Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More 'Mats News: New Songs, New Greatest Hits Album

Exclusive: Replacements Reunite For New Songs
Paul Westerberg

March 29, 2006, 4:40 PM ET

Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
As tipped yesterday (March 28) on Billboard's Jaded Insider blog, Replacements members Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars have reunited to record two new songs for an upcoming retrospective, "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements." Due June 13 via Rhino, the set will feature "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive," the band's first new recordings in 16 years.

Session drummer Josh Freese was behind the kit for the new recordings, while Mars, who in recent years has foregone music for an art career, contributed backing vocals. The songs were written by Westerberg and were recorded at producer Ed Ackerson's Flowers studio in Minneapolis. At deadline, it is unclear if any further activity is brewing within the Replacements' camp.

Westerberg told in 2005 that he still reflects fondly on the Replacements' early days, especially "when we were riding in the van and we ripped the seats out and would just listen to tapes and listen to Black Flag. [We would] sort of slam dance and stuff around in the back of the van and be drinking hard liquor at noon and it was just, you know, carefree times. We didn't give a damn."

Westerberg also said he tried to reunite the Replacements for an October 2004 benefit concert for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller, who later died of cancer. "I didn't call the guys myself," he admitted. "One of our old roadie pals came over who owns a bar now and runs a club and was asking if I would do a benefit for Karl and I said, 'See if the boys want to play.' And he kind of went around and got various answers and it didn't come back real strong like, 'Hey let's do it.' And I felt like that was the opportunity, that was the chance and we just missed it.

"Now I say, there's probably no chance we'll get back together again," he said, without pinpointing which of his former colleagues were not interested. "It bothered me for like an afternoon," he laughed. "But, it did bother me for that long because I was secretly excited and some of them weren't."

Meanwhile, sources say the long-awaited Replacements boxed set is still in the planning stages and will not be out until 2007 at the earliest. Rhino is also working on expanded editions of the Replacements' albums, but no release date has yet been announced for those packages either.

Here is the track list for “Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?”:

"Takin a Ride"
"Shiftless When Idle"
"Kids Don't Follow"
"Color Me Impressed"
"Within Your Reach"
"I Will Dare"
"Answering Machine"
"Here Comes a Regular"
"Kiss Me on the Bus"
"Bastards of Young"
"Left of the Dial"
"Alex Chilton"
"Can't Hardly Wait"
"Achin' To Be"
"I'll Be You"
"Merry Go Round"
"Message to the Boys"
"Pool & Dive"

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More On Replacements Rumors

Photo stirs Replacements reunion rumors
Pioneer Press
A mysterious photo circulating on the Internet has sparked rumors that the Replacements have reunited to record new material.

The picture, which was posted Monday on the gossip site, shows Replacements drummer Chris Mars, bassist Tommy Stinson and vocalist/guitarist Paul Westerberg posing in a recording studio with session drummer Josh Freese. By mid-day Tuesday, it had been removed from as well as from a Westerberg fan site.

Westerberg's manager, Darren Hill, said an official statement would follow soon, possibly today, and added, "There is a lot of misinformation going around."

Fans on the Web have speculated what the photo could mean, suggesting the group — which disbanded in 1991 — might be recording songs for an upcoming Replacements box set. Some have wondered if the whole thing is an early April Fool's Day gag.

Jeff White, a publicist for Rhino Records, echoed Hill's sentiment about the rumors: "The Web is the bane of my existence."

He did confirm a single-disc Replacements compilation that spans the band's career is tentatively due out in late June. Remastered versions of the Replacements' studio albums — including fan favorites "Let it Be," "Tim" and "Pleased to Meet Me" — would likely follow by the end of the year.

"There is a box set in the works," White said, "but it's probably a year off. It's way too early to say what (it will contain)."

White said he was aware of the photo and confirmed band members were in the studio together, but he did not know any further details.

In a recent podcast available for download from Rhino's Web site, Stinson said band members have been sorting through the vaults as well as looking at televised Replacements performances from "Saturday Night Live" and European TV for possible inclusion in the box set.

Stinson also discussed his work with Westerberg on the soundtrack for the upcoming animated film "Open Season," which in turn led to Stinson landing his own film deal, writing music for "Catch and Release," a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Garner that's due next year.

Pop Music Critic Ross Raihala can be reached at or 651-228-5553.

