Monday, August 8, 2011

Live For Guitar and Drums...

And goosebumps

Lyrics, and voices, screamed, crooned and desperate...barely spoken.  That one riff, that has been played before, and again and again.  Revisited and remade.  Reworked, respected and ripped off.

I find beauty in those chills.  Solidarity in those gasps for air from the meaningful and the (seemingly) meaningless.

I sing (yelling, somewhat in tune) barely muted into my bathroom mirror.  Funny faces that I know Rolling Stone and NME would love....

Finally realizing that, people sing for me

I am somewhat satisfied.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Sammy Was a Punk Rocker...

"Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards"

Billy Bragg sang tonight at City Winery.  And I listened.  He spoke, with conviction and intellect.  He moved me.  Inspired me.  Tapped me on the shoulder, before slapping me in the face, to remind me what it means to have a guitar and a voice.  Everything.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Wish I Wrote This

The Dawn

By Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca 1898–1936

Dawn in New York
has four columns of filth
and a hurricane of black doves
splashing in putrid waters.

Dawn in New York whimpers
down the huge stairs
seeking in the chaff
flowers of sketched anguish.

Dawn comes and no one recieves it in his mouth
because there is no tomorrow or possibility of hope.
Sometimes furious swarms of coins
drill and devour the abandoned children.

The first to leave understand in their bones
there'll be no paradise or leafless loves;
they know they go to the filth of numbers and laws,
to artless games, to fruitless sweat.

The light is buried by noises and chains
in the obscene challenge of rootless science.
In the neighborhoods are people who wander unsleeping
like survivors of a shipwreck of blood.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Design For Life

I am in awe and in debt to to this song.  It made me realize that I was not wrong about the power of lyrics.  It is not just a good tune, it is a life affirming one.  A distasteful piece of sonic imagery.  A confession that we may be fucked, but some of us, we get it.  The most optimistic set of nihilistic verse.  A design for life....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Looking Forward

If I could go back I would.
To before I knew any better, to 14 or 15.
When the world seemed giant and conquerable.

Or to 20.
When I moved to New York, and
Dreams rapidly became realities, became memories.

It is a bit sad.   I know.  But
If I could go back I would.

I watch the past in my dreams.  All fuzzy and I
could have done so much more...or maybe just
So much better.

I would go back with the knowledge I have now, or without.
I miss with great longing, the realization that something simple could change my world.
That I could sing on a stage.
That I could be someone.

I have some regrets, but they are few.  And still, I would go back,
Amass more, and charter a whole new path.
Not because this one is so bad, but because I am not wide eyed and desperately hungry

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Not A Loser...

The Descendents ruled my junior high school world with a relentless barrage of amazingly catchy songs in the tune of punk rock.  They have continued to be a favorite band of mine nearly 20 years on now.  Milo and co. are finally gonna play NYC, and with H20 (a band who I really like and respect greatly) no less.

Fuck YEAH!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Did Bachmann Win? And Other Thoughts on the GOP Debate...

I am a bit late with this.  But I watched the debate, and Matt Taibbi nails it for me with his piece.  The notable exception is that I think Romney won in a general sense. However Bachmann proved to be, well, something...(Unfairly dismissive on my part perhaps, because while I vehemently disagree with her, I do understand her appeal).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fuck it Man!

First time I heard Minor Threat I remember thinking I did not realize music could be played like this. Mackaye's vocals just layered on top of a riot, that I could sing along too. This song particularly has stuck with me to this day.

Someday we'll have to look back and laugh...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stepping Out To Cure Scleroderma 2011

This weekend I am walking in memory of Barbara Darrow, a woman who I sadly never got to meet but whose daughter and family have been so good to me for the last 3 years.  Although I was never able to meet her, I feel like she is a part of my life due to all the memories that have been shared.

Now that her husband Larry Darrow, who I had the great pleasure to know, has also passed, this seemed like a particularly poignant year to try and raise funds and awareness in her honor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Like Hotels...

