Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sword Metal Part II


Well, go figure. I wake up this morning to find this in my morning e-mail from Clinton. It seems he was inspired to take an old jam and turn it into a Sword metal epic. You be the judge.




[Clinton Writes]


I was ordered to write Sword Metal. This is as close as I can get... sorry for the enormous download size. My apologies to Charlie, Blue Oyster Cult, all writers of Icelandic sagas, J.R.R. Tolkien, anyone who has ever played a guitar, and...well, everyone else...

(by the way, Charlie, I warned you that I wanted to do something with this song someday...)
Lyrics follow below, in case you can't hear my mumbling on the recording...

WaitingForTheAxeToFall_DEMO.mp3

==================

what is this withered wraith
with eyes like sunken coals
his hauberk stained with blood
his skin is naught but mold

once proud and tall he stood
a lord of land and sea
yet still he was betrayed
and slain by treachery

But as he breathed his dying breath
he cursed his faithless thralls
"I will rise, and you will die,
yes, you will lie --
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe..."

And so he scours the earth
to find his wretched slaves
and one by one by one
dispatch them to their graves

And though they raised a mighty host
To save their wretched skins
You cannot slay a ghost
Or flee from your own sins

Their armies crushed, they make a stand
Their backs against a wall
With a feeble cry, or fateful sigh,
they meet his eye --
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe...

the crack of severed limbs
the cries of agony
sound to his grizzled ears
as do songs to you and me

his gleaming blade undimmed,
though spattered all with gore
sacrifices souls of men
unto the God of War

This mighty revenant
takes vengeance on us all
See this wight in the dead of night
and you will lie --
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe to fall..
Waiting for the axe to fall...
Waiting for the axe...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another fascinating intellectual discussion by the LP4...

The following is from a series of e-mails today exemplifying the depths of the intellectual juggernaut that is the Linus Pauling Quartet. Years from now this will be studied much as the works of Wittgenstein are today.



Ramon:

Linus has no songs about swords. We need to fix this!!!! See…http://www.swordmetal.com/codes.php

Swordmetal is metal that doesn't suck and meets the following requirements. There must be guitar solos, preferably long awesome ones. The songs must be about: Swords, Battles, Fighting, Dragons, Wizards, Demons, Knights, Kings, Magic, Sorcery, Hellfire, Steel, Metal, War, Killing Servants, Storms, Lightning, Drinking Ale, Spilling Blood, Hammers, things like this. The most important requirement to turn an ordinary song into a sword metal masterpiece is that it has to sound EPIC! The type of song you would want to listen to if you were running across a battlefield swinging your warhammer, or standing face to face with a huge dragon about to gouge its eye out with your torch.

Linus Songwriters! Make it work.

Clinton:

Just to be clear, "Mournbong" is a play on Mournblade, the famous twin sword of Stormbringer used by Elric in Michael Moorcock's Elric saga. While Mournbong is, strictly speaking, not a sword, it certainly is a taker of souls, bringer of doom, and spewer of hellfire. Its twin bong, Stonebringer, may have fallen into the abyss (for now) but as you all know, the Apocalypse is prophecied to occur when one man wields both bongs at the same time.
I would definitely consider "Mournbong" to be a Sword song, based on the criteria provided. Since "Switzer" mention's Hell' Demonic Choir, it certainly has potential as well. We make oblique references to raping and pillaging in the Linus theme. And all of these songs have plenty of guitar solos.
I am mentioning these things only to demonstrate that Linus is much better prepared to write Sword Metal than most bands, and that, in fact, the entire saga of the Great Singularity falls well within Sword Metal guidelines. The only thing stopping us now is actual swords, or rather the lack thereof, and that can be easily remedied.

Oh and we also have plenty of songs about drinking ale. Maybe *too* many...

Ramon:

I was thinking of it as a challenge for us to actually write a new song. Some utter ridiculous thing about some ancient Geat warrior and his demon blade or some such D&D nonsense.

Charlie:

Maybe we could write one about Clinton picking up his mighty sword to smite a mythical beast from the past that returns to wreak havoc once again... we could call it "Smiting the Benatar" and quote "Shadows of the Night" in the middle section...

Ramon:

Poser. You are not sword metal!

Charlie:

No no no... I"m really more "Sword Easy Listening" or "Sword Lite-Pop"... I like to make toes tap, put a soft sort of non-committal half-grin on people's faces, and provide melodies they may or may not remember for the rest of the whole goddamn day...

Ramon:

Back to the sodden home from which ye came, Unferth! The thanes will not stand such unmetal chatter.

