Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blind Melon hate mail, or, All he can say is my column's pretty lame, he likes watches puddles gather rain, etc.

I didn't think a Blind Melon joke in my latest Under 30 column would tick anybody off. After all, who still likes Blind Melon? But I just got this piece of hate mail.

your an idiot. Blind Melon was SO much more than the bee girl. Idiots like you saw a Pop Icon and heard one song and bought into the pop culture trap, your still in it, swirling around americas waste water drain pipe. commenting about mel gibson, please.

you just embarras yourself mocking one of the greatest original bands of thier era....

do your self a favor listen to the whole second cd they released (soup) and see if you still want to mock them...... you missed the whole point of the song.... besides Mtv stoped playing videos because bevis and butthead and everyone knows that.

More to come? I'll keep you posted.

Who wants to see Britney Spears acting, um, a little "altered"?

I don't want to speculate because I don't have all the facts, so let's just say Britney Spears is a little "goofy" in this clip where she's "munching" on food and talking about the possibility of time travel.

You can make up your own minds from there.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

iPod Journal for July 2006

A few years ago I started making mix CDs of songs I was listening to a lot during a particular month. It was an idea I stole from Cameron Crowe, who kept monthly mix tapes as a sort of musical journal. I like it because music is my best memory jogger, and I can listen to a disc I made in Sept. 2003 and remember exactly what I was doing that month.

Here is my iPod journal for July 2006:

1. "Feel It (Don't Fight It)" (Live at the Harlem Square Club), Sam Cooke
2. "When Jokers Attack," The Brian Jonestown Massacre
3. "Thursday," Asobi Seksu
4. "Hangin Dowtown," The Replacements
5. "Faraway You," Marah
6. Track 5 on the Vesicular Basalt live disc Tim Schweiger gave me
7. "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken," Camera Obscura
8. "Pick It Up, Lay it the Cut," Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
9. "A Bell Will Ring," Oasis
10. "The Road to Gila Bend," Los Lobos
11. "Lonely Teardrops," Jackie Wilson
12. "So I," Tobias Froberg
13. "Smash Your Head," Girl Talk
14. "Cohesion," Minutemen
15. "Shake Shake," The Robins
16. "Junior Kickstart," The Go! Team
17. "Doctor Robert," The Beatles
18. "Runaways," XTC
19. "Just Drums," Tapes n' Tapes
20. "Murray," Pete Yorn
21. "The Same Boy You've Always Known," The White Stripes
22. "Long Legs," The Magic Numbers
23. "Earth Angel," The Penguins
24. "Ijustwannalayaroundalldayinbedwithyou," The Coup
25. "Have a Cigar," Pink Floyd
26. "Everywhere," 7L & Esoteric
27. "Lovely Lady," Rock City
28. "Big Exit," PJ Harvey
29. "High Water," Bob Dylan
30. "Ice Age," Birdmonster
31. "No More No More," Aerosmith
32. "Naked Eye" (Live in Denver 2000), The Who

Shameless self-promotion

Check out my Under 30 column on making fun of stuff too late.

A show called "Rock Star" that doesn't actually rock? Sounds great!

It's almost six months until Simon Cowell splashes cold water in the faces of the latest crop of Mariah-lovin' high school theater kids, so I've been forced to scour the depths for my crappy talent show fix. Hence my recent fascination with "Rock Star: Supernova," which airs Tuesday and Wednesday (!) nights on CBS.

I didn't catch the first season of "Rock Star," which featured '80s pop rock band INXS seeking a replacement for dead lead singer Michael Hutchence. It's my understanding the first season contestants were better than the current group, but I don't care about quality. As is the case with "American Idol," the appeal of "Rock Star" has nothing to do with music. I already have ZERO interest in a band featuring Gilby Clarke, Jason Newstead and Tommy Lee, so who cares who the lead singer is? (I might feel differently if "Rock Star" host Dave Navarro was in the band. Believe it or not, but Navarro used to be a really good rock guitarist. It's crazy that Jane's Addiction masterpiece "Nothing's Shocking" came out 18 years ago. Times have changed, yo. By the 20th anniversary Dave will be on "Hollywood Squares.")

