Dec 182022
 

I wrote this on Jan 14 2021 and never published it presumably because I wanted to get all of the songs finished on the ratings / commentary and I probably had other things to say, but it’s clear that’s never happening so I’m posting it as is from then because I think I had some good stuff here anyway.

I don’t normally listen to the Talk is Jericho podcast and I honestly don’t have a very high opinion of him (and it wasn’t improved by this episode), but since the topic was comparing Anthrax’s Spreading the Disease with their subsequent Among the Living, I have to weigh in. I feel I owe it to…whoever. He had Charlie and Scott from Anthrax and Eddie Trunk who I didn’t know it, but was working at Megaforce when Among the Living was released.

The premise of the episode format is that you take each track head to head and pick the winner. Scott and Charlie acknowledge at the start that they’re biased. I think it’s kinda arbitrary to use the album order to compare the tracks, but I don’t know the history for this particular idea. I’ll bet you’re shocked but I have opinions. First, I have some back story to relate to what the “panelists” also shared.

My introduction to thrash metal started with Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I remember buying the album. I’m pretty sure I was in Arlington and might’ve been on my way to a Rangers game with my father. I was already haunting Bill’s records (RIP Bill) by that time, but the store I remember was similar and I must’ve found it via liner notes. We didn’t have the Internet in 1986, kids. Anyway, up until Master, I had been mostly into bands like Ratt and Iron Maiden. Master of Puppets blew me away and I, of course, read the liner notes to that record which led me to Anthrax’s Spreading the Disease. Much like Eddie who mentions this in the podcast, I was blown away by Joey’s vocals over the thrash. I’ll save my opinions so I line them up with the ones from the podcast.

TrackMeChrisEddieScottCharlie
A.I.R. v. Among the Living
Lone Justice v. Caught In a MoshCaught
Madhouse v. I Am the LawLaw
S.S.C. / Stand or Fall v. N.F.L.N.F.L.
Enemy v. Skeletons in the ClosetSkeletons
Aftershock v. IndiansIndians
Armed and Dangerous v. One World
Medusa v. A.D.I. / Horror of It All
Gung-Ho v. Imitation of Life

Separate from the decisions comes the commentary…

  • I always wondered why they used the preacher from Poltergeist II to represent Randall Flagg from The Stand. I thought it worked on the album cover but it was a little odd. Jericho had no idea. It also sounds like nobody came after them about it.
  • I love that Eddie Trunk is the one who bought the original headdress for the Indians video
  • The talk about I’m the Man being safe as a b-side to I Am the Law in the UK and being obscure if it failed is hilarious in retrospect. Also, I own that 12″ and we fucking loved it when it came out. I need to digress to the Z-ROCK and Arcadia theater live recording that ended up on the I’m the Man EP
  • Scott translating all of the acronyms was great. Adolescence in Red was supposed to be a clever update of Rhapsody in Blue? I NEVER would have guessed that.
  • I’m as torn as Eddie on the Lone Justice / Caught match up. I LOVED Lone Justice and how on top and out front Joey’s vocals were but I have to give it to Caught. That was by far the hardest choice.
 Posted by on December 18, 2022 at 10:45 pm
Dec 182022
 

I wrote this in March 2021 and never published it. I have no idea why. It’s not just about COVID and now it’s sort of dated as I have watched a lot of other things since. Maybe this should be a recurring theme. And given the implosion of Twitter, we should all go back to blogging anyway. So, here’s the original post unchanged:

I’ve had some life changes that have meant that I have more time and control over evening television lately. It’s meant that I’ve had time to watch more of what I want instead of compromising with the other three members of the household.

Here’s what I can recall watching over the last month or so:

  • Fargo
    • I hadn’t finished the first season on FX but I thought it was great at the time and always wanted to go back to it.
    • The subsequent seasons (3) have been a mixed bag but it’s all generally pretty good. I think season 2 was my least favorite of the four so far.
  • Gonzo
    • Learned some things about early Hunter that I didn’t know, but he sure did become a victim of his own success. I didn’t know about his Jimmy Buffett connection
  • Speedwalking
    • Europeans generally do a much better job of coming of age movies than Americans. This is another example.
  • Haunting of Bly Manor
    • Henry Thomas does an interesting British accent
    • It’s appropriately creepy. Waiting to see if my daughter wants to join
  • Cobra Kai
    • First season was great. We’ve stalled on the second season. I don’t think it’s as good. In fact, now that I’ve watched the entire season, the finale was really just terrible. Even my 11 year old agreed. I don’t think we’ll watch the third season.
  • Ozark
    • First season was great. The exchange in the car between Bateman and Linney when he describes his take on her lover’s demise sold me on it or they might’ve lost me. It’s a mixed bag but still recommended. I’ll watch the fourth season when it arrives
  • El Camino – interesting add on to Breaking Bad. I shouldn’t have waited so long to watch this.
  • Gits – I ended up re-watching some of Hype because that’s where I remember seeing the most about Mia Zapata. I was not into them at the time. Super tragic about her and how that affected the band. At least they caught the dirtbag who killed her.
  • I’m Now – Mudhoney – confirmed my love for this band.
  • Mentors – legendary from t-shirts of people like Scott Ian and James Hetfield. Who knew El Duce could actually play.
  • Rambo – Last Blood – super violent and not all that great.
  • D.O.A. – covered most of the Sex Pistols US tour including the Dallas and San Antonio dates
  • Skinhead movie with Tim Roth
  • Game of Thrones
  • Squid and the Whale
    • I forgot that he also did Marriage Story which I watched in March as it became clear I was about to embark on my own divorce (the catalyst for all of this freedom to watch what I want for the first time in as long as I can remember)
    • The dad is insufferable but Jeff Daniels does a good job.
  • Various YouTube things. Mostly:
    • First We Feast (aka Hot Ones)
    • 3 Years Apart
    • Two Minutes to Late Night (with Gwarsenio Hall)
  • Ratched
    • Lily convinced me to watch this one. She’s an American Horror Story fan and it seems like stylistically, they’re related
    • It’s supposed to be a prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but it’s very loose in my opinion. Very Kubrick influenced in the visuals
  • Great British Baking
    • This is the one that I and both younger kids can watch together. We just finished the most recent season where Peter won. We’ve watched a few other seasons in the past. I miss Sandy. I can’t imagine anyone other than Prue and Noel.
 Posted by on December 18, 2022 at 10:29 pm
Feb 222022
 

The Chronicle posted a 30 year commemoration last week of the night that GG Allin played the Cavity Club in Austin. The story lines up pretty well with what I recall about it. I didn’t attend the February 1992 show but one of my bands at the time played the Cavity shortly after that and I recall seeing the arrest report on the wall and it was still a topic of discussion as we loaded our gear in to play the gig. The descriptions of the club in the story are accurate. There was a small entry area with a counter or table as you entered the venue and then the stage and main area were immediately to your right as you walked in. I don’t think they had a liquor license or served anything. The place was very bare bones and an utter dump. The gig we played is the only time I ever went to the club. I don’t recall it lasting very long. I had forgotten that it had the Zendik people in it. I’d see them on local cable access and around town.

I did attend the later 1993 show on 5th street. We had to sign a waiver to gain entry. It was a fairly tame show in the end but he did smash himself in the head with the microphone a few times. There was no stage and it was fairly crowded.

After GG died, when I lived in the East Village in 94/95, I would see Merle Allin wandering the streets. He’s a hard guy to miss given his facial hair choices along with his haircut. The documentary, Hated, was released around that time. It was the first film by Todd Phillips when he was an NYU film student. He later did Frat House which was an HBO documentary that got squashed by the families of the frat boys of whom it did not paint a flattering picture. I recall Tool featuring prominently in the soundtrack. I think I also saw that on Austin local cable access. Todd Phillips has gone on to have a pretty prominent director career with Old School, The Hangover movies and Joker.

Fast forward 10-15 years and I end up in another band where a band mate did some recording on one of GG’s albums and gets royalty checks from time to time. It’s become a tradition to meet out for beers and spend that money. Hence, the running joke: “These beers are on dear, departed Uncle GG. RIP”

 Posted by on February 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm
Nov 282021
 

What an interesting day. I’ll start with a happy belated birthday to one of my drumming godfathers, Charlie Benante, who celebrated a birthday yesterday. I love Charlie for so many reasons. He’s really a renaissance man. He’s responsible for not only some of the most amazing drum parts, but also many of the guitar riffs and the album art for Anthrax over the years. He’s on the same level as another drumming godfather (but more of a peer since we’re less than a year apart agewise), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. I bring up Questlove because he posted today about his disappointment at never being exposed to Pink Floyd’s The Wall until this week. It really struck me how we can all live in our music bubbles even as supposed educated adults. I know how he refers to Soul Train as his babysitter and his musical tutor over the years. I discounted that show as a kid but it was really an amazing showcase for so many artists.

