Check out the Mary Alice-operated tumblr blog Pictures of the TV: An Electric Grandmother Joint, in where she takes pictures of the TV for your amusement and amazement! It started off as just a fun project, but we've come to realize that in time it's going to make us very rich!
This song is about two years old, and was included in the deluxe bonus extra digital re-release of The Stenographer from INS Record Company. It's called The Jesus Inside the Closet, and partial writing credit goes to my friend Derek Stewart. Story:
Mary Alice has these special filing cabinets that she loves scattered about the house. She finds them so wonderful and useful that she refers to them simply as "Jesus." One winter night our friend Derek stayed over following a party, and in the morning before we all went to breakfast I asked Mary Alice if she knew where my gloves were, she stated "They're in the Jesus inside the closet." Derek chuckled and sang in a deep voice, "The Jesus inside the cloooooset." I laughed heartily all the way to Bob Evans, and assured him that I would base a song around his Jim Morrison-like-bad poetry-freestyle-genius.
So that's what I did. I also want to point out that the lines where I'm muttering "Oh father, please forgive me," et al, I'm going for a naughty school girl thing. So consider this a Stenographer outtake of sorts, but I do feel that this particular piece of stupidity ultimately deserves a bigger audience.
So in the spirit of the holiday season, here is The Jesus Inside the Closet.
I'll never forget the when and where of the first time I heard about www.experimentalbehavior.com. August 7, 2004. Mary Alice and I were sitting in our car chatting with our friend Matt Mansbach, guitarist for the dearly departed Cleveland experimental-band Infinite Number of Sounds. We had just played our 4th-ever show at a now defunct club in Lakewood to Matt and local concert promoter Steve Barrett, who was working the door that night. We were discussing how Electric Grandmother could garner a bigger audience. "You should really check out the Experimental Behavior message board," said Matt. "You could get a lot of exposure there."
Later that evening, Matt took us to a house where there was an "Experimental Art & Music" get together, where we were introduced to some people who frequented the message board. This gathering was what has become somewhat of a Cleveland-based Burning Man Festival, known as Recycled Rainbow. Two months later, we performed at the 9th installment of the Recycled Rainbow gathering, and got to know many of the message board folk even better.
Two weeks later, we performed at the 2nd Experimental Behavior showcase at the Winchester in Cleveland. At this show, we were introduced to fellow Columbus musicians Scotty Boombox and J Rhodes. We went on to play many shows together in the latter half of the 00's, and they were very instrumental in getting EG noticed around Columbus.
The following month, we performed again in Cleveland at an experimental music night hosted by board frequenter and local hip-hop mogul Johnny La Rock, and we got to know him and his musical partner in crime Mush Mouth. We became great friends, and have performed together in both Cleveland and Columbus ever since.
Although I had known Matt Mansbach since I was teenager, I was relatively unfamiliar with his brother Dave, as well as their INS band mates Brent Gummow (founder of ExBe) and Ron Tucker. I got to become friends with all of them, and especially close with Brent and Dave. Brent and Dave run their own record label called Infinite Number of Sounds Recording Company, who digitally released the latest Electric Grandmother album, as well as the entire EG back catalog. Brent also designed this very website you're looking at.
The roots of Electric Grandmother come from experimentalbehavior.com, or "ExBe" as it has been lovingly known over the years. ExBe is shutting its doors on Wednesday, December 8th. Though it is sad occasion, it is also understandable one, as the message board has seemingly run it's course. Social networking music sites exploded, people dropped out of the scene, and Brent moved to San Francisco. Perhaps a more accurate and respectful way to put it would be that the board has "Served it's purpose." I know it certainly has for us. Great friends, great help, and great times. I don't know what EG would be, or what I'd be without it.
Hey all, we're having a Hot Friday sale on all Electric Grandmother merchandise at our brand new Electric Grandmother merchandise sale! We know that people generally refer to the Day-After-Thanksgiving sale as "Black Friday," but we call it "Hot Friday" because that's where the money is.
Don't be alarmed if tall the prices appear to be the same as they were before, because they are. It's a Hot Friday sale, only at the Electric Grandmother merchandise store! This is the only place to buy clothes!
Fast forward to 6:33 of the video to find out more about Shirt Stores:
We watched this episode of The Wonder Years the other day in which Kevin reluctantly goes on a family vacation, with Wayne and everything. While on vacation, he meets a girl on the beach.
This marks the end of any semblance of reality for this episode.
All of us, and I mean all of us, pictured ourselves meeting a girl/boy while on vacation with our families, between the age of 13 to whenever the family vacations stopped. And it never happened. (Well, it happened once to my cousin, but I call bullshit on him too).
The episode wouldn't have been quite as bullshitty if Kevin and the girl had not had such a fantabulous time. I mean, they kissed and everything. She was two years older and about three feet taller than him. She just stopped short of giving him an old-fashioned. It was lunacy.
When I was 14 years old, I went to Daytona Beach to visit my aunt and uncle. I thought for about 5 minutes that I would meet a girl on the beach before I remembered that I was a short boy with big glasses. I walked by myself in and out of video arcades and stores with crude T-Shirts, pretending that I could meet a girl on the beach. It just doesn't really happen.
I dare you to tell me that it happened to you. Just see what happens.
Life's a beach.
So for about 4 or 5 years now, a particular Collection Agency has been riding my ass about charges made to a Chase bank account that are courtesy of someone using my identity. The money owed is for forex purchases made by somebody in Columbia. I've told them time and time again to fuck off, because it's not my problem. And yet, they insist on calling me and saying stupid shit like, "You should file a police report about this."
Thankfully, the harassing calls have become less frequent over time, but I still felt compelled to retaliate. Here's a brand new punk rock song called Collection Agency.
