The "Nausea & Bliss" collection, second installment.

By popular demand (okay, by NOT so "popular" demand...I just felt like it)...here are another set of images culled from my defunct photoblog "Nausea & Bliss".
Hope you like them/

Disgusted Icon in Red & Pink
Surfing the Web
She Was Never THERE for Me
The Universe in an Olive
Wrapped Cardboard Penance
Hidden Values
Assignment Overview


Memorable Modine moment.

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you one of the more memorable moments in my short tenure with Jubal Modine & the Love Handles (I'm the one in the background with the red cap).

4 photos, a glimpse of this man both young and old.

Tough (?) number 63, defensive tackle on my 6th grade football team. I was never cut out for that sport. Once, during the latter half of a ballgame, I didn't hear the coach tell me to go in for a play. I didn't go in, so they were left without a right tackle. Needless to say, the opposing team used it to their advantage, and I was as miserable as I ever was on the bus ride back home.My 9th grade class photo. Yeah, that's right...while the other kids were all dressed up for the occasion, I wore an orange t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the band YES. There was a live concert photo there, too, as this was bought at a State Fair booth, certainly not authorized merchandise. Too bad you can't see it here. I always thought my hair looked awful back then, but nowadays I really like it. The glasses, though...Thumping on Mike Hardwick's 5-string bass. I never could get the feel of those 5-strings, always thinking that the top string should be an 'E'. But it's a lot easier to play than a fretless, as I found out trying to play Warty's. This photo was taken a few years ago, so there's quite a vast separation in years between this and the last one. The glasses are a lot cooler...alas, they belonged to Warty, too (requiring prescription glasses, I cannot wear shades...and it's really too bad, cuz I look bad-ass in 'em).Here I am, early 2006, roasting over an open fire.

Geocities clean-up: King Tongue

The following is from a series of posts culled from my Geocities site that I abandoned in 2001. Having finally gotten around to deleting it, I saved a few articles that I thought I'd share here. Remember, this stuff was written in '01. It's not my best, but here it is...

Few bands have enjoyed such an even mixture of notoriety and complete obscurity as the late, great KING TONGUE.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be playing with these guys again, but alas, Yahweh has not seen fit to reunite the three of us.
We began playing together in 1982, with Danny Shumaker on board as "lead guitarist", as ROCK HOUSE. Our repertoire consisted mainly of an eccentric mix of new wave and rock songs.
With the departure of Shumaker we decided to carry on as a trio. We re-named ourselves NINE STORIES (years before Lisa Loeb gave that name to her backing band). We changed it soon to LITTLE AMERICA, which was an REM song and was emblazoned across the front of a light blue REM t-shirt I wore a lot back then and Charles remarked that it would be a good name for a band. A few years later some other band came along calling itself Little America, I began to think we were cursed to have our band names eventually become somewhat popular for other bands...
LITTLE AMERICA split up but within 5 years had re-united as HEAD. HEAD recorded a few songs and played around Oklahoma City & Norman, Oklahoma quite a bit and opened for several headlining groups including ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN.
HEAD lasted about a year and the group once again dispersed until they all found themselves playing together again in a cheesy dive bar band called Winter Fire. The de facto leader of Winter Fire had issues with me and tried to replace me. He wound up losing all the members of "his" band as they followed my exit from that situation into the gig that eventually became KING TONGUE (we'd even scrawled the words "King Tongue" with a picture of a gargantuan tongue on the bathroom walls of clubs we'd played as Winter Fire, that's how sure we were that the trio would win out again...).
KING TONGUE played many, many shows at a dive bar called Long Ears in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 2000 & early 2001. We got a very good reputation and I have no doubt that if we were to reunite the reception would be encouragingly enthusiastic.
These photos are pretty old, having been taken in 1992 when the band was still called HEAD, but until we can get this computer's CD-Rom fixed I can't load the scanner program and get any more recent shots up. On the day when that situation is remedied, I promise to add some more up to date shots...
King Tongue (clockwise from top)...Charles Casey (drums), Gregg Dobbs (Guitar, vocals), James Arthur Casey (Vocals, bass)

NOTE: By the time we'd had the CD-Rom fixed the Geocities site was deserted. Gregg got married, moved and, as far as I know, retired from music-making. He never worked with Charles and I again. I played in Jubal Modine with Charles for about 5 months, the chronicles of which can be found in this blog. He continues to be the drummer for that band. As for me, I am satisfied just listening to other people's music.

Geocities clean-up: A Music Diary

The following is from a series of posts culled from my Geocities site that I abandoned in 2001. Having finally gotten around to deleting it, I saved a few articles that I thought I'd share here. Remember, this stuff was written in '01. It's not my best, but here it is...

