House Band: The Apemen

Dutch Turbo Surf Deluxe since 1990. www.the-apemen.com

Kim Fowley

Punk legend is dead at 75.

Bigfoot Diaries Attend the Firecracker 500 in Iowa City

Steve Krakow of Plastic Crimewave Syndicate

In Defence

In Defence will play the Underground Rock Shop on February 3.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Record Albums I'll Never Own dept.




The best way for this guy to say "Happy Birthday" to Julie, is to just leave her alone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Five Questions with Jeroen Van de Sande

In an unprecedented move, The Bigfoot Diaries is proud to announce that it has an Official House Band: The Apemen.


What?... You've never heard of them? Well, here ya go!




These well dressed gorillas have been entertaining the Europeon continent for damned near 20 years now.

They come from Rotterdam and Tilburg in the southern part of the Netherlands where one wouldn't necessarily expect to find surf music. In an interview with Maximum Rock and Roll magazine Jeroen Van de Sande, founding member and lead guitarist for the group once noted, "The Apemen are one of the few to play surf-music in Holland. We started around 1990 and there were no surf- bands then, and there are still only a few. In the entire country there are about 5 bands that play strictly instrumental.”


The Official House Band of TBD

They toured relentlessly from about 1991 through 2004 covering most of Europe and even played in the USA in 1994. Since then things have quieted down a bit for The Apemen, until recently it was announced that they would be playing a reunion show in Rotterdam on November 6th at the Burlesque Ballroom in Hotel Central. I asked Jeroen about that show and a few other topics in this Five Questions With... segment. He has been very gracious to me in the past year since I met him, which is a good story in itself...

As a fan of The Apemen, I went to Facebook and found Jeroen. I sent him a friend request not knowing him from a cloud in the sky. Instead of just adding me as I expected, I received a terse Facebook email from him asking who I was, further going on to explain that he only keeps close friends on FB, and that maybe I should try to find his Myspace page with the other groupies.

I wrote him back explaining to him that I lived in the USA and was a big fan of the Apemen, and was probably one of only two knuckelheads from Iowa who even know who the Apemen were. I went on to tell him that if he didn't want to add me as a friend that's fine... But I will not be joining the masses on Myspace since I rarely use that whore mongering piece of web trash.

A few minutes later I got a notification that he accepted my friend request, and though we have never met in person, I feel like an actual friend. We have corresponded dozens of times through emails, and to this day I am humbled to be one of only 51 friends he has accepted on Facebook.

When I asked him about The Apemen becoming the "Official house band of the Bigfoot Diaries", he didn't hesitate to allow it to happen.

I have had the thought in my head for some time now to designate a group as our official house band but I wasn't about to accept just any pansy ass outfit that came along. The Apemen have the name for sure... But they also have what defines this blogsite, that renegade attitude that only accept things if they are done the way we want them, without compromise.

Jeroen summed it up perfectly. "Silly is good... Blind adoration even better." What could be more true than that?


Jeroen Van de Sande

Now... Five Questions with Jeroen Van de Sande


1. How did the Band The Apemen come about?

Me and the 1st guitar player met in Art School back in 1988. So I guess we could have evolved into a high brow art-rock band with live action painting on stage. But luckily I quit Art school during the second year and chose to head into another direction. Snarly surf punk with attitude that is. In 1990 we were still a trio doing tame stuff like “Pipeline”, “Penetration” and “Walk Don’t Run”. The only instrumental records we had were things by The Ventures and The Shadows. Our original songs sounded a bit too new wave (think 80's surf sounds like Shadowy Men, Lawndale and Raybeats). But bands like JFA (Jody Foster’s Army) and Agent Orange were very important to us because we learned from them how to combine traditional surf with the aggression and enthusiasm of punk - and not being too serious about it. If you told people you played in a surf band they started laughing because they were thinking Beach Boys harmony vocals type stuff. Pulp Fiction changed all that. In ‘93 we recorded a demo tape which contained tunes that were released on our first CD and 7" vinyl. There were two labels interested in our stuff: Kogar Records who put out the “Invasion Of The Apemen” 45 and Belgian label Demolition Derby who put out a split 7" with The Monomen. We played a lot in Holland and Belgium and got a chance to record our first full length CD/10” LP for the Semaphore/Vulcan label in Holland. After that we made a 7" for Estrus Records In the USA (“El Tortura” /“Percolator Stomp”) This was because Dave Crider of The Monomen and label boss, really liked us after we performed as support band on one of his gigs with The Monomen in Belgium. We also did a track called “Pogo A-Go-Go” for the Cocktail Companion box set on Estrus Records with other bands like Man or Astroman? Then there were compilations like “Locked Into Surf Volume 2” for Alopecia Records, another one for Pin-Up Records. Things started really rolling when Dave joined the band on bass, and I switched from bass to guitar in 1994. With that lineup we recorded the Surfvival album. In July ‘95 we put out our second CD/LP on Nitro called “Surfvival Of The Onbeschoftste” By the way, 'onbeschoftste' means “the most ill mannered, the most rude”. Which was pretty spot on at the time.

2. What is the worst experience you have ever had on stage?

I think the worst gig was somewhere in 1997 in a place called "The Rose" in Deurne in Holland. That night the Dutch football team played a match for the European championship. Because of the game running late we also ran late. After finally arriving at the gig a certain member (who we shall call Mister X) of the band was high on whatever he was using at the time, immediately lay down on the floor with his arm spread. Moanin'stuff like "Isn't this place faaaantaaaastiiiiiiiiiiic!" and "Hello world! you're looking at Jesus Christ himself". So you can imagine that the atmosphere was a little bit more than uncomfortable. Mister X also left half of his gear at home so the people at the venue had to arrange for some gear at the last moment! But the real surprise came when we started playing. Mister X was just totally out of his mind and starting playing in a way the likes of which this world has never seen. Simple surf songs were suddenly transformed to free jazz experiments with the rest of the band trying to follow that crazy man's playing and dying a thousand deaths on stage. It came as no surprise that the owners only wanted to pay half of the money that night. Surprisinly though; there was someone in the audience who booked us for a future gig that turned out to be our best payed gig ever. It's a strange world...

One of the best gigs though has to be a gig we did in Bordeaux, France on a little tour we did there in 1995 or 1996 I don't remember. It was one of those magic nights. You know, that you think afterwards recollecting what went on; "Why didn't anyone beat us up! Well, they nearly well did. We played the show with the classic 5 piece line-up and it was one of the best shows we EVER played. Musically everything was there and the stage presentation was out of control. I even playbacked the last two songs when I broke my guitar after throwing it in the audience. There was also a woman on stage dancing insanely and rubbing her crotch against anyone or anything that had a remote connection with the Apemen. After the gig we hung around at the bar we played and we were just in time of preventing Mike from pissing on the bar from the second floor. We also started harassing the bartender because of his goatee. Meanwhile those French guys started to look their meanest when they realized that the local women felt a strange desire to copulate with those rowdy Dutchmen.



