Tag Archive: music

This edition of Bands You Should Know features yet another Kiwi (New Zealand) band.  Why? Why not?  Don’t worry I’ll get to the rest of the world soon enough, and there is plenty out there.  So the band in this edition is a band from Christchurch New Zealand called The Feelers.  The Feelers are the most played bands in New Zealand and one of if not the most popular also.  Since 1999 they have sold more than 250,000 albums.  While that doesn’t sound impressive, remember that New Zealand only has about 4 million people and they didn’t start keep track of stats for sales until 1999.  The Feelers were around selling albums before that.  In total they have produced 5 albums and 1 best of.
The founding members of the band met the way most people do, fighting on field in primary school. James Reid and Hamish Gee obviously didn’t get along that day, but it was for the best as a few years later, in 1993 they, along with Matthew Thomas, formed the feelers.  This line up remained basically the same until 2008, when bassist Thomas left the band and was replaced with Matt Short.  They also added guitarist Andy Lynch who had played a bit on some of the tours.  The first album was 1998’s Supersystem so that’s where we’ll begin…..

Supersystem 1998

This was the first release and is still awesome today.  While it was released in 1998, it won album of the year, songwriter of the year, band of the year and producer of the year at the New Zealand Music Awards.  With a combination of plugged in and unplugged guitars, great drumming and solid lyrics the album is a winner.  With music ranging from acoustic ballads to rock that is reminiscent of the early 90’s grunge at times it’s a diverse album that I enjoy alot.  My stand out tracks are Pressure Man, Venus, Space Cadet, Honey God, From Space with Love, Pull the Strings (which has a bit of 70’s funk in it), and The Leaving.

Communicate 2001

Communicate, the second album, is another great showing.  It is a bit different then Supersystem but is still a great rock album that covers the same spectrum as the last one.  This album did contain more ballads, but they were still pretty damn good.  The title track is a nice anthem and they still have the same combination of instruments and music, and they do it just as good if not better.  You can here the growth all around, from musicality to lyrics.  The best tracks?  Well, in my opinion these are them, Sex Show, Communicate, Fragile, Just Like You, More to Prove, Astronaut and Anniversary

Playground Battle 2003

Recorded mostly at the York Street Studio, Playground Battle represents a slight departure from Communicate, It has less ballads and more straight rock songs.  The lyrics and musicality matured more as well and Reids vocals sound great, and a little like Peter Gabriel, which works well with their music.  The music shifted slightly from the 90’s grunge sound that was present in the last two albums to a straight alternative rock sound, which really helps Reid’s vocals shine.  As usual the guitar work is well done, with a few nice little solo’s spread throughout and solid drumming.  There are a lot of great tracks on this album, this is one of my favorite albums from The Feelers so it’s really hard for me to narrow down a few tracks to pick but I’ll try, so here goes.  My standouts on this album are Weapons of War, Larger Than Life, Playground Battle, The Fear, Supernova, Unleash the Fury and Stand Up.

One World 2006

After three years without a studio album, The Feelers 4th album, One World, was released in November of 2006.  From the first track, Weak and Wounded,  you can hear that they built on what they had going on in Playground Battle. The lyrics become more deep and meaningful also, not that they weren’t before,  Reid and The Feelers just keep evolving and maturing.  As with the previous albums, there is a nice mix of electric and acoustic sounds and it’s nice to hear a band that doesn’t use auto tuning.  Also the sound of this album and the lyrics match voice perfectly and what the band stands for, because of that the  whole album works well.  Weak and the Wounded has a great epic sound to it and is a great way to open an album.  The rest of the tracks?  Well, most are just as good.  I didn’t find any track that I didn’t like granted there were ones I liked more than others and here they are.  Week and the Wounded, One World, Trying to Get By, Southgate, Washed Away and Never Get Me Down.

Hope Nature Forgives 2011

It took 5 long years, some lineup changes, a marriage, a child and some jail time, but by the end of it The Feelers (with new additions, Guitarist Andy Lynch and bass player Matt Short) have released their fifth album, Hope Nature Forgives.  The Album, released in 2011 contained a cover of Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones that was used during the Rugby World Cup.  Even though it was a great cover, good enough that Mike Edwards, the writer of the song, said that it was the best version he’s heard, even better than his own, yet it stirred controversy. Some people were upset that it wasn’t a New Zealand song.  To that Hamish said, “I think it’s ironic that people criticised it for not being a New Zealand song, I mean, the Rugby World Cup is an international event.”
The album was recorded at two studios, York Street and Roundhead Studios, but the boys produced it themselves at their home studio.  It was mixed in Austin Texas by Tim Palmer and mastered by Justin Shturtz, at Sterling Sound in New York.  It was truly a global effort and one that paid off.

