>One God? Bo-Ring!

>Easter night we watched Gojira, the original Japanese version of Godzilla. Say what you want, but it is a great movie, particularly when taken in the context of when it was made (1954). Watching it, it seems so crazy to me that we actually dropped an atomic bomb on not one, but two friggin’ cities. Even now, 60 years removed, how is it possible that the Japanese don’t just totally hate us? What really blows my mind is I remember when Bushco first invaded Iraq, there were people in my office who seriously suggested that “we ought to just nuke those fuckers.” And these were all good church-going folk. Guys who would either go to the local mega-church, or good Catholic boys whose wives would call them during Lent to remind them what they could or couldn’t eat for lunch (I remember asking them what Lent was all about just out of curiosity over their answer, and not one of the 2 or 3 even know. So why bother if you don’t even know what it means, I asked, to an answer of shrugs and “‘cuz we’re supposed to”s).

So anyway, there is a part in Gojira where these Japanese islanders are doing a ritual to keep the monster away, complete with masks and stuff. It got me thinking how much cooler a culture is that is not monotheistic. I love all the different gods, goddesses, demons, etc. that other cultures recognize. All we have in the West (I’m speaking generally, of course) is this big monotheistic culture that doesn’t really even seem to match up. We have the Old Testament god who is really a total pissy, egotistical prick willing to mess you up for just about anything that isn’t totally about him, measured against the peace and love that Jesus (supposedly) preached, and it makes a guy like me wonder what exactly is a Christian anyway? The original or the sequel? I’m glad I’m not Christian, for crissakes, though sometimes it seems it would be nice if I had a manual like the bible telling me what I’m supposed to do. I’m just kidding, actually. I’m pleased with the manual I already have.

I told Julia that I thought it would be so awesome, just to mess with people, to memorize the DM’s Guide if only to throw out quotes just like bible types do that occasionally bust out the “well, the bible says” or “well, like Jesus said” when something comes up. I think that would be cooler than The Cramps. She wasn’t convinced, but I am. Imagine a group of you wondering if you should go home early, or follow the pack of sorority girls/fraternity boys (pick your gender accordingly) that are headed over to Stockman’s. While others hem and haw in doubt, you could wisely intone, “Well, as the DM’s Guide says, Chapter 5, Paragraph 1: ‘Encounters are to adventures what adventures are to campaigns. Good adventures make up good campaigns. Creating a campaign of your own is the most difficult, but most rewarding, task a DM faces.'”

Now tell that would not rule!

I’m reading an awesome book right now (well, one of several I have in play currently) called The Terror, my first fiction read of the year. The night of the Gojira viewing I read a section where the devout (and soon to have his legs ripped off and be stuffed under ice, i.e. killed) commander was giving a sermon and relating the story of Jonah and the Leviathan. Closing the book for the night, I reflected on, once again, how much of an asshole the Old Testament god is.

To wrap up my monotheistic bashing, I’ll relay the story of how Monday night the goddamn dogs woke me up at 3:30 AM and I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and watched Beowulf. This is a movie I was certain would suck when I saw the trailers for it. The reviews were favorable, though, so Sid and I went to see it and loved it. The 3D was great, the story was very well captured in the screenplay (thank you, Neil Gaiman), the hero was properly flawed, and the animated Angelina Jolie lived up to the hype that the real world version utterly fails to. I wasn’t convinced it would hold up so well on DVD sans 3D, though. Watching it the other morning I think I liked it even better the second time around. The performances by all the actors are top notch (Crispin Glover is fantastic as Grendel), the animation is cool, and I’m sure it couldn’t have been better if it were live action. The clash between Christianity and the Norse religions has some play; not overt, but it’s there. I was reminded once again how much richer multiple deities are over a single one. The idea of recognizing old deities as an element of modern paganism is one that has always been weird to me, but I might need to give it another look. There are worse ways to go out than being floated out onto the ocean in a burning longship.

>Happy Easter!