Mary Alice has never been to a Haunted House in her adult life, so she proposed that this year we go to the notorious Haunted Hoochie, perhaps the most extreme Haunted House in all of Ohio. I was nervous about going, because my research indicated that the experience was not as care-free as the (above) girl's butt would lead you to believe, but rather a quite disturbing one. Nevertheless, I was planning to be a good sport and partake in "The Hoochie" with my wife and friends.
Last Friday (10/22) was the day we were planning to go, but it was thankfully not be. First of all, one of our friends informed us that the weekend line to get into the Hoochie was approximately a 2 1/2 hour wait. We weren't about to wait in line that long, let alone in sub-50 degree weather. Second of all, I did some additional research online, and found out that the Hoochie experience isn't just disturbing, but also way fucked up. I no longer would have been a good sport at that point, wait in line notwithstanding, because I don't deal too well with mega-fucked up fucking shit. It's not my idea of fun.
So we didn't go, and I was happy. Mary Alice would have hated it too, whether she realizes it or not. She generally has a greater threshold than I do with this type of thing, but it would have been way too much. So in my readings about the Hoochie experience, I have put together how the night would have gone, had we made the trip:
(Spoiler Alert: You probably shouldn't read this if you are intending to go to this Satanic ritual).
We're mortified, we regret going, and we can't believe an OBGYN would beat a woman with a hammer until she gave birth to a demon spawn.
That's basically it.
Instead of going to the Hoochie, we watched Glitter with a couple of good friends. It was good. There was a guy named "Dice" in the movie, and he was Glitter's boyfriend. He spoke in a British accent, but he wasn't British. The should have called the movie Showgirls: Part Deux.
Mary Alice and I are both vegetarians (well, she's a Pescetarian, but why split hairs?), and we both get asked stupid questions as a result. Here they are compiled for you, with the appropriate response:
Q. Do you eat chicken?
A. No. Chicken is an animal, and if I ate chicken, I wouldn't be a vegetarian.
Q. We have Turkey Burgers. Do you want one of those?
A. No, turkey is also an animal, and I don't eat animals.
Q. Do you eat bacon?
Q. Do you eat eggs or drink milk?
Yes, I try to eat and drink the organic versions whenever possible. You're thinking of a vegan, and I am not a vegan.
Q. How do you get your protein?
A. Other foods besides meat have protein. I eat those other foods.
Q. Are you a vegetarian for health reasons, or is it because of, ya know, "other stuff?"
A. "Other Stuff?" Like, simply not wanting to eat animals? Because if I say that's the reason, I'm a fucking pussy?
So that's a brief summary of the most common ones. People (used to more so) talk about vegetarians being overly critical of meat eaters. Meat eaters are way more critical of veggies nowadays. So stop it, and stop asking these questions.
I had a dream as a child that probably doesn't top the list of the strangest or scariest that I've ever had, but it's a combination of the two that makes it the most memorably scary for me.
In the dream, there was a man wearing a newsie hat and a yellow-beige turtleneck sweater; he was standing and facing me, appearing as a head shot in my mind. The man was superimposed on a background that was fuzzy and staticy, much like the visual quality of a very old film. The head shot of the man leaned down, looked deep into my eyes and wildly exclaimed, "MY NAME IS _(can't remember)_VALENTINE!" He then curled his tongue into the shape of a heart, and made a hideous taunting noise I can only describe as "NNNNNOOOOOYYYYYOOOUUUUGH!!!," while this frighteningly intense orchestra music played. It created in me the type of blistering panic that usually blasts you awake, but no such luck.
Then there was the second part of the dream. It became one of those deals where "You are YOU, but you're not you," i.e., I suddenly began to watch/become a frantic Webster, aka Emmanuel Lewis. I/Webster proceeded to scream and kick the man in the head, which caused his head to spark and malfunction with lightning bolts (that's the best I can describe it). While the man's head was being electrocuted, he made this helpless child-like moaning sound. It was strange, because I somehow knew the guy was "slow." Maybe because of the tongue thing he did.
I woke up terrified at about 4:30 AM. I'm not sure if I woke my parents up, but I probably did. And that's the story of how Webster saved my life.
Yo, here's an (essentially) October pilot for you folks, the demo of Mom, What are Girls Like? You may recognize it if you saw it recently performed in Akron or "performed" in Columbus. It's a song about the movie MASK, a 1985 masterpiece starring Eric Stoltz as a boy named Mask. Mask was heckled because of his large and deformed head. Some would say it's not right to heckle Mask, or to write a song as a tribute to him. Don't worry, the song is not about Roy "Rocky" Dennis; it's about a boy named Mask. At least that's his name in our minds.
The title of the song comes from the quirky and funny mind of our good friend Mr. Brian McConville. (There is no part in the movie where Mask asks his mom "what girls are like").
Fuck Yeah logo courtesy of Fuck Yeah, Ohio. Used without permission.
Hello Electric Grandmother fans and sympathizers! We have several Ohio shows coming up in the next couple months, and we'll be within spitting distance of most everyone in the top half of the state. These series of shows includes a red hot Back to School Jizzy Jam!
Here are the Peetails. I even posted links to all the bands and venues, so look for entertainment and directions! All shows start at standard gig time (9:30-ish) unless otherwise noted:
Don't Forget About These Upcoming Back to School Jams:
The movie starts because this guy had a brother who died, and so he wanted to become an avatar. So he goes to sleep for about 6 years, then wakes up on the planet Pandora. They don't like him, because he's in a wheelchair. So when he becomes an avatar, he's happy because he can run again, but he makes them mad when he does it. He gets lost in the woods when they go out with him, and then he meets a girl who almost kills him. She decides not to kill him, because a bug told her not to. She saves him from a bunch of dogs that were going to kill him, but she gets mad at him anyway.
