Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ANN ROMNEY STEALS THE SHOW!

ANN ROMNEY 
STEALS THE SHOW!
__________________________

GOP "big guns" fired
shots from center stage 
on Tuesday night as
opening speeches were
delivered at the Republican
National Convention in
Tampa, Florida. Kick-off
proceedings had been
postponed for one day
due to weather conditions
brought on by Hurricane
Isaac. However, Republicans
made up for lost time and
came out swinging!
 __________________________

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially clenched his party's nomination for President late in the afternoon. From there the convention became a "Who's Who" event as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other prominent GOP leaders commandeered the podium throughout the evening. Their sentiments hearkened back to Ronald Reagan's inspirational 1980 convention address — the last time Republicans ousted a failed one-term Democratic incumbent President. Reagan similarly energized his flock 30 years ago by referring to the Carter administration as an "unprecedented calamity" and having offered "mediocre leadership." Hmm, déjà vu. Reagan further challenged, "Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, 'well-done?'  No, we've had enough."

But it was Mitt Romney's wife Ann who delivered  the most effective speech of the night — speaking passionately of the man she knows better than anyone — the man poised in Reagan-like fashion to assume the highest office in the land.

"Listen carefully," she implored the audience inside the packed, 20,000-seat Tampa Bay Times Forum. "This man will NOT fail!" The 63-year-old wife, mother and grandmother further offered, "No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!"

ANN ROMNEY
In response to critics who have suggested that he's led a "silver spoon" life (as if somehow that's something to be ashamed of), Ann Romney reassured supporters that, "Mitt Romney was not handed success. He built it." Sharing her personal health issues and recounting challenges the two have faced during their 40-plus year marriage she maintained that, "What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage." Delegates rose to their feet and cheered wildly as Mitt Romney joined Ann at the conclusion of her speech. After a warm and heartfelt exchange, the couple left the stage and moved to a private VIP viewing box for the remainder of the evening.

The convention resumes later today with Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan receiving and accepting the GOP Vice-Presidential nomination this evening. Festivities conclude tomorrow night with what is expected to be a deal-clinching speech from the top-slot nominee, himself, Mitt Romney.

-Christopher Long
(August 2012)

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Friday, August 24, 2012

THRIFT STORE ADVENTURES (Pt. IX)

THRIFT STORE 
ADVENTURES
(Pt. IX)

Okay, so I'm set to host a major music event in Florida on Monday night and I'm pretty psyched. I had a related TV interview yesterday, a radio interview today and a salon appointment scheduled for tomorrow with my stylist and nail tech. Then it hit me — what am I gonna wear? Oh sure, I've got closets full of fab fashions, but as an acknowledged international trendsetter, I needed fresh swag for this gig. But I wouldn't be caught dead at a shopping mall. Let's face it, in today's world, guys have limited options. In fact, unless you want to look like you just stepped out of a Lil Wayne video or a Nickelback photo shoot, guys are doomed when it comes to fashion. This situation required a bold vision!

As I've written numerous times over the last year or so, my girlfriend and I are both hopelessly addicted to thrift stores. But this is totally understandable. I mean where else are you going to score $1.00 skinny jeans and the entire Star Wars collection on VHS for a quarter? Not at Macy's, that's for sure. So with very little persuasion, I coerced Michelle into jumping with me in the ol' minivan and going on a little shopping spree. Heck, it had been nearly a month since our last excursion. And what treasures awaited...

Although this framed Jonas Brothers
poster was certainly tempting, I had
to focus on the business at hand.

The find of the day —
sidewalk chalk for a quarter.

I don't know who Cliffy is,
but his chair was flippin' awesome!

I became so overwhelmed by the discovery
of this Spice Girls video cassette (for a buck)
that I barely could calm my trembling hands
long enough to click the pic.

We also sniffed-out a new destination today.
The St. Paul's Service Center Thrift Shop
located in Eau Gallie, FL possesses more of a
boutique atmosphere than our usual romps.

So, did we accomplish our mission? Did I find any groovy new threads for my big gig? Of course! When it comes to thrifting, we NEVER fail. For those of you planning to attend the event on Monday night, I don't want to cast any spoilers, however, I will say three words  — Mountain Dew pajamas!

