Saturday, July 31, 2010

BFD Band Feature: Alibi from Bakersfield

I got an email from my pal Nate in Bakersfield last week asking me to take a look at a band he knows about called Alibi. I was a little rushed when I got it and put his email on the back burner... Until this morning. Now I am wondering why I waited.

Alibi at first glance is just another band of misfit teenagers, but after watching all of their videos on YouTube, I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor. These kids might be misfits for all I know... But holy Bat Man can they play... Especially the lead guitarist Jordan Kraemer who doesn't appear to be more than 13 years old (Sorry Jordan, no offense intended) but plays like he has been slinging his axe for 40 years! He is a unique talent... And dare I say... Special?

I emailed Nate back and told him that I want to fly out there just to see these kids with my own eyes. They have played the Whisky, and from reading their website have been featured on California radio and have even spent time in the recording studio. Alibi is serious... And I have no doubt that this gallant young band is only at the beginning of what is going to be a long and formidable career. I cannot wait to hear more...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Buddy Guy turns 74

The man that Eric Clapton once called the greatest guitar player alive turns 74 today. Happy birthday Buddy Guy.

Born in 1936 on this date, Buddy has had an illustrious career, both as a student of the Blues genre, and also as a teacher. He mastered his craft under the tutelage of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter, to name a few. He went on to invent his own style that was copied by many... Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Clapton amongst others.

"Buddy Guy was to me what Elvis was for others," Clapton said in a 1985 Musician magazine article. "Buddy Guy is by far and without a doubt the best guitar player alive...if you see him in person, the way he plays is beyond anyone. Total freedom of spirit, I guess… He really changed the course of rock and roll blues."

Quite an honor from somebody not known to throw out a lot of praise.

Stevie Ray himself once stated that "Without Buddy Guy there would be no Stevie Ray Vaughn." His loud and distorted melodies are indeed a force to be reckoned with, and when you throw in his voice... His magical sweet voice, it takes the blues to places that the godfathers never dreamed of.

Stevie also observed, "Buddy can go from one end of the spectrum to another. He can play quieter than anybody I've ever heard, or wilder and louder than anybody I've ever heard. I play pretty loud a lot of times, but Buddy's tones are incredible…he pulls such emotion out of so little volume. Buddy just has this cool feel to everything he does. And when he sings, it's just compounded. Girls fall over and sweat and die! Every once in a while I get the chance to play with Buddy, and he gets me every time, because we could try to go to Mars on guitars but then he'll start singing, sing a couple of lines, and then stick the mike in front of me! What are you gonna do? What is a person gonna do?!"

I can attest to this as I personally have had the opportunity to see Mr. Guy three times. The first was in the late '80s at the Davenport Blues Festival. He came onto the stage and it was as if the world stopped spinning. I had seen some damn good guitarists up to that point, including Clapton and SRV, but I had never seen anything like what Buddy Guy was doing that night. He played his electric with such thunderous power that I thought I witnessing God's house band. I saw him again a year later in Des Moines and then once again in '98 in Austin, Texas. Each time I felt that angelic spirit, and each time I was blown away. His style and demeanor was second to none, and I always got the impression that he not only loved what he was doing, but also that he loved his fans. He made every effort to "check in" with us by wandering out into the audience, even going as far as carrying his chordless electric into the men's room at the Adventureland Theater at the Des Moines show to surprise unsuspecting people using the urinals. Imagine their astonishment when they turned around from doing their duty to see Buddy Guy standing there playing his heart out, as well as the huge crowd that followed him in. There was no previous indication that he was there... The sound still came from the speakers and monitors on the stage... The difference was that Buddy had become part of the show instead of being the show. The real pageantry for those brief moments was the unsuspecting men using the bathroom and their legitimate amazement after they turned around.

This world is a beautiful place by itself... But because Mr. Guy is in it, it systematically becomes magical. It's beauty is radiated 10 million times by his mere presence, and those of us in the know are blessed to have been graced with his glory. 74 years old. Man... Doesn't time fly by when you are having fun.

Happy birthday Buddy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Questions with Keith Murphy

Most people who live around here do not need an explanation of who Keith Murphy is. He is as much a household name in central Iowa as Stuart Scott or Chris Berman is nationally. He is OUR sportscaster. Not only does he cover sports with a witty and great sense of humor, but he has the knack for being consise and personal... He is non-flashy like other sports announcers are, and because he doesn't wear his ego on his sleeve, he is so much more user friendly.

And he knows his sports.

Mr. Murphy is the sports director at NBC's local affiliate WHO (channel 13), and  he also co-hosts a radio show (1460 KXnO) that airs from 2-4 on weekday afternoons. On this radio show which is called Murph and Andy, he pairs up with Andy Fales, another local sports guy who despite being a Cardinals fan, also keeps his ego in check. Together they make a great team and  it's refreshing to listen to a couple of normal guys who obviously have fun while doing their jobs. They cover a wide array of topics, sports and otherwise, and always manage to keep it fun and entertaining. 

Mr. Murphy's work schedule is relentless. He also hones his talents on a live television show on Sunday nights called Sound Off. Again, he is paired up with Andy Fales... They encourage viewers to call in and share their opinions about a wide range of sports topics, and like their radio show, callers are treated with dignity and respect. This is a nice change when compared to other sports talk radio hosts like say... Jim Rome. On Sound Off, sometimes the callers do suck... But that's part of it's charm... And, because the television show is aired live, it makes for some pretty interesting moments. Sound Off is a nice way to wind down a weekend, and sets a great tone for the following week. The show is as iconic as any local television show has been in Iowa, and I would dare say that it is probably one of the most unique and fair interactive fan-based television shows in the nation. Keith Murphy is in big demand, but he has stayed loyal to his fan base here in Iowa...