3. In 2007 you played your last concert but I hear there is a reunion show coming up... What can you tell me about that, and is it the original lineup?... And furthermore will this lead to more shows and an album?

Well, if it was the original line-up there wouldn't be much to be excited about. No this is the line-up that was active from 1998 till 2006. Basically the 'Surfvival' lineup minus Mike the drummer. He was replaced back then by Johnny Mambo who's also still active in Psychobilly legends (or so they claim) Batmobile.The reunion show was ment to be a one off but the feedback we're getting is overwhelming. Lots of people want to see the band. So who knows what we'll do. We all get along great. We're not a band that plays for free beer in a small bar though. There has to be a reward in some form or another. The reunion show is taking place on the bi-anual Burlesque show at the Hotel Central in Rotterdam. I think that playing a Burlesque show was a good motivator to get us going again! So yes! If anyone's interested in booking The Apemen feel free to do so. We still have some unrecorded songs laying around so chances are great that we might record them somewhere in the near future.

4. What other bands/projects have you been involved with?

I've been playing in some low-key rock bands over the years. I enjoy that a lot but there's not much interesting to tell about.

Johnny's still active in Batmobile. And Dave had a thing going for a while with The Perverts; a low-fi sixties garage outfit modelled after the Outsiders/Q65 and other Nederbeat giants. I believe they also acted as a backing band for Jeff Connoly for a while.
 
5. A Dutch surf band... Who'd a thought?  What other bands do you listen to, and as a small little monkey who were your biggest influences?
 
I started buying music at the age of 9. Starting out with hard rock like Kiss ,Thin Lizzy, Saxon, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest. Then I went on a quest for something louder and faster. Enter Venom, Slayer, Punk Rock, Agent Orange, Misfits, Black flag, Septic Death. Growing up in the 80's also meant I got my fair share of Wave & Gothic sounds: Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim, Skinny Puppy, and Kraftwerk.
 
Where did all that music come from? I started looking backwards to 50's rock 'n roll and sixties garage rock. Sonics, Stooges, Surf, Fender IV, Dick Dale. After my first big love affair I discovered Soul music. James Brown, O.V. Wright, James Carr. That again evolved in a interest in Jazz... Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, John Coltrane. Nowadays I listen to all those styles. The only style of music that I really don't like is Dixieland Jazz - guys with moustaches, banjos and clarinets.
 
There's so much good music to be enjoyed. And an unbelievably big pile of crap also...

(Bonus Question): You are known to tell jokes while performing... Do you have a favorite?

Dave (bass) is the MC of the band. With his typical Rotterdam brawl he's the one that entertains the crowd. Mainly for his own amusement. I wouldn't call them jokes since the punchline isn't there most of the time. Lot's of strange, twisted and mostly incoherent tales about forgotten celebrity bastard sons... Strip searches gone wrong at customs... And of course that local guy from Rotterdam who had his toes amputated so he could be even closer to the counter in his favorite bar.


Jeroen doing what he does best

 Wouldn't it be something if the Apemen came back to the United States and did a national tour? It sounds like they'd be up for it. The Bigfoot Diaries is excited to have them as their house band, and kudos to Jeroen for his willingness to share his story. Obviously he is just as excited about it as we are...

"Who knows; maybe someday you will join the Chosen Few. A secret handshake club of individuals who get selected through black magic rituals and receive the devine privilege of carrying our guitar cases... Cheers!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Man of your Dreams

In my daily pursuit of all that is contrary to the ordinary, I stumble across some pretty weird websites. I came across this site about a week ago... And haven't had a normal night's sleep since.

It involves this man...



...And his uncanny ability to occupy people's dreams.

Now, unintended humor is always the best, but I truly believe that this site is trying to be legit. I mean come on... Hundreds of people cant be wrong, can they? Apparently that is about how many people from all over the world who claim to see this man in their dreams each night.

Flyers showing his face have been printed and are being posted in almost every country, and everywhere they get posted somebody claims to have seen This Man - as he is called - in their sleep.

Now, I do not recall having had a dream with this fellow in it BEFORE I visited this site, but now that I have, I am having dreams of this man every single time I shut my eyes.

Even when I blink this man's face appears in my mind... And I'm pretty sure I saw his face this morning in a bowl of leftover gravy when I was reaching into my refrigerator to grab some eggs.

This man looks a lot like that creepy Billy kid that I sat next to in my high school biology class. I always wondered how he would turn out, but really haven't given him much thought since about 1986... I never would have guessed that he would be in the dream-inhabiting business.

But then again he was pretty strange.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stalking Alone

A couple of weeks ago on the Bigfoot Diaries Facebook fanpage a young lady named Lori Simmons left an interesting message.

I'm publishing my Dad's book called Tracking Bigfoot. He lost his battle to cancer and the book donates to cancer research. He tracked Bigfoot for 28 yrs and lived in the North Cascade Mt. for 30 yrs. Check out the website! http://trackingbigfoot.wordpress.com/.

At first I searched for the obvious clues... This had to be spam. It had that same element to it that you see on the other fan pages when you know without a doubt what the message's true intention is.. For instance, on the Kansas City Chiefs fan page somebody named Francisco Rodriguez Caballero wrote: Realizing the need for additional income, I started to investigate the world of network marketing. I'm so glad I found it!! Finally, here is a system that really does remove the barriers to financial success! Great products, great support, and a proven system. What more can anyone ask for? Francisco then provides a link under the title: I've never had this much fun saving money.... Yeah Right. Spam if I ever saw it.

Lori's message wasn't as bold, nor was it off topic... It actually fit the theme of the page, at least in the spirit of Bigfoot. So I clicked the link. It actually took me to her blog page and not some scammer's paradise who now has my IP address locked into it's spam delivery system. Lori's message WAS real, and she is real serious about what she is doing.


Don Wallace

Her father was a Bigfoot hunter, one of those guys who dedicated his life to solving a mystery that he had a first hand personal experience with. Ok, "hunter" is too strong a word. Actually he just wanted to get the million dollar photo. He wanted to prove to the world that Bigfoot does indeed exist. He tried let Bigfoot know he meant no harm and would always carry an apple and place it close to the den.

He died of cancer before his quest was rewarded with that world changing photograph, so his daughter (Lori) and her brother Mike are doing their part to continue the search in their father's name, and are going to publish a book about their experiences. $1.00 from each book sold will go to the American Cancer Society to help fund cancer research. Lori and Mike know their father's old hunting grounds, and they are going to lead expeditions in their father's footsteps in hopes of making a discovery. Those expeditions will lead to the afore mentioned book. 10 percent of the money raised from each expedition will got to Cancer research, and an additional 10 percent will go wildlife preservation.
From Lori:

Donald Wallace used to do outdoor articles a long time ago on hunting and fishing. It included calling in predatory animals. One was in Western Outdoors Magazine and the others were in Fur-Fish-Game Magazine. It took place in the late sixties and early seventies in Ohio, California and Washington. Don lived in the North Cascade Mt. for the past 30 years in a small town called Marblemount population 252. Marblemount is a charming close-nit town.

