Tuesday, September 29, 2009

P.J. Harvey

P.J. Harvey
Originally uploaded by tonbabydc

If you've been here before, than you know that I've got a weakness for writing too much and editing too little. And, so, there's a danger that I might try and get a little too cute with this entry.

I'll try and avoid that and get straight to the point: I had no fucking business being at this show.

Of all the shows I went to in the hopes of shedding my bad taste and becoming hip, this one stands out as particularly futile.

But in my defense, this wasn't my idea. It was the brainchild of my roommate and guitar player, Greg, who offered to buy my ticket if I would drive.

(Greg, you see, had driven his cargo van into a large tree one afternoon during a mysterious episode thought to be chalked up to low blood sugar and diabetes. In addition to smashed bones and burnt skin, the cargo van had been totaled and I had to sober up for a few weeks while I carted Greg's ass around in my then-new Nissan.....a car that somehow survived my stupidest years, including that one time when I drove it into a speed limit sign on the back woods roads of upper-Montgomery County while hopped up on asthma pills and Miller Lite.

This car will be joining Greg's cargo van up in car heaven very shortly, and I can't help but to look at her during these last days and think, "Damn it, God, take me instead").

Anyway, trust me, I know that P.J. Harvey is supposed to be awesome, and I'm not saying she isn't. But it wasn't my thing then, and I'm pretty sure it's not my thing now. I certainly went in with an open mind, but truth be told I was bored as hell all night.

Those NSFW photos of her vagina, however, still have my attention. Because, like I said, I have an open mind.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I know, she'll only make you cry

Just a quick shout out to the geniuses over at Clods of Sodom for helping to out those bastards in KISS.

It kills me to still have such affection for early KISS. I can't help loving almost everything about those early albums.....the muddy made-for-vinyl mixing, the comic book artwork, the contrived high school lyrics, the aura of suburban boredom, juvenile delinquency and cheap pot that oozed out of each of those first five or six records.

...And the hooks on songs like "Strutter" and "I Stole Your Love"....to say nothing of those fucking Ace Frehley solos on "100,000 Years" and "Black Diamond" and "Nothing to Lose" and about 16 other songs.

They all paint a very vivid picture of a moment in time that I was about seven or eight years too young to have lived for myself.

Of course, it's not exactly new news that KISS blows today. And it's not news that Gene Simmons basically sees his fans as the rubes who exist solely to support his whore habit.

I just never realized the level of the contempt with which they viewed their fans.

I admit that there's a part of me that wants to withhold my sympathies for all those folks in Manchester, New Hampshire silly enough to still give KISS their money. But that's not really the point.

The point is that KISS broke their word to their fans. KISS lied to them.

And they did it underneath the shittiest of pretenses.

Fuck those Flaming Youth motherfuckers. Fuck them and their wigs and their chest hair and their cosmetic surgery and their policy of contracting founding band members as their employees. (Look it up, kids....)

Sign the petition.

Fuck KISS.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I turned around, I read the writing on the wall...

As I sit here in my bedroom, the legendary Lemmy Kilmister is a brisk three mile walk away from me, somewhere in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C..

Perhaps he's in his tour bus. Or perhaps he's backstage at the 9:30 Club. Then again, maybe he's at the side of the stage watching Rev. Horton Heat warm up the crowd.

Maybe he's doing crank. Maybe he's doing a stripper. Maybe he's drinking vodka. Maybe he's telling people about the history of 1960s Manchester garage bands.

I'll never know, because I'm up here in Cleveland Park tonight, and I won't be making it down to the 9:30 Club.

It's a shame. There aren't many bands I'm dying to see anymore. But Motorhead gets a little more special to me with each and every gray hair that sprouts from my scalp.

With their near absence of chart presence, their career of financial insolvency and their refusal to give up, Motorhead just might be the most noble band in my world. As I grow older and weaker and more apt to live in a state of compromise, Motorhead reminds me that there is nothing more poetic in life than determining what it is that you love and excel at, and doing that until you can't do it any more.

...And, yet, I will not be joining Lemmy in Shaw this evening.