I will let him tell you more about that himself. Five questions with Keith Murphy...

1. Please tell me about yourself... Where you are from, what you like to do outside of your job, your deepest and darkest secret... Things of that ilk.

I don't think my background is even interesting to my own family, but here's some of it... I grew up in Vermont where I learned to love the Red Sox, snow skiing, and maple syrup. We moved to Florida where I learned to sweat 12 months a year, work at Disney World, and play four sports---none of them involving snow. I went to college in Georgia where I learned to drink, love broadcasting, and give up my dreams of being a pro football player. I also seemed to excel at being a self-involved knucklehead. I moved to Iowa after covering the murders of five University of Florida co-eds for a Gainesville TV station. I was working in news at the time and decided I'd move to the first place that offered me a full time sports job. 20 years later, I'm still here, and won't leave unless they make me.

2. Walk me through a typical work day for you as far as when you start prepping for your radio show to when you leave for the night after your newscast.

I start reading newspapers and surfing the net around 10 a.m. Lack of efficiency keeps me doing that for a couple of hours. I head to channel 13 around 1, then KXnO at 1:45, back to the TV station at 4, and I leave for the night around 11 p.m. weekdays, midnight or so after SoundOFF on Sundays. (I even fell asleep during that paragraph, and I wrote it.)

3. Is it true that you were once contacted by ESPN for a national job but turned it down to stay in Iowa? (If so could you please explain that scenario?)

ESPN did try to hire me, but I had just signed a new contract with WHO, and for many reasons, it didn't feel right to leave. I'm not sure I could have anyway. ESPN is such an important player in the world of sports that I think people think the network offering me a job is a bigger deal than it actually was. ESPN hires many anchors, and the network seems to have done just fine without me.

4. What was the most awkward moment you have endured while broadcasting live on the radio or the television?

Andy Fales has made me laugh like a little school girl several times on SoundOFF. People seem to enjoy it, but I really don't. It's embarrassing to lose control to the point where my eyes are slits, tears are rolling down my face, and my laugh sounds like something you'd hear if Justin Bieber told a joke between songs. The only other time I've lost control like that was in church when I was an altar boy. That was worse. And my parents were less amused.

5. Who, if given the opportunity would you most like to interview if you could go back in time and meet with anybody?

Abraham Lincoln.

(Bonus question): Seriously. What is your deepest darkest secret?

I like chick flicks. Notting Hill is my favorite from this genre. Please don't tell anyone.

Ok, I promise Keith... I wont tell a soul.

(*photo courtesy of

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Legend of the Wrestling Woodsman

Iowa isn't a hot-bed for cryptozoological phenomenon.

Occasionally a rare Bigfoot sighting will cause a media flare up but over all it's a pretty mild and uneventful place to live. We don't have a resident creature of folklore, such as New Jersey who has the Devil, or Florida who has the Skunk Ape, or Vermont who has Champ the legendary lake monster who allegedly haunts Lake Champlain on the US/Canadian border. We don't have feral humans running about, and the threat of a werewolf or other shape shifting creatures seem to be less than luke-warm here in the corn belt. You mention a shadow person and the typical Iowan won't have any idea what you are talking about.

That being said, I am a curious sort. Fantasy has always been much more fun than reality to me, and I dared to dream. I didn't necessarily dismiss the unknown as automatic fiction, and perhaps out of boredom more than anything else, I searched high and low to find comprehensive evidence that supported my suspicions. I have often said, even on this blog, that while I am not ready to say that Bigfoot is definitely real... I do believe in the possibility that he exists... I think the scientific evidence to support this is overwhelming. To me it's naive to dismiss what we do not understand or know about as fake. While it has never been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the giant bipedal woods creature is indeed real, it hasn't been proven otherwise either. To me that is enough to keep my curiosity piqued and my imagination fluid with questions...

But I digress. Well... Kind of.

I had heard about the Wrestling Woodsman from locals; mostly old farmers who would tell stories during happy hour at Wilson's Tap. Most had a sighting during harvest... While combining at dusk for example... Or early in the morning while tending to beans or corn. The legend is simple, and actually not far-fetched. It is this: Wrestlers living in a Mexican society where the popularity of the sport is waning are migrating north in search of a match. With only the obscurity of the mask, they have resorted to hiding out in the woods, or along forested rivers, or in other areas that provide cover, such as a corn field. They seem to be constantly on the run... Only coming into town after dark to ravage for food or to read the posted bills on the community bulletin board. Their search is relentless... While Lucha Libre (which translates as "Free Wrestling") is a dying sport in Mexico, it is still a thriving enterprise here north of the border.

A good friend of mine, Dave, (and a very credible source) told me of several sightings he had experienced in the woods on his acreage. He was actually featured on the local evening news and provided his own footage taken by a video monitor he had attached to a tree. Check it out...

I was amazed and obviously excited. Dave literally guaranteed to me that I would experience a sighting, if I were to come out to his farm and set up a stake-out. Of course I agreed to do it. My friend seemed to know exactly where the Woodsman was at any given time during the day or night. It was as if the creature had set up his base camp on my friend's land and had taken residence there. Dave even told me that he would set out beans, rice and tortillas for this nomad wrestler, and would often observe him picking and eating berries off of his mulberry bush. I was amazed... And I wanted to see this for myself.

