Showing posts with label T Shirts I Have Worn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label T Shirts I Have Worn. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

BEST Album of 2012 - Brad Stock's Atomic Clock - Timeless and Timely

It isn't uncommon for someone to give me a copy of their personal music CD to review. It is, however, uncommon when the gift engages my interest. And then, there's the one in a million that turns out to be something special. 

Brad Stock's Atomic Clock is Something Special.

Last year, I drove to Salt Lake to watch Pink Floyd's The Wall at Brewvies Cinema Pub where Salt Lake's local, listener-sponsored community radio station, KRCL, hosts a monthly Night at the Movies to help fund broadcast operations costs. I hadn't seen The Wall in a theater since it was first released in 1982, and I was looking forward to watching it on the big screen again. 

As I sat in the dining area awaiting the theater doors to open, I spied an unassuming gentleman sitting at the bar wearing a Pink Godzilla T-shirt, a rare and unusual sighting behind the Zion Curtain.

Pink Godzilla is a sushi restaurant on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz that the locals all call Pinky G's. "Maybe he's from my little beach town," I mused as I approached him and asked:

"Did you get that Pink Godzilla T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" 

"Yeah, did you get that DJ's Mini-Mart T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" was his reply.

I had forgotten that I was wearing my DJ's T. As you might have guessed, the gentleman wearing the Pinky G's shirt turned out to be Brad Stock. He was there to see The Wall too, and apparently had thematically selected his shirt for the occasion. I'm happy that he did, otherwise, I may have never met Brad Stock or heard his amazing Atomic Clock, Rhetro Zenberg's selection for BEST Album of 2012.

As Brad Stock and I chatted before the movie began, I learned that he was an avid surfer and had picked up the Pinky G's shirt whilst on a surfing trip to Santa Cruz. He also told me about his newly completed CD that he was obviously very excited about, and presented me with a fresh copy of the Atomic Clock CD along with some Blorbs - decal replicas of the disc image that I'm seeing stuck on signs nearly everywhere I go these days.

Brad made me promise that I'd wear headphones the first time I listened to his album. He wanted to ensure that I'd have the opportunity to appreciate the quality and depth of the music. I was tempted to play it in the car on my 40-minute drive home, but I refrained, and waited until I could listen as Brad had prescribed. 

Time to Hear the Atomic Clock

I prefer to listen to new music on headphones for my first listen anyway, so I was comfortable with the notion of taking time late at night, to sit alone in the dark. With no visual distractions and the phones snug against my ears, I pushed play, laid back, closed my eyes and heard "the Sun" rise. Before I knew it, "the Moon" was coming up like a big bald head and I had completed my first experience with the Atomic Clock. The music had drawn me in so deeply that I felt as though I had been meditating. 

The first time hearing the Atomic Clock was moving in a way that was natural and cosmic... kind of like the first time that I heard Pink FloydNot to say that the Atomic Clock is anything like Pink Floyd or progressive rock in general for that matter. The Atomic Clock doesn't overwhelm the listener with the excessive experimentation that occasionally* drags down progressive rock compositions. The Atomic Clock resonates with a vibe of goodness, whereas prog rock tends** to be a bit gloomy. There's no time for doom n gloom on the Atomic Clock - which is more of a soundtrack for living and celebrating life. It's all good.


The Atomic Clock consists of ten unique and nicely woven compositions that eclectically bridge any genre gap. The songs are all cleverly written, and obviously composed by someone who possesses a wide scope of life experience and musical influence.***  The songs demonstrate a broad variety of flexibility and depth that keep the listener intrigued and engaged. No two are alike, nevertheless, each has its time in the spotlight. To me, one quality that stands out on the Atomic Clock, is its timelessness. It doesn't seem to be restricted to time and space or style.

For the most part, the Atomic Clock is feel-good music that makes a nice soundtrack for anything you might be doing. Brad told me that he wanted to make music "that would move and reach people." It turns out that the Atomic Clock is the result of a late night wish in Hawaii. Brad recalled that night, "while standing outside, looking up at the night sky, I put my wish out there." 

When the choice came down to a significant five minute decision at the bus station, Brad remembered the words of a wise friend who had encouraged him to follow his bliss. Brad's journey had led him to a place where he'd have to decide - which bus to take. Brad remembered his trusted friend's advice and heeded his counsel. On the bus ride of life, Brad Stock's alternative destination would have materialized drastically different had he taken the other bus. 

