Monday, June 28, 2010


1)Steve "Pantera" Austin:
Did you know when Austin first appeared in the National Wrestling Alliance (late-'80s/early-'90s???), he was a "pretty boy," a la Ric Flair or Buddy Landell? He grappled as "Stunning Steve Austin" and held the NWA Television strap on numerous occasions. Austin was strictly mid-card in those days; therefore, not a serious threat to any NWA main draw (Sting, for example). After changing organizations (WWF), cutting his hair, and turning into a "Hell yeah!" Texas bad-ass, Austin became a household name. You youngins should know that Mr. Stone Cold hasn't always opened a can of Whoop Ass, hasn't always drunk beer in the ring, hasn't always played the role of a redneck, and hasn't always had a bottom line. He was Poison before becoming Pantera (Actually, so were Pantera themselves). If Austin's the epitome of an American male who eats chicken wings at Hooters and tries to impress his waitress, then call me a sissy boy who drinks milk and shows my mom an "A" history paper. Odds he's never heard of the Big Boys and/or can't name more than five ZZ Top songs: 3:16.

2)"The Rock":
Former teammate of Ray "I Didn't Get Invited To Disneyland" Lewis' at the University of Miami. Like Lewis, he attempted to make the "killer" money in the NFL, but didn't have da mad skillz for da proz. Joined the WWF and was, like Austin in the NWA, a mid-carder at first. Given a new persona and several ridiculous catchphrases ("Know your role, Jabroni!", "Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?"...), "The Rock" soon acquired legions of moronic followers. Used his "platform" to encourage people to vote Republican in '00. Now possesses, like Cindy Crawford before him, a Screen Actor's Guild card. Other names he answers to include "The People's Champion" and "The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment." But, unless you're his momma, don't dare call him "Dwayne."

Once the silent, are-you-a-boy-or-are-you-a-girl type who scrapped in the square circle with the fellas, she now mainly talks, does commercials for health clubs, appears in non-wrestling mags, and gives overall friendly interviews. Appeals to guys who "squirt off" to female bodybuilders in "Muscle And Fitness." Does not like to get dirty in real life. Too bad, cause I'd love to see "Chyna" entangled with that "Human Burrito" lady who was on "Jerry Springer." Ay caramba!

4)Vince McMahon:
The man who created Hulk Hogan. The man who admitted wrasslin' ain't real. The man who devalued tag teams (a focal point in the '80s NWA). The man who emphasized business over body slams. The man who now owns WWF, WCW, ECW, NHL, NBA, NEA, and 206 other alphabet-wrestling soups. In short, McMahon's the main reason why the WWF stands for WHY WRESTLING'S FUCKED!


In an area where locally distributed, D.I.Y. publications have become as rare as a $20,000 Dylan record, the sight of Portsmouth, VA-based You And What Army? (YAWA?) had me singing the subterranean homesick blues.

OK, maybe I'm lying just a little bit. Because, as a kindergarten-thru-9th-grade school boy who'd lived in that urban-blighted town, the times I'd celebrated summer there have been out of mind for a long time. Just when I was ready to stay inside, it was summertime. I summered where I wintered at, and no one was allowed there...

As a youngster, I always used to say that the Portsmouth heat was much hotter than Virginia Beach's. My reasoning: P-Town was closer to the Equator.

Well, YAWA? is the snowball's chance in that hell. For the second issue, Terry (the zine's Frosty The Snowman) posed a survey question that nearly popped my two eyes made out of coal. "Who is your favorite band of all-time and why?" As a "High Fidelity"/VH-1 list-boy, my slushy outer-covering started to melt, while formulating a 98.6-degree response. Here's my under-the-tongue reading:

Husker Du -- Without question, my favorite band for the past decade or so.

First heard them on the best radio station Tidewater has ever had (92.1 WOFM). The initial song that caught my ear was "It's Not Peculiar" (from Warehouse: Songs And Stories). Purchased said album the very next day at Track's (or was it Mother' Wherehouse Music) in Lynnhaven Mall. Surprised to learn that Bob Mould was the guitarist and primary vocalist, because I had picked up his solo album Workbook earlier that year (1989).

Connection established, I acquired the remaining pieces of the Du catalog in reverse order: Candy Apple Grey, Flip Your Wig, New Day Rising, Zen Arcade, Metal Circus, etc. Each album was just as amazing (if not more so) as the one before it, chronologically speaking. This three-piece had all the power of the top-flight "punk" bands of their era (Black Flag, Mission Of Burma), tempered with the melody and song craft of flagship acts from another time (The Beatles, The Who). Over the years, I've often described Du's 1984 double LP Zen Arcade (the one piece of music I could never live without) as "Quadrophenia for the hardcore (when that term didn't have the implications it has today) set."

