Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mike Love: You Rat Bastard...

When I heard, earlier this week, that Mike Love had effectively "fired" Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks from the 50th Anniversary Beach Boys, and their tour, I tried to keep an open mind.

Maybe, thought I, the three in question were trying to reshape the band as a grindcore group, intent on some sort of bloodcircus/gore show that might alienate at least some of their core audeince.

I'm told this is not the case.

Maybe, thought I, about a thousand other scenarios that might make at least a little sense of this metaphoric machine gun in a geek's nightmare of a record store tragedy.

Believe me, people, I have run every realistic, and unrealistic, scenario I could possibly envision.

Trust me when I say that NONE of those test situations made ANY sense.

At fucking all.

(Yes, my use of all caps in certain moments is entirely-- ENTIRELY-- with merit. This is that kind of time...)

It should be noted that I think Mike Love one of the greatest voices in the history of music. I say this without a bit of qualification. To call his voice, and the words he wrote for the Beach Boys, merely "iconic" is to do Mr. Love a grave disservice.

Dismiss the contributions of Mr. Love to the Beach Boys in particular, and music in general if you must; but, do so at your own peril.

You will be wrong.

The Beach Boys would not have been what we know them to be without the voice, savvy and some key words from Mike Love. His contributions to not only the Beach Boys, but music in general, should be held well aloft-- and viewed as nothing less than monumental and legendary, as they are nothing less than that.

And possibly more.

However, in his firing of Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks (the American Pete Best...), Mike Love fucking well overstepped the bounds of everything that makes music sacred to us fucktards who have given our lives over to the sounds we first heard off Mom and Dad's vinyl way the hell back when....

Yes, it is understood that Mike Love somehow owns the Beach Boys' name/branding/etc.-- and that's all fine and well. Those of us long time fans GET IT that he's still (rightfully) pissed that Murry Wilson (father of Brian; and Carl and Dennis-- both of whom died way too young) sold their Sea Of Tunes catalogue to Irving/Almo Music in 1969 for the paltry sum of $700,000.

We get it, Mike Love! You were ripped off by Brian/Carl/Dennis' dad (your uncle)! We get what it is like to carry a grudge, and all that!

You got something of the short stick, Mike; and we've always known how much you've hated the idea that Brian was lauded as the damaged genius, while you were always deemed the commercial prick mercenary.

Guess what, Mike? Same thing has been said of Paul McCartney, in the shadow of John Lennon. While, again, not denying your contributions to the Beach Boys, Mike; Paul McCartney pretty much played every instrument he could lay his hands on, wrote/co-wrote a good half of the greatest back catalogue music will ever see, and...

He's never been nearly the vindictive cunt you're being right now!

While Paul McCartney will never be able to get out from under the hagiographic portrayal of John Lennon as some sort of guitar-wielding Christ figure; he's cool with it. Why?

Because he knows who he is, where he was, and what he did. He was there, and lets the records speak for themselves.

On the other hand, Mike, you've seemed to let your rage go slowly bitter and curdle up good over the last 45 or so years. No one has ever doubted your vocal prowess on the early hits; or the crucial passes on "Good Vibrations"-- but this was never enough for you, was it?

As Brian's mind and body went all fat and well to shit during the crucial "Pet Sounds"/"Smile" era, you seemed to focus only on your star in what you saw as it's descending period. Right?

From every tome us Beach boys fans have read, there have always been a number of us who have long tried to rally in your favor. We've tried to, somehow, put ourselves in your shoes/sandals in seeing what it must be like to have tangible talent in the studio rated against intangibles when it comes to seeing a fragile, fat man-- made seemingly of spun sugar, somehow lionized as that thing you could never be.

A genius.

And now, in the twilight of your careers/lives, somehow the Beach Boys get back together. Yes, Carl and Dennis are sorely missed; but, still, it's Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce Johnston and David Marks-- which, in it's own way makes the world seem right, if only for a moment.

So, why blow it up, Mike? Why play the "I own the name!" card when the fans are finally getting a real good look at the genius they've only heard through their headphones these past several decades?

Why kill the last chance any of us remaining true believers have to experience the sound and feeling that's been inside us since our earliest memories? Just what the fuck satisfaction do you get from that, Mike Love? What purpose is served, other than your insufferable ego, your sense of spite, and the dictator-like boner you get from burning down our memories?

Fuck you Mike Love. I know this was your big middle finger to Brian; but, in reality, you flipped us all off, all in the name of your pompous and petty arrogance.

Just goes to show that 45 years of Transcendental Meditation cannot erase a lifetime of being an insufferable narcissistic asshole...

chris checkman

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Zebras Matter

Did you see that? DID YOU FUCKING SEE THAT?!

