Thursday, November 28, 2013

Two Thanksgivings Ago

If you're my age, odds are your parents have at least one copy of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, a pretty enjoyable record of folky fun that you probably heard on Thanksgiving a few times.  And rightly so - there aren't many times that the lot of you would be stuck in one place all day with little to do and nowhere to go, so putting on the modern equivalent of an epic poem was a good idea.   I sometimes would play it on Thanksgiving as well, but music has certainly evolved into a more personal and less shared experience over the last 30 years, even if the music itself is getting shared a lot.  It's just going through ear buds.

If you've never heard the title track, "Alice's Restaurant," you should.  It's great, and reasonably funny/quotable.   "I wanna kill," indeed. 

There's a whole story in this 20-minute song and you might even say it would make a nice movie - and while they did make a movie of it, I didn't much care for it.  The long and short of it is a bunch of people move into a decommissioned church, throw out some garbage, and then go on about the draft. 

The draft also came up in another super-long song from about the same era called "Billy the Mountain" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers which I believe got on the cheap out of a used bin at Zia Records some point 10-15 years ago, as most of my species has a teenage Zappa phase they never grow out of.

The best version of "Billy" (so far) is on the album Just Another Band from L.A. and it would probably have made for a fantastic cartoon or short film.  It's goofy,it  references numerous L.A. landmarks, and it features a giant, talking mountain with his significant other Ethyl (a tree growing off of his shoulder.)  The premise: a mountain gets a check for royalties for posing for photos on postcards, and goes on vacation.  

I don't know how many people are putting out 20-minute songs today due to our attention spans - I don't know if "Trapped in the Closet" really counts as it's many parts - but I gotta say it's a delightful way to kill 25 minutes.   I would best describe it as a children's story for adults.  It feels like "dad humor," if that makes sense.  As in "this gets better the more young people think you suck."  I find myself liking it a lot more on each listen.  Since you've probably got the day off, give these a listen - but for "Billy," I do suggest following along the lyrics on Wiki Jawaka just because you probably won't get half the references even if you CAN hear them.

Also, if anyone out there in the world of animation is reading, I would very much like to see you make a 24-minute cartoon based on "Billy the Mountain."   That would be awesome.  Mostly just to see how you would handle animating lines like "A mountain is something you don't wanna fuck with / You don't wanna fuck with / Don't fuck around."

I want more stuff like this.   While there's tremendous appeal in a short song like Nerf Herder's "Doin' Laundry" sometimes you can only get the right kind of chuckle from a cross-country road trip involving a talking mountain.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Luxo Champ - Discography Attempt

A long, long time ago my friend Timmy worked in a record store and turned me on to the CD "A+B" by Luxo Champ, which I reviewed at a long time ago.  Way back then I tried to find the only other release mentioned anywhere, which was "Duster."  I was unable to find a copy for sale until 2012, and it was four bucks.  I was pretty dang happy.

As I write this, I just found out that another 7" exists and naturally I bought it.   I've been unable to find out exactly what exists, and is unhelpful... so I'm making this page to list what I know exists.  If you know something I don't, please let me know and I'll add it here (and then offer to buy your copy.)  Or if you're in the band and doing a vanity search, do let me know, I'd love to waste about 20 minutes of your time and ask some questions about this whole thing.

Known Luxo Champ Releases: 3

7" Record: Duster, 1995. Over the Counter Records. 4 tracks. Jet Jaguar is backed by The Sicilian and Professor Gimlet. 

7" Record: Danger: Death Ray. 1998, Flamingo Records.   3 tracks.  Jet Jaguar is backed by The Sicilian and Number Five.  Click here to hear title track streaming

CD: A+B.  1999,  Super 8 Underground.  6 tracks.  Jet Jaguar is backed by Miss Information, Number 6, and the Dragon Lady.  The latter three are pseudonyms for The Rondelles.  Amazon sells this.

Known Luxo Champ Compilations:4

Compilation 7" Record: 3, 2, 1..... Action! 1997, Pocket Protector Records.  Includes song "Block Mover" from A+B.

Compilation CD: Shine On, Sweet Starlet.  1998, Sympathy for the Record Industry. Includes song "Block Mover" from A+B.

Compilation CD: New Wave Explosion. 1999, Super 8 Underground.  Includes song "A+B" from A+B. [Confirmed, same version.]

Compilation CD: The Necessary Effect: Screamers Songs Interpreted. 2002, Xeroid Records / Extravertigo Recordings. Includes exclusive song "Mater Dolores." Click here to hear the track on YouTube.

(Are the versions of Block Mover any different?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Causey Way Live Shows? Napster-Era MP3 Stuffs, Your Help Is Requested

UPDATE JANUARY 13, 2013: Track #5 added to "The Other Album." Thank you, Bobby!

So the music project imploded.  It happens.  Anyway, let's move on.  Hello, person who also likes The Causey Way and/or other bands who dressed up as robots or space people or superheroes and hopefully can explain what it is I found on Napster like eleven years ago.

