Open Mic: Blowing Out The Candles

I don’t care what anybody says, but Autumn is the best season of the year. The atmosphere totally rocks. The leaves change colors, the wind starts gusting just a little bit more, it gets a bit colder and darkness fills up the sky much quicker. Fall gives me a valid excuse to rock my Jncos, my long sleeve tees, my killer hoodies and I can wear suits without feeling steamy. There are so many awesome holidays like Columbus Day (where my working brethren get a day off), Halloween (where kids get free candy), Thanksgiving (so we can stuff ourselves with awesome food) and my birthday on Roctober 26. And you can’t forget about Homecomings. After all, there are tons of parties and opportunities to get inebriated. So many great memories happen people and this is truly my time of the year.

Whenever Roctober hits, I take an enjoyable trip down memory lane. I traveled back through time the other day. I was driving my ’98 Durango and blasted KoRn’s “Got the Life.” It was bumping. Everyone knew what it was about, even old folks gasped for air.

It was Fall of ’98 and innovative movement began. Some people called it rap metal, others coined it nu metal, but I appreciated it for what it was: funky rock music. KoRn just hit it big with “Got the Life” and paved the way for a new breed of angry music. KoRn became the “new” fathers of metal and had their children of the KoRn in developing bands like Limp Bizkit, Incubus and Rammstein. The football jersey, baggy shirt and backwards hat style of dress apparel made it abundantly clear that this was more than music, rather a cultural movement.

This proposes the ever-so-important question of what do you do with so these power pop bands? You take them on tour and teach them family values. That’s it! KoRn took their children on tour and cleverly billed it “The Family Values Tour.” Say what you will, but it worked. Because of this concert series, fans got to familiar themselves with Incubus, Rammstein, Orgy, Limp Bizkit and Ice Cube. Of course, this helped out KoRn a tad little bit. This would be the last time some people heard of these groups. Orgy couldn’t produce another successful cover song (they had a “Blue Monday” to say the least) and Rammstein got hated on (Du Hast).

Could there be signs of this becoming annual? Perhaps. For the most part, everyone benefited, especially Limp Bizkit. They got so big, they had the privilege of headlining the ’99 bill. The ’99 Tour got Primus, Staind, Filter and the Crystal Method some mainstream exposure. And staying true to the Hip-Hop Roots, Method Man, Redman, Mobb Deep and Ja Rule (pre-Murder Inc. years) got in on the scoop. Sadly, Family Values would return once more, in 2001 where Stone Temple Pilots brought Linkin Park, Staind, Static-X and Deadsy for the ride.

Perhaps the day this “rock” style died was the day Family Values discontinued. Honestly, what other tour was going to introduce fans to this type of music? Ozzfest is too hardcore. Llollapalooza is too artsy. Lillithfair already had enough bitches. The bottom line is this: whether you like the above bands or not, the Family Values Tour was a brilliant idea. It became the big tour of the Autumn and introduce new faces to a rock and rap audience. It also really enhanced a lot of careers. A lot of bands blew up. And the fact of the matter is a lot of people say rap rock was a trend that died when KoRn and Limp Bizkit took a backseat. I say the day that music died is when the heart disappeared and quite frankly, the heart was the tour that started it all: The Family Values Tour. Rap Metal died in 2001. Who cares?

Now that I think about it, honestly believe this tour could still be a huge success. Think about it.

A) Family Values was always advertised as the tour of the Autumn. There isn’t another annual concert series which is being held at this time.

B) Bands that have been on the bill before are coming out with new albums. Staind just came out with Chapter V and a hard hitting band like Disturbed, who just debuted on the Billboard Charts at number one with Ten Thousand Fists could be a major headliner. With KoRn, Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver and Incubus going into the studio, they could highlight the tour in the future.

C) This tour would be an excellent opportunity to showcase developing talent (like it did in the beginning). For example, KoRn has a few bands under their label Elementree and Limp Bizkit has Puddle of Mudd, She Sought Revenge, Revolution Smile and Ringside on Flawless Records, Family Values would be a great way to introduce these groups to these audiences.

Shit, why am I wasting my breath with this? Nobody cares. I probably lost readers once I mentioned 1998 or Lillithfair. It’s not like any band will be reading this (even if they did, no one would act on the idea).

So yeah, my birthday is Roctober 26 and I know I’m not going to be getting much of anything. I know I won’t be writing for Rolling Stone and I know I won’t hosting some music program. I also know I won’t be seeing Family Values this year. Well, here’s to another year and another birthday wish that won’t come true. Blow out the candles.

