photo manupulation by nacrowe
before the creation of its current STRING THEORY series of YOUTUBE videos showcasing modern guitarists and guitar-based songwriters speak about their influences and love of all things amplified, ERNIE BALL had briefly created a longer-format series of videos called THE PURSUIT OF TONE that treaded the same territory except much more in depth.
my assumption is that they realized that these long-form videos could generate more traffic and viewership on YOUTUBE if chopped up into smaller chunks a la STRING THEORY. its also why these longer form videos are no longer on the main channel, instead reposted by numerous unauthorized third parties on YOUTUBE. oh well.
the four i could locate following the inspirations, techniques and gear behind MIKE NESS of SOCIAL DISTORTION, CHICAGO BLUES icon BUDDY GUY, BILL DUFFY of THE CULT, TOM DELONGE of BLINK 182 and producer BUTCH WALKER. quite the diverse roster of guitarists and you really get a feel for their approach and individual aesthetic regarding the instrument.
i understand why they didn't pursue it further but i'm glad these exist. enjoy!
i cant recall when i became aware of the classic BRITISH comedy show YES MINISTER (BBC, 1980-84) but the premise of the show still feels relevant today in a political climate full of commonly used conspiracy terminology like the deep state and fake news.
the premise deals with a lowly minster newly sworn in to a minor department in the BRITISH bureaucracy. idealistic, wet behind the ears and naive to the machinations of government he is routinely put in ever more dire situations by his aide. every statement he makes is taken and interpreted in a manner that makes the minister look weak, uninformed and daft. as the aide and other "backbenchers" of the civil service are present and unchanging throughout all administrations, the show gives off the impression that it is really they that hold the reigns of power, not public officials. the main aide to the MP, expertly played by SIR NIGEL HAWTHORNE, is as ruthless and linguistically manipulative a character as SHAKESPEARE's IAGO.
comedy-wise it is a much smarter version of any BUGS BUNNY / ELMER FUDD cartoon, often lampooning the OXBRIDGE and ETON/HARROW/RADLEY crowd and their pretensions of incontestable refined sophistication and intelligence. the fact that an aide and an anonymous sea of civil servants could upend this dunce is almost a victory for common BRITAINS.
obviously now in the age of TRUMP this who premise is reversed, these civil servants seen at best as obstructionists to the will of the people and at worst an enemy within.
beyond interesting, and deeply hilarious, example of BRITISH comedy made even more timely in our current climate. whats even more biting is the fact that the follow-up series was YES PRIME MINISTER (BBC, 1986-88) as the blabbering idiot of an MP, deftly played by PAUL EDDINGTON, moved up the food chain, kinda like our resident idiot.
TWO MINUTES TO LATE NIGHT (clever IRON MAIDEN reference) was originally an all-METAL parody talk show hosted by GWARSENIO HALL (with MUTOID MAN as the house band!) and filmed at SAINT VITUS BAR in BROOKLYN. however, the show has really come into its own during the past 6 months of this god-awful pandemic era since they began remote producing these really well-mixed BEDROOM COVER videos of various members of the METAL extended family (SLUDGE, DEATH, THRASH, PROG and others), and even some INDIE ROCK distant cousins, covering classic songs by TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, RUSH, WHITE ZOMBIE, AC/DC, GUNS N ROSES, THE REPLACEMENTS & OZZY among others.
it seems safe to say that this sort of thing would never happen under regular conditions as most of these musicians would be buys with conflicting touring/recording schedules. that being said, the BEDROOM COVER lineups themselves are absolutely insane including members of MASTODON, CONVERGE, TOOL, PRIMUS, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, HIGH ON FIRE, CAVE IN, POISON THE WELL, UNEARTH, VOLUMES, CLUTCH, HAVOK, FUCKED AND BOUND, POTION, MUTOID MAN, VIO-LENCE and HATEBREED as well as decidedly less METAL-focused acts like TED LEO, PIEBALD, CHELSEA WOLFE, SLEIGH BELLS, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, RISE AGAINST, COHEED & CAMBRIA and MAX WEINBERG of the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's E-STREET BAND (and former CONAN O'BRIEN cohost!).
