Actually, I suck.
Pete has an excellent excuse for barely blogging.
And me? Sure, I've been busy with tons of work and a side project, but really. Is it that hard to write a few sentences or even lazily post a video from some other blog?
Yeah, bottom line is, it's been that busy. In fact, it's taken me three hours to try and type this out at work.
Oh hell, here's a good video for you.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Actually, I suck.
Posted by Crustodio at 1:53 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
It's a couple days after the election, and still sometimes during the day I'll suddenly remember that Obama is going to be our next president and get all excited again. The thing that has struck me since election night is this whole theory that America has moved on past race by electing a Black president. Sorry, I don't think so. This country is still as racially fucked-up as ever. The reason Obama won is that the GOP fucked things up so badly that even a Black guy could get elected. Hey, even the Onion is saying it:
"Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, 'Things are finally as terrible as we're willing to tolerate," said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. "To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you."
The continuing arrogance and incompetence of the Bush administration and the vile campaigning of McCain and Palin was finally just too much for most citizens to handle. If McCain had shown the graciousness he displayed in his concession speech at any time during the campaign, there may have been a different outcome. But his whole-hearted pandering to the religious right and the neocons and whatever intolerant nutjobs exist in the Republican "base" doomed him.
We all liked and respected the old McCain. Most liberals said, hey, if it comes down to McCain, it's not so bad. Of course, that was before the campaign got ugly. LIke a lot of people, I lost all respect for the man this year. And even if I thought, well, maybe, it's just the campaign, he could still maybe be a good leader, the selection of Palin as his running mate quickly killed that thought. As I mentioned in the previous post, the thought of Palin running with a 72-year old cancer survivor was unacceptable to the American people.
I'll never forget the moment this past summer at the Obama rally in Portland when the implications of him actually winning hit me. Standing in a crowd of 70,000 people, the idea that an African-American could be elected president choked me up. It just seemed unbelievable. Looking around at the sea of people, I knew that his election would go a long way to healing some of our racial divisions, and offer a genuine hope to young minority children. And I still feel that. But you're not going to convince me that the majority of people were comfortable voting for someone of color. They just couldn't stomach four more years of Republican hell.
Posted by Pete Best at 9:33 AM
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Since I live in Oregon, and we have mail-in voting, I have already cast my vote for Obama/Biden. I urge you to vote today, though if you're reading this blog you probably don't need the reminder. Part of me is thinking "historic landslide" and part of me is thinking "another stolen election". And another part of me is thinking I could really eat a cheeseburger about now, but that's a different story.
As a new father, I pray that my daughter will spend her first 8 years in an Obama administration. I really believe this could be the most important election in my lifetime, and I think Barack Obama has what it takes to get this country back on track.
Posted by Pete Best at 1:35 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I'm looking forward to the Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives episode of Nova tonight. It's a documentary hosted by E of Eels about his physicist father and his Many Worlds theories. I've always been a fan of Eels, but their catalog has been a little spotty - except for 1998's Electro-Shock Blues, his masterpiece. Things The Grandchildren Should Know, his new biography sounds intriguing - I plan to check that out, too.
Posted by Pete Best at 8:31 AM
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I've always loved reading the musician wanted/available listings in the weekly rags. There are always hilarious typos, the abuse of all-caps, exhortations to "fuckin, rock, dude!", weird passive aggressive challenges/invitations to rock, and all the evidence you need to believe in such stereotypes as the moronic, drugged-out butt rocker, the clueless, hopelessly uncool cover band guy, the pompous, egotistical talentless poseur or the snobby, too-cool-to-care indie rocker. The self-delusion in some of these ads never fails to inspire me.
Craigslist is now my new favorite destination for a good chuckle. Here are some recent highlights:
-- Drummer Available for some STONER ROCK! --
I sure as fuck do, pal.
I've got a kit, more than a decade of playing, and some mics and so forth. I would be willing to go in on a practice space if things get real tight-like. Let's make some Stoney, Riff Driven rock, and make some people MOVE!
-- looking for teen guitarist for garadge band --
if u want to know more text or call me cause I don't feel like writing more 971 244 2312
-- Drummer Avaliable --
I am seeking a cover band to go out and play, have some fun, and make some cash. I have 30 years experience playing out. Professional gear and a professional attitude, and I do back up vocals. I am NOT looking for a country band, R&B, folk, or an all original band.
I am looking to do songs that people WANT to hear. And this is only a small sample, of what I like to play, and what I have noticed people want to hear.
Mississippi queen, Tom sawyer, Red barchetta, plush, higher ground, girls got rhythm, sex type thing, kryptonite, dam that river, run to you, say hello to heaven, woke up this morning, new sensation, gel, where the river flows, one way to rock, funk 49, brain stew, cumbersome, hard to handle, those shoes, what I like about you, counting blue cars, you really got me now, midnight blue, evenflow, my own worst enemy, mobscene, monkey wrench, smoken, born to be wild, ROCK in the USA, play that funky music white boy, everybody wants you.
