Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saint Vitus-The Glass House,Pomona CA- 10/13/12

Heads up Doom Metal heads! If you read my crappy blogs, you know I'm not a fan of doom/sludge metal. So I wont be saying much about Saint Vitus. I'm sure you'll find a blog somewhere with a an actual good review of them. I ain't gonna lie either homies, I mainly went to see The Casualties (cause I still wanna be 14 years old) and tech death metal legends, Atheist,who I missed at Glasshouse as well during the Scion Fest. So there ya go.

The first band happened to be Black Sheep Wall. They recently located form San Francisco to Los Angeles I believe, and they down slow temp heavy music influence by sludge/drone/doom/and post metal. And serious shit, I actually dug 'em. I usually can't stand music like that at all but this was pretty interesting. the lead singer looked and dressed like a rapper or something so you wouldn't expect his voice to be all loud and brutal like that. It had a little black metal vibe in my opinion.

While the crowd reaction (full of teenage street punx and thrashers) didn't like 'em and neither did my friends I actually quite enjoyed 'em. They released an album out this year called "No Matter Where It Ends" that you should check out. Hopefully I like it as much as I like 'em live.

Black Sheep Wall
The second band was a band from Philly called A Life Once Lost and they played Metalcore.

Yes,with a name like that and how Metalcore is a risky genre to call yourselves with out looking like a hot topic teenage girl band your bound to have some critics. Metalcore can either be good(Deadguy,Hatebreed,Earth Crisis's) or really, really really shitty (As I Lay Dying, Trivium, All That Remains). Luckily even with that name, A Life Once Lost played pretty solid Metalcore with Groove Metal influences. They remind me a lot of Lamb of God (if that helps). The vocalist dude kept hitting his head while the lame crowd just stared at them with stupid looks on their faces.  It's hatrd to find good Metalcore these days so I give theses guys a thumbs up. New album "Ecastic Trance" came out this year. Check it out but please don't hardcore dance. ( and haha! at the Bon Jovi shirt)

A Life Once Lost
All the Thrasher and Death Metal kids got all upfront for tech death metal legends from Florida, Atheist. Like I said earlier I missed 'em last year at Scion Fest (last time they came here too) so this was my first chance since.I honestly did not expect too much since my friends said they were "meh" last year mainly cause all their material (besides the first album,which I love) is very prog/jazz death metal. Psssh! I hate that more than I hate sludge.


Atheist proved me wrong and blew me away. The pit got super huge filled with metal heads and even punks. The new stuff (not so new, last album came out in 2010) was actually ok. Of course when they played the old stuff I was more satisfied and into it. They ended with "Piece of Time" like I hoped and hair was shakin'  everywhere as you can imagine. Me being the prog hater I am can only recommend you to listen to their debut album, 1989's "Piece Of Time" which is a true Death Metal classic and their best album. That I'm sure everyone can agree with.


After like 50% of thrashers left, all the kids with spiky hair and obvious painted leather jackets got up front. This is the second time seeing NYC's spiky haired street punx The Casualties this year and I wasn't as excited as my inner 14 year old mainly cause their new album "Resistance" was released a week before this event and it was stale, mediocre,and it just sounded like leftovers from their last couple of albums. I went anyways since it was free and all. Songs started and well, I got into it. They played stuff from all over their catalog ("Tomorrow Belongs To Us," "Punk Rock Love," "Made In NYC",etc). It wasn't as nuts as last time but they played around the same set except adding 2 new songs that were "Meh." I cant say anything else other than they are a fun live band to see and to get their 1st album "For The Punx". I'm pretty sure you can go to a middle skool and borrow it from some snotty- nosed kid there. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate 'em. I still dig 'em a lot. I'm not one of those people who "grew up" The Casualties, but man that new album was disappointing.

Up The Punx!
The Casualties
Well headliners were the legendary Doom band Saint Vitus. All the punks and metal heads left and a bunch of old dudes and bikers stood there to watch 'em. I was surprised how empty it got since they are on tour and it was free. I usually give bands a song or two chance and if I don't like 'em I sit outside. But since St.Vitus is such a huge deal I stayed half the set. It was just too slow for me (I'm SORRY!) There were 2 songs I enjoyed that they said was from their first album so maybe I'll check that out later. Oh and that Black Flag cover was interesting. Besides that, I apologize deeply, I couldn't get into 'em. Atheist/Casualties were my highlight.

Saint Vitus

Fear and Loathing in Memphis... Bob Nostanovich

One day several months ago I sat with Des Moines resident Bob Nostanovich on his back porch to talk about his days in the band Pavement and to get some light on how he ended up living in a remote far-out place like Iowa.

As it turns out, it was horse racing that brought him here, specifically a job with the Prairie Meadows Race Track in Altoona. Having spent part of his life in Louisville, Kentucky, I am guessing it was there that he fell in love with the sport.

Funny though, I never asked him. We did talk about Louisville, but not the Kentucky Derby.

Pavement on Space Ghost Coast to Coast

We met for about an hour. Much of the conversation centered on one particular question I asked, which was, What was the most memorable gig you played?

Of course I expected some great story about when Pavement played on Letterman, or the Colbert Report, or perhaps even when they made an appearance on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I thought maybe he would tell me about the time Pavement played on Leno, or perhaps a festival in some exotic far away place.

But contrary to what I was expecting, he proceeded to tell me a story about a band he played in called Pale Horse Riders, and one crazy night when they played in Memphis.

Suddenly the rest of the interview seemed unimportant. The way he told this story, his timing and the expressions on his face were hilarious, and he had me laughing pretty hard. I understand that these effects will be lost in this transcription. But please... imagine yourself in Bob's shoes as the madness unfolds around him. Murphy's Law was in full effect that night, and all that Bob could do was just endure it.

In the end, the story is nothing short of rock and roll legend.


Here is the story of The Pale Horse Riders, in Bob's words:

My friend Chris Layton should be famous but he's too crazy.

We played a show in Memphis one time it was amazing. We only knew how to play three songs. It's one of those deals... Guided By Voices and The Breeders were both recording in town and there's this one club in downtown Memphis, I can't even remember it's name. They advertised us as some kind of secret show. So everybody that came thought it was going to be Guided By Voices, or The Breeders playing for like 300 people.  I'm going to say that this was in 2001 or something... I'm pretty sure it was after Pavement stopped. Maybe like 2000.

So, they had some metal matinee at this place, it was just like the Vaudeville Mews... The Memphis version. They clear out the metal crowd and all of a sudden there is like three or four hundred people. The place is packed to the gills because they want to come in and see this mystery show. Well the mystery show is me, and three or four of my buddies from Louisville who are equally retarded musicians and we only knew how to play three songs!

So I walk in and people are coming up to me and saying, "Oh my God is Pavement going to play? Or the Silver Jews or something like that?" I said no, we're just a band from Louisville called Pale Horse Riders, me and a couple of young fellas, we just screw around and make songs.

Pavement. Bob on the left. Notice his shirt.
Click to enlarge
Now Layton he is a nut. He's never seen nothing like this in his life, and he's just fired up... And my buddy Sherman Wilmott who we always used to stay with and record while we were in Memphis, he is one of the greatest guys in the world. He owns a record store down there, I think its called Shangri-La Records. We used to stay above his record store and he'd bring us these huge aluminum tubs of ribs from that place Cozy Corner; it's the best rib joint in the world, and I think I had twelve bones, and it's the kind of ribs that you know... Just god bless... Unbelievable. I thought I was going to have a heart attack I ate so many of them.

I had about 12 in 20 minutes. I drove those boys down there in a mini van that we rented. Got pulled over on the way down for some shit, and I brought this friend of mine Jack Barry, who was about 10 years older than us, and he was our emcee... He'd put on a coat and tie, and look real nice, and he'd get up there and be a proper emcee... you know. He was going to be one of our saving graces.

