Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 300: Fear Factor

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Matt Phillion as we discuss Halloween and horror flicks. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Salem, Mass., is Halloween Central
- Just a straight-out fun holiday
- Can be frustrating for those who live in Salem
- Old-school newspaper pro-tip: Keep booze in yer desk
- "Write drunk, edit sober"
- As a kid, Matt was excited to dress up on Halloween
- Jay: All about the candy
- In NH, rural location meant we didn't have trick-or-treaters
- Don't get that many now
- Matt's costumes over the years: Robin, Julius Caesar
- Jay: Moses, Don King, Bootsy Collins
- Matt has a Batman mask this year
- When kids are scared of your costume
- Enjoyed Halloween more as an adult
- The Lunchlady and the Flasher
- Scary movies are fun
- Matt: Blair Witch had a great gimmick, not a great story
- So much more scary watching movies by yourself
- Matt: The Saw movies are terrible, but creepy
- Zombie movies are everywhere
- Allegory for fear of disease
- Real-life face-eating is scarier
- Horror movie remakes are coming out all the time
- Jay: Still remember the trailer for the late '70s flick It's Alive
- Horror films are good investments
- Jay: Loved the film version of The Shining
- To be continued
- Bonehead of the Week

Dead Meadow - Yesterday's Blowin' Back
The Cloud Room - Mrs. Marquis de Sade
The Beatings - How Many Times Can You Say Goodbye to the Same Person?

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Dead Meadow song is on the album Warble Womb on Xemu Records. Download the song for free at RollingStone.com.
The Cloud Room song is on the compilation You Be My Heart. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.
The Beatings song is on the album Italiano on Midriff Records. Download the song for free at Epitonic.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #7: October 25, 2013

Much like the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Stuck In Thee Garage rolled out its seventh episode last night and it was rollicking good fun. I was out at a friend's house most of the evening but was able to use the Soundtap app to listen to the second hour of the show on my iPhone on my ride home.

Hour 2 was all songs to celebrate Halloween, so I know this fellow was impressed:

The accursed playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album

The So So Glos - Emergency/Shaking Through Volume 4
Iceage - Coalition/You're Nothing
Ceremony - Everything Burns/Split 7-inch single with Titus Andronicus
Teenage Head with Marky Ramone - Top Down/Teenage Head with Marky Ramone
The Exploding Hearts - Teenage Faces/Shattered
Parquet Courts - Descend (The Way)/Tally All the Things That You Broke EP
Grooms - I Think We're Alone Now/Infinity Caller
Pile - Baby Boy/dripping
Fuzz - Sleigh Ride/Fuzz
Kurt Vile - Feel My Pain/it's a big world out there (and i am scared) EPSuede - Animal Nitrate/Suede
Elastica - Line Up/Elastica
Mansun - She Makes My Nose Bleed/Attack of the Grey Lantern
The Charlatans UK - The Only One I Know/Some Friendly
Ash - Girl From Mars/1977
Ocean Colour Scene - Hundred Mile High City/Marchin' Already
Pulp - The Fear/This is Hardcore

Hour 2: Halloween songs
North American Halloween Prevention Inc. - Do They Know It's Halloween?/Do They Know It's Halloween?
Sonic Youth - Halloween/Sub Pop Singles Club December 1988
The Black Angels - The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven/Passover
The Kinks - Wicked Annabella/The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr./Illinois
The Cult - Hollow Man/Love
The Cure - Short Term Effect/Pornography
Joy Division - Dead Souls/Still
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand/Let Love In
Future of the Left - You Need Satan More Than He Needs You/Travels With Myself and Another
The Misfits - Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight/Walk Among Us
The Misfits - Night of the Living Dead/Walk Among Us
Iron Maiden - Still Life/Piece of Mind
Black Sabbath - Disturbing the Priest/Born Again demos

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 299: A Little Help From My Friends

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss benefit concerts. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Recorded at Casa Breitling before a live studio audience
- Breitling's hosting the 2nd annual Community Servings benefit show on Nov. 3 at TT the Bears in Cambridge, Mass.
- Featuring K. Heasley of Lilys, Soccer Mom, The Hush Now and Earthquake Party
- Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz will provide DJ sets
- Providing meals to the chronically ill
- Roger Waters held huge benefit show in Berlin in 1990
- Breitling was in Germany at the time
- The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was huge in '92
- Two big post-9/11 concerts in NYC
- SARS benefit concert in 2003 was the biggest show in Canadian history, with the Stones, AC/DC, Rush
- Live 8 in 2005 was actually eight concerts in eight cities on the same day
- Pink Floyd reunited with Waters
- Did benefits have more impact in the past?
- Increased capacity to put on benefit shows now
- Hear 'N Aid was the mid-'80s metal version of We Are the World
- Featured a ridiculous number of guitar solos
- Big charity show in Boston earlier this year after the Marathon bombing
- Hot Stove Cool Music started in Boston, now also in Chicago
- Recent Crash Safely MS benefit ran four nights in Boston-area clubs
- Breitling: Bands and venue make benefits happen by giving their time
- Club bookers were a huge help
- Plenty of logistics to consider
- Last year Community Servings benefit was at Great Scott
- Different kind of benefit for Community Servings, reaching a different audience
- Get yer tickets now
- Bonehead of the Week

