Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reader Appreciation

Just wanted to drop a quick line to thank all of my readers.  I've eclipsed my record for views in a month.  It's a big deal to me, because it actually means people are reading or at least looking at my blog.  Which also means to me at least, I'm not doing the blog just for myself.  Thanks again.  I hope you'll all continue reading.  Tell friends while you're at it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Nine By Design 33

I can't believe I've done a list 33 weeks in a row.  I started this little segment a little less than a month after finding out my wife was pregnant, so if you do some can figure out we are pretty close to delivery day.  My most popular Nine By Design goes all the way back to week 4, when I did guitarists.  So, trying to equal that popularity, today I'll be doing famous guitars.  Lets see if it comes close in popularity.  On with the show.

Famous Guitars:

Tom Morello - Arm The Homeless:  Morello's main guitar since the early 90's.  Like a lot of guitarists, he has customized his weapon to personal specifications.  I'm not a "tech" guy, so me starting to talk about pickups and "whammy bars" would be ridiculous.  I understand it all to a point, but just not enough to talk intelligently, so I won't even try.  It's a pretty blue, with some hippo pictures painted on it.

Chet Atkins - Gretsch Country Gentleman:  Atkins has many Gretsch's associated with him, but the Country Gentleman has his name attached to it.  Chet Atkins was one of the early guitar heroes, with Les Paul, Chuck Berry and Duane Eddy.  An amazing player in the country/rockabilly genre, but could play any style.

Buckethead - Custom Signature Gibson Les Paul:  The super prolific, super secret and quite odd (he wears a mask and a KFC bucket on his head) guitar monster's main axe.  A highly modified Les Paul with dual kill switches.  Beware of his nunchuku skills, which he often breaks out, while break dancing.  I'm not kidding

Paul Gilbert - Ibanez Fireman:  Gilbert literally lives a few blocks away from the Ibanez Custom Shop.  Designed this guitar (a reverse Iceman) and said build it.  They did and it has become his main guitar since.  Just a fun guitarist to watch and listen to.  Has been a favorite of mine for a very long time.

Eddie Van Halen - Frankenstrat:  One of the most iconic guitars in rock music.  The average music fan will recognize this guitar.  Another highly customized guitar.  I don't know if I have enough space to talk about everything that EVH did to this guitar.  It's very much like Eddie's style, it's all over the place.  Reflectors, tape, paint, chains, you name it, it's there. 

David Gilmour - Signature Fender Stratocaster:  I'll admit that I'm not the biggest Pink Floyd fan ever.  I like them, but would rather listen to many other bands if given the choice.  However, the guitar solo Gilmour plays with this guitar in "Comfortably Numb" is probably the best and most tasteful guitar solo, ever.  I'll give credit where it's due.  He doesn't overplay and the solo rips.

Steve Morse - Signature Music Man:  Sadly, Steve Morse is so underrated as a guitarist, that he's practically unknown...probably not by fellow guitarists, but by the general public.  He's been in Deep Purple for close to 20 years.  Blackmore's shoes are hard to fill, but Morse is more than up to the task.  He has a very unique style, kinda like country fried rock, with some southern metal on the side.  His guitar is equally unique.

Rory Gallagher - Worn Fender Strat:  The Irish Guitar God.  The more I hear from him, the more I wish he was still around.  Never really appreciated in his own time.  A very tasteful shredder, has never received the credit he deserves.

Steve Vai - Green Meanie:  The main guitar for Vai in Alcatrazz and on David Lee Roth's first album.  Then he literally ripped the bridge right out of it, while abusing the tremolo.  This is iconic for me, because it's the first guitar I ever saw him use.

So, there you have it.  There's the Nine By Design entry for this week.  Wait a second...I've just been handed a urgent news bulletin.  The researchers here at For Lack Of A Better Title, were not happy with the pick for Steve Vai.  So, to ease the tension and quell a possible coup d'etat...I'm going to add some bonus material.

Steve Vai - Mirrored Ibanez (Bad Horsie guitar): Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, those are LED lights on the fretboard.  The boys at the blog like shiny things.  Leave it to Vai to provide it for them.  This guitar is mainly used for the song "Bad Horsie."  I think this is where Frank Zappa rubbed off on Vai, always making things interesting for his audience.

