Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hooray For Dandelions!

I saw my first dandelion today, so, despite the virus craziness, nature has not postponed spring (politicians no doubt would try to postpone it along with everything else if they could).  I also received advertisements in the mail from lawn care companies.  Cutting grass is fine, but the companies seem to always want to dump unneeded chemical fertilizer on the lawn as well as herbicides to kill off dandelions and anything else not grass.  The advertising is obnoxious because it often shows kids and pets on this chemically-treated lawn.  You can see an example I clipped from one of the ads today, along with my word balloon addition.  I wouldn't let my kid play on a chemically-treated lawn.  In fact, dandelions are a good guide as to which lawns are good to play on in a neighborhood. The ones without dandelions are the ones to be suspicious of.

Unfortunately, the wealthier the neighborhood, the fewer dandelions one tends to see.  There is something about a certain amount of income that seems to make people dump chemicals on their lawn with all the potential hazardous side effects that come with those chemicals such as them being possible carcinogens.  A few years ago, I read the book Lawn People, which documented this phenomenon well.  You would think that people with higher incomes and good educations would be smart enough not to pay to poison themselves, but you would be wrong.

The Roundup lawsuit has been in the news a lot this past year, so, again, one would think that people would be smart enough to connect the dots and not unnecessarily expose themselves to poisons just to achieve some strange ideal about the perfect lawn, but I bet for a lot of people these ads will be effective and people will still this spring hire someone to kill the dandelions in their lawn (as a sidenote, the ad copy in these ads is also hilarious in a creepy way.  One letter reads, "We have identified your lawn as one that would benefit from our service."  Yes, my lawn, and every other one in the neighborhood, I'm sure).

As for me, I am hoping for a bumper crop of dandelions.  Not only are they pretty, but also you can actually eat them.  I have even drank a coffee substitute made from dandelions before.  It was pretty tasty.  Grass is pretty and one can play football on it, but I'm not a cow, so it's not something I can eat and thus not something I am terribly interested in cultivating at the expense of the other plants such as clover and dandelions.

Or my kid.

Or my pet.

Or me.

My latest novel is available here.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Unemployment Tips From Edna's Employment Agency

 
So as the COVID-19 panic rolls on (Panic?  Yes, read this, now whether it is wise to be panicked is another question), more people may become unemployed.  Some people have suggested we might see figures as high as 20%, which would be a crazy state of affairs if it happened.  That would be approaching levels not seen since The Great Depression (it could be worse though, at one point then, 80% of Toledo, Ohio USA was out of work).  If these doomsayers are right, then you've never seen competition for employment like this, not even during The Great Recession a decade back.  So, with a bunch of people looking for jobs, how can you stand out as a candidate?
 
Read Edna's Employment Agency.

I'm not kidding.  In addition to the laughs you'll get, which will ease some of your frustrations during this time as you search for your next gig, you'll also find a number of tips for your job search.  I saw a lot of dumb stuff when I was a recruiter, and I've seen even dumber stuff as a candidate.  Some of this you can avoid (for example, doublecheck what you actually upload to an online job application) while some you cannot (idiotic human resources people).  But, either way, you will be a bit more prepared for it if you can learn from other people, er, fictional characters anyway.

Good luck in your job search!

Especially in these circumstances!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Maybe We Should Have Put All That Stock Money In Comic Books Instead

So your stocks have crashed.

Well, don't panic; stocks go up and down.  That's their nature.

Of course, there are other things to invest in.

And, of course, everything's risky.

Some of the other investment vehicles are more fun though such as comic books.  Now, most comic books aren't worth anything monetarily.  There are too many copies of them, and no one really wants them.  Older comics, however, are a different story.

