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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stuff I Burned From TCM

You call it bootlegging, I call it killing the wait until a studio releases the movie on DVD. Releasing “Black Legion” or “711 Ocean Drive” on DVD may never happen in our lifetime, so I’ll happily burn away these minor classics from TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Here are a couple I’ve enjoyed recently:

The Killing of Sister George: Sister George is a sappy Mary Poppins-type character on British TV but off camera is a flesh/scenery chewing old chicken hawk constantly yelling at her young live-in chippy named “Childee” (Susannah York at her best). The “killing” in the title refers to her character getting taken out on the series – the movie is less about lesbianism than it is about aging and the feeling of loss whether it’s an acting gig, your youth, or your young lover. Since it’s a Robert Aldrich film you know there’ll be a sick twist ending that’ll drive you insane.

The Fox: a lesbian couple (it was “Outfest” week on TCM) shack out deep in the woodlie woods in sapphic bliss until a handsome Aryan pin-up arrives at their front door (Keir Dullea of “2001” and “David and Lisa”). Sexually he shakes things up and consequently nothing is ever what it appears – the three switch sexual roles and persuasions at the drop of a hat. While none of it’s believable for a second it’s still entertaining and beautifully photographed.

The Mad Magician: Prior to this movie director John Brahm made a film called “Hangover Square” which took place in 1895 about a madman in love with a singer which ended in a blazing house fire. He followed it with this 3-D flick starring Vincent Price as a, well, mad magician and it takes place in 1895, and uh…ends with a blazing house fire. Around this time, um um um, Vincent Price made another 3-D film called “House Of Wax” which uh, takes place around 1895, and ends with a….OKAY! YOU KNOW! Another blazing house fire!!!! Sheeesh!!! And you thought movies nowadays imitated each other!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Friday night. 11:45 PM. Las Vegas. I walked down the strip; it was lit up like a crazy jewelry box. The streets were jammed with vans, jeeps, and pickup trucks. There were mean-faced girls with tight lips riding shotgun in the cars. There was a stench of pizza, beer, urine, and vomit that filled the air. Drivers and riders were all yelling and laughing form their cars. Some were even yelling at me.
“Get a car, asshole!”
“Hey faggot!”
“YOU are one UGLY son-of-a-bitch!”
The yells were accompanied by the nauseating dull thud of the bass frequencies going BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! roaring out of their stereos, all cranked up to deafening volume. The sidewalk shook and coiled like a snake.
“Heads up, queer!” A beercan sailed past my head.
“What the fuck?” I said, and turned to see a pickup full of teenage white trash with stringy long hair, peach fuzz mustaches, and concave chests covered by tank tops or T-shirts with “Whitesnake” or “Slayer” written on them.
“You want to try something, motherfucker?” one guy got up like he was going to jump off the truck to fight.
“Cool out, Randy”, his friend pushed him back, “Asshole’s got a problem”.
A pack of Marines on leave were walking up the street, big young bulls of varying colors with regulation crew cuts and serious expressions on their faces, all obviously out to have a good time.
I reached the ends of the strip. Less cars, less people on the sidewalk, the casino lights dwindling down to darkness. Next to an old keno parlor was a run down hotel, The Oasis Crest Hotel. I took the elevator to the tenth floor to room 1013 and knocked.
The door opened and it was my brother Paul. I hadn’t seen him in five years, and I had an envelope of papers to deliver to him.
“Tommy, you made it, man”, Paul said, smiling.
“Yeah”, I said, “in one piece, just the way I like it”. The lights in the room were very dim and there was a green neon light from outside his window that flooded the room with a strange glow.
“Have it your way, just like they say at Burger King”, he chuckled. “Did you bring the papers?”
“Yeah, now you won’t have a problem nailing Prince John. You finally have all the evidence you need to put him away for a long time”. I handed him the envelope, and noticed the green neon glowing on him as he scanned the contracts. I noticed something strange. I don’t know if it was him or what, but for a brief moment the word FUCK flashed on his face. It was gone as fast as it appeared.
“Great, just great”, he put down the papers. “You know, I was thinking...isn’t it time you buried the hatchet with Dad? He asks about you all the time”.
“I’m not talking to Dad. You don’t talk to him, He talks to you and you just sit there and listen. I haven’t got time for that kind of shit”, I said, looking him straight in the eye when I noticed an impish gleam there with the word SHIT in bold type.
“Well, my place is with my father. He needs me, and I owe so much to him”, he burbled, the green light still bathing him and the word SHIT still twinkling in his eye.
“You should consider doing the same thing”, he continued. “Your family is what comes first. I’ve thought this over very carefully and I know I’m right”. He fumbled around with a pack of cigarettes.
“You got a light?”
“No. I quit last year”.
Paul walked over to the patio and opened the sliding glass door. On the floor of the patio were dozens of crushed cigarette butts. He picked one up and lit up.
“Mmm...anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately. How successful the real estate company would be with you on the team helping me and Dad”. He no longer had the face of a human being any more. His face looked like the skull airbrushed on the ice cubes of a liquor ad. This was the boy I thought was my brother, the boy I played games with when I was a kid, the boy that shared my mother’s love with me, but I was wrong. He looked like a bad magazine advertisement. He took a deep pull on his butt in green neon, and like a fluorescent light turning on, DEATH and CANCER slowly materialized all over his body. Then FUCK came back on his face and RAPE was spelled out on his nose. I could see him for the very first time.
The phone rang. “Ah, excuse me”, he ran over to the patio, grabbed up another butt, and ran into the next room to get the phone. As he did this, he bumped into the coffee table and knocked over a magazine.
“Oh! Dad! We were just talking about you!” I heard from the next room. I grabbed up the magazine. The cover showed a pregnant woman with her legs spread, vagina exposed, squeezing her tits with milk seeping out, licking her lips seductively. Her face had the expression of a drugged toad. MILK SQUIRTIN’ MAMAS.
“Guess who’s here, Dad? Tommy! Yeah! He told me he’s coming back into the business. We’ll be coming back!”
The room swirled around me and I could hear the car horns blaring outside. Girls were laughing and screaming at the top of their lungs.
“Tommy! Dad’s on the phone! He wants to say hi! Tommy? Tommy?”
I quickly walked to the door and quietly shut it. I didn’t wait for the elevator. I took the stairs.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Your Audition My Nightmare