Today, I own nearly every Bob Mould-related project (Du, Sugar [best band of the '90s!], solo works, and several "bootlegs"). But the finest example of "abrasive-pop" I had ever taken to heart all began with Husker Du.

Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton -- take a bow!


Hey there! Allen Davis is back from an extended vacation in Georgetown, Guyana. Why there, you ask? Because it's the home of crossover reggae musician Eddy Grant. I had to inform him the-powers-that-be (Planet Music) had reduced every title in his catalog to $1.99. He's under the impression that Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (stars of the movie "Romancing The Stone," for which Grant composed the title cut and had a bit part as a juju man) are out for revenge.

Back in 1985, Grant sued the Irish government for using the "Romancing The Stone" theme as a tourism piece for the famous Blarney Stone. The three-year delay of the trial put a freeze on all royalties from the film. This caused great hardship for Douglas and Turner. In the now-infamous interview with "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart (a Grant advocate), Turner exclaimed, "You coma-inducing voiced bitch! How dare you believe a juju man's word over mine!" Douglas took his anger out on the bottle, and this behavior lasted until reuniting with Turner in "The War Of The Roses." In March 1988, before the Irish high constable, Mr. Grant agreed to a settlement of: 1)666 bars of Irish Spring deodorant soap, 2)a complete discography of The Pogues, and 3)an audience with Lucky The Leprechaun (aka in Guyana -- "The Lucky Charms Cereal Mon").

Even though Grant has since lived a tranquil African lifestyle with wife Mosheika, Grant questions the motives of current Planet Music pitchwoman Turner. "She out get the juju mon. Why can't be water under bridge, mon? Why, mon?" he asked. There may be more impending legal troubles. Johnnie Cochran recently called Grant to let him know that Montgomery Ward has been using "Electric Avenue" for years without his permission. It will be interesting to see if the case is tried by "a jury of the peers." "If need be, then we'll take it higher," Cochran said.

This legal mumbo-jumbo is making me all angry and shit, so let me get a little reflective for you guys. Here's a tribute to my dead father. His name was Paul Davis.

In 1982, my dad recorded the biggest-selling single in America, yet suffered from an identity crisis that led to two botched suicide attempts. At his own record-release party, many of the guests did not know who Mr. Davis was. When told he's the guy who sings "'65 Love Affair," the procession encircled Paul and chanted, "Doo wop ditty wop ditty wop doo." This seven-word phrase would influence the entire career of "The Biggest Penis In Rock 'N' Roll," aka Huey Lewis. Taking much from my dad's attitude towards music ('50s references in songs about the '60s, heavily polished sound = good rock 'n' roll, etc.), Mr. Lewis had great success with songs like "The Heart Of Rock 'N' Roll," to name one. Rolling Stone wrote, "Paul Davis' influence on Huey Lewis' music is so thick, Mr. Davis should demand half of the royalties straight off."

Mr. Lewis was certainly no stranger to mimicking other people's sound. Ray Parker Jr. sued him for $50,000,000, because the music in "I Want A New Drug" had replicated Parker's "Ghostbusters." (Parker said he'd written that song in 1980) The case was settled out of court, but Lewis' thievery continued. While in San Francisco laying down tracks for Paul Davis' Greatest Hits, my father saw Huey on a Chinatown street corner playing the harmonica. Instead of dropping change into Lewis' cup, Mr. Davis invited him to a sports bar for a few drinks. After polishing off a case of Anchor Steam Liberty Ale, the rights to "'65 Love Affair" somehow exchanged hands. This was the reason why my father's "Greatest Hit" didn't appear on his own retrospective. Amid the difficulties surrounding this matter, Mr. Davis released a tremendous single, "I Go Crazy." (whose lyrics are aimed at Huey Lewis, "I go crazy/When I look in your eyes") Lewis, being the asshole that he is, continues to perform this song at shitty festivals all over the country.

Shortly before my father's death of natural causes at age forty-one, Huey Lewis' new song, "Hip To Be Square," began to receive minor airplay on contemporary-rock radio. In typical Paul Davis fashion, my father had this comment for Lewis: "I didn't know a square was shaped like a dick."

