Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Infamous Letter to Gatorade

Hey kids,

Last time, I favored you with some spontaneous haiku stylings. Today, I'll delve a bit deeper..

I have a history of writing letters to companies for no real reason at all. There are people who work at these places who get paid to deal with people like me, and I like to fuck with them. This particular letter was written in response to a Gatorade commercial which used to be on the air. Take a minute and get reacquainted with the video please..

Should the video not work for any reason, go to youtube and search for "Tiger Woods Gatorade Moon Shot Commercial".

I'm not a fan of irresponsible advertising, and given the proper angle, anything can become irresponsible. I mean, it's America afterall.

Below is the letter I wrote to Gatorade. Keep in mind, it's entirely ficticious. I do not have a child, I've never been to Pebble Beach, and I'm not a big fan of Coors Light. Enjoy.

Dear Gatorade,

I’m your typical mid-western parent residing in the great state of Illinois, and I love your product. When I was younger, my late father and I would often go to a neighboring community and spend the day fishing; it‘s one of my fonder memories of him. As we drove, we often stopped at a local gas station which also sold live bait. While my father purchased the bait and a six pack of beer, I was allowed to wander around the store and find a beverage to take with us for our outing. One fateful day I recall opening one of the drink coolers and discovering a product of which I’d never heard. That day began my fascination with a wondrous sports drink by the name of Gatorade. Granted I was very young when I discovered Gatorade, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to find a product I’d never heard of, but this particular drink was different. It wasn’t boring like tap water, nor was it sweet like Kool-Aid. My father would bring home a bottle for me every week or so if he happened to stop on his way home from work. Believe it or not, to this day there’s still an old glass Gatorade bottle on my dresser at home; I use it to keep my spare change.

Being that I’m an avid golfer, there’s nothing I enjoy more than popping open a cold Coors Light on a Sunday afternoon, and then watching Tiger Woods work his magic up and down the golf course. Personally, I think that Tiger Woods is possibly the greatest golfer of all time, and my impressionable son has adopted a similar opinion. At a supple seven years old, my son is just reaching the age where he understands the fundamentals of golf, and I’m attempting to teach him some of the game’s delicate intricacies. Imagine my surprise when he recently took interest in a commercial depicting his personal role model playing his favorite game…on the moon. Of course, the commercial of which I speak is your newest ad in which Tiger Woods plays golf in space.

The concept of playing golf on the moon has absolutely captivated him, and you should have heard his excitement when the astronaut opens his visor and we see that it’s Tiger Woods. Your commercial has become my son’s favorite. He stops whatever he’s doing when the ad comes on, and often mimics the sound made when Tiger’s club connects with the golf ball near the end of the commercial. He’s gone as far as to ask if we can watch the rest of the match that Tiger played on the moon. To his disappointment, I told him it’s difficult to cover a round of golf played upon the moon‘s surface. We’ve watched the commercial on YouTube a few times, and I’ll play the ad’s background song on the family’s computer when he requests it.

As the encouraging parent of a bright, young child, I try to give my son any opportunities I can in order to support him. Recently he’s become saddened because I told him we couldn’t play golf on the moon like Tiger. Since then, he’s lost some interest in your commercial. He will still watch the ad, and sometimes he still makes the sound when the club hits the ball, but his enthusiasm has waned considerably.

Once a year, our family goes on vacation, and I try to choose locations that are appealing to my son. For example, last year we went to Pebble Beach and just walked around the golf course for a day. So I am thankful that your advertising team didn’t decide to have Tiger play golf in a volcano, because my son knows there’s volcanoes in Hawaii, and I simply can’t afford to take that vacation at this point in time. But I am saddened because I can’t make my son’s dreams of lunar golfing come true.

I was curious as to if there were any recommendations you could make off hand which would allow me to recreate the lunar golfing experience for my son? I’m just looking for ways to get his mind off his disappointment from the commercial and back into our mutual love for the game of golf. And who knows, maybe in my son’s lifetime he will be able to travel to the moon, and then in turn fulfill his dreams of golfing upon its surface. Until then though, I’m stuck with a depressed seven year old and his lunar fixation.

