No Holds Barred

13 11 2008

It seems like it’s starting to become cool for people to be wrestling fans again. With Valient Thorr and Fight Like Apes writing songs about the sport and countless websites and newspapers all devoting space to the baby oiled behemoths, it ‘s never been a better time to get in on the action.

I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was about 6 or 7. We used to watch the British stuff (Giant Haystacks,Danny Boy Collins, Adrian Street etc) up in my granda’s house in High Street and woe betide anyone who spoke during the broadcast. If they did, my granda would usually shut them up pretty quickly. He loved watching the action in the squared circle and so did I, much to my Da’s disbelief.

As I got older and the British stuff got cancelled, I started to watch the WWF. It didn’t take long to get into the catch as catch can style and my favourites were the Million Dollar Man, Jake the Snake, Ravishing Rick Rood and Shawn Michaels. Basically I liked the pretty boys who were there to piss off the hicks and camp it up while stealing their girlfriends.

As the years went by I still continued to watch the sport even though there were a few lean moments (I’m looking at you British Bulldog) and I started to become interested in the backstage stuff. Wrestlers are an unusal breed. Most are stand off-ish and defensive when they’re taken outside the world of spandex and there are dozens of dark characters whose dabbles with drugs has completely destroyed their bodies,mental state and reputations (Jake the Snake,New Jack,Lex Luger…).They’re almost like carnies, travelling the world working for fuck all money as they put their bodies through massive amounts of pain purely for the love of what they do.

I’ve only ever interviewed one wrestler. His name was Chris Jericho and at the time he was coming to Belfast to play a gig with his band Fozzy. At the time Jericho had “retired” from the WWE and was trying his luck as a full time warbler. His agent told me that under no uncertain terms was I to ask about his wrestling days or anything related to that world, then gave me his mobile number and told me to ring him whenever I liked. To be honest, with all due respect to his agent, there was no way I wasn’t going to ask about him about his former life. He spent three decades on the road wrestling and that’s where the story was. To pretend it didn’t happen was pretty fuckin’ daft if you ask me.

So there I was, ringing up a Canadian wrestler from my glorified squat at the time feeling all excited and deviously planning ways in which to make him talk about Vince McMahon and Co. Chris answered the phone with an abrupt “Yeah,” and for the next 20minutes we had a prickly conversation that was as much fun as getting my pubes pulled out by a 20stone biker. I’d always found Jericho to be quite a charismatic bloke when he was cutting promos, but in person he was an utter tool who was taking himself far too seriously. At one point we had a full blown argument about Iron Maiden. Now usually I’ll let my subject say their piece and slabber on about whatever is in their heads but this was 15minutes in, I had more than enough quotes to go on and his obnoxious behaviour was starting to piss me off so he was fair game. Oh, and did I get him to talk about wrestling? You bet your arse I did.

Tonight I’m going to watch WWE Raw at the Odyssey. I already know what’s going to happen before it does. I’ll get a few beers, shout a some daft things and ultimately be kinda disapointed when HBK doesn’t show up.In honour of tonight’s fun here’s a few clips of wrestlers cutting silly promos. The first one is of Lex Luger (who has now, not surprisingly, snuffed it) and the second is a compilation of some greased up grapplers losing the run of themselves. Enjoy.





Avengers Assemble!

12 11 2008

Today I spent most of my time putting together my comics pages for the Christmas issue of AU.It took a while assembling everything, but I will say that Ed Brubaker’s Captain America won ‘Book of the Year.’

When it gets close to crimbo I’ll post up the published piece, but for the time being I thought I’d give you some images of Cap in the alternate opening scene of the Incredible Hulk.

If you need a closer look, here he is, lying under his shield….





Who Doesn’t Love A Bit Of Rod?

12 11 2008

Just read that the Faces are set to reform. I’ve always loved a bit of Rod and when I saw him last year he “put on a great show” as millions of ma’s would say.

Let’s hope they can come up with some tunes as good as ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Ooh La La.’





