photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
im an ABSOLUTE sucker for these LIVE PERFORMANCE series distributed on YOUTUBE and sponsored by everyone from INSTRUMENT MANUFACTURERS, TELEVISION PROGRAMS, RECORD LABELS, CONCERT VENUES to even LOCAL RADIO STATIONS. in the mold of SEATTLE's KEXP 90.3FM i recently came across CENTRAL OHIO's CD 102.5FM (now apparently 92.9FM) out of COLUMBUS and their ongoing LIVE FROM THE BIG ROOM series of LIVE MUSIC performances by EMERGING and ESTABLISHED ALTERNATIVE ROCK and INDIE ROCK artists. past NOTABLE participants include THE JOY FORMIDABLE, LAURA JANE GRACE, THE KILLS, ARCTIC MONKEYS, CSS, THE BETHS and SURFER BLOOD among many others.
the sound mix isnt as professional as KEXP, which is the gold standard, but these performances are definitely IMPASSIONED and most definitely worth checking out.
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
what a great concept.
A.V. UNDERCOVER was a CURATED LIVE PERFORMANCE web series produced by THE ONION entertainment offshoot THE A.V. CLUB that ran for seven seasons and had 310 episodes from 2010-2017. at the heart of it was the premise of a listener-derived list of songs that participating BANDS and ARTISTS would choose from, the catch being that ARTISTS performing further in the season had less choice over the material and made for some truly UNLIKELY covers.
and therein lies this LIVE MUSIC series REMARKABLE lasting cultural pull. the idea of GWAR covering the PET SHOP BOYS' "WEST END GIRLS," SEBADOH covering RUSH's "LIMELIGHT" or COHEED AND CAMBRIA covering THE SMITHS' "A RUSH AND A PUSH AND THE LAND IS OURS" is something i am absolutely here for. i am glad to live in a universe where this stuff exists. past participants include CHARLI XCX, THE GET-UP KIDS, DEERHOOF, NADA SURF, THE COATHANGERS, RISE AGAINST, TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS, DUM DUM GIRLS, COURTNEY BARNETT, THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, AGAINST ME!, KURT VILE, LE BUTCHERETTES, WRYE OAK and GROUPLOVE covering everyone from BIG STAR, THE GO-GOs, BLUR, NEW ORDER and NIRVANA to KATE BUSH, THE BREEDERS, ANDREW W.K., NINE INCH NAILS, NEIL YOUNG, THE CLASH, ADAM ANT, TEARS FOR FEARS, MILEY CYRUS and even THE BACKSTREET BOYS among countless others.
honestly, what is there not to love. definitely worth checking out.
parodies by nacrowe
maybe its the generation im from or growing up in suburban SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA in the early 1990s without MTV and only access to the radio and 106.7FM KROQ on constantly, but so much of what i understood to be modern music from an early age was produced by BUTCH VIG.
i remember being at a SHAKEY'S PIZZA in ORANGE COUNTY after what had to be a youth soccer game during my early elementary school years (maybe 1892?) and hearing "SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT" for the first time as someone played it from the jukebox. had no clue who NIRVANA was or anything about INDIE ROCK, PUNK ROCK or the SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene at the time. i just knew that whatever that was, it sounded how i felt and i connected with it on first listen. i can only think of a rare few other times thats happened with bands like GLASSJAW and THE GET UP KIDS among others. i dont believe i even had a copy of NEVERMIND (DGC, 1991) or the STEVE ALBINI-produced follow-up IN UTERO (DGC, 1993) until christmas of 1993. i was just too young.
