Friday, November 21, 2008

Guns N' Roses
Chinese Democracy

Better (and by better I mean paid) minds than mine have declared that Chinese Democracy is the last CD you will ever buy unless you're drunk and enjoy cruising garage sales.

"It's the last album that will be marketed as a collection of autonomous-but-connected songs, the last album that will be absorbed as a static manifestation of who the band supposedly is, and the last album that will matter more as a physical object than as an Internet sound file."

So writes Chuck Klosterman on The A.V. Club's website.
I recommend you read his essay books Fargo Rock City and Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. He has a new novel, Downtown Owl, that I've not read. I can't seem to find a free, pirated copy.
But I digress.
The fact that I am reviewing Chinese Democracy two days before the release date -- despite losing all my music industry contacts after the ... unpleasantness -- suggests Mr. Klosterman is overly optimistic.
But I'll concede his point.

Ah irony. If Mr. Axl Rose had released this album ten years earlier, I suspect he would have shifted several million more units. To Axl's credit, I suspect he doesn't care.

Fifteen years in the making, the album features fifteen current, former and guest musicians. It allegedly cost thirteen (sorry, not fifteen) million dollars to produce.

I quite like it.

Is it better than Appetite For Destruction, which took 1/15 the time and at least 1/45 the money to produce?
Not in fifteen years. Not in fifteen thousand years. Not in fifteen million years.
Despite my hipster snobbery I think Appetite For Destruction is one of the five (sorry, not fifteen) best albums of the 'eighties.
It was raw ... undeniably misogynistic ... incredibly vulgar ... and occasionally kinda vulnerable. It kicked bush party ass from Coldwater to Washago.
I wasn't well-travelled as a youth.
I got drunk to the sound of Welcome To The Jungle. I once got laid while Sweet Child O' Mine was on playing on a boom-box. I got in a fist-fight and tumbled down a flight of stairs while listening to Rocket Queen.

But Chinese Democracy is quite nice too.

It isn't fair to compare the two albums given my advanced age. I never get in fights, rarely get laid and, okay, often still get drunk. I'd like to suggest the government grant me a stipend to observe today's teens boozing, brawling and screwing and document the soundtrack. Given Stephen Harper's attitude towards the arts ... this seems unlikely.

It's no surprise that Chinese Democracy is over-produced. Thankfully, it isn't over-produced in an Electric Light Orchestra way. It is over-produced in a Brian Wilson taking to his bed because he couldn't make a better album than The Beatles way.
Chinese Democracy, for what it's worth, is a better listen than Wilson's disappointing thirty-year delayed Smile.

The first and title track, despite 79 (sorry, not 15) seconds of opening self indulgence, commences to rock and rock fairly well.

The second track, Shackler's Revenge, sounds like Nine Inch Nails lite, Is Pretty Hate Machine the reason Axl has been compulsively re-making this album for the last fifteen years?

The third track, Better. would make you think so ... until they knock off the faux industrial crap and make a song that would have stood out on Use Your Illusion I or II.

Street of Dreams, disproves Axl's homophobia. Clearly the man is in love with Freddie Mercury. This song is really very good.

If The World - the fifth song on Chinese Democracy - demonstrates Axl's love of porno bass lines and crappy soundtrack songs. We all love Bree Olsen, buddy, but few of us watch her sexual shenanigans while listening to Kenny Loggins.

There Was A Time is an 'apology' song directed towards either ex-wife Erin Everly, ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour or ex-guitarist Slash. It is unclear whether he is offering or demanding said apology

Catcher In The Rye rocks despite sounding like a mixture of Journey and vintage Elton John threatening to shoot people in the face.

Song number eight - Scraped - sounds like Kip Winger was given a modern recording studio. Yes, that is an insult.

Riad N' The Bedouins is one half as provocative and one fourth as catchy as Killing An Arab by The Cure. The cheap joke is a substitute for valid criticism as the song made me feel nothing.

Sorry is once again directed towards Mr. Rose's ex-loves and Slash. It is a pleasant enough song. If Mr. Rose is handing out apologies to someone, hopefully it is Slash. He would be of more help at this point.

Song number eleven, the much bootlegged I.R.S. doesn't sound as as angry at a government agency who would dare take Axl's money away as I would like. Perhaps it is about something else. I don't know. I've been drinking. Once again: cheap joke = I felt nothing.
Madagascar - song number twelve - soars and it rocks until Axl throws in a sample from Martin Luther King.
I like MLK as much as the next smug white Canadian but it doesn't fit in the context of the song. If this is Rose's apology for his racist song One In A Million, consider the debt unpaid.

This I Love again disproves Axl's homophobia. Clearly the man is in love with Elton John. When Axl embraces his inner homo, his songs turn out very well.

The last song, Prostitute, starts off sounding like Depeche Mode ... until it starts to rock and continues rocking until it soars to a Rockin' climax. Rock!

