August 22, 2008

100th Post

Welcome good people, to The Boogie Man Speaks, post # 100! Yes I know, exciting stuff. Has it really been You're all probably still choking on your "oohs" and "aahs" to even speak right now. Understandable. Fortunately, I've prepared a little something.

Actually, I haven't prepared anything. I don't even know how to go about this. Frankly I'm surprised that I had 100 bits of material worth of gibberish to even say. Surely I should've gotten bored of this crap and taken up finger painting by now? Why am I still doing this?

Oh well, another question for another time. Now, it's about celebrations. I need to say something good. Something epic. I need to ad lib, improvise. I improvise pretty well I think, so this should be a cinch.


I could create a thank you to all the good people who have come to this page, and tirelessly read through all I had to say. The devoted boys and girls who never missed a post, fed me a steady diet of emails and phone calls, gave me support and fed my muse with interesting tidbits and news from around the globe. All those folks who have made TBMS the well loved page that it is today.

Nah, that's ridiculous. Nobody reads this crap.

I suppose I could thank all the people who work here at TBMS. The editorial staff, the graphic arts team, all the sponsors who have donated time and face to make this the quality page that it is.

Wait, I'm the only one that works here. And I can't thank myself. It's kind of conceited.

Well, maybe I could take a walk down memory lane. Revisit some of the finer moments of writing here at TBMS. Think back to all the hard work and effort I put into this, and smile with a sense of history and satisfaction.

Wait, I really don't want to go back through all I've written. It's long, and depressing. Everytime I scroll past one of the older posts, I'm a little more ashamed of myself. And also, I really don't work all that hard. I have an idea, I fart it out on page, check the grammar, publish, then watch TV. Plus, revisiting the glory days for my admiring public still has a problem since, "nobody reads this crap."

You know what? Screw it. Just screw it. This is 100, #101's coming down the pipe. It's only gonna get worse.

August 18, 2008

Music That Disappoints: Deep Purple

There are plenty of rage inspiring moments in modern music. Lots of angry disillusion, repetitive frustration and a constant supply of "what the fuck is this?" moments. Tune into VH-1 for more than a few moments at time can give you plenty of things to be upset about. But today we're talking about disappointment, and disappointment is a different beast entirely. It's a bitter pain, one that constantly reminds you of how great things could've been, if not for that "one thing." And that can encompass a great deal. A lousy guitar player taking one too many solos, generic songwriting overshadowing otherwise quality vocals, or as was the case with many big name bands in the 80's, great music being supported by a drummer who was constantly missing the beat. All things that constantly foul up otherwise acceptable musicianship, and cause a great sense of letdown in the listener.

Nothing captures that sense of disappointment for me quite like Deep Purple's album "Machine Head." This is a group for that for all intensive purposes, I should be blasting out of my stereo proudly and without regret. I should be shameless in my needs for a bit of "Space Truckin'." I shouldn't have to hum "Hush" quietly to myself out of fear that people might hear me. But I do. I do it constantly, and not even for the right reasons.

The breakup of lineup after line up was tolerable. Having Steve Morse fill Richie Blackmore's shoes while Blackmore went all goofy mid evil with the frilly shirts and acoustic guitars stung deeply, but one could survive it. The damage I speak of was inflicted in their heyday. The glory days of Purp, where they were breaking world records with ear splitting volume, and over played instruments were still the name of the game. It was in those fine halcyon days of sound that my disappointment is seeded.

Musically, DP was top notch. Several of you can probably vouch for this, since I'm sure you've at one time owned a cassette of "Machine Head" that you've got packed away somewhere. The rest of you I'm sure have at least taken Purp 101, and ingested high doses of "Smoke On The Water." Admit it, you know you have. You may proudly say that Justin Timberlake is a god, or that everything before the Ramones was utter crap, but in your hearts, you ackowledge that those men made some damned righteous tunes. Big guitars and church organs spawning forth a hellish racket, the sounds they made were monumentally huge. A heart rate of epic proportions was required as you tried to match whatever you were doing to such grandiose musicianship. Everything just sounded bigger in their world.

Now if only they could have written some lyrics to match that intensity, then we'd be in business.