The oldest ones are Golden Age comic books from the 1930s and 1940s (there are some precursors beforehand, and the Golden Age stretches into the early 1950s, but we'll leave those topics to the comics historians for now).  The reason the Golden Age comics are rare is that there aren't many of them.  First of all, they were viewed as disposable like newspapers are, so many people who bought them just threw them out after they were read.  Second of all, most people who read them were kids, and they had fun with them, so they beat the crap out of them.  Many copies just were wore out by rereadings and play.  Third of all, when the war came, drives were held to collect and recycle materials for the war.  One of those was paper, so many comics ended up in the scrap pile for paper recycling.  Then, came the hysteria about juvenile delinquency after the war, when comics were viewed as dangerous corruptors of youth.  This was led by Fredric Wertham, who later sort of apologized in his book The World Of Fanzines).  This, just a few years after fighting the Nazis, notorious for burning books, led to Americans burning books, comic books.  Then, came time, some of the surviving books just rotted away if they weren't cared for (some literally turned to dust given the environmental conditions they were stored in--collectors who buy these books find they have bought a bag of paper chips).  As a result, the surviving books are rare.  Initially, comic book collectors just wanted to read these old stories because they weren't often reprinted.  Since then, fortunately, a lot of this material has been reprinted.  But, by then, people were already paying huge sums of money to compete for the remaining copies.  The result eventually led to a book selling for ten cents on the newsstand now going for over a million dollars.  Those kind of prices attract attention, so now some investors buy comics just as an investment.  Comics even get sealed in plastic boxes and graded by a professional grader, so people are buying comics they will never read (they can't even open them without destroying the plastic seal, which means they would have to get the book graded again).  It gets crazy.

Not that I am complaining.  I am happy to sell you a comic book for however much you want to spend on it.  In fact, I have some for sale here.

Are comics a good investment?  Maybe, maybe not.  It all depends if someone later on still wants the comic and is willing to pay more than you paid for it (also, you have to factor in inflation and other monetary changes over time as well as the expenses of money and time in maintenance and whatnot).  I do find comics fun though.  And, unlike stocks, even if no one wants this copy of a Porky Pig comic, then I can always get a chuckle out of rereading the story where Porky Pig and Sylvester The Cat get a pet octopus:

Classic, I tell you.

You can't quite get the same joy out of a penny stock certificate.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Coronavirus And The Plague By Albert Camus


So, unless you have been hibernating through the winter, you've probably heard about the Coronavirus disease 2019, otherwise known in short as COVID-19.  It apparently started in China and now has embarked on a world tour.  Its arrival in the United States has caused pretty much a freakout with schools and libraries closing, events canceled, travel bans, and other assorted disruptions to daily life.  The latest where I live is the closing of bars and restaurants.

The hope is to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals and other healthcare resources don't get overwhelmed and have to make difficult choices about divvying up care.  Whatever the good intentions, the actions taken against the virus's spread will certainly have consequences, primarily economic.  So far, most of the criticism has come from the political right, which makes sense since they typically represent the moneyed interests of the country, but some independent voices have also questioned the wisdom of these political decisions.  But others such as Nassim Nicholas Taleb have noted that the earlier to panic in a situation like this, the better, so even an overreaction is much preferable to the alternative.  This video is probably the easiest way to get his point about the importance of stopping this thing early.  Comparisons with traffic deaths and flu deaths don't quite fit the exponential risk that COVID-19 brings.

So, it looks like we're basically living in The Plague by Albert Camus, which has always been one of my favorite books, but I never wanted to live in it (it could be worse; we could be living in The Stand by Stephen King).  If you're not familiar with The Plague, it details the spread of a disease in one city and how the people respond. It is a good illustration of Camus's take on existentialism as well as a good read.  It is often interpreted as an allegory, but it can be read as just a tale of quiet heroism against a disease.  So, if you have some free time now due to COVID-19 or just want to get away from the tv news, it is a good book to read given the circumstances.  And, if you finish it and need a laugh to get through this challenging time, then please feel free to check out my books, especially the latest one.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

New Song!: "Ambitious Morons"

This is a song about people who are too eager to lead. I much prefer reluctant leaders. Anyone who really, really wants to lead usually has no clue how to actually do so. 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.

Ambitious morons
They want to lead.

They take off running
at top speed.

They don't know where they're going.
They just pretend.

They want us to follow
them to the end.

Off the cliff.

Written March 2020
Recorded March 2020


Want more Wred Fright music?  Order the Yeast? 7" here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Thank You To Steven B. Smith!

