Hailer: Anyway I Can [Single]

HealerAlthough Hailer may have a reputation for simple psychedelic rock and roll with some sort of strange derivative of the obscure scattered amongst their tunes, any wondering if these cats could create a pop-fused masterpiece should be completely dismissed as any chance of being fact when “Anyway I Can” begins to splinter your ear drums.  This is a song that could serve as the “interesting music in the background of any independent film from the 1990’s”.  I can only imagine how much Cameron Crowe would approve of a band like Healer.  This is grandiose stuff, this is fun.

Yes, this is an Australian act.  This fact almost makes me feel bad about the fact that their style reminds me of some of the classic English fuzz pop bands (specifically from Exeter) that I have become such a fan of over the last few years.  But, I will be damned if I didn’t feel as enlightened by their lyrics and mad rush fortitude that I find just as impressive as acts like Simon Bish and National Pastime.  Save for the more hardcore innuendos and electric guitar skills, the sound is similar and simply just as brilliant.  Yes, Hailer is a band that is been killing it for a while, but it definitely feels as though they have truly found their voice and skill.  This a band that the modern ages should listen to, and feel proud that something this phenomenal can still exist in this, our time of dying.

James Lough shares This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995 in Portland, OR [Event]

ChelseaThere really is no other hotel quite like New York’s Chelsea Hotel. During its heyday from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Chelsea Hotel was a home and safe haven for Beat poets rubbing shoulders with machine-gun toting gangsters, performance artists partying with con artists, and film directors riding elevators with directors of drug rings.

This Saturday (June 29th, 2013), author James Lough comes to Portland, Oregon to share his oral history of the Chelsea Hotel “This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995.” The reading takes place on Saturday, June 29th at the Jack London Bar in SW Portland (529 SW 4th Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for a special free lecture for hopeful authors. Lough will be joined by actor Murri Lazaroff-Babin, best known for his portrayal of Sid Vicious from a stage adaptation of “Sid & Nancy.”

We took a moment to sit down with James Lough to learn a little more about why he decided to write the book, and what makes the Chelsea Hotel such an interesting subject for a book.

Why did you decide to write this book?

I decided to write the book when my brother-in-law, Robert Campbell, kept asking me things like, “Hey, y’ever heard of Herbert Huncke? He was the first Beat writer. I used to live next to that guy at the Chelsea.”  I did know the Beats, but I’d never heard of Herbert Huncke, so I figured he was a very minor figure, peripheral to the movement. Then, two weeks later, while reading a book review, I saw The Collected Works of Herbert Huncke. Turns out Huncke WAS the first Beat writer. He had turned Kerouac and Ginsberg onto the mean streets in Times Square, and as a result they dropped out of Columbia and hit the streets.

From then on, when my brother-in-law said things like “I knew Dee Dee Ramone — I was in a band with him at the Chelsea,” I started to take him more seriously. After grilling him about these things, and phoning people he connected me with, I realized I had great material for a book.

Who are some of the more famous people that you feature in this book?

The most famous people featured in the book are beat writers (Herbert Huncke, Gregory Corso, Marty Matz) punk rockers (Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders) and various other artist/writers/musicians like playwright Arthur Miller, composer Virgil Thompson, Warhol scion Viva, jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, writer Thomas Wolfe, musicians Tom Waits and Phillip Glass, photographers William Eggleston and Louis Faurer.

What made the Chelsea Hotel such an interesting subject?

The Chelsea was so interesting because it was the biggest, longest-lasting artist’s colony in US history, maybe the history of the world. It provided an encouraging, even libertine atmosphere that encouraged artists to create great art (and to burn out spectacularly if they made some shaky choices.) Not only that, but because management looked the other way when the artists got a little crazy or debauched, it was also an attractive place for criminals. So Beat writers rode the elevators with gangsters, con artists with performance artists, film directors with directors of drug rings.  And this makes of interesting stories galore.

About The Book.

