Calculate your chances...negative...negative...negative!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Free Zone News

Alright, a lot of stuff is changing on the old Free Zone, so listen up. There will be a quiz, so take notes.

First off, the time and place are still the same. That's 88.7 FM and Friday and Saturday, midnight to 3AM, in case you forgot. As the core, the show is going to stay the same mix of all over the map music (underground rock, hip hop, funk, reggae, electronic, avant, etc., etc.) and random ramblings as it always was.

The biggest change is in the hosts. As you may or may not know, Chandler is leaving for New York in a few weeks. I'm pleased to announce that Tim D. is returning to the show. Tim was one of the guys who started the show in the first place and is an all around great guy with excellent musical tastes. He's going to head up Saturday nights, I'll be your captain Friday.

Tim's going to bring his own flavor to Saturday nights (kind of gamey, with a hint of patchouli) and from talking to him, he's told me he wants to put more of a local spin on Saturdays. The idea is to get more quality Indy bands on the radio, and I think that's a good thing.

So, in the coming weeks, Tim will probably be asking for music from local bands. Sending something in is no guarantee it's going to get played, but over the years Tim has shown himself to be a big supporter of local music and the kind of person to give everyone a fair listen. Just a heads up, don't start flooding us with CDs now, but know the call is coming.

I had a lot of people email me about when we were going to have bands playing live on the show again. At this point, I still have to say I don't know. The problem is, we have new digs and the new air studio is smaller than the old one. There is going to be a production studio large enough to comfortably hold a band, but it's still being built. Everyone involved would like to start doing the live from the Free Zone sessions again, but at the moment, we can't. We may be able to do some location recordings, but that's an idea Tim and I have to kick around a bit.

Also, about the web site. Yeah, it hasn't been updated since January basically because both Chandler and I have been too dang busy to do it. I still keep play lists, so if you really have to know what was played on a certain night, email me and hopefully I can help you out. I have a plan to make website updates a more regular and less painful thing. Hopefully this will be implemented soon.

OK, I think that covers everything. Tonight, tune in and hear me, Chandler and Tim D., together again for the last time in a while. (I think this is going to be Chandler's last show until he comes back to visit.) The next couple of weeks are going to be transition, but hopefully when the dust clears, the show is just going to keep getting better and better.

Thanks for your patience and continued listenership.

Rob G.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tales from the Tech Dept. No. 95,283

When you come down to ask the tech guy to do something for you that isn't work related, you really should let him finish his sentence. When he says "we really aren't supposed to do that" it could be a bit of CYA and he might have been getting ready to say "but, I'll come down and take a look anyway" until you got attitudinal and cut him off.

PS- good luck getting "the other guy" who you claim has always done this stuff for you to help you out now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Review: This Stuff'll Kill Ya!/Year of the Yahoo!

I've been on a Herschell Gordon Lewis bender lately. So here's another disc from Something Weird Video, this time a double feature of two HGL films from 1971/72 long thought to be lost. These two flicks reflect Lewis' back woods obsession, with lots of country music and not so much gore.

First up is This Stuff'll Kill Ya! Jeffrey Allen plays Roscoe Boone, a Foghorn Leghorn type preacher who's church is actually a front for a moonshine operation. There's debauchery and mayhem and several people are killed in a biblical manner as Boone and his congregation attempt to outrun the law. Stonings, crucifixions and country hoe-downs. Yee hah!

Unfortunately, the film isn't nearly as interesting as my description. Most of the scenes run much longer than they need to. Allen is appropriately over the top as Boone, but by the end of the movie, you just want him to shut up. The gore sequences, while tame for an HGL film, seem really out of place and slow the movie down even further.

The most interesting angle of this story, how someone can find a bible quote to justify anything, isn't even touched on, and the whole time I was left wondering just why the things I was seeing were happening. I never could get a grasp on if Boone was supposed to be a con-man or if he actually believed what he was saying.

Next is Year of the Yahoo! This film has a bit of a legend behind it, as HGL himself lamented it's disappearance for years. It's also of note as it seems like HGL was almost trying to make a more serious movie with this one. (Well, more serious compared to his past work, anyway.)

