Friday, December 28, 2007

David Lee Roth's Sonrisa Salvaje on AMG

This seldom-heard oddity in heavy metal singer David Lee Roth's catalogue is a Spanish-language version of his first post-Van Halen solo effort, Eat 'Em & Smile. The original release was a call to arms for the divided camps of Van Halen fans, and for those who felt that replacing Roth with Sammy Hagar was little more than a cruel joke, Eat 'Em & Smile validated their position with a strong band of crack players, equal amounts of humor and serious rock, and the best songwriting of Roth's entire career. The record is the perfect follow-up to 1984 that Van Halen couldn't deliver themselves, certainly closer to the spirit of the original band than anything recorded with Hagar. Sonrisa Salvaje (Wild Smile) saves all of the Eat 'Em & Smile artwork and backing tracks, with Roth overdubbing translated lyrics; unfortunately, the mix is not perfect and Roth's voice sounds disconnected from the music, floating in a sterile space above the band. Also, the Spanish words don't always fit seamlessly, sometimes hanging awkwardly over the edges of musical passages (particularly in "La Calle Del Tabaco," aka "Tobacco Road"), betraying the compositions' English language origins. Still, any fan of Diamond Dave will appreciate this novelty and the gung-ho spirit that fueled its conception. Roth ends Sonrisa Salvaje with a satisfied chuckle, suggesting that he's entirely pleased with himself, having laid down the gauntlet for bilingual metalheads worldwide. FRED BELDIN

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm rather exhausted. The Christmas Belles put on a strong weekend of shows, pushing many of us beyond our limits, but all three performances found everybody at their best. Cafe Racer proved that it was all going to work -- the Christmas in July in December luau was a frenzied peak -- and the Blue Moon was a relaxed but triumphant farewell. True to her word, Kate dismantled the official MySpace band site despite thousands of plays a day, because as she says, "It's much more hilarious that way."

At times the Belles reminded me of my tenure in another band where I relinquished responsibility and focused only on the bass, Apollo Nine -- not so much in style or tone, just another large group of jumbled perspectives that ought to clash but somehow don't. I was able to play exactly what I wanted at the volume I liked, whether it was appropriate or not (and I believe I was entirely appropriate the entire time), and I'm glad to report that I still have that sweet rhythm. CDs are available for cheap, like free, or MP3s can be cheerfully emailed if anyone wants to hear the fruit of our labors.

It all comes at a price, of course. The last few months have been among my darkest, and I'll never be quite sure whether the Belles exacerbated my troubles or provided a release valve. Probably both. But I could say the same about most of the things I'm proudest of in this life. And on top of everything else, I got to spend an early Sunday morning in the rain trying to pry a dead pig's mouth open. I really should not be complaining.

Stephanie and Jeannene provided the perfect foil to Kate's bossy my-way-or-the-highway management style, and I enjoyed the challenge of behaving like a perfect gentleman around them in their costumes (aside from a shameful change-dropping incident upon initially witnessing Jeannene's tiny skirt, I succeeded). Robert hadn't hauled his drums out of the basement in years when he showed up the first time, so I thought what the hell, but he pulled it together tightly when it counted, so every show we were in perfect swing.

The man with the most musical experience in the band would be guitarist/pianist Tim Franklin, a recent escapee from the East Coast ... followers of hardcore punk might remember him as the lead singer of the infamous Boston straight edge band Conformity Control, who terrorized the scene with vicious thuggery, particularly toward anyone foolhardy enough to bring alcohol, tobacco or drugs (even caffeine!) for consumption at one of their gigs. Although once notorious for a string of brutal attacks on inner-city crack addicts, Tim today is an entirely different man, gentle and peaceable and compassionate to all walks of life. He's even been known to hoist a cold one from time to time, although he's still pretty much a baby about it.

And of course, I was already in love with Tyson and Kate. Thanks for letting me be part of your thing.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Never trust anybody under thirty ... they'll bore you to tears and break your heart every time.

Witness the essence of my last few months.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My absolute favorite film review site, Bleeding Skull is not only back in action after a seemingly endless hiatus, but they've also supplied a helpful index of winter holiday-themed exploitation films on the right hand side of their welcome page. Silent Night Bloody Night, Elves, To All A Good Night ... lotsa gems if you have the guts. This year at our annual homeless open house we'll definitely be screening Don't Open Til Christmas, one of my new favorites. It's never gonna top Monte Hellman's seasonal classic Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!, but it'll keep you warm on a cold night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In honor of the nervous breakdown I've been suffering throughout the month of December, I'd like to direct you to this Crucifucks MySpace fansite, where you can listen to a song that never fails to cheer me up -- "Suicide," off the otherwise lukewarm third and final Crucifucks disc L.D. Eye. The older I get, the more I understand Doc Dart. Since we once shared the same psychotherapist, I guess it isn't all that surprising ... Patricia must have had an effect on me, too.
Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny on WFMU

I just watched this one last night, and apparently the obsessives over at WFMU in New York were on my wavelength. Click on their blog above to catch a glimpse of this truly weird holiday offering ... Santa Claus gets his sleigh stuck in the sands of Florida while out scouting the earth for good little boys and girls. The weather is too hot for the reindeer to survive, so they fly back to the North Pole, leaving Santa in the lurch. Luckily, a troupe of local kids arrives to offer help, producing pigs, dogs, donkeys and cows to pull the sleigh out of the sand, but nothing works. Despite perspiring mightily in all that fur, velvet and whiskers, Santa takes a break to tell the kids a story -- cue the opening for an entirely different feature, a zero-budget musical retelling of Thumbelina that takes up most of the film's running time. I won't give away the ending, except to say that it involves The Ice Cream Bunny and a last-minute escape in a 1920s-vintage motorcar.

This is a beautiful piece of dimestore surrealism perfect for any season. As cynically slap-dash as the production might be, there's a charming childlike quality to the logic and dialogue. At one point, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer show up, hide in the bushes and discuss the proceedings -- "Hey, Huck, what do you think Santa and all those kids over there are up to?" "I don't know, Tom, maybe if we hide here and watch for a while we'll find out!" Then they do. And the songs, oh, the songs ... tuneless free verse warbling just like you hear out of the mouths of real children not yet accustomed to conventional meter. Saddle it up alongside the legendary 1959 Mexican kiddie matinee stalwart Santa Claus and the irresistible Santa Claus Conquers the Martians for the ideal X-mas triple feature ... or just come over to my apartment on X-mas day, where my Old Lady and I will be likely to be watching at least one of these features at some point (email for directions).

A more detailed exploration of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is available here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Angels on AMG
Angels is a tepid fantasy that attempts to take a basic philosophical conundrum (if God really loves us, why do we all have to die?) to farcical extremes by presenting God as a suave, cynical crime boss partial to cigars, practical jokes, and contract hits. When one of God's children doesn't make it to heaven at his/her appointed time, angels are dispatched to take out the offender with bloody car accidents and sniper fire. There's apparently no hell in this conception of the afterlife, or its definition is fuzzy, since two vicious gangsters find themselves at the pearly gates after expiring and are warmly welcomed by the Almighty, who immediately sends them back to Earth for an angelic assignment. If dwelled upon, it's a pretty bleak vision, but Angels isn't a film to be overly analyzed, since it fails at maintaining the integrity of this weird universe throughout its running time, and ultimately makes no sense and draws no laughs. It doesn't help that none of the characters are likeable, not even God, and certainly not the ostensible hero of the piece, a self-absorbed filmmaker obsessed with death who finds himself a target and never learns why. Even game performances from Mark Suben and Dan McCarthy as the gangster duo don't make up for unfunny jokes, interminable mime routines and satire that never knows where to aim. Is God the target? Is it religion in general? Arrogant artists or humanity itself? Writer/director Spencer Compton earns points for staging a lengthy chase scene on roller skates, and long-faced character actor Vincent Schiavelli is always welcome, but Angels isn't provocative enough to even rate as blasphemy. FRED BELDIN

Getting Into Heaven on AMG
Fans of the bodacious Uschi Digard won't need any excuse to watch her simulate fornication for 90 minutes, which means that concocting Getting Into Heaven's fragile slip of a plot was a waste of time. Digard plays Heaven (get it?), an aspiring starlet with a roommate named Sin (short for Cindy, get it?), and both are willing to do whatever it takes to get into the movies. The salacious Mr. Salacity is "considering" them for parts in his next film and makes no secret of his lecherous expectations, which steams Heaven's poindexter boyfriend. He wants Heaven to give up her dreams of stardom and marry him, but she bargains for one more chance to make it in show business. Will taking Mr. Salacity hostage and forcing him into a marathon sex session result in acting roles for Heaven and Sin? Getting Into Heaven is a genial, good-natured softcore sex romp filmed with big, bright colors and a goofy sensibility, but Edward L. Montoro isn't even a poor man's Russ Meyer. There's way too much exposition for such slight material (it could be cut down to half an hour without anyone noticing) and the jokes are tiresome. But who cares? Digard's charms will be enough to carry the weight for mammary fetishists, her female co-stars are equally zaftig, and the obligatory lesbian sequence is soaked with baby oil. Still, only the most nostalgic smut hounds will find Getting Into Heaven worth getting into. FRED BELDIN

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rock My Religion

Directed by Dan Graham, 1982-84, 55:27 min, b&w and color, sound

"Rock My Religion is a provocative thesis on the relation between religion and rock music in contemporary culture. Graham formulates a history that begins with the Shakers, an early religious community who practiced self-denial and ecstatic trance dances. With the "reeling and rocking" of religious revivals as his point of departure, Graham analyzes the emergence of rock music as religion with the teenage consumer in the isolated suburban milieu of the 1950s, locating rock's sexual and ideological context in post-World War II America. The music and philosophies of Patti Smith, who made explicit the trope that rock is religion, are his focus. This complex collage of text, film footage and performance forms a compelling theoretical essay on the ideological codes and historical contexts that inform the cultural phenomenon of rock `n' roll music." --

Found via WFMU. Recommended by me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The 100 Greatest Detroit Songs "Ever"

Lists are the lowest form of journalism.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Dig Billy Joel (on the right) as a fuzzed-out organ puncher, one half of the long-forgotten duo ATTILA, circa 1970. I got pointed this way this morning thanks to
WFMU (again), but I've enjoyed a cheap cassette version of this utterly rare LP for many years and I endorse it mightily. Just Joel on vocals and organ with a drummer, attempting to out-heavy Deep Purple but not quite making it all the way. Still, it's a lot of fun to hear the Pianoman in this setting, and certain sections of the album hit hard ... if they had assembled a full band Atilla might have been on to something. The songs are terrible but I'm never gonna turn down distorted Hammond riffs run through a wah-wah pedal. Apparently Attila only played a handful of gigs and fell apart quickly, leading a depressed Joel to take refuge in the cornball piano bars of Long Island. The rest of the story writes itself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Via Drew Howard:

As some of you are already aware, Steve recently had a costly medical procedure which wasn't covered by insurance. His bills to date total $35,000. Lot's of people giving a little can be a big help.

Here's what we need:

• PEOPLE AT THE EVENT. Please pass this info on to others. It will be a great party with a fabulous soundtrack. There will be plenty to eat, drink, purchase, hear, and do in a casual atmosphere.

• CONTRIBUTIONS: Checks can be mailed to: The Simonsons Medical Expense Fund
Atten: Treair, Capital Community Credit Union
PO Box 27489 Lansing, MI 48909-0489
PayPal will soon be available through

SILENT AUCTION ITEMS are needed. i.e. Corporate donations of
goods, services, artwork, and items suitable for holiday shopping.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD by sending on this email and printing and posting some flyers.

See you on Dec. 9th!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Words by Fred Beldin"

OK, so that's me getting a little closer to being a contributor to The Stranger's Line Out blog ... they never got around to posting the lengthy blog/video deal I put together for my GG Allin piece, but at least this Coven video roundup made it to the website, even if I'm still not quite official. Of course, you can also dig all this noise at Frenzy of the Visible. So, you know, hail Satan or whatever you wanna do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Recent activity on Frenzy of the Visible: Jack Palance and Martin Landau as psychotic killers and a full set of mid-Michigan hardcore action circa 1987. Coming Soon: Coven.

My current big, big project is interviewing and writing about artisan cheesemakers from San Franscisco for a fine dining magazine. Mostly I'm just excited that one of them is called Cowgirl Creamery.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'd like to take a moment to recognize the Old Time Horror and Sci Fi Radio Library for their important work. This fine collection of vintage ghost stories, noir mysteries and bizarre fantasies provides the essential mayhem and surrealism I require to relieve tension and keep everything in perspective while I endure the trials of the long, sluggish day.

The Inner Sanctum has been a favorite since childhood, plus there's assorted Arch Obler, Vincent Price and Boris Karloff plays, even the infamous Mercury Theatre War of the Worlds -- find out yourself how Orson Welles conned millions into believing that Martians were invading the East Coast. And two, count 'em two, stories about women magically turning into cats, with terrifying results! Do you dare?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dig The End Times at the Jewelbox Theatre. I don't know how Tyson managed to take our photo and play slide guitar at the same time ... he probably has a computer or a cell phone that does it for him. I'm not surprised by anything anymore. Anyhow, it was a great show. Thanks to Keg!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The selling point for Boss, the new LP from East Coast noise nerds Magik Markers, is that it's their first with actual precomposed songs. Let's face it, that's hilarious. After trimming down to a duo, the band forsook the unrelenting sonic violence of their infancy for a crisp postpunk/pop approach that still swarms with the same tensions under a (relatively) conventional surface. Guitarist Elisa Ambrogio's icy vocals consider desire's destructive hunger, while drummer/multi-instrumentalist Pete Nolan draws from his cobwebbed solo project Spectre Folk to fill the remaining space with buzz, creak, and hiss. Taking this leap into linear songsmithery could be the boldest step possible for a band so identified with improvisatory sound. Such maverick spirit suggests Magik Markers might be capable of anything. FRED BELDIN

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yesterday was an intense series of highs and lows that I just barely endured with my dignity intact. Feeling as dour as ever, I was shocked into momentary good spirits thanks to an utterly unexpected and generous gift from a close relative which will allow the Old Lady and I to make it all the way to Hawaii (and back) at a date to be named later, not to mention secure the proper equipment for my musical pursuits and probably a few other sundries as well. First stop, the record store, where I purchased every Captain Beefheart title in the racks that I didn't already own (which was only two) plus the equally-outre Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf. Second stop got more complicated, as I found myself snarled in traffic for what seemed like hours (which was only one), destroying my mood as quickly as it had been buoyed, proving once again that money cannot overcome despondency. Teeth ground, oaths screamed into the womblike privacy of my Scion, hands clenched into fists, brow furrowed and my body shook with useless rage.

A few drinks at the Comet later, where I listened to Jeremy spin tales of his new life as a carny (only a few weeks on the job and already a co-worker has threatened to stab him in the neck), I was feeling better, since my responsibilities behind the wheel were passed on to Lori. Then I got the news that The End Times had been offered a position next Wednesday, October 10, at the Triple Door's Musiquarium, a fine venue for us and a welcome invitation. Practice was fine despite Kate's nagging illness and my besotted state, then I walked in the rain for an hour contemplating the radical mood shifts that I still can't control but am finally able to identify and even chart to a certain degree. A late night, which I'm paying for now and will likely pay more for tonight when we mount the stage at the Rendezvous, but still a day worth documenting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First off, a collection of vintage ads from the Soviet Union.

There isn't much else to say. The weather has been dark grey for weeks now and so has my mood. So back off.

I'll be in slightly better spirits on Wednesday, October 3 when The End Times open for Keg and Megasapian (yep, that's their name) at the Rendezvous/Jewel Box Theater. Real seats, man. It's gonna be a blast. We set up our chairs at ten.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Last night each member of The End Times earned $6.66 for our half-hour set at the Funhouse. Thanks, Jeremy, it was a very heavy evening.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our current dial-up at the homestead makes YouTube exploration an irritating venture, but I got a tip about a Fireworks video and had to post it up on the long-ignored Frenzy of the Visible site. Go crazy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The dark winds of Fall began blowing Sunday morning, and since then I've been in a dour, cloudy mood ... it's amazing that through my everyday haze of assorted medicines I can still be so rudely affected by something as subtle as a shift in the weather. My seasonal depression is apparently very real, and realizing it yesterday went a long way toward lifting my spirits. My doctor wrote me a prescription for a light box, and I'm gonna fill it.

The End Times will open the show Thursday night for a handful of noisy, druggy rockers at the Funhouse. Get a load of this flier. We'll be there early, so come on by and drink with us.

My favorite song of the moment is "Tropical Hot Dog Night" by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, specifically the live 1978 version available for download here at "Like two flamingos in a fruit fight/Everything's wrong and at the same time it's right." This defines our era, I believe. What will the women do when the men have tropical hot dog payday? Will they come out to meet the monster tonight? I wish I knew.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just now, 3:00pm on Friday afternoon ... in the course of my duties as Purchasing Coordinator at Westward Seafoods, I telephone a vendor to inquire about a price discrepancy. The operator answers, puts me on hold and what do I hear? "Shoot to Thrill" by AC/DC off their unbeatable Back in Black LP. Is this the Muzak of our age?

"Shoot to thrill/Play to kill/Too many women with too many pills/Shoot to thrill/Play to kill/I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will/Yeah"

If that doesn't get you in the mood to buy 3" Sanitary Clamps, I don't know what will.

Happy Birthday to the late Fred "Sonic" Smith, who would have turned 58 years old today if a heart attack hadn't nailed him in 1994. Always my favorite member of the MC5, the man went on to such legendary feats as forming the Sonic's Rendezvous Band, marrying Patti Smith and inspiring Sonic Youth's name.

I only caught Sonic live one time, and I'm sad to admit it was a bummer ... he and Patti played some kind of benefit in Ann Arbor and it was a big deal, as they'd both been retired from music for a decade at this point. Fred Smith was a gaunt husk of a man and the reformed Rendezvous Band did their best to prop him up, but he seemed freaked out by being on stage again and the effect was dispiriting. Of course, Patti Smith had enough energy for both of them, and her set completely destroyed me ... I hadn't paid much attention to her before then, but her frenzied, righteous performance converted me on the spot, so it still ranks as one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.

Dig more at

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kate bought a screen printer. The future promises an excessive amount of End Times "merchandise" made for pennies and sold for peanuts. T-shirts, business cards, inspirational pamphlets, decorative covers for CDs and 7-inches, maybe even armbands again ... not to mention ever more elaborate invitations every time Ms. Chapman decides to throw some kind of themed party. I'm looking forward to her "Christmas in July in December" bash, or at least looking forward to hearing how it went after I decide not to go at the last minute.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More info available at

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

*** I had more thoughts on GG Allin than my Stranger piece could fully absorb, so I offered to write up an entry for the paper's music-themed blog "Line Out" to explore some further aspects of the man's ridiculous life. They were interested, but it looks like it won't be running there now, so I've taken the liberty to recycle it here. Originally two seperate pieces, I've gone ahead and jammed them together into one long, unweildy mess. Enjoy, if you dare ...


When music fuehrer J. Zwickel okayed a feature on GG Allin, I felt like destiny tapped me on the shoulder. Since first hearing his classic “Drink Fight and Fuck” back in the 80s, I’ve been fascinated with this peculiar icon and personally conflicted over how and why I enjoy his work. I knew this would be a chance for me to conquer demons, redeem a fallen hero and write the ultimate GG Allin article. Well, I got busy and didn’t do that, you know how it goes. But even though I open the piece with an anecdote about something I didn’t actually do (easily the lamest of journalistic conceits), I stand by the published product, if only because I’m proud to have gotten the title “Assfuckin, Buttsuckin, Cuntlickin Masturbation” into print all over the city. Top that, Seattle Weekly!

Anyhow, dig the article if you haven’t already and then come back here and get a load of these videos. The one thing I really wanted to write more about was Allin’s music, some of which is genuinely exciting bonehead punk rock that deserves to be heard. Allin didn’t exercise quality control – most of his records are akin to field recordings, documents of a few drunken hours in the studio with whoever happened to strap on a guitar. But when GG had a good band behind him he could rise to the occasion with some powerful noise. At one point, Allin even roped former MC-5 rockers Dennis Thompson and Wayne Kramer into recording a single with him, and the result is unsurprisingly one of his best. The rollicking “Gimme Some Head” not only boasts the righteous power of Kramer’s crazed lead guitar and an effortlessly infectious chorus, but it also opens with the best example of Allin’s cracked poetry: “Hey now girls, I want lip service/I don’t wear a uniform, I’m not in the service.”

There’s an awful lot of GG on You Tube, including a live show from 1987 in its entirety, so let’s just stick to a couple of my personal favorites. Wallow on your own time.


Allin’s first band was his best and longest lived. The Jabbers were a tight, aggressive power pop band and when paired with Allin’s numbskull lyricism, came off sounding like the Dead Boys’ hick cousins, a cruder, stupider take on the New York punks they emulated. This homemade rock video features GG in somebody’s basement lip synching to the opening track from the band’s debut LP Always Was, Is and Always Shall Be, a remarkable record full of spastic punk anthems. “Bored to Death” is a great track that still resonates with me – anyone who can’t relate to lyrics like “I am bored to death/I’m just so bored with the human race/I’m so bored of life/But it don’t matter anyway” is a fucking robot.


The song is pretty weak, but the dramatic bits of this video make it worth highlighting. My favorite moment is when GG shouts, “We’re taking over the city!” It’s such an empty, hollow gesture – Allin raising his fist in defiance and the whole world continuing on with its business, ignoring him. But that’s the key to Allin, what he fought for and what he means to his fans – shouting into the abyss, refusing to be a nobody even if it means turning to outrage and infamy. Allin is every frustrated loser who ever capped off a life of seething obscurity with a final explosion of deadly rage, and there are more people like that in the modern world than any of us want to admit.

Audio documents of early Jabbers gigs suggest that audience response ranged from indifference to derision. It isn’t hard to imagine a desperate young GG, addled by alcohol, adrenaline and immaturity, determined to elicit a serious reaction from the crowd and taking the work of Alice and Iggy to what must have seemed a logical conclusion. The Jabbers watched their leader gradually get more extreme over eight years of touring East Coast rock clubs. By the time they disbanded in 1984, GG had become a legend for extra-musical reasons.

(Sensitive viewers should exercise caution – this one gets a little rough)

Part One

Part Two

Here’s GG Allin at one of his spoken word performances, this one in Boston circa 1988. Allin is at his peak of intensity here, a period where he had no regular back up band and toured the country by Greyhound, drinking himself into psychosis every night and performing wherever and however anyone would book him. It’s ironic that Allin considered himself to be the greatest rock n roller of all time, because he was so much more effective as a solo performer. It’s easy to accept a clumsy punk rock tune about punching women with a detached giggle, but a whole different experience to see it demonstrated at a poetry reading. If Allin really had a coherent message of hatred and anarchy to convey, he should have written a novel – the book tours would have been legendary.


The popular documentary Hated brought Allin’s work to an audience beyond the hardcore contingent, and began a career for director Todd Phillips, who made it as a student and went on to helm mainstream comedies like Old School, Starsky & Hutch and Road Trip. Some like to compare Hated to Spinal Tap, but the Murder Junkies are no improv comedy troupe – maybe it’s easier to accept the outrages that Allin & Company perpetrate on screen if one pretends they’re all just actors. Well, these are real people, and Philips trains a very dry eye on his subjects, letting them do their own talking and capturing a wealth of unique characters on the screen, none more compelling than the band’s nudist drummer Dino Sachs or GG’s brother Merle, whose clownish Hitler-style moustache, gargantuan sideburns and shaved pate indicates balls of superhuman dimension.

Hated hasn’t been hard to find over the past fifteen years, so re-releasing the film on DVD must be a marketing ploy. A pre-release contest solicited fan art to decorate the clamshell and first run copies include silly temporary tattoos (“Live Fast, Die GG”). The real difference is in the special features. The earlier version of the DVD included a harrowing hour of raw video from the final hours of Allin’s life as he leads a gang of rioting fans through the streets of New York on his way to one last skag party. It’s missing here in favor of a genial set of interviews with friends and family, shifting the focus from the subject to the people left behind to tell the story.

The lengthy commentary via Merle and Dino casts the most sunlight onto this strange saga. Despite the real-life chaos that must have surrounded them during their days on tour with GG, Sachs recalls being welcomed into the Murder Junkies with a warm “We’re your family now,” and the two old friends talk about their fallen brother with genuine affection – it’s a funny, honest segment that explains how the Murder Junkies were able to continue playing after their leader’s death. A brief moment spent with GG’s mother proves that she supported her boys’ drive to be different, if from afar. It’s comforting to know that despite GG’s penchant for mayhem, there was enough of a person underneath it all to have inspired love and friendship.

Allin bragged often about being universally hated, as reviled by the underground as by polite society, but the truth is that he never could have sustained his career without friends, or at least admirers. He required floors and couches to sleep on, getaway drivers to keep him ahead of the law, drug connections, associates to set up gigs and organize tours. Without people on his side, GG’s antics would have landed him in jail or dead far quicker than they did. As one-dimensional as GG tried so hard to paint himself, as “animalistic” as he claimed to be, his human edges are showing in Hated, and that’s most of its appeal for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dear Jerks:

My GG Allin article has finally been birthed after many many weeks of gestation. Dig it here. I could complain about them changing the sentence "Allin's threat was metaphor at best" to "Allin's threat was a metaphor at best," but I won't. At least I won't anymore. That's that.

It's gonna be a hell of a weekend. This broad I know is having a birthday and my gift to her is helping to clean up her house. Then said house will host another hotly-contested performance by The End Times (along with Keg, the Lone Ranger of Rock and a third, as-yet unconfirmed act to be announced later). Again, any interested party goers oughta email me for address and directions.

The weekend also holds Geezerfest, a startlingly comprehensive collection of long-defunct Seattle grunge band reunions including Cat Butt, Love Battery and Coffin Break ... I'll miss Saturday night, of course (sorry Brother James) but I'm determined to make the scene Sunday. We'll see how that works out. Anyone with an extra $15 to spend should join me. Why, am I coming apart?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Having Fun With Elvis On Stage

Because everybody needs to hear it at least once ... here's a blog where you can download Elvis Presley's infamous "talking album," in which random stage banter from The King's 1974 tour was edited together into one completely strange LP.

Deming explains it in detail here on AMG.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Friday morning I'm having some gingival grafting done. Clearly, I will do anything for nitrous oxide and vicodin, which I will receive during and after the ceremony. It's a morning operation, so I'm looking forward to a long hazy afternoon on the couch nursing my swollen mouth and taking drugs.

The lingering effects of narcotics should play an important role in the End Times' performance on Saturday. We'll be entertaining fans of glass art at the William Traver Gallery Tacoma between 5:00 and 8:00pm, and I'm anticipating a languid set.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


The End Times August 25th recital will feature a special performance from Seattle's one-man rock revival Keg. This is an explosive young performer who has baffled audiences all over the USA and Europe with his ability to generate high-powered party metal all alone on stage. Keg is inspired heavily by Monster energy drinks, Andrew W.K. and the Misfits, and we're pleased to have made his acquaintance.
Announcing the launch of Still requires a little attention, but it's up and official and will hereafter be updated with songs and lies.

We played an open mike last night. It was a large investment of time, energy and money for the three of us to play one song with two microphones to a boisterous, oblivious audience, but what the hell -- we knew what we were getting into. A few very good acts, including a weird Asian fella in Hawaiian shirt and porkpie hat whose enormous voice shocked the room into silence, but we nabbed slot fourteen out of sixteen so we also suffered plenty of harsh.

The End Times will be playing in Tacoma apparently, on August 11th at an art gallery. Check the website for updates. Did I mention the website?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A good weekend ... Lori and I actually went to the fuckin' mall on Saturday, like real people do, and bought pillows at Target. We took a long, healthy walk to Ballard to drink in a trendy wine bar (in which everything was made out of white plastic, including the patrons) with a batch of librarians that we never actually caught up with, thanks to a few inexact text messages. Times rehearsal on Sunday was a bit sluggish, but we also started clearing debris out of Kate's backyard in preparation for our August 25th recital (details of which are forthcoming).