It was 28 years ago when Don encountered his first Big Foot experience. Don and his brother Herb knew of there being a gold mine and they were curious and wanted to check out the area. They paired up with their sons. Don heared his brother Herb yell from up ahead. Don and Mike hurry to see what it is all about. Herb and his son came across a large human-like foot print…Big Foot! Just then they got an eerie feeling. The hair on their arms stood straight up. Herb looked at Don and says,” Let’s get out of here!” The look on Don’s face said the same. They felt like something was watching them in the dense forest. They all hurried out of there and looked back making sure nothing was following them. They heard the sounds of brush behind them. It sounded like someone was chasing them out of the woods. The steps got louder as they hurried out of the forest. It was one of the scariest moments they ever had in the woods. That was the beginning of Don tracking Big Foot.



An excerpt of STALKING ALONE as told by Donald Wallace:

This time, though, I decided to move very slow, stopping periodically to carefully look around, slowly moving my head from left to right. I picked my way around dry sticks or anything that would be noisy. I ended up back at the small, broken tree, and then I shoes a grown-over depression, heavy in short foliage, to just sit and wait for awhile. I chose this depression so I’d be less conspicuous. Almost right away I heard a noise down the slope from me and distant. I thought there must be somebody in there. Pretty soon I heard another noise off to my right, and now was another sound behind me, not very pleasant!

The wood-rapping sounds were more occasional and not constant. I tried to carefully see through the brush and trees in hopes of getting the ultimate picture, my main goal right now. Suddenly my uneasiness worsened. I could feel the hair starting to raise on the back of my neck. Also, I could feel the vicious stares from some giant anthropoid unbeknownst to me. It was worse than the time I called in a mountain lion, crouched ten yards behind my back. There was no comparison from the mountain lion stares and these stares—I have since referred to as laser eyes. I try to take pride, and in the past had bragged a little about being fearless, but these piercing stares followed by a strong feeling of grave danger was pushing it.

It seems I live close to Big Foot habitat and in any direction from my place. I am very fortunate to be so close to a number of opportunities on the wild side, and also able to do it after all the negativity not that long ago.

I had a five-year bout with bladder cancer—thirteen procedures and operations, with the last one a ten hour surgery and having the bladder removed May 2007. Every day I wake up is a good day and I thank “Man Upstairs” I’m able to participate. I have some issues but very grateful to still be able to hike the back country and enjoy some of this beautiful land. Words alone can not express my feelings!

Donald Wallace lost his battle to cancer on April 14, 2010

Summer of 2010 Mike and Lori Continue Their Father’s Legacy

After the passing of their father’s death they needed to fulfill a promise to him. That promise was to share their dad’s knowledge of tracking Big Foot. It was their father’s dying wish to publish his book called Tracking Big Foot.

While they were growing up their Dad always told them Big Foot stories and they always knew there could be a real life Big Foot living in the forest somewhere. So after the passing of their father’s death they set off to track Big Foot on their own together. They hiked the same trails their Dad hiked knowing it was dangerous for them. They knew the places they would be going their Dad would never allow it for their own safety. They felt a need to feel closer to their Dad and his presence was everywhere. Mike and Lori end up with their own Big Foot discoveries and learn that their father’s stories are true. Their father’s legacy continues.


Lori Simmons and her father, Donald Wallace

The book Tracking Big Foot will donate $1 for every book sold to cancer research to save more lives.

In memory of  Donald Wallace

The Bigfoot Diaries will keep you updated with the release of this book, and with additional follow-ups from Lori and Mike.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In My Head

This song has been in my head for two days now... Not sure why. I haven't heard it in years.

Testing... Check. Check. Check Me Out...

I have a new template, not that there was anything wrong with the old one. It's just that this one is kind of neat and I am going to go with it for awhile.

I would love your feedback... I will be experimenting with different font colors and what not, and I would like it if you would tell me what works well and what doesn't. White seems to be the default color, which works pretty well. I do know that the normal Navy Blue doesn't show up so much on the black background... And while the bright blue seems to work nicely on the sidebar, it gets a little redundant for general text. It starts to get that telephone chord 3-D effect going...

Wait a minute... What am I thinking? This is 2010. Who knows what a telephone chord is?

Also if you will note, there is a "Reaction Tab" at the bottom of each post where you can just click a box if you think a particular post is funny, interesting or cool. That makes it a bit easier for the readers who don't want to mess with the comment box's inefficiencies, but would still like to respond. From playing around with it, it seems that only one vote can be recorded for each post from each computer... In other words, you can't vote "funny" every time you log in.

Well, actually you can, because it resets itself each time the page is refreshed. However, it will only actually lock in one vote for each post... I think.

So enjoy. Leave feedback. Have fun... And let me know what works and what does not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free Bob (A Plea for Help)

I've met some pretty amazing people in my day.

Bob Rice is one of them.


He is one of the most driven, incredible and non-selfish people I have ever met. In fact, this particular post has proven to be very hard for me to write, because Bob is in the need of some assistance, and I want to be sure that I do my part to aid him in receiving it... It seems to be the least I can do. I do not want this post to be written in vain.


He is sitting in a jail cell in Madison County Iowa... a place that he has no business being. He virtually committed no crime, yet he is being held on bail, and there are legal fees pending. Bob is in a bad place and he needs us.


His story is simple. It is the American dream in action.


He has always dreamed of buying a nice chunk of land and building himself a house. Bob is a big music lover and has been a visible friend of the local music scene for a very long time. He has also spent quite a few years touring around the country following the acts he loves, such as the Grateful Dead. In fact, it was after Jerry Garcia died in 1995 that he took his dream to a new level... He envisioned building a place where kind people who shared his passion for music could gather and listen to the grooves. Bob put his plan into action.


Bob's dream


Bob and I go way back, to the mid '80s when we competed against each other in high school track. Both of us ran the third leg of the 4x800 meters for our respective schools, and we spent alot of time looking at each others' backs.


We met again through an ironic twist of fate in our early 20's through a mutual friend. We became close and have remained that way throughout most of our adult lives, even in the years of solitude. Bob once built me a drum out of wood and deer skin. When the skin came loose, I didn't know what to do with it, so I gave it back to Bob. He told me that he would fix it and let me know when it was finished. We were both meandering souls at the time, and I didn't see Bob for almost a year and a half. After our initial greeting had worn down, Bob went over to his van and retrieved the drum, which was repaired like new. He had held it for me for 18 months.


