Monday, September 26, 2011

Anthrax and the homecoming of Joey Belladonna

I'm halfway through my second full listen of Anthrax's new CD "Worship Music". Surprise surprise, it sounds exactly like Anthrax. Which Anthrax you might ask yourself? The original lineup that featured Joey Belladonna on vocals, or "The Sound Of White Noise" Anthrax that featured John Bush of Armored Saint on vocals? Well, a little of both except Joey's name once again graces the credits as the vocalist. The voice that you loved so much on "Persistence Of Time", "Among The Living", and "State Of Euphoria" has returned home.

There was a time when Anthrax stated that Joey's style never fit the band. They weren't going to continue their pursuits with him as the lead. It came as a shock to everyone, especially when John Bush took the stage with Anthrax and showed the world that along with Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), James Hetfield (Metallica), and Tom Araya (Slayer) he too could front one of the "Big Four". It came as a shock to me as well, considering that my favorite band wouldn't be my favorite band anymore without the original lead singer. Only a few have been able to pull off the magic trick of the singer switch-a-roo and still be successful. After hearing John sing I was sold on the new face of the band and I stuck with them. I grew to love the sound of Anthrax over the past few albums, but I must say it is great to have Joey back. He always had a way of melodically belting a chorus like no one else could.

The sound of "Worship Music" can easily be compared to the 2003 release "We've Come For You All". If you listen a little closer though, you'll find that the lyrical content is a little darker. It seems that Joey has traded singing about David Lynch films and Steven King novels, to singing about lies, rage and "dark devil nightmares" ("Now It's Dark" was in reference to the 1986 film Blue Velvet, and "Misery Loves Company" was based on the novel Misery). If you are trying to put a fresh edge on a band that has been around for well over two decades, I suppose changing your points of view in your songs is the way to it.

Anthrax had to try and do something special with this album considering that every band from their decade has decided to make a comeback. Although they have still been in the game, Anthrax could be lumped together with the "wash-ups".

Worship, track 1 on the new disk brought me in instrumentally. Anthrax has always been top notch when it came to intros that build you up into something you can throw your neck out to. A classic example was Intro To Reality from "Persistence Of Time". The song built you up to the journey that would eventually become Belly Of The Beast. This album followed the pattern and goes directly into the extremely hard hitting double bass of Charlie Benante on the song Earth On Hell. Without giving away too much of the song plot, lets just say it is reminiscent of everything you loved or hated about the band.
We are all well aware of the zombie phenomenon that has swept over our great country within the last couple of years. Vampires and werewolves have run their course. Anthrax, apparently has caught wind and threw their own take on zombies into track 4 Fight Em "Til You Can't. The spoken intro by an obviously fake newscaster sets the tone for this proactive take on fighting the undead.
The surprise for me on this album fell in the unlisted tracks. The CD only lists 11 songs, stopping at Revolution Screams. The disk itself actually pushes to track 13 and houses a hidden song at about 11min 08sec. At first listen, I stood up and had to backtrack to make sure what I was hearing was true, and it was! Anthrax covers the song New Noise from 1999 by a not so well know band called Refused. I can't explain how great this is considering that my all time favorite band decided to cover a song that I consider a personal anthem.
The other part of Anthrax that you may not know, is that the cover art on their last two major releases was done by the great Alex Ross. Alex is one of the premier artists in the comic book world. Many people would know his work from the graphic novel Kingdom Come, which featured the greatest superheroes of all times in old age.
As a long time fan of Anthrax, I have to say that I'm glad I spent the $10 retail price for the disk. It was somewhat of a challenge trying to find considering that Best Buy is one of the only places left in this town to purchase music besides FYI. I wandered around their newly remodeled and severely downsized two aisles of music before a clerk found a few left on an endcap. In other words, GO BUY THE CD!!!

by Greg Waldrop

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dead Abby, 9/22/2011

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

Dead Abby,
My co-worker sucks! He won't quit talking about how awesome his wife is in bed.  I'm fine with some locker room talk, but this gets ridiculous.  He just won't stop.  Everything is compared to her tits, ass or nether region.  He's also more than eager to share pics of her.  The other day he was eating a bologna sandwich, he acted out cunnilingus on the bologna, which ruined my lunch.  How do I make him stop?  If I wanted to hear porn eight hours a day, I would buy Penthouse Letters on tape.
Sexcruciatingly Disgusted

Dear Sexcruciatingly Disgusted,
No one likes a one upper, but in some cases it makes people shut the hell up.  Try telling him stories of farmland adventures.  Make everything phallic...sexualize EVERYTHING.  Example:  The way you're nailing the carpet with your knee reminds me of how my pelvis was smashing that woman's pelvis last night.  Man, did you see that van?  I swallowed the biggest piece of summer lovin' sausage in a van that looked nothing like that two days ago.  Look at that tire!!! That looks like the magnum I strapped on to pull a train on the eight porn stars I picked up at a gas station last night....for a few.  If that fails to work, you could look into 'surprise surgery' and remove his voice box.  I'm sure his wife would appreciate that too!  If all of these methods fail to work, quit.  You can probably use the knowledge you've gotten and get into a sex trade!

