Walter Mencken 9:52 a.m., Aug. 1
Worst Album Covers Ever: Strange, Bizarre, and Butt-clenchingly Funny
TODAY'S "WHAT THE F-CK" ALBUM COVER
Okay - so you're saying bongo players only date hookers?? Or that hookers prefer bongo players? And what's with the no-panties look (is that Britney's mom)? The whole thing seems geared for people who HATE beatniks.
Some "party" - I'd swear I saw a Hieronymus Bosch painting of Hell that looked just like below...
Oh yeah, these two kids TOTALLY rock. I can't imagine any teen wanting to be seen with such a dorky looking album, and what parent would ever buy this for their kids, when the music contained therein apparently makes their sons do the Riverdance and float away, while their daughters' shoes vanish and their dresses fly up? BTW, WTF is "FULL COLOR" high fidelity (unless yer on LSD)??
If you think about it, that's pretty impressive, to be able to hula-hoop with no hands AND no neck!!
Not sher why, but these two may be the scariest people I've ever seen...
'Kay, I'm down with rockabilly blasters 'bout sex, lust, fightin', Martians, more sex........but FROGS?!?!
First of all, being a "turntable slave" sounds more like a deviant sexual practice than something to brag about. Also, shouldn't "ZIP" appear in the spot where "ZAP" is placed?? Finally, if the best COVER rhymes this guy can come up with is "Zip Zap Rap" and "Devastatin' Dave/turntable slave," how good can his actual rapping be??
"I'm dreeeeeeeming of a piiiiiimp Christmas...." Man, back in the '70s they let anybody on TV make a music record! Scott Baio, John Travolta, Kristy McNichol, the Brady Bunch, Laverne and Shirley, Shatner, Spock..."Huggy Bear" was the colorful pimp on the Starskey & Hutch TV show. Seems a sure bet this one came out AFTER co-star David Soul had an actual hit record with "Don't Give Up On Us, Baby."
TV show themes were big in the '70s too, and many compilations came and went, but this one below has to be the worst cover of the lot. Nobody resembles the actual performers, except Farrah's hair - bionic Steve Austin looks like porn star John Holmes, Lamont Sanford has morphed into Jesse Jackson, and what the hell is Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks doing on Hawaii 5-O?!
If ever an album cover needed to take its own advice...
Uh, so you're saying this music makes cats scream?
Wow, how'd they get a picture of Shakira's feet???
Betcha didn't know that old school acid jazz artists cooked up their own acid?
Good gawd, is...is this album's title being squeezed out of someone's butthole?!
WHAT is this a "Sound Track" TO?!
Doesn't look like SHE's enjoying the Sounds of sax..."No sax tonight, dear, I have a headache..."
A Christmas WTF - so much weirdness here, from the rubber chicken and sausages on the tree (?!) to kids' longjohn underwear serving as Xmas stockings, and the fact that Santa is climbing in-or-out of European bathroom bidet!!
"An Ed Gein Xmas"?! NObody invites this guy over for the holidays any more.
And you thought those old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons were the birth of math rock --
Donny Osmond's uncirculated "Butcher cover" ----
Talk about shooting your mouth off!
I think this translates as "Mrs. Bigfoot."
The big WTF here isn't the phallic design, which is funny - rather, it's his SADDLE.
Homeless families need music too --
Judging by the huge erections on those horny trumpets , something's gonna pop, all right...
I frankly don't know WHAT's inside this duo, but I think the guy on the right is shooting dope into his neck with a hypodermic needle!
"A new concept of music, created by sonic vibrations" - too bad the cover looks like a cartoon took a dump on it --- I AM kinda curious about that tune "Twilight Ozone," tho ----
Wow, whoever named this album could see its future!!!
And you thought rappers loved stupid-looking "bling" - how "sophisticated" could this funkmeister have been, if the best chastity belt he could come up with was two elbow patches and a cheap hotel lock?
"How'd you like a little taste of Devil's Food, baby?"
The Monkees really haven't aged well.
"Attention all angels - God has issued an All Points Bulletin for Chip Douglas from My Three Sons" --- what's with the dude about to shoot an unarmed man in the back?? "God HATES hippies, dammit"....
The true WTF here isn't the greasy suit or villainous 'stache - it's the tiny flagpoles with full-size flags that make him even more MONDO midget...
Played by "Mr. Bones and his Troupe" - uh, maybe he was actually dressed up as a wolfman???
Ahhhh, love at first fight.....
Not JUST a spy - a HIPPY spy! A SUPER hippy!!"Spy Guy with the Glass Eye"
Yep, that's one big dame! WTF is with the arrows sticking out of the safari hat?! Who's hunting who out there?
In low-fi, all you get is a slight buzz...note one guy is humping the coach, there's a dead lady behind the sofa, and the guy on the far left has his headphones HOOKED UP TO A GIRL'S ASS!
One man's treasure is another man's WTF -
Ahhh, Joyce - like Cher, she only needs one name. And, like Bjork, she shouldn't be allowed to dress herself.
This WTF cover doesn't scare me as much as the "Special bonus full color activity poster and lyric sheet" --- wait, is that Martin Short/Ed Grimley in an afro???
A tinfoil faux-Barbarella bikini?? The only way to get THIS spaced out was to take the brown acid at Woodstock -
This is actually the soundtrack to a "wild" biker movie that I just know I'll hate myself for watching, assuming I ever come across it. Can anyone tell me why it looks like the bikers are peeing on midget versions of themselves??
The 1970 film What Do You Say to a Naked Lady was actually a spin-off of the Candid Camera TV show, done by Allen Funt for adults only. Originally rated X (I have it on video), the movie catches people reacting in public to, well, a naked lady - how THAT translates to a RECORD ALBUM, only Satan's Sadists can say....
Little Richard Miller, born without arms or legs, plays piano AND bass! The back cover shows the bass draped around his neck, but no indication how he plays it. I actually own this album, and it's very inspirational, but I have to say that the cover - is - just - effin - weird --- are they trying to say he drives the tour bus, too?? If so, did he hit a hydrant, or what?
Geraldine and Ricky, Trees Talk Too - she gives him wood, he gives her splinters -
With the only cover text reading "I'm Gonna Be Raptured," is that the name of the performers, the name of the album, or just a coupla goofy kids trying to start a new catchphrase for kinky sex? And, hey, why aren't they BOTH gonna get raptured?? Which one is getting left behind? I'm betting it'll be the one who paired a green double-breasted blazer with a pink tie and loafers ----
If "Do the Arousal" was an actual dance ala "Do the Twist," well, let's thank gawd it didn't catch on.
Semi-soft squirting thing in Tijuana. Riiiiight -----
Uhhhhhh...words fail me. Make up your own punchline for this one...
An album full of xylophone music - particularly one by Mr-Rogers-On-Crack here - gives me nothing but BAD vibes ----
I do NOT wanna know why that guy in the middle is so effin happy ---
Oh yeah, Bud in a glass - now THAT'S how to seduce a REAL lady! In a trailer park, anyway -------
Mae West, "way out" rock and roller - as far as musical Bad Ideas go, this ranks right up there with Pat Boone's heavy metal album, the New Monkees, and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors followup Tusk (okay, maybe it's not THAT bad) ---
Ah, Bollywood musicals - bugfuggen WTF! Howcum Superman only has one leg??
With a cover THIS WTF, can you imagine how effed up below album itself is? Even if you LIKED ventriloquists, it's an ALBUM, you can't see if his lips move....making this little more than a twisted puppet show (albeit one I'd drive to Alaska to checkout!)
Believe me, you DON'T want to see a larger scan of this grape-sucking hookah hooker that somebody spilled rust-colored paint all over --
"I've got confidence" - well, obviously, or you wouldn't let someone snap that photo, in those dresses, let alone paste it on your album cover. Note the album title in quote marks, as tho nobody else behind-the-scenes shared their confidence ----
An album cover only Robert Crumb (or John Waters) could love...
Holy crap, Sanjaya's dad!!! And Sanjaya inherited his wardrobe AND his bead necklaces!!
Continuing what BEGAN as a bad cover idea, note all the food-themed songs...
Oh, to be a fly on the wall as the photog explained his cover idea to this poor bewildered-looking hard rock band, all of whom have since quit the music biz in shame and embarrasment, like Billy Squier after prancing around in lil' silk jammies for his "Rock Me Tonight" video ---
Speaking of silk jammies ---- there is no noise that this sartorially-challenged crew could ever make that I would be willing to subject my ears to - other than the sound of them being devoured by hungry wolverines ---
Not just a WTF cover, but a helluva WTF-idea for an album! What else could possibly be on this thing besides "Kung Fu Fighting," "The Ballad of Bruce Lee," and maybe an old Hai Karate cologne commercial???
