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Haven’t had a post in a good while.  Along with my usual laziness, there have been some health issues with my mother.  I’ll expand on those later when I get the mood to write about it.

Thursday, I made the drive to Memphis to see The Smashing Pumpkins with Gann.  I’m not sure who’s infinite wisdom it was to schedule a concert in an outdoor arena for the end of October, but his ‘”wisdom” needs to be revoked.  I know it’s the South, but the weather gets awful moody this time of year.   It was not only a bit chilly, but contained a little dampness as well.

Despite the shit weather, overall, the show was good.  The opening band was something called Explosions In the Sky.  Shoe-gazing instrumental rock that wasn’t my cup o’ tea.  It was like listening to one half-hour long song.  More accurately, with the exception of the heavy middle, it sounded like hearing the same little snippet of a song for 30 minutes.  I swear one guitar player played the same four notes the entire time.  Vocals consisted of one the guitarists stating the band’s name and giving their home as “Texas, U.S.A.” and then a “Thank You” at the end.  I wonder why they even bothered purchasing a microphone?  He could of just walked out and waved his “hello/goodbye”.  If we cared about it, we could have made the Texas inference from its state flag that was hanging of an amp.  Gann liked it a lot better than I did.  He said it would be cool to have playing in the background.  He was right, it would be cool for back ground music.  Just not for sitting outside along the banks of the muddy Mississippi in the cold with the threat of precipitation tapping me on the shoulder.

The Pumpkins rocked.  I went in a little skeptical since Billy Corgan had a past reputation of being a bit pissy.  He made a couple of comments on the cold but was in good spirits.  The stage show was cool and they were pretty tight as a band.  About a quarter way in was when the rain started but it never got more than a steady sprinkle.  Enough to make me put on the rain jacket I brought but not enough to be a pain.  My only complaint was that they didn’t play enough of the old stuff for my taste.  The new album is good but it would have been nice to hear some Gish or more from Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie.  All in all, it was great to see a band from the good old days still pull it together live.

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Yep, that about says it.  I’m splitting for a couple of days.  Heading to the town that twang built.  Little Kurdistan.  Guitar Town.  Music City, USA.  Cashville.  Nashvegas.  Or simply Nashville, Tennessee, population a bunch.  Got a lot of stuff brewing in my head and there is nothing like sitting in a cheap motel alone, just you and 40 fuzzy channels, to stir one’s soul.  The first day I plan on exerting only enough energy to consume a plate of wings from Hooter’s and erasing the imprudent attempt at growing a beard from my face.

Friday I am planning to head over to the Mercy Lounge to catch Jason Isbell’s show.  If you don’t know who he is (and shame on you), he is a former member of The Drive-By Truckers.  He just released a solo album and it is some of the best whiskey-soaked Southern music I’ve ever heard (though I haven’t exactly heard a lot of “whiskey-soaked” anything).  If you like DBT, you’ll like Isbell.  I saw him in Memphis a couple of months back and he rocked.  So come on out and feel free to show me some Music City hospitality by buying me a few Capt and Cokes (well one, I have to drive).  I’ll be the alone guy, hanging out in a corner.  If they have a corner.

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Uh huh.  Take this and this, add a small dash of this, mix it all up, and you get suck.  And yes, you know what comes next.  She’s still kind of hot, especially when sleeping in a white t-shirt and pajama pants sans any underwear.

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Went to see Queens of the Stone Age with a couple of friends in Memphis last night.  The show has been over for roughly 7 hours and my ears are still ringing like a fire alarm.  Does that mean I am getting old or is it too many years of cranking up that “Hard Metal” music I wasn’t supposed to be listening to?  Either way, the show fucking rocked.  Finally got to see them in a small venue and it definitely made the difference.  Who knew you could go to a QOTSA show and a Huey Lewis song would break out?  Rocked.  I tried to take some pictures but my digital camera out-smarted me.  I only got one viewable picture, which I took by accident while trying to futz with it.

I don’t even know whose shoe that is.  Guess my dreams of being the next Neil Zlozower are over.

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A couple of days before the 4th, Gann and I drove to St. Louis and laid rest to the last resentment I have towards my father. On a sad day back in February of 1984, my Dad said “Fuck no!” when all my friend’s parents said a loving “Yes” to our request to see The Police when they made a stop in Memphis during the Synchronicity tour. Twenty-three years and some odd months later, I found myself in the city that Bud built, finally able to live that dream and erase the last of the two things that cicatrized my Father and I’s relationship. The first being him not letting me see KISS when I was in the first grade. I was obviously a neglected and unloved child. (I ended that one with the first KISS reunion tour)

We arrived Sunday afternoon to our hotel in sad, dreary sunny, beautiful Cahokia, IL. It was only 10 minutes from the concert arena and anything else would have put us in Crackville or set us back $200 a day. We decided that we were hungry and set off through the street of Cahokia in search of sustenance. The only non-fast food option in downtown Cahokia was a pizza place and Gann was pizza-ed out. He said that it would be ok with him but I decided to soldier on to downtown St. Louis to find something to satisfy us both.