Dead Abby,
Why is the nice guy considered the after dinner mint?  Why do nice guys always have to finish last?
Stranded on an Island with my Dick in my Hand

Dear Stranded on an Island with my Dick in my Hand,
How into anal sex are you?  I only ask because it sounds like you have your tail tucked so far between your legs that it's crawled into your ass and is probably making some sort of 'in-out' motion.  There are plenty of nice guys that don't finish last.  You may want to look at the women you're selecting...are you picking douche bags?  Some women (as well as men) aren't interested in making a relationship work, they're only there for a self-serving purpose, meaning they will take what you give Mr. NiceyPants.  Be selective.  Don't lay your whole life out right away.  That scares 'nice girls' away and you'll end up with the wolves that can smell your vulnerability.  Everyone loves mints, but they don't last long.  Eventually, they are going to want the steak again...are you going to give it to them?  Or would you prefer to be the timid little mint?

Dead Abby,
What do I do about that disturbing figure behind the shed at my North Pole villa?
Snow Princess turned Scared Stiff

Dear Snow Princess turned Scared Stiff,
Before taking any action, I would dig deeper into what exactly this disturbing figure is.  It could be a snuggly bear, a banshee, some sort of poultrygeist (no, that was NOT a misspelling), a homeless person or someone trying to grow the balls to approach your hot princess self, among other things.  Is this figure disrupting your life or does it just stand and creep?  If it just stands and creeps, you may want to entice it out of the shadows with a nice strip tease, of course make sure you keep a long, sharp blade handy if you're going to use this approach.  You could also recruit some help...ask the biggest viking you know to do some regulating for you.  Of course, if it turns out that this disturbing figure is actually a child with a hormone issue, causing them to appear as some sort of monster you could be facing some pretty serious criminal charges.  It could also be your standard werewolf, vampire, zombie, swamp creature, etc. trying to go into retirement.  Before you act anything out I strongly suggest you investigate further into what exactly this figure is....or just take a chance and shoot the son of a bitch!

To submit questions to Dead Abby, please direct questions to:

My Chemical Romance by Guest Writer Lord Zylok

On September eighth, the Honda Civic tour featuring (Grammy Award winning) My Chemical Romance and headliner Blink-182 swung through Des Moines, Iowa, and featured special guests Neon Trees.
Neon Trees were the first band up, and played a set consisting of six bright, keyboard laden songs. Front man Tyler Glen was hyped up and jumping about like a crazed child who had just drank a liter of coffee with 3 sugars and chased it with a pixie stick. The crowd warmed up to the band quickly, and everyone who was fortunate enough to have purchased a floor ticket was soon jumping and getting rather close to everyone else on the floor of Wells Fargo Arena. Tyler managed to sweet talk to the crowd during a small technical difficulty which stopped the set momentarily. The group finished strong with their hit “Animals”, with Drummer Elaine Bradley joining in on vocal duty, and shining.

Next up was My Chemical Romance, touring off their most recent album: “Danger Days; The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”, a concept album that tells the story of a group of freedom fighters rebelling against our corporate masters in a dystopian future set in the desert, driving over the speed limit and shooting lasers at bad guys in masks the whole way.

Judging by the apparel of the crowd, I’d say that most of the people there were there primarily for this band. Some were in their own “killjoy” esque costumes, and sporting bandanas, shirts and gloves featuring the album’s trademark spider. The band did not disappoint on any front, singer and cult icon Gerard Way was spot on and putting on a show, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero were far better than on the album, embellishing several parts of songs with some extra flair. I’ve always thought bassist Mikey Way has always been an under-appreciated part of the band on album, not getting as much volume as his strong bass lines rightly should, but he was loud and clear tonight to my own delight. My only complaint was that their set was only about 10 songs, however, they got the crowd moving harder and faster than any other band of the night, especially with their hit “Teenagers”, from the album “The Black Parade” which won them their Grammy.