Brad followed his bliss all the way to the Beehive State where he met music producer Matt Winegar**** who had availability in his schedule at the perfect time to produce the Atomic Clock

Matt Winegar told me in an interview that he really enjoyed working with Brad on the project and is happy with the way it turned out. He told me that the song, "It Blows" is one of his favorite tracks on the album, and one of the most memorable. Brad remembers that when they began working on that song, Winegar asked him:

"How Zappa do you want to go on this one?" 

Brad remembered that Zappa percussionist, Ed Mann, was a Facebook friend, and decided to invite him to play on the track. "I sent him the song and he said he dug it and would be happy to play on it..." Winegar remembers that Mann provided a lot of great sound surprises, including a nifty little marimba riff that adds to the already prevalent Zappa nuance. 

The Atomic Clock is awesome and timely on many levels and Matt Winegar's production skills augmented Brad's talent and personal vision of the songs. The track, "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" features some lovely strings***** and a beautiful arrangement for an intriguing song about a toe found on the side of the road. It makes me ponder what a Nilsson/Martin team might have realized had they worked together. "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" is about as close as you'll get. 

The song, "One of My Better Days," is an upbeat semi-Reggae song about a day that is good because of all of the things that didn't happen, such as: 

"I Didn't lose my music to a glitch in my iTunes...
...Didn't get crushed by a random boulder..."   

I don't have a favorite song on the Atomic Clock, but I regularly find myself singing or whistling the ultra catchy tune "Chasing the Buddha...til we meet again."

In conclusion, like I always say, "If life is fair" the Atomic Clock will become a classic. It already is on the Zenberg Blogue and for a handful of lucky people who have already discovered it. Congratulations to Brad Stock, and everyone who contributed to making the Atomic Clock a reality. Tis a fine contribution to the musical universe. God speed to ya Brad Stock!

3D image of Brad Stock standing on Mars at the Clark Planetarium where the Atomic Clock was featured for two runs as a CSI laser show in the main dome. The light show is rumored to be appearing in other major cities in the near future. Don't miss it. 


* Certainly not always.

** Generally but not as a rule. The positive aspect of the Atomic Clock is what ultimately earned it Best Album status. Other albums under consideration this year, (Anywhere by Anywhere and Spine Hits by Sleepy Sun), were a bit dark. 

*** Adrian Belew, Al Stewart, the Beatles, Nilsson, Zappa to name a few

**** Matt Winegar has engineered, recorded and produced for such notables as Primus, Coheed in Cambria, Faith No More, to name a few. His recording studio is located in Salt Lake City.

***** This lovely string section was performed by Callie Reed who played both violin and cello on the track. 

purchase the Atomic Clock:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

DI Joe

The Deseret Industries (DI) in Tooele, Utah has yielded many of my favorite items. I always find something unique when I have the rare opportunity to shop there. Last July, I found my latest favorite shirt that features an image of Godzilla wearing three-D glasses while thrashing buildings as military aircraft fly overhead. I think I've had more compliments on this shirt than every other shirt combined.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wild Orphan

Yesterday I spent the morning shooting this video at Streetlight records. Everything went so smoothly... I don't get it. Usually I encounter one obstacle after another when making a video, but this time everything came together. Even the weather cooperated. I had been hoping for a foggy morning for the shoot, and got exactly what I asked for. Thanks fog controller, and thanks to everyone who assisted and helped with the viddy, most notably, the Vox Jaguars, KZSC Radio personality Scotty (the) K, Mason Rosenberg, Streetlight Records, Kirstannalice, and street performer #1 who didn't give her name but agreed to be in the video.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ski Tooele

As long as I can remember, there has been talk about creating a ski resort in the Oquirrh Mountains near Tooele, Utah. I've skied the Oquirrhs on a few occasions and find them to be more suitable for cross-country skiing, but a strategically placed ski lift or two would change that. I hope that never happens and it probably never will. Tooele has already grown too big, too fast. It isn't the little town I remember.

Someone made this awesome Ski Tooele sweatshirt sometime in the eighties.

Because of Tooele's close proximity to military proving grounds and a major Army depot, the small desert town has acquired a bit of a reputation for chemical and biological weapons tests and storage, therefore, the skier on the sweater wears a gas mask. I recently had to steal it back from my son who thinks it's his now. Teenagers!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got Gumption?

