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Ole!
johnrossbowie
When was the last time you went to something and it met, and occasionally exceeded your expectations?

This past weekend I took time off from my writing gig and my lower lumbar pain and attended Matador21, the 21st birthday celebration curated by (and celebrating) Matador Records. Rarely have so many of my favorite bands been in one location -- Superchunk, Sonic Youth, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Guided by Voices ... it was pretty exhausting. And I won't write an exhaustive piece on it, as its a well-documented event, and this Washington Post piece covers it ably (while being a little rough on GBV, and rubbing my face in the Clean set I missed). Some personal highlights --

-- wiping out at the Blackjack tables before the first band came on, and then swearing off gambling for the rest of the weekend. And sticking to it!
-- Fucked Up proving that hardcore songs can still be good, even at 4 minutes and change.
-- a gorgeous dinner at Nove, where we sat near TV legend Garry Marshall (who has a son in Friday night treat Chavez). So good I missed a little of Guitar Wolf, and they're from Japan!
-- the late show -- Ted Leo vs. Fucked Up, going back and forth, 2 songs each, descending into a miasma of covers that felt like a punk rock wedding. That's When I Reach For My Revolver. The Pharmacists backing up Jon Wurster as he announced "I saw a bumpersticker that read 'My boss is a songwriter from New Jersey.' Mine is, too, and his name is Glenn Danzig. 1-2-3-4!" and boom "We Bite" by the Misfits.  And they covered All by the Descendents! Then, Tom Scharpling taking the stage to leave blood on the mic for Precision Auto. A haunting acoustic version of Fuck and Run, performed by Ted Leo. Somebody screaming out "Billy Bragg!" And Ted Leo asking if the guy wanted any particular song. And the guy shouting out deepish cut "Between The Wars." And Ted Leo doing it with minimal stumbling. And then 5 guitars all joining in at the end (around 3 AM) for Rise Above. Punkgasm.
-- Going with my friend Seth and his girl Aubrey to the Liberace museum, which is made so much more interesting by the fact that Pavement were coming in as we were going out. Also -- when in Vegas -- GO TO THE PINBALL HALL OF FAME. It's not just pinball games, it's video games and air hockey all sorts of stuff, and you can play it all! In keeping with the  weekend vibe of joyous nostalgia, I played Galaga!
--Hanging out by the pool the next day, until I realized that they were playing the EN.TIRE. KATY PERRY ALBUM. Napping. Skipping dinner to be up close for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Still, the sexiest man in indierock.
--FUCKING SUPERCHUNK. 11 songs of sheer awesome. And I got to meet them! And they were nice! And I'm almost 40, and I'm talking like I'm 15! It was THAT KIND OF WEEKEND.
-- A really beautiful sounding set from Spoon.
-- Cold Sober Karaoke late Saturday night. Did 7 Seconds version of 99 Red Balloons (A karaoke crossover of sorts). Went on right before Ted Leo. In short, yes. I opened for Ted Leo.
-- Sunday I fired guns for the first time in my life. Terrifying, because it was so relatively easy. After all, children do it all the time. I really think that because they're so easy to shoot, they ought to be harder to buy.
--And Sunday? Forget about it. The New Pornographers, full line-up, with that weirdo Dan Bejar coming in and out of the set like a homeless guy, and another great Ted Leo set, and Liz Phair doing boom 6 songs from the Matador years and then taking off. There's a part of me that wanted her to come out and just do the Nancy Drew album as a glorious fuck you to all indie rockers, but I heard Stratford on Guy in person, so I'm fine.
-- And Guided By Voices -- also focusing on the early stuff, also pretty wonderful. The club is open.

I took a ton of pictures, but the only one that really sums up the weekend is the one of me holding a Glock, and wearing a Superchunk shirt.

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listening to "THE YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS.Beer Money." on Blip
johnrossbowie
Money Monday -- enjoy!

TERRIBLE MOVIES I SAW IN THEATERS
johnrossbowie
 First, a mea culpa. I have lately fallen for two online hoaxes. This is not a proud moment of mine. But I wanted to believe both were true. I really wanted to believe Ted Leo was working on a musical, and you know what, I'm holding onto that one, because you never know. I also wanted to believe ChristWire was real, because I like feeling smug and superior. Not a great quality, I know. Either way, you shouldn't be using this blog (or any blog, really) as a reliable news source. So this is, ultimately, your fault.*

*not really. At all.


