Dan Patrick Risks Creating Small Mushroom Cloud in Austin

“Is there an asshole convention in town?” – Richard Pryor in Moving

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If you see a small mushroom cloud in the city of Austin, it will be because my head has finally exploded.  Lt. Governor Dan Patrick looks to be well prepared to raise the bar for stupidity in elected officials.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just do some research on him…

“I could say more, but you get the general idea.” – Morrissey

Soccer Player Kung fu and Southpaw Grammar

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Eric Cantonas Infamous Kung Fu Kick Inspires South Paw Grammer

I realized I just posted an article about the Smiths yesterday.  However, while lionizing the Smiths is commonplace in the press, the same cannot always be said about journalists attitude towards the Morrissey album Southpaw Grammar.  It is not only one of my favorite Morrissey albums, but one of my favorite guitar albums of all-time.  The duo of Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte not only create many memorable hooks, but also create a beautifully menacing atmosphere with the help of producer Steve Lillywhite.  It is the loud distorted cousin to Morrissey’s Vauxhall and I, my favorite album and also this albums predecessor.  While Vauxhall and I was largely reflective, this album looks outwards, often examining working class violence in England.  Yet despite these albums being opposites in many regards, there is a kind of dark reverb drenched atmosphere in the production of both albums that makes them complimentary to each other.

Somehow I never knew about Eric Cantonas and his Kung fu kick and its inspiration to Morrissey, or if so I forgot.  I found that piece of the article highly entertaining.  A great read about an excellent album.

The Smiths – 10 of the Best

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The Smiths – 10 of the Best

Here is an interesting article on the Smiths if you are aware of them, but not really familiar with their stuff.  I am a super fan and I even found it an interesting read.  I by no means agree with everything the author says (I think the author’s constant use of the word teenager around Morrissey’s lyrics, however complimentary at times, is ill-informed), but he at least seem as if he has decent knowledge of the material and an idea of what made them so special.  The writer is also able to grab the musical side of the Smith’s better than most music journalists do.

Save Me From Life

Lifeguard – save me from life
Save me from life
Save me from life
Save me from the ails and the ills, and from other things – Morrissey

I know from personal experience that there are musicians that will try to turn every defeat into a victory, but that’s just not me.  Tonight’s show was one of those nights where it was a coin toss between suicide and slipping someone’s throat, watching them bleed out slow down the sewer drain.

There were some amazing moments.  Some of the people that came out to support me were truly exceptional.  Friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile, new faces that were a pleasure to spend time with.  One couple came out for their second show ever and gave me The Clash’s Sandinista on CD, along with two CD’s of rare track.  That is the kind of kindness that one can never forget.

But then there was a sound man that didn’t even know the set times and was rushing me the entire night.  I was supposed to play for an hour, but I only got 40 minutes.  I thought about sacrificing him to Beelzebub.  I would go to jail, and definitely hell, but I might live on eternally in local lore, creating the kind of darkly humorous story that would keep others alive in trying times.  A sound man sacrificed like a goat in front of horrified patrons.  Some of the other staff members were quite nice, so I decided not to create a local ghost story.  (Perhaps it will be a deeply held regret on my own deathbed.)

There were also certain patrons that looked like they had withered their lives away at the same barstool.  Indifferent to anything I played.  Indifferent to the songs booming out of the PA between sets, whether it was the Dead Kennedy’s or Iron Maiden.  They sat there like weather beaten wooden Indians.  These are the kind of people that, when they outnumber the living, can make a bar feel like a tomb.

Time has a funny way of healing all wounds rather quickly.  (Or as Nick Lowe sang, “Time wounds all heels.”)  I’m sure after a good nights sleep I will be ready for the next dash into the ring.  I actually played fairly well and there were some incredibly amazing souls in the room.  Usually nothing gets to me on stage.  I’ve played more shows than I could ever count and some are excellent, some are bad, and most are good.  That is the way of the world.  But something tonight left me feeling rather rotten and slightly evil.

One thing I’ve learned is, if you feel your mood darken, don’t try to prevent it. Embrace it and let it go as far as possible.  Eventually if you let it take you far enough, you will pass through the looking glass and emerge out the other side, cleansed and purified.  Laughing all the way to the…

Out With 2014, In With 2015, and Deathbed Regrets Of Not Having Enough Sex

Note to self:  Don’t take a herbal supplement for allergies right before bed, especially when you know that one of its side effects is it makes you more awake.  So now I’m owl-eyed at 4:45 AM.  One’s own capacity for stupidity is always oceans deeper than one would like to admit.  I can’t really complain though.  I have nothing to do today and there is a soothing predawn rainstorm that is enjoyable to listen to.

This is my first post of 2015.  I can’t say that I’m entirely sad to say goodbye to 2014.  Although I had some of my best ever artistic experiences in 2014, there were several things on a personal note that went a bit sideways.  So out with the old and in with the new.  One thing I can definitely say was a joy for me in 2014 is the fact that so many of you decided to follow or visit this blog.  I enjoy getting to write about the things that I am interested in and I love hearing back from those of you that are interested in those things as well.  In my humble opinion, any kind of human communication sure beats a dinner party!

