Friday, May 30, 2003

Times are tough all over I suppose.

It seems as if David Bowie’s revolutionary Bowie Bonds aren’t faring so well.

Point A: I am a huge David Bowie fan.
Point B: I’m not exactly crying about the Bowie Bond situation.

I mean I’ve been more than slightly annoyed at the constant reissues and repackaging that have come in the wake of the Bowie Bonds in an effort to maintain their value and protect Bowie from losing any money should his back catalog not perform quite as promised. In the early ‘90s Rykodisc did a fabulous job of reissuing Bowie’s whole catalog and all the Virgin stuff that has been flooding the market over the past few years pales in comparison. Add into that the numerous greatest hits and ambient collections of previously released material and even the most stalwart fan is gonna get a little peeved. (They did make a good move by releasing the BBC stuff though; I’ll give that to the man.)

I guess I’m saying that maybe the music industry isn’t to blame for this one – since the article claims that overall slumping sales are fueling the possible bond rating downgrade – but instead it’s an over saturation of the marketplace that should be blamed on the source itself, Mr. Bowie.

Oh well, I’m still a huge fan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Rarely do I disagree with my rock and/or roll buds, but...

A few words about Local H and rock concerts in general.

First off I dragged my friend Julie to the Local H show here in Chicago last Sunday because I was able to entice her with the wicked pop of The Wrens. She dug them and not much else but for once I don’t really agree with her criticisms of the show. Okay, what I mean is that her criticisms read really funny and cutting but I can't really get down with the meat of what's said and the basis for the fun-making. (I guess what I'm saying is, "Well written as always but generally flawed.)

The opening bands were great, one of them being the aforementioned Wrens and the other being the wicked team of Sullen. Sullen sort of sounds like J Mascis and Courtney Love teaming up only cuter and with better voices and man do they stomp and destroy on stage. Local H themselves were in unusually fine form that night with it caustic rotgut primal screaming. Unfortunately my memory hazes out about halfway through the show because I was having a little too much fun but suffice to say that Local H killed.

Now some folks have problems with the “crossover crowd” phenomenon which usually is comprised of hundreds of jarheads crowding in on your space at a show demanding to hear “that one hit from the radio” and little much else. Yeah that can be pretty annoying especially to a jaded scenester type like me that prefers VIP sections not because I think it makes me look cool but because I really can’t stand feeling crowded at a show anymore. This belief is directly opposite my first dozen live-show years when I wanted to be as close to the action and my fellow man as possible to get the whole “concert experience” but now I prefer to just dig the music for the most part.

Having said all that and admitting that I tolerate the “Johnny-Come-Latelies” as a necessary evil I have to be honest when I say I really don’t remember that many annoying folks at the show Sunday. Sure there were a bunch of frat-boy types and their mates there because of Memorial Day weekend but these are the same folks I’ve seen at Local H shows for years…which would now make them long-time fans. Sure they also wear band T-shirts but have you ever been to an all-ages punk show. Everyone is wearing the fucking band’s T-shirt. That they bought that night. Before the show even started!

All in all a concert is a concert. Occasionally they can be so packed with obnoxious types that it’s impossible to enjoy the music but usually one can always find a cozy place to stand and take in the show. So yeah the “crossover crowd” can be a pain in the ass but those are the folks spending the money to keep your favorite singer on stage and out of a day job. Right?

I'm getting to be such a softie in my old age...

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


Well I finally saw The Matrix Reloaded yesterday and while it couldn’t possibly have topped the hype propelling the sequel in the first place I had a pretty good time watching it. I went with my friend Diann and she had pretty much the complete opposite reaction to the movie. She hated it so fully that she has sworn to curse my name – at least for a few days – until she gets over the feeling of being cheated out of two and a half hours of her life.

Part of me understands her feelings since I thought the movie was paced poorly and spent a little bit too much of its time swimming in its own half-baked Freshman stoner philosophy but when the fight scenes broke out and the special effects started their own Shock and Awe campaign it was pretty hard for me to maintain a validly critical eye.

So sure the dialogue is pretty lame for most of the movie and way too much time is spent in Zion and under the Earth instead of kicking major computer program ass inside The Matrix but I’m willing to forgive these mild transgressions if what I’m going to get in return is a Summer Movie “Event” in the truest sense of the term. Summer Movie “Events” are supposed to push the envelope of what you thought was possible in the cinema. It seems as if too often the people have been willing to settle for movies with fast cars and loud explosions and maybe an alien or two and allow them to fall into the “Event” category when something needs to be far riskier to attain that status.

