Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

It's been awhile, damn. Its not much, but here is the review of Atmosphere I wrote for Metro.Pop.

Artist: Atmosphere
Album: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.
Label: Rhymesayers
Release Date: 4.22.08

First thing – WHERE ARE THE ANT BEATS??? They aren’t there! I was initially furious, because Ant’s beats and Slug’s words go together like cocaine and conversation. Instead, Slug sketches his painful characters over mostly-live instrumentation, which ends up being a good move. Breaking their formula (Tom Waits and Tunde Adebimpe show up to help) gives Atmosphere a chance to grow and progress…which is a good thing…even after all my pissing and moaning (the call of a true Atmosphere fan).

POSTSCRIPT: Alright, so maybe you can tell I didn't want to like this. Maybe you can tell I kind of hated it. Initially. As far as I am concerned though, if Atmosphere wants to do some new style shit, let 'em. They already gave us the Atmosphere album everyone wanted to hear for free with 'Strictly Leakage'... and if that wasn't enough, there was some damn good Atmosphere spread across the four 'Sad Clown Bad [Season]' EP's that came out. So, that being said, with all of that solid music out there, Slug and Ant gave themselves enough breathing room to try some new shit. Did it all work? No, but they've put in their time and I'm more than happy to let them go ahead and grow a little.

Atmosphere - Shoulda Known

Atmoshpere - Not Another Day (Live on The Current 4.21.08)

The Current is the shit by the way. It makes me proud to be from Minnesota.

Sorry about the hiatus, friends, look out for a Cool Kids feature, an exclusive interview, and more general rambling in the near future.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cluster Headaches


Lets talk about these things. I've been suffering from these things called 'Cluster Headaches' since mid college, and...given that pain is inspiring, I'd like to put the experience of a Cluster Headache into words. I'm not looking for any pity or anything, but since I have been experiencing them lately, I'm going to document how they go down, for posterity's sake, and for the sake of any poor bastard who happens to google "I want to drill my brain out of my skull" or "searing, blinding pain in my left eye". You are not alone.

They started sometime around my first year of college, or whenever I still had my wisdom teeth, and needed to get them out. A few months from my appointment, these headaches started. I initially told my dentist that they felt like the wisdom teeth on one side of my head (this is important, its only ONE SIDE every time, always the left) were spinning around, placing themselves upside down, and then screaming inside the walls of my gums. The pain was localized around the upper jaw, radiating up into the front of the head, behind the eyes, with a huge junction of pain right around the temple.

At first, I didn't know what to do besides take ibuprofen and tough it out. But every day, they came back. They would wake me up at night from the deepest valleys of my sleep cycle, leaving me confused, sweating and exhausted in my bed at 3 am. I always thought that any kind of internal pain that was enough to drag you out of your Delta sleep cycle was some kind of monster indeed (pardon the Metallica parallel). This wasn't an alarm clock or a loud roommate that I could kick out the window or yell at, it was my own head, grabbing me and throwing me angrily into the land of consciousness with what felt like an excess of fluid in my head.

That was another thing about it. I felt like there was a kind of pain fluid in one side of my head. I felt that this fluid was liquid needles and sickness, perforating every thought with tiny billions of stabby, angry jabs.

Eventually I saw a massage therapist by accident. He told me about squeezing my head as hard as I could during a headache, "move the fluids around", he said. This became part of my arsenal. If you ever see me grabbing my head with both hands and squeezing it like its a garlic press, hand me some ibuprofen, I'm in rough shape. This squeezing method is crazy...and when I do it, I SWEAR I feel the fluid drain out into my mouth, through the tiny spaces in my gums. Of course I am just imagining this, but this kind of imagining is therapeutic. For a second after I squeeze it feels better, like I popped a brain blister, and the fluid that comes out tastes like how I imagine gun metal would taste.

The pain is something between a migraine at the low end, and those headaches the main character in Pi gets on a bad day.

So I've been to some doctors. First they told me it was my wisdom teeth. It wasn't. Then they told me I chewed too much gum. I quit chewing gum, and true, for awhile if I chewed a piece I would get a headache, but I don't know how much I buy the whole gum chewing thing. Then, my dentist said I had TMJ, a jaw disorder that causes way too much tension in the jaw. People with TMJ get wicked headaches that wake them up in the middle of the night because they are grinding their teeth. "Sounds like me", I said.