I wasn't disappointed. We had sighting the very first night we set up our stake out. The Wrestling Woodsman ran right by us, at about the exact time Dave suggested that he would. I was astounded. It was like seeing a cartoon... too surrealistic to be real... But there it was right before my eyes. The only thing to do was to get it on video to show the rest of the world that it exists... to finally end the scoffing and arguments otherwise.

What you are about to watch is a compilation of our video footage and photos caught by the still camera. While some of the footage is grainy or dark, I challenge anyone to prove it is a hoax and not the real thing...

This should quiet the naysayers and once and for all prove that the legend is real. Viva Lucha Libre!

Long live the Wrestling Woodsman!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Girl Interrupted

My suspicions are confirmed. Kings of Leon ARE a bunch of pussies.

While playing a show in St Louis last night, a pigeon dropped a load on bassists Jared Followill’s head. The band called shenanigans and abruptly cancelled the rest of the concert.

From Gigwise:

The band were three songs into their set at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater when they announced that the concert was being halted due to “safety concerns”.

No further explanation was given at the time, but drummer Nathan Followill later revealed more details on Twitter.

“So sorry St. Louis. We had to bail, pigeons shitting in jareds mouth and it was too unsanitary to continue,” Nathan wrote.


Maybe someone in the KOL's management needs to develop a "masculinity scale" for the band to rate future incidents before instantly cancelling gigs. It could be called WWJD?... (What would Jonas Do?) It would be a good start.

Had the Jonas Brothers been playing that particular venue at that particular time and a bird had shat on one of their heads, a roadie would have retrieved a wet towel and wiped the mess clean. The show would have continued uninterrupted. I seriously doubt that the performance would have been cancelled for "safety reasons".

According to the Gigwise report, Fox 2 News had originally cited heat as the cause for cancellation. This excuse didn't fly for obvious reasons... "Sex on Fire" is the song that catapulted these nimrods to fame. It's hard to bellow out that Your sex is on fire when you are halting gigs due to steamy conditions.

You know... If you are in a band that has less testicular fortitude than the Jonas Brothers, you are probably in the wrong business.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Five Questions With... Jacob County

This week we didn't have to go very far to ask our five questions. Jacob County grew up about 12 miles from where I am writing this in the Sprint Car Capital of the World, Knoxville, Iowa. But dirt track racing isn't the only thing that Knoxville is known for. From within it's populous grew a kid who defied the conventional ways of the small rural town. Jacob County didn't dream of driving a race car as a kid; he dreamed of playing the electric guitar. At age 10, his parents bought him an early '70s Gibson S 1 electric.

"He took lessons from a teacher in school and she told us that we should get him to a good school cause he learned everything she new in about 2 months", his father Mike said to me. "He read books and started a band at twelve, I think..."

While in high school he played guitar in what is now the legendary Salt of Society, a defunct proto-punk band that has members of Slipknot! amongst it's fan base. For several years this was his only gig, and he didn't waste any time making a name for himself among the other local musicians. He was young and brave and his sound was raucous and fresh. In 2000, as S.O.S began to fizzle out, he was offered the lead guitar job in Slopsycle... A funky punk metal band that took the local Iowa music scene to new boundaries... Their sound was unique and fun... Reminiscent of early No Doubt, or Zuba! from Boulder Colorado. Over the years, as with most bands that Jacob has become a part of, Salt of Society phased in and out...

Like Salt of Society though, Slopsycle's tenure was sporadic. Jake played with his new band long enough to record one CD, and he still occasionally played with Salt of Society whom had also made one recording, but nothing on a real consistent basis... Then in 1996 he was asked to join The newly formed Tyler Thompson Band and things started happening.

Unlike the previous two bands that Jacob played in, Tyler Thompson had a spell of longevity with their act and the band travelled internationally and recorded four albums. They recorded an album with Chuck Leavell (keyboardist for Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Govt' Mule and the Allman Brothers) in 2002 at the historical Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia. Only when Paul Thompson left the band in 2003 to move to L.A. did the band start to dissipate and eventually fall apart. The band mates remained friendly and even interacted with each other through other bands and jam sessions, and it wasn't uncommon to see a Slopsycle reunion show for instance, with members of Tyler Thompson filling in as guests. Or Salt of Society... Or vise versa, or whatever. Each of these bands never actually broke up, but just seemingly got put on hold as new projects got started. Salt of Society hit the peak of their career in 2006 when they opened for Breaking Benjamin in Des Moines. Jacob was just a young man, and was already living a life that most musicians only dream about.

He already had made a name for himself, and when Johnny Reeferseed contacted him about joining his band, it was a perfect fit. Joe McGuire and Dustin Ennis who played drums and bass respectively for Slopscyle were in the band and with the addition of Beth Spaniel on Bass, the High Rollers were set.

Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers have won several awards including the 2008 Global Marijuana Music Award for Best Funk Song, "Light 'Em Up" (with Afroman) and then again in 2009, this time at the American Marijuana Music Awards in the Pop Music Category for "Brother Can You Spare a Dime". They have been featured on High Times's official website, and are known around the Midwest as one of the funkiest acts to grace the stage.

Check out this version of an old Michael Jackson classic:

I'll Be There by Johnny Reeferseed & the High Rollers

Jacob started doing some video comedy sketches for Dangerous Music Inc., a collaboration of music, knowledge and support for local musicians in the central Iowa area. These videos are a virtual how-to manual for musicians and became an instant hit. They can be found on Youtube. His knack for acting is as natural as his guitar playing, and his videos are just as respected.

