Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Billy Ocean -- Nearly drowned off the coast of Barbados while shooting the video for "Caribbean Queen." You know, "She's simply...awesome/WWWWHEW!/She duck by me and blame it on Jean."

Sting -- Attacked by a swarm of angry bees during The Dream of Blue Turtles recording sessions outside Amnesty International headquarters. Was rescued by pal Peter Gabriel, upon hearing the repeated distress signal of "Sending out an S.O.S."

Neil Diamond -- Passed out in a Los Angeles-area Zales Jewelers when his mistress told him the price of a 14-carat ring. As he regained consciousness, "Love on the rocks/Ain't no big surprise/Just pour me a drink/And I'll tell you some lies" were the first words whispered to his lady friend.

Whitney Houston -- Walked out on 68,175 fans at The Astrodome with her sudden refusal to play another show in Texas. Among those in attendance were Loose Screws staffer jOhn A., who wore a "Shoot Me" T-shirt advertising her new single.

Eddie Money -- Filed for bankruptcy after his poorly attended State Fair tour. Plans to re-do "Two Tickets to Paradise" with the following lyric changes: "I'm gonna take you on a trip not far from here/I've got two dollars in my pocket now, baby/We're gonna get some beer."

Billy Idol -- Fan club disbanded after finishing last in a "Whom do you most admire?" poll conducted by Seventeen magazine. Will record his next album, Generation Next, on a popular rollercoaster (Rebel Yell) at King's Dominion.

Iggy Pop -- Gave up carbonated beverages in 1969, citing health reasons. Wrote a testimonial soon afterward: "It's 1969, okay/I just quit drinking soda today/Another year for me and you/Think I'll drink a Yoo-hoo."

Ringo Starr -- Joined a little group called The Beatles after flunking an astronomy course at Cambridge University. Lost a lawsuit against Little Debbie, when it was pointed out to him that Star Crunch snack cakes are spelled with one "r," not two.


A man prepares a wonderful dinner for his girlfriend. Candles, appetizers, wine -- all the extras. He also compiles a "Love Mix" on his Philips CD-Recorder, which will be a nice background touch to accompany the meal.

The doorbell rings, and the man answers. His date is nicely dressed, wearing a bone necklace and a smile. He leads her to the dining room table to be seated, which he does also. Before collecting her first sip of vino, she is taken aback by the sudden guttural growls of, "LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEARRRT/I'M IN LOVE WITH YOOOU!!!" Once again, "LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEARRRT/I'M IN LOVE WITH YOOOU!!!" Second time around, however, she starts getting into it and is soon joined by her companion.

I'm so jealous. That guy has a CD-Recorder.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Bobby And The Nightcaps/The Halfways @ Cogan's Instant Art, Norfolk, VA (4/17/97)

I only had $10.00 in my pocket on this Friday evening, but that was a minor inconvenience. To borrow a phrase from The Humpers' manager, these two bands are "Rock And Fucking Roll." I arrived too early, thus quick consumption of Budweisers was in order. The gentleman next to me took it at face value when I told him that John Denver had moved to Sydney, because the tap water in that city had been replaced by Coors Light. He said, "I'm moving there tomorrow." If you decide to go, mister, I'd advise you to leave before the 2000 Olympic Games come there. Best of luck! Talked with a nice lady behind the bar named Heather (see what a free drink will get ya!) about bands from Boston. Although we didn't mention the band Boston, I'd take them over Slapshot any day.

About 11:30 or so, The Halfways cranked out roughly ten tunes, sounding like equal parts Stooges, Heartbreakers and early Black Flag. As had been the case at their similarly good Route 44 show, the band closed with powerful takes of The Stooges' "1970" and Radio Birdman's "New Race." Yeh-hup, indeed! The Halfways don't have any vinyl on the shelves right now, but keep an eye out for their upcoming 4-song single. Commenting on the track "Friar Tucks," drummer Nyal told me, "Yeah, it's about Robin Hood." Next time The Halfways play here, I'll bring the peanut butter.

Big Bobby And The Nightcaps, whom I've seen more times than Lawrence Taylor has smoked crack, took the floor and opened with "I Can't Believe You" -- a number the M-80's had played live. If you don't know the link between The Nightcaps and the M-80's, go take a history course at Tidewater Community College, because I don't have time to explain. Other songs included "I Close My Mind," a cut from their soon-to-be released 7-inch (forgot the title -- something about a bloodhound), and The Real Kids' "Do The Boob." Why not "Foreplay/Long Time?" Shortly after Bobby's reading of a note detailing an outstanding $17.50 bar tab, the 'Caps ended their set with JT and the Heartbreakers' "Chinese Rocks."

If you would rather hear the 'Caps guitarist Sambone say, "I stole this riff from Chuck Berry" than some ecstasy-induced technohead announce, "I lifted this sample from KMFDM," go check out The Halfways and The Nightcaps to see and hear what REAL rock 'n' roll is all about.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Another pal I've never met from Jack Nicklausland named Zach Spazz posted this question on the Neus Subjex Message Bored.

His comments: "I'd list some of the major players as Chuck Berry, BOC, MC5, New York Dolls, The Stooges, and many of the minor garage-fuzz/psychedelia bands. However, I'd prolly pick The Stooges. Their songs were the angriest of the bunch, full of the bile that punk is best known for. I mean, how hateful is a song called 'Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell'? The Stooges' career was a bit varied, from the rock 'n' roll of s/t, to the genius, jazzy mess of Funhouse, then culminating in the stripped-down thrash of Raw Power. Honestly, the aggression prevalent in their music hasn't been matched since. Maybe Black Flag could claim second place, but no other band has pushed such much destruction through a set of speakers. Anyone else have a nomination?"

