you’re not gonna believe this

Check out this photo-

My friend Casey Burns dug this photo up from the Five-Eight national tour from, what, 1994?

From left to right, it’s me, about forty pounds ago, Pete Krebs from the band Hazel, Casey behind us with his hands up, some guy?, Sean from Five-Eight. Front row L to R- Lance Bangs, filmmaker and husband of Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, Mike and Dan from Five-Eight. This was taken in Portland the day after we played La Luna with Hazel and Satan’s Pilgrims.

I need to figure out what I was (or wasn’t) eating back then. I can’t believe I looked that skinny.

Sorry I have been so quiet

I have been hunkered down over the album cover for the new Music Hates You record, and since I don’t really know what I am doing…. it’s been entertaining.

In the meantime, I have had a few minutes to look at other blogs.

My twin brother thinks a LOT harder about these Father-Daughter Purity Balls than I am willing to allow myself to think….

“Ouch”? Fuck you, Instanitwit- I’ll show you fucking ouch….

Kick him again, TBogg. He makes funny noises when he’s cornered.

And finally, the best IM from my brother today:
TRex: the catholic school marching band is warming up across the street
TRex: poor kids
TRex: they tend to fumble through two or three new pieces, and then the band director lets them play ‘Louis Louis’ for half an hour
TRex: they rock some louis louis

10:05 AM

TRex: whoah baby
TRex: we gotta go
TRex: ay yi yi yi yi

Hey, Sis!

My favorite music writer (Sasha Frere-Jones) has published a review of Shakespeare’s Sister’s favorite artist.

You can read the review here.

After releasing several uneven albums in the early nineties, Morrissey settled into a playing and songwriting relationship with the guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte. Slowly and steadily, they have established a collaborative band, and “Ringleader of the Tormentors” (Attack) is their strongest work yet, possibly because of the new guitarist and co-writer, Jesse Tobias. Morrissey’s arch lines are still free of cliché, and his quavering, stagy singing is never the camp shtick it’s sometimes taken for. “Ringleader” was produced by Tony Visconti, who oversaw many of David Bowie’s nineteen-seventies albums, and the over-all style is aggressive, guitar-based rock. Some of Morrissey’s themes have not changed and likely never will: life is mostly a pain in the ass, though it won’t necessarily kill you, and love is just another word for pain.

Sasha has his own weblog here, where he posts his musings and his fabulous NYC still-life snapshots. HIGHLY recommended.

Oh, thank goodness…

The Ninja threat at UGA has been contained.

ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on campus Tuesday for Project Safe Neighborhoods training, detained a “suspicious individual” near the Georgia Center, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.

Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.

“Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint — that’s not right,” McLemore said, explaining why agents believed something to be amiss.

Make sure you face the telescreen, Winston.

::Update:: I feel compelled to point out that it’s fortunate that the ATF wasn’t on campus last week for ‘Al Qaeda vs. Hezbollah Day’ because that would have been a fucking MESS….

three things

1. we played last night. I am, like, iceberg tired… I just want to sink to the floor and wait gloomily for unsuspecting ships to pass overhead.

2. The Music Hates You record will be out (hopefully) in six or so weeks. I am studying various methods for self-distribution. Even on three hours of sleep, I can see that the music industry has changed to much that it’s almost pointless to sign to a label. What an interesting world it has become.

3. Did I mention that I was tired? OK… fuel economy in the Dart has dropped to almost intolerable. I need to put that new intake manifold on this weekend, since I think that the choke is just stuck closed, since the passage that sends hot exhaust gas to it is clogged with carbon. Makes it run rich, ie- like shit. I can’t afford NOT to fix the manifold this weekend.

Gonna tell you a little story

Many, many years ago, I was in the best live band in the country. I mean that most sincerely.

We toured incessantly, maybe more than any other band on the road except for four or five other notorious road dog bands like us- 200+ shows a year, which meant, with drive days factored in, we were able to sleep on our own beds in our own town for less than two and a half months a year, and those days were hardly ever in more than one week blocks of consecutive nights.

We played from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. We played Seattle (where I met the beautiful sister of Krist Novoselic, Diana… a story in and of itself), Spokane, San Diego and Starkville, Mississippi. We played Toronto and Saint Catherines, Saint Petersberg and Saint Simons.

We mostly kept our powder dry on the road- with all that touring, we had to watch that we didn’t compromise our health and well-being with too much excessive behavior, which made us kind of stir-crazy at times. All that tension and boredom and sublimated energy can make a bunch of guys a little nuts sometimes. Pensacola, for some reason, was the place where the dam frequently burst, and things got… weird.
[Read more…]

Let me tell you about my morning

the last few days, I swear…

Woke up this morning with water running under my house. Now, I knew I
had a pipe start to leak from the freeze Wednesday night, and I
intended to fix it as soon as possible (yesterday was another 16 hour
work day- Curse you, windows XP!), but last night the leak got worse,
because it got really cold again. So.