A Music Diary... begun Thursday, February 15th, 2001 by James Arthur Casey

NOTE: This "Diary" turned out to be little more than a slipshod batch of recollections, all of which were written down on one day...in other words, not much of a diary. I post it here for nostalgia's sake.


It was a pivotal moment in my life. No doubt, the single MOST pivotal moment of my entire life, and that's no exaggeration. It happened when I was 6 or 7 years old, I'm surprised I can't remember. But it was the moment when my mother presented me with my first record player...a little mono, no frills number like a lot of kids had back then (we're talking 1968-69), and a selection of 3 albums.
The first was a sacred music & gospel record which, to the best of my knowledge I never even listened to in it's entirety. The devil in me had shown it's ugly head even at such a tender, young age...
The second album got quite a bit of rotation on my little record player. It was a compilation of country and western songs that seem ancient now, but at the time weren't really all that dated. Songs like "The Wings of a Dove" by Ferlin Huskey (which I never cared for) and "Detroit City" by Bobby Bare, I believe (I liked that one considerably better). It had several other good songs on it, and since my parents listened to country music exclusively I had developed a little bit of a taste for it (which I soon disowned when my rebellious teen years and a love for rock and roll came along). I enjoyed that album, the cover of which depicted a nice looking saddle with a cowboy hat perched on the top, but it nevertheless will always take second place in a beginner's 3 record collection when the other record in consideration is:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was the Dave Clark Five who turned me on to rock and roll music. And to this day all I can remember of the whole album...not song titles, not lyrics, not melodies,...the ONLY thing I remember about it is the cool album cover shot of the band riding in that slick, white Corvette convertable and the tag line of the title track, "You don't TRY TOO HARD...You don't TRY TOO HARD!!!"
Nevertheless, despite my amnesia in regards to the content of that album, it by far got the most spins on my lo-fi. I would use butter knives as drumsticks and hardback Golden Book encyclopedias as drums, with cake pans for cymbals, and play along with all of the songs on "Try Too Hard". I'm sure I had all the song lyrics memorized, as I have always had the gift of lyrical/melodic retention.
That was the only record I had, of the three, that mattered, and it was all I needed for a long, long time until the afternoon when my cousin, Cathy, while teasing me by taking my Dave Clark Five album from me and riding away on her bike with it, had a serious wreck. Serious in as much as she had managed to break my precious "Try Too Hard" album in the crash, and I confess I have never properly forgiven her for that.
And now the emberassing parts...
The first 45 RPM single I ever bought was by the Carpenters...I can't recall the title right now. That's not such a shameful thing, in my opinion, but the first album I ever bought certainly was..."The Partridge Family Album" by...uh, I don't wanna have to type it again.
Yes, I was a naive pre-teen and I watched that stupid show every week along with the Brady Bunch just as every one of you out there who are close to my age did as well, so don't anyone get to thinking how uncool it (obviously actually) is to have a Partridge Family album...especially when it's replacing the much loved Dave Clark Five album! Sue me. I actually liked most of the songs (especially "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat"), and you'll just have to be satisfied that it wasn't long until I saw the error of my ways and dismissed the Partridge Family as anything more than pop culture kitsch.
And I atoned in a hardcore way by getting into Bloodrock, a Fort Worth, Texas band who had been getting considerable airplay with a morbid song about dying crash victims called "D.O.A.". I was hooked immediately because along with comic books and monster movies, songs with siren sound effects in them are something every boy likes. I know it was that way for me...
So I saved up my allowances and went down to Drury's Five and Dime, conveniantly located on main street in my old hometown and the only store in town that had a selection of record albums. You'll notice that I didn't say "good selection"...I didn't even say "decent selection", but they DID have "Bloodrock 2" and that's all that mattered to me.
No more would I have to rely upon feeding dimes to the jukebox in the cafe where my mother worked and where my brother and I hung out just to hear "D.O.A." and especially it's flipside, the exuberant "Children's Heritage". Now I had the whole album, and that meant a collosal 8+ minute version of "D.O.A.". (Incidentally, I can't stand to listen to "D.O.A." anymore, having survived a serious car crash that song bums me out in a big way, and I ALWAYS skip over it to good old "Fancy Space Odyssey" when I play the album these days.)
It also meant that I had CLASSIC Bloodrock songs like "Lucky In The Morning", "Cheater" (which may well be, along with "Breach of Lease", one of my two favorite Bloodrock songs), "Fallin'" and "Dyer Not a Lover" (you've GOT to check out the drum intro to that one...).
