WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

April 23, 2009, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Ramble

Too much time in the Twittersphere and I’ve had no time for posting here! What a sham I’ve become. 500 word music “essays” errr “reviews” errrr “ramblings” have for some reason become daunting now that Twitter exists. I am only allowed to use 140 characters! Brilliant! Toss out a quick “listen to this record, it’s sweet” and life feels good and oh, so simple.

If you can’t find me here for long stretches, it’s probably because I’m over there complaining about what happened on Carson Daly last night. Damn that Carson Daly. I can’t quit you still.

Float yer twitterself over here and say hi!


Make sure you go out to the Wild Wild Geese (ex-Spider Bags, Rongo Rongo, etc.) and Goodnight Loving show at the Cave in Chapel Hill tomorrow night (Friday, 11pm). It’s gonna be amazing. Them Milwaukee boys in the Goodnight Loving play some of the best twang-garage rawk you’re gonna hear this year. No joke. Beer-tossin’ rawk’n’roll. It’s also no joke that something seriously stinks in here. And it might be coming from what I might have just eaten. Oops.


Harsh Days.
February 5, 2009, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Ramble

The year itself is off to a great start; however, within the world of rock’n’roll there are some unfortunate stirrings.

A couple days ago marked the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper – the tagged “Day the Music Died.” Granted, most of us have gotten over this by now (the majority of us reading this weren’t even born yet), but it’s still something we can feel the ripples from and we are very aware of its importance and ultimate tragedy. Personally, I think this day should be turned into one of those party days that have been sneakily turned into “holidays” and excuses to either take off work or get nothing done and have a party instead. I won’t name any of these “holidays” but I’m pretty sure you all know what I’m talking about. They might not fall on the same days as each other, but we all have ’em…and we all use them to their fullest extent. So, this will be my new “holiday,” care to join me? February 3rd. See ya next year.

February 4th, 2009, just a couple days ago, we lost a monumental figure in the shaping of punk rock and the American underground music movement. Lux Interior of the Cramps (that’s a video from their infamous set at Napa State Mental Hospital) passed away in a hospital from heart failure. Not only did he bring traditional music and blues/rockabilly into the underground scene, gaining a new found respect for it, but he helped forge a new hybrid of popular music. He smashed horror/sci-fi movie lyrics and mumblings into a sexually charged, tangled, fuzzy mess of blues and rock’n’roll. The Cramps have been cited as paving a pulsing path to both the psychobilly and horrorpunk genres. For that, we owe them heaving amounts of respect and gratitude. Afterall, it was partly the Cramps responsibility for spawning the DC hardcore scene after Ian MacKaye and crew saw them live on tour and there’s no doubt in my mind that it was the Cramps who planted the seed in Glenn Danzig’s head leading him to create the Misfits. That’s something of which to be extremely proud. Lux Interior helped to put the danger back into rock’n’roll, he made it something to be scared and in awe of all over again. The 70s had caused rock to go soft and like the Stooges before him, he was there to rattle things up all over again. Which leads us to the next bit of sad news.

As I posted earlier, in the beginning of January, Ron Asheton, co-founder of the Stooges was found dead in his home. Ron Asheton created the dark, dirgy guitar riffs that made the Stooges who they were. Leaving behind boring chord structures, he played simple, blues-inspired lines with a seething, bottom-heavy distortion. With Dave Alexander on bass and Ron’s brother, Scott on drums, laying down a mesmerizing, rhythmic backdrop, Ron cut and sliced his way in a gnarly, muscly fashion disrupting the relaxed environment the two were creating and locking down. Whatever dark, meditational tones the rhythm section plugged away at, he was there to slaughter it and create an inner-song build and tension. He created the anxious playground over which Iggy Pop was allowed to dance, croon and howl. Not too many guitarist are credited with inspiring literal decades of musicians. Look up the Stooges on Youtube and you’ll experience the full on power of the band.

I’ll wrap it up there since I already talked at length about the Stooges and Ron Asheton last month. Right now as I’m putting this together, the Cramps are being played over the air on WXDU. Thanks guys!

So, where this might be a promising year for modern music, we’re already off to a nervous start for the classics and the ones who have inspired us. Time to show respect for our elders.

National Record Store Day?
October 12, 2008, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Ramble

National Record Store Day just became a sham.

Now, the date itself and the idea are awesome and I stand behind them one hundred percent. The shop and I will celebrate the day always and it’s a great way to promote awareness for local shops and give back to those people that keep you happily in business. However, somewhere along the way something happened, there was a shift and it was corporatized and taken over by the major labels. Which is a shame considering how much people (small shop owners, small label owners, devout record buyers, etc.) got behind last year’s event.

