Saturday, September 26, 2009

So Long time No See Folks.

Hiya all. Nope I didn't disappear, I've just been rather busy actually doing stuff. For a change I went places the spring semester(yep I left the room for a reason besides class) shocking I know. Then during summer holiday I went to see Rancid play in Baltimore, that was really one of the most amazing things ever so far(if it stays that way my life will have been boring). To see the band and hear music that has influenced me and on some level been inspirational was just phenomenal. Top it off I made new friends and finally got around to really putting in effort in to not sing and act like such a spaz.

I have good days and bad days. I'm even making serious attempts at the swearing, because who wants to be around someone with a potty mouth all the time. :snide comment here: Along with this whole self improvement, I've been working out, not much but running down mainstreet at school and then consciously eating healthy foods. Granted this tends to be a banana with breakfast, and one cup of coffee. Two sugars and a little milk. Been listening to lots of new music too. Stuff that I would have passed on picking out myself but out of politeness gave it a listen... Granted I'm probably a decade too late: Good Charlotte(chiefly first two albums and some of the later recent songs) and New Found Glory..not sure what album I have by them but it is pretty cool. Actually as I write this, Blink-182 just came on, so yeah add them to the list. So I guess its a bit old school pop-punk recently mixed in with AFI and your Rancid, Offspring etc.

Been Going to Mass a lot and I rather think I'd like to get confirmed, so am currently exploring that process. FYI I still dislike the praise and worship music: I went on the CCM (catholic campus ministries) retreat and had fun, learned a lot yeah but the music...gah was all I could do to not pull the ipod out and put any of the three covers of amazing grace or other Flatfoot 56 songs... It's not that I don't like the lyrics or such, far from it some of them are rather cool and nifty. The thing that annoys me is the arrangement, its slower and mellow. There was one song played that was really more my type of stuff till the singer started singing- it went mellower then and picked back up...if had stayed upbeat the entire time, well surely there must be more 'Jesus music' out there that a punk kid could get into?

Speaking of 'Jesus music' Any thoughts on these for going to Mass playlist, all of these songs remind me some way why I bother going to Mass or evening prayer.
Weigh On My Mind- Transplants(off of Transplants
Hold on- GC(off The Young and the Hopeless)
Movin' On- GC(off The Young and the Hopeless)
Purgatory- The Tossers(off of Purgatory)
When The Angels Sing- Social D(off of White Light, White Heat...

So with that in mind here is something I wrote during the retreat, while I should have been singing along... Just couldn't get into it... I did try though.

Friendship's parallel
Feeling lost amongst this crowd
lacking my musical comfort zone
ears slowly bleeding from this 'noise'
That brief instant
Sitting here I know it was worth it
Opening my mind
Don't know what I'm gonna find



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo, a letter

When I first took this on, this job, this lifestyle, this essence of being punk rock and a punk, I was most definitely and defiantly young. An upstart. Snot nosed and still wearing whitey-tighties. I was vivacious and full of fire and brimstone, ready to take on the world and all their wrongs. To teach the people of their heathen ways of religion and automation. Full of DIY ethic and anarchy and fuck the system.

I wore the bondage pants and patched up hoodies and jackets, Doc Martens with ladder lacing. I screamed in people’s faces and chanted a chorus of Oi! at least once a day. I became a heathen among heathens at the Sunday gatherings at the pew. I remember arguing with the preachers about the existence of God and cursing their teachings of being unscientific and righteously immoral against even their own solid beliefs. “Belief is nothing without fact. To believe does not make you right,” I would say.

The food court at the mall became the place to be, right after the bowling alley tossed the crew on our asses. We sat, eating our anarchy burgers (hold the cheese), debating about the merits of politics and what it meant to be truly anarchistic.

I acquired a new name, a nom-de-plume of sorts so that I might engage in random acts of violence. Kilt Wearing Punk. Not because I wore a kilt, but because I was a fiery believer in Scottish Independence, and hated all things English. I spray painted streets with violent girlfriends and then engage in masochistic foreplay at the house. I once lit my leg on fire, just to see what it felt like.

I learned to write. To get my thoughts about anarchy down on paper. I then broke the rules of writing before I ever learned what they were. I wrote sentences and works and had them scrambled up. Anarchy was all I could imagine, all I could ever be. Because happiness that one continues to wander Francis Street in front of religion and started to deal with the oubliettes, selfishness is asserted like a good thing. And you will not come, it is proposed to the merchants without part out and they take more than they take more than they take more than they take more than they take more than they give and they take more than they take more than they give and deputies, because the success is nothing without part out I set to Fuck Off.” I saw the ladies all the best stuff shipped straight from rain and anarchy and senators, the wheel wells of being punk I was vivacious and all their just pay. There ain’t no one gives a plastic sign.

