He's really quite incredible. I saw them play in Trevor's living room in Isla Vista back in the dawn of the 90's when they were on tour with Mudhoney. A little band called "Formerly Overdrive" opened for them, and I sat in on guitar even though I didn't know any of the songs. It was awesome. Cool guitar, huh?
posted by Greg 12:52 PM
I remember the first time I heard The Ramones. I was in high school and just starting to get into music seriously, especially the LA rockabilly bands and early punk rock like Black Flag. I'd read about The Ramones and heard them on Rodney on the Roq enough that I decided that I would buy one of their records, though I'd never really heard a whole one. At the store (probably Platterpus records on Manhattan Beach, or Re-Cycle Records in Hermosa Beach) there were a few to choose from. I chose what I thought was the first one, "The Ramones," cause they looked really cool on the black and white cover photo, and with song titles like "Beat on the Brat," "I don't Wanna go Down to the Basement," and "Havana Affair" I figured how could I lose?
But though I had high expectations, I was still blown away by that album. The sound they get is so direct, so primitive but powerful, combining the 50's music I love with the power of punk and an individualism that just put them in another league. Like there was rock music, and then there was The Ramones. Plus that album is mixed with all the bass on the left channel and all the guitar on the right channel, something nobody does but that sounds awesome with such a thick guitar sound. And the songs were fun and simple but definately not stupid. A few years later I went to see them at the Hollywood Palladium on the "Animal Boy" tour with The Dickies opening up. It was one of the best shows I ever saw. It seemed like they played 100 songs, with dee dee counting the 1234 for the next song as each song's last chord was ringing out. I slam danced, circling the pit in the punk rock brotherhood, where people picked you up if you fell down and didn't try to elbow you. When we came out soaked with sweat and glowing with the aftermath of a religious experience, we found hundreds of LA cops in riot gear who had been called to quell the large crowd of punk rockers who hadn't been able to get in the show. As we ran back to Joe's truck in the parking lot, a cop hit Keith with a billy club and fractured his elbow. A night to remember. I still have the article from the LA Times the next day about the riot that I cut out. At that point I had every Ramones album except the live one, and spent many hours playing distorted power chords into my headphone amp trying to make it sound like Jhonny. I still listen to the first few records on vinyl regularly.
When you read about Joey, he comes across as a nice guy and smart. His music and ideas changed everything in music and touched millions of lives. Recently I saw Dee Dee Ramone play a solo show at the Hollywood Park racetrack, and numerous fights broke out. As I tried to block the surging crowd from my lady friend I got that rush of adreneline that took me right back to that first Ramones show and reminded me of the power of punk rock. I'll miss you Joey.
posted by Greg 9:40 AM
Here's a song I just finished(?) and recorded on the computer with the little computer mic. It's called "She's a Sheila," which is Austrailian slang that I heard from some Austrailian guys I hung out with at this wedding up in Carmel. The song is my interperetation of what the phrase means, or could mean, because I'm not at all sure that It's correct. Maybe an Austrailan person will read this and clue me in. Meanwhile we can try to get "She's a Sheila" going in this country with this meaning: Gregory_Vaine-Shes_a_Sheila-demo1.mp3 - 1.9mb
posted by Greg 8:59 AM
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
This is Dr. Whirry, my junior year high school English teacher at Mira Costa High School. She was named NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR this year. Pretty cool! She was pretty much the best teacher I ever had. She was very left-wing, which I needed, and really encouraged everyone to think for themselves. I remember I read "The Octopus" about the railroads in her class. And e e cummings, and we watched a film about how "Star Wars" wouldn't work. And Langston Hughes and Graham Greene. More significantly for me, she assigned me "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" by Kurt Vonnegut, which opened up a whole world of literature for me. Not long after that I read every book he ever wrote.