Jacob County is one of those musicians that everybody wants in their band... Not just because he plays a blistering guitar, but because he might be the single most likable guy in the central Iowa band circuit. Ask anybody who has met him and they will tell you great things. His reputation for being a good guy may only be overshadowed by his demeanor. Some say he is laid back... Others might say he is kind of quiet... But put a guitar in his hands and it's like you have unleashed a pack of rottweilers on a domesticated rabbit. Things get interesting very fast. Any hint of shyness is quickly surpassed when he plugs in his ES 335 Gibson Custom Shop.

So, on with the Questions...

1. What bands are you involved in at this moment?

Johnny Reeferseed and The High Rollers, Jacob County and The Damaged Goods

2. What ONE guitarist do you admire the most, and why?

I don't have a one Guitarist per say really. I guess right now it would probably be Jim "the Reverend Horton Heat" Heath. He is just a great player obviously, but it's his choice in style, tone! Very tasty player!

3. Your music collection is easily as diverse as mine is... Who do you have on your play list that might come as a surprise to Bigfoot Diaries readers based off of the raucous style that your bands generate on stage?

The Cramps, GangGreen, DRI, Grateful Dead, Doc Watson, Split Lip Rayfield, Steve Earle, Scott H. Biram. I could go on and on!

4. Is it true that one of your bands actually went on a mini-tour with The Allman Brothers? If so would you please tell us about that?

Yes, TylerThompson went on a southern states tour w/ Allman Bros. It was a summer leg of their tour. We played all outdoor venues. It was a lot like a festival atmosphere! Lots of great other bands as well. Phil Lesh and Friends, Gov't Mule, Derek Trucks band. I've forgotten lots of other good bands I'm sure! The whole experience was a blast.

5. What was your most awkward moment while playing on stage?

That's a tough one. Maybe having my amp blow out during a Slopsycle show opening for The Samples @ Hairy Marys, or having the same amp blow out on me again during a TylerThompson show opening for Robert Randolph @ the Val Air Ballroom.

(Bonus question): Who smokes more weed... Johnny Reeferseed or Afroman?

Most definitely, without a doubt Johnny Reeferseed!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Legendary Shack Shakers: Agri-dustrial

Last weekend when I met up with the guys for a weekend of baseball and mischief, Tommy gave me a CD to bring home and listen to. I had never heard of the band... But it's name was definitely intriguing. The Legendary Shack Shakers are one of those band names that would cause a guy like me to purchase their album simply by their name. Tommy gave me their Agri-dustrial album, which I believe is their 6th release. Robert Plant is a noted fan, and the Shack Shakers can be seen regularly on tour with the Reverend Horton Heat.

This Nashville, Tennessee band is not a disappointment and Agri-dustrial is a very good album. The sound they produce is so reminiscent of so many other bands' sounds that it becomes uniquely their own. Confused?... Well let me try to explain. These guys are NOT copycats.While I have heard musical variations of what the Legendary Shack Shakers are doing, I have never heard a band that epitomizes the sound that these guys are making. So many bands came to mind while listening to the record... Dead Man Flats, The Something Brothers, the Reverend Horton Heat, Deadbolt, The Magic Mushroom Band, The Stooges, and The Colored Planks to name a few. But the Legendary Shack Shakers do not take after anybody, this is clear. While they may have several musical influences, the sound that they make is strictly their own with a distinctive flair of originality. In other words, while these guys may sound like other musical acts, there is NOBODY who sounds like them.

I wasn't sure where the album was going with the first track. Melungeon Melody is a 36 second percussion instrumental that doesn't seem to come from anywhere, and ends just as mysteriously. I guess "Agri-dustrial" is as good a definition as any...

It is an auspicious intro into Sin Eater, which is revered by many to be the "hit" on the record. It is a good song... Duane Dennison's opening guitar riff is very reminiscent of the opening to The Magic Mushroom Band's Don't Be Afraid. From there it's an in your face punk stomp free for all, with liquid guitar riffs and Colonel J.D. Wilkes's gritty vocals. The tune is catchy... Kind of like a cross between old Thin Lizzy and the Stooges.

The third tune, Sugar Baby nicely compliments Robert Johnson style blues with a subtle yet definitive banjo twang. It's got that just met the devil at the crossroads sound with it's haunting guitar power chords and poor boy lyrics. It would sound really nice blaring from the speakers of a large convertible while driving along Route 66.

Nightride is the next song on the album, and it also has that bluesy crossroads sound. The harmonica is yet another addition to the band's instrumental repertoire, and at this point I wouldn't be surprised to hear a trombone in the mix. At this point of the record I am beginning to get a sense of the Shack Shaker sound. It has a shade of darkness to it... Not necessarily evil, but there is definitely something there. I have begun to sense a looming shadow that lingers with the record's tone. It's there but I just can't seem to put my finger on it...

Dixie Iron Fist comes next. Those who grew up in Iowa might be familiar with The Something Brothers who hailed from the Quad Cities. This song is very reminiscent of them... It makes me want to lace up my army boots and kick some hippies in the teeth. Not that I would ever do that... Shit, I love hippies... But that seems to be a fitting metaphor that describes this song's sound. Brett Whitacre beats the hell out of his drums in this tune, and Mark Robertson slaps the shit out of his bass. In this critic's opinion, this might be the best song on the album.

A Deadbolt influence steps up in the next cut. Two Tickets to Hell has that satanic surfing sound to it, without ironically, the surf guitar. But man you can hear it in there... Must be that looming shadow on the phantom Stratocaster. These boys wind the song down slow and easy, something Deadbolt has never done. This song is good filler, but I wouldn't consider it worthy of mention on it's own accord.