Yeah, man (though my pick mirrors yours, Zach): You certainly can make a strong, strong case for The Stooges. I mean, Raw Power might have no takers, in terms of pure, focused aggression. Yet, a non-album track of theirs ("I Got A Right") just might be the ultimate proto-punk offering, with its Damned-before-the-Damned tempo and declarations of independence in the lyrics. Along with Iggy and company, I'd also mention the multitudes of one-song-and-out bands found on the Nuggets box sets, as well as acts like Question Mark And The Mysterians ("96 Tears" is perhaps the greatest #1-charted single ever and was a huge inspiration on The Stooges' "!969"), The Sonics, The Standells, The Animals and so on and so forth.

Taking all of these into consideration, I'll side with Zach and give The Stooges my nod.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Those behemoths of Southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, have made one of the most difficult decisions of their long career.

No, they won't stop writing songs about their fallen angel (Ronnie Van Zant) -- which has been the M.O. for almost 21 years. Also, the practice of providing free Jack Daniel's mini-bottles with any cola purchase at the concession stand will remain part of the Skynyrd tradition.

The verdict reached by all 16 members of the touring entourage should cause screams to be wailed from the Marlboro-stained lungs of the worldwide Skynyrd Frynds organization. After way too many rounds of spin-the-bottle, Lynyrd Skynyrd have decided to never again play "Free Bird" in a public setting for as long as they remain a band.

"It got to the point where I couldn't even go to a fuckin' hardcore show without some snot-nosed kid yelling, 'HEY, PLAY SOME 'FREE BIRD,''" said a dejected Artimus Pyle. "The whole thing just sorta drifted into some goddamn self-parody, and we got tired of hearing and playing the fuckin' thing anyway."

Traditions die hard, though. Most of the people I spoke with said they would not attend a Skynyrd performance without "Free Bird" on the set list.

"Billy Joe Brown, get your filthy ass on over here or you won't be going to Club Lake Ahoy tomorrow," Donna from Cradock said. "I mean, Jesus Christ! Skynyrd without 'Free Bird' would be like The Marshall Tucker Band without 'Heard It In A Love Song,' Molly Hatchet without 'Flirtin' With Disaster,' The Charlie Daniels Band without 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia,' intoned Donna -- who gave about 50 other examples while constantly twirling the loose fibers of her cut-off Wranglers.

When asked if she fancied other Skynyrd songs besides "Free Bird," Donna replied, "Aw, fuck yeah! You know the one that goes, 'Ooh Ooh that smell?' I like to put that on when I'm cleanin' my house. And the one about the three steps is a favorite of one of my boyfriends."

Others were not as conciliatory.

"WHAT THE FUCK? Skynyrd not doin' 'Free Bird?' WHY THE FUCK YOU THINK I GO TO A SKYNYRD SHOW? To hear 'Free Bird,' man. If I want to hear their other crap, I'll go to the fuckin' Midtown Inn and watch the damn Road Ducks do it," offered an extremely pissed-off Earl from Portsmouth. "Ain't gonna catch me at that goddamn blasted amphitheater, you sure got that right," Earl boasted, without realizing his clever turn-of-phrase from a Skynyrd song he hasn't heard.

Despite the cool reaction, Lynyrd Skynyrd will be appearing at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater in late-May. Record crowds (that is, record lows) are expected, but that doesn't prevent veteran member Gary Rossington from being optimistic.

"We played a Jacksonville show date and were quite surprised with the warm reception given to songs like 'Sweet Home Alabama.' This blonde girl in the front had sung every word of that song, so I invited her to join me backstage. I gave her a beer and signed her chest, at which point I asked, "How did you know the words to that song?' And she said, 'I saw 'Forrest Gump' six times with one of my boyfriends.'"

Peter Frampton will open the show at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater.

The Candy Snatchers/Black Jesus/Big Bobby And The Nightcaps/The Halfways @ The Corner, Norfolk, VA (12/7/96)

Paying $2.75 for a bottle of beer sucks shit! Especially when it's served to you by a barmaid who has more hair above her lip than Jeff Dahl does on his head. To worsen matters, she requests $1.00 for the jukebox, in order to play "La Mackrelena." The nostrils crave Hampton Blvd. fresh air, so you exit the poor excuse of a go-go joint. See you at home, grandma!

Whew! I can finally hear some good music. Find out from Bil England ("The fucker who more or less runs the place") that no alcohol is available because of problems with ABC. Goddamn you, Barbara Walters!

Pretending there's a "X" on my left hand, The Halfways from Richmond come out with a punk rock 'n' roll kick a la New Bomb Turks. The singer isn't afraid to work the crowd, as he belts out a rip-roar version of "Search And Destroy." Good talking with you guys!

Big Bobby And The Nightcaps play that '60s garage thang so fucking great! Highlights are the re-titled "I Close My Mother Fuckin' Mind" (their Black Lung singles kill!), a Real Kids cover ("Do The Boob"), and a number Larry from The Candy Snatchers sings with them. Press more singles!

Black Jesus burst out of the blocks with a fast punk sound that has gained them a following. "I.O.U." really tears up the roof (literally). Demolition experts!

The Candy Snatchers feature Larry's take on circle dancing (he compares it to "ring around the rosies...") that goes over great with the local Barmy Army chapter, Matt's use of guitar as weapon (hits Larry in the head), Colin taking apart his drum kit during a song, and Willy dancing while his bass rests on the ground. No winner is declared in the cushion toss or bottle throw. Damn fine show as usual. Pick up the Snatchers new "Do Me A Favor And Die" b/w "Cock In My Pocket" 45.