I miss you, dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Longtime classic-rock DJ Mike Arlo is a likeable sort of guy. With a genuine interest in the music he spins (Jimmy Buffett, Steve Winwood, and The Beatles are among his stated favorites) and a willingness to put himself in a precarious light (witness 106.9 The Fox commercial, where Arlo borrows the looks of an '80s {?} rapper and Britney Spears, in order to demonstrate what's NOT played on the station), Mike's the edible crust on an otherwise stale-bread format. However, even Arlo The Bakerman can sometimes cook a bad loaf.

During a recent airing of his "Arlo Archives" feature, Mike told listeners why "Bad To The Bone" hasn't been heard in advertisements for many years. The explanation: Once George Thorogood saw Arnold Schwarznegger in the trailer for "Terminator 2" (with "Bad..." blasting in the background), the Delaware Destroyer captain said nobody else could've done that song more justice. Thus, "Bad..." hasn't aided sales pitches, since the "I'll be back" sequel.

Uh...paint that a red "X," Mike and George. In a Sherwin Williams (?) spot, some dancin' fool with a brush really gets into the task at hand, while his wife shakes her head in false disapproval. The opening guitar strains of..."Bad To The Bone" play on an imaginary boom box (perhaps a clue of the paint job's forthcoming results). This slovenly excuse for a promotion was seen on TV as recently as May '01. Strike two came on 6/9/01, when Pet-Smart threw a "Bad To The Bone" at viewers, announcing the formation of dog-training classes.

A little wet behind the ears, aren't we, Mike and George?

Cheap Trick - Rockford (Big3 Records, 2006)

As someone who's really into music, it's surprising that I've gone several years without owning any headphones. A recent trip to Goodwill surrendered nothing in the way of compact discs, but sitting on the shelf next to several Commodore 64-era joysticks was a sealed-in-the-box pair of Philips that I'd seen for $12.99 elsewhere. Never one to pass up a great deal, I handed the lady $3.14 and immediately sought the connection of my stereo. Tearing into the box like a lion on a steak, waifs of cigarette smoke filled the air quicker than 50-year-old women puffing in a dive bar. How come the Target factory worker was allowed to suck on cancer sticks while packing materials? Let's blame it on Milli Vanilli and the rain.

Throughout the 70s, Cheap Trick released strings of excellent albums that were met with the satisfaction of an after-dinner pipe. However, the 80s and 90s' works were largely piss 'n' nicotine affairs for the band. For every cool track like "She's Tight" or "If You Want My Love" (Joe Dirt's favorite!), there were at least ten strains of "Don't Be Cruel" and "The Flame" pollutants. In 1997, Trick broke free from the addiction of substandard songs with their second eponymous disc. The Nicoderm patch contained at least five cuts worthy of placement in a greatest-hits pack.

Nine years later, the boys from Illinois are still breathing freshly. "Welcome To The World" is a clear-lunged, spirited rewrite of In Color's "Hello There" opening invitation. Titular rings from the past are blown on "Come On Come On Come On" (Zander at his most maniacal) and "Oh Claire" (J. Winston Lennon-like tear-jerker comparable to CT97's "Shelter"). "This Time You Got It" pulls like Macca sharing a drag with the Raspberries and Big Star. "If It Takes A Lifetime" and "Dreaming The Night Away" find the ELO Kiddies stealing cigars from Jeff Lynne's humidor. Menthol-flavored funk a la Jagger/Richards and the Toxic Twins is served via "One More Day."

No longer hazardous to your health, Cheap Trick are once again doing numbers you'd like to do with them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


L.E.S. Stitches/The Homewreckers -- 8/22/97
Two NYC-area bands rocked a moderately packed house. The Homewreckers impressed with their Dee-troit sounds, and they paid tribute to their forefathers with a great cover of "Kick Out The Jams" (a song that never fails to excite us motherfuckers). L.E.S. Stitches played a good brand of Heineken-swilling, all-over-the-place drunk punk. The singer put the mic in my face during "All This And More." Naturally, I sang along.

The Ultimatics -- 8/29/97
These punkers from Pittsburgh delivered the rock 'n' roll goods throughout their hour-long set. Some say they're Johnny Thunders meets The Clash, others The Lazy Cowgirls gone '77. In any case, The Ultimatics provided a sonic quarantine from the nearby American Music Festival with selections from their album, as well as covers of the Dead Boys ("All This And More" -- was it Stiv Bators tribute week?!?), U.K. Subs ("Stranglehold") and Sham 69 ("Borstal Breakout").

Jack Black -- 9/16/97
Always fun seeing this "punkabilly" trio from NYC. It was twice the action on this Tuesday evening, as Jack Black played two sets of booze-filled, greasy rock 'n' roll mayhem. If you haven't seen or heard this band yet, you must like Dan Fogelberg. Pick up Got Jack Black If You Want It for a taste of their live show. Among the items for sale were panties with the Jack Black logo prominently featured. Would've bought a pair, but the women who receive my gifts are of the XXXL variety. Outta luck on this shopping trip.