Of course, as soon as I found out about "Bloodrock 3" I bought it...I seem to remember getting it at a Target store in Oklahoma City while visiting relatives. That 3rd album is every bit as good as the second, and I had the first, self-titled record before too much time had passed (another spooky one on that record, "Fantastic Piece of Architecture").
I guess this was all about a year after my next door neighbour showed me some of his Beatles records, which, of course, I loved, and I gravitated towards the Rolling Stones. Even moreso than the Beatles, the Stones were my favourite band in those late sixties and early seventies albums.
And of course I was of the perfect demographic and age to be easilly converted into an Alice Cooper fan. It didn't take much. I loved seeing him on ABC's then popular "In Concert" series, getting hung or having his head chopped off...that huge boa constrictor wrapped around his shoulders and he's teasing it, trying to hypnotize it with a lullaby about "Sick Things". He wore that black mascara and looked just freaky enough to make your parents make some kind of wise-ass remark when they happen to see him on TV or in your record collection. And he had a WOMAN'S NAME, by Holy Christ! What kind of flaming tosser goes by a ladie's moniker? A ROCKING one, it turned out.
Alice got his fair share of radio airplay in his hey day, no doubt about that. They played "School's Out" tirelessly, but you gotta admit, that is the PERFECT summer rock song. Who can't sympathize with blowing up your high school on the day after classes let out? I preferred the B-Side, "Gutter Cat", which sports a hell of a bass line and some nasty double entendres. "School's Out" is a great album, I'm still convinced, and "My Stars" is the high point, in my opinion.
"Killer" is an even better album, and contains one of the lost gems of rock and roll, "Halo of Flies". Along with the title track, "Desperado", "You Drive Me Nervous" and even the built-to-shock "Dead Babies", "Killer" is as solid a record as Cooper ever put out.
In the same league are "Love It to Death", with the classic "Ballad of Dwight Frye" and the Apocalyptic "Second Coming", and "Billion Dollar Babies", with it's Dentist's Chair Nightmare, "Unfinished Sweet" and solid rockers like "Generation Landslide", "Hello Hurray" and even the obligatory-by-now shocker "I Love the Dead" (I wonder, has Marilyn Manson explored necrophilia yet? Alice was truly a trailblazer). "Muscle of Love" was another very good Alice Cooper release. It came in a large cardboard box which read "Contents of Package: One Alice Cooper Muscle of Love"...The packaging would have made up for some slacking in the music, but that was unnecessarry, since practically all of the songs on the album were winners, even if a slight stylistic change for the Coop.
"Welcome to My Nightmare" was the last really good Alice Cooper album, in my opinion. I loved "Devil's Food", "The Black Widow", the "Stephen" Trilogy, even "Only Women Bleed". I was disappointed that Cooper had let go of his back-up band, the Billion Dollar Babies, and subsequent albums like "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell", "Whiskey & Lace", "From the Inside" and "Trash" , among others, went ignored as I moved on to other groups...
Somewhere along the line I had started listening to Rick Wakeman...I remember now. My uncle gave me a bunch of albums that I think once belonged to some renters he had who had left them behind...not a lot of good stuff, but a couple...the Rolling Stones "Between the Buttons" was one, and the other very good one in the mix was "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Rick Wakeman. I loved that pretentious keyboard noodling, and upon learning that he also played keyboards for YES, I proceeded to get some of their records. I hate to admit it, but I liked Wakeman's solo stuff even more than YES, but I wasn't a stoner back then, so who knows how it would have turned out if I HAD been? As it was, I preferred "Six Wives...", "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table", "No Earthly Connection" and "Criminal Record" over even "Close to the Edge" or "Topographic Oceans". (Don't get me wrong...I really like those YES albums as well...)
And upon first hearing Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells", at the time being referred to as "Theme from 'The Exorcist'", I decided I'd give that album a chance, even though it was drastically different to what I usually listened to. "Tubular Bells" is one long composition broken up into two almost 30 minute parts, and my attention span at that time was stretched severely by 20 minute opuses like "Close To the Edge". And furthermore, it's not much of a "rock" record, though there are rock elements in it. It's just a very complex, lengthy piece and I hadn't yet gotten into classical yet so I wasn't used to it.
I did enjoy it, though, and immensely. I bought his next album, "Hergest Ridge", and pronounced it even better than it's predecessor. The same praise was heaped upon "Ommadawn" when it came out, and it remained my favorite Oldfield album for a long time. In many ways, it still is.