Thanks to Bil, Sara, the bands and everybody I talk with at the show.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Runarounds/The JRSS/Nancy And The Knockers @ Cruzer's, Norfolk, VA (11/01/02)

Located directly across from the now-vacated Ghent Inn (now I know why Will Fosters hasn't shown his...uh...mug about town lately), Cruzer's is one of the last places you'd expect to hear rock 'n' roll. A merchant marine club specializing in Filipino dishes like pancit (still can't tell ya what that is exactly, even after having it explained to me several times) and catering to an older crowd, this wide-open room with no dividers in sight would appear too conservative for the loud-fast-rules legislation of rawk. Guess again. With the demise of Cogone's Instant Art, Cruzer's has emerged a victor in providing a late-night home for some of Nawfuck's wildest denizens as well as furnishing a temporary crash pad for out-o'-towners. Draft beers are pro bono to the performers (and those pretending to be), giving them the acumen to strum 'n' drum at their best. Strolling through the hallowed entrance at approximately nine-fifteen in the pee em, my stick people Holly and Sambone RNRMF were sipping their respective lager and pilsner (Miller Lite, right 'Bones?) on stools which needed major reupholstering. Sad but true, the era of Metallica most suited to professional wrassler Stone Cold Steve Austin's taste (the '96 el pee with a Load-ed title on many levels) was treating royally on the sound system and crowning the three of us "King Nothings." "OH, HELL NO!" I beckoned to the Majesties of Mandatorily-Shorn Manes, relinquishing my loser headgear in exchange for the gaudier outfits of Kiss and The 'Coop (thanks to whomever changed discs). During the opening stanzas of "Mainline," another pal of mine, known to all at the West Beach Cafe as Alex, gave me some "whaddups" and the results of his band's placing at a "Battle of the Bands" which had taken place inside a joint spotlighted in a recent Em Tee Vee (c)rap video. At the bar counter, Cruzer's answer to Outback Steakhouse's bloomin' onions was waiting to be marked with bicuspids. I started a time clock to see how long the fried-food platter would remain unclaimed. With a glance at Alex's Value City-purchased Roll-X, the countdown to cholesteric consumption began. So did the trial of the first band on the docket.

Submitting punk rawk 'n' roll evidence bringing to mind the likes of 'member-dem favorites such as The Loudmouths and Stinkerbell with a HC flavor in spots (Germs, perhaps?) shaped by a (thanx, Alex) "Poly Styrene-vocal unintelligibleness," Nancy And The Knockers from parts RichMan, Vee Aye testified on behalf of unabashed women everywhere. Though the 'Knockers had presented their case with gusto, the deliberators were stalled in chambers. Siding with the ladies was a bespectacled Caucasian in his late-fifties. Despite the screeching from amplifiers and speakers, Mister (A) had casually enjoyed at least three plates of food from Cruzer's menu as if he'd been the only one present in the dining area. An opposing viewpoint came from a very skilled pool player with the shot-making abilities of former world 9-ball champion Efren Reyes. Mister (B)'s perpetual table run-out had been interrupted by Nancy and her comrades. Through the entirety of the 'Knockers set, he'd covered his ears in protest. Alex blamed the differences on the fall equinox (also known as Samhain in some circles), but whom can we shoulder the forty-minutes-left-untouched bloomin' onions upon? I, for one, am familiar with the culinary habits of Glenn Danzig and John Christ. They prefer 'em raw.

The JRSS (that's read, "The Junior Ess Ess," for those playing along virtually) are Tidewater's latest supagroup, composed of four talented virtuosos: (J)ustin with the bass mastering, (R)ich on the tater skins with baked-potato appeal, (S)tevie not-so-secretly playin' some devilish guitar, and (S)ambone freely grabbing the mic and BFTs on vox. For the past six or seven years, I've been accustomed to seeing Mr. RNRMF with clutched axe per his stints in Big Bobby And The Nightcaps and the more-recent Horehounds. Sam, who will one day own more guitars than Rick Nielsen (ever play a double-neck?), is already in a comfort zone as a frontman. Shaking a tambourine and maracas along with the rockin' sounds, he and the band glammed 'n' glittered their way through ten numbas best described as an amalgamation of It's Only Rock 'N' Roll-era Stones and Sweet's one-two punch of Desolation Blvd./Give Us A Wink. Highlights not for children included a slow 'n' sleazy "Golddigger," the tributary "End Of The Ramones," and the penile trilogy of "Pleased To Meat You," the D-Boys' "Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth," and the Chinn/Chapman-penned "Little Willy." Way past one and feelin' alright, there was one more act to see before calling it a night.

Hailing from somewhere in North Carolina, a place where Furginians drive hours-long to save a coupla cents on cigarettes and which surprisingly shares a small border with Georgia, the Runarounds upended Manowar as the loudest band in the world on this nite. Mixing the usual-suspect drinks from Dee-troit with the riff-raff tonic of NWOBHM stalwarts Saxon and Tygers Of Pan Tang, "Self Destruction Kick," "Out Drinkin' Again" (ably assisted by Holly and Greg Apostle/Unabomer on gang vocals), "Sick And Tired," and "Hell And Back" were served up shaken in dirty glasses. A sixty-year-old lady stepped outta the kitchen to see and hear what the fuss was about. Perhaps, she too, was a NWOBHM mark who fancies the flexi version of Def Lep's "Rocks Off" over the On Through The Night album take. Next time I'm Cruzin', I'll loan ya my U.K. heavy metal comp tape. You've gotta hear Girlschool's "Demolition Boys" and that "struck me like a sledgehammer" hit.

various artists - This Ain't Rocket Science (Cheetah's, 1999)

Here's a classroom filled with 20 Business Administration majors deciding to take Geology 101. Because several students kissed up to the professor by feigning an interest in sedimentary rocks, "A" grades were given to The Receivers (Buzzcocks/Undertones bookworms), Tilt (no longer a Bad Religion pinball junkie, more of a Penetration "Firing Squad" computer whiz), The Zillionaires (punkers with deep pockets -- bribery is good!), The Generators (Beki Bondage vs. Poly Styrene in a spelling bee) and Mcrackins (weird but gifted popsters). Cheating was encouraged, thus everyone else got a "C." Why do you think the rockmeister always left the room during tests? Coprolite = fossilized crap.

