Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Gasoline buyers at a terminally busy Virginia Beach filling stop now have more reasons to worry besides the rising costs of 87 octane and Marlboro soft packs.

Harry Englesore, AKA "The Peanut Bandit," has visited the Citgo service station on Virginia Beach Blvd. (known to Lynnhaveners as "Beach Robo") up to twenty-five times daily since August 1996.

Englesore, who makes his coin doing Clint Eastwood impersonations, has gathered a nut stash exceeding 55,000, as well as totaling $29,228 in outstanding gas-card receipts.

Mr. Englesore was last seen in an unauthorized commercial spot for "Beach Robo," which aired as recently as July of this year. He asked the cameraman, "Feel lucky, punk?" before speeding off in a 1998 white Ford Mustang. Englesore has been known to frequent Lynnhaven Lounge, Vietnam Garden, and T.J. Maxx.

In conjunction with Planters, Citgo is offering an advance two-peanut reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Harry Englesore. Additional snacks will be bestowed upon capture.

Hookers - 12 Gauge Reaction EP (Black Lung, 1997)

Everything you need to know 'bout this bad-ass lil' record is contained in the introductory sound bite of "Don't Want Us Around" ("If I find or hear the individual that has said that about me, I'm gonna break your goddamn neck, you son-of-a-bitch! I will pull your goddamn tongue out by the root!"). Health insurance for punk 'n' rollers everywhere, so act now while the premiums are still low.

The Hangmen - Metallic I.O.U. (Acetate, 2000)

Found a sealed copy of this in the two-dollar bin, so you know I bit. Per its Stooges reference, the record's title was very promising. It delivered the danger, little stranger. Trashy-yet-classy R 'N' R that takes out its loans from Hanoi, Stones and post-Dead Boys Stiv. Lovie heard a track which reminded her of a scene in "The Lost Boys." But she was quick to point out NOT the clip where that pre-Kenny G lame-o with a sax butchered The Call's "I Still Believe." My favorite song from that film was INXS' take on "Good Times" ("We're gonna have a good time tonight/Rock 'n' roll music's gonna play all night/C'mon, baby, it won't take long/Only takes a minute just to sing my song"). Easybeats, right? Echo And The Bunnymen did justice to "People Are Strange", 'cause singer dude Ian was a natural with his per-usual Morrison-esque delivery. The Call or INXS or Bunnymen have nada to do with The Hangmen. Yet, all three have everything in common with them. Piece together this gothic vampire jigsaw puzzle at once. Terror couple kill colonel.

Bravo Maxi - Heaven And Hell (self-released, 2002)

Bravo is a channel on cable television. Bravo Maxi are an indie rock band from Richmond, VA. I have never watched TV in Richmond. Foo Gauzy has never appeared before my eyes on Vee Bee Tee Vee. But I know my state capital's FOX affiliate is channel 35. Thirty-five is a neat number. It's divisible by 1, 5, 7 and itself. Emo and Elmo are separated by one letter. "L" is for Leigh, who plays bass. Let's give it up for those particular instrumentalists. Hooray for Leigh! Hooray for Lemmy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fifty Cent Taco Night @ Batterson's, Norfolk, VA

For the past month or so, I have made it a point to meet fellow dining companions here on Mondays and Wednesdays. Not because the 50-cents-an-ounce steaks (weighed by Abdullah The Butcher in full public view!) and similarly priced Hump Day tacos are worthy of a thirty-minute trip from my home base in Vaaa Beeech. Rather, I've used Batterson's as a twice-weekly trading post for exchanging Cee Dee Ares, fanzines, monies and occasional kind words. Standard GOP (Gunther Operating Procedure) has called for either fibbing about having had an early dinner of roast beef and mashed potatoes or fessing up to my postponed satiation (i.e., "I'll grab something later from Jack Off In The Box").

On this late afternoon, however, my stomach was screaming (to paraphrase Homer), "I'M SO HUNGRY, I COULD EAT AT BATTERSON'S!!!" Thus, instead of ordering my usual 22-ounce Natural Light draft (why no Bud on tap, Bat Men?) or Mike's Soft Lemonade (water and citrus, for not-so-hard days), I told the overeager waiter (Hey pal, this ain't Rush Limbaugh at Freemason Abbey's best table; it's The Gee Man squeezed into a booth with ripped seat cushions!), "I'll take five tacos, por favor." SamboneRNRMF, who had eaten in double figures on a previous visit, went for a three-pointer plus the free throw. Holly stayed in the paint with a quick two, while Bil (who had sold his other "L" on eBay for a tidy sum), lest he be called for traveling, didn't want the extra dribble of loose meat and opted for a backdoor cut of hamburger. Technical fouls were committed by all players; ground beef for the tacos would not be ready until twenty minutes ticked off the clock, and hamburgers had been given a one-game suspension (much like they'd later receive at MacArthur Center's Burger King [!], when the patties ran off the [food] court). Bil With One "L" tore into the referee, loudly exclaiming that he "DIDN'T WANT ANY FUCKIN' TACOS!!!" His second T-violation drawn, Bil With One "L" was ejected from Batterson's hardwood and left to find a pick-up game elsewhere. Shorthanded by Bil With One "L"'s exit, SamboneRNRMF, Holly and I played "D" triangularly - hand checking the sweltering heat (read: no central air conditioning) with makeshift fans (menus and Dollar Tree portables worn around the neck), blocking thirst by sipping dos-dollar margaritas y aqua and stealing glances from the wide-screen near the lavatory.