The Pink Floyd connection flows farther into what me finally watching the first episode of Get Back, the new Beatles documentary from Peter Jackson. It turns out that as a part of that documentary and the making of Let It Be and Abbey Road, they were considering doing their first live performance in 3 years at Sabrata, a Roman amphitheatre in Libya, before ultimately deciding to do that rooftop gig. It’s relevant to the Pink Floyd discussion since they did Live at Pompeii in another amphitheatre only about a year later. I have to wonder if they somehow got the idea from the Beatles or someone involved in the Beatles or if that was just a common idea at the time?

I’ll note that going full circle back to hip hop, apparently the video for Gratitude by the Beastie Boys was an homage to Live at Pompeii. In fact, Money Mark commented about it in Questlove’s Instagram post about The Wall.

 Posted by on November 28, 2021 at 2:52 am
Sep 012021
 

Watched Malice at the Palace, part of the Untold documentary series on Netflix last night. I remember the media and David Stern jumped on the players but the fans were to blame along with the lack of police and security especially for what everyone knew would be a hotly contested game. It’s true that the players should never go into the stands. It’s just not worth it. The fans were charged but they ultimately got off easy. Their behavior was truly despicable.

Feel bad for all of the Pacers. Metta World Peace was clearly a troubled guy who was trying to deal with his mental health issues. You can see he does feel bad for the outcome. Jermaine O’Neal’s career was pretty much ruined and Reggie Miller lost his last real chance at getting a ring. I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to the NBA in 2004 so I never realized that it had such a broad reaching effect.

 Posted by on September 1, 2021 at 5:19 pm
Nov 032020
 

Side note: this has been sitting in my Drafts folder since 2007 so I’m just posting it as is.

I just read this post over on The Disney Blog. Like many things over the past 10 months, it’s reminded me of my family’s trip to Disneyland in March. We only spent a couple of hours in the Grand Californian, but it was one of the most relaxing times of the trip. Whit captures the feeling of being there as an adult. It’s time to finally post a recap of our trip before I forget it all.

Before last March, I’d visited Disneyland once with my family in the summer of 1987. I’d also visited Disneyworld in March of 1982 with my mother, sister, and another family from school. My dad sat that one out.

We stayed at the Disneyland hotel or “on property” to use the proper lingo in the Bonita tower. Staying at the Disneyland Hotel means that you have to walk through Downtown Disney to get to the park entrance. We had breakfast with the characters in Goofy’s Kitchen. We ate dinner at Hooke’s Point. Also ate at House of Blues the first day. Ate at Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Catal as well. In addition to having lunch at the Blue Bayou, Golden Horseshoe and Bengal Barbecue. We had brunch at Granville’s (which I think has since changed names to Steakhouse 55) on the last day with an excruciating van ride to the airport.

I was underwhelmed by Fantasmic and think we were just too wiped the night that we stayed for the parade and fireworks. The three-year-old balked at the Matterhorn and Snow White’s ride was too scary for her as well, but we got through it. I’m still partial to Space Mountain and Peter Pan, myself.

I think California Adventure gets a bad wrap. The food over there is certainly nothing of note. We ate lunch at the wharf / pier area one day and the only thing I remember was the microbrew stand where I was able to grab a welcome beer during all of the saccharin-y goodness. We did the princess dinner one night at Ariel’s Grotto, purely for my 3-year-old daughter. She loved it. The rest of us endured it. The two biggest thrill rides, in my opinion, are at California Adventure: Tower of Terror and California Screaming. I found the Redwood Creek challenge trail oddly relaxing. I was able to sit while my 7-year-old did the zip lines and treehouse. I was amazed that we got him on both Tower of Terror and California Screaming. He made repeat trips to the roller coaster, but once was enough for the Tower of Terror. The more recent movie tie-ins tend to fall short of the traditional rides. Monsters Inc. was impressive only for its set design and the Indiana Jones ride was also underwhelming. Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion was closed while we were there, but at least we got to do Pirates of the Carribean before its revamp to coincide with the release of the movie. The Tiki Room was another pleasant respite from the heat and the crazy crowds. I agree wholeheartedly with Wil’s assessment during a visit the month before we went.

 Posted by on November 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Aug 052020
 

There was an article in the NY Times Magazine about Jon Stewart at the end of June to coincide with his new movie. I had starred the e-mail with it in Gmail to follow up and read it. I finally got around to doing that this morning. Great article if you’re a fan of his or watched The Daily Show. (Who remembers when Craig Kilborn hosted before him and did 5 Questions with a celebrity guest at the end?).

