The Music Snob Interviews: Local Beantown Rocker

When it comes to interviews, everyone wants to score that one big fish. Your Jimmy Eat Worlds, your Bright Eyes, your Green Day, every interviewer wants to shoot for the stars. However, I personally think it’s important to start at the heart and soul of the music industry. The grassroots, the foundation, the essence of the music scene: The Local Bands! I sat down with Eric Landry, the bassist and vocalist for local punk band, Almost Untitled, and shot the breeze with him for a few to get his insight on the local scene, Kelly Osborne, and various other kinds of things.

N: For the record can you state your name, what you play, and the name of your band?

E: Eric Landry, bass and vocals for Almost Untitled

N: How long has the band been together?

E: Since august of 2003 so, about 7 months.

N: How do you know each other? Did you grow up together?

E: ok I’ve been friends with Ketta, the guitarist for a long time. He and I had a previous band which i’ll get to later. That band went belly up and we wanted to do a punk band instead. Ketta’s cousin, Steven Vaiani, plays drums and went to school at Berklee in Boston. Ketta asked Steven to play drums for us and he agreed. I knew Steven because both he and myself were ushers for Ketta’s wedding back in 2000.

N: Aww cute! Can you hold on? I need a pee and smoke break

E: Already?

N: Sorry I should have gone before I went..

(Hilarity ensues while I do my thang)

N: And I’m back! Did you miss me?

E: yes 🙁

N: Aww 🙂 Yay!

E: Is this going to be in the article?

N: Yes, yes it will. And I will be asking the questions around here! So who would you say are Almost Untitled’s main influences as well as your own personal influences?

E: Our primary influences would be the Ramones, Rancid and the Misfits. As for me, personally and professionally, I love Nirvana, Green Day, and the Ramones. Simple fact that they were Gods of the Punk and Rock and Roll scene but still remained human and approachable too!

N: Ahh, a man after my own heart! Do you think Courtney is somewhat responsible for Kurt’s death?

E: Personally I think she killed him and tried to make it a suicide. Why else would the very first lyrics from her first albums after his death me “oh make me over that’s all I wanna be a walking study in demonology”, then she tried to go for the goods from his band? I would have just left it to Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic

N: I agree, she is a heartless bitch in my opinion. Anywho, tell me about your first band, what kind of music and how long were you together?

E: We formed in august of 1998 and were originally called American Thunder. We were a mix of John Mellencamp, 80’s metal and southern rock. We tried changing the name to American catastrophe until 9/11 happened. We ended up going back to Thunder until it disbanded in April of 2003 when the vocalist quit because he lost interest in the band, and he was backstabbing all of us 24/7

N: Which band did you enjoy playing with more?

E: Easily this band! With Thunder we were trying to write in a style that he could work with. It was tough trying to write songs. In four years in that band we only made like six or seven originals. With Untitled, all of us know what we wanna play and we write what we feel. Already we have 12 originals!

N: Do you play any covers?

E: we try to emphasize the originals, I mean, no one makes it big and stays big with merely covers! For fun and laugh though, we do some covers, primarily Green Day, Ramones, Rancid and the Misfits. We did rockaway beach in our first show and it went over great! Joey and Dee Dee would be happy!

N: Yeah, it’s a good one. I bet they’re smiling down on ya! So how many live shows have you done with Untitled since you started playing together?

E: Well, oddly enough, this past Friday march 26th we just had our first gig. We did another show at Curly’s Coffee Shop in Amherst NH in February because of spontaneity. Steven’s other Band “For Your Own Good” was playing that night and another band was running late. Steven approached the woman there and said his other band was available to play. So, with the help of other bands to gather equipment, we had a show on Feb. 13. We have another show booked at Curly’s April 24th and we might have one for 4/3 but it’s tentative right now.

N: Very cool. So let’s say there’s a musician, we’ll call her Tina, and she names her instruments. Do you think that’s weird, or have you named your bass as well?

E: Well, Tina isn’t as cuckoo for cocoa puffs as people might think. Obviously if she has an affection and admiration for something like that she’ll do something like name it to show how much she cares for it. Me personally I haven’t named any of my basses. If someone told me to give it a name or else they’ll blow my head off ill call it “blackie”..I don’t know. I did actually give my first car a name before it got into an accident and get demolished.

N: (Gives a sigh of relief) Well good! It’s nice to see a young man who takes pride in their possessions! What kind of basses do you have?

E: I have this black fender p-bass with all these stickers I have on it. it plays like (expletive deleted) cause one of the bridges is broken but I don’t wanna fix it. I keep it as a memento though and also a practice bass at my house. The one I play now is an Ibanez SR300DX — much lighter and easier to play. I can play a lot faster now

N: You can curse, my publication is pretty rad like that! Infact..what is your favorite curse word?

E: oh all right.. I don’t have one specific curse word I like. I try to use all of them on a constant basis. Oddly enough though, I try to keep from using that sorta fucking shit in my music. Well in case our stuff ever becomes big, i dont want half the words bleeped out on the radio. I mean I’m not Limp Bizkit or something.

N: Yeah, you sure aren’t. My readers are dying to know, does being in a band help you get chicks?

E: Well (chuckle), it certainly does help. From last Friday, a couple members of FYOG came by to show support for us and they brought a few of their goth chick friends as well. After our set I was shooting the breeze with them, thanking them for showing up the whole nine yards, and out of the blue one of them gives me this big ass hug and I wasn’t even asking for one. I’m not going to advertise myself after a show to have some girl get all cozy with me and shit. If it happens it happens you know. If it don’t, as long as everyone left the place with a smile on their faces from our set it’s all great gravy. Oh and by the way, for the record, did I mention one of the women hugged me?!

N: Dually noted. So let’s say you had an opportunity to play a show with some famous band, regardless of what kind of band they are, alive or dead, who would you play with?