The van I am speaking of was an old Volkswagen that had one of those pop-up ceilings. It was a hippie machine for sure, with a few smiling faces and Grateful Dead stickers on the back. But Bob kept it in great shape. It wasn't just a vehicle to Bob... The one he drove when he toured the country... But it was also his home. He did all of the maintenance himself, making sure that the tires weren't worn and that the oil was changed on time. It ran perfectly, despite it being over 20 years old.


The fall after Jerry died, he spent most of his time in Des Moines. He would park his van on Cottage Grove up in the area of Drake University. He knew a family who lived there, and knowing Bob's personality, they welcomed him into their home as it was his own. But most of the time Bob chose to stay in his van... It was enough for him. The heater worked good on the colder nights, and it was perfect for a simple and practical man. He got jobs where he could, and sold hand-made crafts. It was there on Cottage Grove one night that he first told me of his dream.


"I'm going to save my money and buy some land." he told me. "I'm going to build a house on it, and eventually form it into a kind of outdoor amplitheater."


I had absolutely no reason not to believe him. First of all, when Bob looks you in the eye and tells you something, he means it. Secondly, since I had known Bob, he has always followed up on everything that he said he would do. Fixing my drum and holding it for me is the perfect example of this. Not only is Bob a man of character, but he is, and has always been a man of his word.


Well, like usual, my meandering soul took me to places other than Des Moines, and for several years I didn't see Bob at all. Many years had passed but I began to hear about this amazing place "out in the woods" that was a great venue to see live music. It was called the "Briar Patch". Not really being in the Des Moines area, I didn't give it much thought, but over time after hearing about this place I started to think about Bob, and wondered if it were indeed the amplitheater that he had talked about building during the conversation we had in 1996.


Finally, just this last winter I ran into Bob at a local rock show. I hadn't seen him for over ten years, and it was absolutely wonderful to see him. He told me about his life during the past 12 years or so, and that he had this amazing and wonderful daughter now... And that he did indeed purchase some land with the money he saved while living in his VW bus, and that things were going really good for him.


"Is your place the Briar Patch, Bob?" I asked him. "I have been hearing about it for a long time."


He confirmed that indeed it was, and when he talked of it you could see the glimmer in his eye... He was so proud of what he had accomplished, just as he was proud to tell stories about his daughter.


"You should see it," he said to me. "It's paradise... It really is. Plus, I have a tractor!" Then he let out that unmistakable Bob Rice laugh that always got everybody around him laughing too, whether they knew what was funny or not.


That's Bob for you. His mere presence would light up a room. But when he let out that laugh, watch out. It could bring the dead back to life.


One Fast Move on the stage at The Briar Patch

On August 7th Bob celebrated his 10th year as the proprietor of the Briar Patch. It was a grand event, with only the biggest local bands on the roster: Mooseknucle, Mr. Baber's Neighbors: The Solar String Band, Floodplane, Truth B Told and Thankful Dirt as the headliner. Although I was invited, I wasn't able to attend. I had a prior engagement with my own daughter that weekend, and she and I spent some quality time together on the shores of Lake Red Rock. (Ironically, the previous Wednesday I had taken her to the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, and we ran into Bob and his daughter, and also Bob's mother. It was there he asked if I was going to make it to the 10 year anniversary.) I wasn't so upset about missing it because I was able to spend time with my little girl, and I had already been there a couple of times for different shows. I figured I would catch one of the summer's later events... It would make for a nice transition into Autumn.


It never occurred to me that I wouldn't get that chance.


Apparently a couple of self serving knuckle draggers sold some dope to some informants who were sent undercover from the local drug task force. Deeming Bob responsible, they swarmed in the next morning and raided his quiet little cabin in the woods. He figured he had nothing to fear, he didn't have any drugs on him, and he certainly wasn't responsible for the bad choices of others...


Boy, he was wrong.


Inside a purse of a female overnight guest, the police found a small amount of marijuana. She didn't claim responsibility for it, and to the cops that was enough evidence to take Bob to jail. The bail was set ridiculously high, in an obvious attempt by the Madison County authorities to keep Bob held without a chance of release. He was given a drug test, which he passed. He had no trace of any illegal substances in his body, and yet the prosecutor is determined to make Bob the example that Madison County is tough on drugs. To this day Bob is sitting in jail.


Dead Man Flats


Chris Hearn, a mutual friend of mine and Bob's has been doing an incredible job of bringing awareness to Bob's plight. He and several others held a benefit concert to raise money for Bob to pay his bail and get him out of jail. Not to mention the insurmountable costs of legal fees. Chris and his friends have raised almost two thirds of the money needed to get Bob freed.


A letter, formed by Chris, was sent out to friends on Facebook. With a sense of humor (which Bob would appreciate) it goes on to explain the situation that Bob is in, and provides an address to which anybody willing to, could send a few bucks.


Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register took an interest to the story and wrote this article, which was published on Saturday, September 11. While the article takes a neutral stance on the subject, it does leave out the fact that Bob had pissed clean after his arrest, that the pot was found in the purse of an overnight guest, and that Bob handed out fliers to everybody who attended his shows stating that drugs would not be tolerated. It also doesn't mention that the money seized was money collected at the door, and out of that money Bob was to pay his staff and the bands. (Anything left over went to cover maintenance costs on his 28 acre farm.) Nonetheless, it is a good article and it does attempt to shed some light on the injustice that is being done to Bob.


Here is the letter Chris Hearn sent out on Facebook:

Bob says thank you to all from his comfortable one-room Hilton at the Madison County Jail. We raised a nice chunk of change to cover some of the legal fees for Bob. We are about 2/3 's of the way there. I know a lot of you did not have a chance to come to the benefit, but there is another way to help.


Bob has been a lover and promoter of music and freedom for the last 10 years. He is being held in jail on trumped up charges. We must draw our line in the sand. This could be any one of us in jail, being treated in an unjust and unconstitutional way. Many of you know Bob personally, some in passing, and some not at all. Like Bob, we all know that the laws of this land are not fair and border on enslavement.


I have been talking to Bobs mom, and she thanks all of you for the effort and support. His depositions were today. The pre-trial is tomorrow. The court date will be on the 19th of October (next month.)


There are two ways that you can still help our Brother in Need!!!! The first is by sending letters of support with good things to say about our friend in freedom. These letters if written well and are not incriminating, can be used as affidavits to be entered into evidence in Bobs court case. If anything, write to tell Bob that you care and love him, he will appreciate it.


The next way is to actually donate money. There is strength in solidarity!!! If just a handful of you sent a check for $10, we could really help fight for Bobs freedom. As you know he has recently been unemployed for the last 2 months and will be until he gets out of jail. Chances are he will never have another Briar Patch ever again. Firstly, they put him in jail and secondly, "THEY TOOK HIS JOB!" (Southpark) I'm sorry I had to throw that in.


