Exclusive Beetlejuice interview

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to interview Beetlejuice of Howard Stern wack pack fame.

Because many of Beet's thought-provoking answers had explicit language, I did two versions of the interview.

1. The original Beetlejuice interview I did for my job at phillyBurbs.com.

2. The uncensored Beetlejuice interview at marksfriggin.com.

Both have different content and are worth reading if you are a Beetlejuice fan.

Thanks to Beet, Sean and Friggin' Mark for helping out with these interviews.

Adopt a homeless pet in Delaware

The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Faithful Friends Inc., Forgotten Cats Inc. and other animal rescue groups are working together on a statewide effort in Delaware to reduce the number of pets who are put to death because homes cannot be found.

Where to adopt a pet in Delaware:

Gas explosion next door

Last week there was a gas explosion in the house next door, which you can read about here.

Fortunately our house is intact, although there appears to be some structural damage. Still waiting on inspectors, engineers and insurance companies to give us the lowdown.

I wasn't home when the explosion happened, but several neighbors tell me it was loud and even rattled their windows. The best news is that our dogs, Kitty, Jazz and Augie are all OK, but were a little shaken by the explosion.

Archmere Academy graduate claims sexual abuse

Why am I not surprised to read that Archmere Academy graduate, Kenneth Whitwell, is suing Archmere Academy and the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington for alleged sexual abuse?

You can read the story here. (link no longer active)

Here's a summary of the lawsuit.

Several things struck me about this article. First, I had the priest referenced in the article as a teacher. Whitwell's assertion rings true to me - a few of the priests who taught at Archmere while I attended definitely had groups of boys that were almost groupies in a sense - they hovered around them and had relationships which on the surface, seemed to go beyond the typical teacher-student relationship.

Second, what male who attended Archmere in the mid-'80s doesn't remember walking the school halls and getting their behind groped by a certain someone? I mean, inappropriate touching happened to me on more than one occasion! It's worth noting that it's pretty easy to dismiss or ignore the intermittent ass grab when you're that young.

But looking back, it was almost a rite of passage, because it seemed like an open secret. The guy even had a nickname, which everyone I knew referred to, so I know it just wasn't limited to me. A lot of people experienced it. A few random instances of grabass, I can live with. But the type of incident Whitwell is claiming is much more serious.

But even as a young teen who was having a really tough time fitting into the clique/Catholic hierarchy and student way of life at the prestigious private high school, it was evident there was some type of monkey business going on behind the scenes.

I applaud Kenneth Whitwell for coming forth with his claims. It took a lot of nerve to go public with such a private story that has undoubtedly caused him a lot of personal pain and embarssment. I'll be looking forward to see how this matter plays out.

Mitch Hedberg tribute on Sirius

I got a pleasant surprise when I turned on Sirius this afternoon on my drive home from work. Raw Dog channel 104 did a two hour tribute to Mitch Hedberg featuring his wife Lynn Shawcroft and Doug Stanhope.

They played a lot of previously unheard Mitch stuff and told a bunch of stories of how great Mitch was. I tried calling in, but I got disconnected after 90 minutes on hold, which was a bummer.

Lynn sounded like a cool chick.

Check out mitchhedberg.net.

Going Underground book

I'm reading George Hurchalla's book, "Going Underground" right now.

It's a really good account of the American punk underground with quotes from old fanzine interviews as well as some first person recounting by the author.

The fact that Hurchalla documents a lot of the Philly punk scene (he grew up on the east coast) resonates with me since I turned onto a lot of the same bands and shows he discusses (e.g., McRad, Electric Love Muffin, Fugazi playing in the parking garage at Drexel).

Anyway, it's a good read and a nice companion to "American Hardcore."

I have a crapload of other stuff I want to read. It takes me a long time to read a book because my attention span for reading books is so poor.

Carrie Underwood's new CD, "Some Hearts" track by track

I wrote a review of Carrie Underwood's new CD, "Open Hearts" for work. You can read it here, if you're so inclined.

Riot Fest 2005 pics and wrap-up

MXV from The Punk Vault has some great pictures from Riot Fest 2005, held in Chicago.

Some legendary bands played including The Germs, Dead Kennedys, The Angry Samoans and The Effigies.

Thanks for the great pics Mike!

Riot Fest 2005 day one
Riot Fest 2005 day two
Riot Fest after party at The Exit

Dave McGurgan writing samples

Updated July 2008. A selection of various writing styles including print and Web marketing, editorial content, advertorial, promotional copy, medical, pop culture and entertainment blogging. For more samples, please e-mail me.

Marketing/Promotional/Affiliate-driven content:

Joy Division DVD, CD & Vinyl Giveaway - Conceived and implemented contest to promote phillyBurbs.com must-have music content, build traffic and affiliate sales and generate new user registration.

Must-Have Movie Guide (phillyBurbs.com) - Conceived, created and maintain this evergreen movie guide to build traffic and affiliate sales in the entertainment sections. Oversee and edit submissions from staff, write content and promote it within site. Also see Must-Have Music Guide.

9 to Fried - Print and Web campaign to raise awareness of phillyBurbs' irreverent goof-off-while-you're-at-work blog, 9 to Fried. Worked with editorial and marketing teams to create Web site banners, print ads and billboards.


Super Lawyers magazine: Freelance writer since 2006. Write advertorial profiles of attorneys. Interview and research clients. Interact with production manager and editor to ensure content consistency.
Sample profile: Hinkle Elkouri Law Firm L.C.C., Kansas

"Get Carried Away With Bags and Totes" (Promotional Marketing Magazine) - Freelance assignment for Promotional Marketing Magazine. Interviewed sales representatives and researched promotional bag industry.

"Managing Cancer Registries, Battling Cancer" (For The Record Magazine) - Freelance assignment for health information management professionals trade publication. Conducted in-depth research on state and national cancer registries as well as interviews with cancer doctors and tumor registrars.

McG's favorite drummers circa 2005

Here are my five favorite drummers:

1. Damon Che (Don Caballero) - Utterly brilliant and extremely unique. Long over due for significant recognition.

2. Paul Bostaph (Slayer) - His drumming on the last three Slayer records is just fan-friggin-tastic.

3. Derrick Bostrom (Meat Puppets) - He's got a straightforward sensibility that is second to none. Check the beats on "Up on the Sun."

4. Grant Hart (Husker Du) - Whether it was thrash or punk-pop, I learned how to play drums listening to Grant Hart's manic presence.

5. Rey Washam (Big Boys, Rapeman) - Exceedingly skilled drummer with lots of finesse.

McG on the Ramones

Here's a spiel I wrote about the Ramones for work.
Review: Restaurant 821 gets it right

It's rare that I'll step up to the plate and plunk down $100 for dinner, an evening at Restaurant 821, which came to $102, and was well worth the money.

I recently took Kelly to 821 to celebrate her birthday. Being a creature of Internet habit, I first checked Restaurant 821's Web site for more info. They have a clean, well-designed site that features restaurant info and a menu.

They also accept reservations online, a function I decided to use. The reservations were made in seconds and I received a confirmation e-mail within seconds. In the special comments section I noted we'd be celebrating Kelly's birthday and requested a dessert with a candle after the meal.

The meal began with fresh bread, which I believe may have been baked in house. The bread was served with olive oil and roasted garlic – no butter, which is fine as the oil and garlic was sufficient.

The waiter, quiet, but on top of his game, then brought out a complimentary appetizer of sorbet. The sorbet was unlike any I've ever had. It was made from fresh tomatoes and tasted like frozen V8. Kelly enjoyed it, but I didn't care for it. No harm, no foul as it was on the house.

