Monday, March 31, 2008

It's no drumming gorilla

But it's the talk of the ad world right now. Great spot. And freakin' great choice for the music. I want chocolate. Now.

What drumming gorilla?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Something Phishy in the State Of Denmark

Our buddy Ned, drummer extraordinaire, just got back from a tour in Denmark with reformed hippie-rocker Caleb Klauder. Local Cut has a 2-part tour diary here and here. Ok, the Phish reference was a cheap shot, actually Caleb and crew play beautiful Americana pretty far removed from the Deadesque noodlings of Calobo, his former band - so check these guys out, they're the real deal.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Because I care about you...

I'm not saying that anyone at the Grafitti Table or any of our readers are over 40 and portly, but I thought I'd share this happy little tidbit with you anyway.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Neighborhood of horrible restaurant names

When we moved to Woodlawn, our "up and coming" neighborhood a few years ago, there were no restaurants or stores or coffee shops in the immediate area. As I've written elsewhere, the Dekum Triangle are is now starting to develop - which we are very happy with. Here's a PDF of the official city plan, it's pretty exciting to see. The nice drawings are cropped to not show the horrible junkyard and gross industrial buildings. I wonder what's going to happen to those....?

Anyhoo, I hope the new businesses that come into the neighborhood will work a little harder on their business names than the 3 most recent arrivals. First there was Good Neighbor Pizzeria. Wow, could you have a more boring name? I'm no expert, but if I opened a place that sold triangular pizza slices in a neighborhood called the Dekum Triangle, I might have tried a little harder. Then there was the opening of Izogies, which I wrote about earlier. Good soul food, but kind of a tongue-twister of a name.

So yesterday I walked by the Village Ballroom because I had noticed the punk rock record store had moved out and someone else was moving in. Sure enough, a new restaurant is opening soon with the mindboggling name of Rumpslappers Broth and Beyond. Jesus Christ, people. They are moving from their current location on NE 42nd and all the reviews I've seen have been positive. AND they serve breakfast! I'm really looking forward to walking to breakfast this summer, but I am not looking forward to saying, "Meet me at Rumpslappers...."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A great family product

Just read the reviews!

The Audacity of Hope

This started as a comment - a long-ass comment - to Pete's post below. Typing in that small window, I realized I wanted to say more than what that window wanted to hold.

It's almost depressing how excited we all are at the prospect of an eloquent, intelligent and charismatic leader that seems to hold so many of our beliefs dear to his/her heart.

This man does seem to be from a mold that can only produce an amazing human being every 50-60 years. A seemingly endangered type of individual that possesses the true characteristics of a benign leader - that actually is willing to lead. To bear the slings, arrows and relatively small paycheck and use his/her gifts to help a nation, if not the world.

Take a minute. Go YouTube speeches from Bush, Kerry, Gore, Hilary and a host of others. Even my man Bill doesn't quite have what this dude does. A better orator than Bill? How is that even possible?

After the rise of W., I was certain that our country was forever stuck in this idiocracy. This acceptance of mediocre. This "my job is HARD" type of President.

If anything, Senator Obama is proving to us that we have settled the last eight years for complete bullshit and corrupt leadership. For a president that puts his friends and his own wallet above the American people. For lies, torture, stealing and utter incompetence.

I hear you. You're saying that you didn't settle. But yeah, you/we did. still in charge. Still the Commander-in-Chief. The simple fact that Bush still holds that office if proof enough that we...Americans...have settled for being led by a criminal, a buffoon, a comparably illiterate man that has skated his way to the top. I wear a t-shirt that says 1-8-09, proclaiming that as the last day we will put up with the worst president this country may have ever seen. Why isn't that date today, yesterday, two years ago? I have sadly settled. And so has the rest of this country.

What maybe struck me most is Governor Richardson's quote that Senator Obama is a "good guy." Why the hell haven't we put a "good guy" in office since perhaps President Carter? I love my Bill, but is he a "good guy"? I don't give a crap about the fooling around - leave that to the provincial mouth-breathers who care about such behavior, in spite of what's happening in their own houses. But President Clinton - my man Bill - still has an air of "Look at me. Ain't I something?" to him. That wink that told us he was smarter than everyone else. He is - all that and more. But I would have loved him even more if he just did the wonderful job he did - and let that do the talking.

