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Q: If You Could Go Back In Time Where Would You Go And Why?

A: Either 1960s California so I could try to tackle whatever that thing is in the Patterson film or 1990s Chicago so I could try to tackle that extra in Home Alone who is supposedly Elvis Presley. I’m all about the big issues.

#mondays

Am I right or am I right?

Area Ramones Fan Notices Thing

Richie Ramone: in many ways, the black sheep of the Ramones family, the guy who jetted with no warning because he felt he wasn’t getting the proper respect from his band mates. There are two sides to every story, sure, and maybe I’m just some crazy loser, but the more I look at the covers of Richie era Ramones albums the more I understand his 23 skidoo. Each one has a clear symbol Rich was never accepted as a true Bruddah.

On Too Tough To Die, Richie is the only Ramone whose knee is bent, suggesting insecurity next to the defiant stances of Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny. They could have used another picture where they all look like confident bad-asses, but they didn’t.

“Here, Richie, you hold the chimp, we don’t handle monkey business. That’s your department.” It should be noted Richie is a big animal advocate and later said he was happy to play with the chimp, but still…seems like the critter is only there to demean the newest hire.

Richie’s pink Cons are on fucking point, but the rest of the Ramones are wearing black shoes for the Halfway to Sanity cover. Joey’s purple socks might symbolize solidarity, they might be coincidental. Hey ho I don’t know.

I will always view Richie Ramone as a savior, a guy who stepped in when the Ramones were shaky and helped steer them through their silver age. He tore ass on those drums and had no problem writing songs that fit the band’s aesthetic. Too bad they had that disconnect.

See whatever you want to see on these covers. It’s easy for me to zero in on this kind of crap because I’m the type of person who would rub a magic lamp and waste one wish on a version of Brain Drain with Richie on drums.

Another Dumb Post About Some Dink Job I Had In College

I spent the summer of 1998 working at a video store. The place was called 16,000 Movies, a boastful moniker camouflaging a sad reality—the store only had around 15,500 movies and was rounding up. We weren’t supposed to let customers know that. 15,500 is still an impressive amount of movies, though. They definitely had a ton of stuff I’d never seen or heard of before, and this store was in an area one might colorfully refer to as “the sticks.” The only time I ever saw a physical copy of Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video was at that job. So I don’t know why they thought they needed to lie.

16,000 was an alright gig. The only lasting pain stems from management consistently shutting off any movie I picked to play on the in-store tv system just two or three minutes in, making a big show of my apparently awful taste. “Oh James, how could you? King Kong vs. Godzilla? You’re driving away customers. This is going back on the shelf now.”

Meanwhile, I had to work the night Titanic was released, and at the start of that shift one of our most loyal customers showed up with a VHS tape he edited himself containing a 40 minute super cut of the “My Heart Will Go On” music video. All evening my manager rotated between that and the infamous Partyin’ With Leo tape (which is just shaky footage of Leonardo DiCaprio entering and exiting night clubs). Garbage is in the eye of the beholder.

Vindication came the weekday morning I put on Cabin Boy to the chagrin of every other employee. I think the credits were still rolling when a customer looked up toward the nearest monitor and started freaking out, Christmas morning style. I’ll never forget the joy on his face.

“Is this Cabin Boy?! I love this movie! Where is it? You gotta let me have it!”

You’re welcome, video store. That’s $3 in your pocket courtesy of J Greene.

Related to all that is the one thing I think I learned at 16k: some actors are totally critic-proof. We couldn’t keep any Eddie Murphy in stock, especially the post-Coming to America stuff. Dr. Dolittle, Metro, and Nutty Professor were constantly absent and people would stream in every day just to inquire about their availability. John Cusack was like that as well. Midnight in The Garden of Good & Evil evaporated like the cure for cancer. Sandra Bullock, she’s another one. I got a pretty clear picture of which stars would slaughter if they ever ran for office. Sandy would take a swing state like Florida in a fucking heartbeat.

Was there an adult movie section at this store? Of course there was an adult movie section, a closet in the back marked by a pair of purple saloon doors, the kind you might see if Prince remade A Fist Full of Dollars. The only title I remember from that room is Last of The Muff Divers (parodying Last of The Mohicans). A friend of mine checked it out and never returned it.

Unsolicited Weight On Rollins Band (Only Way 2 Know 4 Sure)

– this post is largely a reaction to episode three of the “Henry & Heidi” podcast wherein the titular Henry (Rollins) talks through the history of Rollins Band, a welcome discussion considering how often this group is neglected

– Rollins Band is a great example of how working hard and sticking to your guns always pays off in the long run, by which I mean you can play dissonant funk metal in your boxers and if you’re honest and don’t cop out eventually they’ll put you on MTV and the Grammys and Dennis Miller’s talk show

– during this oral recap Henry does not even give passing mention to the handful of years at the tail end of Rollins Band where Mother Superior was his backing group; this must mean the two albums from that period, Get Some Go Again and Nice, are to be considered non-canon

– re-evaluating the entire RB discography, End Of Silence has my favorite textures and moods, and overall it’s one of the most solid rock albums of its era, but when the urge to hear this unit strikes me the gut reaction is to reach for Drive By Shooting b/c it’s looser, darker, more “out there” (in filmspeak: Scorsese is the master but the slapdash of Tarantino is a bit more fun)

– interesting to learn about the heavy stuff going on circa Come In And Burn; you’d never know it from their 1997 “SNL” appearance, which belongs in the pile of that show’s legendary musical performances; first time I saw them rip through “Starve” in 8H I thought they were gonna melt the studio’s walls

– surprise: Rollins Band didn’t even want to record “Liar,” their biggest hit; it was just some goof song they did at practices until some industry person heard it and said, “That’s your next single!”

– when I saw Rollins Band in ’02 they were in a period where they weren’t playing “Liar,” which bummed me out, but they did encore with a handful of Ramones songs; if you think Rollins is intense normally you should see the guy doing “Blitzkrieg Bop” (Henry’s preamble to “BB”: “If I’m ever elected president, this will be the new national anthem”)

– trigger warning: if you listen to the podcast ep linked above, before you hear anything about Rollins Band you’re gonna hafta endure a somewhat gross story about Rollins having a hernia and not realizing it

Q: Beatles Or Stones?

A: If those are my only choices I hereby withdraw from the democratic process. #whataboutthewho #whataboutlittlerichard #whataboutanybodyelse

Gun to my head, I’ll take the latter. The Beatles are Disneyland and the Stones are Los Angeles. Theme parks are fun but I’d rather live in a city.

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