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Sunday, June 25, 2006


Stinkrock is right. I do like some horrible music. The vast majority of music that I listen to that can be truly termed awful is music that I got into in the very early eighties when I was a teenager consumed with heavy metal - before, and I wan't to make this clear, before certain bands from California ruined metal.

First and foremost among these bands of ill repute, these kings of mediocre metal, these also rans, these forgotten stepchildren of a genre has produced more guffaw than awe is Saxon.

Saxon - Saxon CD

Mike Wilson stared it. He came back from college with Saxon's 'Strong Arm Of The Law' (their third release) record on a cassette that had the first 'Angelwitch' record on side two. Mr. L Smart, the artist currently known as Milkyum (Mike's brother), wasn't all that impressed, but that tape made a huge impact on me. 'Wheels of Steel' was certainly one of the most frequently played LPs on my turntable back in High School (80-84). The title track from that record made an impact on Tony Alva as well, as it happens to have, in his opinion, a truly awful chorus.

Saxon - Wheels Of Steel CD

The forementioned 'Angelwitch' was not as huge of a record for me at the time. It was a little too devil-centric for me. Maybe it was a product of a fear my mother instilled in me via Catholicism, but overly evil based bands always turned me off. If you sang about satan more than Sabbath; I wasn't into you. Dio, Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Slayer would be examples of bands that just went too far with the lucifer lauding for my taste.

Angel Witch ad

That being said, I do like the first 'Angelwitch' record, which in retrospect was less Old Scratch oriented than it's cover art and song titles otherwise suggested, much like Judas Priest. Anyway, at some point in the late eighties, when I was expanding my tastes, I gave away a number of metal records, one of which was 'Angelwitch'. I have searched high and low for a vinyl copy of it in recent years. I might have to order it on-line from Japan.

Angel Witch - Angel Witch

As always seemed to be the case back then, I got into Krokus early with their 1979 release 'Metal Rendezvous'.

My favorite Krokus record was the follow-up, 1981's 'Hardware'. It had a grit and a sense of humor that I found endearing, like AC/DC. Unfortunatly Switzerland's premier metal act succumbed to the pressures of American hair band success, and like Saxon, and even reputable metal acts like Priest, they started to suck in an attempt to sell.

Ah, Accept. The rediculous factor reaches skyward here. By 1983's 'Balls To The Wall' they were falling in line with the hair metal syndrome, but early Accept records like 'Breaker', and the truly metal 'Restless and Wild', were mainstays of Jackson's musical life in these those heady days of true metal.

Accept - Restless And Wild CD

Rounding up my terrible taste selections is Raven. These guys were so over the top they were hard to take serious even back in the day. I never could listen to a whole Raven LP, but they had two great EPs:

Raven,Born To Be Wild,UK,Deleted,7

'Crash, Bang Wallop' was one of those records that sounded exactly like the title suggests. In 1983, Raven would team up with Accept fromtman Udo Dirkscneider for what would be the last gasp of true metal. The 'Break the Chain' single featured two b-sides. A cover of 'Born To Be Wild' which is comical, and the absolutely fantastic 'Inquisitor'. Next to Maiden's 'Total Eclipse' on the b-side of 'Number of the Beast', 'Inquisitor' is the second greatest metal b-side (non LP track).

Hey, I was young, and I liked what I liked. I make no apologies, and I am, if nothing, loyal, and I still listen (occasionally) to these records. I hope I always will.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Just as I suspected. Much more traffic than commenting. Stats since last night:

Total - 29
Average Per Day - 15
Today - 14

Total - 64
Average Per Day - 36
Today - 28

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Okay, after two years, and over a thousand posts, I've decided I want to look at my traffic. Commenting, which never gave me a clear idea of my readership, has been slight as of late - for whatever reasons. Maybe I've gone too far too many times, or maybe the novelty of it all is wearing off. It doesn't really matter because I'm hoplessly addicted, but I would like to know how far my reach actually extends.

How do I do it?


Being that I'm in Georgia this week I figured a REM post was in order. My introduction to this Athens Ga. quartet came in 1984 when I was emerging from my metal-centric youth.