So I got a mouth guard...This helped for awhile, but not because the mouth guard was in the way, but for another reason I figured out later. They still came though.

I used to lie down on a nice day on the quad at college, looking up, both of my hands clawing up chunks of dirt underneath me. This wasn't all that therapeutic, but what I was doing to the grass was basically what I would do to the left side of my head if I was Grendel, or crazier. I also used to lay my head on my mother's shoulder and breathe deep...this when I was lucky enough to be at home for them. Moms are human therapy, but even she couldn't make the pain go away.

Then I saw a chiropractor in my home town. This guy was a fuckin quack. I was also having trouble with my wrist at the time, so he laid me down and shot my wrist with a low-beam laser. A LASER! Of course it didn't help, and when that was done he told me I was finished. I asked him about my head and he said, as he walked away, "uh you are probably just having some pain come up around your neck from your wrist..." and trailed off without looking me in my face.

So that didn't help.

See, the weird thing was that I would go through these intense periods where I would get them every day for about 5-10 days straight. In the course of these days I would go see some doctor, they would do something, and they would go away.

After doing some research, I've discovered that what I have can only be "cluster headaches". They are called that (also called "suicide headaches", but for different reasons) because they show up a few times a year in "clusters" of occurrences. They happen intensely for 5-10 days, only to go away again for an extended period of time. They never went away because of something we did, they went away because that's what they do. They fly south. No one is really quite sure why they happen, all they know is that they occur in something like 1% of the population.

The few, the proud, the bleeding from their left eyeball.

Thats another thing. When they are really bad, my eye will start to water and waver. Recently, after hiding in a conference room at work fighting off one of these things, I came out to ask my boss if I could go home. He took one look at me and said, "there is something seriously wrong with your eye". Which was good to hear, or it was good to have some visual (pun!) evidence to indicate the storm going on inside my head.

This proof was great because many people kind of brush it off. "Oh man, a migraine? I get those all the time, they suck, huh?". Or, "You'll be fine, just take a few ibuprofen and lie down". Migraines don't scream loud enough, ibuprofen doesn't work fast enough.

The point is that, no matter what I do, they are going to go away in a matter of days. Nothing really treats them besides drugs. Its not the teeth, not the gum, not the TMJ. They. Just. Happen. With no explanation whatsoever.

There's a book out there, "The Contortionist's Handbook". Its basically about a guy who gets headaches that sound a lot worse than mine. He is a liar and a counterfeiter, and every time he gets a headache he needs to find a hotel room, black out all the windows, unplug the phone, load up on pills, and slip into a coma for about 2 weeks until he comes to. When he does, he always finds his most recent fake life in shambles, and has to invent a new identity to carry him until the next headache. I'm not quite in his position, but the contortionist and I definitely found some common ground.

So I made some real progress last year. I was going through some terrible things with my girlfriend at the time (which is an indicator that they are most definitely triggered by stress) and sure enough, I was run over by the worst bout of headaches I've had to date.

Nothing could help me. She tried, bless her heart, but it doesn't really matter what someone else does or says...this isn't like a stomach flu where chicken soup, saltines, and rest will make it go away. Nothing tangible makes it go away, as time is not tangible.

So I went to my doctor again, he prescribed three medications - two of which made me feel like I had a wet towel wrapped around my head. The third actually helped if I took it at the VERY first hints of an attack, but ONLY if I caught it that early. He also referred me to a neurologist who concluded that there was nothing physically wrong with my brain or nervous system.

Soon after, I was back home in Minnesota, and since I tried everything else, I went to the family Chiropractor - a "Gonstead" chiropractor. Gonstead seems to me to be one of the most logical and practical type of Chiropractic "Science". He concluded I had a pinched nerve, and after some dramatic popping and cracking of my neck, I was convinced that I felt better. My headaches were gone.

4 days ago I realized this wasn't the case. The cluster came back, as it is prone to do, leaving me drilling into my temple, waking up in the middle of the night to find veins in my head I didn't know I had, loading up on Ibuprofen and Butalbital, and sleeping way too much.

I am not the only one going through this apparently...as I've found this site for other "survivors", and their testimonials are right, and I DEFINITELY don't have it as bad.

The horrible thing though, is that in about 6 days this will be a mere memory. I will be able to go on with my life as if nothing happened, until it happens again.

