MTV’s subversively groundbreaking animated sitcom, Beavis and Butt-Head, has been off the air for two decades at this point, though it has enjoyed a lively pop cultural resurgence in the past few years due to Trump’s useless male progeny bearing an uncanny resemblance to the idiotic duo. The important difference being that Beavis and Butt-Head are at least somewhat loveable.
But if you were ever a fan, you will immediately recognize the design on the above T-Shirt, advertising a fictional breakfast cereal called The Great Cornholi-O’s, as a reference to Beavis’s maniacal alter ego, Cornholio. Conholio is known for uttering several memorable catch-phrases — “I am the Great Cornholio!,”“I need TP for my bunghole!” and “Are You Threatening Me?” — all of which are represented in this fun and nostalgia-inspiring shirt. Own yours now by clicking on This Link, and enjoy free shipping this week only! Perhaps your Bunghole will thank you!
I’m going to say it: Everything Old is New Again! If Southern California-based band Cold Showers‘ primitive CGI video for their distinctively 80s New Wave Dance track, “Plant Life” doesn’t make you jones for the early days of MTV, absolutely nothing will. Maybe you weren’t even born when Dire Straights‘ then-groundbreaking video for their hit, “Money For Nothing” encapsulated an entire generation’s feeling of ennui (look it up), but I remember it like it was yesterday — and it was thirty fucking years ago. Wow. Nostalgia can be so bittersweet.
But I digress. visually, “Plant Life” is the modern-day companion to “Money for Nothing” with a not-unwelcome aural nod to The Human League, One-Hit Wonders Animotion, and decidedly gloomier synth-drenched bands of that era, such as Killing Joke, that you had to perhaps be a bit more into the underground to know about.
The “Plant Life” video thrills me in a way that only animation that looks like it came from a 8-bit Nintendo game cartridge can thrill a Luddite. The unfortunate protagonist of the clip spends most of his time running between the floors of his split-level luxury loft in a futile effort to keep the plants sufficiently watered; a ritual that quickly becomes a waking nightmare. Believe me, I can relate. I take care of maybe a dozen plants in my office, and if I go away on vacation for a week, they are dead when I come back. It is so frustrating. The fact that the “Watering of the Plants” motif is a blatantly obvious metaphor for keeping a romantic relationship alive is beside the point. The feeling of existential dread is what matters.
In the end you just want to burn it all down, right? Pay close attention to that Red Gas Can. It will be important in the final act.
“Plant Life” is the first single from Cold Showers‘ upcoming album, Matter of Choice, due out on Dais Records on August 28th, 2015. Enjoy!
Lita Ford doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. She’s been playing guitar professionally since she was a teenager, and while she’s partied as hard as any Rock Star, Ford has kept her private life private, raised a family and still managed to maintain a high level of respect in the rock community for her skillful musicianship, which was never compromised by the fact that she’s also a beautiful woman. I remember reviewing her Greatest Hits Live CD when it was released in 2000 and being so blown away by what a great performer she is and how much fun she and her band seem to be having on stage. She’s never lost sight of what it means to have a Rock & Roll heart, and you have to respect that. So many performers could learn a few lessons on how to rock from Lita Ford. Maybe she’s never been a household name, but when she comes around, people take notice. Lita’s new album, the autobiographical Living Like a Runaway, signals that it’s time to start paying attention again.
These ten songs tell Lita’s life story, from achieving fame at an early age, having a successful career in the era of MTV video stars, to motherhood and her recent (apparently messy) divorce. Working with producer and respected rock guitarist Gary Hoey, Lita sticks to her roots of making an album based on strong song writing (Hoey and lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig are contributing songwriters), guitar, bass, drums and passionate vocals that don’t sound like they came from a can. The album kicks off with the high energy “Branded” and never lets up, delivering Old School heavy rock energy and hooks sharp enough to sharp blood. On the title track, a Bryan Adams-esque ballad that compels with its deeply personal lyrics and memorable melody, Lita looks back on her time in the now legendary teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways, a band that launched not only her career but also that of Joan Jett. That was a long time ago, but Ford makes the experience sound like it just happened yesterday.
In promotional material Lita reveals that after seeing a documentary about Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, she was motivated and inspired to focus on creating Living Like a Runaway as a complete journey rather just than a bunch of individual songs. The effort has paid off, in that this album recalls the experience of listening to an album from start to finish as you retreated to your teenage bedroom, gatefold cover open in front of you, pouring over every lyric and instinctively moving your body to the rhythm of the rock. There are so many great songs on this disc, but my favorites are the aforementioned “Branded,” “Hate,” “The Mask” (which rocks with a slightly industrial feel) and the passionate, frenetic “Relentless”, but if you like real rock and roll, you’ll dig every song.