A complete oral history of the famed Chelsea establishment during its grand, final days, “This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out At the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995” (Schaffner Press, July 2013) by James Lough peers behind its iconic façade and delves into the mayhem, madness and brilliance that emerged from the hotel in the last decades of the 20th Century. First-hand accounts from former residents and visitors provide a unique and vibrant, behind-the-scenes look at one of New York City’s most celebrated cultural landmarks, and a window with a view of the latter years of Bohemian New York. Residents like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Mark Twain and Thomas Wolfe, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol loved the Chelsea for its libertine atmosphere, where they didn’t have to put on masks or airs. And it didn’t hurt that Bard was rumored to accept paintings and scripts in lieu of rent past due.

For More Information, Check Out This Facebook Event.

Alela Diane: About Farewell [Album]

alela-diane_about-farewellA few years ago, my favorite band released an album that has never left my thoughts and iTunes playlist to this very day.  That band was/is Blitzen Trapper.  I love these guys, and I have expressed this time and time again.  But, what I may have never mentioned is that the star track from their album was heavily and heavenly assisted by one woman who has become another dear favorite of mine, and is an obvious influence on, not only myself, but my favorite band.  The song was “The Tree”.  And the illustrious woman was Alela Diane.  Saying that this woman has the voice of an angel would be as insulting as saying the Pope is simply a man of God.  Alela is an Americana treasure that we should all be so lucky to have ever none.  Yes, Lady Diane is a woman who gets the human psyche better than any of us can imagine, and has the beautiful pipes to tell us about ever so sweetly.  And on her latest full length effort About Farewell, she shines brighter than one could ever imagine.

Much like my beloved Eric Earley, this is a woman who can write a song that just touches my heart in all the right places and make me feel whole at heart and completely disheartening all at the same time.  The way she speaks of the desolate smoldering on “The Way We Fall” just kicks me in the memory banks and makes me resent and retort all of the past mistakes I can manage to conjure up from the thoughts best left behind.  This is a woman who sings about life, love, and the pursuit of decency amongst broken hearted thieves.  Yes, Alela Diane is a genius with the written word, and a masterful musician.  Furthermore, she is the obviously the mastermind behind the finest album of 2013.  Hands down, this is the best album to be sent down from the heavens to us this year.

About Farewell is available now in the digital form today, and the physical world on July 25th.  Discover more details right HERE.

STRFKR: Miracle Mile [Album]

STRFKR-MiracleMileOh sweet holy fires of hell, the new aged funky bunch is back with a vengeance with their latest disco laced, funk driven, and extremely solid album Miracle Mile.  In some senses, this is simply a continuation of the pleasure they have always provided their fans, but in so many ways it is different.  At the very least, it is an improvement from an already amazing style and sound that drives home the space shuttle of spunk and soul we have all grown accustomed to hearing from STRFKR in their continuous odyssey to get on down.

Miracle Mile‘s track list is solid in its entirety, but of course we are going to find a stand out track somewhere.  And fans and critics alike are finding “While I’m Alive” to be an obvious stand out track amongst a plethora of killer tracks.  But, who can simply look paced a track like “Say To You”, which sounds The Beach Boys, meeting The Beatles, meeting that crazy blue crystal meth from Breaking Bad.

The solidarity of Miracle Mile is what is so damn impressive.  As we have come to expect from the fuckers of stars, this is a crew that draws from the depths of sorrow to rediscover what it is that enlightens us at the exact moment we need to be revived from the depths of hell, to learn to party our way through a disruptive existence, and just let it go.  And by no stretch of anyone’s imagination, this is not only the finest work from STRFKR to date…but, it is definitely one of the finest albums you will adore in 2013.

Pick up your own copy of Miracle Mile at Polyvinyl Record Co. NOW!

And be sure to catch STRFKR live, as they are continuously on the move.  The band will be hitting the road for a cross country road trip starting at the Capital Hill Block Party in Seattle, and continuing across the great lands.  Find out more information HERE.

