Friday, October 30, 2009

Hauntingly Disturbing

The Smiths' controversial spin on the 5 children murdered and buried on Saddleworth Moor in 1963-65, known as The Moor Murders, is nothing BUT haunting. Johnny Marr's melancholy melody underneath Morrissey's depraved tale make for a dark trip through the English countryside. What sucks is that after hearing it, it stays with you a while. It's kinda hard to shake. Sheesh!
Taken from the Smiths' Suffer Little Children:

Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave
And I'll lay me down

Lesley-Anne, with your pretty white beads
Oh John, you'll never be a man
And you'll never see your home again
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

Edward, see those alluring lights?
Tonight will be your very last night

A woman said: I know my son is dead
I'll never rest my hands on his sacred head

But fresh lilaced moorland fields
Cannot hide the solid stench of death
Fresh lilaced moorland fields
Cannot hide the solid stench of death

Photo of the Smiths from

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lumber Jac It Up

Paul Bunyan may have made a stop-over in Bemidji, Minnesota, but I doubt seriously he called it home. Hell, who could afford to feed the big lug.
But because of his size and skills with an ax, all the logging camps across the land were grateful for his help. But you've got to wonder if the other loggers were not feeling a little...inadequate? Or was it because the camp's womenfolk seemed to loiter 'round the waterfront just as Paul emerged from his bath? Was Paul run out of every camp by an angry, but shorter mob of ax wielding loggers? Or did he just simply like to travel?
As for Bemidji, it turns out, there are other points of interest. One being the Beavers of Bemidji State University and the other is Bemidji Woolen Mills. Created in support of the logging industry and warming the world since 1920.

Top right: The Voyageur's Jac Coat from Bemidji Woolen Mills from
Paul and Babe from

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why The Long Face?

No, they're not sexy. Are you worried about sexy in zero degree wind chill? Save that for a romp around the fireplace.
No, they're not cheap. Canada Goose has 50 plus years of North American, down jacket know-how built into the price.
You know how you plop yourself in front of your computer to do research on something you need and you justify paying more for it cuz it's the industry standard, the go-to workhorse that won't let you down?
And yes you're right, most of us don't live in the Canadian High Arctic and we're not employed at the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Research at the South Pole, but before we know it, there are going to be days...weeks even, that we wished we'd made that investment in warmth.
I shit you not.

Photo of Canada Goose, Men's Expedition Parka

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hey, Them's Kinda Cute

Often thought too clunky. Often thought too utilitarian. Rarely thought too warm and lately just cuter than the dickens. Long time Kitchener, Ontario boot manufacturer Sorel, has added outerwear and apparel to the line-up since being acquired by Columbia back in 2000 (I did not know).

While the clothing may be a tougher find, you can still roast your tootsies at Dick's, Moosejaw Outfitters and select Nordstrom doors.

Chick Boots:
Helen of Tundra pictured above left from
Tivoli 6 pictured at right from
Top Photo from

60s London Subculture:The Skins,The Hippies, The Mods and Rockers

I like this photo of a few Skinheads in full on Skin regalia; Levi's, suspenders and steel toed Doc Martens marching past a small clan of Hippies on Picadilly Circus.
Bottom photo of a gang of Mods, raging through town. Their scoots most likely Vespas and Lambrettas.

Images from a series called London Subcultures 1950-1980
by Terrence Spencer for Life Magazine.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Too Much Too Soon

Our Mothers took Jacques and I on a day long shopping and entertainment extravaganza. As 10 year-olds with a fetish for fashion, we were on the hunt for the elusive Beatle Boot.
Legend has it, the boot was designed by Drury Lane, shoe and boot cobblers Anello & Davide. The Beatles wanted an adaptation of the historic Chelsea boot. Both boots were snug fitting and ankle high but where the Chelsea had an elastic panel on both sides, the Beatle had an inside zip. And either could or would have what's known as a Cuban Heel, its origins in Flamenco dancing.
One other design aspect was the long, pointed toe, derived from 50s London, Winklepickers. A stark contrast to the Teddy Boy Creeper.
Again our Mothers, God bless 'em, may not have been as dialed in as we had hoped. But they did the best they could with what they had to work with. Our first clue should have been our shopping destination for the day. Long known by those with an obscure sense of trend, the Muskegon Kmart on Apple Ave.
What we ended up with was as close as we could hope for. Besides, they did meet some of the qualifications. They were black and they were boots. A round toe, work boot cousin to the Wellington.
Still, nobody could dispute our feel for the now. We wore flared pants. We wore floral print shirts with kerchieves clasped around our necks...and we wore work boots.
We were the future.
We were tomorrows hope.
We were the harbingers of cool.
We were 6th graders.

