Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wanderlusting's Top 10 of 2010

I know Consequence of Sound (and many others) just did this (though they had 100 albums), but honestly I didn't listen to THAT much new music this year. I mean, I did, obviously as I have been reviewing shit, but not enough for me to recommend really more than 10-15 albums. Plus, you know I have my own musical inclinations which aren't usually included on most lists. I'm not much in the "indie" scene, I hate most pop music and my tastes can be loud and eclectic. But I digress...


Wanderlusting's Top 10 Albums of 2010


10. Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder





This was released this year, right? I feel like it's been slipping people's minds for some reason. Now, it's not the best Melvins album out there, but I find myself listening to it a lot more than Nude With Boots. It's still crunchy, greasy, distorted, grungey, sludgy, swampy, drowsy, angry, fuzzy and a slew of other adjectives. In other words, it's still classic Melvins but there's more of a cohesiveness to Murder. Maybe purists will say that this album is more "mainstream" or "poppy" than usual, but whatever. It works.


9. Kylie - Aphrodite



From Melvins to Kylie Minogue... yep. Hey, I'm allowed to have strange music tastes and I can't help it if Miss Minogue put out one terrific, catchy pop album this year. Of course, I do have a soft spot for her since I first was introduced to her back when I was traveling Australia in 2000-2001 but I can't deny that Aphrodite is pretty solid all the way through. As I said in my Consequence of Sound review, "Minogue isn’t about experimenting on Aphrodite, it’s about bringing back the club-primed beats and frisky phrasings that her fans expect from her and for the most part, it works beautifully." I recommend downloading the title track, "Aphrodite" - it's pure, infectious fun.

8. Bad Religion - Dissent of Man



Ah, my teenage love from 1996-2000. I saw Bad Religion a few times live, had all their albums, had their cross patch on my cargo pants. And though I would still listen to The Grey Race or Recipe for Hate, I hadn't really given Bad Religion all that much thought until I saw them live, again, at the Ilosaarirock Festival in Finland this past July. They were amazing. Just so much energy, and having been around for 30 years, you could tell how much they just love their music.

Naturally, my ears perked up when their new album, Dissent of Man, came up. I was fortunate enough to review it and you know, it's a great album. A lot of the time it does sound very classic BR. You know, quick drums, well-placed guitar solos, Greg Graffin's monotonous voice. But while some BR albums can sound a little too similar, this one had some nice changes, apparent in the songs "Cyanide" and "Wrong Way Kids." I think I'm going to go listen to it right now.

7. Massive Attack - Heligoland

This album was left off of a lot of people's lists, and I'm not sure why. It's pretty freaking good and definitely one of those moody, MA albums that take a while to grow on you. I guess releasing it as an EP first may have taken the wind out of the Heligoland's sails but I digress: it's rad.

"Babel", "Splitting the Atom", "Atlas Air", "Girl I Love You" - these songs all have the drive, the beat, the atmosphere, the sparse electronics that Massive Attack is known for. For a heartfelt change of pace, there is "Saturday Come Slow" which features Damon Albarn. Frankly, it's the best track on the album. Full of yearning, Albarn's raw vocals express the kind of hopeless pain that so many of us have felt. When he sings "Do you love me?" you want to answer yes, if not to just put him out of his gorgeous misery.

6. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach


Speaking of Damon Albarn, the Gorillaz released their hotly-anticipated follow-up to Demon Days. I was one of those people who was obsessively checking their website to see what song teaser trailers were being released so when it finally came out, I was listening to this album on repeat.

It's hard now to think back on what my original thoughts were. I know some songs confused me, such as "Glitter Freeze" which I thought was too annoying, and "On Melancholy Hill" which I thought was too cheesey. But now, I adore "Melancholy" (helps that I had a "moment" while hearing this live at Coachella... I felt so united to all my fellow concertgoers and no, I wasn't on drugs). There really isn't a bad track on this album; the few so-so songs become great with each listen and the great songs, such as "Empire Ants" and "Rhinestone Eyes" become stupendously awesome.


5. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards



I don't like female-fronted rock bands. Fact. I just can't listen to them... maybe it has a lot to do with sugary vocals paired against hard music. It's too feminine to me and I just can't do it. Which might explain why I absolutely adore The Dead Weather and Allison Mosshart's gravely-voiced persona. Anyway, here's the excerpt I wrote for CoS when the album made #15 on the Top 100 of 2010 list:

The Dead Weather’s followup to their 2009 debut, Horehound, took Jack White and Allison Mosshart’s “Evil Twin” relationship and ramped it up a few notches. If they were a playful duo before, in Sea of Cowards they’re skirting the edges of madness together, egging each other on in a slinky showdown that’s dramatized by the album’s schizophrenic mix of blues, soul, and psychedelic rock. The album kicks off with the throbbing grooves and twang of “Blue Blood Blues”, while White sings “shake your hips like battleships”.

The album moves on to the dark and vibrating single “The Difference Between Us” and the disorienting thump of the psychotically-tinged “I’m Mad”, where Mosshart gets to show off her convincing cackle. The dizzying showdown culminates with the quickly rattled fuzz of “Jawbreaker” and the haunting “Old Mary”, a track that closes the album with a sense of unease and claustrophobia. At times during Cowards you can’t even tell which one of the two is singing (or yelping or snarling), which makes you wonder if they are indeed mirrors of each other or perhaps two people in one, battling to rise above the fury. If anyone walks away a winner though, it’s the listener, for having heard one of the most interesting and defiant rock albums of 2010.

4. Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R Re-issue


Is this cheating? I don't think so. I reviewed it after all, albeit it was hard not to be extremely biased about one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands EVER. But aside from having delicious-sounding remastered classics such as "Better Living Through Chemistry" (can there be a better song?), "Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" and the rolling, rumbling "Tension Head", you get a second disc full of live tracks and B-sides.

The live tracks, “Regular John”, “Avon”. and “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” are all from their self-titled album and a welcome addition to anyone’s QOTSA collection. Also making a live appearance is the muscling “Millionaire” which would later become the first track on their next album Songs for the Deaf as “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire”.

The B-sides are like Xmas - some juicy, "new" QOTSA tracks to sink your teeth into until their next album (in 2011): “Ode to Clarissa” is a rollicking, almost poppy beat with a “Yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus, pounding drums, and bassist Nick Oliveri on vocals. “You’re So Vague” is a clever spin on Carly Simon’s infamous song. It’s moody and dramatic with a strong build and stirring guitar riffs and reminiscent of darker QOTSA songs. It's sexy too - you might just take your pants off. ”Born to Hula” sounds like the quintessential QOTSA song – Josh Homme’s soothing voice carries the song over changing but always prominent drumming and wailing guitar solos.

There are covers too: “Never Say Never” is a cover of the 80’s post-punk band Romeo Void’s hit and definitely has that new wave feel as Homme sings “I might like you better if we slept together” over a bouncing bass beat. The Kinks’ 1965 hit “Who’ll Be the Next in Line” is also covered with a keyboard-backed California surf vibe.

This will tide me and other QOTSA fans till next year, and maybe win over some new ones.

3. Mini Mansions - Mini Mansions


I wanted to give this trio a 4.5 star rating when I reviewed the album but was shut down. I'm happy with the 4 stars it got, but the more I listen to this symphonic masterpiece, the more I wish that .5 had stuck. Whatever, what I am trying to say is that this album is awesome, and even more so as a debut.






Upon learning that I interviewed the band while I was in LA (here I am with Michael Shuman and Zach Dawes... you may recognize Shuman from being the bassist in that band I just wrote about in slot #4 ^^ QOTSA)



you might consider me biased. I'm not. I just really think this band is something special and deserves A LOT more attention. Here's a snippet of what I wrote in my song-by-song review:

Composed of Shuman and his longtime friends Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes, the trio concocted here a winning mix of distortion, psychedelic modernism, and a dreamy shot of nostalgic pop music. The listener will immediately draw comparisons to the post-Revolver Beatles (you know, when they were doing drugs) or The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (you know, when they were doing drugs) but the flagrant personal touches of Mini Mansions keep the sound rooted firmly in the present. The album is meant to be listened to as a whole, a journey through sounds and memories, visuals and feelings. It’s experimental, as the best drugs are, but has enough familiarity to keep you grounded throughout the ride.

I don't know. Just go to Ipecac or Rekords Records and buy the thing. Let's help keep Mike Patton and Josh Homme producing awesome bands like Mini Mansions. You won't regret it.

