Thursday, December 30, 2010

Long Trip

It's been awhile since I posted. I've been in NY since the last post and it's been a blizzard of activity until it was a blizzard of snow.

Some things I noticed, remembered or stated the obvious:

1. The commute from Rockaway to Manhattan is the very reason I left Rockaway.

2. Playing with Walker and the Brotherhood of the Grape reminds me why it's called playing.

3. Dave Charles is laid back.

4. Tim Warner is intense.

5. Working off site gives you all of the work and none of the drama.

6. According to the owner of Bulletproof Comics, I have not aged in 13 years.

7. 2 beers a day is as bad for your gut as getting really drunk the first day.

8. I love blizzards. Mostly because I love giving up without guilt.

9. A snow day means the kids go outside for 17 minutes.

10. "True Grit" is the perfect movie for you and your Dad.

Going back to Chicago tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paul Stanley Says Things to Richmond

Here's Paul Stanley's crowd work. Some of it sounds like his blog. God, it's hilarious.

Please please please listen.

Thanks, Joe DeVito.

BONUS: Here's four videos of Pat Francis' impression of Paul. I first heard him on Jimmy Pardo's "Never Not Funny" and thought it was hilarious. Now that I hear how close it is to the truth, it's pure genius.


Direct link.


Direct link.


Direct link.


Direct link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jon Favreau Not Directing "Iron Man 3"

Inevitable after Iron Man 2 was bad in the exact same way that most of the Marvel sequels have been bad.

What is it with Marvel Studios? Do they not see the pattern they develop?

All of their successful franchise have run the same way.

1. Get talented director (Bryan Singer, Sam Raimi, Jon Favreau)
2. Leave them alone
3. Release movie embraced by both comic fans and general audiences (X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man)
4. Start messing with director on sequel by shoving numerous b-list characters into it
5. Run off original director (X-Men 3, Spider-Man reboot, Iron Man 3)
6. Release bad movie (X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, tbd)
7. Reboot franchise

This is only marginally better than their other pattern:

1. Hire bad director (Mark Steven Johnson, Ang Lee, Tim Story, Gavin Hood)
2. Mess with director by shoving numerous b-list characters into it
3. Release bad movie (Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Wolverine: Origins)
4. Reboot franchise

It seems that Marvel only has the interest of their characters at heart. Their goal seems to be to get as many characters into the public eye as possible so sales of books, toys and t-shirts go up. The movie is nothing more than a vehicle for their properties. Whether or not the movie is good on its own is irrelevant.

Sure, they want to make that first film good. Favreau himself proved that a good movie can make a b list character a list for years to come. But once he did that job, they wanted him out of the way as soon as possible. Directors like Raimi and Favreau understand story. Marvel understands crossovers. That's bound to create conflicts.

Think they will learn their lesson? Just wait until Avengers 2 when Joss Whedon walks off because they want it to star Jack of Hearts and Jocasta.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 ways "Moonlighting" Really Screwed Me Up

Wal-Mart has the season sets for ten bucks each. This is not the second time I've seen these episodes. I rented them on Netflix four years ago and I found it was an an interesting show that got better with each episode until it was the best thing that had ever appeared on television. Then, with one infamous decision, it turned to complete crap.

Watching it again, I now see it as completely dangerous. I watched these episodes as they aired as an impressionable teen. It may have directly been responsible for my troubled romantic history.

These are the life lessons I should have known watching this show during puberty:

1. The perfect girl for you is not one you fight with all the time.
2. Everything that comes out of David Addison's mouth is a sexual harassment suit.
3. Nobody likes singing in the office.
4. Limbo contests even less.
5. No woman is going to wait for you to make a move for three years.
6. Murder is actually traumatic.
7. Never doing your job can hurt your career.
8. When you walk out on her, she's not following you on the next plane.
9. All-night benders in your 30's don't work.
10.The minute you get together, it shouldn't ruin everything.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guthrie Govan

Ron Zabrocki is back to posting guitar players that make me feel bad about me.

This is Guthrie Govan. The fact that he's playing simple blues changes makes it hurt that much more.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I've usually written about John Lennon at this time and I don't think I'll do it any better than I did five years ago. So instead of going through those motions again I think I just want to get my hands on the newly remastered signature box. If it's anything like the Beatles set last year, it will have me discovering his solo work all over again.

John would have been 70 years old today. That makes me think less about the tragedy and more that Paul McCartney should stop dying his hair.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


God bless HD cameras. I'm still waiting on that Lemmy documentary but now there's a full feature on the wah wah.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Reading Keith Richards autobiography, "Life". It's every bit as good as you'd think it is. So good that I'm restringing my Tele to open G which I haven't done in years.

And so good I found this MTV interview from his first solo album "Talk is Cheap". I had this on tape in high school and watched it over and over again and dream about the future. And while I never got to hang out with the man as I'd hoped I did get to walk those hallways of SNL. And that ain't bad.

Direct link.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Buffy Remake Without Whedon

Cause it worked so well when he wasn't in charge. Like the original movie.

I'm guessing Joss Whedon's reaction will be better than the actual movie.

Thanks to Ann-Marie Kirby-Payne for the chilling news.

Friday, November 19, 2010

56 Worst Analogies of High School Students

Every one of them. Hopelessly brilliant. Like a MAD magazine.

For example:

He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.