Geocities clean-up: Red House Painters

The following is from a series of posts culled from my Geocities site that I abandoned in 2001. Having finally gotten around to deleting it, I saved a few articles that I thought I'd share here. Remember, this stuff was written in '01. It's not my best, but here it is...

For some reason I'm always thinking "Down Colourful Hill" is an EP. Maybe because it only has 6 songs on it...but it IS a full length. It's just that a few of the songs are rather lengthy. An excellent debut which lays the groundwork for the exquisite melancholy that Mark Kozelek & RHP went on to record. "Medicine Bottle" is epic, and one of their "signature" songs. My favourites are "Michael" and the title track. "Lord Kill the Pain" is the only weak track here, IMO.

When push comes to shove, this is my favourite RHP album. The longing for "lost times of youth" is palpable in "Grace Cathedral Park", the song that made an RHP fan out of me and which is probably STILL my favorite RHP track. The album may be a bit much for non-depressives to take, with it's unrelenting emotion and honesty, but I certainly can relate to most of it. Standout tracks include "Mistress" (both versions), "Katy Song", "Rollercoaster", "Mother" and "Strawberry Hill".

The second self-titled album may not be as consistant as the first, but certain tracks are more than powerful enough to make up for any shortcomings ("Bubble", in particular, moves me). The version of "New Jersey" is, IMO, better than the one on "Rollercoaster", and "Helicopter", "Uncle Joe" and "Blindfold" are very strong. The CD release also includes the "Shock Me" EP...Their cover of Ace Frehley's "Shock Me" has always been my least favorite RHP track, but "Sundays and Holidays" more than makes up for it.

More acoustic based than the previous albums, I confess that I haven't given "Ocean Beach" the attention it deserves. It is a strong album, though, and every bit as good as it's predecessors. Though I disliked it at first, I have come to really enjoy "Summer Dress", and "Over My Head" was the first RHP song I ever heard. "San Geronimo" is dense and melodic, with some unique guitar arpeggios. Other standouts include "Brockwell Park", "Moments" and "Drop", which even I think is a most effective downer.

A split with the 4AD label and a personell change aren't the only things that make "Songs for a Blue Guitar" such a departure from the previous RHP sound. Originally this was to be Mark Kozelek's first solo album, and it's not a "proper" RHP album because the other members of the band are nowhere to be found. Still, it is a satisfying experience, thanks to the quality and diversity of the material, which includes radically reconstructed arrangements of songs by Yes, Paul McCartney and the Cars (this is where you'll find the version of "All Mixed Up" that's spicing up the Gap's adverts). A consistantly great CD.

Unlike most collections, "Retrospective" is actually a good place for the RHP initiate to start. Compiled by 4AD head Ivo Watts-Russell, the first disc is a decent primer in their pre-"SFABG" work, including essentials like "Grace Cathedral Park", "Bubble", "Katy Song", "Mistress (piano version)", "Medicine Bottle" and "Michael". The 2nd disc is for the converted, and includes demos, outtakes and live performances, plus 2 previously unreleased songs, "Waterkill" and a wistful "Instrumental". The outtake of "Shadows" is even better than the original, if you ask me.

Mark Kozelek's first solo EP, "Rock and Roll Singer", is every bit as good as anything RHP has ever released. Beautiful acoustic guitar based songs (with the exception of the title track) which are intimate and heartfelt... They are everything I like about RHP stripped down to bare essential. Kozelek, who has a deep appreciation for classic rock, has even managed to transform 3 Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs into introspective folkie ballads ("You Ain't Got a Hold on Me" is my favourite). He's also one of the few who understand what a great songwriter John Denver was, and his version of "Around and Around" is awe-inspiring.

"Down Colourful Hill" (1992, 4AD)
"Red House Painters (Rollercoaster)" (1993, 4AD)
"Red House Painters (Bridge)" (1993, 4AD)
"Ocean Beach" (1995, 4AD)
"Songs For a Blue Guitar" (1996, Supreme/Island)
"Retrospective" (2 CD compilation, 1999, 4AD)
"Rock and Roll Singer" (2000, Badman Recording Co.)

NOTE: As this piece was written in 2001, it only covers RHP/Kozelek albums up to that point. Red House Painters went on to release "Old Ramon", one of their best albums. Mark Kozelek put out an EP of AC/DC songs (restructured into folk ballads), called "What's Next to the Moon". Two live albums followed ("White Christmas Live" & "Little Drummer Boy Live"). Kozelek went on to be the driving force in Sun Kil Moon, whose album "Ghosts of the Great Highway" ranks with the absolute very best of RHP's ouvre. Sun Kil Moon later released "Tiny Cities", an album of Modest Mouse covers done up in a style remeniscent of his AC/DC reconstructions.


Geocities clean-up: TOOL

The following is from a series of posts culled from my Geocities site that I abandoned in 2001. Having finally gotten around to deleting it, I saved a few articles that I thought I'd share here. Remember, this stuff was written in '01. It's not my best, but here it is...