Photo from
Chelsea Boot history tapped from the Wikipeepee
History of the Beatle Boot bits from Anello & Davide and

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Granny's Farm

Turns out, for all that snooty, feaux-audiophile, whining of mine, I have a distaste for Rubber Soul's new mix. Over and over and over again. I caught hold of this this morning as I was walking my dog in 4/4 time to Macca's bass line on Nowhere Man and I wasn't using an ipod.
The guy's gotta gift for counterpoint melodies. Practically a song within a song. I'm rediscovering what Mitchell Wood has known all along. Guess I better run out there and dislike Revolver too.

Top Photo from
Bottom Photo from
James Dean ain't got nuthin on Stuart Sutcliffe. And look at that fatty bass

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Streets Of Heck

I'm kind of a nut for Brit bikes. Ever since my brother Tim came home from college on a BSA, 441 Victor Special. The bike pictured above is my '67, Triumph 650 Bonneville. Named after all the time trials it won on the salt flats in the 1950s.. The look of the bike is referenced from 1950s flat-tracker style.
It was built by period bike specialist, Justin Kell. Notably, it was Kell who was brought in to do all the bike prep and stylizing for the most recent Indiana Jones flick. He also created and built all the bikes for the 2008, Larry Bishop-Quentin Tarantino collaboration, Hell Ride, which did a quick giddy-up to DVD. The movie is an homage to 60s biker noir. Tarantino picked Bishop, not only for his stints in Kill Bill, but because Bishop himself starred in such gems as: The Savage Seven, The Devil's 8, Angels Unchained and my sunday school favorite, Chrome and Hot Leather.
Justin can be seen in the special features segment of Hell Ride, describing why which actor is on which particular bike.
On an equally important aside, Justin also has a motorcycle inspired gear shop called Glory Sales And Service on Hollywood Blvd., just East of Vermont, that handles vintage motorcycle racing suits, Lewis Leathers, Davida Helmets, Aviator Goggles, Barbour, RedWing Boots, Levi's, Nudie Jeans and his store's namesake brand of denim, Glory Utility.

Top Photo is my scoot from JK

Bottom Photo Of Michael Madsen on a Springer-Sporty-Bobber
From Starring Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen and Dennis Hopper

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's tiresome being a boomer. It must be as tiresome reading about it. I mean you've got throwback this, vintage that and retro yadda-yadda-yadda. Even the whole yadda thing is...
So I'm walking into Schuler Books, you know, the one off Alpine, and I pass a small table display of some newly re-mastered Beatles CDs. Try as I might to ignore, I spot Rubber Soul and Revolver, my two favorites, but manage to keep right on walking. Moments later I flee the premises with a birthday card and a freshly plucked copy of Rubber Soul. We head up the highway northbound to Rosie's party, eagerly tearing the packaging off the CD with a giddy wave of nostalgia washing over us (how boomersian).
I gotta say, as much as these tunes come from my favorite Beatles era, along with Revolver and singles Day Tripper and Paperback Writer, I'll continue to look more intensley for a turntable and receiver and the arguably more favored mono mix. I don't care for all the seperation and clarity. I don't like my Beatles enhanced. I like my Beatles dirty.
What IS kinda cool though, and this coming from a neophyte, is trying to pin-point the influences, which are clearly more pronounced here. Harrison's Byrdsy Rick...things along with a pound or two of Buck Owens. McCartney's channeling of Little Richard and James Brown. Lennon, (I got nuthin) and Ringo's steady, economic style which must have come from people other than himself.

Photo of George Harrison lifted from

Monday, October 19, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's only mid October with plenty of leaves still on the trees. I have a funny feeling I'll be raking snow before I know it.
Mother Nature once again has a wild hair and seems hell-bent on testing our coping abilities. Not just nudging us but rudely shoving us back indoors. Forcing us to keep the fires stoked, swill more grog, feast on mutton and shop online. Eventually, the time comes when we must shower and brace for the frigid impact as we return, belching and cussing, to the very driveways, sidewalks and streets we sought refuge from.
This time, little does Ms. Nature know, there is a defense system in place, much like NORAD but under the guise of small storefront operation in Madison, Wisconsin called Context.
Just a few steps down from the state capital's rotunda, this operation has within its walls, not only the technically advanced, severe weather protection from Canada Goose, but other sophisticated garment forms as well from; APC, Apolis Activism, LaDurance, Band Of Outsiders, Nudie Jeans, Engineered Garments, Sugar Cane and Wings&Horns.
Their contact info is . Shopkeepers Ryan and Sam work hard to inform, educate and protect us. After all, if you're gonna go outside, put a hat on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guitars As Art