Local Stations - Please Fix Your HD Problem

I think it’s time to lighten up a little bit. After weeks of chastising politicians, including our Mayor and members of the state’s legislature, I should probably move on to other targets for at least a week or so.
The fact is, however, that my rant today is about a topic that actually greatly affects my daily life. Let’s face it, this weekly rant is all about me!
As many of you know, a few months ago I jumped into this century and bought myself a high-def television. I didn’t buy the biggest, or the most expensive, but I couldn’t be more pleased with Taylor the TV. The quality is amazing – one can see the individual blades of grass during a football game; the ageing lines of 40-something year old actresses who falsely believe they’re still getting it done; the ass pimples of otherwise hot porn stars. I even sat through five minutes of that awful CSI: Miami because of the beautifully captured background shots.
Unfortunately, our local television stations are doing their best to screw up a great thing. Any time that KELO or KDLT throws in a crawl screen or logo, their HD broadcast reverts back to the lo-fi format. This can get quite annoying, particularly this past weekend during the NCAA tournaments. Every few minutes this would occur, either to remind us that their awful news broadcast would be on another channel or just their silly little logo. This happens all the time, and Taylor has almost been injured many times.
KDLT’s problems are even worse. They just can’t decide if they want to broadcast in HD or not. Many times their prime time shows fluctuate back and forth throughout the telecast. I finally had enough and left them a nasty message a few weeks ago when “My Name Is Earl” started off in HD, then went lo-fi after the first commercial break before finishing up back in HD. C’mon, make up your mind!
Yet KDLT actually has two HD channels now. Some brain surgeon decided that it would be cool to have a 24-hour HD weather channel. C’mon! There are only a handful of open slots in the HD section of the cable dial, and I can think of quite a few better choices. Hell, NBC even has a few – MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo. Any of those would make sense; weather doesn’t. Particularly when KELO already has a non-HD weather channel. You just don’t need the extra quality to look at a map (although KELO’s LiteBrite would look pretty cool in high-def).
I bring this all up because we’re about to enter the part of the year where there’s a so-called storm somewhere in our area every single night. We all know that Cable-boy and Company just can’t wait for the first marathon coverage of a handful of clouds in the sky. My plea to them is simple – fix this problem! If I’m paying extra for HD, then the available programming should be in HD! I know the problem can be avoided – KSFY has no problems of this sort. When there were weather concerns during Monday Night Football games this past fall, KSFY just put a little logo in the upper corner of the screen instructing people to go to their regular channel for “breaking weather info”. The HD feed wasn’t broken, and people like me that don’t care that Miller, SD was getting a light dusting could continue to watch the game in peace. If KSFY can do this, there’s no reason why our pals at the other stations can’t do the same. No reason at all. Now back to watching Taylor Rain on Taylor the TV.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Pals Gabe and Deanna Came to Visit Last Weekend

Hudson's Ten Favorite Songs

My best buddy I’ve never met, Corey Vilhauer at Black Marks on Wood Pulp, sent me an email today requesting a list of my ten favorite songs of all time. Although I’m a little upset that I didn’t come up with this idea myself, I suppose I have to follow through.

Let’s make this clear, though. There is a huge difference from the ten greatest songs (or singles) of all time and my personal favorites. You’re not going to see “Satisfaction”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Dock of the Bay’, or “Hey Jude”, let alone “Stairway to Heaven” or “Free Bird”. These are MY songs; tunes that I’ll go to my grave defending to anybody and everybody.

  1. Replacements, “I Will Dare”. It’s no surprise that the fanboy that I am would pick a Paul Westerberg song as his favorite of all time…but it really should be everybody’s favorite. In a parallel universe it’s the biggest hit of all time. In a life full of disappointment and angst, there’s something about the optimism of the lyrics that somehow brings a smile to my face no matter how down in the dumps I’m currently feeling. “Meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime/I don’t care, meet me tonight/If you will dare, I will dare!” Plus, it’s the song (and the album it came from, Let It Be) that made me aware that the ‘mats were something more than another noisy Minneapolis band.

  2. Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses”. This choice is probably a huge surprise to anybody who knows me. Yes, everybody’s aware that I’ve always been a huge fan of Mick, Keith, and the rest of rock’s greatest geriatrics, but it’s generally the hard-driving rock tracks that appeal to me. “Wild Horses” is that rare ballad that isn’t overly sentimental. In fact, it’s the last nails in the coffin of a relationship, sort of what happens after the thrill of “I Will Dare” is gone forever. “Let’s do some living after the love dies”, sings Jagger. Supposedly, the song originated from a line used after girlfriend Marianne Faithfull came out of a drug-induced coma in Australia.

  3. Bob Dylan, “Idiot Wind”. I guess my selections are loosely compiling a story. “Idiot Wind” comes after the dying relationship of “Wild Horses”; that inevitable period where a spurned lover truly hates their former mate. Dylan has written plenty of bitter songs over the years but never has his lyrics been THIS biting. “You’re an idiot, babe/It’s a wonder you still know how to breathe”.