The Beltones - On Deaf Ears (TKO, 1999)

Who is Jake Burns? Your choices: A)George's son, B)Host of then-popular "Body By Jake" on The Family Channel, C)Stiff Little Fingers' vocalist or D)Your mama. If you selected A or B, chances are that you're the kind of person who jogs on the boardwalk at 5:30 AM draped in a Regent Law sweatshirt, owns a BMW with a 10-disc changer (each slot containing a John Tesh CD), squeals delightfully when the boss tells his employees to dress in resort casual and can't miss "Must See TV" under any circumstances. For those persons whose activities include gorging on ear candy like Inflammable Material and Nobody's Heroes, The Beltones give you 10 well-manicured (Stiff Little) fingers perfect for clutching any beverage except green beer. To all D-choosers: How's TPI treating you?

Def Leppard - Yeah! (Island/Mercury, 2006)

Finally, Joe Elliott gets the album he's been dying to construct since his earliest days as an NWOBHM punter. On-stage collaborations with Ian Hunter and versions of Sweet and Mick Ronson tunes on the Retro Active odds 'n' ends collection were tasty teasers, but Def Lep pay full tribute to their rock 'n' roll heroes this time around. "20th Century Boy" (T. Rex) finds guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell straining their voices on the "big girlie vocals," but South African singer Stevie Vann-Lange quells the soreness. Elliott tests his pipes on "Little Bit Of Love" (Free) and does Paul Rodgers proud with the right amount of gritty aplomb. "10538 Overture" (ELO) conducts the ooh 'n' aah procession by waving a Cheap Trick/Enuff Z'Nuff-like baton. Taking leave from his job as a Freddie Mercury impersonator, Justin Hawkins from The Darkness mimics the drunken loon part of Steve Priest on "Hell Raiser" (Sweet). "The Golden Age Of Rock 'N' Roll" (Mott The Hoople) morphs Collen into Steve Jones and reveals "where the 'woah ho' stuff in 'Photograph' and 'Foolin' ' and a lot of our 'call to arms' choruses really came from." The lone American track, "Hanging On The Telephone" (The Nerves or Blondie -- pick a caller), speed-dials the youthful exuberance of TSAR's first slab. Others worth shouting about are Roxy Music, Badfinger, Thin Lizzy, and some dude named John Kongos. In toto, a better noodle dish than G N' R's. Bite it, Axl.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Damnation - Drunk And Stupid (R.A.F.R., 1999)

Six quick burners (total time: 7 minutes, 55 seconds) that have an unmistakable band-with-the-coffin-shaped-box set bent. To their credit, Damnation keep all of the B-movie horror business at a minimum. "Drunk And Stupid" ("Apology accepted/I'm elected/As the idiot affected/Blind and mean/Make a drunken scene/Mind and body are not connected"), "Racial Bastards" ("Narrow-minded dicks/Superiority complex/Fuck that racial shit/Slammin' a real world pit") and "Little Old Man Dog" ("He watches with one squinty eye/His breath is worse than his bite/He stands only ten inches high/You know, he'll fight") benefit from their grounded-in-reality lyricism.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Food Lion store-brand root beer is satisfying in an Uncle Jesse's-rusty-tub-of-not-quite-distilled-moonshine kinda way. Gimme this tried 'n' true love potion over the new Mountain Dew Code Red any day. "As real as the streets?" Pleeze, dawg!!! Like I'm supposed to take it at my 20 y/o television's face value that Macy Gray just happened to be carrying a bottle of the blood juice before giving the pedestrians an impromptu sidewalk show? Or that B-ballers in Rucker Park coat their dry tongues with this era's answer to Crystal Pepsi? Speaking of "reality," have you ever seen an honest-to-goodness black gentleman drinking a Zima? Darius Rucker (no relation to the Park) does not count.

jOhn bOy and I decided not to see The Strokes at The NorVa on November 28th. Mainly because jOhn would have to be rude to library patrons asking stupid questions ("...we already know the answers" -- New Model Army was on the 97-Star WGH play list back in '87!!!) the next morning at 8 A.M. sharp. No way was he gonna be slumbering in his cynicism for lack of sleep. Also, when taking into account the ticket prices, service charges, parking fees, and gas monies, both of us would've been set back at least $22.50 a piece. I know, we should've planned the evening more carefully, but where's the fun in that? Procrastination is where it's at!!! Instead of live tuneage, we opted for the pre-recorded variety in the cheapo bins at Cash Converters. This place is always swarming with Australians (both behind the useless jewelry counter [read: any which doesn't display Pac-Man watches -- did you know that the "whistling Dixie" part of "Rock The Casbah" was sampled from one?] and on the customer end [Yes, it's true -- they all have the mannerisms of Paul Hogan]). At the College Park location, the world's largest concentration of Manitoba's Wild Kingdom discs is scattered about the cramped shelves and dirty floor. I've been trying to convince MWK to drive down from Rudytown and play a straight, in-order run thru ...And You? at the Converters. Hell, no need to bring their merch guy, cause the discs are already on the purchasing table. Anyway, here's what I picked up on the 28th: REM -- Murmur (perhaps the finest "goth country" album of its type -- love dem jangly guitars and hard-to-understand lyrics), Oasis -- (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (sometimes crunchy, sometimes crispy Brit R 'N' R from the wasted-on-the-set-of-TRL Liam Gallagher and his bro), Elastica -- The Menace (more "out there" than the self-titled masterpiece -- this really is their Chairs Missing or 154), Joan Jett and The Blackhearts -- Up Your Alley (mostly the good 'n' glammy stuff per usual, but one track beats dangerously like an '80s Heart palpitation), Straightjacket Fits -- Melt (Sonic Youth meets The Bats meets Red Lorry Yellow Lorry noise from Kiwi-land), Miracle Legion -- Drenched (the uncontrolled sloppiness of Dead Letter Office reined in by a rootsy twist -- jOhn also bit on it), Uncle Green -- Book Of Bad Thoughts (underrated Georgia-by-way-of-New-Jersey combo who meshes the best of Stipe and company with The Smithereens' Especially For You/Green Thoughts-era on their swan song), and Dreams So Real -- Gloryline (track-to-track, a finer effort than their more well-known Rough Night In Jericho which adds Toad The Wet Sprocket-like modern-folk touches to the R.E.M.-esque guitar buzz). Eight discs, eight dollars -- though nowhere near The NorVa, I'd still say, "a good show."