-Christopher Long
(August 2012)

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

YOUR FIRST CONCERT EXPERIENCE (Guest Post)

YOUR FIRST
CONCERT
EXPERIENCE
(Guest Post)
________________________

 "Guest Writer" Michelle Wilson
reached out recently to several
pros on Florida's east coast
music scene and presented a
very simple question. Although
readers from around the world
likely won't recognize the
names of many of these
musicians they're quite
well-known on Michelle's home
turf. The answers they gave
are a heck of a lot of fun
I certainly got a kick out of
this one. I hope you will too.
________________________

Do you remember your first live concert experience? Mine was The Police Synchronicity tour in New Jersey at the Atlantic City Convention Center, three hours away from my Long Island, New York home. It was February 7, 1984, and I was 16. Some high school acquaintances had the tickets and I had the ride — my cool, much-older cousin took us. It was the dead of winter, and nobody told me not to wear my funky high-heeled boots. Little did I know that we would need to trek 14.37 miles across the Atlantic City Boardwalk, oceanfront wind whipping our skin raw. With frozen faces and aching feet we finally arrived, and it was worth the pain — I was there to see and hear my beloved Sting and The Police! It didn’t matter that it was impossible to stand on top of the seat in my stupid, clunky high-heeled boots. It didn’t matter that we got lost on the way home. It didn’t matter that we barely could function at school the next morning. All that mattered was that I got to see my favorite band in the world. And yes, I do have EVERY ticket stub from EVERY show I ever attended.

My first concert ticket stub - The Police 1984.

So I posed this question to some hometown folks connected to Florida's east coast music scene — do you remember YOUR first live concert experience? Here are some of the responses in no particular order — they may surprise you!

"Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Faith No More — September 1992. Faith No More blew my mind, Metallica blew my ears, and GNR blew my eyes. To this day, it’s the best show I have ever seen. I was seven years old." -Justin Weir (Bullet Theory)

"Believe it or not, my very first concert was a Dead Serios show. D.L. Serios was my idol. I was 12 years old. Then my next concert was Metallica!" -Chris Cail (Sound Engineer)


"Freshman, so 1986. It was Dokken and Aerosmith at the Glens Fall Civic Center (upstate New York). People were smoking weed and hitting beach balls that looked like ghosts. It was a huge impression. Aerosmith is still one of my favorites." -Andrew Cartmell (The Supercats)

"The Doors at SUNY Stonybrook (Long Island, NY). I was a 19-year-old undergraduate there. Jim Morrison was wasted. Come to think of it, so was everybody else. I think it was 1967… the memory is a bit fuzzy." -Mike Davino (Chain Reaction / The Kore)

"My first real concert where you had to buy tickets and got to sit in cushy seats was in New Orleans. It was about 1977 and I really wasn’t happy about going. We were seeing an unknown singer named Al Jarreau at the Saenger Theater. I walked out of that experience enlightened. I have never been the same. I learned at that concert that the voice IS a mighty instrument." -Sybil Gage (Solo Artist)

"Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, and Ornette Coleman live in RomeItaly, 1985. Changed my life; it gave my life a direction and a purpose." -Giorgio Delli (Luna Pearl)

PAT METHENY
"KISSHollywood Sportatorium in Florida. 1978 — touring to promote Love Gun, though the latest release was KISS Alive II. Opened with 'I Stole Your Love' — just amazing — real explosions that were very dangerous — not the safe kind they use indoors now! My Dad took my brothers and I, and a bandmate, and my Dad quickly asked me if the entire concert was going to be that loud. Yup, it was. KISS at their prime with all four original members." -Greg Vadimsky (Greg and Brian Band)

"KISS (Dynasty tour), Father’s Day, 1979 at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Pembrook Pines, FL. Yes, my dad took me." -Michael Coe (Funpipe)

"I was seven years old and I was seeing KISS — it was 2000. It was so loud that I freaked out and hid under a vendor table. KISS’ manager, Doc McGhee, came out and gave me earplugs." -Jesse Long (Session Drummer)

