HOORAY FOR ME! I finally have a fucking BLARRG like millions of other narcissistic idiots out there...

I will be filling it with all sorts of nonsense that I personally find amusing, disgusting, entertaining and most likely a little boring. I may even use it as a platform to subject you to my personal artwork, just like EVERY other miserable, aspiring artist out there in internet land. I can't guarantee that it will be an enjoyable experience for you - what I CAN guarantee is that it won't change the world in anyway shape or form.

In fact, I feel kinda sorry for you for stumbling onto this little speck on the World Wide Web, with millions of BLOGS and PORN WEBSITES vying for your precious time, you're wasting it here reading dopey shit. GO AWAY! Do something productive...make a sandwich, build a blanket fort, sit on the toilet and actually read a BOOK...Christ, do anything but hang around here.

That being said, if you have accidentally stumbled onto this site, feel free to poke around and make a comment or two if so inclined. Maybe I'll respond...or not, depends on my mood that day.

I look forward to wasting your time. -KEMO

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Facebook Music Challenge - Day 5

Yeah I know, I'm late as usual with my update...been busy helping bury the world in Star Wars merchandise. Anyway, If you're still reading this crap you are definitely a glutton for punishment. This next batch of life changing songs from my formative years of 1977-1978 will dazzle and thrill you like the previous lists did...

When I wasn't playing my KISS records at deafening levels, and jumping around like a maniac playing air guitar and sticking my tongue out, I was being exposed to some exciting new music on the local rock station. Some of these albums I would buy right away so I could enjoy in their entirety, others would be bought later - but they all made their mark on me in their own way.

1978 The Who - Who Are You

This was not the first Who song I ever heard, we had some 'Old Who' in the house, My Generation, I Can See For Miles, Mary Anne With The Shakey Hand etc. So I was already aware of the band, but it was this song that grabbed me by the balls first (before CSI ruined it for me forever). This song made me a life long Who fan. I played the hell out of this album, with 905 and Trick of the Light becoming my favorite tracks off the album. Naturally over the years I bought every damn Who album I could get my hands on finally discovering my ultimate favorite Who track...The Seeker from the 1971 compilation album: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy. 

1972 Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water

What can I say that hasn't already be said about this song before?... "This was the first song I learned how to play guitar on..etc. blah blah blah" Well guess what? I never learned how to play guitar, too much work and it required patience. Two things that weren't in my wheelhouse back then...or now. If I couldn't pick up the guitar and rip out an Ace Frehley solo, then I wasn't gonna waste my time. BUT...BUT, I could play a mean air guitar as I've said before-and this is one of the songs where I perfected my technique. Smoke On The Water punched me in my young nuts. This is the first Deep Purple song that I remember hearing, and the funny thing is it would take me a week or two to figure out the name of the band that played it! The first time I heard it on the radio, I had missed the first minute of the song so I never heard the band name...but figured out the title of the song because of the chorus. So for over a week I'd listen to the radio hoping to hear it again and find out the damn band's name. I finally heard the DJ mention that Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water would be playing after the commercial break and I nearly shit myself! DEEP PURPLE! THAT'S THE NAME OF THE BAND! I got a cassette ready and waited to hit record, cuz that's what you did in the olden days when you heard a song on the radio that you liked-you made a tape. Well I played that damn thing a hundred times, memorizing the lyrics (no internet back then to look them up) and falling in love with the story. Sharing my love of this song wth some friends at school one day, I was told by one of my more enlightened friends (he had an older brother), that the song was about 'doing bongs', smoke on the water-get it?. What the fuck was 'doing bongs', I asked? "It's when you smoke pot in a bong, dummy." Well...what was a bong I asked? I was not looking too cool at this point as you can imagine. A bong was explained to me and I was more confused than ever because I thought it was about a fire. Needless to say, my friend was a completely misinformed fucking moron.

Deep Purple's Made In Japan was the first album of their's that I ever bought, and I'm glad it was the first.  It exposed me to the band at their peak and LIVE. It was my first honest to God exposure to a bombastic 'jam-band' that could play the shit out of anything...I didn't know how to digest it at first. KISS was my favorite band remember...but Deep Purple was on another planet and it took me awhile to really grasp it. I mean come on, this album had the DEFINITIVE Live versions of: Speed King, Highway Star (with that crazy Goddamn Guitar solo), Child In Time (Howling banshee screams of Ian Gillan), Smoke On The Water (DUH!), Strange Kind Of Woman, Lazy & Space Trucking'! This band was so tight, to this day I'm still in shock when I listen to this album - that people used to play this good live with such ferocity.  This album opened up my ears to an entire new class of music and musicianship. Ritchie Blackmore would become my favorite guitarists for a VERY long time (kinda still is...love his tone) but not for awhile. Ace Frehley was still THE guitar God and everyone else sucked - KISS was the greatest rock band in the world, remember?

(This song also introduced me to the name Frank Zappa and the Mothers, but that's a story for later.)

1974 J Geils Band - Musta Got Lost

The J. Geils Band, a band from Worcester Massachusetts (literally my back yard), quickly became one of those iconic bands that became part of the soundtrack to my childhood. For some reason this live cut of the 1974 track of 'Musta Got Lost' from the album 1976 LIVE: Blow Your Face Out, is the song I remember as being the first J. Geils tune to be tattooed into my brain. It was Peter Wolf's intro rap to this song that hooked me in. This guy is one of the best front men in the history of Rock n Roll, he owned the stage. No one could top his stage banter, he's the greatest. Ironically, once again it was a live performance by a band that made me a fan for life. These guys kicked some serious ass, they didn't put on a concert, they put on a PARTY. A great R&B influenced Blues Band, that gets your foot a-tapping. They are still on my iPod.