Does anyone out there know anything about some live Causey Way MP3s that were circulating on Napster in/around 2000-2001?  I never got whole concerts, but I got close on one and... one track off another.  I'm curious if anyone else out there has these, knows what they are, and so on.

ONE ALBUM - Labeled "Portland, OR 012401"
I SWEAT. Track #12, 4:31.
Presumably January 24, 2001.
That's all I got.  Do you have any more information?

THE OTHER ALBUM - Not labeled. Quality's good but obviously not perfect. Tracks are:
Causey Way, The - [01] News.mp3 - 3:05 - ??? Unreleased song/live only/no name I know of
Causey Way, The - [02] Natu.mp3 - 1:55 - Natural Disasters (God's Black Box) from WWCD
Causey Way, The - [03] New1.mp3 - 1:30 - Commandments from Causey vs. Everything
Causey Way, The - [04] Plan.mp3 - 3:56 - Plan C from WWCD
Causey Way, The - [05] I Sweat.mp3 - 2:39 - I Sweat from With Loving and Open Arms
Causey Way, The - [06] Mess.mp3 - 2:52 - Message From The Pulpit from With Loving and Open Arms
Causey Way, The - [07] Pers.mp3 - 2:26 - Personal Hygiene from Testimony
Causey Way, The - [08] The .mp3 - 2:30 - The Electronic Church (You Sell God) from With Loving and Open Arms

  • Track 5 was initially missing, I got it from a dude named Bobby in January of 2013.  Thank you, Bobby! Took me over 12 years.
  • Track 1 is a unique song I've never heard on any of their 4 CDs, I'd love to know what it's called, or if it even had a name.  It's about 22 seconds of static/electronic rumblings, before guitar rumblings, and vocals come in around 57 seconds.  "You've got your feet/you've got your hands" are the opening words, if I hear correctly.
  • If memory serves I got this in late 2000/2001.
  • I believe this was before Causey vs. Everything as the new songs from that album were labeled "New Song" but apparently got truncated as "News" and "New1." Thanks for nothing, MP3 labels of 11 years ago. 
  • Bobby speculates this might be part of a "Universal Buzz Radio Show" program.  Can anyone confirm? I have a Servotron one, but never heard of a Causey one. Confirmation would be awesome!
If you have any information, please leave a comment/contact me via twitter (adam16bit) or email (go to, I'm everywhere).

In the efforts of Google-fu, Causey Way was a fun band where Scott Stanton (pro skateboarder, artist, presumably a nice dude) sang and the high-concept was that they were not a cult.  He went on to be in Pilot Scott Tracy (also fun!) and did a few folkey songs (and nifty paintings) as "Panhandle Slim"  but that's all I've got so far.

The drummer for Man or Astro-Man (Birdstuff/Boy Causey/Brian Teasley) was also on a few Causey Way tracks, so I figure this is another chapter in a coffee table book or 'zine or something that someone needs to write about this whole thing some day.  I like this stuff.

If for some odd reason you found this and don't know anything about The Causey Way, and you like Devo, or perhaps Man or Astro-Man?, locate and purchase WWCD?.  As far as I know the band only released 4 albums (2 LPs, 2 EPs) and at least 3 other recordings were in some state of development from the labels With an X and What Else? records around 2000 or so.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Junk: A New Podcast

Some projects die on the vine, others... well, they're still growing. In addition to the Entertainment Earth podcast, I've started the Sunday Night Slog so I can complain about whatever in the wee hours between when the update goes up Sunday night and whenever it is I go to bed.

If all goes well, this week's will be about whatever I see in the first couple of days of Toy Fair.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Band Project

I was writing a blog post FOR THIS VERY BLOG that was basically a list of bands that I love that, for one reason or another, haven't released much in the past 10 years, or are related to those bands. Instead I decided to contact a bunch of 'em to see if they would be willing to answer questions, and here's a short list of the people who I'm trying to talk to for future content.

The Causey Way
Department of Crooks
Marc Moreland Mess
Pilot Scott Tracey
The Pulsars

Marc Moreland of Department of Crooks and the Marc Moreland Mess is, unfortunately, dead. This makes this harder.

In the off chance that you are magic, and also reading this, please let me know if you know anyone in Luxo Champ or Osama Bin Sars, please say "hi."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Toy Lines I Have Loved, 2010 Edition

Here's what I think went well in 2010.

Huge potential, big letdown-- Diamond Select only tooled up the Crocodile man and released it in 3 (soon to be 4) colors. It's a wonderful design and if Diamond Select did more of these, I'd buy them all. Within reason. If it gets to 300 all bets are off.

The Four Horsemen did a bang-up job on these. So far, there have been four figures released in four colors each-- it's a bit excessive, but I picked 'em all up. They're good. I'd suggest buying a few of these if I were you.

