Wednesday, August 31, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - A song that you used to love but now hate

Alice In Chains - Would

Give me a break, I was a freshman in high school. I also liked Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Live, and a couple other bands that embarrass me to admit to. I saw these guys at Lollapalooza 1993. I didn't like their show too much because I though they played too long and I wanted them to finish so I could see Primus sooner. Shut up.  Also when I finally saw Singles I was really let down. Really, those girls would consider seeing an Alice In Chains show to be "going out dancing"? I didn't buy it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - a song that describes you

Dead Kennedys - Well Paid Scientist

I guess I'm a well-paid scientist.  Great song, but the lyrics and video are pissing me the way, Jello, piss off. We can't all own record labels; some of us have to do the grunt work you are so enamored with. Who created the vinyl your records are printed on, who created the tape your bands record on, who designs the factories where the vinyl and tape are made? Scientists, you pathetic fucking Luddite.

Monday, August 29, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Days 12, 13, & 14

Busy weekend including a visit to the in-laws means I skipped a few days, and will make up for it now in one post.

Day 12 - a song from a band you hate

I decided I would not go for the easy target of the office intercom bands, no matter how much I hate them. Instead:

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

Christ, I fucking hate Fleetwood Mac. Can't fucking stand them. I did not enjoy them showing up on oldies or classic rock radio when I was growing up, and their stupid fucking balding ponytail poofy-sleeved shirt and vest reunion tour in the late 90s I certainly did not abide. Friends I trust have told me that this was a great song and I should hold back my hatred of this band until I gave this a chance. I sat through three or four noodly-doodly bullshit live performance videos of this before I could find the album version, and surprisingly it is not terrible. I would go as far as to say that it is very good. That does not forgive anything else they have done. "Landslide" was a crime against humanity. Mussolini made the trains run on time, but that does not forgive Fascism. Yes, I just Godwined my own blog. Shut up.  

Day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure

Oh, and what a guilty pleasure:

4 Non-Blondes - What's Up

Good lord, this song is so bad it is just awesome. White chick with dreadlocks and a nose-ring, top-hat adorned with motorcycle goggles, combat boots, flannel every-fucking-where, acoustic loud-quiet-loud ballad that kicks out the sweetened up distortion during the vapidly uplifting chorus and meaningless teen semi-angst vaguely quasi-revolutionary stuff to appeal to the sentiments of the early 90s. I didn't even buy this nonsense when I was 14, but it was played enough that I ended up inadvertently memorizing the lyrics. If you feed me beer and a karaoke machine, I will sing this song before the night is up, I guarantee you that. And you will be moved.

Day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love

Destiny's Child - Say My Name

It's a damn good song. I love all this late 90s - early 00s jerky-rhythm R&B. This is probably the best song of this style, Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" being a close second. I'm not usually a fan of the style of song where the singer tries to hit every single note, but I dig this.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

September 10, Cal's Bar

Got a show coming up September 10th at Cal's Bar, with Whales, The Heavy Bombers, and Honky Cemetery! This will be an awesome show that will butter your bitchcakes beyond belief.
Flyer below:


30 Day Song Challenge - Day 11

day 11 - a song from your favorite band
Killdozer is the best band ever of all time. So of course they are my favorite band. 
Killdozer - Man vs. Nature
Such a good song.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep

Black Dice - Endless Happiness

I was pretty big into Black Dice and a lot of that experimental noise stuff a decade ago. This album was a big change from the distorted noise that they were doing earlier. I got this album and put in on while driving at night and it almost made nod off, so it became the late night at home disk after that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 9

Day 09 - a song that you can dance to
This is my favorite song to dance to:

Peter Tsotsi - Pole Mula

I first heard this song in college on the radio, and looked for stuff by Peter Tsotsi for a long time but couldn't find anything. Then we got this record as a wedding present. It's on a compilation called Love Is Love. When Renee and I get home from a night on the town and are not tired enough to go to bed, we put this record on and dance around the house.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 8

Day 08 - a song that you know all the words to

I know the words to a lot of songs, so I picked the one with my favorite words for today.

Killdozer - Hamburger Martyr
This came on the ipod randomly at work when my least favorite song came on the muzak system. This song kicked and pooped all over the Five For Fighting song. If only Michael Gerald would do the same thing in real life to those guys. Yay Killdozer!

Also, these are the best lyrics to any song ever.