Gumption. That's one thing I don't have an abundance of at the moment... at least when it comes to writing for my blog. Sure, I've already begun writing many of the upcoming posts including, but certainly not limited to:

When in Morm - Do's and don'ts and insightful tips for visitors to Utah

Mighty Mo names the spiders that live in our house

My simple answer to the gang problem, (and it isn't dynamite)

Phrases and terms I have coined

A walk down rememory lane to the old Blue Mouse Theater in Salt Lake City

A recollection of the Bucket of Bernie Brains show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz

A book review of Paula Phelan's 1919

Examples of literary structures in ancient texts

Hale Bopp

Plus many more Xtra Files

But I'm going to take a nap right now instead of writing. I'll listen to some Lawrence Welk for inspiration later on. Meanwhile, take a gander at this pretty bottle brush that Mighty Mo photographed last week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To Be Frank - Zappa Plays Zappa in Surf City

I was so excited when I heard that the Zappa Plays Zappa show was coming to Santa Cruz, and to my favorite theater to boot... a hop, skip and a jump away at the Rio.

I've been listening to Zappa since sixth grade, and have become a bit of a connoisseur of his compositions... most* of which are quite brilliant. As a premordial Zappa fan, who could be more excited to experience an evening of live Zappa music performed by the late Mr. Zappa's own son, Dweezil, and a host of Frank Zappa alumni?

Imagine my horror when I consulted the Rio website and read the following:

V.I.P. $96.00 Reserved $ 55.50 additional fees may and most likely will apply.


OK, lets look at this rationally, in 1977, I saw Frank Zappa, THE Frank Zappa, NOT his son... THE Frank Zappa - for six dollars and fifty cents ($6.50). When you include those additional fees, this show ends up costing more than fifteen times more than the cost of seeing the bona-fide Frank Zappa. The reserved seating price isn't that much better, costing nine times what I paid in '77. What is wrong with this picture? Is Dweezil Zappa worth a hundred bucks? I think not. There are very few entertainers I would pay over fifty bucks to see. Actually none. I'm sure Dweezil is a nice enough fellow... He can't be too bad if Mr. Nice-Guy, Donny Osmond, hangs out with him. But, I have principles, and refuse to pay such a high cost to see the son of someone. I recently saw the Residents for twenty-five bucks, ($25)... THE Residents, NOT the son of a Resident, and it cost 75% less than this Zappa Play$ Zappa $how co$t$.

Across the street from the Rio Theater, is the Crepe Place, where on March 11th the Vox Jaguars will rock the house for only eight bucks ($8.00), and I know it will be as good if not better than the pricey show on the other side of Soquel Avenue tonight.

Viva le Crepe Place!

* Too often Mr. Zappa crossed over the line into tasteless potty humor, which is OK when you're in 6th grade, but... come on Frank, grow up already. Or as some would say, "Shut up and play your guitar".

** What The Frank?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Vox Jaguars CD Release: A Review

After months of anticipation, the new Vox Jaguars' self-titled CD has been released on Anodyne Records. In mid-January, I received a special edition*(1) advanced copy of the Vox Jaguars to review, and now that I've heard it more than a dozen times, I feel that I'm prepared to comment on one of this year's best records.

I've been paying attention
to the Vox Jaguars since I happened upon one of their live shows at Cafe Pergolesi in Santa Cruz, California about three years ago. What surprised me most about the show was that the audience, (and there seemed to be about a hundred of them crammed into the small room), knew the songs and sang along as if they were part of the band. I thought of the Cavern in Liverpool and the energy and comradary that must have existed there among early Beatle fans. It isn't every day that I see an audience so enthralled with a band, and that night, the patrons at Pergles were at one with the Vox Jaguars.

It wasn't long til the Vox Jaguars recorded a demo*(2) CD at the home studio of a friend. The exceptionally well recorded demo featured four completed tracks exhibiting plenty of musical variety and skill. The demo received quite a bit of notoriety and it seemed only natural when the Vox Jaguars' popular song, Swagger,*(3) was featured on the major prime time FOX Television program, Canturbury's Law. Producers of the show had stumbled upon the song on the Vox Jaguars' My Space page, and negotiated its use on the show.

Now, The Vox Jaguars have released their first CD, and it is sure to be popular among the indie generation in general, and spread in popularity to a broader audience in the years to come.

Beyond their darling and daring youthfulness, what makes The Vox Jaguars interesting, is the precision and power with which they play their upbeat clever and catchy songs. Smarter than punk, but not too technical for the uninitiated ear, this band has successfully drawn upon a long eclectic history of music to come up with a sound uniquely their own.

