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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
9:27 pm - more varied questions...
Tell me a little bit about your first bands?
There is not much to say unfortunately. The bands consisted of friends from high school of the garage/punk rock variety. Nobody, myself included was that talented at our instruments at the time. We didn't last for very long etc.



Where do you draw most of your songs from?
Hmm mostly observations from everyday life and personal experiences, it's of course all filtered through my personal lenses. Sometimes dreams can inform them and other times I have no idea where they come from...the wind.



There is a sensitive streak to them.
I suppose I can't help that part of me I'm afraid. I believe in being honest as much as possible and it's hard to separate honesty from myself when it comes to art, be it a song, poem, painting whatever.


Are there some more general themes?
Oh sure be good to each other and things like that. I mean the realization of any horrors or misdeeds be they emotional, psychological or historical are meant to convey an accurate portrayal of human behavior and the hope is the listener will not make the same mistake as either the author or the subjects of the songs.

I hear a Joy Division influence, is that accurate?
In some of the stuff I've done for sure. Sinsuality live has a been compared to Joy Division meeting Nirvana by a friend of mine. Lyrically I suppose too, I have tremendous respect for Ian Curtis as a lyricist.


What about your father? What sort of relationship did you have with him?
Oh he's an influence musically in the sense that him playing the piano around the house probably stirred up some musical interest in me. He never gave me lessons though beyond chord shapes. Otherwise I have been self taught. Mostly I suppose his record collection has been an influence. Overall, we have a pretty good relationship it's very friend like as we talk about pretty much anything, except emotion to a large extent.



What does being a songwriter mean to you?
Oh I rarely I think in terms of being a songwriter, it's just getting stuff off my chest really but I would say yes I qualify as one, I just don't think about it all that much.


You grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, what was that like?
Pretty serene and uneventful really. A fairly suburban middle class upbringing. I had a fairly supportive and normal family and yet I can remember wanting to often escape. So far I have briefly with a study abroad in Italy, college in a small town called Platteville for two years and also briefly living in Portland Oregon. I miss the northwest and I'd love to move to Washington or some place like that or retire to some cottage in the woods.

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Thursday, August 18th, 2011
6:58 pm - Shooting from the hip
-You don't seem like the Sid Vicious archetype rocker.

No I don't fit into any scheme or Jungian archetype too well. I suppose elements of me can relate to this or that, but I've always been pretty independent of latching into groups or stereotypes. I'm fortunate that way. Although I have self-destructive urges like any one, I'm seemingly immune to drug addiction or addiction to people, they say Reagan was the Teflon president, I'm the Teflon rocker.

-Does it hurt when people gossip?

Not especially, I suppose it depends on what the gossip is all about. I'm not at all caught up in that sort of thing. Gossip is mostly annoying but it's hardly hurtful.

-Who do you trust now?

Myself and a handful of friends, I suppose my father as well. Not too many people, I have no one I can go to with my problems largely though.

-Can you go out and have fun?

Of course, nothing prevents me from doing so, I just have always been the type not to party too much out in public. I like a good adventure on the town but I do it pretty exclusively.


-Does it make you laugh when people take apart all your songs, and try to figure out what you're saying?

Oh hell yeah, people can very rarely get any of it right. Some of it's utter nonsense my worst songs are the ones that are total nonsense, real throwaway stuff that just needed words on top of it. My lyrics are about shifting emotions or particular situations people find themselves in and how they have to adapt. It's open to interpretation but nobody ever seems to get my original intentions.


-You used to push people's buttons like that in high school, didn't you?

On some level yeah I did. I didn't do much to provoke people, I had friends in every clique and every background conceivable but I just preferred being a loner because I couldn't relate to any one group of people just enough, the bands geeks were into music so that was where most of my friends came from. However I did wear a dress to school a couple times and wore a kimono another but because I had tennis shoes on it ruined the whole appeal, imagine my pranks tarnished by the fact I can't find heels in my size. Those were to be just weird and do something fun. I got a few looks and a few questions but not much. Usually my sarcasm and lack of political correctness is where I push someone's buttons, some people are too thick headed and too thin skinned.


-You actually got beat up?

Yeah enough times I suppose, they'd always have to jump me or gang up on me. I couldn't be beaten in a fair fight though I was too strong willed.



-Because people thought you were gay and you had gay friends, did you ever wonder if you might be gay?

No not really. I only considered the gay lifestyle for 2 seconds at like age 14. That was because I thought I wouldn't lose my virginity to a woman ever, I was too awkward and shy so I may as well become a monk or gay. But I realized I'm an atheist and wouldn't cut it as a monk and that gays have no particular ease in relationships and have just as much hardship as straight folk. I'm straight ok with it and happy to have gays as friends though. I wouldn't trade them for anything.


-Are you pro Obama?

No I'm pro no body. I'm pro me and that's about as far as it goes.

-Would you play at the White House if they asked you to?

Sure if they wanted Sinsuality to play I'm sure we would for a decent fee or exposure. Not to be endorsed by anyone candidate though, strictly for music or business reasons not political even though politics is often business.


-You aren't preachy about your opinions. It's a sensible approach.

Yeah I think it's sort of a touched upon rule that politics and me don't mix I don't want to be someone bashing another's point of view just because I disagree. If you want an opinion I'll give it to you but it's not something I intend to cram down your throat but if you want a civil discourse on a subject I'm always game. I have a degree in history, studied alot of political history, philosophy and psychology so I'd like to think I know my stuff.

-In thought or in deed are you more radical?

Neither especially but I think I'm more self-disciplined than alot of people I know and that for one makes me a bit different that and the fact that I take swipes at everyone, myself included separates me from alot of people I know who can dish it out but can't take it.


-What about the drug use?

It's something I can admit to, yes I've done a variety of drugs, opiates, speed, pills, coke, acid, weed, hallucinogens and I drink from time to time. There's nothing special about me or anyone else who does or has done drugs. I don't do any drugs now though aside from an occasional drink.




-So you can turn on mainstream radio and hear some music you like these days.

Sometimes I liked Lady Gaga's first album and the Fame Monster EP but her latest stuff although catchy is a bit of a drag. Mostly I listen to the same mainstream radio songs I liked before 90's alternative rock, classic rock etc. Usually I tune to the college radio station and listen to awesome international techno which I blast at 10 at night when I come home from work.

-What do you do when you're not playing music?

Mostly I write poetry, I'm piecing together my first serious poetry manuscript at the moment it's taken all summer I wrote 100 poems for it but only need between 60-90. I'm in the editing and cutting out stage right now. Otherwise I read, sleep and watch movies when I'm not at work. However it's hard to take music away from me, that'd be like taking away my ability to breathe.


-Do you like L.A.?

I have never been there so it'd be hard to judge but personally based off most people's reporting of the place. I wouldn't shed a fucking tear if that place fell off with most of California into the sea due to the San Andreas fault acting up I look forward to the day when Nevada, Oregon and Washington and what used to be parts of Eastern California constitute the West Coast, I lived in Portland Oregon for awhile and I love that state, the people are friendly, the rain is tolerable and the winters are not miserable like Wisconsin. Washington is pretty as well.

-Now's your chance to say anything you'd like to say.

Everybody have a good time, that's pretty profound...right?

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Sunday, May 15th, 2011
9:29 pm - under my skin
1. What time did you get up this morning?

I think between it must have been between 10 and 11 since I went to the mall to purchase some clothes for my trip and the mall wasn't open until arrived shortly before 11.

2. How do you like your steak?

Non-existent I used to love a well done New York Strip but then I became a hippie vegetarian new age loser.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

I can't honestly remember it's quite possibly that bad Resident Evil 4 that came out last fall.


4. What is your favorite TV show?

I rarely watch tv these days. I still keep up with South Park on a regular basis and the occasional True Blood, Chelsea Lately, Daily Show or History Channel programming.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Hmmm I have a pretty extensive list I may move back to the Portland Oregon area someday that'd be cool.

6. What did you have for breakfast?

I had a brownie and a coffee.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Chinese, Italian and American diner.

8. What foods do you dislike?

Meat pretty much is about all I have no appetite for. For a vegetarian I'm not terribly picky.

9. Favorite place to eat?

It fluctuates and whatever I'm in the mood for. I just an enjoy good company at a meal.

10. Favorite dressing?

I've always fancied French or Italian.

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?

Chevy Cavalier.

12. What are your favorite clothes?

Pajamas I feel most comfortable in.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?

Oh tons of places I very much love travel and meeting new people along the way.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?

It's both all the time

15. Where would you want to retire?

Somewhere isolated in the woods.

16. Favorite time of day?

That varies quite a bit

17. Where were you born?

St. Mary's Hospital Madison, WI

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

I hate sports and don't watch them really.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?

I don't think any tagging will be involved in this quiz

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?

????

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?

Anybody can respond I'm always happy to hear about others.

22. Birdwatcher?

Sometimes...I always look for them in spring especially cardinals.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I'm cursed I'm an early bird and a night owl.

24. Do you have any pets?

Yes I have a cat and a family dog.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?

I’m on the way to visit Oregon and Washington state tomorrow for a week, that's fun also alot of music projects in the works, a promotion at work and a new cool roommate and apartment setup.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?

Oh many things mostly some form of scientist.

27. What is your best childhood memory?

My childhood was pretty happy overall, it'd be hard to pick just one memory that stands out.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

I like both with equal appreciation.

29. Are you married?

No

30. Always wear your seat belt?

Pretty typically yes.

31. Been in a car accident?

A couple, no bruises though

32. Any pet peeves?

Plenty they mostly revolve around various forms of intolerance in the world.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Pineapple, peppers.

34. Favorite Flower?

Hmm I like various lilies and roses I suppose. Many to choose from.

35. Favorite ice cream?

That changes alot, today chocolate chip sounds pretty good.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?

I don't think I have a favorite, let's say Subway though.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?

None, I passed on my first try.

38. From whom did you get your last email?

Oh it was a facebook notice about someone commenting on my status update and a one on a link I posted.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

Bookstore probably if I had a credit card.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?

Not so much. Probably just call up a friend to hangout.

41. Like your job?

It's ok, I'll like it more when I begin my commissioned sales position in the summer.

42. Broccoli?

It's cool by me.

43. What was your favorite vacation?

Oh I have too many to choose from.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

Quite a few many of my friends last night for Jeff's birthday.

45. What are you listening to right now?

Faith No More's Midlife Crisis.

46. What is your favorite color?

Red

47. How many tattoos do you have?

None

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?

Nobody

49. What time did you finish this quiz?

9:29PM

50. Coffee drinker?

Yeah I have it from time to time.

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
4:58 pm - The truth, the splendor
You hurt yourself, all the time. Not only abuse of drugs and alcohol, but you cut yourself. That's one of the things I can't understand at all. Do you have any explanation for that?

Well it should be clarified that I've never done these things day in and day out for years on end. I've only ever abused myself physically in brief spurts. I think for me it's due to building up tension. The frustration of feeling like you're losing control becomes too much and rather than act in violence towards others you channel that rage unto yourself. I have alot of anger undeniably and I think in the past it was misplaced. I used to beat up my sister, neighborhood kids, friends and myself. I always felt bad about channeling it onto others but for myself it was a release of anger, it was a sense of focus, with me I could deliberately focus what I was doing to myself whether it was cutting myself, banging my head into a hall, stubbing cigarettes onto my arm or any of that stuff, it was all fairly measured. Not as a cry for help, not for pity or to gain attention, only as self punishment and self discipline I suppose in a way.


But why are you hard on yourself?

It's only to prove to myself I can do better, that I can control myself. I don't doubt for a minute the deterministic nature of life but I think like any human I have to feel like I belong to something or can identify with something. I identify with self improvement and mastering my animal self. Humans all have propensities towards violence and sex. Some people have no regard for that sort of thing and usually end up dead. Others live in complete denial of such things and fuck themselves up in the head and live a life of so called perversion. I'm trying to balance it out, I like sex alot and I have had lots of it but there are times where I simply can do without it or a romantic relationship of any kind, partially to prove to myself I can exist without it and to also not be distracted. It's self preservation the whole thing really.



How do you cope now?

Well I try to keep constantly busy whether it's with a job or with music or writing I am trying to find new projects or trips to keep myself busy. I never really enjoy too much constant solitude, or idle solitude as it were. If I am alone I need to be working on something or engaging in something. Otherwise that little voice in my head becomes problematic and self defeating thoughts start to enter and tell me I'm no good etc. Last spring right after my breakup with my ex girlfriend and my leaving Portland to Madison I became consumed by thoughts of my failure, both in terms in the relationship and my ability to be a good person, it kinda boiled up and for so long and then I started scratching myself with scissors daily and then I started thinking about the knives around me and what I do next. I decided I needed help from another source than myself once. I knew I was on the cusp of a very bad downward spiral. I noticed I was drinking to blackout at times, which never happened before and I was cutting myself. So I attended a self help group for depression in town for about a month. It was nice to listen to others and how they cope and then offer your own advice. I felt like I got to know my problems are much more minuscule that what many others deal with. I can't fully explain it other than I felt very relieved and much more self aware coming out of that scenario. I have since attended another group meeting or had contact with the group but I haven't cut myself in that time span.



Do your lyrics reflect your pain?

Sure to some extent, they often come from a place of pain in my mind. From painful experiences and such but after they come out I think they are subjective and open to interpretation, they become out of my hands. Often I have no idea what I'm writing as I'm doing it, I only get an understanding what it means to me after it's done. It's almost as if they weren't really my words so much as I happened to be the medium or in this case typist/dictation specialist rather than the author. Granted I know I wrote them but it always seems like I'm just caught up in some feelings unexplained from the subconscious and I happen to articulate it with my hands and fingers on paper. Deep down though I know what they mean once I've seen them on a page. They are sometimes celebrations but obviously it'd be a lie to say don't come from a certain amount of pain.



You come across as being very shy and introverted. So how can you get on a stage in front of thousands of people?

Well I've never played to that amount of people yet. I am shy and introverted but as any artist I do have an ego or at least a certain amount of self confidence in what I do. If I didn't believe what I was doing was worthwhile I would have given up a long time ago, it's as simple as that really.


Have you ever been in love?

Alot of people would say no, they don't know what that question means and go into some long winded existential bullshit thing questioning the nature of love. I won't do that suffice to say yes I have been in love with four different girls as some point in my life. In high school I was forcing myself to believe I was. I met the first girl I truly loved in college, where I didn't question that I loved her, the feeling hit and we made a serious attempt to enjoy life together and be together for a long time, it didn't work out nor did attempts with the other three which were due to end for various reasons, mostly the mental unhealthiness of the said girls. I will always have a special place in my heart and memory for those girls. I also don't doubt for a second that I'll fall in love again and have it reciprocated it's only a matter of time.