Here we have Hank Jackson (played by minor country music star Claude King) who is chosen by a group of political insiders to run for Senate based on his TV appearances. It's interesting in that it looks like Lewis is actually trying to make a message picture here as we watch Jackson's campaign turned into a continuous all image, no substance television commercial complete with playing up wedge issues and picking on minorities and the poor.

This film is so close to being really good that it was almost frustrating to watch. Claude King and HGL stock player Ray Sager are both really good in their roles. The story is interesting and actually works (not to mention the central theme of media created politicians playing to redneck fears and prejudices is equally relevant today.)

While it fares much better than Stuff, it shares many of Stuff's faults. Mainly that most of the scenes run too long and the story gets a bit cloudy at times. Plus, there is a really long and completely gratuitous sex scene about 3/4 of the way through that slams the movie to a halt. I guess it's the exploiter in Herschell coming through.

Something Weird's presentation of these two films is as good as one can expect. Both prints (which apparently are the only ones in existence) are worn, with scratches, fading colors and emulsion lines, but, I actually kind of enjoy seeing movies like these in less than perfect prints. There's the usually assortment of HGL trailers and a few random clips as bonus and the same HGL Exploitation Art Gallery Something Weird has included on all their HGL DVDs.

The biggest disappointment is no commentary track from the man himself. Herschell's tracks on the other films are always entertaining to listen to and considering he mentioned Year of the Yahoo! so many times in them, you'd think they could have gotten him on board to talk about it. In his place, Daniel Krogh, who was a long time associate and wrote the first book about Lewis, fills in. While Krogh has tons of trivia, he falls into a trap a lot of DVD commentators do of just describing what is on the screen, talking continuously and not coming up for air.

For fans of Herschell Gordon Lewis, this is a no brainer. If you've never seen an HGL film before, I'll be honest, this isn't a good place to start. In fact, I'd recommend this double feature is probably best left to the HGL fanatics. Still, Something Weird is to be commended for bringing these two lost films out, even if they are a bit of a disappointment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Show this Saturday.

This all came together kind of last minute. Please come out and support us and the other bands coming in from out of state.

Shine your shoes and prepare for a night of Tetley's and noisy guitars....

A Mythopeic Production:

JohnnyTwentyThree (Ohio): Instrumental, ambient, dreamy with a full-on visual assault

The Graboids (Virginia): Instrumental ala Mogwai

Svetlana (Indy): Chromosomes and effects

9:00 @ Radio Radio

New blog for you to watch and learn.

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Killdozer, I had your number.

I'm sad to say, I was completely right guessing Killdozer wasn't going to live up to what I'd made it to be in my head.

I mean, don't get me wrong. It was worth a watch, I guess. There were many scenes my men running from a HUGE bulldozer with no one driving it. That was kind of funny. The menacing headlights were always a chuckle.

Mostly though, what interested me most about Killdozer, or my copy of it anyway, was how poor television used to look. To be fair, I have no idea what the lineage of my DVD-R is, but it clearly starts with a broadcast on a CBS station as their legal ID pops up on screen about 2/3 the way through. Since the show originally broadcast on ABC, it's a rebroadcast.

It's also obviously from back in the day when TV stations still ran shows off 16mm film (or they were running a tape telecined from a 16mm print.) There's two reels with some serious hair in the frame problems. (One late reel looks like a fricking tribble is climbing up the side of the screen for the entire reel.) And that's not even mentioning how worn out the print looks to begin with. Scratches, cuts and washed out colors.

Anyway, so Killdozer. Yeah. I'd say stick with the band of the same name if you want maximum entertainment.

Friday, July 14, 2006

CED - It's the 8-track of video!

(pictures shamelessly stolen from eBay auction)

So, that's my new toy. As I've gotten older, I realized I can now buy all the cool junk I wanted when I was younger. Mostly that's meant I've owned nearly every videogame system ever, but I have gotten into the A/V equipment as well. So, along with my quadraphonic system, reel to reel and 8-track recorders, I now I own a CED player.

The specific model I have, as seen above, is a SJT 200, which was kind of a middle of the road model. Yeah, that's my actual player in the pictures. It belonged to a former RCA executive and was serviced before I got it by an ex-RCA technician. I paid a pretty penny for it, but it's about as close to brand new as I'm going to get at this point in time (plus it was local, so I dodged the shipping bullet.)

