Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thrashing is my business...and business is good

Today my show at KZSU was a suprise. The first hour went as usual, slow while I played a bunch of noisy/experimental stuff most of which worked. Eventually I move into the complicated prog of Uplison Acrux and the groovy 70's jams of Fuzzy Duck. I expected people to be tune out or at least maybe there was one weirdo listening.

Sure enough the moment I switched from "Pretty Much Metal" (Pelican) to REALLY FUCKIN' METAL (Dekapitator) everything changed. OK, I was also giving away tickets to see Megadeth at the Warfield but work with me here. Last week I tried to give away tickets to the same show and no one called. WTF? Last week I made it super easy, no trivia question or lame contest, just "be my second caller". I didn't even get a first caller.

Today the exact opposite happened. Right as I had the Dekapitator ready to go they were calling. I suppose if you make a recognizable "call to "battle" like "Alright you heshers and, yes NOW is the time (phone rings on air) ok...not right now! So...if you wanna go see Megadeth at the Warfield be my first's Dekapi-tA-TOOOOR!"

I actually made it even easier and gave 'em away to the first caller. There were 4 callers after him. I was flashing back to the intensity of 20 calls an hour of KSJS' "Brain Pain" (circa: 1992-93). I halfway expected the dudes (yeah they were all dudes) who rang up after the winner to call me "dudeplaySlayer". I've been referred to as such, I hold that in high esteem. Among the metalheads that called I got requests for Gwar, Soilwork, Light This City and Graf Orlock, which we didn't have, only one DJ seems to have that. Me thinks I should get off my ass and actually go see them play & nab their CD. I threw in Overkill, and a bunch of new stuff from an (un)holy Swedish trinity: Entombed, Candlemass and Marduk.

If that weren't enough - my friend & fellow Kevin Sullivan afficionado, Soy Ricardo called me to tell me a number of things he liked. SeƱor Ricardo does a really awesome show on Thursday mornings from 6-9am. His show is like what college/non-commercial radio should be: unpredictable, ever changing, weird and downright fun. There's nothing like hearing Totalitar at 7:15am while you're shaving.

I've made an attempt to give out the number for the station more often and try to improve my skills as a DJ. Even though it's been 10 years at KZSU (and 4 in the early 90's at KSJS) I'm still not a perfectionist. Some people in college/non-commercial really care, often too much about arcane facts like how many people are streaming the station. I pay a little attention to these things. However, it's more about that one guy or girl that calls and tells me they like what I do whether it's one of my good friends or a complete stranger. This is what's important and this is what's real.

"I don't care if we play in front of two people or two thousand people if someone likes us that's great" - Steve Albini, Big Black sometime in the 1980's

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dragonships are charging through the waves!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

12:45 PDT DUBLIN, Ireland (AP)

Viking Ship Completes 1,000-Mile Journey

"A replica Viking ship sailed triumphantly into Dublin's harbor Tuesday after attempting to re-enact the arduous 1,000-mile journey Scandanavian warriors made more than a millenium ago.

But this time around, there was a little towing with the rowing, and absolutely no pillaging.

The six-week journey of the ship "Stallion of the Sea" crossed the waters of northern Europe from Scandinavia, around Scotland and into the Irish Sea, retracing the path of Vikings who invaded Ireland. At times, it passed through violent waters and high winds.

Spectators cheered and sailors blew their horns as the ship drew into the harbor in Dublin, which was founded by Vikings in the 9th century.

The 65-member crew was overjoyed upon arrival.

"Of course we're happy," Capt. Poul Nygaard told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Tonight we will be celebrating in an Irish pub."

Danish culture minister Brian Mikkelsen, watching the ship arrive, chose the occasion to apologize for the Viking invasions of Ireland.

"In Denmark, we are certainly proud of this ship, but we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings," Mikkelsen said. "But the warmth and friendliness with which you greet us today and the Viking ship show us that, luckily, it has all been forgiven."

The Vikings, who hailed mainly from Denmark but also from neighboring Scandinavian countries, plundered Ireland and Britain through the eighth and ninth centuries, briefly conquering a vast stretch of England. Denmark's royal family traces its lineage to Viking king Gorm the Old, who died in 958.

