Runaway Train

I was painting and on my ipod came Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train”. I remember this song came out when I was a formidable teen and the accompanying video, which they would have different versions of displaying children who have “lost their way”:

I always thought the idea of running away was really bad. I mean, no matter how much I hated my parents, (which for the record I didn’t so I’m kinda talking outta my ass here) I knew I had it good there, and whatever I hated I could escape when I got older. But then again, no one was beating the shit out of me.

I commend their effort, but it was really ironic to learn that the video placed a number of teens back into situations that were not so good for them. i.e. an abusive family situation:

Dan Murphy talks Runaway Train video

A humble reminder that even the most altruistic actions can result in the opposite.

Don’t stand in the shadow of my hammer


endless nameless

It is estimated on this day, 18 years ago, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain took his life with a shotgun.
(Note: any comments on this post that go on about conspiracy/murder theories will be deleted)

Like many other generation X’ers, I felt a certain kinship when listening to his music. He was our enigmatic musical demigod; sensitive, angry, and full of angst at the same time. He was our Morrison, our Hendrix, our Elvis. More importantly, he was the first public figure that spoke to us in our language.

Musically, we were fed manufactured corporate rock, further disillusioned by the political and social climate as we ventured into the mid and late 80’s. We knew something was amiss as our parents were getting divorced and sprawling suburbia’s we were raised in became playgrounds of boredom and mediocrity. The happy days of the 60’s and 70’s had worn thin and if you were anything like me, you grew up within a stronghold of angst and alienation. Nirvana, fueled by Kurt’s lyrics was an outlet to voice our frustration beyond our bedrooms.

So I downloaded Nirvana’s “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah” recently.  Yeah, I know I’m late on this one, but I’m usually not a fan of live albums. The levels are always askew and they do a bad job of capturing the true energy of a group. Any one who knows me, knows I love going to live shows and do so often. That’s where I’d rather spend my money. I actually had the privilege of seeing Nirvana live when I was teenager. I remember an enthralling concert that left me buzzing for days later.

So, yeah, I finally got it. Some performances are a bit uninspired such as Breed and Smells like Teen Spirit (You know they HAD to play that).  But the tunes SchoolAneurysm, along with Drain You and Sliver blew me away! Absolute classics in the Nirvana catalog.

It is amazing to hear these guys again. I’m in a whirl when I hear “Grandma take me home.. I wanna be alooooooooone…..”

I am actually very happy that I waited so long to grab this one. It just would not have rang as true if I bought it right away. Good to know that years later I can put this on and magically be transported back to when I was listening to these tunes for the first time, so long ago, with all the love and hate and angst. True genius stands the test of time, and nothing sums up how we felt (and still do) than this line: “you’re in high school again“.

Aren’t we all? Brilliant.

Manson vs. Rammstein

I was really looking forward to this when I heard about it. I think it was Trent Reznor who said Manson has become a a parody of himself, and I couldn’t agree more. Either drugs have taken their toll, or he’s just really bored. Either way this uninspired performace is just awful.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Puscifer – Palace of fine arts, March 16th

I will start with the second category here…

The bad.

Extremely excited to catch his show, I bought VIP tickets as soon as they were on sale. Unfortunately, the experience left me feeling less than important. $100+ for a signed poster, a small canvas bag (made in china!) and a quickie two song acoustic set. Now the acoustic set was great, but overall the experience left me with a bad taste on my mouth. I work hard for my money and expect a nice return for VIP experiences. Even OHGR chatted us up and hung out a bit during his VIP event. And Puscifer being a bit of a class act, I feel could have offered us a bit more. Not even a handshake after you are so anal about no cameras/videography/cell phone use (more about those devices later). Yes, the two song performance was intimate, and your version of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain” was spectacular, but for some reason I still felt a little cheated. I will not buy another VIP package for a future show.

This experience was exasperated by the venue. I cannot say if this was part Puscifer‘s fault, but we had to leave the pre-concert area while the extra special VIP wine tasting event was going on (I wasn’t quick enough to drop even MORE money on this delight). Now, if the Palace would have kept us in said area they would have easily made money. I alone would have bought two or three beers and at $6 for a draft, multiplied by the twenty or so others that would have also indulged, that is some serious dough. They could have made payroll with the VIP event alone. Do you know what the return is on a draft beer pour? It’s seriously ridiculous… but I digress. This multiplied by the rain made it worse, but luckily I came prepared. Oh, I almost forgot – we were offered to hang out in the lobby (that makes up for the rain) but, for an hour until doors officially opened? I declined and made my way to a local pub.

