Thursday, July 29, 2010


Friggin' Arizona Diamondbacks...were they bribed by Georgie Peorgie at the closing moments of Games 4 and 5?

On three days rest, Curt Schilling had pitched a masterful Game 4, only to be relieved by the D'Backs answer to Dan Quisenberry (look him up, if you're not a baseball fan). The move by manager Bob Brenly seemed brilliant in the eighth inning, as the D'Backs closer struck out the side. With two outs and a two-run lead in the ninth, the D-Backs were on their way to a 3-Games-to-1 World Series lead against the hated Yankees. Of course, Tino Martinez blasted one over the fence, squaring the contest and sending it into extra innings. Bottom of the 10th, Derek Jeter carried a ball into the crowd in right (also off the same D'Backs hurler). Game over. Series tied 2-2.

Last night (11/01/01), a similar situation -- D'Backs starter pitched wonderfully, their reliever came in, bottom of the 9th, two runs ahead, two outs...BOOM!!! Scott Brosius sent a monster over the wall in left. Tie game. In the 12th, the Yanks won on an errant throw to home plate. Bronx Bombers lead the Series 3-2.

This word gets thrown around a lot and I don't necessarily believe it, but can you say CONSPIRACY? Why are teams afraid to go all-out against the Yanks? Because of Babe Ruth? Because of Lou Gehrig? Because of Thurman Munson? Because of Mayor Rudy? If it had been me in Bob Brenly's dugout, I would've sent Randy Johnson to the mound right after Schilling in Game 4. The D'Backs could've had a 3-1 Series lead, which in turn would've boosted confidence for the next day. Not to mention healthy arms for Games 5 and 6, if necessary. But no, Brenly acted as if the D'Backs were matched up with the goddamned Montreal (soon to be Washington D.C.?) Expos in April. As one writer pointed out on TV, hating the Yankees is as much of an American tradition as loving them. What's there to feel sorry for? They've won 26 World Series titles (soon to be 27?), got the GNP of Madagascar, and sport the most widely known ball cap ever. Why shed tears over someone who's slept with Mariah Carey? Why empathize with a Benedict Arnold strikeout-artist? If the D'Backs wanna taste a little success, they've gotta play their two trump cards on the blackjack table.

Next up: Johnson in Game 6, Schilling in Game 7. Will Brenly hit "21" with his starters, or will he fold with the bullpen? Place your bets.

The Hypochondriacs - Feelin' Fine (self-released, 2001)

X/Avengers/Alley Cats-esque punk rawk 'n' roll about two thousand miles and twenty-five years removed from the D-House. Jenny's got quite the vocal ornamentation for an outfit that's by turns brash 'n' bluesy. The quicker-paced cuts scream like another gone-but-not-forgotten Cali crew: The Loudmouths. End of the world? Somebody give me a shot...

Junkdrawer/Dottie & Ernest @ New Belmont, Norfolk, VA (8/3/02)

Normally, I wouldn't set foot in a swank joint where the appetizers are more pricey than any main course I'm used to ordering. My culinary motto is that good hamburgers grill all over great Andoulay Serpentini (overpriced Chef Boyardee with prawns) anytime. jOhn is also in agreement with the way I look at food, but that didn't stop him from calling me to request my presence at the Belmont. Earlier in the week, his just-for-the-hell-of-it personal ad on The Onion's webpage had generated a reply from a lady who is employed by the Nor-fawk library system. jOhn and the respondent had spoken at length por telefono on several occasions. During the third or fourth conversation, la chica de Onion had informed him of the reconciliation between her and an old beau. However, she had wanted to know if jOhn would be interested in chatting up an unattached friend of hers. With the settled arrangements, we scarfed down dishes from our prix-fixe-on-a-budget menu before heading off to meet a possible connection d'amour. Two and two, we'll be right back at you...