The So So Glos - Emergency
Grooms - I Think We're Alone Now
Black Hearted Brother - This is How It Feels
Slowdim - Wishing Well

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The So So Glos song is on the compilation Shaking Through Volume 4. Download the comp for free at Bandcamp.
The Grooms song is on the album Infinity Caller on Western Vinyl. Download the song for free at Bandcamp.
The Black Hearted Brother song is on the album Stars Are Our Home on Slumberland Records. Download the song for free at Chromewaves.
The Slowdim song is a reworked version of a song on the band's self-titled album. Download the song for free at Bandcamp.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #6: October 18, 2013

Last night's Stuck In Thee Garage was so jam-packed with goodness, the show actually went a little long. But really, you can't get enough good music, can you? I certainly know this old lady enjoyed it:

Here's the playlist:

Hour 1

Artist - Song/Album
The Dirtbombs - Stuck In Thee Garage/Dangerous Magical Noise
FIDLAR - Got No Money/Don't Try EP
Drive Like Jehu - Golden Brown/Yank Crime
Future of the Left - Arming Eritrea/Travels with Myself and Another
Soccer Mom - Ginger/And I Forgot a Long Time Ago How You Feel
Lilys - Knocked on the Fortune Teller's Door/Everything Wrong is Imaginary
Earthquake Party - Pretty Little Hand/Vs. Pizza
The Hush Now - Clouds/Memos
Speedy Ortiz - Swim Fan/Epitonic Saki Sessions
Dambuilders - Smell/Encendedor
O Positive - Talk About Love/Cloud Factory EP
Orbit - Medicine/Libido Speedway
Letters to Cleo with Charlie Chesterman - You Dirty Rat/Safe and Sound
Piebald - Grace Kelly with Wings/If It Weren't for Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains for Us All
Jay Reatard - Always Wanting More/Matador Singles '08
Murder City Devils - Idle Hands/In Name and Blood
New Bomb Turks - If I Only Could/Information Highway Revisited

Hour 2: Solo artists
Pete Townshend - Secondhand Love/White City: A Novel
Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers - It's Not Enough/L.A.M.F. '77 The Lost Tapes
J. Mascis - Not Enough/Several Shades of Why
Greg Dulli - So Tight/Amber Headlights
Jarvis Cocker - "Further Complications."/Further Complications
Mark Lanegan Band - One Hundred Days/Bubblegum
Rollins Band - Low Self Opinion/End of Silence Demos
A.C. Newman - Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns/Shut Down the Streets
Frank Black - Freedom Rock/Teenager of the Year
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Cold Son/Real Emotional Trash
Joan Jett - Bad Reputation/Bad Reputation
Kathy Valentine - Retouch Me/Light Years
St. Vincent - Actor Out of Work/Actor
Paul Weller - Brushed/Heavy Soul
Tim Armstrong - Inner City Violence/A Poet's Life
Joe Strummer - Gangsterville/Earthquake Weather

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Through the Past Dorkily: Finding My Way

Editor's note: Through the Past Dorkily is a recurring feature that looks back at the embarrassingly dorky diary I kept as a 16-year-old in 1984.

Tuesday, October 2, 1984


Song of the day: Finding My Way - Rush

Top 5 at Five
1. Red Barchetta - Rush
2. I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar
3. Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2
4. Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen
5. I Wanna Rock - Twisted Sister

The day started off lousy. I met [Cute Nerdy Girl] in Guidance. She told me the truth. Her father didn't want her seeing me because I was dark-skinned. She was pretty pissed. Oh well. I guess I should expect that sort of thing.

At 6, [drummer dude] came by. He had some burnouts in the car with him. They were going to Lowell to buy some drugs or something. Then we had to pick up his girlfriend from Amesbury. By the time we got to the Centrum, Fastway was almost finished their set. I was pissed. But then Rush came out! Man, what an excellent show! They were incredible! Geddy, Alex and Neil all kicked ass! They played 7 songs off Grace Under Pressure, a lot of stuff off Moving Pictures and Signals, "Temples of Syrinx," "In the Mood," "Finding My Way," "Closer to the Heart." It was great. We had good seats. I saw [three buddies from school] and got a ride home with them. Thank goodness. I got home at 12:15.

What a night!

Bye, [CNG].