But I can't escape the questions. Am I a sucker? Am I putting the Senator from Illinois on a pedestal that time, the truth and the difficulties that lie ahead will topple? Maybe. But Barack does that for me and millions of others. He gives us the audacity of hope. The chance to dream of a better America that will not settle anymore.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm glad this happened in Portland

I actually had a ticket for this event, but couldn't go because of work. Crap.

Bill Richardson Endorses Barack Obama.

And if you have half an hour to spare, here's the best political speech since JFK:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's like a parable

I'm usually very skeptical of the hot new rook book, since I've been burned so many times. Chuck Klosterman? Ugh. That guy sucks. I'd been seeing bits and pieces on a new book called Rock On: An Office Power Ballad. Maybe it was his annoying author photo that turned me off, but it just looked like another lame music biz obituary. But this morning I read an interview with author Dan Kennedy on the AV Club and I actually "laughed out loud" several times. I added this book to the must read list. The quote below is a pretty good assessment of the major label's short-sited greed:

"You know, any other business in the world would have said, "My God, there are millions and millions of people who are showing this incredible demand for our business, and they want it in these files. They're trading amongst themselves and trying to set up ad hoc networks to do it. How can we make that a better experience and have them come over to our side?" That's all they would have had to do. That's all Steve Jobs did. The first time you tried to download stuff on Limewire and Kazaa and got partial files or weird mixes, you started getting disenchanted. Then Steve Jobs came along and said, "Hey, iTunes. Buck a track. There's no partial files, and you won't get booted off." And he sells three billion songs. But the majors see that as bad business, because they know that on those three billion songs, they could have made $60 billion by selling CDs at $20 for those three songs you really want. As long as you're addicted to a 1,621 percent profit margin, you're going to keep finding a way to hang on to it. But you're gonna go down with the ship. It's like a parable."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Morning Tongue

Funny? Sure, I guess. It's getting to the point where I'm just so...bored with the "snicker-snicker-get-it?-it's-a-dick-joke-and-we're-getting-away-with-it-so-we'll-hammer-it-into-the -ground-aren't-we-clever?-really-really-clever?" attitude here.

Then again, the target is most likely men 18-24. So what do I know?

Monday, March 17, 2008

It makes me feel dirty.

As a true Mac snob, I was appalled to read that uber-douche Rush Limbaugh is an avid Mac fan, and actually pointed out a OSX problem that Apple will address with a future upgrade. First, there's the addiction to painkillers, now the Mac loving - what else will I have in common with this creep? I shudder to think. Maybe it's weird to ascribe a political agenda to an inanimate object, but I had always viewed the PC as being the tool of choice for stodgy, boring, unimaginative conservative types, and the Mac being the box for trendy and creative progressives (I can hear Crustodio grinding his teeth all the way from Seattle). So, what's next? Ann Coulter shilling for Volvo?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Los Estimulantes

High-level negotiations occurred last night over the formation of a new musical project, featuring Marty and Dave from the State Flowers and Rexaco, Ben from Foma and DeHaviland and yours truly, Pete Best. Rehearsal space to be made ready, PA head to be purchased, xmas lights to be hung and beer to be consumed. Oh, and I have to buy an electric guitar. I sold my 70's Telecaster when I was dead broke and unemployed. I still have my Martin acoustic, but that will not be sufficient for the heavy rocking that we are sure to do.

Even though we have no idea what we will be doing, it is very exciting to be playing with people I like, unlike my recent experience playing with the negative creeps. I'm not sure what we'll come up with for a sound. I guess Ben and I will write some songs or maybe we'll come up with stuff all together. The only thing known right now is our name: Los Estimulantes.

I was in Dots a few years ago with some of the gang, and saw this cool old Mexican drug warning poster. There were drawings of different drugs, like cocaine, marijuana, etc. and then the Spanish word for them. At the bottom of the poster was a drawing of a bunch of pills and the legend, los estimulantes. The second I saw it, I thought: great band name.

Getting excited....