Steven B. Smith just posted his review of Edna's Employment Agency on his cool website, Walking On Thin Ice.  Thanks again for the kind words!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency Excerpt!

Edna's Employment Agenc... by Wred Fright on Scribd

I posted an excerpt of Edna's Employment Agency on Scribd. You can also read the whole novel on there, thanks to SmashWords. If you do, please post a review. Google and Amazon also have previews/excerpts. If you like what you read, please read the rest. You can buy the book here: https://www.wredfright.com/p/ednas-employment-agency.html

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency Is Now On Smashwords!

Edna's Employment Agency is now available on Smashwords! I like Smashwords because they get the book distributed to Apple, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook retail outlets. So now the book should be shortly available everywhere online. Of course, the best place to buy it is directly from me, but some people prefer to purchases ebooks directly through their Kindles or Nooks or whatnot, so I have them covered. If you buy it and read it and like it, please spread the word by posting a review or just by hipping friends to the book. Being an independent writer, I don't have the marketing budget to run a bunch of ads or buy shelf space at the local superbookstore. Instead, I have you: the reader who is looking for a good time and something a little different. I hope you like the latest! Please let me know if you do! If you don't, then I hope that you find something you do like!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency Now Available On Kindle & On Amazon As A Printed Book!

Edna's Employment Agency is now available for Kindle on Amazon.  I did not have to make many changes for the Kindle edition, which is nice.  It seems to look all right, but, unfortunately, it's cumbersome to test the Kindle version as I do with the EPUB one.  If you do run into any issues, then please let me know, and I will see if I can help out.  One nice thing about the Kindle edition is that Amazon makes it very easy to also create a print on demand edition for people who prefer printed books.  Their print on demand books look pretty good, and though it is not the printed edition I would create if I were doing a print book, it is nice to have the book available in print for those who prefer them.  You can find the printed book here.  You can see the back cover of the print edition above.  Amazon provides a generous excerpt of the book, so anyone who wants to check it out before purchasing can certainly get a good idea of what the book is like.  Of course, the book is also available through Google Books and myself as well. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency On Google Books!


Edna's Employment Agency is now available on Google Books! I had to change some minor formatting (the hatred for underlining codes always baffles me, so this edition uses italics instead); please let me know of any issues. Google should offer you a choice between PDF and EPUB formats. If not, and you want what they don't have, then those formats are available directly from me. They also offer a very large preview of the book, so you can try before buying. Please spread the word if you like it; maybe others will as well!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Steven B. Smith On Edna's Employment Agency


I shared prepublication drafts of Edna's Employment Agency with a few fellow writers.  One of them was the great Cleveland, Ohio USA poet Steven B. Smith (if you need proof of his legendary status, just walk into Mac's Backs Books where his portrait is next to that of Harvey Pekar's).  I liked his book Stations Of The Lost & Found, so he was kind enough to take a look at Edna's.  Here is what he had to say:

"I stopped by Edna's Employment Agency.

Meeting their misfit employees and questionable clientele, I wondered how they all survived, what with the staff spending more time getting through their damaged lives than finding jobs for others, while the job seekers drag out the process as long as possible to collect unemployment - all this drenched in TV sit-comish humor (a lot of it rude and crude).

Wasn't sure I wanted to spend time with these folk, but kept reading, and I'm glad because beneath this chaos lies a sweetness... by the time I was done, they were my misfits, whom I actually cared about.

At first the employees seem inept, shallow, selfish (and they are), but page by page their humanity surfaces, revealing an office family sort of looking after each other and their clients. Their often surreal and slapstick office adventures are interspersed with outside slices of the customers' lives, so the job seekers slowly become someone to care about as well, rather than something to gawk at like cultural roadkill.

This comedic novel captures the acerbic humor that dominates most places I've been employed, as well as the tenuous friendships developed with co-workers you may not even like.

One blurb likens Edna's Employment Agency to "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" (which I've not seen, but feels right from what I've read).

The book is short, humane, gentle, absurd, and should put a smile on your face. By the end you might even like Edna."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency Is Out!

