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Archive for the ‘Anthrax’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: Y&T-“Mean Streak” (1983).

In the early 1980s Y&T had a couple of albums that made it onto my radar.   This one, Mean Streak, had this song which I liked enough. It’s got some cool riffs and Dave Meniketti’s raspy but distinctive voice.

I remember liking this song, even though I really had no idea what was going on in the lyrics.  The chorus where everyone sings “mean streak” behind his lyrics was certainly the catchy selling point.   But this is hard rock more than metal and is not really my thing.

I may have bought this album, but I know I have the follow up In Rock We Trust, which was more poppy (and they were more pretty).  I had forgotten all about “Lipstick and Leather” yet another cheesy pop metal song about, well, lipstick and leather.

People who were fans of Y&T (like Posehn) were die-hards, but even listening now I see why I never really got into them, even if I liked them for a bit.  Maybe it was a California thing.

[READ: January 2019] Forever Nerdy

S. got this for me for Christmas after we saw Posehn on a late night show and he talked about his nerdy obsessions, including Rush.  It seemed like an obvious fit.  And it totally was.

Posehn is a few years older than me, but if he had lived in my town we would have totally been friends (except I would have never talked to him because he was older).  Anyhow, we had more or less the same obsessions and the same nerdy outlook.  Although I was never really picked on like he was so perhaps I was a little cooler than he was.  Although I never smoked or drank when I was in high school so maybe he was cooler than me.

Things to know about before reading this–Posehn is a vulgar dude–there’s not much kid friendly is in this book.  Also this book isn’t really an autobiography exactly. I mean it is in that he wrote it and its about him, but if you were dying to find out fascinating stories about his crazy life, this book isn’t really it. I t’s more about the things he was obsessed with–in true nerdy fandom.

Although, Brian, what nerd doesn’t have an index in his own book? (more…)

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[WATCHED October-November 2012] Metal Evolution

metal evolutionVH1 aired this series last year and I was intrigued by it but figured I had no time to watch an 11 hour series on the history of heavy metal.  Of course, this being VH1, they have since re-aired the series on an almost continual loop.  So, if you’re interested, you can always catch it.

This series was created by Sam Dunn, the documentary filmmaker who made the movie Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  I had heard good things about the movie, but never saw it.  After watching the series, I’m definitely interested in the movie.  Dunn is a keener–A Canadian heavy metal fan who is really into his subject.  He knows his stuff and he knows what he likes (heavy metal) and what he doesn’t like (glam metal, nu metal).

The sheer number of people he interviews is impressive (as are the number of locations he travels to).  Part of me says “wow, I can’t believe he was able to interview X,” and then I remember, “X is really old and is nowhere near the level of fame that he once had.”  Given that, the few hold-outs seem surprising–did they not want to have anything to do with VH1?  Are they embarrassed at how uncool they are now?  Just watch the show guys, you can’t be as low as some.

The only mild criticism I have is that the show relies a lot on the same talking heads over and over.  Scott Ian from Anthrax, whom I love, is in every episode.  Indeed, he may be a paid VH1 spokesman at this point.  There are a few other dudes who show up a little more than they warrant, but hey, you use what you got, right?

What is impressive is the volume of music he includes with the show.  I assume that he couldn’t  get the rights to any studio recordings because every clip is live.  This is good for fans in that we get to see some cool unfamiliar live footage, but some of it is current live footage which often doesn’t compare to the heyday.  Having said that, there’s a lot of live footage from the early 80s–of bands that I never saw live anywhere.  And that’s pretty awesome.

With an 11-part documentary there’s the possibility of exhaustion and overkill, but Dunn is an excellent craftsman  he jumps around from old to new, talks about how the history impacts the current and, because of his own interests, he makes it personal rather than just informative. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  SLAYER-Live from Sonisphere 2011 (Palladia TV 2012).

Did I get into heavy metal because I loved typography or was it the other way around?  All metal bands love creating logos, and images that resonate with their music.  Nearly every metal band that I liked had a logo, easy to identify from a distance.  Perfect for marketing.The Metallica logo is pretty iconic, but the Slayer logo moves it up a step–crazy lettering with swords that almost make a pentagram.