The final band of the night was Headliner Blink-182, touring off of their first new album since 2003’s self titled album “Blink 182”. The band reunited in 2009 after several near fatal incidents involving members of the band, including a plane crash which nearly took the life of drummer Travis Barker. The band was met warmly by the crowd, but was never as active as during the previous acts. Blink-182 enjoyed by far the longest set time, and tried to play to the crowd, at several points stopping for some on stage antics and light hearted arguments amongst the members of the pop-punk rockers. During one of their on stage gags, they attempted a sort of Q&A, which ended when one “guy over there in the white T-shirt” questioned them only on whether or not they could play his favorite track by them, known as “The Party Song”. After some on stage debating, the threesome attempted the song, but forgot how it goes at the first chorus, citing the reason that they hadn’t played it together in nearly 12 years. However, this didn’t much seem to bother the crowd, as they still layered on the cheers for the headliners.

All in all, my ticket was definitely worth the fifty-five dollars that I spent on it, though it seemed that the general consensus from banter I overheard(and my own slant) was more had been expected of the headliner, and that My Chemical Romance had stolen the show.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Top Ten Albums of 2011

By Grant Collar

Well, 2011 is drawing to a close, so I decided to put together a list of my top ten albums of the year.  I always kinda enjoy doing this yet I realize that no matter who compiles the list, someone is going to have a problem with it.  Either I didn’t include “this” album or I blatantly excluded “that” one that should have made it.  And it seems more often than not when I check out Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and their like minded brethren the lists just kinda piss me off.  It seems they miss so much good music and heap undue respect on mainstream bullplop or the newest flavor of the week.  I have on more than one occasion written letters to the editors of said publications expressing my frustration.  But now I'm rambling, so without any further delay, here is my list of the best albums of 2011.

10. Shabbaz Palaces “Black Up” Sub-Pop….Shabbaz Palaces is a wonderfully stylized and richly textured hip-hop album from Ishmael Butler. For those of you cats that are as old as me, you might remember Butler as “Butterfly” from the 90’s group Digable Planets. Continuing where Planets left off and venturing even further out in the sonic universe Butler has crafted an album that sounds new and fresh with each listen.

9. Mogwai “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” Sub-Pop….I’ve been a Mogwai fan ever since I first listened to “Come On Die Young” and I’ve only grown to appreciate their sound more as I get older.  Sure, their extended instrumental excursions, soft and delicate breakdowns and sometimes bombastic guitar blasts might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who tire of the same old formulaic rock music day in and day out, Mogwai is the Messiah.

8. Kurt Vile “Smoke Ring For My Halo” Matador…Kurt Vile burst out of seemingly nowhere with some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful acoustic guitar driven music I’ve heard in a long time.  Think Neil Young or Bob Dylan with a bit of a self depreciating humor thrown in for good measure.  A lot of albums sound great the first time around and then don’t quite hold up over multiple listens, especially when talking about music of the singer/songwriter genre.  Kurt is not one of these.  His melodies are striking and his lyrics clever and insightful.

7. Buzzoven “Revelation: Sick Again” Hydra Head Records….Technically, this album was recorded in 2001, but not having seen a proper release until 2011 I think it qualifies.  Buzzoven play straightforward, Sabbath influenced, stoner/sludge metal.  I’m a big fan of the genre and bands like Sleep, Weedeater, and Acid King rank among some of my favorite bands of all time so when I stumbled across this at the record store I needed to own it.  Pack it up, push play, and puff to this.

6. J Mascis “Several Shades of Why” Sub-Pop….Dinosaur Jr. Frontman J Mascis returns with another great solo album.  This time we find him ditching his trademark electric guitar and super fast riffs, for some slower, more mellow acoustic songs and it works well for him.  This one’s been on a constant rotation in my player the last few months and I still haven’t grown tired of it. 

5. Twilight Singers “Dynamite Steps” Sub-Pop….Fans of the Afghan Whigs and the short lived Gutter Twins know Greg Dulli well.  I think his growl of a voice might be trademarked.  This guy makes great music. He always has. He always will.  Nuff said.

4. Nathaniel Merriweather presents Lovage “Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By” Bulk Recordings….This one really shouldn’t even be on my list as it’s a re-release but I can’t help it.  It stands as one of my all time favorite albums.  Dan the Automator, Prince Paul, and Mike Patton crafted one of the finest hip-hop albums of the last decade.  I’m not even sure if you can really call this hip-hop but this album just drips sex.  For those of you unfamiliar with this wonder trio, Mike Patton is the genius behind such bands as Tomahawk, Fantomas, & Faith No More,  Dan the Automator is a producer extraordinaire, and Prince Paul did extensive work for 3rd Base and De Las Soul as well as his original group Stetsasonic.  Now, go home and make love your old lady!

3.Neil Young “International Harvesters” Reprise….I’m a huge Neil Young fan.  Having said that, this is one of the finest live Neil Young performances I’ve had the pleasure to hear.  Not much else to say about this one.  If you’re a fan get it, if not, well….go listen to Nickelback. 