Charlie:

Suit up, foul mouth-breather, and face the wrath of the mighty Benatar! Half comely lass of human ancestry, half bellowing bull with a penis of steel! Ye shall meet your fate, and it shall be piteous! Hell is for children AND sword metal nerds!!

Ramon:

I shall defeat you and bring back thine arm back to the great hall as proof to my liege of your defeat. The hall will burst with both mirth and mead! Death to metal posers!

Charlie:

Damn.. thou hast dissed me! En garde!

Ramon:

Wednesday at 8:30 pm I shall see thee on the field of battle. Odin shall ride with me to thine defeat or I shall be welcomed to Valhalla with honour!

Charlie:

Aye, you will be welcome to Valhalla, but there will not be the cheap drink specials you yearn for... HAHA!!

Ramon:

Aye!???? Did you say aye? Dude, there are no sword-metal pirates. Try to focus! (Nothing against pirates of course.)

Charlie:

How do YOU know there are no sword metal pirates? I mean, we can probably all agree there are no sword metal astronauts or sword metal traffic cops, but no sword metal pirates? What were the damn Vikings??

Ramon:

Dude Vikings are not Pirates. Pirates are hoods who sail along the warm Caribbean drinking rum. Now while I will admit that's pretty frikkin cool, Vikings come from the Dark and frigid coasts of Scandinavia where they would probably kick anyone’s ass just because there is nothing else to do but kick someone’s ass when you come from the dark and frigid coasts of Scandinavia. If a pirate dies, he doesn't get to go to Valhalla he goes to Davy Jones' Locker. A hall of mead drinking warriors is cooler than any locker I saw in high school. But most important of all for the sword metal tradition - while Pirates probably would get hotter chicks they were also a lot gayer.

Clinton:

I would only partly disagree: though Vikings engaged in behaviour that was undeniably piratical (such as sailing into France or England, carrying off women and food and gold, etc.), and therefore should be considered pirates, they are a special sub-class of pirates. Pirates, I don't think, are worthy alone of Sword Metal, whereas Vikings clearly are.

I challenge each of you to come up with your Icelandic Saga name by the end of this day, and you will henceforth refer to me as Clinton "Helmsplitter" Heider.

Charlie:

I feel I would be remiss if I did not point at this time that Sword Metal guys are about as gay as you can get... now, this would be where there would exist a splinter between Vikings and Sword Metal guys... Vikings are not gay, never were, never will be.. but sword metal guys wear leather thongs and have enormously phallic battleswords and such... I mean, come on...

Ramon:

Therein lies the irony. Metal dudes are more gay than actual gay guys.

Larry:

"Smite me with your best chop, why don't you smite me with your best chop, fire awaaaayyyy..."

 

Clinton

In all truth, if the Benatar returned in her early 80s form, I would probably not smite her, as she was actually kind of hot at that time, in a slutty 80s kind of way.

 

Ramon:

I'll admit there is some early Pat stuff that is really cool but I never found her hot. I think she looked too much like an aerobics instructor for my tastes.

 

Clinton:

And what's wrong with THAT? Cmon man you know leg warmers turn you on...

 

Ramon:

I think one viewing of "Let's get Physical" by that Australian chick is enough to make all men have an irrational fear legwarmers.

 

Clinton:

I would be more than willing to smite Morrissey, however.

Ramon:

Dude Morrisey would deflect any blows with his incessant whining. To go in close enough to use your sword would be foolish!

Clinton:

You are right; I would have to smite him using some sort of projectile, such as a 50 caliber machine gun, or bazooka.

Larry:

Past the Pub who breaks your body
And the church who'll snatch your money
The Pirate is dead, boys
And it's so lonely on a limb--Yarrgh!
Past the Pub who wrecks your body
And the church - all they want is your money
The Pirate is dead, boys
You can trust me, boys
yo ho ho

Clinton:

Hell is for Larry...
 

Ramon:

Album title!!!!!

Charlie:

OH yeahhhh...
 

Larry:

No, thanks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Proletariat April 8 Recap, Charlie-Style!

Hey all... well, I finally decided to post something here! And I think I'm going to write a little about our most recent show at the Proletariat, April 8th, 2006.

To my mind, this was neither one of the best nor one of the worst of our shows. Just to be contradictory, I'll also say it wasn't just an average show. I think we played really well, and I think the crowd got into us, and that's really the most I can ever ask of a show. So I guess on those counts, we succeeded marvelously.

