Monday, July 18, 2011

Make it rain!

I needed a few bucks the other day so I asked my Dad to loan it to me since I didn't feel like going to the bank. He reached into his drawer and pulled out a bunch of singles. He said to me; "I was at some strip club the other night and There were about 5 guys with bundles of singles around some girl on a pole. They started sliding the dollar bills out of their hand.. like this..."

I had to watch my father do this for about $19 worth of dollar bills and he finally said; "They call it "rain." It's strange."

As much as I love my Father, sometimes the guy can be crazy. Watching him "make it rain" on some invisible stripper was hilarious and horrifying all at the same time. "They call it rain." will forever be stuck in my head. It made me think of something though as far as putting on a show as a band.

You and I, as show goers, expect a certain amount of entertainment for the amount of money we pay to see some live music. Are we okay with paying $16 to watch 128 bands crammed into 4 hours at the Whisky? No. Are we okay with paying $5 for a local show of great bands? Sure! Hell, are we okay with paying $150+ to see our favorite musician/artist at some big coliseum? Of course we are! The more money we pay, the better a show we want to get. Like strippers. The more "rain" they get, the better of a show they put on. Now, the amount of money you pay (or "rain" just for shits...) doesn't always equal quality but we still expect a decent show for the price!

Thinking about this, It makes me want to put on better shows. In my first band "The Toxic Twinkies," I was content with standing around, not moving much, singing off key and looking scared to death. Not sure how that was okay... but bands (starting out or otherwise) are okay with this for some reason! You just forced 25 to 30 of your closest friends to pay $10 to see you and a bunch of other local bands no one cares about - why are you standing there? Get in their face! Jump off the stage! Break some bones, crack some jokes, take a request of a song you guys don't know and turn it into a sing along... something! Hell, set a piano on fire! Do something! Doesn't even have to be original. I want to be entertained, damnit! Is that so much to ask?

Make it rain on me, bitches.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gay for Gaga.

A lot of our close friends/fans/family members know that I have a strange and possibly unhealthy obsession with Lady Gaga. This is okay with me. I think she's pretty damn smoking too so you can sit on that!

Here's my deal with her;
The music is fun. One of my biggest things about music is it HAS to be fun. When I first heard "Just Dance" I hated it. It was stupid. "Gonna be okay! Do-do-do-doo-and JUST DANCE!"
Same thing with Poker Face. (Muh muh muh muhhh)
I just couldn't get into it! Then one day I saw her preform at the VMA's. She played "Paparazzi" and she blew my fucking mind. First off, she came out in crutches and stuff and danced around but in the middle of the song, the music cuts out, she sits down at a piano and begins to play her little Gaga heart out. She pulls away from the piano only to reveal to the crowd that she is now bleeding all over the stage. It ends with her being lifted above the rest of the dancers where they presume a worship-like-position and she hangs mid-air with blood spatter in her eye. In. Her. Eye. I was hooked.

Here is the thing - She not only looks like she's having fun, but she sounds like it too. Props to her producer Red One because he is a genius behind that mixer and she knows how to push all that energy into a recording.

Here is my deal with her - continued;
Her stage presence. I can only DREAM that I will have the same kind of energy and money to put on a show like she does.
In the opening scene of her Monster Ball tour, it tells the story of how some fans are trying to get to the show but.. oh noes! The truck has broken down! What will they do? The Monster Ball is starting RIGHT NOW.
Enter Lady Gaga. Dressed as usual. She walks over to the truck, throws open the hood, lifts her leg up on it, and starts playing a piano. You know, a piano that is where the engine would usually sit. What!? Why didn't I think of that? More importantly, Why can't we have that at our shows?

Seriously, she is awesome. Combine her catchy-as-fuck music with the crazy, what-will-she-wear next image with her message of love, acceptance and getting fucked up in the bar on a Saturday night and you have the perfect cocktail for me:
Someone who isn't afraid to be themselves, doesn't give a flying fuck what people think of her, absolutely loves, adores and appreciates all of her fans and spreads a message like "Born This Way" on national television, radio and internet outlets.
I don't care what you think of her music, It might not be your cup of tea. But damn it, you have to admire her work and how creative she could be.

