This ain’t no Sly Stalone flick. Here we have My Delicate Rambo Part 1 (are there any other parts available?) starring three legendary rock and rollers, B.J. Womack aka Bobby Ubangi (RIP), King Khan, and Jared Swilley. “A fine moment in the history of rock n roll and summer camp” indeed.
Bands: Fat Creeps, Earthquake Party, Fedavees, Fagettes
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Venue: Rosebud (Somerville, MA)
Act I: Fagettes as Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood– The Fagettes are one of the hottest bands in Boston right now, so naturally I am more than excited to see them live for the very first time! Tonight, however, they are not the Fagettes… instead we are taken back a few decades to a simpler or perhaps weirder time when the music you heard on commercial radio didn’t just flat out reek like a steaming pile of feces. Oh no, one could flip the dial to the soulful, sexy voice of Nancy Sinatra and my main man Lee Hazlewood. Well, those good times haven’t ended and the band recreates at least some of that good old pop magic of yesteryear. Furthermore, I appreciate the way they inject their own modern day aesthetics into the mix, adding some deviant flavor to an otherwise innocent set. By the way, I can’t forget to mention that while the band (and each band this evening) plays a creepy Horror flick is projected in the background complementing their freakiness. For Fagettes, I believe Night of the Living Dead is playing, but I might be wrong on this one? Overall, I dig this performance and I really love their set up too, which includes saxophones and two (standing!) drummers. Yeah, fuck all those lazy drummers that remain seated whilst performing! Dave Goldberg would be proud… Anywho, I’m getting off topic, but I can now testify that The Fagettes are one helluva a live band and I hope to see them playing original material in the near future. http://thefagettes.bandcamp.com/ Yo, check out this badass video and all its badass brothers and sisters on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-Q7g44-fA
Act II: Fedavees as The Wipers- I have to admit I am not too familiar with either Fedavees or The Wipers, but I have known of the latter since I was a young fella, thanks to Mr. Kurt Cobain, whose band will be making an appearance later. My ignorance aside, Fedavees are nasty and deliver a kickass set that evokes passionate singing in at least a few of the Rosebud’s attendees, so they must be doing something right. For their performance, I believe it is Blade that has the honor of being backdrop # 2 tonight. I’d rather not see Blade again, but I would enjoy attending another Fedavees show. Check out their Bandcamp page here: http://thefedavees.bandcamp.com/
Act III: Earthquake Party! as Nirvana– As soon as I see Earthquake Party hit the stage, it brings me back to August 2011, the first and last time I saw Earthquake Party, until now. I remember these dudes and their sheer, abrasive batch of noise pop tunes. To make things even spookier Evil Dead is playing in the background! EP is definitely a solid band to be covering Nirvana, my early teenage wet dream band. And while I don’t climax on this evening, I am truly invested in their performance, particularly enjoying the various heavier, more aggressive Nirvana cuts such as “Scentless Apprentice,” “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” and my favorite Nirvana song “Drain You.” Earthquake Party dish out all the screeching vocals, endless feedback, and lack of concern for the well being of one’s own equipment necessary to fulfill a proper Nirvana set. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the band’s own personality shine through the covers, but nonetheless a fun and riveting performance that thankfully forces the crowd into a frenzy. Just check out this video here, in fact the whole set can be seen on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS18SeNZlA0 Boy, if I just had five minutes alone with that Where’s Waldo motherfucker…. In the meantime, I’ll have to listen to this: http://earthquakeparty.bandcamp.com/
Act IV: Fat Creeps as The Ramones– It’s always beautiful when two great bands come together, like a marriage made in Heaven. Essentially two of my favorite bands have merged on this evening when the Fat Creeps perform as The Ramones! Not to mention one of my all time favorite films, The Shining, is playing in the background. The creepiness begins when the trio blast right into Ramones signature “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and indeed the kids are losing their minds as Joey Mariam gleefully shouts- moshing and bopping and plopping along to the mile a minute classics. “Beat On the Brat” is next and in fact – with the exception of a few tunes – they play most of the Ramones’ debut album. Arguably, The Ramones are the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time and certainly a long time favorite of mine, so hearing all these songs executed in a nearly flawless fashion hits real close to home. It’s easy to get caught up in Ramones hysteria (and I do), but in many ways this is still a classic Creeps performance; I especially love their harmonies in songs such as “Judy Is A Punk” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” With this in mind and just the overall joyful, positive response from the crowd, I think their set is the finest of all tonight. Admittedly, I am excessively biased in my position, but biases aside I am glad everyone is having fun, cause isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Ahh, I’m starting to sound like a Little League coach now. Seriously though, sickest Fat Creeps show I have ever experienced!
P.S. I dig Jim Leonard’s exclamation: “God Bless George Bush!” I’m sure Johnny would be proud of ya!
