GradientFill (2:03:15 PM): whose dick you suckin'?
The meaning of life. Twisted!
Woah. Rockline asked Trent Reznor my email question about the intended Aaliyah collaboration. Word for word my email (the only one of the night) and said "Travis" (also said something like "I presume it's a guy" because of the name). It made Trent kind of sad but it got some good feedback from him about her, like how he thought she always had a cool vibe and he really likes her One In A Million album. I am very happy my question was asked because the few times I actually try to submit questions in NIN and Radiohead Yahoo chats they never present my questions. Shoutzout to Rockline for that.
AudioGalaxy presents a cool article on backmasking in famous classic rock and pop songs.
But don't be too impressed with them, because they are spying on all our online activity.
Hmmm this Poe News site isn't bad. They link to an article about sneakily editing out "duplicate frame" content of movies and TV programs to shorten their lengths and offer another article with the headline "Would You Like Cream, Sugar or Cum?" There's also one called "Japanese scientists take step towards breeding tentacle rape monster" which is actually about inserting a gene for spinach into pigs to create an animal/plant creature.
Wow. Just listened to the new Nine Inch Nails EP Still for the first time. Trent never fails to impress me. Particularly of note are the four new ambient instrumentals on this mini-album, including the Steve Reich-esque "Adrift And At Peace." I knew he had it in him. It's funny, I was just talking to my friend Jon a few weeks ago about some of the material I wish he'd work on, and I thought of an ambient album with some organic elements. This more or less is it. The rest of the disc is made up of previously released songs re-written and re-recorded in a "deconstructed" manner. My favorite is "Something I Can Never Have" but they are all well done. Lastly Trent included a new song ("vocal piece"), the title track to the And All That Could Have Been package (Still is part of a deluxe CD set I bought yesterday; the other disc is the "main" section, the live album). Very, very good. People on the internet have been enjoying it for the better part of two weeks now but I resisted the temptation to download it. I was completely blown away by this song. Perhaps the most melancholy and beautiful piece of music Trent has ever recorded. I think part of the reason this song is great is that it was a writing and performance collaboration with the very talented Danny Lohner, who is coming into his own as a magnificent artist perhaps on the level of Trent himself. Had Still been released last year as planned it would doubtless have been in my top pantheon of album choices for 2001 (still reviewing... I have about five albums to listen to before I post my picks). Right now it's my favorite of 2002, but then again it's the first CD I've bought from this year. I recommend this disc to anyone. If you do not own one NIN album I'd recommend it. It is beautiful music. Some of NIN's music isn't for everyone. A lot of its angst I have grown out of, and I realized this when listening to the live album. How many "fucks," "fuckings," and "fuck you's" must be said on a song? However, as a recent review of it pointed out, Still reminds the listener of the pure technical brilliance at the foundation of Trent Reznor's music, "as if the listener needed to be reminded." If you do not feel like plunking down close to twenty bucks for the double disc set (live album and Still), you can order it online for a mere $10 plus shipping directly from the band at the link below.
I'm gonna play Lewis Black from The Daily Show for a minute and be "the angry guy." Three points:
I had to serve jury duty today at age 19. What kind of gay shit...? Playin', y'all (!) ;D. I sat around till noon before I was even called to jury selection. All the adults I talked to said young people (and I was the youngest out of 100 or so people) were never picked, so I wasn't worrying. Even if I were picked I'd do a good job and it might have been fun. Well, I actually was picked in a criminal trial for this cat from Suitland who (allegedly) committed second degree assault in November of 2000. This ain't no joke! ;D Anyway, both his lawyer and the state lawyer picked me, and my face was visibly surprised. I didn't say "Damn!" but that was the face they saw me make. I guess they thought I was older cos I was well dressed, polite, and spoke intelligently. Once I sat at the bench tho I was slouching (I do this to relieve tension sometimes) and smirking because I found the situation really funny. Potentially I could have been there till tomorrow morning because of this. Anyway, the defendant and his lawyer kept staring at me and after a couple minutes the lawyer said "We respectfully excuse Number 22" (me). I said quietly to myself, "OK!" and walked back to the half of the crowd that was rejected from duty. I didn't try to get out of it but that's what happened, fortunately for me. I was dismissed from court at 2 but my mom was coming at 5, so I decided to take a bus. Waited an hour for the bus, rode the bus for an hour (it stopped for 15 minutes to refuel or just be repaired, who knows), rode the subway for an hour. Got home at 5. Ain't that some crazy ish. I found out that I don't have to perform jury duty for three more years because everyone who is selected, whether they serve or not, is marked for having fulfilled their obligation as a citizen to P.G. County. Kool with a k. Overall that j0nX was aiiiiiiiiiiight but I don't mind waiting a few more years to go back. Man it's fun talkin' like this, yo. BTW people who say "heh" or "hah" sullenly in person or on comp-ooter are damned contemptuous and annoying.
