Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

mixed martial arts enthusiasm

what it is: mixed martial arts enthusiasm
where i found it: an old friend

Here we have two guys who really, really like mixed martial arts, both of whom have excellent performance art type punk music on their resumes (the Nipple Five - good luck finding any of those records - and Oxbow, respectively). In addition to these credentials they are also now the hosts of Bloody Elbow and Knuckle Down, again, respectively. I don't know what the hell these guys are talking about 99% of the time, but I watched this in full and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it.

Oxbow should be easy enough to find and inevitably enjoy. 
Here's the Nipple Five's big hit: SHE WAS ON EX, I WAS ON SALE

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

death of a weird, good drummer


Dead is Ed "Mr. Skin" Cassidy, the excellent drummer of everyone's favorite stepfather-stepson virtuoso psych band, Spirit. Previous to collaborating with his stepson Randy California, Cassidy played with a lot of jazz heavyweights like Cannonball Adderly, Thelonious Monk and Roland Kirk. What a guy. Here's a link to the super 1970 album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus if you're in the mood for this kind of thing. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

what to eat if you're sick

what it is: what to eat if you're sick
where i found it: the net

It being cold season I am surrounded by sniffling coughing people and I'm trying to decide what to feed them. I will be using them as guinea pigs to see what works so I can use it on myself when I'm the one ailing. My research has lead me to the below site, where a surprisingly large number of people have posted their favorite sick foods. You may want to bookmark this.

Friday, December 14, 2012

obscure metal primer

what it is: obscure metal primer
where i found it: in the family/wfmu

If you feel that you need a primer in obscure early metal (with a bit of the lore that goes with it) here is one extremely good option. The drummer from Gnaw spins his favorites for three hours straight. Everything from Tormentor to Tankard. Hit the pop up player and get proto-crushed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

goodnight ravi


If all of these great musicians keep dying we're in danger of this just becoming an obituary blog. Now we have Ravi Shankar, everyone's favorite hippie co-opted sitar player. In case you have any illusions that Shankar himself enjoyed the hippie lifestyle, here is a quote for you: “People would come to my concerts stoned, and they would sit in the audience drinking Coke and making out with their girlfriends. I found it very humiliating, and there were many times I picked up my sitar and walked away." Because of all of this Beatles based attention and sometimes corny instructional monologues on his albums there is some danger that his virtuosity and dedication may be overlooked. I was also not aware until reading his obit that he was trained in the West before making a sudden decision to return to India and "the old ways . . . where there were mosquitos, bedbugs, lizards and snakes", throwing out his Western clothes and going at the sitar hard core.   

Here's a super documentary that has some interesting anecdotes about his guru (tying his hair to a tree so it would wake him when he dozed while practicing) and has some amazing footage of Shankar and his tabla player having a vocal-ese dialogue in a park while also playing polo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

farewell charles rosen

Dead is Charles Rosen, a giant of classical music. To tell you truth I had no idea he was still alive, but his vinyl box set of Bach's late keyboard works is one of my favorite piano recordings of all time. I don't know if you can find it on CD, but here are a few excerpts on youtube (including a nice picture of him with Elliot Carter). He also wrote a tome on Beethoven. Hayden and Mozart, which I've never gotten around to but which is supposed to be a big time classic and some claim that he single handedly changed Beethoven interpretation in the 20th Century. At any rate, rest in peace.

Monday, December 10, 2012

korean sauna

what it is: korean sauna
where i found it: new jersey

This weekend I needed some relaxation so I headed out to this 24/7 Korean Sauna in New Jersey I'd been hearing about. Located on a strange industrial street and looking like a concrete sports complex, this ended up being a highly odd experience that I would definitely recommend. Some sights included a room full of wandering nude men with mixed martial arts on the TV, some Korean guy beating the crap out of my feet for thirty minutes, a huge and gaudy 120 degree Fahrenheit Egyptian pyramid you could lay inside of, people wandering aimlessly in cult-like pink outfits, a buddha in a water garden, a giant brick sauna decorated with deer antlers, rooms full of people sleeping in arm chairs, walls covered with bizarre symbols constructed out of pebbles, etc. Here's their website where you can watch the semi-creepy video tour. If there is a giant Korean sauna near you please go.