Generally speaking, are you happy with your lot?

Yes as of this moment I am fairly busy and have alot to look forward too. So I can say I am happy at this point in time.

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Monday, March 7th, 2011
9:12 pm - Passing thy Time
Phil Gold

June 11 1986 04:36 AM

Madison, Wisconsin
- 5 GMT
89° 20' W 43° 08' N

Tropical Zodiac - Placidus Houses


The Luminaries: Sun and Moon

The state of the solar system at the time of your birth points to self-similar (fractal) qualities within you. But of all the planets, the "lights" - the Sun and Moon - are thought to indicate the main polarity of your being. In psychology, this has been articulated in the concept of complementarity between the conscious and unconscious contents of the mind. The Sun and Moon act as positive and negative poles - an intentional, directing element (Sun), and a suggestible, receptive one (Moon). In a beneficial relationship, the emotional conditioning of the Moon is given a purposive and positive expression by the astrological Sun. This has been called 'intentional living'. Wherever we allow our consciousness (attention) to rest, that we vitalize.

The Astrological Sun
There is only one center to our solar system, and there is only one center to your psyche. The Sun is the great central powerhouse which illuminates us and shows us where we can get the most from life by radiating all that our sun represents. In Jyotish, the astrology of the Hindus, the Sun is known as 'atma karaka', or soul indicator, signifying a person's confidence, authority and power - the ego center of the horoscope. The Sun is our central identity and 'true self', in that it is toward this more than anything that we should be moving and developing. Thus, it represents that which we wish to become and those we look up to. It is also our essence, our bliss, and that which we do for the sheer fun of it. The Sun is creativity, original flair, celebration and glory - the quality of output we tend to expect from heros and celebrities. But we are each capable of giving out more than we do - and I don't mean money. The Sun is about having a purpose large enough to animate the whole of your life and going about it with a tone of appreciation and joie de vivre. Your Sun shows how and where you can shine. Light your fire!

Sun in Gemini
You are the go-between of the universe. You love to investigate, communicate, and make connections. You are happiest when caught up in the variety and complexity of life, moving around and gathering all the multiple options at your disposal. Gemini energy is mobile and changeable, very restless and questioning. You do your best work by allowing yourself to spread the attention, doing more than one thing at a time, linking observations and ideas to form relationships. You intuitively know the kind of language that is appropriate and lend the right approach to any situation. Gemini is concerned with connections, communication and logic - words, thoughts, writing and rational mental processes in general. It is also concerned with making comparisons, 'twins' and duplications of all kinds. Gemini is the communicator, the gossip of the zodiac and the collector of trivia. Gemini energy is unattached, independent, very inquisitive and changable.

Sun Opposite Uranus
Unconventional, independent and drawn to whatever is different and original in life. Hates being tied down with the drudgery of routine, preferring instead to keep options open. Gets involved in causes that go against tradition, revolutions of one kind or another - social or political. Men in particular are eccentric or nonconformist. Computers, electronics and everything 'new-wave' appeals.

Sun Square Jupiter
Larger than life. Expects the best, is open, above-board and honest. Discovery. Wants to see, experience and gain knowledge of everything life has to offer, especially foreign things or things that are 'out of the ordinary'. 'Lucky' by nature, the general outlook on life is one of optimism and enthusiasm. Makes a natural philosopher and counselor. Confident and vibrant, this aspect expands ego drives and broadens experience.

Sun Sesquiquadrate Pluto
Magnificent willpower. Comes on strong and tends to intimidate. Presence and concentration are very forceful. Likes to get down to bare essentials right off. Not afraid of a good confrontation. This intensity puts self and others through a lot of changes. Would be great at research or any work that requires digging, searching, investigating, and getting beneath the surface. Men especially are drawn to or somehow involved in 'underground' activities. Sex drive is powerful and needs outlet.

Sun Semisquare Moon
Torn between different directions in life with feelings going one way and willpower another. A sense of being caught in the middle - forced to choose between surroundings that are emotionally supportive (but not progressive) and new directions that bring advancement but may be at the expense of comfort. Getting these opposing energies to work together requires real compromising skill. It is helpful to see life not as 'black-white' or 'all-or-nothing', but as a complex sliding-scale of varying shades and subtleties.


The Astrological Moon
The astrological Moon symbolises memory, memes and conditioning - the habitual, instinctive, unconscious side of our nature, and therefore the most predictible. Our interface with the environment - how we react to it - is best indicated by the Moon's position and the planets it aspects. Because it represents our upbringing and emotional background, the Moon denotes our sense of belonging and well-being (or not) and what we need in order to feel comfortable and content. But all too often the tendency is for the Moon to reflect back the frayed impressions of old hurts and vendettas, thereby wasting precious energy on painful and unproductive distractions of the past. Clearly what is needed is a more aspiring attitude; one in which we are continually banging our cup and demanding that our needs be satisfied! What is your special hunger? What kind of stimulation do you need in order to feel good about yourself? True gratification can be had only by feeding your Moon. The Feast of the Present is spread out around you!

Moon in Leo
You are gregarious, even to the point of bringing out the performer in others. You somehow always manage to find a creative environment or the creative in any environment. Great with kids, you are yourself a big kid at heart. Emotional warmth and self-expression come naturally, but you must guard against the tendency to attention-seeking behaviour. You are happiest in situations which allow you to exercise your playfulness and originality.

Moon Square Pluto
Deep soul searching. Manages to get to the searing truth of the situation. Penetrating psychological analyses are your strength. Can be perceived as so intense that presence in a group has a very decided effect. Others may feel that nothing is a secret from you. Political influence. Emotionally suspicious and has compulsions which are often swayed by cravings and desires. There is a marked tendency to re-make or re-mold oneself every so often.

Moon Trine Saturn
Emotional maturity. The sense of responsibility is well developed and usually ends up managing situations. Disciplined and hard-working; good at getting others to work. Serious and frugal but enjoys getting along on less. Essentials are what count. Tends to avoid too much socializing but takes familial duties quite seriously.

Moon Conjunct Venus
Discriminating, sensual and kind. There is great concern with beauty and comfort, especially in and around the home. An optimistic and charming nature; this is a very favourable feminine combination. Lives for loving relationships and pleasant memories. Excels in the aesthetic talents. Voluptuousness and eroticism are implied.

Moon Sesquiquadrate Uranus
Independence above all. Very much involved with all that is non-traditional and revolutionary, especially when it comes to the domestic scene and ideas of home and family. Original, different and unpredictable when it comes to emotional reactions. The approach to feelings, moods and the whole psychological gambit is novel. Tends to show emotions suddenly or in unusual ways. Prefers being unconventional and nonconformist. Gets pleasure out of engaging in forbidden or unauthorized behaviour.


The Planets: Agents of the Cosmos

The planets of astrology are not just giant balls of rock and gas, but fractal reflections of the different facets of reality - whole self-consistent categories of meaning. They reveal tendencies which are in a continual state of 'becoming'. But each individual is responsible for developing his or her attributes and actively integrating the planets' detailed messages. Having had the broad qualities pointed out, you are free to work with or against the cosmic current. But you will only benefit from the universal self-organising process by intentionally and planfully improving on those features as depicted in your birth chart. We only get where we're going by moving in the right direction. Destiny is a matter of Destination.

The Astrological Mercury
Mercury is the articulate messenger - Hermes - master of the networks, change and complexity. He represents mentality: words, thoughts, ideas, communications. But more generally, this is the planet of connections - everything that links and conveys - synchronicity - the magical crossroads at which the observer stands to see the 'similarity of meaning' in the converging strands of various causes and effects. This is the meeting place of mind and matter, where logic, wit and reason are brought into play. The power of thought. The power of words. The ancestor of every action is a thought, and how we say something is often more important than what we say. Words trigger attitudes and set up resonances of their own, continuing to do their work even when the attention is elsewhere. Guided by your Mercury, you begin to construct a bridge between yourself and the world, bringing together all the unique circumstances needed to trigger results that none of them could have produced on their own. Mercury shows how you can 'hijack' people, places and situations to your best advantage - the way you can go about getting your way.

Mercury in Cancer
You sense things with the mind and understand that feelings are thoughts too. What does this or that thought mean? Where is it pointing? These are questions you ask. You use subjective rather than objective logic -- intuition and gut instinct. Poetry, music, and the arts interest you, as do psychology and the psyche.

Mercury Opposite Neptune
You have more than just the gift of gab. Your words and ideas can transport and enchant listeners, carrying them beyond the world as they know it into the world as they wish it could be. Your imagination and sense of what connects all of life is felt in your speech and in the way you communicate. You love a good story, and a sense of the mystical pervades every one you tell. You are at home in the world of myths and dreams, for your mind soars on wings of the imagination.

Mercury Trine Pluto
When it comes to mental work, you have a perfect gift for research and investigation. You enjoy examining and analyzing, in particular when it comes to psychological and sensitive areas of the mind. Your ability to sift through the dross and come up with what is essential every time is exceptional. You like to discuss and communicate, again always at a psychological and very personal level. Others may find you intense.


The Astrological Venus
Venus is harmony. She symbolises our relationship with all that we meet in the world. When we appraise or appreciate something, whether that be another person or a possession, this is Venus - the sense of love or appreciation we feel. Venus is reciprocity, interaction with others, compromise, reconciliation and balance. She is also our need for approval, and how we seek it - 'we' consciousness and union. This ability to get-it-together is also tested by our talent (or lack of) for developing a sense of wealth and affluence. Venus is what we love, feel comfortable with and what appeals to us. And she has much to do with desires, luxuries and their enjoyment. She is also about making oneself enjoyable. Thus her energy is what has been called the 'courtier spirit', which means being agreeable and smoothing the path. In many ways she shows us how we can get the most, both relationship-wise and financially, out of life. As the planet of balance and resources, Venus speaks to us about the ways one influences the other; for as any successful businessperson will tell you, you must be willing to spend money in order to make it. This is the lifeblood of commerce - there must be an out-going as well as an in-coming flow of energy. Good relationships require give-and-take, as do all successful enterprises.

Venus in Cancer
A home-based business would be ideal. You like to feel secure, and giving people a base of operations - something to connect with - is a where you could begin to foster a successful enterprise. You are nurturing of others and like to be taken care of, even mothered. You love music and can be very emotional. The Arts will appeal. In relationships you tend to be protective.

Venus Opposite Mars
You enjoy life yourself and value gusto and enthusiasm in those around you. Feelings are something you express with ease, and you appreciate others doing the same. Emotional drama is valued rather than avoided. Your appetite for action is probably well known, and well noted. Sports, outdoor activities, and everything physical are high on your list of favorites. Sex is, no doubt, also important.

Venus Trine Jupiter
You have an innate love of the law and working things through, and you are not put off by problems and obstacles. On the contrary, you look forward to solving them. You have the ability to work with others, in particular regarding vocation or career guidance. You can advise and guide in matters requiring work-related decisions. Others find you a generous and loving person. You always share what you find and have a lucky streak too.


The Astrological Mars
Mars is the planet of motivation and drive. It is the self-starting impetus, initiative and energy we need to get moving. When we search for the meaning of something, life or whatever, it is Mars that urges us on and keeps us searching. Mars also drives us against things too, as when it sends us into war and combat. Mars looks for the challenge, takes charge and pushes forward with a pioneering spirit. Mars is purposeful, direct and courageous; where our passion is, there we find the planet Mars. Thus it also has to do with ardor and impulses, and often signifies the sex-drive, especially in a man's chart. Martian energy enjoys becoming involved in the thrust of life - acting promptly on an urge and, within that conviction, creating more trust in its own actions. This is a circular process: The more we trust and act, the more we receive impulses that can be trusted.

Mars in Capricorn
You are a very hard worker and are driven to accomplish, manage, and be in control. You like to manipulate a situation for its own benefit and would make a natural supervisor. You have an inner urge for order and organization and a strong sense of responsibility. You are competent, ambitious and cool, capable of great self-denial in pursuit of your goals. Just be careful not to take things too seriously or to the point of driving yourself to depression.

Mars Sextile Jupiter
You are a great doer, an accomplisher. Your outgoing nature, coupled with extremely skillful ways of handling other people, make you a natural for working with or for the public. You would make an excellent teacher or coach, and helping others to make career decisions is a skill you possess. Your career is never a problem, for you have the kind of drive that others can only dream about. Everything works out well for you.

Mars Semisquare Saturn
You are responsible to the extreme, always taking on obligations and pushing yourself to the limit. You pursue your obligations with much emotion and obvious enthusiasm. You are spartan when it comes to your needs and surroundings. Small and less are beautiful for you. If anything, you try too hard and tend to force things. Others may find your approach too severe. You can be too sober and frugal.


The Astrological Jupiter
When it comes to an astrology of success and empowerment, some planets are more important than others simply because of their nature. As the planet of outreach and exploration, Jupiter plays a very important role here. The Hindu word for Jupiter is 'Guru' (Teacher), and Jupiter is about having an outlook or belief system - something we can identify with or look forward to. It shows how we search for meaning in our lives, and therefore has much to tell us about our 'ideal' vocation. Jupiter is the guiding philosophy which provides us with our sense of direction and shows us how to approach life's problems. Jupiter is 'conscience', ethics, as well as our opinions and how we form them. It represents our speculations about the world and can tell us much about the process of self-discovery. As the 'lord of opportunity', prosperity, affluence, and all the benefits we earn through our outgoing-ness and out-giving to others, Jupiter's position in your chart is instrumental in determining your capacity for optimism and attracting luck. To enhance Jupiter's benefit in your life, follow the indications of his placement in your chart. In general, by adopting a spread of effort rather than a concentration - by accepting Life's invitations and maximising what they have to offer - by saying 'yes' to the exotic and unfamiliar - we deliberately extend our range of contacts and interests whereby luck can reach us. There is an organic connection between this attitude and the arrival of the good things in life. A note of warning though, you can have too much of a good thing.

Jupiter in Pisces
You have a real empathy for people and a genuine ability to sacrifice yourself to help others. You have a love of what's beyond appearances - psychology, mysticism and occult subjects. Intuitive, sensitive to emotions and sympathetic, you are always giving of yourself and would make an excellent counselor. You attract luck into your life through 'free-ranging' and keeping your options open.

Jupiter Square Uranus
Unusual vocations. Your career or life path, the way you make your living or get through life, will be very different, perhaps unique. You always take the road less traveled by and, skirting the crowd and the commonplace, head for parts unknown. The inventor - your approach to any problem is always original and you could invent things or discover new places or develop new ways of doing things. Communications, computers, and the whole electronic revolution are a perfect career choice for you.

