Friday, December 26, 2008

Smell Check 2008

As a subscriber to GQ Magazine I can tell you that I don't need to be told Puff Daddy is the epitome of fashion. I KNOW I dress better than that circus monkey even on a bad day. But GQ has a terrific feature especially around Christmas time, and that's tons of ***COLOGNE ADS*** within the pages of their august periodical. Those slices of slick Paper Heaven with their scratch and sniff goodness really sends me, and I'm here to pass my expert opinion on what stinks real good and what just plain stinks! Contained herein is my appraisal of ads torn off the recent issues of GQ Magazine:

L'Homme (Yves Saint Laurent): This was a slam dunk. The minute I smelled this light, fruity aroma I was hooked. Pricey but worth it, it smells of class and sex, just like a lot of YSL products. Even after death Yves still has it!

Versace Pour Homme: Kind of a lazy lemon-lime mixed with crotch (fish) odor. If you're the kind of girl who likes to lick Sprite off your boyfriend's dick this one's a sale and a half.

Boss Pure (Hugo Boss): The ad shows a picture of a dude power diving, and the name of the fragrance is Pure, so just smells kinda like man-sweat, with a very weak citric base odor. Pass!

Prada Infusion D'Homme: Available in Eau De Toilette, Shower Gel and After Shave, it smells like clean soap mixed with lime. I have spray cans of Glade that had more allure than this. Prada don't have game because they spend more time making sexy clothes for chicks. Hey Prada, guys is people too!

Polo (Ralph Lauren, duh!): Ultra-mega Meh! Ralph's been rockin' the Polo line for 15 years now and it's time to shoot that ol' horse in the head. Chaps was better, way better. He's advertising two lines now, Polo Black and Polo Double Black. The great irony is that it smells like vanilla, which is as white as it gets! What an idiot. Get back on your horse, Ralph.

Acqua Di Gio (Giorgio Armani): The ad shows yet another Italian bottom looking intense. This one was good, a little chemical-like, but I'd buy it.

Dolce & Gabbana The One: Chronic pothead Matthew McConaghey models the ad for D&G. Blaze another fatty, Matty! This one was blander than that bomb he shot with Goldie Hawn's daughter.

Perry Ellis: Beautiful bottle and it smelled of sex, like my lithe body was laying naked in silk sheets expecting to rob some winsome maiden of her precious, uh...sorry, I was getting carried away there. Which is exactly what a good fragrance should do. I think I'll buy their "body shampoo" and dream of ravishing a mermaid.

9 IX (Roca Wear): Greatest ad ever: a hot black girl in lingerie lies in bed dreamily embracing her man's dress shirt while he's out. I think my wife does that while I'm at work (tee hee). The ad's the best thing about it. The smell is weak and forgettable, just like Jay Z (the founder of RocaWear) music. If that hot chocolate cookie's sniffing a shirt it's probably got that foxy Perry Ellis scent.

So there you have it: all the stink that's fit to print. I wish the internet had a scratch and sniff option. Wouldn't that be great? I wonder what Facebook would smell like?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Have A Merry Scary Christmas

If there's one thing glitter rock loved it's Xmas. Good songs, scary visuals. Enjoy!

P.S. The band on top is Roy Wood's Wizzard, and the band below is Slade. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silverlakers, Part 2

It was just another manic Monday at the boiler room, phone calls being made and none coming back in, like all bill collectors know only too well...

"Hello, Mrs. Hernandez", the thirty-something guy with a cool soul-patch sternly directed, "you're about three months behind on your payments, and we wanted to-"

"Steve!" his equally shaggy partner, Kim, in the next cubicle waved him down. "Get off the phone. This is like way urgent!"

Steve hung up in the middle of a serious verbal beat-down by Silvia Hernandez, unemployed mother of five on the other end of the line. It was just as well; she would have hung up in his ear anyway.

"You know, bro, I was just thinking on the way in to work know, Aqualung by Jethro Tull has some heavy statements to make. Valid as Hell!"

"For reals, Kim", Steve said, hoisting his stained coffee cup. "I’m steamed about Volkswagen using that Nick Drake song in their ads. Dang, dog, what a sell out!"

“That made me throw up in my nose!”
“Well, that made me throw up in my pants!”

"Word", burped Kim. "Church!"
"Ghetto slang, bro. The real pimp's Englizzy".
"Wow, you're really down with that. For a second I didn't know what you were saying!"
"GET BACK TO WORK, YOU ASSHOLES!" Their boss thundered at them as he stormed by.

Kim picked up the phone, and a minute later, said, "Shit, got an answering machine!" Speaking slowly, as if to a deaf person from China, said, "Good afternoon, Mrs. Eleanora Purvis, this is Mr. Obama asking you to vote for me this coming November, and more importantly, please call me back at (888) 669-385. It's about your outstanding balance with Sears Roebuck".

Friday night at the Anti-Club the joint was buzzin' because it was SHOWTIME: Steve's band Bag Of Ice and Kim's awesome sonic combo The Awful Truth were doing a gig together. Shit, they were both so jazzed!

"Dude, we are so pulling in a crowd!" Kim gloated. "Damien mentioned our show on KXLU. We're getting the mad spillover from the people going to the Nick Cave show at The Wiltern, the Jane's Addiction secret gig at El Cholo and Fall Out Boy at Staples Center. Stardom is nigh, my friend!" he hoisted his lemon slice topped-bottle of Dos Equis beer for victory.

"Not to mention the $2 off with flyer discount", Steve added. "Good thing I parked early, it's a gonna be a madhouse!"

The opening band took to the stage with the packed club resounding in cheers. Why, it's none other than that all-girl group "Kitten Klaws". They've only been together for two months, but who cares when all you’re wearing is a slip and clear heels?

"Look!" Steve pointed at a portly hipster with early male pattern baldness racing by. "There's Imax, the editor of 7 Inch Rock Magazine".

"Dude, how's it going?" Imax shoved Steve out of the way to get to the front of the stage. A crowd of nothing but guys stood dutifully to the front of the stage. Some even shoved girls away from the front, and many were brandishing cameras their parents bought them for Christmas.

Kitten Klaws tear into their opening number, "I'm Mad At My Boyfriend". The song countdown is in Japanese! The guys look thrilled!!!, but the girls in the club looked pissed and gave Kitten Klaws stink eye.

"Well, you got a tiny dinky and you never seem to satisfy. You couldn't raise a bridge even if you tried", the lead singer whined.

"We are so pawned", Steve gushed. "Game over."
Kim moped big time. "Yeah, they're pulling out their "A" material. We're fucked, son."

Kitten Klaws forgot their way around the song two minutes later and all the guys in front of the stage blushed and giggled. AAAwwwww. Ten minutes later (Yeah, 10!) they finished their set and the whole audience left to hit the bars and party. There were only ten people remaining in the club.

To fortify himself before his set Kim ordered some French Fries and dug into them. Imax walked by the table and Kim lit up.

"Dude! Hey!" Kim yelled, "hey, want a fry? It's totally like vegan, y'know? Fried in canola oil, man".
"Oh, cool."
Imax sat down by Kim and tore into the French Fries, moaning like a dying moose in orgasm as he plowed through the fries. "MMMMMMOOOOOAAAAWWWWWMMMMMTTTH". he moaned as he chowed.

Kim nervously made his move. "Bro, I was thinking...can you do a big one for me? Will you kick down a righteous write-up about us in your zine?"
"I'll give it a ponder, man", Imax responded without looking up from the fries. "Got any ketchup?"

Bag of Ice began their set with Steve looking dignified and majestic with his acoustic guitar and perfected Tim Buckley in a house dress act. Somehow the impact of his stage act was lost to everyone because there was only ten people in the club. Plus after three songs the sound man interrupted his song over the PA, "That's your last song, man. Kitten Klaws went into your overtime. Sorry, my brother!"

Steve was so dejected he slunk off the stage still in his mother's house dress. Kim put his arm around him. "It's okay dude, check it out, Shawna the bass player from Kitten Klaws stayed for half of your first song."
Steve's face lit up. "Score! She digs my sounds. I knew it!!!"
With no more French Fries to eat, Imax walked by them ripping out a burp so loud they smelled it from across the club.

Kim's band The Awful Truth played to no one except Steve and his bass player, who was waiting for his ride. It was 1:30 A.M. and bouncers were making themselves busy turning chairs up on tables and dragging rubber garbage cans around the club while Kim played.
"What about the starving kids in Deeeeeehhhh-troit, that's what I want to say?" he sang to the percussion of beer bottles smashing into rubber garbage cans thrown by the sullen bouncers.

