Monday, December 31, 2007

My Top Ten Albums of 2007

Sorry for the's tough for me to rank things. I'm like a freeking O.C.D. patient when it comes to making lists. Just FYI, the movie one won't be up till the weekend as I simply must see "There Will be Blood" before I rank anything cinematic. That being said, here are my favorite albums numbers 6-10. 5-1 should be up tomorrow pending hangover size.

6. Bruce Springsteen- Magic

When I saw the video for “Radio Nowhere,” I think I posted on here that Tommy Tutone would be pissed that The Boss stole his riff from “867-5309.” Since then, I’ve managed to overlook that as “Radio Nowhere” is a great song that gets me fired up whenever I hear it. I also had some trouble getting into the album and it really took some time to grow on me. But now, I get it and I like it.

While I still prefer “The Rising” to “Magic,” there’s some real advances here for the Boss. He’s “sin ging” all pretty like and seems to be more…available lyrically. He’s not afraid to speak out against the bullshit our government is pulling but he manages to insert these thoughts into songs about life and relationships almost seamlessly. A good example of this is on the song “Livin’ in the Future Age,” my favorite tune on the album, wherein Bruce chats up his lover by assuring her everything’s gonna be all right and the rape of the constitution can’t happen because we’re livin’ in a future age.

7. The Hives-The Black and White Album

I like-a the rock a rolla, what can I say. When you’re battling traffic for 2-3 hours 3 days a week, nothing quenches the road rage like some solid guitar rock that makes you want to play your steering wheel while you curse at the asshole in front of you who just cut you off.

I also love the Hives cocky attitude, smooth suits and their dedication to the guitar riff that made their last album “Veni Vidi Vicious” so ass-kicking. We need more people in rock who want to rock and rock hard. And The Hives do. I’m dying to see them in concert but they were just on the road with Maroon-5 and I can’t go there.

8. Amy Winehouse- Back to Black

Yes, I read the gossip and yes, it’s the epitome of irony that a song about refusing rehab is written and performed by a chick who seriously needs to go to rehab. Hardy har. But, beyond all that is a really great album that borrows heavily from the Phil Specter “wall of sound” sound yet updates it without ruining it. “Back to Black” is a really, really…good album.

Winehouse can belt it out and her self deprecating, life-of-a-fuckup songs settle in with beats and grooves and horns and all sorts of cool sounds provided by Mark Ronson who I think will be shown to be the true mastermind of this album if Winehouse goes with someone else for the next album. If there is a next album. But still, this is just a solid effort and it makes me feel like I’m a hip guy for liking something everyone else likes. That rarely happens.

(I couldn't resist this awful pic of her as a kid!)

9. Will Kimbrough- EP

Will’s new album is an EP….so that’s not just a clever name. I am a huge Will Kimbrough fan and I love this record…but not quite as much as his last few. Plus, I have to come clean. I bought “EP” at his show in Sacramento and listened to it for like, 3 weeks straight. But now, I can’t find it. I bet if I knew where it was, it would be in the top 5. Sorry, Will!

However, I do love this album and I really like the way it feels organic yet really refined, if that makes sense. While he’s redone older songs “Godsend” and “Horseshoe Lake” (which Todd Snider did a while back) there’s some songs on here that are real steps forward for probably the best unsung guitar player out there. His songs have always been awesome lyrically, but there’s a new level on songs like “Hill Country Girl” and “Interstate” that really show how versatile and, well, badass Mr. Kimbrough is. He very well may be an alien. Check him out here.

10. Tommy Womack- There I Said It

For years I had heard great things about Tommy Womack through the Todd Snider community, but I never heard the guys stuff until this past year at South by Southwest. Turns out the mini-hype was well worth it as Tommy is a no frills singer songwriter with that perfect combo of humor and insight I love in my singer-songwriters.

“There I Said It” is an album by a guy who realizes his dreams of being a rock star ain’t gonna happen. But if you’re writing an album lamenting (sort of) the loss of what you thought would happen but embracing what you do have, you’re still making music and that’s the point of art. You do it because it’s what you do…it’s your passion. One of my favorite songs of the year “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” is on there and there’s a song about a day spent swimming with his family at a friends house that’s just about as perfect as songs get. His awesome and funny website can be found here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

new five a.m. video!

The band I manage, five a.m. made a freeking sweeeeeeet music video. It stars Eddie Furlong, Rumer Willis and Ice-T! Check it out below...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Aint Talkin 'Bout Love

I'm talkin' about VAN HALEN!!!