Read them all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

30 Rock Sesame Street

It seems most of you haven't seen the modern Sesame Street parodies. And you love them. Then you'll like this 30 Rock parody from a couple of years ago. There's a certain kind of genius in the fact that Liz Lemon is played by a lemon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spider-Man: Turn Out the Lights

The Spider-Man musical has been held up for years and gave me one of my best topical jokes:

"You hear about the Spider-Man musical? Bono's writing it. In it Spider-Man will fight the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Africa's foreign debt."

But now it seems to be happening. There are now images out there like this:

I was mildly curious. Now I'm very nervous.

Friday, November 12, 2010

1977 Guitar Catalog

There are at least 72 things wrong with this picture. And they're all hilarious.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


If you're a hardcore Muppet fan, you've heard of Jim Henson's original short film, "Timepiece". If you're a hardcore Muppet fan like me, you've never seen it.

Dave Wasklewicz just sent it to me. It's experimental, funny, musical and very Sixties. Just like most of his best work.

Direct link.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Return of the Living Dead

Thanks to "The Walking Dead" my zombie phase is not ending any time soon. I've been going through the Romero films, "Shaun of the Dead" and moaning that no one's optioned my zombie script.

And I've been searching out "Return of the Living Dead". This movie was on HBO constantly in the 80's but I was so scared of it I had Mike O'Shea tell me the entire plot before I watched it in three minute chunks. I don't know that I ever saw the whole thing.

And I couldn't find it now. Netflix didn't have it on watch instantly and the disc was a long wait. It didn't appear on demand either. best Buy didn't stock it until last week. So once they did, I bought it sight unseen.

And it is crazy, ugly, loud, stupid, violent and goofy. Exactly what I was hoping. It's got Mr. Path Mark. It's got a barking split dog. It's got a woman completely naked for no reason. And when she turns into a zombie, she has no reason to put her clothes back on. Anyone that complains about Zach Snyder's fast zombies should watch these creatures sprint out of the grave.

And it has two big things going for it. It's the first zombie movie to focus on the brains of its victims. Even if you've never heard of this movie, if you've said "braaains", you've quoted it. Amnd it's got the Tarman. Half guy in suit half muppet, he's the coolest and silliest looking monster outside of "Tales From the Crypt". I can't beleive NECA hasn't made a figure of this guy. See?

In a very weird way, I'm glad I bought this movie. Of course, looking for this clip, I found the whole thing for free on imdb and youtube.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Jon Favreau Likes Minimates!

Speaking of Iron Man I'm rewatching the documentary on the Iron Man 1 blu-ray. Every time I see this moment, I am very proud of Robert Yee.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Walking Dead Pilot

Missed the episode I've been annoying you about? Well, you can watch the whole thing online right now. Down here.

Direct link.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

New Hot Toys Iron Man

I don't care how many they make. I don't care how much it is. I don't care how weak the second movie was. I need to get this.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ozzy Interview

I am hip deep in uncertainty at the moment so it's great to know Ozzy is still the same. Cursing, crazy and hilarious.


Happy birthday, Howie.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Walking Dead

That was as awesome as I've been plugging it to be.

Last night's 90 minute premiere managed to combine George Romero's sense of tension with Cormac MacCarthy's sense of holding together in the face of utter hopelessness. The terror in every is even more pronounced when you realize we hardly saw a zombie do anything. Just their existence tightened the air in every scene.

The original comic is fantastic and this episode manged to outdo it in pacing, suspense and human moments. It made me realize how rarely I put myself in a character's position in this genre. In "Walking Dead" I did it every five minutes.

This is one of the best zombie movies ever made and it's not even a movie. Of course with the high television budget more than matching the low b-movie budget of most zombies it was easy to judge.

The best review I've heard came from my wife every ten minutes: "I think I'm going to throw up." She'll be back next week.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zombie Zombie

I post nearly every thing Ed Murray sends me.

Do you want to see vintage G.I. Joe figures reenact "The Thing"? Cause Ed new I did.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shaved, sorta.

Here is the part of my beard that is not gray.

I thought it had a Tony Stark/Frank Zappa look to it but thanks to Dave Wasklewicz for setting me straight. I do look like Kraven the Hunter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome Blogspot!

It's come to my attention that after five years, I no longer own My account was linked to an old address and I never got a renewal notice. I tried to buy it but it was already gone. No one is doing anything with it.

But that doesn't mean this blog is dead. I still update almost every day. It feeds straight into my Facebook where over 500 more people can see it. And once Bill tells me how it will link into my Twitter feed over a whopping 42 people could see it.

So if you're typing for this blog, you'll need to go to The URL isn't important. The content is.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Disney Making 'Iron Man 3'

The box office success of the first "Iron Man" is precisely what drew Disney to Marvel. So it's only natural that they would get that license away from Paramount. Even if they have to pay $115 million to get it.

So while Paramount is still set to release "Thor" and "Captain America" Disney gets Joss Whedon's "Avengers" and the next "Iron Man" (with or without Favreau who wasn't happy with the finished Iron Man 2). Marvel (and therefore Disney) already got "Hulk" from Universal and "Fantastic Four" from Fox. How long before they try to get "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" back?

Read the press release here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sesame Street "Mad Men"

Because Steve Klausner asked for it. This played last season and another reason I wanted to write for "Sesame Street" until the had that last round of layoffs.

Direct Link.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conan and Andy

Conan O'Brien has been making quick web videos to prepare for the new TBS show. This has been the best so far.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grover for Old Spice

Some people hate it when "Sesame Street" is topical. Me, I live for it. Remind me to post their parody of "Mad Men".

