Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Your Own Words.... Halloween Edition

(Enter creepy laughter...)

This is our first annual Halloween Edition. I asked friends and readers to submit a story of a strange experience that they have had... Whether it be paranormal, spiritual, spooky, or down right scary. We were amazed at the number of responses we received, and were able to capture some pretty chilling stories.

There is weirdness all around us, folks. We travel through our 3-dimensional world without much thought most of the time. What phenomenon we do know about is a microcosm of what is actually out there...

This and all photos by CVEckian

Yeah. But anyway. You already knew that... Grap a bowl of popcorn, pop open your favorite brand of soda and lets get this show on the long dark country road...

Bill Kendall: About 1992 I spent a few weeks in the Appalachian Hills of Kentucky with a friend who had a long standing relationship with a family in Cranks Hollow (Holler), Kentucky. It is a genuine hillbilly place, complete with all the moonshine, incest, and retardation you would expect. In the course of building houses and digging outhouse pits, my friend and I took an afternoon and hiked to a hilltop cemetery. We hiked and saw lots of beautiful stuff, and also the scars of strip mining. Then we came back down and I went for a walk on the road up to the end of the holler by myself.

As I walked, my attention was called to a flowering bush beside the road, and I walked over and turned to face this bush and peered into it. As I did so, I saw a series of images of faces, from cave men to present times, including Christ, Buddha, Gandhi, Walt Whitman, and countless faces who must have just been regular people, and finally, the series of images ended with my own face. What I took to be the voice of God was in my head, not as a voice speaking words, but as some form of communication passing a thought to me. That thought was this: "All humans have the capacity to be Christ. You have a choice to do good or ill."

I've kind of taken that to heart since that time. I guess that is why I have such difficulty accepting when people do cruel things.
Renae Heikkila:  So the last house that we lived in was really creepy. I had a strong sense that children had died in the house. I didn't tell anyone this feeling (especially my kids who were already freaked out by the house). We heard footsteps on the hard wood floors in the living room, dining room and hallways when we were in bed sleeping. We had strange banging noises come from the basement coal room. We had weird "feelings" that someone was present watching us. It was very disturbing. My daughter who was 18 at the time was afraid to sleep in her room in the basement because she felt like something or someone was in the room with her.
So one night, I am sitting in the living room with my husband and he says, "so you know little kids died in this house right?". It TOTALLY freaked me out. I had the same feeling but hadn't said anything to anyone. I said, "WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?" He says, "I can just feel it. Something bad happened in this house." Well we never found out what happened, but we moved and have none of those weird things or feelings in our new house. The house was built in 1926 and has a graveyard behind the property where the family members were buried. We were told by a relative that in the winter, they placed dead bodies in tree stumps until spring when they could then bury them in the ground. CREEPY!!

Travis Lee Wake: I was 18 years old. My girlfriend was babysitting for a friend. That night about an hour after we put the kids to bed I saw Danni the little girl out of the corner of my eye. I went down the hall to her room. She was lying in her bed and i told her to quit acting that I saw her up. I went over to her rolled her over she whined a little as sleeping children are known to do and I got a chill up my back. There was a stir in the closet and I thought of her little brother Jesse. So I slid the closet door open and lost my breath when I saw a transparent little girl giggle and disappear. I don't know if a little girl died there for sure but I heard one did fall off the second story balcony. Which is strange because two days later the little girl Danni fell off. She was unharmed but still very spooky.

Mike Berhow: We lived in a spook house with lots of weird stuff happening all the time.It was that big house my folks had north of Kville. We were playing pool one day with Spirit blazing on the turntable when the arm just lifted up in the middle of a ...guitar solo. I yelled put that back and the arm went back down right in the same spot. Lights went on and off all the time and some folks got pushed down the stairs. Rhonda saw feet under the door and we woke up in the middle of the night to find my records spread out all over the floor. They were out of the sleeves and it was right by our heads as we were sleeping on a mattress on the floor at the time. My Brujo record vanished and it took me 25 years to find a replacement. New Riders were pretty hard to find. It was cool but for that.

Dante Smith: I remember a time when I could see dead people.... no wait, that was just Dick Cheney on television.

Karen Snyder Jimenez: When I was nine, and my sister was about 12, we asked the Ouija board who our guardian angel was. It gave us a name and we asked how he died and it said in a fire. I'll have to google the name-- Steve Stinfeck. I think it was spelled wrong.... Anyway, during the session I peeked, my sister wasn't looking when it spelled the words and I know I didn't move the center thing.

Mary Van Elsen: I saw a UFO outside of Newton (Iowa) when I was driving back from Kellogg with my Dad (he saw it, too). A bright light hovering high in the sky caught my attention, and I asked Dad, "What is THAT?" Since it was in the quadrant of the sky close to... the airport and since it seemed stationary, we thought it might be a helicopter with a REALLY bright light that just happened to be pointed our way. We were still watching it when it SHOT across the sky in front of us and disappeared. It basically covered the width of Newton in less than 2 seconds!

Cory Denton: It was completely dark. Me and a few friends were talking and we heard a coyote. So we all got together on the big luggage platform. We laid down and everyone started to doze off. If you were walking up to the platform it would have been Kylie closest to Miles (cabin) then me, Mir, and Noah. Noah and I both had our knives in our pocket. Mir and Kylie were freaking out because of the coyote but Noah and I both knew that it had come from across the river so we were okay. Then we laid down and about 10 minutes we heard someone playing a drum. Bum bum bumbum bum bum bumbum. Then we heard a howl but it was human like and sounded like it came from the library. Then we get this gust of wind come from magic hill ( there had been no wind that day) and then we heard footsteps. Noah and I had our knives ready to go. Mine wad a 4inch serrated switch and he had a walmart POS. We eventually fell asleep and then woke up the next morning to learn everyone was sleeping at the ball field. (This story occurred at a summer camp in Iowa).

Mark Shafer: Late one foggy Autumn evening in Aurora Heights on 25th Street in Newton, Jerry C. and myself were over hanging in our neighbor Randy K.'s garage with him burning a few left-handed cigarettes. As we were heading down the gravel drive toward home, a huge bright light rose above the house line across the street ahead of us. It paused for just a minute, then was gone, jetting off to the right from site in a spilt second. Sure, I know what your thinking, must have been the spliff. Then why did Jerry Lee and I both see the same thing? They're out there and yes, so were we...

Julie Osborn: So, I don't know if you know what I do or not. I'm an RN in an ICU in Denver. People die all the time. (Apparently there is a ghost of a child on our 4th floor ICU, but I haven't had the dis-pleasure of meeting him yet.) Anyway, one night while I was in a patents room, I was facing a window mixing up some medication or whatever. My patient was comatose, so he wasn't really chatting it up with me or anything. I looked up to see the reflection of another patient wandering past the doorway of my patents room. She was older-70's maybe- and had on a gown, but I noticed some blood on the front of it. She just kind of turned her head and looked at me, then kept walking. In the ICU we don't usually have people wandering about unattended and well, bleeding! I thought, "Where the heck is her nurse and she needs attention if she's bleeding!" So, I dropped whatever it was that I was doing and turned and ran to the hallway. When I got there and looked out-THERE WAS NO PATIENT! Even more creepy was the fact that there was NOBODY! No nurses, no doctors, no secretaries, NOBODY! The hallway and nurse's station were completely empty. I was working the trauma unit that night and asked everyone if they had a older trauma patient that was female and perhaps ambulatory, but out of the 8 patients on that unit that night-none of them fit the description. (Again, in ICU, they are rarely walking about unless they're trying to escape! lol) They all thought I was smoking something, but I know I saw what I saw. I just hope she found whatever she was looking for.

