May 31, 2004


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When nothing else works, minor league baseball works. God's weather courtesy of God. 2 out of 3 runs courtesy of DJ Boston. $12 tickets courtesy of Mickey Herbert and HealthNet. Go, Blue!

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May 30, 2004



Sean Burke writes: "The identity of the Flower Guy belongs to one Michael De Feo of Mamaroneck, NY. He's a generous soul, mailing out stickers to each conscientious admirer who asks."

I like De Feo's work, especially the "blueprint" series, but I don't see any paintings on his site that match the pavement flowers. Do the flower stickers necessarily lead to the flower paintings? (Thanks to Sean also for the link to the Wooster Collective's street art site.)

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May 28, 2004



I left the house yesterday without a book. This was not OK. "Damn," I thought, "It's a long way to BAM." (There followed a failed attempt at versification involving Prince's "Glam Slam" and soccer player Mia Hamm.) The sidewalk saved me, as it so often does. My LA-bound neighbors had left three boxes of books for the taking on the curb. I grabbed Dore Ashton's The New York School and got on the Q. I know nothing about Ashton and only the bare minimum about the NY school of painters. (Jackson Pollock was bald and yelled at people, if I remember correctly.) The train was a-jumbling over the bridge when this passage popped out:

"War prosperity encouraged a consumer mentality, and entrepreneurs in the arts and business became legion. Some chroniclers have pointed out that certain consumer goods and services were in short ration during the war, forcing a great deal of energy in the direction of the arts. Certainly many business organizations, such as the Container Corporation of America, augmented their activities as sponsors and patrons. Even the great department store, Macy's, found space for a large exhibition of what they called 'living' American art, which was selected by Sam Kootz, who had recently published his Modern American Painters. In Macy's press release, dated December 31. 1941, the exhibition was said to reflect a number of pronounced trends in American painting, among them abstraction, expressionism, surrealism, primtivism, realism, and something called texturism. This was all posed with the end in view of contributing to a 'better understanding of our native work.' And significantly, 'in line with Macy's established policy,' the prices were as 'rock-bottom as possible.' This claim was justified, for the prices of the paintings ranged from $24.97 to $249.00. The show included among its 179 works two paintings by Rothko, entitled Oedipus and Antigone, for less than $200 each, several works by Avery ranging from $49.75 to $124, and equally moderately priced works by Bolotowsky, Holty, George L. K. Morris, and Jean Xceron."

Ashton, Dore. 1972. The New York School: A Cultural Reckoning. New York: Penguin.

(Notice that the author of the press release was working on December 31st.)

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May 27, 2004



Hello, calendar. Leaving early for a long weekend, so nothing new until Tuesday. See below for Alissa Quart's poem, "Girls I Have Loved."

(I am listening to Snow Patrol and hearing an almost exactly 50/50 split between Lou Barlow and MBV influences. Question: Did rock bands wait for an overly respectful time before biting the MBV tremelo bar bend w/matching vocal? Is it because folks thought MBV would come back? Or was it a genre attitude towards biting? I reckon hip-hop would have jumped on that great "booooo-eee" move and spit out 30 records with the same sound right away. Further: I loved Swervedriver's Mezcal Head and recall that it borrowed some moves, but did any bands really shamelessly bite the whole MBV stee? I am asking, for real.)

Alissa Quart:



R. snickers when I say I listen to public radio. Radio should be private, as in the song “Private Eyes” or a secreted social intelligence. New York exhales recession. I am ten. R. is 11 and not rich enough though she lives over a garden. Her family eats spaghetti too often and she glamorizes her bunk bed. Still, the acne on the sides of her nose enchant, two twin flags of adolescence, the miserable mount awaiting me. With extremely combed hair, luncheon foods wrapped in plastic, and old lady good handwriting, R. will win some prize, I think. She tells me to buy Best of Records. I give us code names after spices. R. is Hot Pepper. I am Cinnamon: placating, invisible. The grown-ups’ jacket pins announce their subjectivities. They are small parts of the death of punk. I write reports on the Rainforest. I would like to live there. God is George Washington on the front of the quarter.


At twelve, T. looks like a horse but is too tasteful to be a horse girl. She has the long fingers of pianist. She does not have the temperament of one who practices. Tall and smart looking, she is not sixth-grade pretty. She is practicing for when she will be the living sign of young sex, in three years, impressively wry about boobs and tatas. She smokes downstairs. I don’t know where that is. She never does anything bad for the first time, has always done it already. I wonder of the latch key kid cosmopolites, the ones who don’t bunt their softballs. What do they do when they are alone? What does everybody do all day and what do they talk about? After all, secondary sex characteristics only appear to me when I look them up in the Woman’s Health Manual. My favorite dirty word is abortion.


A pugilistic blonde, C. affects a half-hearted rejection of the New York rich girls that have always embraced her. “What’s your gambit?” she says. I am nineteen. Her pale blonde head and her skirt shimmers. Her self-conviction is bottomless. I learn from C. the inches permissible during the return of the flair jean—three. The proper coding for melancholia—a Neapolitan silent screen star crying. A dinner—four spoons of tahini in front of a 1960’s photo of Cuba. Generic cigarettes—proud poverty. The Good—marginal parents. Knowledge—to be worn lightly but constantly cited, and never finding its expression in the Law. Beauty —ostensibly invisible but always in use, like drugs.


Then there’s diminutive, ductile, duplicitous Z., spoiled, bat mitzvah girl for the ages F., everyone-thinks-I-am-beautiful I., tall imposing sophistic E., exacting, cruel motherly L., shining, willfully complacent, star-mad J., shaky lyrical suicide-to-be P.


Girls I have loved cover their eyes with fine shiny hair, tug on their small ears and wraithish wrists, emanate throaty laughs, heal occasional infections, powder over their impoverishments. Every dyad is a chance for them to deploy their own romance. They are vicious protectors with rice papery skin, slang-slingers, well-scented, brilliant, teases, baiters, evaders, wise-asses, nice people, self-adorers. I am leaving out the girls I have left.

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I've got a bunch of these flowers filed away. Does anybody know anything about this artist? He/she has left flowers all over NYC, from midtown down to Tribeca. I can't tell how old they are.

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Martina Topley-Bird played Monday night at the Tribeca Grand. I am impressed that anybody can play that wack fake-LA bar and not come off like a clown. But what is up with showing an artist's video while she is on stage? When the room is not the size of Madison Square Garden? Cornballz. MT-B’s new material is of that high-suggestion, low-hooks, blues-derived school founded by PJ Harvey. MT-B is more “light candle and recline” than “light fuse and step away”, which means she suffers the lack of hooks pretty acutely.

One thing that should not have worked but did: A skinny white guy dressed up like John Lurie in Stranger Than Paradise was beatboxing and playing harmonica at the same time. Sounds like "avert your eyes" type of shit, right? It just killed. I couldn't get enough of that dude. Four songs was all we needed: think of shows that would be great at 12 minutes, deadly at 40. And so on. Like driving and having children, playing live is an activity you should think through calmly before undertaking.

