Thursday, April 28, 2011

rock, politics, rock, politics, rock

(I started this yesterday. This morning is almost identical, but I feel a little better and the kid is no longer sitting on me, just in the nature of full disclosure)

I think I’ve got an ear infection. I’m definitely feeling a bit beaten down by the world and as I type this, a 35 lb. 3 year old is sitting on my shoulders and yelling in my (possibly infected) ear. It’s raining. My washing machine is broken and a few wayward puddles of dog and toddler piss later, this house is in a shambles that can be matched only by the shambles of my soul, or perhaps those shanty towns in India that are all populated by the dudes that exist solely to go across the drainage ditch to bang the thirty cent hookers in the neighboring shanty town (which is probably in pretty decent order, because it’s all women who are working and presumably keeping shit at least somewhat presentable…the guys’ town though…gotta be a shambles, right?)

Anyway, the other day a buddy of mine who’s played in a bunch of pretty cool, underappreciated bands, posted this thing on Facebook where he kind of went through and discussed a bunch of bands that he’s played with over the years that he thinks are terrible. Now, I think this is a pretty laudable exercise, as lord knows there’s nothing I love more than a little bit of good old fashioned “y’all suck,” but ultimately, the whole thing, and his explanation, more to the point, really ended up kind of confusing me.

See, he named a bunch of bands, lots of them more successful than his most popular band, and just kind of talked about how they all suck, they’re cookie cutter pop punk, synchronized jump bands and that he hates that shit. Okay, up to there, I’ve got no problem. A few of the bands he named are bands that I actually really like (and honestly, I was kind of expecting one or two of my bands to be on the list, although perhaps we’re just not quite lame enough, or just not worth mentioning), but that’s no big deal. Hey, I hate lots of music too. It’s part and parcel with being a big fan of anything, your negative emotions towards your passion are gonna run as strongly as your positive ones. And I’m not here to judge anyone’s taste in music. But then things got a little bit sideways.

He mentioned touring with bands and wondering if people were actually stupid enough to buy into their cheesy shit only to have his soul crushed when those bands got popular and his band played to blank stares. Hey, I’ve been there, and it’s a terrible feeling for sure. But THEN, he went into this thing about how stupid and lame these bands are for compromising, and how he’d never do that shit, and as a result, he’d never be successful, but at least he’d have integrity.

And this is the part that confuses me. People don’t write and play music that they hate. If the guys in, let’s say, the Ataris (one of the bands he mentioned) are playing some kind of music that my buddy finds to be gross, well, that’s because they have different tastes. I promise you that the guys in the Ataris are writing the best songs they can, and they’re doing it in a style they think is cool. If my friend decides that the best songs they can write suck, or the style they like is lame, that’s fine, but it’s a real stretch to suggest that they are writing music they hate. That’s not happening. SO, I don’t really see the compromise of integrity there. Not to mention, and I’ve discussed this before, if it’s totally acceptable to write a song that makes people uncomfortable, or makes people think, or makes people angry, then what’s wrong with writing a song that makes people happy, or dance, or sing along? It doesn’t seem like there’s any difference there. It’s just emotional transference using notes and sounds. Same shit. Seems like a decent enough motivation.

And along the same lines, being good a good band that gets shitty over time isn’t the result of some sort of conspiracy to make money, it’s the result of running out of good songs, and that’s true 100% of the time. There are tons of bands who change up their sound and don’t get worse, and a lot of times they even become more accessible and better all at once. There are a zillion ways a band can grow, change direction and stay good. But when they get shitty, that’s always just because they ran out of ideas, or their ideas that used to be good are now bad. That’s the only thing that happens. Again, integrity doesn’t enter the picture, and this is where the REAL crux of this whole thing comes up.

This dude, my friend, talked about integrity vs. success (and to be clear, he’s not saying that all bands that are successful lack integrity, just that these particular bands that he doesn’t like seem to, or lost it at one point) with regards to his career. ‘I’ll never have success because I won’t compromise (which I think we’ve proven is kind of a weird thing to say, because compromise isn’t REALLY involved in the creative process… in business decisions, sure, like ‘do I want to play the warped tour? No, but it’s something that will really help us as a band, so I’ll do it…that’s a compromise, in the EXACT same way that my friend playing with all these bands that he hates is a business compromise) but at least I’ll have integrity.’

Well, let’s do the math: if integrity equals lack of success, which comes about by bumming people out by not being a cookie cutter idea of what good music is, and these bands are bumming you out for playing the music they like, isn’t that the exact same thing just happening on a different scale? Like, the people out there don’t like you because you play the wrong kind of music, in the exact same way that you don’t like these bands because they play the wrong kind of music. It’s an identical setup. No integrity ever changes hands here. It’s such a weird and irrelevant thing to bring up and the end result is that it makes you sound like a bitter dick.

Now, to be clear, there are TONS of bands out there that I hate and I’ve got no problem with someone talking shit about another band, (though it IS funny, because so often, people run their mouths in interviews [and I’ve been guilty of this] and say some random band sucks, and then get all pissy when this band, who was just cruising along doing their thing, gets pissed because all of a sudden someone started saying they suck, just out of the blue…I mean, what the fuck did you expect? You shit talk strangers, they’re gonna get pissed) but don’t mistake not liking a band for being ‘better’ than them on any sort of universal scale. You are, at best cooler than them to you, and that’s all.

Take me for example. To me, I’m cooler than all of you. See how it works? Pretty easy.
Okay, gotta go. I have a zillion things to do today. Toodles!

Ah, the kid’s sitting on me again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I got some druuuuuuuuuuuuuuugs in my sooooocks!

Well, this weekend was exciting. I accompanied my buddy out to the O’hare Marriot where he (and to a MUCH lesser extent, I) interviewed, hung out with, and ate dinner with Los Tigres Del Norte, who, for those of you who aren’t Mexican, are one of the biggest bands in the world. The whole thing was a truly bizarre experience, made even more bizarre by the fact that they were such nice, awesome guys. They were engaging and attentive, asking lots of questions about my band and when they’d tell a story about, for example, a weirdo tour bus driver, they seemed genuinely interested in my own ancillary anecdotes about weirdo bus drivers. Not really what I’d expect from a bunch of dudes that are, in some places, more famous than Bono.

No one in dining in the hotel restaurant looked twice at these dudes, and we probably looked like quite a squad: three older Mexican dudes in really sharp velvety suits, a dirty punk and a European journalist in a blazer and Adidas. The conversation was pretty fluid, considering the differences in age/status/everything in the world that were on the table, and while I’m not gonna go into what we talked about (after all, it’s my buddy’s interview, not mine) I will say that the highlight for me was when we all got up to head to the show and the cooks and busboys all came out from the kitchen and swarmed the dudes for autographs.

