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Let’s talk about my friend Ty who will probably be embarrassed by this post

Ty Elam is a fucking god. There isn’t any way around that. In certain circles of the world my good friend Ty is made out of God. Like it may be a crazy talented, insane, tattooed kind of God that made  Ty for the Earth to enjoy but who cares? He’s here, he’s full of some of the best stuff on Earth. I don’t care if we mail ordered him from Russia (who wouldn’t let another good amazing crazy friend of mine in the country recently, but that’s neither here nor there) Ty rules.

He is for one an amazing nice friend. He has no problem calling some blogger who shall remain nameless’s best friend on her birthday at 3 am best friend’s time. Because that’d be weird as poop if someone asked him to do that, right? No one would ever ask him to do that… like ever……

Ty photographs incredibly well. Like it might be a gift from that weird God thing we were talking about a minute ago but holy mother of let me scan all the cool shit I took pictures of in college, Ty Elam is a gorgeous motherfucker in front of the camera. Like it’s like he KNOWS he’s doing the right things and just keeps doing them while being rad. Here are some examples of how good he is at this:

I hate this camera with the firey passion of 200000 suns

Funny story, even though this camera almost got me arrested, mugged, etc I still took all of these without a flash

A magician never reveals her tricks… or really remembers them. But I remember how I did this.

Interesting and funny anecdote, at one point in the beauitful and weird city of Bakersfield, I was for a second cool enough to bring these guys out on stage a couple of times. The most memorable being the show they did at my college. Even now I’m not sure why that particular cloud of OMG WOW BAKERSFIELD DOESN’T SUCK THAT MUCH went off at my school but I took these too:

Ty being all Rollins, because as Hank says, who’s as hard on you as you are on yourself?

Wait is that my good buddy Kris Khols and my other surprisingly good friend Mavis? Anwsers point to yes. Also these were a disposable camera

Before I ran out of film and started using the disposable like an asshole

My friend Ty here is a talented song writer and a front man I’d put up next to just about anyone. He’d slay em. I LOVE his current project (or reproject, since some of you get all weird and technical) Karmahitlist. I’ve been listening to their new demo nonstop since I got it from another band member who I also used to work with. Let’s share:


And then just because I miss Ty (and my old red Neon) and my friends from that era, here’s a few more, why not?

Why wasn’t this song a massive hit? I mean even as a programmer it blows my mind. I want to play it all of the time. I can’t of course but I want to:

The thing about this record is it never had ANYTHING to do with who was in it. It was just a good song. And would be a good song still if someone gave it to me blind box style today. This song came out in 1999. I can’t tell. Except I was THERE.

Speaking of shit that was my jam back in 1999 when anyone cared what I had to say, this song was my heart. I don’t even think I’ve ever fully explained to my friends who created such a fantastic song how much this song meant to me.

But just for old old old timesy, while I was in high school’s sake, let’s really pull out the amazing skeletons and dance and be excited because we were there:

Hey anyone remember Cradle of Thorns? They are only one of the best bands to ever come out of Bakersfield, California:

Man, Cradle’s live show used to just terrify you. Way back in 199-whatever. I want to say it was the Offspring where one of these charming men almost pulled a chandielier out of the cealing at the Casa Royale, but it could have been any show. Except for the show with the pig’s head. That headliner I would’ve remembered. Maybe.

Karmahitlist is fucking rad as fuck and I want them to do some great things. Please support them by going to their Facebook and liking them.

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So happy you could die

It’s a proven fact I cry when my friends come to visit and then leave town. Last night was no exception.

Mikee rocking balls

I’ve known Mikee and Jordan and Tom for about 100 years. Seriously I took the photos at Mikee’s wedding. Mikee and I were in a band together for about four minutes and he helped me write the one song I’ve ever written.

Catastrophist is their new band and they played at Cafe Coda last night. Some where in there I was 19 again, taking pictures and hanging out with the boys and just not 33 with all the responsibilities of a circus director. I remembered what it was like to be a “wild and crazy” teenager in Bakersfield (seriously one Corona and done, I was such a wild woman! OMG) and it was nice.

