Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Backwater Blues

With the Gulf Coast area flooded due to Hurricane Katrina--New Orleans in particular--I couldn't help but think about the old blues song "Backwater Blues" by Bessie Smith. She wrote it and recorded in February 1927, just before the catastrophic great Mississippi flood of 1927.

(Bessie Smith)

"When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
Then trouble's takin' place in the lowlands at night

I woke up this mornin', can't even get out of my door
I woke up this mornin', can't even get out of my door
There's been enough trouble to make a poor girl wonder where she want to go

Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
I packed all my clothes, throwed them in and they rowed me along

When it thunders and lightnin' and when the wind begins to blow
When it thunders and lightnin' and the wind begins to blow
There's thousands of people ain't got no place to go

Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then looked down on the house were I used to live

Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
'Cause my house fell down and I can't live there no more

Mmm, I can't move no more
Mmm, I can't move no more
There ain't no place for a poor old girl to go"

Katrina: Shocked and appalled

For the past two days I've been watching footage of Hurricane Katrina ripping through the Gulf Coast and its horrible aftereffects are astounding. Just now on CNN was broadcasting from Baton Rouge, Lousisana and they had interviewed a woman who was evacuated from New Orleans. The woman said that she was angry that lots of politicans from George W. Bush and the governor of Lousisana down knew that New Orleans needed a good evacuation plan in case of such a hurricane and/or flood should strike, but they didn't put in the money and effort needed. You could feel the anger and disgust seething from her. Plus I came across which had an e-mail from a NOLA rescue worker saying that the evacuation plan that New Orleans had favored the rich over the poor. Now I know that Hurricane Katrina was huge and would have caused destrution everyway by its own and all that, but it seems that if more time, effort, and money was put into a evacuation plan as well as making sure that the levees were made stronger, the destruction might not have been as widespread. Because of these oversights it looks like political heads are going to start rolling in the coming months.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

80s Philly new wave/punk scene website

Being a fan of Philaelphia's new wave/punk scene back in the 1980's, I was glad that I recently came across a tribute website to that scene called Relive The 80s. The site is run by Reesa Marchetti, who was in Philly new wave bands like Reesa and the Rooters and the Suburban Wives Club. The site is fun to go through, focusing on the bands in that period through photos, articles, as well as audio and video clips. (The Stickmen's "Heathens - Wild Women Of Wongo" video clip, shot the East Side Club in 1981, is a hoot indeed!) There are a few bands missing from here, but overall it's a good site. You can get in touch with Reesa through the website if you have any photos, articles records or videos of bands from that scene.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What I did this weekend & bad grrls mix CD

Friday nights I usually end up watching a lot of TV, but this past Friday in order to prepare myself for next weekend at the beach I made myself finish reading Land's End : A Walk in Provincetown by Michael Cunningham. It's basicly a good travelougue of the Massachusetts seaside town, describing it in colorful detail. I have never been to P-Town but I do want to check it out one day.

Saturday evening I went to a pool party. It was overcast and kind of cool so hardly anyone did any swimming. But they did have a good barbeque featuring hamburgers and hot dogs. And they also showed a movie, a piece of high camp spoofing 50s and 60s soap-opera-ey women's pictures called Die, Mommie, Die! with Charles Busch perfroming as the female lead as well as writing the screenplay. That picture got some good laughs from the crowd. Overall I had a good time.

Sunday morning it just rained a lot, so I basicly stayed in and finished making my bad-girl themed mix-CD Madame Rock's Home For Wayward Grrrls. Songs about shoplifting (The Slits, "Shoplifting"), drugs (Shonen Knife, "Brown Mushrooms"), wild sex (Liz Phair, "Flower"), starting fires (Courtney Love, "Hello"), holding major grudges (Babes In Toyland, "Bruise Violet"), being a groupie and stalking rock stars (Courtney again, "But Julian I'm A Little Bit Older Than You"), getting back at the father who molested you (Bikini Kill, "Suck My Left One") or the frat boy who raped you (Tribe 8, "Frat Pig"), and just having a plain old bad attitude (Patti Smith, "My Generation"), things that "good girls" are not "supposed" to do. Begins with the Runaways ("Cherry Bomb"), who have blazed the trail of this genre, and it also ends with them ("I Love Playing With Fire"). Overall it's a great CD-R compilation. Here's to those bad grrrls!

