Dec 02

I’m Just Too Damned Old For This Shit

I’m sure everyone knows by know that I’m really into music. I play in multiple bands, write songs, listen to my iPod even when I sleep, and frequently see live music.

I typically limit my concert going to groups/artists that I really like… preferring to spend my money on entertainment that I know I’m going to enjoy. Reasonable enough.

Apparently there is another reason why I limit myself to these shows; I am an old grumpy codger.

Here’s how it went down… A good friend of mine that I have recently reconnected with is the promotions manager for a very popular radio station in Sacramento. They held their holiday concert event, “Jingle Ball” last night and he offered UMB and me tickets to the show plus meet and greet passes.

The lineup consisted of Jason Derulo, Cobra Starship, Boys Like Girls, Kris Allen, and Justin Bieber.

Of course I was looking forward to seeing Kris Allen. I was a big fan throughout last season’s American Idol, obviously. I knew one song from Cobra Starship, “Good Girls Go Bad.” I was vaguely aware of Boys Like Girls.

I had never heard the name Jason Derulo before, despite the fact that he apparently had a recent #1 single for four consecutive weeks.

I might add here that I never listen to the radio anymore. I get my music via late night video views, online reviews, and recommendations from friends… and let’s not forget the genius of Last.fm, which has pointed me to many great artists I might not ever have discovered otherwise.

And I knew there was some young kid out of Canada that was quite popular due to his performances on YouTube, but had not spent more than a second’s thought on Justin Bieber.

Back to last night…

Kris Allen signing autographs.

Kris Allen signing autographs.

We stood in a lot of lines… one of which was a line that descended stairs into the “VIP Area” where the meet and greet was to occur. While standing in this line, there were suddenly a series of sustained high-pitched screams from the downstairs area, presumably from the front of the line.

UMB asked me, “Where do you suppose this line is actually going?” “From the sounds of it, the depths of Hell,” was my response.

Now, if I haven’t painted this picture well enough yet, let me take a second to point out that UMB and I were literally surrounded on all sides by gaggles of middle-school-aged girls.

And a smattering, here and there, of foppish boys who were either begrudgingly accompanying their middle school girlfriends, or who were fronting that they were there for some serious rock and roll from the pop-punkers Boys Like Girls or Cobra Starship, but were really, secretly there because they too were hoping to catch Justin Bieber’s eye.

We finally make our way downstairs to yet another line that leads to a row of tables where the artists were seated, furiously signing autographs and looking rather blase about the whole deal.

Jason Derulo is a nice looking guy who smelled good and had soft hands. He couldn’t, however, figure out how to spell “Jester” so settled for the simpler “Paul.”

Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo

Kris Allen was next in line, and he was somewhat bemused by the interaction with Jason and had already added the “To Jester” on his photograph. UMB could only manage a “Hi” before getting star struck. I told him that he was hit on my blog, and that I really enjoyed the album (both are true statements).

Kris Allen

Kris Allen

The guys from Boys Like Girls were all very friendly, and the guitarist and I spent a moment discussing tattoos, before I moved down the line.

Boys Like Girls

Boys Like Girls

The members of Cobra Starship barely looked up.

Cobra Starship

Cobra Starship

And then we reached Justin Bieber. He’s about 4 feet tall with a floppy bowl haircut. I’d bet a year’s wages that he doesn’t have pubic hair. According to Wikipedia, he’s 15 years old, but he looks more like a 9 year old. He looked way up at me and said, “Hi Bro!”

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Hi Bro? I could pick him and twirl him like a baton, dip him in blue cheese and bite his head off like a baby carrot. I’m old enough (gulp) to be his father, yet I get a “Hi, Bro.”

My hatred of the term “Bro” is another post in itself… but I just collected the autograph and moved along to find our seats.

