Wednesday, December 28, 2005
My orange lighter is missing again.
I'm reading a great book, 'Conversations With Tom Petty' by Paul Zollo. It's by far the best Rock and Roll book ever written. Ever. If you are a fan, it's a great history. Tom talks about his formative years in Florida, his band Mudcrutch which became the Heartbreakers. He talks about success, cocaine, punching walls, Stan Lynch, Howie Epstein's decline into heroin, Willburys, love, and L.A.
If you are interested in recording music, the writing process, studios, and producing recording sessions, then this book would interest you even if you weren't a big huge Tom Fucking Petty fan like I am. If that is the case, however, you are a stupid asshole and don't deserve to read the book.
The original plan was to spend the holiday in Charleston with the Legal Diva's family, but due to some last minute car problems, that plan was aborted. Instead we spent Christmas in DC, just me and my Baby. We cooked, watched football, played board games, and rented movies.
If the Giants had won, I would have been ecstatic, but since the Vikes lost, I was still full of good cheer.
The food came out great. On Saturday I roasted some pork loins. I marinated them in whiskey and olive oil then roasted them slow. I diced up a sweet potato and boiled it in chicken broth, to which I added a can of garbonzos, roasted peppers, and a slab of irish butter, and let it reduce. Yummy. We tried out the quick spatzle in a box. Not as good as fresh, but with the sauteed onions, okra, and carrots on top, it was still good enough.
Sunday's repast involved a roast chicken, seasoned and seared, and roasted wrapped in bacon and stuffed with sausage stuffing. It was the best chicken ever cooked by anyone ever. We also had green beans with onions, and some mac and cheese that we forgot and left in the oven, but was even better because it got all crunchy.
We watched the Johnny Depp 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', which we liked, and 'Must Love Dogs' which we didn't.
On Monday I went to Highland Falls/Ft. Montgomery. My old stomping grounds. I visited with my brother's family. It's always good to see them, and I wish I could do it more often. That night I met up with Sam Saldivar, whom I hadn't seen in about twenty years. We had a great time catching up, and stomping on the old stomping grounds. I have the wounds to bear witness to a truly great evening.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Legs are sore. NYC looks amazing from the Williamsburg Bridge. I should get a digital camera. I'm hearing the strike is ending. I hope so, I'm tired of being so affable about the whole thing.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I read that on a leaflet a guy gave me while walking across the bridge. He looked like Dave Gilmour, who's playing fucking RADIO CITY in April!!!
Still loving it. New York is a lot more quiet, less traffic. I think we should keep the HOV restrictions permanently.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," said U.S. District Judge John Jones. (CNN)
In Pennsylvania at least, biology is safe from the christianists.
The Transit Strike has got me thinking about how I feel about unions. The problem is I don't know how I feel about them. I think workers have a right to organize and use collective bargaining. I also feel that the MTA, as fucked as they are, can do what it pleases regarding a new contract with the Union. I don't know, I am ambivalent. I do know how Frank Zappa felt, he tells us on the song 'Stick Together' from The Man From Utopia LP:
'This is a song about the union, friends
How they fucked you over and the way they bends
The rules to suit a special few
And you gets pooched every time the do
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
Once upon a time the idea was good
If only they'd a done what they said they would
It ain't no better, they's makin' it worse
The labor movement's got the Mafia curse
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
You know we gotta stick together
Don't be no fool, don't be no dope
Common sense is your only hope
When the union tells you it's time to strike
Tell the motherfucker to take a hike
You know we gotta stick together You know we gotta stick together You know we gotta stick together You know we gotta stick together'
That's fairly plain English. I think I get the jist of Frank's feelings on the matter.
I do know that I really like 'The Man From Utopia', I think it's his best record post 'Joe's Garage'. I remember the first time I heard it, I was visiting a 'freind' who was at college (I was a senior in high school') and there was some mushroom dust left over from a party the night before, which we mixed with some reefer. That record sounded awesome! So did Weird Al's 'In 3-D' for that matter.
Last night Chris and I recorded some guitars and vocals for the Strikes Again! record. We began with Jeff, and his Tele Deluxe (see Chris' post) through his Rivera 55 watt Knucklehead. Jeff uses a lot of effects, which is fine, that's his sound, but I wonder what that lil' amp would sound like full on with his Deluxe straight in. My bet is that is would be a monster. I really like the Deluxe, it's as near to perfect as you could want. I'd want mine with a rosewood fretboard.
Next up John plugged into the Marshall Slash Series. No stomp-boxes, just a man, a guitar, and an amp. We used the high output, modeled on the JCM Marshalls (800 and higher). First John used my Epiphone Jr. Those P-90's really put out a squeal with all that gain. That can be good or bad depending. The tone was huge, though. Massive. John wanted to tune down to D, and my Jr.'s low E (a .13) is wound so tight, and the nut hugs the string so tight, that tuning down isn't really an option, so I handed him my Tele, Ruby Red Slippers.
