Sure, I know what you’re thinking, “MLV, this is a brand spankin’ new weekly feature, replacing the much cherished ‘New Wave Wednesday,’ so why is it part two?” Good question. It’s #2 in a series because awhile back, on July 9th to be exact, I did a post about my mucho beloved band The Professionals that was technically Part 1. So in the interest of accuracy and consistency, this is actually “Part 2”… glad we got that cleared up.
So, where to start? How about the UK in 1977 (seems logical) and alphabetically? Formed in 1973, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias were actually a “spoof rock” band in the tradition of the Bonzo Dog Band, but when their classic EP Snuff Rock was released in 1977 (on Stiff Records no less) you have to wonder how many people actually knew that. I got a copy in 1986 when then Circle of Shit front man and legendary Philly punk rock character John Brubaker demanded that I buy it when we saw it in a store while record shopping. He was as shocked that I didn’t already have it as if we were talking about the first Ramones record or something, but that’s how highly he regarded it, and after one spin, so did I. I mean sure, these guys couldn’t have been that serious with songs like “Gobbing on Life” but then again who knew? It’s not like we could hop online and look for videos back then, and there was precious little information out there on these guys. Fast-forward to 2006 or so, when my daily You Tube mining regimen basically consisted of looking up bands I liked for years but never actually saw, and these 5 minutes and 36 seconds of pure genius popped up. As the saying goes, you could have knocked me over with a feather, and my interest was peaked once again. Supposedly there is a book about these guys, brilliantly titled When We Were Thin, but I’ve never been able to track down a copy. If anyone knows where I can get it please let me know, but for now, be my guest and enjoy the “comedy rock” stylings of Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias.
I’ll tell you one thing, my gal Greta really knows how to throw a party. Ricky’s Sports Theatre & Grill (voted 2nd best sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated) in San Leandro was the spot, and the Warriors / Bulls game was the original premise to meet up last Friday night, but in the end, it was all about the people. We were amazed that damn near everyone we invited actually showed up, but then again, that’s why we chose Ricky’s in the first place, because nothing repels hipsters like a sports bar! Seriously though, Juan and Jesus from Deadend Magazine came the whole way from Salinas, Scott and Michelle Mugford from Sacramento, Flip and Trish from Santa Cruz, I mean, it’s hard not to feel humbled when you have friends that loyal. It’s a cliché, but a good time truly was had by all.
Operating under the principle that all work and no play truly does make MLV one dull boy, I’m actually having a birthday party tonight, the first one since I turned forty a few years back. It seemed like the right time, but one thing was definitely wrong, and that was that I was starting to resemble Sgt. Pepper-era George Harrison in the hair department. Luckily, I now know Philadelphia transplant Nicky the Barber.
Professional and charmingly loquacious, Nicky is a one-man whirlwind dead set on bringing the old school barbershop vibe back to the Bay Area. Here, an expert cut won’t set you back too much, and you can even get a straight razor shave, Clubman optional. The whole experience is unique actually, as he works in a traditional shop that is actually located inside of a high-end salon, but in San Francisco, one expects no less. If you gotta get your look together, then look no farther than Nicky. He can be found at The Barber Lounge, 854 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA. Getting an appointment is probably a good idea, 415-934-0411.
Whenever you don’t see a lot of activity on this here blog, you can bet that I’ve been up to something. Well, good news for you long suffering Gearhead subscribers, we’ve been working pretty much around the clock trying to wrap up the soon-to-be-legendary issue #18. Why did it take so long you might ask? Well, besides all the usual shenanigans, headaches and heartbreaks, Gearhead #18 is extra unique in that it features not one, but two incredibly in-depth and revealing cover story/interviews. First up was Agnostic Front front man/ Rumblers Car Club founder Roger Miret, but this week it’s been all about Alex Gambino. To say that I’ve been practically living at Gambino Customs in San Jose this week would not be an exaggeration; in fact I even have the daily dog walking routine down to a science. Resourceful beyond belief, as witnessed here as our boy Alex shows off his skills with a George Forman grill, it’s been interesting to say the least. Candid, honest and at times fascinating, the Gambino story reads like a book, or at least it will when I get everything transcribed and laid out, so I better get back to work. All I’m saying is that for a measly $4.95, you are really going to get your money’s worth with the next issue. I’ll post the cover next week to further wet your appetites…
I woke up this morning hearing Ron Palillo's (as Arnold Horshack) voice saying the phrase "Little Juan" over and over in my head. Damn you popular culture for making shows so memorable that even after 30 years they lurk in your subconscious, ready to strike when you least expect it!