Full Title: Better Than Something Jay Reatard
Director(s): Alex Hammond & Ian Markiewicz
Film Screening: Museum Of Fine Arts (MFA) – Remis Auditorium (Thursday, August 30, 2012)
Comments: Preliminary Happenings –
So, movie starts at 8 we arrive at the Museum of Fine Arts at 7:58, an unbelievable feeling of relief washes over me because in my mind we have two minutes to spare- buy the ticket, take the ride. Batta bing, batta boom. Well, unfortunately I’ve never been to the Museum of Fine Arts! Yeah “art” art and KLYAM don’t really mix, we’re tards after all. Needless to say we spent the next ten minutes or so searching for the auditorium. If one were to take a shot of us from the sky we would have looked like mice on speed rushing through a maze, scurrying to find the Remis Auditorium. At one point, I felt like I was being played. Jay Reatard at the Museum of Fine Arts; I never thought the words Jay Reatard and museum would ever find themselves together in the same sentence. But, here we are. Thankfully, with the help of some kind employees we found our way, only to discover four other mutants in attendance. WTF?! I was/am disappointed in you Boston music fans. Glen and I caught a nice seat in the second or third row – just like pretty much every other show we want to be as close as we can until we get too close for comfort. Then again, comfort is the last thing on my mind when it comes to Jay Reatard.
Review: The film opens almost abruptly with footage of Jay playing in France, all pumped up and ready to go, but his mic won’t work. He is screaming his heart out, but there is no sound. Finally when the vocals come through Jay mutters something to the effect of “glad, we have a fucking professional.” I can’t think of a more perfect way to introduce the story of Jay Reatard. This brief live clip and the painfully awkward, but hilarious interview that accompanies it, in many ways sums up Jay’s entire persona. He was going to do his own thing with total commitment and if you were not on the same page as him then you were just a creep. I must say this opening scene is brilliant in its own little way and a very wise choice from directors Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz. If you didn’t know Jay coming into the film then you know from this moment on that you are not watching some bullshit Behind the Music story on a David Cassidy wannabe, instead this Tard is the real deal. Now, just to give a little bit of background on this documentary, before Jay passed he put out his final LP Watch Me Fall on Matador Records and the label wanted to make a short video to promote the record. This little video transformed into an insightful portrait of the man from Memphis – far beyond anyone’s expectations. Waiting For Something was a Tard creep such as myself’s wet dream! For once, fans were able to see Jay Reatard, not just as some tough guy rocker, but as an actual human being. Fast forward a few months and fans and friends all around the world are devastated to discover that one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest practitioners passed away at the age of 29. Alex and Ian’s film Better Than Something builds off of their initial project and includes additional footage, interviews, and other appearances that put the overall story in a better perspective. I was obviously a tremendous fan of the first film, so going into this show knowing that there would be mostly new material, I didn’t know how this would factor into the overall quality of the documentary. In other words, I wasn’t sure how strong this new material would be: would it just be filler? Or would it develop the story of Jay even further? Well, my friends, it certainly was the latter. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome some of this new material was. Not to say I thought it would be pointless or what have you, but damn it was pretty cool. I mean there is some priceless, invaluable archive footage here. Great, great live videos of Jay performing at house shows with The Reatards and The Lost Sounds. Not to mention numerous other performances including some at various Gonerfests over the years. I also must note the sheer number of new scenes in this movie. For those that saw the last flick, please don’t think you pretty much already saw the movie before. There are new, fascinating interviews with Jay’s family (dad, mom, sisters) and through these interviews we get to see Jay through the eyes of the people that love him. I know that seems obvious, but honestly it is necessary because 90% of the time you either hear folks talk about Jay being a total miscreant or you hear people suck his dick off about how amazing he was and how many records he put out and so forth. His family doesn’t see him as this giant rock star, which he wasn’t anyway, but they simply see him as their son/brother- Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.
Through meeting his family and tracing Jay’s Memphis roots, the audience gets to see how Jay came from extreme poverty and grew into an accomplished musician responsible for a vast, intimidating discography that dates back to his teens. With this in mind, every viewer knows Jay had to work his ass off to get to where he was at the time of his death, but I worry that some viewers might not understand just how much music he actually created with his previous bands and for how long they were active. For example, we see some stunning archival footage of Jay’s two prominent earlier bands, The Reatards and Lost Sounds on tour. And the way in which the filmmakers use this footage to tackle some of the main themes of Jay’s story such as his wild behavior and his aggression towards his peers is outstanding and appropriate. My only complaint is that viewers that don’t have a ton of knowledge about Jay and more specifically the underground “garage scene” that he was a part of, will they think “ohh, it’s cool to see these early videos of Jay before he took off and did his thing.” But, the truth is The Reatards and the Lost Sounds were well established bands for a while (7-10 years) and they were the main musical acts consuming Jay’s life/career. I just hope people don’t get the wrong impression. In other words, these bands were not mere stepping stones to his solo career, they are entities unto themselves. I don’t think the filmmakers intended any harm or anything like that, but I just think some clarification might have helped. Maybe more of a historical, chronological approach, explaining the significance of each band? I don’t know, perhaps that would fuck up the flow of the film, which is sound and consistently captivating. One of my other qualms with the documentary is the lack of narrative. I do appreciate the fact that Alex and Ian truly let Jay and those close to Jay communicate directly to the audience instead of having some random yahoos tell the story. That is a special touch which I think distinguishes this documentary. But, at the same time, I kind of feel like had Alex and Ian placed themselves in the picture then maybe we would have a more unified story. They do an excellent job of articulating the various themes of Jay’s life/story; I guess I am just looking for some sort of narrative like the one we see Todd Phillips deliver in the G.G. Allin documentary Hated (1993). In that film, Todd is not really visible on screen per se, but he provides a voice over that frames the narrative in an incredible way. Then again, I can totally respect them for choosing not to include themselves in the film.
