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Come On Over, Shoot The Shit

Still the reigning champ of Nirvana songs in this cobwebbed mind. A stellar performance here, and also you can see Kurt clicking his jaw to keep time. Deceased celebrities: they’re just like us!

An Annotated History Of Never Realized Book Projects (2002-10)

This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.

Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.

Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch/direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.

Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.

Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative/literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.

Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants/employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?

Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.

My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.

Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.

Dave Brockie: 1963-2014

Shocking news: band management has confirmed the death of Gwar mastermind Dave Brockie, the brash Virginian who under the guise of barbaric alien Oderus Urungus lead rock music’s most infamous horde of interstellar invaders for three riotous decades and through thirteen studio albums. Although his character was allegedly 43 billion years old, Brockie was a mere fifty.

Gwar (GWAR for maximum effect) could only have been spawned in the mid-eighties, a bizarre, bombastic mutation of the Sam Raimi horror movie aesthetic and Judas Priest. Part of the reason they lasted so long was Dave Brockie’s charm. He made this hulking pig-like creature named Oderus a fun and funny character, a robust yet occasionally confused conqueror who could make you chuckle even as he threatened to disembowel all of your relatives. Brockie excelled as ringmaster during Gwar’s live performances (think “Krofft Superstar Hour” meets Dante’s Inferno); his quips were often just as impressive as the giant foam rubber penis spraying fake ejaculate.

I feel exceptionally fortunate that Dave Brockie let me interview him “out of character” for This Music Leaves Stains. He proved just as rollicking and comical as himself, and out of all the people I spoke with he probably had the greatest passion for the Misfits. Dave was emphatic in his love for all the Misfits albums, everything the band had ever done, and seemed to just marvel at their very existence. This was the only point of the book process where I wished I was making a documentary, because I knew there was no way I’d be able to convey Dave’s special brand of enthusiasm via print.

Dave Brockie’s death is more surreal than any other in a long time. I hope he’s at peace. My condolences to his family, friends, and every other Gwar-lovin’ scumdog on the planet.

Unsolicited Hyper-Local Post-Grunge Radio Stunt Memory

“Playing a song on loop is a common publicity stunt to mark a radio station’s format change,” SFGate assures its readers, many of whom might fear Latino Mix 105.7′s decision to go non-stop Nelly is actually some sort of Trilateralist/Illuminati signal aimed at Zeta Reticuli/the Lizard People to let them know the time for full global invasion/permanent McRib reintroduction is nigh. I’m taking that over the more depressing “some of our readers might be too young to have any kind of understanding of terrestrial radio practices.” Oh, you young people and your companions! I vex you!

When I was a high schooler in Central Florida this alt rock station popped up called 93.1 (the) KRO (have always assumed they were trying to snag some of that dark heat from Brandon Lee’s Crow). KRO announced their arrival with twenty-four (plus?) hours of Pizzicato Five’s “Twiggy Twiggy,” a.k.a. that “out there” Japanese song Beavis & Butt-head ripped into on an episode of their show. You remember. Beavis & Butt-head cracked a lot of jokes about the one guy in the video looking like Chip from “My Three Sons.” Is any of this even registering as English to you dumb kids?

KRO did several other Twig-a-thons before turning country in 2000, to ring in the New Year or Halloween or an event of real significance like Larry the Cable Guy’s birthday. I remember my friends and I being all a-titter a week in advance of one of these broadcasts. “Twiggy Twiggy” was considered by many at that time to be one of the most annoying aural properties ever created, and I think we reveled in the fact that it would be inescapable to a certain extent. Of course, anything is annoying after twenty-four hours, even Larry the Cable Guy (I know, heresy).

Hats off to the fearless broadcasters who keep this practice alive. I could barely commit to anything past eight minutes when I was a college radio deejay. I think I faded Black Flag’s “Process of Weeding Out” halfway through every time I put it on.

You kids have to know Black Flag. I’ve seen you Photopasting with the logo on the e-mails! THE E-MAILS!

YOU DAMN KIDS, GET OUT OF MY ROCK GARDEN!

…Or His Puppy Might Die?

Seems like Blabbermouth could have gone with a less desperate-looking screenshot for this story. Kirk looks like he’s trapped in one of those Sarah Mclachlan commercials, or like he’s being forced to watch one.

Related: that scene in Some Kind of Monster where Kirk rails against the concept of a Metallica album without guitar solos, beginning his screed with a statement to the effect of “Can I just say something I think is bullshit?” Just tried locating a clip of that, to no avail, using the search terms “kirk hammett bullshit monster” and “some kind of bullshit guitar solo.”

Misfits Allegedly Had Weight Lifting Requirement For Singer

Earlier this week former Misfits guitarist Doyle “Wolfgang Von Frankenstein” Caiafa (né Paul) announced that he (and ostensibly the world) is ready for a touring/album reunion of “the original [Misfits] lineup” and that he is in fact the “only one” capable of brokering such an auspicious event. Quoth Doyle:

You know what? I’ve just decided this week that I am going to make an attempt, and I wanna do it. I’ll put what I’m doing right on the fucking side. I’ll go do it tomorrow.”

Great, I say with one hundred percent earnest, even though by “original” I’m sure Doyle means his early ’80s era of the band, which if we’re being polite was at least the fourth Misfits iteration. I am coming at you honest and true from my heart of hearts when I say it would really be something special to see founder Glenn Danzig, founding bassist Jerry Only, Doyle, and drummer Arthur Googy doing anything together, even if it was just twenty minutes on the side stage of some bullshit-ass festival. If you pressed me I might even use the term “magical.”

