Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy birthday, Jerry Lee Lewis! But since you guys don't look at my blog unless I post GOP corndog pics....

Of COURSE, it's really Rick Perry eating a corndog on the campaign trail in front of a reproduction of a certain Michelangelo painting! NO, it's not what we're all thinking it is! That's it, Republican assholes! Keep giving me hilariously smutty pics to post! It's the only thing that seems to drag in readers by the truckload, as they seem to prefer dick jokes to rock 'n' roll.... *rolls eyes* (Thanks, Donna Dougherty, for sending this one my way.)

Meantime, now that I have your attention, it was 76 years ago today that the earth split open in Ferriday, Louisiana, and spit forth Jerry Lee Lewis. Yes, I honestly believe the Killer is that much a force of nature: The very wild-eyed, elemental spirit of rock 'n' roll itself made flesh, here to lead your children into a life of sin and whiskey. You can see it right here in his first network TV appearance, promoting his breakthrough hit, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," on The Steve Allen Show in 1957. And adult America thought that greasy hillbilly named Presley was bad enough, fucking his guitar and mic stand on TV....

Now fast-forward from a savage young Jerry Lee to a few years' older Jerry Lee. His career has been ruined by the UK press discovering he's married to his 13-year-old cousin. And now he's back on English TV, at a time that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are selling music he helped pioneer back to American children. And he's out for blood. England doesn't know what demon's been unleashed in their midst. Same fuckin' song, too....

And this, my friends, is what they call rock 'n' roll. Accept no substitutes. Happy birthday, Jerry Lee Lewis. Long may you rage.

Timbo's TeeVee Party, 1st Edition

Greetings, Irregulars! I've certainly been feeling irregular this week. Really in a funk more lowdown than a James Brown outtake. Can't figure out why, unless it's just triggered by the allergy attack that's been attacking me this week, as well. But, suffice to say that this week, I can't be satisfied (to get quite Muddy Waters about it). And I can't seem to shake it, despite life being better than I can remember it being in about 3 or 4 years: A job that's working out nicely, my first apartment in Denver (and hopefully, my last), a new laptop, new musical prospects on the horizon, and "RADIO NAPALM" about to be removed from the mothballs. Now if only I could get laid....

*ahem* Moving on from that bit of TMI....

Maybe a little TV watching is in order? First up are two clips I already posted at my Facebook wall. Why not begin with The Avengers? One of my favorite West Coast bands of the late '70s, I've often said these guys and The Weirdos were the cream of the California crop, punk rock-wise. Solid songs, great image and sound, and a really charismatic front-person in Penelope Houston. Here, we catch The Avengers at L.A. punk rock ground zero The Masque, days before they opened for the Sex Pistols' last stand at SF's Winterland, ripping the room apart with their classic "We Are The Ones":

Next, we have that *ahem* master thespian, William Shatner. He's been working on an LP of space-themed heavy metal hits (including, reportedly, Hawkwind's "Silver Machine," with Wayne Kramer on guitar; yes, the sound you just heard was Lemmy's moles falling off his face and running for the hills). And now I shall present a work-in-progress clip of Capt. Kirk attempting Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," made even funnier by the fact that we don't hear the instrumental track being pumped into Bill's headphones!

And just to recover, here's part one of 7 of a documentary easily findable on YouTube on one of my favorite characters from UK punk's classic era, John Cooper Clarke. Looking for all the world like a praying mantis in Bob Dylan's 1966 wardrobe, he was a poet who opened shows for the likes of the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks, ranting his hilarious and witty verse at a Ramones tempo. At the time of this Channel 4 documentary, "Ten Years In An Open Neck Shirt," Clarke was enjoying some forward momentum with a "ranting poetry" scene he'd clearly inspired, touring rock clubs with skinhead bards who'd clearly heard him like Attila The Stockbroker, as well as with fellow traveller/dub poet Lynton Kwesi Johnston. Start with this, and work your way through all 7 parts at YouTube. It's a fun look at life on the road, and Clarke's poetry is always amusing!

