It Was 20 Years Ago Today…January 1996

NOFX: Heavy Petting Zoo

Heavy Petting Zoo was the punk band NOFX’s follow up to 1994’s Punk In Drublic, an album which brought them considerably higher notoriety than previous efforts. Perhaps predictibly for a punk band that likes a good joke, the CD cover showed somebody engaging in “heavy petting” with a sheep. The vinyl version went, ahem, a step further.

Regardless, the album was met with high expectations and in many instances delivers on those expectations. Track two, titled “Philthy Phil Philanthropist,” was the lead radio single. The track was a shot across the bow of anybody and everybody in politics who decides that they like taking money more than they like helping their constituants.

The next track on the album, “Freedom Like a Shopping Cart” tackled the very idea of freedom by comparing the average American to a homeless person living in a cardboard box. Because of this comparison, many people draw the connection that it is a song about being homeless. Those people would be wrong. The track is about how people living the “American dream” are tied to a rigid way of thinking; “go to school, get good grades, get a good job, buy a house, get married, have a family” (not a quote form the song, by the way, but the standard definition of success). To the person who doesn’t want any of those things, they may see the person living in a box and see that they have less worries than the person who works 8 hours a day only to go home. Now, I have a job, I have a house and a family and all that, but what really makes me feel the best is a well written and thoughtul song, regardless of genre. This is a well written and thoughtful song.

“Bleeding Heart Disease” is a little song that chugs along in the “Do Re Mi” style of cadence. An extended quote of the lyrics shows “Dough, what our lives are lived for/Rae, just a crazy Aussie/Me, the generation forges on/Fo, dder for corporations/Sew, wing our lives together/LA, such a nice place to get shot. But don’t forget the T it/Follows liber in the Constitution/Following the part about pursuit/Of happiness the bi product/Of colonial precious metal/Mine extracts which/Brings us back/To dough”. Yes, it meanders a little bit, but it does get to a point. We forge on, trying to make sense of our lives, which for many is the pursuit of money rather than the pursuit of happiness.

Track 7 on the album, “Liza” follows up on a single from the band titled “Liza and Louise”. In the original song, Liza meets a woman named Louise and they explore sexuality together. In “Liza” we see that she have moved on from Louise, only to assume the role of finding other questioning women to take advantage of. While also released as the b-side of the “Louise and Liza” single, this was the last song of the Liza and Louise trilogy and I’m just going to post the whole saga here for your consumption.

NOFX’s lead singer wrote “August 8th” about the death of Jerry Garcia. Time to explain a little bit about the divide between hippies and punks. In the 60s, hippies wanted to change the world with peace and love. In the 70s, punks came a long, saw what came about with peace and love, and decided “fuck that”. As a result, a sizable group of punks hate hippies. Now, I’m a non-violent person; it seems to me that violence doesn’t sovle anything, from trans-national disputes to domestic disputes. While that may label me a hippie in the eyes of some, the music to which I most identify is punk rock. It is with this dichotomy that I find this song. It is about how beautiful the world was on the day Jerry Garcia died. While I can see the humor of the song, I’ve never really warmed up to it (not that I’m a big Jerry fan).

NOFX have had continued success on the Warped Tour circuit, working on that summer tour several times over the past 20 years. Fat Mike runs the successful indie record label Fat Wreck Chords. 2015 saw the 25th anniversary of that label. 2016 is their 33rd year a a band. Pretty impressive feat for any band, really.


Widow of violinist who played on “Billie Jean” wins back royalties

The widow of Reginald Hill, violinist who was second violin in the London Symphony Orchestra when he was asked to record the iconic violin beat in “Billie Jean” was initially paid about $158 for his contribution.  A contract uncovered in 2014, disclosing that he was among the studio musicians who laid down the track for the song was enough to get PPL, a music royalty company, to accept that his estate is owed royalties for his contributions to the song.

The moment you uncover the meaning of “American Idiot”

Green Day Call ‘Censorship’ Over High School ‘American Idiot’ Cancellation

Billie Joe Armstrong lambasts high school board over decision to cancel musical

By January 26, 2016


Billie Joe Armstrong penned a powerful response to a Connecticut high school’s decision to call off a production of the musical American Idiot, based off the Green Day album of the same name. Armstrong challenged the cancellation, arguing that the high school’s choice to not host the production is an issue of censorship.

“I realize that the content of the Broadway production of [American Idiot] is not quite ‘suitable for a younger audience,” Armstrong wrote in his Instagram post addressed to the Enfield High School board. “However, there is a high school rendition of the production, and I believe that’s the one Enfield was planning to perform, which is suitable for most people. It would be a shame if these high schoolers were shut down over some of the content that may be challenging for some of the audience.”

According to The New York Times, Enfield High School cited sex, drugs and foul language as the reason why the show was cancelled. “The bigger issue is censorship,” Armstrong continued in his note. “This production tackles issues in a post-9/11 world, and I believe the kids should be heard and most of all be creative in telling a story about our history.”