Living Like a Runaway is Lita Ford’s strongest, most accomplished album to date. Like oxygen in a vacuum, this album is very highly recommended for fans of song-based, melodic hard rock featuring expert guitar work. Who would imagine that such a thing would be so hard to come by these days?
Living Like A Runaway will be released June 19th, 2012 in North America via SPV/Steamhammer. The album will be available in four configurations: a double LP, limited edition CD, standard CD and digital download. Living Like A Runaway is available for pre-order on Amazon Dot Com.
On This Date, April 17th in 1991: Nirvana filmed the music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Culver City, CA. The video, made on budget of less than $50,000, led MTV (which, believe it or not, actually showed music videos at that time) to favor the new crop of alternative bands in place of pop metal bands.
In a previous life of mine, back when MTV didn’t suck balls (i.e. before you were born), I used to watch a tacky, low-budget game show on that network called Remote Control. Basically your standard Pop Culture Trivia-themed game show where contestants answered fun questions about Rock music and classic TV shows for points, while sitting in easy chairs flanked by bowls of snacks, Remote Control was just awesome. The show helped to launch the careers of exploitation film actress and spokesmodel Cari Wuhrer (Who? Exactly), comedian Colin Quinn and box office poison Adam Sandler, and was hosted by a guy named Ken Ober. Ken Ober continued to work in the entertainment industry in his post-Remote Control career, but never achieved the “household name” status of some of his costars: and now he’s dead. Yes, Ken Ober, best known as the former host of MTV’s Remote Control passed away over the weekend of as yet unspecified causes. He was 52. Read more on this sad story and reminisce about the rad genius that was Remote Control at This Link.
Have you heard / read yet about the classless, douchebag stunt Kanye West pulled at the Video Music Awards last night? The way he completely upstaged Taylor Swift? Or did you maybe witness it in real time? If not, let me know and I’ll send a link to the YouTube video – assuming it hasn’t already been posted a million times to your FaceBook news feed. Gee whiz, what a tool that guy is.
I DVRd the whole VMA mess so I could watch it tonight, fast forward through 90% of the crappy parts (i.e. all the music performances) and just watch host Russell Brand being sexy and hilarious. Now it looks like I might have to watch a little bit more than that, because I also understand that this person Lady GaGa – whose music I have also never heard but whose wardrobe I know from memory – did something interesting.
But getting back to Kanye West, in every single clip I’ve ever seen of him at an awards show, he’s either interrupting someone or throwing a shit fit. I was on his side for about five minutes for what he said about George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina, but I really don’t understand how he has fans. His best song was based on having lifted an entire Elton John song (“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”), which he then rapped over. Talent!
I remember about five or so years ago, my writer friend Nicole and I were reading the results of the Village Voice’s annual “Pazz & Jop” music critics poll, as we had probably submitted our ballots for the only ten rock-type albums that managed to get released that year. And I’ll just never, ever forget Nicole’s voice asking me quite earnestly and sincerely, “Who the fuck is Kanye West?” because he had won the top position of “Best Album Of the Year,” despite the fact that important rock critics like Nicole and me (sarcasm mode turned off) had never even heard of him. That was the year I stopped writing CD reviews for good.
Back in March of last year, my friend and fellow rock journalist, Nicole, phoned me up to read me an ad she’d just seen somewhere on line. “You’ll never believe this,” she says to me – which is what she always says when she’s about to hip me to something that’s totally ridiculous. “Rolling Stone is looking for writers just out of college to intern at the magazine for some stupid Reality TV Show!
The irony is, I didn’t have any problem believing it at all.
At one point in my career, when I was kicking the ass of the rock journalism world and editors were calling me at a fairly steady clip, I spent about three years writing CD reviews for Rolling Stone online. It stung a little bit that I was never able to penetrate the print publication, but once a couple of my friends started working at RS, I got over it. One woman, an intern who eventually cracked enough breaking news stories to secure a staff writer position, left after three years of banging her head against a glass ceiling. The other, hired as an associate editor, went out of his way to champion bands that actually wrote songs and knew how to play their instruments. He was fired after a couple of years when he refused to stop writing about good bands and just cover hip-hop “artists” and faceless, flavor-of-the-week wankers. I don’t know why I was surprised, considering the fact that I was once asked to remove the word “flanged” from a CD review because the editor did not know what the word meant. Another review of mine – a 50 word-count blurb on the latest Bettie Serveert CD – never ran because another editor felt I did not make enough references in my review to the band’s seven previous releases. In a fifty word review. Right.
And let’s not forget that Rolling Stone once fired the greatest living rock critic Jim DeRogatis, because he wrote a negative review of a Hootie and The Blowfish album. I wish I were making that up. The Future of Music Journalism?