29 (More) Great Love/Missing You Songs [Exclusive]

I have to say that I am extremely surprised by the amount of attention our first installment of 29 Great Love/Missing You Songs (which you can check out HERE).  The amount of Google searches for things like “miss you songs” or “missing you songs” is almost astonishing!  We have even made the 1st page for searches, which as we all know, is the only ones we really look at.  This sort of makes me sad.  But it also makes me happy.  It is a juxtaposition between wondering if the hundreds of people looking something like this are either missing somebody they love and are currently associated with, or if they lost somebody special that they can never get back.  And in all actuality, both are fine reasons to find solace in music to sooth one’s soul.  Therefore, I am overall a very happy man to know that so many people are sharing and enjoying my wife and my opinions on great songs about love and longing.  So with that being said……

Today, as this post goes live, my wife and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary as a married couple.  That’s right, an entire decade of togetherness.  And if you remember the prouess of the last list of great tracks to miss some one to, it was for my wife’s 29th birthday (so systematically disregarded, but ultimately obvious).  And it doesn’t take a algerbra fanatic to understand that this means that my wife and I have been married since we were teenagers.  Well, you can know that of her, and assume the same for me.  Actually, I am 10 months younger than my wife (and yes, I rub it in her face every day we get closer to 30!), meaning I was 18 years old.  In fact, I was married to my wonderful wife exactly one week after I graduated from Kelso High School in 2003.  So yes, it has been a long time, and through thick and thin, we have prevailed as lovers and friends.

And so celebrate our love, and to share it with all of you, we have both conjoined thoughts and created another list of great songs to miss the one you love, or simply love the one you love.  I also obviously want to extend a warm and loving Anniversary announcement to my beautiful wife Melissa Trembath.  You are the countess of my heart, and my reason to intake oxygen and exude energy in any manner.  I am shit without you.  I hope you know this day in and day out.  I love you.

And the rest of you…….Enjoy!

Also be sure to check out our original 29 Great Love/Missing You Songs from last April.

*as always, this is not all inclusive, and in no apparent order.  i also realize that some of these choices might be a bit too “obvious” to the hipster crowd out there.  that being said, feel free to leave a comment or two with your own choices and maybe they could make the next round, should we have another round.  so again, enjoy!*

A Band of Horses

A Band Of Horses – “No Ones Going To Love You”

Andrew WK

Andrew W.K. – “She Is Beautiful”

Avalance City

Avalanche City – “Love, Love, Love”

Banana and Louie

Banana and Louie – “Come Home Baby”

Beach Boys

The Beach Boys – “God Only Knows”

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper – “The Tree”


Cake – “I Want To Love You Madly”

Cerny Brothers

The Cerny Brothers – “Don’t You Run Away From Me”

Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie – “I Will Follow You In To the Dark”


The Decemberists – “I 4 U & U 4 Me”

Eagle Eye Cherry

Eagle Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight”

Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith – “Say Yes”


Everclear – “I Will Buy You A New Life”

Good Old War

Good Old War – “Loud Love”

Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart – “Honey Come Home”

Iron & Wine

Iron & Wine – “Love and Some Versus”

Lotte Kestner

Lotte Kestner – “Halo”


MGMT – “Electric Eel”

Motley Crue

Motley Crue – “Without You”

Pete Droge1

Pete Droge – “If I Don’t Love Me (I’ll Kill Myself)”

Pete Droge2

Pete Droge – “Beautiful Girls”

Pete Townsend

Pete Townsend – “Let My Love Open the Door”

Ray LaMontage

Ray LaMontage – “You Are the Best Thing”

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams – “Wish You Were Here”


Tonic – “Sugar”

Trespassers William

Trespassers William – “Different Stars”

Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground – “I’m Sticking With You”


Ween – “I’ll Miss You”

The Young Immortals

The Young Immortals – “Photograph”

