IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #13.91
J Church and Honey Bear Thing - June - Tour Time

 

ALL THE WAY LIVE

Okay, here are all the dates we have booked as of this moment. Again, we've left out the West Coast for no good reason. Originally Dillinger Four wanted to do this serious Summer tour but only dates in the Mid-West. We were into it as we really don't like doing anything in the Summer anyway. But of course, things worked against us and we wound up only playing once with them. It should be a lot of fun. We're gonna be trying out some new stuff on this tour. We'll have a lot of neat merch. I swear, no more shows until the Fest in November.

I've tacked on our four local shows at the end of the tour schedule. It's a fuck of a lot of local shows for one month. It's sort of like an Austin Only tour. The Emo's show is the only one that we're actually headlining, so it's your best bet to catch a full set. But if you only like us in doses (and that's something I can respect), you've got several other chances to see us this Summer. Shit, it's gonna be hot as fuck!!!

Incidentally, Ben and I really got into the way shows in Japan are promoted. Promoters give their shows names. So you get Night Of Thrashing Vol. VI or Pop Punks To Future Vol. III. So we've started naming our shows. Ben is doing the Modern Machines show and it's called Brewed For Good Times Vol. 1. My shows are DaDa Swing and Onion Flavored Rings and they are Honey Bear Records Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. I'm making special buttons to commemorate each show, so come down. They're gonna be events.

JUNE

30 Denton, TX - 1919 Hemphill

JULY

1 Memphis, TN - Ernestine and Hazel's w/ Seein' Red
2 Chicago, IL - The Bottom Lounge w/ The Groovie Ghoulies, The Methadones
3 Milwaukee, WI - The Barely Legal House
4 Minneapolis, MN - The Triple Rock w/ Dillinger Four, Heads and Bodies
5 Carbondale, IL - The Lost Cross House
6 Lawrence, KS - The Haunted Kitchen
7 Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory w/ Klipspringer
8 Denton, TX - JJ's Pizza w/ The Pedestrians, Signal Lost
9 Austin, TX - Beerland w/ Marked Men, The Soviettes, Grabass Charlestons,
10 Austin, TX - Emo's w/ DaDa Swing (Italy)
14 Austin, TX - Beerland w/ Modern Machines, The Ergs, Modern Needs
23 Austin, TX - Sound On Sound w/ Onion Flavored Rings

 

TOP TEN OVER-RATED "CLASSICS"

Now, before I have to answer another shitload of pissed off emails, I do like most of these records. I think most of them are good. Maybe even great. I'm sure someone out there could take this same list and call it their Top Ten Albums of All Time. But the lie that we think of as "Popular Music History" starts with the idea that there are untouchable works above any criticism. There are a million music histories out there. Write your own story.

Here are some of the so-called "classic" rock records that we've been told to like by generations of rock writers who are too scared to say what they really feel in fear that they'll never get published in one of the glossies. It's amazing how much smart people will degrade themselves for less than minimum wage if it means being part of a legacy of drug addicts, pseudo-intellectuals and straight up sexist pigs.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - I'm not one of those Beatle-haters that think they're entirely overrated. I love Revolver and Abbey Road. I even like The White Album, though mostly for nostalgic reasons. But I could never understand what the big deal was with this album. Why does every so-called legit music journalist list it as the best album of all time? It's okay. There are a couple of good songs. But it always seemed like a bunch of corny gimmicks and sound effects dumped on some of the band's weaker material. The whole premise of the record is pretentious and boring. The songs I love from this record (Good Morning, Good Morning, Getting Better and She's Leaving Home) seem more at home on Revolver and would be hugely improved by ditching the stupid farm animal noises and, ugh, that fucking harp!