I have heard a lot of guitars through that amp. Andy Rock's Les Paul being one of them, and I have never, not ever, heard such a wonderful magical tone come out of that Hiwatt cabinet. I have a new favorite tone. Tele/Marshall/Full on. It might have had something to do with the tuning and John's playing, but it was fab-o!
After the guitar tracking was done, we worked on vocals. John stepped up to the Studio Projects C-1 series, and what came out sounded as glorious and monstrous as what was coming out of the guitar amp. John's delivery is extreme.
This record is going to be one of the best things we've ever recorded.
Day one of the transit Strike. I love it. I'll hate it Friday when I have to lug my luggage to Penn Station, but today, I love it. I walked to Union Square from Williamsburg. It took me an hour and ten minutes. I grabbed a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 headphones, and listened to Paul's Boutique as I crossed the bridge. I switched to Iron Maiden's Killers for the walk through lower Manhattan to Union Square. I drank some high octane coffee as I strolled. It's a beautiful, cold, crisp day here. Lovely.
Monday, December 19, 2005
It appears that none of the musicians who played on the American leg of Roger Waters' 1999-2000 tour filed I-9's. They were forced to swear oaths of fealty to Mr. Waters, who offered them 'protection' in lieu of pay.
I finished the Schlicter book, 'So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star'. As sick as the music industry is, I think Mr. Schlicter would have written a different book if his band was any good.
I forgot about two drummer solo records; Cozy Powell's 'Over The Top', 1979, an all instrumental record, Cozy's attempt at fusion I suppose, I own it, I never listen to it, and Herman Rarebell's 'Nip In The Bud' 1981, which I rather like. Herman's idea of a solo record is to play drums with a band other than the Scorpions. Thankfully, on 'Nip In The Bud', he does not sing. He also has an album out called 'Herman Ze German', which, sadly, I do not own, but Charlie Hunn, of Nugent's band, plays guitar on it.
Nine months ago, I started writing a 'solo' record. The idea, my idea, was to develop my ideas. The only problem I foresaw, and still foresee, is mixing. Basically, I hate it. Chris loves it. Or, at least it seems as though he loves it, he sure does a lot of it. Maybe it's just necessary, and he's the one willing to put in the time, either way, he's a better mixer than I. My solution was to pay him (100 dollars) to mix the record. Ostensibly that was my way of saying: "let me record the stuff my way, and then you can make it sound as good as possible, given what I give you."
Well, I got eight songs recorded; 'If'n You Say So', 'The Women In My Life', 'Well Worn Uniform', 'Get It', 'Long Goodbye', 'Supplies', 'Stoned Again', and 'Pissin' on the Roses', for a record titled Stoned Again, and then turned my attention elsewhere - mainly TEDSTOCK. In the afterglow of TEDSTOCK much talk of gigging has been going around. Via Skyway played their first post TEDSTOCK gig on Friday, and the question keeps coming up as to what the future holds for Ted and gigging. To that end I decided that I was retiring all my old tunes in favor of songs written for Brain Shivers or Stoned Again. I've also decided to write some new songs to fill out both the record and a live set.
Yesterday, Chris and I spent a few hours mixing some songs from Stoned Again. During the TEDSTOCK months, an associate dropped my hard drive which contained three of the songs I was working on: 'The Women In My Life', 'If'n You Say So', and 'Well Worn Uniform'. The result being that I no longer have those projects, only work mixes of those songs. I'm fine with it, really. I'm just glad it was those three, because two of them don't really work for this record, and one of them, 'The Women In My Life', just isn't my song, at least not vocally. Chris and I worked on that song quite a bit before it 'went away', and it just wasn't happening. The way I look at it, God was helping me edit the record, and acted through the clumsy hands of my associate.
So where do I stand? I have five good sounding songs. Five songs that make me happy. Chris has already earned his hundred with the work he did yesterday. I will pay him. I'd like to write three more, and finish an eight song CD sometime this spring.
I guess it starts with Ringo. While still a Beatle, Ringo sang a number of memorable songs, notably 'With A Little Help From My Friends', 'Act Naturally', 'Don't Pass Me By', and 'Octopus's Garden', most of which were penned with a lot of help from his friends. After the Beatles broke up, Ringo had some success on his first couple of records, 'Ringo', and 'Goodnight Vienna', but the hits were penned by the same three guys, John, Paul, and George. Eventually, after releasing a string of really bad records, Ringo quit trying to be a recording artist, and started putting together his 'All Star Bands'. The world sighed in relief. This was a good move for Ringo, and welcomed exposure for the likes of Joe Walsh, Ian Hunter, and Sheila E.