What, you may ask, in the hell is CED? Well, it was an early video playback system that used a 12" disc (encased in an oversized plastic caddy) and was read by a stylus. In other words, it's a record that plays movies. The difference being, the groove is extremely fine and the stylus are no longer being made (though they are still available as new old stock.)

What CED isn't is laserdisc. People commonly confuse the two, but there's no laser involved here. It's just a needle in a groove, exactly like a audio record, though the actual nuts and bolts of it is a bit more complicated.

Quality wise, when everything works properly, it's better than VHS but not nearly laserdisc. Since there is a stylus in the groove, dust and scratches can play havoc with a CED disc. The plastic caddies seem to do a good job protecting them, but I've had skipping in all my discs I've played so far at least on the first play. Usually on the second pass, it plays clean.

Development on CED started in the early 70s, but it was manufactured from 1981-1984. Disc production continued until 1986. My player is from 1983 and is part of the second, and final, generation of RCA players.

My personal feeling about the format is, had it come out in the late 70s, it would have been a much bigger success than it was. The discs weren't that expensive, especially compared to what pre-recorded videotapes sold for at the time. The problem was, by the time CED made it to market in 1981, the videocassette rental market was starting to pick up and VCRs were starting to drop in price. Laserdiscs, while never becoming more than a niche item in the States, also had a 3 year jump on CED.

Growing up in Indianapolis, where RCA used to be headquartered and where CED discs were made, I saw these things everywhere. I knew several people who worked for RCA growing up and they had CED players. I still find the discs at thrift stores quite often, which is what got me started on collecting these discs in the first place.

Nostalgia and avaliability are two things that got me interested in this. There's also several movies not avaliable on DVD that you can find on CED, and usually for cheap. (The paradox of CED collecting being, the discs are nearly worthless while working players are worth their weight in gold.) I'm also fascinated with quirky old technology, of which the CED system certaintly qualifies.

So that's CED. I'd point anyone interested in more info to CED Magic. It's a pretty thorough site about the format.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not a thrift post...

I really didn't want to get up this morning. First off, I've been sleeping like crap, well, assuming a pile of feces can be said to sleep. Second off, between going to work and staying in bed, I'll chose staying in bed every time. On top of that, I was having a pretty kick ass dream. See, I was close friends with Jay-Z and we were about to start a band. Now I'll have to live the rest of my life wondering if it sounded like that thing he did with Linkin Park or not. (Man, I hope not.)

Anyway, my mornings are infinitely complicated given I go to the gym first thing in the morning and then go straight to work. Not only does that mean I have to get up earlier, but I also have to essentially pack a bag before I head to work. I try to do this is the evening, as I'm much less likely to forget things. So far, I've forgotten my belt, shorts, phone (two or three times) and today it was socks.

However, I never forget my iPod Shuffle. It lives in my gym bag, so it's kind of hard to forget. It's not like I take it out to wash it or anything and I really don't use it when I'm not exercising, so it's not like I ever need it for anything other than at the gym or recharging/refilling with music.

Lately my Shuffle has been acting weird. It's still playing music and all that, but it's not shuffling. It started a few weeks ago when I noticed the same songs coming up. Usually with 1 GB of tunes on the thing, I don't hear everything on it by the time it needs recharged. But I started noticing it was stuck on certain songs.

This morning I heard the exact sequence of songs I heard yesterday. We're talking like 6 or 8 songs in a row exactly the same. I know I'm not imagining things. One doesn't forget a playlist jumping from Glen Campbell to Godflesh to KC and the Sunshine Band, especially not first thing in the morning two mornings in a row.

This means one of several things. I may be crazy. This is an option I've been considering for a while and I haven't totally ruled it out. I may be trapped in a Groundhog Day like scenario. I think I can rule that out as you shouldn't recognize a situation like that one the second day and my complexion is much better than Billy Murray's.

