Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Saturday night and my wife and son are out so instead of working on posts with more depth and meaning what am I doing? You guessed it, just throwing up some songs that I felt like listening to. I have the aforementioned posts in development but for some reason I'm having difficulty actually finishing them, I just don't feel like working on them. Guess I'm just in one of my moods so instead I want to hear some music that I don't always get a chance to listen to. Maybe later or tomorrow .............

Operation Ivy - Bankshot

The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio

Long Beach Dub Allstars - Listen To DJs

Sublime - Santeria

Friday, March 26, 2010

Voodoo Glow Skulls vs Guns n Roses - just for fun!!!

Just for fun I thought I'd throw up ska core band Voodoo Glow Skulls version of the GnR song "Used To Love Her" which is a great remake and a lot of fun.

And then I thought why not put the original up as well? Just a bit of mindless fun before I go to bed for the night.

Friday Flashback - X

X is a punk band (originally) that formed in 1977 in Los Angeles and were part of a music scene that included fellow punk groups like Black Flag, The Zeros, The Germs, The Weirdos, The Dickies, The Bags and The Go-Gos as well as other bands such as The Blasters and Los Lobos. Their sound gradually changed as they brought more influences, especially country into the mix.

Classic Lineup:
John Doe vocals/bass
Exene Cervenka vocals
Billy Zoom guitar
DJ Bonebrake drums

The band never reached much mainstream success and in 1986 Zoom left the band. He was replaced Dave Alvin (of The Blasters) initially and then Tony Gilkyson (of Lone Justice) joined as well and the sound matured more naturally towards roots rock. Before long though Alvin left the group and the band went into hiatus in 1988.

They reformed the classic lineup in 1993 but in 1997 again decided to go into hiatus after failing to make a large impact with their new album and the following anthology. Since then the band periodically gets back together to tour again. Of interest is the country side band that Doe, Cervenka and Bonebrake did with Dave Alvin called The Knitters and the fact that Doe has had quite a successful acting career. Some of the movies that he has been in are Great Balls Of Fire, Roadside Prophets, Georgia, Wyatt Earp and Roadhouse.

It took some doing but I finally found this version of the song "4th Of July" that is a bit slower than the album version and is by far my favorite. It was written by Dave Alvin and he has also recorded solo versions of the song as well.

I strongly advise you to seek out their entire catalog and watch this band grow over time. It's a crime that they never made to be more well known than they are now so if you get the chance go see them play live before they decide to call it quits for good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships AND 1st Peru Open International de Jiu Jitsu

I just came across this today while perusing the Gracie Magazine site ( and I still haven't figured out how to do a link) so i thought why not throw it up on the site. If you like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and/or submission grappling (and I do) then this is for you. If not, well just move along then. The 2010 Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships will be streamed live on April 11th via the internet for the first time ever for free thanks to Budo Videos. So if you're like me and unable to travel to Irvine, Ca to watch in person then just jump online and satisfy your grappling urges.

Also, while on the Gracie Mag site I came across this bit of news concerning Jiu Jitsu, surfing and Peru. On April 25th the 1st Peru Open International de Jiu Jitsu will be held with competitors coming from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Chile, featuring seminars and surfing competition for black belts. Surfing goes hand in hand with Jiu Jitsu in Brazil as many top level guys like Rickson and Royler Gracie are avid surfers. If you're going to be in Peru don't miss this event. Of course I won't be able to attend unless I somehow win the lottery before then. My wife is from Peru and we were able to bring our son for a vist in 2008 so that her family could see him. Money is tight right now but we're hoping to go again, perhaps next year. This looks to be a very cool event that will only showcase how Jiu Jitsu is growing in Peru.

Clerks II and Soul Asylum

Back in November I was able to buy some DVDs for my birthday but have been slow to watch them. Some of it is just timing with my soon to be three year old who commands the tv far too much. Some of it is because I get quite a few DVDs from the library and don't always get to watch them because I just don't have enough time.