Friday, December 7, 2012

one of the good guys

what it is: one of the good guys
where i found it: nyc

Pretty much every free jazz musician and improviser to wash up on the shores of New York City since the 1970s has had to contend with the philosophical and musical force that is Daniel Carter. Truly one of the good guys and one of the few people I know who has been able to stick to his ideals with little compromise, Daniel has maintained an honorable policy of collectivism and anarchy (not the kind that usually includes wearing masks and smashing stuff) and applied it to his music for decades. Though he's played with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers and most every heavy, he puts just as much energy into playing with random bands of kids and can be found lugging his many horns throughout the five boros on his way to some d.i.y. basement show most days of the week. I haven't seen Daniel in a couple of years, but I work with a lot of younger jazz, improv and noise musicians and mentioning Daniel's name pretty much guarantees an enthusiastic smile and some story or another. He's also a champion talker with an elastic sense of time and if you're willing to get into the conversation you might still be standing there on a cold street at dawn discussing everything from Alice Bailey to Akashic Chronicles to modern dentistry. Here's an interview with him from the late 90s. Here he is in flight with Paul Flahrety and up front with Shipp/Parker/Cleaver. Check out his records and gigs if you can. They don't make many like this guy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

pizza delivery as music education/DB RIP

what it is: pizza delivery as music education/DB RIP
where i found it: delivering pizzas/the times

One of the most important phases of my music education was the period of time in which I was a pizza delivery guy. I had hours and hours to drive around and listen to cassettes and local radio. A few selections I had on frequent loop included:

1) The Stooges' Funhouse. On loop for days at a time, even through the "free jazz" parts.

2) A mix tape of those early 70s Neil Young albums like On The Beach and Time Fades Away that were poorly transferred from scratchy vinyl copies (the only format on which they were available up until about three years ago).

3) A Can tape of mysterious origin which simply had the word CAN scrawled in marker on the front of it. Fifteen years away from internet omniscience, I had no idea who Can was and it took a great deal of asking around to get any leads, but boy I liked that tape.

4) The motivator for this post, Dave Brubeck's Time Out. I listened to this tape so many times that I knew the play by play of pretty much every note of every solo. One of the most embedded albums in my brain landscape. You should embed it in yours too. Here's the ridiculously twisty opener. If you're into seventies garbage you may also want to check out what that decade did to Brubeck when his sons came of age. At any rate, DB just died at age 91. RIP.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

great non-becos interviews

what it is: great non-becos interviews
where i found it: mr. dubin of new jersey

Mr. Dubin of New Jersey recently turned me on to this guy Nardwuar the Human Serviette (which is supposedly his legal name) because of his extremely extensive knowledge of rap esoterica, even more notable because he is a dorky semi-obnoxious-voiced eccentric Canadian white guy. His specialty seems to be knocking the socks off of big time rap stars with his research skills. This one with Waka Flocka Flame and his brother is an excellent example as is this video interview with Riff Raff (though it's not quite safe for work).

He's also a punk fan. Browsing his show I listened to this interview with Ian Mackaye, which is a great one even if you don't care in the least about the history of punk. There's a lot of interesting aspects to it - a long talk about go go music, banter between two guys with extensive knowledge of Jimi Hendrix bootlegs, a heated/escalated argument regarding Nardwaur getting his feelings hurt by Ian at a hockey rink 20 years ago, Nardwuar trying to give MacKaye gifts he doesn't really want, etc. There seems to be a lot of strange things about this guy and a bunch of clips of him floating around (for example him giving soap made out of bacon to one of the guys in Odd Future), so if you can tolerate his voice he's worth spending a little time with. Ice Cube thinks so. Here's the radio archive.

Monday, December 3, 2012

interview #7 - my sister

The Mr. Becos interview series continues with my sister

Mr. Becos: You used to infiltrate gay youth conferences for a living.

Sister: Hmm. Maybe I don't want to be interviewed. :) I'd really rather not talk about that. Next question?

Mr. Becos: Previous to that you worked as a telephone customer service representative. What was that like?

Sister: I have had a variety of jobs that have each provided me with learning experiences. From waiting tables to working retail, dealing with people is eye opening. Office equipment customer service is no different. You never know what wild personalities you're going to come across. More often than not people are extremely disrespectful when they feel they are better than you. It's disappointing. I can't say I wish to return to my days of answering phones to field toner explosion questions, but I did learn that there are better things in life!

Mr. Becos: Now that we're talking about your work history I remember you labored in a wings place where a lot of construction workers ate lunch. To your memory, did any of them ever say anything worth repeating?

