I think now's a good time to talk about the Fall's Mark E. Smith.
Ten years ago this month, Smith and his legendary avant-punk band were in the midst of one of their wildest tours on record, the east coast leg of which looped them through NYC, Jersey, and Philadelphia for concerts at Coney Island High, Brownies, the Loop Lounge, and the Trocadero. Although I didn't get to attend any of the shows myself, I had the fortune to be on the air at WPRB on the evening of the Trocadero show (April 4th), when Smith physically battled onstage with his bandmates. Fellow DJ Greg Lyon witnessed all of the action live, and on his way back from Philly, visited me on the air at WPRB to deliver a play-by-play of the evening's most shocking events.
The voices you will hear in this MP3 are my own, my WPRB co-host Jen Moyse, and Greg. There were definitely some other PRB DJs of the era lurking about in the studio that evening, but I can't remember exactly who.
[Listen] (Poor sound quality alert... This MP3 was made from a cheap cassette, and the levels being blown out certainly isn't helping.)
I have only vague recollections of what happened the following week, but I remember that the Fall scheduled two consecutive shows at the Brownies nightclub with only one or two days advanced notice. (The band's popularity notwithstanding, tales of the on-stage antics in Philly made their way up the coast quickly, and both shows sold out immediately.) According to the Fall's gigography page, only one of the Brownies shows actually happened due to Smith being arrested on assault charges at 3 AM on the morning of April 8th. If my memory serves correctly, the opening band for the Brownies show was none other than the Chrome Cranks, whom I later heard had most of their gear tossed onto the sidewalk by Smith. Yeesh, what a night! Courtesy of Brian Turner, here is an audio snippet of the Fall onstage at Brownies, in the midst of the chaos. At around 4 minutes in, it sounds like someone from the crowd gets ahold of the mic and the whole thing quickly devolves into a violent cussing match between the crowd, band members, and Smith.
In the ten years and however many millions of lineup changes that followed these events, the band went on to release three of their best albums, in my opinion. (Country on the Click, Fall Heads Roll, and The Unutterable.) May they ring on for another decade at least! As Smith famously professed at around the same time these recordings were made: If it's me and your grandma on bongos, it's the Fall.
As if you didn't already think that I'm some kind of Crazy Man, I have begun to prepare breakfast on the outdoor gas grill. The above picture is evidence of my latest conquest: an Italian grilled frittata with cheese, fresh rosemary, peppers, fresh tomato + sauce, minced garlic, and sausage. Believe it or not, I didn't even use real eggs in this, but the better-for-you-once-in-a-while Egg Beaters (TM), which somehow look, taste, and seem to react just like real eggs. (At least in instances like this. How well they'd hold up in baking is for someone else to determine.)
To make the above, I fired up the grill and added the trusty cast iron skillet, coated with a generous shot of cooking spray. Once it was nice and hot, I added the egg mixture, sprinkled the other ingredients around as necessary, lowered the heat to medium, and closed the grill cover. In about ten minutes, it was cooked perfectly: slightly crispy on the outside, gooey and delicious in the middle.
Closing the grill cover is THE most important step in the cooking process and is really the only thing that validates shuffling around the backyard in your pajamas. By sealing the food off from cool air, your breakfast is infused with the smoke and essence of everything else you've grilled over the last year, and whose juices and detriti have fallen through the slats of your grill and caked on the bottom in a tempting black scum. So not only was this frittata seasoned with the flavors of the Italian old country, but also with lemon tilapia, cajun shrimp skewers, bourbon and maple pork cutlets, wasabi turkey and spinach burgers, ginger sausage, garlic and pepper buffalo steaks, and a number of other open-flame delights. Hot dogs included.
So for the permanent record, I would like it clearly stated that I fully endorse the act of grilling breakfast, especially now that open-window season is upon us. The smell of this frittata wafting into nearby homes on a weekend morning is guaranteed to get the neighbors talking.
For topical listening purposes, here's a song by Eggs -- Not the food, but the band. Say hello to the Government Administrator while you gather your ingredients. [Listen]
I'm proud to have moved past most of the things I really liked when I was a teenager. Skateboarding,
McDonald's cheeseburgers, the film Johnny Dangerously, Maximumrocknroll, that pasty-faced punky maiden I was in love with even though she very obviously found me repulsive, and... GWAR. All of these are now things which I've either forgotten about or willingly maintain a healthy distance from, and I believe I am a better man for it. As far as I'm concerned, anyone north of 35 years old who reveals an affinity for GWAR or Johnny Dangerously automatically brands themselves someone to be gotten away from quickly.
Thank you for coming with me on this one.
The Minneapolis group the Replacements, however, are another story. Even I admit to being on the late side of the age curve of their fanbase, as the first album of theirs I bought was 1987's "Pleased to Meet Me". I first heard about the album on WPRB, the college radio station I'd started listening to three years earlier, and which later became a huge part of my life by allowing me to intrude upon its airwaves for a decade. My copy of "Pleased to Meet Me" was purchased (on cassette) at Wall to Wall Sound in Trenton's Quakerbridge Mall, and it quickly became one of my favorites -- as much for its quality as for it awakening me to all of their earlier records.
For the interested, I've written a fairly big article about some of those records for Dusted Magazine, which you can read here.
Although it took me a while to sufficiently gather my thoughts, I finally managed to review the recent soundtrack CDs to The Wire. You can read the article in Dusted Magazinehere.
Don't worry, there are no spoilers for those of you who haven't yet finished watching the show's fifth and final season (me included... I'm thinking of re-watching the entire series from the beginning in the hopes that I can time it to wrap up when season five hits DVD.) In fact, I'd like to think that the review is best suited to those who've never watched the show before. There are only so many times one can hear that something is "the best thing on television" before it starts to get obnoxious and sound disingenuous, so I stayed away from those waters as best I could. And besides, me calling anything "the best thing on television" is ultimately pretty useless, given the limited amount of what I can tolerate in that arena. You show me some Battlestar Galactica or Charlie Rose, and maybe we'll talk. In other words, I'll be the first one to admit that my perceptions are skewed. Truth be told, I prefer it that way.
On a related note, I recently caught a great opinion piece in Time magazine written by The Wire's creator David Simon, as well as contributing writers George Pelecanos, Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price. It's a brilliantly composed and utterly selfless treatise on the great fallacy of America's drug war, as it is addressed through the critical lens of the show. It's well worth the mere five minutes it'll take you to read it.
In keeping with the usual pagan rituals around here, the wife and I loaded up our Jesus Christ Superstar DVD over Easter weekend, since we're both of the opinion that it's much more theologically stimulating than... say... church. In deference to yet another ritual, I fell asleep on the couch before the movie was even halfway through, but what I saw was enough to inspire repeat sessions with the soundtrack for the next several days.
Even casual enthusiasts of JCS will admit that it effortlessly shoves all
The Gutter Twins are a new band fronted by Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees and Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs. Their debut album is called Saturnalia and my review of it appears in today's edition of Dusted Magazine.
It's a record that took a while to grab ahold of me -- My initial exposure to it summoned images of creepy older dudes who hit on women half their age with talk of Fellini movies, Thomas Pynchon novels, and their own troubled lifestyles (which inform their "art", or whatever).
But I got over that pretty quickly. It's a great album, and well worth your attention if you were a fan of either band back in their heyday. It's also worth pointing out that between Lanegan's cheeks and Dulli's chin, this band has more commanding bone structure than any other I can think of. More info and direct ordering options from Sub Pop here. Shining moment: "Idle Hands" [MP3]