Doug Simkin:  I saw a ghost once. It was during the flood in 93 when I was living in a tent at Lake MacBride. On my way home from work at midnight, I parked my motorcycle at the head of the trail and was walking down the unlighted trail through the woods... To my tent. I sensed something behind me, and when I turned to look there was a child about 7 or 8 years old in a yellow nylon windbreaker standing there. The hood up over his/her head and it just stood there silently. Scared the bejeezus out of me and I turned and ran. I wish now I had tried to interact with it.

The Governor: My friend and I hitchhiked to a Grateful Dead show in K.C. at the Starlight theater. As we were walking the last couple miles through Swope Park, it was about 3 A.M.,we came around a bend in the road and saw the most incredible thing I've ever seen. A white worm about 4 feet long and about 2 feet around was wiggling along like a normal size worm would do. I immediately got the feeling that thing creature was of high intelligence. It seemed to glow and didn't mind our presence. All we could do was walk on by in a slight state of shock. I had the chills and we couldn't speak for a moment. Later as I told the story to others my friend decided, "he wasn't sure what he saw." It makes me realize that people see things quite often that they simply can't except into their reality. All I can say is, "what a long strange trip it's been."

Amy Hartman:  So...I lived in an apartment in Ankeny (Iowa), with my ex, about 12 years ago.. he was a douche, fought a lot. So, one day we came home, and we were fighting, and we got in the door...still fighting, and went straight ahead into the kitchen, still arguing, and took a 180 back into our main room, and within seconds, there was a PILE of RANDOM things, sitting EXACTLY in the center of the hat sunglasses, lighter, papers....EXACTLY in the middle of the room! A week later, we had a crowd of people over and a basketball FLEW across the room, as if someone had punched it...AND MANY witnesses at random times over a span of weeks saw things fall, or fly, and they would all say something was up! We moved not long after, but our moving was not brought on by the activity. I tried to check archives for that area, but to o avail... There were a couple friends who would not come back!

Troy Church: The sounds upstairs couldn't be real. The pacing of the floors, the constant pounding and the spontaneous jumping. They were clearly a figment of my imagination. After all, there really was no upstairs, just an old floorless attic that had once been the starting point of a house fire. One couldn't even access it, unless they had a key to the empty apartment across the hall... And then another key to the attic stairs within. I was the only tenant in the four apartment building at the time, and had been in the apartment across from mine once, when Gene, the old man who owned the house was doing some repairs over there. He showed me the stairway to the attic and also the charred wooden beams that supported the roof of the apartment building. I made a mental note that there was no floor in this attic... Just the long abandoned floor joists where a floor might have once sat... I had already been hearing the strange noises upstairs.

Gene was the only one who had those keys, and it certainly wasn't he who was running and jumping and pounding on the floor above my bedroom at all hours of the night. He didn't even live in the same town for crying out loud...  A couple of times when the noise got particularly loud or bothersome, I actually wandered across the hallway and checked the padlock on the neighboring apartment. It was always securely locked... Keeping whatever was making the loud awful noises safely away. But, as always after I retreated back to my bedroom, the noisy activity would continue above.

One night I awoke to my mattress wrapping up around me encasing me in the middle like meat in a taco. (It's the best way to describe it.)  I could feel it being dragged acoss my bed and anticipated it's eventual fall to the floor... Which came with a violent WHOMP!. It was dark, but I managed to get sight of my captor... An old skinny man with long gray hair and bushy gray sideburns. With one hand he had both edges of the mattress gripped tightly, and even though he was small in stature, he seemed to have no trouble dragging me and my mattress across the wooden floor toward my bedroom door. I struggled to break free, but the walls of the mattress against me were way too tight. All the while however, I was able to see this old man who had a destination for me. Suddenly he stopped and looked back at me... He had deep red eyes and with his free hand, he put his finger up to his mouth in a hushing motion. "Don't say a word" he said to me in his snarling voice. At that point I froze, but was able to let out a loud yell.... Suddenly I woke up and was in my bed, with my mattress as if nothing had happened. An apprehensive sigh of relief came over me... It was just a dream! I didn't hear any sounds upstairs the rest of that night, and after awhile of contemplating what just happened to me I fell back asleep.

The next morning as I left my apartment for work I stepped out into the hallway. The door across from mine was shut, but there was no padlock on it. It lay on the hallway floor. With a spooky sense of curiosity, I opened the apartment door to look inside... The door inside the apartment... The one which led to the floorless attic above... Was torn off it's hinges, as if someone or something tried to get up there in a hurry. With a body full of goosebumps, and hair standing on the back of my neck, I regressed back into the hallway and slipped the padlock onto the apartment door. Not long after that, Gene put the building up for sale and I had to move out...  That place is still standing, and I can show you where it is.

Thanks to our tech master CVEckian for allowing me to use his incredible photos. But especially THANKS TO YOU for being a loyal reader, friend and contributor ro the Bigfoot Diaries. Much love to all of you...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Five Questions with... Tortelvis

Ok kiddies... I have a treat for ya this time around.

After all, Halloween is just around the proverbial corner. And since a big part of Halloween is the impersonation of somebody else, it only seems fitting that this segment of Five Questions With... would feature a person who impersonates perhaps the greatest icon in the history of rock and roll.

Let me introduce you to Tortelvis - as if you do not already know who he is.

Tortelvis, of course is the front man for the iconic super group, Dread Zeppelin. From day one - January 8th, 1989 (January 8th is Elvis's birthday) to now, this band of masqueraders has entertained thousands of people, and left many scratching their heads. They have successfully managed to incorporate the sounds of Led Zeppelin with the style of reggae and infused it all with the vocalizations of the King himself. Not an easy thing to do....  Dread Zeppelin has not only managed to do it, but they do it sickeningly well.

From a double secret vault of information on the band: Dread Zeppelin have released 12 cds, produced several videos (one in which Butt-head still says,"Whoa, that's cool" and Beavis just agrees), starred in a motion picture, and have toured in over thirty countries including Japan, Brazil, Austrailia, and all of Europe. Their tight and sometimes shredfestual brand of reggae music combined with a stage show that redefines the word, have prompted even Robert Plant himself to speak out in support of Dread Zeppelin's version of "Your Time Is Gonna Come" over his own version!

If you still have no idea what I am talking about, check out this version of "Black Dog"...

The video sums it up quite nicely. You have this group of SUPER MUSICIANS who could have made MILLIONS writing their OWN songs, who opted instead to recreate songs already written in order to bring that much more happiness into the world...?

Yeah something like that.

Lets get this Jamaican Graceland party started... Shall we?

How in the world did Dread Zeppelin happen? Were you sitting around one day with Butt-Boy and just said, "You know what? We should form a band that plays mostly Led Zeppelin songs only we will do it with a Reggae twist... And I'll sing like Elvis!"... Is that how it happened?

Actually yes! Well kinda. We got 2 stories, one involves me driving a milk truck, running into the back of a Ford Pinto (and no it didn't blow up), out popped 5 reggae musicians who played Led Zeppelin music, and the rest is history.