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, October 3, 1984

Song of the day: In the Mood - Rush

I got up at 11 this morning. We went to Methuen right away. I bought a Maxell 90-minute blank tape. By the time we got home, it was 3. I took the car and went to the field house. After I got changed, I went out to my car to look at the Kingstonian I picked up earlier. [CNG] was just arriving on her bike to watch the game. I said hi and we talked a bit. I then went to warm up.

We beat Farmington, 3-0! [Buddy] scored 2 goals and [another guy] the other. Farmington's a pretty bad team. They all bunched up and stood around. [Our regular goalie] played left wing for the last quarter. He played pretty good! Next is St. Thomas on Friday.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, October 4, 1984

Song of the day: Rockin' at Midnight - The Honeydrippers

Top 5 at Five
1. Rockin' at Midnight - The Honeydrippers
2. Girls With Guns - Tommy Shaw
3. I Wanna Rock - Twisted Sister
4. Blue Jean - David Bowie
5. I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar

I got up at 6. They were hot-topping the rest of the driveway at school today. I got a 100 on that Psych quiz. Tomorrow I have tests in Field Bio, Adv Math and Psych.

There was no soccer practice today, so I came home and taped my Ratt and Scorpions (Sting) albums. Sounds good.

I got all my college application forms out.

- The Barbarian

Friday, October 5, 1984

Song of the day: Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin

I hope I did good on those tests today.

We beat St. Thomas, 1-0. I didn't play, though. It was wicked cold out.

- The Barbarian

Saturday, October 6, 1984

Song of the day: Sinner's Swing! - Van Halen

I got up at 10. Went to work at 12. Got home at 10.

[Guitar dude] was working today. He said he broke up with [ex-gf]. Hmm.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, October 7, 1984

Song of the day: Blue Highway (live) - Billy Idol

I had to work all day today. We went to Papa Gino's for lunch. [Drummer dude] was fired Wednesday. Geez.

We didn't get out till 7:45 because the back room was such a mess.

San Diego beat the Cubs. Now they play Detroit in the World Series. Who woulda thunk?

- The Barbarian

Monday, October 8, 1984

Song of the day: Bears - Zebra     

Today sucked. Totally. I got a 73 on the Field Bio test, a 76 on the Adv Math test and an 82 on the Psych test. I couldn't believe it.

Then, in our practice, we lost a scrimmage with the JVs, 2-0. Can you believe it?

Dad saw some psychic who said I would be getting into either drugs or booze soon. Yeah, right.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, October 9, 1984

Song of the day: The Duellists - Iron Maiden

We lost against Pittsfield, 2-1. I couldn't believe it. I didn't play so I was pissed. Coach is mad because we screw around too much.

Mom decided that we won't go to Yale on Sunday.


- The Barbarian

Wednesday, October 10, 1984


Song of the day: Take Hold of the Flame - Queensryche

Another not-so-great day.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, October 11, 1984

Song of the day: The Unforgettable Fire - U2

My story on Rush is going in the paper next week.

We lost our game to Raymond 4-0. I played a bit. We didn't stop at McDonalds so I didn't have any dinner tonight.

- The Barbarian

Friday, October 12, 1984

Song of the day: In the Evening - Led Zeppelin

Top 5 at Five
1. Girls With Guns - Tommy Shaw
2. Valotte - Julian Lennon
3. Cheap Sunglasses (live) - ZZ Top
4. I Wanna Rock - Twisted Sister
5. Had a Dream - Roger Hodgson

Alright day. I spent 1st period in the computer room working on my fourth program.

I got home at 2:30. I got a few hours of sleep.

I went to the Bucket to get my check tonight. $68. [Hot chick from work] asked me for a picture of me. I asked her for one of her. What a babe!

- The Barbarian

Saturday, October 13, 1984

Song of the day: Heaven's On Fire - KISS

I got up at 9. I mailed my Ach test forms. Then I took the garbage to the dump, deposited $68 in the bank, bought 2 money orders to pay off my RCA bills. I also ordered 2 speakers for my Walkman from Columbia.

After all that, I went to work. Mom dropped me off. I gave [hot chick from work] my picture. She's gonna give me hers tomorrow. She likes me. Wow.

I'm working all day tomorrow and 12-9 next Saturday.

I got home at 10.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, October 14, 1984

Song of the day: Subdivisions - Rush

I got up at 6, went to work, got home at 8.

- The Barbarian

Monday, October 15, 1984

Song of the day: You're Still Laughing - Fee Waybill

What a day. I fell asleep in Adv Math. We lost to Winnacunnet, 4-1. I played right halfback. I ate at McDonalds and then Mom made me eat dinner at home. So I got a wicked bad stomach ache. It lasted from 8:30 till I fell asleep. Ugh.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, October 16, 1984

Song of the day: Bad Girl - ZZ Top

Today was a bit better. I got an 85 on that Computers quiz and I finished my 4th program. We had an optional practice today, but I didn't go.

