Sunday, December 15, 2019

I Hope That You Have A Cool Yule 2019!

Well, that's a wrap on this blog for another year!  And, I suppose the decade as well.  We'll see what 2020 and the Twenties in general have in store for us.  Until then, I hope that you have a cool Yule!  

Looking back, on the blog, I released a few songs this year including an album of the noisy demos.  I also chucked up some poems that needed a good home.  I even found the time to do a Thirsty Bear & Hungry Snake strip.  Mostly, it was videos this year as I work my way through my remaining VHS tapes.  I have a few more left.  If there are any good performances from my old bands and whatnot, then I will share them here.  I also will be devoting quite a bit of time to my new novel, Edna's Employment Agency, which should be released next year.  Beyond that, we will have to see what the year holds.  If you missed anything this year, please just use the sidebar dates to check them out.  See you . . . next decade (only get to say that once a decade)!  In the meantime though, please feel free to take this 1980 Ziggy ornament off my hands . . .  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wred Fright On BookTV

In 2003, Canada's BookTV did a nice feature on the Perpetual Motion Roadshow I was on. They incorporated the footage we took on the tour along with what their camera crews in Toronto and New York City shot. Unfortunately, I never got the raw footage back from the Chicago tape (everything else was on the other tape). Maybe someday I will get to see it. The Chicago stuff in this video is all I have ever seen of it. And, while we're on the subject of old grievances, seeing the copy of The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus zine at Quimby's in this video reminded me that they stiffed me on the consignment. At that point, all one had to do was check-in once a year to collect one's money or one's zines, but at some point they decided to purge the store and sent postcards out at some random point, so even though I had dutifully checked in each year, I had moved, never got the postcard, and they disposed of the zines that hadn't sold. Uh, thanks, guys. I never consigned anything else there as a result. Cool bookstore though! Overall, this tour was really fun, and this video gives a nice summary of it. I also like that Canada got to see me get interviewed drinking beer and brushing my teeth outside, fortunately, not at the same time! That night in New York sleeping on the towel was rough! The only worse night's sleep I ever had was also in New York on a floor where Michael Jackman's dog kept running laps all night around the apartment and running over me each time. The lesson there for me is avoid sleeping in New York, I suppose. I also like the woman hiding her face in the NYC audience. Was she a celeb? In the Witness Relocation Program? Or just shy? Whatever the case, she's probably not thrilled the damn video's on the Internet forever.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Wred Fright On The Perpetual Motion Roadshow Part 2 Of 2

This is another performance from The Perpetual Motion Roadshow in September 2003. This one is from the Cincinnati stop where we were joined by an awesome hip-hop duo called Crack Heist. They were quite funny. It looks like for this stop, I channeled dead professional wrestlers again, which was always improvisational, but if the crowd chose a heel, or badguy wrestler, they were usually sure to be made fun of by the heel, which happens here. I probably also read some from The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, which was finishing its zine serialization then. I bought that Mexican wrestling mask for $20 at a comic book convention in Pittsburgh. I certainly have had some fun with it.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Wred Fright On The Perpetual Motion Roadshow Part 1 Of 2

The latest videotape that I went through was raw footage from the Perpetual Motion Roadshow that I went on. I have fond memories of that whole tour. It was with Jessie Lynn McMains (then known as Jessica Disobedience) and More Or Les. Even though we did not know one another before the tour, we had a great time together. The Perpetual Motion Roadshow was an idea by Jim Munroe to form a tour circuit for indie authors so that everyone didn't have to start from the beginning every time an indie author wanted to do a book tour. This goaround of the tour attracted some attention from BookTV, a Canadian television network devoted to literary matters, and they had us take a video camera to document the tour for their feature on us. The video is a hoot! We met some strange folks on the journey and had a lot of fun doing so. We also taped some of our performances, and that is what I am sharing here. This performance is from the Ottawa tour stop. I tried to do a different show every night figuring my tourmates would get bored seeing me do the same thing every night. At this stop, I read a bit from The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus and then put on my Mexican wrestling mask to channel a dead professional wrestler to give advice to the audience. At the end, you can hear Jess.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

New Mark Justice Book!

My buddy Mark Justice has a new novel out, and it is very different from his first, which was a cozy mystery.  This one is a hard-boiled Western!  I very much enjoyed reading it and gave him a blurb, which he used on the back cover.  If you like Garth Ennis's work and Deadwood, then this is your kind of story!  I love the tagline:  "They sent him to Hell.  Hell sent him back."  According to Mark, this is the start of a series of pulp Westerns starring Gauge Black.  I look forward to reading the rest!  Oh, and he's not done writing cozy mysteries either!  He is a writer with quite a range!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"Edna's Employment Agency Theme"

I wrote a theme song for my forthcoming novel.   This is it.  The novel should be out next year, if not earlier.  It's a comedy about a staffing firm.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wred Fright - "A Nose Is A Nose Is A Nose"

This is another video courtesy of Jimi Imij. This one comes from a 15 August 2000 show at The Mantis Gallery in Kent, Ohio USA. My buddy Bob had booked a few bands from Milwaukee to play town, so I played an opening set. At the time, I was finishing my dissertation and didn't have time to play in a band, so I did some solo gigs. I wrote this song after reading a Phil Ochs biography. At one point, Ochs got a bit wacky and created an alter ego called John Train who was more of a drunken trainwreck. I like the song, but the subject matter makes me sad. It would have been grand if Ochs had been able to hang in there longer. It would have been interesting to see how he would have responded musically to punk and new wave. My favorite part is the acappella bit at the end, especially the audience joining in with some handclap percussion. I don't play the song much anymore; it's not in the currently 40 or so songs that make up the set. I doubt it will ever find its way back in, but one never knows.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Earful"