KISS
"Def Leppard Pyromania tour with Jon Butcher Axis and Krokus — 1983. I remember going in by myself because my buddy had no ticket. He waited outside. It was badass. Met some girls dressed in lingerie. We smoked a bowl and had some fun. Totally missed John Butcher Axis but Def Leppard kicked ass. The great Lakeland Civic Center." -Ty Oglesby (Solo Artist)

"My mom dragged me with her to see Tom Jones at the Circle Star Theater in San Matron, California after her friend got sick and couldn’t make it. Needless to say, I had never seen so many women throw so many panties at one man in my young life!" -Lissa Galindo (Knight After Night)

TOM JONES
"Medusa at the Bamboo Lounge in Eau Gallie, Florida. The year was 1972. I was only ten years old, but I remember it like yesterday. Even back then the band was playing “White Rabbit,” “Born to be Wild,” and “Satisfaction.” The singer bent over during the second verse of “Honky Tonk Woman” and I got to see her boobs — it was awesome. During their last break, the drummer took me out back and gave me shots of tequila. To this day, I still enjoy going to see and hear them perform at local clubs." -D.L. Serios (Dead Serios)

"My first concert experience was WHAM! — 1985 in Miami. I was working at Publix on Palm Bay Road and Babcock Street. There was a group of fellow employees who all hung out together. We did everything together and partied a lot (when Bartles & James wine coolers were still cool). The whole lot of us got luxury suites at the Hyatt Regency on the Bay in Miami. All in all we had a good time.' -Ana Kirby (Solo Artist)

"I was 16 in 1978 and saw The Rockets and Cheap Trick. It was my first concert and my first road trip with friends. People openly were smoking and selling pot and acid. It was a total free-for-all. I left Melbourne a boy, but returned a man (or so I thought anyway)." -Steve Quinlivan (Rock Shot)

CHEAP TRICK
"Def Leppard / Krokus (1983) at Rochester War Memorial (upstate New York). Once my favorite bands for a few months." -Joe DelCorvo (Dead Serios)

"When I was 19, I was lucky enough to catch a relatively new band called GWAR in a small club in CharlottesvilleVirginia. The level of energy, showmanship, and creativity that these guys displayed on such a painfully small stage was just short of amazing. To this day, I think about that every time I step on stage… play every venue as if it was a stadium." -C.G. Jenkins (Bullet Theory)

"I was 15 and I saw Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, and about 20 others at the Suwannee River Jam in Live Oak, Florida." -Julia Edwards (All About Nothing)

GWAR
"My first concert was the AC/DC “Back in Black” tour — Kalamazoo, Michigan, Wings Stadium, September 26, 1980. Opening act was Ronnie Montrose’s Gamma (first album). I’ve been in love with both bands ever since!" -Eric Hotton (Rock Candy)

"Cream with Spirit opening — Orange County Convention Center — California. It was a life-changing experience. That’s what I want to do when I grow up." -Mike Gattiker (Spanks Band)

"I saw the Stray Cats at the Baltimore Civic Center in 1983. I was 15 and my older brother drove my friend and I down I-95 from Delaware in a Datsun 280Z two-seater. We had to take turns riding in the hatchback." -Greg Caputo (Pinch)

"Tiffany at the Palace Theatre, AlbanyNew York. Don’t judge… my next concert was Skid Row opening for White Lion at the same place!" -Erin Coe (Open Fire)

STRAY CATS

"This is very different, but my first concert experience was the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I was probably seven or eight years old. One of my music teachers was performing with the DSO and offered my parents tickets in exchange for tolerating me as a young, sassy jack-ass music student. When I experienced the sound of that orchestra, I was changed. Forever. It was so wonderfully loud and yet so beautifully clear!!! I loved it!!! I remember to this day that my first “crush” was from that concert. The hottie cello player in the freakin’ DSO!!! I wonder what she is up to these days?" -Glenn Hess (Medusa)

So, readers — what was your first concert experience? Feel free to share your personal story by posting a "Comment." Chris and I would love to hear from everybody on this one!