Aren’t the failures of the left all wrapped up in Northern State, the poster children for good intentions? I can't even finish this new All City disc. Can't do it.

Would people just bug out if the Woodentops came out now? That 18 cups of coffee punkbeat and the hospital corners on the harmonies? They will wrack your soul, girl.

The incredibly watermarked and copy-protected new Corrs CD, Borrowed Heaven, is available for my audition only if I click my heels and hold a piece of paper infused with a watermarked profile of Shania Twain up to the sun at 3:15 PM. When I do all that, things seem as they should.

To declare my solidarity with Puffy's very Whitney biennial sample of a sample on "I Don't Wanna Know," I will sample Michael sampling Douglas and invite you to email me some questions. Considering that I never finished (though I will) the Big Black or Eddie Kendricks entries solicited in the jukebox, this looks like bad odds for you. It does allow you to circumvent my dumb suggestions, though.

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May 26, 2004



Christ's people are handy with the steel. No ambivalent qualifiers here.

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You would think that finding a list of the biggest selling hip-hop albums on the internet would be easy. I, however, could not. So I went to the RIAA site and pulled a list off the “Bestsellers” page.

Some technical notes:

1. The website says "This chart was generated on 8/25/2003," which is impossible, since Speakerboxxxxxx hadn't sold 4.5 million copies by August 25th.

2. The RIAA counts any 2 CD set sold as two units sold, meaning that Life After Death has sold 5 million copies, and Sboxx has sold 4.5.

3. The RIAA counts units shipped as units sold. SoundScan counts units sold at retails outlets that record for SoundScan as units sold. Billboard combines all sorts of magical data. These are three different ways of seeing the data. None of these are truly accurate account of album sales. Hip-hop, for instance, is adversely affected by the fact that many regional mom & pops don’t report to SoundScan. Unless I am mistaken, record clubs like Columbia House and BMG do not report sales to SoundScan, but I may be wrong about that.

4. The RIAA list is ordinal but unnumbered. I extracted the hip-hop records, kept the order they were in and added the ranking numbers.

5. LIST FORMAT: Rank, millions sold, title.

6. These figures are only for the U.S. World data to come soon.

7. I added Kid Rock's Devil & TLC Crazysexycool. (Thank you, readers and correctors.) Both of these albums were helped by the blurry margins that pushed their sales above those of strictly beats+rhymes albums, but they're still hip-hop albums and, more particularly, people buying these albums experienced them as hip-hop.


1. 11 million, KID ROCK “Devil Without a Cause” (Lava)

2. 11 million, TLC “Crazysexycool” TLC (LaFace)

3. 10 million, HAMMER “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” (Capitol)

4. 10 million (5 million), NOTORIOUS B.I.G. “Life After Death” (Bad Boy/Arista)

5. 9 million, EMINEM “The Marshall Mathers LP” (Interscope)

6. 9 million, 2 PAC “All Eyez On Me” (Death Row/Polygram)

7. 9 million, 2 PAC “Greatest Hits” (Interscope)

8. 9 million, BEASTIE BOYS “Licensed To Ill” (Def Jam Records)

9. 9 million (4.5 million), OUTKAST “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (Arista)

10. 9 million, WILL SMITH “Big Willie Style” (Columbia)

11. 8 million, LAURYN HILL “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (Ruffhouse/Columbia)

12. 8 million, NELLY “Country Grammar” (Universal Records)

13. 8 million, EMINEM “The Eminem Show” (Interscope)

14. 7 million, VANILLA ICE “To The Extreme” (SBK)

15. 7 million, PUFF DADDY & THE FAMILY “No Way Out” (Bad Boy/Arista)

16. 6 million, NELLY “Nellyville” (Universal Records)

17. 6 million, DR. DRE “Dr. Dre 2001” (Interscope)

18. 6 million, THE FUGEES “The Score” (Ruffhouse/Columbia)

19. 5 million, DMX “...And Then There Was X” (Def Jam Records)

20. 5 million, JAY-Z “Hard Knock Life, Volume 2” (Roc-A-Fella Records)

21. 5 million, SALT 'N PEPA “Very Necessary” (London)

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"When I’m not shooting pigeons out of the sky with a homemade nail gun or giving myself tonsure, I’m listening to the Buzzcocks’ Inventory, because you never should have formed a fucking band, you fuck. I see you, hiding behind your Ikea shacket hanger, you gimp."

"When I’m not cataloguing issues of Wallpaper and looking at upskirt shots of Kruder & Dorfmeister, I am listening to John Martyn’s Solid Air!"

"When I am not shredding documents and trying to remember who was in my first semester MFA seminar, I am listening to the Palace Brothers because, God help me, nothing makes sense anymore and I can barely pay my mortgage and my throat is scratchy."

"When I’m not evading responsibility for my actions and trying to steal old ketchup packets from my assistant, I’m listening to Frankie Beverly and Maze because one’s age cohort is everything!"

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May 25, 2004



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Thank you to Jeff and Hua (the new Stan Mack) for alerting me to Federation’s spastically good new single, "Hyphy." If E-40 got his Rolodex in shape, he could take the cameo crown from Ludacris. Hua gets extra love for also introducing me to Juana Molina.

In this year of the rookie, those of us both weak of spirit and easy of heart could be falling like Darrick Martin every few hours. Right now, Juana Molina is speaking to us and us alone. My steadier, better self is betting on Keren Ann for year-end dominance.

Alanis—relevant by commercial fiat and still having a go, but why did she lead with "Everything,” a song that not even E-40 could redeem? If we want Kate Bush metal with that baked-in whiff of “Kashmir,” “Spineless” and “Eight Easy Steps” woulda been much more best. Not that we want to discourage the whole “me and nothing but me” trope. But.

Album the 1990s did not appreciate: Cell’s “Living Room.” The Nirvana Youth train stalled before these guys even got their tickets punched. The new Rock is Back tent should have them headlining. Come on back, guys–there is no shame in this game. (Anyone who wants some can get in for less than a subway fare now.) This album has better legs than, hell, most mindie rock albums of the day. While you're at it, also buy Swell's “Well...?”, which has outlasted many albums it sounds just like.

I, like, all forgot about two-step and shit. It's chocklit donuts and zeppole when the mix drops. The excellently-named Syrup Girls DJ duo have released a new mix CD called “Pop A Boner.” Familiar only with their first mix, which could be over a year old, I am guessing the new title is earned, unless they’ve moved on to electroclash or something.

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We walked a balloon to school this morning and ran into a woman who got a little stalk-y with her child-friendly routine. "Here, let me tie it on your wrist." Let? But you just did it. Don't people catch a vibe when they're terrifying children? Or has their inner script just taken over and driven them to freestyle grandparenting, no matter the cost? I am so in favor of the social connection—just go slow, freelancers.