That night, we went to the show at the Aragon, which is a 5k seater, a very small show for the Tigres, (every labor day they do 20 thousand people in Chicago, and they’ve sold out the Azteca in Mexico City which holds a dick-exploding 120,000) one that they called a ‘dance,’ and it was totally a dance. People on the floor and in the balconies were paired up, dancing by the thousands, packed together in the tightest crowd I’ve ever seen at the Aragon. The girls were all dressed up, vaguely slutty was about average, and the dudes were in cowboy hats, fancy jeans, boots and button up shirts with all sorts of shit emblazoned all over them. We mostly hung by the upstairs bar, drinking beer and watching from above, the two only white people in the place, and kind of marveled at how totally we were immersed in this culture of what’s known as narcocorrido, which is, and I’m not shitting you here, German style polka music, played by Mexican dudes, with lyrics all about cartels, drug deals, smuggling and murder. It’s insane. And the whole genre was invented by Los Tigres Del Norte.

Rumors abound that some of the newer musicians, like the main support act from the other night, actually work on retainer or at least are funded on a project-to-project basis by the cartels themselves. What this means, is they (allegedly) get paid by these drug kingpins in central and south America to write songs about certain cartels, and even certain guys and specific smuggling missions that got pulled off, and also about how the other, enemy cartels are inferior at smuggling/have small dicks/whatever.

This can get pretty ugly and in fact a lot of times these dudes wind up getting killed by the opposing cartels. These songs, apparently sometimes are used as a soundtrack to youtube videos of hitmen carrying out murders. The whole thing is pretty wild, it’s insanely high stakes songwriting for one thing, and for another thing, it’s WAY more gangster than any gangster rap. These songs are literally dangerous and these dudes are really being snuffed out and, well…it’s pretty crazy when you consider the way the music sounds and the dudes who are playing it.

Every band I saw play that night (and I guess it’s important to mention that Los Tigres are not affiliated with any sort of illegal organization. They just write songs, and stay out of politics) was wearing matching skin tight denim jumpsuits. There were lots of cowboy hats and spangly boots on stage. Rhinestones were everywhere. Each band had matching back patches that made the whole thing look kind of like a roller disco. One of the bands had a tuba player who rocked a mosaic tuba that was covered in all sorts of reliefs of diamonds and flowers and Frida Kahlo type shit, and every band featured, at its heart, an accordion. It was so un-badass, in terms of what I’ve been raised to be cautious around that it was almost comical. But, make no mistake, these are probably the most bad ass musicians on the planet. It reminds me of the Maori a little bit.

It’s said, and I’ve seen pics, though I’ve never been to NZ, that the Maori tend to wear things like baby blue short shorts and pink tanktops, and that they’d undoubtedly be mercilessly teased for their clothes if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re all huge monsters who could, and will happily pummel the shit out of just about anyone for any reason at all. These narcocorrido dudes weren’t dressed like AC Slater, but they were undeniably dressed like backup dancers for the Jackson 5 or something. And despite the fact that the subject matter of the lyrics was pretty dark, the music is unabashedly upbeat sounding. The whole thing was weird and awesome and it was a great experience, that left me with the buzzing of an accordion stuck in my head and a desire to get some rad cowboy boots.

Speaking of rock shows in big rooms, my band is playing with the Dead Milkmen at the Congress this weekend. Come out and have some fun. We’re gonna do something pretty special for our set, something we’ve never done before and will maybe never do again, so if you’re on the fence, you should probably head down. I promise water cooler talk the next day.
Okay, I’m gonna go to an appliance parts warehouse and try to find a new timer for my washing machine, so I’ll see you dipshits later.
Ta.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adolf vs Tre

Hey hey! It’s four twenty! Finally, a day that Nazis and hippies can all get behind. Of course, we all know the storied tradition of 420 being a police code for smoking weed, which for some dumb reason has made this a holy day of stonerdom (as though the kinds of people who ‘celebrate’ 420 aren’t always just smoking weed anyway…which makes it about as pointless as a ‘day of breathing’ or the annual ‘night where we decide to get a little sleep’) but did you know that this is also Hitler’s birthday? It’s true. He’d be 122 today, and probably is, either as a drug-addled brain in a jar or down in Argentina wearing a Hawaiian shirt and complaining about how much he hates the juice, or both.

Nazis (and I’m gonna switch gears here a little bit and talk about the neo-nazis, not the actual German political party, though a lot of this probably holds true for both) and hippies have a lot more in common than just this wonderful calendar day. Firstly, and this is a big one, I hate them both. Granted, that’s a highly myopic and personal similarity, but I can say with assurance that pretty much anyone that’s worth the postage on a fart probably has a disdain for hippies that’s trumped only by their disdain for Nazis (and this is a funny point, because I have several close friends who, if asked, will say shit like “I’m kind of a hippy” or “I back hippies” but what they truly mean is ‘I don’t mind being a little bit filthy and I like weed and I listen to some Neil Young and generally, I think war is pretty bad.’ Without exception, EVERY time one of my ‘hippy’ friends is in a room with an ACTUAL hippy, they are every bit as revolted as the rest of us, which makes them, obviously, not hippies at all, but simply dirty individuals with a pretty decent worldview, a vastly different animal).

Another similarity between hippies and Nazis is that they have very specific ideas about how you should be living your life and they’re not afraid to tell you all about it. These ideological imperatives that hippies and Nazis spout are interestingly parallel, as in, they both literally demonize opposition and refer overtly to the destruction of the fabric of society and indeed the world itself as inevitable if people continue to breed outside the race or fail to free up their minds, bro. Sure, there are organizational imperatives at work here too, like supporting Greenpeace or the Northwest American Republic, and while I’m not gonna get into the legitimacy of either organization, I will say that one is clearly more stupid than the other, and that’s impressive. This brings me to my next parallel: stupidity.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “dude, sure, some hippies are stupid at times, sure, but there are some brilliant hippies out there too and to equate the stupidity of hippies with the stupidity of those neo-nazi mongos is really stretching it, bro.”