This video is from an early show of The GoGoBots. In fact, it is our first show ever, which happened on 13 Oct. 1996 at Verder Hall on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio USA. Three members of the band were in a precursor to The GoGoBots called The Hot Glue Guns. I don't recall why exactly we changed the band name. We may have found out that there was another band called The Hot Glue Guns, or maybe it was because Micah, our second guitarist, joined the band. In any case, this was the first show with the four of us and under The GoGoBots name. I'm not even exactly sure why Micah joined. We might have just liked him, or he might have been the ticket to getting a practice space. We had a lot of trouble at that time in finding a place to practice. For The Glue Guns, we used to practice in our apartment. Since we lived next to the laundry room, we'd do laundry to cover up the noise. We changed apartments in 1996 though, so that wasn't a possibility anymore. We had some goofy experiences like playing on the back loading dock of the music building at KSU, but obviously with winter coming we needed something inside. Micah was friends with a couple of women who had a practice space, so that might have been his ticket into the band. In any case, we started rocking as a quartet. Mike and I both wrote songs (Micah also contributed one or two during his tenure) and you can hear us finishing up a Mike song at the beginning of the video. Before the next song starts, I was seeing if any of my students were there (I might have been giving extra credit). This lineup lasted only a couple of months, and then Todd left to go play in Songs: Ohia or something. We replaced him with Greg and carried on. There's another VHS tape of The GoGoBots, so expect some more videos down the road. This one is again courtesy of Jimi Imij.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Gumshoe"

I went through another VHS tape. This one was courtesy of Jimi Imij. I found a few gems that I will be sharing over the next few posts. The first is this video of The GoGoBots playing our "home" venue, the Mantis Gallery in Kent. The Mantis was a trip. It was a BYOB performance space run by Sam, an old punk rocker. Sam was a cool guy and definitely was open to new sounds, so we played there quite a bit. This song is from the trio era of The GoGoBots, which was my favorite era. It features the end of the song "Gumshoe", which was one I wrote after reading a few too many hardboiled detective novels. The lighting makes it look like we had cool dramatic lighting, but really The Mantis just had bad lighting (also, the toilet was usually broken).

Sunday, October 13, 2019

New Thirsty Bear & Hungry Snake Comic!

Every once in a while, I get the urge to whip up a Thirsty Bear & Hungry Snake comic.  This one is different because I decided to forgo the fumetti and draw this one.  The result is below (click on it to make it bigger).  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

New Song: "Bonehead"

I wrote this while I was in Pennsylvania this summer. We're all boneheads from time to time and must pay "the stupidity tax", but some people live it. The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

I don't want to be a bonehead.
Don't want to be like you.
Always making the same mistakes,
Never knowing what to do.

Ooh! Bonehead.

You always say you have no money,
but you always have cigarettes and booze,
plus a new cell phone
and a new tattoo.

I've got to get out of this town
before I become like you.
That would be my worst nightmare.
I don't want it to come true.

Written August 2019
Recorded August 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Final Song"

This is the final song The Escaped Fetal Pigs ever played. This was recorded on 28 April 1992 (though it might have been 29 April 1992 by the time this song was played) at Howard's Club H in Bowling Green, Ohio USA. For this one, we switched things up, and Simon sang, Jim played guitar, Mark played drums, and I played bass. At the end of the set, Mark "kills" us to make sure there would not be a cheesy reunion show. At the beginning of the clip, you can hear the end of "I Hate French", which is why one of our pals is speaking French onstage at the end. How we got into playing "The Cult Of Pogo And Porky Pine" switching instruments is beyond me. It might have just been because it is such an easy song to play. In any case, the pogo party at last call is glorious. Playing in bands that last for a bit is fun, but it is always bittersweet when the end comes because people whom have become as close as siblings scatter, and typically the relationship is never the same, even when the parting is friendly. With the Pigs, I am happy that I still get to see Mark, and he's still creative. Jim and Simon, I only stayed in touch with through letters and then social media. Jim I would see a year later when I visited B.G., but the last time I saw Simon was about a week after this gig at graduation (he seemed to be drunk at ten a.m. in the morning and wearing mouse ears on his graduation cap as he was headed to Orlando to work for Disney--I doubt he even remembers seeing me). In any case, The Pigs were a good time overall. It was certainly a great band to learn how to play rock and roll in. I know Mark and Jim, like me, went on to play in other bands--I'm not sure if Simon ever did--but The Pigs will always have a special place in my rock and roll heart. I don't remember who filmed the show, but at the end, whomever it was gets nice and avant garde freaky, which I enjoy. It provides a nice brief postshow primer of a band packing up, in this case, for the final time (as one of the guys in Pere Ubu, probably David Thomas, supposedly once said, rock and roll is mainly moving big black boxes from one end of town to another and then back again). It is also nice to see our friends The Copulating Crabs again near the end. They and the other attendees of the final show made for a great audience!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Cockring"

This one is a parody of cock rock. We boiled it down to its essential element. We found the word "cockring" to be funny, and the actual device even funnier, so, of course, we wrote a song about it. The lyrics are all of one word, except for some of my rap/rant, and the song is basically one rocking and funky riff. Does it cross the line into actual cock rock? Probably not, as we were laughing too hard playing it usually. Cock rockers aren't known for their sense of humor. Our friend Buzz liked the word also, so we reference him at the beginning of the song. I don't know where we got the giveaway from, maybe the club's restroom. There is one more Pigs video from this tape, and then we're done with the Pigs for a time. Even with the last show, I think there may be more Pigs videos in the pile of tapes.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "I Wanna Be A Mason"

