Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Visited my pal James "Bucks" Burnett at his haunt, Forever Young Records, in Grand Prairie last Sunday. Strange I had never been there before. Great place to pick up some really expensive but clean vinyl. I wasn't in the mood. Picked up an Esquerita comp I'd sold back in the early '90s but put it back. Instead I walked out with the Ace re-issue of The Gosdin Brothers' Sounds of Goodbye. The Gosdins were an honest-to-Gawd sibling duo from Alabama who somehow befriended The Byrds back in the mid '60s. After backing Gene Clark on his '67 solo debut they released their one and only album the following year. It's a great mix of rock jangle and real country -- making it, ironically, more authentic and artistically -- if uncommercially -- successful than anything the Byrds had been trying to do at that point in their career. As a bonus, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke and future-Byrd-to-be Clarence White are all over this sucker. Speaking of suckers, I'm one for harmony duos and the Gosdins hit the sweet spot over and over. Totally recommended.
at 7:58 PM
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Ladies and geeks, the psychedelic Pastor John Rydgren...for your listening...and spiritual pleasure. Don't blame me if Jesus becomes your main "trick," man.
(Right click on the links below and save to your computer)
(Right click on the links below and save to your computer)
at 1:20 AM
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Here's the most recent story from Saturday Night Live...According to the ever-reliable New York Post. Let me encapsulate for the hard-of-clicking:
"Four cast members are about to be fired - they know who they are, but the public doesn't. Two others - including the undisputed star of "SNL," Tina Fey - are gone. Auditions are about to begin for the signature spot on the show, anchor of the snarky Weekend Update."
OK, here's the real question. Who cares? Who watches this shit anyway? And I'm sick and tired of hearing how "brilliant" Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are...gimme a break! If Tina Fey is such a comedy genius why did her tenure as head writer produce some of the biggest yawns in the show's history? I mean, every time I've turned it on in the past five years, all they do is make fun of Paris Hilton or Christina Aguilera or something. I say fire the entire cast, have them banned from comedy indefinitely and cancel the show. Put on old Columbo re-runs or something.
at 11:43 AM
Monday, August 14, 2006
Today marks the third anniversary of the 2003 North American Blackout -- the biggest power outage in North American history. I was working in Manhattan at the time at the Radio City Music Hall building. I remember sitting at my desk working on the computer when the flourescent lights dimmed. The computer monitor flickered but came back on thanks to our building's back up generators. It took us a while to figure out what was going on. We were finally hearded to the stairwells where we marched 12 flights down to 51st and 6th. I think I had five dollars to my name. Payday was on the 15th but what good is payday when you can't access the cash out of a bank or ATM? Although I was living in the north part of Manhattan at the time, up in Washington Heights, I decided to go with a group of co-workers who were walking to Brooklyn with promises of food and beer. The streets of NYC were packed with people, shoulder to shoulder. I couldn't believe there weren't more violent incidents. We ended up at a guy's house who lived near the Gowanus. We got pretty skitzed on booze, pills and frozen pizzas we wrapped in foil and melted over a charcoal fire on his patio. That is, until the guy's roomates came home and kicked us out. I don't remember if we did much more that night. It was hot and I was drunk and feeling loose thanks to a muscle relaxant I had taken. I walked with my pal Chris M. to his apartment across from the Brooklyn Museum (an apartment that I would eventually move into a couple of years later) and slept on his futon. The next morning we awoke and made our way to Park Slope where the electricity was miraculously back on. After a horrible Mexican lunch I grabbed a couple of peaches from a fruit stand and started out for Wash Hgts. I walked for six hours. At one point, I found a working ATM (the electricity in the city was spotty, varying from neighborhood to neighborhood) and took out a hundred bucks. I remember offering the money to a cab driver to drive me home. He refused. I threw one of the peaches at him. I was tired and my feet were literally bleeding after walking so long in the heat. There were no subways running and the only hope one had to get uptown was to crowd onto a bus. That seemed impossible until I got to Central Park. I finally gave up and jumped on. It was SRO but I made it home. My pad's electricity was on and the A/C was running. I don't think I've ever felt more relieved.