Nah. They’re both stupid as shit, and here’s why: Firstly, the ideological forefathers of these respective movements have very little to do with the footsoldiers walking the streets today. A modern hippy, while less morally repugnant than a neo-nazi, is hardly any more pleasant to be around. Note that I say ‘hardly’ as in: sure, yes. I’d rather be locked in a room with a group of hippies than a group of neo Nazis ten times out of ten, but I’m not happy about it. Listening to a bunch of dumbasses spout mindless slogans and attempt to enlighten me about why they’ve got it all figured out is not my idea of a good time, and the only thing that’s really giving the hippies the edge is that I think that if I got really fed up, I could beat up a room of hippies, whereas with the neo Nazis, swarming some random dude is kind of their thing (at this point it bears mentioning that I’ve met several extremely violent and scary hippies in my time, and I don’t think that’s rare. In my experience, people who go out of their way to overtly identify as ‘laid back and/or mellow’ tend to be extremely high strung wingnuts prone to fits of rage, so while I find Nazis to be scarier than hippies, maybe that’s a na├»ve statement. The fact of course remains that bigotry is really gross and definitely trumps any other misguided ideology in every single negative category that there is [unless you’re bigoted against hippies, I guess. Seems like in the context of this article, that’s fine], but again, I’m not happy to give the hippies the edge, though in this case they’re up against stiff competition).

Secondly, the ‘brilliant hippies’ that were forefathers of revolution and created great art and all that can really be correlated as opposite sides of the coin of the nazi forefathers who also implemented a revolution and made great art. Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I’m in NO WAY backing the nazi program at all. I’m just begrudgingly allowing (as with hippies) that they had some sharp minds in their ranks, even if those minds were totally twisted, and that if art and revolutionary thinking is a meterstick we use to judge hippies as a worthwhile group, well, then we’d kind of have to give it to the Nazis too. They made some pretty huge strides in the world of film and fashion and science and of course political theory, wartime strategy and propaganda, or as we call it today, advertising. Hippies also dabbled in a lot of these pursuits, though sometimes the results were pretty questionable too.

Personally, I think that the Alkaline Trio looks a lot cooler in their pegged slacks and armbands then Ultraviolet Hippopotamus looks in their patchy flannel overalls. It also helps that the trio are just fashionable, and not actually Nazis, because if they were, we wouldn’t be friends for one thing, and for another thing, their music would absolutely suck. And this brings me to my final point:

Both hippies and Nazis pretty much exclusively make terrible music. I fucking hate the doors. I hate the Dead. I hate Jefferson Airplane. I hate all that shit with a passion. It’s some of the most grating, shitty music that’s ever been made and GOD HELP YOU if you have to listen to any of the ‘post Jerry’ hippy drivel that’s out there, like for example, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus or the string cheese incident or Rusted Root or blues traveler or phish or any of that bullshit. It’s such garbage that garbage is embarrassed to be compared to it.

Buuuuuuuuuut, here’s where the hippies pull away to a clear victory, because there is nothing on the earth that’s so horrible (so horrible that it’s really not even worth making fun of) as neo-nazi music. Those ‘bands’ were and continue to be SO completely terrible that even at their best (and I think Skrewdriver is pretty unanimously considered to be the greatest nazi band ever) they’re still fucking terrible to a point where you’ve gotta wonder if everyone in the band’s got all their fingers and teeth and chromosomes. It all sounds like amputated and mentally infirm angry adults flailing around like babies and punching each other in the guitars. And Jimi Hendrix had some pretty great songs, if we’re being honest. Same with Steven Stills.

On a final note, one of my favorite (read: least favorite) little lines of bullshit is when people talk about that ‘first screwdriver record, you know, before they were racist. It was really pretty great.’ Here’s the thing about that: No, it’s not great. It’s subpar crappy nationalist oi with shitty vocals and it sucks, for one thing and for another thing YOU (person telling me this, because literally everyone who’s ever told me this falls into the same category) are one of the dumbest people I’ve ever met. We already don’t like the same things and I have zero respect for your intelligence as it stands, and this isn’t helping matters. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Okay, so what have we learned today? Hippies are stupid assholes that are worthy of disdain and outright mockery, and they can also be violent weirdos, but pound for pound, across the board, Nazis are much worse. Huh. Who knew?

So, congratulations hippies. You win 420. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

dum da dum dum

Here’s something I don’t like to hear people say: “America is full of the dumbest people in the world.” The people that say this almost always come to this conclusion by way of watching a group of politically motivated dipshits on television doing something that they disagree with. Your gay cousin says this when he sees some mongo tea party demonstration and your gay cousin’s conservative dad says it when he sees a bunch of dipshit hippies or loud, marginalized group of lefty zealots going nuts for some reason. The response is always the same: “God, we’ve got the stupidest people in the world in this country. This is why we’re [losing the space race/all too fat/stuck in 3 wars/losing 3 wars/etc.].

I’ve pointed out before in this very space that America hardly holds the patent on stupidity. We just have the most cameras. It’s a little bit like the way that everyone sits around and talks about what a bunch of disgusting pigs the kids on the Jersey Shore are. Truthfully, lots and lots of people that are in their 20’s go out to clubs and get drunk and get in fights or wind up randomly boning. Those kids on the Shore just happen to have it broadcast all over the place (and yes, there’s an argument that goes something like “well, yeah, I have random sex and the subsequent hung-over abortions just like JWOWW does, but I wouldn’t do that shit if I was on TV…this argument is, I suppose, technically valid, but the thing is, she’s being encouraged to behave that way AND getting paid to do it, so REALLY, you’re doing what she does but for free. Now who’s stupid?). The kids on the Jersey Shore aren’t any dumber than anyone else, they’ve just got a level of visibility that the rest of us dummys don’t have.

The same can be said about the morons that turn up on TV holding misspelled signs. Firstly, they only get on TV BECAUSE their signs are misspelled. There’s nothing particularly dramatic or entertaining about intelligent people behaving rationally, so that shit doesn’t make the news. The mongos on both sides, however are always doing something that’ll keep people watching, if only to hang their heads in shame and decry America as the home of the moran.

Believe me, go to Bavaria or suburban Tehran or outside Rio or Odessa or Beijing or anywhere and you’ll be blown away by how fucking stupid and shortsighted, how completely heads-up-their-asses the entirety of the world is. It’s not America that’s stupid, it’s humanity.