what is super cool is that a recent episode had LILY MASTRODIMOS of JERSEY CITY INDIE ROCK band LONG NECK singing backup vocals on a cover of THE REPLACEMENTS "KIDS DON'T FOLLOW." we here at DEER GOD were lucky enough to record LONG NECK as part of our live performance series OFF THE M at TRANS PECOS in QUEENS not that long ago (performance linked HERE). its so cool to see her collaborating with members of RISE AGAINST and CONVERGE. congrats.
i'm sure this series will continue on so definitely keep a look out for it. way more interesting and entertaining then what passes for LATE NIGHT television these days.
photo manipulations by nacrowe
BRING ME THE HORIZON has always been a band that does its own thing. from their beginnings in SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND roughly 15 years ago when they were playing primarily METALCORE/DEATHCORE, there was always an inkling of melody in their somewhere that has only blossomed in the years since. at this point in their career they are sonically planets away from where they started, embracing TRIP HOP, EDM, SYNTH POP and SHOEGAZE elements while still absolutely crushing it with huge neanderthal DEATH METAL riffage. its an interesting concoction that is becoming ever more diversified with each release.
what is interesting about their latest single "PARASITE EVE" is how it expresses the sense of isolation, confusion and despair we all feel in this current era of the COVID-19 PANDEMIC. the title even harkens back to a pre-PANDEMIC mindset when people weren't taking it seriously. months later and the UNITED STATES is at 150,000 dead. its insane. there's a great line where frontman OLI SYKES intones "when we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson?" as an AMERICAN i doubt it which makes me feel helpless. i may be proactive in my wearing of masks, social distancing and maintaining good hygiene but not everyone is, some choose different and that is just so disconcerting, sad and just tragic. when this is over AMERICANS will probably go right back to their social media bubbles if they arent there already.
upon releasing it the band put out an ongoing series of videos on their youtube showcasing how they put it together while maintaining all those good practices during the pandemic. as someone who has been around recording studios a small amount, it is fascinating how they went about using TECHNOLOGY to track and make decisions in real-time while being in remote locations. its really a testament to their collective talent and vision and especially the PRODUCTION and ENGINEERING CAPABILITIES of composer / programmer / band member JORDAN FISH.
even if you are not a fan of BRING ME THE HORIZON, i suggest checking it out just to admire their ingenuity in making it happen in spite of the world seemingly collapsing in on itself. and check out their video for "PARASITE EVE" directed by SYKES linked below. its beyond amazing, im jealous of it.
years ago i spent a week the summer before i started graduate school at childhood friend's place in MONTREAL. what a gorgeous enchanted city, especially during the summertime. i'd never been to CANADA, only made fun of it my entire waking life at that point. besides eating smoked meat late night at the famous SCHWARTZ'S DELI and hanging out with my friend's peers and acquaintances, what i remember most fondly is watching this reality show KENNY VS. SPENNY (CBC, 2003-2010) on repeat.
it blew my mind.
first off, i hate REALITY TV as a matter of principal. i just feel that they are mindless dribble and the worst kind of voyeurism since they elevate attention-seeking cretins hungry for 10 minutes of celebrity. but this was different. the show is basically two friends (KENNY HOTZ and SPENCER RICE) that have a competition each week. they agree on a challenge and then the person that loses said competition gets humiliated by the other at the end of the show. KENNY is basically the devil incarnate, always trying to find loopholes to the rules and taking advantage of his friend SPENCER, who is likewise a stand-up yet gullible figure. some of these competitions are brutal, such as:
this show was on network television (CBC no less) and it was easily, scripted or not (i still dont know), the most mean-spirited thing i have seen on television to date. for the DEAD OCTOPUS episode KENNY slips SPENCER LSD and convinces him that he is being chased, resulting in SPENCER lying in a fetal position crying for help. for the KISSING THE MOST WOMEN episode KENNY decides to kiss SPENCER's sister in front of him. for the 10 MILE RACE episode KENNY knew SPENCER was more athletic so he got him away from the track where they were to race at a predetermined time by having SPENCER's mom convince her son that she got cancer and needed him at the hospital. the cruelty is absolutely boundless on this show, which blew me away because its CANADIAN. out of 80+ episodes i must have watched 50 over a few days. i was obsessed.
it was a weird trip because at some point on television there was a televised debate for some public office where one candidate said to the other that he "disagreed intensely based on firm principles." it was so CANADIAN because they didn't demean one another. fast forward a few nights of watching KENNY VS SPENNY and my opinion of CANADIANS has permanently shifted. plus deep down i know im more SPENCER than KENNY, sadly.
im telling you, this is the most debased, depraved, irredeemably cruel show i've ever watched. I TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT.
ABSTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN is an ongoing NETFLIX series of documentaries that highlights exemplars associated with various fields of design. in this entry i am focused on the episode related to the inventive, progressive creative work of the modern DANISH architect BJARKE INGELS.
before watching this episode my prior entry point to his work was a critique by THE LIFE-SIZED CITY YOUTUBE series which criticized a pedestrian bridge to his new corporate complex in COPENHAGEN which serviced no target demographic and in fact made nearby major intersections less efficient. so there you go, my only bias. i've never been to DENMARK and have never seen INGELS' work in the flesh. what the episode presents is a young, ambitious architect that has an inclusive YES IS MORE mentality towards commissions and input by shareholders. his designs seem inventive, modern and slightly ostentatious, yet apparently are made on the cheap utilizing lesser unconventional materials.
i haven't been to DENMARK, but i have been all around EUROPE and what always struck me was this dual sword represented in the idea of tradition. this focus on tradition can be manifested in art, music, food, clothing and architecture and can either be stifling to creativity or a springboard. you get the sense that DANISH culture is rather reserved and its buildings highly practical with a certain uniformity that belies the homogeneity of its people. INGELS comes off as almost AMERICAN in both his ambition and sheer bravado. i mean the dude, made a ski slope on top of a power plant. i have no idea if this guy is a PRITZKER level talent or an ambitious yet reductive, over-hyped upstart.
not sure i really care either way whether or not he is a naive at best or a charlatan at worst, which seems to be the consensus of his detractors. his cost-effective, multi-use spaces provide a bit of poetry towards infrastructure concepts that are long overdue stateside. his energy and commitment to sustainability and efficiency as well as fun is sorely missed in outdated, eyesore AMERICAN infrastructure targets like airports, train stations and community centers.
we need rejuvenation. something to capture our imagination. just like our democracy and adherence to market capitalism, our architecture is outmoded. we need to get on that. rejuvenate. put a ski slop on a goddamn power plant already!
photo manipulations by nacrowe
i discovered the SHOW US YOUR JUNK! series on the EARTHQUAKER DEVICES youtube channel a few months back and what it does a great job of presenting is the gear used by musicians and producers in their studio setups.
obviously EARTHQUAKER DEVICES is a company and yes, their pedals are mentioned along with those of their "competitors," but what you learn very quickly is that the equipment on display is merely a canvas and that these producers, many of them prominent musicians from bands like SONIC YOUTH, DEVO, CONVERGE and DEERHOOF are the artists that contextualize these sonic textures in tapestry unique to their sound and aesthetic. if anything, the pedals here are useful in that they help bridge the gap between conception and execution. they are essentially a tool. but i have to say, there is equal if not vastly more time dedicated to non-EARTHQUAKER items in this series. just saying.
much like RIG RUNDOWN goes after the gear setup of a touring musician, SHOW US YOUR JUNK! is dedicated to the recording setup, which in my opinion is far more interesting having spent time around my cousin who is a recording engineer in our former studio at the KREISCHER MANSION. everyone has their own technique and philosophy regarding what makes a compelling sound, which is a topic of endless fascination for me. how does the producer engage with the artist and bring about their creativity. what microphones, preamps, boards do they tend to use? what is the room ambience like at their studio?
for me this series is a great introduction to what makes each of these producers tick, which only makes me dive back into their production discographies that much harder. maybe even make a radio show or two about them (cough, cough, KURT BALLOU and STEVE ALBINI, cough, shameless plug).
by all means check them out below or watch the rest HERE.
for some reason out of all the falls from grace that have occurred over the years during the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, the recent late-JULY photo opportunity with legendary NEW YORK YANKEES pitcher MARIANO RIVERA really hit me hard. yes i am a YANKEES fan, but this goes so far beyond that.
when i was living in VENEZUELA, i brought with me a pinstriped, nameless (as is the tradition), home YANKEES jersey emblazoned with the number 42. baseball is a religion in VENEZUELA and they are fanatical about it like the rest of the continent is about futbol. even though RIVERA was from PANAMA, VENEZUELANS took pride that a LATIN AMERICAN pitcher was so dominant on such a big stage. to say the guy was respected is putting it lightly, he was more folk hero.
i remember when RIVERA was set to retire. unlike his equally legendary teammate DEREK JETER, who made his announcement before his last season and thereby was showered with praise and gifts at every game (yes, even BOSTON), RIVERA opted to avoid such an award tour and if my memory serves me correctly made that decision before the all-star game of his final season (roughly the midway point). rather than meeting with owners and media members at each stop, it was reported at the time that RIVERA sought out the people that worked at the stadiums like the janitors and food prep workers.
he met with these people and thanked them individually by name for their years of service making the game possible. he did this away from the cameras and the media. reports were that he made lots of people cry. just the thought of having an unskilled, under-appreciated worker being thanked for doing a thankless job for many, many years by arguably the greatest pitcher of all-time on his final visit to their stadium... i mean how could you not love the guy.
MARIANO RIVERA was my favorite YANKEE and arguably one of my favorite athletes ever partly because of such undisclosed efforts and charitable work. and now to learn that he supports TRUMP, someone who has done such damage to the rich fabric of AMERICAN SOCIETY, including LATIN AMERICANS. it just sucks. it really does.
maybe PEDRO MARTINEZ really wasn't that bad after all.
when i discovered the band FAILURE in the 2000s when i was in college, years after their demise, i could not believe that i completely missed out on such a great band during their heyday. it made me reconsider my MOUNT RUSHMORE of great bands from that ALTERNATIVE ROCK era (JANE'S ADDICTION, FAITH NO MORE, TOOL, ALICE IN CHAINS, NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN, etc) to include one more. specifically the sounds found on their respective second and third releases, MAGNIFIED (SLASH, 1994) and FANTASTIC PLANET (SLASH, 1996) are HUUUUUUGGGGEEE.
almost PINK FLOYD-ish without the literary pretensions. just huge rock riffs with lots of space. in fact whenever i listen to their records now, even the releases post-reunion, i just feel like i am experiencing a defined space with lots of DEPTH and WEIGHT. its amazing that FAILURE mastermind KEN ANDREWS produced and mixed those records back in the 1990s. since their demise he has been an in-demand mixer that has worked with NINE INCH NAILS, PARAMORE, A DAY TO REMEMBER, TENACIOUS D, THE ICARUS LINE, JIMMY EAT WORLD, and M83 among others.
started before the quarantine, he created a YOUTUBE channel where he goes over his mixing techniques and utilizes the FAILURE back catalogue as examples. even if you are not a musician or studio rat, just a fan of his band then this is a real treat. its next level that a dude that went the DIY route (even with regard to their stylized, futuristic music videos) was able to track and mix content that held up to professional standards of the time. its also cool to get a sense of his writing process, which is layered and methodical.
if you haven't heard MAGNIFIED or FANTASTIC PLANET, please stop reading this and just go find a comfortable place and zone out on SPOTIFY for the next two hours. you can thank me later.
thank you to FAILURE for retweeting out posting! so cool.
now this is a series i can relate to.
MY WAR!, the online video series on the THRASHER MAGAZINE YOUTUBE channel and website basically follows professional skateboarders pushing their boundaries and attempting often extremely technical and risky tricks. and failing. over and over again.
skateboarders recounting their battles include JAMIE THOMAS, AARON "JAWS" HOMOKI, CHRIS JOSLIN, SAMMY BACA, DANE BURMAN, MILES SILVAS, PEDRO DELFINO, JUSTIN "FIGGY" FIGUEROA and MILTON MARTINEZ among numerous others.
some of these tricks take multiple attempts over several years and multiple injuries. what translates is their drive and passion to see their goal through, despite the physical and mental consequences. i find it hard not to be inspired by that.