at 9:01 AM
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Ok, hands up...who hasn't posted something online while drunk...or at least in the process of drinking? I know I have. My favorite tipple? Strychnine with a dash of bitters, please. Now if only we could make our inebriated posts as insightful as those of Mr. Alan Williamson. Check him out.
at 12:37 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Country music has always had its fair share of creeps. Porter Wagoner -- the man who brought Dolly Parton to a national audience -- also gave us perhaps the nuttiest song in the annuls of C&W. For your approval: from his 1972 RCA album, What Ain't To Be Just Might Happen, I give you, The Rubber Room. (mp3 link)
at 9:13 PM
If you hurry on over to eBay, you may still be able to land this awesome -- and I'm sure, completely FUN -- Hasbro board game from 1959 "based" on TVs Leave It to Beaver.
at 1:25 PM
Friday, August 04, 2006
This is one of my favorite audio oddities. I originally heard this on an old cassette. I carried that thing around for years and played for the special few. Here's a cleaned up version I found on a CD compilation. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, An Unidentified Irate Preacher. Please enjoy responsibly.
at 6:20 PM
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Growing up in San Antonio in the early '80s, one of my fondest memories was Saturday night. That was when they showed "Nightmare Theater" on the local CBS affiliate KENS-TV. It was a cheaply produced affair that showed two horror movies starting at 10:30 pm hosted by The Grim Reaper, a sort of cornball jokester dressed in an oversized, hooded robe along with an unwieldy scythe who would appear during breaks and interact with freeze-framed scenes from the movie, chroma-keyed in the background. I remember the very first NT I saw. My dad had some friends over when "Dracula" with Bela Lugosi came on. He was drinking beer and in a good mood and let me stay up to watch the show (sent me to bed for the second feature though). I had never seen anything like it. I was hooked. I wanted more. I loved the eerie black and white atmosphere and the Grim Reaper brought a certain levity to the proceedings that my 10 year old mind appreciated.
My parents didn't usually cotton to me staying up watching horror movies on Saturday nights cause we had to get up and go to church in the morning, so I devised an elaborate scheme. I would go to my bedroom and lay quietly still at around 10:15pm. My folks usually retired to the bedroom about that time. I had a tiny color television set in my bedroom. I wrapped an old blanket around the set and created a tent that I would pull over my head. I found an old monophonic transistor earpiece (this was just before the walkman came out) and plugged it into the audio jack and kept the volume low and my finger on the power button on the TV. Whenever I detected a suspicious noise (ie. my parents coming in to check on me), I turned that sucker off, fell back into my pillow and pretended I was asleep.
Over the next year and half or so (it seemed like forever) they never caught me -- although they probably knew something was up. I would always watch the first movie...and the Twilight Zone or Star Trek that preceded it...and sometimes would stay up for at least a part of the second movie although I was usually exhausted by midnight -- and the second movie was usually total crap...most of the time an old '40s Lon Chaney Jr. vehicle. Needless to say, I was always falling asleep in church on Sunday morning (what normal kid isn't?) but for a chance to catch all those great Hammer films, it was worth it.
A wave of nostalgia sent me on a Google search for any info about Nightmare Theater. I stumbled across this site which not only mentioned NT and the Grim Reaper but pointed me in the direction of Bob Crowley, part time KENS weather man...and none other than The Grim Reaper himself! An email to Bob resulted in a response. With his kind permission, I'm posting a portion of his email:
"Nightmare Theater was one of the high points of my career. The last program we did, the 3-D movie in July of 1982, pulled a 48 share, 24 rating through the entire two hours. Pretty good for a musty old movie and 20 minutes of content that I literally made up as we were going along!
Every so often I hear from someone who enjoyed the show. Most surprising was this guy at the UT career day in 1989 or so. I told him how we did it, and some observations on dealing with the people involved. He grew up to be Robert Rodriguez, the film director! So I guess you are in good company."
Turns out Crowley, who bears more than a passing resemblence to Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, works down the street from me at WBAP 820AM in Arlington, TX where he does the overnight news. He revealed to me that he only made $4.14 an hour working at KENS(!) Even by early '80s standards, that was chump change. No wonder he left after a few years.
Here's to you, Bob, for helping to twist a young boy's brain!
at 6:12 PM