Friday, September 25, 2009

how rich do we need to be? and who the f*ck is bill?

Ok, so It's been a while. I was involved heavily in the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival last week so I was pretty tied up. I performed 17 sets of music in five days. It was fun but I'm still pretty wiped out. So thats what I was doing and why I've neglected y'all. Sorry!

So I'm walking down the street yesterday and a friend stops to chat and mentions something called Bill C-51. Ever heard of it? I sure as shit hadn't. Now I don't pretend to understand politics or even really follow it for that matter so I am also not going to pretend I really understand what I'm talking about here (google it and read for yourself and see if it makes any sense to you) but here goes:

From my less than enjoyable read on the bill (why cant they just write these in lay mans term so we understand, oh right they don't want us to understand) I gathered that it has been a while since our food and health act has been revised. I also gathered that they are trying to revamp what is and isn't prescription/therapeutic  medicine and who should have the say in what is and isn't. In a nutshell my friend mentioned that they were trying to make a lot of natural and therapeutic  remedies unavailable or over the counter and there could be offenses involved in using these and dispensing them in the future.
It seems to me that this may be an attack on two fronts. One - an attempt to get some   drugs off our streets. You know the kinds that you can cook in your own home? I'm not talking pot here folks. Do I agree with that? Sure do. 

Two - It also looks like a major cash grab from the pharmaceutical companies. I mean come on, if they are going to dictate what is and isn't deemed prescription who do you think is going to benefit from that? Old Mrs Hubbard on the corner who eats her hippie concoction to feel better? the Garlic farmerer down the street? the blueberry farm? After all, these things are all "therapeutic" right? Well it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know that pharmaceutical companies will rake in millions more in a deal like this. This is an industry that already doles out incentives to Doctors and Government to peddle their products. What's that? Don't believe me? Ever gone to the doctor to find he ALREADY had your prescription written out before you got there? I know folks who have gone in for routine check up only to have their Doc suggest they need antidepressants because other family members were on them. This to me is peddling folks. And Who wins there? Pharmaceutical companies......again I dont know if I'm on the mark here or not. The read was really confusing....

You know what wasn't confusing? Section 23. Thats the part where they say an "agent" representing the Health Minister can enter your home and go through your things if he suspects there may be items in the house that are contraband. Does that worry anyone but me?
No warrant required? Thats a little scary isn't it? Now I don't have anything to hide but I value my privacy and right to that privacy above all things. I would do much to protect that right.As I said I don't really follow or know much about politics but any Bill that allows my government to enter my home without proper channelling is big brother, USA style fear mongering bullshit. This Bill was already squashed once but now my friend on the street insinuated that it was going to me voted on again....anyone know if that's true?

Ever wonder why we don't hear about these Bills? Pretty obvious isn't it? They spend all their time distracting us with H1N1 so we get scarred shitless about the flu and in the mean time things like C51 are slipping through the cracks. Yes, I know I sound like a conspirey theorist here. No, I haven't lost my mind. But in a day and age when little Timmy can't have a fucking peanut butter sandwich at school things have really gotten messed up and are getting worse. I'm not saying there aren't good politics out there I'm not saying it's all fear mongering but these few things are undeniably that. If the country had a nickel for everytime H1N1 was reported on we'd be debt free. If Bill c-51 had been mentioned that many times in the media I wonder what people would have said about it?

I guess we should all pay a little more attention to what is going on. If the Government sneaks a Bill like that through, that my friends IS the beginning of the end. We may as well take the doors right off our homes because the lock on the sure won't mean shit. I'd sit in my favorite chair and polish my shotgun but I gave it away when they were passing THAT Bill.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Rotten Ronnie

Who is Macdonalds trying to fool?