Really, I think it's the iPod. If I was a conspiracy freak, I'd suggest these things have a timer which goes off about the time Apple brings out the next generation so you're encouraged to buy the newer one. Well, screw you Steve Jobs! I'm still using a 2G 20GB iPod and I'll stick with my non-shuffling Shuffle until it ceases to work, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, that's really all I got for now. Life has been kicking me square in the ass and I'm trying to catch up. It's not really bad, it's just exhausting. I need a vacation. That is all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mr, Yuk

I've been wanting to see this one again for a long time. Here it is.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Some video clips from KTMA TV23

UPDATE: these are all dead thanks to YouTube's take down first, ask questions never policy. Sorry, they're not going back up because I don't have the files or the time to make them again.

I mentioned a while ago my cool thrift score of a cache of old over the air TV recordings. Well, I've had a little time to upload some clips to YouTube and here they are.

I started with some stuff taped off KTMA TV23. Why I chose this one to begin with is that it was, to me, the most interesting stuff in the lot. KTMA was the channel where Mystery Science Theater 3000 was born and began. Because KTMA was a small UHF station no longer on the air as such, not a ton is known about the station by people like myself who don't live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

I like this stuff for two reasons, one of which being the MST3K connection, shame there's nothing directly MST3K related here though. The other being, I just miss the general lo-fi feeling of UHF television. Now it seems like it's too slick as all the UHFs here are network affiliated (assuming you consider UPN a network.) There's too much reality TV and infomercials and hardly any local flavor to it.

The broadcast I took this from was an airing of the 1961 3D movie The Mask from late 1988. I love this movie. Really, I do. It's a great thinly veiled LSD flick from the time before they got all hippy, it has some cool 3D sequences and was the only 3D flick Canada made. How about that?

Before I dug into these tapes, I assumed they were all locally taped (meaning Indianapolis, for those of you who have no idea what you're reading here.) I was hoping this was the same broadcast of the Mask I'd taped off of WTTV 4 (I think) hosted by Bob & Tom on the old Betamax way back in the day. Well, it wasn't, but whatever.

Two more things, and then we roll film. Someone taped over the first part of the film meaning I've lost the intro and apparently there was a 3D Three Stooges short broadcast as well. I'm really disappointed about that, as I've never see either of the 3D Stooges shorts and I'll never get to see the Movie at 8 intro. Secondly, this TV version of The Mask had commercial bumpers by famous magician Harry Blackstone. Cheesy doesn't begin to describe them. I could throw them up if someone really wants to see them.

The first two commercials are all over this broadcast. One or both appear every commercial break. (Sidenote: TV used to have a lot fewer commercials. Either that or KTMA had a big problem finding advertisers. Maybe a little of both.) Steve's Warehouse Discount Foods is a great example of a local no budget commercial that pretty much ruled the roost on UHF TV. Seriously, would you buy a head of lettuce from this guy?

Then we get to the Rax Workburger. "Fast food with style" = "We can't compete with McDonalds so here's pseudo-sophistication." Is Rax even around anymore? I've heard rumors of one still operating in the Muncie/Anderson area which, frankly, woudn't suprise me a bit.

Next up, 10,000 Auto Parts (who counted them all?) stores, another heavy KTMA advertiser. Or at least they were on my tape. Not really local commercials, as the local content is just tagged on at the end, but, hey, CHUCK YEAGER!!! AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!

Now, let's get serious. Here's the goods. If there's one thing I will always associate with UHF TV, it's cheesy movies. (There's a reason MST3K started on UHF.) So, here's a couple of ads for then upcoming films on KTMA. Neither of these are on DVD, so watch and marvel at these RARE OMG L@@K clips.

Tell me the Plutonium Incident couldn't have been an episode of MST3K.

This one for Catlow looks a little more pro. I'm guessing this commercial was included as part of the movie package they purchased and all they did was slap their logo at the end.

Here's a commercial for some great locally produced content. I'm not a huge wrestling fan, but these shows were all over the UHF stations in the late 80s. This commercial features Jim Cornette and lots of shots of the old NWA wrestlers. I remember some of this stuff.

Finally, here's the end of the movie. Barry ZeVan, who hosted this showing, was as best I can tell the weather guy on KTMA. I guess he was one of those local celebrity types. I love his delivery here. If only he would have thrown in a "who loves ya baby?" at the end, I would marry this man, assuming out type of love is legal in the Minneapolis area.

Top of the hour, so here's the KTMA station ID. Boring, but here for posterity.