Indie labels like our local heroes, Merge Records, pressed thousands of 7″s for the event and shipped ’em out on their own dime just in celebration of this day. Once the majors stepped in with their ridiculous amounts of ad dollars, a lot of the indie labels seemingly got pushed aside and bullied out by the major labels’ positioning. Posters were printed by the majors, so obviously, there was no indie label representation hanging in shops’ windows. Smaller shops like mine took notice of this and it bummed us out too. Indie, punk and garage labels are what sell in this shop, they’re the ones that help me pay my rent. They’re the ones to which I owe huge amounts of respect and gratitude.

The name lost its point of awareness for INDIE MUSIC and INDIE SHOPS and the supporters of this culture. There’s now some company in Raleigh, North Carolina that wants me to send them a check for participation in Record Store Day. This I cannot do and I imagine there are probably a bunch of other stores that cannot do it either. I’m not mad at “Record Store Day” itself or those that created and spearheaded it, I’m mad that like anything else that starts off good and underground, it got commandeered by a larger company that is now pushing out smaller retailers.

Is this really in the spirit of National Record Store Day? Is this really what it stands for? I can understand if I were asked to send a check for postage, that’s fine, but it’s not what is being asked. A “monetary commitment” is required.

I’m still going to celebrate Record Store Day and have a huge sale and offer gift certificate giveaways and hopefully partner up with local labels and bands, but this just got out of hand. It went to a level that it should not have gone to. The point was lost somewhere along the way and it has rumbled off down the wrong road.

I guess it’ll just become another thing that smaller shops like mine champion in their own way through their own avenues and in that, it’ll be done right. Smaller, indie and punk shops will band together and keep it following the road it should not have left in the first place.

I, for one, am not sending a check to some company I have never heard of to receive a bunch of major label junk no one at this shop cares about. If an indie label I love and respect has promotional stuff for the day, I will gladly send them postage. No one even wanted those LPs that the majors pressed and for them, those were just throw-away dollars. For labels like Merge, it was very real dollar bills and they got the short end of the stick in the deal.

If you’re a local label, local band or local distributor, let’s keep this a National celebration for the network of local, independent record shops and in that we’ll all be a part of something huge and beautiful.

Starting again.
June 14, 2008, 1:04 am
Filed under: Ramble

So I’m removing myself from my old blog and branching out into another one. At the old space, I feel I kind of pigeon-holed myself into sticking to news in the punk and garage world mixed with lots of complaining and bad rambling. Now, while those genres (punk & garage) are still two of my main passions in music, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I, right off the bat, limit myself to what I talk about and listen to. Even if you don’t mean to, you kind of perpetuate your mood that way. Kind of catching yourself in a rut. There’s a lot of stuff out there and keeping the blinders on doesn’t help at all. It’s time to soften up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with a little pop music.

So what did I do? I flipped on G105 as I drove Rachael and I home from one of our good friend’s houses out in Sanford, about an hour away. It was actually a perfect, late night drive. In Richmond I could make a quick ten minute drive to visit a friend, now grown up (or “adultish”) in North Carolina, I’ve started finding it a lot of fun to drive an hour away from town to visit people. It’s like a mini-vacation, even if it is only for a few hours. Just a few years ago I couldn’t have even been bothered to drive more than 45 minutes to see someone.

But anyway, in an effort to soften up the ol’ brittle, jaded, snuffy record store clerk’s exterior, I ventured into unknown territory. I remember liking the standard pop music while growing up, so what makes this so much different?? Besides the immense crap. But wait, hasn’t a lot of it always been crap? Isn’t that the nature of radio these days? And even twenty years ago? Whenever I am in the car with my sister or Rachael’s sister, I realize just how out of touch I am with modern music. Sure, I can ramble on about some hot new garage 7” or what that Minneapolis punk band without a recording out yet did at the house show in Raleigh last weekend, but shit if I know who this is playing on the radio. Oops. And then I remember – I’m supposed to be a proprietor of a record shop. Damn. Yeah, yeah, it’s an indie shop and technically I don’t have to know that stuff, but when it comes down to that – I should.

So this’ll be my journey back into rediscovering the new. I’ll actually start to listen to the promos I get; I’ll actually check out that new indie buzz band that I stock but have never actually heard; I’ll get excited about upcoming non-punk shows again; and so on. That’s my intention at least. Let’s see where it gets me.