30 May 2009

summer jam

If I ruled the world, or at least the airwaves, this would be the song thumpin' out of everyone's ride this summer...

All In ~ Grouch & Eligh (featuring Gift Of Gab & Pigeon John)

28 May 2009

mi hermano

I jokingly refer to myself as a renaissance man, knowing full well that doodling a little bit every now & then & being able to put together a really good mixtape hardly qualifies as such, but my brother, JD, actually embodies the very concept in the truest sense of the term.
Our relationship at times has been strained but my respect for his talents has never followed suit. In his wide & varied experience & in his many travels, he has painted, sculpted, tattooed, played music, cooked & baked, repaired accordions, opened galleries & restaurants, been in more bands of so many many different genres & temperaments, elated, infuriated, raised rabble, & basically has always left any place he has been with a little more imagination & inspiration that it previously had.
Thirty years ago, he held me down, dangled his saliva over my face & made me scream in a high-pitched manner that would for some reason make our cat bite my face repeatedly. Twenty years ago, he put ink to my breast, indelibly marking me with a Native American badger symbol that signified more about our relationship that the actual meaning of the marking. Thirteen years ago, he cooked for my wedding & played guitar as my beautiful bride walked down the grassy aisle. Now he flies into town once a year to play a concert in our garage with my soon-to-be nine year old, allowing our precocious aspiring musician to act as lead singer, guitarist & overall ringmaster whilst behind the amp, JD makes sure the band stays tight & true to my boy's vision.
During this time, we have consoled each other over lost loves as well as shared joy in current ones, we have argued bitterly in cars & on street corners, we have written, drawn & painted together, traversed the country, narrowly avoiding ugly arrests down south as well as watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, celebrated each other, accused each other, loved & hated each other at different times & sometimes at the same time, our relationship has grown & receded in fits & starts, we have talked but perhaps never really talked...

Today is my brother's birthday, & because I have this little piece of Internet real estate, I can wish him the happiness & joy he so truly deserves in a very public way & hope that the pleasure his oh-so-many talents have brought oh-so-many people are reflected back unto him on this day & every day hereafter.

& because you, dear reader, sat thru the above (& perhaps to embarrass my darling brother), I give you a real rarity from his vast oeuvre, dating all the way back to the 80's, when he was just an insolent pup playing a mean guitar, backing up a local celebrity madman named Jigs. This track, long-forgotten but still potent, comes off of a compilation (notable at the time for its inclusion of then-red-hot band, "The Smithereens"), "East Coast 60'S Rock And Roll Experiment", a collection of local punk & otherwise inclined bands covering 60's tunes (hence the title). So, without further ado, Jigs & The Pigs lettin' us know "These Boots Are Made For Walking"~

26 May 2009

covers 2: electric boogaloo

More cover-iffic tunes!
Following my previous post of groovy &/or wacky covers, here are some more brave boys & girls traversing the musical territory of others. Welcome back to the party, just don't spend all yer time in the kitchen thinkin' yer cool~
First up are English post-punkers, pre-gothers Echo & The Bunnymen rawkin' out on the very American "Run, Run, Run". Kudos, blokes, on a kickin' live version of the Velvet Underground classic. Seu Jorge then does his Brazilian take on Bowie's very English "Life on Mars", complete with mostly-nonsensical Portuguese lyrics. Madcon livens up the party with their Norwegian party-thumper, pumpin' mad beatz into Frankie Valli's "Beggin'". Then comes the curveball of the bunch, the tune thrown on the virtual turntable that either makes the folks wince or grin, or perhaps both- The Beautiful South, terribly underrated Brits, during their later (& somewhat unfortunate) country phase, turning "You're The One That I Want", from it seems every generation's childhood all at once, "Grease", into a country soul dirge of sorts. We finish strong with U2's wonderful Irish-country-rock take on the great Woody Guthrie's folk classic "Jesus Christ", recorded some twenty years back during their Sun Studios sessions. The song is a real rave-up & the lyrics are spot-on, eviscerating those who claim to believe in the man (&/or son of god depending on what one believes) but certainly do not follow in his proverbial footsteps. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about Mr. Christ, from Woody Allen's "Husbands & Wives", "If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."
With that, our covers party winds to a close. Looking back, it turned out to be a very international, multiculti sort of affair, full of good tunes & questionable behavior, as every decent party should be.
Hope you enjoy the soundtrack & leave hummin' a few tunes on the car ride home (or to Denny's if the soiree ended too early for yer tastes...)~

23 May 2009

¡Ali bomayé!