We both still love your product and I will continue to purchase it for myself and my son on a regular basis. However, you may wish to forward this letter to your marketing department in hopes that their desire to choose fantastic locations may be curved in the future. The stars are not brighter in at least one child’s small eyes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

One of your biggest fans,

Max Burtrum

And Gatorade actually responded a few days later...

RE: the Tiger Gatorade advertisement , REF.# 026551066A


We're always happy when long-time Gatorade fans like you take the time to contact us. Your reactions and viewpoints are very important to us and we've shared your story our marketing team for consideration as future advertisements are planned.

You seem like a wonderful father, Max, and we're certain you'll find ways to get your son's mind off his disappointment from the Tiger commercial and back into your mutual love for the game of golf.

We appreciate your interest and thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Gatorade Consumer Response

In the past, my letters have gotten me all kinds of free shit. This one did not, but it holds a special place in my heart for some reason. Hope you enjoyed your stay here. Check back soon!

~ Max.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Interview Series pt. duex

The time came and as the opening band started breaking shit down, I found someone or anyone that would help hoist me over their shoulders so I could crowd surf my way into oblivion. I never thought that person would end up by being one of my closest friends to this day. Every time I would get up onto the crowd and start my slow moving venture to the front of the small sea of people I was laying down on, get tossed over the rail like a rag doll, get up and run half crazed back into the massive sweat filled audience that was there it was the same guy I found that would help me get back up. Half smile on his face and hair resembling Wayne Static, he would hurl me up as hard as he could. I didn’t even know at the time that he went to the same high school that I did but once I saw him in the hallway, I knew that we would end up being pretty damn good friends. Fortunately for me, I was right. He is a fellow that I can easily say that I love in a brotherly way. I can’t even count how many concerts we’ve been to or how many times I have gotten drunk with the man……..Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mike Guymon…….

1. How is life treating you thus far Mr. Guymon?
Life is good.

2. I just realized that its been about 12 years now that we have known each other. Can you believe that shit??
Silly it is, 12 yrs is a long time, most people I come to know are salt and pepper here and there throughout my time. But you have survived the testing phase aka put up with my b.s.

3. So you and your brother look nothing alike, have you uncovered any information about the obvious adoption conspiracy?
Seriously right?? I have looked and looked. Of course my parents wouldn't say anything, but it would be a sigh of relief. I even went through all of the photo albums in my house and there seems to be a space of 3 -5 yrs from birth where there are not pics......But if you meet my parents\brother and meet me - its obvious. But I do think at times my interest in the adoption is from not following my parents path like they wanted me to - but that took a few years of deprogramming and such.

4. What are you listening to these days?
Soilwork has once again won my ears, but The Hush Sound has captivated my heart at the moment...even though I am falling into a time of not listening to music. I tend to burn myself out from addiction to certain sounds, once that need has been met I look for the next sound that feeds the soul. But that is only feed well by Black Dahlia Murder.

5. You have been planted firmly in the Canton area for quite some time now, why the hell don’t you move to Peoria so you can be closer?
Yeah , Canton is unique, but I feel more at home in Peoria, to many big trucks and people that think mud tires make them special....Maybe I am jealous. I feel the need to move back, in time. Maybe in 9 months. I do love the nature aspect of Canton but not the people who trash it or kill squirrels because they think it is funny and natural. Can I say neanderthalic....?

6. When did you first learn about Reiki? What drew you to it?
I came into Reiki in 2002, I met a lady who offered instruction into Reiki - over the scope of 5 yrs I completed the courses and so on. Which is why I offer it now as well. I was drawn to Reiki as a result of exploring Taoist Yoga , Esoteric research and Meditation. Most of the eastern concepts had 1 thing in common - Chi\universal energy . All of us have it running through us, it's what makes us tick. It also influences all Life, Health, Awareness and such. During the search and practice of these personal development\healing modalities I began meeting people who had practiced or taught similar techniques and we became very good friends and in turn, me learning a lot of neat stuff. One of those people ended up being a Reiki teacher and it just clicked and felt right and has ever since. I dig it.

7. For those that don’t know, give us some information on Reiki.
Reiki is a generic term that means universal healing energy. Its a simple method of relaxation and healing through light energetic touch. It came about in the early 1900 but has surfaced throughout history as far back as 5000 yrs ago. Our bodies as well as everything else consists of atoms that spin in a unique way, when those patterns become slowed down or irregular, obstructions begin to form in the body and can move into illness. Reiki restores that natural balance by offering a healing response.