As the final seconds melted away from the overhead timepiece, our respective meals were no-look-passed to us. Shells seemed tastier and crunchier than those found at conference foe El Taco De Bell. The meat was thinly spread a la Vegemite on Men At Work's sandwich and unseasoned like Chilli Willi The Penguin. Onions were plentiful in the mixture, as if to induce extended weeping post-Lady Die's funeral. Cheese was possibly a blend of Sargento-style monty jack and beddar cheddar. Lettuce and tomatoes were fresh as a sixty-ano-old muchacho flirting with a barmaid of veinte y dos. Salsa? Banished from the sport like Roy Tarpley with one-too-many substance abuse cases. In its place was a ketchup bottle filled with Texas Pete hot sauce. The only one in the arena, this communal substitute salsa was shuttled from sideline to sideline with the same fervor as a collection plate at Rock Church. SamboneRNRMF and I drove to the lane with our eats like Shaquille through the L.A. Clippers front line, but Holly just couldn't take it to the hole and fouled out with one finished taco. I would score ten shells-and-cheese for the night (and could've gone for fifteen, had I not been triple-teamed by a tight wallet), and my teammate SamboneRNRMF had a respectable eight points and twenty-four cheese-fry assists (who said he was a ball hog?).

Holly and SamboneRNRMF have talked about retiring from the league since this contest, but I predict they'll be back and forth with their holas/adioses like Magic and Michael. As for me, I've got SamboneRNRMF's assist mark to pique my interest in continuing with B(atterson's)-ball. Until the next tip-off, amigos...

various artists - Trash On Demand, Vol. II (Ultra Under, 1997)

A much larger and more interesting package than the first volume. Ultra Under head honcho and resident rock 'n' roller Jeff Dahl has assembled "23 New, Rare Or Unreleased Slices Of The Best Bands In Punk, Pop, Trash, Glam, Garage And Blues Action That Be Shakin' Today Daddy-O!" Killer cuts aplenty: "51 Crazy Zone" (Assassination Bureau) has a Brit-punk bounce any Lurkers/Boys fan would dig. "Remember Fun" (Hotdamn) recalls The Pandoras' It's About Time-era, with some foxy, '60s girl-group garage sounds. "Abducted" (The Jezebelles) is one of several tunes with a serious Stones-ish bent. "Fall" (The ADZ) displays a rockin' style not unlike Mr. Dahl himself circa Scratch Up Some Action. Local representation can be heard on track nine (Big Bobby And The Nightcaps' "Wanna See Her Cry"). Lastly, the ever-so-humble Jeff gets in on the act with an uncredited number that closes this fine collection.

Scared Of Chaka - How To Lose (702/Empty, 1998)

Joint collaboration from two fine labels. "Up Comes My Supper" and "Loaded" have that familiar Chaka-chug (think Duty Now For The Future involved in a violent car crash with Dawn Of The Dickies), while "December" and the title track are well-crafted pop songs that manage to avoid being wimpy. Would these guys ever consider opening for Modern English?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Zillionaires - s/t (self-released, 1997)

An unexpected surprise sent from SLC, Utah. This nine-song tape contains some cool-as-shit punk rock 'n' roll tunes that can be liberally described as the Ramones
meet Stiff Little Fingers meet The Crumbs. "She Went Pop" has a 1, 2, 3, 4-and-go catchy sing-along style and the lyric, "Joe Strummer?/'What a bummer,' she said/She don't even get the knack." "Holly Beth, Mary Jo, And Me" (another revealing play on a musical title with the line, "There's a rock 'n' roll girl dancing to the beat") and "Nice Guy Syndrome" ("You're telling me that I'm too nice/Not like the guy on 'Miami Vice'") are as good as this thing called "punk" gets. "Up To My Neck In You" had me thinking The Zillionaires have good taste in AC/DC songs, but it turned out to be another fine original upon hearing.


Last night, Virginia Beach was plastered with a full two inches of the white 'n' powdery stuff. This change in the weather was enough for today's cancellation of schools, sporting events, and, quite possibly, the first known local appearance of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. FRANKIE SAY: SHOW UP DRESSED IN A FULL-BODY CONDOM IF YOU WANT TO SHAKE OUR HANDS! Uh...think I'll relax in the protective comfort of my own pleasure dome and watch two tribes (Yao Ming vs. Radio Shackquille O' Neal) go to war on the idiot box.