"Float like a butterfly..."
When we moved into our new palatial estate some four years ago, my beautiful bride requested, nay demanded (in a loving way, of course), that I paint something to cover the huge barren wall in our new palatial living room. Regardless of the fact that I do mostly pen & ink, black & white, very, very small sketches (doodles would be the most apt word to describe this body of work), & let's set aside entirely the fact that I'm colorblind as well, I could neither resist the temptation of the challenge nor the temptation of how happy it would make her.
So I set about finding an appropriate size canvas (5' x 7' I think is what it turned out to be) & appropriate subject matter. Muhammad Ali came to mind almost immediately as he had always been a hero of mine as well as hers, more for his political views & his staunch support of same than for his boxing prowess (which, in & of itself, was mighty indeed!). Here was a man who fought in the ring but would only stand for peace in the world. Here was a man who would not allow others to be subjugated, who would stand up to his government & speak the truth when it is not popular to do so, who would give up his livelihood so others would not have to give up their lives.
When I started the piece, I sketched him in pencil & left the image on the canvas for over three months; I was really happy with what I had drawn & was terribly afraid that paint would be the death of my Ali. When I finally started painting, it was a quick process & mostly intuitive, having never really studied the process. The most difficult part, I think, was deciding on what to put on his trunks. I wanted to replace the "Everlast" logo with something more apt~ less advertised, more idealized. When I hit upon "Believe", it made the piece really work for me.
It now hangs on our wall- some days I look at it & cringe & others, I'm quite proud of it... I'm not sure if seeing it in this context, one can really grasp the work as I think its size & stature really plays into its overall effect, but, nonetheless here it is.
Try to imagine this Ali, as he is in real-life- as big & bold a man as one could ever hope to see.
"...Sting like a bee"~

20 May 2009

power man & iron fist indeed!

Depending on the context, this panel may just single-handedly reinstill my faith in the Marvel Universe as a whole~

18 May 2009

he was anything but gentle...

A few weeks back I did a primer of sorts on the art of the mash-up & now I want to share with you my first time...
It was perpetuated upon me by a master of the craft, PartyBen is the only moniker by which I ever knew him, who rocked my world with rhythm & masterful grace. He was anything but gentle.
I'm referring, of course, to the first mash-up I ever heard.
The year was 2004. I had heard mash-ups before, but none had captured my fancy like this strapping tune~ none had shown me the potential of this hybrid, half-breed form of music that would become my salvation from the morass of modern music of which I was quickly growing weary.
The song was "Callin' On Sunday", an oh-so-perfect amalgam of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" & Lyrics Born's "Callin' Out". A rockin' fist-thumper that combined the best o' rock & hip-hop & became my anthem as John Kerry was set to defeat George Bush ("Don’t worry about the President~ He can’t stop us now" indeed!). Verily, it is high praise for this tune that I am able to overcome that heartbreak & still enjoy its mash-up magic to this day (although it did take a few months for it to fully recover from that ugly stigma). The beauty of this track almost ruined me for all others & isn't that always the way with your first time?
So without further semantic ado, I give you my first, & easily one of the best, mash-up~

13 May 2009

you'd Grimace too if you had two of your arms forcibly removed...

I am & never was much of a fan of "fast food", but gosh do I enjoy a good mascot, especially when they have some hint of secret derangement.
Corporate amputation is a dastardly act & something that now joins the long list of McDonald's evil-doings- right up there with the destruction of the rain forests, feeding secretly-lard-laden french fries to vegetarians & making America morbidly obese.
For those of you of a certain age, you may have faint recollections of Grimace, really the only interesting denizen of McDonald-Land, running around with more arms than he seems to have now. Although you are getting older & your memory is surely showing signs of deterioration, this image you hold dear from your childhood of the furry purple one running around with four arms a'flailing is not wrong, although you wouldn't know it by seeing this jolly simpleton who now galumphs around with Mayor McCheese & his fascist cohorts!
Grimace did indeed have more appendages & even further, once upon a time, he/it was an evil monster who ran around stealing shakes & committing other horrible acts that one can only commit when one has four or more arms (the more, the merrier indeed!). But upon threat of lawsuit from Sid & Marty Krofft (who had every right to sue because indeed McDonald's had stolen their McDonald characters part & parcel from the brothers Krofft), they strapped the big monster down & tore off two of his arms. They must have also lobotomized the beast, which would account for the docility & simplicity he now displays. To add insult to literal injury, McDonald's taunted Grimace further by making tasty cookies that effigized his newly-deformed form.