Next we have Phil Collins. There's very little good to say here. I guess his early solo efforts were laudable. 'Face Value' gave us 'In The Air Tonight', and a cover of 'Tomorrow Never Knows', but I can't say I've ever listened to the rest of the record (yes, I have it). From 'Hello I Must Be Going.....' we get 'I Don't Care Anymore', which is a good song, but it also contains the tepid Supremes cover, 'You Can't Hurry Love'. This is the exact point where it all went terribly wrong for both Phil and Genesis. Phil was developing his solo schmaltz at the same time as he was busy destroying what little credibility Genesis had left after 'Abacab', which was very little. It is indeed no fun to be an illegal alien, and it's not fun hearing crap songs about it either. After those two solo efforts, Phil teamed up again with Mr. Banks and Mr. Rutherford for another Genesis record, their eponymously titled move into mainstream pop. Between that mostly shitty record ( I like 'Mama', and 'Home By The Sea'), and the extremely shitty 'Invisible Touch', Phil put out another solo record, co produced by Satan, 'No Jacket Required' should have been issued with a jacket, a straight jacket! One word: Sussudio. It doesn't even mean anything. From bad to worse to much much much worse. No, they can't dance, not at all.
Next up, Don Henley. At least Don waited until the Eagles were in fact defunct before dropping his lame solo record, 'I Can't Stand Still' (no, I do not own it), which contained the sophmoronic hit 'Dirty Laundry'. What you can say about Don, that you can't say about Phil, is that he got better. How did me mange that? He got Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers to produce his second record. 'The Boys of Summer', 'All She Wants To Do Is Dance', 'Sunset Grill' aren't exactly the greatest songs ever written, but when I hear them, I don't turn the dial. 1989's 'The End of the Innocence' is actually a very good record, as much as it pains me to say so. The title track, and 'Heart of the Matter' are well penned, and well executed pop songs. He's still in league with Satan, and with the money the Eagles charge for their incessant reunion gigs, he could have bought Walden Woods by now.
Hey Jackson, has any drummer gone on to do credible solo work?
Why yes, and we all know who that is. Dave Grohl. I won't bore you all by listing the many albums and hits the Foo Fighters have had, I will only say that at Smoke and Mirrors, when we want to A/B drums, we reach for the Foo, or the Queens of the Stone Age record he did.
Friday, December 16, 2005
When I was twelve, the Bee Gees were everywhere. It made me sick, really. Night Fever, Night Fever, Night Fever. You could not possibly escape it. That's why my friend Mike Hutchison and I started the 'Disco Rots' Club. I wanted to call it the Disco Sucks Club, but Mike was a feared of his Mammy. We had a treefort with 'Disco Rots' spray painted on it.
I don't regret those days. We were just reacting to an unfortunate circumstance. The over-exposure of a musical group. These days I love me some Bee Gees. Damn skippy. I'm still a little gun shy of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It's quality stuff, but I don't listen to much of it, except 'How Deep is Your Love'. That song kicks ass.
Mostly, I like earlier Bee Gees. 'Knights On Broadway' is one of my all time faves, but lately I've been reaching back even further. 'To Love Somebody', 'I Just Gotta Get A Message To You', and of course the Robin Gibb classic, 'I Started A Joke'. I love Robin. He's so fuckin' weird. And that voice, it's like no other.
We lost Maurice not too long ago. He was my favorite, mostly because he played the bass, and wasn't annoying. Barry's teeth and hair annoy me. I see that Barry has a new record out, another Gibb/Striesand affair. There's no way it could be anywhere near as good as their '79 colabo, 'Guilty'. That record makes me weep.
I wonder what Robin is doing? Probably just chillin' in his castle. Seriously, the guy lives in a castle.
That's the title of the next Christopher Guest movie due next year. It's not going to be faux documentary style, but a straight narrative, well, as straight as Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and company are capable. The dialog will be mainly improv, but since it deals with the movie business, the movie within the movie is scripted. Expect the usual cast.
I, for one, can't wait.
In 1981 Kix released their self titled debut on Atlantic Records. Bill Devine and I both bought it. This was back in the day when I would buy an album based on it's cover, and the first Kix record looked promising. When Bill and I first gave it a listen, though, it wasn't quite what we were expecting. The album looked METAL, but didn't sound METAL. In those days, before Hair Metal took over (thanks Bon Jovi, Def Leppard et al), Metal was complex, Kix was not.
Where Bill and I lived in 1981, upstate New York, Punk hadn't really permeated our world. We had the Ramones, and the B-52's, and by 82 Pat Wilson and I had found the Gang of Four, but KIX didn't look like a punk band, and their sound was somewhere in the middle. We recognized the guitar tones, Gibsons through Marshalls, but the songs were very basic Rock and Roll, and the subject matter was simple boy meets slut type stuff.
We were confused, but hooked none the less. Kix's grooves were very infectious. They had my attention. In 1983, when they released their sophomore effort, Cool Kids, I bought it. It didn't go over well with anybody else. Cool Kids had a decidedly glossed feel. Guitarist Ronnie '10/10' Younkins had left the band, and with him went much of the Metal vibe. I liked the record anyway, it was quirky, poppy, punky stuff.