I might not be able to play a piano inside a truck at the next show, or even hang from the ceiling while blood pours from my mid-section... But I'll sure as hell battle a giant zombie puppet dressed as Osama Bin Laden any day.

I mean, it's all about putting on a good show and giving fans/potential fans their moneys worth... right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Didn't Steal Your Dreadlocks, Asshole.

Going to go off track a little here from the usual music-based posts to something I felt needed to be brought up.

Here is the scene -
It's 7:30am and I've just BARELY caught the Green Line train at the El Segundo station. It's usually empty but as we grow nearer to Compton it starts to fill up. A large Jamaican guy gets on the train, glares at me, puts his headphones in and continues to stare.
The train stops at the transfer to the Blue Line and I exit the train. The large Jamaican follows.
I get on my train, now north-bound to Downtown Los Angeles. I snag a seat before the train fills up and I open my copy of The Dark Tower 4; Wizard and Glass (great book by the way...).
Enter; The Large Jamaican.

The train starts moving again and he takes off his headphones, rolls them up and puts them in his pocket. He takes off his sunglasses, folds each arm down carefully and puts them in his other pocket. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath and then confronts me;
"'Eh WHITE Boy," he says in a Jamaican accent just as thick as he is, "Wha do ya t'ink ya doin' wit ya hair like dat, huh?"
Uhh... What?
He proceeds to verbally tear me a new asshole for the next 10 minutes about how I am an abbomonation and a discusting piece of work because I STOLE his peoples look. I STOLE from the people from the Island. I STOLE another thing from the black man. I was part of the problem of how the WHITE MAN can't leave anything alone that deals with black heritage or something like that.

Okay, I get where you are going. I'm sorry I've offended you.

Just kidding, I hope you choke on a rasta donut today because I'm not stealing your fucking dreadlocks.

Here is the deal; Dreadlocks go back as far (and probably even further than) the Ancient Egyptions - it was a sign of royalty but worn by royals and commoners alike. Asian monks, high up in the mountains, would bound their hair in between books until they had long, nasty ass beaver tail looking things. Native Americans would do this as well. It's a style that goes back HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of years. It meant different things to each race/religion/group/etc and I don't think that Jamaicans or Islanders can solely hold the claim of King of Dreadlocks. Ohh.. sorry, "Locks." Because, you know the WHITE MAN gave the name of Dreadlocks to them because they looked "dreadful" on someone.
Also - don't even give me the whole "You're stealing our music from us too! Reggae wasn't meant for white people!"
Okay so 1. Shut up, and 2. You're retarded. Reggae is meant to spread messages of peace and love and unity and justice - regardless of the circumstances, it's a uniforming message meant to be sent across the world. The color of your skin doesn't matter. Stop being racist, asshole. A last note - I never even listened to Reggae until AFTER I had dreadlocks and an old, wrinkly Jamaican guy came into my work place and commented on my hair (he is one of TWO Islanders who have actually complimented my hair- the other guy was homeless). He asked me if I had ever listened to Bob Marley and I said No. He went out (slowly) to his car, came back and handed me 3 Bob Marley CDs and told me to be blessed by Jah. Cool, right? Feel in love with the music and the message right then and there. Stop telling me it's not for me. 

Look, I don't own any Bob Marley shirts, I'm not a Rastafarian and I don't claim to be, I don't smoke Marijuana, I don't want to go to Jamaica one day... I don't even think they make me look cool.

I just like dreadlocks.

I'm a chubby dude with dreads who plays video games, sings and writes songs in a metal band and plays the guitar and drums and any other instrument I get my hands on. I love to play hacky sack, love to turn my hair different colors, listens to Reggae on occasion and loves to make random stuff in the garage. I'm not trying to sabotage the Rastafarian culture, I'm not trying to be an abbomonation to your world or your heritage... Fuck man, I'm not trying to be anything but myself. I enjoy the look.

The only thing I'm trying to prove is that life is short, we only get one shot on this planet and we've got to express ourselves.