8. You have gone back to school (something I wish I could do full time), what are you going back for?
Massage Therapy, I had a thing for it back in the day but didn't have the state of mind needed to fulfill that desire at that time in my life. Now I do and I love it, I enjoy biology\anatomy and all that fun information of how the body functions.

9. How much alcohol do you think me, you and Terry Hanson drank on the morning/day of my 21st?
Shit son, if I recall it right - we had a bottle of Captain, Cyclone( which is horrible) and some beer. All I know is it looked like egg drop soup regurgitated. But that's how you learn - regardless...good times!

10. When I first met you, you were not a smoker. When you would see either, myself, Mr. Hanson, or someone else we knew smoking you would punch us in the chest mid drag. Flash forward a few years and you are now a smoker yourself. Seriously, what the fuck man?
I knew no other way to test out my Kung Fu, so I used the excuse of not liking smokes to test it out......But honestly that was B.S. of me, my bad. You get something in your head so much, that when you loose it you look at yourself with a large WTF and a side of assness. Is that not what we commonly call Karma? Or maybe I was jealous and had no way to communicate it.....Yep still B.S.

11. We used to party up near Bradley a ton with one Mr. Frank Bono, gimme a good party story.
Hmmmmm...One day I was partaking of drinks with Frank, at this point i could easily kill a 30 pack and function. Frank had this little Korean girl over and through conversation and some drinking games she said she could out drink me( mind you this was 4 or 5 in the noon area). So I opted to explain to her that being short must mean you have a hard tom getting good oxygen to your brain since you wall around in farts all day. Needless to say it was on like donkey kong. Lots of drinks were had including a a few pitchers, bottle of Rumpelmints, a few shots of 151 and I remember some blue tarantula tequila. Well , the keg went dry and we went home. I recall going to bed and that is it at Franks Apt. I awoke a few hrs later in a suitcase (mind you im just shy of 6"6) with my belt wrapped around my hand and my spinner belt buckle like a brass knuckle...Next to a comfy bead with pillows and covers..........

12. I hear that you have passed out in a suitcase. I myself enjoy bathtubs or outside open fields. How did the suitcase treat you?
I kinda just answered this (above). Well it was small, not the nice travel ones that I could of fit in. I defended my comfort with a spinner rim brass knuckle swearing that if anyone took my belt I would kick there ass. Hence, suitcase boy.

13. You once dated a chick that looked identical to Avril Lavigne. Honestly she was quite possibly one of the dumbest chicks I have ever met in my life. I am talking actual intelligence here, other than that she was a nice person. How did you put up with this?
Apparently I do not know the term dating in its true context, if you hang out with someone off and on for 2 weeks, that is dating? (I know another guy that I've known for years, he actually "Dated" her for 6 months... 6 months!, (2 weeks-6 months-2 weeks wtf!) but I digress - I didn't put up with it, as you can see in the last 12 yrs. But that was silly - pretty lady with big ears and not so much smarts. But what can I say? Sometimes you just take a gamble on the dumb ones cause there rich.....JK....For Cereal.

14. I have grabbed your snot and tasted your boogers off of the top of a 40oz. Is there anything else that you did to me and I didn’t know about that you now want to confess?
What, you think I'm going to confess now? The only reason you and Terry even found out was because I ran out of supplies before you came in. But I cant really think of anything better than getting 2 of my buds to eat one of my boogers, and lick it. Even though it did come back. But I have never laughed so hard in my life if that makes you feel better.

15. You currently spin fire on occasion. How did you learn this art and how much shit did you burn before you got the hang of it?
A gentleman I know named Joe picked it up, asked me if I wanted to learn, he taught me the basics and I ran with it from there. I never really burned myself. Here and there I would loose a eyelash or arm hair but that's about it. Only when I would do more techy stuff did I get my first 2-3rd degree burn on my hand, while everyone watched terrified and didn't help, I learned to be mindful of who safetys me.

16. What is your all time favorite movie?
It is a gamble between, Matrix, Kill BIll and Goldmember, I do remember enjoying chicken go cluck cluck, cow go moo!