Order Wred's New Novel Here!:
Format

They say that the only thing worse than having a job is not having a job, but they're wrong.

There is something worse than not having a job.

It is being so desperate in looking for work that you show up at Edna's Employment Agency where her team of charlatans, ne'er-do-wells, and screwups probably won't find you a job, but they will find you some laughs as they loudly discuss their sex lives, fake drug tests, break into the office, burn down the office, dig donuts out of the trash, get punched in the face, make fun of resumes, drag coworkers into the restroom, hide under desks, get drunk, look for better jobs themselves, treat cancer as a bad excuse for missing work, plot their way through office politics using bagels, take smoke breaks during their smoke breaks, watch training videos from the 1980s, use copious amounts of profanity to prepare for meetings, engage in slapstick to express their status, war against the I.T. department, fume that people who don't even know how to spell make more money than they do, and, sometimes--just sometimes--, actually work.

And that's just the staff of the staffing firm. Then there are the temps . . .

You'll meet them all in Edna's Employment Agency, the book you shouldn't bring to a job interview because you're dressed nicely, so you don't want to piss yourself laughing.

Unless, you know, it's that kind of job . . .

If you like television shows such as The Office and Parks And Recreation, then you likely will enjoy this novel of workplace humor.

Edna's Employment Agency is the fourth novel by Wred Fright. The other three are The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, Blog Love Omega Glee, and Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead. More info about the author and his books can be found at Wredfright.Com.

Praise for Fright and his works from fellow writers, literary critics, and scruffy publications:

"Wred Fright does it again. His almost-all-dialogue treatise on employment agencies comes fast and furious, or maybe furiously fast. Either way, it sets into motion manic episodes of grand proportions, a whirlwind of oftentimes zany characters who Fright gives gravitas to by intermingling snippets of their lives that read like some stream-of-consciousness-infused Winesburg, Ohio, and a tale that stomps the fringes of absurdity like a cowpoke riding a mad bull.

The kooky cast of Edna’s Employment Agency will almost make you wish you were out of a job just so you could have them find one for you." - Mark Justice, author of Gauge Black: Hell's Revenge

"[A]n innovative writer of fun new pop lit--a pioneer in the fight to revive American literature" - American Pop Lit

"[I]nfinitely preferable to the eye-glazing 'literary fiction' shoveled out by the bigger publishers" - Daniel Green

"I can't wait to read the next one!" - Eddie Willson

"Wred Fright is one of the best pseudo-fiction (maybe even just fiction) writers that I’ve ever had the luck to stumble upon" - James McQuiston

"This book is a trip, well worth checking out." - Razorcake

"I found myself laughing out loud a number of times, and that's a rare occurrence" - Zine World

Order Wred's New Novel Here!:
Format

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mark Justice On Edna's Employment Agency

My pal Mark Justice, an author himself, was kind enough to read a prerelease version of my new novel, Edna's Employment Agency, and, fortunately, liked it enough to say this about it: 

 "Wred Fright does it again. His almost-all-dialogue treatise on employment agencies comes fast and furious, or maybe furiously fast. Either way, it sets into motion manic episodes of grand proportions, a whirlwind of oftentimes zany characters who Fright gives gravitas to by intermingling snippets of their lives that read like some stream-of-consciousness-infused Winesburg, Ohio, and a tale that stomps the fringes of absurdity like a cowpoke riding a mad bull.

The kooky cast of Edna’s Employment Agency will almost make you wish you were out of a job just so you could have them find one for you."

Mark is the author of Gauge Black: Hell's Revenge and 'Twas The Week Before Christmas, both excellent reads!

Edna's will be out soon on the website!  Thanks for the kind words, Mark!  I like Sherwood Anderson's work, so I especially dig the Winesburg, Ohio mention!

While you are waiting for Edna's, catch up on my previous novel, Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Song!: "A Couple Of Beers With Igor"

This is a song about a person who gives up on making life plans and just lets things roll. 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.

A couple of beers with Igor
And a couple more just to even the score.
We're all under- and unemployed.
Celebrating the freedom that we now enjoy.

And I don't know where this is going.
I'm just floating wherever the river's flowing.