Experts have long wondered at the Vikings' navigational prowess and the ship was intended to simulate the conditions of a Viking voyage from Scandinavia to Ireland. But it carried some decidedly un-Viking-like equipment — a support ship, global positioning systems, radar, radio, life jackets, survival gear and satellite weather forecasts.

The initial plan was to travel nonstop from Roskilde to Dublin relying only on the wind and raw rowing power — like Viking warriors did 1,000 years ago. But when the winds were not cooperative, the crew stowed their oars and had their vessel towed 345 miles across the North Sea.

Nevertheless, the experiment has proven the seaworthiness of Viking vessels, said Anton Englert, a curator at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, where the original is on display. He said it would have been too difficult — and dangerous — to completely recreate the original sea crossing.

"We modern people cannot in the course of one summer season make up for the navigational experience and feeling of weather-hardened Viking Age professionals," he said in an e-mail.

The crew had been blogging from the boat and well-wishers could follow the progress using satellite imagery by Google Earth.

The 100-foot Stallion is a replica of a Viking ship believed to have been built in 1042 in Glendalough, Ireland. The craftsmen who built it used Viking-era tools.

Englert said the ship's arrival in Ireland would close an archaeological circle, returning a copy of the ship to where the original was made.

The replica will be kept at the National Museum of Ireland, which is dedicating a special exhibition to the Sea Stallion before it sails back to Denmark next year.

The ship's crew came from Britain, Ireland, the United States, Germany, Australia and Scandinavia."

Apparently there's a country called Scandinavia? Regardless of that error this is a great story. I've seen the real thing before, up close at Oslo's Viking Ship Museum (aka: Vikingskipshuset) which was quite stunning. I highly recommend it, you will not be disappointed.

The only thing to do now is to drink mead and listen to...Amon Amarth? Unleashed? Bathory? No, it's onward to the viking metal might of Enslaved.

"Strokes from oars could be heard, beautiful ships gushed through the sea. Like a wind from the north, our ancestors reached the shore"

from "793 (The Battle of Lindisfarne)/793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne)"

Hail the brave crew of the Stallion of the Sea!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Like A Camat From 'Da Sky!

From 1982-89 I was hugely into Pro Wrestling. In the Spring of 1982, Danny (yes, the same born-against Christian, Danny) told me about Georgia Championship Wrestling on WTBS. Over the next few weeks heschooled me on the "who's who" with names like Buzz Sawyer, Stan "The Lariat" Hansen and the Don "Magnificent" Muraco. Interestingly, Georgia Championship Wrestling was the highest rated show on WTBS in 1982. I left it behind the for awhile likely due to my BMX & growing metal obsessions. In 1984 & early 1985 I watched the World Wrestling Federation. Danny, Danny's dad & I went to see a WWF show at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. While we had nosebleed seats we could still make out some of the action between Sgt. Slaughter vs. the Iron Shiek. We also saw the high flying Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and the "inbred-freak" looking Moondogs. While I thought the WWF was good, I only watched it maybe every other week.

The Moondogs circa: 2003 with valet April

Sgt. Slaughter with ex-NWA/WCW jobber George South who now jobs for Jesus.

The clincher was in the Summer of '85. My friend Steve & I took a one day construction job in San Jose. We were responsible for cleaning out debris from a bunch of apartments. During lunch Steve told me about the wrestling show on WTBS. It was now called "World Championship Wrestling". He told me about guys like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and The Midnight Express. He gave me the scoop on all the story lines and who was the bad guy and who was the good guy. The next Saturday afternoon came around I watched and I was hooked. If Steve had to work or if I had guitar lessons that day we'd fill each other in on what happened. It wasn't long that were were even arguing who was cooler or tougher - Ric Flair or Dusty Rhodes

I became more of a casual fan in the early 90-mid 90's. I watched wrestling probably once a month. I was in the midst of college and work. I also discovered an amazing concept called "relations with girls". Besides, looking back the characters and story lines in this time mostly sucked. I went back to watching the WWF & WCW around 1997 until about 2002. In this era there were a few things that stuck out like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin whose "Texas badass" character was really cool for awhile. That is until his catch phrase became "What?". Literally the word "what". Who writes this shit? The Rock was also fun to watch. While his mic skills were always ace, but his moves like "The People's Elbow" were pretty lame.