Lian Lunson [Interview]

Lian Lunson Head Shot 1

Like so many other folks I know, I find that Netflix can be overwhelming at times.  There are just so many options to choose from.  Do I re-watch the episodes of Arrested Development since it came back around?  Or do I watch the “dark independent comedies featuring a strong female lead” that they always seem to recommend, much to the dismay of my manhood?  Nah, I think I will just watch another random documentary.  And alas, I found quite the gem recently with Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man.  If L.C. wasn’t awe-inspiring before watching this film, he sure got to me after!  This is one of those documentaries that is far from just a simple biography told through the lips of random individuals.  This was special!  Half concert, half doc, full on awesome.

I loved this film so much I felt I desperately needed to reach out the creator of this fine gem and ask her a few questions to gain just a little more insight on how she managed to produce what should be considered a classic, and will be in due time.  So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the lovely and talented Lian Lunson.  Enjoy!


What made you want to develop Horse Pictures, and transition from the world of acting to documentarian?

I actually just always loved films..when you are young and a girl, the first thing you think is you want to be in them. Going to Drama School was very good for me..I think it gave me the confidence to pursue what I really wanted to do. I didn’t set out to make Documentary Films..It’s just what happened. I won’t make them forever..but I will always pursue the subjects that I am most passionate about.

What sort of process do you go through whilst watching hundreds of hours of photage and deciding how to condense it down to a normal length film?

I think the process involves letting the film make itself a lot of the time..and following your intuition. When you have a lot of footage and ideas, there is so much choice..how do I start the film..how do I finish?

They are the two elements I tend to start with..and the title..those three parts to me are the key…Once I have those and I know in my heart they are the right choices, the rest of the film falls into place.

What would you say is your greaest non artistic inspiration?  What keeps you motivated?

I would have to say the Unknown. I study Metaphysics..and Film Making and the Metaphysical world are very connected…they feed off each other..also the lives of animals. I am very inspired by animals, they teach you something constantly..so these are the things that keep me busy and happily motivated.

Leonard Cohen & U2 as seen in Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Leonard Cohen & U2 as seen in Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

What was the most interesting fun fact you learned about Leonard that others might not have known during the making of I’m Your Man?

That he is more mysterious than anyone could possibly imagine.

Who are some other folks, musicians or not, that you would like to profile and have yet to do so?  

I never talk about those subjects until they cross my path or knock at my door.

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming project entitled The Boom Boom Room?

It is a script that I have written..it is a beautiful story about Faith Love and Family…I have tried really hard to get it made..now I am not trying. The film will get made when the time is right and all the forces are lined up in it’s favor…then it will have the best opportunity to be the most visible.

Lian Lunson - Rufus and Martha 1

Rufus & Martha Wainwright as seen in Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Magic, endless possibilities, et l’amour et l’appréciation de cette belle vie!

What wast he last thing that made you smile?

The transformation of my last rescue dog..seeing her face change when she realized she was now loved and no harm would come to her.

Guilt Monkey: Revolution [Single]

Guilt MonkeyGuilt Monkey is one of those bands that I usually don’t find myself falling in love with.  Although I do enjoy the occasional “hard rock” act time and again, I am generally a softy looking for lovely little melodies that calm the soul.  But, like anyone else, I get a little upset from time to time.  Especially when I see all the violence, hatred, and re-distribution of insanity that occurs on what seems to be a daily basis.  So like many others out there, I find solace in a little bit of politically driven, fist in the mouth hard rock.  And thankfully, there is a gem of a group hanging around Brussels known as Guilt Monkey that is making Rage Against The Machine seem calm and steady.  They are out for blood.  They want the world to hear them.  And if they continue upon this path of construction in which they have laid for themselves, soon the world is going to be all knowing of the power frontman Brin Addison and company have to compel the minority, and to destroy the majority.