And before I go, I must thank two longtime fixtures of my blog roll for their recent props paid. First to my old pal and colleague Chris Stigliano, both for writing some kind words about A HEARTFUL OF NAPALM and including it in his own blogroll at his fine BLOG TO COMM, an internet continuation of his longtime underground rantzine Black To Comm (where some of my earliest writings were published). Then, not least at all, to Jim Marshall and his always amazing THE HOUND BLOG, where all manner of rock's past glories get re-aired and appreciated. It's good to know scribes I respect are tuning in, and even directing some traffic my way. Bless you both, and thank you.

I must be off. Thanks for tuning in.

Friday, September 23, 2011

So, does this mean the Lord is soft? Or hard?

Found on the Facebook wall of Billy Bonito, formerly Hopeless and singer of The Black Halos, now leading The Bonitos. Much obliged, pal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

At long last: The tale of the Loudly Masturbating Neighbor!

Not an actual photo of the Loudly Masturbating Neighbor, but an artist's depiction.
It all began the day I arrived in Denver, back in mid-March of this year. Charlie had picked me up from the bus station about a quarter to seven in the AM. After a hearty breakfast at the Denver Diner on Colfax ("Mike Ness apparently likes to have a grilled cheese here when Social Distortion is in town...."), we obviously ended up at Charlie's - me, my filthy and travel-racked body, and my three suitcases. As we rounded Charlie's building's staircase and headed to his apartment, he paused at the door next to his, turned, and whispered conspiratorially as he pointed at the door: "Really loud masturbator." I, of course, had to laugh like a 14-year-old jackass, stifling it so as not to wake his neighbors.

Later, after doing some errands, Charlie and I were passing this guy's door. The neighbor stood before it, smoking and looking much like the comic book shop guy from The Simpsons, minus the ponytail and plus small wire-rimmed glasses. "Great weekend to get fucked-up, eh guys?" he chortled.

Great. Not only is he a really loud masturbator, he's an overgrown frat boy. Swell.

The next morning, as I stumbled into the bathroom for the morning whizz, I got 120 dBs of what Charlie was joking about: Chucklehead's shower going across the wall, and some serious solo porno moaning. "Oooohhhh!...Oooohhh!...OOOOHHHHHH! GODDAMMIT! FUCK!"

It happened like clockwork, every AM. Sometimes, Charlie's hot blonde neighbor on the other side would be getting it from some piece of bar trash she'd picked up the night before. So it was like she was filling in the gaps in the Loudly Masturbating Neighbor's presentation. And we were getting it in stereo. Now if only the Loudly Masturbating Neighbor could hook up with this chick, and then he'd have a reason to moan.

Eventually, it got to be so comical, I had to start tweeting about this guy's exploits, quite naturally. I didn't expect it to be such a hit, though. This guy started getting an international following, due to my own internet presence. Facebook friends would write, wanting photos of the guy, telling me they "missed the jack-off guy." Some guy in the UK told me his band wrote a song about him. (I ended up deleting that guy - he turned out to be as big an overgrown frat dude as the LMN.) His new fan club thrilled as I reported my discovery that the only music he seemed to own was Rush and '70s white jumpsuit Elvis Presley. And yes, he'd pump the hydrant and porno moan as he listened to "Fly By Night," at top volume on a Friday night.

After about a month, I was coming home from work one night. There he stood at the top of the steps, the LMN, smoking as he did the day I first showed up. "Oh, hey!" he blurted, drunkenly. "We haven't met! I'm Todd!" We shook hands. Thankfully, his wasn't sticky, rashy, or growing hair in the palm.

I told Charlie that Todd had introduced himself. Charlie looked at me, slack-jawed. "We've been neighbors for years, and he's never once introduced himself to me! He must like you!"

That scared me.

As the weather warmed, I'd leave Charlie's front door open as I tapped away at his computer, seeking much-needed ventilation as I either wrote or searched out a job. The LMN would take to drunkenly stumbling in, uninvited. Every time, the conversation was the same: "Oh, hey! We haven't met yet! I'm Todd!" "Yes, Todd. We met a few weeks ago. Could you please not ash on the carpet, dude?"

As the weeks unfolded, it came to pass that masturbating wasn't all the LMN did loudly. He watched sports loudly. He talked on his cellphone loudly. He ate loudly. (Yes, I could hear that, too.) This was just one loud wrecking machine of a guy.

Eventually, the LMN dropped in, informed me he was moving out. "I'm getting a better place than this dump!  By the way, we haven't met yet! I'm Todd!"