A couple of miles later, I saw a sign that read “St. Louis Downtown” with “Airport” below that and an arrow instructing a left turn. Cool, downtown St Louie here we come. Well the sign was not pointing toward downtown St. Louis and/or the airport. It was directing us to the St. Louis Downtown Airport which, ironically enough, ISN’T in St. Louis. It’s in East St. Louis. Should I have turned around? Yep. Did I turn around? Nope. Hell, I could see the bridge and the famous arch from where we were. Downtown St. Louis from here? Easy peasey.

Uh huh. We got a little lost. We kept driving multiple circles through multiple projects, all the while that bridge and arch kept moving forward, always just out of reach like the end of some ghetto rainbow. In Columbus like fashion, we finally lucked on the route to St. Louis but not before being tagged with a reminder of beautiful and crime free East St. Louis.

There we found food. The pizza was great.

Later that night we ventured out in search of entertainment. And that entertainment was Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. Them ladies were right friendly. It’s a wonder what a naked-but-for-high-heels woman working for tips will do to the male ego. That’s enough about that.

Monday was the day of the show. I have to say it was all a little bittersweet. Sting, Stewart, and Andy pretty much stuck to the hits (except for Spirits In The Material World, dammit), which is fine, but they re-worked a lot of them. I am kind of anal a purist and would have rather heard them in the fashion that I have been used to since 1980. But they sounded great, especially Stewart, and just finally getting to seem them was worth it. Been nice if Pops would have let me go see them when the tickets were $15 not 15 squared, though. Less than a year ago, during a conversation about concerts, I said that I had pretty much seen everyone in concert that I had ever wanted except The Police. Now I can cross them off and toss the list, it’s finished. The only holdout is Prince, but he doesn’t play the dirty stuff. So unless he becomes a lapsed Jehovah’s Witness, I’m good.

It was back to Cahokia to rest before returning home. Cahokia is kind of a sad little town. It’s not rundown and crime-ridden like E. St. Louis. It’s just kind of worn out. But at least it’s not Sauget, the little village next door, pop. 249. Sauget consists of a water treatment plant, a Monsanto Plant that was tagged one of the Superfund sights by the government, a place that is a zinc factory, and some place that makes the most horrid propane-like stench I’ve ever encountered. All those plus two strip clubs and a 24-hour bar make Sauget your average family-oriented community. Gann and I are planning a road trip there soon. Read the sign. The other sign.

Family Fun for All

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Your life in 17 songs . . . .

I ran across this while reading CeeElCee’s blog and thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve never participated in one of those “tag you’re it/answer these questions” sort of thing before.  No one has ever asked, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise since nobody reads this blog.  I am positive that this has absolutely nothing to do with lack of writing skills or frequency of posts.  Someday the internet will finally stumble upon this hidden paragon of witticism.

Anyway, the rules:

First, fire up whatever you use for your music library (winamp, window’s media, itunes . . . blah blah).  Next, turn on shuffle mode (may have to drag the library location in the “open file” box, depending on what you use) and press play.  Answer the first question with whatever song plays first.  Hit “next” and answer the second, and so forth until all 17 are done.  No bullshitting, explaining, excusing, or posing.  Just the truth, warts and all.

Here are mine:

Opening Credits:  Across The Universe – The Beatles

Waking Up:  Under My Thumb – Social Distortion (Rolling Stones Cover)

First Day At School:  Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes

Falling In Love:  Perfect Situation – Weezer

Fight Song:  The Grudge – Tool

Breaking Up:  War – The Cardigans

Prom:  Speak – Queensryche

Mental Breakdown:  Let Me Sleep – PJ Harvey

Driving:  Love Is A Battlefield – Pat Benatar

Flashback:  Manifesto In G – Le Tigre

Getting Back Together:  Only A Memory – The Smithereens

Wedding:  Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope – Husker Du

Birth of Child:  Born Annoying – Helmet

Final Battle:  Baby Doll – N.E.R.D.

Death Scene:  Hard Times – Tora Tora

Funeral Song:  My Kickass Life – The Supersuckers

End Credits:  I’m Hurtin’ – Roy Orbison

A few interesting answers.  What’s it say about me?  Not a lot other than I may be slightly schizophrenic and I’ve probably downloaded way too much music.  Unless you are the RIAA, then I’ve legally purchased it all.

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The Plan:  Clutch, Little Rock, Five Friends

The Payoff: Clutch, Little Rock, Only Me

It was supposed to be me and some friends but they all fell out like dominos.  It was all “Hell yeah” three weeks before, two weeks before, and one week before but it was all “I’m broke” or the sounds of silence as the day grew nearer.  I even stooped to inviting The Ex.  I had been debating whether to take her or not.  It always seemed that, during the time we’ve been broken up, she always wormed her way into going to see concerts with me.  She’s done that to two Clutch shows and attempted to do it for a Drive-By Truckers show so I guess I kind of rebelled.  It’s not like I was holding out for a better date, I just wanted to either go to a show without her or at least get to invite her solely on the fact that I want to hang out with her, not because she’ll show up anyway.  So I invited her, in a roundabout way.

