by Tom Hallett
Hail, hail, rock ’n’ rollers, and welcome to the first installment of Round The Dial for the year 2005. (I’m going to try and drop the New Year in as many places as I can so it’ll be easier for me to remember it.) Seems like just yesterday it was the New Year before 2005—but I bet you’re all as eager to forget the pain, humiliation and suffering of the past 12 months as I am, so instead of looking back at all the crap that went on, e’re gonna press fast rewind, fast forward, and pause so many times that by the end of this column, you may just be at a loss to remember what year it really is. (It’s 2005, in case you’ve forgotten.) Anyway, lots of ground to cover this week (the first of 2005), so let’s crank ‘er up to eleven and rip off the knob ...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Punk rock, as soon as it became labeled ‘Punk
Rock,’ became increasingly reductive ... I can’t believe people
get away with it, and I can’t believe people listen to it .” —
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Broken Hearts Are For Assholes” —
I’ve been so filled with holiday cheer, party spirit (parties celebrating
the beginning of 2005, ya know) and communal love lately, I’m starting
to fear that I may be losing my touch as a tried and true, dyed-in-the-wool
curmudgeon. So, while on a four-hour road trip the other day (just after the
start of 2005), I mentally began making a list of all the stupidity, ignorance,
selfishness and plain ol’ human stinkiness I saw along the way. Here’s
what I came up with:
YOU’RE PROBABLY AN ASSHOLE IF...
1) You’re under the age of 65 and drive a brand new vehicle (yes,
that includes 2005) of ANY make, model or style. Cool young peeps can’t
afford bullshit like new SUVs, minivans or sports cars, and even if they could,
they’d find a better use for the duckets than some plastic piece of shit
extension for yer penis with an American flag bumper sticker. You all deserve
to wake up to a rusty, oil-leaking, beat-to-hell Citroen rotting in your two-car
garage. Or better yet, wake up in a tar-paper shack somewhere on the outskirts
of some shanty-town with only the rags on your backs and a clap-trap rickshaw
in your muddy drive-way.
2) You slow down even one unnecessary iota to eyeball a police traffic
stop, road-side incident or accident. If you find other people’s pain
and suffering so fucking interesting, you deserve to be the one in the accident.
3) You own a wristwatch or jewelry that’s worth more than your
monthly rent or mortgage payment. You should be fitted with gold teeth and then
strapped into a chair where poor people can use pliers to wrench each and every
ounce out of your greedy, materialistic pie-hole.
4) You think Nashville is releasing its best material in years, or will
be in 2005. You should be immediately bound, gagged and thrown in the back seat
of a ’60 Pontiac with a bad exhaust leak and forced to listen to nothing
but Handsome Family, Slobberbone, Scud Mountain Boys and Neko Case records all
the way to Denton, Texas, where you’ll be thrown, still bound and gagged,
into the mud, shit and detritus of a real cowboy rodeo. If you survive, you’ll
be allowed to move to Nashville with nothing but your black Stetson and a pair
of mismatched dress socks. Good luck, Cowpoke!
5) You drive, walk, run, or are otherwise engaged in mobile activity
while using a cell phone. All I can say is, I hope the brain tumor rumors are
6) You routinely call local, Clear Channel-owned radio stations playing
Adult Contemporary music to try and win lunch at a fast food joint for you and
your co-workers. You should immediately be transported to a soup kitchen in
the Bronx, where you’ll be forced to listen to old-time gospel standards
while serving lunch to people who actually need to gain a pound or 10. You don’t.
7) You smoke cigarettes which are longer than the average pen or pencil.
You’re not only obviously trying desperately to replace something sorely
missing in your life, but you’re a genuine fire hazard to those around
you. You’re a secretary, and you use the word “tushie” quite
often, don’t you? Mmm-hmm.
8) You think you’re God’s “Chosen One” to lead
ANYTHING. Listen, pal—every despot, dictator and tyrant worth his or her
salt throughout history thought they were the chosen one. Guess what? They’re
all dead!! Yayyy!!!
9) You actually believe that any one person is God’s “Chosen
One” to lead ANYTHING. Listen, pal—every civilization throughout
history that put a person on a pedestal fell post-haste. Guess what? They’re
all dead!! Yayyy!!!
