Archive for February, 2015

There’s One In Every Crowd

February 28th, 2015

Last night I played a gig in Evansville. It was alright. I played a lot of my saddest material and thoroughly bummed people out. I played a few funny songs, so it was a even mix of levity and lethargy.


I am haunted. There’s a phenomenon that occurs every time I play a show. Every time I play show I have to contend with a drunky, mouthy girl who can’t shut up already.


Let’s try not to use the b-word, the c-word or the wh-word when talking about this girl, even though sometimes she may act like one. Let’s just call her what she is: “Legion”. Legion is at every show I do, drinking and having a good time. I like to talk to the audience. Legion thinks I am initiating a conversation. I am not initiating a conversation. I’m performing. I’m trying to maintain an atmosphere that the listener can get into. If they dip out for a smoke and come back or leave entirely, that’s their business and right. But Legion thinks we are talking, maybe because that’s what happens when Legion goes out drinking and has too much.


There is such a thing as Guy Legion, don’t get me wrong. Usually Guy Legion is pretty easy to pipe down after he’s been answered. But Girl Legion can’t pipe down. Because she’s drunk. If alcohol truly took people’s inhibitions away, more people would be nude or semi-nude in bars and then everyone with eyes would have a nightmare. But booze doesn’t bring out Legion’s inhibitions. Rather, alcohol makes the self-consciousness fade away and reduces social cue reading so Legion just talks and answers back like it’s a Q-and-A because she doesn’t have that sensor active that says “CAUTION: BEING ANNOYING”.


Comedians gripe about this a lot. Fortunately, I can play a song when it gets out of control. All comedians have is their jokes and the mic. Comedians may engage a heckler but Girl Legion is pretty hard to shut down because they tend to be good at filibustering in arguments with boyfriends. Legion applies the relationship argue technique in a situation where it isn’t appropriate because the booze has diminished her self-consciousness and good sense.


What am I supposed to do? I’ve graduated from shouting at them to just letting them do their thing. Why should I engage them in a contest to see who’s the bigger asshole? Besides, between the two of us I’m the only one who knows¬† when I’m actually being one.

A Nice Story

February 27th, 2015

Today I went to the eye doctor.


Wait, this story gets better. I promise.


The eye doctor’s assistant (nurse?) was a girl I went to school with and was a neighbor of mine. Her family lived down the hill from mine. Today was the first time I have seen her in a long time and she told me a story that I had long forgotten.


Once upon a time, her little brother was burning leaves close to the hill. A strong gust of wind blew some of the fire onto the hill bank, making the fire difficult to control for the youngster. It threatened to burn the hill up very fast and the youngster was struggling to put it out.


Who should come down to save the day and help put out the fire but my grandfather? From up on the hill, he saw smoke emanating down below and decided to check it out where he saw the kid struggling to contain the fire. Together they put the fire out and saved the hill from burning up. If that fire had reached up to the top it could have been a problem for the trailers that were up there.


My grandfather was a sweet man. He was kind and he moved fast to do the right thing. It was instinct and he instilled that in his children and grandkids. Doing the right thing.


That instinct kicked in again last week. I would tell you about what I did but that would be tooting my own horn. No need to brag about those sort of things. It doesn’t make me unique. Doing the right thing is not something I did for recognition. It was right and that justifies itself. I’m being vague on purpose. It’s alright.


I miss my grandpa. I teared up after the nurse left the room. The tears burned my eyes.

A Slice Of Heaven

February 26th, 2015

I look outside to find the last remnants of snow in my yard. Last week we got about a foot of the white stuff. Still a few inches left to be washed away by the rising temperatures and rains of the coming March.


It’s Thursday morning. I have spent the last hour or so listening to Huun Huur Tu, a quartet of Tuvan throat singers. I am obsessed with a song called “Camel Caravan Drivers Song”. I heard a snippet of it over twenty years ago.



I heard it near the end of a BBC documentary about Frank Zappa. Zappa hosted a party at his house a few months before he died in 1993. Invites went out to Irish folk group The Chieftains, bluesman Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and among others Huun Huur Tu. You can find the raw footage of this event if you google “Zappa Salad Party”.


I saw the documentary in ’94, and it shows Zappa enjoying this unlikely collaboration between Irish folksters, Mongolian folksters, an American blues legend, and who knows who else. I only heard a snippet of a song sung by Huun Huur Tu, and never thought I’d hear it again. It never occurred to me do any further research. Perhaps they had conceived the song on the spot, I figured. A one-time event never to be repeated.


The jam session/salad party was a one-time event but it was not a one-time composition, as Huun Huur Tu were singing a song, “Camel Caravan Drivers Song”. I have not heard any part of this song in any other than what was in the Zappa documentary.