So anyway, I finally got around to watching the Clerks II DVD that I purchased. True to form I couldn't watch it straight through but I was able to watch it in two parts on consecutive nights. I like Kevin Smith's work (in spite of the foul language) basically because I think I somewhat get what he's trying to say (Dogma for instance). That doesn't mean I always agree completely with him but I try not to have any expectations and approach a movie on it's own merits. Clerks II was a fun romp with some of his characters (and friends appearing in bit parts) that I think he has now put away, at least for the time being. Maybe in another ten years he'll dust off the mothballs and we'll see what has become of Dante, Randall, Jay and Silent Bob as they move into their forties.

During the final credits there was a song playing that I liked a lot. It was "Misery" by Soul Asylum and it is a slow builder that the band knows how to do well. It just kind of struck me at the time as being really good so I thought why not throw it up here as well? Doesn't hurt anything plus I just like to listen to it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ratt & Scorpions 80s Metal

Both metal groups Ratt and Scorpions are releasing new material next month. Ratt has been bolstered by the addition of Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot) to the band and is putting out an album of new music for the first time since 1999. Classic lineup members Stephen Pearcy (vocals), Warren DeMartini (guitar) and Bobby Blotzer (drums) are in as well as bassist Robbie Crane who has been with the group since 1996. This song has the classic Ratt sound and stands out to me so I am looking forward to the new album Infestation. I had a chance to see Ratt at Rocklahoma in 2007 (John Corabi was on guitar then) and frankly while the band sounded great Pearcy sounded horrible. I'm sure that they will be touring to support this new album so we'll see how he sounds live this time around. Yes I'll go if they come around here.

Scorpions have announced that they are calling it quits after 45 years (!?!) of playing music. They will release their new album Sting In The Tail next month and will follow with a massive world tour that will last until 2012 or 2013 and then go their seperate ways. The band has continuously released new music since their heyday in the 80s most notably with their album Humanity: Hour 1 in 2007 and still play to huge audiences in Europe and South America. With such a large your planned I can only pray that they will come around here once or dare I hope even twice? It'd be nice to see them again in Tulsa.

Fridays - 80s TV Sketch Comedy

I really have been working on a legit post with actual social commentary but it's not ready yet so instead I thought I'd throw you some mindless fun from back in the day. Fridays was ABC's answer to Saturday Night Live in the early 80s but it only lasted a couple of seasons. One reason I preferred Fridays was for the varied and mostly unusual musical guests that they had, guests that weren't cool enough for Saturday Night Live like Devo, The Jim Carroll Band, The Cars, Scandal, Journey, AC/DC, The Stray Cats and so many more. Another reason was for the comedy that pushed the accepted boundaries of what was permissible to be shown on network tv. In reality the show was ahead of it's time and remarkable in what it was able to show.

The cast was comprised of:
Mark Blankfield
Maryedith Burrell
Melanie Chartoff
Larry David (Seinfeld)
Rich Hall
Darrow Igus
Brandis Kemp
Bruce Mahler
Michael Richards (Seinfeld)
John Roarke

This last clip only aired once because it was deemed to be extremely gory and violent. Upon subsequent reruns showings it was simply left out. Six ABC affiliates stopped airing the show completely as a result of the skit's depictions of zombie cannabalism. So of course it's considered a classic.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not So Good Sunday

It's Spring and we got about 6 inches of snow yesterday in Tulsa. Nice. I've got a couple things that I want to write about, serious things about relationships and so forth but I feel like crap right now. My wife is asleep and my son is still up even though it's almost midnight here so realistically I know that even if I try to write it probably won't come out the way I want it to and I'll sit up until it's really late as I keep changing and editing and will ultimately end up being disappointed with the final result. With that in mind I'm going to cut my losses and do my usual video/song thing about an 80s song that wasn't widely known. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be on my game a little better and finally get this stuff out of my head that's been floating around for a few days. So here we have the band Mission Of Burma and their song That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate which was released originally in 1982. They formed in Boston in 1979 but disbanded only 4 years later due to their guitarist/vocalist developing tinnitus and then reformed in 2002 and have released 3 albums since. There is an added bonus of Tulsa being mentioned in the song so it fits for me right now. Anyway, here we go..............