This album picks up where One World left off and does a fine job of it.  The addition of two new members probably helped keep things fresh also.  The writing is once again very solid as are the vocals.  The band stretches their sound a bit, for instance, Sweet the Tempest has a bit of an Irish feel to it and is a great song.  The opening track Didn’t Want to Fall in Love is a solid opener and keeps the familiar sound.  One of the best tracks is Blue Skies, which was also the first single off of the album.  Blue Skies is a great song that just screams New Zealand and then of course there’s the kick ass remake of Right Here Right Now.  My favorite tracks? here they are….Didn’t Want to Fall in Love, Dasvidaniya, Sweet the Tempest, Blue Skies,  What’s the Meaning?, Right Here Right Now and Hope Nature Forgives.


So after 14 years and 6 albums, 7 if you count the best of album, do The Feelers appear to be slowing down?  I don’t think so, I think the infusion of new talent and the 5 year breather has reinvigorated them and they’ll continue on for years to come.  In fact when asked on their own website Reid said, “It’s great to have the four of us in the room playing together, we are having a lot of fun, it’s the way music should be made,” So I’m guessing if they’re having a good time, they’ll continue to.  So Give them a shot and enjoy! Thanks for reading!



          This edition of Bands You Should Know, feature a band I heard in New Zealand back in 2010.  We were on our honeymoon there and were in Christchurch for a couple of days before heading to Queenstown.  Knowing that we were going to be heading to temuka to spend the night at a friends then queenstown the next day, we figured we would buy some CD’s.  We went to I beleive a Marbecks music store in Christchurch.  Sadly I can’t verify if that was the name of the place because the location has been devastated by the earthquakes a couple of years ago.  Anyway we went to the counter and asked for the employee’s opinion.  She recommended a few groups to us, I liked most of them enough to buy them.  One of them was a group called Midnight Youth.

Midnight Youth was formed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2006 by Simon Oscroft, Matt Warman and Aidan Bartlett.  The three core founding members played together in New Zealands Rockquest competitions for high schools.  The group was rounded out when Jeremy Redmore and Nick Campbell joined in 2006.  Soon after forming, in 2007, they released two independandt singles, A New Day and Supernatural.  In 2008, when people still looked at Myspace, they were one of the top unsigned bands list there also.  Also in 2007 they got some notoriety playing as the opening act for Ok Go, Incubus and even INXS on their New Zealand tours.  They funded themselves, and went to New York to record their debut album The Brave Don’t Run with producer Terence Dover.  While in New York they recorded at various students throughout the city.

The Brave Don’t Run 2009

          The Brave Don’t Run was released in 2009 under Warner Music NZ, with whom they signed in with in 2008, shortly after they finished recording it.  The album peaked at number 2 on the New Zealand charts and the song, The Letter, became the bands first top 40 hit and peaked at number 20.  There were another couple of hits and he song Golden Love was used in the season finale of One Tree Hill in May of 2010, giving the band some US exposure.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to classify their music and I guess the best I could do is just by saying its rock.  The album starts out strong with Cavalry and continues the whole way through, I’ve listened to it multiple times from start to finish, I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a track.  Which in todays day and age is impressive.  The tracks range from good ol fashioned rock n roll like cavalry to slower ballads such as Learning to Fall and Golden Love.  Then there’s Tijuana, one of my favorites, it has just a hint of south of the border influence in it.  It’s hard for me to just narrow the tracks down to a few, the whole album is good, but if I have to choose my stand out tracks, the list would be the following Cavalry, Dead Flowers, The Letter, Benjamin, Learning to Fall, Tijuana and Lonely Homes.