With all of the closings, however, my second home (AKA Kempsville Library) still laid out a welcome mat for snow-covered Cross Trekkers. The problem was wondering how to negotiate the trip. The explorer in me pondered hiking in temperatures ranging from damn cold to 35 degrees. Sir Edmund Hillary I'm not; 200 yards of whispering wind made me backpedal to base camp longing for a Swiss Miss cocoa kiss. My Chrysler sedan was draped with a thick coating of snow-ice on each window. The driver and passenger side doors were frozen shut, thus I 86'd the down-set-hike and down-set-drive.

Back inside, I sat down with two sausage sandwiches minus cheese (the pork bites were maple-flavored) and the entertainment section of The Virginian-Pilot. Page E3 gave me a refresher course on urban terminology - who knew that "jiggy" and "talk to the hand" were out...I still bid people good days with "Audi 5000." In the Two/Double-Oh/Three, "ghetto sled" is a car that's a piece of junk. "Come out your face" means to show your hidden emotions. "Don't wet that" is a substitute for the outdated "chill out." "Piece" used to mean a gun; now it refers to a cell phone. "A-G" is a shortened form of aggravated or upset. "Berry" translates to police car, due to the look of flashing lights. "Flossin'" is to show off. "E.I." is a term coined by St. Louis rapper Nelly for "bring it on." After thirty minutes of not wetting that in the crib, I dialed Moms on my piece and asked her about the road conditions. Sensing I was A-G due to cabin fever, Momma told me not to come out my face and suggested that I scrape the stickiness off my ghetto sled. She E.I.-ed me helpful hints regarding not flossin' and dealing with berries. Word up, Cameo!

Lacking an ice-scraping instrument, I MacGyvered around for an alternate tool. Hidden amongst leaves and slush were five decent slices of cardboard. With a dense paper product in each hand, I maneuvered in quick Daniel-sun, wax-on-wax-off motion. This glacial kata took less than ten minutes before Arlo came outta my radio asking a listener, "What you wanna hear, buddy?" The caller chose Focus' "Hocus Pocus." A fine instrumental from this one-hit-wonder Dutch outfit (take Cheap Trick's "Hello There," remove the vocals, build on the riff, add more drumming, insert Looney Tunes-like sound effects, and...Presto!), "Hocus Pocus" had been a favorite of one former co-worker named April. She has since disappeared. The fuel gauge flashed "E," so I pulled into Centerville Texaco. Until today, I hadn't noticed tables inside the food mart. WOW! "Gas, Food,
Lodging II": Gunther fills his tank with six dollars on pump #11, eats three hot dogs and two Krispy Kremes, and sleeps in the bathroom! Special appearance by J. Mascis as the guy who does nothing!

Making tracks along Kempsville Road, the New Yorker's speedometer maintained a steady 35 MPH (10 miles under posted limits) pace. No way I was going to hit a patch of black ice and damage my vehicle. Cars piloted by grammas and granpas were passing me repeatedly on the roadway. Green stoplights running in my favor, I entered the library's parking lot at the police station's entrance. A berry followed closely behind, but only my face (I'd forgotten to shave) was in violation. Finding a spot with little snowy residue, I prepared for the warmth of keystrokes. But Arlo dang did it to me again: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils (which would, to paraphrase Dave Barry, be a pretty good name for a band if it didn't exist already) piped in with their semi-lost classic-rock nugget known as "Jackie Blue" (Imagine a smooth Southern rock jam a la Atlanta Rhythm Section sung by a hard-to-figure-out-his-or-her-gender vocalist with Todd Rundgren-type production values). Whether I'm in a public place or in my car, I will freeze for a good song. Gordon Lightfoot, appropriately, from the Great White North, once forced me to spend another buck at the Dollar Tree when "Rainy Day People" poured through its radio network. Greg Kihn, from a place known for its cold summers (San Fran), gave me the shivers inside Zero's Subs with his songwriting lament "The Break-Up Song."

Nothing holding and nothing fitting, I walked into the cold with no smile on my lips. But I'm happy to have met you. Your warmness gives me the chills. Thawed and frozen inside the Kempsville Library...

Ultra Bait - Bitch 4 Hire (Voo Doo, 2001)

Consciously hesher punk for girls who wear gas station shirts. Of course, El Seven circa Hungry For Stink or any bloody Lunar Chicks period comes to mind. If he were still relevant in pop culture, Howie Stern would have Da Bait on his E-program. The three ladies have a nice, silver glow about 'em. They've played Oh High Oh at least once. O'yea...from Richmond.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Charlie Wong's American-Chinese

Located less than one-half mile from Royal Sisters beauty shop in the heart of Brambleton and Park, Charlie Wong's American-Chinese Restaurant serves up a dining experience unmatched anywhere in Tidewater.

Upon entering, one is enchanted by the dazzling architecture, which suggests a fabulous hybrid of 18th-century Peking and 20th-century Portsmouth. As Chef Wong prepares the grand feast before your eyes, waitress Tamika provides a variety of pre-dinner refreshments such as Thunderbird and Mad Dog 20/20, which take on the consistency of fine chablis. Chef Wong truly has a flair for the dramatic, and his original creations like Chinese chitterlings and stir-fry hot dogs attest to that. Learn these dishes contain no MSG and...VOILA!!! You have a culinary chutzpah that's both nourishing and nutritious.

