It’s Kinda Our Thing

Makeup and costumes. Masks and props. These effects have gone hand-in-hand for a lot of rock bands since the 70’s. Most notoriously with the arena rock band KISS.

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So…Much…Chest hair

However, there is also a coinciding issue with these novelty bands, and it’s just that: it’s a novelty. The problem with these acts is that it’s mostly all about the show. Sure, they may have one or two good songs, but that’s really about it. Now, the even bigger travesty is that many of these bands contain highly gifted musicians whose talents are overshadowed by gimmicks.

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Case in point: GWAR (R.I.P. Oderus)

I think the best example of this fact is the band Slipknot.

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It’s amazing how a large band with such a gifted drummer and guitarists only has a handful of really good songs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing “The Knot” as I have a few of their songs on my iPod myself. Actually, what’s worse is that Slipknot clone Mushroomhead.

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“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free..”

In comparison, there are bands that are famous for shock value and gimmicks (i.e. Insane Clown Posse), and then there are bands that rely purely on their talents to get recognized. This topic always makes for an interesting debate, but it’s important to remember not to discredit the talent in some of these bands, let alone the pure entertainment value they provide. Except for ICP.

It’s time for me to go, however I will leave with this hilarious photo of 80’s “Christian Metal” band Stryper:

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You’re welcome.

– Nick

The Festival Experience

There are a lot of annual music festivals. I mean, A LOT. Pretty much every genre of music has it’s own, and then there are even more that are a hodgepodge of genres thrown together during blistering summer weather.

Whether it be the annual weekend pilgrimage to Coachella, where it seems like every band that has ever existed ever is playing, or Pitchfork where you’ll be lost in a sea of music journalists, the overall experience is relatively the same. There are a LOT of people at these events, and during sets you might as well just forget about personal space.

Personally, I love these events. They are loads of fun! But, for first timers, it can be a very intimidating experience. As I said, the sheer amount of attendees alone is staggering. Then you have the weather, as all of these festivals take place outdoors. If you’ll be attending the 2015 Vans Warped Tour like me, it’s in the middle of summer. No matter the layers of sunblock applied, my Irish complexion is no match for the Southern California sun. I end up looking like someone doused me in red paint.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are far more pros than cons. These festivals allow the audience to see a variety of bands at one location. Some are your favorites, others you’ve never heard of that become new favorites. It’s an excellent experience to go with friends, and even an awesome place to meet new ones too. Just don’t accept any baked goods from strangers.

Let’s not forget the price of these events. Ticket price vary, but I’m specifically talking about merch. There is SO. MUCH. MERCH! One can easily go for broke by noon. Set aside an allotted amount for shirts, hats, CD’s, etc. from your favorite bands, but also make sure you leave a little extra for things from your newly discovered acts. Festivals like Warped and Lollapalooza are virtually overrun with the unsigned bands who follow the tour peddling their mixtapes (er, CD’s) just hoping for their chance in the spotlight. Being the obsessive music junkie that I am, I’m a bit of a sucker for these poor guys. It just hits the wallet hard.

Another thing: BRING CASH. 70% of the vendors wont accept cards, so make sure you’ve got the cash to buy that tie-dye Four Year Strong T-Shirt (speaking from experience). Just, for the love of logic and reason, keep ALL of your personal belongings on you, safe and secure, at all times. We like to think that most people are of good nature, but there are always the shady folks. Best to be safe than sorry, you know. Also, water. You’ll need it, and lots of it.

To summarize: Heat. Crowds. Bring water. Apply sunscreen liberally. Bring cash, but keep it secure. Have Fun!

What are your favorite festivals? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your experiences!

– Nick

Don’t Touch That Dial

If there is one thing the vast majority of us have in common, it would be our love of television. Whether you’re tuning in to catch the latest sports ball game:

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GO TEAM! DO THE THING!

Or rushing home to bring up your DVR to see who got eaten this week on your favorite zombie apocalypse show.

Personally, I’m drawn more towards comedies, although I do love me some Sci-Fi (and yes, I’m still salty about Fox cancelling Firefly). “But Music Junkie, what does this have to do with music?” You may be asking yourself at this point, and I’ll tell you now you impatient degenerate (kidding).

To me, one of the best things about a TV show has always been it’s opening theme song. Some of these tunes are really great, and they stick with you long after the show has ended. Whether it be a long opening like that of the 1960’s live action “Batman,” or something short, sweet, and to the point, like “The Daily Show’s” quick little riff.

What I wanted to talk about was some of my favorite TV show theme songs. Most, if not all, of these shows have ended, mind you, but I still enjoy watching reruns or binge watching them on Netflix.

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First up would be “The Office” (U.S. version) theme song. I was a fan of this show since the pilot episode, and own the majority of the seasons on DVD. I was very happy that the theme song never changed, despite the various cast alterations. Between the piano, the drum build up, and the everything else, this song will always remain my favorite TV show theme.

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Next up is the theme song to my favorite TV show ever, “That 70’s Show.” I have lost track of the number of times I’ve watched through this show. It’s ridiculous, really. That opening song, heavy with guitar riffs and era-appropriate rock vocals only changed once, and that was after the first season. It was then re-recorded by the legendary rock band Cheap Trick, and their version was used as the theme for throughout the remainder of the series.

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For time’s sake, and that of your attention span (again, kidding), I’m going to end with one last show: “Kids in the Hall.” Yes, Canadian, cross-dressing, sketch comedy at it’s finest. I adored this show as a kid. Yes, I realize it’s not exactly a kid’s show, but when you spend your summer vacation in the mid-90’s visiting family in rural Kentucky, TV quickly becomes your best friend. A bass-heavy tune with surf guitar riffs made this song stand out to me immediately, and remains one of my many favorite things about that show to this day. I strongly encourage you to look it up, even if you don’t end up caring too much for the show. I think you’ll enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite TV Show theme songs? Let me know in the comments below, and maybe we’ll find new favorites too!

Coming Soon

Earlier I wrote about some upcoming albums that I’m looking forward to, however I left out a few major ones. For instance, after a nine year lull, TOOL has a new album slated for sometime this year. It’s hard to believe that their last album “10,000 Days” came out way back in 2006! So, naturally, I’m anxious to see what Maynard and company have in store for us.

Now, we also have some new albums being released, and frankly I am excited about two in particular that got announced. Anyone who follows me on any form of social media knows that I recently posted that Matt Skiba & The Sekrets announced that they’ll be releasing a record this summer. Skiba (of Alkaline Trio), has been on tour with Blink 182 sans Tom DeLonge.

And just yesterday Four Year Strong officially announced that they will be releasing a self titled album on June second! These guys are my favorite to watch live in concert, I saw them three times last year! Granted, one of those times was Warped Tour, but they still bring an energy to the stage that reverberates throughout the whole crowd. This will be their fifth studio album, and it’s already ranked high up on the list of releases I’m most looking forward to.

2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for music. We’ve already had momentous releases with debuts and Modest Mouse’s return from their hiatus. I can’t waitrr to see what else is in store for us! What albums are you looking forward to this year? What ones have come out that you’ve enjoyed? Let me know in the comments below!