Blog Archive

Sunday, May 31, 2015


The web has changed an awful lot since I got my first computer in 1996.  Back then, social media didn't exist like it does today.  But it wasn't difficult to find communities of like-minded people.  There were message boards, newsgroups, chat rooms, and e-mail groups.  It wasn't difficult at all to become a member of a web community.

When I first got online, I had an AOL subscription, because I wanted access to their message board communities.  I met a number of really cool people on those boards.  I also got bogged down in sending, receiving and re-sending jokes through e-mail.  This was the equivalent to shares and re-tweeting.  This only went on for a few months before I realized how annoying it really was to open your inbox and see 43 messages, and nothing of interest.

Back then, if you wanted to have an online presence, you needed a personal website.  There were WYSIWYG applications that you could use to build your website without having to know anything about HTML, but if you really wanted to have control over the way your website appeared, you really needed to learn markup.

And there were tons of really crappy websites.  Mine included.  Nobody really surfs the web anymore.  These days, everything's pretty much presented to you via Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social media options that I'm not hip enough to even know by name.  In many ways, Facebook has turned the internet to an even more passive experience. 

I've found that Facebook is better for a community experience, while Twitter is better for keeping up with what celebrities are up to.  There's often a lot of complaining going on about the way the masses follow celebrities, but I think we can all name at least a few celebrities that we enjoy keeping up with.

So, it's under these circumstances that I've brought my website back from the dead.  I'm sure there's no real purpose to doing it, because I don't really expect to get any traffic.  I never really got much traffic back in the day to begin with.  But one thing I like about having a website is that it gives me someplace to upload the things I create so that I can share them with my friends if I like.

I also like to record guitar riffs that I come up with, and make them available to anyone that might need bumper music for a podcast or their own videos.  As long as I receive proper credit, I don't mind it being used royalty-free.  I'm never going to make a living at it, so the idea of someone hearing my music for whatever reason is appealing.  Even if it's just background music that's largely ignored.

So, while it's really unnecessary for me to have a website in 2015, I am happy to have brought it back.  I've enjoyed, for the most part, re-designing it these past few weeks.  Even if I've struggled a bit to make some of the content work the way I'd like.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why do I do this to myself?

So, I figured it would be a nice feature to have the latest episode of the podcast embedded in the web page.

Initially, I did it the easy way, which would be the hard way in the long run, meaning I'd have to update the code that embeds the audio in the page every time we issued a new episode.  So I decided that I should have the page read the rss feed for the latest episode title and location.

This was a mistake.

Not because I broke the page or anything.  Initially, it was pretty easy to do, until I realized that my synchronous request was poor programming practice.

I could have been lazy and said, "yeah, well, screw it, it's my site."  But, dammit, 13 years working in IT made me realize that, yeah, that's not right. So I spent another couple of hours figuring out how to make an asynchronous request with a callback so that I would be doing it the right way.

So, the upshot is, I've spent far more of my off time programming than I would like to.  I mean, I took a vacation day this week because I was about to start losing time, and what did I spend the day doing?  Coding my fucking website.

Shoot me.  Just fucking shoot me.

Oh, and the embedded audio of the latest episode thing works.  All that work for something that will probably never be used.

Oh well. At least I learned something about asynchronous HTTP requests that I'm sure I'll forget by Monday.  Hell, I probably learned this at work at some point and have promptly forgotten it.  Why?  Because I do it so fucking often.

Fuck me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New website design

A few weeks ago, I brought back to the web.  The website has gone through many incarnations from when I originally created it back in 1996 on America Online, with my 5 megabytes of allocated server space.

Initially, it was a fan site for Sammy Hagar, Y&T and Rick Springfield.  Later incarnations saw pages devoted to "Weird Al" Yankovic (which I called "AlNet", a "parody" of the, now defunct, RockNet, using a similar design. -- I got the idea from "Yankovic!" which itself, was a parody of the Yahoo! web portal).

Eventually, I jettisoned the fan pages, and devoted it to my own content.  Nothing much, just a place to host some guitar licks and riffs I had recorded, photos I had taken, and some other personal stuff.

The thing with having a website is, I'm always tweaking the damned thing.  Creating new designs, because I get tired of the last.

So, when I brought it back, the purpose was to give me a place to host this podcast.  Instead of registering "", I found that was available again (It had been used as a Karoake business out of Denver, at one point, and something else, before that -- I don't recall) so I decided that I would reclaim my domain.