The World Comes Calling 2011

Released on Warner NZ in 2011 The World Comes Calling opens much the same as The Brave Don’t Run, with a great rock tune, and just like the previous album it doesn’t stop there.  In fact, this one may outdo the first, something that usually doesn’t happen.  This album has a huge sound, and throughout are sprinkled influences from the 80’s bands.  It’s like a modern album of Arena Rock and I mean that in a good way.  The guitar work and drumming is top notch and the songs are all very likable.  There’s even a couple of heavier tracks thrown in.  I will say that it is a bit of a departure from the first album, and again not in a bad way.  You can tell that they are both Midnight Youth, but you can see the growth between the two albums.  The first track The Street, was great, then came Down Inside, which was even better, both are awesome.  I think this album is more of a straight rock album, although it does have its softer side also, such as World Comes Calling and Listen.  If you like straight Rock, this album does it and does it well, It’s not Metal or Hard Rock, but its damn good.  Just like the previous album I can listen to the whole album all the way through, which makes it really hard to pick a few notables, but here goes The Street, Down Inside, Won’t Stop, Who Said Your Free, and Listen.


Well, I think they’re great, I’ve played them for my 60 year old stepfather (who loves The Beatles and CSNY) and he loved both albums and I’ve played them for cousins in their 20’s and younger and they’ve all enjoyed them.  If you like rock music I would definitely recommend giving Midnight Youth a try.  You can find them at http://www.midnightyouth.com/, itunes and on Amazon (although they still only have the first album)  So give them a try, I’m sure your ears will thank you for it! Thanks for reading!


So its been a long time since my last post (April 15th to be exact).  So I decided to start a new segment about something that I am passionate about, music.  So here is the first in what I hope is a long line of Bands you should know!

So for the first installment of my Bands You Should segment, I am featuring one of my favorite UK bands that most people haven’t heard of.  Kasabian.  I first heard Kasabian back in 2005, the first time I went over the pond to London with my now wife.  We took a train to Guildford where we were picked up by her cousin.  As we drove through the Guildford streets to his place (where I would drink Guinness for Guinness with him for about 5 hours, till our train back) I heard a band that was unique, it was like nothing I had heard before, a mix of rock, electronic and 60’s pyschedelia, it was something that I wouldn’t have thought that I would like, but I did and it sounded great and had great guitar work and bass lines.  So I asked who it was and was told that it was Kasabian.  I should’ve bought the CD there when I had the chance, when I got back I couldn’t find it and ended up buying their self titled debut CD from Rhapsody.
Kasabian did have brief exposure in the US.  The first track, Club Foot, off of the debut album was used in Pontiac commercials, I believe for the Australian built GTO (Holden Monaro) and I believe it was also used in an episode of Alias.  Other songs from the album also made it to the videogame world.  Still they never quite got the recognition I thought they deserved. They’ve gotten some US recognition over the years and just recently played at the Coachella Music Festival, but still haven’t qiute taken off, which is why I’m writing this, I hopefully can at least get a few of you to check them out.  So now onto the band.
Kasabian was formed in 1997 in Leicester England by Tom Meighan, Chris Edwards and Sergio Pizzorno.  Meighan was the lead vocalist, Pizzorno was backing vocals and guitar and Edwards was bass.  At the time of formation, they had another lead guitarist, Christopher Karloff, who left in 2006 and was replaced by Jay Mehler.  Kasabian also used a whole list of studio drummers, until 2004 when Ian Matthews became the full time drummer.  As of now, May 2012, the lineup is Meighan, Edwards, Pizzorno, Mehler and Matthews.
Back in 1997 before they were Kasabian, they were called Saracuse, at this point they started recording at a studio in Leicester where Edwards was an engineer, Bedrock Studios.  The first public appearance they made was at the Viper Rugby Club, playing for Edwards own 18th birthday, soon after they were being noticed and decided to change their name.  The name they chose was Kasabian, it was a name that Karloff picked up while researching Charles Manson.  Linda Kasabian was his getaway driver.  For some reason Karloff thought the word sounded good and it stuck with him and the rest of the band.