My foul mood only slightly numbed with two beers, I returned to catch Carina Round take the stage. This probably would have gone over a lot better, I admit I was still cranky, but her set wasn’t sitting well with me. I expected more melody, but really only heard her howling generic guitar-pop. And then she berates two guys in the audience (I could not see them, allegedly not too thrilled to sit through the opening act) by saying things like ‘it’s hard up here in high heels’ and ‘just relax, you only have ten more minutes before MJK comes out….’ in a condescending tone. Well, guess what bitch… no one forced you to wear high heels, at least in the audience, and you are the supporting act; you HAVE to deal with some people not into your music. It’s part of the game. After all, you sang a song with a chorus of ‘I really miss you, I do-do-do-da-do-do-do’

After that torture subsides, I am thinking to myself Pusifer has to pull out the major stops here for me not to go all Sinead on their ass… And well, THEY DID!

The good great

A spectacle from beginning to end, they shredded time and space, pulling out the full arsenal that is their new album, Conditions of my Parole, along with several favorites off the first. The levels were great, the musicians wailing, and the harmonizing between MJK and Carina Round was fantastic. I was loving “DoZo” (complete with ninja animation), “Momma Sed”, and a great power infused version of my personal favorite off V is for Vagina, “The Undertaker”. I enjoyed them playing modified versions of a few songs, though the heavier version of “Horizons” was a bit too much. I was really hoping to hear “Oceans”, “The Weaver”, and “The Rapture” and was lucky on all accounts, reduced to tears with “Oceans”. Also, the video inter segments of Billy D and wife/cousin Hilda were hilarious (two characters dreamed up in the mind of MJK that opened the show via video, a throwback to the V is for Vagina‘s tour).

The most impressive part of the show was the way it started. MJK came out alone pulling a tractor trailer and started setting up. He spoke about sustainability and what it means (not in the bottom of your menu kind of way) for us as humans to sustain life, how we panic when we realize our own mortality, and ultimately the point of Puscifer – “that life is too short not to create something with every breath we draw“. Brilliant.

A note about the no recording/pictures/cellphone use rule: I totally agree that they are distracting to the performers and should be turned off, but after the fifth reminder or so, I felt like I was being treated as a child. Now I know this has to be done, courtesy of the one bad apple that will ruin the bunch, but it all seems to teeter a bit on the elist edge. I understand MJK is a very private person, and I can respect that, but it just gets insulting. Ask once, say it again, and then just start kicking the assholes out. If there is one thing about MJK fans, they respect him (some to the point of obsession) and I am sure we all would have obeyed. I wanted to deck the usher when she directed her ‘child voice’ my way: “You know Maynard doesn’t like cameras or cell phone use…”

And here comes the ugly.

This has nothing to do with Puscifer and little to do with the venue. The fucking noisy bitches in row D about seats 26-24 that couldn’t shut the fuck up for a full song. Sometimes a response was more than valid, but seriously, if you are going to be that obnoxious, walk your dumb ass into oncoming traffic before a show.

Overall this show was awesome and redeeming of the bad initial misgivings. A solid 8 out of 10!

Two is better than one?

To those who know me, this won’t be a surprise at all, but I always have a tune in my head. Seriously, I wake up singing a song. It permeates all facets of my life.

I bought an iPhone not too long ago – yeah, I officially became one of those. I actually love it – now I have two ipods. Being that my phone memory is smaller that my ipod, I elected to copy the ‘greatest hits’ if you will of my music selection to my phone. But what became of all this surprised me.

When I would turn off my iPhone after getting home or out of MUNI, the song that was playing would stick with me. Even more geek-like, if that song just ended, often I would start singing the next song (in my mind – well, okay, sometimes out loud) on the album/compilation. Now this in itself isn’t too odd, but these days I listen to my ipod at work and at the gym, and most other times (read traveling) I am plugged into the iPhone, spewing out the ‘greatest hits’ collection of my repertoire.

So this has led to having two distinct music tracks going in my head. Yes, two. And at times, I will swap between them almost seamlessly. I am unsure what this is doing to my work and painting habits, though I am sure it’s a testament to multitasking.