As I mentioned last night, I saw Van Halen and it was just fricking great! Seriously, awesome show! My brother in law scored tix the day they went on sale ($100 a pop! I'll get back to that) and since then we'd been anxiously awaiting the show like two school kids waiting for Christmas break. Finally, the day arrived and I managed to secure us a ride to the show (my wife) and somehow coerced my sister to pick us up. You know what that! And lots of it.

We left a little too early and decided to get dinner at the Pyramid Ale House in Berkeley. Their Snow Cap is my favorite winter beer so we had some of that and as usual there, some substandard food. Yet before parking the car, we saw a sign that said the BART station was nearby and taking BART to the show (BART is Bay Area Rapid's a subway) we could miss all the traffic and my wife could have an easier trip. So, we took BART. Across from us was this guy:

I'm not sure if he was a pimp or a minister, it's hard to tell. But he had that red pinstriped suit on, a sweet white hat and matching red leather shoes. Next to him on the seat was a fur coat. It was pretty kickass! If you look at the reflection in the window, you can see my taking his photo and trying to be sly. BART took us to the show and we got there just in time to miss another one Bob Marley's less talented progeny do some crappy reggae act. All I heard was a lackluster version of "I Shot the Sheriff." Laaaame. Also lame was the fact the "large" beers were $11.00! EACH!! Frigging criminals.

So we got some beers and headed off to our $100 seats which my bro-in-law was convinced were pretty good. The section we were in was just in front of the stage, to the side so that was a good start. Then we started looking for row 19. That would be....the last row. Yup, nose bleeders for $100! Again, frigging criminals. But then again, it's Van Halen with David Lee Roth back at the helm and I didn't really care. Although I felt ripped off a little. Those are $50 seats, people. Here's a photo from our seats from when the show started. The top is blocked off because that's the ceiling at the Oakland Coliseum!!


Before the show started though, i started missing my buddy Lance who is the biggest VH fan there is. I think he and I saw VH with Sammy about 6 times one summer. He lives in Reno now and had his kids this weekend so he couldn't come along. But I texted him and then continued to text him the setlist which was smart because I would have forgot it. Here it is in all it's glory:

You Really Got Me
Show Your Love
Running with the Devil
**A song I didn't know and neither did my bro-in-law**
Somebody get me a Doctor (and I went to get more beer)
Beautiful Girls
Dance the Night Away
Atomic Punk (this was a great surprise)
Everybody Wants Some (and I wanted more beer so I missed it)
So This is Love
Cathedral (part of it anyways) into...
Mean Streets
Pretty Woman

Drum Solo!! I hate to say it, but of the 4 unattractive men up there, Alex Van Halen looked the worst. He looks half dead but dude can still play the drums!

I'll Wait (which seemed odd since it was written about and for Valerie Bertinelli...who Eddie divorced....but their kid was playing bass.)
Cradle Will Rock
**last beers**
Hot For teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars (probably my favorite song of the night...Unchained is my favorite song ever but I couldn't hear it very well from our nose bleeders)
Janies Crying
Ice Cream Man (with that same story from the other blog posting I did)

Eddie guitar solo...which was great! You know, people always focus on Diamond Dave's antics and Alex's giant drum set and 15 foot high gong, and they forget just how innovative and amazing Eddie is. Dude's still got it even if his fingers look like wrinkled dolmas.

Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love

Jump was pretty "gay" as there was a huge inflatable microphone that plopped down from somewhere and Dave started like...riding it around. Not cool. But overall, man....I couldn't ask for much more. I'm not one of those people who needs to hear obscure songs from a band and VH covered the classics. Plus, they were selling shirts that had designs culled from all the old David Lee Roth tours and that was super sweet!! I had a great time until I got home to dogs on crack. I think this is the best reunion tour ever. No frills, just rock.


I saw VH tonight and it was really, truly amazing. But now, I'm mostly drunk and want to go to sleep but a few things stand in my way...

1. I'm not really tired

2. This computer (at my moms house) sucks. And...

3. I worked it all out (as I'm prone to doing) so I could be safely taken to the show and safely dropped at "home." However, I'm at my parents house and have to sleep it off here rather than go home and snuggle with my girls. In and of itself it's awkward to be drunk at the house you grew up in and be staying there...alone. Plus, I really wish I was home. BUT...Igby is here with me which leads to the biggest problem....

4. I got home about 45 mins ago and just noticed Igby and Oliver (the puggles) got under my parents tree and ate a BOX of macadamia nuts covered in chocolate. At first I was terrified (dogs and chocolate don't mix) and now I'm just annoyed because those two are frigging AMPED up on sugar, chocolate and caffeine. I just want to go to bed so I can get up and go home....and now, that may not happen. They're chasing each other everywhere. EV-ERY-WHERE.