When I was a young metalhead, Slayer was like forbidden fruit–so evil it was scary.  I love how this video dispels this image of the band.  Kerry King talking about “the kids,” and look how much Tom Araya is smiling through the whole set.  Never has anyone been happier singing the word “eviscerated.”

This show was during the Big 4 tour–Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and Metallica.  So Slayer performs a few of their more popular songs.  I actually don’t know how long their set was, but this thirty show must have contained about half of it.

And the band sounds really good–still playing really fast (Dave Lombardo on drums is a madman).  It also makes me laugh to think of Kerry King back in the early days having a leather bracelet with 4 inch ten-penny nails sticking out of it.  Now he’s just got a huge chain hanging from his belt (and a shaved, tattooed head and a very very long goatee).  Gary Holt from Exodus is replacing Jeff Hannemann for this tour because Jeff has Necrotizing fasciitis (which sounds like a Slayer song anyhow)

The Palladia show isn’t online, but there’s another show from this Big 4 Tour recorded in Chile that’s online.  And the interview with Tom Araya at around 11:30 is amazing,  Tom is such a nice, soft-spoken guy–and he was given the key to the city!  Incredible to hear him scream like that.  (And I see that Kerry has the nail bracelet on for the first song in this show too).

I’m also very pleased to see how many fans are wearing earplugs.  Not metal, but sensible.

[READ: September 10, 2012] Just My Type

A few months ago, Karen wrote posts about this book (links are below).  All I need to do was to read her first paragraph to know that I wanted to read this book.  I love typography.  I took a typography class at the School of Visual Arts and I have always been fascinated by logos and text.

This book is an awesome book for anyone who loves fonts but who doesn’t want anything too heavy.  There is some history of the various type creators, but for the most part this looks at type faces in the past and in popular culture.   Chapter 1, for instance, is called “We don’t serve your type” and is ll about the overused and much derided Comic Sans.

Karen wisely spread her review over five posts because there was so much in the book.  Looking at her review now, I had already forgotten these two things that she mentions: “the quandary Westminster Abbey was in when it was discovered the designer of the signage at the Stations of the Cross was an incestuous pedophile (among other things).  Or the story of the font that was drowned to keep it out of the wrong hands.”

Each chapter (about 8-10 pages) follows the adventure and misadventure of a font,  a series of fonts or the creator of said fonts.  In between chapters we got Fontbreaks, two or three pages about a specific font. (more…)

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Thanks to your vigorous write-in campaign and your massive texting, I have been accepted as a Featured Blogger on the very cool site Indie Posit.  What is Indie Posit, you may ask.   Well, I’ll let the site speak for itself:

This site is dedicated to creating a community of like-minded, original thinkers who deserve to have an audience, and to creating a hub that will allow others to find us. The intention is not to profit, but simply to express our ideas and creativity.

You can see my entry into Featured-hood here.

I’m genuinely flattered that the folks at Indie Posit felt that I was worthy of joining their ranks.  The site is a wonderful aggregator of cool blogs of all stripes.

I’m already very fond of That’s What She Said, a wonderful pop culture blog and Costa K’s Misc Things which has the subtitle “comics procrastination coffee.  And The Droid You’re Looking For is another great pop culture fest (anyone who loves Lebowski is okay with me).

Doodlemax is a blog similar to my own Daily Doodle (and man is he good).

But I think my favorite of the bunch is Acoustic! Kitty! In her first few posts, she raves on The Weakerthans and Superchunk and gives holy hell to The Tea Party.  Huzzah!

And of course there is Indie Posit’s own blog One Good Minute which on its front page dishes on Dick and Jane and Vampires and Anthrax as a great cover band (very very true).

There are many other interesting blogs there as well, some of which I haven’t had a chance to explore fully yet, but it’s a nice place to visit.

This Featured Blogger thing comes at a slightly awkward time for me.  I was planning on posting shortly that after some two years of posting every day (because of a very lax job), I am now gainfully and productively employed at a new job.  I like the new job tons better, but I also don’t have the luxury of 2 hours of downtime a day (at one point I was 28 posts ahead of myself!).  I am now struggling to get posts up on the day they are due!

But the Indie Posit nudge is all I need to keep going, so, despite our upcoming vacation, I will do my best to leave no days open.

Thanks, Mike, and thanks everyone else for reading.  (Looks like I need to update that blogroll),

 

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SOUNDTRACK: STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH-Speak English or Die (1985).

S.O.D. was a side project of Anthrax.  It was an over the top (and hilariously un-PC) collection of super fast (and super short) punk songs.  A lot of the “mosh” sound that Anthrax was experimenting with around this time is in place here (“Milano Mosh” for instance).  So it’s an interesting mix of speed metal and punk.

The lyrics were, as they say, designed to piss everyone off.  And they do.  Song titles like “Speak English or Die,” “Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues,” “Pussy Whipped,” “Fuck the Middle East” and “Douche Crew” pretty much give you a taste of the music.

And yet, Anthrax are silly.  So you know that the band is a parody (even if people took them seriously).  And the best way to tell about the serious intentions of the band are by other songs (and their duration): “Anti-Procrastination Song” – 0:06, “Hey Gordy!” – 0:07, “Ballad of Jimi Hendrix” – 0:05 (entire lyrics: “He’s dead”) and of course “Diamonds and Rust” (Extended Version) – 0:05.  There’s also a song about “Milk” which laments the fact that all of the milk in the fridge has been drunk.

My favorite track is “What’s That Noise.”  The band plays the opening chords of a song and this static crackles in.  Billy Milano slowly goes absolutely insane screaming about the noise, yelling at the band to stop playing.  It still makes me laugh, 25 years later.

[READ: Week of August 20, 2010] Letters of Insurgents [Last Letters]

Yarostan’s final letter is a long one, but it is justifiably long. And in some ways it makes up for all the weird incest stuff that I had to read.   Although really nothing could make up for that.

The beginning of the letter is taken up with Mirna and Yara’s “prank” at Jasna & Titus’ engagement party. There so many details to include that I’m just going to summarize. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: Big 4 Thrash Tour (2010).

During my recent trip down metal memory lane, I learned that the Big 4 Thrash bands may be touring together.  The Big 4 would be: Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.

When I was a young metal dude, these were definitely my big 4.  I own the first 5 or so albums by all of these bands.  Megadeth was the first to fall out of favor (around 1990), then Anthrax (around 1993), then Slayer (around 1994) (although they came back nicely in the last few years) and the Metallica (around 1997 although really they’ve drifted the furthest from the thrash world, and probably I should’ve stopped sooner).

I haven’t really listened to any of these guys’ newer releases (although I did get Slayer’s 2001 release, God Hates Us All–and I wanted to add this wonderful quote from Araya, who sings of ever so much death and destruction: “when you see someone and if you’re a human being you respect them and treat them as human beings”), so I can’t say that I’m the target audience for this tour.  However, I am delighted that these 4 bands, whose music I loved while growing up, are still together and still touring.

I wonder what the audience make up for this show is?  Is it old fogeys like me (who are still younger than the band members, at least) who would have wet themselves for this tour back in 1989, or is it a new generation of thrash kids who would mosh the crap out of me?

Either way, I won’t be going to this concert (in Poland or in Greece for that matter) but nor will I be going should it come to a theater near me.  But I’ll be delighted to hear how it goes.

[READ: March 29, 2010] “Bystanders”

I was prepared not to like this story (actually an excerpt from a novel).  It is set on a mountainside on the border of China and Tibet.  And it was about mountain climbing, a subject about which I care very little.  And as it started  feared it was going to be another story about battling with the elements on top of a mountain, blah blah.

But rather, the story went in a different direction entirely.  While the young protagonist is watching the sun set on the mountains she hears gun shots.  Ad i the distance, she sees a man fall.  The guides come over to offer her a hand but she refuses.  They force her down behind the rocks as they call for her father.  Then she flashes back to another time when her father selflessly came to someone’s rescue.

