Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A candy bracket? Let's go Nestle Crunch! Go Oreos! Go Gummy Bears (just barely over Peanut Butter Cups)! Go Blue Star LSD Tattoo!

Queens of Noise (a.k.a. A Halloween Post That Has Nothing To Do With Halloween)
Over the weekend I watched Edgeplay, a documentary about The Runaways directed by former member Vicki Blue. I tell you, this movie is utterly fascinating. The women, both original and replacement members, are entirely open about their career, about their feelings towards each other, about the mental and physical (and even sexual) abuse they suffered in their formative years. Blue even includes footage that takes place during breaks in the interviews, when the women think they're speaking off the record. They don't hold back, and the more they talk, the more they can't resist insulting and revealing secrets about one another. It gets extremely personal, and leads me to believe that a reunion will never be in the cards.
There is one HUGE drawback: Joan Jett has no involvement at all. You only occasionally see her in archival footage, but never get her opinion on anything. That's a huge gap. And apparently she prevented the filmmakers from using any Runaways music in the movie. There are a couple of live performances of cover songs that include sound, but other than that they use random music and even some new tunes from Vicki. It's crushing not to be able to hear the musical progression or listen to the girls in the studio. On a smaller note, Blue can't seem to ever let the camera linger on an interview subject, constantly cutting to black & white shots, slow-motion cutaways, etc. She tries to be too stylish, and it ends up backfiring. But it can't take away from the content.
Music fans, or just fans of cattiness, I highly recommend this.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Some quick links:
1) Congrats to Tilly & the Wall on their national TV debut on Friday's Late Show with David Letterman. If you missed it, you can watch it here. Personally I would've chosen a different song to perform... "Bad Education" isn't as catchy as "Sing Songs Along" or "Rainbows in the Dark," and the minor chords and yelling might put off some first-time listeners. But they played with great energy and enthusiasm, and hopefully this will bring them some few fans. Also, Kianna was so adorable when she basically squawked to Dave"It's SO nice to meet you!" And Dave had a nice line after the commercial that the downstairs neighbors were complaining about the tap-dancing.
2) Wait a minute, contestants on reality television drink alcohol to loosen up? And producers are okay with that? I never would have known. Thank you, New York Times, you have really earned your reputation with that story! What would I do without you?
3) I know I'm way late on this, but I finally watched Comedy Central's A Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Benefit for Autism Education, and this Steve Carell clip stole the show. Well, that and Ricky Gervais's line that Steve Carell would follow his stand-up by doing the same routine but that Steve would be funnier and get paid more money.

Swing & a Miss
There were two problems I discovered upon dressing up a Baseball Fury* for Halloween parties this weekend:
1) A significant number of people (read: women) have not seen The Warriors, and therefore did not get the reference. This was to be expected, I suppose. The movie is 25 years old and only achieved cult success. That being said, those who have seen the movie seemed to like the costume, although I could've gone without everyone saying to me "I'll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle!"
2) Several people thought I was dressed as Cory Lidle and exclaimed that it is "too soon." Yeah, no shit. Unfortunate oversight on my part. Trust me, I meant no disrespect.

* This probably didn't need to be pointed out, but to avoid any confusion, the photo is a screen catpure from the movie, not me. I'll try to get a photo of myself later today.

Friday, October 27, 2006

TRL Moment of the Week
Why did we have 750-pound sumo champion Manny Yarbrough on the show on Monday, in a diaper no less, shaking his booty? To see if Miley Cyrus (named from her former nickname Smiley) could keep from smiling, of course. I'll tell you who wasn't smiling: the people who had to clean his dressing room after his visit, saying they've never smelled anything so foul in their life. Also not smiling: the wardrobe girl I had convinced was needed to help Manny put his diaper on (I couldn't go through with actually sending her to his dressing room, but in retrospect I should have).
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, Miley did smile.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Andy Taylor has left Duran Duran. Again. For a second I thought that at least that could lead to a potential Power Station reunion. Then I remembered that 50% of them have passed on. So much for that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Go Go Go Vote
My friend Tiff, who sings in the band Valeze, has asked me to post her band's new video "Go Go Go" as part of a YouTube contest. If you've got a minute, click this link and give it a 5-star rating. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Still catching up on links that I missed over the past few days, so here are some more:
- Dance your cares away... there's gonna be a Fraggle Rock movie!
- Arrested Development may be over, but you can still pick up cool props from it (and other Fox shows), including Gob's Segway. Hurry though... the auction ends around 1pm EST.
- Sad news for Mary Carey: she had to drop out of the California governor's race to take care of her injured mother. No jokes here; I hope her mom has a speedy recovery.
- Finally, WXPN in Philadelphia has posted a list of the 885 greatest artists of all time, as voted by their listeners. And their listeners are apparently a bunch of morons and douchebags. David Gray is 18 spots higher than Michael Jackson? Coldplay is 7 spots higher than Queen? Counting Crows are 137 spots higher than Guns N Roses?!?!? I could go on and on (Sarah McLaughlin higher than the Pretenders, Matchbox 20 higher than AC/DC, John Mayer higher than Rod Stewart, Cake is higher than Van Halen, Toad the Wet Sprocket is higher than the Buzzcocks, AFI is higher than Outkast), but it's just too frustrating. I'm ashamed I went to college in Philly for 4 years.

