Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hail, No!

Yesterday, we had the worst hailstorm in a generation here in Austin. I was driving home in the middle of it when my windshield started spidering, and my back window blew out like a bad action movie.

My Wife's Car

My Car

Not exactly "golf-ball-sized" hail

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nightcrawlers Documentary at 2009 Florida Film Festival

Cracking the Egg, Kelly Rouse's boss documentary about the legendary Daytona Beach garage band The Nightcrawlers (of which her dad Robbie was a member) will be screened Friday April 3rd at the 2009 Florida Film Festival.

If you can't make it to Orlando for the screening, you can get the DVD from The Florida Rocks Again! Online Superstore.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Florida Rocks Again! in the Miami Herald

The Sunday edition of The Miami Herald has a feature article on the Florida Rocks Again! podcast, by Jordan Levin, who wrote that great piece about the Overtown soul scene a while back.

Jeff Lemlich, my Florida Rocks Again! co-producer, Jerry Schils of the Birdwatchers and the Legends, and I were all interviewed for the article, which is pretty cool, if'n you asks me.

While I was disappointed that the featured podcast was FRA! #28: Coverama 2, and not FRA! #35: Mal's Florida Favorites, the most recent episode, and that and The Limestone Lounge did not get more play, I am stoked that the Herald saw fit to feature the show.

There's also a photo gallery of Florida artists, and a feature on WLRN, the local Miami NPR affiliate.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BLOG! Endorses Brewster McCracken for Austin Mayor

BLOG! by JM Dobies is pleased to announce that it is endorsing Brewster McCracken in the Austin Mayoral race. Nothing against any of the other candidates, but McCracken gets the nod based on two things: he's pro-arts and mostly because Brewster McCracken is such a great name.

Now, Lee Leffingwell is a pretty cool name, too, but it's just not in the same league as McCracken's, which brings to mind Robert Altman's 1972 film Brewster McCloud, as well as a bunch of filthy puns. Brewster also looks a bit like fellow Texan Matthew McConnaghey, who we'll forgive for all those shitty romantic comedies because of his brilliant performance as Wooderson in the made-in-Austin classic Dazed and Confused.

So, Austinites, when election day rolls around, pick McCracken!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Glyph Jockey Rock 'n' Roll Baseball Cards: David Johansen

In honor of the New York Dolls' appearance at South By Southwest 2009, here's another Punk Rock Baseball Card from featuring David Johansen (even though Johnny Thunders was a better ballplayer):

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Texas BBQ with Spärhusen

While I will be missing pretty much all of this year's South By Southwest activities, whether they be film, music, or interactive, I did get to spend a couple of hours today with Spärhusen, the legendary Swedish psychedelic pop group, while they were being filmed documentary-style.

Actually, Spärhusen is the fictional subject of an ongoing mockumentary web series, as well as a series of spots for Ikea. Illeanna Douglas plays Beirget Kattson, the icy chanteuse, Todd Spahr is Gert, and Rob Mailhouse plays Olf.

Rob and I went to high school together and hadn't seen each other in almost 30 years, but had recently caught up via Facebook. In the interim, he'd gone to L.A. to pursue an acting career, and had also done a stint as the drummer with Dogstar, forming a rhythm section with Keanu Reeves. Like most cool shows that happen here in Austin, I missed the band's debut performance last night at the Red Eyed Fly, but I did enjoy watching them make improv comedy gold out of the band's eating Texas barbecue at Artz Rib House in South Austin.

Here's the band's legend, from the official Spärhusen website:

On the night of July 25, 1974 Spärhusen-the almost great band of Sweden came to a tragic end when their plane Swedish Fish crashed into the ocean. Two members of the band Olf Nystrom and Gert Forseberg were never found. Beirget Kattson -the third member of Spärhusen was able to swim from the wreckage to shore. After a period of mourning she continued to write and produce music and poetry from her home in Stockholm.

Beirget Kattsson was pregnant at the time of the plane crash but never revealed who the father of her baby was. Gert Forseberg, or her long time love, Olf Nystrom. To this day Beirget Kattsson has not revealed who the father really was. It was rumored that DJ Jelly Lund-a close friend of the band or perhaps Spärhusen's own"whale of sound" producer Vorste Feirron nicknamed "Fierse" could also be the father.

This is one of the many mysteries surrounding Spärhusen-the almost great band of Sweden.
Their many hits-the raucous "Ice Fishing", the thoughtful "Midnight at the Fjord" and "ID", Beirget's "Candy" the revenge song, and of course their biggest hit "Apples and Fish"- the last song they recorded before the fateful plane crash remain.

