Monthly Archives: October 2012

What’s in a Name?

Way back in the day when Fuck the Informer was going through Total Mass Destruction, we had this song called “Hit the Bitch Hard.” It wasn’t really about anything in particular, not advocating actually hitting anybody or anything, just some stupid song that we played almost as a stupid segue between one stupid song and the next. As was typical of us at the time, the lyrics were simple and repetitive.

“Hit the bitch, hit the bitch, hit the bitch hard… hard… hard…” and that was it.

Now, I’m pretty sure we wrote the song as a mix between the Dwarves song “Hits” and the Ramones “Beat on the Brat,” though I don’t think we consciously were connecting it to either of them at the time. That happens with music—you end up ripping shit off whether you intend to or not. Sometimes you do it on purpose, like we did for our song “Revenge,” which was a blend of two Aretha Franklin songs (You Better Think and Respect) dangerously sung over two abusive and driving chords. But in the case of “Hit the Bitch Hard,” we just wrote it in two seconds and played it that night. If you ever saw us, I’m pretty sure you’d agree we were the type of band that could get away with that. We didn’t have to worry about being sloppy because being sloppy was already written into the equation. It made it easier for us to care less, and for whatever reason caring less was the driving goal of the band.  We could care less harder than any other Salt Lake band could care. Our band sweated lazy, and it was reflected in our song writing.

So anyway, we started realizing that “Hit the Bitch Hard” was turning into one of our hits. People could jump on stage and sing the twenty-seconds long song for us, and that made them feel special, which meant they’d likely buy us shots after the show. Jocks also seemed to like the song, and when you play in a band that tends to make people want to kick your ass, having jocks like something gives you a fragile layer of protection. We’d play the song at almost every show regardless of where it was or who we were playing with, twenty-seconds of gang vocals screaming “Hard!” guaranteed.

That is, guaranteed until somebody came up to us and told us how much he related to the song. It was at Burt’s Tiki Lounge after an especially lackluster performance. Some older guy walked up to us as we were loading our gear and was like, “Man! I love you guys! That song about hitting the bitch… man, loved it! Cause sometimes, you know, when your girl is mouthing off and shit, you gotta… bam! Put her in her place!”

Brian, Andy and I looked at each other uncomfortably before looking back at the guy. He was really, really excited, and there was no question in any of our minds that he was also serious. I mean, obviously somebody could make some sort of sarcastic comment along those lines while trying to be funny, and yeah, we understood that, but there was no way this was not one of those moments. Homeboy related to our song in the worst way, and if there was one thing we didn’t want, it was relating to him in any way.

Long story short, we never played the song again. Instead, we went on to writing more personally relevant songs like “Sex Offender” (which lyrics like, “Don’t try to label me, I’m not a monster, I’m a sex offender”), “Dead Hookers” (“I know how to keep it erect, and dead hookers are a side-effect”), “Oh No, Oh Yeah (“I met a girl in the checkout line, I asked her out, she said fine”) and “Too Much Personality” (“I’m gonna supe up my go-kart and drive it into the sun, just for fun, a supernova blasting off for everyone—you’ll be seeing sunspots baby”). You know, stuff we could stand behind. Of course we stuck to our classics too, cause if we didn’t play “I Killed Your Fucking Dog,” then what was the point of playing at all?

“I fucking killed your dog, I killed your fucking dog, I fucking killed your fucking dog… your dog.”

Advertisements

Why the Venezuelan Vote in New Orleans Could Affect Cuba

Right now there are thousands of Venezuelans coming from around the country to New Orleans in order to cast their vote in the Venezuelan presidential election. The old consulate in Miami has been closed for political reasons, so in order for them to vote, Florida residents had to make the journey west to the Big Easy. Opposition to Chavez runs high in this group, and it’s no surprise that the vast majority of them plan on voting for his opponent, Henrique Capriles.

Okay, great, but what does this have to do with Cuba?

Well, Chavez’s Venezuela is the biggest economic supporter of the isolated island, with generous oil subsidies provided to keep Cuba running, and these subsidies are crucial to the country’s current existence. Capriles realizes that it would be politically unwise to simply stop helping Cuba, especially considering the number of Cuban doctors currently acting as “guest workers” in the country, but he does not plan on continuing to support the island to the same extent Chavez does. Cuba, which is currently undergoing a series of economic reforms, could be up against a rock and a hard place if Capriles wins.

I’m sure what’s going on in the minds of Cubans is fear of an economic collapse similar to when support from the Soviet Union dried up over night, paralyzing the country and intensifying the effects of the U.S. embargo to a critical level. The blockade itself is more than partially to blame for Cuba’s reliance on Venezuela, so its continuation coupled with the removal of Venezuelan support could really fuck some shit up for the Cubans. It’s like how New Orleans must feel every time a major hurricane starts working its way towards the city. I mean, it probably won’t be as bad as Katrina, but dear god, what if it is?

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I’m critical of Chavez of course, but what worries me most is the fate of all my friends living in Havana. I know it might seem unimportant in the midst of our crazy election, but what’s happening today in New Orleans and in Caracas could really change the lives of millions of people in Cuba. It might sound weird, but that’s just the way it goes. Let’s hope that whoever gets elected will take that into consideration, because if there’s one thing I want, it’s for my friends not to suffer while I sip on martinis at Molly’s. Speaking of which…

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Syria and Assad

 

My dad once told me a joke about Assad, though I’ll clarify the Assad he was referencing was not the current Assad but the old Assad, Assad’s dad. Apparently this joke is well known throughout the Middle East, thought maybe it’s only popular amongst displaced Palestinians growing up in Lebanon. Who knows. After watching the way the current, ahem, democratically elected Syrian president has dealt with their internal civil uprising, and taking into consideration our own, ahem, democratic elections, I figure it’s okay to share this joke. Consider it social activism. So here we go…………………….