2. Deftones - Diamond Eyes


Ah, my other high school love that competed for my attention when I was listening to Bad Religion. I was obsessed with Around The Fur when it came out in the mid-nineties, went to a few of their concerts as an underage rock chick, got sucked in a few moshpits and then went on to love the clean complexities of White Pony in 2000. Then something happened over the next ten years, I didn't even notice their self-titled or Saturday Night Wrist.

Then Diamond Eyes popped up and I was propelled back into my Deftones appreciation.

Here's what I wrote for their #22 position on CoS's Top 100 of 2010:

In 2008, the Deftones had been in the middle of writing Eros, their highly-anticipated follow-up to the underrated experimental album Saturday Night Wrist, when bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a tragic car accident. Eros was halted indefinitely while the band had the difficult decision of what to do next – disband in honor of the critically injured Cheng, or continue doing what they do best: making music.

The Deftones ended up soldiering on and recorded Diamond Eyes, and we’re glad they did. The result is one of the best rock albums of the year. From the crunchy, melodic waves of the opening title track and the angry, demanding ride of “Cmnd/Ctrl”, to the intense urgency of “Rocket Skates” and the beautifully written push and pull of “Risk”, there isn’t a weak track to be found. The haunting notes and Chino Moreno’s stirring vocals on the last track “This Place is Death” is the perfect closer to an emotional ride. This album is what the Deftones are all about. It may not be too brave in the sense of musical deviation, but the fact that the Deftones were able to put out such an undeniably solid album in the wake of tragedy shows the band’s braveness in a different way. Cheng would be proud.


1. Mike Patton - Mondo Cane


SURPRISE! I bet you didn't see this one coming in a million years.

OK, before you write this off, I've got to say that just because Mike Patton puts something out there, it doesn't mean I like it. In fact, I can probably name at least 5 projects of his that I've just said no way, can't do it, sorry (Adult Themes, Zorn, etc). That's OK. We have different tastes. I like weird... I'm a huge fan of General P and Patton/Kaada, but it doesn't mean I like everything.

Disclaimer aside: I love Mondo Cane.

It's gorgeously produced orchestral Italian pop music from the 50s/60s, sung in Italian by Mike Patton. It's just weird enough to be edgy, just heartfelt enough to be emotional, just loud enough to be Mike Patton. It's unique, different and beautiful. I really can't recommend it or sing it's praises enough so maybe I should just quote the Maestro and say it's for anyone "with a heart in their fucking chest."

That may or may not include you.



Top 5 Honorable Mentions:

The Slew - 100%
(Kid Koala + Ex-Wolfmother Rhythm Section = bluesy, rocky, turntabley awesome)

Guano Padano - Guano Padano

(Technically this came out last year but I think you guys should read my review here for this intriguing album by Mondo Cane's guitarist)

LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
(catchy, dancey, I'm not ashamed to admit I like this)

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

(This made me stop hating Arcade Fire just a little bit. Still kinda hate them but this album is redeeming)

Alain Johannes - Spark
(Pretty much reviewing this as I write this. It's gorgeous and exquisite but painfully short)


Now, remember I haven't listened to THAT many new albums this year, so I'm probably excluding a lot or whatever, but this was the best of what I've heard this year and it's pretty much guaranteed that I listen to these albums at least once a month.

So, come now, YOU tell me what I'm missing!

Friday, December 24, 2010

There really is a Santa Claus


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I don't know about you, but there is definitely too much negativity during the holidays. From people online to out there on the roads to fighting in the stores, it's like every year people go just a little more crazy than usual. And on top of it, all this PC-ness is taking the fun and magic out of Xmas. So you can't say Merry Christmas anymore? Fuck that! I'll tell you all Merry Christmas (or Merry Critters, as above lol). And now it's "lame" for kids to believe in Santa Clause? No way... Santa is the coolest old fat dude ever.

So here's what I'm going to do. Because this year I've felt zero Xmas spirit at all (had a lot on my mind distracting me), I'm going to recall some times in my youth that I really, really was convinced Santa Claus was real. I mean, I knew. He was real.

The first one:

My mother used to be a flight attendant for Air Canada, was for about 20 years or so. Sometimes she had to work on Xmas so it would be my father taking care of us.

One Xmas eve she called as soon as the plane landed (wherever she was). She said she that while the plane was in the air, that the pilot announced to the passengers that Santa Claus was sighted off the side of the plane and if you looked out the window you could see him and the reindeer. My mom said she looked and it was true.

Minutes later, Santa himself actually walked down the aisle and handed out presents to everyone on board. How cool is that? (really, props to Air Can because that was true).