But let me back up a bit. The show was opened by the inimitable DJ Cub, aka Ted, aka my friend Tedley... Ted (or Cub, or whatever) and I go way back; I've known him some ten or eleven years now, and have always considered him a good friend. And while I would by NO means consider myself even remotely intimate with the DJ scene, to my ears, he's a great DJ, mostly because he mixes it up really well, segues from one song to another well, chooses his cuts well, plays to the scene he's performing in rather than trying to dictate it, and plays a lot of trip-hop and old school rap, which of course are two somewhat underrepresented sub-genres in most of the DJ scenes I've witnessed, and are of course also two of my favorite sub-genres. I don't know, when it comes to rap, with a few notable exceptions, my interests are pretty much limited to 1985-1995. Most of the stuff before that era is cheesy and clumsy-sounding to my ears, and most of the stuff after that is too slick or too bling-oriented or too complicated or so gangsta it's stupid. To me, rap's always at its best when represented by what I guess could be termed the second and third waves of rap, or maybe the first and second waves of "hardcore" rap: Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Eric B & Rakim, EPMD, NWA, Cypress Hill, Digital Underground, and early Wu Tang Clan, to name the heavies. Anyway, Ted knows this, and while I'm sure his knowledge of hip hop far exceeds mine, and he's well aware of some of the no-doubt great stuff to come out since that golden era of hip hop, he always comes back to a lot of these guys during his sets. The man knows quality, that's all I'm saying.

Though apparently Ramon says he showed up thinking we'd have turntables on hand or something. I don't know... that's a little silly, but I'm glad things worked out, because he did it up right.

Born Liars rocked, and I really liked Georgia's Horse, though I must admit I was getting a little antsy when their set ran past 1:00 a.m. As much as I agree with Ramon that some of our recent shorter sets have probably been more effective than the usual hour-long Linus pound-a-thons, I much prefer to do our shorter sets of our own accord, instead of out of necessity. I hate feeling rushed.

And there's the rub, in case you were wondering where it went. I think if there was one and only one detraction from this particular show for me specifically, it would be that rushed feeling. It's impossible to ignore when you're going in with a 50-minute set, and you've only got 40 minutes to play it in. To be honest, this sort of thing just happens. Ramon's expressed his preference for the four-band lineup, and while I must say, as long as everyone's playing relatively short sets, I like it too, I will say this: it does exponentially increase the likelihood that things are going to go off-schedule. I can't really explain WHY having only one extra band added to the standard three-band lineup causes such problems for scheduling, but it generally does. One way or another, either by one band going terribly over time, several bands just inching beyond their preferred time limits, or one or more bands taking too much time setting up or tearing down, four-band shows always seem to really test the schedule more than lesser shows. So I'm certainly not going to blame any one band for us not hitting the stage until after 1:15 a.m. As Dega says in "Papillon", "Blame is for God and small children." Good quote, that. Glad I could fit it in there.

At any rate, we did what we usually do when we go onstage feeling rushed: we RACED through those songs. Again, as in so many things, I'm of two minds on this phenomenon. On the one hand, I find that some of the "heavier" songs, like Switzer and Southern Pine, suffered a bit from being played at that speed. They were designed to be heavy, not to be fast, so making them faster only made them lose some of their heft, but they didn't really gain anything from it. So I wasn't really happy with that, not to mention the agonizing PAIN my left arm was in, trying to finish out the big riff-fest that Clinton solos over at the end of Switzer. On the other hand though, I have noticed that sometimes Linus plays with a little less than the optimum amount of energy. We've been known to tire out mid-set, or lag a little on certain songs, or whatever, and that was certainly not an issue this time. We played with maximum intensity and energy, and even managed to whip the shit out of Cannonball, a notoriously difficult song for us to get the right speed and intensity on. No problems with that this time. We played hard and fast so we could finish in time, and we JUST made it. We ended up having to drop La Tapatia, which sucked since that's always a hugely fun song to play and a great way to end a set, but at the same time, we had a really good set, so at least we only had to lose ONE song.

I think the sound was good too. It was probably a little loud for the venue, because I got the distinct impression that for whatever reason (size, shape, wall/ceiling/floor construction), the high end frequencies were bouncing all over the place, making the volume a little harder to take. I know most people reported their ears were ringing for days after, as mine were. But only some people really mind that; others just love it, and I got enough compliments afterwards on the patented Linus "wall of rock" that I figure it probably wasn't a liability in our case. I did hear that it wasn't as distinct as it is when we play at Rudyards. I think this is because we had to turn down our amps onstage because the PA couldn't really handle competing with them, so most of our volume was probably coming through the PA via the amp mics, rather than directly from the amps, and maybe pushing all those amps through that one PA made the guitars a little less distinct or something. I don't know. It all usually sounds pretty indistinct up on stage, unless we're at Rudz.