Kix wouldn't release another record until 1985's Midnite Dynamite, which came out when Tony Alva and I were in Maryland, which is where Kix is from. Pat Wilson ended up in Baltimore in '86, and we saw Kix at Hammerjacks a number of times. Midnite Dynamite is a great record, and Kix was a great live band. Ronnie '10/10' was back in the band. Brian 'Damage' Forsythe was the coolest man on the planet and life was good.
Then, in '88 Kix released Blow My Fuse. It sounded exactly like AC/DC. It was weak. An obvious effort to make back the ton of money Atlantic had advanced them over the past eight years. It worked. They had a mega hit with 'Don't Close Your Eyes', sold more records than ever before, and that was the end of the road for me and KIX.
I still love those first three KIX records. I always will. They combine all that's good in Rock. A Metal edge, Punk attitude, and Stones type groove.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I reading the book by Jacob Slichter, former drummer of 90's band Semisonic, who wrote about the travails of venturing into the world of big time music business. I'm enjoying it because it's a great expose about the sickening state of commercial music in America. On the whole, though, I'm certain of one thing; I'm grateful that Jason isn't my drummer.
My sister-in-law posted her top ten books of the year, and I thought to do the same, except I can't remember all the books I read this year, much less the top ten, so here's a list of some books I read, and how I felt about them.
Caesar (A Biography) by Christian Meier. I liked this book. It's not a light read, but I found it fascinating. I didn't know that the Germans kind of rule the scene when it comes to historical tomes on the Late Republic. Anyway, if you are serious about your history, and like me, are fascinated with the Romans, then by all means, check it out.
Sunset Express (An Elvis Cole Novel) by Robert Crais. I liked it well enough. I dig an easy read, and lately my easy reading of choice has been along the detective/crime novel lines, and this one is as good as any.
The Moon Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs. When I was a kid, I was a Burroughs freak. Mostly Tarzan novels, and mostly because Brian Hutchison read them. Brian was very cool, and I wanted to be just like him. I picked this one up for a dollar on one of those street vendor tables. Very silly stuff. Very racist, and misogynist.
Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen. I like Carl. He was a buddy of Warren Zevon's, so I figured he'd be great, and he is. It's detective/crime stuff, but very funny. I recommend all of his stuff.
Mr. Nice (an Autobiography) by Howard Marks. Howard Marks was a big weed smuggler in the seventies and eighties. This is his story, and as fascinating as it was to read about all the danger and whatnot, it got old at about the nineteenth trip to Thailand.
Catch A Fire (The Life Of Bob Marley) by Timothy White. A long overdue read. I learnt quite a bit about Rasta, Jamaican politics, and the social strata of Jamaica. The book is written poorly. A great writer would have spent less time trying to convince his audience of the divinity of Marley, and more time telling the story, which is a great story, and deserving of so much more.
Blood And Gold by Ann Rice. Like many other foolish folks, I got hooked on the Vampire Novels of Ann Rice. This one is about Marius, the Maker of Armand, and all around cool Vampire on the town. There's a lot of historical background, as most of the book takes place in Venice during it's prime.
The Life Of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. This was a great book. A page turner. I find Tudor England fascinating, and Elizabeth in particular. I give it my highest recommendation.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Keidis. At the risk of repeating myself; the story goes like this: I shot up, I got laid, I shot up, I got laid, I shot up, I shot up some more, I got laid...........
Whores by Brendan Mullen. Basically this is an oral history of Perry Farrel and Jane's Addiction. It's at times, funny, enlightening, historical, unnerving, and scary. I liked it.
And, number eleven, my favorite book this year: The Dirt by Motley Crue. This was the funniest book I read this year. This was the saddest book I read this year. This was definitely the book that kept me burning the midnight oil the most this year. I wish I knew who really wrote it, because that guy is good.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Young Jackson was a Metal Head. Sometime around 1982, however, he fell under the influence of four individuals who would expand his musical horizons, and that expansion began, primarily, in the field of Progressive Rock. The move from Metal to Prog is not a great journey. One could say that Iron Maiden is a very progressive band, and one could argue that Rush fits both bills. Yes and Genesis have their heavy moments, and in the early eighties, Marillion found themselves on many a Metal filled bill.
My Brother Rod bought me Pink Floyd's 'A Collection Of Great Dance Tunes' in late 82. Although I wouldn't lump Floyd in with the Prog lot, Rod, through Floyd, opened the door in my Metal mind, and once the door was open, some amazing stuff came through.
'Blind' Mitch turner gets the credit for the Yes. I bought Fragile in early 83, and it blew my mind. By mid 84 I had Relayer, The Yes Album, and my fave, Close To The Edge.
My brother Fred gets the Genesis cred. He turned me on to Peter Gabriel's Third Solo Album in 82, and before I knew it, I had worked my way back to his time with Genesis, and even ventured into the brief period of Genesis post Gabriel, pre suck.