2. Earth “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light” Southern Lord….Earth have been around for a few years now and they remain somewhat of an underground sensation.  Virtually unknown outside of the stoner rock genre, Earth have been composing sonic landscapes of incredible depth and beauty.   They’re not even really stoner rock.  Ever wonder what it would sound like if Ennio Morricone and Matt Pike got together to compose the soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino version of Fistfull of Dollars…this is it.

1. Battles “Gloss Drop” Warp….Battles is one of those rare groups that defy genre classification.  Equal parts pop, math rock, experimental and electronica, Battles have put together and extremely catchy and memorable album.  To put it simply, these guys are fucking virtuosos.  Go on Youtube and watch the video for “Ice Cream’.  The video is visually stunning yet the music is what will grab you.  While not typical of the whole album at all, “Ice Cream” sounds like 311 on massive doses of LSD and crystal meth.  Battles definitely aren’t for everybody but if you’re searching for something new and different this is it.  Recommended for fans of Mars  Volta, Tool, King Crimson.

Label of the Year: Sub-Pop Records

So, that’s it.  I welcome all feedback so let’s get a discussion going on this.  I’m sure I left something out, but it is only ten and I had to narrow it down.  

Mary Magdalan - Queen Of The Underground

“Underground” is a loosely used term when referring to music. Most people use the word when trying to describe what type of music they listen to. Unfortunately though, these people have missed the mark completely with their description. Most people think that “underground” is music that they know about and no one else has heard of. You could almost lump the term underground with the overused “alternative” genre that every band from the mid ‘90’s was labeled. An alternative to Janet Jackson would be Alan Jackson in almost every case. Okay, I’m starting to go off on a tangent that drives me nuts about classifying music. Underground should be used to denote music and musicians who have held up a very dignified middle finger to record companies and corporations that take advantage of hard working artists! One artist that shares in the values of true underground and could be considered its spokeswoman is Mary Magdalan.
    Mary has worked hard to stay away from record companies and the hassle that comes with being signed to a major label. She has claimed that she is 100% Do-It-Yourself when it comes to her music, merchandising, booking, art and design. She does things her way and makes her own rules when it comes to being an artist.
    I wanted to find out more about how she is able to survive in the corporate dominated radio world. We also talked about her new album and present tour.

Greg: Thank you Mary for taking some time from your tour to talk with me. How have the first few weeks been?
Mary: It has been amazing. Just getting back on the road and getting to meet fans face to face is what this is all about for me. So its definitely a beautiful experience for us.

Greg: When you prepare for a tour, how do you keep Yourself and Gzus motivated when you travel?
Mary: We travel with a four pound Chihuahua so no matter how pissed or annoyed we get, the dog keeps us grounded. With us, we have been through so much over the last six months that the small stuff just rolls off anymore.

Greg: How are you able to keep a national tour going without the funding of a major record label?
Mary: It is not the easiest thing to do but since day one the only thing that we have focused on is our fans. We have never gotten into anything but that said, its always love on the road.

Greg: What can someone expect who has never been to a Mary Magdalan show before?
Mary: We like to refer to it as an experience. Its somewhere between losing your virginity and being hit by a car. We provide something that is not being done by the band coming on before us or the band coming on after us. It always has a way of being its own original performance.

Greg:  How are you able to translate your real life experiences in to your music and lyrics?
Mary: I have done a lot of self healing through making music. For me its going into what I call 'my little box' where I keep all those monsters. When a song feels good to me I open up that little box and pour some of that emotion out.

Greg: Out of all your fans, who is crazier, the guys or girls?
Mary: Definitely the girls! I did a show one night and I had this girl mosh pit. During the beginning of the set these two girls were making out. By the end of the set they had broke up. This was only one show. I wouldn't call my girls crazier than the boys but they are definitely more entertaining.

Greg: A while back you gave away digital copies of  “Pity Girl”, and you have given away limited runs of the new album “DIGI.N3RV”. How are you able to do this as an independent artist without significant loss on merchandise sales?
Mary: I do this to spread my music around to as many people as I possibly can. If this was about money I would have signed a deal a long time ago. This is art to me, not entertainment. That's why I'm doing another free mixed tape. It gives my fans that are broke access to free music and it gives me another platform in which I can do the thing I love with no boundaries.

Greg: What artists do you listen to on a regular basis?
Mary: Lately I've been listening to Adele. She's got a great sound. I like all kinds of music and can appreciate the art in everyone’s music but most of the time I am in the studio making music so I don't hear a lot of other artists music. So I guess my answer is I listen to Mary Magdalan the most. Lol

Greg: How has your music on “DIGI.N3RV” progressed from "Pity Girl"?
Mary: With my previous two albums I was able to release a lot of demons. With my new album DIGI.N3RV I was able to make music that didn't come from that dark place. It came from me as a person but it didn't involve forcing out some painful experience. It was just me, sitting on a beach writing songs that I wanted to hear & perform. I don't have the pain anymore so I can now just be me.