Now, that sounds a little harsh, but it’s actually true. The vast majority of the people on earth are uninteresting, untalented and completely incapable of any sort of critical thought. Have you ever wondered how come so many terrible books/movies/records/television shows continue to get made? The knee-jerk answer is that people are stupid and stupid people will watch/buy/consume any crap you put in front of them, but that’s not true. People don’t just haphazardly consume things and dumb people have just as much discerning taste as smart people. Think about, for example, this lady. She loves Bret Michaels a lot. She doesn’t probably like the Arcade Fire, but that’s not because she’s dumb, it’s because her tastes skew to something really specific, just because it’s lowbrow (which poison definitely is) doesn’t mean that it’s ‘any old crap.’ It’s, in fact, very specific crap. (and for the record, there are extremely stupid people who love arcade fire and loathe Brett Michaels). So no. There’s no weight to the notion that dumb people will consume anything.

The truth is far more depressing. The reason that so many completely terrible pieces of entertainment get made is because that’s the best that we can do. Sure, there are people out there like Picasso and Coppola and Nick Manning and they’re all absolutely amazing at what they do and they and their peers get a lot of attention and for that reason, we’re tempted to believe that there are lots of extremely smart and talented people making great stuff and that people with a reasonable grasp of how to do something should be able to produce something at least okay if they dedicate time and effort. But no. That’s, again, the fallacy of exposure.

The reason that Coppola is famous is because he’s exceptional. Spielberg also is famous for being exceptional, and you know who else is famous for being exceptional? Michael Bay. The Farrelly Brothers. Kevin Smith. Charlie Sheen. Bret Michaels. John Grisham. And so on and so forth. Once you get past the very, very small peak of real live highly talented people, there’s a precipitous drop off that’s staggeringly sheer and divisive. Consider this: I held a contest a few years ago where I had people send in designs for tshirts. There were 3 submissions that were pretty cool. We used all 3. After that, the fourth best one was completely terrible and it went downhill from there. The reason that crappy books and crappy movies and crappy songs get written is that the actual bar is SO INCREDIBLY LOW, because people at large are SO INCREDIBLY TERRIBLE AT THINGS that even garbage can be exceptional. This is not just true for entertainment, and it’s especially true for nebulous issues like political thought or functioning in society without being a drunken guido with a coathanger sticking out of your panties.

So yeah. There you go. People be dum. I’m going to the Art Institute. I’m pretty dumb too, but I know I’m pretty dumb, so that makes me kind of smart. At least I think it does. I dunno, I’m pretty dumb.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the parabola

So, it’s come to my attention that really at the core of things men deeply desire a wide array of perverse ways to put their penises into things and women want to plan projects and see them through. This is the essential and fundamental core of any male/female dynamic. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that women aren’t sometimes (or even often) totally into depraved boning (or non-depraved boning, if you’re dull) and I’m not suggesting that men don’t get into planning and following through with projects. I’m simply suggesting that the other gender NEVER comes close to actually fundamentally embodying the desire in the way that the aforementioned diagram is laid out. Men love boning in a way that women will just never understand and conversely, women love planning and speculating and talking through long, sustained ongoing projects and then making them happen in ways that no man could ever fully comprehend (it’s often been said [and it’s 100% true] that the entire reason that men do everything is in order to get laid, and that is true for projects, propecia, working, having a house, being smart, being sophisticated or brutish, owning sheets and towels, brushing their teeth etc). This is why your mom redid the kitchen six times after she got to a certain age and your dad fucked his secretary (your stepmom). There’s a point where it’s pointless to resist the urges. They become you.

The funny thing about this is that if you trace any long term multi-gendered relationship, you can see the complete parabola of the acquiescence to one of the partner’s needs, and the way that the other partner necessarily succumbs, if only to get their needs fulfilled (I’m still talking exclusively about boning and projects here). What does that mean? Well, I’ll tell you.

Faced with a new relationship, (and this is about to be rife with gross generalization…don’t be such a pussy) a man sees essentially someone to bone and a woman sees something of a project in said man. This is the fodder of lame standups to be sure, but hear me out. A woman is interested in what a guy DOES, if he’s really as much of an arrogant cocksucker/total pansy/nerd/dipshit as he seems, if he’d be a cool guy to show off to her friends, if he’s smart, if her parents would like him, if he’s got a nice dong, if he’s well read, if he’s gonna someday be fat, if he’s the kind of guy that can make mango salsa, if he’s capable of a beard, if he’s got cool friends, if he’s popular, if he’s a pariah etc. I’m not saying all these factors are important to every woman, just that they are some of the considerations. A man, at first (and this is 100% of the time, ladies) sees a human being with a pussy/mouth/asshole combination.

Is that terrible? Well, sure. Totally. I know there has been a lot of discussion lately about how women in rock (though it could easily be ‘in general’) have a shitty row to hoe and I recently read a very articulate, sensible and right on interview with a woman in a small touring band who mentioned that she can never get drunk while she’s on the road because she’s a girl and dudes are all suspect in terms of taking advantage of a woman, and as a result she feels that she can never let her guard down if she’s in the company of strangers. That sucks ass. It’s also 100% true. She shouldn’t get drunk because dudes ARE all creepy potential perverts. It sucks. It sucks terribly. But we’re not into projects. We’re into fucking. Pretending it’s not that way is stupid, so I’m not gonna do it. And, to be clear, I’m not saying we’re all pervs. Tons of guys are not and will be extremely valiant and chivalrous in all situations. But you never know because there are a TON of creeps. They outnumber the good guys, I’d reckon. Anyway, I’m getting off the point here.

The point is, that when people first meet and decide to forge a (heterosexual) relationship, the tendency is to bone all the time, like crazy people on a ship that’s simultaneously sinking and on fire. This serves everyone’s purposes well. The woman gets the experience of answering a few questions regarding the dude (is he creepy, nice dong, can he dance, what will my friends think, etc. etc.), she gets to lay what can be considered the groundwork of a long term project (hence her unbridled enthusiasm for boning in those early and exciting times[not to mention the physical/emotional enjoyment of porking]), and the dude gets to bone. His game, at this point is over. That’s why the exceedingly common move is for a guy and a girl to bang and the guy to disappear. At that point, truly, he’s achieved everything he’s hardwired to try and achieve. (at THIS point I should again reiterate that yes, this whole exercise is extremely reductive and I’ve definitely been ‘fucked and trucked’ as the old saying goes, by women that I’d like to have pursued who wanted nothing from me other than a quick [extended] ride on an exceedingly gorgeous wang and that there are totally guys who get lovelorn all the time and I’m not suggesting that women don’t enjoy sex, and this is, as I’ve said, a simplification that is intended to illuminate, not encompass, so please relax).