Your listening appetite is also satisfied, as DJ Tom Vu runs the musical gamut from Wang Chung to Wu-Tang Clan.

The misfortune cookies (Oreos with handwritten 3-M Post-It Notes inside) are a nice touch that concludes the evening marvelously. Among the proverbial gems (composed by Wong himself!): "Better to have broken nose than broken heart," "Diamonds forever until stolen," and "Bullet in head more respectable than in hand."

Charlie Wong's American-Chinese. Just minutes from anywhere in Tidewater. Reservations recommended.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Last night (6/25/01 and into early 6/26), I watched several episodes of "All In The Family" on TV Land's tribute to Carroll O' Connor.

Among them were Sammy Davis Jr.'s visit to the Bunker house (where Archie warned everybody not to mention Sammy's glass eye, only to make the mistake himself), Stretch Cunningham's funeral (Archie was to deliver a eulogy laced with Christian sentiments, until discovering Stretch's Jewish upbringing), Edith naively placing an ad in a swingers magazine (and having the solicited couple show up at the door, their intentions unclear to Edith and Archie), Christmas dinner with a draft-dodger (as well as a friend of Archie's, whose son had died in the Vietnam conflict), and Mike & Gloria's leaving home (Archie's rare emotional side and the reconciliation with his son-in-law made this, in my opinion, one of the finest moments ever aired on TV).

Because "All In The Family" was able to bring weighted subject matter to the fray, the "rules" of the fluffy sitcoms which had come before were no longer obeyed. Carroll O'Connor, as Archie Bunker, was a big reason for that change.

Word Wars (Seventh Art Releasing, 2004)

Based on Stefan Fatsis' highly entertaining best-seller Word Freak, producer and co-director Eric Chaikin (an expert player in his own right) documents four of SCRABBLE's finest tile-trackers in all their eccentric glory en route to the 2002 National Championship in San Diego. Matt Graham is a world-class anagrammer who's done some writing for Conan O'Brien and "Saturday Night Live." His crammed apartment houses hundreds of dictionaries and bottles of vitamins referred to as "smart drugs." Graham also has a taste for beer and gambling, and a deep scar across his neck illustrates the recklessness. Marlon Hill purposely speaks Ebonics, despite his vast word knowledge, and plans to relocate to Ghana one day. Temperamental to a fault, he often storms away from a game with expletive-laden tirades when drawing too many vowels. However, Hill has enough patience to teach SCRABBLE to inner-city schoolchildren in his hometown of Baltimore. "G.I." Joel Sherman is a former World Champ whose heroic nickname relates to gastro-intestinal issues. He lists his occupation as "professional SCRABBLE player," as medical problems have rendered him unable to hold a regular 9-to-5. Listen for G.I.'s unique rendition of The Beatles' "Across The Universe." Joe Edley's exacting self-discipline has made him a National Champ in three different decades. He memorized the entire Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary while employed as a night watchman and once lived outdoors for five months. Edley's serious M.O. makes him a favorite target among fellow competitors, and his lecture at a Holiday Inn draws yawns from Sherman and others. Also featured are the outdoor SCRABBLE scene in NYC, a roundtable with several women players, and a brief glimpse inside the Hasbro factory.

The El Caminos - Double Lock And Bleed (Mag, 1997)

Not the surf band from Japan, but the rock 'n' roll one from Atlanta. If FM-99 raised their taste quotient, you'd hear cool shit like "Black Balled," "Smolder" and "Take It 'Til You Bleed" on that station. Decidedly no bullshit r 'n' r with bits of harmonica creepin in now and again. Check out the schizophrenic guy on track six.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


With her victories at the Australian and French Opens, as well as impressive showings at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Jennifer Capriati has made a triumphant return to the sport of tennis. Now the #1 ranked player in the world, Capriati's problems with drugs and emotional breakdowns appear to be non-existent. At 25-years-old, she is contrary to the belief that the WTA's ruled by fashion-obsessed teen-age Misses. Believe it or not, I've played a small role in the Capriati story. But only a bit part barely worth mentioning, like a $50 extra's.

In the summer of 1987, I first picked up a racket (mainly because my father had smashed my Nash Executioner skateboard against the house's side -- Oh well, skating had sucked anyway) from an overstocked box in the garage. It was a Jack Kramer special, made only from the most mediocre-quality wood. At first, I practiced hitting balls against brick. Later, a neighborhood kid named James Beavers asked me to play a match with him at the Churchland Park courts. Sure, why not? Must've been a quick study, because I beat him in that initial pairing. Most of our subsequent matches found me coming out on top as well. Though Beavers eventually left the area, I continued challenging anyone and everyone to two-out-of-three setters. Players like this fellow with no arms (only stumps at the shoulders) named Jim. Despite his deformity, Jim had been active in soccer and football (an amazing athlete -- he would later do a jaw-dropping 71 sit-ups in a minute's time during P.E.tests). This guy was able to sustain long volleys and control his serve. Jim played the contests straight-up and took every ball on its first bounce. He sought no pity from anyone -- only victory for himself. Sometimes, Jim got the "game, set, and match." One July afternoon, I ran into an old eighth-grade chum of mine at the park. David Turley had been the fastest white kid in my gym class (I know, because I'd been Numero Dos in that department). During our catching-up chatter, we decided to become hitting partners. Turls may've had my number on the track, but he couldn't better me on the hard courts (out of 20 or so matches, I think he won only 4 or 5). Post-tennis, both of us often pedaled to the nearby 7-11 for a free (price-fixing -- a favorite topic at CJHS) Super Big Gulp. Cooling off in the shade, David and I frequently discussed trying out for Churchland High's tennis squad in the spring of '88. We figured with more practice, our games would be honed down enough by then to make the team. Then came the bad news.