Now we're done.  Everyone has had a snack of milk and cookies and are getting ready for their late morning nap.  They work "really" hard around here.  Cheers, Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Off The Beaten Path Show # 3 - Now With More Fiber

Actually folks, it's the same amount of fiber content, but we do have some show news.  There is an official schedule!

Off The Beaten Path Official Schedule:

Wednesday at 12PM EST (The premiere, every two weeks)
The following Thursday at 4PM EST (replay)
The following Friday at 8PM EST (replay)
The next, NOT FOLLOWING, Saturday at 8AM EST (the off-Saturday, this show is a replay, but is mainly for the overseas readers of the blog and early risers in North America)

Ted, the Benevolent Overlord of, was nice enough to give the show a fourth day.  I asked specifically for my readers in foreign countries.  This is for my friends Chris and Kevin, who live in Singapore and Denmark, respectively.  If you'd like to tune into the show, now it's a little easier for you guys and everyone else living outside of North America.  So, I'm very appreciative of that and we should all thank Ted by listening to and not just my show.

Off The Beaten Path - Show # 3 Play List

The Age Of Pamparius – Turbonegro
Shake Your Blood – Probot
Love Comes In Spurts – Richard Hell & The Voidods
Little Dawn – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Elmira St. Boogie – Danny Gatton
Lucky – The Shods
Save It For Later – The English Beat
Barbarella – Scott Weiland
It’s All I Can Do – The Cars
Take A Chance On Me – ABBA
Friday – Joe Jackson
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Blue Light – The Amazing Crowns
Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top
Pills I Took – Hank Williams III
Slippin’ And Slidin’ – Little Richard
Teacher Teacher – Rockpile
Start! – The Jam
In This House That I Call Home – X
Born With A Tail – Supersuckers
Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group
Beneath, Between and Behind – Rush
Love Me ‘Til The Sun Shines – The Kinks
Fake Friends – Joan Jett
My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama – Frank Zappa
Somebody Save Me – Cinderella
So Sad About Us – The Who
See A Little Light – Bob Mould
Closing Theme

Please tune in...My goal is to play great music, some forgotten, some unheard and some unknown.  Plus, it's very fun.  Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fake Friends

Joan Jett wrote a song called "Fake Friends."  It's about what you'd expect it to be.  I think all of us have fake friends.  People you've grown apart from, people you can't figure out what you had in common with, in the first place.  I suppose it's just the progression of life.  As you grow up, you change and adapt, some never do.  I know people still stuck in "college" and even, "high school," mentally at least.  Of course, it's sad when you lose touch with people you've known for a long time, but in the end, it's probably better for everyone.

We've all cut people out of our lives, on purpose or not, at times, even family.  Sometimes, they just have to go.  As I think about the next chapter of my life and how certain people won't be involved, it hits me that a lot of these people have already made their choice and I, for once, don't have to play the bad guy.  I've already been cut out of their lives.  Since nothing is ever really officially ever said or written down on paper, there is always the illusion of friendship and the theory of camaraderie.

I'll quote Henry Rollins, "It's sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nine By Design 32

Those aren't colored Easter eggs, although they do kinda look like that's good enough for me.  This weeks Nine By Design is all about Easter, well more specifically, the candy.  Easter has always meant candy to me, almost more so than Halloween.  Halloween, you have to dress up and walk around your neighborhood and work for that candy.  With Easter, the candy just shows up, because the "Easter Bunny" showed up and dropped it off.  (If you're reading this, I highly doubt you still believe in the Easter Bunny, if you're way more special than I'll ever be)  So, that's a pretty good deal right there.  Yes, by the way...I'm technically Catholic and know the whole deal of what it "really" means, but I'm Catholic in the sense that Michael Jackson was still black before he died.  I survived my upbringing and the Catholic boot camp.  Anyways, onto what this week's list is about; Candy!


Snickers - were probably my first favorite candy bar.  The caramel, nougat and peanuts, were tops with me for a long time.  Now, not so much.  I still like them, but would rather have others, if given a choice.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - might be the greatest candy ever made.  What works better than peanut butter and chocolate?  Especially, that peanut's just perfect with the milk chocolate.

Milky Way - I'm a big caramel nut.  So this candy bar ranks pretty high with me.  It's basically a Snickers minus the peanuts, but it's still different.  I'd say it's my number two favorite right now.

