Friday Fives – the independence of it all

Do you have any Independence day traditions? 

I guess it mostly depends if you are inviting me over for something, are you? There has been an accidental tradition of being at Grateful Dead shows in the 4th. My first Dead show (Jerry is still alive at this point) was July 4th 1989. I was at many subsequent July 4th shows. When the Dead did their first formal reunion, about ten years ago, we were there, too. This was July 4th, at the Gorge. The band was billing itself at ‘the Dead’, as opposed to ‘the Grateful Dead’. I liked this, it was a classy homage to their history, but by not fully using the entire name… it was an homage to the fact Jerry was gone and it could never be the Dead again.

As you read this, I am seeing the Grateful Dead again, and again on July 4th. In the last 25 years, I suppose there have been more independence day holidays not at Dead shows that at Dead show. But, the Dead shows were certainly a bit more memorable. Where would you rather be? What is more American than the Grateful Dead? I can prove it. A couple years ago I had to call customer service for some Dead CDs I had ordered. The call center for the customer service was in India. That is how American they are. It made me sad. A bit of a sell out, and Jerry wouldn’t have allowed that.

Do you have any Independence bad memories? 

Well, yeah. After the aforementioned Dead reunion show at the Gorge, we were camping there. We had driven from Denver, you see. After the show, it being the 4th, everyone had fireworks. This is quite common at Dead shows. What you don’t have, though, is people in any condition to be shooting fireworks. It literally felt and sounded like a war zone. Shit was flying EVERYWHERE, and exploding. It wasn’t stuff flying up and exploding, either. It was stuff going sideways, and blowing up. It was terrifying.

Not conducive to sleep, and we were tired. Not just a ton of driving that day, but then an 8 hour concert. The Allmans opened up. Each band plays for about 3 to 4 hours, with set breaks in between. The amazing Warren Haynes played lead guitar for BOTH bands. 8 hours on stage. It was an amazing show, and the Gorge is still the most beautiful venue on Earth. I say that as someone who lives just a few miles away from Red Rocks.

It was tough to sleep. On top of that, some asshats set up a serious powerful speaker system out of their truck and played rave music. LOUDLY. It could be heard for miles. We didn’t want to hear ANY music, not to mention rave electronic music. We kept thinking security would come and tell them to turn it off. We were afraid to leave the tent, because of the fireworks issue. It wasn’t safe to walk around. Finally, after about an hour of this, I snuck over in the dark and unplugged their shit. Not just the power, that would be too easy. They could have just plugged it back in. I know how sound systems work, since I am in a rock band on the side. I think I pulled out the quarter inch audio jacks and then hid amplifier transfer box thingy under their tire. They would find it in the morning. It worked. Power to the people!

I am aware it’s ironic and kinda fucked up that a guy going to see the band who was the ultimate fuck you to the power structure… and I am now the ‘turn it down and get off my lawn’ guy. Had to be done, and everyone was appreciative.

What’s the most patriotic thing you have ever done? 

That thing above. Shutting down that goddamn fucking rave. Does ruining some kids one shot at a good time make me an American hero? Yup.

What is one of your earliest fireworks memories?

None come to mind. I can tell you this about fireworks. They were illegal in AZ. Super illegal. Like, you can’t have a sparkler. It’s the desert, and 120 in July. So, it absolutely makes sense. There were professional fireworks shows, of course, but it just wasn’t that big a deal. Well, I have some great stories about Mexican fireworks, but we don’t have time for that now.

What part of American history did you learn as a youth that you have discovered is completely misunderstood. 

Yeah. I remember finally figuring out the pledge of allegiance is some fucked up bullshit or a country that prides itself on freedom of everything.   I pledge allegiance to the flag, and the country, and to god? Fuck you, buddy. Now, there is nothing wrong with having pride in your country, and teaching that to kids. BUT… we were taught that before we knew what any of those words meant. THAT is what I resent. In my lower teens, I started the whole ‘society doesn’t know dick and is all about oppression and we gotta break the whole thing, man!’ phase. Did you have that? I hope so. I started standing for the pledge, but not saying it.

Power to the people. All power to the people. I can only hope that somewhere, some kid is writing in his blog about his 4th of July memories. He is telling a story about a joyous after concert dance celebration with the fans of the Grateful Dead, until some narc spoke into their shit and killed the joy. Probably a cop, no Deadhead would do such a power move.

Are you out there, kid? Happy 4th!