Jupiter Sesquiquadrate Pluto
A career in psychology, areas of the mind and self that are vulnerable and sensitive, is indicated. You not only like change and transforming experiences, you pursue them for their own sake. You head straight for whatever challenges your sense of identity and puts you through changes. This life path could also carry you into subjects like reincarnation, psychic experiences, and all that is occult or hidden from common view. You plunge right in, dig through the whole mess, and leave not a secret unturned. Yours is a career deep in change, transformation, and metamorphosis.


The Astrological Saturn
Saturn is the prince of the material world - the planet of materialisation and incarnation, self-containment and personal distinction. Saturn rules the limitations of the world we live in and so indicates where we are bound to learn self-discipline and duty - whether we like it or not! It is the boundaries around us that make identity possible. As time passes, you slowly but surely crystallise a personal identity, distinct and unique from the others around you, by excluding whatever does not seem compatible with your purpose. Each new day adds to this evolutionary sense of 'I', with the object being an increased sense of responsibility. Saturn is said to be the hard taskmaster, the planet that keeps us from getting carried away in one direction or another. And although it seems to limit and undermine, it also defines and clarifies. For it is the process of sedimentation - building layer upon layer with structure and control - whereby we see our ambitions realised. Nothing worthwhile can be accomplished without determination, concentration, persistence, commitment and patience.

Saturn in Sagittarius
There is a lift given to your ambition. The innate coolness and conservatism of Saturn is warmed by the expansive nature of Sagittarius, giving you a philosophical and even inspirational attitude toward your duties and obligations. You also realise that long-term results can be made good only through careful planning.


The Astrological Uranus
To live a full and satisfying life, you must be vividly yourself. Many of us are afraid to be different, and the pressure to conform can be stifling. But to live creatively is to find your own way, even if this means going against the grain. This urge to free-will and self-authorisation is Uranus, the planet of fierce independence. Surprise can be stimulating - the jab that gets you out of the rut. And if you want to ride the wave of chaos instead of being swallowed by it - if you want to liberate yourself from the disruptions and shocks around you - you must voluntarily keep out of the groove. Realise that change is the only constant phenomenon. In randomness is all potential. Disorder increases possibilties. Chance! Uranus is the reverse of the status quo and always unconventional and heretical: If life is accidental, we are free to give it any point we like. Become Yourself!

Uranus in Sagittarius
You have new philosophical ideas for the future, and new approaches to travel and exploration of all kinds. Long journeys interest you. You may startle others with your direct conversations, always getting right to the nitty-gritty. You enjoy being alone, free and on the move. The original optimist.

Uranus Semisquare Pluto
Secrets have a short half-life around you, for you have them out in a wink of an eye. You are brilliant when it comes to insights into the mind, psychology, and motivation -- yours or others'. Your intensity is obvious, and some may prefer to keep their distance rather than subject themselves to your laser eye. Nothing is passed over without being turned inside and out. Your analytical powers are superb, and you enjoy finding new avenues of inner growth.


The Astrological Neptune
Neptune is the desire and ablility to transcend normal consciousness and everyday waking life - to dream the impossible dream. This 'divine discontent' can be the cause of much mischief in itself, for to pursue the Ideal is often to avoid the reality of how things are. But, when it comes to many of the apparently insolvable problems, the Neptunian approach is often the most sensible and practical: Rise above it and get over it! The healthy tendencies of Neptune lie in its ability to see the cosmic humor in almost anything; to laugh at life's absurdities. And sometimes laughter is the only genuine response - the last great act of defiance! This is the art of 'sitting loose to life', which means developing a less resisting, more surrendered attitude in which we expect the best of all unfulfilled possibilities and potentials - and never stop dreaming!

Neptune in Capricorn
The practical is the ideal. Form follows function. You have a dream of being in control - the puppetmaster. You are very interested in tradition and tend to be dignified and conservative. You believe in an orderly society led by benevolent monarchs - those who can see what to do.

Neptune Sextile Pluto
You work with real imagination and understanding in areas of the mind that are the most personal or private -- depth psychology. You are like a midwife of the spirit, assisting at the birth of each individual going through a spiritual or re-birth process. You accept the natural process of birth, spiritual and physical, and have dedicated yourself to helping it along. You would make a great teacher in these areas.


The Astrological Pluto
Pluto is the planet of profound change, starting deep within you and moving toward the surface, often touching upon the most sensitive areas. It's about waking up to the 'hidden things', and doing so by reaching an intensity of awareness whereby, once touched, you have no choice but to change and grow. Pluto is the process of becoming fully conscious of (revealing) what has been happening all around you, even though you may not have been aware of it. Like sex and death - you get to a certain stage in your development and suddenly you realise what's going on. Pluto is first-hand sensitive experiences and times of complete identification with a person, feeling or idea. This is very intense stuff, and to touch upon this material is to go through permanent change and transformation - inner alchemy.

Pluto in Scorpio
You tear through appearances in an effort to get beneath, behind, and at the heart or essence. You may find psychology, initiation, mysticism and the occult of great interest. Intense personal change and inner growth are lifelong habits.


House Activity and Emphasis
Astrologers agree that astrology is first of all the study of the angular relationships between the planets themselves. But this planetary framework is seen to shift and modify itself as the planets slowly move across the backdrop of the signs, the so-called 'fixed stars' which make up the zodiac. As the earth turns daily on its axis, the planets and signs appear to move across our field of vision through what astrologers have termed 'houses'. The sun rises at dawn and can be seen on the eastern horizon, or first house cusp, or ascendant. It reaches 'midheaven' at noon, and sinks below the western horizon at the descendant.

Like the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve houses of the horoscope can be viewed as stages in a complete cycle: From the initial thrust of Aries and the first house, to the maximum entropy symbolised in Pisces and the 12th house. They provide clues as to which areas of your life can be given special attention and used depending on the signs and planets residing there. Here is an analysis of the house activity in your chart based on sign and planet emphasis. As you read along, keep in mind that each house represents a department of life, and the sign falling on each house cusp indicates the mode of action applied to the affairs of that house. In other words, the sign on each house cusp, along with any planet(s) contained therein, shows how one deals with the conditions of that house.

The First House
The first house, also called the ascendant or rising sign, is a dharma house and connected with motivation and our approach to life. It also has to do with how we come across to others, thus our appearance and how we make a first impression. The ascendant is the essential stuff that bubbles up in us spontaneously - what is obvious to others as our trademark look or approach. The first house shows our ability to be recognised, how we make a directed effort, and how we exert our will. Cultivate the strategies of this part of your chart to move forward in life.

Gemini on the 1st House Cusp
Gemini is concerned with connections, communication and logic -- voice, thoughts, writing, and rational mental processes in general. It is also concerned with making comparisons, 'twins' and duplications of all kinds. Gemini is the communicator, the gossip of the zodiac, the collector of trivia. Gemini energy is unattached, independent, very inquisitive and changable.

Sun in the 1st House
You tend to be out front and personable. Your personal appearance is important to you and you put a lot of thought and effort into how you appear or come across. Others notice you, and a position of leadership (prominence) is likely.


The Second House
The second house is connected with matters of wealth; how we respond to, enjoy and get in harmony with our surroundings. This is how we hold or acquire things (possessions, material goods, money, and other resources), and how we gain material support and sustenance. The second house refers to how we secure ourselves, how we make a firm foundation, as well as the kind of response we get from life and those around us. Therefore it has much to say about our material rewards.

Cancer on the 2nd House Cusp
Cancer is the mother of the zodiac, always making a home, protecting and providing a foundation for others. A sensitive sign where feelings and real experience count more than cold logic, it doesn't get any more physical and emotional than this. Cancer energy is always nurturing, sensitive, tender and moody. It feeds on emotional comforts, and often has a strong attachment to the past and ancestry.

Mercury in the 2nd House
You have a good mind for business. You tend to think along lines that are practical and conservative, always coming up with sound and productive ideas.


The Third House
The third house shows how we make connections and communicate with the world. This is where we draw parallels, make comparisons, and sort through it all. A very mental house, it is concerned with finding, gathering, all manner of questioning, articulation and conversation. In short, it symbolises the functions of the rational mind - linking observations and ideas, and using them to our advantage.

Cancer on the 3rd House Cusp
Cancer is the mother of the zodiac, always making a home, protecting and providing a foundation for others. A sensitive sign where feelings and real experience count more than cold logic, it doesn't get any more physical and emotional than this. Cancer energy is always nurturing, sensitive, tender and moody. It feeds on emotional comforts, and often has a strong attachment to the past and ancestry.

Moon in the 3rd House
You have a knack for putting the feelings of a group into words and may serve as a teacher or spokesperson. Communication is one area where you can always get support and backing from friends and co-workers. Historical ideas may interest you.

Venus in the 3rd House
You love to communicate and pursue conversations. The mental world appeals to you, and you are very discriminating (but appreciative) when it comes to concepts, ideas, thoughts, and the like. You value good research and real inquiry.


The Fourth House
The fourth house is a very emotional house, concerned with matters of comfort and security. Here is how we create the right conditions, the matrix or womb, in which our desires can flourish; the climate necessary for things to grow. It's about receptivity, nurturing and all the self-protective measures we take to ensure a secure base of operations. This is why the fourth house is related to the mothers, all 'mothering' functions, domestic issues and feeling 'at home'.

Leo on the 4th House Cusp
Leo energy is expressive, vital and exuberant. Often very artistic, and always theatrical and dramatic, this is the sign of creativity and the arts. Warm and big-hearted, Leo lives in full appreciation and celebration of the finer elements of life, bringing a dynamism and enthusiasm to everything it touches. This is the fearless 'becoming' stage, where things are done for their own sake, playfully and with pleasure.


The Fifth House
The fifth house, another dharma or 'life purpose' house, has to do with creativity and warm out-going self-expression. Here is where we find our originality and flair, enthusiasm, and even pride in ourselves, building confidence and self-esteem. This is the life area of personal sovereignty, where we begin to recognise and appreciate our own dynamic and playful nature. All forms of creative expression (including love affairs and offspring) are connected with this house.

Virgo on the 5th House Cusp
Virgo energy is analytical and precise, always separating out what is worthwhile and worth supporting from that which is outmoded and of no further use. A mental earth sign, here the mind takes control over matter. This is the sign of 'ways and means', implementation, instrumentation, physical effectiveness and efficiency. Virgo energy is always facilitating, often caring more for others than for itself.


The Sixth House
The sixth house is the house of physical efficiency. Here we separate the wheat from the chaff; get a sense for what is useful, what is not, and make the best of it. This is the life stage of 'apprenticeship', where we make a connection between mind and matter, adapt ourselves to a situation and then seek to improve upon it. Hence the connection of the sixth house with routine; 'practice makes perfect'. The sixth house shows how well we handle the details of life - our ability to solve problems and get our way.

Libra on the 6th House Cusp
Libra energy is always responsive and conciliating, assuming the appropriate reaction or delicately-weighted strategic response to any question or statement. What is sometimes seen as two-faced is only Libra's facility at responding to each in kind, giving both sides equal consideration. This is certainly the social sign, par excellence. Impersonal and impartial, this sign doles out only what is demanded - nothing overdone, but nothing neglected.

Saturn in the 6th House
Your critical faculties are very keen, and once you turn your analytical light on, you tend to be relentless in your appraisal. This could make working with others difficult because they find you too scrutinizing. But they also know they can rely on you to carry the heaviest load.

Pluto in the 6th House
You tend to be radical when it comes to self-analysis, which includes health care, food, physical wellbeing. Serving and caring for yourself and others is a primary source of inner growth and change. You are sensitive to criticism.


The Seventh House
The seventh house, the descendant - opposite of the ascendant - is connected with partnerships, relationships and 'significant others'. Here is where we learn to strike a balance - the art of give and take. All that carries us beyond our personal self (and into an awareness of contradictory or complementary points of view) is symbolised by the seventh house. This is where we respond to the personal needs of others. Therefore marriage and union (yoga) are indicated by this house, as well as one's ability to respond to a marriage partner.

Sagittarius on the 7th House Cusp
Sagittarius is nothing if not direct, candid, and to the point, for this sign is always concerned with the absolute truth of the subject at hand. Associated with philosophy, outreach and all things boundless, Sagittarian energy is always welcome in politics as well as social and community endeavors where its basic fairness and expansiveness is helpful.

Uranus in the 7th House
You seem to assert your independence in relationships and the social scene. Unconventional, to say the least, you may well enjoy a different kind of marriage or friendship. You have insight into marriage or yoga -- the ties that bind.


The Eighth House
The eighth house is the house of first-hand transformative experiences and situations - those areas of life that we may not care to face, but we must face sooner or later... the so-called 'inevitables' of life, such as death and taxes. The eighth is also concerned with catharsis; the getting rid of excess parts of ourselves that we no longer need. This house covers initiations of all kinds, as well as activities where we find ourselves transformed toward a more integral position. Thus it also covers any jointly held resources, their problems and their benefits.

Capricorn on the 8th House Cusp
Capricorn is the business head of the zodiac, for it is the very opposite of the emotional Cancer. Given to clear ambition and practical insight and vision, this sign always takes a distanced perspective and a cool appraisal. Deliberate and painstaking, sometimes to the point of austerity, Capricorn loves work and the hard-earned results. Status and material reward are very important.

Neptune in the 8th House
You are very trusting and idealistic when it comes to getting down to business. You want the best for all in any shared situation, and this makes it hard for you to say no or to take the best for yourself. Initiatory processes and the mystical will a ppeal.


The Ninth House
The ninth house shows where we are willing to go beyond our everyday experience in search of meaning. Traditionally the house of 'long journeys', the ninth house is where we take journeys both of the body and the mind. Philosophy, beliefs, speculation, opinions and how we form them all belong to this house. Any time we reach out, explore new territory, or align our activities with something bigger, we are operating in the realm of the ninth house. Along with Jupiter's position, here is where we can attract luck by keeping open and receptive to opportunities.

Capricorn on the 9th House Cusp
Capricorn is the business head of the zodiac, for it is the very opposite of the emotional Cancer. Given to clear ambition and practical insight and vision, this sign always takes a distanced perspective and a cool appraisal. Deliberate and painstaking, sometimes to the point of austerity, Capricorn loves work and the hard-earned results. Status and material reward are very important.

Mars in the 9th House
You may end up traveling the world. An inner urge to find the very heart of truth in all things may propel you endlessly. You are very motivated when it comes to philosophies, religion, and all things essential and lasting. No superficiality.


The Tenth House
The tenth house, commonly called the midheaven, is the house of success and glory, practical vision and achieving a public distinction. Therefore one's reputation and career are often connected with this house. The sign on the tenth house cusp, as well as any planets located therein, show how we can strive to be a benefit to - as well as how we can benefit from - society. The tenth house is about having a goal in life and the self-determination to reach it. Here is how we can 'live our calling' and become self-piloting individuals.