Inside the restaurant were dining parties partaking in a meal downstairs and drunks with sufficient home equity anticipating some muzak on the second floor. Like Chee-Cho's in Vaaa Beeech, this place hadn't been architecturally designed to accommodate live entertainment. An extremely lengthy bar area covered nearly the entire floorspace, leaving only a small strip for pool tables and...PEOPLE. Making my way through the huddled masses, I sought an adult beverage that wouldn't force me to dip into my 401K. Too many bottles of brew and bubbly with foreign names made me wonder if a passport was required to imbibe. Luckily, a lemonade stand of sorts waved from a corner within the peripheries of the red, white and blue. Pabst Blue Ribbon, an American original that my grandmother had saluted eighteen times daily, was being sold at a Boy Scouts per diem: two U.S. dollars a bottle! I couldn't think of a better way to pay tribute to "Nanny" (my grandma's name to her grandchildren) and stimulate the Ewe Ess economy than to pledge allegiance to four twelve-ouncers and the coasters on which they stood. Twenty-five minutes after declaring independence from Corona ($3.50-4.00 plus tariff), the Onion lady and her garnish found jOhn and asked for his identity. Agent Andrews confirmed that, yes, he was a spy for the FBI (Finding the Badly Intoxicated) and, yes, the New Belmont was his latest assignment. Stuck in second gear, the two ladies were "Friends" in a Jennifer and Courtney kinda way. Not the type of femmes with whom I socialize, I didn't ask about their week or month or even their year. But the rain started to pour from 'em in the form of questions: 1)Who sings this song? ("Can you see it? Feel it? Hear it today? If you can't, then it doesn't matter anyway...") and 2)"What is a compact disc called which contains extra information like videos and such?" I replied to Miss Onion's first interrogative with a simple "I dunno" and suggested that she go to a health spa, get in a car, drive really far and eat a guitar. jOhn assisted with the second inquiry, giving a straight-forward answer ("That would be an enhanced CD") -- his job mandates that he can't be cynical on the clock. A few jabs from the butt-end of cue sticks held by pigeons (some of the worst shot-making I have seen since my everydays at Pocket's Cafe in Aragona Village {"The Portsmouth of Virginia Beach"})hog-called table time to the sharks that would be pig-pickin' on Belmont's picnic bench.

Dottie & Ernest (the female half of this duo had been AWOL at their Taphouse hootenanny) were a four-piece this time 'round, joined by their uncredited drumsticker and Tim from The Crums on bass geetar. Recalling by turns X-ene and John Doe, The Rolling Stones (D&E pissed on "Dead Flowers'" grave with a full bladder) and one of my old faves The Silos (Get Quackin' magazine named Cuba one of the ten-greatest car-drivin' el pees recently), the band as a whole were hard to see ('cept for "Ernest," who stands a horses-head high 6'6") from our down-the-dirt-road positions, but the tuneage reverberated enuff to get me off my hickory stump and dance in a square.

Sadly, jOhn and I only yee-hawed to four or so remnants from the Junkdrawer. But what we heard was some silver-fine rockabilly, blooz and Joe Hoppel-as-a-youngin'-at-WCMS-old-timey caun-try. El harmonica was a nice compliment to the pickin', lickin' and grinnin' filling the not-as-risque-as-before Bell-Mont. An urge to crunch on a pickle and sip some Country Time came over me. That's the message I got from the 'Drawer: enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Tasted like a good ole-fashioned time to me.

At 12:13 EST, the Onion lady and her partner-in-salad became disgusted with us yokels and left jOhn and I standing by the horse trailer as the two sped away in their mid-sized compact. Y'all DON'T come back and see us now, ya hear?

F**Bomb - El Diablo Dinner Theatre (Groundswell, 2002)

You ride the silver rocket. Can't stop it. Burning a hole in your pocket. If the ground's got cold, everything is gonna burn. We'll all take turns. I'll get mine, too. But I woke up this morning with a piece of glass caught in my throat. If you GOT all that, then get this.