Brian Spears gets the Marillion nod. For those inclined to comment negatively about this, please be respectful, Brian is no longer with us. Say what you will, any band that encores with 'Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You, Tonight' is okay in my book.
Throughout all my appreciative listening to Prog bands, I have never set myself to the task of writing any Prog tunes, until yesterday.
It's not natural to me. I have never played anything that wasn't 4/4 or 'three time' (3/4, 6/8). I set a click to 7/8, mapped out 16 measures, switched (for no apparent reason) to 6/8 for 4 measures, back to 7/8 for 16, 6/8 again for 4, then to 4/4 for a middle 8, and then back to 7/8.
I then wrote a riff for each time signature, and recorded them. As you might expect, it didn't feel very natural, because I wasn't writing from a natural place. It was pieced together, and sounds pieced together. It is a start, however. I need to play more in 7/8 to feel it naturally, once I begin to feel it, I'll be able to write for it better.
It's not going to be a quick journey. I have a lot of work to do. It is fun, though, so I got that workin' for me.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
There has been much discussion about the old Fender vs. Gibson question lately. I won't say that any one model of guitar is better than another. It's a matter of taste.
Personally I'm not a huge fan of Les Pauls, because I find them bulky, uncomfortable, heavy, and super duper expensive. I favor Teles, Strats, and Juniors because I find them to be comfortable, affordable, and versatile.
I would consider buying another Strat or Tele, and slapping a humbucker on it. Right now, at Smoke and Mirrors, for humbucking we only have my Explorer (Epiphone), which does the job, and looks cool, but it's not very comfy, and you can't put it down (lean it up against a chair or wall), you have to hang it from it's headstock.
Another thing about Les Pauls, and I have played a number of them (Bill Devine's Silverburst, Pat Wilson's Cream Deluxe, Andy Rock's Sunburst, and Lance McVickar's Black Beauty) is that the action is too low for me. I'm not a finesse player, I don't have a light touch, and I tend to make more audible mistakes on guiatrs with severely low action. I know that low action is usually thought of as desirable, but not for me.
Lastly, I received a pair of Fender Chuck Taylors from my Baby on Sunday, and I gotta say, Fender footwear is way cool.
You know who you are. You are sick, admit it. You need help. I want my lighter back. If I had every lighter you stole from me, I'd need a room to store them all. I know they only cost a dollar, but over six years that's a lot of dollars buddy.
Monday, December 12, 2005
I read David Fricke's review of the new Darkness record. He's such a massive douche that I wonder why it upset me. Who cares what that guy thinks? I assure you he knows nothing about Metal.
I wouldn't have been reading that magazine anyway if it weren't for two factors. I needed some light reading for what would turn out to be a weekend of many train rides, and the issue had three articles that sparked my interest.
The first thing that caught my eye was Chris Rock's top twenty-five Hip-Hop records. I'll buy that. I was curious to see what would make his list, and was not surprised or upset by what I found. RUN-DMC, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, NWA, Eric B and Rakim, Snoop Dogg, and Outkast all made the list, and Eminem did not. Curiously enough, The Chronic didn't make it either. Chris only mentions Dre's landmark LP when discussing 'Doggy Style', wherein he remarks that Snoop's record holds up better because it's a party record, and those themes are timeless. I agree. I don't think any serious musician can deny Dre's ability to write and arrange great beats, but the record is dated by the feuds of the day. The whole feuding thing is what keeps me from buying hip-hop. Literally and figuratively. It's way negative, and bad for business. Many 'artists' in 'the game' will tell you different, and that calling out and disrespecting rivals actually sells rap records, and I don't doubt it. It also, however, is a part of the whole escalation of hostility that leads to murder (see Tupac, Biggie, Jam Master Jay).
That leads to the second article I was drawn to, which was about Jay-Z. Jay has resorted to the feud in the past. It would be very hard for him to be taken seriously by his audience if he hadn't. He was smart enough, though, to put and end to it, separate himself from it, and move on.
The third article was about the Biggie shooting, the Rampart scandal, and Suge Knight. If one is to believe the extent of the collusion, it's mind boggling. Speaking of Suge, My Baby and I would like to know exactly what went down that night when Snoop managed to walk away from Death Row. Not that we'd have wanted to be there. I don't think Snoop wanted to be there.
There was also an article on John Lennon. I've read the same article a hundred times in Rolling Stone. There's nothing new to say on that subject. The photos are always good, and I'm sure some younger folk haven't read it before.
I suppose I got my $3.95 worth.
Friday, December 09, 2005
So I didn't really completely defend myself yet. I was taken aback by the vim and vigor, and let's say it, down right mean spiritedness of Dave's post. I should expect that, though. Mean spiritedness is what won the election for George this last time. That's how neo-cons win, and they like to win, don't they? I mean everybody likes to win, I like to win, but they really like to win, they have to win, not winning is unacceptable.
