Friday, January 16, 2009

My Need to Listen to More Stuff

I wish I could say that I was always this charming. So worldly. So wise and so well versed in all things cultured. But the truth is I'm just a dumb kid from Malden, Ma and if you're familiar with that particular part of our proud nation, you know damn well I ain't so well rounded. Here are some bands/artists that I deeply treasure now that I wish to jeebus christmas hisself that I had any inkling that they existed when they were in their heyday.

The Clash (and in turn any and all punk/hardcore): Just as others have lamented about maybe getting introduced through nefarious sources, here's my dirty admission: I didn't know a damn thing about them until the "Rock the Casbah" video blew my little suburban mind on the MTV. I immediately ran to my eldest sister's record collection to see if she had any their records. Then it dawned on me that she was 300+ miles away at college. Dammit dammit dammit. Jordan Marsh certainly won't carry THIS stuff! (turns out they did...whodathunkit?) Soon after that I discovered that there were all kinds of stores that actually ONLY SOLD records. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You mean you don't have to go to a frickin' department store and wade through sterilized record bins to get some tunes? Places like In Your Ear and Taang! I literally had no idea existed.

Elvis Costello: I actually remember my sister Theresa getting mad at me because I refused to listen to "just one fucking song!" from him. "His voice is all gooey!" I whined and returned to my Bay City Rollers 45 record. Goddammit. She did eventually get me to listen and I had to concede that he was, in fact, fantastic. Side note: While I loved (for the most part) Elvis' talk show thing that he had on the Sundance channel, I recently watched the episode where he interviewed The Police. Now Sting has annoyed me for many moons now (even before the frickin' Jaguar commercial...whatta doooooosh) so I just always assumed that it was mostly HIS fault that the group couldn't keep their shit together. Then I saw Stuart Copeland on Elvis' show. Holy frickin' frick. It was all I could do from trying to kick him in the nads on my TV (The Wiff tells me that that would have been a bad thing for not only me and my toes but the beloved TV itself. Oh, and apparently Copeland would have remained unharmed which I think we can all agree is not at all what I was shooting for. Pardon me whilst I dangle my preposition all up in your face). Unfortunately I couldn't find a clip of the acutal interview Elvis did with Copeland by himself. That's where the supreme dickiness is evident. Oh, and Sting came off really well. Charming even. Andy Summers was, in a word, dull.

The Cure: I spent most of my high school days deeply rooted in bands that no longer existed. Led Zep, The Doors, Black Sabbath (technically they were still around but once Ozzy was no longer at the helm they were dead to me), The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc. My younger sister Mary was/is waaaaaay hipper than I and had locked onto a bunch of groups (The Pixies, The Smiths, The Sugarcubes) that my classic rock brain couldn't wrap itself around. But here's the thing. Our bedrooms were right next to each other and I could hear her little boombox cranking out these songs. And I liked them. But I could NOT allow my sister to know that I liked the stuff that she liked (we were mortal enemies at the time..the price you pay for living in tiny apartments with too many people). As a matter of fact, I only recently let her know that she had turned me on to a whole slew of new-to-me bands. And by recently I mean in that last sentence. There you go Mary. You're smarter than me ok? Sheesh.

Rap music: I can remember being incensed that Aerosmith had collaborated with Run DMC and had allowed them to "ruin" Walk This Way. What I hadn't realized was that the guys in Aerosmith are a bunch of whores who should have stopped making records after Draw the Line (ok, maybe they could have quit halfway through Night in the Ruts) and that Run DMC actually saved their sorry asses (I'm still kinda pissed at Run DMC for that). But rap had been around for awhile by then and had seeped into my brain. I just hadn't given it its due. When I finally did I was voracious. I wanted to hear everything. That's true with most of my "discoveries". Once I realize that I like some kind of music I try to find other stuff that I might find interesting. That's when it pays to have peeps who actually can recommend stuff to you (big shout-out to Chris Dahlen).