One month later, back at the boiler room, Steve snuck a look around the office to make sure his boss wouldn't catch him.
"Read it and weep, my man!" he boasted to his work-mate, room-mate and gig-mate, "I hold in my hands the newest, chillest ish of 7 Inch Record zine. Just dropped today, dog!"
Kim whispered, "Did Imax cover our gig like he promised?"
"Did he? Check this out, son", he thumbed through page after page until he got close to the back cover, "Right here, on Page 97, Concert Reviews, Kitten Klaws were awesome and foxy. Bag Of Ice played clean-up at their gig. Good job, guys!' Dang!"
"They didn't even mention my band. And I even sacrificed my fries. Shit! You get all the luck."
"Dude, I promise I'll do you a biggie! I'll even mention you to Shawna, promizzle."
"GET BACK ON THE PHONES, YOU ASSHOLES!" Their boss barked as he thundered by their desks. It gave Steve such a start he dropped his zine and it fell in the trash can.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bicentennial Summer With The Sex Pistols

When Bicentennial Summer (July 4, 1976) was just around the corner everybody was unfurling their flags and fireworks, but I was reading about fireworks far, far away. A band in England called The Sex Pistols who looked like four Richard Hells were screaming at apathetic rock fans all over their country and raising hell. During an era when bands basically pissed on their audience with a snobby holier-than-thou attitude it was refreshing to hear kids in England saying fuck you to bands like The Eagles, Yes and Led Zeppelin. Even the pompous pussies in New York like Lou Reed, Television and The Talking Heads thought their shit didn’t stink. I was going to celebrate America’s 200th birthday by going to Europe.

After visiting obnoxious cities like Amsterdam, with their smelly hippies smoking their smellier dope, the French Riviera, where they still have Hitler’s sperm on their lips, and Venice, the world’s biggest church yard, I was ready for the angriest band in England. My first show was at a movie theatre that began at midnight and was going to go all through the night. Tickets were only one pound ($2.50) and the opening acts for The Sex Pistols were The Buzzcocks and The Clash. All I’ll say about The Buzzcocks was that Pete Shelley had the crankiest guitar sound and Howard Devoto reminded me of Frank Gorshin (The Riddler). All I’ll say about The Clash was that they looked like five G.I. Joes on stage. (Keith Levene was the third guitarist).

Intermission consisted of watching endless Kenneth Anger film loops between bands and glitter records played over the PA. Since the first punk rock record (“New Rose” by The Damned) wouldn’t be released for another few months glitter records like Roxy Music, Gary Glitter and Mud played while Siouxsie Sioux danced topless on stage. (FYI: I’ve seen farm animals with better knockers). Billy Idol at the time wore vintage suits with little Ray-Ban sunglasses poking through his short black hair, and enjoyed shoving people at the slightest provocation. (20 years later I saw him at a book release party with a beer belly and a slobby Star Trek t-shirt on. Ha!)

The movie theater was packed with fans but irony of ironies, a show that begins at midnight after two great openers and Siouxsie Sioux half-naked (“Peek-A-Boo” indeed) leaves Johnny Rotten and yobs on stage for show time by 4 a.m. It would be fair to say half the audience was already crashed out in their seats in a Punk Slumberland! They opened up with “Anarchy In The U.K.” flashpots exploding and Johnny so excited to be let loose he knocked the cap off his front tooth with his microphone. After the song was over Johnny sent Nils The Roadie (future Banshees manager) over to the front of the stage to search for his cap. This delayed their "concert" by about ten minutes but it was funny watching Rotten cuss Nils The Roadie out.

Next song was “Liar”, a blatant rip-off the NY Dolls’ “Puss N Boots”, and after many more songs and taunts from Johnny Rotten they left the stage, only to return for a barely asked for encore of “No Fun” (“You didn’t ask us back but we’re going to play anyway”). Fans were getting woken up and kicked out of the theatre by the ushers. I walked back to my hotel room as the sun rose, dawn's early light shining on British garbage cans.

A week later I saw the boys play The 100 Club and met Malcolm MacLaren who gave me a cool press-kit (pictured below) and also met his then girlfriend, Vivienne Westwood. She designed clothes for their store in Chelsea, “SEX”. Malcolm introduced me to drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones (“Jonesey’s Jukebox”), great guys, down to earth, fuck yeah.

The day after the show I went to “SEX” and bought a rubber t-shirt and a leather t-shirt, as well. The rubber t-shirt lasted about two years because I didn’t keep it in a refrigerator, so it ended up melting! The leather t-shirt I eventually gave to a Scotsman named Owen. I still have photographs of myself modeling them. It was actually a great week in London; I can understand why several of my American friends moved there. Music and fashion is more important there than television.

It was exciting watching The Sex Pistols early on because they hadn’t made a record yet and Sid Vicious was still in the audience (I eventually met him a year later and he did me and my friend a big favor; he was a lot of fun). And, of course, Malcolm hadn’t yet become the big thief he turned into, stealing from The Pistols and my band***Arthur J. And The Gold Cups, we did punk covers of old standards. When Malcolm was in town during the infamous Winterland show (Jan 1978) he saw us play, and surprise, soon after put out “The Great Rock ‘N Roll Swindle”, an album of punk versions of old standards. Thanks for the steal. No, he didn’t remember me. I didn’t expect him to. Fame makes a fellow nearsighted, don’t you know?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What We Do Is Lousy

A Review of The Germs Biopic "What We Do Is Secret"

In the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" the film ends with a highly glamorized movie about Pee Wee's exploits starring a heavily-coiffed and dashing James Brolin with his tomboy girlfriend Dottie played by TV soap ubervixen Morgan Fairchild. While it was one of the many funny moments in the film, life, as they say, imitates art.

Just like the Pee Wee movie the roles of the anatomically incorrect Germs have been cast with actors a little too anatomically correct. While Darby Crash hasn't been cast with James Brolin, he is portrayed by a bizarrely mugging Shane West who pitches Darby at a Jack Lemmon-meets-Jello Biafra intensity level, delivering the Darby manifesto with a Ryan Seacrest style of enunciation. Never mind Crash had one of the whiniest gay voices pitched at a super-nelly lisp, his gay sexuality is only hinted at here and left, of course, in the closet. Pat Smear is one of the tallest guitarists around, so it's funny to see Darby tower over Pat in the movie.

The movie begins with The Germs struggling for attention at The Orpheum Theatre, but I remember the earliest punk gigs were promoted by The Nerves at the Sunset-Gower Studios. There's no mention of drummers Cliff Hanger or Donna Rhia in the movie, but instead have been replaced by some bookish girl composite of them. Cliff Hanger was quite a flaming terror and should have gotten a smidgen of face time in the movie, but that's part of the problem with the film. Homosexuality barely even exists in the film, a real crime because The Germs as well as the original L.A. punk underground had a sizeable gay presence. The silent treatment it gets in the movie is unforgivable. The fullest extent of Darby's homosexuality shown in the film is a futile attempt to make out with Rob Henley in one scene. Wowie zowie!

Kickboy Face, Rodney Rodent Bingenheimer, Amber, and The Screamers are recreated perfectly for the flick, but others aren't so well imitated: Brendan Mullen never had long hair when he ran the Masque, Belinda Carlisle was overweight until The Go-Gos broke up (she's Heidi Klum-skinny in the movie), Lorna Doom was rather chunky, too, and never tried to make out with Darby, etc. The gigs depicted in the movie were also incorrect. If The Germs are listed as technical consultants for the film they must have done a bunch of bullshitting (big surprise! heh), because I was there and remember things differently. Such as:

* The Halloween gig at the Hollywood Roosevelt didn't have bikers for bouncers; I don't know who came up with that brilliant idea, but that didn't happen. Actually, after four songs into the set the Hotel cut the PA off and Darby threw a temper tantrum screaming, "They won't let us play anywhere!" and smashed a mirrored post with a tire chain and ran out of the club. Since it was Halloween the band all wore KISS masks and finished the set playing instrumental versions of their songs. It was actually quite brilliant. The movie didn't show this!

* The Xmas show at The Whiskey A Go-Go didn't culminate in a fist fight on stage because Don Bolles jumped on stage. It was because Pat started a fire on stage and when a bouncer tried to put it out from the floor Pat kicked him in the face. When another bouncer tried to intervene he hit him upside the head with his guitar, and then HE ran out of the club. After the show bouncers were accosting us asking us where Pat lived and what his real name was. They were out for blood. It was not the John Wayne punch-out the movie showed. That was laughable!

* The Darby Crash Band show at The Starwood generated more boredom from the audience than genuine hostility. Darby's downfall was more than just lonely nights at Oki Dog, it was the way he threw himself into the Adam & The Ants glam trend which was quickly rejoindered by new kids in town Black Flag who planted stickers all over Hollywood screaming "Black Flag Kills Ants Dead!" . The newer wave of bands and kids from Long Beach and Orange County were seriously homophobic and weren't having any of this gayboy Germs-Screamers-Black Randy nonsense. The newer punks were scary and fascist in ways that Darby only played at.