Aquarius on the 10th House Cusp
Aquarius, the sign of humanitarian goals and altruism. Always impartial and nonsectarian, Aquarian energy is communal (even global). The focus is on the goal, and the goal is always one that is for the many and not the few. Thus this sign is connected to far-seeing visions, world views and group work of all kinds. This sign tends towards coolness, independence.


The Eleventh House
The eleventh house is where we put our visions and dreams to work for others. The most future-oriented of the houses, the eleventh shows our hopes and dreams, and the opportunities we may have to reach them; how we can turn our dreams into reality. Therefore this house has always been connected with altruistic and humanitarian goals, as well as having the self-authorisation to set them in motion. Inventive and unusual, eleventh house activities often break from conformity, establishing new and unprecedented states of being.

Pisces on the 11th House Cusp
Pisces energy runs deep and toward the mystical -- whatever transcends the everyday world. This sign is understanding, patient and compassionate. Super-sensitive, it tends to absorb it's surroundings like a sponge. The sign is very trusting, accepting and giving of itself for the sake of more important issues. It loves free-ranging activities which allow for some imaginative scope.

Jupiter in the 11th House
You could make a career out of group or community work, anything involving attempts to bring large-scale and humanitarian dreams and ideas to reality. Your ideals and inner vision keep what is best for everyone ever on your mind.


The Twelfth House
The twelfth house is where consciousness dawns - the house of the rising Sun. This is the indeterminate state - the chaos before the new impulse - where all is yet unfulfilled potentialities. Traditionally this is the house of 'sacrifice', and is often connected with prisons, betrayal and self-undoing. Although we can choose to become trapped and frustrated by the many obstructions to attaining our dreams, we can also choose to reach outward and upward to a more fulfilled state, transcending the usual down-dragging conditions and rising above difficulties - thus establishing a life nearer our ideal. Here in the twelfth house we have the capacity to attain liberation by using our visionary scope and working creatively with life's intangibles - the power of imagination!

Aries on the 12th House Cusp
Aries is the sign of pioneers, leaders and 'firsts'. It is impulsive, assertive and spontaneous. It tends to act first, only thinking about what it may have done later. Rushing in where others fear to tread, Aries energy is attention-getting and always provokes a response from the surroundings and from others. It takes decisive action and loves self-reliance.



Lastly, there is no 'one and only' reading of the birth chart. The symbols of your horoscope change as your life changes - they mean one thing in the life of a youngster, and quite another in middle age. The mystery of the astrological symbols, and part of their beauty, is that they are flexible enough to be relevant and fixed enough to be meaningful, allowing you to approach your horoscope again and again with questions about past, present and future concerns.

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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
2:38 am - By The Fireside
What do you feel to be the main themes of your songs?

Actually that's a good question, that I wish I had a good answer too. I don't think I have a recurring theme to my songs, they all kind of change subject matter sometimes from verse to verse. My songs are pretty multi-layered and can take on alot of meanings I suppose. Generally I don't know what I'm writing about until after the fact, I might have a vague idea but then it shifts or I see it in a different light. My lyrics are best described as a emotional kaleidoscope.

How did you intend your band to sound initially?

I have no clue really, it was just a matter of getting some songs written and putting together a band to play them. I think initially I described it as sounding pop punk in influence to Greg, because the guy I was jamming with at the time was into that sort of music. Pop punk is too narrow a term as is any sort of label, we've developed a pretty varied sound because we listen to every fucking genre of music known to man, artists from all over the place and basically ripoff what we think is good. Somehow I think the songs sound fairly consistent but I know their is amount of variety in there. But this band has come closer to articulating the sounds in my head than any previous band I've been in.


Do you like the recording?

The very minimal experience I've had with it...yes. Once we make an actual record I'll be a better judge of that question. But I enjoy the potential of recording, the possibilities are only growing with digital home recording. Now you can make tons of music quick and for relatively cheap without having to put in tons of cash at a studio, though I'm sure there is something to be said for that method but I think we'll probably run on a budget for the foreseeable future. That said I can already envision myself being a perfectionist and nut case during the recording process. I'll probably be on the others nerves alot because I'll be so zealous about getting good performances and good sound.

What have your friends said about your band?

They've been surprisingly supportive, they could be ass kissing for all I know. I'm never good with compliments and take them as superficial lies. However most people have seemed to enjoy us even complete strangers which I find a little more satisfactory. If it were up to me I'd play to complete strangers all the time because if you've won them over then you've done good. Our first gig as a full band was at my birthday party last year and we played to friends who had no idea we were playing. I think Greg wanted to keep it secret which I thought was dumb because people weren't knowing what to expect and then they kind of groaned. If we had told them people could have decided it was their scene or not and just come. Instead we loaded it on them by surprise and they kind of grumbled and we got drunk and played bad. Everyone had missed cues and such and we gradually emptied the room to a about half of the ten people who even showed up. It was funny in hindsight but embarrassing at the time. At the professional shows we've done we played alot tighter but we've had sound guys fuck with our sound alot which is frustrating one day I'm gonna pray for our own sound guy. The compliments have only continued to come in though.


Would worldwide success make you feel good?

I have no doubts that certain aspects of it would. I'm too self aware to know I wouldn't change much, I've always liked money and wanted tons of it. I've also known myself to be not very good at handling compliments and alot of attention so I'm sure therein lies the conflict that would arise. If I could be anonymously rich I'm sure that be ideal but I don't see that happening if we were successful.

Would you prefer to be a cult act?

A successful one sure. I think that Ani DiFranco found my ideal level of success. She's made enough money to get by independently and she's never in the news for anything other than her music and art and she gets by just fine from record sales and touring. She's been one of the most successful cult acts of the last 20 years.

Would you sign to a major label in this day and age?

For a quick buck sure if they'll have us. I mean there are advantages to a major label act that you'd never have as an indie. Obviously with the internet things have been taking a hit for them but on the flipside you get alot of music out you wouldn't otherwise hear. Major labels will have to adapt and I think eventually will to the issue of the internet.

Have relationships between the band members undergone any radical changes for better or worse?

Not so much we've been a band for for years now and we always stay the same as people. We've been friends long before the band was even formed. The brothers have been together their whole lives and then you add people like Conway and I who've known each other since kindergarten and then the others since high school, that's between 10-20 years of knowledge so we know each others personalities and probably drifted to each other because we have similar interests and humor. Even if all four of us are very different. Mark is alot of talk (in the nicest way) but he can back it up, Conway is truly awkward and entertaining, Greg is smart and a bit eccentric and I'm a shy flirt.

Where do you think your anger stems from?

Well that's another good question. I suppose all of life angers me to some degree. I'm an optimist about life and I suppose my optimistic outlook is balanced by a heavy dose of realism in me. I've never been much for being a hippie in my outlook maybe for about five minutes. Then the reality of the world's ugliness and stupidity showed it's face. Not in any one drastic thing but in several events both to me personally and externally. Human stupidity is the one incessant nuisance I can't stand and I suppose that drives my anger. I can't stand it in others and I hate it when it shows in myself. Hence why I hate myself as much as I hate other things.

Do you foresee outside collaborations?

Absolutely I think everyone in our band should do that. It's boring seeing the same faces all the time at every practice and gig so it's healthy to jam with others or do something musically with other people. In our latest break I jammed on bass with a couple of other guys that kinda got me into playing bass seriously again and I've already improved more in months then I have in years on that instrument. I've also been writing songs that are not gonna fly as Sinsuality songs I can already tell. Some are better suited as folk male female duets. So I'm in talks with a friend of mine to sing on some of them with me. Also I'm thinking of starting another band altogether and taking a more experimental and abstract style of music than what we do. I'd like to have more variety, do electronic and ambient stuff and stuff that's not as poppy and 3 or 4 chord rock as Sinsuality. I think having many projects will keep things interesting for me.




Do you see this band as essentially a two-guitar experience?

Sinsuality is a very guitar based band what Greg and I do on guitar dictates essentially every song that it's almost formulaic at this point. Probably one of the reasons I want out of the band hahaha! In all honestly its a great setup though. I played in three and four pieces and always liked the visceral qualities of two guitars before. I can play lead guitar alright but I never saw it as my emphasis I've always been the writer, the guy who comes up with the ideas that start songs and writes the guts and saw everyone else as arrangers and interpreters. Greg's great strength is his ability to interpret based off what chords or riffs I'm playing and take things to a whole new level. Generally I write the guts of a song and he hears and almost immediately will make suggestions in terms of brevity or length and he comes up with solos and little guitar fills anything to accentuate and arrange the song to make it more full sounding. The bass and drum parts are usually dictated by either one of us to the other two who are good enough to pick up what we want generally. They might need some direction once in awhile but they are much improved than when we started.

As you are portrayed as a committed feminist, do you feel more of a kinship with today's female bands than the male rock acts coming out at the moment?

Not necessarily. I've always liked female acts and male acts there isn't much difference to me, good music is good music no matter who is playing it. I am probably turned on by a woman with a guitar, but that's because I'm always hopeful for some romantic vision of a being with a creative woman. I've met some creative girls and some not so creative ones.

You've had considerable experience with hard drugs yourself?

I don't think considerable applies to my experience with hard drugs by anyone's definition unless you count dabbling as such. I've never had any worry about the addictive properties of drugs because I've found myself relatively stable and unchanged on every drug I've ever tried. I'm pretty well grounded in life and don't think I have addictive personality to things like sex and drugs that so many people seem to. Maybe I'm too self aware. I mean I've smoked alot of pot and been fine, I've also smoked salvia here and there, done heroin a little bit for awhile, done cocaine a couple times, popped some pills, smoked opium and dropped acid and drank a whole lot more and smoked more cigarettes and I'm not the least bit worried about any of that stuff. I was alright and able to function more or less the same on drugs that I was able to sober. I don't think drugs are for everyone but as for me I can do with or without just fine.




Are you a heavy metal fan?

Absolutely! Metal like any genre or subgenre has its good and bad moments. I can't stand hair metal by and large but I enjoy several death metal and black metal and stoner metal bands. I mean I used to listen to my dad's 70's metal records growing up so it's got as much place in my heart as new wave or pop rock.

What groups do you find particularly exciting at the moment?

Radiohead, Crystal Castles, Lady Gaga, Lustre, and a local group the Antiprism.

Do you have a particular fantasy of how your future might workout?

Not so much, something to do with a little cottage somewhere in a quiet isolated spot with lots of books, few distractions and a beautiful woman though is ideal, it's all vague but I have my ideals.

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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
5:03 pm - Ani DiFranco- Ani DiFranco album Review
Ani DifFranco is one of those names in music that either some people have never heard of or those who have really never given her music much attention. Those who do tend to be pretty devoted as she is easily one of the States biggest cult acts of the last 20 years. She's an artist who has formed her own independent label that has been successful enough through record sales and touring to have lasted over 20 years now and she can make enough of a comfortable living from music without ever becoming a full on celebrity.

Growing up in Madison Wisconsin surrounded by progressive and hip indie fellow Madisonians Ani DiFranco was always one of those names tossed around in conversation that I never thought of listening to. I thought she must be over hyped and was rumored to uber feminist to the point you couldn't stand it especially as a heterosexual man. One day in late high school I think in my senior year I took a chance on buying her self titled debut album without having heard a single note of any her music beforehand. I had very little high hopes or expectations but I popped the record in and it's one of those rare instant conversions of a music fan in life. The first song Both Hands came on and the second I heard her voice and lyrics I look a liking to her. I said this girl can write a good song. After that I bought several more albums and listened to many others. My college sweetheart Dana was also a major Ani fan and she was keen on going to see her live which we did in 2006.

DiFranco has been pretty prolific since her 1990 debut record and has between official studio and live albums put out over 20 records to date. She has almost constantly toured since her early days only stopping for some injuries and to take care of family business from time to time. Her self started Buffalo New York based Righteous Babe record label has grown into a fairly successful indie label for other folk and singer-songwriter acts signed to it as well.

DiFranco's prolific and diverse studio output makes it tougher to choose which album to review. True enough some albums are more consistent and better than others as it's hard to put out that much good consistent product over that much time. However me I have to say her first album is a good starting point for anyone looking to get into her. It has all her constant immediate elements there but it's obviously alot more stark naked in comparison to some later albums. It's a straight no chaser folk acoustic guitar and singer record so if that's something you can't ever get into then don't bother with this record I suppose. However if you're open to it I think the help has very melodic and immediate sense to it.

Both Ends starts off with percussive staccato guitar playing (which is something of a trademark for Ani) and then her pure voice comes out of the bouncing intimate guitar. It's like she is there with you in conversation but also playing live to you in a big room at once. A definite favorite of most Ani devotees. Her lyrical imagery shows the influence of her having taken free verse poetry classes in New York City when she was growing up.

Talk to Me Now has a very warm feel to the guitar playing and her voice is inviting but the lyrics talk of independence in a city.

The Slant is a free form kind of poem being recited a capella. It's got some interesting word choices and delivery.

Work Your Way Out features some more intricate work (Ani is a rather underrated guitarist in my opinion) on the guitar and is a bit more subtle and dark in tone. It's much more whispered and plaintive even confrontational in atmosphere.

Dog Coffee is more punchy like the early songs it's bit off kilter but it fits well within the context of the album.

Lost Woman Song is a moving song about getting an abortion but it features more finger picked guitar and like Work Your Way Out features a more confrontational vocal.

Pale Purple has more of the start stop dynamics that Ani employs throughout the album. It has a sing song quality that is kind of interesting. The staccato guitar is pretty consistent throughout the album which more being a bit monotonous throughout the record but I'd argue DiFranco has some many memorable melodies here that actually grow on you with some repeated listens.

Rush Hour is more fast paced and somehow fits in between what I see as the two qualities she has shown in her tunes thus far on the album. It's like Work Your Way Out in delivery but it has a warmer guitar part than that song or Lost Woman Song.

Firedoor is quite catchy to me. I like the warm inviting tone of the guitar and DiFranco's fast paced lyrical delivery she's punching out words like a machine gun here.

The Story is a bit more reflective and almost melancholic in tone compared to every song preceding it. Beforehand Ani is either playful in tone on her songs or just plaintive and somewhat angry here she is more subdued which is a nice change of pace altogether.

Every Angle returns her to a more uptempo pace that relies on a muted start stop guitar technique. It's not my favorite song on the album but it does help keep the flow of the record strong after the Story.

Out of Habit ranks as one of my favorites and is like Both Hands or Talk to Me Now very immediate and catchy, it's very warm and inviting in tone even if the lyrics might state one of independence or emotional honesty.