A: Hmm…. I would have to say if they were dead, the Ramones … duh! If alive, maybe Metallica, circa 1988, during their “and justice for all” days, or Black Sabbath. Yah know, join Ozzy on stage for a rousing cover of paranoid. SHARON!!!!!!!!!!

N: If you had to have sex with Kelly Osborne, would you do it with a paper bag over her head or without?

E: Definitely with! If she had a better face, then without.

N: Well that’s pretty obvious. She’s heinous. So how do you feel about the music scene in Boston?

E: well it seems like there’s a lot of bands just bubbling in the pot. There’s a lot of good talent out there and I’m surprised that very few bands can actually go to California just to see if they make it. Without the base of a major label in the Boston area, bands have to suffer through long nights in clubs and bars for chump change. Any band from today that makes it from Massachusetts (Staind, Godsmack, etc.) either needs to relocate to NYC or LA to have people listen to them or they have to have connections in the business.

N Are there any other bands, asides from yours, from Boston that we should look into?

E: If you’re looking for a good band to mosh to and punch someone out I’d say The Hound. The friggin’ solos they pull off rival Kirk Hammett from Metallica. Steven’s other band For Your Own Good always impresses me. The energy that quintet exudes on a nightly basis cannot be matched. I’ve seen the vocalist almost pass out a few times. Maybe that’s why they bring the girls: to give him mouth to mouth. HAHAHA! For other talent, Jonee Earthquake always can put a laugh on your face. And he don’t overkill the jokes either. I’ve also heard great things about the Rydells, Meat Depressed, Paint the Town Dead, and the Numbskulls.

N: Well thank you for your time. Before I go I’ve got some very important pressing questions id like to ask you. If you were being sued in TV. court, who would you want to be your judge, Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, or Judge Reinhold?

E: I’d say judge Judy … I know for a fact she wont leave any stones unturned. she dont beat around the bush, but she wont overstep her bounds. ive seen her on TV a few times

N: What cartoon character do you find yourself the most attracted to?

E: Most attracted to? Well I’ve always thought Daphne from Scooby Doo was hot. I got a thing for redheads.

N: And lastly, on a scale of one to ten, how hot am I?

E: well um … ((nervous chuckle))

N: Just answer the question, may I remind you you’re under oath

E: I’m under oath? Where’s the Bible at?

N: Quiet you, never mind. Thank you Eric!

To check out Almost Untitled go to http://almostuntitled.cjb.net/.

Return of the Kings of Metal

Seven years ago, heavy metal rocked the Northlands Colliseum.

Times have changed, the arena has changed, the show has changed… but heavy metal is back.

On March 22nd Metallica and Godsmack blew the roof off of Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and I was there amidst the guitar riffs and reefer smoke. In recent years Metallica has come under fire for their lawsuit against Napster and their latest album, St. Anger, which wasn’t really given as fair a shake as it deserved as far as critics are concerned(see Chaos’ review of St. Anger elsewhere on this site for a very in-depth analysis that puts most professional critics to shame). When the lights went down, however, not a single person in the arena could care less about Napster or the critics. On March 22nd it was all about Metallica.

But first it was about Godsmack. Because security insisted on searching every single person who entered the venue for drugs(they didn’t look very hard, judging by the entire row of folks stoned stupid in front of me), the show which was supposed to start at 7:00 didn’t begin until closer to 8:00. People complained, but once the music started all was forgiven. An extended version of “Awake” kicked things off, followed by Godsmack frontman Sully Erna informing people that there was only one rule to a Godsmack/Metallica show: “nobody sits on their asses like a fuckin’ 85 year old man”. That said, everybody was on their feet as the band tore through “Straight Outta Line”, “Keep Away”, and a song off of their first album that I can’t remember the name of. Then came “Voodoo”. Lights designed to look like candles illuminated the stage and lighters everywhere were lit. Words can’t really describe the amazingness of hearing this song live, so I won’t even try. What I can describe, however, is the dueling drums that followed it up. The regular drummer, who’s name I don’t recall started a drumline. The spotlight then shone on the second drumset, which everybody had thought was Metallica’s, behind which Sully was perched playing bongos. After several minutes and some improvised guitar and bass parts, Sully broke out some sticks and the drum duel began, with each drummer trying to outdo one another. After several more minutes, an absolutely superb version of “Whatever” and an excellent rendition of “I Stand Alone”, Godsmack was done.

After a plug for a documentary based on the making of St. Anger and all the drama involved with James Hetfield’s alcohol abuse, and an intermission long enough to allow the stage to be modified with a weird ramp thingie(excuse the technical terms) that would allow Metallica’s members to go all over the stage(which was massive) without much trouble, it was time. The lights went down and the sound came on, and it was wild. Trying to put the feeling and energy of the show into words would be a waste of effort on my part. It was one of those “you have to see it to believe it” sort of things. ‘Tallica’s playlist included “Blackened”, “Harvester of Sorrow”, “Frantic”, “St. Anger”, “Nothing Else Matters”, “Welcome Home(Sanitarium), and “King Nothing”, as well as the heavy hitters of the show. “Sad But True”, which was supposedly the last song of the night, was a big hit with the crowd, who sang along throughout the entire tune. Then everybody thought the show was over. Nope. Wrong. For the first of three or four times, Metallica started playing again after they said they were done.

The place went dark. Pyro the likes of which I’ve never seen before went off around the lighting fixtures. It sounded like and looked like everybody in the building had each tossed a grenade at the stage. When the lights came back up the lighting fixtures had been replaced with twisted steel hanging limply from the ceiling and “One” started up. “Master of Puppets”, the second best song of the night, and “Seek And Destroy”, number one, were the highlights in my opinion. Those two tracks had the entire audience headbanging and screaming for more. After “Seek And Destroy”, it was all over. Actually all over, not just another false ending.