Rob Cantrell: The Real Hustla

It’s a packed crowd at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California. Rob Cantrell walks on stage, grabs the microphone and thanks everyone for coming out. He tells a few jokes, smiles and runs his hand through his fluffy hair. Then suddenly, his tone changes and he starts preaching about strip joints. “I don’t like going to the strip club. I never feel fully satisfied or content,” he explains. “I always walk out feeling mad and confused, thinking to myself, ‘Man, I just paid 60 bucks for a boner.’ I get that for free every morning.”

Rob CantrellWhile everybody laughs, Cantrell continues his set and why shouldn’t he? He’s living his dream. Rob Cantrell, 32, is a stand-up comedian who tours all over the country. Sure, appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn has furthered his career, but he’s been on one wild rollercoaster ride.

The rollercoaster began in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Sure, he was living in the nation’s capital, but still had a regular childhood. “I was pretty spastic. I was never really that good at sports, but I played video games, threw rocks at things and goofed off with my friends,” he says. “All I wanted to do was have fun and ride my Huffy bike around town.” Amazingly, that bike never broke on him. Just like many other kids, his family moved. He would share time living in Buena Vista, Virginia and D.C. When he was 10 years-old, his father passed away. He’s mother played a more active role in his life, especially when it came to academics. So when he applied to colleges, he chose to go to Denison University, a small school in Ohio. “My mom is really from the old school. She’s very exact and just wanted me to go to college,” he explains. “Denison was small and I got in. That was the big thing … and that was the best one I got into to tell you the truth.”

After receiving his English degree (and drinking a lot of Boone’s Farm), he decided to explore Southeast Asia in late 1999. “I took some time to travel around, get my mind straight and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” he states. “I went to Cambodia, Indonesia, Mali and other places, but then, I ran out of money and was in California.”

He lived with his friend in San Francisco and decided to try teaching out, but after a year and a half at a private school, he realized education wasn’t for him. He decided to try out stand-up comedy. “When I was 13, I wanted to go to Open Mics,” he admits. “I always had these clippings of Open Mics, but at that point, I was just looking to grow up. So stand-up kinda took a backseat until I was 26.” He would work odd jobs during the day and crack jokes crowds at night. Rob Cantrell was getting involved in the hustle game.

Bear: So Rob, are you a hustla?
Rob: Yea, all day, everyday. I’m the hustla, but I don’t carry a piece or a gun.
Bear: So you’re a peaceful hustla?
Rob: Yea, I’m kinda like a broken down hustla. But I’m still a hustla.

He was hustling for over three and a half years before his break came. In 2003, NBC had an open audition for their new reality series Last Comic Standing. Cantrell tried his luck and impressed the producers. “They kept calling me back, I kept going up and I got through the preliminary round in San Francisco,” he claims. “They invited me out to L.A., I had seven dollars in my pocket and I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep my job. Things were falling apart.” But little did he know things were starting to fall into place. He went to the West Coast Regionals in Los Angeles and astonished the celebrity judges. He went to the Finals in Las Vegas and the momentum kept building. At the end of the night, he was chose to compete on last Comic Standing and Jay Mohr gave him a key to the comic house.

Rob CantrellHe secured his spot on the show, but now, he was in competition with nine veterans to see who would be the Last Comic Standing. Comedians would be eliminated every couple of days and when it was down to eight, Cantrell was on the chopping block. He was voted into the “Elimination Match” and he chose to test his comedic skills against heavyweight Ralphie May. “I respected Ralphie and I know he was the most feared out of the comics because he is so funny and all the audiences like him so much,” Cantrell explains. “If I did take him, I would look like the man and if I didn’t, there would be no shame in it.” At the end of the round, the audience sent Cantrell packing. Instead of being down on his luck, the comedian stayed positive. “It wasn’t meant to be and with the amount of exposure there was, I couldn’t be bummed up. It was all good on all fronts.”

Rob Cantrell was out of the competition, but he’s been quite active since Last Comic Standing. Right after the show ended, he hit the road with Jay Mohr, appeared on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and was selected by National Lampoon to showcase his talent on the DVD series, The Rising Stars of Comedy. Speaking of DVDs, he recently produced, directed and wrote his own performance film/documentary entitled Metaphysical Graffiti. “It’s sort of a collage of four of my best shows with some outtakes for what it’s kinda like to be a comic, to go to these gigs and hang out backstage,” he explains. It begins with the comedian cracking jokes at Dublins, a comedy club in L.A. and throughout the film, he can be seen kickin’ it with comics, making pit stops and performing at other shows. Metaphysical Graffiti is sold exclusively at and because a limited amount of copies were made, he doesn’t mind if you burn the DVD and give it to a friend.