In the 1980's rumors surfaced that Olf and Gert were alive and well and living in Umholtz under assumed names. The plane crash merely a ruse to avoid the spotlight. A new band also calling themselves Spärhusen released the song "Cannonball" and to many it sounded eerily like Gert and Olf. Bjorn Epstein their long time manager would not confirm or deny that this was in fact the real Spärhusen.

Beirget Kattson refuses to discuss Spärhusen and handed over the rights of all Spärhusen material-which includes sound recordings, unreleased songs, photographs of happier times and never before seen footage of Spärhusen recording "Apples and Fish" to Anna Shapoola, her attorney and confident. Will the current interest in Spärhusen finally force Beirget, Olf, and Gert to tell their story? Until then we will simply listen to the music and wait.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mal Thursday Show #13: The Ballad of Mal Thursday

This autobiographical installment of The Mal Thursday Show tells the tawdry tale of Mal’s many misadventures through the music of the Dictators, the Unband, Johnny Thunders, Sammy Davis Jr., and more. Produced by JM Dobies in Living Monophonic Sound.



SAMMY DAVIS JR.: The Ballad of Johnny Cool
IGGY & THE STOOGES: Search & Destroy
THE DICTATORS: Teengenerate
THE WHITE STRIPES: Same Boy You’ve Always Known

ALAN PRICE: O Lucky Man!
THE JAM: I Got By in Time
JOHNNY THUNDERS: Lonely Planet Boy
THE UNBAND: You’re No Boy Wonder/There’s Nothing You Can Do
THE ZOMBIES: Remember You

BUTTHOLE SURFERS: Moving to Florida
CHEAP TRICK: Southern Girls
DRUNK STUNTMEN: Jesse James Dean


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Harold and Maude

Cult film connoisseur that I am, it amazes me that I had never seen Harold and Maude until last night. Directed by Hal Ashby from a script by Colin Higgins (based on his master's thesis), and starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in the title roles, this much-beloved film somehow escaped me for the last 38 years. I'd seen bits of it on cable, but never the whole thing.

I loved it. Made me cry, damn it.

I even loved the Cat Stevens soundtrack, and I stopped listening to Cat Stevens sometime around 1977, when I turned my back on singer-songwriters in favor of punkish and/or laddish sounds. Seeing the film makes me want to put together my own version of a soundtrack album, as one was never released (most of the songs can be found on Tea for the Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon, or whatever the hell that record was called).

So, if you've never seen the film, I urge you to do so. If you have, then you might want to check out the original screenplay and Colin Higgins's novelization thereof.

Also, when I did a search to find out whether or not that was Tom Skerrit playing the motorcycle cop (it was, under the pseudonym M. Borman), I came across Whitney Matheson's "Pop Candy" piece about the film from a few years back.

"Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much."

Words to live by. God knows I have...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Florida Rocks Again! #35: Mal's Florida Favorites, Vol. 1

This rockin' installment of the long-running series brings together some of Mal's fave Florida garage, soul, and rockabilly nuggets, as well as a few late '60s mindblowers, plus an epic interview with Wayne Proctor of We The People, originally heard on FRA! #18: Orlando Rocks Again! So kick back, relax, and Southern-fry your brain with killer cuts from the Birdwatchers, Benny Joy, the Wrong Numbers, and many, many more.

Produced in Living Monophonic Sound by JM Dobies and Jeff Lemlich.



WE THE PEOPLE: When I Arrive
THE BIRDWATCHERS: I’m Gonna Do It to You/Can I Do It
STEVE ALAIMO: You Don’t Love Me (I Don’t Care)/You Don’t Know Like I Know
SAM & DAVE: You Got Me Hummin’
BETTY WRIGHT: Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do
CLARENCE REID: Polk Salad Annie

BENNY JOY: Spin the Bottle
TRACY PENDARVIS: A Thousand Guitars
BENNY SPELLMAN: Fortune Teller
THE IMPACS: Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go

MANDARIN GATE: It's a Revolution Mother

The Wayne Proctor Interview
THE TRADEMARKS: Don’t Say You Love Me Too
WE THE PEOPLE: My Brother, the Man/The Mirror of You Mind/St. Johns Shop/In the Past/Declaration of Independence


Hosted by Mal Thursday

Written and Produced by JM Dobies

Co-Produced by Jeff Lemlich


Monday, March 9, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Best of BLOG!: Getting Fired 2: Electric Boogaloo

I didn't get fired yesterday, so in honor of that accomplishment, here's part two of "Getting Fired," originally posted in August 2007:

In the opening scene of the 1967 film I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname, Oliver Reed demonstrates the proper way to quit a job, as he takes an axe and reduces his desk to kindling before giving notice to his boss, played by Orson Welles.