Hopefully by now you get the idea of what I am looking for. I am looking to play rock! My influences are on a wide range. Rush, Led Leplin, Metalica, Sammy Hagar, The Eagles, ZZ Top, Foo Fighters, John Cougar Melloncamp, Lit, Van Halen, AC/DC, STP, Red hot chilly peppers, Green day, Billy squire, Boston, ect......
I want to make people forget there crappie work week, and enjoy the music!! If you don't recognize most of the songs on this list, then most likely your project is not what I am looking for.
Good luck in your search, and hope to hear from people with a passion for playing, and playing out in front of a crowd!!!
Sometimes people create new entries just to rag on a previous entry, like this one in response to the ad above:
"Thanks for sharing with us all every song you know and like...
We care! you long winded dickhead. no wonder you're looking for a band."
I don't know about you, but if you're not ready to go out and FUCKING Rock right now, there is something seriously wrong with you. Come on, forget your "crappie" work week already and enjoy the music. Or do you SUCK??
Posted by Pete Best at 2:08 PM
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Advergirl is a super-astute ad blogger working in Columbus, Ohio. She's blogging a series highlighting some of the more creative working spaces in her town.
I've worked at a few agencies over the years that made creative design a priority. Seriously, it makes a huge difference. Right now, as I stare up at the drop-tile ceiling in my current office, a small tear forms at the corner of my left eye.
Keep rolling, Leigh. And keep those twitter updates coming.
Posted by Crustodio at 4:32 PM
Friday, October 03, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Those of us who are called "creatives" in the advertising biz are constantly hoping, praying, begging, schmoozing and pleading for more “creative” projects to run across our desks.
And, unless you’re one of the few very lucky ones, a scant few come your way over the course of a year.
Sometimes that makes you very grumpy. Other times, you are smart enough to calm down and realize how lucky you are to have a very decent J.O.B. and that you should shut the fuck up. After all, you’re not making cold calls, castrating sheep, holding a cardboard sign by the freeway exit, or being forced to marry the Vice Presidential nominee’s daughter.
So, really, shut your cake hole. You’re living the dream.
Sure, sometimes you get to see your work on T.V., hear it on the radio, look at it lording over a busy street corner, or even have a cool URL to send your friends and say, “Hey, I worked on that!”
The reality is, though, is that often you’re writing letters. Editing brochures. Creating sales sheets. Honing someone’s power point presentation. More days than you’d care to admit, your significant other will ask, “What did you work on today?”, and you’ll cringe. Not because you’re unhappy with what you’ve done, but it’s just too boring to explain. You’ve only got so many minutes in a day so why waste it with rehashing stuff like that?
As the great guys from American Copywriter like to call it, the “That poor bastard” scenario. As in, you see a piece of un-fun advertising and say, “Man, some poor bastard had to write that.” In truth, we’re all “that poor bastard” from time to time.
But here’s the real dirty little secret. The sales sheets, letters, brochures, presentations etc. do most of the selling in this industry. And unless your client is a soda company, brewery, sports team or candy factory, you need facts to back up your product promise. So yeah, the cool stuff is awesome to work on, but it’s the down-and-dirty projects that keep the wheels of commerce moving, jobs happening and families fed.
Plus, you can actually have fun working on this stuff. You can inject great thinking. You can think conceptually and make great work. It just isn't going to win you any major awards or make your portfolio sexier. But that's okay.
I say, keep your heads up, my hard working writers and art directors out there. You are making a difference.
Comic from words & pictures. Go there. Every week.
Posted by Crustodio at 8:50 AM
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Crustodio sent me a link to a photo set on Flickr, where this guy has been on a long mission to photograph every school in Ohio. I was excited to see the schools from Mantua, the small village I grew up in. But I was shocked to see the absolutely horrible renovations they did to my old elementary school in the last few years. Above is a shot I took in 2002 and below, what it looks like now.
Apparently it's a doctor's office now. How in the hell did these sick fucks justify tearing up the lawn and cutting down those beautiful old trees. And they got rid of the giant Opportunity sign above the front door?? Imagine how proud the members of this tiny farming community were when they built this school in 1929 and etched the word Opportunity into the sandstone. It makes me sick to my stomach to see the changes made in the name of progress. The person who approved this project should be run out of town on a rail. I sort of feel like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes, when he sees the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand. Well, maybe that's overstating it a tad.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Yeah, I know - it's been a long time between postings. A million excuses/reasons, but whatever. I'll get back to it soon enough.
In the meantime, here are some shots of my new office location in Pioneer Square. Great neighborhood, far hipper than shopping central. Even better, I take the train in now. About 40-45 minutes door-to-door. I may live longer now that I don't scream at other drivers every day.