Things I Learned from the Actual Concert

  • Jason Derulo is built, can dance, has a decent voice, but shitty songs.
  • Cobra Starship surprisingly didn’t suck. They are better live than on the recording.
  • Kris Allen can sing circles around the rest of the artists on the bill. He’s really short, and is already bored by being on stage.
  • Boys Like Girls were the most entertaining in terms of stage show and energy.
  • If at any time any artist thought they were losing the crowd, all one should do is merely mention the name “Justin Bieber” to illicit a shriek that can be heard from space.
  • Justin Bieber sings songs about his “favorite ladies” and finding “the love of his life” in a squeaky high voice.
  • Justin Bieber pays a very large black man to stand on stage, run a MacBook, and periodically say into a microphone, “Make Some Noise for Justin Bieber” as if there isn’t already a hysterical mob crying and screaming his name.
  • Justin Bieber also pays a different very large black man to act as a camel, that is, Justin steps off the stage and rides on his shoulders through the crowd.

The radio station setup a screen on stage that projected text messages that the audience could post to. If the texts displayed are a sampling of the intelligence level of today’s youth, we are in some serious trouble.

Here are some examples:

I loveeeeee u Bieber! Mary Me! <3 ~Anisa~

Skrem if u think Justen is hotttttttttttttttt!

U my wurld JB! SCREAM!

Ammmmyyyyyy loveeeeeeees the Bieber!

Every twenty seconds or so, another “Scream if you…..” messages would appear on screen, causing the entire audience to create this sound that I can only describe as a cicada operating a dentist’s drill on a chalkboard in hell.

Outside of a handful of moms and dads scattered through the crowd, UMB and I were the oldest people in the crowd. I’d say by a margin of 10 years.

At the end of the show, I excused myself to the restroom. I needed a moment away from little screaming and crying girls, and needed to empty my bladder. I made my way to the men’s room downstairs to discover that the lights were all out.

I spent a couple minutes looking for the light switch, found it hiding in a camouflaged panel and made my way to a urinal. Almost immediately, this girl comes walking in, sees that the lights are on and shrieks to her friends who were presumably waiting in Boston that there was a bathroom here.

Six girls then parade into the room. One remarks, “I only see urinals.”

“That’s because you’re in the men’s room,” I say over my shoulder, not leaving my post at the urinal.

There was another shriek that may still be echoing around the concrete walls of the bathroom as they ran past me to the far end of the bathroom and into stalls.

I finished up and tried to ignore all the giggling and exclamations of “how dreamy hottttt” (seriously, she pronounced the extra “t’s”) Justin Bieber was.

On my way out, I flipped off the hidden light switch and took off running up the stairs.

They are probably still screaming bloody murder.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Jul 08

On Michael

It’s impossible to know the private thoughts, demons, and dreams of another person. Often, it’s hard to know our own.

How can any person begin to imagine what the daily life of Michael Jackson must have been like?

He literally grew up before our eyes. His fans likely knew more about his background and his family life than he did.

While Madonna was attending elementary school, Michael was on Ed Sullivan. While Prince was playing four-square, Michael was in the recording studio. While Simon Le Bon was buying lollies, Michael was touring the country.

He went on to become the biggest-selling recording artist in the history of recording. His sales records will likely never be equaled.

He went on to become the most famous person in the world. His image was more recognizable to children worldwide than that of Ronald McDonald and Jesus. Tribes in remote jungles could identify Michael Jackson.

There was not a street corner, backwoods diner, desert palm tree, or iceberg that Michael could visit without attracting attention.

How lonely and thrilling and sad and amazing and frustrating that must have been to experience.

In every interview I’ve seen recently, the same few words keep coming up: innocent, child-like, playful, silly… For many years, I’ve believed that Michael likely never progressed emotionally past the level of a 12 year old. As an adult, he created his ideal habitat, basically a giant circus and amusement park. I don’t believe this was the act of a predator, I believe it was him surrounding himself with his most basic childhood dreams.

The musician in me can not begin to express the reach and influence Michael had on his contemporaries and younger generations of artists. Every single person on the pop music charts today, from Taylor Swift to The Jonas Brothers, Justin Timberlake, Rhianna, and Miley Cyrus owe an incredible amount of gratitude to Michael Jackson.