It gave me some joy to hear it again. Two decades have gone by. My life has changed so much. I went from teenager to legal adult to college graduate to crazy rapper to bitter, depressed crank. The folk tradition is not something I understood at sixteen. I may get it a little more now. The authentic soul of a distant land, a different people. The folk tradition lives but it will not be found at an award show. Music is life. This is life I’m hearing. A cry that is joyful and pained by the same token. It took a long time to get to this place. The music took a long time to get to my and your ears. Our lives have taken us here after such a long journey. The journey never ends, either. Not for life and not for music that embodies the folk tradition.


Did you know Huun Huur Tu tours frequently? I just learned this. They will do U.S. dates in April and again in the fall. If you can see them, you should.

Who Won, Who Should Have Won

February 22nd, 2015

1995 Grammy Album Of The Year Winner: Tony Bennett, MTV Unplugged

should have won: Jerky Boys, Jerky Boys 2


1997 Grammy Album Of The Year Winner: Celine Dion, Falling Into You

should have won: Put It In Your Mouth, Akinyele


1997 Grammy Song Of The Year Winner: “Change The World”, Eric Clapton & Babyface

should have won: “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”, Smashing Pumpkins


2012 Academy Award Best Picture: Argo

should have won: 21 Jump Street


2014 Academy Award Best Picture: Birdman

should have won: Frank


1986 Slammy Award Best Producer: “Mona Flambe” aka Cyndi Lauper

should have won: Rick Derringer


2008 Slammy Award “Damn!” Moment Of The Year Winner: The Great Khali hosting the Kiss-Cam

should have won: CM Punk attacking Chavo Guerrero while dressed as a mariachi band member


1987 Utter Bullshit I Just Made Up Award Winner: This guy

should have won: That guy


1990 Utter Bullshit I Just Made Up Award Winner: Who’s that now?

should have won: That guy again?


2002 Year Of The Year Award Winner: 2000

should have won: 1999



Teenage Girl Blues

February 21st, 2015

Popular music goes where the teenage girls go. This is the biggest “no duh” sentence I’ve ever written.


I wish I knew how to manipulate teenage girls. For financial purposes. I mean, I want them to give me my money. Nothing else. I just want their money.


Goddamn it. Who’s a fella gotta blow around here to get some of that teenage girl money? What do I have to do? Form a boy band and write songs for it. Do I gotta Kim Fowley this shit? I’m too tired for that shit.

Some Dave Cloud Blurbs

February 20th, 2015

I didn’t have a lot to write the other day about the passing of Dave Cloud. It took me by surprise and I think it surprised quite a few other people. I don’t have a lot more to say that others haven’t already said.


That being said, here a few different recollections and reminisces of and about Dave and his Gospel of Power. They provide links to other Cloud-articles of note, including the one-shot radio show that Dave hosted in Nashville that hosted where he read stories in dirty magazines, gave advice to callers and sang a touching version of “The Crystal Ship”.


Nashville was a crazy fun place to go a while ago. You could go to Springwater and see Dave Cloud and The Mattoid play together. Now, Dave has passed away and Ville of the Mattoid is back in Finland and I don’t know who I envy less. Kidding.


Dave Cloud

February 18th, 2015

Very early this morning , I got news that Dave Cloud was very ill. I had no idea how sick he was. He was taken off life support Wednesday afternoon.




Dave Cloud was what one might call a “character”. He was great. His voice was fantastic. His soul was fantastic. His spirit is true.


As a friend of mine noted, this is the coldest night of the year with the darkest moon.



New Concept for UFC

February 18th, 2015

With a foot of snow outside, I have taken to messing around with new concepts at home rather than venturing out to live life. You’ll forgive me for spitballing, I hope.


I’m going to talk about UFC and testing for PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) so if you’re not up on the subject you can start by reading this article about UFC’s current woes in the matter. If you want the tl;dr version I’ll sum it up by saying that enough of the high-profile fighters are getting popped for positive tests and it is becoming a problem for the league, fighters that don’t use PED’s, fans and critics who doubt the legitimacy of the sport and its’ attempts to regulate against those who violate PED laws.


Steroids and HGH have long been a problem in sports. Look no further than MLB which almost cannibalized itself trying to remove PED’s from the sport. The NFL also has a problem with PED’s, but it would seem that they unofficially look at it as a problem of players getting caught taking such, not using. The advantage that UFC and the sport of mixed-martial arts have over the other major sports leagues is that it is an individual sport. If a UFC fighter gets suspended, it will not affect his teammates because he doesn’t have teammates like a baseball or football team.


There has to be a better way to deal with the PED’s issue. Fighters who use will justify using. Fighters who don’t use feel righteous by comparison. So here’s my idea. Split the divisions in UFC to accommodate both. You have a league of fighters who use and a league of those who do not.


What I am suggesting is largely impractical, I admit. Just hear me out. UFC can have two different brands, a brand featuring clean fighters (call it UFC RAW) and another brand about those who are unashamed and feel justified in PED’s use (call it UFC SMACKDOWN). The RAW fighters compete against each other, and the SMACKDOWN guys do the same. Never shall the twain meet in the UFC octagon.


