Sounds Like Saturday or: Malcolm in the Front

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Salutations™!!

Woke up to the news of Malcolm Young’s passing. I have never been the biggest AC/DC fan but I understand their influence and importance. Malcolm was never the “face” of the band. That was his little brother, Angus, and whoever was doing the singing. So, in honor of Malcolm, here’s a little something:

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
RIP Malcolm.


“Her hot potatoes will elevate you. Her bad behavior will leave you standing proud.
Hard as a rock.” – “Hard as a Rock” (Young/Young)

Chop Chop or: A Friend Indeed

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Salutations™!!

So, yesterday, my friend Beth (last name withheld) brought me something awesome. You know I have started doing a lot of cooking in the home now, right? Well, what I have is a couple of smaller, older chopping boards that are starting to crack and warp. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos that show woodworkers making custom chopping boards/cutting boards/butcher block/whatever you want to call it. 20171117_133758

I know that Beth does woodworking and she has mentioned in the past when I mention watching those vids, that she can do that. So, I hit her up. I asked if she was able to make me one. She said yes and proceeded to grab some remnant (but still great quality) pieces of walnut and hickory and put them together and created a board for me. The part is that she charged me a fair price for it. So, here I have a custom-made, for me, a one-of-a-kind, like-no-other (I think that’s enough synonyms) cutting board.

Now, I haven’t used it yet, even though we cooked last night. You may ask why…? Go ahead, I’ll wait until you ask why… Well, the answer is I want to treat it, preserve it with a homemade “spoon butter.” What is spoon butter?” Spoon butter is food-grade beeswax and mineral oils melted and melded together to create a “butter” that can be used on wooden items such as butcher blocks, wooden spoons, wooden bowls and so on. It seals and protects the item. We’re heading into the winter so beeswax is a little hard to find right now.

When I get that going, then I’ll treat all the wood and I’ll let you know how it is. I think the board is beautiful. It’s also a little heavy. I included a picture of the piece of art above. Now, I don’t mean this to be an advertisement – any more than it is – but, she did tell me that if anyone wanted one that she’d be willing to make one for a fair and nominal price. Again, these are unique, your neighbor doesn’t have one that looks like this. If you’re interested in that, let me know, I’ll be your middleman! Also, if anyone knows where I can find some food-grade beeswax at this time of year, that would help me greatly.

So, when I use it, I’ll announce it. If you’re interested, great. If not, great! Let’s get out of here.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“My cooking is very simple, so I don’t really use machines at all. A knife, cutting board, frying pan and strainer are my essentials.” – Nobu Matsuhisa

This is Home or: Fair Warning (Eugeology Entry 45)

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Salutations™!!

Last week was a bit difficult for me to put my finger on. Good? Yes. My thing? No. But, that’s okay. Eugene doesn’t expect me to like everything, but he does expect me to give it a fair shake. That, I did. Jon is in the ether somewhere. Let’s do this week…

#45 – Fair Warning by Van Halen.

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©Warner Bros.

 

Eugene says this is his favorite Van Halen album. I can see that. It is not my favorite Van Halen album, however, I do believe it is better than both its immediate predecessor and successor. Women and Children First was a decent album but kind of a departure from the same quality as the first two VH albums. Diver Down, to me, was David Lee Roth’s cover album; an appeasement. Both good but neither fall on my favorite list. This, however, is one that I can listen to over and over. The songs are inventive for Eddie and a good showcase for DLR. And, it was still “raw” for a Van Halen album. That, you will find, is low on my priority list but for this album, it really works.

One thing I noticed is that part of  the outro from “Hear About It Later” is, at the very least, an inspiration to the intro to 1984‘s “Girl Gone Bad.” And, time signatures? Don’t get me started. Well, actually, it’s not about the time signatures themselves, generally, it’s the fact that the band syncopates the living shite out of it. “Unchained” is a perfect example. Try counting that bad boy in 4/4 time. You can’t really until you get to the part where the drums and bass come in. And, going back after you find that time, you see that Eddie starts on the “four and” beat and alternates back and forth between the “four and” and the “one.” Sorry to geek out on the music theory there, but EVH is one that takes theory and rewrites it. It’s always an exercise in “suspending the musical theory disbelief.”

Another interesting and important thing in VH lore is the opening track, “Mean Street.” Eddie uses the intro to this tune in his solos, even if they don’t play the whole song. It’s innovative because it’s his famed tapping but in an even more percussive manner. Yes, technically tapping is percussive but this is more slapping the fretboard that gently tapping it.