Lastly, I want to make it a point that I enjoy this film very much, so do not get discouraged from viewing it because of some of my minor gripes! I like to leave reviews on a positive note, so let me tell you one of the best things about Better Than Something is the way in which the filmmakers let the interviews linger, often revealing some oddly thoughtful and/or comical comments from their interviewees. It’s like they kept in the stuff that most directors would toss in the trash can , deeming it as outtakes or deleted scenes. Some of my favorite examples of this are parts of conversations that are omitted from the first documentary Waiting For Something i.e. Eric Oblivian and Jay’s discussion of retired professional wrestlers such as Jake the Snake and Koko B. Ware. Firstly, I love this scene because I grew up watching WWF religiously. More importantly, this scene makes a great point about Jay. On the surface this appears to be merely humorous banter between two friends (and in a way it is), but within the context of the film, we realize that this is Jay’s way of laughing at all of the shit life is hurling at him. He points to the fate of Jake the Snake as a sixty year old man locked inside a character, wrestling his personal demons in front of a camera for the whole world to see. Being nearly half Jake’s age Jay declares that he cannot go down this road and just be another TV figure, another face on a magazine, another talented individual destroyed at an early age. Regardless of the outcome, I agree with Jay and I think we should see him in the same light, as a man above all of that “tragic rock star dies young” junk. Jay knew he was more than that. Better than something.
Cheers to Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz for bringing the story of Jay Reatard to the big screen! Your film is an astounding portrait of a man sadly most people never knew, hopefully your work will help Jay reach greater audiences than ever imagined, as I am confident it already has.
Here’s a list of the screenings:
03-02 – 03-08 Brooklyn, NY – Nitehawk Cinema
03-02 – 03-08 Memphis, TN – Malco Studio on the Square
03-02 – 03-08 Seattle, WA – Grand Illusion Cinema
03-02 – 03-08 Portland, OR – Clinton Street Theater
03-03 – 03-05 Phoenix, AZ – FilmBar
03-08 – 03-11 Los Angeles, CA – Egyptian Theatre at the American Cinematheque
03-09- 03-10 Bellingham, WA – Pickford Film Center
03-15 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center for the Arts
03-26 Austin, TX – Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
04-11 – 04-12 San Francisco, CA – Roxie Theater
Today is John Belushi’s birthday and if he were alive today he would be 63. Sadly, he died thirty years ago today. RIP and Happy Birthday!
I love the Black Flag shirt! He was a big fan and tried to get them on SNL like he did for Fear. Belushi and old school punk rock always makes a great combo.
Glen Maganzini (left), Chris DeCarlo (right)
Okay, so I do this annually and if this looks similar to the post I made last year that is because it is! well, for the most part- not much has changed. Here we go:
Films (in no particular order):
1) It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
2) A Christmas Story (1983)
3) Home Alone (1990)
4) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
5) A Christmas Carol (in any of it’s versions, specifically 1951. I usually attend the play, as I will be Saturday night; one of the few plays I enjoy seeing)
6) The Santa Clause (1994)
7) Edward Scissorhands (1990) (okay, so only towards the end of the film this is applicable, but for me it gets me in the mood)
8) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) (I suppose this is more apropos for Halloween)
9) Bad Santa (2003)
10) Die Hard (1988)
1) The Simpsons– “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire” (1989), “Bart Gets an F” (1990), “Marge Be Not Proud” (1995), “Mircale on Evergreen Terrace” (1997), “Grift of the Magi” (1999),”Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (2000)
2) South Park– “The Spirit of Christmas” Original (1992), “The Spirit of Christmas” (1995), “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” (1997), “Merry Christmas Charlie Manson” (1998), “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” (1999), “A Very Crappy Christmas” (2000), “Red Sleigh Down” (2002), “It’s Christmas in Canada” (2003), “Woodland Critter Christmas” (2004)
3) Family Guy– “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas” (2001)
4) At least one Johnny Cash Special
5) Dr.Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1964)
6) Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
7) Frosty The Snowman (1969)
8) It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas (2009)
9) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
10) SNL– various skits
A Christmas Carol By:Charles Dickens (1843)
A Story A Day Till Christmas Various Authors (1985)
The Catcher in the Rye By: J.D. Salinger (1951)
I usually end up viewing (or reading for that matter) only half of these! But, either way, I have a lot of work to do and I recommend others to watch/read them too. I would recommend music, but that will take too long. I’ll save it for another day. To kick things off, here’s Kyle’s Christmas ballad, “I’m a Jew on Christmas” from the South Park classic “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” (1997).
KLYAM is slowly taking over the world. Watch out…