1977 Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

I'm as shocked as you that this song made the list...I feel a little dirty. Remember how I mentioned that I would buy albums based on the cover artwork? I rest my case:

What 12 year old boy wouldn't want buy this?! This cover is badass! AND it was done by Richard Corbin, an artist I had just discovered in Heavy Metal magazine - a magazine that would go onto change my life as well. Well, naturally I was taken about by the music on THIS one...actually I was a little confused. I didn't know what the hell to make of it. It sounded like the soundtrack to a musical my mom would have watched on TV. I was actually REALLY depressed the first time I played...I had spent $7 on it and that was a lot of money to me. So I didn't play it for a really long time until my friends started telling me that it's an awesome album. This is a time when peer pressure forced me to listen to it again. So I did, over and over again...and I still hated the fucking thing. I just didn't get it. I still don't. But whenever Paradise By The Dashboard Light comes on the radio, which it STILL does on occasion, I find myself singing all the fucking words. I think the only impact this song had on me was my desire to have sex in a car. (I can't believe this album sold over 43 million copies...)

1978  Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - Hollywood Nights

Hollywood Nights! Another song about California! Who would have thought...I sense a strange pattern here, as if my destiny was prearranged by the music Gods. Oh! and ANOTHER Live track as well, that sucked me into fandom. Let's face it, Bob Seger kicks ass. I loved the 'story' in this song, it sounded so glamorous to 12 year old me - what the hell did I know. I would learn a few decades later what a God awful, shitty town Hollywood really is...but until then I would rock out to this song and all the others on the album: Stranger in Town. I love his voice, total rock n roll, like whiskey and cigarettes-like it should be.

1977 Steely Dan - Peg

Ahhhh, Steely Dan. The arrogant fucking hipsters from New York. I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first song I ever heard by them, it had to have been 'Reelin' In The Years', but that song didn't grab me the way this one did. It was the chorus of 'Peg' that perked up my ears. I couldn't make out what the hell I was hearing - was it horns, a voice, a weird ass sound effect? It was pretty cool and I dug it and would screech "PEG!" when I was alone, trying to mimic the sound. Years later I would discover it was Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers crooning that 'Peg' along with the horns that hooked me. But it would take until 1986, my sophomore year in college, for me to become a TRUE Steely Dan fan. It was a nice contrast to all the hardcore punk I was deep into at that time. In fact I would put Steely Dan on when producing all my great works of art for class, their bitchin' jazz, funk, R&B and pop grooves made the all nighters less painful. I never pretended to know what the hell they singing about-their lyrics are pretty fucked up, but what do you expect from a band named after a steam powered adult toy from the novel "Naked Lunch" by Edgar Burroughs.

How could I NOT love this band?

1978 Van Halen - You Really Got Me

1964 The Kinks - You Really Got Me

Here is a 'two for one' situation, and it's because Van Halen officially introduced me to The Kinks. When Van Halen's first album came out in 1978 it was a game changer for heavy rock/metal guitarists - Eddie Van Halen rewrote the book on how to play the guitar. People lost their shit. I became a fan of Van Halen from the very beginning. They were a really big deal in the 7-8th grade. It wasn't until I read that their biggest hit wasn't even theirs...it was by another band called The Kinks. How this band slipped by me before now is a mystery to me to this day. I MUST have heard a song or two of their's on the radio at some point? Well thanx to one of my Rock Magazines, I became enlightened and eventually purchased my first Kinks album. It was an import...that meant it was really special and was going to cost me more. I think I paid something like $12 for Well Respected Kinks, a compilation album from 1966. GREAT album! Side 1: A Well Respected Man, Where Have All The Good Times Gone, Till The End Of The Day, Set Me Free, Tired Of Waiting For You. Side 2: All Day And All Of The Night, I Gotta Move, Don't You Fret, Wait Till The Summer Comes Along, You Really Got Me. This was an incredible album for me to buy at the time...classic shit, right here. My love for The Kinks only grew from there. Two years later they would release their live album: One For The Road, (with the live version of Lola) and all of a sudden they were insanely popular again. I could finally find (and purchase) all their older albums that up until then were impossible to find. Their back catalog became relevant again. THEY became popular AGAIN...One of my favorite bands of all time. Pete Townshend once said: "the Kinks were...quintessentially English. I always think that Ray Davies should one day be poet laureate. He invented a new kind of poetry and a new kind of language for pop writing that influenced me from the very, very, very beginning." 

So thank you Van Halen.

1978 The Cars - Just What I Needed

Yep...The Cars. I played the hell out of this album as well, it was a totally new sound than what I was accustomed to hearing. They called it New Wave. I had NO frigging idea what the hell that was supposed to mean-I just called it rock. Another band from Boston, that got a lot of airplay on the local radio stations, so they seeped into my DNA. I'm a sucker for that annoyingly hypnotic synthesizer  sound in their songs-especially on their debut album. I guess this album would prime me (more like prepare me) for the crap that would come along in the late 70's early 80's when New Wave would dominate the airwaves. Yes, most of it would be total shit but I always had a soft spot for the Cars, they seemed to be better musicians than the rest. That's all I got, nothing witty or profound to say other than I really liked this album and I'd play it a lot.