Kasabian 2004

Their self titled debut album, Kasabian, was released in 2004 to generally positive reviews and good sales.  They have been described as being a cross of Primal Scream and the Stone Roses, I can hear the influences there, but to me they’re a bit more psychedelic and electronic then the other two acts.  During the recording of Kasabian the band decided to live in a farmhouse by Rutland Water so they could concentrate on the album undisturbed.  At this point Kasabian still didn’t have a full time drummer, they used various drummers including their current keyboard player, Ben Kealey on drums.  While they were recording in Bristol they met Ian Matthews who played on a few songs on the debut, notably Processed Beats, Beneficial Herbs and Butcher Blues.  When they decided to tour, they asked Matthews to stay, and he’s been with them ever since.  Tracks of of the album have been in numerous movies, commercials, TV shows and video games.  My most notable tracks off of the album are Club Foot, Processed Beats, Reason is Treason, L.S.F, Test Transmission, Cut Off and Butcher Blues.

Empire 2006

Kasabians 2nd album, Empire was released in August of 2006.  The band faced some issues during the recording of Empire, which eventually lead to the departure of Karloff, who was one of the main songwriters.  It was announced on their website that he had left due to creative differences.  Even so, he had contributed to at least three of the songs on Empire.  When asked why Empire in an article in NME, Tom Meighan said “Empire is a word used by the band to describe something good”.  The recording of Empire took a mere two weeks, allegedly while on tour with Oasis.  Empire was received well also and hit number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.  While not my favorite album, I thought Empire was good, it showed growth in the group along with the growth of their music and it did have some good tracks.  My notable tracks from Empire are Empire, Shoot the Runner, Sun/Rise/Light/Flies, and By My Side.

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 2009

While the third release, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum wasn’t released until 2009, there were signs of things to come when two tracks, Fast Fuse and Thick as Thieves were released on an EP in 2007.  The EP didn’t get much promotion, if any so no one really knew what was coming in 2009.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was Kasabians first album without Karloff as head writer, for this release Pizzorno took over and did a fabulous job.  This is the first Kasabian album that has a theme throughout also.  The name comes from a group of mental institutions that were constructed in the 1880’s across West Yorkshire England.  When asked by NME on June 12th 2009 why it was chosen as the title, Pizzorno said “The album isn’t about the place, I just heard it on a TV documentary, and the words just struck me.  I love the way it looked and the feeling it evokes.”  In another interview, with T4, the band mentioned that each track of the album is meant to represent a different inmate within the asylum.   Once again, they debuted at number one with West Ryder.
To me this was and is a great album, right up there with the first and far above Empire.  While I thought Empire showed growth in themselves and their sound, West Ryder shows another level of writing and musicality.  The basslines, keyboards, drums and even the guitar parts are to me more complex and the production is great.  This album to me sounds like it should’ve came out in the late 60’s early 70’s.  There are still hints of Empire and Kasabian in it, but its truly a great album.  My notable tracks are Underdog, Swarfiga, Fast Fuse, Take Aim, Thick as Thieves (which my father says reminds him of a McCartney tune a bit because of the begining melody), Vlad the Imaler, Secret Alphabets (which has a great bassline) and Fire.

Velociraptor! 2011

Work on Velociraptor, Kasabians fourth release, began in late 2010.  It was the second album written and composed by pizzorno. The first track released from the album was Switchblade Smiles.  It was made available as a free download for people that pre ordered the album from their own website.  It was also made available on the Kasabian facebook page as a free download.

Once again the new album continued to show growth and excellent writing.  The sound and style changed a little from the previous albums, but still has that 60’s and 70’s feel to it.  The album garnered critical acclaim with Antiquiet giving it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 while saying “Kasabian has found a way to channel everything you love about The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead while still keeping the unique sound that sets them apart from the contemporaries like Coldplay, Muse and The Killers.” and NME saying “Kasabian have lived up to expectations and believe the album is a huge step up from their previous albums.”

For me Velociraptor was definitely a good album, to me I think West Ryder was a bit better but still Velociraptor is a solid album with some really good tracks that makes me look forward to whatever Kasabian has coming in the future.  for me the best tracks on this one are Lets Roll Just Like We Used To, Days are Forgotten, Velociraptor!, Acid Turkish Bath (shelter from the storm) which is kind of an epic, I Hear Voices (which has a bit of 80’s synth pop in it) and Re-Wired.


For me there are few bands out there than can combine everything from psychedelic  60’s and 70’s rock all the way up to 80’s synth pop and get away with it.  Kasabian can.  They can hold their own with any of the big names out there today.  Their sound is different from anything I’ve heard in a while and unique.  They have great bass lines, guitar work and solid vocals and lyrically they get better every album.  I highly recommend checking them out.  I would start with the self titled release Kasabian and work your way up.  Check them out at their website www.kasabian.co.uk , http://www.vevo.com/artist/kasabian or at the online music store of your choice. You’ll hear the progression in their music from the begining to the end and it’s a musical trip well worth taking, your ears will thank you.  So give them a shot and thanks for reading!