This cover is hideous, but I SOOOOO wanna hear the story of who created it - and wtf?!? I don't even give a crap about what's on the record itself -
Sher, the cover above looks like the result of a bet that started off with "My two year-old could do better than that"....but below gem probably resulted from some drunk guy bragging "I bet I could wipe my ass and make a better cover..."
Those Truth-In-Advertising laws have far ranging impact indeed...
I'm sure this is an inspirational album from a trio of gifted singers, on the Heart Warming label, no less....but it was awfully cruel of the cover photog to put those gawdawful outfits on three blind women....
I have to admit, I'm dying to hear this record! All Lurch did on the Addams Family TV show is grunt and mutter "You Rang?" in that gutteral Tom-Waits-on-Valium voice of his - WTF could possibly be on this record??? And b/w "Wesley"???
Gene Simmons' Family Jewels - in an alternate HELL DIMENSION! Why do they make their women dress as couches that someone threw up on?
Like I don't already hear enough sounds of pain and pleasure coming from my neighbor's apartment at all hours of the night...
More creepy than mere words can accurately convey..."Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me...thanks a lot for dressing me like Barbie Benton and making me fellate this mic..."
Ethel Merman's disco album - you can't make this sh-t up, people.
Brady kids go solo, sometime after Peter's voice stopped breaking but before Marsha found a bra that fits.
"Is that a gun, or are you just happy to see me?" What, no post-coital cuddle??
Everybody has that one wacky Uncle....
What you get when you cross Flesh Gordon with Barbarella and a really stupid Buggles video --
"Hon, we're gonna need a bigger piano!" You'd think this guy would look happier that Decca is releasing his album --
"Hon, we're gonna need a bigger can of Raid!" Is there no end to bugs who wanna be Beatles?
I don't know who deserves to get their ass kicked more - their hair stylist or whoever designed those Evel-Knievel-Brady-Bunch clothes --
Again, what's worse - the clothes or the hair?? And, hey, isn't that Peter Sellers in drag on the right?!
This senior couple just can't let go of their weird Donny Osmond fetish...
The original version of the Divinyls "I Touch Myself" ??
Walking OUTLET store, maybe...
"With a name like Burpo, he's GOT to be good..."
Despite the "rated G" logo below the title, I wouldn't touch this album with burlap gloves....wait, it has an instrumental version of "Alice's Restaurant"?? Okay, fire up the turntable...
Yeah, this cover photog was swinging his organ, all right...
If ever an album title fit the performer ---
"Let's draw someone who looks vaguely like John Lennon, and then spill some colored paint on the cover, and maybe people will think it's a Beatles album!"
If you ever see me at a party that looks anything like this WTF-shindig --- pleeeze KILL ME!
Rated WTF, too scary for kids OR adults...
"God Isn't Dead" - he's just partying up a storm! Liquor bottles, hypo needles, the peep shadow of a seductive dame - lady, are you preaching or selling?
Either that guitar is gigantic, or that's one tiny effin bobblehead zombie!
Why Easy Rider centerfold painters should never draw album covers...
This cover illustrates how I feel while listening to Lady GaGa -
So he'd rather stroke his loaf (with a swollen red tip) than dance with a dame??
First record ever owned by John Hinkley.
Who cares about young Jack Burns and George, when there's two gigantic mutant Playmates in the room?!
WTF is this dumbass looking at US?!?! And WTF is the Open Face Sandwich Club?
True fact - nobody appearing on this cover performs on the album. Hey, is that smiling bald guy Eddie Murphy?!
Two videodronic nightmares...
Is that a sweater he's wearing, or his chest hair? Oh, it's a sweater made OUT OF his chest hair...
I don't wanna KNOW the person who desires THIS...
Ahhh, yes, fun with mental illness.
The scary thing about this is that there actually IS a Confederate Flag iPod...
"So here's my cover idea...this axe-wielding sumo with a seal head dances on holocaust corpses, as a plane flies up his ass..."
Talk about someone who needs to lighten up a little (and I don't mean the shoes and tie) ---
Awright, who the f-ck REQUESTED Ken?!?! Allhe needs is one name - and one bad suit. Oh, and a wax wig...
Now here's the biggest WTF COMIC BOOK cover I've seen in a loooong time - "You want more comics, kid, just reach in my pocket and feel around for some change...."
And, just to completely f-ck with your mind..............
150 FREE BAND NAMES!!!!
Free for all who wish to use, here’s a list of band names I’ve been dreaming up, all so far unused (as far as I know). I designed most for maximum internet search possibilities and cult tie-in potential – if anyone ends up getting rich and/or famous using any of my band names, I expect you to at least buy me a large pizza....and maybe a Porsche ---
Oh yeah, I design band logos, record sleeves, and cocert flyers too, so maybe hire me for that…
Jay Allen Sanford
Watchers From the Blind
Same To You Bud
Why You I Oughtta
George LeRoy Tirebiter
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The Hell You Say
Schwing Kings of Bling
Manos Hand of Fate
Zoey Loves Zeus
The Steekin Badgers
There’s No Need To Fear
The Saggy Baggies
My Fellow Terrariums
Things Won’t Leave
Not Wearing Pants
Eye See Eeew
He’s Dead Jim
Giant Rats of
Orion Slave Traders
Way 2 Bigg
Bees, She Sees
Lionel and the Security Blankets
Thank You Mask Man
So Far So What
The Whoop Woops
I Said Goode Daye
Tara La Bouvier
Tents On Fire
Bitten by Barnabas
Jay Men Forever
Beware of Torgo
Milk Me Dammit
Wish You Were Beer
It Takes Beef
I Got a Rock
Who Killed Todd Loren?
Themes of Josette
The Shaft Workers
Servants of Sexploitation
The Hairy Poms
See Thru U (abbreviated as C/U)
Put That Thing Away
Joel VS Mike
Miss B. Natural
The Friendly Giants
The Fraidy Scats
The Pullout Nows
Nobody For President
The Golden Hind
Bunches of Hooey
Fleas on Feet
Demons of Demi
The Tube Grooves
Groovy Groo Bees
The Dwarf Crushers
More Science High
The Vulcan Itch
Clams Got Legs
Highway Bloody Hwy
Duz Not Die
Takeout Wrenched Ankle
Gallery of Night
Buddy Buddha Breath
The Beta Rays
Return of Mr. Hand
Faster Phoebe and the Fallouts
Wot the Hey
V.A. Jay Jay
Gamma Made Me Green
Busted by Boo
The Tumblin’ Tombstones
Stewie Luvs Rupert
Pigga Fuggen Name
SDMA Youtube Channel!
FYI San Diego reports: There is a major anniversary ahead for the San Diego Music Awards and in prep, a Youtube channel has gone up featuring clips from the show throughout the decades! More clips and items will be posted soon, but 70 exclusive videos are now up, including Jason Mraz, The Zeros, Rocket From The Crypt, Switchfoot, Jewel, The Beat Farmers, The Album Leaf, Slightly Stoopid, Jack Tempchin, Charles McPherson, Mojo Nixon and many, many more! Solid proof of just how incredible our music scene is!
Angels & Airwaves, featuring Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge, will release their third studio album, Love, for free, on Feb. 14, aka, Valentine's Day.
Anya Marina performed "Satellite Heart" on The Bonnie Hunt Show December 2nd
Benedictum front-woman Veronica Freeman will be guest singer on, “The Gods Have No Reply,” a song from the Chilean band, Vastator, who will be releasing a new CD this year!
Blink 182 is the latest group to be getting a biopic. To be directed by Brandon Flores?
An album collecting songs penned by Dave Howard, but recorded by other artists, is in the works.
Dave Humphries is wrapping up his new album with contributions from Zeros bassist Hector Penalosa and Regina Leonard.
Frankie Laine will be the first inductee in the Little Italy Walk of Fame. The ceremony will be March 23 2010.
Jason Mraz and the Muppets teamed up with the Muppets on Dec. 24 for a “special” version of “I’m Yours.” Look for it on Youtube and in syndication.
Mark DeCerbo is compiling a second volume of Four Eyes rarities.