I really do not want pity here. Trust me, I'm not bitching about my headache I got today because I drank too much coffee or anything...I wouldn't waste anyone's time with that. This is therapeutic, to write about it, to finally put it into words.

If you are going through something like this, go to your doctor. Tell him what you think you have. If they brush it off as tension headaches or migraines, stab them with a tongue depressor and go find a second opinion. There are ways to deal with this, and after 6+ years of being lost, I'm starting to figure out a few ways that help.

So, with that being said, I'm back to work. I plan on eating buffalo wings tonight and relaxing. Yes!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who killed the music?

Whoa. Ok. So before my organs shut down, I need to recap what the hell just happened to me. This past week, starting last Friday, has been so saturated with music, sweating, dancing and fist pumping. So much to the point that I need to document it all here to remember it. I estimate the hours of music witnessed live to outweigh the hours I've spent doing anything normal - eating (slices of pizza on the way to a show), sleeping (only in the cab on the way home) and showering (I don't think bathing in other people's sweat counts as a shower). Here goes...

Last Friday was pretty innocent actually. I stayed local, opting to head down the street from my house to drink with some friends at an Eastern European bar. After a couple, the Croatians I was with decided to lie to the DJ, telling him it was my birthday (it wasn't) and that I was from Wisconsin (I'm not). Once he heard this, the DJ killed the Croatian "gypsy" techno he had been playing all night, and dominated the system with AC/DC, "Come on Eileen", and Guns and Roses. It was friggin' hilarious and they got me out of there before I could request "Walking in Memphis".

walk with me...

Actually, thats all pretty unrelated, but I need to document it as The Beginning. I wouldn't call it foreshadowing, but the music that night provided a bit of scale to measure the rest of the week by.

Now, the shows:

Saturday - edIT at Low End Theory - Knitting Factory - 11 pm.

If you haven't heard edIT by now I highly recommend it. He's part of a crew called the Glitch Mob, and he puts together ridiculously over the top beats that sound like if Prefuse 73 and Swizz Beats had a kid who only listens to club rap...or something. just listen, and watch for the hook... 2 minutes, 31 seconds in.

edIT - Battling GoGo Yubari in Downtown LA

It was here that I had the second of my "hey that's too much awesome in one place!!" moments. The first was when Daft Punk had the audacity to put "Around the World" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" into the same song. edIT, the sly little bastard, had the nerve to put the a capella from Roots Manuva's UK classic "Witness (One Hope)" over his own "Certified Air Raid Material". Again, the high concentration of awesome in that one moment should be illegal, it had Anthony and Myself clutching each other and jumping up and down like Walter and Perry from 'Home Movies'. If I could somehow find a copy of edIT's show I would definitely put it up here, but for now, just enjoy the tracks separately (the Manuva video is fucking hilarious).

edIT - Certified Air Raid Material

The night ended with Ant and I giddily beating the shit out of each other in the cab. Yes, edIT was so good it turned us gay.

Monday went to recovery and further domination in Super Smash Brothers.

Tuesday - Hot Chip and Matthew Dear - The Music Hall of Williamsburg (I hate typing that) - 8 pm.

I was dead sober for this one, as I was trying a new system: Healthy week, unhealthy weekend. Give it a shot sometime, I'm convinced that I would be dead right now if I didn't do this.

Matthew Dear opened, and as I have been really liking the album, I only have one complaint - the songs don't really go anywhere. They carry a pretty cool arc and then kind of just peter out...which is OK I guess, but it wasn't all that amazing live.

Then there was Hot Chip. They have come a long damn way since the first time I saw them. Back then, they still had a drummer, and their live shows were upbeat but still pretty hastily thrown together...Now though, they have become an absolute beast live. Every song is so tightly put together, formulated to squeeze as much quality into every moment. There's no drummer now, and they have no problem turning every song into a thumping anthem.

The peak from their new single "One Pure Thought"

Miles and I left that show realizing that we may not see Hot Chip in a small venue like that for quite some time. Their sold out Terminal 5 show was on the horizon, after that, The Garden, after that, The Moon.

Thursday - Paul Simon and friends - Brooklyn Academy of Music - 8 pm

This was a weird one. Paul Simon is playing a residency at BAM right now, doing different sets of music. The one I went to was called "Under African Skies" and consisted of a lot of tracks from Graceland. I'm a big fan of this album (especially Call Me Al) but the real reason I went was to see David Byrne, who was billed to perform a few songs with Paul. David Byrne is really one of my personal idols...discovering the Talking Heads was like hearing my own heartbeat for the first time. Cheesy as that is, their music and themes were instantly familiar to me, and I love them enough to pay 60 dollars to see their principal member sing two songs with Paul Simon. It was worth every last cent.