Yeah, I know how to play a bar chord. Its one of the few chords or two chords I do know. That doesn't stop me from lending my spirited, bull-in-a-china- shop approach to Doctor My Eyes while
lip reading what I'm pretty sure were the words "He means well" from the couple across the campfire. While I seem to be getting invited to fewer and fewer bon-fires, that certainly doesn't diminish my adoration for the vintage guitar and bass. I love a big, fatty guitar.

Top Photo 59 Rickenbacher 360 From

Gretsch White Falcon from

Gretsch 6073 Peter Tork Bass

Monkees Gretsch 6123

Gretsch 6101 Country Club Stereo
all from

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shake A Tail Feather

Rhythm is a funny thing. Either you've got it, you think you've got it, or you're not foolin' anybody and could give a rat's ass cuz you're bustin' it. I fall into the latter category and there's a two drink minimum for that show.
Joan Jett stated in a recent interview in Esquire magazine that;"There's this thing that happens when a guitar chord is struck a certain way-it slightly bends out of tune and then goes back. And there's a connection from that sound right through your crotch, right up into your heart."
Well, I don't know about the heart. But if I hear certain guitars with or without bass and drums, that create a charge-and that charge bolts right into the groin and straight out through my hiney and if it happens enough times in rapid succession and you've got appendages flailing every whichway in uncontrolled spasms and people aren't just pointing, they're gettin' the hell outta the way cuz you should be locked up for having this much fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hubba Hubba

My buddy, Jacques, dragged me up Clark Street to the Cubby Bear to see Trip Shakespeare from Minneapolis. The songs are a little fuzzy but the energy was intense. Highly percussive, hooky guitars and harmonies and the drummer was a woman. Not that that alone was provocative, but she played standing up and she WAS a powerhouse. Kinda like Sheila E., but a lot more drums and a lot more fierce. They were on the Minneapolis label Twin-Tone for a short spell, then a major label deal that lasted for 3 albums than back to Twin-Tone than goodbye.
On a sad note, that night at the Cubby Bear, I stole a t-shirt from their merch table, much like the t-shirt pictured above, in fact, exactly like it. And true to didn't fit, served me right I know. Anyhow, Dan Wilson, the older of the two Wilson brothers from Trip, went on to form SemiSonic, then wrote the hit Closing Time.

Absolutely no help from Wikipedia. Except maybe the part about the series of labels they were on, then, after that, absolutley nothing else.
Photo of t-shirt from Minnesota Historical Society

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hunt Much?

Sure, I succumb to aspirational marketing probably more than I care to admit. But I also know for a fact that I'm pretty well grounded, which keeps me from indulging myself in those silly things I think I long for. When, in reality, I'm really just grounded in that empty wallet sorta way.
If it wasn't for internet discussion forums and blogs, and if you've got the time to dedicate to research, you'll find aspirational marketing doesn't have quite the effect it once had. There will always be the I Want, I Need, I Must Have. But we're dealing with a much savvier shopper these days.
Take me for instance, even if I had the doe-ray-me, would I pay $200-$300 for a new shirt?
Absolutely not. A vintage Nudie? Maybe. Would I pay $200-$300 for a new pair of jeans?
Absolutely not. A primo vintage pair of 501's? Maybe.
A $300 pair of Russell Moccasins? You betcha, no question, hands down! This 108 year old, Berlin, Wisconsin, custom- hand- made shoe and bootmaker has its heritage deeply rooted in
outdoors. Just ask Dwight Eisenhower...ok, well you can't, but you could have. Then ask Harrison Ford or Robert Redford the next time you see 'em. They'll tell ya.
Until then, do your research.
Oh, by the way, I'm starting my own version of TV 13's, Try It Before You Buy It. And uh, I'd really like to try these boots, for like a really long time. Maybe I'll call it, Try It And Just Keep It.