Now I watched Super Size Me and was disturbed like most. Recently I read an article on a Cheeseburger that hasn't changed its look in four years! no mold, nothin! Scary shit. Google it I dare ya! You'd think after reading all this crap and seeing all this stuff about the Mcnasty that is Macdonald's, that I would NEVER EVER eat that shit again. For a while I didn't. I sure did eat Wendy's, DQ A & W and Burger King though. Then last night  was dying for something nasty. I was going to use it medicinally, of course,  for my self inflicted ALE-ments. It occurred to me that none of these places are good or good for you. There is no fast food Utopia! I know that when I eat there, I will pay with a sore belly etc.......but I do it anyway. Why, I just can't say. Chalk it up to moments of weakness or maybe it's because so many of my memories involve that greasy freaky non real "food" that comes from god knows where.

So, as I'm standing in Mcdick's last night (can't do drive through as my window won't go down) I was looking around at the decor. It was weird. No Rondal McDonald. No Mayor McCheese. Certainly no Grimace and perhaps saddest of all, no Hamburglar. What the hell? Where was I? Instead of all the images the little kiddies love there were posters and murals of scenes that were straight outta freedom 55. One wall had a retiree couple frolicking in the beach on the sand. Another had a father and son at the park. What the fuck is that all about? Do they really think this is making a difference in marketing? There are MILLIONS of people just like me who know that McD's is vile science made,  non-food that isn't fit to feed a starving rat, BUT STILL EAT IT ANYWAY. I already feel bad enough about myself eating this shit. I don't need some ridiculous marketing campaign staring at me when I go in there. Jesus, I remember the day chicken nuggets were served up on a super cool little sword as you walked in the door cause they wanted to see if they'd sell. I ALWAYS buy my mcnuggets. Delicious little non chicken turds of death they are!!! You had me at five!

So come on McDick, Let us live like the old days. We know you serve shit but we buy it anyway. Save yourself a bazillion bucks in BS advertising and bring back that freaky deaky little clown. Bring back that over weight purple thing and the dude who has a cheeseburger for a head. What happened to you. We don't believe your freedom 55 bullshit. We KNOW this food is crap but we don't care. It's not like someone ATE Mayor McCheese....They just killed him off. Stuffed him in a closet somewhere where he should be a moldy study of some freakish kind of world curing penicillin but he's not even doing that. He's just sitting there in that dark wondering when Rotten Ronaldo is coming by to annoy the shit out of him. Well guess what McCheese. you're on your own pal. No one is coming for you. They are busy frolicking on the beach and at the park where life is grand and everyone is eating healthy salads from Mc'D's!

Give me play land, Give me crappy birthday cakes that make delicious memories for kids all over. How can the fucking happy meal even be it even still called that? It's probably called a "we dress this shit up so your parents think its not so bad for you meal" and its all a waste of their money. Parents KNOW it's bad. They also KNOW it makes fat little johnny and rolly pole-y Sally happier than just about anything. I mean come on, most parents let their kids watch TV, listen to shit music and play video games that are not so secretly ruining the globe....go ahead, let em have a Mclard sandwich. Sooner or later it will happen.

Lets all just have a little dose of honesty shall we. Not everything we do in life is good for you. Isn't there still a choice? Make your choices and live with the consequences. I'm not mad today because I ate McDonalds. I'm mad because they are lying to me. They aren't letting me have the real McDonalds. They are trying to dress their shit up. It all looks the same on the TP roll folks, I know who you are. I know what you are. So do millions. And you know what? I'll still drop a ten sheet there a few times a year to get my  fix. And I'll live with the fact that I could have made a better judgement that day.

You ain't fooling no one Ronnie. face it man. You can lie to yourself but you can't lie to me. I've been with you for too long. I know you. You should be ashamed. Pfffft.


Friday, September 11, 2009

HELP! I need somebody....

No, it's not my long awaited beatles bash blog, Not yet anyway....

It's quite a day today. As I swig the last mitful of the days minutes away I have been putting off this post by watching Cocksucker Blues, The Rolling Stones explicit unreleased documentary. WOW. It' quite the show. Rock AND Roll.

I have been thinking all day about what I would write as I knew I would inevitably post today to help me  a little bit. This day has such significance. It dwarfs other days. There have been some big days in my life. Birth. The day I got my first electric guitar. The day my mom took me to see Stevie Ray Vaughan (thanks mom), the day I got married, the day I got divorced, the day I turned thirty, Many, Many Many other awsome days. ALL insignificant compared to today. I have multiple memories of this date. There are a few things I remember VIVIDLY about this date. I've told the tale before and I'm gonna tell it again. For myself. 