>I’m not a big Easter fan; I’m not a church-goer and I don’t get a day off for it, so it’s kind of a pointless holiday for me. Nonetheless, never let it be said I can’t get in the spirit of things!

http://black20.com/b20.swf?vID=445

http://black20.com/b20.swf?vID=447

Here’s another Ace Frehley pic that came my way. That’s my arm pointing during his smoking (literally) guitar solo!

Ace Frehley

Hey, just because I’ve hardly posted this week doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!

Ace Frehley Wrap-Up

I just posted my wrap-up article on the Ace Frehley experience over at New West. You can dig it here. If I get some more photos (I’m expecting a disc full in the mail, and maybe even some video) I’ll upload, but for now this should be it. Here are a few shots:

The Set List

The Boy, the Legend, and the Grinning Idiot:

Ace’s Band — Scot Coogan (Drums), Derrek Hawkins (Guitar), and Anthony Esposito (Bass) — and a Couple Rock Dudes:

Ace, Photographed By a Guy Right Beside Me:

Finally, Ace with a Couple Other Guys on Their Farewell (?) Tour:

Thanks everyone for bearing with me through all this. It was friggin’ awesome.

>Weekend in Review

>Saturday night LAZERWOLFS played our final show for the next several weeks at least; after this we are going to record our next album in April, and probably won’t play again until late May or even into June. Anyway, the show was in Great Falls, a town we’ve never played before, at a place called the Buffalo Saloon. It was cool driving up and seeing our name on the marquee; it’s always a good sign when a venue apparently has their stuff together enough to change the reader board message for a show.

The place was packed early, which was cool. I also realized how spoiled I am by not having any smoking allowed in bars in Missoula; people were puffing away mightily, and 10 minutes in the room had my eyes watering and nose running. Once I adjusted I could live with it, but afterwards my clothes reeked, the gear smells like stale smoke, etc. Ugh. What a vile thing that is.

There was no cover charge, and beer was cheap. They sold these “PBR in a Jar” things, which were essentially 32 oz of PBR in a canning jar for $2. We actually got paid too, which was awesome.

My friend Patrick was there also. He does some writing for the Great Falls Tribune, and actually had a feature on us in the paper that day. That was pretty cool.

We played well. A good portion of the crowd evacuated somewhere between when the band before us executed their second song and finished their set, but we still had many bodies in the room. We sold a few CDs, met some “interesting” people, and had a good time. We planned to get a room in town afterwards but everything was booked up for some CM Russell festival in town or something, so we just loaded up on sugar at a convenience store and headed for home. That drive is fantastic in daylight, but no so swell at 3 AM. I made it as far as Lincoln, then pulled over to sleep for an hour or so before finishing the trip. With all the wildlife we saw on the way up, the only close encounter coming back was a near miss with an elk on the shoulder of the road just shy of Clearwater Junction.

By the time I returned our drummer to his lair in Frenchtown, unloaded gear, returned the van I’d rented for the trip, and went home, it was something like 10 AM. That’s a long night of rock. Didn’t accomplish much on Sunday beyond visiting a Missoula institution for the first time — Paul’s Pancake Parlor — but it was worth it. Also watched The Darjeeling Limited, which, with the exception of a couple parts, I thought was pretty lame. We also watched Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which Sid had gotten a copy of over the weekend. It’s really terrible, but hilarious in a way, which is why it’s such a cult classic. Scary too, when I consider how familiar so much of what it depicts was. The DVD has a follow-up episode called Neil Diamond Parking Lot, where the filmmakers returned to the same venue and interviewed people before a Neil Diamond show. That one proves that sober MOR music fans are no less goofy than stoned teenage metal fans. The best part was Sid telling me how, while at his mom’s house, she asked, “You know who Neil Diamond is?!” and he replied, “No, but I know who King Diamond is!” That’s my boy. . . .

Bigger KISS Fan Than Me

Local writer Joe Nickell did not only the Ace Frehley piece for the Entertainer last week, but also did a piece Saturday on local KISS fan Justin Lawrence. I’ve know Justin for a long time, and it’s cool Joe did the piece. To call Justin a “fan” is a bit of an understatement. What is really cool is the piece has been picked up by KISS’s official website; check it out right HERE. Here is a shot of Justin talking to a guy who is a great drummer but really shitty dresser at last summer’s Rock Creek Testicle Festival, where Justin was running sound. It is quite possible they are talking about KISS here:

Tonight’s the Night!