and NIRVANA is just the beginning. as i grew older and discovered more bands it was always a pleasure to learn this new discovery (to me) inevitably led back to BUTCH VIG, as was the case with L7, SONIC YOUTH, HELMET, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS and much later GARBAGE. whats compelling to me about his output is how eclectic his production catalogue has been, as AFI sound nothing like AGAINST ME! and sonically and aesthetically sit on a different planet from KILLDOZER, yet they all bear his fingerprint. the man does not pigeonhole himself, even within the greater ROCK N ROLL milieu. the versatility likely comes from his production chops and work ethic that kept the doors of his MADISON, WISCONSIN-based SMART STUDIOS open to all newcomers, but i also feel it comes from the lack of pretense that comes with his midwestern upbringing. with culture caught up with him he didnt seem to become fazed by the attention, instead maintaining a distance while taking advantage of the ability to be selective with upcoming exciting new projects. even his decision to initiate GARBAGE does not feel like an inevitability, but a genuine artistic choice to push the limits of technology and marry it with the songwriting prowess and sardonic yet earnest ethos of ALTERNATIVE ROCK. when i first heard "STUPID GIRL" on MTV at a relatives house, i had no idea BUTCH VIG was involved. which is likely the highest compliment i can offer.
the dude is a chameleon and he is always someone whose latest project i look forward to consuming, just to see what latest madness he's help midwife into the world.
below is a pandemic episode of DEER GOD RADIO from june of 2020 dedicated to the production work of BUTCH VIG. enjoy!
parodies by nacrowe
tonight's new episode of DEER GOD RADIO at 8PM EST on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC is dedicated to the ingenius music production career of BUTCH VIG, from his career recording DIY releases from obscure 80s midwestern HARDCORE and INDIE ROCK bands at his own SMART STUDIOS to his commercial breakthrough with 90s ALTERNATIVE ROCK icons NIRVANA, SMASHING PUMPKINS and GARBAGE and beyond. his versatility is legendary and well-worth investigating. gonna be a fun show tonight!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
BOOK REVIEW | "TRANNY: CONFESSIONS OF PUNK ROCK'S MOST INFAMOUS ANARCHIST SELLOUT" BY LAURA JANE GRACE WITH DAN OZZI
photo & text by nacrowe
its painful to imagine what it must be like to feel born into the wrong body. it must be truly awful to have GENDER DYSPHORIA.
growing up is hard enough without the burden of the shame, guilt, isolation and fear of being outed for something that is so basic to your self-identity. i can't imagine how disillusioning and just exhausting that experience must be.
sadly american culture has a difficult time accepting reality.
reality in all its beautiful, complicated permutations and expressions. the reality that gender is expressed biologically along a spectrum. the reality that our culturally defined, normative-based dualistic concepts of male/female gender identity are just that, artificial human-engineered constructions.
AGAINST ME! front-woman LAURA JANE GRACE in her memoir TRANNY: CONFESSIONS OF PUNK ROCK's MOST INFAMOUS ANARCHIST SELLOUT (HACHETTE BOOKS, 2016) navigates the murky waters of fame, drug abuse, failed marriages and parenthood while coming to terms with her GENDER DYSPHORIA. throughout the book she doesn't mince words about her struggles and ultimately the consequences her transition has had on those around her. it is quite a story.
one structural aspect of this book that was particularly effective was the inclusion of numerous diary entries (apparently selected by co-writer DAN OZZI) that further illustrated and reinforced the level of anguish GRACE went through while struggling with her decision on how to best proceed with her life.
i was really blown away with the courage it took to write this book. GRACE does not shy away from her past selfish experiences as a rock musician or her scattered early upbringing as a military brat and later a homeless punk in FLORIDA during her teenage years. it would seem displacement is a common theme throughout her life.
i can only imagine willing your band from obscurity to being a viable cultural entity must have been confusing enough on its own. i can't imagine the intestinal fortitude it takes to battle managers, public relations reps, label execs, bandmates and even former fans while being in a state of becoming. her experience regarding gender identity is beyond anything i've encountered and one is left feeling inspired by her example. its quite an act of courage for anyone to work towards transitioning to their gender identity.
again, i am inspire and just in awe from this book. a very worthwhile read, especially if like me you are sheltered and not familiar with the lived experience of GENDER DYSPHORIA. ultimately the GRACE encourages her fans to seek their truth and become who they were meant to become.