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May 24, 2004



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There are a lot of words that, once used, demand some kind of diluting agent if you want them to end up meaning what you think they mean. “Hip-hop” and “blog” are two such words. Say “hip-hop” and you push a hundred distantly related buttons in a million different brains: “That music you hear coming from those big vehicles,” “the golden age of the Roland 808,” “my favorite music ever,” “something my kids listen to which makes me vaguely nervous,” “that’s that shit!” “1987,” “2001,” “the commercial force,” “a way of thinking about samples,” etc. “Blog” carries a similarly huge and geometrically increasing load: “self-centered rambling,” “unedited,” “something about people in New York who do karaoke,” “something to do with the web,” “that site where you can see the Lego version of the Bible,” “New York narcissists,” “New York media clowns,” etc. If you use a word like “hip-hop” or “blog,” there’s a necessary moment where you have to contextualize the word, apologize for it, narrow down the conversation, exclude definitions you don’t like. (Doesn’t mean you have the last word on the word—it will do its work regardless, i.e. “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” And wait—do any words simply, to use Saussure's terms, denote? Does any word not connote?)

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(Hold on, let me just put my robe on.) I don't have enough on hand for everybody, so I won't be able to entertain in the way I'd like to. I can probably find something in the fridge. I've got the new 8-Ball and MJG—maybe you'd like to hear that? Do you like Rolie Polie Olie? We can just make it BYOB and leave the door open.

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Thirty-one days before this collapse, we ran up and down the terminal, waiting to board. For the second time in less than a year, we looked up and asked, "How did they build this thing? It's so cool."

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May 22, 2004



So, you go out, and it works. Everyone's so foxy that their foxiness conducts the train. Couples are lying on each other and bending around backwards to stroke hair they can't see. The train stops, the circuit breaks and you help a woman in a green poncho carry her child up the stairs at Bedford Avenue. The child blows you a kiss and then you walk 57 blocks to a party where one guy tells you he's lactating and another tells you he has good hooker karma and, this being New York, the guys are fifteen seconds behind the girls and, this being the new weather, it's hot 'n' humid enough in May to keep you off your toes but not yet so hot you're unconscious and then it 's all over because the vinho verde runs out and you say, damn, that's good, but compared to what?

Large, oversized thank yous to Michael, Alissa, Kenny, Elizabeth, Jane and Ange.

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May 21, 2004



Jennifer Lena:

"Hornby allows this thing called “rock” (which is sometimes replaced by this other thing called “pop” because sometimes—all the time?—they’re redundant) to retain an essential core and corpus, despite the fact that he wants us to see how much change has gone on—from the mostly good rock of his youth (or late twenties—are they the same?) to the mostly “angry, weird, perverse, melancholy and world-weary” rock of today.

He’s got the “change” and “stasis” balls in the air because he can get us to accept that rock music reflects the essential qualities of youth: “energy,…wistful yearning,…inexplicable exhilaration,…sporadic sense of invincibility,…[and] hope that stings like chlorine.”

I can’t decide: is this Hornby’s life experience, or the one “Rolling Stone” told him he had? Moreover, even if this imagined emotional adolescence is experienced by some people, is it as universal as he suggests? (For that matter, has rock ever meant one thing to all people? Did the music of the “late 60’s and early 70’s” or the music of the “90s”?)

Moreover, even if there is/was a clique (of, I imagine, white suburban boys) who have this experience and rock music “articulated these feelings,” it is a dull student of popular culture who projects that association into the present. Rock music is not, and hasn’t been for some years, the genre of teen fans.

The RIAA reports that over the last ten years (and the trend is stronger over the last 30 years) rock music’s market share has shrunk from 35.1% in 1994 to 25.2% in 2003. Pop music’s not faring much better (despite the re-classification of much “R&B/Urban” and “Rap/Hip-Hop” into it’s ranks), dropping 1.4% during that same period. In contrast, rap sales have risen 5.4%. Moreover, over the last 30 years, rock music consumers skew significantly older—meaning, rock music consumers are older than they ever have been before.

So, rock music can’t do what Hornby wants because now-rock—or, really—now-pop is a different animal, and servicing a different public. To the extent that rock music sold itself as fuel for dis-comforting comfort, well, he really should like the “high-minded cult-rock” he buys, and thinks is great (because a lot of it gets bought by ex-pat rockers).

Hornby gives a new-ish solution to the old question: what happened to good ol’ rock-n-roll? He proscribes a middle-passage between high and low art. Strangely, this middle passage is “committed and authentic and intelligent, but that sets out to include, rather than exclude.” Well, if we’re comfortable universalizing the suburban male experience, why not? Let’s have it. The world needs to give Springsteen and James Taylor and Clapton more Grammys. But I insist—this does not require nerve, unless you’re talking about the nerve to make a copy of a copy of a copy. (Nor is it, I might add, committed, authentic, intelligent or universalizing, but I doubt I could convince him of that.)

Speaking of which, on this “digested/regurgitated” issue: Am I the only one who wonders if Hornby could derive the source for even 25% of the samples Public Enemy used in one song—let’s say “Night of the Living Baseheads?” If he can do that, I’ll concede this digestion point. Otherwise, he’s guilty of the sin of omission."

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May 20, 2004



If you're in New York City this weekend, consider going to the memorial for Lizzy Mercier Descloux, someone who deserves the revival juice going around. Her records are giving me great pleasure and I recommend them all without reservation.

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May 19, 2004


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"Deliberate? I meants to de-liberate someone, to stop them from being free. And we wouldn't do that, nope. Not us. We like to make people free, to set them free, to send them into orbit."

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A friend writes from São Paolo:

"Standing on line for three hours to clear immigration because, since January, all US citizens are photographed and fingerprinted, and there's only one immigration official at a time who performs that function. Getting into the cab and having the driver instantly switch the radio channel from Brazilian music to American pop (I asked him to change it back; he didn't speak English; "musico do Brazil?" I said, and for the entire hour-long trip we listened to great Brazilian music I've never heard before—except right before we turned into the hotel, when a song I recognized came on and my driver, who had said literally not one word to me, turned around and said "Caetano Veloso!"). Staying in a hotel that has the most majestic marble bathroom I've ever seen and is right across the street from an entire neighborhood of favelas—which are not like anything I've ever seen before, even traveling in Southeast Asia in the 80s."

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Interaction Two:

1:40 PM, Wednesday.

I am the Virgin Times Sqaure Megastore. Farley "Jackmaster" Funk is DJing in honor of the Trax Records 20th Anniversary Collection. He is playing something by Steven "Silk" Hurley, which I only know because he tells us. He points out that Screamin' Rachel and Red Alert are in the house and indeed they are. They look exactly like they always look.