I went home exhausted, smelling like pot, and basking in the knowledge that I had just attended the greatest concert of my life.

Viva La Radio

Growing up at the height of grunge will do things to a person. Things like instill a mistrust for things mainstream and people who bathe too often. As a child of the ’80’s and an adolescent of the ’90’s, I have found that after the death of pop-grunge, a lot of kids went underground to find ‘good’ music; music that those poor, ignorant mainstreamers were not exposed to. The underground and indie scene fed young teens with enough disenfranchisement propaganda to jade even the most innocent of 13 year-olds. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but like all “movements,” it had its flaws. For those kids who had a brain enough to understand the motives behind the movement, indie became a way of life. Some of us dropped out and glided back into the mainstream, but only enough so that the guidance counselors didn’t mislabel us as “gothics.” Most found a nice blend of mainstream loathing and complete ignorance of the scene. Funny how “scene kids” never really seem to know what the scene is all about.

So many of us mainstream drop-outs are the same today, wondering what exactly it was about the nineties that made us want to rebel against the system when we didn’t even know what the system was or why we were rebelling. I have finally come to the realization that the scene has done nothing to promote individuality or alternative thinking. When your biggest fans are under 18, how can you possibly create a movement free from human vice? We are all animals, slaves to human nature, and no matter how the scene tries, thirteen year olds will be sheep no matter what. We indies make snap-shot judgments just as quick as the pop-punkers of today. We just aren’t as quick to admit it. So it all leaves me wondering, just what is so evil about mainstream?

With the advent of mainstream music’s new strategy, I have been finding it increasingly harder to be the disenfranchised jaded youth I so proudly thought I was. Radio has been, so my surprise, decent, for the first time since Pearl Jam made that horrible business move and Courtney pretended she didn’t kill Kurt. That tricky beast that is public radio has made me both squirm and jump for joy. Take K-Rock for example, the well known home of Howard Stern and New York City’s one and only new-rock radio. I hardly ever tune in because I can satisfy myself with enough distaste at the nu-metal, pop-punk; white-rapper-only crap they play that makes me cringe (even though I can usually recite all the lyrics with a shameful face). But I have invested time and interest in the radio as they have begun to cater to a more enlightened audience. Mainly the entire lot of us grunge-rockers of the early nineties. The chalk lines of mainstream have been erased and we are united once again. The trend-grunger’s, grunge-gone-indie’s, and mainstream-drop-out’s are back together.

Here’s the deal: radio stations across the country have been mixing in a lot of decent new rock with a good portion of stuff that hasn’t seen much air-time since the early ’90’s. Why? well we grunge-rockers have reached the age of ad-campaign glory! The drinking age. With the radio stations pulling most of their listeners from an underage audience, they cannot find the backing from alcohol companies who have suddenly grown morals (well, legal morals anyway). So to bring back the twenty-something’s to the airwaves, they are employing a strategy not used for as long as any of us young-adults can remember. With a movement like this, maybe we can break out of the teeny-bopper mentality that has plagued even the most hard-core of anti-establishment movements since the turn of the 20th century. So maybe all mainstream isn’t badonly the mentality and motives of the big business world that surround it.

Case and point: the squirming part mentioned above comes in at my frustration at the Howard Stern situation. Clear Channel and the FCC have concocted yet another evil plot to silence a voice that threatens the world of politics and business. Motivated and supported by the political silencing of the Bush era, Howard Stern is being forced off the radio after many years of pleasing listeners with his one of a kind brutality in the business of shock-jocking. Now, I never listened to Howard Stern all that much, and sometimes I whole-heartedly disagree with what he does and says on the radio. But I like his vibe, what he stands for and I defend his freedom of speech that is being stripped from him on a technicality. Even K-Rock, his home station, is supporting him in his battle and is proudly proclaiming their role in his rise to fame and glory. This whole fiasco has reaffirmed why I dropped out of the business of radio patronage and sought to defeat the beast with a pubescent fire in my heart like so many of us back in “the good ol’ days.”

Radio, admittedly for monetary reasons, has finally heard the call of their would be listeners. Catering to an older audience while appeasing the younger crowd and exposing them to music that was popular only a decade ago is a huge step for mainstream airwaves. The possiblity of defeating the short time in which a good song or band can be popular (with more music to play, songs stand a better chance of not being played out) and reviving Generation X (and the younger ones) to acknowledge that the lack of definition is definition in and of itself. Radio has the power of the people on it side, and unlike the moderate success of pop-punk’s anti-establishment gone mainstream, this new mix and ‘customer relations’ policy might actually revive musical society; a group who have either dropped out or given up, both with little results to show for themselves. I now realize that it’s not the music that we hate, it’s the people behind the marketing scams and ad-campaigns and the shock-jock silencers that we loathe. While their motives may not be pure, I will support K-Rock and the new breed of radio, if only to let them know that in my mind, and the mind of thousands of other twenty-something’s, they are on the road to redemption. VIVA LA RADIO!

Wasted Words 23

Recommended download: No Use For A NameComing Too Close

Hey folks. I’ve got a few quick news bits and some album previews. I picked up the new N.E.R.D. album, Fly Or Die, today. I’ll drop a quick review of it in next weeks column. Enjoy.

The FBI has joined the investigation into Notorious B.I.G.’s murder, which occurred seven years ago. They will be checking into a theory that Los Angeles police officer, David Mack, was involved in the shooting along with Suge Knight. All I can say is that it’s about time. On a related note; B.I.G.’s Mother, Voletta Wallace, has filed a wrongful-death suit against the LAPD. She’s alleging that there was a cover up to hide police involvement in her son’s murder. The case is scheduled to go to trial on July 27.

Chicago band, Numb, will head out on the road this summer for a short tour of the East coast. There will be six dates in total. The trek begins in Pittsburgh, PA on June 20 and will finish up on June 27 in Raleigh, NC. Other dates will include Buffalo, NY, Baltimore, MD, and Richmond, VA. If they come to your area, you should really try to check them out.

