Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category


So I’m back to listening to rock music

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

I mentioned in an earlier post that I decided to try listening to classical music during my recent commutes across town. I thought it would be a soothing counterpoint to the pinball-like antics of early morning drivers. You know, keep me calm and zen through the whole trip.

I like classical music, and in fact it was nice for a while. But eventually I determined it was the audio equivalent to knowing there’s a turd in the corner of your room and spraying it with perfume – surprise! – your room now smells like perfumed poop. I realized that I was still clenching the wheel and stabbing the brakes, but now with classical music in the background!

I got a big chuckle out of that one for sure. I have since gone back to listening to rock and/or roll when driving. It just makes more sense.

A trip down psycho-minivan-driver lane

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I’ve been spending time working on the other side of town recently, and decided to head home one day using the route I took when I was working a temporary job across town a number of years ago. The route goes through several old east side neighborhoods, past universities and churches, and it has countless traffic lights, stop signs, and bizarre intersections.

As I was attempting to navigate rush hour in that spaghetti of suburban streets, the memories came back in big flashes: here’s where I spun out during a shitty winter storm; there’s where I used to have lunch all the time; where the hell did this intersection come from, I don’t remember this?

And then it hit me. That road, full of big old houses with their landscape service trucks parked at annoying intervals in the right lane during peak traffic times, was where I had been inspired to write the song “Psycho Minivan Driver”.  If you haven’t listened to it, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yes, that was pretty much what was going through my head as I was repeatedly cut off by a minivan driver who was clearly out of his or her mind. I spent a good thirty minutes by myself during the drive just repeating the phrase “psycho minivan driver” in mantra-like fashion.  Somehow by the time I arrived at my temporary job, most of the song had crystallized in my mind. It’s one of a very few times that a song has spring from nowhere almost fully-formed, and then amazingly managed to come to life almost exactly the way I heard it in my head.

So to that zany driver, wherever you are, thanks. And f#ck you.

At least we didn’t spend $2 million dollars

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Of course she’s already sold more records than we have, and they’re calling her album stiff.  Hmm, come to think of it, maybe some plastic surgery would do wonders for our marketability…

Clearly we are working way too hard at this songwriting thing

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Witness the Stilly Dan email extravaganza

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Witness the spectacle of today’s inter-band email exchange:

From: KBilly
Subject: Zowie
To: “Mike”, “Scotty”, “Charley”
Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 1:08 PM

From: Mike
Subject: Re: Zowie
To: “KBilly”
Cc: “Scotty”, “Charley”
Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 1:51 PM

I like Steely Dan, but I’d only pay $61+ if they played “Can’t Buy a Thrill” in it’s entirety. Dirty Work, Midnight Cruiser, Reelin’ in the Years… come on, seriously, Aja had Peg and Josie and that’s about it. I mean I like those songs, but waaaay back in 1979 I decided to NOT buy Aja because it only had two songs I liked on it, which I got a copy of on cassette.

My first exposure to the world of Rock and Roll was when a neighbor gave us a Doors album and Can’t Buy a Thrill by Steely Dan. I’ve listened to Can’t Buy a Thrill at least 1,000 times, and I still can’t get enough of it.

“You’ve been telling me you’re a genius since you were 17, in all the time I’ve known you I still don’t know what you mean. The weekend at the college didn’t turn out as you planned. The things that pass for knowledge I just can’t understand.”

As if lyrics like aren’t enough, Jimmy Page once described the solo in that song as his all time favorite guitar solo. I’m gonna have to go listen to that again…

From: KBilly
Subject: Re: Re: Zowie
To: “Mike”, “Scotty”, “Charley”
Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 3:40 PM

Now, see, I think Aja is the best Stilly record. Love every tune, and the whole thing has a great flow.  And get this: it was my first Stilly record.  hmmm, I sense a trend.  One’s first Stilly is one’s fave Stilly.

Alternative reply:  Peg and Josie?  Dude, EVERY song on Aja is a motherfucker.  You can take your Dirty Work and work your dirty peter with it.  I always thought that was CSNY, and I don’t like it any better since I’ve learned the truth.  In fact, now that I like CSNY, I feel bad having assigned it to them.  Of course, I thought Do It Again, was Santana, and Brown-Eyed Girl was the Stones.  Can’t Buy An Ear.

Anyway, everyone knows Kid Charlemagne is the best guitar solo ever.  Jimmy Page just didn’t hear the whole solo because all the notes wouldn’t fit through his speaker wires, or he wouldn’t have said that shit.

(OK, that comes from something some loser told me in high school:  Jimmy Page can play faster than Eddie Van Halen, but he plays so fast that not all the notes come through his guitar cable, that’s why it sounds sloppy, too.  The jackass meant it, and he suffered for it.)

Having seen the E Street Band play Born To Run last night, I now question the value of such antics.  I was pretty hyped when (after I already bought tix) I heard they were going to play that record.  So, maybe I was expecting too much.

The band was great (though it took them about an hour to relax and the kick drum was entirely too loud – echoing like a goddamned fireworks display)  If anything, I think they played TOO close to the record.  Come on, Clarence, you did 16 hours of takes for Bruce to comp that solo – don’t you remember ANY of the other lines you played?  Then again, motherfuckers would probably bitch if they stretched out and ‘took liberties’.

Aja wasn’t my first rock record by a long shot.  Someone gave me a cassette copy in 1990 and I didn’t listen to it for years.

My introduction to rock came when one of the kids from my block offered to sell me two records, but I could only afford one.  I chose Captured (Journey, double-live) over Paranoid.  At least Journey was a good band at that point…

Trivia: When DTS attempted to make a 5.1 version (of Aja), it was discovered that the multitrack masters for both “Black Cow” and the title track were missing. Donald Fagen has offered a $600 reward for the missing masters or any information that leads to their recovery.

$600.  Nice.