Posted by Crustodio at 11:06 AM
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Our old pal Corrina has a new video. While watching this I was hoping for a brief "I can bring home the bacon / and fry it up in the pan" homage, but no such luck. I really like simple concept-y videos like this. Nice one.
Corrina Repp - "Space And All Dead Things" from HUSH Records on Vimeo.
Posted by Pete Best at 9:30 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
It’s been a crazy time for the Crustodio Camp (more to come on that), and I apologize for leaving the rest of my Ohio trip to your imagination. Then again, if you’ve been imagining my trip to Ohio, you probably should take up a hobby. May I suggest curling, collecting bunny chotske or possibly stalking a stranger?
The rest of the trip was lovely, thank you for asking. The remaining highlights:
Day Three – My brother takes me back to the in-laws’ home. A perfect lazy day, including lunch at Doogan’s “Home of the Slider Bucket” – thanks, pop-in-law! Neither I nor Crustodio Jr. dared the bucket and fared well on regular burgers. Lots of laughs with the family too. We even ended up at Doogan’s again in the evening. My just-turned-21 nephew works there, so he was bombarded by one uncle, two aunts and his mother as we took over a table in the bar and had our fair share of cocktails. Aunt Denise was thrilled to see it was the first night of state-wide Keno, and walked out $50 richer, thanks to her admitted addiction to gambling. The trivia question that haunted our table for the evening – “what band recorded the song Hold Your Head Up?” Big brother came through with a text message to put our minds at ease. On a side note, every time we go to Ohio we hold a Bob Seger Count, meaning we see how long it will be until we hear a Bob Seger song. He must be losing his touch, as we didn’t hear his golden voice until this evening. A new record, to be sure. Thankfully, Turn the Page came on and kept our provincial view of our home state intact.
Day Four – A seriously lazy day. If I’m not mistaken, we left the house twice – once for a trip to the local custard stand and again to see the new Batman movie. Both ventures were muy delicious.
Day Five – A huge golf outing with my brother at his club. I met a former NBA star, played in a group with a golf pro and had a freaking blast. Of course, breakfast, drinks, dinner and more were included. I am truly spoiled. The weird part – having a “running caddy.” They don’t carry your bags, but help spot balls, give you distances to the pin and help you read the greens. One caddy for our foursome. Again, spoilt like a nasty child.
Day Six – Another day of golf with my brother. Just the two of us merrily strolling through 18 holes of pure beauty. I could spend just about every day like that. Yeah, I know, so could about 27 million other guys. We followed it up with shopping (How cute! Brothers that shop together!) then, heading home. The real bonus of the day came when we got back to the house where free tickets to the Browns preseason game were waiting for us, courtesy of a super-cool neighbor. After dinner with the brother’s family, my family, my Dad and stepmom, we headed for downtown Cleveland (We'd all like to flee to The Cleve!) and the stadium. After a serious rain delay (which we avoided almost entirely by heading out late), the action started with Brady Quinn at the helm. I tell you – he is the man. Sorry Derek. I know you made the pro bowl and all, but the kid from Notre Dame is our future. We left early to beat the crowds and finished up at a bar by my brother’s house. Stellar freakin’ day.
Day Seven – Another easygoing day at the in-laws. We fit in Pineapple Express before we headed to sister and brother-in-laws for a fire pit beer gathering. Very very very nice.
Day Eight – We head home, sad to leave our families behind, but thrilled to be back in the Crustodio Compound.
Posted by Crustodio at 10:00 AM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Another great Primer from the Onion AV Club on another of my all-time faves, Woody Allen. On the last page they sum up with the 5 essential films: Annie Hall, Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and her Sisters, Bananas and Husbands and Wives. All great, but I would lose one of the last two to make room for Manhattan, my absolute favorite of his films, and in my top 10 of all time. The final scene when he rushes back to Mariel Hemmingway is so beautifully written and played. The wistful little smile on his face after she says "Not everybody gets corrupted. You have to have a little faith in people." is priceless. Cue Rhapsody in Blue!
Posted by Pete Best at 9:25 AM
Monday, August 11, 2008
An early rising leads to a beautifully quiet morning in my brother’s home. Coffee, paper and smokes out on his front porch. If there was ever a constant in my Ohio travels, this has become one. His neighborhood is lovely, if not a little Pleasant-Valley-Sunday-ish. I feel right at home.
The adventure is to start shortly. As many of you know – and to both the amusement and scorn of Pete – I am a huge golf nut. I play for shit, but LOVE it. Watch it on TV. Read magazines and books about it. I would officially go gay for Tiger. Have I made my point?
So, after a light breakfast and a change of clothes, we are off to Akron and the Firestone Country Club, host of the Bridgestone Invitational, with two other friends, including the golf pro from my brother’s club.
Holy hell, this is heaven. A gorgeous day. Pristine fairways. The best greens I have ever seen in my life. A hospitality suite by the 18th green with an open bar and scads of food. And the TOP FIFTY (plus qualifiers) PLAYERS IN THE WORLD*.
