Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I won't be coming home tonight!

Last night I wrote a song called ‘doin crimes’ which is about chloroforming your kids so you can go out and hit the clubs and break into drug dealers houses and steal their stash/money. At least that’s what it’s about on the surface. Traditionally, when people have asked me about what my songs mean, I’m pretty reluctant to give anything specific away for a simple reason: nothing sucks more than finding out that your perceived meaning of a song that you hold dear is not the meaning that the songwriter intended (and if you’re out there asking a stranger what a song is about, it’s safe to say that the song is at least a song you like, if not something important and personal).

There are a lot of songs out there where the meaning is completely unmistakable. Filler by Minor Threat comes to mind instantly. That song is amazing and there’s no doubt about what Ian is conveying in that song. Similarly, Pull My Strings by DK is not ever gonna be mistaken as a love song, a party song or a sad song about a dead friend or an ode to big, juicy asses. It’s straightforward and that’s great. These are just two examples of zillions of amazing songs where there’s really not a lot of room for lyrical interpretation. Being dense doesn’t automatically make lyrics good and often, it’s a bad thing. The only thing that can truly dictate if lyrics are good or not is if they sound good with the song and don’t detract from the song by being so overtly stupid that the listener has to go “what the fuck did they just say?” That’s really it.

However, that being said, I have a story. I was 18 and on tour with Slapstick. We were in College Station Texas and we were playing in some weird cafeteria. I remember that it was a 21+ show, which was weird since none of us were technically old enough to be there. Our record had just come out not long before the show. I don’t remember if it was weeks or months, but to give you an idea of how long ago this was, it had only come out on cassette. That meant that no lyric sheets were included. You had to write to the label to get one.

ANYWAY, so this guy shows up and he’s, at the time, the oldest fan of any of my music that I’d ever met. He was really old, like 25, and I couldn’t get over that there was a GROWN MAN that liked the music that me and my dumb buddies made in Matt’s basement. He was there with his girlfriend or wife and he was nervous to talk to me. This was mind boggling. I just remember being astounded to hear this dude stammer nervously when he asked me if he could talk to me about a song that really meant a lot to him. The song was called Not Tonight.

Now, I wrote the words to the song Not Tonight when I was sixteen. The words are not great. The emotional resonance of the themes is not high. However, at 18 I’d never had to answer for anything I’d ever created before and I wasn’t thinking in terms of standards or touching someone’s soul with music or anything like that. Honestly, I was just surprised to be having a conversation like this with a person that I perceived as an adult.

So I said, ‘yeah, that song is about being too drunk to drive home from a party and having to call your parents. Ha ha. Pretty fun.’ And the dude’s face just fell.
‘Oh, really? Is that what it’s about?” he asked. He was visibly bummed. “I thought it was about taking off, throwing off the shackles of your shitty town and making your own way, saying goodbye to the bullshit that holds you down and never looking back and seizing the opportunity to make something of your life.”

And, well, yeah. That would have been a better route to go. That’s a good idea for a song. I felt like a complete dipshit and a fraud. The dude’s day was ruined and I learned a few things that day. 1) if I was gonna make something, I should have a purpose behind making it. Not every song has to be profound, but it’s simply not enough to toss off some lyrics because they rhyme and/or kind of relate to the chorus. 2) I’m much better off keeping my mouth shut and letting people hold onto their ideas about what songs that I write are about. I’m not doing anyone any favors by reinterpreting what some piece of music means to someone from on high like a shitty professor. Fuck, I don’t have any authority on this besides what the songs mean to ME, which is totally different than what they would mean to anyone else (much in the same way that my kid means one thing to me, but that doesn’t mean that he should mean the same thing to you, or even that he possibly COULD mean the same thing to you. It’s different perspective vectors. It’s IMPOSSIBLE that you and I have the same idea about any song, especially one that I’m so myopically close to as one that I wrote, and that’s fine. That’s the way it’s gotta be.)

That was the last day I ever told anyone straight up what a song was about. That was also marked the moment where I began taking lyrics extremely seriously. That hasn’t always worked out for me, and of course that doesn’t mean that I haven’t written songs that aren’t ‘serious’ since then. It means, however, that I’ve never since then just tossed off lyrics without really thinking about them.

However, when it’s a song no one has ever heard, and therefore don’t give a fuck about, it’s a whole different thing. So, to get back to my new tune, “Doin Crimes,” it’s inspired by the Casey Anthony trial, some recent break ins at my friend’s weed farm, some of the looting and rioting that’s become so popular around the world this spring and so forth. It’s crimes. Doing crimes.

The song is also about my own crazy paranoia and fear of the world at large. It’s kind of about the way that people self-medicate using things that can destroy them in order to feel safe and invincible. It’s kind of nuts that in a real way something like driving a porche 130 mph down windy roads when you’re piss drunk is a way to armor yourself against a scary world that could kill you at any minute (and for the record, I don’t know that dude at all and I’m not trying to speak for, or ill of the dead). Taking risks is a way of rationalizing the irrational nature of senseless destruction that exists all around us. “If I can jump out of an airplane and live, then cancer doesn’t stand a chance against me.” “if I can drive drunk every night and get away with it, then fuck man…I can do anything. I can live through anything.” These are stupid notions, but anyone who takes risks operates at least a little bit on this level, if not consciously. At least that’s my amateur psychiatric evaluation.

Yeah, so that’s what this song is about. You all can hear it in a few months. Try to forget this by then. It’s better, lyrically at least, than Not Tonight. I can promise that much.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And we're gonna kill all of you tonight!

Punk rock is funny. It occupies a unique place culturally, along with metal (for my purposes here, I’m talking about real metal, not that fruity nose pierce-y, platform boots and goatees shit that somehow gets to call itself metal even though it’s just barf) and to a lesser extent, hip hop. But really, of all these, punk rock is the weirdest one. Punk rock is truly a unique subculture, even in its new identity as the triple A mainstream. Here’s what I mean:

Everyone hates punk rock. Listen to people talk about punk rock and they spit out the words ‘punk rock’ or ‘punk rocker’ with disdain. They roll their eyes and kind of subtly mock the impossible idealism, the style, the fruity bands that come to be representative of the genre (how the fuck did WE end up the subculture with the most dorky white guys wearing their hats with the bill shooting out at a 90 degree angle from their faces?) and generally the notion that punk rock is anything more than a subway stop on the way to a life full of more cool and acceptable pursuits like listening to Arcade Fire and figuring out the best way to sear steaks.

Even when people my age talk about how they used to be a punk, it’s said with a mixture of self conscious, embarrassed weariness and disdain for the notion that anyone could still operate under the umbrella of the subculture. I get this all the time (and by all the time, I mean every once in a while) “Oh, aren’t you the guy from Lawrence Arms/The Falcon/Broadways/Slapstick? Wow. I used to listen to you back when I was punk/in highschool/younger/in college/not yet into LCD Soundsystem.”

