Tag Archive | Obama

Untitled Selection Of Drawings By James Greene, Jr. 2013-2015

Sometimes I doodle. Here are a few examples from the past several years.

Paul Westerberg, ink, 2013.

Sausages, ink, 2014.

Spikeleeosaurus, Mac Paint, 2014.

Tyrannoshaft, Mac Paint, 2014.

Goodlizard, Mac Paint, 2014.

Live On Tape From Hollywood, ink, 2014.

Electric Hoff, ink, 2014.

Thank You For Being A Ninja, ink, 2014.

Val Kilmer Tickles Lou Reed, ink, 2015.

The Miracle of Al Lewis, ink, 2015.

Gary The Squirrel, ink, 2015.

Lemme Tellya How It Will Be

You like the Beatles? This is better than the Beatles.

Unsolicited Gabba Gabba Hey On Marky Ramone’s Autobiography

If you’ve ever caught an interview with Marky Ramone you know he tends to sound a little rehearsed, like he has stock answers he’d prefer to substitute for in-the-moment emotion. Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone reads a lot like that. It’s less heated than Johnny’s Commando or any of Dee Dee’s volumes, working hard to cram in the most superfluous exposition (OMG, we know what the fucking Berlin Wall was). That said, our self-proclaimed Chicken Beak Boy manages to add a tiny bit of fresh perspective to the Ramones legend while additionally owning up to his own bonkers alcoholism.

Granted, it’s frustrating the drummer can be so candid about substance abuse while ignoring more interesting bits of his mythology, but I suppose only a fool would have expected a chapter devoted to Mark’s alleged wig wearing. There are also several points where it’s not difficult to read between the lines. Die-hards are familiar with the drama between Marky and C.J. and in this tome the former damns the latter with faint praise, mostly saluting his attitude while offering no adjective above “good” to describe the bassist’s playing. Even more telling: there’s no reference to the half decade Mark spent drumming for the Misfits.

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg covers well-worn ground in regard to the founding “bruddahs”: Johnny was fervently right wing, Joey was severely OCD, Dee Dee never met a pill he didn’t like, Tommy was sensitive. Even the author’s struggles with the bottle have been tackled to varying degrees elsewhere. If there’s any revelation in PR Blitzkrieg it’s Marky’s admission that he believes Phil Spector to be innocent of Lana Clarkson’s 2003 murder. Give him credit for sticking by his pal.

The most fascinating stuff in the book comes before Mark’s time in the Ramones, when he bounced from power trio Dust to country rockers Estus (major label ding dongs who owned a swank mansion in upstate New York) before landing in Richard Hell’s Voidoids. The Voidoids were mastering their debut album the night of the 1977 New York City blackout. On his way home, Mark decided it was time to get his; he picked up a trash can and attempted to hurl it through a bank window. The can bounced off the plexiglass like a Nerf football. Inside, a security guard smiled and waved.

Other interesting snippets: Steven Tyler was nice to the Ramones back in the day, Sting wasn’t, Dee Dee’s rap career was just as much about annoying the other Ramones as it was about a love for hip hop, Marky has a twin brother named Fred, Marky likes the Circle Jerks.

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg summed up in one line: probably the one on the last page where Marky expresses satisfaction with his career because both the Pope and Obama are Ramones fans. I’ve never seen Barack in a Mondo Bizarro t-shirt but I’m happy to take the Chicken Beak’s word.

Untitled Remembrance Of A 1995 Megadeth Concert

All the hoo-ha surrounding Dave Mustaine last week (p.s. – you really surprised a Santorum-boosting birther thinks Obama staged Aurora?) reminded me the first legit live music experience I ever had was Megadeth in 1995. My first non-legit experience, or concert absolute zero, happened two years earlier when three upperclassmen at my high school convinced the administration to let their band play a set of Stone Temple Pilots covers onstage in the empty auditorium during a lunch period. I heckled those bozos pretty hard, mostly because I was jealous it wasn’t me up there in pleated khakis and Raybans tearing out “Plush” on some dime store Fender.

But I digress. I don’t recall Dave Mustaine saying anything particularly offensive when I saw Megadeth at the UCF Arena on August 25, 1995, but I do remember clear as the Liberty Bell how goddamn heart-stopping it was to be ten feet away (give or take) from these speed metal legends as they recreated selections from Peace Sells, Rust in Peace, and Youthanasia at deafening volumes. Just having the opportunity to watch Marty Friedman…the guy’s technique is flawless. Or at least it was that night. The whole concert was pretty amazing, except for the opening set by Korn. In Korn’s defense, they were having severe equipment problems. In the crowd’s defense, I don’t think any of us really wanted to hear Brian “Head” Welch play the “Beavis & Butt-head” theme for twelve minutes while Fieldy searched fruitlessly for a working bass guitar.

Fear Factory was also on the bill, and during their set I remember thinking, “This is band is pretty friggin’ cool, I bet they’ll never cover that dippy Gary Numan song ‘Cars.'”

