Sunday, June 18, 2017

Danny Says


I just watched Danny Says on Netflix. I'm a sucker for pretty much any and all music bios. And these days there a lot more doc's about personalities and influencers within the music scenes outside of just the artists themselves.

This flick documents the life and times of one such cat. A mover and a shaker who was involved with the success and the lives of Andy Warhol, Nico, the Velvet Underground, Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the MC5, the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Doors, and on and on.

It's mostly told in Danny's own words through various interviews. But there's a good deal of testimonials and anecdotes shared by the A-list musicians and artists he signed or influenced in one way or another. He worked for Elektra Records for a good deal of time and he was kind of an A&R dude / Manager. I believe his title was "freak," or at least that's what it said on his Elektra business cards...

Anyhow, if you care the above bands then this is a good watch. It's all light stuff. Nothing too heavy. But some great storytelling.

Dig it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Metal Gods: A Tribute to Judas Priest


I pre-ordered this as soon as I saw the post on social media. I think Mark Rudolph is incredibly talented and I was stoked to dive into his third book in homage to our metal gods (Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, and Judas Priest).

Temple of Void was honored to be involved in the second book. We recorded a Celtic Frost cover for the LP that accompanied the book's release. Very cool. And just like the last two, there is a good showing of Detroit talent in "Metal Gods." Members of TOV, Acid Witch, and more, all make fine contributions.

One of my favorite stories was actually the fashion show. I thought it was well written and I give the artist props for taking a chance. Everyone could have just illustrated the lyrics, but this was pretty clever and witty.

Of the three books, this one is has the most pages. And now Mark's moved on from self-financing it and he's gotten involved with Decibel Magazine. They've partnered with him to produce and sell the book. It retains the exact same high production values and format as the first two, but it just happens to be sold by Decibel this time.

Oh, there is one gripe, though. The fucking typo's. There are numerous typographic errors in the book. The most egregious being on the first page. How did he misspell "Exhumed"? I was extra surprised cuz you'd think that Decibel would have put an Editor on it... Guess not.

Anyway, that's a small blemish on an otherwise stellar book. Definitely recommended.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies Vol. 1

This is a follow up to the more comprehensive tome, Evolution of the Cult. Dayal didn't put everything in one gigantic book, so he's spreading it out with smaller additional publications like this. The Cult Never Dies reads like an extension of the first book. There are zero surprises there. I'm sure there will be a Vol 2 and I'll order that once it's out. Even though I don't listen to the majority of bands that are covered, I still find it interesting from a journalistic perspective.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Big Trouble in Little China


I haven't seen Big Trouble in Little China since I was a kid. It was definitely the 80's. But I saw it pop up on Netflix a while ago and I added it to the queue. Finally watched it again tonight.

It holds up really well! I think I like it more now than I even did at the time. Great soundtrack. Classic stuff. Whoever the DP was was good, too. Kim Cattrall is hot as hell in this! And Kurt Russell is everything you want out of an 80's hero.

The movie is part Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, part Goonies, and part Karate Kid. It rules. And one of the street gangs is called "Lords of Death," which is something that Temple of Void didn't pick up on when we named our new album LoD...


Singles


Twenty-five years later and I finally watch Singles. I was twelve when it came out and far more interested in Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks or the latest from Jean Claude Van Damme. I was digging the music featured in the film at the time so it's kinda weird it passed me by. Whatever. Point is that now I've finally seen it.

I've had the soundtrack for a while and it's a fucking awesome soundtrack. Some of the best jams ever from AiC, Pearl Jam (State of Love and Trust!), Soundgarden (their old good song), Chris Cornell (his only good song), Mother Love Bone, Smashing Pumpkins,.... it's awesome. The actual flick has some other great songs that aren't on the soundtrack, like Hendrix, the Cult and John Coltrane.

So the music is brilliant. How about the film? Well, it REALLY dates itself. I imagine anyone who wasn't around in the 90's would have a hard time believing that's how we dressed. But yup, that's how we dressed. So it's very nostalgic in a very 90's manor.

Does it hold up? Not really, but I found it entertaining. Would I recommend it? No. There are other movies that are arguably way better that you could be watching. But if you want a trip down memory lane, want to see the members of Pearl Jam doing cameos, and see some cool AiC "live" footage, then check it out. The Paul Westerberg tracks are crap, but the rest is all good.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Radical Candor


I joined my office's book club again, this time to read Radical Candor. The title piqued my interest so I gave it a whirl.

It was so-so. If you're a new boss or never managed people before then you might actually find a lot of good in this book. But if you've been in management for a while then this is pretty stale, to be honest. There's nothing new in the book. Nothing earth-shattering. And unfortunately nothing really "radical."