Wassup dunnies? ;) I just got home from seeing Jack Johnson, or as Ticketmaster would call them, Mos Def Presents The Black Jack Johnson Proj. Lots to say. But in a sentence, it was a lot of fun.
Like last time I reviewed a live hip-hop band (not 24 hours ago) I'll start with two major complaints first, duration and position.
Duration. Perhaps as a way to compete with the Roots last night, Mos took an astonishing three hours before deciding to come on stage. I cannot understand why the hell his band would come at 9 when the doors open at 6. The only fathomable excuse I can think of is he swung by the 930 Club to do "Double Trouble" with the Roots. It was an intensely long wait. It was aggrivated by the wack DJ who was playing a lot of pop rap. I love Outkast but he went way, way overboard. I don't think I'll be able to listen to them for months. The second song he played was "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" by Jay-Z, which I found baffling considering the crowd. They booed, and some kid was like "now some DMX." They also played some just really inappropriate (but good) songs like Radiohead's "Idioteque" (which, along with Kelis' "Young Fresh N' New", sounded amazing on huge speakers in a club setting), Bjork's "Heirloom", and Gorillaz' "New Genious (Brother)." He also played Jay-Z's "Takeover" with its pitch raised, making it sound like a completely different rapper. Most of it was bearable music but three hours was just too much of it. I was beginning to think the band wouldn't even perform. I heard some pimple face guy who works at the place tell some girls that the band was going to play two and a half hours, so I stayed pumped for that. I must admit, however, by the time the band finally took stage, I was pretty annoyed and it took a song for me to get into it. Unfortunately the band only played exactly one hour, 28 minutes and 40 seconds, not the promised two and a half hours. I definitely thought an encore would've been nice, considering it was $26 and we waited three hours for them to come on. But it was a solid set.
Position. Front row, not center. I was right in the front, against the railing, but toward my right. Great position to see the band. However, I was right in front of an eight feet high stack of sub-woofers and amplifiers. It was kind of irritating during the DJ set, but it was excruciating during the performance. I considered walking away and going to the back since I didn't bring earplugs, but I stuck it out the whole time with my left ear a couple feet from the booming amps. I imagine if I had moved the sound would've been great (as it was during the DJ set, unlike the Roots show last night where the only thing in the songs that could be heard was the bass). However, right next to the amps the quality was really uneven. I heard Mos's vocals loud and clear, as well as the drums and bass, but Dr. Know (guitar) and P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell were relatively quiet a lot of the time. This is probably because they were on the opposite part of the stage, and I was facing the amazingly talented Living Colour bassist the whole time, with Mos a few feet away (I'd say he was about 10-15 feet from me the whole time, and we made eye contact throughout the show - so he does know me now!). Anyway being in the center would've made it more fun, but it still rocked.
Not actually a problem: geography. Everyone always talks about how ghetto the Navy Yard Metro station area is, how people get shot, mugged, whatever. When I was out there at 6pm and 11pm there was almost no one in the streets and no cars driving. It was silent, and furthermore the neighborhood was clean. It was nice. It was much safer than the 930 Club neighborhood. My mom had me all screwed up about it. I emptied my wallet's contents and left them at home, bringing just enough money for Metro and concert tickets. I kept my money, house key, a piece of paper containing my calling card info in case I was mugged and bereft of money to make a phone call, and eventually my concert ticket stub in my socks. None of that was necessary at all. The club itself was pretty clean, too. It wasn't on any punk rock shit. It was professional, even the area where they have raves. No rampant drug use or violence like my mom claimed. (When I came home she was waiting for me. "Do you think you're funny?" Then I told her what I just wrote above. I told her earlier I was going and she at first said I wasn't, then she kinda gave in (I thought). I think she's over it or will be by tomorrow.)