  4. Son Volt, “Windfall”. Rock ‘n’ roll (and country) has a long history of road songs, but Jay Farrar’s country-rock lament of a lonely soul traveling the empty highways of middle America is one of the most beautiful examples of the genre. “Switching it over to AM/Searching for a truer sound/Can't recall the call letters/Steel guitar and settle down/Catching an all-night station somewhere in Louisiana/It sounds like 1963, but for now it sounds like heaven…May the wind take your troubles away”.

  5. Bruce Springsteen, “No Surrender”. It would have been easy (and expected) to pick any one of a handful of Springsteen tunes for inclusion -“Rosalita”, “Thunder Road”, “Born To Run”, to name a couple. Yet I’ve always had a soft spot for this declaration of friendship, particularly in it’s place on Born In the U.S.A. right before “Bobbie Jean”’s goodbye note to departing guitarist Little Steve Van Zant. “We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school” – truer words have never been sung.

  6. The Kinks, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”. Over a decade before the arrival of punk rock, Kinks leader Ray Davies issued the genre’s manifesto – “And I don't want to ball about like everybody else/And I don't want to live my life like everybody else/And I won't say that I feel fine like everybody else/'Cause I'm not like everybody else/I'm not like everybody else”. Too bad that the band buried it as a b-side.

  7. The Clash, “White Man In Hammersmith Palais”. A biting look at the English punk scene that they helped create, “White Man” marks the introduction of elements of reggae into the Clash’s sound. It’s also his finest vocal to date. “Turning rebellion into money” indeed.

  8. The Beatles, “Help”. Years after the breakup of the Fab Four, John Lennon explained that this song was his first cry of help. While Lennon was known for embellishing his feelings about the band, he certainly wasn’t in a happy place when he wrote this plea. Nonetheless, “Help” was a turning point for the group as it was one of the first songs to break away from the “Love Me Do”/”She Love You” lyrical template. (Other Beatles songs I contemplated using include “Nowhere Man”, “A Day In the Life”, and “I Am the Walrus”.

  9. Elvis Costello, “Radio Radio”. The rise of punk rock coincided with the decline of commercial radio. Instead of being run by music fans, radio became big business. The Eagles, Peter Frampton, Bee Gees, Styx…the list goes on and on of the bands that were corporate-friendly. “Radio Radio” was our call to arms – “the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools tryin’ to anesethise the way that you feel”. Too bad that the situation is miles worse almost thirty years later.

  10. Lucinda Willaims, “Right In Time”. Probably the most erotic song of all time. Accompanied by a Byrds-y folk-rock backing, Williams “lie(s) on (her) back and moans at the ceiling”. To be the person she’s longing for.

Diablo Cody on Letterman

Diablo Cody is a pop-culture critic for the City Pages. Before that gig she was a Minneapolis stripper, and recently wrote of that period of her life in a great new book, "Candy Girl".

This Week's Poll Results

In the aftermath of the tumultuous legislative session, what should be our new state logo?

1. The Guns Are Private But Vaginas Aren't State
2. The Blame It On Kelo-land State
3. South Dakota - "Protecting" Life One Concealed Gun At a Time
4. South Dakota - The Abstinence Wonderland
5. No Cash For Education But Plenty For Litigation State

Mayor Munson, Please Just Say No!

Once again, I offer up a repeat offender. It doesn’t happen very often, but there are times when one of my targets just doesn’t get the hint the first time around.
I didn’t think this would happen, though. I truly believed that when this man gave his word that he would disappear that he would do just that. Yet a few weeks ago word started spreading that Dave Munson was reconsidering his decision to not seek reelection as Mayor of our fine city.Last week these rumors started heating up, particularly when Munson was seen begging for signatures at a Skyforce basketball game. (I realize the Argus made it sound like he sheepishly allowed people to sign, but from what I’ve been told this was not the case. Think about it – he didn’t just happen to have the forms with him.)
This past Friday he made it official; conveniently on the same day that he was the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. You’re right, I don’t believe that this was a coincidence.
It’s clear that Dave Munson is either the dumbest man in local politics or the most cunning. While I used to hold the position that he was the former, his recent actions point to the latter. I honestly believe that this was his plan all along. By dropping out of the race, the heat dropped from the most recent controversies surrounding his non-reported fundraiser that occurred shortly after his 2002 election.
Sitting out those four or five weeks allowed all of his downtown buddies to write campaign letters to the Argus Leader, complaining that everybody has been mean to the poor man. After all, he LOVES our city. Well, who doesn’t? Wouldn’t anybody who seeks the thankless job of mayor or city commissioner be a person who loves Sioux Falls?
As for his treatment by the media, he really shouldn’t complain. For the most part, they’ve treated him with kid gloves. Sure, the budget problems were reported, as were the already-mentioned fundraiser scandal. Otherwise, his mumbling and rambling have been edited in the most positive light.
A perfect example of the “BJ”-type of media coverage occurred Sunday evening by KELO’s Jody Schwann. Munson would be wise to circulate the three-minute “story” as campaign promotion. No tough questions were asked, as were no follow-ups. Munson took credit for Phillips to the Falls, although that project was started in previous administrations.
He also bragged about “cleaning up downtown”. Now we all know that in my opinion there was nothing to clean. Whatever problems were occurring could have been fixed by a larger police presence. But who really was behind the ordinances that made it illegal for teens to congregate downtown? It wasn’t Munson; no, it was the unlikely trio of Andy Howes, Vernon Brown, and Darrin Smith that in my opinion looked like fools when they hid out on the second floor of a downtown building. Yet Schwann just gave Munson her customary frozen face look as he bragged about his accomplishments.
There is also some unfinished business that the city commission should immediately bring up. It was due to Munson’s promise to sit out this election that they tabled the investigation into his fundraiser. If he’s back in, then it should be back on the table. If not, then those looking to unseat him better raise the issue.
Dave, please, I’m begging you. Just say no. Even some of your supporters have told me that you’re going to be heartbroken on election night. There are plenty of other gigs for you. Just a few weeks ago I had a poll to come up with a new job, and readers of my blog selected occupations such as Wal-Mart greeter, Wilbur at Gigglebees, and KDLT anchor. I think any of these would be a rewarding experience for you, my friend.