But most of the weekend revolved around a spectacular boxset of films I grabbed Friday afternoon. Fifty films for fifteen bucks, and fifteen of the titles I knew right off the bat were jake ... lotsa Spanish sleaze like the incredible Voodoo Black Exorcist, Trauma, Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Woman and Vengeance of the Zombies -- Oriental-flavored blaxploitation via TNT Jackson and period-piece funk courtesy of Jive Turkey and Black Hooker -- the unique German television thriller Spare Parts -- an utterly maddening Mickey Rooney overdose called The Manipulator -- bottom-feeding classics like Don't Look In The Basement!, Invasion of the Bee Girls and the Santa-slaying British slasher Don't Open Til Christmas -- retitled Italian shockers courtesy of Dario Argento, and much more, including a few titles I've covered in the past like Legacy of Blood and Snowbeast. Many hours were spent trolling through this fine collection, and I've barely cracked the surface. Best find so far has got to be Wisconsin auteur Bill Rebane's 1987 action comedy Twister's Revenge, which steals the Knight Rider talking-car conceit and uses it for a monster truck.

It's been refreshing to be without internet at home. We can steal a little wifi now and again, but otherwise we're connection-free. So to all I owe emails to, I'll be a bit more diligent during the week when I have work-related internet access. Maybe I'll even start using the phone again ...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dig these wild MySpace pages:

Turkish Beat & Garage Sounds of the 1960s

Os Haxixins - Brazilian Psych-Era Rock

Garage Trash from Portugal

Lotsa primitive fuzz pop to lose your mind to. You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I am officially free of Speakeasy as of today ... easily the worst, with frequent service outages, secret fees and confounding policies. After they were bought out by Best Buy a few months back there was zero reason for hanging on -- their status as an independant local firm was gone and so was I. But then I learned from one of their friendly phone support people (infuriatingly, Speakeasy staff are unfailingly polite and apologetic about any problems) that since I was locked into a contract it would cost me more to pull out early than to pay for two more months of service. In the meantime, I had to call Speakeasy three times to report service outages, an absolutely obscene lack of utility from a company I didn't even want to employ.

Today I sat and waitied on the phone while the service fella's computer slowly loaded up the necessary forms to process my cancellation. He asked me why I was cancelling and I pointed out how much awkward silence we had just endured together on the phone while his lousy computer huffed and puffed and struggled to complete the task he had given it. "Even the computers you use at the Speakasy office suck, how can the internet service be any good?" I asked. He remained unflappable, but offered that I might have a point. Then he told me he couldn't uncover the genesis of a mysterious $150 charge that appeared on my bill and it would take some research. I told him to take his time, I wouldn't be paying it anyway.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We're in South Dakota right now. Everything went great. More soon.
Hi Anonymous. Your comment made no sense. No rock and roll in that last post. Still, I hope you feel better.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

That's right, I said it. Right now my grandmother is being forced to watch The Simple Life because it was getting too hot for her outside, so they brought her wheelchair inside the air conditioning where the tee vee is blaring. Sometimes this is a damn ugly country.

Otherwise, Lori and I have had a fine visit, for those who are following such things. More soon ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Photo Hosted at Buzznet

The Lime Giants pose in between sets as the house band for Okemos High School's 1990 prom. Looks more like 1984, if you ask me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Happy anniversary, baby. Got you on my mind ...

Monday, June 25, 2007

9-11 Tribute Album

"The hammer of freedom smashes evil!" Seriously, you gotta check this out. It's completely fucking retarded. You'll love it.

"On September 11th of 2001/When we turned on the TV, it was not fun/Some terrorists attacked the twin towers/Then they hit the Pentagon within the hour/Now America's at war/What the hell is going on?"

Wow. What the hell is going on, indeed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Legendary Michigan punk band Violent Apathy reunites -- Lansing State Journal, June 17 2007

I really wish this article was a little more dynamic and had fewer name-dropping shenanigans (I suppose you need to mention Rollins, Danzig and Nirvana to prove to the clueless that Violent Apathy mattered), but it's still cool to see Capital City rock veteran Ken Knott celebrated in as square a forum as this. And why no mention of the vinyl records they put out back in the day, that now go for big bucks when and if some lucky collector comes across one? Focusing on their cassette-only releases and saying that Kenny started the Students for Progressive Action organization simply because "shows were hard to come by" makes them sound like small-town losers. In many respects they were, but their goals and achievements were certainly greater than the average bonehead frat party cover band most universities spit out by the thousands. Anyhow, congrats to Ken for reuniting his balding, paunchy first-wave hardcore compatriats for these shows, and if you're in the Michigan area, check it out ... no matter how out of practice they are, Ken Knott always puts on a memorable show.

PS. I just reread that article and got even more annoyed. I'm pretty sure Dave Grohl considered watching Violent Apathy to be a "formative" experience, not "formidible." Also, the article first announces that the Lansing VA show is on June 24th, but at the end it's listed as June 25th. I know deadlines for dailies must be tight, but come on ... and I gotta say it again, do we really need 68 words on Henry Rollins? I think I know the writer of this article, too, if I remember correctly he wrote for Etch Magazine back in the 90s and gave my former band the Clutters our one and only rave review, so these criticisms hurt me all the more. But these things matter, dammit ...

PPS. This VA piece in Lansing City Pulse is only marginally better. So hardcore punk has suddenly undergone an "unprecedented degree of commercial success?" What is he talking about? It makes me wish I could move out of Lansing again.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Stranger visits 30 churches with mockery as its only intention.

Hands down the most offensive Stranger article yet. I appreciate that they're all atheists, understand that many of them are gay and thus knee-jerk anti-Christian, but invading the sanctuary of people who actually believe for the sole purpose of flippancy is revolting. When someone takes their religion into the streets and bangs you over the head with it, you got the right to snark and sneer, but many of those people simply crave the warmth of ritual and the comfort of their conviction that something exists beyond death. Leave them the fuck alone.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How well do celebrities tip?

Although my negativity in the previous post was genuine, I have to report that things are smoothing over and I'm acclimating to an open-ended 9-5 M-F existence again. The constant scurry of freelancing was killing me anyhow - the eternal search for gigs, the uncertainty of payment, the inevitable betrayal of my talents in pursuit of dollars. A few outlets remain ... The Stranger still likes me, it seems, and while Jason's skipping out on Seattle Sound I oughta still have a venue there, too ... so if I ever really have something to say, I can say it, and when the checks come it'll be disposable income rather than essential. Next up: a "thinkpiece" on GG Allin requested by The Stranger. My whole life has been leading up to this point.

Lori and I bought a car, a slightly-used black Scion with double sunroof and MP3 player. No cruise control, unfortunately, which would have come in handy when we drive to Michigan the first week of July for a family reunion. Our final day in the Big Mitten will be spent at an undisclosed recording facility tracking with the End Times -- the kids are flying and driving in seperately to join me for a quick session. When we return we'll press up some demos and get a little more aggressive in soliciting clubs and labels.

Anyhow, our time in Michigan will be limited but with any luck we'll be able to grab at least one evening out with old friends. If there are any extant, that is. Get in touch, let us know what you're doing the week of July 4th.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So fuck it. I accepted a full time position as purchasing agent for a large seafood concern. I'll be expediting purchase orders and invoices for two fish processing plants in Alaska, day in and day out. It's all for the money, which I'll make plenty of, and all I can promise myself is to save it all and use it for nefarious purposes.

