"A Greasy, Bilious Old Pervert"

Is how one wag describes Santa Claus.

Thank god it's not the time of year where that cretinous old shitstain drags his ass around ripping everyone off and raising the price of fucking gas. What an asshole. Stocks plummet, shitty plastic crap goes on everyone's shelves that they built watching that home improvement show with the talented homosexuals. Those homosexuals are so TALENTED. Much moreso that those stiff, boxy breedin' folk. The straights are just all elbows and they can't nancy about for crap.

Is it time to dare speak of The International Homosexual Financial Conspiracy?

And what does the International Homosexual Financial Conspiracy have to do with Santa Claus? Well, can't you guess?

My friend Sean used to apply for minority scholarships as a "Norwegian American". Is that just a large hoot?

Anyway- Santa. Oh, I need a shower. A shower. The evil is rank in the very air. And danker than a Londonderry Aire. They should take a couple of divisions off Osama duty over there and set 'em to hunting this slippery, evil lizard of a man. They should run him to ground and do all of us an immeasurable favor: Norelco shaver with desponsable sex aid tip? Sixty eight dollars. Vacation in Burma in the arms of two ultraskilled sex professionals: 8 thousand dollars. Letting a company of th' Hunnerd and Twirst open up on Santa with armorplated automatic ordnance: priceless. Priceless, indeed. A gift beyond measure.

One day we'll tire of it, the fucking tyranny, the oppression at the hands of this white-whiskered weaselly crapstain from up North. One day we might actually man up and do what our parents would have done if they'd actually loved us instead of simply tolerating us until we were old enough to abandon, namely a summary public execution of this wiley old child molester and notorious traitor.

Let's run Santa to ground. For the sake of god damn freedom loving people everywhere. God damn it. Let's give our children a gift our parents denied us.

Hey vato and another fuckin thing dog--

Hey, que honda? It's me Saint Pepe again. Don't be fuckin' with like the birds and beasts of the forest and that stuff, y'know? You gotta let the fucking lion lie down, you know? with the...what's that shit...the fuckin' goat.

O.K., maricon?

Hey, Fuckface, I'm Saint Pepe of Cobarubbias. Fuckin' A.

And the Sacred Foreskin of Cobarubbias jes' happen to be MINE, O.K. Vato? No fuckin' roun' withh de foreskin shit there a-aiight.

Roberto tol' me I could come here his blog an' say some shit i dunno. No SE esta blogura mierda. Siquera puedo encontrar los accentos hijosputenses y de mal holor. Me cago in la tumba del soldado desconocido de Santa Marta y los Siete Henanos.

So, you whant some shit make you laugh, man? I'll telll you some shit now you know wha'aam seyyin?

So, this fucking vato walks into a bar, man, he's like walkin' in an' shit. And he's like "oye sangre deme un trago de Patrone y una puta rucia..."

Yeah, so.

Just don' fuck with the Foreskin of Cobarrubbias, O.K.?



Iggy Pop: Every Woman's Dream.

Here Iggy is two seconds away from redefining female expectations for a generation.


There's th' Iggy pose. The cover of Raw Power.


Iggy Pop: Best Rock Star Ever.

Funny, blindingly smart, deeply flawed, funnier than shit, able to rock tall buildings in a single bound.

Iggy is no pussy. Iggy is as at home with Brecht, Porter and Lotte Lenya as he is with th' Stooges and MC5 and all them. I think Iggy and the Stooges' first tour was opening for the Mothers but I could be wrong. Iggy conceived of The Stooges and his own persona in the library at the U of Mich. The shirtless thing comes from reading about ancient Egypt and seeing pictures of the pharaohs who are always shirtless. He was like "I can do that".

It always seems as if our most left-field fucked-up awesome entertainers aren't left-field by design. It's just what comes out. A lot of the time these guys are just trying to write a good pop song but have the ability to let their nuttiness come through.

Iggy and Nico were banging for a while there in the early 70's and she lived with him at the Stooges house in Ann Arbor or Detroit or wherever it was for like a month. How would that be for a reality show? Iggy and Nico. Whoever does an eightball of molassas-ey brown heroin first gets voted off the planet.

Stuff like that happened back then.