In with all that comes their delightfully in your face single “Revolution”.  The message of “Revolution” is clear, simple, and concise.  “Take back your freedom” is a line that can mean so many things, but shouldn’t be too confusing.  And in the Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring movements, it isn’t news, really.  Dictatorships are becoming as useful as VHS tapes these days for those who care to see the world advance.  Even in some “democracies”, we are finding hoards of folks who have realized that not all is well in this day and age.  So the message is simple: there are millions upon millions of us who are affected by the evil deeds of only a few thousand or so, so fucking do something about it!  If only more people would be willing to take some time out of their lives to change the world, we might not have these issues arise.  Sadly, this beautiful theory is without a doubt, bullshit.  But, if there is no fight, there is no chance (i.e.  “a fighting chance”).  The world has never been changed by those who only saw only a light of defeat at the end of the tunnel, it has been changed by those who didn’t care if they ever saw the end of the tunnel.  The world is changed by those who may never actually see the change, but chose to live their lives in a fighting stance, no matter what the future holds.

And the good old boys from Belgium know this is of upmost fucking importance, and want you to take action.  And what can a rock and roll act really do to help?  Well, they can make bad ass tracks that get you hyped and ready to “take back your freedom”, the same way Bob Dylan had the hippies wondering what the hell was just “blowing in the wind”, or the way that Rage made us question was worth “killing in the name of…”.  And better yet, in this new day and age, they will give it to you…..ABSOLUTELY FUCKING FREE!  That is right.

Guilt Monkey World on a ThreadFollow this link HERE and get “Revolution” absolutely free.  For visual stimulation, check out the OFFICIAL VIDEO.  And then  be sure to check out the rest of their sophomore release, World on a Thread, for even more politically driven tracks that are not only thought driven, but fucking beautifully played.  This is hard rock music for people who think they don’t like hard rock music.  Guilt Monkey is loud with reason, and sullen with heart felt melodies that leave you paralyzed with both exuberance and delight.  This is just plain beautiful music with a great reason to get up and shout.

Recollections and Repressions Part II [Travelogue]

travelSo, I have done it once again folks.  I left my family to their own accord as I venture across any given sea across the globe to do what I have always deemed as what I “have to do”.  This is my job I would say.  This is what I do.  And while I know this is true, it really doesn’t make it any easier.  I had such an amazing time coming back to reconnect with my wife and children that I simply did not want it to end.  Even though I know that I will be back in two months, and then three months after that the separation will be a thing of the past.  But, it still doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m writing from the actually pretty damn comfortable aisle seat on hour 4 of a 9 1/2 hour flight to Yokota, Japan.  Life of Pi has just finished up on the small screens, and I still can’t figure out what was so damn fascinating about that movie (so…the tiger just, left?).  Duke Ellington is doobie doing in my ear through a tired iPhone and my chest is still swelling with the bitter taste of sadness.  I am desperately not looking forward to returning to the calm.  Although it may seem like a bit of a silly predicament, but it is a real one in my eyes:  I don’t want to go back to the Songtan lifestyle.  While I like and respect some of my favorite older gentlemen who have made a life in the area, I just couldn’t do it.  As much as I enjoy soju and consistent bouts of alcoholism, I don’t want to go back.  I want my family back.  Yet, I don’t want them in Korea.  It’s just not the place, in my opinion.

View from the Space Needle

View from the Space Needle

On happy notes, like I previously said, I had a blast getting to reconnect with my family after 7 months of isolation.  There are just certain ways you look at each other in real life, that you simply can not see digitally via Skype and what not.  The touch, the feel, the love.  It was all wonderful.  I last left you fine readers on the floor of a Comfort Inn in the SeaTac region.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a flight, and I spent another two glorious days with the ability to rest between the arms of my beautiful wife at night, take my daughter to the bus stop like a decent parent, sit in the waiting room of my daughter’s dance studio like a good daddy, all of these things before Melissa and I were forced to rise at 0130 to make the drive up to Seattle to try and get on another flight.  So many parts of me were begging to not get a spot.  I didn’t want to go.  I still don’t want to go, as I have probably made abundantly clear.  While I have enjoyed Korea to some extents, I just don’t know how I am going to feel after I got a taste of what I was missing.  And brothers and sisters, it tasted damn good.