His work, dedication, and talent did much more than just sell a few hundred million albums… he busted racial barriers, revolutionized the music industry, introduced filmmakers to new technologies, and probably most importantly shed light on major social issues of the day.

No one in the US knew or cared about the famine that was claiming hundreds of lives daily in Ethiopia in the 80’s until Michael’s USA for Africa exposed it. Even now when I suggest Ethiopian food for dinner, someone invariably makes the joke, “I didn’t think they had any food!”

His humanitarian efforts are unequaled. He has given more money to charitable organizations than any other “person of note.” He founded nearly 40 different organizations aimed at providing funds for everything from HIV/AIDS to burn victims and wounded veterans.

I’ve found myself vigorously defending Michael the past several days on Twitter and Facebook from people who want to complain that his death is receiving too much attention… or demanding that people stop talking about the “child molester” who should be rotting in hell.

To those people I say, “May you never be judged by the worst thing you’ve been accused of.”

To those who dwell on his seemingly bizarre behavior and appearance, remember that “freak” is another term for “different” and our prejudices and bigotry are our problems, not the problems of those who are different.

This “freak” was a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a human being who did extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances.

Michael’s legacy will survive the scandals. Michael’s legacy will survive whatever the next several months or years will find him being accused of now that he’s not here to defend himself. Michael’s legacy will survive the legal battle over the custody of his children and the disbursement of his estate.

Michael Jackson’s page in the history books will be filled with his music and his charity. I don’t believe the scandals will even warrant a footnote.

As for myself, I will remember being jealous of my childhood best friend who came to school wearing that red zippered jacket and glove, and the joy when he let me wear it. I will remember my mom and dad dancing with me to the “I Want You Back” and “ABC” records. I will remember the countless hours I spent watching MTV just hoping they would play “Thriller” one more time. I will remember how much I loved “The Way You Make Me Feel” and how I cried like a baby the first time I heard “Gone Too Soon” after Ryan White died.

I will mourn the sudden silence of a voice that has always been heard in my house.

And I will mourn yet another piece of my childhood slipping away.

Pardon the hell out of me if that’s interrupting your regularly scheduled programming.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Jun 25

Gone Too Soon

Forget all the bad press, the accusations, the rumors, the surgeries, the weird lifestyle…

He was one of the most amazing performers that has ever graced us.

 

Michael Jackson

I love this song he wrote for Ryan White. “Gone Too Soon.”

[audio:GoneTooSoon.mp3]
 
May 30

Funniest thing you’ll see today

If you haven’t seen any of the “Literal” music video series, you’re totally missing out.

This is my new favorite. Tears in my eyes, even.

Mullet with Headlights!!!!

I’m totally using that the next time we perform this song with my band, Total Eclipse.

May 08

No More Kings New Album GiveAway!

I totally gushed over No More Kings first, self-titled album back in September. It was easily my favorite music discovery of 2008, and is at least in my top 10 of the 2000’s.

You may also remember that the lead singer for the band, Pete, found my gushing post and struck up a conversation which ultimately lead to him sharing some of the tracks from the new album, “And the Flying Boombox” with me several months ago.

In this weird world of social media, twitter, facebook, email, and impersonal personal conversations, I’ve managed to pester stalk converse with Pete on a semi-regular basis.

Which leads me to sharing with you probably the strangest twitter conversation I’ve ever had…

See, he has a thing for Zombies. The first album contains a song “Zombie Me” that is downright hysterical and full of awesome. He’s also got a whole set of cool zombie art on his website.

All the Zombies in the house say "uuuuhhhhhhh...."

That background leads to this conversation that took place this past week (read from the bottom up, as Tweetie puts things in reverse chronological order):

Zombie Socks, WTF?

Zombie Socks, WTF?

Yes, I know, I am a total dork. I’m ok with that.

So that brings us to today.

I pre-ordered “And The Flying Boombox” (and albums from two other bands that sounded intriguing, “Aranda” and “Soular”) from the Astonish store. The album won’t be released until Tuesday, May 12th, but I received mine today.