It is unclear how to receive Jackmaster's performance. He is stranded way up high in the hexagonal glass tower that runs the height of the store. His performance is being projected on TV screens all through the ground floor, but the camera sees only his shoulder and his back. If we crane our necks and watch him work in real time, we get a similarly obstructed view from a different angle. If we try to place ourselves in accordance with traditional stage performance rules—i.e., looking up at the performer—we block the escalators. It is very hard to be at this event or perform in a way that registers as "being at the Jackmaster Funk thing." I drift away to a listening station, because I espy Beyoncé Wembleying at me. One set of headphones brings me the sounds of Franz Ferdinand and I cannot figure out how to get the properly, crazily in love audio track. By the time I have marshaled my facilities to the task, the image has shifted to the video for Prince's "Musicology."

The audio is low, unadjustably so. Farley's house/house/house music bleeds in. The "Musiciology" video presents a boy dancing in his room to his pop's soul records and singing into a vacuum cleaner. We cut to Prince performing in some gangster (30s) era club, saluting "Earth, Wind and Fire," as well as "Chuck D and Jam Master Jay," now that he simply can't not. It's a JB vamp, barely a song. I am happy just to watch Prince being a reduced but not inaccurate version of himself, throwing out his arms and voting, over and over, for the funk. The woman playing bass is making me kinda dreamy when Jackmaster Dr. Mr. Funk lets the slipmat go under an unusually loud and gospelly track. It's what the dancers in the video are acting like they're hearing. Prince & The Devolution's "70s funk" wedding band pap wouldn't make anyone do The Wop. The tap dancers and zoot-suited folks are having the good time that all of us in the lobby should be having. To teach everybody a lesson, I buy some CDs: the new Alanis, the international version of Come On Over and the acapella CD(!) of The Black Album. This subversive act of consumption catches the cashiers off guard. They are speechless.

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Interaction One:

10:11 AM, Wednesday:

I am walking up West Broadway, heading home. I am listening to Sonic Youth's "Silver Rocket." As the song busts apart in the middle and the bedsprings start playing the walls, I see a clump of fire rucks in front of what used to be El Teddy's, a Mexican restaurant and trendoid bar best known for what was on the roof (see above). The facade features a magical awning tricked out a la Gaudi with multi-colored tiles and bits of mirror. For a long time, there was a classic Canal Street hodgepodge of color and cheap electronics in the front window: dayglo wheels spinning before a mirror, bathed in black light and reflections from ambient light caught by the mirror.

Someone bought the building several years ago and announced he was turning it into a single-family dwelling. "When is El Teddy's actually closing?" became a constant neighborhood question. There was an abortive to make the place a landmark, but it turned out to be not old enough. (That's from memory, not Nexis.)

In the last few weeks, crews started gutting the place. At a moment I am sorry I missed, the Statue of Liberty crown was removed. And today, the roof, the roof was on fire. Someone did need some water, so the fire department did arrive to prevent the motherfucker from burning. The smoke was limited, at least from my vantage point. Neighbors watched from the fire escapes. Something I did not understand: A fireman on the roof (only about thirty feet up from the pavement) tied a rope to what looked like a bleach bottle, with the number 10 Sharpied on it, and threw it down to firefighters below. Someone caught it and put it down. And that was that.

I kept walking and on came Remarc's "Sound Murderer (Loafin' In Brockley mix)." That classic '94 sound—"Amen" breaks cut up and strung from every light fixture, some 808 kicks for a bassline and straight ragga yelling. That's all you need. But Remarc sprinkles some extra sugar on the hot-as-fuck griddle of the beat, and lets it crystallize and smoke: someone whistling "If I Were A Rich Man," strings from an old soul record. A bit more than the track needed and so welcome. I can't get enough of this moment in production. It sounds, as it always has, like a big orange Gerber daisy forcing its way up through the topsoil and punching you in the face on its way towards the sun.

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Respect the god.

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May 18, 2004



4:45 PM, Tuesday evening:

I am on the Q train, re-reading Geoffrey O'Brien's “Sonata For Jukebox.” Precisely as I begin reading the passage reproduced below, three musicians step onto the train at Union Square. A young man is carrying an upright bass (there's a big rubber stop on the bottom peg, like something you'd see on the end of an orthopedic cane). Two middle-aged men follow, one carrying a six-string nylon acoustic guitar, the other an accordion. The guitar player is wearing an electric blue shirt, a diamond loop in each earlobe and white cowboy boots. His black hair is restrained by a black cord, creating a gentle pony-mullet. The accordion player is wearing a white cowboy shirt with black piping. The subway starts up and the trio waits for a few seconds before starting a loping, Mexican version of the blues. (I should be able to ID the form, but I can't.) The words include something about "el rey": the rest is lost below the rumble of the train and my high school Spanish.

This excerpt is from pages 57 and 58 of Sonata For Jukebox. O'Brien's grandfather, Bob Owens, was the leader of the Rainbow Club Orchestra, "a bright episode in the entertainment world of eastern Pennsylviania during the early '30s":

"The Rainbow Club Orchestra was a ten-piece dance band made up largely of untrained musicians scuffling to survive in a region suffering from the worst effects of the Depression. Eking out a living as mine workers or door-to-door salesmen or factory hands, barely finding time to rehearse, lugging instruments, cumbersome music stands, the metal trumpet hats for that "burnished brass sound," and stacks of arrangements from one small town to another along narrow and dilapidated mountain roads, they were lucky if they could make five bucks a many for many hours of continuous playing. They managed to keep it together for five or six years. They never recorded or even had an offer. Their arranger eventually committed suicide. They disappeared into that limbo where unrecorded dance bands play without interruption for the ghosts of the unremembered.

Behind the recorded music from that era that I heard as a child, their absent music hovered. Ignorant of nearly everything about music except for the fact that recordings existed, I was unduly disturbed by the idea of music drifting off into the ether without leaving a trace behind. Did that mean it was for nothing?"

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It is my duty to inform you that this compilation is now available. As its big sister (“Tubes 2003”) pretty much ran my house last year, this is no small event. Little sister couldn't have chosen a better first track. Report TK.

(Addendum: Yannick Noah has a track on here. Lisa Miskovsky and Buck 65 have taught us that a background in professional sports is nothing be afraid of. Not yet, anyway.)

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God is speaking through the iPod today. "Tear Out My Eyes," Tricky (9:45 AM); "The Cold Part," Modest Mouse; "My Lord," David Banner; "Through Your Head" Jae Millz (when you can't get Jada, call Jae!); "I Feel Love," Donna Summer; "The Pinocchio Theory," Bootsy's Rubber Band; "Breed," Nirvana; "The Legionnaire's Lament," The Decemberists; "# 5 (Go Bang)," Dinosaur L; "It Must Be Summer," Fountains of Wayne (1:32 PM); "Happy Birthday," Altered Images; "Track 21," from DJ Revolution's The High-Fidelity; "Directions/e.e.cummings," from DJ Spooky's Rhythm Science (how did it know to segue two snare-heavy beats in the same BPM region?); "Out of Nowhere," Athlete (not sure about that one, but we'll let it go); "Detached," Caetano Veloso; "The Back of Love," Echo & The Bunnymen; "Big Bad John," Big John Hamilton; "On My Way," Ben Kweller; "Genesis," Nas; "Elves," The Fall. Then Mission of Burma fucked it up. Good run. (2:37 PM.)