Monday, August 22, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 7

Day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
At the end of my last lab class in college, everyone in the class got together later that night to celebrate over a few beers. The project my lab partner and I were working on was a study of pipe and pump circuits determining the pressure drop over the system. Everyone else in the class had to work on that project earlier on in the semester, and it was a really irritating project.
So when this song came up in the mix on the stereo, we all got a little apoplectic. 
 Toots and the Maytals - Pressure Drop
Luckily it is a good enough song that no one smashed the stereo.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clap Them Hands

So I'll probably be doing a second volume of chaff for a later issue of Peehole, because I have some random doodles that don't fit a theme. I drew this one a month ago while watching some crap on tv and just got around to scanning it yesterday.

Yeah, I don't know what this is about. I'll be posting some of the more interesting doodles and ideas prior to finalizing the next issue.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 6

Day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
In 1996 I went on a camping trip to the Smokey Mountains for spring break with my friends Anna and Steve. The cd player we brought was skipping and we had to resort to the cassette player, and this was one of the few cassettes had had with us.

Beck - Satan Gave Me A Taco

So this was the soundtrack to my high school senior year spring break. It was on a dubbed tape of "Mellow Gold" and "Stereopathetic Soulmanure", and this was probably the first time I had heard anything by Beck other than "Loser", which I had dismissed as crap when it first came out on the radio. I think we listened to this song the most, just because the story was so funny. By the end of the trip we had the lyrics memorized and were singing it around the campfire. It's a shame that Beck got so bad later on, because his early stuff was genius. Steve and I still break into this song now after we've had a few beers together.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 5

Day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone

I present to you I Can See for Miles, by The Who.  This song reminds me of my dad. He played this record a lot when I was a kid. This is the song where he would turn the volume back up on the stereo after my mom turned it down when the record first went on. Sometimes he would drop the needle right to this song. He has a great record collection. My taste in music would probably suck a lot more if he didn't have so many good records. There were a lot of concept albums released around this time but I think this was the best one. Fuck a bunch of Sgt. Peppers. Yeah, it's a good album but I don't see the sea change it supposedly caused. The Who Sell Out didn't create a sea change either, but it had better songs. When I stay at my folks' house, usually I wake up in the morning and my dad is rocking out to this album, or Live At Leeds, making pancakes for breakfast for everyone.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 4

Day 4 - A song that makes you sad
There aren't many songs that I like that make me sad because I'm not sad listening to good music. I can be made sad by listening to bad music, but I don't want to put up any more songs I hate than what I need to. So I present to you Tom Waits, A Little Rain.
The lyrics are sad, especially the last verse:
"She was fifteen years old and she'd never seen the ocean, so she climbed into a van with a vagabond. And the last thing she said was I love you, Mom, and a little rain never hurt no one."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 3

30 Day Song Challenge - A song that makes you happy

I'm sad now because I am sick and I am missing band practice. This song makes me happy.

The Ronettes - Be My Baby

I could listen to this song all day. It's making me happier as I type this out. I've already listened to it twice. Sometimes it comes on the ipod on shuffle as I'm driving home from work sitting in 2 hours of traffic and I forget all my problems. I'll listen to it again. You should too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 2

Day 02 - your least favorite song

I hate a lot of songs. At work there is a speaker above my desk for the office intercom system which constantly plays the worst drivel ever pooped from the butt of white loser culture. I hate every singele one of these songs with the fire of a thousand suns. A co-worker tells me that if you type "Matchbox 20" into Pandora, the exact playlist will come up. I don't want to try it because I don't want any of these "artists" to get additional airtime. Adult contemporary is the worst thing ever created. I'd rather listen to crunk-core or witch-house or any of the multitude microgenres recently coined by kids these days than sit through this shit. What could possibly possess someone to write this type of stuff, much less listen to it? But there is one song on the playlist that holds a special place in my heart - well not my heart - what's the part of your body that hates? It holds a special place in my hate storage place.

Behold: Superman, by Five For Fighting. This came out during that time when a lot of shitty bands were writing songs about how it's hard to be Superman, and these guys said, "Hey, that's a lame idea! Let's run with that lame idea, and make an even lamer song that will shrink the collective penis of America! And while we're at it, we'll choose a tough-sounding name that will make the song sound even lamer in comparison!"

In the lovely sport of hockey, you see, a player gets penalized with "five for fighting" in particularly egregious fights, getting five minutes in the penalty box instead of the usual two. Make sense? Sure. Compare it to the song though. Make sense? Fuck no. It has no context in relation to hockey. It's not even the opposite of hockey, because that would somehow relate it to hockey. You can't even ribbon dance to this shit.