Kelly had a martini of some sort that she said tasted interesting, while I had a Buckler non-alcoholic beer. There was an additional wait staff on hand that refilled our water glasses regularly.

For an appetizer, I had McGregor's Farm Baby Greens which were absolutely delicious and topped with a tasty, but somewhat tart raspberry vinaigrette. It also came with Mascarpone Crostini, which tasted good, but I have no idea what that actually is. Kelly had the house smoked Mozzarella which came with some tasty McGregor's Farm Heirloom Tomatoes, that were very firm and ripe.

For the meal, I had the steak of the day which was cooked as ordered (well-done) and was drenched in a light sauce. It also came with some of the best potatoes I've had in recent memory and topped with some hard pieces of bacon. There was just enough food – not an oversized portion by any means – but very filling. Kelly has scallops and while she enjoyed them, she said my dish had more flavor.

At this point, Kelly excused herself to go the bathroom and the waiter brought dessert menus. I hadn't mentioned the birthday dessert and I figured they had overlooked the note I e-mailed in with my reservation. I ordered cheesecake and to my surprise – they hadn't forgotten her birthday after all. Instead of a candle, the edge of the plate was decorated in a light chocolate sauce. It was discreet, but perfect. And on the way out, the hostess wished Kelly a happy birthday.

While I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy 821, the meal and the dining experience only got better as the evening progressed and I left the restaurant feeling that the value for the price was excellent and that I had made the right choice in choosing where to celebrate Kelly's birthday.
Greyhounds Reach the Beach, Dewey Beach, Delaware 2005 pics

A few weekends ago, I made my first visit to the annual 'Greyhounds Reach the Beach' this past weekend in Dewey Beach, Delaware. I met hundreds of gorgeous greyhounds as they walked on the beach and as they made their way up to Rehoboth Beach, where I stayed.

Dave McG's 2005 Greyhounds Reach the Beach photo gallery

If you see pictures of your hound, drop me an e-mail at dmcgurgan@phillyburbs.com and let me know which one(s) is yours and I'll add a caption with the info.

I got to meet Marilyn Varnberg of Greyhound Adoptions of Florida and Boggles, one of the many special dogs that Marilyn and her organization help keep alive.

While they are racing, many greyhounds are fed a poor diet, spend most of their time in cages and get the bare minimum in proper vet care. And they don't get to experience the love that a family and children can provide.

There are many retired greyhounds right in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware areas that need homes. Greyhounds are one of the most gentle and lovable dogs you will ever meet.

For more information about greyhounds, check out Greyhounds Adoptions of Florida Northeast Chapter and the Greyhounds Reach the Beach official site.
Dean Dirg rocks my world

Dean Dirg
"26 Kicks to Make the Whole World Pay"
CD (Dead Beat, 2005)

Holy crap! Germany's Dean Dirg kicks out some badass hyper punk on "26 Kicks to Make the Whole World Pay." The CD, released domestically by Dead Beat Records, compiles the band's 2004 LP "The Last Kid on the Block" and 2002's "Dean Dirg" LP.

Musically speaking, Dean Dirg is akin to the manic thrash of Henry Fiat's Open Sore, which means they play ridiculously fast and full throttle. Standout tracks include "Everyone Back Off!" and "!!!!" which are super speedy anthems that sound like the Hives' "Barely Legal" or Circle Jerks' "Group Sex" played at 45.

This is really intense modern punk that I regret not discovering sooner. I wish more bands would adopt this style of ultra-quick blasts of mega-high energy punk rock and roll, because it rocks my friggin' world.

MP3: Dean Dirg - 'Everyone Back Off!'
MP3: Dean Dirg - '!!!!'
Dirtnap Records PayPal special

Dirtnap Records has a great deal: 3 CDs for $25 ppd. in the USA when you pay by PayPal.

I'd recommend you pick up the following:

The Marked Men - "On the Outside" - One of my favorite records of 2004. Great punk/pop a la The Dickies.

The Pulses - "Gather Round and Destroy All Our Records" - Haven't heard this one (their latest) but I loved their 1st record. Clever indie pop with just enough quirks to make it interesting.

The Spits - "The Spits" - Insanely retarded punk rock. Think The Ramones dumbed down to their bare essence.

Tell Ken I sent you.
The Circle Jerks - Live at the House of Blues DVD

Out of all the recent punk videos that I’ve seen recently (Government Issue Live 1985, X Live in Los Angeles and Punk: Attitude), I was surprised when I concluded that The Circle Jerks Live at the House of Blues is the best.

Professionally recorded and filmed, the band rips through a 30+ song set in 60 minutes. Admittedly the band members, all in their early 40s now, are considered old farts by many skeptics - myself included. But this DVD proves once and for all the might, power and tightness of America's all-too-great hardcore punk band.

Guitarist Greg Hetson (of Bad Religion fame) seems at ease on stage and totally in sync with bassist Zander Schloss, who also does time in The Weirdos. Drummer Kevin Fitzgerald is the most recent "new" member of the group. While his drumming style with The Geraldine Fibbers was sublime, his playing is precise on manic thrashers such as “Deny Everything” and “I Just Want Some Skank.” Singer Keith Morris is perhaps THE best singer of early ‘80s punk scene and I'm proud to report that his shrill and intense voice still as crisp as it did on the classic 1983 LP, "Group Sex."

As for the performances, the band plays nearly all the hits and is wickedly tight throughout. Perhaps the best thing about this DVD is the four-song encore, where the Circle Jerks pay their respects to hardcore history performing Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" and The Weirdos' "Solitary Confinement."

Also worth a laugh is the commentary by Schloss and Morris, who are self-aware that they are middle-aged punkers playing what is traditionally thought of as a young man’s game. But they’re also cognizant of the fact that the Circle Jerks blow away a good chunk of current punk bands, and phony poseurs such as Sum 41 and Green Day who cleaned up their punk sound to appease corporate America.

If you’re a Circle Jerks fan, don’t hesitate checking this DVD out. And if you’re not a Circle Jerks fan, do yourself a favor and go buy their classic album, “Group Sex” and discover an amazing piece of hardcore history.

Buy The Circle Jerks - Live at the House of Blues DVD at videouniverse.com

Recommended listening:
Circle Jerks - "Group Sex"
Black Flag - "First Four Years"
Weirdos - "Weird World, Volume One "
Bad Brains - "Bad Brains"
Two articles in current Delaware Today

I have two articles in the September issue of Delaware Today.

One is a preview of the Rehoboth Jazz Festival and the other is a preview of Greyhounds Reach the Beach.

I'll be attending Greyhounds Reach the Beach in Dewey next month - It'll be my first time.

I'm currently working on two articles for Delaware Today's Health and Fitness Guide.
Review: Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution

I write my review of Kevin Booth's "Agent of Evolution" from a unique perspective. In 2000 through 2001, I worked with Kevin to put together this biography of late comedian Bill Hicks. I recorded well over 50 hours of interviews with Kevin, spent time in Austin and Houston hanging out as well as visiting all of Bill's old haunts including El Azteca.

I spent time at the ranch were Kevin and Bill had their legendary alien encounter and even visited the dedication of a rebuilt church at the site of the Waco-Koresh disaster, where Bill and Kevin videotaped during the original Waco siege. Kevin and I backtracked to his old high school and interviewed some of Bill's teachers. And Kevin shared stories and showed me photos and videos of him and Bill together some of which have yet to see the light of day - and probably never will.

During this time I heard much of the AOE story firsthand. I got to know Kevin Booth on a professional and personal level and understand the complexities of his relationship with Bill Hicks. Much of what Kevin shared with me is in AOE, essentially verbatim as I heard it.