Then there's another story. A friend says "Dread Zeppelin, reggae and Zeppelin". We all have a big chuckle. A few months later a few buddies and I get together in Butt-Boy's garage (he was Put-Mon" then), bash out a few Zeppelin tunes in reggae style. I try to sing like Plant but it is a bit too high in range. I had been doing a an Elvis type thing in another band, so I try the Elvis. Whalla! We do a few shows in Los Angeles. Then MTV with Curt Loder show up at a show at The Palamino in Burbank and put us on TV. It's all been a blur since then.

As great as you guys sound now, I can't imagine that at the very beginning there weren't some kinks in the process... Please tell me about the evolution of Dread Zeppelin from the day the band started to the cultural icons that the band members are now.

Robert Plant was a big Elvis fan. Zeppelin had done Dyrmak'r. It all kinds fits. The boys in the band were such great musicians we made this all fit. A few weeks in Butt-Boy's garage with no drugs or alcohol involved (really) and we had it.

Robert Plant is a big fan of Dread Zeppelin

I've read that Robert Plant is a big fan of your band too... Have you met him? And if so what was he like?

Robert Plant is a big fan. We had caught him on a couple of tv shows talking about us and how he preferred our version of Your Time Is Gonna Come to his. I never had a chance to meet him in person, but I did get to talk with him on Rockline, the syndicated radio show. He was being interviewed and we surprised him with a call in. He actually thanked us for the months of entertainment we had provided him. I was so nervous to speak with him my Elvis accent suddenly sounded a bit like Michael Jackson. A great endorsement from him seeing that a lot of Zep fans we a bit ticked off with our act.

Please tell me about a time when Dread Zeppelin was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Red Rocks. Colorado. A full blown reggae tour with Steel Pulse, Marleys and everything. Someone throws a jug of orange juice and Carl's Jr bag full of dirt. I get hit in the lip, yes the lip I twitch. It gets bloodied. True story.

Watching you guys play in Ames several years ago goes down as a personal highlight of my life. It was seriously one of my greatest rock and roll moments... Has Dread Zeppelin played Iowa since then and if not, how come? If so... Why didn't anybody tell me?

Feb 10 1994 Ames People’s. Tue-Apr-18 1995 Ames People's, Wed-Jul-09 1997 Ames People's, Thu-Apr-02 1999 Ames Peoples, Tue-Nov-10 1999 Ames Peoples. 5 shows through the years. Which show were you at? All fun. Been over 10 years. 10 years gone. We'll have to come back soon. Your time is gonna come.

(Bonus Question, from Bigfoot Diaries reader and fellow Dread Head Joe Sharp): Hi Tort Elvis! I was wondering If the band would re-release the DREAD ZEPPELIN No Quarter Pounder t-shirt again? I really in need it back in my wardrobe, please! P.S. I wear electrical tape as sideburns on a daily basis!

(Joe provided this link with his question.)

No plans to remake the shirt. Maybe a tribute to the bean burger shirt. Tell Joe to try bathroom carpeting for sideburns. I switched from electrical tape a few years back.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Less Player in the Game

Yesterday I lost an old friend to a massive stroke, David Wilkins. He was in his late '40s.

David and I go way back... We were roommates for awhile from the late '80s into the early '90s. We haven't remained close over the years, but managed to keep in touch every now and then to catch each other up in our crazy lives. Unfortunately, the last time Dave tried to reach me, I ignored his message on my answering machine. It was about a month ago and I had my hands full with my own dramatic spectrum of life, and figured I would touch base with Dave later. You never think that you won't have that chance again.

His life was a bit like mine, in retrospect... Dave was a rambler of sorts, never keeping the same job for more than a year or two, and living vicariously through the present day with a glimmer of hope for something better tomorrow. Even though each day came with a slippery slope, he managed to keep a smile on his face and had the tenacity to force a smile in the face of adversity. There was always a lot of adversity.

I was living with Shep in Des Moines in the late '80s and David Wilkins was our next door neighbor. At first we found him to be a very unpleasant person at least in the sense that he didn't seem to like us all that much. Shep and I were loud apartment tenants... Very loud. We played vinyl day and night at full volume, and I don't think we were very popular with any of our neighbors. David, living right next door to us got the brunt of most of our volume and he was never very nice to us, until one night when Shep and I managed to get home from the bar at exactly the same time Mr. Wilkins also got home from a bar. For a moment there was an awkward silence in the hallway as we fumbled for our keys to unlock the doors to our respective apartments, then the realization that Dave was carrying beer... And so were we... And thus began a long friendship between the three of us.

I'll never forget the time Dave passed out in our apartment from drinking and Shep and I stole his keys. We went into Dave's apartment and moved furniture around, and then gingerly placed the keys back in Dave's possession as he still lay passed out in our living room chair. The next morning Dave went home, and of course was shocked to find that a "ghost had messed his apartment up"... To add fuel to our fire we convinced our landlady to make up a cockeyed story about a previous tenant killing himself in Dave's apartment adding credibility to his argument that his place was haunted.

Dave managed to pass out in our place quite often, and each time Shep and I would go over and mess his stuff around only to act surprised the next morning when Dave would claim his poltergeist was back. He never did catch on that it was us messing with his stuff.

There was also the time when Dave came to my family's Thanksgiving with me. As new roommates, we had been drinking pretty heavily the night before, and somehow managed to get ourselves awake for the 45 minute journey to my home town before noon. David drank the skunkiest beer money could buy, and it made for some rancid moments. This particular morning however, he caught me off guard. I pulled over in Altoona to pump gas into my car, and after I paid, I came out to see all of the windows of my car rolled up tightly and Dave in the passenger seat laughing at himself hysterically. Still in a bit of fog from the night before, and quite possibly still buzzing, I didn't think anything of it until I got in behind the wheel.

Dave had farted the world record of vaporous stinkers (no fucking joke) and upon realizing this, had rolled all the windows up tight to save it for me... Of course my first response was sheer horror as I realized what I was smelling, and then to open my car door and let out a nice yellow puke puddle on the ground next to the gas pump. I remember Dave laughing about it all the way to my parent's home, constantly threatening me with another release. Each time he brought it up I told him that I was going to stab him in the head with a tire iron... Years later whenever we eventually "caught up" with each other again that story always came up, and I still laugh when I think about it today.

There are so many other stories, and some are more flattering than these. I should probably share some of those too, as I may when time allows. My head is full of memories, and these stories usually find themselves onto this tablet eventually. Dave was a very good man who had a very good heart. He would do anything for those he cared about, and took a genuine interest in my family and my ever changing situation. For that I always appreciated him, and enjoyed his company. He always had a tendency to make me laugh. For that I will miss him.

I really wish I would have made time to return his call the last time he tried to reach me. As I said, you never think that you won't have that chance again... I'm getting to that age when people close to me are going to start dropping. It's inevitable... It might be one or two a year for awhile, but that number will always increase with time. I realize now that I need to reach out to those who reach out to me. Right now is always better than never.

Dave coined one of my all time favorite phrases: "We are all in this dying game together." He would say it in one of those moments of adversity as a way to rally the souls. Sadly, from now on there will be one less player in the game.

Rest in peace, David.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Strainer Synchronicity

Remember Michael Fox of The Strainers?

Michael Fox at Linko's in Colton, California

He was up late last night blasting out some YouTube videos and he came across "Shake, Shout & Go" by Brian Diamond & The Cutters. He said it was blasting in his mind all day today, so within the past few hours, he did his own recording of the song. It KICKS ASS... Give it a listen.

You can listen to the original version first, or the Strainers version... Or, as Michael himself suggests, watch one while listening to the other!