You’ve been burned by my lighter!!

10 11 2008

Well, today in Blogging a Dead Horse-land this writer has found himself well and truly rocked the fuck out. To say Hermano lived up to my hopes was an understatement as it was probably one of my favourite gigs ever (up there with RFTC,Dwarves,Maiden,Misfits,Mozza,Cure,Therapy? etc).

First off, the venue (Andrew’s Lane Theatre) is great. Nice big size, looks a bit like a warehouse/the blood bath scene in Blade and there was plenty of room onstage. They kicked off with my favourite song of theirs (‘Cowboy’s Suck’) and from there both Garcia and their guitarist Dave Angstrom were on fire (he even played a bit of Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’ and gave me a wee grin).

By and large it was a pefect show. No pointless solos, no jazz wankery, no egos. Just pure, punk-infused riffage, vocals like melted chocolate and a low-end as heavy as Beelzebub’s ball bag. The band (who all have day jobs and only tour 2weeks of the year) looked like they were having a blast too.

As if the night couldn’t go any better, they played two Kyuss songs at the end (‘Thumb’ and ‘Green Machine’) and the place errupted. Having never heard Kyuss tunes live before if was such an amazing moment and it’s a shame Josh won’t get the finger out and do some one-offs (who the fuck likes QOTSA these days anyway?).During the day I was wetter than an otter’s under-carriage due to tramping about in the rain, but once they stepped onstage it didn’t seem to matter.

Not only was the set flawless, but they didn’t outstay their welcome either (I hate when bands wank on for too long) and I even got a few signatures. Fingers crossed they’ll be back soon.

If anyone’s interested, check them out here www.myspace.com/hermanorocks.





Show Us Your Riffs

7 11 2008

Tomorrow afternoon I’m taking myself off to Dublin to see Hermano make their Irish debut. I’ve been looking forward to the show since it was annouced months ago and this will be the first time John Garcia (Kyuss) has ever performed over here. I’ve always been a huge Kyuss fan since about ’93 ever since I heard ‘Demon Cleaner’ from ‘Sky Valley’ on the 2FM Rock Show one Sunday night. Inspired, my brother bought the album in Sounds Good on Monaghan Street (we spent every weekend in there) and it really blew my mind and is still one of my favourite records ever.

 

I was pretty much an instant Kyuss fan. I remember even covering ‘Allen’s Wrench’ in my old band (although due to many reasons it was a much punkier version than the original) and when they called it a day after ‘And the Circus Leaves Town’ I was gutted. Anyway, a  year or two ago I got the opportunity to interview John about his new band Hermano and the old days. He was such a cool bloke and had a voice like honey. Below is the original interview with the man himself ahead of what’s sure to be one of the best shows of the year. After the interview John promised to buy me a pint if he ever managed to play in Dublin and you can bet your arse I’ll hold him to his offer.

 

John Garcia

In 1989, singer John Garcia started a band with his school friend Josh Homme called Sons of Kyuss. A few years later they shortened their name to the catchier sounding Kyuss, and with the help of drummer Brant Bjork and bassist Nick Oliveri (later replaced by Scott Reeder) literally changed the face of heavy rock music with their album ‘Blues for the Red Sun’ in 1992. Two more records followed (‘Sky Valley’ and ‘And the Circus Leaves Town’) before calling it a day. Some called it “Desert Rock” others called it “Stoner Rock” but whatever way you look at it, Kyuss single-handedly created a genre that is still alive and kicking today.

            In the wake of Kyuss’ demise, John formed Slo-Burn. Unfortunately they had a life-span of about half an hour and only released one EP (‘Amusing the Amazing’). From there, John got together with his former Kyuss buddy Scott Reeder and formed Unida. As Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age began to court the mainstream press (with their music suffering as a result) Unida were the true successors to Kyuss’ throne. Sadly though, their record company didn’t seem to think so and shelved their second record. As a legion of Garcia fans all collectively smacked their fore-heads at the stupidity of the record label, Unida were put on hiatus. However, the album (‘For the Working Man’) can be found floating around cyber-space.