First thing, we wander to a tee box and promptly watch Colin Montgomerie hit one out about a million miles. Couldn’t see where it went, but he sure looked grumpy as hell. Seeing as he was about eleventy-pi over par at this point, I don’t blame him. Still, this dude is like the all-time Ryder Cup American killer. So he’s got game. Just not this weekend. Weird detail: his caddy was super-young. That surprised me.
We make it to the hospitality suite. Sat out in the really really no seriously really fucking hot sun and viewed the first few groups as they walked up the 18th fairway. Weird detail: The camera does put on a lot of weight. No lie there. Most of the dudes are seriously in shape and the guys that look pudgy on TV look ripped in person.
Later we cruise to an excellent spot by the green of the signature par-4 3rd hole (see photo above). Watching these guys hit over the water to that tiny green was both inspiring and depressing. It must be said and acknowledged: I will never play like that. Ever. Saw all the big boys*, including Vijay, Trevor, Phil, Stuart and Padraig.
Finally we make it back to the 18th for more food and beer. Feeling inspired, we leave early, hoping to get some golf in ourselves. Listen to Vijay win it on the radio on the way home.
After drop offs, brother and I hit the course for “just a few holes”. Of course, I think we ended up playing 11 or 12. Game is looking bad, but some good shots arrived in time for me not to quit the game.
We have dinner at the club, keeping me spoiled rotten. Life is good.
Next: Home of the sliders & keno
*No Tiger. The only bad detail.
Posted by Crustodio at 2:54 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It’s been a serious whirlwind. One of the few vacations that seemed longer than it actually was. Not because I didn’t love it. I did.
I’ll admit it, I wasn’t really in the mood for Ohio in August. When you live across the country from your hometown and families, it kinda sucks “wasting” vacation time travelling there, instead of, say, someplace with beaches or palm trees or different languages.
As always though, truth called bullshit on me and I had a great time. In fact, some serious firsts – and a ton of fun.
Day 1 – Saturday: Arrived in the morning, picked up the rental car, a Nissan Xterra. I know. I know. I know! Sorry, love driving an SUV when I’m on unfamiliar roads. Plenty of room for bags and one can actually see where one is going. Headed to the in-laws house in my wife's hometown. Hugs and power nap followed.
Proceeded to my hometown to meet up with dad, brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, dad and step mother for a great dinner, then a “concert” on the village green. Lots of evil classic rock and a barrel of laughs. Bro and I snuck off to the local tavern for a beer, more laughs, and a much-needed pee.
Ended the evening at my brother’s club (he lives in a killer Nicklaus golf community) at the end of a huge dinner. Many drinks and we had a lot of fun marveling at a lifestyle that is so different from ours. Added bonus: both my boy and I (he’s 16) enjoyed our evening sojourn to MILF Island. Turns out that money brings a lot of babes. Who knew?
As the night finally wound down, I stayed at my bro’s, and wife and boy cruised back to the in-laws.
Next: A happy trip to rubber city
Posted by Crustodio at 1:37 AM
Friday, August 08, 2008
I've resisted doing this for years, but here it is. My top 30 favorite rock acts. See next week for my top 30 hip hop artists.
The Beach Boys
The Rolling Stones
The Velvet Underground
Electric Light Orchestra
Guided By Voices
Yo La Tengo
Interesting, now that I lay it out. You have the seminal 60's artists: Beatles, Kinks, Beach Boys, Stones, Dylan, Byrds, Who, VU and Neil Young. And The Monkees, my first love.
Then the cult 70's power-poppers: Big Star, Cheap Trick, Electric Light Orchestra, XTC
The mainstream heavy-hitters: Pink Floyd, Queen, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen
The palatable punks: The Clash, Elvis Costello
The college rock mainstays: R.E.M., Robyn Hitchcock, The Replacements
The 90's alternatives: Elliott Smith, Liz Phair, Nirvana, Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Wilco
And then whatever Jonathan Richman is, God bless 'im.
Posted by Pete Best at 5:22 PM
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
A somewhat surreal appearance by Jeff Tweedy and Wilco at a recent Cubs game. I guess after headlining Lollapalooza, the next step is stadiums....
While we're on the subject of music and baseball, our buddy Marty (also known as the drummer for Los Estimlantes) is on a somewhat quixotic road trip: 10 Games in 10 Days.
Thanks to PopCandy for the video.
Posted by Pete Best at 7:17 AM
Monday, August 04, 2008
Nice piece on aging by Generation X author Douglas Coupland:
"I have this theory about men and aging. We have two ages: the age we really are, and the age we are in our heads. Most men are almost always about 31 or 32 in their heads — just ask them. Even Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” is 31 in his head. One of the most universal adult male experiences is of standing before a mirror and saying, "I'm sorry, but there's been a horrible mistake. You see, that's not really me in the mirror there. The real me is tanned, throws Frisbees, and kayaks the Columbia River estuary without cracking a sweat."
