Friday, August 31, 2007

Guess who's putting on a show tonight?

Guess who's putting on a show tonight?

Yes, it's true, I've been laying low promoter-wise for most of the summer ... but summer's just about over so it's time for me to start shaking off the cobwebs. Tonight's show at Hideout should be pretty great. Farewell Captain is saying farewell to their guitarist, Dorian Taj is always a treat, and I think that The Midnight Shows are about to undergo a line-up change as well, so this may be your last chance to see them in their current configuration.

Hit it.

FYI: LS is the new WP.

FYI: LS is the new WP / LES / WB / etc.

Seriously, I'm beginning to think that Logan Square is now the center of cool.

The changes the 'hood has gone through in the last few years, heck, years? Last few months! Lotsa cool new places opening, lotsa cool new neighbors sans attitude, lotsa lotsa potential.

I love my neighborhood.

(Another FYI, Bucktown (as most Wicker Parkers think of it) is not in Logan Square, so stop trying to ride our coattails all over again, you yuppies!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No, I didn't forget: two levels of loony at Liar's Club tonight!

No, I didn't forget: two levels of loony at Liar's Club tonight!

Downstairs, the usual suspects.

Upstairs, these guys. Although I think they're sadly mistaken if they think Liar's Club even has a VIP section. Well, unless you count Horniak's pad, that is:
You've probably heard that tonight Machine Media presents a night of dancing and draught with us featuring DJs Aleks Andra (Aleks and the Drummer), Hilary Rawk (Rawk Magazine) and the Reverend Felix Groove along side the Machine DJs. Help deflower these 3 first timers at Let's Go All The Way. Upstairs in the VIP at Liar's Club (1665 W. Fullerton) the DJs will spin their favs. Also announcing the Avant/Chicago/Party/Photo/Project (A/C/P/P/P) will get off the ground tonight - come and see what it's all about.
I will be bouncing between floors. Literally. Herb has installed a fireman's pole so I can move from floor to floor more quickly.

I just don't know.

I just don't know.

Pop quiz hot-shot! Why do I find this photo so sexy?

a) I believe women should eat their young.
b) It gives new meaning to the term "teething."
c) I think the pixie cut is just too adorable!
d) All of the above.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stronger than the original by far.

Stronger than the original by far.

Holy crap! Discobelle has the A-Trak remix of Kanye West's "Stronger" and it is frickin' awesome. I wish I was DJing this week just so I could play it. I guess I'll just have to settle with having a dance party in my head, huh?

Anyway, it takes the Daft Punk source track, judiciously sprinkles in a teensy bit of Kanye, and turns up the club-n-bump to a ridiculous degree. Seriously, my favorite remix of the second. Grab your own copy, and start your own dance party.

This is just the thing I needed to get me over the mid-work-week hump. Hey Keep, think we can get him to remix "I Love Sluts?"

I mean, it's worth a try, right?

Three-second review of the new Biffy (who?!) Clyro

Forty-five-second review of the new Biffy (who?!) Clyro.

Yeah, I've never heard of Biffy Clyro either. Something tells me people will now, since the album I just got from them sounds like the Foo Fighters minus Grohl's recent annoying penchant for screaming every other line of his songs.

To be honest, part of me wants to wipe their tunes from the tankPOD this second, before anyone finds out they're on there ... but at the same time a little part of me is already guiltily cognizant that I want to hear their album again, and then probably again, and then one more time.

O.K., I lied, I just deleted most of it. I kept this song (and a few others, I can admit it) though.

MP3: Biffy Clyro "Saturday Superhouse"

A minor lesson in humility.

A minor lesson in humility.

I am smarter than your average bear. In fact, actually, I know a lot. And I know that I know a lot. So I concede that, from time to time, I might suffer from a swelled head. Sometimes I even have problems fitting it through doorways if I feel I've displayed an especially impressive string of word and ideas.

And then, sometimes, I realize I am not, in fact, "all that." Like this morning, when I'm reading an article about forest fires and looked at a map, only to realize that Idaho is not next door to Iowa, even though for some reason, when not actually looking at a map, I always mentally picture it to be.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nine down, forty-three to go.