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Videos

Well it's Saturday and we just got back from the laundromat so of course I'm looking back at some old 80s music that I used to (and still do) love so much. First up is Devo with their song Freedom Of Choice off of the album of the same name released in 1980. This is the Devo sound that I like the most, just enough guitar and enough synthesizer without either being overbearing.

Next up is The Go-Go's lead track Our Lips Are Sealed off of the Beauty And The Beat album released in 1981. It was the song that started everything off for them and peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

Lastly we have a band from Downey, Ca called The Blasters featuring the Alvin brothers, Dave and Phil. The band was featured in the movies Streets of Fire and From Dusk Till Dawn. I'm Shakin' was off of their album The Blasters released in 1981. Dave left the band in 1986 but Phil has carried on the name in various incarnations ever since.

So there you have it, three very different bands from 1980-1981 however all are/were extremely good in the musical style they chose. All are highly recommended for you to check out and are more than a one trick pony.

Kick-Ass Trailer

I saw the trailer for the movie Kick-Ass last week when I went to go see Cop Out (recommended if you like funny cop buddy flicks) and I have to say I thought it might be good. The trailer makes it seem comedic and light but I've since watched the redband trailer and it's far more revealing about the tone of the movie. It'll be more violent and a lot darker than it appears to be on this regular trailer. Perhaps the movie company is trying to lure some viewers in with deceptive marketing which is a shame if it is. Personally, I'll probably still see it although I may wait for it to come around to the 2nd run theaters. Judge for yourselves and do what you wish.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Flashback - Los Lobos

I first became aware of Los Lobos in 1984 when they released their album Will The Wolf Survive on Slash Records. The video for the title song was all over MTV (they actually used to play videos in those days) and I loved the mix of roots rock, blues and Mexican folk influences that clearly didn't sound like any other group out there.

Indeed, this "just another band from East L.A." has always done things their own way without regard to how it impacts the charts or their "image." The most important thing to them is the music and that is something I respect them for in this day and age. They could have cashed in on their fame after recording several tracks for the film "La Bamba" and received major attention all over the world but instead chose to avoid trying to sound like that all over again.

Los Lobos is:

David Hidalgo -Vocals, Guitar, Accordion, Fiddle, Requinto jarocho
Louie PĂ©rez -Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Jarana huasteca
Cesar Rosas -Vocals, Guitar, Bajo Sexto
Conrad Lozano -Vocals, Bass, Guitarron
Steve Berlin -Keyboards, Horns

Los Lobos has always marched to their own beat and put the music first and it's a point made clearly on this, their first major studio album. They continue to this day with the same lineup and the same beliefs and are still going strong. One last video for the song "Our Last Night." Man, I wish Slash Records was still around putting out great music like this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cop Out Trailer and mini review

Last Thursday I decided to take a night off from work (and the family) and went to see Cop Out, the latest movie directed by Kevin Smith that stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as not just cops but partners. This is the first movie that he has directed that he has not written so it's basically a test to see if he could do a regular Hollywood movie. When I got to the theater it was empty since it was an early showing on a weekday so I was extremely lucky. I'm sure Kevin would disagree with me since he'd want the theater to be packed full of crazed fans spending all of their cash but what do expect in Tulsa? How often can you say you had the place to yourself right? Anyway, I didn't expect an Oscar worthy movie, just a funny cop buddy flick with some action and Cop Out did not disappoint me. This was about unwinding, not thinking about work or about what my soon to be three year old was doing while I tried to watch something. I laughed out loud and enjoyed the movie and my time away from home. Well, at least for a little while. Sometimes you need a break and this was mine. It was $8.50 well spent and just maybe (okay probably) I'll get it when it comes out on dvd.

