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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Cleaning Ladys (Featuring Young Jason Narducy) - Give Up On My Girl Video

Feeling groovy and more alive after a fun kung fu class last night. Its weapons week, the final and my favorite week of every month. Unfortunately, we didn't work with my newest weapon, the spear. Its almost too long to fit in my 2-door Civic- must be rather comical to see me extricating an 8 foot Chinese spear from the passenger side door...

Here is a blast from the past, 1982 to be exact. Chicago's own garage rockers The Cleaning Ladys blast through Give Up On My Girl. Reminds me of Michael Jackson's Thriller track The Girl Is Mine, where Michael and Paul McCartney (are there two less likely Lotharios?) sort of fight over the same girl.

Except in this case, the rival in question isn't an ex-Beatle. Its 10 year old Jason Narducy, from Robert Pollard's own Ascended Masters! Not exactly sure what I was doing as a 10 year old in 1982 (same age), but it sure wasn't rocking out like this (more likely wasting countless hours in New Jersey video arcades)! Fun song, cool video and young Jason demonstrates guitar chops and stage presence far beyond his years...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Jack Rock Records #1 Rud Fins / Piss Along You Bird & #2 Spider Eyes / Battle For Mankind Review

Salutations from the fog bank! I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Been rather busy drawing Pop Zeus and otherwise enjoying my time off. But over the last few days, I've felt pretty crappy- an opportunity to catch up on some overdue posts.

If you are a subscriber to Robert Pollard's Happy Jack Rock Record Club, odds are you have received singles number one and two already, like me. And so far, so great! Physically, the Happy Jack 45's have an old-school no frills feel that hearkens back to the innocent days of rock and/or roll, from their plain paper sleeves to their big jukebox-ready center hole. But the music etched on the vinyl is anything but conventional.

The A-side of single #1 is Rud Fins, featured on Robert Pollard's upcoming "poppy" LP Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love. And it delivers in the pop department, big time (a good thing in my book). Melodic and light, the good time down-home feelin' of Rud Fins could easily be an outtake from 2006's Normal Happiness. The lyrics are a mystery to me so far. But the driving chord changes and sunny guitar are pure creamy Bob goodness. And the final section of the song reaches triumphant heights, closing the song out with power. Tasty.

The B-side to Rud Fins is the Silverfish Trivia outtake Piss Along You Bird. It's a tune already familiar to Pollard fans who caught the tour last winter. But the fully realized studio version is a revelation. I am shocked this instant classic will only see the light of day as a vinyl B-side. Bob's double track vocals dance over Todd Tobias' playful but rockin' guitars and the result is magic. And Pollard has never been stronger lyrically- from the first dismissal of "alright, alright, alright- enough you" to "take your scent back in the air" to "love is not all you need" (a humorous rebuttal of the Beatles cliche) to "I wanted you, I needed you" (a couplet last heard more endearingly on Serious Birdwoman (You Turn Me On)), dissing your ex has never been more empowering and fun.

Surprising the hell out of most listeners, Happy Jack single #2 takes a complete 180 degree turn with Spider Eyes. The final track on Robert Pollard's forthcoming "weird and proggy" Standard Gargoyle Decisions, Spider Eyes is balls-out paranoid thrash counterpointed with Circus Devils-esque bluesy weirdness (apparently designed to drive the spiders out of your speakers!). Bob's howling vocals (as recently heard on Bad Football) complement the creepy vibe perfectly. And the slogging death-march of a conclusion "and your mind.." cross-fades nicely into Bob's boombox demo. Spider Eyes brings the rawk.

And keeping the psychedelic rock vibe going on the B-side is Battle For Mankind, a song collage co-created by Rockathon Records' own Rich Turel (hee haw!). One part Revolution #9, one part Back To Saturn X Radio Report (song bits and pieces), a big hunk of Geo and Bob-speak and a dash of Ringworm Interiors' roommate repelling noise, the track is strange and comical in a good way. Upon careful listening, I hear (in order) an acoustic snippet of Stawberry Fields Forever, a bit of live Bob (sounds like old GBV?), TV clips with Bob back-talk, a woman singing Happy Birthday, back-masking, a tiny bit of The Way Of The World (?), a different version of Did It Play?, finishing up with a unknown boombox demo. Its a mystery wrapped in an enigma... and I dig it.