Through no fault of Kevin's, after a year's worth of progress, I realized that I was no longer in the frame of mind to work on the book. In short, the project's demands exceeded the resources I was able to devote. Kevin made a wise choice by recruiting writer Michael Bertin, who admittedly did a much better job writing this book than I could have at the time.

The book is not perfect – no biography could ever hope to be. But the book is perhaps the most spot-on and detailed portrait of Bill Hicks to date. And many of these stories are Kevin's recollections and egocentric. That is to be expected. AOE is not only the story of Bill Hicks' career and who he was as a person. AOE is also the story of two friends that despite traveling two very different paths, worked together to create movies, videos, funny skits, music and comedy records.

In the seven years that I've been a fan of Bill Hicks' work and known Kevin Booth and followed his work with Sacred Cow, one thing is clear. Kevin is perhaps the one constant in keeping the spirit of Hicks alive. Not only with this book and the "Sane Man" video, but also with his collaborations with other comedians (Joe Rogan, Doug Stanhope) and personalities (Alex Jones) as well as continuing to make movies including the upcoming film on the drug war.

It's the spirit of creating art, making fun little projects and getting off your ass and doing things that fueled Kevin and Bill's relationship. And even though Bill Hicks is dead, Kevin has kept right on going making movies and music and now this book. He's willing to share everything he's got and for that, I applaud him.

AOE is a warts-and-all book, meaning Kevin Booth lets his guard down completely in recounting stories and events in his and Bill Hick’s lives. And some of these events are not pretty and not something to be proud of. But they are, according to Kevin, true stories. And I have no reason to doubt this.
Cold chillin'

Just another day in Wilmington, Delaware.

Someone at work just asked me for a link to the story about a Delaware woman who was injecting her child with feces.

Here it is.

Listening to Mike Lupica's "Hip Transistor" as I work on a Rolling Stones piece for work.

Took the dogs out to the dog park this afternoon and then to Concord Pet.

Concord Pet always has a lot of free samples and I scored some for the feral cats in the neighborhood, including one that is around so much that Kelly named her - Olivia.

I watched "Premonition" last night. It's a decent Japanese supernatural thriller, similar in vein to The Ring and The Grudge. Nothing stellar, but OK enough.

I finally watched the first four episodes of Weeds. It didn't knock my socks off, but it's definitely good and Elizabeth Perkins and Mary Louise Parker are both stellar in it.

Can't wait for the new season of "Huff." That is the only new TV show I even care about. The new fall season of TV doesn't even interest me.

Guess that makes me a TV snob.
Site Redesign

Thanks to Dave Koehler for the recent redesign of this site.
Philly pot service bust update

I heard a news story about a Philly pot distribution service getting busted in Philly almost two years ago, but never found any news reports on it.

Now philly.com has the details on the breakup of a $4M marijuana sales ring in Philly that operated from 1999 through 2003.

philly.com: 12 nailed as feds reach for grass ring
(need a user id/login info? try bugmenot.com)

Jody Fienman wrote an article back in 2002 for Spin magazine about New York City's pot delivery service.
Fuck MTV and the VMAs

Read my latest article, "Fuck MTV and the VMAs," "MTV Get Off the Air" at phillyBurbs.com.

Update: This article had a different title which I ended up changing to "MTV Get Off the Air" after talking it over with my boss.

I've used f*ck in a headline before, and he's generally lenient when it comes to using something like that. However the last time I did it, one reader complained and it really rocked the boat at work.

Anyway, you get the idea - I hate MTV and all it stands for.
Brian Jonestown Massacre - We Are the Radio

Brian Jonestown Massacre has had an impressive string of above average albums, with "Give it Back" and "Strung Out In Heaven" among their best. And while they've never had a bona fide breakthrough hit, on record they've repeatedly proved their worth.

Lazy critics have tended to overlook the band's music, choosing to focus on bandleader Anton Newcombe's off-and on-stage personality and the band's unpredictable live shows which range from the utterly brilliant to the terribly disastrous. And those who've only been exposed to BJM via the documentary, "Dig," are getting a rather skewed view of what the band's music actually sounds like, which is what really matters if you ask me.

The key point is that the band is responsible for creating a legacy of unabashed and emotionally charged rock and roll that is forward thinking and vital, while paying homage to the psychedelic folky sounds of bands such as The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers.

BJM's latest offering is "We Are the Radio," a five-track mini-album that presumably is a teaser to their next full-length. Newcombe, who has been known to take many an up-and-coming artist under his wing (ex-BJM members have gone on to form bands such as the inexplicably overrated Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Warlocks.)

Here he introduces Sarabeth Tuceck, a newcomer to the BJM fold whose droney and subdued vocal style (reminiscent of Opal's Kendra Smith), compliments the band's continued foray into quasi-psych pop sounds.

Key tracks include "God is My Girlfriend" which has an epic and urgent druggy feel to it and "Never Become Emotionally Attached to Man, Woman, Beast or Child," an upbeat track that exudes a somber '60s psych vibe.

Listen to stream of "God is My Girlfriend" at Tee Pee Records

MP3: BJM - "Never Become Emotionally Attached to Man, Woman, Beast or Child"

While this stopgap CD isn't likely to win the group any new fans, it is a decent enough holdover until the band unleashes its next proper record, which can't come soon enough.

There are plenty of MP3s over at brianjonestownmassacre.com.

Check out the Brian Jonestown Massacre discography at cduniverse.com
Two McG articles in Delaware Today

I have two articles in the September issue of Delaware Today.

The first is a profile of Greyhounds Reach the Beach in Dewey Beach as well as GAFNE, which is a local greyhound rescue group.

The second article is a preview of the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Autumn 2005 Festival.

The issue is for sale on newsstands now, but you can get a free copy through Delaware Today's free trial subscription offer.
Big Boys singer Randy 'Biscuit' Turner dead

You can read more info about the death of Biscuit here.

From austinchronicle.com:

"In the worst form of happenstance imaginable, Randy "Biscuit" Turner was found dead in his home late Thursday afternoon. Close friends had not heard from the local musician/artist for several days when Chronicle staff writer Marc Savlov, author of this week's cover story on the ebullient Austin icon, stopped by Turner's house to ascertain his whereabouts. Sensing something wrong, Savlov called the police, who arrived and found Turner's body inside.

As of 11:30am Friday morning, the medical examiner's initial autopsy report attributes cause of death to "gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to cirrhosis associated with chronic [alcohol] abuse." Although time/date of death has yet to be determined pending a final report from the medical examiner, it's believed that Turner, 56, had been dead for at least several days.

Needless to say, the entire Chronicle family is shocked and terribly saddened by this news. Pedazo Chunk, 2009 S. First, where Turner's art installation "Mental Volcano" was to be displayed this weekend, will instead host an informal wake tonight, Friday, Aug. 19, beginning at 7pm."
United States of Indecency

I decided to search for recent stories on indecency in the media.

I'm sad to report there is plenty anti-free speech activists and people attempting to censor 'The Land of the Free.'

For example:

I find it disturbing how and why Walmart plays a role in restricting content in Hollywood films.

In case you needed two more reasons not shop at Walmart, here you go:
1. The Wal-Mart Thought Police.
2. Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price

Decency activists are right in my own backyard.

William Devlin, a Christian activist in Philadelphia, is a jackass who has nothing better to do than to protest the Philadelphia Eagles' lingerie-themed cheerleader calendar.

Besides being an asshat, Devlin hasn't gotten the form letter complaint system down that places such as the American Family Association have perfected.