The first time I ever heard of TOOL was way back in 1992, when a friend of mine, who had the opportunity to run sound for them at a small club in Norman, Oklahoma during the "Opiate" tour, told me about them. He said they were one of the most bizarre bands he'd ever had the priveledge of working for, and was anxious for me to hear the hidden track on the copy of "Opiate" he had obtained at the show. I thought it was pretty cool, especially the line about his friend who did acid and tried to fuck his Lazee-Boy. Ha! That one still makes me chuckle.
But I didn't give the rest of the EP any consideration and as time went by I fell into the trap that many find themselves in, in that I thought TOOL was just another hard rock band in the vein of Pantera, et.al.
Boy, was I wrong.
A few months ago, having already noticed that singer Maynard James Keenan got a lot of praise on the RS.com boards, I got my monthly copy of CMJ New Music magazine and was glad to see a track on the compilation/sampler CD by Maynard's "other" band, A Perfect Circle. The track was "Judith" and I was very much looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about, in regards to Keenan.
Well, as evidenced by this page if nothing else, I was VERY IMPRESSED. The first thing I did after hearing "Judith" was to purchase the APC disc, which I liked quite a bit, but came to the conclusion that the best thing they had going for them was Maynard's vocals. So I thought, "If he's THIS good in a 'side project', imagine what he must be like with his main gig?"
And so I bought "AEnima".
YES!!! This was a great record, I had to admit, even though I could tell on first hearing it that it would take several more listenings before it's true genius was revealed, and so I went out the next day and got "Undertow". It was a little more accessable, but still extremely challenging, and I dug into it until it became one of the most played albums in my collection. I found myself relating to several of the songs....sort of as a "yin" to the Red House Painters "yang". It engaged my aggressive side, and yet it was very cerebral as well. Very much a "head-trip" album, even if not as much so as "AEnima" is. Soon certain songs would conjure up feelings I harbored for certain people and hearing those songs, and singing along with them, brought with it a catharsis that music had not provided me since first hearing "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols".
"Undertow", TOOL's second release, had become my favorite album, eclipsing even Radiohead's "OK Computer" in my favour.
Always wanting more, I had to get "Opiate". It took awhile before I "got"
"Opiate", not because the songs weren't great, but because I was just so
into "Undertow" at that time. I knew that at least a couple of the songs were on paar with some of the material on "Undertow" and "AEnima", but the production wasn't quite as strong and it was just too short.
These days I have flip-flopped, and "AEnima" is my favorite TOOL
album. Normally I'd say this was due to the "burn-out factor", and I'd certainly listened to "Undertow" enough times to suffer a bit of that. But
I knew, even as I rocked to "Undertow", that "AEnima" was the better of
the two (of the three, I should say). I realized early on that "AEnima" would reveal itself to be more complex and more satisfying in time.
Also revealed to be kick-ass rock songs were "Hush", "Cold & Ugly", "Part of Me" and "Jerk-Off" from "Opiate".
Favorites from "Undertow" have always been "Intolerance", "Prison
Sex", "Bottom", "Swamp Song" and "Undertow", but the whole album
is excellent as a whole.
"AEnima", as well, is better suited to one mindbending listen through it's
songs (as opposed to a song at a time), but if I HAD to choose favourites from that album, I'd have to go with "Stinkfist", "Eulogy", "Pushit", "Forty Six + 2", "Hooker With a Penis" and "AEnema".
I also have the new live CD "Salival" (on CD & VHS, since I doubt I'll be getting a DVD player anytime soon), and I think it is excellent for what it is...an appeasement to fans waiting for the next studio album. The videos are as creepy as you're likely to see, and the live versions of "Third Eye", "Pushit" and "Part of Me" are stellar. As far as I'm concerned, the cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" was worth a good chunk of what I paid for the set.

Geocities clean-up: SPRINGSTEEN

The following is from a series of posts culled from my Geocities site that I abandoned in 2001. Having finally gotten around to deleting it, I saved a few articles that I thought I'd share here. Remember, this stuff was written in '01. It's not my best, but here it is...