I wish all of you the very best 2015.  May you live without regret.

One of my favorite songs, a song that always brings a smile to my face, is a song about regret.  It is Morrissey’s song The Never-Played Symphonies.  The song about someone on their deathbed whose only regret in life is that they didn’t have more sex.  And onward we go:

Reflecting from my death bed
I’m balancing life’s riches
Against the ditches
And the flat grays in between
All I can see are the never laid
That’s the never played symphonies

I can’t see those who tried to love me
Or those who felt they understood me
And I can’t see those who
Very patiently put up with me
All I can see are the never laid
Of the never played symphonies

You were one, you meant to be one
And you jumped into my face
And laughed and kissed me on the cheek
And then were gone forever, not quite

Black sky in the daytime
And I don’t much mind dying
When there is nothing left
To care for anymore
Just the never laid
The never played symphonies

You were one, you knew you were one
And you slid right through my fingers
No, not literally but metaphorically
And now you’re all I see as the light fades

How Music Intersects With Culture and Politics

I’ve noticed as I’ve done this blog that I get the most hits from the posts I write about music.  (Though not always.)  This might lead you to believe that at some point I am going to get smart and turn this into a music blog.  But I’m not going to.  You see, you don’t get great artists like Chuck D, Bruce Springsteen, or Morrissey, because those artists are unaware of the cultural and political situations that are around them.  In fact those artists are great because they each reinterpret their surroundings through their own unique lens.  You don’t get Fight the Power or World Peace is None of Your Business or The Ghost of Tom Joad if those artists aren’t paying attention to what’s shaking on the hill.  Meanwhile although the best music can always connect on an emotional level even if you aren’t getting everything someone is talking about, you can’t really understand the full impact of a lot of records if you have no clue what is going on in the world.  Music and culture/politics is a two way street.  A lot of the all time great records never get made without those artist being attuned to the times.  As a listener you also get so much more out of records if you understand what is going on around them.

There is a collection of George Orwell essays called All Art is Propaganda.  I want to play with that and twist it and say that all music is political.  Even the banal country song that is just about the singer’s truck, or the mundane rap song that is just talking about what the rapper is drinking or driving, is political.  It’s not revolutionary, but it is political.  It’s basically telling you that everything you are being told on TV is OK.  Don’t think too much.  Buy things and you too can live the dream.

When is a pop song just a pop song?  Never.  Motown produced a lot of great love songs, but that was a black run label that was trying to cross over to white audiences, where a great deal of the money was, during the Civil Rights era.  They were making young white teens daydream about black stars.  They were showing young black kids that they could be successful.  During those times of division they were bringing people together.

Now that being said, you can totally, as a listener, just enjoy something on a purely emotional level.  Some music just has a physicality that you get off on.  I’ve been listening to a lot of TV On the Radio lately.  I know that some of their stuff is political, but I am mostly getting off on the sonic inventiveness of their records.

However, what you get out of something and what it is, is two different things.  If you were reincarnated in another country and didn’t understand English, you might still be completely captivated by just the sound of Chuck D’s voice, but that wouldn’t change what he was saying.  (And just the sound of his voice is like a god damn cannon going off!)

So I’m not saying that you have to look for the political in all music.  It’s fine to love a record because it just lifts your spirits.  There are plenty of records that do that for me and nothing more.  But again, that is different from saying that the culture at large didn’t shape those records.  It is there under the hood if you want to dive in deeper.

So if you are a huge music fan, like I am, and you want to understand why certain records get made, or you want appreciate a lot of records on a different level, then you need to understand what is going on out there.  Meanwhile, if you are a musician and you are creating something, you can’t help but be shaped by the times that you live in, even if it is not explicit in your work.  You can’t separate music, or any art, completely from the world at large.  Even a lot of those gospel or soul records, those that allow you to transcend your earthly problems for a couple of minutes, were often shaped by those who were suffering themselves.  Whatever music you are into, it was definitely not created in a vacuum.

17-Year-Old Trans Teen Pens Heartbreaking Suicide Note

17-Year-Old Trans Teen Pens Heartbreaking Suicide Note

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/read-17yearold-trans-girls-heartbreaking-suicide-note-20141230

I am unfortunately pretty used to human cruelty by now, but something like this, where someone on the margins is made to feel like nothing by the very people that should care, fills me with a most rotten kind of sadness.  Abandoned by society, friends, and even your own parents, because you didn’t fit in with what was considered “normal”, is truly absurd and heartbreaking.   Let me tell you about “normal” people:  They are often as fucked up as anyone in their own way.  To quote Morrissey, “There is no such thing in life as normal.”  And who is more fucked up:  The person who is genetically born to feel different about their sex from most others, or people that choose to believe in an invisible man in the sky that permits them to treat their own children like dirt?  The first is nature and the second is delusion.   Only one of those is normal. 

As long as people don’t hurt others, allow them to find happiness in there own way.  If someone was born to feel differently than you, accept them for who they are. 

“There is only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut