Friday, February 06, 2004 at 11:33:06 (EST)

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms ...
Look, I dig T&A as much as the next guy. But what the hell do the Suicide Girls think they're doing? Eh, I think they know exactly what they're doing. So I went to the show at the Knitting Factory, starring Stupid. My bandmates tried to talk me out of it, which I now realize they believe is their job, but I went anyway. I got there just in time to catch Stupid's awesome set. Their replacement drummer, Joe, totally rocked. He's no Ben Hoyumpa, but he did fine in the interim. If you haven't heard, Stupid was in a horrible ("Horr-EE-Blay") car accident and Ben suffered a broken arm. His friend Joe sat in and laid out the rock just fine (playing with Jessica Simpson will no doubt season any drummer). Apparently, there is a whole pool of really good drummers in this town and they all know each other.

But after their lovely set, we were subjected to Bloom, a band whose lead singer resembled Patrick Dempsey. Hmmm, maybe it was Patrick Dempsey, though I'd like to believe somehow that PD would have better stage presence. But Bloom has been touring with the Suicide Girls, so you gotta figure that even a guy with a series of exotic duck calls would do as well as these guys. They could've been worse, but as that thought crossed my mind, I realized that it was perhaps I and Stupid who were out of place in such a scene. When the Girls themselves came out, all doubt was erased. Could this have been the same stage upon which I had seen Shellac play several times?

The Suicide Girls' act was mostly strutting around the stage to canned music, stripping down to electrical tape pasties. They had some semblance of choreography, but not enough to really pull it off. And where were the baggy-pants comedians one associates with burlesque? By and large, they seemed to be cashing in on the fact that they were young and cute. With a lot of piercings and tattoos. Ah, my loins are all aflutter. Oh well, the many old men in the audience seemed to like it, and I guess the SGs don't really need my validation. But the consensus of my group was that this sort of thing probably plays better in Peoria than in the Big City. I find the Mermaid Parade far more appealing.

The highlight of my evening was being mistaken for a member of Stupid by some drunk guy. I was going to correct him but quickly decided to just let it ride. It was fun pretending to be a real rock'n'roller. I just wonder which band member he thought I was. My guess would be Matt, but as it happened, Matt was right next to me during his speech about "real punk rock" and how many "punk rock" bands there were in Connecticut. Ah, he was a nice guy, I don't mean to malign him. And because of his advice, Stupid is planning on instituting a suggestion box at future shows.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Thursday, February 05, 2004 at 14:27:54 (EST)

The whole goddamn city's a sewer and that ain't nothin' new
How come I never knew anything about Cleveland when I lived there? I guess self-ignorance is often a factor of your home turf, like an English bird not knowing anything about Gang of Four. It happens, but it's always surprising. But I too lack sufficient knowledge of northeastern Ohio rock history. Sure I know about Trent Reznorand the Michael Stanley Band, and our neighbors to the south who produced Devo and Chrissie Hynde. But it wasn't until I had fled the Greater Cleveland Area that I learned about its more seminal roots. I was aware of Pere Ubu, but I didn't know until the early 90s that they were spawned from Rocket from the Tombs, which also begat The Dead Boys. As it turns out, there was a whole proto-punk scene there in the 70s that nobody ever brought to my attention.

Of these bands, none was more contentious and less talented than The Electric Eels (not to be confused with the lame west coast Eels). As guitarist John Morton reportedly said in 1972 of another local band, "Compañeros, even we can do better than these trifling mother fucking fucks." They set about creating a catalogue of music whose sound could only be described as "shitty." But I love it. I only started finding out about them recently after reading up on some Cleveland music history. There seem to be at least as many stories about them as there were people who knew them. But the basic gist is, they only played a handful of live shows (maybe 6), each of which ended in violence as the club owners pulled the plug. Most of their records were recorded with a crude PA-and-cassette-deck setup devised to capture their 'live' sound (ironically enough, you can purchase these super low-fi recordings on their classic "The Eyeball of Hell" as a double LP on 180-gram vinyl). Consequently, everything they released sounds like it was recorded on an Edison roll and dipped in turpentine. In short, it kicks ass.

Why does this kick ass? A band of malcontent nihilists who briefly produced some poorly executed garage/noise music? Cuz they were from Cleveland, dammit! I have to assume these guys had heard The Stooges at some point, but while Iggy Pop and his pals kept getting better at their craft, The Electric Eels seemed to get worse. That, or the fact they weren't together long enough to really branch out much. They never had a bass player, being one of the first bands to employ the "two guitars, no bass" methodology that seemed to crop up something fierce in the mid-90s.

Also, lead singer Dave E, like me, occasionally played the clarinet. A clarinet in a trash-rock band. That is so fucking punk rock. Check out their songs "Jazz Is (parts 1 and 2)" to hear some atonal woodwind cacophony recorded several years before James Chance and the Contortions started "revolutionizing" the music scene in NYC by doing the same thing with a sax and a James Brownsian attitude.

So when we start getting interviewed by the mainstream music press, Motico will declare that all our work is merely an extension of what The Electric Eels started. Then children all over the country will flock to the internet to learn who this mystery ancestor is, thus reviving the Eels' name and securing their rightful place in the rock pantheon. Of course, one might note that Motico sounds nothing like The Electric Eels, I mean, not even close. But then again, think how many bands reference Captain Beefheart, but really, who wants to sound like that?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004 at 17:06:14 (EST)

She only comes out at night
My post for the day concerns this subject: Nights are fun, days are not. Days could be fun; they should be. But they are not. For instance, today I am totally swamped with work and don't expect to finish any time before the sun sets. Of course, this means I'll get some overtime, but because it won't kick in until after dark I must associate it with the fun nocturnal world. The daytime is only fun when I can weasel out of my (all-too-real) job and pit one cat against the other in a feline battle royale!

Other evidence of why night trumps day: Last night we checked out more avant-weird music, this time at Freddy's. I like that place so much I fully intend on calling in bomb threats to the superlame arena that will eventually piledrive the whole neighborhood. Anyway, every month or so they host an evening of free-jazz/contemporary composition/whatever it's actually called music. It's very cool, and I strongly recommend that any music lover's out there look for the "On the Way Out" series. Not only is it refreshing to hear such nonstandard music, it also provides a lot of material I plan on stealing for use in my own music. I figure I can get away with it since my band will probably never share the stage with any avant garde artists. Unless Foghat counts as avant garde, cuz, you know, I've always dreamed of playing a show with them.

Which reminds me, among other things, Stupid is playing the Suicidegirls' Burlesque Show tomorrow at the Knitting Factory. Oneida and The Ex-Models are playing in some weird space in Williamsburg on Friday, and the Rated Rookie party is on Saturday. I am sorry to report our band will not in fact be performing but I'll sing an a cappella version of "I Enjoy Being a Girl" to anyone who requests it.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004 at 15:44:35 (EST)

When it rains, it pours down my walls
Does anybody know why it is that water is dripping from the frame above my bedroom window?In the past, water has dripped down from my ceiling, from the top of my walls, or on the floor itself. But this time the water is appearing from the bottom of the ornate window frame. I'd be more alarmed, but after so many instances of water pouring into my bedroom, I remain unmoved, especially as it is not so much water this time. The real punchline here is that the basement isn't leaking at all, as it is wont to do in rainy weather.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink
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Monday, February 02, 2004 at 12:26:40 (EST)

Who's sorry now
Ah, it's warming up! 33 degrees! Since it's been so warm, people are again allowing themselves to have fun. Saturday's Oneida show kicked ass (though at 50 minutes, it felt too short). Jolly McFie nearly missed the set, but showed up during the second song to film the show, unwrapping his backpack-dreadlocks in one fluid motion. The band had Kayrock playing two huge gongs that he reportedly built, very nice addition though it's gotta be a pain to lug them around.

Saturday was José's big bash at his new pad, which overlooks the lovely Franklin Shuttle. Many cool people, plus Zack conned the DJ into putting our record on. Nobody complained, so I take that as a good sign. See the pictures.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink
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Week of February 1 -7, 2004

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