“I was just a kid they called his sidekick…”

When I asked my wife to marry me, one of this first things she said to me (after “yes,” thankfully) was to ask if the Gourds could play our wedding. It wasn’t really a question—she was telling me that we would hire the Gourds to play, and that our wedding budget would have to work around whatever it cost. As I happen to love the Gourds, too, I had no objection.

I mention the Gourds because they are part of a long, proud, twangy tradition of Texas country/folk/bluegrass/etc. musicians. The Gourds certainly had their own unique sound, distinct from just about any other band I know, but they also belong to a tradition pioneered by people like Guy Clark, who died a few days ago at the age of 74.

This has been a bad year for music. Guy Clark’s death has hit me much closer to home than others, and it’s not just because he’s from Texas, or because he is a legend of Texas music. I don’t even know all that many of his songs. He wasn’t a singularly unique artist like David Bowie or Prince. It’s doubtful that anyone could call him a “visionary” on the same scale as Bowie or Prince. Guy Clark was an old guy with a guitar, writing and singing what he knew. He did it very, very well. And a whole lot of people loved him for it. Continue reading


How Russia Could Conquer the World

Just send in a bunch of singers like her:

The video title, “Офигенный голос,” simply means “awesome voice” in Russian. Continue reading


American Music

I had considered posting a video of “God Bless the U.S.A.” in an ironic sense, because it is just so cheesy……but dammit, it’s like everything Beyoncé touches turns to awesome:

Anyway, here’s a bit more American music for you on this 4th of July: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, December 26, 2014

Hip-Hop’s Huge Problem With Iggy Azalea Just Blew Up — And She Completely Deserves It, Tom Barnes, Mic, December 22, 2014

It turns out many people in the hip-hop community feel that Azalea is actively working against black interests because she appropriates traditionally black styles and totally divorces them from their political content. That’s why rapper Tyler, The Creator, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and R&B singer Solange Knowles all came to [Azealia] Banks’ defense, thanking her for speaking openly and passionately about the issue of cultural appropriation. Kreayshawn also stepped up to the plate, accusing Azalea of ignoring racism in her home country as well as in America.

But it was New York-raised hip-hop legend Q-Tip who had the most inspiring response — he gave Azalea a full hip-hop history lesson in 40 tweets.


Hip-hop is always political. Q-Tip took the Twitterverse all the way back to hip-hop’s very beginnings. He described the conditions black people were living under in 1970s New York, which hip-hop sought to address. He cited Vietnam, the rampant drug trade in New York’s ghettos and their crumbling school systems. These factors, crippled children’s support structures, “emasculated” their parents and forced children to turn to the streets and gangs for support.

But thankfully, hip-hop was born. With it, youth found a direction, and a way to channel their energies in a positive direction.


It may seem mean, but she completely deserves it. Azalea has been manipulating hip-hop culture for her own gain, and she cares not at all for the broader hip-hop community or the music’s place in our culture.

[Emphasis in original.]

The propagandists have won: What Fox News and the pornography revolution have in common, Janine R. Wedel, Salon, December 21, 2014 Continue reading


No Stranger to You and Me

There’s something inherently awesome about a retired rock star who can do pretty much whatever the hell they want—like, for example, performing their iconic song with their sons’ middle school band, which is what Phil Collins did recently.

(I realize that some people may take issue with my characterization of Phil Collins as a rock star, but I defy you to listen to “In the Air Tonight” and remain motionless during the drum fill. Or to listen to “Against All Odds” without having any feels at all. Hell, even “Sussudio” gets most people at least bobbing their heads.)

Here’s Phil performing “In the Air Tonight” with a bunch of tweens (starting at about 2:00).

He might have retired a few years ago, and he might spend more time curating Alamo artifacts than rocking, but you can tell performing is still in his blood. Plus, I don’t know if that’s one of his kids on drums, but the kid nails it. Continue reading


Fun Moments in Misheard Lyrics: Toto

For whatever reason, I have spent most of my life so far thinking that Toto was singing about “Kilimanjaro ris[ing] like a leopress above the Serengeti.”

I am now pretty much certain that they’re singing that “Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.”

This makes perfect sense, considering that Kilimanjaro and Olympus are both mountains (well, one’s a volcano, but you get the idea), and Kilimanjaro looms over the Serengeti—or at least the general vicinity of the Serengeti—in a way that is surely reminiscent of the divine nature ascribed to Olympus at various points in history. (The Olympus in Greece, I mean. Not so much the ones in Washington, Utah, or Mars.)

It also makes sense because:

  1. I’m not sure “leopress” is even an actual word used to describe a female leopard (although it does describe a WordPress theme), and
  2. In what possible way could a volcano rise above the savannah in a way that is reminiscent of a mostly-jungle-dwelling large cat?

Think about it. But hurry, boy—it’s waiting there for you.


Happy Mother’s Day, Metal Style

Today, we’ll be taking my mom out to lunch at doing all the Mother’s Day stuff.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, I figured I would take a moment to recognize other cool moms. Well, I might only get to one. We’ll see.

Mothers would do anything for their kids, it is often said. How many mothers would write, record, and perform a metal song dedicated to their son, though? I’m guessing not many, but Maria Brink, lead singer of In This Moment, wrote the song “He Said Eternity” for her kid.

Even if you’re not into metal, you surely would agree that this might qualify her as the Coolest Mom Ever.

This particular live version of the song includes her dedication to the kiddo at the beginning, but it’s not necessarily the greatest performance. I put a video with the album version after it. Continue reading


“I will find a center in you…”

You might not think that the xenomorph could be a source of enlightenment…


…and you’d probably be right to think that (h/t Jason).

On the other hand, as a Facebook commenter pointed out, it offers an opportunity to revisit a Tool classic that also addresses the question of finding one’s center: Continue reading


Great Moments on the Internet: “Google Image Search” Edition

  1. Do a Google image search for “search warrant,” filtered for free usage rights (for work reasons, duh).
  2. Get a picture of the band Warrant.

"Warrant" in EverybodyAwesome, by aerokay [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)], via deviantART

Here are some memories for you: Continue reading