And hence, he was gone. A week later, I moved out of Charlie's apartment and into my current digs in Westminster. The neighbors here don't masturbate loudly. In fact, I don't know what these people do. I kinda like that....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

REPOST: Something I rarely talk about....

TIM SEZ: Repost from my old MySpace blog from three years back. Ike fizzled before he got to Austin, obviously. In the time since I posted this, my friend's death score was settled in the springtime, with Bin Laden's capture and execution. (And no, I don't buy any conspiracy theories on this subject. Nor do I buy conspiracy theories, period. Please save it all for your next Alex Jones fan club meeting, thank you.) Yet there are still troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And why...?

I repost this every year, so we don't forget, so some semblance of truth remains out there...and for my late friend Johnny you will read about here. He is a real hero. I miss him every day.

Something I rarely talk about
Current mood:  contemplative
Category: Life
It looks pretty certain the day after my birthday, I'm riding out a hurricane. Odd, for the Austin area. Where I grew up, it was more common: I'd been through three by the time I was a teenager, the last one having been Allen back in 1980 (I think it was). Not a big deal, really. By the time Ike hits here, he's gonna be a lotta wind and rain, really.

But, come on, Ike: Could your timing be any worse?

It's kinda par for the course, right now. Something about this decade and my birthday has meant disaster for me. There was the girlfriend who decided to break up with me the week of my birthday, just because that would sting the most, I'm sure. Then, there was the birthday on which Johnny Cash had the misfortune of dying. That really sucked.

But I think the coldest was the group of middle eastern gentlemen who thought it would be really cool to fly a couple of airplanes into the World Trade Center the day before my birthday in 2001.

I slept through it. I was homeless at the time and staying with a friend on 7th and Ave. B, probably three or four miles from the Twin Towers. She was out of town, and I was house-sitting, soon to move in with my friend Sami Yaffa and his girl Karmen. I was working at the time as a professional dog walker, and I got up at 11 AM. It was supposed to be just another day: I was thinking about coffee, looking over the schedule, wondering who the first dog of the day would be, etc., etc. I turned on Howard Stern's show, as was my wont back then (until he said something completely insulting about John Lee Hooker on the day Hook died, and I swore I'd never listen to the tasteless bastard again). And judging by the hysteria I was hearing, it was the end of the world.

I called my boss to find out what was going on. That was when I found out the towers had been hit.

From there, people were calling in left and right, canceling walks; most of our customer base worked in the financial district, so they were now gonna be home. I was getting all kinds of bits and pieces from there: The doorman at the building on Irving Place where a few of my dogs lived reported looking up and seeing the first jet flying so close to the ground, he could see its' markings. My friend Mark who lived two blocks away calling me up and telling me he was on the phone, talking to his mother, looking out his panoramic view of the southern end of Manhattan...and seeing that same jet fly right past his building, shaking him and the whole building. And getting a front row seat at watching it crash straight into Tower Number One.

These calls were going on for three hours. I couldn't sit down to eat. Finally, about 2 PM, I was able to leave the apartment and walk down to Ave. A, in search of breakfast. Every joint in the neighborhood was crammed to the rafters, it seemed. There were hand-written signs in the windows, advising that the Red Cross needed blood, go to this hospital or that one, go to Bellvue, go someplace, we need blood. The air smelled awful, like burning tires or hair, but worse. It would be that way for months. And can you imagine what it does to a mind, knowing that what you're breathing might be friends of yours'?

I finally squeezed into Sidewalk Cafe, ran into friends I knew from the local rock circuit. The waitresses and bartenders looked like they were gonna have coronaries. My waitress confided in me that they were severely understaffed, especially with the crush they were experiencing, and people due to work that day who lived out in Brooklyn or wherever were calling in because the subways were now shut down and they couldn't make it in. She looked like she was about to cry. Seconds later, some jerk at the table next to me started cursing her out about how long it was taking for him to get his eggs. I slammed my fist on his table and shocked him: "DUDE, DO YOU GET IT? CAN YOU LOOK AROUND YOU? DO YOU SEE HOW OVERWORKED THESE PEOPLE ARE RIGHT NOW? CAN YOU TURN AROUND AND SEE THE COLUMN OF SMOKE WHERE THE WORLD TRADE CENTER USED TO BE? CAN YOU FOR ONCE IN YOUR GAWDFERSAKEN EXISTENCE STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF AND TRY TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THE PEOPLE WORKING HERE AND THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU?"