I love how Iggy moves on stage. There's some great Who footage (Live At Leeds?) where Townshend is doing these huge windmills but with an exaggerated ass-shaking kind of thing that is fuckin' hilarious. Iggy reminds me of that. He always moves like he's going to go down any second, as if he's fucking with gravity. The feet-together-both-hands-on-the-mic thing. Is he doing that in the picture? i can't remember. i'll get one of him like that if he isn't. It's actually that kind of iconic image of him. When he dies they'll embalm him like that and have him at the Hard Rock in Hollywood.

Anyway, what a funny guy and a great protopunk. You can almost forgive him for selling "Lust For Life" to the Bangkok Sex Getaway Cruise Line but christ, you know those guys sold those songs hook line and sinker for rent and smack money in 1971. That's how it works.

When I was in San Diego and LA it was classic because the running joke was the god damn Sony Publishing Deal. Every band that could get a Tuesday night at Spaceland had a publishing deal with Sony, where they gave them 5 G's and put them on the shelf. Their thinking obviously was that if they had every band in LA in their pocket, eventually someone or another would make a quick mil for them and they'd recoup.

Fucking guys.

I was at a studio in Redondo Beach once in 98 when Snoop was there doing a guest thing for our label mate Silk-E Fyne. Oooh, yeah. Guy was fucking terrifying. He wanted NOTHING to do with my ass or my time. And the weed smoke was like a Cheech and Chong movie. Unreal. Of course, our label head was totally intolerant of any kind of behavior like that on our part but hey, we ain't the Dizzog. Silk-E-Fyne, hee hee.

You notice how Mr. Fyne has dominated the hip hop and now neo-soul charts for the last several years.

(For those of you who don't watch the charts that's sarcasm).

Remember in like '97-'98 where every hip hop label had like an official white rock band? Like them awful Danzig bands. That's what we were. Fucking classic. But they tried to market us like hip hop and That's When I Knew It Was Over. What a bad move anyone could tell you that would be. Man, this shit made Spinal Tap look like The Last fucking Waltz. Oh, gracious and good arsenic. Oh, my aching Nibelungen. Oh, my large, crestfallen Wheatie processor.

Oh, Christ. Look, can we just get up tomorrow and go about our business and just try to remember that Iggy Pop is in the world and there's still hope? Look, I know it seems bleak but we've still got Iggy and we've still got Bowie and Townshend kind of, and we've got Mike Kennealy and them. Still got that Patti Smith. She's as good as ever, fuck sake. Talk Talk is reuniting in the wake of the No Doubt smash version of "It's My Life" (just kidding- fuck Talk Talk. Those guys are flamers. Those guys are like the Priscilla Queen of The Desert version of rock and roll.

Those guys would go on tour and sob every night for home. Fucking Talk Talk. Jesus. What a mistake THAT shit was. That shit would bring out the homophobe in ANYBODY. Fuckin' A.

Ha ha ha ha. I'm just kidding. Talk Talk was fine. The economy of music is not such that I can afford to ridicule an essentially deserving-to-exist band. I liked the record with all the stuff on it, too. And that they disintegrated in the studio from stress and drugs trying to record their magnum opus. That's tits right there. yes, sir.

That's how a band is supposed to come apart. Like th' Black Crowes.

Speaking of which- Christ. We've gotta get some of our people in there. We've gotta get ourselves deployed. Oh, sweet mary sister of Terence. We've gotta bring it up the god damn beach, people. Just a few more feet. Get that Bagalor up here, I'm blowing the god damn fence. Oh, Criminy. Uhhh glub blug. I have a herniated hernia. Oh, my god damn crispospiliac hurts. Booo hoo. Truly time to make a stand you first. Aaalll my shrapnel scars from Anzio are fucking with me. Bleeeargh. Oh, it's the fuckin' humidity. Settles into my bayonet wound from An-Teat-Am. God damn. Spare the rod and spoil the ammunition, my cuntrymaen. Ah, that ball I took at Lexington is aching me something unreal. Oh, my god damn damn it sona bitch poop. Oh, heck. Heck.






My Stars and Fucking Garters.

Oh, my goodness gracious. It's enough to make you glad that someone out there still knows what a record is supposed to look like.


Oh, gosh that hurts. Ohhh heh hee hee ho. I like to tell people they should come because you never know when my dad Gordon might show up and sit in. Oh, ho ho ha ha.

