So long, fiscal conservatism


American / Unionist

By Aristophanes

In the early morning hours of Saturday, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate passed a tax reform package that, by many estimates, would balloon the national deficit and exacerbate inequality in the country. Only a single Republican holdout, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, refused to vote for the bill. The remainder of the 51–49 vote divided perfectly along party lines.

Now, the bill faces reconciliation with a similar proposal passed by the House of Representatives. Once the differences are ironed out, both chambers will seek to pass a unified bill.

Had the party held true to its conservative philosophy, it would never have considered such a drastic reduction in corporate and individual tax rates.

Perhaps Republicans never truly cared about fiscal conservatism. While they were in power under the presidency of George W. Bush, they passed massive tax cuts and greatly expanded our military presence in the Middle East. The…

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Just Because

I’d like to take a moment to apologize for my hiatus.

I can assure you, we will resume our regularly scheduled programming soon.

Loneliness is not a phase…


I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I have a bit of a problem with depression. To be fair it has gotten better over the years, but it’s still always there. And occasionally it tends to flare up.

I suppose you may wonder what this has to do with a music blog. Well, this disease has gone a long way toward shaping my tastes in music. Even though I don’t listen to either artist now as much as I did during my high school years I still consider Alice in Chains and Nine Inch Nails to be my favorite groups. I’ve come across a lot of bands that I like just as much or maybe more since graduation, but I’ll always have a place in my heart for those two. Listening to them really saved my life and helped me to realize that I wasn’t the only one dealing with these demons.

And I still haven’t found anything that can make feel better when I’m down than Dirt, The Downward Spiral or Jar of Flies. Although I’ve found quite a few songs that help; The Descendents’ “Cool To Be You,” Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water” and Tom Waits’ “Train Song.”

I’ve never written at length about this for a number of reasons. For one, I’m not looking for pity. I’m a grown man; I don’t need pity. I need anti-depressants. Which is another reason I don’t often speak about it. It’s rather embarrassing to admit you need a drug to make you feel normal. I’ve heard a lot of people say they got on meds and didn’t feel like themselves anymore. For me it’s the exact opposite. I tried to get off of them earlier this year only to realize how much I need them. And it’s not just a mental thing. I mean, it is a mental disorder, but without that in my system I have trouble sleeping, near constant stomach pain, lethargy and loss of appetite. I also get this weird feeling I imagine would be like sticking my finger in the light socket.

Robin Williams Depression QuoteSo if someone says they’re depressed, sure it’s a good thing to try to cheer them up; but remember you might as well be trying to cure the flu.

So why say anything about it now? Because I’m feeling depressed. I’ve been listening to AIC and NIN. I’m thinking about putting on The Wall. I guess I hope that sharing will help it to go away. Maybe if I put it out there in the open it will lose it’s power over me. I doubt it, but it’s worth a shot.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on this subject and a lot of them are very good. But no one ever really hit the nail on the head for me.

For me, depression is like a cancer. It’s not poisoning my blood or eating away at my lungs, but it’s polluting my soul. It prevents me from being the me I want to be and forces me to sit alone in the dark wishing I could just feel differently.

I want to say it’s like a tumor growing inside me. But that’s not right. It’s more like one of the Xenomorphs from the Alien movies. I can almost feel it moving and growing in my stomach like it’s just waiting to burst out of my chest.

Some people are have strange phobias. People are scared of all sorts of weird shit; snakes, spiders, Muslims or the boogeyman under the bed. But for me, the boogeyman is alive and well inside my head.

I hope maybe I’ve written something that might make some of you understand mental illness better. And if I’ve written something that you can relate to I hope you’re seeking help and will get better. Aside from being somewhat embarrassing, depression is a royal pain in the ass.

But you know what’s funny? Loneliness has been with me for so long that I bet if it were to go away… I would miss it.

Do You Know What The Queers Are Doing To The Soil!


I can still remember being confused when I first heard of the controversy about gay marriage. I was 18 or 19 when things really started to heat up, but I never understood what all the fuss was about. I mean, gay people are people too right? If they want to get married why stop them. It just seems silly to me.