Letting the Telephone Ring is the album closer with more of the fast paced finger picking style she displays on half the album. Its a song of highs and lows in tone and it has an interesting flow throughout. It's a disquieting end to the album.

Ani DiFranco's self titled debut is a strong one at that. It may not be her best work and it's a bit naive in the stripped cliche of acoustic singer-songwriter type of delivery but it has it's strong qualities. It has a consistent tone which to some maybe as I stated earlier a bit one dimensional but many songs have an immediacy and catchiness to them and with subsequent listens one can pick up the subtlties of Ani's guitar playing in particular. Her lyrics are at times complex in delivery but clearly even here she's indicated a knack for writing good and memorable lines. Also her voice has an interesting pure tone that translates well and intimately. Overall I'd recommend this record as a good way to acquaint yourself with Ani's work and from there you can start to see her gradual shedding of the folkie with the acoustic guitar and nothing else image on subsequent albums.

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
7:53 pm - David Bowie-Low an album review
It's tough to pick a David Bowie album to review, the man made a career of being a pop "chameleon" with constantly changing styles almost album to album. Though many regard his glam rock Ziggy Stardust album as his quintessential period I'm not going to review that particular album or period, though it's a fantastic period for him and full of great songs. Instead I'm going to review his 1977 album Low which was released as the first album in his Berlin Trilogy which some may note was his most creatively fruitful period. He created no less than 6 studio albums from 1977-1980 if you count Iggy Pop's two solo albums and his own 1980 Scary Monsters and Super Creeps record which utilized a similar lineup to the Berlin Trilogy excluding Brian Eno and still toured and released a number of live material as well. Low is the first in the trilogy and in many ways with his following two records maybe his most influential and trendsetting. Low in particular may hold the most acclaim for influence. So let's look at it but first a little background.

Bowie was by the mid-1970's a very successful touring and recording artist having broken in the glam rock era and become to many Britain's most watched and successful solo artist. He moved to the US around 1974 and then spent alot of time in New York, Philadelphia and LA recording and doing alot of drugs. By his own admission he was surviving on powdered milk, bell peppers and cocaine for a diet, Bowie was noticeably more gaunt than ever, paranoid out of his mind from coke use and desperately feeling like his life was losing stability both personally and professionally. His marriage was dissolving as well during this time he recorded and toured the 1975 Young Americans and 1976's Station to Station (another personal favorite). With friend Iggy Pop suffering from horrible heroin and cocaine addictions as well the two artists decided they needed a change of scene to clean up their drug habits and focus on musical and artistic endeavors. They moved to Europe moving around France, Switzerland and West Germany and even touring the eastern bloc, Poland, East Germany and the USSR before settling down in West Berlin. Bowie supposedly over the course of this time weaned himself off coke where as Iggy would be less successful though he eventually would kick his habit in the early to mid 80's. However the two supposedly took to drinking copious amounts of alcohol in Germany as you do in such a place. Bowie was taking up acting and painting again. He appeared in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth and much of the music for Low was supposed to have been on the soundtrack for the film instead. But circumstance was that this would not happen and instead Bowie crafted the music into his next album. Bowie's other big change was to include ex Roxy Music synthesizer maestro Brian Eno on his projects as a collaborative partner. Eno, Bowie and producer Tony Visconti would craft Bowie's next three albums through much experimentation.

Bowie began work on Low in late 1976 and released it in early 1977 and to many people who first heard they were shocked by such a transition. The glam rock fans disregarded his mid 70's funk/soul phase and his new found funk/soul fans were in turn shocked by the electronic, ambient and experimental sound on Low. Though Bowie had always been hinting at change with certain songs on previous records. Look to Station to Station's title track and TVC15 and you can start to hear elements of what turns into Low. Much of Low was used conventional rock instrumentation and combining it with at the time contemporary synthesizers and keyboards. Added with Eno's known improvisational writing/recording techniques Low was shaped out this. The combination of Bowie's own curiosity and drive with Eno's manipulations and advice.

Speed of Life is an instrumental that opens the album, its driving drum sound courtesy of Dennis Davis is juxtaposed with the heavy harmonizer sound and many synths and very kinetic tempo gives the impression of one transitioning or moving on from the horrors of the past, a recurring sonic and musical theme throughout the record.

Breaking Glass is co-written by Bowie with drummer Dennis Davis and bassist George Murray, who give this off kilter song a funky disco touch with many little synths kind of appearing in the background. The lyric is short and fractured but it does keep things straightforward about as straightforward as Low gets.

What in the World jumps out after with a almost Pac Manesque bleeping synth and bouncy rhythm. The song is a bit more lighthearted musically than some of the rest of the album and brilliantly displays the juxtaposition of synths with funky rhythms. Much of the music was influenced by the then emerging krautrock scene from Germany with bands such as Krafterk and Neu having a major influence on the record something more acutely noticeable on the next record Heroes.

Sound and Vision is more upbeat with more of the funky off kilter rhythms on display. The lyrics are vibrant and minimalist and Bowie sings with more emotion than any song yet on the record. This is one of Bowie's better known songs from this period. A good one at that.

Always Crashing in the Same Car is a song about one's self destructive tendencies recurring. Half of the song is awash in spacy sounded synth with conventional driving rhythms.

Be My Wife is a more straight ahead rock song with old style piano, but with typical of Low off kilter timing and some distorted lead guitar. Synths play in the background but are pretty minimal. The song is a reflection and plea for Bowie's wife to join him Europe again and start life anew. Though this was not to be as they would divorce in 1980. Making this a more poignant and reflective moment on the record.

A New Career in a New Town, the title should say it all. It's another instrumental that is mostly synth with exception to the drumming and Bowie's harmonica playing which creates an emotional tone to the song. It has a very upbeat and calming synth sound. The song reflects Bowie's overall change of scene and his hope a of maintaining a low profile hence the album title.

Side two opens perhaps the most moving and ominous track on the record Warszawa which is again mostly instrumental and ambient. It was said to have been inspired by Bowie's trip to Warsaw some time before and seemed to reflect the melancholy he felt the city was gripped in under communist rule. Eno's influence is relatively background in most of the record thus far but from Warszawa onward it is most apparent. The song as I mentioned is mostly instrumental aside from the second half where Bowie composed a chorus of vaguely Polish gibberish vocals to break the monotony of the synths and add atmosphere to the song. Very moving and in many ways this song is the microcosm of the album as a whole.

Art Decade follows in a similar vein to the preceding track and is meant to be a sonic tribute to West Berlin. Melancholic and wholly synthesized.

Weeping Wall is played solely by Bowie and features a playful but eerie almost buzzing sound throughout. It follows in the same synth vein as the rest of side two.

Subterraneans is the final song on the album, synthetic, depressing and impressionistic like much of the record. The song features very minimal synths playing everything aside from the saxophones and in many ways this song sounds fairly contemporary, you can easily pick up sounds on hear on most recent Radiohead albums but particularly on Kid A or Amnesiac. Bowie's vocals again are minimal and more for atmosphere than anything else.

This album can be traced as an influence among many subsequent acts. Post Punk bands like Joy Division/New Order almost the whole of synth use in new wave and the industrial of NIN or the contemporary experimental rock of Radiohead of Sigur Ros owes something to this album and this period of work from David Bowie. I highly recommend this record it had some more immediate songs but since half of it instrumental and slow moving that might take some multiple listens for a casual listener to get into. Not for the most lightweight pop fan for sure. This is music for mood and reflection.

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Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
10:11 pm - On a Snow Day
Name:
Phillip Edwin Gold

Hometown:
Madison, WI USA

Birth date:
June 11th 1986

High School:
Robert M. LaFollette High School

College:
University of Wisconsin Platteville (2004-2006)
American University of Rome (2006)
University of Wisconsin Madison (2006-2008) *BA History

Musical Background:
Mostly it came about from listening to alot of records and my parents being big musical fans. My parents bought me alot of toy instruments and I think that and their musical tastes played a big role in being eclectic in terms of taste. Both parents sang in choir as kids and my dad was taught piano growing up so he was always an amateur pianist. I played violin for a year in elementary school and learned enough of the required songs to enter the All City Strings Festival. I took up guitar at 14 really seriously and had two years of lessons but I considered my self mostly self-taught as the lessons were just mastering chord progressions and scales in repetition. From there I taught myself bass, drums, harmonica and keyboards. I played guitar in jazz band for two years in high school and one in college. I've also been in various high school and college bands, ranging from garage bands to poetry art rock to punk bands.

Where did you grow up?
Madison, WI USA

What were some non-musical jobs you had?
Babysitter, Courtesy (bagger of groceries), Caterer (for 1 day, Store Clerk, Cashier, Eyecare Advisor, Salesman

When did you pick up the instrument?
I got my first serious interest in guitar at around age 14 and took lessons for two years after that. Then I progressed from there to things like bass, drums, piano/keyboards and harmonica.

Who are your musical heroes? Why?
Well some constants include all of the Beatles, particularly John Lennon because of his honesty and the willingness to experiment and maintain integrity. Iggy Pop for his confrontational style and his honesty and his willingness to experiment. PJ Harvey for her voice and her changing styles. Radiohead for being rulebreakers and door openers. Mike Patton for his voice, sense of humor and millions of side projects. David Bowie for many of the same reasons I listed the others. I seriously could go on and on...I'll end it with my friend David Clerkin for opening me up to alot of punk bands and for showing me the fun of live music. I hated your band but at least they were fun to see.

Top 5 recording artists:
This changes alot... let's go with lately
Crystal Castles
Samael
Mike Patton
Lady Gaga
PJ Harvey


Top 5 records:
Shit this changes alot too...more things I listen to alot lately
Crystal Castles- I/II (which I'm counting as 1)
PJ Harvey- Uh huh Her
Bjork- Greatest Hits
Minutemen- Double Nickels on the Dime
Manic Street Preachers- Journal for Plague Lovers

Top 5 songs...that I've been listening to alot lately
"The Last Day of our Acquaintance" Sinead O'Connor
"Empathy" Crystal Castles
"Svefn n Englar" Sigur Ros
"Christian Woman" Type o Negative
"Eye" The Smashing Pumpkins

What made you want to become a musician?
I'm not sure I think being artistic in some sort of avenue runs in my family so it's probably partially genetic and environmental as well. I always was musical but I didn't realize it was such a passion until about 13 or 14. I started writing alot of journal entries and poetry around then and lyrics kinda evolved from that and then I thought I could take up guitar and sing and everything else then alot more clear to me. It became a way to communicate and that was more important than anything else I had in my life.

What would you do if you weren’t a musician?
It's too hard to imagine me not doing music I'd be dead I'll always have music in me even if I end up a librarian or some sort of teacher but I'll always be a musician.

Was there a record/movie/concert that changed your life?
Seeing my friend David's bands in high school, notably the Chauvinists opened me up to the possibilities of playing live. I despised the music they made but they and the crowd seemed to have a lot of fun and that in itself made an impression on me.

What’s your favorite and least favorite things about live performance?
My favorite things include having the feeling of songs you wrote alone at 4 in the morning in your room with a guitar and notebook coming to life as you imagined it in your head then seeing people bobbing their heads and tapping their feet to it. I also like it when the sound is good, you get free drinks and you get money. Oh seeing other good bands on the bill is a highlight too.

My least favorite things about live performance are the sound being bad, the band's playing sucking, the stage lights being warm and the others bands we play with being crappy bands I don't think we've played on a bill yet where we liked most of the other acts.



What’s your favorite and least favorite things about studio recordings?
My favorite studio things are turning it into a laboratory and tweaking with things until the sound is just right. It's a good outlet for my OCD.

My least favorite thing about being in the studio is waiting around for your turn to do things and probably not being in the studio at all. I like studios and what you can do in them.


What’s your worst nightmare?
Not doing music anymore at all in any capacity

What’s your greatest fantasy?
Being a millionaire rockstar with an extensive book collection

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
9:21 pm - hard hitting questions...
Q - How the devil are you?

I'm good...devil I've not heard that term used in awhile.

Q - What have you been up to besides dicking around?

Not a whole fucking lot. Truthfully just working by day and writing song lyrics and tunes late into the night. I have retreated from much a social life these days and maintain all the same hours as I did when I partied heavier, it's just now I write by my lonesome.

Q - How's the missus?

Ha! Which one?

Q - Why do you still bother doing all this band stuff when you could just nonce around?

Cause I'm not in a position to nonce around. I'm not wealthy by any means. Hopefully that'll change one day.

Q - What do you think of when you think of Q?

Nothing really. It's just a magazine


Q - What do you think would surprise people most about you? Vegetarian? Homosexual?

Well that I'm quite shy and retiring. To most outsiders I think I leave the impression of being a bit of a flirt which is true but I'm more shy and about a good late night conversation with wine and a movie in the background to get to know someone. Though I suppose the best surprises are left for a beautiful woman in bed!

Q - When were you last truly gob-smacked?

Hmm I'm not sure...it's been awhile I guess I've done and see it all by now! How's that for a jaded cynical answer?


Q - Do you think you could ever say "I'm a fucking great rock star"?

I suppose I'd have to live it to know what it actually means. I don't know what it means to be a rockstar. If it means traveling the world, being arrogant and fucking gorgeous women while doing drugs. I've done all those things already on a not so widely known scale and probably alot more elitist and scaled down. I'm only really an elitist when it comes to decadence.

Q - Name a man you fancy.

Ha! I can't think of one...Johnny Depp I suppose.

Q - What's the most outrageous press you've read about yourself?

Good question...I've not really had any press.

Q - When was the last time you were blind drunk?

Oh probably this summer when I went to a dance party with my friend. We were chugging champagne from a bottle in a car before we got there. Then I got my shirt unbuttoned and got my chest caressed by some girl in front of her boyfriend. I flirted with her about 3 times that night and each time the boyfriend got impatient and took her away to talk to her before they left. Meanwhile I was taking cheap and free booze all night I think I got home when the sun was coming up and I passed out on the floor. I remember coming home, I don't remember going to my bed room or how I ended up on the floor wrapped in blankets and a pillow.

Q - Did you let yourself down in any way?

No I had a blast though I had to work the next day even though I thought I had it off so I was an hour or so late to work, first and last time drinking and mixed up schedules get the better of me.

Q - Have you ever worried that you might be developing a drinking problem?

No I haven't the addictive personality to drugs that other people I know have seemed to develop over the years. I sorted myself out by having parents who were pretty even tempered and let me figure things out for myself. I drank early and did the crazy test my limits in my teens to see what I'd do I found that I'm not much different, just a little less tightly wound up and shy and way more giddy.

Q - What's the best new record you've heard?