So, after reclaiming my domain, I put the old files, which I had backed up from when I still had the site some 8 years ago.

I soon came to the realization that the site needed to be updated pretty badly.  The old content still worked, but it looked 8 years old.

So, I've spent the past couple of weeks replacing the tables with DIVs and CSS, but still maintaining the existing design.  I added a page for the podcast, jettisoned my photo galleries, yet, the site still looked 8 years old.  I really liked that design, but I realized that it really didn't play well with mobile devices.

So, over the past few days I went through the site and totally revamped all of the pages to use a design that would work better with mobile devices.  I came up with something that I'm pretty happy with.  There were some things about the old design that I really liked, and thought looked cute, so I've archived the old version of the site, although it won't be updated with any of the new content.

I'm sure there's a good chance that I might wind up making more changes, perhaps even jettisoning the whole thing and starting over.

But, for the time being, I have a design I'm satisfied with, and I learned a few things in the process, which, theoretically I can apply to work.

If nothing else, I'm back.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Thrill Is Gone

With the possible exception of Edward Van Halen's Frankenstrat, there has, quite possibly, never been a more famous guitar than B.B. King's Lucille.

I wasn't a huge B.B. King fan, but I appreciated what he did.  I even have a couple of his CDs laying around here somewhere.

While I was in college in the late 1990's/early 2000's, I got hooked on watching Nick At Night's T.V. Land, when I wasn't doing homework or studying for an exam.  During this period, one of my favorite shows to watch was Sanford & Son.  There was an episode of the show on which B.B. King appeared.  He performed "The Thrill Is Gone" on the episode. That got me interested in his music.  So I picked up a couple of his CDs.

It would be a lie to say that I was heavily influenced by his playing, but I'm sure that the exposure to it didn't hurt my playing.  It's impossible to listen to someone like B.B. King and not be influenced in some way.  I'd still like to get a hollow-bodied or semi-hollow-bodied guitar, just to see what I could do with it.

So, it's a sad day when we lose a great like B.B. King.  I expect that there will be a lot of blog posts about this subject, and I really wish I had more to say about it than he'll be missed.  But it seemed kind of obligatory to say something about it.  As a music fan, and a guitar player, I feel it's necessary to, at the very least, acknowledge his passing.

At the same time that we acknowledge that he's gone, and the world of music will be a little less awesome in his absence, we should acknowledge the amazing career he had, and celebrate the fact that he was able to continue performing to such a ripe age.  He might not have died doing what he loved, but he did what he loved for a very, very long time. And that's worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Steel Panther

One of my favorite acts to come out in the past decade is Steel Panther.  Their funny, wholly inappropriate lyrics crack me up.  To top it off, these guys are top-notch musicians.  They might not be responsible for the renaissance that 80's hard rock bands are enjoying today, but they certainly are evidence of it.

They are one part parody, one part homage to the glam bands that rose to prominence in the mid 1980's, only to be crushed by rap and grunge in the 1990's.

It's easy to want to dismiss them as a novelty act, because of their lyrical content, but novelty acts generally don't have much staying power, and we shouldn't be so quick to write them off as such.  Look at how long "Weird Al" Yankovic has been around.  He's outlasted most of the artists he parodied, and he recently enjoyed his first number one album (Mandatory Fun).

Not too shabby for someone who was written off as a novelty act several times during his career.

And, aside from the explicit lyrics, what Steel Panther is doing really isn't much different than what "Weird Al" does.  While Al does a mix of full-on parodies and style parodies, Steel Panther has made their mark by recording nothing but style-parodies of specific 80's bands (with the exception of a few covers).

I don't expect that they will have the lengthy career that Al has had if they stick to the 80's bands.  At some point, the genre will fall out of favor again.  But, they've already released three full-length records.  They've already managed to be successful longer than  a number of bands that rode the last wave of popularity that the genre experienced in the early 1990's.

Now, you might not like parody bands, and you might find their music offensive. But that's your problem.  For the time being, at least, they've made their mark on popular music.  I, for one, really appreciate what they're doing.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

YouTube Comments

As a fan of music, I frequently go to YouTube to check out bands I'm unfamiliar with. It's an excellent way to get a taste of a band's music to see if it's something I'm interested in purchasing, or I'll sometimes look up instructional guitar videos. But the comments often are not worth reading.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen people comment on some kid's video where he's playing a cover of some song, and there's some asshole pointing out all the flaws in the kid's playing.