To celebrate my suckerdom, let's take a look back at 

TERRIBLE MOVIES I ACTUALLY SAW IN THEATERS.
MEGAFORCE -- an action movie starring Barry Bostwick. And a post-Star Trek Persis Khambatta. At age 10, when I like shiny colors and costumes, I thought this was a boring piece of shit. Oh, and the "sophisticated" weaponry? Looked cheesy then.


ICE PIRATES
Had a joke wherein the spaceship got 'space herpes.' And that, friends, was as good as it got.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-YZ8WOU1-w&feature=related


KRULL
I can't overstate how bad the post-StarWars economy was if you weren't there. Any dipshit scifi idea got a greenlight. If this looks a well-lit ultimate frisbee match, imagine what it must have felt like for TWO HOURS.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBKcmg0c2bU

SPACE HUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE
the last time we had a 3D revival, it didn't look quite so sexy. A ton of Italian cheapies that gave you headaches leapt into the market, but there was some domestic action, too (Jaws 3D, for one, which (spoiler alert) ended with a big chunk of shark jaw, floating in front of your face. A visual gag so awesome that the film cannot qualify as 'terrible.') One that I saw in theaters with the triple whammy cast of Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald and Ernie Hudson: Spacehunter. A film so bad I can't even find the trailer, just a 30 second TV spot. Enjoy it. I didn't.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_mZraoZGiY



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listening to "Baby Come Back-Player" on Blip
johnrossbowie
Seriously, Jamie ...

listening to "The Riverboat Gamblers - Don't Bury Me...I'm Still Not Dead" on Blip
johnrossbowie
A asskicking song to start an asskicking week.

Hearts of OOOOOOKLAHOMA!
johnrossbowie
This post from singer/songwriter/bowie fave Ted Leo starts very much like a retirement speech, and put the fear of God in me, because he's been one of the most consistent features of my CD collection for the past 15 years (starting back when I had a CD collection.) Don't just take my word for it -- try Chisel's 8 AM All Day or his work with the Pharmacists (particularly Hearts of Oak and this year's Brutalist Bricks). He's doing new, innovative things with the punk model, incorporating R&B into it in a fashion that no one's bothered with since Paul Weller. I have tickets to see the guy at the Matador I'm 40 And I Will Not Call This Dad Rock party in Vegas and I was terrified, during the, oh, 15 runon paragraphs. Turns out, no, he's not retiring, he's shifting over to the thing I love as much as punk rock, musical theater. 

There's a moment on the aforementioned Chisel record where, out of fucking nowhere, he sings "Roll on up now because the price is down" and in tipping his hat to Andrew Lloyd Webber, tips his hand quite a bit. I figured the guy was a fan of musical theater, but a practitioner? And one who played Nicely Nicely Johnson in High School? AM I TO UNDERSTAND THERE IS VIDEO OF TED LEO SINGING SIT DOWN YOU'RE ROCKING THE BOAT SOMEWHERE? What the fuck, internet? Why have I not seen this yet?

Either way, this merging of worlds has me so excited I had to post.

And if none of this turns you on, here's a clip of the man singing a really good song that you might know.
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THINGS I ACCOMPLISHED ON A 10 HOUR FLIGHT FROM LONDON
johnrossbowie
1) A decent nap.
2) read an entire Inspector Rebus novel.
3) Negotiated a two-state solution for Israel and Hamas.
4) Figured out cold fusion on a napkin, but then put my Sierra Mist down on the napkin and rendered it illegible.
5) Watched Date Night. Fun!
6) A little Tetris
7) Defaced the American Airlines logo until it looked like boobs.
8) Badgered a flight attendant so much that he grabbed two beers and jumped out the emergency exit chute. At 35,000 feet, somewhere over Greenland.

Good to be home!

Hear, Hear -- The Pipes are Calling
johnrossbowie
I am writing from ancestral homeland of Scotland, where both of my paternal grandparents were born in the early 20th century to working class families, stuffed into tenement houses, beds snuck into closets, the youngest child in charge of cutting up newspaper to use as 'loo rolls.'  It's all very Angelas Ashes (right down to my grandmother losing two of her 8 siblings) and all very new to me. We're a proud people, the Scots, and apparently we don't talk about this kind of stuff a lot.