I know some people have religious objections. I get that, but the thing is that we live in a society where we have freedom of religion. This means that others don’t have to agree with my religious views and I don’t have to believe in theirs. I’m a big fan of this because it allows me to go to a church that focuses on doing good works in the community and “Love one another as I have loved you” and not one that promotes hatred of people who are different from me or creationism. Hell, I have so much freedom that I can even NOT go to church if it suits my fancy.

I never really understood the argument of “The Bible says it’s wrong” as a legal justification for outlawing gay marriage. The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. I’m not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar, but I think that means that you need more reason for denying people the right to marry whom they choose than your personal religious beliefs.

Fuck this 'God Hates Fags' guy.The best part now is how people are comparing LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws with Shariah law. I find that a little confusing because I’m pretty sure Islamic fundamentalist groups like Boko Haram, DAESH and the Saudi Arabian government that govern with Sharia punish homosexuality with death. So really, if you want to discriminate against gays shouldn’t you be in favor of Shariah law?

And doesn’t the bible just say that two men shouldn’t have sex? (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13) I always heard that marriage was just like dating, but without the sex. So shouldn’t Christians be encouraging gays to marry so that they have less sex?

I honestly thing we’ll look back someday at how we treated homosexuals and be ashamed of ourselves. Just as we’re ashamed of the way we treated blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, women, the Irish, the Dutch, the French, the Japanese, the Chinese and pretty much every other group of people that were different than us.

But that was before I learned about what the queers are doing to the soil.


“A few days after that, I open up the mail. And there’s a pamphlet
In there. From Pueblo, Colorado, and it’s addressed to Bill, Jr.
And it’s entitled, “Do you know what the queers are doing to our

Now, Stuart, if you look at the soil around any large US city,
There’s a big underground homosexual population. Des Moines, Iowa,
For an example. Look at the soil around Des Moines, Stuart.
You can’t build on it; you can’t grow anything in it. The government
Says it’s due to poor farming. But I know what’s really going on,
Stuart. I know it’s the queers. They’re in it with the aliens.
They’re building landing strips for gay Martians, I swear to

You know what, Stuart, I like you. You’re not like the other
People, here in this trailer park.”

Book Review- Alice in Chains: The Untold Story by David de Sola

Alice in Chains: The Untold StoryWhen I was 15 I took a vacation to stay with my Uncle and his family. They lived about 30 minutes south of Seattle. Because I didn’t know my uncle, aunt or cousin very well (and because I’m a rather bookish fellow anyway) I spent most of the first in their vast library getting to know John Steinbeck. I remember that very well because Of Mice and Men is still the only book to ever bring tears to my eyes.

That’s not to say David de Sola’s biography of Alice in Chains didn’t come really damn close.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book. I knew it would probably be a downer. It’s like the movie Titanic, you know how it’s going to end. It’s not like I thought it would be a laugh-a-minute page turner like Paul Beatty’s The Sellout or a thought provoking satire a la Chuck Pahalniuk, but sometimes you’re just not prepared. Hats off to Mr. de Sola, somebody had to write this book and I’m glad it wasn’t me. I guess I was hoping more of that joyful humor that characterized their interviews and TV appearances would be at the forefront. It’s definitely present, but not enough to offset the darkness.

I don’t think calling it “The Untold Story” is accurate. It is the story that everyone knows, only it goes a little deeper and features credible sources. I was really interested in reading about time spent in the studio and what they did to get their sound. It’s amazing that “Angry Chair” has something like 19 different vocal tracks. I was also surprised to read that Layne didn’t start heroin until after Facelift. I always assumed “Real Thing” was about trying to kick that habit.

I did find it surprising that Mike Starr and Mike Inez usually wrote their own bass lines. I always assumed Jerry Cantrell had a big hand in that because of the similarities between “Rooster” and “No Excuses.” I was also surprised to read that Jerry and Sean Kinney claim to have never taken heroin. I always thought they were guilty by association. The book does talk about Kinney’s alcoholism and Cantrell’s addictions, though it never mentions a drug of choice for him.