And that's the thing I guess. I like hearing new things (or at least new to me) and I love it when people I know can show me the way. I recently returned the favor by sending my friend Slimmy a bunch of MP3's on a CD. He had asked me to send him stuff that he would not have heard and I had a blast putting that CD together, so much so that I made him another one. Of course there are other groups and bands or whatever that I've left out here that I wish I could claim I was a fan of from day one but I realize that it really doesn't matter. I like them now and that's enough. I'm through being cool.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Don't Care About My Birthday

I turned 39 recently and while that's not a terrible thing it certainly isn't something that I think needs to be celebrated either. I think that 39 is just a boring number and I'd much rather have a big to-do for my 40th next year. As I sit here teetering on the edge of my 40's I am just amazed at how many people were surprised when they asked me what I did for my birthday and my response was "Nothing". Actually that's not entirely true. I shovelled. And I actually paid two teenage hooligans to shovel for me. They did a kick-ass job (as if I had raised them myself) and only wanted $10 to do the work. I gave them $20 cuz I'm a frickin' philanthropist. But honestly, to paraphrase Patton Oswalt, it is ridiculous to give a shit about this birthday. I just wish the people I work with had gotten this message.

See, I've actually created my own monster. There was this dude Andy that worked here and he made the mistake of telling me that he ABSOLUTELY did not want anyone to know about his birthday. But I found out what day it was and since I'm a dickhead I planned a whole thing designed to embarrass and irritate him. It worked wonderfully. However I hadn't thought that maybe he'd get his own revenge when my birthday rolled around. Oh crap. It was awful and even more elaborate and embarrassing. Then Andy got a job somewhere else so I figured the bullshit with the birthdays would leave with him. Nope. Now, today is January what? 14th? My birthday was 3 frickin' days ago and on a Sunday to boot. When I came in on Monday I was confronted with this spectacle:

(forgive the shitty quality but all I had was my cell phone)
That's Sad Sam sitting on my keyboard
Funny enough right? I mean I had to do some manuevering to actually get INTO my cube and it certainly looked like it took them a lot of time to fuck up decorate my cube. So fair enough, you got me. Let's leave it at that ok? Nope. Cue all the nozzles who came by during the day to first gawk at the mess decorations then ask me if it was my birthday. Did you know that sarcasm is lost on most people? Well, it totally is.

But I endured this and slowly removed most of the stuff by the end of Monday. Yesterday my head felt like it was trying to birth Mothra so I stayed home. Today being now several days AFTER my birthday I figured it was over and we could all move on. Nope. The peeps in my group tricked me into a surprise cake thing. I hesitate to call it a party because I generally associate parties with things that are fun and not awkward and ill advised. Luckily the cake was awesome (hooray Lyndell's!!). Look, I don't want to sound like a grumpy old grouch but fucking hell people THAT'S WHAT I AM! So blah blah blah it was a nice gesture and I appreciate it but please cut it out. Seriously.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hey Look! A New Post!

Every new year people do those end of year lists things and I had actually thought about doing one cuz god knows I love me a list. However, I of course procrastinated and now it's kinda silly to have a end of 2008 list but I'm here to buck that trend. I'm a fuckin' trend-SETTER dammit! Look at me setting that trend! Work it!

Sorry about that. I got all worked up. Here's the thing. I don't really wanna do a list anymore. At least not one that tries to sum up things that I liked/disliked in 2008 (let's face it, the dislike side would be waaaaaaay too long) so I'm just gonna throw up 5 things that I was digging way back in 2008.

The Aggrolites.

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

Blonde Redhead.

The Walkmen.

Eagles of Death Metal.

Now I'm not saying that these are the top 5 or even that I've only just recently come across them (although I think that may be true for Blonde Redhead...), but they are a little snapshot of my music interests.

Honerable Mention:

Dizzee Rascal. Sampling Billy Squier? Oh hell yea I'm there.