Nine down, forty-three to go.

Don't Know Much About History:
Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned
by Kenneth C. Davis

I'll admit, I'd hoped to at least hit the half-way mark of my original goal before the end of the year, but that's looking doubtful unless I really start pouring on the steam and/or start choosing shorter books! I actually started Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned a while ago, but put it down a few pages into the book. It's been more than a few years since I took any sort of history, and considering my age I'm also cognizant that my initial education probably had a few gaping holes due to the bias of the times and the general trend for some of the more alarming events in the United States' history to get neutered as time passes.

So I dug in, took a trip down the national memory lane, and realized that I had most of it right to start with. There are a number of myths that get debunked along the way, but the debunking comes by way of an expansion of information rather than the removal of false facts.

One thing I DID notice that had flown under my personal radar for a number of years? It's frightening just how many times history really does seem to repeat itself. Things really do seem to progress cyclically. That's not to say we haven't made great leaps forward as far as discoveries and illuminating events go. Nosiree. Rather it means that despite all those leaps, we as a nation seem to make the same mistakes all over again, only on a grander scale.

At the same time, the other thing I took from this little refresher course is that it is STUNNING that such a relatively new country, that could barely wipe its own nose 150 years ago, has now become the global superpower that it is. That really is inspirational. At the same time, as a glance over my shoulder at the mistakes our government and the rotations of people in power seem to insist on repeating, I think our impressive growth spurt should also be handled with great care and be viewed with caution and adjusted with care.

PERFECT TIMING: It's actually kind of fitting that I just finished this book and chose to write about it today, since today is also my younger brother Jason's birthday! Jason is the hardcore history buff in the family, so I'm sure he would appreciate my urge to refresh my memory of the events that shaped our nation. Now look, here he comes, carrying a bunch of books about European history. Run!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Busy week. Well, weekend.

Busy week. Well, weekend.

Lots of stuff coming up, but not enough time to tell you all about it right now! Let's just say that I have your week planned Wednesday through Sunday, if you're looking for some guidance. I'm skipping town Sunday, so that's where my plans for you end! Unless, of course, you'll be near me in Michigan.

Also, the day that America's #1 Sweetheart gets re-released into the wild draws ever closer. Personally, I'm at the point where I find myself drumming the breaks and beats in songs without even thinking about it as I drive, or research, or watch TV. It's probably driving everyone around me nuts, but at least you can tell the songs are becoming hardwired into me ... and the last few practices it's really showing as everything comes ever closer together.

Right now my only point of concern is the idea of wearing a costume on-stage. In the past the band was known for their coordinated outfits and theatricality, and I always dug it, but I'm not personally the kind of guy who is comfortable in a costume.

Or maybe I am. I mean, I AM the guy that used to wear a black one-piece dress and a hockey mask when I would sing in my old band, so maybe I'm just worrying over nothing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An attempt to shift the mood around here.

An attempt to shift the mood around here.

Sometimes, you just need to watch something silly and stupid.

Thanks to Chuck for pointing out this pick-me-up.



I'm a wuss, I just can't bring myself to go. I just don't deal with those things well. I know it's primarily to show support for the others left behind, but I don't think I can support others when I'm still so fervently searching for my own answers.


Friday, August 24, 2007

And I still just don't get it.

And I still just don't get it.

I'm still sorting out the feelings, but if anyone wants the info on Jamie Ayukawa's memorial gathering on Sunday, please email me privately.

I wasn't going to go, but now I think I am. I tend to like to deal with these things privately, but that's not working this time. His death has gotten to me more deeply than I expected. I mean, in recent years we didn't see each other that often. We hung out a lot when I worked in the service industry, but once I started working in the "corporate" world our schedules didn't really coincide all that well anymore. Now I'm regretting the fact that I couldn't make it to his parties, and pig roasts, and all that fun stuff in recent years. I'm really regretting not making more of an effort to actually hang out with him outside of bars and shows in the last few years.