Adam West - Right On! (Telegraph Company, 2001)

Like I'm shootin' solo 9-ball to the sounds of 'Copters ' Payin' The Dues, the 'Head's Overkill and Acee Dee Cee's Let There Be Rock. Actually. I once ran a game of eights with the Jake Super Starr to the strains of Sugar Shack's 5 Weeks Ahead Of My Time damn near five years back in time. Even if you're playing call-shot, this one's right on target with minimal chalk residue.

Flipping Hades - Tell Peaches Lula Called (Derailleur, 2002)

A good kinda weird. Their singer twists his vox with David Pere Ubu and David Talking Head pretzel inflections. Los drums are upfront and the 'Hades as a whole are generally rockin'. Spin this alongside fellow Oh-Boys the Ass Ponys' Electric Rock Music and compare similarities in difference. You'll hear 'em.

The D4 - 6Twenty (Flying Nun, 2002)

Interesting release for the Nun (known more as a jangle-pop imprint...Hail The Chills! Hail The Bats!). "Mysterex" (an obscure ditty from the Scavengers) most impresses in a very power(ful)-pop fashion a la "Frantic Romantic"/"Last Nite"-era Scientists. "Ladies Man" gets the second-place trophee for its midtempo '60s garage groove. Bits of Acca Dacca, The Motor City V and The
Dee Dogs mix with the other ingredients to create a tasty sheep stew.

Joey Ramone - Don't Worry About Me (Sanctuary, 2002)

Don't be expecting another 'Mones El Pee. This is what it is: King Joseph singing his heart out with a varied cast of characters. Nine original tracks plus cuvas from Armstrong comma Louis and Pop comma Iggy. Joey dies; Jerry (Only) lives. Fuck you, Bobby McFerrin.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Saw a grand total of four bands in the Zero-One year: The Valentine Killers from Washington state (who've since said their adioses to one another -- their former President in Charge of Vocal Projection should apply for the next Misfits job opening), The B-Movie Rats from El Lay (now a fully studded Rose Tattoo-esque outfit, as opposed to a hand-me-down Candy Snatchers cut-off tee then), Rip Dizzy from Pungo, VA (the finest-ever cross of The Replacements and The King Costello from these here parts), and The Mockers from Norfolk (brilliant connection of Liverpool Ewe Kay and Athens Gee Aye dots -- the editor of "Smart Money" had wisely spent his on their latest and was moved enough to do a two-page spread on 'em in his rag)...

My favorite canned release of the Zero-One is also the choice of my twin brother I've never met, Shawn. Kill The Hippies' Spasms In The New Age is the finest (and possibly only) insta-classic since Elastica's introduction to the Budweiser crowd in the Nine-Four. Plenty of Wire-tapping, Gang Of Four-squaring, and Suicide (Commandos)-missioning to keep you dancing even if you're dying. Another full-length my double-take bro excitedly greeted with a bubble-shaft was The Strokes' Is This It?. Truth be told, I've only heard this mucho-hyped El Pee once in its entirety at a party attended by Lovie, members of the junk-punk unit The Strap-Ons (hey, Bil with one "L"!), some guy named Pete Overstreet, and, of course, moi. But during that close-as-possible audio inspection, favorites of yesteryear like the Buzzcocks, The Feelies, The Subsonics, and some dude with the initials L and R confidently putted birdie after birdie in my ear holes. Soon, I'll have to raise the white flag on the 18th and go get ...It? at my nearby Target or some other place where mi madre y mi padre can't be found. Thus, taken together, could the finest three acts at this moment in time be The Mockers, Kill The Hippies, and The Strokes? Heck, I'll argue nada when each is represented in my three-disc changer...

Speaking of stereos, Sandy Claws slid the finest system I've had in over ten years down my chimney. It's a Philips 240-watt bookshelf with three-way bass speakers, surround sound, dual cassette, and the aforementioned CD configuration. The first tester disc placed in this black 'n' yellow (just like Stryper) beauty was Aerosmith's Rocks. Its knob-on-16 sound turned and gave me a wink that made this grown man cry. Back in the saddle again...