This is always said in a slightly insulting way, though people don’t seem to realize it. And I get it. Hell, I don’t want to be identified by the dumb ideas I had about the world in highschool any more than anyone else, but I do find it kind of amusing that people feel the need to qualify TO ME that they no longer listen to the band I’m still in, lest I think them dorky. I mean, uh…jeez, what does that say about how you feel about me? I’m still going to Lawrence Arms shows. In fact, I go to every single one.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Punk rock is youth music for sure and a lot of people DO get out of it, and I’m not self important or naïve enough to think that everyone that ever buys or rips a record I’m on should like it forever, or even at all. It’s just recently come to my attention how completely embarrassed former punks are by their past. It’s weird.

The other two kinds of music that typically wind up as phases in peoples lives are hip hop and metal (now, I’m talking vaguely countercultural folks here, by and large. Not your cousin who listens to Kenny Chesney or the dude that goes to the same gym as you who listens to Mariah Carey). Metal is nerdy, but there’s a pride in being a former metalhead that can’t be overstated. This comes in no small part from the fact that metal is the TRUE music of outcasts. Punk pretends to be outcast music, but it’s so cool that the purported mission statement (we’re just a bunch of losers who are doing something outside the mainstream) never really adds up. I mean, look at all the classic standard bearers of punk rock. They’re good looking and/or cool and have a total ‘fuck you’ attitude (which, from James Dean to Eminem has always equaled ‘super cool’ to the mainstream). I mean, Joey Ramone might have been weird looking, but there’s probably no one cooler that’s ever lived, and people like Iggy Pop, Sid, Billy Idol, Deborah Harry, and so on were pretty much models. The spiky belts, hair and the fashion was always such a huge part of the whole deal that it’s just completely disingenuous to suggest that it’s something done by gross, happily disgusting outcasts. Punk is cool. It’s the straight up alternative to being the quarterback. It’s the dark, brooding version of a ken doll and that’s why (as much of a bummer as it is to ‘purists’ and/or ‘haters’ or whatever) that nowadays there are so many really good looking ‘punk’ bands, including the real big guns like Blink 182 and Green Day. People call them pretty boys and fags and posers but honestly, they’re not any more preening and style-over-substance than a bunch of their predecessors dating all the way back to the beginning of the genre (okay, sure, let’s just get this out there, there are plenty of ugly punks and for every Billy Idol there’s a Pig Champion. Yes. But that’s the sneaky beauty of it. Punk is, like it or not, a great way for the weirdos and true freakshows to dress up and be stylish without looking like they’re copping to being stylish. There’s no way that everyone at the fest just spontaneously likes beards and flannels. It’s just a different avenue for the same dissemination of highly stylized notions of personal appearance. It’s very clever, but don’t be so naïve as to pretend it doesn’t exist, even in the basements and the bars. Punk and fashion are Siamese twins, and there’s nothing wrong with that, all youth culture deals in identity and there’s nothing more concrete than your appearance when it comes to establishing identity).

But metal is different. Even when metal got co-opted in the 80’s, it had to be mixed with glam to be palatable. The fat metalhead with the mullet was NEVER cool and still is not. Metal is inextricably linked to dorky things like video games, comics and Dungeons and Dragons. Metal is made by math nerds who sit there and practice scales all day and night. Metal is a genre that’s even more completely male than punk rock (which is saying something). Metal is, in short, dorky. And as a result, people aren’t afraid to say they used to be metal. It’s a statement of true iconoclasm, whereas punk rock, once you separate yourself from it, looks like a lot of fashion and blind sloganeering POSING as iconoclasm. And that’s kind of the other thing:

Metal has no societal agenda (except for in certain instances to bring the dark lord up from the depths, which is laudable) while punk rock blindly screams about just about everything. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think that’s great. Hell, let’s not forget or overlook that I’m writing this as a 34 year old punk rocker. I STILL identify with the ideology of punk rock and it’s safe to say that I will for the rest of my life. BUT, in much the same way that when you look back at a relationship you were in during highschool, where you really loved some girl/guy and you professed your love to them and wrote their name all over your arms and notebooks and kissed pictures of them and on and on and on, it’s embarrassing, if for no other reason than because you spent so much of your soul on something that didn’t pay off for you. That’s not to say that the feelings weren’t real, just that the emotional investment makes the retrospect a little bit cringe-worthy. I think that’s the same thing with punk rock. Metal is radical, but no one makes overblown statements like “metal saved my life” the way they do about punk rock. That’s the difference.

Finally there’s hip hop. People that really REALLY go through a hip hop phase tend to stay hip hop fans for life, and so do most people, if for no other reason than that it’s the dominant music of our culture right now. There’s no shame in liking hip hop UNLESS you’re dick deep in your punk rock or metal identity, in which case it’s only acceptable to eschew anything that could be perceived as an antithesis to the movement, bro. That said, white kids that are super into hip hop have a very narrow margin of error before they become completely hilarious and embarrassing (I’m looking your direction Chet Haze!).

I dunno. I just was thinking about this because this new record I’m making was written as a real departure, and I think to an extent it is, but last night I laid down 4 demos with Nick and upon listening back to them I was struck that they still maintained an energy that was undeniably rooted in punk rock, and I’m pretty fucking proud of that. The shit’s in my blood folks.

Hmmmm….That sounds kind of metal.

Monday, June 27, 2011

where's my goddamned cane?

Big weekend, eh? The gays in New York are all getting married and the gays in Chicago (and presumably everywhere that there’s a gay parade) are all waking up bleary eyed and hung over, and dragging themselves into work today, perhaps filled with a little more joy or shame or both than usual thanks to what would have to have been one of the most righteous gay parades of all time.

I didn’t go. I’m kind of old and I’ve got kids and well…I dunno, man. I didn’t go. Lately, and I mean in the last month or two, a lot of things have kind of changed for me. It’s weird, but I’d say I’ve definitely turned a corner in terms of age or at least age appropriate behavior. I’m not sure I like it, but uh…I dunno. It seems like I’m stuck with it.

For example, I can no longer really take shots. It’s not just that hangovers these days feel like a phalanx of orcs trampling my soul (though that’s part of it). It’s not just that shots make me way too drunk way too fast. It’s that physically taking shots is difficult now. I used to just suck em down and that was that, but now it’s all I can do to not barf when I take a shot and then next thing I know I’m practically asleep on my feet. It’s just not actually fun anymore. I don’t like this new turn of events at all, but I’m not gonna just keep doing something out of dumb tradition if it no longer makes me feel good (that’s only cool if we’re talking about giving bj’s, folks [heyo!]). In fact, the entire time I was in San Francisco playing all those shows I only took one shot, and that was on stage when I played solo. That’s a paltry score for such a mammoth weekend, but you know what? I felt shitty enough every single day without shots, so it looks like they’re something I gotta phase out, at least for a while.