I started filling out my college applications tonight.

- The Barbarian

Postscript: That Rush show was quite the adventure. I was so clueless about dope and stuff and was so paranoid that we'd get pulled over. Worked out pretty well that I ran into some friends at the concert and got a ride with them. I never really saw that dude after that, although we're now friends on Facebook. In retrospect, missing most of Fastway's set was no big deal; they were horrible. Rush was great, especially for a fanatic like me. I ended up seeing them twice on the Power Windows a year later, and haven't seen them in the 28 years since.

More soccer games I didn't play much in. Being a benchwarmer sucks. Oh well, there was only a game left in my high school career, anyway. I became much more of an athlete after college. 

I should've at least asked that girl from Market Basket out. Not sure why I didn't, really. Stupid! The situation with CNG and her dad was one of the few times I ran into actual racism at this school. One thing that always nagged at me a bit was the fact that I never met the guy, so how did he know what I looked like? Unless she told him, I guess. I had no reason to doubt her story, but it was a little out there. Certainly not unheard of, though. I've run into her a few times over the years; she's been married a couple of times, has a couple of grown kids.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 298: Give 'Til It Hurts

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss the benefit concert he's organizing. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Recorded at Casa Breitling before a live studio audience
- Breitling's hosting the 2nd annual Community Servings benefit show on Nov. 3 at TT the Bears in Cambridge, Mass.
- Featuring K. Heasley of Lilys, Soccer Mom, The Hush Now and Earthquake Party
- Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz will provide DJ sets
- Olive sniffs the recorder
- Get tickets now
- Providing meals to acutely ill folks
- Last year's event featured Johnny Foreigner
- Rock benefits have been happening for decades
- They seem less impactful now
- Live Aid was a huge event in 1985 with shows in Philly and London
- Controversy over charity administration
- The Concert for Bangaldesh in '71 was the first big charity concert
- The Secret Policeman's Ball was run by Amnesty International
- Sting's Rock for the Rainforest benefit has been happening for 20+ years
- Amnesty International's Conspiracy of Hope was a big deal in 1986
- Breitling: Axl Rose has Vince Neil-itis
- To be continued
- Bonehead of the Week

Shearwater - Fucked Up Life
Deer Tick - The Dream's in the Ditch
FIDLAR - Got No Money
Come - String (live)

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Shearwater song is on the album Fellow Travelers on Sub Pop. Download the song for free at Stereogum.
The Deer Tick song is on the album Negativity on Partisan Records. Download the song for free as part of the Partisan Records Summer/Fall Sampler 2013 on Amazon.
The FIDLAR song is on the EP Don't Try on Mom + Pop Music. Download the song for free at Chromewaves.
The Come song is part of the band's Epitonic Saki Session, which you can download for free at Epitonic.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #5: October 11, 2013

I think it's safe to say last night's installment of Stuck In Thee Garage rocked shit up. The first hour was fairly rip-roaring, and the second featured a great collection of covers. Hope you dug it. I think this guy did:

Without further ado, here's the playlist:

Hour 1

Artist - Song/Album
Pissed Jeans - Bathroom Laughter/Honeys
Mudhoney - The Only Son of the Widow from Nain/Vanishing Point
Scissorfight - Granite State Detroyer/New Hampshire
Tenacious D - Tribute/Tenacious D
Deer Tick - Pot of Gold/Negativity
Okkervil River - Stay Young/The Silver Gymnasium
Midlake - Antiphon/Antiphon
Drive-By Truckers - Don't Be in Love Without Me/Alabama Ass-Whuppin'
Beachwood Sparks - Make It Together/Desert Skies
Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?/AM
Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights/You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Blues X Man/Orange
Bullet Lavolta - Swan Dive/Force Majeure: The RCA Anthology ('90-'92)
Big Chief - Lion's Mouth/Platinum Jive
Diarrhea Planet - Hammer of the Gods/I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Grinderman - No Pussy Blues/Grinderman

Hour 2: Cover songs
Van Halen - Where Have All the Good Times Gone? (Kinks)/Diver Down
Soundgarden - Girl U Want (Devo)/Rusty Cage EP
The New Pornographers - Your Daddy Don't Know (Toronto)/Fubar soundtrack
Matthew Sweet - The Ballad of El Goodo (Big Star)/Big Star Small World
Queens of the Stone Age - Christian Brothers (Elliott Smith)/Sick Sick Sick
Mark Kozelek - Rock 'n Roll Singer (AC/DC)/What's Next to the Moon
The Feelies - Dancing Barefoot (Patti Smith)/The Bob zine flexi
The Twilight Singers - When Doves Cry (Prince)/SPIN Presents Purplish Rain
The Dirtbombs - Livin' for the City (Stevie Wonder)/Ultraglide in Black
The Flying Lizards - Money (That's What I Want) (Barrett Strong)/The Flying Lizards
Foo Fighters - Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty)/The Colour and the Shape
Frank Black and Teenage Fanclub - Handyman (Otis Blackwell)/The John Peel Session
Pearl Jam and Joey Ramone - Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys)/1995 Christmas single
Titus Andronicus - Breed (Nirvana)/SPIN Presents Newermind
Rollins Band - Earache My Eye (Cheech and Chong)/Sub Pop Singles Club July 1990