1978 DEVO - Satisfaction

DEVO...talk about a total mindfuck in 1978. My first exposure to this band was THIS VIDEO on a late night music show-can't remember the name. I thought these guys sucked beyond belief. I told everyone I knew about this shitty band called DEVO...what the hell did DEVO mean anyway?! (I'd learn later) I was mesmerized. I couldn't take my eyes off them. I thought they were a joke band. They CERTAINLY weren't as great as KISS, what the hell was the deal with their costumes?! I totally wrote them off as shit. But the weird thing was, I couldn't stop talking about them. I was constantly telling people about this band, I couldn't shut the fuck up about this band. Then I started hearing them being played late at night on the radio, not prime time, but the time of night when DJs used to be able to pick their OWN music, and you'd be exposed to NEW stuff. Well one night they were playing album sides (those were the days) and they played DEVO's album: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! I heard Uncontrollable Urge, Satisfaction, Praying Hands, Space Junk, Mongoloid and Jocko Homo for the first time and... fell in love with the band.  Didn't totally understand what the hell they were trying to do or prove, but it didn't matter at that point, I was digging the weird quality to it. It was totally different to my usual diet of heavy guitar rock and wailing vocalists. I started to dip my toe into the New Wave pool a little more...just a little bit. I later became a SPUD, a story for another time.

1978 Blondie - Picture This

Two words: Debbie Harry

Honestly, that's all I need to say. I heard Blondie for the first time on that same radio station, during that same late night show and was INSTANTLY hooked. I was instantly hooked because they sounded just like an updated garage band from the 1960's to me. The groove and keyboard  sound hooked me in immediately. The album Parallel Lines, might as well be called a Greatest Hits album. Hanging On The Telephone, One Way Or Another, Picture This, Fade Away And Radiate, Pretty Baby, I Know But I Don't Know, 11:59, Will Anything Happen?, Sunday Girl, Heart Of Glass, I'm Gonna Love You Too, Just Go Away...I mean COME ON?! Debbie Harry SOUNDED sexy. Imagine how my head exploded when I finally saw a picture of her for the first time...12 year old Kenny had his first girlfriend. I was pathetic as hell. I was like a teenage girl pissing herself watching the Beatles, and most likely squealed like one as well. When I thought about her...I'm sharing too much right now, Debbie made me feel things. As for the song that REALLY sealed the deal for me, it was Picture This. Sure, I liked Hanging On The Telephone, One Way Or Another, Sunday Girl, Heart Of Glass, (the ones they played to death on the radio) but they didn't come close to being as sexy as Picture This. I loved the power of her voice in this song...the little growl in her voice drove (still drives) me nuts. Debbie Harry was hands down the sexiest woman in rock.  Hell, she STILL exudes sex appeal at 70 years old.  


FYI this picture hung on my bedroom wall for a very long time, and it was a lot to deal with for a 12 year old...I'm just saying.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Facebook Music Challenge - Day 4

Yeah, this is where shit gets 'REAL'...

It's 1976 / 77, and I'm 11 years old and I'm listening to the radio on my own. I'm listening to the radio a lot. I discovered this thing called FM Radio and they played 'different' music, it had more energy and balls than the Folk & Hippie stuff I had been listening to, and I was hooked. Sometimes they would play 2 songs by the same band in a row! My mind and ears were forever blown. I listened to everything. I didn't like everything but I tried to give it all a chance. I wanted to be 'THAT GUY' at school to talk about a new band before anyone else, and show how cool I was. I needed all the help I could get back then. This was also the the time when I began to BUY music. This was a seismic shift in my young life, buying music that I liked. Saving allowance money, begging for money, creating wish lists for birthdays and Christmas - I did it all in order to get those albums I NEEDED. I was a collector before I even knew there was a term for my disease.When I heard a band I really liked, I was a fan forever and made sure I had everything they ever created...even if you ended up doing a lame ass disco track pandering to the latest musical trend.

So for today's post, I thought I do something a little differently. I'm going to start with a few 'guilty pleasure' songs that came from this period. I could do an entire Blog on 'guilty pleasure' songs but I'll save you from that sonic nightmare. There were so many to choose from this period it was really hard for me, so I only picked the top 3 this way my entire list didn't turn into a weird Disco Vagina-fest.

1976 Starland Vocal Band - Afternoon Delight

Ok, before you bust my balls about this one, you have to realize that this was a MONSTER hit in 1976. It was on the radio all the time-you couldn't escape it. It was also a staple of jukeboxes from every campground we ever visited...some asshole was always playing it in the arcades. This song has seeped into my DNA unfortunately, and I can't get rid of it. Stupid band name and stupid song, or so I thought. It wasn't until I was in college, when it popped up a radio show I used to listen at the time, that I actually listened to the song and realized they were singing about 'bumping uglies' during the afternoon! 11 year old me totally missed out on that one. It's now a favorite of mine as well as Ron Burgundy's.

1977 ABBA - Take a Chance

Another song about boning or wife swapping...who knows? The 70's were a horny time. ABBA was the shits in the 70's, the airwaves were pulsating with their Swedish Beat. If you didn't find yourself humming along to their hypnotic pop masterpieces, you weren't human. I can't apologize for liking ABBA, I was brainwashed.

