Thursday, December 18, 2008

My first jambox

There's actually an ebay auction going on right now for the exact model of my first Fisher-Price tape deck. Note the simple, streamlined controls, with large, durable buttons, and a built-in microphone. They don't make 'em like this anymore! (click for link)

A History of Milky Jamz, Part II

More tapes that I wore out between the ages of 5-8:

Billy Joel - An Innocent Man
As a child of MTV at the time, I was also enamored with the videos for "Uptown Girl" and "Tell Her About It", featuring Christine Brinkley and Rodney Dangerfield, respectively. Billy's knack for masterful pop hooks is out in full force here, with other classics including "The Longest Time" and "Keeping the Faith". When you're a kid, you want the hits, and this had a ton.

Van Halen - 1984
I used to listen to this album over and over and over again on the stereo in my Grandma's basement. Her basement was optimal for this because a) I could play this excessively loud while being told to turn it down a minimal amount of times and b) there was a lot of floor space and an old bed, which meant I could run all over the place pretending to be David Lee Roth/Eddie Van Halen, doing sweet jumps off the bed while performing wicked air guitar solos. When I took up the drums many years later, I would also play along to this album repeatedly ("Drop Dead Legs" being my favorite track to drum along to). To this day, I still rock the VH on a regular basis (Roth-era only).

Back to the Future - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Ah, the summer of 1985, a great time for blockbuster cinema. You couldn't be a kid and not own this one, if only for the seminal Huey Lewis cut "Power of Love"... yet, somehow, Lindsay Buckingham's "Time Bomb Town" and Eric Clapton's "Heaven Is Only One Step Away" became my favorites. Note that the performances of "Earth Angel" and "Night Train" are actually credited to Marvin Berry(!).

Huey Lewis & The News - Sports
Brian from The Carpetbaggers once mused that this album peaks halfway into the first track ("The Heart of Rock & Roll") and goes downhill from there. It may be somewhat true, but when you think of hit albums from the 80's, this will always be fondly remembered for it's multitude of radio-friendly hits from what is essentially a bar band from San Francisco. I would also highly reccomend the "Huey Lewis Wake Up Call" on any of your friends.

Pseudo Echo - Love An Adventure
Buoyed by their minor US chart hit, a cover of "Funkytown", Australia's Pseudo Echo somehow made a blip on the musical radar in 1987. I probably haven't listened to this since 1988, and I distinctly remember writing a paper on this album for a class in elementary school, but the reviews now seem to hold it up as being a not-so-terrible slice of new wave pop.

A History of Milky Jamz, Part I

Since I've existed for 30 years now, what better time to do a musical retrospective of my life? You're probably wondering how the 4th best DJ in Somerset County, NJ, got to be the penultimate tastemaker he is today. So let's take a chronological (or, as I remember them) trip through my musical history...

Age 1, 1979

Song: Cotton-Eyed Joe - Al Dean & The All-Stars
Yes, the song you know today as one of the most obnoxious remixes ever recorded is actually a classic country song, this Al Dean version being one of the definitive versions. Somewhere there is Super 8 footage of me dancing to this in my diapers, as it was my number one jam from ages 1-3. I still have the original 7" record somewhere, too.
Age 2, 1980
Song: King Tut - Steve Martin
Coming in a close second for favorite dance jam of my early years was this Steve Martin classic, originally performed on Saturday Night Live. There is also film of me dancing to this in an attic somewhere.
king tut

Age 4, 1982
Cassette tape: Lionel Richie - Lionel Richie
There were a few cassette tapes I would rock so hard, that the tape would wear out and my mom would have to get me a new copy. This was the first.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

These People Really Exist #1

Date: 11/19/08
Place: Karaoke night, a backwoods bar somewhere in New Jersey
Person: Incredibly Ignorant Guy Who Thinks Music Didn't Exist Until 1994

A friend of IIGWTMDEU1994 signed him up to sing Prince's classic "Purple Rain". Upon being called to the stage and being informed of the song he was set to perform, he proclaimed complete ignorance of the song or movie "Purple Rain". Figuring that any stage time is good stage time, he attempted to sing the song anyway. About twenty seconds into it, he threw up his hands in defeat.

Quote: "What is this... this is Prince? Prince wrote this? This is horrible."

He should have been shot on site then and there. He would later perform a version of Limp Bizkit's "Faith" that was highly accurate. (He has mastered the "scream-sing" technique favored by vocalists of the genre). These people really exist.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Financial Crisis brings about good things, too...

I could write a hundred blog posts about certain types of advertising that drive me absolutely bonkers.  One of them is Washington Mutual bank's advertising slogan.  You all have heard and/or seen their f&%$@ing stupid commercials where some assclown goes "woo hoo!"  I want to put a fist through a wall just thinking about how stupid it is right now.  YOU ARE A FUCKING BANK.  If I'm entrusting someone to care for my money (not that I have any), I sure as hell am not going to give it to some clowns who's tagline is "woo hoo".  That is why you are bankrupt.  Well, I'm sure there are other reasons.  But, maybe if you took the idea of caring for people's money a little more seriously instead of going "woo hoo" twenty fucking times in your commercials, you'd still be in business.    Now I shall rejoice, as I will never have to hear some turd burglar say "woo hoo" on the radio 500 times a day.  Unless I'm listening to Song 2.  In which case, I will rock out.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

List of stupid things people have said whilst I DJ #3

August 16, 2008
Spoiled rich kid's graduation party

Hopeless aging father: "Can ya play something that will make people dance? Something for the older folks..."
(note: Paid DJ's will constantly be trying to get people to dance. It's our job. Your job is to make sure your guests get properly smashed so that they will want to dance. It's difficult to do either when there are hordes of kids on sugar highs running amok.)
Me: Sure... what kinda stuff?
Hopeless aging father: "Ah, you know, something dance-y."
Me: Yeah, uh, well, what kind of bands or songs do you want to hear?
Hopeless aging father: "We're Disco Duck people."

Unfortunately, none of the "disco duck" people danced (and I rocked a killer disco set, too).

My new favorite comic strip

More high-quality sarcastic humor at Dustinland

(Thanks, Will!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special olympics...

Recently, on the internet site, I had commented on a story regarding a man who had recently been detained at JFK International Airport after returning from "a brief vacation to Syria". It seems he feels he was treated unfairly by the Department of Homeland Security. While I have a decidely liberal conscience, I found my views on this story differed greatly than with those who also peruse Reddit, who overwhelmingly sympathized with this man's plight.