A NYC coffeehouse closes

Today the Big Cup, a well-known coffeehouse in the Cheslea district of New York City, will be doing its last day of business and closing its doors due to rising rents. I'm bummed to hear about that. When I would take a trip up to NYC I usually stopped in there. I'd get a coffee or whatever and sit in one of its funky chairs and go over a freebie copy of HX or Next magazine. A good place to kill some time. Although some people say that the Big Cup reeked of Cheslea Muscle Boy attitude, everybody seemed pretty cool when I would go there. I'm going to miss that place. And sorry but the Starbucks Coffee that opened across the street from them a year ago is a piss-poor subsitute. Damn all those rising rents in New York that's killing all its local color!

Friday, August 26, 2005


I remember first hearing about Bunnydrums through a 1983 compilation featuring Philadelphia new wave bands titled I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia. The track they did, "Sleeping," was the first track off that album. It was a atmospheric electronic dirge that got me interested in them.

Bunnydrums, formed in 1980, was one of the best bands that came out of the Philly's new music scene, even though they never had the commercial success of other bands like, say, the Hooters. They did a brand of moody and intense space-rock influenced the by science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick. Over the course of their five-year career they put out two albums (PKD and Holy Moly). two EP's (Feathers Web and On The Surface) and a single ("Little Room" b/w "Win") as well as a couple of compilation tracks. They also opened up for bands such as Gang Of Four, R.E.M., and Pylon. But by 1985 the band's line-up was starting to change due to creative differences and to struggling as a band not seen as "commercial," and by the end of the year the band had broken up.

In late 2003, Metropolis Records put out PKD/Simulacra and brought Bunnydrums into the CD age. PKD was their first full-length album (it came out in 1983) and Simulacra was a rare best-of. I think that it's very good to have their records back in print again. "Smithson" and "On The Surface" are my favorite tracks. There is also a Bunnydrums website that features video and audio clips as well as articles on the band.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

First photo of myself

This was taken at St. Mark's of the Bowery in New York City on September 30, 2001.

Switched my photos over to Photobucket. Hopefully you can see them without any problem this time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Trouble posting photos

This Monday I tried to post a picture of myself at St. Marks of the Bowery in New York. It was on a CD and I sent to my MSN groups account on the web. I posted in on my blog and it looked alright on my computer. I didn't realize that if someone wanted to see that photo on another computer, they would have to sign in on a MSN account of their own. Otherwise they don't get to see that photo. So I decided to delete Monday's post and try to get the photo to another website that won't be a problem. Hopefully I'll successfully post that picture soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My latest mix CD (and Ashlee's not on it)

Today I finished the first of two mix CD compilations featuring female rockers. The one I just finished is titled Rock Chick Party (Ashlee's Not Invited!). Guitars and lots of attitude. Quite melodic too, good to drive to. Joan Jett, Courtney Love and Hole, Kathleen Hannah's bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, among others. Hardly any of that faux-rock teen pop a la Ashlee Simpson. (Okay I threw in a song from the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack, but it's a good one--"Shapeshifter"-- featuring Kay Hanley on vocals, who was in the 90s alternative band Letters To Cleo.)

The second all-female rock disc I'm working on will have more of a theme to it. It'll feature songs that have a bad female behavior/juvenile hall vibe to them. I should be done with that one sometime next week.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The title of this blog & Robert Davolt

An explaination how the title for this blog came about. I was reading Painfully Obvious by Robert Davolt and at one section he was talking about journalism for the leather press and community journalism and he started on how the Internet affected it with a hint of sarcasm:

"Now there is the Internet-- Man's highest achievement in communications. Twenty-eight million websites all screaming into the cosmic void: 'I EXIST!...and I have a cat.'"

When I began to think about starting a blog, I had my doubts considering that it was like everyone and their mother had already started one. So when I did start one, I was looking for a title that was tounge-in-cheek. I remember that particular passage and though that it would make a good title for my blog.