After she saves him, they go home together, and he meets her father. He tries to shake the hand of her father, and he gets mad. Then he tells them that he's a warrior, but they want to kill him anyway, until the girl tells them about the bug. He leaves with her to be trained, and he becomes really good at being one of them. They paint his face, and they say he's like them now, but that happens later.
The Army wants to destroy Pandora because they have a valuable mineral under their big tree. They tell him that he has to get the people to move, or they'll kill them. The first guy is now one of them, and he decides later that he wants them to stay. The army blows up their mountain, and then he tells them that they have to move. The army shot down the tree, and it makes the people sad. Then he gets the rest of the people on the planet to come together and fight the army. They lose the battle to the army because they have guns, and he only had one gun. They're about to die, but then the animals come save them and kill the army. In the end, he kills him, and then they get married.
Hey America! If you've recently noticed an increase of "You Down Wit EG" stickers in your area, that's no fucking accident! Above is a picture of me holding the aforementioned sticker in front of the Full House "opening-sequence" houses in San Francisco. We recently plastered the Bay area with stickers, which officially makes The Electric Grandmother sticker machine coast-to-coast. The cities now hit with stickers are up to and including:
New York City
Nashville (I think?)
Most regions of Ohio
So there you have it. This main purpose of this entry is to land a Google search for "You Down Wit EG." What we presume, is that people all over America will see these stickers in their area and subsequently want to be "down wit" EG. From there, they will Google the phrase "You Down Wit EG," and realize that they are fact "Down Wit EG." That's what we're guessing will happen. To prepare for this influx of traffic/fans, we've pressed 5,000 more copies of Listening Party.
The irony with the sticker is that 2010 officially marked the new beginning of The Electric Grandmother as a duo, EG (site moderator/keeping the "EG" initials as to not erase the past as a solo act with live show assistance) and Mary Alice! (projectionist/backup vocalist/much better half). So in essence, the sticker could be misconstrued as asking if you are down with just me, EG. But in actuality, "EG" in this case stands for "Electric Grandmother." Got it? No? Well, good.
P.S. Mary Alice! designed this sticker, which is a parody of the sticker used in Naughty By Nature's O.P.P. video. (See 4:12 of the video below):
There were many instances during my adolescence where I did something outlandish to impress my peers and get a cheap thrill. Granted, I ended up getting in greater "trouble" as a older teen, but there was a span of about three years (say between 12-14 years old) where I committed very specific, non-law breaking atrocities. Every so often with these shenanigans, there would be an instance where I'd stand back and say "Oh, fuck," and realize that I pushed the boundaries of being obnoxious too far.
One Spring afternoon in 7th grade, I noticed while leaving my Science class a stack of about 30 papers that were to be the next day's quiz. I proposed to a friend that I drop them out of the first-floor window, but I was met with indifference. So I grabbed the stack of papers, and told my friend to follow me to my Gym class. I hurried over to a stairwell which led down to the school gymnasium, held my breath for minute, then launched the stack onto the stairs below.
(It's at this time that I need to clarify that this WAS a big deal, OK? Even my friend said that this was far more impressive than setting off a stink bomb, because it had larger visibility and a greater obviousness. Did YOU ever do anything this bad in middle school? Didn't think so. So shut up and read the rest of this).
My friend bolted from the scene, laughing all the way, while I stood staring at the stairwell, now blanketed with paper. A rush of cold terror came over me, as I suddenly realized the gravity of the situation. They (any authority figure) were going to stumble across this scene, and they were gonna want someone's ass for it. Not only did I essentially steal from the classroom, but I also created a very obvious and destructive scene in the stairwell. Amazingly, no foot traffic had come up or down these normally active stairs during this three (or so) minutes of chaos. I walked down the stairs, wading through the paper, to a restroom near the gymnasium.
After using the restroom, I returned to the scene of the crime to discover my gym teacher angrily picking up the papers off of the stairway. He was mumbling incoherently to some girl standing next to him. It looked like she was trying to cheer him up, or something. I retreated to the gymnasium, where I began to tremble. I was nervous, because I had told (I can't remember the who/what/when) others about what I did, and I could hear the low rumble of incriminating conversation amongst the kids who had begun to gather in the gym. The most popular jocko kid in the class sarcastically said, "Ooooh, you rebel," to me in an obvious fit of jealousy (this wasn't the first or last time this same guy said something smart-assy like that to me, which leads me to believe he was jealous of my body). The teacher then entered the gymnasium, and said something to the class about people doing bad things, or something along those lines. I believe he also offered a "You know who you are," to the mostly confused class. A few minutes came and went, and class began without incident. I couldn't believe that the Code of the Playground was actually being adhered to. There was not a single rat in the bunch. I got off scot free.
From that moment on, I took a different turn in life - because I always got caught every single time I did something bad after this. I kept creating havoc even after I saw Scared Straight!, which scared the living shit out of me. Ah well, I guess that's why God created teenagers. I don't know what that means, but at least I'm not in jail.
(NOTE: The above picture has nothing to do with the story. It's just the first image that came up when I Google'd "Dan.")
In second grade, I was friends with this really cool kid named Dan. He wasn't particularly funny or interesting, but he was definitely the type of guy you wanted to be friends with. I was always really happy when I got to sit next to him during class, as opposed to some girl or a crappy guy. He was one of those people you were more than happy to be a sidekick for. Cool Dan.
One day in class, a girl named Erin kept insisting to Dan that he was in love with her friend Shauna. Dan advised Erin that he was in fact not in love with Shauna, but she persisted with her accusations. It was at that time that Dan rallied me and my friend Chris to help him diffuse the situation.