 

 


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Let’s talk about my Grandpa

I don’t talk about my Grandpa much and there really is no good reason for it other than my grandpa didn’t talk much. He’d lost most of his hearing probably around the time I was born and hated his hearing aids to the point he watched baseball with the sound off. (Sometimes though Grandpa had it right, that’s way better than listening to idiot commentators.)

By all accounts by the time I was old enough to hang out with my grandparents and really appreciate them, my Grandfather was an “old man.” At least physically.

My Grandpa was never an “Old Man,” by my estimate at all. Actually when I was really young, probably between 4 and 6 and spent  alot of time at my grandparents house while my parents worked, my grandpa and I played together probably more than most people realize. Grandpa built me a swing that I would use until I almost threw up.  My Grandpa built me forts in the backyard even though we used to have pen up Vicious the dog (he was just big, not mean) so I could play in the back without the big silly dog jumping all over me.  He let me steer his truck once on the back acre when we used to have cows. My grandpa built me a bicycle out of the left over parts of my cousins bikes when I finally got my training wheels off. It was an ugly freak show of a bike but it was mine and I rode all over the place near their house with it.

Grandpa actually used to be the one to watch me while Grandma was at work at the mall when I was young. He’d pick me up from the 1st grade and we’d either go to McDonalds and get a happy meal and sit at whatever park that is closest to the Valley Plaza until it was time to get my Grandma from work or we’d just go straight to the mall and because it was the 80s and because I was at the mall all the time I could walk around while we waited for Grandma to get off of work at Broadway. Sometimes I got money for a coke and would get one but mostly, I’d just go look at the fish pond and wait.

My grandpa got me a crazy assortment of animals while I was there every day.  Millions of cats. I always had a cat at my grandparents house and up until Lucy, most of my cats were also my grandpa’s cats. They’d watch baseball together with the sound off while I wasn’t around. I’m pretty sure Binky was his favorite. I also had rabbits and a goat for awhile as well. Not to mention fish.  And my grandpa’s weird dog George who ran away the night my grandpa passed away.

My grandpa and I used to go to the live stock auctions in Arvin on Sunday Mornings. Grandpa called it the Junk Sale and would usually hand me a five dollar bill and let me go get whatever crap I wanted from the swap meet while he watched the animal auctions. I didn’t really like to watch the cow auctions, the cows seems scared but would always look at the rabbits and chickens and then end up buying some Avon or sometimes nothing but a soda and going to meet my grandpa once the cows were done. We didn’t keep cows at this point and I was so young, I really think this was just my grandpa’s opportunity to hang out with his friends but I didn’t realize.

The other really cool thing about my Grandpa is this: My grandpa was so proud of my dad and when I wanted to “play radio,” he made sure I had whatever Radio Shack microphone was available at the time and a pile of blank tapes.  I made radio shows with my Disney tapes leading into Blondie, etc.  My Grandpa was the first person to play me Fats Domino and always made sure I had a place in their house to listen to music, if it was in the den, my room or the weird wall unit record player my grandparents used to have.

Also my Grandpa liked to read and used to slip me books all the time. He gave me “Where the Red Fern Grows,” and told me that if I got into his westerns or Grandma’s books if I could understand the words,  I could read them. I remember him giving me the book of “Forrest Gump,” telling me that “There’s some nasty words in there but I know you won’t say em” and he was right. At least not in front of my grandparents.

When I was really young, like 4 maybe I was obsessed with Star Wars and my grandpa used to tell me stories. He always told me “Indian Stories” before that because of course according to Grandpa he was a real life Indian. But when I started asking for Star Wars stories he asked me who was in it and when I said Luke Skywalker, my grandpa made up stories about some guy on crutches walking on the clouds and making it rain, because clearly that’s what Luke Skywalker would do.