Nevermind - Again, I loved Nirvana. Bleach rocked my world when it came out. The first time they played in Frisco, it was a beautiful shambles. You can imagine my shock when this album became their big hit and was hailed by all the right-on people as music's salvation. By far their worst studio album, Nevermind is a great example of what was wrong with `90s production. Rather than reacting to the corny gloss of `80s commercial rock production, the `90s went one step further making the sheen of inhuman drums and electronics completely faceless and dull. It's no wonder that every so-called modern car commercial has that synthetic rock sound encapsulated by this record. The guitars don't even sound like there's a human being behind it. The vocals are doubled and tripled and processed to death. The drums sound like something invented at the Lucas Ranch. To see Nirvana live was something I'll always treasure and the songs on this record are perfect. It just makes me think that there is a really, really amazing demo tape of all these songs floating around out there someplace.

Ramones - I love these fucking songs. I totally love these songs. But, fuck, shit, goddamnit, why the hell did they split the bass and guitars into separate channels? Everyone makes excuses for this and how it was a spontaneous act of genius. For me, it just means that I never listen to this album ever. That's why I love It's Alive so much.

Master Of Puppets - I was so bummed when this record came out. I loved Ride The Lightning so much. In fact, I just loved the first three songs. It was probably six months before I even bothered to listen to anything past For Whom The Bell Tolls. I bought Master Of Puppets the day it came out. I had to have a friend drive me all around Hawaii until we found a shop that had it. I put it on and was at first excited by Battery, which remains one of their best songs. The title track comes on and you know it's gonna be a let down. If the title track doesn't lead off the album, there's usually a reason. But I was still with it. By the end of the record I was just numbed by the slick production and the ratio of fast to slow. While I've gotten over the need for everything to be fast, I still maintain that the craziness of the first two albums was a lot of their charm. The drums and guitars sounded so much more alive. They sounded like a band that was hurtling through space where the slightest miscalculation could kill them all. Master Of Puppets sounded like four musicians sitting for a month in a studio working on parts.

Young Loud And Snotty - I have no way of defending this. You can tell me I'm wrong for putting this on the list and you may be right. I always hated the Dead Boys. They were just a stupid band with stupid antics and stupid lyrics that eventually found a way to use all that stupidity as a gimmick. Plus, I hated Stiv Bators' voice.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Oh my God, this album sucks. Take the absolute worst elements of Radiohead and Pavement and give it a "roots" feel and you get this bullshit. What the fuck? Wilco are such fucking phonies. What? Pavement made cool ironic pop and it sold? Wilco gives you Heavy Metal Drummer. Radiohead do something kookie with electronics and the press buys it? Wilco suddenly discovers the Conet Project. Beck finds his roots on his latest record. Well, you know what Wilco did next… Pavement, Radiohead and Beck have all made some amazing records. No need for this one. I am trying to break your heart? Fuck you!

Nevermind The Bollocks - Man, as a kid in Hawaii, it was so hard for me to find this record, I eventually had to buy it on TAPE two years after it was released! After hearing the Clash, the Damned and the Ramones, I dunno, this didn't even sound like what I expected punk rock to sound like. I know that sounds crazy as they were the first band and blah, blah, blah. The first three singles are still great. Anarchy in the UK, God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant should be National Treasures in England. There are other good songs too. But so much of it is disposable and plodding with way too heavy-handed guitars and a relentless barrage of just SOUND. If you're a punk rocker, you've quite possibly heard this album close to 100 times and have lost all perspective. I get that way with records like Abbey Road where I've heard it so many times I can't even judge Maxwell's Silver Hammer much less Octopus's Garden. But if you just close your eyes and really think about Problems - weren't you just dying for that song to end so God Save The Queen would come on?

Led Zeppelin IV - Yeah, Black Dog is fucking amazing. Rock and Roll is so good on record they could never do it justice live. The Battle of Evermore is totally… Hey, this song kinda sucks shit. What the fuck is this? I don't remember Stairway to Heaven having those half-assed Jethro Tull flutes. There's a lot of amazing stuff here. I can listen to Misty Mountain Hop for the rest of my life. But Going To California is the kind of shit that made me drop out of college. The acoustic Shire of this album makes up 25% of the songs. That's a problem the band never really reconciled and they certainly don't come to terms with it on this album. Plus, context has to count for something and at this point in time, I think we've all heard Stairway to Heaven enough.