Posted by Sasha at 10:30 AM | TrackBack

May 17, 2004



If you have the music without the rhyming, it's OK. And if you have the rhyming but with American music, it's OK. And if you get someone who's OK at both, it's OK. Just as it would have been in 1981 and 1988 and 1993, the best representation of this localized music would be a blazing compilation, a mix of debris from the initial explosion and packets of dust from the regional fallout. The proper cross-section would pivot on a brief footprint—a month, a week, even—and swing out laterally through neighborhoods, catching impressions of the short lives and springy muscles and wild guesses and hail marys that construct an informal brief on behalf of someone's new world.

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I can't tell you how happy I am that the first thing my older son asked me about when he woke up was this. I'm even handling the fact that his favorite team is the Giants. Things change, brah. Nothing changes, grasshopper. When I was exactly Sam's age, I was paying unusually close attention to the Atlanta Braves.

Posted by Sasha at 07:24 AM | TrackBack



If Ian MacKaye and Nellie got married, it would be like that whole Tom Cruz thing.

Posted by Sasha at 07:15 AM | TrackBack

May 16, 2004



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May 14, 2004


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(Photo by Elaine Didyk)

JL Borges, so fond of links, works equally well as founding father for both pro-digi and pro-paper advocates. This story doesn't make it any easier to guess which team he was really on, though it's likely he would have rejected the idea of "teams" out of hand.

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Watch my feet.

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May 13, 2004



What? What? I thought you said something. Uh-huh. Nah. Didn't think so.

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Straight-up genius web ephemera, via Days of Leisure.

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A little late, and this matters not.

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Joe, Douglas and Julianne are the only ones to drop quarters so far. Soon, we will hear their selections coming through the tinny speakers, digi and loud: Big Black, Eddie Kendricks and a medley of numbers 17, 4, 8, 16 and 3.

Posted by Sasha at 07:06 AM | TrackBack



From "Heavy D. has signed a deal with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy label. In a groundbreaking agreement, Heavy will receive 100 percent of the profits from his Bad Boy release after the label recoups costs for producing the untitled LP. "Puff & I have been friends forever, were family," Heavy D. told "He gave me the most incredible deal." A single from the LP titled "It's Your Birthday," was recently leaked to radio. The LP is slated for a fall release."

(Leaked? That's your idea of leaking?)

Posted by Sasha at 06:57 AM | TrackBack



That picture down there of Prince's eyeball is not a representation of the new Prince CD but rather a picture of an ad in a Paris metro stop. (It is, to date, the largest picture of Prince I've seen.) We already know that, by reclaiming his name and rejoining the major label promo stream, Prince landed his first Top 10 Billboard debut in years. The album didn't do quite as well on the French charts, but people I talked to before the release date were unanimously stoked about Musicology. Aside from hating Bush, it was the one real consensus I encountered. (How long nostalgia will keep dude on any charts has yet to be seeon.)

I sorta like "Dear Mr. Man," from Musicology, though I can't help wishing Prince, The New Donny Hathaway, would make way for, say, Prince, The New Lightnin' Rod, the kind of guy who named names and not just those of basketball teams* and Bible passages. (I was also a little surprised to hear that Prince, The New D'Angelo, had taken over from Prince, The Old Prince, but not a lot surprised.)

I was hoping he might come with something like "Cockhead International," and it might go like this: "Follow the money (eeeeh)/and you'll find the friends./Follow the blood/and you'll find the ends./Don't want your training/don't want your tips./Mothersuckers need to stay home and stop making so many trips./Why don't you come to anybody's funeral, Mr. London?"

*Big props to our friend Chris Ryan, whose basketball blog, Chauncey Billups, is moving on up to the east side. Righteous.

Posted by Sasha at 06:33 AM | TrackBack

May 12, 2004


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Today, all four hours of it, has been bad for fatherhood. The public reasons are obvious and everywhere; the domestic cross-talk too specific to unpack. It is an unbearably big thought to hold, sometimes, this bringing of people into the world.

A few minutes ago, someone generously forwarded to me a thing that would have made my own father really, truly happy, in an involuntary way, in a way that speaks to what he cared about and hoped I would also care about. (The link will expire tomorrow and that seems right.)

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May 11, 2004



The actual campaign for Fuse TV, a product I know nothing about, is a not actual campaign for a not actual candidate named Haymish. You can see this double dribble advertisement circulating through NYC on the sides of buses. One of the taglines being used is "No health care for one-hit wonders." This is the kind of rockist piffle we do not truck with, so fuck you, Haymish, and the bus you rode in on.

In the same vein, here's an old item we'd like to shit on right now. (I wasn't around when it hit, so don't email me your little red pen marks.) Should I ever be asked to guest lecture on the subject of rockism, and I can't convince Mark Sinker to do everyone a favor and take the gig, I will hand the following clipping to the youth. They need read no further than this passage from Dave Grohl's Playlist, originally in the New York Times Arts & Leisure Section:

"BRITNEY SPEARS -- Take it from me, the airplane videos get 'em every time. Long gone are the days of Britney's high school pep-rally dance routines. Proving once again that she will not be outdone when it comes to pop sleaze, she's back with ''Toxic'' (Jive), four minutes of ''Showgirls'' meets 007. Here, you get three flavors to choose from: Britney the blonde, Britney the brunette and Britney the redhead. Without being nasty enough to really cause a stir, she manages to make out with about 27 guys in the course of a few minutes, although it's hard to keep track, what with all the hair dye going on. Oh yeah, then there's the song. Kudos to the mad genius who finally wrote the musical equivalent of brainwash. Deprogram me, now, please."

The day Dave Grohl writes any "brainwash" as focused and tough as "Toxic," he may actually convert someone who's never heard Nirvana. The day he gets over his "female desire = sluttiness" problem, we'll take his face off the dart board. (She kisses about three or four guys, Dave, if memory serves, and what are you worried about in the first place?) And when he realizes that parodies are fair game for everybody, he will become, on that day, a man.

Posted by Sasha at 12:23 PM | TrackBack



We learn in today's Times that President Bush has seen the new videos and photos of U.S. citizens abusing Iraqis.

Mr. Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, characterized the president's reaction as "one of deep disgust and disbelief that anyone who wears our uniform would engage in such shameful and appalling acts."

"Who wears our uniform"—interesting. Try the statement again without these words. Shouldn't it be notable that humans would engage in these acts at all? Props, though, to authors Richard W. Stevenson and Carl Hulse for the "courts-martial" plural.

Much larger props to our man Luc Sante for this editorial. The Popeil Pocket Nightmare: It's porn, but turn it over and it's a lynching!

In happier news: Die, motherfucker, die!

Posted by Sasha at 10:15 AM | TrackBack

May 10, 2004



I got the date wrong, of course. The Big Black show was part of a Homestead showcase in the a summer of 1986. It was the first time I spoke to James Lo. The last time I talked to James was at The Sands recording session last week. (Shit worked out OK, yunno? Knock wood, make obeisance, spit on ground.)