My Grandpa Ivan rocked. There’s no way around it. I feel kind of spoiled because I think I really did get the best of him and the fact he wanted me to believe in Santa forever or the fact that he was willing to teach me to drive or that we never in my life had a Christmas tree I didn’t touch. Or maybe I got the secret memo that our Grandpa was a lot more fun than anyone knew. I don’t know. All I know is he’s a part of me and I love him and miss him every single day.


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four

Dear Christopher-

So this morning a link and story about the Afghan Whigs rolled by on my facebook feed and you of course came to my mind. And I looked at the calendar and said “oh #@$k this month again.”  So here we are.

Four years ago you decided to leave us. You decided to go away. You decided that this life is too hard or confusing or whatever and decided to leave us all here, wondering, wishing, missing you.

So! Anyway, this morning I’m scrolling through vile Facebook and what do I see but the Afghan Whigs have gotten back together and may tour. Can you believe it? They played the Jimmy Fallon show recently and I can’t remember if Jimmy Fallon was on the air when you were here but you probably would remember him from SNL or whatever. (Surprise! Someone from SNL has a talk show,  I think my brain just melted thinking about that to be honest.) But back to the Whigs…

You’ll miss seeing them.  I’ll try my hardest to go see them for you, even though for once it was me introducing you to something when you found the Whigs, I’m sure you’d never tell anyone that though. My lovely teacher of cool,  the guy who never gave up on me, who dyed my hair sometimes after we’d broken up because I couldn’t reach the back. The guy who I could still call for pie or for seriously anything, I always could.

I’d be calling you to go meet up in San Francisco or maybe,  just maybe we’d meet  in Vegas to see the Afghan Whigs. One band I’ve never been able to see. Greg Dulli being my future ex-husband and all, there’s that restraining order. In my version of this trip it would be Vegas and the club would be a dive. You and I and our dates, we’d order ridiculous drinks, like Singapore Sling drinks at some dive bar that may or may not have been on Bourdain’s show. We’d act as though we were in a speak easy and we’d talk about Elephant Thespian (not a real band) and Cornbread the cat and I’d remember the weird piece of writing that you did about me once talking about a time I walked to your house in high school and I’d probably pretend to be mad for a minute, but I really wouldn’t be mad.

After all this nonsense we would go to see the Afghan Whigs and Greg Dulli and I would fall in love with Greg again for the 900th time and we’d smile a bunch and when it was done go to the silliest place that was open for all you could eat crab legs or pancakes or whatever we deemed most VEGAS about the experience and maybe we’d talk about the bands you were in or the stupid shit we both picked out for me to wear when we’d go shopping. Or maybe we’d talk about our jobs or our families or whatever. You would make sure we stayed out until the sun came up and then we with our respective dates would wander back to whatever shitty (on purpose) hotel we had decided to stay at and bid each other aideu until our next time together.

This is what I, at 32 years old with the knowledge that you are always and forever going to never even get to be 30 with  me, wish was in the future.

But it’s not. You’re gone.  You’re a ghost in photos I find, in things in my treasure chest, you’re a ghost on the wall in my apartment and I wish like hell that wasn’t the truth.

I try, to live my life in a sort of homage to you. You taught me a lot about music (all of  it is good, you just gotta try it) food (all of it’s good you just have to try it, seriously just eat this) and working hard, as you always did. Also always being kind to people in need and even some times people who didn’t deserve it, that for me was you.

When we first started to date you had a concussion.  I sometimes think that’s the only reason you dated me, but I know that’s not true. But there you were, this force of life that I knew and played attack basketball with on a regular basis and you were there in a hospital because you’d been hit so hard with a baseball that you had a concussion. I couldn’t visit you but you remember that Alicia and Tina did. And Alicia told you I liked you.  After that the rest was history.