I ask what is the drinking policy here for bands and it's a young kid I think he' about 25 years old, nice kid.

Ok we are getting 500 dollars guaranteed, which is ridiculous for some band that doesn't know how to play, and this guy says - and I will never forget it as long as I live, and my buddies are there and they are about 22 and they want to get ripped, and this guys says - "Our policy with bands is to go behind the bar and help yourself."

I was thinking, You gotta be kidding me... I didn't say anything, except to my friends, I said "Boys, whenever you want a drink, just go behind the bar and help yourselves."

Oh we were littered all over the shop.

And then we start playing and Layton can't handle it... He is kinda like a savage. He's got his shirt off and he's a little guy with tattoos and stuff. he's a very talented guy, but he always wanted to be punk rock and stuff like that and it's kind of this crowd, it's a Breeders/Guided By Voices/Pavement type crowd, you know people are kind of serious and they think they are going to see something historic, and Layton is like this fucking lunatic redneck from the bad part of Louisville and he goes up there with his shirt off and I'm sitting there on drums and I've had 12 rib pieces and there's just beer everywhere.

I've got my one buddy Pete Townsend who plays drums in Palace Brothers, well he plays in Willie's (Will Oldham) band now, Bonnie Prince Billy... He's back there, he's never played a live show in his life , he's like 21, back there with sunglasses on at a keyboard. Paul's up there with a bass guitar, and Jack Barry comes out to introduce us and the first thing he does is start telling stories about the Louisville-Memphis basketball rivalry, and how much Louisville and Memphis hate each other and gets the crowd all riled up and whips them into a frenzy, starts saying fuck all these famous Memphis basketball players and shit and I'm like Oh my god in heaven!

Then before the show starts, he sings a beautiful a cappella version of  "My Old Kentucky Home." So the whole crowd is booing and shit, and I'm sitting with my head down at my three piece drum set thinking Oh shit. I'm the only person anybody knows. It's just me and a bunch of scoundrels.

Ok, so Jack Barry is opening, and everybody is booing and Layton goes up to his microphone, turns the thing on and goes, "This song's for all you faggots!"

People are just like, What the fuck! and I'm like, just remove me from this environment.

If I could have beamed myself to anywhere else on the face of the earth, I would have done it. So we start playing these three songs that we know how to play, and we play 'em and Jack comes up to me and says into my ear as we're playing the song, he says "Make this the last one, and we'll just do another set!"

Bob was known for his "scream" while playing with Pavement.
There's no doubt he wanted to scream that night in Memphis.

Ok so we quit, right? We played for about 20 minutes and people are confused. They are like, What the hell did we pay five dollars for?... These assholes - you know that whole kind of deal.

And then we say, ok we'll be back in ten minutes, and play another set. So everybody goes to the bar and about a hundred of them left, but there's still about 300 left and we go back up and play the same three songs again... We did it four times! Oh hell!

And the greatest thing was, Sherman's filming the whole thing in the back, Sherman Wilmott. He just had a video camera camcorder set up on a tripod, and you can't hear the music too well, but there's a big round table that's full of Memphis scenesters... The Grifters were a band back then, a good band and we were good friends with them, and like that whole scene was there and there's a whole bunch of Memphis scenesters sitting at a table right there right in front of the camera so you can hear their conversation more than you can hear the music that's going on in the distance on this camera.

And you are hearing people say things like, "This is the worst shit I have ever seen!" and they're talking about all the other horrible shows they've seen, and they're like, "Oh no, these assholes take the cake!" you know. They're like, "This is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life!" and, "I would never have any problem with Pavement, but fuck that Nostanovich guy... Fuck him!" and all kinds of stuff... Oh shit!

So we finished up and loaded up our shit and drove a mile or two back to Sherman's, lucky to get away with it. Jack, he took off and he ended up in some hotel out 20 miles away. Basically, he was on psychedelic mushrooms, it was one hell of a night.

That night was the most embarrassing moment... Pavement had some embarrassing moments in front of some big crowds where we just sucked, but nothing was nearly as embarrassing as that.

We got paid 500 dollars, drank for free and ate the best ribs in the world. It took about three or four days for me to recover from it mentally, because I didn't really need the humiliation, but then it sunk in that it was, um, legendary.

And then, and I swear to God I don't go to Memphis very often, I mean I would, but I just don't, since then.

I'm talking as much as like five to seven years later I have been in places in Memphis and people have come up to me and said, "You're one of those fucking assholes!" I swear to God, I am not shitting you. "You are one of those assholes that was in that band, Pale... Something..." And I'm like, "Oh yeah. Sorry. I'm sorry about that. Let me buy you a drink."

That's how bad it was. I mean it was insulting. In fact, we had this one lunatic who was part of the band that night, who's ex-girlfriend had showed up and he was grabbing the mic from Layton, and he had written a bunch of love poetry to her and he's reading the love poetry out to this girl who is just like mortified, and there was like all kinds of like thought put into it, and I guess it was pretty dramatic. It was dramatically bad.

I just know that I rented the vehicle, I drove down there, I fielded all the fucking questions, I got paid, dealt with everything, somehow loaded all those lunatics back in the van and we left the next day. I was real happy to be on that I-40 heading up back up towards Nashville and making that turn on I-65, and heading back to Lousiville and dumping them all off.

The Vituperate EP

We made a record. Actually two records. We had a record that we made ourselves called the Vituperate EP. It's five songs and I'm pretty sure it was recorded on an 8-track or a 4-track. Paul recorded it in his parent's basement and it's just me Chris and Paul. We played out in Louisville and Jason Loewenstein of  Sebadoh played in that band.

We always sort of had a rule - we must have played 15 or 20 shows - basically what would happen is when one of the promoters in Louisville was having a hard time selling tickets or didn't think the money was going to be there, like when 30-40 people would come to a show that he needed a hundred for, he's call us up like three days in advance, and be like "Hey can  throw you guys on this bill?" And we'd say, sure. And even though we sucked... We never knew how to play more than five songs, but because we had Loewenstein, I lived with Jake (Jason Loewenstein) at the time. We had Jason Hayden who was a popular musician guy in town ( from Endpoint), but yeah, people would just basically show up to laugh at me and Jake, Pete Townshend and Paul Oldham.


The video below is Pavement performing "Conduit for Sale." Bob is on the vox (I'm tryin' I'm tryin' I'm tryin...)  There are literally no Pale Horse Riders on Youtube that I could find and it was a chore to even find a pic of an album cover in Google images. Only 500 copies were made of the Vituperate EP. Each copy was custom made with cut-outs and paste and strange drawings. No two were the same. No telling how many are still in existence or where they are. I did see one on ebay for $40.00. That's a bargain.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Come And Join The Party to Support Ed Fallon in His Defense Against Boswell's Frivolous Lawsuit

Ed Fallon: The Hardest Working Man Out of Politics

                                              Official Press Release:

Thursday, November 1, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. at the Historic Fire House, 1041 8th Street in Des Moines (just south of DMACC's urban campus), friends and supporters of Ed Fallon will host "Ed Fallon's Legal Defense Shindig" to raise funds to support Fallon's legal fees in the lawsuit filed against him by Congressman Leonard Boswell. That lawsuit alleges that Fallon committed slander and libel against Boswell by revealing that aides to Boswell offered Fallon an $80,000 a-year job if he would not run against the Congressman in 2008. Fallon and his attorney, Joseph Glazebrook, have filed a counterclaim alleging "abuse of process" by Congressman Boswell.

"I am truly grateful for all the support coming forward," said Fallon. "It's unfortunate that Congressman Boswell decided to file this lawsuit, and a real challenge for me to raise the $5,000 needed to defend myself. I hope this shindig can raise most of the funds needed. No matter what happens Thursday night, it's going to be one fun party!"