I also took some psychology. One of the main things that seems to have brought the spleen out in Dave is my insinuation that he must not be well read in history. I was wrong about that, obviously Dave is very well read. Unfortunately he can't grasp what any of it means. He sees it as not useful, or inapplicable, and I think that is dangerous.
I didn't just imply that saying we aren't going to win is dangerous or irresponsible; I said it directly. It is irresponsible and dangerous. It's dangerous because it hands a lot of credit (and a huge PR victory) to an insurgency that has no way of winning short of wearing down public opinion in the U.S.
Dave sees all this as World PR, as if America will be seen as weak if we don't continue. I see it differently. I see the world view more like; America will look stupid for making such an obvious tactical error in continuing the war as an occupying force in Iraq. We have already shown the Jihadists, and the world, that we won't lie down and take it. We've certainly done more damage in Iraq than Al Queda did here.
The Americans didn't win their emancipation from the British by wearing down public opinion for the war in English society. They won by sticking it out, engaging the British in a protracted conflict, and wearing them down financially.
Dave also says:
I've read more than a little bit of history in my day and I'm not certain I follow Ted's examples. Historical analogies, in my opinion, don't shed much light on current situations because they are so imprecise.
When was your day Dave, the 3rd grade? My God, that statement is scary. So, what's next on the list Dave, shall we invade Russia during the winter?
More from Dave:
Ted calls the American Revolution "not really a revolution," but offers no explanation for that fairly bold comment (I already covered this, and was surprised he needed to have it spelled out), so I don't know what he is getting at. Again, the historical parallel sheds little light because it is so imprecise. If Iraq were filled with English-speaking, American citizens who were protesting a relatively light tax to pay for, say, the earlier Iran-Iraq war, it might make a good parallel. But that is not at all close to the situation in Iraq.
This statement clearly shows that Dave, for his wealth of historical education, can't connect the dots. We're talking about a protracted war on foreign soil with little local support. I think the historical parallel is apparent, and legitimate. It also shows Dave's convenient reversal of political stance when it comes to taxation. I dare say that Dave would have felt different if he were among those who were paying 'a relatively light tax' back in 1775. Dave would have been one of our founding fathers, probably one of the 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence. I wouldn't have. I wouldn't have had enough assets to be included in that club. I'd have been in the taverns banging my hands on tables with Tony Alva.
Another lesson we can draw from Vietnam is that the entire world saw that the way to overcome the overwhelming advantage in military power of the United States was to undermine public opinion.
So Dave would have stayed the course in Vietnam. If Dave was in charge, we'd still be there. Public opinion is not just some political posturing, it's just what it says, public opinion. There is reason behind it, economic factors; to say public opinion is what defeated us in Vietnam is to miss the point entirely. Going in to begin with is what defeated us in Vietnam, and we've made just the same mistake again.
This is not simply a theory of mine, it is something that has been mentioned over and over by people like Bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and Zarqawi in their public statements. This image of America was further enhanced when Reagan turned tail and fled Lebanon in the early 80s and when Clinton tried to respond to bin Laden with cruise missiles.
Now I'm confused. What's not confusing is how Dave cherry picks Jihadist rhetoric, using what suits his aggressive policy, and disregarding what doesn't as lies and propaganda. He sounds like his uncle George. What is confusing are his examples. Reagan fled, that was bad, and Clinton engaged, and that was bad. What's good? Who has done it right Dave?
They know they have played the Ho Chi Minh strategy to win.
You said it. All they have to do is dig in and hold on. For them, 'staying the course' IS a plan for victory.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
So I got off the plane and rushed to get to CBGB to see Strikes Again, which I didn't make. But I saw Dave. I had no idea what blogging had gone on behind my traveling back. He gave me what for. On the blog, not at the show. We even spoke about how great it is we can disagree here, on the blogsphere, and still hang out, as Tony will attest - despite that evening in the pavilion just before the election. But I didn't know. I didn't know how far up Calvary he was gonna take me.
I will now respond. After that I'm going to read Tony's e-mail, respond to that, and then check the gazillion posts that have popped up today.....Damn!
Dean's proposal is not disengagement. It's redeployment. I think it's a good step. I never said cut and run, I never said throw in the towel. I'd hate to live somwhere where any divergence from the party line is immediately labelled defeatist or dangerous. That's smells like McCarthyism. That smells like intollerance. Hate driven by fear.
Certainly victory can be achieved, but what does it really mean?
I think it means a hell of a long time. I'm asking if we really want that.
The American Revolution wasn't a revolution because it was a rebellion. If the Americans had gone on to cross the ocean, kill King Goerge III, take over Parliment, and found a new government; then it would have been a revolution. This is semantics. I only brought it up because it's a sort of knee jerk history geek type thing that I always say when refering to the American Revolution. It's off-topic and unsupportive of my argument
I spoke of Rome's involvement in the Middle East to show mostly that the region is notoriously unstable, which was actually off-topic and non-supportive of my argument. I should have, as Dave suggests, cited their protracted wars against insurgencies in the West, like Spain or Germany, to show not only how long you need to hang out somewhere to change the way people think, a seriously long time, and to point out (this is a really long sentence) that such Roman conquests and states of dominion began for reasons of security for the Republic, not for land grabs, which they indeed became.