I love hotels. I love a fridge filled with overpriced goodies tempting me. I love hotel bars. New views. Fresh sheets. Wake up calls. 

I adore ice machines in hallways. That I use when I have no use for ice. I love telling the maid to please come back later. And I love that a hotel is one of the only times I can bear elevator banter...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Favorite Songs Part 5...

The guitars shred through rock n' punk n' glam and roll.  The drums are hit with an urgency that you just know will come to a pay off.  While the bass jumps around, at times sporadic, but mostly holding the distrust of it all together.

"Call us fags and call us phonies..."

Lyrics spit out with a sneer and a promise.  Never pretty sounding ('just meetings and functions and social corruptionnn').  But always compelling ('we make the ginamone'). Catchy.  Crass.  Cocky.  A celebration.  Of panic and pain.  Purity and longing.  Loneliness...served up with guitar and drum.

No Way Out...indeed.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New York City

I remember I was in my room.  My first apartment, on Ave. C and 3rd St.
And I remember how annoyed I was to be woken up by my band member and roommate. 

I almost recall trying to say something nasty, but was a bit hungover and too slow to spit it out.

The news was vague, but horrific.

Before we knew it there was dust in the air.  Soot.  Ashes...from bodies and buildings.  
People with names.


We didn't know where to eat.  Not that we cared.
But none of us knew what to do.

Cafe Orlin was open on St. Marks Place.

I have held an irrational disdain for Orlin ever since.
I never realized why until now.

They were still serving.

We went to 85A a day or so later.
And drank like nothing happened or
maybe like everything did.

Sometimes the hardest things never truly ease.
The persistence of their memory.

They become a part of us.
Goosebumps.  Uncomfortable.  And persistent.

That I can never, and would not ever want to forget.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Silent Gratitude

I work next to WTC and i saw 2 people cheering and they were both donning flags and newspapers with tourists taking their pics. I saw many more people taking photos with firefighters and cops and expressing their gratitude. I also saw one construction work hang a flag maybe 20 stories up on a building being constructed while 30 people or so looked on in silence. I find the response I have seen in the media of people as if they were on spring break, if not offensive, at least off putting. But down here I just have not seen that. It takes me all I have to walk past ground zero every day and not think of the soot and ashes of buildings and bodies that made its way towards the east village slowly after the planes hit. Yesterday, l looked in the faces of some first responders and couldn't help but feel a sense of relief, for them. For me. For us. I know he was largely a figurehead at this point. But in a way that makes it all the more meaningful.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Age is Totally Not Just a Number

Jaime got me an Ipod for my birthday.  Yeah, super rad.  I have walked the city side by side with Michael  Monroe, Stiv, the Rezillo's, The Explosion, D Gen, Lucero,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Favorite Songs...Part 4

I have continually fallen in love with The Replacements.  They pull at my heart, and scream at my soul...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Want to Live Forever

There are a few days before I turn thirty.  I have achieved my main goal upon moving to the city.  I have managed with little vocal ability to front 2 (3 if you count The Tits, who were brilliant) bands that played often and well. 

The Kick was not my meal ticket,  But got me on stage,  And serious about being a vocalist.  We never burned hot enough too fade away with any note.  But we did it.  Hard enough to break up when I was planning a takeover of the world during what I naively assumed was just a hiatus. 

We have some leftovers.  A tune on a comp.  An ep I don't even own.

Thirty doesn't sound or seem old.  But conversely, looking back at 21....

Saying Goodbye

When we gathered, somehow both glistening and dressed seemingly all in black, at the Rock Candy party Steve Blush put on at Don Hill's, we set aside our pretensions (at 20 what pretensions did i have?!) and enjoyed guitars, bass and drums.

Sank our teeth in.  Shook our fists.

"I never grew out of my teenage angst,
 At age 21 I'm a teenage waste..."