When I was in my first semester at the University of Maryland I met some guys who had a band and I attended one of their rehearsals. They informed me that they didn't use distortion "like REM". This was undoubtedly a reflection on my decidedly metal appearance, and indeed, in 1984 REM was not known for crunchy guitar tones. That would change by '86 and the release of 'Life's Rich Pageant'.

R.E.M. - Life's Rich Pageant CD

It was 'Blind' Mitch Turner who would end up converting Tony Alva and myself into actual REM fans. Over the winter break of '84/85 Mitch would bring home 'Murmur' from the University of Southern Georgia at Gainsville.

R.E.M. - Murmur CD

I wouldn't say it took immediately, but by '86 and 'Pageant' I was certainly primed to dive right in, and in typical Jackson style, I did just that. By '87 and 'Document' I was a full fledged fan, owner of their back catalogue, and would attend their show at Radio City on that tour (thanks Rod and Karen).

R.E.M. - Document CD

My love of REM ran concurrent with their ever increasing success. In my opinion their albums just got better (until '91's 'Out Of Time, which has some awesome tracks, some of their best, but also has the unfortunate 'Radio Song', and 'Shiny Happy People').

I have a hard time choosing a favorite record. 'Green' usually comes to mind, but everytime I pull out 'Document' or 'Pageant' I come to terms with the fact that all these efforts are equally wonderful.

R.E.M. - Green CD

Peter Buck is one of my favorite guitar players. He has done more with less, like Neil Young, and has created terrific riffs that work intricately with Stipe's voice and both the sublime bass and angelic vocal harmonies of Mike Mills.

Stinkrock hates REM, and that's okay. I hate stuff too, it's just that the stuff I hate actually sucks.

R.E.M. - New Adventures In Hi-Fi CD

Chrispy is a big fan of 'New Adventures In Hi Fi', which I had ignored for many years, but recently sat through, and I quite liked it.


But maybe not for very long. As China and India surpass America as economic superpowers, which all indications suggest will happen much sooner than later, I'm not sure we can even hold onto the number three spot. With our nation spiralling further into debt, our interest rates will rise, and we will be seen as a poor investment. The national aversion to labor won't help.

I don't think the national psyche will take this very well. Americans have become used to being the big boys, throwing around our (considerable) weight - and very quickly I might add.

How fast the might crumble. The bigger they are, well you know.....

Five years ago we were a surplus nation. In the balck, and enjoying the support of the wrold.

Hmmm, now where did we go wrong?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Jackson welcomes Milkyum to the blogshpere. He'll hate that I did this. He doesn't want you to read his blog, so make sure you comment incessantly, as I'm sure this will bother him greatly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Oh, Ronnie. I bet it's hard to keep off the sauce around Mick and Keith, much less on tour in general. Get well, Ronnie. We'll wait.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Last night Tony Alva and I, along with some compadres on my crew, checked out The Plimsouls at Smith's Olde Bar. What a great place! Spacious bar, good food, pool tables, and live music upstairs. You can tell the quality of a bar's food by ordering wings, which I did. No par cooking at Smith's, they fried up the wings straight out of the fridge. You can tell by the texture,, and the taste. Par cooked wings just don't taste right. The buffalo sauce was more than acceptable, tangy with a kick.

The Plimsouls rocked. I don't know how often these guys have played together since thier early eighties heyday, but one would think from their perfromance last night that they had never stopped.

Peter Case is a great performer as well as singer, and he kept the pace fast and up-beat. His lead guitar player was unbelievable. Just when you thought that he was lost, dicking around with his pedals, he'd launch into a tasty lead with the absolute perfect tone. Chrispy would have loved this band. The bass player was solid as a large granite deposit, and his back-up vocals were beyond reproach. Tony and I dug the drummer as well, who's unique style was both solid and perky, just the right touch on the cymbals, and his quirky fills were worthy of Ringo.

Can't say enough about how great The Plimsouls were. After the show, Peter remained on satge to greet his public (all 75 of us), and hawk t-shirts (probably the only source of actual income for the band).

Tony has seen Peter as a solo act many times, and I hope to catch him in that role soon.

You can read some very interesting posts about the music biz on Peter's blog.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Almost a full year ago I blogged about Blue Oyster Cult - the original umlaut band. I woke up this morning humming 'Cities On Flame'.