Ace Frehley show tonight. I’m hoping it lives up at least to half of its expectations! I hope the venue comes through with the passes we are supposed to be getting. Sid broke one of his front teeth a week ago, and can’t get it fixed for another week yet; I’m hoping that smile can be immortalized forever in his photo op with Ace. Heh.

>Sounds Like Something I’ve Got to See!

>Or not. . . .

Doomsday is a mess of lousy filmmaking and unrelenting artistic bankruptcy, smashed together to form an ear-splitting, overcooked, awfully irritating shell of an experience.”

Maybe Rhona Mitra should have brought her snake with her.

Oh well.

Why I Hate Modern Heavy Metal

To me, when someone talks about “metal” I think of the bands that defined the genre when I was growing up. Judas Priest. Iron Maiden. Or Black Sabbath. You can even interest me if you are talking about Slayer or early Metallica, though that is more “thrash” and is the sign of when things started to change. I really don’t like modern metal though. All the fake anger, “we’re so tough” BS is really tiresome. I don’t mind bands who tie in horror movie imagery, but so many of them tie all that supposed badassery in as if to say, “this is how we roll (there’s that line again, mwua ha ha ha!) 24 x 7, baby!”

Case in point, this is the bio from a band from around here. It just kills me with its stupidity. I’ll change the name to protect the innocent by substituting the real band name with “Plush Stuffed Kitty.” Prepare to be dazzled:

Plush Stuffed Kitty is a product of hardcore friends and the love for goodtimes ,good drinks, and metal music.PSK is a reflection of the world today and all its horror and brutality along with love, hate and the uncontrolable urge to destroy everything for nothing.PSK encourages brotherhood, honesty and tolerance along with the strength to stand and kill for your beliefs and rights.Listen to our music,hear and understand our words.Find yourself.Arm yourself.

Time to take yourselves a little less seriously, guys. Maybe this will help: your very own plush, stuffed kitty.


Interesting Accomodations

While taking a short vacation in beautiful Bisbee, AZ, a couple years ago, we stayed at this place called Shady Dell. It was great. Here is some info:

The Shady Dell began its history in 1927, providing trailer and camping spaces to travelers of Hwy. 80, which stretched from San Diego, California to Savannah, Georgia. Today, the Shady Dell is a combination of the traditional and unique. Part of the park is equipped with full RV hookups for the modern day traveler, while the other part is a step back in time.

A sleek lineup of vintage aluminum travel trailers is available for overnight or weekly rental. This collection includes a 1949 Airstream, 1950 Spartanette, 1950 Spartan Manor, 1954 Crown, and 1951 Royal Mansion among others.

Interiors are rich blonde wood or highly polished aluminum, and every effort has been made to keep the decor original. Cassette tapes of big band, early rhythm and blues, and favorite old radio programs are provided for play in reproduction vintage radios. Each trailer is equipped with a propane stove, refrigerator and electric percolator. All dishes and linens are furnished.

Some trailers have original black-and-white televisions and phonographs with a selection of vintage records. Magazines and books from the period are provided. Outside each trailer is a grassy yard with lounge chairs. Barbecue grills are available. The park restrooms with hot showers are spacious and clean, and decorated with memorabilia from the heyday of the travel trailer.

The trailer was cool to stay in, and we watched a couple cheesy old b/w sci-fi movies on the vintage TV set, then had a barbeque in our little patch of yard out front. It was a lot of fun. Anyway, I was reminded of Shady Dell when my dad sent me this photo today:

Doesn’t that look like some kind of crazy, creative motel arrangement? If not, it should be. It just needs a rusted out old chevette or something with flowers growing out of it in the yard.

This Guy Needs Some Money

Saw this video on the official KISS website. Those bastards should send him whatever fees he needs. It’s Detroit Rock City, after all!

Let’s see, the city of Detroit referring to something else as blight. Hmmmmm. . . .