Friday, February 25, 2011

Bieber 'Whine and Cheese'

Ok, All you piss-ant whining about Justin Bieber…shut up.

Let me preface this by saying I am not any sort of a Bieber aficionado and my understanding of Mr. Bieber is based on news footage and internet media so I probably rival the loudest whiners in Bieber knowledge.

First off teen sensations have been around since Elvis?  No further back, Benny Goodman, so the Bieber phenomenon is nothing new.  Shall we trip down memory lane? NKOTB, Backstreet Boys, Hanson, Bay City Rollers, Kiss, Elvis, Beatles, Frank Sinatra, I could go on there are lots.  Every few years a new artist will bulldoze their way into our lives and dominate popular media.  As life becomes less private and our world more invasive we will meet these stars and have all the fine details surrounding them presented to us in full Technicolor.

So for now we have Justin Bieber and what about all the complaints?

He can’t perform.
He doesn’t write his own songs
He doesn’t play an instrument
He is annoying
He has funny hair.

Fauk….whiners, Ok:

1) He Can’t Perform: Really? Come on now, he can fill an arena, he’s got to be doing something right. Right?  Your personal taste has nothing to do with his ability to do his job.  Watching Oasis is like watching paint dry but nobody bothers them about it.

2) He doesn’t write his own songs: Big deal, the following artists don’t either: Aerosmith, Kiss, Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Leanne Rimes, Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Trisha Yearwood, Meatloaf, Cher, Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Billie Myers, Ricky Martin, Hanson, Joan Jett, Elvis, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Jerry Lewis.  Look up Diane Warren (, Desmond Child ( ) and Otis Blackwell ( ) and that is just the tip of a rather large iceberg Nashville and New York have warehouses full of song writers.  Sure some of those artists ‘collaborated’ with these songwriters but I am sure Bieber has his two cents to throw in and if he doesn’t who cares?  Remember ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston?  Dolly Parton wrote that in 1973…12 million copies later everyone is happy.

3) He doesn’t play an instrument: Right….he sings (try to tell any singer they aren’t a musician because they don’t play an instrument) plays drums, piano, guitar and trumpet.

4) He’s annoying: Sure. But so is Metal and I love metal…dance music irks the shit outta me but I understand the ‘art’ behind it.  Again this is personal taste boys and girls think of a better reason to dislike the kid.

5) He has funny hair: Two words Jennifer Aniston, man a lot of ink has and is still spent talking about her hair.  Really, who cares because he cut it off anyway? As an aside to jolt your teen idol memory didn’t our favorite train wreck Britney shave her bean to the wood?  Too much time is spent by to many people on Hollywood Hair.

I think the kid is a star.  At least he is not another trumped up American Idol wanna-be. You look at his history (it’s there to be seen) and you can see he was born with talent. There will always be ‘pop’ stars and screaming tween girls crying and passing out for artists.  Really older, cooler, folk should get over it because the kid has some substance.  The internet is full of kids growing up online with no concept of privacy, posting the most insignificant or brilliant videos to YouTube and tweeting incessantly. If Bieber wasn’t that good he would be relegated to the freak show that YouTube has become.

There is something there, one man saw it and stalked the kid and now millions of screaming kids see it as well.  I personally don’t get it, which speaks to the fact that I don’t know his music and have very little interest in pursuing it.  He seems well adjusted, smart and has an entourage of good people all willing to make a buck.  He has taken the internet, the mother of his career, and used it to move forward; he tweets, he faces, he talks to his fans. 

So will he be a coke-head-freak-out driving around Stratford Ont. with his son in the trunk?  Who knows?  That fact that people qualify their dislike for him this way is tiring and lacks imagination, Lindsay Lohen has got that covered and Britney does a damn good job of it as well.  

But who is to say he won’t blossom like other child stars? Natalie Portman comes to mind…she was 12 in ‘The Professional’ ( ) wasn’t she?  She’s turned pretty well, and what about Drew Berrymore ( ) even after a decidedly rough childhood she has come around nicely.