Crystal Castles II by Crystal Castles. I think it's pretty infectious and danceable. Plus Alice Glass gives me a hard on in a way that no rock chick has since Shirley Manson or PJ Harvey in the 90's. Lots of fun.

Q - What's the worst lyric you've written?

Oh far too many. I think when I started around 13 or 14 that was probably the worst but like any craft you take your time and develop. I know I've improved because I've written some lines that really stand out to me and I can honestly say I'm proud of. Also others have told me I have a way with words and that I write very well and even plainly speaking "beautifully!"

Q - What's the king of the vegetable kingdom?

I have no idea a cucumber? a big fucking squash?



Q - Could you handle yourself in a fight?

I'm not eager to findout but I think so yes. I'm not physically big by any means I'm average in height and of a lean/thin build but I've always had more heart and determination and I've kept myself in good shape. I also supposedly have a very intense serious stare that will look right through you and can send even the biggest oaf running away without throwing punches, it's worked!

Q - Could you have UB40?

They're English, not a nationality known for it's toughness that right there should indicate the outcome! Also they're old and hopefully if I fought them they'd be drunk off red red wine and I'd kick them while they are drunk and down!

Q - Guns N'Roses?

They are a from LA not a city known for it's toughness. I'm from the midwest of the United States a place known for it's toughness, hard drinking, cold winters and humid summers. Plus they too are old and worn out I bet I could take them. Also keep in mind I'd probably be armed with a knife or gun in these fights. I'm not weak I'm smart. Brains before brawn is my weapon.

Q - How has your life changed in the last eight years?

In some ways a bit here and there and others not so much. It'd be too long a list for everything but suffice to say I've had a lot more sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Q - Are you more evolved?

I think I've mellowed out some and having got some more miles under my belt and women for that matter I think I've sorted out who I am in relationships and what to say and what not to say in relationships. Often things in the past that have nothing to do with someone in the present will get in you in trouble. Now I speak more carefully and also I speak up more frequently.

Q - Are you a vain person?

Oh god no I hope not truthfully anyway. I'm probably viewed as aloof or insular. I'm introverted and shy a big difference. I'm confident in myself and I know who I am but that shouldn't be mistaken for arrogance. If I ever say I'm fond of my looks or anything like that I don't believe it for one minute, that's stir people up or throw them off for a laugh. I'm only going off the strange fact that I've had so much outside attention paid to my looks in the last several years but looks will fade with time and I hardly pay attention to my own.

Q - Have you ever kissed a sheep?

No but I have seen goat come out of a bathroom.

Q - Would you snog Morrissey for a pound?

If you pay me to kiss somebody I'd do it for sure.

Q - A joke. What's brown and sticky?

Opium...

Q - A stick!

HA!

Q - Tell us a joke.

I've have to find my Jewish comedy writers to come up with one and get back to you!

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Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
11:27 pm - Alice in Chains- Dirt (album review)
It's time another album review this time of Alice in Chains second album Dirt. AIC is a tough choice for me as they pretty much never made bad records during their time with Layne Staley. Though I'm well aware that they reunited with a new singer after Staley died (I don't consider them a band anymore without Staley.) I first came into contact with AIC when my dad bought their debut Facelift sometime in the early 90's and I can sorta remember seeing the video for Man in the Box on MTV and the radio and doing my best little kid headbanging to it like the guys in the video. Anyway I was pretty much always fan from then on and in the mid-late 1990s they were pretty heavily played by my favorite radio stations in town 92.1 and 94.1. During their time with Staley they recorded 3 LPs, two Eps (including Jar of Flies, the 1st ever EP to debut at number 1 on the American charts)and a best of which included some new tracks. Sadly Staley died in 2002 of a speedball overdose, I was a sophomore in high school and remember being quite saddened and pissed to hear about that. I wasn't affected by Kurt Cobain's death as I was too young to care for his music at the time. I got into that later, around middle school. Staley's death was a major loss for me as AIC's music had given me alot of musical comfort and guidance and his voice was truly inspirational and talented, as were his lyrics.

I have been debating of doing a review of their records for sometime and thought a best of might be necessary but I'm not usually a fan of reviewing such things, though not above it (ATDI...This Station is Non Operational) In the end I decided on Dirt since it's kind of their essential record and the most consistent one they released in many ways. It also was major commercial breakthrough and cornerstone album of the 90's influencing many bands including Godsmack (who take their name from a song title here.)

Dirt was the group's followup to their 1990 debut Facelift which had Man in the Box as a hit but this album expanded the band's palette musically and crystallized many of their lyrical themes. Dirt was recorded in 1992 with a much darker tone than it's predecessor and that is pretty consistent throughout the record. Dirt was recorded amongst much reported drug use with all band members dealing with alcohol abuse, copious smoking of pot and guitarist Jerry Cantrell's depression meds and most notoriously Staley's heroin abuse, including supposed open shooting up in front of his bandmates and the production staff. The talk of drug use is sensationalism to be sure but in this case it did in deed fuel the music and lyrics of the record as much of the album deals with themes of addiction and depression and drugs as a coping mechanism for depression.

Dirt opens with Them Bones which is a chugging 7/8 time riff that is Alice in Chains in a punk/meets metal mood. Dam that River follows the chugging riff brought up by Cantrell, the rhythm sections keeps consistently pounding along. Rain When I Die is a more subdued darker moving song. It really features more texture to the guitar and Staley and Cantrell's unusual use of strong emphasis on harmony really made AIC unique for a metal/grunge band. It works quite nicely here. Down in a Hole is featured next, this was a radio hit for the band along with a handful of others. It is also more subdued, though probably my least favorite of the radio hits off the album. It's still a nice song overall.

Sickman kicks off with an unusual drum pattern and features a more punk/metal attack by the band. It has some off kilter slowed down parts which gives the song a drunken kind of dynamic which is interesting. Rooster is next and it's Cantell's tribute to his father who served as an Air Force pilot during Vietnam. The song is actually a survivor story and is sort of a bright spot in the album lyrically, though it's touching on dark mental territory. The guitar is more textured here than perhaps on any other song on the record, very layered. Also the song uses a quiet/loud grunge dynamic quite well. It has military march drumming at times, heavy riffs and of course Staley/Cantrell's unique harmonies. Staley's controlled but pained delivery on this song is a testament to his expressive singing and tunefulness even while screaming. Junkhead moves along in the signature AIC sound of heavy riffs and pounding drums and bass. It's an open discussion of drugs from Staley, who hoped his drug descriptions would discourage the group's fans to refrain. Though according to Staley it often had the inverse effect when fans came up to him and in his own words gave him the thumbs up that they were high at that moment, something which Staley says he felt regret for the rest of his days. Dirt follows with an almost middle eastern vibe on the song, it's a searing riff and the harmonies here are strong as well.

Godsmack follows continuing the themes of Staley's addiction, not my favorite on the album but it sets in consistently with the rest of the record. Iron Gland is a short piece that parody's Black Sabbath's Iron Man it features Slayer's Tom Araya on vocals. It's a lighthearted metal moment, that shows the band with a sense of humor. Hate to Feel follows up with start stop dynamic that shows the emphasis on harmony in a metal context. It was written entirely by Staley as was the next song. Angry Chair is another of the album's five hits. (Them Bones, Would, Rooster and Down in a Hole) Angry Chair ranks as one of the best songs the group ever recorded and one of the best songs of the 90's. It still gets regular airplay and it another description of the horrors of heroin addiction. A very choppy riff, that with a backbeat is very hypnotic and Cantrell delivers a very frantic solo which is quite awesome. A very cool song I recommend. Would closes the record with a very cool bassline driving the whole song. the guitar is very minimalist and the drums are restrained as are the vocals of which Jerry Cantrell takes lead on the verses, with Staley providing harmony which is quite eerie in someways. Then the chorus explodes with Staley's anguished wail guiding the song. It's a fitting melodic closer to an album that will stand probably as AIC's masterpiece. They had all the right elements, melodic songwriting, intense lyrical content, tight rhythms however off kilter at times. A guitarist who played with texture and could solo melodically and could sing harmony as well. Of course Layne Staley's lead vocals are a final all essential element, his lyrics are pretty dark and honest and his voices encapsulates the mood pretty perfectly, it's pained and expressive and tuneful almost soulful if that term can used and this record really showcases what a talent he had as a musician and writer, the album is a testament to the talent AIC had with him and as testament to one the most fruitful times in all of rock music. A very good record I recommend.

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Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
9:20 pm - The Questions, they keep coming
What do people get wrong about you?

Hmmm I suppose it depends on who you are asking? I tend to think often people have me being a moody guy or a sarcastic prick all the time. I'm those things only once in a great while. I'd like to think I'm actually most of the time a polite, quiet listener. I'm not very in your face about things. I like to listen and observe and then take that and use it in my life, whatever aspect of life that is.

Do you think you are sexy enough?

By what standards I guess would be more appropriate to ask?! I don't think about that sort of thing. When I look in the mirror I think I look like the same skinny, pimply guy with bad bed hair from high school, only a bit older.



OCD?

Technically yes I was diagnosed with a mild case when I was 13 in runs in my family, my sister as well and I believe my dad said he some issues as a kid with it. I'm not so much anymore or at least I'm not so bothersome with it. I don't have an addictive personality to things like sex and drugs. I think I'm only obsessed with music and general knowledge these days. I compulsively exercise daily though. I guess my OCD isn't gone it's just channeled into more constructive rather than worrying things.

How do you feel if stuff isn't vacuumed?

I'm hardly bothered by that sort of thing. I'm a twenty something bachelor guy who lives in a bachelor pad with the drummer in my band. We're both in the same position and pretty lazy. We only tidy really when a lady comes over as the ladies men in the band I suppose we have to put on some kind of charming presentable front.

It used to be vitally important to you to be sexy and reckless, and probably now you're less interested in either?

Hah what a question. I never considered it vitally important either of those things. I think me being sexy is important to whatever girl I'm dating or whatever girl hits on me in a bar. For being reckless I never cared whether I was viewed as that or not. Everybody has a reckless side to them even nice polite guys like me. The point is nobody is completely nice all the time and nobody is a bad ass all the time, everyone and I mean everyone is some sort of happy or unhappy medium. Everyone who thinks otherwise is in denial of reality.


Tell me some things that are true.

That truth is subjective!



Is being passionate a good thing?

That obviously depends on what we're being passionate about. I don't think I need to elaborate on that just like the previous truth question.



So what happened to you in your teenage years?


Nothing special really, the usual boredom, alienation and anger that builds up in you as your idealism and carefree attitude gives way to adulthood. I mean I had circumstances in my life which I know of no other people personally experiencing. I had more death in my family in a short span than some people. I also lost my sense of taste and smell to a soccer related bump on the head. I also have and dealt with and still do a very bad stomach condition. However none of these I felt made me special. I never saw them as badges of honor, I also like everyone else had acne, thought break ups would be the end of the world and worried to not get bad grades or crash my car. All those things have pissed me off and just driven me to be more conscious of of the frailty and neutrality of life. If anything it's spurned me on to live a little more and that's about it. I've always been creative long before I had any teenage growing pains, but I also used all that pent rage as a well to tap for creativity. However at the end of the day I'm still fortunate in that I came from a loving, independent minded and supportive middle class family. I've been able to travel alot, meet cool people and I've also been raised with an open mind and somewhat privileged life and that's not so bad compared to people who've had a much harder or shitty time than me.


You were better then than you are now?

Not in the least. I'm much better today than I was then. I still find it odd that I encounter so many of my peers who think high school and childhood were the best times of their life. They think because they are fat, bald or not where they pictured they'd be in their mid-twenties they think life might as well be over. I think they are childish in some sense. I mean I'm not fat, bald or anything like that I've physically changed little so I can't relate to that. However when they say "I'm just not getting what I want out of life?" "I just thought I wanted more...man remember Phil way back in high school how much fun it was?" I have to shiver at that for many reasons, one I'm not nostalgic, I'm more about let's keep the past the past and learn from our mistakes. Secondly, I thought me being picked on in high school was the worst. In hindsight it wasn't the worst but in the moment it felt terrible. So my associations with high school are not all that fond. Though I did have alot of fun I should say. In your mid twenties in the middle of a recovering economy of course you're not bound to be where you thought. You have decades ahead of yourself if your strong enough. I think everyone is in that boat to a degree. If I could decide what I wanted to do with my college degree I suppose I'd know but I kinda want to be a musician and writer and that's it. So you have to look at the small victories in life and of course always have ambition and don't be deterred. Or you can learn to adapt to your current situation and make a positive.


Doing nothing and not enjoying life has its consequences too.

Only for the weak. When shit happens in my life I don't get unmotivated I have to get back to work as being idle for too long for me is a waste. For those who want that life be my guest. I'm too hungry for experience I guess, I want to travel, I want to read books, I want to learn more obscure trivia or learn a new instrument or language, I want to fuck a new woman everyday and I don't want to settle down and if/when I do I doubt I'll lose my hunger for experiencing life. I think the consequences of idleness for me would mean death at my own hand out of boredom and self hatred for not being true to that part of me that wants to explore life and won't settle for a life on a couch playing video games 24/7.

How do your loved ones long gone appear in your dreams?

In the dreams I can remember they appear usually pleasantly. Only occasionally I get horrified or weirded out.


What is your contribution to modern culture?

As a historian I can't say with any absolute certainty what it will be. I just hope my music and words, which are the core of my art and being will be enjoyed by some people, somewhere in the world at some point in time. I think I write utter crap some days but sometimes in fact most of the time I think I'm the greatest thing on two feet going today. Alot of that is bravado but until others start believing in it, self belief is all I have. However I have heard some comments lately that make me believe others are catching on to me after ten years of developing my skills and getting out there. So as cliche as it is...only time will tell.

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Monday, November 29th, 2010
12:36 am - Fear and Loathing Thyself
EB: Which town are you from?

From Madison, WI 200,000 some people in the town proper, about double that in the Metro area. You'd barely know that though given that farms still surround the city in almost every direction. It's hills, trees and marshes and then more hills in every direction. Madison maybe the most exciting place in Wisconsin, due to its size and relative lack of cultural decay that Milwaukee has, but it's still very boring to someone whose lived their whole life here. Like any typical midwest city you're forced to make up your own fun.



EB: In Lipstick Traces, Greil Marcus says that nightclubs are basically the places where the revolution is born or where it goes it die. What's your experience in all the many nightclubs you've been in?

I never noticed any revolutionary things in any nightclub. I can see that in some historical cases perhaps with the gay rights movement and it's nightclub association. Culturally things like disco and Lady Gaga I suppose stem from that. It's not revolutionary on a military or political level and it's not all that subversive. To me it's just the breaking of dams before mainstream culture accepts it in mass. I always saw nightclubs as places where people spend their money for a few hours of drinking and socializing as they have done for years before now and they will afterward.