Less than 2 weeks to the big Springsteen concert. I'm such a big fan and I've never seen him before. Crazy, I know. I found a page of set lists from the last few weeks and compiled a master list of all the songs he's been playing:

Adam Raised A Cain
Because The Night
Devil's Arcade
Gypsy Biker
Last to Die
Livin' In the Future
Lonesome Day
Long Walk Home
No Surrender
The Promised Land
Radio Nowhere
Reason To Believe
The Rising
The River
She's The One
Waitin' On A Sunny Day
Incident On 57th Street
Be True
I'll Work for Your Love
The Ties That Bind
Working On The Highway
Jackson Cage
Loose Ends
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
So Young And In Love
Janey Don't You Lose Heart


Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Thunder Road
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Kitty's Back
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
American Land

I don't know why I pasted that entire list in here. I must be high.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Big Hollywood Premiere Tonight

Hollywood district of Portland, that is. Mrs. Best recently made a short film about Al Forthan, who she used to work with at VOA (Volunteers of America). There's a premiere of the movie tonight at the Hollywood Theater and it's a benefit for the Al Forthan Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Al was a legendary drug dealer and addict who turned his life around and became a very successful counselor for men with addictions. His street cred helped him reach a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't have listened. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. Here's an article from the Portland Observer with more background on Al and the scholarship fund.

The doors open at 7pm, film starts at 7:30pm…be there early to get your free popcorn, candy and sodas.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Bannana Cream Pies Can Taste Even Better

It's a debate that will rage as long as there are televisions in the world.

Mary Ann or Ginger?

The bad boy side of me wanted Ginger. The badder boy wanted Mary Ann.

Now I know why

You need a video

And if you do need a video - these are the go-to folks you've been looking for:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Attention: local drummers

"If you live in Portland and are just fucking amazing on the drums, feel free to drop us a line."

Well, hell, that is quite an invite from Portland's own Thermals, who lost their drummer today. Very welcoming, except that the band is wildly overrated, and the other 2 band members are also drummers. Just what you want, 2 other drummers judging your every paradiddle. Maybe that's the why the guy left. I briefly met Lorin through a friend of a friend in October and he was already talking about leaving the band, though it sounds like it was an amicable split. I just wish Kathy Foster would quit and get back to the All Girl Summer Fun Band - now, they rule.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Legalize it!

The writers of the Wire offer up a plan of civil disobedience to end the drug war. I'm facing jury duty in 3 months, so I'll keep this in mind.

This is what a music geek thinks about

I have always loved the multiple singer/songwriter band (hereafter referred to as MSS bands). This probably stems from my childhood Beatles/Monkess obsession. I just love the contrast between different singers and writers in a band setting. The Beatles are really the classic example of MSS, and also the first. In order to really be a MSS band there has to be more than one dominant singer/songwriter, so there's a real back and forth going on. All four wrote and sang their own songs, though obviously George and Ringo didn't write as much as Lennon/McCartney. While John and Paul were basically 2 solo artists in a band (SAIB) with an equal share of the material, George and Ringo both set up different band songwriting archetypes. George originated the one-song-per-album writer who sang lead only on his songs, henceforth known as OSPA. And Ringo was the first of the once-in-a-blue-moon novelty songwriters, henceforth known as OIBM.

Among all the big British bands of the 60's, the Beatles were really the only full-on MSS band. The Stones had a writing team, but only one lead singer. Yes, I know Keith was an occasional OSPA and Bill had a OIBM moment on Satanic Majesty's, but they are not a MSS band. The Who come very close, but are typically skewed. They had a lead singer who didn't write (Roger), a main songwriter who sometimes sang lead (Pete), an OSPA (John) and an OIBM (Keith). The Davies brothers in the Kinks both wrote and sang, but Dave's contributions were really in OSPA vein.

Although most people don't think the Monkees actually wrote their own sings, they did. Well, at least Mike did, although Peter, Davy and Mickey did manage to get a few in there. And in Mickey's case, pure brilliance - Randy Scouse Git anyone? Arguably, Mike was a SAIB, but shared lead vocals equally with non-songwriting Davy and Mickey. Thankfully, Peter only got a few vocal performances on record (sorry, dude).

