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andee's world: March 2008

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Want a Real Vampire Weekend

I have not been in New York City very long. i moved here in 1996, a time when Smash Mouth was still popular, I believe.

I know, i know. I got here after NYC was "cool".

Which was

the 60s,

the 70s,

the 80s

or the 90s,

depending on who you ask.

I don't care. FUCK YOU. i got here when i got here.

This is what i know:

A "vampire weekend" used to mean at least two nights spent at the Bank and/or the Limelight, and some kind of afterparty with chicks who wore fake fangs.

It meant nights spent bumping off the walls of dive bars until -- and past -- sunrise.

It did NOT involve wholesome, Paul Simon-worshiping dweebs from Columbia University.

"Vampire Weekend"??

This is what i want:

I want people who drink copious amounts of alcohol.

I want people who do drugs. i don't do drugs myself, but i want to HANG OUT WITH YOU DRUG-TAKING MOTHERFUCKERS who stay up all night listening to IGGY POP, MOTORHEAD, THE RAMONES, UNDERWORLD, DAFT PUNK, or fucking MADONNA. yes, MADONNA.

I want to be in the same room with people that are SO FUCKED UP that they could never hold down regular jobs. i want to feel like i'm in the presence of lifers.

Do you know what i mean by that? LIFERS. not some shiny-shirt-wearing posers who will ultimately retreat to their pussy-ass dayjobs. LIFERS. people who live like ACTUAL vampires, not people who live off of their parents' weekly allowances.

This is not nostalgia. yesterday is dead. the memories are fine for whatever they're worth but i could not care less for the past. the TIME IS NOW.

Where are you real vampires? i don't want to know the tenants of the new luxury condos that sully the horizon in Williamsburg. i do not want to know you slumming rich kids in the Lower East Side University Campus, with your $200 haircuts. you'll be back in the suburbs before long, fat from child birth and lazy with routine.

I want to know the VAMPIRES. i want to know you. wherever you are.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Any Old Dog Can Learn to Sit

prison is a place of my making,

patience is a notion forgotten...

watch the eyes that dart in the mirror...

my kingdom for a


hit it hard, make it count
hit it good now, make it count

(chalk one for the big guy, let's

hit it hard, make it count
hit it good now, make it count!

(chalk one for the big guy, let's

.........................................................................painted is a line on my conscience;

..........................tainted like a stain on the highway my fingers crossed for a good wind,

bring a pox to cure us of ourselves

And I pray for some debris

To grace us from above;

"O Satellite, O meteorite!"

Come smite us good, now
Smite us right!

And I pray for some debris
To grace us from above;

"O Satellite, O meteorite!"

Come smite us good, now
Smite us right!

People You've Known Pt. 2

SSSSSShe was sweet. Just as sweet as honey. Bubbly, bouncy and birdlike, hopping around and cheeping endlessly. Dumb as rocks and always blind, cross-eyed drunk. Well into adulthood, she still came off as the slowest pupil in 6th grade.

As she knocked over another row of drinks, she slurred another unintelligible apology and flashed that million-watt Down's Syndrome smile. Everybody looked the other way, embarrassed.


He had an open and honest face, and a personality that followed suit. He made no pretense about his dreams and desires in this life, and was not ashamed of them; nor was he ashamed of any failure to attain them. Every time you hung out with him you felt free and unfettered, like you could tell him anything. He was lonely and sad, and that was part of the reason why you spent so much time together. You did not take it for granted.


She considered herself to be Rock Royalty, having participated in some dubious band whose 15 minutes had elapsed nearly two decades ago. She still expected to be let in free at the clubs, to be doted on, to be coddled. She had plenty of arse-kissing acolytes who propped up her outsized ego, and she was affronted when you didn't fawn.

She never played a note of real music in her life, yet was convinced she had the keys to what was really "rock n' roll", whatever the fuck that means. People still tell her she's a-maaaaa-zing.


Everybody loved this guy, EVERYbody. He was warm, fun, unpretentious and seemingly genuine -- you almost might call him angelic.

But as is often the case, closer inspection revealed a disappointing reality. His loyalty to longstanding friends was subject to up-to-the-minute obsessions with the flavor-of-the-week, empty calorie types that constantly flitted in and out of his life. Whimsy reigned supreme -- how easy it was to be trumped by the latest trollop!

