Thursday, July 31, 2003
A few words from Chris concerning last night's Rolling Stone Private Concert Series presentation of Hoobastank:
Last night I attended the Rolling Stone Private Concert Series presentation of Hoobastank, which, I'd better just tell you straight away, is a name some guys gave their band. It was a funny thing at a funny place during a funny time in our nation's history.* Now I'll give you what I'd have traded almost anything for last night -- the abridged version:
8:15 - 8:50 pm The opening band, Die Trying, plays. A bassist who looks like Josh Hartnett aside, I detect no reason that this band should possess any level of fame. Strip all guitar and vocal hooks from the Get Up Kids circa Four Minute Mile (not a time-intensive task) and you have the songs of Die Trying. But they're fun to watch because the lead singer is such a dipshit. Chained to no instrument, he is able to jumble around awkwardly (dance?) and repeatedly thrust the trusty goat horns roofward -- he brandished the horns with, honestly, the consistency that most of us draw breath. He also sneered a lot, which demonstrated a rakish disrespect for the proceedings/the man/parents/his own shitty emo vocals. Between songs he brought out some spectacular material, though. A partial list of quotes (all delivered with an enthusiastic cry, goat horns aloft): "New York, let me hear you SCREAM!!" "Okay, New York: Let me see your horns!!" "Who here loves to FUCK?!! I'm gonna say it one more time: Who here loves to FUCK!!!" "Okay, New York: get loud for me!!!" "New York, you guys have been great!!" It should be noted, in light of this last statement, that the crowd could not have responded less enthusiastically to Shitbrain's demands for noise and horn display unless everyone had en masse laid down on the floor of Bowery Ballroom and observed naptime (only a handful did).
9:00 - 9:15 Corporate stooge from Rolling Stone gets on the mic; he rants, yammers, and barks some of the most confused, hateful promotional muck I've ever heard. In a tone that simultaneously mocked corporate capitalism, bemoaned and celebrated his own minorly powerful position in it, expressed hatred for anyone under thirty, and condescended to all of music fandom, this expired cocoon of a man harangued the audience for fifteen minutes with demands that we go buy the products associated with the event's sponsors. He just went down the list: "A big thanks to Altoids! I want everyone to go out and buy Altoids tomorrow! BUY ALTOIDS! They're paying for you to see Hoobastank tonight for free! How long's it been since you had a BabyRuth! [answers shouted from the crowd] That's TOO LONG!! Buy BabyRuth! Do it tomorrow! They're paying for your show and your beer tonight!! They're PAYING for it! Who watches the Discovery Channel! Watch it! For the brain! Order it from your cable company tomorrow! THEY'RE PAYING FOR YOUR BEER!!! THAT'S A GOOD DEAL!!!" He actually said: "Thanks to Hoobastank for bringing it up to the mainstream!!", which I think even amateur ironists found amusing. And then came this great piece of advice: "Hoobastank's got a new album coming out in 8 weeks! Go out and buy it -- I know I will -- and do it with a Heineken in your hand!" His editorial vision goes beyond a call for Sam Goody to vend beer, though: "Buy the album! What a concept! Actually paying for the cd! [angrily] Don't burn it from a friend, don't download it -- BUY IT!! Cash on the counter for Hoobastank!!" ** A little cash on the counter for Hoobastank. I swear that's his wording, not mine. So yeah, this guy put a bad taste in everybody's mouth. If this had been medieval times, the crowd would have pulled him off the stage and broken his ribs.
9:00 - ? Hoobastank plays. Actually, they were fine. Though the musical arrangements were like another day at the office, Lead Singer was very charismatic and nice. He didn't do any posing or any between song audience stoking (he substituted nice-guy chit-chat), and thus he became a hero for we who were coming off an hour and a half of watching the retard from Die Trying and the gooniest dick at Rolling Stone. I would never buy Hoobastank's cd, cuz the music was truly uninteresting (I left after four identical songs). But don't worry! I'd never download it or burn it either. The most intriguing thing about Hoobastank is their name, which I can contemplate for free. I suspect naming your band Hoobastank has everything to do with being in highschool. The trick is to change it when you're older and realize what you've done. When they all turned 21, The Beatles didn't hesitate to replace their original name, Snizzlebutt, with something more befitting their age. Likewise for Red Hot Chili Peppers, who formed under the moniker Snizzlestank. We Are Scientists, who happily converted their name from Snatchwhistle in 2001, urges Hoobastank to shed the vestiges of their childhood. Also to write better songs.
