Monday, August 30, 2010

GOO GOO DOLLS: Better than Bon Jovi?
(08.29.10 - Greek Theatre, L.A.)

If I had a dollar for every person that says, "I loved the Goo Goo Dolls when they were on Metal Blade Records...", I'd have more money than the Goo Goo Dolls made in that early phase of their career.

I'm not that guy. I liked them then, but there were way too many bands I liked a whole lot more to really say that they stood out - until they started writing pop songs.

I turned to my wife a few songs into the Buffalo trio's show last night at the Greek Theatre and said, "I know you'll say I'm crazy, but the Goo Goo Dolls may have ousted Bon Jovi in my book..." To her credit, she didn't call me crazy - but she did give me the scrunched-up 'you're crazy' face, followed by a 'who are you, and what have you done with my husband' smirk.

Bon Jovi's reign of pop-rock supremacy began September 19, 1988, the day New Jersey was released and I first listened to the cassette in my high school parking lot. The album remains one of my all-time favorites, and to this day I maintain that "Lay Your Hands On Me" is one of the best opening tracks ever - live and on record. Yet, with every passing year, they fall a bit further down my musical hierarchy.

I still like them, I just don't love them. The easy explanation is that I outgrew them. The more complicated explanation details why I outgrew them - Bon Jovi shifted gears. They used to feel inspired and radiated an energy, now they're more inclined to repackage old plot lines to appease middle-aged women and win over country converts. That's fantastic marketing, I just don't fall into either group - I've lost the connection that burned throughout the '90s.

Which brings me back to the Goo Goo Dolls. I feel a connection to their songs that intensifies with every listen. "Iris" boasts one of my all-time favorite lyrics. "Broadway" is lined with brilliant wordplay. "Name" flames with passion. "Better Days" is a majestic snapshot of the human spirit. "Dizzy" swirls like a whirlwind.

Because the band are a master class in pop-rock songwriting, I don't mind that I can't seem to connect with their live show. I feel the songs - and as any music fan will agree, that's more than enough to make any concert a night to remember.

I like frontman Johnny Rzeznik, he just doesn't grab me live. It's as if he doesn't own the songs and he's just borrowing them, using them as a backdrop for the music video being choreographed each night onstage. The lighting is impressive and the smoke is a nice touch, but it's like watching 3D television - you ooh and aah a few times, but you never really feel like you're one with the show.

The band sounded great at the Greek Theatre, the performance just wasn't dynamic and alive - it's as if all of Rzeznik's focus is on looking the part of a VH1 heartthrob, and he's lost the spark that fueled him back in the more high-impact days of Hold Me Up and Superstar Car Wash. Bassist Robby Takac injects the show with a punk rock tailspin on the four tracks he sings, but I need more.

My solution? Strip the Goo Goo Dolls to their core and put them on a club tour. Don't just forget about style, go out of your way to defy it. You don't worry about your hair, you worry about staying hydrated. The focus should be on sweating through every song in an over-packed room where you can look your fans in the eye and visualize your connection. In the more intimate setting, you're pressed to interact, something that was non-existent last night.

Let the audience feel you feeling your music, then capture that energy and carry it over to the larger stages... Shift gears.

Could the Goo Goo Dolls be bigger than Bon Jovi? Not likely. But as far as being better goes, they've already got the songs. You know what that means? That's right - whoa, oh, they're halfway there...

I can say this much - if both Bon Jovi and the Goo Goo Dolls were in town on the same night, right now I'd be hard-pressed not to support the boys from Buffalo. Sorry, New Jersey.


1- Sweetest Lie
2- Big Machine

3- Slide

5- Here Is Gone

Another Second Time Around [RT vox]
7- Smash [RT vox]

Can't Let It Go
9- Black Balloon
10- Home
11- Better Days
12- Stay With You

Now I Hear [RT vox]
14- Tucked Away [RT vox]
15- Name
16- Let Love In
17- As I Am
18- All Eyes On Me
19- Acoustic No. 3
20- Iris

21- Not Broken
22- Broadway

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Five Albums :: Five Minutes

THE PROBLEM: I have too many albums that I want to write about, and too little time to actually write about them.
THE SOLUTION: I take five albums that are in my active iPod rotation, and give myself five minutes to write about each.
THE CATCH: I like to digest albums before writing about them - these may not be new releases, but they'll all be the artist's latest.
THE CAVEAT: Since we can't all keep up on everything, I can rest assured that these albums will be new to somebody...