I first heard this song in the summer of 2001, I believe, on the college radio station of my hometown. Even though it was a terrible station compared to other college radio stations, this song had no place on their playlist. And it was in heavy rotation. I would call in and request that they don't play it. Every single time it happened. I was driving a lot for work and had the radio on a lot. One of my friends worked at the station and actually didn't play the song when it came up on rotation and was fired for it. He was already on thin ice for playing the wrong Weezer song once, but clearly something nefarious was at work here.

Flash forward to that fall and New York gets attacked by terrorists, and this song suddenly becomes a huge hit. Now, I have always thought the 9-11 truther folks were full of shit, but I am starting to connect the dots. It was not an inside job by the secret global elite as a means of creating an excuse for war in oil-rich lands thereby opening up the Mid-East as grounds for setting up an empire as some would have you believe. No, it was caused by these guys, to make this song a hit, thereby seizing the levers of power in the trans-global adult contemporary internet playlist market, so that they can make my life terrible. I started doing onsite work for a client in February 2009 beneath the intercom speaker and this song came on the speaker that first day. And the volume has slowly been cranked by that secret adult contemporary trans-global elite. I would send a T-1000 back in time to eliminate this band's parents, but I am afraid that tragic irony will step in and my actions will lead to them being spawned, just like with what happened to Linda Hamilton.

And what about that video? It's my first time seeing it, and  the video somehow manages to make the song worse. I hate this band with every ounce of my soul. Yes, I said soul, I am no longer skeptical about the existence of the soul because I can feel my soul being run through a meat grinder with every note of this song. And it gets played at work every single day. Welcome to my nightmare, bitches.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 1

So I've been seeing this 30 Day Song Challenge thing on Facebook quite a bit lately and started the challenge today. I figure I'll post them here as well and elaborate a little more on each song. So here's the rules:

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

The thing that kept me from starting the challenge was picking a favorite song. I have a lot of favorite songs, but when I get right down to it, it would have to be Deep In The Woods by The Birthday Party.

This song has everything in it that I like about the Birthday Party - the dark content, the tension, the noisy guitar over a clean guitar and bassline following the drums, and a capability of showing power and aggression without using speed or volume, both of which can seem like a cop-out - especially for that era of the 80s. I couldn't quickly find the version from the Bad Seed EP, so I got the Peel Sessions version above. Not as good as the original, but no slouch job neither.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

PRF BBQ 2011 Videos

So the videos of my performance at Quenchers for Thursday Night Lights of PRF BBQ 2011 are up now. There's a little trouble with the sound on some of the songs where the stomp pan is not very audible. So if you want the full effect, let me know and I'll come over to your house and stomp on the floor while you watch the videos. Dig.

Monster Truckin'

My Landlord Is A Douche

Skunk Onions

Whiskey Through A Straw

New Pants And Shirt

Deviant Surgeon


Jackpine Savage


Bag Of Meat

Prayer To God

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Release of My Rock Opera, Just Under a Decade Late

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but I got distracted by getting ready to go out west and look at mountains. Like these ones.

I know, I should have posted this blog entry instead. Look at those mountains, all majestic and shit, like they're trying a little too hard to impress me. Self indulgent asshole mountains.

But I digress. Back in 2002 I recorded a rock opera about a loser working in a fast food restaurant, entitled J. Wendell Bastardson vs. the Sandwich Rodeo. Besides giving copies of it to a few friends, I never did anything with it, because I got pretty embarrassed of some of the vocals and some of the mixing and tracking. And the title as well. The whole thing was recorded on 4-track and a lot of the songs had more than 4 tracks, so it was a pain in the ass to mix the first time around, and I really didn't want to do it again. Then in April I saw Mike Watt and the Missingmen play a show at Schubas and I was reminded that my original idea to do the rock opera was due to his 1997 album Contemplating the Engine Room. I really loved this album when it came out and at the time was in a creative writing class, coming to the conclusion that I can't write a story worth shit. So instead of writing a short story, I would write a rock opera instead.

I had written a song based on a little diddly I would sing to myself while working the fryer at Arby's back when I was in high school, and I had a bunch of other songs in my head based on little diddlies I came up with at other jobs. You see, I tend to come up with little melodies in my head while doing soul-crushing repetitive work, and if they're any good, I like to work them out when I get home. So I decided I would get really indulgent in the concept albumry area and make the entire album out of songs written while at work. Then I got lazy.