* President GWB at a press conference yesterday: "I am mindful that we're all sinners. And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got [sic, obviously] a log in their own." (NYTimes, 7/31/2003) Confusion ensues. Is he trying to say that it's folley to attempt minor eye surgery on your neighbor when your own eye is the one with a log in it? Or rather, the one what got a log in it? If so, then that's a helpful reminder. But if he's speaking metaphorically -- like, 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' -- then I think he'd have been better served choosing one of English's many time-tested idioms that run along those lines rather constructing his own. Although the Speck/Log thing is nice in that it's unambiguous. The Glass House metaphor, for example, leaves some room for interpretation, I guess, whereas if a person with a log in his eye is criticizing someone with a speck in her eye on the grounds that the speck-woman "sure has a lot of wood in her eye", then the log-guy is -- you've got to hand it to Bush -- a hypocrite and a fool, and would do well to consider the president's admonition.
** An interesting annotation to this tender little reproach can be found in Hoobastank's bio, where we discover that "In 1998, Hoobastank went worldwide with their self-released first album, They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To. While the disc sold well at shows and local retailers, it took off online, expanding the band's fan base to places as far away as England, Israel, Russia and Brazil." Hmm. 'Took off online'...is that like cash on the counter for Hoobastank at Sam Goody or something?
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
People, do we deliver, or what? Because we woke up this morning and were feeling kind, we've decided to go ahead and throw the out-of-print Bitching! EP up onto our "Songs" page in it's entirety. There it is, you heathen masses - go at it with your crazed downloading. For too long now, we've protected our little baby behind a $7 price tag, but now that we've gone and run out of actual, physical copies, we're just going to hang it out to dry there in MP3 form. Is this fair to those people who have actually paid for this music, we can almost hear you asking, and so we've already begun rolling our eyes in anticipation. Of course it is fair: what those people - those lucky few who got in on the ground floor - actually paid for was the cover art, which features photos of not one or two but - no! - all three members of the We Are Scientists, and which heavyweight journalist Roger Ebert himself has declared, "the handiest aid to onanism since the final act of The Muppets Take Manhattan!" So, there.
Also added to the page was one song from our new EP. It's just a wee, unmastered sample of what's in store. Why, you ask? Why are we so good to you? You, with the pudding stains and the G.E.D.? We don't know. God help us, we don't know.
Also, we have a show in Boston on August 6th, so if you have friends there, tell them to go, or, we swear to God, you and i will have words.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
According to MSNBC, here are some stats re: the firefight that killed Odai and Qusai Hussein:
"The brothers were killed in a six-hour gunbattle with about 200 U.S. troops on Tuesday."
"10 TOW anti-tank missiles fired from Humvees had silenced most of the resistance, apparently killing three of the four suspects."
At 4 men!
Who only had machine guns!
For six hours!
10 anti-tank missiles needed to kill three men, one of whom was a 14 year old boy!
Rambo appears to have lied to us. That or Stallone is the greatest fighting force this country's got.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
W.A.S. Espy Odd Ant, Refreshment
It was a big weekend for the gentleman republicans of We Are Scientists, what with two shows on Saturday night alone and a whole weekend's worth of casual leisure packed into sixty-or-so hours. The shows were so milk-curdlingly, nut-bustingly hot, though, that there's no sense trying to bottle the experience and serve it up here in verbal form.
It is, however, not only sensible but very important that you be told about a couple of things that we discovered on Saturday afternoon while in D.U.M.B.O. for a soundcheck.
The first we located in Peas and Pickles, an AllNite grocer/snackmart with the kind of comprehensive snacking selection that would make a hardened jailor weep. We asked the man who works the register, a well-aged Korean, when P & P closes; he didn't respond, acted as though we had said nothing (nothing!). We asked again when they close, and he responded with maximum terseness: "Never close!" We take this as a moral dictate, and shall henceforth try to obey its absolutist proscription in all things.
