BEST PROTEST SONG -- "WHEN DID JESUS BECOME A REPUBLICAN?" BY CINDY LEE BERRYHILL
Cindy Lee Berryhill's "When Did Jesus Become a Republican?" is currently featured at Neil Young's "Living with War Today" website, where songwriters are encouraged to submit political music. "They actually have a kind of ranking system there for the protest songs," she says, "and I [went] from 'newly added songs' to number 13. I didn't even know it had been added until L.A. Air America radio called and said they found my song on Neil's site and would I do an interview." Berryhill says she went through the regular submission process and the song's embrace on Young's webpage is unrelated to the fact that, a few years ago, she worked for Young's manager Elliot Roberts and Lookout Management. Sample lyric:
"When did Jesus turn the tables on tender and join the money lenders?
'Stead of sharing with lepers, he's sellin' shares of Halliburton?"
BEST SMART-MOUTHED SHIRTS -- SIK WORLD PRODUCTIONS
Local clothier Sik World Productions earned notoriety over a line of T-shirts for infants, with logos reading "My daddy's a motherfucker," "Satan Jr.," "Are you my daddy?" and "Nice tits, can I try one?" Ladies' shirts include "Size matters" and "Instant lesbian, just add water," while men's tops read "Manwhore," "Got pussy?" and "It ain't gonna suck itself." For those who dress their dogs, there's "I'm a bitch," "Nutless wonder," and "I'm smarter than the President." Sik World also runs a record label, which recently released the debut album by Divided by Zero (comprising former Ghoulspoon members).
BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- "MEET ME WITH YOUR BLACK DRAWERS ON"
"I started off on my 70th birthday intending to write a biography of Big Mama Thornton, but instead I ended up penning my own memoirs," says Sweet Baby Blues Band singer/pianist Jeannie Cheatham. Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On covers the ten-year period Cheatham played with the legendary blues belter, with backstage tales involving racism, sexism, and stars Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Cab Calloway. There's also the tale of the night Cheatham spent in a Dayton, Ohio, jail cell; says the septuagenarian, "You'll have to buy the book to find out why."
BEST PRIVATE PARTY WE WEREN'T INVITED TO
The Hard Rock Hotel hype officially kicked into gear with a February 16 invite-only party at On Broadway for around 1200 guests, most of them prospective condo buyers. Ashlee Simpson was the alleged host, though apparently the only time she was spotted was during her swear-laced introduction for Hoobastank (who played their first gig since releasing a new album). The party had an actual red carpet and celeb sightings amidst the ice sculptures and scantily clad model/waitresses, who included singer Macy Gray, Yellowcard's Ryan Key, and Velvet Revolver members Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan. How do we know it was a cool party, since we weren't invited? We saw a pic of the DJ wearing a sleeveless black Misfits shirt.
BEST FOOD FIGHTERS -- WE NEED P
"We got kicked out of Dream Street and other places for throwing fast food into the crowd," says We Need Pussy singer Chris Greer. Their song "99 Cent, Oi Oi Oi" traditionally accompanies the food fights. "At the Rhythm Lounge, our bassist Mike threw a cheeseburger, and it hit a whiskey bottle and just about took out the bartender. I heard the owner call us assholes. They made us clean up the mess, and I don't think we got paid that night." Greer admits his band aspires to being little more than "the poor man's Gwar. We've always been more about performance than music."
BEST VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS -- CLICKFORLESSONS.COM
Singing lessons were the most-requested tutorial last year at Clickforlessons.com, according to cofounder Steven Cox (who also plays with Across the Room). After surveying around 3000 students nationwide, he says, "We had some surprises this year, including hip-hop dance at number four and belly dancing at number seven." After singing, other most-popular lessons included piano, acoustic guitar, violin, acting, salsa, and Spanish language. Least-in-demand courses were pottery, line dancing, glassblowing, and, somewhat surprisingly, how to strip.
BEST BEER ANTHEM -- "THE SAN DIEGO DRINKING SONG" BY THE BUZZBOMBS
With only four lines, even the drunkest of patrons can usually sing along:
"I like beer and I live in San Diego
I started in L.A. and drank to Coronado
I drank until I puked and then I ate a bean burrito
I like beer and I'll kick your bloody ass."
BEST GIZMO GEEKS -- ABT
Carlsbad-based ABT gets around $60 for their iJet Two-Way, a radio transceiver that wirelessly controls iPods. The handheld unit has controls similar to an iPod's, including a display for song and album titles. "Hopefully, this newfound track selection knowledge will protect your party from a sad musical death," reads a product review at engadget.com, "and the iJet Two-Way's 150-foot range might let you grab some chips in the process. Though the iPod-inspired stylings don't quite lend themselves to casual flashings, you'll have to ask yourself if the added convenience is really worth risking your cred over."
BEST PLAN TO GLORIFY A SATANIC KILLER -- "LORDS OF CHAOS"
The only Norwegian band most Americans have heard of is a-ha, but that country's black metal scene has long been a hotbed of Satanic cults, onstage animal sacrifices, and over 100 burned churches, some of them torched by Varg Vikernes of the band Burzam. Local film company ZU33 is making a movie based on the book Lords of Chaos, about Vikernes and his conviction in the early '90s for killing Øystein Aarseth of Mayhem. Directed and co-written by local avant-garde musician Hans Fjellestad (who also helmed the 2004 electronic-music documentary Moog), the film will be a somewhat fictionalized account of the infamous "Black Circle" of Norwegian black metallers.
BEST PUPPET SEX ON DVD -- "LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY!"
"It is the year 3069...do you know where your Messiah is?" The stop-motion animated musical DVD Live Freaky! Die Freaky! was inspired by the Manson murders. Tim Armstrong narrates the film, about a Manson groupie in a postapocalyptic future who uses the book Helter Skelter as a blueprint for cleansing mankind with "music, murder, and mayhem." Travis Barker and Rob Aston of Box Car Racer play a pair of cops, and supposedly, the hardcore puppet sex scenes had to be cut back after the film initially received an X-rating.