Although, the best was watching the hour-long, no bullshit, Extreme Championship Wrestling on TNN. My roommate Michael & I watched it every Friday night. Shows ya what lives we had.

Getting back to the 1980's, one wrestler whose image I was obsessed with, Kevin "Prince of Darkness" Sullivan. Sullivan for many years was a mystery. I only knew about him from the proto-black metal looking photos and random Florida territory reports published in the magazines like Wrestling All-Stars and Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Sullivan's ex-wife Nancy appears in the first clip below as the young girl. In the mid-90's they split up and she married Chris Benoit. In recent months you've probably read about the tragic end of that relationship.

Kevin Sullivan's "awesome factor" was his combination of bizarre imagery and original, crazy mic skills. While his character was supposed to be a satanist he never mentioned satan or wore any satanic symbols. Was it because some born-again Florida nut job might want to kill him? Instead of the devil or hell he spoke about the "betel nut" and an obscure prophet named "Abbabuddahdeen". Pro Wrestling Illustrated listed him hailing from Singapore. While not as strange as "Parts Unknown", Singapore was likely thought of as a satanic paradise that was run by rotund guys with strong Boston accents.
True Floridian Black Metal Wrestling - None Shall Defy!

After working the Florida territory Sullivan showed up on the "World Championship Wrestling" show. One week he wore a Nasty Savage shirt. When I told Steve that it he said the previous week (that I missed) Sullivan wore a Mercyful Fate shirt. Soooo METAAAAL! Steve was in Nasty Savage's fan club. The band's frontman Nasty Ronnie was obsessed with wrestling AND he was in a killer metal band. So maybe we weren't dorks after all? Ronnie would later go into wrestling in the late 80s with a local Florida based organization. (IWF?)
This one went on my wall in '85

Here are 3 classic moments from the Prince of Darkness involving his feud with "Superstar" Billy Graham.

Part 1 shows Sullivan with his manager Sir Oliver Humperdink fighting Kendall Windham and Nancy Sullivan (aka: "Cindy Lou") and then turning on his tag team partner "Superstar" Billy Graham. Graham's biblical counterpoint is straight out of an Ed Wood movie. Classic!

Part 2 "I Yam In Ya Soul And Yam In Yah Haht"

Sullivan and Graham go "weirdo a weirdo" yet again.

Finally, look below for the 3rd part of this unholy trinity. Sullivan & King Curtis (along with horde o' evil) speak of a far travelling guru. Whereas, their opponents Blackjack Mulligan and Superstar Graham claim Sullivan is talking "backwards" and call out the "chairman of the board". (Sinatra?) Listen for Superstar's AMAZING "Armageddon Freestyle".

Unfortunately chapter 3 is a wash in "this no longer available". However, here's Sullivan's pre-Sunn O)) ritual. voice over by the late, great Sir Oliver Humperdink. Someone needs to mix in Beherit or Blasphemy of this.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Would you pay $1.25 for this?

My friend The Big Chief recently told me about some major CD scores he made at the Dollar Store. It's actually the $1.25 Store nowadays. Maybe the 25¢ extra pays for the poor schlubs that have to work there? Following Chief's sagely advice I went there yesterday afternoon. Among my many finds was a hard rock & metal compilation of disasters anxiously waiting to plague my ears. The order is song/artist/original artist.