            Nowadays, John works full-time at a veterinary clinic. He still lives in the desert in California, he still drinks Jim Beam and he’s still got a kick-ass voice. When he wants to get his rocks off, he’s got Hermano. They’re a sorta on-again, off-again stoner supergroup.

            “We only ever see each other once every six months and I think that’s why what we have is so special,” laughs John. “Our bassist Dandy lives down the road from me in Joshua Tree and last week we drank some Jim Beam, howled with the coyotes and had fun. We’re working on the third record now and I have to say I fucking love Hermano.

             “I’ve also been working on a solo album since I was 18. I’m in no rush to get it done though. It’ll happen when it happens. When I get an idea for a song, they haunt me like ghosts until i get them finished so hopefully I’ll exorcise these demons some day.”

            These days John’s given up touring alongside the likes of Danzig and White Zombie, preferring to play live in short, sharp bursts. While some have reported he’ll leave the business for good, thankfully nothing can be further from the truth.

            “Music will never leave me. I’m just as happy singing a song with my daughter as I am onstage. The reason why I’m still making records is so she can se her daddy do what he loves to do. I don’t think I’ll ever spend 12months on a tour bus though. I’ve done the whole struggling musician thing and it’s hard. I’ve got a wife as well as my 3 year old daughter and I don’t want to put them through it. There comes a point where you’ve got to be a fucking man about things.  I’m not leaving my family behind. I like going out and touring for a few weeks. You can rip shit up and you make a bit of coin, but I don’t want to be away too long. When I was in my twenties I could party all day, but I’m getting older and touring can be hard on your body. Plus I love working at the animal hospital and I don’t want to give that up.”

            While John may have forgone the world of living on tour buses, Garcia fans were given a rare treat in LA when he sang three Kyuss songs with Queens of the Stone Age a few years ago.

            “Josh rang me up out of the blue and asked did I want to go and jam. I said yeah and I asked where he lived and he said he didn’t want to jam at his house. So I said, ok, where’s your rehearsal studio and he said-dude-I want you to come onstage with us and fucking play. I said-well it’s about fucking time! I love all those guys man, and if I’m honest, yeah, it made me miss being in Kyuss. It was a blast though.”

            With everyone from Metallica to Alice in Chains to the Distillers all hailing John as nothing short of a modern-day legend, it seems kinda odd that he never broke into the mainstream with his buddies Nick and Josh. To the singer’s credit, it doesn’t seem to bother him though.

            “I’m as happy playing to 50,000 people as I am playing to 50. I don’t think music will ever leave me. Nowadays I’m just as happy singing a song with my daughter as I am being on stage. When I put my baby to bed and my wife is asleep I like to have a Jack Daniels and coke, take a guitar out to my patio and sing a song to the coyotes and cactus. It’s a beautiful feeling.”

 

Essential Listening

Kyuss-‘Sky Valley

Twelve years on from its release, it still stands as one of the greatest records on the 90s and is Garcia and Homme’s masterpiece. It’s the kinda record that makes you thankful for having ears.

 

Unida-‘Coping with the Urban Coyote’

In an ideal world, this album should’ve made Garcia a house-hold name.

 

Hermano-‘Live at W2’

For those of us who’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Garcia live, this record gives us a glimpse of the man in action.

 

John Garcia Mix-Tape

1) ‘Angry American’ by Hermano

2) ‘Gardenia’ by Kyuss

3) ‘Black Woman’ by Unida

4) ‘Demon Cleaner’ by Kyuss

5) ‘Allen’s Wrench’ by Kyuss

6) ‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’ by Kyuss

7) ‘Quite Fucked’ by Hermano

8) ‘Hurricane’ by Kyuss

9) ‘Whitewater’ by Kyuss

10) ‘Thumb’ by Kyuss

11) ‘Thorn’ by Unida

12) ‘One Inch Man’ by Kyuss

13) ‘El Rodeo’ by Kyuss

14) ‘If Only Two’ by Unida

15) ‘Freedom Run’ by Kyuss

 

Hermano’s new DVD ‘Live at the W2’ is out now.