Still, I feel defeated.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NELSON SINGS NILSSON - the Stranger, May 16 2007
(Triple Door) Best known for the hit single "Another One Rides the Bus," local hero Harvey Danger returns to his "Sean Nelson" character (the hapless indie-rock everyman introduced through a series of satirical Stranger articles), taking the stage for the second time to celebrate the music of the late, great Harry Nilsson. Last December's performance was a triumph, leaving Danger in a quandary as to how to top himself, but his solution is inspired. Trading his top hat for a cape, he's assembled a full-cast stage re-creation of the rarely screened 1974 film Son of Dracula, the peculiar horror-comedy-musical that starred Nilsson as "Count Downe," the titular vampire. FRED BELDIN

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Found a dumpsterfull of great ephemeral films courtesy of ... check out some I stashed here. Learn about the psychological differences between the sexes, dig a filmstrip on troublemakers ("Hey, let's start a Nazi society! I know where we can get swastika armbands!"), watch construction workers injure themselves and warn yourself against venereal disease.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Billy Joe Shaver shoots a man in the cheek. He says it was self-defense, and I believe him. Witnesses report that before Shaver fired, he asked the man, "where do you want it?" That's class.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Like most of you out there, for the past several days I've been wondering what Ted Nugent's take on this whole "College Columbine" business might be. Well, now we know.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The End Times gig with Bug Nasties this Friday evening at the Pacific Rim Brewery. We'll be starting early, probably around 8:00pm, so please join us. Why, are we coming apart?

This weekend marks my first jaunt to the Experience Music Project's Pop Conference, a four-day bacchanale of music-oriented lectures, essays and ... well, I don't know if there's really anything else that happens, but I guess I'll find out. The Stranger was looking for some writers to take these eggheads to task, and I gleefully accepted, but the eventual product I turned in must not have struck the right chord, because it was rejected. Well, all except the final paragraph -- my editor loved the "musique concrete" conceit and wanted me to refashion it as a preview of the event, but then rejected my rewrite as being "too dry." Apparently Stranger readers need to be told where the jokes are. Anyhow, it didn't run either. So here's my half-baked, hastily-written attack on/tribute to the people I'll be hanging around with in that monstrous building next to the Space Needle.

The EMP Pop Music Studies Conference and the Arguable Art of Rock Criticism

by Fred Beldin

There's a lot of self-loathing among rock journalists, mainly because what we do is neither rock nor journalism. Those who write about popular music are knocking out ad copy, not reporting the news, regardless of how insightful or inane their thoughts on the product in question. Let's face it, no matter how clever a critic can be in tweaking the assorted miscreants who bang guitars and punch samplers these days, there's no such thing as bad publicity and we who fill space in alternative weeklies, blogs, self-published zines and glossy newsstand rags are mere shills for those who make the real art. What we do doesn't cure cancer. It doesn't even make or break careers. Every culture needs its popular art to be documented and annotated for future civilizations to study and learn from, but there are far too many jokers trying to get a piece of that job. A lot of us ought to consider volunteering with troubled youth or planting fruit trees in impoverished nations. Music critics can be bristly, combative characters if challenged about their individual core beliefs, because without them we're nothing, and that's why the EMP Pop Music Studies Conference stirs so many emotions for those whose love for sounds inspires prose.

It appears that some thinkers at The Stranger harbor a prejudice against the academic nature of the EMP conference, where the level of discourse can sometimes get pretentious in its navel-gazing intellectualism. Current music boss Jonathan Zwickel recently referred to the presenters as "kooks" in a private inter-staff email exchange, and our late, lamented music editor Jennifer Maerz once wrote publicly about the "critical circle jerks" of the EMP, going on record to declare that she avoids the event like she avoids "making out with boys with gigantic cold sores on their mouths." To each her own, I say -- some fires burn colder than others, that's all. Besides, the poindexters presenting papers at the EMP are the kind who couldn't stop themselves if they tried. There's no money or glory in sacrificing untold hours of precious lifespan re-evaluating the progression of Dylan's poetic voice or contemplating the importance of the souvenir rock t-shirt. These are intelligent people, hyper-self-aware people, and they don't need us telling them what they already know.

Some may call these dedicated souls deluded or damaged in spirit, but not me. They're artists as sure as the musicians they obsess over and write about, and that's the way I'm going to enjoy the seminar. When the pomp and verbosity become too oppressive, I'll just ignore the words and concentrate on the musique concrete symphony that is the EMP Pop Music Studies Conference. After all, the humming drone of academics reading their work can be very beautiful, and the shuffling of papers, muffled coughs, polite applause and whispered commentary provide an unpredictable harmonic counterpoint. The soft flutter of rolled eyes when an unpopular theory is put forth, the sudden dissonance of a rudely ringing cell phone, the chime of flattery for the most popular readers. Each presenter will set a particular tempo, improvise on a variety of classic themes and cop riffs off personal rock-write gurus. It's like when John Sellers, author of Perfect From Now On recently compared Jack White to Billy Squire on his blog -- I don't even care what the hell that means, it just sounds great.
Electric Six in The Stranger

(Neumo's) Detroit enjoys a renaissance of rock-and-roll relevance every decade or two, and during the last big scare the Electric Six counted themselves among the luminaries with hit singles—in England, anyhow. They've been tagged a novelty band (not undeservedly so), their mix of disco, new wave, and arena rock could only be enjoyed with a grain of salt, and post-"Gay Bar" efforts often endured critical lambasting. It's too bad, because their best jokes appear to be ahead of them. Massive lineup hemorrhaging left vocalist Dick Valentine the sole original member, but the band became a halfway house for some of Detroit's finest players, and last year's Switzerland was their best ever. Songs such as "Pulling the Plug on the Party" and "I Buy the Drugs" strike the perfect balance between quirk and energy, suggesting that for the Electric Six life might begin at 40 after all. FRED BELDIN

Monday, April 16, 2007

Good Lord.

The rats have been too long in the same cage. Our future will require massive thinning of the herd for any of us to prosper. I can't even blame evil anymore. As each year goes by, as each atrocity tops the last, I become more and more convinced that this kind of thing is just the inevitability of nature.

Simply put, THERE ARE TOO MANY OF US FOR THE PLANET TO SUPPORT. It isn't just unhealthy for the environment. It's unhealthy for our own minds.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dig my definitive take on Bo Diddley's Black Gladiator in this week's Stranger.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

New on Frenzy of the Visible ... a collection of Kiss videos, the apocalypse according to Islam, Adam and the Ants, extreme foot fetish films, the Vanilla Fudge, Phantasm in its entirety and much, much more. YouTube is apparently bottomless.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hangover Heart Attack on 7 Seconds

It's not unusual to find assorted blurbs I've written for AMG to end up on MP3 blogs once in a while when the poster wants a quick, easy way to describe the album he's pirating, so stumbling across this one didn't take me aback until I noticed the guy spelled my name wrong. What, you can cut and paste the whole paragraph but not my byline? Fer chrissakes. Anyhow, this is a swell record if you like vintage straight-edge hardcore ... not macho and domineering like East Coast stuff, these pansies were grown in the sandy soil of Nevada, and they would really prefer it if you didn't smoke that joint near them. And why is punk such a boys club, man, I know some really cool girls and they're just as good as us guys ... these are nice kids, they probably practiced at grandma's house. I love these songs, though, they're tuneful on their own terms and while the polka beats are de rigeur, the riffs go off into weird places and there's always a great chant-along chorus of "woah, woah, woah" coming around the corner.