The point is, this is the first high point of the parabola, where Y=time and X=one partner in a multi-gendered relationship’s fulfillment of fundamental needs. This is almost unquestionably the time when a man is thinking “wow, I’m getting laid all the time. Things are perfect” and women are also thinking that, but also things about her future, things about whether or not this guy is a relevant choice to see in a long term situation or if he’s just a fun distraction, or if he’s a creep….in short, she’s speculating, talking to friends, planning projects of sorts while he’s sitting there like a pig in shit with a bucket of candybars, as myopic and happy as can be.

Of course, this all changes. Nobody keeps the honeymoon bone-a-thon up as time goes by. Even the healthiest and most sexually active couples experience a decline in the frequency and athleticism of their banging over time. Why is this? I’ll tell you this much: It’s got absolutely NOTHING to do with the male in the relationship getting tired of getting blowjobs or waking up in the middle of the night to have freaky sex (except in weird cases like our buddy who has the calluses on his dong from the letter last month). I mean, for those of you who are unlucky or dumb enough to not listen to Stern, last week guest announcer George Takei was in there and he’s well into his 70’s and he’s still as horny as a pack of wild dogs that are drunk on tequila. The male sexdrive doesn’t wane. If anything, it gets stronger as men get older and uglier and drift away from the time in their lives where they’re having as-close-as-they-can to the kind and frequency of sex they desire.

The REASON, folks, is because the project has moved on from the ‘groundwork stage’ and on to other things. Now, this is not to say that the woman in this heterosexual relationship has one goal, which is ‘the male’ and that she’s just exclusively priming him for other things. I’m not saying that just like I’m not saying that the man simply exists to fuck (though I think that’s probably not TERRIBLY far off). I’m saying that projects, the project of the boyfriend/husband, the project of getting rid of the boyfriend/husband, the project of jobs, domiciles, self improvement, etc become prioritized as the project of ‘doing a lot of enthusiastic and enjoyable boning to lay the groundwork for other projects’ has run its course. THIS is a fundamental difference in the genders, because in men, this project never runs its course, and is, in fact, the beginning, middle and DEFINITELY end of all projects. “Boning: The project”. It starts and ends there, ladies.

Here, we enter the middle of the parabola, the low point, where projects aren’t really being achieved and boning isn’t either. Sure, both are technically happening (as any functional straight relationship necessarily deals almost exclusively in the currency and free exchange of projects/boning) but in a compromised sort of state. No one is truly happy, but no one is really all that bummed either. This is the point when men fondly remember the unfettered boning of the early relationship and women do too, though perhaps more through the lens of “that was when things were exciting and dynamic and the future of this project was many splendored and open to lots of different outcomes” as opposed to grinding to the inevitable conclusion of ‘boring life,’ ‘messy divorce,’ ‘acceptable ride’ or ‘affair (another project, by the way [though for men it’s exclusively about boning {and this is interesting because often in articles in women’s magazines, men talk about ‘what led them to cheat’ and invariably say things like ‘my wife didn’t appreciate me’ or ‘I didn’t feel desirable in our relationship anymore’ when in reality, the only answer to this question is ‘there was a woman who would fuck me and I’m kind of an asshole’ }])

So, what happens then? Well, the remodeling of things begins in earnest. The projects pick up, because there’s simply nothing else to do. So the house gets done, someone writes a memoir, trips get taken (which is the ultimate one-night-stand-in-the-bathroom-stall of the project oriented woman. There’s nothing that encapsulates the maddening planning and meticulous need to get shit organized and together like a trip, especially with children. Remember when you were a kid and your mom would go nuts right before vacation? It’s the high holiday of the project, an intense quickie, if you will [also, at this point I should overtly mention that I just got back from a great trip, and were it not for my wife’s incredible persistence in the face of my own stone-like inability to plan, pack or prepare anything at all, we wouldn’t have had nearly so wonderful of a trip, and this essay is in NO WAY supposed to be a subtle dig at her. She’s cool. Quit projecting on my life, eh?])

So this is why, to go back to the top of the page, you’ve seen a few kitchens in your childhood home and your mom is now a photographer or a gardener or a novelist, and your dad is just a sad sack of shit that drinks and watches tv. This is the second high point of the parabola, the one that’s entirely project oriented. If you look at the life of this hypothetical heterosexual relationship like a Tralfamadorian, it can be said that everyone wins completely at all times. It should be noted one last time that women tend to like to have sex with the men that they’re in relationships with and men tend to like the women they’re in relationships with to be happy and have projects and do things, so this isn’t any sort of brutal ‘battle of wills.’ It’s fact a pretty enjoyable way to spend an existence. It’s no 2 dudes just boning away until the end of time, and it’s no two women just going on trips and building treehouses and co-ops and foundations and stuff…in that way the gays have truly got it all figured out. BUT, for the rest of us, we can probably make due with the parabola. It’s vastly more good than bad, eh?

Sure. Okay. Jesus. This is far too long.

Friday, April 8, 2011

aye Chihuahuas!

Ladies and gentlemen, it pleases me greatly to announce that I’m going to be heading to mexico tomorrow and I’m going to be gone for exactly one week. What in the world will I do while I’m there, you may ask? Well, that’s simple. I’m going to kill some female factory workers, take down the police department, terrorize innocents and post-apocalyptically turn my black market system into the dominant force in the nation. Then, I’ll play mariachi music, eat some burritos, fuck a donkey, and sneak over the border (and back) in the gas tank of a Chevy pickup truck. At that point, I’m going to watch soccer and after that, I’ll get drunk and stab someone and get thrown through a window, all while wearing a cowboy hat. I’ll drink some tequila and show my tits to an entrepreneurial group of young men with video cameras. I’ll overact in a televised melodrama. I’ll eat the worm. I’ll be tragically injured by a parasailing obese man from Nebraska and finally, I’ll become the richest man in the world.

Yeah, it’s gonna be a busy trip. I’m also gonna try to find a little time to be a gorgeous woman, a very old woman who makes lots of things by hand, a bunch of unwashed children selling chicklets, a ridiculously wealthy businessman with amazing hair and a booming voice, a teenager that loves Morrissey and of course, a happy go lucky 20 something who’s in charge of activities at the pool that loves listening to stories about the grandchildren of strangers. I’m gonna be poor, but with a wealth of family and love that can’t be measured in things like pesos and pairs of snakeskin boots. I’m also going to be exceedingly wealthy and blonde and look surprisingly german. Did I mention I’m going to have the best hair of anyone in the world? Because I am.