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bad Superman Movies You Didn't Have to See

To date, there have been seven 'Superman" movies, including "Supergirl" and the George Reeves "Superman Vs. the Mole man". Of these seven, one is very good, one is okay, and five are bad. As they prep another reboot only four years after "Superman returns", Rotten Tomatoes shows us the Superman movies that died in development hell.

None of these sound any good.

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Eric Johnson Gear

Yay! More gear videos! For me and maybe someone else. I listened to Ah Via Musicom over and over and over and then nothing else. Still have massive respect for Eric Johnson and anyone else that makes a strat their #1. Although it sounds like a lot of his pedals are centered on making his strat not sound like a strat.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Friday, October 01, 2010

Max Headroom

Watching "Max Headroom" on dvd. The character was a phenomenon yet the series was a minor quirky project that only lasted 14 episodes. It's as strange as it was in 1987. The fun of it now is seeing how much it got right vs. how much it got wrong. I'm sorry, tube tvs in the future?

Researching the character I came across what is now known as the Max Headroom Incident. Seems some kid broke into the feed of Chicago television in 1987 as the character. Pretty clever but once he gets on the air, he has no material and resorts to loud and annoying. Ah, Chicago.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Greg Giraldo

Heard it on Facebook and didn't want to believe it until I heard it from another source but Greg Giraldo passed away yesterday at the age of 44.

I never met Giraldo but saw him once at Comix. He was everything I'd expected, political, smart and cynical but warm, relatable and an everyman at the same time. Listening to his latest material, we all knew he was going through a tough time. But I never realized it would have come to this.

He will be missed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

50th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul

Oh boy. A Les Paul for the same price it costs to waterproof my house.

Yes the '59 Les Paul is the most coveted guitar ever made. But hasn't every Les Paul since tried to capture that look, sound and feel? This one looks a little nicer than my 2001 Les paul whihc I've made even less like an original burst.

But if you want one, you can learn more about them here.

Monday, September 27, 2010


We played a surprisingly decent show at a bowling alley/ bar in the north suburbs Friday night. 33 songs learned in under a month. It was almost as high pitched as work.

I brought tons of stuff including four guitars, my massive pedal board and a Marshall half stack. It sounded great but I don't know how long I want to fill the car with equipment, especially considering the fact that we can't leave any gear at our rehearsal space.

Last practice we tried running our sound through headphones as if we were in the studio. It added a precision I'd rarely gotten in a live setting. Everyone was happy enough with the results we're considering abandoning the p.a. at practice. If that's the case, the new HD line from Line 6 might be the way to go on Wednesday nights. My back thinks so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Slash Rig

I'm loving this age of guitar tech videos that walk you through someone's live rig. We've seen the Edge's setup and Mike Campbell's gear and now it's time for Slash. Looks like he's maintaining his reputation as a Les Paul man.

Check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Won an Award!

Awards in advertising are like a TV credit in stand-up. After a while, you're expected to have one.

That's why I'm glad and relieved to have won the 2010 WEBAWARD For Outstanding Achievement in Web Development for the original Droid launch. If I was in NY with my team I'd buy them all a round of drinks.

Back to work now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

new Rickenbacker

My local guitar store had this 360 hanging for a while. They know I'm a huge Rick fan so they called me as soon as it came in. It's a 2001 modded by Mark Arnquist who even took the time to strip the finish off the fretboard so it feels like a Les Paul.

I played it all summer, every time I stopped in the shop. I loved it but I couldn't justify the cost. I loved my 330/12 and that was the Rick sound I always wanted. I also just bought a white Gibson SG for my band.

Last week when I was in NY and got a call. They dropped the price $200 for me. I picked it up as soon as I got off the plane home and haven't stopped playing it since. Took it to practice and although it wasn't right for Nine Inch Nails, that Fastball song sounded perfect.

Here are both Ricks together. 330 vs. 360. 6 string vs. 12. toasters vs. high gains. Mapleglow vs. fireglow. If I have to have two, I want them as different as possible.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jonathan Frakes: Still Cool

Wal-Mart had Enterprise: season one for twenty bucks on DVD so I'm watching it again. I'm struck by how much promise the series had. The premise is interesting and relateable to new audiences. The cast is strong and gung ho (especially in the case of Scott Bakula, who's always good). And the episodes are all fine, the start to a potentially great series.

Unfortunately, the writing staff, who had been on Star Trek for decades was tired and it showed through the warmed over Voyager plots, which were themselves warmed over TNG stories. By the time it ended, the franchise went with it, leaving the playing field open for J.J. Abrams' reinvention.

I hated the bored second season and quit but fans really despised the finale, which guest starred Jonathan Frakes and Mirina Sirtis on the holodeck. Looking back, Frakes hated it too:

Let’s talk about that last appearance, because it was pretty controversial in Trek circles. A lot of fans felt it diminished Enterprise to fold not just the series finale, but pretty much the entire series, into a TNG holodeck sequence. What were your thoughts about it then, and how about now?

I’ve said this publicly, but I thought everyone on Enterprise, especially Scott (Bakula), was so gracious about having actors from another show come in and put his show to rest. It was sold to me by Rick (Berman) as a “valentine to the fans,” and it was anything but. It was, I think, one of his rare mistakes. It didn’t work on so many levels. I don’t think the Enterprise cast was happy to have us. I’m frankly not sure the fans wanted to see us there. It was great, obviously, to be with Marina again and a lot of the crew were people I’d worked with on Next Gen. So the fun part was there, but the legacy of it… I don’t think it was our finest hour.