The owner of the home my parents had been renting from wanted to move back into the place. Not understanding the details of the lease or anything, I was shocked by our sudden need to relocate. With most of the available houses in Portsmouth at that time being situated in bad areas, my folks began looking for digs on the other side of the Downtown Tunnel. Three weeks before the start of my 10th-grade year, they found a two-story, four-bedroom house in Virginia Beach. I'll spare you the first-semester conversations from my socially challenged lunch table. Fast forward to spring.

While on the Bayside High tennis team in '88, I was chosen to play a "Battle of the Sexes" match with the top-ranked player from the girls' squad. Being a scrub (AKA -- the #10 man, AKA -- fourth off the bench, AKA -- part-time water-fetcher) serve-and-volleyer, this would be my chance to beat a quality opponent and somewhat redeem the bad name of Bobby Riggs. Before our match, I was given a special set of handicapping rules (you know, in the interest of "fairness"). I would only be allowed one serve, have to cover the doubles court (meaning I'd have to play normally out-of-bounds balls), not be permitted to approach the net, and be forbidden to hit overhead smashes (Hell, why wasn't I handcuffed and made to wear a blindfold?). Anyhow, I raced to a 3-1 lead, on the strength of my baseline exchanges. However, Sonya stormed back with a rash of winners (most of 'em outside the singles area). Before I knew it, I found myself down 5-6, love-40, triple-humiliation point. Can't remember the sequence of shots that won me that game (and later, the match), but I felt as if I'd conquered Billie Jean King, Bjorn Borg, and Ivan Lendl all at once. Had I lost, I would've been the only player on the boys' team to fall to an opposing girl and reminded of it from that day on. But I'd won, so nobody really talked to me.

Oh...the connection? I'd beaten Bayside High School's number-one singles player Sonya Stevens, who'd lose 6-0, 6-0 to the nationally-ranked Julie Shiflet from First Colonial, who'd lose 6-0, 6-0 to the then-junior phenom Jennifer Capriati. When I meet Jen, I'll bring this to her attention. In return for the three degrees separating us, I shall only ask for 3% of Capriati's 2001 WTA earnings. Oh, how do I love thee, Jen? Let me count the 64,234 ways.

The Deadites - Better Luck Next Time (Craptacular, 1996)

Imagine this: A 96-X Halloween Bash featuring The Weaklings, Supersuckers and a long-awaited reunion of the original Misfits at Route 44. The list of reasons why this pipe dream October 31st show could never happen is too numerous to cite, but with 14 beer-soaked, ghoulish treats at your fingertips on Better Luck Next Time, you won't miss those dreadfully long lines to the bathroom. Includes mandatory Johnny Cash cover.

The Morning Shakes - "Piss Off Daddy" b/w "Civilization's Dying" (Get Hip, 1999)

Lead track has a self-deprecation stance that could've found a home on any Standells record had there been more lax censorship limitations in '66 ("Cause I'm an idiot/I'm a big sham/I'm a piss off daddy, don't you know it, baby?/I'm a drunk man"). Other word usages that would've been questioned by Ed Sullivan: cum, asshole, hell and fucker. High-energy run thru the Zero Boys' classic on the B-side.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


1)AC/DC -- Schoolboy-attired guitarist Angus Young owns the largest tulip farm in Holland. He once made a comment that Americans pay too much attention to who's running for president. Did a video with Arnold Schwarznegger (a friend of ex-President George Bush and his sequel). Brother and rhythm axe-grinder Malcolm just might be the vice president of Rock 'N' Roll, though he's not nearly as anonymous as Dick Whatshisname. Angus does not drink or use drugs but fancies a fag (read: cancer stick) here and there. Band named as such, thanks to a vacuum cleaner.

2)Ratt -- Made themselves known to the world with mega-hit "Round And Round," which is one of the greatest songs ever recorded. Amazingly, a deeper album track ("The Morning After" -- with its sustained hooks and pop sensibilities) forever charted a Numero Uno position as BEST HAIR-METAL TRACK EVER, topping even the aforementioned, more-successful majesty. Frontman Stephen Pearcy may or may not be the nephew of Milton Berle. No longer with the group, Pearcy released a solo album in 2000 on Triple XXX Records, thus answering the "What's the common thread between Ratt and Jeff Dahl?" question.