Rather than a-boo-hoo-hoo about the old rock glory days I much prefer remembering all the reasons why I slayed the old showbiz bitch in the first place. Case in point, the most dreaded rock god task of all: auditioning musicians. I'd rather have my crunk teeths drilled for hours than go through the asswipe personalities I've had to audition through the years. Here's a few winners I had to try out for rock group immortality:

There was Mr. A.D.D., the guitar player who guzzled Big Gulp sodas all through rehearsals and copped such a psycho sugar buzz he couldn't focus on my songs. "Hey let's forget about your stuff and just write a bunch of new shit". Playing rhythm guitar was impossible for him. Every song was played with busy Robert Fripp-styled leads. That's SO punk rock!

Jazz guitar man - he called my ad which specifically said punk guitar, so he comes over with a huge hollow-bodied Gibson and starts picky plucking George Benson jazz guitar to my hardcore skronk. And he scatted vocals to them A DOO-BA-DOOBA-DOO-WAY-AHHH. I broke out laughing, and not for the good reasons.

Topless Dave - never wore a shirt, possibly the stupidest bassist alive. "You gave me a fake address, man, you LIED to me".
"No I didn't, I'm at 545 Ogden Drive".
"I went to 544 Ogden Drive and the next house was 546 Ogden, there's no such fucking address as 545 Ogden, dude".
This asshat couldn't understand that odd and even address numbers never run next to each other. I suspect he's currently a carrier for UPS - that must explain why my last package from Amazon never arrived.

There was the drummer who refused to set up behind the band. His drums had to be IN FRONT. He was kind of the Rosa Parks of percussion. There's something really clumsy about having a wide, messy drum kit set up in front of a band. It kind of keeps everybody from cutting loose for fear of running into ginsu knife-sharp cymbals. Big surprise - he was a lazy player, too.

The bass player who wouldn't come to rehearsals booked after 9 PM. Nightclubs don't open until 10 PM!

Drum Whore: "I'm not coming to rehearsals tonight because I have a paying gig tonight at Big Jim's Sports Bar". And you still have to pay the $36 rehearsal rent because he called 20 minutes before show time.

The greatest paradox in auditioning musicians is when you have a guy who looks cool, listens to killer music and he's the easiest guy in the world to get along with (if you weren't straight you'd marry him) and HE PLAYS LIKE SHIT. DAMMIT!
Conversely, there's the guy who looks like your pedophiliac uncle, listens to Supertramp and acts like a dick, and HE SHREDS ON HIS INSTRUMENT. DAMN YOU, KARMIC KLOWNS!!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Understanding Ringo Starr

It ain't easy being green and it's harder being Ringo Starr. The only Beatle that never got the respect he deserved, in a way it's easy to see why. Flashing a peace sign every three seconds like a trained chimp at Knotts Berry Farm, it's a meaningless gesture when you have a history of spousal abuse. He had to enter a 12-step program because he drunkenly kept beating his wife Barbara Bach. I guess his peace sign didn't extend to being nice to his woman.
Before we hang Ringo here's two reasons why he's an awesome Beatle:
1 - Of the four boys he was literally a walking cartoon character - he was made for the cartoon show! With rings on every finger, his basset hound face and deadpan humor (he coined the expressions "It's Been A Hard Day's Night" and "8 Days A Week" among others) he was made for cartoons. It's no wonder he was the focus of both Beatle comedies, he was a one man - Monkees TV show.
2 - He's a great drummer, and thanks to producer George Martin's brilliant mixes recorded some of the most chilling drum breaks in rock: have there been more propulsive drum beats in music than "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Revolver), "Birthday" (White Album), "Magical Mystery Tour", "She Said She Said" (Revolver), or the spazzy drum solo on "The End" (Abbey Road)? He's a more inventive drummer than Charlie Watts, who's been playing the same lazy drum beat for the past 40 years. Fuck him and the rest of the suck-ass Rolling Stones.
"Help!" is getting a Special Edition DVD release this October 30th. Get it or rent it, prepare to enjoy the fabulosity that is Ringo Starr.