And as a special bonus, Pete threw in an extra copy.

The new album "And the Flying Boombox" from No More Kings available May 12, 2009

I’ve decided to give it away to the person who leaves in the comments of this post the strangest (out of context) tweet they’ve sent. Funny, sad, just plain weird… whatever. I want to know that my talking about zombie socks isn’t the weirdest thing out there.

You’ve got until Tuesday to send out your strange tweets (if you want to get real creative between now and then) and leave them here in comments. Multiple entries are allowed.

Sure you could just wait until Tuesday to buy your own copy (and you should, it’s GREAT)… OR you could download the song “Obey the Groove” by No More Kings for free right now.

But then you wouldn’t get the bragging rights of getting rewarded for having sent the strangest tweet.

And I’m eager to share that title.

Understandably.

By the way, you can follow me on twitter @jestertunes, or friend me on facebook.

 
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
May 02

Our As Yet Untitled Acoustic Project

Here are some videos from our Easter Sunday show.

We haven’t come up with a name for the project yet. We’re taking suggestions!

The sound quality ain’t great because there were some loud ass people in the back of the bar that seem to be picked up just fine.

I’ve got a few more that I’ll put up this weekend where the sound quality is a bit better.

Enjoy anyway!

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Dreams

An Original: “Pieces of Love”

Apr 29

Judy Garland Through The Ages

I saw this on Boing Boing and it actually left me speechless.

This video shows Amy Walker performing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as Judy Garland, beginning with young Judy from “Wizard of Oz” and gradually aging into loungy-druggy-almost-dead Judy.

Now I’m going to have to look for more of Amy’s videos. I suspect I’ll return from the world of YouTube in roughly 4 days.

Wish me luck.

 
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Jan 26

No More Kings Again

I’m sure you all remember a post a few months ago in which I completely gushed over a band called, “No More Kings.”

I shared a few of their songs with you, and the video for “Sweep the Leg.”

You remember now? Good.

Well, the lead singer for the band, Pete Mitchell, found that post and dropped me an email thanking me for saying nice things about the album. We’ve exchanged several emails since then, and he’s shared a few of the tracks off their brand new album that is due out in May.

No More KingsI don’t mind telling you they are great, and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up a copy!

I’d share them with you, but I swore I wouldn’t. Sucks to be you, huh?

The band tops my list of favorite new artists that I discovered last year, and new music from a great band is always welcome.

Be watching for it, I’m sure I’ll remind everyone when it releases. And hopefully, I can talk Pete into being a guest on an episode of The Jester Show in the near future!

Sep 06

Gushing Over No More Kings

It happens every so often… not often enough, though.

I have “discovered” an artist that I had never heard of, downloaded the album and now Can’t. Stop. Listening.

Seriously, I’m obsessed. I have 15,000 songs on my iPod and I have been listening to the same 13 over and over again for the past 4 days.

Who is this band, you might ask?

It’s No More Kings. It’s their self-titled album, and it’s clever and sharp and sounds fantastic.

The whole album is peppered with pop-culture references that include everything from Peanuts comic strip and Sally Brown’s secret love for Schroeder, Gargamel and the Smurfs, MC Hammer, Edith Bunker, The Karate Kid, Gene Kelly, and even a song written from the view point of Gulliver stuck in Lilliput.

There’s not a bad song on this album. I’m sharing a few songs with you here… I hope you enjoy and love it as much as I do. I’m like a drug pusher.

Here’s a song straight from the Peanuts Comic Strip:

[audio:AboutSchroeder.mp3]

A hilarious song about becoming a Zombie (no really. Listen and love it. I can’t stop giggling during the call and answer…)

[audio:ZombieMe.mp3]

My favorite song (I think) from the album that sort of captured my philosophy of life:

[audio:Umbrella.mp3]

And here’s the song you may have already heard written from the point of view of Johnny, the bad guy in The Karate Kid:

You know, I used to write about music a lot. It’s just been a long time since I’ve found something I like this much!

Have you found any new artists lately that I should check out?