I've sort of been on a Kevin Smith kick lately. I've watched one of his Evening With dvds, listened to all of the SModcasts, read his books and even buckled down to see Jersey Girl which was not a bad movie and didn't deserve the grief it was given. For me it was nice to see him succeed directing this film which will be his highest grossing film to date. Hopefully it will fuel him and he'll be able to go forward with some of the projects that he's been wanting to bring forth.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Flashback - The Cars Eponymous First Album

Today I want to talk about The Cars first album released in 1978 that was simply titled The Cars. Some of the band members had played with each other in various local bands in the Boston area but came together as The Cars in 1976. Two years later they released their first album and it was chock full of catchy new wavish hits. The first track was "Good Times Roll" and it set the tone for what was to follow. I'm having trouble finding actual videos from this first album and after wading through scores of Rock Band and cover copies I have elected to go with live videos instead (real brave since it seems to be my only option).

Track listing

Side one
"Good Times Roll"
"My Best Friend's Girl"
"Just What I Needed"
"I'm in Touch with Your World"
"Don't Cha Stop"

Side two
"You're All I've Got Tonight"
"Bye Bye Love"
"Moving in Stereo" (Greg Hawkes, Ocasek)
"All Mixed Up"

Band members:
Elliot Easton – lead guitar, backing vocals
Greg Hawkes – keyboards, percussion, saxophone, backing vocals
Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, lead vocals on side one, tracks 1, 2, 4 and 5, side two, track 1
Benjamin Orr – bass, lead vocals on side one, track 3, side two, tracks 2, 3 and 4
David Robinson – drums, percussion, backing vocals

Just from memory I can say that the first 3 tracks from both sides of the album are outstanding. The other 3 I don't remember as well so I had no choice but to go to my vinyl and check them out. "I'm In Touch With Your World" is a quirky, unusual song and I would have to say it's my least favorite song on the album. "Don't Cha Stop" is a faster paced song and is a nice way to end the 1st side of the album but it comes in just underneath the better songs like "You're All I've Got Tonight" and "Just What I Needed." "All Mixed Up" is okay but I'd say it's my 2nd least favorite song. Strangely enough I couldn't find even any live video of "You're All I've Got Tonight" which is one of my favorite Cars songs.

We'll just have to leave it at that for now. 6 Outstanding songs, 1 good song and 2 I don't care as much for but to be honest, I can listen to the complete album from beginning to the end and enjoy it all. Their sound was a sort of new wave, sort of straight ahead rock leaning with just a bit of pop influences that was very catchy. They had some great hooks and very good lyrics. It's too bad that The Cars are another of a plethora of bands that I never got to see play live. Not only that I missed a chance to see The New Cars featuring Hawkes and Easton during their all too brief history. It just goes to show you, don't pass up the chance because you never know if you'll get another one.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Repo Man versus Repo Men

I saw the ad for the new movie called Repo Men starring Jude Law that comes out on March 19th and naturally it got me thinking about the 1984 cult classic film Repo Man starring a very young Emilio Estevez. Even though the titles are similar these movies have nothing to do with each other. Tonight I even saw the the trailer for Repo Men while at the movies.

While I will admit that Repo Man has huge holes in the plot it is quite memorable and has an excellent soundtrack comprised of (at the time) current area punk bands that gave it instant credibility. It will never be confused with an Oscar winning movie but it was never intended to be in the first place. That's why it's a cult classic and not a classic. You really need to watch it to try and understand the plot although it's not necessarily that easy. It concerns a young punk rocker who becomes a repo man by a strange string of occurances and a 1964 Chevy with something (possibly alien material) in the trunk. You really have to see it to somewhat understand.

Then we have the soon to be released film Repo Men. It's set in the future where you can buy artificial organs on credit but just as with purchasing a car on credit if you miss your payments the organs can and will be repossessed with little to no thought about your health. The problem I had when watching the trailer was that it basically showed everything that will happen in the movie except for the exact final ending. I said it out loud right then (don't worry, I was the only person in the theater) why do I need to see the movie now? I'm sure I will see it at some point but not on first run, perhaps I'll wait for it to be released on dvd. For now I'll stick by the flawed but thouroughly enjoyable Repo Man.