Post Script: I'm about 99.9% sure it was MY dogs idea to get into the chocolate covered macadamias.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

o.k...I'm back

So.....I have the month off of work and it's been amazing. I was seriously on the verge of losing my mind. I feel simply awful about ditching out on work, but if I didn't, I would have cracked up. Seriously. I spread myself way too thin and my literal and figurative "house" was in disarray. My physical house is still a disaster, but....we finished out short film in time to send it in for SXSW and I think we have a great chance of getting in and that would honestly be a dream come true. My mind is almost in order. Almost.

Since I took leave, I've spent time with lil Story (not enough) and grabbed handfuls of homework, readings, papers and just....hanging with fellow students, all of which I needed badly. Now I have a paper and a half left and I'm free. I couldn't be prouder of myself for taking this huge bite of responsibility and coming out the other side mostly unscathed. I had 15 units (5 classes!), my job, my band (who were luckily mostly recording), my BABY, my wife, my was way too much. And sadly, I say I'm "proud" I did it all...but really, I'm pissed that I challenge myself in ways that no one but myself cares about. Seriously, I'm the only one that cares and rather than bask in the glow, I feel like....emotionally raped and as if I did everything half our movie which fucking rules. Ah well, lesson learned.

Anywho, I'm finishing up 2 papers this week and then..Saturday....VAN HALEN!! What a great cherry on top of this sundae. I unabashedly love VH, especially David Lee Roth VH and I need to blow off some steam. Plus, all the youtube vids of the "new" old VH have been awesome. I saw this tonight and damn, that Diamond Dave can spin a yarn....

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ohh if you knew how I felt now, you wouldn't act so adult now..

My favorite band of all time, as has been duly noted here, is The Replacements. They were, to quote their singer Paul Westerberg, sadly beautiful. They could rock your socks off with one song, then turn around and touch your heart in the next. Then they'd get really drunk, forget their songs and still manage a helluva show. Or so I hear. I never got to see them.

There's also something about them I especially love and loved about Jawbreaker, one of my other favorite bands. They just didn't give a shit about the big time. Jawbreaker did a legendary thing when grunge and Greenday hit in that they let every record exec in town fly them to L.A. or New York, put them up in the finest hotels and let these record companies wine and dine them. All without the slightest intention of EVER signing with any of them. When they finally signed (like, 4 years later), they let the record company buy them all new shit, they toured the world, and then broke up so they wouldn't owe the corporation anything. Sucked for all us Jawbreaker fans, but they did it all on their terms. Which brings me to The Replacements.

The Mats were a big underground band that seemed to be bubbling below the surface of the mainstream for years. They finally got asked to play Saturday Night Live which, for them, was probably a total shock. And hey, that's pretty freeking huge....especially in 1986 when that show didn't suck. So they agree to do the show, fly out there...and this clip below shows what happened. They were awesome, drunk, hilarious and then they all fell down.

Then some years later, Paul came back to SNL as a solo artist and this happened:

Man, I love the Mats.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More adventures in 7-11

So I was in 7-11 earlier and this really aggravated guy comes in. I mean, he wasn't like...stewing or throwing shit around, but I could tell her was annoyed. He starts kind of looking down the aisles and finally yells up to the register guy, "Hey man, where's the visine?" The register guy points down the aisle the guy is in and says "further down..." The guy keeps looking and he goes "I can't see it!?" The register guy goes, "in that aisle, but further down." And the guys goes, "damn dude, I can't see it."

And I thought that was really funny.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I'll admit it, I read the gossip websites. Pretty much everyday. It keeps me up on what's new with celebs and their nip-slips and rehabs. Plus, it also spares me the hours involved in reading magazines or watching those daily gossip TV shows that are usually like, a week late on their info anyway. That being said, I'm totally Brittnied out.

I feel really bad for her and I must say, this whole...watching her fall thing is truly similar to Roman Gladiators or those slaves they'd throw to the lions just to watch them get torn apart. It's gone from "WTF happened!?!?!" to "dude, that chick is nuts" to "dude, that chick has seriously lost it" to just plain sad. I admit, as a storyteller/screenwriter/filmmaker, you simply cannot make up the shit that's this poor girl has gone through. It's sincerely tragic and it will end badly for Ms. Spears. And that's sad. I mean it, it's really sad.

Anywho, I remember seeing this clip a few years ago, before the nuttiness really kicked in and man, it was super funny. It's super funny now as well. But watch it and really listen to the last 10-15 seconds. Man, that's the kicker. It's the final scene in the documentary on Brittney Spears that will come out 5 years after we drag her down and pretend we didn't have a hand in her demise.