3)Kix -- To me, these Maryland rockers had so many other elements besides an AC/DC fixation. While that influence was undeniable, there also existed a Def Leppard-sheen on certain songs (especially come chorus time). First three albums (s/t, Cool Kids, and Midnite Dynamite) represented "the old Kix." AC/DC influx? Sure, but with poppier intrusions like Lep, Cheap Trick, and a touch of Hanoi Rocks. Two ballads from this era ("For Shame" and "Walkin' Away" [their most Robin Zander-ful composition]) walked all over the later "Don't Close Your Eyes" moneymaker (still like that one, though). Listen to "Loco Emotion" and "Body Talk" (one of the greatest techno hair-metal songs EVER!!!) for a quirkier NWOAHM (New Wave Of American Heavy Metal) experience. Kix -- Mark II began with Blow My Fuse. Classics like "She Dropped Me The Bomb," "Get It While It's Hot," and "Red Light Green Light TNT" fused (!) together in an AccaDaccaDefLep bundle of energy. Follow-up LP Hot Wire had more Bon Scott and less Joe Elliott, but "Girl Money," "Same Jane," and the title track shocked like Kix's very best. Their final offering was Show Business. Since most grits by 1995 had gone "grunge" long before that year, it was largely ignored. A shame, for Show Business had the pick-out-the-AC/DC-song-this-riff-was-stolen-from appeal (i.e., "Fireball" = "Highway To Hell") AND the pop stylings of Kix's early-to-mid-80's output ("She Loves Me Not"). I've ranked two acts higher, but if you were to ask me, "What one band on your list should I seek out immediately?", Kix would be your next bowl of cereal.

4)Van Halen -- Friends of his went out on dates most Friday nights, but Edward Van Halen didn't get off on that macho shit and learned to play guitar. Valerie Bertinelli would later (wedding) date Eddie, thereby guaranteeing at least one face-to-face with raven-haired sexpot Bonnie Franklin (his bride's "One Day At A Time" co-star). Band made six albums, before the termination or resignation of singer dude Dave. Replaced him with singer dude Sammy. Know that comic strip Hagar The Horrible? Well, at least 5150 had a few good panels.

5)Motorhead -- While in Norfolk, VA last year, singer/bass murderer Ian "Lemmy" Kilminster played a tear-jerking interpretation of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" on the piano in the Madison Hotel lobby (according to a paid informant from Ocean View disguised as a bellhop). Has a massive collection of World War II memorabilia and a predilection for Jamaican women. If you see Lemmy perched at a Ms. Pac-Man tabletop in L.A., leave him alone, for completion of the fifth-banana board requires an evil eye and a devil's grip.

6)Aerosmith -- "Saturday Night Live" did a faux-commercial for these Beantowners' new LP at the time ('93-94). Included were hits like "Crazy," "Cryin'," "Amazing," and "Crazy Cryin' Amazacrazy." Band members have been Jimmy Crespo, Rick Dufay, among others. Actress Liv Tyler is the offspring of Aerosmith's singer and a groupie.

7)Rose Tattoo -- Main ink-gunner Angry Anderson is a walking 2-for-1 flash design of "short rock 'n' roller from Australia" like Angus Young, and "bald guy fronting a heavy-metal band" like Rob Halford. Most well-known song ("Nice Boys Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll") has been tried by Guns 'N' Roses (now calling themselves Rose 'N' Weeds) and Nashville Pussy (once pals with Howard Stern, now begging for DANIEL Stern's attention). Anderson once said "Hello" to Mel Gibson and Tina Turner (on the same day, even!).

8)Black Sabbath -- The Six-Hundred Sixty-Six Dollar Question: Besides all of them being songs, what characteristic do Sabbath's "Children Of The Grave," Blondie's "Call Me," and The Call's "Let The Day Begin" all share? Better than Led Zeppelin. No, that's not the answer. Yet, it could be.

9)Motley Crue -- Yo Tommy, hows do it feels to have sum ho bitch doin' ya job yo? Makes ya wanna beat her all crazy and shit, don't it yo? Peep this, you be comin' correct wif ya beats in the M.O.M. in the Y2K. Straight out wack crazy shit yo. It be tight like ya ride yo. Straight up G's yo.

10)Def Leppard -- "Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on. Livin' like a lover with a radar phone. Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp. Demolition woman, can I be your man? Razzle 'n' a dazzle 'n' a flash a little light. Television lover, baby, go all night. Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet. Little miss ah innocent sugar me, yeah."

11)KISS -- "Whoow! Here's a little song for everybody out there. People try to take my soul away, but I don't hear the (c)rap that they all say...If life is a radio, turn up to ten...Nobody's gonna change me, 'cos THAT'S-WHO-I-AM...Uh." Filled with phony melodrama and shit-for-brains lyrics, "Crazy Nights" has to be one of the worst songs ever written. Of course, I like it.