On the December 2001 cover of GQ, I am waiting for Muhammad Ali to shout,"YO, UNCLE PHIL!!!" To be a "GQ Man," I must wear a $15,950 Gucci knee-length mixed-fur coat and listen to snobby-rock intellectuals like Tom Waits and Loudon Wainwright III's little boy. No thanks -- I'll suffer in my CostCo-purchased flannel and listen to dumb-ass cretins like the Ramones and the "poser-Ramones" Riverdales. But I do appreciate the free rub-on cologne strips, cause I love smelling like a Hecht's department store. My tacky-ily applied scent drives my LovieHoneyBabyBunchesOfOats wild!!!

Bumper-sticker juxtaposition on a plumbing van (December 3, 2001 -- 4:05 P.M. at Independence Blvd., Va. Beach): Back left -- "Virginia Is For Lovers." Back right -- "God Bless America." Back center -- "My Wife Doesn't Need To Fart...She's Already Married To An Asshole."

Several Saturdays ago, I tried looking all cool and shit by pinning a triangular-buttoned motif on my Route 66 outerwear. The Socials, Kings Of The Sun, and Elvis Costello were the angle representations. Welp, the first and third points fell off either in a thrift store, pawn shop, or parking lot. Now, the KOTS pin sits in a Ziploc bag along with my birth certificate (born March 10, 1972 in Elizabeth, NJ -- my SSN...wait, what am I doing?), trading-card-sized porn pictures (mostly of larger women -- black and white, separate and together), and dozens of Putt-Putt scorecards (January 13, 2000 was when I entered into the next realm of mini-golf). Woe is me.

En mi opinion, the CD-R is the greatest music format ever created. When someone burns a disc for me, I get that warm-'n'-fuzzy-I-didn't-have-to-pay-$23.99-for-The Avengers-hard-to-find-comp-cause-I-got-it-for-free feeling all over. Whereas a cassette copy of Billy Idol's Vital Idol is met with, "Ah, it's just a tape." Every CD-R I own at present has been recorded well (nearly approximating the sound levels of a store-bought disc), tracked out individually, and labeled correctly. One day, I'm gonna plunk down the $399 or so for the Philips hardware and burn like En Why See for all those on my A-list. Also, I'll start a label and sign myself to a contract. EpiFat, Lookout, Vagrant, etc. aren't willing to ink a deal with a one-man act who performs acapella versions of Foreigner songs in monotone and calls himself Xenophobe, are they?

What is "It," Ginger? A $3,000 "scooter" that only goes 12.5-17 mph? When it rains, is there an optional bubble enclosure? By this time next year, I think most people are gonna stick with their $350 K-Cars or $3,500,000 Land Rovers. "It" will merely be a toy for the young Richard Strattons of America. If you wanna go to the ABC store up the street, why not ride a bike? As the old "Sesame Street" (or was it "The Electric Company"?) number went, "There's nothing that I like like my bike/There's nothing that I like like my bike..."

Have you noticed something different about that one Nicoderm ad? You know, where this man and woman meet on a second-floor patio at a party (did they later "Party On The Patio?" -- ask Mr. Beard.) and the lady goes (paraphrasing), "The irony is I started smoking to be part of the crowd." Empathizing, the guy shows her his smoker's patch. "Aren't the cravings unbearable?" she asks. In the original spot, he replied, "Well, I'm not gonna jump, if that's what you mean." Now, his corrected line is, "Well, I'm not pulling my hair out."

What in New Jersey smells worse: The everyday air of Newark or this bunch of devil-locked fuckos "The Misfits"? They've been touring the globe -- throwing parties for themselves and charging guests upwards of twenty-five smackaroos. If you were separated enough from your taste buds to feast in one of these celebrations, hope you enjoyed the Frankenstein-shaped hunk of shitcake, as well as the realization of spending all your cookie dough to see a cover band. You goddamned son of a bitch.

The Workin' Stiffs - Liquid Courage (TKO, 1999)

On this very melodic disc from these Frisco street punks, politicians are exposed for the lushes they pretend not to be ("It's carnival time/With seven grand in wine/And you know it's all on my dime/The games that they play/In the city by the bay/Put the Barnum & Bailey to shame" -- "Three Ring City"), Johnny-come-latelys are put in their places ("You got your dime back packs/And your big top shorts/Watch your MTV/Play your extreme sports/You're a rebel now/You're gonna show 'em how" -- "New Cash Cow") and bosses are reminded to never draw up a Saturday work schedule ("We're all just workin' stiffs/There's got to be more than this/But five days a week, there's no other way/We are the workin' stiffs/With nothing more than this/So one night a week, that's when we have our say" -- "Workin' Stiffs"). Weird bonus track, "Lazer Revenge," that's sorta like eavesdropping on Joe Strummer and Mick Jones (not the one from Foreigner) waging war at Photon.