17. This is your time, anything you want to say?
Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. Almond Joy has nuts, Mounds don't!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick Rant: My Darkest Days

After a long day at work I hop in my car and turn on the radio hoping to hear something that will make me forget about my troubles. Unfortunately in my vehicle (a 98’ Ford Escort, the choice of champions everywhere!) I have to rely on the factory installed beat box as I do not have a CD player. Normally it only takes a minute or two and I am humming away and tapping my hands like an idiot on the steering wheel having already forgotten about my day. Until that is, I hear this absolutely atrocious song entitled “Porn Star Dancing” by the group My Darkest Days. I listened to it once all the way through and that was enough to last the rest of my life. Every time I hear it now I honestly get severely pissed. Why, do you ask? I imagine its because the band and also the song are so horrible that they had to recruit Zakk Wylde to guest on the track probably in some means to get some sort of attention. God knows they wouldn’t be able to do it themselves. I mean, I suppose that it’s radio friendly enough but I’ll be willing to bet the same people that like this song are also the same ones that only know the line “It’s your fucking nightmare” from the song “Nightmare” by Avenged Sevenfold so they can proudly scream it in their car or at a live show. Sadly it’s these same idiotic people that help to make songs such as the one I am bitching about popular. They like the song, not because of the quality but because it has the words “porn star” in it and the video shows partying with a bunch of ate up women that are trying to resemble strippers. “Oh yeah Nic, and what band are you in?” Well, I’ll tell you this, give me a kazoo, a triangle, and a whoopie cushion and I can guarantee you I can write a better song. I had to do some hardcore investigating (yep, went to good ol’ wikipedia and searched) to see what the hell gives in this case. I mean, what is this band’s schtick? This is one case where someone in the band is either blowing a big wig corporate guy or they are related to someone in the industry. And then I found my answer……..The band was founded by Matt Walst, who was born in Norwood, Ontario, and whose older brother Brad Walst is the bassist for Three Days Grace. Bingo! The entry goes on to state; When Chad Kroeger (of Nickleback fame, he would also give backing vocals for the band’s first single) heard My Darkest Days, he was so impressed he immediately signed them up. This explains so much……..

Now, let’s get down to the song itself. What the hell exactly is porn star dancing? I don’t know about you but when someone says porn star dancing, stripping,(which is what I assume is what the song is talking about) is not what crosses my mind. What does pop into my head is some sort of athletic contest that ends up by getting a Woody at the AVN awards. Think Dancing with the Stars meets, well, a porno. For some reason to me “Porn Star Dancing” is two porn stars fucking in some sort of choreographed, rhythmic way maybe to the tune of Ricky Martin’s “Living La Vida Loca”, or Styx’s “Renegade” or even Hanson’s “Mmmbop”. So, if you are one to refer to stripping as “Porn Star Dancing” it just makes it sound as if you are twelve and describing having had just walked in on your drunken mother giving her supervisor a lapdance in her hopes to move up the corporate ladder. “Oh man, my mom was just porn star dancing for Frank!” For shit sakes, quit trying to sound cool and just call it stripping because that’s what it is.

If you haven’t heard the song or even know what the hell I’m talking about, check out the video below. If, after watching said video, you think to yourself, “Damn, that’s a pretty good song.” Please do me a favor and don’t ever fucking talk to me again. You are dead to me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interview Series pt. Uno

I have to be honest here, this idea is obviously not original but for some reason I always enjoy reading about people I don't really know. So what exactly is this idea?, you ask. Well basically it is a small half-ass semi serious interview containing somewhere between fifteen to twenty questions with some of my friends or people I am acquaintances with. Some of the questions are random and some of them are legit. Too legit in fact. Some would say too legit to quit.

Any time I come across something like this I read it and I don't even really know why. I do, however, feel as if I know the interviewee a little better as if we would hang out for drinks sometime. This notion is crazy considering I don't even know the interviewee and I can only assume that person will never know that I have read the small article about them. All rambling aside, I present my first in who the hell really knows how many interviews..........

