Dig it kids!
1. Mr. Hurricane - Beast
2. Oscar Wilde - Company of Thieves
3. WTF - OK Go
4. Airstream Driver - Gomez
5. Show Me How This Thing Works - Cracker
6. Help, I'm Alive - Metric
7. Death By Diamonds and Pearls - Band of Skulls
8. The Golden Age - The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
9. Cousins - Vampire Weekend
10. She's A Genius - Jet
11. Ain't No Rest For the Wicked - Cage the Elephant
12. Animal- Miike Snow
13. You, Me, and the Bourgeoise - The Submarines
14. Just Breathe - Pearl Jam
15. Hey You - 311
16. Why I Am - Dave Matthews Band
17. Crawl - Kings of Leon
By the way, you look fantastic in your boots of Chinese plastic.
Sorry, that's the song on the radio right now. Chrissie Hynde is still rocking. Trust me this is a good thing. But that doesn't really have anything to do with the following.....
Covers, when one band or artist copies another band or artist, have been around, affronting some and pleasing the rest of us for a really, really long time.
Here now, for your dancing and dining pleasure, is my official list of cool covers. I've worked on this for a while and bring it to you because I want to know what you think. Add? Subtract? James what the hell were you thinking? Please chime in! Original artist/band first, song title, and the artist/band who did the cover. I would especially like to know if I'm in error on any of this so like I said feel free to look these songs up online and tell me what you like or hate and why. Numbered, but in no particular order--
1. Hurra Torpedo... just kidding but look them up anyway ;~)
2. Bob Seger/Turn the Page/Metallica
3. John Lennon/Watching the Wheels/Matisyahu
4. The Kaiser Chiefs/Oh My God/Lily Allen
5. Black Sabbath/War Pigs/Cake
6. The Eurythmics/ Sweet Dreams(Are Made of This)/Marilyn Manson
7. Simon and Garfunkel/Mrs. Robinson/The Lemonheads
8. Justin Timberlake/Cry Me a River/The Cliks
9. Jethro Tull/Cross-Eyed Mary/Iron Maiden
10. The Police/Message in a Bottle/Matisyahu
11. moe./In a Big Country/Big Country
12.David Bowie/The Man Who Sold the World/Nirvana
13. Don Henley/Boys of Summer/The Ataris
14. Gloria Gaynor/I Will Survive/Cake
15. Bob Dylan/All Along the Watchtower/Jimi Hendrix
16. Genesis/Land of Confusion/Disturbed
17. Rush/A Passage to Bankok/Scary German Guy
18. Rush/Tom Sawyer/DJ Ztrip
19. Rush/Closer to the Heart/Fates Warning
20. Rush/YYZ/String Quartet Tribute to Rush (I could do this part of the list all day hahaha)
21. Michael Jackson/Smooth Criminal/Alien Ant Farm
22. The Cure/I Will Always Love You/311
23. The Beatles/In My Life/Johnny Cash
24. The Buggles/Video Killed the Radio Star/The Presidents of the United States of Amerca
25. Led Zeppelin/Good Times, Bad Times/Godsmack
So James, what's with the pink lettering? Did you finally go gay on us?
Not that there would be anything wrong with that...
Lol and the answer is still no. The pink is a salute and a tip of the cap to Major League Baseball. If you all turn on your televisions right now and turn it to ESPN, you should be seeing the Red Sox playing the Twins. Notice something different?
In every baseball game across the country on Mother's Day players are being given the option of swinging for the fences with pink bats. They are saluting their Moms, Mothers everywhere, and raising awareness for breast cancer. A triple play of respect for the kinder, gentler, and vastly smarter of the species.
I would like all the Moms of MMland to stand up and take a bow. (*APPLUASE*) I loved my mother very much and miss her dearly. My gratitude for her shaping me into who and what I am now is never ending. I live every waking moment of my life trying to make her proud of me. She raised me and my three brothers by herself (my father died of a heart attack when my twin brother and I were two years old) in the 70's. Bless her soul.
You can only demand respect if you can command respect, it's a two way street and one can't have one without the other. Jmho. Having said that, it means so much to me to be a part of this virtual community. I'm honored to have made your acquaintances and I look foward to good times here for a long time to come.
Could I BE any sappier?!
Funny, but every time I put the word "gay" in any of my blogs, I'm treated to a mini onslaught of non-blogging gay and straight men checking out my profile. Hmmm...
Ladies, from my heart I say Happy Mother's Day.