"What are you getting mad at me for?" he whined. "It's not my fault they don't have enough people working. I'm hungry." I just stared at him.

I decided to wander a bit after eating and having coffee. People were then walking up from around the disaster site, walking because the subways were shut down, and no cabs can be found. They were covered in soot, looking like some ancient Jack Kirby panel out of a '60s Marvel comic. I ran into Jesse Malin, on his way to buy a protein bar and a newspaper. We started talking about The Strokes' debut album, which had just been released a few days before. (Or maybe that was only in the UK? Well, copies were obviously getting around on import.) And I remember at the time thinking, "Why are we talking about The Strokes in the middle of this?!"

My cellphone rang. It was my mother. She'd been trying to reach me for hours. The satellite dishes for the cellphone companies were based at the Twin Towers. Finally, a provisionary satellite path was opened, and she could know I was alive. The family were scared shitless: They had no idea of the geography of Manhattan, and for all they knew, I could be dead.

I went back to the apartment and finally turned on the news. For hours, my eyes were raped with endless repeats of the footage of those planes crashing into those towers. It was relentless. I finally had to turn it off and order pay-per-view porn. After all, what's amoral here: Being bombarded with footage of the WTC being penetrated hard and fast by terrorist-commandeered planes? Or being bombarded with footage of Jenna Jameson getting penetrated hard and fast from various angles?

The days and weeks after were like nothing I'd ever experienced. I remember having to wear a filter mask as I did the dogwalks for a long time, and suffering massive headaches from the air quality. For awhile, you would be forced to present ID at two different checkpoints to MPs if you lived in the East Village, just to get to and from your apartment. Armed personnel carriers would be going up and down Houston St. The middle eastern guys who ran the deli downstairs looked at me with pleading, fearful eyes that told me they were already getting harassed for the color of their skins and their accents. Probably by the same louts I heard that Friday up and down Avenue B, drunkenly chanting, "U! S! A! U! S! A!" I feared those clowns more than I did potential terrorists.

I can remember my mother and I talking, and she kept telling me, "We all understand. We all are with you. We're all going through this together." And I had to tell her that no, there was no way she could understand unless she was here. She got to watch this from the safety of her living room. This wasn't TV for me or anyone else in NYC. This was our life. And it wasn't fun, and I hoped that she (and everyone else who didn't live here) never had to find out what I was going through.

The worst was finding out how one of my dearest friends was affected by this: Johnny Heffernan was one of my local brothers in rock. His band The Bullys was one of Napalm Stars' brother bands. Johnny was frequently there when I needed him, whether I needed to borrow an amp, or whether I was having to fend off an obnoxious and violent stage invader. I considered him one of my best friends. He was to have left on my birthday to go on tour with The Toilet Boys, doing their lighting.

Johnny was also a NYC fire fighter.

He was not supposed to be on duty on Sept. 11, 2001. It was supposed to be his day off. He was working instead, trying to get in overtime before he left on the road, to support his wife and young stepdaughter. His company was among the first to respond when Tower Number One was hit. From what I remember, most (if not all) of his company was buried when the tower collapsed. Johnny's bandmates, family, friends, we all held hope that he was still alive. They pulled Johnny's crushed body out one month later.

We all know who killed my friend, as well as the many others who died that day. America invaded Afghanistan shortly after, gunning for Osama Bin Laden. Over time, our leaders began telling us Iraq had some connection with the WTC attacks, that they had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddaam Hussein had something to do with this. This, of course, turned out not to be the case. We are still at war in Iraq. Osama Bin Laden, the man who commanded the men who killed my friend and all those others, remains free.

Happy birthday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Real Life Book Reviews 3: Byron Coley 'C'est La Guerre'

Man o' the hour Byron Coley: He always stays in focus as everyone around him gets blurry.
When word reached me of the publication of Byron Coley's C'est La Guerre: Early Writings 1978-1983 (145 pages, L'Oie de Cravan, Montreal, 2011, French and English, introduction by Mike Watt), I was hoppin' all over this joint like a goddamned chimpanzee on meth-spiked Skittles. Which is a badly Coleyesque way of saying, "I dug the idea immensely."