I have no idea why Simon is throwing a shirt or whatever at Jim at the beginning of the video, but the dynamic between the rhythm section was always fun to experience as they were both a couple of characters! This is the first song of the second set that night, so the audience is sparser as the hour is growing later, but they are drunker. This was always one of my favorite tunes by The Pigs. Again, I do little on this song beyond banging my head. I just go along for the ride. On the demo, which ended up being the most heard recording of the song (it was one that got played on the radio), Mark plays everything. The band had plans to make another cassette album, but we never did so because we were so busy. Near the end of the band, probably not long before this show, we did a document recording of many of our songs with our friend Chris Comer, but there was no point in releasing the recordings as the band was essentially going to be defunct shortly thereafter. I did make a nice Escaped Fetal Pigs "Greatest Hits" CD-R for the band members and some friends years later, and I used some of the tracks from that session on it, but that's probably the only time we recorded "Mason" in the studio as a band. Mark was obviously listening to a lot of Slayer then, but he kept the humor in the lyrics. Simon would make a lot of jokes about his drumming ability, but by the end of the band, he was a pretty good drummer, as you can tell from this song, which is not an easy one to play drumwise. As far as I know, Mark has never joined the Masons. Maybe he gave away too many of their secrets in this song! Yes, that is a plastic toy pig in front of us that the women check out at the end of the video. If I remember correctly, we had a few of those at the show, along with some Three Little Pigs coloring books we altered to tell the story of The Escaped Fetal Pigs.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Mr. Pointy Pants"

If I ever knew whom Mr. Pointy Pants was, I have now forgotten. I hope he was not me! He may have even been a figment of Mark's imagination, but whatever the case, his theme song was fun to play, so The Pigs had to play it at the final show. This is another one where I don't do much except sing along and dance. At times, in The Pigs, my role was not dissimilar to the guy in The Happy Mondays who just jumped around on stage. The audience also joined in as a mild slam pit broke out. Mild slam pits are the best. When pits get violent, they get stupid. Not much to say about this one, just another fun Pigs novelty tune.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Did You See Tom?"

This is one of the first songs I ever wrote. It is about the typical high school friend who disappears the minute he gets a girlfriend. Even though I wrote the song, I still wasn't quite good enough at playing guitar at that point to both play guitar and sing, so I just sing on this version. I think my girlfriend of the time is in the audience. That was quite nice of her to show up. I really like Mark's backing vocals here. We probably should have expanded those; it would have helped the song.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "You Can Buy A Piece Of The Wall"

The Pigs were fortunate that we were operational during an eventful time since we drew many of our songs from current events. As the band progressed, the humor aspect was lessened, and we started doing some more serious songs. This was one of them, a ballad Mark wrote about the crass commercialism that ensued upon the fall of The Berlin Wall. I didn't do much on this song, except sing backup vocals, but occasionally we'd do an alternate version of the song featuring some verses about The Vietnam War Memorial that I wrote after visiting Washington D.C. for a peace rally in 1991. The video has some good shots of Mark's Flying V guitar, which I always dug. I also dig the audience slow dancing to the song. Odd, since it was not a love song, but by this point in the night, most people were drunk, so why not slow dance to a piece of political commentary? The band is a quartet; Jim, our bass player, is just hidden behind some speakers on the right side of the video. At this point, I think the camera person is drunk or tired, explaining probably why no effort was made to catch Jim in the shot for an entire song.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Crustacean Crush"

This is another song from the final gig of The Pigs. By this point in the show, we were sweating so much, we just went shirtless. This song was a favorite of our sister band, The Copulating Crabs, two of whom, Crissy and Kirsten, helped us out with the song. Mark wrote the song, a tale of freak show summer romance. I mainly just sang backup on it. Towards the end, I try to get Mark to do his Bob Dylan impersonation for the final verse, but he wisely didn't take the bait.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Candle"

Yes, it's yet another Escaped Fetal Pigs video! The Pigs apparently were well-documented where VHS is concerned. I probably still have some more Pigs videos in my dwindling pile of videocassettes that I am disposing of. This tape documents the final show of the band, which happened in the spring of 1992. It was an official farewell show. I found a few tracks on the tape worth sharing, which I'll post over the next few weeks. We went out on a high note. The Pigs played our last show at Howard's Club H, which was significant because that was the club that a few years earlier wouldn't let the many great original bands in town play there. At that time, 1988 or so, the venue preferred to present cover bands that played blues or boogie rock. One of the bands in town, The Exchange, even titled one of their cassette albums Why Can't The Exchange Play Here? Well, fortunately, post-Nirvana, things had changed by 1992, and the venue was more open to original acts, so we were able to play there. This was great because our home club, Good Tymes Pub, had undergone a change in management, and we didn't like playing there anymore. It was nice to play the big club in town instead for our final show. It let us know that we had made it to the top of the heap, such as the heap was in a college town rock scene anyway. We were also likely helped quite considerably by the fact that Jim, our bass player, was working at the club. Still, times had changed where local original music was concerned, which was great. We had decided to end the band because two or three of us were graduating that spring, and the band would have been too difficult to continue with us spread all over the country. We felt it better to give the band an official bit of closure rather than just let the project drift to nothingness. I wrote this song; it was one of my earliest compositions. It was based on a newspaper article I read about a husband whose wife had Alzheimer's, and he performed a mercy killing before she got any worse. Pogeybait, a fellow local band, liked the music, so they used it for one of their songs, which I was happy about, though I was confused why they didn't just use the lyrics as well. Maybe they found them a little melodramatic, but given the subject matter, it is hard for them to be anything else. We still had fun with the number, despite its heavy subject. At the beginning of the song, Simon, our drummer, liked to run laps before he had to come in on drums. He certainly had a challenge at this show with the number of drunk obstacles he had to deal with. I was apparently pretty broke during college because it looks like I'm literally wearing rags here. I really like when Mark, our guitarist, wanders into the audience. We always had a lot of audience interaction and fun during our shows.