The Mad Daddys -- 9/20/97
Had missed their show in Norfolk last year, so I was looking forward to this one. Use The Cramps as a reference point if you must, but these kings of wild New Jersey rock 'n' roll have been a garage-rock institution for over twelve years. All told, a solid 30 minutes of off-the-octave-chart vocals from Stinky Sonobuoni, framed by a rockin' rhythm section. Stinky's a born performer. Fidgeting cigarettes and having a nice-looking female paddle his backside whilst quoting "Animal House," he played the lead role perfectly.

The Heartdrops -- 9/24/97
Second time seeing this NYC three-piece. I'd say I enjoyed this show more than their first, because the Natural Light drafts were dirt cheap, and The Heartdrops played a longer set of their very fine "street pop." '76 Ramones crossed with '78 Clash? You make the call. Their Big Apple roots were put on display, with right-on takes of The Heartbreakers ("One Track Mind") and The Dictators ("Stay With Me").

Lostribe/The Unabomers/Buggin' Out -- 10/3/97
An all-ages punk-rock affair, featuring two familiar acts (with new drummers) and one of more-recent vintage. Buggin' Out played 7-8 songs of fast, melodic sounds that the crowd almost didn't get to hear (the band had nearly called it quits). Good thing they decided to stick with it. The Unabomers did some ragin' hardcore tunes that could be felt as far away as Helena, MT. Their new skin-pounder (ex-Seesaw, Evil Superman -- I think [?]) injected some humor with faux English accents. Lostribe brought to mind my porch-skating days in Portsmouth with their "drop-in-off-the-first-step-but-don't-mess-up-the-flower-pot" skate punk. Wish these guys had been around in '85-86 instead of Suicidal Tendencies (yuck!). Maybe I'd still be possessed to skate.

The Loudmouths/Snuka -- 10/4/97
Believe it or not, openers Snuka were more karate than wrestling. As singer Chloe was being backed by some good punk rock 'n' roll, she knocked out my friend David with one finger, by attacking a pressure point in his forehead. Chloe also capped some pink-pussy-fur taste-tester in the teeth with one of her patented kicks. The Loudmouths were only on stage for what seemed a blink of an eye, but were pleasing with their late-'70s inspired punk. There was enough time for Beth Loudmouth to quote The Specials, praise roller derby/knock Rollerblading, and say, "I wanna lick some pussy tonight." Just be careful of Chloe, okay Beth?

The 5,6,7,8's -- 10/7/97
These ladies from Tokyo must love Va. Beach, because they had played a show at 44 a month prior to this one. Couldn't make that gig, so this was like an early Christmas present. There was an opening act, but I didn't catch his name. That's right -- one guy, armed with only a guitar and a voice, performed some great interpretations of '50s American rock 'n' roll. The 5,6,7,8's also rocked in a '50s-style, laced with '60s/'70s sounds as well. Their uniform orange dresses were a nice sight. See you girls in November?

Big Bobby And The Nightcaps -- 10/10/97
Some band from up north had been scheduled to headline, but its dog died and ate the set-list. The Nightcaps, who don't own any pets to my knowledge, proved they're in good standing with the SPCA, as well as the loyal rock 'n' roll crowd (those at the Driving And Crying show need not apply). The dog absentees were called "a bunch of Yankees," whiskey was preferred over Goldschlager, and rock 'n' roll fun was a plenty.

The Humpers/The Neckbones -- 10/11/97
44 was crowded on the level of a Candy Snatchers/Nashville Pussy show. Three reasons why: The Humpers, The Humpers, and The Humpers. Their label mates, The Neckbones, did an effective job rockin' out with a 20-minute set of no B.S. R 'N' R. People had told me what a great live band The Humpers were, and classics like "Wake Up And Lose," "Up Yer Heart," "Anarchy Juice," "Soul Surgeon," and "Drunk Tank" were given added power, as vocalist Scott Drake gave an upside-down calisthenics demonstration. Almost everybody sang along. Yes, the guy who wears that funny hat did just that. Well worth the five Washingtons.