This whole album is a bit of a departure from the “fun” that the first three had. I don’t mean that it doesn’t have its humorous moments. I mean, David Lee Roth is involved. It just doesn’t have that “party” atmosphere that, up until this point, was evident with VH records. It’s darker, for sure.

One thing that is an absolute is that if you are familiar with the first three VH albums and you didn’t know what you were about to listen to, you’d know right away that this is a VH album upon the first listen. Part of it is that you know Eddie’s playing and you know Ted Templeman’s production.

Not that Michael Anthony needed any “highlight time” but “‘Dirty Movies'” does get to showcase his bass abilities and man, no matter how good Wolfie (Van Halen, the current bassist for the band) is, he’ll not be able to emulate those backing vocals the same way that Michael does. His chops could almost rival EVH’s as he has to play the same riffs in places and he hangs the whole time. The whole album is splattered with his awesomeness.

What can be said about Alex Van Halen that hasn’t already been said? Nothing much. He is a showman, a wildman, and one of the finest drummers you’ll find. He’s flash. He’s definitely flash, but he can back it up. For most drummers, this could be chaos. But, he still keeps it all classy and it all fits no matter how much flash he displays. It’s always thunderous. I guess he’s the storm of the band.

And DLR, as much as I have my eye-rolling moments with him, he’s still one of the greatest frontmen, especially at this time, in rock and roll. Not the greatest voice, but definitely a distinct and unique voice. Not many people can break their voice in two like he could. He could harmonize with himself on the shrieks.

My favorite tunes on this album are “Mean Street,” Hear About It Later,” “Unchained” and “So is This Love?” Sure, they’re the main tunes on the album, but as I said, it’s not my favorite VH album, so I like the hits. Incidentally, my top 5 VH albums (in order)? 1984, 5150, Van Halen, Fair Warning, OU812. Don’t hate, I like what I like.

One last note, I got to listen to this on vinyl because I own it. I enjoy the ones that I have on vinyl. I never got to listen to most of this as a kid, at least in this way. Thank you Eug for having this one on the list. It was comforting to me to have something at least familiar. I know that’s not the point of this exercise, but it was still welcomed. Jon…

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Hey, you remember when that girl was prom queen?” – “‘Dirty Movies'” (Van Halen/Van Halen/Anthony/Roth)

Introducing… or: Top Shelf Top Leaf

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Salutations™!!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I would like to introduce to you the newest member of The Less Desirables… Bethany Miller!

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Bethany Miller

 

Now, Dear Reader, I’m sure that you figured out that she has been a regular guest co-host pretty much since the first show after Caitlin left. The plan was to go with a rotating bevy of guest hosts and that would basically be “auditions” for the spot. But, Bethany kept showing up – which is a good thing – and she was engaging with the guests, she’s funny, she’s witty and she is not afraid to take shots at me, which as any listener to The Less Desirables knows, is imperative. So, throw out the “guest” part. She’s official! She’s the seventh person to hold the title of “co-host” (counting myself).

Bethany and her husband, JD, own Top Leaf Cigar Lounge and they offer a great place for people to go, purchase their high-quality cigars (not that Swisher Sweets stuff – not that there’s anything wrong with that), sit comfortably in a casual setting with people of like mind and enjoy camaraderie in this cigar smoking community.  Bethany and JD know what they’re doing and they can guide you in your quest for the “perfect cigar” for you.

Danielle asked me, “can we keep her?” And, you don’t really tell Danielle “no.” Plus, I have been extremely happy with Bethany’s adopted role and she has taken up the mantle. So, welcome, Bethany Miller! Congratulations!

Of course, Wednesdays are usually beer day but Danielle is bringing a “Dealer’s Choice” tonight. Whatever she brings, you can pick it up at City Beverage. Listen tonight to hear what it is and what we think about it. And, if you haven’t yet, check out Bethany as our new co-host.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“I’ll take the ‘insult Tim chair.'” – Bethany Miller

What’s Greenville Got or: Piggybackin’

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My friend and fellow food blogger, by way of Greenville, SC, Nichole Livengood, also known as Gap Creek Gourmet, came up to spend some time with me on The Man Who Ate the Town podcast and we talked about the food scenes in Greenville and WSNC. You can hear more about what Gap Creek Gourmet is about and it’s a pretty good conversation. Enjoy it HERE.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Based in Greenville, South Carolina, Nichole is a mover and shaker who is well connected to chefs, journalists, restaurant owners and the food community in general making her a “must know” person for anyone in Greenville’s fast-moving culinary scene, or for those who want to reach foodies in both North and South Carolina.” – Gap Creek Gourmet

The People’s Eyebrow or: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

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Salutations™!!