Sister: As a bartender, I generally tried not to listen to the customers' conversation - especially considering they're drinking so much at lunchtime on a work day. Some things are better left to the imagination!

Mr. Becos: Have you ever had too much to drink on your lunch break?

Sister: No, I usually keep it to one margarita or glass of wine. If I had more than that I'd be napping under my desk all afternoon!

Mr. Becos: Do you ever mix pharmaceuticals with these margaritas you drink at lunch?

Sister: Not that I can recall.

Mr. Becos: That would seem to be a yes.
In a previous answer you said: people are extremely disrespectful when they feel they are better than you. Do can you remember any particularly egregious examples of this?

Sister: It's actually a no. :)
Being cussed out over office supplies not arriving as expected is an example. Really?! Worth getting so upset about? Again, so many more important things in life.

Mr. Becos: I think it's a yes :)
I get really upset about office supplies sometimes, which I am ashamed of.
Two part question: Is there a god? If you don't want to talk about that infiltration job, will you tell me what the gay agenda is?

Sister: It's a no. :)
There is a God. I saw perfect proof of it this week when our friend was rescued safely after six days stranded in the woods.
I do not have a well versed knowledge of the gay agenda so I don't feel I can adequately answer your question.

Mr. Becos: I read about that in the news. The headline was something like "lost veterinarians rescued in Montana". What happened? 
Sister: Thankfully it had the best outcome possible. Two friends went on a hiking/camping trip in Glacier National Park in Montana and got lost along the way. Planning to spend only one night in that part of the park, they ended up getting stranded and spending six nights. Thankfully, they are very experienced and were very well prepared. Rescuers finally found them Monday afternoon and they are now home with their families.

Mr. Becos: That's good news. Have you ever been lost in a forest?
Sister: In a figurative sense, I am lost in the forest almost daily. In the literal sense, I don't recall ever being lost per se. Maybe a few minutes of confusion on which fork in the path to take, but never actually lost. My husband does have experience being lost in the woods. It's a real life story of the blind leading the blind. He was leading a blind hiker on a trail in the mountains of Colorado, and on the way back to the trailhead, he had an allergic reaction that caused his eyes to swell shut. He had to find his way back without being able to see. Thankfully in this scenario, all made it back safely without any overnight adventures of being stranded in the forest!

Mr. Becos: Next two questions:
You are known for your love of US Weekly and People. Last we spoke Sinead O'Conner had just quickly failed at an impulsive marriage. Is there anything that has happened since that I need to know?
Also, you are a mother of two. While your children are usually well behaved, what do you do when they are simultaneously going bezerk and demanding differing things?
Sister: I do love to keep up to date on the cooky happenings of celebrities and their twisted lives. I think you'd be interested to know the name of Uma Thurman's new baby - it's a doozie - Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. Poor child - how is she ever going to be able to spell that in kindergarten?!
My strategy on handling the bezerk happenings of my children varies depending on the nature of the demands. Many times they are both required to go their respective rooms and have some alone time to think about how they should be behaving. Other times, I try to decide who started what argument and who deserves to be rewarded with the granting of his or her demands. It's a constant challenge and ever-changing dynamic. The end goal is generally to have everyone come out of the situation uninjured and well-adjusted. The constant referee job can be challenging, but the moments when they are hugging and getting along and worried about what the other wants make it all worth it!

 Mr. Becos: You live in historic Richmond, Virginia, where one amenity is a long street lined with giant statues of confederate war heroes. Several years ago the city added to this series the somewhat mismatched statue of Arthur Ashe, an African American tennis player who died of AIDS. I heard a rumor that one of the more traditionally minded cement workers planted a confederate flag within the base of the statue. Is this true?
Sister: That is the rumor. It's one of those urban legends that I guess could only be solved on MythBusters if they a) tore down the statue or b) have some super xray vision. There was quite a large amount of controversy over the placement of that statue. It wouldn't surprise me if the story were true!

Mr. Becos: Two part question: Would you be willing to head down there with a sledgehammer and a flashlight to find the truth? Are there other Richmond mysteries that our readers should know about?

Sister: Ahh, Richmond is rich in history and mystery. A great way to learn about the treasures of Richmond is through a Segway tour. You can tour Hollywood cemetery and a lot of other neat places like Edgar Allen Poe's stomping grounds. Plenty to learn about the mystery of Richmond.
I myself would not be strong enough to sledgehammer through the statue. I would be interested to know the truth though!