Posted by Pete Best at 3:19 PM
Hey Pabst lovers, there will soon by a new old beer to ironically embrace - because Schlitz is back!
For some reason, I have warm memories of drinking Schlitz, but according to the timeline it would have been during the decline and fall of the Foamin' Empire. Maybe it's that vintage Schlitz poster I've had forever, with the suburban 60's dad drinking a brew and flying a kite with his tow-headed son, that gives me the warm and fuzzies. Ah, kite flying - is there a more iconic image of parent-child funtime? I remember going to fly kites with my dad. The kite was actually shaped like a blimp and he kept muttering about the Hindenburg, but it was still a good time.
Posted by Pete Best at 10:58 AM
Friday, August 01, 2008
I was very sad to learn that Chester Yeom passed away last night. He used to own the convenience store by my old house in Westmoreland. He was a friendly and positive guy and he always greeted me by name whenever I stopped in. We used to say, "Hey, I'm walking down Chester's. Need anything?" It wasn't like going to the typical ratty bodega. He really felt like part of the neighborhood. He took polaroids of all his customers and hung them on the walls.
A year and a half ago he filled in for a friend at another convenience store on Belmont and was shot during an armed robbery and was paralyzed from the neck down. It was a real tragedy. It's always tough when one of the good ones go...
Posted by Pete Best at 12:44 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Nike and Weiden + Kennedy have egg (not balls) on their face after having to retract these supposedly homophobic print ads. I agree with one of the commenters, it seems more sophomoric than homophobic. Luckily for me, I'm not sophophobic. That's why I made jokes about balls, too.
Posted by Pete Best at 1:51 PM
Monday, July 28, 2008
I love having all the television choices available these days, but damn. Remember when you'd use a NUMBER to talk about a channel?
"Hey, what's on channel five tonight?"
"Happy Days, dude!"
Now, forget about it. When's the last time someone asked, "Did you watch 238 last night?" Seriously, when I decide I want to watch something on AMC, I better start channel surfing 10 minutes before it starts. Who the hell remembers what the number is for that?
This may explain why I never watch SPIKE. Even more so, it explains why I never saw these most excellent commercials for the Star Wars movies.
Posted by Crustodio at 11:11 AM
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I was just talking about Battle of the Network Stars, one of my favorite shows from childhood. Maybe at out next college buddies reunion in 2012, we'll do our own version of this. The West Coast vs Jesusland.
I still have vivid memories of a feisty Robert Conrad and his tiff with a laid-back and cool Gabe Kaplan. Well, here's the evidence: The Popcorn Trick has a long and delightful write-up from the 1976 season. That first season with Kaplan, Conrad and Telly Savalas was pure gold - and pure testosterone. By 1980 the captains had degraded to the likes of John Davidson, Jamie Farr and Arte Johnson. Quite a comedown. Though I would like to see the 1983 crew of William Shatner, William Devane and Mr. T!
Back in '76 when I was an impressionable 6th grader, I was a TV junkie and knew every one of these jokers. I was thinking I would like to see a modern version of this, but I really don't watch enough network tv to really be that excited about any of the "stars". Could they do a premium cable version? I want to see James Gandolfini square off against Larry David.
Thanks to PopCandy for the tip.
Posted by Pete Best at 11:20 AM
Monday, July 21, 2008
Crustodiodio (3:54:13 PM): you have three guesses, and you may not need all of them
Crustodiodio (3:54:44 PM): but you could be making fun of me too
Crustodiodio (3:55:07 PM): no fair looking for concerts online
Pete Best (3:55:23 PM): not a song
Crustodiodio (3:56:04 PM): soft
Pete Best (3:56:58 PM): Josh Groban?
Crustodiodio (3:57:08 PM): classic
Crustodiodio (3:57:09 PM): soft
Crustodiodio (3:58:04 PM): at the St. Michelle winery on a sunny night, so that should be cool
Crustodiodio (3:59:07 PM): but, let's face it, in a reminiscing way
Pete Best (4:01:49 PM): any other artist from the 60's/70's who was a heroin addict, committed to an insane asylum and boned Carly Simon should somehow be cool. But, no.
Posted by Crustodio at 4:19 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
If I haven't apologized to Crustodio for this in a while, I'm sorry. Once again, I apologize for playing Rush albums and hanging Rush posters in our freshman year dorm room. They are ugly men. And the music is.... not good. But hey, I was 17 in 1982 and I just didn't know any better. In high school, everyone was into metal and hard rock, which I couldn't stand. 2 bands that I hated then, but have now grown to love, were AC/DC and Van Halen.
After all, I had literally never listened to anything except the Monkees and the Beatles (including their solo stuff) until 1980, when I was dragged off to my first concert: Cheap Trick. I was like, "hey, this is just like a modern version of the Beatles" (sort of), and my first steps into contemporary music were taken.