The second one:

Christmas Eve. I was about 7 or 8. Everyone was settled in the living room. We used to live in Point Grey in this really long, tall house that had at least 6 flights of stairs and a roofdeck.

We celebrate Xmas eve more than Xmas day because we are Scandinavian, so we had our good Scandy friends over. I remember everyone was together downstairs by the tree because suddenly someone (may have been my half brother) yelled "it's Santa!"

We looked just in time to see a blur of red rush up the dark staircase. It was someone all right.

Well we all got to our feet and ran after him, I was at the front with the other kids and we raced up those stairs, only one stairlength behind him the whole time. He ran all the way up to the roofdeck but by the time we got up there, there was no one there.

There were footprints in the snow, some even looked like hoofprints, but honestly, he was gone.

To this day, I really don't know what happened there. Where did he go (we checked everywhere) and who the hell was that person running through our house anyway?

By the time we made our way back downstairs, there were more presents under the tree.

Seemed like Santa might have been running interference for my parents ;0)


SO FOLKS: as I leave you with those stories on this soggy Christmas Eve, I ask you to leave a similar story below. Anytime you remember as a child where you really thought "wow Santa IS real?"

Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Faith No More in LA - Part Two



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Uuugh. So I woke Wednesday morning feeling extremely hungover. Actually, I felt loopy and fine (and I surprisingly looked good) at first but that's because I was still drunk. I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep after all.

My hungover state made for very slow movements the entire day (and a few EPIC brain farts, such as missing my invite to watch Faith No More SOUNDCHECK because I read a text wrong...I'll never live that one down - no really, don't ever bring it up).

On the plus side, I joined my friend T who was staying with her family at the gorgeous, infamous Chateau Marmont. I'd never been before and felt very much like a "lady" who lunches as we sipped mimosa's in the restaurant courtyard, ate their awesome fries and kept a sly look out for celebs and wheelers and dealers (saw Chris Cooper coming in, that was cool. Not as cool as drunk Keifer Sutherland I saw at the Roosevelt a few days before).

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After that, I went back to my hotel and got ready for what was sure to be another long night. And by long, I mean awesome. How can it not be awesome? THIS WAS FAITH NO MORE'S LAST SHOW EVER!

I skipped out on any pre-beers with friends because I was still a bit shaky on my feet and didn't want the night to go in THAT direction again and went straight to the venue in time to see the opening band, Mariachi Los Toros. Yes, a mariachi band! And they were fantastic.

Next up was the band Red Kross who were also pretty cool. Lining up to get my pass earlier it sounded like a lot of people were on the guest list on behalf on that band - seemed like it was going to be quite a party afterward!

Strangely enough, this night of the show wasn't sold out and LiveNation was selling tickets for a (fairly insulting) price of $20 and if you paid extra you could get VIP access to the balcony. It explained why there were a lot of LA scenesters and porn stars in the VIP section - cheap tickets to some band they may have heard of once? Why not? But, you know, the strategy worked, the Palladium was freaking packed and the energy was incredible.

Anyway, show time! My friend and I ran downstairs and scuttled into the photo pit for possibly our last time ever shooting this *tear*

The band opened up with something new - Pills for Breakfast, an aggressively instrumental track off their first album. Sounded amazing and really made the pit experience special in my mind.

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After the pit, we went back up to VIP to watch. First I tried beside the stage but it was too packed, and at the back of the crowd I couldn't see anything (damn my short legs) and even though the balcony was pretty packed too, I at least could see what was going on.

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Hightlights:

* Rocking out to Cuckoo for Caca. There were two bimbos next to me, you know, total 'WOOO Girls', blonde, collagen lips, fake boobs, teeny tops, who obviously did not know the music at all and were trying to SEXY DANCE to Cuckoo for Caca. It was such a fail that I actually had to move my bangs across my eyes so I did not see them out of my peripheral vision.

This is Cuckoo for Caca...



You can imagine the hilarity in dirty dancing to this. And then I turned to the guy next to me who was clutching a poster like it was going to fly away and said, "Always the best song live, one of my favourites"

The guy looked at me as if I had two heads and then left the venue a few songs later. Yes, some people did not belong there and didn't get it.

Which was a shame because then he missed one of the best songs of the night, a cover of "Let's Just Kiss and Say Goodbye".