Something that can't go unnoticed at a live Vox Jaguars performance, is the display of teamwork between their powerful percussionist and bassist who keep the band timely and intriguing. Trevor Hope is truly an incredible drummer who's intricate percussion is perfectly augmented by master bassist, Mason Rosenberg. The two sound as though they've been playing together forever. This foundational
backbone establishes a powerful template for high school student Jordan Topf to present his songs about teen struggle, and modern dilemma. I find it surprising that this CD exhibits a subtle LA nuance. I keep expecting Jim Morrison to belt out something ridiculous... that notion amuses me.

The current line up of the Vox Jaguars includes
newest member, Noah Bond on lead guitar*(4) and voices, Jordan Topf on guitar*(5) and voices, Trevor Hope on drums, and Mason Rosenberg on bass.*(6) The lineup on the new CD features former band member Sam Copperman on keyboards. Sam recently left the band to attend to his higher education. The Vox Jaguars have not replaced him with another keyboardist, and don't plan to any time soon. Rather, they picked up high school senior Noah Bond to play guitar, and he is working out wonderfully. Noah plays like a pro and provides the ensemble with a rich round sound. A favorable addition to an already great band. There is still room for keyboards in my opinion.

I like the new self-titled release by the Vox Jaguars very much, and will surely play it on my hi-fi many more times. I think four clever boys could have come up with a more suitable title for this release however. If I had been given the opportunity to name the new Vox Jaguars CD, I would have turned their name into an anagram, such as, Jug Has a Vortex, or called it something controversial and relevant like, Obama's War Now, but I'm just an old punk who still likes to ruffle feathers. It's like eating peanuts...

The Vox Jaguars, on Anodyne Records.

*(1) My special edition copy of
The Vox Jaguars arrived in a standard hard plastic case, however a more environmentally-friendly paper-box version is currently available on line and in fine stores everywhere.

What makes this special packaging unique, is the inclusion of a segment of broken guitar string from one of the instruments played by the Vox Jaguars.

The guitar string is clearly visible through the usually empty plastic window on the left-edge of the CD case. I love it when this space is used for something other than nothing at all.

*(2) The Vox Jaguars Demo CD titled, Good as Gone, rivals the new release, and in some ways is preferable to it. The songs on Good as Gone are recorded so well that they could have been included on the new release as bonus tracks. I hope Good as Gone will one day be
made available again. My copy is worn out.

*(3) A new version of Swagger is the only song from the demo that has made it's way onto the new CD. Not even Metropolis, the most beloved of all the Vox Jaguars songs, appears on this new release. I should also note that the Canterbury's Law season one
DVD, (featuring Swagger), will be released on February 24th, 2009. If we're lucky, they'll also release a Canterbury's Law soundtrack and include the original version of Swagger.

*(4) Noah plays a Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster

*(5) Not surprisingly, Jordan plays a Fender Jaguar

*(6) Mason usually plays an Ibanez Roadstar but lately has been seen with a Specter*(7) at some of their shows. Most of the tracks on the new CD
sound as if a different bass was being played.

*(7) I've noticed that Mason usually plays his Specter in his other soon to be famous band, A Quantum Visionary, who take musical intricacy and variety to new heights.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

UPI Buried Paul

There are a handful of reasons why elections are flawed in the United States.

1 Too many uninformed people vote.
Remember all those stupid people in Florida who accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan back in 1998?* Sure everyone has the right to vote, but apparently, most people are not responsible enough to make good decisions when it comes to slick politicians who promise them the world. Unfortunately, the masses believe their convincing demagoguery, leaving those of us who vote responsibly outnumbered at the polls. Rather than paying attention to what a politician actually stands for, most people are more concerned with:
a- how the candidate looks
b- political labels/state color (gang mentality)
c- who their union supports

2 Unfortunately, vote fraud does exist here in what we like to call the
land of the free. Ironic isn't it? We harp about other countries having fraudulent elections, when right here at home, we allow the same kind of hood-winkery under a red white and blue banner. Patriotique!

3 Media reports were blatantly biased in this election. During the primaries, I was astounded how Ron Paul's news and support were intentionally ignored, even though he was getting more votes than both Rudolf Giuliani and Fred Thompson who received an abundance of media attention. Even after Rudy and Freddy had dropped out, there was still no mention of Paul even though he had been named the winner in the debates, and had come in second place in a number of primaries. When Huckabee dropped out, the media never bothered to mention that Paul was still in the running, and behaved as though McCain had it all wrapped up. Other news was invented to keep Paul out of sight and out of America's mind. The media effectively buried Paul.