In Michael's own words: "Ok, turn the volume down on the second video below, turn up the volume on the Strainers video.Sync it up and start both videos at the same time." (Then, with the top video blaring loudly, watch the kids dance in the lower video. It's uncanny!)

The Strainers are for real folks... They are merely breaking out of their shell right now... But just give these guys just a little more time and it won't be long before they will be plastered all over your teenage daughter's bedroom walls.

If you are in the L.A. area on Halloween, be sure to check them out at The Back Door Lounge at 1250 E Mission in Pomona. $3.00 will get you in wearing a costume, and several years from now you can say that you were there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Evoked with The Maw and A Dead Hero

Recently we discussed the band The Maw here on the Bigfoot Diaries. It looks like Saturday night at the House of Bricks in Des Moines will be your next chance to catch them live. .

The Maw will be playing in support of regional act Evoked who hails from Appleton Wisconsin. Des Moines' own A Dead Hero will also be along for the ride. This is a Metro Concerts Live production.

From Evoked's website:

EVOKED ...brings a new and melodic yet heavy and deep sound to the heavy metal scene. Currently writing for their new album, the band is also celebrating the inking of a development deal with Artist Development and Managment firm, The Inner Light Agency.

Originally formed in 2002, the band released their debut album Inside in 2004 and was voted one of the best local bands of the year by heavy metal radio station Razor 94.7 FM.

The current line up came together in 2005, when bassist, Cliff Duda, drummer, Jaime Varela and lead guitarist/vocalist, Brian "Fret" Adams joined founding member, Jason Schumacher (lead vocals and rhythm guitar).

Evoked has since focused on writing new music and playing shows throughout the midwest, gaining new fans and climbing the ladder back to the top of the local music scene - evidenced in 2007, when the band locked a spot on the top 10 bands of the year list on Green Bay's local heavy station Razor 94.7.

In 2008, Evoked released Sign of The Seventh Seal Chapter One: The New Sessions. This release features the new signature Evoked sound and a breed of vocals that is unheard of in the heavy metal scene - powerful and pure.

2010 finds Evoked working on their new album and of course their inking with iLA. Damon Moreno of iLA says: "These guys are working very hard. I'm sure the best is yet to come for these guys."

So yeah... Be one of the cool kids and meet us there!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sarge Adam Sessions (Part 1)


This post is not for the timid or easily offended. It contains strong language and a depiction of the obscene rock and roll culture. Also, it clutches overtones of violence and sexual aggression. It is blasphemous, slandering, and disrespectful to about every virtuous entity on the planet...

And it's all true!

"Anarchy in the U.K." was a big hit for Malcolm McLaren's Sex Pistols. They sang of violence, anti-social conformity, and they attempted to taint the Queens image. They even covered Sinatra's "My Way" as a show of defiance.


Meet Fearless Leader... And their unconcerning front man, Sarge Adam.

Sarge Adam and I met through a strange line of events that originated with my interview with Zebra back in July of this year. I wanted more information on the bands she was associated with and the people who played in them. Little did I know at the time that this quest would lead me to cross paths with one of my personal idols (and one of the original Gizmos) - Eddie Flowers - and bring me face to face with Fearless Leader, one of the most controversial acts in rock and roll history.

I honestly hadn't heard of Fearless Leader, or Sarge Adam. Some how I missed that train. I am wondering how this happened, because Fearless Leader epitomises everything a rock and roll band should be... They are the very definition of the term. You would think that a band that plays great music despite their inability to take themselves seriously would surface in the mainstream somewhere. But these guys never did. Their disastrous tour of '88 wasn't covered in Spin or Rolling Stone, despite it being a much better story than what WAS being printed in the late '80s. The cell phone camera was still years away from reality, and there are very few pictures of Fearless Leader available. And meanwhile in 2010 the radio waves are being saturated with shitty bands like Kings of Leon and Buck Cherry... And we need bands like Fearless Leader more than ever.

Having read about Fearless Leader where I could find information on them, and from email exchanges with Zebra and her husband, Allen Clark (who also played in Fearless Leader), I was urged to contact Sarge Adam. I shot off an email to him, and since then through a long trail of correspondence, I have accumulated perhaps the most epic Rock and Roll interview ever.

Sarge Adam - or Dr. Sleaze - as he goes by on stage, has been extremely affable in dealing with me. I am sure that there are other things that he could be spending his time on, rather than conversing with a low-rent blogger like myself... And I couldn't be more appreciative.  The time he has put into this interview is remarkable... And I am forever grateful to him. His answers are candid and at times shocking. Often they made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to piss my pants. His truthfulness and attention to detail amazes me, and still does each time I re-read what we have discussed. This interview goes beyond the usual 5 questions thing that we do here on the Bigfoot Diaries, and even exceeds the interview I did with Imperial Dogs front man Don Waller back in January. This has literally turned into an on-going question and answer session, and that is what I am calling it... The sessions. I am the psychiatrist and Sarge is the patient. Well at least in the sense that I ask the questions, nod at his answers and write them down. Sarge is not crazy. He is more in tune with himself than most people ever allow themselves to be, and he tells it exactly the way he sees it. There is no bullshit with Sarge, just glorious stories of rock and roll mayhem... Enough to fuel a major motion picture. The fact that these stories are true blow me away... Especially because they have managed to fly under the radar for so long.

Sarge Adam with Fearless Leader

Because of the length of the interview, and the areas we haven't even covered yet, I am going to publish this in parts. I don't know what the final number will end up being, but I have enough right now for three equal pieces... Plus,  a whole slew of other questions to cover with Sarge yet. As long as he responds to my questions, I am going to keep asking them.

I am not going to disclose much more about Sarge in this monologue... You will learn enough about the man if you keep on reading. So put the children to bed, pull up a chair and prepare to be entertained. If you are easily offended, this is your last chance to vacate this post.

The Sarge Adam Session Part One:

Tell me about Fearless Leader's very first show...

Our first show was in 1986 at a private party that our drummer Brick Wahl had at a small rental place on Melrose in Hollywood. Allen and I wore roller skates onstage - "Yes it is very difficult to play guitar and especially the wah wah pedal on roller skates" - Allen was the Bassist at the time, we were a power trio!

I had purchased some huge smoke bombs and we taped them to the ends of our guitars. Well, when we lit them they really let loose and the place filled up with smoke FAST! As the damn things were taped to our guitars we had to stop playing and rip these hot as hell, smoking sumbitches off the guitars. By this time the people brave enough to stay were on the floor choking with their shirts over their faces. We poured beer down the damn things and they were water proof, so we just threw them down and kept playing. Well, all the smoke and people flying out the door of this place caused quite a commotion, and a neighbor called the fire department because it looked like the place was on fire! As we left the stage we were met by the fire marshall and about 100 firemen and 20-30 cops! They arrested Brick because he was in charge of the whole thing and confiscated the $600 or so he had taken in at the door. 4 other bands were supposed to play after us including Crawlspace which I played Bass in and Allen was the drummer, they were all really pissed at us! To add insult to injury we threw Brick outta the band because he wasn't a very good drummer, he's still my best friend! That started a trend in L.A. where other bands who knew us would refuse to play after us, so we became headliners by default!

Is it true you got punched in the face by a priest while playing at a Catholic Fair? And how the hell were you allowed to play a Catholic fair?

