Tag Archives: Blogging

Send Defending Axl Rose To See Kanye West

Hello. Well this is awkward. A few weeks ago I found out that Kanye West would be touring in support of his latest album/magnum opus THE LIFE OF PABLO. Normally, this would be great news except he wasn’t coming to the city I live in. I was pretty bummed out. Then, a few days after my birthday, my parents got to see Guns N’ Roses in Kansas City. While very happy for them, this also really bummed me out. I should have gone to that show, but unfortunately a new job and a new baby (plus lack of money) meant that I’d have to skip seeing GNR. I’m barely able to live with myself, people. I swore that the next time a “Holy Fuck!” artist went on tour I’d do everything in my power to go and see them.

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Which leads me to Kanye. I was once offered free tickets to see Kanye open for U2, but I had already made unbreakable plans was was forced to pass up the opportunity. My relationship with Kanye started in the fall of 2005. I was living in the dorms at the University of St.Louis-Missouri when hurricane Katrina hit. The kids studying in New Orleans were distributed to colleges all across the nation. I remember sitting on the front porch of my dorm building, smoking Camel cigarettes, when a van pulled up and deposited two such refugees. The school representative helped them with their luggage, gave them vouchers for food, and then basically said “good luck” and drove off. I could tell that these kids were shell-shocked and in need of help. I didn’t really know anyone in St. Louis at the time, having just moved there myself, so I sympathized with them. I took them out for lunch and we became friends. They introduced me to Budweiser (up until that point I did not know there was any variety other than Bud Light), Tyler Perry movies, and Kanye West. LATE REGISTRATION had just dropped and they insisted that I hear it. That was my gateway to rap music, a gift that continues to enrich my life over ten years later.

This year’s LIFE OF PABLO is my number one favorite album. It’s the album I listen to when I run and when I speed to fast on the highway. In short, I need to see this man, but I can’t afford a trip and concert without help. Please take a moment to consider donating to my Go Fund Me campaign.  It feels weird asking for this money, but at the same time you’ll be getting something out of this, too. For starters, I plan on writing extensively about both the lead-up to the concert, the concert, and my post-concert thoughts/feelings. Maybe some of you would pay to NOT get my thoughts on a Kanye West concert, to those people I say: “Why are you still reading this post?” I’m going to reward my top donors with a thank you package and wear the names of everyone who donated to the fund on a special t-shirt when (if?) I attend the show.

I promise not to be annoying about this and post about it ad nauseam. I also won’t make this a “thing” that I do for every concert I go to. I can afford a $35 ticket to see Weezer in the city where I live, I don’t expect people to pick up the tab on that sort of thing. I do feel like I’ve turned my readers onto good albums and songs over the years. And I know I’ve made you laugh (at least once) even it was at me and not necessarily with me…that has to be worth a buck or two, right?

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LP Fantasy: “Gene Simmons Presents…So You Wanna Work in Rock Retail?”

When I was an awkward teenager, staring the oblivion of adulthood in the face, I made a list of dream jobs I wanted to have.  Not serious careers I could have: these were the fun jobs I’d hold before I graduated from college.  I came up with three:

  1. Work in a bookstore.
  2. Work in a record store.
  3. Be a security guard.

I’ve always loved books and music, so bookstore and record store were pretty obvious choices for me.  The security guard thing was a mixture of curiosity and the fact that my granddad had worked as a guard for a Pinkerton.  Shortly after graduating from High School I started living all my wildest dreams when I got a job at a small bookstore.  It was fantastic, I was quickly promoted to assistant manager AND I got to take books home and read them.  Not that it mattered I got to read books for free, I still spent 2/3 of my meager wage on books.  But like all good things, my time at the bookstore didn’t last very long, five months into my tenure there Barnes & Noble decided to close our store a few weeks after Christmas.  The dream was over.

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I was unemployed for a while, but then got hired on as a security guard—at the same company as my granddad.  I worked overnights and actually did MORE reading as a guard than I did while working at the bookstore. I found out that being a guard was thankless, terrible, boring work…so of course I did it for 5 years while I was getting my Bachelor’s in Rock-blogging (and thank God I did, because without a mountain of student loan-debt I wouldn’t be able to write about Lana Del Rey’s Pepsi-flavored snatch).

Sadly, I never got a chance to work in a record shop.  The closest I came was when Barnes & Noble closed my small bookstore and offered me a job at one of their mega-chainstores (where they sell music in addition to everything else).  I didn’t take the job because as they offered it to me they told me I’d probably hate it, having worked in a small, customer-centric store.  The idea of working in a “section” of a store as opposed to the whole thing wasn’t very appealing.  Working in small shop is great because it forces you to learn about stuff you’d otherwise never encounter.  I’m an expert of children’s literature and Christian Romance novels for this very reason.

Who’d have thought working in a record store would be just as unrealistic of a goal as being a novelist or astronaut?  I guess I even suck at picking small, attainable goals, too.  Working in a small record store never happened for me mostly because, even back in 2004 when I lost my bookstore job, there weren’t very many record stores left.  I think right now there are only three or four in St. Louis where I live now, which is crazy considering how many people live here.  Sometimes when I’m at work, sitting at my desk, I fantasize about working at a record shop.   The stocking of shelves; the rambling discussions with co-workers and customers about obscure British b-sides.  Maybe we’d have a company blog where I could offer recommendations  or a podcast where I could breath heavily into the microphone whilst reading off my Top 10 albums of the year.

A few years ago I saw a really great documentary called I NEED THAT RECORD! which was all about the struggles of independent record shops.  The entire time I watched I could think of nothing but getting a second mortgage on my house (alá GHOSTBUSTERS) and buying a shitty little hole-in-the-wall in some stripmall where I could sell water-damaged vinyl to bearded dudes in Sonic Youth t-shirts.  What does it say about me that I’d willingly enter into crippling debt to sit around all day peddling dusty albums?

The really sad part is, at this stage in my life I’d probably be willing to pay them for the privilege of working in a record store.  Like one of those balding, middle-aged men who pay Pete Townshend and that guy from Boston to teach them basic guitar at one of those Rock ‘N Roll Fantasy camps.  Maybe in a few years TLC or A&E will do a reality show where overweight music bloggers get to live out their fantasy of working in a record shop: Gene Simmons Presents…So You Wanna Work in Rock Retail?

Until then, I guy can dream.

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The Most Embarrassing Record I Own

One of the best parts of starting this blog has been all the new friends I’ve made.  One of the first regular rock-blogs I bookmarked (after my own) was Every Record Tells A Story.  I’ve always been jealous of that name, because I think it’s so true.  Whereas I’m a neurotic, weekend-warrior, my friend over at ERTAS is the real-deal.  His posts are both plentiful and of the highest quality, which is a rare in the blog-o-sphere.

When a blogging award was justly bestowed upon his site, he singled out Defending Axl Rose as one of 5 he enjoys.  For me there could be no higher honor, because I really admire the work that he does over at Every Record Tells A Story.  For spreading the love around to me and my humble blog, I thank him.

The question was asked “What is the most embarrassing record you own?” and I didn’t have to think very hard OR very long to come up with a response.  Would you believe that the most embarrassing record I own is SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND?  No, not the good one…

Dear God, this record is a holy terror: the greatest songs of all-time bathed in the worst of the 70s.

The greatest songs of all-time splattered with the worst shit of the 70s.

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