Flipping through the CD racks with the failed attempt to find an item under $17.99, this snobby, jazzbo-exuding, over-40, culturally stunted fool next to me asked a loud-mouthed, rap-lovin', under-18, just-a-job-to-me employee, "Yes, I was wondering. Could you help me find a particular record by a gentleman, who is a guitarist by profession?"

Rather than responding back with, "You asking me to find a particular record by a gentleman, who is a guitarist by profession, is like me going into a florist and asking a clerk, 'I'm looking for a particular rose, that is a flower by definition'" in her sassy manner, the girl just said, "Don't know if I could help you. Maybe Ron can."

If I had been that salesperson, I would have led the man to the "C" file, placed Cannibal Corpse's Butchered At Birth in his hands, and thanked him for shopping.

Turbonegro - Apocalypse Dudes (Man's Ruin, 1999)

In the tradition of other rockin' dudes like The Stooges, Dictators, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, AC/DC and Motorhead, these Norwegians with the San Fran moustaches cum together to create a masterwork that'll withstand any media-driven attempt (i.e., hip-hop, ska, swing, etc.) to kill rock 'n' roll. "The Age Of Pamparius" contains choice toppings from "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" and "Clock Strikes Ten" as well as a slogan for Milton's Pizza, should they ever decide to re-open their franchise ("Gonna bake a motherfucking pizza tonight!"). "Rock Against Ass" is one classic car ZZ Top would never be caught dead driving ("Well, I'm not in a hurry/No, I ain't in a rush/That rock is such a gift, so make it last/No, I'm not in a hurry/But that ride is such a blast/I said, 'Lord, take me downtown'/'Cause it's a rock against ass"). Ditto "Rendezvous With Anus" ("Looking good and feeling clean/Classic buttocks on the scene/Cars go by, they're out of luck/Eyeball ass, eyeball stuck!"). Turbonegro's version of "Good Head" comes as close as they get to playing a straight (pardon the pun) rock song ("Flipping pizzas on a Saturday night/Classy asses to the left and right/'Have you ever been laid?' she said/Fuck you, I'd rather have some good head"). "Humiliation Street" describes a dark and "Gimme Danger"-ous feeder road for Darby Crash Drive ("Humiliation Street/Where all the danger kids meet/the dagger dudes and the dirt done cheap/That's what I say"). Gimme deathpunk, baby!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My brother Brian might have seen Cal's last game (he called me from his Camden Yards seat, supposedly), but the boy ain't got nuthin' on me, for I saw Robbie Rist play guitar on that same Saturday (10-06-01).

In case you're not a fan of '70s TV (and in that case, I'm glad I don't know ya), Rist was that Messy Marvin-looking kid with the glasses who appeared on six episodes of "The Brady Bunch." He portrayed the Brady kids' cousin Oliver. Still not saying, "Oh yeah..."? Well, it doesn't matter and neither do you.

Over the past year or so, I've seen "Oliver" on "Jenny Jones" (Wow!!! A Canadian female who's actually attractive!!!), "Queen Latifah" (Please, can I see your Tootsie Roll?), "Entertainment Tonight" (L.A.'s alright, if you like seizure-inducing New Age saxophones), and "Weakest Link" (Who's a few years short of drawing Social Security? Who's a few scripted jokes short of being funny? Don't worry: You ain't gotta humor me. I still luv ya, Anne!!!). Rist (unlike some one-hit-wonderers) is definitely a well-known obscure celebrity (if that makes any sense) who gets around.

Anyhoo, the band he guested with was a Norfolk-area formed outfit called The Mockers (who've been around since the Aye-Tees and are said to be huge in Spain [which I believe, for we Tidewater folk have such shallow tastes and don't celebrate good tunes or The Running of the Bulls, but rather, growl rock and The Running of the Contaminated Water]). Their pleasurable sounds mixed The Beatles with the American jangly pop of Let's Active and the db's (And that ain't a rock hack copying from a press kit or bio cheat sheet talkin' -- that's just me describing what I heard). "Outdoor Cafe" and "Here Come The Lackeys" strongly stood out among the originals, while the lone cover of "Have Love, Will Travel" was given a great re-stylized reading. Towards the end of The Mockers' most excellent set, a late-model four-door (?) with a license plate number invisible to me drove straight through the backyard, causing the multitudes to move quickly out of harm's way. "HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT!!! PUNGO UNDER ATTACK!!!" my friend jOhn A. and I shouted in unison. Oh, sorry...forgot to mention this was The Mockers' CD release party, held at some guy's house in the country part of Va. Beach (Pungo). Far removed from the sand castles, boardwalks, and tourist traps, a whole other world exists in the city's borders. Pungo has pasture land, dirt driveways, and cows that moo. There's horse manure, too.

The opening act was an unsung band from the CITY (or the COUNTRY) of Va. Beach -- Rip Dizzy. These guys just might be The Figgs (who performed at the now-defunct Peppermint Beach Club with Weezer in '94 -- I [jOhn bOy, too] was there, but you probably weren't) of our area, with their updated Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson feel. When I saw them in '97, Rip Dizzy had more of a twitch in their sound (re-workings of "Uncontrollable Urge" and "I Found That Essence Rare" [respectively, Devo and Gang Of Four - ya fool!] brought that jagged edge to the forefront). At the Horizon Tireless Pungo Amphitheater, this year's model was grounded by the armed forces. "Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll" was a killer up-tempo rocker, and RD's trim-the-fat workout of The Clash's "Magnificent Seven" (as jOhn pointed out, The Clash were a band that could've used some editing throughout their too-long career) demonstrated why Rip Dizzy mattered more for those few minutes. Perhaps inspired by the pre-show jams (Link Wray), they closed with a montage of five or six instrumentals blended together. Faces in the crowd who were dizzied with excitement included Channel 13 News political reporter Mike Gooding. Shortly after Dizzy had given mad props to M.G., jOhn suggested that this Pungo house was shared by Gooding AND Channel 13 News chief meteorologist Jeff Lawson (a too-much-into-his-work sort who loves barometric pressures, but obviously has nothing other than contempt for things like rock 'n' roll). Could it have been Lawson in an upstairs bedroom all this time, trying to catch some winks amidst the music? "Oh shenanigans! I've got a forecast tomorrow!" he might've grumbled under the covers.