The whole thing is gonna be very Leaves of Grass, but maybe in reverse, or inverted, because frankly, I never really could pay too much attention to Walt Whitman or take the time to understand what he was really getting at. So, I guess technically, I don’t know. Maybe it’s not gonna be Walt Whitman at all. Maybe it’s gonna be more like Hemmingway. I’ll be curt and evasive, talking about certain things to let the negative space of what I’m not mentioning chip away at your soul. If that’s the case, I’m also gonna have to eat some big steaks and fuck a ton of broads, which sounds like it could be okay, but I’m kind of thinking the whole thing’s gonna leave me feeling empty, repulsive and on the run from myself, you know, spiritually. So fuck that. Plus, really if we’re being honest, Hemmingway has had too large of an influence on modern writing for me to truly be able to enjoy him anymore. This is a topic for another time, but (short version) it’s kinda like listening to the Kinks. They invented distortion, and I can appreciate that the first time anyone ever heard the distorted guitar riff of “all day and all of the night” it was probably a face melting experience, but it’s never been that way for me because it had such a humongous influence that by the time I came along, distortion had evolved to a point where that original bit was no longer cool or interesting to my ears. But I’m getting off the subject and talking WAY too much about Hemmingway and the Kinks, which are two things that I like in theory, but not in practice.

Maybe I’m going about this Mexico thing all wrong. Maybe what I should do is go down there with my screaming, wiggly baby and my screaming wiggly toddler and my screaming exhausted wife and just do my best to drink margaritas and relax while everyone else attempts to fall into the pool and drown, or cram a zillion death-march-like activities into our days.

Nah, for real, what I’m gonna do is have a lovely week with my family where I do my best to forget all my troubles, forget all my cares and maybe go downtown once or twice to the lovely city of Bucerias. It’s a cool zone. I like the small, dusty, droopy eyed awesomeness of it. Besides, last time I was there I ended up in a wrecked mansion playing chess on a board that was drawn in pen on the inside of a cheerios box with a dude with tattoos on his face (he whipped my ass ten times out of ten) and having a great time. I also kind of think I got kicked out of a bar on superbowl Sunday. Or maybe I just had to take a dump. I don’t know. It’s been a few years and I can’t be expected to keep track of all my wheelings and dealings. I know I saw a really shitty hippy band play a song or two and it was infuriating. Anyway…

Anyone up for the Garfield Park Conservatory? Good. See you there. Otherwise, see you in a week!

Toodles.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'd do anything for Mick Jagger....ANYTHING!

I can think of a couple of times in my life when I thought for sure I was going to die. Off the top of my head, the first one involves me and two of my friends in a Honda Civic driven by my buddy’s mom. We were heading up to Michigan for a weekend of clandestine beer drinking and the like. It was winter and although the roads were clear, anyone who’s ever survived a Midwestern January knows that driving’s always a relatively sketchy deal when it’s snowy and in a place like Michigan, with notoriously underfunded municipal programs (like clearing snow and ice, for example) it’s doubly so.

So, we’re cruising down a 2 lane highway at about sixty miles per hour. I’m in the back seat. Suddenly, the car starts to fishtail pretty violently. My friend sitting shotgun turns to his mom and says “quit fucking around, mom!” at which point shit gets pretty hairy. The car locks at about a 25 degree angle and just starts hurtling towards the steep embankment on the side of the road. We hit right at the drivers side headlight and the car flipped completely so it landed back on its wheels facing the other direction.

The entire time I was absolutely positive I was gonna die. When we landed, it was dead silent until my friend sitting shotgun broke the silence, screaming “mom! You killed my car!” which is so monumentally hilarious and inappropriate that it goes down as one of the best things I’ve ever heard anyone say ever to this day. At that point I realized that I was covered in broken glass due to all the windows exploding and I asked if everyone felt okay and suggested that we should get out of the car because if we’d fucked up the integrity of the gas tank, we could potentially explode.

Keep in mind, I was sixteen and this seemed like the kind of thing that happened when cars flipped. I didn’t really know what I was talking about (obviously) but we all got out of the car and that was the moment where the veil dropped forever and we told our friend’s mom that we all smoked cigarettes, which was a surprisingly liberating ancillary result of the accident.

My buddy’s mom was understandably very upset and I’ve never seen anyone go from zero to absolutely shithoused as quickly as she did once the cops finally got us to their house. It was a real scene. She was dancing to the Stones, saying really inappropriate things, and gyrating in a way that was simultaneously unnerving and hilarious. I remember that I’d eaten Chicken McNuggets right before the whole thing went down. The only injury that any of the four of us sustained in the kickflip-180-in-the-Honda-civic fiasco wasn’t discovered until the next day when I took a shower and realized that I had a tic tac sized piece of glass lodged in my forearm.

Another time I thought I was gonna die we were coming back from a European tour and right as our plane was about to start its descent into Chicago, the turbulence went crazy. Now, I’m generally a bad flyer, so my move for dealing with things like turbulence is that I look at the stewardesses and try to gauge how much I think they’re pretending not to freak out. Well, we were in the very back of a large trans-atlantic plane, which is not only the most bumpy spot in a plane, but also right by the galley, so when the plane started shucking and jiving, I looked back in time to be comforted by the flight attendant screaming “Holy shit!” and all the plates and silverware breaking free of their restraints and scattering all over the aisles. From then on it was full blown panic. I was holding Neil’s and Chris’s hands and kind of crying/whining and I was not nearly the only person on the plane screaming and freaking out. In fact, when the plane landed, the number of barf bags that the stewardesses had to go around and retrieve was staggering. More shocking were the people who had literally shit their pants and needed to wait for the stewardesses to bring them blankets to tie around their waists in order to not offend the customs officials with their yellow and brown stained garments.

The walk off the plane was a slow and stinky reminder of the terrifying last 15 minutes of an otherwise benign flight. There were barf splashes and poo residue all over. Some people had straight up abandoned their pants, and well, it was grim, to say the least.

The other time I thought I was gonna die, I was drenched in mud in a forest in France with nothing in my pockets, about sixty miles from where everyone I knew was staying. The whole thing was terrifying and while there was no “car flipping” near death, I was sustainably terrified for a much longer time than I’ve ever been before or since. This story is WAY too long to go into, and it’s probably the most bizarre night of my life. I’ve hinted at it before, but I kind of feel like once I write about it, I’ll have nothing left, so I’m not gonna go there just yet. Suffice it to say though, shit was nuts. That was also the first time I ever saw anyone ask a cop if he knew where to get any heroin. It was a real scene, that snowy wood in france.

Okay, this baby is making a lot of noise and ignoring her isn’t working, so I gotta go. Toodles!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I think this song is about intercourse!