Paul Simon was barely there actually, it wasn't until 4 songs into the show that he took the stage to do "Gumboots" off of Graceland. He would sing a song, and then fall back impishly to play guitar lightly while someone else sang his songs. To be honest it was a bit of a rip-off until the amazingly white-haired David Byrne took the stage.

This was the third of my "whoa, too much awesome in place" moments. He did "Call me Al"...my personal karaoke standard, that I know every word to, was sung by one of my personal musical heroes. He brought the fucking house down. It doesn't translate too well to video, but a once sleepy crowd jumped (or hobbled) to their feet, in love with Byrne's odd phrasing of one of the most credible 80's pop songs ever. The only way it would have been better is if Chevy Chase showed up to play the bass solo.

his dancing...wow

Underwhelming as the rest of it was, I left happy and stunned.

Friday Double Feature - Man Man/Yeasayer at Brooklyn Masonic Temple/Devin the Dude at Studio B - 8 pm/12:30 am

This was when the machine broke down...

You pay hard for this lifestyle. My tiny sniffle after Paul Simon developed into a full blown fever and flu. Awesome. I didn't let it stop me though. We got to the Brooklyn Masonic Temple mighty early to catch the opener (Coyote) while slamming bottle after bottle of water. Actually, the only memorable thing about their set was watching a woman on the upper level fall on her face near the edge of the balcony, spilling an entire beer onto everyone below. Hilarious.

Yeasayer was pretty cool, and almost measures up to the hype. They were a lot more psychedelic than I thought they would be, and I actually gave one of their songs my undivided attention.

Man Man though, Jesus. I know there is a lot of hype around their live show, which Ant wouldn't shut up about (he loves them):

"They are going to cannibalize us"
"Man Man is going to be life changing"
"This will be a watershed right here, man"

And a bunch of other hyperbole. Luckily for him, they lived up to it. I don't know too many of their songs, but I can appreciate the fact that they sound like a junkyard tearing itself apart in a bar on a 3 year whiskey and heartbreak bender. Good stuff.

takes a minute to get going, but its worth it

Sweaty and gross, still sick, and sober, we hopped a cab to Studio B to see our man Devin the Dude, who ranks right up next to David Byrne as one of the greatest of all time. Yeah I said it.

We got there to see Prince Paul playing a DJ set called, "Every Good Rap Song Ever Made, Ever." A friend of mine works for Devin's label, so we got a shot at going backstage...an adventure that fell apart at the seams. We weren't back there long before the Polish manager came running into the room screaming and swearing in Polish, telling us to "get the fuck out of 'dis room, NOW!". Apparently she was pissed that a bunch of rap cats were smoking weed...which was confusing, being that Studio B has hosted the likes of RZA and a whole shitload of other weedhead rappers. She even kicked Devin out...of his own dressing room.

Anyway, we stayed in the main room, waiting for Devin to take the stage. This is the weird thing - all of his songs are the most laid back, blunted pieces of music in the world. Yet, when he does them live, they are still as engaging as any other kind of music. It's a bizarre phenomenon, but SO entertaining. He did the classics - "Lacville 79", "Doobie Ashtray", the song about pooping, "Do What the Fuck You Wanna Do", and the religion forming "Anythang".

Kind of a weird promo for the show

After the show, we went backstage again, and got to smoke weed with Devin the Dude. Now, I rarely smoke weed, hardly ever, but I had the opportunity to smoke with Devin the Dude...thats like playing hockey with Gretzky, meditating with Gandhi, or...eating a python with Booker T. Alright, so we didn't have a session or anything, but here's how it went down...

(Standing around backstage, bullshitting, drinking)
Devin (pounds all around): Alright, I'm out
All: See you later man....hey....you want to hit this blunt?
Devin: A little dab'll do ya (giggles, hits it three times and leaves)

A little dab'll do ya....wow. The point is, we smoked with Devin the Dude (technically) and I will not let anyone forget that, ever. Never ever.

We ended our night with an ill-advised trip to the bar in my neighborhood at 4 am. We're smart people.