Friday, October 11, 2013

Reeling in the Years: 1987

In wrapping up the exhaustive look at the music of 1987 that Brian Salvatore and I did on CompCon (check out parts 1, 2 and 3 if you haven't already), I also compiled a playlist based on our favorite albums of that year. One notable exception was George Harrison's Cloud Nine, which for some reason isn't on Spotify (along with the rest of his catalog even though I could've sworn it was a few months ago).

Nevertheless, here's a pretty damn diverse playlist based on those episodes:

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Taste the Diff

I took a different approach to last Wednesday's Obits/Pile show at TTs in that I didn't overly prepare by immersing myself in the bands' music beforehand. I have the first two Obits albums and enjoy them, but haven't purchased the new one yet. I listened to it a few times on Spotify and knew the first two songs they released as free MP3s, but that's about it. As for Pile, I was familiar with their excellent "Prom Song" from their latest album dripping. I figured I'd just go in and let the sound hit me.

Pile was excellent, with singer-guitarist Rick Maguire and guitarist Matt Becker laying on the waves of heaviness throughout. The band's 40-minute set was thunderous, and even though I didn't know the songs, it really didn't matter. As a visceral experience, Pile managed to combine a sludgy heaviness with emotionally charged vocals. Definitely a band I plan to see again. I met Maguire and bassist Matt Connery at the merch table afterward and picked up dripping on vinyl for $10. Sweet.

Chicago punk act Heavy Times ripped through a set of fast and snotty songs before Obits hit the stage. I was excited about this show because I have dug frontman Rick Froberg's bands for years, especially Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. Obits played a blistering 55-minute set that was disappointing only in its brevity (still, being a Wednesday night, I wasn't complaining too much). Froberg's unique bark of a voice was in fine form, although it was hard to make out a lot of the vocals because of the sheer volume of the band. Froberg and guitarist Sohrab Habibion laid out snaky guitar lines that wove their way through the band's set, which was composed mostly of material from the new Bed & Bugs album. The band also featured drummer Alexis Fleisig of Girls Against Boys, filling in for departed sticksman Scott Gursky.

Although I'm still bummed I never saw Drive Like Jehu or Hot Snakes back in the day, seeing Obits kick ass makes up for that somewhat.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Fight the Good Fight

Editor's note: This originally ran as this week's Cold As Ice column on Popblerd.

We’re barely a week into the 2013-14 NHL season and already a coach has been fired (the 0-3 Flyers canned Peter Laviolette), a player has been stuck in a Dallas bathroom and the debate over the role of fighting in hockey has once again been renewed.

It didn’t take long for the season’s first shockingly violent moment to occur. Just 2:34 into the third period of last Tuesday’s Leafs-Canadiens game, enforcers Colton Orr and George Parros squared off for the second time that night. But as Toronto’s Orr slipped awkwardly, he pulled Parros down with him and the mustachioed tough guy hit the ice face first, knocking himself unconscious. Orr immediately signaled for the Montreal trainer to get out on the ice as Parros lay motionless. The Montreal crowd went from festive to silent as a bloodied Parros was treated and eventually taken off the ice on a stretcher. Ironically, a similar incident occurred two years ago in a fight between Orr and Parros, with Orr hitting the ice and suffering a season-ending concussion.  

The Parros injury was the catalyst for much discussion about whether fighting truly belonged in the game anymore. The NHL is the only major sport that condones fighting; yes, players are penalized but they’re also allowed to square off without interference until there’s a victor or the fight itself runs out of steam. The league has been trying to address the issue of concussions in the game in recent years by mandating stricter penalties for hits to the head, but obviously, a clear source of head injuries is still plentiful: the punches directed at an opponent’s skull in a fight. 

After the Parros incident (he was released from the hospital the next day, but is unlikely to play again anytime soon), general managers including Steve Yzerman of Tampa, Jim Rutherford of Carolina and Ray Shero of Pittsburgh (whose father Fred coached the Broad Street Bullies back in the day) all called for stricter penalties for fighting. Yzerman said players who fight should be ejected from games instead of simply given five-minute penalties. League officials, however, say no changes are planned at this time.