Wolfgang Bang - What Are You Going To Do? (ESM, 2006)

Japanese faces (from El-Lay) with a German name playing American and British punk-rock. The Ramones/Pistols emulations presented by Mikk, Hiroshi, and K.C. have enough rolling in the Hey Hey Hey and injecting Elmer's into the nostrils to keep the fan clubs of Weasel, Ben and Peters, Duane sedated for at least twenty minutes. The line about a backyard BBQ brought back memories of two days ago. As I was standing with a badminton racket in one hand and a Miller High Life in the other, my buddy Ross blasted Dokken's "Breaking The Chains" at a volume set to stun. The shuttlecock fell to the ground, but the beer remained in the clutches. Better to lose a point, lest you unsuccessfully try to make one.


"Here's $65.00, Gunther. That should be enough to get the four Lenny Kravitz CDs I need to replace my well-worn tape copies with. Meet me behind the Golden Corral at 9:00 PM. That's around the time I'll be finished working. Well, have fun searching them out. I'll see ya later."

My sister's ex-boyfriend Thomas, perhaps the only chosen male of my female siblings whom I still consider an amigo, had these words for me as I carted him off to a dishwashing gig. After filling my hand with a crisp assortment of fives, tens, and twenties, as well as making sure I was clear on his instructions, Thomas and I parted company for the time being.

Activating the auto-pilot function on my Horizon (yet the hatch did not open -- call it selective technology) directed me to a primarily used CD store near Lynnhaven Mall. Though Thomas only wanted new copies of the discs, I couldn't resist the urge to check the new vs. used price differential. Sure enough, all four could've been had for $8.99 a pop used. Using very elementary calculus, the total came to $35.96. What about the price for the same discs new? Well, there wasn't a single sealed copy of any Terence Trent D'Arby CD in the store. Not being a fiscal conservative, Thomas wanted 'em new, costs be damned. So I took his money to where marked-up pricing was extremely liberal. Camelot Music ("Domestic CDs, Import Prices") would surely have the four D'Arby discs Thomas desired. Yeah, they had them alright (for $17.99 each). With Euclid's help, Camelot's fee to take D'Arby home was $71.96. That meant I would have to break into my own cash reserves (read: the crumpled mystery amount of bills in the Wrangler's left pocket). Needing to curb the indecision temporarily, I went upstairs (at Lynnhaven) to the food court and did some laps around the eating establishments. Twenty-six bite-size Chick-Fil-A nuggets and twelve egg-roll bites later (love those free samples!), I headed back down to Camelot, with the intent to purchase all that Terence had to offer. Introducing The Hardline, Neither Fish Nor Flesh, Symphony Or Damn, and Vibrator -- my benevolent gesture of contributing $6.96 to Thomas' $65.00 would most certainly be paid back in steak and cheeseburger dividends later. So, the faceless/nameless "Thank you for shopping at Camelot" cashier collected my coin, and I left the mall with great expediency. A re-introduction (Thomas, meet Terence) was going to happen in approximately forty minutes. Ah, I could already taste the well-done double cheese w/bacon... Pulled into the Golden Corral parking lot five minutes ahead of schedule. Sat there patiently, despite anxiously wanting to host the grand re-intro.

9:00 -- There was no sign of Thomas anywhere.

9:20 -- The classic-rock station played a "deep cut" from Bad Company ("Run With The Pack"). Liked that song very much but hated waiting any longer than I had to.

9:40 -- Found an old tennis ball under my car seat. Started bouncing it on the concrete near the dumpster. Wondered why I still had a tennis ball, since my interest in the sport had waned long ago. Meanwhile, I asked myself, "Where the fuck is Thomas?"

9:45 -- The professional dishwasher came out the front door, not the back one like he had said. "Gunther!!!" Thomas yelled. "Thomas!!!" I screamed accordingly. "Lemme see the discs..." I opened the oversized Camelot bag. "OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! Gunther, you fucked up BIG TIME!!! I wanted Lenny Kravitz, NOT Terence Trent D'Arby!!! How could you confuse the two??? This fuckin' sucks!!! Get away from me!!! I don't wanna ever see you again!!!" On his angry chair, Thomas didn't realize that it was hard for me to "get away." After all, we were sitting in MY car. Pissed like George Brett holding a pine-tar bat, Thomas got out of the Horizon, slammed the door shut, and proceeded to walk home. This cab driver wasn't gonna go his way ever again. Fuck you, I'm a survivor. Let love rule...
Four years and several months after the honest mistake, I have often wondered if I was alone in my Kravitz/D'Arby hiccup. The 5/28/01 telecast of NBC's "The Weakest Link" proved that to be false. A contestant by the name of A.K. (who pays $400 a year for his Mensa membership and half that amount for suits) was asked by the sexy host Anne (paraphrasing), "What rocker was once married to 'The Cosby Show' star Lisa Bonet?" A.K. -- "Terence Trent D'Arby?" Hey, A.K. -- Need a ride?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Green Street Hooligans (Warner, 2006)

