Happy Birthday Prince


I never meant to do a “Happy Birthday” series, but that seems to be what’s happening. It’s working out OK so far. It’s nice to do something light every now and again.

I was going to tag Prince onto the Marky Mark post, but that seemed more than a little disrespectful. It’s a lot harder to decide which song to choose to celebrate his accomplishments. He’s like the exact opposite of Marky Mark.

So, I’m not going to just choose one.

 

I hope you’re all as sexually confused as I am after watching that last one…

What’s your favorite Prince song? Can you even choose?

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Did you hear?


Did you hear about L7 getting back together after a long hiatus? They’ve released a few new tunes and are even doing some touring.

I’d really like to go see them in concert, but I’d be really pissed off if I didn’t get hit by a used tampon. That would be as bad as going to a GG Allin show and not leaving covered in shit.

Thor: Ragnarok


Welcome to the slaughter, what are you going to do?

I enjoyed the most recent release of the Thor franchise: Ragnarok. It had action. It had comedy. It had the Incredible Hulk. It had a little bit of stuff that confused me. (like Idris Elba’s character. Who the fuck was he? He looked like Dreadmon from the Ninja Turtles.) For the most part, it was an enjoyable escape from reality for two hours.

But this isn’t a review of Thor: Ragnarok. I don’t do movie reviews (very often). I do music reviews. And something about the music in Thor: Ragnarok really pissed me off!

Not the score. I’m sure the score was fine. I barely noticed it so it couldn’t have been that bad. What pissed me off was that the only rock song used in the film was “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. What the fuck, producers? Did you not see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? That song was already used in a movie this decade. Is there some new law stating that any movie about/set in/referencing the mythology of Scandinavia NEEDS to have that fucking Zeppelin song in it?

That’s total bullshit. There are more than enough bands that could provide songs for fight scenes that are actually from Scandinavia. I’m betting a few of them even worship Thor. Or Loki or Odin or whoever black metal band people worship. You don’t have to keep using that same song from an English band about Vikings or wizards or fucking trees talking to each other. For fuck’s sake, the only thing Scandinavia is known for is socialism and black metal.

But if you’d like to use the music from some American (well, American/Israeli or American/Canadian) bands I can think of a few good choices.

1.) Kiss has a song called “God of Thunder.” I’m not a huge Kiss fan so I can’t pick this track out of a lineup, but with all the focus on how Thor is the god of thunder in this flick you’d think that track would have made an appearance.

Then again, maybe they used that in the first movie. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at some point during that one so maybe I missed it. Did it play during the credits like Black Sabbath did in the first Iron Man? Or it could have been used in the second film. There was a second film, right? I didn’t even bother to watch that one. Who can keep up with all these things?

B.) How about the song I got stuck in my head every time I saw that damn poster. It comes from the album Ragnarok by the greatest band ever to come to Earth from another galaxy. Yes, I’m talking about GWAR’s “Ragnarok.” That would have been perfect for some battle scenes. It might not be my favorite track of theirs, but it’s definitely top five.

Anything is better than that fucking “Immigrant Song.”

Bastards.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “Tommy Boy”


I don’t usually buy albums based on one track. I’ve been burned this way a few times in the past and thanks to Spotify, I can now listen to an album multiple times before deciding whether to spend my hard earned money on it. But when I saw this album for $1 and it contained the track “Fat Guy in a Little Coat,” I knew I have to have it.

Aside from the classic “Fat Guy,” you also get “Jerk Motel,” “My Pretty Little Pet” and “Housekeeping.” It’s a little disappointing to not have “Every time I drive down the road I want to jerk the wheel into a bridge abutment!” or the pitch where he was lighting model cars on fire, but there are still a few great additions to my library.

The music is all middle-of-the-road rock from the nineties. Paul Westerberg, Primal Scream and the Smoking Popes all make appearances with tunes I still can’t pick out of a lineup. The Goo Goo Dolls are on here with a song from their early days before they were truly horrible. Soul Coughing does a song they wouldn’t have release post-9/11. It also has R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” which I remember from the movie and “Come on Eileen” which I don’t.

Yet again, I feel like the tracklist could have benefitted from the inclusion of Chris Farley and Brian Dennehy doing “What I Say,” but they didn’t consult me when preparing this.

The best song on the album is a cover of Kiss’s “I Love it Loud” by a band I’ve never heard of called Phunk Junkeez. It’s pretty hard to screw up a Kiss song and they really knocked it out of the park by adding some Public Enemy samples.

 

This isn’t the kind of an album you’d want to immerse yourself in with great headphones. I usually listen to it as background music on road trips. But if you do that make sure you remove the oil can before you cue up the Carpenters’ “Superstar.”

Strange Solace


This is us after the Descendents concert last year.

This will be my first Valentine’s Day without a date in several years. My girlfriend passed away a few weeks ago. I know I’ve written about her on here before so you may have heard about some of her health struggles. Still, it was a shock. Even with all of her medical problems I still expected her to live a longer life.

But enough about that. I didn’t want to write this post to reflect on that, but because it actually leads to a somewhat humorous music story.

I don’t know how many people reading this have lost loved ones, but have you noticed a lot of strange thoughts popping into your head immediately after? Among all the thinking about who I needed to call, how I was now in charge of scooping the cat box and wondering what was going to become of the department store that was her wardrobe I got the Vandals’ “My Girlfriend’s Dead” stuck in my head.

I know what you’re thinking. What the fuck? You sick bastard! That’s so disrespectful! Why would you think of that song! Have you no shame? Or at least I imagine you’re thinking these things because the first day I was thinking the exact same thoughts.