If the director of this film reads this he'll probably be very defensive and say he did the best he could, yeah maybe. As I said, The Germs are pathological liars and might have taken him for a ride, treating the whole project like a joke. Maybe a movie can't reproduce what was musical lightning in a bottle. I just can't help thinking what Gus Van Sant or Gregg Araki could have done with the same material. Now that would be the Darby Crash movie I'd like to see.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Naked Truth About Weight Loss

I don't know when it really began to sink in that I was obese: Was it the back aches? The morning I couldn't close the collar button on my shirt? It was hard to say, but the warning signs of being a fatso were there: Climbing the stairs at work made me huff and puff like a broken choo-choo train. I'd be sweating profusely through my shirt to the point of getting soaked. If I bent over (with great difficulty) to tie my shoes I groaned loudly. I grossed myself out so much I couldn't look at my reflection in the mirror anymore because I knew what I'd see. A big fat fuck with a sloping belly. All my clothes were tight and too small.

It was nobody's fault but mine. I went out with my equally huge pal, Joshua and we'd have big monster power lunches every day of the work week. By the time I got home I was too full to eat dinner. "Come on", I'd ask my wife, "wouldn't you rather just have snacks tonight than a real meal?" That didn't last very long!

Doctors were no help, all they said was my blood pressure was pretty high. Not one of them dared to say, "Hey maybe you're really fat with your jelly man boobs. Stop eating like it's your last meal". Which I did: I ate like it was my last meal on Earth every day because I used to be homeless, so the fear of living out on the streets again haunted me to the point of overeating. Maybe if I had too much food inside me I would never starve (so I thought). All the overeating was unhealthy for me, too. I'd wake up in the middle of the night feeling the acid crawl up my esophagus, almost choking me in my sleep. I couldn't eat anything without feeling sick to my stomach.

When exercise failed to change anything, I reached for the last resort: Howard Stern's people kept saying on the radio, "TRIMSPA TRIMSPA, blah blah blah!" After seeing pictures of Anna Nicole Smith go from Behemoth into a human pencil I was sold. I bought the expensive bottle ($30) at Rite Aid and took it three times a day, per the instructions. One week later:

My taste buds died. I couldn't taste food much so I cut down my portions. It didn't take much food to make me happy anymore. Cutting my portions in half still satisfied my appetite. The physical changes, however, were downright bizarre.

Lying in bed I could feel my ankles hurting. My knees started aching like crazy. My previously meaty forearms and shoulders twitched, shrinking down to a bony thinness. I thought maybe there was a tapeworm inside eating up all my flesh! The payoff was weird:

1. My clothes started getting big on me. I started looking like a little kid wearing Daddy's clothes. Only they were the same clothes that felt too tight on me three months ago.

2. My shoes felt bigger because the width of my feet shrank. I remember when my shoes always felt tight!

3. Rings that fit snug before started sliding off my fingers! That's how I lost my wedding ring.

4. Since nothing fits any more you have to start buying new clothes that do fit. I went from a size 44 waist to a size 33. And dressing all in black to hide your flabby waist is over. You will discover you look good in purple, and in blue and in green. Colorful clothes can be worn in confidence now.

I just want to say that weight loss isn't easy and definitely not a comfortable experience. The pounds don't drop quietly, while you're relaxing you can feel your body shrinking and it feels creepy. You realize there's less and less of you around, but hey! at least when you get photographed sitting around a swimming pool you won't get mistaken for a rubber raft with hair.

Forget about the glamour factor. Let's talk about health: since I've taken Trim Spa three years ago all the annoying water retention in my body is gone (my stomach used to slosh around like a beer barrel). My blood pressure is back to normal, the stomach aches and back aches are gone, and I look halfway human in a bathing suit. I'm a living Before And After poster.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stuff I Burned From TCM, Part 4

Well, the past TCM entries I posted here bemoaned the non-DVD release status of certain films, ones that starred big-ticket stars. The four movies listed today are a little more obscure, the only common thread uniting them in any way is that two of them star 2 of Ronald Reagan's wives! More on that later:

Zazie Dans La Metro (1960): Louis Malle-directed rendition of the Raymond Queneau novel, lavishly filmed in beautiful color. The frenetic pace of this comedy becomes a bit irritating after awhile, but damn, I thought Richard Lester invented this hyperactive slapstick film style. Malle has him beat by a good five years! I don't think Malle ever made a truly bad film. Why isn't this one released yet?

Kid Nightingale (1939): This one's a dilly! A washed-up boxing promoter needs a new meal ticket to help pay off his debts. He sees an opera-singing waiter punch out a drunken heavyweight champ he manages, and decides to groom the waiter for ringside fighting. The waiter will only do it if he can sing Verdi during his boxing matches, hence the name "Kid Nightingale". After he wins every match he goes straight into "Pagliacci". His love interest in this yuk-fest is Jane Wyman, the future Mrs. Ronald Reagan #1. This is the kind of movie Adam Sandler's notorious for making (hint, hint).

Talk About A Stranger (1952): Weird one about a kid whose pup mysteriously dies, and everybody in the small town blames it on the quiet German shut-in. A thinly-veiled critique on the Communist witch hunts that were so prevalent at the time, ironically starring Nancy Davis (aka Reagan), Ronnie's wife #2. Even more ironic is that her husband in the movie is played by George Murphy, the future conservative Californian Senator!

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947): Most Lawrence Tierney movies are garbage, but is there an actor more watchable than him? I think not. This one's no exception: a psychopathic killer hitches a ride with a young, dizzy newlywed. Along the way they pick up two oily chicks and break into a house to get out of the rain. There's tons of murder and attempted rape as the censors would allow back in the Forties. Lawrence Tierney reminds me of tons of creepy punk rock guys I used to drink with who would go psycho on you at the drop of a hat. Another RKO classic! Turner Classic Movies never disappoints!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Burden of Being Eric Burdon

When I was a little boy I didn't know much about sex but the minute I heard "Boom Boom" by The Animals I thought it was the sexiest song I'd ever heard. I didn't know it was a heavily tarted up version of a John Lee Hooker song, all I know was that I felt the vibe the band projected, and I felt pretty funny all over at the time. "House of The Rising Sun" was their biggest hit, a very jazzy reading of an old Leadbelly folk tune that completely transcended the sharecropper fields by Eric Burdon's East End working class Angry Young Man voice. It definitely didn't end there!

"It's My Life" and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" were further raw slices of intense Albert Finney-style anger served by Mr. Burdon set to the jazziest organ in British rock. (Rod Argent of The Zombies was more classical than jazz to my ears). When Burdon drops to a baritone when he sings "I don't need your sympathy" in "Inside Looking Out" it gives me chills. His reading of Donovan's "Hey Gyp" makes more sense than the original, altering the original's "I don't need you sugar cube" to "I don't need your Cadillac, long, shiny, cool and black", pouring out more sex again. And let's not forget recalling his first sexual experience in "When I Was Young", "She was brown and I was pretty green".

Making the transition from Mod groovers to Psychedelic explorers has always been rough terrain for some bands (The Kinks, The Zombies, etc.) but for others like The Who it was a slam dunk. The Animals really took to psychedelia with sometimes hysterically bad results. Ironically, though it's really entertaining kitsch! "A Girl Named Sandoz" is a love song to acid with some tasty vibes, but then there's the cringe-worthy "San Franciscan Nights" with it's silly spoken introduction urging one and all to move to Haight-Ashbury. No matter how bad the lyrics Burdon sings with so much conviction you almost want to believe everything he sings. But common sense tells you not to.

"Winds of Change" is one of his name-drop tunes, where he tells us about the history of music, "Frank Zappa zapped...The Mamas and Papas knew where it's at". I'm not making this shit up! At least he roll calls jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Cozy Cole, so he's not just playing pop favorites. But the roll call continues with "Monterey" with it's Big Girl Lost in The Bigger City music stolen from The Mothers of Invention's "Call Any Vegetable" (Zappa produced an Animals album, so maybe he okayed it). The roll calls got sillier: "Hugh Masakela's music was black as night...His Majesty, Prince (Brian) Jones smiled as he moved through the crowd...Even the cops grooved with us".