Bit-O-Honey - I'm going "old school" with this one.  It's not something you can find all the time.  I've had to go to specialty candy stores to find it.  It's a honey flavored taffy that has nuts, I think it's almonds, if I remember correctly in the pieces.  They are a favorite.

Swedish Fish - I'm Swedish, I'm supposed to like them.  One of those candies that once you eat one, you've eaten 40 of them.  They are small, chewy and addictive.

Gummi Bears - also small, chewy and addictive.  I only like the Haribo brand of gummi bear, because they are the originals.  They started in Germany in the 20's.  I remember walking through Epcot on my honeymoon and buying some gummi bears in the Germany section of the World Showcase.  It made my day.  I wish I was kidding.

Raisinets - they are one of those candies that you can pretend is healthy, because it's raisins.  Chocolate covered raisins, but still, better than most candies.  I know, not really, stop shaking your head at me.

Heath Bar - English toffee and chocolate, delicious.  I do like the candy bar, but prefer to eat my Heath bars in ice cream.  Heath Bar Crunch Ben & Jerry's, still a classic going strong.  I'm not a big ice cream fan, but that might be my favorite, if I had to choose one only one flavor to eat forever.

M&M's - most kinds are favorites.  Peanuts, plain and peanut butter, basically the old favorites.  I've seen some of the new kinds and I will stay away from those.  I'm a simple kind of guy.

This is the list for the week.  It's also what Easter means to me.  Don't give me any religious stuff, it's all in fun, plus if you're as religious as you think you are, then...forgive me, if I offend you.  Cheers, Happy Weekend...Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Year That Was - 1988

I've been wanting to do another year in music retrospective, but just hadn't gotten around to it.  Until now, so here we go.  The year is 1988, I'm a freshman in high school and I'm wide open to new music.  It's a very good year for new influences, even if I didn't recognize it right away.

If I Should Fall From The Grace Of God by the Pogues was a sound I was unfamiliar with at the time.  Irish folk punk, what's that all about?  It's definitely music that will get you moving.  It also features probably my all-time favorite Christmas song.  The late, Kristy McColl and Shane MacGowan form an odd, but perfect duo.

Another very foreign sound appeared in 1988 for me, an all black heavy rock band.  These were my formative years of getting into music.  I did not yet know the greatness of bands like; The P-Funk family of bands, Sly & The Family Stone and various others that would influence, Living Colour and their debut album, Vivid.  When "Cult of Personality" hits, it really knocks you on you're collective ass.  Vernon Reid, became a guitar hero, almost overnight.  They were discovered by Mick Jagger.  What was he doing at CBGB's?

The breakout album for the progressive metal band from Seattle.  Operation: Mindcrime is a stunning album.  The story, the music and Geoff Tate's vocals, really make the album.  The man has major league pipes.  He can sing, so he doesn't have to scream like most metal vocalists.  The double guitar attack of DeGarmo and Wilton remind you of the best Thin Lizzy guitar duels. 

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is one of those "here we come, you better fasten your seatbelts" albums.  I almost thought about putting Straight Outta Compton here, because I think they were both equally important at the time.  The difference I believe was NWA was about opening your eyes, but Public Enemy was about opening your eyes and then educating you.

Their first full length album and what an album it is.  Surfer Rosa was the beginning of the critically acclaimed and highly influential band, the Pixies.  Often, in fact, maybe all the time, the band that influences the most, doesn't succeed.  The Pixies had minor success, in my opinion.  They had to break up and wait about 10 years and then reform for people to go, "How did we miss this?"  No Pixies, probably no Nirvana like you know them.  They adopted the song formula of Black Francis.

The band that you either love them or you hate them.  There is no in between with Sonic Youth.  Daydream Nation is the perfect example of that.  It's their magnum opus, but also one of the (if not the) most difficult of their albums to get into.  it took me quite a bit to "get it."  It's not an album that you can just throw on, you have to pay attention to it.  They aren't just a "noise" band, the feedback is used as a device for their songs.  They can really write some great music and lyrics.  It's all there, you just need to know the password or code to get into the club.