Friday Fives – you know… that thing?

What would you do if a random stranger gave you a bouquet of roses?

I don’t know. I think that would be pretty swell. Something like that happened when I was a wee lad… early high school. It was Valentines day, and so the spirit team or activity club or whatever they were called (these groups run high in ‘Beckys’) were delivering roses. You could buy a rose from them for a $1 and they would deliver them during 4th period… or something like that.

These gals came on their delivery and handed me ten roses – one at a time. This was in front of the whole class. Clearly someone liked me. I was super duper puzzled. I had zero idea. I looked around class and saw a girl wink at me – just like in the movies, I swear to you. Well, that was pretty goddamn great. We were briefly boyfriend and girlfriend. I can’t say anything like that has happened before or since. I highly recommend it, though.

 What is the most commonly used color in your house?

Green. Love green. Wife loves green. It bring the outside indoors, and celebrates the mountains and pine trees and all that is good about Colorado. There is a reason why out license plates are green. Green is good! Specifically, dark green. Like, a forest green. Whatever color my truck is, I like that color.

What color is your favorite t-shirt?

There is a grey (or is it gray?) one and a green one. The color isn’t what the most important part is. It’s the softness. Polo makes these light weight cotton t shirts that I use as under shirts. They are the softest thing in the world. They are also incredibly well made. I have ones that are ten years old that get worn almost once a week and are still in good shape. So… Very… Soft. Ever been hugged by god? Tell you what; this is what it feels like. I am generally wearing one of these shirts at all times. If it is warm out, I am just wearing that shirt. If it is cool out, I am wearing that shirt under whatever you see.

I think the shirts are fairly expensive… maybe $30 of $40 a pop. It’s worth it, though, I swear! Here is the deal, though, I go to the Polo outlet (pretty much my favorite place on Earth) in Castle Rock and get them on sale. Once they are at the outlet, they are already half off. So, they run about $20 a pop. Once a quarter, though, they cut those prices and sell them in all colors for $10 a pop. At this time, I buy like crazy.

It’s not collared, or anything like that. Even better is they now silk screen the tag. So, there is no tag. I know everyone is doing this, but I really love this development! I can’t find the shirt online. They have zillions of different shirts, of course. So, I found a picture from Facebook of me in a grey one. If you look, you will see just about every picture of me has me wearing one of these. I have four grey and four black ones. Treat yourself to one of these, it will change your life! It’s like a great pillow and great sheets and a nice bed. You are going to spend a third of your life in bed, make it comfy!

 If you could go back in time, what time would you live in and where would you live?

San Francisco about 1966-67, Monterey Pop era. You might be thinking San Fran 1969, but you would be dumb. By then, San Fran was overrun and overexposed. Every deadbeat kid from the entire country had set up camp in San Francisco by then, expecting to be taken care of. The great and iconic San Francisco bands were national now, and so not playing around the corner at the Matrix anymore. The Hells Angels had flooded the city with meth, too. So, it was mostly tweakers everywhere.

Wanna know what San Fran was like before then? It was heaven, and paradise. By 69, though… well… just read George Harrison’s account of it. He was disgusted.

 I thought it was gonna be all these groovy kinds of gypsy people with cool shops making works of art and paintings and carvings, but instead it turned out to be just a lot of bums, many of them who were just very young kids who came from all over America and dropped acid

For the 70s, Manhattan would be pretty great!

 If you could have any ONE thing in the entire world (not including money) what would it be?

A cool old beater convertible, just to cruise around the country in. nothing nice, mind you. Like… a $3,000 car. Not a classic car, by any means. Nothing anyone would ever bother to ‘restore’. Just something timeless and cool. It was someone’s grandma’s car.

Something like this.

OR… how about a thing? You know, Volkswagon Thing? Just ugly and unsafe and unreliable. This car says “know what? I am cool! I am cool because I don’t care if I am cool or not… and that makes me cool, right?” Just that they called it the ‘thing’ is brilliant. What else was in the running? The Volkswagon Aw Fuck it? The Volkswagon This Kid is Never Gonna Get Laid? Perhaps the Volkswagon This Seems structurally unsound and dangerous to give to a teenager.

Friday Fives – more music because my editor is a lazy bastard

I can say that, right?  I mean… it’s with love.  Plus, it’s about music.  I can hold forth all day long about music… but you poor sucks already know that, don’t you?

Who is the worst band you’ve ever seen live and why?