If you would like to help, please send a signed or unsigned (if you are not comfortable) Letter/ Affidavit and or a check for any amount to the following. Make checks payable to Bob Rice. Money orders are legitimate means as well. All letters will go to Bobs mom and be placed in Bobs legal defense fund trust account.


Address:


Bob Rice
PO BOX 549
Des Moines, IA 50302


CHECKS PAYABLE TO BOB RICE


We must take a stand, we must fight for our freedoms, if we all unite, we can make a difference. The choice is up to us. Thank you for reading and thank you for listening....LETS DO THIS!!!


Sincerely,


Chris Hearn
Bobs Mom, Jackie

I don't think I have ever used this blog as a forum or a soap box to solicit money from anybody. I am hoping though, at this time you will realize the magnitude of what is happening here and shell out a few bucks, or whatever you can and send it to the address posted above... Even a letter of encouragement, as Chris suggested.


Also, I believe Chris might have a few t-shirts that he had printed up that on the front is the Briar Patch logo and on the back it says FREE BOB!. They are $10.00 a piece, with all proceeds going directly to Bob's fund. If you are interested in one of these let me know. My email is up on the right side of the page, or find me on Facebook. Or, just leave a coment in the comment box, and I'll get ahold of you.


If you have a Facebook account, please share this on your profile page, or send it to your friends. Bob Rice is an incredible human being who is suffering under the thumb of tyranny. There are not too many people whom I consider truly and honestly amazing.


Bob Rice is one of them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Five Questions with... George Cummings

The Chocolate Papers
(Photo courtesy of George Cummings)

You may not know George Cummings from when he played guitar for The Chocolate Papers, a group formed in the mid '60s that became a house band at an upscale dinner club in Biloxi, Mississippi called the Gus Stevens Restaurant.  You may not know that he backed such legendary musicians as Mel Torme', Elvis Presley, and Mamie Van Doren. You may know him however, from a simple lyric that you have heard so many times it is seared into your brain.

Does this ring a bell?
I got a freaky old lady named Cocaine Katy who embroiders on my jeans... I got my poor ol' grey haired daddy, drivin' my limousine.


That's right... That deep voice you hear in "Cover of the Rolling Stone" is that of George Cummings who left The Chocolate Papers after the band moved to Chicago and formed what would become Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show while living in Union City, New Jersey. It's been a long and torrential ride.

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show in prosperous times
George Cummings third from left
The band did quite well. They sold over seven million singles along the way, including such classics as "Cover of the Rolling Stone," "Sylvia's Mother," and "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman." While the music was good, the feelings within the band's inner circles were not. There was a lot of animosity, and despite the friendly faces they put on each night they performed, the band began to develop it's share of demons.


Ray Sawyer and Dennis Locorriere emerged from the rest of the band as the "rock stars" of the group, often leaving George and the other members feeling left out of the spot light. Of course this created a lot of turbulence and stress with George, and in 1975 citing health reasons, he decided to leave Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and take his talents back to the south, settling in Nashville where he worked with Blues legend Lonnie Mack for several years.


With enough records sold during his career with Dr. Hook, George should be living a life of modest luxury. Instead things got twisted and essentially he got screwed by his band mates and the record companies. To this day George hasn't received a dime in royalties for the songs he helped write and play for the band he formed and eventually named.


Meanwhile the band continued to achieve without him, still recording albums and touring relentlessly.


They continued to play the hits that George helped to write and perform, and singles of these songs are still being sold. Somehow in the harsh reality that is the music business, George became forgotten when it came time to pass out royalty checks. It's as if he never existed. His tenure with  Dr Hook and the Medicine Show is but a ghost shadow on the walls of rock and roll oblivion. It is simply one of the great tragedies in the history of rock and roll.


Five Questions with George Cummings:


I hear you are soon to be releasing a new record. What can you tell me about it?


I have been planning on an album for the last 30 years, Actually cut one in Nashville a few years back but didn't release it yet as I didn't sing it well enough and ran out of funds. I am doing some tracks with a friend here in Bayonne now and it may be an album soon. I have a back log of material and could do an album in every style of American music. Just need to get off my ass and get 'er done..


Is there still animosity with other members of Dr. Hook... Are you currently friendly with anybody in the band?


The bad feelings run deep in this sad bunch of so called rock stars. It started when we signed with an asshole we did not want to sign with and he worked us to death and kept all the rewards. Death just claimed another member of the group a few weeks ago, Bill Francis. Some how Dennis L. wound up owning everything including the name I invented: Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. I have not gotten a penny from our millions of albums sold over the past 35 years but have found people who are in the royalty recovery business and they have good news for me and my family. We may start getting some soon.

Modern day Mr. Cummings
(Courtesy of Ken Hatley)
In Keith Green's 2003 interview, he asked if you had a favorite Dr. Hook track, or a favorite album. You replied that your favorite song by that band was "Cookie and Lila", but that you didn't have a favorite album, saying "My musical expectations were never met." Is this still the case, and if you do not mind me asking, what were and what are your musical expectations?


I never liked the cuts we did on our albums as they were mostly done in layers and not done whole band style like we played in our club days before we got into the fame game. The overtones were not present doing it piece meal. But we had CBS and Capitol behind it so we had some success. I have tapes of us playing together that far surpass anything we did in the studio... May release them some day.


I read that in 2003 you were working on a soundtrack for a movie with your friend and producer Ken Hatley... Did that ever come to fruition? What other projects have you been working on since leaving Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show?


Hatley and his producer friend released the movie"Florida City" a few years back, I sang on a couple of tracks. Have been doing gigs in this area with good bands and biker festivals in Florida and then on the now oil soaked Gulf Coast. Did a McDonald commercial and co-wrote a song "Where's the Dress" that won the Country video of the year.and a few more things I cant remember now but hope to put it all in the book I have planned. Was recently included in a book by Katy Ishee..."Pieces of My Heart"... She used some lines of some of my original songs as chapter headings and wrote some things about me in the book. Check it out its some intense prose..

Is there anybody in the musical mainstream that you would admit to being a fan of?


I don't listen to top 40 radio so I don't really know what is the flavor of the day but hear things my sons play that sound better than the rap crap they used to listen to constantly. John Mayer, Jack Johnson. are two names I recall. My wife recently played a Cd by Roseann Cash ,"The List" that really moved me. I am a Jazz and Classical lover and collector.


(Bonus Question): What was the Dr. Hook show "medicine" of choice?


I named the band for the weed that we over indulged in and the one with the patch who did not want to get out of bed without a big joint to start the day.


Thank you George Cummings for the interview and your time... With extreme sincerity, we hope that things work out for you and you get what's rightfully yours.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

High and Lonesome to Play Reunion Show

BREAKING NEWS!

