Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gleemer (The Deeds Of Fertile Jim) - Two Cover Videos

Two dudes, two acoustic guitars, two web cams, two fighting dogs and one obscure but brilliant Guided By Voices song- Gleemer (The Deeds Of Fertile Jim). The Tobin Sprout penned original appears on the legendary Vampire On Titus LP. I'm partial to the second video with the kid and the out-of-tune guitar. The first guy, Ben Gibbard, is more off on the lyrics (obviously not familiar with and sings with too much earnestness (is that a word?) for my taste. And the fighting dogs are humorous but distracting. Regardless, its always fun to hear interpretations of GBV classics. Play 'em at the same time for even more fun...

I'm sitting on 2 heads
"Some seat" I heard some said
Just waiting for Sunday
Four days after Wednesday

The higher clouds are closing in
To hide the deeds of Fertile Jim

Could this be a brand new low
One that we can't talk about
One that we can't live without
One that we can join in now

I'm standing on 2 feet
Now buried in concrete
Just waiting for sundown
So as to be not found

The higher clouds are closing in
To hide the deeds of Fertile Jim

Could this be a brand new low
One that we can't talk about
One that we can't live without
One that we can join in now

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hey Bay Area Denizens, Let's Go See American Cannibal!

(Update and reminder- American Cannibal's stand at the Red Vic here in San Francisco begins on Friday! I should be checking it out some time early next week (now that I'm unemployed, everything is easier to do during the week when the rest of y'all are at work!...)

American Cannibal, the hilarious documentary/parody of reality television, is coming to San Francisco at last (also check the link for more cities including Cleveland, Portland, Chicago and Augusta). And our favorite axe-man Doug Gillard (with help from Kevin March) composed and recorded over 20 songs for the film! American Cannibal will be playing hereabouts at the Red Vic in the smelly, street-kid ridden Haight district from June 22nd to the 29th. I will checking it out at some point that week- send me a message if you wanna come with!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Robert Pollard's Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series Is Ready For Pre-Order

Robert Pollard's Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series, a 7"-of-the-month club celebrating the release of Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, is ready for pre-order from our friends at Rockathon Records! And there are several easy options for ordering- one single at a time, in groups of three or the whole darn thing in advance (like me, heh). No matter how you pay, one 45 will be shipped on the 22nd of every month from now until next summer! Woo hoo!

And with the pre-order announcement is the entire list of A and B sides for the series. And there are several big surprises amidst the B-sides in particular. Take a gander...

June 22
HJRR-1 Rud Fins b/w Piss Along You Bird

July 22
HJRR-2 Spider Eyes b/w Battle For Mankind

August 22
HJRR-3 Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing) b/w Met Her At A Seance

September 22
HJRR-4 Pill Gone Girl b/w Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love

October 22
HJRR-5 Shadow Port b/w Be In The Wild Place

November 22
HJRR-6 Count Us In b/w Sixland (John Shough Verison)

December 22
HJRR-7 Dumb Lady b/w Street Velocity

January 22
HJRR-8 Youth Leagues b/w Spirit Of The Fly

February 22
HJRR-9 Folded Claws b/w Speak Again

March 22
HJRR-10 When We Were Slaves b/w Battle For Mankind 2

April 22
HJRR-11 The Killers b/w Revolver Tricks (Stanley West)

May 22
HJRR-12 Miles Under The Skin b/w Frostman (Long Version)

So the title song Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, formerly of the original Silverfish Trivia, will not be on either LP (along with Piss Along You Bird and Met Her At A Seance, mentioned earlier). And word on the street is that Miles Under The Skin is one of Bob's best songs ever, for real.

But the big big news is the B-side release of two long-awaited lost tracks from the vault, Sixland and the long version of Isolation Drills' Frostman. Sixland was a beloved track considered for inclusion on Under The Bushes Under The Stars in 1996, but dropped... and then the master tapes were lost. Lost that is, until 2007! (Update- since this post, it's become known that this version of Sixland is producer John Shough playing the song from memory, not the original and still lost studio version. Ah well...) And the longer version of Frostman is supposedly closer in length and structure to Color Coat Drawing, the song it was based on.