Taking the fall for an unscrupulous roommate from a distinguished family, Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) gets booted from Harvard on charges of dealing drugs. In exchange for the expulsion, the spared yuppie-to-be offers him $10,000 in hush money and a job promise. Seeking family ties, Matt travels to England to reside with his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani), her husband Steve (Marc Warren), and their new baby. Barely unpacked, the Yank is introduced to Pete Dunham (Charlie Hunnam) -- Steve's younger brother and the leader of a rabid football (AKA soccer, to clueless 'Mericans) fan organization known as the Green Street Elite. Not wanting to spoil the couple's planned evening of romance, Matt agrees to his brother-in-law's suggestion of attending a home match (West Ham Hammers) with Pete. The seasoned partisan sours on the idea, for the only people worse than Yanks to GSE insiders are "coppers" and "journers". Reluctantly, Pete relents after sparring with Matt and giving him some verbal pointers. While knocking back pints in the pub, a story circulates about Matt's involvement in "The Karate Kid." The fib elicits jolly laughter amongst the drunken GSE majority, but Bovver (Leo Gregory) -- Pete's right-hand man -- looks upon the newbie with tremendous contempt. Post-match activities find Matt's first taste of tangling with a rival group, as he imagines the punches landing squarely on his ex-roommate's face. Final round in the books, Pete explains the GSE's M.O. with a dignified air and how the firm "ain't about Bloods and Crips bullshit." Now quartered together, Matt is stunned to learn of his new pal's day gig as a history and P.E. teacher. The "easily-bruised American" puts his own education to good use during a sneak attack on followers of Manchester. "Borrowing" a delivery truck, Matt convinces the assemblage that a Cameron Diaz picture is scheduled for filming in the area. With permission to pass, the GSE catch their foes in a clever trap and beat them to a bloody pulp. News of the melee travels faster than Lady Di's passing, and Matt is uniformly welcomed into the fold of London's most-respected firm. As West Ham draws its arch nemesis Millwall in an upcoming tourney, several GSE long-standers spot the rookie sensation at the London Times. Via the discovery of a tell-all diary on his laptop and Shannon's slip-up to Steve regarding her brother's major in college (journalism, of course), the possibility of Matt as an "undercover journer" gains more legs. Intending to protect his brother-in-law from bodily harm, Steve -- the former GSE head -- himself becomes a victim when Millwall's firm crashes Pete and the boys' favorite watering hole. Ten years ago, Tommy Hatcher (Geoff Bell) -- Millwall's top dog -- lost his 12-year-old son amid a skirmish with the adversaries. Despite Steve not being directly responsible for the child's death, Tommy avenges the tragedy by deeply cutting him in the neck and intoning, "If you die, we're even." It's Pete's duty to mobilize the GSE troops for the "War At The Wharf" versus Millwall. Will Matt be vindicated
in time to join their ranks?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Toilet Boys - Living Like A Millionaire (R.A.F.R., 1999)

Gender-bending (lead singer Guy is...a guy), glam-infused rock 'n' roll that I'd love to witness with those foxy practitioners of similarly styled (if not as over-the-top) '70s sounds, namely The Donnas. "Another Day In The Life," with its double-headed Andy Scott-ish guitar swirls (think "Fox On The Run" or "Lies In Your Eyes") will keep you good company the next time you and your Neon cruise down Desolation Blvd. "Go Go Boy" comes across as an axe-wielding clinic conducted by Mr. Scott with special guest instructor Rick Nielsen (why can't people of this caliber show off their chops at in-stores instead of wanker fucks like the guy from Mr. Big?). "Electric" finds Miss Jayne County joining Scott and Nielsen in a shocking, toilet-love threesome.

The Loudmouths - Get Lit! (702, 1998)

Word of caution to all new-generation grits of Tidewater: This is not the crappy AOR, FM-99 band Loudmouth, which has become the darlings of Bay Area wimpsters Metallica. Despite being from the same location as the Masters Of Muppets, The Loudmouths have enough brain cells (albeit alcohol-soaked) to realize that the Ramones are not an Italian family living in Ocean View. Now a three-piece (unless they got a new guitar player since recording this album -- miss you, Jay!), Dulcinea, Beth and Pete continue their crunch on this second effort. "Fast Service," "Aim For The Head," "Go To Hell" and "Black Heart" deliver the goods (Rob Halford -- R.I.P.) like well-oiled skates fresh from doing laps with eight-wheeled competitors such as The Mud City Manglers and The Valentine Killers.

