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!" AC/DShe (x2) Ade, King Sunny Air Amadou & Mariam Ash, Daniel Bauhaus Beck (x3) Belly Beta Band Beulah (x2) Blackalicious (x2) Black, Frank (x4) Blind Boys of Alabama Bowie, David (x3) Breeders Brian Jonestown Massacre Built to Spill (2008) Burnett, T-Bone Butthole Surfers (x3?) Buzzcocks Camper Van Beethoven (x?) Cave, Nick Chao, Manu & the Radio Bemba Sound System Chilton, Alex Clinton, George & the P-Funk All Stars Costello, Elvis Cracker Cramps Cure David, Anthony Del the Funkyhomosapien Depeche Mode Devo (x2) Dimmer Doe, John (x2) Dr. John (x3) Eskimo Fall Flaming Lips fIREHOSE Foetus Funky Meters (x?) Gabriel, Peter Galactic Grateful Dead Guy, Buddy Harvey, PJ Hooker, John Lee Hooters Jane’s Addiction Jazz Butcher (x2) Jesus & Mary Chain (x3) King, B.B. Kool Keith (x2) Kraftwerk Latryx Levy, Barrington Lords of the New Church Los Lobos (x3) Love and Rockets (x4) Loved Ones Low Pop Suicide Lyrics Born Malkmus, Stephen Meat Puppets Monks of Doom Morphine Murphy, Peter Musselwhite, Charlie Naked, Buck & the Bare Bottom Boys Negativland Oranger Overwhelming Colorfast Ozomatli Pavement (x4) Pere Ubu Perry, Lee Pixies (x4) Presidents of the USA Rev. Horton Heat Richman, Jonathan Roots Semisonic Shriekback (x2) Siouxsie and the Banshees Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars (2008) Sippy Cups (x3) Sisters of Mercy Sly & Robbie/Taxi Gang Soft Boys Sonic Youth Spencer, Jon Blues Explosion (x2?) Spiritualized Starlight Mints Sugar Television They Might Be Giants Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 Thin White Rope Throwing Muses (x2) Tin Machine Tortoise Voice Farm (x?) Waits, Tom Wire Wolfgang Press Wu-Tang Clan Young Fresh Fellows Ze, Tom

Horse or Ballet?

Posted in Audio transmissions on May 23rd, 2007 by bill
sammy.jpg 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
[caption id="attachment_1741" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="Boom Dizzle seeks comfort from an unlikely quarter."]Boom Dizzle seeks comfort from an unlikely quarter.[/caption] 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
mn_falwell_ny125.jpg 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. So can I take the demise of this loathsome specimen as a good omen for my Golden State Warriors, who face elimination tonight in Utah? Sure I can. Nobody can stop me. But there'll be no cracks here about the state of Utah, which I honestly know very little about, or about the Jazz, who (despite what the Oakland Arena crowd would have you believe) do not suck. I won't try to rig the game by pleading for make-up calls or divine intercession; let's just have some high-quality, high-speed basketball and let the chips fall where they may. Right? Right.

Who Believes?

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 11th, 2007 by bill
WeBelieveOakland18x12.jpg 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
ultravox.jpg 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. Forcefully produced by Steve Lillywhite and Eno Himself, Ultravox! benefits greatly from the clarity of a digital remaster, at least compared to the old, scratched-up vinyl on which I always heard it before. The album's centerpiece is the epic "I Want to Be a Machine," which starts with "Space Oddity"-esque acoustic guitar, segues into bass-heavy Krautrock, and finishes with Billy Currie's violin leading us off to some kind of interplanetary hootenanny. Very strange, as is "My Sex," which references Brel-via-Bowie's "My Death" but with droning Eno synths and lyrics like "My sex waits for me/Like a mongrel waits, downwind on a tightrope leash." The whole enterprise is kept from floating away by Stevie Shears' jabbing guitar and high-caliber bass-and-drum work from Chris Cross and Warren Cann, displayed to good effect on the dubwise "Dangerous Rhythm." Would you like it? Hard to say. For me, this is music from the salad days, and so I am preternaturally fond of songs like "Life at Rainbow's End" and "The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned." I have a kindred spirit, it seems, in actor/director/Chloe-Sevigny-onscreen-blowjob-receiver Vincent Gallo, who is quoted thusly in the liner notes: "I connected with the first Ultravox LP in such a deep way that everything changed." For someone hearing it for the first time now, Ultravox! might sound like grand, operatic rock with a vibrant urgency, or it might sound like self-important gibberish. How you feel will depend in part on what you think of lead singer Dennis Leigh a.k.a. John Foxx, who has one of those distinctive but wobbly voices that make voice coaches cringe. Myself, I like it, although even I have to call shenanigans on the vinyl raincoat ensemble he wears on the cover. But then, who cares about fashion? Not deep thinkers like Vincent and me. He's a fan of the Buffalo Bills, as I am of the Golden State Warriors, who are suddenly, shockingly, fashionable. Bet you wondered how I was going to bring up the Warriors, didn't you? You probably didn't think I could do it. But I am in championship form right now, just like Matt Barnes.

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
fire.bmp 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. But on the bright side, this has been amazing, exciting basketball, and having the series continue isn't the worst thing in the world. We Who Root have to remind ourselves that just a couple weeks ago, we were still the fans of a loser basketball team that hadn't made the playoffs in 13 years. I fear that in recent days we may have become a but hubristic, unaccustomed as we are to the air at these altitudes. B-ball gods, if you are listening, I'd like to say officially and for the record: We are not worthy. I mean, sure, we suffered for many moons, but now we've had our fun; if your will is to smite us, so be it. We can't really ask for more. Did I sound convincing?