Order of the Black
(E1 Music)

Imagine Ted Nugent on a diet of steroid-spiked sludge shakes. Order of the Black doesn't deviate from the bone-crushing course of it's predecessors, but why should it? It ain't broke, yet Zakk still shreds it, his sinister, sexy, slamming riffs ripping from Iommi-inspired metallic fury to more southern-flavored, melodic glory. "Godspeed Hellbound" melts your face, "War of Heaven" stomps on it, then "Shallow Grave" soothes you in its earthy musk. In a word? Colossal.

Standout tracks:
"Overlord" & "Time Waits For No One"
Official website:

Chasing the Grail
(Riot Entertainment)

For the first time in Fozzy's four-album history, they feel like a band, not a handful of musicians plying their trade behind a professional wrestling superstar. Chris Jericho's development is profound on Chasing the Grail, the warmth and texture of his Ozzy-seasoned vocals not only kicking the powerhouse metal outfit up a notch, but doing it with heart, soul, and a compelling conviction. The walls of Jericho have fallen, and Fozzy emerge as a triumphant force.

Standout tracks:
"Under Blackened Skies" & "Wormwood"
Official website:

Little Immaculate White Fox
(R.E.D. Distribution)

There's nothing nasty about the solo debut from this former Motley Crue backup singer. She may be a little woman, but Pearl's got a big voice - like that of a late-'70s, rhythm and blues soaked songbird transported thirty years into the future to show today's screamers what a body full of soul can sound like. Think Alannah Myles with a bionic set of pipes. Pearl is a modern day classic, retro-fit to remind us how rock and roll is supposed to feel.

Standout tracks:
"My Heart Isn't In It" & "Nobody"
Official website:

(Roadrunner/Loud & Proud)

I was playing this album at a party, and someone asked me which old Ratt album he was missing... That's high praise for a band more than a quarter-century removed from their emergence as one of the '80's signature hard rock acts. The hooks are deep, the rhythm section bounces hard, fast and heavy, and Stephen Pearcy's vocals sound timeless. This is one of the best post-'95 albums by any band to emerge from the hallowed Hollywood scene.

Standout tracks:
"Best of Me" & "Look Out Below"
Official website:

(Demolition Records)

From the seismic guitars and rattling drum tremors, to the Blackie Lawless vocal reverb and lyrical depth charges, this is classic W.A.S.P. The album is inspired by the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but you can't miss The Who shining through, even on covers of Deep Purple's "Burn" and Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley's "Promised Land." If you've never given W.A.S.P. a chance, Babylon is the ideal album to make you a believer.

Standout tracks:
"Live to Die Another Day" & "Babylon's Burning"
Official website:

Monday, August 16, 2010

VIDEO: Jason Charles Miller
"You Get What You Pay For"

Jason Charles Miller made his solo debut on the Aug. 1 episode of the HBO hit series True Blood, where his song "You Get What You Pay For" could be heard just past the show's 20-minute mark (episode title: Hitting the Ground).

Today he released the video for the song, a backwoods adrenaline surge that couples the track's rattlesnake rhythm with a punchy narrative that co-stars Felicia Day and Greg Grunberg.

Day is widely recognized as the star, creator, writer and producer of the breakthrough web series The Guild, and also for her role in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since the Streamy Awards were launched in 2009, Day has won both awards for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series for her role in The Guild.

Miller, frontman of the rock band Godhead, co-wrote and produced the song “Game On” for The Guild, and the track was released earlier this month as a promotional music video (watch here) for the web series' fourth season, which is currently underway.

Greg Grunberg is best known for his starring role on the NBC television series Heroes, as well as for his reoccurring roles on Alias and Felicity. He has also appeared on Lost, House and Monk.

"You Get What You Pay For" also made its national radio debut this month, being featured on Buzz Brainard’s Altville, a syndicated weekly program that combines the best in Alternative, Progressive and Insurgent Country with Americana and Roots Rock.