Even the hometown that I tend to truly loathe was beaming with delightfulness as a ran around Lake Sacajawea with sweat on my brow, or simple soaked in the midnight air with my darling wife and/or sadistically drunk father in law.  It was all fine and great.  Portland proved amazing, once again, and I finally got the family up to the top of the Space Needle, which turned out to be almost exactly as unimpressive as I figure it would be, and cost three times as much as it was even close to being worth, but we did it!  Yes, it was just shy of two weeks, and every day was greater than the next.  This was without a doubt of the best, and ironically saddest, homecomings I have ever had.  It was all hearts and flowers because I waited so long to see the ones I hold dearest to me, but saddened because a homecoming usually meant that I am going to stick around for a while afterwards.  But, alas, here I am on this stupid fucking plane, 4 1/2 hours into the flight, and feeling enraged that this is the third flight I have taken in 7 months, and the new Ice Age movie is STILL FUCKING PLAYING!


(Another) View from the Space Needle

I have done the bouts of separation several times before, as many of you already know.  Three deployments to the middle east, two months in the deep south, and countless jaunts across the U.S.  I am always leaving and abandoning my family.  It’s just part of what I do.  In fact, just when I think that I am home for good, something comes up.  Like a year long trip to Korea for instance.  That one sure came out left field.  But, as I tell myself when I am feeling positive, we are over half way through, and we still have a little mini vacation in between that amount of time where Melissa will come and see the lonely ventures I partake in in the land of the morning calm, and I will accompany her back to the states to prepare for our family’s journey to Spain.

Spain!  Spain, Spain, Spain!  It has been the magic word over the last year.  It could mean anything at this point.  We don’t talk about a heaven much in our family, but we certainly talk about a Spain!  It would be an understatement to say that we are all a bit excited.  In fact, the knowledge that I will be headed to Spain after this tour has probably stunted any sort of yearning to explore the “vast” land that is South Korea.  I am so desperate for this time to be over that I seem to refuse to stop and actually enjoy it.  And I honestly have no plans to.  I’ve built my own experiences in this land, and while they may not fit the mold of every tourist or stranger in a strange land, it is what I have accepted as fate, and that it shall be.  Of course, I may still try and get out and about, but I am pretty much in go mode for the European lands.  My beautiful wife wants to vacation in this Paris place with the breads and such, and I will be damned if she doesn’t get what she wants.  Soon we will be spending days off on the beach, lounging away the hours our children are in school, simply relaxing as they frantically build sand castles under the dawning sun. Yes, it seems utterly impossible for Spain not to be absolutely perfect.  And who knows, maybe it’s not.  But, right now it is as beautiful as it gets.  My wife is living in a small bedroom in her parents house with five kids running around.  I am living desolate in a dorm room that simply reeks of loneliness.  She lives at the gym, I live at the bar.  We are both leaning things about ourselves in separate worlds that we probably didn’t actually realize we were looking to find out.  But, we are ready now.  We are ready to get this god damned show on the road, get across that ocean, and begin our lives in constant translation into Espana.

Subaru along Highway 30, Oregon Coast

My pretty little Subaru along Highway 30, Oregon Coast

So while this may not be your conventional travelogue where series of events actually make sense, this is all I have for you (if looking for more experiences and rather somewhere closer to your location – you can find places and learn more here).  Korea was basically a bust.  Unless you have dug the stories I have already told then, I guess it is okay.  I can dig up some more interesting fun facts for future’s sake, but don’t expect too much.  As I said, let’s get to Spain!  That is where I might give a shit enough to write something about the things I see.  Until then, I will try and please you all the best I can.  But, I won’t guaranteed a god damned thing.  Enjoy!