My knowledge of the kid is from interviews, news, and other media I haven’t been to a show and if a song came on the radio you have to tell me it was him.  Considering that, I probably have heard his tunes and like them.  I have a bit of a weak spot for canned pop. 

Personally I wish the kid all the success in the world and I would love to have his money. If you don’t like him change the station back to your 24h Phish channel.

Now I’m going to listen to some Yngwie Malmsteen because he is truly annoying… on so many levels.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

41 going on 12

What the hell is it with Dad’s? I mean we are all the same? We see something silly, crazy or dangerous and immediately revert back to 12 years old.

Now 12 years old is a good age, at 12 you are old enough to take the bus by yourself, you can ride your bike all day and keep up with the big kids, and you can jump the creek on a toboggan. At the same time you are too young to have a job (save maybe shoveling snow and cutting a senior’s lawn) and as a result summers are free and easy and weekends are empty.

Which brings me to tobogganing with Max on the weekend; we happened to be up in Barrie and with the cousins and sauntered off to a hill on the west side of the highway that was amazingly packed to stupid fast. 

My first reaction is to load up my son and let loose the hounds of hell.  We where riding one of those ‘flying saucers’ that handle like a piece of shit and has no brakes.  This form of toboggan is most defiantly a throw back to the 70’s because I don’t believe it would get through any legal department these days.  With conditions as they where it ripped, but good sense and my Dad instincts kicked in and I dialed it back a couple of notches, that and I know Max hates snow in his face….who doesn’t?  So down the hill we go dragging my hands to keep us going straight and at a reasonable pace playing dodge the dumb kid walking up the middle of the run, did I do that?  Even slow this was fun…but dumb Dad kept trying to go faster, carefully, safety first old man.

So let’s talk about my internal 12 year old; solo run.  I get on the ‘Flying Saucer’ and, fat gut down, toes dragging, head off down the hill.  I mentioned it was fast right?  I realized quiet suddenly those bumpy rides and a Walmart ‘Flying Saucer’ are kind of hard on a man’s delicates. I have memories of a red disk made of space age industrial strength plastic that, short of -20 degrees and a tree, would never break let along pound your nuts like a Nutcracker does a Christmas walnut. So I prop myself up on my elbows and knees to alleviate the pressure on my nether regions only to find myself on the jump side of the run, elbows are not equipped with cushy fat or movable joints for suspension so I went from a nut pounding to an arm beating… my head is 12 but my body isn’t.

But all that taken into account, a slow climb to my feet and back up the hill (giggling like a giddy school boy I might add) didn’t deter me from not going down the hill again.

But all this boils down to my son; at four years old he could care less about big fast hills and riding down at suicide-speed with his old man.  He enjoyed our relaxed rides, from the laughter and the ‘lets go again’ I know for sure he had a good time. But when we relocated to a tiny hill, about a 3 foot drop over a gradual 20 feet, he was perfectly happy to ride the disk by himself…he didn’t need Dad’s help and his independence is starting to show.

He’ll catch me and pass me no doubt. For a few more years I get to be the crazy hero that he looks up to…but eventually he will build the kicker to jump the creek, and I’ll stand by with the hot chocolate…after I have racked myself up testing the jump out.

It’s what Dads do…it’s why I love having a son so much.
It’s why I will always be a 12 year old kid at heart.