Flaming Lips at Red Rocks.  They were opening for someone, I don’t remember.  I was initially very excited to see them.  Wayne Coyne is famous for his great live shows.  Red Rocks is also a magical place that has coaxed amazing performances out of mediocre bands… like Radiohead.  The Flaming Lips were horrible.  I finally realized they are built on kitsch and novelty.  They are not good songwriters, they are not good musicians, and Wayne Coyne is not a good singer.  10 or 15 minutes into their set I have to leave. I went up top to drink and look at the amazing view.

See, if you go up top, the sound is horrible… which is best for the Lips.  It means it is also the quietest up there.  Red Rocks doesn’t put speakers anywhere but the base of a stage.  Normally, this would be fine… were you not on the side of the mountain.  If you are not in the first 30 rows, the sound is terrible.  This is especially true when the wind whips around, which it tends to do on the side of a mountain.

but why were they so bad?  The music just wasn’t compelling on any level.  Not catchy, nor thoughtful.  You know those kids songs Charlie Sheen’s character wrote on 2 and a half men?  It was stuff like ‘who cut the cheese?’.  Yeah, that is Flaming Lips catalog.  Anyone who likes Flaming Lips is a hipster douchebag!  Trust me, it takes one to know one.

But… any concert at Red Rocks can’t be that bad, right?  It’s like how they say a bad day fishing is better than the best day at work?  Well, they weren’t at this show.  To close, Will Rogers never met this band.

Who is the best band you’ve seen live, and why?

Oh golly, I have see a LOT of bands, and a LOT of great bands.  It is almost impossible to pick 1.  So, I’ll pick two.  This answer goes out to Cody in Utah, a month late.  Sorry on that, bud.  James Taylor and Barenaked Ladies.

James Taylor I have been seeing since high school, possibly longer.  For one, and maybe this is a given, he sounds perfect… every time.  80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s… every decade I have seen him he was amazing and crystal clear.  Every show gets the obvious hits.  Here is what people don’t know who haven’t seen him; he is hilarious.  He is a seriously funny and engaging guy.  I have seen comedians live, many of the great ones:  Richard Lewis, Mitch Hedberg, Lewis Black, and Brian Regan.  I have laughed that hard at every single James Taylor show.

Barenaked Ladies have always killed it live.  First time I saw them, it was the ‘Rock Spectacle’ tour, which was a very early greatest hits tour… of sorts.  I wasn’t a big fan, but I Gordon.  The internet wasn’t everywhere yet, so I hadn’t seen clips or read reviews.  After that show, I was amazed.  As everyone knows now, they are amazing live.  Funny and sweet and musical and surprisingly improvisational.

Every show becomes a very unique experience.  It becomes about your city, and current events.  I have seen them 3 or 4 times, and every show was better than the last.  I should have to mention this was all back when Steven Page was with them.  I can tell you every person who has ever seen BNL at any era with Steven Page will tell you it was the best concert they have ever seen.  I agree.

What band has your go to perfect album?

Again, SO many.  How about three?  Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti,  Guns & Roses Appetite for Destruction, and Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream.

What are the best comebacks you know?

The question implies a witty rejoinder, a la ‘the jerk store called’.  In the spirit of the questions leading up to this, I will assume it is a poorly worded question about career comebacks in music.

I have been seeing bands for 30 years now (it starts with the Police in 1983 and Rush in 1985… and keeps going).  One day, ask me about the golden girl I saw at the Rush, and how that kinda changed my life. Hint, it involves boobs and a 13 year old boy. A lot of the acts I have seen were regarded as ‘comebacks’, but never left.  I saw Pearl Jam in 1997, and the critics were calling it their ‘comeback’ tour.  They never went anywhere, never broke up, and never stopped making music.  Same has been said for seeing Page & Plant together, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.  To qualify, we have to count a band who fully broke up before I saw them.  I think these guys broke up a lot.  Heck, they just re-broke up again last fall.  This time, I think it’s for good.  Greg must be in his 70s.

The Allman Brothers.  I first saw them in the late 80s.  They had already been broken up and reunited several times by then.  Over the years, I saw them more than any other band, except maybe the Grateful Dead.  I have seen both bands around 20 times.

When I count the Dead above, I am talking about with Jerry Garcia.  Since his passing, I have seen another 20 shows of their very many offshoot bands.  Also saw Bobby and Jerry solo while Jerry was alive.  Still go see Bobby every year.  Going to see him this summer, too.