Now... has anyone seen where my N.W.A. CD went?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pay-To-Play sucks and so does your band!

Okay, I'm sure your band is awesome. We are all here to support and encourage each other to get up on that stage/platform/plywood and rock the shit out of a crowd. However, when does a clubs burnt-out reputation make it okay for a band to front up hundreds of dollars to play at 5pm on a Tuesday night?

I got a phone call last week from a girl who books bands at a high-profile club in Los Angeles that offers many opportunities to boost your fan base and get recognized by industry leaders. Just kidding. It was the shit hole known as the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood. Getting off track here... She tried to offer us a night at the Whisky with "some ticket sales required."

Now, I remain strict in my beliefs that we will never play at a pay-to-play venue unless we make some kind of deal with the club to not sell tickets and our fans don't get raped in the ass to come out to a show. This didn't stop me from digging a little bit to try and see what the hell she was trying to sell.
Here's the offer we got;
Wednesday Night - 6pm, 7pm, 10pm or 1135pm.
The ticket sales going with each time are as follows;
6pm - 30 tickets @ $10 a piece
7pm - 40 tickets @ $10 a piece
10pm - 60 tickets @ $10 a piece
11:35pm - 35 tickets @ $10 a piece.

She said - "This is a really good opportunity for All Hail The Crimson Kings to play at the Whisky!"
"I'm sorry?"
"All Hail The Crimson King. Singular."
"Oh, my mistake!"

I then asked her - "By any chance, do you know who the headliner is for this show? I mean, for $600 on a Wednesday night, we had better be opening up for Metallica."
"No, sorry, we don't know yet at this time!"

Here is the deal - The Whisky, The Roxy (Oh God, The Roxy...), The Key Club, House of Blues... All of these clubs on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood have a hair up their ass. This hair is covered in glitter, glam and bleach of the 1980's when it was actually worth a damn to play on the strip. The old burnt out rock stars still sit around at the Rainbow talking about the glory days and how awesome it used to be. These clubs think that because The Doors, Van Halen or any other Rock and Roll icon played on their stages that they can charge US, the musicians, an arm and a leg (and some gear) to play at these clubs.

600 fucking dollars to play at the Whisky on a Wednesday night? No thanks.
By the way, when you're done playing - do you know what the stage crew does? They "help" you load off the stage. The definition of "help you move off stage" at the Whisky is as follows;
"Help - Adj. - To grab all musicians and performers gear from the stage, throw it on the sidewalk, and slam the door on your ass."

It's true. As soon as you finish playing at this "legendary" club, they grab all of your shit, chuck it out the door and throw you out there with it too. You want back in the club to buy $9 beers? Of course you can come back in! After you move all of your gear back to the van/trailer that might not exactly be very close. Might be up that bitch of a hill actually.

I hate pay-to-play as much as the next musician but why do these bands keep subjecting themselves to it? Okay - if you can sell 60 tickets and then make a ton of money off of 300 other tickets then AWESOME! Bring those people into the club, give the club what you owe them and then pocket the rest. But why do these up and coming bands subject them selves to this? As much as I love my friends' music, I can't always bring myself to come see them at the Roxy for $20 on a Tuesday night. You're killin' me, Sunset!

Look- playing a gig on the strip is fun, exciting and definitely a cool experience... But I would rather pay $9 or $10 to see you at some run down bar in some dank alleyway at a club that smells a little funny and has overpriced PBR. That's what rock and roll is all about right? Right.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why I am in love with Twitter

Since the dawn of Twitter first came to be, I remember looking at this website where you could send updates out for the whole world to see, of 140 characters, and thinking - "Man, that is retarded."
Much like the rest of the population of the world at the time, I kind of looked down on Twitter. Why would anyone use this thing? Why are people Twittering (sorry... Tweeting) about everything they do?
It wasn't until one day when someone posted on their Facebook page - "Hey! Check out this Twitter page! It sends you updates of when the International Space Station will cross your sky!"
Okay, that's fucking cool.
So I decided to check out Twitter finally and made an account and started... ughh.. Tweeting.
It wasn't nearly as exciting as people made it out to be. I updated what I was eating, what I saw, when I was at work and even when I woke up. For a week - everything I did was put on Twitter and it was boring. No one gave a shit. Hell, I didn't even care! But then I stumbled upon a few Twitter accounts that made me finally understand Twitter and why people use it.