12)Judas Priest -- One measuring stick for a great heavy metal band is if the listener attempts suicide after hearing its records. No self-inflicted gunshot wounds have been linked to Fight or Two, as of 5/12/01. Drummer (since '90) Scott Travis is from Virginia Beach, which makes the Priest "local" by the pens of "respectable" music scribes.

13)Guns 'N' Roses -- Most punk-literate group on the list. The Spaghetti Incident? had the Gunners hitting targets from The Damned, U.K. Subs, Misfits, Dead Boys, and more. Lest you doubted their metalness, G 'N' R were still hesher enough to groom Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog." Not really looking forward to their return, Replacement Bucketheads and all.

14)Twisted Sister -- My father told me in 1984 that he's a distant cousin (so-many-numbers removed) of the drummer. I believed him, because they are both from Long Island and share a love of air conditioning. Read about it in "Circus." That is, the drummer's love of air conditioning (not my father's).

15)Poison -- Why can't At The Drive-In just cop to the fact they took their band name from "Talk Dirty To Me?" No, they've gotta claim Bad Brains (so why ain't their handle At The Movies?), in order to align themselves with the "old school" (not being taught at Target, the last time I checked) or some stupid shit. ATD-I are the kind of "punk" outfit who'll wear Motorhead T-shirts and think they're being ironic.

16)Enuff Z'Nuff -- Barely qualified under my self-imposed "metal" definition, due to a smothering Beatles/Cheap Trick blanket draped throughout their presentation. However, there was just the right amount of tease 'n' sleaze and licks 'n' tricks necessary for inclusion. Scored the Japanese version (with slipcase and illustrated lyric book!) of Animals With Human Intelligence (quickly becoming one of my faves) for $1.00 at a thrift store. The 'Nuff should climb up the list with further acquisitions. Hell, they were almost placed ahead of G 'N' R, on the strength of Animals... alone.

17)Slayer -- "Bones and blood lie on the ground. Rotten limbs lie dead. Decapitated bodies found. On my wall: your head!" Released a punk-covers EP in '96 called The Meatball Occurrence. TSOL, Minor Threat, etc. were put through the grinder. The kinda meat I'm not looking for, even if you want me to eat.

18)Sea Hags -- One band. One album. One overdose. My ex-best friend had the Hags on tape in 1989. Then he went off to college, got rid of his heavy-metal collection, joined a fraternity, and started going to Dave Matthews Band shows ("before they were signed..."). That guy still gives me an occasional once-every-two-years phone call. In 1999, he and I were supposed to get together for a round of disc golf (the only remotely hippie activity I would ever engage in). Anyways, street-metal that's more revealing than any ten G 'N' R lie-detector tests.

19)Thin Lizzy -- New album out in 2000, even though the irreplaceable Phil Lynott has been gone since 1986. Surprisingly, One Night Only is a great-sounding live document, showcasing the tricks of a couple Lizzy guitar magicians. Vocals are sometimes eerily similar to Lynott's in spots. A tasteful tribute. But don't pay your respects, until you've made at least a Dedication first.

20)Pantera -- Question posed to Vinnie Paul: "I recently was in a music store and picked up Pantera's Power Metal album. What do you think about when you see those old albums?" Said Paul: "That's where I was at that point in time. In the '80s, that's what people did. We were very young and green growing up, and in the discovery stage of who we were as a band. I look back at them and snicker like everyone else, but when you put them on and listen to them, they are damn good records." (From a magazine I found in the trash, with its cover ripped off)

21)Ozzy Osbourne -- Bit the head off a Nutty Buddy ice cream cone (1982). Pissed in an Alamo Rent-A-Car toilet (1985). Snorted a trail of nasal sprays (1988). Released "Perry Mason" as a single (1995).

22)Helmet -- Art-metal? Wore the hats of Killing Joke ("Primitive") and Black Sabbath ("Symptom Of The Universe"). There's your art, there's your metal.

23)Faster Pussycat -- Carly Simon ("You're So Vain") was married to Woody Harrelson for one week. Remember Rikki Rachtman? R.I.P., WCW.

24)Monster Magnet -- Possibly from New Jersey.

25)Scorpions -- Berlin Wall up: Love at first sting. Berlin Wall down: Their winds of change blew cold. Klaus Meine was recently spotted re-laying bricks at the old East/West divisory. Expect the Scorps' 2003 album to be one of their best.

The Hefners - Lay Off: This Is The Old Man's Private Poison (Middle Class Pig, 1999)

Way cool '60s garage rock with lotsa Billy Childish behavior. Throw in some clean, well-produced Smugglers/Insomniacs sounds, and you've got 17 songs that'll get airplay only in the rockingest frat houses. Where can I find one? Best title: "(She Looks Like She's Fucking The) Pinball Machine." Drummer Bob publishes a killer coupon book-sized zine called Micromag. Free in Kansas.

Sloppy Seconds/Lostribe/.007/Jab @ Peabody's, Va. Beach, VA (10/31/96)

Mr. Biggers and I run into Keith (AKA -- Mr. Back In Black) prior to this Halloween show. Even though he's not interested in any of the bands, Mr. BIB decides to go and take advantage of the $1.00 domestic beers. As I order my second Budweiser, the waitress informs us that the dollar special is only on weekends, and our beers are mistakenly sold to us at that price. This does not sit well with Mr. BIB, and he goes on a false-advertising rant. BIB is refunded his money and leaves. Later, Keith.