Mike Keneally is working on follow up albums to 2009’s Scambot 1 and Scambot 2. They will be called Scambot 3 and Scambot 4. Also look for a re-issue of Beer For Dolphin’s, Sluggo.
Mower head out on tour Jan. 16, hitting eight states before they perform in
New Day Mile’s song, “Between The Guns” will appear on the DVD / new film “Gamer.”
Anoushaka Shankar appears on Joshua Bell's new album, At Home With Friends. They perform the track titled "Variant Moods - Duet For Sitar & Violin,” which was written by Ravi Shankar.
Patric Petrie is working on a new album tentatively titled, Evergreen.
Skid Roper’s new album is set to be called, Rock ‘n’ Roll Part 3.
The Zeros follow their January 2 show at the Casbah with a tour of Europe, opening January 5 in
TOP 10 COVERS BY LOCALS
(Bart Mendoza) It’s true that San Diego’s musicians (past & present) have penned a slew of incredible songs, but they’re also not adverse to throwing in the occasional cover tune into their live set list. Here’s ten interesting pairings:
1) Switchfoot / Beyonce – “Crazy In Love” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heiswnjSVuU
2) Ratt / Fleetwood Mac – “Oh Well”
3) The Beat Farmers / The Sex Pistols – “Anarchy in The UK”
4) Blink 182 / The Cure – “ A Letter to Elise” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p5Ct6-hHTs
5) The Softlightes / The Talking Heads – “This Must Be The Place”
6) Cindy Lee Berryhill / Tears For Fears –“Mad World”
Live at a benefit concert to help cover medical costs for her husband, author Paul Williams.
7) Pea Hix & Marie Haddad / Yazoo – “ “Nobody’s Diary”
8) Sara Petite / Johnny Cash – “Folsom Prison Blues
9) Nickel Creek / Britney Spears – “Toxic”
10) Barbara Mandrell / Kenny Loggins – “Footloose”
This clip from her network variety show will leave you speechless... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqyhg39ixn4
11) Backdraft / Blink – 182 – “All The Small Things”
Kid band opening for Rockola – check out the crowd they are playing to at the end of the clip!
TOP 20 LOCAL BEATLES COVERS
Forty years after the fact, the Beatles have the top selling album of the decade, so it’s no surprise that they are probably the most covered act of all time, the “classical” music of the modern era. San Diegan’s have not been immune to this phenomenon:
1) Kenny Eng / “Come Together”
Live at Lestat’s July 2008
2) Jason Mraz / “In My Life”
The final song at his Cricket Amphitheatre concert Oct 11, 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XRxA1tcK2o
3) San Diego Men’s Chorus / “Let It Be”
Live at the Balboa Theatre April 2008
4) Jon Foreman and a bunch of other guys / “With A Little Help From My Friends”
5) Rusty Jones / “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
6) Stephen Bishop / “I Call Your Name”
Live in London, before Sir George Martin
7) Schmooze / “And Your Bird can Sing”
8) AJ Croce / “Maybe I’m Amazed”
With singer Ari Hest and Coco Love Alcorn. Yes, this is technically a solo McCartney track.
9) Rookie Card / “Back In The USSR”
It’s said the timing is everything. Here’s proof.
10) Peter Sprague & Fred Benedetti / “She’s Leaving Home” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq5Ub2a65MI
11) Mark Goffney / “Let it Be”
12) The Big Fellas / “With A Little Help From My Friend” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AZBH-XbEvk
13) 921 / "Day Tripper"
14) Rhythm & The Method / “Come Together”
15) Lexington Field / “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
16) Gregory Page with The Shambles / “I’m Only Sleeping”
My band backing the esteemed Mr. Page on November 29, 2009 at The Casbah.
In A Category of their own:
17) “Yellow Trolley Line”
A song about The San Diego Trolley System, sung to the tune of …
18) Exclamation Films / “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
It takes a little while to get there, but this clip features the song set in Balboa Park http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2XblEruKzc
19) “Day Tripper”
A short clip of two fans lost in the music at Seaport Village :- ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzVbq8w5cfI
20) “Hey Jude / Let it Be“
From the description: “This is a collection of songs recorded on my camera in the back of my friend Matt's truck in the parking lot of the San Diego Zoo” Spot on, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG8IxvzdtFU
BONUS) I-8 / “Flying”
Just what it says! Footage shot driving down I-8
TOP 12 WEB CELEBS TO WATCH FOR IN 2010
I frankly don’t know how the world ever got by before the internet. Seriously. Over the past few years, I’ve been so hardwired to the web that I swear I dream in html. So much of my time is spent clicking --- my left hand can barely hold onto a pencil, while my right hand can crush a Volkswagen --- In the year or so since we set up www.myspace.com/sandiegoreadermusic, and since launching the new website and blog around two years ago, a lot of amazing online video auteurs have come to our attention. Here are a dozen up-n-coming webheads that we think are the TOP 12 WEB CELEBS TO WATCH FOR IN 2010…………………
TOP FIVE MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS OF THE ROCK ERA
As detailed on Wikipedia, the English musicians who played under the name The Venus in Furs on the soundtrack were Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, David Gray, Suede's Bernard Butler, and Roxy Music's Andy Mackay. The American musicians who played as Curt Wild's Wylde Ratttz on the soundtrack were The Stooges' Ron Asheton, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, Minutemen's Mike Watt, Gumball's Don Fleming, and Mark Arm of Mudhoney.
The soundtrack features new songs written for the film by Pulp, Shudder to Think and Grant Lee Buffalo, as well as many early glam rock compositions, both covers and original versions. The Venus in Furs covers several Roxy Music songs with Thom Yorke channeling Bryan Ferry on vocals, Placebo covers T.Rex's "20th Century Boy," Wylde Ratttz and Ewan McGregor cover The Stooges' "T.V. Eye" and "Gimme Danger", and Teenage Fanclub and Donna Matthews cover The New York Dolls' "Personality Crisis." Lou Reed, Brian Eno, T.Rex, and Steve Harley songs from the period are also included. The album is rounded out by a piece of Carter Burwell's film score.
All three members of the band Placebo also appeared in the film, with Brian Molko and Steve Hewitt playing members of the Flaming Creatures (Malcolm and Billy respectively) and Stefan Olsdal playing Polly Small's bassist.
Tim Curry Rocks - Tim Curry has enjoyed a vastly and inexplicably underrated music career. Curry’s big, booming voice was perfectly suited for the theatrical rock opera-esque songs, most of which managed to be both gritty urban and feather-fay at the same time – think Springsteen concert as staged by Twyla Tharp... www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2009/nov/17/tim-curry-rocks---a-custom-designed-dream-concert
SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER: I'm not sure why this isn't ranked up there with Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles - much of the same cast is in place. I just watched it on Encore Channel, for the first time since it was new in theaters in 1975. Tho Mel Brooks didn't direct, I heard his voice doing two cameos, so he was at least hanging around the set - Gene Wilder wrote and directed.
It's a little bittersweet to be laughing and then realize that Dom Deluise, Madeline Khan, Leo McKern, and Marty Feldman have all passed away --- but there are a lot of great scenes, from the Bunny Hop musical number(s) to the GREAT battle scene atop three rolling horse carriages, with Holmes and his nemesis grabbing giant sign props as they pass the shops, to use as weapons, like a giant hand and a giant foot...
And Marty Feldman as the Watson-like sidekick with "photographic hearing" - what a treat! Now if only the Encore Channel would show Wilder's OTHER forgotten self-made, Brooks-inspired vanity gem, World's Greatest Lover ---
AVATAR: I was prepared to not like Avatar, since most CGI characters leave me cold - but the pro-ecology POV and excellent blend of animations and live action won me over. Mr. Shepherd compares the story and execution to Pocahontas, but really it's more like an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. Guy goes to live in another world while asleep, falls for and mates with beautiful and kick-ass tough native lady, wins the respect of huge colored-skin alien dude (green on Mars, blue on Pandora), learns to lead the "savages" to victory over planetside military aggression - some to think of it, Cameron owes the Burroughs estate a bunch of money for this story ----
Now that I'm noting John Carter swipes, I see many more, right down to both main characters being formerly military men who have become privateers, just before finding themselves on another world, mixing with the alien natives.
There IS a Carter movie finally being made, I understand, tho the casting is a bit wonky – hard to picture Thomas Hayden Church as Hajus, let alone Willem “Green Goblin” DaFoe as Tars Tarkus, but I’ll checkitout anyway. The state of CGI tech would seem to give it a fair shot, with even the 15 foot tall Martians now fully possible to do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Car...)