Punk in drublic. Chaos Coffee. Java Jazz. The Masons building fire escape. Mars/Bam Bams. Wrapping presents for your mom’s work fund raiser or something in the mall (!) (See there now I’ve told a secret about us).  Journalism (seriously fuck that class), Toys R Us, 7-11. Lyons coffee, going to shows at Jerry’s. Watching you play. Running into you at Padre and the Mint and all the gay bars because that’s just where we liked to go. Watching you write so many wonderful things in the paper.  Being jealous of your writing, having to REDO an entire edition of the Saga because you left your editorial smarts at home that day…. I didn’t mind.

I’ll never in a million years know why you did what you did. I wouldn’t understand even if you came back and told me, because you were a star. If people didn’t love you, they hated you and that’s just a sign of jealousy. You were the party, all we had to do was come to you.

I miss you every single day. I know today isn’t the THE DAY but eff it, I’ve never been good at rules and neither were you.  I’ll light my Yahrzeit candle for you on Saturday and listen to some songs that are your songs. But if I waited until Saturday to write this it’d be way sappier.

Just know that even though I don’t understand what happened, I accept it. It happened. You chose to end your journey. I will never forget you but maybe some day I’ll forgive you. All I know is I will always miss you. I love you my friend and someday we’re doing the Vegas thing in Heaven and you can explain EVERYTHING.

All my love, always-

Stephanie

a very very long time ago

 

goofiest prom photos ever


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Holy nostalgia

My friend Chelsea just posted a track from this Bakersfield band Crawdaddy that we used to go see ALL THE TIME back in our high school days. Being a nostalgic git, I got onto youtube to see if I can find any other tracks, and holy shit theres like four songs up there. Youtube is the best sometimes.

Crawdaddy shows were always fun, because they were a ska band, meaning it was one of the few chances for us girls to get dressed up and go dance and usually not worry about a fight breaking out or getting pepper sprayed or whatever. I think the best one was at Chaos Coffee. Always good times.

Enjoy.


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14. A song recorded in the 1980s.

14.  A song recorded in the 1980s.

This is another one of those questions where you’re going to get more than one answer. Sorry. I love the 80’s. Like gag me?

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. I’m a huge Depeche Mode fan. Seriously, I’m a grown ass woman with a Depeche Mode poster in her bedroom. Framed. No joke.  That being said, I feel like “Black Celebration,” was the first album that hinted at what they were going to sound like in their hey day around “Violator” (although neither of these are my favorite all time Depeche Mode album.) I uselessly own a video collection (on vhs no less) called “Strange” and “Strange two” where we also see the first of the Anton Corbjn videos with a narrative that would come to define this bands video presence. E-Bay is a whore.

Still hot. Good grief

Dave Gahan needs to marry me. I could write about Depeche Mode all day but we have MOAR music to cover, so hold on.

B-Movie is the DEFINITION of one hit wonder. However their one hit is like… my theme song. It was also my online handle for a bit. I used to know this guy who was a bit of an 80’s expert and ran an 80’s radio show, etc and he first played this song for me. It’s actually the words more than the music that sucked me in. I own this bitch on vinyl (another useless bit of merchandise in my house, I don’t have a record player,) thanks to my friend Russ.  Jesus on Exstacy did a cover of it later on, I still loved it.

X is one of those bands I have both my dad and my cousin Michelle to thank for. I love this band. More so I love Exene. She is incredibly talented, and really nice. Once I saw them at the El Rey in Los Angeles. And she came down between the stage and the barricade and let people sing this song with her. The girl next to me didn’t know the words, I did. I got to sing with her. And fix her stage wig afterwards. Saw them in Paso Robles a few years later and she was just as nice. I love this band so freakin’ much.

I wish I was this fierce

Love this one

Yes they were married for a minute. So were….

Yes, that's the one dude from the Lord of the Rings

Everyone loves Nena “99 Luft Ballons” and I’m no different. I remember playing it here and there on various stations I worked at. Reel Big Fish did a cover of it later on that was awesome as well. From what I understand Nena is still pretty popular in Germany.