Defenders of fighting note that having a tough guy on a team provides protection to the more skilled players and often can provide a spark when a team is down. There’s no denying the fans in an arena get fired up when there’s a scrap on the ice. And of course, the NHL Players Association doesn’t want to see so-called enforcers lose their jobs if there’s a ban on fighting.

Certainly, these points have been brought up for decades now. As a kid in suburban Toronto in the 1970s, I remember the Philadelphia Flyers’ reign of terror as the Broad Street Bullies, pummeling their way to back-to-back Stanley Cups. The Flyers and Leafs met in the playoffs three straight years from ’75 to ’77, with bench-clearing brawls and strewn equipment as much a part of the play as goals and assists. I’m old school. I enjoy a good fight as much as the next guy. A fight that breaks out in the heat of a game is exciting. I love movies like “Slap Shot” and “Goon.” 

But I’m losing my patience with the dopey staged fights between goons like Orr and Parros who clearly are on the ice for one reason and one reason only. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, noted fighters like Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Dave “Tiger” Williams and John Wensink all scored 20 or more goals at least once in their careers; they weren't limited to 3 or 4 minutes of ice time per night, basically wasting a roster spot for the occasional throwdown.

I don’t want to see the game robbed of its toughness and personality and turned into a figure skating competition with sticks. Hitting and, yes, the occasional fight, are as much a part of hockey as speed and skill. (And yes, I enjoy watching Olympic and college hockey, where fighting is not allowed.) 

But I want to see a return to the days when teams didn’t have to bring out some big stiff like Buffalo’s John Scott or Orr or Parros who brings nothing to the game. Teams like Detroit have been pretty successful for years without a designated enforcer in their lineup. Even teams who play enforcers rarely put them on the ice in important situations late in games or in the playoffs. What does that tell you?

If you’re going to have fighters in the league, let them be big players with skill like Milan Lucic of the Bruins or Evander Kane of the Jets; players who can fight if need be, but are more valuable contributing to their team’s offensive success. Of course, getting the skill level up and the goon quotient down isn’t going to be done via league rule changes. It’s going to take a change in mindset from certain GMs who currently choose to stock their teams with fighters. My favorite team, Toronto, is a prime example. GM Dave Nonis put the team in a serious salary cap crunch by insisting on signing two enforcers (Orr and Frazer McLaren) to two-year deals, which then compromised the Leafs’ ability to sign its talented young players whose contracts were up. Somehow, he managed to do it for this season, but the next offseason will be a difficult one for the Leafs.

Critics argue that the NHL will never have mass popularity while fighting is still allowed in the game. I honestly don’t care about that. Hockey’s ultimately a regional sport; you’re never going to get huge acceptance of it in warm weather areas where people never see ice and I’m okay with that. It’s not about that. The NHL should be the best hockey league in the world with the best players in the world. Goons don’t belong there; let them play in the low minors. Let’s keep the skilled players in the NHL and improve the game for everyone.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 297: Sign O' the Times

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1987. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Jay's #2 album of '87: The Cult's Electric
- Used to crank it while working supermarket night shifts
- Brian's #2: R.E.M.'s Document
- Mike Mills is the band's secret weapon
- R.E.M. was burdened by U2 comparisons
- Stipe and Mills formed Automatic Baby with U2's Clayton and Mullen
- Jay's #1: GNR's Appetite for Destruction
- Paved the way for rawer hard rock
- Brian's #1: Pixies' Come On Pilgrim EP
- New Pixies is okay but nowhere near the old one
- Teenage metalhead Jay also dug Joe Satriani's Surfing With the Alien
- Enjoying That Metal Show
- Terrible moments in '87 music
- Jay: Bruce Willis releases an album
- Brian: Pink Floyd's post-Waters output
- "That's What Friends Are For"
- Jay: Terrible movie soundtrack music, like Bob Seger's "Shakedown"
- "Shakedown" was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe
- Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
- Brian: The death of legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius
- The fascinating story of Aaron North (ex-Icarus Line and NIN guitarist)
- The Jesus Lizard got a record deal thanks to Kurt Cobain
- Next on our hit list: 1980
- Bonehead of the Week

Sebadoh - I Will
The Men - I Saw Her Face
The Besnard Lakes - People of the Sticks

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Sebadoh song is on the album Defend Yourself on Joyful Noise Recordings. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) as part of the Paste Fall Preview 2013 at NoiseTrade.
The song from The Men is on the album Campfire Songs on Sacred Bones Records. Download the song for free at Aquarium Drunkard.
The Besnard Lakes song is on the album Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO on Jagjaguwar Records. Download the song for free at Chromewaves.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Stuck In Thee Garage #4: October 4, 2013

Last night's episode of Stuck In Thee Garage kicked off with songs about drinking and then closed with an hour of songs that are 20 years old, inspired by the recent deluxe reissue of Nirvana's In Utero. Time flies when you're kicking butt, my friends. That was back when we were all drinking this stuff:

