30 November 2006

I rock for an old guy

So I was told by my 17-year-old future step cousin in law.

Thanksgiving day, following the devastation of two turkeys and all the fixin's one could want (but before the food coma set in), Hector and I snuck down to the basement to jump on Xbox Live.  He's recently focused on leveling up as a Halo 2 sniper, and I thought I could join him without bringing shame upon myself.  Hey, I've spent a good bit of time with Halo.  I'm not *that* old.  I can hang, right?

Sorta.  Hector's sniping skills (along with those of his team mates) were far above mine, but I did OK in the general carnage games.  Indeed, in one bout of slayer, I picked up a rocket launcher, then jumped from one platform to another, landing right behind an opponent.  At that moment I realized I was out of ammo, which Hector also realized as he was waiting to respawn.  This old warrior didn't panic, however -- I just took a few steps forward, pressed the B button twice, and used the trusty melee skills to take care of the bad guy.

That move prompted the "you rock for an old guy" praise (at least, I think it was praise), and gave me enough pride to surive another hour of humiliation.  By that time I was ready for dessert.

23 November 2006

Real-life Spinal Tap

One can probably tell from the Underground Garage photo album to the right that I've listened to Little Steven's Sirius channel a good bit recently.  One of the bands currently touring is the New York Dolls.  Not knowing much about them, I checked out their AllMusic.com bio, and was fascinated by a story that makes This Is Spinal Tap tame by comparison.

To summarize the bio, two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and vocalist form the band in late 1971.   By early 1972 guitarist #2 was replaced by guitarist #3.  Late in 1972, drummer #1 died after mixing drugs and alcohol whilst touring in England, and was replace by drummer #2.  Producer #1 works on album #1 in 1973, which received strong reviews but didn't sell much.  Hoping to turn around their fortunes, the band works with producer #2 on album #2, which, like the one before it, failed to stir much public interest upon its release in 1974.

After two commercial failures, the band is dropped by label #1.  So manager #2, in an attempt to garner publicity, dresses the group in red leather and has them pose in front of USSR flags.  Surprisingly, this tactic fails to woo labels and the public, so, in 1975, guitarist #1 and drummer #2 leave the band. 

The remaining members give it a go with various fillers for the next two years, but, in 1977, they disband for good.  Separately, guitarist #2 and vocalist #1 work together on a few projects, as do guitarist #1 and drummer #2.  The latter partnership ended in 1991, when guitarist #1 ("one of the more notorious drug abusers in rock & roll history") dies of a heroin overdose.  Later that year, a few months after performing a benefit concert for guitarist #1, drummer #2 dies of a stroke at age 40.

Fast forward to 2004.  A popular artist, who was once president of the British New York Dolls fan club, invites the remaining members to perform at a festival.  Shocking many, bassist #1, guitarist #2, and vocalist #1 agree.  The gig was very well received, and thoughts of a renaissance arose.  Alas, within a few weeks of the festival bassist #1 dies of leukimia, after checking in to the hospital only hours before with what he thought was the flu.

More of the New York Dolls' story at Wikipedia.

19 November 2006

Rock violin?

No, not Dave Stewart.  Classic, unplugged, wonderful violin.  Playing AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Van Halen. 

That's what we witnessed Saturday evening at Eddie's Attic.  Initially we went to see Robert Henson, Deidre's brother, on the upright base (is there a cooler instrument?).  Rob rocked, as usual, but we had no idea how good his band would be.  Rob's band is actually Bobby Yang's project, and Bobby is the wild man on violin.  It's difficult to find words that describe his playing, so see and hear it for yourself, and experience him the next chance you get.

As a drummer since the age of seven, I tend to focus on the guy behind the kit, and Bobby Yang found Mark Cobb, who's damn talented.  Worked through "Tom Sawyer" cleanly, which is a feat. 

In our location near the bar we chatted a bit (between songs, of course -- this was Eddie's Attic!) with a couple next to us.  I didn't catch the bloke's name, but he's in a Weezer tribute band.  Read that again.  A Weezer tribute band.  That's either a sign that a band has made it, or a sign of the apocalypse.  (I understand the attraction, however, as Weezer's style is straightforward, fun rock.)  If I could find the talent I'd start a Zombies tribute project...