Should we all care deeply about our team and talk candidly? Absolutely. Do I need to read a couple hundred pages about it? Not at all. Would have been fine as an article or a TED Talk.

Oh well.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Born Standing Up


I can't remember who told me to read Steve Martin's bio. Someone freaking recommended it to me. Anyway, I grabbed Born Standing Up a little while ago and just read it. It's a very fast read. Only 200 pages and they fly by. You could read it in one sitting pretty easily if you don't have anything to do.

I didn't realize that it was a bio that focused exclusively on his standup career and didn't really delve into his movie side. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of his standup. It's his film career that I much prefer. But I loved his books, too, so I figured I'd check it out. He's a freakin great author. Shopgirl was good but An Object of Beauty was GREAT!

Anyhow, this is a fun, fast read. It documents Steve's humble beginnings, his slow ascension to stardom, and it reveals a lot about his process. His dedication and laser focus on honing his craft is second to none. Steve got where he got through sheer force of will. I think many people would have given up long before Steve started to see some payback for his efforts.

I can't do anything about the time in which I was born, but given the chance I think coming of age in the Summer of Love would have been a pretty groovy time to be alive, if ya know what I mean.

Recommended. But would like to read something that documents his time from when he started getting into films and then eventually into books.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories


What is there to say about Lovecraft that hasn't already been said? His stories are wildly influential and his reach is eternal. His lore will live forever.

And with good cause.

This is a fantastic collection of classic Lovecraft stories. I'd read some before but many were new to me. This is a great start for anyone interested in fear, dread, and suspense. His stories suck you in from the very start. They have to as they're all either short stories or novellas. There's no bullshit. The plot just builds and builds as the tension is heightened with every turn of the page. This is awesome stuff for nerds of any age. It'll definitely be something I turn young River on to when he's ready. Lovecraft paints such vivid pictures in your mind. Pictures of mind-bending physics and monolithic scale. Pictures of cosmic terror. It rules.

I love that they're all quick reads, too. Makes it easy to get through at your leisure. You can read something else simultaneously and easily flip between two books if you like.

Essential. Yeah.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Set the Boy Free


I loved this book. It blew Morrissey's autobiography out of the water. Where Moz's was lyrical and abstract, Marr's was down to Earth and straightforward. Where Moz's was confusing, Marr's was educational. Moz wrote like a pretentious poet and Marr wrote like a regular bloke.

I'm not shitting on Moz as a singer/song-writer/performer. He's a fucking god. But as an author? He sucks. I had his first fictional novel in my Amazon WishList, but after reading his bio I took it out.

Anyway, this is about Marr's bio. And it rules. There's an obvious three act story going on. Pre-Smiths, The Smiths, and post-Smiths. And he treats each area with careful consideration. There's no one area that stands out any more than the rest really. They're all equally engrossing.

It's quite an inspirational tale. And definitely recommended if you like the Smiths or play guitar.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans


A documentary about a pseudo-documentary. Hell yeah!

Le Mans is in my second favorite automotive movie of all time, right behind Grand Prix. It's a phenomenal flick. It is to motor racing what Easy Rider is to biker flicks...sort of.

Steve went to Le Mans under the steam of his own Solar Production Company and just started shooting. No script. Just shooting. No idea what to do other than capture the essence of the drivers (especially) and the cars at Le Mans. He'd figure out a script and a plot on the fly. Fuckin right on. But it didn't exactly all pan out as planned...

This is that story. This is behind-the-scenes report on Steve, the shoot, the politics, and the people involved in an incredible Steve McQueen movie.

I streamed it on Amazon. If you like Le Mans or Steve McQueen then you will dig this.

If you love cars then watch Le Mans. It's that simple.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Walking Dead: 27 The Whisperer War


I was hanging with some homies last weekend and Tony brought up the Walking Dead. I realized I was a couple TPB's behind so I bought them on Amazon on the spot. I read both in the last two days. Man, lots of heart-in-mouth moments. Very intense bunch of issues. Loved it.

Some very interesting character evolution in this book. Yup, there's tons of zombies being slain, but the best part of TWD is the character development. And this book really delivers.

So god damn good.

The Walking Dead: 26 Call To Arms



Holy shit! Things got intense as fuck. A bunch of crazy ass shit happened. And then more crazy stuff happened, then things really went bananas at the end. Got it?

I stopped watching the series years ago, but man, the comic is still freakin awesome.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Metallica: Back to the Front


I think I originally saw this book in Steve from Crypt Sermon's Instagram feed. I hadn't heard about it, but being a sucker for metal bio's I snapped it up.

Best $25 I've spent in ages!

This book is REALLY fucking well done. It's a big, heavy tome, that covers the time leading up to and immediately after Master of Puppets. Of course, it ends with the untimely and tragic death of Cliff Burton. But it really is a great testament to Cliff and his legacy. You definitely get the feeling that he was the focal point and the glue of Metallica during that era. We all know that Metallica is James and Lars's band, but Cliff was the soul. It's undeniable. The guy was cool as James Dean.