Is it just me? Shouldn't I be the one who's getting older and grumpier about government services? Isn't complaining about being detained at the airport the equivalent of complaining about long lines at the Division of Motor Vehicles?

And isn't anyone else slightly relieved that someone who just went on a "brief vacation to Syria", a country which has numerous travel advisories issued by the CIA and Department of Interior, a haven for terrorists and overall haven for Anti-U.S. sentiment, would be detained upon re-entering this country? Wouldn't it be stupid to expect to NOT be detained?

NHS agent: So, what were you doing in Syria sir?
Stupid Idiot Traveler: Aw, just hangin' with some friends, checkin' out some clubs, ya know??!!
NHS agent: I'm going to have to detain you for further questioning.
Stupid Idiot Traveler: Awww man! Totally bogus! this is totally infringing on my rights and whatnot!!

Well, someone responded to my sentiments saying I was the douchebag, which is usually true.
But I'm starting to think most of the people who read reddit are just a bunch of overly idealistic liberal twats.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We're nothing but the nerds they say we are...

You know you're an early 90's computer nerd [and had no life] when:

- You start getting nostalgic for Windows 3.1
(not as nerdy as the guy who wrote a wikipedia entry about it)

- You start getting nostalgic about Windows 3.1 color schemes

- You miss playing Gorillas and Nibbles for MS-DOS 5.0

- You think the glory days of online gaming involved Tele-Arena

- You remember how exciting it was the day 5600 baud modems came out (or 19.2, for that matter)

- Leisure Suit Larry and X-Wing for CD-ROM!!!!! (talk about nostalgia: a September release is planned for Leisure Suit Larry on PS3???!!!)

Oh, the memories...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics / The word "phenomenal" update

- Whoever the fey commentator calling the gymnastics competition is, has used the word "phenomenal" at least 80 times so far.  Can someone please get this man a thesaurus? 

- Badminton is the curling of the summer olympics. 

- It's amazing how obvious it is China is cheating by using girls below the minimum age for their gymnastics team.   

- It's neat how people who were initially "too cool" to watch the olympics have been sucked in by it's greatness.   

Monday, August 4, 2008

List of Stupid Things People Have Said Whilst I DJ - #2

Thursday July 31st Karaoke night - Harvest Moon
It's not necessarily stupid, but highly amusing to me...

Random Headbanger: "Dude, you got any Suicidal Tendencies?"

Why I find this amusing: I'm just envisioning some karaoke company coming up with ideas for new songs, and one of their employees lamenting the fact that there are no Suicidal Tendencies tracks available for karaoke, despite the fact that people who listen to this legendary hardcore thrash metal band from the '80's are not very likely to be seen at a karaoke bar. However, it would be amazing for the following two reasons:

1. Having someone sing Suicidal Tendencies immediately after some fucktard who was all amped performing a Limp Bizkit song... "karaoke shame". I like thinking the Limp Bizkit douche would go home and re-assess his music collection, and how he used to think it was bad-ass.

2. Watching someone perform "Institutionalized".

from the album Suicidal Tendencies, 1983

Sometimes I try to do things
And it just doesn't work out the way I want it to.
And I get real frustrated.
It's like, I try hard to do it
And I take my time
But it just doesn't work out the way I want it to.
It's like I concentrate on it real hard,
But it just doesn't work out.
And everything I do and everything I try,
It never turns out!
It's like, I need time to figure these things out.
There's always someone there going,
"Hey Mike, you know,
We've been noticing you've been having a lot of problems lately, you
You should maybe get away,
And like, maybe you should talk about it,
You'd feel a lot better."
I go, "No, it's okay you know, I'll figure it out.
Just leave me alone, I'll figure it out you know.
I'm just working on myself."
And they go, "Well, you know, if you wanna talk about it,
I'll be here ya know,
And you'll probably feel a lot better if ya talked about it,
So why dontcha talk about it?!"
I go, "No! I don't want to I'm okay! I'll figure it out myself!"
But they just keep buggin' me,
They just keep buggin' me
And it builds up inside!

So you're gonna be institutionalized
You'll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won't have any say
They'll brainwash you until you see their way

I'm not crazy - Institution
You're the one who's crazy - Institution
You're driving me crazy - Institution

They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself

Uh - I was in my room
And I was just like staring at the wall thinking 'bout everything
But then again I was thinking about nothing.
And then my Mom came in,
And I didn't even know she was there.
She called my name
But I didn't hear her.
Then she started screaming, "Mike, Mike!"
And I go, "What? What's the matter?"
She goes, "What's the matter with you?!"
I go, "There's nothin' wrong Mom."
She goes, "Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!"
I go, "No Mom, I'm not on drugs.
I'm okay, I'm just thinking, you know.
Why don't ya give me a Pepsi?"
She goes, "No, you're on drugs!"
I go, "Mom, I'm okay, I'm just thinking."
She goes, "No, you're not thinking, you're on drugs!
Normal people don't act in that way!"
I go, "Mom, just give me a Pepsi please,
All I want is a Pepsi."
And she wouldn't give it to me!
All I wanted was a Pepsi!
Just one Pepsi!
And she wouldn't give it to me!
Just a Pepsi!

They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
Tied around your back, you're treated like thieves
Drug you up because they're lazy
It's too much work to help a crazy

I'm not crazy - Institution
You're the one who's crazy - Institution
You're driving me crazy - Institution

They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself

I was sitting in my room.
My Mom and my Dad came in.
So they pull up a chair and they sat down.
They go, "Mike, we need to talk to you."
And I go, "Okay, what's the matter?"
They go, "Me and your Mom,
We've been noticing lately you've been having a lot of problems,
And you've been going off for no reason.
And we're afraid you're gonna hurt somebody,
We're afraid you're gonna hurt yourself.
So we decided that it would be in your best interest
If we put you somewhere
Where you could get the help that you need."
And I go, "Wait! What are ya talking about?!
We decided?!
My best interest?!
How do you know what my best interest is!
How can you say what my best interest is!
And what are ya trying ta say, I'm crazy?!
When I went to your schools!
I went to your churches!
I went to your institutional learning facilities!
So how can ya say I'm crazy?!

They say they're gonna fix my brain
Alleviate my suffering and my pain
But by the time they fix my head
Mentally, I'll be dead

Chorus (two verses):
I'm not crazy - Institution
You're the one who's crazy - Institution
You're driving me crazy - Institution

They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself

...Doesn't matter I'll probably get hit by a car anyway

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Steal Music

So, long story short, this past weekend a massive electrical fire vaporized 2/3rds of my DJ equipment. I decide it's a good time to make the jump to "laptop DJ". So I've bought my laptop and new mixer and all that, and am doing research into some DJ software.