I had to do something before we lost all water pressure and the
foundation flooded.

I finished a cup of coffee, put on my Walls Coveralls over my pajamas,
and out I went, into the cold.

We don’t have a basement. We have what is aptly called “a crawlspace.”
A space where one crawls.

On a normal day, this is a fairly unpleasant task, as my HVAC
technician friend Sean Arington can tell you- it’s a cramped and dirty
place to be. Add a couple dozen gallons of water, and the dirty, cold
crawl space becomes a MUDDY cold crawl space.

I turned the water off at the street, then wiggled up into the cramped
little spot where the pipe burst. I was lying on my chest in about four
inches of ice cold mud as I tried to cut through the broken pipe so
that I could pull out the cracked section and install the patch. The
old pipe was some kind of cheap PVC that kept collapsing under my
cutters. This made it impossible to cut. This is very annoying at 6:45
am when one is lying on one’s chest in ice cold mud. I backed out of
the crawl space, went inside the house, dripped mud from the door to
the tool cabinet, found my hacksaw, and disassembled it, because it was
too large to use in the space I had to work with. I then wiggled back
under the house and using just the hacksaw blade (finally) cut out the
old pipe, put the new section in, backed out, turned the water on at
the street and heard the distinct *->pop<-* of a PVC patch giving way, followed by the cheerful gurgling WHOOSH of gallons of water pouring into the mud cavity where I had just been lying. Water off, fittings disassembled, then cleaned out and reapplied. Wiggle out. Water on. *->POP<-* WHOOSH. Repeat. *->POP<-* WHOOSH. If one reads the fine print on a can of PVC cement, there are several caveats that are hidden beneath warnings in three languages (warnings stating in no uncertain terms that the stuff is carcinogenic, caustic, volatile and just plain mean). Caveat number one is to make sure that the pipe is clean and dry. (OK, that's not possible. It's like the trenches at Verdun under there.) Caveat number two is that the drying time (specified over in the sunny West Berlin of the other side of the label from all the warnings and caveats) IS NOT APPLICABLE if the ambient temperature is below 60º F. If the temperature is below 60º, which is when pipes are likely to need fixin' from freezin' and breakin', then drying times are significantly longer. *sigh* Also.... Caveat #3: Don't reuse glue smeared fittings, which means it's time to go back to the Home Despot for more PVC parts. Driving a car while grotted head-to-toe with mud is interesting. Especially if it's your car and you ever intend to drive it again. So. Towels, towels everywhere. Now, remember, I am dripping, and it is cold. So much so that I leave a trail of drops the size and color of pennies as I walk through Home Despot. (Probably about $1.26 worth.) I buy fittings, return, wiggle into the crawl space again, smear everything (including myself) with evil smelling glue, fit it all into place, then restrain the urge to go test the fitting with water pressure immediately. Instead, I tiptoe to the kitchen, trying not to awaken Mrs. Dog to the apparition of a mud covered misanthrope staggering through the house like a mud-covered Bigfoot, and I pour myself a cup of coffee (I am so glad I made coffee before I turned off the water), then I sit on the front porch and mutter into a hot cup for half an hour. The moment of truth inexorably comes. I go to the T-wrench stuck down in the hole where the water meter is, and I heave mightily to turn the main water valve for the house to the "open" position. I lope over to the crawl space and turn my ear towards the leak. silence. When wise men and philosophers tell you that it's next to impossible to prove something doesn't exist, they aren't talking about leaks. Victory is mine. The next time you hear someone who sits in an office complain about how much plumbers make, smack them for me, ok?

In the Hangar Before Take-Off

Rock stars have laptops too. And sometimes they go a little sideways, and I get phone calls.

Tonight I was down at REM HQ as they were preparing to leave to hit the road for the Vote for Change Tour. Usually, when I do this kind of work, I am at one house or another, and it’s quiet. There might be some company dropping by, or the dog scampering from one end of the house to the other, but seldom am I surrounded by crew and management, all bustling around with cell phones strapped to their ears and SHOUTING to be heard over the music.

Picture me hunched over the band’s (and some of the crew’s) laptops, upgrading software and virus protection and checking firewalls. In the meantime, on the other side of the wall, the whole building is being shaken by the band as they rehearse for the next three months of shows.

The songs sound GREAT. The band looks GREAT. How’s everybody doing? They’re GREAT. Inside the building, the music often made conversation impossible, but all of us worker bees in the outside room of the studio were banging our heads along with the new songs. (Because, you know, they’re GREAT.) Everyone is just burning with this positive “Band on a Mission” vibe. In the air is a palpable sense that REM is about to get saddle up for the swing states and fight the good fight. Was it like this being on the airstrip right before the Americans left for Europe in 1942? REM has one foot out the door to get to the world…

As John Edwards likes to say, Don’t give up hope, America…. Help in on the way!