The Dead End Cruisers - Deep Six Holiday (TKO, 1999)

Pretty authentic sounding Brit-style punk from the limey hotbed of Austin, TX. Leans more on the melodic side of The Clash's fence (i.e., Give 'Em Enough Rope) that's topped off with a Hanoi Rocks undercoating. Dimestore Haloes fans will eat this up like fish and chips at Long John Silver's. The chorus of "Most Likely" reminds me of a certain Shelley/Diggle number, but I can't recall which one. Too many memories of Newcastle Brown Ale hangovers, perhaps.

WAFFLE HOUSE (Indian River Rd., Virginia Beach, VA)

Positioned at a right angle from Regent University (where Pat "In The Name Of Jesus" Robertson answers "Bring It On" questions during tapings of "The 700 Club"), this bread-box-sized restaurant has long served breakfast to truckers and similar sorts who are greasier than the meals they ingest. Before this overcast Tuesday morning, it had been at least six years since I'd eaten one of the 'House's Frisbee-shaped creations. What follows is an account of my latest visit.

My mother and Ryan (the adorable two-year-old she watches for a sizable paycheck) picked me up on Kempsville Road as I was making not-so-labored footsteps toward the library. Although I had crunched the contents of two GRRREAT big bowls of Frosted Flakes, the tiger in me growled for something more carnivorous. McDonald's was McUsual. Shoney's seemed Shopacked. IHOP was ISKIPPED. Thus, we opted for the remaining eatery in the general vicinity serving A.M. grub.

As the three of us were seated by a toothless hag who doesn't Shower To Shower each day, I was reminded why the odor of overpricing had kept me away. $2.30 for a goddamn (sorry, Pat!) waffle? $1.90 for wafer-thin sausage patties? $1.25 for OJ in a sippy cup? Of course, since everyone in the world lights up like a chimney on Christmas morn, we had to contend with expelled tar 'n' nicotine from a two-pack-a-day long-hauler awaiting his runny eggs and toast. Mom ain't smoker-friendly in the least bit, so we switched booths in what was assumed to be a non-smoking section. Big mistake. Not only was an ashtray at every table, but there was also another lit-up scruff who had to make conversation with my mother. "Hey, he looks just like you!" "How old is your little boy?" "I'm sure he's a handful." It must be tough being the most beautiful woman in the world (Mom could easily pass for my sister. I'm guessing the majority of folks think that we're married and Ryan is our son.), but my mother has long been tired of explaining the truth to complete strangers. More often than not, she'll just play along and respond with terse replies -- "Yeah." "Two." "Yep, he is." The milky-white lies were told on this day as well.

NOYB chatter concluded, Medusa finally arrived with our orders. The amount of food placed in front of me couldn't have filled a prescription bottle, much less a big boy (sorry, Shoney's!) like myself. Mom's choice had more variety (omelet, toast, and grits), but sharing was out of the question. I've always hated eggs. Had my mother offered, I would've rather eaten the plate on which they were placed. With a little syrup, thank you. The waffle and sausages were alright, though I would've been just as happy with McD's hotcakes. Grudgingly, Mom also gave her spread a passing grade. Points were accrued for the bottomless coffee, but those were squandered with the words from our waitress ("Sorry, we only accept cash."). Hey, Waffle House -- get with the 1980's already! Then again, with the absolution of smoking in many public places, WH probably considers its attitude towards the nasty habit progressive in nature.

Six on a ten-point scale (that's a passing "D" at Tidewater Community College). $2 tip.

The Pretty Things - The EP Collection...Plus (See For Miles Records Ltd, 1997)

A must-have, twenty-six song collection from these once-chums of The Rolling Stones. Covering their years on the Fontana label 1964-66, The Pretty Things are required listening for anyone interested in dissecting the roots of garage punk. David Bowie thought enough of this band to include both "Rosalyn" and "Don't Bring Me Down" on his Pin-Ups all-covers album. More recently, garage acts like Teengenerate ("Midnight To Six Man"), The Nomads ("LSD"), and The M-80's ("Rosalyn") have given their respective nods with rockin' takes of Pretty Things classics. All songs previously mentioned appear on The EP Collection...Plus in their original form. If getting drunk with the R & B rock stylings of the Stones/Yardbirds/Who is your thing, "Get A Buzz" with The Pretty Things.


One of the most eccentric pianists to grace the pop charts since Mozart, The Bitch has won many admirers during her long career, with an inimitable brand of contemporary piano-punk. With a closely cropped butch haircut, glasses that cost more than an actual pair of eyes, Tweedy-Bird yellow suits, and eleven-foot-tall platform stilts, The Bitch has maintained her true D.I.Y. spirit over the course of 155 albums.