Devin the Dude (ft. Andre, Snoop) - What a Job

Saturday - Hot Chip - Terminal 5 - 8 pm

I wish this was the end of it all, but damn...it wasn't. We made it there early to see the opener, Free Blood. Terrible. We opted instead to sit in the back, talk shit, and drink overpriced beer. My insides were liquefied and I was ready to drop, and Ant was ready to lose it. We were crashing hard, I lost feeling in most of my limbs, and I was breaking into cold sweats. I dropped the beer and stuck with the water, ready to see Hot Chip do their thing.

Terminal 5 is huge, and they played accordingly. The setlist was the same as Tuesday night, but the energy was not. They killed it, and the show was brilliant, but man...and I feel bad for saying this, the fans in the crowd were a bunch of idiots. Maybe I was just crabby, but constantly getting knocked around by drunk girls trying unsuccessfully to push their way to their front while getting beer spilled all over me threatened to ruin everything. Luckily the music was fuckin awesome.

"Over and Over"

"Ready for the Floor"

I can't believe I am still writing this. I've sweat through 3 shirts and forgot my own name about an hour ago...

After that, we went to a birthday party, came home, and fucking died. I woke up sometime around 830 pm yesterday, confused about everything that had just happened. Was it real? I don't know...I don't have any actual visual evidence that I went to any of these shows, but my body and mind is telling me it happened. So much music. I don't deserve a medal, but I should at least get a "participation" trophy and a kick in the nuts.

So now, I am going to cry in the shower. Its Ant's birthday tonight, I'll be the guy drinking OJ out of the carton at the bar.

Have a great day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tales of World War Z

Well hey there everyone,
I don't have much to offer other than this little nugget I just got from the editor and founder of "Tales of World War Z" the amazing zombie fan fiction website he started. I submitted 4 stories to the site, which you should check out because it truly is a great site.

Anyway, he just forwarded me this email from a concerned parent. I found it to be hilarious. Enjoy.

My 13 year old wants to sign up at your website and submit some of his work. I am hesitant to allow this since you allow such garbarge on your website as clitorus(sp) rex. What kind of moronic name is that? As the webmaster you can step in and ask this idiot to choose a more creative name--unless this is you? I dont mind the f*&$&*#ing this and shit that in the stories. The name highly offends me though. And I am sure Max Brooks cringes when he sees that infantile name on this homage to his book.

[Name Redacted],
concerned and responsible mother

In case you are interested, here are links to the offending stories:
Untitled Part 2
Wrap Yer Weasel, Son
The Drivers

I never thought I would anger a soccer mom. I'm not proud that she is pissed, but my pen name is a complete joke. Its a name I thought of while trying to think of hilarious band names with a friend of mine and it just stuck. This woman walks a thin line...she is going to let her 13 year old read and submit work to a site who's winning entry was a story involving a rotted zombie vagina, but she is mad about my name? I don't see the disconnect. Again, the line is thin.

Sorry lady. I hope my name didn't screw your kid up too much. Or maybe you just don't like it. Either way, all the best to you and your undead loving family.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Ok, I wanted to share the "work" of a friend of mine, Mark Samuelson. Actually I haven't been in the same room with this guy in like 5 years, but we've stayed in touch over the years since the day in 5th grade when he threw up all over our table at lunch...a little bit got on my jacket but it was all good.

I could go on and on about this guy (I think he tried Remote Viewing) but all I will say here is that his comics are fucking hilarious, like a more absurd David Shrigley that I can contact directly. His sense of humor rules, and his photography is basically everything I have ever tried to accomplish with a camera. So I've put some of his stuff up here. Click on the images to see them better and enjoy.


This one is called "High School"

This one is called "Beer Commercial"

This one is called "Young John F. Kennedy"

Yeah I'm not going to try and explain any of those. All I will say is that they have me laughing my balls off at work. Now, some of his photos...which are a whole 'nother kind of awesome.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hipster Runoff's "Nude" Remix

Wow...this is fitting...thanks Asian Dan

Dan Kennedy is a cool guy

Dan, if you were googling your name and found this, we need to talk dude. Email me.

So this guy Dan Kennedy wrote a book called "Rock On: An Office Power Ballad". The book takes place around 2002, when Dan got a job working for a major record label. One that I work with/for also. It's hilarious and basically encapsulates most of my thinking during the short downhill ride I've had here.