Hey y’all. First and foremost, thanks to everyone who came out to the Beat Kitchen on Sunday; it was a totally great time. Everyone was super cool and I think I can say with assurance that it was an unmitigated success. Also, thanks to everyone who’s tirelessly working out there to make #goatfucking a trending topic on Twitter. It’s all pretty amusing. You guys are funny.

As we get older, it’s fascinating how our tastes change. Some of that has to do with the new demands that come from a new stage of life and some of it’s just kind of inexplicably bizarre. Oh, don’t worry. I’ve thought of a few examples:

I used to like to talk to bums. I used to sit and hang out with bums in fact. In FACT, there was a time when I considered a few bums to be legitimate friends of mine. Now, however, I have no interest in talking to bums. It’s not because I’ve grown old and rich and I’ve forgotten my days of sitting on a bucket giving cigarettes to dudes who probably in retrospect didn’t really want to hang out with a dumb skateboarder with a stupid haircut, and it’s not because I’ve become hardened and cruel and I no longer feel the need to interact with the unfortunate or anything like that. It’s much more sweeping than that: It’s that I don’t want to sit around and talk to anyone at all ever, especially if I’m out on the street trying to get somewhere. The bumness has nothing to do with why I no longer talk to bums except to say shit like ‘not today, man’ when they ask me if I can spare any change. It’s that if anyone at all under any circumstances stops me on the street to chat, it’s annoying. I’ve got a limited life here, and I HAVE been around long enough to know that when random folks stop you, nine times out of ten the results are gonna involve them trying to convince you to you do something that furthers their agenda. Now, this doesn’t mean that I hate my friends or that I’ve never met anyone nice and good out there. Hell, I met a pretty good dude in the playground yesterday (even if his kid’s first name was Gorman [!?!?]) and our conversation was pleasant. And on a rare occasion, I’ll even encounter people who are familiar with my music or this dumb blog and they’ll stop me and express appreciation and that’s totally great, and I’d HATE for anyone to think I was implying that I just need to be completely left alone, a la Prince or Cher or something. It’s just that for the most part, the whole ‘interacting with strangers’ thing is irritating and so I’ve just decided, sort of unconsciously until this very moment of articulation, to avoid it, ESPECIALLY when it’s bums.

And, not to put too fine a point on this whole thing, but lest you think this sounds totally shitty I’d like to offer a quick analogy: Let’s say that you don’t like uh…I dunno, falafel. You’ve tried it a bunch and it always tastes mealy and shitty to you. The one exception to this is the time when you were visiting your old college roommates’ parents in Madison and you went to this spot and had the falafel and it was spectacular. It was one of the best things you’ve ever eaten, however that doesn’t change the fact that you generally dislike falafel and that therefore you won’t ever order it, nor will you ever seek it out. That’s how I feel about talking to weirdos: it’s generally unpleasant, so fuck it. Off the list.

Now, that’s pretty understandable. And although I’ve overtly stated otherwise above, I’ll cop to the fact that there’s an element of being beaten down by the world around me that goes into the consideration to never talk to bums, and a lot of shit is like that. I don’t like the feeling of riding a skateboard any more, though it used to be my favorite, FAVORITE thing in the world to do. I also don’t like smoking weed. I also don’t like talking on the phone to teenagers, or listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or having long hair or wearing medallions or playing Dungeons and Dragons or drawing pictures of Garfield or discussing political theory with half baked communists/anarchists/capitalists/robber-baron types, and these are all things I used to love to do. It’s not weird to understand why we stop doing or enjoying things. Life is a brutal series of swift kicks to the nuts and at a certain point you just want to get out of the boot storm and chill out with the very few people who can stand to be around you and vice versa. When you’re young and have a high threshold for bullshit, you can potentially film a plastic bag caught in an updraft and call it beautiful or listen to someone else drone on about something equally mind numbing, but after a while, it’s just a waste of energy. You’ve seen and done it before and there’s no reason to do it again.

BUT, there are things out there that I used to hate that I now love, and that’s pretty weird. I used to hate to sleep. Sleep used to cause me anxiety and I used to dread the night and in the mornings I’d jump out of bed as soon as my eyes opened. Now, however, the opposite is true. I love being asleep. It’s my favorite thing in the universe. This one is easy to figure out: it’s because I no longer get nearly enough sleep. Something that was once so plentiful that I was able to throw it away is now in short supply and as such, my desire for it has increased by a zillion percent. But why do I like spinach now, and Billy Joel?

I used to think that Billy Joel was the antithesis of good, cool music, but now I think the song “Only the Good Die Young” is one of the most awesome songs ever. I used to gag when I SAW spinach. Now I eat it raw by the handful. What the fuck is that? My tongue changed? My ears changed? I still like most other stuff I used to like that goes in my ears and mouth (yes, yes. It’s a great place for a dick joke. That’s why I phrased it that way…go ahead and zing me), so I don’t think that’s really the case.

Is it that in the excitement to start cutting all the irritating shit out of our lives we, ourselves get cut out of a lot of other people’s lives (the people we’ve been irritating all along) and at the end of the day, when I’m home alone wallowing in the solitude I’ve constructed around myself, just me and my Spinach and my copy of The Stranger, suddenly I’m like “you know what, Billy? You used to seem like a square, white, pussified antidote to all the things I ever thought were cool about music, but as I sit here eating spinach, staring at the clock and waiting until it’s late enough that I can reasonably fall asleep without feeling like a total loser, I’m kind of getting what you’re saying. We’re all the antidote to coolness. That’s what age and youth are. Youth is cool. Age kills youth so therefore age is the opposite and antithesis of coolness.

Unless you’re Willie Nelson, who’s vastly cooler now than he was when he had the pompadour and performed Crazy in a suit. But that shit’s rare. Most of us are like Snoop. No. Actually, most of us don’t start out that cool. Most of us are like our parents.

Hmmm…this wasn’t supposed to be this depressing.

Uh, goatfucking?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nazis are the best! (wait for it....) APRIL FOOLS!!!!!

Greetings earthturds. As you may know, I’m playing this Sunday over at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago. Chances are, it’s gonna be pretty kick ass. You should come down if you want to hear your favorite fart and dick jokes articulated by a highly nasal human voice. The White Wives and the Haverchucks and Little Dave from the Arrivals are all playing and the whole thing promises to be hotter than the interior of a ton-ton, so don’t be a wangus. Let’s hang out.

Last night I was listening to the radio while washing some dishes and the song “Fix You” came on. For those of you who don’t know, this is an extremely popular song by the band Coldplay and frankly, it’s pretty good if you’re in the mood for something melancholy and/or kind of soft/fruity sounding. Anyway, hearing the song got me vaguely thinking about the video.