At one point during the day, Erin wrote "Dan Loves Shauna" on the back of a sheet of paper that was handed out as an assignment. She proceeded to taunt Dan as well as Chris and I, his sidekicks, with the erroneous claim. Later that day, as our class was leaving the room for Physical Education, Dan approached Erin's unattended desk and tore the "Dan Loves Shauna" paper in half. What struck me, as Dan laughed maniacally, is that he didn't tear the piece of paper all the way through, but rather 95% of the way. Chris followed behind Dan, and shoved several papers off of Erin's desk. I followed behind Chris, and chose to frantically tear with my teeth all of the aforementioned papers. I remember standing in the classroom alone, gurgling and laughing hysterically, while chewing up the paper in my mouth.
Ok, so that's not a very interesting story. In fact, it's less about Dan and Shauna, and more about me eating Erin's school assignments. This is simply one of those life experiences that I feel needs to be scooped out of my head and shared. Even if you don't care, I just wanted this story to see the light of day.
So yeah, sorry Erin. That was me.
Hey gang! We're excited and very honored to present an amazing cover of The EG song "Dinosaurs," as performed by Illinois musician Dan Pantzig.
When I first heard this, I shit myself. Mary Alice! had to put me outside because of it. On behalf of the both of us, thanks so much to Dan for doing this. It's flattering - so without further adieu, begin the smattering...of sound to your head.
Here's the first official Electric Grandmother music video, filmed and produced by Mary Alice! It's for the song "Guyliner," off the 2010 EG release Listening Party. The video has accompanying text that explains the back story. Enjoy Coke!
Andyman: How'd the set go?
Me: I dunno. I don't think the kids got it.
Andyman: (pause) They're songs about TV sitcoms. What's to get?
- August 8, 2006 at Little Brother's (Following an ill-conceived opening performance slot)
Rest in Peace, buddy. We'll miss you.
Saturday, July 17th, is the final gig for our Columbus pals Your Favorite ASS-ASS-in.
We've done a lot of gigs together, and they've always been good friends and allies, so we're gonna send them off in style. This is like the 90th Farewell Show we've done with other bands.
The above poster is by our friend Derek Stewart, who came up with the name for the band. A poem:
You're better than a stack of hay
We did Dead Boys songs together
Which I felt was very clever
Now as you walk off into the night
I know you're going to get into a fight
Because you can never keep your mouth shut
Let's go play putt-putt
Because you are a band of people
Let's go to the church steeple
And talk all night underwater
Because you are my father
Let's go get some barbecue and get busy
Good night Irene, burn the flag
The neighborhood that I grew up in was right on a dividing line between the town of Twinsburg, Ohio, and Aurora, where I lived. The neighborhood kids from Twinsburg slightly outnumbered the kids from Aurora, and often we would be subject to their harassment. If you need a frame of reference to what it was like, think of the episode of The Simpsons where the kids of Springfield go to war with the kids of Shelbyville. The kids of Twinsburg were tougher than us overall, generally big for their age, and well, they were hicks.
I grew up near a Marina which had a small beach that neighborhood kids would frequent. One late Summer day I was building a sand castle on the beach with a friend, when a group of Twinsburg kids decided to bother us. One of the kids, who was approximately our size, specifically kept trying to cave in our sand castle with his foot. We exchanged some words, 4th grader (me) to 2nd grader (I told you they were big for their age), and the kid up and punched me in the face while I was sitting on the ground, knocking my glasses to the sand. I sat there stunned, as I had never experienced such a "grown up" assault. Up until then, I had only experienced aggressive "body wrestling" with other kids, which entailed using your arms to physically best someone. (I wish I cold explain this phenomena more clearly, but I really can't). Following the punch, I rose up to engage in some good ol' fashioned body wrestling with guy, which he proceeded to best me at. I again was flabbergasted, as I considered myself an expert at kid body wrestling. Once I gave up on trying to out-muscle him, I believe that he punched me in the face a couple more times. My friend and I ran back to my house, where I relayed the incident to my dad, probably through tears. My dad then drove us back down to the beach (To confront the kids, I suppose?), but they had since left.
I remember the next day at school telling a friend that my face was sore because a second-grader had punched it, but he didn't believe me. I don't really blame him; it was such a bizarre and adult scenario. I kept asking myself, "Where did he learn that stuff?" They were crazy, plain and simple. This sort of chaos continued throughout my childhood. About a year later, I was at the beach with the same friend, when the same punchy-face kid threatened us with nun chucks (REAL ones). When the Aurora kids would try and play sports in the area, the Twinsburg kids would inevitably interfere. At sixteen years old, I was walking in their area with a friend of mine, when we were verbally accosted by one of the more aggressive people in their group. He made fun of my long/dyed hair, and called my friend a "fat-ass." This same rude person was killed in a car accident a year later, which I feel probably marked the end of the rivalry. The same kids didn't seem to want to run out to the street and bother us after that, and I sincerely hope that they knew they were getting too old for this shit.
And that is the end.
So they found that missing girl in Ohio. Nothing to worry about, she was hiding in the barn.
The media has thrown around the words "obstruction" and "unruly child," but I don't feel that playing hide-and-seek with your boyfriend is anything to spill milk in the barn over. But whatever, I've been wrong before. I was right about Balloon Boy, but that's not necessarily anything to hang your hat on.
Here's another one from the 2004 album Sin City Sex Mix called I Just Visited. I'm aware that I'm getting kind of repetitive in featuring songs from this album in the ol' Reruns and Pilots section, but it's really the best album out of the first self-released four.
This tune was always a favorite of mine (as well as the mighty David Mansbach), but it just never seemed to translate when performed live; I suppose that it's due to the song being about finding a happy and cozy place in your mind to visit. A semi-concept song can't be visually projected like a topical one. There's no picture of a topless-Bea Arthur for Mary Alice! to use.
There's a young band that we played with several years ago that has since made a name for themselves in their hometown, and I saw that they recently signed an "Artist Development" contract.