EB: It's also proven that fascism is very much alive.

Yeah it never died, then again monarchy still exists. Though monarchy still makes for a good tourist ploy. Though in Italy and to a greater extent in Germany fascism is still used for tourism, though they'd never admit it. I mean the remnants of the fascist era in those countries are still marketable as tourists devices. Fascism is alive and well in American politics as well regardless of partisan lines. Liberals in the popular progressive sense are fascist and narrow minded in that they couch people with opposing views as backwards and religious gun toting hicks. Again that is as with any stereotype true but it's a skewed view. Conservatives view all liberals as pussys, fags, hippies and communists, that is again skewed. Neither side has very much regard for the depth of thought or range of disparity the other side might have on issues, they believe in stereotypes and getting everyone to believe in their group think. I link that to fascism with a little "f" in that it's closed minded and all about getting people to not think differently or create different ideas. There is so much focus on the opposition that it gets in the way of real progress. That said I'm not going to give a prescription for an alternative that detracts from the discussion.

EB: Supposing your band becomes incredibly popular. How would you face that?

I haven't a clue, lessen it happens. I doubt I'd change that much or that much for me would.



EB: What happens when some kid in Indiana buys the record opens up the lyric sheet, and can't begin to decipher what he sees?

Firstly I don't there will be a lyric sheet for the record when it's made. One it's too expensive to print and two because I don't really enjoy reading lyric sheets in records. I like to listen to the records and take in the lyrics as if they were part of the music. Lyrics are underrated and under appreciated in their importance to the actual music. Lyrics can stand as poetry on their own but they can also contribute to the atmosphere of the music and blend in like any riff, bass line or drum fill. In the event they do read the lyrics at some point and they are confused, that's fine it's your puzzle to figure out. Greg likes lyrics that tell stories. I like lyrics that paint pictures and let your own mind decide. They make you feel something and they inform you of something but they do not have to be absolutely what the author intended, their subjective.


EB: Do you think it's a drawback to the Master Plan - the fact that you can actually sing, write, and play? Whereas you haven't got a sort of Svengali-like person with the four completely misguided people?

No this band has two big egos guiding and driving it, Greg and myself. Our drummer has said he just hits things and he knows we could relieve him at anytime. Our bass player is always in and out. I mean Greg and I could make a record with the just one or both of us playing everything but it makes sense to have the others in for live stuff. Also at the end of the day we are just four friends who got together and like to play together it's just that two of us have huge musical egos and the others were kinda drafted. Really it's funny because I'm playing svengali with my friends, it's nice that they don't kiss ass but we all know we're in it for fun, girls, booze, money and art I suppose. A weird understanding in such a basic and boring setup like ours...all I can do is laugh.


EB: I meant to ask you about some of your favorite books.

Most early Burroughs... Kerouac, Dostoevsky, Hesse and the occasional Dr. Seuss to lighten the load. Books are endlessly important. I love a good read and try to do so as much as possible.




EB: Have you learned any lessons from other Madison bands?

Hardly...we're too insular to be bothered with what else goes on. We consider ourselves outside that and more often that not beyond that. Aside from the Anti-Prism. Granted alot of bands in this town can play tighter than us and some have far better songs. We're not even in terms of musical history that unique of band but we do have relentless ambition and determination. We also have no filter of what we think or say...That does make us somewhat unique to Madison bands, whose biggest concern is impressing their hipster friends by being goofy and talking of no hope in the music business. They forget there is always hope it's a long shot but there is always hope. Pop songs, passionate playing and endless self-promotion and ambition make alot of difference.



EB: I'm not sure what the method is in the lyric writing, but there is a sort of cut-and-paste quality to it.

Depends on whose writing. Greg writes what I call stereo instruction lyrics. He writes exactly what you see printed down, songs about boobs, emo Garbagemen and threesomes. All good laughs. I tend to write with very little thematic element to a lyric. They are style wise somewhat cut and paste, they are more barely conscious scribblings that kinda sound nice in my head and then I finish them and they are subsequently edited and redrafted though jamming on them over and over until I deem them worthy. I usually have a vague idea but I see my lyrics as more like a kaleidoscope of emotions and situations it has a basic kind of idea, you know you're seeing something, you're maybe not quite sure what it is because it shifts in mood and from being obvious to being cryptic but it sucks in you anyway and its pretty to look at.


EB: I'm just curious as to what are your musical interests outside the realm of white rock 'n' roll?

It's endless it's an absence of taste basically because it's all over the place. It could be classical, soul, hip hop, electronic, gregorian chanting whatever just catches my fancy. Same with my guitar playing, singing and my writing it's comes from different frequencies and places but its all channeled into the same area.

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
11:59 pm - ATDI- This Station is Non Operational album review
Tonight I shall review At The Drive In's posthumous compliation This Station is Non Operational. At The Drive In or ATDI was a post hardcore band that hailed from El Paso Texas during the 1990's until they went on hiatus in 2001. Most people know them nowadays as members of either The Mars Volta or Sparta/Sleepercar. A little of my personal background with them. I remember very vividly in late 2000 early 2001 my freshman year of high school of hearing the group's song One Armed Scissor on the alternative radio station as well as seeing them on shows like Farm Club on USA and being really sucked into them. At the time I didn't consider myself a punk rocker or even a fan so much. I knew of the movement, of the Ramones and Misfits and things like that but very little else. To me punk was Remy Zero, Lit and SR 71 which were ok by me. ATDI was the first contemporary "underground" punk band I really took note of anyway I was still a classic rock/90's alt rock guy and fan of very little else. ATDI's 3rd album Relationship of Command was out at the time but I did not buy it. Months later when my friend David Clerkin and some other friends got into punk I felt inspired enough to like the punk movement and consider myself a punk rocker or at least connoisseur. I revisited ATDI afterwards via the internet and really grew to like their sound. I didn't realize until then that they had broken up and now my chance to see them live was nil. However I quickly realized they showed that punk wasn't an exclusive sound or look of dyed hair and fast power chords etc. In fact that the fashion elements were of little appeal to me other than the occasional dying of my hair for shows or seeing hot girls pull off the look. ATDI celebrated more progressive and experimental elements to punk and essentially opened me to the world of post hardcore like Fugazi, Glassjaw etc. Their varied but distinct sound I found really quite appealing. They also were opposed to stupid moshing on some level even though they moved with punk energy, they had the simplicity and DIY aesthetic of punk but they were more in the alternative vein to punk as stereotypically presented. ATDI were really quite a special "gateway" band for me and a lasting influence. I have since seen the Mars Volta twice, the first time I didn't think they were that great and after hearing them on the radio I grew to appreciate them and saw them again in 2006 which was good fun. Sparta I have always thought real bland that when ATDI broke up that talent went with Mars Volta.

Anyway I am reviewing This Station is Non Operational because in some ways unless you are a die hard fan you aren't going to be interested in their earlier catalog and I am a proponent of gateway albums as much as I am gateway bands. This Station is Non Operational came out in 2005 and is "best of" of a band that never really had a major hit and was only on the cusp of success when they broke up due to the usual creative differences, burnout from hype and rumored drug use. This Station is Non Operational contains tracks from the last few recordings which were considered their best essentially from 1997-2000, the last half of the band's existence. In contains LP and EP tracks as well as B-sides and some covers. Heck even Iggy Pop makes a minor vocal contribution, tying together punk's forefather with what would've been punk's future. They also are an influence on what became emo, though you can hear it in some of the sound, they never really had the MTV/Hot Topic watered down vibe that was popular about 5 years ago. The album is full of punk energy, jangly guitar, piano/synth, dub and math rock time signatures and crytpic but intelligent/emotional lyrics.

Fahrenheit from 1997's El Gran Orgo EP kicks off the album with Omar Rodriguez's Lopez's guitar and Tony Harjjar's pounding drums and Paul Hinojos's tasty bass playing and then Cedric Bixler Zavala's high pitched tenor kicks in. The sound is very dynamic and energetic, something that is consistent throughout the record, which to some first time listeners may require multiple listens to appreciate. It's a great opener and one of my favorite songs of theirs.

Picket Fence Cartel is next, it's a more thrashy tune not as good as the opener but it's also a decent track.

Chanbara is next from 1998's In Casino/Out LP (their 2nd) it is more percussive/ bass driven song in a similar vein to Fahrenheit but much more atmospheric. Jim Ward is also featured on guitar here. He was a co-founder with Cedric but took a temporary extended hiatus during the recording of El Gran Orgo, he returned later that year. The twin guitar dynamics of Jim and Omar really show of the groups winding angular sound while the rhythm sections rolls and pound along, setting up a very interesting atmosphere throughout their songs.

Lopsided is more subdued with very jangly guitar and kind of bounces along and in many ways highlights the group's more spacious aspects.

Napoleon Solo is like Fahrenheit one of the groups truly great moments. In it all about build up and release of tension. A dynamic my band takes queue from even though the others in the band don't know it. Cedric has a real vulnerability to his singing which is conveyed very well and it might rank as one of his top vocals with the group.

Pickpocket raises the pace again and the guitar in this is very fluttery while the bass and drums move in a more conventional punk fashion. It's a pretty decent song, not their best and not their worst.

Metronome Arthritis from 1999's Vaya EP is more akin to the likes of Radiohead's Climbing Up the Wall, it has a sorta creeping along vibe and dynamic. Everything is very atmospheric, the vocals have effects on them.

198d is a fairly off kilter tune, kinda atmospheric not as strange as Metronome Arthritis but it's an interesting song.


One Armed Scissor is their one true hit, off Relationship of Command. It crystalizes all the groups elements into a fairly accessible if somewhat off kilter mix, which is ATDI. The bass and drums are balanced well, the give the song a nice pulse and flow. The guitars are in and out the ears. One droning in the back while the other scratches up front and Cedric sings pretty passionately with Jim and Omar flanking him on backing vocals. I don't need to say more

Enfilade off 2000's Relationship of Command features Iggy Pop as a kidnapper in the spoken intro. Here the Mars Volta sound is starting to seep through in the layered and effects laden vocal and the rhythm is more obtuse and angular. The guitar is speeding along while the rhythm is subdued and driving simultaneously. I rather like this song it took a little while to grow on me but it's a good song. Shit I almost forgot it's got melodica which is pretty cool.

Non Zero Possibility is fairly subdued in that it's mostly a treated electronic piano piece. The group is going for a more ethereal sound here, which they achieve to some effect. Not my favorite piece but decent.


Incetardis is off the One Armed Scissor single and is another good moment for the group. The start is a build up of tension and then Cedric's scream a is quite a release. It's a tight rolling song that I always liked.

1998's Doorman's Placebo is an ok song. One of the more bland moments for me, kinda of the few filler songs of the record but it's worth a listen.

Autorelocator is from a 2000 split with the band Sunshine. It features a more synthetic song, rubbery bass. The band was by then really displaying their more experimental tendencies. Tendencies which Omar and Cedric would pursue more in Mars Volta and eventually contributed to ATDI's break up. Personally I like the quirkly dark atmosphere they try to conjure on this.

Rasauche in this form is remixed by the Latch Brothers. It's got some nice delay on the guitar and is got some electronic tinges which boost the song along. It has a dub meets middle eastern vibe possibly influenced by Tony's Lebanese background. I love the echo delay vocal as well. Very dub like.

This Night Has Opened up My Eyes is a Smiths cover taken from a 1998 studio session. It's a pretty faithful cover Cedric is a good singer but I don't think he delivers the song the way Morrissey does.

Initiation is the oldest song dating to their 1996 debut Acrobatic Tenement here is dates from a BBC session in 2001 near the band's end. A more emo song of the group but nonetheless captures even in their earlier days they were full of energy and atmosphere but creating that tension and release dynamic I talked of.

Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk is a cover of Pink Floyd circa Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It's taken from the same 2001 BBC session as the previous track. It's a straight forward cover actually and a fitting note to end on in that is captures the group's tension, with this choice of cover pointing to Omar and Cedric's Mars Volta project eventual emergence and more experimental tendencies while Jim, Paul and Tony would form the more conventional Sparta. I love that this captures that spirit perfectly.

This album is a good intro to the band as is captures them at their best and can hopefully introducing new fans to their other work and give a music fan an new appreciation for different styles of music. I highly recommend giving this album a listen or several is need be!!

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Monday, November 15th, 2010
11:31 pm - Black Grape-It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah album review
This record is my party record at least for the last year. I bought this album a year ago on amazon and play it for days on end for periods of time. It's just a fun record with good production that touches on psychedelic, funk and rap and house music all in one.

A bit on how I got onto Black Grape. When I bought the Michael Hutchence solo album (which I last reviewed) I came across the name Danny Saber ( Saber produced and play on much of Hutchence's record) and became intrigued by his production and wanted to know more about him. Saber had done alot of work with various artists but his biggest success was in the UK in the 1990's with Black Grape. I was interested in checking them out having already been impressed by Saber's production. I was also familiar with vocalist Shaun Ryder's work with the Happy Mondays. Which I like to an extent. They aren't my favorite band by any means but a few songs I've enjoyed. Anyway the Happy Mondays came from Manchester and aligned with Factory records home of Joy Division, New Order etc. In the late 80's early 90's rave/house music was getting big and Happy Mondays like Black Grape touched on that scene but added some other influences as well. However after 4 albums and Ryder's drug addiction, the Mondays fell apart. Ryder was expected to OD or something to most people in the music world. Black Grape was his response to all that.

He formed the group in the aftermath of the Mondays and got somewhat cleaned up. From there the group recorded it's debut and one truly great record. It' Great When You're Straight...Yeah came out in 1995 and was a hit in Britain and has as with most of Ryder's work obtained a cult following in America. I'm certain most of my friends have never heard of the group much less are familiar with it's work. Anyway it's not a record for everyone. It is trippy at points, chilled at others and straight up ecstasy filled bizarre at others. However I cannot get enough it's an intensely fun record. Danny Saber's production is quite good as it seems to conjure either a very sunny fun loving atmosphere or even a laid back club kind of vibe. Very much in tune with say the European dance clubs of Ibiza a la Cafe Del Mar.

Shaun Ryder can't sing if his life depended on it but he can come up with some witty and fun lyrics. Throughout the album it's tuneless, rapping and shouting that Ryder comes up with. That's ok because that's the point his delivery and flow is entertaining in and of itself. His best moments are his trades with rapper Kermit. Alot of the lyric content is full of drug references and utter nonsense. However they do manage to pull off some clever word play and references. Drugs are abound but so are literary and pop culture references it's all about fun and atmosphere and this record just had that in abundance. Musically the band has some good work as well. Drummer Ged Lynch is always funky and always fucking awesome whether driving up tempo like In the Name of the Father or laid back grooves like Big Day in the North. Emma Day's backing vocals on In the name of the Father is album's most soulful vocal and I rather it like contrasted with Ryder's out of tune voice. Danny Saber is the real hero though, besides production he does of a butt load of bass, guitar, keyboard and other instrumental work on the album. He essentially is the driving musical force of the group and he really should be praised for the atmospheric production and tight musicianship he displays. I recommend this record for a dance party, or to get high to but not for those looking for a deep emotional connection record. This record is all about in your face fun and if you can't deal with it you should leave the party.