I first met Max some thirteen years ago now (holy shit, its been thirteen years!!) in Spanish class and shortly after I started dating his sister. My first thought when I met him was something along the lines of “Alright, this means I’m gonna have someone to buy me alcohol while I’m still underage or, this guy is going to hate my guts for dating his sister and want nothing to do with me.” Although he was a little older, I can’t really remember a time that we haven’t gotten along. It ended up we had a lot of similar interests and for that I am thankful. From first hand knowledge and just being around the guy, it seems that at times he himself underestimates his intelligence, creativity, as well as his all around awesome laid back and sometimes comical views on all things life. Ladies and gentleman, I give you a man I am proud to call my brother in law…..Mr. Max Burtrum……...

1. So how are things treating you these days?
Ya know, good. Football season’s just starting up. I’m changing jobs. Getting back into writing again. Overall, fair.

2. What exactly were your first impressions of me when I first started dating your sister?
If I’m not mistaken, we were friends for a little while before you two started dating. I think we were all in Spanish together your sophomore year in high school. We’ve always gotten along just fine.

3. Have your views of me changed since then?
Oh yeah, now I think you’re a douchebag. Haha.

4. You have worked in the restaurant business for quite some time now, name some of your favorite businesses to work for.
I’m pretty loyal to the places I work. As a result, I’ve only worked for a hand full of places. I had a paper route with the Journal Star for six years. Pizza Hut for three years. Famous Dave’s for six years. Buffalo Wild Wings for four years. And now I’m going back to Famous Dave’s within the month. I’ve gotta say, Famous Dave’s is my first love. It taught me how great the restaurant industry really can be, and gave me the opportunity to travel around the country.

5. What stands out in your mind as something completely annoying that someone can do when you are waiting on them?
Ignore me – When I’m at your table, the attention is on me. I’m not there long, I’m entertaining, and I’m there to fix one thing for you: hunger. You didn’t come to the restaurant to window shop, so shut the hell up for 45 seconds and acknowledge me as a person when I say, “Hey guys, what’s shakin?”
Shake / Slurp your empty soda cup – If this happens, I purposely ignore you for at least five more minutes cause you deserve it. Beer’s a whole different matter. It’s totally my fault if you hit bottom before I notice it.
Don’t pay attention when I’m talking to you – This is actually why I haven’t worn a nametag with my name on it for about six years. I tell every table what my real name is when I go up to the table for the first time. If you call me by whatever’s on my nametag, and not my real name, I laugh a lot at your expense. One time, I had a big-wig business man call me Gilligan every time I went to the table. Everyone else at the table laughed at him every time because they all caught my name the first time. Example names I’ve had over the years: Oliver, Coop, Luigi, Oscar, McLovin, Count Chocula, Zoidberg, Monkey, Miles Davis.

6. For awhile you were traveling around opening new stores for Famous Daves. Give me an awesome story or two.
Let’s see.. I believe this was in Billings, Montana. All the trainers were leaving the next morning, and I decided to put on the show to send ‘em off. Before we even left the hotel to go to a house party, I shotgunned three beers back to back to back, and filled out the comment card on the nightstand. It said, Comments? So I wrote, “I really dig porn”, and left it on my buddy’s nightstand. There’s only a handful of things I remember from this night, kinda like a mosaic. On the car ride to the house party, I was singing “Windows down, gas up, that’s the way I like to truck” and free-styling the other lyrics. I remember running across the front lawn like an airplane. I confessed my love to three different ladies, and got busted by two of them for “working the room” because this was all within about twenty minutes. A keg stand. Then the cops showed up. Some people dove out the bathroom window, so the cops had to search the house. I remember being herded into a closet with four ladies: a 35-year old, a 17, 18, and 19 year old. From there we played a rather interesting game of truth or dare while the cops searched the house. I picked a fight with an air conditioner box because the Lenox guy was lookin at me funny. Then as we were leaving, a sober girl (whom I totally considered to be out of my league) confessed her love for me, made out with me, but couldn’t come back to the hotel cause her friend was too drunk to drive home. And then my roommate threw up in the bathtub back at the hotel.

7. Describe living in Fargo, ND.
It was friggin awesome. I racked up a HUGE amount of debt because I was rather financially irresponsible while I lived there, but I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything. And I’d still, to this day, move back in a heartbeat. It was the most relaxed, laid back, non-congested city I’ve ever visited.

8. What did you like most about living in Fargo, ND?
Let’s put it this way, I was told by one of my roommates, within my first few days of living there that there’s only three things to do in Fargo: drink, do drugs, and have sex. And he was pretty accurate on that point. The two years I spent up there were like one big continual party.