Speaking of my favorite group of loudmouth religious conservatives, the AFA wants you to protest against .xxx domains.

It seems that the AFA's letter writing campaigns have tapered off according to the LA Times, who say, complaints to the FCC are down sharply in '05.

It's likely due to fewer write-in campaigns, not necessarily cleaner TV and radio, officials say. Yeah, no shit.

Penny Young Nance, an admitted pro-life activist, became an FCC employee in July 2005.

More on Penny Young Nance and her decency crusades.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Penny Young Nance's previous role as a TV-indecency critic may spur a renewed FCC campaign against indecency.
Weird schedule

I've been working the early shift the past few days, covering for the news person who has been on vacation. My sleep schedule is all out of whack.

My latest masterpiece at work was creating photo galleries of what I feel are the forty foxiest celebrities.

This morning I read a moving story.

Listening to Mike Lupica's 'Hip Transistor' right now. This is my favorite radio show, second only to Howard Stern.

I'm sifting through all the links on Something I Learned Today right now.

I visited my grandmother today.

I bought her a Whitman's Sampler, which is her favorite candy. She was totally stoked and ate a bunch of them, then cleaned out the plate in her teeth. I could hear her cleaning it out - it was kind of gross.

I only had one piece - it was coconut. I did not have to clean my teeth after eating it.

I can appreciate the idea of limited edition records, but limited edition flavors of candy such as Almond Joy is a bit too much if you ask me.
World Trade Center audio

Today the FDNY released nearly 23 hours of recordings of 9/11 emergency response with transmissions from both EMS and FDNY units, covering the time-frame from about 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on September 11th.

Listen to audio of the World Trade Center attack.

More audio.

It's hard to believe that the government thinks that a country music concert is an appropriate way to commemorate 9/11, but it's true.
Hilary and Chelsea

About 11 years ago, I used to dog sit for a woman up in Greenville, DE.

The dogs were Hilary and Chelsea named after you-know-who.

The other day I got an e-mail out of the blue from the dogs' owner, Carolyn.

It turns out she remembered my zine, Yakuza, and googled me.

Carolyn said that Chelsea passed away and she got a grave marker for her.

She was so impressed with it that she started selling them at potterymakers.com.

So if you're looking for a unique way to make a little shrine or devote a space in your garden to your deceased pet, check out Carolyn's grave markers.
Two from the Buzzcocks

Note: This was originally published on May 25, 2000 shortly after the release of two Buzzcocks CDs, "Spiral Scratch" and "Time's Up."

For the past 25 years England’s Buzzcocks have toyed with, rewritten and loyally kept alive the three-minute pop-punk song. In that time, the group’s allegiance to loud guitars and catchy lyrics have earned them a large cult audience. The reissues of the Buzzcocks’ two earliest recordings, the “Sprial Scratch” EP (originally released as a 7-inch single) and the “Time’s Up” LP aren’t likely to win the group any new fans. However, for Buzzcocks devotees and punk rock connoisseurs alike, these CDs are essential nuggets of punk culture.

1976’s "Sprial Scratch,” the group’s very first release, finally gets its premiere official CD release (after appearing in bootlegged form throughout the years.) The record, a short, four-song blast of energy, unbridled enthusiasm and snotty vocals accurately represents the angst and excitement of the mid-‘70s punk scene in England. Taking cues from Johnny Rotten, vocalist Howard Devoto sounds like a tensed up schizo on “Breakdown.” Musically though, the Buzzcocks surpassed the Sex Pistols in sheer velocity and such tracks as “Boredom” blitz through initial sketches of what would become the group’s catchy verse/chorus framework.

MP3: Buzzcocks - "Boredom" (from "Spiral Scratch")

By the time of their first album, “Time’s Up,” the Buzzcocks had already written many of the songs they would become famous for including “Orgasm Addict” and “Love Battery.” However the group had yet to fully mature musically. Drummer John Maher’s clumsy time keeping is preserved on tape as is the group’s failure to gel as a whole. Still the charm of three chords, a distortion pedal and a ferocious singer is evident on “Friends of Mine,” which has all the anti-social trappings of a punk with a foot-high mohawk in the deep South.

MP3: Buzzcocks - "Orgasm Addict" (from "Time's Up")
Link: Buzzcocks discography at cduniverse.com

Singer Howard Devoto left the group after these two records were initially released and guitarist Pete Shelley took over vocal duties. This pivotal moment in the band's career sparked the beginning of a string of readily catchy singles (compiled exquisitely on “Singles Going Steady”) and the band’s explosive live shows.

By no means essential, “Sprial Scratch” and “Time’s Up” are curious punk artifacts worthy of picking up every now and then to reminisce about the birth of punk in England when bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Buzzcocks themselves were unstoppable.

Link: Buzzcocks official site
RSS feed update

Please take a second to make sure you are using my current RSS feed:

Dixon Edge Coulbourn: We've lost another one of us

Even though you may not know another punk rocker personally, often one feels bummed out to learn that someone whose life was influenced, guided or radically changed by punk rock dies.

So, I was definitely bummed when I went over to breakmyface.com and learned that Dixon Edge Coulbourn, who ran the amazing Texas punk zine and Web site, Idle Time, died just a few days ago.

I suggest you go over to Idle Time right now and aquaint yourself with all the work that Dixon did to document punk culture and specifically the Texas punk scene.
Julie Delpy

I finally got around to listening to Julie Delpy's self-titled CD.

I've really dug her acting for years now in films such as Voyager, White, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

You may remember at the end of Before Sunset, she sings a really sweet song called, "Waltz For a Night."

Unfortunately the version that appears on the soundtrack (and her own CD) is not the acoustic version that is in the film. Here is the studio version:

MP3: Julie Delpy - "Waltz For a Night"

... and here is the video of Julie Delpy's version from the film:

Julie Delpy is in the new Jim Jarmusch film, Broken Flowers, which I am looking forward to checking out.

I hope it's better than Coffee and Cigarettes which I really couldn't get into and turned off halfway through.

Link: Julie Delpy Tribute Site
American Idol's Kimberly Locke

I interviewed Kimberly Locke today for work.

In case you have no idea who she is, Kimberly was a finalist on season three of 'American Idol' and was one of the final three alongside Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

I know getting paid to write about AI and AI contestants is a dream come true for many, it's just another dopey thing I have to write about.

Speaking of which, season five of AI will be here at the beginning of next year, which means another three months of my life will be dedicated to following the show and chronicling it.

It's insane and sick how many people are into that show. I am not one of them.

But sometimes you have to do stuff you could care less about (or in my case HATE) to pay the bills.
CBGB spiel and photo gallery

I wrote a spiel about the best bands to come out of CBGB in the '70s which you can read here.

I also put together a CBGB photo gallery.

Spin has a good article about the movement to save CBGB.
'Corin' out

Strangereaction.com has the 1982 punk comp LP, The Master Tape, up for grabs. It's a shame this hasn't come out on CD. There was a second volume of The Master Tape LP as well.

I picked up a copy of Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotting Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982 which is an excellent collection of significant dates in punk history, which digs pretty deep into the history of punk and hardcore.

The book is well designed, well written and has lots of images. I recommend you pick up a copy.

I also got my copy of Going Underground, which is a strictly DIY effort chronicling American punk. The design and layout leaves a bit to be desired, but what do you expect from a punk rocker publishing his own stuff?!

Recent spins: Fucked Up, Dead Stop, 400 Blows, Torche.

Dressed For the H Bomb looks like a great punk MP3 blog.
Managing cancer registries, battling cancer

Here's an artice I wrote a few months ago for For The Record magazine about cancer registries.