"My heart is black, and my lips are cold
Cities on flame with rock and roll
Three thousand guitars they seem to cry
My ears will melt, and then my eyes."

What a great song. Most people know 'Don't Fear The Reaper' (thanks to Will Farrell a whole new generation has been introduced to B.O.C.), and 'Godzilla', maybe 'Burnin' For You', but many of thier best songs are ignored by classic rock radio.

'Then Came The Last Days Of May' is perhaps the greatest B.O.C. song, which along with the forementioned 'Cities On Flame' is on their eponymously titled debut album from 1972.

PC 31063

'Tyranny And Mutation' followed in February of 1973, which contained the manic '7 Screamimg Diz-Busters', and the boogie infested 'The Red And The Black'.

Blue Oyster Cult - Tyranny And Mutation CD

In 1974 they released my personal favorite B.O.C. album, 'Secret Treaties'.

CK 32858

The culmiating three songs at the end of side two (Harvester Of Eyes, Flaming Telepaths, and Astronomy) show the band at what might be called their first creative peak.

'Flaming Telepaths' is my favorite B.O.C. track:

"Well I've opened up my veins too many times
And the poison's in my heart and in my mind
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion,
I'll settle for lies

Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire
Imprisoned by the thoughts of what you do
Is it any wonder that the joke's an iron
And the jokes on you

Experiments that failed too many times
Transformations that were too hard to find
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion, I'll settle for lies

Yes I know the secrets of the iron and mind
They're trinity acts - a mineral fire
Yes I know the secrets of the circuitry mind
It's a flaming wonder telepath"

In 1975 B.O.C. released their first Live Lp, 'On Your Feet Or On Your Knees'. The record showcased the band's live set and contained covers of 'Born To Be Wild', and 'I Ain't Got You'.

Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees CD

'Agents Of Fortune' followed in 1976, unleashing 'Don't Fear The Reaper' on the AOR radio format everywhere.

PC 34164

The album also contained 'E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)', and another of Jackson's personal faves, the ascerbic 'This Ain't The Summer Of Love'.

"Lock all your doors from the outside
The key will dangle by the inside
You may begin to understand
That this is the night we ride

This ain't the garden of eden
There ain't no angels above
And things ain't like what they used to be
And this ain't the summer of love"

1977 brought us 'Spectres', and with it came 'Godzilla'.

JC 35019

As usual, however, 'Spectres' also contained a masterpice that quite likely is one of the greatest acheivements in Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, the epic 'Golden Age Of Leather'

By 1978 B.O.C. was showing signs of road weariness which is exemplified by the lackluster live LP 'Some Enchanted Evening'. A limp version of 'Kick Out The Jams' did little to help this poorly recorded record. It sold very well anyway.

JC 35563

'Mirrors' followed in 1979 and heralded the end of the golden age of B.O.C.

Blue Oyster Cult - Mirrors CD

Don't bother.

Another weak effort came our way in 1980. The aptly titled 'Cultasaurus Erectus' did feature one good song though, 'Balck Blade'.

JC 36550

Blue Oyster Cult did have another great record in them - one more to be precise. 1981's masterpeice 'Fire Of An Unknown Origin' would prop the band back up for a brief period in the early eighties. Certainly another creative peak, but the band blew their load on this one, and subsequent releases would never match the glory of this or any previous release.

FC 37389

'Fire Of Unknown Origin' is a complete work. There aren't any bad songs - a feat never acheived by B.O.C. before or after. 'Burnin' For You' would provide the band with their last top ten hit, but the fun doesn't stop there. 'Heavy Metal (Black and Silver)', the title track, 'Joan Crawford', 'Soul Survivor', 'Vengence, The Pact', and 'Veteran Of Psychic Wars' fill out an impressive LP from a band thought at the time to be basically over.

B.O.C. would break up a few short years later, purportedly after viewing Spinal Tap. Later incarnations featuring either Eric Bloom or Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser but not both would make attempts at reclaiming their past glories, but never to any real effect.

But that's okay, we still got the records - and Will Farrell.


For all my anti-war posturing, for all my apparent disrespect, I want to make one thing abundantly clear. Like Tony Alva, I am a proud son of the Army. I am also a proud son of my dad - Ret. Gen Robert M. Wilson.