This barely touches on the great year for music that 1988 was.  Maybe, this gets you interested in bands you had heard of, but never heard before.  I recommend it all, but with Sonic Youth, you might want to start with Dirty or Goo

Monday, April 18, 2011

(New England) Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day is a holiday only celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine.  I grew up in MA and just knew we had a day off in April, often times it would coincide with the kick off of April Vacation.  I never knew it was to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which were the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.  At times, I also thought we had the day off, because The Boston Marathon is run every year on this day and the Boston Red Sox play at 11AM.  Take the day off just in case you want to run this year.

I guess it's like VJ Day (Victory Over Japan) in RI, where I live now.  I had no clue what that was about until I moved here.  It's a state holiday in RI, but nowhere else.  Its very interesting to learn about state holidays that are individual to that area of the country.  

So, Patriot's Day has nothing to do with the New England Patriots American football team, but then again, it has everything to do with it...if you think about it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nine By Design 31 - Summer Movie Preview

You've made it.  It's Friday...there is much rejoicing.  You can do whatever you do on the weekend.  For my wife and me, it's just more prep for the baby.  We're about 6 weeks out, before our daughter shows up.  Excited, yes...nervous, yes...scared, one wants to be the first one to drop the baby.  Our weekly list is a little different today.  It's a Summer Movie Preview.  Looking at movies that will come out between May and August.  Not telling you what you should see, but movies...(some) I'd like to see, if I had time, which I won't or money, which I don't.

Summer Movie Preview:

The Superhero Movies:  I'll just combine all of those movies into one group to save space.  There are a bunch this summer.  Starting with Thor in May.  I want to like this movie.  It has a great director in Branagh and a very strong cast, although, Natalie Portman is becoming a female Michael Caine, she's in everything.  I don't know how this Norse god will translate to the screen.  June has X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern, debuting.  These two movies would be the ones I'd pay for.  Mainly, Green Lantern, as I've been a fan of the comics since I could read.  Captain America: The First Avenger comes out in July and looks very awkward from what I've seen so far.  I love the character, but wouldn't see it in the theater.

The Animated Movies:  If it's not a big blockbuster, special effects movie, its an animated film.  The summer audience is dominated by out of school kids.  Kung Fu Panda 2 kicks it off in May.  It'll do well on name alone, as will Cars 2.  Movies like Winnie the Pooh and the Smurfs are toss ups.  Smurfs is a special effects driven movie, right up the alley for kids.  Winnie the Pooh, might be too sophisticated for kids.  Hand drawn art, no celebrity voices, with storytelling the main star here.  A movie that my generation grew up with.

The Sequels: Summer time, means sequels...sadly.  Well, sometimes it works, but I think you know what I'm talking about.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp Cashes Another Check (really, On Stranger Tides) starts the Sequel -Palooza.  I can't even remember if I saw the last one, let alone, if I would see this one.  Hangover II : Love You Long Time (I'm just adding stuff), it takes place in Thailand, I think it fits.  I think it'll be good, but it has big shoes to fill in the's another I'll wait until is out of the theater.  There's also another Transformers/Michael Bay explosion fest and the last, I think it's the last, Harry Potter movie.  I think he files for AARP in this one.

Mr. Popper's Penguins: Based on a Children's book and starring the child-like Jim Carrey, could be an alternative to all of the animated films for kids.  I'm not super familiar with the book, but its one of those sleeper type movies that could win over kids looking for something other than talking cars.  They are out there.

Cowboys & Aliens:  Here's your big budget, Sci-Fi movie.  Jon Favreau stepped away from the Iron Man franchise and put together a really great cast for this movie.  Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell (just go see everything he's ever done, phenomenal) and some guys named Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.  They all fit great in a western setting.  They also did NOT shoot in 3-D, thankfully.  This movie could also easily fall on it's proverbial face, like Battlefield:Earth.

Our Idiot Brother: Is a movie I think will be overlooked.  The great Paul Rudd stars with Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel.  Busted for pot, he leaves jail, homeless and jobless, staying with his sisters and causing havoc in their lives.  A movie, I'd like to see.

Fright Night: They re-made the movie with Colin Farrell.  The cast is really good; Anton Yelchin, David Tennant (Dr. Who, for a bit) and the aforementioned, Farrell.  I think the original is still the standard for the alternate take on a vampire movie.  Hopefully, the remake will be loyal to it.

30 Minutes Or Less: This could be the sleeper comedy of the summer.  You have funny guys; Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Aziz Ansari to go with super nerd, Jesse Eisenberg.  It's the same director from Zombieland, so it could be in good hands. 

