I dunno...what do you do if you have to give a dinner party every year, but you don't really want anyone on the available guest list to come to your house? I suppose there's always booking a back room at the Olive Garden and feigning an early-exit headache, but that's not my point here. Once again, it's the annual Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame nominees time. Once again, the list of potential inductees reminds me that when you have to force-feed the concept of artistic worthiness, you dilute your idea into a watery, overpriced drink that gives your guests a headache while making everyone feel vaguely ripped off.

(RNR HOF image)

No, this is not the worst list I've seen over the years, and there's a couple of very deserving acts there. But overall this sure is not the A-list, and it bugs me to have friggin' ego-bloated screech monkey AXL ROSE possibly standing next to inductees like Robert Johnson, Johnny Cash, and John Lennon. Give me a damn BREAK. Bleah. So, here's how I break this down, after a few days to think about it...

Open The Door 'n Let 'Em Innnnnn: Beastie Boys and WAR. Unquestionably innovative, creative, and able to sustain high-quality musical product through the years. There is a joyfulness and energy to both bands that carry the spirit of rock n' roll so well.

Oh Well, OK: The late Laura Nyro probably should have been in awhile ago on songwriting skills, The Small Faces/Faces for some underappreciated Mod-ness and training ground for some Big Boys of Rock, and Donovan for putting a Scottish brogue on Bob Dylan and then pop-tripping out. Groovy.

Wait, Just A Minute Mr. Postman: The Cure, Erik B. and Rakim, Heart, Rufus with Chaka Khan, and The Spinners. All of them arguably quite influential and reasonably unique. My heart isn't in it to quite bump them up to "Oh Well, OK" yet. Ya know?

Under Pressure: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Freddie King, Red Hot Chili Peppers all have something in common -- none of them shine particularly well at what they do. These are craftspeople. Flea's a good player, though.

NoNo NoNo No No NoNoNoNo, No No NO NO, No No NO NO, No NoNo NoNoNoNO: Guns 'n Roses and Donna Summer?? Let these folks in, and you have to let in Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Winger, Loverboy, and The Captain and Tennille. Stop the Madness.

Parties should be special, sparking, memorable things, a celebration of the best we are and the best we have, not networking or industry payback slogs/defaults that will just end up as a miserably awkward onstage jam, and/or some jerk breaking your toilet and spilling wine on your carpet.

That's what I think.


Oh, surprise, was announced today that punk peripheral Courtney Love will be writing a tell-all memoir, to be published in the fall of 2012. I went on a Twitter tear and wrote up the book chapter titles for her. I'm helpful like that.

-If Enough Of You Buy This Book, I Can Make Up Some More Shit For A Second One 

-I Made Billy Corgan Lose All His Hair, Even His Pubes

-How To Increase Your Press Coverage by 1000% With One Easy Dress Lift

-I'm the NASCAR of Rock: I'm A Total Bore Until I Crash Spectacularly

-I'm A Buddhist, F*ck You

-I Date-Raped Drugged Myself, And Still No One Took Me Up On It

-I Said I'd Never Write A Book, And You Believed Me? HA HA 

-Friendless, Nameless

-Bottom Feeding For Fun And Profit

-How I Made $3.63 From Stripping

-Crowd-Surfing Pantiless Made Me A Feminist Icon 

-Really. Grohl Wanted Me. No, Stop Laughing

-How To Dress Demurely For Multiple Court Appearances

-Parenting To Encourage Early Independence

-How To Get Your Dead Husband's Royalties To Pay For Your Shitty Plastic Surgery 

-Rambling Accusations, Part 20

-The Inadequate Penis Sizes of Famous Men I Know 

-Kurt Hated All Of You, Really  

I suggest we fire up a Kickstarter campaign for her book editor. He or she is going to need years of therapy afterwards.


Generally, I like to be correct. I like it a lot. I like knowledge and info and thinking and synthesizing and concluding and basing my opinions on the realities of science and human nature, and the hard, smart work of trusted others. I don’t choose to retreat into cynicism, apathy, religious platitudes, substance abuse, or other ostrich-like behaviors.