Besides the NFL and NBA, I ain't got much use for current TV programs. Gimme Nick and Mallory over Ross and Rachel anytime. However, there's been one show I've followed since Lovie clued me in on it. "CSI" (short for "Crime Scene Investigation") looks at wrong-doings from the medical examiner's/forensicist's (made-up word?) point of view a la "Quincy," but with tons more style and dry inter-department wit. Like real life, sometimes the cases go unsolved and sometimes the guilty walk away free. "CSI" makes sure to include all of its regular characters in the story lines, unlike some other programs that build star vehicles around one or two main players. The true star of "CSI" is the show itself, and that's what makes it my kinda "Must See Tee Vee"...

Through 137 completed games in the Lovie versus Gunther SCRABBLE Challenge, my better half currently enjoys a 71-64-2 advantage. I must point out that I lead in "bingos" (when all seven tiles are used in one turn -- earning a 50-point bonus) 77-59. Also, my scoring average is a wee bit higher than Loviebaby's (324.9 approx. to her 320.8 approx.). But as Lovie would quickly tell you, she has the highest-scoring single turn in our dual duel (149 points for VAULTING -- a triple-triple word score and a bingo all in one!), whereas this somewhat sore loser can merely counter with DESIRING for a yawn-ful 122 puntas. She once lit me up for 471 points in a November contest -- a figure unmatched by either of us since. You didn't ask, but 439 has been my high game in the Challenge so far. SCRABBLE is one of the few pursuits where I can exercise my superior inferiority. I love being whipped with a tile rack -- hit me again with seven...

At Mars Music on Virginia Beach Blvd. in late October, the guitar-hero-worshipping lines for Hendrix comma Jimi and Vai comma Steve were way too long, so I jumped into Marty Willson-Piper's. Huh? Here's a hint: Wish I knew what you were looking for. Might've known what you would find...

For Two Double-Zero Two, I plan on continuing M-DC and its sibling Cinco La Playa as well as contributing to Now Wave's on-line and in-print formats. Also, I want to help the new Norfolk-area rock 'n' roll mag Fresh Rag get the widespread attention it so deserves. Holly (FR's boss) should have my "Thrift Scores" piece in her hands within the next fortnight. Want to keep swapping zines with longtime traders, as well as develop new tit-for-tat relationships with independent publishing folk...

Statistics from the 1st Annual Mike Keels/Gunther 8544 Pretending To Be League Bowlers Non-TV Pairing (Held 8-26-01 at the Pinboy's off Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, VA): Games Won -- Mike(5), Gunther(2); Per-Game Average -- Mike(135.57), Gunther(122.43); High Game -- Gunther(186), Mike(162); Low Game -- Gunther(97), Mike(102); High-Strike Game -- Gunther(5), Mike(3 -- three times); High-Spare Game -- Mike(5), Gunther(4 -- two times); Total Strikes -- Mike(16), Gunther(13); Total Spares -- Mike(21), Gunther(17); Spare-Conversion Rate -- Mike(38.2%), Gunther(28.3%)...

When I found out that "Year Of The Cat" had not been recorded by Cat Stevens, but rather, Al Stewart, I refused to accept the truth. That disappointing discovery was made in 1987 on the cold floor of a Ford Econoline van. Fifteen years later, however, I still want it to be Stevens singing what should've been his theme song and show closer. I'm aware that "The Cat" long ago changed his first name to Yusef and his surname to Islam. Again, I reject that truism. Wouldn't it be great to find a board tape of the ex-Cat scratching on a Sub Pop Singles Club unreleased 45 entitled "The Year Of The Yusef"? Feline metaphors abound: "Well, the cats are all frisky and they want to play/But they can't, cause they're locked inside the cages of the SPCA/And a man outside holds a key that unlocks the door/Little do they know he's a transvestite male whore." 2001 -- The Year Of The Yusef, The Year Of The Cat...