Greg: I always try and ask one question that doesn’t have much to do with music. If a gun is not available, what would your weapon of choice be?
Mary: A needle. Its the silent killer.

There is info available on Mary Magdalan on her Myspace and Facebook pages. She often has giveaways for digital music downloads on both these pages if you keep an eye out for them.

by Greg Waldrop

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Dirt Daubers

Type “dirt dauber“ into WIKIPEDIA‘s search engine and this is what you come up with, Mud dauber (sometimes called "dirt dauber," "dirt digger," "dirt dobber," "dirt diver", or "mud wasp") is a name commonly applied to a number of wasps from either the family Sphecidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from mud.
If you type “The Dirt Daubers” in the same field, you get something completely different, The Dirt Daubers are an American Old-time trio.[1] They are inspired by blues and other traditional Southern music genres. The group formed in Paducah, Kentucky in 2009.
Chances are that during the summer months, you can find a mud dauber in any garage that’s been left open. The Dirt Daubers may be a little harder to track down, but if you know where to look you’re sure to find a toe-tapping good time. Comprised of JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, and Mark Robertson, this trio has an eclectic array of instruments, and a sound that is sure to make you at least bob your head.  I happened to find them at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Clive, Iowa while they were on tour with Scott H. Biram. The Dirt Daubers are one of the hottest things in the Americana world right now. They just released a new album titled “Wake Up Sinners” and they have been touring most of the summer.

Greg: The Dirt Daubers formed in Kentucky, correct?
 JD: Yes sir-ee Bob!

Greg: What transpired to bring the three of you together?
JD: Divine providence! I met my wife Jessica in Chicago five years ago, we started playing music together two years ago. Mark, however, has been playing bass with me in any and every project I've attempted for the past twelve years.

Greg: What is it like touring as husband and wife? Are there some pros and cons?
JD: We seem to have developed this onstage chemistry that's both comedic and edgy.  It's sort of a weird, angst-y Ma and Pa Kettle routine.  Otherwise, she keeps me both "in line" and entertained driving down the road.
Jessica: Besides JD's ridiculous road rage, it's a blast!

Greg: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your sound before?
JD: Less bluegrass and more "acoustic rockabilly."  There's definitely an upbeat, dance-able, Kentucky-fried feel to what we're doing.

Greg: What do you do to prepare for a show, do you have any pre-show rituals?
JD: Well, I'm the lucky guy who gets to zip Jessica into her frilly square dancing dresses every night.  I can't think of a ritual that's more fun.

Greg: You did a tour with Scott H. Biram a few months back, and you actually had a stop in Des Moines at The Bombay Bicycle Club. How was that tour for you!
JD: We had a blast.  Scott Biram is the genuine article.  I've known him for years and he just keeps getting better and better.

Greg: When you were here it was just you and Jessica. Your bass player wasn’t present. Were there some changes happening with the group?
JD: Oh no.  Y'see, we're one of those bands where you might catch us as a two-piece or a three-piece. On occasion we even have a drummer.  Mark will be back on tour with us this fall when we hit the road with Pokey LaFarge.  Fun fun fun!

Greg: You recently played at The Muddy Roots festival in Tennessee. How does that festival rank with other shows that The Dirt Daubers have played?
JD: I tell ya what, that was one of the funnest gigs we've played.  But they should've called it Muddy Boots, since all it did was rain all day.  We got to help escort Wanda Jackson to the stage during the deluge though.  That was a real treat, especially for Jessica.

Greg: You also recently released a new album, “Wake Up Sinners”. How has the reaction from fans been?
JD: So far it's been fantastic.  We just found out that it's the third most added album to the Americana charts this week.  Not too shabby, huh?

Greg: What can fans expect from this album?
JD: Everything from Hot Jazz to Gospel, Hillbilly to Ragtime.  Jess and I split the duties on vocals, and you get to hear me play the harmonica in a completely different way than I do in the Shack Shakers.

Greg: How instrumentally diverse is the group?
JD: I play banjo, harmonica, piano and even a "thunder sheet" on the record.  Mark thumps the doghouse bass and takes a few leads.  Jessica plays tenor banjo, guitar and mandolin, plus, these days, she's even kicking the bass drum while we play on stage.  That's like patting your head and rubbing your stomach while walking and chewing gum!