Posted by Sasha at 10:49 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2004



I'm like a lab rat—the sun shines, my mood rises. In unrelated news, it is hard to determine which part of the following sentence makes the least sense. (Wouldn't it, pardon my nostalgic craziness, serve Posh best to maybe resurrect the original Posh style onna Spicy track?)

"Dame Dash & Victoria "Posh" Beckham have ended their collaboration, due to Beckham's manager Simon Fuller being unhappy with her affiliation with HipHop. Dash stripped Beckham's voice off of the tracks he produced for the album and is seeking a new singer." (From

Posted by Sasha at 04:39 PM | TrackBack



The Best of 2004 list is now revised, engorged and somewhat ridiculous. It is only fair to point out that you should consider only the albums ranked 40 and above as "endorsed" in any way. The rest is just me keeping track. (My apologies if you gave that Department of Eagles CD to your Mom today.) The single songs are all great.

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Other than pictures of rust and things painted yellow, I am not sure what you are hoping to find here. (You know, by now, that I don't have that N*lly video.) To help clear up this confusion, I have provided a menu. Choose an excerpt, let me know what it is, and I will then provide the related content, with the full acknowledgement that this self-selected sample of choices isn't a set of choices at all but an echo chamber I am asking you to kick.

1. A passage about Haitian torturer Constant transcribed from an interview with Edwidge Danticat in the new Louder Than Bombs anthology.

2. How I desparately want the evangelical tide of privatization (apparently not such a hot deal for those looking to sub-contract their abuse) to wipe out the CT DMV.

3. My observations on these recordings: Solar Disco Box Set, Ornette Coleman's Tone Dialing, and X’s Under the Big Black Sun.

4. How I learned these two German words in Crete: "affe"—monkey and "gehirnerschütterung"—concussion.

5. A repetitive, manual habit I picked up in Crete.

6. The worst song ever: Nancy LaMott’s “I’ll Be There With You."

7. How, as digi visual culture (CGI, Flash art, Photoshop) grows, a parallel need for evidence of human persistence grows (reality TV, phone sex, etc.).

8. How I fell in love with the Fearless Four's "Rockin' It."

9. The experience of watching a drum machine fail at Big Black's show in the summer of 1987 at CBGB's.

10. My amazement that Thingy and/or Rob Crow are not ultra beeg.

11. The very excellent consistency of the Tubes 2003 compilation.

12. How completely badass Sarah Jones's Bridge and Tunnel is.

13. Eddie Kendricks' retardedly beautiful second album, People...Hold On.

14. Seeing The Thermals open for Sleater-Kinney at Irving Plaza a week or so ago.

15. Summer 1980: Working at the Eagle Printing plant in East Orange, NJ, eating the best cheeseburger of all time and listening obsessively to David Bowie's Scary Monsters.

16. The beauty of the singjay style: Clint Eastwood, Trinity, Dillinger, Big Youth. Raising up on the first two beats, hammering home, then coming back up, sing-a-ling.

17. Circumstantial evidence from personal experience that leads me to believe that, absent the threat of public censure or economic disincentive, a certain class of people will act like assholes and another will behave responsibly.

18. [Related submotif: The motherfucking Harvard Law School students who stole my records seven years ago.]

19. Hydrocod**e vs Amb**n and Val**m.

20. Flamenco genius Maria Pages, the importance of rules, bullfighting and digital reverb.

21. How liquidy was a live performance by Piotr Anderszewski.

Posted by Sasha at 09:51 AM | TrackBack

May 07, 2004



Nick Catchdubs reports:

"the girls used to call it "to-be-killed-in" alley when i lived in the lafayette street NYU dorm.

just in that one year (the same year puff would be accross the street every day on trial), i watched them film a good 10-to-15 terrible cop shows and films on that street. michael douglas' "don't say a word" and the ben affleck stinker "changing lanes," for instance.

noir side-streets used in b-list productions singlehandedly funding the nyc film comission? say word..."

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After spending entire seconds wondering if maybe the jackasses who conflated the Iraqis and 9/11 are responsible for an atmosphere where hamheads will randomly torture anyone from a certain population, I came upon this piece about an alley around the corner from my house. The biggest user of this alley is Law and Order, but Onyx also exploited its sepulchral and misty vibes. There are three camera-ready alleys within the immediate area and I will happily provided a guided tour for a pittance.

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May 06, 2004



I was glad to see Hayder Sabbar Abd on the front page of the Times yesterday. His story frames the snuff films and General Karpinski's comments. As Abu Ghraib is the hook of the millisecond, it's not exactly an act of journalistic chutzpah to lead with a torture victim, but it's the right story of the story.

Today, the Times ran a story by James Dao and Paul von Zielbauer on Cumberland, Maryland, home to several soldiers from the 372nd reserve unit. Apparently, "nowhere has the soul searching been more anguished than in this slice of Appalachia." This will be news to slices of Iraq or any other countries where people are regularly tortured on the government's dime. With tears on her cheeks, child-bearing soldier Kerry Shoemaker-Davis brings the fire and brimstone (minus the fire and brimstone) to her neighbors: "I was angry at the soldiers. And actually embarrassed for these prisoners."

When she's recovered from her acute case of embarrassment, I think she should bring Charles Graner and Lynndie England down to Atlantic Avenue for a visit. Stop on any street corner and ask which way Mecca is. Then call a fucking ambulance.

Posted by Sasha at 01:02 PM | TrackBack

May 05, 2004



Thanks to reader Jay Miller, Polow da Don is no longer a mystery:

"Polow is the same person from Jim Crow. Jim Crow broke up, and now Polow is a producer for a lot of big name artists. He did a remix of "Not In Love" for Enrique Iglesias, and a song with Nelly Furtado. He's doing more stuff with Mya. He also has his own production company called Zone 4 with a couple of artists who should be coming out soon."

I appreciate the info, Jay. Polow da Don—I am saying. Write it in ink.

Posted by Sasha at 04:22 PM | TrackBack

May 03, 2004



In honor of Film Forum's upcoming showing of the original, uncut Japanese verison of Godzilla, we bring you an interview with the big fella conducted by Dave Tompkins. Like 'Zilla, Tompkins is seven steps ahead of science and several leagues outside of time. (A shorter transcription of this interview appears in the new issue of Arthur, as well as an interview with Devendra Banhart, who would likely not fight with a moth. It is a beautiful world that can accomodate them both.)


Known for his bad sense of direction, Godzilla, “King of Monsters,” was recently spotted lumbering around Long Island, insisting to bewildered local officials that he was on “Monster Island,” asking where the hell was Rodan and in general making a big mess of things. Apparently, the Kaju Eiga legend hadn’t been notified that local mecha-faced rapper MF Doom had transferred the title of God’s former stomping ground to Long Island--the New York suburb known for its tasteful lawn furniture, cracked toenail polish and a crew of rappers called Monster Island Czars. Confused but flattered, Godzilla was in good spirits when Arthur correspondent Dave Tompkins found him in Doom’s backyard, resting comfortably in an orange floral lounger and popping Beta-capsules. After an unprecedented 50 years in the monster game, Godzilla is finally retiring. Under a bruised sky, the bomb-born icon reflected on his career, quoted Public Enemy and marveled at how he nearly had his ass whooped by a moth.