OK, one more hint: I'll show you how the angels once traveled. They used to call this a Chevy...

The B-Movie Rats - Killer Woman (Dead Beat, 1997)

Fliers on the back of this record should give you an idea where these guys are coming from. Mix the ingredients of Nashville Pussy, The Pleasure Fuckers, Motorhead and The Devil Dogs. Add heaping amounts of whiskey, cigarettes and dancers' phone numbers on strip club matchbooks. Bake for half an hour, and you've got the recipe for some damn fine punk rock 'n' roll from
Arcadia, CA. "What I Need", "Dirty Dog" and "Hell On Wheels" were three of the cuts the 'Rats served at their Route 44 stop in October '97, and they taste just as good now.

The Wretched Ones - Go To Work (Headache, 1996)

No, this ain't exactly new, but so fuckin' what, buzz boy. Twelve songs concerning various states of being overly drunk, overworked and over people's stupid shit. Explain the passage from "That's Why I Drink Beer" to the roving straight-edge preacher ("The bills just keep on rolling in/I'm getting thirsty, I take a sip"). Blast "I'm Just Doing My Job" at your next employee meeting ("My back hurts, my hands are sore/Only thirty-five years more"). Dedicate "Mind Your Own Business" to the old woman who thinks she's your mom ("Why don't you live your life/And stay the hell out of mine"). For fans of quality street punk or anyone who likes good, honest music in general.


Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), from the May 2001 issue of "Metal Edge": "I think the world needs a hero, because there are no more rock stars -- Axl (Rose) killed that. What the world needs is an enema, but there are too many assholes in the world to choose from to know where to put the hose, so a hero would be my second choice."

Mr. Mustaine, your reputation as one of the biggest assholes in the music biz precedes you, so I would have suggested placing the hose in YOUR crack.

Case in point: "Due to a pre-show bomb scare, the atmosphere inside the Antrim Forum was already tense when Dave Mustaine led Megadeth onstage for their first Northern Ireland concert in April 1988. Things quickly went from bad to worse as a 'refreshed' Mustaine started swinging his Jackson guitar at hecklers' heads and inviting punters onstage to fight him. Then, introducing encore 'Anarchy In The UK', Mustaine shouted, 'This one is for the cause. Victory to the IRA!' A section of the crowd cheered, another section booed and sporadic fights broke out in the venue. Mustaine had to be escorted from the venue under police escort, and was subsequently warned that he would be shot if he ever returned to Northern Ireland." (from the 1-27-01 issue of KERRANG!)

However, compared to Tommy Lee (that wife-beatin', bandwagon-jumpin', good-fer-nuthin' piece of crap -- Motley Crue's doing just fine without you), Dave's my best friend. And my hero.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


"She's my cherry pie/Cool drink of water/Such a sweet surprise/Tastes so good/Make a grown man cry/Sweet cherry pie"

Those are just some of the lyrics from one of the better-known poser metal songs. My name is Gunther, and I'm a poser metalhead. Nothing can do my soul better than some good old-fashioned poser metal. The public-at-large might say, "What the hell is poser metal? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? You're a metalhead, so you believe in honesty and integrity. Yet, you listen to poser metal. Metal comes from England and had been a predominately underground music until Black Sabbath popularized it in the early-70's. What right do you have to listen to a music that talks about demons and wizards, when you believe in the total opposite? You even have the tenacity to call the music your own 'poser metal.' I just don't understand."

That last statement is so true. People don't understand what poser metalheads are all about. Hell, even some people who call themselves "metalheads" don't understand what we're all about. I'm here to clear up some of the misconceptions.

The whole poser metal scene took shape in the early-1980's. Inspired by a spoken-word passage from noted orator Henry Garfield ("I'll grow my hair down to my ass before ever attempting to satisfy you people!"), collectives such as D.R.I., C.O.C., etc. traded in their closely shaven haircuts for long-and-flowing tresses. Hi-top Vans skateboard shoes gave way to low-cut desert boots called Grungies. Jimmy-Z pants were exchanged for tight, brown Levi's corduroys.