Monday, February 14, 2011


I met an old friend last night, it was strange being told she used to be mine and getting to plug and crank up, I missed her.
God bless Ampeg for making the seminal bass cabinet, there really isn't anything like it...really.
GV told it was my old cab, said that players loved it, it was warmer then the new ones....I should steal the fucker back.
It wasn't like I looked at it and hundreds of 'good' memories came flooding back, it wasn't that at all, as a mater of fact it was more like; ‘oh ya, that’s what rock bass is supposed to sound like.’  Sure you can have you Trace, SWR, Bag End, Peavey, G&K whatever, but nothing pushes sound like an 8x10.
There is a reason that for years this has been the cabinet in the backline of hundreds of thousands of shows. So many pros choose this cabinet as their choice for amplification, it has the attack that you want, the lows that you need and the sheer brilliant size to move all that air.  Guitarists add volume, bass players add speakers.
In the rental room I was in the had an G&K 800RB ( ) I love my old Traynor Mono Bloc-B but a RB gives so much clean power that when left relatively flat the amp nicely relays what the bass sounds like.
I remember working my way through various cabinets/amp combinations looking for the right sound, and then getting ripped off on an extremely fragile ‘75 SVT head.  But one day I plated it on top of an 8x10 and the light went on.  I sold the SVT because it was a pain it sounded great but was constantly breaking, I lost my shirt on that stupid amp, but years later I finally bought the cabinet. I carried that monster up stairs and pulled it up onto stages, it was worth it.
Needless to say, regardless of the good tunes and company I was perfectly happy to just stand there and play quarter notes, *sigh*
That was close to a religious experience.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Moooovies - Machete and Red

I felt like writing today, but didn't have a subject. 
I found I was still snickering about Machete so I figured hell...nobody give a shit anyway? 
So here my Pointlessly Self Indulgent reviews of RED and Machete.

K, so I watched a couple of movies, and that has got to be some sort of an understatement as I am on a first name basis with the employees at the local Blockbuster.  I watch more then a couple of movies as a rule, but I digress
Right first was ‘RED’
Now I like this type of movie, I am not going to delude anybody and mention crap about Academy Awards and the like; I am simply going to say that this movie entertained.  Sure as many noted the first half hour was a little slow but to me it really set the speed for what Frank Moses was going through in retirement. Kind of reminds me of a conversation between Frodo and Bilbo (maybe Sam? Can’t find the quote right now) the bit about regular life just not being the same after adventure.
When the action does ramp up you have a cast that has not trouble carrying it, and it’s nice to see some real quality actors in what some might say is a throw-away roll.  Bruce Willis is just doing his action thing but John Malkovich (I’m gonna get the pig!) and Helen Mirren are great. Morgan Freeman who could probably make me care about lint rollers if he where to do a TV spot for them, I just like him and his characters.  There is a little dose of romance as well, chemistry is mediocre but it’s more like a couple of sub plots to the rest of the story, thankfully not getting the flick into RomCom territory.
Finally: John C. Reilly was originally cast as ‘Marvin Boggs’ and Malkovich stepped in just prior to shooting, for me?  Nice save; Reilly would have been too goofy for me…common Cal Naughton Jr. a super spy?  No way.

Movie Number 2:
Nice.  Really loved the floating heads in the opening scene, I did a lot of laughing out loud at the absurdity of this move. Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Grindhouse) mentions that he had wanted to develop Danny Trejo in Machete since first seeing him in Desperado he also cites ‘The Killer (John Woo)’ and an influence, the movie has a similar flow to it.
Another loaded cast to…a little on the ‘B’ side Don Johnston, Cheech Marin…so much fun. It was neat to see Robert de Niro is this type of roll I am always surprised when you see a Hollywood heavy in movies like this, I guess everyone needs to let their hair down.
Understand there was little stretching done in the acting arena for any of the players it was more about pouting, grimacing, making faces and blowing shit up.  There is a great scene at the finally where Machete jumps a ridiculously stretched Harley through a tower of flames while firing a Gatling Gun (with no bullet magazine I might add) at a crowd of right-wing-racist-whiteys…priceless.  Suspend my sense of reality?  Hell Ya. 
Oh and just to make sure it’s a proper B-type-movie there are the required topless ladies. So if that offends your mom…don’t watch it with her.
And and…snicker…
Lindsay Lohan is a junkie in the movie…is that even acting?

Both Fun, both worth the bucks for rental.