I am burying the lede, though. Scroll through the many comments on the aforelinked article and you’ll find a couple accounts from singers who tried out for the Misfits reformation that began in 1995 (and continues to this day with Only as the sole original member). I’m sure it will surprise absolutely no one familiar with the muscle-bound punk band to learn there was, allegedly, a weight lifting requirement.

“I was trying to get an audition with the Misfits back when they were looking for a replacement for Danzig,” writes Paul LaPlaca. “I answered an ad in the [Village] Voice…[and] I was given a machine gun series of questions on everything from my influences to how much I could bench press. I blew the interview when I asked who I was talking to. He said, ‘Jerry.’ As I took it down with pen and paper I asked, ‘And your last name?’ ‘Jerry ONLY. The BASS player.’ click.’”

“I also remember being asked how much I could bench press,” replied Edward Martin.

Disclaimer: LaPlaca and Martin might be trolling us fiends, feeding into the meathead Jersey Boy stereotype some people like to believe the Misfits embodied/still embody, but I don’t think their claims are too far-fetched. Physical stature has long been a key component of the Misfit image, and it’s not like they’re saying Jerry asked them to name their favorite New York Giants place kicker. If this bench pressing thing is true, one must wonder the exact number for entry into this legendary band (250? 300? A Buick?). Also, how much could Michale Graves bench in 1995? He clinched that open vocal spot despite looking no stronger than any given Baldwin.

Oh, and since I’m sure everyone reading this remembers the “Saturday Night Live” skit the the top image is taken from there is absolutely no need to discuss it beyond this sentence.

Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On GD’s Dookie Twenty Years Later

- the Green Day albums prior to Dookie are good but you listen to them and think, “Man, these guys need a budget”; this is that rare breed of punk (hyper melodic) that’s actually hindered by rawer sonic ethics

- the middle of “Burnout” rips off the middle of “Pictures of Lily” by the Who, but “Burnout” is faster, so…all forgiven?

- speaking of the Who, that rah rah ending of “Chump,” the bit that crashes into “Longview”…why were any of us surprised when Green Day became an arena band and started writing rock operas?

- the Green Day backlash (which occurred, what, between 1995-97?) was so intense I still feel residual guilt for ever owning an original cassette copy of this album (which is dumb, because you should just like what you like and love what you love and I’ve since owned far more dubious musical ventures, including a good portion of Leonard Nimoy’s discography)

- I’ve heard “Welcome to Paradise” so many times throughout my life (both voluntarily and involuntarily) that it no longer registers as anything except a sound that is occurring in the vicinity of my ears

- part of me wishes the entire album had the twangy tone of “Pulling Teeth” (seems a little richer)

- part of me wishes the only segment of “Basket Case” they had released was Billie’s vocal track

- people who accuse this album of being (too) juvenile have obviously never heard anything by the Queers or Screeching Weasel

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo has worked on everything Green Day has done since 1994, including soundtrack stuff and live albums; that kind of job security is rare these days

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo also worked on Kid Rock’s Rock n’ Roll Jesus, which makes me want to smash a fucking carp right into his face

- Dookie is fun and will always be the Rosetta Stone that made me decide to further investigate this punk rock stuff, but it stopped being my favorite Green Day album the second Insomniac dropped in ’96; they just sound like a stronger band on Insomniac, playing tighter, louder songs with way more frenzy and better melody…I don’t understand why people tend to dismiss that one sight out of hand (or w/e that nonsensical phrase is)

- the hidden song here is the aural equivalent of looking at Pauly Shore

ARSC Nominates This Music Leaves Stains For Award

The Association For Recorded Sound Collections has nominated my Misfits book This Music Leaves Stains for a 2014 ARSCy Award (that’s what they’re called, right?) for “Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.” Apparently there’s a subcategory to that, like “Rock” or “Pop” or whatevz, but said classification hasn’t been announced yet (nor has a complete list of nominees).

What can I say? Turns out all our favorite celebrities weren’t lying—it actually is an honor just to be nominated. I’m plenty happy with that. Thank you, ARSC, appreciate it.

ARSCy Winners are announced in or by September…plenty of time to shop for a gown to wear to the fabulous awards gala. Gonna put Beyoncé to shame, gonna make her wish she was never born.

SASHA FIERCE MORE LIKE SASHA FART WATCH OUT LOSER

The A-Hole Phase (Go To Heck)

The problem with being a writer is that one’s Asshole Phase is unusually well documented.”

An astute observation from sci-fi scribe John Scalzi. Combing through the archives here for the recent “best of” posts I was confronted with my own A.P. one too many times (seemed less like a phase, though, and more like a viral infection flaring up at unpredictable moments). There was enough cringing that I think I added permanent lines to my face.

That’s the way it goes, though. I try to look at writing like (baseball) pitching: you’ll throw some good games, you’ll really whiff a few, and most of the time you’ll probably be somewhere in between. If you can retire without a huge asterisk next to your name, things will be okay.

Also, perception is reality, one person’s failure is another person’s triumph (see: The Room), yadda yadda. What I consider choice A-Hole cut may not be so to some, and vice versa.

Let’s just agree everybody is guilty of asshole-ism once in a while and that “Guitar Shop Asshole” is the best Oblivians song.

I hope the previous proclamation did not come across as too…assholey.

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