Years on and I could still sing that same damn line (and I have).  But I never would have even had the opportunity to yelp/scream/sing these words if there was no place that accepted me.  And even more important, I never would have been able to do so over and over again,  Encouraged to even...if there was not that home base. 

Fuck, I did rock star shit in that home base.  I am no rock star.

I am extremely glad I got to pay my respects.  The man was far more than just the club that bore his name.  But I can only recall a time or two when he was not around.  Often at the end of the bar.  He would mumble in my ear.  Tell me where Nitebob (who was working with my band at the time) was.  Ask me what I was drinking.

One of a kind.  I am a better person for having known Don Hill.

Thank you Don for all the memories.  They could not have happened anywhere else.  Or without you...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Voice Can Lift Every Word (Stiff Little Fingers)

Jake Burns' voice is a violent harmony.  A mess of torn sandpaper and sharply shattered glass.

My Favorite Songs...Part 3

Chill inducing.  Every time.  Billy Bragg, a one man army, fighting only with an unsteady voice and a guitar...
A New England

(On a side note I am pretty sure that when I got a massage today on 6th at one of those cheap Asian joints, they had an Asian instrumental version of "There is Power In the Union.")

It kinda fucked with my relaxation.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Favorite Songs...Part 2

This might be the most perfect piece of 3 minute songwriting ever.  Brilliant sells it short...

Another Girl, Another Planet

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rock and Roll Soul...Goodbye Don Hill

When I first met Don, 11 years ago, I was unaware of the legacy he had already created.  One that he would, in later years relay to me without pretension, almost with awe in fact.  It was refreshing to hear him talk about his history in the New York rock scene. Just as it was refreshing to be welcomed onto his stage (with big thanks to Nite Bob) as a no nothing 20 year old.  He usually made a point to say I put on a great show.  Even when I didn't.  Or when he wasn't even watching.  I can't say I knew him well, but all through the years he has continually been kind when our paths have crossed.  He was fully vibrant and genuine when we spoke at The Compulsions gig at his club a few months back.  As usual.

Don Hill's helped define and shape my early 20's.  So in turn Don Hill himself did.  He will be missed.  Deeply.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

We busted out of class had to get away from those fools...

I spent time today with friends from my hometown.

We felt old i think.  But it was comforting in a way.  We haven't really changed.  We could still see through each others bullshit, as Jeff, who I have known since elementary school, pointed out. There was no pretense.  We reminisced.  I laughed my ass off.

We all have lives of our own now.

But together, it was like that cliche.  About getting older and not growing up.

We didn't really.  Grow up I mean.  And I am not sure I want to ever be one of the people who does.

Monday, March 21, 2011


My favorite day.  A big fat time to exhale from the weekend.  Most often it's 60 Minutes and roast chicken.  A visit to the farmer's market and a nap.  Maybe the Times and the Pats...Today it was a women's clothing swap, Sandy, Maria and Jaime and some Twinkle Toes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cocktails and Movie Night!

When my buddy Tommy started bartending at the Dressing Room down on Orchard Street I went to visit too infrequently.

But we always have a good time.

What could be a long, and perhaps entertaining story revolving around the much maligned film A.I. will be kept to a celebration of the simple joys of friendship and routine.

Martini's and Karate Kid.  Margarita's and Major League.

It isn't always such a big town, downtown....we watch movies here, like we are kids.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Haven't Been (Very) Wrong Yet...

I think ultimately it is important to change things up.  Not meaning that if you are a vegan, you need to become a butcher (of humanely raised meats no doubt).  Or if you are straight edge, you need to party with Gang Green (is there an ethical equivalent here...?)

But if you are set in your beliefs, then it is prudent to take the time to listen to differing opinions.  If only to strengthen your stance.

Especially if what you believe is the truth.

That's the Sound of the Saints...

I have sang in a few bands.  Worked at a few record stores.  Meaning my music preferences are more based on emotion than technical mastery.  That being said, while I may not be able to intelligently discuss the best solos of the century, I can converse with anyone on music.  And I have.