It’s been an amazing year for 1960’s spy shows re-released on DVD, what with the Man From U.N.C.L.E. box set and all three seasons of the brilliant I Spy finally seeing the light of day, and at budget prices no less. There is however a gem in the bunch that should not be overlooked, and that is the stylish and mod-as-hell masterpiece Honey West. The show stared Anne Francis, whose resume reads like a list of virtually every show I’ve ever been obsessed with, from Route 66 to Mission: Impossible and the aforementioned U.N.C.L.E., to 70’s faves like Cannon, Banacek and even Kung Fu (not to mention that she was Altaira in Forbidden Planet!) but I gotta say that she played Honey brilliantly, the "role of a lifetime" if you will. Campy and sophisticated at the same time, Honey karate chopped and drag raced her way into the hearts of many an American male in 1965, but sadly, for only one season. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a totally independent, crime fighting n’ ass-kicking gal in a catsuit with a pet ocelot just yet, but thanks to the modern miracle that is the Digital Video Disc, society can now see the error of it’s ways. Definitely work a look.
All good things inevitably come to an end, and even though these posts will be up on the “world wide interweb” as long as Goggle is up and running, I’m still “making changes babe,” that is, I’ve decided that this is the last “New Wave Wednesday.” Why? Well, the best reason of all: I personally got bored with it. But fear not, gentle (I’m assuming a lot about you there aren’t I?) reader, it is going to be replaced with “Punk Rock History Lesson” which, for the time being (and because you’re so used to exciting new weekly content) I’ll be posting on Wednesdays. So, having said all that, New Wave Wednesday is going out with a bang, with the band that the term was practically invented for: Blondie. Of all the so called new wave records in the world, I’ve heard Blondie’s discs more than almost any other bands, for this one simple reason: I owned their classic releases Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat on 8-track tape. I probably don’t have to remind the over-40 crowd out there what I mean by that, but for you youngsters it went like this – you would pop a tape in and kind of forget about it, which meant that it played over and over and over, until someone finally pulled it out. So inevitably, you ended up hearing anything you had on 8-track way more than your vinyl, and depending on what it was, that was either a good or (sometimes very) bad thing. In the case of Blondie (and the first three Elvis Costello releases) it was indeed good. “Union City Blue” has always been my favorite Blondie track, but I never saw this video until 2002, when the sadly now out of print Blondie - Greatest Video Hits DVD came out. I love how happy they all look, just goofin’ around on the pier towards the end. We now know they were dealing with all sorts of personal and professional problems pretty much throughout their entire career, but on this day at least, they had fun. Everyone deserves that once and awhile.
Well, last week I was in Las Vegas for SEMA, and rather than vent about the economic circumstances that have the Big 3 (and therefore everyone else in the automotive industry) totally freaked out, let’s concentrate on the positive, shall we?
First of all, I was sent there by Motorbooks to promote the Cole Foster book I wrote (and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that copies autographed by Cole and myself are available for below cover price right here) so that was great, and for once I actually made a bet and won! It was a suckers bet really, I mean, c’mon, the Denver Nuggets by 6 over my beloved Golden State Warriors two days after the big Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups trade? Anyone who follows the NBA at all would know that they wouldn’t be playing with their respective new teams yet, and add that to the fact that Steven Jackson and the boys would be playing at home and… Hell yeah I’ll take the Dubs to cover that spread every time! Luckily Mike Bumbeck was there at the MGM Grand to document the historic moment when your boy MLV actually got paid, which, trust me on this folks, doesn’t happen too often. I would have bet the farm on this one, if only I had one…
For only the third time since I've been old enough to vote in a Presidential election, the guy I wanted actually got in. Amazing.
Mood: cautiously optimistic. Oh yeah, the photo was taken by Jeremy Stoner, a.k.a. "Lil' Obama" in downtown San Francisco. Right on brother, fight the power, etc.