I don't even like Velvet Revolver, and that band has three REAL ex-members of Guns 'n Roses. All Supernova has is the dude whose peak with GNR was appearing in the "Estranged" video.

I like "Rock Star: Supernova" because it presents rock cliches with the utmost seriousness and an air of unashamed calculation. (I should also mention host Brooke Burke, an unintentional riot whose hotness is in inverse proportion to her ability to read a teleprompter with conviction.) In the world of "Rock Star", there's no way a band called Supernova anchored by three over-the-hill hasbeens could be lame. This band is going to be THE BEST EVER! So let's make devil horns as we download The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" into our cellphone, which just happens to be a major sponser, because we never heard the song before and we really want to fulfill our lifelong dream of jamming with guitar legend Slash! I mean Izzy Stradlin! I mean the other guy! Who? Oh yeah, Gilby Clarke!

Whenever I watch "Rock Star: Supernova," I play this game where I list things mentioned on the show that do not rock. A recent list included the following items:

Jason Newstead (Cliff Burton would have never done a freakin' reality show)
Tattoos (Your mom probably has one now. Unmarked skin is the new rebellion)
Covers of Live songs about dolphins
Newborn babies
Gilby Clarke's heavy cheek rouge (it's more Elizabeth Taylor than Gene Simmons)
The words "jam" or "killer"
Bad Company covers
Growly, third-rate Eddie Vedder imitations
Bands named after interstellar phenomena
Women named Storm who aren't part of the X-Men
Eye make-up

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Under 30 preview: Mocking Mel a week late

I’m mad at Mel Gibson. Not because he downed enough booze to make a blue whale French kiss a goldfish. Not because his drunken driving turned the streets of Malibu into “Mad Max 4.” And not because his theories about Jewish people lack the sophistication of a fourth grade book report on “Mein Kampf.”

I’m mad at Mel Gibson because his meltdown happened while I was on vacation.

This column is all about making fun of people. And I need a constant supply of hilarious buffoonery to ply my trade. Mel, I take only three weeks off every year. Would it have killed you to wait a few days before going insane? Thanks for nothing, pal.

If I had been here last Friday I would have written something like this: “So alcohol turns Mel Gibson into an anti-Semite. I’m not condoning such behavior, but is there a person among us who wasn’t done something regrettable after a sustained assault of Jell-O shots from pretty blonde women? Mel got drunk and blamed Jews for all wars. I got drunk once in college and stole a girl’s car keys, which I later threw off the Water Street bridge in Eau Claire because my buddy John told me to. Who’s the bigger jerk, me or Mel?

“I’m not even sure this is the worst thing Mel Gibson has ever done. Haven’t you seen ‘Signs’?”

Kind of funny, no? Unfortunately, when it comes to mocking people, places or things, you have one week tops to get your wisecracks in. I’m about one week late. So now I’m stuck with a bunch of moldy one-liners you probably already dozens of times from Jay Leno.

Timing means a lot in the topical column writing game. I started writing this column five years ago this week (hold your applause until I’m finished), and I have been lucky enough to write about topless pop stars, body hair, grinding and getting shot in the face, among other timely journalistic topics.

But I can’t help obsessing over all the funny stuff that happened before I started writing the column. Just as every investigative reporter in his 20s or 30s wishes he had been working during the Watergate era, I would have loved to write a pop culture humor column when Steve Guttenberg was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. The comedic value of a man whose filmography includes “Three Men and a Baby” AND “Short Circuit” AND “Police Academy I-IV” should never decline, but Guttenberg’s mocking power in 2006 ain’t the same as it was in 1986.

Find out about four other topics I wish I had been able to make fun of in timely fashion in Friday's Under 30 column.

Lollapalooza recap

I love music, but I'm not crazy about outdoor music festivals. They tend to be hot, sweaty, dirty places, like refugee camps for hipsters. The sound is never good enough, you never have enough personal space and the beer is both lousy and expensive. That said, this year's line-up for Lollapalooza was so enticing that I set aside my disdain for "herd rock" and ponied up for a three-day pass.