Having way too much free time on my hands, this past week I was placed in charge of getting my neice to and from Art Camp.
She's 10. In 45 minute driving increments, twice a day, she was schooled on why Rush is the greatest rock band ever. That wasn't the plan to start, but when I changed the radio station from WEQX (coolest radio station ever) to one of the classic rock stations she seemed to like it. The Joker, by The Steve Miller Band came on and I sang it to her. You're the cutest thing that I ever did see then turning the volume down and changing the subject because she likely doesn't know anything about loving peaches and shaking trees. Hitting the high harmony on the chorus wasn't easy, and I even remembered to turn it down when Mr. Miller called himself a midnight toker...
Then they played The Logical Song by Supertramp. (From Canada, I might add, but I didn't go there.) She liked it.
We stopped for ice cream, she had Phish Food, I had Cherry Garcia. She had never heard of Phish or The Grateful Dead. I talked to her about music. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is crap. Some of it is art. If you're in a band and Ben & Jerry decide to make an ice cream flavor out of you, you are art...
Next day, I picked her up and handed her a CD and told her to say the name of the band and the title of the disc.
"Rush... Moving Pictures" she said. CD in, starting with Tom Sawyer. Art. Red Barchetta. Art. YYZ. Art. Knowing she likes playing the violin, I came prepared with Exit... Stage Right The String Quartet Tribute to Rush. [I've told you all what a freak I am about Rush...] It started with The Spirit of Radio. I supplied the vocals. Then came Red Barchetta. Art. Then YYZ. Art. She told me she liked the string versions better and I emphatically told her "No you dont!"
Friday, I chaged gears. It was all about Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. She loved it. She read the lyrics without any prompting from the uncle as I explaind to her that Sgt Pep was the first rock album ~ever~ to print the lyrics. We made it through She's Leaving Home by the time we got to Art Camp she said she couldn't wait to hear Mr. Kite. (Her words I swear!)
Art Show that afternoon. My neice ran to greet me grabbing my hand and pulling me to her week of art. The collective (but individual) artistic output of a small group of children ages 4 to 10 was really amazing. I'm not saying this because I may be heavily biased, but she wowed me. One project was a single serve serial box arted up including live ladybugs which she insisted on freeing after the show...
The first thing she said in my truck was what about the Beatles and Mr. Kite? I corrected her and said I believe the title is For The Benefit of Mr. Kite. She then corrected me telling me that the full name of the song was Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite...
Out of the mouths of babes indeed...
Here's the story so far...
In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely reguarded as a bad move.
Fast foward to 1985. I had a prom to pay for so I got a job at a MacDonalds. Soon after that, I discovered a wormhole in the space/time continuum and landed a job at The Restaurant at the End of The Universe. I worked through the ranks until I was promoted to Ultra Mega Grand Master Executive Chef In Charge of Everything. Life was good.
Then, the Cosmic Corporate Downsizing Wars began. I started packing because I knew that sooner or later "they" would have no use for an Ultra Mega Grand Master Executive Chef In Charge of Everything. I blew the dust off my copy of Tht Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy, grabbed my towel, and stuck out my thumb.
I landed back here on this ridiculous rock at the saute station at a very posh Inn in Stockbridge, MA. You may know the one I'm talking about, and if you ordered fish there between '03 and '07 I probably cooked it for you. Hope you liked it.
But in the here and now, and the purpose of this blog, I need advice. You see, I took on a new position as Garde Manger at a new restaurant that showed an enormous amout of promise. It was doing well, so much so that they opened a restaurant inside the restaurant. A humble burger joint. It was doing well for itself, but the Exec was having trouble keeping solid help. Four months ago he asked me to be That Guy. I've never attended a culinary institution, but for all intent, I am a classically trained French chef. I really didn't want to but as a favor to the Exec, I became the most expensive burger flipper you've ever met...
Couldn't see it at the time, but it turned into a stroke of luck. The bigger restaurant folded, but the burger joint remained and I still had a job. This past Saturday, I was laid off. It sucks, but the Exec had to make a difficult decision and everyone else in that kitchen had been with the company longer than me. Exit the low man on the totem pole.
Truth be told, in a way I'm kinda relieved. I've been quietly loathing the restaurant business for years.
I can see the interviews in my head...
James, do you have any other job qualifications besides an impressive knife collection and a score of 200,000 at Pac Man?
It's hard to see myself doing anything else, but in my heart I know I don't wanna play chef any more. I don't think I'd be going out on a limb here saying that we likely have a bevy of career shifters here on MM. If this is you, would you mind sharing your story?