This takes the sleaziness to an all time low, doesn't it? The label doesn't even want to pretend to care at this point. They're not just giving out helpful "advice" to the band regarding their music, they're developing their skills. The label walks with the band the whole way, telling them how to sound, how to act, and how to style their hair. I won't mention the band's name, but I'll post a picture of a kid with a hairdo:
I guarantee that the same people who think it's a good idea to sign naive kids to an Artist ENVELOPEment (get it?) contract are the same people who think Pay-to-Play is a good idea.
I'm glad that us Gen-X kids had a few quality mainstream musical role models, the reluctant stars (Kurt Cobain, Chuck D, I'll even throw in Eddie Vedder), and have some capability to tell right from wrong as grown ups. Gen-Y had no one, except for a bunch of greedy capitalists who told them it was ok to love themselves to death.
Or maybe they did have some good role models, I don't fucking know. All I know is that I'm a 30-something musician with a day job, and there's a bunch of 20-year olds signing Artist Development contracts. That's why they're so skinny! Those record executive creeps are sucking the souls right out of their little bodies. Eh? Eh? I'm hilARious!
All that work Kurt Cobain did to destroy Poison and Motley Crue, and these rapscallions bring it all back, only now it's slightly underground. Well "Johnny Bradhase," or whatever your name is, I hope you find what you're looking for. But you and your bosses need to realize that art will never die, but you will, but not before you snort some cocaine off a steak. (It's a standard contract clause).
Good night Irene, burn the flag.
So the other night I went to bed really drunk and couldn't stop hiccuping, and my wife told me to sleep on the couch because I was keeping her awake. She felt bad about it the next morning, because she said she felt like a sitcom-wife who got mad at her sitcom-husband. I told her not to worry about it, because it was Sitcom-Core.
It made us both flashback a decade, to where Mary Alice! would do mystery shopping at various business establishments. One day I was with her on one of her trips to a hardware store, on a mission to rate the helpfulness of their store employees. I decided to make up a story about how we were looking to build her little brother a clubhouse and paint it black so it couldn't be seen at night. We met a sales associate name Boyd, who I relayed the story to. I also improvised that my "wife" (in actuality girlfriend at the time) was planning to make me sleep in the clubhouse when she was mad at me. What happened next is a bit fuzzy, but I seem to recall Boyd looking at us strangely and saying he had to go somewhere else. He left us standing around and never returned to help. Mary Alice! gave him a poor review, and I wrote a song that night called "Boyd Sucks."
So that is the story of The Black Clubhouse.
It was this sign that stopped Mary Alice! and I dead in our tracks before we set foot in Northern Kentucky's infamous Creation Museum on May 1, 2010. (Click here for an explanation as to why we were in the area). We were already nervous by the time our friend Brian dropped us off at the place, and this didn't help. We were both glad that we got dropped off and had no choice but to forge on, because we started to have second thoughts about the whole endeavor. We smoked a cigarette, took a deep breath, and entered the establishment...
We were greeted by a kindly old man who gave us our "schedule" for the day. (It was nothing we had to follow, but I was already scared. Don't ask me why). We then proceeded to the main museum tour, which began with a compare & contrast of theories of God/The Bible and "Human Reason." It seemed genuinely fair; It seemed to say, "Here's what we believe, here's what they believe, it's all good, let's go get a beer." We were a bit taken aback by the apparent fairness of it all, but also a bit suspicious. They even had a video of both a Christian and secular scientist studying together. Here's me watching the video (real pose):
The scientists were hanging out, digging bones, and being cool to each other. No big whoop, eh?
We learned about how the Universe was not 6 million+ years old, but rather a mere 4,000 years old. A big focus of Earth's time line was The Great Flood, where God washed away everything so he could start over. The Great Flood (which occurred about 35 years ago?) was the cause of many of the modern earthly miracles we see today.
Then they hit us with the hard stuff.
The tour took a dark turn, as we walked through halls plastered with magazine clippings and 80's graffiti. "Racism! Genocide! Abortion!," the walls screamed at us. It was a virtual time line of the 20th century, a time where humans abandoned the teachings of the Bible, subsequently leading to catastrophic events. (Note: Racism, Genocide & Abortion did not exist prior to the 20th century). We then ventured into a dimly lit room where a portrait of a suburban home was painted on the walls. There were several looping videos where the house windows should be, each illustrating the family's declining morality at home. I personally got stuck on the first video, which featured a teenage boy and his younger brother in their bedroom. The older brother was smoking pot and looking at internet porn, while the younger brother was playing violent video games. The older brother expressed aloud that he felt the word "porn" was crass, and that he preferred referring to the images on his computer as "art." I felt like I was hanging out with my friends. While I was watching the video, Mary Alice! was standing near the other end of the painted house, when a loud booming voice from a loudspeaker paralyzed her with fear: "50% OF WOMEN HAVE SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE!!!" We ventured on, confused and frightened.
After walking past a few random plaques featuring anti-Semitic and anti-Cannibal messages (don't ask, because I don't know), and some pictures of tornadoes and heroin users, it was time for the Garden of Eden. The garden featured Adam & Eve hanging out in a forest with many breeds of animal, including the native Antarctic penguin. Eve was totally hot. Adam totally had a mustache. There were apples hanging from the tree, but we chose not to eat any of them out of fear of repercussions.
The coolest part of the tour was going inside Noah's Ark. There were a bunch of animatronic robot men yelling at each other with modern Jewish accents, simulating the building of the ark. Here's me surfing the ark when nobody was watching:
We then had lunch at Noah's Cafe. We had pizzas that tasted like ketchup and cheese whiz.
