Nov 27, 2014

Artifact Movie Quick Review

30 Seconds to Mars were really cool guys when we toured with them.  More importantly, this documentary is a really good look into the music business and the current state of affairs of the music industry.  It's shown from a perspective I can relate to as a former member of a rock band who was signed to fucked over by a major label. It brought back a lot of memories from around that time in my life.

Check it out on Netflix.

Nov 19, 2014

Payola: Still a Problem

A friend of mine and fellow musician Gentle Jones has come across a new kind of payola. The major labels are careful these days to be clever in the way they pay off radio and media outlets but the independent artist is getting fucked in a different and quite blatant way.  The internet, after all this time is still new territory for music.  Back in 1999 my band was cutting edges being on and Napster was still flying under the radar.  The industry has changed so much in 15 years and has steadily adapted and found new ways to help and rip off artists every chance they get.  Which is why many have elected to bypass the major labels. Some like Gentle Jones are going through smaller independent labels and some merely do it themselves.  Technology has made creating and distributing music cheap and simple but there are apparently still obstacles. Jones's article highlights first hand what he's been dealing with in trying to promote a new album he's been working on with High Elders called Forest Of Pencils.

Exerpt from

I sent the video to several music blogs and the response was incredible! Hot Press Magazine called the video, "Stunning... Eye-popping... Fabulous!" However, among these blogs I emailed were several who directly asked me for money just to post the video! This type of payola is increasingly common online these days. Many of those payola blogs are just automated content retweeted by cheap twitterbots and of no real value to an aspiring artist because real people don't actually check the content. Here I've posted a few of the emails I got in response to the video just to give other artists and music fans an idea of what its like to be independent in today's music business and the sorts of predatory folks who will try and juice you, many of them openly admit they are using twitterbots to promote your content:

--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

$100 it'll be up by midnight and emailed to other blogs affiliated with me--


--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders - Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

For general posts we charge a small fee of $10.00 for standard placement and $25.00 for featured placement which includes a 3 day tweeting of the video on our Twitter page personally.

If you are unable to pay we will put the video/song in consideration for placement. As we get 100's of emails a day for artist placements. If you are selected we will email you the link to the video on our site and will tweet it out one time after being posted.

If interested please send the payment via Paypal to


Man, what scumbags.

Check out Gentle Jones:
Twitter @gentlejones
Gentle Jones Facebook
Gentle Jones Youtube 

Watch the video for Surrounded By Lights here make sure to subscribe and let him know what you think.

Also read my 2005 post from my Boycott The Music Industry blog telling my personal story with major labels, payola and a bigtime payola lawsuit that Sony Music quietly lost.

Nov 14, 2014

Director's Cut

You probably know I was in a band called Fingertight. I've talked about it here before.  We had some success in the late 90's early 2000's. Record deal, tours, etc.  One of the many things that I got to do during that time was make a real-deal-hollywood music video.

Old news right? You have probably already googled the phrase 'Fingertight guilt video'   and watched the same one everyone else has- of us dramatically flailing while enthusiastically lip synching to a medium tempo song cleverly shot in front of an industrial backdrop.

What most of you don't know is that what the record company let you see in that video is only about 60% of what was filmed.

When we approached the very talented and then up and coming artist Jeff Soto to create an album cover for us we never imagined the story it would tell on it's own. One that fit the story we were trying to tell with the songs on the record.  Later fates aligned and another skilled artist Mike Sloat was chosen to direct our music video.

The cover consisted of four folding panels to reveal the full painting. 
 Sloat embraced the artwork of Soto and made it come alive.  He created a cast of costumes and backdrops that matched the album art.  Continuing where the music and artwork left off, the video told more of the story.  But much like a lot of the bittersweet battles we found ourselves in during this time, our artistic vision was beat down by the record company once again with the final edit of the video. They swooped down from their dark castles in Gotham and took out anything meaningful and artistic leaving all of us with four dancing monkeys.

I dug up the original director's cut of the Guilt (Hold Down) music video and have posted it here the way it was meant to be seen for your viewing pleasure.  This was a true work of art all around and shouldn't be left on a cutting room floor.

Side note: I've posted this once before several years ago on Youtube but the record company had it taken down. I don't know how long it will last here so watch it while you can.  The battle never ends.