However, it seems that all of the songs I have dutifully purchased from the iTunes store, with their "DRM" (digital rights management) are pretty much either
a) unplayable by most DJ software programs, or
b) not cue-able by most DJ software programs (in other words, you can't listen to the song in your headphones before you play it live)

In another display of why the music industry continues to ream itself in the ass, then continually complain about people illegally downloading music (and sometimes suing them for thousands of dollars). This is why I will continue to blame Lars Ulrich for most of the world's ills. Thanks again, Lars.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Played-Out Karaoke Songs: Are We Done Yet?

I know YOU think they rock... you being the stupid drunken d-bag who anxiously and excitedly hands me your karaoke slip and asks, "has anyone done Journey yet tonight?"

Of course, by "Journey", you mean, "Don't Stop Belivin'", Journey's #1 hit from November 1981. Rarely are other Journey songs performed, which is somewhat remarkable considering their abundant amount of hit songs and rock-radio staples. Which is why I present to you this list of PLAYED-OUT SHIT, and perhaps suggest a few alternatives that will win you freshness and credibility points, as well as the enthusiasm of a crowd who are currently numbing to these over-played classics.

Song: "Don't Stop Believin'"
Artist: Journey

So much has been said and so much more could be said about this song, that it's a waste of time to talk about it here. There was a global energy for this song a few years ago, as Journey began a slight revival in popularity, and so much has happened since (references in Family Guy and The Sopranos, most famously) that the magic is gone. We need to put this baby to bed for a while, so that one day it can return in all it's arena-rock glory.

Suggested alternatives: Any Way You Want It, Lights, Open Arms, Faithfully

Song: "Sweet Caroline"
Artist: Neil Diamond

From now on, it should be a law that you have to sing at least 4 other Neil Diamond songs before you can perform "Sweet Caroline". No other artist is so criminally underrepresented at karaoke nights than ol' Neil. The man has stacks of hit records, yet we are continually subjected to the constant refrains/obligations of answering "so good, so good, so good" that it's hard to get jacked up for it anymore. Special thanks to Angry Mark for keeping it real at the Harvest Moon karaoke nights.

Suggested alternatives: Cracklin' Rosie, I Am... I Said, Song Sung Blue, He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brother.

Song: Anything over 7 minutes long - including: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meat Loaf, "Piano Man" by Billy Joel, and "American Pie" by Don MacLean.

Unless you are employed professionally as a performance artist (stage, screen, music, or otherwise), it is impossible to hold an audience's attention for more than about five minutes. Anything longer than that is purely self-indulgent, and you will bore everyone to tears.

Suggested alternatives: anything under five minutes in length.

Song: "Baby Got Back"
Artist: Sir Mix-A-Lot

I've yet to see someone perform this in an entertaining fashion, save for the one time a middle-aged white man performed a surreal, Lou Reed-like version at a party several months back. And drunk white girls love getting hyphy to rap songs they know the words to, the problem is, even with the words on the screen in front of them, they flub the delivery through the majority of the song. And rap songs generally don't make for good three-person sing-alongs. I would strongly suggest that if you intend to karaoke a rap song, you practice at least several times a day for three to five months and perform it solo. Otherwise, you look more like an idiot than you already are.

Suggested alternatives: Practice your rapping at home.

Song: "Ice Ice Baby"
Artist: Vanilla Ice

This song isn't funny in an ironic way, nor is it entertaining or fun to listen to. It's painfully stupid. When I watch you sing this with unrelenting enthusiasm along with your "bros" as you swill Coors Light from a plastic bottle, I just want to do the human race a favor, and beat you over the head with a mic stand until you die.

Suggested Alternatives: Death.

Song: "Livin' on a Prayer"
Artist: Bon Jovi

Yes, we live in New Jersey, and I understand that celebrated pop/fluff metal rockers Bon Jovi also hail from this area (Sayreville reprazent), which is why you enjoy them doubly. Surely, they recorded songs other than this one. Why don't you try one sometime? No? That hurts your little brain? Oh. OK, I'm sorry..... "TOMMMY USED TO WORK ON THE DOOOOOOCKS..."

Suggested alternatives: Bad Medicine, Lay Your Hands on Me, You Give Love a Bad Name, Blaze of Glory, Runaway

Idea for this blog post partially jacked from:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

List of Stupid Things People Have Said Whilst I DJ

I really need to start keeping a list of of the stupid things people say to me when I'm DJ'ing. Let's start from this past Saturday.

Date: 5/31
Event: Graduation party, Jersey shore area
What was said:
D-bag: "Yeah, you the DJ? These your CD's?"
Me: "Yessir."
D-bag: "Ok, you think you can play something a little more upbeat? We're about to slit our wrists back here."
Why this is funny:
The song that was playing at the time was Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive 'n Wail". I'm having a hard time picturing despondent goth/emo kids sitting at home, listening to Louis Prima and contemplating suicide.

It's Got What Plants Crave!

A couple years ago, Mike Judge (creator/writer/producer of Beavis & Butt-head and Office Space), released his latest movie, "Idiocracy", to little fanfare (other than the fact that it was "a new movie by the guy who did Office Space). The more I watch this movie, the more I come to realize it's brilliance. [IMDB link]. Basically, Luke Wilson is a low-level military officer who is used in a government experiment which goes awry. He wakes up 500 years in the future to a society where the trailer-trash morons of the world have out-bred the intelligent, and the average IQ has been reduced significantly. There's a lot of social commentary, a lot of which deals with the saturation of advertising in our lives. So one of the problems vexing society in this movie is "the drought". People can't figure out why plants won't grow, even though they irrigate their soil with "Brawndo - The Thirst Mutilator", a sports-energy drink in the style of Gatorade. Brawndo's principal advertising point is "electrolytes", and society has been conditioned to believe that Brawndo is superior to water, as "it's got what plants crave! It's got electrolytes!".

Oh boy, today I see Tiger Woods has his own line of Gatorade product. And what does it have?
25% MORE ELECTROLYTES! I had no idea golfers got so dehyrdated!!! John Daly needs electrolytes, stat!