John Ratzenberger’s role hasn’t been specified yet, but I’m betting he’ll voice one of those ambulatory brain thingys….
PLANET OF THE APES: A forest planet for apes DOES make more sense than a sandy desert world, tho this is one of the few tweaks to the original that qualifies as any sort of improvement. Putting the "origin" story in the hands of goth cartoonatic Tim Burton is almost as misplaced an idea as it was to have Rod “Twilight Zone” Serling script the original version (very few of Serling's ideas, words, and social commentary actually made it onto the screen, despite him usually being cited as "screenwriter").
Perhaps this franchise should instead be restarted with a do-over, as in the second Hulk movie that attempted to cleanse the public’s palate of Eric Bana(l) – how cool would it be to see Remake of the Apes by Terry Gilliam and the crew behind Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth? Ooooh, or now that Sam Raimi is off Spidey Four….
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Top 5 Movies to Leave Playing While You Commit Suicide
5 - Pink Floyd, The Wall: Because its worldview is even more bleak than your own.
4 - Lisztomania: Since you're going to Hell anyway, why not Hollywood's own version of an Hieronymus Bosch painting.
3 - Chronicles of Narnia, UK TV show version: 'Cause nobody can survive thru to the ending.
2 - Natural Born Killers: It clearly has no respect for the sanctity life OR good film making, so why not?
1 - No Country For Old Men: 'Cause it sucks even worse than you.THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE: A show well worth peeping. Starring the woman who played lady cop Annie in the U.S. version of the (woefully underrated) Life on Mars TV show, the Notorious Bettie Page is a pretty good movie. It goes into surprising depth RE the increasingly federalized attempts to legislate all aspects of the sex biz out of existence, as well as covering a lot of Miss Page's (very interesting) personal biographical history.
Star Gretchen Mol (who seems to specialize in period pieces - the '70s in Life on Mars, and now the '50s) does well with projecting both innocence and naughtiness. I've met part-time pornographer Bunny Yeager and can vouch that the movie's portrayal is fairly accurate, if a bit superficial - much more could have been done with the motivations behind choosing such an "outlaw" endeavor, in an social-status era when jail wasn't anywhere near the worst thing that could result.
All in all, tho, a well-done flick --
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: Named after one of the weakest Beatles tunes, of around three dozen Beatlecentric cuts covered or referenced in the film, Across the Universe wants to ride the musical comeback wave of High School Musical, Moulin Rouge, or even Hedwig and the Angry Inch - instead, it falls off the board into Sgt Bee Gee's Pepperland and Cop Rock-ville. Why did they bother? And, more annoyingly, why did I watch it expecting anything different? You'd think I would have learned after All This and World War II ----
Top 5 WORST Beatles tunes:
5) Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (until/unless performed by Steve Martin, whose rendition comprises the four most watchable minutes of Sgt Bee Gee’s…)
4) Across the Universe (“Lyrics flying out like golden rain into a paper cut, they slither as they pass like turds…”)
3) Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (I mean, the only reason Molly got into Desmond’s band was because Desmond liked her face – WTF?! Is this actually The Ballad of Paul and Linda?)
2) Lovely Rita (Just call the meter maid a b-tch and get over it already)
1) Martha My Dear (Like Lovely Rita, the dog this was named for was a total b-tch.)
Top 5 Worst Beatles Lyrics:
5) "Goo Goo G'Joob" (Gesundheit -- Here's a handkerchief. No, you keep it...)
4) "No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road" (Uh, guys, I think the middle of the road is the one place on Earth where EVERYone will be watching you!)
3) "And he told us of his life in the land of submarines" (Right before we executed him for Nazi war crimes, seeing as how subs only exist due to escalation of military kill-capability)
2) “Well here’s another clue for you all, the Walrus was Paul” (Yeah, we noticed the Walrus was HOLDING A BASS GUITAR – big whoopin’ clue).
1) “Honey pie, honey pie, honey pie, honey pie” (Don’t know if they were hungry or horny when they did that, but you can bet they were reeking like Tommy Chong’s beard)SEX - THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY: I wrote Annabel's first big-budget movie, the superhero spoof Sordid Stories, and got to know her a bit while we worked on a comic book version of the film. I've regaled friends with tales of being on the set while she filmed porn scenes, but my best, er, sordid story about Annabel involves the time I drove her home from a 50-man...how to put this....uh...."back door" film shoot.
[WARNING - "YUCK" ALERT, read on at your own peril] So....While she was riding in my back seat, I kept looking in the, uh, rear view mirror, to see her (wearing a short dress) sliding back and forth across the vinyl bench seat every time I took the slightest turn or lane change. It was like I had a freakin' Slip-N-Slide back there or something. WTF?? After I dropped her off, I noticed my back seat was smeared with what I can only politely describe as, uh, leftover lubricant from her film shoot. Takes a lotta lube to accommodate 50 men.
Needless to say, that was the last time I gave Annabel a ride. I'm lucky her butt didn't stick to my back seat like a damp suction cup (although that WOULD have kept her more stationary, made less of a mess, and perhaps saved me the HUGE tip I had to give my car detailing guy later that day).
SHERLOCK HOLMES: I've long been a fan of the Doyle books, and the movie references countless things from the Doyle canon in a way that hardcore fans like me find delightful, but in an action movie context geared surprisingly well for the 21st century crowd, most of whom wouldn't know Sherlock Holmes from the Rolling Stones, or Sherlock's smarter brother Mycroft....
The flick uses a lot of flashy high tech supergraphics similar to the CSI TV shows (which, after all, begin and end as baldfaced Doyle/Holmes ripoffs-slash-tributes), without being SO modern as to feel like anachronisms. Coupled with almost relentless action scene after action scene, it was so engaging, and so filled with twists, both physical and philosophical, that I didn't want leave the room long enuff for a quick bathroom break. Every bit of the movie seemed to vital to miss ---
Lots of witty and intelligent stuff going on - I look forward to at least a couple of repeat viewings! For a VERY long time, the only TV or movie Holmes I've found acceptable are Basil Rathbone (by virtue of his radio incarnation more than the films), and Jeremy Brett from the PBS show (which are among the best direct-from-Doyle adaptations) - well, and maybe a couple of those weird shows with Matt Frewer/Max Headroom as Sherlock.
Now, and for some time to come, Robert Downey Jr. IS the personification of Mr. Holmes for me! Been digging his movie groove since his wonderful Chaplin biopic -- I doubt anybody would have bothered making this new movie without him. I hope the sequel they seemed to set up happens ----
DEBATING JOSS WHEDON'S DOLLHOUSE - THE ABBEY ROAD OF TELEVISION??
Joss Whedon’s newest TV show Dollhouse = it took me awhile to get into the debut season. Starring the actress who played Faith the Vampire Slayer in Whedon’s Buffy series, it’s kind of about mercantile Stepford Wives of the Future, with a secret organization that rents out programmed humans whose brains are emptied and refilled of skills and life histories like they were hard drives.
Which, essentially, is what brains are. But the open question is what happens to the soul if the rest of whatever makes up a person is digitized and stored away in the Dollhouse “attic.”
Dollhouse IMO at first played too much with Mission Impossible/Charlie’s Angel identity-swap adventures but, by the end of the season, much more was revealed about the more metaphysical and philosophical aspects of the storyline, especially as to the nature of the soul and the fluid morality (or lack thereof) of all involved ---
At the 2008 Comic-Con, they screened the unaired 13th Dollhouse episode, Epitaph One. BUT, you don’t want me to spoil anything by revealing what it’s about, do you? You DO? Well...it takes place in the future, within the long-abandoned Dollhouse, beneath a city that may also have been destroyed. You’ll have to get the season one DVD set (out at the end of the month) to see it –
Whedon did reveal that Alexis Denisof, the actor who played Wesley in Buffy and Angel, would be in the next season of Dollhouse, as would Summer Glau from Whedon's short-lived Firefly series (and the cancelled Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles).This year's SECOND (and, as it turns out, final) season immediately pulled a Serling/Shyamalan/O Henry turnaround of everything the viewers thought they knew ----
As Dollhouse continues to astound with its mind-blowing final episodes, I realize that creative mastermind Joss Whedon is the Beatles of television. Breaking new ground, in new ways, and creating all new storytelling templates that people will still be trying to figure out for years to come ---Buffy was his Sgt. Pepper - perfecting the formula, then rewriting it from scratch --
Angel, his White Album - some wonky sidetrips, but even his most dense and dare-you-to-follow-me work is engaging and, ultimately, timeless.