Oh, my sides hurt. Is that like the Lost Ted Nugent Album Cover or what?? Ohhhhh. Splkxxrrppp. Look at the font. It's like all monster-y.

Hey, it's actually just the slightest bit Roxy Music, eh?

Oh, I like this cover. It's funny but good at the same time. Look how bad it's composited. The only way it could be more 70's cowbell-rock is if the microphone was a branding iron. Oh, would that fucking wail. It almost looks like it. Urggghh. I tried to change it. No dice. That would be so Slade.

Lightfoot. Gunnar and Joe Lightfoot. Hrrk.

Bobby Lightfoot Misses The Point Number One: Keane

So, O.K., like, Keane has only three people and no bass player, right? Why doesn't the chick singer start playing bass and then they'd be more like Emerson Lake and Palmer?


"Universal Appeal"

Y'know, it's a wacky, kooky world we're livin' in. Youth culture, as insidious as it has come to be, is really only about 50 years old. All the distinctions that those of us who consume art and music make that revolve around what's cynical and what's genuine are, in this context, relatively new things. Sure, we've been saying this sharpened stick rocks and this one sucks since the cave days. This chariot shreds ass, this one is a lemon. This continent is full of asshole indians and this one has these short l'il folks what we can conquer easy.

The illustrious Mrs. Packer has drawn my attention to a few things that are interesting about these distinctions.

When I finish the laundry I shall speak of them.

O.K., laundry's all done and i got some caffee. You know I like th' caffee. I like all that kind of stuff that makes your head bad. Unless Monsanto or Glaxo-Smith-Blowme makes it. Then it's just a tool of The Man to Keep A Brother Down. Juan Valdez? Cuervo Gold? Hippy Johnny From Vermont? Purveyors all of fine, fine products.

Let's think about a couple two three things. I'm angry that the lousy crappy shitemeisters at Coca Cola Records have perverted modern music so that we can pretty much assume that anything that a lot of people like is bad. Hey, it's true. We all know that. What on earth was it like before? I don't know. It wasn't as neat. Kids and parents sat next to the radio together and dug Ol' Blue Eyes. Must've been a trip. I can't imagine. We all know god damn well that the main use of pop music now is to piss off your parents. It's been that way since 1965. Thing is, in 1965 it was really good.

I love the Beatles. But I love Lothar and The Hand People just as much. I love The Police. But I love Wild Man Fischer just as much. I love Roxy Music. But I love The Ware River Club. Roxy Music/King Radio. Jack Kerouac/Ken Nordeen. Dickens/Bukowski.

I think that all the people on the right side of the column have Universal Appeal. Universal Appeal will get you six people smilin' big in a empty club.

When I was getting up night after night and facing indifferent people with my own songs I started to really worry that I wasn't connecting with them. And I wasn't. I fucking hated them. And they hated me. I'd have sooner cut a swath through them with my swinging bass guitar than sing to them. The size of my agenda was simply too huge for us to have a good time together. I used to think it was something like my eyes were too deepset and I'd wear eyeliner. I used to think all kinds of weird shit. It couldn't have been the music. The music was great. I still know that. Trust me- I have a pact of honesty with myself.

Nowadays, I get up and do "In The Midnight Hour" and let my wang fall outta my pants and we're one big happy family. I do "Take Me To The River" and I trip over my feet and fall over the drumkit and everybody's happy. I'm so connected with the audience. I could lean out and kiss them. I could tell them secrets. They like me. I like them a lot. It has finally fucking dawned on me at age 40 what Entertainment is. It's about being brave and open and stupid and human. At least that's what it is for me. You don't want to be too sincere. It's uncomfortable. And one must check one's agenda at the door. It doesn't mix with beer.

It's such a relief to know I can Entertain. It's kind of a revelation. Don't get me wrong- I've seen audiences really eat shit up, but for me it was always the wrong shit. It wasn't my Creative Brilliance they were eating up. It was th' fucking drum solo.

I can't speak for these dudes that get the Big Break and they do what they do and never much think about it. All I've done is play my shit for people, make people with money like it, put me in their company and put my shit out, like that. I never got the Big Break. I just wanted to build it up a few at a time, a show at a time, 300-400 miles a day.