a show about failure. brilliant!
for me one of the great aspects of HIP HOP PRODUCTION is the cutup tecnhique whereby a song is made of an assemblage of parts derived from one's vinyl collection. the more eclectic arguably the bette. in my mind it gets into concepts of postmodernism and poststructuralism, which is why i've used songs like "BEWARE" by PANJABI MC feat. JAY-Z when explaining such ideas to high school students. that song incorporates a traditional BHANGRA drumming pattern, JAY-Z and the NIGHT RIDER THEME SONG. shouldn't work well but it does.
anyway, the discontinued YOUTUBE series RYTHM ROULETTE produced by MASS APPEAL featured numerous top-flight HIP HOP producers walking into a local record store to buy three records while blind-folded. they then went to their respective studio setups and went about creating a beat based solely on those records. what i love is the randomness and chaos of it and the fact that when it works, it really works as some of these concoctions are downright seriously slammin'. you really get the sense that music hast the capacity to transcend all and seemingly disparate musical styles really do have the potential to speak on the same level.
if you have any inclination to appreciate HIP HOP production, or perhaps even appreciate writers like WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS and his cut-up technique, this series is definitely for you. entertaining as all hell.
SPECIAL THANKS TO 9TH WONDER FOR RESHARING OUR IG STORY!
in the right circumstances i think its all good when a corporate entity that has a relationship with a SUBCULTURE attempts to get some good marketing going by using its platform and advertising muscle to promote it.
such is the case with VANS which obviously has a long-standing relationship with the SKATE, SURF and BMX communities that has only flourished since the 1960s. makes perfect sense for them to develop a series of performance videos to showcase talent associated with those scenes.
kudos for creativity to whomever decided to have the bands play in a shoebox. its a great idea. i look forward to watching these whenever they come out irrespective of the band.
the following embedded below are what i consider the highlights of the ongoing SIDESTRIPE SESSIONS series. enjoy!
my dad recently clued me into a recent segment of an episode of MEN IN BLAZERS, which is AMERICAN TV SHOW about all things world football, errr, SOCCER for all you hapless cretins out there. my family was overseas in AFRICA and the MIDDLE EAST for the better part of two decades so being intimately aware of EUROPEAN FOOTBALL just came by osmosis. the fact that a show like this exists stateside is a god send for any yankee curious about sports that actually matter beyond our borders.
this segment was based on interviews with current LIVERPOOL FC manager JURGEN KLOPP about his philosophy towards coaching and life in general. you'd think he'd double-down on stale platitudes regarding winning and success, but what he said was essentially that effort has value. he didnt say winning has value, but rather effort has value. winning can be the end result of short cuts, cheating and other unenviable and other actions that diminish and dehumanize the perpetrator, but working hard and giving something all your honest effort is really all that can be asked of someone and is success in and of itself.
even jaded me was a little shocked by this admission. i don't think my AMERICAN brethren really understand how obsessive people are globally about EUROPEAN FOOTBALL. it's beyond our petty little rivalries (YANKEES/RED SOX, LAKERS/CELTICS, PATRIOTS/EVERYBODY) since you will find people in small PERUVIAN villages following attentively along to LA LIGA games on crude makeshift radios a continent away. sorry, our sports don't compare. for a coach of a top-flight PREMIER LEAGUE team to espouse effort over winning is pretty revolutionary given the stakes of his position.
but he would counter that look back on his career in the distant future, he sees the relationships and stories that he shares with his former teammates and players he coached are what would be valued most, not a trophy. any title would just be the end result of teamwork and, again, effort.
i just think that in a modern global capitalist construct where exploitation of labor from underserved communities in forgotten faraway places robs us all of our basic human dignity in favor of social network-assisted materialist, clout-chasing bullshit; that in that space there are some that focus in on human effort as deserving of our attention and respect is heartwarming. naive probably, but indicative of a space i'd prefer to inhabit.
almost like that famous PAUL MCCARTNEY line in ABBEY ROAD where he states "and, in the end. the love you take is equal to the love you make." we all are the summation of the stories we tell each other. go make them.