Some great new albums to look forward to in the next few months…

Sugarcult has a new album due out April 13. The album is titled Palm Trees and Power Lines, and will feature an enhanced CD with live concert footage.

Autopilot Off also have a new album due out on April 13. The album will be titled Make A Sound and will feature the single What I Want, which was CO-written by Tim Armstrong of Rancid.

April 20 will bring us the fifth installment of the BYO Split Series. The album will feature Alkaline Trio and One Man Army, with both bands delivering six new songs each.

New Found Glory will release their new album, Catalyst, on May 18. According to NFG guitarist, Chad Gilbert, “the music on this record is harder. There’s a lot of breakdowns and a lot of riffs that you would normally hear from more of a hardcore band.”

Bad Religion has a new album, titled The Empire Strikes First, due out on June 8. If the album title, song titles, and artwork are any indication, this will likely be a very political album. We all know they’ve got plenty of material to write about these days.

Other albums due out in the next couple of months.
Brazil A Hostage And The Meaning Of Life
Killswitch Engage The End of Heartache
Eighteen Visions Obsession
Slipknot Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses
Funeral For A Friend Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Wasted Words 22

Hello everyone. I’m back again just as I said I would be, with my second column for the week. This one is up on the usual day, sort of. Had a busy day today. Took the kids to the mall to get their pictures taken. Ashley wasn’t having anything to do with it, so we skipped hers for today. She just had them done a few months ago, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Matthew didn’t do bad. We got two decent poses before he decided he would start crying and not stop. Did some shopping, and I picked up some new jeans, a Cat In The Hat DVD for my daughter, and a couple new CDs. I picked up AMP Presents Volume 1: Hardcore for $4.99. It’s got 25 tracks, featuring bands like Atreyu, Bleeding Through, Every Time I Die, Poison the Well, Throwdown, and many more. I also picked up a Trustkill records compilation, titled Blood, Sweat, and Ten Years. It has 18 tracks and features Most Precious Blood, Hopesfall, Nora, and more. It only cost me $3.99. Both are highly recommended to fans of hardcore. On with the news and reviews.

My Boss’s Daughter The story is simple; Tom (Ashton Kutcher) shows up for what he thinks is a date, and ends up volunteering to bird watch his boss’s prized possession, his pet owl. From that point, anything and everything that could possibly go wrong, does. His boss also happens to have a sexy daughter, who is played by Tara Reid. This movie has some funny moments that will make you laugh, but they are few and far between. It just didn’t quite live up to the hype it received. In fact, the only high point for me was seeing Carmen Electra’s breasts through a white T-shirt soaked with water. But who hasn’t seen that already? Bottom line, this is a decent movie worthy of renting for an evening, but I wouldn’t advise dropping down twenty dollars to own it.

EamonI Don’t Want You Back By now, I’m sure most of you have probably heard (or at least heard about) the song, Fuck It(I Don’t Want You Back). Maybe you haven’t. So I gave this album a listen, and my first thoughts were correct. This guy is just another pop star with a gimmick. He takes R&B, adds in a bunch of swear words to appeal to the younger crowd, and there you have it. This has been done before, as well as better by groups like Sons of Funk and Mo B. Dick. There are a couple decent songs on here, such as the previously mentioned single, and Lo Rida which features N.O.R.E. Aside from those two tracks, this album has nothing to offer. At least my girlfriend likes it. Recommended tracks The only two good songs on the album…Fuck It(I Don’t Want You Back), Lo Rida.

YellowcardOcean Avenue If you were to hear their singles, Ocean Avenue or Way Away, you might write these guys off as your typical pop-punk band. While those are both good tracks, they don’t fully represent this bands talent. Their sound is influenced by many musical styles, including pop-punk, emo, country, and they’ve tossed a violin player in the mix as well. They’re not exactly doing anything revolutionary by any means, but they are a bit different than most pop-punk these days. Yes, even as a fan of pop-punk, I admit it gets repetitive at times. Back to the subject at hand, Ocean Avenue. From the fast paced pop-punk sound of Way Away to the mellow, country influenced View From Heaven, this is a great album. One which I highly recommend to fans of Something Corporate, The Starting Line, and Matchbook Romance.
Recommended tracks Way Away, Empty Apartment, and Believe.

You can check out the artwork and track listing for the new Bad Religion album, The Empire Strikes First, over at the Epitaph website. The album is due out June 8 on Epitaph records.

There’s a new Child’s Play movie in the works, titled Seed of Chucky. The movie will feature Method Man playing the role of a rapper-turned-Hollywood director. I liked the first Child’s Play, and even the second and third. But the Bride of Chucky was just plain unnecessary, as this fourth movie sounds like it will be. Regardless, I’m sure when it comes out on DVD I will see it and then I’ll complain about how I wasted 2.99 to rent it.

Those of you looking to see another side of Tupac Shakur, other than what the media portrayed, are in luck. Letters he wrote from prison to actress and model Angela Ardis are going to be published in a book. The book will be titled Inside A Thugs Heart and will be released on May 4. I know I’ll be looking forward to it.

Buckethead has left Guns N Roses. I’m crushed.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Wasted Words 21

Hello everyone, it’s me again. Sorry that I missed last weeks column, but I’m gonna make up for it with two in one week. Honestly, I just didn’t have much to write about. Not only that, but I’ve had a lot on my mind as of late. This month will mark the one year anniversary of my Father’s death. March 27, to be exact. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already. Time just seems to have flown right by. Strange how that works, huh? You lose someone so special, someone who regardless of their flaws, has meant the world to you and life is supposed to continue as normal. They’re gone, and time just keeps going without them. The earth keeps moving, and life goes on, business as usual. I keep a picture of him in a drawer next to my bed. Sometimes I take the picture out, and I sit and look at it. Most of the time I will cry, other times I don’t. I found something a few months after his funeral, that he had written during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It was in a notepad, which he used to take notes in. It said “I ask for God to release my anger, and truly set me free.” Alone, this sentence doesn’t seem very relevant. But when accompanied by the writing we chose for his funeral booklet, it completely makes sense. Here is the piece we chose.