As previously stated, I doubt Axl Rose cares how many people buy his album. I think he wants to create art ... and that is commendable.

I'll likely only listen to Chinese Democracy a couple of times then forget about it. As I grow older, fatter and more musically diverse, Guns N' Roses are forced to fight a (losing) battle with Miles Davis, The Carpenters and Ray Charles for my listening time.

But If my musical options were Nickleback. Taylor Swift and T-Pain?
I would never stop listening to Chinese Democracy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nonsense 101: A Frenchman's Fabulous Failure ... the Flying Flea!

Henri Mignet (1893 - 1965) was a brave man.
As a brave man with bad eyesight, an obsessive nature and an abnormal interest in aviation, I'm surprised he lived as long as he did.
Some of his acolytes were not as lucky.

During World War I, French radio operator Henri Mignet - rejected from the airforce due to his unsatisfactory eyeballs - talked a mechanic into letting him taxi down a runway.
The silly bugger decided to take off when it came time to stop. He was airborne for a few seconds ... and landed the plane on it's back.
Both Mignet and the mechanic were punished.
I'd like to think Mignet felt guilty about dragging other people into his aeronautic shenanigans. History shows, however, that he dragged a bunch of idiots (with whom I relate) into his idiocy. Killed a bunch of 'em too. Good riddance. People like myself need to be thinned from the herd.
Piggybacking on Charles Lindbergh's famous Trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, Mignet designed and published the plans for the HM 8. It didn't fly - much like HM 1 through HM 7.

By 1935 he published the plans for the HM 14. Unlike the previous thirteen models, this one could actually fly for short periods of time. He found things like ailerons, rudder pedals and engine cowls offensive -- they could fly off at any time,
Unlike the extra wings, of which he was so very fond.
He named his aircraft the' Pou de Ciel'.
English translation? The Sky Louse - because, as Mignet said, it "made people scratch their heads." We'll call it the flying Flea for alliterations sake.

Thousands of people bought Mignet's plans. Hundreds of people actually built the plane. Of the few dozens that actually got the plane off the ground? All of them crashed - many of them died.
If the Sky Louse pilot was lucky he went into a steep dive, unable to avoid gravity and an unforgiving earth. If the pilot was unlucky, he went into an upside-down flight pattern until the fuel ran out - sending him into an unforgiving earth after pant crapping terror.

Mounting casualties and common sense has still not prevented people from idolizing Mignet.
Flying Flea websites and groups where people - uggh - meet to socialize with one another are still fairly prevalent.
Thankfully it is mostly contained to New Zealand where people - or sheep that can access the internet - don't know any better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If you need a band name ... take one of these.

If you are thinking of starting a rock 'n' roll combo - and who isn't in these troubled times- then feel free to use one of these uber-rockin' band names.
I'll be calling my band Big Scary Negro -- so Hands off unless you are a large, frightening person of African descent.
Otherwise, consider this a name grabbing free-for-all. All this shit I just made up must go!

Walkerton Popsicle

Sweet and Deadly!
For non-Canadians, the town of Walkerton had a water quality crisis with eight unfortunate results. In truth, this is a fairly tasteless joke.

Fur Sausages

Have you ever seen a cat vomit?

The Magnificent Trouser Devils

Are they devils who have magnificent trousers? Or are they Trouser Devils that are magnificent?
Nobody knows except the fictional band.

Daddy Issues

I'd have never gotten laid without the fact that the chicks have Daddy Issues in spades. Oh, that and my old man was a teacher in Catholic school and his former students wanted to subvert his authority. God Bless You, archaic superstitious educational system.
The uniforms are pretty hot too.

Miracle Groin

I thought I heard Jesse Jackson say this on Larry King when interviewed about Barrack Obama's recent presidential victory.
I suspect I misheard.
But it would be cool if that is what he said.

The Beatles

It's like an animal - but the spelling is changed because the music has a beat. Get it? Get it?
Personally, I prefer Johnny and the Moondogs,

Bossy Twat

Thank you Barb for the inspiration. I think we all know why.

The Lapplanders

Because reindeer is good eatin'.
Every Christmas when I was young, my father would haul out a rifle, clean it, and then pretend to telephone Fred's Meat Market and ask them how much they paid for reindeer meat.
Good Lord!
Judging from the above posts I think I may have Daddy issues.
He did always assume I was an idiot.