The single is available now on iTunes and Amazon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

OZZFEST 2010: The Setlists
(08.14.10 - San Manuel Amp., Devore, CA)


1- Bark At The Moon
2- Let Me Hear You Scream

Mr. Crowley
4- Fairies Wear Boots [Black Sabbath]

Suicide Solution
6- Road To Nowhere

Shot In The Dark
8- Rat Salad [Black Sabbath]
9- Iron Man [Black Sabbath]
11- Killer Of Giants
12- Fire In The Sky

13- I Don't Want To Change The World

14- Paranoid [Black Sabbath]
15- Crazy Train


1- Kickstart Your Heart
2- Wildside

3- Shout At The Devil

Saints Of Los Angeles
5- Looks That Kill

6- Livewire

Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
9- Home Sweet Home [Tommy Lee piano intro]
10- Motherfucker Of The Year
11- Ten Seconds To Love
12- Primal Scream

13- Dr. Feelgood

14- Girls, Girls, Girls


1- Silent Screams
2- Resurrection

3- Made In Hell

5- Crystal

6- Nailed To The Gun [Fight]

7- Made Of Metal

8- Heart Of A Lion [Judas Priest]

9- Never Satisfied [Judas Priest]
10- Savior


1- The Beginning... At Last
2- Crazy Horse

3- Overlord

4- Parade Of The Dead

5- Fire It Up

Godspeed Hell Bound

7- Stillborn


1- Sinner
2- Enemy

3- Feel Like I Do

37 Stitches
5- Step Up

6- Tear Away

7- Bodies

Saturday, August 14, 2010

RUSH: The Time Machine Tour
(08.13.10 - Verizon Amphitheater, Irvine, CA)

I first saw Rush on December 5, 1987. Not only were they my first arena show, they were also my first introduction to the caste system within hard rock and heavy metal. Condensing what could be an entire sociology thesis into a few broad generalizations, many of us embraced heavy music as an extension of our identity, searching for acceptance from a non-judgmental ally - and when many of us didn't find what we were looking for, Rush found us.

Many of us were the geeks, the nerds, the outcasts and the castoffs. We didn't play football. We played Dungeons & Dragons. We didn't have girlfriends. We had two or three guy friends. We didn't walk with a swagger. We felt awkward.

We weren't cool, but neither were Rush - and they spoke to us.

Nearly a quarter-century later, they still speak to us - louder, clearer, and without the shackles that may have bound our formative years.

Standing amidst a packed Verizon Ampitheater at the tail end of Rush's 26-song marathon last night, the night belonged to all of us, and we shared a kinship with the music that was magical.

"Limelight" may mean something different to each of us, but all those somethings add up to a lot - and that's what we celebrated together as Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart led us through a performance of their classic album Moving Pictures in its entirety.

From the first time each of us heard Rush, until now, we have been those pictures, getting jostled through life, nicked up, patched up, color corrected and over-saturated. We were the pictures and the songs were our frames, providing us a safe haven in which to escape, or paths from which to explore. And Rush offered frames like no others - frames that were intended to guide us, not contain us.

"I will choose the path that's real, I will choose free will..."

So there we were, 10,000 Rush fans united by our passion for a band who were never afraid to be themselves, affirming that we could do the same in the midst of sprawling "Subdivisions." The opening set focused heavily on the second half of a career now in its fifth decade, tracks like "Stick it Out," "Walkin' Them Angels" and "Marathon" raising themes of faith and focus in their varying forms.

Dubbed the Time Machine Tour, the show offered just that, beginning with the more recent retrospective, continuing with Moving Pictures, and closing with arguably the strongest finale of the band's career. The set took us back, opening with "Spirit of the Radio" and "Time Stand Still" - two tracks that served as transecting dashes between the band's epic roots and more experimental sensibilities. They showed us a glimpse of their present, offering new songs "Brought Up To Believe" and "Caravan" from forthcoming album Clockwork Angels. And they dove into the future with their stalwart, 20-minute opening track to 2112.

The set zigged and zagged through the opening 11 tracks, then careened headlong into Moving Pictures, where the stage was stripped of fancy accoutrements and polish, transporting us back to 1981 with a design more Atari 2600 than Playstation 3.

When one of rock's greatest records is performed by one of rock's greatest bands, choosing highlights is akin to choosing the holiest third of the Trinity - "Tom Sawyer" needed no introduction, "Red Barchetta" was sublime, "Witch Hunt" cackled through the night air, and "Vital Signs" spun the album to its close, providing the perfect lead-in to "Caravan" and the ritual awe of Neil Peart's drum solo.

"La Villa Strangiato" rode the "Far Cry" vapor trail back to earth and eased us into set closer "Working Man," where the Time Machine Tour reinforced its resounding statement - the years may change the way we interpret music, but it's power remains the same, casting a spiritual glow on our psyche and guiding us down our chosen path.