Firefly was his surprise left turn into Yellow Submarine/Magical Mystery Tour - at least a cool movie came out of it, one still Whedon-tronic, if somewhat diluted so the masses could at least peek in the door.
Dollhouse is Joss Whedon's Abbey Road. Pitch perfect, every note. All together now, nothing he can do that can't be done - he makes it look so easy!!
I anxiously await the final three eps when the show takes its final bows, beginning January 8th ----
COMIC BOOK CREATOR SS CROMPTON (Demi the Demoness) REPLIES: While I agree with most of what you said about Joss’ work, I have to say that Doll house if far more like his “You know my name look up the number” or the Beatles Christmas Fan Albums, than Abby Road. Dollhouse was virtually unwatchable and pointless. And like some of the Beatles at their drug-induced silliest, it proves that not everything someone does is always a classic – sometimes, it’s just bad.
Sorry, guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea – love the rest of his stuff though - Steve
SS CROMPTON: Well I only watched the first 4 episodes, so maybe you are right, but those four episodes were so bad…Here were my beefs and probably why the show failed with the general public…
Because she’s a “different personality” every episode, you never get to really know or like the main character. When she’s in Doll mode –she and the rest of the “dolls” are basically like retarded adults – not much to like there either. The main programmer purposely gives the “Doll” weaknesses (like anxiety attacks and blindness?? And nobody in the organization even questions that – wtf?) That would be like the defense department having a cruise missile that randomly turns off it’s radar or explodes if it’s raining – makes no sense.
People seem to be able to find and hire the dolls with no trouble at all, but somehow the CIA the FBI and the NSA can’t find them. Even though they have a permanent fancy headquarters filled with scientific equipment and lots of people working there.
No main villain or enemy group (at least not in the first 4 episodes) Just a different generic bad guy she could defeat each week. Kind of like the old Superman TV show, where you knew there was no way the gangster was going to defeat Superman. (I suspect that’s why they added (weaknesses) to the Doll, because otherwise, she would just walk in and defeat the bad guys in 5 minutes with no trouble at all.
But – You are probably right, it sounds like it got better. Joss just waited too long to get the story moving forward. You can fool the audience successfully in a 2 hour movie - (Sixth Sense is a great example of this) but you better make the story that viewers think they are watching be engaging and somewhat logical – and the beginning episodes of the show just were not. Trying to drag it out for an entire season was just a terrible idea. He should have introduced at least some MAJOR hints about where the show was going early on. If those hints where there – he hid them too well - Steve
JAS REPLIES: I'll concede the slow (and ultimately misleading) startup - I almost tuned out. BUT, to carry the Beatles comparison even further, what if you had given up on Abbey Road after the third song, Paul's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," which John refused to even perform on, calling it just another of Paul's "Granny songs." By almost any measure, a kinda crappy song (until/unless performed by Steve Martin!) You would never have gotten the back of your skull blown off by subsequent side-one cuts like "Oh! Darling" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."
That's how sharp a left turn Dollhouse took. The "mission of the week" aspect was just one of the red herrings I mention - the drama has since become much more internal, not just by withdrawing into the Dollhouse(s) but into the very minds of the characters themselves.
Well worth giving another shot, I assure!
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR ALEC SCOTT CHIMES IN: Hey, Jay, been reading the back-and-forth. Have to say, I agree with you. Steve's point, about the first few eps, is a valid one -- no real personality to identify with -- but, as you pint out, only when taken by themselves. Taken all together, we realize that, from the beginning, Echo, a real identity and character of her own -- whose existence is only informed by the existence of Caroline, not to mention all the characters she's been over time -- and that THAT'S who's been trying to, and is now succeeding at, breaking through into her own.
I agree, too, that these last episodes are mindf-cking brilliant, the kind of stuff that only people like Lynch and Kaufman (Charlie) have dealt with on any comparable (cinematic) level in the past -- and even *they* didn't have this broad a canvas to work with.
So Abbey Road as performed by Philip K. Dick is how I'd put it - Alec
WRITER/RESEARCHER JAMIE RALPH GARDNER: Dear Steve, How much of Joss Whedon's work have you seen? You told me that you saw part of 1 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and part of 1 episode of Angel. Have you seen Firefly, Serenity or Alien: Resurrection? During a conversation about Buffy on the phone, your description of the episode sounded like one of the episodes from the 5th to 7th season.
I think Buffy at it's best was during the first 4 seasons. I like later episodes but I think the show became much more uneven during the last 3 years. I think some of the weaknesses of the last 3 seasons have been brought in to the Buffy comic books. Sinn Sage (Vampirooni) was a viewer of Buffy and she thought the show went downhill in later seasons. She quit watching the show. I continued watching
Buffy, most of the time, through the final season.
Secret History of Chicago Music: Chuck and Mary Perrin (Dizzy's)
WONDERWALL (1968) – “LOST” PSYCHEDELIC CLASSIC WITH MUSIC BY GEORGE HARRISON, RINGO STAR, PETER TORK, ERIC CLAPTON, AND MORE
Tonight, I watched the epically wonky 1968 Wonderwall movie DVD, with music by George Harrison and psychedelic visual design by The Fool, that group of acidhead techno artists who painted the Apple office building in the '60s and had much to do with the latterday Beatles imagery (I wonder if Magic Alex ever perfected his magic box?).
The movie is so freakish, it's almost impossible to absorb - as an artifact of the 60s and hippiedom, and an example of some of the first Beatles "solo" music, it was well worth watching, and probably worth the high price that the limited edition U.S. region DVD sells for (I got a "bargain" on eBay at $30 - I've seen it sell for $75 and up).
It's hardly a "movie," at least by the normal definition. Worth noting is that the director is the same guy who later did the fantasy sequences in the Led Zep concert movie The Song Remains the Same. If you liked that movie's werewolves with tommy guns spurting psychedelic blood, you'd dig Wonderwall.
The first thing that comes to mind, a few minutes after finishing the film, is "This must be what it's like to do peyote, throw up, and then spend two hours staring at your vomit and marveling at how wondrous and beautiful your former lunch now looks...."
The music is by George Harrison, whose Wonderwall solo album has some but not all of the music heard in the movie (it was the first Beatles solo album, AND the first Apple album). For the rock songs, Harrison hired Liverpool band the Remo Four, as well as bringing in Ringo Star, Eric Clapton, and Peter Tork (playing one of Paul McCartney’s banjos).
The Indian sitar music heard in the film was recorded in January 1968, during the same Beatles sessions - and using the same musicians – that resulted in the Beatles’ song “The Inner Light,” originally issued as the B-side of "Lady Madonna."
Wonderwall the movie was only shown a few times in the late ‘60s, and was considered a “lost” film until a good print was found and restored, along with an unreleased Harrison song intended for the original 1968 soundtrack, “In The First Place,” one of the only Wonderwall songs with lyrics (proceeds from a single of the song helped pay for cancer treatments for one of the musicians from the Remo Four).
As near as I can figure it, here’s what the movie is about:
When he looks thru the hole, he sees an otherworldly beautiful oft-nekkid young woman named Penny Lane (played by lovely blank-faced cipher Jane Birkin, who was equally blank in Antonioni's equally obtuse movie Blow-Up).
One one side of the wall, the Old Prof's side, it’s just another day, the barber shaves another customer, the banker looking in ---
On the OTHER side of the peephole, it's the 24-hour freakout channel, with freakout music kicking in every time the old man peeps at the fetishistic nylon leg shows and Hefner-fueled/acid-soaked visions of a Wild and Wonky World According To Playboy. Within Without You.
Opening more peepholes seems to open more worlds – or are these just the Old Prof’s daydreams? In one trippy vision, the old Prof improbably sees himself, outdoors, battling a teenage Superman with "weapons" like giant ciggies and lipstick tubes. Or at an effeminate cowboy riding a plastic rocking horse and talking on the phone, or a hippie mermaid chick floating on a sea of polyester fabric while brushing her hair, or a Perplexing Planet of Preposterous Sunglasses.
He peeps most often at an ongoing idyllic Dionysian hippie party jam, with flute-playing flower children and beautiful dancing gypsies (with almost EVERYone smoking something, either ciggies or ??). The smoking in various other wonderworlds ranges from small glass pipes to Chong-sized roaches and giant octopus hookahs –
Amusingly, the Old Prof himself, in his world, is proudly a non-smoker --- tho one wonders about how lab-customized his beloved sugar cubes may be, given his increasingly bizarre visions thru the Wonderwall.