What is the most annoying thing in football right now? The New York Giants defense doing their stupid "ballin'" jump-shot celebrations after big plays. It's bad enough when non-athletes use sports metaphors in the workplace. But this goes above and beyond. You guys are already professional athletes. Why pay homage to an entirely different sport? And do you realize how ridiculous it looks for a 280-pound lineman to take a jump-shot? Surely you can be more creative than this.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm back in NYC after a very fun but very exhausting 4 days in Orlando. There's nothing like standing outside in front of an wedding in a tuxedo during record-breaking heat (93 degrees in the end of October? Stupid Florida) and feeling the sweat drip down your back but not being able to do anything about it. And aside from some hairy moments (such as when I went to pick up said tuxedo and found it had been sent instead to a New Jersey store, or having to get up at 7am on few hours of sleep to go golfing with the guys in the heat even though I don't even play golf and simply went along to drive a golf cart, or the groom's father suffering through a debilitating stomach virus that caused him to vomit almost once an hour up until shortly before the wedding began), a good time was had by all.

Since I haven't had much internet access and am way behind on stuff, I'll simply put up 2 links:
- Someone needs to make a movie about this guy's life. Based on his obit, I'm shocked he lived to be 85.
- What a perfect ending to the Chicago Marathon. (thanks for the link, Jen)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm off to Orlando to be a groomsman at my friend's wedding, so no new posts until Monday. Sorry.

Quick note: Tilly & the Wall gave another terrific show at Bowery last night... fun, energetic, tight. Love that gang. They'll be back in the area on Monday to play Maxwell's in Hoboken. And they're taping a performance on Letterman that will air Friday the 27th. So get your tickets. And set your Tivos (or DVRs).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For some reason I got an e-mail today from Ticketmaster offering me complimentary tickets to shows at BB King Blues Club & Grill. Sometimes legendary artists (Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis) play there, and sometimes my guilty pleasure artists (Pat Benatar, Vince Neil) play there. So I clicked on the link, and in fact the free offer is only good for tribute bands (and the Dana Fuchs Band). But when I clicked on the link for the Pearl Jam tribute on January 13th, it describes the gig as "Pearl Jam after-party following their nearby concert. " PJ hasn't announced any 2007 concerts yet, but they did bypass Madison Square Garden on their last tour. Are they coming back? If so, you heard it here first.
If any of you want free tickets to tribute bands, here you go. And don't say I never did anything for you.

Oh, and here's some good news for fans of 80s rock / cock rock / synth rock / crap rock / whatever you want to call it. And for fans of Boogie Nights.