4 Americans have a team X vs. team Y mentality, which makes it easy to ignore anyone who isn't in the spotlight. This kind of narrow thinking allows the
A and B sides of the dark side to maintain control, and prevent honest politicians and third parties from receiving attention.
* And then Al Gore wanted to count every ballot (for himself) which had been discarded... "Count them again."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Skirtin' Behind the Zion Curtain

I've been behind the Zion Curtain for the past week on a business/family trip. Here are some photos from the journey through the Beehive State.

A Sneak Peek

I had the opportunity to see some sets and personalities of an upcoming full-length stop-motion film. Soon, these characters will be everywhere. The secluded warehouse in the old industrial part of Salt Lake is filled with lots of impressive miniature sets and elaborate mobile camera mounts on tracks that will make it all come alive.

Grandfather Interupted

My dear old dad hadn't been feeling well, and had been praying all week that he'd be well enough to attend the wedding dinner for his granddaughter, Michelle, the first of his grandchildren to be married. But God had other plans for my dad that night. About three hours before the dinner, his heart was
beating irregularly, at about 140 beats per minute. I followed him to the hospital, and checked him into the emergency room where I was impressed with the promptness at which the Tooele Valley Hospital staff attended to him. They provided exceptional service and were successful at shocking his heart back into a normal rhythm. They released him later that night, but unfortunately, he had already missed his granddaughter's wedding dinner.

Wedding Bells

On Yom Kippur,
my niece, Michelle, got married to her fiance, Carson, in the Salt Lake Temple. While the bride and groom attended a private wedding ceremony within the walls of the Mormon mishkan, the kids and I toured the downtown area. What a surprise. Everything in Salt Lake is different now. The freeways have all been replaced and changed since I moved away fifteen years ago. There were lots of things I wanted to show to the kids, but every place I tried to take them, was no longer there when we arrived. Much of the city looks like a war zone with all of the construction going on. The once bustling Trolley Square was like a ghost town. We saw only about four shoppers there as we strolled the empty corridors looking for a place to buy black socks. Most of the stores were gone. I bought a Polygamy Porter T-shirt at Cabin Fever, one of the few stores that was open.

Temple Square in Salt Lake is always impressive. The Salt Lake Temple is one of the finest examples of nineteenth century architecture anywhere in the world. Every stone is a work of art. I've spent hours contemplating the exquisite construction and accompanying symbols.

One of my favorite things to do while in Salt Lake, is attend the daily organ recital inside the historic Tabernacle. It was so moving to experience this king of instruments again. There is really nothing like it. The acoustically friendly Tabernacle allows this powerful instrument to be experienced at it's fullest. Every tone sharp, crisp and audible. We had time to hear the first couple of selections before we had to leave to rendezvous with the wedding entourage for photographs in front of the temple.

Michelle looked beautiful as she posed for photographs with her handsome new husband, Carson, on the steps of this magnificent edifice in the heart of Great Salt Lake City.

It was entertaining to watch the photographers work so hard to get the perfect shot.
This was the first time I had been close enough to get a picture of these amazing door knobs. My key didn't work.
Later that night, at the wedding reception, I got to see my my Aunt Mae and my cousins LaRee, Jan and Bette. I hadn't seen any of them for ages and it was a nice but short reunion. I got to see lots of other folks I don't get to see very often. It makes me realize how far away I truly am out here in California, and that I need to spend more time with my family who live behind the Zion Curtain.

Park City Snow Storm

We spent the night in Park City, and woke up to a blustering snow storm. The snow that makes Utah famous was accumulating fast. There was already two inches on top of the Prius. I grabbed a broom and swept off the fluffy almost weightless snow, and began loading the car in hopes of getting off the mountain before more snow fell. By the time I had finished loading the car, another two inches had fallen. I swept off the car once more, and it was time to find out how the Prius would perform in slippery conditions. It didn't.

Most of our descent from Parley's Summit was a controlled slide. There was no way we could stop, and we observed many close calls before we had dropped in elevation below the snow level. Mason said that "Driving down Parley's Canyon at 20 MPH was much more intense than driving fast across Nevada."

Historic Salt Lake's Unseen Backside

The Rio Grand used to be where Amtrak stopped. Now the passenger trains stop at a cheesy mobile trailer unit a few blocks southwest from this beautiful historic building which used to house one of my favorite restaurants (Rio Grande). Maybe it still does. I didn't stop to find out.

A half block east of State Street on 1st Avenue, there's a place you won't find on any tourist map. The grave of Brigham Young is relatively unknown and almost invisible to passers-by. Only a handful of people know about it. I hadn't been there for years. I used to like going to this spot because it is so quiet, and no one else ever goes there. It's a great place to be alone. Ironically, this small cemetery is only a couple of blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Temple Square where tourists come from the ends of the earth to see historic Mormon sites.
This life-like bronze sculpture of Brigham Young and three of his children seemed almost real. It was like being next to real people.

