach. You're not in Motley
Crue and it's not 1986.

- Los Angeles to San Francisco

Key learning:
So, when you’re on the PCH and you see
a sign that says “DETOUR, road closed 35 miles ahead”,
don’t be an idiot and say “35 miles? That’s like D.C.
to Baltimore! We’ll find another detour before then.”
Because you’ll feel like a total asshole when the sun
goes down and chick at the service station stares at
you and says “Road’s closed up ahead. You’re never
going to make it to San Francisco unless you turn
around and go back about 35 miles.”

Also, Big Sur is a lot prettier when you don’t drive
through it in the pitch dark. Or so they tell me.

- San Francisco
We make it in about 20 minutes after all the bars
close. Fran the Man keeps complaining about how cold
it is. An expensive afternoon at Amoeba Records. We
catch Nebula play a totally bad-ass set before a
nearly empty bar on Broadway, then proceed to a
gentleman's club. Somewhere in there we rode in a
limo (???) A moment of horror overlooking my ATM
receipts the next morning.

Key learning: Strip joints are not worth it. But the
limo was like $16.

- San Francisco to ?, California
Disaster. Truck went off a cliff somewhere south of
Ft. Bragg, and closes PCH. We’re detoured into the
mountains where we make a wrong turn. Narrow and
steep road. All the cars that used to be behind us
suddenly aren’t anywhere to be found. Drive through
clouds. Needle is close to EMPTY. Random (creepy)
cyclist tells us to turn around “before the road
ends”. 27-point turn. Ten minutes later, we pass all
those cars that used to be behind us, going the other
way and looking really bewildered and lost. Find a
gas station (barely) and a McDonalds. I take over
driving duties. Fran the Man = asleep, and I
accidentally drive into the fucking Redwood Forrest.
Slow. Dark. Alone. Scary. Fran the Man awakes
after three hours and we have traveled less than
90 miles. Sleep at the first motel we find.
Eureka? Crescent City? Heck if I know.

Key Learning: Don't take the PCH for granted. That
"ocean on the left" trick doesn't work the whole way.

- ?, California to Portland:
Flat tire. Stranded in a nowhere No Cal town during
repairs. Punk rock girl working the at diner
overhears us talking about our planned visit to Dot’s
Café in Portland and chimes in. She smiles and asks
to join us on our trip, because she has friends in
Portland we can stay with. We think she’s joking and
we (I) say something absurd like, "No girls allowed."

Key learning: I am so dumb. So very, very, very,
very fucking dumb. So so so so dumb.


Next up: Baseball, Baltimore punk-pop, and a whole
lot of vomit in the Pacific NW.

Been a long time. I guess I could say that I realized recently that I'm running out of ticket stubs, and that I've been spacing my posts out so I don't have to do any "real" blogging, but the fact is that about six months ago my soul began to be slowly devoured by an XBOX. I swore that would never happen to me. The shame of it all.

While I try and get my act together, here's a quick run-down of what I'm "working " on:

- Fear and loathing in Seattle: 24 hours of Tool, the Melvins, spilled beer, Ken Griffey, Jr., and my regrets.

- Jerry Only tries to freeze his life in 1982 (and I play along)

- What do PJ Harvey and Tommy Lee have in common? Me!

Ok, that should keep me busy until about Thanksgiving.....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hey, Axl


I hope you're paying attention. This is what happens.....


Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Brief Reprieve: Indie Love for Danzig

Like an awful lot of other snarky music snob assholes on the Internet, I've had my share of fun at the expense of Mr. Glenn Danzig.

And maybe he's got it coming. The guy has a well-earned reputation for being a total knucklehead, and despite his prodigious talent, he's gone to some absolutely comical extents to foster and cultivate an image that........well, it practically begs mockery sometimes.

But then again, Glenn Danzig is also one of the greatest punk rock vocalists.....ever. And his brilliance is actually intrinsically tied to his image fixation: what are the Misfits without that amazingly awesome infatuation with the retro-1950's and 1960's scream queen horror aesthetic? And how can you say that this image isn't completely joined at the hip to his distinctive (and derivative) vocal style, which owes just as much to the East Coast corner-boy do-wop sound as it does to more- frequently sourced influences like Elvis (a fair comparison), Jim Morrison (a weak comparison) or Roy Orbison (the most apt comparison of them all)?

((Incidentally, has anyone out there ever tired to sing along with the Misfits? The vocal melodies sound straight-ahead enough, but they can actually be tricky as hell. AngelFuck, in particular, is one of those dastarly tunes that sounds wonderful when you sing it a capella in the shower, then suddenly becomes an absolute vocal Bataan Death March when you actually try to follow along in the key he wrote it in)).

Anyway, in the post-Misfits era, it's been relatively easy to separate the brilliance of the Misfits with the rest of Sir Danzig's catalog. The nearly-obscure Samhain stuff is wonderful for scaring small children, but you have to admit that the guy momentarily forgot how to construct a song during much of this era.

And the Danzig solo albums? Some of them are hard rock at its finest. But the Randy Savage stylings of the band concept gave a whole lot of small minded music snobs an opportunity to ignore all that lay beneath the leather and tattoos, where the soul of a legitimately talented songwriter lies to this day.

Which is why I was completely fucking stoked to come across this clip:

Its wonderful enough to have Mr. Danzig honored in what appears to be a mostly non-ironic cover, but to have it come at the hands of indie goddess, Melissa Auf Der Maur brings a smile to my face.

Almost nearly as pleasing is to have this particular cover coming from Danzig's somewhat ridiculous second album - a rocker, no doubt, but certainly the point at which Danzig fully embraced the transition in image from dark bad ass to goofy tough guy. The whole idea makes me wonder if perhaps while I was foolishly rocking out to "Long Way Back From Hell" in my bedroom in Rockville, MD, the lovely Ms. der Maur might have been doing something similar in Montreal.

Perhaps this music is worth hearing. Stripped of the baritone bellowing and the heavy guitar and drums (not to mention the gang-chant background vocals), there IS a legitimately dark and frightening song here - perhaps accentuated by this performance by two singers so utterly and completely feminine.

So, there: Hats off to you, Mr. Glenn Danzig. I, for one, am tickled to see you receive your well-deserved indie cred.

As for all you haters out there, I know that nothing may ever change your minds. And for you miserable fucks, I offer you the following cheap shot at "The Sweatiest Ballerina":