The Allmans are a unique class of band that got better with age.  They are also a band that thrives live.  I say the same about Iron Maiden.  They not only get better, they get more popular.  Iron Maiden is amazing, and one of two bands I NEVER miss when they come to town (the other is Pearl Jam).  Sorry, since we are talking about great live bands, I had to get in a plug for Iron Maiden.

The radio is on and you are driving down the road, a song comes on. At what moment did you realize “Damn.. I’m getting old”?

HA… I remember the exact moment.  Wifey and I were driving through Northern Arizona on our bi annual trek to see movies.  We were in a car that likely only had a cassette deck, and we were sick of our tapes.  Maybe it was CDs, who knows?  We were searching the radio for anything.  Of course, when you are in the middle of nowhere, you only get county and bible shit.  Why is that?

FINALLY we find a good station.  Prince was on, from his Purple Rain heyday.  We were so pleased with ourselves until the dj came on.  “you’re listening to Northern Arizona’s golden oldies.”.  we listened for another hour.  We knew, and loved, every song.  We were OLD, man.  I swear we were only in our early 30s, if even that.  We are early 40s, now.

* for the record, Wayne did this.  It was cool and all, but clearly a distraction from shitty music.  Prince never had to do this.  Also, he was afraid to get passed back/up.  Reasonable, since Red Rocks is built into the side of a mountain.  Still, though, that woulda been cool.

Friday Fives – great song, bad band edition

Reader, I am calling an audible here. These are the questions my editor gave me. I didn’t like them. Why? Well, it is its own tangent I will happily share. Then, I am taking a left turn and we’ll go music with today’s fives. The fives are about toy catalogs. I don’t know what that this, honest. I mean, I get the idea, but I didn’t have one. My assigning editor, Roy, has maybe ten years on me. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. I had a toy store, though. Great memories? Nope. Nothing but anger when I think of our toy store. When I was young, I loved building models. These things, plastic car and plane and boat replicas. I went crazy for these.

scalp mandala

I would make them super nice, and then paint them and just be all pleased with myself. When I made planes, I would hang them from the ceiling by thread.  When I made boats, I would make them sea worthy.  You do this with some bb’s for weight at the bottom and a bunch of glue.  They had to be sea worthy because every other Saturday we would flood the lawn with about 3 inches of water.  I know this sounds insane, but it was how we watered the lawn in Phoenix.  We had no sprinklers, but we had berms all around that would hold the water in place.  It looked exactly like this.  In fact, I bet my life this is our neighborhood, and this photo was taken withing a mile of our house.  We had about 30 orange trees on a tenth of an acre.  You paint them white to protect them from the sun.  Not sure if this link will translate, but here is the house in question.  So, every other Saturday I would take out the ships I made and float them on the lawn.  Then, of course, shoot them with my bb gun.

Best part about this toy store is that it was only a mile or so away… so I could get there on foot or bike. Didn’t need parents, just needed about $5. Why so bitter then? This lady bought the store, and she started changing the inventory. In short, she got rid of all the boy stuff and brought in stupid girl stuff. Doll stuff. I remember it was called ‘holly hobby’, and it destroyed my childhood. In just a few short months, all the models were gone. I went back to look and see if I remember this correctly, or if I was just being dramatic. Is there even such a thing as ‘holly hobby’? Given my admitted penchant for hyperbole and exaggeration… I should give a fresh look at the past. I googled ‘holly hobby’ and it was JUST how I remembered it. It was all true, and worse even than I remembered. I am going to give you the link to click on in just a second.

First, I want to put in your mind the ‘before’. This is the before. Cool, manly stuff. Mind you, I had no cable tv, no ipads, no tv in my room. This store was my lifeline. Once that lady moved in, she turned it into this. What is that shit? Is it clothes? Is it dolls? Is it clothes for dolls? Weirdest thing yet… I think it is just pictures of clothes for dolls. What the fuck is that? Did Phoenix suddenly have a glut of 50 year old childless women who collect cats? When I saw Roy’s questions below, it brought that back up. It’s been about 35 years, and a small craft store in a strip mall changed their inventory model. I am STILL pissed. I asked the lady to stock models. I told her I would pay her up front. She was not swayed. reSo, we took a different tact and I called an audible. I went poking around and found a really thoughtful question. Wow, we went a long way around the block when you consider we haven’t even started the fives yet.  See below –

What was the one toy you wanted more than anything as a kid, but never actually got?