In God Fearing People the Colonel is frying chicken. This is the song that Tommy initially heard that caused him to acquire this record, before he passed it on to me. It is a good song and the harmonica has never sounded better, and at times it sounds like a yard bird clucking, which is a cool touch. It has that on a farm feeling to it... A barnyard stomp if you will. If the southern rock outfit Blackfoot was still making records today, this might be what they would sound like. It's a really good song.

Greasy Creek is fast and mean. It personifies the Shack Shaker sound which at this point I realize is not even definable... But it does conjure images of hay bales, tractors, demons and the army boots I mentioned before. While The Beat Farmers are probably the closest thing to the Shack Shakers, in theory at least... They sound nothing like 'em. The Legendary Shack Shakers, while emulating many bands, have managed to make a sound that's fresh, pure and all their own. Greasy Creek might be the ultimate example of this.

Hammer and Tongs is the 9th song on the album. It kind of blends in nicely with the rest of the album, but doesn't jump out as one of the great cuts. It starts out very strong, but quickly fades into obscurity... And like Two Tickets to Hell it doesn't stand on it's own.

Now, Hog-Eyed Man not only is a great name for a song, but it actually is a great song. Stevie Vai's guitar influence is instantly evident... Is it just me or is that guitar talking... And what the hell is it saying?  This song defies everything else on the album. Sound wise it can't be compared to anything else the record offers, and I would say that in conjunction with the opening track, this song is the true definition of  'Agri-dustrial'.

Things slow down a bit with Dump Road Yodel. Once again the banjo makes a prominent appearance, and works nicely with the song's melody and Wilkes's yodels. If you had to pick one song off of this record to play for your mama, this might be it.

You know hobos... Are my heroes... They don't never pay no bills... Is how the next song starts. It's a catchy introduction to a very cool tune. It's got that lonesome railroad blues sound, and I think it would be very effective if played at an outdoor concert venue. It's got that wind in the hair sound to it... Which I guess makes sense, as it is a song about hobos. Hoboes are my Heroes is the first song to feature a banjo solo AND a guitar solo on the record which in itself is a tragedy, but funny as I mention that, I didn't even notice it until I heard it. So I guess the band gets a pass there. Hop a ride, hop a ride, hop a ride... Take a ride. You can always hop a ride when the wolf is at your door... This is a very good tune and maybe the only one that rivals Dixie Iron Fist as my favorite track on the album.

Everything I Ever Wanted to Do... comes next and is yet another song that has that Robert Johnson crossroads feel to it. Nothing new on this track, but I will say this... I really enjoy Wilkes's vocals. Not just on this tune, but all of them. They are catchy and unique, and fit perfectly with the sound that the band is producing.

The Hills of Hell are next, and this song is another that steps out of the mainstream of the album. It doesn't sound like any other song, and Robertson's bass is prominent among Wilkes's spoken lyrics. It is very reminiscent of The Colored Planks's Black Ferris Wheel, although I would be (pleasantly) surprised if the Shack Shakers have ever heard of that band. It rides along very smoothly... Like a haunted snowball headed for hell.

The Lost Cause features Wilkes on piano, a heavy snare drum beat and the sweet mellow sound of the Jew's Harp, which according to the credits is also played by Wilkes. It is the perfect song for it's place on the album. It reminds me of a song the band would play at the end of their set before coming out and belting a floor stomping three-song encore. The song is sweaty and tired... The perfect wrap up for a great album.

Finally Killswitch ends off where Melungeon Melody started... A 42 second ending to the record which perfectly compliments the way the album began. The first and final songs on Agri-dustrial are kind of like psychedelic buns which hold the album together... But there is no cheese on this sandwich. Just  good old fashioned boot stomping, chicken yodeling, railroad riding, devil fearing blues.

My recommendation: Buy this album NOW.

I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars

You say you want a revolution?

I've been watching listening to the TV news round table political discussions this morning... He said, she said, blah blah blah. It gets so old. The Republicans talk about the "good old days" when Reagan was in office, and the Dems keep referring to the Clinton era. It's too bad that that neither party has the cojones to talk about the time period that actually has relativity to today's society - When the country was founded and the United States Constitution actually meant something. I'm so fucking sick of the political status quo and the lack of leadership in this country. The constitution has become as relative as a piece of toilet paper. The judicial branch is now in the legislative business, the legislative branch deliberatley defies constitutional laws and it's constituency, and the executive branch sits back and watches it happen as we slowly fade to third world status.

Something needs to happen fast. The point of no return is just around the corner...

I never wanted this to be a political blog... And despite this particular post it will not be. But... I just want to say that I did not vote in the last two elections and I will not vote for, or endorse anybody until I see a candidate that represents the constitutional laws of this country and can bring the USA back to a self-sustaining entity with wholesome values and less government. I will only endorse and vote for a candidate that represents ME... Voting for anybody else is stupid and is only a contribution to a failed future. We need to take a GIANT step backward, wipe the slate clean and elect public officials who don't cater to special interests or have thier hands in corporate wallets. We need to limit the welfare safety net and protect our borders. We need to support our military. We need to quit spending and quit borrowing. We need to quit finger pointing and shifting blame and start taking accountability for our actions. We need to ensure that the future is a bright and shiny place for our children. We need to do something fast.

Well you know...We all want to save the world.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Applying Simple Advice

My friend Mike gave some incredible advice to me tonight. It is simple in theory but deep in possibilities. I have decided to use it in every aspect of my life from this point forward... Perhaps even make it my motto.

It is this: Just be good to each other.

Man, life throws a wicked curve ball sometimes. Just when you think you are in your groove the pitch comes in high and tight. Your knees buckle and you fall backward... The pitch drops in across the plate and the umpire calls "Strike!"

The rules don't allow you very many of those. It's called a missed opportunity.