Enfield’s drama club director Nate Ferreira responded to Armstrong’s plea that “the show must go on” in an interview with The Hartford Courant. “It wasn’t the school board as he thinks that forced us to not do the show,” Ferreira stated. “It was a decision that the principal and I arrived at together because there were some kids in the group whose parents didn’t want them involved.” The high school will perform Little Shop of Horrors instead.


*And now, my own words*

American Idiot was the exact album the alternative/punk world needed to hear when it came out.  The Iraq War was was turning into a quagmire and the White House had no plans or concern to change that.  To millions of young adults (I was not yet 25 when the album came out), the album spoke to what was yearning to be expressed.  Did the government have youths best interest at heart?  Those who answered the call of the military were suddenly wondering whether they would be asked to die for a war that was spiraling out of control.

To think that adolescents and young adults who were in early elementary school around this time wouldn’t understand the harsh themes of a sanitized version of the Broadway play is seriously underestimating their intelligence.  War has been a fixture in the background for a sizable percentage of their lives.  For some of them, they will be old enough to vote for president in the fall.  They understand the world around them, even if you don’t want to think they do.

And the greatest of these is “Hope”

Oh, my god, how did I not know about this??

I’ve got the entire Sublime discography in my itunes (not that I listen to every song on my itunes, but i’m giving it a shot this year…keep reading).

I worked very hard to make a coherent playlist of all songs in my itunes so that each song was only included once (I’ve got live versions, demos, covers, etc.) and separated the songs into 12 approximately equal portions (about 4 days of music each).

February, since it’s the shortest month of the year, I made be my “shortest songs” playlist.  I started that playlist today.  While on my walk home, this little ditty came on.

This is Sublime, SoCal Ska band covering “Hope” by The Descendents, one of the best punk bands of all time.

Anyway, since i’m trying not to play any songs twice for the next freaking year, I had to delete the original version from my playlist…still, I did get to discover that this cover existed.

I Want to Believe

I’m so excited!

The X-Files returns today with a 6 episode run.  My girlfriend is watching all 9 seasons on Netflix, she doesn’t want to watch the new episodes out of order.

I’ve got the movies too.  One took place during the original run, the other was about 10 years after the show ended.  We’ll have to insert them as appropriate.

I’m ready, bring it X-Files!

A Change gonna come

With the backlash surrounding the 2nd straight year where no non-caucasian actors have been nominated in the acting categories at the Academy Awards, I was reading an article and was struck to post.

Actor Idris Elba spoke on the floor of Parliament today regarding the lack of diversity that has become endemic in Oscars selection.

According to MSNBC, he delivered a 32 minute speech to British Parliament on diversity in media. “I’m here to talk about diversity,” started Elba. “Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin color—It’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and – most important of all, as far as I’m concerned – diversity of thought. Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV & film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned.”


In other news, the second ever transgender person received a nomination when they were announced late last week.  The first ever, Angela Morley, was previously nominated for creating the score for the film versions of Cinderella and The Slipper and the Rose…so, that’s progress…

Now, if only actors with developmental disabilities got nominated for more roles…

12 non-English song titles

I desperately tried to put this into a coherent list, but any way I did it didn’t bring it justice.

I wanted to make a countdown of titles that were not in English (the songs themselves could be in English, but the titles were in other languages).   I’ve left out enough to do this again, but in the mean time, enjoy.


The title means “The Shake” in English.  A rendition of a traditional song, done in the then-new rock ‘n’ roll style.  Instant immortality ensued.

The title means “California over all” in English.  A striking rebuke against Gov. Jerry Brown’s first tenure as Governor.

The title means “Hey, what’s happening” in English.  Cool because it’s slang and not proper speech.



The title means “The eggs of Satan” in English.  Funny because it’s just a cookie recipe (do not try it at home, includes hashish) made to sound like a terrifying speech.

The titles means “99 air balloons” in English.  An anti-war song from cold war Germany.

The title means “Pirate Jenny” in English.  Originally from the Threepenny Opera, I’m most familiar with the English version of this song as sung by Nina Simone.



The title means “It is going well for me (literally, it is gliding for me)” in English.  One of the most catchy of lost 80’s tracks.

The title means “I want” in English.  I love this song, even though I couldn’t even begin to be able to sing it.

Title the same in English.  This is the #1 hit which kept “Louie Louie” from the top of the charts.


Three more


The title means “Farewell to Thee” in English.  Queen Lili’uokalani was the last monarch of Hawaii.  The song was written as a lament for the loss of her country.

The title means “new construction” in English.  A great topic for a punk band to tackle.

The title means “You have”.  The title is a double meaning because “Hasst” is “Hate” in German.  A literal translation of the song makes it sound as if somebody is having trouble answering at the altar.



Bless you, NOLA

The only footage so far on Youtube of Arcade fire and Preservation Hall Jazz Band conducting a jazz funeral (some may say “second line parade”) for David Bowie:

The two bands played exclusively David Bowie tracks through the streets of downtown New Orleans today, effectively shutting down parts o the city.