Purp's greatest crime, is that the words penned to the music in that album never quite matched the sonic fury we were given. In fact, 9 times out of 10, they were just dreadful. And it's insults me. I'm offended to be offered a platter of such great riffage, only to have the lyrics, the sheer substance of a tune, be bland and tasteless. I never expected Tolstoy, nor did I expect Dylan. But is it so wrong to have expected better?

I'm sure everyone's read the lyric sheets off of "Smoke On The Water" enough times to be generally disappointed in the true substance of the song. When the chorus slams in with a barrage of cymbals, and the words "Smooooooke on the water," are uttered in cacophonous unison, the mind reels at the possibilities. They could be talking about dragons maybe? Dragons were pretty popular in the seventies. Or how about the A Bomb? Nuclear war is pretty damned scary. Perhaps they found a way to capture the huge amount of damage and destruction of this device with electric guitars.

Hell, it didn't even have to be either of my ideas. Just so long as it wasn't anything so mediocre like "Yeah, so our hotel caught on fire while we were trying to record, and it was inconvenient. But we got lucky and were able to keep recording, so things were cool again." That would just be silly.

"I won't even get into "Space Truckin'." The less said about shit like that, the better.

I think the day I realized how truly disgusted I was with them was on the usual drive home when in an unusual circumstance, I had the radio on. After fast food commercials and an annoying DJ paddling on in the usual bullshit fashion, I was treated to Purp's "Highway Star."

And if you've never heard that song, let me say this, the intro is incredible. Droning on the G, more instrumental ingredients are added to the stew little by little, making the build up fantastic, until finally, in an explosion of greatness, you hear BUM! BUUUMMM! And then, the words. a furious voice singing, "Nobody gonna..."

It's the ultimate protest song! A mix of poor grammar and adolescent fury. Attach those words to any sentence, and the world will truly know you are not a force to be fucked with. This man could say so many things right now. He could go enviromental, "Nobody gonna rape my world," Stoke the social relations button, "Nobody gonna oppress me," or just nuzzle at the testosterone meat of his fellow man, "Nobody gonna keep me down." Anything would be fantastic.

Anything, but what we ended up getting. "Nobody gonna take my car."

A car? A fucking automobile? That's what all that build up was about? I feel swindled. My heart rate was spiking, and I had fists clenched ready to take on all comers, and it turns out you're just bragging about your ride.

And I love cars, I really do. There's always been a special place in my heart for every auto I've driven, even the old clunkers that could barely make it up a hill. I appreciate my ability to be mobilized by internal combustion. But singing a song similar to a war anthem to any of them just feels weird. Nobody gonna take my car? Hold a gun to my head, you'd be surprised how quickly you can have it. And why the absolutes? Isn't part of having a car to facilitate finding a woman? Hell, a woman is being sung about in the very next set of verses, so it's clear that it's part of the equation. What happens when you start a family, and suddenly the aforementioned beast on four wheels can't accommodate a baby seat? Seems to me someone's gonna be taking your car very soon. In fact, you'll probably be giving the thing away, otherwise you're sleeping on the couch buster.

Granted, I'm not a car song guy in general, but there are better marks out there that represent the genre better. Queen sang "I'm in love with my car." I can live with that. It's strange of course, but at least it's passionate. This just feels braggy, and in a song with such a furious groove, braggy offends.

The song doesn't improve in the remaining verses. He hypes up the car, then talks about his chick and how well he bangs her. Then suddenly, his mind becomes an impenetrable fortress that is unattainable to us mere mortals, because he achieved a state of zen via speed. Considering everything you've just told me, you really expect me to believe your mind is that deep?

From that day forth, I swore off the Purp. I couldn't do it anymore. Listening to their stuff felt like bedding a beautiful woman with a well groomed mustache. Look past it all you want, but it's there, waiting to remind you of it's existence every time you kiss. And what's sad is there was potential for improvement. If you ever dabbled in the self titled album of theirs, you'd hear some well constructed verses. Not magnificent poetry by any means, but tunes like "April" or "Bird Has Flown" were at least solid attempts. And such things could be forgiven on a first attempt. Hell, it could only get better right?

Instead, it degrades. Withers into an emulsified pulp that panders to the lowest denominators. It sounds like the parties involved said "Eh, it really doesn't matter what we say, nobody's paying attention anyways." Sadly, we were all paying attention, and to this day, no one can listen to any of the greatest hits without chuckling.

I know I'll forever wear my disappointment. You could have been the great fire. A crucial element in my musical development that fueled me to bigger and better heights. As it turned out, I had to rely on the poetic qualities of bands like Metallica to carry me through my heydays...

Of course, this is the same Metallica that wrote "Fuel."

August 6, 2008

Masculinity On Two Wheels

I think it's pretty clear to anyone who's spent even a few minutes of time here that I'm very much a guy. And I'm not talking genetics or sexuality, but attitude. I lean towards the more masculine side of things in everything I do and say. There's nothing wrong with any other personality types mind you, but I know I pack a lot of testosterone in my small grizzled frame. And as such, things have to be a bit more raw and a bit more furious to keep me happy. Bigger knives, darker guitars, squared off, mean looking cars. And the motorcycles......oh the motorcycles. Sharp lines, low slung and stripped of amenities. Terrifying looking beasts that put fear into the hearts of children when they're parked. And when the key is turned, a deep guttural growl from the depths of the iron and oil, pushed forth though warming pipe to let the world know that you are here, and you're about to move. It's awe inspiring stuff, and can tickle the hormonal matter of overly aggressive man-sters like me. Watching something like a Triumph Speed Triple rev at the light before pushing 1050cc's of mean across the asphalt is a thing of beauty to me. Or how a word like Ducatti can cloud the mind with endorphins in a fashion similar to how the word "porterhouse" can torment a hungry man, or how the words "pure" and "uncut" screw with the junkies. Oh yeah, it's that good.

However, a thought has entered my mind recently. A thought based on the fundamentals of reason and logic, but threatens the very essence of my testosterone fueled existence. Something that shakes the very walls of manhood, ripping the fabric of time and space into shreds. This thought could cause a paradox of boundless proportions, causing the universe to collapse into itself and start this whole damned cycle anew.

And what is this thought you might ask? Well, I've been considering the purchase of a scooter.

Yes, a scooter. Not a big displacement tube steel beast that can be heard from blocks away. Not a high revving plastic clad speed machine capable of outrunning god himself. Not even a whinny sounding mud critter that can play in the dirt like a pig on caffeine, but a scooter. Small, proper, cute.

And very much the antithesis of me.

For you readers who are proud and dedicated scooter riders, please know I bear no ill will to you. Despite my younger days of mocking and torment to anyone who even stood near one of those ridiculous things, I've come to realize that there is nothing wrong with you. It's a perfectly acceptable form of transportation, and I admire it's practicality. But it isn't me. It isn't the kind of steed that I would even consider perching atop. And here's why.

For one, there's the look of the scooter. All those round curves and gentle slopes, graced in happy peaceful colors. It's very cute, and cute, isn't a word I put much stock in when considering my existence on this rock. Cute doesn't keep the masses fearful and on their guard. Cute gets people mugged.

And how about the guard for your legs? Motorcycle riders don't have guards. Their legs are out in the open, waiting to be fondled and abused by the asphalt. If the threat of losing your lower limb up to the knee isn't there, then it isn't riding hard now is it?

And how about how you sit on those things? Motorcycle riders straddle. They wrap the thighs around that high strung monster, and squeeze tight for the ride. It's almost a sexual affair being on a motorcycle. And the riders, no matter what their mount, always look like they're holding on for dear life. Fearful that all that displacement is gonna get tired of their rider's meat packed mass, and kick them off without warning. As such, the motorcycle rider always looks like they're locked into and secured on their bikes. And when you look at it, you get the impression that these crazed people are about to fly at insane speeds at any given instant. Very cool.

But the scooter? You get none of that. The scooter rider sits upright with proper posture and full use of their necks. The scooter has more of a seat than a saddle, so the legs are tucked close to each other in a proper seating position. The average scooter rider looks like a graduate from charm school. Where's the terror in that? If you turned around and saw a man slung on a Harley Davidson Softail Rocker, part of you would be concerned for your life. But if you were to turn around and seeing a man on a Vespa? Well the most you'd fear is that he would come after you with his thumb and index fingers in a pinching position while cheerfully cackling , "I'm gonna get ya, I'm gonna get ya." The intimidation factor is nil.