Monday, August 5, 2019

New Song: "Flea Market Intellectual"

You can get a pretty good education on the cheap buying the good stuff that comes your way used or free, but you'd probably still be better off with a library card. The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

I just bought a book by Camus for a quarter!
So now I know the meaning of life, well, sorta!
I don't need no fancy school.
When I see something cheap, I buy it if it's cool.

I'm a flea market intellectual!

Some say I would be better off with a library card.
But there are so many books, picking one is just too hard.
So I prefer to see what the universe sends my way.
If there's some gaps in my knowledge, like economics, then that's OK.

I'm always reading a book, and sometimes two or three.
But I'm always ready for more, especially if they're free.
Soon I will have more books than I can read,
But I will never have as many books as I need.

Written July 2019
Recorded July 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Joslyns - "Rusty Space Station"

At the beginning of this video, you can hear some of "My Turn", one of the last songs the band did. I quite liked it; it's unfortunate the band didn't keep going. It would have been fun to see how we further developed as a unit. I particularly like the group vocals at the very end of the song. Most of this video though is of my favorite song we did: "Rusty Space Station". Ryan wrote most of this if I remember correctly. I probably just added my guitar parts, which for this number were nice and spooky given the romantic if desolate subject matter. Does metal rust in space? Well, it depends and is certainly a matter of debate. For this song, we'll just chalk it up to poetic license and enjoy the music. We were playing with two of our favorite local bands of that period: The Twilight and The Atomic Crash. One of The Twilight guys died shortly after this show, which is why Ryan ended up joining them later on. It was some sort of tragic accident. We were all sort of shocked by it since we had just met Matt (if my memory serves correctly), and he seemed like a cool dude whom we were looking forward to getting to know better. Sadly, that didn't happen. I don't know what became of the other guys in that band. They had some sort of breakup that ended up with only Tony, the singer, remaining, and basically a new band, including Ryan, accompanying him. Tony still plays today in a Beatles cover band from what I heard. Derek from The Atomic Crash also still plays. I did a couple of open mics with him a couple of years back. I don't know what became of the other members. Both bands were fun to play shows with. So, I guess if you have a local band you like, then go see them while you can because they generally don't last too long. None of the acts on this bill exist today certainly. All we have is this grimy video and the memories if you were there live. The squealy guitar parts I did using a beer bottle (at least that's what it looks like; I can't tell for sure, and I don't remember exactly). That trick is always fun to break out if a song fits it. During the part where the band starts rocking out, I always visualize the space station falling back to Earth, which Ray, our bass player, provided an interpretive dance version of by invading the audience space. Well, this is the last Joslyns video, and I think I only had the one tape. If I find any other cool performances though as I go through the remainder of the VHS tapes, then I will post them here.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Joslyns - "My Man Frank"

At the beginning of this video, you can hear us play "The Dreamwheel", another one of our songs. I like the guitarline and arrangement on that. After "The Dreamwheel", we kick into "My Man Frank", an older song of mine. I think I wrote this when I was doing Yeast? solo. It would have been in 1992 since it riffs on Ross Perot ("I didn't throw the party; I just clean the room") and his presidential run that year. I never imagined that a decade later, the song would still be relevant and another Bush would be president (this one even worse than the first). It's a fun song to play. It's not in my current setlist, but I can imagine it popping up again, though with luck no third Bush for president. Trump may be an awful president, but he did spare us the horror of a Jeb Bush presidency. I think this is the only Joslyns song I sang lead on. I don't even know how it ended up in the set. We were probably jamming on it one day in practice, and we decided to play it. It would carry over to the next band Ray, the bassist, and I played in, Team Fright, which just played my tunes. Team Fright was basically the Wred Fright solo act with a backing band, and they were a pretty great backing band. Ryan, the drummer, went on to play in The Twilight, whom we were playing this show with. Tony, the keyboardist, was playing in a bunch of bands already, so he carried on with that. I don't know that Ursula, the other keyboardist, played in any more bands after The Joslyns. Basically, we got too busy with our other gigs and retired the band. The title of the song comes from drunk people thinking my name is Frank, which is always amusing. This might be the best version of this song due to the nifty 1960s keyboard accents.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Joslyns - "Victory Red"

I played in The Joslyns for a couple of years right after I moved to Lakewood, Ohio USA. Ryan, the drummer and band leader, and I knew one another from playing in bands in Kent, Ohio USA, and so it was natural to finally form a band together when the opportunity arose. We got Ryan's work buddy, Ray, on bass, and then added a few more members over the next year or so. The lineup in this video is the original three augmented with keyboardists Tony and Ursula. We were wearing hairnets because I worked the second shift at Bonne Bell where the hairnet was mandatory. This is one of the bands where I mainly played guitar, though I also sang on a couple of songs. The music was a little gothy. My favorite description of us was "a drunk Joy Division". My "speech" in the middle of the song is a bit of political satire aimed at then Secretary Of Defense (er, War), Donald Rumsfeld, who was leading us off to another disaster overseas in Iraq then, but at least provided us with some silly statements while doing so.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

New Song: "Has Anyone Seen Mitchell?"