Frakes is down to earth enough to call it as he sees it. He talks about how grateful he is to have become a director while many odf his castmates are "struggling". Once he transitioned to director, he made the phenomenal "Star Trek: First Contact". After following it it up with the lackluster "Insurrection", he seemed to fade. Turns out he's a very busy television director, knocking out episode after episode of Castle, NCIS and Burn Notice. And his beard still rocks.

Check out the interview on

Monday, September 13, 2010


Somebody stole Tony Iommi's guitar.

Not a good year to be a member of Heaven and Hell. The only way this can work out well is if Dio faked his death and shows up at Tony's door playing "Holy Diver" on it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pod F. TompKast

Good gravy, the Pod F. Tompkast is here!

It's been promised for over a year and now there's two of them. Each has made me laugh out loud within minutes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Comedy is NOT Pretty

I'm in NY for the weekend and cranking at the old office today. Missed it.

I'll talk about the events of the last three days when I get back (it's been gooooood) but in the meantime Ed Murray, as is his wont, sends us this piece of genius. It's hilarious, absolutely true and full of wisdom you never learn until you experience it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

R2-D2 Droid

This has launched so I think I can talk about it.

Verizon is doing a limited edition R2-D2 Droid phone and we've done all the advertising.

We started talking about this in May and for the last two months I've been submerged in "Star Wars". It's like being 9 years old again, those heady days before Hasbro relaunched G.I. Joe and George Lucas was the center of your universe.

Join the twitter feed for the whole experience. It's the same account I wrote for the previous contest and I did most of these. It will also lead you to the best part of it all; the C3PO translator.

I pushed to include C3PO and not only did I get to write his dialogue, we got Anthony Daniels to read it. He even sent along a compliment about how much he loved the writing. So in my mind, I am now one of the greatest Star Wars writers ever.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reggie Watts

I've seen Reggie Watts twice, once at "Kingdom of Heaven" at the legendary Creek and once opening for Conan O'Brien. He blew me away both times creating sophisticated, layered, hysterical beats armed only with a Line6 DL4. Now Comedy Central has produced a video for his song that I can't get out of my head. I won't tell you the title but it's a closeout warehouse of obscenities. There's Kumail Nanjiani in there and I think I see Tom McCaffrey in the background.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Walking Dead" Trailer

Everybody knows zombie movies are pretty cheap, ever since George Romero made the original "Night of the Living Dead" for nothing. And yet it took forty more years before someone realized they could afford to do them on a weekly basis.

Even better than just a weekly series, "Walking Dead" is based on a great comic by Robert Kirkman. I read the first forty or so issues and loved them. Not sure why I didn't stick with it but chances are Batman did something and distracted me.

AMC has quickly become a pedigree. From a network which originally claimed that every movie in black and white was a "classic" so a commercial free network that just started showing commercials one day (and no one believed me!) AMC has risen incredibly high on the merits of two series, "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" two shows which are so undeniably great everyone believes the network has greenlight nothing else.

This looks awesome, it's 90 minutes for the first episode and starts on Halloween!

Friday, August 27, 2010

DC Universe Online Trailer

As you may know, I'm no gamer (a fact I tried desperately to hide on my Nintendo job application two years ago). I finally sold my PS3 last month. I didn't have a Wii until last Christmas and only changed the batteries in the controllers once. The fact is I don't put in enough time to get any good at video games and every time I do I think of all the things I could be doing instead.

But everyone went nuts over "Batman: Arkham Asylum" last year and neither my Wii nor my desktop could handle it. It galls me that there's good Batman out there I can't experience. And now there's this:

I'm going to need a PS3.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


My allergies are usually done by now but this week they came back with the force of a cold. I guess it comes in waves out here.

I'm going to have to make daily trips to There's a national map that tracks the pollen count dya to day as if it were the weather. And if you're like me, it's more important than the weather.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guitar Shots

Speaking of real guitars, the light hit my guitar stand well yesterday so I took pictures of everything.

The original. Applause Ovation copy. $169 from King James Music in Brooklyn, 1989. I learned how to play on this thing and played it half to death. I played at my first show (the Cathedral talent show). There's chips in the headstock from multiple doorways and a crack in the finsh from playing in Central Park on the anniversary of John Lennon's death. I often think of taking it in for repairs but I know the cost will outweigh the original value.

2004 Martin 12 string. A xmas gift from Renee the year we got married. I record with this a lot and it's come with me to a few bar sessions and one rooftop gig. Truthfully, I don't play this enough but then again, I don't play acoustics enough anymore.

1968 Gibson acoustic. Looks fantastic, feels good but the bridge came up after a month or so. Had it fixed and it's not quite the same. I keep wanting to play it more and I keep putting it down.

1991 Tele Plus. Bought from Sam Ash on 48th St in 1992. Those are Lace Sensor pickups which a coil tap switch for the humbucker. My only electric for ten years. It's taken some major abuse from both the grunge era and my twenties. Still sounds great, still too heavy.

2006 60th Anniversary start. Bought from Matt Umanov Guitars in 2007 on my way from jury duty and to a comedy open mike. This has become the project guitar. That's the Tele's locking tuners and bridge in there. Rewired it to turn the neck pickup on and off and combine the middle and bridge pickups into one humbucker. Comfortable to wear and shreds my wrists every time.

2001 Les Paul. 30th birthday present. You've seen this before and you've seen the P-Rails I put in last year for my 37th birthday. A completely versatile LP. My #1 and my only audition guitar.

Rickenbacker 330/12. First guitar I ever bought from craigslist and a phenomenal deal. This was a lifelong dream come true. I started playing on an acoustic 12 string in the chapel at high school (the choir had one lying around)and after hearing "Full Moon Fever" I knew someday I'd have to have one. Adore this guitar and the vintage pickups pushed it higher up my list. Just wish I had more songs to play it live.