The focal point of the shindig is a silent auction. "I am thrilled at the diversity of gifts and services people have donated for the auction," said Fallon. "There are paintings, dinners at restaurants, Turkish clothing, fair trade coffee, tickets to concerts, and $100 worth of pet waste removal. There is also massage, hypnotherapy, and even life coaching sessions."

In a recent email, Fallon had this to say about the event:

When donations and bids reach 20% of the funds needed for the lawsuit, an 84-year-old man will perform a spinning slide down a fire pole to a sustained drum roll and a chorus of oohs and aahs. Forty percent: Ed will perform a Chopin nocturne. Fifty percent: Ed will begin to play the accordion, and will stop when we hit 60%. Seventy percent: Ed will begin to give a speech, and will shut his trap when we reach 80%. If we reach 100% of the money needed by 9:00 p.m., the Heavens will open and doves shall descend upon the donor who puts us over the top. Have your cameras ready. Finally, if you donate any amount, Ed will invite you to a breakfast of his homemade pancakes to celebrate the conclusion of the trial, whenever that might be. (Unlike the dove thing, this will actually happen.)
Food will be provided by Cyd Coehn of Cyd's Catering. Music will be provided by Big Joe Kinser, Typical Males (John Price and Tim Verdon), Andy Fleming (from Brother Trucker), and Highroller Express (John Price, Jamie Grimm, and Jason Kadiwompass).

"Throughout my two decades of work in politics," said Fallon, "I have consistently demonstrated a commitment to fighting for good government, speaking truthfully and candidly about the importance of public officials maintaining the public trust, and standing up for constituency groups treated unfairly or unjustly by those with power. I am absolutely innocent of the accusations made against me by Congressman Boswell, I look forward to having this discussion in the full light of public review, and I look forward to a great event this coming Thursday."
Fallon served as a state lawmaker for 14 years representing central Des Moines in the Iowa House, and he ran against Boswell in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2008. Glazebrook is an attorney with the law firm of Glazebrook and Moe, LLP, and he successfully defended Fallon in the latter's Occupy trial earlier this year.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Bryan's List of Local Music Happenings 10/29/12

Each week Bryan Farland compiles a list of events and musical happening in Des Moines and the surrounding areas. If you see something on here that is incorrect, or something that needs to be added, please let us know in the comments section below. Additions and corrections are always appreciated.

Also... If you have something on the radar for the following week that you want to be featured, please get the information to me by the Sunday before, or as soon as possible thereafter. We will do our best to get that info published.

Monday 10/29/12

Findley Family Fun Fest with Scot Sutherland at the Greenwood 7:00
Matt Woods and the Thunderbolts Longest Yard 8:00
Evergreen Grass Band at Gaslamp 9:00
Stone Sour with Painface at Wooly's 9:00

Tuesday 10/30/12

Charles Johnson at el Bait 8:00
Dan Jones at the Greenwood 8:00
Reeferseed Express and Emeal Myles at the Greenwood 8:00

Wednesday 10/31/12

Reeferseed Express at Hull Ave. Tap 6:00 ($1.00 Beers!)
Jason Waismith, Songwriter's Night at Racoon River Brewery 7:00
David Zollo at el Bait 8:00
Chad Elliott at Fire Creek, WDM 6:30
Bob Pace Band at Zimm's 7:00
The High Crest at the Greenwood 8:00

Thursday  11/1/12

Joel Kinser, Typical Males, Andy Fleming, Highroller Express at Ed Fallon Legal Defense Shindig at Fire House, 1041 8th Street 5:00-9:00 (Silent Auction)
Open Jam featuring Scott Long at Gas Lamp 9:00
Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00
Flobots with Come Unity, It's Complicated at Wooly's 7:00

Friday 11/2/12

Work Release Party w/Bob Pace Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
Nels Dovre at the Ritual Cafe 7:00
Don't Wake The Baby at Fire Creek WDM 7:00
Bello at the Grapevine 7:00 (RSVP Required)
Sundogs (Reggae) at Java Joes 9:00
Justin Appel and Heath Alan at Greenwood 9:00
Matt Woods at The Contintental 9:00
Dick Prall CD Release Party with Fever Fever at Gas Lamp 9:00
Chris Powell and Grey Loveless at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern, Grimes 8:30
Dropkick Murphys at Val Air Ballroom 7:00

Saturday 11/3/12

Big John Burns at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Allen Stone with Selah Sue, Tingsek at Wooly's 8:00
North of Grand at the Greenwood 9:00
Dick Prall with Fever Fever at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern Grimes 8:30
Blackbird Circus at Racoon River Brewery 9:00
Fancy Pants w/Darren Matthews at the Underground 9:00

Sunday 11/4//12

Aquamarine Dream Machine at el Bait 8:00
Jason Heath and The Greedy Souls at Gas Lamp 8:00


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Somebody You Should Know: Dustin Ennis

Those of us who frequent the live music scene here in Des Moines are aware of the talented musicians that take the stage on any given night. While there are several whom I consider to be very talented, I do have my personal favorites.

One of them is Dustin Ennis, who plays guitar with Stuttrin' Jimmy and the Goosebumps and/or Jacob County and the Damaged Goods, which essentially is the same band, depending on who is singing.

Dustin Ennis pre-gig at el Bait Shop
(Click this photo and all others to enlarge)
It's a neat trick to be two bands in one, especially when each band incorporates it's own individual sound. While both bands are extremely talented, the Goosebumps have a more traditional noise with songs that conjure images of burnt trees, old dirt roads, and shadowed demons - demons in the sense that we all have scars in our past that occasionally haunt us.

The Damaged Goods on the other hand, are all about the party. They are the personification of ardor, with fast tempos and sledge hammer guitar riffs. They are the standard of which the term "Rock and Roll" should be measured. And while Jimmy Enos and Jacob County have the bands' namesakes, they would be nothing without the grit and electric determination of Dustin Ennis.

On the surface, Dustin is a quiet guy who seems perfectly comfortable as the bands' second guitarist. He is not one for flair, and like the other members in the band, he is virtually without ego. But once the songs start rolling, watch out. From out of nowhere you start hearing these "sounds" that kind of creep up on you. About the time you realize that it's Dustin pulling on the strings on his Fender Telecaster, he is smashing your ears with an all-out sonic assault.

Somewhere, Neil Young is standing with his arms crossed, nodding in approval.

Stuttrin' Jimmy and the Goosebumps
L-R; Ennis, Jimmy, Dirk, Beth, and Jacob
Dustin grew up in Corning, Iowa, a small town in southwest Iowa that is famous for being the birthplace of Johnny Carson. He picked up a guitar at around the age of ten, and by the time he was in his teens he was playing in a couple of bands with his high school friends. The first one was called Romeo Delight, taken from the song by Van Halen.

"We played Rush and stuff like that," he told me over fish tacos at el Bait Shop Wednesday night. "I was a big metal-head."

The second band he was in, believe it or not was called Nirvana. "This was 1980 through about 1989," he pointed out. They broke up just about the time the "other" band made the name famous.

Dustin moved to Ames in 1989 and met drummer Joe Mcguire, who together formed Toxis O'Grady. Joe and Dustin have remained friends to this day and have collaborated together in several different bands. About 1994, Dustin moved to Des Moines where he and Joe joined Slopsycle.

It was in that band that he met Jacob County, and the lineage was set. Dustin and Jacob have basically been playing together ever since.

Joe, Jacob, and Dustin later played together in Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers, and Joe originally sat in with the Goosebumps/Damaged Goods combo, until he eventually joined  Bob Tyler and the Restless Hearts as their drummer. At any given time, any one of these former bands has the ability to resurface unannounced for a spontaneous gig.

Slopsycle in their prime.
L-R; Joe Mcguire, Angela Reeves, Dustin Ennis and Jacob County

"I'm playing as much as I can." Dustin told me. "I am even working on forming my own band."