This was my favorite quote:

What is broken about Washington isn’t the bureaucracy. It’s legislators’ ability to address the issues inherent in any society and the reason they can’t address them is that when you have a duopoly, there is no incentive to work together to create something better. Plus, you have one party whose premise is that government is bad and whose goal is to prove that, which makes them, in essence, a double agent. All these things coalesce to make problem-solving the antithesis of what we’ve created. We’re incentivized for more extreme candidates, for more extreme partisanship, for more conflict and permanent campaigning, for corporate interests to have more influence on the process, not less. The tax code isn’t complicated because poor people have demanded that it be that way.

 Posted by on August 5, 2020 at 11:13 am
Aug 302019
 

If you don’t already subscribe to Austin Kleon’s newsletter, you should. I first found him via a blog post for an Austin City Limits taping that I attended at the old studio. He almost always has at least one cool link or tidbit to share.

Today’s newsletter linked Stop Blaming ‘Jaws’ from Heather Havrilesky in 2013. I didn’t know that she wrote for NY Times Magazine. I recall liking several of her writings on Salon back in the early 2000s. The amusing part to me is that she pretty much wrote the script to 2018’s The Meg with that mock 2014 version of Jaws. I wonder if she’s asked for a cut of the royalties?

I’m not sure I completely agree with what she says in the article though. It’s true that the writing and directing in Jaws is far superior to any summer blockbuster (or most movies for that matter) made since. But that’s really true of the film industry in general. You can still say that Jaws caused the studios to chase the massive box office takes in the summer, maybe just not the subsequent decline in quality which probably happened for a number of reasons.

My go to example for this is Network. The writing and directing in that? So amazing. And it would never get made today. It’s on Netflix. If you’ve never seen it, you should go watch it right now.

 Posted by on August 30, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Mar 292018
 

I made a comment at work today after reviewing a pull request that someone had posted in Slack. It was fixing some forward slashes in routing URLs. So I asked:

Slash problems?

To which someone replied with a GIF of Slash from the November Rain video.

Which made me reply:

I actually saw the original GnR lineup a couple of times. Including a gig that they all agreed was one of their worst…and I have to agree. The show earlier that year with Aerosmith was better.

I had jumbled up the timeline a bit in my head, but I did see Guns N Roses three times. The Aerosmith show was July 1988 followed by the Texas Stadium show in September. It was definitely a rainy mess. The third time I saw them was with Matt Sorum and it was their ill fated 1991 tour as I mentioned with my ticket stub. I don’t have the ticket from the INXS show, but I do have the one from the Aerosmith gig.

 Posted by on March 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm
Jan 292018
 

I was a huge Metallica fan in the late 80s. Huge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Master of Puppets changed my life (for better or for worse?).

I don’t remember why or how, but I bought the album in the Spring of 1986. For some reason, I recall buying the record on the same Saturday that my father and I went to see the Rangers play the Yankees in Arlington. If that memory is correct, it means I bought it on May 10, 1986. It was barely a month before they played the Bronco Bowl in Fort Worth. I remember the date of the show and I still have the ticket stub.

So when the deluxe remaster box set was released late last year, I decided it was worth it to get a copy. My enthusiasm for the box set caused me to go and get a copy of Back to the Front. The book had been in my wish list from the previous year, but I hadn’t purchased it. I have to say that it’s a pretty great book and I highly recommend it, especially if you were a fan around that time, but I do have one gripe with the book. It follows the chronology of the tour pretty well and includes a huge amount of detail. The quote about the show that I saw on June 3 at the Bronco Bowl is completely inaccurate.

Back to the Front - Inaccurate quote

Sorry, Tobias Strul. Ozzy didn’t play the Bronco Bowl. The June 3 show was a Metallica headline show. They played several headliner shows while the Ozzy tour took a break between the first and second US legs. The tour dates for the Ultimate Sin Tour prove this out. My guess is that he saw them at the Tarrant County Convention center a month earlier on May 10th. I remember seeing James in the concession area at the Bronco Bowl before the show which I thought was really cool. I was unfamiliar with the band’s earlier material, so when they closed with Whiplash as one of the last songs, I thought they were saying “Witness”. Not long after the show, I bought both Ride The Lightning and Kill Em All. I remember hearing the news of the death of Cliff on tour in Europe while listening to the late Saturday night metal show in KNON. I remember loving the Garage Days Re-Visited EP (and still do). Perhaps if there’s a re-print, they’ll fix it?

I did see Ozzy a few years later at Reunion Arena also corroborated by the tour dates in Wikipedia. I certainly would’ve remembered seeing him in a tiny venue like the Bronco Bowl.

 Posted by on January 29, 2018 at 8:33 pm