A Random Rant about Music
I finally got around to reading the Rolling Stone issue with Fergie on the cover. In the feature story about her (which you'll have to buy at a newsstand to read the whole thing), Will.i.am. reflects on the first time he asked her to the recording studio:
Will remembered her pitching her solo album to him and invited her up to the studio. "She sang, and I was like, 'Wow, that was dope. You wanna put a harmony on it?' She was like, 'You want a third or a fifth?' I was like, 'Whoa! You know that knowledge shit! Why don't you put a third on it and we'll put the fifth on it later, 'cause that'll make it sound dissonant.' She said, 'Well, I could put the fifth on bar two, and on bar three I could go in unison.' I was like, 'Wow! I'm fuckin' wit' you!'"
Excuse me, but this really bothers me. It exemplifies all that's wrong with modern music. Why should he be so surprised that Fergie knows about harmonizing? God forbid current musicians should take the time to learn music theory. In a world in which shows like American Idol make stars out of people who don't need to play instruments or write their own songs, and who have computers to fix their pitch problems, quite frankly I give lots of credit to Fergie for at least knowing what she's doing (albeit I wish she could use that knowledge to write better songs).
We should stop calling people "musicians" and "artists" and call them what they really are: singers, nothing more. And oftentimes, even that's a stretch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fade Away and Radiate
On Saturday night I was killing time in the East Village before the Debbie Harry / Chris Stein acoustic set at CBGB's* when I wandered into a Tower Records. As I'm sure you know, Tower recently announced it is liquidating, and the store I passed was advertising a huge going-out-of business sale, with blow-out prices on everything. Well Tower, I'm calling bullshit on you. Sure, you're giving 15% off on all rock / pop CD's, and 20% off on hip-hop. But when the original price is $14.99, $16.99, even $18.99 for a single disc, how is that a bargain? Don't most music stores automatically give like a 20% discount on new releases? A stroll into the DVD section was even worse. Claiming 50% off sticker price for used DVD's from their rental section seemed exciting at first, until I noticed that the sticker price was the MSRP. No big chain stores sell any products at MSRP, let alone used ones. I'd expect to get 50% off used DVD's anytime, not during a blowout sale. No wonder Tower is going out of business… why would anyone shop there at these prices?
* Yes, I realize that it wasn't necessary for me to include this in a post about Tower Records, and that I'm basically bragging. But this is my site, and I can brag if I want. And while we're on the subject, most Blondie music sounds surprisingly good when played acoustically. They did 7 Blondie songs, 2 Ramones covers, and a Gun Club tune (that I had to google to identify). Debbie still seems uncomfortable at the mic, but she looks great for her age, and she came up with a brilliant idea that someone should start selling wallpaper that looks like the sticker-covered insides of CBGB's. Can I call dibs on that?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Made for These Times
I'm not sure why there's a sudden plethora of mash-ups for the Beach Boys' masterpiece Pet Sounds. Maybe it's the due to the 40th anniversary. Whatever. Anyway, I missed out on the Beachles Sgt. Petsound's Lonely Hearts Club Band (stupid cease & desist). But now there's this: Bastard Pet Sounds, which mashes the album up with... well, a pretty eclectic mix, everything from Dandy Warhols to Led Zeppelin. Hurry up and download before the record labels attack.
Oh, and the guy who did Bastard also has a nice little mash-up of Madonna's "Hung Up" vs. Huey Lewis & The News's "The Power of Love."

TRL Moment of the Week
Sarah Michelle Gellar, here to promote The Grudge 2, spent most of her time here raving about a rival show. For some reason the studio was kept close to 120 degrees on Tuesday, and the audience, VJ's, and guests were suffering. Backstage, SMG said that the heat made her want to be a contestant on "that Fuse show, you know, the one hosted by the Full House girl. Crazy Strip Dancing or something like that." Nobody but me knew what she was talking about, but I couldn't think of the actual title of the show. When it finally hit me, I yelled out "Pants-Off Dance-Off" and SMG practically jumped off the couch in excitement. "Yes! Dance-Off Pants-Off! I can't believe none of you have seen it. It's such a great show!"
I guess I shouldn't be surprised at her lack of taste. After all, she did marry Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The T&A Team
Everyone knows that The Real World has eliminated any semblance of social experimentation and has simply become a place to watch young hotties hook up with each other. Now MTV itself has acknowledged this fact with a nice little parody of the upcoming season of the Real World / Road Rules Challenge (which I must admit is the only MTV show I still watch regularly).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tickets to see K-Fed in concert here in NYC have been on sale for 2 hours and 29 minutes, and they're not sold out yet. What's wrong with you people? It's like you want him to fail, or something...

Buried in the TRL Graveyard
At least week's creative meeting, I pitched the following stunt idea, which was deemed "too mean" to our fans and shot down.
Who's the Dumbest Member of the Audience?
A Singled Out-type elmination game. We start with the entire audience and ask them either true / false or multiple choice questions (not pop culture stuff, more like math / spelling / geography). Anyone who gets the question right can sit down; get it wrong and you stay in the game. We continue this until we're left with one person who has gotten every question wrong, and we give that person a dunce cap and name them the dumbest kid in the audience.