As you could tell, Rob Cantrell is a laid back kinda guy. He can mellow-out to Beck and the Flaming Lips and get crazy with Lil’ Jon and Clutch. He’s not the most famous celebrity, but more like a B-list rock star. Actually, he describes himself as “a little bit of cheese metal with a little bit of bling-bling rap mixed in with a 3 year-old dorky white boy.” Regardless, he’s living his dream; he tells jokes, makes people laugh and gets paid. “I don’t need to be the biggest celebrity in the world, I don’t need to be Tom Cruise. I don’t give a fuck anymore,” he proclaims. “I want to make cool art and stuff I can respect. If I can make a living off of that, it would be icing on the cake.”

Keep on hustling, Rob. Tom Cruise has nothing on ya.

Open Mic: The Freaky Nasty Version

There are some unforgettable names in the music world like Madonna and Cher. Freak Nasty may not be the classiest names, but one of the oddest ones, therefore it will stick in your mind. If they name sounds familiar, it’s probably because of their ever so freaky (and nasty) ’96 single “Da Dip.”

Now I know a lot of you are wondering the same thing: what kind of “dip” is this. At first, I thought it was a type of lip tobacco or lappy. So I put a lappy in my lip and started dancing to “Da Dip,” but vomited shortly after. I ruled out that this type of “dip” was tobacco related and that was nasty. My second thoughts were potato chip dip. So, I had a bunch of chips and dip while dancing to “Da Dip,” but I got a tummy ache and couldn’t go to the bathroom for a few days. Trust me, it was freaky nasty. The only other “dip” I thought this could be was a sexual position. So, I found a chick and decided to try it out. I put my hand up on her hip and it felt good when I dipped, she dipped, we dipped. But when she put her hand upon my hip, it didn’t feel right. It was freaky nevertheless.

I finally figured out that this type of “dip” was a dance and it had instructions. “Da Dip” was Hip-Hop’s answer to “The Electric Slide.” Let me tell you, I thought this song was bad ass. I knew all the words and memorized the dance moves. Oh yes, because of “Da Dip,” I was ready to bring it. I actually did bring it … but the pastor at my church wasn’t too pleased when I was doing “Da Dip” at one of their events. He wasn’t down with that. Freak Nasty wasn’t his cup of tea, so let’s see why you shouldn’t mix “Da Dip” with tea.

Verse 1

“Just put a little dip wit’ it, now roll those hips wit’ it,
Pop it, push it, rock it, roll it. Can’t control it? I’ll come hold it,
It’s all in fun, so take a chance,
Just get on the floor and do that dance.”

Here Freaky Nasty is, giving instructions on how to dance. It’s like the Hip-Hop “Electric Slide.” Speaking of the “Electric Slide,” it seems like I’m the only white person who doesn’t know how to do that dance. Whenever the music comes on, every white person jumps on the dance floor and starts doing the “Electric Slide” as if they choreographed it. It’s automatic and obviously, it hasn’t been programmed in my head. Personally, I kinda get a kick out of doing “Da Dip,” because it’s like grinding. Honestly, who doesn’t prefer grinding?

Verse 2

“Back again with the second verse.
It’s all clean, so I’m not gonna curse.”

Well shit, thanks for the warning. Maybe I won’t listen to the rest of this song because it’s PG rated. How you like me now, Mr. Nasty?

Verse 3

“This is my world. I’m just a squirrel,
Tryin’ to get a nut. So what’s up?”

Wow. First of all, this doesn’t even rhyme. Secondly, why are you calling yourself a squirrel? Out of all that animals, why a squirrel? They get like ran over and live in trees and some people decide to shoot at them. Thirdly, why are you trying to get some nut? Throughout this whole song, you’re telling girls to shake their bon-bons and now, you want some nut? DAMN, you’re freaky … and nasty.

I’m sorry, but after that last comment, I’ve had enough. I will admit, I put my hand upon my hip and then, I dipped and I couldn’t get up. And right now, I don’t wanna.

Open Mic: Sorry Dolly, but Billy Ray ain't no Romeo

I think one of the most disappointing thing a male can see is a beautiful woman dating one ugly son of a bitch. I’m sorry girls, but it’s the truth. Some of you ladies date the biggest and ugliest jerks around.

Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus are a prime example. Sure, these two never dated, but seeing this country diva call Billy Ray a “Romeo” is a slap in the face to William Shakespeare.