My goodness, people. If you were there, you know what this song means to us all. I mean, look at the lyrics:

It was their last show and, wow, it broke my heart. Patton, the whole band, performed it so well, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It's taken me three weeks to listen to it WITHOUT crying. And I failed. I just watched it again and cried.

Le sigh. Here it is:



After that emotional experience, my friend and I went down to the floor for the encores to get more "into it." My view was shoddy but the sound was a 100X better at the back and I really felt the REAL fans were here. It was a great choice and allowed us to experience the OUTSTANDING "This Town's Not Big Enough for the Both Of Us" - a song originally performed with the band SPARKS and this time, SPARKS came on stage for it.

It was SO DAMN GOOD! Check out this amazing video. One of my fav songs, so much fun and so well done (oh and old guitarist Dean Menta was on stage for this one too which made it extra special.... two keyboardists, two guitarists, two singers - DOUBLE THE FUN:



MIND BLOWING! Watching the above ^ makes me stupidly happy.

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That was followed by Digging the Grave (with Menta, still, who has such an energetic stage personality he's just as magnetic to watch as Patton is), We Care a Lot and, finally Pristina. The last song on their last album, it's never been a favourite of mine but I'll admit it's a totally different animal live.

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Of course, Patton just had to stage dive to this song (which really isn't a stage diving song) and attempted to sing the rest while crowd surfing on top of a fairly grabby crowd. They wouldn't let him go - to the point where he had to punch a few people in the head because they were grabbing his junk. Poor Patton - or, well, he DOES know what he's getting into.

Eventually he was returned to the stage and the concert just ended like that. I couldn't believe that was it... no one could. I guess in that respect it was kind of fitting.

BY THE WAY - my official concert review is here if you want a more in-depth look at the last two shows, plus setlist, more photos, etc. But come back when you're done reading!

While I took a few minutes to let that information sink in (this was my 6th time seeing them this year and ... it was over? FOREVER?), we went to the backstage area. My friend was meeting another friend so he told me to just stay put downstairs (party was upstairs in the VIP section).

He plunked me among three people. Jerry Cantrell (again), Dave Lombardo (um, wtf) and Danny Carey. Now, I'm not a big Tool fan (don't judge) so I didn't realize who Carey was but I do know he's one of the best drummers out there. Well, him and Dave Lombardo. What pleasant company to keep!

Again, a total fish-out-of-water experience for me. But I just started talking to Jerry again cuz well, why not, I was standing next to him and he looked bored. We talked about the show compared to the one from last night, how the crowd was better, all of that. This was his first (well 2nd counting the night before) time seeing FNM and he told a story how Alice in Chains were this close to seeing them in Portugal at a festival but they had to catch a ferry.

Then Dave Lombardo got involved in the conversation. I just let them talk, watching them while in the back of my head I was going "OMFG SLAYER AND ALICE IN CHAINS ARE JUST TALKING ABOUT FAITH NO MORE IN FRONT OF ME." And when the convo died, I couldn't NOT say anything so I said to Dave, "Hey I just wanted to know that I think you are awesome."

To which Jerry said, "he's a pretty good drummer too." Lols.

And whaddya know, he turned out to be the nicest man on the face of the planet. We talked about when Fantomas was in Vancouver, talked about which songs he liked playing live (Spider Baby, Rosemary's Baby and anything off of Director's Cut really which made me very happy) and what the new album was going to sound like (electronic overdubbing of his own drums by Patton, other stuff, themes, etc).

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At one point though my friend came back, blew my cover "Don't talk to her Dave, she's a journalist!" but actually Dave became even more interested in what I "did", which was really cool. Even if he didn't care, he acted like he did with utmost sincerity.

Highlight: Dave pulled out his iPhone and said, "Here's a headline for you: Slayer gets nominated for a Grammy" - he showed me the email on his phone that he had just gotten from management informing the band (Slayer) that they got a nom for best song in the metal category.

Congratulations were all around from Jerry, Carey and others. Now I realize that AIC was nominated too but Jerry didn't mention that - guess he didn't want to steal Dave's thunder.

Anyway, I just think that was really cool. And soon it was time to go upstairs for the party.

It was PACKED. Various musicians (King Buzzo, Dean Menta, etc) wandering around with mere mortals such as myself.

And the band Flattbush was there, who are just the best. I interviewed them a few days earlier and honestly, just the best bunch of dudes ever. I was hoping I'd see them backstage so it was great to see them again. The interview might turn out to be a project of sorts that's really...cool.