All your life you'd hoped people would get more mature. But if you didn't know better, you could swear you were still in the junior high cafeteria.


A volatile person. Opinionated. Impish like a New York Times-quoting, 21st Century Pan. He always thought he was right, was Right with a capital R. Often this assuredness came with a smug know-it-all smile.

But he was loyal and strong, and constantly worked toward a sky-high ideal in everything he did. He had a voracious appetite for life and he made you check yourself and raised your pathetically low standards to a height they might very well not have reached without having known him.

He also adored you.


Sunday, March 16, 2008



Go Obama!

It's been great to watch how well Barack Obama has been holding up on this campaign. His defusing of the Reverend Wright controversy this week was a masterstroke; what's more, the speech he delivered on race and racism in America was probably the most nuanced thing ever said on the subject by any politician. The fact that he was able to perform like that in such a state of campaign fatigue is all the more astonishing. During the 40-minute speech, I don't think he looked down at his notes more than five times. Imagine Bush trying to pull something like that off. No way. After eight years of Bush, watching someone who can actually hold his own behind a podium is a revelation. Oh yeah....that's what it's supposed to be like.

And of course, neocons have been trying desperately to discredit Obama. Amazing, isn't it, the people that are trying to bring him down? The same people who've tirelessly made excuses for George Bush and his all-time-low of a presidency these last eight years. In the face of logic, decency and common sense, the die-hards continue to defend Bush's (dis)honor with the tenacity of the dog who won't let go of its chew toy.

After forgiving nearly a decade of atrocity, incompetence, bridge-burning, wastefulness and embarrassment, suddenly the conservatives have set sky-high expectations for Obama. They'll try anything to sully his name. The propogandists at Faux News have saturated the airwaves with dozens and dozens of completely unnecessary utterances of his middle name (Hussein....Hussein....Hussein....terrorist!). It blows my mind that people actually get their "news" from a joke network like Fox, but then I believe that alot of people just like being told what they already believe.


I've been thinking about where music is today and where it's going. Any full time musician is thinking about it, and hard. On one hand, it's great that the record labels are crumbling to dust. It's a fine day when corporate bureaucrats are no longer buying yachts on the the blood of musicians. Buuuuut....

It's a very sad day when music is literally considered to be worth nothing. Kids growing up today think that paying for music is like paying for a glass of water at the kitchen tap -- absurd! It's now generally taken for granted that music is f-r-e-e. A very unhealthy attitude; and it's devastating to artists.

I have mixed feelings about all this. On one hand, I love the connectivity of the internet and the fact that you can share your music with people all over the world in real time. But I'm sorry that people's attention spans have gotten so short that nobody spends real time listening to music actively. It's all multi-tasking now. You listen to some mp3s while surfing blogs or looking at pretty pictures on Myspace. The era of the album is over. It's a real shame because the 40 minute album is probably the ultimate way to take in an artist's vision; it's just enough time to go on a journey. No journeys anymore, just bits, bytes, zeroes, ones and ringtones.

It will be interesting to see what kind of mechanism, if any, will step in to take the place of record labels. It's easy enough for Radiohead, or Madonna, or The Boss to transition to, survive and prosper in the new age, but how do new artists break through all the muck? Will unknowns be able to catapult themselves to household name status just by having a website, a few hundred thousand Myspace friends and some kudos from Pitchfork? Hard to imagine.


I paid my third visit to Dominical, Costa Rica in mid February with two friends and had a kick-ass time. It was great to see my sister and my niece as usual and my parents happened to be there at the same time so that was cool too. Went on some intense hikes and came face to face with poisonous snakes, tarantulas and best of all, monkeys. We slept in the jungle in a tent one night as rain poured down hard. That was one of the coolest things I've done.

Alot of adult locals there have never ventured out of their home turf. I was thinking what a trip it would be for one of those ticos to deal with a place like New York City for the first time. For that matter, any American suburb would be brutal. The beauty that they're accustomed to in CR is pretty staggering. Imagine going from lush, tropical mountainsides, gorgeous, unpeopled beaches for miles and a panoply of wildlife packed into every square inch to the blight of endless stripmalls, Starbucks and McMansions as far as the eye can see.