Highlights. The band is amazing. The rhythm section from Living Colour (Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun), the guitarist from Bad Brains, the keyboardist from Parliament, and the mighty Mos Def cannot go wrong. It was exactly what I expected it to be from the Reverb performance. Since they just formed a year and a half ago, they're not the seasoned performers (together, I mean) that the Roots are. So they keep the versatility crown. But Black Jack Johnson rocked about a million times harder than the Roots did, simply because this is a rock band, not a live hip-hop band. I mean, they both blend both genres, but this band is really a rock band with Mos rapping to it. I can't wait till they finally release an album. Dr. Know was the most versatile player, mixing hard rock riffs equally with careful strumming for the melower parts. The Living Colour bassist and drummer were the biggest rock stars. The Parliament keyboardist I really could not hear enough of where I was, but he shined on some great songs like "Umi Says" and "Ghetto." Mos, of course, was charismatic as hell. Even more charming than on record and on TV. Definitely a great host. He was very humble and excited about playing. The only downfall was that his remarks showed that he's a bit of a bigot toward certain types of people. Anyway, I'll do a song by song breakdown from the best of my recollection. I'm going to skip some of the mini-songs and ones I couldn't identify. The band did a lot of snippet covers of obscure '80s black R&B songs, as well as some kind of general homages to music like the blues. I think there were one or two original Black Jack Johnson songs that just weren't identified. Album songs first.
Hip Hop -> Jam On It. Vastly different arrangement from the Black On Both Sides production. If not for the chorus I probably wouldn't even have caught it. Mos changed the chorus to be Dead Prez's lyric "It's bigger than hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop..." "Jam On It" was just the first half of the song's lyrics rapped over a completely different (heavy metal) song.
Ms. Fat Booty. Verrrrrry extended version. Just like the version on the Reverb web site, but longer. Like in the Roots show, the emcee took the opportunity to let each band member's contributions be highlighted through the song. He did this in form of a black Baptist gospel call. "Testify!" At the end: "Can I get an Amen!" '70s and '80s R&B, blues, Bob Marley's "I Don't Want To Wait In Vain," and the chorus song a lot of times by the audience and Mos filled out the "Extended Booty Remix, found exclusively on www.youhadtobethere.com."
Got. Exactly like the metal version broadcast on Reverb.
Umi Says -> Travellin' Man [DJ Honda f/ Mos Def] -> instrumental improvisation. Show closer. Amazing. Somewhat faithful to the album version, but slower. Some different lyrics and some original lyrics sung differently. Dedicated to all the "survivors" in the audience ("anyone out there who is going through some shit right now, I want you to raise your hand"). He talked about how the shit he was going through. Apparently the industry is giving him a lot of shit about the whole rock thing. He also talked about how some fans just weren't feeling it (yet) either. "White people [in the industry] are like, what's next Mos Def, coming out with an accordian?" He also talked about reluctant black people. His analogy was that of a train trip, talking about how they need to get on the train and how some of them are going to be on the last one to arrive. He said the first train is coming, and Doug corrected him saying it's already arrived long ago. He pointed out that black people shouldn't be fearful of rock, they invented it. It's ok for them to feel it because it's theirs. The song's outro was Mos's apology for ending the show. Very different lyrics from the "Travellin' Man" lyrics, modified for DC and the concert situation. The music was totally different from Honda's beat, although I think I heard Bernie improvising like a maniac around the original keyboard riff.
Rock 'N' Roll. Totally different music. They didn't even bother working out a live instrument arrangement for the original music, they just made up a new heavy metal song that is in many ways much better than the original. The lyrics were sung totally differently as well, and a lot of the words were changed. One of two big "fuck you" songs to the record industry. If I met Mos after the show (which I didn't) I would've said I totally agreed with the lyrics to the song (which indicte the white race for stealing rock music from blacks).