If there's one thing that's unimpeachable about Burdon, it's the soulful sincerity of his music whether he's crooning a cool bluesy number like "Club A Go-Go" or goes tropical in "White Houses" ("you better get straight") or goes Disney African on us with "Spill The Wine". Whether he's at the top of his game or playing the migraine hipster Eric Burdon is never boring.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

High-Definition Bible

“Harvey, you should try believing in something bigger than yourself. It might cheer you up” - Toby, American Splendor

A couple of weeks ago in synagogue the Cantor read the festival scriptures from The Book of Genesis. It was the chapter in which God commanded Abraham take his son Isaac up to the mountains and slay him as a sacrifice. Of course an angel appeared to tell Abraham to stop because it was simply God’s test to see how devoted he was to God’s commands. As I listened to the tale being read, two things entered my mind:

1. I thought about Michael Tolkin’s film “The Rapture”, where Mimi Rogers changes from her sex-addict lifestyle to become a born-again Christian, the story culminating in her taking her daughter to Joshua Tree and killing her as a sacrifice to God.
2. Abraham, who was an incredibly remarkable man did things that were beyond eccentric to prove his devotion to God. For example:

In addition to being asked to sacrifice his son for God, he was also commanded to circumcise himself, which began the Jewish custom of circumcision. Imagine the faith he had to do that to himself! He followed suit without questioning God. He did, however, question God’s judgment when he was told Sodom and Gomorrah was going to be destroyed. A non-violent man, Abraham bargained with God as to how many people can possibly be spared from what became extremely violent devastation.

When you take into account that this is a man who existed at a time when the concept of God didn’t even exist, Abraham either appears as a genius or a full-blown eccentric comparable to a street person. God had him pegged as a true believer from day one: When he was a child he went into his father’s showroom (he was an idol salesman!) and smashed up the idols. His father came in a little while later, and shocked, asked Abraham, “What happened? All my idols are ruined!”
“Well, it’s like this”, Abraham fibbed, “The Goat God said he was the mightiest god alive and then the Lion God said, No I’m the mightiest god kneel before me and then they started fighting and the Sun King killed them and they all killed each other”.
“Don’t be a fool, Abraham”, his father said, “These idols are just stupid statues. They can’t talk”.
“So why do people worship them?”
“Who cares? Business is business!” his father mused.

It’s hard to imagine which is easier to conceive: society's fickle faith in idols; as soon as Moses took off to Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments the newly freed Jews built a Golden Calf and worshipped it, or the prophets, whose vision was so isolated in faith it would be viewed in our day and age as insanity. A prophet’s actions in these days of technological control and hipster skepticism would be attacked in worse ways than in Biblical times. Daniel thrown into a lion’s den and Samson being blinded would be a picnic compared to the punishments available now. The suspension of sanity for faith is the benchmark of the Bible.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthdie 2 Me

Halloween’s here and I’m another year old today. Every birthday becomes more interesting lately because I’ve passed the half-century mark. I still look pretty young for my age: yesterday some old lady called me a “sweet puppy”. I don’t know how many 52-year old men have been called a puppy this week, but I’m willing to bet they can be counted on only one finger!

Living old and looking young can be a bit frustrating, though, because people assume you’re an inexperienced young whelp based on your looks. I’ve always referred to myself as “a man of experience with the face of inexperience”. It’s weird! You may still look young but things change inside. Like what?

1. You’re going blind. No matter how large the type everything looks like little ants running across a spilled packet of black pepper. Everything looks like dots and squiggles and it’s maddening.

2. You’re going deaf. Either you’re going to have to repeat what you just said to get me to react or I’ll just nod my head and pretend I heard you. I’m a dick, sorry.

3. Something’s growing inside of me and it will take my life away from me eventually when it gets bigger. Until then I’ll smoke another cigarette. Like I said, I’m kind of a dick.

4. Remember all the fun food you enjoyed when you were 25? Well, it’s over. Your constitution can’t handle it any more. Club sandwiches are just a distant memory, peanuts are history and potatocorntortilla chips, Cheetos, and the rest of that crap are out of the picture. Vegetables for lunch, maybe turkey or tuna. Eat light…for the rest of your life, or else.

5. Just because you look like a sweet puppy doesn’t mean you can lift things any more. The only thing you’ll lift from now on is a book or a guitar. Otherwise forget it. The simplest lifting of objects will make your body fold up like a cardboard accordion.

6. You’ll get so absent minded you’ll forget where you put everything, like your wedding ring you lost last December. Your mind will be a fleeting thing.

Now that I’ve depressed you to death, how do you stay young or at least halfway humanly alert and alive? It’s actually pretty easy:

1. Never obsess over an era. It’s scary the way my peers still talk about the old punk rock days of 1977, the way my college rock pals talk about 1988, the way my grunge pals talk about 1991, etc. Yes, Mr. Dullsville those were the good old days, no they don’t make them like that any more (thank God). Live for the next moment because it will be better. I promise.

2. You never stop learning things, keep learning. Get the latest gadgets, read all you can about new computer systems, stay ahead of everything. When you stop learning you stop growing.

3. The war is over. There’s nothing sadder than an old bastard trying to play the James Dean-Henry Rolliins rebel. Even Richard Pryor backed down after awhile. Old tough guys are pathetic, so just breathe deeply and watch the world undo itself in front of you. It’s somebody else’s battle now.

4. Never forget that 99% of everyone around you is younger than you, even the fuckers that look older than you. Be patient with them, they’re very loud and annoying, yes, but just remember you were a lot like them when you were a sawed-off punk.

I’ve kept my age a partially-hidden fact because people assume all sorts of shit about age. I’m also pretty vain sometimes, just like my dad. I think I held up pretty well for a guy my age, but the best thing about turning fifty-two is being able to say “I did it all, and now I don’t have to try so hard”. Growing old is easy, but doing it well takes work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rebecca: Kween o' Kool Kards

'Tis the season for Rebecca to pull out her artistic armada of weapons: acrylics, pencils, inks, etc. and make me her wild cards. In the next six months I'll be getting my Birthday cards (October 31st), Hanukkah/Xmas cards (December 25th), and our Anniversary cards (February 12th). That's quite a triage, so there's tons of great art to look forward to! Go baby go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Two struggling rockers lived together in Hollywood until they heard about this new hipster hot spot called Silver Lake, which they promptly moved to lickety split. They rented a house up the hill from Spaceland, and shit doggy, they had it made, well almost. They were in their late thirties going on forty and knew they were going to catch on like wildfire in the local music scene. They knew nothing of the new bands that were popular, but as long as they pulled out their old Neil Young and Velvet Underground albums they were safe.

There was Kim, who refused to eat meat for "political" reasons. He came from Chicago, where not eating meat was pretty rebellious. He dyed a blue streak down his chestnut brown hair, strong stuff that. He also chain smoked, drank his weight in beer and avoided using deodorant. He wrote songs that were political if you read "between the lines". Kim believed in going green, which was why he never washed his Buick Riviera. It stank of umpteen spilled coffees.
Steve was his roommate. After losing his girlfriend to a paralegal he started wearing dresses on stage after seeing Falling James wearing one on the cover of Flipside Magazine. His band was called Bag Of Ice and had songs about drugs, only he never took drugs in his life. He was scared of them! What a pair.

Steve and Kim worked at the same office every day. In between business calls, Kim turned to Steve and said, "You know, dude, people in the hood don't know about our cool sounds. Let's throw a party and invite all of the coolest scenesters we know".
Steve stammered because he was out of drag and it made him nervous. "Whoa, Th-th-th-at's an awesome idea. We can look up all the coolest people in Flipside Magazine!"
"Yeah! Bitchen! Let's get a copy of the latest Flipside!" Kim slammed down his coffee mug.
"I heard if you invite the staff of the zine they'll party with you and give you a big write-up."
Their boss walked by and barked, "C'mon, break time's over. You're on the clock, guys".
They picked up their phones and made separate calls. Kim dialed and spoke, "Hello, this is Mister Richards. Am I speaking to a Mister Dwayne Franklin? Mr. Franklin, you have an outstanding credit card debt of $5,500. You have a choice of making a lump sum payment at a lower rate or you can pay the full amount in installments. What would be more convenient for you? Hello? Mister Franklin?"
Steve spoke into his phone. "Hello? Is this the Martinez residence? Hello, honey, is your daddy home? Do you know what time he comes home? No, that's okay, I'll call back at 7:30 PM".
With their cold calls finished, Kim grunted, "It's gonna be a tough one. I'm gonna need a refill!" He hoisted up his stained cup of coffee.