Closing thought: On the aforementioned "Weakest Link" show (the Brady special, where Rist was voted off first -- AWWW!!!), Peter (Christopher Knight) didn't know Angus Young was in AC/DC (Cindy [Susan Olsen] scolded him for his absent-mindedness!), yet he eventually won the game for his selected charity. Himself.

Martian Bigblock - "Dendrite Rock" b/w "Miss Tomato Pie" (Oil Capitol, 1999)

Science side: Thurston Moore is abducted by three aliens named Derek, Andrew and Mike. They allow him to retain some of the Sonic Youth guitar experimentation, but Thurston is careful not to stray too far from the surf-flavored, rock 'n' roll attack. Otherwise, he would discover the joys of paddling back to the Lower East Side while strapped to a longboard and missing four limbs crucial to the task. Pie side: It's Wayne Kramer's turn to be seat-belted in the saucer of this out-of-space trio. By reuniting with his long-lost earthly companions Rob Tyner and Fred "Sonic" Smith, Brother Wayne puts about 62 billion frequent flier miles between himself and the Missy Elliott, Ginuwine and Wu-Tang records he feels are "the cutting edge in music today." Cutting edge: Say it ain't so, bro? Guess that explains the handle "MC5."

The Crums - Crummy (Horny Pony, 1998)

Nine-song promotional release that includes 3 of the 4 cuts from their single on Fandango Records. "Creepy Crawl," "I Got Nothin" and "Oh Yeah" have the same out-of-the-surf/onto-the-barroom-stage sonics that made Radio Birdman an Australian national treasure. Though "Mr. Bartender (Ode To Geoff Osteen)," "Biker Chick" and "Detox Girl" are like-minded numbers also guilty of SWI (Surfing While Intoxicated) at Bell's Beach, The Crums' take of the '60s nugget "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" is a level-headed love song that's suitable to play for your girlfriend while relaxing on the sand at midnight. Proof that one can be a sensitive guy (and still rock) without having to pick up an acoustic guitar like billions of wanna-be-Casanovas, past and present.


The 1990s were heady days for the male cast members of "Beverly Hills, 90210." On that show's "mall tours," thousands of screaming teenage girls waited in hours-long lines, attempting to score a photo-op with their chosen dream date. A few moments in the penalty box with Jason Priestley? How about a side-out serve from Ian Ziering? Does a surfing retreat alongside Luke Perry make you Mexico-bound? Ready for some two-turntables-and-a-microphone movement with Brian Austin Green? Want science-project help from Douglas Emerson? Tax and other financial advice...Whoa! Wait a minute...Douglas Emerson? Who dat? Only David's best friend, Scott, during the two's awkward West Beverly High early years.

David and Scott, despite being "dorks," tried collegiately to improve their social standing. In the "90210" pilot, the two were uninvited guests at a rich girl's pool party. Not that it mattered much to them, but the Meat Puppets were the live entertainment, attacking "Monsters". Drunk off his ass, Steve was actually chummy with David at the get-together. Too wasted to drive in the wee hours, Steve placed his Corvette's keys in David's hand and instructed his new "friend" to cart him home. Although David barely knew his way behind a steering wheel, he managed to get Steve home in one piece (the same couldn't be said about the Vette). At school the next day, Steve's post-hangover revelation of a fender-bender made him want to kill the person responsible for the damage. When David tried to recover his hat from the Vette, his actions set off an alarm. Steve rushed outside to confront the guilty one. Somehow, David talked his way out of the inevitable beating and was even on the cusp of joining the "90210" inner circle. Wanting the same thing for his best friend, David would later excessively beg the gang to show up at Scott's birthday party. After several protestations (mainly from Steve), all of them agreed to make an appearance. "It would mean the world to him," said David, upon receiving their confirmation. Well, the celebration was straight out of a McDonald's in-house gathering. Cake, balloons, younger siblings, parents and all -- this kiddies-style spread only reinforced Scott's socially stunted behavior. "I AM OUTTA HERE!" shouted Steve, and the others (excepting David) soon followed his lead, albeit more quietly.

With the gang's departure, Scott summoned David to his father's study. He was showing off with a gun, doing some Annie Oakley-esque finger-twirls. Tragedy struck, when Scott caught the full of the trigger and shot himself dead. Returning to West Beverly, everyone (including Steve) was extremely nice to David, out of sympathy for the best friend he had lost. David saw right through the facade and blasted Steve, etc. over the school's radio station airwaves. Though in his mind the gang "ain't got time to make no apologies," he accepted theirs anyway. From that point forward, David became a part of the "in-crowd" and went on to court Donna Martin.

Funny how the death of a best friend improved David's life in the long run. Do you think Scott was in David's thoughts, when he had a backseat affair with Ariel (after performing with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds)? Was Scott there in spirit, when David went to Steve's birthday-bash (with the Goo Goo Dolls rockin' "Long Way Down" onstage)? Did Scott channel E-mail messages, assisting David and then-main squeeze Claire in pointing out the old geezer-ness of Rolling Stones' fans?

Scott: Wherever you may be -- search and destroy.