But I still couldn't handle the hard rock and metal stuff. It was just so stupid. And all that wizard/devil/monster iconography? It was strong stuff for a fan of Wings. And the guys and girls who wore their concert shirts with such pride were always the most anti-social stoners and miscreants. I was just so not into it.
And then one day someone played me some Rush. Wait - here's a band playing hard rock, but they have intelligent lyrics? Oh, my God! I was hooked. Now, of course, I look back at Neil Peart's lyrics and cringe. It's funny that now I actually prefer lyrics like "Rock and roll ain't noise polution/It's just rock and roll" (AC/DC) over Peart's twaddle. I think Blender put it best when they voted him the 2nd worst lyricist in rock:
Drummers are good at many things: exploding, drowning in their own vomit, drumming. But the Rush skinsman proved they should never write lyrics—or read books. Peart opuses like “Cygnus X-1” are richly awful tapestries of fantasy and science fiction, steeped in an eighth-grade understanding of Western philosophy. 2112, Rush’s 1976 concept album based on individualist thinker Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem, remains an awe-inspiring low point in the sordid relationship between rock and ideas. Worst lyric: “I stand atop a spiral stair/An oracle confronts me there/He leads me on light years away/Through astral nights, galactic days” (“Oracle: The Dream”).
But, for a few years I was hooked. I saw the band live 3 times. This was during their heyday, around the release of Moving Pictures, their best album. And I could wear cool concert t-shirts to school the next day. Anything to get over the taint of having worn a homemade Star Trek t-shirt in 7th grade. Which was only once, since it was ripped in my one and only fist fight that very same day. But, I digress.
So, yeah, I was into Rush. And I took my obsession to college and inflicted poor Crustodio with it. For a guy who mostly listened to yacht rock, it was a pretty tough sell. But as time went on and I became aware of new music (God bless you, R.E.M.!), and Rush started releasing synth-heavy, plodding and awful albums, my interest began to wane. Hello, college rock! Goodbye, Rush albums! And off I went, into the land of indie-rock snobbery.
OK, I have a secret. You may have guessed by now. I still fucking love Rush. God damn, they are awesome. I have their entire catalog (well, through Signals) on my iTunes and when I'm alone, I sometimes bust them out. They are the epitome of the guilty pleasure. So, you can imagine how I was pleased to see them make their first television appearance in 30 years on the Colbert Report last week. Say what you will about Mr. Peart, but he got a couple good lines in here:
Posted by Pete Best at 9:05 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Yeah, you know you do it.
You put your name into Google to see what comes up.
If you're an unlucky soul with a name like Bob Jones, you're kind of screwed. Crustodio and I are both blessed with unusual last names, so we can actually find things about ourselves. I actually have a lot of results, which fall into one of the following categories:
- Social networking: tons of these from Linked-In, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
- Designed by: When I was doing a lot of freelance web design, I always put "Designed by Pete..." at the bottom of the pages.
- Music-related: links to old reviews, articles and bookings. These are my favorite. And occasionally, I find something new. Like yesterday, for example!
I like the term "kitschy cool" - could it be that my whiny and weird pop songs are old enough now that they're cool and cult-y, instead of disappointing and annoying? Hmm, well maybe in another 10 years. In any case, thanks, DaSLOB.
Posted by Pete Best at 3:53 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
My biggest fear and Crustodio's greatest joy: bike rage!
"News of Sunday night's confrontation circulated quickly among officers and reached Officer Robert Pickett, the bureau's unofficial liaison between police and Portland's biking community.
'It's almost kind of quintessentially a Portland thing," Pickett said, after reading the police reports. 'It's too bad there's an 'us vs. them' dynamic.'"
(Photo is unrelated to article)
Posted by Pete Best at 2:34 PM
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Mr. Best and I are back from our brief sojourn to Southern California.
What an incredible time hanging with old friends, blowing each other truckloads of shit, laughing 'till we cried and consuming many, many beverages.
We may look a bit older than we did 20-some years ago, but I swear these are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE I spent so much time with forever ago. Less hair (for some), more...body (for almost all of us), same brilliant senses of humor, same biting comments...couldn't have been much better.
Above, it is 1985 (86?) and I am contemplating my future loss of hair. And my incredibly bad choice in trousers.
Posted by Crustodio at 9:00 AM
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The GT is going on location once again. As I mentioned earlier, Crustodio and I are joining 7 other college buddies for a reunion in sunny Hollywood, California. There will be much shit talk and ball busting. There will be swimming and incredibly complicated games made up on the spot. There will be hangovers and talk of getting old. There will be talk of who slept with who 20+ years ago. There will be a vicious game of quarters. Crustodio will lose. Again. I will hog the stereo. And we will video chat with the losers who bailed at the last minute.