And with that, I'm signing off. Enjoy. There's more where this came from.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Early Motown Thrift Score...

(Sorry, I don't have a pic, yet. My camera was being wonky last night.)

I'm actually going to list the contents of this one, Since I don't have a picture yet. Note: most of these records have initials on one side of the label, but they're still very clean, amazing considering I found them in one of those godawful wire record racks. Odd mix of early Motown and country and promo stamped records from the Liberty group of labels.

Gordy 7001 - The Temptations - Dreams Come True/Isn't She Pretty
Gordy 7002 - Lee & the Leopards - Come Into My Palace/Trying To Make It (2 copies)
Miracle M5 - The Temptations - Oh, Mother Of Mine/Romance Without Finance
Motown M1013 - Henry Lumpkin - Don't Leave Me/What Is a Man (Without a Woman)
Motown M1019 - Popcorn and the Mohawks - Real Good Lovin/Have I The Right
Tamla 54036 - The Miracles - Ain't It Baby/The Only One I Love
Tamla 54048 - The Miracles - I Can't Believe/Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues
Tamla 54049 - Sammy Ward - What Makes You Love Him/Don't Take It Away
Tamla 54051 - Bob Kayli - Tim Me Tight/Small Sad Sam
Tamla 54069 - The Miracles - Way Over There/If Your Mother Only Knew (has a small crack on outer edge. Gaah!)

And the others:

Flatt & Scrugs - Ballad of Jed Clampett
The Ly-Dells - Wizard of Love
Hank Williams - Crazy Heart EP (reissue?)
Johnny Cash - Now There Was a Song! Vol II EP
Meade Lux Lewis - Beartrap Stomp
Jerry Landis (aka Paul Simon) - Play Me a Sad Song
The Fleetwoods - Truly Do
Gloria Lynne - I Know Love
Earl Palmer - New Orleans Medley
Bobby Darin - You're the Reason I'm Living
Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Lovin' You/You Are My Sunshine (reissue)
The Clique - Drifter Medley (promo copy)
Fats Domino - Blue Monday

I also found a VHS of some IU games from '85. I could care less about basketball, I bought it for the commercials. It's funny as 75% of the companies that advertised during these two IU games in 1985 are either out of business or have been swallowed up by larger companies.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Catching up with Thrift Score

This post is very picture intensive. I appologize for that. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't feel like writing a ton. Let's start with last Friday:

Did you know Henry Mancini wrote the theme to What's Happening? Crazy, but true, and it's on this album which I also own on 8-track.

There's a bunch of Enoch Lights in quad, Tony Mottola in stereo (with the Free Design singing backup as the Groovies) and Elvis Aloha From Hawaii also in stereo, apparently. Aloha is about the easiest album of all time to find in quad and I found a stereo copy (with quad labels.) Go fig.

On to Saturday:

It's even getting hard for me to keep all this stuff straight. The Dylan is an OG pressing. Whoo-hoo. Go me!

Now this is technically not a thrift load. However, I have a Doug E. Fresh LP and you don't so the point is rather academic.

I also now have It Conquered the World on VHS since it looks like that's never coming to DVD. Great film. See Frank Zappa's Cheepnis for more info. People are asking stupid money for this on Amazon, but it is a classic.

I did some thrifting over the 4th, but I'm going to spare you. Basically, I forgot to take pics and I'm too lazy to do it now.

Here's some stuff from today:

Now, this is only part one of what I got from my first stop today. Can you say motherlode? Now, before you get all ready to lynch me, let me point out most of those LPs have trashed covers. Seam split and ring wear city. The albums look like they will actually play nice after I clean them up a bit, except for the Jack McDuff which has a nasty warp.

Part two. I'd like to point out two things. One, the Tommy Willis "Funky Sax" record, which I have a hunch isn't. Two, the tape. Yeah, it's porn. The third example I've found thrifting, and I'm not even looking for porn.

Now this is one of the weirdest things I've found thrifting in a while. It's two laserdiscs designed to go in a kiosk of some sort (the InfoTheatre of the title, I'd guess) demonstrating RCA's 1991-92 A/V gear. The back cover shows how the setup works. There's some kind of computer control unit missing and the discs weren't made to play straight through so they don't make much sence.