9. What did you like least about living in Fargo, ND?
The friggin cold. One thing’s for sure, we don’t know anything about cold around here though.. One morning, I had to open the store and it was 35 below zero…BEFORE windchill. I asked someone once, “So when’s Summer around here?” He responded with, “It’s the two and a half months where all the snow melts.” I laughed. He however, did not.

10. Tell me about the times you used to draw on your parents’ cat Sheeba.
This started with a party I had years ago while house sitting when my family was out of town.. There was a Sharpie on the counter, and a white cat who was just askin to be fucked with.. So I gave her tiger stripes on one side. Later that night, someone decided to write “FUCK” on the other side. My parents thought it was hilarious on both counts (even though they really wanted to be upset about FUCK, they couldn’t). From then on, it became a tradition whenever I had a party.

11. I once got drunk and proceeded to eat crayons (in their entirety, paper wrapper and all) while at a get together in your parents basement. Gimme a good drunken story.
Oh, there’s so many things I could tell here.. But I’m gonna go with the time we were out, and I was several beers and shots into the night. We had just finished off a plate of nachos, and for no good reason, I scooped up a big handful of the nacho cheese and smeared it on my face like warpaint. Nacho cheese warpaint has become pretty infamous since then.

12. Who is your all time favorite comedian?
That’s like telling a parent they have to pick their favorite child. I gotta go with Tommy Johnagin, Jim Gaffigan, and Daniel Tosh.

13. Can you please tell me why you like Tosh.0 again?
Daniel Tosh cracks me up. He starts out with a really vague comment and then goes, and goes, and goes, with a joke until only a small handful have any idea what he’s talking about. The video breakdown and the first half of the show are usually pretty hilarious. The web redemption, I could usually do without, but they have their moments.

14. Give me your top three favorite albums.
Muse – Absolution, Tally Hall – Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, Snow Patrol – Final Straw. All great, all changed my musical views in different ways.

15. You once used your sister’s Saturn to drive from work to home. Upon driving home you noticed that the temperature gage was way past buried so you pulled over and walked home thinking that the car may overheat. It turns out that the gage was just broken, how did that work out for you?
I walked more than two miles, in freezing rain because I believe this was back in mid-November. The rest of the night, I was wrapped in a blanket, and I believe I got a pretty nasty cold out of the deal. Part of me laughed about it, but the other part was pretty pissed and embarrassed. Seriously, how do you not mention that when you let someone else drive your car?!

16. What is the best thing that you have ever gotten for free?
I feel like this is a pointed question, because off the top of my head, all I can think of is the Xbox 360 you gave me last year. Which is friggin great!
.....when i originally asked this question i wasn't even thinking about this although that was pretty fucking cool of me.

17. This is your time…….any closing thoughts or anything you wanna say?
I poop too much?

Monday, September 13, 2010

My love/hate relationship with the Peoria music scene..

Take a long hard look at these next two items……


The Madison Theatre(dead)
Tiamat Records(dead)
East Peoria Legion Hall(dead)
The Vineyard(dead)
Peoria Pizza Works
The Meeting House(dead)
Johnny’s Coffee House
Champs West(dead)
The Brass Rail

How long did it take for those two things to sink into your mind? They shouldn’t really have taken long as I expect you to forget them about five seconds after you have looked at them. Anywhozzle, the first item is what I suspect to be a future image of myself (even though I’m guessing that pic is straight out of the 70’s) minus the vest and hopefully I grow to be a better looking old man than that schmuck. However, I doubt it. Instead of the vest, I’m sure I’ll be wearing a long forgotten band t-shirt and embarrassing the holy hell out of my kids because I’m accompanying them to the concert that they wanted to attend. I have no doubt in my mind that when I get older I will be the creepy old guy that you avoid at any given concert and I’ve accepted this as my future self.

The second item is a list of some of the venues that have either come and gone or are amazingly still around to provide quality entertainment to the Peoria area masses. Before anyone goes bitching about not seeing a spot on this list that should be there, let me say that these are really just the places that are or were important to me. I know that I could have listed more but for the sake of argument, it’s my fucking list. The importance of this list is to note that there are only three places that are still venues in operation. Even if I would have taken the time to research my history and list every single venue that exists or ever existed I assure you that the open to closed ratio would have been similar.