About this time every year, I make sure to call my accountant and ask if he'll do my taxes before he calls me. If it's the other way around the conversation goes like this...
Him- Hey there bro!
Me- What's up my friend?
Him- Do you need me to do you?
Me- I would love for you to do me pumpkin...
We hadn't seen each other in a couple of months so we sat at his cubicle last night and caught up on things while he did me. Er, um, I mean, my taxes...
Him- So what are you doing for Valentine's Day?
Me- Me? Oh, probably the usual. Stay home, get drunk, and cry myself to sleep.
Him- Oh my God! Me too!
Him- You're right. That doesn't sound like me at all.
Me- You're going to go out and have random hot gay monkey sex with a complete stranger.
Him- It's embarassing how well you know me.
Me- Yea, that, and you can't bullsh*t a bullsh*tter.
Him- For what it's worth, I was just trying to make you feel better. Why don't you come out with me to the club? Are you afraid you might get freaky and try the love that dare not speaketh it's name?
Me- Dude, you know I love a good old fashioned girl's night out, but who am I to break tradition?
Him- You raise a valid point Sir.
Me- Thanks for looking out for me Cupcake.
Him- What are friends for? How many consecutive Valentine's Days have you been sans girlfriend?
Me- I lost count somewhere near the turn of the century.
Him- Ouch. It could be worse. You could be bitter.
Gay sensibility. Blessing. Curse. Glass. Ice. Pour. Sip. Mmm....
Jimmy Buffet's got nothing on me.
I did it! I created the greatest cheeseburger ever! That's right folks.....
My mouth and stomach were jealous of my eyes for looking at it. It being half a pound of American Kobe beef. It was so rare I heard a distant moo when I bit into it.
It was set on a brioche with tomato aioli and an obscene amount of thinly sliced red onion. One bite and my eyes wanted my mouth arrested for Grand Theft Burger. My stomach advised against it because it knew what was coming.
The carnage was over in seconds. My eyes and mouth were now in cahoots. They wanted to sue my stomach but they soon realized they had no evidence. My stomach let intestinal fortitude take over.
Humble apologies to our vegitarian contingency. (The herbivores ate well 'cause their didn't never runnnnnnn)
It's nothing to worry about, folks, but I'm going to the ER. This is really gross, but over the last 4 or 5 days, I seem to have developed a cyst on my neck. I first unearthed this beast while shaving when it just looked like a pimple. Covered in shaving cream I forgot about it. What oozed out was a very foul smelling milky grossness. It's approaching the size of a ping-pong ball. It's even with and appx. two inches to the left of my adams apple. I'm in a ridiculous amount of pain and I'm speculating (Thanks to RG and webMD) that is because it is sitting over a lymph...
Hopefully, this won't have an effect on my modeling career. LOL!
Like I said, not to worry, and I'll post an update as soon as I get home. Just please do me a tiny favor and send positive thoughts my way.
In the mean time, let's have some creative fun and try to think of a name for this (and hopefully soon to be departed) beast...
James and the Giant Peachpit?
Well, off I go!
Once again, Canada has outdone itself and graced us with another great band. Some of you know of my affinity towards misunderstood Canadian rock bands, but I don't think The Cliks will have time to worry about bearing that title. (At least in my tiny little Alternative Music world...)
They are already bieng compared to Chrissie Hynde's early work with The Pretenders. That alone says a lot! The first single, Oh Yeah, (At the moment, I can't remember the title of the album - Bad Cliks fan! *smacks hand*) is being called "The kiss-off song of the decade."
Hold the phone, here, people. The decade? I was as skeptical of that statement as I was when Greenday's Jesus of Suburbia (all 9 grip and rip minutes of it!) was called a rock opera soon after its release.
The next time I heard J of S it started to make sense. My skeptcism faded almost immediately and thought Well these guys have come a long way since Dookie!
But back to The Cliks. I would like you all to tell me what you think, even if alternative music isn't your thing. Check out their website and the first song you'll hear should be Oh Yeah. Do you like it? Do you like the music? Does the woman singing it have a serious set of pipes? And most importantly ~ can it really be worthy of being called the kiss-off song of the decade?
(I've also heard that their live shows are nothing short of blazing. I'm optimistic, but I'll believe it when I see it.)
Give the song a spin and tell me what you think!
This blog is about balance. The kind you strive for in the good, the bad, and the ugly of life.