Demri Parrott and Layne Staley

Demri Parrott and Layne Staley

My biggest bitch with the book is that it’s more of a biography of Layne Staley than of AIC. I suppose this makes sense because he was the face of the band and the one who put the whole thing together, but I would have liked to learn more about Jerry, Sean and the Mikes. There was a lot more detail on Layne’s longtime girlfriend Demri Parrott (pronounced Pear-o) and Mad Season bassist John Baker Saunders than of his AIC band mates. I understand that the deaths of these people affected Staley in a profound way, and thus affected AIC in a profound way, but I would have liked more info about what the band was doing.

I’m sure this is a must-read for any die hard Alice in Chains fans. And it is worth the time and money as it is greatly researched and nicely written. Casual fans may enjoy it too, but you might want to get a library copy.

Happy Australia Day

The calendar I bought for this year informs me that today is Australia Day. I’ve never heard of this before. I’m not really sure how I should celebrate Australia Day because I don’t know much about Australia. Is this something the whole world should celebrate by saying things like “Crikey?” Or is it just independence day for Australia?

Are you going to listen to AC/DC, Keith Urban, INXS or Jet? Did I forget any Australian bands there? I don’t think there were a lot of them that got big internationally.

Should we watch “Crocodile Dundee” or “The Crocodile Hunter”? Are there alot of Crocodiles in Australia? We could watch something with Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil or (my favorite) Naomi Watts.

Ah, what the hell. I’ll put on “Dead Calm” and listen to some Silverchair.

Beats the hell out of “Mad Max.”

Happy Australia Day!

Anything That Can Go Wrong 6

Anything That Can Go Wrong – Part 6Donald Trump Announces Scottish Golf course Plans




The best way to judge the maturity level of people is to see them when they are fired. Some take it in stride and realize, “If I hadn’t spent so many late nights at the strip club I probably wouldn’t have been late so often.” Some people beg for their jobs or another chance. Some cry. Some swear and threaten. Some return in a few days with firearms.


We’re wondering how Matt Vance is going to take the news that he’s being ‘let go’ from Ockym’s Razyr, a band that he co-founded 11 years ago.


“He’ll probably be OK with it,” drummer Josh Randall tells me. “It’s not like he hasn’t quit or been fired before.”


“Yeah,” Paul Ode adds. “He’s always back and forth. He’s not reliable at all.”


The descision was made a little over a few days ago. Most of the guys in the band have been ready to give Matt his walking papers, but Adam Gillis was reluctant to see him go.


“Everyone else was saying things like: ‘his timing sucks, he’s a worthless drunk, we can do better’ and all sorts of other stuff, but he’s always been my best friend in the band and I never had the heart to fire him.”


It was at a show they did last week where Vance took exception to some of the joke Gillis made at his expence over the microphone that sealed his fate. While Vance usually takes the punches lying down, this night he straddled up to his own mic and repeated “shut up” until Gillis quieted.


“I guess I just feel the his attitude has gotten unbearable and I can’t work with him anymore,” Gillis says.


Firings in local bands are a common thing. Most guys quit before it happens. It just comes down to how some people can’t get along well with others coupled with a need for drama in our lives. It’s very similar to the way one child may be ostracized in the sandbox for a day or two simply to create a bit more excitement for everyone. The sad thing is that most people never mature further than that.


People are fired for all sorts of things: sleeping with eachothers girlfriends, showing up late, not wearing the right shoes, because they said the wrong thing on facebook. Or sometimes no reason at all. Such is the sandbox politics local music. Occasionally bands will decline shows to avoid other bands they don’t want to play with because they are “doody heads.”


I knew a band where the drummer declared that the next show would be his final one with the group. Then the singer and he got into an argument via text message so the drummer said fuck it and quit right there. It’s just the way it is. People come and go. Some play in several bands, some play in one and never again. It’s just too bad that we don’t have any adults now to tell us to play nice.