The 60's were a great era for the MSS bands, though. The Byrds are one of the best. Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons all wrote and sang their own stuff. Along with Buffalo Springfield, they really spearheaded the MSS movement in the 70's - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young being one of the more well-known results. Fittingly, Graham Nash was in the Hollies a possible MSS British band, though I don't know enough about them to say. Maybe it was a West Coast thing, because San Francisco also had a lot of MSS bands: Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, and (I think) the Dead. The Beach Boys had multiple writers and lead singers. I would say in the 60's they were really Brian's band, but by the 70's they had become a real MSS band.

The Clash is a weird case. A songwriting duo with a main lead singer (Joe) and occasional lead singer (Mick). Queen is also a tough one to call. Yes, Freddie was the lead singer, but not the only songwriter. Vocally, Brian and Roger were OSPA's, but full-on SAIB's are far as songwriting goes. And while John didn't sing, he wrote his share of material - still enjoying those Another One Bites the Dust royalties, Mr. Deacon? It's a borderline case, but I'm just going to lump them in. Then there's Pink Floyd. Another borderline case: multiple singers, but really one main songwriter (Roger), though Dave and Richard did co-write a lot of the material. Some true 70's MSS bands include the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. And, sadly, Styx. It seems that the MSS band went out of fashion after the 70's. Maybe it was Styx's fault.

I can't think of too many examples in more recent years. Well, there's XTC, Love & Rockets, the Long Ryders, the Db's, Husker Du and They Might Be Giants in the 80's. And Uncle Tupelo, Teenage Fanclub, Travelling Wilburys and Sebadoh in the 90's. MSS bands seemed to be very popular in New Orleans when I lived there: the Continental Drifters, Dash Rip Rock, Cowboy Mouth, and my own band, the House Levelers. I'm sure there are tons of others - who else did I miss?

Sublimely dunderheaded

I love when the New York Times reviews really, really bad movies. The way they archly skewer the film is always entertaining. Today's victim is 10,000 B.C. I love this passage:

Yet even as the story begins, the old ways seem to be dying out, as the Yagahl, a tribe of snuffleupagus hunters who favor extensions in their hair and eschew contractions in their speech, prepare for their last hunt.

Snuffleupagus - awesome! It's like seeing a horrible movie with a really smart & funny friend, whispering comments to you under their breath. Sublime, indeed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Before I get old

As you probably know, I loves to read. And I loves music. So, it just figures that I'd love music books. And I do, I do. Well, here's a pretty good list of 45 music books to check out. I've read about 15 of those on the list. I would add to that list the Kurt Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven. And the controversial Sinatra bio His Way by Kitty Kelly.

This list reminded me of some old favorites like The Beatles Forever and Guralnick's Elvis books. And it reminded me that I still need to read Before I Get Old: The Story of the Who. Shit, I got old before I read that book. Oddly, they left off Crustodio's favorite rock book....

Thanks, Pop Candy.

Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Local lads the Helio Sequence just debuted a cool, shot-in-Portland video. They dragged their portable stage all over town. Pretty nifty.

I remember when these young 'uns used to open for King Black Acid when I was still in the band. Hard to believe these guys have been going at for 10 years now...

Keep Your Eyes Ahead

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Talk is the Cure

If you don't talk to your children about everything, how will they learn? When to start talking the truth? It's never too soon. You'd think that, say, they're still safe and innocent in the third grade.

But they're not.

Talk to your kids, people. I cannot stress this enough.

Thanks, Mr. Crunchy

Monday, March 03, 2008


Sorry, Hillary. You are out of time.

Out of luck. Out of step with how freakin’ ready we are for some serious change. No, this is not a fair assessment of Mrs. Clinton. She shared the White House with the best President to have ever held the post during my lifetime. She cares. She understands that health care is not a luxury, but a right all Americans should have. She is fully qualified to run this country. To run it with more conscience, compassion, clarity and intelligence than the poor excuse we have for leadership that now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But she has already become an also-ran.

You deserve more. You've served your country well. You'd be an outstanding choice to be the first female commander-in-chief.

But holy christ-on-a-cracker, how are you supposed to run against this?

Can I get a witness?

I am an Obama man. And yes, yes we can.