Turns out I only made two out of three days last weekend. By Sunday I was exhausted. My legs felt like Eddie and Charlie Murphy pounded on them after I spread mud on their couch. Plus the Sunday line-up was packed with bands I'd already seen (Wilco, Shins, Redwalls, etc.), so with apologies to Queens of the Stone Age (a band I love but also missed in Green Bay on Monday) and The Hold Steady, I headed home early.

But I was there most of Friday and Saturday and managed to see a dozen or so bands. It was pretty awesome, despite being covered by a thick veneer of sweat, filth and barbecue sauce from the chicken sandwich I drunkenly "borrowed" by festival's end. Here are my mini reviews of each concert.

Ryan Adams: Despite his erratic live reputation, Adams was one of the acts I was most excited about seeing. And, yeah, he was kinda disappointing. The music sounded good. I have a bunch of bootlegs of Adams with his current backing band The Cardinals, and they have a mellow fluidity on stage very reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. It's just that I like that stuff more when it's coming out of my stereo in the middle of an air conditioned room. When I'm taking a shower in my own juices, I want something more rockin' to help me wash down my $5 beer.

Adams also appeared to be extremely stoned during his set. He mumbled something between songs about eggs. Maybe I was stoned from all the weed being smoked around me. But I don't think so.

The Secret Machines: The biggest surprise of the festival. I liked the Secret Machines going into Lollapalooza, but I really like them after catching their ballsy Pink Floyd/Led Zep-inspired rock thing live. I just re-bought their first album after they blew my mind with the CD's opening track, "First Wave Intact." I also was drinking vodka throughout this set, and that mixed with my minor heat stroke might have added to my euphoria. (I will stop blaming chemicals for my reaction to bands for here on out.)

The Raconteurs: The album is pretty average, but this "supergroup" kicks some major arse on stage. I guess the crowd was huge for this gig, but I was pretty close to the stage so I couldn't tell. After not caring about the White Stripes for a few years, this show re-confirmed that Jack White has that "it" that makes grown heterosexual men (like me) wet their pants out of rock star worship. My favorite performance of the weekend.

Sleater-Kinney: I missed them. Damn. But I did get that free barbecue chicken sandwich.

Ween: My friend Lori compared them to Styx. I'm not sure this is a compliment. But I see the comparison. I hate Styx, but I love Ween. And they were pretty great, especially when fireworks started going off around the time they played "Ocean Man."

Wolfmother: Pretty good, but they didn't blow me away. I really like the album, but I expected a little more from the live show. Probably too much advance hype. But I did like it when Andrew Stockdale, aka the singer dude with the afro, promised to take the crowd on "a psychedelic exploration." Two words: Jazz Odyssey!

Gnarls Barkley: I think only Kanye West had a bigger crowd (unless the Raconteurs was REALLY big). I liked this show a lot. Everybody came out in matching white tennis outfits, and they rocked out like Sly and the Family Stone. Still, the most memorable part of this show was the huge walk out after they did "Crazy." I wonder if Danger Mouse noticed. He can't like that. I bet the dude is a recluse in five years.

Dresden Dolls: I only saw a bit of this, and only because a friend wanted to go. It wasn't bad. But cabaret songs don't really work in front of thousands of people. They did cover the Louvin Brothers, which scores points with me, but I couldn't tell if it was ironic. That puts them back at par.

Common: Another really good set. Common's "Be" is a pretty awesome album, and he did most of my favorite songs. However, I was pretty bummed that Kanye didn't come out for "The Food," the awesome duet he does with Common that was taped live from "Chappelle's Show." Considering what came later, Kanye would have redeemed himself here.

The New Pornographers: No Neko Case, just like the first time I saw them, but otherwise they were terrific. Carl Newman was pretty funny on stage. "We're on between Common and Kanye West. Makes me think we're somewhat like them." Carl should play the Seth Green/Jamie Kennedy "dorky yet likeable white guy" part in the next Wayans brothers movie.