Speaking of, hangovers are so bad these days that they’re actually deterring me from drinking at all when I’m not out in an already boozy social situation (like say, a show or something like that). This is an entirely new development. When I was younger I never got hungover at all. Never ever. In fact, I credit my traditional ability to wake up feeling fine no matter what happened the night before with a huge part of why drinking has always been such an enjoyable pastime. I never really felt the consequences. However, as I got older (and I’m aware that this happens to everyone) hangovers began to happen and then they got bad. Then they got really bad. Now, they’re so bad that it’s ridiculous. It’s not even that they’re physically painful. I don’t really tend to get the ‘headache-barfing’ style hangovers. It’s that they cause me to irrationally panic and fear for my safety in a way that’s completely illogical. An example of this would be the following situation which has become increasingly common: I’m lying in bed. Suddenly I can’t lay there any more because I’m freaking out that the ceiling fan is gonna fall out of the ceiling and land on me, fucking me up terribly. A variation on this includes pictures falling off walls, spontaneous collapse of streetlights, wayward drivers just cruising up onto the sidewalk, etc. I also tend to wake up terrified about money, friendships, the future, raising my kids, and how I’ve already probably irreparably fucked them up, my own health, the health of my family and friends, and so on. It’s not that this stuff isn’t worth worrying about. It is. These are big Grown Up worries that are more logical than being concerned about the fan falling out of the ceiling and mangling me, but waking up at five AM to pore over every possible thing that could terrify me isn’t particularly productive. In fact, I think it’s the kind of thing that makes a person go insane.

Coffee, it should be noted only makes things worse. As a result I’ve gone from drinking about a pot and a half of coffee every morning to two cups. I can’t really eat red meat more than once every couple of days or I feel like shit. I can’t ollie on a skateboard without pulling all sorts of muscles. My dick is grey. Who’s on my lawn? Where did the tv station move my stories? Who’s on the phone? What the fuck is the internet? And so on. It’s weird. This shit all just happened.

I got invited to a house party the other night. A lot of my friends were going and it seemed like it would be a good time, but there was never even a single moment where I realistically considered going. It was late and I saw absolutely nothing enticing about continuing to hang out with people. This is unusual and new.

Now, I’m more interested in sitting around and making things than going out and having fun. Although I guess if I look at things that way, this is more of a return to how I used to be when I was younger. I always liked making things more than being around people. Then I got to a point where all I ever wanted to do was be around people and go to house parties and take shots and all that. Now I’m back where I started. The only problem is that now my kids are always here shitting their pants and needing shit like ‘breakfast’ and ‘love’ from me, so I don’t have a lot of time to do much when I'm home.

Whatever. That’s why I’m starting the preproduction for my new record tomorrow night. I’m stoked. To answer some questions that may arise: it’s not Lawrence Arms, it’s not the Falcon and it’s not just me and an acoustic guitar. It’s me and a rotating cast of musicians notably held down by Shawn Astrom, Eric Halborg and Nick Martin, all of whom contribute their expertise (but never all at the same time). It will be a kind of solo deal, but it’s all full instrumentation, of which I play most everything. The record is all written and four songs are already recorded in quasi final mix form. It’s gonna be weird.
I dunno. That’s all. Happy Monday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm struggling through layers and layers of self reflexive post-modern structuralism. No. Wait. No I'm not. Or am I?

Firstly, come see me play at Pancho’s tomorrow night! It’s a small room and Kevin Seconds is also playing so get down there and let’s get sweaty and dumb. Show starts at 10pm. Don’t be a square, daddio. Also, if you live in Detroit, get over to Nader’s art show and see what the newest in weird looks like. There’s free beer (no bullshit, folks!). The address is 4231 St. Aubin in Detroit and the shit pops off at six tonight and tomorrow. Good work.

Okay, so there’s been a tiny amount of very understated disappointment that I haven’t mentioned the fact that Toby Jeg and his indomitable Red Scare Industries won the Reader award for best local label. That’s true. I haven’t mentioned it until now. And here’s why: that shit’s a big deal. Winning the best blog is cool (especially because there are a lot of legitimate blogs that are well put together with link after link to streamlined typo-free pages that were apparently in contention), but at the end of the day, as I’ve always maintained, this is just a dumb blog and there’s nothing that will ever change how fundamentally wack a blog is.

A blog is like rollerblading. No matter how many stairs you jump down, no matter how many flips you do, no matter how death-defying a stunt you pull off on your rollerblades, you’re still rollerblading and therefore you’re kind of a pud. The best rollerblader in the history of the universe is just by default lamer than every single person on earth that rides a skateboard or bicycle or just walks (this is not entirely true. There are certain skateboard scenarios that challenge, and often outright defeat, the lameness of rollerblading. Some of these include: the longboarder in the city, the dildo in flipflops, the juggalo on that weird twisty snakeboard thing, the guy who just carries the skateboard for looks but can’t even stand on it and finally the dumb spaz who’s always screaming and flinging his board because he can’t stick the backside 50-50 [this dude’s the worst. Get some dignity and quit pretending you’re entitled to ability. You’re acting three] but you get my point. Anyway…). In a very similar way, there’s no artistic or journalistic or creative integrity to be gained by writing a blog. Just the word ‘blog’ alone is enough of a completely distasteful gulpy-barf of a sound that even if an Amish guy came around and was asked to blindly rank the dignity of being a ‘blogger’ he’d probably put it down there with the jizzmoppers and night soil men (look it up if you dare).

Blogging is the absolutely weakest form of creative discourse that has ever been. It’s not that it’s not fun to do or potentially read, just like how if you’re a total wiener rollerblading is probably fun, it’s more that it’s just irrefutably lame. Blogging was born lame and it will always remain lame. So, while I’m thrilled to be the winner of the esteemed ‘best local blog’ award, I’m also a little bit stigmatized by the fact that I’m now officially a ‘blogger.’ It’s a little like being the most well-mannered child molester in the whole van. There’s pride, but there’s also some shame.

But winning best label is truly cool. Think about this: there are essentially three broad categories that apply to music when it comes to a ‘city’s best’ contest. Those are 1) performers 2) venues and 3) labels. Now, in the ‘performers’ category, there are myriad subcategories like ‘best solo artist’ and ‘best metal band’ et al. Similarly, the ‘venues’ category contained awards for tiny dives, big rock clubs, jazz bars, open mics etc. But Toby and Red Scare won ‘best local label.’ Period. That’s a pretty fucking huge deal, right (I mean in the context of this ultimately pretty trivial [if still cool, I don’t want anyone thinking I’m ungrateful here] list of awards)?

Well, so here’s the thing, then: The Reader honored a lot of different categories with these awards. Some were accompanied by descriptions and others were necessarily just listed as winners. Now, with ‘best blog’ that makes a ton of sense. I mean, what can you say besides ‘here’s a link to your favorite blog’? Not a lot really. I mean, the amount of journalism, paper, ink and general bullshit that would have to go into researching and writing up every winner renders that a totally futile (and ultimately unreadable) exercise.

BUT, Red Scare was just voted ‘best local label’ by the readers of the most popular free alternative paper in the third biggest city in the US, and they get not so much as a two sentence description while ‘best DJ on Twitter’ gets a write up and ‘best urinal (the Mutiny [well deserved, by the way])’ gets an in depth paragraph and a photo. That’s just ridiculous.

Now, on the surface, this is a simple matter: The ‘best local label’ award was bestowed by the public while the ‘best DJ on Twitter’ and ‘best urinal’ award are critic’s picks. I get it. You let the people do the talking and then you go ahead and hype whatever you want to anyway. That’s cool, that’s what smart people do when they get interviewed. They let the interviewer ask the question and then they let their answer stray from the topic and further their agenda, often at the expense of a fluid conversation or discussing what the interviewer (and probably the reader) thinks is interesting.