What is a toy you used to play with as a kid, that was not actually a toy?

Did you cry crocodile tears when watching Toy Story 3?

What toys would you nominate for the Toy Hall Of Fame?

What about those holiday toy catalogs? Where they part of your holiday plans?

name 5 songs by bands you dislike

Creed > My Sacrifice

What’s not to like about this song. That riff is so bad ass. It is just a well written, well performed, and well sung song.

About the band – what’s to like? Scott Stapp is just a horrible person. He was marginal talent at best. Couldn’t even play and instrument, and became a collosal prick. You get to do that if you are Axl, maybe, but not a bunch of half wits who just got lucky. I feel kinda bad now. It turns out Stapp is nuts. Seriously nuts. Like publically said that the President is a secret member of Isis and tried to kill him. He was institutionalized so he would not commit suicide.

Scott hears phantom voices and has visions of people on fire. She says he’s also paranoid. He left a message with the dean of his kid’s school on November 10, warning that the school was about to become the target of an ISIS attack.

We didn’t know this 20 years ago. He was just a prick back then.  He also recently threatened to kill the president. I do like the guitarist, Tremonti.  Oh, and the bass player called Pearl Jam a bunch of Creed wannabe’s. Every song kinda sounds the same. Tremonti (the guitarist) uses this dropped D and super saturated sound that becomes awfully formulaic.  I really like his guitar choice, though.

 Kiss – Beth

 This song is great. It is so dumb, but it’s also beautiful. This was their biggest hit, can you believe that? I think it charted higher than ‘rock and roll all night’. You know that had to kill the band’s egos… that their biggest hit came from their drummer. I just strongly dislike their music. It isn’t about their overt commercialism. In fact, I respect Gene Simmons for being so upfront about their commercialism. Plus, it gave us this brilliant piece of snark. Here is how much I don’t like Kiss. I was trading hard drives of music with my buddies. We all met and brought our hard drives, with about 400 CDs each on them, and copied them to each other’s drives. Brad had 8 Kiss CDs on his hard drive. I had TONS of room on my hard drive, and I went in and deleted every singe Kiss album.

 Black Crowes – Hard to Handle

 I know it’s not cool to say, especially since I am a guitarist. This band is way overrated. Every song sounds the same to me, and I even saw them live. This is a very old song by Otis Redding. Here is how old we are talking, the Grateful Dead used to do this live, before I was even born. See that guy in the video? He was the original singer for the Dead, not Jerry Garcia. That was up until the Crowe’s version. After their version, there is no other. The Crowes just killed this version. No other version should be placed in the time capsule, not even the original.

 Lou Reed –Walk in the Wild Side

 Lou Reed is wildly, wildly overrated. I find his ‘music’ boring and pretentious and just shitty. For one thing, he doesn’t sing. I am not talking about Velvet Underground. I am talking about solo Lou Reed. He just talks, and it bores me to tears. He is like Patti Smith. All I hear is adoration, and how influential they were. I call shanigans!

This song, though, is just genius.  It is beautiful and catchy and weird as all fuck.  I think this put him on the map as a solo artist.

The Roots – You Got Me

I am not against the Roots.  Questlove is the bomb.  I read his autobiography.  Thing is, their music does nothing for me.  I am sure it’s great, I don’t know.  I have to admit I don’t care.  I am neither furrit, nor am I agin it.  The Roots are like the NFC in the NFL.  I know it exists, but I don’t pay attention.  This song, though, is just amazing and beautiful and perfect.  All credit to Erykah Badu, really.  Btw… that thing on her head… it’s a wig. Another interesting thing about her, she has kids with Andre 3000 from Outkast. Weird, huh  It’s about as subtle as Marge Simpson. Their singer, Tariq, calls himself ‘Black Thought’ as his stage name.  That is so badass it is unspeakable.

Rob Thomas & Carlos Santana – Smooth

I don’t like Rob Thomas or Matchbox 20.  It just sounds like it looks – white bread safe rock for white people.  Rob Thomas seems like a very nice guy.  He’ll take your daughter out, not bang her, and even have her home on time.  When he calls you sir, he means it out of respect… not because he is banging your daughter.  I get no passion from these guys.  In fact, if I had a daughter, when she turned 16 I would replace all her Cds with Matchbox 20 Cds.  No one is going out and getting pregnant listening to that stuff.