Monday night. Mexis, 2001. As per usual I played Monday night at Mexis. I only remember it being myself and one Randy Cable. Mondays were a sure bet for a free, good drunk. Marg's were still tasty back then and I believe the tequila shots were still reasonably cheap. We were keen to finish this particular Monday in good timing as The Burt Neilsen (no relation) Band. or someone, was at The Cellar Pub and we wanted to see them (aka mexis was dead as a result). We finished earlier than usual and headed up the hill to catch the last set. I don't remember what the band sounded like or if there were a lot of people there. I DO remember that we, I, got hideously  drunk.

Believe it or not there have only been a couple days in my life that I remember being inexplicably late for work and this next morning was one of them. I awoke around 12.30 am with a start. I jumped up and called work (mexi's). I told my boss that I would be in immediately (I may be slightly off with the time). I dressed and booked it out he door. As I was walking to work I was going over in my head what I would say, other than 'sorry'.  I walked in and immediately went over to my boss to talk to him. He listened to me apologize and say whatever I said. When finished he asked if I had seen the TV today? I thought, 'thats weird'. "no." I said.  He then gestured towards it. I looked over and for the first time noticed Joey standing there STARING at the TV. I walked over and looked up. I couldn't believe it. Crazy images. Scary and strange. The most monumental news day of the world in my life. I couldn't have imagined that it would ever take a back seat to the same goddamned date. 

2005. I'm at home in St. Andrews. I dream about the phone ringing. It's a strange sleep. I awake with a message on my answer machine. It's no surprise. Even though I knew what was coming on the sad day of Sept 11, 2005  it didn't make it any smaller. The day before I had performed at Falls Brook Centre. As I went to the van I saw I had a message on my phone. It was my friend and employer at the time. He said I needed to get to the DECH asap as someone had called saying things were not good. We jumped in the van and made a b-line for the hospital. 

The waiting room is full and I know every person there. it's heavy. I sort of remember some folks trying to keep it light but it was impossible. We get the story straight and realize this is the critical moment. Our friend had fought long and hard. An amazing fight. Intense. But the battle was almost over. We waited for our turn to go in and say whatever you could think to say. I didn't say goodbye. I said, "see you tomorrow", as we were going to head home to St A to sleep in our bed instead of on the chair. All the usual pleasantries were exchanged. 'There is nothing you can do here', it's ok, go get some rest' and the like. All good and true advice. I remember joking with him when we visited. He gave me the finger I think. It seemed like maybe that it wasn't gonna be so bad. But that was just his way of taking it easy on us. 

He left in a most beautiful scene of love in the middle of the night. Amazing. The only image that is more powerful to me than the image I have of his passing (and I wasn't even there for that) is holding my fathers hand as he went. Nothing else compares.

In his life he drove me fucking nuts. As I'm sure I did to him. But he was brilliant. An amazing writer. Prolific, and good. Dangerous combo. As I analyze my own success and failures it's really funny to think that things would not be as they are for me if his story hadn't unfolded the way it did. Odd. During the last year of his life the design our friendship took was awesome. It was like all the pain in the ass years hadn't been for nothing. I know true friendship. I am lucky to know it. I hope you know it too.

In a day and age where the comedy, tragedy and ill communication of our lives is just a facebook headline I am strangely pleased to say that a select group of friends' FB status's today, had no mention of the most news worthy day of my whole life. Nowhere in their cyber lives did it say anything about terrorist attacks. It was littered, though, with comments of staring at boobs, having a coke, having a beer, listening to tunes, ALL things Randy Cable loved to do. THAT to me is the truth of how awesome he was and how his life impacted others. Try not to get angry at me for saying that, I don't mean it poorly to people who sufferwd loss back in 2001. Like him or not, I'm just saying that for some, he transcends tragedy. That my friends is a good thing. Sweet glow indeed. Cheers fuck face, you are missed.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good is Good? Try something new, you may like it.