Jab come out with a sound similar to any band on Fat Wreck Chords. Biggers knows a couple of their members.

.007 are next and fall into the category of "bands with a James Bond-inspired name that are ska-influenced." Their highlight is an energetic version of "No Woman No Cry."

Lostribe take the floor and play a solid set of fast punk rock. This is my second time seeing this band, and "Skateboarding, Chicks, Forties and Blunts" sounds damn good live.

After an overblown costume contest that "Supergirl" (cute as hell) does not win, Sloppy Seconds run through an altogether too short list of songs (mostly from their 1989 album Destroyed), but at least they play "I Don't Wanna Be A Homosexual." New tracks include "I Love Lesbians (So Why Don't They Love Me?)," and "I Love Her Body (But Her Record Collection Sucks)." Both fit well with their "junk-rock" motif.

A different sort of tribe (Stone House Tribe) invades Peabody's the next evening, but I'm not a witness to their ritual. Cover bands suck!

Snap-Her - Queen Bitch Of Rock 'N' Roll (NRA, 1996)

The main constant in this band is singer/guitarist Andi Beltramo, who switches to bass for the follow-up to It Smells, It Burns, It... More rock 'n' roll than you'd expect on cuts like "Sex Change" (which takes one back to CBGB's 1976, with name checks of Cheetah Chrome and Wayne/Jayne County) and "Nice Girls (Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll)" -- a new twist on the Rose Tattoo classic. For you trilinguals, there's two numbers sung in Spanish and one in German.

New American Mob - All Mob Cons (R.A.F.R., 1999)

Clap yer feet, stomp yer hands! Wot you 'ave heer is sum dark-edged punk rok 'n' rol skweezed with sum wham-bam-thank-you-mam glam vox that'll make yer mama all crazee now. If Endangered Species, Live Forever Or Die Trying and Slade Alive weer all somehow dun on a single album, my friend Stan wood take me bak 'ome and we wood feel the noize from this gudbuy. Cum on and get down and get with it, coz Jane might luv and pleeze ya if yer a bangin' man.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ubangi Stomp - Psychobilly Bloodbath EP (Brain Drain, 1998)

Whenever my best pal was able to get time off from his shitty proofreading job in Norcross, GA, he would come back to Virginia for a visit. Along the way, Greensboro often served as a stopping point for fuel and nourishment. It was during one of these cheap-grade unleaded sessions that John noticed the drunken winos sleeping on the railroad tracks. A quick observation of the surrounding structures revealed burned-out, abandoned edifices. He left Greensboro that morning with the overall impression of the place as an industrial wasteland. One day, I asked John what city was going to be the next Seattle. His answer: Greensboro. Say hello to the new Nirvana. Okay, not quite, but if this "wasteland" suddenly became all the hype, Ubangi Stomp would be the cornerstone act. These four incisions owe more to Joey Ramone and Johnny Thunders than the Guana Batz siphoning gas for their stolen hearse. When you give the track barkeep a $20 bill, you don't get any change.

The Erotics - Born To Destroy (Cacaphone, 1997)

From the label that gave us the newest releases from The Morning Shakes and Jack Black comes this NYC outfit, specializing in glam-pop punk rock 'n' roll much in the same way D-Generation does. Pick hits from these "titans of terror on a lustful binge" include "Wreck My Bedroom," "Helen Keller," "So Young And Wasted" and a take on the old Alice Cooper tune "Be My Lover."

The Dipshits - Holiday Drunk Fest EP (Junk, 1996)

If this sounds like Larry from The Candy Snatchers fronting The Slobs, that's because it is. This four-song cultural exchange between VA and OH was recorded "in about five hours during two different holiday weekends 1995." Two originals on side A ("Hope For Tomorrow" and "Down At The Jockey Club") and a flip through The Zeros' catalog ("Wimp"), in addition to the Killed By Death songbook (The Lewd's "Kill Yourself"), make for some really wasted fun.

LMNOP - Pound (babysue, 1996)

Latest release from this long-running, one-man show. Here's what I refer to as a "collage album." Forty songs (each one lasting a minute or so) home-taped. Written lyrics with no evidence of any chorus. Sounds like the Minutemen, right? Though LMNOP operates under similar guidelines, musically, he does not resemble the likes of D. Boon and company. Some may be tempted to call this "power pop," but because my Pell Grant at the Eric Worden School of Music Journalism has long expired, I'll use that term when it's better suited to fit. There's no way in hell that "Unnatural Interest In Excretory Functions," "Retarded Fucker" and "KKK Crown" ("Fuck your shitty little world") will ever pop up on the milk-and-cookies fest that is "Adult Alternative" radio. If your life is spent wondering how "I Started A Joke"-era Bee Gees would've turned out had they been forced to eat their own feces, weigh in on Pound.