Journalism For Dummies Starring Karma The Bitch

HelloBack in 2003 Strapping Young Lad toured Europe supporting Fear Factory, and being the diehard SYL fan it was a no-brainer I’d take in at least one show and do some press while I was there. The fact that frontman Devin Townsend and I had been crossing paths and doing interviews since 1995 – including a memorable evening at a pseudo-posh Hawaiian restaurant in 1998 ordering up overpriced food and drink that the label paid for – made it a necessary visit, if only to say hello.

A late afternoon interview was scheduled but Devin chose to get some very necessary sleep before the gig, leaving guitarist Jed Simon, drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Byron Stroud to play hurry-up-and-wait with me. We traded the latest tour, album and industry info until word finally came down that Dev would be available after the band’s set instead. Thus, after double-checking all the necessary guest list arrangements, I made my exit so as not to wear out my welcome.

On the way out through the back door of the venue I encountered a fellow journalist – an assumption (foolishly) made based on the camera bag over his shoulder – and his well endowed eye candy. An inexperienced fellow judging by the way he was waiting around for someone to magically appear and say “Come on in, Dood!” as opposed to simply going in and looking for the tour manager. Not my problem, I decided, but as I walked past – offering a courteous nod to him and his woman’s attributes – he flagged me down.

“Excuse me? Do you know if Al is around?”
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Yuppie Scum Damage Control… Gasworks Style

BeerI lost my rock club virginity in 1987, a year before I became legally allowed to get sloshed in public. It was only fitting that my chosen arena for the all-important passage to metalhead manhood took place at The Gasworks, one of two high profile rock venues in Toronto – the other being the beloved original Rock N’ Roll Heaven – that played host to wannabes and would-bes and acknowledged stars during its quarter century run (Yes, the same Gasworks Mike Myers mentions in Wayne’s World, even though the film’s version of the club is “slightly” different from the original). As a wet-behind-the-ears teen I’d passed the nondescript Yonge Street club during countless trips to the Record Peddler, Cheapies and Sam’s, wondering what it was like to see the bands advertised in the bashed up showcase window outside playing what must be a pretty small fricking room. I’d heard the Gasworks name thrown around time and again by the big boys at arena shows over the years, which added to the mystique, making it one of the Places I Have To Check Out Before I Die.
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Yes, You Can Be A Celebretard…

NameWhen TMZ.com and their tabloid ilk first ran “stories” on Bennifer I quite honestly had no idea what they were talking about. It took a few revolutions of my brain to realize they were referring to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in the happy throes of their eventually doomed relationship.

Neat play on words, I thought. It works. The end.

Not.

The mental midgets who feed the tabloid media don’t know when to quit, of course, and will flog a horse until its bones have been reduced to powder. Thus they gave us K-Fed, J-Lo, and the infamous Brangelina, thinking they were oh-so-innovative and cute in giving the world a blanket term for Hollywood’s most popular power couple, dumbing down anyone who dared come near a celebretard “news” report. But, whatever, let ‘em have their fun. It’s not like the morons who use their magic Scrabble boards to come up with this shit are doing me any real harm.

Until now.
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Music Journalist / Label Rep Survival Guide – Chapter 1

cd

You Know You Have Too Many CDs When:

— they outnumber your woman’s shoe collection 8 to 1.

— you’re able to lean comfortably on the pile stacked beside the CD player with your shoulder and it remains upright.

— they are found in every room of the house including the bathroom.

— you don’t think twice about using them for scraping the remnants of dinner off your plate and into the garbage.

— you’ve discovered they can be used to ensure maximum and uniform coverage of peanut butter on toast. The only problem is getting the peanut butter out of the jar, although the inlay cards seemed to have solved the problem quite nicely.
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The Dead Generation Is Alive And Unwell…

techA couple weeks ago I was trolling YouTube in search of pre-work amusement and stumbled upon Daughtry’s acoustic rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’. While on the page – realizing that a good song is a good song in spite of my disdain for most things techno – I spotted a thumbnail claiming “Lady Gaga Performs Live In The Studio.” Having already seen footage of Ms. Bad Hair Month Germanotta doing up ‘Poker Face’ live on piano in classic Tori Amos fashion I was intrigued. Alas, it was the original techno version performed in some dinky European morning show studio that probably doubles as a dentist’s office after 9:00am, but she did indeed pull it off live and proved she has the chops.