The Catholic school carnival was in the San Fernando valley at Saint Catherines Catholic school annual fund raising party. Our drummer at the time Flytrapper (Electric Ferrets) had friends who were booking the gig and he had them book Fearless Leader, the Thirsty Brats ,Crawlspace and they also had some really shitty U2 cover band to open the show. The U2 band took the stage and we all started throwing everything not nailed down at them, I think they played 3 or 4 songs before tossing in the towel. The Thirsty Brats with Scott Drake (Humpers) took the stage next and the crowd which consisted of mainly children, parents and clergy started to get the idea that they had made a huge mistake! The Brats got to play about half of their set before the power was cut on them for swearing too much! We took the stage in our make-up to a giant groan from the crowd, but we refused to play until the guys who booked us went to the beer stand and brought us 24 cups of beer. They did! We guzzled the beer fast and then went into "Hey Satan" our usual opening #. This was met with so much anger you could feel it. The anger was alive!

I was singing and swearing and just doing my thing when a really angry looking Priest and two big football players got onstage to throw us off. I told them to "Get the fuck off my stage you lousy cocksuckers!" and the football players looked at each other and then looked at me with fear in their eyes and they just bailed and left the Priest on his own with me! Scott Drake said I looked like the "Evilest clown he had ever seen" The Priest was screaming for them to pull the plug and I told him if he did "I'd kick his ass back to Hell where he belonged" That was it.. he actually ran at me in his little black dress and punched me right in the mouth, so I laughed in his face and then gave him the hardest uppercut I've ever hit anyone with, and his little 130 pound ass flew up and out into the crowd never to be seen again. We played one more song and got offstage before the cops came! Once again... Crawlspace was scheduled after us and got cancelled. They were not happy with us at all!

Oh, another hilarious thing about that fair was....Our bassist at that time was Mike Snider (Kings of Oblivion) and he's kinda weird. After we had put on our makeup and costumes he was walking around the fair trying to pick up jail bait girls with the line "hi I'm in the band" Allen and I followed him around laughing our asses off as the little girls ran away in horror!

The Fearless Leader

How did the name Fearless Leader come about?... obviously the evil dictator from Bullwinkle comes to mind... And how did that name incorporate into the clown outfits and other garb the band was known for wearing?

FL is indeed inspired by the Bullwinkle show character. The band just got together and started making up names and we all agreed on that one, mine. I imagine that's the way most bands do it. I always have.

When we first started playing Allen and I would wear a little make-up and weird clothes, but Brick wouldn't do it (another reason he hadda go). Our first release was Trigon records 1988 "Gimme the Keys" which we have 3 songs on. In the promo pic's we are not wearing make-up or strange clothing. We also released a single on Trigon in early 89 with a lineup of myself, Allen on guitar now, Flytrapper on drums and Mike Snider on Bass. This was our last release without make-up. Allen and I had always wanted to wear KISS like make-up so we started doing that. We also started to wear whatever weird clothes we could find....Leather pants and cod pieces, long gloves, silver cowboy boots with pink heels, big pink boa was my first costume. It was a piece meal kind of thing with no real structure.

Then Snider quit the band and a guy named John Hancock (real name) from Texas joined the band, and things really started to come together. He took the band name Oral B. Goode and was a really great musician and song writer. We were instantly 100 times better with old Earl in the band. I say Earl because Allen couldn't say Oral with that hillbilly accent of his it sounded like Earl, so we all started calling him Earl!

During this time we composed and polished up the songs for our 1st album. We did a US tour in 1988 with Flytrapper on drums and Allen now playing rhythm guitar, Oral B. Goode on Bass and me on lead guitar. While on tour I found my now trademark red and white gingham ladies polyester leisure suit in a Pittsburgh thrift shop!

It became obvious that Flytrapper was holding us back, so we let him go and a new drummer... Johnny Duff, also from Texas joined the band as our new drummer. He took the name Spammy Haggard, which I thought up. Spammy was also an excellent musician and I suddenly found myself with a really fuckin' good band! We started playing shows 3-4 times a week and really got the act tight! Our audiences started to get bigger and bigger and things were good, very good! Or so I thought!

Allen and I were still playing in Crawlspace and there was a little jealousy going on there because Fearless Leader was way more popular. Allen was also still playing drums in his original band "The Lazy Cowgirls". So we weren't really putting all of our time and energy into Fearless Leader. The Lazy Cowgirls went to Europe for 3 months in late 89 and Fearless Leader suddenly turned into a power trio. Some say we were at our best during this time, but without Allen it wasn't Fearless Leader to me. He and I were the masterminds behind this thing and with him missing it just wasn't the same. We played a lot of good shows while Allen was gone and our audiences started to number in the hundreds and we got ready to record our first album, as soon as Allen returned from Europe.

The epitome of rock and roll

Tell me about that U.S. tour in '88... Did it have a name? Was it a nation wide event?... And what are some of your memories from that tour?

We toured the U.S. in October of 1988. No, it didn't have a name that I can remember! The lineup was myself on lead guitar and vocals, Alien Rock (Allens FL name) on rythym guitar, Oral B. Goode on bass and Flytrapper on drums. I dyed my hair blue which turned green 2 days later and Flytrapper dyed his fire engine red. We toured in a small Toyota truck with a camper shell on the bed and all of our equipment in a U- haul trailer. First show was in Denver, we arrived a day early and got very drunk not realizing that the thin air and Mile High City would seriously affect our bodies. We were out at a bar partying it was up a big staircase and when we went to leave we were all very drunk! Flytrapper tripped going down the stairs and fell on Oral's leg breaking his ankle. We went to the E.R. and they set his leg in a cast. Oral had to play every show sitting in a chair! The gig in Denver went well, but Oral kept bitching about his leg hurting, upon examination I noticed that it had been set improperly at an angle and he had to have it rebroken and reset.

The next show was in Minneapolis (a hell of a long drive in a day) We arrived bone tired to find it snowing! The show was in a restaurant/bar. It was kinda weird having people eating while we played. They had agreed to pay us $200 for the show but all we got was a shitty meal!

Next up Chicago the Rainbow Theater on Milwaukee street. A real dump made of wood, falling apart. The stage was up a huge flight of ricketty stairs that I thought would fall apart at any second. Alien Rock and I had to drag all the equipment up the stairs because Oral couldn't because of his leg and by now Flytrapper was having intense diarrhea and was curled up in a fetal position. My younger Brother Greg flew in from Detroit to see us and when he heard about Flytrappers problem he immediately punched him in the stomach making him puke everywhere! Needless to say this did not help and Flytrapper was forced at pain of death by me to get his ass onstage and play. The show was lousy and there were maybe 10 people there, a total waste of time!

Next show was in Pittsburgh at the Electric Banana where we found that most of Pennsylvania had dry counties or no drinking on Sunday and we could not find a beer anywhere as it was Sunday! We finally found an open liquor store near Pittsburgh and stocked the truck with beer. A really funny thing happened in the store though. Flytrapper saw 2 cute Amish girls and was trying to hit on them, I poked Allen and pointed it out to him, we both almost pissed ourselves watching these poor girls try to avoid Flytrapper. He finally gave up and came out to the truck and said " those fucking bitches wouldn't even talk to me" which led to about a half hour of gut wrenching laughter from the rest of us. The girls came out and got into a horse drawn carriage which surprised Flytrapper. He had never been out of California and didn't know what the Amish were! A few seconds later a very mad looking Amish man exited the buggy and headed our way, needless to say we packed it up and split FAST! We laughed for days about this experience.