I don't think it's mean to our fans. It's mean to the one fan who loses… and maybe the person who comes in 2nd. But it's fun for the smart people, and fun for the people watching at home who get to see the stragglers sweat it out.
Plus our audience can't be dumber than half of our guests.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Quick Poll
Am I the only person somewhat excited that George Michael has allegedly convinced Andrew Ridgeley to join him for a one-time Wham! reunion at Wembley?
A) Yes
B) Hells Yes
C) Who's Andrew Ridgeley?
D) Who gives a fuck?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Longtime LSTT favorites Tilly & the Wall have released a video for "Rainbows in the Dark." Look at how cute their fans are. Just look at 'em!
The group just kicked off another U.S. tour. They're so much fun live... I highly recommend checking them out.

After a bummer of a weekend (Yanks got demolished, Dolphins fell to 1-4), I have to grasp at the one potential bright spot: 92.3 Free FM last night said that GnR's Chinese Democracy is coming out November 21st. So I did a little research, and sure enough, the original claim comes from Rolling Stone magazine (albeit with a HUGE grain of salt). I've been burned by this rumor many, many times before, but I'm once again putting my faith in Axl. If SMiLE can finally come out, so can this album.

On a separate musical topic, I missed out on getting tix to Saturday night's Distillers / acoustic Debbie Harry & Chris Stein show at CBGB's. Anyone by any chance have an extra one?

Friday, October 06, 2006

TRL Moment of the Week
Jessica Simpson co-hosted the show with Dane Cook on Wednesday (what a coincidence, their movie Employee of the Month hits theaters today!), and there was much humor to behold backstage between segments. Joe Simpson, of course, was at her side, and he kept complaining that we should not be showing videos today and instead should focus more on the two of them and their movie. Naturally neither Jessica nor Ashlee has a video currently on the countdown.
Speaking of Ashlee, Joe was saying that she was too sick to go onto the London stage that night in Chicago. Odd that she's suddenly sick, considering her 22nd birthday was the night before. She's only in the role for 5 weeks, and trying to prove herself as a viable actress… does she really have the luxury to pull shit like this?
And on a final note, we had fans asking Jessica and Dane questions throughout the show. During a break, our segment producer was prepping them on what they'd be asked to make sure everything was kosher, as a fan wanted to ask Jessica if she's ever said anything in public that she later regretted. Jessica laughed and said she's basically made a career out of that, and Joe chimed in, saying "I can think of some things." At which point I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from saying, "What, such as 'I do'?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

If you Arrested Development fans need a George-Michael fix, you can watch Michael Cera do stand-up here. Just don't expect him to be as funny as his character.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Two former TRL brethren left to start their own production company, and this is their latest project. I like it... hope you do too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Any big fans of Chuck Palahniuk out there? If so, here's your chance to become pen pals with him. I've heard he often responds with care packages filled with random stuff.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ha Ha Oa
Overheard in the MTV elevator:
Guy 1: Are you going to HHO this week?
Guy 2: What?
Guy 1: HHO. Hip-Hop Honors. Sorry, I just made that up.
Guy 2: HHO?
Guy 1: Yeah, Hip-Hop Hon… oh wait, HHH.

I Want My Good TV
I got some complaining to do, so be warned...
First on the list, Survivor. I know I very recently came to your defense about splitting the tribes by race. I thought it was fascinating. But you abandoned it in just the third episode. Why? What was the point of dividing them that way in the first place if it was for such a short period of time? If it was as a social experiment, you didn't collect enough data... if it was for hype, it showed that you buckled under fear. Major cop-out, and I'm very disappointed.
Next up, Inside the NFL. At first I seemed intrigued with your new policy of showing highlights of fewer games so that you can go more in-depth with the ones you show, taking us into the sounds of the game. But then, instead of showing on-field action, you devote minutes of camera time to the Hasselbeck parents as they sit in the audience, or Bill Cowher's daughter as she watches the game from a luxury box. Who gives a crap about them? I thought you were gonna show more of what happens on the sidelines, in the huddles, in the locker room. That's what is inside the NFL, no? If you're gonna focus on that stuff, then rename the show Inside the NFL's Families. Then I'll know not to watch.
On a positive note, Time Warner Cable's DVR service has finally put in a better search option, where you can type in program names instead of just going to the first letter and scrolling through every title starting with that letter. Now if only they can extend their schedule more than 3 days ahead...

Update: How could I forget about SNL? Given all the buzz about the show having budget cuts and firing cast members, not to mention two other NBC shows taking potshots at them, you'd think they'd come out of the gate with their guns blazing. So what did they do? They opened with a sketch about President Bush being bored at a local Comptroller's speech that wasn't just not funny, it didn't even attempt a joke until at least a minute had passed. Not the right way to put the Saturday Night Dead headlines to rest.