Stay young til you die, kids.
Fred Baldin

Thursday, April 05, 2007

SYCAMORE SMITH in The Stranger

Michigan's Upper Peninsula hasn't changed much since its 19th-century mining boom times—it's still a vast, sparsely populated wilderness, so the college town of Marquette is like Paris up there, a relative hotbed of art and action. That's where Sycamore Smith hails from, and for well over a decade he's held forth as the U.P.'s prime musical export, as a member of the scruffy pop-punk machine the Muldoons and solo. With his rough-hewn folk-guitar strum, slippery melodies, and tongue-tying Dadaist wordplay, Smith comes across like a hillbilly Robyn Hitchcock. He's taking his cracked one-man vaudeville revue on the road, so anyone with a penchant for kazoo abuse and Gilded Age detail should make the scene at the Funhouse, where Smith will appear alongside fellow ex-punks Steve Turner and Charles Leo Gebhardt IV. This night should prove a peculiar hootenanny indeed. FRED BELDIN

Sycamore Smith on MySpace
Sycamore Smith's Wild Wild Website
Muldoons on MySpace

So long, Bob Clark.

The director of A CHRISTMAS STORY, BLACK CHRISTMAS, PORKY'S, CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, DEATHDREAM, THE SHE-MAN, BABY GENIUSES, KARATE DOG and SUPERBABIES: BABY GENIUSES 2 died (along with his son) in a car accident, a head-on with a drunk driver who is now in custody. X-MAS STORY is the one everyone knows -- it's as much an American seasonal tradition as MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET or IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, and for good reason. It sometimes surprises people when they learn that he's also responisble for PORKY'S (not to mention PORKY'S 2: THE NEXT DAY), and thus indirectly for every stupid teen sex comedy of the 1980s, not to mention pioneering techniques in 1974's BLACK CHRISTMAS that went on to become slasher cliches. At their best, Clark's films are witty exploitation exercises that belie their low-budget status. Now, I'm not telling you to go out and rent RHINESTONE or anything ... then again, it's Dolly Parton teaching Sylvester Stallone to be a country music star -- they do duets together, yeah, you better go rent it. DEATHDREAM is a good bet for the adventurous cinephile, a combination anti-war statement/zombie movie that works on either level.

And because I have to make everything about myself, here's my review of PORKY'S from AMG ...


Porky's opened the floodgates for a multitude of cheap, obnoxious teen sex comedies in the early '80s, adding untold hours of mirth and playground whisperings to the lives of preteens and the chronically immature. Unlike its imitators, Porky's benefits from genuine laughs and a fond sense of nostalgia courtesy of director and screenwriter Bob Clark (who imbued his family-oriented classic A Christmas Story with the same qualities). While the movie is aimed at the funnybone of the adolescent male, it accurately captures the frenetic, desperate energy of this age, its obsession with sex and one-upmanship intact. Indeed, the constant practical joking that fills Porky's is part of the charm, and though tentative steps towards character development are made with an anti-prejudice subplot, the boys remain steadfastly immature to the end. The easily offended should steer clear, but Porky's is the best of a deservedly maligned breed. FRED BELDIN

PS. Just learned Bob Clark had a hand in creating DUKES OF HAZZARD as well. Like you already needed a reason to mourn him.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The new issue of Seattle Sound hit newsstands yesterday, so everybody drop what they're doing, run out and buy a copy so you can read my story about Brandi Carlile, the next big thing out of Ravensdale. It's a fuckin' riot ... lots of stuff about her years as a teenage runaway, studying law in prison, her bestselling children's book Billy and the Nude Man, her role in the 9-11 plot, her work with the cult deprogramming organization FAZE (Families Against Zealotry Everywhere) and coming out as a heterosexual to her friends in the Indigo Girls. It's truly the finest work I've ever done, and it's all because I had such a good subject. Brandi's gigging tonight at the Triple Door, an acoustic set that I wouldn't mind seeing but I can't even afford the well drinks there, so fuck that, we're checking out the Moondoggies at the Blue Moon. Do they still have those dollar cans of Budweiser?

It's a full weekend ... got a lot of writing to finish up, including a brand new gig with a national chain of restaurant magazines, you know, the free kind that are essentially advertisements for various local joints? I'm making a few paltry dollars writing about the head chef at some fancy eatery (I won't repeat their name here, since I'm already gonna be giving em 450 words worth of shill and that's all I'm gonna get paid for). What the hell, it sounds like a breeze, a couple good hours on Saturday afternoon oughta cover it, and I need the dough.

I interviewed Dr. Know from the Bad Brains last week, and that's my other assignment. Gotta churn out an article about an album I haven't heard yet from a band that, let's face it, hasn't really been relevant since 1989 (others would probably set the year closer to 1982, but even giving them the benefit of the doubt makes it a long time). That doesn't mean they can't still put on a great show, of course, and they're "legendary" enough to warrant a story on their latest return to the stage, but it would sure help to know what the new record sounds like. I just hope HR doesn't freak out and quit the band again until after my article is in print and I've cashed the check.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The Moondoggies bow to the millennium by maintaining a MySpace presence, but the laid-back practice tapes uploaded as samples don't reflect the heat and dust these local youngsters are capable of kicking up on a good night. They cop hard off the Basement Tapes—era Band and clearly aspire to jammier heights, but solid songs and a hard rhythm keep the proceedings earthbound and dignified. It's as if some disgruntled Sunset Strip combo circa 1966 got sick of competing with all the Buffalo Springfields and Loves on the scene, built a time machine, and high-tailed it to a future where rock bands are scarce. Why else would they call themselves the Moondoggies, a moniker better suited to a Canadian surf band than anything close to hep? Because they're as old as our dads, that's why. FRED BELDIN

Dig the Moondoggies at the Blue Moon this Friday. I'll see you there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yesterday I bought a laptop computer. You want proof? How about the fact that I'm using it right now, AS WE SPEAK, to write this post. Ha! Now get off my back.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My recent urge to post videos found trolling through YouTube on my "blog" inspired this new space. Nothing more than me pointing in one direction after another with an infinite world of information at my fingertips.

Plus, this guy did it first, so I don't need to bear the burden of being an innovater. Innovator?

A minor rehaul to The End Times Myspace Account. New songs, etc.

These go out to my man Bryan Bong:

And this one's for me:

Moby Grape live on The Mike Douglas Show

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jim Diamond Interview -- Turnitdown!

Dig a candid peek into the tightly-wound mind of Endless Jim, he of Ghetto Recorders in Detroit.
Jack Lalanne Lays It Down.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Just got the nod to work up an article on the BAD BRAINS for when they hit the Sasquatch Fest in May, so I'm trolling YouTube for material ... there's plenty up there, including some bits from their CBGBs gig last October that don't make me very hopeful about their present or future. Let's focus on some triumphs, shall we? I assume that among Rock Thinkers I'm in the minority for preferring their metal-flavored 80s material over their admittedly more important hardcore-defining 70s thrash, but I got a copy of I AGAINST I and caught them live on the QUICKNESS tour at a particularly vulnerable point of my development, so that's that.