"I'm going to find an honest job," he tells him.

"Silly boy," Welles replies. "There aren't any."

In real life, however, the boss tends to fire you before you've had the chance to quit.

At least that's been my experience.

I was fired on the air at WRSI-FM in 1993. Against my better judgement, I had agreed to fill in on the Sunday night Jazz program, but I lived 20 miles away from the station and my T-Bird wasn't cooperating and would not start. The owner of the radio station had to leave a party that he was attending and do the show. Not good. The following week, I made it for the show, with the owner in his office at the station, doing paperwork. I played a few cuts of a Charles Mingus tribute album, the last of which featured Chuck D of Public Enemy reading from Mingus's autobiography. I previewed the first couple of minutes of the track, and it was pretty cool. However, the last half of the track featured two "bitches" and a "motherfucker." I quickly switched to another record, but it was too late. The owner came into the studio and grimly intoned, "Give me the disc." Then after quelling his urge to strike me as he contemplated the possible five- or six-figure FCC fine, he said, "Go home."
Mea culpa on that one. A D.J. always has to know what he's playing.

I was once fired onstage, at the Hangar in Hadley, Massachusetts. Summer of '82. The band was called Nietszche and a Horse. It was at a point in my musical development when my skills were rudimentary at best (they're slightly worse these days), and I was sitting in with them on keyboards at a gig I'd helped set up. The weather was bad and the club was near empty as the band kicked off a substandard set. I remember playing some ill-advised, atonal harpsichord leads on "Under My Thumb." When the song was over, the band's lead singer, Ian, turned to me and said, "Mike, get off."

That he said it into the microphone was particularly humiliating. But, hey, I sucked. So I got off the stage. I did, however, lay down a totally killer organ part on the 1981 Nietszche and a Horse recording of "2000 Light Years From Home."

In late '95, I got fired from my long-running, well-paying gig booking bands at the Bay State Hotel in Northampton, Mass. a few weeks after getting married to my first wife. Some people speculated that the bar owner, who was quite the closet case, figured that since I was now a married man, he could never have me, so he shitcanned me. Actually, the last straw was a Tuesday night show by Godhead Silo that was unbelievably LOUD while at the same time barely attended. The owner, who lived on the second floor, directly above the stage, had passed out early in the evening after something like three dozen Budweisers. But the unholy racket produced by the band, and their equally volume-loving support act, roused him from blottohood and he was not happy about it. Not happy at all.

I kissed $500 a week goodbye, not to mention the paper bag money...

For a while, I worked as a Pizza cook at Bell's Pizza in Amherst. Anybody who went to UMass or Amherst in the '60s and '70s will remember the place fondly. An old college classmate of mine had bought the pizzeria from the original owner, and was struggling to make a go of it. I took the job in part because I could eat all the pie I wanted. Mmmmm, Bell's...Anyway, this classmate of mine had a bit of a temper, and one day he lost it on me. I threw down my apron, paid myself out of the register, and never looked back -- until the following summer, when I needed a night job to augment my income, and I went back to Bell's for a second tour of duty, which ended pretty much like the first.

I lost my job as managing editor of the Worcester Phoenix when the paper got shut down by the parent company in Boston. Our whole staff got the axe that day. We all went to Ralph's and drank with Clif Garboden, who had mentored us. The next day, we cleaned out our desks, under the watchful eye of the creep from human resources, who had originally interviewed me the previous year. I had a lot of stuff to clean out, a stereo system, an inflatable mattress I'd had to use during two different blizzards, and lots of books. They gave me this huge pallet-mover to load up my gear. Still took two trips.

I got fired from my job as head baseball coach at Hampshire College after our team got into a beanball war with Northfield-Mt. Hermon. But just like ol' Leo Durocher once said, "Managers are hired to be fired."

Of course, I'm not trying to come off like Charles Bukowski in Factotum, or Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces. It's not like I haven't held good jobs for lengthy periods of time. I have over 20 years experience in broadcasting, and almost as many years experience as a freelance writer/editor. My old record label was in business for over twelve years, and my production company has now existed for almost as long. What I'm trying to say is that now, especially since I've become a family man, I'm less inclined to bounce from job to job. What happened on Monday, losing two jobs in a half an hour, was a freakish deja vu. It happened, and it had to happen.

In the words of the Velvet Underground, I'm set free...