In addition to playing guitar, he can also play the bass and keyboards and he told me that he just recently bought himself a drum set. "In this new band, I hope to play drums." He noted.

On this night at el Bait however, he was playing guitar with the Goosebumps/Damaged Goods, and he was absolutely on fire. He uses an old '70s style Yamaha tube amp that seems to have found a second life. The sounds Dustin was sending through this dinosaur were incredible... Freakish actually.

Jacob said that he himself has played with the old Yamaha and found it to his disliking. "That amp used to sound like shit but something happened." Jake said with a laugh. "I think he found the volume knob!"

That might be true. As I said, Dustin is quite comfortable playing the proverbial second fiddle. He told me that he likes to keep his ego tampered down. "It allows me to handle myself socially." He explained. The volume knob notwithstanding, Dustin has no trouble handling his business.

Jacob has nothing but praise for his long time friend. "I've been admiring Dusty's playing for almost 15 years now." He told me. "I've been playing with him that long and I still don't know what he's doing. He's well under-rated! The way I describe Dusty's playing is when you're sitting down listening to music and you think you hear stuff but it's really not there... Dusty's playing that shit you think you hear."

Exactly. I couldn't have said it better, and anybody who was there on Wednesday night would be inclined to agree.  The truth be told, Dustin is the glue that holds these bands together.

"Dusty is awesome." Jacob said.

Simply put. Dustin Ennis is certainly somebody you should know.


Pertinent Links:

Stuttrin' Jimmy and the Goosebumps FB Page

Jacob County and the Damaged Goods FB Page


Rock and Roll Disses: My Personal Top Five

When Henry Rollins scolded me for knocking on his tour bus door a couple of weeks ago, it generated response from quite a few people, many with different opinions. Of course there is the unwritten rule that one doesn't impose on others, especially, God forbid, a rock star who is enjoying the quiet comfort of his climate controlled mansion on wheels.

It goes without saying that I was probably in the wrong to bother Henry as he meditated - or whatever it is that he does - to prepare himself for his spoken word show. But I did want to give him a Bigfoot Diaries t-shirt, so in a way I felt justified to knock. As we now know, that move backfired horribly, as he most likely will never wear the shirt I gave him. About the best I can hope for is that he is using it as a towel to wipe sweat out of his armpits after one of his vigorous weight lifting workouts.

But that's not the first time I have been dissed by a famous musician. In fact it's happened more than a few times in my long and illustrious career as a concert connoisseur. I thought I'd share my Top 5.

5. Willie Nelson (December, 2008 C.Y. Stephens Auditorium Ames, Iowa) Technically he's not a rock and roll star, but this encounter deserves mention. It was freezing cold while I and a few other people waited outside Willie's bus before this show in hopes of meeting him and perhaps getting an autograph. At one point he came out of his bus, only briefly, and we called out to him. He waved and said that he would be out in a few minutes to meet with us. Well, we waited. And waited... And waited.

Willie was much warmer inside the auditorium.
(Photo by Bigfoot Diaries, Click this and all photos to enlarge)

Eventually, after about an hour of waiting in the frigid temperatures Willie did come out, only to be whisked inside the auditorium by security. Apparently it was showtime. Again we called out to him, and again he waved. But he never came to speak to us.

Note: Billy Bob Thornton came out and said hi (his band, the BoxMasters was the opening act). He was very polite and patiently signed autographs and posed for pictures in the freezing snow.

4. Henry Rollins (October, 2012 Outside Wooly's Des Moines, Iowa) You know this story well by now. If not, you can read about it here.

3. David Gilmore/Richard Wright (May, 1988 UNI Dome Cedar Falls, Iowa) Shep and I attended the Pink Floyd show at the Dome and were more than a little bit addled as we spent the afternoon tailgating in the massive parking lot. For the majority of the day we sat behind Shep's yellow Nova with the Grateful Dead's Aoxomoxoa playing over and over, blasting out of his car's cheap speakers.

Pink Floyd at the UNI Dome
(Borrowed from IBOotlegger's Creed Blog)
At one point we decided to wander, and we walked up towards the Dome. Pink Floyd's road crew was enjoying some leisure time, and were half-heartily involved in a game of softball. They had white paper plates set up in a diamond that they were using for bases, and one by one they would take turns swinging at the ball while a few others from the crew would play the field. It wasn't really as much of a game as it was just guys taking swings and others fielding the balls as they were hit. Suddenly, about 3 feet from us stood David Gilmore. Shep noticed him first; he was wearing a pink tuxedo style shirt and black slacks. In his hand he held a red velvet towel. He kind of looked mesmerized, as I'm sure we did too, and then he unfolded the velvet towel and a small but very shiny pile of crystals was exposed, which seemed to glow in the afternoon sunshine.

Shep said, "Hey... It's Gilmore."

Gilmore looked at us, folded the velvet back over the crystals and said, "No. I'm his twin brother."

We couldn't get close to him as he was flanked by two very large body guards who's menacing glances kept us at bay. Gilmore stood there for a few minutes, watching the softball action then was escorted back inside. Immediately after that, Richard Wright appeared. While I don't remember body guards surrounding Wright, I do remember him ignoring us at all costs. We'd try to get his attention, say his name, whatever, and he did everything in his power to not acknowledge our presence. I am wondering if he even saw us, even though we were right there in front of him.

2. Neil Young (April 1993 Farm Aid Ames, Iowa / March 2004 The Mark East Moline, Illinois) I have actually been dissed by Neil Young twice, and once involved knocking on his tour bus door. It was at the Farm Aid concert in Ames at Jack Trice Field. I had secured a backstage pass from the bass player in Black 47 (another great story) and immediately prowled the backstage area looking specifically for Neil Young's bus. I ran into Bruce Hornsby, with whom I had a great conversation, The Kentucky Headhunters who were walking towards the stage for their set, and Lou Diamond Phillips, who actually pointed me in the direction of Neil's bus.

"You can't miss it," he said. "It's got a Volkswagen Bug attached to the top of it, and it says Buffalo Springfield on the side."

I found the bus (there were so many but Neil's was obvious) and without really thinking twice about it, I knocked on the door. I'm not sure what I was expecting - I guess to meet Neil and maybe get an autograph - but he didn't answer the door. Instead another person did, and he looked at me quite surprised.

"Hi," I said. "Is Neil around?"

"Yes, but he is sleeping. Can I help you?"

"Um, no..." I didn't really know what to say so I said, "Just tell him that Troy stopped by."

While that really wasn't a dis, I figured it deserved mention because it involved me knocking on a bus door. Neil Young DID blow me off  several years later when I saw him at The Mark in East Moline.

Crazy Larry and I attended the concert together, and in a situation that really makes no sense, he and I and one other person we didn't know had this entire section of the auditorium to ourselves, right next to the stage. The entire night we were a mere 10 feet away from the action, and had a great view of the concert from stage left. Of course it was a rocking show, and having spent a few hours at the Bent River Brewery before hand, we were pretty wound up. As the show ended, Neil and his band mates came walking right towards us. I said something along the lines of "Great show Neil!" and offered him up a High-Five. He looked at me, at my hand held high, and walked right past, totally ignoring my friendly gesture.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have been surprised. It is Neil Young after all. He doesn't really seem like the type that does a lot of High-Fiving.

I had no problem taking this shot of Jerry Jeff Walker, but Robyn Hitchcock
threatened to punch my lights out if I snapped his pic. See below.   

1. Robyn Hitchcock (SXSW, Austin Music Hall Austin, Texas 1998) Of course I had to save the most dramatic rock star dis for number one. I was in Austin for the South By Southwest event in 1998. I was all over the place, checking out as much of the live music that I could, bouncing from venue to venue to auditorium to city park to venue and so on. It was three days and nights of rock and roll heaven, and I took in as much of it as I could. I really wanted to see Jerry Jeff Walker who was playing at the Austin Music Hall right after Nick Lowe. Nanci Griffith played also, and while I was watching her sing a duet with Jerry Jeff, Robyn Hitchcock walked right past me. I only recognized him from having seen him play the night before at the State Theater.

