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Entry date: 4-13-2024 – First Time for Several Things – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

I am so freaking excited about today.

 

My little love, Teresa (AKA Taren, TQ, Bean, Loki), is making her first appearance singing on stage today. I can’t wait to hear her sing. She’s going to just kill it, I know it, and maybe I will have another child who loves being on stage. Either way, I can’t wait.

 

We’re also getting a few things done to help us be closer to having a working shower again. I’ve got a lot of work in front of me, but I’ll get it done. I might be handy after all. Will be good to see Ryan this morning, too. I look forward to seeing him do his thing with the plumbing.

 

Later this evening, I’ll be hitting up the Rebel Lounge to partake in some Conan. An old comrade of mine, Dave, plays bass for them and it will be good to see him and hear a little loud, punishing music. A well-rounded day, I think, is in store.

 

*****

 

Yesterday was a tough day. I had nine students in my classroom at lunch time due to behavior issues. That’s way too many for a Friday. It’s way too many for any day, really. I can’t lay all the blame on testing and I’m guessing some of it is on me for not giving them more ways to blow off steam.

 

Every day is a learning experience for all of us, I suppose. We just have to move forward and keep our eye on the prize. After yesterday, there is only 30 days left in the school year. That’s nothing and will go by in the blink of an eye.

 

Monday will be a new day, too. There are some people who need to do a little soul searching about how they want to end the year, but I’ll give them the room to feel like they are making their own decision. Hopefully they choose well.

 

*****

 

You know, these are weird times. We know more about famous people than ever before. We know too much, I think. Because of this, I find myself at times having to separate the art from the artist. I like knowing about musicians I admire, and I love to hear the stories behind the records and such, but there are times when I find out things and I’m disturbed that I have supported some of these people.

 

Then I think, “But I still like music or movies or TV shows. What should I do?” I might love the painting but despise the artist. There are lines, of course, and sometimes people cross them, and you can’t listen, watch, or see objectively anymore. It’s sad when that happens. Morals and art are often on the verge of blows, anyway.

 

We should be challenged by art sometimes, but when the personalities behind the art become too big or fucked up, it gets messy. Just putting this out there. I will circle back to it.

 

We started putting Pinky Tuscadero’s White Knuckle Assfuck together around 2000. One of the biggest influences on several of us, at the time, was Queens of the Stone Age. I was a big fan of their early stuff because it was just so well put together. The songs were catchy and often had good, memorable lyrics. Everyone who played on the records was top notch at their craft and the production was just perfect for the big, dumb, kinda stony rock they were making.

 

I don’t mean “dumb” as in not smart. I mean that it is kind of blunt and simple and easy. A perfect example of this is “Auto Pilot” off the Rated R record. It’s just simple and catchy with great guitar and big, dumb, catchy lyrics. It’s just there and wraps you in a nice welcoming handshake like an old friend.

 

We had conversations about the direction we wanted Pinky to go. Queens of the Stone Age came up a lot in those conversations. We wanted to be somewhere between them, Dayglo Abortions, and Ramones. Big, dumb rock.

 

At that time, we didn’t have anyone who could play guitar like Josh Homme, but we did have a bunch of catchy, big, dumb riffs. We traded the intricate guitar god stuff for the bludgeoning attack of three guitars turned up super loud.

 

In 2000 and 2001, I was really into Rated R. It’s just one great song after another. I mentioned “Auto Pilot” but “Better Living Through Chemistry” just blows it away. The guitar and the lyrics are killer. I bet I listened to this song 500 times in that era. I wanted to play music like this so badly.

 

We saw them on this tour, and they were fucking great.

 

The eponymous debut from 1998 is great, too, and I’ll probably write about that one at some point, but they took it up a notch on Rated R. Both of those records really made me look at doing Stoner Rock in a completely different way. I’m just not the same kind of songwriter that Homme and his buddy, Nick Oliveri, are by any stretch of the imagination. Their stuff is heavy and full of power but also nimble and catchy. Between them and the Melvins, you could make a pretty gnarly, heavy, rockin’ band.

 

You’ve got fun songs like “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and “Quick and to the Pointless” then kind of weird and note-y madness like “Monsters in the Parasol” and “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret.” I happen to love the latter. It’s probably the second-best song on the record.

 

When Mark Lanegan shows up for “In The Fade,” the band kind of takes the record to a new level and mood. The late, great leader of Screaming Trees had the perfect voice for a band like this. I wonder if the thought ever crossed Homme’s mind to step aside and let Lanegan take over. No shade against Homme, we’ll get to that later, but Lanegan was a better vocalist.

 

Such a good song, though. Listening to it takes me back 23 years or so. Life was way different for me at 32 years old. I was playing in Hillbilly, getting Pinky going, too, and would join North Side Kings pretty soon after. Music was all-consuming.

 

In retrospect, I certainly didn’t have both feet in my (then) marriage, and I wasn’t the greatest dad (is anyone?), but I was soaking up albums like this and trying to figure out how to do something 1/10th as rockin.’

 

Every track is solid on Rated R. I never skipped any of them back in the day and I wouldn’t now. I do tend to skip this band, though, here in 2024.

 

I wasn’t impressed by Homme kicking that photographer in the face a few years back. Not too long before that happened, I was backstage at a big Misfits show in Los Angeles thanks to my Slope affiliation (that’s a whole ‘nother story) and watched The Distillers from the side of the stage. Homme was there and let’s just say he gives off some real dickhead energy.

 

Granted, I didn’t talk to him, but there was nothing about his demeanor that said, “Hey, come say hello.” After that and whole kicking the photographer thing, I kind of dismissed Queens of the Stone Age and haven’t thought about them much or listened to any of their newer stuff.

 

Rated R is a wonderful record, and I can separate the art from the artist enough to enjoy reliving a bit of my past. It really did help me see music differently for a few years.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



This might be my favorite AI art yet.

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