Although the foundations of the entire movement were laid down during this time, like-minded groups wouldn't actually start calling themselves "poser metalheads" until 1985 or thereabouts. These people, also commonly known as "grits", were not really political. For the most part, grits were junior-high-school kids who'd save their lunch money in order to drink Big Gulps, smoke cigarettes, snack on Corn Nuts, and play Karate Champ at the nearest 7-Eleven. Sometimes a member of the pre-1985 old guard -- usually someone's brother who'd dropped out in 8th grade -- encouraged the grits to skip school and hang out in front of Pembroke Mall theaters while making catcalls at every passing girl. I think Bret Michaels, a well-known poser metal writer, said it best: "Cause baby we'll be/At the drive-in/In the old man's Ford/Behind the bushes/Till I'm screaming for more."

Soon, the neighborhoods of Aragona Village (Va. Beach) and Merrifields (Portsmouth) were being populated by poser metalheads. They introduced their music to the existing residents, who'd grow to love it. Bang Tango bar mitzvahs, Cinderella campfires, and Poison pajama parties became creative (not to mention alliterative) ways to let children experience these wonderful sounds. Black T-shirts with bloody, yellow happy faces flew off the rack. Sears was moving Toughskins and Wrangler jeans by the truckload. Sales of Marlboro cigarettes increased 412%. Aragona Little Leaguers chewed tobacco just like their Major League counterparts. What a beautiful world it was when you could spit! What a glorious time it was to be grit!

Due to the cancellation of MTV's "Headbanger's Ball" in the early-90's, most poser metalheads split into two camps. "Alt-rockers" were one sect, whose "rebellious" anthem was Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." This song (as well as the subdivision of alt-rock called "grunge" that stole its name from the desert boots), according to the media, ushered in such modes of dress as flannel shirts and ripped jeans. THAT'S TOTAL BULLSHIT! Poser metalheads had been wearing said garb 7-8 years before the tune praising a deodorant was released. As far as "Teen Spirit" being "groundbreaking" and "full of angst," it sounded like nothing more than a fifth-rate Twisted Sister song. To hear real rebellion, play "We're Not Gonna Take It" or "I Wanna Rock" and go tell an alt-rocker to piss off.

The other group of separatists called themselves "death metalheads." Their name and what they stand for are great, but I would never consider myself a death metalhead. The ones I know -- when they're not drinking pig blood and branding upside-down crosses into their foreheads -- have a tendency to do such things as skating on Rollerblades, wearing No Fear T-shirts, and using the word (?) "phat" in conversation. To me, this behavior is almost as bad as the alt-rocker's. Once we get into that frame of mind, we're the same as what we're fighting. Don't get me wrong -- I'd much rather hang out with a death metalhead than an alt-rocker.

Let's get educated about the whole poser metal scene. Goodbye from your poser metalhead friend.


The key to making a good mixed tape is to avoid letting your sources seem too obvious.

Don't put "Southern Girls" before or directly after "All Kindsa Girls," because the last thing you need is an object of your affection to dismissively state, "Oh, I see someone's been listening to their American Power Pop comps."

Never include a song that would suggest you're an Urge Overkill fan who hates Neil Diamond, a Neil Diamond fan who hates Urge Overkill, or an Urge Overkill fan who also loves Neil Diamond (sign of an OED [Overly Eclectic Disorder] sufferer). "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" also breaks the Never-Include-A-Song-From-An-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack rule. This also disqualifies "Valley Girl" on both counts -- which is further DQed for being a Frank Zappa composition (say to yourself, "If she thinks I'm down with OED, then she don't know me").

Don't break up two songs that filter into one just to satisfy your mix ("Demolition Girl" would forever be lonely without "Nights In Venice").

Silly songs are OK (one or two at the most), as long as they're not of "Hey There, Georgie Girl" or "Ballerina Girl" (Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie...are they the same person?) lineage.