Bike Thief: Live at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR [06.05.2013]

Bike ThiefLast Wednesday night I was able to make it out to Doug Fir to check out a few local Portland bands. The newest to the scene was actually the headliner, Bike Thief. That’s saying a lot, considering the quality of the two acts before them. Needless to say, this show was superb. Bike Thief was created by the band’s front man, Febian Perez, who has done an outstanding job of making his songs come to life with an 8 piece ensemble. This being my first time hearing Bike Thief live, I was bit worried that the intimate sound would be lost in the shuffle. I also feared that the crowd would dwindle by the time they came on stage being that it was a Wednesday night.

Right from the start my worries disappeared. This show was so good that I expected Tom Waits to jump on stage in a matching black outfit. Not only did people stick around, but they were loving the music.  Being a more mellow, folky band, than the other two acts on the ticket, I imagined it would be difficult to follow an “indie” pop rock band like De La Warr and keep the place satisfied. Yet they did that and more. Balloons fell, people danced, and from the smiles on their faces, I could clearly see that Bike Thief had made a lasting impression on the crowd. The professionalism of this band is commendable given their short time together.

Be on the lookout for big things in the future. http://bikethief.bandcamp.com.

Recollections and Repressions Part I [Travelogue]

02I am writing from a hotel room beside the SeaTac airport just a day prior to what should be an advantageous day sight-seeing a city I rarely visit, and know almost nothing about.  The city of Seattle.  This is just another stop I will be making on my short tour through my homeland known as the Great Northwest.  My time has been spent very well during my first mid tour, and I have been having some of the best times of my life.  I’m frankly not looking forward to returning to the land of the morning calm.  In fact, I sincerely believe that had Korea not been formed a couple of thousand years before earlier, this is the land that could have stolen such a nickname.


My time in Korea has not been a total wash.  Although I have failed to document each event specifically, I have definitely tried to make the best of my time abroad.  I have toured a few temples, walked through the streets of Seoul during the daylight hours and witnessed ceremonial dancing and ate some fine traditional Korean food (well, “fine” might be a bit much, the food hasn’t really impressed me at all).  I’ve also spend a rowdy night in Seoul catching up with an old friend, destroying my liver and soul just a bit more with each bottle of Hite or shot of Soju I consume.  I even hiked three miles in a pair of worn out Chuck Taylors just to see a few monuments (this being unplanned and painful, but ultimately pretty okay).  And I have also continued to enjoy my time in the quaint and majestically sinful area previously mentioned as Songtan.  But, still, I am not looking forward to heading back.


01It’s not that opportunities in Korea are lacking, because there are definitely chances to explore and see some cool old shit and what not.  But, my heart is just not in it.  Without wanting to be too entirely insulting to an entire nation that has such a varied history, I have decided on a simple fact….. Korea is the Iowa of Asia.  I mean, Iowa might have something to offer as far as tourism and excitement but, c’mon?  Really?  When there are places like the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan, even Guam, right in your back door, Korea seems a bit bland.  I don’t mean this to be the opinion of everyone, just mine.  And I don’t want to sound ungrateful or even unimpressed.  I have actually rather enjoyed meeting new friends and such around the ole VFW and other areas around my local area.  It is a fun place, but I can honestly say that my experiences have run their course and I am absolutely ready to go.  Especially after just a week back here.  


05I arrived a week ago hopping off a twenty-nine dollar flight and 17 hours of travel.  And when I saw my wife’s face as I rode of the escalator after customs, I was ecstatic.  She was simply glowing and beautiful, just as I had remembered her (on Skype the day prior).  The adventures have been endless, and each deserving of documentation in their own right.  But, alas, the hour grows late, my family is fast asleep with dreams of world’s fair projects and aquatic life visuals for the following day dance in their pretty heads.  A cold Landshark brew cools my toes and I am forced to sit an awkward angle on the floor as my recent tattoo portrayal of the great and wise Gonzo mastermind Hunter S. Thompson can not handle too much pressure seeing as it is less than 36 hours imprinted on my skin.  Just another bout with intense eradicating scar I will leave my homeland with as I eventually venture back to the drunken calm that is Songtan.  Seriously, I don’t want to go back.  I do want to go to Spain, but that is another venture in its own right.