Next show was in Buffalo and we arrived to find that it had been cancelled, so we decided to go to Niagra Falls and do some sight seeing. We stayed in a honeymoon hotel and ate massive piles of Buffalo chicken wings. The next shows were scheduled for Portland Maine and then down the East coast ending at CBGB's. But by this time between Oral being in serious pain because of his broken leg and Flytrapper shitting fiery hot chicken wings every 5 minutes we decided to cancel the rest of the tour and head home. With just myself and Allen taking turns driving we made it from Niagra Falls to L.A. in exactly 48 hours non-stop! All things considered one of the worst tours in the history of Rock! Flytrapper quit the band immediately! His parting words "I hate you fuckers!"

Heh... How many shows were cancelled on account of you cancelling the tour early?

I think we had to cancel 6 shows Portland, Burlington Vermont, Providence R.I., 2 shows in Boston and CBGB's.

One other thing happened on the tour that I didn't mention. We were passing through Green River Uta,h and one of the tires on the truck started going flat. So we pulled into a Shell station, the only gas station in the shit-hole town. With our green and red hair the inbred retard working there looked at us as if we were from Mars. We had put new tires on the truck before we left L.A. so I was pissed. Upon inspection the tire had a nail in it and the asswipe at the gas station told us "come back in an hour and it'll be fixed". So we went and ate, BIG fuckin mistake!!!! when we returned the asswipe told us "I've got bad news all 4 of your tires are flat!" While we were gone he had obviously punctured all the tires. I wanted to kill this fucker and I told him to call the police to the station! He said, "Sure but I don't think my brother is gonna help you". His Father was the sheriff and both of his brothers were deputies. A light went on in my head as I realized that this was a scam that this fuck head had pulled many times! Luckily I had a Shell credit card and we were forced to buy the most expensive tires he had because that was all he had that would fit the truck, or so he said. So we got ripped off for $400 there. Man, I really had to hold myself back from hurting this fucker really badly! Oh well, you live and learn! Shell did give me the money back after a year of nasty letters and phone calls from me!

So after Flytrapper quit, what was the next move for the band?

Well, after Flytrapper left the band Spammy Haggard stepped right in to take his place. We were going to let Flytrapper go anyway. By the way the name Spammy Haggard is a bastardization of Sammy Hagar who Spammy bore a strong resemblance to. Actually the best move we ever made because he could play any instrument and was a GREAT drummer. Spinning his sticks and really grooving with the music. Something that we hadn't had before and I realized immediately that I would never again work with a shitty drummer. The drummer is the heart of the band, and if he sucks the band is gonna suck. We didn't suck anymore after that! It was time to record our first album!

I get the bastardization of Sammy Hagar... Pretty clever! That being said, Spam actually played quite a roll in the vitality of Fearless Leader, didn't it? Isn't there a story about you shaping spam into a phallic shape and chasing a nun... Or something to that effect?

Well, the origin of using Spam escapes my old warped brain! I think I brought a can to a show because I used to put shit all over my head and body and then make the audience eat it off of me! Whipped cream, peanut butter, cheese whiz etc. I brought spam and thought no one would eat it and I was wrong, they ate it all. After that it was a part of the act! Oral B. Goode tried like hell to get them to sponsor us until they wrote us a legal letter threatening to sue the hell out of us if we didn't stop using their product in the act. Of course we didn't stop!

Once at a Las Vegas show I put 2 cans of sardines down my pants and then after the show I didn't change and went casino hopping with Flytrapper. I got thrown out of about 10 casino's before almost getting killed by a bouncer at Caesars palace. I'd sit at a black jack table and once the dealer smelled me (about 2-3 minutes) they would ask " who smells so bad" and I'd answer "I've got sardines in my pants" and we'd get escorted out! This big black guy at Caesars took offense and wanted to rip my fucking head off! Yes, I started making spam dicks and pretending to shove them up my ass. One time I was dressed as a nun when I did it!

Tell me about the other bands you played in besides Fearless Leader.

I was in a band in Detroit in 80-81 called The Gerbils and I played bass in Crawlspace for 4 years here in L.A. I've recently rejoined Crawlspace as a guitarist.

Sarge with Crawlspace 2010

How is it going with switching to guitar from Bass in Crawlspace? Was that Eddie's (Eddie Flowers) idea, or yours? Anything from the first "reunion" show happen that's worth mentioning?

Crawlspace show last night was in the smallest place I've ever played. Maybe 20 x 20 ft. record/ bondage store on Highland in Hollywood. They had an actual J.W. Gacy clown painting of himself, really creepy! Not the clown, but Gacy the fucking animal, prick!

It was 110 all day and when we took the umm floor it was 130 with no AC in the building. I could not breath, what with being nervous and the heat. We played ok I'd give it a C- which I expected seeing as how we never practiced before the show, and I had to learn all the songs by just listening to them! Next show this Sunday at the Redwood in Downtown L.A. It had better cool the fuck down, DAMN!

Crawlspace was the only band that I ever played Bass in. I didn't even know that I could do it, before they asked I had never touched a Bass! I'm a guitarist! I think it was Allen's or Keith Telligman's idea to use me as the Bassist. I went to Mark McCormack's apartment in Hollywood, learned the songs in about 2 hours and we played a show the next night. This was in 86 I think and between both bands we played shows almost every night. Quite a few on the same bill, convenient on one hand and exhausting on the other! Oh, I answered your question bassackwards! No, it was Joe Dean the bassist in Crawlspace who thought of using me as a guitarist. Their normal guitarist won't play Sunday night shows! He'd better watch his ass, after I play 2 by myself, I may not want him back (fuck them)! He's an mediocre guitarist anyway, doesn't fit in Crawlspace at all, in my humble opinion!

Oh, one more old Crawlspace story before I forget!

We were playing Madame Wongs West in Santa Monica in 1988 and I decided to buy a pigs head from the local Mexican Carniceria and bring it to the show and get medieval with it! During the set I took out pliers and a screwdriver and ripped its' ears off and poked the eyes out, you get the idea! And throw it all at the audience. When I was done with the bloodbath I tossed the head on the stage and resumed playing Bass. Some little shit head picked it up and blasted me right in the face with it and almost knocked me out! A pigs head is fuckin heavy. By the time I recovered the asshole had split or he woulda been my next victim! After the show as we were leaving we walked past the kitchen, so I threw the pigs head way far back behind the furnace so no one would ever find it until it started really stinking! I still wonder to this day who found it and what the fuck they thought when they did?

To be continued...

Bat Out of Hell

A man pretending to be Meatloaf  tried to take the wheel of a taxi in Cincinatti. He was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

Not Meatloaf
The Bigfoot Diaries was granted a rare police station interview with this knucklehead.

The only question I had was, "Why would anyone want to take the wheel of a moving taxi? It's already taking you where you want to go..."

His response?

"Let me sleep on it. I'll give you an answer in the morning."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gettin' Creepy!

At midnight on the 30th of this month, we will be posting our First Annual Halloween Edition here at the Bigfoot Diaries. But I want it to be as much about YOU as it is about us. Here's the deal... If you have ever had a paranormal experience... Seen a UFO... Had a strange encounter in the woods... ANYTHING remotely scary or other-worldly... Please tell us about it. We want to make it part of our Halloween edition.

You can leave me your email in the comment box below and I'll get back to you, or you can find me on Facebook and email me there, or just send an email to me directly at Either way, get me your story... The more we have, the better it will be.

Now... Make us SCARED!!