The video for “Fix You” starts with the main Coldplay dude, Chris Martin, walking down the street or something (honestly, I don’t remember. It’s not exactly the most compelling thing I’ve ever seen. The point is, he’s alone. I think it’s night, but that could be wrong too) and eventually, as the band kicks in (about 2/3 of the way through the song) he winds up in a stadium which is absolutely massive, even by stadium standards, and packed to the rafters with slathering, singing, teary Coldplay fans. The video gives way to the audio of a gigantic stadium (I don’t know where it is, but I would imagine it’s one of those really famous UK stadiums that houses massive things…) and you hear what looks and sounds like 100,000 people singing along to this song, and it’s truly awesome, as that kind of thing tends to be. But the thing that’s so overwhelming to me in this video is the sheer scale of the whole crowd. It’s MASSIVE.

Now, I know that shit just gets gigantic in the UK, particularly UK artists. I mean, those shots of Oasis at Leeds or whatever the fuck those super iconic images of them are, tend to boggle the mind and I know even shit like Girls Aloud and Robbie Williams, stuff that’s had no real success over here, is huge. Hell, my band does well in the UK, for fucks sake. It’s a great place to be a musician and a great place to watch shows….but wait…maybe that last part’s not quite right.

There are so many fucking people at the coldplay show. It’s gotta be somewhat shitty. I mean, here in Chicago, I’d imagine that Coldplay would set up at the United Center, which is a big place for sure. But, it’s nowhere near the size of whatever that place is that they’re playing in the “Fix You” video. I just saw Lady Gaga at the United Center, and it was cool, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as even remotely intimate, and to further remove the intimacy by adding an extra 80,000 people, well fuck. I think that maybe that’s crappy. When I was a stagehand, I saw Coldplay at a 1,100 capacity venue (and loaded all their bullshit up and down a zillion stairs, AND saw Gwyneth Paltrow arrhythmically bobbing her head and trying [unsuccessfully] to sing along without looking like a mongo) and it was pretty cool, if only for the novelty of seeing something up close that I really never expected to get a chance to see in person (lots of you out there will get this feeling when you finally gaze upon a real, live woman’s vagina for the first time), and in hearing this song, and recalling this video, I was struck with an odd notion:

Namely, are there Coldplay fans out there that are just LIVID that the band got so huge? Does Chris Martin get angry emails from spurned fans who say things like “man, just saw you at Wembley and gotta be honest, it lacked the intimacy of when I used to catch you buskering at Crobar in Leicester Square. It’s a real shame you’d do that to all your old, true fans, mate.”
Now, whether or not this has happened, THIS is a totally weird attitude that’s really common among American punk rock fans of bands that got really huge really quickly. I recall, for some reason, being on some sort of internet forum where some dude was screaming (virtually) at that sparkly little dude from My Chemical Romance because he was a ‘real fan’ and he hated that suddenly all these posers were around fucking up the shows and generally making him look like a dingus by dragging him down into the mire and muck of being a fan of a popular band. This shit’s common. You know what I’m talking about, right? Well, last night I thought about this in reference to Coldplay and suddenly, I had some thoughts on the issue:

1) You ARE a dingus that likes the same shit as these hordes. The evidence is right in front of you. You like the band, so do they. Case closed. Or wait…Do you like the band, or do you just like that no one else likes them? If the latter is the case, go listen to Meat Wagon or The Lovehammers or something and I promise you’ll never have the problem of dealing with other fans. But, if you like the band that gets huge, surprise! Your taste isn’t all that unique and weird. In fact, it’s just like all these other people out here, who actually seem stoked to be out there having fun, which leads me to point number 2:

2) A “Real Fan” of something actually likes it and wants to see it thrive. A real fan of something likes to see that lots of people appreciate said thing. It’s silly to sit there and decry a new album/venue/show/direction of an artist and then in the same breath call yourself a ‘real fan’ as opposed to the people who actually REALLY are fans and just like what’s going on. Do you see the distinction? If you look through the lens of Coldplay, it seems more obviously stupid. What dipshit sits there stewing in the rafter seats saying something like “these dipshits aren’t real fans. This new album is garbage, and I WAS THERE WHEN….” It’s ridiculous. AND it’s completely, totally, ass-backwards wrong. YOU (in the rafters) are the fair weather fan. YOU are the one that only likes one aspect of what’s going on. You like the beginning and not the end. How does that make you more entitled to some ethereal concept of ‘better fandom’ than someone who likes the end and hasn’t had the chance yet to hear the beginning, or someone who likes the end AND the beginning, or someone who just likes the end for that matter? Or just someone that’s not being an asshole?

Now, of course I’m not saying that things can’t start to suck and you can’t feel free to start or stop liking something at any time. What I’m saying is that if you DO stop liking something, you’re done. You don’t have an inside track. You’re not a “Real fan,” you’re a former fan and let me tell you, as a person who’s friends with a lot of people in bands and artists in general, nobody wants to hear from a former fan. It’s just irritating and lame. ‘If you don’t like it,’ the response goes, ‘don’t listen and don’t bother me. I’m not here to create for you specifically, and if you’re no longer interested in me, well, you’re wasting the time of both of us. ‘

I mean, I used to LOVE fifteen. I used to just listen to nothing but Choice Of A New Generation, Swains, Buzz (especially Buzz), Extra Medium, Surprise and even a little No Place Like Home, but then they went a direction that I didn’t really dig. I’m still a fan. I wouldn’t necessarily go see their shows anymore, but if I met Jeff Ott, I’d be thankful that he gave me a ton of great music that got me through those times when music seems like it’s all you have and provided me with a ton of inspiration. Would it be cooler of me to say something like “hey, I’m a real fan and I personally think it sucks that you changed your sound once you started with the Lucky record. What the fuck were you thinking? That shit sucks!”?

No. That’s something only an asshole would say. Especially to someone that’s done something that I really, really like and appreciate. I mean, I feel bad even typing that because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that’s how I feel about the Fifteen catalog. For the record, I still listen to Buzz, and I have a few choice faves from other records, but Lucky is the last one I got and it wasn’t for me. I still considered myself a fan, and I guess I still am. Hell, I also still like Green Day and Alkaline Trio and Rise Against as much as I ever did. Fuuuuuuuck. I like Puddle of Mudd and Korn and Nickelback and Coldplay as much as I ever did too. Every single bit as much.

I dunno…y’all are dildos, but you’re MY dildos! See you Sunday!