In this case, we, specifically you, my lovely Dogs Of War, kind of jammed the whole thing. I’m no dummy. There’s no way that more people that read the Reader actually think the Lawrence Arms are a cooler band than Wilco. We just had more people come out and vote. But this whole thing does kind of illustrate why old timey journalism (like the Reader) is kind of fucked in the new world of crappy, dorky things like blogs. They’re unwilling to truly get populist and cover the things that they are literally being told are cool by the people who read their publication.

A lot of that is traditionally understandable. Journalists, especially in an arena like that of the free urban weekly, are tastemakers and all of us voting are just plebian turds hyping the garbage our friends do or that we like (“that’s why McDonalds is the most popular burger in the world,” the old elitist ‘crowds are dumb’ argument goes [and I agree with this to a large extent]) but these days that line is blurring and more to the point, readers have access to so many different channels of tastemakers that it’s no longer a simple matter of who’s got more access. Sometimes it’s just a matter of desperately struggling to seem relevant and out on the edge.

And fuck, you know what? Maybe a DJ on twitter is a lot more ‘what’s happening now’ than a record label. I mean, sheeeeit. There’s literally no business becoming more irrelevant every day than the brick and mortar business of making tangible records. So maybe I’m all fucked up and turned around on the issue. And of course (full disclosure) I’m involved in Red Scare and I’d love to see the awesome things that Red Scare does covered in a cool paper (magazine?) like the Reader and I don’t give two shits about dj’s on twitter, so this is 100% of my personal bias speaking.

But you know what? That’s fine, because I’ve strapped on my Rollerblades already. I’m on my now-totally-legit best blog in Chicago, where I can mindlessly prattle on about whatever I want because it’s my prerogative here on the internet. And I guess in a very real way, that’s no different than asking people to vote for stuff and then just talking about whatever you want to anyway. Hmmmmmm….

Maybe we’re not so different, you and me, The Reader. Maybe we’re like Matrix and Bennett, or Action Jackson and whoever his enemy was in that dumb movie. You guys just get paid and I hastily do this between stuffing waffles into babies and picking dogshit off the floor.

Wait…we’re not enemies at all. I just needed something to write about here. I took a week off last week so, you know, rebuilding content and all that. Are we still cool? Ah fuck. My kid just took a dump. I gotta go wipe an ass.

Thanks one last time to the Reader and to all of you out there who helped propel us all into the stratosphere of quasi-familiarity with a select group of people! And special congrats to Katie Degroote at the Gingerman who was first runner up for best bartender!

Finally, you all should really go check out that urinal at the Mutiny. It’s truly deserving of an award.

See y’all tomorrow at Panchos!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oh shit!

Before we get started with our regularly scheduled programming, I’d like to let y’all know that my favorite living visual artist is having an art show this weekend in Detroit Michigan. His name is Sean Nader and he’s one of my favorite people in the world as well. He used to work with the Lawrence Arms in many capacities and now he’s gonna show off his perversions to the world. If you live in Detroit, you’d be fucking stupid to miss this (if for no other reason than because there’s free beer!). Nader’s work is big, depraved and affordable and the information for his show is below. Y’all should go:

Sean Nader presents:
(tomorrow) Fri June 24 and Sat June 25
At the Rectory! 4231 St. Aubin in Detroit Mi. 6-11PM both nights
FREEE BEER!!!!!!!!

Okay, so as some of you more tech savvy readers (or Chicagoan luddites who are still shackled to inky paper like some kind of old-timey revivalist) may know last night we here at Bad Sandwich world HQ were voted best local blog by the masses, led in no small part by you, my faithful dogs of war! This is truly the only award I’ve ever won for anything (unless you count a college scholarship as an award, which I don’t for the purposes of this column’s sentiment) and I couldn’t be more grateful. First, you guys came here and started fights in my comments section and made it look like I had a vast and powerful readership. Then, you sent me things that I needed, like hats, bank statements, pictures of your tits and finally even a computer. I can’t thank you all enough for being such wonderful and selfless slaves, but I’m gonna try. Ready?

Okay, look under your seats. Yeah, that’s right. The seat you’re in. Feel that? That’s right! It’s a brand new Dyson Bladeless Air Multiplier! I had them all shipped to you! Why? Because they’re fucking great, that’s why! Ignore the smugness of the guy in the commercials, and ask your mom if that new space aged vacuum isn’t the best thing she’s bought herself since she dropped 29 bucks on the ‘deep tissue massager’ from SkyMall a few years back. She’ll tell you, that dude isn’t fucking around when it comes to reinventing things, and the air multiplier is his take on the all-too-often-revolting oscillating fan. Listen, don’t be ungrateful! It was hard to find all of you and get those under your seats. If by some off chance I skipped over you, sorry. I want to make things right. Just email me at and I’ll get one right out to you

But wait, there’s more. Reach back under your seat! Do it. Don’t feel anything? Check right beneath the seat, like where you usually wipe your boogers! Still don’t feel anything do you? That’s right! My crack team of specialists have gone to all your houses and eliminated the jizz stains and errant booger deposits from all your favorite hiding spots (Pete C in Cleveland, you’re not even trying to hide things apparently). We did it using Fantastik brand spray cleaner! No spray cleaner gets the job done better. Quite simply, it’s Fantastik!

Okay, okay. I know what you’re all saying…sure, an air multiplier keeps me cool while I’m sweatily masturbating under the heated weight of my laptop and I’ve now got a whole lot more space for loads and mucous, but so what? These gifts aren’t really that sexy. Well, look underneath your monitor. Okay, got the envelope? Open it. That’s right. We’re all going to AustraaaaaaaaaLIA! (those of you who already live in Australia will be treated to ‘hand release’ Thai Massages at the parlor the least geographic distance from your home as shown by Google Earth, the only internet map you’ll ever need). I’ve personally arranged for limos to pick us all up at our homes and for US air marshals to carry all of us on their backs through security and onto our private jet like camels with guns, where they’ll keep an eye on all of you and make sure you don’t try to mob me and rip my clothes or anything. THEN, once we arrive, I’m going to horribly mangle an A list actor as he attempts to welcome us in front of the Sydney Opera house. From there, it’s off to Darwin where we’ll drive 400 km inland and camp for twenty nine days in sunny Elsey. It’s gonna be the trip of a lifetime.
Food and toilet paper not supplied!

Seriously though folks, thanks so much for voting for the BSC and thanks to the Reader for having the nerve to count the votes and determine that this filth should still win. Shit’s vaguely touching.

Also, I won best Singer-songwriter too somehow, which is weird because while I do sing and write songs, I tend to think of that as a designation for you know, hippies. So, uh, suck on it, hippies. Go back to your hack circles, staring at your fingers and your garden burger farts.

Whatever. I’ll take all the accolades I can get right now. You should all come see me play with Kevin Seconds June 25th at Panchos in Logan and see what the rhubarb is all about. I am, after all the award winningist best singer songwriter in the third largest US city. That should help move some tickets, eh?