A lot of stuff came out but it doesn't feel like it. Three waves of new movie figures is pretty pathetic, really... four, if you're feeling generous and count the delayed, exclusive Expanded Universe wave. Maybe we're going to see it wrap up soon? Hahahahahha. Ha. Seriously though, 2011 needs to step the hell up.

Went from "meh" to "wow!" The basic figures are wonderful, and the vehicles aren't bad. The Pursuit of Cobra Beach Head may be one of the finest G.I. Joe figures ever made, plus we saw a lot of hard-to-find exclusive show up on closeout. You really can't go wrong with that. I got most of these, minus a few vehicles. Just found wave 3 today and it will kick your ass.

So good it's obscene-- 13 figures since June, 5 of which are from a new video game, and the rest include fan-requested characters who have no business having toys. Thunderwing? Straxus/Darkmount? Drift? Wow. And there's more on the way! I bought all of these.

A mix of movie, classics, and all-new characters with tons of toys. I bought several, and I admire Hasbro's ability to mix in what essentially amount to new, classic characters.

About as good as you can expect. It's weird, you've got a line where every figure is essentially perfect, it's hard to really talk about too much.

Wow, this is a WONDERFUL line if you skip about half of it. The basic Spider-Man is great, as are the Green Goblin, Venom, and Carnage figures. Nicely done.

Another line where you should skip most of it. But the good stuff? Excellent. All the comic toys were wonderful, like Silver Centurion Iron Man, the original Vietnam-based armor, and Iron Monger were delightful. Well done.

This year we got Ghost Rider, Iron Patriot, World War Hulk (which I still need to buy despite having seen 3 or 4 times), and a smattering of other good figures. It feels like another slow-drip release line, but hey, they made some great stuff here.

Funko started a line of vinyl figures which are basically Hello Kitty meets Mighty Muggs meets Batman. I've got one on my desk and I want to get the Gremlins one and the as-of-yet- unannounced licenses too. More on that later.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Screw You Knight Errant

I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to Star Wars in its various forms. Cartoons for kids? Comic books? Made-up characters just to sell exclusive toys? All fine by me, especially then they tie in to the era of the movies. While I'm not crazy about the pre-history, it has its place-- I really did love the original Tales of the Jedi series and its many sequels. The Knights of the Old Republic comic was hugely entertaining with characters that felt ripped out of an RPG-- take that as praise or a slur as you will.

In particular, I like the comics. Generally speaking, good or bad, you can get something out of them. I've read most-- I hesitate to say all-- because I'm missing some issues of Ewoks, one issue of General Grievous, and a few promotional odds and ends due to poor promotion and not knowing they even existed. Even the various prequel Jedi comics, where all the characters have the same motivation and values, generally you'd have taken something away from it.

I know this comes off as whiny, but there are very few series I actively disliked. Vader's Quest was a dull story where one of the antagonists was a pilot who got wasted, so Luke borrowed his X-wing on the fateful day the Death Star was done blowed up. Jedi Academy: Leviathan was, to my knowledge, the only time I've ever fallen asleep reading a comic series. Jedi vs. Sith, which brought us Darth Bane, had pretty ugly art and was really dull. And today? Well, today it's Knight Errant.

I don't keep up on fan reaction to comics much, basically I just read it all and whatever I like, I like. I liked Legacy, I thought Tales was a wonderful series of diversions, and even though I never really got into the New Jedi Order books, the new Invasion comics are fun. Knight Errant is not. It's another "let's tell a story about Jedi thousands of years before the movies" thing except this time there's not much in it to make me care up front.

Tales of the Jedi benefited from a strong group of characters, plus the fact that the backstory for the entire series was given away in the back pages of Dark Empire. You knew where it was going, but it was a great ride. Knights of the Old Republic had a good sensibility which helped drive it along-- it felt like a video game script, but the designs and personalities of the characters made up for any shortcomings. Knight Errant has people fighting with lightsabers, I guess, sort of.

One complaint I don't make enough is that Dark Horse's many reboots tend to squeeze the Star Wars out of Star Wars. There were many times recently where the stories included essentially no movie characters, which, while not a deal-breaker, really does suck out the fun. As a kid, I was reading these for more tales of Luke, Han, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Now I've got some other "new" Jedi fighting some other Sith empire and blah blah blah. It's the same damn struggle with new characters, and it's just no fun after a while.

Granted, it's my fault for buying every issue. I'm buying those The Old Republic comics based on the MMO but they're slightly more engaging as of late. It's rare that I immediately don't give a crap about a series-- even if I hate it, I want to know where it'll go-- but I'm considering giving Knight Errant he heave-ho.

Panel after panel of fighting close-ups and clumsy exposition with several characters and I don't know who's who or why. Comics aren't cheap-- you get about 10 minutes of entertainment for $3-- so shouldn't I be having some fun? Can I get something with Young Yoda or old Lando or some other post-prequel story about the survivors of the Jedi Purge? Please? And don't say Dark Times, that's going nowhere and it's taking years to get there.