But see, my shit is weird. It's not Flaming Lips weird either. It's not Nirvana weird or Pink Floyd weird. It's way too accomplished- it makes people suspicious. it's real polished. And people think that's a play for commercialism but it sure as hell isn't. It's just how it comes out. I'm just very, very skilled. And I won't act like I'm not. Christ, if I wanted to be commercial I'd get some turntables and some Funkadelic samples and shoot somebody. That's Commercial. Making Elton John sound like a garage band is not Commercial.

And that is really, really weird. And The Thing That I'm Reaching For is WEIRD, yo. We're talking Gershwin/Stravinski/Pucchini/Cole Porter/Beethoven weird. That's just the way it is.

I don't think these teenie bopper cuntfaces today have any Universal Appeal at all. One year and they're like old magazines. Gross. I don't think there's much in our culture that has much Universal Appeal. Seagram's says "like it, god damn it" and Brad Pitt says "it's hip" and hey, you've got a phenomenon. I don't think many of these people on the radio could actually entertain and transform a group of people with the barest essentials. Gotta have lights. Gotta have backup tapes. Gotta have all this expensive shite.

These children would be FUCKED without all that crap. Oh, they're bad. Bad. Ryan Cabrera and Assleigh Simpleton and Avril and all these constructions. Bad.

But man, look at the charts in 1967. Where are the Beatles? Where are the Stones? Where is anybody except a buncha noname one-hitters?

Universal Appeal is a funny, funny thing. For me it's as far removed from the modern concept of Commercially Viability as can be. It has to do with transcending time and place; a lot of these people don't register a tiny uptick in their own time and place.

My highest goal in this life is to be a musician and to be afforded a place in the Big Wheel. Because I feel like I've earned it. I've chosen the Right thing over the Easy thing for 20 odd years and I'm scoffed at for it. We don't measure anything anymore except by how much money it makes.

Money gives me the god damn yawns. I swear to fucking Christ. that is some seriously boring shit in the large scheme. Listen to the 'Footmeister on that there shit.

I'm in it to rearrange brain chemistry like Bach does in "the Saint Matthew Passion". Dude, that shit will turn your crap around, right there. Martians could dig that shit.

It all comes back to the kid in The Tin Drum. Possessing the facility with your medium, whatever it is, to transform. And the more reduced and reductive the medium, the more beautiful it is. I'm always in awe of that.

I'm aiming for that. I'm reaching for That Thing. And I must remind myself how fortunate I am to even be in the position to do that. That is truly a blessing tenfold. An immeasurable luxury. If I didn't have that I don't know what I'd do.

When I was back in The Best God Damned Four Years Of Your Life And Don't You Forget It I took a class in Spanish Lit at Mount Holyoke. I thought it'd be an easy A because it was taught in Spanish and I gotta handle on that shit. Boy, is Spanish Literature bad. They can't even use quotation marks good. Anyway, there was this crappy story about some loser Catholic Priest losing his faith and all that crappy Spanish shit and he realizes at the end the the only important thing is to live as if there is a god even if there isn't.

And that's where I am. I'm understanding that The Thing maybe doesn't exist.

But oh, my fucking christ if I stop reaching for it I am so going to shoot myself to death. Bing bang boom. Or actually just bing. Actually, I reckon if you cap yourself you probably never even hear the shot. I've done all the math, y'know? I've put it all on the scales.

Because everything else is a ripoff. It's all a carefully contrived plot to keep people making new people. And I'm not interested in making new people. I'm not hardwired. They handed that shit out and I wasn't in line for some reason. I don't see the need. Might as well go to Washington and construct whores. Might as well go to Newcastle and construct coal.

I'm pretty convinced that this is what I'm supposed to do. That's about the only thing I know for reasonably sure. I think trudging around in this 6-foot case of hamburger and shit and transforming the molecules around me into beauty is what I'm for.

When I finally realized that things got a lot easier. And harder.

Don't get me wrong- go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Tower Records or whatever. I'm there. I made it there. Look for "fiction". My band was called fiction. I made it there. I guess we're "90's Rock" as if the humiliation wasn't already great enough. It was the biggest detour between me and Universal Appeal I could have possibly made. Took god damn forever. Took a million fucking tears. One day I got smart and fucked off. Ooohhh...the sheer embarrassment. The inhumanity. The grief. All those breaths taken in vain. All those fucking drives to god damn Palos Verdes and Bel Air and Santa god damn Monica. Oh, god damn it. All the lost hair. All the lost fucks. All the lost years.