There has never been and will never be anything more bizarre; equal parts doubt, exileration, anticipation and fear, than performing live.  I have been awfully good and equally tragic.  I have never owned the stage.

I was asked the the other day about why I was not doing anything music wise.  I have been asked that somewhat often in recent years.  I take it as a compliment.  If I truly sucked, I like to think no one would question why I am not pursuing music actively now.

It is difficult to be a singer (with limited musical talent).  Excuse me, a vocalist.  I have hit notes, and devised melodies.  I plan on having my buddy Jason string my acoustic guitar (I really am a novice).  No doubt I will write the same song I have written over and over again since I was sixteen.

My last band The Bullitts actually used that bit, or the chord progression.  Andy Dahill, took it and made it a true song.  I excited that it was a small musical contribution.  And it was a tune called "Killer," which I wrote about Arthur Kane of the New York Dolls (R.I.P.).  Lyrics that were not incredibly impressive but that I am still proud of.

I turn 30 in a month.  I have time to get up and perform again of course. 

I have recently realized how deeply music undercuts my every day life.  How I say hello.  My stride walking the streets.  The way I contemplate my future, and even more exhaustively, my past.

"So Killer, you will never get, never ever gonna get your due fame,
 But Killer, we will never look, we will never look at the world the same."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Inspiration is Not a Dirty Word

I recently had the pleasure of meeting for coffee with a reporter whom I continually admire.  A journalist who has done more to shine a light on the plight of people, especially women, in countries often overlooked, than any one I am aware of.

He was personable and inquisitive.  At one point I asked about what a person with limited expendable income, if any, should do to help right the vast wrongs that exist globally.

He somewhat predictably, but no less correctly, suggested finding one slice of a problem and making that your focus.  He also said he felt that people, especially younger people (with means) seemed too often to view their lives in three chapters.  Go to school, make money and then give back.  Finally he mentioned that people so often think of becoming committed to a volunteer opportunity as a sacrifice when in fact it so often becomes a passion.

What about monetary gifts?  I said that I gave to Obama's campaign and various progressive groups.  But I work in a non-profit and I know how little that twenty dollar gift goes.  Which brought me to mention another writer, George Tabb.

To call George Tabb a friend (which he is) is to short change him severely.   He is an inspiration, a confidant, a brother in arms.  A fucked up hero of the most epically delightful and dastardly proportions.

So when I said to the journalist that I gave a few dollars here and there to George.  He did not hesitate.  He raised a fist and smiled.  We both new that this money would go directly to a good cause.  He noted that this type of giving may be  a part of the future of social networks.  So why George?

I was maybe 21 when I woke up and got a call from my buddy Tommy congratulating me.  On what...?  I was fully confused.  George was a writer for the New York Press at the time and just got my first band The Kick named 'Best Punk Rock Band in NYC,' complete with a cartoon drawing of us fools.

That is the kind of guy George is.  I could go on (like when I sang Sonic Reducer at Bowery Ballroom for Joey Ramone's Birthday Bash with Furious George) and on.

George is sick.  He lived downtown in NYC on 9/11.  He has been an outspoken supporter of those affected by the tragedy.  And now he could use our help.

I say with the utmost humility and sincerity that I believe anything will be greatly appreciated.  By George (and by myself as well).

So this does not ring hollow I will be giving back to George this week.  Not a whole lot.  But what I can.  

Help George Tabb

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Against Me!

It is invigorating to see a group of people come together to sing songs, shuffle feet, bob heads...and most of all smile.  The crowd at the Mercury Lounge was not readily defined by any sub type or genre (although I did notice a lot of beards...)

It is equally as exciting to see a band clearly playing for the (cough...excuse the cliche) love of the music.  I was captivated.
"Protest songs in response to military aggression..." is not an easy lyric to use in a sing a long chorus...but they did so with ease.

The band clearly had fun.  I had a goose bumps...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Race to the Bottom...