leave it to AARP of all places to produce this gem of a YOUTUBE series where the late comedic legend DON RICKLES (R.I.P.) gets taken out to eat and talk shop with various comedians including ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, AMY POEHLER, JUDD APATOW, SARAH SILVERMAN, SNOOP DOGG, ROBERT DENIRO, MARTIN SCORSESE and MARISA TOMEI.
i know his insults were not exactly the most politically correct or compliant with our current age's cancel culture, but shit that guy was funny. and sharp. even in his late 80s which in a sense makes the AARP thing make perfect sense. here is an elderly dude giving these young bucks a run for their money. you see him not missing a beat with witty comebacks and razor sharp barbs. its totally endearing. you also just get a real sense of how much he was loved and cherished by comedians, actors and directors. almost like a surrogate family.
definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.
i remember when living in VLORA, ALBANIA during my time as a PEACE CORPS volunteer i told new, incoming sitemates that there were three rules to being a good volunteer. now you have to remember that PEACE CORPS had all these maxims and without a doubt, they were all effectively bullshit. here were my three rules. rule #1: don't be a dick. rule #2: dont be a dick. rule #3: whatever you do, don't be a dick.
i remember going around town and hearing different ALBANIANS i knew complaining about my sitemate, the fact that he said all these nasty things to their face. i had to explain to them that he was just repeating things that i already said to them earlier a few weeks back. their response was "yeah, but you didn't mean it." i would tell them they knew i meant it and we'd all laugh.
i feel like what RICKLES did was similar in that he tore down the walls that we put up against each other in order to inhibit honest communication. in a sense he was creating a shared sense of affection through his comedic barbs. i almost see it as a kind of empathy in the way that the ALBANIANS i knew really felt i saw things from their perspective because i was so adept at mocking it and throwing it in their face repeatedly. it definitely went both ways and it was all love. for my sitemate they werent convinced he knew where he was and it came off as spiteful and full of hate. oops.
collage by nacrowe
when looking at a DIANE ARBUS photograph what you are witnessing firsthand is an experiential document of an alternative AMERICAN narrative from the not-too-distant 1960s and 70s. her subjects run the gamut from drag queens, side show performers, twins, children, the developmentally challenged, the elderly and those that challenge normative culture with their unique perspective lived experience regarding issues of identity: specifically that of gender, race and sexual identity.
i don't find these images shocking, but for those who do i think it is due to the shallow nature of representation in our media diet of the true scope of lived experience in our country. too often we are marketed and sold images that placate our national sense of self, which is youth-driven.
this media reflection is the real freak show. it distorts our self-perception and makes those that fall outside our collective limited conceptions of beauty and what constitutes "normal" as being outliers that should be disregarded. this is to blame in my opinion for our infantilized views regarding issues surrounding sexual reproduction, death, aging, health and even family.
when i see her work i am reminded of once underground communities that have since been brought more prominently to the foreground of acknowledged lived experience. they don't seem that alternative anymore in the face of newer "others" to be castigated and dismissed (Muslims, Hispanics, Africans, Chinese, etc). not to get all BUDDHIST here, but i will be. there is no other. there is no dividing line between you, me and all sentient beings on the planet. it is all a shared experience. to deny the existence of others is only damaging yourself by extension.
famously the historical BUDDHA, the prince SIDDARTHA GUATAMA, as a kid lived in a palace where he was only surrounded by young, invigorated, healthy people that his father the king purposely put in place within its confines. one day when outside he saw the reality of the aging process and sickness and death. his self-perception and sense of reality was called into question and his life decisions took such into consideration accordingly. it was his real-life ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE played in a way PLATO may have not even imagined, as he used knowledge to further his goal of understanding reality minus blinders of greed and self-interest in the purpose of liberating his fellow sentient beings.
this is all well and good, but i know, again some would argue that the portraits of DIANE ARBUS are exploitative and her subjects the objects of revulsion or titillation. i'd argue that wholly depends on the viewer. if your limited scope of lived experience doesn't include these people than perhaps you should reconsider whether it is you that is being exploited by your feeble ignorance.
read a book. go outside (not during the pandemic). live a little. see the world for what it truly is in all its inclusive diversity.