Go West Young Man

Saying goodbye to my aging parents is always the most difficult part of traveling to Utah. I remember how my Mom would cry when she would leave her own sweet mother standing on the porch of her Pang Town home. Now I understand her angst. On Sunday morning we set out to travel west to our home in California. Native American music on KRCL's Living the Circle of Life program* helped to create a nostalgic ambiance as we rolled across the Salt Flats listening to the radio. The Tree of Utah bid us farewell as we passed by on the cold stormy morning at 75MPH. It was a long drive.

Twelve hours on the road is too much too much too much too much!

* I had listened to the program regularly before I moved away fifteen years ago. Now, I can hear it on the Internet, and I get up early every Sunday to listen to the program.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Residents or What Does Salt Smell Like?



The first time I heard t
he Residents was in 1979. I was sixteen or seventeen, and an avid listener of I'm So Bored, Susanne Brown's Tuesday night radio program on KRCL in Salt Lake City. There was nothing else like it in Utah at the time, (or the rest of the country for that matter), and assuming that I would likely never hear the songs again, I began recording the shows on ninety-minute 8-Track tapes. I'm So Bored was unique, and presented me with a plethora of new punk and rock wave music, (as Michael G. Cavanaugh* called it), that I could listen to at my leisure on the tapes I had recorded. One of them contained a track called Plants by the Residents, which was nothing like anything I had ever heard before. I knew I'd have to hear more from these mysterious musicians.

The Cosmic Aeroplane was no doubt the most likely place to find Residents music in Salt Lake in 1979. I was astounded that good old el Cosmico had a handful of
Residents records to choose from. I delightfully selected Not Available, and Fingerprince, and purchased them both, having heard neither. I bought Not Available for myself, and Fingerprince for my summertime girlfriend, Jamie, who accompanied me on my quest for the Residents. Back then, the record department at the Cosmic was located downstairs. At least that's where they kept the punk-produkts and related paraphernalia. After finalizing my purchase, we ascended the narrow stairwell, and exited the store. I had a friend named Bob Ruffner who lived near Skyline High, so we went there to hang out and listen to my new Residents records. Bob's house would be a good place to hear them for the first time because his dad had a great stereo, and surely, the Residents could be best appreciated on a good hi fi.

By the time side one of
Fingerprince had finished playing, there was no way to convince Bob and Jamie to listen to side two, or the other record I had purchased. They had decided that the Residents were too weird. Bob had became partial to the last of the successful prog bands, Rush, while Jamie had metal tendencies, and fancied Van Halen and Ozzy. YUCK! Serves them both right! I had to wait until I had driven all the way back to Tooele, dropped off Jamie, and returned home before I could finally listen to Not Available on my own adequate stereo. I was shocked. It was stranger than anything I had ever... anything. It appeared to be some kind of opera about a woman named Edweena. I wasn't sure if I liked it. I played it for my friends Greggary Peckary, Merlin, Jon and Bart. Jon and Merlin gave it three thumbs up, Peck snickered, and Bart sardonically laughed, declaring, "They sound like little kids." I could forgive Bart. He didn't know any better. After all, he was a cowboy from Stockton, Utah, who's most radical venture in alternative music was Molly Hatchet and Lynnard Skynard. I suspect that Peck secretly liked it.
1979 was a time when music was stagnant on most fronts, yet changing on others. Leading the change, so far ahead they were out of sight, were the Residents, who's brand of subterranean-modern tunneled deeper than other alternatives, and kept their fans entertained with comically spooky treatments of familiar and contrived themes. I had become jaded by the polished cookie-cutter music that permeated the seventies, and in 1979 I began a five-year boycott of commercial music. Who needs commercial radio when there's KRCL? No commercial radio stations, and no TV. As it turned out, I missed a lot of terrible stuff during those years... so I hear. Remember Wham? I don't.
On Wednesday nights, KRCL presented Brad Collins' program** which featured more emphasis on the punker side of neo-underground musick. When the Residents released their critically acclaimed Eskimo album, Brad Collins played his copy in its entirety. It was awesome, and I soon procured my own copy on snow-white vinyl. One of my favorite records of all time. Eskimo was an unprecedented instant masterpiece that made it clear to me that the Residents were not only part of the underground scene... The Residents, in fact, were THE underground. Everything else sounded like pop in comparison.
In 1980 my best friend, Jon, purchased the Residents latest release, the Commercial Album. A departure from their anthropologique Eskimo, the Commercial Album featured forty - one minute songs... a mockery of formulaic top forty pop music. What was most surprising about the Commercial Album to both Jon and myself was the album cover which featured a picture of my friend Jon. I have no idea where the Residents got a photo of Jon, or why they used it on their album cover, but there he was.