Dear Gov:

I am writing you today with only one request from a loyal subject of yours. Sir, it has come to my attention that the Tower Mall Revitalization Project -- which was supposed to attract merchants back to its spacious corridors -- has been suspended indefinitely. As former ten-year residents of Portsmouth, this stoppage has caused periods of sad recollection for my entire family.

Michael, my younger brother in the pecking order, tearfully recalled his visit with Santa Claus as a booger-encrusted child of six years. While parked on Mr. Kringle's well-cushioned lap, Michael violently tugged on Santa's artificial-beard strings and told him that his breath was very bad. Maybe that's why he did not find one of those Captain America wind-up motorcycles under the Christmas tree that year. (1980)

Speaking of motorcycles, my cousin Chris called to owe me a long-overdue apology for smashing my Bradlee's-purchased Tomy Digital Daredevil game against a wall in 1982. As a consolation make-up gift, he gave me a choice of either the complete Samhain catalog dubbed on third-generation, drugstore-style blank tapes minus cases or coupons from his favorite restaurant. (The Family Fish House -- "Buy One Complete Catfish Dinner, Get The Second Free") Opting for the less smellier of two evils, I selected the 2-for-1 meal deal, even though "fake seafood" (fish sticks, hush puppies, and popcorn shrimp) was the only type I enjoyed. As luck would have it, not only were the coupons expired, but the Fish House was also. Last I heard about Chris was that he managed a 7-Eleven on Lynnhaven Parkway, but this turned out to be a rumor started by my grandfather. (nicest man in the world -- bless him!) Ain't a crime to brag falsely about your grandchildren; I'm sure you've done the same thing.

My two sisters, Shannon and Shawn, also have longed for a Bradlee's re-opening. Despite being grown women with flesh-and-blood children of their own, the siblings' doll fixation has not changed one iota. Just the other morning, Shannon (feeding her little one mini-pancakes) gently sang the lyrics from the commercial of the once-popular toy items: "Strawberry Shortcake/Huckleberry Pie/Blueberry Muffin/Raspberry Tart." Or something along those lines. Could've been just a respite on Shannon's part from that purple creature's theme ("I love you/You love me...") she has to contend with each time the should-be-extinct thing is squeezed. Then again, why did she choose to quote "Strawberry Shortcake (Theme From)" and not "Strawberry Fields Forever" if the dolls hadn't been on her mind? When Shawn was over here last Saturday, she took hold of the remaining parts from her old Cabbage Patch Kid. The head, one arm, half a leg, and the detached body each received a "I missed you" sectional hug. Though Shawn had assisted with animal surgeries so precise that a Harvard Med grad would've taken notes, she and all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put the Cabbage Patch Kid back together again. Shawn had tried to graft the loose appendages onto a "Tickle Me Elmo," but was too frightened to continue, when the Sesame Street character changed its tag-line from "Ha Ha! That tickles!" to "Ouch! That fucking hurts!"

Mom, whose passion for cooking fried chicken is legendary 'round these parts, has often said that Morrison's Cafeteria served the only chicken she would eat besides her own. I, for one, know that claim to be untrue. Since the cafeteria's closing, Mom has gobbled lotsa pieces of floured 'n' fried fowl at Pollard's (barf!), Food Lion (double barf!), and Breez-In ("Virginia's Finest" -- triple barf!). Still, Mom would love to sink her teeth into Morrison's breast or leg (I'm not being kinky) like she did in many visits past. (Mom also enjoyed their mighty fine mashed potatoes.)

The Chuck E. Cheese's test was administered in 1984 by Mom and taken by her then-boyfriend. It consisted of two sections: 1)How many pizzas would he buy? and 2)How many tokens would he give us for video games? Ken (his name) scored a perfect 1600 on the CEC-SAT, and Mom would end up marrying the guy.

Brian, who is 19 months younger than I, fondly remembered winning an art contest sponsored by K & K Toys. His prize was a deluxe box of finger paints that would soon decorate the walls of our Academy Park home. Seven years later (1985), Brian hooked up with a Mexican cutie named Beth Sanchez, who happened to work (How/Why did she have a job at such an early age?) at the toy store that had awarded the art supplies to my brother. Miss Sanchez was in my eighth-grade P.E. class during the courtship. She really didn't talk to me that much, aside from asking twenty questions about Brian on a daily basis. My chances with a girl like Beth were few and far between, due to (in no small part) a contradictory fashion-sense. Back then, I was caught in a transitional rut of pretending to be a break dancer and wanting to be a surfer/skater. My normal dress pattern during those not-so-vainglorious days was a pair of Fruit Roll Up-looking parachute pants, an Ocean Pacific T-shirt, black suede Pumas with red stripes/fat laces, and a beige Gotcha pullover. (All from Hess'/Rice's Nachman's) Hey, I may've been a goofy-looking S.O.B., but at least I never wore "Thriller pants." You know, those red abominations with ten million zippers. Given the choice, Gov, what would you rather be -- a rotten piece of dried fruit or Michael Jackson? Due to a laundry accident (Thanks, Mom -- 14 years later), both the pants and Pumas were ruined. As for my remaining funky fresh/rad dude gear, it was trashed in favor of more upscale apparel. (Bugle Boy, Pier Connection, Sperry Top Sider, etc.) This switch didn't exactly win points with Pauline Richardson -- my 9th grade crush. Guess a mouthful of metal and rubber bands made for an unappealing smile. She would later become the wife of a tugboat captain. Wonder where he'd bought his clothes...

Anyway, would you make sure that Lionel Playworld, Bradlee's, Morrison's Cafeteria, Chuck E. Cheese's, K & K Toys, and Hess'/Rice's Nachman's come back to Tower Mall? If so, you will forever lose your title as "most nondescript Governor since Gerald Baliles."

By the way, are you related to no-name country singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore?

Yours truly,
Gunther 8544
Age 28
Virginia Beach, VA