See, the year was 1992 and Billy Ray Cyrus was in the height of his popularity. He had woman whimpering and rocking out to his smash “Achy Breaky Heart,” was selling out arenas and was having kids with a few women. So how do you keep this red neck’s popularity going? You pair him up with country diva Dolly Parton for a special duet. The song was called “Romeo” and this song was awesomely bad on all fronts (I hope VH1 doesn’t sue me for saying “awesomely bad”). So let’s really take a look at the stats of this so-called country pairing of Romeo and Juliet:

Dolly Parton as “Juliet”: Juliet is supposed to be dazzling. She’s supposed to be the hottest chick in all the kingdom, wear these extravagant dresses and have the most beautiful jewelry. Dolly Parton has huge knockers. Juliet’s like the head diva of Verona. Dolly Parton is like the head diva of country music. Ok, I buy this.

Billy Ray Cyrus as “Romeo”: Romeo is supposed to be this suave dude. This guy is supposed to know how to rhyme well, dance well and have a big heart. Billy Ray Cyrus has none of the above. Three words spring to mind: Achy, breaky and heart. “Achy Breaky Heart” doesn’t sound cool when it’s said, the “Achy Breaky” dance looks like he’s playing hop scotch and how can he have a heart if it’s achy and breaky? Come on. Now if it were Jay-Z, he’d probably have his first bitch problem.

The video is so boring, I really don’t know if I can insult it. I mean, it’s in black and white, it’s in a really bad bar and the cheesiest thing is when Billy Ray Cyrus walks in towards these girls with the wind blowing at him when he walks in. He doesn’t look like Romeo, but more like a stalker. Yea, he has the stalker’s profile. He’s a 30 year-old white man who sports classic mullet and looks like he hasn’t shaven since Shakespeare held a play at The Globe Theatre.

Anyways, here’s a bunch of lyrics you won’t find in one of Shakespeare’s scripts.

Verse 1 – Dolly Parton

“A cross between a movie star and a hero in a book
Romeo comes struttin’ in and everybody looks
‘Cause he’s just got that special thang that everybody needs
And everybody wants him but not as bad as me”

Cross between a movie star and a hero in a book? I tend to think Billy Ray Cyrus is more like a cross between Alan Jackson and Joe Dirt. And what’s that special thang that everybody needs, Dolly? Huh? A fur coat? Cocaine? Larger breast implants? Wait, it’s probably money that can be used to buy a fur coat, cocaine and larger breast implants. By the looks of it, you don’t need larger breast implants, but who knows, it couldn’t hurt, right?

Verse 2 – Dolly Parton

“My temperature keeps risin’ every time we meet
I may not be in love but let me tell you I’m in heat”

Your temperature keeps rising but your not in love? Hey Dolly, relax. Whenever you keep “meeting” this odd individual who keeps following you around, it’s only natural to want to kick his or her ass (coughStalkeRcough).

Chorus – Dolly Parton

“Romeo, Romeo, I just know I’ll get you yet
Romeo, Romeo, I want to be your Juliet”

Honestly girl, if Billy Ray Cyrus is Romeo, I really don’t think you want to be his Juliet.

Verse 3 – Billy Ray Cyrus

“So step it high, step it low, step it out and in,
Step to the side, let it slide, then steppin’ up again
Step on toes, it all goes, steppin’ as you please”

See, this is what I’m getting at. Not only is Billy Ray really bad at rhyming, but he proves he’s even awful at giving dance directions. I bet he would somehow mess up the Hokey-Pokey. Billy Ray, here’s some advice: practice the Electric Slide before you go to the club.

I know a lot of country music lovers are thinking, “God Bear, you’re such an asshole.” Well I’m sorry to break your achy heart, but this song is just like surprise casserole: you really don’t know what it is and you don’t want to find out.

Thank god these two didn’t get married. I don’t even wanna think about what those kids would have looked like.

Open Mic: How fun is Sheryl Crow?

It’s 1:30 in the morning. My headphones are blaring and I’m listening to classic 90’s rap … “Ghetto Superstar” to be exact. I’m writing an article for a major hip-hop publication and I’m in the groove. I got my heading, my interview transcript in-front of me and I’m about to write. But right when I’m in the middle of my grind, “All I Wanna Do” starts blasting throughout my headphones. Some people call that a mood killer, but I’ll call it a cock block. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the song and it is so damn bubble-gum poppy that I’m forced to listen to it. But not only do I get out of the mood to write, but I after I listen to the whole song, I realize how fucked up Sheryl Crow really is.