Here’s a brief encapsulation of what we’re likely in for on I’m From Rolling Stone, (Sundays at 10 PM on MTV) from Heather Havrilesky’s “I Like To Watch” column on Salon.com.
“Of course, how interesting would this show be if there were competent professionals involved? The first two episodes of I’m From Rolling Stone suggest that, just as spitty outbursts and drunken street fights are the main event on The Real World, any amusement we can find here is going to come from witnessing the flailings of young people about to bungle their first big job in a wide variety of ways. Russell, the only experienced reporter, is a smooth, intelligent interviewer and a solid writer, but he has a criminal history and it’s pretty obvious that they chose him because he appears to have a habit of slacking or quitting when the going gets tough. Krystal, a poet, not only seems likely to produce overwritten prose, but also romanticizes Rolling Stone to an extent that’s bound to make reality disappointing. Tika seems foolishly overconfident, Krishtine comes off as lazy and disrespectful, Peter seems to be a drunk, and Colin appears to have a pea-size brain and the poise of a nervous squirrel. In short, I’m From Rolling Stone is an exercise in sadism that’s so mean-spirited and condescending, it could only have been dreamed up by someone who works in the wild and wonderful world of magazines.”
Oh, awesome. Like we need another reason for people to not take journalists seriously. Honestly, this line of work is challenging enough with pathological douche bags like Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fabricating news stories, getting fired from their respective publications and then getting book deals to reward them for their lack of character!
We don’t need Rolling Stone – a magazine I once worshipped and lionized to the point where writing for them was for many years my ultimate career goal – imbuing the TV viewing public with the indelible impression that we’re all a bunch of binge-drinking, air headed, unprofessional clowns. Jesus, way to shoot yourselves in the foot Rolling Stone!
Oh man, this is so awesome. Just a few hours after I posted This blog entry about the shitty new CD by The Panic Channel, and copied the post to myMyspace blog (rip), I received genuine, authentic HATE MAIL from none other than Panic Channel vocalist (and former MTV Veejay) Steve Issacs. This is so exciting! Look at what Steve wrote personally to me:
“Oh, the joy of one rock critic gloating about another rock critic’s equally ignorable observation. “See, I’m RIGHT!” – Whoopie, Gail! You are right! Validation from the lord AllMusic Guide! Apparently, it’s time for a superiority complex reacharound sleepover. Break out the s’mores and footie pajamas.
For real tho – God bless all you rock critics, and I mean that in the most facetious way possible. Dedicating your professional lives to the idea that your views of music and it’s [sic] power are in any way more relevant or worth noting than anyone else’s. Music’s beauty is that each individual has a completely unique experience with each creation. That’s why the blogosphere is rendering your field useless. I’d much rather take a friend’s advice about music than a “professional rock critic,” and sometimes, I don’t even trust my friends!
That’s why the entire world of rock critique is basically a wank. And the world knows this. Except for other rock critics and cute bitter little aspiring rock critics (usually being incubated in the lab known as Pitchfork Media). But hey, have your fun – the joy of “The Gloat” seems paramount to your profession, so knock yourself out!”
Posted by steveisaacs on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 6:31 PM
“Superiority complex reacharound sleepover” – I am so stealing that line! Thanks Steve!
Last night I went to see this new band called The Panic Channel, which is three members of the most recent incarnation of Jane’s Addiction, minus Perry Farrell, plus a new singer who’s a former VJ from MTV back when MTV still showed videos. Can you even remember that far back? It seems like a million lifetimes ago.
Anyway, there were Stephen Perkins, Dave “Nipple Rings” Navarro, Chris Chaney and Steve Issacs (!) on the stage of Avalon – which used to be The Limelight – and they were all rocking “the look” and obviously trying to be less than a total mortifying horrorshow of lameness, but all I kept thinking was, “Gee wiz, what a fucking waste of Stephen Perkins drumming talents!”
Because The Panic Channel is not a good band.
I can’t quite put my finger on why three awesome musicians and a pretty boy don’t add up to some kind of kick ass force of nature…but it just wasn’t happening. They reminded me of Stone Temple Pilots right about the time Scott Weiland got busted for smack for the third of fourth go-round and the other three members formed the band Talk Show so they could forget about their pain. If The Panic Channel were even a fraction as awesome sounding as their website would lead us to believe, they would sound like Led Zeppelin plus The Beatles plus the original Alice Cooper band or something. But no.
Another thing that made me sad was seeing how the new owners of Avalon have completely destroyed all the dark charm and wild spirit of the former Limelight, a righteous dance club built in an old gothic church on Sixth Avenue, where I spent many Sunday nights dancing my cares away to the songs of Siouxsie and The Banshees, LA Guns and Soundgarden, and feeling like some kind of god. Good times. Now the former “Rock & Roll Church” looks like a bowling alley or a free clinic or god knows what. How very very tragic. At least I got in for free.