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Flattbush, Bill (they are on his label Koolarrow) and I

Then I saw my friend Andrew who snuck into the party, proudly toting his setlist. He had gotten photos with the band over the last few days, but not Patton. So I made a $5 bet that I could get his picture taken with him.

Oh boy. I took Andrew over there to see him, just as Dave Lombardo was approaching. So there was a nice ten minutes there were Dave and Mike were just talking about stuff (no, not about Fantomas though I got the impression they hadn't talked in a while), but anyway so we just waited for that. And there were other fans there wanting to talk to Mike too. I could see Andrew was pretty uneasy about it and I started thinking, you know, I'm getting that vibe from Patton, perhaps this isn't the best time.

But I had $5 riding on this thing.

Anyway, when there was a free second I tapped Mike and said "Hey, can I introduce you to my friend Andrew" to which Mike came him the once over and said, "This ugly fucker?"

OH MY GOODNESS. Andrew's face just fell. I laughed cuz it was pretty funny (Andrew is obviously not an ugly fucker) but you know, they have a saying about meeting your heroes...

Anyway, the rest of the conversation between Patton and Andrew went... um, well, it was enough that Andrew made a two-second video about it here. It's pretty much proceeded to happen (WATCH IT - FOR REALZ - HILARIOUS):




But hey we got the picture! What a charmer!

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And I got my five bucks!

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Ahhh, good times. Anyway, we hung around with Mike for a bit more (who wasn't actually in that bad of a mood, it just depended which fan boys were bugging him... because there was one he was like, "I hate him" - don't know who it was, but obviously getting your picture taken one million times in one night does not make for a happy Patton lols.

Then we decided to leave, found a bunch of people waiting outside (unlike the night before where there was NO ONE), including my friends who were braving the cold:

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Then we went back to the W and proceeded to laugh about the night, talk and watch The Expendables.

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Yup. That was how I ended the night of watching my favourite band for the last time ever. I watched the WORST MOVIE IN THE WORLD until 4AM. It was MST3K material but you know, I laughed the entire time so it wasn't quite a write-off.

And whenever I think of that movie, I'll think of Faith No More in Hollywood. Ain't that special? :P

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Faith No More in LA - part one

So, I've decided to start with the most epic night first and work my way backward. Believe me, I have many more Hollywood tales to tell - after all, I was there for pretty much a week and every day I did something fun...at least I would hope so since I averaged about 3 hours of sleep a night.

But anyway, have to start with the best:


Tuesday, November 30th. Woke up in my kitschy cool Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel Room - those of you who know my obsession with classic films and Jimmy Stewart will appreciate this.

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Went for breakfast with my friends at the equally kitschy cool Cafe 101 downstairs. Talked about how excited we were for the show, what we've been doing over the past few days (I'll get to it!).

Lots of my friends went to go wait in line for the concert even though it was like 3PM and the doors were at 7PM. Normally, I would have joined them as I did at the Warfield. Nothing like being at the front barricade. But because I had my photo pass and would be in the photo pit for the first three songs, there was no point. I'd be sorta screwed out of a good spot afterward anyway.

So I went and met up with some other friends at the bar Dillons at Hollywood and Vine - some I hadn't met before, some it was a reunion... it was fun, and $3 Blue Moons can't steer you wrong... OR CAN THEY?

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Anyhoo, after that I went to meet another friend of mine at the W hotel and had some more beers with him and his neat friends in the lobby. Then it was off to get my photo pass at the venue. So much excitement in the air! Then everything was extra exciting when I was given my all access working pass - Xmas came early!

After a quick jaunt to Baja Fresh for much needed food (hadn't been able to eat much all week due to nerves), we went into the venue through the back.

First things first though - I had to pee! And where was the nearest washroom? Why in the band's dressing room. There was no one in there so I figured, why not? And you know what? The rumours are true... there really were a shit ton of fluffy white towels all over the place. It was also pretty cool to see those suits hanging along the wall of the room, waiting to make their final appearance that night.

Anyway, after using FNM's loo, we made our way downstairs to the stage where we saw Bill watching the openers Creepy Creeps. We said our hellos, then decided to catch the opening action from the VIP balcony. More free beers thanks to my overly generous friends.

Then it was showtime - into the photo pit I went. By the time they played Everything's Ruined as their third song, I was in a tough dilemma whether to rock out or take photos... I did a bit of both.