I wish in the case of the global economy that I could shake off this feeling that I am correct in how I think things are going to go. But I can’t. When there are problems – fundamental, intractable, entrenched – that are difficult to comprehend in their size and scope, we often cannot understand what is coming until it is too late and they are living in our own homes and the homes of everyone we know. It is totally against my nature to be so grim; I am not a fatalist nor ever without hope. But our world has become so unbalanced and inequitable across such a broad swath of cultures and countries that it’s going to take a long time to fix, and things are going to get worse before they can get better.

Why? Physics, cycles, sustainability. What goes up must come down, and greed unchecked for too long has consequences. A very small number of men around the world have hoarded our resources, bought up our governments, and still desire more, under the respectable cover of industry, development, and trickle-down commerce. They play us for the fools we are by leading us into division and rancor, promising us a bright future while dismantling any hope of achieving it. They play upon our fears by demonizing the weakest members of society, distracting us from who is really to blame. They play with our planet with no thought for its health, and with our lives, vampires who toss us in a mass grave after they’ve taken everything they can from us.

The ships are going down, one by one, and the rats are scrambling to survive by any means possible. As you drown, they will perch on your head and berate you for causing the storm. They will swim to an off-shore holding, and you will sink to the bottom of the sea.

Until the day comes when we ALL – all of us, with no separate and ultimately meaningless factions of religious or political belief -- decide we don’t want rats to determine our futures anymore, we remain leaden, sunken, helpless, and unable to change our fates.


Today is the 31st birthday celebration I have had for one of my children. That's a lot of melted wax on cakes and tiny plastic toy pieces and special strange meals. My infant and only female child turned nine years old today, going into the last year of single digits we will see 'round these parts for a long time. A LONG LONG LONG TIME, YOU HEAR ME, KIDS? Snapshot moments of the day:

5:23AM: "Mom, get up! We have to go in early!" "NOT THIS EARLY UGHHHH GO BACK TO BED."

6:17AM: "Mom?" "NO. I'LL LET YOU KNOW."

6:56AM: I wake up, remembering I was going to give her some new clothes to wear to school today as one of her presents, a dress with the word "music" all over it. I go into her room. She is totally asleep. I wake her. She loves the dress.

7:30AM: They leave to go into Safeway to buy 25 donuts to take into her school for a special treat. Years ago, I would have insisted on bringing a healthier birthday food for her classmates. Now? Donuts, whatever, go to town, kid. It's your birthday. Childhood is ridiculously short.

10:37AM: I bake a pan of brownies, the requested birthday dessert instead of a cake. Just as well, because I excel at brownies and totally do not do so well with cakes. You don't want a cake baked by me.

12:43PM: My mother calls and has more ideas what to get her for her birthday, even though she has already sent a huge box of stuff and a card with generous cash. I tell her we are good, and thank her.

2PM: A mad dash to wrap presents. They look like Frankenstein packages, with overused gift bags and wadded tissue paper and poorly-cut and taped birthday sheet wrap. I know she will not notice the difference between this effort or if I spent an hour lovingly curling multi-colored ribbons. I am not entirely sure that any child even sees present wrapping at all before they rip it to giddy shreds.

3:40PM: School pick-up. Everyone yells "Happy Birthday!" as she gets in the car. There are no leftover donuts, imagine that.

4:10PM: I tell her to do her homework. She says, "But it's my birthday!" Aiight.

4:53PM: Her grandparents call to wish her a happy birthday. I remember when you had to prompt her to be conversational. Now, she speaks like a regular human, which is really nice.

6:35PM: Off to the chosen birthday dinner spot, a large conveyor-belt sushi restaurant. She plows through plates of tuna, edamame, spring rolls, gyozas, salmon, and a Sprite. I have a large house sake, and recall at the table that I have had nothing but coffee the whole day. I eat.