"Hey Robyn!" I said to him. "Can I get a picture with you?"

His reply actually shocked me.

"No!" he said adamantly. Then something along the lines of, "I hate bloody photographers! I'd just as soon punch you in the face!"

Stunned, I stood there, as he glided past me. To this day I wish I would have snapped that picture. It's not easy being a rock and roll junkie.


 Pertinent Links:

IBOotleggers Creed Blog (Including '88 Uni Dome set list)

Neil Young at The Mark in E. Moline '94 Setlist


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Letter City View Doesn't Want You to See

A couple of weeks ago Des Moines' fluff newspaper (which deems itself "alternative") CityView mentioned me and the Bigfoot Diaries on it's Soundnotes page.

It was written in a manner that seemed to diminish my credibility and lessen my integrity. In a nutshell, they took an article I had written describing an encounter I had with Henry Rollins and without ever contacting me for a comment, took his word that it was all a big lie and that I was a coward and a liar. I'm not sure why Chad Taylor wrote it, nor am I sure why his editors allowed him to run with it.

Even more surprising, it wasn't a slow news day. Des Moines had a a couple of it's local musicians being inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame the following weekend (Which Taylor never mentioned) and there was a bunch of other musical-related stuff going on that seemingly would have been more interesting than taking something I had already published, and essentially making a mockery and a lie of it. But that's Chad Taylor for you. He doesn't have the skills it takes to write about real news nor does he have the pertinent contacts in the local scene to gather new information, so he makes it up as he goes, all the while pretending to be Des Moines' version of Lester Bangs.

I sent the following letter to CityView's editor a couple of days after they ran Taylor's article. It wasn't printed in last week's edition, and figuring I was late on the timeline, I looked for it to be printed in this week's. It wasn't.

It's not too difficult to see who the REAL liars and cowards are.

The following is the letter I wrote to the editor of CityView sent on October 12, 2012:

I am a bit curious as to why the editing staff at CityView decided to run with an article I wrote exclusively for the Bigfoot Diaries about an experience I had with Henry Rollins. The article in CV quoted parts of my blog post, and then took it further by publishing a rebuttal from Rollins himself. The way it was written made it look like I was lying about the entire episode. It's all very bizarre.

As I told author Chad Taylor in an email, I find it funny (and expected) that Mr. Rollins disputed my story. That's his shtick. It's what he does. I do wish I did have a recording of it, because while I did paraphrase the conversation based off memory, my take is EXTREMELY close to how the conversation went down. I'm not sure exactly what Henry is implying... If he is suggesting that our conversation was warm and fuzzy then he is way off base. It was quite tense and very uncomfortable. For you to run with it without alerting me that you were doing so, or to not inquire an opinion from me about Henry's take on the situation seems a bit unprofessional on your part. After all, it is my integrity that is on the line.

Just putting the word "Alternative" on your cover page doesn't necessarily make you so. I remember when CV actually was a respectable newspaper that had a 60 Minutes style quality to it. It was gritty and underground. It was investigative and scandal-breaking. When the folks from CV came around, it was time to batten down the hatches because something ugly was about to be exposed. Now you're all fluff. You serve us ridiculous stories about how easy it is to steal a bicycle or most recently, what it takes to run a Pawn Shop. Maybe sometime soon you can let Chad Taylor spend a week in a dog grooming service so we can read about the inner workings of German Shepherd cleansing... I find it hilarious that you deem this "alternative" journalism.

Since Taylor has become your music reporter most of the music CV covers has been boring, daft, and even juvenile. Last year he reviewed Justin Bieber's Christmas album. Do you even know who your reader base is? Locally, he acts like he's this great music insider, but a lot of the time the drivel he writes about is old news that has been passed around the scene for weeks. That's what separates blogs like ours from what you are doing there at CV. We don't pretend to be experts on things we don't know about or try to be something that we are not. We offer variety from several different points of view from people and music from all over the world. And, unlike CV, you never know what you are going to get when you click on The Bigfoot Diaries. You might get the incredible story of Scot Halpin, the man from Davenport, Iowa who for one night played drums for The Who after Keith Moon passed out onstage, or the life story of CW McCall, another Iowan who went from being a advertising agent in Omaha to writing one of the biggest radio hits of the '70s. You might read about the Sons of Bob, a "local" band out of the Boston area that on one night opened for the Rolling Stones in a surprise gig in a small bar.

Your newspaper on the other hand, seems to revolve through the same bands over and over, while rehashing the same trendy events. We get the same tired stories of everything irrelevant, wrapped up around last month's news. And when there isn't anything newsworthy to write about, you create your own stories, as you did when you ran with my blog post. It would have been nice to have seen a tribute to the Des Moines natives that are being inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. I guess you decided that destroying my credibility was more relevant to your Soundnotes section.

I appreciate that you read the Bigfoot Diaries, but please in the future if you find something on my blog that you want to elaborate on, or offer an opinion, please at least have the integrity to address me first before you print it.

Troy Church
Editor - Bigfoot Diaries

CityView has absolutely no backbone, and it certainly isn't an "alternative" newspaper. It's a joke. For obvious reasons I won't mention names, but so many bands from within the Des Moines scene have thanked me for what we do here at the Bigfoot Diaries, and have lashed out criticism at CityView for their lack of coverage of what is really going on locally. While we (The Bigfoot Diaries) certainly don't cater to everybody, we definitely are comfortable in our shoes, and don't attempt to be something that we are not. CityView can't say that.

Would love your thoughts, even if they are anonymous (if you are in a local band) or pro-CityView.


Pertinent Links:

My original piece upon meeting with Henry Rollins

The CityView piece that prompted this letter


Monday, October 22, 2012

Samantha's View on Dating Creative People

The low-down on dating creative people from an international artist’s perspective...

A reflective self-portrait by SLT
It has been said a thousand times that artists are mad as hatters when it comes to love and emotion, and I would love to argue against that theory however we are a little more than intense when it comes down to it.  It has been said that artists feel the emotions around them; they take in life much differently than the rest of society.  All of these things are fantastic until it comes down to dating one of “us," as an artist is a passionate, intense, fiery, wild, carefree, crazy, beautiful person.  We create, we entertain, we inspire and guess what? The greater majority of society has no idea how to date us or deal with our chaos.  It’s alright because we  really don't know how to deal with the majority of society either.

I’m going to share a secret with you; I am hell bent and my heart hurts, after spending the last two months speaking with someone whom I started to care about-he ended whatever we had.  I don’t blame him; it is not easy dealing with an artist, especially one that works crazy insane hours.  Hey, he did me a favor by terminating our romantic relationship; I have new material for Bigfoot Diaries.   I’ve been bugging all of my artist pals around the world for advice to those who are interested or thinking about dating an artist.

Here is our top ten list.

1. Artists are emotional, we feel more than we breathe. That being said if you can’t handle someone with intense emotions then don’t waste your time with an artist.

2. Be ready to take impromptu adventures. Artists like to travel and move regularly.

3. Artist’s make stuff and the lucky ones get to show off their beautiful works to the public, get comfortable with attending shows and meeting eclectic people.

4. We work a lot and yes our work will always be our first love-don’t try to infringe upon that.

5. When you come over and the dishes aren’t done or there are books/supplies/laundry all over the place don’t be rude about it, don’t complain-yet again its work.

6. Communicate-just because we feel stuff doesn’t mean we can read your minds.

7. If you find yourself not happy in the relationship and you choose to end it-be careful and do it gently, heartaches cause terrible emotional responses to creative souls.