Another popular comment I see is when someone posts a video of some guitarist's live performance, and some jerkoff will comment "I'm a better guitarist than he is".  Interestingly, these people almost never have any videos of their own posted.  The one time that the guy that said it actually had a video posted, his playing sucked.

These people are so insecure about themselves that they need to take pot-shots at others.  You know what?  That kid with the video you just ragged on?  He's 13, and still learning.  He hasn't even finished growing yet, so he probably has to struggle a little to reach some of the chord fingerings that you're mocking him for flubbing.  But at least this kid had the stones to publish his work.  He's not posting it for you.

If these people actually had valid criticisms that could actually help the kid improve, they would be a lot more diplomatic about their criticisms.  But, they're not trying to help the kid improve. They're trying to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings, whether perceived or real.

As for the "I'm a better guitarist than so-and-so" asshole, one question: Where's your proof?  If you're so much fucking better, why are you sitting in front of your computer ragging on him/her instead of out in front of a crowd displaying your talents?  Maybe if you spent a little less time trolling YouTube and a little more time focusing on promoting yourself, you would be.

When you make a claim like that, you better be ready to back it up, otherwise I'm free to dismiss your claims without any evidence.  You made a claim, show me the evidence.  Because not only am I going to dismiss your initial claim, but I'm not going to waste my time on anything else you have to say because, quite frankly, you've not established yourself as having any expertise on the subject. 

You claim to be a great guitarist, yet you refuse to present any evidence of you even playing guitar, much less showing up the guy you're ragging on.  I can't trust anything you say at that point.  So it's time for you to just shut the fuck up and go sit in your corner.

I swear, people are fucking stupid as all hell.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

All Over The Podcast - Maiden Voyage

I want to express my excitement and gratitude for being able to record the first official episode of All Over The Podcast with my good buddy, Marcus Nikolas today.  We talked about a number of different topics and reminisced about the old "show" we used to do.  It was a lot of fun and we hope to make it a semi-regular thing.

You can find us on iTunes or at our website.


I wrote this up yesterday, but deleted it.  So I'm going on memory.

This might not sit well with a lot of people, but fuck 'em. I really can't stand KISS. And there's a lot not to like about them.

Nevermind the fact that Gene and Paul have Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer impersonating Ace and Peter. Most bands that have been around that long have been regulated to cover acts of their former lineups. But, at least the good ones are creative and evolve.

There's also the fact that Gene and Paul are both complete douche-bags. Many rock stars are, but when the only guy that can out-douche you is Ted Nugent, you need to take a hard look in the mirror.

Gene, for instance, has an inflated ego for which there is no competition.  Except for Paul's.  The guy likes to brag about having slept with over 4000 women. Quite a claim. True or not, it raises serious questions about the character of the man making the claim. Either way, it demonstrates an entire lack of respect for women in general. Keep it to yourself, Gene. Nobody worth the time of day gives a shit.

And then you have Paul. More people have been subjected to this asshole's hairy chest than care to remember. If that shit's real, we're talking serious pituitary disorder. Not the kind of thing you should be showing off.

And then there's the mass-marketing. George Lucas stands in awe of these assholes. KISS Kaskets? Really? If you buy one of these, they have to sneak you into the cemetery like a suicidal Jew.

If they thought there was a buck to be made, they'd market KISS antibiotics to their groupies.

The most damning evidence of their douche-baggerry is the inflated sense of worth they give to KISS, itself, while, at the same time, talking shit about their former members.

For a band that's supposedly so awe-inspiring, they've done an awful lot of following.

In the 80s, they jumped on the hair bandwagon faster than Mike Huckabee on a Chik-fil-A appreciation day.

Hell, they even recorded a disco song.

Yet, they both claim that KISS is the greatest thing since penicillin, which, if Gene's lies are to be believed, he singlehandedly drove up demand for throughout his career.

Look, guys, your band sucks. Why you're still a thing today is beyond fathoming.  Scientists would spend decades trying to figure it out, but nobody that has an IQ higher than a bull-weevil gives a shit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame seemed like a good idea back in the 1980's when it was founded.  Why not pay homage to the greats of Rock & Roll.  The problem soon became obvious.  Who belongs in the Hall?  For the purposes of this post, I'm referring to performers.I, personally, don't care about the other classifications.  As far as I'm concerned, they're bogus.  Inducting the fuckheads that water down a musician's message seems counterproductive to me.

Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Who were all no-brainers.  Of course they belong in the Hall.  But, what about Deep Purple, The Moody Blues and Iron Maiden?  Why are these bands any less worthy?  Why did it take so many years for Alice Cooper, KISS and Rush to be inducted, yet The Beastie Boys were inducted almost as soon as they became eligible?

I'm not saying that The Beastie Boys shouldn't have been inducted. What I am saying is that they shouldn't have been inducted before Deep Purple and The Moody Blues and Iron Maiden.  Yes, what they did with their music was certainly groundbreaking, but no more groundbreaking than the other bands I've mentioned.  Certainly no more groundbreaking than Alice Cooper and KISS.  Hell, shock rock wouldn't exist if not for Alice Cooper and, to a degree, KISS.  It's absolutely ridiculous that The Beastie Boys were inducted so quickly after becoming eligible while these other bands waited decades for their induction, or in the case of Deep Purple, continue to be overlooked.

The very fact that a band like Deep Purple has been overlooked for so long, and a band like The Beastie Boys was inducted so quickly doesn't bode well for fans of hard rock and heavy metal.  But, then, hard rock and heavy metal have long been the red-headed step-children of the music industry. 

One has to wonder what the criteria is for induction.  Sure, they have their official criteria:
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.
 So, do you mean to tell me that The Beastie Boys were more influential than Alice Cooper, the guy that spawned an entire sub-genre of music (this comment is based on the length of time it took Alice to get inducted as opposed to The Beastie Boys)?  You've got to be out of your mind if you believe that.

I'm not going to name any names, but I will say that there are a number of artists in the Hall that have no place there, as far as I'm concerned.  Artists that are as far away from Rock & Roll as I am from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And where, exactly, does that leave a band like Montrose?  In many circles, Montrose's first album (Montrose 1973) is considered to be ground-breaking.  Their songs have been covered by bands ranging from Iron Maiden to Van Halen (before Sammy Hagar was in the band). They cast a huge shadow in the hard rock world.

I'll be honest, I doubt that Montrose will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  And I can live with that. But it's fucking ridiculous that some artists are inducted as soon as they become eligible, while others are overlooked for decades, only to be half-heartedly inducted, but only because the fans voices have finally gotten loud enough that the Hall has to induct them.  I think that will eventually happen for Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.   It's just ridiculous that they have had to wait so long.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Death of 80's Hard Rock

Much ado has often been made about grunge killing 80's hard rock in the early 1990s, but something that seems to go largely ignored is the impact rap music had on the genre.

I graduated high school in 1989, and I seem to recall that MTV had already shifted their focus from bands like Whitesnake and Poison to the likes of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.  I can even remember them running an ad as early as 1988 touting the fact that they were playing less hard rock and heavy metal.  So there were already chinks in that armor long before Nirvana became an MTV staple.

I specifically remember that, because of the popularity of rap music and the decline of hard rock on MTV and radio that I started exploring 1970s rock artists.  That has a lot to do with my interest in classic rock.  So I had shifted from listening to radio to seeking out music on my own well before the shift came in 1992.

Sure, there were the occasional glam rock bands that got attention up until Nevermind hit store shelves, but glam rock was already in its death throes when that occurred.  Had it not been, the shift to grunge's popularity wouldn't have been so swift.

So, in my opinion, grunge didn't kill 80's hard rock.  How do you kill something that's already past its expiration date?  While it's true that grunge acts were coming of age at the same time that 80s bands were in decline, I think that crediting bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam with the death of 80's hard rock is a little like blaming today's spaghetti for the fact that I had to toss out last night's pizza. The music was already in decline.

That's not to say that 80's hard rock is dead. It's experienced a resurgence in the past few years. Partly because of the rise of the Internet, but largely because some of the people in a position to help promote these bands grew up with the music.  I remember a similar resurgence for 1960's acts in the 1980's, for much the same reason.  In the 90's, the 70's were stylish again.

If anything, we should credit bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains for bringing the focus away from bubble gum hip hop artists back to heavy guitars.  If you really listen to the music and focus less on the differences in image between a Tesla and Alice In Chains, for example, you'll notice that the music has more in common than you might initially think.