Because I have to be at work early tomorrow.

Lemmy would not approve. Lemmy would tell me to shake it off, be a man, and do something for myself tonight.....forget about tomorrow for a second and indulge in what makes me happy tonight.

I would have no answer for him, except that I somehow cast myself in the role of office villian over the course of the last several weeks, and tomorrow is a very high pressure occassion when that matter needs to be rectified, if only for the day. And arriving late, exhausted, and with a large blue stamp on my hand will not help that effort in the least.

If Lemmy were here, Lemmy would ask me if I cared what these coworkers of mine think, and I would tell them that I do not. He would aks me why I pain myself to conform to their system when I'm clearly not cut out for it. He would pressure me about my misplaced values, and the early grave that I'm driving myself into in this environment of politics and peer pressure.

He would tell me that tonight *he* will help make a few hundred people happy for two hours, and tomorrow, *I* will simply make myself a little bit more miserable.

And I would have no answer for him at all.

At the end of the day, it's my stupid decision to forego seeing Motorhead as some sort of perverted penance for being an asshole in the office lately. And it was a series of stupid decisions that got me to this point at work. But here I am and there they are, and that's just how it's going to have to be.

The fact is that there's something necessary and even healthy about being called out for being a fucking prick. Because if you emerge from the humiliation intact, you may yet learn humility. And its been made clear to me that I need a dose of that right now.

This does not matter to Lemmy. In all likelihood, Lemmy knows that I'm a fucking prick, and he accepts me as such. Which makes this whole gesture seem that much more pointless.

I ain't no nice guy afterall.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Working So Hard....Working for the Company

So, the rumor mill is reporting that Charlie Watts wants to pack it up and retire from the Rolling Stones.

(Or maybe he doesn't.)

If so, I say good for him. The guy entered the band semi-reluctantly, and with the exception of a few dark years in the early-to-mid 1980’s, he was a workhorse for the band from the start. He’s at retirement age, and who am I to begrudge him of that?

No doubt, he’s had his share of haters over the years; As a drummer and a fan, I’ve endured a never-ending litany of complaints about his style – always from those who tend to know the least about the role of the rhythm section in a rock and roll band.

The fact is that while Charlie was never a technician, he was no Ringo: He was the king of rock and roll backbeat. And after laying down the mid-tempo chug of “Honky Tonk Women”, the badass intro fill on “Monkey Man” and the frantic solos on “Paint it Black” (to say nothing of the rimshot samba on “Sympathy for the Devil” - Jesus Christ was I happy when I finally saw the Godard film and learned how to play that shit), he’s got nothing to prove to anyone.

Keith Richards may have always been the soul of the Stones, but Charlie was the only one with any integrity at all….particularly in the past 15 years when Keith has been doing silly movies, mugging for the camera, flubbing his guitar solos, and generally getting his ass handed to him by Buddy Guy.

And with all of Keith’s big talk in the mid-80’s, it was not he, but Charlie who finally lost it and famously cold-cocked Mick.

(Like I said: integrity.)

Keith Richards himself has often said that Charlie *is* the Rolling Stones, and that he wouldn’t go on without him. Yet rumors persist that Steve Jordan or Charlie Drayton have already been lined up. Quite bluntly, I don’t think that anything could possibly kill and bury my love for the Stones faster than if they actually did that. (See: The Who).

Of course, there’s a better than average chance that his decision won’t hold.

In fact, RollingStones, LLC, have already issued a denial. Besides, Charlie has quit the band a countless number of times, and Mick and Keith are nothing if not persuasive. I even admit that I fantasize about Charlie coming back, the Stones giving up the stage show and the backing band and simply performing stuff like “Play with Fire” or “Ventilator Blues” on bar stools until one of the guys finally stroked out for good. I can’t imagine a more honest or graceful way for the band to exit.

That, of course, will never happen. Honesty and grace have never been the Rolling Stones' areas of expertise…which is exactly why Charlie makes for such a lovely oddity of a rock star.

Good luck, Charlie. You’re free to do what you want, any old time.