So about an hour ago I saw a tweet about Davy Jones being dead, I have to say I was pretty surprised by it.  For those of you who don’t know who Davy Jones was, I’ll give a short explanation.  Jones was a member of a pop rock band that was put together for a TV show named the Monkees, I believe they were the first completely fabricated band, many have appeared since then.  The thing with the Monkees was that originally only one could play an instrument or write, Davy wasn’t that one, hey usually played the tambourine or sang.  By the end of the show, they were all playing their own instruments.  Funny, in today’s world of pop music, no one seems to play their own music, but back then it was kind of a big deal.  So, in tribute to him (I always liked some of his music) I thought I would do a little tribute.

Jones was born in Manchester England in 1945.  His first acting gig was on Coronation Street, a very popular and long running soap opera, when he was 11.  Sadly, when he was 14, his mother passed away.  He soon left acting and due to his short stature, 5’3″, he started training as a jockey.

Eventually he returned to acting and played The Artful Dodger in Oliver!  After the London run of Oliver! he also starred in the Broadway version in the states, this led to him being on Ed Sullivan.  Lucky for him, it was the same show The Beatles were on, and as a young lad standing on the side of the stage watching The Beatles and seeing the girls go crazy, he decided that he wanted that.  Because of the Sullivan appearance he was noticed by Columbia Pictures who then signed him to a contract, also, at the same time he recorded an album for Colpix Records, while Davy couldn’t play instruments (well at least not well) he could sing.

Shortly after the record and signing with Columbia, in 1965, he joined the cast of the Monkees.  his popularity sky rocketed and girls everywhere loved him, giving him his wish from that day on the Ed Sullivan show.  The TV show that Monkees ran for 3 years and went off the air in 1968, but by this time the group including Davy could all play there own instruments and continued to record.  They even had there own movie, Head.  The movie was no where near successful, I’ve never scene it and I really don’t have plans to but apparently it has become a cult hit.

Davy continued to tour and record throughout most of his life, putting on a great show and playing a mix of classics from the Monkees catalog as well as from his own records.  I believe he even had a stint in Vegas.  There were multiple Monkees reunions also, some with others without the full line up.  There was even a new album in 1996.  The band reunited, all of the members, for the first time in along time, in 2011 for a North American tour and UK tour that was successful.  Sadly some dates were to be rescheduled for 2012, but with the death of Davy Jones, from a heart attack today, those shows may never occur.

So there it is, the short version.  Davy Jones accomplished quite a lot in his time, and both he and the Monkees influenced many current and past bands.  If you don’t know who The Monkees or Davy Jones are, why not give them a listen.  The most notable tracks would probably be, Last Train to Clarksville (one of my favs), I’m a believer (which was remade for one of the shrek movies by Smashomouth), (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (another of my favs) and A Little bit Me, A Little bit You.

Well, I hope you’ve read enough to be a little interested in The Monkees and Davy Jones.  RIP Davy and I’d like to thank everyone for reading.


Well, its Friday, so it’s another edition of what did we learn this week? Well first off…..

Incest might not be best…..but it might be the only choice in Iceland!  Apparently its hard to find someone to date….in Iceland.  The population is so small, roughly the size of Pittsburgh, that people will sometimes start dating someone only to find that they are a long lost relative!  So to help this problem some very nice people have started a searchable database…for the link to the full story please visit my good friend, anacristina79’a blog at http://anacristina79.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/icelanders-avoid-inbreeding-through-online-incest-database/

I now pronounce you sausage and green peppers.  If you and your significant other are really into pizza and have 10k you now can have Pizza Hut take care of that pesky ring for you with their engagement package.   Yup you heard right.  Want to know more? Once again anacristina79 can be thanked for this one!  http://anacristina79.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/pizza-huts-10000-engagement-party-package-includes-a-ring-fireworks-and-pizza/

From the “you can never have enough bacon” department.  Well I love bacon, but I even think this goes a bit far.  Apparently Jack in the Box now is offering an extremely limited time bacon shake….yup you read that right.  They didn’t say how limited, so if you’re a bacon fan and want one you might want to visit the Jack in the Box website to find out where to get your fix!

