Los Angeles friends: I will be playing keyboards for Hunter Hooligan at The Mint on January 12, 2016. Hunter is a very talented singer, songwriter, and musician from the East Coast and I’m excited to be performing with him.
April 12, 1994 – 21 years ago – the album that changed my life, Hole “Live Through This,” was released.
Hole “Live Through This”
It’s the album that made me say, “I’m going to be in a rock band” and I did it. They are the songs that made me start learning guitar. I eventually went to keyboards, since I was already a classically trained pianist and that was a more logical choice, but the switch from solo classical pianist to rock band member was because of “Live Through This”. It’s the record that later got me buying riot grrrl albums. Even though Love mostly ridiculed the Pacific Northwest feminists, I learned of their existence from the lyrics in the record. I started buying CDs and vinyl records from bands in that area because of her. I fantasized about moving to Olympia or Portland and starting a socially conscious band.
As silly as it sounds, much of what happened in my life in my teens and 20s might not have been the same – if they even happened at all – if not for “Live Through This”. I may not have met a good chunk of the friends in my life, if not for this record. Hole was my “gateway band” – the band that got me interested in much of the other music I fell in love with. And I still love the songs on “Live Through This” to this day. It’s likely that I eventually would’ve wanted to be in a rock band, but it may not have happened the same way or as young as I was.
It wasn’t easy being a Hole fan in the ‘90s. I would be walking around in my Hole shirt, minding my own business, when some conspiracy buff decided to badger me because he felt that Courtney killed Kurt, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Any time Courtney ended up in the tabloids, people would feel the need to update me in a “See, I told you Hole is awful” way, as if that would void the music the band created. But I was never apologetic for my fandom.
The first single was released in March 1994. “Miss World“:
And it’s not just the singles that are great. For many other CDs, the singles are the strongest songs, but I love all of “Live Through This”. Songs like Asking For It, Plump, and Jennifer’s Body are fantastic, but probably a bit too dark to be released as singles (though Asking For It did chart on Billboard).
Thank you, Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Kristen Pfaff (R.I.P.), Patty Schemel, Melissa Auf der Maur (live), and producers Sean Slade and Paul Q. Kolderie.
Here is the new video for my song, “Faith is a Slippery Pig” featuring the spoken word of Peter Boghossian – philosophy professor at Portland State University – from his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists.
Skeptoid is currently the 13th most popular podcast on iTunes in the “Science & Medicine” category. Congrats to Brian Dunning on his 400th episode and all of his success. He has helped provide the public with essential critical thinking skills and information.
Here are some photos from the shoot:
Thanks to all the cast and crew. And check out NewRuleFx for your special effects props and equipment needs!
I’m a skeptic. When I meet other skeptics, we usually end up talking about how we became one, and those stories usually involve some mention of our first freethinking heroes: The ones who made us realize we weren’t alone in our thinking and taught us more. For many of my skeptic friends, their first heroes were scientists, writers, activists, or magicians. They’ll often explain how they experienced the works of intellects such as Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Penn & Teller, James Randi, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and more. Those public figures are my heroes as well, but my very first skeptical heroes were rock stars. (more…)
Last month, I was a part of the music video shoot for Lacey Conner’s new single “The Stranger”. Many of you already know who Lacey is, as she was the frontwoman for Nocturne, a contestant on “Rock of Love”, and the live singer for Lords of Acid on their tour last year (not easy shoes to fill, yet she did a killer job).
This new solo song is more mainstream and pop compared to her previous work, but it’s just as good. She is proving that she’s versatile and I love it when artists can switch things up and still be awesome.
Here is the new video. You will recognize other faces in here, such as Meegs Rascon (We Are The Riot, Coal Chamber), Brent Ashley (Wayne Static/Static-X, Orgy), Aaron Rossi (Ministry), Trevor Frederich (Combichrist), and more.
I think the video turned out well. Director Chad Michael Ward and the rest of the crew did a great job.
I’m part of the audience. You can’t really see me, but I had a really fun time doing it with everyone else there and am excited to be a small part of this video.
Here’s a photo of me on the set between takes at Perish Dignam’s studio:
Megan Mayhem encaged:
Skot Christ (Bassist of Mona Lisa Overdrive) on the fluffy heart seat:
One of Lacey’s fabulous outfits:
Like Lacey on facebook if you haven’t already! Not only will you be updated on her new music, but she also does a lot to help animals and is an all-around nice and awesome person. https://www.facebook.com/LaceyConner.official
Here’s part of George Hrab’s performance of “Everything Alive Will Die Someday” that I took with my cell phone. This was at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on July 3, 2010. His set was great and was filled with some rather witty commentary between songs. The people there were awesome. After he was finished performing, we all moved outside to the rooftop. It was a great night!
This past Saturday, I attended the Virgin Mobile Freefest 2010 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. Based on my personal experience, it seems like it was much better-organized and planned than last year – or that they at least learned from what happened last year – so I give them kudos. Of course, just because I had a better experience doesn’t mean it was actually better, but hey – I’m happy.