It's finding crap like this that keeps me thrifting. Well, that and the porn.

OK, new location (yes, all three of those previous pictures were from the same stop.) This time it's record porn! I have no idea at all what that Forbidden Fruit Hot R-S record is all about, but there's a cover of In-A-Gadda-Vida split up in two parts on it. And there's nekked people on the cover.

The Prince and Sugarhill Gang are upgrades for me, but the Cabrini Green Rap by Sugar Ray Dinki I do not own doubles of. Who does?

Last stop (ok, almost, made one after this and bought a Bill Haley 45 for a dime) and I'd like to point out the high Indiana content. The Bill Wilson LP is from Bloomington in 1976 and the frontmost CD is from none other than my Vegas drinking buddies the Common. Believe it or not, there was another of their CDs there as well, a newer one I already owned. I don't know if that's better or worse than the CD of my old band that is stuck in $1 bin purgatory at a local used CD store. Well, I bought the Common CD, so I guess that's something.

OK, I'm done now. I promise one of these days I'll write about something other than thrifting again. I'm working on getting some clips from the video stash on YouTube, so stay tuned, as they say.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My cool Thrift Score Part 1.

So I said I'd get back to you all about this super cool thrift score I made. Well, now that I've had a little time to dig in to it, I can give you all a full report. Yeah, there was the usual assortment of records and whatnot, but the really interesting stuff was a stack of five Scotch VHS tapes with labels promising such things as Headbanger's Ball and the Mask 3-D.

It didn't quite pan out like that 100%, but what I ended up with was still pretty interesting.

First off, let's discuss just what the hell is going on here. If you've been to a site like YouTube, you'll notice tons of old TV stuff. There are many ways people come across stuff like this, but one of the ways is thrifting old tapes people recorded at home.

Usually I've only found movies taped from HBO. To be sure, there's a fair amount of that here too. But I've also got quite an interesting little time capsule of 1988 and 1990 television in Minnesota.

Yeah, funny thing. I'm here in Indiana and that's where I thrifted these tapes, but they're from Minnesota.

Whoever recorded these tapes seemed to have a taste for the following things: stand up comedy, channel surfing, music, serial killers and Satanism.

The first tape shakes down kind of like this: we start out with part of Van Halen's Live Without a Net concert vid. Then we go into a random pair of videos (David Bowie and T. Rex) and it's Les Paul and Friends - He Changed the Music. After Les, it's Lost Boys, looks like it's recorded off HBO.

This is the point it gets interesting, and a little disappointing, as here comes the Headbanger's Ball. Actually, it's the 1988 Halloween show with the incredibly annoying San Kinison hosting. Strangely, my taping friend chose to edit out almost everything except Sam's screaming in between videos. Ugh.

For some reason, the November 03 10 PM news was recorded next, though my friend wasn't able to decide on which station they liked best so we get bits and pieces of all three of the majors in the Minneapolis area. This is followed by a few minutes of a Geraldo on Satanism. Geraldo also featured in the news casts as this was the time of the infamous chair throwing skinhead incident, for those of you who remember that.

Whew. At this point, we're about four hours into it. How about a little Skinemax? Radley Metzger's Princess and the Call Girl shows up next. After that, it's bits and pieces of a show about Jack the Ripper that was really an excuse to get people to call 1-900 numbers and vote on something. (Remember those?) Our friend did some channel flipping and also taped over a little of the show with...the chair throwing skinheads episode of Geraldo!

That's a lot of really random crap packed in to six hours. The good thing is, there's a lot of period stuff shoved in there. The news cast, even though there's a lot of channel changing, is pretty interesting. Dang, women news casters had some HUGE hair! And I really wish the Headbanger's Ball was more complete, but at least our taper left in a couple of videos (Helloween, Grim Reaper and Iron Maiden. \M/ )

There's also a lot of boring stuff. Well, not necessarily boring, just nothing special about watching movies someone taped off HBO or Cinemax. And personally, I don't care at all about Geraldo, but he was definitely topical, so I guess it's part of that late 1988 vibe.

I'll tackle one more tape here then I'm going to call it a night. There was one unlabeled tape which looked like it belonged with the rest. It did. Though it's from December 1990/January 1991 and all the rest of the tapes are 1988, it's from Minnesota again.