1976 K.C. & The Sunshine Band - I'm Your Boogie Man

Hey Listen! A song about sex and written while on coke, who would have thought? All kidding aside, I love this song because of the horn section. Funky white boy laying down the jams. I can't dance, never could (unless it entailed smashing into someone), but this song makes me shake my flat white ass like nobody's business. My family does not like seeing this. These guys had a great run during Disco's heyday, and we will leave it at that.

1977 Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way

1977 the year Fleetwood Mac owned the airwaves with their album, Rumors. The album has sold in excess of 40 million copies, so chances are you've heard this song at least once. This album introduced me to Stevie Nicks, with whom I would have a secret love affair for over 39 years - and counting. In fact it's so secret, she doesn't even know about it.

1976 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

My first real taste of bombastic over the top theatrical musical masturbation that was possible in rock music. I had absolutely no idea what the hell we was singing about, and didn't care because there was so much going on, and it was awesome. The harmonies and Brain May's guitar break in this song was the icing on the cake. I became a fan of Queen the first time I heard it. It would be a year or two later when I saw the video of this song on one of our local late night music shows that really sealed the deal. It was Freddie Mercury, and his hypnotic overbite that made me a believer.

1976 Foghat - Fool For The City

Slow Ride may be one of the greatest Stoner Jams ever, but Fool for the City is the first Foghat song I lost my shit for - especially this live version from 1977. There was just something about this live version that got me all amped up. Saw them live a few times when I was older and they never disappointed. They were a great live rock band. I was developing a series love for live recordings early in my musical education...

1976 Boston - More Than A Feeling

Classic Rock now...it was simply called rock back then. This song had a lot of people singing along back in the day and Tom Scholz's guitar sound blew people's minds. I dug the guitar sound but I was more impressed with Brad Delp's vocals, and still try to this day to hit those notes. I fail miserably every time. In the 39 years of the band's existence they have only released 6 albums, the first 3 are the only ones you need to buy...

1976 Peter Frampton - Do You Feel The Way I Do

Do I REALLY need to tell you how fucking awesome this song is?! Another Classic Rock staple. One of the greatest Double Live Albums of all time from 1976, eventually selling over 11 million copies. Sure, the album is great an all, but you do you wanna know what makes that album so great? TALK BOX. 'A wonderful little effects unit that allows musicians to modify the sound of a musical instrument by shaping the frequency content of the sound and to apply speech sounds (in the same way as singing) onto the sounds of the instrument. Typically, a talk box directs sound from the instrument into the musician's mouth by means of a plastic tube adjacent to their vocal microphone. The musician controls the modification of the instrument's sound by changing the shape of the mouth,  "vocalizing" the instrument's output into a microphone.' (thanx wikipedia.) That goddamn thing blew my mind. Long story short, this song basically ruined it for anyone else after him, that wanted to use this magical mystery box of sonic awesomeness-still gives me goosebumps.

1976 Nazareth - Hair Of The Dog

We're getting into some sacred territory here...I cannot describe to you how this band grabbed hold of me and never let go - cuz I have no idea. I am a HUGE Nazareth fan. This is an example of where I bought an album based solely on the artwork, never having heard the band before in my life. I KNOW the album was released in 1975, but I bought it in 1977...
How frigging cool is this cover artwork?! Well the gamble paid off, This album kicked my young ass three ways to Sunday. Side A: Hair of the Dog ("Now your messing' with a son-of-a-bitch". I thought THAT was the coolest thing in the world. Swearing in a Rock song!), Miss Misery (Black Sabbath feel, monster fucking riff in this tune), Love Hurts (Classic Rock staple and their biggest hit, the definitive version of the famous Boudleaux Bryant song), Changin' Times (Classic Dan McCafferty wailing and a bitchin'  groove) Side B: Beggar's Day (Another groove filled tune), Rose in the Heather (Instrumental track that took me a while to like-I wanted more riffing and grooving at this age), Whiskey Drinkin' Woman (Great 
laid back song), Please Don't Judas Me (10 minute song that is awesome with Headphones! Very mystical vibe to it...loved it as a kid) So, getting back to the track: Hair of the Dog, you know how everyone goes gaga over Frampton's use of the Talk Box?...well, Dan McCafferty used it with a fucking set of BAGPIPES a year BEFORE!!! Beyond cool, beyond awesome. And one last comment, Axl Rose is a pathetic Dan McCafferty wannabe.

1975 KISS - Rock and Roll All Night

You KNEW it was coming, and I could write forever about this band and what a profound influence it has had my life so far-but I won't bore you. I'll try to keep it short. It was around Christmas 1976 and stumbled upon this picture in one of the many rock magazines that I used get, Circus, Hit Parader or Creem (I forget which one), and it blew my 10 year old mind. I was deep into monsters and stuff and when I saw this guy in makeup and covered in blood-I knew I found my new hero. I had heard the song: Rock and Roll All Night on the radio, and I liked it a lot but I never gave it much thought. In fact, for the longest time I never knew who sang it. Then I came across this photo with an accompanying article about this band called KISS and how no one knows what they look like and their concerts are the best in the world and all that kinda stuff etc. Then they mention their hit Rock and Roll All Night, and it clicks. Hey! I like THAT song...and THIS IS THE GUY THAT SINGS IT?!!! This was a lot for me to take in at that moment. As I continued to read, they talked about how he breathes fire....HE BREATHES FIRE TOO?!!! Spits BLOOD, breathes FIRE, and LOOKS like this?!!! I think I had my first orgasm. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I was hooked. Take all my money. I'm a fan forever. 