8. You want to get in good with an artist? Ask if you can create with them, most artists appreciate the gesture and love sharing their passions with others.

9. Do not be alarmed if you find yourself in your artists work in some shape or form, be honored and excited.

10. Artists are loud, unruly, eccentric beings if you cannot handle what they bring to the table DO NOT DATE THEM.  

I came to terms with a lot on Saturday as I found myself crying and feeling rather crazy in the heat of it all. Yes, I am an artist; a visionary, I work hard to make the world a better place. Sometimes I work too much and at the end of the day I just want to know that I’m not alone-I want someone to back me up, to “root” for me and to have someone else to “root” for.  Dating an artist can be complicated and frustrating we can be emotionally taxing and we are seldom down to earth.  We fall quickly and we fall hard, emotions can be the ruin of us when it comes to relationships.

It saddens me that passion, emotion and intensity are written off as bad qualities for people to have.  Well I’m going to keep writing, I’m going to keep painting and I’m going to keep creating, sorry Mr. Unemotional but this is life and it is intense and beautiful and powerful and full of emotion, sorry if you can’t get down with my world. Maybe you just weren’t good enough for it anyways.

-Written by Samantha L. Thomas


Bryan's List of Local Music Happenings 10/22/12

Each week Bryan Farland compiles a list of events and musical happening in Des Moines and the surrounding areas. It's such valuable information that we asked Bryan if we could share his information on the Bigfoot Diaries. Of course he agreed (we offered to give him a giant monkey-hug if he didn't). If you see something on here that is incorrect, or something that needs to be added, please let us know in the comments section below. Additions and corrections are always appreciated.

Also... If you have something on the radar for the following week that you want to be featured, please get the information to me by the Sunday before, or as soon as possible thereafter. We will do our best to get that info published.

Monday 10/22/12

Findley Family Fun Fest at the Greenwood 7:00
Old Man Markley at the Gas Lamp 7:00
Sara Routh at the Underground at 7:00

Tuesday 10/23/12

Ben Wantland at el Bait Shop at 8:00
Aaron and Rob Short at the Greenwood at 9:00
The Violet Lights at the Gas Lamp at 8:00
Brokencyde w/ Nathan Ryan, The Bunny The Bear, Switchblade Saturdays, Ignore the Script at Vaudeville Mews 5:00

Wednesday 10/24/12

Reeferseed Express at the Hull Avenue Tavern at 6:00 ($1.00 beers)
Sara Routh at Songwriters Night at Racoon River Brewery at 7:00
Stuttrin' Jimmy and the Goosebumps at el Bait Shop at 8:00.
The Swayback with the Surf Zombies at the Gas Lamp at 9:00
Onyx2 at Fire Creek, West Des Moines at 6:30... At Zimm's at 7:00
Stew Ramsey at The Greenwood  at 8:00
Big Gigantic w' Griz at Wooly's at 9:00

Thursday 10/25/12

Songwriter's Night: Jacob County, Nick Knudsen, Jami Beste, Ryne Doughty at House of Bricks at 8:00
Open Jam featuring Scott Long Band at The Gas Lamp at 9:00
Soul Searchers at The Greenwood at 9:00
Randy Burk at The Underground at 8:00

Friday 10/26/12

Work Release Party with Bob Pace band at Gas Lamp at 4:30
Stephanie Nilles at the Ritual Cafe at 7:00
Eric Hutchison - Almost Free Tour w' Jessie Payo at Wooly's at 8:00
The Wallflowers w' Trapper Schoepp and the Shades at Wooly's at 9:00
Thankful Dirt at The Greenwood at 9:00
Halloween Bash: Three Bad Jacks, Rumble Seat Riot at Gas Lamp at 9:00
Steve and Karen at Fire Creek, West Des Moines at 7:00
Damon Dotson at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern, Grimes at 6:00
Randy Burk at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern, Grimes at 9:00

Saturday 10/27/12

Pieta Brown w' Dustin Smith at Vaudeville Mews at 6:00
Matt Woods and the Thunderbolts at the Longest Yard at 9:30
Halloween Bash Part 2: Wooden Indian Burial Ground, and The Olympics at Gas Lamp at 8:00
Sleigh Bells w' AraabMuzik at Wooly's at 9:00
Can O' Worms at the Greenwood at 9:00
Ben Wantland at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern, Grimes at 7:00
Josh Davis and Will Locker at New Morning Coffee House and Wine Tavern, Grimes at 8:30
Dago Mike's 40th Birthday Bash with Cirrus Minor, Agony of Defeat, Dying Eyes, September, Painface, The Cassandra Disease, and Richard Arndt at the House of Bricks at 5:00

Sunday 10/28/12

Tuk Tuk Goose Chase: Matt Woods at 10:00 AM, Dead Yellow Canaries at Noon, Joe and Vickie Price afterwards (3:00?), The Nadas at 5:00 at el Bait Shop
The Garner Band at Byron's, Pomeroy at 5:00
Community Jazz Center Hall of Fame at Adventureland Inn at 5:00
Slip Silo at el Bait Shop at 8:00
Crushed Out w' Liana at The Gas Lamp at 8:00
Stone Sour at Wooly's at 6:30 (SOLD OUT)

-Compiled and written by Bryan Farland


Saturday, October 20, 2012

CVEckian Presents: What the Frame?

Who wants to play a game? CVEckian has come up with one that will be a running distraction from time to time if it is well enough received. In this trial edition, the solution should be easy enough for any seasoned veteran of pulp culture consumption to come up with. The trick is to figure out what is in each of the individual panels, or at least figure out as many as possible. Then, based off what is in the panels, figure out what the overall theme of the puzzle is. Naturally, we here at the Bigfoot Diaries would be REALLY impressed if somebody was able to guess ALL of the frames correctly AND correctly guess the theme as well... Come on, give it a go!

Each panel is numbered. Simply list the item featured
in each frame with the corresponding number.
(Click to enlarge)

Eventually, and especially if this takes off, we will offer great prizes to those who are able to solve these puzzles. Prizes could be anything from bumper stickers and t-shirts, to concert tickets, etc. You can post your answers in the comments section, or if you wanna fly incog, feel free to email them to us at our Bigfoot Diaries Facebook page. As I said, this first edition is a trial run. But let's see how good your game is...

Also, if you have an idea for an overall theme, by all means let us know (in secret, of course, and we will give you credit if we do decide to use it)!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Samantha Interviews Drummer Franco Rogantin

Franco Rogantin is the guy who will tell it like it is. Franco Rogantin does not deliver bullshit, rainbows, carebears or any flowery-nonsense. I like Franco for these reasons, although I love my occasional carebears and roses too. Franco reminds me that maybe art is becoming corporate, maybe people arent saying the word FUCK enough.

Maybe living on a whim and just rolling the dice are a dying art form. In this world of making pretty shit to ignore the fucked up realities of society, politics and our own messed up existences, Franco makes me smirk. Franco Rogantin plays music because he loves it, because he is a musician who refuses to care what you think about him or about his music. In this short interview, Franco lets his thoughts out, bluntly.

Gay Marines, from left to right: Keith Harwood, Franco Rogantin and Michael Flek.
Franco says, "This was taken in a deconsecrated Catholic church and I am sitting
on the altar since my stage name was 'The Pope."'

How did the Gay Marines form?

I was playing drums in a Durban punk band and we happened to be opening for the “Slaves of Janet”, a group Mike Fleck was jamming with at the time.We got talking after the gig and when the bassist and I sobered up the next day we discovered that we had joined up with Mike to form the Gay Marines.

Where do your lyrics come from?

Mike (Flek) writes all the lyrics, I concentrate on rhythms, programming and composing some of the music.Personally I try to drive the music as hard as I can.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

In the beginning we were driven to do experimental music like the early PIL and Joy Division ,and the sleazy garage of the Stooges but with a tribal feel. We tried to it in a subtle way, not wanting to sound like white boys doing unconvincing township music. Now we have evolved with the times but the ghosts of the Stooges are still hanging around.