Many many years ago I worked at a record store in Kelowna. The kind of big box multi purchase store. you could buy a cd, dvd, car stereo and big screen all at the same time. Although these stores are not really much fun to be in or work at this one was an exception. It was a good job for me for a couple years. It allowed me to explore many styles of music and the store had a staff that was genuinely passionate about tunes. Kind of fun for a while.

While working here we had the opportunity to have a few artists (many of which are now huge stars) stop by for "in-store" performances. One of these artists was Matthew Good. I believe at the time he was fairly popular in the west but I also think it was just before he hit it huge nationally. My memory of this is as follows: Fairly underwhelmed by the tunes and not impressed by the artists attitude. While I never turned the station when many of his hits were on the airwaves it was never really something that I would never buy either. It wasn't necessarily bad but I never really thought it was great either. As for his attitude...who knows. There are a myriad of things that happen on the road that can irritate and I'm sure playing a record store when you should be sleeping could be one of them. 

Fast forward many years. Matthew Good Band disbands. Matthew Good has a, sort of, public health episode. Matthew Good (seemingly) no longer gives a fuck what the record industry desires from him and decides to make music for the sake of creating (this is my outsiders look, i certainly don't claim this is what went on). Around this time he sets out on a solo tour and hits up Fredericton NB. My friend is the promoter and lands me a couple free tix. I go out of curiosity. What happened at that show is what I want to happen EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to a music show, but rarely does. Matt Good blew me away. Just him, an acoustic, a very simple light show and maybe, a bottle of vino. His rapport with the audience was amazing. He was witty and was able to express poignant views on the globe without slipping into rant/rave territory. A fine line for sure. The delivery of the tunes were amazing, both the older ones I recognized and the new ones. I left a Matt Good fan. 

Now I still have yet to buy an album, is there a live one from that tour? But I still tell people about that show an how amazing it was to be surprised like that. Currently I am streaming his new album , Vancouver, on his website and I like it. It still has that familiar sound and nice melodies but doesn't seem to be geared toward any desire of commercial domination (although I'll be surprised if it doesn't). I find the tunes and writing to actually be interesting which seems to be a stretch these days as there is an awful lot of what I would describe as SHIT out there.

Most often I am listening to blues in some derivative or another but I am a music LOVER so I can find things I like in all genres. I don't know what kind of music Mr. Good would call this and I don't know what I consider it either but I do like the sound of it. Of course if I had a heart it would have a soft spot in it for artist who do what they want and continually turn their ass to the big companies. I wish more artists realized the power they have in this day and age of recording and performing. Chances are if you don't feel like you can tell the record bigwig to fuck off, you won't be around in two years. check this article for a great rant about the same topic...

The times they are a changing for sure and if I were a record mogul I think I'd be looking for my gold watch and take the early retirement plan. Anyone who thinks I'm wrong....well we'll have to revisit this debate in five years when the only artists who are able to make a living will be the ones who can actually go out and take it to the people and perform. Very few of my fav bands are on the airwave these days but they all make a good living because they do it 'old school' and go out and tour their asses off after they make a record. I hope Mr. Good Is in this category (I think he is). I'm more than curious to catch a band show of this album and see how he delivers it live. Nicely done Mr. Good. Carry on.


Monday, September 7, 2009


If you know me, then you know I am a driven person. I enjoy setting goals and a REALLY enjoy attaining my goals. Its not always that easy of course. I set a lot of goals, and timelines for these goals, that I don't always meet. I try not to get discouraged and press on, knowing that meeting you goal late is way freakin' better than not at all!!! One of my favorite tools of goal attainment is the list. oh yeah baby. I  effin' LOVE to make a list. There is something very satisfying about crossing shit of that list knowing that its done. Completed. Finito. know what I mean? Now again I feel that it is important to stress that I don't necessarily always finish EVERY little detail of my list and some things have been on my list for a god damn long time....BUT...its the act of writing it out that counts for something. Like saying your goals out loud so you can here yourself say it. It's motivating. At least for me.