A nice surprise was the fact that James and Lars don't come across like complete tools. In reflecting on their past they somehow reverted to their naive, energetic, cool younger selves. This isn't the "Some Kind of Monster" bullshit. This is classic stuff.

The story is told through the words of all the people who were there, from roadies to fans to producers, to girlfriends, to the band themselves. The layout is great. It's a labor of love.

Get it now!!!!




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trip with the Teacher



Watched Trip with the Teacher at the last Motorcycle Movie Night. We knew it wasn't a true biker flick, but pickings are getting slim. We've seen almost every single biker movie ever made by now. Especially from the 60's. So we're branching out into flicks that are marketed as biker flicks even though they're not really....

Having said that...we had a blast. This was a fun movie. At some point someone had to say, "you do realize you're cheering for a rape scene, right?" So things were getting a little out of hand. Maybe it was all the pizza we consumed.

Anyway, this is about some hot young girls who are going on a camping trip. Their bus breaks down and a couple sketchy dudes on bikes offer to help them. Well, they weren't being very honest. They had other ideas for the young girls in booty shorts. It involved an abandoned shack, some alcohol and an old mattress.

Surprisingly I recommend this flick if you like shitty pseudo-exploitation films. It promises TnA but doesn't really deliver. :(

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hell's Bloody Devils


We watched Hell's Bloody Devils again. I was too hard on it in the first review.  It's actually pretty freakin bad ass. I think I was just so pissed because it's not really a biker flick, it just has some bikers in it. The thing that really impressed me this time around was the cinematography. It was shot by none other than László Kovács. He did everything from Easy Rider to Ghostbusters. The guy is really talented. So while the acting isn't good and the plot is ridiculous...it's a great film to look at. And the women are untouchable.

Definitely recommended.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way


Mike Mentzer is one of my favorite classic-era bodybuilders. Given I think they had the best physiques, I'm interested in their training methods. Not so interested in the 'roids, though. Funnily enough that's not covered in the book. Go figure.

Anyway, Mike has a very scientific approach to lifting and he was famous for the method he dubbed HEAVY DUTY. He got to a point where he was advocating lifting just once a week! One working set per body part! But the intensity was through the roof. Every workout was supposed to take you beyond your limits. Total pukers. A lot of people claimed bullshit on his method, but he had a lot of devotees including the mass-monster Dorian Yates. Now, these guys got huge by the normal methods; high volume and steroids. But once they were there some of the incorporated or totally switched to the HEAVY DUTY method.

Whether it works as a total method or not is besides the point to me. I was able to read it and take aspects of his theory and apply them how I saw fit. Last week was my first week lifting and applying his methods and I really dug it. It's great to mix things up. I'll be re-reading and referencing this book for a while to come. For sure.

He had such a great mustache, too.



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Batman: Noël


My boss loaned me this. He's a huge Batman fan and this book really blew him away. I just checked it out, and man is it gorgeous. The coloring is incredible! I'm super impressed with the penciling and the coloring. It's just so detailed and so full of life. It's a very cinematic book.

The story is based on A Christmas Carol, but with Batman and co. replacing Scrooge etc. It's a unique spin on both stories. A fine mash-up indeed.

Catwoman is insanely sexy in this book. It has to be said.

I really enjoyed this. I would have enjoyed it even if it was written in Latin. It's just killer to look at.

It's a tremendous work of art. Definitely recommended for Batman fans.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Savage Abduction


When you've seen as many motorcycle flicks as we have, you start trolling the depths at a certain point. And you dredge up things like Savage Abduction.

I knew going into it that the motorcycle pedigree was going to be dubious. It's really more of a crap slasher/exploitation film that has a hint of motorcycle madness to it. The main characters are in a motorcycle gang, but the film doesn't revolve around gang activity with glorious shots of bikers on their hogs in the Arizona desert. No.

What this film lacks in biker activity it makes up for in...well, it doesn't make up for it. But it does have a good actor in it, which is a rarity. There's a serial killer who blackmails a rich client into procuring two young girls for him to kill. Whoever played the serial killer is pretty legit. He was creepy. The bikers were not legit. Their prez wore what appeared to be a bedazzled jacket and pants. Looks like he time-travelled to the present day and bought them at Buckle. Not cool.

Also, there's nary a boob to be seen. Disappointing.

The poster is cool, but the film...meh.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Black Road: Issues 1 through 5


I went to my local comic book shop and asked them about any new Viking books that were out. The young lass pointed me towards a new series called BLACK ROAD. I subsequently picked up the first five issues. Why not. Brian Wood from Northlanders is part of the creative team. It's gotta be good.