Our plans have all been wrecked.
We're trying hard not to be upset.
When you're used to being in control,
it's hard to just let things roll.

We like to think our destiny's in our hands.
But the truth is more complex to understand.
So, for now, I'm giving up on agency.
I'm just floating down the river into the cosmic sea.

Written February 2020
Recorded February 2020


Want more Wred Fright music?  Order the Yeast? 7" here!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Join The Wred Fright Email List!

If you are not on my email list already (you can find it here:  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wredfright/info), then please feel free to join.  It's free, and, usually, seldom used, so those of you who get too many emails won't have to worry about getting many more if you join.  It might be a bit more lively this year since I have a new novel coming out.  In fact, the people on the list will be the first ones who can buy the novel as I slowly roll it out.  Eventually, it will be on the usual suspects such as Amazon, Smashwords, Google Books, and so on, but its first stop is the email list, followed shortly by this blog.  So, if you want to read Edna's Employment Agency before almost anyone else, then join the list.  In the meantime, here's the cover.
And, if you haven't read my last novel, it is available here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Team Fright - "Orange Marmalade"

After starting this project back in 2017, I am happy to finish it. This is the last video from my stack of VHS tapes I am shedding. Recorded by my pal Zartan, this is Team Fright playing "Orange Marmalade" at The Tower Of Treason in Cleveland, Ohio USA on 3 December 2004. I always liked this song, but it was never played much. I am glad a recording of it with a band exists, even if the vocals are a little too buried in the mix for the words to be understood. I really like the drum intro Matt does here. I will have to add this song back into the set. It has been some time since I played it. It's just a slice of life song about a family dining and living, but it is fun to play, and the vocals are catchy when you can hear them!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Team Fright - "Mary Black Mary Black Mary Black"

I wrote this song while I was in The GoGoBots, but Team Fright might have played it best. Our pals The Balomai Brothers liked it so much that they sampled it for one of their records, which was really cool (I miss those guys--they were a fun band!). Anyway, I really like what Ray does on the guitar here. It was nice to have this as my last band--they were really good--and it is fitting to wrap up the VHS project with them. The song itself is about the game teenagers play where they dare one another to go into a darkened bathroom and say the local witch's name three times in the mirror. According to the legend, she will then come out and scratch your face (more likely, you bump into something in the dark). For the song, I used the name of the local New Castle, Pennsylvania USA legend. The song goes on to comment on how the men in power were often afraid of a powerful woman who didn't need a man, giving rise to those witch rumors and resentments in the first place. I don't remember much about The Tower Of Treason. It was one of those DIY places that spring up for a year or two and then disappear. It was pretty cool and on the West Side from what I remember. I really like the "WE Heart Love" graffiti in the background. Our pal Zartan made the video, so big thanks to him! It looks like I am wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt here. Fashionplates, the band was not. This is the penultimate video from my VHS stack. We have one more, also from this show, and we are finally done with this project! Hooray!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Online Dating Haiku

If you've ever had the opportunity, er, misfortune to do online dating, then you know the special circle of Hell it is.  On the bright side, it did inspire me to write some haiku over the years.  Some of them may someday appear in an anthology about dating over age 40 called Can You #!*% Believe What Happened?:  True Tales of Midlife Daters, but since I submitted the haiku back in 2015 and the last time I corresponded with the editors, I was told the project was on hiatus, I think we can safely assume that book will likely never appear.  Since the haiku were too fun to vanish into Limbo, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, here are the dating haiku:

Finding love online
Could just be a click away,
But you have to click.

Charming and handsome
Or ugly and obnoxious?
Count the likes today.

You never replied.
Months later, you're still on here.
Good luck, you need it!

Photos from high school?
That was a long time ago.
You need new photos.

Maybe I am wrong,
But profile castration jokes
Won't land you a man.

That billionaire hunk
You've been waiting for? He will
Ride a unicorn.

Ten people or more
In each photo that you post.
So, which one is you?

Thank you for the wink.
If you unhide your profile,
I will return it.

Nobody today.
Is it too late to be gay?
Hmm . . . yeah, probably.