This week I missed an opportunity. It involves many personal issues, and a person extremely close to me. I saw the pitch come in and I ducked out like a child. If I was wise... I would have just taken Mike's advice. It would have saved a lot of pain gripped by confusion and arrogance. I would have seen the ball break across the plate, and at least if I were to go down, I would have gone down swinging... Much manlier than taking the low road and hitting the dirt.

Arrogance doesn't always work in the big world... I'm teaching myself this. It leads to isolation which leads to envy which leads to jealousy which leads to insensitivity, which leads to nowhere. Suddenly through arrogance, we are no longer who we were, but puppets controlled by self loathing, which incidentally leads us back to arrogance. It's a vicious circle, my friends... One that can be avoided.

I wasn't completely in the wrong this week. But I was in the wrong for taking the low road and ducking out. I should have hung in there. Mike's advice is pretty much common sense, yet I missed the opportunity to apply it. Next time I'm going to knock it out of the park.

This post probably makes no sense to you... And that's ok. This one's for me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Five Questions With... Zebra

This week's Five Questions With... segment features the beautiful and seductive Zebra, a bass player temptress who has been involved with such acts as The Enemies, The Sleazaholics and Hot Damn!. I "met" her through a mutual friend on Facebook, Russell Quan who is the drummer for The Mummies. She had posted some amazing photos she had taken of the Mummies on his FB page, and after I commented on them she and I became friends.

As it turns out she has quite an extensive history in American rock and roll. She forged her own path from when she co-owned several independent record companies to later when she formed her bands, some of which are self proclaimed sleazy parodies... A rock and roll bridge if you will, that crosses that gap from the teenage male awkwardness to rock-hard, full-fledged manhood. In that aspect her band Hot Damn! has done more for male maturation than the Bangles, The Runaways, and the Go-Go's have combined.

Her bands weren't featured in the magazines that sat upon the Safeway store shelves.  

"There are quite a bit of fetish and porn mags that did great interviews, reviews and shots of Hot Damn!." She said to me.  "Boobie shots if you get my drift..."

Not exactly what one might find sitting next to Teen Beat, Sports Illustrated and Woman's Day.

As much as a parody as some of her bands are, Zebra actually is somebody who is taken very seriously in the business of rock and roll. She has been a musical entrepreneur, forming independent record companies that didn't fit into the mainstream, but rather sat on the outer edge where the phrase "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll" got it's prominent coin. Her bands are still more or less together, and if you ask her real nicely, she might even come to play in your home town... This is her second appearance in the Bigfoot Diaries, her first coming way back in February. Obviously, as this blog's demographic is typically adult male, we hope for many more returns.

Without further adieu... Five Questions with... Zebra:

I got to be honest... I do not know much about you other than the fact that you play bass for a band called The Sleazaholics and you took some great photos of the Mummies... What would you like the Bigfoot Diaries readers to know about you?

I never really thought of what I want people to know about me. I've always kinda shied away from that subject because people always seem to have their own concept and opinion of me regardless whether it's true or false. They strongly believe that they really know me and what little they do know of me in their minds is always somehow all mixed up with so many strange illusions. So, I let it be. Outside of the music scene and what they do know of me, I've always kept to myself and somewhat private.

Tell me about that psychedelic photo of the Tell-Tale Hearts that was in People Magazine in 1985... Were you there for eye candy... Were you actually a part of the band? The photo looks like it could have been taken in 1969!

People Magazine photo shoot was actually taken at my roommate's and great friend Greg Shaw's Cavern Club in Hollywood, CA on Hollywood Blvd. The entrance was in an alley way and you had to climb up what seemed to the fire escape type metal stairs. Try dragging your shit up that flight of steps. Greg-ee-poo, is what I called him, is the second cat sitting behind me. Greg has passed away and for anyone who didn't know he was Bomp Records along with his ex wife Suzy Shaw. I was not just eye candy but co-owned my independent record company Dionysus Records, Hell Yeah Records, Romulan and Bacchus Archives. I guess It's now called the Dionysus Empire since I left. We were distributed by Mordam REcords at the time (also distributed Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles and Long Gone John's Sympathy Records) to name a few. I have always been part of the LA scene for many years and put out many records from sixties garage punk to punk rock and rockabilly.

How did the stage name Zebra come about?

Zebra has been my nickname longer than my real name. Everybody knows me by Zebra. Name was given to me by one of my sisters named Margie. Can you believe there are four us girls? My poor dad!

Sex drugs and rock and roll are listed as your influences... I see the sexual connotation in your style, but what is/was your drug of choice, and who would you say is your main influence as a bass player?

Yeah, sex has kinda been the whole being of all the bands I've been in. The music was somewhat humorous and I didn't take it too seriously. Rock n Roll is in my blood and for the drugs... My main influence in playing bass is Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and of course Lee Joseph, my ex and head cheese of the Dionysus Empire. He can play bass like nobody's business.

Is there any chance that Hot Damn! will tour again, and if so will you be coming through Iowa?

As for Hot Damn! touring again... it's bound to happen. So look out Iowa your ass is next!

(Bonus Question): What is the last book you read?
Last Book I read...usually I read two at a time is "Azucar!" bio on Cuban singer Celia Cruz by Eduardo Marceles and "Spear of Destiny" almost done with it by Trevor Ravenscroft.

Thank you Zebra... The Bigfoot Diaries sincerely appreciates your candid participation with this interview. We really do hope to see you on the road soon!