We had a joke band at work, and this was one of the fake songs we had for it. I liked the title though, so I turned it into a real song about how Americans tend to work too much and should enjoy life more. If you don't believe me, then maybe you would believe CNBC? The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

Has anyone seen Mitchell?
Eric was just here, but now he's gone.
And where the fuck is Shane?
I got an angry customer on the phone!

Better have a good time before you die.

All I ever seem to do is work, work, work.
I need a vacation before I turn into a jerk.
Two weeks a year just ain't enough
Unless I want to start living rough.

I hear they get six weeks in Italy.
It sounds like that's the place to be.
I don't mind working for a living,
But an economy can't be all taking and no giving.

Written June 2019
Recorded June 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Why Does Captain Kirk Always Get Laid?"

This song was one of the early Weird Al type parody songs that The Pigs started with. In this one, Mark combines two loves of his: the music of Anthrax with the subject of Star Trek. The video begins with a bit of "License To Drive", another one of our songs. In that one, I make reference to Armadillo playing on the stereo. Armadillo was another local band of the time whom we often played shows with. One of the most fun parts of the video was me crowdsurfing, which was a common feature of alternative rock concerts of the time. Thankfully, no one dropped me on the floor. I wouldn't do that today. On the Captain Kirk song, I get to play a bit of harmonica, which was always fun. Also fun was the cameraman's fight (sorry, I don't remember who recorded the concert, but it definitely seems to have been a man) with the dancing women. They kept blocking his view of the band, and he kept trying to work his way around them, until things degenerated into an amusing spat among drunken folks. After "Captain Kirk", the band begins to play one of our biggest "hits", this one a combination of Black Sabbath and Dr. Seuss called "Iron Seuss". Well, that's it for The Pigs for a while, but I am sure that I will find more videos as I slowly go through them and dispose of them. If I find any more fun performances, then I will likely share them here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Mutilate A Baby Doll"

This was a fun one to play. I got to play guitar on it while Mark would tear apart a baby doll. Essentially, this seemed to be a parody of all those violent heavy metal songs. I am not quite sure why the camera focuses on me playing guitar instead of following Mark into the audience, but at least we have the dancer on stage to keep us entertained. I have no idea who she was, but she seemed to be having fun. This was another one of Mark's songs. He remains creative today. He just wrote a novel called 'Twas The Week After Christmas, which I quite enjoyed reading.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Exxon Beach Party"

Mark enjoyed writing songs about current events. In addition to this one, we also played songs about The Berlin Wall coming down and Rob Lowe's sex scandal. The songs were always humorous but also made some salient political points. I also like that he made it a bit of a surf rock song. If you aren't familiar with what this song is about, then let me explain that it concerns the wreck of an oil tanker that polluted quite a bit of the Alaskan coastline. Greg Palast probably explains it best. On the recording, I think I played harmonica, but on this live version, I just sing along with Mark. At the beginning, you can hear us call for something to drink. It was hot in those little clubs that we played, especially when a lot of people were there, and, based on the video, this was a pretty packed place.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Escaped Fetal Pigs - "Ed McMahon"

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it seemed as if one could not turn on a television screen without seeing Ed McMahon on it. In addition, to being Johnny Carson's second banana on The Tonight Show, he hosted Star Search and other shows and appeared in numerous commercials. I have nothing against someone trying to make a buck, but his ubiquity seemed to be verging on pure greed. He seemed to me like university or company presidents who moonlight on corporate boards for obscene amounts of money, considering the amount of work they do for it.  I certainly don't believe these people put that much effort into their boardwork. Why not hire someone who would actually oversee the company? But, of course, that is probably not what the company's managers want. In any case, back to Ed, who probably wasn't a bad sort but seemed to me to be a poster child for the ills of American capitalism. Supposedly, he later had financial problems, which is mindboggling, but that's right in keeping with his symbolism of why greed stinks. How much was he spending of the money he was bringing in? Better to have brought in less, Ed, and spent less. Also, maybe I wouldn't have found your yesman shtick so annoying.

Moving on to other aspects of the video, The Pigs are playing The Good Tymes Pub, which was for a time our favorite venue in town. All the cool bands played there. It was run by an eccentric older party dude named Dick. Eventually, something happened to Dick--jail? death? I don't remember-- and the new management was not as cool, so we stopped playing there.

In the video, you can see me wearing a Pogues t-shirt which I bought in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA in 1989. I later sold it on eBay, so someone out there may still be wearing it. It was a cool shirt even if the concert wasn't. Shane MacGowan had apparently been drinking all day, so when the band came on, he made it through the first song, which was great. The second was pretty good. The third he didn't make sense at all. Then he held up a Batman 7-11 slurpee, filled with who knows what, shouted "Fuck you Americans and your fucking Batman!" and passed out. They dragged him offstage, and the band played instrumentals and songs that the others sang on. After that, Spider Stacy filled in, a preview of The post-Shane Pogues, on a few songs with help from the audience. After that, no one knew the words to any more of the songs, and the show ended. Pretty disappointing at the time, but in retrospect a quinnessential Pogues performance and one of the few concerts, out of many much better ones I saw/heard in that time period, that is memorable.

Is Mark wearing a New Kids On The Block shirt?  He must have lost a bet . . .

At the end, I throw in a backwards phrase.  You will have to play it backwards to get the special message.

Also, at the end, Mark speaks with our buddy Scott of XHOA, who was doing sound that night.  He often added cool effects to the sound, whether we wanted them or not.  Annoying at the time often, but in retrospect, a pretty cool touch.

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Song!: "Bomb The Bombs!"