I’m Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free;
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow;
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much;
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me;
God wanted me now, he set me free.

When I read what he had wrote in his notebook, then thought back on the writing we chose, it all made sense. It was like he had written all of these words to us, and left them there for us to read. He asked for Gods help, to release his anger and to set him free. Free from his demons (alcoholism), which no matter how hard he tried, he could not defeat. God answered his plea for help. I too have asked God to release my anger and set me free from my pain. I have chosen to let go of bad memories and remember the great times spent with my Father, and there were plenty. With that, I feel a sense of closure and relief.

In loving memory
John Charles Rhoades
March 22, 1954 – March 27, 2003

Highlights from the Music Snob's Stash Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Hello darling readers! Put on your pith helmets and crack open the vault because it’s time for another exploration into the deep dark depth’s of yours truly’s music collection. Today I am highlighting three of my most beloved albums which I could not possibly live without.

“August and Everything”- Counting Crows
When Mr. Jones came out, everyone and their mom bought this record. I wasn’t really into them when they first came out, so it stayed under the radar for me for a while. My good friend Alla owned the album, and would play it often whenever I would hang out with her. Once I stopped being obnoxious and really listened to it I realized that not only is this album catchy as hell but also really beautiful. Regardless, I never bought the album. I borrowed it from so many people that I was able to learn all the songs without ever actually owning it. Then I borrowed it from this girl Kelly my senior year of school and then conveniently “forgot to give it back to her”, making it a permanent addition to my collection. Oops…my bad.
Every song on this album evokes a different feeling to me. However, with the exception of “Mr. Jones” and “Rain King”, these feelings are all sad or depressing. My personal favorite song on the album, “Anna Begins”, is unbelievably feeling provoking for me. The song deals with the transition from being just “friends with benefits” to a relationship and the ultimatum “it’s all or nothing.” I myself have been in this situation and it ultimately ended very badly. Anyway this is an amazing album, perfect for those rainy days, and for very long train rides.
Best Songs on the Album- “Anna Begins”, “Perfect Blue Buildings” and “Rain King”
“When kindness falls like rain, it washes me away and Anna begins to change her mind. And every time she sneezes I believe its love, and oh lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing.”

“Lucky”- The Goops
“Who?,” you may be asking yourself. The Goops are an AMAZING band, fronted by hard rocking, neo-Debbie Harry’esq Eleanor Whitledge. For those of you who are a fan of the movie “Mallrats”, they do the cover of “Build Me Up Buttercup” playing during the elevator scene. I was always a fan of that cover, and while looking in a bin of cheap c.d’s at Bleaker Bob’s around 1999 I found “Lucky.” I popped it in when I got back home, and my mind was completely blown. This c.d. is fast paced and amazing. The Goops are just as good, if not better, than other girl fronted punk bands like Tilt and Tsunami Bomb. Listening to it really makes you want to fuck shit up.
The songs on this c.d. deal with mainly sex and relationships, so as you all guessed I can relate to the songs very well. Ms. Whitledge sings with just the right amount of girlyness to her angst that her voice is both beautiful and extremely kick ass. The guitars are deep and loud with plenty of tasty licks to satisfy even the metal loving folks out there. If you want your head blown off by a kick ass chick…get this album.
Best Songs on the Album- “Change Your Mind”, “One Kiss Left”, “You Wish” and “Hard Candy”
“I don’t wanna be like you, cause I don’t think you’re bullet proof.”

“Pinkerton”- Weezer
After the huge success of the Blue Album, which is an amazing album, Weezer followed up with “Pinkerton”, which did not sell very much. Rivers Cuomo, devastated by the flop of this album, decided to stop making music for a while and decided to go to Harvard University. What is funny about this is that Pinkerton is by far and away Weezer’s BEST album. The albums which came after “Pinkterton” were not even half as good as it is. Not many people know about this album, which is incredibly unfortunate. I do not remember when I bought this album, but I can say that I don’t know how I lived without it. All the songs on this album are amazing. It is one of the only albums that I can listen to without skipping tracks. It is the most overlooked album I’ve known, because of the recent success of their new albums, as well as the huge following accumulated by the blue album.
The songs are not as poppy as the songs on Weezer’s other albums, but that may be why I love this album so much. There are many memories which come to me when I listen to this c.d. I remember playing “Why Bother?” at an open mic night in high school. My friend Will and I used to sing “El Scortcho” to each other on the phone when either of us were in a bad mood. I used to sit on the grass when it was warm out and play “Butterfly” over and over again. This c.d. reminds me of nothing but good times. Make it yours if you don’t have it, its one of the best investments you could make.
Best Songs on the Album- “Butterfly”, “Across the Sea”, “Pink Triangle”, “Why Bother?” and “El Scorcho”
“Everyone’s a little queer, can’t you be a little straight? I’m dumb she’s a lesbian. Thought I had found the one. We we’re good as married in my mind, but married in my mind’s no good. Pink triangle on her sleeve let me know the truth.”

Until next time, life, love and lollipops!

The Gut: Terrell Owens

The Gut: Terrell Owens

This version of the gut will be a little different than my normal column. It will be in the form of a letter to former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens.