The Matrix Reloaded takes risks and because of that it falls flat sometimes. But without those risks we wouldn’t have Neo fighting a hundred Agent Smiths, or a fourteen minute freeway chase full of ballet and destruction, or even an image of a man flying through the sky that doesn’t just look borderline silly. Not to mention I kind of like the little twist revealed when Neo finally meets The Architect face to face.

So for these reasons I give The Matrix Reloaded a hearty pat on the back and a “way to go man” while I stock up on the popcorn and wait for the third part of the story to unfold in a few months.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Three day weekend? Yowza!

Yup, my first official three day weekend in many many years. Boy oh boy am I looking forward to this one and being another one of those nine to fivers stumbling around drunk Sunday night reveling in the fact I do not have to report to the office Monday morning. Where will I be stumbling? Why at the Local H show of course. It should rock rather heavily.

In anticipation of the three day weekend things are pretty quiet around the office. I'm busy typing up instruction manuals and am typing this during my mini-lunch break but the place seems pretty empty. Wierdly quiet. Kinda spooky.

Well, everyone else out there enjoy your holiday and if you are near a computer this weekend my latest Lost In Guyville column should be up by tonight. Check it out for the lowdown on concerts in NYC, Columbus OH and home sweet home Chicago.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Well, now I didn't expect that!

It's a bit too early to make any pronouncements but I'm listening to the new Jane's Addiction album Hypersonic and so far it doesn't suck. While it certainly isn't anywhere nearly as good as the original Jane's output it does seem to be faring better on my ears than any of the post-Jane's projects pursued by any of the members after the group first disbanded.

The most noticeable missing ingredient is the lack of anything truly "epic." One of the greatest things about Jane's Addiction was their ability to take a song and make it sound primal and huge and if the combined sounds always existed and had only recently been untapped by a brute shamanistic energy.

On that level Hypersonic does fail but since it's not the grand embarrassment I was afraid the "reunion" disc would be I would say it succeeds as a Farrell/Navarro/Perkins album.

I'm still not going to Lollapalooza though.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

This guy really gets to me. Jayson Blair fooled a lot of people and really damaged the credibility of one of the best US based sources for daily does he really have to treat the situation like it's one big joke. Wotta creep.

Workin’ nine to five…gotta make a livin’…

From the working front I can report that things are going swimmingly. I freaked a little bit last week because a) it took a few days for me to sort out some software/hardware issues and I hate feeling like I'm not completing anything b) I am really unused to commuting thirty miles to work and c) I'm going through some major adjustments because my friend Diann living with me at the moment. Yes my ex is back from New York living with me and no it’s none of your business so don’t ask. I’m tired of answering questions about it, okay?

My new job is a lot broader than I first thought and I seem to be doing a fair amount of layout and design in addition to the technical writing I was hired for. Another great thing about this place is that I'm kept in the loop for every step of product development so I feel like I'm learning quite a bit. It's pretty cool actually.

The only thing I just can't seem to adjust to is "lunch." I'm the kind of person that would rather grab a quick bite and work through lunch if it means getting more work done and getting home faster. Unfortunately the rush-hour going into Chicago from this direction seems to be pretty heavy from about 3:30 until 8:00 or other words it doesn't make a difference when I get out of here I still am not getting home anytime quick! Anyway, back to the lunch issue, I just don't seem to dig the hour off and wander around type of lunch. Maybe after I get settled in I will but right now I just like to keep busy from the second I step in to the building until I'm walking out the door.

Having said that, I've finished my mid-afternoon snack and now it's time to get back to work!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

in the OSU Student Union
129 W 12th Ave Clumbus, Ohio

Friday 5/16
The Stepford Five
Show start at 9:00pm
no cover!

Yup, I had a hand in putting this one together. I promise a loooong post about the new job and things in general over the weekend.
New jobby-job... kickin' my butty-butt...I'll fill you in on the exciting details later. Marvel at the wonders of commuting, Starbucks and fitting into an organizational flowchart!


Thursday, May 08, 2003

A Rock and/or Roll mid-life crisis.

So I'm nervous about my new job. I mean, I've worked in rock and/or roll and the business that surround it (bars, coffee shops, restaurants, clubs) for so long I am left with only the impression of how people must act towards each other in the "real world." On top of it, I've never, ever held a job that required drug tests, background checks or dress codes. Well, the dress code wasn't that huge a stretch since I attended Catholic schools up until halfway through my sophomore year of high school so ties and button down shirts don't freak me out too much.