IT IS!

Black Road is the emerging story of Magnus the Black. He's a Viking. He's big and bald. And he kicks ass. So far it's the age old story of pagans versus Christians. Blood is shed. The Christian oppressors wield their weapons in the name of conversion to their faith. 'Twas a rough time for all.

If you lament the demise of the incredible but short-lived Northlanders, then definitely get this! I just wish it was further along so I could buy a collection in a TPB. You rip through the first five issues faster than a longsword through enemy flesh!



Friday, January 13, 2017

Hard-Core: Life of My Own


How could I not buy this? You kidding me? Even if it was half as good as John Joseph's it'd be worth the read. My only concern was that he'd write the whole thing in ALL CAPS and punctuate every sentence with random "HAHAHA"s. If you've read some of his facebook rants you know what I mean.

Anyway, shit was off the hook. Immediate comparison to JJ's book...well, they're very different. JJ's is longer and thus has more detail, and his tone is far more cinematic and dare I say...high-brow. It feels like JJ had a really strong Editor on his book and it's really well done. Harley's is definitely more gritty. Definitely more street. He doesn't hold back. It's not as "high-brow." It feels really conversational and less like a story or a movie. This book reads as if you were just hanging with Harley and he was spinning some yarns and tellin' some old tyme tales from the LES. He's not afraid to talk some shit. Shocker. It's awesome.

It doesn't matter which one is better. They're both gripping and insightful.

If you like hardcore then this is a must-read. No doubt.

Cro-Mag. Skinhead. Buy This. Nooooooooooowwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!




Monday, January 9, 2017

Best of 2016



The last three years in a row have seen me watch about 50 movies per year and read about 25 books. The high was in 2012 when I watched 100 movies. I actually thought I'd slowed down since last year, but I'm right where I was. 51 movies and 23 books. I think the bigger swing was the percentage of documentaries. I watched 34 this year.

Here's my run down of my favorites. I'd say that The Hateful Eight was in a whole other league as far as fiction goes. Hands down the best movie all year. And Oasis: Supersonic was one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long, long time. So those two are huge stand-outs for me. And yes, I think the Complete Chronicles of Conan is better than the Lord of the Rings. Sorry, but I know which one I'd bring on a desert island with me, and there are no Hobbits in it.

It was a really good year for music, imo. The first seven albums I listed are fucking awesome!!!




Top 5 Movies:

The Hateful Eight
Cool Hand Luke
Le Mans
Oasis: Supersonic
Bury Me an Angel


Top 5 Motorcycle Movies:

The Wild Angels
Bury Me an Angel
Satan's Sadists
Northville Cemetery Massacre
Road


Top 5 Documentary Movies:

Oasis: Supersonic
Generation Iron
Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery
Top Spin
The Class of '92


Top 10 Books:

The Complete Chronicles of Conan
The Lord of the Rings
Papillon
Only Death is Real
Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult
The Girl on the Train
Icons of Men's Style
Swedish Death Metal
Out of Sight
Murder in the Front Row


Top 10 Albums that came out in 2016:

Vanhelgd "temple of phobos"
Krypts "remnants of expansion"
Wretch s/t
40 Watt Sun “wider than the sky”
Blood Incantation "starspawn"
Sumerlands s/t
Eternal Champion “The Armor of Ire”
Asphyx "incoming death"
Escarnium “interitus”
Alcest "kodama"

Tampopo



It's Marie's birthday today so we went to the DFT for a movie and Woodbridge Pub for a delicious dinner last night. Tampopo is a Japanese film from 1985 that's been long out-of-print. It's gotten a 4k restoration and theatrical rerelease on the art house circuit.

Tampopo is a weird Ramen Western. It's a Western film set in Japan in the 80's. It's about a ramen shop, love, loss, redemption. There's a girl, there are thugs, and there's a cowboy. And there's a lot of noodles.

I don't like Westerns and I don't watch a lot of comedies, and this film is both. I thought it was quirky and original, but I was really put off by a couple of the food scenes because they weren't very vegetarian friendly, to say the least. For that reason alone I couldn't really like or recommend the film.

It's definitely a film for cinephiles and film historians. It's gotta be one of the first "foodie" movies, so to speak.

That's about all I can say on it. It's a good, unique, important film. But the meat scenes really turned me off.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Werewolves on Wheels


Watched this for a second time at Motorcycle Movie Night. You can see original review here. I rated it more harshly than I remember. I actually really dig it now. I've a lot more experience with motorcycle exploitation flicks so I know what a REAL shitty film looks like. And Werewolves on Wheels is significantly better than a  lot of the other ones I've seen. I totally back it.

Bikes. Boobs. Satan. Snakes. Werewolves. It's pretty bad ass.