The Old Prof becomes so obsessed that, for awhile, he seems to stop shaving or sleeping or doing anything else aside from peeping. Sorta presaging the advent of 500-channel TV feeds, it could be said ---
So as the Old Prof is peeping at the dreamy hippie otherworlds, he starts dressing up in what an unschooled old man might approximate as "psychedelic" circa 1968, ie a pointy New Year's party hat, or a funky outsized tuxedo, and decorating his apartment - especially the "wonderwall" itself - with streamers and party favors.
When he strays too far from the wa`l - like when he goes to work at the lab one day, if only to study up on alternate realities and gaze lovingly at Penny Lane thru his microscope (?!)- he suddenly becomes black and white. As does the world avound him. Only the wonderwall can color his world....
At some point, one of the wonderwall visions appears to actually be the adjoining room of a young hippie couple - or is it? Everything on the Other Side is just a colorful and halucinogenic as his other visions.
When he realizes he's fallen in love with the young girl - or at least with her magical hippie wonderland - he manages to find a magic (Alex) doorway and dramatically leap into her world, apparently by dressing as a top-hat magician and fondling his magic wand (don't ask....) –
However, when he gets to Her World, the hippie girl's psychedelic-flavored life isn't idyllic as it seemed. She is unmarried and has just discovered she's pregnant, and her hippie boyfriend is being a big hippie dick about it.
So - while the Old Prof hides in her psychedelic closet - the hippie girl (real or fantasy?) chokes down a bunch of pills, cries, and is carried out on a stretcher.
Flash to a newspaper headline: "Scientist Saves Fashion Model - Top Hat Riddle in
The next time he sees
The DVD also includes footage cut to Eric Clapton’s playing, stills of artwork by the various Fool’s who designed the psychedelia, footage cut to a Remo Four track, and other ephemeral perks.
So, in summation – glad I watched it. Glad it was restored, especially the sonically engaging soundtrack, and glad it came out on DVD. Also glad the hippies – and
I’ll probably never have occasion to spin this inexplicable tripfest again, unless under the influence of the Old Prof’s suspect sugercubes, but I’m glad I finally got to checkout this funky flashback, 40 years after it first came and went ------
San Diegans on Saturday Night Live? (By Bart Mendoza) Ever wonder what San Diego-related music artists have appeared to date on Saturday Night Live ?? Here ya go, with artist / host:
02/21/76 Desi Arnaz
12/11/76 Frank Zappa / Candice Bergen
04/09/77 Tom Waits / Julian Bond
03/11/78 Stephen Bishop / Art Garfunkel
10/11/78 Frank Zappa
05/10/97 Jewel / John Goodman
11/14/98 Jewel / Joan Allen
01/08/00 Blink 182 / Jamie Foxx
04/20/02 POD / Alec Baldwin
10/04/08 The Killers (w/ Ray Suen) / Anne Hathaway
01/31/09 Jason Mraz / Steve Martin************************************************
THE KIDS OF WIDNEY HIGH - A ROCK 'N' ROLL COMIC!
The Kids of Widney High: Beyond the Sky’s the Limit is the latest in a long line of accomplishments by The Kids of Widney High, a music group composed of students with developmental and/or physical challenges from J. P. Widney High School, a special education center in Los Angeles.
Written entirely by members of the band and illustrated by some of the comic book industry’s top talent, the 36-page book is a milestone event in both rock 'n' roll and comic book history. Contributors include award winning artists Jim Mahfood (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob), Chuck B.B., and Rafael Navarro, along with up and coming new talent like Rikki Niehaus, Neal Von Flue, Robbi Rodriguez, and Chris Brandt.
All the dialogue spoken by characters in the book was drawn directly from quotes recorded during story sessions, effectively capturing the spirit and attitudes of the bandmembers.
The Kids of Widney High first formed in a songwriting class in 1988 and has grown into a world-wide sensation. They've performed on stages all along the west coast including The House of Blues, The Key Club, and Chain Reaction, and they were recently featured in the movie The Ringer. A documentary detailing the history of the band is currently in production.
Bandmember Tony Whitfield proudly says the comic is “the music that will rock your eyes!”
It's never a good sign when the deleted scenes and DVD commentary are more enjoyable than the stand-alone film, but Queen of the Damned surprised me. It's got a lot of flaws - but it's not at all a horrible movie. It messed with and compressed/redid the Anne Rice novels so much that few people seem to like it - but I think if you go into without expecting it to be Anne Rice's Lestat, but rather a story loosely "inspired by" her books, it's a decent little goth movie.
Particularly the fully-realized music (and accompanying music videos, seen only in flashes during the movie but included on the DVD in their entirety, all framed ala German expressionism and surreal, very much Nosferatu/Doctor Caligary silent movie-inspired), by guys from Korn, Static X, Oingo Boingo, and even Marilyn Manson (who has one great album, Mechanical Animals, his Ziggy Stardust glam tribute/ripoff).
The whole vampire-goes-high-tech subtheme is intriguing, especially Lestat calling out his fellow vampires on the giant Times Square diamondvision screen ("Come out, come out, wherever you are"), and Lestat laying down inside a huge satellite dish and absorbing the entire world as it streams digitally and directly to his brain.
Some of the director's alterations from the two Rice novels the movie is based on (Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned) are actually improvements - such as keeping Lestat's debut concert to a one-time affair, thus explaining why the other vamps never went after him at other concerts (a vexing plothole in the Lestat novel).
On the other hand, transforming female lead Jesse from a savvy vampire hunter and historical archivist with insider insight into a mere "Bite me, baby, one more time" groupie is among the filmmaker's WORST moves - eccch. Even if the actress playing Jesse is quite fetching (Marquerite Moreau, also seen in the highly underrated remake of Bedazzled).
The DVD's deleted scene showing the other Ancient Ones, as they gather to plot against the Queen SHOULD have been kept, as it provides all the motive behind the anti-Queen backlash acted out by present day-to-day vamps. I especially loved the Ancient Ones walking freely thru a goth concert, looking around incredulously and commenting "Ancient Rome had nothing on these people!" Why oh why was all that cut???
An improvement over the books - having the big concert outdoors in the desert in a remote and isolated Burning Man-style gathering is FAR better than Rice's dinky little indoor concert hall melee. Visually, the ensuing onstage battles need to be matched by the epic size and scope of the event locale, so the movie version is much more dynamic, and really more correct and apropos than in the novel.
The remote concert locale also goes a long way toward explaining how vampires can suddenly "out" themselves and their powers all over the stage, without a worldwide audience immediately finding out all about the head undead (UnDeadheads?) coming out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Stuart Townsend as Lestat deserves particular praise. While no Tom Cruise, he's a lot better than you'd expect, and certainly believable as a rock star. As surprisingly dynamic as Cruise was in Interview/Vampire, there's no WAY he could have done the rock star turn without making everyone laugh while remembering the tightie whitey dance from Risky Business!
TEN SONGS BY LOCALS THAT ARE BETTER WHEN SOMEONE ELSE DOES THEM! --- courtesy Bart Mendoza
Being a musician is great but being a songwriter can be even greater - if your song ends up in the right hands, or with the right voice. Here are ten songs by ten
Phil Collins / “Separate Lives”
Written By Stephen Bishop. A huge worldwide hit, as heard in the 1985 film, White Knights.
Phil Collins & Phillip Bailey / “Easy Lover”
Co-written by Nathan East. This one went all the way to #2 in 1984, hitting #1 in the
Dan Fogelberg / “Rhthym of The Rain”
Written by John Gummoe. This is the lone track here that was a hit in an earlier incarnation as well, in this case by Gummoe's own group, The Cascades. Fogelberg’s 1990 version was a #3 Adult Contemporary Hit, and is till ubiquitous on soft-rock radio. Also one of only two songs by a local songwriter to hit near the top of the charts with more than one version of a song. So far.
Lynyrd Skynyrd/ "Call Me the Breeze"
Written by JJ Cale. This is the band in their prime, with a 1975 appearance on British TV program, The Ol’ Grey Whistle Test.
Steve Miller Band / “Jungle Love”
Co-written by Greg Douglass. Some songs are lucky enough to get a second chance at hit status, as happened when Steve Miller’s “Jungle Love” was used as a theme song for CBS-TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
The Monkees / “Daydream Believer”
Written by John Stewart. Many others including Anne Murray and Shonen Knife have had hits / singles with the song. With so many versions to choose from, we went with U2 live, with head Monkee, Davy Jones, in 1997.