Photo of Russell Moccasin's Safari PH II from

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Turn It Up

I gotta tell ya, it's a refreshing kick in the pants to hear a different slant behind the boards of Dwight Yoakam's Blame The Vain. What?...What's that?...Well of course I know it was released four years ago! Anyway, I'm not taking anything away from Pete Anderson, after all, he's had as much say in Mr. Yoakam's DNA as anybody. Going as far back as their early 80's gigs with Los Lobos, X and The Blasters.
Not only is there new production scenery, but the GUITARS, holy crap, theres some new giddy-up
right there mister. And again, not to poo poo Pete, but this guy could sear a hole through a bridge girder.
We saw the touring band at a casino in Mt. Pleasant and even though the crowd was a bit subdued, the band was Marine Corps. tight and butt rockin'.
Still present were long time stalwart bottom thumper: Taras Prodaniuk, ivory tickler: Skip Edwards, mandolin/fiddler: Scott Joss and looks like full-timer on drums: Mitch Marine.
DY cranks it up early with the title track, Blame The Vain, as a mid-tempo, rowdy line dancer's dream. Intentional Heartache leads in as a 60's, bongo charged, Bakersfield rave-up. Does It Show, mournful, vintage, straight up honky tonk. Now Three Good Reasons is just a rockin shuffle thats got that chunky, chuggin, I ain't bashful rythym guitar mixed up front where it ought to be and if your butt don't bounce to this...well. I'll Pretend is another nod to Buck. And She'll Remember, yeah at first listen sounds a bit out of context with the heavy synth and toms, but really, its kinda cool that he felt comfortable tossing in some comedic acting chops, which is, if you think about it, pretty un-Dwight.
Since then, I haven't seen the guy smile and laugh as much as the last time I saw him hawking his own brand of breakfast patties at the local Meijer.

Photo of Dwight Yoakam and new gunslinger Keith Gattis on a Vox AC30 maybe?
Photo from

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unknown Hinson: King Of The Hillbilly Vampyres

Opening for Hank III, grandson of the legendary Hank Williams, for a night of psychobilly driven, honky tonk speed grass, was a disturbing, pistol wavin, Tele crankin, Nosferatu-as-Marty Stuart on a Jack binge lookin, Unknown Hinson.
A superior set of revved up twang, lust and heartache from the Charlotte, North Carolina bred crooner. I scratched my midwestern chin for a long time after that show trying to decipher if we just witnessed great country camp or some true darkness come down from the hills. Whichever, it's obvious, the devil played a Fender.
If you read the funny papers you'll discover Hinson, like Eve, has a few different faces. One of them being a fellow named Stuart Daniel Baker, who as a hired gun, did a recent run as bass player for The Boxmasters along with Billy Bob Thornton. And like Eve again, Hinson is often heard sounding Baker-esque as the voice of Early Cuyler, the hillbilly squid from the Cartoon Network's Squidbillies.
It's not that far fetched I guess, they all share a penchant for guns, party liquor, sexy women and fine guitars.

Photo of Unknown Hinson from
Photo of the Boxmasters from
And just a touch of Wikipedia...just a touch.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kak o Lak

I always think this makes great fodder for dinner party conversation but I can't think of a time I've actually engaged anybody in it. Sure its a hackneyed concept, I'll give you that, but there needs to be more than just religion or politics to stir up some fussin' and fightin' and hopefully at someone else's house.
I'm at that tender age where CRS rears its ugly head a might too often, so I happen to think its a good idea, although useless, to get these things down on paper.
I like to call this, actually, I just decided to call it All/Most/Some. It's where I try and think of a handfull of people, places and things that I prioritize into the aforementioned categories and the crapstorm that could potentially ensue.
The one caveat is that its interchangable. Anybody, place or thing can fall out of favor or climb up the ladder for any reason at anyone's discretion. If someone has some insane justification for why Bruce Willis ain't even in ANY category, well, there's cause for a dust-up right then and there.
Here is my first ALL list:
Jack Nicholson(sp), Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, Sean Penn, Dwight Yoakum, Hellen Mirren, Tim Burton, San Francisco, Emma Thompson, Keith Richards, Emmy Lou Harris, anything Patti Loveless.

MOST anything to do with: Dustin Hoffman, Jeff Daniels, Alan Arkin, John Cusack, Julia Roberts, Allison Krauss, Bungalows, L.A., Christopher Guest, Coen Bros., T-Bone Burnett, Francis McDormand, pedal steel guitars, Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, Monet, Clint Eastwood and Robert Deniro.

SOME: New York, Nashville, Kate Blanchette, Rick Rubin, Stephen Spielberg, Ron Howard, Stephen Stills, Radney Foster, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi(sp).

Don't be shy, chime in whether your wit me or agin me.

Photo from
'64 Rambler Wagon, the Kak-O-Lak
3 on the tree...with overdrive