My personal favorite tracks are In the Name of the Father, Kelly's Heroes, Reverend Black Grape, Tramazi Party, Big Day in the North, Shake Well Before Opening and Shake Your Money!! Shake Your Money is the best profane sing along I've heard in a long time!!!!

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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
6:13 pm - Spider Sense gone berserk!!
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1090022486_kritiVenom.jpg
VENOM
-Real Name: Edward "Eddie" Brock
-Current Occupation: Mad killer bent on revenge
-Former Occupation: Journalist for the Daily Globe, short stint as a Vigilante between murdering sprees
-Major Enemies: Spider-Man, Carnage, Life Foundation, Juggernaut, Scarlet-Spider, Jury
-Powers: Brock's powers stem from his symbiotic relationship with the alien that serves as his costume. The symbiote can mimic any type of clothing whatsoever, as well as blending Venom in his surroundings, rendering him invisible. The symbiote has augmented all of Brock's physical abilities to superhuman levels equal to, and in some cases greater than, Spider-Man's.
-Abilities: Venom also possesses the ability to adhere to most sufaces. Venom can animate any part of his costume and can fire a web-like substance from his hands. Because the symbiote was previously attached to Peter, it knows how to shield itself from Spider-Man's spider-sense.
-Limitations: The symbiote is extremely sensitive to sonic and thermal attacks.

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Sunday, September 12th, 2010
8:53 pm - Michael Hutchence-album review
Among my friends I'm one of the few who actually admit to being an Inxs fan. Most people I know are rather ambivalent about the Aussie sextet who had their heyday in the late 80's-early 90's. I decided to further twist heads and rather than review one of their albums go ahead and review their former frontman's posthumous solo album. Inxs were formed in the late 1970's in Australia somewhere between disco, glam, funk, synth-pop, punk and hard rock you got Inxs they were always a synthesized band in terms of influence never truly pure in sound but they still managed to have a distinct sound. Inxs toured relentlessly on the pub circuit of Australia's outback in their earliest days and which helped earned the band a devoted live following and a reputation for being an exciting live act. Inxs became a gradual success in their native land with their first couple albums and then they made a splash in America with their 3rd album and gradually on the back of constant tours and subsequent hit singles and albums hit their peak between 1987's multi-million selling Kick and its 1990 followup X. After that Inxs began a gradual decline of popularity in America though they still remained successful elsewhere in the world particularly in Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America. In the US they didn't totally disappear from the charts but they had much more moderate sales than in the previous decade. In the UK they actually sold more records in the 1990's than the 1980's doing an inverse in trends. Grunge and alternative rock explain their decline here in the US but their brand of dance-hard rock pop fusion remained popular in the always dance happy European markets. Anyway a number of factors lead to their popularity in the first place. They were an exciting live act, with catchy and well crafted pop songs even if they were formulaic at times. The main reason according to alot of people for their massive success was their former frontman the late Michael Hutchence. Hutchence was to many the 80's version of Mick Jagger meets Jim Morrison. He was often described as sensual, sensitive, articulate, cocky and engaging. One of those who made women swoon and men want to make women swoon the way he did. Hutchence eventually as time wore on became the focus of the band, he was always the visual focus live and in the press. His personal life eventually became more important to many sectors of the public than his musical legacy. In his later days he was seen as a man famous for being famous more than as a man famous for making good and successful music. His romances were tabloid fodder and rumor (something which he apparently loathed greatly.) Eventually consumed by depression supposedly brought on by the pressures of his increasing celebrity profile, his band's declining status and a severe brain injury suffered in 1992 Hutchence under the influence of alot of illicit substances committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt in a Sydney hotel room on November 22nd 1997. He was 37. After his death it was speculated by some that he died in an act of auto erotic asphyxiation as opposed to suicide, though this has never been officially substantiated. Given all those details it's easy to see why one gets caught up in the man's life, however I think it's important to look past the sordid details of Hutchence's life true or false and focus more on what brought him to the world's attention in the first place. His music.

I first heard Inxs as a child when my dad played Kick constantly and I always saw their music videos on MTV. Being born in 1986 I was born right before their heyday. They were never my favorite band but one I always enjoyed. They had catchy songs and cool videos for their day. I thought Hutchence had really cool looking hair to match. Anyway I kinda lost track of them as they didn't seem as relevant in the States after time passed but in my teens as I took to looking at my old favorites as a kid and I grew to have a greater appreciation for their catalog with Hutchence and now own most of their albums with him. I remember vaguely hearing about his death in 1997 when I was in 6th grade. I also read some biographies of him and found him to have a lead a pretty interesting life. According to most accounts Hutchence was a very complex and paradoxical man in many ways. He was in a pop band but mostly listened to underground music and had a greater appreciation of newer, more up and coming bands than in his peers, like U2, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and REM though he was friends with those bands. He often advocated a change in a more experimental direction and often felt Inxs was too formulaic and he often tried to break out of his box but collaborating with others. He was also a man praised for his lyrical and vocal abilities by his peers but very insecure about his abilities. He welcomed success and some of the jet-setting cliches of rock star life, the money, booze and women but was always recognized as very shy, retiring and very intelligent in conversation confounding the expectations of those who confused his onstage persona with his offstage persona.

Anyway in Hutchence's desire to break away from the Inxs mold lead him to start laboring off and on over a solo album that he financed himself...starting in 1995 and was left nearly completed by his death in 1997. Hutchence had by the mid 1990's moved to London to be more central to the music business in Europe where he was very recognizable as a major celeb. Furthermore he was involved with British TV presenter-journalist Paula Yates who was the wife of Bob Geldof (the Live Aid organizer, Boomtown Rats singer) Yates left Geldof for Hutchence in late 94 early 1995. The couple became tabloid fodder and were constantly hounded by the paparazzi furthermore a very public custody battle over Yates and Geldof's kids in court dragged Hutchence into the public's eye more than he was used. According to many this relationship and the complications it entailed were his downfall. Hutchence had a daughter with Yates and that seemed to bring him some respite but it was a constant struggle to get back to a simpler more normal way of life for him. Music was his outlet he recorded and toured his Inxs swan song Elegantly Wasted in 1996-97 but still continued his solo efforts in his time off. He sought the collaboration of others to help him craft an album which he hoped would be something different than what people expected of him. He teamed with Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill and Black Grape multi-instrumentalist/producer Danny Saber for production and cowriting. He also used Tim Simeonon from Bomb the Bass as well as Joe Strummer from the Clash among many session musicians.

So does Hutchence deliver up to expectations with his solo album? It's hard to say for him. Since he died before it was completed but with Gill and Saber's final touches on polishing up some tracks and Bono's help on the final song the album was deemed release worthy and was released in 1999/2000. I bough the album just out of curiosity and found it a pleasing listening. I always liked Hutchence's voice in addition to his cool hairstyle! I found his lyrics to be much more personal and engaging than his work with Inxs. Much of the lyrical content is drawn from his frustration with celebrity and his personal woes. In the wake of his suicide it becomes somewhat poignant. The album has a very lively/lush sound at times but it's also gritty and downright somber at others, of which the lyrics certainly reflect. It's a very passionate, reflective record full of yearning to get on with life and not be caught in the problems of the moment. Hope for a return to brighter and happy things again. Not the work of a man who was happy all the time that much is for certain. It opens with Let Me Show You featuring some background vocals by Joe Strummer. It's an rocking opener full of distorted guitar and bouncing and pounding rhythms. Which for Inxs fans expecting Need You Tonight part 2 will be a total earfuck. The album moves to a downtempo trip hop lament with strings called Possibilities with a definite Portishead vibe. It's got the album's best lyric quite possibly and it's very poignant given that it was the last song Hutchence recorded a few days before his death. It's a song of soul searching, self doubt and hope all in one. Saber's production is quite commendable here! From here the album gets funky with its more Inxs like feel on Get on the Inside which features more interesting lyrics and passionate delivery from Hutchence. Fear is the 4th song it's another funky though more digital sounding number which features Hutchence ranting on the troubles of fame. All I'm Saying follows as one of the album's more ambient subdued moments. It's not my favorite by any stretch but it does contribute to the overall tone of the album. A Straight Line is the next number which is fairly straight ahead rock with some funky overtones. Hutchence again is very strong in the vocal/lyric department (as he is throughout the record.) He follows this with the lyrically sparse Baby It's Alright which showcases some very interesting phrasing on Hutchence's lyrics. It's a more funky distorted number, with a post grunge tone to the chorus. Don't Save Me From Myself is an interesting song that is definitely offering some insight into Hutchence's mindset in his later days. Musically it's an ok song but things pick up after that with his ode to Yates in She Flirts for England which features some good guitar work but Andy Gill (which is quite subtle but good on the record as a whole.) Flesh and Blood is the most subtle and ambient moment on the record, much like Possibilities it has a nearly flawless lyric and very good spacious production to match. Hutchence is filled with lots of yearning in his delivery and his death only magnifies the sorrow on such a track, the strings and keyboards are very nice and trippy with a set of headphones. Put The Pieces Back Together is a fairly funky almost trip hop like song that follows, though it more serves as a supporting track than a standout. Breathe is Hutchence gone industrial he's appealing the NIN influence on this song and does so with some success. The final song is more digital meets strings sounds put together. A duet featuring Bono from U2 called Slide Away which has Hutchence giving his more straightforward suicidal hinting and pleading for a return to a simpler way of life. The song was only partially completed in Hutchence's lifetime, Bono with Saber and Gill recorded some verses serving as an elegy of sorts for Hutchence. The effect is poignant but it not too surprising.

So what's the verdict here? How can one know if it meets its author's expectations given that he passed before it's completion. Hutchence wanted his solo record to confound his critics and friends alike, to make him appear more insightful, break him out of the Inxs mold he was known for and had come to feel was holding him back somewhat. It was also to get some fucking things off his chest when life seemed to be shitting on him the most. My verdict is that its a very good record for the most part. It's not a great leap forward for Hutchence but it does push his boundaries and expand his horizons for sure. It's rewarding with subsequent listens, although the urgency of some the lyrics is potent it can be a bit much for those touched by his death. Hutchence certainly did meet some expectations. He can't help but sound like the singer from Inxs on some of the songs but he certainly shows that he's not afraid to play around with new sounds with the more industrial, trip hop, psychedelic and rockier moments on the record. Furthermore he actually pulls it off at times. The boldness of his musical tastes certainly is commendable. His lyrics are also alot more focused, direct and thematic than with Inxs where they are more universal and anthemic. Also he gets props for his downright passionate singing which whether done with abandon or restraint is very good throughout the record. So in conclusion I can say it's a good record for those looking to get a mix of electronica, techno, funk and industrial alternative rock. It's also a good record for the die hard Inxs fan whose curious to hear something other one of the band's hits on the radio. I give it a two thumbs up!

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Monday, August 16th, 2010
12:02 am - Pivot
1. What is your favorite word? I'm not really sure...though gorgeous sounds really nice it just has a full sound to it.

2. What is your least favorite word? I have no idea...ghastly?

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Independence, exchange of ideas, sense of abandon

4. What turns you off? Mediocrity and no sense of abandon or lack of humor

5. What is your favorite curse word? Fucking Cunt
6. What sound or noise do you love? A woman's orgasm
7. What sound or noise do you hate? I haven't heard one that irritates me enough to mention

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Retiree

9. What profession would you not like to do? Plumber

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? This is all just a dream

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Sunday, August 1st, 2010
6:45 pm - Updates, updates and more updates
So Sinsuality has recorded a new live demo in order to get gigs round town. It's certainly not of super high quality since we used a pretty ghetto setup for recording and were recording very minimally without compression, regard for tone and much mixing all we had was some mics to try capture as much as we could and try not to have alot of bleed through. It's definitely not of high quality which irks the perfectionist streak in us somewhat anyway it's sufficient we suppose for giving a sample of what we sound like to people. The whole band is in agreement at least though that the performances are of a more consistent quality than two years ago when we last took a stab at recording. So it's not a quantum leap but it's an improvement which is good at least. We also had a photo shoot with my dad for promo purposes. We now need to work on a bio and put together a press kit and hawk it around to everyone and everywhere and get gigs. I think if we gets gigs we'll only get better live. Anyway now onward to marketing.

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010
9:45 pm - No Surface All Feeling
Where did you study and what subject?

I studied firstly at UW Platteville as a psychology major and then I got bored with small town life and left. Then I did a summer abroad The American University of Rome in Italy where I studied history and the language. I finished my final two years at UW Madison studying modern history which is what I got my degree in.

Has university served you at all in later life?

That depends I suppose in some sense I'm still up in the air with what I want to do with my degree. Either I become a teacher, a museum worker, a businessman or a lawyer. It's nice to have and it looks nice on a resume so it's served me in that way I suppose.

Did you get badly into debt?

No not at all...I worked during the summer and saved up alot. I rarely spent money to get into parties as I had either charm or good connections. Also I worked to pay my rent during the latter half of college I was semi-poor then but never really in debt. Plus my tuition was covered but the inheritance money I got from my mom.

If you met yourself as you were then what would you think?

How little I've changed I'm still an insomniac with penchant for reading my textbooks over for fun...the only differences are I've become somewhat thinner and I'm not sheltered like I was in the safety blanket that is dorm and college life. Oh and I have a slightly better paycheck these days!

Did you ever ride a shopping trolley home or nick traffic cones?

No I rode the tram to school in Rome everyday though and then walked in ungodly heat up hills and through winding streets. In Platteville I went out on street sign stealing raids and I did partake in some pranks. I helped flood the showers in the dorms by plugging the drains with saran wrap and let the showers run until there was ankle deep water going into the bathroom stalls that was fun!

Did you get involved with any student politics?

Barely I was involved with Students for Peace and Justice and the Gay Straight Alliance my first two years at school and then I got disillusioned with the former for being pro partisan when it started out as non-partisan it felt threatened by the College Republicans so I grew to hate both instead. As for GSA they just never built up much hope and were too small to accomplish anything in a town where nobody cared for their rights.

Did you shop at thrift shops?

Oh sure I bought slacks and shirts from Goodwill and St. Vincent De Paul quite a bit. They have some nice stuff from time to time.

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