So, today, I was on the phone with a good friend of mine. He’s been in the news a little bit the last couple of days and not for good reasons, and truly, not for the worst of reasons. But, he certainly is in a weird spot where the truth and perception start disagreeing with each other. dwayne-johnson-raising-the-peoples-eyebrow-rock-style_400x400

I will go ahead and warn you this may be a little vague as the particulars are not important, just the message.

I admit that I was one to talk about the situation a little on Saturday when someone told me about it. The sitch was pertinent to me on a personal level and on two professional levels. A place near and dear to me is “closing down,” I heard. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming but I hadn’t talked to the owner in a few months.

I had a long discussion with them this morning and the paper (doing like it does) quoted him correctly but nitpicked the rest of the story and even went to a competing establishment (the owners are friends) and asked people that don’t even live in Winston-Salem about the developments.

As it turns out, the paper basically got it wrong. Again, the quote was right but then the rest of it was ripped apart and made into whatever the “journalist” needed the readers to see. The whole “if it bleeds” thing. Now, I’m not exactly faulting the paper because that’s what they do. I’m a media outlet, to some extent, and I want to make things sound good or more readable. Do I change things? No. I write what I think or know. Am I always right? Not even half the time, at least that I’m told. But, like with this blog and The Less Desirables and The Man Who Ate the Town, especially, I make no qualms about telling the listener or reader to take it as my “view and/or opinion.” Find out the facts for yourself. Go to the source, ask them questions, try the food yourself, try the beer yourself. Again, find out the truth.

I’m not going to go into the “whos or whats.” I would probably mess them up, anyway. But I will say that if you read the paper this weekend, and have any knowledge of what we have in this town, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s also all over Facebook. While some of that is true, the particulars aren’t necessarily.  The moral of the story is: don’t believe everything you read. The truth will clear itself up in the upcoming weeks as we’ll have the only person with the truth and knowledge on TLD to talk about it. From there you’ll get it straight from the “horse’s” mouth.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“When fake news is repeated, it becomes difficult for the public to discern what’s real.” – Jimmy Gomez (D – CA)

Silent Sunday or: The Haul 11/11/17

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Salutations™!!

The BCPF and I had a very quiet Saturday. Well, quiet in terms of activities. We did the Mary’s Gourmet Diner thing and Willows thing last night, and… we did our Underdog Records thing. We came out a little light, which is okay. We got some quality stuff and that’s what matters. Here it is.R-11116451-1510249653-7133.jpeg

A shorter haul than usual, but a good and fruitful haul, methinks. I know that Jonathan is gearing up for 11/24 which is the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day. You can visit the official site to see what is being released that day. Jonathan also has a rotating stock of used receivers and turntables and you can get gift certificates for gifts, as well. PLUS, if you go in this week and mention The Less Desirables ad, you can get a little extra cheddar on the gift cert. And the certs are cool because he does it on a 45/7″/single (your generational position will determine which of those makes the most sense). When you start your collecting or if you are already collecting, catalog your collection on Discogs and then send me a message, we can share collection listings.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“You better watch what you say. You better watch what you do to me. Don’t get carried away. Girl, if you can do better than me, go. Yeah, go but remember: good love is hard to find. Good love is hard to find. You got lucky, babe. You got lucky, babe, when I found you” – “You Got Lucky” (Petty/Campbell)

Sounds Like Saturday or: Toby Lee

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Salutations™!!

First of all, I want to thank all our country’s veterans for all they do to protect us. You may not be in the limelight but your contributions are definitely very important. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We all know that I really loathe listening to the “blues.” It literally turns my stomach to hear that slow sludging 12-bar stuff. Add harmonica to it and it really puts the hairs on my neck on edge and not in any good kind of way. But, there’s something about this that really made me watch. The style of the music is definitely not my cup o’tea, but watching young Toby Lee play, how he felt it and how he nailed it, that was worth the watch. And, he’s only 12 years old, mind you.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“The blues tells a story. Every line of the blues has a meaning.” – John Lee Hooker

Bonus Post! or: Music from My Past

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Salutations™!!