Past, present or future, nobody illuminates a path quite like Rush.


1- Spirit of the Radio
2- Time Stand Still

3- Presto

4- Stick it Out

5- Workin' Them Angels

6- Leave That Thing Alone

7- Faithless

8- BU2B

9- Freewill
10- Marathon
11- Subdivisions
12- Tom Sawyer
(Moving Pictures)
13- Red Barchetta
(Moving Pictures)
14- YYZ (Moving Pictures)
15- Limelight (Moving Pictures)
16- The Camera Eye (Moving Pictures)
17- Witch Hunt (Moving Pictures)
18- Vital Signs (Moving Pictures)
19- Caravan
21- Closer to the Heart

22- 2112 Part 1: Overture

23- 2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx
24- Far Cry

25- La Villa Strangiato
26- Working Man

Friday, August 13, 2010

MEAT LOAF: Paradise Revisited
(08.12.10 - Gibson Amphitheatre, L.A.)

Meat Loaf has a stellar body of work. Unfortunately, I've had a hard time distancing that body of work from the goofy-by-association branding of a high school girlfriend and her interpretive dance to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" at senior prom.

For the past twenty-odd years, the man, the myth and the entree have all been intrinsically tied to said girl grinding what God gave her to the play-by-play of New York Yankees Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto. There's something about that pink dress with the black bow and the faux go-go dance on a banquet chair in the Stamford Marriott ballroom in 1989, that I just haven't been able to jar from my psyche (insert shivers down spine here).

Until last night.

Other than wanting to hear a handful of songs that are integral to America's rock and roll songbook, I had few expectations heading into the Gibson Amphitheatre, where I'd be crossing one of the final acts off my live concert bucket list. I had heard that there was a chance Meat Loaf would cancel the show due to an illness, to which I was actually sympathetic - yesterday was the first day I was even able to think about leaving the house all week, so if he ate from the same batch of eggs I did, I wouldn't blame him for postponing the show in support of his new release Hang Cool Teddy Bear...

But he didn't, and while I anticipated a fair amount of camp - not the unadulterated kitsch of the Blues Brothers review at the adjoining Universal Studios, but something that could come dangerously close - I was anxious to experience his legend live. His songs are larger than life, combining theatrical pomp with rock and roll stomp, and I believe in paying homage to musical royalty every chance we get.

What I didn't expect, was a show that would top the legacy of the songs themselves - a performance where the man born Marvin Lee Aday would not only allow his personality to share center stage with the music, but at times even ride that personality to new heights, enabling the set to throb with a pulse all its own.

While pop-culture regards "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" as a cute song that's safe to play at proms and weddings, we were reminded that when your first name is Meat and your last name is Loaf, cute is all relative.

Introducing a song he wrote either in Boston, or with someone from Boston, a number of cheers could be heard throughout the crowd. I was only half-paying attention, distracted by the threesome in front of us - two guys in Tommy Bahama shirts and Budweiser hats pawing all over a girl who I'm guessing spent some time in the king-size bed of a pickup truck before the night was through. "Oh, we've got people here from Boston?" razzed my fellow Connecticut native from center stage... "Fuck the Red Sox!"

Amen to that, brother Meat!

I lost count of Mr. Loaf's f-bombs around the same time that Tommy Bahama missed his date/escort's mouth for the fourth time, once again licking her face for all of Orchestra 4 to see. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were planted as part of the show - Meat Loaf had a flair for profanity, and the menage-a-Marlboro were there to act it all out in kind.

This wasn't your mom's Meat Loaf, it was an R-rated rock and roll revival. During "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," we were joined by an enormous blow-up doll of a woman in various stages of undress, a guy mounted behind her, and his hands demonstrating the Scooter's well-documented voice over as he rounded her two-baggers.

The hits were there, but they were more than just classic rock staples from a veteran rocker regurgitating his catalog for a paycheck. This was equal parts rock show, musical theater, improvisation and audience participation, and everything about it was larger than life, bombastic, and fantastic. "Bat Out of Hell" was smoking hot, "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" was a roof-raising celebration, and "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" rivaled even "Paradise" in execution.