He was one of the nicest and one of the most "real" people I have ever met. He made me feel close to him right from the get-go, which was surprising since I usually keep my guard up when first meeting people, but he broke through that right away. And I knew he had some darker tendencies, but who among us doesn't? I had no idea he was so troubled though, and wish that I had seen more of him. I mean, maybe I would have picked up on it? Judging by how this has caught everyone so off-guard, probably not, but who knows? Maybe? He had everything going for him; a lovely girlfriend he was engaged too, friends that loved him, talented bands to play in ... I still can't believe he gave that all up.

Sorry if this is scattered, I've only started to try and address this verbally, and my feelings on this one aren't so easily compartmentalized. On one hand I'm incredibly saddened that he's gone, that I'll never have another conversation with him, never recommend another band to him, never listen to another one of his never-ending witticisms. And then I'm angry. Angry that he left everyone behind. But mostly I'm confused. Something about it all just doesn't fit. The whole thing just isn't fair.

I hope you've found peace Jamie.

Don't feel like writin' ... or much else at all.

Don't feel like writin' ... or much else at all.

Between the chills tickling my spine, and the hours spent bailing out my basement, I think it's safe to say my personal muse has taken a holiday (or, for you non U.S.A. types, "taken holiday").

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A question, and a recommendation.

A question, a recommendation, and three destinations.

Question: Does anyone know where I can find a solid MP3 or M4A of the theme song from ¡Three Amigos!? I heard it on a podcast I was listening to at the gym yesterday and am now dying to have the whole song so I can slip it into a DJ set at some later point. Every time I hear it I think of touring in the van with Woolworthy since that was a popular sing-a-long.

Recommendation: Discobelle has a Nick Catchdubs and DJ Ayres mix up that is absolutely killer. It's one of those that could get rock and/or rollers and rave kids fighting for space with the headz on the dance floor. Get it.

Destination 1: Tonight's DJs for Bomb Squad Thursday at Liar's Club are Amber Waves, Rudy Tuesday, and Miz Demonrrr. Catch 'em.

Destination 2: Milk At Midnight and The Assembly are playing at The Empty Bottle. This is where you will find me and a bunch of other super-fun folks earlier in the evening.

Destination 3: A little birdie told me that even though The Burlington's grand opening isn't until Saturday, they're open all this week anyway, so you can stop in and get a taste of the goodness before the joint explodes all over the scene. have I mentioned how pleased I am to have a cool bar I can literally stumble home from? Awesome.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"We just signed to Arista ..."

"We just signed to Arista ..."

Rick and Rose of The Poster Children talk about my old friend Aaron on the latest Radio Zero podcast. I can't ell if they're making fun of him, or if they're impressed by his honest reaction.

He comes in at the 28:35 mark, but the whole podcast, as always, is pretty entertaining.

Download it.

Earlimart is tugging my ears today.

Earlimart is tugging my ears today.

I'm really digging the new Earlimart disc. I actually have a full review of it in next month's UR Chicago, so I won't really go into it here. I will reminisce about the past, since some filed thoughts were dredged up by listening to the new album.

I remember seeing them a few years ago, with Light FM opening, and being blown away. Listening to the disc I also realized just how much I missed Light FM, since both bands write in that sort of melancholically upbeat (I know, but when you hear it, it makes sense) new-wave tinged with grandiose flourishes. And then that made me think of the time when I was promoting shows pretty much full time, and how a Light FM show would always bring a smile to my face, and be something I was looking forward to. There were a few (and still are a few) Chicago bands that I got super-excited to work with, but Light FM was one of the main ones.*

Anyway, what I'm saying is I dig it.

We're running a contest at Chicagoist to win tickets to their show next week at Schuba's
, so you should enter to try and win those. But even if you don't, I highly recommend checking them out. Their albums are beautiful, but their live show is a different beast all together.

*No, Light FM isn't defunct ... they're just in California, which is almost the same thing as far as we Midwesterners are concerned, since they never tour out this way!