We were both getting pretty tired after lunch, so we budgeted 30 more minutes to cruise around. We saw a video about how dragons/dinosaurs and humans coexisted, and how humans killed them with spears in a manner of "showing off." We then toured the dinosaur museum, which told of how the Stegosaurus had dinner with your great-great-grandfather in 1785, blah blah etc. We hit the gift shop, bought a bumper sticker for Brian that read "I believe now" or something, and got the hell out of there.
My goal when starting this endeavor was to not be freaked out by the scary fire & brimstone religious stuff, and I wasn't. I grew up in a religious household, but this place was SO way off that it didn't even matter. I only recall getting anxious a few times over thinking about the purpose of life, but that's about it. Mary Alice! was a bit more freaked out, because she didn't grow up in a Protestant house like I did. A lot of this stuff was familiar to me already, so I was happy to explain how Methuselah lived to be 969 years old.
The museum itself was actually pretty dull at times, because there wasn't a lot of actual learning going on. As Mary Alice! put it, it didn't have the usual type of artifacts you find in a museum, but instead a lot of charts and graphs offering The Bible's version of history. Most everything could be explained away as follows: "Want to know why this thing is that way? Why it's because of God, of course!" We kept arriving at the same answer with everything. At least it wasn't confusing.
The museum visitors? Well, we were surprised that we seemed to be the only ones there as a social experiment. We tried to snicker quietly so as to not offend the other patrons. Most of them were quiet zombies who didn't seem to mind that they were bumping into you or standing in your way. We didn't want to be confrontational (see the above sign), so we kept to ourselves much like the others. Sorry I don't have any more on the fellow visitors, they all kind of blended together.
This is getting quite long, so I'll just end with this. Long live the Creation Museum, the creator of fun on a Saturday.
I saw this movie called The Story of the Dirty Drunk Man. There was a nice woman who wanted to interview the dirty drunk man, and she wanted to have sex with him. She did have sex with him, and then he didn't shower and got really drunk. He played a show where he got really drunk and threw up. Then he had sex with this other woman, but that was before he met the other woman. The dirty drunk man got really drunk one day, and he flipped his truck off the road. He went to the hospital, and then the nice woman took care of him after he left the hospital. Then the dirty drunk man wrote a song for a successful younger man, and then he got mad because he was rich.
The dirty drunk man became very close with the nice woman and her 4-year old son. One day, the dirty drunk man was hanging out with her son at a bar, and he lost her son because he was so drunk. The dirty drunk man chased after the woman's son, and then he fell down in a bowling alley. The woman broke up with him, and then he got really drunk. The dirty drunk man then decided he didn't want to be drunk anymore, and then it was boring.
Say hello to the first Electric Grandmother tribute page, called The Electric Grandmother's Dong, created by a demented fan named Luke Edwards. Mary Alice! and I are very honored as a band, and I am personally honored that so many people like my dong.
Oh, there's also this page, but it's fucking stupid.
I'll just say it: This is one of the best songs I've ever written. It kind of slips through the cracks of EG lore (Yeah, we have LORE asshole!) because it was only done live for a short period of time, primary due to it not being funny. It's kind of awkward when you plow through a dozen songs about Full House, then suddenly drop a sensitive and sappy non-Mary Alice! themed song out of nowhere.
It's called Tom's Girl, and it's about my (5 years my senior) cousin Tom and a story he told me when I was a kid (I estimate 1990). He and his family had traveled from Maryland to Virginia the summer before, and he had met a girl at an amusement park while on the trip. He told me that they spent most of the day together, and even made out and did some "things" together while on rides. Before they parted ways she gave him her phone number on a piece of paper, but he never called her and eventually just threw her number away. I asked him why he did such a thing, and he said that he didn't see the point of keeping it, mainly due to the long distance that separated them.
I imagine that Tom has all but forgotten this moment of his life, but it certainly stuck with me. It made me sad to think about what could have been between them. It made me sad to think about her waiting for his call. It made me sad to think about how there are some moments in our lives that seem so significant in the present, but are so soon forgotten in time.
Go ahead and laugh and scoff away at my hopeless romanticism (romanticness?) Either way, kiss my rear at Sunday sundown. Oh by the way, that's Tom's girlfriend from Tom & Jerry in the above photograph.
When I was younger, I used to fantasize about a wrestling league for kids (insert joke here) called "Miniature-WWF." I had imaginary story lines and everything. I used a lot of kids from my school as characters, including one of the more popular boys as the "Miniature-WWF Champion." I would sit and imagine for countless hours during school about wrestling scenarios involving the kids, complete with exciting ring drama and backstage interviews. (I wouldn't say I was a lonely child, just an oft-bored one).
I hadn't really thought about "Miniature-WWF" in years until I came across a website detailing the history of the National Wrestling Federation, a league of kid wrestlers created by a kid that lasted from 1984-1990. There is a documentary film about the NWF that was created several years ago by the league founder, Shawn "Crusher" Crossen. It details the history of the league, from it's humble "basement mattress" beginnings, to cable-broadcast public events, to it's eventual demise. I haven't seen it yet, but damn it if I'm not intrigued as all hell! (Note: I did not include myself as a character in my own kids' wrestling league, because that would have been weird).
I hear what you're saying right now - "Yo EG, they've been doing 'backyard wrestling' for years, what's the big whoopty-doo?" The NWF wasn't at all like that creepy stuff that those creeps do. These kids weren't jumping off rooftops onto their older brother's camaro while rubbing a kid's face into a pile of broken glass. They actually had a real ring set up complete with referee, and it looked DARN cute. It was exactly how I used to picture it in my mind.
I watched Pro Wrestling or "Rasslin'" as a kid from about '86-'93, then watched again as an adult for a brief period during the late-90's WWF "Attitude Era." It's not something that I really watch at this point in my life, but I'm always up for a walk down wrestling-memory lane. So "Crusher" Crossen, if you ever read this, kudos to you. Simply put, you're the boy of my dreams.