Then I remembered something: She loved that album! We were in the car a while ago and it was playing. I went to take it out because I have listened to it already but she stopped me. There are a lot of great tracks on Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. I remember posting “If The Government Could Read My Mind” on her Facebook wall when we were first dating. And she told me a college friend suggested to her that “F’d up Girl” could have been written about her.*

There are a lot of other songs that’ll make me think of her. I know when I got the Descendents I Don’t Wanna Grow Up she said “Silly Girl” was about her. “That’s about me,’ she said. “I’m a silly girl and you’re in love with me.”

Her dad asked if there were any good songs we could play at the funeral and I had to pass on any suggestions.

But even though it’s about a guy lying about a breakup I think “My Girlfriend’s Dead” will probably be our song. Strange as it may seem, I think she would have wanted it that way.

 

*He was right.

A Bad Career Move?


Did you hear Stone Temple Pilots have a new singer? That seems like a pretty dangerous position to me. Kinda like being a fisherman in the Gulf of Alaska, fronting a band with Pat Smear on guitar or serving in the Trump administration. I gotta hand it to Jeff Gutt, it takes some balls to step into a position held by two people who have died recently.

All joking aside though, I do think the new track sounds great and wish STP the best of luck. They definitely deserve it as they’ve been through a lot and weathered more than their fair share of bad luck.

The Descendents at House of Blues


17 November 2017

House of Blues; Cleveland, OH

Public Squares, Frank Iero and the Patience, The Descendents

The best news I’ve gotten this year was that the Descendents would be on tour and be stopping in Cleveland. These guys have been my favorite band for a few years and I keep hoping to make it to a concert, but I’ve only seen them playing at Riot Fest and my budget doesn’t allow me to go to Chicago for a long weekend.

I haven’t been to a show in about a year, so it was time to get to one. Music is best experienced live, but there’s that damn job thing that keeps me from going to shows every night… and also provides me with money to buy concert tickets.

The night began with Public Squares, a trio from somewhere not of this earth. I’m a sucker for extraterrestrial bands in matching outfits who tell us the only reason the rest of the universe hasn’t destroyed us is that we gave them rock and roll. Is there a way to not love that? If there is I haven’t discovered it.

Their music is great too. It’s your basic punk rock, which is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Things did sound a little too classic rock for my taste by the end of their set, but I’m still looking forward to checking out their album. They’re the best local band I’ve seen in quite a while.

I’ve gone on record about my dislike of emo music many times so it should come as no surprise I’m not a fan of Frank Iero and the Patience. I tried to give them a chance, but when I saw the long hair and incense burning on stage I had a feeling it wasn’t for me. On the bright side, I’ve finally realized what I dislike about the genre: it’s too serious. I can’t help but think that this might not have been the best group to open for a band who has written so many songs about farts.^

The lady friend wanted to head to the balcony for the Descendents to get away from the crowd, so we made our way up. I like checking out bands from a different vantage point, but the balcony at House of Blues isn’t the greatest. You have to pay more than double to get a seat and since I’m too cheap for that we were back in the standing room only section. I’m happy to say we still managed to get a good view.

They opened with “Everything Sux” and “Hope.” Both great tunes, but it took Milo Aukerman a minute to warm up. After the first few songs the band was the well oiled machine I expected. I was a little surprised Milo is such a great frontman. I suppose I should be, he’s been doing it for longer than I’ve been alive. But I’ve heard him described as an ‘Uber nerd” and didn’t see anything to make me think anything else (especially the Camelbak he wore). When my girlfriend said “He looks like a college professor” I had to reply “I think he is.”*

I believe I pointed out in my review of Cool To Be You that the Descendents are the least cool band I’ve ever come across and that’s just as apparent live. Not that they don’t rock, but they definitely resemble the caricatures from the cover of the Live Plus One album. Except for Bassist Karl Alvarez who’s hair has moved from his head to his face and turned gray, making him look like a punk rock Tommy Chong. Caveman Bill Stevenson is the only drummer I’ve ever heard a crowd chant for. With good reason, he’s the main songwriter and quite a few of those great songs we heard sprang from his head.

Cover illustration for the Descendents’ “Live Plus One” album by Chris Shary

I was surprised to recognize so many of the songs they played. It wasn’t until I started researching this post that I realized I own 7/9 of their full-length albums. I’d love to just post the entire setlist because it contained so many great tunes. “Clean Sheets,” “Silly Girl,” “Pervert,” “Suburban Home,” “When I Grow Up,” “Weinershnitzel/No All” and about a million more. Most tracks came from the new Hypercaffium Spazzinate and I Don’t Want To Grow Up.   

The biggest highlights were the resistance anthem “Who We Are” which I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m pretty sure I like better than anything off the most recent album, and Milo running into the crowd for “Thank You.” There were definitely a few ecstatic fans that got to sing that chorus with him on the floor. I managed to get in the pit for the encores and do a bit of slam dancing for “I’m the One” and “Bikeage.” It was a good thing I took my girlfriend to the balcony. I forgot how intense those punk rock pits can get.

Of course, there were a few songs I was disappointed to not have heard, but I’m guessing just about every attendee could say the same thing. When you have as massive a catalog as these guys there’s going to be a few that don’t make the final cut. If I had it my way I’d just go see them the next day and hopefully they’d play “Cool To Be You” at that show.

 

^As always I say this with the caveat that they were playing to a much larger and more interested audience than I’ve ever entertained.

*He was an adjunct professor at the University of Deleware. I can’t help but wonder what his lectures were like.