It's a bit amazing that we have had nuclear weapons for about 75 years now, and we have pretty much refrained from using them aside from testing since World War II. Much of this is due to sheer luck as there were a number of instances, particularly during The Cold War, in which we came close to heading down the disastrous path of nuclear warfare. Our luck won't last forever; it is time to get rid of these things. The hope that we can finally be free of the threat of nuclear extinction inspired this song. The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

When the wise choose not to lead, then it's left to the fools, and the fools love to play, but their toys are deadly tools.
And so they play their games, and they have so much fun, pulling the pin on a grenade and pulling the trigger on a gun.

Bomb the bombs

So they pile up the bombs, and they say they will never be used, but as they stack them higher, they must be confused.
Because if you listen closely, you can hear the ticking of a clock, and it's getting ever closer to its final tock.
And the bombs will explode, and the genie will be out of the bottle, and it's not going back in, no matter how we try to throttle.
And neither will the flames or the fallout radiation, nuclear winter across the entire nation.

Bomb the bombs before they bomb us all.
Bomb the bombs or the bombs will fall.

And so before this all comes to pass, you and I should get off our respective ass.
And make sure the fools never have the power to bring us all closer to the doomsday hour.

Written April 2019
Recorded April 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Y-Town"

For an encore, we did one of our most popular songs, known as "Y-Town", though the true title is "(I'm Going To) Youngstown (To Get Fucked Up)". It was written as a response to the doom and gloomy Bruce Springsteen song about Youngstown. Being from New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA, Youngstown was actually the place we went to to have fun (yep, that's how boring New Castle was, going to Youngstown was a big treat). At the end of the video, you can see Kill The Hippies start their set. Amazingly enough, that band is still going. It probably helps to have at the core a married couple. They've been through probably 20 drummers since Bob in the video, but you can still find them rocking out around Northeast Ohio USA. As for The GoGoBots, alas, these grainy videos are the only place to find us unless you want to invite me to come play some of the songs in your living room or something.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The GoGoBots - "22 Robots"

This was always a fun song to play. Bob from Kill The Hippies and the rest of the audience help out with vocals here. Rob from Radar Secret Service shows us his nipples and wins some Fat Tuesday flowers. Later on, Matt from Kill The Hippies helps us out with the surprise bonus at the end of the song. It was definitely an all-star affair at the end of the set! I like the little spin I do at the end of the song. It's always nice to be able to break out some dance moves. Usually, I'm too focused on remembering lyrics or getting the guitar lines right. By the end of the set, we are all in the zone and just having fun.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The GoGoBots - "AM Radio In A PM Office"

I still like this song and play it. It's basically about someone bored working in an office listening to bad radio and dreaming of better times. It might be the only pop song that involves a discussion of the Marxist notion of surplus value, but I'm not certain. I have also been told many times over the years that it sounds like the theme song to the funny tv show The Office, but this song was written long before that show came about. The song was online then, but no royalties have ever arrived. They are welcome to. It does kind of sound like a song that might have been played on AM radio in 1993 or something, except for the lyrical subject matter and the Metallicaesque moshdown in the middle.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Hip-Hop Song (Jill And Nadine)"

I enjoyed playing Mike's songs because I could just play guitar and not have to worry about singing and playing guitar at the same time. Focusing on guitar allowed me to be a little more intricate on the guitar, which was fun. I don't recall why this song was called "Hip-Hop Song" as it sounds nothing like hip-hop. It probably was a joke. As for Jill and Nadine, they were friends of Mike's who were Kent scenesters. I don't know whatever happened to Nadine, but I stumbled across Jill on Bumble once and she had the funniest profile that I have ever seen. I don't think she was actually trying to get a date, just get a laugh. I am sure that some dudes swiped right nevertheless. I don't recall Mike ever stabbing anyone, so I think he was just telling a fun, fictional story at the beginning. I would also be surprised if we had not played The Gyro for two years. I know that we preferred The Mantis, the DIY space in town, but we still played The Gyro fairly regularly. I like our big ending. We were all living in the same house then, so we had gotten pretty tight, since we could pretty much practice whenever we all were home.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Witness X"

"Witness X" was written during the whole Clinton impeachment mess. I guess it fits now as we may be heading into the whole Trump impeachment mess. It's about witnesses and how we can trust them or not. It's a likeable enough song, and I like certain parts of it a lot. My favorite moment here is using the guitar as a microphone at the end. That was always a fun part of this song. I also like how Greg, the drummer, uses the end as a good opportunity to grab a drink. We always had a lot of fun playing.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Krispy Kreme"

This song was for the camera operator, our pal Joe, who worked at Krispy Kreme at this time. It was another of Mike's instrumentals and was fun to play. Songwriting must have made Mike hungry because apparently he named a lot of songs about food, given this week's video and last week's "Peanut Buster Parfait". This song kind of sounds like someone who has eaten too many donuts. At the end, our buddy Bob is calling out for the song "Canaries", but if we played that song that night, it's not on the video. In any case, I could go for a donut now myself.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Peanut Buster Parfait"

This is another one of Mike's instrumentals. They were often fun to play. At the beginning of the video, you can see Yellow Number Five with Rob who went on to play in Radar Secret Service and Cory who went on to play in A Party Of Helicopters. I don't know if Steve ever played in any other bands, but he was a cool guy also. I like the feedback I get near the end of the song. I still have that amp and guitar.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Alger Hisses"

I wrote this song after reading an autobiography by Alger Hiss that I picked up at a bargain book store. It was a good read. Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy during the Cold War hysteria that began in the aftermath of World War II. He claimed to be innocent to the end of his life. This version is way faster than I play this song today. I like it better slower.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Matt Trahan In Tight Jeans"