The Matrix with Katy Perry / “Broken”
The Ramones / “I Don’t Want To Grow Up”
Written by Tom Waits and another tune with many versions – dig the Dan Clowes artwork in the video!
Johnny Rivers / “Slow Dancin (Swayin’ To The Music)”
Written by Jack Tempchin, one of his many hit songs. This version is live, on NBC-TV’s The Midnight Special.
Various Artists / “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On”
Written by Jeannie & Jimmy Chetham. Many blues songs have been written by San Diegans, but only one is a certified standard, covered by hundreds of bands worldwide. Case in point, here’s one of a numerous local bands found online playing the tune, Band of Oz, from
BOOTLEGGING AT CRICKET/COORS
Anyone wondering how effective all those “no recording devices” and “no cameras” signs and searches are at concert venues, here are a baker’s dozen of fan shot clips live from Cricket/Coors Amphitheatre. For some shows there are numerous videos posted by different fans / different vantage points…http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2009/nov/30/bootlegging-at-coors-amphitheatre-aka-cricket-amph/
MORE STRANGE STAGE MOMENTS - courtesy of Bart Mendoza
Zank Bennett: “At a gig, I was standing just behind our main speaker at the Tiki in PB, leaning against the map that is on the wall there. A little later I was playing a big solo in a song called “Saturday Night” and I went to lean back on the map/wall. It wasn't there. Unfortunately, I had spun another 45 degrees during my solo and hadn’t realized it. I was directly behind our front-of-the-house speaker; the one that sat atop an empty keg of beer. Still with my eyes closed, I leaned back and the three of us, the keg, the speaker on top and I, went tumbling the foot-and-a-half drop to the floor below. We were about three beats from the end of the song. The band never lost a beat and we finished the syncopated last few bars perfectly, more or less. And without a scratch.
Karin Carson: “One time I was playing shaker on a gig and getting really into the tune. So into it, that I lost the grip on my shaker, which went flying towards the guitar player, who, mid-riff, dodged the flying shaker in a matrix like move, sideways. The audience never caught on, but we still laugh about it.”
Carolyn Kallis / Coco and Lafe: “We were busking on the street in Boston and this very large man came down and sat down in front of us, almost right on the microphone, sort of assumed the yogi position and pulled out a can of colt 45. He started to mumble along to our songs, but then he lay down and fell asleep. Every once in awhile he’d wake up, mumble something and then go back to sleep. Homeless people really gravitated to us in
Danny Cress / The Coyote Problem: “I was in a surf trio a few years ago. We were in a club playing a version of the old standard “Caravan,” when all of a sudden - and in unison, the guitarist and bass player just put down their instruments and walked off. They headed towards the bar, looking at me just long enough to say “drum solo.” It was probably only about five minutes before they came back, but it seemed much longer.”
Mary Dolan: “I was booked for a performance at an AA convention in
Calen Lucas / Family Wagon: “We played a concert on Halloween and there was a giant pumpkin on the stage right in the center, where the monitors should be. As we were playing I decided to put one foot up on the pumpkin for dramatic effect. Except that my foot sunk right into the center of the pumpkin, which was hot orange goo under the stagelights.”
Abraham Nunez / Team Abraham: “At our Record Release Party (@ the Casbah) in March, we were mid-set when I suddenly see two bras hanging from the mic stand. One was very sexy the other was fairly large and sturdy. This was fine and I kept playing and all, but mid the next song, I see some boxers being pessed down toward the stage... tdey we're flanned and I could smell them as they$were being placed, by a fan, onto the mic stand. I wasn't sure how to respond...”
Eric Schauer: “Strangest thing? A gig at a dirty dive called "The Double Down" in
Anna Troy: “On stage at Lestats, I was singing a song with a friends band when a piece of hair went into my mouth. It was uncomfortable, but I waited until between songs to pull it out, complete with spit. Not very graceful, but it had to be done. For some reason the guys in the band loved it. The bassist said it was the highlight of the night.”
Jaime Valle: “Years ago, I was playing an underground
UPSTAGING APPLE'S iTUNES: Electrical engineers go head to head with Genius on music playlists
UC San Diego engineers use their song-annotating algorithms to study playlists
Electrical engineers recently pitted Genius – the music recommendation system in Apple's iTunes – against two experimental music recommender systems. Genius appears to capture acoustic similarities among songs within the same playlist, the researchers found. The University of California, San Diego electrical engineers also discovered that the music recommender they built from scratch can generate song playlists that human subjects thought were as good as those that Genius generates. The UC San Diego system works for songs that Genius knows nothing about.
UC San Diego electrical engineering Ph.D. student Luke Barrington presented these findings on October 28 at the 2009 International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2009) in Kobe, Japan. (Read the paper at: http://cosmal.ucsd.edu/cal/pubs/Barrington-Genius-ISMIR09.pdf
"Our goal is to make a music recommendation tool that is as good as or better than Genius, but that does not require massive amounts of user data. The system we are developing can analyze and recommend completely unknown songs by new bands as accurately as it analyzes the most popular hits," said Barrington, who used the same underlying technology to create a series of music discovery games for Facebook (http://herdit.org) and a new kind of music search engine that will be available for beta testing next week (http://herdit.org/music/index.html). Watch a three minute video about the new music search engine at: http://cse-ece-ucsd.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-music-search-engine-on-way.html
Tools for creating automated music playlists are increasingly useful now that huge numbers of songs are available for download and streaming to anyone with an Internet connection. iTunes – the most popular music retailer on the planet – has sold more than 6 billion tracks. Genius uses "collaborative filtering" on these purchase statistics to help people organize their music and discover new songs they might like based on similarity to a "seed" song that they do like.
By averaging statistics about how millions of listeners purchase and play music, Genius appears to actually capture acoustic similarities between songs, according to the new research, which involved human evaluation of music recommendation systems and was led by researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Because Genius is a proprietary system whose secrets are not available to the public, the researchers studied it by testing its song recommendations against comparable song suggestions from experimental music recommender systems that they fully understood.
"At first we thought that collaborative filtering would just spot similar artists: if you like Daft Punk, it might recommend any song by Justice. However, we found that acoustic similarities come through in Genius playlists. Genius seems to find correspondences between songs that go beyond what you get by just matching artists. We don't think Genius actually knows anything about the acoustics of songs, but it still produces great recommendations since the data it is using is built upon acoustic analyses of the music done by millions humans," said Luke Barrington, an electrical engineering Ph.D. candidate at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and the first author of the new study. Gert Lanckriet, an electrical and computer engineering professor from UC San Diego and Reid Oda, an undergraduate in cognitive sciences at UC San Diego are co-authors on this paper, available at: http://cosmal.ucsd.edu/cal/pubs/Barrington-Genius-ISMIR09.pdf
Smarter than Genius?
The UC San Diego researchers found that the playlist generator they built using their own algorithms performed as well as Genius under certain conditions. In contrast to Genius, which uses information about the songs people buy and listen to in iTunes in order to learn which songs in any iTunes library are related, the UCSD music recommender relies on auto-tagging algorithms that use machine learning to label songs with descriptive words based only on the acoustic content of the songs.
"Our computer system works by listening to the music – it doesn't know anything about artists or albums or charts. In some trials of our survey, we tried to remove these biases from the human listeners by hiding the names of the songs and artists and making sure that subjects liked the seed songs but had not heard them before," said Barrington. In these cases, the researchers found that people liked playlists generated by the UCSD auto-tagging algorithms as often as they liked Genius playlists.
This partial parity with Genius underscores how the UCSD auto-tagging algorithms can be used to generate high quality music playlists that incorporate lesser-known and unknown songs. Genius currently ignores relatively unknown songs because it lacks adequate wisdom from iTunes customers about how these songs connect to other songs. Systems like the auto-tagging music algorithms developed at UC San Diego could be useful in filling in the "blind spots" in Genius and other collaborative filtering systems that rely on the wisdom of the masses to generate playlists.
"We weren't expecting our system to beat Genius at making playlists based on the most popular songs – our system doesn't know about artists, popularity, release dates, albums or anything else that the average music fan is aware of. Once we add that information in, we think we can build something that is really smarter than Genius," said Barrington.
Music Games are Serious Research
The UCSD electrical engineers are always improving their auto-tagging algorithms thanks to a series of music discovery games they created for Facebook called Herd It (http://www.herdit.org/). Players listen to songs and compete with other online players to most accurately describe the songs they are listening to. The electrical engineers use the song-word combinations these games generate to improve the accuracy and breadth of their auto-tagging algorithms.