The_elder_album_cover

©Casablanca Records

 

That’s right, you get two music posts today. This one is about what I call my “favorite KISS album.” Is it really my favorite? Maybe. Maybe not. Why I say it is is because it was an important, pivotal moment in KISStory that mostly goes unnoticed. Today is the 36th anniversary of the release of Music from “The Elder” (1981). This is historically the lowest-selling, most ridiculed and most controversial release in the entire KISS Katalog.

Why is that? Well, KISS listened to some bad advice. Gene, Paul, and Ace were recently joined by a brand new drummer, Eric Carr. Gene and Paul decided that going along with some bogus counsel, they needed the approval of critics. The power duo overrode Ace’s vote (Eric had no say as he was just a “hired hand”) and went a little more artistic instead of trying to dig out of the disco-laden hell they were putting most of their fans through. I say “most” because I loved Dynasty (1979) and Unmasked (1980). I didn’t really notice the difference in the musical styles until much later. The voting override is partially why Ace left after this album.

KISS brought back producer Bob Ezrin who was at the helm during their then best-selling album, Destroyer, in hopes that he would help renew that same magic. New drummer, new chance to shine. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Ezrin was entangled in a bad cocaine addiction at the time and his magic was basically in the mirror’s lines. Ace was resentful of the direction and what he felt like was Gene’s and Paul’s dominance of the decisions. He refused to do much of the recording with the others, instead relying on courier service to deliver tapes to his home where he would record his parts and solos and then return them to Ezrin. Ezrin didn’t much care for this and some of Ace’s solos were redone.

Now, it is true that the band went back to a harder rock motif, but that was accented by orchestras and choirs. You may recall that Destroyer did that, too, but this was not the same heavy layers that Destroyer was. The songs were not as strong as previous KISS albums. The songs came off as pretentious and grandiose. To put it plainly, KISS was trying way too hard. All they had to do was do an album of hard rock goodness. I believe their fans would have stayed on board, at least most of them, sales would have been better and the band wouldn’t have to have dug themselves out of a “cred” hole.

That is how it was. Of course, I was blinded by the KISSness of it all and thought it was just awesome, only something different. I had first heard the three “focus” songs, “The Oath,” “I,” and “A World Without Heroes,” on the ABC TV show Fridays. I thought it was cool to see them live. It was really the first time I ever had. The costumes were different, too. They were a little more post-apocalyptic than previously and all but Eric had changed their signature hairstyles. When I got the gatefold album a little later, I was in awe of the image of a hand reaching for a big door knocker on an oak door that adorned the cover.

The US release of the album added to the confusion as to what the deal was with the album. You see, I forgot to mention that this was supposed to be a concept album based on a story that Gene had written and it was supposed to be made into a movie. The original track listing was altered for the US release because Casablanca and Neil Bogart wanted to highlight the songs I mentioned above. This made the already loose story completely unravel. So, we were aware that there were a theme and story but it really made little sense because the songs were scattered about the album. The Japanese releases were in the correct order and it wasn’t until the US remasters that came out in the 1990s that we were able to get the proper track order without spending a lot of money for bootlegs or imports.

The story goes loosely like this: a group of elders called the Order of the Rose send Morpheus to train “The Boy” to do their bidding and combat evil. The Boy is scared and full of self-doubt. He eventually evolves and becomes more and more self-confident. Morpheus reports to the Order that The Boy is ready to expound evil. It’s kind of hard to follow and I’ve spent the last 36 years trying. I thought I had it figured out before but I was mistaken. It’s not really any easier when you do know the story.

The artsy aspect of the record turned many off but I loved it. When there were heavy riffs and beats, the lyrics were taken as storytellerish and contrived. Paul played more solos on this album than he ever had on a KISS album, being the solos on “The Oath,” “A World Without Heroes” and “Just a Boy.” Ace was credited with two songs, “Dark Light” (co-written by Gene, Anton Fig and Lou Reed (yes, that Lou Reed)), and “Escape from the Island,” an instrumental co-written by Eric Carr and Ezrin. Speaking of Lou Reed, he co-wrote three tunes on the album. And Tony Powers brought his “Odyssey” to the KISS table making this basically a cover tune, even playing piano on the song. There’s not a song on here, other than the “Escape from the Island” that I don’t like and it’s not that I don’t still listen to it, it’s just I’m too lazy to skip it usually when it tags onto the end of “Mr. Blackwell.”