Finally, the Lawrence Arms won a lot of shit too. We beat out Wilco for ‘best band that’s been around forever’ (I’ve been waiting patiently for the day we’d unseat Wilco from something), we won ‘best rock band’ and also ‘best band name,’ and The Falcon came in second in that category. The fact that The Lawrence Arms is a ridiculous band name notwithstanding, this sweeping victory highlights a few things, but the big one is this: either you people are insanely dedicated, or absolutely no one else votes for this shit. Either way, it’s all going right on my college application.

Seriously, thanks everyone!
See you in Australia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Parenting content

So, here’s a quick little anecdote about how parenting can go kind of sideways at the drop of a hat. I’m hanging out with my kids this morning and the bigger one is feeding the smaller one yogurt and then they both start reading books, which is a pretty cute way for a 1 and 3 year old to pass the time immediately following breakfast. Well, next thing you know, I’ve turned my back and the little one has torn up a book. The reprisal was swift and brutal. The older one doled out a little mystery justice and by the time I got into the room, the younger one was in tears and no longer on the couch (interestingly, she was still tearing up the book, which had somehow been jettisoned with her).

So, this is when I have to stop what I’m doing, pick up the baby, calm her down and scold the big one for mangling his sister (none of this is uncommon). I put her back on the couch and he immediately starts trying to stuff her head into the corner betwixt the cushions. Shit’s turned on me at this point. The happy stasis that once existed has been replaced with mild hostility inversely proportionate to the distance between subjects. Yogurt is everywhere.

Once again I gather the baby. Once again I begin to explain that the baby is not to be stuffed into things. However, I’m interrupted as the big one screams ‘Dad, I want to eat!’ and takes off for the kitchen. I yell ‘Hey, come back here!’ I yell “don’t open the refrigerator.” I yell “Close the fucking refrigerator for fucks sake you godless heathen!” and finally, I just bellow his name. This is the point where my tone changes from ‘hey buddy, you and me have to get our shit on the same page” to “you must start listening to me, or there’s gonna be some shit going down.” He hesitates in the door of the refrigerator and then hastily pulls out a carton of grape juice, slams the fridge and smiles at me and says “dad, I want this.”

Okay, so a quick review for those of you who don’t have kids. Here’s what I’m dealing with: 1) A crying baby, who’s now inconsolable thanks to repeated, sustained attacks 2) a violent repeat offender 3) at least three acts of direct insubordination 4) a sense of unearned entitlement that our perp should know better than to flout because A) he’s been repeatedly told not to go get into the fridge without asking and B) He NEVER gets juice from me. Maybe his grandparents buy into his bullshit, but not me. He has gotten juice from my hands exactly zero times in his life, so this series of events, while seemingly innocuous, or at least nothing more than mildly irritating, are actually a culmination of insubordination that reach their apex by completely laughing in my face and suggesting that I no longer have the power to deny him juice.

I realize that this sounds crazy. It is. Having kids makes you a fucking nut. It’s complete torture. And it’s not torture because they’re bad. Kids aren’t bad by and large. They’re fun as shit. It’s because they have no patience or worldview and therefore take up every single second of your life for the entire time you’re awake. The whole time anyone that’s a primary caregiver is with a child, they’re thinking exactly one thing and it’s this: “can I just get one fucking second please? Just one? Just ‘one-one thousand’? I’ve had to pee for two and a half fucking hours and I still haven’t brushed my teeth and there’s that sticky shit you spilled all over the floor that’s just attracting flies and yes goddamnit I’m right here to wipe your ass and give you a fucking cheese but would it be possible that I just get ONE FUCKING SECOND PLEASE??(paraphrased)”

However, the very first second you’re away from them, it’s even worse. You miss them so much that it just kills you inside. Especially once they get to a point where you know they miss you back. At first, a baby is like a dog. Sure, they’re happy to see you when you get home, but you don’t really get the impression that they’re wasting too much energy missing you when you’re gone. The missing them is tied into their helplessness and your innate desire to protect them but ultimately it’s a little bit theoretical. But once you can talk to them on the phone or hear tales of them crying because you’re not there, that’s just the absolute worst. SO there you go. Having kids is torture. Being with them is torture, being without them is worse. Mathematical fact.

But anyway, to get back to this kid standing there holding the juice, I found myself in a position where I had to somehow exemplify how his bullshit would not stand, man, and I was also fuelled by frustration and of course, the irritation that is part and parcel with having a crying baby in the room.

I’ve had lots of success before with throwing things ‘in the garbage.’ I took his binoculars (which he loves) and threw them in the trunk of the car after he threw a tantrum in some dorky indoor playground café. I told him they were in the garbage and he’d never see them again (I gave them back about four months later on his birthday) and it was unbelievably effective. Throwing things in the garbage, in my experience, is much more successful than getting angry and giving time outs and shit like that.

Anyway, I grabbed the juice from his hands and held it up to him and said, “you want this? No way. You want to see what happens to what you want when you don’t listen and you go into the fridge without asking? You’ll NEVER get this juice, man.” Then, since the carton was almost empty, and I estimated that it wouldn’t break, I opened the back door and tossed the juice outside, onto the porch.

BUT, I didn’t count on it being windy and the carton catching the breeze. Next thing I know, I’ve just tossed a carton of grapejuice three floors down to its death on my neighbors porch. My kid is crying (as it was, admittedly a slightly more brutal example than I wanted to set) my other kid is crying and all I can think is, ‘wow, if any of my neighbors are out on their porches right now, I’m gonna get a call from the CPS sometime today for hurling things off the porch while my kids bawl inside.

Then the hookers arrived and I shit my pants. Cool morning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Back!!!

Hello earth. I’ve been off in San Francisco for a while just kind of catching up on my vodka, cranberry juice, avocado, sushi and bagel intake all week and I’ve been playing some shows with some bands that I used to be in back in my more wiry and dynamic youth when I was the kind of person that thought that I could be in the best band in the world and that band could potentially have trumpets and shit in it.

The entire week ended up inadvertently being kind of a ‘this is your life’ situation for me in that pretty much every night was based on an era of my ‘career’ for lack of a better word, complete with different friends, different colleagues and different familiar strangers. The only night I didn’t play, I went and saw the Alkaline Trio, who are easily my closest friends that have gone on to achieve anything approaching real success in the world of rock and roll, the band that has introduced a lot of people to the various bands I’ve been a part of, and thus also as relevant to me as anything I was actually ever a part of.

Now, I don’t want to make this sound like I think this entire festival was somehow about me, because the shows I played and attended were just a small part of it, but as I’m sort of necessarily myopic, and playing out the eras of your life in daily hour long segments really feeds into that, uh, I dunno. It was weird. It was also one of the best weeks I’ve ever had, and I’d like to thank everyone involved, particularly the people in the bands I played in, the people who came out to see us and of course, Mike, Skylaar and all the AMR 15 crew that made everything run smoothly. No fatalities or drunken rum-slurpee fueled gangrapes were reported. That’s pretty good for a festival these days, folks.