10) Your idea of a fun night out enjoying local music is going to a
suburban bar, dancing to an ’80s cover band, snorting cheap coke, fighting
with your girlfriend and puking on the floor of your new car. Don’t worry,
though, we don’t want you to change. Who needs people like you at cool
local gigs featuring actually-talented original artists? Naw, we’ll kick
back and watch you on the 2 a.m. repeat of the 10 p.m. news, where there’ll
be graphic footage of your drunken wreck, which happened while you were simultaneously
driving, talking on your cell-phone, checking your $2,500 watch, turning up
the latest Toby Keith CD, lighting your six-inch cigarette, balancing a hot
cup of fast-food joint coffee between your chubby knees, and repeating your
“GW is a tool for the Lord” mantra. Guess what? Someone just like
you is slowing down to gape at your misfortune. Yes, at home, we’re laughing
Oh, I’ve got lots more, dontcha know—but I think you get the idea.
Now here’s your Fun Feat for the week—take one long drive through
your town or neighborhood and see how many folks you can spot who match the
descriptions above. You may be surprised, but then again, I’ve got a hunch
you already know who they are. Now for this week’s reviews:
Iggy & The Stooges
Live In Detroit DVD
live DVD, featuring a reconstituted Stooges, comes right from the birthplace
of the band’s sound itself. Featuring original Stooges Ron and Scott Asheton
on guitar and drums, respectively, Steve Mackay on sax, and powerhouse former
Minutemen bassist Mike Watt backing the Ig-ster, the show is probably the best
recorded showcase of the outfit’s latest tour you’ll find, and not
just because it was filmed in the Motor City. eleven days before this taping,
the band had been all set to play a triumphant Michigan homecoming when the
now infamous New York/East Coast blackout went down and the gig had to be postponed.
At the rescheduled show, feeding on the frustration and energy of their long-suffering
fans, Iggy and Co. layed down a thick, mind-melding, booty-shakin’ set
of classics and a couple of fresh cuts.
There’s no bullshit, ass-kissing pomp and circumstance here, kids. Iggy
spouts a few “It’s great to be home, motherfuckers!!” and
it’s right into the music. Ah, the music—spot-on, blazing versions
of Stooges gems like “Loose,” “Down On The Street,”
“1969,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “TV Eye,”
“Dirt,” “Real Cool Time,” “No Fun” (featuring
a frantic Iggy shrieking, “No Fun,’ ‘No Fun,’ Goddammit,
play ‘No Fun!!’) and others prove that time has only improved the
prehistoric electric boogaloo these cats damn near invented. The Asheton brothers
have obviously spent the past 25 or 30 years honing the material, and Watt’s
talent is such that I shouldn’t even have to mention it, but I will: Fucking
grand, mate, fucking grand!
Iggy, of course, is at the top of his game here. Thrilled to be playing this
make-up gig at home, he flounces, bounces, hops, jumps, slithers, shimmies,
mock-fucks and leaps his way through the 14-song set, finally beckoning to his
faithful followers in the crowd and packing the stage with fans (a common sight
at Iggy gigs, but particularly cool to watch knowing many of the worn but happy
faces on the stage were around for The Stooges’s first gigs way back when),
telling security to kiss his ass, the show won’t go on without his people
up there with him.
energy abounds—the songs feeding the crowd, the crowd feeding Iggy, Iggy
feeding the band, around and around until you feel like tearing off your shirt
and baying at the fucking moon right along with the venerable Mr. Osterberg.
And though Ig’s face more resembles that of a recently-excavated Egyptian
mummy than any corporate-built, robotic “rock star” you’ll
see on today’s circuit, his body is so tight, so buff, so ELECTRIC, I
bet even that iron-pumping, prose-spouting monkey Henry Rollins would think
twice about fucking with him in a dark alley.
“Skull Ring,” a new track, rattles with energy and passion onstage,
but methinks a close album play would reveal it to be more along the lines of
some of the less imaginative material Iggy did with James Williamson over the
Man, I sure don’t miss that shit. This is where Iggy belongs—with
his soulmates and road-buddies, screaming, shrieking, howling, moaning, delivering
tender profanities to his true fan base. This DVD includes some great extras,
as well—an intimate, almost-acoustic (drums are a cardboard box) in-store
performance taped in NYC, a kick-ass “Sing-Along with Iggy” section
(take that, lame karaoke bars!), the expected, hilarious Mike Watt tour journal,
a photo gallery, and a CREEM magazine archive spot. All in all, the absolutely,
positively BEST way you can spend those few extra bucks you got from Granny
this Christmas. BUY THIS DVD NOW!!!!
That’s it for this week, kids. Tune in next time ’round for CD reviews,
rock ’n’ roll news, and more rants, raves and rock ’n’
roll raunch. Until then—make yer own damn news. ||
If you have local music news, gigs, CDs you’d like to see mentioned
in this column, or you’d just like to complain that wearing a new Movado
and cutting old people off in traffic in your flag-adorned SUV doesn’t
necessarily make you an asshole, tell somebody who cares. Anybody else, send
(temporary e-mail) firstname.lastname@example.org.