7:10PM: On the way back home in the car, we tell stories of what the kids were like when they were young. The kids howl with laughter hearing the tale of when she kicked out an electrical outlet and peed on the school floor because she was mad that another kid got her crayons. I tell them how pleased I am that I don't get those kinds of calls from the school anymore.

7:30PM: The presents are opened. She is happy.

8:10PM: A number "9" and nine candles are stuck on the brownies in the pan from this morning. The candles are set on fire and a birthday song is sung. The brownies are awesome. We each have two.

8:39PM: Bedtime for MissNine. And Nine is Just Fine.


Well, what do you know, my know how the other day I made a creepy/cool fan vid for "The Girl Who Became A Machine" by UK garage rock band The Len Price 3? The band found it, dug it, and asked ME if I might make some more! How 'bout that, eh? Even though I have the video editing skills of a moderately-intelligent chimp, I sure love mining old and weird film footage to make these things. I am very glad they are enjoyed by some fellow chimps around the world.

So here's the latest, "Pictures," from the Len Price 3's latest album of the same name on Wicked Cool Records. Beware the creepy photographer! (Disclaimer: I am not a creepy photographer. No, really!)

"Pictures," The Len Price 3


I finally got to do something yesterday that I've been wanting to do for quite some time, which is take in a performance by the awesome kids from Seattle's School of Rock. I believe from the top of my toppiest top hat to the bottom of my silver sparkle Converse that rock music is for everyone, and there is no age limit that should preclude someone from rocking and/or rolling. It takes guts to get up and play on a real club stage with all the stage lights on, the PA blasting your every note, and your friends in the band depending on you to come through. The dedicated folks at School of Rock are behind these young musicians all the way, encouraging each kid to sing and play as many instruments as they can, giving them incredible music to learn, and never treating them like "just kids." There's a lot of respect there.

So when I was very kindly comped tickets to see the kids take on "West Coast Punk," I was supah-excited (The Dead Kennedys! The Germs! Black Flag! YES!). I brought my camera to Capitol Hill's Chop Suey and had a total blast and so did everyone else.

(School of Rock Flickr set)

My favorite song of the night? Without a doubt, the Dead Kennedy's "Let's Lynch the Landlord!" Here's a video shot by another member of the audience. (I think you can see me shooting there in the front.) RRRRRRAAAWWWKK! Thanks again, School of Rock!!

Seattle School of Rock, "Let's Lynch the Landlord"


"What?????? They are playing the what when?? NO WAY! WOW!!!"

This was my approximate reaction to hearing that the Flaming Lips would be performing at this year's Puyallup Fair, held every September in Puyallup, Washington. I didn't hesitate one minute before purchasing tickets for the whole family, despite that it was in the middle of the school/work week and Puyallup is a bit of a drive from Seattle-ish. There was no chance that I was going to miss one of the great surrealist stage spectacles in rock transported to the already-surrealistic atmosphere of a big state fair. My mind began to spin with possibilities. Maybe the Lips could do an acoustic set in the Fancy Chicken Exhibition Barn? Interview Wayne Coyne on a midway ride? Cotton candy confetti blasts? My goodness, I was giddy with delight. I've seen the Lips twice before (as has MissEight) and their shows are not only great fun, but just leave everyone feeling better about the world by the end. I don't know how they do it, but they do it every night, wherever they play. I love them.

After a short time pleasantly spent goofing around at the fair midway after we arrived in Puyallup, it was time to head into the Grandstand for openers Le Butcherettes, an L.A.-based garage-punk trio formed originally in Guadalajara, Mexico. Having previewed their album, Sin Sin Sin, I knew I would dig them but was unprepared for just how mindblowing their live show was. Vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Teri Gender Bender, dressed in pearls, a floral dress, drawn-on mustache, and a bloodied apron was an absolutely fearless force of nature, with a command of the stage that was mesmerizing. She howled, jumped, blew bubbles, paced the big stage like a hungry beast, and stared down those who stared back. She smiled, shredded, thanked the Flaming Lips kindly, and seemed to need to just burst into the audience and take over the world.  I was a little worried early on that such a changling of a show on the stage that just hosted Weird Al Yankovic a few days before wouldn't go down well with the early-night crowd, but Gender Bender won them over, as forces of nature just do. Le Butcherettes are provocative punk, and a must-see band.