As the above video mentioned, we hit our mark of $3000. Now is no time to stop folks. we are a third of the way there. time to kick it. Slip it from fourth into fifth, go for it. Get down.  
You know?

So on that note, I am happy to reveal our next Promo....This will kick off later this week (as long as I get the Tickets by then). So listen it is.......suspense........

We here at The Bastards Empire are printing up 100 tickets. These tickets will sell for ten measly bucks each. When the tickets are gone we will have a draw. The first name drawn out of the hat will WIN AN ACOUSTIC HOUSE CONCERT from yours truly and the Sufferin' Bastards. Second prize, or as i love to say, THE BOOBIE PRIZE, will be the discography and a RN & SB hat! 

Our hope is that if it happens on a good timeline that this house concert will kick off our third national tour (we leave Oct 3rd). How cool would that be? a bunch of your close friends gathered at your house to have a soiree, with music and laughs provided by us!?! Imagine the sound of all your friends voices saying to you over and over, "man, that was the best party!". sound good? well then you'll want to run down to TONY's MUSIC BOX this Thursday or Friday and SNATCH up a ticket or three. 

A few other notes of interest: 
Next week is Harvest Jazz n Blues. There are still tix left for our Bud light tent show on Friday night with Moreland & Arbuckle and Original P. I'll send out a note with our hectic schedule this time next week. 

Also, our fall tour dates wil be up on all sites by the end of the weekso check that out too!
Stay tuned cause you know we always have something up our sleeve.

Hey guess what!?! 
After I sign off here I get to go cross something off my list. you know what it is?
Today's cross off was titled, "tell the folks how much you love em and thank them for making this all possible"!  We love y'all!  Y'all rock!

werd to yer mammies,


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something old, Something new

It may come as no surprise to folks but I think about music a lot. All day. Most nights too. Some may describe me as obsessed. Maybe to a fault? I'm ok with it though. I think a lot about what it is about a song that turns our crank? What is it about a particular melody or chord group that effects us internally, cerebrally? 

I also think about fans a lot. Especially from the perspective of BEING a fan of music but also from a perspective of performing music from time to time. I wonder what it is that hits people so uniquely that they will be a fan for life. I guess we all look and want something different in music, knowingly or unknowingly. It's cool how a tune can turn one person into a devoted fan but the person standing next to them isn't moved at all. Fascinating and awesome is music and its powers.

  Recently i got a computer back from a friend and they had loaded it up with their favorite tunes. Now while i don't enjoy all of that persons selections, there are a few I have been enjoying immensely. Lately the band on there I have been enjoying for the last week or so has been Phish. Now I'm not a stranger to the band by any means. I have enjoyed them live a few times and, somewhere, have the majority of their studio catalogue. The thing about Phish (and most of my fav bands) is that in the Studio they are good but live, they are amazing. These four people are MASTERS of their instruments. When together they really seem to know how to make the four instruments work together. Feeding off of one another, communicating in some secret(?) language. The real win in getting back my computer was that there is now LOADS of live shows on it from Phish! So I have been in there deep listening and remembering. I haven't really listened to them in about seven years I'd say. I have been asking myself over and over, Why I stopped? Its a mystery. I don't know. I guess I burnt out on them back then. But now? I am reminded daily how great of a band they were live as I listen to these shows.

Since I have started listening to them again I have seen them popping back up on my radar. A blog I read sometimes, mentioned them. A friend in Ontario has them on his FB page all the time....and now as I was just inspecting my myspace page I see they have a new album coming out. What does all this mean? I don't know. maybe nothing. Maybe the Cosmos wants me to get back in touch with their music for some reason. Maybe it's cause I'm older and their tunes remind me of a wild time in my twenties. Whatever the reason is I'm enjoying it. My favorite era in early to mid nineties. Full of soaring guitar solo's and weird whacky songs. Beautiful.

I know this ramble has been all about Phish but really it makes me think about ALL of my go-to bands and what it is about their music that owns me? what is it about a band that you can gobble them up for a while and then not listen to it again for years and years but its still as exciting as it once was? I certainly haven't found the answers. I sure do keep looking though.