Sellergren Design - Art is the Enemy

My pal Magnus Sellergren (The Dialtones, The Plastiques, Sellergren Design) sent me an email this morning promoting some of his art work through Corporate Rock Knock-Out Magazine. Though he didn't specifically ask me to do it, I thought I'd share it with you:


The new issue of Corporate Rock Knock-Out Magazine is hitting the shelves as we speak! Wrapped in a neat sleeve designed by yours truly this issue features among other things a big special on the punk scene in Denmark! Lots of interviews w/bands like Amdi Petersens Armé, Baby Shakes and Gorilla Angreb etc., a Euro Tour Diary courtesy amazing Canadian power-poppers The Statues and a nice tribute to Jay Reatard (w/some recollections by yours truly!). Plus the usual columns, reviews etc. As an added bonus you get a 7" EP by Danish band Glow Kit!

Get it through P Trash Records:


You can take a peek at Magnus's artwork at Sellergren Design - Art is the Enemy's Facebook Fanpage. Check it out and "like it"... There is a bunch of really cool stuff there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Introducing: The Maw

When my phone rang last Thursday morning, I didn't recognize the number.

Normally this signals a red flag... Somebody is selling something, or worse yet, it means that US Cellular has finally caught up with me and wants to ask me about that outstanding balance I have with them from three years ago. It's always easy to identify these snakes, because they do a pretty horrible job of disguising themselves on the Caller ID. When it says, "UNAVAILABLE"" then it's a sure sign that somebody's motive for calling goes beyond wanting to have a friendly conversation... And usually involves money coming out of my back pocket. So, typically I ignore these intrusions.

On Thursday morning, the number came up with a name and area code, and while I didn't recognize it, the name wasn't US Cellular... So on a rare whim, I took the call.


"Is this Troy... With the Bigfoot Diaries?" Came a voice from the other end of the line.

"Um... Yes it is."

"This is Joe with a band called The Maw. We are playing Monday night at the House of Bricks in Des Moines, and was wondering if you would mind coming down and watching us play."

Ok, I am paraphrasing here... It didn't go down exactly like that... But it is damn close.

In a nutshell, Aron from Metro Concerts Live! had given my number to Joe, and then Joe called me and asked me if I would come down to the House of Bricks and see The Maw, his band, and possibly do a write up on them...

In the spirit of Rock and Roll, I agreed to do it.

Of course the worse case scenario would be that I would go down to see this band, and they would be awful. Then I would be forced into the awkward delimna of having to choose between writing nothing at all about The Maw, or posting something that was negative and degrading. It's not in anybody's best interest for me to do the degrading thing, so I kind of felt that I was taking a chance by agreeing to attend this show. But what the hell... It's a Monday night. It's not like I have anything better to do.

Luckily for me, them sucking never became an issue.

The Maw

The Maw are an incredible live band, and I have to admit, I am proud to know that they are from the Des Moines area. I hate the label of "Jam Band"... I think it sends out visions of sandal-wearing hippies singing funky melodies in between structured guitar and drum solos... Not that there is anything wrong with that... It's just that I have been there, and that scene has worn thin with me. The Maw certainly do not apply to that form of music... But I think a Band that Jams might be a good fit. Half way through "Chora" the first song in their set, I am thinking to myself, Dem boys be smoking some funky stuff.

They actually caught me off guard... I wasn't expecting to be that entertained.

Who do they sound like? Well if you ask the band, they will tell you Miles Davis, Cannibal Corpse, Pink Floyd, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, to name a few. That's quite a mix, and if you throw in what I heard, you'd have to add pockets of Supertramp, Jethro Tull, King Krimson, and Sundial. I couldn't help but wonder how a band could be influenced by so many, and yet defy categorization. To put it simply, the only band that sounds like The Maw... Is The Maw.

But I have gotten ahead of myself.

I went to the show with a couple of pals... One you know... CVEckian, and the other, a fella who used to have his own reputation in the music scene in Des Moines, Jim McNeer. If you ever enjoyed the murals on the walls of Hairy Mary's (both locations), then you have enjoyed Jim's work. He was famous for his concert posters as well, covering such bands as Queens of the Stone Age and L7. He has kind of slipped into oblivion these past few years, but he agreed to join us for a rare night out. I was hoping that he wouldn't be overwhelmed with boredom. Obviously I respect his musical opinions, as in the past we have shared many live music experiences. But with not really knowing what to expect with The Maw, I figured that I could at least feed him beers long enough to spark an interest in what was going down on the stage.

McNeer, myself and CVEckian

I needn't have worried. At the end of "Chora" Jim flashed me a smile and gave me a thumbs up. When I walked over to where he was standing, he said to me, "I was hearing sounds out of that guitar that I have never heard before".... Then he gave me that look he gives when he means something... Fucking right.

The guitarist he was speaking of is Forrest Lonefight. This kid is incredible, Des Moines' second coming of Jeff Banks. It's like he has tapped into that thing that Adrian Belew once tapped into... That rare ability to make a guitar sound exactly like anything but a guitar, while still maintaining an outstanding musical experience. Lonefight's style is fresh and inventive... And as fluid as a PBR at the Alpine Tap. I haven't heard anybody else in the Des Moines area that covers more ground on his six-string than Forrest Lonefight does, as his fingers seem to travel miles up and down the neck of his guitar.

The other boys in the band aren't too shabby either, at least by rock and roll standards. Erik Brown is a seasoned musician who came to The Maw about a year ago. The band needed a person who could sing, play the keys, and blow the trumpet... And naturally, there was one logical choice. Erik brings a unique presence to the stage with his chunky and unorthodox keyboard style, but perhaps his best feature is his voice... I caught glimpses of Scott Weiland in his vocals (Good Scott Weiland - Think "Vaseline") but also pockets of Layne Staley and a stoney David Gilmore. He even let out a primal scream at the end of one song (Didn't get the name) that would have made Rob Halford applaud. He is a good fit for The Maw... and provides a strong quality to the band with his confident stage presence.

Erik Brown getting down

Alan Domer is the drummer for the group, and by drummer, I mean drummer. He doesn't have all those fancy bells and whistles that a lot of drummers think they need... Just good old fashioned skins and chrome and a healthy dose of crashing cymbals. He reminds me of Elias Mallin from Opiate for the Masses - both in style and appearance - and brings a relentless punch to the band's rhythm section. It cannot be easy providing the beat for this band's unique sound, but he pulls it off with remarkable precision. The Maw need nothing fancy... Just a good old fashioned hard nosed drummer to complete their sound, and they get that with Alan Domer. I absolutely appreciate that.

Last but certainly not least is Joe Antelman, the kid who originally invited me to come and watch his band. I feel a sense of gratitude to Joe, because he has opened a new door for me in terms of bands I am now seriously interested in. While he plays the bass for The Maw, he is the keyboardist for Aquamarine Dream. And now that I have seen The Maw, I certainly want to see his other band too. Joe reminds me of one of those musicians who always makes the right play... a seasoned and fine tuned bass player who is capable of bringing so many elements to a band. His bass in The Maw is heavy and powerful, yet subtle... Which is the perfect compliment to the band's style.

Alan, Forrest, and Joe

Joe defines the band as "Jazzcore" but I think that is a misleading term. I'm not sure that I have one that fits better, but I invite you out to see them the next time they play and then you can make that assumption for yourself. I will say this... This band is sick with talent, and very unique. If you like experimental and progressive rock and roll, then you HAVE to check out The Maw.