OK. On to the playlist:

Hour 1

Artist - Song/Album
Black Flag - Six Pack/Damaged
METZ - Wasted/Metz
Art Brut - Alcoholics Unanimous/Art Brut Vs. Satan
Guillermo Sexo - Fall Lens/Dark Spring
Mind Spiders - Make Make Make Make/Inhumanistic
Ty Segall and White Fence - I am not a Game/Hair
Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?/AM
Girls Against Boys - It's a Diamond Life/The Ghost List
Wavves - Hippies is Punks/Adult Swim Singles Program
Best Practices - Home for Halloween/Sore Subjects
Natural Velvet - Dark Inertia/Salome with the Head of John the Baptist
Chelsea Light Moving - Groovy and Linda/Chelsea Light Moving
Ceremony - Hysteria/Zoo
Guided By Voices - Flunky Minnows/English Little League
Pixies - What Goes Boom/EP 1
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away/Push the Sky Away

Hour 2: Songs that are 20
Nirvana - Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle/In Utero
Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. - Another Body Murdered/Judgment Night soundtrack
Urge Overkill - Positive Bleeding/Saturation
PJ Harvey - Rid of Me/Rid of Me
Liz Phair - Divorce Song/Exile in Guyville
Superchunk - For Tension/On the Mouth
Buffalo Tom - Treehouse/Big Red Letter Day
Beck - Beercan/Mellow Gold
Dinosaur Jr. - Out There/Where You Been
The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen/Gentlemen
Sugar - Come Around/Beaster
Fugazi - Public Witness Program/In On the Kill Taker
Swervedriver - Blowin' Cool/Mezcal Head
Matthew Sweet - Knowing People/Altered Beast
The Breeders - Do You Love Me Now?/Last Splash

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Through the Past Dorkily: Are We Ourselves?

Editor's note: Through the Past Dorkily is a recurring feature that looks back at the embarrassingly dorky diary I kept as a 16-year-old in 1984.

Thursday, September 20, 1984

Song of the day: Blue Jean - David Bowie

Top 5 at Five
1. Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2
2. I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar
3. Mystery - Dio
4. Blue Jean - David Bowie
5. Ride With You - Blackfoot

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that I have a chest cold and I feel terrible.

The College Fair went alright. I got a bunch of info.

I found out that [buddy] dumped his girlfriend yesterday and is now seeing [another girl] who broke up with her boyfriend. Whew! It happened so fast! Just a couple of days ago, they were doing fine. Weird, man.

When I got back to the school, I felt so lousy that I went to the nurse's office and laid down for the last 2 periods. I dozed off and woke up to find [cute nerdy girl] sitting beside me. We were talking and I think she really likes me a lot. I called her when I got home. She asked me to call her again at 7:30. I did. She does like me. Wow.

I hope I get better. I wanna play Saturday.

I got my paycheck, $47.

- The Barbarian

Friday, September 21, 1984

Song of the day: Flamethrower - J. Geils Band


Whew! What a day! I got up, my cough wasn't as bad, but my nose was running like crazy. There was an announcement on wishing me Happy B-day, but it didn't say who it was from. So all day, people were wishing me HB. [Hot chick] told me she was taking me out tonight. How could I refuse? I worked it out with [Journalism teacher] so I don't lose any points for losing those stories. Whew! I got an 86 on that Psych test. Oh well. Field Biology test Monday. I went to practice after school. I got home around 5:30. We ordered pizza but Mom got home around 7:30 with it. We ate that and some cake. [Cute nerdy girl] called and told me she put that announcement on. Wow! I thought it was [hot chick]. I think [CNG] really has the hots for me. After that, around 9, [a buddy and a cute chick] showed up. We were about to leave when his car broke down. We jumped it and went to Hawaiian Islands or Chinese food. [Buddy] took his car home. He was pissed. Me and [cute chick] got a table and later a bunch of friends showed up. [Buddy] came later. We ate till 10:45 and went to Jeremy's house. They gave me another cake and we watched Private School for Girls till 12:30. Then I came home. Phew!

- The Barbarian

Saturday, September 22, 1984

Song of the day: Are We Ourselves? - The Fixx

I got up at 8. At 9:30, we went to Exeter. We played a great but lost, 1-0. We deserved to win. I played most of the 2nd quarter and some of the 4th. I got home at 1:15 and went to work. I got home at 9:50.

I got permission to see Rush! Yah!

- The Barbarian

Sunday, September 23, 1984

Song of the day: Tooth and Nail - Dokken

I got up at 7. I got to work at 8:15. There wasn't much to do. On our hour lunch, we all went to Papa Gino's.

I got home at 7.

I called [CNG] at 7:30. Man, she is wicked suggestive! She was flirting with me like crazy on the phone! Hiawatha!