This brings me to the entire basis of this post. Why, for the sake of Rod Blagojevich’s impenetrable hair, can the Peoria area not support or have more of a music scene??? I’m going to stop you dead in your thoughts here…..Going to SOP’s to see one of eight billion cover bands simply does not count (I’ll get to why later on). Did you know that Peoria is ranked number five in population ( out of all of the cities in Illinois?? Not to mention that we are centrally located between Chicago (population 2,896,016) and St. Louis (population 2,879,934). Even besides the population numbers here, both the Peoria and Bloomington/Normal areas support major colleges on their grounds. Surely not every college student has given up their love for live music because they can just YouTube their favorite band….?

Don’t get me wrong here, in no way am I disrespecting the smaller venues or even house shows for that matter. If it wasn’t for the smaller venues or house shows then I wouldn’t know about some of the bands I still love today. It just seems like every single time a good venue gets established (The Madison Theatre and the East Peoria Legion Hall are two that definitely come to mind) they shut down within a handful of years or even months. I understand that there are scene clashes here, from the underground hipsters to the nu-metal lovers but is it too much to ask to have a place where both larger and smaller acts can play and that place thrives and becomes a staple of the Peoria area? Yes, I also understand that places such as SOP’s have been open for years and are thriving fairly well. This is because those places just feed every patron in the place the same cover band night after night. Preferably, I enjoy hearing original music. Seriously here have you not noticed the ridiculous amounts of cover bands that are either a part of the area or are just rolling through? It’s sickening! For Christ sakes, write some of your own material! I don’t give a shit to hear your rendition of “Free Bird”, “Harder To Breathe”, or any given 80’s era song. Save the covers for your friends and family. Or how about a majority of the bands that do come through? Yes I sure would love to see the same radio friendly, cookie cutter crap time and time again…..Saving Abel, Hinder, and Shinedown are a few that come to mind. So, much love goes out to the following active/inactive acts of the area who have made or have tried to make the Peoria scene a better one by doing their own thing even if they weren’t from Peoria: Sinckwhole, The Serpent Son, The So Long Showdown, Target the Messenger, Sprung, Tina Sparkle, High Tide in Tucson, Scout’s Honor, The Amazing Kill-O-Watts, Ham, The Forecast, Devil’s Pie, Black Teeth, Single File Suicide, The Latex Nuns, Two Girls, The Aposematics, 13 Days, Calico System, Cloud Burial, ForkKnifeSpoon, Minsk, Taxi War Dance, Geisert 8 Band, Greyson, Angel Tread, Metal Warriors, Burning Love Letters, Jared Grabb, and Lucigen. I know I am for sure missing some that I wanted to mention. If I missed you, I’m sorry…….

If you have some knowledge or insight about our local scene that I am unaware of by all means share it with me. I am fully prepared to support any and all ideas that come my way within my means. Maybe I am just too much of a family man now to have noticed the things that are actually taking place in our area or maybe I’m just trying to relive my youth……….

Friday, September 10, 2010

A short and simple look at my personal musical history.

How do I start this?? Hmmm, well I’ve been a fan of music since before I can remember. My parents used to sit me in front of MTV (yes I’m talking about the golden years when they actually played music videos) and I would watch videos for minutes sometimes hours at a time. My mother once told me that “Centerfold” by J Geils Band was one of my favorite videos and it would hold my attention all the way through. I still do hold a soft spot for MTV and the early years of my life. I can also tell you this, if it wasn’t for me being a huge connoisseur of music and loving it for the expressionism and art form that it is, I might have turned out to be a serial killer.