Definition [Black Star]. Again, very different arrangement, sort of hard rock meets reggae. Dr. Know did a great job again balancing the two forces of power chords and minor key The Edge-style accompaniment.
Body Rock. Hard rock version with backup vocals by Dr. Know. Real crowd pleaser. He also played a song I didn't know (or recognize) from 1996 or 1997 that really got the crowd cheering. It could've been "Next Universe", "Universe Magnetic", almost anything. Probably an obscure early single.
Rapeover [based on Jay-Z's "Takeover"]. New song. "How many of you are wearing your Jay-Z shirts tonight?" Half the audience boos, a quarter is silent, a quarter cheer. "OK. How many of you know about 'the Takeover'?" Mos pauses as the audience pretends to not know the mainstream song, even though it was just played an hour ago. "You know that whole battle between Jay-Z and Nas. Anyway, we have our own version of 'the Takeover.' This one's called 'the Rapeover' becayse the record industry's been screwing us over for years." Immediately I cheered wildly and most people applauded as well. Man, Black Jack Johnson rocked that song. They perform it much better than the Roots did on Jay-Z Unplugged. This version was pure metal. The lyrics were changed of course. "Cocaine be runnin' this rap shit. Rich white men be runnin' this rap shit. Filthy homosexuals be runnin' this wack shit. MTV be runnin' this wack shit." Et cetera. Totally different lyrics exposing all the corruption behind the scenes in the industry. Though I agree Birdcage style homosexuals have nothing in common with hip-hop and should not be making executive decisions, I think his comment about gays is pretty fucking ignorant. He mostly attacked powerful white people in the song, but a smart enough person (like me!) can see he doesn't mean white people as a race but 60 year old white millionaires who don't know anything about hip-hop. Anyway I loved the lyrics and I was cheering like crazy. I wonder if anyone wrote them down. It was a scorching "fuck you" to the industry that won't let hip-hop be true. On a final note, I found his dissing MTV to be a bit hypocritical considering he was in their TV movie Carmen.
Blackman [based on the "Batman" TV theme]. New song. Mos introduced it by saying he's been working on a cartoon superhero. Will started playing a heavy hip-hop beat on the drums, then the guitar and bass came in to perform the "Batman" theme in a very rugged, groove-heavy form. Lyrically it was about how black people are harassed by cops and politicians. "Will the black man survive? Stay tuned." Tipped off to be on the new album.
Ghetto. New song. Power ballad. One of the most beautiful songs Mos has ever written. Really passionate and it was intense just watching him scream his heart out. Dedicated to ghettos everywhere ("The world is a ghetto"). Wailing guitar, monster bass, and '70s soul keyboards. I can't wait for this one.
A capella. Before "Umi Says" Mos blessed us with a kind of beat poetry or freestyle rap a capella. I don't know if it was written beforehand or totally improvised, but it addressed us personally. He was really into it and something tells me he thought we were a special crowd deserving of this treat. Eloquent words about surviving in this world.
There you have it. I really enjoyed the concert. I've dreamed for months about seeing this band live but I never thought it'd really happen. I feel lucky.