I guess this is only really funny if you have seen and enjoy the movie Idiocracy. It makes me laugh, but in a way, it's kind of scary. Anyhoo, you can also buy Brawndo now too, from the hysterical Brawndo website. I think I'll just pick up a t-shirt.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Big Sunglasses: Follow-up

Dear Milky,

I have big sunglasses but I am a guy. They are not big big, but they are pretty big. Am I a d-bag? If it helps you decide, I am 5'11" and have a medium to ugly face and somewhat tan skin.

~Grad Student in Piscataway

Dear Grad Student,

Great question. I realized after that post that I spent a lot of time hating on the ladies and giving ZZ Top lots of props (not that they don't deserve it). And today, I happened to walk past a dude wearing rather large frames. And yes, he did look like a major douchenozzle. Here's the problem: You want to look fabulous (who doesn't?), but right now, large frames are a cop-out. You're saying to the rest of the world, "I think I look fab, but really I'm just a mindless idiot". It's not to say you can't pull it off. For instance, if you are into glam rock, or are a musician in a glam-rock band, or generally endorse the glam-rock lifestyle of cocaine, tastefully gaudy clothing, bi-sexuality, sleazy riffs copped from T.Rex and drum beats copped from Gary Glitter, then you can probably pull it off, as it is almost expected of you:



Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople

But chances are, you are not an actual rocker. Even if you play an instrument in a band, your band probably sucks. Subtract more points if your band is not signed to a record label, and even more if the extent of your "tour schedule" is limited to the tri-state area. So for you, big sunglasses are out.

Getting more to the point: sunglasses make everyone infinitely cooler. Unless you wear sunglasses that make you look like a clown. You don't need them. Simplicity will always win. Stop wearing big stupid sunglasses, and you will be just fine. That is all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Nipples

Now for a slightly revealing, if a bit unnerving, factoid about yours truly.

I have very perky nipples. Very hard. It's one of the few things I'm overly self-conscious of. And they make their presence well-known through lesser t-shirts. I do my best to hide them at all times. If not, it always appears as if I have just walked out of a meat locker. Recently, I stumbled upon these:

"Nipple concealer adhesives". Yes, it's geared for the ladies, but definitely something I can make use of. God bless America.

Link: Commando Nipple Concealer Adhesives

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kars 4 [Jewish] Kids

This "Kars 4 Kids" charity has bothered me for a long time. It just seemed too generic. Like it was a front for something. Their stupid ad is all over the radio, every day. What charity can afford to constantly advertise on radio and highway billboards? And the billboards have pictures of cute little kids.... like "Awww... donate your old car, save the children!"

So today, after hearing that stupid "1-877 kars for kids" jingle for the billionth time, I decided to do a little digging. It took all of 2 minutes of Google searching to discover this charity funnels the proceeds from the scrapped autos to a group promoting orthodox Jewish education with flights to Israel and Jewish summer camp:

[[ In 2005, $2.8 million of JOY’s $3.1 million total program services expenses went to an organization called Oorah, according to JOY’s 501 (c)3 tax form for 2005.

Oorah’s goal, according to its Web site, is to awaken Jewish children and their families to their heritage, by sending them to Jewish day schools, or yeshivos, or even helping pay for their airfare to, or education in, Israel.

“While the children learn and grow, we bring adult education opportunities to the parents, as well as all the ritual objects and support they need to live a full Jewish life,” the organization reports. ]]

It's not that I have a problem with orthodox Jews. But I do have a huge problem with deceptive advertising like this. It's almost as bad as big sunglasses (almost).

Here's the full story: Charity News Stories - Scams

Youtube: WPIX Fact Finders

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Big Sunglasses: Are we done yet?

It's fashion week over here in Piscataway blog central. Or rather, hate-on fashion week. I don't purport to know much about fashion. You've probably seen the way I dress, it's nothing special. I'm a big fan of clearance racks, Target, black t-shirts, and Dickies. I'm also a big fan of being pissed-off by stupid fashion trends. Today's stupid fashion trend: big sunglasses.

Big sunglasses have been en vogue for a few years now. Wearing them is most commonly referred to as "The Jackie O Look":

(For the record, Jackie O copped this look from French actress Anouk Aimee):

For whatever reason, celebrity party girls, who may or may not actually know who "Jackie O" is, went apeshit for big sunglasses:

The problem with wearing big sunglasses is, you look like an asshole.

Now, girls who wear these probably don't think they look like assholes. They probably think they look "cute", or perhaps "fashionable", because they are simply falling in with the current trend of ditzy celebrity girls who are trying to hide their unkempt face from photographers. I'm sure there were five or six minutes there in 2005 when most people would regard this trend as "cute". Then it just became annoying.

Now, if you have real friends, I'm talking about the kinds of friends that would help you move dead bodies or tell you that you have food stuck in your teeth, they will/should tell you that you look like a royal fuckwad when wearing those sunglasses. And if they were true, 100% BFF's, they would also promptly remove them from your face and smash them on the ground into a million pieces. Unless your friend also thinks big sunglasses are cool, then you are SOL, and doomed to a lifetime of looking like a total douchebag.

"Oh Milky. You're such a hater. What kind of sunglasses SHOULD I wear?" I'm glad you asked! First off, you should immediately put on the song "Cheap Sunglasses" by ZZ Top. Partly because it's a sweet slice of 70's Texas funk-boogie, but also because it will inspire you to find a pair of quality, cheap, badass-looking sunglasses.

The key is to find sunglasses that fit your personality. Now, there are only so many styles of sunglasses, so it's pretty easy to narrow down. Why most girls would want to portray the personality of "vapid, egomaniacal, drunken celebrity party girl diva" by wearing oversized sunglasses is beyond me. There you see a picture of the aforementioned ZZ Top. The Top pretty much wear sunglasses 24 hours a day. There are almost no photographs of them NOT wearing sunglasses. Here, 2 of the three members went with the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and Dusty Hill (left) is sporting a classic 60's square top. Both are timeless looks, and are definitively "rock and roll". Couple that with the legendary beards and the legendary riffs, and you have some bad-ass motherfuckers. Now, you don't have to grow a massive beard or write a song as good as "La Grange" to wear sunglasses and look cool. Part of the enjoyment of wearing sunglasses is the kind of instant, carefree "cool factor" they provide (in addition to shielding your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation). Ladies, it's unnecessary to think "the bigger the sunglasses, the better". A sophisticated, yet understated pair of shades will go a lot further than this in-your-face aesthetic of oversized nonsense. True, the slightly oversize Aviator sunglasses are also bad-ass, but it's a very tough look to pull off. You must be a pilot, a California Highway Patrol officer, Tom Cruise circa '86, or a rock musician who's music does not suck to wear them.