Whitney Houston died? What should we do? Well if your the same company I bitched at last week for not offering a UMD game exchange program in the US (yeah I’m talking about you Sony!) you raise the prices on her CD’s, well at least until you get caught!  Sony put the prices back then apologized but seriously Sony wise up will ya?  The link can be found here at my friend anomic office drones blog, if you want the full story http://anomicofficedrone.com/2012/02/13/you-stay-classy-sony/

For all of you Grateful Dead fans with….cough….cough…. Glaucoma…The US is close to legalizing medical marijuana everywhere as long as it abides by the Washington DC rules….I would tell you more about it, but to be honest typing this is making me hungry so head over to http://anacristina79.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/congress-oks-medical-marijuana-everywhere-with-dc-rules-attorney/ for the link to the full story!

D’oh! Guess who got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?  That’s right Chelsea Handler…..er no….wait….I mean Matt Groening!  Yup the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama has finally been awarded his very own star on the walk of fame.  I may not be a huge fan of the last few seasons, but I love the older ones and think this star was a long time coming and well deserved, kudos Matt!   For more check out http://anomicofficedrone.com/2012/02/14/matt-groening-just-got-a-star-on-the-hollywood-walk-of-fame/

The Godfather part 4, What do you do if you’re a Sicillian drug dealer on the run from the Sicilian mafia…..er…..government?  Well if you’re an idiot like Michele Grasso, you run to London then post pictures of your escapades showing famous places….oh did I mention he even labeled a photo album Christmas in London?  Yup pure genius and now you can guess who’s being extradited back to Sicily.  The full article is over here at my other good friend Danny Carbons blog http://dannycarbon.com/2012/02/15/sicilian-fugitive-deported-after-london-whereabouts-revealed-on-facebook/

They do exist! Well according to Timothy Good anyway.  The best part? He says that Eisenhower had 3 secret meetings with them! Yup, he appeared on a BBC2 program discussing it.  The article also has some other info, how true it is I don’t know but its a good read! So check it out over at Ray Alex’s http://reinep.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/former-us-president-eisenhower-had-three-secret-meetings-with-extra-terrestrials/ and enjoy!

Put them in the Iron Maiden! Yup you Bill and Ted fans know that statement, and also you know I ain’t talking about the torture device either!  Iron Maiden announced their Maiden England World Tour! Yup so look to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Be honest, you didn’t really buy the electric car to save the world….did you?  Because if you did guess what?  You may be making it worse!  Yup, a study that focused 34 Chinese showed that the amount of fine particle emissions produced to make the electricity for the electric cars was worse then from regular cars.  If you want the full story the link can be found here http://anacristina79.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/study-shows-impact-of-electric-cars-is-worse-than-petrol-powered-vehicles/

Thanks to the good folks over at http://larryfire.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/did-you-know-that-it-costs-2-4-cents-to-make-one-penny/ I now know that it takes 2.4 cents to make a penny!!! what the F#$%? why are we still making them!? they can be found on any street in the union! pay the homeless and unemployed to pick them up and return them! I mean we actually lose money making the things, no wonder we’re broke, any way head over to the above link for the full story!

So I find its funny that everyone seems to focus on movie and music piracy hurting the respective industries, but why is no one talking about technology knock offs?  Well my friends at the Ramblings of a Techie blog discuss this very topic, http://theatretechgeek.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/chinese-rips-off-damaging-the-industry/  enjoy!

And on the lighter side….er darker side?  Forbes magazine put together a list of where exactly the Galactic Empire and Emperor Palpatine went wrong! So enjoy!

Oh, and the last thing I learned this week is that when UPS says 2 days guaranteed means “we’ll get it there when we damn well please”  I find it funny that a company that loves logistics they don’t know what the f they are doing.  See, my package shipped on the 15th, 2nd day air.  I live near Chicago so imagine my surprise when I saw it landed in Des Moines Iowa, instead of at Ohare airport, then hopped on a truck to go from Des Moines, back to….Des Moines! yup it departed then a half hour later arrived there again! then departed like 10 hours later to come to Chicago by truck! WTF happened to the air part of the 2nd day air?!  So once again, UPS is late getting me a package, and before you jump on me, the original date that THEY said it would be delivered was the 17th.  So UPS gets the middle finger award for the week!