I also remember Snuffleupagus having multiple legs, but that seems to be a simple flight of fancy on my part...

12 May 2009

kiss or kill, round 1

My call for either the next iTunes commercial jingle or the backing track for an upcoming trailer for an Apatow flick, "mrs. love" by Mexican band discoRUIDO! is, in my opinion, the bomb-diggity. It's fun with an undercurrent of fuzzy-freaky, kinda' the flipside to Chairlift's "Bruises". The familiar-yet-unfamiliar refrain is an interpolation of a little-known Beatles' track "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)", in case you were trying to figure it out.
But as with most things, what's funky-fresh to one bloke is not another's cup o' jasmine tea.
With that in mind, listen to the track as we inaugurate "kiss or kill" here @ ye olde "very secret monster things".
Here's the dilly-o: In the comments section, write "kiss" if you dig, "kill" if you don't~ you are the sonic judge, jury & (potential) executioner. Use your power wisely...

11 May 2009

me, myself & i...

okay, finally some fresh artwork~
A self-portrait of sorts done just for the blogosphere.
Whereas some folks have a Christ-complex, I seem to have a Dr. Strange one (& I am a strange one indeed!).

10 May 2009

momma's boy

Whilst I don't have the same disdain for mother's day as I do for some other pre-fabricated, card company-promoted, & gulit-induced present-buying holidays (yes, I'm looking at you, valentine's day!), I've never been one to look upon it as an essential event on the calendar either.
Perhaps it is for others, but I guess this momma's boy needs more than one day to celebrate the
two best mothers of their respective generations.

Thank you ladies, here's a song for y'all...

09 May 2009

follow the leader...

If you are enjoying the frivolity contained herein, please follow my blog...

It's simple, just find the "follow" button on the right-hand side of the page (about halfway down), click on it, & follow the directions~ connect via yer favorite platform, upload a funny, beautiful, &/or naked pic, & then you too can be my Internet disciple.
For your efforts, some old skool hip-hop goodness:

follow the leader.mp3

08 May 2009

friday night fights!

Waycool website http://www.spacebooger.com/ holds Friday Night Fights aka "One Panel of Pain", a competition for bloggers to get their geek on & post some comix art that satisfies the aforementioned criteria, simply enough being one colorful box of graphic hurt~

The above was drawn by the late & great Seth Fisher, who deserves & will get his own post in the very near future, but for the time being enjoy the wonderful insanity of giant robot Otetsukun, as his innards are controlled by the Thing & his mouth encases the Human Torch (hence the fire-breath), & as he brings the pain to Eerok, the monstous ape, & Giganto, the anthropomorphic whale. This thing of beauty appears with many, many other equally eye-pleasing objets d'art in "Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan" #2, by Zeb Wells & Mr. Fisher, & also collected as a trade paperback which should be owned by every comix-, art-, Japan-, giant monkey-loving person everywhere...

Enjoy the genius & please vote for my contender in the comic book brawl of all brawls!

07 May 2009

my secret history with batgirl...