Taking a seat on a stool for a song, Meat Loaf joked about his age - he turns 63 on September 27 - but he delivered a set that put frontmen a third his age to shame. He even had grown men to the right of me doing chest bumps during "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

I didn't need to chest bump, as I was enjoying a revelation all my own. Now, when I hear "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," I don't think of a prissy little package tied with a bow. No, now I think of Meat Loaf - a man that can deliver the hits and still put the 'fun' in erectile dysfunction, his "big surprise" in hand (pictured above) and pumping white loads of cotton t-shirts into the crowd.

Live music is meant to be a celebration, and that's exactly what Meat Loaf made it - a night to remember, and songs we'll never forget.

Getting a picture with Meat Loaf after the show? That was gravy!


1- Hot Patootie
2- If It Aint Broke, Break It

3- Bat Out Of Hell

4- Peace On Earth

5- Living On The Outside

6- Los Angeloser

7- You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth

8- Song Of Madness

9- Animal

10- Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
11- I'd Do Anything For Love
(But I Won't Do That)
12- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

13- Paradise By The Dashboard Light

14- All Revved Up With No Place To Go

Monday, August 9, 2010

Six things I learned at...
(08.07.10 - Greek Theatre, L.A.)

As anyone who has seen Ringo Starr & His All Star Band live can attest, the marquee attraction may be the former Beatles drummer, but the evening's highlights undeniably come from within his band. Case in point, Saturday night at the Greek Theatre, where the crowd didn't leave their seats until Edgar Winter took the helm five songs into the set and delivered his classic "Free Ride."

Think about that for a minute... One of two living members of the most influential band in rock and roll history performs at one of the most celebrated amphitheaters in the world, and it takes a guy that probably couldn't headline a venue larger than a House of Blues to get the crowd on their feet - two songs after Ringo Starr delivers the Beatles' 1964 cover of Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't."

Therein lies the difference between seeing Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Macca celebrates the Beatles. Ringo celebrates what the Beatles meant. One celebrates how they got there, the other celebrates what happened from there. They both twist and shout, but to the beat of their own drums. To his credit, as was the case with the Beatles, Ringo knows that his beat is heightened by his band.

Ringo delivered six solo songs and six Beatles songs - "Honey Don't," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Yellow Submarine," "Boys," "Act Naturally" and "With a Little Help from My Friends" - but none proved more satisfying than his All Star Band's hits. He earned his legend as a drummer not a frontman, and we saw why at the Greek - his vocals were often spoken more than sung, his delivery was a bit awkward outside his kit, and his banter seemed rehearsed and superficial.

Introducing new material, he commented that new release Y Not "is the first time I hit double digits - I want to thank the 12 of you who bought it," and he made at least two references to his band receiving more applause than him. I found it annoying, the woman behind me thought it was hysterical (more on her later). To each their own, but I like my icons to embrace their brilliance, not their shortcomings.

Ringo Starr is a living legend - as much as I may have thought his performances fell flat, he was the only reason I attended the show. I didn't go to celebrate the Beatles, I went to celebrate Ringo, his legacy, and the rock and roll that he inspired... He's Ringo Starr, dammit, and that's more than enough for me!

But I knew all of that walking in - here are six things I learned by the time I was walking out...

1. Richard Page can flex those golden pipes!
I had to look up who Richard Page was when I heard he was in the All Star Band, yet after the Mr. Mister frontman performed "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings," I told my wife that I thought he stole the show. She agreed. His vocals were sublime. So good, that despite the fact that I'd never given Mr. Mister a passing thought, now I'd go see them in a heartbeat. So good, that I now think of Richard Page's performance when I hear the song "Broken Wings," not the adorable black E*Trade baby that 'flexes his golden pipes' in one of my favorite television commercials of all time. Richard Page was that good.

2. Sometimes one hit is all you need.
Gary Wright might wish he wasn't a poster boy for one-hit wonders, but who says that's a bad thing? Especially when your one hit is "Dream Weaver." If Richard Page stole the show, Gary Wright made the show. His "Dream Weaver" was the first song to be performed after nightfall, and the song meant even more after he explained that it was inspired by Beatles guitarist George Harrison. The song is epic, the mood was magic, and the results were mesmerizing. It was a performance I will never forget. Ever.