It also bears mentioning that those of you Chicagoans that missed the party (or just don’t want it to stop just yet) can come check me out playing solo at Pancho’s on the 25th with Kevin Seconds. It’s gonna be a sweet jam, folks. Okay, enough of that shit.

I spent all yesterday traveling and it wound up being one of the most painless travel days I’ve ever experienced. That said, it still sucked the dick off a dog. Air travel sucks. Everything about it is a bummer except for the fact that you can wake up in San Francisco and fall asleep in Chicago on the same day. I hate the drive to the airport, I hate the check in, I hate the security line and the constant worry that shit’s just gonna stop, or that you’re gonna turn the corner and run into an impossible line. I hate the boarding process and the smell of planes. I hate the seats, I hate the tiny cups and the bullshit food, I hate the feeling of taking off and flying and landing. I hate the ride from the airport to where I’m trying to get and I hate the fact that when a trip is over that I wind up with a suitcase full of my wrinkled stinky clothes sitting on a chair in my house for a week.

Now, of course I love the speed and relative convenience of air travel too, but I disagree strongly with Louis CK (who I also suspect hates flying, despite what he says) who has a bit where he states that because we get to experience the miracle of human flight that we have no right to complain about any of the less savory aspects of the process. That’s complete horseshit as far as I’m concerned. Here’s why:

Air travel sucks, but pretty much everyone can remember when it didn’t. It’s not as though it HAS to suck (a relevant analogy here would be like sitting in a restaurant with your friends and complaining that the food is served a little cold. That’s fine. Now, if you’re sitting with a room full of say, Darfurian refugees, you may seem like an ungrateful dick by bitching about the relatively trivial disappointment in the face of abundance and ease, but if we take that back to the flying analogy, that’s like complaining about airport lines to Tom Joad or Meriwether Lewis and that’s clearly not what’s going on, so again, fuck this notion).

I’m not gonna get started on the whole United/American ‘too big to fail’ bullshit that still, a decade later makes me so fucking angry that I can’t see, but suffice it to say those two completely shitty airlines and their process of systematically fucking people out of every last bit of comfort and convenience has become the modern era’s new airline business model and it sucks.

There are profitable airlines everywhere that don’t charge for bags and drinks, that don’t screw you on ticket prices and that don’t oversell every flight and cancel every flight with an empty seat. There are also secure safety screens across the globe that don’t require me taking off my shoes and not having a bottle of water. The fact that TSA plays catch up in the wake of attempted (or successful) terrorist acts rather than trying to anticipate the next move is a topic that’s overdiscussed and that I’m not gonna really get into, but it should be noted that right now it’s easier to get a hard plastic boxcutter that’s in your pocket onto a flight than a sippy cup full of milk.

In fact, the ONLY thing I enjoy about flying is the airport bar. It’s an amazing place. It’s the one time on earth that there’s absolutely no reason not to have a drink. You’re in a fucking airport, first of all, so what the fuck else are you gonna do? Secondly, you’re about to be stuck sitting somewhere for at least an hour where you can’t really do anything and third, you’re guaranteed to sit next to a wild, hastily assembled and completely hilarious cast of weirdos from all over the world who want nothing more than to chill for a moment and talk intermittently with the old, asian bartender guy about what’s on the TV.

My friend Summer has never had a beer in an airport and I think that’s sad. That’s like only jacking off when you’re sweatily wasted and never having an orgasm or watching the opening bands and leaving before the band you want to see comes on. That’s like going to the zoo for the food and not watching the animals, it’s like giving birth to a little girl, raising her until she’s one, giving her away and then taking her back when she’s fourteen. It’s all the work without the part that’s awesome.

And that’s why, to conclude, if you don’t drink at the airport, the terrorists have won.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

space time and lad magazines

The cover of the maxim magazine (brought home by my wife after a business trip, btw) in my bathroom is the image of me getting old and being swept out to the sea of old dudes that will never again be looked at by alluring young ladies like the girls on the covers of Maxim, girls who were once my peers, who once were the girls I used to think that someday I would try to bang, Girls who were once girls older than me or my age or just a little younger than me and therefore suddenly attainable even though they were out of my league technically. Those girls.

That face of that 20 year old, who’s (for the purposes of this exercise) replaceable and not at all important as an individual, is the shrinking face that looks at my aging decrepit carcass from the shore as I float out to sea to get the whales and seahorses drunk on my decay. I will never get younger. I will never have another chance to do the things I didn’t do. It’s even more perverse and ungraspable than the notion that someday I’ll be dead for eternity. Although really, if I think about that, I’ve already been dead for eternity (in the eternity that took place before I was born) so I’m just going into something I’ve literally had the entire history of time to experience.

Big math is weird. I’ve been an entity for all of infinity just due to my tiny blip of an existence here, and so have all of you. It’s impossible to put into your head, or at least my head. Maybe you guys are smarter than me, (bloody unlikely).

The point here is not that I want to bang the women on the cover of Maxim (or to paraphrase Louis CK, I do want to bang them but they don’t want to bang me so fuck them). The point is that models are, like so many things on this earth, a springboard for the imagination when you’re a kid. “Someday,” the ten year old you may think to yourself as you flip through FHM at the barbershop “I’m gonna have a dental assistant that looks like that and if this is any indication of what can happen, wow! Awesome!” just like as a boy perhaps you once looked at firetrucks or fighter planes or professional sports teams and thought about how someday you would be one of those firemen, airforce pilots and/or Chicago Bulls.

I used to think that I would literally be everything. I kind of figured I’d be a rockstar astronaut professor doctor pro-wrestler movie star. Slowly, it dawned on me that no, in fact I wouldn’t be an astronaut. I’m already 22 and I haven’t even given a thought to aeronautical training, plus I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I realized not long after that, the reality of the future. I already had no more interest in being a doctor or a wrestler or a cop or any of those things. I had developed into a person with very limited exploitable paths, as we all do.

You guys who are of a certain age all know this feeling, I’m sure. One day you wake up and you realize that your big, outsized little kids dreams (the ones you maybe never seriously considered beyond answering the question “what do you wanna be when you grow up?”) are definitely not happening. Suddenly you’re way beyond the point where you could pull it together and become (let’s say) a professional quarterback. For one thing, you’re full grown and you’re 5 foot 6. For another, you never REALLY applied yourself to football. Hell, truth be told, you spent a lot more time playing basketball and you’re pretty good at that, actually. But you’re still 5’6” and you’re not one of those “I’m short but I’m so fucking dedicated that I can dunk over Manute Bol” dudes, SO, you’ll probably never be in the NBA either.

That shit kind of skates by and it’s a ‘well, holy shit. Will you look at that’ kind of feeling. You first kind of notice the passage of time, but fuck. You’re still young and you’ve still got your life ahead of you and all that, so it doesn’t REALLY register that what’s happening is that your options are closing. The springboards of your imaginations are retreating, because you CAN’T reasonably pursue every interest you have. It’s a fact of life and it’s not really a sad one, but here’s the part where it gets maybe kind of sad.