I'm just now realizing all the new things I'm going to have to adapt to. For starters I'm buying a car from my friend Nanki -- which is doubly funny when you realize the last time she was selling a car (in 1994) I bought that one too! -- and now actually have to deal with commuting. Also I guess that folks in corporate type jobs actually do "do lunch" together when I'm the kind of guy that much prefers to "do lunch" all by myself. On top of it, I'm quitting a job that I both just started and really love to pursue this new one.

But when I begin to weigh the benefits against my silly fears I begin to realize that while this is a leap into the void of uncertainty it is also a leap I really have to take. The new position sounds like it's going to keep me busy learning a variety of new disciplines and introduce me into a brand new environment. If my co-workers are anything like my new boss and her assistant I have the feeling that occasionally "doing lunch" with groups of other people might actually be better than catching up on the articles in the latest Baffler. Most importantly this is a job that will allow me to write and -- within certain parameters -- actually allow me a different way of expressing myself.

So when all is said and done I'm thinking that a leap without the benefit of the rock and/or roll safety net I've firmly secured under me for so many years is probably the best thing I can do.

Man I almost sound like a grown-up!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Thank God.

Pete Townshend is innocent. I'm a huge Who fan and was terrified his whole back catalog would be sullied if he was found guilty and I'd lose much of the enjoyment his music brings my way.

Now it's a moot point!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

For the record...

...Betty the Beagle does not endorse this at all. In fact she thinks it's pretty stupid. However she does endorse the DJ team listed below. She thinks they're pretty nazz.
TONIGHT's true...
Rudy of Woolworthy
want you. And you. And you and you and you...

Old school rock and/or roll attitude
mixed with only the finest selections
from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

TONIGHT, Tuesday May 6, 2002
Free PBR from 9-10pm
Free CDs courtesy Capitol/EMI all night long

Brand new and as yet unreleased stuff from
The Dandy Warhols, Radiohead,
Blur, Grandaddy, Liz Phair,
The New Pornographers, Alkaline Trio,
Tomahawk, the one and only Ralston Shanklin
and all the usual old harder rockin' stuff...

Pass this up at your own peril.

Every Tuesday.
Only at Ten56.

1056 N Damen
Chicago, IL

Monday, May 05, 2003

All is revealed.

So talk about turmoil. in this terrible economy it figures that after months of no jobs I now have two jobs. Well, two job offers and the official acceptance of a job in the real world complete with ties, khakis and casual Fridays at Salton, Inc. The bummer part is that I have to quit the recording studio. This was a decision I agonized over but in the end I realized that the new job is actually in the field I got a degree in (English/Writing in case you couldn't guess), it'll be great experience and I really dig the person that'll be my immediate supervisor. So for this I can suffer Dockers I suppose. I am officially a grown-up now. Yikes!

I will also be commuting so now I need to buy a car. I am not looking forward to the drive but as long as I've got a CD player/radio I should be fine.

Saw Ted Leo last night and met his backing band at my friend Julie's place at a pre-show party. I am loving the new enforcement of club capacities because for Ted Leo playing a sold-out show last night there certainly was lots of room to spread out and relax. No more wall to wall cramming!

More later but right now I've got to find a new studio manager for this place!

Speaking of college.

This is the sort of thing I would have written back when I was trying to prove how clever and superior I was to the common man. Luckily I have -- mostly -- outgrown this tendency. This is still a fun read though.

Saturday, May 03, 2003


So there's a certain ebb and flow at the high tide water mark in an average evening at an average club or bar. You see the patrons swirling around each other in what seems to be a completely random pattern of events as they are all rubbing shoulders, thrusting crotches and wandering eyes. When you're loaded the events seem to mean nothing and occur naturally but when you're sober it's kind of like staring at a computer moniter at a slightly off angle as the resulting strobe effect unearths a deep discomfort in the pit of your stomach. You find yourself fascintaed and repulsed at the same time as you realize you can actually see the patterns emerging through the fog of interaction as the obviosusness of the crowd's movements as a whole makes itself apparent.

This is the kind of stuff I think about while cleaning my apartment on a sunny early spring day.


The Milwaukees
Brian Frazee
Doors at 10:00pm
$8 cover

This show will serve as a concrete dissertation
proving the thesis that honest and vibrant
rock and/or roll is still very much alive in Chicago.

The Note is located at 1565 N Milwaukee Ave in Chicago in the great state of Illinois...

Friday, May 02, 2003

You say May Day...I say Loyalty Day...tomato, to-mah-to...let's call the whole thing off...

Gunnin' for re-election Dubya?

Obviously. Loved him on that aircraft carrier yesterday. He looked so goddamn virile I wanted to puke. Let's see how tough he is when bullets are whizzing past his head in a battlefield.