>It Was a Throw Down

>If you were one of the lucky ones at The Other Side last night, you witnessed a display of awesome power the likes of which won’t be seen again . . . until March 6th, that is. LAZERWOLFS came out on top of our preliminary round, with Black Velvet Elvis also advancing to the finals. Apparently we were #1 in judges voting, and #2 in ballot voting (despite not a single representative of my witty email beseeching folks to come out in support showing up, or replying to it, for that matter; god knows I won’t debase myself to do that again).

It was a long night. Got there at 8:00 in the event the friends we invited early would show up. None did, but there were plenty of our friends from other bands around town there. The free keg dried up in a hurry. After that, it seemed someone was putting a beer in my hand every time it was empty. It was reasonably crowded; Jimmy turned to me in irritation at one point and said, “The next time some little 5’2” European-looking guy bumps my elbow, I am going to freak out!” That was the quote of the night, because in context it was hilarious; you’d have to know Jimmy, I guess. My friend Marcus from Mahamawaldi was there as well. He kept pulling PBR tall ones he had stashed in his jacket (replenished from his car); he handed one to me and said, “Keg’s empty, and I can’t let a brother pay $3.00 for a beer.” What a guy. Here’s a shot of him rocking out courtesy of Chris Lombardi. If it looks like he is shredding with only one arm, it is because he is:

It was hard to wait until 11:50 to go on, but we did. And we unloaded a punishing 30 minutes of rock that went over great. It was a blast. What more can I say about it? We go back on the 6th of March for the finals. We won’t win, but we’ll rock.

Today we had to be at The Trail for an interview. Jimmy and I made it, and Bubba was supposed to too, but he never showed. I videotaped it and will upload it after I find some kind of utility that will let iMovie edit a .mpg file. For now, here’s a shot of Jimmy looking weary as a guy who had been coaxing thunder out of a Gibson Les Paul Elegant a mere 12 hours earlier:

It was fun. But I’m tired tonight. An evening of rock followed by 3 hours of sleep will do that to a guy. Some guy was taking pictures and said he’d have copies to us within 48 hours. I hope he comes through.

>A Little Randomness

>Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Beautiful

LAZERWOLFS are featured in an Independent article courtesy of my friend, Bob Wire. It’s pretty cool. The print edition photo takes up like a 3rd of the page. I guarantee that’s the first time Witchfinder General has ever entered into the Indy as well, even if it was courtesy only of the patch on my bitchin’ rock vest. We’re pretty stoked about it.

Fritos Smell Makes We Want to Vomit

Ever have a bad experience with a type of food that, down the road, even the smell of it will make you want to hurl? My personal one is corn nuts. I ate too many one time when I was just a little punk and hurled, and now I can’t abide them. Same with candy corn. God, just thinking of the smell of candy corn makes me want to upchuck.

Well, Sid was just in here looming over me, munching on and talking through a mouthful of fritos. The smell is lingering, and it’s making me nauseous.

Speaking of Sid. . . .

Last week ended with me raving over some Parental Indignation. I’ve been asked about it, and no, I have not accosted his teacher with vengeful tongue or heavy brick. Sid turned in his original poster intact, with all the blood blocked by little tags he made that said, “Censored.” No word yet on the outcome; the teacher displayed all the posters to the class today, clicking through each one, but did not have a comment re: his before moving on. We’ll see how this little drama plays out.

ClintoBama

Great post over at Guerrilla News Network (one of my favorite sites out there — more to come on that via my next New West piece) re: the whole battle between Clinton and Obama. I read an article somewhere that summed up how “x”percentage of white men won’t vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, and “y” percentage of white men won’t vote for Barack because he’s a black man. Makes a guy really happy to be a white man, eh?I wish I looked as Ojibwa as I actually am; “white male” is a demographic I ain’t proud of when I read crap like that. I encounter a ton of racism and misogyny all the time, but based on my experiences I think misogyny remains far more rampant. The attacks on Hillary, and the way she is treated and portrayed in the media, are sickening (not that Obama is getting a free ride either, but attacks on Hillary just seem more vicious to me; maybe it’s because people feel more free to attack women than they do to attack a black man). However, I can’t bring myself to vote for her. I mean, I would if it came down to her vs. McBush, but I just don’t trust her. This entire election is really bumming me out. And Chris Mathews is a dick.