*UPDATE: Upon completion of this post I got a message from Zebra who made a clarification: Hey man! That was way cool of you! Thank you! The only thing I saw that is not happening anymore is the Sleazeaholics. Hot Damn! is the only band I'm still in. You have a cool thing going on! Great Job!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blogger Baseball Weekend: Top 8 Quotes

This past weekend fellow bloggers Tommy and Rob, myself and and a non-blogger, Matt got together for a weekend of minor league baseball, great food, bloody marys, and general mischief. It was a tremendous three days that went by way too fast.

This was my first time meeting Tommy and Rob, and they are just as great in person as they are on their blogs.

What follows are the top 8 random quotes from the weekend... To the best of memory:

8. I brought the large can of Ly-sol.

7. Why aren't you flying your douchebag flag?

6. That ass belongs in the Smithsonian.

5. I have the right to be silent... I just don't have the ability.

4. ...We would wrap our 21 year old selves with our 21 year old douchebag flags and beat ourselves with bamboo sticks.

3. Sometimes I worry that Dean Wormer was right about that fat, drunk and stupid jive. But Fuck him. He's a fictional character.

2. Saturday morning at the bloody mary bar: (ESPN's) Rachel Nichols looks like she just did the walk of shame.

And perhaps the best line of the weekend:

1. She has a bigger 5-hole than Tony Esposito.

Thank you guys for everything... It was a blast!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Give Sleaze a Chance

Nobody can taint a piano bench like Lady Gaga.

The psycho-sexual performer caused an outcry from Beatles fans when she was photographed sitting at the Steinway Piano that John Lennon once gave to his wife, Yoko Ono. She was in New York City and stopped by the Ono residence for a visit. Sean Lennon snapped the photo and posted it on his Twitter page with the quote: With gaga at mom's house, she's belting on the white piano...

This was a bit too much for some fans of the Fab Four, many of whom deemed Gaga "unworthy" of taking a seat at the iconic set of ivories. One Twitterer, tarastaysfresh, responded to Sean's tweet with WHY WOULD YOU LET LADY GAGA PLAY ON JOHN'S PIANO? I'm disappointed. >:(

Obviously tarastaysfresh is the high authority on worthy deeds, because even though Sean Lennon responded back to her with, pianos meant are to be played. Why is everyone so uptight? What should we do, lock it away in a dusty room? So judgmental..., he took the photo off of his Twitter page. Score one for tarastaysfresh.

Sean later tweeted: Firstly, he gave that piano to my mother for her birthday, it is hers, secondly, he was not uptight the way you seem to be, adding, Come on, lighten's too short, there're enough real problems in the world....

There sure are Sean Lennon, and tarastaysfresh even refers to one of these problems on her Twitter page.

One out of five homeless people are pregnant women. Shouldn't they be first priority?

I wonder if tarastaysfresh deems pregnant homeless women worthy of sitting at John Lennon's gift to Yoko Ono, being the illustrious tweeter she is, and the god-all-mighty authority on all acts deemed worthy...Other inspiring tweets from tarastaysfresh:

love garth brook's voice

Well. I feel like shit.

people are assholes. ANYWAYS, peace out.

Heaven can wait, we're going out in style.

Jamie Cullum is on demand?! Gosh dern, he's the cutest brit. <3

Going out to see the chickens with the WHOLE family. :D


Watching the Tyra show, she's awesome

And perhaps my favorite...

Paraguay is the largest producer of marijuana in the world. I know who I want to win the World Cup.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Real Slim Shady has Stood Up

Meet the REAL most interesting man in the world...

No... It's not Johnathon Goldsmith of Dos Equis fame, and it's certainly not LeBron James. It's Colton Harris-Moore, a modern day D.B. Cooper who has gained international fame for being a fugitive for the last two years.

This young man has managed to escape capture from authorities by always being one step ahead of them, making even the most prolific law enforcement agencies seem like the Keystone Cops. That is until early this morning when Colton Harris-Moore was finally captured by police in the Bahamas on the island of Eleuthera, about 40 miles south from where he is suspected of crashing a small plane he stole from an airfield 1,200 miles away near Indianapolis, Indiana.

Harris-Moore has been a suspect in the theft of several planes in the United States, despite never having a formal flying lesson and while most of the alleged plane thefts have resulted in a crash landing, Harris-Moore has always managed to walk away from them. This fact alone puts him in a class by himself as far as real life interesting people go, because most people don't survive a plane crash one time... Harris-Moore has managed to do it several times... And in each circumstance managed to escape capture.

That's only one component of his legend... Read on from this article in the New York Daily News:

He fled a halfway house in 2008 and embarked on an increasingly audacious crime spree, stealing cars, speedboats and planes in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

Harris-Moore became known as the Barefoot Bandit last fall after cops found footprints in an Idaho airport hangar where a plane - which later crash-landed out of gas 260 miles away - was stolen.

In February, a stolen airplane mysteriously landed on Orcas Island in Washington state before someone broke into a grocery store, stole a large tray of croissants and chalked cartoon feet leading out the door with the message: "C-YA!"

His elevation to folk hero who takes from the rich and outwits his pursuers at every turn irks those pursuers. "Somebody owned those cars. Someone worked their butt off for those boats," said Dean.

One person on his side is his mom. "I hope to hell he stole those airplanes - I would be so proud," Pam Kohler told a reporter last year. "But put in there that I want him to wear a parachute next time."

The 19-year-old taunts police, lives in the woods when he isn't holed up in someone's empty vacation home and recently left $100 at an animal hospital with a note saying "drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals."

In June, when he left the C-note at the animal hospital in Raymond, Wash., Harris-Moore signed his note "The Barefoot Bandit."

Then he allegedly took off in a stolen $450,000 yacht.