This Week's Poll

A Serious Question This Time - Who Will You Vote For Mayor of Sioux Falls?
Janoct Adja
Vernon Brown
Dan Christopherson
Bruce Halverson
Lora Hubbel
Bob Jamison
Dave Munson
Casey Murschel
Mitch Richter
Darrin Smith
Darrel Viereck
Free polls from

Monday, March 20, 2006

WWE Salaries

I realize that I'm the only person around that enjoys the WWE, but I found this info interesting:

Below is the World Wrestling Entertainment talent roster payroll that was taken from October of 2004 until February of 2006. The shown dollar amount beside each wrestler is the grand total that they earned from World Wrestling Entertainment in a one year period (downside guarantees, bonuses, and merchandise shares). Some wrestler's were given special privileges and bonuses in their contracts which can also be seen beside their total pay.

All wrestler's contracts begin and end at different months of the year, there for each shown amount is what that particular wrestler earned in a 365 day time period between October 2004 and February 2006 (or however long they have been with the company). All dollar amounts were rounded up/down (Example: $244,766 would be $245,000)

- Ashley Massaro: $131,000
- Batista: $813,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Big Show: $1,000,000 (Base salary)
- Bob Holly: $217,000
- Booker T: $375,000
- Candice Michelle: $64,000
- Carlito: $319,000
- Chavo Guerrero: $206,000
- Chris Benoit: $488,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Chris Masters: $253,000
- Christian - $396,000
- Danny Basham: $130,000
- Doug Basham: $126,000
- Eddie Guerrero: $372,000
- Edge: $704,000
- Eugene: $189,000
- Funaki: $124,000
- Gene Snitsky: $292,000
- Gregory Helms: $277,000
- John Cena: $1,743,000 (First class flight tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation paid for every week)
- John Layfield: $786,000 (Five star hotel accommodations paid for every week)
- Jerry Lawler: $204,000 (First class flight tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation paid for every week)
- Jillian Hall: $52,000
- Joey Mercury: $134,000
- Johnny Nitro: $143,000
- Jonathan Coachman: $175,000
- Kane: $ 851,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Ken Kennedy: $133,000
- Kid Kash: $62,000
- Kurt Angle: $1,023,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Lance Cade: $118,000
- Lilian Garcia: $90,000
- Lita: $286,000 (Mostly downside paid due to lack of wrestling)
- Maria: $41,000
- Mark Henry: $300,000 (Base pay)
- Matt Hardy: $322,000 (Missed over $70,000 of pay due to firing)
- Matt Striker: $43,000
- Melina: $155,000
- Mickie James: $72,000
- Nunzio: $186,000
- Orlando Jordan: $145,000
- Paul London: $177,000
- Psicosis: $122,000
- Randy Orton: $711,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Rene Dupree: $289,000
- Rey Mysterio: $414,000
- Ric Flair: $508,000 (First class flight tickets paid for every week)
- Rob Conway: $186,000
- Rob Van Dam: $220,000 (Only received downside and royalties due to injury)
- Rosie: $105,000
- Shawn Michaels: $1,045,000 (First class flight tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation paid for every week)
- Shelton Benjamin: $366,000
- Simon Dean: $132,000
- Stacy Keibler: $178,000 (Only downside paid during absence)
- Steven Richards: $94,000
- Torrie Wilson: $260,000
- Trevor Murdoch: $48,000
- Triple H: $2,013,000 (Allowed the personal use of company jet (10) times per year. First class flight tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation paid for every week)
- Trish Stratus: $618,000 (Receives 20% of all Trish Stratus merchandise sold)
- Tyson Tomko: $127,000
- Undertaker: $1,811,000 (First class flight tickets, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation paid for every week)
- Val Venis: $210,000
- Victoria: $275,000
- Viscera: $130,000
- William Regal: $225,000

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Erotica Author Susie Bright's Thoughts On Argus Leader

From her blog

South Dakota Paper Bans Abortion Opinion
The daily paper of record in South Dakota refuses to run editorials on the abortion ban, because they think everyone will get too upset:

The the biggest abortion rights story in 33 years is taking place in its own backyard, but South Dakota's largest newspaper will not editorialize on the controversial statewide abortion ban just recently approved by its legislature.