3. Rick Derringer is more than just Sloopy Hoochie Koo.
I always had Rick Derringer pegged as a crusty classic rocker with a few big novelty songs. That hasn't necessarily changed, but it's been built upon - now I see him as a crusty classic rocker who can play the hell out of a guitar (and has a few novelty songs). I didn't know "Hang On Sloopy" was the byproduct of his teenage band The McCoys, and I also didn't know that when the song rose to No. 1, The Beatles were at No. 2 with "Yesterday" (they unseated him the following week). Did you know that Derringer played with both Alice Cooper and Steely Dan? That his first widespread exposure came opening for the Rolling Stones in 1966, and that he also opened for Led Zeppelin on their last U.S. tour? Or how about that he discovered "Weird Al" Yankovic? Respect has been earned...

4. There's enough Sloopy Hoochie Koo to go around.
Off the top of your head, how would you define 'Sloopy Hoochie Koo'? I think it's a little bit of that space cadet glow Pink Floyd sing about, a healthy aura of peace and love, and a dose of the nuttiness that makes rock and roll stars so endearing. And that described Edgar Winter a lot more than Rick Derringer. The albino rocker riled the capacity crowd up with his "Free Ride," then treated them to his multi-instrumental prowess during "Frankenstein," when he played keyboards, synthesizer, saxophone and drums. His long white hair accented a black t-shirt with a silver peace sign, and his voice cracked so high, at times I swore he was Poison guitarist C.C. Deville's father. They just don't make 'em like him anymore!

5. Playing with Ringo Starr is as cool as it seems.
Just ask Wally Palmar, the lead singer and guitarist of the Romantics. It's no secret that his band was inspired by the Beatles, which made his intro even more stirring when, coming out of "Talking in Your Sleep," he re-introduced Ringo to perform one of his favorite Fab Four songs, "I Wanna be Your Man." Had someone told Palmar twenty years ago, when he was plugging away in the Motor City, that he'd someday tour with Ringo Starr, he'd have likely laughed in their face. Fast forward to 2010 - not only is he member of the All Star Band, "What I Like About You" is also one of the set's shining moments. I just wish he had worn a red leather suit.

6. Middle-aged women are more entertaining than teenagers.
I have a pet peeve - people at concerts who are oblivious of everyone around them. In the case of the woman behind us, at least she offered entertainment value. I'd guess her to be in her late-40s, which made her thigh-high stripper boots all the more fantastic. She asked my wife and I to move so we weren't directly in front of her, and when we did, she proceeded to move directly behind us. Probably because she needed a better grip on the railing she was swinging from throughout the set. Anytime Ringo said something, she cackled a laugh that only a plastic carafe of red wine could inspire (how she never spilled it on us, I'll never know), and she was absolutely fascinated by the staging, which featured a "ring" circling a "star" behind the drum kit. She even tried a stagerush. My wife, the master of self-portraits, actually managed to get a picture of us with her in the background... A good time was had by all!


1- It Don't Come Easy (Ringo Starr)
2- Honey Don't (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
3- Choose Love (Ringo Starr)
4- Hang On Sloopy (Rick Derringer, The McCoys)
5- Free Ride (Edgar Winter)
6- Talking in Your Sleep (Wally Palmar, The Romantics)
7- I Wanna Be Your Man (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
8- Dream Weaver (Gary Wright)
9- Kyrie (Richard Page, Mr. Mister)
10- The Other Side of Liverpool (Ringo Starr)
11- Yellow Submarine (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
12- Frankenstein (Edgar Winter)
13- Peace Dream (Ringo Starr)
14- Back Off Boogaloo (Ringo Starr)
15- What I Like About You (Wally Palmar, The Romantics)
16- Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo (Rick Derringer)
17- Boys (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
18- Love Is Alive (Gary Wright)
19- Broken Wings (Richard Page, Mr. Mister)
20- Photograph (Ringo Starr)
21- Act Naturally (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
22- With a Little Help from My Friends (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)
23- Give Peace a Chance (Ringo Starr, Plastic Ono Band)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The New Tattoo...

Mini's pawprint

by Delphia @ Dean Berton's Melrose Tattoo
7661 1/2 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90046

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Am I a "Bad Bad Man" for liking this?

Okay, I admit it, I was a bit stymied when my wife first sent me a link to this video. (And can I just add, with no disrespect to Spanky, Buckwheat and Alfalfa, that we really need to start using the word "stymie" more in daily conversation?)

So my wife sends me this link, which means she either loves it or hates it, and I'm supposed to guess which it is before I respond - or, as any married guy will attest, the results can be catastrophic...