And don't be tempted to buy that record, O.K.? All these really shitty people get all the money. Fucking brazen, disgusting LA types with SUVs. What on Christ's Red Fucking Ass do these people know about art or appeal or value or anything except Getting Stuff? Getting Lots Of Stuff.

Oh, thank fucking Christ I'm not that old yet. I can Still Make It Right. I'm like fucking Scrooge on god damn Christmas morning. I can still take the Cratchits the fucking goose. I can still keep my wizened tallywhacker out of Tiny Tim's crippled ass. It's not too late. Thank you, ghost of Music Past. Thank you, ghost of Music Future.

I can still be Reaching For This Thing. Oh, thank you. Thank you Festus. Glack.

I Know Things Have Been A Little Soft At Th' Orchestra

But I've just been feeling so...vulnerable.

I've got a couple a things to write about that are a bit wet, namely some valid points brought up by the gentle and erudite Mrs. Packer in response to my "I'm Reaching For This Thing" post and a little bit about my adoptive hometown.



I'm Reaching For This Thing

And it's fuckin' whack is what it is.

I've wiped the slate completely clean as a gesture of faith in myself. I've broken free of any constraints and come back to music from the ass-side, realizing that life is simply too long for one to be writing verse-chorus-verse for the fullness of this dance. I moved to a different instrument and chained myself to the bench to ignite a bit of ability and agility.

From 2000 to 2002 I wrote nothing but string quartets in an effort to enforce some voice-leading and inner-voice motion in my compositional brain. The only studio recordings I did were live piano-and-voice. Oh, man is that a bitch. No hiding on that crap.

I keep trying to ignore the voice that keeps me from really going over the top and doing these honey-coated romance art songs that are, quite honestly, quite mincing. I can't help but feel that there's something in that direction that would be relevant and striking. I listen to a lot of the crooner-era and 30's songs, the Kern and Rodgers and Hart and Cole and all that shit and there's a lot of freedom in the strophic character of the songs. And listening to those god damn singers like Edith Piaf and Billie and Satch is surely a study in the nature of entertainment. Just simple, one-on-one entertainment.

The entertainers that, you put 'em up on stage with a matchbook a rock and a piece of string, three hours later you'll still be sobbing and sighing. When it's pulled out of thin air like that it's a thing of wonder. And they don't talk much in front of people. They do it all with the songs. A thing of wonder.

So I'm reaching for that thing. That's all. Whether I fall out of a window tomorrow or stagger along like this for dozens of years, I'm sick of boring shit. Maybe it's a function of age. And speaking of which, I want to use the dozens of years of moving around, of seeing shit, of being all over the world. I want shit in there about Venice and Cadiz and Riomaggiore and Berlin and Bogota and La Paz and Helsinki.

I'm reaching for the thing that is suffused with all of this. I can't even hear what it sounds like yet. Usually when I can hear what a thing is supposed to sound like I can track it down in 2 years. This one, I don't know. Could be a couple, could be ten. Maybe I'll wake up with it tomorrow. Maybe I'll fucking biff it and it will never come about. Like all those great bands that broke up too soon and all that wasted potential and all those relationships ending and you can hear what that band would have done in your head but it'll never be. Never.

Worse yet, I might never get it at all. Maybe I'm not talented enough. Maybe my universal appeal to the rest of humanity just doesn't exist. Just doesn't exist. Maybe that's a bit of a problem. If I don't get it at all it would be the worst.

See, what I think about when I think about What I'll Leave Behind is different from what you think about. All I can do is do what I do and play it for people and put it in a sea chest and hope that 100 years from now people might dig it. So it has to be really somethin'. Somethin' good. And it has to be something that you can have that whenever there's a piano you can take people further outside of themselves than they ever thought possible. Like the god damn kid in Tin Drum there.

So you can't just verse-chorus-verse it.

With music, anything you can hear in your head you can do if you are a careful and sensitive steward. And that's a crazy god damned thing because- in your head? Dude, you can hear some dope-ass shit in your head. Everybody knows that. We're human beings. We're all conceptualists. What those composers and interpreters share is that quality of sensitive stewardship which is probably my favorite human quality in all its many forms.

Isn't that just the god damnedest fucking thing?