Hesher: Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as an anti-social loner/anti-hero/mentor to the kid, whose parents own the house of the garage he squats in.  Make sense?  I think it could be the Indie hit of the summer if it gets a wide release.  Something, I'd check out if given the chance.  Natalie Portman is in this as, I'm not kidding.

That's our list for the week.  Have a great one.  Cheers, Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 Questions With...Kevin Stevenson

Kevin Stevenson has been in a couple different bands.  An incredibly skilled guitarist and songwriter, as well as, one of the nice guys on the music scene.  A guy that gives his all in every performance.  He'll sweat and bleed for his audience.

How did you get started playing guitar?  Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?  When did you start writing songs?

I started playing guitar when I was six or seven years old. I am self taught, and started trying to write songs as soon as I started playing.

I hear a lot of different things in your music, who has influenced your playing and writing over the years?

As far as my influences go, I have been into music from day one, so I don’t really know how to answer that question. I think that I have always been into any music that actually has something to say, especially any music that breaks the rules, musically and/or lyrically, and of course I am enthralled by stand out musicians like Grady Martin, Ray Charles, Marty Stuart, Louis Jordan, etc. etc., as well as stand out songwriters like Hank Williams, Keith Richards, Smokey Robinson, John and Paul, all of the greats. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Grady Martin was a great session musician in the 50’s. He recorded with the Johnny Burnette Trio (look them up if you don’t know them. One of my faves!) He also played on Marty Robbins’s Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, another great album, he was a busy man in the fifties and sixties, seems like he played with everyone. I have a lot of albums and singles from his solo career, more great stuff.

Talk about your time in Only Living Witness with your brother, Eric.  I know he stayed until the end, but you left to form the Shods.  Was that to do something different from metal?

I was going to quit Only Living Witness, but got thrown out anyway! Bit of luck on my part, and yes, I was getting a little bored with all of my music being written in one style. None of my favorites ever did that

When I was a young teenager, hung up on all my metal stuff, I’m not talking about Bon Jovi and Poison either, I was into Slayer, Hallows Eve and all of the underground speed metal, I was over my Aunts house for Thanksgiving talking about, “my music”, and she said, “I hate to tell you this, but you are just going through a Heavy Metal Phase.” Man, I was mad at her for saying that. Flash forward one year and you could find me listening to Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Johnny Cash, basically anything that wasn’t Metal, I mean, I still listened to that stuff, and still do, but she hit the nail on the head. I guess every kid goes through one phase or another, but if you are a true music fan, it doesn’t last too long. You always end up listening to the stuff you liked in Elementary school, and saying, “What the hell was I thinking? This is the shit!”

What were the Shods about?  They weren’t quite a punk band, because Scott Pittman, Roy Costa and you, could all play really well.  You could here some pop, punk, straight hard rock or even r&b/soul influences, depending on what songs or albums you’re listening to.  I loved the diversity, but did you ever find this to be a problem with your audience, since people like to “label” bands?

When I got a little older, 17-19, I REALLY started getting into all kinds of music, Blues, Country, Punk, early Reggae, Soul, and since I loved it all, why wouldn’t I write in all of those styles? As far as the Shods fans go, if they like my songwriting, great, but I never catered to anyone. People have always loved to label bands. “They are Hardcore, or they are Rockabilly,” and usually they are wrong. Every time someone has tried to turn me onto a band by explaining their sound, they have always been way off in my eyes. Let me give you an example, when I was young I went to see, “Slap Shot” at the Channel in Boston, and there was a band on the bill that I hadn’t seen before, so I asked a friend of mine what kind of a band they were and he said, “They sound like AC/DC.” That band was The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones. AC/DC, what?

Is Poorhouse Records still in existence?  Will there ever be any more demos or unreleased material compiled?  I have all the Shods records except the original; I’m Living In Lowell, MA EP.  I heard about a possible Shods documentary, is there any news about that?

Poorhouse Records will always be in existence! I hope some of our albums will someday be re-released, and some of our unreleased stuff will be added, but who knows. We never had any Record Labels pounding down our door, so somehow I doubt that any labels are going to be fighting over us for the re-release rights. Ha, ha! Wait a minute, I doubt that any record labels will be around in a couple of years! Fuck ‘em.

I know you played with Rivers Cuomo when he was living in Boston in the late 90’s.  Do you want to talk about that time? 