As a newbie in this world, you can't help but think that the music business is all strippers and blow. You picture the days when guys in suits shot the shit with Jimmy Page over whiskey and water on a Wednesday afternoon. You picture a floor full of spirited people, speaking their minds about the one topic they all share a love for: music. You picture all of this, for whatever reason, maybe you heard stories, saw a movie, or read a book that painted that picture for you.

The reality is, well...a lot different. More hilarious, stupider, and really ridiculous, and silly, and a whole shitload of other adjectives to describe absurdity.

The reality is that the music business is a slow moving, slow thinking, foolish animal run by egotistical has-beens and staffed by extremely intelligent young people who hold a valuable connection to the culture of music. A connection whose value goes unrecognized. The young are underpaid, the old are fattened and out of touch.

And that says nothing about the current state of things. Labels are crumbling, especially the majors. They didn't just miss "the" boat, they missed the boat, the dingy, the liferaft, and the friendly Tortoise who floated by and offered to lend a hand. The misfires on the end of the major music business did exactly what misfires do - either nothing happens, or they blow up in your face, removing noses to spite the rest of the business. These missteps (more "mis" prefixes please) are also hilariously misguided.

That's what Dan wrote most about, the ridiculous and absurd misadventures of record label executives. His position in the book is of a guy right at the verge of it all coming down, right before the label went public, right before the first major bloodbath of firings and lay-offs. He got canned, like so many others, around 2004 and the point of his book is that he came and went at the right times, when the spirit was flickering and the glow was fading. Bubbles bursting, etc...I could go on, but won't.

Well Dan, I'm still here man, and somehow, somehow, it got even worse. I too entered this business all idealistic about it, only to realize that 1) its just a damn office job and 2) no one really knows what the hell they are doing here 3) to constantly compromise your own ideas/opinions is almost necessary to survive here.

Case in point: I was out last night at a label event. These happen often but not as often as you'd think anymore. Budget shit. Anyway, one of our labels is rolling out a boy band. That's right, a boy band. Straight up Nsyncing ship here, New Kids on the Crack Rock. The formula for this band is basic and unchanged.

So we all went out last night to see this spectacle, to check out the new boy band put together by an A&R who has an unbelievable amount of credibility in the boy band field, because, well, he was in one. A big one. And this A&R guy is basically the coolest fucking guy you could ever meet.

I'm sitting there, and I realize (as Dan Kennedy often did) that I was expected to quiet my inner snarky guy, clam up the hipster bullshit, and kick the robots from MST3000 out of the theater. My real opinions of this music could not show through among 40 of my co-workers. I was expected to blandly nod my head and say things like "I could see how the kids could really get into this."

I know half of the other people in the room also thought it was ridiculous, but being that A&R guy who set this up is cool as fuck, and he has experience. He has experience loving and being a part of the kind of music that I only have experience hating and talking shit about. He was better suited for the job, so I rode for his cause.

As they dance and jumped and pointed and lip-synced, I realized that that's the weird thing about the music business, you end up riding for causes that you normally wouldn't even lower the kickstand for. Causes and sounds and ideas that are so ridiculous, but "doing ridiculous shit" is basically in your job description if you work at a major. The difference is either you buy into it (Dan's VP of marketing who wore sunglasses in conferences) or knuckle up, do your work so you can eventually start your own shit (me, most other assistants).

The fact is, this boy band will probably be successful, at LEAST with the Miley Cyrus/Jonah Brothers set, and they're the only damn people who buy records anymore anyway. So it was a good move and I'm not going to knock my A&R friend for having that foresight. I am just going to be honest about how I feel about it, like after the show, when I met their manager.

"What did you think of the show?"
"Honestly, It wasn't my type of music. I didn't like it, but my opinion doesn't really matter because it's not FOR me, there's people out there that would love this shit"
"Yeah that's what we're going for"
"Oh, you work with them?"
"I'm their manager."
"Oh nice, yeah man. They do everything right to be a boy band, its solid, digestible pop music and that's what it should be."

Bland as that sounds, that's probably the most direct exchange that guy had all night, I'm sure there were so many others in there who would just tell him how "fucking awesome" their performance was, or something. He got it too, he understood what he was selling and had no delusions about his role.

Anyway, I hadn't had one of those moments in this business in a long time. Deep in the trenches of the farthest reaches of weirdness I realized that Dan Kennedy was right in his book, and that there is a thin line between compromising your ideals and staying true to the business you believe in.