Dear Mr. Owens,
I would like to start off that I am a big fan of your work. While most would point to your incident in Dallas where you spiked the ball after scoring a touchdown or the famous sharpie incident in Seattle and say those were disrespectful I would disagree. I find those incidents and others like it; the Joe Horn cell phone touchdown comes to mind, quite comical. Nothing more than some clean fun at the expense of your opponent. If they didn’t want you to celebrate they shouldn’t have let you into the end zone to begin with.
The meaning of my letter however is not to praise you but to ask you a favor. Shut the hell up Mr. Owens. You were recently traded to the Baltimore Ravens and you were quoted as saying that you wont play for them because they had no right to trade for you because you feel you should be able to pick where you can go. Well Terrell that right is only for free agents, which is something thanks to your bonehead agent you are not. It isn’t the NFL’s job or the 49ers job to file for your free agency, it is that guy you pay 2% of your salary to. But you seem to be blaming everyone but him. I’m pretty sure it will somehow be my fault that you can’t join the Eagles because I wrote this letter.
For the longest time now I haven’t been able to figure out why you haven’t blamed your agent and fired him. Then it hit me. It’s ok to blame the Niners because they drafted you, you didn’t pick them. You did however pick your agent, if you blame him you will indirectly be blaming yourself. Athletes of your stature don’t take responsibility for themselves because you feel like you are infallible. Well Terrell I have news for you, this is your agents fault and you picked him, there I said it, it’s your fault. So do us a favor and be a man, admit that you and your agent made a mistake. Get your ass to Baltimore to take your physical and prey Ray Lewis doesn’t beat your brains in during the first mini camp. You have already made more money than you will ever need; now you are just being greedy. Thank you for your time.

The RKane One’s Wrestlemania XX Prediction Conniption

Well hello there humanoids. T’is I, Richard F’n Kane, with a special pre-RKane Domain column. Now though I suppose I could justify making this the official first edition I have chosen to forego such action, due mainly to the nature of this ‘ere column. Unfortunately I will be absent for an undisclosed amount of time as from tomorrow but I couldn’t leave without putting out a decent-sized effort, seeing as how I’ve yet to fully establish myself as an actual member of the BP.com writing staff. I won’t rant on about why, for this is neither the time nor the place. Plus, frankly… I’d rather just get on with it.

So what does the British Boy Wonder have in store for ya’ll? Well, peep’s, what we have is a wrestling-based mini-column this time round in The RKane One’s Wrestlemania XX Prediction Conniption, which will in turn double as an insight into this revived fan’s current thoughts on all things WWE. I’m toying with different subjects here as last time I focused briefly on the music side of things, seeing as how both subjects will feature heavily in the real column when the time comes. So there. I know there’s still a whole bunch of wrestling fans like myself round these parts so if you are a fan then enjoy, if not… why you readin’?

Oh, before I’d start I’d just like to thank John and everyone else for their tolerance. My professionalism has been severely lacking but I can honestly say that things will change. During my absence I’ll be knocking up the first official RKane Domain and it’ll be big, and it’ll be up as soon as I return. That’s a promise.

Anywayz, let’s get this ball rollin’.
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Women’s Title
If Molly Loses Her Head Gets Shaven
Victoria (C) -V- Molly Holly

Ah, the women’s division. I still don’t care. That being said though we at the very least have two very capable workers here, though I still hope it doesn’t go on for too long. The WWE has made it quite clear where the women stand in their eyes (as proven later on in the card) and as a result it’s pretty much desensitised the majority, hence the lack of interest in the women’s division. In any case my pick for this match is Molly Holly. For one I don’t really think creative has any real idea what to do with Victoria and for two I just really can’t imagine Molly, or any woman for that matter giving up their hair. It’s just… not right. My only hope is that they don’t give the title to Molly just so Lita has someone to feud with. Now THAT’S some painful viewing right there.

Cruiserweight Title
Cruiserweight Open
Chavo Guerrero (C) -V- Rey Mysterio -V- Billy Kidman -V- Ultimo Dragon -V- Funaki -V- Nunzio -V- Tajiri -V- Jamie Noble -V- Shannon Moore -V- Akio

I think I may be in the minority here in saying that I’m quite glad this match was booked. Sure, Rey -V- Chavo would’ve been a dead cert BUT I’m quite happy to wait for a rematch. What I see here is an opportunity for all these 10 guys to shine and I’m guessing there’s going to be PLENTY of high-spots. Hopefully eyes will be opened as a result of this match because the talent the WWE have on offer in their Cruiserweight division is just mind-boggling. I was hoping though that there’d be a guest entry, especially after hearing rumours that the WWE has signed Psicosis. At the end of the day though I’m seeing this match as fuel for the Rey/Chavo feud so with that being said I predict that Chavo Guerrero will retain. It’ll come down to Chavo and Rey, cue interference from Chavo Sr. and voila, you’ve got your rematch at Backlash. Well, one can hope.

Playboy Evening Gown Match
Stacy Kiebler/Miss Jackie -V- Sable/Torrie Wilson

I DON’T CARE! None of these women have any business being anywhere near a wrestling ring! The only reason this match was booked was for eye-candy purposes but hell, that’s what all the damn calendars and diva shoots and whatnot are for! Plus this just promotes what’s wrong with the WWE right now. They’d rather hark on about a totally underwhelming Playboy shoot then give us an actual WRESTLING MATCH. Now aside from the fact that I happen to believe that Torrie Wilson is perhaps the most unspectacular bimbo to ever “grace” the WWE the fact is her and Sable’s latest “wonderful” Playboy shoot was a sham. We’ve already seen both so-called “hotties” in those oh-so “hallowed” pages (hope I’m not coming across as too sarcastic here) and, ya know… we saw a whole lot more the first two times round. So why go do it again? Oh, I see… the lesbian thing. Whoop-dee-fricking-doo! Aaaaanywayz… Sable & Torrie will win, no one will care. The only way they’ll be able to justify having this match on the card is if there’s REAL flesh on display. I don’t care for T&A in wrestling but if they’re gonna keep teasing all the damn time they should at least have the bottle to go that one step further on the biggest show of them all. Oh, and just thought I’d point out that Trish Stratus, whom I respect a great deal has turned down Playboy numerous times. What’s this have to do with anything? The girl worked her ass off to get herself over as a WRESTLER and she’s sticking to her guns, not wanting to go tarnish all that she’s worked for just for a quick boost in popularity flashing her “puppies” in a shoot that the general public will ultimately forget. Yet who does Vince favour? Vince, the guy who just signed two former Playboy playmates instead of women who actually know how to wrestle. Uh oh, I’m ranting…