Nobody today.
Is it too late to be straight?
Hmm . . . yeah, probably.

Uh, why did I think
This was a good idea?
Oh, yes, I was drunk.

Unhappy couples
At supermarket tonight.
Happy I'm single.

Swipe right and swipe left.
Is there anyone out there?
No, but keep swiping.

Tinder and Bumble?
When did dating start sounding
like Santa's reindeer?

I found a new date.
Hoping to God that this one
seems more or less sane.

Why the hell did you
swipe right if you were never
going to message?

Some days I just swipe
left on everyone just to
be misanthropic.

She's cute.  If only
she weren't shooting guns in each
and every photo.

A dick pic?  Really?
We can work up to that if
needed.  Just say hi.

A threesome?  Wow!  Thanks
for the invite, but, I'm sure
there's an app for that.

I admit those breasts
are great, but how about a
picture of your face?

Despite the complaints
I took my shirt off for a
pic and likes went up.

If you aren't going
to message me back, then why
did you message first?

Yes, I know, you're all
not into hookups and all
want an LTR.

The guy who hits on
a hundred women a day
is a creep with dates.

I know I said I
was into bears, but you could
at least comb your hair.

I've been ground by the
Grindr and now my steak has
turned to hamburger.

OKCupid, you
can fuck off now.  Enough with
arrows in my ass.

Plenty of fish, huh?
Not enough to find me a
date apparently.

Hot Or Not?  Judging
from the response so far, it
is looking like not.

I never thought I
would miss singles bars, but at
least there I got drunk.

When the date stamped is
2012 on your pictures,
time for new photos.

I'd guess that ranting
about how Hillary sucks
doesn't get you dates.

If you love God so
much, why don't you date Him and
stop wasting my time?

The invite to find
you on Adult Friend Finder
caused me to lose you.

You have kinks, big deal!
I have some Kinks records that
I like a bit more.

Bumble, buy a clue!
I swiped left on her sixty
times before.  Enough!

First date ended with
hug and no kiss, taking it
slow is fine with me.

Second date ended
with a kiss and that was sweet.
Delete the profile.

If there's a third date
though, you better put out or
it's back to the app.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The GoGoBots - "Vagina Dentata"

I found another good one from one of the last videotapes I'm shedding. This one is of a GoGoBots song I haven't posted yet. The video is arty. I am assuming the cameraperson was one of Mike and Micah's art school buddies. It must have been Greg's first gig. The song is about men's fear of women and how people claim to believe in stupid things but live their lives in a completely different manner. At the beginning of the clip, we are playing one of Mike's instrumentals, and at the end, one of Micah's songs. Maggie, Mike Dee's girlfriend at the time, was playing keyboards that night for some reason unbeknownst to me. Coming up, I might have a couple of Team Fright tracks from the other video, and then this project and trip down Memory Lane is complete.

Monday, January 27, 2020

"Canaries" by Team Fright

This might be the last video from the VHS tapes unless I find another gem from the remaining two tapes. This is a version of "Canaries", a song I wrote while I was in The GoGoBots. It's about women in World War I London working in a bomb factory. They were called canaries because the material they were working with gave them a yellow tinge. This version is by Team Fright and comes late in that night's set, so it's a bit ragged and out of tune, but the energy comes through, so you should get the idea. It's a good song. I still play it. I always liked playing Pat's In The Flats. The bar is gone now, but it was a working class bar by day that turned into a garage rock club by night. It was run by an old woman named Pat who was really nice and who had inherited the club from her parents. I went there once for breakfast, and it was really good, and it had to be the cheapest breakfast in town. I don't know when poor Pat ever slept if she was serving breakfast and having bands play until 2 in the morning.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Team Fright - "A Kiss, A Cheek"