No Motown-type junk like "My Girl" (see, Soundtracks).

Save your homemade acoustic songs like "Archer Girl" (written for my sister by her then-boyfriend Pete) for another time and place.

Never include two songs by the same artist (excepting the aforementioned 2-into-1 filters) or band variations of an artist ("American Girl" or "Here Comes My Girl" -- pick one; "Bad girl" [as one Circuit City counter-person termed her] Joan Jett and the Blackhearts or The Runaways -- pick one).

Resist the urge to tear a page from your favorite band's catalog. Her ears are bent from you constantly hailing it as "The Most Creative Force In Music History," so let the "Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill" be your own private affair.

Following these guidelines, your soon-to-be sweetie pie will be delighted with the tape, which she'll use later that night to...record "The Top 9 @ 9 on Z-104."

Happy dubbing!


Towards the middle portion of NBC's PGA telecast of the Bay Hill Invitational (3-17-01), commentator Johnny Miller gave a hole-by-hole description of the golf course. While discussing sandy bunkers and dog-leg rights, new-age instrumental music aided in giving a regal air to the majestic surroundings.

At first, the composition was not unlike any Yanni-mixed-with-Kenny G. torture test. Upon closer auditory inspection, however, the feel-good notes were those of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers' "Refugee": "Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some. Who knows, maybe you were kidnapped, tied up, taken away and held for ransom." Very lush sentiments, Johnny.

Now, let's join Roger Maltbie at the 7th hole. Vijay, for his par...

The Muffs/Chixdiggit/Groovie Ghoulies @ Route 44, Virginia Beach, VA (7/18/97)

My attempt to sneak into this show without paying the $8.00 admission proved to be futile, as I was told to remove my car from the premises. Damn! If only I'd been in one of the bands... Nonetheless, these three acts provided a cure to the dry spell 44 has experienced lately. Jimmie's Chicken Shack? Glorious Vega? What next, Los Golden Skillets and Miserable Pinto? Ran into the good people from Camp Zama Records, who were slightly annoyed that I made them play "Guess The Song In Four Words."

After an hour of "Brussels-muscles-language-sandwich," the Groovie Ghoulies got things underway. The lone track I had ever heard from this band was a version of "Pet Sematary" from the Gabba Gabba Hey Ramones tribute album some years back. That "Hey ho! Let's go!"-sensibility ruled the evening, as the Ghoulies went through a fun 25-minute set with occasional breaks for joke-telling, toy-throwing, and crowd-praising. Genuine smiles were plastered on their faces. The Ghoulies weren't just "going through the motions" (unlike the Ramones' 1993 Boathouse show -- anyone remember when Joey said, "96-X. They play us?"). Nice job, Ghoulies!

Chixdiggit from Canada were next, and they continued the 1-2-3-4 love fest with rock-star poses akin to '70s Cheap Trick. These Canadians were also thick with the compliments for those in attendance (i.e., "You're the best fans in the world"). Sincere or sarcastic? Maybe a little of both. Their best moment came during the song "Henry Rollins Is No Fun" (among other titles in the band's catalog: "Best Hung Carrot In The Fridge," "The Toilet Seat's Coming Down" and "I Should've Played Football In High School"). A fan near the front knew all the words to that number, so vocalist/guitarist KJ Janson handed over the mic and let him finish the tune.

Headliners The Muffs were greeted with enthusiastic applause, and the cheers continued as the trio played selections from all three of their albums. The Muffs' sound has been likened to the Ramones crossed with The Bangles. Which is an apt description, since one can detect an underlying sweetness in vocalist Kim Shattuck's growls. I'm surprised they didn't cover the cover of "Hazy Shades Of Winter." After a well-paced thirty-five minutes, The Muffs encored with three more songs, including one where bassist Ronnie Barnett sang.

When I made my rounds to record stores the next day, several people mentioned this show as the best one 44 had hosted in quite awhile. I could only nod my head in agreement.