Hot Tub Time Machine trailer

It's great to see John Cusack getting back to his 80s roots. For a long time he didn't want to even talk about his 80s teen movie roles even though they are clearly remembered and revered by fans across the globe. From the previews that I've seen it seems like this movie will be stupidly funny and I mean that in a good way. Not every movie needs to have a message about humanity. Some can just be stupid, silly fun that helps to relieve the stress of a hard day. I'm hoping that is what this film will be for me. As a straight man I can say that I love John Cusack, I mean John Cusack films. In his 80s teen movies he always seemed like a guy would could hang out with the geeks or the cool kids, kind of like being able to move between enemy camps sort of an all around nice guy. It's interesting to know that he was the only other actor to be seriously looked at for the title character of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Makes me wonder how THAT film would have turned out.

90s music? What's That?

It's been noted that I tend to favor the 80s when putting music up here to talk about and with good reason. That was when I was in high school and college and music was extremely important to me at that time as I'm sure it was and is to many others. I have included some more modern music but for right now I want to show some groups that either I listened to right before or right after getting out of the Army.

Rancid are one of the groups who started me on the ska path as the music revived but never became quite the next big thing that it was touted to be. It led me to volunteering at Marshall University's radio station WMUL in Huntington, Wv to do my own ska & reggae show called "Ska Beat" that lasted almost 3 years. Even though they were a punk band they dabbled in ska as this song clearly shows. Luckily I saw them on The Warped Tour in 1997 and was right on the stage. I have some pictures somewhere that I need to scan in but from this concert most of them show the side or back of the bands. Hmm, perhaps that's a post to work on, some of the concert pictures from that time period. I saw a lot of great groups. Anyway, the next video is......

I don't even remember the exact timeframe that I first started listening to Social Distortion but it had to be while I was at WMUL. The station didn't play as much of this kind of music as I would have like but at least they received a lot of it and I was the grateful benificiary. Unfortunately I have never been able to see them. Unlike the next group............

It must have been in 1994 that I saw Rocket From The Crypt at the original 9:30 Club in D.C. We didn't get tickets back in those days, you just paid the cover charge and went in and I never thought about writing down the bands names and dates that I saw them, which is unfortunate because as I get older it's all lost to me. Anyway, I took a young lady that I was interested in but ultimately never showed me the time of day (funny how I remember that detail) and one of the bands we saw was Rocket From The Crypt who blew me away with their sound. I mean nobody was playing that kind of intense driving beat with punk ferocity and they had horns! It was too cool and I immediately set out finding any music that I could from them. I should still have a 45 single somewhere in my record stack.

That's it for the moment. I have to feed my son and that is a priority over this kind of stuff however it's not always as much fun.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spotlight on - The Clash

I felt like listening to The Clash when I got home tonight. Just a little before going to bed. Unfortunately It's kind of difficult to find original videos. Youtube is full of covers or people dancing to the music and so forth. So you get what you get and if you can do better go for it. These videos really show how the band managed to expand their sound beyond punk rock and still remain vital, exciting and important. I've already talked about how I missed seeing Joe Strummer out of my own stupidity before he died so I won't go on about that. I'll just post the videos, some are just the music but these are some of my favorite Clash songs.

Monday, March 8, 2010

John Hughes Tribute at the Oscars 2010

Updated 12:46 AM

I never watch the Oscars and last night I missed the John Hughes tribute that showed some of the best moments from his movies and brought together a few of the stars that he basically trusted in and gave them the start of their careers. After originally posting a link for the first part and a video for the rest someone else got it all as I suspected they would so I am now deleting those 2 and adding the complete video. I have heard that it was cut short and if that is true than that is shameful for the Oscars to do such a thing. As a young person finishing high school and attending college (off and on) I identified with his characters and movies. They were real people dealing with real problems no matter what their age was. You are missed John Hughes.