And then of course there's the lack of every man's favorite bragging component in a motor vehicle: displacement. Men, manly men especially, love to talk big numbers when it comes to their internally combusted masterpieces. some 50 years ago, 350 cubic inches was enough to illicit some "oohs" and "ahhs" from the other guys in the gang. And in motorcycles, that kind of forward thinking still holds true. 1000, 1300, even 2000cc's of pure displacement can catch the eye of envy of any man who's let his testosterone rule him. In some circles, you're not even getting started until you're well past 600cc's.

But in scooter land? Aside from a few overpriced exceptions, 250cc's rules the roost. 50 to 150cc's is considered normal and most of those cuddly little scooters on the road ride in this range. How in the hell are you going to brag about 150cc's? That's lawnmower turf right there. A single cylinder on one of those Japanese speed machines, is all that's pushing you along in that chipper "putt putt" sound we all know and endure.

Scooters sting the pride. Well, not the pride in general, but my pride anyways. Just standing next to the accursed things makes me feel like my man juices are being sapped away. And yet, here I am seriously considering one.

I'm not sure what happened or when. But suddenly, such a perch made sense. Gas economy is a big clincher. An extra twenty miles to the gallon over most of it's motorcycle brethren? Hard not to be impressed. And there is the matter of cargo space. For those who like to hop on their steeds and take a cheerful jaunt down neglected country roads, a motorcycle makes perfect sense. But I intend to carry shit. Shopping bags filled with meat, laptop computers, kitchen blades, all things that need a place to be stored. And unless I spend some big bucks on a heftier motorcycle and a bit extra on those nifty mountable cases, I'm shit outta luck. Yeah, I suppose I could just tie it to the back seat with a few bungies, but I just don't trust my abilities to secure things to insure my precious cargo will actually survive the trip.

And then of course, there's my dumb factor. A motorcycle, even at small engine capacities, has great abilities when it comes to speed and twisties. And while most manufacturers and safety classes recommend thresholds for throttling and taking corners with grace, I'm stupid enough to ignore them. There's nothing I like more than to take a near ninety degree corner at unsafe speeds, feeling the rear wheels lose their composure on the asphalt as I hold desperately to the wheel trying to make the corner without slipping into the brush. And that's with four wheels people. How fucking insane do you think I'll be when you take two of them away? Normally the risk taking is a fun deal for me, but people are counting on me to survive these days, and survival becomes a little more difficult without the steel frame and aluminium fort surrounding my aging flesh and bone. I'm just dumb enough to kill myself on one of those things. If I'm lucky, severe crippling will the be the order of the day. I'll have to eat meatloaf through a straw and hire people to scratch my back, but my wonderful personality will still be around.

Not an option. I need to live people. And while I'm sure it's just as easy to murder myself on a scooter, the construction and limited capacity reduces the risk. Which is a good thing for a classic like myself.

And truth be told, I'm starting to see the scooter industry grow a little hair on it's chest. Sure there are still the brightly colored fancy fun Vespa's in the world, but there's also some new runabouts that are looking kind of mean. Kymco's Xciting series is fairly damned sexy. Yeah, the rear's a bit pudgy, but all in all not a bad looking beast. And then there's the Piaggio MP3 Series. These bad boys are definitely Batman approved. Admit it Harley lovers, these things look mean. You could wage wars on them and never have anyone question it's classification as a scooter.

So, there you have it. No final decisions have been made one way or the other, but scooters are definitely on a list that would've never had them a few years ago. Call it old age, call it a bit of logic, call it pure insanity. I have no idea what to call it, but I do know that if the hammer falls, and I find myself putting down the road on my newly acquired scooter, I shall do so without apology. I would have thought long and hard about it, and made the best decision based on versatility and finance. And if that's what becomes the best option, than so be it.

And who knows? I just might make scooter riding dark and badass. I am the Boogie Man after all.

August 4, 2008

And I Quote

"It isn't fun if you don't live through it."

-Boogie Man Montoya-