The bulk of the tape, which was recorded at the two hour speed is the Saturday Night Live Christmas Past special for 1990. For a while, the taper was editing out commercials on the fly, then they stopped. So about half way through we get commercials again, and the extra time means we catch a little of the program that followed SNL on KARE 11 in Minneapolis, some kind of video request show called Smash Hits. Ice, ice baby. Can you take me higher?

Tucked in the middle of the SNL special is this little gem: about 30 minutes of CNN from January 17, 1991. Date mean anything to you? That's the day Bush the elder announced the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. So we get most of that speech, with on the ground reports from CNN correspondents and then a press conference with a much younger looking Dick Cheney and Colin Powel where they dodge questions for about 15 minutes. Kind of interesting this person had the idea to tape this, but whatever. There it is.

This is a long ass post. I'm done for the night, but there's more where these came from.

The Patio Rogue

It was a little weird, but I went to the grand opening of the Rogue as a music venue on Friday. The show itself seemed to be barely promoted (I'm in a band with someone who was in the first band that played there and even he didn't seem to know too much about it almost until the week of.) However, there was a pretty good crowd.

Let's see, I stated off the night across the street at The Usual Suspects. Why? Well, the bartender over there happens to be none other than Sean Patrick Rodriguez, who was a fixture of the Patio. It just seemed right to have a few and shoot the shit with him before braving what had become of the venue that was my home away from home for a while.

We went over to the Rogue at what we'd assumed would be close to show time. For some reason, they kept pushing it back, so we had plenty of time to soak up the ambiance of the place.

Many people have described the Rogue as the Patio with a fresh coat of paint and for the room, I'd say that's accurate mostly. The sound booth is gone and there's a raised floor right behind the door in the area where bands used to set up merch tables. I think the raised floor part is going to cause a problem if they really start packing them in for rock shows.

The thing that amused me the most about the room was the stage. Same stage, but it's shiny! I've seen a lot of shows there and played on that stage before, but I've never known it to be anything other than dull black and vaguely sticky. There's also wood floor near the stage which I don't know if that's new, but it does point out that once upon a time there was carpet there. All those years and I never noticed it. (Who had that brilliant idea anyway? Carpet in a bar? What?)

The lineup for the night was Action Strasse, Mudkids and Those Young Lions. Action Strasse is good if you like Vess Ruthenberg. It's pretty much Vess with Majahs except they're playing Vess' songs. I dug it, but I'd love to hear more of the others in that band influence the direction a little more.

I stuck around for most of Mudkids set and then I ran into some friends and closed the night out getting pretty buzzed back at The Usual Suspects. Hanging out with Rodriguez at closing time, really made it feel like a Patio night. But I got to tell you, the Rogue isn't the Patio and I don't think it's going to be.

First off, they desperately need Jonee Quest. It doesn't help that someone removed the curtains or padding or whatever it was from behind the stage, but they really need someone who knows that room and can mix for it. Action Strasse sounded weird, through no fault of their own. I could barely hear John Zeps and ironically he'd told me earlier that evening they kept telling him to turn down.

Second, someone needs to tell them about drink prices. $11 for a Newcastle and a well drink isn't going to cut it for a rock show. Maybe the swanky piano bar patrons will go for that (or maybe they won't. After all, anyone who saw the place prior to last Friday knows it was nearly empty anytime it was open.) but the old Patio crowd that it looks like they're trying to court won't. $6 cover for a bunch of locals is pushing it as well.

All and all though, Friday just reinforced something I thought the last night the Patio was open. That place really wasn't about the room, it was about the people. Yeah, they can reopen the room for live music, but it's kind of like jerking off with the wrong hand. Might accomplish the same goal, but it just feels wrong.

Going to the Patio was always about the music, but the people who worked there helped make that place what it was. Being in that room and not seeing Rodriguez, Quest, Bushy, Norman, Biggs, etc., etc., just isn't the same thing. Sure, the people working the Rogue seemed nice, but it's going to take time to build up that rapport again, if it can be done at all.

One last thing, I gotta give a shout out to Butchieboy who found me stumbling around near the end of the evening. His blog is pretty gay, but you might like it anyway.