Enjoy your weekend!


So for the first time in years I watched the Grammy’s, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised by the performances, well at least most of them.  I also determined the way to get a nomination and too perform twice is to beat the crap out of a famous singer the year before, nice to see a few slick dance moves and slick beats and all is forgiven (yeah, I’m talking about Chris Brown) So below is my assessment of them.  If I miss one or two, sorry but sometimes nature calls!

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, performance wise it was good, lots of energy and great musicians as usual.  The problem is I just don’t like Bruce Springsteen,  sorry, just don’t, I respect him as a musician but just don’t care for most of his work.  Not a bad performance overall.

Adele, Great performance, even though she hasn’t sang in like six months due to vocal chord surgery.  Great voice and a great performance.

Rhianna, I liked her performance, not my favorite of the night but it was solid.

Glen Campbell, sorry but I could really care less, I feel bad for the guy having Alzheimer’s but still, the last time his music was relevant was what? 1979? I’m sure in country circles he was a big influence and what not but just doesn’t appeal to me.   That being said, he still sounded good and performed much better than I thought he would.

Bruno Mars, Bruno looked like he was trying to channel James Brown.  His performance was pretty good and I liked the song.  I didnt really know much about him before, so I’m new to him, but I enjoyed it and liked the retro look he was going for….and what a pompadour!

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Raitt still has it after all these years and Alicia still sounds good.  The two of the them put on a classy performance in memory of Etta James.

Foo Fighters, Maybe not their best two performances, but two completly solid and enjoyable performances from one of  my favorites rock bands of all time!  One of my favorite performances of the night, even the one with Deadmau5, who had a totally bitchin’ moushead and even rocked a cylon graphic on it!

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson,   I personally don’t know who Jason Aldean is, but I know Kelly Clarkson.  For me she looked very pretty and to me sophisticated, she also sounded great and the two of them put on a nice duet.

The Beach Boys and friends, amazing that after 50 years the Beach Boys still sound pretty good, Maroon 5 and Foster the people did a nice job complimenting the performance, although Adam from Maroon 5 has a very unique and strange way of standing and singing, kind of like if Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory was singing.  Overall a good performance, and enjoyable, even the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Paul McCartney, While his solo performance wasn’t as good as the closing one, I thought it was nice a classy.  McCartney has always been one of my favorites and at his age I still think he did a nice job.

Taylor Swift, as usual Taylor Swift put on a good performance, I’m not a country fan, but there are a few I like and Taylor is one of them, I think she has a great voice and so far seems to be getting better as she matures’s, so overall it was good.

Blake Shelton, never heard him till last night other than on the voice.  Was hoping for more to be honest, it was good, but not great like I expected.

Jennifer Hudson, Hudson has been through a lot in her life, but she has contiued to make it through.  She performed a great and touching tribute to Whitney Houston, and come on lets be honest, its not like Jennifer had a lot of time to prepare.  She did a great job.  One of my favorites of the evening.

Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, Another old timer showing that he’s still got it.  It was nice to Carrie Underwood also, some complained that it should have been Gaga out there since she was on the album, but I think for the performance Carrie and him were perfect together.  Another very enjoyable performance.

Chris Brown, really? I’m not even going to get into why I don’t think he should represent the Grammys, but all he did was lip sync (poorly) and jump around.  Horrible and almost as bad as…..

Niki Minaj, WTF was that? Song? Horrible.  Performance? Horrible.  Niki stop trying to be Lady Gaga or Madonna and try to be yourself…ok?

Coldplay, Another band that I really try to like, I like a couple of songs, but I always thought they were a bit boring and dull….this appearance shows that once again.

Katy Perry, didn’t start off real strong but I thought overall it ended up being an ok performance, I thought she looked good and performed well enough, the blue hair? I liked it, wife hated it.

Deadmau5, Chris Brown, David Guetta, Lil Wayne, Foo Fighters…..Not sure what to really say, Guetta was the only saving grace of the Chris Brown Lil Wayne act, Foo’s were good, Deadmau5 was good, together it was interesting, not really sure what to make of the whole thing.  I guess it was alright and interesting, Deadmau5 did rock a Cylon effect on his mousehead so that was cool.