Kids today, I tell ya. They have no moral compass.
Last Saturday, there was an EG gig in Canton at a DIY house, and it went swimmingly well despite some unusual circumstances. There were 5 bands scheduled for the night, including us. Problem was, only 2 bands showed up to perform - including us. The venue owner told me that one local band had to cancel, and that two young bands traveling together from Boston bailed on them. Apparently, the two young bands arrived earlier in the evening and immediately asked about a guarantee. They were told there was no guarantee, but the club intended to solicit donations. They then told the venue owner they were going to dinner, then never came back.
That's one of the bands in the above photo (the three guys with hairdos). I wasn't going to use any names or visuals, but they were already exposed by my friend Brian on his Broken Headphones blog. The funny thing about that photo is that they're obviously trying to be ironic. What 's ironic to me is that the photo reflects how this band really acted that night. Look, I don't claim to understand what goes on in a 21-year old emo kid's mind. The fact that kids today feel more entitled than ever is not even the point. There's one thing that's universally wrong, and that's being rude to people who don't deserve it. I don't care what the fuck Hot Topic-Kevin Says-Warped Tour fucking stage you've played on. (In fact, that only reinforces their assholery). Not cool, kids. Not cool.
Okay, the sense of entitlement thing does bother me. These kids wonder why us old fogeys hate their fucking guts. Look at that picture, and tell me you don't want to punch them all in the damn head.
Okay, I have to say something here.
Above is a photo of the band She & Him. They are famous because actress Zooey Deschanel is famous. The guy's name is M. Ward, and he's nobody. I mean, maybe he's sort of somebody, but not really. I've never heard their music, but I know I already fucking hate it just by looking at them.
My point in this: There needs to be a universal law about how much people can have in life. Being a famous musical group like them doesn't really interest me, it's more about the principles involved. I could start the shittiest band in the world, but if Angela Lansbury was in the band, we'd be critically acclaimed and playing SxSW. The rich only get richer, and it's just not right.
Let's do a compare and contrast between She & Him and The Electric Grandmother:
Hot Guy & Girl band members: Both Check.
Critical acclaim entirely based on already being famous: Only a little.
Invite to SxSW: Not really interested, but since you mentioned it: No.
Already wealthy from previous artistically satisfying jobs: No.
Married to other already wealthy people with artistically satisfying jobs: No.
Not having to go to work: No, we're still there.
Presumably dull: Unequivocally awesome.
Ability to masturbate on top of a pile of 20 dollar bills: Depends on the size of the pile.
Wearing a stupid shirt that makes you look like an Amish Farmer: Does Mennonite count?
You see what I'm getting at. They're only ripping off Don Johnson in the end, anyway. I'd rather not do that. Ya barn raising, banjo playing motherfuckers!
Also, Johnny Depp started a band and ripped me off by calling the group Pee.
My other role as "interesting writer" has suffered as of late due to more pressing matter of promoting my new album. So here are some interesting thoughts.
The Electric Grandmother started off as a solo project in December 1999. I created several cassettes worth of songs over the span of 4 years, and I gave these cassettes album titles. My then-girlfriend Mary Alice helped me package these cassettes in crudely made xerox'ed sleeves, and for that I thanked her in the liner notes. Between 2003 and 2004, I created three CD-R albums worth of songs, which were also packaged by Mary Alice, who became my wife in 2004.
In the summer of 2004, I was asked to perform live as The Electric Grandmother, something I had never intended to do. Mary Alice and I quickly brainstormed the possibilities of an EG performance, and concocted a scheme that included my music, my vocals, visual projection, disco lights, and a bubble machine. So it came to pass on a chilly June night in Cleveland, the Electric Grandmother live performance was born.
The visual projection started off as just a distraction to my on stage rantings and ravings. We purchased an old slide projector which Mary Alice operated by hand - literally. She manually turned the slide tray, as the buttons on the projector were broken. We didn't have a lot of money, so we were only able to create 3 or 4 finished slides to project for every song performed. As this point in time, Mary Alice's participation appeared minimal, despite her help in hauling equipment and traveling to shows. Bottom line, it was my music and my show, and that's all that we were used to knowing.
Over the next couple of years, The Electric Grandmother began to gather an audience, and we began to be able to cover some expenses. We were able to purchase an LCD projector in the summer of 2006, which offered endless projection possibilities for the live shows, with no limit on "images per song." Despite Mary Alice's increased participation in this regard, she was rarely recognized projecting from the front of the stage. After performances, audience members would often compliment me on the live projection. I would tell them that it was all Mary Alice, but it would usually go ignored. After all, me and the images were all they would see. Knowing that my wife's participation and devotion to the project was not being recognized made me sad, but neither of us knew what to do about it. It was all we knew for so many years - EG the solo project.
From 2007-2009, I put in a greater effort to make sure that Mary Alice was recognized for her efforts. I started referring to her on stage as a member of the band, despite her being off stage and occasionally unnoticed. Following the release of my first "pressed" album in 2007, her projection got more complex and not as easily emulated by the occasional friend/road gig "stand in." (Mary Alice is the anti-road dog). It was clear that her role in The Electric Grandmother, the live band, was now of immeasurable and irreplaceable importance.
Fast forward to 2010. I have a new album, and we have a new set up (which some of you have already seen) where we're both on stage. This set up was invented out of logistics, due to our now wanting to project behind the stage, as opposed to the side. We're both loving the new set up, despite Mary Alice's nervousness at being in front of people. I've made a concerted effort to promote The Electric Grandmother as a band, and no longer as a solo project. We've additionally come to an agreement about when to take the show on the road, which will assure that Mary Alice will always be a participant. I hope now to effectively display to the world what The Electric Grandmother has always been. A duo.
It's free, so go for it!