I'm In Edinburgh, as my wife is doing her comedy show at the Fringe Festival. I met up with Allan and Grace MacLean, my father's cousin and his wife, both a little younger than my dad would be, lovely people who are lifelong Glaswegians. We had lunch (haggis and turnips for this guy) at the restaurant in John Lewis (Broad Scots for Macy's). They patiently filled in fascinating blanks in my family tree, helping me label photographs that I've had for years (Allan looks at one photo and points out "Mosta thase people 'ave snuffed it.") Everyone loved my grandmother, and people fondly recall her dry with and wordplay (stuff on the order of calling John F. Kennedy 'our President-Erect,' a joke she recycled in the Clinton years). The next day, Grace and Allan showed me around Glasgow (a quick 45 minute ride on the train), including the Tenement House, which gave me a taste of the living conditions my grandmother came up in. EXCEPT, the tenement house is quite nice and only one person lived in it. So you subtract the indoor plumbing and add about 7 new inhabitants to the 4 room flat, and only then have you got some idea of what it was like. Glasgow was bombed repeatedly during WWII, so a lot of the building are younger than downtown Edinburgh, but then I live in LA, so really, who gives a shit what I think? My house, relatively speaking, was made about twenty minutes ago. But the city was beautiful, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, a startling trip back to my roots. Alex MacHaley.

My new friend Spiro met me at a great dive called Nice-n-Sleazy, where I had bangers and mash and two pints of Belhaven, because when I travel I really try not to fuck around. To further prove this point, we then went over to see Celtic vs. Braga, a Portugal team in town to secure a berth in the European Champions League Tournament. For Celtic to advance, they had to do something crazy like shut Braga out 3-0. A tall order in football. Scottish pessimism ran through the bright night air like the smell of cured meat. This could be a tough one.


Have you ever been to a sporting event? No, fuck off, you haven't, if you've never been to see a football match outside of the United States. But wait, you say, I've been to Yankees Stadium when the Red Sox are -- FUCK OFF. Did you not just hear me? You've never been to a sporting event. The din in that stadium was unlike anything I've ever heard (and it was a mild night -- not full to capacity and a doomed home team). But Celtic played like Warrior Poets, pushing Braga into serious defense for the first twenty minutes. At one point a Celtic player tripped over the Braga goalie, and the Braga goalie dropped to his knees, holding his head. Feigning injury, according to about 98% of the stadium. Including the enormous gentleman behind me -- the Scottish Soccer Hooligan From Central Casting, a vicious bald man who shouted "GIT OOP, YA FOOKING WANKERR!" The referee suggests the goalie rise, he does, no harm no foul. Twenty minutes in Braga scores,and the life goes out of the stadium. This, however, does not deter the Scottish Soccer Hooligan From Central Casting. "Tepical Portugese Chayters. FOOKING WANKERRS!" At this point, I decide I'm going to surreptitiously take his picture. Because, when you strip away the fancy vocabulary and the intellectual pretense, I'm actually an idiot.

"POOT THA FOOKING CAMERA AWAY! DOAN TAKE MAH PICTCHAH!" yells the man who, now that I can see him, is likely close to 50 years of age. "I'm sorry, I was just trying to ..." and I gesture, feebly, to the whole crowd. I put the camera away, WITH THE QUICKNESS, and I think it's over.

"YOU WERE JES TRYIN TO WOT?"

Oh, dear God. I'm gonna catch a head to the back of my head. This motherfucker is one pint from painting his face blue and cutting my goddam leg off.

"Take a picture of the audience?" I say, and my voice really does go up a little at the end, that's why the question marks there.

"POOT IT AWAE!"

Done. The game continues. Spiro laughs. I find out later that there's a lot of footage online of football hooligans getting hooligan-y, so there's a reason my friend the SSHFCC got so upset. That's a terrible way to get famous.

Celtic actually wins 2-1, but not by enough to advance. I've got heartburn, I'm a little tipsy, really tired, and I take the train back to Edinburgh feeling like I've actually been ... well, welcomed by Scotland.

Oh -- and the picture that nearly cost me my life? Very blurry.



WELL-INTENTIONED, HE TRIES TO SPEAK SPANISH TO HIS DAUGHTERS BABYSITTER
johnrossbowie
 
A Poem by John Ross Bowie
 
Hello. My name is John. I take Spanish in college, but real bad. Real, real bad. But I understand a little.
My baby, my, how do you say, my daughter has three years.
My daughter is crazy.
Real, real crazy.
She has clothes.
But her jacket is not pleasing to her.
Dogs are bad.
She is hungry.
She food a lot, but a little.
Peanut butter is pleasing to her.
What?
What?
I don't understand.
AH! Peanuts make sick? You sick?
Ah.
I understand.
Yes.
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listening to "'Wonderland' LIVE 'The Tube' 1984 Big Country" on Blip
johnrossbowie
Listen - anyone can Blip their hit, but ...