I bought that album as soon as I could afford it. It was a double LP and those cost a little more, but oh, was it so worth it. I played it to death...literally. I think I bought that album 3 times before I switched over to CD. KISS made me want to be in a band, but I was lazy and wasn't motivated enough to actually learn how to play guitar - so I played air guitar instead. I'm the best goddamn air guitar player in the world by the way, I've practiced my chops for 40 years now. Since I didn't actually play - I would draw instead. I would draw Gene all the time. My bedroom walls were covered in posters and pages from magazines of this band - but primarily of Gene. I wanted to be Gene. When I look back now, I realize I kinda had a 'Single White Female' thing going on...it weirded out my Dad a little bit.

I had the albums, toys, comics, trading cards, clothing (ask my wife, she used to bust my balls about it in the 7th grade) basically anything with a KISS logo on it. I was THAT kid, and I thought I was cool as shit. But in all seriousness, this band truly inspired me creatively, pushed me to always go one step further and do the best at whatever I did. I know that sounds corny but it's true. They came along at the perfect moment in my life when I was the most receptive to this kind of thing. For that I'm truly grateful. 

To this day, I'm still a loyal member of the KISS Army...even though they recorded a lame ass disco track...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Facebook Music Challenge - Day 3

As I reflect on my music choices for Day 3 - (approx. 1975/76), when I was 9-10 years old, I sense a pattern or a style of music that I'm gravitating towards. I'm slowly becoming a hippie. Yeah, there was a time when I thought hippies were cool and I wanted to be one. I really dug the long hair and not bathing thing-but I'm getting way ahead of myself.  With exception of a few tracks, I remember vividly that around this age I was really drawn to the San Francisco/Psychedelic sound of the late 60's etc. So I present to you another block of 10 songs that had a profound effect on me as I was being chauffeured around town listening to AM radio and all it's 'tinny' glory.

In no particular order:

1963 Allan Sherman - Hello Muddah Hello Fadduh, Rat Fink

NOT a Hippie record. A GEM of an album that I found within the stack of Mom and Dad's records (right next to an awesome Redd Foxx album)...I wore this one out as well. So many good songs on this one, but I have to go with the classic for my pick-even though I snuck in Rat Fink (another personal favorite) as well with the above video.
Small side note, I use to stare at this album cover trying to figure out where they got all those nuts to bury him. I know, kinda of weird thing to ponder, but hey...what can I say?  I also believe that this was one of the first albums where I actually started to take notice of Graphic Design...I didn't call it that back then (I had no idea what the hell Graphic Design was), but I liked how they wrote the song titles on the back of the album. I always thought that was cool. I'm sure this is when I started becoming more aware of ALBUM COVERS in general. I would begin to look at 'records' in a different way now...and purchase them based on artwork alone.

1969 The Cowsills - Hair

I think I drove my Mom nuts singing this one all the time, it would be my unofficial theme for a while. I never learned all the words to it, until The Dickies did their version of it in 1989 and reminded me how much I loved this song as a kid. So I would walk around the house singing, "Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair!" over and over again like Rainman. It must have been hell for anyone within earshot. Great song and great memories, one of the main building blocks for my musical Hippie Altar. Oh yeah, in case you didn't know-The Cowsills were the inspiration for The Partridge Family, look it up. Don't say I never taught you anything.

1968 The Zombies - Time of the Season

Organ + Hand Claps + Gasps = Sublime, Hippie Counterculture Bullshit

...and I bought it, hook, line and sinker as a 10 year old from Westerly Rhode Island in 1976. Remember, I wanted to be a Hippie.

1967 Scott McKenzie - If You're Going To San Francisco

This is where the shit starts getting deep. Don't be a hater, I was 10 and this was a 'pretty' song. I was REALLY hung up on moving to California for some reason. So It's REALLY creepy when I reflect on it now...considering the fact that I AM in California now. Weird how this shit happens. The dream of living in an old 'Painted Lady' in San Francisco has finally left me though...too fucking expensive, and I hate Hippies now.

1967 Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit / Somebody To Love

The Queen of Hippies, Grace Slick. Looking back now, I really think she was my first music crush. I remember seeing some performance on PBS or something and she sang these songs and I was mesmerized. I think my prepubescent heart fell in love with her...just like everyone else did back in the day, from what I've read. This is when I started wishing I was older so I could move out and be a Hippie. Little did I realize, by the time I became aware of this music that ship had sailed...the dream was over and everyone needed to take a bath.

1965 The Castaways - Liar, Liar

A break from all the Hippie shit, this is classic American Garage/Psychedelia and a song that drove me batshit crazy. The Organ...yes, the organ - and the scream before the guitar riffing grabbed me by my nuts ( I was too young to have balls). This was another gem of a song on my 3 LP collection called 40 Funky Hits. It was this song that got me into 'Garage' music...

1965 The Beach Boys - Barbara Ann

I KILLED this song when I sang it...I could hit all the high notes, it was glorious and it was fun. Now I sing it with my daughter and I just kill it, and it's far from glorious. My FIRST favorite Beach Boys song...there are many. And yet ANOTHER example of why I needed to get my ass to California!