The beautiful thing about balance is that sometimes it's cosmic. The trick is to be objective and to be open to it...
One song, three horses, and a baby. Grace under pressure saved my life one night recently and I've come to see that grace note was wrapped inside the pressure point. But that was one moment in time.
Pressure point: Held hostage at gunpoint in a convenience store robbery. (C-stores up here don't even sell beer. What's that all about?)
Grace note: Singing Sinatra's My Way with 800 other marching band alumni at homecoming 12 days later. (One song)
Pressure point: The following Monday (SeSun, my bad, RG!) I was told that a dear friend had decided to throw in the towel and end his life.
Grace note: At the wake, his fiance said: "Oh my God! You're James? Jeremy talked about you all the time!"
Bonus grace note: Three horses. We met at a friends house to take one car to the funeral. I didn't even notice the horses at the time but there they were after the service. I explained to the owner that while I hadn't been around a horse since I was a kid I'd always thought I'd be good with them. She led me out back and told me to grab some apples from the basket. She introduced me to each one with their stories. I was issued an open invite to come back and learn to ride.
Pressure point: Major job stress without even a modicum of understanding among the higher ups.
Grace note: I spent last Sunday chain sawing, chucking, and stacking wood with my best friend. His wife had a baby girl 10 months ago. She was shy at first but 20 minutes later she was a major flirt. After dinner Mommy came with baby on her hip to hug me good bye. The baby was so tired but reached for me. When I put her on my hip she burried her forehead into my chin.
Like the song, I'm starting to not like Mondays.
Two of the past 3 Mondays have sucked. Badly. Deeply. Soul-crushingly. But there was a shining Saturday in the middle of it. And my beloved Red Sox of Boston are currently up 3 games to none in the World Series.
Columbus Day. Monday, October 8th. The day starts with a phone call informing me that my cousin has died of a heart attack at 43 years old. Shadow across the heart. It tripped 10 year old memories of me at war with myself. I blogged this, hoping that I was making it clear that I would not be a victim, hit send, and went to work.
You (and of course I) had no way of knowing this at the time, but about 9 hours later I found myself being held at gunpoint in a convenience store robbery. The pistol wielding rookie (he wore a clear plastic shopping bag for a mask) wrapped his right forearm around my neck and shoved the barrel of the gun in to my kidney with his left. JohnnyBlue were are you? Let's count the felonies, shall we? The kid (24 years old) was arrested the next day and the front page headline read: "Robbery is clear case, police say"
I'm still chuckling at that...
I could make an arguement for "The Worst Monday Ever" award...
A most excellent grace note came nearly 2 weeks later in the form of UMASS Amherst Homecoming. Beware of large groups of drunk marching band geek alumni! 800 former bandos singing Sinatra's My Way on the field at the end of the post-game show.
"And now, the end is near, and so I'll face the final curtain..."
That's when it hit me. One wrong move on anyone's behalf on that stupid Monday and I wouldn't be singing this beautiful song with these beautiful people on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. We partied like rockstars that night. We always do and from what I'm told I had a great time. Big breakfast Sunday morning with friends, great big soul gripping hugs, and I'm back to work by 2:00PM that afternoon. This story is about to take a tr...
I know I've been kind of distant as of late, but I've had a lot on my mind. Not the cause and effect "Holy crap I'm 40!" kind of thing, but more of the pause and affect...
It's a long story for another day (I seem to say that a lot) and it's cosmically not at all important right at this moment...
The news came via voice mail late last night. A cousin of mine has died. He was 43. Apart from my brothers and I, he was the last male blood relative with my last name. His sister has now outlived her entire family. Their sister was beaten to death by the estranged ex about ten years ago, (*Survivors, please take note here* this is one of many, many reasons why we seem to speak the same language), which is stirring up a completely different kind of shitstorm in my heart.
At the moment I have no more information but I'll keep you all posted.
I need to do the thing I do best and it has never failed me. Ever...
Walking. Another long story for another day. (See what I mean?)
Desperately hoping that you all don't feel that I'm speaking in the pejorative here, I'm just cosmically sad in the here and now, and I think you all know that gloom and doom crap isn't my style.
As nerdy as this sounds, wearing a pedometer every day for the last 5 years has at times a poetic way of reinforcing the "one step at a time" rule in life.
Alternative music lovers, share my pain...
I was getting ready for work this afternoon, tuned into the coolest radio station ever, when the DJ said that if I was the 7th caller I'd win the Foo Fighters latest CD and tickets to their upcoming concert here in October.