Unless you work in the healthcare field and specialize in cancer registries or are a cancer registrar yourself, this article will be of no interest to you.

It does give you an idea of some of the freelance writing I do from time to time.

fortherecord.com: Managing Cancer Registries, Battling Cancer
Quick and dirty

The first episode of Extras aired last week on BBC2.

It will air in the USA on HBO sometime in the future - I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Thurston's Ecstatic Peace has plenty of links and videos to explore.

The Pope has a new CD on Wantage USA.

Check out The Morning News for some funny shit to read like this.

Vinyl Mine takes a look back at The Blasting Concept II LP.

Strange Reaction has some great old punk 7"s that you can check out.

Jim Jarmusch's new movie Broken Flowers comes out August 5. Trailer is online.
Find Delaware punkers

If you're looking to catch up dudes from the scene, you might want to check delawarehardcore.com.

It's not the most functional message board, but it definitely gets the job done.
Le Force

Josh over at Wantage USA has been hot on this band for a while.

I got their first CD in 2002 and while I was impressed, I couldn't get past the overt and undeniable influence The Fucking Champs have had on Le Force.

I put the CD away and forgot about them until last year when Wantage USA issued "Le Fortress" which has been in my "must-write-about-this-CD-on-my-Web-site" pile for ages now. So, on a night that I have total insomnia, I'm doing what anyone who can't sleep does - writing about a punk rock CD.

Anyway, yeah, Le Force still sounds quite similar to The Fucking Champs, which has pros and cons. Sure, there are many parallels: the two guitar/drummer line-up, the heavy metal chugging and intense riffing, the largely instrumental vibe of musicians who have an urgent need to rock hard.

And like The Fucking Champs as well as bands such as Federation X, Big Business and 400 Blows, Le Force is on to something really vital - making unapologetic kick-ass music. Their music is unapologetically fierce, strives for totalness and is laden with that never tiresome mid-'80s metal/punk crossover sound.

Where Le Force begins to establish its own identity is on the storming track is "Sometime Everybody Needs a Tissue (Trilogy)." The song is an unexpected blend of metal, punk and prog rock, throwing in some Opeth-like ballad-y passages and some expanded jams that recall the emotional din of Louisville, KY's Rodan.

The remainder of the album is more dense and heavier in tone, ranging from Judas Priest-esque moments of metalmania on "The Last Nail in My Coffin" and hinting at some of the emotional energy of "My War" on several tracks. Le Force ultimately pays homage to the heavy rock genre without without dulling it down with any touches of funk or nu metal.

"Le Fortress" may not go down as one of the seminal albums of the current decade, but it's clearly indicative that the band's next effort may very well be a mandatory release. And with a new band member o board and a new record due on Wantage USA later this year, Le Force's reign may officially begin very soon.

You can snag a bunch of Le Force MP3s over at their official site.
McG: The drumming days

I listened to Zen Arcade the other night for the first time in a long time. Man, back in the day I was hugely into Hüsker Dü and Grant Hart's drumming was a huge influence on my style and I learned a lot just by copying some of his style. Learning how to play drums was pretty easy for me. I'm by no means spectacular at it, like say Damon Che, but I can hold my own with most average or slightly above average drummers.

Playing music is something I don't really miss. I'm not sure why, because it was such a massive part of who I was growing up. I always say I stopped playing music because it was no longer fun. That is still true to this day. Plus I pretty much accomplished everything I wanted to do: tour, record in great studios like Albini's basement (pre-Electrical Audio, Water Music in Hoboken and play with some really killer people.

Plus I played in many, many bands such as Your Worst Nightmare, Moribund, The Stiffs, Big Bitch Magnet, Mustard Trucks, F.V.K./E.M.G., Carnal Ghia, Bonehead, Original Siamese Trio, Lettuce Prey, Vineland and El Tiante. I'm sure I'm leaving out one or two.

I guess after doing it so much, I saw that there was more to life and people who were far more talented than me struggled on a daily basis to make ends meet. There is only so far an independent musician can go in America before hitting a ceiling that requires you to either stay at that level, or try to make that jump to that fictional "next level" and become professional, get a major label deal, etc.

I often get e-mails from people asking how they get a record deal, how to generate major label interest, etc. I always tell them the same thing. You don't need it. Making music should be done on your own terms. Not someone else's. There is nothing wrong with releasing your own music on your own record label. That's how punk rock started!

People need to recognize that a record deal, in most cases, doesn't mean shit and doesn't guarantee you a damn thing. I encourage people to do their own thing, make their own records, and just get out there and do it. If you waste time waiting for someone to come along and help you out, in most cases you will be stifling your efforts before even getting out of the gate.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, go start your own band, make your own records, go do your own thing. Not only is there nothing wrong with doing those things – in fact there is no other acceptable way to create music.
Busy dude

I hate when people say, "Oh, I've been soooooo busy, blah, blah, blah" and make excuses for things they haven't done.

But in my case, it's true!

In recent weeks, I've interviewed an unlikely trilogy of musicians: Federation X, Hugh Masekela and Wanda Jackson.

I also covered Live 8 and gave negative reviews of performances by Pink Floyd and Bon Jovi which flipped out a bunch of hardcore fans and generated some intense and hateful responses.

I just finished up two articles for Delaware Today.

One is about Greyhounds Reach the Beach which happens this October in Dewey, Delaware. I also interviewed some people from Adopt A Grey about their work placing greyhounds in Delaware.

The other is about the Rehoboth Jazz Festival which has lined up some noteworthy acts such as Al Green and Booker T and the MG's.

I'm still writing for Promotional Marketing magazine as well, reviewing products such as tote bags, coffee mugs, clocks and anything else you can print a corporate logo onto and give away as a tchotchke.

And yes, I'm still doing my other Web site in my spare time.

There's barely enough time to finish reading, "Agent of Evolution," which is a book about Bill Hicks by his best friend and producer, Kevin Booth.

I helped Kevin on this project early on, conducting hours and hours of interviews. I bailed out of the deal early on, mainly because ... well, because I realized I'm not the kind of writer to write a book.

Anyway, Kevin actually got a real writer, Michael Bertin from the Austin Chronicle and finished the book and even got Harper Collins to publish the thing.

For those of you who like loud rock and roll and can remember a time before the heinout corporate catch phrase "alternative" was coined will enjoy Creem's Dinosaur Jr. profile.

How come more rock writing can't be this fun and clever? And don't bother e-mailing that Chunklet is funny. It's not.

Indie rock is dead and so are let's-make-fun-of-the-indie-rock-scene-with-our-clever-zine publications like Chunklet.
Street people addendum

So, I wrote the other day about an out-of-the-blue e-mail I got about where to find homeless people and prostitutes to interview.

The whole e-mail exchange was pretty bizarre in and of itself, and I guess I was struck more by the person's naivety about researching the subject, more than giving an educated response.

That said, my pal Rebecca, who does good work in the social services field, had some excellent advice for the person seeking to interview the homeless, etc:

I just spent a few moments catching up on your blog. I read the entry about the crazy people and wanted to give you some advice to pass on to the person looking to interview homeless people or prostitutes, which is this:

That type of field work is dangerous. Wilmington is plagued by many of the same conditions that plague Baltimore; one of these problems is heroin addiction and trade. The areas in which one is likely to find homeless or prostitutes on the street, one is also likely to find violence. Add to that the fact that homeless people are often suffering from some type of mental illness makes it even more risky to approach them without preparation.

This person should absolutely not go wandering around Route 13.