Dave Zollo (per hudsonrivergallery.com)


Legendary Iowa band High and Lonesome are reuniting for a one time(?) gig on November 27th. The show is at Peoples on Court in downtown Des Moines.


This is straight off the cutting room floor, so please stay tuned for updates as we get them!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Absence of Destiny

Pow! Right between the eyes... Oh, how nature loves her little surprises. -Joe Walsh's "Life of Illusion"


Hawks lose 34-27.


The clock just struck 2:00 AM and I am wide awake. Aint no sound except for the faint hum of the dishwasher and my beating heart... Each beat taking me another second into the future.


My brain is a bit frazzled as I write this. The Hawkeyes fourth quarter luck ran out tonight in the Tuscon desert, and images from that game keep pounding into my memory with atomic force. So many ups and downs... Good Lord... Why do I care so much about sports? Is it worth my blood pressure spurting to hemorrhage levels? Is it worth the overcoming feeling of dread that I feel... Is it worth the sleepless night I am facing?


Well... This sleepless night had some help in the making. The 11:00 cup of coffee isn't helping to calm things down within the walls of my cranium. It's not helping with the blood pressure, or that feeling of dread... It's too much to expect a night of sound sleep and I knew that when the pot was being brewed. I was hoping at the time that it would be worth it... That the night would be spent awake with a giant wave of relief flowing through my veins as opposed to this feeling of anxiety I am stuck with.

POW!

The hope was that the Hawkeyes would have their usual fourth quarter heroics, secure the deal, shut down Arizona's offense, quiet their stadium and have champagne in the locker room. The hope was that this was the dream season I have been waiting for my entire life, when the Hawkeyes would run the table and actually contended for the national title... finally gaining the respect of the national media.


It seemed too much like destiny after last year's season, and I should have heeded the voice deep inside my soul that spoke about destiny not being a real thing, that it was no more tangible than doom or fortune... That we set ourselves up for our failures, and most of the time it comes down to who or what is most prepared for success, not a phantom play card to be acted out in a wind storm of fairy dust...


I heard that voice but I wasn't listening.


Arizona certainly brought spirit...

Tonight Arizona was the more prepared team. They punched Iowa right in the mouth from the git-go, leaving the Hawkeyes weak in the knees and sour in the heart. By the time the Hawks regained their strength it was too late without enough fuel in the tank. There wouldn't be an amazing Hulk Hogan type comeback on this night, no sir. When Iowa tied the game only to have the extra point blocked, Arizona caught our momentum in a bottle and gave it back to us with a pile driver. One! Two! Three! and we were out just like that. Actually it came in the form of 4 sacks in a row against our offensive line that had been touted as one of the best in the nation. Our game tying drive never had a chance to get off of the ground... It's hard to move the ball forward when you are constantly being pushed backward.


No... It's actually impossible.


Arizona punched us first and they punched us last. The few jabs we got in between were not enough to overcome the damage that had already been inflicted, and the better prepared team won the game. It's that simple. Now the Hawkeyes can focus on the Big Ten segment of the schedule and put this loss behind them.


Meanwhile I'm thinking it's going to be a bit more difficult for me...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ESPN FILMS presents: Brokedown Gameplan

From ESPN FILMS comes a true story of forbidden love.


One quarterback... One ESPN NFL broadcaster... One beautiful connection. The tragic story of Trent Dilfer's undying love for Philip Rivers.


What happens when an NFL broadcaster is forced to choose between putting his love on the line for the quarterback of his dreams, or providing an unbiased analysis? YOU TOO will feel his struggle. And you will feel the heart break as it happens...


Don't miss ESPN FILM's latest saga...

BROKEDOWN GAMEPLAN.



Premeiring live on September 13th during Monday Night Football.


(*Thanks to CVEckian for the imagry.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Record Albums I'll Never Own dept.

Can't think of a single reason why I'd buy this record...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Metro Concerts Live



Every week or so I will be featuring the lineups of Metro Concerts Live, which is a derivative of Skyline Audio Productions.


Aron and Chad and the rest of the guys do a great job of lining up shows and bringing alternative music to central Iowa and in an effort to bring more awareness to the scene we will be listing their shows here, and even attending a some here and there to cover for the Bigfoot Diaries. Meanwhile you can also keep up to date with what is happening at Metro Concerts Live on their Facebook page.


There is plenty of live music coming at ya in September...


◦17th: Texas in July w/ Texas in July, This or the Apocalypse, Destruction of a Rose, Korben Dalls & Marla Singer @ The House of Bricks, Doors: 4:30pm, TIX: $12 in advance thru http://www.midwestix.com/, $12 day of show, ALL AGES


◦20th: Dark From Day One w/ Obsidian, Punching Betty & Dark Adaptation @ The House of Bricks, Doors: 5:00pm, TIX: $8 in advance thru http://www.midwestix.com/, $10 day of show, ALL AGES


◦23rd: Sponge w/ Lesson 7, Come Unity, Superchief & Punching Betty @ The House of Bricks, Doors: 5:00pm, TIX: $15 in advance thru http://www.midwestix.com/, $15 day of show, ALL AGES


◦28th: Oakhurst w/ D.D.E.P. & Maximilian Eubank @ The House of Bricks, Doors: 5:00pm, TIX: $8 in advance thru http://www.midwestix.com/, $10 day of show, ALL AGES


Support the local music scene!

Five Questions With... Greg Waldrop

Geg Waldrop is an extremely patient man.


I first contacted him about doing an interview back in July with the promise of it being written and quickly published. Then suddenly I found myself engulfed with real life, and I kind of put the project on hold. I stayed away from the blog for several weeks, and Greg's interview became a casualty of that... It was never my intention to take the hiatus, it is just the way it worked out. Sometimes the way things "work out" means that things don't work out at all... This was one of those times.


A couple of exchanges through email I promised Greg that I would get on it... Have the article written up, and get it published. For reasons only nature can explain, my creativity glands had turned themselves off, and through what could only be called a lack of fortitude, I never quite set the gears in motion to accomplish that.


Until now...


My last email was just a few days ago, and I simply told Greg that I had fallen into a funk and was hopefully pulling myself out of it... Once again I told him that I'd get this written up and that I was extremely sorry for stretching this out for so long... And as he has been throughout this entire process, he was extremely gracious, told me that he has suffered from creative drought himself, and that he understood. He put me under no pressure... In a nutshell he told me to get to it when I could.


Well here we are.


You might be asking yourself  Who in the world is Greg Tenac Waldrop? I have found that question to be one that is somewhat hard to give a direct answer to... Basically he is just a normal guy who lives in the Des Moines area and has a very strong love for music. He has incorporated a business (for lack of better word) called Dangerous Music inc.which takes his passion for music to a higher level... And with his business partner Jeff Anderson, they have taken it upon themselves to promote the local music scene through photos, videos, and any other medium that they can use to keep their "hobby" going. If you are in a local band, then you might be familiar with Dangerous Music inc. Perhaps they have produced and posted videos of your band on youtube, or on other social networks... Or anywhere else that they could promote your band and the local live music scene.