1967 The Youngbloods - Get Together

Another Hippie anthem sneaking it's way into the list of most influential songs of my life. Spinal Tap definitely lifted the spirit of this song when they wrote, 'Listen To The Flower People'. Anyway, this is a weird one for me. I honestly have no idea why it's gotten ahold of me the way it has, there must be some trauma I'm suppressing or some shit like that. Who knows? Maybe it was in some Vietnam War movie and I was feeling sensitive and shit...

1969 Blood, Sweat and Tears - Spinning Wheel

This is another Dad and Ken song...this was on the radio all the time when I was growing up AND in the car with my Dad. For the longest time I thought it was a song by Chicago because of the funky ass horns, and couldn't understand why it wasn't on the Chicago's Greatest Hits 8-track. I also have memories of getting violently car sick and throwing up grape soda when I hear this song. Back in the day my Dad would smoke in the car, like most Dads would do back in the day before seat belts. Well, this time it was winter, windows are rolled up, Dad is smoking, the heat is blasting, I'm in the back seat, bundled up in a heavy coat, belly full of grape soda,  sliding around on the back bench seat overtime we go around a corner, getting the little 'tickle' in my naughty bits whenever he goes over a bump, We get to the point in the song where you hear that strange merry-go-round break....and it happens. My guts explode from inside my body and I make a hell of mess. Good times.

Spinning wheel reminds me of burning purple vomit every time I hear it.

Now for something completely different:

1964 Mikis Theodorakis - Zorba's Dance

They called me 'Little Zorba' in town when I was a kid. I shit you not, they really did. Well, maybe not EVERYONE...everyone who knew my Greek Grandfather called me that (he knew a lot of people). This song was played in my grandfathers house as far back as I can remember, and my brother and I would dance around the dining room table like two squirrels on meth when we were little. But it wasn't until I was about 10 years old when I FINALLY saw the film that this song appeared in, and it gave me a whole new feeling...I wanted to be Zorba for real. I realized right away that I was too anxious and spastic to be Zorba then-he's much more laid back, sort of like a...Hippie.


Facebook Music Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 finds me reflecting on 10 of the most memorable LP cuts from when I was 8-9 years old...1974/75ish. I have to preface this by saying that I wasn't playing these albums...it was my parents this time. 

There was ALWAYS music playing in the house when we grew up. That stereo was rocking to all kinds of shit! I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a variety of stuff at an early age, and my current tastes in music reflect that as you will see as we go along with this 'challenge'. These are songs that are imprinted onto my DNA but not by choice, and I have come to 'love' them in a bizarre kinda way. If and when they play on the car radio, much to my family's dismay I will turn them up and sing along...good times.

Once again, in no particular order, here we go:

1964I know I played The Beatles - All My Loving

I'm not entirely sure if this was the first Beatles song I ever heard, all I know is I played the shit outta this one once I discovered the album in my parents stack. 2 minutes of pure pop gold. I know I played: 'I Wanna Hold Hand', 'I Saw Her Standing There' & 'I Wanna Be Your Man' a lot as well, but it was 'All My Loving' that I would always find myself humming...until I heard another Beatles song.
We'll discuss that later.

1958 Boots Randolph - Yakety Sax

YEARS before I ever heard of Benny Hill, I was exposed to this little gem of AWESOMENESS! Like I had stated in yesterday's post, my Dad played the Sax...the Tenor Sax. Boots Randolph was a GOD in our house. There was no shortage of Boots in the Morgan household. This song was orgasmic for a little kid. You could jump around like a maniac when you listened to it...Benny Hill would prove my point years later when I watched him for the first time with my grandfather. GREAT memories because of this song.

1965 The Mama's and the Papa's - California Dreamin'

If you don't like this song I will fight you. Once again a song about this magical place called California...I had to go there! Those HARMONIES!!! I fell in love with the Mama's and the Papa's right then and there, and I'm still in love with their hippy bullshit. Great song that makes me all tingly inside and brings me back to a time when I'm playing with my toys and dreaming of going to California...if I only knew then what I know now. Shit.

1964 Peter, Paul and Mary - Riding in my Car

Yeah...I think my Mom was a bit of a 'Folky'...and I had to suffer through this kind of stuff growing up. I cannot tell you how much I hated 'Puff the Magic Dragon'...Peter, Paul and Mary were a tough act for me to listen to, and this is the only song I liked. I liked it because my Dad was pretty damn handy and had installed 4 car speakers into the ceiling of our kitchen, So what, you say? Well when this song played, when Peter or Paul (I have no idea which one did it) made the racing car noises, it seemed as if it was racing around your head, due to the stereo effect. I always thought that was cool.

1972 Neil Diamond - Song Sung Blue

Neil Diamond. Growing up in the 70's this guy was everywhere. You couldn't escape Neil even if you tried. I could have picked ANY song he sang prior to 1975, but I always came back to this ditty. It's so Goddamn happy and bouncy. I almost feel like I'm being tricked into liking this song. Damn you Neil.

1972 Bread - Baby I'm A Want You

This is when I officially grew my vagina. The album: The Best of Bread was on constant rotation in the Morgan house for awhile...Maybe my parents were swingers and I never knew it. Who the hell knows. This is proof how you can totally screw up your kids, just play a whiney ass album over and over during their formative years and watch how years later they will listen to it late at night when no one else can hear it. My love for this band goes against EVERYTHING I stand for, or believe in. It's my dirty little secret that is finally out...I feel dirty even admitting it. I need a fucking shower right now. 'Baby I'm a Want You'...what bullshit is that? What school you went, asshole?