This person's best bet is to try to find subjects for his/her research project through a case manager at some type of shelter, transitional housing program or recovery program for sex workers. He or she should be able to find such programs in the phone book, through churches, or by contacting the City of Wilmington.

He or she should also be prepared to follow informed consent procedures that are appropriate both culturally and in terms of literacy level, and should be prepared to offer subjects some sort of incentive (e.g., grocery store gift card) for their time. In short, he or she should be prepared to treat these people with respect and dignity.

I do this type of research often in Baltimore and know how difficult it can be to do it both safely and without hurting those you're trying to help. I'd hate to hear about someone -- the researcher or the subject -- getting hurt because someone didn't know what they were doing.
Mark Erdody in Bullpen Catcher

So, I was listening to the most recent Hip Transistor show, hosted by Mike Lupica.

He played a song by the band Black Helicopter, which features former members of Green Magnet School and Kudgel.

Just this weekend I was looking over some old cassettes and saw one by El Tiante.

That band that featured Mark Erdody of Kudgel and his future wife Kara. For a while I played drums in the band.

That was over 10 years ago and the last time I ever played drums, with the exception of a one-off gig with Lettuce Prey.

Anyway, I haven't spoken with Mark in a while, which is a shame. He's one of the coolest dudes I met through punk rock.

I put on two Kudgel shows in Delaware which were fun as hell. After one of the shows there was a huge blizzard and the entire band (along with the Cheater Slicks) were stuck in a house in Newark, DE for three days until the snow melted.

I was glad to see that he's got a new band called Bullpen Catcher.

I'm thinking of dropping him a line, but honestly I hate when people google me online, send me a "hey-how's-it-going?" e-mail out of the blue and then fall out of touch.

I think people fall out of touch for a reason, primarly because that is the nature of friendships. They come and go and forcing them is kind of lame. So hopefully we'll cross paths again. We'll see.

Maybe Mark will google me and send me a "hey-how's-it-going?" e-mail out of the blue, which in this case, wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
Enron movie

I checked out "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" this weekend over at Theater N.

In case you haven't heard, it's documentary that exposes the disgusting and corrupt side of Enron (and corporate thieves like them, such as World Com).

Overall, it's a pretty intriguing film that illustrates how Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling led company employees and investors on a wild ride of deceived and multi-million dollar scams at the expense of everyone involved.

In short, their plan was simple: Keep stock prices as high as possible.

The methods used were a little more complex including accounting techniques that allowed them to put non-existent future profits on the books, manipulating energy resources (including causing deliberate blackouts in California) and many others that can't be explained away in a paragraph or two.

Once one fraudulent scheme began to fail, Enron quickly created another. All the while Lay and Skilling faked the company's performance - and fooled everyone. As the inevitable collapse of the company neared, Lay, Skilling and other Enron top execs cashed in their stocks for millions upon millions.

They urged employees and the public at large to invest in Enron stock, even though they knew it would be worth nothing. And sure enough, the company imploded and left thousands of employees and investors, many of whom had invested the bulk of their 401K with stocks worth basically nothing.

If the film has any fault, it's that it doesn't successfully illustrate the intricacies of Enron's deceipt. But that may be based on the fact that Enron's tactics were so complicated in their own right.

Still, there's no escaping the fact that Lay and Skilling ripped off common people, like you and I, and took their life savings and retirement funds and pissed them away.

It's an outrage shit like this can happen. Imagine if the company you worked for urged you to invest in their stock, then stole all your money as it went down the shitter, leaving you with a 401K and stock portfolio worth nothing.
Taylor is a punk rocker

I haven't updated this site in a while and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

It's primarily due to the fact that one of my other sites is taking up a majority of my publishing time.

I miss chatting about all the stupid crap I've been up to lately here.

Speaking of stupid crap, I wanted to bring you up-to-date on what my pal Taylor Roark is up to.

First, he celebrated his wedding last month in France. He got married a year previously, but just now got around to having a big party and ceremony. His wife is a cool chick. Her name is Christal, but I may have the spelling wrong on that.

Anyway, Taylor had the party in some remote French castle or some such nonsense. Then for a honeymoon, he spent two and a half weeks in the UK attending alternative lifestyle classes.

If you know Taylor, you know he's alternative enough. He's been a bus driver and a Wall Street Lawyer as well as a part-time blacksmith. Anyway, Taylor took classes on permaculture as taught by Penny Rimbaud, the drummer of Crass.

Only Taylor would spend his honeymoon with one of the dudes from Crass.

I feel obligated to keep the world informed about Taylor. He is easily one of the most interesting and complex people I know. Plus he likes Devo, which is a big plus in my book.

I keep urging Taylor to take up blogging and create his own spin on the world. He's got some cool field recordings of Tibetan forests and all kinds of weird shit he recorded on mini-disc while tripping his brains out on mushrooms in Uzbekistan.

Or something like that.

Anyway, this one's for you Taylor. Thanks for keeping it real all these years.
Crazy people

I got two e-mails from people who must have googled "semi-hip people living in Wilmington, DE." How they found me, I have no idea.

The first was an inquiry about the best place for record shopping. I said that it's slim picking here in Delaware. For new CDs and some vinyl, check Bert's on Main Street in Newark.

The New Castle Farmers Market has plenty of people on the weekends who have vinyl. Since I go weekly, I see a lot of the same old crap, but to newcomers, it's fun hunting through old vinyl. I've found many a punk gem over there.

Here's where it gets weird. The second e-mail was from someone who wanted to know where they could meet real, live homeless people and prostitutes so they could interview them for their sociology paper.

Like I would know where to find a whore in Delaware!

So, after I told them to go down to Route 13, I told them they should go interview bankers on Market Street Mall. They are whores themselves, albeit of a different strain.
Federation X interview

Here's an interview I did with Ben from Federation X. The interview also spawned a concert preview that I wrote for phillyBurbs.com which you can read here.

How did you get turned on to punk rock?

Growing up in Olympia, watching Karp, Unwound, Fitz of Depression, Irving Klaw Trio and Godheadsilo in basements and the likes. Amazing, totally original music, not necessarily "punk" punk like Rancid boots and straps, but pure early 90's punk rock optimistic ideology.

What was the best concert you ever saw?

Oh shit, some of those basement shows in Olympia when we were in high school were off the hook. The Champs (before they were "fucking") at the Lucky Seven house blew my little mind.

When you're not touring do you still do a lot of music stuff? Or do you read, write or do other art stuff?

I play a plethora of instruments, practice daily, and play around town two or three times a week. I play lap steel, piano, and accordion with a shit-ton of honky-tonk, bluegrass and art-country bands. Some of those bluegrass shows are becoming bigger than most FedX shows. But it's really just for fun, practice and a musical challenge.

Any members in the band Howard Stern fans?

Um, sure. I don't really get up that early, I don't have Sirius, and I don't watch his cable porn show, but hell, he's bearable and pretty funny I guess.

What kind of stuff (if any) do you listen to in the van while touring? Audio books? Satellite radio? zines? comics? Music?

We listen to nothing on tour right now. We only have radio, so sometimes it's the Phil Henry show at night or Art Bell. Our roadie just got an iPod, so I guess things are going to change. I read a bunch of books.

Is there a reason that the band didn't go back to Albini to record "Rally Day?"

Always change the formula to stay on top of your originality. We wanted to record somewhere really comfortable with someone we know as bros. We kicked ass on recording the last two records in lightening fast efficiency, so we decided to try something a little less efficient - a little bit of "studio fucking-around-ery".

How was the experience working with Albini?