Today is Father's day, and I pay him tribute with my post about a place I will always consider my home, and I'm sure he does too.

West Point is a place of serene natural beauty coupled with impressive architecture. I was priveledged to have been able to spend my formative years there (72-84).

The change of seasons in the Hudson Highlands is simply a natural wonder, and it made my childhood, against this magnificent backdrop, a real life fantasy adventure.

Surrounded by woodlands that gave credence to my boyhood adventures, and cover for my adolescent clandestine operations, I am convinced that there is no better place on earth for me to have spent my youth.

My brothers, my friends, and myself at times pushed the limits of acceptable behavior. Baiting the Military Police into pointless nightime chases through the woods (bunjee cruises), depositing poolside furniture atop the 36 foot diving platform. 'High'-jinks as it were. Misguided maybe, but basically harmless fun.

It's been a while since I've been back to visit my old haunts. I've been thinking of driving up with the Legal Diva for the Jackson Tour of Infamy. Highlights include Fort Putnam, the Left Tit, and the Thing That Goes Bing (which for time did not).

All in all, I have nothing but the deepest respect for those men and women who do their time at the Academy. It ain't easy, and I salute them. Mostly I salute my father, who provided me with a storybook childhood. Of course this is all hindsight and retropsective, at the time I was as much of a miserable brat as anyother kid, clueless as to how lucky I was.


I suppose my position on war is well documented by now; I loathe it. Unfortunately there are times when war is a necessity. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, and the multi-national response in Kosovo. I do not now, nor have I ever felt that the invasion of Iraq was a necessity. Iraq, Vietnam - these are vanity wars.

What makes me ill, and embarrassed, is the recent trend in branding war. It seems that sometime back during the Bush Senior administration somebody hired a marketing firm, and 'Operation: Desert Storm' was born. Now we have 'Operation Enduring Freedom', and 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'. It makes one want to vomit.

And then there's the wearing out of certain phrases, and not only by our President. Words like 'Freedom' and 'Evil Doer' are being tossed around at such a rate that they risk the loss of any meaning at all.

War is hell. Let's not dress it up - let's call it what it is.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Jackson is heading back to ATL for the fourth time in the past year. This time I'll be staying at the Peachtree Westin. I have only been to this hotel once before, on my second visit to Atlanta back in 95. Tony Alva and Circy Nightshade took me to the spinning restaurant that's perched atop this, the tallest building in Atlanta. Tony and I, for all our manly 'caution to the wind' escapades in our youth, do not deal well with heights. I think I'll skip the view this time.

I will be joining Senior Alva for an evening with the Plimsouls. Peter Case and his former eighties bandmates have gotten the band back together for a tour.

As usual, I plan on an evening at the Clermont Lounge as well. Anything worth doing is worth developing into a habit.


My introduction to spicy food happened in 1979 when Mr. L Smart's dad took us to San Loco in the Village. This was the old San Loco, not the new one that is developing into a chain with two locations in the East Village and one opening soon in the Far East Village, or Williamsburg as it's more well known. I can't remember exactly where the old San Loco was, but I remember it specialized in chili which came in a variety of heat, from 'Tame' to 'Nuclear'. Mr. L Smart and his dad ordered the 'Nuclear' and sat down to sweat through the meal. I learned a few things that day. Most importantly, don't stop! Once you dig into something seriously spicy, it's best to keep eating. If you stop, you'll have to douse the fire, and then start over again. Bread things, beer, and milk things will help the dousing, but the burn, and the sweat, are inevitable, but given time, very enjoyable. Chili spice is addictive. The pain becomes a bittersweet endeavor that is cherished as well as endured.
The Chile Pepper Institute photo

I have become a chili fanatic. Though I can handle the heat, the pain, and the sweat to a large degree, I rarely temp fate, and when offered multi levels of spice, I usually go for the second from the hottest. Once at Nice Guy Eddie's, in a fit of drunken bravado, I ordered the hottest wings available, and I managed maybe three before admitting defeat. They were jus too damn hot.