You hear that music business?? Even after all the bullshit you've thrown at me, I still vaguely defended one of your boy bands. You hear that goddamn you? You still have me in your ranks, and faithfully so. Part of the few, the proud, the soon to be unemployed. So quit fucking with us and give us our just desserts, or else we will turn our backs and walk the fuck out, taking every bit of swag and all the free Cd's we can carry.

Ah, who are we kidding, we're not going anywhere until you fire us. We don't have any skills...what are we going to do? Learn how to arc weld?

Guy Hands' Left Hand

Check out The Onion AV Club's interview with Dan Kennedy here. Good stuff.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Daft Bodies

Since I can't watch this at work, I'm storing it here until I can get to a safe computer. This HAS to be amazing.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Wow...ok I'm back.

I guess I never left much warning about where I went. I just spent the past 6 days in Phoenix with my family, I think.

How was it? Ask me in three weeks and I still couldn't tell you. I'll do my best here, but I will warn you, this involves a lot of rambling, complaining, and meandering.

Prior to my trip I was pasty, thin, worn out and ready to jump from this stupid barge in New York. I was in a deep rut with a lot on my mind. Those of you who know me know exactly what was on my mind. I was laid low, and only emerged for some classic gladhanding and light partying. I didn't have the stones to pull off much else, I guess.

My self confidence was straight in the shitter. I found myself questioning my every action, racked with regret and self-loathing in most every situation.

I would say I was in need of a vacation. Phoenix was going to be it man. I was going to get away from all of my problems, get some sun, drink some beers, and hang out with my family. I can't say I was too "pie in the sky" about my trip, but maybe I set myself up for disappointment. Mainly in the "get away from all of my problems" part of that list.

Matthew Dear - Deserter
This song helps explain....

When you are on vacation, they say you "don't have a care in the world"...I now wonder if "the world" includes the goings on inside your own mind. I didn't have a care in the world outside of my head, but inside, damn. I had no aggressors, yet I was under attack...my ex-girlfriend wasn't browbeating me into shame, remorse and sadness, my job wasn't stressing me out, my family wasn't doing anything but smiling, and the sun wasn't doing anything but shining. Yet, floating for hours in the pool, behind the darkest sunglasses ever, I was confronting horrors. And I had all the time in the world to do so.

A lot of meditation types say that in order to rid yourself of negative emotions you must enter them completely, feel them to their fullest extent, and then realize that they are just emotions passing through you, that they don't define you. This might be true, or it might just be an ample justification for the madness I was putting myself through that entire trip. That thing I wrote about being able to put yourself in a euphoric state with nothing but the power of your own mind goes both ways. With nothing but your own thoughts, you can take yourself to hell and back no matter how blue the sky is.

I had no distractions. Maybe that was the problem an all fronts. Distractions, distractions...damn. I ditched my blackberry, mostly ignored my phone, and did as much as I could to cut myself off from this blog, my job, and most of my friends. On one hand, distractions have brought me nothing but trouble...New York City infects a lack of focus into everyone who sets foot into it. There is simply too much to do here, and to give in to all of it becomes terminal. My relationship, now ended, may have died due to this affliction. Or maybe, again, I was justifying.

Regardless, without distractions I was able to sort through most of the terrible things I have done in the past year. You ever have one of those moments right before you fall asleep where you cycle through the events of your day until you get to the particularly embarrassing or stupid ones? Maybe after a night of drinking? Like, "aw man, yeah I probably shouldn't have told that girl she smelled like a stripper"? Or something like that...well it was like that, times about a million.

Why was I focused on these things? Why wasn't I stopping to smell the roses? The answer is simple. I was depressed. Thoroughly. What caused the depression? Breakup. Pure and simple, this was heartbreak, coupled with aftershocks of self doubt, loathing, and wounded pride.

So everything I did in Phoenix was colored with the same low grade depression as my little nature walks inside my own head. I saw Ogre, and that was amazing. He and his girl are f-ing perfect for each other, whether or not they know it, and my favorite part of the trip was my first night and subsequent morning with them. We caught up in the sun, drank beer out of can koozies with humorous phrases on them, laughed and ate brats, only to fall asleep early and get up even earlier.

The morning after, they went to work, while my brother and I drank coffee and hung out with their puppy. I also got the chance to FINALLY see the Playboy with '6' from Battlestar in it (Thanks Ogre, I will dedicate the first one to you). Yes I know I'm a dork, but you need to stop sleeping on that show. The new season starts this Friday and its going to be a burner (burner? really?).