This song, though, is the bomb!  Maybe it’s because they have Carlos Santana, who I love.  Also, to give full credit, Rob Thomas wrote this song.  It’s a really great song, and it (re)introduced a whole new generation to Carlos Santana.  I love Santana.

friday fives >>> unrise… unset®

*update – I had to pull this after briefly publishing it.  It was a mess, and written under the duress of no sleep. It’s mostly the same, but I punched it up a bit.

puppy and i - Dec 2014

1. Other than normal salt and pepper, what is your go to spice to make food better?

onions.  on everything.  if it is being heated in a pan for any reason, it’s getting onions.  If not fresh, I’ll do dehydrated onions.  Either chunk or powder.  If I had a child his name would be onions.

salt and pepper really go a long way, though.  That is assuming you are using good quality stuff.  For pepper, you MUST be cracking fresh pepper with a pepper mill.  It tastes SO much better.  Plus, it looks cool and adds some theater.  It’s not expensive, and truly makes all the difference.  Same with salt.  Yes, fresh cracked salt.  Btw, if this is what you pull out to put on a steak, just stop reading now.  We have broken up.  Don’t even bother going to the store.  Sell your pots and pans and just cook with a microwave.  You sicken me. **** (see below)

If you don’t have a pepper mill, set down your Henckels and your Calphalon pots and go buy one.  See, that is a joke.  If you don’t have a pepper mill, you don’t even know what a Henckel or a Calphalon is.

2. What is your favorite sandwich

The gyro.  A great gyro is ‘proof god loves us and wants us to be happy‘.  Problem with that is, it appears I am super particular about gyros.  I am very rarely pleased with the results. other than that, you can’t much go wrong with a roast beef sammich.

3. What is a food thing you buy in bulk?

spices.  Not because we go through so much, but you pay about 1/20th the cost if you just buy the spices in powder form in a little ziplock.  They are probably fresher, too.  That being said, ‘bulk’ spices might mean a quarter cup, at most.  The savings, though, will sicken you.

How much to buy?  How long to keep?  Well, a few months ago on the Alton Brown podcast.  He had the wonderful and interesting proprietors of the ‘Spice House‘ on.  They said one year.  Does that mean you should take everything in your cabinet that is over a year old and throw it out?  Well, yeah.  Or, more practically, find what you do use,
and keep a fresh stash of that.  Look at this;  fenugreek?  What the fuck is that?  I cook nightly, and I have no idea.  This little container could literally be from a college spice set I bought.  Yeah, that was 20 years ago.

I mean, it could be a great and useful spice.  I have no idea, that is my concern.

4. What food is supposed to be easy to cook but you can never get it right?

ok, listen; this is a great talk we are having and all.  However, I have to shut us down.  I have a couple problems.  One is, I need to be in bed right now.  I recently got a job, which is awesome.

However, I have been unemployed since I was laid off this summer.  Before that, I was the night shift guy for years.  Point being, I have NO idea how to go to bed at a reasonable time.  Also, getting up at 6 am is just ugly.  I haven’t used my alarm in years.
PLUS… we have a puppy only a few months old.  Pic above is him and I.  So, wifey and I have to wake up every few hours to let him go pee.

Apologies, but I can’t finish.  It’s not even late, at least to me.  It’s 10:25 pm Thursday evening as I write this.  At this point, I feel (and look) like Courtney Love after a two week vacation with Charlie Sheen.

5. What is your best Thrift Store/Flea Market/Yard Sale kitchen device you have found?

sorry, man.  Gotta get to bed pronto.  Am too tired to think.  Plus, we just got a new laptop, which I type this on as we speak.  I don’t know its quirks yet.  It’s got a DVD thingy, though, which is nice.  So, my screen is split between you and this concert.  not only is this a great show, I was there!  Seriously, I was.  It was 1989-ish… it was my very first Dead show.

I am so tired I have began to hallucinate in the mornings.  Early, early in the mornings there is this phenomenon.  It’s like the sunset, but in reverse.  It’s spectacular.  I am calling it an ‘Unset®‘.  Isn’t that clever?  I mean, it’s not exactly worth getting up at the crack of 10:00 am, but if you find your self up at that time, check it out!

*** this is NOT meant to be an indictment against Schilling pepper.  half of my spices are Schilling.  That isn’t the point.  The concern is if you are buying this stuff you aren’t getting all the yummy and fighty oils a fresh cracked pepper corn delivers.  You know how you are all careful to keep your coffee super fresh, and not let it touch air, and you grind it only right before you are brewing?  I mean… you DO do these things, right?  Well, I am the same with my pepper.