There Was One More Thing

. . . but now I don’t remember what it was. Be nice to each other.

>An Open Letter to All My Friends

>Some of you readers may have gotten this message (actually, all three of you probably did). But, because I am lazy, I am just reposting it here in its entirety. Dig it:
__________________________________________________________

Hello Friends!

I realize bulk mailings are kind of lame; those of you who haven’t heard from me for a while are probably feeling particularly offended. I deserve whatever ire you may feel in being spammed in this fashion, as I am well aware I am not a particularly good correspondent. I’m sure we will all get over it, though, trust me. In fact, I would offer anecdotal evidence to each of you that I am well aware of what our connection is, but my motivation in not doing so is more because I don’t want anyone among you to know just how short the list is of potential friends I have to call on at a time like this.

The point of this message is to remind you that this Thursday, February 14th, is, indeed, Valentine’s Day. Besides that being the day I predicted to my family that our neighbors will finally take the plastic, light-up nativity scene out of their yard, it is also a day of some importance in the world of independent-minded, live-on-the-edge-of-financial-ruin world of DIY rock and roll.

Here is the deal: my long-toothed heavy rock band, LAZERWOLFS, is playing the Pabst Blue Ribbon Performance Series battle of the bands thing (that they say isn’t actually a battle of the bands, wink-wink-nudge-nudge) Thursday night. Which is, as we’ve already discussed, Valentine’s Day. The way this works is six bands play and two advance to the finals on March 6th. Our evening this week is the third preliminary round. We don’t have any real delusions of winning the whole thing (my bets are on The Good Neighbor Policy, if I got their name right); we just do it for the opportunity to play for people who normally wouldn’t come out to one of our shows. Yeah, ego demands that we want to advance, but it’s more than that. I’m the guy who books our shows, and I’m generally lazy. We try and play once per month or so; if we advance, that means I have March covered and don’t really have to mess with trying to get a different show. See, when it comes down to it it really is all about my comfort. I also want to avoid last year’s debacle, where we destroyed the room like the devil’s very house band but didn’t advance. The common theme of that evening was drunken folks approaching us after saying, “Whoa! You guys rocked! You were TOTALLY the best band tonight! Uh, I didn’t vote for you because my buddy is in [insert other band name], but you ROCKED!”

By now you are on the edge of your seat wondering just what you can do to help. If you would come down to The Other Side on Thursday night, some time after 8:00, you will get a ballot and you can vote for us. It costs $6 to get in ($8 if you are 18 – 20), but they have a free keg of beer until it runs out, so you should be able to drink up the cover in no time. If you want to come down but are really strapped, I can arrange for you to be on the guest list as well. We have a few spots, and I will happily bump one of the other guys’ list requests just so I can gloat over how I brought in the most people on our behalf.

Still need convincing? Well, check the edition of The Independent that is coming out on the 14th, as it will have a feature on the LAZERWOLFS. I am quite certain that the quality of writing, the magnificence of the photography, and the compelling nature of the subject will be more than enough to make you ultimately decide that you don’t want to miss this event. The nature of our drummer’s relationship with the powers of law and order make every show potentially our last one, so don’t be one of those dismayed people, fallen to your knees and crying to the heavens, “Oh, I shoulda gone!”

I attached the actual flyer. I realize we are playing kind of late, and many of you won’t want to stay out so long. No big deal, we are like politicians — we just care about your vote. Come in, say hello, watch one of the other bands (I’m particularly eager to see Black Velvet Elvis; in fact, given their popularity, they will probably trounce us; it is quite likely though that we will turn their singer’s hair from blonde to brunette just with sheer, overwhelming volume), drink a beer or two, and leave if you must. After voting for us, of course. You may see the list of bands and realize someone you like better than me is in one of the other bands (I won’t feign modesty here — I guarantee this other person’s band isn’t better than the ‘wolfs dreadnaught). That is fine, I’ll make sure and not tell them you actually voted for us instead. I guarantee all the other bands have a much easier time getting shows in this town than we do.