About a week later after many cold calls to the Flipside Magazine staff and to every scenester photographed in the latest issue, Steve and Kim got the party started.
Kim, with cigarette in mouth, proudly announced, "Safeway had a sale on Gallo Port and Vernor's Ginger Ale. We're gonna have some bangin' punch!"
Steve beamed. "Sweet!"
Steve had some party recipes of his own: he took some Jiffy Pop popcorn kernels and threw them in a stained paper bag and stapled it shut and then threw it into the microwave oven, setting it past the 3-minute mark.
Steve picked up the ringing phone. "What?" Steve's eyes bugged out in excitement. "A Gun Club tribute band wants to play an acoustic set in our backyard? Yeah, dog, invite 'em over".
After 90 seconds of buttery goodness wafting in the air smoke began emanating out of the microwave. Kim noticed the smoke pouring out, and freaked. "Steve! STEVE! STEVE!!! Get off the phone, man!"
Kim ran over with a Rite-Aid fire extinguisher and doused the little oven with it.

Ten minutes later, after airing out smoke with all the windows and doors left open, Kim asked, "Dude, what kind of records do we have?"
"Well, I have a Japanese pop band record and a CD by that all-girl band from Nebraska who hate men. That oughta cover things".
"Awesome. What happened to my Pansy Division record?"
"Your brother stole it after he came out."
"Oh yeah. I'll have to give him a call. I'll pretend to be Mister Richards, heh heh".
"That's the way, dude".

Later that night the party was going and the Port and Vernor's was a-flowing. After numerous urns were thrown up in by various Flipside staffers and scenesters riffled through their medicine cabinet, the big Gun Club tribute band went into their acoustic set. During the middle of their passionate rendition of "For The Love of Ivy" the police showed up and broke up the party. Everyone was resigned to the party being over and 90% of them left. Kim was fit to be tied.
"This is a fascist police state, damn it!" he yelled in his best stern bill collector baritone, cigarette dangling from his lips and a loyal bottle of Fat Tire in his right hand. A cop was ready to rush him but the party left-overs held Kim back and shushed him down.

Kim, still fortified by his drunken rebel reverie decided to provoke a healthy political debate with someone, anyone. He planted himself in front of a Japanese girl and a mole-like Flipsider. They were busy discussing the club scene in Silver Lake.
"I think people who eat meat are no different than the Nazis who ran the concentration camps!" he blurted out at them, defiantly staring them down.
"What?" the girl asked.
"Am I right or am I right? You're from Japan, aren't you? Did you know that Kobe beef is from Japan? Kobe has done more to ruin the meat packing industry in America than any other country!" He puffed his smoke at her like a mad bull.
"Um, yeah, okay", she groaned and got up to walk away.
"Great party, huh?" Kim asked the Flipside mole.
"Yeah", the geek writer mooned, "we gotta go out sometime and get bent, bro".
They high fived each other and a bromance was a brewin'.
"My dress is killing me", Steve twitched nervously, obviously too big for a Miss Sixty original.

The next morning, both hung over, aspirins and coffees by their telephones, they looked at each other, and moaned.
"Fuck, was that a p-p-p-party or what?"
"Killer, Steve. Flipside's promised to come to our next gig if we put them on the guest list."
"Sweet, dude. They're gonna write a review of my s-s-single once I get it pressed."
"That party - shit, that was the best investment we ever made, you know?"
"Yeah. I think somebody from a Polish fanzine was there last night."
"Bullshit!" Kim looked incredulous.
Their boss walked by and barked, "C'mon, break time's over. You're on the clock, guys".
They picked up their phones and made separate calls. Kim dialed and spoke, "Good morning, this is Mister Richards. Am I speaking to a Mister Dwayne Franklin?"
Steve spoke into his phone. "Hello? Is this the Martinez residence? Hello, honey, is your daddy home?"
Surely, success was waiting in the wings.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Papa's Got A Brand New Sled

I never was in love with the look of the Toyota Prius, but when I heard about the great things it does I was pretty intrigued. Since my current car was on its last legs and my work offered a discount on hybrid cars it was time to take this bug-shaped apparition seriously.

The nearest car dealership that would honor my work discount (20%) was in El Monte. As I drove up to the car lot I saw seven Toyota Prius cars of varying colors parked below a blow-up Michelin Tire Boy six stories high. I picked the one with a GPS system, bluetooth, six-disc changer, mp3 player, and a leather interior.

Learning how to drive the Toyota Prius is like learning how to drive all over again: the system is so different than anything you've ever experienced before. The transmission is on the dashboard, just like a 1962 Imperial! I liked the fact that my key was a Smartkey. It doesn't warrant plugging into the ignition because the engine picks up the signal from the key hanging from your belt!

The first thing you do after you turn on the power (push button) is put your left foot to release the Emergency Brake and your right foot on the normal brake, just like an old Model T Ford. After you release the Emergency Brake you're ready to drive. Your odometer is an LED screen set all the way in the back of the dashboard.

As I pulled out of the lot I decided to phone Rebecca from the bluetooth, so I pushed the phone button from the steering wheel and called her, talking into the stereo speaker and her responding to me. A soon as the phone call was over the music resumed, but I didn't want to listen to jazz anymore, so I switched to disc 4 (Punk, baby!) by pushing the Next Disc button on my steering wheel, which also has Air Conditioning controls, too. There's no more leaning over to push buttons. Everything's done on the steering wheel now!

Since the 2007 Toyota Prius is a hatchback I can fold the back seats into extra cargo space so if I go on a big trip to Palm Springs I can load it up with tons of luggage, my portable DVD player, my laptop, guitars, amplifiers, videocams, beer chest and stuff.

I was going to post a pic of my real Prius but since my enemies have attacked my last car so much I'm keeping this baby under wraps for awhile. You're just going to have to take my word for it: the Toyota Prius is the future, and all other cars are as outdated as Herman's Hermits.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stuff I Burned From TCM, Part 3

There are still a lot of great, super-worthy movies that have yet to see the light of day on DVD, and here are a few that I've been thrilled to rip and burn off the teevee set. Let's hope and pray these bad boys get released soon:

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (1967): Great psychedelic teen sex comedy from the UK starring the shrillest SOB in movies, Barry Evans. He dates a wide variety of "keen" birds, ranging from a horny church girl to a spoiled rich kid with a decadent upper crust family. Although his surroundings are drab the film gets kinetic the minute he hooks up with a new girl. The movie's notoriety exists from an excellent soundtrack featuring Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and John's Children.

Manpower (1941): Directed by Raoul Walsh, this wild one's about two utility worker buddies played by Edward G. Robinson and George Raft, who bust up their indestructible friendship when they run across their co-workers' shady daughter, Marlene Dietrich. The movie's cool, but it's weird: all the power workers live in the same house together, just like the Monkees! Every time they need to fix power lines it's pissing rain outside.

The Man With My Face (1951): A guy returns from a business trip only to find his look-alike in his house, and his business partner and wife treat HIM like a stranger. The look-alike kicks him out and he turns to the ex-girlfriend he left behind to help him figure out how he got cut out of his own life! Weird stuff. The whole thing takes place in beautiful Puerto Rico, too, and features a hired killer who doesn't use a gun or knife but a killer Doberman Pinscher! Where do I find these nutty movies?

The Power (1968): All-star science fiction murder mystery produced by the great George Pal. George Hamilton works at a top-secret research laboratory where telekinetic killings occur to all of the members of his highly educated research team (which includes Michael Rennie, Suzanne Pleshette, Earl Holliman, Arthur O'Connell, etc.). There are some really amazing visuals that definitely titillate the psychedelic (there's that word again!) brain pan, especially in the last ten minutes, which have to be seen to be believed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Screaming Bean

1954, Greenwich Village:
Millie and Ellie, The Skooby Dooby Sisters were hanging out at their wickedest coffee emporium, The Pony Espresso, playing chess very intently.
Millie lifted her head and peered through her ratted out brunette locks and mumbled, “Like can you imagine tape recording The Steve Allen Show off the boob tube and you could like play it over and over again?”
“Man, you’re getting too abstract for me. That’s almost as crazy as cats typing out messages to each other on a telephone they carry around in their back pocket!” Ellie coolly sniffed.
“A telephone – in your back pocket? Chick, you’re on a wilder rocket ship than me. But dig this, imagine typing your poetry on a typewriter and seeing it on a way-out TV set and cats from all over the world can read your crazy scrambles?”
“Yeah, dig, and they can print it on a tiny printing press next to the typewriter.”
“Man, are you crazy chicks drinking your tea or smoking it?”
“Scruffy!” they said in unison.

A quick word about Scruffy: His real name was Sterling Holloway Scarborough IV, and received an even larger trust fund than both transistor sisters combined, a secret he kept hidden better than they because boys keep secrets better than girls. Scruffy always managed to maintain his cool with only one exception, and that was when people assumed he was from the New Haven Scarboroughs who worked the galley on the Mayflower, which he wasn't. He was of the Newport Scarboroughs, who actually helmed the Mayflower. Such class distinctions were not to be bandied about. It was rumored he was the more affluent nephew of writer William S. Burroughs.