I could go on forever, but choosing a decent pair of sunglasses is really pretty easy. Just don't buy any that cover half your face or make you look like a complete fucktard. Keep it simple. Go for classic looks. Make sure the glass is dark, the frame is sturdy, and the world will be a better place for all of us.

Special thanks to the Cute Girls in Stupid Sunglasses blog.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tambourine Etiquette

Ah yes, the tambourine. What a beautiful instrument. It's texture is subtle, yet arousing. When used properly, it elicits a kind of added excitement to music. However, at some of the recent karaoke nights at the Harvest Moon, I have noticed a distinct lack of respect for the tambourine. Drunken fools are haphazardly handling this beautiful instrument and treating it as a childs' toy, much to the annoyance of myself and others. What is it about the tambourine that does not command respect from certain individuals?

Yes, it is a simple instrument. Yet, most people lack the natural rhythm necessary to handle it. True, the brightly colored yellow tambourine I employ at karaoke night does closely resemble one which a child might occasionally bang on, but that's only because people kept ripping off the nicer ones I would bring (such as the one in the picture above.. nice brass jingles, molded plastic handle, ergonomic and easy-to-play half-moon shape). Perhaps people have not fully considered the concept and application of the tambourine.

The tambourine has been employed by every great rock and pop band in the history of recorded music. For starters, you could take a look at the roster of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and you won't find one that hasn't used the tambourine as an accent in any number of great songs. From the ominous opening bars of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to near lead-instrument status in Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?", from the Beatles to the Stones to the Jackson Five to almost every Oasis song ever recorded, the tambourine is more than an accent, it provides either a sweet flourish, a breathy layer, a deft swing, a swift kick, or lots of forward momentum. (This is not to say there are no detractors: In my old band, The Carpetbaggers, our lead singer Lars flat-out refused to play the tambourine on any song. He was way too into math-rock at the time to be bothered with such things. Lars would later go on to split a pig's skull open and roast the pig at our Cinco de Mayo party last year.)

Some thoughts on employing the tambourine for karaoke purposes:

- There are always certain songs which automatically call for tambourine. "Shout" by the Isley Brothers. Any Monkees song. Any Oasis song. The part in "Bohemian Rhapsody" for the line "...sends shivers down my spine [insert quick tambourine shake here], body's aching all the time." (drummer Roger Taylor employed a large orchestral triangle for the sound on the recorded version, but most karaoke dj's won't carry a large triangle with them). I'm fond of adding tambourine to the gospel choir part in Madonna's "Like a Prayer".

- Less is always more. I'm sure there are very few songs where the tambourine is played from start to finish. Keep the excitement of the tambourine fresh, use it only at key moments. When in doubt, use it during the chorus.

- Recently, for two weeks in a row, some dumb lipstick hippie chick would bogart the tambourine for, like, two hours. SHUT UP! This isn't a jam session, no one wants to hear you "rock out" the tambourine for two hours, especially the people who are trying to sing their song. Quit being such an attention whore.

- Sometimes, the tambourine is so critical to a song, it sounds empty without it. Make sure if you are singing one of these songs, you are prepared to go when it's your turn. Secure the tambourine as soon as possible.

- Lastly, if you lack rhythm, a little practice might go a long way. Nothing sounds worse than an out-of-time tambourine.

As you can see, I am a big fan of the tambourine, but it must be used properly. Adherence to these simple rules will help you establish your rock star credentials, and will vault you into the upper-echelon of karaoke masters.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From the Archives, Volume III

Monday, April 10, 2006


Today I wrote two letters of complaint to corporate offices. Most likely, they will go unread by anyone of importance, but it's been some time since I've felt so wronged as a consumer.

Today I ventured to the "A&W All American Food" franchise in Edison for some cheese curds and a root beer float. As a child, I have fond memories of stopping at an A&W stand in colorado on road trips to my grandparents house. I had yet to visit this particular A&W location, but it was with great anticipation that we ventured down Route 1 to partake in glorious root beer-related goodness. I left feeling more than a bit cheated, even violated.
Several things infuriated me as a consumer:

-They did not have any cheese curds. This item is currently featured prominently on their website, as well as with in-store signage. And if you've ever had cheese curds, you can imagine my disappointment.

-They did not have the ability to make a root beer float. "The float machine is broken". This is a fucking root beer stand!!!! I mean, ice cream + root beer = hydrogen + 2 oxygen!! FUCK!!!!!

-I asked for a chili cheese dog and got a double cheeseburger instead.

-The root beer that was on tap at their soda fountain WAS FLAT!! THIS IS A GOD DAMN MOTHERFUCKING ROOT BEER STAND! FUCK FUCK!!!!!!
(entertaining side note: on the dispenser for the diet A&W was a handwritten note that "taste before filling cup"... uhhhh...)

-We waited a solid 15 minutes for "fast food"...

-There was one guy making the food

-The cashiers drug dealer walked in and handed him a sealed cigar which he inspected for several minutes instead of helping his cook

-The bathroom smelled like death

-There were no readily available napkins

Did I mention that there were no root beer floats and the root beer was flat at a FUCKING ROOT BEER STAND?

anyway, onto consumer complaint ..2

I, being a music video junkie, regularly tune into the MTV2 program "Subterranean" on sunday nights at midnight, being that it's the last vestage of cutting-edge music-related programming on the channel (or on television for that matter). Sunday at midnight was also the former time slot for the much-revered "120 Minutes" program on MTV, god rest it's soul.
Recently, MTV2 has been running repeats of "Viva La Bam" for the 14556045000000th time in it's place, and pushing SUbterranean back to 3 AM, because apparently there is some stipulation that at least 50% of the programming on the channel has to involve Bam Margera (god im sick of that asshole).
Are ratings on sunday night at midnight really that important? isn't it ok to have just one somewhat progressive music-related program air at a decent hour?

why can't I relax on a sunday???! fucking corporate machine!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dick Cheney: "Phenomenal"

One more reason you need to strike this word from your lexicon. From today's New York Times:

BAGHDAD — A female suicide bomber penetrated one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq Monday evening and killed at least 42 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to the Iraqi authorities.

The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as “phenomenal” security improvements in the country.

"Play Something Upbeat"

Often, I feel as if I am an alien from another planet. Do I hear music differently than other people? Have I so completely deluded myself into blurring the lines between trashy pop hits and respectable music that people are laughing at me? Or maybe there's some food in my teeth... I don't know. And it's when things like this happen that I begin to question myself.