Steve was THE lesson in efficiency. Those nerds at Electrical Audio are total scientists. He was also amazingly funny, sincere, and totally entertaining.
He did a great job and helped us immensely.

How did you come to choose Ryan Anderson to record the new album?

He had the best weed. Really he's a good friend, a great engineer, and a comfortable guy to work with.

Do you remember the first record(s) you bought?

I bought three 7-inches; Black Flag, Gas Huffer, and Long Hind Legs. I remember buying Stones shit when I was a kid, and some Kenny Rogers.

What kind of music was played in your house (if any) when you were growing up?

Hooked on Classics, Shaft, Simon and Garfunkel, ABBA. All those staples of middle America. The most important however was that my father is a huge Willie Nelson fanatic. Nobody has affected me more than Willie.

Do you read any zines? If so, any comments on the quality of writing in them? Or any constructive criticism on how they could be better?

I kind of gave up on music and political zines sometime in the 90's. The only "music mag" I read now is Chunklet. And that's because it's nothing but humor - grated, directed at indie band record collector nerds. Nothing is as progressive as good humor.

Best live bands out there right now?

400 Blows, Last of the Juanitas, Big Business, Narrows, Fleshies, Toys That Kill, Drunk Horse.

I've never been to Total Fest - what's it all about?

A shit ton of amazing art-rock semi-metal bands. Josh Vanek of Wantage USA has accrued one of the best rosters for any label I've ever heard.

Ever toured overseas? If so, how is the response?

We did a short UK/Belgium/Spain tour a couple years ago. We had a blast and the Euros geeked out. We're returning this fall.

Favorite place to play?

Flagstaff Arizona has been one of those small towns where everybody there has become family. We play some shit storms in Oakland too. Our last house party we played in the kitchen when the basement flooded. I stood on the stove, Beau almost prematurely exited through the window with his drum kit and Bill surfed.

Favorite movie?

Oh hell, Chinatown? I love Todd Haynes right now.

Vinyl or CDs? Why?

I choose vinyl because I loose, break, disrespect and scratch CDs. LPs look, feel and sound better. It's a lot more concrete as well. It takes some balls
to drop duckets on vinyl where CDRs are plaguing everybody's CD collection. Albini had some good words about longevity on this topic. Then again I don't
have an iPod yet. That might change my tune.

Any opinion on "illegal" music downloading? For example, how would you feel about someone downloading a copy of "Rally Day" or other bands on Estrus?

Buy the record if you really like the album. But whatever, do what you gotta do. It's good to know people want to hear you. If a band wants to sell records they better make the artwork fucking perfect and the songs amazing.

Do you have any good tour stories?


If you could hang out with any musician for a day (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Willie Nelson.
Man oh man...

It's been busy alright.

Here's a piece I wrote on a local dude from Bucks County, PA.

His band's name is Peasant and they just put out their first CD.

I interviewed Hugh Masekela today. He's such a cool dude. I did the non-obvious music writer thing and actually asked him interesting questions.

We talked about Clifford Brown for a while, then we talked about reading books and just life stuff.

I hate interviewers who ask all the obvious questions. Masekela is playing the Clifford Brown jazz fest on Sunday.

Also on Sunday I'm interviewing one of the dudes from Federation X.

I'm doing a preview for their shows in Wilmington (!) and Philly next weekend.

Monday I'm finally getting a chance to see The Bellrays. I'm stoked about that. They are opening for Bloc Party and Pixies.

Then I'm going to check out World Cafe Live on Wednesday for a tour, dinner and seeing The Bad Plus.

I'll be seeing a lot of bands over the next few weeks.

This week is the Clifford Brown Jazz Fest. I plan on seeing the Funky Meters and Hugh Masekela.

In fact, I'm going to be interviewing Hugh Masekela for work. I heard him interviewed once on Talk of the Nation and it was compelling radio for sure.

Then I'm going to see The Bellrays and Bloc Party who are opening up for the Pixies. That show is next week.

Then Federation X is playing later next week just a few blocks from my house. I'm so stoked to see them.

Also, I'm going to be checking out a show at the World Cafe Live and reviewing it from work. Not sure who the band will be, but I'm hoping to see either The Bad Plus, Emiliana Torrini or Eels.

Devo is playing this summer in Atlantic City at the House of Blues. I haven't decided if I'm going to go, but I really have been wanting to see Devo live for a while now.

Too bad my pal Taylor lives in France now, because I know if he was around, he'd go in a heartbeat.

I remember in college going over to Taylor's pad and saw a "New Traditionalists" poster hanging on the wall. I knew then he was a righteous dude.

One night, a bunch of girls literally drove their car through the front door of his apartment. Those were insane times.
Back from hell

Well, 'American Idol' is over for now, so I can get back to trying to have a life instead of writing about it.

I must say I do like the new Doctor Who. They've had a few bum episodes so far, but overall it's interesting and quick-paced. I like the fact that each episode is only 45 minutes as opposed to those marathon episodes they made back in the Tom Baker days.

I really liked Ian Brown's video for "Keep What You Got" and checked out the "Solarized" album. It's pretty good. Mellow and somewhat generic, but it's also a pretty pleasing listen.

Also good is Stereolab's "Oscillons From the Anti-Sun" which is a 3CD/1DVD box set that retails for about $25. It collects all the b-sides and EPs from the past ten years or so. The DVD has some killer footage of the band at their peak on Later with Jools Holland.

I finally heard back from Taylor Roark. Although he got married last year, he had his official celebration just a few weeks ago. He's such a cool dude.

Speaking of Taylor, one of his favorite bands is Devo. I'm hoping to take a few days off in August and go see them in Atlantic City, NJ at the new House of Blues. Crass? Yes, but it will probably fun anyway.

Federation X is playing just a few blocks from my house next month! The place is called Pirate BBQ and is at 905 Orange Street in Wilmington, DE. The date is June 17 and also on the bill are Mountain High and Birds of Avalon.
Win an iPod shuffle IGB and $50 iTunes gift certificate

Yeah, yeah. I haven't updated my site in a while.

That's because I've been tied up covering 'American Idol' for work. It's terribly lame, I know.

However, the AI contest that my work is sponsoring isn't.

They're giving away an iPod shuffle 1GB and a $50 iTunes gift certificate.

No registration required, all you have to do is give your name and e-mail.

Enter to win an iPod shuffle 1GB and iTunes gift certificate.
Good to go

Here's a good look back at the career of 7 Seconds.

Writing about American Idol has been taking a huge chunk of my time. I hate that show.

Mike McGonigal, former editor of Chemical Imbalance, has a music blog, 'Buked & Scorned.

I've been meaning to get around to writing a review of Contramano's debut CD. I will do it one of these days.

I'm almost finished reading "Quitting the Nairobi Trio" by Jim Knipfel. It takes me so long to read a book. Knipfel is a good writer who knows what it means to 'core out.

For some reason I haven't been able to find the latest issue of MRR. It's about time to get a subscription.

I tried googling my friend Taylor Roark, but I don't think this is him. I wish Taylor would start a blog or something. He is a good writer and one of the most interesting people I know.

I wish Don Caballero would put out a new record already. Damon is a brilliant drummer and is overdue for some serious respect.
Evan "Funk" Davies filling in for Terre T, Cherry Blossom Clinic

Just got an e-mail from WFMU DJ Evan "Funk" Davies saying he will be on tomorrow afternoon (Saturday the 30th) from 3pm-6pm, filling in for Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic.

Evan is one of my favorite 'FMU DJs. He's got a great knowledge of old school punk and garage and often brings in some choice cuts from his personal collection.