“Chicks, you better like cool on the smoke signals”, he growled with his piercing blue eyes blasting through his ruggedly good counter-culture looks. The sisters both stared at him with hipster love. “Hey! Dig the square tourists!” Scruffy grinned. “The golden-agers coming in at 2 on the clock!”
A very harried, well-dressed elderly couple raced up to the Skooby Doobies, and stared at them incredulously.
The elderly woman clutched her handbag and gasped in horror. “Oh! There you are, we searched high and low for you girls! Glenn, will you look at them?”
“Yes dear, I’m looking at them”, a dapper old man in a topcoat complied.
“You girls look like a pack of gypsies.”
“Yeah, well”, Millie’s left leg and right eye twitched nervously. “That’s like, your opinion, man”.
“Man? Man?? Did a sick raccoon apply your make-up? Didn’t you learn anything in finishing school?”
"You wanna, like, transpose that in a major key?"
“Look at your father. You’re breaking his heart! Do you enjoy breaking your father’s heart?”
“Well, actually dear, they're not as bad as those hooligan doctors trying to ruin my business by that dreadful report they released yesterday. Imagine, cigarettes killing people! Did you ever hear such trash!”
“That’s alright dear, we’ll be summering in the Hamptons with the Kefauvers. We’ll get old Estes to break up that gang.”
“Blast that Estes, I’ll call old Tailgunner Joe McCarthy on them, my old Air Force chum. He’ll sort those scoundrel butchers and run them back to medical school. Cancer, of all the confounding crazy ideas.”

Mother Huntington said, “You can’t believe the filthy hovels we trudged through to find you girls. First we went to the Two Much!”
“Went there yesterday”.
“And then we went to The Screaming Bean.”
Screaming Bean? Made the scene at The Bean last night, Mama Rebop”.
“After that ordeal, we went to that flea pit The Psychiatrist’s Kouch, and promptly walked out.”
The Psychiatrists’ Kouch? Man, that pad’s for squares.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear that, children. So then we went to The Eye Ball 8 Ball”.
“Did we go to the Ball this morning?” Ellie asked Millie.
Millie’s eye twitched nervously. “Aw, lemme concert trate…was it on Bleecker and Houston?”
“No, doll, that’s The Neurotics Club”.
“McDougal and Central?”
“Nix, baby, that’s The Stone Cold Dragg. That’s for square Jane tourists.”
“We ever make the scene at Magick Carpet Ryde?”
“Yeah, but they like, 86’ed us from there, remember?”
“No. We must have boppin’ around The Eye Ball 8 Ball, then.”
“You girls are crazy, and we’re going home. Right now!” Mother Huntington ordered.
“What are you doing, Eleanor? Why are you stroking your hand?”
Ellie’s eyes glazed. “Dig, I’m not stroking, I’m petting Katmandu. You’re giving her middle class persecution complexes.”
“What is she talking about, Glenn?”
“Dear, this opium den smells just like that Hindu costume party the Van Gelders threw at their estate at the Breakers after their hostile takeover of the First National–“
“Dig, Mommy-O, Katmandu is like our invisible cat, you copy, jane?”
“Why of all the nerve, talking to your mother in such a fashion. Young lady, just remember one thing: I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!”
Millie and Ellie’s eyes widened and looking at each other, cooed, “Craaazzzzy”.

Scruffy elbowed the the girls’ parents gently further and further out of the club and into the rainy street. Millie turned to Ellie and looked upset. “Hey!”
“It’s my turn to pet the cat. Hand her over, chicky baby!”
Ellie lifted her arms and dropped the invisible pet to her sister. Millie smiled. “Katmandu, you dig us. You’re no square poppa”.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Celebrity Pinball Tournament

It was a damp, gloomy September weekend when Hollywood Park, the racetrack of legend, hosted the Celebrity Pinball Tournament, playoffs between pinball champions of all ages and both genders. I’ve always been more of a pinball wizard than a video game gremlin so I was pretty damn pumped about going.

The cover charge was $25 and in return you could play non-stop for hours on any of the fifty pinball machines. The cover charge went to a good cause, a charity for autistic children, which reminded me of the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” song from “Tommy”. Since there were no horse races scheduled we pinball geeks had the place to ourselves. It was awesome!

My favorite machines were Monster Bash, which had animated toy monsters crawling all over the inside of the board. The flippers were purple and I wish I had this board in my living room glowing against our black light. I also enjoyed Earthquake, a pretty cool board that literally shook with the sensation of an earthquake every time you hit the Bonus Score! Another great board was Circus Voltaire where you had to hit the Ringmaster’s annoying green face. He looked like The Joker from Batman and the artwork to the board was great. The lights and inner design were fantastic to look at. If I owned these machines I would probably get real stoned and just stare at them for hours!

Boards I didn’t like were the movie based ones, like the James Bond 007 Goldeneye machine, slow and dull, the Pirates of the Carribean and the Shrek machines. They were nothing real special – I don’t think the hardcore pinball fans were too much in love with them, either. They didn’t get much play that I noticed.

The granddaddy machines from the Fifties and Sixties were well represented, including one called “Chinatown” that had a disclaimer stating “Not Intended for Children”. Haw! Most of the old boards were creaky, slow and even magnetized, i.e. the ball would automatically fall down the center so neither flipper could smack it. There was a cool looking board based on The Beatles cartoon show, but as kinky as it looked it was a lousy game. After two rounds I walked away looking for better thrills. So did everybody else!

I missed the actual tournament but the trophies looked amazing, a huge silver pinball on a beautiful chrome base. I wouldn’t mind winning one of those fuckers.

When I asked who the celebrities for the event were, I was told it consisted of a writer from “The Family Guy” and a female CGI artist who’s “tops in the CGI field”. Holy shit! Celebrities! I told Rebecca, “Well, you were in Frightwig and on the Gene Simmons reality show and I’ve been in the movies and an ex-underground rock star. As far as I’m concerned we’re the celebrities!” And they treated us as such, too. A photographer was snapping away at us flipping pinballs, rocking boards and tilting like maniacs.

They finally closed down the All-You-Can-Play pinball smorgasbord and gently kicked us out, and not a minute too soon. After four hours of non-stop pinball intensity my right hand screamed in numbing pain that can only be described as classic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at its worst. Ouch!

As we walked across the parking lot airplanes were banking down over our heads (LAX being 3 blocks away) and Rebecca took pictures on her cell phone. Rather than get on the gray ugly freeway home we decided to drive through funky Inglewood taking La Brea Boulevard all the way home. Yeah, we took the scenic route listening to Minor Threat, driving through the black ‘hood to the sounds of “Guilty Of Being White”. Game over.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The End Of A Non-Existent Era

It’s with sadness and no regrets that I’m here to announce the closing of my website, a website that I used for posting music and art event updates. I even tried to redesign the site but it never really shaped up into something I could get excited about!
I’m closing my site because I haven’t performed in years and have no plans to do so, and I also don’t produce a great deal of art in spite of the fact that the e-Gallery was the most popular page on my site. The least popular page was the Trash Can School gallery; no surprise in that my Trash Can School videos are the least viewed ones in my You Tube account. More time and energy has been spent on keeping up a weekly blog, book reviews for GoodReads and posting my artwork and photos on Flick*r.
Before I go, I just want to add that I'm keeping the domain address "andy", so the rock singer from Germany named Andy Seven can go eat shit and the British artist named Andy Seven can go eat shit, too. Do a Google search before you boost somebody's name, assholes.
Well, anyway, say a little prayer for the fabulous website that once was, and if you’re a true hardcore fan of my ravings there are several links to the right that’ll send you to more trash in a flash. Here, for the last time, are some images from the great website that once was.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hooray 4 Rebecca!

One of the things that I always look forward to whether it's Birthday time, Christmas time, or Anniversary time is getting cards drawn by Rebecca. As you can see pictured here her imagination runs rampant and she'll draw all sorts of wild stuff. Rebecca never fails to entertain me because getting her cards is just as exciting as getting the presents themselves!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I Hate About You

There will come a time when we will rise above our hatred and soar like eagles - sometimes it's just too hard because there's too many destructive fucks out there who live for ripping other people apart. That's when even the proud eagle must bare his claws and tear his enemies apart with his razor-sharp beak, and this is this week's topic:

Reality Shows: Stupid, overly cute trash featuring un-famous nobodies do what un-famous people do: be annoying. If I have to watch one more episode where someone considers a boob job (they're boobs already!) I'll explode. And yes, I have to watch this shit. My wife's addicted to this crap. She even appeared in one of them! (Gene Simmons Incest Parade, or something like that).