Let me give you the background on Sheryl, here. She’s tall, attractive and back in the day, she was a back-up singer to Michael Jackson. Obviously, she has enough talent to write a really bad song and make a lot of dough off of it. And it all began with “All I Wanna Do.” So let’s find out what she wants to do and Sheryl, it’s “want to do,” not “wanna do.”

First Verse

“It’s apropos of nothing he says his name is William/But I’m sure he’s Bill or Billy or Mac or buddy.”

Are you kidding me? He said his name is William. Why are you calling him Billy? Damn, you’re rude.

“We are drinking a beer at noon on Tuesday, the bar faces a giant car wash/The good people are washing their cars during their lunch break.”

Sheryl, who the hell washes their car on their lunch break? I worked in the City last year and most of the time, when they were on lunch break, they either were at the pizzeria or at the bank. Obviously, you’re a little tipsy.

Second Verse

“I like a good beer buzz early in the morning and Billy likes to peel the labels from his bottles of bud.”

Sheryl, that’s what we call an alcoholic. You are pretty much saying you’re shitfaced before 6:30 AM and Billy is sexually frustrated. Now, if you have another beer, you’ll probably pass out and that’s no fun … but who said it couldn’t be fun for Billy?

“He lights up every match in an oversized pack letting each one burn … Down to his thick fingers before blowing and cursing them out”

Ok, so Billy is drunk and probably a retard. And Sheryl, you notice his thick fingers and him blowing? Someone’s horny.

Third Verse

“Otherwise the bar is ours, the day and the night and the car wash too.”

Ok, by now you finished drunk sex and are completely hungover.

Sheryl Crow doesn’t want to have fun. She wants to have drunk sex in a car wash. That’s good for Billy, unless if he rather play with matches.

I think we all can come to two conclusions here. One, this song is terrible, lyrically. Secondly, Eric Clapton is a lucky old man.

Open Mic: No Jordan Knight, I will not "Give It To You."

I really don’t know where to start. It was around 8:50 last night when I was about to jump on my computer to write my assignment for and just when I’m about to get started, power outage. Ok, it happens.

About an hour and a half later, power comes back on, so I relax for a few minutes. It’s about midnight and things are about to pop. I have Ludacris blaring through my headphones, I’m looking over my ODB story and I’m writing the sucker. Then, it happened. Suddenly, I hear this poppy Italian music thing. Obviously, I’m not listening to Ludacris anymore. Instead, Jordan Knight’s “Give It To Your” is blaring.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Bear, what the fuck? You’re a hip-hop journalist and you’re listening to Jordan Knight? Wasn’t he in New Kids On The Block? Dude, why do you even have him on your computer?”

Let me be the first to clear this up. I am a music junkie and I would try to compete with my friend to see how much cheesy pop music I could download (oh and believe me, I can listen to some really bad music without getting annoyed. After all, I bought Limp Bizkit’s new CD.) Not only can I handle more pop music than him, but this backfired on me on my later in life, but I am writing about this.

Here is the 411 on Knight. Jordan Knight was a member of New Kids On The Block who had a short semi-successful career as a solo artist in the late 90’s, I think ’97 or ’98. Anyways, after “Give It To You,” Knight pretty much fell of the face of the Earth, but was casted for VH1’s The Surreal Life and ironically, I was talking to my editor about The Surreal Life yesterday. For some extra knowledge, Joey McIntyre (Another NKOTB alumni) had his own solo gig too around the same time. Not only was he more popular, he had a semi-successful follow-up album, did multiple MTV appearances, casted for the TV series Boston Public and is probably best known for “I Love You Came to Late.” I can’t believe I know all this. Either I’m a big music junkie or I am a big loser. Nay, I’ll vie for music expert.

His video did teach me a lot of lessons I will remember when breaking into show business.

Video Point#1: Don’t Look GQ at a Carnival
The video takes place at a Carnival. Then, you got Jordan Knight standing there like a pretty boy. Honestly, how many pretty boys do you see at a carnival looking all GQ?

Video Point #2: “The Robot” is still not sexy
At the end of every verse, he does a dance. It looks like “The Robot.” Jordan, here’s a little bit of knowledge: “The Robot” went out like in 1983. The point of “The Robot” is to make people laugh. Now, if you’re doing “The Robot” to a romantic song, chances are you probably won’t get laid. “The Robot” isn’t sexy. Next time, do “The Moonwalk.”

Video Point #3: The new Vanilla Ice
There are a lot of great things from the past which are damn cool. Vanilla Ice isn’t one of them. He was a fad that should have been left in the past, but Jordan Knight is trying to re-create him. Think about it: both have extremely successful careers and world-wide fame in the early 90’s. Both their careers are somewhat rejuvenated in the late 90’s. In the video, Jordan Knight’s hairstyle is identical to Ice’s from back in the day. Lastly, Vanilla Ice was on The Surreal Life 2. Jordan Knight was on The Surreal Life 3. “Knight, Knight baby?”

