Bands I’ve Seen

Posted in Dancing about architecture on May 31st, 2007 by bill

Inspired by Cecil and Jeff, I’ve decided to post here—mainly as a bulwark against deteriorating brain function—the official list of Bands I’ve Seen. Latest addition: Manu Chao at the Bill Graham Civic, last night. That’s right, I’m still hip, baby.

It’s a little terrifying to consider how much money is represented here, not to mention all the so-called “convenience fees” extorted from me by those bastards at Ticketmaster. Today, all I have to show for it are ticket stubs and memories, many of the latter fuzzy at best. But I have no regrets, except maybe not taking earplugs to that Thinking Fellers show, which I think caused about 20% of my rock’n'roll-related hearing loss. Or if I have regrets, they’re shows I didn’t see. Like the Lou Reed show that got cancelled because of the L.A. riots—you know, the one we had fourth-row tickets for. And in the words of the Butthole Surfers (seen three times that I can remember): “It’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done. And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her…SATAN!”

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Horse or Ballet?

Posted in Audio transmissions on May 23rd, 2007 by bill

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Alright, moving on…

Listening to some old mix tapes in the car lately, I’ve been reminded of the existence of a band called Sammy. (Not to be confused, as Amazon did, with Sammy Hagar or Sammy Davis Jr.) The band Sammy were a couple of smartass eggheads who back in 1996 made an album called Tales of Great Neck Glory. A fantastic album that never found an audience, and thus today can be had for a penny plus shipping.

Much like, say, Elastica, Sammy never invented anything; instead they distilled a long list of influences with such skill and aplomb that they transcended mere imitation. The odd tunings, deadpan vocals, and hyperclever lyrics point to a strong affinity for Pavement, but at other times Sammy calls to mind Sonic Youth, the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Brian Eno, the Cars, Wire…in truth, just about every touchstone in the history of cerebral rock music. And they sound damn tidy doing so.

Without further ado, here’s Sammy asking the musical question “Horse Or Ballet?”

The dream is over

Posted in The sporting life on May 16th, 2007 by bill
Boom Dizzle seeks comfort from an unlikely quarter.

Boom Dizzle seeks comfort from an unlikely quarter.

The dream is over—what can I say?
The dream is over—yesterday
I was the dreamweaver, now I’m reborn
I was the Walrus…now I’m John
And so my friends, you’ll just have to carry on
The dream is over…

–John Lennon

So long, Jerry, we’ll hardly miss ye

Posted in Whatever Else on May 15th, 2007 by bill

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Jerry Falwell looking, as always, self-satisfied.
That’s the mean, bitter, pinched, evil face of his wife at right.

An article about the death today of Rev. Jerry Falwell contained the following line:

The founder of the Moral Majority was discovered without a pulse at Liberty University.

To which the natural response is, this is news? Jerry Falwell was always a man without a heart. A truly despicable human being who presided over hypocritical moral witch hunts with a shit-eating grin plastered on his evil doughboy face. I am not a hateful person, but I will gladly dance upon his grave singing “Hallelujah,” just as soon as they dig one.
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Who Believes?

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 11th, 2007 by bill

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These are the times that try men’s souls (and some women’s): The Warriors find themselves down two games to none heading into tonight’s Game 3 in Oakland. Call it what you will — crucial, pivotal, decisive, essential, a must-win — this is flat-out A Big Game. Win and we’re back in business; lose and you can pretty much forget about it.

Not that I’m worried. I feel serenely confident that all will transpire as it must, and grateful for the privilege of experiencing this present moment as a conscious being here on planet Earth. I ask for nothing more than a good, clean, entertaining game. That, and maybe a few calls from the referees to make up for all the ones that went against us in Utah. Is that too much to ask? Am I talking to myself here? In the immortal words of the Butthole Surfers, are you freaking with me?

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Warriors

Posted in Dancing about architecture, Golden (State) Years on May 9th, 2007 by bill

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Enabled by the wonderful capabilities of the Interweb, which apparently is a series of pneumatic tubes connecting my home to every used record store on Earth, I have been adding some old classics to my CD library lately. Take, for instance, the eponymous 1977 debut by Ultravox, at that time known as “Ultravox!” for some unfortunate reason. In contrast to the later, smoother Ultravox of “Vienna” fame — for whom I also have a significant weakness — this version mixed a lot of punky energy into their stew of Bowie/Roxy/Eno/Velvets/Kraftwerk influences. The result is an ungainly hybrid of an album poised midway between punk and new wave, dating from an era before the two had split into identifiable genres.
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Shooting folksingers in a barrel

Posted in Whatever Else on May 2nd, 2007 by bill

You will call this a cheap shot, and you’ll be right. But I can’t help myself. A line from today’s news:

WASHINGTON – Folk singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez says she doesn’t know why she was not allowed to perform for recovering soldiers recently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as she planned.

Could it be…because they’ve suffered enough?

Wild, wild west

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 2nd, 2007 by bill

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The roof is, like, on fire.

These are weird, wild times here in the city some call “Golden State.” We had a major conflagration this weekend when a tanker truck exploded in the Macarthur maze, causing one major freeway to collapse onto another major freeway. Despite the massive fireball, no one was killed, and the only injury was to the truck driver, who walked away and took a cab to the hospital. My favorite detail from this story: despite having substantial second-degree burns, he actually tried to pay the cabbie for the ride before going inside for treatment.

Meanwhile, the basketball team some call “the Warriors” continued their crazy ride. In Game 4, they decisively dismantled the dudes from Dallas to take a 3-1 series lead. With a chance to clinch the series in Texas last night, they played horribly in the first half, came storming back from a 21-point deficit to lead by nine with 3:21 left, then fell apart down the stretch. It’s time to get a little nervous now, because suddenly the Mavericks have the momentum, and our boys really, really need to win Game 6 at home. I mean, who wants to make a third trip to Dallas? One’s enough for anybody.
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