"Part of it was that we wouldn't change people's minds, and part of it, regardless of which side we came down on this, is that people would read into it things that are not true," Chuck Baldwin, editorial page editor of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., told Editor & Publisher. "People would think our coverage is tainted, and not just on abortion but on everything."

When asked if such a view could preclude editorials on virtually any controversial issue, Baldwin disagreed. "Abortion is different from other issues," he replied. "It is a hot-button issue at the core of everyone's soul. It will not change no matter what."

Hey, readers: Are you a reporter, editor, newspaper staffer, blogger, journalist— or even someone who's had the slightest course in standing on your own two feet?

WRITE Editor Chuck Baldwin. His snail mail is: Argus Leader, P.O. Box 5034, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5034. Fax: (605) 331-2294.

You wanna compose the letter yourself? Or do you wanna use mine?

Dear Mr. Baldwin:

So you aren't running any editorials on the South Dakota abortion ban!

Are you high?— or do you just not care about being the laughingstock of your entire profession?

If you do not cover the pressing news and opinions of of the day, you can just turn in your "reporter" badge to the little clown car people who would be happy to outfit you with a diaper and a party hat.

What is your paper's record?

When did an editorial ban come up before? Iraq, Vietnam, perhaps? Gee, those were touchy issues too. And civil rights made so many people upset. I don't know how you get the nerve to discuss something as hot as presidential elections, either. Even the fluoride debate might be a little too steamy for the Argus (gulp) Leader!

I've been a working journalist more than thirty years, like you. I'm a freelancer now, but I've worked for small-town and big city dailies. I've been the plaintiff in landmark 1st Amendment cases defending the right to publish editorial without prior restraint. (See Bright vs. Los Angeles Board of Education).

Gee, I guess I shouldn't have BOTHERED, because gutless wonderments like the Board of the Argus Leakypants don't need to publish anything that might get under someone's skin.

Have a nice weather section, Chuck. But watch out... you know, Bill Napoli might think your meteorology isn't in God's plan. He might have another one of his wicked fantasies you wouldn't want to touch with a ten-foot abortion exception.

I see from your biography that you take special interest in "race and refugee issues." Can you imagine not speaking out on Kosovo because it was a 'hot button issue"?

Like Grandma always said, it's time to grow a spine. It's the only way out of this hell. Your problem isn't lack of opinion. This is the biggest thing that has happened in South Dakota since the stand-off with the FBI at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Did the Argus Leader cover THAT on their editorial page?

Redemption could be yours, at least professionally. Send out announcements when you find gravity.

Susie Bright

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Last Week's Purchases

Merle Haggard, "Sing Me Back Home" The death (and subsequent reissue and movie treatments) of Johnny Cash has pushed the legacy of Merle Haggard into the shadows. Yet the recent release of ten classic 60’s albums (on two-fer sets) proves that Haggard was every bit as transcendent. The plaintive morning-after plea of “Sing Me Back Home” ranks as one of the greatest country songs of any era.

Van Morrison, "Your Cheating Heart" Van Morrison is one of those vocalists that could sing the phone book with conviction. I guess it’s only inevitable that at some point in his career he would tackle classic country tunes. While “Pay the Devil” surely doesn’t rank as one of his greatest albums, Morrison’s soulful vocals puts to shame all but a few of the current country chart-toppers.

Neko Case, "Hold On" I guess we’re on a bit of a country role this week. Neko Case isn’t truly a country artist, but her beautiful voice has always been reminiscent of Patsy Cline. “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” is her best album to date…and that’s saying a lot.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, "Ramblin' Man" This is one collaboration that should never have worked. Campbell, the former chanteuse of Belle and Sebastian, paired with the grunge king lead singer of Screaming Trees? Yet “Ballad of the Broken Seas” does work in a darker Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra sort of way.

Exene Cervenka & the Original Sinners, "Born Yesterday" The co-lead singer of X hasn’t faired as well on solo projects as John Doe…until now. “Sev7en” is full-on roots rock that isn’t all that much different than latter-day X, but it’s refreshing to hear Cervenka in charge.