Jon 1978

The Commercial Album 1980

When the Residents released their Mark of the Mole album, they pressed a handful of special edition silk screened covers which had been signed by the
Residents with brown crayon, and pressed on brown vinyl. My copy was mistakenly sold at the flea market for one dollar. :-( I wish I still had it, especially since now its worth hundreds of dollars. At least I still have my Third Censored and Roll album, the West German version of the Third Reich and Roll. Still in perfect condition.

The first time I saw the
Residents perform was at the Barrymore Theater in Madison Wisconsin in 1990. I arrived early, and was the first person in line that night. When they opened the doors to the theater, I sprinted to the front and center of the Barrymore. Best seat in the house. That night the Residents presented Cube - E (being) The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces. The first piece featured old western cowboy songs. One Resident wore an exaggerated over-sized cowboy hat. A neon fire glowed at center stage while a projected desertscape and evening sky illuminated the backdrop. The other three Residents, cloaked beneath Harry Tuttle-esque disguises, tapped away at their electronique instruments . Black slave songs were the theme in the second set. The third and final set featured Elvis as a fulfillment, or personification of cowboy and black rhythm. In the end, the space-age Elvis is made insignificant by the British invasion, specifically the Beatles. At least that's what Zoroaster said.

I didn't see the Residents again until 1997, when Mighty Mo purchased tickets for the Halloween show at the Fillmore, for our anniversary. I was impressed by projected images onto a large balloon on stage. Brilliant idea! Clam rockers, Primus, and fellow Residents fans, must have liked the idea too because they incorporated the concept for their own stage.

A Simple Song - Ralph Viddy - Buy or Die!
I must have been one of the first people to order this fancy NEW Ralph Records Video.

When it arrived in the mail, it was a simple TDK video cartridge featuring seven different Ralph viddys. Five different bands, including the Residents.

The cover-art consisted of basic black ink on a 81/2X11 white paper-board. I
carefully cut out the video cover, and with Elmers Glue, affixed it to the vhs box (included). Crafty!
The fancified package was complete.

These videos were a great alternative to the trendy commercial music being played on MTV.

The Residents have released lots of other videos over the years. Millions of them in fact. In May 2001, My son and I had the opportunity to see the Residents right here in Santa Cruz, Ca, at the Rio Theater. As usual, the Residents presented a unique and unprecedented concept for their stage show. The Icky Flix Tour featured the Residents playing live on stage as their familiar videos were projected onto a large screen above the band. Not long after the tour, the Residents released the Icky Flix DVD, which featured lots of snazzy Residents videos that could be played with the option of listening to old familiar songs, or newly recorded versions of the same tunes. Sparkling idea! I'll take two. Mm... Salty!


* Michael G's show preceded I'm So Bored. His show featured sixties and seventies rock. This was back when KRCL was located above the old Blue Mouse Theater, next to Cosmic Aeorplane. Jon and I paid Michael G a visit one evening. He played Cucamonga by Zappa/Beefheart at our request.

My friend Squirrelly's cousin, Jamie, who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, stayed with Squirrelly's family every summer. She returned home with Fingerprince. Jamie reported to me that she had played it for a friend, and that they both laughed at it. What can you expect from a couple of ignoramiatic metalheads?
*** Mr. Collin's program was originally called Dead Air, but was later changed to Beyond The Zion Curtain. When Brad sold out and began playing speed metal exclusively, Jon and I began to pester him by requesting Eskimo every time his program was on. Years later, I asked Collins about his Eskimo album, and he told me that someone had stolen it. He may have assumed that his taunters were the thieves. He assumed wrong

Saturday, May 10, 2008

BIG Love - Texas Style

Actually, the FLDS only recently migrated to the Lone Star State. For nearly a century, the obscure fundamentalist Mormon sect has been based in the state-bordered twin cities of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona where many of their members still reside.

I've been to Colorado City and Hilldale many times, and have
personally known some of the polygamists who live there because, back in the nineties, I worked with an engineering firm who designed and surveyed many of the streets, and utilities for these communities.