-Michelle Wilson
(August 2012)

___________________________

BE MY "GUEST!"
Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com
____________________________

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RECORD REVIEW: Nuclear Assault "Atomic Waste!"

RECORD REVIEW
Nuclear Assault 
Atomic Waste!
___________________________

Record liner notes:

The demo recordings on this slab
 are a snapshot of metal evolving.
Speed metal becoming thrash metal
becoming crossover. The longhairs
and the shorthairs each realizing
that maybe they weren't so different
from one another. Nuclear Assault
was a key band in this movement,
extending their hand to other bands
in an effort to push music forward.
Faster, heavier, better.

-David Karl Endlichhofer
Author of
PERPETUAL CONVERSION:
30 Years & Counting in the Life
of Metal Veteran Dan Lilker
___________________________

Before any embarrassing international pants-wetting incidents ensue, be sure that this is NOT the highly anticipated new studio offering from one of metal's "Big Five." Tracks presented on 2012's Atomic Waste! are, in fact, all demo recordings from the band's early days and exemplify a production caliber that most bands would fight to prevent fans from ever hearing. But then, Nuclear Assault has never been a conventional band.

Groundbreaking throughout the 1980s and into the '90s, Nuclear Assault merged punk, thrash, hardcore and speed successfully to create a unique brand of metal that many have copied, but few have matched. Their music created a powerful ripple effect that continues to be felt today.

Nuclear Assault at its apex - circa 1990.
But at its core, Nuclear Assault is a superb metal band. Their musical prowess  equaled or  surpassed  ALL of their contemporaries. Anthony Bramante is every bit the badass lead guitar  phenom as other more acknowledged golden gods, while drummer Glenn Evans is hands-down the mightiest of his peers — observations validated even through the lo-fi grit of Atomic Waste!  Yet despite the audio limitations of many of the master recordings used, "The Plague," "Vengeance" and "Cross of Iron" showcase the band at its neck-breaking best — tunes on which frontman John Connelly shines brightest.

Pioneers of politically incorrect punk, "Hang the Pope" and "Lesbians" are musically and lyrically as authentic as it gets. And although Nuclear Assault became known for this rather edgy lyrical content, founder and bassist Dan Lilker contributes fresh insight in the liner notes. "Initially, the lyrics were secondary to the music," Lilker admits. "(The lyrics were) just something to fill the gaps." Hence, Atomic Waste! offers instrumental demo versions of "Live, Suffer, Die," "Great Depression," "Brainwashed," "Survive" and "Fight to be Free."

Nuclear Assault - Atomic Waste!
(An impressive, photo-packed CD booklet)

Despite the perception created by the "Demo and Rehearsals" subtitle, the production quality of several tracks, including "Radiation Sickness," "Betrayal" and "Demolition" is actually as good or better than previous, properly produced Nuclear Assault records.

However, for the most part, it is what it is — a collection of garage-type demos — many culled from cassette tape master recordings. And in that regard, "Stranded in Hell," "Nightmares" and "Cold Steel" represent some of the dodgier-sounding tracks.

In addition to the CD format, Atomic Waste! also is available in black, white and "nuclear" green vinyl — exclusively through Germany's High Roller Records. As a longtime staunch proponent of the European metal scene, lead guitarist Anthony Bramante boasted recently about  the band's newfound label. "Colored vinyl! Only  from Germany, right? Fuggedaboutit!"


Although it certainly lacks the cohesiveness of such Nuclear Assault releases as Survive and Handle with Care, Atomic Waste! does serve as an impressive time capsule — offering longtime diehards a delightful and long-overdue kick in the sack.

-Christopher Long
(August 2012)

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Monday, August 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Hunger Games" (Guest Post)

MOVIE REVIEW
The Hunger Games
(Guest Post)
______________________

Today's guest blogger is my friend Robyn Sawczyn. Robyn is a marketing consultant who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Obviously, she doesn't get out much, as The Hunger Games was released several months ago. NOTE TO ROBYN: There is another recent film called Gone with the Wind that now is available on Betamax. The word on the street is that it's pretty darn entertaining – you may want to rent it from your local Movie Gallery!

