Killer Whales- the dick heads of the high seas

25 04 2010

Killer Whales seen in their natural habitat.

Some time ago, I unwittingly typed my most controversial post.  I said some things the internet just could not forgive about Killer Whales and Neko Case.  As many of you may know, Neko Case is a famous marine biologist and singer/song writer.  Now, I have to admit that I have never seen Neko Case, nor a killer whale up close, however, I did read a motivational book about training killer whales.  I also watched about five minutes of Free Willie II once, so I think I have a reasonable idea of what a killer whale is.  They’re black and white and they swim.  They’re also not actually whales, but part of the dolphin family.  I learned that from a children’s book on sea predators-   I don’t remember what it was called or I’d reference that as well.

Anyway, even though they call them ‘killer whales’ and their scientific name was derived from the name of the Roman god of the underworld, these animals are not considered a threat to humans.   Still, Neko Case calls our underwater pals “man eaters” in her famous song “People Got a lot of Nerve.”  In this horribly titled diddy, she suggests that if a Killer Whale dragged you to the bottom and ate your leg, you shouldn’t be surprised, because, after all, they are called killer whales.  Then she goes on to talk about eating people herself, which is, I guess, a hobby of hers.  I retorted that Killer Whales don’t eat people and that it might have been more appropriate to use an animal that might actually eat a person in a ‘man-eater’ analogy.  It also would be a surprise to most people of a killer whale ate their leg.

Neko Case in her natural habitat

This spurred on a plethora of comments that I was a douche bag to attack pour Neko.  Very few people noted that neither Neko Case, nor many killer whales, actually read my blog- so this is more of a victimless crime.  Moreover, people tried to explain to me that she has poetic license and can write whatever she’d like to, whether or not it makes literal sense.  We are talking about a lady who compares herself to a tornado, and then depicts herself riding on the hood of a muscle car wielding a sword…  So I’m gathered that there was a little bit of poetic license involved. I, however, got the same go ahead from the internet to write whatever I want, even if it offends killer whales or tornadoes.  And, this whole blog is intended to be humorous… and if you’re not seeing that by now, you really need to find a new blog to read.

This is all similar to when people pointed out that none of the ‘examples’ of irony in Alanis Morissette’s song ‘Ironic’ are actually ironic situations at all.  So she either wrote an entire song about a common word she couldn’t define if her life depended on it, or she thought that writing a song about irony using all examples of things that weren’t ironic, would, as a whole, create a situation of irony.  Either way, that song was awful.  She still has poetic license to be an idiot- but it doesn’t change the definition of irony.  Clearly Neko Case is not as retarded as Alanis, and her music doesn’t make me want to stuff firecrackers in my ears, but I’m sure you can see the comparison. Making fun of stupid lyrics should be good fun for the whole family.

Alanis Morissette demonstrating her prowess with the English language

Alanis Morissette demonstrating her prowess with the English language

Now, in the mist of this entirely unentertaining altercation between myself and the internet, some killer whale murdered a trainer in cold blood.  This prompted about a thousand people to tell me that I was completely wrong in asserting that killer whales were no threat to humans, and not man-eaters.  All I can say to that, is that I, myself, do not kill people.  However, if you kidnapped me and put me in an oversized bathtub and made me perform dog tricks for several years, I might kill you too. Now, killer whales actually can’t be forced into doing much, because they’re too big.  So you have to train them with positive reenforcement, and get them to the point where they want to perform.  But, apparently even then they may harbor a grudge and just be waiting for the perfect moment to kill you in front of a few hundred children.  Also, turns out, this particular killer whale was a bad seed in the first place.  He’s the first serial killer whale.  Why they overlooked that on his resume and still let him in the show at Sea World, we may never know.  I seriously hope someone in HR got canned because of this. Also it’s important to note that this actually did surprise everyone quite a bit.  …because killing people is not normal behavior for killer whales.

Regardless of how many people one whale can kill, they still aren’t man-eaters.  Primarily because they don’t eat men.  And, maybe if the song was about man-drowners this whole thing never would have happened, because, as it turns out, that’s much more plausible.  I still stand by my previous statement that killer whales do not eat people.  I also still think that song is dumb regardless.  I don’t wish Neko any ill will, and I do sincerely hope she doesn’t fall off the front of that car she rides on, but I’ll probably never be a fan of her lyrical work. And I think that’s ok.

I hope this clears up any unanswered questions from the last post.  If not, I suggest either talking to Ms Case about the situation, or your local killer whale population.