When Vance finally shows up for practice Gillis doesn’t have the balls to do the firing. He sits in the garage with his back turned while Hal Levatine breaks the news to him. Vance seems to take it well. There are no tears from him. He clenches his jaw, waves goodbye and drives off.


“Well boys, who do we get to play bass now?”


If you liked this post you may also enjoy: Anything That Can Go Wrong – Part 5 or Anything That Can Go Wrong – Part 3



Your gonna fire me from the band! I don't think so! I think your fired!!!

Your gonna fire me from the band! I don’t think so! I think your fired!!!

Scio Showcase 2013

39277_10151517725492692_1507868876_nScio Showcase 2013

Almost All In Good Fun, VENT, D.E.D. Beat, Shrouded In Neglect, Garblejunk, Curse the Wicked

May 11th

American Legion – Scio, OH

Saturday marked my first venture to the small town of Scio, where a neutron bomb landed in the form of a pottery factory closing. I’ve grown quite accustomed to seeing run down buildings in the past few years, but Scio seems to be doing a little worse than other areas. I even noticed a sign advertising a home renovations company in the front lawn of a home in dire need of renovations. I’m only glad that when we finally arrived at the American Legion Post just outside of town on a gravel road the entire town was there and the music wasn’t as run down as the community.

From what I can tell, about twenty years ago the girls from L7 raped The Statler Brothers and the resulting children have formed IMG_20130511_195236_528Almost All in Hand Grenades. The hometown boys brought their odd style of Hillbilly Grunge to the town that spawned them. It was a beautiful example of young people giving back to their community. Though they look like a few redneck children who grabbed their parents’ guitars and started jamming, they sound like that too. And it is working out great for them. They’re one of the bests bands we have in the area and definitely the most unique.

I’ve never know Cleveland to be a hotbed of hardcore punk, but that was before I heard VENT. These guys forgo the industrial and thrash of their hometown and play some down and dirty punk with a heavy metal attitude. They even managed to start the violent conga line called a circle pit.Their singer looked a bit like G.G. Allin aside from the fact that he was clothed and occasionally they’d throw in some pseudo-rap lyrics that lent them a Suicidal Tendencies feel. But through it all they managed to keep that Rustbelt feel. I hope to see them again soon.

IMG_20130511_213854_511D.E.D. Beat were third to take the stage for some dressed in black death metal. It took a few minutes for the sound to be dialed in correctly, but after the first song I started to hear more than just the double bass. Still, they performed a solid set of horror movie inspired madness in their hockey and S&M gear. This is death metal the way it was intended to be played: fast, loud and unintelligible.

I had to rush in when I heard Shrouded In Neglect and was surprised to find they have a female singer. The first few songs of their set were of a straight thrash variety, but they showcased a mellower side after the first few. They have a song in regular rotation on Columbus rock radio and do a great cover of “Killing In The Name.” Of course the best part of their set was when the bass player relinquished his instrument to (I assume) his son


I’m not really sure what to say about the acoustic hydra Garblejunk. They’re like a mariachi band on steroids. It’s like a nightmare at Bob Dylan’s house. I can just hear him: “Weeeweee woo woo zee hmm.” “No Mr. Dylan, That can be done with acoustic guitars.” I kept waiting for the nine man acoustic jam to bust out a cover of Tesla’s “Signs” but it never happened. I feel very conflicted, confused, abused and molested by them. Which I means I may be in love with them, but don’t hold me to that.

Check them out for yourself here:

Curse the Wicked took the stage to end the evening with some old-school thrash metal. Well, it was old school aside from the modern vocals. This combination is interesting a provides a fresh take on old genres. I’d like to hear more of them before passing a final judgement, but at the moment I’m a little disappointed by the utter lack of balls-tied-up-with-a-rubber-band-80’s-hair-metal screams.

I’m hoping that there will be more of these shindigs out in Scio in the future. It was a great time and introduced me to a few great bands that I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard if I hadn’t attended. Thanks a lot Scio! Don’t completely crumble before I get a chance to visit you again.

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