T. Rex, "Metal Guru" (Demo version) Although T. Rex is primarily known in America for “Get It On”, in the early 70’s he was England’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll star. Rhino Records is reissuing most of the T. Rex catalog in two disc sets, filled with outtakes, demos, and live material. “The Slider” may be the best of the bunch, although all of them have their moments.

Mudhoney, "Hard On For War" It’s a shame that the true creators of grunge never truly capitalized on the scene they created. Fifteen years later, though, they are the only band left from the early Seattle scene. There’s nothing new about “Under a Billion Suns”; they’re still loud and…uh, grunge-y.

Mogwai, "Glasgow Mega-Snake" Scotland’s biggest band has yet to make a mark in America, but that could change with “Mr. Beast”, their loudest album to date. The band has ditched most of the samplers and other electronic equipment and the result is what Mojo calls “an ultramodern rock masterpiece”.

My Pal Jake!

This message was sent using PIX-FLIX Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

My favorite person in the world, Traci, was in town today. When I met her at a downtown coffee shop, her beautiful sister was also there with her son, Jake. This cool dude decided to help clean the store, grabbing a mop bucket that resulted in quite a few silly hijinks.

This message was sent using PIX-FLIX Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

Mr. Janoct Ajda is currently gathering signatures to run for Mayor. As far as I know, he's the first African-American to run for office. I guess that's no surprise, as Ajda reports that our wonderful city employees laughed at his request for the necessary paperwork.

Janoct For Mayor!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

John Lydon Tell R&R Hall of Fame to Piss Off

A few weeks ago, the Sex Pistols raised a few eyebrows when they released a handwritten note turning down their invitation to appear at their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Those who have followed Johnny, Steve, Paul, Glen, and the late Sid Vicious shouldn’t have been all that shocked.
Last Friday, John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show to explain the situation. Angered at what he perceived as “lies” on various exhibits over the years, Rotten maintained that they had no desire to appear at a function designed to celebrate “fame”. “Real rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t belong in a museum”, was one of his many wonderful quotes that evening. He also bristled at the notion that seating at the event cost over two grand per person.
Lydon was smart in no-showing the dinner. According to comedian Jimmy Norton of the Opie and Anthony satellite radio show, the event couldn’t have been more boring. Speakers droned on and on, members of Blondie had an onstage argument, and Black Sabbath didn’t even perform. The only worthwhile moment of the whole night was Metallica’s musical tribute to Ozzy and company.
The absolute lowlight of the evening belonged to whatever remains of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Yes, they played “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”, but there is no credible reason for their induction. Sure, at their prime they were a fine band, and I’ll admit if I haven’t had to endure those already-mentioned songs for most of my life I’d probably wouldn’t mind hearing them from time to time. A continuing presence on the county fair circuit is fine, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? No way.
That is the ongoing problem of the yearly induction ceremonies. The early years were easy – you had to induct Elvis, Dylan, the Beatles, Stones, and the Who. Even in those early years, though, there were questionable entries. Bobby Darin was a fine performer, but his connection to rock and roll was pretty tenuous. The Mamas and Papas had two singles that helped define an era, but they accomplished little else.
Granted, the same could probably be said about the Sex Pistols, as they only released one album and a handful of singles. But those recordings completely changed the musical landscape from that time forward. Artists that dabbled in power pop, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and even hair bands owe a debt to what the Pistols accomplished in less than two years.
A band like the Pistols are an exception to the rule these days, though. Too many acts that have accomplished little more than survival are hiring speech writers year after year. As Opie said after Norton’s lengthy story yesterday, “any popular group will end up making it”.
Yet there are tons of worthy acts that are ignored year after year. It took Black Sabbath five years to finally get the nod. The Velvet Underground has yet to be nominated, despite the infamous, yet rarely argued, point that “everybody who bought a Velvet Underground album formed a band”. The same with Iggy and the Stooges. Hell, Television would have been a better choice this year than those sellouts that share a stage with Debbie Harry.
The problem is only going to get worse as time passes. The 80’s marked a time when the distance between chart and artistic success widened every year, and continues to this day. Sure, it’s easy to say that R.E.M., Prince, Guns and Roses, and a handful of others are worthy choices. But there will be people who think believe that Madonna, Phil Collins and Bon Jovi deserve an entry, while groundbreakers such as Husker Du, X, and Joy Division are ignored. And while I’m the first to admit that I’m a fanboy, the continuing influence of the Replacements on pop/punk and alternative rock make them a deserving act that have absolutely no shot of getting nominated.
These days, you pretty much have to be a friend of Rolling Stone Magazine to be nominated, but that magazine is a shell of its former self. Nowadays it’s only a half-step ahead of People Magazine, with cover stories saved for the likes of Mariah Carey and Lindsay Lohan.
Do we even need a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Not really, especially since we already have a Hard Rock CafĂ© restaurant franchise that showcases the same sorts of autographed guitars, drum sets, and stage clothes that is on display at the Cleveland museum. I’ll bet they don’t have a Sex Pistols poker machine in Cleveland like the one that awarded me fifty bucks in Vegas a few years ago. Now that’s my kind of anarchy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This Week's Poll!