Listening to Bruce Springsteen always brings back memories of my teenage years, and I guess that's as it should be and probably IS with everyone who got into the Boss in their formative teen years.
I was very open-minded about music even at 16, having a taste for everything ranging from Mozart to the Sex Pistols to Yes to Genesis to Pink Floyd to the Beatles to the Stones to the Who to the Clash to the Talking Heads to Elvis Costello to Maynard Ferguson to all the stuff I'm emberassed to admit I liked, but nevertheless did, like Boston and Chicago and a few others I'd just as soon not mention. I had heard "Born to Run" on the radio, and I thought it was an excellent song, destined to be a classic. But I wasn't, at the time, interested in checking out Bruce Springsteen. Sorry, I just had too many other bands/artists that were hogging all my music listening time.
Now as it turned out, I joined the Columbia Record Club...who hasn't done that? I mean, no self-respecting music lover could ever, in good conscience, turn down a deal like 12 records for 1 penny, and all ya gotta do is buy 8 more and pray you don't forget to mail in that little card they send you every 3 weeks.
But everybody DOES forget to return those cards and everybody eventually recieves something they didn't ask for and usually doesn't want, either. I was no different, and when the package, familiar in shape and size to those talismanic album covers, arrived in the mail, I was curious and eager to see what I'd been sent...I knew I hadn't ordered anything, because there wasn't much I really wanted that they had in their catalogue back then.
I opened it up, and I'll even confess to being mildly dissappointed to find out that what I'd been sent was the new Bruce Springsteen album, "Darkness On the Edge of Town". It's not that I wasn't willing to give it a spin...sure, I'd planned on doing that...but you have to understand that I was constantly spinning "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the SEX PISTOLS" and it was in the process of changing the way I looked at music and what it should be about, and I just didn't think the "mainstream rock" of Bruce Springsteen was going to be the ticket.
From the opening drum lead-in to "Badlands" I found myself immediately drawn in, even a 16 year old music geek can relate to lines like "For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside/ That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive/ I wanna find one face that ain't looking through me/ I wanna find one place/ I wanna spit in the face of these badlands". Now these were lyrics worthy of any punk rocker I can recall, from Iggy Pop to Johnny Rotten to Jello Biafra. And I decided, almost immediately, that I was fast becomming a Springsteen fan.
I wasn't all that impressed with "Adam Raised a Cain", though it's not a bad song, by any means. The guitar one-note squall that opens the song is cool as hell.
"Something In The Night" was the clencher. When Bruce, wordlessly moaning and wailing, cuts loose into that primal scream at 1:06 I knew that I would probably be singing along with it every subsequent time I played it. It's a trait of the Bosse's that I later was able to discern in other classic Springsteen songs, most notably "Backstreets" (from "Born to Run"), on which, coincidentally, I once REALLY DID hurt my vocal cords trying to sing along with.
My dad never worked in a factory, to the best of my knowledge...he was a truck driver most of his life, and before his untimely passing away at 65 he had been a bus driver for the public school. Even so, the song "Factory" always made me think of him. The whole thing about the never-ending work routine and his iron strong work ethic. About how that tireless ethic extracts a high price on a man ("Factory takes his hearing, Factory gives him life...the working, the working just the working life"). The song is just so resigned to the nobility of that common, often mundane way of life. The way he frames the song's lyrics between the factory whistle's crys at the beginning and the ending of the shifts. That's sheer genius.
Springsteen doesn't get NEAR enough credit as a lead guitarist, in my opinion. Listen to the searing, gut wrenching leads in "Streets of Fire" to experience my point that he is one of the best.
To make a long story short, by the time I'd reached the album's end, the album's title track, "Darkness On the Edge of Town", I was ready to throw it into equal rotation with that Pistols record and the Clash's 1st US release. I bought his other 3 records, and of course I bought "The River" when it came out, and I guess I bought every one of them not too long after their release.
I played saxophone, baritone sax to be specific, in the high school stage band and I always resented having to be the bari player when I REALLY wanted to be the Tenor player. Hell, I was the only one with the guts to actually stand up and play an improvisational solo in any of the songs we played, why shouldn't I get to choose which saxophone I got to play? I was the big guy and the girls sure didn't want to play bari, so I got stuck with it. Oh, well. I played it well.
Anyway, to compensate for having to play the baritone saxophone in the band, our instructor let me take one of the school's tenor saxes home to practice with. Practice, to me, was putting on a record, usually of big band jazz stuff like Woody Herman's Thunderinng Herd, and playing my own solos to the songs.
I liked to play to the sax and guitar solos on the Rolling Stones "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'", but my favorite rock song to play sax with was "Jungleland", from "Born to Run". Man, let me tell you I could wail right along with Clarence on that whole solo section. You want to talk about catharsis? Try playing along to that song!
Of course I couldn't wait to "turn my friends on" to Springsteen, and it wasn't hard to do. My best friend at the time, a George Carlin wannabe with an appetite for music almost as insatiable as mine, Steve Duncan was immediately taken with Springsteen. He always wanted to "re-pay the favour" by trying to introduce me to artists he thought rivalled Springsteen, and he was of the opinion that Billy Joel had what it took to compete with the Boss. I don't have to tell you that he hadn't a snowball's chance in hell of me swallowing that hogwash. I'll never be a Billy Joel fan, even though I think he's done a scant few decent songs. Billy Joel is Billy Joel's biggest fan, and I have a problem with that.