I found this strangely refreshing.

But now that I’m in the twilight of youth and finding myself sentimental and becoming heavily influenced by the thought processes of Tatsuya Ishida and Erika Moen, two among many, I find that I wasn’t really punk rock after all. I was nothing more than a fashion poser, a self-label. A tourist, if you will. I lived in a comfortable suburban home, a child of the middle class. Heir to everything I could reach with my fingertips. I never did get away from the teachings of Christ, only using the word atheist for shock value against my parents.

I was doing damage outside the system, while never affecting the insides. Never damaging what really needed to be damaged.

Now that I’m older, and wiser, I realize what an idiot I’ve been.

I’m ready for a power suit and a power tie. I’m ready to start destroying cogs from inside the machine.

Maybe I’m punk after all.

Or maybe…

Johnny Rumble

Monday, September 14, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
Dark Horse, You Suck

I’m sitting at the computer banging my head into the keyboard to the furious post-apocalyptic beats of The Exploited’s two-thousand-and-three album “Fuck the System” thinking about what makes for wonderful-to-attend rock concerts and stage shows. Four chords played with distortion turned to eleven type of rock.

Crowd energy is inherently important at any show. Whoever is playing feeds of the energy of the crowd, and relies on that energy to play, especially three months into a tour. Yelling, screaming, movement in “The Pit,” reaction to stage antics, and general barnstorming are all welcome, and needed for a show to be at its peak. There also needs to a “Pit” of some kind, whether it be a pogo, mosh, circle, dance, meatgrinder or hardcore. Movement. Energy expelled. If a person is able to walk out of a show with waking up in the morning sore, concert failed.

Venues also need to small. Not fifteen people in a backyard small, but a dancehall, or, perhaps most famously to the local area, a VFW hall. Not an arena with you and fifteen thousand total strangers. Closeness and intimacy is what’s required. To be able to converse with the band after a show, to buy their merch directly out of the band member’s hands. I remember attending a venue so small, that roughly one-sixth to one-twelfth of the crowd was made up of the supporting bands members. Four or five total bands played that night. I remember moshing around with the lead singer, the lead singer, of O.C.D. Really cool guy.

But it’s all these things, along with a couple of others, that make concerts great. It’s the exact failure of following this unwritten rule that made the Dark Horse/Nickleback tour that came through Sleeptrain Amphitheater on the last day of August such a shit-hole of a concert.

While the crowd may have been into the show, they defiantly didn’t show anything except occasionally clap their hands or sing along. I was bored just watching it. I yawned quite loudly and explicitly to show my displeasure at the state of energy transference. I don’t know how the bands there did it. Crowd energy was pitiful. They gave absolutely none off. An area that was inanely called “The Pit” was nothing but a standing room only place to watch the show. Watch in full force. Zero movement , zero energy. Refer to the above mentioned boredom.

I’m attributing this lack quality to the general movement among the masses to the desire to be entertained rather than entertaining oneself. I truly am starting to wonder if the “video game” generation has forgotten what it means to have to make their own fun.

Another thing that perhaps shouldn’t chap my Slavic thighs as much as it is, is that both Papa Roach and Nickleback seemed to extolling the use of illicit drugs and asking people to light up and pass it among the people. This concerns me, not that people are toking up, but that I now have to drive home surrounded by people that may or may not be high while piloting a two-ton missile down the road at seventy miles-per-hour after the show had ended.

While I did score my ticket for free from a friend that had her original invite drop out, I am left curious exactly what amount of her money was doled out for stage entertainment in the form of fireworks, lights, and what amounted to huge sparklers. Would the show have been any worse without all that shit? I doubt it. Seriously doubt it. In fact, I’m left wondering if a smaller venue could not have been had with the bands playing over several days been ultimately more profitable.

To keep along this line, why must to the interludes between bands been nothing more than a changing of drum kit? Ten minutes to change a kit takes way to long and the bands start to lose whatever crowd energy they may have built up. Why not run with one kit all tour to share and have the transitions between bands in the space of two minutes? Just enough time to change the amplifiers between bands, and send them on stage to keep playing?

All these sentiments were echoed by the woman that took me with her. A failure of a show and a failure of a crowd. Money wasted on another large show. Highlight of the night: the breakfast at Denny’s was hot for once.

Killing Time,
Johnny Rumble