Gretsch 2001 Tenessee Rose. First ebay purchase of a guitar after two amps and many pedals there. The owner refinished it in a burst and added a midrange control under the pickguard. He also painted the pickguard gold, which I hated. I got this when I moved to Chicago as the owner of the guitar store here is a big fan of hollowbodies. Realized I didn't have one. Also realized I didn't have a great acoustic and I figured this could do both. This will be jam session bar guitar whether it's in a band or with me on a stool.

2005 Musicman Axis. Used from I played an EVH at King James in 1991 and it instantly became another "someday" guitar. When Eddie Van Halen left Ernie Ball, this became the Axis with almost no design changes. I always wanted a light, fast modern shredder guitar. I've also been curious about owning a Floyd Rose as I started playing when they were all the rage. It's tight and loud and so small it fits my 5 foot 7 frame better than my other axes. Took this one down to Puerto Rico and it was so easy to tweak with the climate change it remains my #1 traveling guitar.

Epiphone Hofner bass copy. On sale at Guitar Center. I borrowed Matt Kinkel's Ibanez Precision copy about 15 years ago and when I moved, it was time to give it back. Stopped by Guitar Center during their Memorial Day sale and got this for less than $200. It's only for recording but it sounds great running direct. And you never know when you'll need a bass.

My newest and quickly becoming my new #1: 1984 white Gibson SG. I've wanted one since 1988 when I first saw "This is Spinal Tap". When I got my Tele Plus it was a white SG I was going for. Found out the color is rare, with Gibson only producing them eveyr five years or so. In 2002 I bought a black Epiphone SG and gave it away a few montha later, once I had a Les Paul. SGs are so thing and light that they get top heavy and you spend most of your energy holding it up. I've tried Gothics, Fadeds and signatures and hated them all.

Then I saw this guy on ebay. Turns out the seller owns a store in Lincoln Park so I waited the auction out, offered him $300 less than he was asking and picked it up to avoid shipping charges. It's amazing, balanced and sounds the way I always thought I sounded. I've had it a month and have already taken it to band practice more than my Les Paul. I'll definitely be gigging with it.

When I lived in my parents' basement apartment, I converted that living room to a rehearsal studio. Apart from my two guitars and one amp, I covered the walls with Guitar World centerfolds. There was Eddie's frankenstrat, Jimmy Page's Les Paul, Clapton's psychedelic SG, McCartney's Hofner all on that wall. It's taken twenty years and four addresses but I've finally assembled that collection for real.

There's an old joke among guitar players when asked how many axes they need. "Just one more." I think I'm good now. But there is that Rickenbacker 360 at the store...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rock Band 3 Uses Real Guitars

One of my biggest problems with the "Guitar Hero" games is that as close as it is to playing the real guitar, there's fundamental differences that totally blow the reality.

Looks like Rock Band has solved that problem. They've teamed with Fender to make a real guitar that works as the interface. While it's not as cool as say plugging my Les Paul into the game, I realize that's impossible as this Squier has sensors running up the neck itself. Still it should fundamentally change how musicians see the game.

But will it work for the Beatles version?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guitar upgrade

Since I moved out of NY, I have not stopped screwing with my guitars. When I'm not buying new ones (and oh, I AM buying new ones)I'm improving my existing axes. At least once a week I'm changing the action on one. Got a set of Nashville strings on my Tele so I can play "Wild Horses" over and over and over again. Rewired my strat (again) so at the flip of a switch I can turn the middle and bridge single coils into a single humbucker ( I can already control the neck pickup with another switch).

And I went on ebay to get vintage pickups for my Rickenbacker:

Got a 1967 "toaster" in the bridge position now and a new one in the neck. They are way cleaner and brighter than the stock high gains that came with the guitar so it really nails that 1965 sound. Plugged it into the Vox with some compression and played more Byrds songs than I ever have before.

By the way, if you want my old pickups, I'm selling them on ebay here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mister Bob

I'm no fan of techno. But I have to admit the Nick Vernier Band took a Monkees throw away bonus track ("Zilch") and made a really cool song out of it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on the Today Show

Since Star Wars Celebration is starting in Orlando today, I keep finding more awesome Star Wars stuff online. Look at this. As far as I know this is the only time this has ever happened.

Part 2:

Harrison Ford actually says he likes the movie (that won't happen again). And Mark Hamill accurately predicts the prequel trilogy that would happen almost twenty years later. Although he doesn't predict it will suck.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Batman

It's a new decade so it's time for a new Batman costume. And I dig this. I missed the yellow bat symbol since it disappeared in 2000. I like that the shades of gray eliminate the black/blue debate on the cape and cowl. But mostly I like that Bruce Wayne is no longer built like a tank. There's no way a self-taught guy with no super powers should be as big as Superman.

It also reminds me how smart and subtle DC is with their costume redesigns (Wonder Woman nonwithstanding). Unlike Marvel whose approach seems to be altering the character far enough that they can spin the costume into a new character while the favorite goes back to the established icon (look at any Spider-Man redesign) every decade or so DC makes subtle changes that get the fanbase excited while doing nothing to rile the casual fan. Superman gets a darker blue, a bigger "S". Batman goes from blue to black, Green Lantern loses the trunks for a beltline. So I could go on and on about the ear length and the body seams but many of you will look and say, "Yeah, it's Batman. And?"