Sure I’ll talk about playing with Rivers. He is an unbelievable songwriter, as well as a man who has a genius IQ. Smart as a whip. I just wish that he had called me before, “Hash Pipe” came out, and gave me a heads up. That freaked me out the first time I heard it. I said, “Wow, why would WBCN (legendary rock radio station in Boston, no longer around) be playing the Shods?”  

Editor's Note:  "Hash Pipe" and some of the Shods music sound eerily similar.

When were you diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?  What was your initial reaction and thoughts about your music career?  Please talk as much about it as you like.

When I was first diagnosed I thought, “Well, that’s the end of my music,“ but I never stopped playing, how could I? It’s all that I know. I never stopped writing either.

I seem to remember you playing a bunch of different guitars.  Do you have a collection?  What guitars do you favor?

Well, I wouldn’t call it a collection, I never saw myself as a collector, I’m a player. I like to have different guitars to get different sounds on my recordings. That’s the only reason I have my guitars.

Who are your 5 all-time favorite bands?  Do you have guilty music pleasures?

I can’t name my five favorite bands, it changes every day! But, I’ll give it a shot: The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, The Who, The Clash, and Johnny Cash . Guilty Pleasures, yes, I love the Classics 4, well I love the album, “Traces,” I have a lot of guilty pleasures, which I won’t name. (Ha, ha)

Is there anything or anyone you’d like to plug?  Take this space to promote anything you want.

Hey Scott, tell your Mother to get her shit out of my house

I'd like to thank Kevin for taking some time to do the interview.  

Please check out the Shods here.
Purchase their music here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Off The Beaten Path - Show #2

Yes folks, it's already that time.  Off The Beaten Path - Show #2.  I think this one is better than the first one.  Me talking is at least.  I'm not going to run down every song...I'll tell you more about the bands and songs I'm playing.  You can always check here or for the play lists.

Show # 2 - Wednesday, April 13th 12PM

Let Them Eat Rock – The Upper Crust
Come On, Come On – Cheap Trick
Looking For the Magic – Dwight Twilley
I La La La Love You – Pat Travers
Soul Singing – The Black Crowes
I Wanna Be Adored – The Stone Roses
Just Like Honey – The Jesus and Mary Chain
Learned To Surf – Superchunk
3AM – Clowns For Progress
Honey Bee – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Overkill – Men At Work
Johnny Appleseed – Joe Strummer & The Mescalaros
You Just May Be The One – Monkees
Every Heartbroken Man – Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons
Statistician’s Blues – Todd Snider
Fox On The Run – Sweet
I Ain’t Superstitious – Jeff Beck
Stand – Sly & The Family Stone
Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield
Sun Hits the Sky – Supergrass
Turn To You – The Go-Go’s
Summertime Blues – Blue Cheer
Cinderella – The Sonics
Boss Hoss – The Swingin’ Neckbreakers
I Like Rock – Paul Gilbert
Whiplash – Metallica
Drunken Butterfly – Sonic Youth
New Hampshire’s Alright If You Like Fighting – Scissorfight
Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel
Bad Reputation – Thin Lizzy

Hopefully, you'll tune in and listen.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nine By Design 30

Alright folks, I'm still sick and I can't hear out of my left ear.  This will be a quick, down and dirty list today.  I'm feeling all sorts of miserable.  I've had trouble with my ears/hearing my entire life, so when one gets clogged, it freaks me out.  The topic for today is: Underrated TV Shows or shows canceled before their time.

Underrated TV Shows:

Freaks and Geeks: A show ahead of its time.  It was pretty much ahead of everyone involved.  Judd Apatow had yet to hit his stride and the cast, most of whom you'd recognize now, we're completely unknown.  You could throw in Undeclared with this show as well.  All the regular Apatow actors are in one or both of the shows.  We just weren't ready yet.

Arrested Development: Another show that was too smart for its own good?  Perhaps.  Just a really good cast and the voice over by Ron Howard is perfect.  I guess they are making a movie now...let's cancel the show, but make a movie.  I don't get it.