So thats about it, that’s my take.  A guy at work pointed out that most of the acts seemed to start a bit flat, which I would kind of agree with, but that being said I thought most were still pretty good.    So I pretty much enjoyed it and thought that most of the right people won.

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Well I was going to give a shout out to Mr Charles Dickens yesterday, since it was his birthday, but I knew that John Williams was today, so I figured have one big party for the two of them.  Plus, they both have been huge influences in their respective fields.  So Since I’m a day late, I’ll start with good ole’ Chuck as his good friends used to call him (in a fact I made up for this blog)

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England (why do they always list the county and city?) on February 7th 1812, incidentally, there was also an 8.8 on the Richter scale earthquake that day along the Mississippi river in New Madrid, it was powerful enough that islands disappeared and lakes were created, but back to Charles.  His was one of 8 children, originally growing up in Portsmouth, but the family started to hit hard times so they moved to Camden Town in London.  His parents were always living beyond their means and eventually his father was sent to debtors prison.

His first story was published in 1833, in the Monthly Magazine, A London Magazine.  The name of the story was A Dinner at Poplar Walk.  After Poplar Walk he became a political journalist.  Although, somewhat unexpected he didn’t write articles, instead he used sketches to get his point across.  He also became an editor for the Bentley’s Miscellany.  He was editor for 3 years before leaving the position.  During this time he also worked on Oliver Twist, he Old Curiosity Shop andBarnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty.  These were all published episodically each month, then eventually turned into books.  This was something that Dickens Pioneered that is still used today.

Dickens also would perform readings of his most popular works, he would also incorporate his life into his books, such as experiences he had growing up and later in his life a train wreck he survived.  He wrote many great novels and stories throughout his career and inspired current and future writers for decades if not centuries.  Sadly he died at the age of 58, young by today’s standards.  He wanted a regular funeral and even had a burial spot picked, but after his death he was buried in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey, he was then and still is one of Britain’s greatest and most popular wiriters.  There is so much more to tell about him, but I still need to talk to about John Williams, so if you want to know more about Dickens there are plenty of resources availible.

Now onto….John Williams. John Towner Williams was born on February 8, 1932 in Flushing, Queens, New York.  His career spans almost 60 years, he is a classically trained composer, pianist and conductor.  His father was the drummer in the Jazz quintet the Raymond Scott Quintet. 

The Williams family would eventually move to Los Angeles where John would eventually attend UCLA. While in LA he also studied with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.  In the early 50’s he was drafted into the Air Force where he was the conductor for the Air Force band (not a bad gig) After his military service he moved back to New York where he enrolled in the Julliard School.  While in New York at Julliard he worked as a Jazz Pianist throughout the city, He even met and worked with Henry Mancini.  He also was the bandleader and music arranger for some Frankie Laine albums.

After Julliard he moved back to LA.  He began composing music for TV and films, a couple of the most notable ones would be the Lost in Space theme and the music for the pilot of Giligans Island.  He was prolific in his composing and began working for MGM.  On the first few films he shared credit, the first film where he was the sole person was Because They’re Young.  After that his film scoring career really started to take off.  He scored such films as, Valley of the Dolls (1967), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), Images (1972), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Towering Inferno (1974), Earthquake (1974, The Cowboys (1972) starring John Wayne.  

In the mid 70’s an up and coming film maker named Steven Spielberg took notice of Williams also,  Spielberg asked him to write a couple of film scores for him and John accepted.  Once again they were blockbusters, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).  During this time Spielberg was talking to a good friend of his named George Lucas.  George Lucas was working on a small film at the time, Star Wars (1977) and needed an epic score to match the space epic.  Lucas approached Williams who would eventually agree.

In the late 70’s Williams scored Superman (1978) for Richard Donner, then it was back to Lucas and Spielberg for For Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

John Williams has scored some of the most recognized movie music of all time and continues to do so.  Most recently he has composed music for Munich (2005),  The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), Revenge of the Sith (2005), The first 3 Harry Potter movies, after a short break he came back with  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) and War Horse (2011). With five Academy Award wins, four Golden Globe Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, and 21 Grammy Awards and With 47 Academy Award nominations he could very well be one of the greatest composers of all time, American or otherwise, and 80 years old he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. So here’s to you John Williams Happy Birthday!


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