Greg: Rumors sometimes float around about folks who smoke pipes. Could you clear up for people what is actually in the pipe that you are seen smoking before shows?
JD: Nice try, buck-o.  It's nothing but over-the-counter Cap'n Black pipe tobacco.  That or some stiff latakia (look it up!)

Greg: If you could pick only 3 personal possessions to take with you on tour, what would they be? Instruments are a given, so you can exclude those….
Jessica: High-heels, hairspray and candy.
JD: my corncob pipe, my GPS and my button nose.

Thanks to The Dirt Daubers for taking time out of their schedule to answer a few questions. If you want to find out more about the trio you can check out their MySpace or Facebook profiles.

by, Greg Waldrop

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dead Abby 9/9/11

Dead Abby,
I love my wife dearly, she's the most amazing woman I've ever met.  We have three beautiful kids, great jobs, a nice house, a dog and a fulfilling social life.  I have one major problem with our life.  She can't give a blow job to save her life.  It's excruciating.  I feel bad cuz she gets so into it, but I can't keep 'into' it and end up using an excuse such as being tired, sick, etc.  I've thought about going as far as getting a bj elsewhere.  How do I approach this situation without facing a lifetime without a blow job?
Hard and Soft

Dear Hard and Soft,
First, if you feel the need to stray, cut a hand off.  You can come up with some kind of heroic story as to why you lost it, but do that.  Cheating is bad and should be punished severely.  If you can't man up and ask for what you want sexually, you don't deserve it.  You deserve to be trapped in a perpetual cycle of horrible blow jobs.  You think it's bad for a guy?  I'm pretty sure there's fewer men than can properly perform oral sex than women.  Here's another thought, give her a tutorial.  Make it sexy.  Grab some candles, some PBR tall boys, strawberries and a banana or two and show her exactly what you're looking for.  If you can't lead by example, you probably don't really know what you're looking for. You could also look into hiring a 'sexpert' to give lessons.  You want to be careful with this and make sure you're not bruising her ego...If you're trying to be sheisty, she will figure out your ploy to pull a manage a trois and I can guarantee the blow jobs will get worse.  If you're married and have kids, you think you would be able to communicate, especially with topics like this, there's something to think about... 
Good luck.

Dead Abby,
Every time I wear a white t-shirt into public, people, mainly men, feel the need to pour water on me.  How can I avoid having this happening to me?
Wet and Mortified

Dear Wet and Mortified,
First, I would start by asking where you are when this happens?  Are you actually walking into a wet t-shirt contest unknowingly? Are you blonde?  Is there any screen printing on your shirt (perhaps a message begging people to pour water on your chest)?  Assuming that you are female, are you wearing a bra?  Are you able to cut glass with your nipples?  Do you have a boob job that is causing your breasts to appear that they're going to explode?  After figuring all these details out, I would suggest you carry a form of automatic weapon on you at all times.  If people know you're going to shoot some motherfuckers, I would say that your chances of getting water poured on you are pretty slim. could really run with it.  Think about the endless free drinks if you were to own this situation.  You may have to deal with catty women, but that's a price you pay.  Personally, if I constantly was having water poured on me, I wouldn't wear white.  I would suggest the best way to curtail this whole predicament is to start wearing black...I hope this gives you something to think about.

Dead Abby,
How does one eat cheap in the 515?
Broke and Hungry

Dear Broke and Hungry,
Go to Wal-Mart, load up on Ramen noodles and eat them.  Every night.

The Undead with Frank: ISSUE #1

A comic page by Chad Boyles


Dead Abby 9/2/11

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

Dead Abby,
How do I get my boyfriend to stop trying to put it in my marriage hole?

Dear Sore,
Dump him....IF you've made it clear that the marriage hole is only in exchange for a big, fat diamond. If he doesn't respect that, he doesn't deserve the marriage hole.  If dumping him doesn't work you could take several approaches.  1) You could play the 'eye for an eye' game.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?  Sometimes people can't understand what a certain situation fully entails until they've been IN that situation.  Make it sexy.  Catch him by surprise.  2) The only other reasonable option I see is death.  If one can't respect something as sacred as a marriage hole, and they continuously violate said hole, death is a fitting response.  Or you could go the lighter route and try castration.  I can recall a time when I went through this exact situation, the only way to make it stop was to part ways, and by part ways, I mean he parted with his....Things got violent and he overacted, I thought.  Sometimes words don't get the point across.  I will say this though, if you're crying wolf, you should be flogged.  You can't go around rubbing your 'marriage hole' on him and all his belongings like a cat in heat and expect nothing to come of it. 