Grab phone. Dial. Busy. Hit redial. Busy. Hit redial. Busy. Hit redial. Holy crap, it's ringing!
DJ: (Quickly)"Hi, you're caller number 6 try again."
Me: (Quickly)"Hi Donna! It's me James!"
DJ: (Quickly)"Hi James!"
Aw crap. Then, having been the penultimate caller so many times, I think (as usual!) hey, ya never know...
Hit redial. Busy. As usual...
Crap! Crap crap crap crap CRAP!
I don't know why I didn't put this on Cassie's "Famous People" blog, but I met Max Roach a billion (okay. 19 or 20) years ago...
As a drummer who is far more avid than accomplished, I was deeply saddened to learn that Max Roach died this past week. While some of you are saying "Max Who?," jazz fans know what the world has lost. He was one of the great ones, a jazz drumming pioneer.
When he wasn't out shocking the jazz world, he was teaching at UMASS. Enter me. I was in the marching band in the fall semester, and in spring us drumheads took a brutal beating in an innoccously titled class called marching percussion tech. I was a Sociology major in a room full of Music majors, but I was holding my own and feeling pretty good about it. When we found out that Max Roach was holding a master class on the same day as our class, we had no choice. We blew off the East Coast authority on marching percussion to witness a Max Roach master class.
It was a classroom with a 5 piece drumkit where the desk should have been. We were all sitting there waiting when he walked in. Max frikkin' Roach! He said a few things while tuning the drums and then started playing. Wow! When he finished, he said: "I'd really like to get a feel for where you guys are at musically so I want to hear you all."
Maybe it was the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face, but he handed me his sticks and told me to go up there and play. As I walked to the kit, two words raced through my head over and over...
Don't suck don't suck don't suck don't suck....
I have in my hands a pair of sticks that Max Roach just had in his and he wants to hear me play the drums. No Pressure.
The last thing I played was a crude rendition of the beginning of Rosanna by Toto (remember them?). When I handed him the sticks back he said "I really like the shuffle pattern you just did there."
Gratitude. I didn't know what it was back then, but I do now.
Yes boys and girls, they're baaaaack! Snakes & Arrows hit the shelves on May 1st and I'm in heaven! It is far and away their most sophisticated piece of work yet. It was a 5 year wait since their last album (Vapor Trails), but sooo worth it!
For 35 years, Rush has been routinely snubbed by Rolling Stone, the Grammys, and mind-numbing stupidity that is the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, to name a few...
And for 35 years, they have reinvented themselves at every turn.
Pardon the digression. I was hoping to incur discussion about this wonderful disc from this great, great band. Here are my first observations about Snakes& Arrows...
1) The artwork is amazing. It always is with these guys...
2) Songs that are jumping out at me (This will change as we go along LOL!): Armor and Sword, Spindrift, The Main Monkey Business, and Malignant Narciccism.
3) You heard it here first: Do not be surprised if The Main Monkey Business or Malignant Narciccism recieve Grammy nominations for best rock instrumental performance. But like I said- routinely snubbed.
4) I'm a drummer with a healthy obsession for All Thing Neil. I'm either going woofie- cookies or at times on this disc I can actually hears Neil's sticks whipping a nanosecond before he hits something. Very cool! BTW I'm hoping for the latter although the former wouldn't be so bad...
5) And speaking of hitting things with sticks, there are also times where it sounds like he is trying to hit the drums 2 inches ~below~ the surface of the head. YEEEHAAA!
That's all for now. Pick up a copy, crank it up, and let me (us) know what you think!
"One day I fly through a crack in the sky
And the next it's falling in on me
I can get back on
I can get back on"
Music by Lee and Lifeson
Lyrics by Peart
The science of naming names...
Thank you, RomanticGoddess, for taking my suggestion seriously. My life has been kind of hectic as of late and I haven't had time to properly respond to the fact that you picked my suggestion as the title for your new bidness endevour.
The fact that you even took it seriously was enough for me. I was (and am still) so proud. That meant alot to me!
But I digress. True nerds do that. My particular strain of nerd nomenclature is that I like assigning music terminalogy to non-musical things. So I went to my really big dictionary thinking 'A'...
Well, do the math...
But then in a bizarre twist, I actually did the math! Adagio fit on levels that I couldn't even see at the time. I was kind of drunk.
RG, I just hope this works for you, no matter what name you choose!
Loving and hugging,