For me, there's hot and tasty, and then there's just plain hot. I am after a flavorful burn. Heat for the sake of heat is a waste of time, and taste buds. To that end, when I'm cooking with chilis these days, I usually smoke or roast them before introducing them into the dish. The roasting process mellows the heat a bit and brings out the natural smoky flavors of the pepper.

Chilis are a passion, and a pastime. I love produce sections, and will spend more time looking over the various peppers than I do picking out cuts of meat. Peppers add color and zest to otherwise boring meals.

The University of New Mexico's Chili Pepper Institute is a great source of information for chili fanatics.

Here's a quick reference:

Habnero/Scotch Bonnet/Jamaican Hot - These puppies are serious hot. You don't want to mess around with these guys unless you are a seasoned pro. Mostly used in sauces, Habaneros and their island cousins pack some damage potential. I watched Hazmat eat one once, and he can handle the hottest of hot. It was not pleasant to watch.

Thai - these are the guys you find in your Generals Chicken and so forth. They can pack a mean punch, but when used to flavor dishes without ingesting, they are wonderful. Just push 'em to the side.

Serrano and Wax (L to R) - Great for roasting, or dicing up for a pico de gallo or salsa. Not too hot, but can induce a healthy sweat.

Jalapeno - You know this guy. Boring. All heat, no flavor, though I do enjoy them pickled on occasion, like you'll find on your plate of pub variety nachos.

Poblano - My all time favorite pepper. Used in dishes like Chile Rellenos, this superlative pepper is a staple in Mexico. Smoky flavor, not too spicy. Simply perfection in a pepper.

New Mexico - A slightly sweeter, but still spicy version of the Serrano, this guy does well in just about anything.

It is my belief that strong flavors are beneficial and promote longevity. In fact, evidence has shown that peppers may have some beneficial properties. Capsaicin - the predominant capsaicinoid, which is found in chili peppers - has been found to work as an anticoagulant, thus possibly helping prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by blood clot. Small amounts of capsaicin can produce numbing of the skin and have a slight anti-inflammatory effect. In some countries, peppers are used in salves.

And they are yummy too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GUITARS (a reblog)

My first Guitar, not counting the Sears guitar I got in '79, was a charcoal grey Ibanez Iceman (above in metallic blue). It got sold in 1985.

That same year I bought this guitar, 'Ruby Red Slippers' as it is known. A mainstay at Smoke and Mirrors, this guitar has been with me through it all, and then some.

The next guitar I 'acquired' was a Harmony Rocket. I traded a gram of coke for it in 1986. It gets great feedback tones. Sadly, it's in need of serious repair, and it sits in it's case waiting for me to get around to it.

In 1987, I inherited an acoustic made by Gagliano. Again, sadly, I no longer have it. It used to sound great on tape, but it was a beater, covered in Flintstones stickers. It was in a severe state of disrepair when it was stolen in 2004.

I inherited another guitar in 1996. This time I scored big. A black Fender Stratocaster. Another mainstay at S&M, Black Strat is armed with more friendly .10's, unlike the Tele which I keep strung up with .12's.

Vintage Sunburst

Ah, the Junior. Chris has one that looks like the one shown above, mine is mahogany. Both are Epiphone versions of this same model. I love mine - love it! It's so comfy, the tone is thick and juicy, and it cost me $169.00 in 1997. In 1998 I bought another, a black double cut away that I can't seem to find an image for, that I recently had set up for a Keith style 5 string 'G' tuning . Think SG with one P-90 pick up.

Gibson Firebird Electric Guitar

When I spotted an Epiphone Firebird (above is the Gibson model in Tobaccoburst) in cherry red, well I had to lay down the $400.00 in 2003. I keep this one at home for no apparent reason, I need to bring it in for a set-up.

Thanks to Epiphone, I was able to collect many of my favorite models at affordable prices. When I got the Explorer in 2004 (again, above is the Gibson model), it was a boon for S&M, being that we finally had a double humbucking guitar, it has since been used by many clients as well as myself.

TV Yellow

The latest addition to the collection is much like this Gibson Les Paul Special (TV) shown above, except mine is a copy made by Ashland, and it has two P-90 pick-ups. I always liked this style, and after George set it up, it plays and sounds great.

Happy Fun Time, indeed.

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