Sigourney Weaver was Wiley Kit of the Thunder Cats

In brief:

Priscilla and I just finally watched James Cameron’s Ferngully Two to see what all the talk was about.  Sad to see that Robin Williams wasn’t allowed to reprise his role an annoying fruit bat, but it was good to see Sigourney Weaver is still acting.  She portrayed one of the Thunder Cats in the film. All in all our cats and I enjoyed all the bright colors and quick movement, but Priscilla got a headache.

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How do you spell Rumpelstiltskin?

23 06 2009

I hate how you can’t really advertise your true feelings anymore.  The internet turns even the most mild blogger into a gossip whore.  I can’t even talk about how I hate my day job and I want a new one because  it’s likely that someone I work with will read this, and let me boss know, and then all the work pot lucks will be awkward.  Not to mention, that dude I called a douche is probably going sneak up on me and say something designed to intimidate me.  The world is more dangerous than ever.

The Alarmists seen in natural habitat.

The Alarmists seen in natural habitat.

So I try to keep things positive.  These guys do that too. If they mention you, they like you.  If they don’t, they probably just wont mention you.  That’s a sound, friendly approach.  But what about everyone else?  Should we never be able to talk about things that we think suck?  Should we be afraid to let people in our vicinity know that we don’t like their work?  Should people even get upset if someone doesn’t like what they do in the first place?  Who knows, but I do hate my job.  I don’t hate The Alarmists though, so lets talk about them.

I don’t know Eric Lavold super well, but I do know him and his cohorts Drummer Boy Schwandt and Bassist Brian who are also in the bands White Light Riot and So It Goes respectively.  All great guys.  So, when I was told that the City Pages peed on them, I wondered what was up.  A friend alleged they had recently called them poop heads, and ass clowns who couldn’t play instruments.  …or something like that.  It’s sparked a huge debate about whether or not The Alarmists suck and/or whether or not the City Pages sucked. Also how in the hell do you spell the Star Tribunes music guys name?  I had to know the truth, so I decided to investigate.

Like all important people in the Twin Cities, I had an advance copy of The Alarmists new album, The Over-head Left to listen to. I also went to the release show, and then I read all these articles AND all the blog comments on the City Pages site.  Then I read Chris Rachmaninovschneider’s interview in the Star Tribune.  I’m pretty much an expert about now,  so, I will tell you all the truth.  But before I act like I know everything, let me first drag out this story by adding in personal experiences that are unrelated.

As I mentioned, the entire cast of Maudlin showed up to the show.  The first bit of evidence that I collected came when I saw the Rock The Cause table in the Varsity Theater.  As you may or may not know, Priscilla and I sit on the board of directors for Rock the Cause.  If you’re not familiar with how we help the community and music scene, please take a look.

Eric Lavold approached Rock the Cause with an offer.  Bands approach us with offers all the time.  Some of them are good ones, some are a little self serving.  Some would be really difficult and some more realistic to do.  Eric’s offer was both generous and easy.  At a time when our org could really use some extra cash, he offered to let us accept donations for digital downloads of the new album on our site and keep 100% of the proceeds.

Priscilla and I arive in Dinky Town, Jason documents.

Priscilla and I arrive in Dinky Town, Jason documents.

This might not seem like a huge deal to you, but the amount of work, money, and liability that goes into RTC putting on an event to raise money is huge.  This required nothing of us other than we upload the song.

The comment was made that The Alarmists drama may have over shadowed their music.  Why can’t someones generosity and good nature over shadow the drama surrounding their band?  I guess because People magazine would go broke, with the City Pages along with it.

Craig Grossman of Green Room Music Source, The Alarmist booking agent (also our agent) and Scott Herold, CEO of Rock The Cause hang out at the show.

Craig Grossman of Green Room Music Source, The Alarmist booking agent (also our agent) and Scott Herold, CEO of Rock The Cause hang out at the show.

The crowd at the show was great, and the bands selected where right on too.  Maudlin had a great time running around and mingling.  I let my agent buy me a drink, and Eric’s dad tried to buy Priscilla a drink because she adjusts his glasses at work, but Craig beat him to it and bought her a drink too.  Primarily we like Craig as our agent because of the drinks.  Anyway, Jason bought himself one too many drinks and then ran around taking pictures for posterity.

Jason getting his drink on.

Jason getting his drink on.