I spoke of ideology, and was not clear. I tend to try and over succinct myself. I'm often in a hurry, which helps my being wrong a lot.
To the point about the Nazi thing, in that case you had a functioning State who's policies were founded upon the ideology of fascism. You can defeat a Nation. You can defeat a man. There's no single Hitler in Iraq. The honorable men and women of the America Armed Forces took care of that.
The problem that we face isn't about a man, it's about men.
Yes, Dave is right again, Nazis are still around, people driven by fear to the practice of hate, and there well may always will be an Al Queda (insert Fear/Hate bit). Dave is also right about the mess we left in South East Asia in 75.
Haven't had much issue with them lately.
People sort themselves out.
You have to want to change.
I know about that.
I suppose I digressed a bit, again. I guess I have a wide focus. Dave is very good with the specific. I never had much use for specific, which is why I'm not a very good guitar player. I was a good history student, and a better actor.
Neither made me any money. I have learned how to make money though. Bust your ass.
I think that's universal, and seriously off-topic, and non-supportive of my argument.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
My comment on Dave's post about the liberal posture concerning the ongoing conflict in Iraq threatened to go on a bit long, so I'll say my bit here.....again.
Victory is defined as a resolution to a conflict in which the victor gets to impose his will on the defeated. In this case the enemy is an ideology, so victory is therefore moot. Thusly, when one quotes Howard Dean by inferring that he said 'we can't win', one is, in fact, giving Howard undue credit for being right. We cannot win.
Furthermore, to imply that saying that we can't win is either irresponsible or dangerous to our troops is ludicrous. What is dangerous to our troops is being shot at and blown up. What is irresponsible has been covered previously on this blog.
To those who disagree, I suggest reading some history. Start with Rome and their struggles in the same region we are now discussing. Next up, a little thing called the American Revolution (not really a revolution). After that, try the Vietnam War. It boggles the mind how such a vast portion of the populace can forget what happened only 35 years ago. Those are but a few of an overwhelming number of examples of how what we are attempting to do in Iraq cannot be done. It goes against human nature.
Pull out now, we save a great many AMERICAN lives, and take away a major impetus for what many are calling 'the insurgents'. I don't see them as such, I see them as the folks who live there.
Stop the madness. Spend money at home.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I just got back from another spree at Virgin. I bought yet another copy of Iron Maiden's 'Killers'. This is the record that caused me to incorrectly blog the word 'penultimate' a few months back. That's what great records do, they promote discourse from which we learn. At the risk of beating this particular issue to death, 'Killers' is the greatest Metal record ever. There are none better, and few even come close. The first Maiden record comes close, but suffers from grainy production. Martin Birch sorted that out. From the cover art that Tony Alva sports on his arm, to the last note of 'Drifter', this album is a gem. There is nothing sub par about it. This new 'Enhanced' version of the classic 1981 LP featured bonus video footage, photo galleries, band bio's, a monster color booklet, and oh yeah, the best fucking Metal ever!
I also picked up a Saxon compilation; 'Heavy Metal Thunder'. It features cuts from their first six LP's; 'Militia Guard', 'Wheels of Steel', 'Strong Arm of the Law', 'Denim and Leather', 'Power & the Glory', and 'Crusader'. The second two, Wheels, and Strong Arm, are great records, the others are spotty, and the last, Crusader, sucks. Fortunately they only included the passable title track from that one. I love Saxon, and frankly it's a passion that is hard to defend. Their riffs are derivative, and Biff Byford's vocals are so echo-dependent it makes one wonder what he really sounds like. They also look frightfully laughable. But that's exactly what I love about them, they look like guys you'd find in pub somewhere in the Midlands of England. Even back in '79 they had an aged biker thing going on, and that ouvre followed into the music. These guys were Hendrix and Tull fans who were not afraid to be just that. English Hard Rock Punters. Mostly what I love about Saxon is the guitar tones. So classic, so crunchy, so satisfying.
Lastly I picked up the new The Darkness CD, "One Way Ticket To Hell....And Back'. The title says it all, these guys have their tongue so firmly planted in cheek, it must be difficult for them to chew their food. The Darkness get it. They understand me, what I want, and that I'm capable of laughing at myself. I know this stuff is silly. In retrospect, post Spinal Tap, how can one not giggle a bit when you listen to Classic Metal. At the end of the day, I'm proud to be a ridiculous metal head, at least these guys could play the instruments credited to them on their records.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan called Democrats who called for a clear plan in Iraq irresponsible. What's irresponsible about asking what the fuck is going on? Irresponsible, to me, means engaging an invisible enemy on foreign soil after lying to the country to bolster support for a war. Irresponsible, to me, means using bait and switch tactics to dupe the populace during a time of national crisis. Irresponsible, to me, means letting a mass murdering fuck head who attacked my city walk the earth while you divert attention elsewhere.