For example- I don't give a shit that you just ate at your "fav place to 3at, 0MG LOLOLOL!"
Shut up, I hate you.

However, what DOES capture my interest is the things that people post that are actually INTERESTING. Imagine your Facebook wall, but much smaller, not about your lame friends' lives, and you're able to catch up on everyone's updates over a few days in just minutes.

Don't believe me? Not sold? Check these Twitter pages out - you don't have to join, just go to the page and check out the last few updates. I guarantee you will get a kick out of a few of these.

Common Squirrel - This little guy updates about his day. He is a common squirrel. How is this not awesome? You can't tell me that when you're scanning through twitter updates, a random "blink" or "dig dig dig dig" doesn't make you smile. If you don't, you might not have a soul.

Darth Vader - If you don't know, here in AHTCK, we are all pretty fucking nerdy. Seeing updates from the original Dark Lord himself is pretty damn awesome. Also check out DeathStarPR for hilarity and Carrie Fisher for awesome, cracked out updates from the original Star Wars princess. 

TFLN - If you've never seen, it's definitely worth checking out. This twitter account updates once a day with a (usually drunken and or regretted later) text message forwarded to them, all of them with an area code before the text message. I've seen a few (661)'s in there and it makes me hate Nothern LA County that much more.

Astronaut Ron - One of the Astronaut's that just blasted off into space at 300,000 miles an hour. He tweets pictures of our planet from space as well as missions that they are doing. Seriously, these images are amazing and worth a look. Here is one:

The Onion - need I say more?

Gordon Freekitty - Okay, this one is a cat. Well, MY cat. He's pretty much the cat-version of Chuck Norris. He is named after Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life serries, and he doesn't care. He doesn't give a shit. He's crazy. Underneath that fuzzy, poofy tail? A stick of dynamite. Watch out.

KFI News - For your local Los Angeles news; breaking or otherwise. I love AM640, they're great reporters.

Pee Wee Herman - Yes, it's his real twitter, he mostly Re-Tweets stuff but it's interesting to follow the guy.

PostSecret - This is an experiment started a few years back by a guy named Frank Warren. he asked people to send him anonymous post cards with their secrets on them. The website updates once a week and he's released a few books. Some secrets are awesome, some funny, some terrifying and some will make you cry like a child who just got smacked. Check it out.

God Damn Batman - Because if there is anything this world needs, it's more ass-kicking Batman. His location is listed as "On the rooftop behind you."

Weird Al - Seriously, this guys tweets are just as awesome as his music.

George Takei - His tweets are amazing. His last tweet explained that Arnolds love-child was destined to bring down Skynet in a couple of years. Classic.

As far as local music goes -
AHTCK - Duh.
Cage 9 - My good friends, our recording engineer/producer and an all around great band. Love these guys.
Order66- Our local show-buddies. It seems that no matter what, we always end up on the bill with these guys!

So there you have it; why I have fallen in love with twitter. If you make a twitter account, be sure to follow these people. You'll have a great set of tweets to check out every couple of days or so.

I'm just glad that our name isn't Destroy the Skyline... More on that next time.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


Hey there! Welcome to the AHTCK Blog! For now, we will be posting random updates, links to where you can see our videos, hear our songs and keep up to date with whatever the hell we happen to be doing at the moment.

We will feature posts on music related topics, music industry bullshit all musicians deal with, tips on live shows (from you, from us..) music reviews of some of our favorite local unsigned artists as well as non-music related topics.

Keep it here, subscribe to the blog and we will do the same! Being in a band (especially in the Los Angeles area) we understand the importance of friendship and cooperative strategies between bands to put on successful shows and genereate a fan-base. Unity between all bands is what it's all about!

Stay tuned... I'm about to rant about Twitter...