Posted by Pete Best at 11:29 PM
I love this. At Glastonbury, hip hop superstar Jay-Z struck back in excellent fashion at Oasis's Noel Gallagher, after he proclaimed that “Glastonbury has the tradition of guitar music. I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong."
“That’s my sense of humour. I have a sense of humour like a Brit so I thought people would appreciate that. Noel Gallagher was one of the biggest detractors so I figured that was a cool way to start the show.”
His version is crap, but I love the gesture. And it's great to see the entire crowd sing the song back at him.
You know, the whole Oasis/Bluir feud of the 90's would have been a lot more interesting if they had indulged in some gansta-style drive-bys and beatdowns...
Posted by Pete Best at 12:21 PM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Crustodio and I are gearing up for our "college buddies" reunion, which is a week from today. This will be the third time we've gotten together with the same crew since 2000. In 2004 we spent a long weekend on a houseboat on Lake Mead. That was really cool, but actually ended up being more of an adventure than we had planned for. This year, we are all about comfort and ease, so we are staying at our buddy Brad's large house in L.A.
In preparation, I've been working on expanding my already large 80's music collection. I've been searching for digital versions of a few albums in my collection that I only have on vinyl. I think I have pretty good taste in music, and I obsessively keep up with all the new hip stuff. Actually, a co-worker tried to turn me on to the Fleet Foxes last week, but I had to smugly remind him that I had already tried to fob them off on him the week before. But, the stuff that's been trickling in lately is definitely not hip or current and probably not that "good" either - but I love it anyway.
First was The Knife Feels Like Justice, the first solo album from the Stray Cats' Brian Setzer. This 1986 album was a surprising move away from rockabilly to a more roots-rock sound. It was produced by Don Gehman, who was the hot rootsy guitar rock producer of the day, also responsible for John Mellencamp's Scarecrow and R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant. The first half (or "side 1" as we used to say back in the day) of the record is absolutely solid, but the second half kind of peters out.
Next up was Joe Jackson's Big World album. I was a big Joe fan for the start of his career, but I felt that this was his last really good album. I think I got the next 2, but they were pretty disappointing. Big World was recorded live before an audience that not only didn't know the material, but were asked to refrain from applause! Ah, Joe, always up to something new. Still, it paid off, since it has a really unique feel and some great songs.
Originally it was released as a 3-sided album - there were 2 records, but side 4 was blank. I guess he had too much good stuff for one record and not enough for a true double album. That's one of the curses of the CD age. Everybody thinks they need to fill up 74 minutes of music. Hey rockers, guess what? You DO NOT have that much good material. All the great double albums of the past easily fit on one disc now, and even with those classics there's still filler. I'd rather have a solid 35 minute record, than a hit or miss hour long snoozefest. So, thank you R.E.M. for bringing brevity back.
This reminds me of my one Joe Jackson anecdote, which I will have to tell in a different post or this will never get done. So stay tuned for that one.
Third to arrive was the Tubes' Love Bomb. This was the last album recorded with the original line up, and their second with Todd Rundgren as producer. I can't wholeheartedly recommend this album, as it is pretty dated sounding and has the sort of lame Philly soul/keyboard cheese that Rundgren brought to his own wretched solo albums. Also, lead singer Fee Waybill was apparently feuding with some of the other band members and he doesn't sing lead on all the tracks, much to their detriment. Still, it is a pretty cool record for one reason. Side 2 is a seamless string of music which incorporates 9 different songs, including reprises, much like side 2 of Abbey Road. They are linked together by the drums, which basically play straight through for 25 minutes. Yah for Prairie Prince! Some of the songs are full-length and some are snippets, including a goof where they play "Wooly Bully" in one channel and "Theme from A Summer Place" in the other. Amazingly, it works. So, not a great one, but still enjoyable.
Last night I finally got the last one: Steady Nerves by Graham Parker & the Shot. Like Big World, this one still stands up, though it's slightly marred by bad 80's production. Parker's career has had many ups and downs and lots of record label fights. This was the start of his second classic period, soon to be followed up by the excellent Mona Lisa's Sister. He was still working with Brinsley Schwartz from the Rumour, but for this album he came up with a new backing band name. He never used the Shot again, and I think he's billed himself as a solo act since. In any case, this is by far his most catchy and poppy record, yet his lyrics are as biting as ever. A great combination. It also features his only Top 40 hit, "Wake Up (Next to You)".
The interesting thing has been how my brain responds to this music. Most of this stuff I really haven't heard for 20 years and not at all since my iTunes revolution of 2002. On the first listen it 's like discovering it all over again, but by the third listen it's like my brain finally catches up and I'm sort of sick of it. I think I'm overdosing on this 80's stuff. By the time I get back from the reunion I won't want to listen to any of this shit again for a year.
Posted by Pete Best at 2:44 PM
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This, my friends, is a huge loss. Lenny Bruce opened the door and George jumped in. God love him. Oh wait, George isn't on the believe wagon. I love that.