You might remember me mentioning DMi back when I did the Five Questions with Jacob County segment. It was they who produced the video that went along with his interview, and it is just a sample of what they are capable of doing to support the live music scene in central Iowa... Here is another sample:



Perhaps the most wonderful thing about DMi, is that they are not limited in their capacity, and they will do anything that they can within their power to keep this hobby alive. For the amount of time that they put into it, and for what they get financially out of it (which is next to nothing), it is quite remarkable what they have accomplished. As far as I know, nobody else is doing what they are doing, especially in the central Iowa music market... Because it is so hard to accurately describe what it is that Greg and Jeff do, lets go directly to the source...


Greg Tenac Waldrop

5 Questions with Greg Tenac Waldrop:


1. What is Dangerous Music inc., and how did it get started?


Well, Dangerous Music Inc. is........for lack of better words, hard to describe. We set out with the original intent of reviewing shows and concerts that people couldn't attend. This intention for DMi changed when we found ourselves frequenting more local shows than national ones. The local bands here in Des Moines let us take tons of photos and videos of their performances and we slowly started to post them on myspace and youtube. People then started to look to us for live videos of their favorite Des Moines bands. So I guess you could say that DMi is an extreme love and support system for local music. It got it's start by a couple of guys sitting around wondering how we could give back to music what it has given to us our entire lives.


2. Do you still do anything for national bands?


We still attend the shows that we can, but we don't really review them anymore. Sometimes we'll catch some video of "big names", but we have to be careful about what we post due to their road managers and record companies not getting paid for what we do. Sometimes the bands themselves will ask us not to post live footage because they feel the audio isn't very good quality.

3. Is that how you came up with the name Dangerous Music Inc?

Actually we wanted the abbreviation of our name to be an acronym for Des Moines and the Inc came later when we filed with the state to reserve our name legally. When we were trying to think of a name there were three of us at the time and we all decided that the Dangerous part just fit.

4.  Please tell me about the film documentary that Dangerous Music is making...

We want to show where the music is on a local level. This film is art filled with artists. We want to tell the story that we see. We want to give the artists a chance to tell their stories about life, music and their experiences, struggles and expectations.

5.  Imagine this as one question...  How does a band become affiliated with Dangerous Music?... Do you find the bands or do they find you? Are there any specific qualifications... Such as dues? Have you ever turned bands away?


We aren't really affiliated with anyone. We certainly try to get to all of the shows we can to check out every band possible, but unfortunately real life doesn't work that way, at least for now! Some bands have contacted us to come check them out at shows, and some we just end up seeing by pure coincidence. Others have somewhat of a legacy surrounding themselves and you plan on going to those shows with the intent of shooting a great live video. We haven't charged anyone for what we do so far. I guess for the simple fact that we haven't marketed ourselves that way. We just put a Calous video on youtube that we would like to have all our live videos look like, I think once we make this the standard for our live videos then bands would have no problem paying for quality videos and performances of themselves. We usually can't say no to a band simply because we love music. We have, however, missed shows that we wanted to attend due to previously planned activities. This isn't a full time job for us so we have a lot of freedom with what we do.


Man this is a shame... Only 5 questions. I feel like this could go on forever. Maybe you know the routine here... We ask 5 questions for the segment, and then throw in a bonus question that kind of comes out of left field. I think with this interview because of what you guys do and the way you do things, and because DMi is such an original and worthwhile venture, I'd like to keep it more on task.


(Bonus question): I have heard you refer to "we" several times during this interview. How many people are in DMi (not including the bands) and how and what can people do do help you out? Please feel free to include any other information that you would like us to know.


"We" refers to myself  and the other half which is Jeff Anderson who takes care of most of the roaming camera work that you see in our videos. Our wives help out quite a bit with video and writing opinions when needed, and we have another video editor as well. I guess you could say there are five of us, but Jeff and I keep it going. I think bands and individuals do a great job helping us just by allowing us to shoot our cameras everywhere at shows. I think as long as people are receptive to what we do, it fuels the fire enough to keep us going. A free beer at a show never hurt anyone either! Ha-hah! All kidding aside, just keep watching and commenting on the videos.


Jeff Anderson


I would like to add a little something; This started as a hobby and has turned in to more of a serious venture for Jeff and I. I think we have a good opportunity to not only showcase our talents as biographers of a culture, but also that of a very talented cast of musicians.


If you want to support these guys in any way, or if you are in a band and would like DMi to contact you, leave a message in the comments section. As I said, what these guys do is extremely rare, and given the fact that they do it for a hobby and for practically nothing says so much about their passion.


I think it is completely safe to say that Dangerous Music inc. is just as important as the music itself.


Thank you Greg and Jeff...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stoners Part 2

(Simon:)
Something tells me
It's all happening at the zoo.
I do believe it,
I do believe it's true.


(Garfunkel:)
Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Whoooa. Mmmmm.


(Simon:)
The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.


(Garfunkel:)
Dude, seriously... What the fuck?

2010 KC Chiefs and AFC West Preview

With this being the opening weekend for the NFL, I thought that I'd go ahead and make my prognosis of what the Kansas City Chiefs are going to do this season.


Now... I know I lost most of you right there. And I can't say I blame ya. Most of you come here for utter nonsense or music related news...


But for those of you who want to continue to read, I am going to tell you exactly why the Chiefs should finish no less than 2nd in the AFC West.

Herm the worm
While it was very easy to find a Kansas City Chiefs fan during the miraculous '90s, it seems that most have drifted back into the wood work, or have jumped onto the band wagon of another more (recently) successful NFL team. So be it. The Chiefs haven't given us much to root for these last few years, especially with the disastrous hiring of Herman Edwards in 2006. He took a battered but good Chiefs team - They went 10-6 in 2005- and made them more battered and less good. They went 9-7 in his inaugural year, but if you believe in omens ( I do) you had a sense that things were going to deteriorate quickly. In his regular season coaching debut with the Chiefs, Quarterback Trent Green went down hard in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He suffered a serious concussion, which he never fully recovered from. The Chiefs held their own during this time through decent play from back-up quarterback Damon Huard and a good solid performance from running back Larry Johnson. But while the Chiefs were 5-3 at the half way point of the season, Herman Edwards thought that it would be a good idea to reinstate Trent Green at quarterback* despite Huard's success... And Green was never able to put it all together, and the Chiefs finished a dismal 9-7. They did manage to squeak into the playoffs, but not for any other reason than a miraculous chain of events on the final weekend of the season that had 6 AFC teams losing, crowning with a Denver loss to San Francisco.