I clicked play and let out a legitimate LOL at little Violent JJ - the son of Insane Clown Posse's Violent J - in the limo with his wrestling belt/serving platter. (How great would it be if Insane Clown Posse served deviled eggs off that backstage?) Then I felt bad about laughing, because I realized most Juggalos might not get the joke.

Then I started to feel even worse because I thought, "Wait, what if it isn't a joke?" Then I was just mortified, realizing that this video will inspire packs of Juggalo kids in schools across the country to think it's okay to fly off the arts and crafts table and drop an elbow onto their nemesis that's hogging the bucket of paste/lunch.

And, despite the fact that I spent enough time backstage at the ICP show in Anaheim to know that Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope aren't the half-crazed, serial killing clowns they may appear to be onstage (and to the general public), I still couldn't help but wonder what effect being dubbed "Violent JJ" can have on a Posse peewee who's pummeling semi-professional wrestlers while most kids his age are trying to hit padded baseballs of a tee.

Then he introduces his sister Ruby, lets out a "whoot whoot," and I nearly suffocated I was laughing so hard.

This isn't so bad, it's family values - Juggalo family values, maybe, but we've got to start somewhere!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So, they say it's my birthday...

PHOTO: Me, 26 years ago today, on my 13th birthday...

As an adult, I've never really been one to celebrate my birthday. Not because of all the typical 'another year older' cliches, but because, well, just because...

Because, I think, the older you get, the less an actual birthday really starts to mean. Don't get me wrong - I'm not old. Physically, I'm in better shape than I was a decade ago and, from what I can see, I'm in better shape than at least half the guys I've got a decade-plus on.

Mentally, I know more now than I've ever known before, and I learn more every day. And, I'm sharper now than I've ever been before. Isn't that the point?

I look at life differently now than I did a decade or two ago, and that's a good thing.

When I moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, as corny as it sounds, I was living the dream, the editor of a big music magazine with an expense account that never ended. Today, I'd rather drive home sober and live to enjoy my friends another day.

Our dreams are different as we grow older.

When I moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, I was living in the present, still in my twenties, my future ahead of me. Today, I dream of having a son or daughter to add to a family that, right now, is my wife and I in a house that is too big for just the two of us.

Today the future is no longer ahead of me, it's something that I am in the midst of creating.

We lost our dog to a devastating spine disease less than a week ago. Two years ago, I awoke on my birthday to the tragic news that dear friends of ours had lost their father and husband to a heart attack.

Birthdays are a time to celebrate life, but that gets harder when they are surrounded by death.

Meanwhile, like many of my friends, I'm looking for full-time work - and it is disheartening, to say the least. Disheartening because, in an oppressive job market, most resumes we submit don't even get a response, no matter how long we spend on a cover letter.

Most of the people I do hear back from tell me that I'm overqualified for the jobs I'm applying for, but if former VPs ten years my senior are willing to take 50-percent pay cuts to take a job that I should be considered for, how am I wrong to apply for jobs that might be considered below my pay scale and qualifications?

When your focus is on planning a family and providing stability for your wife, is it wrong to consider job security and benefits ahead of the perpetual headaches of trying to establish your own company? The dream changes as we get older - that doesn't mean we have to forget it, but it does mean that we have to be mature enough to adapt.

Yes, today is my birthday, but it's not my birthday that I am celebrating. Today I am celebrating life, my birthday is just the excuse.

Today I am celebrating my family. Today I am celebrating my friends. Today I am not mourning the death of Dave Lander and the passing of my beloved Mini, I am celebrating the fact that I have been blessed to have them both in my life.

I met Morgan and Mercedes Lander 15 years ago, when they were bright-eyed teenagers on the cusp of releasing their first album with their band Kittie. I had more in common with their parents, than I had in common with them.

Today, Morgan and Mercedes inspire me.

Less than a month after the death of their father, they were at our wedding, sitting with their mother and celebrating life. And whenever we see them, they talk about their dad with smiles on their face, surging forward and pressing on, because they know that's what he would want.

And if they can, so can I.

There is a hidden joy in suffering the pain of loss that is all too easy to forget - yes, we ache, but we never lose the memories we cherish. If we never feel the hurt, it means we never felt the joy.

Is it easy? No, but that's life. And what is a life without joy?

So today, I am not celebrating my birthday, I am celebrating the fact that our birthday commemorates the day we were born, and there is no bigger celebration of life, than the joy of birth.

I said the same thing a year ago on this day, but today I really believe it - this year will be better than last year.

Celebrate life, it's the only one we get!