So yeah, there is my big pitch. I hope to see a couple of you out on Thursday! Thanks for your time!

Chris
Bearer of the Lazerwolfs Flame

>Tag Me? Tag You!

>Okay, so Rebecca hit me with one of these, but I’m really holding Patia responsible. I’ve never done this before, it seems kinda MySpacey, though. If anyone uses this info to try and swipe my identity, go ahead — you ain’t going to get far using my credentials, trust me.

4 Jobs I’ve Held:

1. Bale bucker
2. Pipe changer
3. Box stacker
4. Ass sitter

4 Movies I’ve Watched Over and Over Again:

1. The Last of the Mohicans
2. The Lord of the Rings (yes, all of them)
3. Conan the Barbarian
4. Meatballs

4 Places I’ve Been:

1. Prague
2. Nogales
3. Winnipeg
4. Pablo

4 Places I’ve Lived:
1. Sumner, WA
2. Sidney, OH
3. Ronan, MT
4. Frenchtown, MT

4 TV Shows I Watch:

1. I
2. Don’t
3. Watch
4. TV

4 Radio Shows I Listen To:

1. No
2. Radio
3. Either
4. (Since the one in my truck died)

4 Things I Look Forward To:

1. Rocking
2. Hiking
3. Traveling
4. Feasting

4 Favorite Foods:

1. I
2. Refuse
3. To
4. Answer (in the interest of avoiding a craving)

4 Places I’d Rather Be:

1. Playing soccer
2. Rocking out
3. On the Iron Maiden jet touring with the band
4. Walking the Earth

4 People I E-Mail Regularly:

1. Jimmy
2. Julia
3. Anyone else is just
4. Once in a while

After stressing my way through this, I realize no one would want to steal my identity. I’m actually pretty boring and shallow. There aren’t a lot of specific things I can name with stuff like this.

>A Tough Night for Gear

>The gremlins, or whatever it is that sometimes seem to wreak havoc on stuff, were definitely gunning for me last night. Sunday evening is LAZERWOLFS practice. I went downstairs to retrieve my bass, where Sid had been jamming with one of his buddies and was using it. Anyway, I go downstairs and the case is open, but it’s wide open flat, not open 90 degrees like it’s supposed to be; the little straps that keep the lid up while it’s open were broken. It would require some force to break them, so it didn’t just happen by itself. Of course Sid has no idea how it happened. Funny how stuff like that works.

No big deal. Cheap case, and it is still fully functional. I load up, go to practice. It takes us about 20 minutes to get set up. I have my amp set up, start getting my pedal board set up, about ready to deliver the thunder, and all of a sudden the amp starts making a weird cracking and popping noise and suddenly shuts down. The smell of burned electric fills the air. Nice. Now this is a sweet amp — we are talking vintage, ’73ish era Ampeg SVT. Ask any bass player worth his “E” string and he/she will tell you it is the real deal. So I’m concerned, but not that surprised — it is an old amp, definitely needs new tubes, and was probably due to have something like this happen. Here is is below, the venerable item being discussed is prominently circled:

We check it out, find a blown fuse, replace it, fire the amp back up and it works . . . for about 5 minutes, then fizzles again. We are thinking blown rectifier tube, or at least hope that is what is wrong. Fixing it is one thing, but replacing it will be $1000+, easy. And Lemmy knows our band needs the thunder an amp like that delivers.

So I run home, get my backup amp, which I’ve never run with my full speaker cabinet configuration, and commence to rock. It does the job admirably. Doesn’t have the whoomph! I usually have, but will still bury most scrawny little indie bands. We rock the set we have been working on for our big show this week (more details on that tomorrow!), then work on some new stuff, and then run the set again to wrap things up. With a few songs to go, I open up a liter bottle of soda to freshen my pipes, take a single swig, and we continue rocking. The thunderous vibrations apparently pushed that bottle across the table it was on, and it inverted itself . . . into my bass case, which is lying wide open beneath it. Or course I didn’t see it happen, I just looked over and saw the empty bottle with the telltale glisten of moisture in the padding beneath it.

We are a rock band, for crissakes. The least the gremlins could have done is made sure it was beer that soiled my case.