Kanye West: I was probably looking forward to this show more than any other and while I won't call it a disaster, it was a pretty big letdown. First off, the sound was terrible, which I don't get because the sound was generally pretty good for all the other shows. How do you screw up Kanye West of all people? Plus, like most hip-hop shows, they were way too many guest stars. Still, the show-closing rendition of "Touch the Sky" WAS uplifting, and Kanye West is big enough to sound bad in front of 40,000 people and not have it affect him too much.

There you have it. A Lollapalooza recap as tiring to write as it was to live through. I'm gonna go towel off.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day o' jerks continues

LA Times reporter Claire Hoffman has written a hella good profile of "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis that has to be one of the most damning personal pieces I've ever read. The story is long, but every word is a must-read.

Here's how it begins:

Joe Francis, the founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" empire, is humiliating me. He has my face pressed against the hood of a car, my arms twisted hard behind my back. He's pushing himself against me, shouting: "This is what they did to me in Panama City!"

It's after 3 a.m. and we're in a parking lot on the outskirts of Chicago. Electronic music is buzzing from the nightclub across the street, mixing easily with the laughter of the guys who are watching this, this me-pinned-and-helpless thing.

Francis isn't laughing.

He has turned on me, and I don't know why. He's going on and on about Panama City Beach, the spring break spot in northern Florida where Bay County sheriff's deputies arrested him three years ago on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking and promoting the sexual performance of a child. As he yells, I wonder if this is a flashback, or if he's punishing me for being the only blond in sight who's not wearing a thong. This much is certain: He's got at least 80 pounds on me and I'm thinking he's about to break my left arm. My eyes start to stream tears.

Dude, if a reporter from The LA Times is following you around, maybe it's a good idea not to assault her. Might affect your coverage, after all. Have I mentioned that Francis appears to have a raped a drunken 18-year-old right under Hoffman's nose? Yeah, he's real media savvy, this Francis guy. If this is how he acts with a represenative of one of the country's biggest newspapers on his tail, how does he act when he's on his own? Yikes!

Possibly a bigger jerk than Mel Gibson

The first day back at work from a long vacation always is a little disorienting. I tend not to follow the news that closely when I'm not working, so it's a little like coming home from the moon. I mean, I only know about the whole Mel Gibson fiasco because they talked about it on Howard Stern.

Anyway, I was reading The P-C today and this story caught my eye. It's about a 20-year-old Appleton man facing 10 years in prison for stealing a bucket of ice cream from a 14-year-old boy.

Police say the man, Ryan R. Van Hammond, stole a bucket of ice cream from a 14-year-old boy who was toting it home for his own birthday celebration.

Van Hammond, W3184 Westowne Court, is charged with a felony count of theft from a person, and two counts of felony bail jumping. The theft charge could land him in prison for up to 10 years.

The alleged incident occurred while Van Hammond was free on bond while facing drug and child-abuse charges in Calumet and Outagamie counties.

Police say Van Hammond snatched the ice cream from the boy at the 2200 block of S. Schaefer Street. While struggling with the boy Van Hammond asked the boy, "Do you want me to kill you?" the complaint said.

The defendant told police he was hungry when he asked for the ice cream, and later "realized what he had done was wrong and left the bucket of ice cream on the sidewalk."

Before I say anything else, let me get the obvious out of the way first: It is wrong to steal buckets of ice cream for teenagers. That said, this is hilarious. It's like an Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell movie come to life. OK, maybe I feel a little bad for the kid, but he now has an anecdote that will last him a lifetime. And as for the guy, well, it WAS pretty hot last week, and does a single kid REALLY need a whole bucket of ice cream for himself?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Something I plan to do next week, Part II

Here I am, the last night of my vacation, and I just realized that I didn't update my blog, i.e. change the "stuff I like" section, get rid of suck/lame hall of fame, etc. So I have officially failed to live up to my pledge as predicted. Actually, I could do it now. But "Valdez is Coming" is on in 45 minutes and I have a frozen pizza to make.

See you dudes Tuesday for some serious blogging action.