Video Point #4: You got served?
In the middle of the Carnival, Jordan Knight wants to impress this chick and get in her pants. What is the best way to get into a girl’s pants? Not through money, not through looks, but through dancing like a pop star. In the video, Jordan Knight suddenly takes off his jacket, throws it to the side and a bunch of dancers out of nowhere come out and here’s a huge dance scene. On a personal level, whenever I rip off my jacket to dance, no one comes out to dance with me. If anything, people laugh at me. Very realistic, Jordan. I give you props though, you pretty much spawned You Got Served.

That’s just the video. Honestly, it looks like he went to the GAP, bought the nicest clothes he could find, went to a Carnival and woo la. Here are some of the disturbing lyrics.

“It’s creeping around my head, holding ya down in my bed, you don’t have to say a word, I’m convinced, you want it.”

So what are you offering her? Jello? Your comic book collection? A Vanilla Ice CD? A haircut? I hope that’s all you are offering because, if I didn’t think any better, it sounds like you’re trying to persuade a chick into having sex with you. Actually, I’m wrong. It could be a guy, I don’t know your sexual orientation.

“Anyone can make you sweat, but I can keep you wet.”

I beg to differ. I find it hard to believe anyone can make ya sweat. Personally, unless you’re a really hot chick or a 6’9″, 300 pound assassin, I probably won’t sweat. Well, maybe if I play basketball. And as far as keeping someone wet, I doubt that. I dare you to throw a bucket of water on someone, at the most they will be damp. DAMP.

“The feeling is fine, giving you everything of mine!”

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. Either you ended that song high pitched or your voice cracked. Trust me when I say no one will want to jump in the sack with you now. And if you hooked up with the person before, it won’t happen again. Just give away the comic book and leave it at that.

Unfortunately, Jordan Knight’s career went downhill after this song, But just when one star falls, a new one rises. In this case, he brought on Ricky Martin. Thanks a lot Jordan Knight … thanks a lot! ALE ALE ALE!

Music ReView: Limp Bizkit: The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)

Limp Bizkit has been on a crazy rollercoaster ride for the past few years. After Wes Borland (the group’s original guitarist) left the band in October 2001, Fred Durst (lead singer) went to Guitar Centers all over the country on a crusade to find a new axe-man. Instead, they found Snot’s Mike Smith at a bar and used him for their 2003 effort, Results May Vary. Fans flocked to the disc like a pair of sweaty gym socks and then, threw them away. Late last year, Borland came back and Smith was canned.

So what do you when the original gang is back together again? You write about it in your blog ofcourse. That’s what Fred Durst and all the cool 13 year-olds do. He used his online journal to explain to Internet fans his distaste for the media and how powerful the messages in Limp Bizkit’s new songs were. Additionally, after hacking into his personal computer, Internet fans got to view “The Fred Durst Sex Tape” (which would later be taken off all porn web sites after a lawsuit was filed). So, a couple of blog entries and a sex tape later, Limp Bizkit released their fifth studio album The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1).

Just like any other Limp album, they progressively become worse. From the opening guerilla ballad, “The Propaganda,” Durst shows his talent of rhyming words and failing miserably when he spits, “Wanted dead or alive is my profile/Hostile is the frame for my state of grace … Main attraction, fuck you in your pussy mouth/Cum again friend, now we got some action.”

The record gets slightly better. Although the next five songs have cheesy, yet difficult to understand messages, the rhythms are hard and furious. However, on the last track, “The Surrender,” it seems like Limp’s car ran out of gas. It’s like everyone gave a half-ass effort, especially Durst who starts the song off with an oxy moron as he whines (yes, whines), “Don’t label me a monster, I’m a monster just like you/Don’t label me a victim, I’m a victim just like you.”

The record consistently tries to mimic Rage Against The Machine and ironically, Fred Durst has stated in the past he hates posers and people who rip him off. In any event, The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) only contains seven songs and lasts around 30 minutes. At least Limp Bizkit had the common courtesy to put fans out of their misery within a half hour.

This rollercoaster ride has come to a stop and I think I’m gonna be sick.