In the aftermath of the tumultuous legislative session, what should be our new state logo?
South Dakota - The No Wire Hanger State!
The Britney Spears State - Dumb, Barefoot & Pregnant!
The Nine Month Waiting Period For All Pregnancies State
The Guns Are Private But Vaginas Aren't State
No Cash For Education But Plenty For Litigation State
The State Of Extremist Minority Rule
The Go Elsewhere For Medical Care State
South Dakota - The Abstinence Wonderland
South Dakota - "Protecting" Life One Concealed Gun At A Time
My Name is South Dakota - But You Can Call Me Roger
The Are Politicians R Dummer Then Yers State
South Dakota - Underpaid and Oversexed
The Blame It On Keloland State
Free polls from

This Week's Poll Results

The just-concluded Winter Olympics were a ratings disaster. What can be done to improve viewership in the future?

1. Make Female Figure Skating a Nude Event
2. (Tie) 2 Drink Minimum for Skiing Competitors/Hire Flavor Flav as Master of Ceremonies

Get Out of Town Rackjob Monopolizers!

I’m sitting here tonight completely in a state of rage…and have been since late last week. Not that this is something new with me, as rage fuels my weekly rants. And I have also been suffering from a horrible cold that I picked up from my son, so I’ve certainly been even more pissy than normal.
But I’m even more enraged than normal. For months, I’ve been sitting on a scoop. I teased it once a few weeks ago, and a cartoonist buddy of mine referenced it in a piece of artwork that I published on this blog.
Never in a million years did I think that another media organization would pick up on the story. And I certainly never thought that my site would be the inspiration for a media company to start asking questions. From what I’ve been told, though, that’s exactly what happened.
The story begins a few months ago. A friend had mentioned a rumor that a bunch of local independent publications had merged. Since I am friends with some of the people involved, and their opinions of the other magazines supposedly involved, I knew this wasn’t true.
A few days later I met my friends for a drink, and raised the issue of these rumors. After ten minutes of laughter, they filled me in. It seems that sometime last fall they received a letter from the Argus Leader stating they had signed exclusive deals to supply local businesses with racks for newspapers and magazines, and unless they agreed to pay a relatively substantial fee to the Argus for the use of these racks they would no longer be allowed to distribute at these locations.
Accompanying the letter was a list of businesses that had supposedly signed up for this program. Scanning through the list, these publishers noticed a number of their best advertisers. They quickly contacted a number of these clients, and were surprised to hear that they knew nothing of this “contract”.
Obviously upset by these turn of events, my publisher friends contacted a number of other local indie publishers and a loose coalition was formed. They have had at least one meeting with the Argus, but so far little has been accomplished. Many retailers now feature those giant, ugly racks, filled with their newspapers and all of those silly inserts such as City Style and Link.
As I stated earlier, I sat on this story for months, but last week KSFY turned it into a two part story that a producer told my artist buddy was inspired by my site. Besides this ridiculous attempt at monopolizing the local print media business (and let’s face it, what is now called Link was originally a publication designed to drive Tempest out of business), what is pathetic is that nobody would speak on camera to KSFY. This is a company that’s always ranting and raving about transparency in not only government but the general public but when the tables are turned they jump into the shadows. They can criticize, but god knows nobody can ask them tough questions.
I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan of the majority of publications in question. Too many rags in this town are ad-driven instead of content-driven. Any “article” is nothing but an accompaniment to an ad that’s conveniently placed right next to it. Few are willing to take a chance and print anything that’s not “safe”. Yet I’ll rant and rave to the end of time for these people to have a fair ability to compete in, to quote a local talk show, “the marketplace of ideas”. Our culture is bettered by every new issue of every publication, and we needn’t have to pay the big boys for the right to sit next to them.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

This Week's New Music Purchases...and The Anniversary of a Great Show

Elvis Costello, "Watching the Detectives". While one would expect a live Elvis Costello album to be a highlight reel of last year’s Imposters tour that hit the Sioux Falls Pavilion, this album couldn’t be farther from that tour’s roots rock base. Instead, this album is a collaboration between Costello and keyboardist Steve Nieve with the Netherlands 52-piece Metrople Orchestra on not only a number of Costello classics but rarities and cover tunes that highlight the crooner side of Costello’s career.

Deadboy and the Elephantmen, "Stop, I'm Already Dead". Every so often, I purchase an album on a whim. We Are the Night Sky looked interesting, so I picked it up without any knowledge that the leader of this duo, Dax Riggs, is the former leader of grindcore legends Acid Bath. Yet this album is a surprising joy, mixing a little bit of White Stripes bluster with David Bowie/T. Rex atmosphere.