Saturday night, I'm at the Tiger's Tale in Montgomery, NJ (which DOES exist, Don). It's just outside of Princeton, so I know it's a fairly "normal", educated, competent section of New Jersey. I'm setting up for karaoke night, and I'm playing a few tunes from my iPod to get things warmed up. The manager comes up to me and says, "Could you turn up the volume? And maybe play something a little more upbeat, we have a pretty young crowd in here tonight".

By "young crowd", she meant "people born in the late '60s, early '70s".

And the song I was playing when she asked me to play something "a little more upbeat" was "Got to Get You Into My Life" by Earth, Wind & Fire. It's a cover of a fairly upbeat, soulful Beatles song by one of the great upbeat funk bands of all time.

If you fancy yourself a DJ, try that one on for size. Go on, try and think of something MORE upbeat. There' s plenty of things equally upbeat to this song, but try "taking it up a notch".

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Looks like I gotta go find some more "upbeat" records.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dumb Hipster Slang Update

A rare Saturday night at home allowed me to catch a full episode of Saturday Night Live for the first time in several years. Good to see they share my disdain for hipster slang.

From the Archives, Volume II

Friday, December 29, 2006

Milky's Greatest Moment of 2006

Several years ago, at the radio station I still DJ at (, I created a pre-recorded show for the automation player, which is basically a CD player which plays pre-recorded shows when no one is available to DJ. I still hear it every once in a while, especially over the summer, when there are fewer people around to DJ.

Fast forward to June 2006. I'm returning from a night of drinking at the Ale n' Wich to Reverend Quill's house on Woodbridge St. for the after-party. As we're walking upstairs, I hear a very familiar song coming from one of the rooms. I paused, quietly, to listen.. it was Squidvicar! Now, Squidvicar is an immensely obscure band, being that they've put out only one EP, which wasn't released by any record label, and only available through the Hammer & Tongs website (Squidvicar's alter-ego, who've directed some of the greatest music videos ever, as well as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy motion picture). So, obviously, you can see my puzzlement here.

I whispered to the Reverend, "that's Squidvicar! who lives in that room?"

"Two lesbians," replied the Reverend.

Then, I heard my own voice.

"What the fuck! That's my radio show!"

"Oh yeah, they're big fans of the Core," the Reverend informed me.

So, it turns out two lesbians were merely listening to my old radio show. Drunkenly, The Reverend stumbles into their room, looking for beer and/or pot.

"Ooops. Sorry."

The Reverend quickly turned around and closed the door.

"I think they were having sex."

So there you have it. Two lesbians were having sex while listening to my radio show.
Easily the greatest moment of 2006, and easily a strong contender for the All-Time Greatest Moments Top Ten. God bless the Core, and God bless lesbians. I love you all.

Foodstuffs I

Just call it my angel of the morning...

There's a reason very few boxes of Kellogg's Strawberry Delight Frosted Mini-Wheats remain when I go to pick one up at the Stop n' Shop every week. It is the pink crack of breakfast cereals. I can't stop, even if I wanted to. Plus, the 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving make sure my number two's are nice & regular. God bless you, Kelloggs.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Classic Pictures I

OK, I gotta bump down that last post because that picture of my poor Honda is just too depressing. Here's a classic picture from 2003:

This is my good friend, Peter Shea. Pete's a real fun guy, and by that, I mean he's a mushroom. But seriously, the kid is a legend. Here he is standing over some passed-out hipster douchebag at an old 56 Wyckoff party. I mean, look at this hipster scum: he's got a gold blazer on, sunglasses at night, and some sort of sash. 2003 was a good year for hipsters, they seemed to be popping up on every streetcorner, infesting parties like some demon spawn of cockroach. This one is kind of a Jim Morrison hipster, but obviously can't drink like Morrison, and definitely was not fun to hang out with. Then you have Pete Shea, the real fucking deal, standing over this doucebag in glorius triumph. You can't out-party Pete. Even if Pete has some slight hipster tendencies (Pete will acknowledge this), he is too bad-ass to be considered an actual hipster.

I like to think of this as some version of that photo of Muhammed Ali standing over Sonny Liston, like Pete has just knocked out the epitome of hipster douchy-ness in a victory for all those who despise it. Peter Shea: The Greatest.

Monday, February 25, 2008

R.I.P. - "The Honda", 1993 - 2008

It died a gruesome, unnatural death (and yes, I'm OK, thanks for asking!). For almost ten years, it was the vehicle which enabled myself and some good friends to have some wild, wild times. Initially, Stella would use it to drive Pauly to school. When little Pauly got all growed up, it would tandem with the Jeepster in wreaking havoc across Union County. From the Watchung Mountains to the abandoned Overbrook Psychiatric Hospital, from Club Bene to the summer camp where Andre hooked up with some skanky chick in the back seat, and shuttling the likes of such horribly named bands as Technicolor Highway, Dawn's Promise, and The Special People Club. Paul probably has (and can remember) some way better stories, so I'll leave that to him.

You're probably wondering what happened, and so I can save myself a few explanations, I'll detail the events of Saturday, February 23rd for you here. The day began promisingly enough, a lovely breakfast and a "river view" with my lady friend at the legendary Tom's Restaurant (apparently immortalized in the song "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, also the place I recently resolved to become a Soda Jerk after sampling the Cherry Lime Rickey and Vanilla Egg Cream sodas.) I had the crabcakes florentine and said vanilla egg cream, and life was grand. Next on the day's agenda was a trip to the movies for a matinee screening of Juno. Sitting at a red light, waiting to make a left turn, I glanced up at the rearview mirror. The next .5 seconds seemed more like 5 to 10 seconds.... I remember thinking, "wow, that car is going really fa----"... that's when, from pretty much from out of nowhere, a fucking fuckface who was driving way too fast on roads that were just a little bit too dangerous, hit me from behind, at a solid 40 MPH. I hit the car in front of me, the change dish exploded, sending nickels and quarters everywhere, and the smell of leaking fluids was pervasive. It was the first time I ever called 911.

The first thing I should note, is that when I got out of the car, the fucking fuckface that hit me was just kind of gawking at the damage. He didn't ask if everyone was all right, made no attempts to apologize. Just kinda stood there. I don't remember how long it took the cops to show up... my head was going a million miles an hour. I'd guess it's how someone might feel if they had gotten shot at, and missed. Except if you get shot at and missed, you generally aren't losing a valuable piece of property.