Chris Jericho -V- Christian
This should be a good ‘un. I’ve actually enjoyed this storyline and with any luck it’ll add a decent amount of heat to what should be a class match. Christian’s finally getting somewhere as a standalone heel and though Jericho as a heel is usually golden I’m confident another face run will freshen his character up again, especially if he ends up paired with Trish for good. So yeah, I’m predicting a Chris Jericho victory here via interference from the vengeful Trish Stratus. Then, if creative has ANY sense whatsoever Jericho and Trish will embrace in one those dramatic bubblegum sitcom moments and this whole storyline will have actually been worth it. And Jericho will be a lucky sonofabitch.

Unites States Title
Big Show (C) -V- John Cena

I don’t really care for this feud but as long as Cena ends up with the US title round his waist I’ll be happy, and it kinda seems as though that’s the only point to this feud anyway. So yeah, I’m predicting a win from John Cena. It SHOULD be an okay match, though I aint expecting anything special. I think Cena needs the belt and in my opinion he’s far more deserving, though to Show’s credit he did deliver a pretty decent promo this past week on Smackdown! He still doesn’t deserve so much air-time though. Unless he loses some damn weight. Which he won’t. So blah.

World Tag Team Titles
Rob Van Dam/Booker T (C) -V- La Resistance -V- Mark Jindrak/Garrison Cade -V- The Dudleys

I don’t actually know if The Dudleys are in yet but I’m assuming so. Either way I don’t care, because I have no reason to care about this match. The Tag Team division on RAW is possibly one of the worst booked divisions ever in the history of the industry so why should I care? Jindrak & Cade will probably pull the upset victory, despite having the collective charisma of a toilet brush. Then maybe they’ll send RVD to Smackdown. Or maybe they’ll just let his contract run out. Because they suck.

The Rock & Sock Connection -V- Evolution
I’m predicting this will be a FUN match, if nothing else. It’ll be nice to see Mick Foley back in action and The Rock’s been extremely entertaining the last few times he’s shown up (despite looking like a complete freak with that stupid goatee). I don’t think we’ll be seeing much action from the injured Ric Flair so it’ll be up to Randy Orton and Batista to put on a good show… which is a little alarming. Orton CAN be good and Batista… well, he sucks but alas, as long as they keep the focus on Foley and Orton things should work out fine. The feud’s been built up quite well over the past few weeks, though I really don’t see Orton as a breakout star. At all. Hell, it’s taken him a feud with one of the greatest legend’s in the business to generate any real heat. I see The Rock & Sock Connection winning this one, because I doubt they’d bring The Rock back in for the biggest show of the year just to lose, although I did have second thoughts about my prediction on this one many times. Oh, and for those who don’t know, that horrible injury Foley sustained at the hands of Orton was REAL. Foley actually asked Orton to hit him as hard as he could during a beatdown. Props to Orton for being brave enough to do it and props to Foley for still being one of the most insanely dedicated guys ever. All hail him. Or else.

Undertaker -V- Kane
Stupid feud, though we all knew it was going to happen. The ONLY thing I’m looking forward to in this match is the return of the Deadman, though I’m apprehensive due to the fact that I don’t really think he can pull it off anymore. We’ll see. Seeing Paul Bearer should be a nice nostalgic touch. Bottom line is though Kane… sucks, frankly. They’ve destroyed him to put it simply. Undertaker will win, obviously, and this match will get over on the premise alone. Content-wise it will most likely suck, because this Deadman aint the Deadman I care to remember.

Brock Lesnar -V- Goldberg
Special Guest Referee “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

I’m looking forward to this match, despite the fact they haven’t have Goldberg on TV in weeks to help promote it. I can see this match being stiff as hell and at the very least it should be intense. Hopefully Austin doesn’t get involved too much during the match. Brock Lesnar will win though, and here’s why. For one I don’t see them renewing Goldberg’s contract (which is a real dumb move, though I’m by no means a Goldberg mark) and for two I’m guessing Vince just sees it as another nail in WCW’s coffin, having WCW’s biggest name lay down for the WWE’s own version (and don’t try and deny that Lesnar was originally meant to be just that.) I’m beginning to think that MAYBE Austin will interfere and cost Goldberg the match though because as many people have said, it would be MONEY to have Austin’s very last feud be against Goldberg.

WWE Title
Eddie Guerrero (C) -V- Kurt Angle

This match will steal the show, no doubt about it. Eddie HAS to win this though so yeah, I predict Eddie Guerrero will retain. Eddie is insanely over and I don’t see why they’d have him beat Lesnar for the title just to hand it Angle a month later. Plus given the way this feud’s been booked it seems Eddie will have the emotional support from the fans, as he’s been booked as the underdog against Angle given all the verbal berating and beatdowns. If Angle wins it will be the dumbest thing the WWE has done in a very, very long time, although I really don’t see it happening as there’s a lot of concern about the condition of Angle’s neck lately, despite him saying everything’s fine. Rumours suggest that creative are a little dubious about keeping Angle in the main-event scene when they can’t be 100% sure that his neck’s going to hold out, which is a fair point I guess. I don’t really think it’d hurt to send Angle down to the midcard for a bit to help put over some of the up-and-coming talent, as there’s no one on Smackdown better for the job. This won’t be the last time Eddie and Kurt clash but after this feud I’d suggest bringing up a fresh face to the main-event scene. Eddie’s a fresh face himself so it’d be a wise move in my opinion.