This put the Chiefs into a virtual tie for 2nd place in the West, and subsequently due to tie-breaker rules, into the play-offs. The Chiefs were then immediately beaten by the Indianapolis Colts in a game that the Chiefs didn't manage a single first down in the first half. (That was the first time in the history of the league that this happened during a playoff game, and hasn't happened since.)


The Herman Edwards era was under way, and despite him only being there for a relatively short period of time, he unraveled the greatness that we Chiefs fans had grown to love. His firing came  in early 2009 after the Chiefs suffered their worse season in Franchise history (2-14). The Chiefs have been on the slow track since, becoming an after thought amongst most pundits who write stories for the NFL...


... Until this season. I see the improvement, even if nobody else seems to. Todd Haley is now into his 2nd year at the helm, and despite a 4-12 record last year the Chiefs have taken great strides to improve their offense. Everybody was looking when the Chiefs hired Charlie Weis as their offensive coordinator last year, but nobody seems to have noticed that the Chiefs now have two 1000 yard rushers in their backfield. Jamal Charles had 1120 yards on the ground for the Chiefs in '09, and the acquisition of Thomas Jones from the Jets brings an additional 1400 more from last season, plus 11 years of experience.


Todd Haley

Matt Cassel should be all the better at quarterback in his 2nd full year in Todd Haley's system, and with a new revamped, and relatively young offensive line that has 31 years combined under it's belt, he should have more time in the pocket and therefore time to throw the ball, coming off of a season where he was tossed to the ground 42 times. He showed what he could do when he had time to pick his targets from the pocket while he was with the Patriots, and there is no reason to think that he won't have ample time this year. Especially with targets Leonard Pope, Dwayne Bowe, and Chris Chambers.

Defensively the Chiefs are young... Really young.


But they are big and fast, and they well... Show promise. Middle Linebacker Jevon Belcher has been heavily lauded by his coaches for his preseason performance, and Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson are most certainly going to improve their numbers from a  year ago. Toss in the addition of veteran Mike Vrabel to the linebacker crew, and the Chiefs 3-4 defense looks to be one that only gets better as the season goes on. Speed is a factor at the cornerback and saftey positions, and the Chiefs have it. They bring back Strong Safety Jon McGraw who should continue to hone his skills and with speedster Eric Berry from Tennessee joining him at the other saftey position, they should be able to hang with most receivers in the AFC West. The two Brandons... Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr bring size and speed to the cornerback positions, and despite the fact that each of these players only have two years under their belt in the NFL, this third year should be that pivotal season in their careers which brings them to the next level.


The Chiefs' defense should improve from last year.

I mentioned the Chiefs' defense was young, but this can be a benefit as long as they buy into the defensive schemes that Todd Haley presents them with. I like the direction that Haley is taking this team. I do not have that gloomy feeling I had when Herm Edwards took over. It seems that Haley is doing the right things in order to get the Chiefs back into the habit of winning games and if the Chiefs defense can continue to improve and make some timely plays, the Chiefs offense should be able to carry most of the weight. The problems will come in when the young defense doesn't react to the always changing NFL offensive schemes... (This problem should take care of itself as time goes on) And if they are constantly getting pushed backward down the field they will no doubt react with frustration. If they can keep their heads, and force a turnover once in awhile, the Chiefs offense should be able to hold it's own. A tired defense is a bad defense... A young defense is less likely to grow tired, but more likely to be easily aggravated which could lead to the same silly mistakes.

I do not see the Denver Broncos having a good year. Coach Josh McDaniels has already proven to be a volatile leader who seems to cause more riffs within his team as opposed to being the glue which brings his crew together. The acquisition of Kyle Orton is laughable, and should be even more so this year with the departure of Brandon Marshall at Wide Receiver. Tim Tebow isn't quite NFL ready, though I would certainly welcome his presence. Brady Quinn has talent, but not enough to compete at a consistent high level in the AFC. Defensively the Broncos have Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey. Otherwise they are in the same boat the Chiefs are, with a young defense that has a lot to learn... If they are going to give up 24 points each week as they did today against a less than stellar Jacksonville team, then I like the Chiefs chances divisionally against this foe. They will win their home game against Denver when it comes up on December 5th, and should make a good challenge when playing in Denver a few weeks earlier.

Oakland gave up 38 points to the Titans today while only scoring 13, which seems pretty typical. While the Titans have the best running back in the league, Chris Johnson only accounted for 12 of those points with most of the damage coming from Titans passer Vince Young. He literally chewed the Oakland defense to shreds throwing 13 for17 and  for 2 touchdowns. It seems that the Raiders never get any better, and this certainly doesn't seem to be their year... And until they win at least half of their games, I will say this every single season. I look for the Chiefs to sweep the Raiders this year, and to grow fundamentally while the Raiders etch themselves a nice little room in the AFC West basement. Maybe they should hang some balsa wood to remind them of their glory days in the '70s.


The Devil himself

The Chargers are the only team in the West that has shown the ability to improve on a yearly basis this past decade. Still though, the Chiefs have the ability to surprise them this year when they come into Arrowhead. The Chargers thrashed the Chiefs twice last year... Could it be that they are overlooking the Chiefs this year on the road and concentrating more on their first home game next week against the Jaguars? Toss in the fact that the Chargers are without future hall of famer LaDainian Tomlinson for the first time in 10 years and have virtually nobody that looks promising to fill his shoes. Tight End Antonio Gates is yet another year older, and the Chargers have even a younger offensive line than the Chiefs do, with three guys who have 4 years of experience or less in the league. If one of the offensive guards goes down with an injury, at this point the Chargers have nobody in line on their depth chart... Which is quite interesting at this juncture of the schedule. 


And with the absence of a strong running game, there will be more pressure for Phillip Rivers who threw 9 interceptions last year (and took 25 sacks) to throw the ball. I can see both of these numbers getting worse this year, because while L.T. was a great runner, he was also a great blocker who knew the offense very well and could fill that tangible when needed. This isn't the offensive San Diego team of last year, and I feel that they have something to prove. I have the Chiefs winning on opening day, surprising everybody and going into week 2 with the only victory within the division. I have the Chiefs winning at home against the Chargers, and losing when they go into San Diego in mid December. But who knows... If the Chargers offense stutters like I believe it will, then the Chiefs have a fighting chance.


Rivers will have to avoid the sack this year.

My prediction is this: The Chargers should win the AFC West... But the Chiefs will finish no less than 2nd at 9-7.


You read it here first, my friends.




*You would think that the Chiefs would have learned their lesson. The same quarterback injury scenario happened in 1997 when QB Elvis Grbac became injured early in the season, and Rich Gannon led the Chiefs to a 13-3 season record, the best in the NFL. Despite Gannon's success, Coach Marty Schottenheimer decided to start Grbac against the Denver Broncos in the first week of the playoffs. The Broncos won 14-10. Like Edwards, Schottenheimer was gone within a year of this awful decision.