So the cops finally show up, the guy in front of me who I had hit is one of those shady cab-not-a-cab drivers. There is no damage to his tank of a taxi, and after a brief conversation with the police officer, of which he probably understood three words, he thinks the cop told him he can go. So he gets into his car and drives off... the cop flips out and jumps back in his cruiser and chases him down. So another 10 minutes or so later, we're finally back to square one with the cabbie re-assuming his position post-accident. While we're standing around, the passenger of the car that hit me is trying to convince me:
-to ask AAA if they can tow his car AND mine, since they don't have AAA.
-to send my car to his buddies' auto body shop.

I could feel rage building up inside me quickly, his lack of compassion and understanding that he is absolutely the last person on the planet I want to deal with right now could only be attributed to the possibility that he is :
-one of the biggest assholes on the planet
-completely clueless when it comes to Life In General

Obviously, the presence of police officers prevented me from losing my shit on this guy.

Later on, the accident investigator goes:
"You Willyard?"
"Yes sir." [hands me my license and documents]
"That's a hell of a name!"

Which is the first time anyone has referred to my last name being a "Hell of a name".
He then decreed the accident an "open and shut case". This cop won my heart.

A few moments after this, the driver who hit me was handcuffed for giving the officers a fake license.

Nearing the two-hour mark, the tow-truck operator shows up. He is sporting the remains of what was probably once a proud mullet and a severe lack of dental work. I mention I need to retrieve the contents of my trunk, as it contains valuable DJ equipment.
"Oh yeah??! I'm a DJ too!"

He then proceeds to remove his jacket, and then his shirt.
"Yeah man! Check out my tattoo!"

It is a tattoo of a squirrel manning a turntable. He mentions something about some DJ who once played for seven days and seven nights straight, and walks away to tow off the remains of the 1993 Honda Accord LX which has been my vehicle and friend for the past four years, but which has been a part of my life for almost 10. This one's for you, Honda.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I took a picture of my friend Paul's cat, Gomez, this weekend, and decided it would make a good LOLCat:

my first LOLcat. Thanks, Gomez!

Monday, February 18, 2008

New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Lo these many years I have spent in various clubs and bars in the boroughs of New York City, Manhattan in particular. As a resident of the state of New Jersey, rarely is my opinion "relevant" to a New Yorker, and Manhattanites in particular. Now, as a DJ I realize there are DJs who are actual DJ's in the more "professional" sense of the word (those who make their entire living at it), and also DJs who are paid for their progressive taste in music (kinda like if I was paid to do my radio show).

For some time, I held New York DJ's to somewhat mythical standards, and generally the ones I heard were pretty top-notch. Perhaps I have become jaded with the passage of time, or possibly wiser, and I'm just not as naieve as I used to be, or maybe I just go to the wrong places, but when did DJ's in New York start sucking so badly?

Are there too many venues and not enough DJ's? Too many venues hiring the wrong DJ's? Has the Laptop and the MP3 begat an overly amateurish and inbred class of DJ? Surely the latter would favor trust-fund kids with lots of free time and disposable income, and without the need of a gig as a means of survival, they can DJ at below-market rates. Maybe I shouldn't expect much from a guy sitting in the corner with his laptop, looking disinterested in his surroundings. Maybe the lack of "cabaret licenses" has wiped out many of the better, smaller dance clubs. Whatever the case, a great little venue like the one I visited Saturday night for an 80s dance party deserves better than the DJs who would only rank as the 15th best in Somerset County (meaning they would rank somewhere in the lower 900's in Manhattan).

Apparently, just being able to press play on a cd player or mp3 interface on a laptop will net you a downtown DJ gig these days. Who needs to mix! Or learn to EQ! Or learn a little beat-matching! How about a crossfade? Naah! A good rule of thumb as a dj: when a cute girl asks you to play "Situation" by Yaz, on freakin' 80s night, YOU PLAY IT!!! (also, you don't need to play the Smiths twice and the Cure twice... WE GOT IT. There's already a "goth/industrial" dance party downstairs!)

I'm wondering if non-dj's even notice shit like people not mixing songs or the EQ being out of whack. Maybe we're just trying too hard. All I wanted was to hear "Situation".

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm moving to Canada

- My previous post will probably be my last politically-themed post, ever.
- I just found out today the National League has a Silver Slugger Award for pitchers.
- Whatever the reason for global warming, it really sucks that it doesn't snow here much anymore.
- The Grammys and I agreed on something for the first time ever (the awesomeness of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album).

My weekly radio program on 90.3 WVPH-FM in Piscataway, NJ allows me an outlet as a DJ to express myself more freely musically than I am normally able to (mostly because it's not a paying gig). DJ Milky Manchester can currently be heard every Sunday night from 8 pm to 10 pm at 90.3 FM in the central New Jersey area and worldwide on the internet at ... Feel free to call in at 732-445-9300 or via AOL Instant Pestering at "CoreRequests". I thought this past Sunday night's program was particularly excellent, have a go at the playlist if you're looking for some new music to dig into... (* = indicates a recently released album) [ listed as: artist - song - album ]

Fu ManchuSaturn IIIThe Action Is Go
She Keeps Bees *
Meat PuppetsAurora BorealisII
Various ArtistsContort Yourself - James White & The Blacks (August Darnell Remix)Disco Not Disco
FunkadelicBack In Our MindsMaggot Brain
Mike Ladd *
How Electricity Really WorksNostalgialator
Black GrapeA Big Day In The NorthIt's Great When You're Straight, Yeah
Brian Jonestown Massacre(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was SixTake It From The Man!
Lightspeed Champion *
Everyone I Know Is Listening To CrunkFalling Off The Lavender Bridge
WeenMister, Would You Please Help My Pony?Chocolate & Cheese
Commander Cody And His Lost Planet AirmenGoing Back To TennesseeHot To Trot
Willie Nelson *
LouisianaMoment Of Forever
The KinksPeople Take Pictures Of Each OtherThe Village Green Preservation Society
Os Mutantes *
TechnicolorMutantes Live: Barbican Theater, London, 2006
Johnny RiversSeventh SonAnthology
Betty DavisGame Is My Middle NameBetty Davis/They Say I'm Different (Reissue)
Stevie WonderYou And ITalking Book
Eddy Meets Yannah *
Once In A WhileOnce In A While
Serge GainsbourgIntoxicated ManSerge
SlitsOr What Is?Return Of The Giant Slits
Jackie MittooEarthquakeChampion In The Arena
The Ergs!Man Of InfirmityJersey's Best Prancers
Loved Ones, The *
The InquirerBuild And Burn
Del Tha Funkee Homo SapienSunny MeadowzI Wish My Brother George Was Here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gettin' Political with Milky