World Heavyweight Title
Triple H (C) -V- Chris Benoit -V- Shawn Michaels

Poor, poor Benoit. What does his Rumble win mean now? Nothing. This guy never complains, always gives his best, works harder than anyone on the damn roster and how’s he treated? They don’t even have faith in him to headline in a one-on-one match! BULLSHIT! This is all another lame excuse for the Triple H/Michaels egothon to once again steal the spotlight anyway. Fuck Triple H. I seriously hate his lazy ass and his stupid politics. Benoit WON’T win, because Shawn Michaels is going to pin him to win the World Title to prove he can win the “big one” one last time and so that Triple H doesn’t have to lay down on the biggest night of the year. Plus he’d never lie down for the man he could only ever dream of being half as good as anyway. Oh, and has anyone else noticed how much they’re trying NOT to put Benoit over as a face? This makes me wonder if they’re going to have him turn heel so he can feud with Michael’s, culminating in a match at Backlash where Benoit HAS to win that damn belt. If he doesn’t, well… fuck the WWE basically. Still, this will be a decent match as long as they don’t have Triple H dominating for the better part.
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And that’s it folks! I’m looking forward to WM20 a whole damn lot and with ANY luck things will start to pick up after. My faith has only just been rekindled so here’s hoping for a better year for the WWE. Who knows, maybe Vince will become sane again. Then again… no, no he won’t.

Until next time ya’ll keep safe, respect & out!

-RKane

Verbal Assault

(Written in December of 2003)

Finally, I am gonna get my ass in gear and start trying to spray the BP walls with my cerebral Krylon. I eventually plan to attempt to spread my love of the culture known as hip hop to the masses that have been force fed the medias bastard creation called rap music. But for now since we are nearing the end of another 365 days on this rock, I am gonna do a top 5 albums of the year. Don’t be shocked by the fact you have probably never heard of the artists, because the music industry no longer focuses on talent or originality, they focus more on the money making formula that “rap” has created. Sex, drugs, guns, genocide, and mass disrespect of all culture unfortunately have become the status quo for any emcee who actually wants to make a living lacing poetry over beats. I digress.. The Vagabond top 5 for 2003 is popping off with…

5. 7L & Esoteric  Dangerous Connection
Esoteric really showed his ass on this album, versatility was the only flaw I had seen prior to this album. Eso is a notorious punch line emcee, which is usually the sign of a monotonous album. (which is why Copywrite’s album didn’t even come close to my top 5) But on Dangerous Connection the Esoterydactle shows that not only can he flip words to shred an opponent or make you laugh, he can also tell amazing stories. “Terrorist Cell” is a bone chilling account of the moments prior to impact that the terrorists who struck the WTC centers may have been experiencing written as one of the terrorists. “Stalker” is a humorous tale of obsession that must be heard to truly grasp the genius behind it. Esoteric innovates an entire back and forth style (similar to early Run DMC or Fat Boys) performed solo for “Word Association” that is set is in a therapists office. Overall, the album is more that enough for a fan of Esoteric and can easily persuade new listeners with Eso’s delivery and 7L’s constantly growing production.

4. MURS  The End of the Beginning
MURS has been around quite some time on the indy circuit. This album was the first release of his since he signed to DEFJUX. It is an incredible album with topics ranging from nearly being shot for no reason by the PO PO, to a tribute to his second love done in a tribute form to Tupace “Ima Ryder” The song talks about the love he has for skateboarding and is something anyone who killed their shins as a kid trying to land a kickflip would relate to.. The album even has everyones favorite misfit Humpty from Digital Underground fame. Definitely worth peeping out.

3. Brother Ali  Shadows on the Sun
Brother Ali pours his soul onto wax on this album from the intro to the last track. “Forest Whitiker” is a amazing track that explain his appearance (he is an overweight albino black man with red eyes and white hair) and how he still loves himself regardless of what others think. He touches on several subjects including his religion, his upbringing, and his love of his family. Plus he has a few braggadocios tracks just to show he can wreck in a battle as well. Phenominally done album with production from ANT of the rhymesayers crew.

2. Louis Logic  Sin-a-Matic
This was definitely a sleeper album. His persona of a fun loving alcoholic might make you think there is no substance to the album, yet he takes some pretty stiff shots at politicians, and the hypocrisy of our society on Ugly Truth (I recommend anyone with any interest in politics peep it). He still keeps it light hearted on his ode to every mans true best friend “Coochie” A twisted ode to his woman will bring you to tears of laughter on the track entitled “Doo Doo” I highly recommend everyone checks this out. It has acquired much praise from the underground scene and has been called the album of the year by many underground aficionados.

1. The Last Emperor  Music, Magic, Myth
The Last Emperor has been my favorite emcee for a long time now. This is his first official release. He was once signed to aftermath but his project got put on hold when a certain blonde haired phenom was found by Dr Dre. Last Emp has so much substance its ridiculous and his subject matter varies more than any Emcee I have ever heard. “One Life” is an absolutely touching track done with the hook sung by Esthero and a cameo by Poet from Gravediggaz. The song was recorded just weeks before Poet died of colon and liver cancer and while Emp analyzes his thoughts on death, Poet gives you chills by taking you blow by blow through his first encounter with his illness. My wife literally cried when she heard his verse. Last Emp also lays emotion into a track entitled “karma” which is 3 short stories about a man, a woman, and a elderly couple. Amazing. If you have any respect for poetry, spoken word, or creativity in general, this album should be on heavy rotation. It is by far my favorite album of the year and one of my favorites of all time.

Honorable mentions 
Krs-One  The Kristyle (re-release as Kristyles)
Gangstarr  The Owners
Mr Lif  I Phantom
Akrobatik  Balance
Vakill  The Darkest Cloud