When I was finally old enough to be able to half ass handle vinyl in a proper way (about the time I was maybe seven or eight years of age), I received my first record player. It was small but with the use of a small plastic apparatus it would play 12” as well as 7”(or 45s, they were called 45s because that was the RPMs at which these smaller records would play). I didn’t have a huge vinyl collection by any means. Seriously I was only about eight and had no way of buying anything so I would just take what I could find. I also didn’t really have a taste in music, some would say that I still don’t. My collection consisted of the Top Gun soundtrack, Wham!’s “Make It Big”, Kenny Loggins' "Keep the Fire”, Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue”, a 45 of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Princes’ “Parents Just Don’t Understand” on the A side and “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” on the B side, and finally a paper record that was found in magazines which contained a song made to help you remember all of the McDonald’s menu. As I recall, there was some sort of contest for singing it at your local Micky-D’s. Besides the record was made of paper, was square in shape and I thought it was cool. It was also around this time that my mother took me to my very first concert. Who was it you ask??? Being that I have no shame, I’ll tell you that it was New Kids on the Block. Gonna give me shit are ya?? Well I don’t care who you are, if you tell me that you didn’t like them back in their heyday you are a damned liar. It was statistically proven that everyone in the free world liked these bastards at this time in the same way that statistically nine out of every ten people bought Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”.

Flash forward about seven more years, I’m not quite sixteen years old and I’m attending a concert in a larger scale at the Madison Theatre. Prior to this I had attended a few house shows where I could and enjoyed shows at such smaller venues such as Tiamat Records (located off of Main St. in Peoria and still remains a vacant lot I believe). The band was Bloodhound Gang and it was truly a life changing moment for me. I say this not because Bloodhound Gang are some crazy talented musicians who were the best thing to happen to music since sound, I say this because the entire atmosphere of the venue was so incredible. The worn and tattered shape of the building, the thick smell of cigarettes and spilt beer, and the wild electricity of the audience simply captivated me. As soon as the music started playing the crowd moved like the Louisiana rioters after hurricane Katrina hit. I’m talking people everywhere, it was hard to tell whose arms and legs belonged to who and you stood to question how you would get out of the middle of this large mass of sweaty flesh. I knew right then and there that I was in love.

I saw some things that night that I hope some day I can pass along to my grandkids in one of those “Grandpa is a pretty cool old guy” moments that I’m sure will never come.

1. I vividly remember my attention to be drawn to my left. As I looked over, I saw a guy finish a fifth of something. Once the liquid within the bottle was consumed he promptly put the cap back on it and immediately chucked it into the crowd in front of us. I watched as it whirled its way through the air and shatter against some poor bastard’s dome. The nutty part was that this situation stopped nothing. The glass as well as the victim were sent to the floor and meanwhile everyone kept throwing themselves about.
2. As much respect as I have for the female forms who crowd surf, I never understood why they do it…….A younger female probably about the same age as myself decided that she was going to be put up and let the audience take her where they would. She got not more then five feet away from her starting position and hands went up and round her almost instantly. I watched, half shocked as the hands proceeded to grope and rip the top right off of her. Luckily the tank top she was wearing underneath her shirt managed to stay on but not before it was stretched so far down that the poor girls boobies were out.
3. The act of crowd surfing. What an extremely amusing thing this is. So much fun I don’t even think I can really put it into words. The fun stops however once you near the front of the audience and you feel everyone under you dip and then…whoooosh…in a strange blur you realize that you are indeed flying over the guard rail. Up until that point, its nothing but being tossed around and kicking others in the face and head. It would be during this act that I would meet one of my closest friends. Good times indeed!

That was it. I was love struck. Other than being at other concerts later, I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun in my life. I would end up by going to concerts at the Madison Theatre more times than I can count for the next six or so years after that. I would also come to own 800+ CDs and counting as well as having about 25-30Gb of saved music.

Stay tuned for my next post: My love/hate relationship with the Peoria music scene.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who doesn't like haiku?!

Well, i guess I'll kick this off. My brother-in-law contacted me a couple days ago and said we should compile some of the rediculous things we talk about and / or are interested in because a majority of it ends up being quite entertaining. And while it seems slow to get started, maybe the other guys are just waiting for somebody to get it goin.

So, i thought i'd treat you to some of my fantastic haiku stylings. Enjoy!


My bathroom smells foul.
A phantom scent hangs within.
Oh, my cat pissed here.


Utah is a state.
Mormons follow mystic plates.
Don't fuck with mormons.


There's a creepy clown.
He makes balloon animals,
To meet small children.


I'm in love with her.
With eyes which burn like diamonds.
But she is a goat.


Grandma called today.
She rambled about some shit.
I think she fell down.


That's all I got for now. I hope you dig 'em. Next time I'll hit you up with a story or somethin, but this is just to get things started. I'll talk at cha later.