Photo by Eric Nowels

Tuesday, August 21, 2007



Things that made me smile in the last 72 hours:
  • A fresh clove of garlic, just dug from the ground, and eaten whole.
  • Busting a move to "Bust A Move" at Liar's Club with my special lady and some of my best friends.
  • My niece.
  • My nephew.
  • Bashing Harry Potter and deciding that "muggles" are in fact crossbreeds of beagles, pugs, and mutts.
  • The inevitable roast that occurs at any of my family events. We're sharp wits, we are.
  • It was ultimately a bad idea, but it made me smile at the time: White Castle.
  • Band practice.
  • Elvira Arellano's arrest and deportation.*
  • Being told in great detail just how poorly a bar I particularly loathe is doing. Petty? Yes, but it still made me smile. I'm not proud of it, but ...
  • The new Earlimart album.
  • Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
  • Thoughts of simpler times, when it just seemed like there was so much more time.
*I believe 100% that we need immigration reform, but that self-centered scofflaw was doing he movement more harm than good.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Change of pace.

Change of pace.

It's a new week, and after the last few emotionally turbulent days I think we all need something to just, I don't know, at least change the pace a little. I don't know. So let's try and think about something cheerful, like a mini band update.

Our set is coming together nicely and we all seem to really be getting the hang of that musical shorthand needed to convey ideas about how a song should sound, or what part belongs where. It's kind of like we took this mountain of noise and kept building it up until it was just massively powerful, and now we're cutting parts out and sculpting it so it becomes beautiful instead of just impressive.

So I think we'll be ready to play out soon, and that's exciting.

Saturday, August 18, 2007



I keep wishing I had known it was that bad. I wish I had asked him more questions. I wish I had ... just been able to do something, anything. I wish I had paid more attention.

The darkness and the light.

The darkness and the light.

Stunned and shocked; as my immediate family prepares to celebrate the entry of a new life into the world, I discover my adopted extended family is forced to mourn the willful exit of one of our own.

I ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

They're everywhere, so I may as well post 'em too.

They're everywhere, so I may as well post 'em too.

Obviously someone at Warner Brothers decided the public needed some nice shots from the new Batman movie. The first few photos are set in awfully familiar surroundings ... and the last one is ripped right out of Frank Miller's imagination.

Enough about me.

Enough about me.

Let's talk about my friends today.

Alex and Chris' band gets a nice review from the Daily Herald. They also play this Sunday in an, um, inventively assembled bill at Elbo Room. Go see them play.

Okay, enough about my friends, back to me me ME!

I am kidding, and that was an inside joke, but you are outside, so it probably rang more as truth than the making of the funny. Anyway.

Pitchfork's review process confuses me more than ever, so I finally weighed in on it yesterday at donewaiting.

And what does the picture of Liz Phair MILFing it up have to do with all of this? Absolutely nothing. Good day.

To make up for this there will be more picture of puppies and kitties tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mixed feelings about my namesake's 3rd lease on life.

Mixed feelings about my namesake's 3rd lease on life.

Apparently there's a new Tank Girl series coming out, only it's sans Jamie Hewlett ... sure Alan Martin is writing, but without Jaimie I'm kind of "eh, why bother?" The art looks O.K., but it ain't knocking me out (examples here, here, and here).

Of course Jaimie's not the only one to have drawn TG through the years, but all other interpretations have paled next to his, and this rather out-of-the-blue resurrection seems tainted by money rather than the creative need to continue the print bloodline of the character.

All that said, of course I'll be one of those schmucks looking for all the issues!

Oh yes, the boys are back in town.

Oh yes, the boys are back in town.

A word about the image.

A while ago my friend Gina sent me a whole slew of photos from events I attended since I had put out the call for such shots since I realized I had almost no photographic evidence of my existence over the past few years*, and the one above must be at a Venom Lords show because the original shot is of here making the face at the camera while her husband Dan smiled at their sweaty drummer boy. The image has been sitting in a folder on my desktop for months, because I just knew it'd make a fun flier, but I couldn't figure out how to make the whole thing work. Then I just decided to Photoshop out everything but Gina's goofy mus and "voila!" Perfection.

So yeah, me, Vinyl Ritchie and Fisticuffs spin downstairs at Liar's Club tonight. It'll be real. And it'll be even real-er if YOU are there to make silly song requests I can say no to.

O.K., I'm lying, we all know i love playing silly song requests ... so get there early Keep and you may hear some "When The Going Get Tough, The Tough Get Going!"