As for Salt… I LOVE this stuff.  Don’t think any salt will do.  Half your diet is salt, treat yourself, man.  have some pride.  This is the only salt I use.  You can find it at weird places, like our ranch supply store in Parker.

Friday Fives – more music and michael vick, too

shadow

Which music artists football players* have changed the game?

Well, I will tell you about something a lot of people don’t talk about. Michael Vick! Yes, he is a horrible person and a psycho who killed dogs for sport. However, he also changed the game of football… completely and single-handedly. Allow me to ‘splain.

Before Vick, the guys on the line of scrimmage (both sides, defense and offense) weren’t designed for endurance or distance. They were big fat bastards. There only job was to run into each other at top speed, and allow the fat, planetary-like collisions to buy the QB enough time to dump the ball (to a running back behind him, or a receiver down field). So, if you worked on the line you didn’t have to be fast, or in shape. All you had to be was a fat motherfucker. Remember William ‘the refrigerator’ Perry? He was 382 pounds. That was his single only contribution to the Bears. He was AWESOME.

Quarterbacks didn’t run, for the most part. Dan Marino, for example, held every passing record in the NFL. He had 32 yards running, in his CAREER. Vick changed that by being incredibly mobile. Once you hiked him the ball, he just took off. Not even forward, necessarily… just everywhere.   So, the guys in charge of chasing him… just about fell over dead. This allowed him to take all the time in the world.

This changed the game. His mobility meant those guys on the line (again, both sides) had to be fit and fast and have endurance. Yes, other quarterbacks moved before him and after him… but no one like him. I think he changed the game of football more than any one single person before him. Also, don’t worry about the dog thing. He not only went to jail and humiliated himself… but if you believe in hell I assure you he is going there.

* I felt like talking about football.  So, I made an executive decision

What’s the best acoustic version of a song?

I have to go with Everlong on the Howard Stern show. Again, that single leaked recording was a revolution that made acoustic cool again. It was a breakthrough for everyone, ESPECIALLY Dave Grohl. He clearly hadn’t planned to play guitar for Howard. They probably had a guitar in studio. It was also apparent he had NEVER played the song on acoustic before. This is unusual, as almost all songs are written on acoustic.

Also, he didn’t choose the song, Baba Booey did (Dell’Abate, the show’s producer). So, he wings it… and creates an historic moment.

Keep in mind, ‘Unplugged’ had largely fallen off the radar… especially for rock groups. His performance is amazing. It also shows how unbelievable good that song is. It stands up without distortion or a big band or special effects or overdubs. To this day, Grohl plays that song with an acoustic intro all because of that day. Now, we don’t have video of this. It was when Howard was on terrestrial radio. We do have the audio though. Listen to this with headphones. Seriously, that is an order. Note his singing, as well. When Foo Fighters play live, Dave Grohl screams. There is little nuance to his singing OR playing, historically. In this performance, he sings carefully, and plays carefully. He is a good and talented musician.

Now, if I may generalize, 99.99999999% of the time I prefer an acoustic version of anything.  It shows the actual musical proficiency of the artists, and shows when a song can stand on its own without special effects and studio magic.

What is something you were a huge fan of BEFORE it got really popular?

Your mother. Ha, just kidding. Never liked her at all. How about this, I knew Guns and Roses before they were big. Before their first album. Before ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. Now, I don’t get credit for discovering them. That goes to Tim Ashton. He had a very obscure limited EP ‘Live like a fuckin’ suicide’ on cassette. Once Guns got big, they re-released that EP as side two of ‘Lies’. In fact, lemme tell you about that summer. Tim and I were inseparable. We spent every waking moment together. We had a cassette that we listened at all times. It never got pulled out of the cassette deck. We were, and it was a blank tape. One side had Appetite for Destruction and the other side had ‘in the Dark’ from the Grateful Dead. Two masterpiece albums

Also, I was a fan of Pumpkins years before ‘Today’ and all their hits off of Siamese Dream.

What are you listening to right now?

Mr Wonderful on Shark Tank. Oh.. you meant in music? The usual suspects, Pearl Jam bootlegs, Grateful Dead, early Dylan. Also, I picked up the new free U2 album today. It is quite good. Though I don’t listen to U2 like I used to, I think they are biggest and best rock band in the business today. Their disc from about 7 or 8 or 5 or 10 years ago (editors note:  2000.  So, it was 14 years ago)  is one of the top five albums EVER made. It’s called ‘All that you can’t leave behind’. It’s super duper good. You should not even finish reading this. Find that album and download it. Don’t even talk to me unless you have heard it about 45 times.