Another close friend, Gary Affentranger, who we nicknamed "Chet Atkins" for absolutely no reason at all, was also easilly converted to the Springsteen contingent. Chet went on to take the word of Rolling Stone magazine's record reviewers as Holy Gospel. If it got a good review in "The Stone", then chances were extremely high that Chet was singing it's praises. He read more reviews than he ever bought records, but he had an unwaverable and usually informed opinion of everything that had been deemed fit to be reviewed in RS. RS has always been kind to Bruce Springsteen, and so, consequentally, Chet Atkins has been similarly kind to Bruce Springsteen. In this case, I had been able to persuade him to go beyond merely knowing ABOUT a great album and actually buying and listening to one, and he owned most of Bruce's albums before long, just as Steve and I also did.
I had an experience once, while in a place I'd just as soon not talk about, I once fell in love with a woman who dissappeared into thin air after an all too brief, but intense love affair. We were at a dance, and I'd asked the DJ to spin Springsteen's "Drive All Night" from "The River". This was before we established the short lived relationship, but it became apparent as we danced throughout that beautiful, slow song that a relationship WOULD be established. I couldn't even begin to describe what that relationship entailed...it was just too bizarre, but whenever I hear "Drive All Night" I'm taken back to that night we danced so close to each other...God, she was beautiful. She'd been mistreated and had the scars to prove it. She thought she was too fucked up for me to want to have anything to do with her. She was wrong, but it's all for the best, I'm sure.
And the whole "Tunnel of Love" album reminds me of my failed first marriage. "When You're Alone"...I always, in my mind, sing along to that song as if it were written for my ex-wife. It validated my feeling at the time that she had left me, perhaps afraid of hard times, before I'd even had a chance to realize my potential (Not that I believe I've reached it as of yet, but I'm sure a helluva lot better off now than I was when she left me). "Nobody knows, honey, where love goes, but when it goes, it's gone, gone, and when you're alone, you're alone". Man, I'd been alone long enough...I had a right to begrudge some loneliness on my estranged ex-wife. And this song, and the whole album, for that matter, give a voice to all those feelings that I associate with those times....""Last night as I kissed you 'neath the willow tree/ He swore he'd take your love away from me/ He said our love was just a lie/ and two faces have I".
These lines from "Two Faces", and the whole of the song that follows it, "Brilliant Disguise" describes ME to a tee in how I remember my first marriage. That's why they call him The Boss, and he's a good 'un to work for. It's as if he's lived your life within you and written the words and melodys that you perhaps didn't have the time or the talent to do as well, if at all. "Tonight our bed is cold and moist in the darkness of our love/ God have mercy on the man who doubts what he's sure of"....Does it get any better than this? Not often. That is a modern Proverb if I ever heard one (Now there's an idea for a message board topic: Rock & Roll Proverbs).
"Tunnel of Love" has SO many great songs on it. "One Step Up"....the progression of the chords and the way Springsteen wraps the melodies around them, weaving the lyrics, like a beautiful fabric, through it's density. "Valentine's Day", there's another beautiful one for you. This one can bring you to tears if you've ever loved someone (and who hasn't?). You have to sympathize with a guy who trys to sweet talk a bouncer into letting him into the dance for free, because, ostensibly, he "left his wallet back home in (his) working pants". Surely Slim the Bouncer let poor Bruce into the dance so he could keep his date with "All That Heaven Will Allow". I can surely empathize with Bill Horton, who let his caution slip away when he met a young girl in the early days of May. Even my least favorite track, "Spare Parts", is redeemed by Bruce's ability to make you care about characters like Bobby & Janey. I also really love the wordless-singing section near the close of the title track.
These songs are ageless and timeless, every bit as good as Lennon & McCartney's best. They are stirring, moving and captivating.
I once spent a weekend with some friends at a yearly 4th of July "Bar B Q and Jam Session", and a friend had brought his girlfriend who, I discovered after playing some Springsteen tunes on acoustic guitar, was the world's biggest Springsteen fan. I don't think it's immodest to say that she cottoned to me in a big way after the third or fourth rendering of "Wreck On the Highway". The constant attention she showered upon me became a thorn in the pride of her boyfriend, who turned out to be of the jealous sort. He never really cared for me in the first place...I shouldn't have classified him as a "friend", it was more like he considered himself to be a friend of the hosts, even though his eventual delving into crack cocaine insured that he was left with absolutely NO friends, there were those at the occassion who would count him as a friend. I wasn't really of that camp, though. His girlfriend was good looking and certainly out of his league, and had obvious great taste in music. I could picture myself serenading her on a regular basis if she could just drop this loser who got lucky. But in the spirit of fair play, I allowed what was, to be, and though I have no idea what became of her, other than knowing she got smart and dropped the loser, I will forever fondly recall singing to her, singing songs like "Atlantic City", "Stolen Car", "Wild Billy's Circus Story", "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)", "Nebraska", "Darkness On the Edge of Town". That incident alone made it worth all the effort I put into learning how to play guitar and eventually learning all those Springsteen songs.
And I have never regreted not sending back that 12" vinyl copy of "Darkness On the Edge of Town" that Columbia House sent me unsolicited. It was the gateway to some of the best music I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. From "Mary, Queen of Arkansas" to "Youngstown", he has consistantly turned out classic music, and I've never regretted buying a single Springsteen album....though, come to think of it, I don't think I ever paid for that copy of "Darkness..."....Maybe I should shut up about it before they come after me....
Thanks for indulging me.vvvvjy