I enjoyed reading Robert's columns on He had a colorful career as a writer, publisher, and humorist. Among his credentials he ran and edited Drummer magazine in its last couple of years. Robert passed away on May 16, 2005 from cancer. I had bought his book Painfully Obvious, which reprinted his columns from, from Giovanni's Room just a few weeks before his passing and I didn't realize it at the time. Anyhow his death was a loss to the leather community, and his writings are an inspiration to me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mix CD's and Group Therapy

I enjoy making mix-tapes and CD's. Yesterday I finished making a mix CD called Retro-Clash. It's a compilation of remixes of 80's new wave songs as well as some new-wave-sounding Electroclash tunes. I figured it would sound good when I go down to the shore for Labor Day weekend.

There's a website that devoted to making mix-tapes and CD's called Art Of The Mix. You can check out the tracklistings of the mixes that are submitted. You can check it out at

Also yesterday I went to group therapy in Philadelphia. I had a good session. It's good to vent out about what's bugging you. I enjoy going into Philly. I feel more alive there then where I'm living now. I hope that I'll be able to move there soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

None of my birthdays were as bad as this

Today Madonna had a horse riding accident outside her London home. She had to go to the hospital with three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken hand. And this happened on her 47th birthday no less.

I've had a couple of rough birthdays in the past (I remember one where I was being beaten up by a couple of mean kids back in high school and I didn't get any help from the teachers), but they weren't bad as this. As the saying goes, things could have been worse. (She could have ended up like Christopher Reeve.)

I don't know if this means that the release date of her latest album Confessions On A Dancefloor will be pushed back. It is currently supposed to be released on November 15, which is my own birthday ironically enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lee Paris

I recently came across a tribute website on Lee Paris, who actively promoted new music in the Philadelphia area in the late 70's and 80's. He was a DJ on WXPN-FM with the radio show "Yesterday's Now Music Today." He was also the musical director of I-92 (WIFI-FM, now WXTU), which expirmented with a modern "Rock of the 80's" format during the spring and summer of 1983. He also ran clubs that featured new music, such as the East Side Club, and the Kennel Club, and he had a regular column in the South Street Star called "Lee Paris' Music Beat." He had a hyperactive personality but he was passionate about new music (known as "new wave" or "punk" at the time). Lee passed away in Janurary 1986, committing suicide by taking pills. Needless to say he was a legend. I never knew him personally, but I do appreciate what he was doing, since I was starting to get into new music during the mid-80's. I have fond memories of listening to I-92. Philly's current music scene sure could use someone like Lee Paris right now, with Philly commercial radio at its creative nadir at this moment!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Philly radio vs. dance music

At one time Philly local Top 40 radio station Q102 used to play a lot of dance music. But these days you hardly hear any that. It's rare to hear two dance songs back to back on their mixshows, let alone during the daytime. They have been playing D.H.T.'s "Listen To Your Heart" a lot (about 115 times during the past week), but unfortuneatly they've mostly been playing the slow ballad version, playing the dance version only for the evening mix shows. That really ticks me off, considering that Q102 had a good opprotunity to give a dance tune some airplay, but they blew it. (Another CHR/Rhythmic station Wired 96.5 has also been giving that same ballad version prime airtime as well while ignoring the dance version.) Are the staff at that station being such a bunch of hip-hop nazis that they're afraid that if they do play some dance music that the studio walls will crumble like Sodom and Gerrmorrah? It's hard being a fan of dance music in Philly since the local commercial stations hardly play it these days. The constant rap they're shoving down our collective throats just does not inspire me at all. Looks like I'll have to go to the internet and satellite stations if I want a dance msuic fix.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hello...the state of dance music and drugs

Hi, my name is Chris and welcome to my new blog. Join me as I go on my journey on experiencing life, music, culture, politics, sex and love.

In the past month a couple of events have shaken the world of dance music. DJ Junior Vasquez said that he had recently recovered from a habit of doing crystal meth for five years. Also DJ Julian Marsh said that he would retire from DJing at the end of this summer. Among the reasons he was doing that was because the dance circuit scene was getting too "dark" and drug-infested (Tina in particular) for him to stomach.

Dance music is not the first musical genre that has been fueled by drugs. But certainly the image that current dance music is just "drug driven" is not helping it win any mainstream success in the US. Dance is one of my favorite musical genres and I don't need to take drugs to appreciate it. (I personally find crystal scary.) Appearently new ways are needed for people to enjoy dance music, since the way things are currently going people are getting turned off from dance music for various reasons. It would be a shame since I find the genre to be uplifting.