Dramarama “Anything, Anything” is one of the songs so many people know who have no idea who the hell did it. Trust me.  Before the KROQ website was an unnavigatable block of crap, they were even mentioned in the FAQ as “who is that band who sings “I’ll give you pills,” there is also a really ugly scene between the singer of Dramarama and Rodney Bingenheimer in the “Mayor of Sunset Strip.” Anyway this song? Classic.

Growing up in Bakersfield was a weird experience as in we’d go to this one punk club owned by this one dude John Bentley who I adored and he loved me too since I tried to help him out with his zoning problems by writing this epic newspaper article. Yes I was that naive once. Anyway. The only consistent theme in all of John’s clubs was that between the bands he would dj this insane eclectic 80s dance music and I remember dancing to this one about 800 times at his various establishments. (Some of my favorites? Empire Coffee where there was a hole in one of the bathroom floors and you could see the practice spaces downstairs and by hole I mean hold the handrail to get around it, what the hell? And then the temporary clubs, one in an old drycleaners, the other in an old dentist office. Somewhere in my boxes is a electrical outlet cover from the old Mars when he finally did get evicted.)

And finally…

Soft Cell is amazing. I don’t care. “Sex Drawf” is another one I own on vinyl. This is me and my friend Shannon’s song. I never met anyone who loved Soft Cell in high school until I met Shannon. Needless to say we’ve been friends every since. Even if I did watch “Edward Penishands” at her house. Followed by GG Allen videos. Yikes. She does have a Devo energy dome, so all is forgiven.


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11. A song recorded in the 1970s.

Man this one is hard because the 70’s is when punk exploded and anyone who’s known me for awhile knows this is one of my favorite genres in music. So I’m going to cheat and give you a few. Suck it.

For a brief bit in high school I dated this guy Matt Thompson (everyone in Bakersfield knows who I’m talking about.) and I mean it was brief, maybe a month or so, but this was one of the bands he turned me on to, as well as being the first person to show me the Decline of Western Civilization. Matt’s still a good friend and I’m sure there are legion of people back home that owe some little bit of their music collection to Matt.

The Ramones “I wanna be your boyfriend,” dude who doesn’t love the Ramones just a little bit? I love this song because it’s so sweet and light. It’s not exactly what all Ramones songs sound like but who knows maybe I have a soft spot for it after it’s been sang for me a few times… Obviously not by the Ramones themselves, although I did get to see them on the Adios Amigos tour. Epic.

Most people stick Blondie firmly in the 80s but “Heart off Glass” came out in 1976.  I remember this album being one of my favorites as a little kid. See my dad is in radio too and I always had piles and piles of records to play with. I used to make my own radio shows on my grandpa’s stereo system with either a little radio shack plug in mic or those Fisher Price mics that would broadcast over empty FM dials (as it turns out I am not the only radio person who used to do this as a kid, yes Jojo I am looking at you.) and I always loved “Parallel Lines,” most likely because of the cover and how glam Debbie Harry looked on it.

If you can’t relate to The Buzzcocks “Every fallen in love with someone (you shouldn’t have fallen in love with?)” you’ve probably never really left your house. I discovered this song of all places on some cheap compilation disc I bought at a Thrifty’s check out for like 6 dollars because it had some other more well known punk song on it. I was on lunch break from Bakersfield College and needed to buy eyeliner or something and went into Thrifty’s and there it was in the 6.99 bin and I bought it. This QUICKLY became my favorite song on the comp and oh yes, it very much does remind me of some one. Don’t worry though, honey I won’t out you here. You probably know who you are. 🙂

I was having a conversation with my new boss the other day and he said something pretty profound, “If you don’t want Bob Marley to be your number one testing record, don’t test it.” It’s true, most people like Bob. Its everything that came after that causes a lot of the arguments about if reggae is stupid or not.  “Is This Love,” from 1978 is a gorgeous song and I pretty much put it on any jukebox that has it if I’m out and about.