Action: The show that should have made Jay Mohr a star.  It may have been too inside.  He plays a Hollywood producer and is just great at it.  If this show was on HBO or FX it would have been on for years.  It was a little too edgy and before cable started making better shows than network TV.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.: Take the old west and mix it with some sci-fi.  Cowboys with laser pistols.  Bruce Campbell is the second master of smarm.  The only person that can out smarm him; is David Spade.  Think about it.  Again, if this show was on cable, especially Sy Fy, it would be a top show.  Campbell is still showing off his smarmy brilliance on Burn Notice.

Bands Reunited: This was a show on VH1.  It was either on for one long season or two short ones.  The concept was to try to reunite a band from the 80's.  They did bands like; Berlin, Flock of Seagulls and Vixen.  If they expanded their horizons, it probably could have lasted longer.  Had some bands from the 70's and now 90's.  I liked it, it had to do with music, of course I did.

Firefly: Just look at the cast that Joss Whedon assembled.  They should have been given another season to find their footing.  I'm not the biggest sci-fi fan, but I did like to watch this show.

Greg The Bunny: Seth Green, Sarah Silverman and puppets.  In very wrong situations...brilliant.

Dead Like Me: A young girl dies, but is now a grim reaper.  The original cast was quite good, it had Mandy Patinkin, but it never got settled in.  I liked the concept, it just didn't have a lot of direction.

Strange Luck: Another show's concept that I loved.  I'm fascinated by "luck."  I always have been.  The highly underrated D.B. Sweeney played a guy that had bizarre luck.  If something good happened to him, something equally bad would then happen.  Basically, he was in always in the wrong place at the right time.  This is still not on DVD.  It's one of the shows that couldn't follow the X-Files.  All of those shows didn't survive.

There's the weekly list.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Cheers, Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Celebrity Survivor

Narrator's Voice: "We're behind the scenes here at Survivor.  In just a moment, we'll be visited by host Jeff Probst, who will talk about this historic season."

Jeff Probst: "Look folks, I don't have to explain how this game is played.  You already know that.  What I will talk about is how we went about picking our location this year.  The producers don't really want this, but since I am a producer...screw 'em."

Narrator: "Okay...Umm...I think Mr. Probst...has to be...umm, I think we're heading to a commercial...

Probst: "Listen here talk box...I'm going to talk about some secrets...It'll be amazing for ratings."  "Anyways, the locations that were in the running for this year's Survivor are; Madagascar...actually, that was the only one.  The producers wouldn't let me pitch the other locations I wanted.  Siberia, we haven't had a cold weather Survivor ever.  It would definitely be different.  The other location I had was, Detroit.  Living on the street, trying to find food.  Then I was informed that the homeless people were all pissed about it.  When did they get TV's?"

Control Room: Roll the Intro...Roll the intro!!!

Probst: "The reason why all the participants are not shown in the opening and have been kept a secret is, because they are all celebrities." 

Probst yells to the control truck..."Really?  Even that guy?  He's a celebrity?  That's the best we could do?"

Control Room: "I should've stayed on The Amazing Race."

Probst:  "Let's bring out all 20 of our Player's..."

Player's will be entering from off camera, with a voice over telling you who they are.

Voice over: Our first player is the Swedish muscle man and world famous actor; Dolph Lundgren

The next player is former volleyball player and model; Gabrielle Reece

The next participant played a character that was Lost on TV and now he's lost in real life; Josh Holloway

This next woman has been on our televisions for years; Ming-Na

Probst: "Blah..blah...blah...Bring them all out.  Let's get this thing going!"

The camera pulls back and you see all of the players:

Gary Busey (actor/all around mess)
Andy Hillstrand (Deadliest Catch)
Kerri Walsh (pro-volleyball)
Mia Hamm (pro-soccer)
Jimmy Johnson (2nd chance, football coach)
Wanda Sykes (comedian)
Cote de Pablo (NCIS)
Tia Carrere (actress)
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (MMA fighter)
John Mayer (musician)
Bam Margera (skateboarder/stunt man)
Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser)
Linda Hamilton (actress)
Mike Tyson (ex-boxer)

Probst: "Okay, where are they?  Get them out here..."

Out walks, Dennis Rodman and Sarah Palin.

Palin: "He's so big and he wears more makeup than I do.  I wonder what they'd think of him in Alaska?"

Rodman: "Ain't nobody prepared for the Rod-zilla, baby."

Probst: "We were going to split up into tribes, but that will just have to wait until next time."

This season on Survivor:  Tyson: "No, you can't kill the chickens like that, they'll must...tear their heads off."