Overall though, I thought it was a success. We played well, the other bands were great, and despite a few scheduling problems, overall it could've been MUCH worse (having seen several four-band shows where it WAS much worse). After all, everyone got to play a decent-length set, no one got hurt, and nothing got broken except that one guy's bass string. Plus, several people reported being severely rocked. All in all, I'd call that a success.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Proletariat 08 April Recap

Well fuck, this recap is a bit belated but life’s been pretty crazy. But I’m finally saying “fuck it”. My job sucks ass and I’d rather blog than waste time working for the man. Fuck Corporate America. Fuck Wall Street. Fuck it all. I’d rather talk about music than do real work for my shitty underpaid undervalued Kafka-esque turd of a job at a shitty music company. So without further adieu let go back to April 8th for the last Linus Pauling Quartet show….


One thing I’ve come to really love is a bill with four bands. It causes untold confusion and manic running around to get everyone to stay on time and get their asses in gear. Like Ted calling me at 8pm asking if we have turntables for him. I love Ted but my brain almost exploded. I mean I play in a moronic Texas Psych Rock outfit; Tony Iommi is the pinnacle of evolution in terms of our musicianship. What the hell would I be doing with a DJ set-up? Luckily, his back-up comes through with a set-up. But that was the least of my concerns. Clinton was ill on Thursday so we had to rehearse on Saturday before the show. This meant that I, had to run to the studio, rehearse, get back home shower and assemble my film projection stuff. So instead of me getting there at 7 or 8 pm it was almost 9pm – meaning I was fucked for time. So I ran around setting-up the projectors, getting Ted on stage, getting the Born Liars to set up around him, battling the film projector (which was squealing like a pig since I misthreaded the film in my haste), and getting the Kinky Friedman Table running. I managed to shoot some photos and Video of Ted but I was hardly able to really listen to his set



By the time the Born Liars performed, things had clamed down. The squealing film mishap, had made me give up on playing films for the other bands and I also got things back on track after pretty much beating Ted on the head to stop (he was waiting for the Jukebox to kick in while the club was waiting for him to stop) and manically hearding the Born Liars from the bar. Once they were on, things started looking up – we were pretty much on schedule and they played a really solid set of garage rock with the only misstep being a Replacements cover (Goddamn Job) which suffered from the fact that they were too well rehearsed. The best part of the show was Steven's friends who came dressed like either General McArthur or Hunter S Thompson. I don’t know who they were but they definitely added some spontaneity to the scene there. One other thing about Born Liars is the fact that while the band moves constantly the drummer is like this unmoving statue. I swear I took a million shots and hardly kept any because everyone was out of focus from moving - all except the drummer of course, who was always sharply in focus. It was totally freaky.

Georgia’s Horse was the big act of the night. I’m not sure if they have played out as a band in a while but they obviously had their own crowd who were really thrilled to see them play. Now, mind you I had only heard Theresa’s demos and acoustic sets so when they played as a power trio I was completely blown away. Props have to go to Brad. The guy was this massive drummer that just pummeled you. I kept wanting to shout “Moby Dick! YYZ!” When I found out he had a double kick it all made sense. Midway through their set the Linus curse though stuck GH when Tizianos bass string broke. Steve and I rushed the stage like a Nascar race team. I brought out the tools and Steve slapped on the string. Boom! You’re done! Now Rock! The only downside is that they ran a bit long and I had to tell them to end their set (dropping two songs). Still, all around it was a great set from a great band that should easily get a huge following in Houston should they play out a bit more.

Finally, in a frenzy of activity, we set our shit up and went into our set. Now since I was too dumb to edit the second reel of films together I had to simply play one film on the second projector and rewind it when it ended. Steve recruited his studio intern for the task. As I expected, about 30 seconds after the film ends, I see this fro bounce across the room towards the projector. Boing! Boing! Boing! Man, I wish I’d had a big Buzzer.

(Bzzzz!)
OOH, that didn’t look good Fred!
Nope Todd, not even close. Let's Watch!
(boing boing boing boing)
OK Let’s watch that again but in slow motion.
(boiiiiiing boiiing boiiiiing)

But despite that screw up, and the screen falling down on us (Duct tape why have you forsaken me!) we burned through our set like a bunch of demons. I don’t know how we sounded but I doubt you could say we were lacking energy. If anything the manic pace of the four band line-up definitely kept us awake and alert. The only big musical mistake came during 40 Oz.. Charlie did his Gorilla shadow puppet and I totally lost it. If there is one thing that just makes me pee my pants with laughter its that goddamn gorilla shadow puppet and sure enough when Charlie did it not only did I break out laughing but I also forgot entirely what I was supposed to play. I mean totally! Curse you Gorilla shadow puppet! Curse you and all your kind!

Uh, what was I saying again? Oh yeah. I think this just goes to prove that shorter Linus is better Linus. We had scheduled a 47 minute set but since we had to cut Tapatia it was more like 40 minutes. You know. Nobody complained and we weren’t beat from playing a 90 minute LP4 marathon. So go figure.

Oh and one last thing the sound (well, I can’t speak for our sound but the rest of the bands’ sound) was awesome. The soundman did a great job. While Rudz is still our home the Proletariat is definitely a place we need to which we need to return. And return we shall.

Friday, April 07, 2006

New Town Drunks and Pimping ain't Easy







New Town Drunks

A funny story about the New Town Drunks nigh impromptu performance at Rudyard's last night. Roberto and Dianne are playing downstairs and they ask if they can do a second set and word comes back that they can but to wait until 12:30am so as not to distract from the band upstairs. Laughing at the bar, Roberto quips half-joking "Well, shit they need to book a better band!" But once they start its apparent why the band upstairs was a bit worried, armed with a nylon stringed guitar and Dianne's voice the two proceed to play a riveting set of New Town Drunks material mixed a few covers. Since the show was a last minute lark, they weren't out to impress anyone; they were simply having fun and that kind of simple joy is something more bands could use a dose of. For me, an imfamous early bird, that meant an internal struggle between wanting to see a great show and not falling asleep. In the end, their performance gave me no choice.

Pimpin ain't easy but tediously rambling aimlessly to avoid doing work is...

Well, pimpin a show ain't easy I tell ya what! You can hop around like a fool, put a ton of miles on your car, and make yourself a pest but, in the end, you only get a fraction the shamless plugs you hope for. Take the Houston Press for example.

The Houston Press complains about bands being a bunch of clueless losers but you can pimp the show like we've been doing (take the Youtube short for example) and you don't even merit single sentence of props. Makes you wonder if there is anything you can do to get any mention these days? I had figured Something Fierce and our using youtube would have been a good and interesting hook. I guess writing articles about how much writers hate the White Stripes' public persona, the Beatles' being too popular to dig, or the Velvet Underground being a band nobody really listens to is more useful to readers. The funny thing is that all three writers of these articles are good writers (Cramer, McManus, and Lomax) but the hack-up-bands-everyone-praises premise of the column is so shitty. My philosophy was always to use your space to promote stuff you like but I guess that editors prefer material that provokes reader responses and stuff like this makes for easy page filler. But hell, Lomax couldn't even be bothered to look at ours or Something Fierce's videos. I at least would have expected a "yeah, umm that kind of bored the fuck out of me. You guys aren't as amusing as you think." Well what can ya do?

Luckily (despite KTRU's local show being pre-empted by baseball and KPFT's Radioactive doing a prerecorded show on Friday) Clinton getting a stomach bug and nixing Thursday's rehearsal ended up being good as I was able to go on the Mutant Hardcore Flower Hour and drop off a CDR of tracks for them to play. I normally don't get to tune-in but when I pop by who should happen to be DJing but Daniel of the Jonx. Cool. He's pretty frazzled but I stick around long enough to chat with Scott Butt and they give us some love on the show.

So what's my point? Nothing, I guess that I always feel a responsibility to the other bands, the club, and its bartenders to make sure we get people there and that it takes a lot of work. Sometimes the work pays off and sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes you are just banging against a brick wall. At least if nobody shows up, I am relieved of any guilt of not doing my share of the lifting.

Blah blah blah... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flyer Etiquette for corporate fuckwads!

Fuck you mother-fucking corporate pieces of shit with money to burn – learn some fucking flyering etiquette!

Goddamn, I go into the Proletariat to post the Kinky Freidman petition posters for next week only to find some mother-fuckers from some shit ass Heinekin piss beer, Virgin Merdestore, and KROQ sponsored festival (to whom I sure ain’t giving any publicity here) took our poster and ripped it off the wall (tearing it in the process) and moving it over to a corner!

You fucking fucks! I’m busting my ass to get people to come to this show at this club and your trying to shill tickets to some fucking festival in another state? . What the fuck is that? Who at the club didn’t tell these people to fuck themselves?

Here are a few simple rules for you Nickelback Pigfuckers!

1) You only take down posters for events that HAVE occurred
2) If someone has the best spot but you need to shuffle some things to fit your poster, you keep the other people’s posters as close to where you found them as possible (usually shifting an inch or so here or there).
3) If a shitty spot on the wall is all that’s left well then yr shit out of luck.
4) You fuck with someone else’s poster, the other people get the right to do this to your shitty poster!