The Alarmist show was actually really good.  The new line up is great.  Someone on a blog made a comment that all the new musicians couldn’t stack up to the old ones, and made special citation of the drummer being included.  Their old drummer was very good, but complaining about Mark Schwandt’s drumming is pretty retarded. Aside from being a solid show, it was more raw than the album and had a more personal feel to it.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It actually made a few songs I was a little luke on from the album really grow on me.

Me forcing people to listen to me.

Me forcing people to listen to me.

The Album itself is certainly nothing at all to scoff at.  I can see how it differs from previous releases with less edge, but it adds a more haunting feel- actually reminds me a bit of Chris Isaac on some tunes.  (course I was just watching True Blood so…[At least, when I first wrote this pharagraph I thought that Chris Isaac wrote that song, but today Barb Abney *cough cough name drop* corrected me.  Some random hillbilly wrote that song. ]) The vocals are more stripped and personal.  They bring out a great contrast against synths soaked in reverb.  There are some dark sounding melodies and hooks, but the album still feels hopeful even if melancholy.  Something for a rainy day if you’re not the kind of person that gets super depressed and hates rainy days.  I definitely favor the first half of the album with tracks like, “Rhyme and Reason,” “Car Crashing,” “Flutter and Fly,” and “Hollywood’s Not My Home.”  Not feeling songs like “The Country” or” We Belong” as much, and I flat out do not like “The Elusive Mr Albright.” …not sure what the motivation is on that one.

Over all it sounds very much like a liberation or a rebirth than a swing and a miss.   These guys knew exactly what they were going for, and while it’s not going to thrill everyone, I think it will win a lot of people over.  As to whether or not The Alarmists will take over the world, who knows- and who cares.  They’ve already carved out a place for themselves, they’re making music that’s rewarding to themselves and still have an audience to listen.  That is what success is.

The Alamists at their CD release show at the Varsity Theater

The Alamists at their CD release show at the Varsity Theater

I believe in real criticism though, real honesty.  If there isn’t anything bad, then, of course, nothing is really good.  It’s just all double plus ungood. We don’t want that.  I’ve met Andrea from the City Pages before, and even if she hadn’t been talking with me about my band being good, I still would have thought she was really nice.  Not at all the kind of person who seems out for a vendetta.  The City Pages article is pretty scathing, but, if it’s honest, then it’s not meriting retaliation.

Chris Rumpelstiltskinschneider said that The Amarmists are big enough to take a hit.  They are.  His own article in the Strib praises the album and gives a great inside look at what’s going on with the band and what’s transpired.  It’s hard for me to not take a step back and see the two biggest papers in town arguing about a band and think, “Any press is good press.”  Ultimately the controversy made listening to the album more fun for me.  …Although, if it was my album getting shredded I would release angry bees into the office of the offending party.  Not killer bees, just kind of having a bad day bees.

My biggest complaint with local press has always been what they miss, not what they criticize.  There’s so much music here in Minneapolis, and way too much for everyone to go out and see what every band has going on.  A scathing review here and there is a service.  Just like letting people know about a new great band, and keeping up with what the bands we’ve all heard of have been up too.  The more reviews the better, good ones and bad.

Still The Alarmists, only the lights are a different color now.

Still The Alarmists, only the lights are a different color now.

So what are my conclusions? People may have differing opinions about whether The Alarmists new album is good, just like people have many different opinions on how to spell Chris Rasputinschnieder’s name- and that’s ok.  Because, in the end, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer.   And, if that conclusion offends you, blame this guy.

David





Earth Day is for Advertising!

23 04 2009

Earth Day.  We all plant something, donate some money to something planet related, and listen ‘What a Wonderful World’  Ah… Usually I actually forget until something happens.  Who are we kidding though, we’re all tearing this place up.  But some people, try REALLY hard not to sodomize mother Earth- take Cloud Cult, for example.  Cloud Cult is one of the more eco friendly bands out there, they even make sure they reduce, reuse, and recycle when writing music!  That’s dedication.

Plant something today!  …better yet, don’t buy anything that came in something or was made by using things… we’re all screwed.  Happy Earth Day!!





Neko Case- Killer Whales Seriously DON’T eat people.

20 02 2009

Someone needs to tell her that for me, cause, if someone got dragged down to the bottom of a tank by a killer whale, and had both their lungs and a leg eaten… I think they’d have good reason to be surprised.  …because killer whales DON’T eat people… that’s why they don’t use things like hammerhead sharks and giant squid in the shows at Seaworld.  They pick animals that wouldn’t eat anyone. …like killer whales.

But, really, the song wouldn’t really be any better if it went “they call them giant squid…” It would still probably suck.

…thats all…








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