1970 Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer

A GIANT Album that was on repeat (fighting for air time with Bread) in the Morgan house. I think my Mom wore this one out. I was intrigued by the barking/farting sound in the song. I could never figure out what the hell it was. Once again, killer harmonies that sucked me in. To this day a guilty pleasure.

1971 Cat Stevens - Moonshadow

This song reminds me of driving around with my Dad (and him singing) with Cat Steven's Greatest Hits playing on the car's 8-Track player. I could have picked any song off that album, they're all great. But I picked this one because it all came full circle for me while I was in college. In 1985-1987 a limited series comic book came out by the same name: Moonshadow and it was inspired by the song. It was written by J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Jon J. Muth, Kent Williams and George Pratt which I love to this day. Check it out. 

1972 Seals and Croft - Summer Breeze

What's that you say? Ken, is this another example of amazing harmonies? Why yes it is!!! I pray this song comes on the radio when I'm driving with my family so I can dazzle them with my harmonizing prowess when we get to 2:19 minutes into the song. I let it rip at the top of my lungs and my family sits back in total awe. They cannot believe I haven't made a career from singing. Just aren't enough hours in the day, unfortunately making collectible Star Wars costumes takes up a lot of my time.

1973 Chicago - Feelin' Stronger Everyday

HOLY SHIT!!! Vocals AND Horns harmonizing together!!! What kind of sorcery is this?! Another Car 8-Track with my Dad. This songs blows me away to this day. Those horns make my naughty bits tingle every time. I equate it to the feeling you get (I think only guys will understand this) when you're a little kid, and your Dad drives really fast over a bump in the road and you get that little tickle in your pants. That's the feeling I get when I play this song really loud. My wife doesn't like it when I get that feeling.

That's it for now, 'talk' to you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Facebook Music Challenge - Day 1

Yeah I know, this isn't Facebook so why am I doing a Facebook post on my Blog? Simple-I don't want to flood all my Facebook friends newsfeeds with the following post. They can click on THIS link if the feel like punishing themselves with more of my bullshit.

I'm not gonna follow the rules of this challenge - I'm so punk. 

The 'rules' are: Once you are nominated by a friend (thank you Ian Coote, you dick.), you are supposed to pick 1 song a day for 7 days that influenced you in some way. Naturally I cannot do that. I love music too damn much to single out 7 friggin' songs to tell the story of me! I'm a complicated kinda guy... for Christ sake, I'm an Artist. So what I've decided to do is list 10 important tracks each day for the next 7 days, from some of the important times in my life.

I already know going into this that I'm gonna fail miserably, but what the hell, at least you'll be able to listen to some fun music in the process. It was 1973/74, I was 8 years old, and started going through Mom & Dad's 45's and listening to EVERYTHING. The following songs are the ones I remember most vividly playing over and over again like a mental patient.

So without further delay, in NO particular order, I give you the first 10 songs of my life.

1959 Dave 'Baby' Cortez - The Happy Organ

My first exposure to the grandeur of the rock organ...God I loved this song. It's so fucking happy, how can you not smile when you listen to this? How can you not get the urge to race down to the roller dome to go roller skating? ( I never did, cuz I can't roller-skate...ice skate, yes...roller-skate; not so much.) Regardless of your ability to stand on wheeled shoes, this song makes you wanna try anyway. THAT'S what makes it a great song.

1958 Link Wray - Rumble

At 8 years old I wanted to be in a gang and have this be my theme song...it was so bad ass. I think I seriously wore the grooves outta this one. I remember this 45 being a heavier vinyl than the others, and always being covered in dust for some reason. The dust made it pop and hiss even more adding to the raunchiness of this song - I loved it. This song made me a Link Wray fan for life, to this day I'll find myself listening to his music and it instantly brings me right back to me, sitting cross leg in front of the record player just staring at the 45 spinning round an round...dreaming of switchblades and greasy hair.

1958 The Champs - Tequila

Much to my wife's dismay, I hate Tequila (tastes like burnt ass hair), but I still LOVE the song. And no, it's not because Pee Wee Herman did a brilliant dance to it, I loved it way before then. My Dad played Sax, this has a great Sax riff in it, end of story. 

1963 The Surfaris -Wipeout

My FIRST exposure to Surf Music...I was hooked instantly and have become a life long fan of the wet-drippy guitar sound ever since. This single got played A LOT, and loud in my house. When my cousins and I were younger, we used beg our cousin Mike to play this on his drums during family get togethers...he was a bitchin' drummer...and it was awesome. I remember that more than once we'd get him in trouble for playing during the family functions because it was so loud, and we were jumping around like maniacs. Great times. :-)

1960 The Fendermen - Mule Skinner Blues

This is the GREATEST sing-a-long for a tone deaf 8 year old kid that I can think of, I used to kill this song! Still can, given the chance. Loved, Loved, LOVED this song, imagine my delight when I heard The Cramps do a killer version of it 29 years later! (That's a story for a different time). I never did find out who actually bought this single, my Mom or Dad, but it was in the pile of 45's so it's anyone's guess. Later on I received my own 'copy' of it as part of a compilation: 40 Funky Hits, and proceeded to wear that version out as well.