In the short 8 days I have been back, I have done almost too much to truly account for.  And at some points I haven’t done a god damned thing.  I paid a visit to my beautiful Grandmother who is about to have her bladder surgically extracted.  I spent one more night on the couch in the basement of my dear friend Tyler Averett’s parents after a wildly and raunchy spoken night with “the Gentlemen”, just as I had done several times over the last twelve years.  This venture included about an hour and a half of Def Comedy Jam style rants and quips that I dare not describe in detail in fear of offending the two or three women who actually read this smut I put out (which is also a cop-out for saying, “I remember doing it, I just don’t remember what was said, but it had to be terrible”).  Sadly (or not?) these nights have officially come to an end.  Sir Averett has finally decided to move on with his life and is moving to Berkeley California, and is probably sleeping off minor jet lag down in the Golden State at this very moment.  But, dammit him, myself, and the delightfully refined Adam Mattson sure did it right.  I awoke dazed, confused, and severely constricted from sadness to notice three empty fifths of booze and I was out of cigarettes.  Sounds like a beautiful night to me.  


03Beyond that, my beautiful wife and I got a room at a flea bag motel on Portland Oregon’s east side, just a block away from the Doug Fir Lounge where we enjoyed turkey burgers, Raineer beer (well, I did, Melissa drank her Malibu Rum), and the musical stylings of one of the greatest bands to be performing today, the great Blitzen Trapper (Live Review pending).  This was a magical night as well.  Over the last few years I have grown accustomed to speaking with folks like BT at indie rock gigs, and the humanization has really sunk in.  But to Melissa, seeing the great Eric Earley (who this half-assed music blogger has reported as, “the son Bob Dylan wished he would have had”) was absolutely spell binding.  Even cute.  She is so enthralled by this man’s presence, it was like watching Jesus resurrect himself.  Or like the time I met Jared Mees in 2009 when I was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about meeting a musician I admired.  Not to say that I wasn’t at a loss for words when meeting Eric, but it wasn’t as dramatic, and I was blushing a whole lot less than Melissa was.  Yes, Blitzen Trapper is a very important band to us.  Their words have meant the world to the both of us for more reasons than I actually care to get in to.  Just understand that they are important to us now, and shall always be.


So, I was gleefully writing this silly diatribe of mine, in the dark and half drunk from WIld Turkey, a reunion with the greatest thing to come out of Korea known as Soju, and the fore mentioned Landshark followed by a new one, when I glanced at the television to see the city I currently sit in being profiled on the Weather Channel series It Could Happen Tomorrow to not only be intrigued, but absolutely frightened.  According to this propaganda, the events of the Bay Area in 1989 would look like the Boston Marathon to Seattle’s 9/11 if the same entirely possible scenario occurred to the hypothetical “tomorrow”.  And seeing as though I am actually headed to tour around this city a bit, and actually head up that whole Space Needle thing that I have yet to do in my almost thirty years of existence and seemed like a fitting outro before I become European and celebrate a half of a decade abroad…..  I am a bit frightened.  It is probably the midnight hour and the booze that sparks paranoia, but dammit am I compelled to post this extremely rough drafted and poorly spell check travelogue up before I could possibly be thrown from the Space Needle tomorrow.


04On that note, I shall call this Part 1 for now.  Wish me luck.  And South Korea, if tomorrow is my punishment for not living your country to the fullest, well, that’s just mean.  Good night everyone and best of luck in all your tomorrows…..if you are so lucky.  Cheers!