Archive for September, 2013

Not Enough Death In The Pool

September 29th, 2013

September is almost over and I’m still 14th in my death pool. This was a terrible month for celebrity death, in the sense that there weren’t any. What a drag. Nobody is kicking the bucket like they did a few years ago. Remember when Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the same day? Wasn’t that exciting?

 

And it’s not like I don’t have some people on my watch list who don’t deserve it. Whitey Bulger, convicted murderer. Fidel Castro, Cuban despot. Glen Campbell, shitty overrated country singer. All of these guys could go and who would miss them?

Fordsville Follies

September 29th, 2013

If you’re lucky, you haven’t heard the story of Patricia Ritz, a 67-year-old from Fordsville believed to be eaten by her own wolfdogs.

from HuffPo:

A Kentucky woman previously convicted of animal cruelty is believed to have been eaten by her dozens of hybrid wolf-dogs after she died.

The remains of 67-year-old Patricia Ritz were discovered in her Fordsville home by deputies after neighbors reported they hadn’t seen her in more than a week, NBC News reported.

Authorities who searched the home found only a human skull and jawbone, which they believe to be Ritz’s, according to WHAS 11. Investigators believe Ritz died from an illness and her pets, left without food after her death, consumed her for survival.

Ritz has animal cruelty convictions dating back to 1986, WFIE reports.

 

This might seem to some people like a bit of poetic justice. I wish I could brush it off that easily. To me, she sounds like a hoarder. Unfortunately, she didn’t hoard garbage like old newspapers or junked cars. She happened to pick something that cries when you don’t feed it. And when you don’t feed hungry dogs, their loyalty tends to not be so great.

 

My grandpa told me that she used to go to the general store every two weeks and buy $100 of dog food. Which sounds like a lot until you remember she often had over fifty dogs at any given time.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes Nice Things Happen

September 23rd, 2013

This weekend was exceptionally and unusually pleasant.

 

I want you to notice the word “unusually” in the above sentence. By that sentence, you may think that I am a glowering Gus. An Eeyore in sweatpants. I deserve that.

 

Joyful moments and pleasant days do not have to be the rarity, the anomaly in life. They really don’t have to be. I’ll share with you the two moments that really stand out.

 

Friday night in was in Nashville playing a show with the band. The band before us asked me if I wanted to sing “Black Diamond” by Kiss with them. That band is called Freebase Masons, and I think they play stoner metal. Without a moment of rehearsal, I went up and sang “Black Diamond” with them like I had been doing it my whole life.

 

Maybe I had in some way. How many times have I heard that song? Never really heard the words to it all the way. But I NAILED THAT SONG TO THE WALL. It was glorious. I always wanted to sing a Kiss song onstage with a band. Cross that one off the bucket list I don’t have.

 

The next day, Fordsville Days reared its’ head again. Another local fall festival. For years I have loathed Fordsville Days, mostly because I live in the middle of it and the bandstand is literally next door from where I live. I have complained for years and it has gotten me nowhere.

 

This year my grandfather sat on the porch and listen to an old-time band play country and bluegrass songs from the past. As the night air cooled everything down around us, I joined him on the porch. He sat in a lawn chair with his lady friend Wilda, I sat on the porch. It was like when I was a child and they took me to Rosine to watch bluegrass bands and they were in lawn chairs and I sat on a blanket on the ground. Twenty years before. The night cooled down and I rubbed my arms. Grandpa got tired and went in to take an ibuprofen. He has more aches and pains these days. He slept in that night, as it had been a long day for him.

 

I enjoyed those moments. This was me reliving my youth. You want to relive the days when you’re old enough to party but don’t feel it too bad the next day. I went beyond that. I went to my childhood for a moment.

 

I almost got sad that I couldn’t go back. Instead I feel really good that I had it again. If we had them all the time, they don’t get to be special.

Oh Zappa You Card (Part 5)

September 22nd, 2013

In the ongoing series to rediscover the legendary dickishness of composer/guitarist Frank Zappa, we bring you the curious case of the time he bootlegged himself.

 

During his lifetime, few artists toured with the regularity and intensity of Frank Zappa. Exceptions would include such names as Dylan and The Dead. Add to that the nature of Zappa’s concerts, where unpredictability reared its’ head at least once a show, and you had an immense market for bootleggers.