Mom got me a Toshiba walkman. Cassette with FM tuner pack. It's great!

- The Barbarian

Monday, September 24, 1984

Song of the day: Flash of the Blade - Iron Maiden

Good day, sort of. Jeremy came by at 7:10 but I didn't hear him. I went out at 7:20 and waited till 7:30. Then I got a ride from Mom. I missed homeroom.

I took the Field Bio test. It was easy.

We had a light practice today. After I got home, [CNG] called me. She said she liked me even before we met. She told me she thought I was cute. Awesome! What a babe! She's great!

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, September 25, 1984

Song of the day: Donut City - Eddie Van Halen

Top 5 at Five
1. Amanda - Boston
2. Teacher Teacher - .38 Special
3. Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2
4. Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
5. Donut City - Eddie Van Halen

I got a 97 on that Field Bio test! Yaah!

[CNG] is awesome! I was talking to her after school. She's got a dirty mind, just like me! Seriously, this looks good.

We tied Newmarket 1-1. We shoulda killed 'em! Next is Pelham. We have to win!

[CNG] is awesome!

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, September 26, 1984

Song of the day: Tears - John Waite

My "Cable Crisis" story went in the paper after all. And my "Writer's Block" story is going in next week. I finally got my 1st program done in Computers.

Man, [CNG]'s incredible! She wrote me a letter today. We were sitting together after school and she started touching my knee. Wow! I almost died! Man! She came by the field house before practice. I called her when I got home. She called me at 9, just to say goodnight. She really digs me. And what's better, I really dig her!

Dad was crying today. I couldn't believe it. He said he missed his family. He told us he cries all the time. I still can't believe it!

[CNG]. Wow.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, September 27, 1984

Song of the day: Teacher Teacher - 38 Special

Today was alright. Classes were boring. [CNG] was great!

We won! We beat Pelham 1-0! They played wicked dirty. I didn't even get to play at all. That sucked!

I got my check today, $22.

- The Barbarian

Friday, September 28, 1984

Song of the day: Goodbye to You - Scandal

I don't believe this is happening to me. The day zipped by, the dance has started. Good videos. Crue, VH, TS, etc. [CNG] kissed me all of a sudden. We kissed a bit, had one slow dance. I'm feeling great! We leave at 10:30, but she wants to talk in the car. Uh oh. This is the bad part. She said she wanted to keep seeing me, but she wanted to date other guys at the same time. This hit me like a friggin' bomb! I couldn't believe it. Of course, I'd never be able to do that. I'd be so jealous. I took her home. We stayed in the car for a while. We started kissing, frenching, I guess to get as much in before saying goodbye. Man, is she a great kisser. She said her parents have divorced 2 times and she was scared to have a relationship. Great. Where does this leave me?



- The Barbarian

Saturday, September 29, 1984

Song of the day: Amanda - Boston

Man, life's a bummer! I miss [CNG]. A lot.

We lost to Trinity, 2-0. It was a close game but no cigar. Too bad. Next is Oyster River. Great.

Jeremy, his girlfriend and me went to see The Wild Life. It was pretty cool. Eddie VH did the soundtrack so I really got into that.

I have to work Sun 7-6 and Sat 12-9. [Ex-gf] told me last night her party was moved up to Oct. 6, but I can't go now.


- The Barbarian

Sunday, September 30, 1984

Song of the day: Stone Free (live) - Jimi Hendrix

What a lousy day. I got up at 6, went to work. One guy quit, another guy got fired, another guy quit. I came home for lunch. I called [CNG]. She didn't have time to talk because she had to go out. I went back, got out at 7. I did my homework. I feel lousy.

- The Barbarian

Monday, October 1, 1984

Song of the day: Fever - Judas Priest

Well. Let's see. [One of my teachers] wasn't here. I didn't get a story done for Journalism.

[Ex-gf] moved her party back to the 20th. Sheesh!

We lost to Oyster River 4-0. We played a good game. Our 5-4-1 defense kept 'em confused. I ran into some big guy and landed on my back! Ouch. It rained all during the game.

Me and [CNG] are going to discuss going out tomorrow morning. I'll keep you posted.

I took $35 out of the bank.

- The Barbarian

Postscript: You've gotta admit, I had a rough year with the ladies. Every time it looked like something was happening, the girl would flake out on me. Yeesh.

When I turned 17, I had a nasty chest cold. When I turned 46, same damn thing.

I didn't write it down, but that dance was a newfangled one: a video dance. They had a big screen set up and showed music videos. I was already overlooking the fact that CNG had told me she liked Air Supply (for reals) and then at this dance, a live video of U2 playing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" was on and she said she hated it. I remember thinking maybe this girl isn't right for me.

Seeing my dad cry was pretty strange for me, since he had never shown any kind of emotion other than anger through my entire childhood. As the boozing increased, so did the blubbering.