What's up, fellas? I just got home from seeing the world famous Roots, and wow what can I say? Probably the most versatile live act I've ever seen. A great concert, right up there with GYBE!, Air, Mogwai, NIN, and Radiohead. First a short list of minor complaints. It was nearly two whole hours of waiting in a cramped crowd before the band came on stage. But when they did ?uest and Thought were ready for war in their army fatigues. Also, it would've been cool if they had someone like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, or Common open up for them, but they scheduled their protege R&B singer Jaguar Wright who they are really selling hardcore like they did Jilly from Philly (sister Jill Scott). Next complaint? Jaguar didn't even show up! What the hell? Also, the Roots were without brothers Malik B. and Rahzel. Anything else I need to say? They didn't do "Adrenaline" or "What They Do" or the closing part of "You Got Me" (the live drum 'n' bass madness). But what I can say is they played 2 hours of top notch high adrenaline hip-hop. Truly awesome performers, every single one of them. I had no idea Black Thought was such an entertaining personality. Brother ?uest is the undisputed leader and spokesman for the band, but Thought is of course the emcee. He has amazing stage presence. Tons of fun that guy was. Their songs all sound really good live, and really different. Without any female singer whatsoever, "You Got Me" was instrumentally kind of surfer punk during the verses, switching to a slower album version for the chorus with completely different words ("Should I go, should I stay or leave?", I think). As I said, they cut the coda and for a long time I waited for them to switch back to it but I finally gave up. Instead they did a 30 minute Introducing The Roots highlight of each member of the band via solos. As I said, they are all high quality performers. Brother Hub did a scorching 80's hair metal guitar solo on his bass (via heavily processed distortion). There were tons of covers, including among many, many more Busta's "What It Is Right Now", Ludacris' "Southern Hospitality", Fabolous' "Keepin' It Gangsta" (you know howwwwwww weeeeee doooooooo), Run-DMC's "It's Like That", Jay-Z's "Jigga That Nigga", Guns N' Roses' "Welcome To The Jungle" (Thought tore that shit up!), and "Dueling Banjos" from the movie Deliverance. Old school hip-hop, metal, punk, psychedelic rock, reggae, country, and all bases in-between were put it down by the legendary Roots crew. They played a bunch of songs of theirs that I didn't know, but it could be from the first two albums that I don't own or vastly rearranged songs on the two albums I do own. They also said they'd be playing some new "jawns" at these two DC shows. I think I spotted some okayplayers in the crowd. A good mix of people, but too many damn WG's (white girls). Anyway, as I was leaving I was handed a flyer for a show tomorrow night (tonight) at the Nation with Mos Def featuring his band Black Jack Johnson. I could hardly believe my luck. I think goat boy (Nick) will scream when I tell him I get to see Mos and he doesn't. I don't know how much it costs yet but I intend to buy my ticket tomorrow (in a few hours). The flyer described the performance as "classic hip-hop and ghetto metal."
Well, since this section of my site has been starving for months now I am going to make it a psuedo-journal for this month. To start it off, I just tried to rent the Talking Heads tour documentary Stop Making Sense. I almost got it, but I got to the counter and they tried to charge me new rental price for it! I pointed out that it was in the "old movies section" but I really wanted to say "Are you kidding? That shit's 20 years old!" (18 actually). The woman insisted that it was just in the wrong section and in the wrong case, so I didn't rent it. Damn! I've waited so long, too. I just checked the film's entry on the IMDB though, and apparently the audio was remixed in 1999. So what though? That was two years ago. I hate how Hollywood Video does that. I can't even rent Next Friday, Magnolia, or High Fidelity yet because they're all "new releases." I broke down and rented The Original Kings of Comedy but I was hurtin', let me tell you.
What else? I'm thinking about putting my new(er) artwork online. As you surely know, the old PHUX site went down last January. I checked a couple weeks and, after a year of erorr messages, thegibson.net is back online (sorta), although my site is no longer hosted. Christina has always said she'd host my PHUX site on her site, conniption.org, but I've never really put work into it. As you might remember, I had been working on a new layout/design for PHUX at the time the site went down. It's safe to say it's been scrapped, though, as I haven't touched it in a year and a half. It was going to have galleries and everything. But I don't really see the point now, since I've long lost contact with nearly the entire roster and those that I asked a year ago weren't crazy about my tribute/parody pack to celebrate PHUX's 10th release. So one of three things will happen now.
In the meantime I would just like to declare and document my immense
boredom right now. I should have gotten a job no matter what it was. Live
and learn. I couldn't even work on my book (at least not so far) because
I just haven't been in the mood. D
Here are a couple selections I found interesting in Albert Camus's The Fall, spoken by Jean-Baptiste Clamence.
"Your success and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them. But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others. Consequently, there is no escape. Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched. As for me, the injustice was even greater: I was condemned for past successes. For a long time I had lived in the illusion of a general agreement, whereas, from all sides, judgments, arrows, mockeries rained upon me, inattentive and smiling. The day I was alerted I became lucid; I received all the wounds at the same time and lost my strength all at once. The whole universe then began to laugh at me." -p. 80
"Above all, don't believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity. How can sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for truth is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing resists. It's a vice, at times a comfort, or a selfishness. Therefore, if you are in that situation, don't hesitate: promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can. You will satisfy their hidden desire and doubly prove your affection." -p. 82-3