She had to go out of town for the day because of work and I had to hold out on starting the two hour drive while she decided if she could be back in time.  I got a lot of “I might not make it in time” and none of the yes or no I was looking for.  Nothing, as usual, is black and white with her.  Granted, I didn’t tell her we were going to see Clutch but I figure that if she wants to see me as much as she nags about, it should not matter what we were going to do.  She would later whine that I didn’t properly ask her out, just asked if she had plans.  Well, asking if someone “has plans” for a certain day is usually a precursor to asking them out.  If I had gotten yes or no answers instead of the multiple  “why’s”, I would have proceeded to the next step in the Asking Out process.  Closest I got was a “nothing concrete, why?”  Not my fault she had to weigh out her offers for entertainment.  She seems to be drinking from the same kool-aid that made her The Ex in the first place.  Thanks to her and the other turncoats, I went alone.

Not sure if it’s my choice of cologne or what but for some reason, at least at events that require standing to view, I am like catnip for people way over six feet tall.  There is some irresistible force that propels them to stand in front of me.  Never matters where I am at, up against a back wall, right up on the stage, or any point in between.  If there is at least three inches of space between me and whatever, some idiot of alpine stature will ensconce their stupid and usually heavily sweating ass in it.  Missing the first band and catching the second in the middle of their set, I decided to hang in back until Clutch took the stage.  I found a nice spot along the wall and attempted to take in what was left of the BellRays.  With in minutes, a pack of doofi consisting of two more-than-cornfed idiots and one, obvious to everyone but The Cornfeds, gay man decided to obstruct my viewing pleasure.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Brokeback’s gayness that bothered me, it’s the overwrought Rockin’ he was going to solidify his Man-ness.  Decided to move down the wall a bit, finding a place with a little ledge to lean on and a better view.  Soon to follow was Brokeback and The Cornfeds so they could check out the “Rockin’ shirts” (direct quote).  Guess resistance was futile and they, of course, stayed directly in front of me.

While Clutch’s gear was being set up, I went to find better vantage point which I found, half way to the stage with a nice rail to lean against.  The chick half of the couple in front of me decided to hop and sit on the rail for a better view.  Guess she’s into roadies.  That sparked a shouting match with another chic which, as usual, escalated into a lot of cock-rattling between their respective boyfriends.  The second boyfriend was part of a Tweaker posse, one of which I happened to know.  Tweak-That-I-Know decided to stand by me so after there was a detente between Supposed Badass #1 and #2, I got to witness #2 with his 1992 doo-ragged hair, eyes emblazoned circles of meth, vigorously knash his gum and bloat about what he would’ve done with Supposed Badass #1.

Thankfully Tweak Posse migrated forward when Clutch took the stage and I took my place back against the rail with less than three feet between me and the instigating couple.  Less than three feet that must have looked so very inviting that a tall jackass decided to fill it with a buddy in tow.  He was a Fist Pumper who accented his arm flexing with devil horn, fat Elvis in Vegas moves during his fav songs.  His cohort was what Marv’s little brother would’ve looked like if he was a Hot Topic wannabe metal kid with Vinnie Vincent hair.  Thankfully I had brought my vaunted Kodak One-Time with 2X Zoom.  Wielding the Mighty Flash of Relegation, I temporarily blinded Fist Pumper and he staggered off to recover for most of the show.  And don’t even get me started on another idiot beside me who obviously missed Steven Seagal calling to get his hair back.  Oh, yeah, I was supposed to write about the show so. . . .

Again, thanks to The Ex-induced lateness, I missed the first band and caught The BellRays half into their set.  They weren’t bad.  “Not bad” being that they weren’t the usual Mastadon/High On Fire, chug-chug type shit that’s been the norm for Clutch openers.  They did have a couple of good songs and the lead singer was a black woman with the largest Afro I’ve ever seen.  She could definitely carry more stuff in it than Sweet Lou from the Super Globetrotters.

Clutch, as usual, was the shit.  Watching lead singer Neil Falon alone is worth the ticket price.  His stage antics are a mixture of that ubiquitous drunk guy at music fests that is grooving to a song no one else hears, a crazed homeless man maniacally preaching apocalypse on a street corner, and my friend Guigui’s version of dancing.  I know you don’t know who Guigui is but he is French and the whitest motherfucker on the dance floor.  Just take my word, it fits.  Anyway, Clutch definitely rocked the place.  Juanita’s is a great venue to see them, it’s too small to escape the energy they have.  Guess the only bad mark was that Clutch ventured a little too much into “jam band” territory.  You want to jam out a tune or two during the night, fine.  Just don’t jam a couple of extra minutes into one song only to jam an extra couple of minutes into the proceeding one.  More than once.  If your roadie is getting a guitar solo, maybe you should tone it down a bit.  But as I’ve said somewhere before, a bad Clutch show is better than 90% of other bands “good” show and this wasn’t a bad Clutch show.  They are a must see if they travel to your area.  Hopefully you wear a different cologne or are taller than me.

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