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yes, suddenly I was on vacation and no distraction was enough to blind me from the glaring weight in my chest. What's the deal with that? After that first day, when not even a naked Cylon could beat down my depression, I knew I was in for a weird trip.

My family showed up that morning, and while it was great to see them, it was funny how quickly the old family stresses rear their ugly head. It didn't take long for my Mom and Sister to give my Dad shit, for me to start getting aggravated at my Dad just at their suggestion and then deciding I was wrong, for my brother and I to start beating up my sister, for my brother to start beating me up...it was classic and we fell into our roles instantly. We were the family in the rental car, taking a family trip, gritting our teeth and calling it "bonding".

It was great because it was easy, and easy wasn't distracting enough. Easy is great when it comes to family, but it wasn't enough to keep the self-loathing at bay...

So I spent more time face to face with my demons, the more time I spent I realized I needed to escape. I was the only one causing this hell, no one else was doing it to me. My brother always says I have an "overgrown conscience" and that I beat myself up too much for when things go wrong. He's right, I was whooping my own ass up one wall down the other. I needed to get out of this fight, call it off, throw in the towel and start finding my teeth in the crowd.

But I couldn't. I was in some kind of slow-diving auto pilot. Like Marvin from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the little robot who was programmed to be depressed all of the time. I couldn't help it...

Was this kind of thing necessary? Does a person need to go through this kind of shit to make some kind of realization about themselves? I guess so, because my depression stayed with me.

I carried it into the club in Phoenix. Phoenix is like a miniature LA. All of the girls are unbelievably attractive in that "airbrushed centerfold" way, and all of the guys are all douchebags of the highest order with stupid haircuts, "product", and shiny t-shirts with skulls on them. Me, my brother, Ogre, his girl, and two of her friends all went to a place where the girls dance to songs from 4 years ago on the bar. The only highlights of the night were a regrettable incident in the bathroom (who flushes an air freshener?) and my inadvertently hitting on a bride-to-be (what's the sash for? oh you're getting married? awesome!). Yup, that was it. Its not to say that we didn't have a good time, but for whatever reason (the diluted rambling above maybe?) the whole scene seemed alien to me. These people were all so crazy looking and uniform and false that I found myself longing for a smelly dive bar where everyone hates themselves more than the other patrons.

Misery loves company, right? No one here was miserable.

If you are still reading to this point, damn. Thanks I guess...this kind of rambling is pretty damn obnoxious I know, but hey sometimes it needs to happen. This, like everything else is another distraction...the only difference between this and any other distraction is that it comes with a bit of catharsis. I'm trying to be as honest as possible here, it makes me feel better.

On our last day I was floating in the pool on my daily stroll through the "bad part of town" behind my eyes, and I started thinking about the name of this town...'Phoenix'. Was that the idea? Were you supposed to come to Phoenix, burn up in the desert, and fly home a new person, a new being? Or maybe just all the sunburn, molting and skin-losing gave way to a new person underneath, but only in the physical sense?. Did I peel anything off me? Was I burning up to become something else? Either way I was going to call it a transformation, to give some meaning to the garbage I was feeling. I was going to label it profound and force myself to learn lessons.

Or it least I was going to write about it here...

I'm back now, I'm all tan, and I feel alright. I'm going to quit bitching and start getting my shit together. I have some great friends out here, and I will spend time with them. As far as work, my situation right now affords me a lot of opportunities so I am going to knuckle up and grab some of those opportunities, maybe change my venue a little. I can also write a little bit, so I am going to get some more gigs doing that. Why not? Its just me now. And girls? Sheesh...I mean, I can get a girl, but I don't think having one is going to help me right now. I've got some personal maintenance to do.

My trip to Phoenix was not bad, by any means. It was necessary. I know that now, that when you are feeling something, it is a natural consequence of something you saw or did. The trick is to follow the strings back on the negative feelings, to find the source of them. From there you can start yanking, cutting, and re-tying as you please.

I'm glad I horrified myself in the sun. I'm glad it left me back here all distracted and scared again. That trip to Phoenix was the hardest lesson I ever had to learn...

Maybe more later, but I will spare you for now as I am not far enough away to make some profound conclusion out of all of this.. Again, thanks for reading. I will be back to the usual fare soon.