Busey: "I know what I'm doing, I was in Vietnam."

Sykes: "You played a Vietnam vet.  Who else here has played a Vietnam vet?"  Thee hands go up.

Palin: "I can't see Russia from here, we're not in Alaska anymore."

Editor's Note: This is a parody, which will be written by myself and my wife.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Grey Day

It's one of those know, a day where the weather tends to dictate your mood.  It's very grey today in Providence.  As you can probably tell, I don't have much to write about today.  I have too much to do, but nothing that needs to be done right this minute.  I need to record my vocal breaks for the next radio show, but those aren't due until next week.  It would be nice to have that completed. 

I need to get some new interviews written and sent out.  That's a subject that has left a bad taste in my mouth lately.  There has been a couple of people that have said they would do them, but when you contact them again or send out the questions...nothing.  I understand, I'm not anyone, but if I say I'm going to do something...I do it.  Unless it's just completely out of my control.  I don't ignore a person I've had previous conversations with.  That's the frustrating part.  These people aren't big stars, but are a step up as far as fame goes to bands I've spoken to previously.  I hope that doesn't come across as disrespectful to anyone I've spoken to before.  Then again, if I mentioned who I've been trying to get, they'd probably understand.

I just need to snap out of it.  I don't really have time to be in a bad mood.  It's counter-productive for me.  I won't record, because I'll sound pissed off and I want to sound excited about the music I'm playing.  It will be a great show.  Maybe I'll go back to bed and try to start the day again.  A do-over.  It's a idea and I've had worst ideas than this one.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eight Is Great

I've gotten tired of doing Nine By Design.  It's just too many things to come up with on a weekly basis.  Nine random things every week, much harder than it looks.  Eight will be just enough, you tell 'em Dick Van Patten.  I'm also going to take this space to educate people on a variety of things I think we as Americans lack.  Today's Eight Is Great will be focusing on Underrated Plays By Shakespeare.  We need more culture in our lives.  So instead of Hamlet and Macbeth, I'll focus on Timon of Athens and Titus Andronicus.  Without further ado, let's get to some culture.

Underrated Plays By Shakespeare or Famous Pranks/Hoaxes (April Fools)

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch - was a brilliant piece written by one of the great writers of our time for Sports Illustrated, George Plimpton.  Finch's fastball was clocked at 168 mph.  everyone should read the article, but especially baseball fans. 

The Left Handed Whopper - Burger King ran this full page ad in USA Today announcing they have designed a new Whopper for left handed people, so they could have it "their" way.  People actually did go in and order left handed Whoppers, but many also wanted their Whoppers "the regular way."

Orson Welles' War of the Worlds - I remember hearing this re-broadcast as a kid.  Probably, the 50th anniversary in 1988.  I thought it was real and I knew it was a prank.  I can't imagine what people were thinking in 1938.

Taco Liberty Bell - In 1996, Taco Bell took out full page ads in 6 major American newspapers.  They had announced their purchase of the Liberty Bell and it would now be known as the, "Taco Liberty Bell."

The Extraordinary Astronomer Isaac Bickerstaff -This is why you don't mess with Jonathan Swift.

Disney to Buy MIT - Why go to such a difficult school?  They encourage pranks and hoaxes, it's part of the tradition.

Opie and Anthony Announce Boston Mayor Tom Menino Dies - This is one of those pranks gone wrong.  In 1998, O&A announced that Mayor Tom Menino died in a fiery car wreck.  Making this worse was the fact that the Mayor was very difficult to reach that day.  So, even his family believed that he had died.  Opie and Anthony were fired a week later.  Rumor has it all of this was done on purpose so O&A could switch radio stations. 
The BBC airs Flying Penguin Documentary - The key thing that should have given this away was that its hosted by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame, but it really is brilliant.

So there you have it, the Eight Is Great for the week.  Cheers, Happy Weekend.

What are you waiting for?  I've done my Eight Is Great.  I'm done for the week.  You can go now.

I've got nothing left...I told you, no more Nine By Design.


The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest - What happens when a highly respected anchor on a highly respected British show talks about and shows video of a Swiss family pulling pasta off a spaghetti tree?  Utter brilliance.  Remember, this happened in 1957.  It would be funny now.

Now I'm really truly done.  Have a great weekend everyone.