Shameless plug for my other blog, etc..

As I pointed out in the last post, the photoblog I once maintained is no more (I just got tired of waiting for the folks at "ARTnews" to call and offer me a 5 page spread featuring my "intriguing" work). As awesome as it was, I've only had a couple of people express any remorse for it's passing.
Even though that one is kaput, I thought I'd let you all know that my OTHER blog, Bipolar Confessional is still up and running, even if it doesn't get updated very often. Regardless, it is a treasure trove of poetry and song lyrics from the mind of yours truly. The kind of blog that you want to spend some time with, plowing through the archives, savoring every word.
Okay, maybe that's exaggerating a little bit.
Still I hope you'll pay a visit sometime. Remember, it's Bipolar Confessional.

Speaking of "ARTnews", I'm a bit miffed at them...only a bit, mind you, I still think their magazine is excellent.
But you see, it's like this...a couple of months ago I bought the May 2007 issue at Barnes & Noble. I've always enjoyed it, and this issue was no exception.
So a few weeks later I decided to subscribe (their subscription rates are a real value compared to buying it in the stores). I sent 'em my money and figured they'd begin my subscription with the June issue, after all it was almost June when I first put the check in the mail.
So anyway, this morning I check the mail and I notice that there's a magazine in there, and I knew it couldn't have been "Esquire", which is the only other one that I subscribe to right now. "Yippee!", I thought, "My first issue of 'ARTnews'!"
I pull it out of the box, and DAMN! It's the May issue that I already had, the one I took the card out of to subscribe with. What the hell is that all about?
I'm hoping that it's like a complimentary issue, surely they know that I've already got that one, because the June issue had to have come out by the time they got my order (as the photo above demonstrates, it HAS come out...maybe I'll get it in a few days---NOTE: apparently they've deleted the photo I had of the June issue cover...as to who THEY are...well, who knows. BTW, I DID get my June issue...the very next day). Then again, I don't know why I'm bitching. I plan on renewing the subscription when it expires anyway.

Finally, if you've got Yahoo Widgets (and if you have the same eccentric, esoteric tastes that I do) check out Radio Sai. It's basically all Hindu sacred music, chanting, and Vedic teaching.
I am a Christian but I have to say that I have always been interested in the Hindu religion. Maybe it all stems from the whole George Harrison connection...I mean, how many times can you listen to "Within You Without You" and not be curious about the belief system that inspired it? To be honest, a lot of their teaching resonates with me. I seriously considered becoming a Hare Krishna devotee several years back. That didn't happen, as I always knew that I believed in Jesus Christ. Still I think that there's nothing terribly wrong with a love for the Vedic traditions, even if I don't embrace all of them.
I love the stuff on Radio Sai. Do a search in the Widget gallery and download if it sounds like something you would enjoy. I do...I listen to it every time I'm on the computer (yep, even right now!).
(NOTE---I had Radio Sai's symbol decorating this post, but it's gone now. Somehow I doubt it's the same people who deleted my ARTnews photo who did it, but I don't know why they would, seeing as how I'm basically giving free advertising to both of 'em... Sheesh!)



The "Nausea & Bliss" image collection, part 1.

For a couple of years I did a photoblog I called "Nausea & Bliss". The concept was to pair photographs & manipulated images with quotes and random passages from books, magazines, songs, etc. Even though the words chosen were never meant to fit the pictures they were chosen for, it was amazing how they often complimented one another.
For some reason I cannot fathom today, I deleted the blog. None of the captions exist, but I did save several of the images. Most of them are relatively nondescript, but there were many that I thought were quite good and held up on their own.
I did receive some encouragement from various quarters as to the artistic aspects of "Nausea & Bliss". And so it is with this support that I offer the following gallery of photographic compositions:

"Death Head"



"Ugly Teen"



"Atoms Colliding"



"The Fabric of Hell"

"The Fabric of Heaven"


"Substance I"

"Substance II"

"Blue Window"


"The Look of Love"

"Blank White T-Shirts"

"Ray's Feet"



...all images Copyright © 2007 by James Arthur Casey. All rights reserved.