Mike wrote this one about our buddy Matt Trahan, who played guitar and sang in Kill The Hippies, another Kent band, who amazingly enough still play around today. The lyrics come from some book about the 1960s counterculture on campus. I don't actually know what it has to do with Trahan, but I like the song title. This was always a fun song to play.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Earful"

"Earful" was a fun song to play. I haven't played it in some time, but it may eventually make its way back into my solo set. This version is pretty tight.  We all lived in the same house at the time of this gig, so it made practice very easy.  The Rob I refer to is Rob Service, our buddy from Radar Secret Service. The alternative music scene in Kent/Akron in the late 1990s was pretty cool. Bands such as Kill The Hippies, Ligod, Harriet The Spy, The Party Of Helicopters, and many others were pretty active. None of those bands would make it big, but The Black Keys would succeed in making a more palatable to the masses version of that type of rock a few years later.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The GoGoBots - "The Trinitronic"

This song was one Mike wrote about his beloved television/VCR combo (yes, it was the 1990s) from Sony. We funked it up, and it was fun to play. It looks like our buddy Joe, who was a punk rocker who worked at Krispy Kreme in Akron, recorded this set. At the beginning, you can see us giving away flowers for people to wear in their hair. I don't remember why we had flowers, but you could feel the love in the room, man. I was working two jobs then that I cobbled together into a fulltime gig, and I bet this gig was during the workweek, probably a Tuesday, so I was going to be real tired the next day.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Fortune Cookie Nookie" Live At The Europe Gyro 1999

This song was inspired by finding something on my walk home one day.  At the time, I lived in an apartment complex behind a strip mall, so I would walk down an alley behind the strip mall on my way home.  One day, someone had thrown a videocassette box of a porno on the ground.  I think there was a video store in the strip mall.  It was a paper box, so I picked it up and took it home and put it in the recycling if I remember correctly.  Its name stuck with me though and resulted in the title of this song, the lyrics of which I composed by saving my fortunes from various fortune cookies for a few weeks.  Some of the lyrics even include the lucky numbers from the back of the fortunes.  There wasn't much to the song obviously given its origins, but the riffs were fun to play. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The GoGoBots - "Penny Dreadful" & "Distilled Crimson" Live At The Europe Gyro

20 years ago on Fat Tuesday, The GoGoBots played The Europe Gyro. It was videotaped, so I will be sharing those clips over the next few months. This was the beginning of the show. It contains the songs "Penny Dreadful" and "Distilled Crimson". We were a power trio at this point in the band, which I think was the best lineup of the band. Greg played drums, Mike played bass, and I played guitar. We all sang on various songs. We did a number of instrumentals. "Distilled Crimson" was one of them.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

New Song!: "Sourheart"

For this song, I wanted to imagine Tim-era Replacements trying to get a 1983 Top 40 hit like "Jeopardy" by Greg Kihn or "Der Kommissar" by After The Fire.  The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

I suppose there will never be another sweetheart.
That's OK because none of them were that sweet, and some of them didn't seem to have a heart.
In any case, all they've left behind in me is this sour heart.
So now when I go looking, I go looking for another sour heart.


I've been disappointed so many times before, I don't even know why I still try.
It always begins with laughter, but it always ends with a cry.
Yet here I go again looking for another brand new start.
And all I have to offer is this sour heart.

Turning sweetness into sourness isn't exactly a fine art.
All it takes is a fool looking for love and a parade of once-smiling tarts.
Then after each one you pick up the pieces and patch together an even sourer heart
Put the "For Sale" sign up and see if anyone wants a part of this


Written February 2019
Recorded February 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Poem?: "The Invention Of Lent"

"Hey, boss!  The food stores from last year are running low, and it's so early in the spring that nothing's ready to eat yet, plus our hunters are too weak from hunger to catch anything."

"Shit!  Those people eat way too much!  They're going to riot when they find out the food's running out, and then when they figure out that we saved the best stuff for ourselves and still have some, they are going to kill us and take it."

"What should we do?"

"Leave me alone.  Go tell those lazy hunters that they have to fish or God will be mad or something.  See what you can catch.  That should buy us some time for me to think of something."

"If only people would just skip a meal or two occasionally, eh, boss?"

"Hmm . . ."

19 June 2016

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Poem: "In The Land Of The White Van Men"

In the land of the white van men
the servant quarters of a rich town
where railcars rattle back doors
drowning out the interstate
engines start at any time
items are strapped on roofs
and loaded in opened van doors

hot water tanks
draft inducers
drywall sheets
cleaning supplies
car parts
animal traps
cement blocks
conspiracy theories
losing lottery tickets
remnants of past lunches
bruised hearts
faded dreams
broken homes

Hope gets dropped
during the load-in
left behind
run over in the driveway

For the only thing
that a white van man
cannot fix
is his life

11 January 2016

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Poem: "Voicemail Purgatory"