I'll tell ya the truth. In the last few years, George lost a tiny edge. Not his delivery. Not his timing. To me, he sacrificed not-bad people for the joke more often than I would have liked. He had better aim before.
But he sure gave a big FU to the people that needed it too.
And there's the key. I disagreed often with George recently, but when a man loves the language so very much, then one must applaud.
And when that voice flips off the enemy - in front a huge audience - that voice demands admiration.
Lastly, let's tell the truth here. Losing George means we're all getting old. And that..while we can embrace it from time to time...sucks.
Good night, vulgarian/contrarian
Posted by Crustodio at 10:36 PM
Friday, June 20, 2008
Pete, stop reading now. This may be your least favorite subject ever, after real-life witches and cock tattoos.
As everyone knows by now, Tiger Woods is out for the rest of the year. Sure, it's no tragedy, but the news truly sucks. I wasn't into golf enough when I was little, so I never really followed Jack's amazing career. Thankfully I did catch the miracle of '86, and that was all I needed to become a golf fan.
Tiger is Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth. He's changed the game in so many ways - and we're lucky enough to witness sports history as it happens.
His performance over last weekend already reached an instant-classic status, and now it will be legendary. Five days of golf, 91 holes, on a knee recovering from surgery, an additional ligament tear and TWO stress fractures in his leg. And he won the freakin' US Open. His 14th major. Only five more to go to beat Jack.
Let's hope his legs comes back strong and that he can meet his destiny. I've been watching and waiting for over ten years now, and I can't wait to be a witness.
By the way, I do have that final playoff round sitting in my DVR. I may never erase it.
Posted by Crustodio at 8:30 PM
9 tracks from Guns N" Roses long, long, long-awaited Chinese Democracy leaked yesterday, and the reviews are not good. The history of this album is so absurd, I can't believe it hasn't been captured on a reality tv series. You know you're in bad shape when a major softdrink company offers to give free drinks to everyone in America if your album is released after 14 years in the making. I wish A-1 would send everyone in America a free bottle of steak sauce if Crustodio would finally pay me the $11.83 he owes me from our 1986 power bill.
Posted by Pete Best at 7:05 AM
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Looks like Full Grown Men is getting a lot of buzz before it's limited release next week.
With a talent-ridden cast that includes Judah Friedlander, Alan Cumming, Amy Sedaris and Debbie Harry, the hype may be real. In addition to the trailer on the official site, Apple has a second version that looks like it was cut to be a little more mainstream.
These outtakes from an Amy Sedaris scene give me hope that it could turn out to be an instant classic.
Posted by Crustodio at 12:59 PM
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Hamlet 2, the upcoming film with the brilliant actor Steve Coogan, looks pretty great. Or, at least seems to have good potential, judging from the trailer. There's something inherently funny about high school theater, and Crustodio and I should know, since we were both drama geeks....
Posted by Pete Best at 7:14 AM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hi Graffiti Table. How was your day? Look, we can't lie anymore. We've been through a lot together and I have to tell you the truth. We've found a younger & prettier thing to hang around with for a while.
Yo blog, don't get all crazy about it. Shit happens. And it's not all our fault, you know. It's not like you're perfect, so get off your fucking high horse.
Twitter doesn't nag us. Doesn't wonder where we've been. Never complains if we don't have much to say.
And when we want satisfaction, Twitter is always there. And the issue of "commitment" never comes up. 140 characters or less. That's like a blog's version of a nooner.
Don't worry Graffiti Table. Truth is, we still love you. Just let us have our mid-Internet-life crisis and we'll come crawling back eventually. When that time comes, I'd rather we all just pretend it never happened.
We love Twitter, but we're not in love with Twitter, you know? You're still our favorite online bitch, I promise.
Posted by Crustodio at 2:01 PM
Saturday, June 07, 2008
I’ve never exactly been on the ball when it comes to finding incredible music. I rely on Pete a lot for that. So, this morning, I was totally floored by a documentary I just finished watching, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. It’s won awards, did the Sundance thing…the whole shebang.
Um…wow. How come you never told me about this dude, Pete?
The movie is simply compelling. It tells the story of Daniel Johnston, a manic-depressive musician who’s self-destructive behavior – including an epic battle in his mind against the devil – almost destroys any chance of his art reaching an audience.
The film is an unflinching look at a very disturbed man, but told with a beautiful embrace of compassion. The director is very obviously a fan. This isn’t a detriment to the story, but rather necessary. In the hands of the wrong person, it could have ended up very heavy-handed and without much of a heart.
And his music...jesus.
If, by chance, you’ve never heard of Daniel – just as I hadn’t – you’ll be glad I’m not sharing much more than this.
Find this movie on cable like I did, or go rent it. Whatever it takes.
I think it would be impossible for any type of artist to walk away from this without a pocketful of questions about their own journey.
I have to go buy some music now.
Posted by Crustodio at 8:04 AM