Like last year, I arrived in the mid-to-late afternoon. While there probably could’ve been more signs explaining where to park for newbies, I’m glad that the area wasn’t as clogged as last year. Last time, there were actually people out there directing traffic and where to go, and this actually made things worse and more congested. This time around, people just followed the signs and knew that the lot was full and to park at Howard Community College. Last year, there was a sign saying there was a shuttle bus from the college to the concert, but it never came, and everyone said that it basically stopped hours before. The walk was about 2 miles each way, which is a lot when you consider all the walking you’ll do at the actual festival (and it was 90+ degrees this year). School buses took us to and from the concert this year. The bus drivers I had were courteous. There was a nice attendant in the lot explaining where to wait for the bus.
On top of that, it seems like walking to and from each stage was much less of a headache. I don’t know if this was due to the layout and planning, or if it just happened. There was still crowdedness right before and after a band got off stage, but that’s to be expected. Last year, it was a pain to get from stage to stage no matter what, where, or when.
On the West Stage, there was a ferris wheel, which was fun times. It cost $5 per gondola, which I don’t think was a bad price. On top of that, they gave you a card to download the music from http://www.virginmobilefreefest.com/download, so that was nice. AND on top of that even more, they said that the money all went to charity, so that’s super cool in my book. I think the Virgin Freefest is an example that big businesses and business owners can, in fact, be charitable and care deeply about issues. In the case of Virgin, it was about homeless youth.
The only complaint I have about the festival was the fire display near the West Stage. The smell was strong and could be felt from far away. My chest and sinuses became filled with ash and I felt sick, even the next day. I was bad, but it wasn’t totally unbearable for me. However, some people I know actually left early because they were so sick from that thing. It was loud and obnoxious. It didn’t even look that cool. I don’t think I heard one person say they liked it. I really hope they don’t bring that back next year.
There were some great acts there, but I will focus on CHROMEO, since they were definitely the main reason why I wanted to attend. I’m normally not too comfortable in a big, tight crowd, and festivals are usually even worse because you have a mix of people who may not normally see the artist you’re watching. I wasn’t too far from the front and toward the center, which is usually very uncomfortable. This wasn’t the case with Chromeo’s crowd. The people there were positive. No one pushed or shoved. I didn’t feel at all panicked, even as the crowd got larger and closer together. The audience danced and swayed but still respected other people’s space. My friend Amy, who was there with me, even commented that she’d been to countless shows but was surprised at how comfortable she was with that audience. The photo below will give you an idea of the crowd.
Chromeo played an enjoyable one-hour set at the Dance Forest that was fantastic – technically, creatively, and energy-wise. They pretty much did a perfect mix of songs new and old. I’m a huge fan of theirs and couldn’t see them the other times they came to the Baltimore area, so I was definitely pumped to finally see them after being a fan for a few years. They definitely did not disappoint. They will do a full North American tour around February and if they come to Baltimore, I am so there.
Just their performance alone was reason enough to love watching them, but I was also situated right next to a really good dancer in the crowd. I took some video, which doesn’t even come close to doing him justice. If you imagine him dancing like Michael Jackson (I’m not exaggerating) and making even more intense faces, that’s how he was the entire set, except when he appropriately toned it down during “Momma’s Boy”.
This past Friday, I saw Atari Teenage Riot at Sonar. I was really excited. I saw them almost 13 years ago at the 930 Club in DC (yes, I have been attending concerts since I was young), and thought they were awesome. But part of me wondered, as an adult, if my perception of their performance would be different now. After all, I was easier to impress back then, and I have since seen countless shows and have played many myself.
Seeing them last week affirmed to me that they were, in fact, awesome – back then and now. It's like time hadn't passed, either. They were just as passionate about the subjects of which they were singing and the energy was just as intense, if not more so, than when I saw them in the 90s. The next day I even felt beaten up (in a good way, lol) and some of my friends said the same thing.
The line-up is a little bit different now. Hanin Elias was not with them, and Carl Crack died in 2001. I met him at the concert in 1997, and he was an absolute sweetheart – even giving me a cantaloupe to take home. That's how he was. I am still saddened by his death and while it was sad that he was not there, CX KiDTRONiK fit perfectly with the band and was awesome. I can't think of anyone else who could fill Carl Crack's shoes.
In the 90s, there were a lot more political, in-your-face bands that weren't afraid to be different, unique, and edgy. They weren't one-size-fits-all bands, nor did they want to be. I miss this a lot. Even bands that I may not have agreed with 100%, I still loved their passion and the fact that they were thinking on a deeper level than a lot of other artists. Listening to these bands – whether you agreed fully or partially – got you thinking. It got the juices flowing intellectually and creatively.
Alec Empire, in case you didn't know, is very talented and an originator. He basically created the genre of digital hardcore, and then started his own record label Digital Hardcore Recordings. The work he has done in ATR and as a solo artist is awesome.
Nic Endo was a big influence on me as a young teenager and a musician. She was, and still is, a very powerful, unique, talented artist. I really felt like I could relate to her – not just because she is a female musician of EurAsian descent (like me – though that certainly helped a lot) – but also because of her personality and music. She makes noise records as a solo artist and I love it.
I have only recently known about CX KiDTRONiK, but he is very accomplished himself. He co-produced Consequence's "Whatever U Want" (featuring Kanye West and John Legend), and is an innovative solo artist. He has an intense energy and stage presence that I definitely enjoyed watching and hearing. He gave me this sticker:
ATR continues playing shows in North America this week and next week, and then they will go back on tour in Europe starting in November.