1. Falling In Love - Marq Torien/George Lynch [Scorpions]
2. Welcome To The Jungle - Kevin DuBrow (Interface mix) [Guns n' Roses]
3. Rag Doll - Ted Nugent [Aerosmith]
4. Unchained - Jack Russell/Dweezil Zappa (KMFDM mix) [Van Halen]
5. Still Of The Night - Steve Grimmett Of Grim Reaper [Whitesnake]
6. I Want You To Want Me - Jani Lane [Cheap Trick]
7. Rock Brigade - Joe Leste [UFO]
8. No More Mr. Nice Guy - Roger Daltrey/Slash [Alice Cooper]
9. Iron Maiden - Paul Dianno ['Maiden]
10. Tie Your Mother Down - Lemmy/Ted Nugent (Die Krupps mix) [Queen]
11. Walk All Over You - Dee Snider/Scott Ian (Synical mix) [AC/DC]
12. Misty Mountain Hop - Taime Downe (Sigue Sigue Sputnik mix) [Led Zeppelin]
13. Live Wire - Steve Summers Of Pretty Boy Floyd (Die Krupps mix) [Motley Crue]
14. In League With Satan - Voi-Vod [Venom]
15. Creeping Death - Physical Attraction (Filter Section mix) [Metallica]

The good:

* Roger Daltry & Slash - I always thought Daltry & Alice Cooper's voices sounded kinda similar and this works rather well. Would be ever better if they did a video with some rockin' out Muppets.

* Di'anno - Naturally Di'anno aces a song he's been singing for most of his career. For all his bitching about getting booted from the band he knows that this is his bread & butter. Hardly anyone cares about his "pomp rock" album or Battlezone.

The not too bad:

* Marq Torien & George Lynch - I never thought I'd like anything associated with Bulletboys but this is decent. The vocals are pretty Klaus Meine-y and the guitars work pretty well.

* Steve Grimmett - it would go in the 3rd category but Grimmett knows how to wail on the mic like Coverdale did in the original. Plus the added relief of not having to view Tawny Kitean humping a Jaguar. (Though I didn't seem to have a problem with that when I first saw it. Hmm...)

* Lemmy & Duh Nuge - Lemmy sounds awesome the guitar could use a little more "oomph" though and the random electronic bits are unnecessary. Me thinks Lemmy could kill Ted with his bare hands.

* Voi Vod - They got the riff but Snake's vocals are REALLY awful and sound like a dying robot in the chorus. It's about 1/2 good. Their cover of "Witching Hour" on the "War & Pain" reissue however, kills!

The ugly & unbearable

* Kevin Dubrow - G n'R with some has been singer (kinda like G n'R now, eh?) singing over chopped up riffs and clunky "club" beats.

* Ted Nugent - Already covering an already shitty Aerosmith track. This is hopeless, just like Ted.

* Jack Russell & Dweezil Zappa - Ugh! Completely unrecognizable sounds like a mix of Vince Neil, C+C Music Factory and a video game with a hint of guitar wank.

* Jani Lane & The Mission UK - More electro-rock clutter with some "almost but not quite Robin Zander" vocals. If I didn't know who it was it might actually be Robin but I know he'd never stoop THIS low. For the love of Bun E. Carlos, make it stop!

* Joe Leste of Bang Tango - Making a perfectly decent Def Leppard (from their "yes, it's actually good" first album) song into pure generic hard rock.

* Dee Snider & Scott Ian - So this is what they do when they're not on VH-1. What the fuck is this? AC/DC with a techno beat breakdown? AC/DC is about guitars! 'nuff said.

* Tamie Downe - Seriously don't! There's far too much Zeppelin played on the radio and way too many cover songs. Cock rock with electronic beats? Yeesh.

* Steve Summers - Motley Crue with loud-hip hop beats? The vocals sound exactly like Vince Neil. Summers is from Pretty Boy Floyd? That CAN'T be a real band, right?

* Physical Attraction - Remixed by the band that did "Hey Man, Nice Shot". Horrendously fucking up an already perfect song. EBM beats with a nu-metal vibe. Sounds like every video game movie soundtrack ever made.

So, if you've ever had the need to hear what an already lame cover of Van Halen would sound like with a techno beat - then here's your chance. There's no note about who's actually in the mysterious band called Physical Attraction. Considering how awful they sound, it's probably best left unknown.

I safely (?) got the single disc version of the CD. There's a another version with a bonus live Bang Tango disc. Bang Tango? and live? Someone's selling it for $10 on eBay I wonder if there's a desperate soul with $18.99 who needs it right now.