A mound of dirt was like Nirvana for the little guys. At my prodding, they could wrassle, fistfight & generally cause each other great bodily harm at the top of a pile of mud or gravel that was to us a few feet high, but to them a mountain as grand as Everest or Fuji, & woe to the loser of that epic battle who would tumble down that treacherous slope to the merciless pavement below.
The little guys were so called because of the lack of a better name. My eight-year-old world would literally be torn asunder & my very character would be shaken to its core if somebody dared to call them dolls. They were, at the very least, action figures: six & a half inches of plastic (fully poseable, mind you) molded & clothed to resemble heroes & villains such as Spider-Man, Batman, that bug-eyed alien from Star Trek, & my personal favorite, The Lizard. They had cars & helicopters, guns & swords, headquarters & halls of justice &, of course, cool outfits- costumes, actually.
I had one person with whom I played with the little guys, but not very often. The fantasy of maneuvering these superheroes & the tenuous reality it created was best achieved alone. Group consensus was a hindrance to the very process of imagining this mini-universe. There were two huge advantages to having a playmate though. The first being the fact that he was younger than me & therefore easily manipulated, so I got the pick of the best toys (“No, no, really, trust me… The Falcon is much cooler than Shazam!”) & I could dictate the course of action for our little guys like an action figure-hoarding Naploeon. The second advantage & it was a much bigger one, believe me, was that he actually had Batgirl.
At the pre-pubescent age of eight, I knew I had a certain interest in Batgirl, & although I didn't quite understand it, quite a curiosity as well. I also knew, but again without knowing why, that having her as part of my collection was inherently wrong. I'd like to think that it was simply that she was female & her so-called "action figure", because of her gender, strayed much closer to "doll" territory. But, alas & alack, I know now, as I had an inkling then, Batgirl was simply verboten. My younger playmate must've had this unrecognized knowledge as well~ he always brought her over in a brown paper bag, unlike the other toys he would carry willy-nilly in a bundle-ful the long five house walk from his to mine.
We never did anything remotely untoward with Batgirl. Perhaps she may have innocently paired up with Shazam or Superman, but our fingers never wandered & we never explored what was under her bat-symbol. Her honor was maintained & her costume stayed on. But she certainly changed the dynamic with her high-heeled boots & red billowing hair. Simply her presence in that musty previously boys-only little club made the whole experience just a little bit better. I look back to those basement battles with great affection & just a little bit of confusion.
In high school, I would have a different kind of playdate in that same basement with real live actual girls. I look back on those experiences with the same affection & confusion.
But that's a different post entirely...

06 May 2009

Should Jack Stay or Should He Go...

Followin' up on the extraordinary reactions to my "covers" post the other day (hey, three comments! (okay, one was my own annotation, but nonetheless...)), here's some video of the extraordinary 8 year old Jack Marley rockin' out to The Clash:

perhaps rehab would've been a good idea...

As other bloggers wait for what seems to be her imminent demise to post their goodies & newspapers have her obit at the ready, I take the less severe occasion of Amy Winehouse's collapse from dehydration (it wasn't exhaustion this time?) on the island of St. Lucia as she prepared to perform at the jazz festival there to present a few somewhat rare tunes from this delightful lil' lady.
Enjoy the talent & try to forget the destructive personality~

04 May 2009

01 May 2009

cover me- i'm going in...

Covering a song is a tricky wicket indeed. Be too reverential & induce boredom; stray too far & risk ugly fanboy reprisal. I enjoy covers very much when the cover-er comes to the party prepared~ knowing the host's tastes but bringing a snackity-snack that surprises & delights. A good cover is rare; a great cover is a cause for celebration. The following are covers I dig for some reason reason or other. I warn you now, dear listener, some are not very good (& some are indeed extraordinary!), but all bring something new to the soiree. Let us commence with the listening party...:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood doing Bruce, slapping the bass in lieu of the Big Man's blowin'? Blasphemy was never so much fun! (& I still wear my "Lust plus fear plus love plus faith times Frankie equals some kind of bang" sweatshirt to do yardwork.) The Violent Femmes answer Gnarls Barkley's funkafied cover of "Gone Daddy Gone" with a quintessential Gano-fied "Crazy".
Beck, as always, concocts the perfect alchemy of irreverence & reverence with his take on Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat". Then we rock out to 8 year old Jack Marley & his band, the J7, asking the musical question, "Should I Stay or Should I Go". The Clash would be damn proud. You always need an English chap to classy up the joint, & Mark Ronson brings Daniel Merriweather to disco-fy The Smiths "Stop Me..." Then Pharoahe Monch does the unthinkable & covers Public Enemy & even more unimaginably does it some sweet justice. "Welcome To The (goddamn) Terrodome" indeed! Finally bringin' some Latin flavor, Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz assures us that, "(She) Will Survive" & backs it up with some mighty congas.
Enjoy at your own risk...