There is a song by a band called Too Much Joy called Train In Vain (and it’s not a cover) which features the opening line “the playboy centerfold is younger than me.” It’s actually a very beautiful, very sad song, and I remember as a kid hearing that and thinking “wow. That IS weird. Someday I’ll be older than the girls in playboy!”

Well, guess what? It’s been almost a decade since a girl in the centerfold of playboy (or a girl on the pages of Maxim, to keep this all somewhat tidy) has been my age. I’m no longer looking up at these models as the hot chicks that someday I aspire to be cool enough to impress, but rather I’m leering down at them from my aged perch, remembering when I knew girls that age.

In this particular instance, for the purposes of my current train of thought, this isn’t about wanting to fuck younger girls or feeling like I’m no longer sexy (because, uh, have you seen me? I’m spicy dick on a stick, bro) or anything like that. It’s more about having moved on from the world of kids where there’s this hopefulness and the smell of fucking and danger on everything, to the invisible world of grown ups. Don’t get me wrong, I think the people my age tend to be boning a lot more than the kids from what I can tell, but it’s different. And anyway, that’s not the point. This isn’t about fucking. It’s about suddenly having even the imagination springboard of who you’re gonna impress someday be gone.

You already didn’t impress them. And now they don’t even notice you. And again, it’s not about fucking or virility or sex appeal or anything like that. It’s simply about the fact that one day everyone wakes up and realized that they’re some weird grown up, and the kids are off fucking and getting high and looking pretty and don’t give two fucks about you, walking down the street with your groceries. And sometimes all that hits you while you’re taking a piss, staring at some random model on the cover of a Maxim.

Pretty weird.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Yesterday, the internet exploded with an orgiastic garden of delights that can’t be overstated. Of course, I’m referring to the Norwegian girl who doesn’t want to be a crappy housewife, the dude doing the freestyle canoe, the fake story about Banksy turning the Sao Paolo Jesus into an executed Bin Laden, the pictures of monkeys dressed up in human masks, and of course, like mushrooms sprouting after a summer shower, we bore witness to tons and tons of great pornography.

All this, however was more or less ignored by the time that word got out that (oh my god!) the dick in the picture was really Rep. Weiner’s. Everyone is having a field day, calling for resignation, saying he’s stupid, making zillions upon zillions of obvious jokes regarding the congressman’s surname and his choice of things to tweet. It was, and is a big deal. It’s also kind of an interesting scandal, and here’s why:

Usually, when we’re dealing with political sex scandals we’re dealing with shit that compromises the morality of the person involved. Like, when Anti gay senator Larry Craig got busted for having a ‘wide stance when he pees’ it kind of exposed that he was a self loathing queer that was overcompensating for the fact that he deeply desires to be sucked off through restroom partitions in stinky locales by bearded strangers. When John Edwards’ love child was revealed, his wife’s cancer and the fact that he was able to snowball everyone (which would, one would presume, require the complicity of at least one OBGYN) kind of reminded us that this asshole is directly responsible for going after doctors and making malpractice insurance an impossible and necessary evil that renders a lot of healthcare unaffordable. In short, he too was exposed as a real dick, politically (not that you need any help in looking like a dick when you’re cheating on your cancer wife and having babies with a woman you refuse to acknowledge). Eliot Spitzer was an anti whore crusader who turned out to be a pretty big time whore supporter. But this one is more like a Clinton scandal but even more interesting (funny, since Clinton officiated Weiner’s wedding, which is so insanely awesome I just don’t even know what to do/say).

When Clinton got the beej and inserted cigars into that woman’s ass the whole thing just seemed kind of rollickingly perverse, and it confirmed what we’ve all suspected all along, which is that ruddy cheeked power hungry hicks can go to Harvard and join skull and bones all they want, but at the end of the day, they’re still gonna try and stick a cigar in someone’s ass and bone their hairdresser.

But Weiner is different still. He’s already a godless shithead. He’s buddies with Jon Stewart and Howard Stern and his morality, by extension is already presumably in question by the people that are undoubtedly the most excited about these dong tweets. AND, he’s not sticking cigars in anyone’s ass or getting anonymous sex in a public place or having love children while his wife dies in the next room. He’s just a pervy dude with a big dick that wants to get the word out there. That’s not really on the same level.

Yeah, he’s married, and it’s an uncool thing for him to do, but it’s really not that big of a deal in the world of political scandals. But here’s the thing:

Dude is a Congressman and people make a big stink about that shit, but it’s just his job and tweeting pictures of his junk isn’t illegal and it’s not gonna make it impossible for him to do his job, BUT and this is a big but, if you tweet out a picture of your cock and you work at Chili’s and your boss finds out about it, they’re gonna fire you. If you work at the pool and the head lifeguard finds out, you’re probably fired. If you work in an office selling life insurance and suddenly you get called into your bosses office and his computer screen is filled with a picture of YOUR dick, you’re probably just gonna say, “uh, I’ll pack up my desk” and walk out, and when your colleagues see you packing, and you say, “I tweeted a picture of my dick” they’re just gonna say, “oh, right. Well, good luck” and understand exactly what that implies.

So yeah. Shouldn’t tweet your dick. Not gonna stop anyone, but I’m throwing it out there. Don’t tweet your dick if you’re not totally, totally stoked about everyone knowing about it.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about.

Okay, it’s time for a tiny bit of stocktaking and roll call. We haven’t done this in a while. Welcome, all you newcomers and longtime readers with terrible memories to Bad Sandwich Chronicles. I’m Brendan, your overlord. You can call me beex if you want. You people are my Dogs of War (so named for the badasses in the Road Warrior) and the comment section beneath each post is called the Sock Drawer (so named because, much like the sock drawer of a teenaged boy, once you get in there, there’s a lot more jizz content than you’d expect) and those who post there have taken to calling themselves socks. That’s pretty much all the red tape around here.

There used to be a message board that was located elsewhere (also called the sock drawer) and there was even a pretty wild tumblr thing but I don’t know how active that stuff still is. I have/had nothing to do with either one.

As for me, my purpose here is to write something for you to read on your phone while you’re taking a dump. Some things I like to write about include art, parenting (I’ve got 2 small kids), perversions, celebrities, fascinating news items and various dickjokes/fart sounds. Oh, and I also dole out advice to Dogs of War in need. In return, you guys can vote for me for best local blog (and any other category you think may be appropriate) over at the readers best of 2011 poll here.

So, one of my favorite things is the buzzard. I’ve written about buzzards here before, but for those of you unfamiliar with the term, a buzzard is one of those guys that hangs out by the drainpipe listening to Judas Priest, smoking resin and spraypainting shit about slayer everywhere. They’re often found lurking around gas stations or other places that sell beer and are known to wear awesome clothes. Buzzards, true buzzards, come from South Elgin, Illinois, as that’s where the term was coined, but as someone who’s not from Elgin, I’d say that it’s too cool of a term for too cool a group of people to keep it that specific, so yeah. We’ll just go ahead and call ‘em all buzzards, right? Good.

Well, here’s the thing: Buzzards are done, bro. I mean, like hash, Madonna, porn stores and Roger Ebert, they’re still here and they’re still pretty cool but they’re no longer on the tip of the awesomeness iceberg. Buzzards are peaking right now and a new awesomest dude in the world is about to come supplant them, and after watching this video yesterday, I know who it is.