Edwin McFee





Excess Savage

5 11 2008

A few weeks ago I headed down to the Black Box in Belfast to watch Conway Savage. Now, who in the name of Elvis is Conway bloody Savage I hear you all cry. Well, his day job is serving as Nick Cave’s pianist in the Bad Seeds and he has a few solo records out there too. This was his first tour of Ireland and I was covering the show for Hot Press. I was there with my lovely editor Roisin (who was also co-booking the tour ) and it was a fun night.

 

The gig was an odd one though. I adore a love sick ballad as much as anyone, but the pricklyness (yes, I know that’s not a word) of both the performer and punters made for an pretty uneasy feeling. Afterwards we hung out with Conway for a bit and while he seemed nice enough, he was also a man who is far too used to getting his own way. At one point I got a round in at the bar and he demanded a double whiskey. I bought him a single and told him “it’d fuckin’ do him.” I think he got the hint after that as he seemed lovely from there on out.

 

Anywho, his music is definitely worth a listen or three (though nowhere near as good as Old Nick’s back catalogue) and here is the review from the current issue of Hot Press.Enjoy.

 

Conway Savage, Mark Corcoran at the Black Box, Belfast

There is a definite air of expectation in Belfast tonight. It might be early, but we’ve already got punters arriving down in droves to catch what promises to be a pretty special night. But before we get to the inimitable Mr Savage, Dundalk’s Mark Corcoran is up first and seems keen to cater to the crowd. Peddling a clutch of love-sick sea shanties, Corcoran has a bewitching voice. Tunes like ‘I Went Out Walking’ and ‘the Mermaid Sings’ are definite highlights and we’d like to hear more from the soft-spoken guitar-slinger in the future.

            Shortly after Corcoran croons his last tune, tweed-clad ivory-tinkler Conway Savage skips (yes, skips) his way onstage in double-quick time. From the start of his set it’s as clear as the inside of an empty whiskey bottle that the erstwhile Bad Seed has some great songs up his sleeve. Culled largely from his latest record Quickie For Ducky Conway is an engaging, if slightly erratic performer. As he bashes on his old Yamaha keyboard he stamps his foot to keep time while scanning the crowd to make sure we all pay attention as he sings songs of love and madness (‘Too Blind To See,’ ‘Same Old Shitty Little Rules’). At one point an unsuspecting magazine reader gets it in the neck from the Australian (“Good book, love?” he asks) but for the most part he seems genuinely happy to receive his applause and often spins around after each song like a puppy doing tricks.

            There are times when he loses his audience though and that was apparent on the dirge-like ‘The Cross’ but those moments were few and far between in a set that was packed with hidden treasures. After a few minutes offstage Conway comes back for an encore and closes his gig with ‘Don’t Plan On Leaving Town.’ It seems to sum up his performance in three minutes-beautiful, witty, loveable, but utterly, utterly stark raving mad and we wouldn’t want him any other way.

Edwin McFee  





Sometimes It’s Easy Being Green

5 11 2008

Well, after my previous post moaning about the lack of super-cool comic shit in Belfast, guess what?I only ended up finding a veritable Alladin’s Cave in Toy’s R Us yesterday!The main reason for my trip was to find a crimbo present for my nephew, but I ended up in the Hulk section where it was buy one get one free instead!

I picked up the super limited editions Gray Hulk, Classic Hulk, Ironclad and Bi-Beast all for 16 quid (these figures are about as rare as a straight-edger at a Pogues gig)! They were the only four in the shop and I was very pleased as they can now go alongside my Abomination and Power Punch Hulk toys.

In my excitement I decided to bust them open and put them on my desk where I work at home. How cool are these bad boys?