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ron Zabrocki's "Crossroads"

There's something I love about this new age. While big name bands are no longer putting any money or energy into music videos because there's no network that will run them, one of my favorite musicians but this really cool piece together without backing, a record contract or even a band.

Yay Ron!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thor Comicon Trailer

Had no idea what to expect with Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of Thor. And I can honestly say this trailer is now what I expected.

See it before Marvel pulls it down.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goon Animated

I fell in love with this comic in San Francisco and vowed to do my part to turn it into a movie.

This is my part. Telling you about what David Fincher did.

I wasn't thinking 3D CGI but dammit if it doesn't work. And unlike, M. Night Shamalyan's version of The Last Airbender, it looks like the humor here is intact.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Counter Protest

SDCC is in full swing and Dave Forrest is showing something better than anything I saw in 2008.

The crazy "God Hates Fags" group is protesting outside the con. Apparantly they will prtest anywhere, including Dio's funeral. Instead of getting into a heated debate, they just started goofing on them.

Now I wish I went.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fired! Paul Tompkins

One of the good things about living in Chicago is I can see anybody that bothers to show up. saw Tom Petty over the weekend and he was just as good as when I saw him at Madison Square Garden two years ago. Even Better, I get to see Paul F. Tompkins next week! Why is that good. Oh, here's why it's good:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Louis CK Ricky Gervais in episode 3 of LOUIE on FX TUESDAYS 11pm

Please please please PLEASE watch "Louie" on FX. It's everything I was convincing myself "Lucky Louie" was.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mike Campbell Interview

Much respect to Dunlop for helping to make rock's most unsung hero a little less unsung:

And a bonus with Mike's tech (and his gear!):

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Muppets: Stand By Me

The Muppets may not be what they used to be but they still understand what makes them work. Eating other animals alive.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seinfeld yells at Gaga

I hear the name Lady gaga and see pictures every single day and I have not heard one note of her music. that's either a testament to her publicist or a nail in the coffin of the music industry. But she seems to make a name for herself by attention stealing in public places, the latest in Citi Field. And Jerry Seinfeld is more annoyed than I am.

I do like the turn Seinfeld is taking lately. I loved the reunion on "Curb". I would like "The Marrage Ref" a lot more if he were on it every week. And I like how cantakerous he's become in his 50's. It's like Cosby; the crankier he gets, the more I like him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toy Story 3

It rains here all the time. Locals say it's unusual to have this much precipitation but to my eyes, it rains all the time. So much that we've been getting violent storms. Friday a nasty black cloud moved in with 70 mph winds. I work on the 29th floor and once HR saw the windows buckling, they herded us into the elevator stairwell. The storm moved past in 20 minutes but left behind a wake of felled trees and downed power lines.

Our power was out most of the weekend. Yesterday was Father's Day and rather than spend it in a hot, dark house we headed to the malls at Naperville. With the whole day to kill and Ben almost three, we figured it was a good time for his first movie theater experience.

We got to the theater and Renee stopped in the parking lot. "I don't think he understands what's going on."

I knelt down.

"Ben? You see this building?"
"We're going to go in there now and we're going to see Buzz and Woody."
Audible gasp.
"And have popcorn."
Ben ran into the theater.

He was absolutely overwhelmed by the screen. He sunk in his seat and tapped Renee on the arm. "Mommy? This is the biggest TV I ever saw."

He sat quietly through the entire movie. Didn't hurt that the movie was great. It's the type that suckers you in. I spent most of the time thinking, "Sure, this is good but its' not 1 or 2 good." Then it paid off. Paid off big time.

This is not a film of a stand-out set piece (though it has them) or great new characters (though it has them). It's a whole and when it's finished, you walk away with the entire film in your head.

And dammit if it doesn't make everyone cry. The kids in the audience got a little fidgety during the deepest emotional moments but they stayed with it. It has that right balance that holds every age every demographic. Someday people will call this time a golden age of film because it had PIXAR in it.

Ben loved it. But before we left he had to touch the screen. It was just too big.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tom Petty MOJO

Got the album. Got tickets for the United Center. Got to watch this.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Go Lion

I'm in love with Half Price Books. There's one out here that buys everything I bring in. I've gotten rid of at least five boxes I shouldn't have moved from New York and made a few hundred bucks already. It's eliminated my need to sell on ebay.

The store itself is also slammed with great finds. For example,last week I picked up volume 1 of "Voltron" on dvd for ten bucks. You know, this thing:

Man, I loved this show when I was 12. I spent most of my confirmation money on the die-cast Japanese toy that could break into all five lions. It could also break into 25 more pieces after one trip to the beach.

The show holds up about as well. It's stilted anime with two dimensional characters (all ripped off from Battle of the Planets) with watered down, repetitive and confusing stories. Asa much as I loved it in the 80's I couldn't quite understand it. This is why:

Turns out the original show was so incredibly violent, editing it for content removed most of the content. I kind of want to see "Go Lion" just to find out if it makes more sense. Even if it's an anime kind of sense.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Old Guitars

It occurs to me I might never have posted this picture of my guitars. Which is a shame cause it looks awesome.

2006 Fender American Stratocaster
1991 Telecaster Plus Deluxe
1999 Rickenbacker 330/12
2001 Les Paul Standard

It's missing four more guitars, including the one I posted yesterday. I'll have to take new pictures.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Old Guitar

One of the good things about being in La Grange is there's an excellent guitar store five minute walk from the house. I'd been getting to know the owner pretty well (even saw his band at the local carnival cause that's the sort of thing they got here). So after I moved in, I decided to get myself a birthday present...