Dead Abby,
What's the best way to apocalypse-proof my home?
Desperate and Full of Fear

Dear Desperate and Full of Fear,
Steel, lots and lots of steel, some form of energy (preferably natural) and an arsenal. Make sure you have a food and water supply.  Setting up camp by a body of water would be wise.  Don't worry about birth control, you may need to restock the human population. Also, make sure that you do an IQ check prior to admittance.  Everyone deserves a chance at survival, but if one person is going to bring down the ship, you're sadly better off without them. This also depends on what kind of apocalypse we're talking about.  A zombie apocalypse? An alien invasion? This is pretty open and my answer would have to be tailored to the specific type of apocalypse.

Dead Abby,
How do I cure a vicious hangover?
Thirsty and hurt

Dear Thirsty and hurt,
Although, I know many would look at it and say there's an obvious answer....don't drink, but, let's be reasonable.  There's many, many remedies out there for a hangover.  The best that I've found; water, food, sleep, Ibuprofen and masturbation.  Some say drink Pedialyte, Gatorade, water...Hangover's are a relative state.  Some people can't mix booze, some people can't drink keg beer, some can't drink anything without being affected.  In my personal experience, which is heavy, if you're gonna drink, you're gonna pay.  Fact.  It's as sure as death and taxes.  One of the best cures I've found is to bite the bullet and keep the ball rolling.  Beer does kill hangovers, so does more booze.  Also fact. If you're a person that drinks in moderation or refrains from 'devil's juice', don't judge and don't force your hungover friend to do anything until you offer them a beer or Bloody Mary.

A summer full of shows

Jim "Reverend" Heath
Danielle Colby
       The summer of 2011 has been filled with shows and concerts. In Des Moines alone, you could have attended two hundred or more live music events. If you factor in Minneapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, and Omaha, you could have kept yourself so busy that it might have felt like a Grateful Dead reunion tour (given you were following them around the country). I tried to attend as many shows as my schedule and my wallet would allow. I even made it out of town a few times with members of The Ticket, some close friends, and even my wife. A few shows that stick in my head are Reverend Horton Heat at Peoples on Court. Featured on the bill was Bob Tyler And The Reckless Hearts, Jacob County And The Damaged Goods and a surprise set from a burlesque troupe called Burlesque Le Moustache. The burlesque show featured Danielle Colby from the History channel’s American Pickers. I had never seen “The Rev” before, I had only heard tales of him standing on Jimbo’s bass. Their set that night was a celebration of 25 years of  Reverend Horton Heat’s music. If you are a fan and you were there, you may have shed a tear of disbelief in what you were witnessing.

Another show that was one hell of a ride was Split Lip Rayfield in Kansas City. They stole the show so badly at Crossroads at Grinders that we didn’t even stay for the headliner.

Jahred (hed)pe
One more show that needs some recognition would be Mushroomhead and (hed)pe at Peoples on Court.  Bands that shared the stage that night for the Head 2 Hed tour were September, Caustic Vision and Better Left Unsaid. I have experienced (hed)pe on the stage more than half a dozen times and they have never disappointed me. I have never seen Mushroomhead and I have to say I was surprised at the caliber of their live set. The light display along with the spray of water off of the drums in the front row made for a very spectacular eye buzz!!! If you are from Des Moines and you follow the band Caustic Vision, you will recall this show as one of the last times that Ryan Hall would take the stage with the band. Ryan passed away in early May and played guitar with the band. Fear not, Caustic Vision still carries a torch for their fallen member. They have, however, reformed and have done a small Midwest tour this summer to promote their new album. Those are my top picks from this spring and summer. If you have any, feel free to share. I missed more shows than I made it to. I’d like to hear about your experiences as well!!! - Greg

Ryan Hall-Caustic Vision 1987 - 2011

Left Lane Cruiser - an interview with Brenn Beck by Greg

If you have never been acquainted with the music of Left Lane Cruiser, I would highly suggest purchasing the album “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table” which is the 2008 release from the band. Left Lane Cruiser consists of  Freddy J IV on guitar and vocals along side Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck who handles the drums and back up hollerin’ on most of their tracks.  If this is what Fort Wayne, Indiana has to offer the world as far as music goes, then you can sign me right up!
Email seems to be the preferred method of communication in our present society. I still enjoy a good conversation over a beer or two, and I use the telephone quite frequently. When I was told Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck of Left Lane Cruiser was willing to do an email interview with me I immediately went to my laptop, opened my gmail account and hit “compose”. After our first few emails, Brenn said “Yeah brother just send them all over. I will answer them and send ‘em back over to ya with a photo as soon as I can.” As we all know, traveling musicians can be busy as well as overwhelmed. I’m sure that’s no exception when it comes to a harassing writer filling up your email inbox. It took a few weeks before Brenn was able to get to all my questions. With a quick apology about being swamped, here was the outcome of our communication.

Greg: Where did LLC (Left Lane Cruiser) get its start?