Trailer for La Teta Asustada (Milk of Sorrow)

My wife is from Peru and as a result I try to find Spanish language movies for her to enjoy. I myself do not speak much of the Spanish language although it is something I plan on changing in the near future. So imagine my surprise when I find a movie that is not only written by a Peruvian, stars a Peruvian, was made in Peru and was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film, that I excitedly tell her the premise and she says she doesn't like it (without watching the trailer) because it seems that the main character would be living such a horrible life. When she says things like this, without giving the movie at least even a casual glance it can really deflate me and make me wonder why I bother even trying. I mean, what is the point if whatever I spend time investigating in an attempt to make her happy, to show something of her country especially on a grand stage, is rejected so easily without much thought or interest?

But then as I think about it deeper (something I'm good at) I realize that the point is that I tried, whether she likes what I've done or even appreciates it should not be my goal. I love her with all of my heart and even after almost 5 years of marriage the fact is that there are things about each other we never will understand. There are things we do not know and are just starting to figure out. After all, we come from 2 different cultures, speak 2 different languages
and have had different things happen to us in our lives. Whenever something like this happens I need to get over my initial feelings of disappointment and remember that it's not about me. As long as we are growing and learning and loving we will be fine. We don't need to have everything in common or think the same way about everything. Our differences are what makes it so wonderful. It's what makes it so worthwhile. It's why we keep on fighting for this marriage because make no mistake, marriage will always have it's struggles and rough patches broken up by periods of tranquility. The trick is learning to make those tranquil peroids last longer each time.

By the way, much like my effort La Teta Asustada did not win the Oscar. It instead went to a movie from Argentina. But at least they can say it was there and had a chance which is a lot more than many other films can say. Congratulations to director Claudia Llosa and star Magaly Solier. I will certainly be looking for it on dvd and who knows, I may just slip it in the dvd player without my wife knowing what it is and tricking her into giving it a fair chance.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Before I Go To Sleep Tonight.......

It's time for me to go to bed but I just have to post something else. If I don't I know I won't be able to go to sleep. I'm listening to some good groups which for the most part never seem to get much attention from the mainstream media. It makes no sense to me so I'm putting up a few videos by these very talented groups.

First up is the Bedouin Soundclash song Walls Fall Down. They are a talented 3 piece group from Canada who blend many styles in an effort to increase their name but without taking shortcuts with their music.

Grupo Fantasma hail from Austin, Tx and combine elements of funk, mambo, merengue, and cumbia. Their latest release El Existential comes out on May 11th. Do yourself (and the band) a favor and get it. Gime Some is from their Grammy nominated album from 2008, Sonidas Gold.

Brothers Simon and Tybor come from South London and made themselves quite a name as The Dualers due to their street busking of classic ska, reggae and soul tunes. They've also put out their own songs as well and Don't Go released in 2009 is one of the best.

Lastly, I bring you After Party by the amazing L.A. group Ozomatli. Their bio states "Their music-- a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga-- has long followed a key mantra: it will take you around the world by taking you around L.A." That's all you need to know to enjoy this wonderful group.

So there you have it. 4 very diverse bands that share the ability to make wonderful music. Go out and support them. And now finally I can sleep.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's A Long Ryders Kind Of Saturday

Okay before I get off of the computer and start on the laundry (I know it's glamorous) I might as well put up some videos by the Long Ryders. I found this band via one of the 12 inch singles that I bought at the flea market in 1987 and have listened to them ever since. There is very much of a Byrds influence to them but rather than being a copy of that sound the band used it to craft their own, rather unique sound. They were really alternative country before it was even called that. Looking For Lewis and Clark was off of the State Of Our Union LP that came out in 1985.

I Want You Bad is from the album named Two Fisted Tales and it came out in 1988. Unfortunately for me, the group didn't last much longer. They do occasionally (more like rarely) get back together but it's doubtful I'll ever have the chance to see them play live.

Regardless they were/are a great band and I still have them on vinyl, cassette, cd and in mp3 form and encourage you to further check them out for yourself.

The Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela

Okay, the other day I put up a video of this song that was recorded on a tv show and had special guests and yada yada yada. Anyway, I wanted to use the original version but it wasn't able to be embeded but with some diligance I found it elsewhere and present it now for you. It's a protest song but has this incredible energy that makes you want to dance. I much prefer the "official" music video version of the song.

Nelson Mandela

The Specials | MySpace Music Videos

12 Inch Singles # 2 AND Night Tracks or Night Flight?

I can tell that I'm getting old. Earlier I was thinking about a certain video from the early 80s and how I remembered watching it on a particular channel before I had ever laid eyes on MTV. Somehow I remembered that it was on the WTBS show Night Tracks around my sophomore year in high school however as I decided to do some fact checking before posting (a rare thing) and I found that it cannot have happened that way. The above mentioned show didn't air until 1989 which was about 7 years too late. I knew I had seen this video (and many others) on a show that aired on Fridays and Saturdays in the evenings but couldn't figure out what it was. At first top 40 or top 40 aspiring mainstream videos would be shown and as it got later in the evening you would see edgier, more alternative videos from artists like Devo, Iggy Pop and so forth. This was my favorite time to watch. Forget all of the mainstream garbage that was being pushed my way, no I went in for the different, unique and well, just downright odd groups. You have to know, I lived in a small town (pop. roughly 12,000) named Ironton in southeastern Ohio and wasn't near a larger city where you could get exposed to different kinds of music. I graduated high school in 1983 (in a different state) but attended my 20th high school reunion in Ironton and most of the people wanted to listen to disco so that should be all the explanation you need about what living in that place was like. Still, it was better than the town that I ended up graduating from.

At any rate the band I was thinking about was The English Beat and the video was for the song "Save It For Later." It was so immensely different than the music on local radio or what I heard anybody else listening to that it made a distinct impression on me and to this day it stills brings a smile to my face when I hear it.

Now after doing some actual research I think the show was actually Night Flight on the USA network and since the name is so similar I'm sure you can understand my confusion. It started in 1982 (my sophomore year) a few months before MTV aired and from all accounts it seems like it should be the one. Of course I also used to hear groups on the tv show Fridays which got called a rip off of Saturday Night Live but it didn't matter to me. They featured artists playing in a live setting like The Jim Carroll Band, The Plasmatics, Devo and so on that Saturday Night Live would never touch. Of course, that's another story.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flashback Friday

I don't have much time at the moment since I have to get ready for work and get my son ready to drop off to my wife so I thought I'd do the lazy thing and just throw up a few videos from my musical past. First up is The English Beat (or just The Beat outside of the U.S.)...........

I never got to see them of course but I did geet to see The Specials on the Warped Tour in 1997. As a matter of fact I was on the stage for most of the day! Here's an oldie from them.............

Later the group changed members but did put out a fabulous song though by now they were called The Special AKA. Here's the a video from a tv show featuring Elvis Costello, Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger on backing vocals...............

Boy, I guess I got ambitious in my laziness. Great tunes by all bands, feel free to look them up and purchase their music or go see any of the artists in whatever version of these groups or others they are now in and support musicians.

Fight Life: MMA Documentary by James Z. Feng

I've heard 2 interviews on podcasts that I listen to from James Feng who is the director of an upcoming documentary about mixed martial arts called Fight Life. His goal is to show the public what it's really like to be a fighter. Although a select few make a lot of money fighting MMA the truth is that the vast majority of fighters cannot support themselves from their earnings, instead they have to work regular jobs, usually in local events and hope that they can make it to the top. They do not have health insurance. So why do they do it?

I'm really looking forward to watching this film as I am an avid fan of MMA in general and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in particular. In an effort to help spread the word (even though nobody reads this blog) I wanted to have the preview available. From the looks of it this should be a very entertaining and serious look at what goes on in the MMA world. I'll be keeping an eye out for more information as it becomes available.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

12 Inch Singles - True Believers - The Rain Won't Help You (When It's Over)

My soon to be three year old and I have started listening to my old vinyl albums while eating lunch recently. As a matter of fact when I tell him it's time to eat he first goes to the cabinet underneath the record player and calls out for me to join him. Once there I select which lp to play, then get the food, say a prayer and we're off. Yesterday I chose to play a bunch of 12 inch singles that I bought back in 1987 at a flea market here in Tulsa, after coming back from Basic Training and AIT for the Army National Guard. There are about 10 of them, give or take, and all are promotional discs that weren't supposed to be sold but of course luckily for me they were. Some were groups I had heard of before however and some weren't. I can honestly say that I liked every single one that I bought without exception and witout having heard the songs before (except for one I think).