It's a 1968 Gibson LG-00. It has a punchy little sound for a Gibson and reminds me strongly of the guitar Robert Johnson is holding in only picture of him ever. I love how worn and broken in the guitar is. The finish is checked all over, creating a web of texture. It's not the big, strummy sound I was looking for but I finally own a good acoustic instead of the 20 year old Ovation copy I bought in high school and is slowly dying on me.

The owner of the shop replaced the bridge from plastic to ebony and sold it on consignment to me for $300. I paid $200 for that Ovation in 1989 and this vintage instrument is only another $100. Sometimes it pays to NOT be in the city.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Want to Hear My Last Night in NY?

The evening before I was to leave for Chicago, Trafton and I went to Comix to see Marc Maron's WTF taping. It was phenomenal. I'd been a fan of Maron since the early 90's and talked about his podcast here several times. I'd once sat next to him at a Billy Connolly show but never saw him perform. They had two seats right up front and being comics, we were the only ones willing to take them.

Marc had John Mullaney, Jeaneane Garafalo, Todd Barry, Morgan Murphy, Greg Giraldo and Tom Shillue. Some I'd performed with, some I'd seen, some I didn't know. All were great.

After the show I ran into Tim Warner and Jaqi Furback. Tim and I were too intimidated to say hello to Maron but Jaqi called us pussies or something equally unmanning. I also had the sting of the night I froze in front of Jeaneane. I ended up dragging Tim down with me.

I shook Marc's hand. "Great show, man, I just wanted to say you're one of the reasons I got into comedy."

"Really? Hey, thanks."

"Poverty got me out."

I got a laugh. I got a laugh from Marc Maron.

Tim said something sincere to him (I think that's for him to relate) and Trafton, Jaqi, Tim and myself until 2 at a bar across the street, downing pitchers and pizza dragged in from across the street. I can honestly say I haven't had that much fun since.

I'd been waiting a month for the show to get posted. Well, it's finally up but there's a catch. It's the first show you need to pay for. But it was worth $30 to see and it's definitely worth $2.99 to own. If you want to hear me laugh and hear Tim be the only one to applaud a comment by Greg Giraldo, here it is.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Wall Street Journal Article on Rockaway Beach

According to the WSJ, I'm from a shanty town.

They make up for it with this piece on the premier boxing collection at my alma mater, Brooklyn College.

Thanks to Ann-Marie Kirby-Payne who still lives there.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Symptom 7 Opening for KISS?

Yes. If you vote for them. And use zip code 11793

Now I don't like KISS. I've never cared for whatever it is they think they're doing. I did work on some KISS product at Art Asylum back in the 90's and listening to "Destroyer" on a loop for three months didn't change my opinion.

But I recognize KISS has a lot of fans. Fans that fit into a stadium. And I want Symptom 7 to play in that stadium. I've played with the three gentleman in that band many, many times and they deserve it more than the three bands ahead of them in the poll right now. If they don't win, I'm blaming you.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Every now and then Walker sends me something I can't fathom. This is one.

Sure looks happy, doesn't he?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Conan and Stewart in 1994

Wow. This looks like the open mic of the two most important late night talk show hosts. Just look at the nervous energy.

I can't make too much fun, though as this was shot at a time when I was very, very serious about my band.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Finale

Loved it. It was a show I was always interested in, but not in love with. I almost quit during the low of Season 3. But this season pulled me in closer than ever before. And the finale managed to tie everything up in the way the X Files couldn't. I'm buying the series on Blu-Ray.

No,they were NOT dead the entire time. Stop arguing about it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

10 Things I Learned From Gilligan's Island

Amazon had a Gold Box sale on the Complete Gilligan's Island on DVD for $40 last week. I hadn't seen it in 20 years. Renee thought I shouldn't get it but she doesn't think I should get anything. 10 episodes in she admits she was wrong.

When I was a kid the show didn't have any influences or subtext. It was just there. Like Sesame Street or the Adam West Batman. Now as an adult, I see the show differently.

Here are some of the things I learned:

1. Ginger and Maryann: equally hot.
2. The Professor would have figured out what that smoke monster was in 2 minutes.
3. Really? The Howells packed Shakespearean costumes?
4. Jim Backus steals every scene he's in. EVERY scene.
5. The giant spider is not so scary. Not after "Return of the King".
6. Skipper and Gilligan are just doing a syndicated Laurel and Hardy.
7. You can tag any joke by looking into the camera.
8. They had enough time to give everyone their own hut.
9. Anyone else who lands on that island is kind of a dick.
10.Not everyone understood the Beatles.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

History of the Big Muff

Interesting how tastes change.

I used to hate distortion pedals. Had a RAT in the 80's from Walker (hated it). Got a Metal Zone (hated it). Got a BOSS turbo distortion (hated it). Then I quit and went straight to the amp. For the next decade I had to have a channel switching amp. The Marshall JCM 900 was my amp of choice (it would take me 12 years to buy my own). I got what I could afford which was a Marshall Valvestate combo (which I still kinda own though I left it in Eddie Joe's house in NY).

But last year I fell in love with the Vox AC30. It was quirky, traditional but unique and had classic tremolo. But it didn't have a distortion channel. I had to go back to a pedal.

I thought about what I wanted. I didn't want a pedal that would pretend to be an amp. So overdrives, including the classic Tube Screamer, were out. I hated what I had so I wasn't going back to the wide range of pedals I already owned.

Then I thought about the distortion sounds I liked. Monster Magnet. Black Sabbath. Nirvana. Smashing Pumpkins. Weezer. The solo in "Who's That Lady?" The melody line in "Never Met a Girl Like You Before".None of those guys got their drive solely form the amp. They all used fuzz. And most used a Big Muff.