1959 Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee

Ironically, this song also appeared on 40 Funky Hits as well! Love this song. First song I ever listened to where a guy gets shot for cheating at dice...AWESOME!!! It also had a great sax riff in it as well. Can NEVER go wrong with a squealing sax in a song...it's too damn sexy.

1961 Del Shannon - Runaway

More 'Happy Organ' flourishes for me to get giddy over, another treasured 45 from my youth. Imagine my delight when it was used as the opening song for the 1986 TV series: Crime Story! 

1965 The Rolling Stones - Get Off My Cloud

When I first listened to this song I thought it was hilarious...'Get off of my Cloud', what the HELL does THAT mean?! How can you live on a cloud?...I was 8 years old, remember. But the more I listened to it, the more hypnotized I got to the song's groove, it just grabbed me. I instantly became a Stones fan right there and didn't even realize it-they became part of my DNA. This song laid the foundation for my love of British Rock-n-Roll from the 1960's.

1963 Jan & Dean - Surf City

Two girls for every guy...count me in! Naturally, being 8 years old at the time I'd probably fight them rather than kiss them, but whatever, they were singing about the California dream...and I wanted to go there. That song seriously planted the seed for me, I shit you not. I was gonna move to California someday, get a Hot Rod, go Surfing and get two Swinging Honeys. Well I moved to California alright...still waiting for the other stuff. In all seriousness though, this song knocked me out. It was the amazing harmonies that knocked me out and influenced my future taste in music. I started being drawn to songs with strong harmonies, as you will see in the days ahead. Jan & Dean kicked ass, I still listen to them today.

1964 The Animals - House of the Rising Sun

By far my FAVORITE song from this period of my life. If there was one song that would make me lose my shit, it was this one. That FUCKING ORGAN!!! THAT FUCKING VOICE!!! You mean you can scream and sing at the same time?! I had no idea that was possible. It took me years to figure out what the hell they were singing about...but when I did, it made me love the song even more. To this day, that song makes me tingle and brings me back to that spot on the floor in front of the record player watching that needle go to the center. Then picking up the arm and starting it all over again. 

I wish I still had these 45's.



I inked the damn thing. I had to go with the Faber-Castell Brush Pen because my Windsor Newton India Ink was a little gummy, and I wasn't feeling the love if you know what I mean. The Brush Pen was obviously not my first choice and normally I wouldn't have used it for this...but whatever.

The overall results aren't what I was hoping for, should have spent a little more time planning my attack and laid in some shading guide lines before I starting committing to the ink... The Hat and it's highlights were the first casualty.

...so I started bouncing around trying to figure out what the hell I was gonna do...

...did an eye and his nose and started feeling good...

...then I started getting cocky and proceeded to screw up his mouth because I wasn't paying attention (didn't help I was listening to The Revolting Cocks and giggling like an idiot). I lost track of my pencil lines and made a hot mess on the right side of his mouth...Oh well. Better luck next time.

Gratuitous 'art shot' of the final 'masterpiece' on the desk with pen just peeking into frame...This is what all the cool kids do on their Blogs and Instagram accounts. I really need to start putting in the hours again and fine tune my game a bit...parts of this are shit.

Pretty scan of him...warts and all.

Oh well, back to the drawing board!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Make More Art!

New Year's Resolution...make MORE art.

A resolution I make EVERY year.

A resolution I break EVERY year.

The odds are stacked against me, and I'm destined to fail. Too little time, too many life distractions (that whole thing of making a living keeps getting in the way), I actually like spending what little free time I have, with my family...shocking I know. I don't have the stamina to pull the all-nighters like I used to do...it hurts now. 

Just like this dumb ass blog...that I promised myself I would maintain on a regular basis. Who the fuck am I kidding? Writing 'checks' my ass can't cash, and making hollow promises.

But THIS time it will be different - I've come to the realization that the only way I will truly be happy is if I MAKE MORE ART...for myself. My goal for 2016 is to actually keep a sketchbook, sounds easy right? Well it's something I haven't done since 1986, because of my own anxiety issues. I discovered it was easier for me to scribble on loose sheets of paper - because they didn't feel so permanent and I could crumbled them and chuck'em in the trash and no one would ever see them and judge their lameness.

Well, I'm considerably older than that dumbass art school kid now, and I don't give a shit what someone thinks of a half ass drawing they may see in my sketchbook. Who knows, my sketchbook may be filled with boobie drawings like the ones I use do in the 3rd grade. That would make for an interesting conversation. But first I need to go buy one, I'll do that tomorrow...(see, already I'm making excuses)

I am serious about making more art, so I decided to start drawing this guy.

I figured since I'm starting to deal with some of my 'art' anxieties, I may as well draw one of childhood anxieties. Too long of a story to share right now, let's just say that my Dad terrorized me with this fucking doll when I was a snot nosed little punk. I also want to thank my friend Bryan for 'reminding' me of him earlier today...

Thanx buddy.

Well, after about an hour or so...and a shit load of 'loose' paper - I finally had a sketch I was happy with and transferred it to a sheet of bristol for inking. I'm still deciding if I want go old school and break out the Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes, or go with quick and dirty Faber-Castell Brush Pens...

I'll document the process and hopefully I won't fuck it up for all to see.

I've distracted myself long enough with this Blog update, time to finish him. But first, I'm gonna make a cup of tea.