Q: Godziller, wake up.

G: I dreamt I was a 400 foot tall black guy having sex with a volcano, a very active Mount Fuji.

Q: That was Chapelle's Show.

G: He was Blackzilla.

Q: You’re everywhere.

G: Baseball pitchers, Parliament bass players. I can’t be mad at that.

Q: Paul Hogan spoofed you too.

G: An atomic drunk Australian in flip flops, crumpling Foster cans.

Q: Booming burps upon the people.

G: If you're that large, you don't burp—you eructate.

Q: If you wear flip flops, you burp.

G: I could use some flip flops. I've been walking all over towns for half a century and my gods are barking.

Q: The same gods that squashed Bambi in Godzilla Vs Bambi.

G: Whambi. And just like that, I'm wearing fawn flops.

Q: But that didn't really happen.

G: Of course not, it was animated.

Q: Have all the documentaries been accurate?

G: Not really. Them bones at the end of the first one Inoshiro Honda did in 1954 weren't me. And if Dr. Serizawa had really deoxidized the ocean, we'd be shit out of fish. At least he immolated himself so his invention couldn't be inflicted on humans. Nice touch. Japanese version only.

Q: The US version woke you with a Hydrogen bomb instead of the A-bomb.

G: The Japanese version wasn't intended to be anti-American, just anti-nuclear. What destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki merely got me out of bed. The bomb gave me the starting nod. Something's really wrong with that. I'm a constant reminder of one of history's darkest moments. Talk about guilt and a military industrial god complex. It's confusing. I could be defending Tokyo and the next thing I know they're popping peashooters. Bullets sting like sweat bees and my feelings get hurt. Then I find it was the Americans who initiated the atomic testing. They woke me up. Like that Pharoah Monche song that says "Get the fuck up!"

Q: Right, "Simon Says," the one that sampled your theme music.

G: They got my horn section. Actually they got the composer's horn section—Akira Ifukube. Monsters would kill for a horn section like that. Dun-dun-dun-dun! How could I not tromp Tokyo?

Q: And The Roar. Sounds like two rusty frigates slow dancing.

G: Again, Ifukube, rubbing a resin-coated leather glove against a contra-bass. It's on the Godzilla Alarm clock.

Q: So you woke up and started swinging at Japan.
G: Japan was close and convenient. It was instinctive. I was groggy. Grogzilla. Can you be instinctive and groggy?

Q: A groggy man's instinct is to not look where he's walking.

G: See?

Q: Or go back to sleep.

G: And they woke me up.

Q: To meet your metaphor.

G: To mash my makers.

Q: They made you a star.

G: Loved, feared, merchandised. Maybe I helped Japan economically avenge itself. But they didn't need me to crush GM. There’s a Nissan named after me now.

Q: Faster than Fast Eddie.

G: I'll step on it. Where do you watch me crush Tokyo?

Q: On a Sony Trinitron.

G: Not some GE jankasaurus.

Q: Japan is very forgiving of you.

G: I'll never be able to set foot in some towns again.

Q: Like the island of Odo?

G: (Snort) I feel bad about that. I was looking for the island from Attack Of The Mushroom People. Imagine taking a global economic center while on toadstools. It would've looked like tinker town.

Q: Now kids can be giants and stomp their Godzilla models.

G: The tables turn.

Q: Suckers burn to learn.

G: They can't disable the power of my fable.

Q: The Godzilla legend lives on eBay and DVD.

G: It's crazy, right? Use your Godzilla Calculator to add up all the damage. Estimated 6 trillion yen just in Godzilla 1985 alone.

Q: Too bad the movie didn't rake in—

G: Watch it!

Q: I haven't...

G: You should!

Q: ...the time.

G: Next question.

Q: You've been lionized by the very culture you destroy.

G: I'm king of the beasts. At least I've defended the world from Ghidra—the three headed garden hose gone wild.

Q: And Monster Zero.

G: Who's got zilch on me.

Q: Godzilla's got jokes for the folks.

G: You've got to when the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center is funding all this Mecha-mitsubullshit. And I get blamed for every oversized space cricket that craps in a crater. I wasn't the one who defrosted that giant grasshopper in the arctic.

Q: That was a mantis.

G: That's the thing—

Q: No, mantis.

G: No the thing is...

Q: Mothra!

G: The Godzilla Vs The Thing thing?

Q: The caterpillar?

G: That's the Thing before The Thing.

Q: Before the winged Thing.

G: Ding!

Q: But James Arness was the first Thing...

G: That’s my Thing.

Q: The Thing From Another World.

G: ...thawed from a block of ice

Q: like the giant mantis.

G: You say mantis, I say locust—whatever. One man’s plague of bad movies is another man’s childhood. Meanwhile every A-Bomb boob in a monkey suit wants to knuckle up with me.

Q: You still talk to Kong?

G: Sometimes. We're cool with each other. It's kind of like professional wrestling, minus the bad hair and fake moves. I don’t think Kong should get back in the ring. It reminds me of when OJ played for the 49ers with his shot-up knees. Kong and I've had great seasons but, I dunno. My knees are in a bad interarticular space right now.

Q: Kong kicked your tail huh?

G: Kong grabbed my tail and threw me across Tokyo.

Q: Helicopter spin!

G: Sometimes it doesn't pay to have a tail.

Q: Kong doesn't have a tail.
G: Kong is paid.

Q: So it ended in a draw.

G: It ended in the ocean.

Q: And Kong won.

G: If you buy the American version.

Q: The only version I had.

G: You got had.

Q: In the Japanese version, Kong surfaces in the water but we hear you roar.

G: Hear me roar!

Q: Did Kong roar?

G: Kong didn't have the pipes.

Q: What started the beef between you and Kong anyway?

G: It started when Kong clobbered that Tyrannosaurus at Skull Island back in '33. That Rex was my prototype, minus the isotopes. Plus Kong was salty that I was labeled "King of the Monsters" without being tested.

Q: But you were atomically tested.

G: Still, Kong wasn't trying to share his crown when he thought he could whoop Leroy Brown's junkyard dog's ass.

Q: So it was a title thing. Tohos before bros.

G: Also, I'm Gojira—Japanese for gorilla. So I'm Gorilla, King of the Monsters. That’s funny. That really enriches my uranium. What a Donkey Kong dumbass. Actually, I'm supposed to be this monkey whale combo.

Q: And you don't see Orca bitching about that.

G: Because Orca's dead.

Q: My bad.