 

By 1991, Zappa had ceased touring. He had taken on bigger concerns, such as dabbling in international diplomacy and politics, continuing his lifelong obsession with orchestral composition and tragically, fighting an eventual losing battle with prostate cancer. To give his audience some live product, he released three albums of material from his 1988 tour and began the You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore series. This was not enough for fans, so he decided to take a bunch of Zappa concert bootlegs and release them as a series of box sets in 1991 and 1992.

 

Beat The Boots was simply the unauthorized releases in question. No attempt was made by Frank to clean up the tapes. He didn’t even listen to them for quality control. He simply reprinted the artwork and audio as it had been put out. He bootlegged the bootleggers. It was kind of amazing. An admirable act of pre-Internet trolling, really.

 

If Zappa were alive, he’s probably be quite happy with people bittorrenting audience recordings of his old shows. I stress the word “audience” recording.

Oh Zappa, You Card (Part 4)

September 14th, 2013

Dear Frank Zappa, you dick. You made smoking look cool.

 

Pictured: Cool-looking guy with cigarette.

 

Every time you were photographed with a cigarette nearby, you probably inspired a bunch of kids to take it up. You made it look really cool. Like you meant it. Come off it, Frank. The most famous picture of you is the one where you sat on a toilet naked and God only knows how many people that inspired.

 

 

LOOKIT DIS GUY PLAYIN’ GUITAR WHILE SMOKIN’! FUCKIN’ KOOL IS WHAT IT IS!

 

This lady wasn’t gonna but Zappa + Guitar = Needs A Smoke

 

Thank goodness Zappa died at the age of fifty-two or else he would have inspired a whole new generation of kids to pick up a pack.

 

Pink and purple attire? Cigarette on guitar neck? Obviously getting laid tonight.

Pink and purple attire? Cigarette on guitar neck? Obviously getting laid tonight.

 

If Frank Zappa were around in 2013 trying pull this kind of stuff off, he’d be put to the gas chamber. Or he’d be put in a room with no ventilation and as many cigarettes as he needed and he’s clambake himself to death. I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore.

 

Oh Zappa, You Card (Part 3)

September 12th, 2013

I got into Frank Zappa around the time he died. When he died, A&E showed his “Biography” episode and I was so impressed with what I saw I got into him without having ever heard a full song of his. The first two Zappa albums I ever bought were Over-Nite Sensation and Freak Out. Sensation was one of his biggest hit albums and Freak Out is his critically-acclaimed debut. So I was in good territory at first.

 

Soon I bought an album called We’re Only In It For The Money. This was Zappa’s third album and considered one of his best. I was really dumbstruck to hear it though because, well. . . it didn’t sound like an album from 1968.

 

 

Because I didn’t know a lot about Zappa, I didn’t know that I had unwittingly bought the 1984 “remix” of the Money album. To call it a “remix” is a misnomer, since the entire album’s bass and drum parts had been re-recorded. In 1984. A 1968 album with 1984 drums and NO ATTEMPT to disguise them as anything but.

 

For contrast, here is what the original 1968 version of “Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance” sounds like.

 

 

Go back and listen to the first video. Zappa claimed that the masters to the Money tapes were in bad shape, hence the re-recordings. Still this infuriated a lot of people. Fans hated the new mix, and the original Mothers of Invention were so pissed they sued Zappa for $16 million saying they hadn’t been paid royalties since 1969.

 

It’s hard to say that the 60’s Mothers had a point. Nearly all of them would collaborate with Zappa in some fashion between the band’s breakup in 1969 and this lawsuit. Mothers Of Invention albums were not known as hot sellers. The term “no commercial potential” was thrown around quite loosely (allegedly coined by record executive/vampire Clive Davis). It wasn’t until the compact disc boom that Zappa’s music became a good catalog item.

 

What can’t be denied is that Frank Zappa was George Lucas-ing shit before George Lucas was George Lucas-ing shit. Don’t believe me? Listen to track two from Money, “Who Needs The Peace Corps” (the 1968 remix).

 

 

Now behold the 1984 “remix” of the same song, which was such an abomination that even the musicians he hired to dub in the parts begged him not to do it. Notice how upfront the 1984 rhythm section is. Dammit Frank.

 

 

 

But Is It Gay?

September 11th, 2013

 

I asked a very important question in the realm of male sexuality to St. Bradford. Go watch it. It’s funny. You’re welcome.