And now, let's kill about four minutes with Journey, and a truly ass-kicktastic Flash animation of "Don't Stop Believing." Seriously, about 1:30 into it you'll be holding your sides. (Credz due Maura for the Journey, and where does she get those wonderful toys links?)

*Which, when you factor in the fact that my girlfriend's nickname is Photogal, is really quite ironic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Um, is there actually water in there?

Um, is there actually water in there?

This gives a whole new meaning to "the wave."

Credz CScout

Not about puppies, or kittens.

Not about puppies, or kittens.

The band
is going well, we've got a bunch of songs down vibe-wise and are now head-down shoulders-forward working on hammering out the arrangements. We should be ready soon -- though not soon enough to sneak on my Hideout bill at the end of the month, a thought I briefly toyed with when the third band I had planned on having play had to back out due to a world-travellin' detour -- but I think our first couple of shows will be "secret" so we can get our feet wet in front of a crowd. Maybe a few out-of-town?

Anyone who has seen the band knows what we're like, and that Keep writes fabulous rock songs with a wicked and sometimes twisted pop edge. The only difference now is that the tunes are a tad more aggressive and I think that has a bit to do with my drumming style, which is less "masterful" and more "instinctive." I know I'm doing things right when 'Balls is smiling and PP is machine-gun-shooting his bass all across the practice space.

I tried putting together my old set in my basement the other day, and while the basic kit is all there, I realized that my old practice space mates from a few years ago made off with more than just my cowbell. Two of the bands moved out West, though, so I think there's little chance of getting those cymbals or hardware back. Thanks goodness for PP's extra kit or I'd be playing the bottoms of paint cans.

This is going to be good, just you wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Last weekend we went to Michigan, and had a loverly time.

Last weekend we went to Michigan, and had a loverly time.

And now for something completely different.

After DJing until the wee early hours of Saturday morning, I caught a few hours sleep and decided to join Photogal in Michigan for her mom's birthday. Photogal had left the evening before, so I filled the kitties' bowls full o' food, and packed up the pups for the two-hour drive. It took us a little longer than two hours because some dumb-ass got on the expressway going back towards Chicago after filling up on gas. After chastising myself for such complete idiocy, we got back on the road and soon arrived at our 100+ year-old farmhouse in South Haven, Michigan. As you can see the pups were excited to be there. (As always, you can click on any photo to enlarge and view in a new window.)

Lucy is especially fond of the grass ...

And, unlike a certain beagle, is 100% not afraid of cameras.

That's where our old underground cold storage room is ... roofless and overgrown with brush and trees. It's totally cool and reminds me of some of the abandoned houses I used to play in as a kid in South Texas.

And here's our farmhouse. As you can see from all the lumber, we're still working on it. But it's coming along very nicely.

Photogal displays her domestic side in our kitchen.

Then I snuck up on Betty and got her picture before she even knew I had a camera in my hand. I am so sneaky!

Then we set up camp in front of the house at dusk to watch the bats since he have, oh, a hundred or so living in our attic. Photogal's mom took one of my cigarettes when I wasn't looking.

No bats were appearing, so I started to get a little bored.

As you can see, though, Betty the Beagle had no problem focusing her attention, though.

Everything's a little blurry after that.

The next day we headed down to the beach and I noticed a band of pygmies surrounding a a curious mound of sand.

Oh! It's someone's dad!

Photogal and the birthday girl walked along the windy beach. It was really nice and the breeze kept the humid heat that seemed to be settling everywhere else at bay.

The water was kind of choppy though and, despite the warm weather, still a little too chilly for me.

Then I saw a cool car drive slowly past some signage. I wonder what it says?

Oh. Uh oh. Guess we should stop taking our garbage to the beach and then swim on a full stomach!

After the beach it was time for some ice cream. Yum!

Hey, isn't this cow the same color as that cool car we just saw? Hmmm ...

We got back to the house and I decided to see what was going on in our barns.

And in our tree line.

A lot of cats hang out in this barn when we're not around. Or, rather, when certain canine fuzzies aren't around. (And no, I'm not talking about the fox across the way.)

I finally just decided to lay on my back for a while and enjoy the last hour or so we were there before heading back to Chicago.