Limp Bizkit: The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)
Rating: 1.75 stars out of 5
Record Label: Flip/Geffen Records
Official Website:

Lookin' Under The Lid #3: Romeo and Juliet

In 1996, Director Baz Luhrmann put a post-modern twist on one of the most romantic love stories told with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The characters traded in their rags for Versace, their daggers for pistols and castles for elaborate mansions in this Shakespeare remake. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Romeo, the Montague trying to capture the heart of Juliet Capulet, played by Claire Danes. However, the Montagues and Capulets, the two richest families in Verona, have a rivalry and hatred towards one another. The clans will stop at nothing to dismantle the other, just as Romeo and Juliet will stop at nothing to be together.

There are three scenes I would like to touch up on, starting from … well … the start, I suppose.

Thumb Biters at the Gas Station
A firefight ensues, started by two smartass Montague servants literally “biting their thumbs” towards members of the Capulet squad at a Gas Station. I like the scene because using guns at a Gas Station represents destruction and the film symbolizes the tearing and destruction of two families. However, because the environment is in post-modern Verona, they should have used middle fingers instead of thumb-biting. I know it was looked at as an insult back a few centuries ago. Nowadays, if somebody were “biting their thumb,” people would think the person is a sketch ball or may contain an oral fixation. I’m sure there are a few freaks in Verona.

Killing Mercutio and Tybalt
So Tybalt is all fired up and wanting to rip somebody’s head off so he decides to pick a fight with Romeo. Although Romeo declined to dance, Tybalt roughed him up, causing a battle. Somehow during the break-up of the brawl, Tybalt “accidentally” killed Mercutio. Romeo (or Leonardo DiCaprio if you will) walked towards Mercutio like the baby he is, crying like he lost his new shirt. Mercutio tried shaking off the fatal injury and when he realizes he is dying, he becomes this angry man and yelled, “A plague … a plague on both your houses.” Talk about being moody. After DiCaprio is done crying like the little baby he is, rain began falling from the sky. A huge thunder and lightening storm brews. Oh no! He’s mad! Don’t piss off DiCaprio.

So what happens next? The roles reverse: DiCaprio becomes a psycho and Tybalt becomes a pussy. Tybalt gets the crap kicked out of him and got shot more than 50 Cent. And what happens after these murder sprees? A banishment from Verona. That’s it. I know this play was written centuries ago, but come on. If you are going to update a play, just don’t update the setting. Don’t do it half-ass. Heck, if killing somebody only got you removed from a certain town, then the death toll would be a lot higher today. I could see it now; “Hey man, I’m moving to Canada … I just killed some bitch for looking at me the wrong way.”

So after the banishment, Juliet and Friar Laurence wrote a letter to Romeo, which explained the plan. He was to rescue Juliet at the Crypt, where she “faked” her death. Only problem is Romeo heared from his servant that she was alread dead. Romeo returned to town to say his last farewell and never received the letter.

Committing Suicide at the Crypt
Juliet (or Claire Danes) is in her final resting place, surrounded by millions of magnificent candles in a room bigger than the size of any school dormitory. The secret is she really isn’t dead; Friar Laurence gave her a pill, which kept her asleep for several days, but of course DiCaprio (or Romeo) doesn’t know this. So, he snuck into this fabulous Crypt, saw the love of his life motionless and knew for himself she is dead. After DiCaprio does what he does best (cries like he skinned his knee), he drank a potion and as he died, he saw Danes waking up. So now, he’s a confused dead person. When she realized he didn’t know, she screams “Oh Happy Dagger” and takes her life too. I thoroughly loved the setting as it was both eerie and beautiful at the same time. Both DiCaprio and Danes pulled it off nicely and it was the best scene, mainly because it wasn’t far-stretched from what really happened. It really catches the mood of regret and despair.

In regards to the lighting, it seemed somewhat like natural daylight and night time, which was pretty cool. When a character was sad, then it would rain and background music would slow down. When it got intense, the camera angles focused on the mug and music sped up.

Although the film takes place in the present-day environment, the language was the same as the book. Don’t get me wrong; I like the lingo in the book, but if you are going to do a remake, then relate the whole thing to today. That is why this movie isn’t a remake: it’s just an update of imagery.

Oh yea. If DiCaprio wasn’t such a big sissy, this movie probably would have been better. You know Shakespeare is going to be kicking Luhrmann ass in heaven.

The Decision: Throw it in the Trash.

(Would you ‘Keep it in the stash’ or ‘Throw it in the trash’? Let us know.)

Open Mic with Bear Frazer: The Emergence of VH1

Freedom of expression is what makes America so beautiful. This country thrives on entertainment. People eat up drama like nachos and cheese. There is one pop culture channel which is devoted to feed couch potatoes’ appetites with quality programming. VH1 has always stood in the shadow of MTV, but now, it’s one of the most watched networks on television.