I curdled on Megadeth in the years following this concert for a variety of reasons; they tried to push their luck writing pop songs, Friedman left the band, I discovered the more immediate thrill of punk, I grew tired of kids asking me if I was into other “cheese metal” like Iron Maiden and Poison as well, etc. I’ve come back around now, though, and I listen to a smattering of ‘Deth classics with major regularity. They all hold up, even So Far, So Good…So What? (save that brutally bad “Anarchy in the U.K.” cover). I’m very glad I got to see Megadeth when the joy was still pure, back when they had their most ballyhooed line-up, back when Dave Mustaine was more concerned with alien abduction and black magic than gun rights and birth certificates.

And yes, I will finally admit that I briefly fell asleep on the drive home from this concert, which resulted in the accidental veering of my mother’s 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis into the borders of a construction site. One of those harmless-looking road blocks with the blinking orange lights winged Mom’s passenger side mirror right off its base with a loud whomp. This instantly woke me up and paralyzed me with fear. Luckily, I regained control of the car and there was no further damage (unless you count my friend David, who was in the passenger seat at the time, and who never agreed to get into a car with me again).

I’m sorry, Mom, but I’ve been lying to all these years. I did not meet Dave Mustaine in the parking lot of the UCF Arena, and he did not tear off your passenger side mirror to prove how “metal” he was. I am a bad son.

Gratuitous Picture Of Myself On The Verge Of Total Sickness

Here I am in Paris in October of 2009, sitting in a pub, waiting for someone to bring me another Coca-Cola. The flimsy hoodie that’s zipped over my frame (K-Mart, $15) was the heaviest garment I brought with me. For some reason, I thought France would be agreeably warm so close to Halloween. I’m not sure why. Guess I really earned that C+ in tenth grade geography. October in France offers plenty of unbridled chilliness, and while I was visiting that chilliness was generally coupled with endlessly dreary rain-streaked skies. This photo captures me mere hours before the worst cold/flu of my life, which I helped nurture by staying up all night at a raucous dinner party where I was the token American who had to explain why Obama hadn’t fixed the world yet. Hey man, I don’t know, just pass me the embalming fluid so my corpse looks presentable for the plane ride home.

Time Magazine Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack

I wonder how much money Sarah Palin threw at them for this giant butt-lick?

Let me be clear that I’m not criticizing the Hockey Mom here—just Time. Like it’s not bad enough their content has shrunk to Lilliputian sizes in recent months (giant blank margins are now a regular part of their layout) or that said content is often banal crap like “The History of Television” or the “Hey, Let’s Talk About FDR!” issue they put out a few weeks ago. Now Time is doing PR work for struggling poli-celebs.

That’s all that article amounts to, really. A large, flowery endorsement for SP in 2012. I mean, look—I watched that video of her resignation speech. Woman seemed like she was on her last nerve. I was anticipating another Budd Dwyer incident. Instead, she kept the swirl of emotion just below the surface. There were definitely visible waves. How anyone could report this story and not discuss Palin’s demeanor during her adios to Alaska is just insane. Unless they were paid to lick her butt.

Two other things about this article irritated me—inside the physical issue of Time, on the Editor’s page, there was a photo of the article’s author with Palin. Like, “OMG, look who I partied with!!” That’s just unnecessary. We know you met Sarah Palin. You wrote the goddamn story. Save that kinda bunk for your Facebook page. Also, the following line:

“If ever there has been a time to gamble on a flimsy résumé, ever a time for the ultimate outsider, this might be it.”

UM, I THOUGHT THAT’S WHAT WE JUST DID. WE JUST ELECTED A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER PRESIDENT. Not that I don’t like him. He seems like an alright guy so far. We haven’t been nuked yet, so he must be doing an acceptable job, right? At any rate, the only thing I remember anyone talking about before Obama’s election was how much of a “gamble” he was because of his “flimsy résumé” (community organizer? WTF is that?). That was the only issue the Right nailed Barry on. And you know what? Most Americans said, “Fuck it. Harry Truman made motherfucking hats for a living before he was President, and he was pretty damn good. So let’s go with the one whose life doesn’t resemble some sub-Lifetime reality show.”

So, yeah, I don’t know, maybe I’m just some kinda ignorant asshole over here, but I think championing Palin for the same thing everybody knocked Obama for is weaker than Don Knotts after an eight hour jerk session. And stop givin’ me this baloney about Palin being the “ultimate outsider.” Politically speaking, Rip Taylor is the ultimate outsider. If McCain had picked him as his running mate, the shit would have really hit the fan. Did you know Rip Taylor is GAY MAN??? Not only that—Rip Taylor WEARS A WIG and THROWS CONFETTI AT PEOPLE!! In some parts of this country, that’s way more controversial than shooting wolves from a helicopter.

Anyway, Time sucks lately, and I refuse to offer any kind of constructive criticism and/or solution because that’s not my job and it’s Friday and they ignored all those pleas for employment I sent them anyway. All I’m sayin’ is that if I were in charge, this week America would be reading a cover story that contemplates the artistic road that lies ahead for “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Fuck you, you know you’d read it!

Breaking News!

This just in: Barack Obama has chosen Christian Bale’s false teeth to play an underage Chinese gymnast in Tropic Thunder 2: Rocky 7. This hilarious double sequel will find Ben Stiller teaming up with Sylvester Stallone to tell the real life story of the Jonas Brothers. It’s the movie BHP Billiton doesn’t want you to see! Coming Summer 2036.