When I finally quit that job
I remembered the day when I was stuck in traffic
I phoned work to let them know that I was late
Not that anyone there much cared
They were all late too usually
No one was there
So I pressed the buttons randomly while driving and hoped for the best
Since the company's voicemail system was a mess
If not calling anyone directly
Then it was nearly random
Not so much voicemail hell as voicemail purgatory
But still close to impossible to navigate
Especially while driving
That's how I got the dead man's voicemail
It was still up
It was strange to hear his voice again
He died of cancer
I met him only once or twice before that
He was an asshole
Who had cancer of the asshole
But since he had cancer
I let the first asshole part slide
Why he showed up to work once or twice
Just to sit in his office for an hour or two
I never could figure
He looked like a zombie wearing a Cleveland Indians hat
Maybe he wanted the money rolling in still
Or just wanted to check on his commissions
Which kept on coming in while he was out sick
I was always impressed that he could make a grand a week while not showing up for work
Then again, maybe he had to show up just to keep his health insurance
The company was cheap
When I gave my two weeks' notice
They yanked my remaining vacation days
So the rich kid who ran the company he inherited from dad got to eat three vacation days of mine
Which were hard-earned
Each one the product a month of no absenteeism
Poof!  They vanished, so I had to work every day of the last two weeks or not get paid
I chose not getting paid and quit right then
I should have just used my days before and then just quit on them without notice
That should be my final lesson to be taught never to do the right thing
Since the right things are usually written by the rich and for their benefit
Not yours or mine
Unless you're rich
In which case
Stop reading this poem and fuck off
Unless you are going to give me some money
But back to the dead man
I didn't leave a voicemail
Since he would never hear it anyway
But if I did
I would have told him
That I was glad that I planned on leaving the company
Before I was a dead man myself
It made me sad
To think of how he lived
No vacation really, just the same one day off earned a month same as me
The same shit everyday
And not good shit
Supposedly, he was a cool guy
But every story they told me about him
Made him sound like an asshole
So the assholism probably can't be blamed on cancer
And I use asshole in the whole
No Asshole Rule business philosophy way
No offense to anyone's asshole including mine
Which are all very hard-working and beloved
I am sure
Personally I prefer the term "Shitbrain"
If you're going to insult someone
And speaking of that, the asshole left behind
A lot of shit in his office
His family came in and cleared out most of it
It seemed like junk
He worked there for decades and that was all his working life added up to?
Some unanswered voicemails and office detritus
My coworkers divvied up and threw out what the family didn't take
I changed my voicemail before I left
Telling people that I would never receive their messages since I had quit
I don't know if anyone leaves messages for me
I don't care, since, frankly, most of the clientele
Were jerks--apologies for the nastiness
But this is poetry so there's not time for bullshit
Especially corporate bullshit about how much the client is loved
Just time for the truth
I find it interesting that people still left messages for the dead man
Sometimes his coworkers forgot to check his messages for days on end.
The callers might wonder why he doesn't call back
But I know why
He's fucking dead, and
The things we leave behind
Can at times be still ahead of others.

7 April 2016

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Song: "One By One"

Back to basics for this demo.  After years of having fun with weird instruments, improvised percussion, and multiple tracks (check it out here), I wanted to go back to simpler demos.  This is the first one.  I should definitely get a pop filter, but, hey, it's a demo.  This song is about ghosting.  Really, this stuff is much more fun and cheaper than therapy.  The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

One by one, they will pass from your life.
Some will say goodbye. Most will not.
Some you will watch go. Others will disappear overnight.
And it will be a mystery as to why.

One by one by one by one by one by one by one by one,
until there is one.

From time to time, you might think of one, and you might even smile.
But if you ever saw them again, you wouldn't call them friend.
You might even pretend that you had never seen one another before.
Give them what they deserve and nothing more.

People change, and you change also.
What would you say anyway?
Perhaps just one thing more: "Get out!"
And that's my foot on your ass, don't let it hit the door.

Written January 2019
Recorded January 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

New Wred Fright Album?

I had a lot of fun making noisy demos over the past decade, but I think I'm starting to lean more towards going back to the basic guitar and vocals for demos. For fun, I collected all the noisy ones and made a sort of album of them on Soundcloud. It is interesting to listen to them all together!  For some reason, the embedded code will occasionally try to play the tracks in reverse order, so you may need to click through to Soundcloud to start from Track 1 if you want to experience the "album" as intended, but you can listen to it in whatever direction you want to!

Monday, January 21, 2019

New Song!: "No Place To Do It"

This one is a teenage tale of woe about sexual frustration. It drives the singer of the song so mad that he eventually turns to arson.  Tsk, tsk.  The weird instrument this time is a toy guitar. This one is extra noisy to finish out the demos where I liked stacking tracks. Why not? I think I'm moving back to simpler demos with just guitar and vocals, but I certainly had fun with these noisy demos. You can check out the MP3 here. Really, this stuff is much more fun and cheaper than therapy. The lyrics are below. It's the same deal as always. If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot. I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version. If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal. Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know. It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut). Find out first though. Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

I was fucking in the bushes, and I got poison ivy.
No place, no place to do it.
Even the cheapest motel room still costs too much money.
There's always a cop knocking on the car window.
She doesn't want to do it at her place because she thinks her kid might hear us.

I got no place, no place to do it.
And soon, I will have nobody to do it with.

I can't bring her home because Mom & Dad hate her.
The librarian already caught us in the library.
She thinks public restrooms are just too dirty.
At a friend's place, there's always a camera around.

I suggested the graveyard, but she said it's too dead there.
Then she said "I have a solution. It's called a new boyfriend."
"You see I met this guy who's got his own apartment."
At least he did until I burned that building down.

They got no place, no place to do it.
And soon they'll have nobody to do it with.
I got no place, no place to do it.
But that's OK, I got nobody to do it with.

Written November 2018
Recorded November 2018

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Razorcake Review Redux

I finally saw the print version of Mike Fournier's review in Razorcake of Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead and greatly enjoyed the headline excerpt from the review:  "Any work that contains talking stacks of pancakes and penises is absurd, almost by default--but the absurdity works on multiple levels."  Hilarious!  Thanks again to Mike and Razorcake!