Here's looking forward to an amazing year of Bob music, one single at a time- Cheers!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Final Countdown (Updated!)

(I made it! Received my black belt yesterday at around 8 PM PST after a three and a half hour test. Was a especially tough day for me because I caught a nasty head cold the day before which I'm still dealing with- sore throat and congestion which lead to major dehydration and brain fog during the test. But what could I do but try my best and push on through? The highlight for me was definitely the board breaking. Plowed through two boards with my side kick, jump spinning back kick and elbow strike. Very empowering! Congrats to all the other graduates and a huge thanks to my instructors and supporters- I couldn't have done it without you!)

It's the final countdown! Bee-de-dee-do! Bee-de-dee-dee-dee! Bee-de-dee-do! It's the final countdown!

In precisely 9 days (June 9th) I will finally be taking my black belt test! Its been a long long road, paved with blood, sweat and tears... literally. And receiving this honor will be that much sweeter having come back from a bad calf injury last year (no relation to Bob Pollard's calf injury... or is there?), which delayed my advancement significantly (not to mention 2006's minor injuries- bruised ribs, bum left elbow, funky right knee...).

Add to that the perfect timing of my work hiatus, enabling me to accelerate my training over the last couple months. Many pre-tests later, I received my official invitation to the black belt test a little more than a week ago! So off I go, dad in tow (flying out from New Jersey to watch the test- any more spectators would probably freak me out!).

If you've been following along, you would know that the style of kung fu I have been studying for over 4 years is Choy Lay Fut, a fairly well-known, practical, modern style practiced primarily in the urban centers of China. It incorporates many aspects of other older styles including chi-na, Shaolin, Buddhist palm striking, and all sorts of fun weapons. Its movements are wide and circular, keeping opponents at a considerable distance. Here is a clip of my Sifu, Master Tat Mau Wong, demonstrating an advanced form at an exhibition in China. It is followed by another Choy Lay Fut form demonstrated by several of my instructors and fellow students. And no, this video is not sped up...

For the test, I will have to demonstrate all the kicks and self-defenses I've learned, a small bout of sparring (with protective gear, mind you- not to the death), 6 hand forms, two staff forms (Shaolin staff and Chat Gum fighting staff), board breaking and strength demonstrations including 50 panther fist push-ups (on your second knuckles and quite painful), 50 jack-knives (advanced sit-ups, to put it mildly) and a 3 minute horse stance (not terribly long, as they go). Phew- makes me tired just typing it! ;) Here is one of the forms I will be doing (5 animals form) in the test, as perfectly demonstrated by my friend and instructor Sifu Alex...

Not too worried about the test... yet. More than anything, I'm totally excited to be moving forward again (bring on the new weapons- sword and spear!). But I will admit stressing more than usual about the training leading up to the test (my perfectionistic nature catching up with me again).

And since my latest class on Tuesday (many many jumping jacks), both of my calves have been unusually sore, which understandably freaked me out. To reinjure my left calf at this stage of the game would be a tragedy beyond words. So I sucked it up and didn't go to class today. I figure at this point, one missed class isn't going to blow it (getting to the test is more than half the battle). And without a doubt, a reinjured leg would bring this party train to a calamitous end.

So please send positive vibes my direction until June 9th and wish me good luck! You probably won't be hearing much more from me before the test (plus my dad arrives next Wednesday). But I'll let you all know how it goes soon afterward. Until then, lets all contemplate the wise words of Chop Chop Master Onion- kick, punch, it's all in the mind...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Guided By Voices - Lethargy Live Video

Ah, Lethargy. This blistering punk classic off of Guided By Voices' Propeller LP quickly became a live staple, and with good reason. Nothing gets the crowd pumped quite like Lethargy. And behold the caveman drumming power of Jimmy Mac from this 2000 live clip from the El Ray, Los Angeles. Excellent.

There's a book of instructions to the rusty time machine

That goes you there, but really nowhere

I wish I could give a shit, just a little bit

What's the difference?