Although I posted my own review of The Hunger Games here last March, I felt compelled to also share Robyn's passionate, albeit less than timely observations.
_______________________

Last night was "dinner and a movie" night. Lobster and champagne courtesy of my date –the cook. The movie – The Hunger Games.

I could not get through the Hunger Games book, so how was I supposed to get through the movie? And I could barely handle the beginning with the deer hunting. I have still not gotten over Bambi's mother being killed. To this day when watching it with my nieces I skip the first scene to avoid it. They may not even know that Bambi lost his mother to an evil huntsman.

Woody Harrelson – I always associate him with Cowboy Junkies due to the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers. Stanley Tucci – he always does a great job. His hair killed me. I'd like to see Christopher Long in that same style. And Lenny Kravitz – be still my heart.

The people of the city remind me of A Clockwork Orange in their appearance. Or some of the very wrong fashion choices made in the 1980s.

Ah, wouldn't it be nice if little parachutes would drop into our lives with what we needed most at the right moment?

Trackers shot into the arm? That gave me the willies. I watched most of the killing scenes with my eyes closed. And WHAT were those animal creatures thrown into the finale? I will see them in my nightmares. Just like the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. Oh how I hate that movie. I really enjoyed reading Wicked though.

My final take on the film – I should have paid more attention in Girl Scouts because I would not make it beyond stepping off the pedestal in these games.

It was an OK movie. Not sure what all the hype was about.

-Robyn Sawczyn
(August 2012)
________________________

BE MY "GUEST!"
Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.
-Chris
___________________________

Sunday, August 19, 2012

FLASHBACK RECORD REVIEW: BRITNEY SPEARS

____________________________

This concludes my 
 "FLASHBACK RECORD REVIEW"
series. I contributed the feature
originally to Ink19.com early in
2009. Thanks to editor Ian Koss
for allowing me to re-print it here. 
__________________________


BRITNEY SPEARS
Circus
(Jive)
______________________

I just love an underdog. And
I genuinely was rooting for
Britney Spears when her
latest "comeback" album
recently hit stores. In fact,
I was so hooked by the
record's catchy first single,
"Womanizer," and seduced
by its accompanying soft-
core video that I actually
journeyed through the
freezing streets of Nashville
to purchase the CD on
the day of its release.
______________________

But I was duped. Circus turned to be everything that deep down I feared it would be — another well-crafted collection of perfectly written and slickly produced, soulless three-and-a-half minute, high-tech, modern pop, synthetic pseudo dance tracks. Hooray!

Britney Spears has enjoyed such tremendous success over the last decade peddling this predictable type of electronic drivel that to the untrained eye (or ear) she actually can (at times) appear (almost) to be an artist. However, any current female "pop-tart" or Justin Timberlake could have had their face airbrushed on the Circus CD cover (or any of Britney's previous releases for that matter) and provided the same computer-generated vocals without compromising a bit of the music's, uh  — integrity.

Spears after being forced
to listen to her own music
for 24hrs straight.
Britney's longtime personal manager Larry Rudolph and veteran A&R messiah Teresa LaBarbera Whites come together here as the record's executive producers along with a host of  additional modern day ace lead dogs who meticulously crafted each individual track.

"There's only two types of people in the world. The ones that entertain, and the ones that observe," Ms. Spears states in the record's title track. "Well baby," she continues, "I'm a put-on-a-show kinda girl." Mmm, deep.

On "Kill the Lights" Britney is touted as the "new Queen of Pop." Really? C'mon now — 1999 was a very long time ago. And somebody needs to smell the coffee and recognize that at almost 30, the schtick is wearing thin.

This perky, well-adjusted little gal
is but one "script" away from
being my next ex-girlfriend.
I love pop icons and Britney Spears is arguably the Ali of modern-day pop icons. In 2008 she was Googled more frequently than Barack Obama. And Circus did debut at #1 on the Billboard chart. So, what do I know? But hey, don't you only have to sell like a dozen units these days to debut at #1?

Oh well, one thing is for sure though, Circus is, without a doubt, the newest record of Britney Spears' career.

-Christopher Long
(April 2009)

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