If a clean RAW fighter tests positive for PED’s, then they would be suspended for a period of time and then have to re-debut for the other SMACKDOWN brand. Pay fighters more for RAW fights to give incentive for staying clean. Any using SMACKDOWN fighter assumes risks for their use, as well as their opponents who are aware of what the guy across the octagon is doing.


I already assume this proposal has been considered and rejected.



An Open Letter To Tostitos & Frito-Lay

February 16th, 2015

Dear Tostitos and Frito-Lay,


I have bought your “restaurant-style salsa” by accident on two occasions now and I must tell you. . . not a fan. I understand you serve “restaurant-style” tortilla chips as well. I don’t care about that. But your salsa is a disgrace. I bought some chips to go with my salsa and I’ve found that using your product is like using a spicy soup with bits of cilantro in it.


I don’t even mind the cilantro. What I mind is how watery and runny this salsa is. It’s like you took dishwasher runoff and threw some red dye in it. It is a poor excuse for salsa, especially compared to your chunky salsa.


My friend Lyle says he doesn’t like chunky salsa, but then again I don’t always trust his judgement. Is this the kind of person you make restaurant-style salsa for? People who have never ate salsa at a restaurant. Because every time I got chips and salsa at a restaurant, I wasn’t given a bowl of theoretical red water. What I was given was salsa. Even a whitebread restaurant like Buffalo Wild Wings can get that much right.


The near-identical packaging and labeling of your salsa adds to the confusion. You should address this. Keep the regular packaging for the chunky but take your restaurant-style concoction and put it in the nearest dumpster. Or use it to make hobo chili. I don’t care, I’m not a homeless drifter. I won’t stand for this kind of nonsense out of a major corporation.


You can be a corporate partner to Susan G. Komen and donate the watery salsa to breast cancer patients. It makes no difference to me, but karmically it is not a sound idea. Haven’t these women been through enough, Frito-Lay? I wouldn’t even serve this swill to ISIS and those guys take hostages and set them on fire. Who do you think you are, anyway?

The Truth About Kanye

February 9th, 2015

Kanye West Grammys

Kanye is in love. It’s obvious. You wouldn’t suspect it but everything he does is a cry for help, a cry for acknowledgement that his feelings are being understood. I get it, ‘Ye. You’re in love. She’s the most beautiful woman in the universe. She could crush entire ecosystems with a flick of the hand through those luscious locks. She moves with purpose and makes you feel like a little Timmy wearing pocket protectors like it’s junior high math club all over again.


I don’t blame you. Who wouldn’t be intimidated by She Who Is Beyonce?


Beyonce performs on her Mrs Carter world tour in Amsterdam


Oh, Kanye. You poor sap. You’re a famous rap star, songwriter and producer. You are a complex person. You contain multitudes but one look from Beyonce strips all that away. One look from her deep, thoughtful eyes into yours and all senses of self, self-image and self-consciousness go away. That is why you run on stage when other people win awards that Beyonce is nominated for. You did it in 2009 to Taylor Swift. You did it last night to Beck.


This is not about art, music, music video, or awards for such. This is about love. This is about your love for her crying out but not wanting to say it explicitly. You betray your feelings, Kanye. I get it. It’s called “unrequited love”. You are infatuated, obsessed. You want to tell her. You want to tell the world: “I AM IN LOVE WITH BEYONCE KNOWLES. I WORSHIP HER LIKE A MINION FOLLOWS AN IDOL.”


Sometimes when no one is around, you write “Beyonce West” in your notebook. Then you cross it out and write “Kanye Knowles”. Your heart fills up with joy at the very thought of being Kanye Knowles.




Who do we not seeing protesting Beyonce’s awards losses? Jay-Z. Beyonce’s husband. Because Jay-Z has Beyonce. He has the aloof confidence of a man who has the world by a string. The money, the success, the fame, the most beautiful woman in the world. You are indebted to Jay-Z, Kanye, yet you hate him and resent his happiness. Jay-Z gave you a break in show business but took away the thing you wanted most. . . her.


Put in literary terms, Beyonce is the white whale and poor Kanye is Ishmael. But Kanye will never get to harpoon her. So what does a lovestruck fisherman do when he can’t get the big catch? He looks for another white whale.




And what a whale Kanye caught. Who envies the fishermen who make these great catches? Other fishermen. It is better to be envied than it is to envy. Kanye knows this and that is why he married Kim Kardashian and sang those bizarre “Bound 2” lyrics to her face while riding a motorcycle in the video. Distract yourself with, make a baby, get weird with the most famous ass in the world.



And yet it’s not enough. As soon as you’re in the room with “her” again, everything changes. You feel your molecules going crazy inside you. Beyonce is the alpha, the omega and all in between. The world is not enough, in the words of a James Bond film.


Show business is like high school but with money.