Pet Sounds - I sorta like a lot of this record. But it's not the best record of all time. I think when people say that, they mean to say that God Only Knows is possibly the best pop song of all time and with that I can totally agree. It's by far the high point of the album. There's some interesting production stuff that everyone talks about. But there's a fine line between experimentation and gimmickry. I don't think they were tinkering to cover up a lack of material. But I think that maybe there was so much excitement about trying new things that he rushed through the songwriting process at times so he could hurry into the studio. There are some great songs on this record and some songs that are really like Brian Wilson going through the motions. I enjoy this record. But I don't put it any higher than hugely underrated Beach Boys albums like Friends or 20/20.

The Joshua Tree - Fuck me! Was this the birth of emo? Yeah, so the Edge seems like a cool guy and, while Bono should fucking shut up, it's better that he's blabbering for the left… I think… I fell for them at first. What can I say? I actually still like the first two albums. I guess I've got a little emo in me. So shoot me, Shadows and Tall Trees is a cool song. But this album went too far. It's just so… EMO. God, it's like grading a 9th grade poetry class. Those vocals are so emo! By that I mean they use that trick where they over emote, they overplay their hand, and come up with nothing. There's no real emotion at all. It's just a bunch of hot air.

 

IN THE J CHURCH VIEWING ROOM

WONDERFALLS (dir. by Todd Holland)

It's getting to the point where if a show with an interesting premise gets cancelled in it's first season, you should check it out when the DVD shows up as you've probably got a better chance of finding a gem than actually watching TV. Wonderfalls is an excellent example of that.

I had never even heard of the show when the DVD box set popped up. I probably wouldn't have even checked it out if a random assortment of people didn't start recommending it to me. Now, several months later, I've finally had the time and I am devastated.

This was such a sweet, sweet show, it breaks my heart that it never got a chance. TV viewers are as stupid as TV execs. TV is dead. With shows like this and Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared and Sports Night all getting killed off, why would any smart, talented person want to dedicate any creativity to the format?

Jaye Tyler is a young college grad who is stuck in her hometown at Niagra Falls working at a crappy souvenir shop. Everyone knows that retail sucks and customers suck and this is one of the few shows to actually show that doing the bare minimum at work can be an intellectual endeavor. Though the reason is never totally clear, inanimate animals (a wax lion, a monkey statue, a very cute stuffed donkey) start talking to her in vague cryptic messages.

From there each episode becomes a mystery. In her varying attempts to do what the animals tell her to do, it isn't until the end of the episode where the complete truth unravels and it's as satisfying as a Sherlock Holmes story. In one episode, the animals keep telling her "Bring her home" and the final chapter will bring you to tears. It's really that good.

The whole cast is amazing. Caroline Dhavernas plays Jaye and in a perfect world she would be a superstar as she's combines some of the best elements of Parker Posey with Mary-Louise Parker. Katie Finneran is amazing as her loving, Republican, lawyer, closet lesbian, sister. Lee Pace is hilarious as her deadbeat, grad student, live at home, older brother. William Sadler is her kind, right wing, Dad and Diana Scarwid is her travel book author, secretly left wing, Mom.

A good cast is key to why this show is so powerful. The writing is sophisticated enough that only certain types of versatile actors could do it. For the most part, you are rolling along laughing at the witty dialog when suddenly something happens and you're sobbing into your tater tots (I like to eat lunch when I'm watching a series).

It really is a crime that this show got the axe. Four episodes and it was gone. Fox is run by morons. There are rumors of a feature film. What we really need are two or three more seasons.
(Fox Home Entertainment)

 

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