Franco occupying the best seat in the house.

Name your 3 favorite artists ever.

Probably the early Black Sabbath, even when I was playing in punk bands I always had Master of Reality and Paranoid on my turntable. I love Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon's paintings, I find they inspire my music.

In your opinion why should young people create music?

To relieve the boredom and superficiality of modern living.

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading my favorite novel, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart.It promotes making your life decisions by the throw of a dice, a concept I find really interesting but never had the courage to seriously try out!

What are your thoughts on punk rock now? Is that a band that you admire at this moment?

I find this current corporate punk quite depressing, nothing to do with the original spirit of punk.

From when he played with Patricia Morrison
(The Bags, Gun Club, Sisters of Mercy, The Damned)
Patricia Morrison, Franco and Julian Beeston on the right

In your opinion, can music change the world? How?

I used to believe it could but I'm afraid I don't anymore.


A few last words: I simply refuse to edit this interview...Why? Because Franco reminds me of the people whom I spent time with in Zizkov (Prague) There was a small bar on a hill near the dead baby T.V Tower and it crawled with radicals, punk rockers, goths and the creative types. These individuals were all incredibly blunt and had no problem telling you how they felt about anything. Franco reminds me of those late night conversations and those people that were raw and real and wonderful because they refused to bite their tongues or hold back.

I long for a shot of Czech Absinthe (without the sugar).

-Written by Samantha L. Thomas


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Tulsa, Ok 10/14/12

In case you are wondering, Neil Young still has it.

He played the Tulsa Convention Center this past Sunday night, along with two California bands, Los Lobos from East LA and another from the San Fernando Valley called Infantree. While each of these bands were very good in their own right, together, and possibly even with a hundred other bands playing along with them, they couldn't match the intensity and excitement that Neil Young and Crazy Horse brought.

The stage after the show. Notice the giant Fender speakers.
(I had no luck getting a good shot with my camera phone from our seats.)
I kind of expected Neil to get political between songs and go off on rants about our American political system being so close to the election. But by the third number of the night, it was very clear that he was here to do one thing, and that was to rock and roll our faces off... Which he did. Along with guitarist Poncho Sampredo, bassist Billy Talbot, and drummer Ralph Molina, he played one of the tightest and most electrically-elaborated sets I have witnessed in a very long time.

He opened with Ragged Glory's, "Love and Only Love," which was a pretty good example of what the night was about to bring. While Neil is known for his distortion and electrifying power chords, it seemed that he was enjoying the reverb just a bit more than usual on this night, holding notes seemingly forever. He was backed by four giant Fender amps that stood well over twelve feet tall, and he used them for all they were worth, eeking out as much feedback as he could by holding his guitar up close to them. His band and he formed a triangle in motion as they beat their instrumental effects off of each other, looking like they were having the time of their lives.

The concert was a display of tracks from Psychedelic Pill, his newest album that's set to be released on October 30th. It's safe to say that these cuts lived up to the album's namesake. Other songs came from deep in his career, such as "Cinnamon Girl," "My My Hey Hey (Into the Black)," "Mr. Soul," and his encore, "Tonight's the Night."

Another one, "Singer Without a Song" comes from the Unreleased file.

As he often does, he had plenty of onstage shenanigans accompanying his music. Several men dressed as doctors and/or mad scientist would come out, sometimes mid-song, and make evaluations and changes to the stage set-up. After one of his new tracks,"Walk Like a Giant," he implored the effect of a thunderstorm with flashing lights simulating lightning and faux rain. The doctors were onstage in raincoats scampering around covering up the monitors and speakers, and anything else that lay exposed. While they did this, a recording played of Neil's famous Woodstock rant where he says, "If we all think real hard, maybe we can stop this rain!... No rain! No rain! No rain!" Of course, after it had all calmed down, he stood onstage alone and played "The Needle and the Damage Done."

When it was all said and done, Neil Young proved once again why he is the living king of rock and roll. Nobody plays with the fire and intensity he does, whether they are 25 or as in his case, 66. He and his old friends in Crazy Horse are obviously having a blast on this tour, and after their encore, their presence onstage lasted about five minutes as they bowed and saluted the estactic crowd. It was a night to remember; one of those special rock and roll engagements that you encounter once or twice in a lifetime.

This video was taken in Tulsa (not by us) and features the first song of the night:

Notes and honorable mentions:
  • Infantree was a good young band that showed a lot of promise. They have a couple of amazing guitar players in their own right.
  • Los Lobos was fun. Surprisingly, they played "Bertha" a Grateful Dead cover that they featured on a early 90's tribute album.
  • Los Lobos drummer, Buzz is one bad Mama-Jama. Damn that guy can play!
  • The show wasn't quite a sell-out. I would estimate that 5500 people were there. Not too bad for a Sunday night.
  • When Neil played "Singer Without a Song" in Tulsa, it was only the 2nd time it had been played live. It remains unreleased.  
Set List:
Love and Only Love
Born in Ontario
Walk Like a Giant
The Needle and the Damage Done
Twisted Road
Singer Without a Song
Ramada Inn
Cinnamon Girl
Fuckin' Up
Mr. Soul
Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)

Tonight's the Night



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trash Talk-Trash Talk's House,Los Angeles,CA-10/6/12

Since the last time I reviewed Trash Talk they played some free show in LA a few weeks later. Well, they hardly let anyone in and because the whole thing ended in a riot. Tables were broken, cop were cussing, fans were fence climbing, there was pepper spraying and taser threats, and there was me running from bean bag guns. So no Trash Talk for us. They released their new album, 119, this week so they decided to throw a free show again. This time to be safe, they didn't post the address in public, and scheduled it at noon, giving it to people the night before, and just had the show at their place. Good enough for me.

Trash Talk
I showed up at 11ish since last time I did that the line was huge. Surprisingly, there was really no one there. They live in like some warehouse with a huge lot. It ended up also being a video shoot so there was cameras everywhere. I was waiting for awhile in the sun. The band casually walked around which was no big deal. Hip-Hop group,OFWGKTA (Odd Future) were there as well but this time we were a bit star struck (I'll admit it!). They finally let us into the warehouse. They had set up already and kept telling us not to punch walls since it actually was their home and all. They started and of course we all went nuts and fought to get the microphone. In the small space we had we were pitting and kids were climbing on the ceiling and jumping like monkeys. They played a lot of old songs in this set and a lot from their Awake EP. After the set, front man Lee told us they were gonna barbecue and then play another set outside. Trust me, there is nothing more cool than eating hot dogs and rice crispy treats while watching Odd Future do silly stuff around you.

The 2nd set was just as fun as the first one. It was outdoors and a mini stage was built, so that meant unlimited stage diving. More hardcore dancing, camera men getting pushed around, and me getting kicked in the face like a mofo. Lee gave the mic to me a couple times and I jumped off ripping my jeans. Tyler, The Creator sadly did not do Radicals with them this time but he was still in the back with his signature smile. Trash Talk threw the biggest party of the year and I was glad to be a part of it. So crazy a lot of people got seriously injured. 3 days later 119 came out (on Odd Future Records) and it fucking rules hard. Ive been bumping that shit non-stop and my buds agree. Pick up 119 now man. And go see Trash Talk goddamn it!

Tra-Tra Tash Wang, Dat's Wassup!

Check out the video for some of the show.