The debate as to my “favorite” album is that I love the difference of it. The chance they took. The risk that didn’t really pay off in the long run, but they did take that chance. I love the songs, and I know I’m squarely in the minority in that field, but I’m okay with that, I usually am. Happy 36th anniversary to Music from “The Elder,” and I may have to pull that out and listen to it this weekend, just because. What are your thoughts on this album, if you’re familiar? If you’re not and you have Spotify or Napster or whatever, then give it a listen. Make sure your version starts with “fanfare,” though, as that’s the one that matters. If it starts with “The Oath,” it’s the modified version.

Thanks for listening to the rant.

Until tomorrow, again, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“A world without heroes is like a bird without wings. Or a bell that never rings. Just a sad and useless thing. Where you don’t know what you’re after or if something’s after you. And you don’t know why you don’t know in a world without heroes.” – “A World Without Heroes” (Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin, Reed)

It Ain’t Funky or: Rose Tattoo (Eugeology Entry 44)

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Salutations™!!

Last week, I actually dug what Eugene was throwing down. Much better than the previous week’s anyway. This week kind of reverts to the previous week. Oh, Jon, where art thou!? Let’s hit it.

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©Repertoire

 

#44 – Rose Tattoo by Rose Tattoo.

“They” talk about Def Leppard being a cursed band. And, they very well could be. But, this band from Australia, called Rose Tattoo, may be even more so. This is almost reminiscent of the cast and crew of the film The Conqueror (1956). In that film – produced by Howard Hughes – the cast, the director and a few others, all were diagnosed and eventually died or was dying from cancer. The theory of that was that they filmed on a nuclear test site in Utah and when they moved back to California to do the set scenes, they moved some of the radioactive dirt there, too, so the sets would match. I’m not saying they did the same thing, recorded in a contamination zone, or anything. But, all but two members of the band (the singer Angry Anderson and replacement bassist (but most prominent) Gordie Leach), eventually died from cancer. Weird and scary stuff, I say.

Anywhat! The original bass player (and one of the cancer victims), Ian Rilen left after the initial recording sessions to form the legendary punk band, X. I say legendary. If I’ve heard of them and don’t listen to that style, I say it’s legendary. It’s my blog, I win. That’s why Leach came in and recorded most of the bass lines for the album.

I think I was unfair in the intro when I said this reverted back to the prior week’s sentiment, but that’s not really true. I like this better than Deep Purple. Not a whole lot, but I do. Again, I think it goes to the singer. Angry Anderson has a strong voice with a lot of range, but I just don’t like listening to him sing a few songs on the album. For the most part, though, he does a decent job. The musicianship on the album is pretty good. I don’t hear a whole lot of bass as it’s buried deep behind the rest of the mayhem going on, but I’m sure I’d miss it if it weren’t there.

I think what bothers me the most is that it is a bit noisy and punkish. Just a bunch of hurried nonsense at times. It doesn’t sound bad, it just isn’t “me.” That being said, there are times when I do enjoy it. For example, I do like “Butcher and Fast Eddy” and “Stuck on You,” especially. It could be that they’re not trying to slap me in the face but have some song design. And, they mention the band and album title in the latter.

Another reason for my apprehension could be my disdain for slide “blues” guitar and Peter Wells plays that (it’s his official designation) throughout the album. Mick Cocks is credited as both lead and rhythm guitarist for this album. Dallas “Digger” Royall is a solid drummer but there’s nothing too flashy about him. That is probably a good thing. He’s straight-forward and on it.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t mind it. I liked it better than Deep Purple. Perhaps what I’m questioning is why it’s on this list. That was something that I asked regularly on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time list. Why? It’s definitely not as good as most of the previous albums and while I liked it I’m thinking it’s not even as good as some of the ones that I didn’t like. I am going to assume that it’s here as a “possible gem.” If you remember the list is called Eugeology: Eugene’s List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems. Bottom line, I don’t really care for it but I see its merit as a good album for those into that. I’m not. It did have some good moments for me but overall, I’m not a fan. Thanks, though, Eug, for introducing me. Jon. Well, Jon.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Got tattooed arms and rings in my ears. Never gonna suffer a straight man’s fears. Better have a drink, crankin’ with the mates. Movin’ fast I’m gonna make the grade. That’s why they call me one of the boys.” – “One of the Boys” (Leach, Anderson, Royall, Wells, Cocks)