Tonight's Monday Night Football contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks came down to one last play: A Hail Mary from about the Green Bay 27 yard line. With little time on the clock, Seattle's quarterback, Russell Wilson (a surefire star, as long as his coaches don't change him, at all...) dropped back, then stepped back even further. Although I had the Packers in my season-long pool, I found myself shouting at the television words along the line of  "no! Just throw it, you stupid cunt!".

So, Russell Wilson threw it. A floating, arcing spiral, it eventually found it's way to a clusterfuck of defensive and offensive players in the end zone.

All converged on the precious ball, for even at this very early point in the respective campaigns, the fortunes of an entire season rode upon the outcome of this one, sigular, play.

Green Bay defensive back M.B. Jennings leapt over the pile, grabbing the ball with two hands and pulled it to his chest, as Seattle receiver Golden Tate wrapped one arm precariously around the ball-- after having obviously pushed a Green Bay defender out of the way, in what anyone with eyes would've said was an offensive pass interference penalty.

One official ran in, signalling an interception for Green Bay; just as another ran in, giving a very unconvincing signal for a Seattle touchdown.

Cue the chaos.

Monday Night Football annoucers Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden took a look at the replay, went berserk, and just lit up the replacement officials that have been administrating the games since the beginning of preseason, owing to a league dispute over finances/other contract terms with the real referees.

Anyone with eyes could plainly see that the Packers got royally fucked on the Hail Mary call; but, because, by rule, who actually possessed the ball was not a reviewable call, the Seahawks wound up getting the win.

The Seattle Seahawks are going to be a fun, gritty team to watch in the next couple years. Even later this year, this mix of players (featuring the QB, Wilson) is going to coalesce and become an ever-increasing force in the league.


Say it ain't so, Roger!

One of my favorite sports reporters is Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald. For the past year, he (and his father, Gonzalo) has also hosted an ESPN2 show called "Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable"-- a show some internet people seem to hate with an almost unreasonable amount of vitriol.

Personally, while I do not always agree with LeBatard, I like the show; as it is a mix of serious sports discussion, without taking ANY of it too seriously.


Last week, LeBatard said something that really took me by surprise, pissed me off to no end. In a discussion about the "real" refs who are holding out for a better deal, LeBatard kinda casually dismissed them as guys who "work 20 days a year", yet want increased salary/benefits.

(I'm paraphrasing, here)

I see the basic idea of the "20 days a year" argument; I do.

However, moreso than baseball or basketball, an NFL ref is someone who is not only a steward of the rules; but also an administrator whose application of said rules and regulations can also help safeguard players against possible catastrophic injuries...

Same, as I see it, as an NHL ref.

In baseball, balls and strikes are balls and strikes. In basketball, double dribbling or traveling are fairly self evident. This is not to minimize baseball umpires or basketball referees: I say this merely to point out that those sports depend on their on-field/on court administrators to look for rulebook violations and enforce the basic rules of the game.

In football, if the referees cannot control the game, shit can get out of hand to the point where the safety and well being of the participants can fall under great risk.

In these first 3 weeks of the NFL season (and the preseason before), we have seen a great pile of evidence that suggests that these replacement officials are, at best, greatly overwhelmed by the task they've been given.

At worst, it appears, more and more each week, that they are easily cowed and intimidated by the bright lights under which they're asked to perform-- and coaches and players are taking full advantage of the substitute teachers who are now all but hiding under their desks!

The result has been a through-the-looking-glass freakshow at the beginning of the 2012 NFL season-- and the litany of bizarre calls/non-calls/bad spots/inept interpretation of rules/etc/etc is so long and fucked up and weird that I believe this season should have some sort of small asterisk affixed to it so something like this can never happen again.

So, as much as I normally agree with LeBatard (which is about 75% of the time), I COMPLETELY disgree with him on this issue!

The ineptitude of the replacement refs would be one thing, in terms of the administration of what some might see as petty rules and whatnot-- and EVEN THAT FUCKING SUCKS BALLS!

But, given the increasing amount of concussions meted out during games that are now played by ever faster, stronger and heavier guys willing to go lights out on anyone they perceive standing between them and a sweet paycheck; LeBatard's dismissal of the officials as guys who "work 20 days a year" but want full time money/benefits is losing ground by the second.

Sure, tonight Green Bay was fucking jobbed by refs who were overwhelmed by the stage and bright lights. Yeah, it's mathematically possible Ed Hochuli and his guys might've missed the Hail Mary call tonight in Seattle; but, I doubt it...

chris checkman