Yes, the grunge music is quite a bit darker than many of the bands that rode that final wave of 80's rock popularity, but the use of heavy distortion by both genres is telling.  I, for one, enjoy bands from both genres.  And, I think if you ask the members of those grunge bands if they set out to obliterate 80's bands, most of them would laugh at the prospect.

Like any musician, they were simply trying to make music that they could stand behind with a sense of pride.  Sure, every wave of music has the Johnny-come-lately acts that are attempting to re-create the sounds that the path-pavers popularized.

But, at the same time, if you choose a line of work, you do what is necessary to get paid.  If someone chooses music as a vocation, is it really fair to judge them for adapting to their environment?  It's not as easy as one might think to write music in a certain style, with a specific result in mind, especially if it's not a style you like.  I have to assume that many of the artists that make up the subsequent waves of a genre, at the very least, find something in that genre that speaks to them.

After all, there's a lot more security in putting the guitar in the closet and getting a 9-5 than attempting to carve out a living in music.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


If there's one band that never phones it in, it's Tesla.  Every time I listen to one of their CDs I'm always amazed at how powerful the music is.

From Jeff Keith's vocals to the dual guitar onslaught that has become the band's signature, there's no denying that these guys know what they're doing.

Eddie Trunk has said on many occasions that Tesla is a band that got unfairly lumped in with the glam rock movement of the mid-late 1980s, and I couldn't agree more.  These guys just show up in jeans and t-shirts and rock your balls off.  And their music reflects that.  It's got more in common with late 70's hard rock acts than their contemporaries.

Tesla is also one of a handful of performers that produced acoustic sets that didn't make me ask "why did you do that?".  I think the no-nonsense approach they took to their music allowed it to translate well acoustically.  I can't say the same for a host of other acoustic sets I've heard (I'm looking at you, Eric Clapton).

Tesla is a band that would have been just as at home in the 1970s as they were in the 1980s.  Maybe even more at home.  That they didn't manage to escape the backlash of everything 80s is beyond me.

If you want to get a feel for the kind of guys Tesla are, all you have to do is catch an episode of That Metal Show where any of the guys appear.  My favorites are when Frank Hannon is on as the musical performer.  He makes no secret of his respect for the other guests on the show.  And he can play guitar like no other.

I just ordered a couple of Tesla CDs from Amazon, as I have to confess I haven't been doing a good job of keeping up with their releases in the past 7-8 years, so I've got a little catching up to do.  I also plan to check out the members other musical projects where I can.

I had the most awesome pleasure of catching them live in 2002, when Tommy was back in the band.  They are, without a doubt, one of the best concerts I've ever seen.  It's no lie when people say that seeing them live is like listening to their CDs. They put on a flawless performance.

There really aren't that many bands that are on the same level as Tesla when it comes to making kick-ass Rock & Roll with that kind of precision and intensity.  There are others (Y&T comes to mind), but the list is very short.  So, it should come as no surprise that when I really feel like rocking out, I can turn to Tesla and never be disappointed.

It would genuinely be awesome to one day see them inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It might never happen, because the Hall is a complete farce, but, as far as I'm concerned, they're on the same level as Led Zeppelin, Rush and Black Sabbath, in terms of sheer intensity in their songwriting and performance.

I'm baaack

Recently, I re-published my website, I don't remember exactly when I let the domain expire, but it was probably six years ago. It feels good to have it back.

I have been planning on doing a podcast with a friend of mine, so I wanted a location to upload the files to. So I figured, why not resurrect my website in the process? Now I have a place for the podcast files, as well as the MP3s of the songs I've been working on.

Believe it or not, I haven't found soundcloud or any of the other services out there satisfying for my needs. I'm not a professional musician. Music is just something I do as a hobby. I like the process of creating something new. And I want to be able to share my music with my friends. And it would feel disingenuous to use some service intended for professional musicians to host my music. Plus, I kind of enjoy the process of designing a website for my stuff.

So, if all goes as planned, sometime in the not-so-distant future, this blog will become active with posts about the podcast. I'm really looking forward to getting underway with it. I figure it will be an opportunity for me to connect with my friend on a regular basis and just BS about whatever happens to be on our minds.

 For the most part, it's going to be about the music we are listening to and I don't even know if we'll develop something entertaining. We may never even find an audience. But that's not why I want to do it. I want to do it because I think it will be a fun undertaking for the both of us.

And if it winds up being a vehicle for some of my guitar riffs to be used as bumper music, all the better.