Flash forward a few years to my first post-college job. I worked for a company that did onsite brownfield soil and water testing for environmental remediation projects. It was altogether very mind numbing work and I didn't like my boss, who took advantage of my naive self like cutting my pay a few times and not repaying expense reports. I think I left that job with him still owing me a few hundred dollars for oil changes and tire repairs I payed for on company vehicles. So I started working on the rock opera again as a constructive way to take out my anger about working for such an asswipe. Also I was living in a shithole little town where I hated everybody and thus had nothing to do on the weekend, so I spent that time recording stuff. This is when I came up with most of the lyrics for the album as well. I quit my job soon after starting the recordings to a much better career and finished the recordings later that fall.

So, this past spring, I remixed the album, and my good friend Matt mastered it for me as best he could (all of the tracks were pinning pretty badly) to render it listenable and I threw the whole thing up on bandcamp.

J. Wendell Bastardson vs. the Sandwich Rodeo
There are a few parts that aren't that great, but all in all I'm satisfied with the final product. Let me break down for you the job I was working at for each song in the album:

Meat Slicer
 I wrote this song while working at a book warehouse during the summer of 1998. A particularly mind numbing job consisting of 8 hours a day of pulling books off of shelves and dropping them off at shipping. Lots of terrible music being played - the fortysomething men in receiving listed to the classic rock station (half good songs, half bad songs) and the fortysomething women in shipping listened to the lite fm station (half bad songs, half terrible songs) and I needed something to drown that crap out.

Theme from J. Wendell Bastardson vs. the Sandwich Rodeo
I wrote this song while bagging groceries in the spring of 1996. I was really into surf rock at the time and came up with ideas for a few of surf rock songs while working this job. A few years later I started a surf rock band and refined a few of these diddlies into full songs, but never got around to doing this one. What the hell, I wrote it at work, why not make it the theme song?

Frying for the Sandwich Rodeo
I wrote this song while working at Arby's in 1994. I would sing the first line of it to myself while working the fryer. The rest of the lyrics came about later.

Assistant Manager
I wrote this song while washing dishes in the dorm cafeteria in 1998. The manager there was this tool who had a tattoo of a football with a University of Michigan block M on his arm, and would talk about how he was on the football team and how U of M invented football or something. It was his entire life. It turns out he tried out for the team his freshman year of school as a walk on and, not surprisingly, didn't make the cut. I guess he never got over it. I don't think he even finished school, but he was still working in the dorm cafeteria. He somehow managed to be skinny and fat at the same time. This song is about him, as well as my boss from the aforementioned shitty job I discussed in detail above.

I wrote this song while working at a pharmacology lab in 1999 while in college. Actually this was a pretty cool job. I spent most of the time mixing chemicals for their stock solutions and sterilizing lab equipment, and eventually got to do DNA separations and worked with a bunch of really cool smart people. It did get monotonous at times, and that lends itself to songwriting. I also worked with e coli bacteria colonies, which smell really terrible. As was the subject of this song. I worked with a girl at Arby's who smelled really really terrible. Restaurant-clearing stench I mean, and not just any restaurant, but Arby's. The type of people who like to eat at Arby's could not stand her stench. She lived right down the street from the restaurant and her entire goal in life was to manage that particular store. It's kind of sad.

I wrote this song while working at a battery lab in 2000 while in college. This was another pretty cool job where I got to assemble button cell batteries and run tests on them. A lot of monotony was involved in this job, but it was interesting. This one is about trying to make ends meet - yeah, I don't really know much about being poor, as a middle class white dude whose parents put away money in a college fund at a young age, but I was really terrible with money at the time, so that counts for something.

 Canadian Coins
I wrote this song while working at a juice bar in 1997. I think I worked here for a month. I was getting paid out of the tip jar while they claimed they were waiting for all the tax form stuff to get worked out with the government, then they fired me because I had to move back home for the summer. I made a stink during the lunch rush about not getting paid until they took a few hundred dollars out of the cash register and told me to leave. This one is about a subtle, lame revenge I liked to take out on rude customers by giving them all their change in Canadian currency. For the unaware, in Michigan as well as all other border states I would assume, Canadian coins get mixed in with US currency since they look the same and are worth just about as much. But some customers would get really offended about receiving foreign money and complain about it. The managers don't care at all and tell them to get lost most of the time. I still hear people complain about receiving Canadian coins now, which is strange because it's probably worth more than US currency right now.

25 Cent Raise
I wrote this one at the shitty lab job. I think at this point I had never actually gotten a raise yet, other than when minimum wage was increased. But that's a discussion to save for later.