Hey everybody, check out a phone interview I did on Tuesday, February 23rd with Pat Leonard of Local Pop Radio Hour. We discuss the new EG album Listening Party, and he plays 4 songs off of it before and after the chitty-chatter.
Hear it right here! (EG stuff starts at about 42:30 of the podcast)
New album released on March 6th!
Ok, so here's what I have going on as of right now:
March 6th - Columbus - The Treehouse (Album Release show)
March 13th - Cleveland - Bela Dubby (Album Release show)
March 20th - Canton - Old Glory
April 3rd - Pittsburgh - Howler's Coyote Cafe
There's likely more to come. And of course, back in Columbus on May 29th at the Treehouse for the FAT GIRLS BY THE SNACK TABLE REUNION SHOW! OMG RIOT GRRRL 69 4U!!!
So, if you know anybody outside of the 'bus who would want to come out for an evening, tell 'em that there's going to be free cake at this gigs. (By "cake" I mean CDs, but cake is generally more popular and sought after).
This is the graphic of the inside CD tray:
And here is the track listing for Listening Party:
A Man Called ZZ Top
Piece of Poo
New Coke Rap
September 15, 1987
Ukraine Sexy Girls
Bob and Richie Go to Mexico
14 songs, clocks in at just under 25 minutes. Hit it and quit!
I'm very proud to be releasing this CD & Digital Album with Infinite Number of Sounds Recording Company. If you're not familiar with INS Rec Co, they digitally reissued the 5 prior EG releases on their record label. They are great, just like you! Browse the site, pick up some free digital albums. Or give us money for them, no argument there.
I'm so damn confused
I have no idea what the hell to do
I'm so fucked in the head
I have no idea whether I'm alive or dead
Chop up a fish
Blow up a car
Can't turn back
'Cause I've gone too far
I'm confused as hell
I think I'm insane
Those motherfuckers think we're all the same
They put me down
I say "Oh well"
If you don't like it, you can go to hell
The hell that is called Planet Smell
In a strange twist, Balloon Boy's mom has decided to side against her husband with Balloon Boy, which is pretty bizarre. It's difficult to wrap your head around why someone would admit to perpetrating a so-called hoax, when it it was simply a matter of a child misbehaving. In other words, Balloon Boy's mom has officially taken the blame instead of having Balloon Boy be held accountable for his actions.
Well, fuck Balloon Boy extra now. This poor woman, the same person who forced Balloon Boy's ungrateful demon head through her birth canal, is now being sold down the river by that six-year old sack of shit.
Say goodbye to your home, Balloon Boy. Say goodbye to the warmth of your black sweatshirt. Most importantly, say goodbye to the barn you decided to hide in. Good night, Irene. Burn the flag.
Hey Mr. Plastic
Why do you conform?
Is it because it's the norm?
Or is it because of society?
Don't you even lie to me
Because I can see your invisible eyes
And is no surprise
That you're the one I despise
You and your wretched friends
Don't even want to pretend
That you even really exist
So give your wife a kiss
In your mansion in suburbia
But I am impervious to your control
And I doubt you'll ever see the whole
Photograph of your soul
You think we want your table scraps?
You can keep them, you dicka-licka
Glad all you important eaters got to eat
We're so grateful for your leftover piss salad
Ya stupid a-hole
Fight the power
You can't bring me down, clown
I'll watch you choke on your champagne
Mr. Suit Man
Keep your leftovers
I'll set them on fire for you
You do not want my pain
Because I am insane
And you're just a stain
I heard from Weird Paul that Rue McClanahan suffered a minor stroke recently. I don't know how he does it, but he always is the first to tell me any pressing Golden Girls news.
Hopefully she'll have a full recovery, seeing as how the stroke was minor. In honor of Rue, I scanned my personalized autographed 8x10 glossy she gave me at the mall in 1998. The recent passing of my personal fav Bea Arthur leaves only two surviving gold gals. In double honor of Rue and Betty, here once again is Miami Is Nice.
"Peegaze" is a genre of music I invented recently. It's like Shoegaze music, but it sounds like pee. You'll only understand this song if you live in Columbus. Partly why the song doesn't really belong on the album
Well, I hope you're all happy as pigs in shit. Balloon Boy's parents are going to jail, and it's all because you fuckfaces would not believe the most logical explanation:
They thought he was in the balloon.
Whatever, it doesn't really matter all that much. If I know Bill and Rhonda like I think I do, this adversity will only strengthen their resolve to make the truth be known. Meanwhile, little Falcon's plan worked to perfection - get the parents out of the way so that he can go hide in the barn again and scare us all half to death. If kids today would just stop and smell the roses, they would realize that without parents they wouldn't have the milk or clothing to survive in this world.
Once Balloon Boy's parents get out of jail, I imagine that they will go to great measures to make sure Falcon stops acting out. Once a child is able to manipulate their parents in such a manner, it isn't long before they're tricking firemen to drive out to their house for no good reason. We can only hope for the best.
EG is gonna get revved up again here soon, starting with a Columbus album release show on Saturday, March 6th. Guess where? The next Saturday, March 13th, will mark an album release show in Cleveland at Bela Dubby. Even though the lovely Mary Alice! usually only does her image projection in the 'bus, she is always up for traveling to project/see old friends in the fuckin' C-L-E.
Saturday, April 3rd marks the return of EG to Pittsburgh with a brand new road projectionist, the lovely Derek Stewart. He'll not only be projecting, but also showcasing his art. The hope then is to keep doing more road shows as a unit. If it doesn't work out, my next step will be to go door-to-door selling videos of myself naked, rolling around in ice cream while being spanked by an attractive man.
That's all for now. I had a longer version of this post, but it got deleted somehow. I poured out my feelings and everything. Meh, not really, I just talked about how it was weird to be alone in the dark. Long story.