Brenn: “I met Joe like 7 years back. I have been friends with Joe’s wife for years, and she introduced us. We got together at my apartment over some whiskeys, and started jammin'. Things just clicked, and we rolled with it from there. We actually wrote Cheyenne that day we met, and we still play it to this day.”

Greg: I love your sound, when I describe Left Lane Cruiser to people I call you "gangster (blue) grass" which obviously isn't a music classification. Where would you put the band as far as genres go?

Brenn:  “That’s a tough question. We get labeled a lot of different things. We usually get Deep Blues, or Punk Blues, but I guess if we had to label it we just call it dirty blues or broke ass blues.”

Greg: The earliest dated album I could find from LLC is "Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table" from 2008. Are there earlier presses of your music, and how long have you been playing together?

Brenn: “We’ve been together for 7 years now,  so there are some earlier releases. We released our first album "RV Burnslide" ourselves and just pressed 100 copies that we sold here in the Fort. We were actually a 3-piece on that album. Our buddy was playin bass with us back when we started. We released a 2nd independent album called "Slingshot" locally too. That one is about to pop up on ITunes and all the other download sites here soon. We then did a 3rd independent release called "Gettin Down On It", and that was the album that got us picked up by Alive Records. Last year our friends over at Hillgrass Bluebilly Records bought the rights to "Gettin Down On It", and re-released it to the world.”  

Greg: I noticed that there aren't a lot of tour dates for LLC right now, are you mainly playing hometown gigs?

Brenn: “Well, Joe and I just both had babies a few months ago, so touring is a little more difficult these days. We love the road, and try to tour as much as possible, but family always comes first. We are just really tryin to find a good balance of being home, and still getting out there as much as possible. We do play a lot of hometown shows and we get out in the region at least once a month. We got an Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota run comin up in July, and then we’re back to Europe in August.”

Greg: What types of venues do you receive the most recognition for your music?

Brenn: “Man, that one is all over the map. We came up playin in punk and metal bars, but lately we’ve been playin a lot of breweries and pubs. We will play anywhere that will have us, and we aint real picky as long as people show up to get drunk and have fun. We have played way too many places where people are too uptight, and the club asks us to turn down....that’s our fuckin pet peeve.”

Greg: Have you ever been asked to play in Des Moines?

Brenn: “We have never had much luck up there. We have had some contact with a few venues there, but have never been able to put anything together. If you got a good spot there, we would love to know about it. We drive through there all the time.”

Greg: Who has LLC shared the stage with?

Brenn: “We have played with a lot of great bands over the years. Our favorite was a 2 month tour with our good friends Scott H. Biram and Bob Log III. Touring with those guys was a lot of fun. We have toured with our brothers The Black Diamond Heavies as well. We have played with Buckwheat Zydeco, Radio Moscow, Legendary Shack Shakers, T-Model Ford, Bob Wayne, The Magnetix, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Wayne the Train, and countless other great musicians.”

Greg: Do you have any one tour memory that sticks out in your mind more than others?

Brenn: “Really just tourin' Europe as a whole. Our first tour over there, we were playing shows to 300-400 people in places we didn’t even know existed. The whole experience of being in a whole different world but still connecting with people through your music is a hell of a ride. We also got deported outta England for passport bullshit on that trip, so that is definitely memorable. Nothin says welcome to our country like a good ol' search and seizure, fingerprinting, federal interview, 6 hours in jail, and 3 plane trips back and forth from the US.” 

Greg: I know the more I listen to your music, certain lyrics reveal themselves a little more each time. Could you shed a little light on the song "Black Lung"?

Brenn: “Black lung dealt a lot with the frustrations of touring Europe. Joe is a non smoker, and they smoke everywhere in Europe. By the time we finished up our 30th show in a row over there, Joe was convinced he had the Black Lung I think.” 

Greg: As a two piece band, how the hell do you make so much noise?

Brenn: “Shit, I could tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya. I don’t know brother, lots of gain, Joe’s crazy pluckin, beat the shit outta the drums, and holler a lot I guess.”

Greg: Do you have a personal favorite album that you have released and why?

Brenn: “Every one of em means a lot to us. We put everything we got into the songs we write, so we stand behind all of them. I guess for me it would be “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table“. We had just got picked up by Alive Records when we were writing songs for that album. They sent us to a studio in Cleveland where The Black Keys, The James Gang, and hundreds of famous bands recorded, so the whole experience was really cool. We also had been working on those songs for awhile, and it was kind of a "best of" for where we were at that point.”

If you would like to look further into the phenomenon that is Left Lane Cruiser, you can dig deeper at www.Alive Records or you can visit their Myspace, or their Facebook pages.