Meanwhile take a look at their Myspace page... Or follow them on Facebook. Just please keep in mind that this a band that will be very misunderstood if not heard live. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

I'll see you there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Record Albums I'll Never Own dept.

No mas por favor!

It's nice to know that the '80s sucked in Mexico too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Killer Show Alert: Agnostic Front

It's time... My time... Our time... For everyone to know.

Photo Credit -

This Saturday night these seasoned thrash punk rockers from New York are invading Des Moines and will be taking the stage at The Vaudville Mews. It's one of the biggest shows central Iowa has featured in a very long time.

The Riot Riot Upstart begins at 4:30 and will feature Mother of Mercy, Product of Waste, Knuckled Down and Crusader before Agnostic Front takes the reins. Tickets are on sale now, and don't delay. They only let about 250 people into the Mews before the fire marshall says "No more!"

You can purchase tickets online for 13 bucks, or you can take your chances at the door for $15. Chad Willey who is promoting the show through Metro Concerts Live recommends not waiting. "Please get your tickets ASAP... It will sell out!" He says adamantly. (And he's usually right about these things.)

Be one of the cool kids... Come to this show!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meet The Strainers

There is a new band in LA, formed by a guy who is quite adept at making noise.

Michael Fox formed The Strainers, a band he describes as Big Beat Voodoo rock and roll. It is yet another venture into the music business for Michael who is a seasoned pioneer when it comes to the '60s style Swing and the Pyschobilly Surf sound. He has collaborated with his brother Stirling to form this new act and hopes for once that a little luck will fall on his side... His previous ventures into rock and roll haven't been so successful.

"We have been around, playing on and off, in several bands over the past 32 years," Michael said. "Nothing ever really stuck or lasted. The last band we had together was 10 years ago, and that was also the last time we played live together. I called it quits for ten years. No band... Very little song writing... No nothing."

Surviving in the music business is hard enough without the pitfalls of  real life kicking you in the teeth every step of the way. It's a spawning ground for drug abuse and a catalyst for hard times, and the people whom you meet aren't always in it to serve your best interest. Keeping a band intact can be next to impossible when you add this combustible cocktail to your daily life, and in Michael's case, it has been a slippery slope which eventually led to the demise of every band he has formed.

"I was a punk rocker in LA going to gigs in the late 70's and early 80's." Michael explains. "A drunk, a dope fiend, a recluse at times for years... A starving musician living in Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard."

After spending 20 years trying to form a band that could keep itself together for more than a month at a time, Michael finally waved the white flag. Out of frustration and anger, he swore himself out of the music business, saying at the time he would never delve back into it.

With no other choice, Michael was forced to take a  normal job which he says he was "married to for 20 years". It brought him little happiness and now, in conjunction with the harsh realities of our nation's economic situation, and facing the loss of everything he has ever owned in his life, he knew that he had only one choice to make. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and despite the promise he had made to himself 10 years earlier, Michael knew he had to take another stab at forming a band.

With the Strainers, he hopes it works out.

Southern California is a hot bed for the music scene - it always has been, but it is also a cruel and dreadful place when one is trying to survive on talents alone. With his brother Stirling Fox on the drums, and Michael on the vocals, electric bass and the guitar, they are hoping that they can book enough shows to insure a steady lifestyle that isn't tarnished with homelessness and starvation. They have recruited B. Dangerous to play rhythm guitar, and James Dokken to play bass at their shows. Not surprisingly, considering his rock and roll history, Michael isn't ready to vest everything he has into making the two full time members of the band.

Stirling Fox

"I plan to tour next year once I have a stable line up." Michael explains. "Right now it's the curse of the bass players! That's always been one of the many problems... Besides all my own personal struggles."

But this brand new band has played three gigs so far, and it has been fun. They have a gig scheduled in Ontario, California which they will be playing with The Surf Rats on October 13th.

The music is good... Actually fantastic.

You can check it out on their Facebook fan page, and you will be impressed to know that most of the music was done by Michael in his garage with overdubbing equipment. If you like the psycho surf sound of The Cramps, then you will like The Strainers. It's not hard to notice that Michael can emulate Lux Interior's sexually gasping vocal style, and surround it with his own ass whipping guitar sound. It's like he slipped mainstream rock and roll some Rohypnol, then took it home to his garage and had his way with it. It's pure psychedelia in it's most primitive form.

Michael and Stirling Fox are excited, but a little anxious about The Strainers. As their first musical adventure together in 10 years, they have a lot of energy to put towards this new project. But they also have ample reason to be nervous. "This is maybe my last attempt at it. We are both getting close to 50 yrs old." Michael notes.

Then, as if he is assuring himself  Michael says, "I'm excited again, so time will tell..."

"But," he adds, "Time is a lot shorter now."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From the BD Editorial Board: Respecting the Y

The other day I noticed that the word RHYTHM does not contain one single vowel. Not a one. And don't give me that crap about the letter "Y" being a vowel. It's not.

Now... Before you start to defend your argument, think about this: I know the little jingle. In fact I learned it in first grade, long before these dingbats made it into an MTV video.

Miss Gardner, my first grade teacher told the class, "Every single word in the English language has a vowel in it. It either has an A, an E, an I, an O, or a U... Or in some cases, a Y!"

A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y.

Yeah. Whatever. Exploit the letter Y when it's convenient to support an argument. Even if that means giving it "sometimes" status.

That really bothers me.

In my opinion, the letter Y is a vowel, or it isn't. It shouldn't be that hard to differentiate vowel status. Just because it happens to show up in every word that doesn't have a full-time vowel in it, it gets part time status? There are a ton of words with multiple vowels in them... It doesn't make sense, nor is it fair that the letter Y doesn't get the respect it rightfully deserves.

If it isn't listed along with the full time vowels: A-E-I-O-U... Then it isn't as vowel. Period! Giving it "sometimes" status alongside the other vowels is degrading and humiliating.

"We don't need you around unless we can't get another vowel to make the word complete." Is what we are essentially saying.

No wonder the letter Y has issues with low self esteem.

Night isn't sometimes Day... A Cat isn't sometimes a Horse. Why would this logic be different with letters of the alphabet? What an uproar there would be if we treated humans this way!

All I am saying is that I hope that the letter Y doesn't get pissed off and quit. If it does, we are all screwed, because there goes the days of the week, and most months of the year. Not to mention the billion dollar discrimination lawsuit that the ACLU will bring against us.

We need to revise the English language, and we need to do it fast.

We can't afford to lose the letter Y.

Friday, October 1, 2010

ALIBI on iTunes

For quite awhile now I have been singing the praises of Alibi, that rockin' band of teenagers from Bakersfield, California.

These kids* have been working hard in the studio and finally might be reaping some fruits of their labor. Their 6 song EP ALIBI has just been released on iTunes, and it is now available for public consumption...  Come and get it!

Alibi has been blowing up YouTube for quite some time now, and are fresh off an appearance at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield. People in the biz are starting to take notice. This isn't your run of the mill puppy farm... These kids pack a bite that might seem subtle at first, but before you know what is going on, you are ripped to shreds. Little Jordan Kraemer can downright KILL on the guitar, and the rest of the band have no trouble at all keeping pace with him. The vocals, the bass, the drums... They all work perfectly together to give Alibi a sound as unique as their style, and one that is all their own. If these kids can maintain their focus and carry this band past their teenage years, then the possibilities are endless.

But don't take my word for it. Buy it for yourself and see.

*The band lineup featured in the video is different from the current version.