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After my three songs were up, I was faced with the new dilemma of where to watch the show. The crowd, though a bit lackluster, was swarming and I didn't feel like getting moshed on with all my equipment. And so, I had the chance to watch the band again from the side of the stage, just as I did in Finland.

This wasn't my first choice... you do feel a bit removed from this position, however the side stage at the Palladium is very open so I had a nice unfettered view of the band - really couldn't get any better than that. Plus, no one squishing into me.

Except Kirk Hammet of Metallica, Scot Ian of Anthrax, Matt Wallace (who produced The Real Thing, Angel Dust, among others) his sweet wife Melodie (perfect name, eh?), Danny Devito and Jerry Cantrell.

Yes, that was my company. Talk about feeling like a fish out of water! I actually texted my bf while I was standing next to Jerry. Now my bf does not get starstruck over ANYONE but he loves Alice in Chains and Jerry, so he texted back "OMG TELL HIM I LOVE HIM AND I LOVE HIS GUITAR TONE!"

Naturally I told Jerry this. He was very appreciative, a very nice man. Hasn't aged a day, looks great.

Also had a chance to talk to Matt's wife who promised to share me studio stories about the making of Angel Dust, how Faith No More reunited in her living room, how she's known Patton since he was a 21 year old punk... really cool stuff.

Then of course there was Danny Devito. He was standing next to me at the end. And I couldn't help but tell him how much I loved him in Ruthless People (shut up, it's a good film - Judge Reinhold!) and of course Romancing the Stone et all. He was nice though I was probably distracting him from the concert. Then I said "So can't wait to see Always Sunny in Philadelphia at Coachella" and he said, "Yup, we'll be there."

There's a scoop for ya! Though I thought their appearance was pretty much guaranteed.

More memories from side stage... watching everyone wave their arms for "Just a Man" and being absolutely floored by Patton's performance of "This Guys in Love With You."

Oh, I did manage to take this cellphone photo*...

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Then the show was over - party time! We waited for the band to be ready (waiting with Metallica, Anthrax, Alice in Chains.. kind of surreal...I'm not gonna lie) and piled into the little back room they had for the friends and family. This was a fairly small event which was cool. I remember seeing all of Bill's family there which was neat - his brother is super nice and I was like, "well you've got to be Bill's brother." Looks exactly like him.

Funny moment - I was reaching for chips and dips just as Puffy was. I said hello and was about to say "Remember me" when Puffy said (in that utterly sly way of his) "I remember you! You tried to get our lead singer drunk."

PHffff. Where did he get that impression from?

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Oh right. Well, I didn't force him to drink the stuff.

Anyway, from this point in I had more beer and my memory gets a little spotty. But here's what I do remember: I remember talking to my friends who were also backstage with passes, I remember talking to Tim about this and that, Finland, our crafty friend Svetlana, I know I was discussing something interesting with Patton (when I wasn't standing with my back to him for most of the night - yeah, I don't know what was wrong with me). And yes... he remembered me. This time.

We were all backstage for a very long time... in fact my friend and I were the last to leave with Patton and Tim and we walked back to the hotel together. I totally thought a crowd of people would have been waiting outside for Mike when we left but no one was there, which was kind of strange. So, back to the hotel...that's when the crew thought it would be a good idea to get the hotel to open the bar... even though it was almost 4AM. THANKFULLY the hotel had the sense to not open the bar at that hour for a group of drunk rockstars (and a drunk rock journalist). That would have been chaos.

It was late anyway... I was walked home back to my hotel at about 5AM. An epic** night.

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*I know this post is lacking in photos - would you believe I just didn't take any? Even though I had several cameras on me lol. I guess you could say I was soaking it all in, which isn't a bad thing, but it turns out... I really should have taken some photos, just to remember the little things. Oh well. My friend did take photos... me backstage talking to people (Patton, maybe, I don't know), and I know there's a photo of me on the side stage with Jerry Cantrell. But I think the photos are being held for ransom ;P

I did take some pictures the last night though... and that post is coming up soon.

**need to stop using this word.



PS Did I mention I finished writing the sequel to my book while I was in Palm Springs (right before I left for LA)? 92,000 words baby! I'm a super proud parent... can't believe I've written TWO books in the course of one year... that's nutty! Maybe I'm not the epic** procrastinator I thought I was. Nah...