For my final assignment we were supposed to do a presentation for the class, and I wrote a song called "Russians and Americans" about how if there was a nuclear holocaust, Russian and American people would be in the same boat, as in dead. Sample lyric: "Up at heaven's gate / The waiting line is long / Russian and Americans / both wonder what went wrong" (This was the 80's after all, and I was a very angry young man.) I recorded it on Keith's 4-track (my first production!) and played it for the class, and Dr. Whirry cried. She gave me an A! It really gave me faith in the power of art, and also my ability to use it to move people. Thanks Doc!
posted by Greg 12:33 PM
Sunday, April 08, 2001
"Ever been in Southeast Asia? It makes Florida look like a desert. Wherever you step it squishes. Instead of tractors they use water buffaloes. The bushes are filled with insects and natives who shoot at you. It wasn't a war - not even a "Police Action." We were "Military Advisers." But a Military Adviser who has been dead four days in that heat smells the same way a corpse does in a real war. I was promoted to corporal. I was promoted seven times. To corporal." - RAH - Glory Road
On Saturday I went and saw "Blow" the movie, which was pretty good, but not nearly as fun as Spy Kids. Then over to Tony's new place to watch the Bruce Springsteen concert film on HBO. The boss is a true master, and some chills did occur. Though Tony and I agreed that we wished they had used the same technology (excellent coverage and sound) to film one of his concerts back in the day.
"Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die." - Tennyson, 'Ulysses' Maybe "The Sounding Furrows" would be a good band name. Thanks to Jon "Faji" for helping out with the blog. He's a hard act to follow! But I'll soldier on. Here's a picture of him when he was here that my mom took:
My new tele came today and it's sweet! I'm off to play it some more!
Hey! It's been a great weekend with faji! He's going to be my guest blogger here tonight. In italics: first and foremost, I want to thank my most gracious hosts for putting up with my bullshit and helping me to find new and cool things to do in Los angeles, a city I like to refer to as Smell-A. After arriving into Burbank, Thursday night, The two whisked me away to the famous viper room to see one of my favorite bands, The Mother Hips. They rocked as usual, playing a good mix of older tunes, like Petfoot, and newer ones like Life In The City. The crowd was totally into it and prolly graduated from Chico. A girl with big hair kept dancing her pony tail into my face. It was crowded. After the encore, the boys exited and hung around outside for us to say hello as they chilled out. Oh, by the way... Tim Bluhm says hello. On Friday, Greg and I rocked out in his studio. I played the drums, and Greg on Guitar. It was rad, f'sho. Have you ever listened to those old Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee records? welp, we sounded nothing like that. But it was still really cool. I spontaneously composed a new song, and have declared it as "The Newest Dance Craze that is Sweeping The Nation." Its Called Shake your Paranoia. Its bound to break the top 40, and junk.
Later in the weekend, we headed into Hollywood and we all saw SPY KIDS! which is a rad movie, I suggest you go see it as soon as possible. Antonio Banderas and Cheech Marin are excellent as spies. not to mention those kids kicked ass. WHew! as if all of this wasn;t enough.... Tonite, the three of us went to a two woman live theatre type act. and tomorrow I am back in the lil city of Sam Farisco, or as I like to say it... Frisco. Its been quite some time, and I think my life has changed for the better. I didn't see any famous people, except batman and spiderman. I dunno.... Dibbity Dibbity Hey Hey Hey! -jon fojtik Wow! Isn't he doing a great job? He's such a great writer, he should get his own blog. Don't you think so? Here's more:
I forgot some very important aspects of my stay here in Los Feliz. Greg has a cool record collection, and he and I wound up staying up late in the evening spinning one record after t'other. We even went to Rockaway records where I found A 45 of The Mary Jane Girls, and a 45 of Jimmie Lunceford. Both for 99 cents!
Greg got himself a record with the comedy of WC Fields on it. Friggin hilarious. At another record store, there were all sorts of soundtracks to bad movies and we saw a soundtrack to the book written by L. Ron Hubbard: Battlefield Earth. Weird, right? There was even a picture of the guy on the back of the record and he was in front of the soundboard as if he was the producer. Also, I should mention Molli's friend, Kendra, who graced us with 'er presence on Friday night. She even picked up a guitar and sang us a couple of songs, all hootenanny style. She was super cute and cool, too. Greg sang a few songs as well. He does this one song called Wooden Sky Waltz, that I can't get outta my head. I like that whole three-four timing on it. Say, in case ya'll don't know... I am a drummer. A good friend of yer boy Greg and his better half, the lil lady, Molli, and if you know the pair like I do.... you'll like this that I heard Tim Bluhm say 'bout Greg when Bluhm was mentioning the rock opera Greg's put down. "Mighty ambitious," said Tim. Anywhose.... I just hope tomorrow I can get some good grub at Home, that restaurant near the Rustic. -jon Yeah! for Jon!!!!!!!!!!!!!