Hank III, "Dick in Dixie" Talent has definitely skipped a generation in the Williams family. We all know how great Han Williams, Sr. was, but his son has never showed much talent. Hank III is every bit the rebel of his grandfather, and Straight to Hell is the best showcase to date of his talent. Beware, however, as the biting lyrics of this track may not be suitable for work.

Rhett Miller, "Help Me Suzanne" The leader of the Old 97’s has just released his third solo album, and it’s possibly his best to date. Always much poppier on his own, on The Believer Miller is assisted by producer George Drakoulias (Black Crowes, Tom Petty), Jayhawks leader Gary Louris, and multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West).

Steve Wynn, "Cindy, It Was Already You" The former leader of the Dream Syndicate has spent the last 20 years pumping out great tunes with little notice. Tick…Tick…Tick is his third fabulous album in a row, and marks a return to the Television-ish guitar-oriented tunes that made the Dream Syndicate such a wonderful band.

Paul Westerberg, "Live Forever" It was exactly one year ago, that the beautiful Traci and I traveled to Kansas City to see the last of three shows of Paul Westerberg’s Folker tour. Besides a fabulous show we actually were able to spend ten minutes or so with the man and his genial drummer, Michael Bland. Here’s their cover of Billie Joe Shaver’s “Live Forever”, recorded that warm almost-spring evening.

This video was recorded a couple of weeks before his K.C. show at the Henry Fonda Theater in L.A.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Is Nancy Grace A Big, Fat Liar?

Did Nancy Grace, TV Crimebuster, Muddy Her Myth?

By Rebecca Dana

Every crime-fighting superhero has a creation story. Nancy Grace, the prosecutor turned breakout star at CNN Headline News, has a particularly moving one. As she tells it, in the summer of 1980, she was a 19-year-old college student in small-town Georgia, engaged to Keith Griffin, a star third baseman for the Valdosta State University Blazers. The wedding was a few months away.

Then, one August morning, a stranger—a 24-year-old thug with a history of being on the wrong side of the law—accosted Griffin outside a convenience store. He shot him five times in the head and back, stole $35 from his wallet, and left him dead.

Police soon tracked down the killer, and a new phase of suffering began for Ms. Grace. The suspect brazenly denied any involvement. At trial, Ms. Grace testified, then waited as jury deliberations dragged on for three days. The district attorney asked her if she wanted the death penalty, and in a moment of youthful weakness, she said no. The verdict came back guilty—life in prison—and a string of appeals ensued.

For Nancy Grace, the ordeal she describes felt nothing like justice. And so the Shakespeare-loving teen set out to change the justice system: first as a bulldog prosecutor, then as a Court TV and CNN anchor, crusader for victims’ rights and professional vilifier of the criminal-defense industry.

Her message, delivered with a crackling blend of folksiness and wrath, has made her a hit on two cable networks. Defense attorneys are pigs—morally comparable, she said in a Feb. 20 interview with USA Today, to “guards at Auschwitz.” Her latest show, Nancy Grace, celebrated its first anniversary on CNN’s Headline News Network that week; in one year, its viewership has tripled, to 606,000 a night.

Because of what happened in Georgia, Ms. Grace has said over and over, she knows firsthand how the system favors hardened criminals over victims. It is the foundation of her judicial philosophy, her motivation in life, her casus belli.

And much of it isn’t true.

Nancy Grace was engaged to a man named Keith Griffin. He was murdered in Georgia. And the man who killed him is serving a life sentence. In that, Ms. Grace’s version lines up with the official records from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, newspaper articles from the time of the murder, and interviews with many of those involved in the case.

But those same sources contradict Ms. Grace when it comes to other salient facts of the crime and the trial—the facts that form the basis of Ms. Grace’s crusade against an impotent, criminal-coddling legal system.

• Griffin was shot not by a random robber, but by a former co-worker.

• The killer, Tommy McCoy, was 19, not 24, and had no prior convictions.

• Mr. McCoy confessed to the crime the evening he was arrested.

• The jury convicted in a matter of hours, not days.

• Prosecutors asked for the death penalty, but didn’t get it, because Mr. McCoy was mildly retarded.

• Mr. McCoy never had an appeal; he filed a habeas application five years ago, and after a hearing it was rejected.

Ms. Grace has also misreported the date of the incident—it was in 1979, not 1980—and has given Griffin’s age as 25 when it was 23.

The justice system, in other words, apparently worked the way it was supposed to.

Read the rest of the story here.

Today's You Tube Find

Believe it or not, there was a time when Rod Stewart had substance.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

All Get Outs in Vegas

I'm addicted to paltalk

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