I got one last year before my birthday and it worked well. Except it was so bassy it lost presence in the mix of a band (like most equipment, it sounds completely different when other instruments are playing). But Electro Harmonix solved that for me with the newest version with a "tone wicker". It gave me the option of knocking the tone control out of and keeping me in the mix no matter how many guitars were next to me (and in Walker's band, I never knew). To make a long story short, I love it. And I wnat to know more about it.

Here's a whole history of the Big Muff posted interestingly enough, on a David Gilmour site. Cause if there's one thing that can thicken a strat's tone, it's a Big Muff.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're Stars

Dave Wasklewicz and I were talking about the passing of Dio and he sent me this. I have NEVER seen this before. You?

We're Stars

Leave it to 80's heavy metal bands to take a benefit song and make it all about them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dio NO!

Ronnie James Dio has passed away.

I did not see this coming. Heaven and Hell had been touring. They just put an album out. And he always seemed so alert and on the ball you couldn't imagine anything wrong with him.

Out of all the Black Sabbath front men, I never expected Ozzy Osbourne to outlive Dio.

He will be missed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

DVD 2 Blu

I am the only person I know with a Blu-ray player (let alone the only person with three). When people ask me (with a tired look in their eyes) if they need to replace all their dvds, I tell them it's not worth it. The increased picture quality and sound is nice, but not necessary for every film (although some like the recent Lord of the Rings trilogy Blu-Ray? Absolutely necessary.)

That said Warners has made it really easy if you want to upgrade some of your existing titles. They started a program at where you can send back your dvd for the upgraded Blu-ray for about 5 bucks. It's such a good deal I might send some I wasn't even planning on upgrading.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ring modulator

I've been experimenting with the ring modulator setting on my Line 6 pedal. I still don't know what it does but this video comes as close as anything to explaining it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 makes the same mistake as Spider-Man 3 (which shows me Marvel get greedier with each hit). Too many characters, too many 'b' plots, no clear antagonist, no clear goal for the protagonist.

Nothing bad happens in this film. The action is bigger than the first, with lots of sweeping shots and explosions. There's tons and tons of charming Tony moments. There's a drunken super hero scene which would not work if it was anyone but Tony Stark.

But it's all meaningless. The first movie was about Tony regaining his soul through adversity and innovation. He goes from a coddled wonder boy to a man that can stand on his own. I don't know what this movie was about, other than action set pieces.

The antagonists don't help. Mickey Rourke is a great thug. Sam Rockwell is a terrific toady. But who's the mastermind? If they didn't pump the comedy up so high on Rockwell's character it could have been him. I didn't think I'd miss Jeff Bridges but he grounded that first film.

Iron Man 2 is the first Marvel movie to not be better than the original. The fact that the original is the bets Marvel film ever makes it sting all the more.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Joke Thief

Ed Murray sent me a video of an open micer ripping off Patton Oswalt word for word (it's not worth the exposure this guy will get to repost it). Now Ed's telling the world through the Huffington Post.

Read it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Michael Pataki

Michael Pataki has passed away at the age of 72.

Pataki was well known in the 60's and 70's. Howie and I knew him from three places: "Side Hackers" which was our favorite movie on Mystery Science Theater 3000, "The Amazing Spider-man" live action tv show in the 70's where he played a cop that had never appeared in the books, and "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode of the original Star Trek where as a Klingon, he delivered the classic line, "I didn't mean to say the Enterprise should be hauling garbage, I meant to say it should be HAULED AWAY... AS GARBAGE!" Howie and I made sure to learn his name and celebrate his every appearance.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More Bilko

File this under none cares but me but The Phil Silvers Show season 1 is finally coming on DVD!

Four years ago we got a 3 disc best of and anyone would have assumed that's all we'd get.

Extras include a Lucy Show guest starring Phil. Here's hoping a later season has his Gilligan's Island as Harold Hecuba. Let's hope there is a later season (I'm looking at you, The Bob Newhart Show).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I am in Chicago. Started at Mcgarry/Bowen Chicago which is interesting. I'm meeting a lot of people I'm not technically working with. And working with people online like my entire job is a Facebook status update.

But more importantly, I got this in my house:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mr. Tinkertrain

I'm cranking and getting things stuck in my head. Right now it's Ozzy Osbourne's 1991 opener, "Mr. Tinkertrain". And I'm making up my own words.

walker and I loved to do quick parodies. They didn't have to have any kind of theme, just as long as they rhymed with the original line. We went to Coney Island and back rhyming Milli Vanilli's "Blame It on the Rain". But I like "Mr. Tinkertrain" best. Maybe because no one knows it. I liked it so much that I hear these old jokes every time I hear the song. They're all stupid.

That's why they call me

Mr. Tinkertrain
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain
majestic Lake Champlain
Just to complain
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine
high on cocaine
Dr. Frasier Crane
ambassador to Spain
King of Pain
prescription for Rogaine
Insane in the membrane
Aragorn's the Dunedain
Yelling across the plains
Lion has a mane
Mr. Windowpane

Now you try!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Up in Lights

They were shooting a movie outside the comic book store Wednesday and a P.A. stopped me.

"Where are you going?"

This was a movie. The industry I wanted to write for. Wanted to perform in. I know a hundred guys that would kill to be where I was standing.

"The comic store still open?"

I think my performing bug is done.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Flash

Ed Murray sent me this image. Took me a minute then I laughed for five.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010