I scrolled through the comments on the page, knowing full well the keyboard warriors lurking about flaming one another are always good for a laugh. I came upon an entry that read as follows:

“When she’s (performing) live I hate her voice! It’s just not what I’m used to when I listen to her songs on the radio.”
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Writing For Morons: You Must Be This Tall To Ride This Ride

amateurI’m not God’s gift to journalism but I consider myself a decent writer. There are lots of folks out there that are better than me, but I’ve thrown down some bad-ass prose in my time and I can look back on what I’ve accomplished with a certain amount of pride. I’ve also made mistakes for all to see and laugh at – using the word “situation” three times in a run-on sentence is my personal best – and I’ve learned from those mistakes. And while I have the whole grammar thing down pat (barring any stylistic wanderings on my part that I justify in the pursuit of creativity) every so often I see a story or review I wrote that’s gone to print with some glaring errors and think “Nice one, you dolt…” Sure, I could blame the editor, but I try not to.

With the general pace of life and all the instant messaging going on these days (and please, kiddies, keep the fucking laptop away from the bathtub!) it’s no surprise that grammatical rules have gone to hell. Blogs, text messages, Twittering, online bulletins… everyone has a voice whether they can write or not, syntax be damned. Can’t blame them, either, because ultimately it’s the message that’s important to them and the parties involved, not how pretty it looks.
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Field Test In The Carbonation Nation

swallowWhen I first moved to Germany I was surprised to discover how much the people liked their carbonated mineral water.

Not that the concept of bubbles in my drinking water was anything new. My parents had big-ass bottles of soda water delivered to our doorstep every few weeks when I was a kid. But, it seemed that the average German generally frowned upon drinking tap water, opting instead for buying half liter bottles of bubbly. It was and remains in such high demand that most companies distributing it offer up their product in varying strengths:

— Average “that tickles” bubbles

— Medium “scratch that itch” fuzzy bubbles

— Extra Strength “and you though Pop Rocks could dislocate your jaw” hydrogen bomb carbonation
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“What Would You Know About How Your Song Goes?”

musicEverybody has seen or at least heard about Ashlee Simpson’s classic lip-synch crash & burn on Saturday Night Live (if you haven’t, shame on you and go here). It’s a wonderful bit of TV magic, reminding folks of why they call it Saturday Night LIVE and sending out the message to wannabe popstars and their keepers that technology is not a fucking failsafe. You wanna be on stage? Do the work or stay the hell away, because somewhere down the line karma is going to give you an ass kicking.
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It’s Easy To Be A Hero When The Other Guy’s A Moron

stupidI’ve encountered my share of strange and unusual people during my time in Germany, but this next yahoo took the cake and ate it…

A few years ago The Girlfriend and I spent most Friday nights recharging at a local Irish pub, which consisted of drinking buckets of Guinness (me), flirting with the well endowed female bar staff (me… and her, come to think of it), being nauseous at the thought of actually drinking the glasses of cherry and banana juice being poured for the non-drinkers (both of us), smoking too much (her – long since nicotine free) before finally stumbling home in the wee hours of the morning. Normally it was an uneventful five minute walk back, but on one particular night I ran into what was and I imagine still is one of the stupidest people on the planet.
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From There To Here… and A Big Fat -10 From The Canadian Judge

This is the first installment of what’s to become a regular blog feature. Just me sounding off on things that I feel need to be addressed, if only for my own peace of mind, as well as offering a personal look at some of the whacky things I’ve gone through in recent years. Feel free to comment, but keep it clean because I have a nuclear powered spam filter that’s really good at its job. As much as I enjoy a well-placed ” F ” word I’m not sure it’d get through the screen… dammit 😉

Anyhoo… onwards!

carlsizeThe other night I was “forced” to sit through another mind-numbing installment of Germany’s Next Top Model. I have no problem with allowing my Dirty Old Man gene to get excited over watching sweet young things flouncing their way through various exercises dreamed up by Heidi Klum’s team of producers, and in all honesty I’ve even found myself rooting for a couple of them. What drives me absolutely fricking insane is the whole judge / jury /executioner bit at the end where Ms. Klum tries to build up the drama with her moronic public speaking “skills” as she gives one hottie her walking papers for that week.
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