(Le Butcherettes Flickr set)

After Le Butcherettes finished, I waited at the front of the stage for the Flaming Lips to get their gear set up, which is always very interesting because the band members actually come out onstage themselves and participate in duct taping, confetti-gun-testing, guitar strumming, and the like. It is usual as well for them to interact with the audience a bit at this time, always very casual and friendly, like dear friends seeing each other again. Sometimes, this is actually the case.

Lead Lip Wayne Coyne, looking like a fashion-conscious gray wolf with his fake-fur ruff, fuzzy curls, and trademark gray suit, went into whispered negotiations with one Mr. Tony, the head of the Puyallup Grandstand security team. Normally, no one is allowed to stand at the the stage in front of the first row seats other than the photographers and security. But Tony, how would Wayne be able to roll his spaceball out into the crowd if the crowd wasn't right there to hold him up? There would be nothing sadder than a Coyne-Laden Human Hamster Ball falling to the ground after fail support from only the six photographers and the rather senior-in-age security force. Tony and Wayne made a deal: fans could stay up front for the first three songs and then would have to sit down. The show could begin!

Why do I love these next two shots? Because they were taken completely blind, with the camera held up as high as my short arms could hold it while balancing on my tippy-toes, pressing the shutter and hoping for luck. I couldn't see this at all!

Ball came back, confetti came down, smoke and fiery bits and balloons and sound all roaring to life all at once.

The fans did eventually, if a little later than three songs, end up back in their seats, with a little pleading from Wayne onstage and some slightly-exasperated  prodding from the police and security. I think the crowd just wasn't gonna go back unless they had to, which is totally understandable. IT'S THE LIPS, C'MON! I shot as much as I was allowed, until I, too, had to take my seat. This show in comparison with the two others I saw, seemed a bit mellower, a little sweeter, unexpected at the imposing metal beast Grandstage. Not that there wasn't plenty of loudness, experimental blasts of noise, and the like -- IT'S THE LIPS, C'MON! -- but some of the edge I had seen before wasn't in evidence this time. It's possible that had something to do with the day's diet. "I know all this fair food is supposed to be bad for you, but I had some and I feel great!" Wayne announced, and he did seem to be in playful and relaxed state of mind.

The players played, the dancers danced, and everyone was happy. MissEight and Mr13 had leftover-confetti wars and watched the green laser beams bounce and wiggle allll the way to the back of the last seat at the top of the arena. My daughter and I sang along with "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1," and I hugged her as she stood on her seat. Mr13 nodded his head all rock-like to the Lips cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of The Moon," and "Do You Realize??" once again made everyone have "the most beautiful face."

There were no Fancy Chicken Barn Sessions, no edible spun sugar blasted from onstage cannons, and Wayne Coyne also announced onstage that he gets sick on midway rides, so there went that idea. But right before I stopped shooting for the night, I watched as one of the giant balloons, a green one, pop up and float lazily down again, bouncing off Wayne Coyne's head, startling him slightly. As I was directly in front of him, I giggled at this, and that he had confetti stuck to his face. When he saw me giggling, he started giggling too and we smiled at each other. I had just enough presence of mind to raise my camera then, one click, and returned to smiling, and then my seat. Out of the thousands and thousands and thousands of concert photographs that I have taken over the years, this slightly-fuzzy and not-exactly-exposed-correctly portrait is now one of those very few that I just love completely. It will always warm my heart.

And the last thing I saw after the show was over right before getting in my car to go home? A teenage boy, walking down the sidewalk to the parking lot, dragging a giant green balloon behind him.

(Flaming Lips Flickr set)

Innumerable thanks to Xander Deccio and Marina Orievsky for contact help, Dave Clifford for Le Butcherettes and Karen LaFlamme with Puyallup Fair for their awesome and above-and-beyond PR kindness, you for reading this, and of course, the Flaming Lips.