This is par for the course for me. As a young rock journalist in the '80s, my initial fanzine writings were very much cut-rate Coley, the way 1960s American garage rock was bargain basement Rolling Stones-n-Yardbirds-isms filtered through a heavy hand on the fuzzbox. Coley was very encouraging of me at the time, until my obnoxious pestering ways forced a final "fuck off." Which I needed. I'd have never developed my own voice without this scission.

It was hard not to be under that guy's sway, so strong was his voice and so prominent was his presence in the mid- to late-'80s fanzine (and pro-zine) world. Across his co-editorship of the 'zine of the day, Forced Exposure, and into far-ranging freelancing spread across publications as august as The Village Voice and the inaugural Spin (or even as odd as teen music mag Smash Hits!), Coley displayed uncanny musical taste (the more obscure, the better, in his mind) in a fast-n- flashy style that was equal parts Richard Meltzer's dadaist syntax and grammar games and wiseguy humor, as well as Lester Bangs' keen analytic and contextual mind. And he'd just as likely tell you a tall tale to get you to the truth. (I cherish a memory of a Spin Underground piece introduced with a dialogue between Byron and his dog, where the dog mocked Coley's musical taste as Byron "rubbed warm peanut oil" into the dog's coat, as a way of introducing America to the avant swamp-Stooge-isms of Australia's The Scientists.) Along the way, he introduced many of us young'uns to the joys of Sonic Youth, prime-era SST Records, Einsturzende Neubauten, Australian garage punk, Lydia Lunch, Nick Cave, and The Flesh Eaters. (Truly, no one wrote better about that band or leader Chris D.'s poetic songwriting genius.)

Still, Coley had to journey from somewhere to get there. And that's the subject of this very-limited-edition anthology: Byron's baby steps, journalistically-speaking. Interspersed with hilariously autobiographical correspondence with pal Angela Jaeger, just to give these reprints some personal historical context, are Byron's earliest print forays for New York Rocker, Take It!, LA Reader and LA Weekly. You get a hilarious Devo tour diary from '78, brilliantly insightful criticism of the Minutemen ("Guitar Warrior, Dennis Boon, shakes his (not inconsiderable) booty like a cement mixer full of bowling balls, his guitar spewing gas like a pint-size St. Helens..."), Husker Du, Suicide, The Germs and Lydia Lunch. There's also potent slaughter and butchery of sacred cows ranging from the "definitive" Jim Morrison bio No One Gets Out Of Here Alive ("Anyhoo, if you ever find yourself taking a college course called, 'Jim Morrison: Many of the Facts,' this will probably be the text book...") and David Bowie. In fact, no one wrote (rightly or wrongly) with more venom and bile about Bowie:

If you're gonna be a style proselytizer, wouldn't it be sensible to at least pick/choose a good style to promote? Yeah, it would. But Bowie's so feeble-minded and has so little conviction in his beliefs that he's always prepared to hop on the next bandwagon that promises to have an extensive dress code. You can call that progress and exploration if you will, but I'll call it the vacillation of a man who has no center. Davie's a swirling black hole that you've deigned to place near the center of the musical universe and his voracious appetite's already sucked much light outta the sky. "His master's voice" robbed Iggy of his juice much more efficiently than years of heroin addiction could; Lou Reed's official break with the legacy of the Velvets (Transformer) was so effectively nambified that it's taken him over a decade to even begin shaking off its cutesy-pie dynamics; and what about Hunt Sales?

Wrapped in a block-printed raw cardboard cover and limited to a 750 copy first edition (apparently a second edition is imminent, so huge has been the demand), this is as much a fine art object as a book. This is underlined by the inclusion of some crude Coley drawings, collages, and visual poems. Which likely emphasizes why Byron ultimately limited his pro-'zine presence: He's as much artist and poet as rock critic. He'd probably rather be listening to his extensive jazz record collection than writing about rock bands (although he continues with publications like The Wire and the recently-ceased Arthur, in addition to self-publishing poetry chapbooks, and doing record projects and running a record/bookstore with long-time pal Thurston Moore). Even 30-some-odd years later, this early work shines and thrills, and excellently foreshadows what Byron did in his heyday. You couldn't find a finer read if you tried. Good shit, dad. Good shit....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Well, now it's all too clear....

As this college-era photo proves, Rick Perry is really Neidermeyer from Animal House.