If you miss it, the archive and handy-dandy clickable playlist will be posted here to review at your leisure.

All of Evan's past shows are posted there as well, including the morning-drive show he did this past Monday.
American Idol: How legit is it?

Here's the latest article ...

'American Idol' has had its share of scandals this season, but the most volatile controversy is just starting to rear its ugly head.

Idol viewers have been asking how truly talented contestants such as Nadia Turner, Anwar Robinson and Constantine Maroulis have been unjustly voted off the show, while the inferior and wholly unlikable Scott Savol remains in the competition.

Scott has a limited vocal range and is by all accounts a repulsive and thoroughly boring performer. Even judge Simon Cowell thinks that the oversized Idol and his lard ass should have been sent home long ago.

Yet Scott the anti-American Idol is still in the running. How could this be?

American Idol: How legit is it?
Delaware scene flashback: 1985

We had some great punk bands in Delaware back in the mid-'80s.

Bands such as Rude Awakening, High Karate, Your Worst Nightmare, The Stiffs, Infection, Mustard Trucks, Marcus Hook and so many more.

But there were also really cool people in the Delaware punk scene.

Here are two who you may remember, Becky and Lisa.

Becky writes me from time to time and says her and Lisa are still friends to this day. They both are living in Baltimore.

Becky and Lisa photo.

And Lisa's even the singer of a band called Secret Crush Society.

Very fucking cool if you ask me.
American Idol: What the fuck?!

Read my latest American Idol story.

American Idol: What the fuck?!

And if the only reason you're reading this is because you're trolling for MP3s, then you should just go here.
Quit your bitching

For those complaining about my American Idol coverage (all one of you), here's a thing I wrote about 10 of my fave punk albums of all time.

McG's must-have punk rock CDs

Hopefully some of my punk cred will be restored in your eyes.

If that doesn't do it, then check out the new site I've been working on here.
Will Paula Abdul bring American Idol franchise down?

I know 'American Idol' is a far cry from punk rock, but I get paid to write about Idol and people want to read it. Wish I could same the same about punk.

But a man has to pay the bills, so here is my latest Idol article.

American Idol: Could Paula Abdul bring down franchise?
McG's thoughts on American Idol

Here are two more articles on America's favorite show, American Idol:

1. 10 jobs for Scott Savol once he's kicked off Idol
(this one is pretty funny)

2. American Idol: Carrie poised to win
(this one is pretty mean)

People from the South get so bent out of shape when you call them hillbillies. I've gotten so many hate mails about that.

I said this week that America needs to pray to Jesus Christ that Scott gets kicked off. Not one complaint ...
McG on American Idol: Vonzell hot, Scott not

It's really lame that I've been watching American Idol every week.

But at least I get paid to do so. Here's my latest article:

phillyBurbs.com: Vonzell hot, Scott not.
Listening In to The Undertones

In case you missed it, you can hear The Undertones playing live on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic here.

I finally got a chance to watch Teenage Kicks: The Story of The Undertones.

The hour-long documentary wasn't as brilliant as some of the press quotes on the DVD box would lead one to believe.

That said, it's still a well-done and above average rockumentary that traces the band's origins in Derry and it's quick catapult to international punk-pop stars.

There's plenty of great live footage and TV appearances from Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops.

Also included are seven videos from the band's original line up, footage of the 2000 reunion and extended interview segments.

The whole thing is narrated and presented by John Peel and is a fitting look back at how The Undertones' career was shaped by the influential DJ.

Here's a track from "Listening In: Radio Sessions 1978-1982."

The CD compiles the band's BBC sessions, six of them for none other than John Peel.

MP3: The Undertones - "Positive Touch" (Peel session).
(right-click, save as)

Link: The Undertones' Peel Session 2003
Former member of The Knobs debuts new band

Phil Young, (ex-Knobs), has a new band, The Cocks.

Also in the band is longtime Delaware musician Mark Stallard.

delawareonline.com: When this band takes the stage, two friends will be there in spirit
American Idol: Scott Savol next to go

It's amazing just how many people are into 'American Idol.'

As part of my job as entertainment content editor at phillyBurbs.com, I write about 'American Idol.'

So, almost 5,000 people read my article yesterday on Nadia Turner.

Holy crap, that's more readers than my crappy site gets all month!

That said, here's my prediction of who will get tossed from Idol this week:
phillyBurbs.com: American Idol: Scott next to go.
On American Idol and Nadia Turner

Yeah, yeah, I know ... getting paid to write about 'American Idol' for your day job is a dream come true to some people.

Personally, by the time Ryan Seacrest announces who is going home that week, I'm cursing at the TV and myself for having to watch such vapid programming.

Here's the latest article, American Idol: Nadia Turner was over-qualified

Shows that I've been digging lately include Shameless, which is about a crazy-assed Manchester family with a drunk loser for a father.

The Staircase is a really well-done documentary about the mysterious death of a socialite and her husband, who becomes the main suspect in the case.
American Idol running my life

There's not much time for leisure when I'm writing American Idol articles for work.

Been listening to The Undertones a lot lately.

Picked up the remastered version of Stiff Little Fingers' classic 1979 album, Inflammable Material . It has three bonus tracks ("Suspect Device" single version, "78 RPM" and an interview with Jake Burns).
Delawareonline.com article on zines

Here's an article about D.I.Y. Revolution: Zines and Other Underground Publications, a zine exhibit in Philadelphia at the Design Center at Philadelphia University.

I got name dropped in the article as being a zinester in Delaware.

I told the writer there were at least two other Delaware zines worth mentioning in the article including Expresso Tilt and Odor.

I'm sure there were/are more zines from Delaware, but this part of punk rock culture has all but faded into obscurity.

delawareonline.com: Before the Web, there were the zines

Thanks to Kurt B. for sending the link to the story.
Fireballs of Freedom – "Greasy Retrospective" CD

One gets the impression from listening to The Fireballs of Freedom that they're the type of band whose best efforts come across in a live setting. And while little can replace the live experience, "Greasy Retrospective," on the esteemed Wantage USA label, does an admirable job.

The CD features previously released singles, unreleased demos and three new tracks and delivers the type of musical ass kicking these guys must put forth on stage.

The Fireballs of Freedom, who have been going strong for 10+ years play brash, punked-up rock that is heavily influenced by guitar greats such as Mudhoney and Jimi Hendrix Experience. In fact, the band's cover of Hendrix' "Ain't No Telling" does some serious justice to the original, with plenty of whiskey-drenched swagger to give it its own spin.

Additionally, "Give it a Rest (You Fuckin' Bitch)" combines the hard-edged blues of Zen Guerrilla and invokes the golden era of early Sub Pop (We're talking waaaaay pre-Shins) when loud punk-friggin-rock-and-roll was actually in vogue.

"Scream Therapy" and "Shitting Rubber Nickels" are culled from a 1997 session with Conrad Uno and are full of intense guitar action and heavy, manic drumming. And other tracks such as "Viva El Gato" and "Vonferno" are rambunctious rock and roll mini-epics that are reminiscent of The Riverboat Gamblers.

Perhaps most appealing about The Fireballs of Freedom career-to-date is their unabashed love to rock the fuck out, irregardless of what musical trend is in with the folks who read shit like Pitchfork or shop at Insound. "Greasy Retrospective" is pure punk rock and roll meant to be played loudly and proudly.

MP3: Fireballs of Freedom - "Ain't No Tellin'"
MP3: Fireballs of Freedom - "Give it a Rest (Youfuckinbitch)"

Buy "Greasy Retrospective" at wantageusa.com
Fireballs of Freedom discography at cduniverse.com