G: So, you have Kong, Malay god of Skull Island, billed against Me, the Manhattan Projectile Ray Leonard. Still, Kong taught me a lot. That flying drop-kick I used on Megalon? All Kong. Nothing mamby Bambi about that. And Kong learned it from Willis O' Brien, the great stop motion animator who "created" him, if you will.

Q: Sure, don't mind at all.

G: Anyway, Willis 'Obie' O' Brien, in addition to being a genius who mentored Ray Harryhausen, was a big boxing fan. He trained Kong as this pugilist.

Q: Who had a problem with dinosaurs?

G: Maybe it was a mammal reptile thing, I don't know. I always resented being tagged a mutant dinosaur. Dinosaurs are stigmatized as old folks, broken down bulldozers and purple pills. If Peter Lorre can be down with the Flintstones…

Q: I was never scared of dinosaurs.

G: But you're scared of me.

Q: Not all monsters are bad.

G: It got too cute, didn't it? Gamera, the Flying Turtle. Mothra and the Peanuts Sisters.

Q: Mothra was female. She was good-natured and wasn't played by a guy in a rubber suit.

G: It's beHEmoth, not beSHEmoth.

Q: Dude, it’s not 1954 any more.

G: But fighting a moth!

Q: Her larva silked you up and you fell off.

G: I fell off a cliff. Talk about bad threads.

Q: More like a dud.

G: Watch it!

Q: I did!

G: I was impressed with Mothra as a caterpillar, in a Monster That Challenged The World kind of way. But they should've hired the amazing Mooncalf from First Men In The Moon. Now there's a caterpillar!

Q: Yeah, Mothra never really scared me. Neither did Kong for that matter.

G: Don't let Kong hear you say that. His new manager, the hobbit guy, knows there's a lot of qualified monsters out there, chomping for a comeback. Remember how Gorgo took London.

Q: That took the cake.

G: Gorgonzola cheese.

Q: The Ymir took Rome.

G: Reach out of the darkness, son. Who didn't have a monster problem back than? The atom ants of Arizona? The big-ass rabbits in New Mexico?

Q: I'm surprised the gnat wasn't supersized.

G: Gnatmare on Elm Street, Gnat of the Hunter, The Gnat That Saved Pittsburgh.

Q: Please stop.

G: Then there's the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms! He took Manhattan.

Q: Took?

G: Okay, flipped a few buses. He took his lonely monster blues out on Greyhound.

Q: That's what happens when you fall in love with a lighthouse.

G: Right. It was based on The Foghorn, that Bradbury story.

Q: When he got electrocuted at Coney Island, they say he died like an opera singer.

G: It was so sad. The Muppets had an easier time taking Manhattan. Or Gork.

Q: Gork?

G: Gork Eats New York And Gets A Thank You Note From President Ford.

Q: But Fred G. Sanford fabricated that one.

G: Another example of my influence.

Q: Do you have credibility issues because you've always been played by a guy in a rubber suit?

G: I've got incrediblity, son. I’m the most popular monster on earth.

Q: Right and Rex Reason had whitest hair on This Island Earth.

G. I got into modeling for the glue. I never had the discipline for stop motion animation. And CGI may be fancy but the rubber "suitimation" get-up has the charm. I’m analog like Yog.

Q: You needed more than a rubber suit for Hedorah, the smog monster.

G: Here comes the sludge! That guy was a mess, a real chudsucker. How do you shog a 400 foot industrial wasteoid who can turn into a Frisbee that spits acidic mud?

Q: Mule Team Borax?

G: Hedorah showed up in '71 after the Chisso Corporation finally started compensating victims for dumping nearly 70 tons of Mercury acetaldehyde in the Minamata Bay after the war. While Chisso’s plastic production was booming, they were poisoning people and fish. Not that I'm Mr. Save The Whales or anything. I breathe radiation for crying out loud! But Hedorah played on fears like the Minamata Disease. He came from tadpoles hitching a ride on a contaminated meteor.

Q: What are your concerns raising a son in a world that's gone in the ecological shitter?

G: My concerns are like any other parent's. Crappy movies, SARS and the fact that a lot of warheads aren't screwed on too tight. We might all need rubber suits soon. Thawing giant grasshoppers is one thing. But unfreezing nuclear weapons program... I guess no one listened to me.

Q: Or Bulgasari.

G: “The North Korean Godzilla.” A leftwing revolutionary DMZilla from 1985. But he was backed by Kim Sung-II who gave the director (Shinn Sang-okk) suggestions on how Bulgasari should look. I guess you need help if you're named after a Starfish. Luckily they imported my personal image consultants from Japan.

Q: Bulgasari was the people's monster.

G: He had a no nuke stance. The government wanted to convert confiscated farm tools into weapons to squash a peasant revolution. But Bulgasari ate all the metal. Kim Sung-II endorsed this! And now his son antes his arsenal while his people starve. Talk about irony.

Q: While you were flossing your teeth with Tokyo's Bullet Train.

G: (Sigh) Talk about stupidity.

Q: Talk about man.

G: Nukes, biohazards, genetic engineering--how does that old song go? The message is the monster. You know it's time to hang up the contrabass when they're using your own DNA against you.

Q: Godzilla Cells!

G: eBay!

Q: Spliced with a rose bush haunted by a mad scientists' dead daughter and.

G: Voilá! "Bioallante!" A plant named after an enviro-friendly Cadillac.

Q: Greenhouse in effect! Your biggest opponent.

G: The greenest but not the meanest.

Q: Speaking of asexuality, there've been questions about your gender ambiguity. Does your son sometimes feel like a motherless child?

G: Hmph.

Q: Struck a nerve?

G: More like a plothole.

Q: Your son helped slay Ghidra in Destroy All Monsters. That must be a special memory.

G: But Monster Island wasn't too happening. It wasn't like we were dancing around singing "I Scrumble For Ya." You know that movie was also called Godzilla's Electric Battle Masterpiece. Destroy All Monsters has been adopted as this cultural battle cry. Take a look around. I'm the least of your worries. Like the Twilight Zone guy with the eyebrows once said: "The monsters are on Maple Syrup."

Q: That's Maple Street.

G: That's splat. Flat as a Bambi pancake.

Q: Please stop.

G: Did you just call me Godziller?


Posted by Sasha at 03:02 PM | TrackBack



The Sands completed the lion's share of seven songs at Water Music in Hoboken this weekend. The pleasure is using my hands again was immense. My bandmates are ninjas and gentlemen, and I salute them. Leave a little spot for us in your heart and give us half an hour of your time--maybe in June, maybe July. A preliminary scan finds no jokes on the premises.

The Bose Triport headphones sound fine if you like bass and shit like that but, my Gawd, who were they designed for? A parking meter? Stretch the headset apart to insert your head and POP! the whole plastic headstrap busts. And when those fancy in-ear Shure headphones are fully inserted, it feels like a throat exam. Just use the crappy earbuds the iPod comes with and make do. That's my 12 cents.

"You meet, and guess what? He's just another person, no better or different than the others. A Person from the Person Store. So much for your dreams."

Posted by Sasha at 02:42 PM | TrackBack