With my t-shirt and long dark hair pulled into a pony-tail, I was obviously not from
there, and a parade of local female driven automobiles rolled by throughout the day to view the spectacle of the long-haired surveyor standing behind a tripod. For lunch I sometimes dined with members of the community in the town cafeteria, or a little sandwich shop on the Hilldale side of town. I also frequented the local well-stocked grocery store, and purchased a couple of books from the used book store.

I felt comfortable discussing any topic with them, including their community. On
most occasions, I was treated with respect by the citizens of these towns who seemed completely normal, except for the fact that they practiced polygamy, and wore funny clothes. Contrary to what the hyperbolic media would have one think, the women there weren't chained to any posts, and in fact exercised a great deal of freedom. They could be seen shopping as far away as Mesquite, Nevada and Saint George, Utah, doing whatever they wanted to do... with or without their husbands.

Welcome to

Fundamentalist Christians, especially Southern Baptists, HATE Mormons vehemently, so when members of this decidedly unsavory brand of Mormondom recently moved to rural
Texas, the local family-values folks freaked out. Their anti-Mormon rhetoric was stepped up to frenzy level as presidential hopeful, Mit Romney, appeared as yet another Mormon threat to their uni-dimensional world-view. Big Love was destined to go down... Texas style!

Lone Star State Church

Recently, over four hundred children were taken into protective custody by the State of Texas. Southern Baptist Church buses wisped them speedily away to be re-brainwashed.

Does it bother anyone else that the state used Southern Baptist Church property to transport the children... or was it the church who used the state? In any event... what happened to separation of church and state in

"We did it for the children..."

What is most dis-settling about this whole ordeal, is that over 400 children have been taken by the state, and NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED. Child Protective Services claim child abuse, yet have not produced any evidence that this heinous crime occurs with any more frequency among this singled-out polygamous sect than in the rest of society. Personally, I am a bit suspicious of their motives because abuse
was one of the false claims used as leverage against the Branch Davidians which disastrously resulted in the death over one hundred innocent children at Waco Texas on April 19 1993.


The state which gave us George W. Bush, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Waco fiasco, has recently been added to my boycott list. Mighty Mo and I had planned to go to Austin
Texas this year for our 22nd wedding anniversary, but now, we don't want to contribute to a yeller state that victimizes innocent children. We'll go someplace nice instead... like Nevada.

Mess With Texas

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dark Side of the Pawn or Pawn of the Dark-Side

I have too many t-shirts. Most of them are industry shirts from the high-tech bubble days that have been collected from trade-shows from all around the world. They're all stored away in a box in the garage and I'll probably never wear any of them.

The t-shirt. It's really quite a strange concept when you stop to think about it. Gaggles of people, including myself,* behaving like walking billboards, providing free advertising for sports teams, rock bands, personalities, corporate logos, and etc.

I don't know when it became popular to put images and signs on the traditionally short-sleeved, upper-torso garment, but today, t-shirting is a multi-billion dollar global industry. The casual uniform of choice for the early 21st century.

I remember one particular T that I wore in grade school which featured an old looking, long-haired stoney-eyed hippie brandishing the dual-fingered peace sign. Across the image swept the groovily sculpted text, "I'm so far out that I'm in." I made it myself... with help from my mom, who actually did all the work of ironing the image onto a clean and wrinkle-free pale green t-shirt. No one could iron better than my mom. I remember how the toxic fumes rose up and permeated the room as she pressed the iron firmly against the paper side of the appliqué. The heat from the iron transferred through to the rubber-ish chemical substance on the other side of the paper
appliqué which melted into the fabrique of the shirt, bonding permanently to the garment. We never considered that it might be harmful to inhale the fumes... we were in Tooele after all.

I had a good selection of concert shirts when I was in high school. I could wear a different T every day of the week. All of my shirts from that era are gone now except for my very extra special Residents Eskimo t-shirt which has recently been commandeered by my son. It's quite faded now, and way too small for me, but it suits him perfectly. Its funny to think that I wore it when I was about his age.

Currently, my favorite t-shirt features the unmistakable image of leftest-rebel Che Guevara as an Imperial Storm Trooper. I purchased it in Mexico a couple of years ago when I was vacationing during the holidays with the Mueller Clan. The artist was incredibly insightful to envision Che as a pawn of the dark side. Around these parts, Senor Guevara is renowned as some kind of folk war-hero/freedom fighter. Ironically, these are the same people who claim to be anti-war. One person's terrorist, is another's freedom-fighter.

* Sporting my Phil Hendrie Show T as I whapetty tap away at the keyboard.