Pet Power: Why don't you just come right and admit you hate the human race with a passion that would make Adolf Hitler blush? I'm referring, of course to people that place their kids, pets or even plants over their fellow adult's rights.
Example, the assholes with those 10-foot long leashes so the dogs can tear up the sidewalk and trip you up while you're trying to get out of their way. How about moving your fucking mutt out of my way? It's called common courtesy, learn the motherfucking rules.
And trim your fucking trees and plants from my driveway. If you don't, I'll prune the fucking weeds to my satisfaction!
And Church Moms, if my wife scares your kids, here's a great idea: take them into the house after it gets dark. What kind of parent lets their kids run around after 10 PM anyway? Idiots.

Cell Phone Addicts: Don't you know somebody's having an extremely important phone conversation while you're reaching over for a can of veggies at the market? They can't have a convo in their car anymore, now they have full on discussions in public places, standing in your way and soaking up public space with their private issues. By the way, people are always crying about their privacy - if privacy is so important to these douchebirds why are they having personal phone calls AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS at the laundromat, Trader Joe's or even The Little Boy's Room (aka toilet)? As soon as Mr. Important starts yappin' on the line in the crapper I make a point to flush the potty 100 times over and over again. You're bumming my BM out, brother!

Listen, I'm not one of these trendy misanthropes who says "I hate people" - I hate people only if they deserve it (heh!), so don't piss me off and in return I'll kill anybody who gets in your way. Yeah, that's the way I roll - the psychotic loyal friend. Join me in the winner's circle!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Green Blood

The spirit was willing but the body wasn't able, it was simple as that. It was just a matter of time and the time was now. The day finally came when he couldn't eat anything without getting violently ill, no matter what it was. He felt like his body was shutting down on him because sleep and urination were just distant memories of things past. His body was backed up with some kind of poison, he just knew it, because when he put small cloves of garlic in his dinner he spent the rest of the night throwing up non-stop. His bloodstream was a corrupt file.

His girlfriend came over the next day with a book on herbal healing. She narrowed down his sickness to three or four possible syndromes. They went to the herbalists, a Russian woman in the Jewish district named Svetlana. The store freaked him out: among the herbs and obscure medicines were bottles filled with dried out sea horses. What the hell was a sea horse supposed to cure?

Herbs were purchased, which his girlfriend boiled into various teas: There was Echinacea, there was Barberry, and there was Hawthorn. The teas were strong, and in fact the barberry made him throw up again. The barberry threw out all the poison in his blood stream. His weight started dropping, and he could find himself breathing so much better.

The funny thing about it was the more plant-like the medication, the better he felt. After a week of being shut inside his cold, dark apartment he went for a walk outside in the beautiful summer's day. The sun was beating down on him and he began to sweat. His perspiration made him smell like freshly-cut grass. When he took a breath he felt an icy spearmint rush through his lungs. It was exhilarating. Then came the sensations.

The sun looked yellower than he remembered, the lawns greener than he'd ever seen them. Every drop of moisture on the grass magnified ion his vision. He could see the lawns breathing and moving slowly in his eyes. Trees bent slightly and rocked slowly as he walked by. The oleanders were deeper than he remembered them, poinsettias redder and sunflowers yellower. Every flower and tree breathed slowly as he walked by and his body odor was positively botanical.

As he returned to his home he resigned himself to the reality that he was no longer flesh and blood, but something different. He still had hair and eyes and lips, but the machinery was different. He was a walking plant boy with green blood.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It Happened At The Movies

Sometimes the show at the theater is more interesting than the movies themselves, and that’s the thing that makes going to the movies so memorable.

I could mention the time people walked out on Boogie Nights in droves, including an old woman who screamed at the screen. Someone should have told her it wasn’t a comedy. Oh, well.

I remember seeing Juliet of the Spirits in the West Hollywood district with a hooker named Sondra who was tripping on acid and had to be very gingerly led out the theatre, poor thing. The movie scared her ass. Wonder what she’s doing now?

Art can be pain, though. I remember getting food poisoning at an El Torito buffet in the morning and then going out at night to the Chinese Theatre to see the Mickey Rourke bomb Curse of the Dragon. I don’t know what was more painful, the shit buffet or the shittier flick?

But you can’t beat a weird double-bill at the movies, either. One night I went to see Krush Groove because I like The Fat Boys and Run-D.M.C. It came out when rap was still scary and unappropriated by Whitey (early Eighties), so naturally the second feature was St. Elmo’s Fire, a movie about a bunch of whiny over-privileged white kids in New England.

The creepiest movie going experience is when you pass out during the picture, wake up, pass out again, wake up, and fuck you if you can remember whether you were dreaming or seeing a film. This happened to me when I saw Vertigo, a creepy film as it stands by Alfred Hitchcock. To this day I’m not sure if I saw the whole movie or dreamed it! Another time I saw (and slept through) Kiss Me Deadly with that creepy atomic bomb in the Pandora’s Box finish, the film shot mostly in the Wilshire District. I woke up just in time to see the creepy ending. When we filed out at midnight I had to wait for the bus in front of, get this, MacArthur Park.

Crowded theatres always make me nervous, though. When I was a kid I remember going to see Help! (the second Beatles movie). My older brother stood in line to get the tickets, we got the custom printed tickets with photos of the Fab Four on them, we got souvenir buttons for each ticket sold, and waited patiently for over an hour in the longest line we ever stood in. It took us awhile to find a seat because the place was packed with teenage girls.
As soon as the movie started EVERY FUCKING GIRL ON THE PLANET SCREAMED HER FUCKING HEAD OFF!!!!!!!!!! RINGO!!!!! If you’ve ever seen the movie there’s a scene where Paul McCartney’s stark naked. Holy shit! My right ear’s still feeling it, 100 years later. PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!! To make a long story short it took us three years to understand what anyone said in the movie because the screaming cut through the audio.

This might come as a shock to you but even porn theaters have their weird experiences, too. I won’t mention the guy I walked in on in the Men’s Room who had his joint aimed into the hand dryer, or the theater manager who was pushing the snack bar big time (um, yeah, I need food in my mouth while I’m watching anal sex), etc.
The worst was when I watched a porn star getting salami-slammed and two guys way in the back were hooting boisterously loud and guffawing. It started out sporadically and then wouldn’t shut up, to the point of drowning out the important moans of ecstasy on the screen. I figured maybe if I take a leak these guys will shut up by the time I get back. As I walked up the aisle I realized the two loudmouths making all the noise were two policemen standing by the theater doors. As soon as they saw me approaching they automatically shut up. One even went for his holster and then caught himself after his partner said, “Cool it”. Yeah, movies are still your best entertainment.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Hip Chicks

Bend me an ear and I'll tell you all about the two coolest chicky babies to ever grace the Village. They had the rattiest hair and the craziest clothes and made the scene wherever they went. These way out sisters were far out > Someone said their real names were Millie and Ellie and they came from a very prosperous family from Cape Cod. They lived off a trust fund and went vacationing in the Hamptons every summer, but not without bundling up and covering their tender skin from the big-bad wicked sun. They envied the way twins would always swing by the same handle, so they went by the same name wherever they went: Skooby Dooby. Either one would answer to the name, so one of them was bound to answer you.

They would get a fucking generous stipend from their parents at the end of every month, which they kept more private from everyone than Allen Ginsburg's sex life. The dough would get spent on tights, pot, bongos and bullfight posters. Some of the coffee cans in their pad held espresso beans and some held endless rolls of hundred dollar bills.

Whenever they'd get bored playing chess and sipping coal-black java, they'd quiz each other about great Presidents.
"So, like, who's a bigger swinger?" the blonde Skooby Dooby asked her sister. "William Henry Harrison or Chester A. Arthur?"
"Ohhh, man", mulled the brunette Skooby Dooby, "William Henry Harrison is the most, like you dig?"
"Crazy!" the blonde Skooby Dooby said.
Some Audrey Hepburn wannabe snob in a little black dress, pearls and little white cotton gloves walked right by them.
"Hey, hey, Godiva, you're stepping on my cat, dig?" the blonde Skooby Dooby pointed at the uptown sister.
"What cat?" the snooty dame whined. "I don't see a cat".
"Hey, like, you're stepping on our invisible cat, Katmandu. Katmandu don't like dig your vibraphonic vibrations. Get on your way, like way out".
"Invisible cat? Chester A. Arthur? You girls are insane".
"Yeah, well", the brunette Skooby Dooby was twitching nervously, her left leg shaking uncontrollably from ingesting too many shots of capuccino, "That's like your, um, like opinion, you know?" Her right eye started twitching in rhythm with her leg. "You like dig, Square Jane?"
The owner, a ringer for Maynard G. Krebs, came up to them in his smelly sweatshirt, given to him by Gregory Corso, and asked, "Ex-squeeze me, is this girl bothering you ladies?"
"Yowzah, Scruffy", Skooby Dooby said, "this, like debutante from Squaresville University is trying to break up our, like, transmission".
"Yeah, um and she stepped on Katmandu!"
Scruffy ushered the rich girl out of the cafe, but she stopped and stared at the blonde Skooby Dooby intnently. "Ellie, is that you? Omigod! Ellie Huntington of the Cape Cod Huntingtons, I don't believe it! The sorority misses you! What are you doing here?"
The brunette's left leg and right eye was twitching faster and harder, "No man, we don't know any El-Seven Humdingertons, Scruffy! Scruffy! Show her the way, way out!"
“No! Seriously! Elzie, don’t you recognize me, Bibzie Hollingsworth! What are you doing in that crazy get up? What did you do to your hair???” she gawked as Scruffy gently gave her like the old heave-ho.