More than likely they were sent to a local radio station for airplay but since it didn't fit the format (then or now)they quickly found there way to the flea market where I happened upon them. It seems like I bought them all at the same time but with as much time that's gone by I can't say for sure. Some memories stay and some don't. I'm sure I didn't put much thought into it since it seemed such a trivial thing at the time. I was just buying music and hoping some of it would turn out to be good. So what I am going to do is every few days I'll find a video or at least the song and talk about it a little. First up is a group called True Believers.

I bought this one mainly for the way the cover looked and if I could I'd scan the cover so you could see what I mean. You'll just have to take my word for it. It intrigued me and so I shelled out my hard earned dollar and bought it. Unbeknownst to me at the time the band featured Alejandro Escovedo, his brother Javier and Jon Dee Graham. I say this because there wasn't one bit of information about who was in the band anywhere to be found. You have to remember that this was in the days before the internet made such information readily available. The only source for finding new music was 1. radio (fat chance there of finding anything good) 2. MTV (yes they still played videos back then and there was a chance of seeing something cool, after about 1 AM) 3. word of mouth (this required knowing someone who knew about such cool music and wasn't very likely) and finally (my most used option) 4. Finding something that looked interesting, taking a chance and getting lucky. Well I definately did the latter with True Believers and it later led me to finding Alejandro's music all over again many, many years later. But that's a story to be told all by itself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rank & File - Amanda Ruth

In my never ending search for music that had an impact on me I bring you Rank & File's song "Amanda Ruth". Rank & File were one of the first bands to mix country and punk with a bit of roots rock but never really caught on with the mainstream public. Brothers Chip and Tony Kinman formed the band with former Nuns member Alejandro Escovedo after their band The Dils broke up. Alejandro left after the first album Sundown which came out in 1982 and band membership changed during the following 2 albums. Here's a live video of the band performing their song "Amanda Ruth" but you'll notice that this is after Alejandro had left the band.

Back in 1986 I worked a summer job for the city of Dewey here in Oklahoma and there was a new employee who had an unusual taste in music for this area. I had always enjoyed different kinds of music and was open to finding new music that was off the beaten path. You know, something that local radio wouldn't touch in a million years. The thing is this guy was looking to make some extra money and was selling off part of his music collection. Every week he would bring in some cassette tapes in a shoebox and I would question him thoroughly as I pored over them. Unfortunately I only did this for 3 weeks before being laid off which I really regret because who knows what other bands I could have gotten into if only I had more time. The first cassette I bought was Sundown by Rank and File and although the singing took some getting used to the music had me hooked. This was exactly what I had been searching for. Back in the early 80s cassettes usually didn't have any band info or liner notes on the inside of the cover so at the time I had no idea who was in the band. All I knew is that it was different from anything I had evre heard before, and I liked it.

For the record, the 2nd cassette I bought was from The Undertones and I cannot remember what the 3rd one was althought it could have been The Blasters. In a sad note, after returning to college I loaned all of my carefully selected treasures to a friend and they were destroyed in a fire that consumed his music shed. Many years later I aquired a cassette of Sundown from someone in England after winning an auction on Ebay. I took it to see Alejandro play at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City where I was able to prevail upon him to sign it for me. Al was quite surprised and asked where I had gotten the tape from. I related the above story to him and then making my day as he started to sign it he asked me "How do you want me to sign it? Chip or Tony?" His band broke up laughing as did I and then I went to my seat and waited for the show to start. It was a great night of music and I got a special story out of it to boot.