I personally would never be able to live in a place like Costa Rica. It's almost too fantastic, to the point of seeming unreal. It's a paradise. But where's the edge? The beauty, the constant warmth and the perpetually laid-back pace are great -- but I need alot more grit and aggression in my life. What does that say about me?


It was intense to be charging through the rainforest in a tank top one minute and then find myself freezing on the A train platform in Brooklyn at 3:00 am just hours later. I love extremes like that. It was great to come back to the severe winter of New York.

But I wasn't so tickled about having to show up to jury duty a day after returning from my idyllic getaway. Like anyone, my stomach sank when I got the summons in the mail. I foresaw great inconvenience, boredom and, worst of all, having to wake up early. Oh, the dreary reality of adult life!

I set my rarely-used alarm clock and reported to the King's County courthouse at 8:00 a.m. just the same, feeling smugly confident I would get booted during the jury selection process, either because of my testimony or my haircut or both.

Turns out it was a criminal case involving an assault and robbery. During the screening process, the judge and lawyers ask each of the potential jurors one-by-one if they or anyone close to them have been victim of a violent crime. It was amazing how almost everyone there had some kind of story to tell. Muggings, burglary, assault. The girl next to me said that her fiance had been murdered just two years ago on the street. Damn.

I told my story of getting attacked on the subway a couple weeks prior and mentioned that someone I knew had been murdered. Still, I got picked to be on that jury! Scary stories, mohawk and all.

I groaned at the news and cursed my fate, but I have to say that, once the case got rolling, I quickly warmed up to the whole thing. It was a reasonably interesting trial and the other jurors were very cool. We were a real cultural cross-section of Brooklyn: old black grandmothers, a Russian massage therapist, a queeny Williamsburg hairdresser, a bling-ed out father from the projects, a punk-ass honky musician (me). Immigrants, transients and born-and-raised lifers were all represented. And hanging out together for four days. That kind of thing doesn't happen often enough.

The trial lasted four days, which was not long enough to be a major inconvenience and short enough to stay interesting. There was alot of waiting around in the deliberation room. Hours of waiting. The guy next to me had a portable DVD player with headphones and he watched three or four movies in their entirety during the time we spent in that room. I killed time writing songs (they came out really good, btw!).

The cool thing about jury duty was finding out that every one of the jurors cared very much about delivering a fair verdict and paid close attention to the entire trial. I think the American justice system is fatally flawed but I think it worked this time, for whatever that's worth.

I won't go into details about the case, but we unanimously voted to acquit the accused. The 22-yr-old broke down in tears at the verdict.


Recently a friend of mine committed suicide. He wasn't a close friend and I'd only hung out with him a handful of times but he was best friends and the roomate of someone close to me and I'd been over to their place for dinner several times. This guy was an incredible cook. He was a really impressive guy overall -- super talented, radiant, and unbelievably well-adjusted to things considering he was physically disabled.

To be respectful, I don't want to get into his life or his death in this blog. But one of the things that hit me after I heard about his passing was fucking brutal life is. I know that is a cliche. But it's true -- it is so damn hard to get to a point where you feel like you're pulling your weight and living up to expectations. There is so much pressure on a person from above, below and all sides -- pressure to excel, to impress, "do the right thing", to "meet the right person," to be "successful." It's so easy to feel like you've dropped the ball. Everybody from your family, friends, the media and the government -- not to mention yourself -- expects all kinds of unreasonable things from you in this life. Just being happy is certainly not enough.

When I heard about my friend's passing, all I could think of was how far this guy had already come, how much heavy stuff he'd already gotten through and with all the potential, talent and charisma he possessed, it seemed like he could tackle anything. Yet deep down in his heart, he still didn't feel like it was good enough.

Rest in peace, P. I'm sure wherever you are is better than where you were.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March Music, Then and Now

Some music I was listening to in March 1998:


The Pretenders (on vinyl)...


The Smiths' live album (thanks for the loaner, Joelle!)...

Cocteaus (thanks again J!)...

cheesy dance music (it was Roxy's fault).....

cheesy (and NOT cheesy) metal....


Boss Hogg...




some music I'm listening to in March 2008:

Quando Quango...

Kate Bush...

High on Fire (thanks Matt!)...

one word: ROISIN

satellite radio...

free music from those rich blokes in Radiohead...




one word: CHAKA

The Damned's Black Album (a yearly winter/late nite fave)

black metal...