Six Feet Under-The Glasshouse,Pomona,CA- 10/15/12


Sorry for the lag. No internet has been tough and what not. Any who,here's this months Scion show. Metal Blade brought this line up. But all I read when I saw it was: CATTLE DECAPITATION... CATTLE DECAPITATION... CATTLE DECAPITATION... CATTLE DECAPITATION... and that band with the original Cannibal Corpse singer that's OK I guess. I was stoked since I always miss Cattle Decap. And even more stoked because the album they released this year was so fuckin good I felt the need to see 'em ASAP. They had announced weeks prior that they would play the new album in its entirety only for this show. Did I mention that I was so stoked?
The first band was Doom Metal band, Pilgrim. Ya know slow Heavy Metal, beards everywhere, and total Sabbath worship. I thought it was ok and quite enjoyed some of it. They played 3 (long) songs and had some fans. If you're into Doom you'd like these guys.


Next up was Gypsyhawk. Los Angeles Traditional Heavy Metal. Think Thin Lizzy with Deep Purple. They have quite the hype over here and I guess I can see why. Old Skool Heavy Metal for bikers and kids that just want it original. Pretty cool for an opening band. Check 'em out.


When Melodic Death/Thrashers Battlecross from Michigan took the stage, it had to be one of the very few times where when I was so into a band when they hit the first note. Aggressive ass shit,with breakdowns that aren't douchey, sick riffs, fast drums,and brutal vocals. The singer had a great stage presence and looked like the hunter dude from Jumanji. Seriously some sick shit. Check 'em out. Get their album Pursuit Of Honor. So good,so good!


The band I was super stoked and excited to see was San Diego Death/Grind act Cattle Decapitation. Sadly I've missed 'em a bunch of times but, ever since they released Monolith Of Inhumanity earlier this year I've been dying to see them play. Luckily for me and even more lucky, this would be the only time they'd be playing Monolith in its entirety  I was so happy. Frontman Travis Ryan got on stage and just acted like a complete wild animal. All the different vocals he does on the album, he can totally do live. This guy is a freakin' monster-man. From the Death Metal vocals, to the Goregrind gurgling, to that creepy black metal screechy voice. Right there in person it all came out of his mouth.

The place went nuts on the first note and I was glad to have made my way to the front to scream a long "Dead Set on Suicide" and "Life Stalker".

The whole album was played and us and the audience was completely satisfied. Afterwards I talked to Travis and told him how much I loved the new album (plus the Murder Construct one too). My friend was cool enough to get me a badass offensive Cattle Decap t-shirt. (Thanks Ray, I Owe You!) and a bumper stick that says "GORE NOT CORE". Cattle is seriously one of my favorite bands of this year. Listen to their new album Monolith of Humanity now since it's so good and so you can be jealous that I heard it all live and you didn't. This is probably gonna be the album of the year for me, and Travis Ryan is definitely frontman of the year.

Cattle Decapitation
Headlining the show was everyone's least-favorite Death Metal band (for some weird reason), Six Feet Under. I left after Cattle to get soda and then my friend texted me they were playing a Cannibal Corpse song so I went back inside. I stood in the back and saw 'em. Singer Chris Barnes (loved his singing on the first three Cannibal Corpse albums - you know the band from Ace Ventura) has the most guttered voice ever. Most people hate it, but I think its actually pretty cool. He does this shriek where it sounds just like a whistle.  Im not sure why most people hate this band but I was pretty into it. They ended with Cannibal's most known song, Hammer Smashed Face (again, see Ace Ventura) and the biggest pit broke out. I went in one round and got a hammer smashed hand and left in super pain. They're a pretty cool band and I've heard their new album "Undead" is pretty good. We should all give that a chance.

Six Feet Under


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Grant's Tomb: Reviewing the New Acacia Strain

“Three people…Three people are dead…I killed them, send the police.” And so begins Death is the Only Mortal, the brand new album from hardcore stalwarts The Acacia Strain. If the introduction to the album puts you off or conjures up dark imagery in your mind, then it would be safe to label this album is a success. For the uninitiated, The Acacia Strain have been perfecting their sonic aural for nearly a decade now and this new album is by and large their best.

Two years ago TAS released Wormwood, their last for long time record label Prosthetic and have recently inked a deal with Rise Records. Where Wormwood failed on practically every level, especially coming off of 2008’s superb and ahead of the curve Continent, Death is the Only Mortal features a mix of all of their previous albums while at the same time manages to break new ground (something not all of their peers have been able to accomplish). What is immediately noticeable is the production; it’s crisp, clear and doesn’t over do the studio trickery involved on Wormwood. Sure there are a few parts where it sounds like the band hired a dj to cross fade the guitars, but for the most we get the down picked massive chuggary that TAS is known for. Also of note is the fact that the bass is, for once, far more audible than on past releases. I dare you to not bang your head during the opening moments of “Go to Sleep,” where lead vocalist Vincent “Don’t call me Vince” Bennett bellows ‘We pray for death!’ And in fact you might. This record is punishing without sounding contrived and is brutal without alienating the casual listener.

Many fans cried foul when it was announced that TAS had signed to Rise, this writer included. For a band as freaking heavy as they to sign to a flavor-of-the-week label was a head-scratching moment indeed, however guitarist DL assured fans that they would not be changing their sound to please record executives. It’s a partially true statement and not in a bad way I assure you. As stated above, there is still plenty of the heavy riffing, Vincent’s trademark bellowing nihilism, as well as drummer Kevin Boutot’s smooth and crushing work behind the skins (yeah, smooth AND crushing-listen and you’ll understand) and they still sound as pissed off as ever.

What is different this time around is the cohesion behind the record. Chalk that up to the band deciding to produce in house with guitarist DL handling the boards or possibly the excitement of being on a new record label. The results are stellar song writing and more focus on crafting a hook versus going balls out. Did I say hook? Don’t let that deter you, this isn’t your average Clear Channel fodder, nor does it sound like their label mates Asking Alexandria. Besides the better production, the album features a more Metal sound and less on the –core suffix.

See the epic album closer “House of Abandon,” at nearly seven minutes, it’s the second half of the song that shows immense growth from the band and features a lead reminiscent of Kirk Hammett. Another clear example of change is the focus on utilizing atmosphere and space. Not even a full minute and a half into “Time and Death and God,” the rhythm section takes a break and allows the guitars to do the talking, so to speak; when the band finally comes back in, the listener is bludgeoned to death by groove after thick groove of drop tuned intensity while Vincent whispers sweet nothing of despair. “The Chambered Nautilus” is sure to be a crowd pleaser, with its barn burning mid tempo groove and stop start riffing, you’ll find yourself humming this one as you fall asleep at night. Also worth mentioning is the drumming on this track, forgoing the typical blasting that most drummers in this genre find themselves using, Boutot opts for more controlled and precise hits that eventually knocks the listener in submission.

They don't look so angry...
Vocalist Vincent Bennett has always been known for his outspoken demeanor and violent lyricism, and if one isn’t careful to read between the lines its might be easy to pass him off as another misogynistic knuckle dragging meat head. But with lines such as “Stop following your dreams, they will never come true,” or my personal favorite “’Sorry’ doesn’t pay the rent,” the message is clear: there is no hope for humanity. If you were looking for a positive album to help get you through the work week, this isn’t it. Having seen the band live a couple months back and hearing such wonderful and uplifting gems such as “Swing like your girlfriend said she was pregnant” and “Nothing but hate and contempt for all man kind” you had best clear out of the way if you’re not ready to mosh in your car, living room, or at worst, work cubicle.

This album isn’t likely to convert the nonbelievers. For those who find the endless riffing and chuggary boring, you won’t want to listen. If the occasional (and might I add tasteful) breakdown makes you cringe, go elsewhere. But, if you’re down for a head bang and/or need some new tunes for working out, let this album be your guide.

…oh, one more Bennettism (let’s see if we can coin that one): “Grab life by the throat and tear out its eyes.” Yeah, if that doesn’t inspire you to wreck something, I don’t know what will.

[Death is the Only Mortal came out Oct. 9 via Rise Records]

-Written by Grant's Tomb