(Sometimes I Wish I Were A Caveman Instead of a Fry Cook But It Is Nice to Have This) Used Monte Carlo

I also wrote this one at the shitty lab job. My old car had just broken down and I was in dire straits since I was living in a town that was not pedestrian-friendly and I didn't want to be there anyway, so I needed a car.  A friend sold me a 1974 Monte Carlo for $500 that was in good working order but looked like crap since the roof was falling apart. But the price was right. Also there was a small leak in the gas tank, and later the car overheated (no temperature gauge) at 2 am on a Thursday when I was driving home from a show my old band played in Lansing at the same off-ramp where my previous car broke down. I am not usually superstitious but that off ramp still scares me when I drive by it.

Sweeping Gravel in the Parking Lot on the Fourth of July
I wrote this one at the battery lab. I got laid off from this job two weeks before graduation because our funding was eliminated - they got a lot of the funding from the Department of Energy, and the Bush administration had just had their special secret energy policy meeting where funding was funneled to Dick Cheney's pals.  At that time I only hated them for stealing an election, and I hadn't even had a chance to hate them for destroying the Bill of Rights yet since it was pre-9/11, but I have a very personal distaste for those guys for losing that job. This song is inspired by the day I was planning on going to Lollapalooza '94 but had to go to work even though I had requested the day off well in advance and they needed me - and then they had five of us sweep gravel in the parking lot. I left out the part about Lollapalooza in the song, because, you know, Lollapalooza, but that type of thing was important to me at the time.

I'll Kill You and I'll Kill Your Stupid Fucking Car
I wrote this one working for the state as an air quality permit engineer. That a really interesting job where I found my niche but the first few months were pretty boring while training was going on and people were figuring out what to do with the new guy. This song is based on a really obnoxious commercial that was played incessantly on tv around that time, I believe it was for Subway, where a bunch of douchebags in an SUV are picking on a guy working the drive thru at a nameless burger joint and later laugh thinking they made the kid cry at the end of the commercial.  And I would shout at the tv, hell no the kid wouldn't cry, he'd just spit in your drink or spill your food into the car as he hands it off, or throw an opened mayo packet through the car window to fuck up the interior. Yeah, it's just a commercial, but I hate commercials. I can't find it anywhere on the web so no one knows what I'm talking about anyway and that dates the song pretty heavily and makes the whole thing trite. Whatever. So I wrote a revenge fantasy, because seeing the same commercial over and over day after day makes me think bad thoughts about bad things.

(In Which the Speaker Decides to Quit When He Feels That the Straw Breaks the Camel's Back) So To Speak
I wrote this one while working at the shitty lab after working somewhere about 90 hours one week. I calculated what my hourly wages would be, if I were getting paid hourly wages, and it turned out to be less than minimum wage. Because I was paid a flat salary, there was no overtime. So I decided to quit. Here's the song. The narrator does not, however, decide to quit at this point.

Minimum Wage Hike
This was also written while working the shitty lab, around the same time as the last one. So, earlier when I said I had never gotten a raise before when writing 25 Cent Raise, actually now I'm realizing that isn't true, because I got a raise once through a hike to the minimum wage. I think it went up from $4.25 per hour up to $4.50 per hour; maybe it was a different sum, I can't remember. At the time I was making $4.40 per hour or thereabouts and it pissed me off. My wages didn't decrease but I found it insulting.  Earning minimum wage is the lowest that someone can legally pay you for work. When you're working for minimum wage, you're working for someone who is only paying you that wage because they don't want to get arrested, and if they could they would give you company money to buy company goods from a company store that cost more than your paycheck. If the 13th Amendment didn't exist they'd probably enslave you instead. It's like those creeps who read "Barely Legal" who are really just pedophiles with just enough social sense to read that instead of "Tiger Beat".

My Last Night As A Teenager
I wrote this one at the book warehouse job. I wrote the lyrics around the same time. I was pretty tired of the whole angst thing, and figured it was time to move on to a more adult-sounding esoteric foreign derived emotion, like maybe ennui.

Two Weeks Notice
This was another book warehouse composition. So this is the point at which the narrator decides to quit. Quitting a shitty job is awesome. I'm glad I no longer have a shitty job.

The Great Curly Fry Heist
I wrote this one working the dorm cafeteria. This is loosely based on a true story. My last day at Arby's I was ordered to drive three cases of fries to one on the other side of town because they were out of fries.  They did this all the time and never gave me gas money. They didn't give me any gas money for this either, so I didn't deliver them. I think I just threw them in a dumpster and left.  Apparently they didn't care because I got my last paycheck in the mail a few weeks later.

That's it. I hope you enjoy it. Comment section is below, if you're so inclined.