Heh... Johnathon Goldsmith has NOTHING on this kid. If you know of somebody more interesting, I want to hear about them.

Iron Madden

From our Tech Department...

...Courtesy of the great Charles Van Elsen.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Five Questions with... Magnus Sellergren

This week we go international.

Far up in the corner of the world, about where the Atlantic meets the Arctic Ocean there lies a beautiful country called Sweden... Maybe you have heard of it? It is the home land of Magnus Sellergren: Punk rocker... Gaphic designer... Film maker.

Sellergren founded The Dialtones, a cross breed of '70s punk and '50s rock and roll in 1998. While the music was outstanding, the band became a revolving door for musicians and it the wheels eventually fell off in 2003. It didn't take Magnus long to rebound... Within a few days after the demise of the his band, Sellergren formed The Plastiques, a band he describes as "heavy metal bubblegum."

Like the Dialtones, the Plastiques feature short songs with rapid fire guitar riffs and catchy lyrics, but like the Dialtones did, the Plastiques suffer from revolving door syndrome. While they haven't completely disbanded at this point, they are "on ice" until they can solve their lineup issues. Meanwhile Sellergren is still writing songs but dedicating most of his time to his graphic design company which incidentally is called Sellergren Design,  and occasionally working on short films, which hopefully I will get a chance to feature soon in the Bigfoot Diaries.

So without further adieu...

5 Questions

1.What would you like the world to know about you, Magnus Sellergren?

That I need money? I really don't know, I have a tendency to get really stumped when asked questions like those and run the risk of writing a damn book to cover it all. So, keeping it short I guess I'm just an average blue-collar guy pushing 40 that lives in the south of Sweden, dabbles with Punk Rock, poster art and weird movies. And tattoos!

2.For those of us who do not live in Sweden, could you please define the term 'Trash/Cult'?
 Yet another question that's gonna take forever to answer. If you're thinking about the movies I review on my blog it's pretty much flicks from the 50's up to the 70's that cost about $5 to make and usually have special effects made out of cardboard and clay. Stuff that 9 tenths of the population gawk at and consider downright horrible but I myself LOVE for all the wrong reasons.

3.Who are your biggest influences musically?
Too many artists and bands to mention. I pretty much collect records from the 50's up to late 70's and I guess what they all have in common is Rock 'n Roll. But a couple of names just off the top of my head: Ramones, Chuck Berry, Devil Dogs, The Sonics, Link Wray, Stooges, Fats Domino. I've got a soft spot for Sonny Vincent & The Testors 'cuz he writes really good lyrics. The Damned off course, DMZ, Dead Boys. The list goes on and on. Let's just say Rock n Roll in all its mutations over the years.

4.Do you still play with the Plastiques or have you abandoned that project to concentrate more on making indie-horror flicks and Sellergren Design?

The Plastiques are not abandoned but pretty much kept on ice right now due to some problems with the line-up. Got an albums worth of material that I was HOPING would be demo'ed right about now but I guess things change. There's 16 really good tracks that'd blow the first album away but as I said, won't be happening right now. Time is also a factor with my poster art/graphic work, movie reviews and other responsibilities coming in first hand. Got a second band right now though that's rehearsing material for an album, Svarta Maria ("Black Maria" in Swedish) and it's pretty much old school punk/HC with Swedish lyrics. Those tracks will be demo'ed pretty soon and I already got a couple of takers so who knows, there might be something released later on this year.

5.The Dialtones... It seemed that every time I turned around there was a new line-up. What led to the band's break-up?

You've got that right! There were so many changes it actually got pretty ridiculous towards the end. But that's what you get living in a small town and trying to make something happen with people that own way too many records with Metallica and/or Guns 'n Roses. What led to our demise was a cancelled tour of Germany being the final straw for me. A couple of days later I started up The Plastiques.

(Bonus Question): Do you have a good recipe for Swedish Meatballs?

Sure do! Here's my personal recipe:

1 lbs ground beef
1 onion
1 egg
1 tablespoon beef stock
Some breadcrumbs
A dash of cream
barbecue spice

This is no biggie, just mix 'em all together in a big bowl but my 'trick' for lack of a better word is to GRATE the damn onion. That way it gets blended in with the rest of the ingredients and add tons of flavor. Refrigerate for at least half an hour then fry 'em up with LOTS of butter.

Fucking sweet, Magnus! Thank you thank you thank you...

1000 Words dept.

Chinese toy recall:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

"Kids kept asking me if I heard something, I was like, 'No, what are you talking about?"

These are the words of  Mr. Beane, a friend of mine and a teacher in a small school district in Iowa. He is referring to a question I had asked him about a new ring tone that was supposedly popular amongst teenagers. It features a high pitched ring tone that is "invisible" to adult years; the frequency is higher than what most adult ears can heed. Teenagers, however have no problem picking up the high pitched sound, and many use it to secretly receive text messages and phone calls in class.

Mr. Beane continues, "Every once in a while they would say, there it is again, listen. So I listened and again, nothing. The kids said it was annoying, and it continued for the whole period. Later in the day another teacher was talking about it and said one of the kids at school had it on their phone. The student they said had it was in the room next door when the kids were hearing it in my room, so apparently it travels some."

I first heard about it when I read this article in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and apparently this was one way that the kids were communicating in school behind the scenes... By sending texts back and forth under the guise of this silent ring.

I couldn't help but wonder at what age does one's ears lose higher frequency perception, and could we tune all of the classic rock stations and Green Day and all the other crap that the kids call "punk" these days to the same frequency so I don't have to hear that also?

If they could do that I probably wouldn't feel so bad about growing old.