There were many cool ideas in this story.  I loved the idea that she was sitting in two countries at the same time.  I loved even more the later idea that the glacier has moved the border between the to countries and that soldiers had to remeasure and replace the flag.  But really, it was the final line, “that by making his care, his very life and limb, equally available to all, he deprived [his family] of an exclusivity they had a right to expect” that was incredibly moving.

I don’t know that I’ll track down the novel Every Lost Country, but I did enjoy this excerpt quite a lot.

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SOUNDTRACK: ANTHRAX-The Greater of Two Evils (2004).

I loved Anthrax when they first burst onto the metal scene back in 1983.  They were fast and heavy and totally great.  As they matured, they got delightfully silly, releasing a couple of novelty hits (with Public Enemy!) and really showing off their juvenile side.  (Big baggy shorts and crazy haircuts).  Then some time around 1993 I stopped listening.

Whether it was because my metal cred was running out or whether I just didn’t like what they were doing, I’d given up on the mosh kings.  Around that time, they switched singers from Joey Belladonna to Jon Bush and the difference is striking.  Belladonna had a strong, high pitched, soaring voice that rose above the trash.  While Bush has a deeper, tougher voice, and he sort of forces his way on top of the beat.

I haven’t given the Bush-era Anthrax much time, but I recently learned that they (like Kiss) re-recorded songs from their first few discs with Bush now on vocals.  Okay, so unlike the Kiss version, these songs sound totally new.  A new singer brings a totally new sonic dimension to the disc. But they have also re-recorded the music, which in most cases sounds better: recorded on better equipment, less sludgy.  But it also sounds different: different drumbeats or (as is often the case, furious double bass drumming), and the solos mixed into separate speakers and all kinds of other studio tricks.

And yet overall, I’m not that excited by the set.  I just don’t like Bush over Belladonna for these songs.  Bush’s voice is tough.  And their new songs are almost brutally heavy.  Some of these older tracks work with Bush’s voice.  However, there are a few which relied more on soaring sounds (like “Indians”) or demanded a little more subtlety (like the outstanding “N.F.L” which Bush sounds a little hamstrung by.

Anthrax is definitely a different band, but they still play loud and furious.

[READ: March 26, 2010] Heck

I found this book because someone put it in the wrong place in the library. I was looking for Easy Reader for my son, and someone had put this book at the front of that section.  I went to move it, but it looked interesting enough that I decided to read it.  Serendipity!

The premise of the book is that Heck is where you go when you die if you’re under 18.  They’re not quite sure where you’re going to wind up, so you have to go through Heck, which is basically school, until they can sort out which layer of Hell you’re going to wind up in.  Needless to say Heck is full of bad kids (and bad demons).

Our two bad kids are Milton and Marlo Fauster.  Marlo is a troublemaker from way back.  She is a petty thief and is always up to no good.  Milton is a good kid.  He never did anything bad in his life, and he always gets abuse from Marlo.  As the book opens, Milton and Marlo are sprinting down the corridor of a mall where Marlo has just stolen something. She is planning on wreaking havoc with Grizzly Mall’s centerpiece: The State’s Second-Largest Bear-Themed Marshmallow Statue (that cracked me up).

The kids run to the center of the mall where they are cornered by security.  Marlo is trying to think of an escape plan when Milton notices his classmate Damian.  Damian torments Milton every chance he can get.  And now, he is standing at the top of the marshmallow bear with matches.  Milton also notices a fuse sticking out of the bear.

One explosion later, the kids find themselves no longer attached to their bodies, as they are rapidly sliding down to Heck.  Marlo deserves to be there, she’s a bad egg.  But what about Milton?  It turns out that Marlo had slipped an item into Milton’s backpack, and therefore he technically stole something as well.  A technicality but true nonetheless.

The rest of the book shows the kids in their gender segregated classes.  The boys learn physical education from Blackbeard the pirate and ethics from Richard Nixon (the Nixon bits were hilarious, and yet I can’t imagine many kids getting the jokes).  The girls, meanwhile, learn home ec from Lizzy Borden (do kids know who that is) and singing from an angel who is on a teacher exchange program. (more…)

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