So I'm reading that the Airlines will now allow passengers to bring small scissors on board. In exchange for that, we now face random pat downs. Great. I now will have to worry about the small amount of weed I have in my pocket, an item that poses no threat to other passengers, all because some people need to bring fucking scissors on a plane. What are you going to do with them? Cut out coupons from the Sky Mall magazine, arts and fucking crafts? Scissors can be used as a weapon, my weed cannot.
I'm all for security, I don't mind the lines, taking off my shoes and belt, it makes me feel safe. I will not feel safe knowing that the person sitting next to me can whip out a pair of scissors at any minute and slit my fucking jugular.
How many times have you heard somebody say: "Careful, don't run with a bag of weed"?
This is way not cool, wicked bad uncool.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Last night, for some odd reason, I decided to Google my old friend Sam Saldivar. Sam works, among other things I'm sure, as a production manager out in Hollyweird. He's always been a filmmaker, his pre-graduate works included "They Day The Earth Turned Vertical", and "Deathquest".
In my Google search I came across Mike Doughty's blog, which mentioned 'The Day The Earth Turned Vertical", and some of our mutual friends. Mike was the front man for Soul Coughing, a band which I never gave a chance because of an annoying ex-girlfriend who couldn't shut up about how much I should listen to Soul Coughing. Mike also was my next door neighbor at West Point for the last year I was there. He's a few years younger than I, but we sort of shared a peer group that has gone on to have some success in film and music.
Ostensibly, my Google search was prompted by a desire to get in touch with Bill Devine, who lived in the house Mike moved into, next door to mine, prior to Mike's moving into it. There must have been a lot of weird kharma in that house, a subject that I will leave alone, suffice to say that when Bill lived there some crazy shit went down. I figured Sam might have some contact info for Bill, but I couldn't even find any contact info for Sam.
I suppose I'll try Sam's brother Matt Saldivar, an actor, whom I last saw at a party in Manhattan in the mid nineties. Matt was then, and is probably still, hanging with Guin Turner, another one of the old crew, who has gone on to act in, and direct a number of films.
Guin used to date the late great Brian Spears, good pal of mine and Tony Alva's. She was at that same party, as was probably Mr. Doughty, where she uttered the words I will always remember her for: "He's dead and I'm gay." Nice Guin.
Another route to locate Sam, and maybe Bill, would be to go through John Adams, O'Neill and TEDSTOCK alumnus, who's brother Ramsey might be in touch with the Saldivar crew. Ramsey owes me one, back in 1983 I gave Fred Green a heart attack, which cancelled our production of Dracula which would be revived two years later with Ramsey in my role as The Count.
Must have been something in the water.......
In 1972 Uriah Heep finally managed to decide who they were. Vacillating between being a Floyd or Zepplin clone, they had released three LP's; 1970's 'Very 'eavy, Very 'umble', and 1971's 'Salisbury' and 'Look At Yourself'. Though those records contain moments of what Heep would come to be, it wasn't until their fourth record that they settled on what the Heep sound was, which was huge organ, tons of wah, tight bass and drums, with lots of vocal harmonies.
Holed up at Lansdowne Studios in London for March and April of that year they recorded what would ultimately be their opus; 'Demons and Wizards'. Containing such classics as 'Easy Livin', 'The Wizard', and 'Traveler in Time', Uriah Heep had the ability to deliver quick rock anthems, as well as the nine minute prog indulgence that critics loved to hate, and I loved to take drugs and listen to. Since then, on both accounts, not much had changed.
Uriah Heep has changed. Oh, they're still around. Mick Box (guitar) has kept the band going since original band honcho Ken Hensley (organ) left in the mid seventies. The Heep of the late seventies was a Spinal Tap style roustabout of band members and just plain bad albums. Settling in the early eighties with a line-up that featured former Spinal Tap keyboardist John Sinclair (not a joke, seriously ironic) and former Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley, who brought with him, from the Ozzy camp, former Heepster Lee Kerslake (drums). The Heep was back, and if not better than ever, certainly better than they had been for some time. During this time they recorded the ridiculously titled, and even more ridiculously packaged 'Abominog', and 'Head First', the latter of which is simply a great record.
Heep is however Heep, and there's a new lineup of old memebers.
If you like heavy music with progressive leanings, you still may not like Uriah Heep, but I do, and so does Ken, and Tony Alva (to a degree).
Apparently, for George W. Bush, a plan for victory means lots of signage that say 'A Plan For Victory'. When people ask him if he has a plan for victory he can point to the giant sign behind him, or the two that flank the podium, and say; "It's right here, can't you read?"
I don't like the term victory, I'd rather see a plan for peace, and I'd rather see a plan, not a big sign.