"In a bold gambit to put an end to the weeks-long budget standoff in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) split his controversial budget-repair bill in two on Wednesday, allowing the Senate to pass the most hotly contested provisions while their 14 Democratic colleagues remained out of state."
(Huffington Post)

The most famous part of this corruption of justice is how transparent it is. In fact, I give Scott Walker credit for not hiding behind the smoke screen of state defecit any longer.  Clearly owning up to his broader agenda to break the back of the unions.

Shameful.  And yet shameless.

At Least My Cube Has a Window...(Typing That I Just Died a Little Inside...)

Depressingly upbeat work email about something that I could give 2 shits about:

"Great News! Simon stopped by and fixed the Xerox Copier, it is now working again" 
.................... good god

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Make a Left Turn Past Heaven and a U Turn Round Hell...

I don't believe in karma.  Perhaps I should.
I try to do what is right because it seems the rational thing to do.
I don't believe in God.  Perhaps I should.
I try to do what is right because it seems like the logical thing to do.

If God has a sense of humor.  And a sick one.  He will relegate non believers like me, to nothingness.  Just that awful black in the pit pf my stomach when I realize...there is no where else to go.  And the rest of you fuckers, sinners and saints alike, will be living out life in the great beyond.

Speaking of which, that would be some messed up karma...

I want it noted that I am laughing in advance.  While I am still around for you to hear me.

Nervous Breakdown...YES Please...

I have three stories I want to write...

But I am listening to the original incarnation of Black Flag with Keith Morris' snotty vocals that I love, and all I wanna do is jump out of my skin....This shit is Gorgeous.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Favorite Songs...

This is the first in a bunch of sporadic posts.  The title says it all.

Cock Sparrer nailed it many times, but never more than with this classic,,,

Hits a chord.  The right one.  Over and over and over again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Everybody's Talkin'

I don't care how much Charlie Sheen runs his mouth.  This is the crown jewel of hysterical delusion. 

"I'm sorry, man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground."

This is no car wreck.  I don't even want to divert my eyes for a second...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Onions and Olive Oil

I can barely get through a day of work without the thought of sweating some onions in a good glug of olive oil.  The scent of a meal in its infancy helps to offset the hatred I feel for office small talk.  That sizzle is a kick drum, launching a guitar solo in my mind.  Guitar and drum....sounds good.  Tastes better...

An Enraged Public...

Legislative reform.  Women had to die...literally burn in the The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  In the end look who got off.

There is power in a union...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Know I Believe In Nothing, But It Is My Nothing

I have written lyrics.  Notebooks and notebooks of them.  None have ever been as good as this.

Richey Edwards at one of his finest.  I am forever jealous of how he was able to be so raw and literary in a single song.  It is odd to miss someone whom you have never met.

Manic Street Preachers

I hate purity
Hate goodness
I don't want virtue to exist anywhere
I want everyone corrupt

I am an architect, they call me a butcher
I am a pioneer, they call me primitive
I am purity, they call me perverted
Holding you but I only miss these things when they leave

I am idiot drug hive, the virgin, the tattered and the torn
Life is for the cold made warm and they are just lizards
Self-disgust is self-obsession honey and I do as I please
A morality obedient, only to the cleansed repented

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer
I spat out Plath and Pinter
I am all the things that you regret
A truth that washes that learnt how to spell

The first time you see yourself naked you cry
Soft skin now acne, foul breath, so broken
He loves me truly this mute solitude I'm draining
I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing

Sleep can't hide the thoughts splitting through my mind
Shadows aren't clean, false mirrors too many people awake
If you stand up like a nail then you will be knocked down
I've been too honest with myself I should have lied like everybody else

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer
I spat out Plath and Pinter
I am all the things that you regret
A truth that washes that learnt how to spell, learnt to spell

So damn easy to cave in, man kills everything
So damn easy to cave in, man kills everything
So damn easy to cave in, man kills everything
So damn easy to cave in, man kills everything