As with the Herd It games, the surveys the engineers created to study playlists also began with humans listening to a song clip. Next, the survey system produced two competing five-song playlists for the same seed song. Playlists were generated by one of the four possible recommender systems the researchers were studying: Genius; Artist Similarity – a music recommender that selected songs based only on similar artists; Similar Tags – a music recommender that selected songs based only on the audio content of the songs (this system was built upon the UCSD auto-tagging algorithms); or random playlist.
For each pair of playlists, subjects identified the list they thought was better. Playlists were built from the authors' personal music library of over 12,000 relatively popular songs that span the most common genres of Western popular music. The list of songs used to seed playlists is available at: http://cosmal.ucsd.edu/cal/projects/playlist/
People are moving more and more to streaming music, where listeners don't have the actual file. With access to every song on You Tube, deciding which of the 10 million songs you want to listen to next can be daunting.
"Playlists are an increasingly important tool for overcoming what otherwise might be an overwhelming amount of streaming music," said Barrington.
New Music Search Technologies
The algorithms that automatically tag songs with descriptive words that are at the foundation of the UC San Diego playlist generator are also powering a new breed of search engine for music as well as Facebook games that provide researchers with the information needed to improve the new search engine. To watch a video highlighting the capabilities of the new music search engine, go to: http://cse-ece-ucsd.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-music-search-engine-on-way.html
This search engine will be available for beta testing next week. Register for the music search engine beta test at: http://herdit.org/music/
SPORTS ARENA MVP SPILLS ON 2.5 MIL REDO AND NEW ARENA NIGHTCLUB
“We’re putting two and a half million dollars in the building” says Ernie Hahn, General Manager of the Sports Arena for the past 13 years. “It’s been a year since AEG Live became a majority owner partner and, since there’s no new arena being built for awhile in San Diego, AEG is modernizing the facility with creature comforts like LCD TV screens, flat screens, redoing the entrances and the outer concourse, paint and colors and lighting, and all new lower level seats. The eight rows of riser seats at the Arena that have literally been here since day one are all getting replaced, [with] 2,200 state-of-the-art seats.”
Construction has also begun on “a special club for our sponsors and club seat holders,” in the old Arena Club space, set to open later this year. Club 3500 (the facility’s address) will be 6,500 square feet, with a 350-person occupancy and accessed via membership only. “When you walk in,” says Hahn, “it’s going to feel like a downtown club, really swank, hip, and sophisticated. It’ll be close to a dedicated seating section at stage right, which will be put aside for our club members.”
Annual membership is $2,450.00, with the option to purchase up to four “dedicated seating” tickets for events you want to opt-in for. Other perks include VIP parking, a VIP entrance, and its own “Exclusive men’s and women’s rest rooms, with sound in them, new paint, mirrors, sinks, and counters, and stalls. The Arena Club in the past always had to utilize the rest rooms that are also available to anybody in [sections] A, B or C on the floor.”
Hahn is also outfitting Club 3500 with Arena memorabilia. “Few houses have this kind of history,” he says. “A lot of people saw their first concert here. We’ll have over 120 pictures showing the actual [Sports Arena] history, like Pink Floyd in ‘74, or the Stones in ’72. I’ve got a great shot of Elton John, one of Elvis in ‘73 or ‘76, and I think a Led Zeppelin ‘75 shot. We have a great photo of James Brown here in 1967, and one of John Denver in the mid-seventies, which I particularly like.”
The 42 year-old Hahn grew up in locally, with parents who were Mariners season ticket holders in the ‘70s (“Lower level one, two seats on the end, across from the visiting penalty box”). He began at the facility as an event coordinator in June 1991.
AEG runs, operates, or is involved with around a hundred arena facilities worldwide, though Hahn notes “We’re an open building. So, whether it’s Live Nation or AEG or anyone else, all shows are not only welcome but encouraged here.”
As for selling naming rights to the building (after a short-lived stint at the iPayOne Center), Hahn says “Through the global partnerships division of AEG, we’re working with a lot of sponsors, some who just recently stepped up, and we’re in discussions with a couple who will hopefully bid or ultimately come in as a naming rights partner.”
AEG sold naming rights for
And now, courtesy of Bart Mendoza, here are 15 video clips set at the Sports Arena, some pro-shot and some fan-made ----
1) Tribal Seeds @ Reggae Fest 2008
2) Fleetwood Mac / “Dreams” 05/31/09 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eXXAth0i74
3) Metallica / “Enter Sandman” 01-13/14-92 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYlPUNEwGRU
4) Nirvana / “Heart Shaped Box” 12 29 93 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVGpbtv2mgU
5) U2 / “Beautiful Day” 09 28 05 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HhnRBOMJhY
6) George Micheal / “Careless Whisper” 06/17/08 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml1Qlpn_LQ8
7) Led Zeppelin Comes to
8) Taylor Swift / “Hey Stephan” (really good footage of her interacting with concert crowd at 2:30 – kind of daring actually…
9) AC/DC / “Back In Black” 2009
10) Janet Jackson / ….. (Janet gets overwhelmed by
11) Pearl Jam / “Jeremy” 1995 – not great pic quality, but really good sound!
12) JJ Cale & Eric Clapton / “Cocaine” 03/15/07
13) P.O.D. / “Boom” (just 8 seconds worth!)
14) Ozzy Osbourne / …end of the show (fake gunshots!)
15) Slayer / At the Sports Arena 1992 (a brief parking lot clip shot by a fan!)
Tijuana tabloids called him a racist and homosexual, after the singer reportedly told gossip columnist Federico de León “I’d rather kiss three black girls than a Mexican.” A Mexican woman in the same column was quoted saying “I’d rather kiss three dogs than one Elvis Presley.”
Mexican Radio Exitos read de León’s column over the air and spearheaded a boycott of the “insolent artist,” while the powerful student group Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU) held public record burnings.
When Elvis’ movie King Creole screened in May 1959 at the Américas Cinema in Mexico City, newspapers who’d advertised the film under the title Melodía Siniestra (Sinister Melody) reported a “riot” occurring.
Mexican counterculture novelist Parménides García Saldaña wrote a short story, “El rey criollo,” about the screening where several hundred gatecrashers reportedly shredded the seats and threw lit papers onto patrons from the balcony.
“Before the film began,” wrote Saldaña, “it was pure chaos, a f-ing riot as they say more vulgarly. The different gangs shouted ‘Here the Guerrero [neighborhood],’ ‘Here the Roma’ …And then some chicks come in with leather jackets with swastikas painted on them, pony tails and bobby socks, real rock and roller like…a group of guys gang up around them [and shout] “‘Dance!’”
The movie Los chiflados del rock’n roll, a musical spoof, was promoted with posters showing Elvis in drag, being shot by rifle-toting men in sombreros, under a banner reading “Die Elvis Presley!”
The book “Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture” (Berkeley: University of California Press, c1999) claims the original Elvis quote was fabricated. According to author Eric Zolov, “Herbe Pompeyo of Polygram Records in Mexico City claims that a high-up Mexican political figure wanted to contract Presley for a private party, for which he sent the performer a blank check to fill in as he wished.
Who could have imagined that, four decades later, Mexico would be producing more Elvis velvet paintings than any other region in the world…
…not to mention giving us “El Vez, the Mexican Elvis….”
Many of the artists from Revolutionary Comics, Rock 'N' Roll Comics, and Carnal Comics have joined forces once again to work on a new & unusual comic and reality based project – The Obama Nation Card Game!
Obama Nation makes good-natured fun of politics, republicans and democrats, government spending and the
Former Rev Com artist (and Obama Game art director) Steve Crompton described how it all came together; ”It’s a bit like a cross between wacky packages, Old Maid and some of the stuff Revolutionary Comics might have done if they made card games. I thought it would be fun to get the old gang together for something like this, and I needed all the help I could get, so I contacted everyone I could find and I’m really happy with the response and great art I got from my Rev Com & Carnal pals.”
A quick look at the 54 card deck shows reveals an impressive list of RevCom & Carnal alums, including Lyndal Ferguson, Scott Jackson, Steve Crompton, Brad Foster, Gus Norman, Randy Vogel and Philo. There may even be a few others hiding in the set as a complete list of all the RevCom artists is hard to come by.
The full-color 54 card deck comes in a resealable box for a only $7.99.