As soon as she was thrown out of the coffee house, Millie looked at Ellie. “Wow, bad scene”.
“Like, purple nightmare”.
“Yeah…….so…..who’s the craziest cat, William McKinley or Millard Fillmore?”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Run, Little Mouse

If you’ve got a halfway decent attention span and can wait two weeks-plus to obtain your stuff, then the internet is your ideal shopping center. Everything’s cheaper and in better quality than the goods you’ll find in stores, because they haven’t been manhandled to death by annoying browsers. So without further ado, here’s a list of some of my favorite places to shop: : A great place to buy biker boots (see pictured), leather trousers, chaps, vests, gloves, and even hats. The prices are dirt cheap as leather goods go, and the folks at Leatherup send a 15% off coupon for your next order. : Tourists review hotels and cut through the hype so you get the real skinny on where the best hotels are. I like it when they post photographs of their favorite rooms and hotel features, like the swimming pools. : A mySpace-styled website where bookworms review their favorite books, and no book is too lowbrow for review. Pam Anderson bios are reviewed with the same fervor as a Shakespeare collection, cookbooks are cool, graphic novels, little kids books, teen vampire operas, etc. Started by Otis Chandler of the LA Times Chandlers, this website’s a winner all the way. : The best of the Hot Topic-styled websites where cool shoes and rocker clothes can be bought. The prices are not only the lowest I’ve seen, but goods are delivered in three working days at no extra charge (if you live in SoCal). I’ve bought many of my rocker shoes there. : If you’re looking for a recipe to cook anything, you’ll find it here. This site’s pretty great, I’ve learned how to cook a lot of great dishes thanks to Members of the site contribute their own recipes, and the forums are pretty cool. The only recipe that didn’t work out was some bizarre compote I probably messed up, anyway. Corn starch??? : Big Cartoon Database, sort of the iMDB of cartoons. Every cartoon show ever made is listed, although some of the information is kinda sketchy, it still remains a good resource for finding out that cartoon show you have trouble remembering after all these years. : Not to be confused with, or, these companies all sell hard-to-find vitamins and assorted supplements at extremely low prices. I buy several bottles of my favorite supplements at a shot and save a fortune. The price differences between a lot of these companies is pretty slim, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. : Before you get price gouged to death for a book by eBay, come here. They have rare books at excellent prices and are listed by the various bookstores that sell them. I’ve found quite a few rare pulp crime novels here that are out of print. This is a great site for those impossible to find books.

Creepy : Every horror, science fiction, lucha libre, film noir, and Baby Boomer cartoon show ever released on DVD can be found here. When you run out of DVDs to buy for your trash culture friends go here and feast on the inexhaustible selection available.

Well, the list of stores you can run to on your little mouse is infinite: Newegg for computer stuff, Lush for sweet soaps, Diviniti for men’s and women’s jewelry and rings, Travelocity for travel, etc. Informational sites are even more out there, like my beloved Yelp, GaragePunk Hideout, Urban Dictionary, Edmunds (for car reviews), Find A Grave (directory of celebrity burial grounds), Home Theater Forum, eHow for instructions on EVERYTHING, Flickr, You Tube, DVD Help for advice on burning DVDs, and my favorite, the Downtown Skylines site. It’s funny reading everyone on the forum complaining about Los Angeles’ puny, underdeveloped skyline. So get on your little mouse and run, baby, run.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

While The City Sleeps

Sometimes you have to put your money where your big mouth is. Rebecca and I were making cool fetish clothes while guzzling black coffee, listening to the Bad Brains, Minor Threat and slopping on so much barge cement that the fumes would drive stylists out of our workroom/apartment in a horrified frenzy. Corporate America was equally horrified by my looks and wouldn't hire me on a dare - until the blessed Northridge earthquake - so I became Rebecca's sexy dude assistant.

Our money making line was fetish-related outfits made of leather or vinyl. We made bustiers, spiked corsets, chokers, hot pants, bracelets, cat o' nine tails, harnesses, even thongs. We sold to Japan, New York City (Patricia Field of "Sex and The City" fame), Georgia, Texas, the great Midwest, Canada, even the movies: our chokers were used in "Batman Forever", worn by Drew Barrymore and Debi Mazur. Several boutiques on Melrose carried our clothes and accessories. We were way out there!

One store that carried our clothes was called the Tasty Store, run by Phil Rubin, a hipster Phil Silvers who looked and talked like Sgt. Bilko himself. One day he called Rebecca, and said-
"Becky, you guys make the kinkiest clothes for my store. Tonight The Chateau is having a big Fetish Fest and we got a table to sell our stuff there. Let's go and make lots of money!"
We couldn't just go in flannel and sell kinky clothes - we had to dress for the occasion. Rebecca wore a cool pink vinyl outfit and I wore Black vinyl pants, a purple vest and a fishnet top, with a leather top hat and burglar mask. I looked wicked.

A name like the Chateau recalls images of an old castle somewhere, but in fact it was a run-down warehouse in the middle of the industrial section in the Valley. Yeah, no drawbridge or moat. We walked into a tired looking office wrapped up in formica and cheap carpeting and looked into the small offices, ahem, "dungeons" as we walked by. I saw old men that looked like Tim Conway licking the boots of some goth-damaged dominatrix.

We set up our table in the loading dock, er, "torture playground" in the back of the building. laying out our cartoony-looking fetish goods, we sat back as S&M fans male and female examined our sinister stock.
Some beer-gut slave would stroke a bracelet and then ask Rebecca if he could have a "session" with her. Before he could finish his question she would blurt out a hasty "No". Session = some slave pays a master to kick him while he licks her boots. I told Rebecca to take the money. They would nervously glance at me as I quietly seethed in my leather top hat and burglar mask.
"Doesn't he say anything?" they would meekly inquire.
"No", answered Phil, "He's too evil to speak!"
The slave would quickly slunk away.

Some chipper old timer with the most dapper looks came up to our table with a cheap pet store choker on. He wore bifocals and a well-trimmed mustache. He wore the ugliest t-shirt of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark with the inscription "Yes, Mistress" scrawled in cheap crayon over it. In cultured tones, he said, "Hello! You look like musicians. You know, I'm a songwriter, I write my very own songs and plan on making a record called 'Yes, Mistress'. My t-shirt will be the album cover".
Oh my god.
"Would you like to hear one of my compositions?"
"Sure, why not?" asked Rebecca. I couldn't answer, remember, because I was too evil to speak.
"I call this one 'How Much Is That Slave In The Window?'" he very proudly announced.
"How much is that slave in the window?
The most submissive slave in the cage,
He loves his dear mistress - a black widow,
He craves every drop of her rage".

He sang this tune in the highest voice, like a small choir boy castrati with the most syrupy tone I've ever heard. The only punishment experienced at the Chateau was trying not to laugh at him.
"Wow, that's really cool!" said Rebecca, as she lifted up the fifth of bourbon we had smuggled in.
"Oh, my!" he twittered. "Would you like to hear another one?"
"No thanks", said Phil coldly,"The contest is about to begin".

Indeed it was. There was a Master and Slave contest and it looked like a dog discipline class. The fattest women I've ever seen squeezed into the tightest leather thongs, cellulite stretching over, under, sideways, down pulling leashes attached to necks or muzzles or even tiny male peepees, the men as slaves with heads shaved and flabby on all fours like dogs. The contest had the doms making their slaves heel, beg, roll over and other tricks Fido takes for granted. We really had to grab our smuggled bottle and hit the sauce during this event!

By the end of the night we made a small chunk of change, no bonanza because S&M creeps are notoriously cheap, but we ate like real people for a week. Then the Northridge Earthquake hit and I got hired by the City of Los Angeles Housing Authority and made office money, no boots and gloves from Monday through Friday.