By The Way:
I hope all you Canadians spent a minute in silence, on this Remembrance Day, for the men (and a couple of women) who died for our freedom.
It took more 'nads than I have to ship out and risk death in somewhere that isn't my living room.
Plus, it is one of our few holidays not based entirely on fictional people.
Thanks, veterans. Without you I might not have the right to spout this nonsense.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

He's Troubled ... But I Can Save Him. Part IV : Happy Halloween

As improbable as it seems ... Slappy, Stinky and I were hired to babysit two children one Halloween about 14 years ago.
"Well, this seems improbable," I said to no one in particular. "Very improbable indeed."
"No more improbable than when the wealthy dowager hired us to fix her plumbing" replied Slappy.
"I do regret how that turned into a giant food fight." said Stinky. "There was pie all over the place when we left. Did we ever get paid for that gig?"
"Quiet, you chuckleheads," I barked. "There'll be no food fights tonight. We'll just make sure these two kids aren't horribly mutilated until their parents get home and then we're free and clear with fifteen Canadian dollars and two popsicles each from the freezer."

Things went pretty easily at first. To amuse ourselves we mocked the children -- whose names, ages and genders escape me -- about their appearance, grades and prospects in life. After Blue Velvet was over, we sent them to bed with a bag of baby carrots and a mimosa.
"This is when we make the easy money," said Slappy, pulling a bottle of Scotch from his duffle bag and putting his feet on the coffee table.
"Amen, brother," said Stinky and I. We drank heavily for thirty minutes before the first phone call.
Riiiiiiing ... Riiiiing ...
"Have you checked the children? He He He He," asked the distorted voice on the telephone.
"No," I replied and put the phone back on it's cradle.
"Who was that," asked Slappy?
"Child welfare, I think."
"Cheers," yelled Stinky.

The drinking of Scotch inevitably turned into the drinking of Brandy. Twenty-five minutes passed while we watched Rocky and Bullwinkle on The Cartoon Network.
Riiiiiiing ... Riiiiiing ...
"Have you checked the children now," asked the distorted, yet somehow impatient, voice on the telephone?
"Not yet," I admitted. "I'm kinda watching something right now. Can I call you back?"
The man on the phone sighed. "Will you check the children eventually?"
"Yeah, yeah ... I'll get to it ... who are you ... my mother? Christ!" I slammed the phone down.
Stinky asked, "Who was that?"
"Escaped mental patient who used to live here," I replied.
"Cheers," yelled Slappy.

We ran out of Brandy and moved onto Peppermint Schnapps and old episodes of The Twilight Zone.
Riiiiiing ... Riiiiiing ...
"What about now? Have you checked the children? You really should check the children. Really, You are not very good babysitters" said the distorted, impatient and somewhat condescending voice on the phone.
"Do they need another mimosa," I asked? "We have some Peppermint Schnapps if they can't sleep."
"This just isn't worth it anymore," replied the distorted, impatient and condescending voice. I think he was on the verge of tears.
"Who was that," asked Stinky and Slappy in unison?
"Don't know," I replied. "But I suspect he was wearing an old-timey hockey mask."
"Now you're mixing you're horror movie metaphors," said Slappy.
Stinky just shook his head. "Sad ... just sad."

We moved on to Everclear and tasteful lines of cocaine. The rest of the night was fairly uneventful until the parents got home and they found ...

... their kids safe and sound but a strongly worded note in the kitchen ...

"Dear Homeowners,
Really? You let these wankers look after your children?
For shame!
These idiots couldn't look after a gold fish. The only reason I didn't unmercifully slaughter your children is because greater horrors will await them if these three ... dare I say stooges ... babysit them again.

Yours in Christ,

Stereotypical Homicidal Maniac"

We didn't get our fifteen Canadian dollars that night but I made sure I stuffed as many popsicles down my pants as I could before we fled into the night.

But that's another story.

Happy Halloween.

Hockey game Interupted by Flying Dildos and Vulgar Chants

I don't have anything to add to this story from Ireland's Herald newspaper ... except my Google News seems odder than most:

THINK of ice hockey and the image of burly men with missing teeth and bad haircuts comes to mind, not the celebrity phenomena of sex tapes.
However, a sex tape featuring a Finnish ice hockey player led to a Swedish league game being delayed several times last week after the ice became littered with sex toys.
Fans of the AIK hockey team in Stockholm brought the items to the arena for a game against the visiting Leksand.
Fans held up profane banners and a giant inflatable penis in an attempt to unsettle Leksand defender Jan Huokko.
Earlier this year, an explicit video of Huokko (34) and his girlfriend having sex made it onto the internet after his mobile phone was stolen.
Ahead of the match against Leksand, the website for AIK's unofficial supporter group told fans to bring sex toys to the match to remind Huokko of the sex scandal.
A Swedish paper reported that the AIK organisation knew about the fans' plan but decided not to intervene.
"We heard mention of it, but decided that it would only be worse if we went out and told the fans they were absolutely not allowed to throw dildos on the ice," said AIK club head Mats Hedenstrom.
Vulgar chants directed at Huokko continued through-out the match, which Leksand lost 3-2.

I just can't make that any funnier. It is beyond my talent.