The new buzzards are euro dudes. Euro dudes are awesome. They’re stylish, unrepentantly weird, they drink and fuck and do everything way more wantonly than we pussified Americans do, and they do it all while looking vaguely gay and kind of ‘point and laugh’ hilarious. Yes, the euro dude is my best of 2011.

Okay, so we can talk about that more later, but for now let’s talk about that video and that song, eh? It’s fucking amazing! Recently Rebecca Black made a name for herself by being a young girl singing a dumb song that people liked to laugh at, but this song/video is WAY better than Friday. I mean, I mentioned right here on this very mucous colored page that I thought that the whole Friday phenomenon was kind of dumb, mean and super duper blown out of proportion for something that’s not even bad enough to circle around and return to good. “I Don’t Wanna Be A Crappy Housewife” however, is absolutely fucking glorious. It’s catchy, it’s got a pretty good melody and the girl that sings it exists in that hot-but-20-lbs-overweight-so-I’m-gonna-be-real-slutty-to-compensate-for-my-poor-self-image-in-an-attempt-to-be-reassured-about-my-hotness zone that’s just so boner inducing that you’ve pretty much gotta wear sweatpants to watch the video.

Yeah, old Tonje is pretty awesome. She’s remarkably uncoordinated. She can’t walk in her high heels and almost falls twice before the vocals even kick in. She doesn’t even fucking STAND UP when she sings the chorus! She’s just a little pretty girl trapped in a grownup body all right folks (which is one of the creepiest things ever said over music) .

But the real heroes of this whole video are, of course, the two euro dudes that come in and perform one of the most uniquely uninspired (but totally fist pumpingly awesome) raps I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s got everything I love: broken English, thick accents, suit jackets with sideways hats, macho posturing right there in the middle of the restaurant where people are sitting down eating. In fact, I didn’t even know I loved that last thing until I saw this video. It’s that great, people.

Listen, you perverts can have Rebecca Black. I’m all about Tonje and her homeboys. Can you imagine the parties that they throw? I picture 9am, cinderblock room with two mattresses on the floor, a toilet with no seat down the hall, a huge bag of cash, champagne straight from the bottle, high fiving over blowjobs, huge amounts of some drug I’ve never even heard of yet and some of the worst music you’ve ever heard blasting so loudly that it makes your eyes bleed. Probably not the kind of life I want to live, but I’d love to hang out for a morning/afternoon and watch the creepy madness ensue.

Have you ever seen that German dude that raps from behind a golden skull mask? That shit is AWESOME!!!!!!! I’m telling you guys, rapping euro dudes is the next big thing. You heard it here first. Buy stock in ridiculous. It’s gonna be everywhere this summer.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I never ask you turds for anything, but time's running out to vote for the best blog for the chicago reader poll. Please help me out and vote for Bad Sandwich Chronicles. Also, if you're feeling feisty, vote for Red Scare Industries for best label and Katie from Gingerman for the best bartentder Thanks!!!!!!

Here's a link!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gotta run!

So, this morning I’m on the way to do something remarkably adult. I’m going on a walking tour of the school my kid may go to in the fall. The odds of him going there are pretty high, as it’s right down the street from our house and we already spend a lot of time kicking it in the playground that they keep out front for the pleasure and exhausting of young ruffians.

Speaking of, yesterday we were there. We were playing some sort of hybrid 3 little pigs/big bad wolf/football/fantasy restaurant game and I was just getting the shittiest looks from all these old desiccated moms who were sitting on benches while their kids ran around. Now, I’m not the greatest dad in the world. I’m distracted, I’m unsure of how to discipline, I constantly miss enrollments for programs like swimming and soccer and shit like that. I don’t know how to feed these beasts properly, or get them to eat things like vegetables. Neither of my kids has much of a grasp on any language other than English (and the baby can’t even speak English besides ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and ‘no’), they both watch some tv, and by and large I’m constantly concerned that I’m fucking them up immensely just about every step of the way, be it as a bad role model, a bad authoritarian or as a bad friend.

However, these old ladies sitting there giving me the stink-eye don’t know that. The only thing that they could reasonably extract from what was going on in the park was that I was there playing with my kids while they huddled amongst themselves, sitting on their asses, whispering and staring at me.

And here is the crux of it all. These moms presumably have all the above things I’ve mentioned on lockdown. They probably make smoothies with spinach in them and have their kids signed up for bilingual waterpolo and all sorts of shit that I don’t even barely understand, and I’m not suggesting that my hour of running around on the playground makes up for my deficiency in all of this, but what’s the deal? They don’t like me because I’m comparatively young and look a little weird? Did they (correctly) deduce that I’m letting my kids watch shit like Dinosaur Train because they don’t like my shirt or my sunglasses ?

I find it incredibly strange that the cult of mommydom is so similar to the cult of subculture that I entered when I first started to go to punk rock shows. When I first started going to shows, I was 12 and I had long hair. The ‘experienced’ punks made fun of my friends and me for not looking the part, they shunned us and generally huddled on the sidelines and laughed while we were out in the pit, being stupid and stagediving and all that (the similarities are already astounding, are they not?).

I looked at these older, more seasoned punks and assumed that they had it all figured out. Their favorite bands were cooler than mine. Their accoutrements were cooler than mine. Their network was powerful and had scope while I was just kind of out there alone, occasionally with one of my other loner friends, but for the most part just making shit up as I went along.

So, I grew up and slowly made friends. I realized that everyone just kind of makes up the rules as they go along in every single thing that they do. I realized that just being around something for a while makes people feel like they’re experts and this engenders a feeling of smug superiority towards newcomers. I learned that none of this has any basis in merit whatsoever. I learned that the people who are the most eager to shut out new voices and minds are the people with the smallest, stupidest most imagination-free minds of all, and the vast majority of people are welcoming and cool and the exclusive folks are dipshits to the last.

I also learned that it’s fun to kind of razz people a little bit and make the journey feel like something worth pursuing. I’ve talked about this before, when he was a kid (and I was a slightly older kid who had just been lucky [?] enough to have been touring for a while) I used to call Brian from Gaslight ‘Coco’ just to kind of goof on him a little. It was a little good natured uh…’hazing’ I guess. And it brings me to my main point: there’s room for a little bit of ‘fucking with the new guy’ but that can’t really last that long and this is a great example of why: Those new kids are gonna grow up and become the people that drive the bus one day. Plus, Coco is a good dude.

I think back about the dorks that used to pick on me, and they were all, to the last, complete losers. I may not be cool, but I’m way fucking cooler than some dipshit skinhead that used to call me a ‘hippy faggot’ while orchestrating a wall of death at a bad religion show and now, at age 42, works doing coat check for lame metal shows once every three months.

So, what’s my point? Am I gonna grow up and wear taupe tanktops and stirrup pants and sit on the bench, quietly pooh-poohing the new flock of parents that end up down at the playground? One can only hope.

For now, I’m off. See you turds in the future. Falcon practice tonight with an exciting bass player (and no matter what you think you may know, it’s not who you think). Wooot!