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. 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

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.