1989 - "Soul Craft"

1979 - "Attitude"

1988 - "House of Suffering"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"National Motherfuckin' Treasure" by Fred Beldin

Well, I'm not thrilled that they called him "old as dirt" in the deck and I still say my original draft was better (I had a bout of email fisticuffs with the editor before we came to a compromise) but I did get to interview Rudy Ray Moore for the Stranger, so why complain? Check it out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday night's End Times revival was more than we could have expected, so thanks to all who came. It was enough of a success that my better judgement is telling me to quit while I'm ahead, disband and keep the moment safely encased in amber to avoid perverting our triumph with the inevitable disappointments that follow any endeavor. Unfortunately, I'm a weak little man without the strength of character it takes to abandon ship. We are all equally doomed.

We made a rough recording of the event that can be downloaded as a single 35-minute long 48MB MP3 here. All songs can be attributed to me except where otherwise notated.

The End Times were:
Kate - sing
Fred - strum
Tyson - slide

Light In The Window (Soren Davis)
You've Got Ghosts
We're Not Safe Here
They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl)
A Great Misguided Faith
The Angry Face of Truth
Stay Where You Are
Seven Years
Don't Count The Days

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Another passive invitation for the few Seattle folk who watch this space ... Saturday night The End Times will present a full program of apocalypse ballads in an empty bedroom in the Montlake neighborhood. Email me for directions. It's mere days away, and you'd think that I'd be nervous, seeing as it's the first time I've played an entire set of my own songs in this decade, but I feel nothing but confidence. Of course, all this momentum will be challenged when our singer goes on a month-long sea voyage immediately after the "gig," but luckily broads are a dime a dozen in this town, so we oughta be able to find a temp pretty easily (the back pages of The Stranger are packed with ads for 'em). Transvestites are even more plentiful in Seattle, and most of them already have their own P.A. system and stage name, so we could go that route too.

We really meant it, man!
The last gasp, circa 1994.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

OK, so there's this genius named Jaz McKay, right? And he's on CNN today (dig it) because he's a right wing talk radio show host and he's raising hell because a local (Bakersfield, CA) soldier, a veteran, has a decal on his truck in which he begs God's forgiveness for the sins he committed in the course of his duties in Iraq. They interview the vet too, who says he's proud of serving his country and would do it again if he had to, but simply acknowleges that he was forced to commit acts over there that he construes as sins ... probably murder (manslaughter?), although the cat has enough respect not to put that fine a point on it. Anyhow, this Jaz fella is getting a lot of mileage out of it ... got his fans calling in to decry THIS VETERAN for essentially nothing more than exercising his rights to free speech and freedom of religion.

I checked out Jaz McKay's website because I, like anyone living in Lansing, Michigan in the late 80s/early 90s, remember him not as a right wing blowhard but as a self-consciously "wild" rock/shock jock. See, back then he was imitating Howard Stern, not Rush Limbaugh, and he was quite popular with the kind of folks who listened to morning rush hour radio (not me, although I did catch his show from time to time). He bounced around a few local stations for a while, because he was appropriately caustic on air and had as many foes as fans, and rumor has it (reliable rumor, but rumor nonetheless) that his final comeuppance was when he was caught by management doing crystal meth during his morning show. Fired and unemployable ... but that didn't stop Jaz McKay. He started a public access TV show, again a blatant copy of Stern, in which he held forth on assorted debaucherous topics flanked by a pair of scantily-clad young ladies.

This is where I come in ... a "rock" band that I held down the bottom for back in the gay 90s was asked to appear on a special edition of the Jaz McKay Show in which the topic would be the local Lansing rock scene. Specifically, did Lansing have what it takes to be the new Seattle? I know, I know ... remember, it was a simple-minded time and these were simple folk. We didn't care. My band, The Lemmings, was out to gig wherever we could, especially if it meant we might have a videotaped copy of the performance afterward, so even though we already considered Jaz to be a local joke we certainly weren't above appearing on his homemade talk show. Plus our spiritual leader Mark R. Deming, at that point the music writer for local alternative weekly The Capitol Times, was appearing on the show as well. So what the fuck, right?

A few days before the show, I got a phone call from Jaz McKay, who said he wanted to do a "pre-interview" with me, just to get my general opinions on the local Lansing rock scene. Now, like I said before, I have no proof that Jaz used drugs at this time. However, I have talked to speedfreaks and cokeheads before, and he had all the hallmarks. This guy talked at me for about an hour and a half, and the questions went like this: "So what do you think about the quality of the bands in Lansing? Because what I think is ..." Cue Jaz jabbering on a blue streak for ten minutes while I search desperately for a chance to speak. Next question. "Do you think the Small Planet is the best venue in the city? Because what I think is ..." And so on. Get the picture? I listened, my jaw agape, not believing the luck I had to have a washed-up local celebrity on the phone spewing opinions in the deluded belief that I cared what he thought. It was a gloriously bizarre experience.

The show was retarded. We didn't play that well and the sound was bad, so it's not the best representation of the band (after the show one of the bikini girls was overheard complaining about us -- "I mean, I can handle Metallica, but that was just NOISE!"). Still, I've held on to a videocassette of that episode for years now, and I'm moved this morning to dig it up. These days Jaz McKay openly bashes long-hairs ... fifteen years ago he was one. Check out his website, particularly his rant on the downfall of American culture, which has no shortage of punctuation mistake's and other Errors.

Still, it's nice to know he found work.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007

"I am the player! The pussy surveyor!
My dick is long and hard as stone! I just love to make a bitch moan and groan!
I used to be young, dumb and full of cum, but now I'm slick and pack a whole lot of dick!
Always ready to make a bitch turn a trick.
I am the player, the pussy surveyor!
The imp, the stimp, the woman's pimp!
Check out your mind! Check out your mind! Check out your mind!"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders

Frank and Cindy
A dank mood led to a spree of music downloading yesterday -- didn't make me feel any better, I guess, but I was sufficiently energized by what I uncovered.

Who remembers Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers? Absolutely unhinged Italian hardcore, frantic, furious noise that shatters before your ears, I was thrilled to uncover a bunch of tracks from a CCM demo tape here. Sounds so fast, so blitheringly spiteful and contemptuous of musical niceties that they're downright abstract.

Another fine find was Stack Waddy, a beautifully gnarly biker-garage-metal outfit from the UK circa 1971 that sounds like Motorhead on heroin instead of speed fronted by Captain Beefheart. Yes, it's that good! John Peel signed them to his Dandelion label back in the day (because no one else would) and they were well known for audience abuse, chucking bottles at the crowd when they didn't respond the right way. Construction workers by day, their two LPs are pretty much all covers, cool stuff by Pretty Things, Beefheart, Zappa, Bo Diddley, Kinks, Lazy Lester, all recorded in one take. Glorious. Absolutely glorious.

Let it also be known that The End Times will make what was private public on March 10th at 9:00pm, an appearance at a house party in the Montlake neighborhood. Contact me if you wanna make it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I can't believe it ... just last week I reread Clinton Walker's excellent Bon Scott bio Highway to Hell and prepped myself to commemorate the anniversary of this great man's passing, which came and went yesterday. Yup, check the records, it was February 19, 1980. So anyhow, hoist one for Bon, if you're a hoister, otherwise I don't give a damn what you do because it's February 20 now and I missed the boat. What was I doing all day yesterday? I don't even wanna tell you, that's how lame it was.

Anyhow, in Bon's honor (and because Pat and Terri don't have time to search YouTube on their own), I present this pre-AC/DC vid ... the band was Fraternity, the time early 1970s, the country Australia, and Bon Scott had a beard.