Child Is Father To Someone Who Yells

September 11th, 2013

When I was a little kid, I got yelled at a lot by my grandfather. Many times I deserved it for misbehaving. I also got yelled at because for things I happened to do that weren’t wrong but irritated him. I couldn’t keep my shoes tied. I couldn’t even get my foot around the back of the heel sometimes. I was a dummy to him. I didn’t mow the lawn the way he wanted. He would recruit me to help me with a task and then do 99% of the work. He would snap at me. I was not a mind reader. I was a kid and he made me cry a few times because I thought he really hated me.

 

Now we’re both much older and I’m the one who snaps at him for irritating me. He needs to use the bathroom while I’m on the toilet. Little things like that. Never anything important. But sometimes I snap at him. Learned behavior. I try to contain myself because I know it’s wrong but sometimes the anger just leaks out.

 

Does he wonder if I don’t like him? I don’t know what he thinks about. We have never yelled at each other for good reasons. I learned it from watching him and I regret it immensely.

 

This sounds like a total burial of my grandfather but the truth is someone had to raise me and he did it. He did the best he could. My mother was out of the picture for years and my father was never in the picture. He did the best he could with what he had. If the glass is cracked, it’s not his fault. He could only do so much.

 

I want this bloodline to stop with me.

 

 

 

Oh Zappa, You Card (Part 2)

September 9th, 2013

Frank Zappa was a dickhead. Perhaps a musical genius but still a total dickhead. There is great evidence of this. I will use one example.

 

In autumn 1969, Frank Zappa released Hot Rats. If you’ve heard anything from this album it was likely something like opener “Peaches En Regalia” or “Willie The Pimp”, which features lead vocals from Captain Beefheart. The entire album, minus the first two minutes of “Willie The Pimp”, are instrumental. It is probably the best Frank Zappa album, and considering the man released nearly 70 albums in his lifetime that says a lot.

 

 

Hot Rats was ignored in the United States. However, it hit the Top Ten in England and the Netherlands. How did Zappa repay the European fans on his first tour post-Hot Rats? By NOT PLAYING A SINGLE SONG FROM THAT ALBUM. Not one. Instead, he brought over his Flo & Eddie Vaudeville band to play revamped old Mothers tunes from the 60s and concocted a stage show that featured such comedy bits as “Paladin Routine” and “Porko The Magnificent.” Oh and they did a bit where they made fun of Dr. John the Night Tripper. Woo-freaking-hoo.

 

Can you imagine having bought Hot Rats and then going to a Zappa/Mothers show expecting to hear something like that and then he gives you something like the first ninety seconds of this show. It’s like he was allergic to giving the audience a single fucking inch. I sort of love him for it even when I hate it.

 

Oh Zappa, You Card!

September 3rd, 2013

This is a soundboard recording of a Zappa/Mothers Of Invention concert from Toronto in February 1969.

 

 

Here is the set list for that show:

01 intro and tune-up
02 Bacon Fat (an r&b cover)
03 Lonely Lonely Nights (another r&b cover)
04 preamble (Zappa talks)
05 Corrido Rock (another obscure r&b cover)
06 Pachuko Hop (another obscure r&b cover)
07 Behind The Sun (yet another obscure r&b cover)
08 preamble (more talking)
09 A Pound For A Brown (hadn’t come out on album yet)
10 Sleeping In A Jar (hadn’t come out on album yet)
11 Charles Ives (hadn’t come out on album yet)
12 preamble (more talking)
13 WPLJ (another obscure r&b cover that hadn’t come out yet)
14 O In The Sky (I think this is their parody of r&b and they didn’t release it)
15 preamble (yes some talking)
16 All Night Long (one more goddamn obscure r&b cover)

 

What chrome-plated balls Frank Zappa had to play a bunch of r&b covers and unreleased material for his audience when he already had five albums out by then. Uncle Meat had “Sleeping In A Jar” and “Pound For A Brown” but wouldn’t come out for another two months. Tracks 9 through 11 are half the show. Pretty amazing. Do you know what kind of bitchfits the Toronto kids would throw on Twitter if they didn’t get to hear their fave Zappa songs if they had Twitter in 1969?

And it’s not like Zappa and the Mothers didn’t give a shit. Listen to Frank in between songs giving information about who recorded the r&b songs and what labels they were released on. Effort went into this. I admire that. Dammit Frank, you magnificent guy. You’ve been gone twenty years. Gone too long. You would be working on a ballet based on Miley’s twerking if you were still here.