A guy went into a voting center to cast his vote for president, and being a man of consciousness, he voted for the candidate that best represented his own views.

On his way home, he suddenly realized that he’d made an awful mistake. He’d gone in and voted for a candidate that was not Assad, and they had ways to know that he did so. Certain regimes don’t take kindly to that, and by doing something as simple as casting an honest vote he had jeopardized the lives of him and his family. He knew that there was a reason Assad had a 99% approval rating. Chills ran down his spine.

He ran back to the voting booth and pleaded with the polling agent.

“Please, I’ve made a mistake!” said the man. “I meant to vote for Assad but I accidentally voted for his opponent. I came back to correct my mistake, and please, I beg of you, let me make sure my vote is casted as intended!”

The pollster laughed.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “we found your mistake and have already fixed it.”

Fear: Let’s Have a War

[youtube http://youtu.be/4zIc9_hLFHA]

Jack up the Dow Jones.

AJ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

 

            So, I wrote this a number of months ago for this weird book I’m writing. If you can imagine, the book itself is tackling heavy topics, so how any of this fits in confuses me too. It’s about my friend A.J. Apodaca, lead singer of such notable bands as Four Letter Words, This is Revenge, and The Bitch Boys. He’s kind of one of the most amazing people ever. If you get a chance to buy him a shot at the Rio in Anaheim, do it and ask him to tell you something. I promise it will be worth it.

“Do you know where Bigfoot comes from?” AJ asked me, his Jordan Knight haircut and beaded necklace assaulting my consciousness with striking visual distraction.

“Oregon?” I offered. I knew fully well that Bigfoot existed wherever and whenever Bigfoot wanted to, but I was interested to hear what AJ had to say about it. A mind like AJ’s was predictably unpredictable.

“Let me tell you where Bigfoot is from,” he said with all the authority of a world-renowned scholar. “Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was this planet, a big carnival planet filled with rollercoasters and fantasy rides, like space Disneyland, only all of the attendants working on the planet were androids, and the androids were all really tall and covered in shaggy hair, ‘cause the people who made the carnival planet thought things that were really tall and covered in shaggy hair were cute. So, these androids ran all the rides and things for eons until they became cognizant and realized that they were being exploited for free labor, and since they were cognizant of the fact that they could change their position, they built a spaceship and left the planet in search of a home where they wouldn’t be bothered by annoying creatures anymore.”

“And so they came to Earth…”

“And so they came to Earth. It took a really long time but it didn’t matter because they’re androids and they don’t die. Eventually they made it to our planet and made a home out in the woods. You rarely ever see a Bigfoot because they don’t want to deal with people after working for so long on the carnival planet, and you never find any dead Bigfoot or droppings because they’re androids and they don’t die or poop.”

I had to admit, AJ seemed to have stumbled upon a pretty bulletproof backstory for Bigfoot. If anything, that gives you an indication of the way his mind worked. He took an honest assessment of the existing holes in the story, and instead of concluding Bigfoot was a myth like most people, he managed to work out a way of adequately justifying the lack of evidence, thereby supporting the existence of Sasquatch and leaving his faith intact. Both Bigfoot and AJ came off to me as wonderfully out of the box characters.

But I mean, that’s just the type of guy AJ was. He knew every single Star Trek episode by heart but still watched them all religiously, just in case he’d missed something important. He lived at his parent’s house with his extensive toy collection flanking a life-size cardboard cutout of Saddam Hussein. Predictably, his wardrobe was fiercely eclectic. By every definition of the word, AJ was a character.

His body didn’t produce testosterone naturally, and in a failed attempt to medicate him into normalcy, various doctors had prescribed him with a steroid cream that he had to rub all over his body. This didn’t stop AJ from crying a lot, but it did make him occasionally fly off the handle, a victim of medicinal roid rage. Imagine a wildly out of control and tragically hip nerd, incapable of repressing his disdain for the real world, crying and screaming, too smart for his own good, too creative for reality. That’s AJ in a nutshell.

When cops pulled him over on his bike after leaving the Rio, some shitty Anaheim dive karaoke bar, he tried to explain that he in fact was not the problem. When the cops followed his explanation up by beating the living shit out of him, all AJ could do was scream, “I’m a pacifist!” over and over again. Needless to say, they billy clubbed the fuck out of him until he hyperventilated and submitted.

AJ told me that story while sobbing uncontrollably, desperately confused about why anybody would do that to him, only cheering up when I asked him about the opening scene to Star Trek 5.

“It’s terrible, absolutely terrible,” AJ said, suddenly cheering up with manic intensity. “Captain Kirk and Bones McCoy, sitting around a campfire eating whiskey chili and teaching Spock how to sing ‘Row row row your boat?’ How could you not love it? The movie’s absolutely terrible. Kirk scaled that mountain faster than a man half his age, and where did Spock get those rocket boots? Where do I get rocket boots? Did you know that Star Trek 5 was directed by William Shatner? After all those years, he finally got a chance to show exactly how he envisioned the Star Trek world—three friends joining together to defeat God.”

And they did,” he added.