This song originally appeared on the Let's Get Killed vinyl compilation. On that recording, it was just me and a guitar. It sounds even better with a full band though, and Team Fright does a nice job here. It was nearing the end of the set, and my voice was getting a bit ragged and the guitar a bit out of tune (I had broken a string earlier, and fortunately, Joe Meno was on hand to read a chapter from his then new book Hairstyles Of The Damned to fill in the time, but the new string was still settling in), but overall, I like this version. I particularly like Ray's background vocals, but the entire band really gives the song a nice Wedding Present feel with those hyperstrummed jangly chords. The song is still in my set. It is a fun one to play and as timely as ever since it points out how daft religions are. I am wearing my shiny shirt in the video. I bought it at a Fashion Bug sidewalk sale in 1996 or so and always found it good stagewear. I still have it. Now that I seldom play out, the poor thing languishes in my closet. It's not something one wears for everyday use, at least for me. We had played a Smiths song that Jason liked, so I had channelled my inner Morrissey and hugged the audience while unbuttoning my shirt. That's why for this song the front of the audience is all female. It's not so much that my bare chest attracted them so much as I terrified all the males into retreating to the back. Sorry, guys! The political sign at the end references some inside joke that Ray's friends had, something about a teacher of theirs who had done something naughty (I forget the details now). I have at least one more Team Fright video from this show to share, probably next week.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Team Fright - "Dead Man's Food"

Here is another gem from my old stack of VHS tapes. This one's from a Team Fright gig. Team Fright was the last band I was in. It was a good band. It featured Ray from The Joslyns on guitar and Matt and Jason on drums and bass respectively, who kept playing together after Team Fright broke up, most recently in Bwak Dwagon. This clip is specifically from a gig at Pat's In The Flats, a cool club in Cleveland, Ohio USA. It was recorded on 7 August 2004. This song was based on a true story where I went with my friend Rob to guard his uncle's house after the uncle, who had lived alone, had died. We had to spend the night there, so we were told that we could eat all the food in the house, which was nice but eerie since we were eating food the uncle had planned on eating. Ultimately, it was a creepy experience but an interesting one. Musicwise, I particularly like the riff leading into the chorus here. You can see some more Team Fright videos courtesy of my pal Zartan here.

Monday, January 6, 2020

PFE Live!

It may be a new decade, but I am still going through my old videotapes.  This track comes from the one and only performance of PFE.  PFE was the joke industrial band that Mark of The Escaped Fetal Pigs and I always wanted to do as a side project.  We never quite got around to it, but in 1992/1993, The Pigs were invited to play an AIDS prevention benefit for the Bowling Green State University Campus Democrats.  Since The Pigs were no more, Mark and I decided to do PFE but as a serious project.  Unfortunately, we were billed as an Escaped Fetal Pigs reunion, which was not true, and which probably annoyed Jim, the bass player from The Pigs, who was working at the bar we were playing at that night (talk about awkward).  I believe we smoothed it out with Jim that night once he saw the band, which sounded nothing like The Pigs.  We had two drummers, Jeff from Pogeybait, whom I had played with in The Flaming Toasters, and Dave from The Angry Housewives (in fact, this might have been Dave's first show, and he might not have been old enough to be in the bar otherwise).  Brett from Armadillo played bass, and Mark and I played guitar and sang.  We had to throw the entire show together quickly since Dave and I lived in Pennsylvania, so we basically had the day before to learn the set and practice in Bowling Green, Ohio USA.  It came together pretty well.  This track, which probably isn't actually "Here And Now", but whose actual name escapes me, was a bit more garagey than the rest of the set, which indeed was fairly abrasive like Ministry (we even did a pre-Marilyn Manson industrial cover of "Sweet Dreams"), which you can hear a taste of at the end of the video.   It would have been fun to see what this band would have developed into, but since the band lived in different states, it was not to be.  Dave and I would go on to play in Yeast? and Anal Spikemobile, but it was the last time I played with the others.  This band in a way was a bridge between my college rock days and what was to come.  PFE didn't really stand from anything.  We would just make jokes that it was an acronym for Pure Fucking Energy and whatnot.  It later came in handy though when I needed a name for the rock band in my first novel.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Poem Of The Week!

It looks like The Red Fez has chosen "Wednesday Evenings" as their "Poem Of The Week".  Back in 2015, they chose a couple other poems of mine as poems of the week, so it's nice to have another poem of mine join them.  I didn't write much poetry in 2019 as I was concentrating on the new novel, but we shall see what 2020 holds.