What’s the saddest song in the world?

Idiot Wind. Well, I dunno. Each and every song on that album is a serious heartbreaker and soul crusher. The album is Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’. It is his masterpiece form 1974 about his divorce. Dig these lyrics from Idiot Wind.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I’ll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Every single song on that album is that well written and that sad. This album, most famously, produced ‘Tangled up in Blue”.

OOOHHH WAIT. Even better and sadder – John Prine. Which song? Try every song he ever wrote. More specifically, look at this song – ‘Lake Marie’. At first glance, it appears to be sweet. The subtext of sadness is so well written, it simply defines the issue of heartbreak.

Yes, that it what it looks like at first… like ‘My Last Dutchess’. But look closer at the words. Holy fuck this song is sad. Here is a verse, and here is a clip of him playing said song.

Many years later I found myself talking to this girl
Who was standing there with her back turned to Lake Marie
The wind was blowing especially through her hair
There was four Italian sausages cooking on the outdoor grill
And Man, they was ssssssssizzlin’
Many years later we found ourselves in Canada
Trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish
Whatever seemed easier
That night she fell asleep in my arms
Humming the tune to “Louie Louie’
Aah baby, We gotta go now.

Friday Fives – media inquiry edition

1.  What Jeopardy category would you totally dominate?

rock and roll.  If only there was a rock and roll jeopardy, I would run the world, seriously.  The  sad part is, they did have one, years ago.  Jeff Probst was the host, long before Survivor.  Problem with that was, it was only for celebs.  There are clips online, its fun to watch.  To soothe myself, I play the rock category on Quizup on my phone.  It is super addictive, and they have every category you can imagine.  I kill at Simpsons, and I am top in all of Colorado for rock trivia.  I am in the 30’s for nationwide, but crawling up every day.  Come find me and play some games online.  My screen name is ‘Baron von Lono’, and my avatar is a pic of Dali (but of course)

If you can beat me in rock trivia, I will buy you lunch.  What’s my secret?  Well, I learned from the ancients and elders, like the band Mister Mister.  Carry a ladle, my brother.  Carry a ladle indeed.

2.  What cover song do you enjoy more than the original?

Good and thoughtful question, I am impressed.  I would have to say Jimi Hendrix version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ is easily one.  Strangely, that was Jimi’s biggest charting hit ever.  Bob Dylan (who wrote the song) like Jimi’s arrangement so much he changed the way he played it going forward to match Jimi’s version.

I am hoping and assuming you have heard Johnny Cash’s later work with Rick Rubin.  He did some AMAZING covers, and truly made them his own: Hurt, rusty cage, one.  Lesse… what else.  Janis’ version of Bobby McGee.  That is a Kris Kristofferson song.  Some other sad trivia about that is Janis never saw its success.  She died before the album came out that it was on.

Zac Brown band does a really great ‘Jolene’, which is Ray Lamontagne.  Quite a the departure for a country boy, and song that turned me on to ZBB.

Here is a fun one.  Walk off the Earth does a bitchin cover (and bitchin video) of Lorde’s ‘Royals‘.  All of their videos are super cool and innovative.

I will close with this awesome and unlikely pairing.  Willie Nelson covering Pearl Jam.

I could also tell you about the Grateful Dead covering Metallica.  However, you are just not ready for that yet.  But its real and it exists.

3.  What song, movie, game, etc. has a surprisingly dark message when you really look closer at it?

ooh, another thoughtful question.  I am quite tickled with today’s line of interrogation.  This is truly my expertise.  There are a bunch.  Born in the USA has such a booming and hopeful chorus.  The song is incredibly dark.  Reads mostly like a suicide note if you just look at the lyrics.  Here, go do.

Of course there is the Police with Every Breath you Take, but you already knew that one.

How about Today from Smashing Pumpkins?  Billy says he wrote that as a suicide note after fighting with writers block for some time, and a huge deadline approaching for him to deliver his big commercial breakthrough album (which became the masterpiece ‘Siamese Dream’).

There are, of course, tons.  All great music is written from sadness and heartbreak.

4.  What is the best, most creative music video you have seen?

That would have to go to the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ video.  I can’t think of a better one.

5.    What’s your theme song?

this one, I think