Nov 10, 2014

Exodus: Bringing Thrash Back From The Dead

Exodus's new album is probably the first album by a late 80's Thrash Metal band released in the last 20 years that doesn't completely suck zebra balls.  Slayer's had some ok stuff but I believe it's never been on par with even Seasons In The Abyss.  Metallica has been a total joke since 1993.  Testament kind of changed gears and went a little darker. I dont know what the fuck Death Angel is now but I definitely wouldn't call it Thrash. Megadeth is just out of gas putting out disappointment after disappointment. Anthrax completely fucked up by hiring John Bush. The last one with Belladonna was okay but still nothing like Persistence of Time. I think Pantera has sucked since The Great Southern Trendkill but that's a controversial opinion I know. Anyway, now they're dead.  Kreator's was a valiant effort but it actually sounds like an album performed by 45 year olds.  Who else is left?  GWAR? GWAR gets a pass even tho they don't need it. GWAR can get away with anything because of how completely awesome they are. If there were any others then they don't matter because they obviously weren't memorable to me.

Then there's Exodus — who really, back in the day was not a top shelf thrash name.  They were one of the many powerhouse bands coming out of the elite SF Bay Area Thrash Metal scene in the mid-late 80's coming up in the shadow of Metallica.   Personally their 1998 effort 'Fabulous Disaster' was my favorite tape for a while around that time, (yea I said tape but by the time they came out with "Thorn in My Side" was the same old watered down radio metal everyone else was doing at that time.  Fast forward to 2014. By now I'd completely written them off just as I did all of my thrash metal idols from my youth.  When I heard they were doing a new album I had the same reaction I have when any of the aforementioned bands say they're putting out new shit.  A big "meh" and a courtesy listen and be glad I didn't buy the album.

So I hear Exodus of all names is doing a new record and I wait for a single or youtube clip to drop and have a listen.  My first reaction is that it's not bad... not bad at all.  Then by the fourth or fifth listen I'm air drumming and fist pumping in my car chanting "blood in - blood out!"  Finally I pick up the full album and track by track I'm totally digging it.

It's been in my car's CD player a week or so now and I've come to the realization I mentioned at the top of this review.  This is the first real Thrash album that's come out in 20 plus years.  There's been several so-called  "modern" thrash bands like Toxic Holocaust and others that to their credit have clung to a genre that's seated firmly in the past but they just can never really be as authentic as the originals.  Exodus, a group of over the hill rockers have succeeded to create a collection of music that my 16 yr old self would completely accept an enjoy. This album welcomes back Steve Souza whose vocals are as fresh and shrill as ever. He sounds like he did in 1989. The rest of the band, who are essentially all members who go back with Exodus to the 80's which is a big part of why this album sounds like it could have been made in 1988.

 I was driving home from work today just blasting it thinking to myself "this is thrash... this is legit 80's thrash... that was made now"   Exodus did something that none of the other big thrash bands of the day could do.   Bottom line; Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out is an honest to goodness, no bullshit, kick ass Thrash record.  Call in sick, drop the kids off at school, put the CD in the big living room surround sound home theater, turn it up to 11 and do the toxic waltz in your living room around the coffee table while your cat looks at you like you're mad.

Nov 6, 2014

Blind 70yr Old Man Kills Bear Then Gets Drivers License

Today I met Dr. Dean Edell. That was pretty friggin cool.  If you don't know who that is then it doesn't mean much to you but I was a big fan. You should Google him.  I was a pretty avid listener to his show just before he retired. He was a pretty hard core motherfucker, especially when he ripped on Oprah and Jenny McCarthy about vaccines-- but in a completely different way than the person I learned about today. 

I got a text from someone who was doing some legal work for a local gentleman.  The message described a man who broke the jaw of, then killed a bear. I asked if it was with his bare hands and they weren't certain but replied "I think with his hands, he had to get a shit-ton of stitches"  This man is also 70 years old.  I also learned that he's legally blind.

Illustration by Kirk Shelton

Now, in my mind I'm picturing an elderly, silver-eyed, stubborn, beast of a man with bloody bandages wrapped around his hands sitting in a courtroom today on trial for beating a bear to death.  Although unfortunately for this post I later learned that the altercation with the bear happened sometime in the past and wasn't what he was in need of legal aide today, He's still among the elite few humans on the planet who can say they killed a bear with their hands.  According to the internet only two men are documented to have doing this. Unfortunately I wasn't able to ascertain our man's name nor have no way to confirm these claims but my source is reliable and seemed convinced.

But bear killing aside, this man is a hardcore motherfucker because despite being old and blind he went to the DMV to get a driver license (or possibly a renewal)- took the written test and passed, then while legally blind took the driving portion... and passed that!  The DMV had to take it under review but eventually administered him a drivers license.  So if you get cut off by some old man...before you road rage on him, check his hands for scars in the shape of a bear's mouth.  He might be a hard core motherfucker you don't want to mess around with.

Nov 5, 2014

It's About Dot Com Fucking Time

Not that any of you care but after nearly 10 years I've finally secured (for at least a year) a real URL for the Noggins.  

Update your bookmarks kids! is a real thing. 

Finally when I tell people I have a blog I don't have to say "dot blogspot dot com" it's so embarrassing at all the fancy tech parties I don't go to.