The three hour programming block coined Celebreality has been dynamite for VH1. The Sunday Night lineup features three reality shows. The Surreal Life 4 pits six celebrities living under one roof where anything can happen and if you saw the first episode, an intoxicated Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer squealed in his bed and later, urinated on a wall in the nude. Strange Love features Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen attempting to rekindle an old flame and Celebrity Fit Club exposes eight obese celebrities divided on two teams and challenged to lose weight. Those three shows received the highest ratings in the channel’s history.

The addition of a programming schedule has had a positive effect for the record breaking statistics. “Sunday Night is the 1st Time we had destination scheduling,” said Brett Henne, VH1 Director of Corporate Communications. “So if it’s Sunday Night, you know Celebreality is on.”

Solid marketing strategies have also elevated the company to a new level. “When we have big programming events like I Love The 90’s, we’ll (VH1) do a pre-marathon where episodes air all week and we do all our marketing towards that,” Henne said. I Love The 90’s, a series compiled of unforgettable pop culture events in the 1990’s, became the highest rated week ever in VH1 history.

VH1 also likes to keep viewers updated on current events. In The Fabulous Life of Britney Spears, people are informed of the happenings of Spears in chronological order, from achievements to her most embarrassing moments and Hollywood outsiders share their opinions on the show. The Fabulous Life of … series also exposes celebrities and their lavish lifestyles. There are also specials such as Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood, where VH1 takes a closer look into the life of Jackson.

In addition, there are other several cutting-edge shows which made 2004 VH1’s most watched year ever. Blender teamed up with the network to bring Awesomely Bad Countdowns, where journalists and industry personalities try to figure out the logic behind the songs and videos. Behind The Music, one of their longest running features, is still drawing in big numbers with new editions of artists trying to make comebacks. And, by showing movies like Austin Powers, Showgirls and 8 Mile, it isn’t hard to grasp why the primetime rating went up 50% over two years.

Now that things have been shook up, VH1 is no longer the relaxed alternative to MTV. This channel is no longer about light rock, Lilith Fair and Pop-Up Video. It’s about pop-culture and entertainment; what America is really about. Avid fans can expect more specials to pop-up as well as more music. Also, keep an eye out for “Kept,” a show featuring Jerry Hall to makes its’ way into the Celebreality lineup this spring. So sit back, relax and make some nachos and cheese, because VH1 is spicing things up.

Lookin' Under The Lid #2: So Much … Afterglow

1997 was an unforgettable year. My sister graduated high school, I was became a freshman and it was the first time I met my friend, Hector Mercado (also first time he put me in the Boston Crab). There were three main wrestling promotions (ECW, WCW and WWF), coffee shops were gaining popularity and the much anticipated Family Values Tour was beginning. And in a small corner of the world, there was Everclear, touring to promote their sophomore album, So Much for the Afterglow. Unlike their debut Sparkle and Fade, this audio storybook collection hit home with more fans, especially lead singer, Art Alexakis.

Everclear has always been known to be a rock band and for that reason alone, I was a little surprised when I first listened to So Much for the Afterglow. Maybe my ears were deceiving me, but it sounded like Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons when I heard light synchronized singing. Then out of nowhere, Art Alexakis screams, “This is a song about Susan,” kicking into the title track. Ironically, I don’t know too much about this Susan character. Once the jingle finishes, it sounds like garbage sirens are going off, playing a large role in “Everything to Everyone,” where Alexakis trashes on depressed females who will do anything for attention, from making people giggle or moan. Nice guy, isn’t he? Anyways, here come the mainstream singles. The first single was the slow-n-steady “I Will Buy You a New Life,” which is pretty much a bachelor choosing contest. Throughout the whole tune, it’s like, “Pick me! I’ll build you a house, make you laugh and plant flowers in the garden.” I listen to the song because I like sound of the triangle. The other big smash, “Father of Mine” is a reflection of Alexakis’s relationship with his father. It appeared his father was there when he was a toddler but later abused his mother and left the family, something many can identify with.

I don’t plan to go on and on about the album and try to tell you, “Pick this CD! You can hear someone wanting to plant flowers!” You guys are qualified to make the decision on your own. However, the songs are clear and the vocals are great. Every melody is different and it’s like hearing several stories. If the last three tracks were discarded, then 1997 would have been an even better year. Wish Hector would have saved the Boston Crab until 1998.

The Decision: Keep it in the stash.

(Would you ‘Keep it in the stash’ or ‘Throw it in the trash’? Let us know.)