Good shit so far in the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series. Here's looking forward to single #3 Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing) b/w Met Her At A Seance in August! Cheers, proud brothers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Circus Devils - Sgt. Disco Limited Edition Vinyl Is Up For Grabs!

Rockathon Records' pre-order for the hotly anticipated Circus Devils' Sgt. Disco double gatefold limited-edition vinyl is up and awaiting your order. And the double LP is a limited edition of only 470. So, as I've warned you folks before, don't sleep on it. Get your order in tout suite!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Upcoming Doug Gillard Summer Show Dates

Doug Gillard, GBV guitar god and brilliant solo artist, is back on the road over the next few weeks! If you are lucky enough to live in North Carolina or Tennessee, Doug will be passing through your zone soon. As for me, a visit to my family down in the Hilton Head, South Carolina area was in the works anyway. So I will be there for the Charlotte gig in August! Here are the dates, venues, and openers...

Saturday, 21 July 2007 - The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
185 Clingman Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
828-232-5800 ( Directions)
$7, Doors at 9pm
Also on the bill: The Frauds, and The Victuals open.

Sunday, 22 July 2007 - JJs Bohemia, Chattanooga, TN- EARLY SHOW!
231 Martin Luther King
Chattanooga, TN
(423) 266-1400
Show at 7pm - Cover TBA
With The Frauds, and an opener TBA

Saturday, 11 August 2007 - Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
1228 Gordon St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
704.333.9799 ( Directions)
Doors & Cover TBA
Also on the bill: A Decent Animal & Tonberry

(photo courtesy of Bernie DeChant)


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ignore This Post

The party of a lifetime did not happen in the mythical land of Dayton, Ohio last weekend. Guided By Voices (in a completely new configuration of Demos, Farley, Slusarenko, R. Pollard and MacPherson) did not reunite for five songs last Saturday. A cover band comprised of Disarm The Settlers members did not kick ass. And Chris Slusarenko, Rich T and Jason Narducy did not share vocal duties with the regular members of the band. No one played cornhole. The bus didn't get us there yet. Not a beer was drunk. Not a drunk was beered. No one got whacked in the ass with a whiffle ball bat. No one hugged their heroes. No one had a transformative experience. This did not happen. I was not there. That is not me in the videos. Do not believe in magic.

A Salty Salute

Game Of Pricks (with Jason Narducy)

Fair Touching

Big Boring Wedding

Rhoda Rhoda (with Chris Slusarenko)

Smothered In Hugs

Big School

Dayton Ohio, 19 Something And 5

Motor Away

Tractor Rape Chain

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Circus Devils - Sgt. Disco Available For Pre-Order, MP3 Preview And Videos!

You might be wondering where the heck I've been. Let's just say I've been a busy little bee- working on Pop Zeus and... other stuff. Had to completely rewrite a chapter of Pop Zeus inspired by the EC horror comics of the 1950's. It resembled too much what I would normally write and less what that "usual gang of idiots" would have crafted. The story is much better for having be reworked, in spite of the delay. Anyway, on to pressing matters...

Sgt. Disco is real! On July 24th, Ipecac Recordings will unleash unto the world Circus Devils' latest creation. And this very minute, you can pre-order Sgt. Disco with our friends at Luna Music! Let's just say this is the Circus Devils record every living or dead earthling should own. And rumor has it that before too long, Rockathon Records will be making a double vinyl set of Sgt. Disco available for those of you so inclined. Stay tuned!

And while we are all patiently waiting for the 24th, there are a few ways to catch a sneak peek at the record. Paper Thin Walls, a music blog, has a review and mp3 available for download of Sgt. Disco highlight Swing Shift. And a streaming version of In Madonna's Gazebo can be found here. Great tracks! To top it off, those lovable scamps at Circus Devils have already created two surreal music videos, War Horsies and Bogus Reactions. Enjoy, folks!..