But here is what we found squirreled away behind one of a dozen refrigerator doors dedicated to the non-alcoholic beverage trade:
Take a closer look:
"Welchito", can you believe it? Verily, that is a short can of jugo de uva. "Welchito", in Spanish, means "Cat's bladder"; Beverage scientists came up with the name when, during a development session, one among their rank remarked that 222 mL is exactly how many milliliters of feline urine a cat can "stomach" ("bladder"?) before he must relieve himself. The ad campaign in South America features the tagline, "Welchito: How many can you stomach?", which won a lot of awards, naturally.
The other thing we saw we saw on the sidewalk, a block or two from P & P, where we stopped to absorb the lovely river view of Manhattan and some Entenmann's Chocolate Pop'ems.
Look at that beast! That's a big ant! It occurs to us now that we should have done a few shots of him next to a pencil or a Welchito for scale, but, stupidly, we didn't. What's really amazing about this ant, though -- what really caught our eye -- is the ratio of Butt to Rest Of Ant (B/RoA), which is staggeringly high in this ant's case (60/1?). Look at this:
Striking. One pretty neat trick we were able to teach this promising, if gruesomely malformed, ant was the old Ball Up. The cue that we gave him so he'd know it was time to assume Ball Up posture is that we'd set a can of soda atop him, closing him into the shady world below the can-bottom's cold aluminum dome. Once in there, he had the privacy necessary to cobble himself into this posture:
Incredible. Look closer:
Once the jokes about our little friend kissing his own ass subsided, there was a rather solemn silence during which time each of us quietly made peace with the fact that we'd never be half the athlete this little Evel Knievel is.
If we were to sum up the weekend graphically, this is how we'd do it:
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Things are good. It's been a few days away from the band for everybody, and here's the conversaion we're likely to have tonight when we meet at Keith's house for our first practice since early last week:
k How are the models?
c I slept with all of them.
K Wow! All of them?
c Well, which ones?
k The swimsuit models you pointed out in the magazine store last week.
c Oh, no. I was talking abou the model airplanes. I fell asleep while I was working on them. No, I still haven't gotten any contact info or anything for the swimsuit models.
k Oh, that's cool.
m How do the planes look?
c Great! I smashed one with my head, but otherwise...
k Very nice.
m How was Miami, Kip?
k Pretty hot! [enthusiastically]
c Literally, I bet!! [laughs]
m [laughs] Nice...
k How was things here? D'ja hit some sweet parties?
m Totally. Totally sweet. Totally 'deck'.
k Oh yeah, 'deck'.
m Chris went to Boston.
c I went to Boston; 'Bean Town', if you will.
k Does anyone actually call it 'Bean Town'?
c Yes. Everyone in Boston calls their city 'Bean Town'.
m It's cuz they've got all those banks full of 'bean counters'! [laughs]
c [laughs] Nice...
We've got a show or two this weekend, powerful new advice on that one page, and, frankly, some red-hot tips on some racing ponies that supposedly have some sort of really good shot at winning or something.
Thursday, July 03, 2003
So, yeah. The new EP is all mixed down and just waiting to be mastered, just sitting there waiting for it, having been delayed for over a week because the masters have been sitting in Keith's backpack and he just totally forgot about them, so distracted was he, because also in his backpack was a package of sumptuous Bit-o-Honey candies, which Keith would mainline if only he could find clean needles with which to do so. But so now the new recordings are ready to be mastered, after which we will only need to take care of minor elements, such as the track order and the album title and the artwork and whether or not Michael should be given performance credit for "hand claps and bitch-slaps."
In other news, if you missed last Friday's Toast to Arthur Titsenballs, then you have cause to place your head in a microwave oven and set it to "defrost." Suffice it to say that we'll be putting on more than a few more of these shows, giving you few who were absent the chance to redeem yourselves before your peers and congresspersons, who are most displeased. Eugene Mirman remains the funniest man in the city, and Bishop Allen, whom Keith worries he may have inadvertently insulted by deeming them "classy," are a fucking musical juggernaut, and you should check them out on their US tour this summer, because they are kind people and great musicians and will be more famous than 50 Cent - whom Keith, exhibiting his difficulties with the English language, has also deemed "classy" - in about two weeks.
Also of import is the fact that we may have two shows coming up next Saturday, June 12. Read again friends: two shows, one night. An immensely powerful entertainment double-header, like the Olson twins, only far less sinister, and with six legs instead of five. We're working on the timing, though, and we'll let you know when we've gotten it all straightened out. Until then, hang out on this page, hitting "refresh" until something changes.