Born with just the name The, Bitch was later added after her mother's second marriage. The stepfather had spent time in jail, hence the moniker. Being called simply "The" all of her six-year-old life, she had trouble adjusting to the Bitch appendix at first. In third grade, however, The saw Little Richard play with his ding-a-ling, as well as a percussion instrument commonly known as a piano. The Bitch soon became fascinated with both and received two special gifts one snowy Christmas morn. One was a Giant Monster Cock that would remain nestled between her sticky alabaster thighs, until her sister misplaced it during a scholastic show-and-tell. The other was an Amway (before they stopped making musical instruments) baby grand. With the toy cock missing, The Bitch spent nearly all of her waking hours learning cherished classics such as "Ba Ba Black Sheep," "Georgie Porgie Pudding Pie," and "Tutti Fruitti." By the time she was 13, The Bitch knew how to play every song that had ever been recorded, with her delicate tickling of the ivories. The problem was when The Bitch tried to write lyrics for her own growing body of musical compositions, not a single word was put to paper.

Enter Bernie, who was named by parents who couldn't decide which "Sesame Street" character they liked best. The Bitch didn't follow the antics of Big Bird and company, thus she'd never learn how to read and write. With Bernie in tow from this point forward as The Bitch's permanent songwriter, however, her illiteracy was a minor concern. The Bitch/Bernie partnership had some early successes in winning piano competitions all over England. Word of her ability reached American shores via publications like Rolling Stone, Playgirl, etc. In 1974, The Bitch accepted an invitation to appear on "The Gong Show," a popular variety television program. Amongst the standard jugglers and bad ventriloquists was an exceptionally talented black fellow named Stevland Morris, who would later be known as Stevie Wonder. The wannabe circus performers and Howdy Doodys were quickly dismissed, and the two gifted pianists earned their places in the final. The heightened tension rivaled that of a prime Bobby Fisher/Boris Spassky chess match. Though neither competitor had actually heard the thud of the gong, Stevland was declared the winner, due to an obscure "criteria #6 tiebreaker" (which is a fancy way of saying Stevland won due to his blindness). The Bitch suffered her first (and what would prove to be her last) loss in head-to-head piano dueling. She avoided "criteria #6" for good, by wearing exotic eyewear with extremely dark lenses that intentionally dimmed her vision. Soon, Stevland and other would-be-heirs to The Bitch's throne vanished. The Bitch/Bernie duo immediately began working on their first of what would be 460 Top-Ten recordings.

Although it would take many more pages to describe all of them, several songs do stand out from the bunch. "Bennie And The Jets" discusses The Bitch manager's love affair with the pantyhose-wearing, pre-Flex All using, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath. Despite her misspelling and mispronunciation of Bernie's name, it remains a true Bitch classic. "Rocket Man" examines the pitfalls of Virginia Cavalier star/Houston Rockets bust Ralph Sampson. "And I think it's gonna be a long, long time..." It was -- Houston finally won an NBA title in the '93-94 season. "Nikita" is a touching look at The Bitch's own want of National Wrestling Alliance superstar Nikita Koloff. "Nikita, I need you so/Nikita, you'll never know." Koloff didn't know, because his English was limited to "OH, MAGNUM T.A., YOU GO...DOWN!" "I'm Still Standing" is perhaps The Bitch's most-bizarre number, since she has neither played a concert nor been photographed standing up. This is all the more odd, considering The Bitch always wears her eleven-foot tall stilts on stage. "I'm still standing?" No. No. No. "I'm still sitting?" Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

The Riverdales - Storm The Streets (Honest Don's, 1997)

I've seen these guys dogged too many times in zines for "sounding too much like the Ramones." Wow! What an observation. Maybe it has something to do with Ben Foster (AKA Weasel) fronting this three-piece. I'm largely unaware of all the bullshit surrounding Mr. Weasel, and frankly, I don't care to know. The Riverdales lay all the cards on the table, by listing in their thank-you section, "...and, of course, the Ramones." Note that Ben's former band, Screeching Weasel, covered the entire self-titled Ramones album. All things understood, Storm The Streets is a near-replica of the sounds from the Bowery Boys' glory years ('76-79). With songs about boys in plastic bubbles, cementheads, mental retards, and, of course, the mandatory "Wanna" number ("I Don't Wanna Go To The Party"), you'll be "Gabba Gabba Hey!"-ing in no time flat. One of the best Ramones albums not recorded by the Ramones.