I distrust 94% of all politicians. I haven't decided who I would cast a presidential vote for yet (assuming my main man Ron Paul is officially out of the running by then), but one name that was crossed off the list a long time ago was Hillary Clinton. Her embodiment of pure evil can be summed up by her absence at today's senate vote. There was a vote today "To strike the provisions providing immunity from civil liability to electronic communication service providers for certain assistance provided to the Government." Barack Obama was there (he voted in favor). Why isn't Hillary Clinton in Washington DC, representing her constituents in New York who elected her to serve as a Senator for their fair state, and to vote in their interests on important matters of concern such as this? Because she doesn't give a shit. About you, about this country. I don't know what, exactly, she DOES give a shit about... but I hope we never find out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"_____ is the new _____", Episode 1

I've decided to borrow another phrase from the hip kids' never-ending lexicon of hip vocabulary. "_____ is the new ______". It never gets old. We need some way to convey the ever-changing ideas of what is hip (man, I wish I had an mp3 blog... this is where I'd put a link to Tower of Power's seminal funk gem "What Is Hip?"). It's always tough to predict what, exactly, the next hip trend will be. There are lots of educated guesses, and what with "____ is the new ____" sounding so authoritative and bandied about constantly, we are endlessly bombarded by these cultural Nostradamus' predictions and their thoughts on the next paradigm shift of pop culture.

Now, in the world of DJ's, theres been some talk that 80's music is in a sort of cultural recession. I can't say as I agree, given the response that 80's music still gets at 2 am. I will, however, purport that:

Early 90's music is the new 80's music.

It's been slowly gaining momentum the last year or so. The time is ripe for a new wave of musical nostalgia. Kids who grew up on early-90's Z100 are at a time and place where the early 90's dance-pop and rock can be appreciated for the truly great works of musical craftsmanship they are. Certain songs and styles have withstood the test of time from every era of music, and this time period is no different. It has an immediate sound, which is instantly recognizable, and enough classic hits for at least a solid 60-minute set.

I don't think the fondness for the 80's will ever truly die out, at least not for quite some time. There are just too many good songs. And we're still three or four years off from a grunge revival (which WILL happen, eventually). The moment is upon us, however, to celebrate once again the magic of such acts as C+C Music Factory and Dee-Lite. I can hear some of you laughing, which is OK. You were either too young and missed the golden era of the early 90s, or have simply forgotten how great these classics are. Soon, you won't be able to escape it. This is the next wave, and it's a big one. Collect thy Funky Bunch LP's and go forth, preach the early 90's dance party!

[stay tuned for the ultimate early 90's dance party playlist...]

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A phenomenal post

Other words that are starting to bother me...

"Fierce" (thanks macmachine) - a big hit with the kids.

"Not so much" - running a close second behind "phenomenal" for most annoying use of language.

In fact, if you Google the phrase "not so much", this is the first result:

An entire article devoted to it's evolution and usage. No surprise that it's traced back to early episodes of the "Friends" television program. Unlike "phenomenal", in which the user tends to exaggerate the greatness of something, people who use "not so much" tend to think they are witty. Not so much, asshole.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shit from an old notebook...

It's Sunday, and the motors in my brain are all gunked up with weekend partying residue, so it's time for the classic cop-out archives series. Plus, it's cool to title your blog entries after Minutemen songs. These tragic DJ adventures seem to be a big hit, so here's one of the all-time classics:

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Worst DJ Gig Ever
Current mood: aggravated

In the world, there exist people without a soul. They're terrible, evil people. They have a bunch of soulless, asshole friends. They listen to terrible, emotionless, soulless music. These people have birthday parties, and they hired me to DJ at one. The problem is, I don't hang out with soulless people, so I really don't have any idea what their musical interests are. But I must have something they enjoy... right? Believe me when I tell you, I played EVERY POSSIBLE STYLE OF MUSIC I OWN. But this did not appease them. They need soulless people music. People without souls do NOT listen to any of the following:

motown, 60's R&B, jerry lee lewis, the beatles, disco, funk, the talking heads, new wave, 80's hits, 90's hits, anything on the tommy boy label circa 1990-1993, west coast rap, east coast rap, "i believe in a thing called love", willie nelson, daft punk, or motley crue.

oh, they enjoyed "SexyBack" and "Sweet Caroline". Who doesn't? And then someone gave me a "Bon Jovi Live 2006" and the "new" Buckcherry albums to play (since I was doing such a bad job at entertaining these people). Honestly, I didn't even know that Buckcherry still existed. I remember laughing at a minor hit song they had in like 1998 called "Lit Up". Apparently, they had a new, even more laughable song that is a huge hit with the Jersey Trash crowd called "Crazy Bitch". At some point, I was bombarded by requests for this song. Imagine being trapped in a room with 50 people, none of whom had a soul, and trying to play music for them. But you don't have any of the music they want to hear.

Why? The person running the party NEVER TOLD YOU WHAT MUSIC TO PLAY! On the phone call before this surprise birthday gig, the conversation with the girl organizing it for her boyfriend went something like this:

Me: "What bands does he like? any particular songs?"
Dumb Skank: "oh, he likes everything."
Me: "yeah, just give me a few bands so I have an idea..."
Dumb Skank: "well, I dont know, he listens to everything."
Me: "Any particular songs you want to hear? Does he have a favorite song?"
Dumb Skank: "What do you have?"
Me: "Well, I can get anything, just let me know what you guys listen to..."
Dumb Skank: "Nothing in particular..."

Nothing in particular. OK, maybe these people really like anything.... Duh, of course they don't!

Fast forward to the worst dj gig I ever had. I was even HECKLED ("play that funky music white boy!" "what the hell is this guy playing?"). No one would even request anything! Finally, there was a classic moment about two hours into it, where someone came up and asked me to play some "Metallica or Maiden!! Get this place rockin'!" Metallica or Maiden??? At a party with like, old people and stuff? Literally, seconds later, someone asked for Neil Diamond. Neil Diamond? Iron Maiden?? Where am I???! I've been Dj'ing for almost four years, specializing in dance parties, and I can never remember the sense of horror I had this night, with just a complete lack of sense of what these people wanted to hear. You know how sometimes Eli Manning looks totally and completely lost on the football field? I can now completely relate.

Then tonight, my boss forwards me this email from the girl who organized the party:

> From: "Janice Sxxxx"
> To:
> Subject: Surprise Party!
> Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 14:49:36 -0700
> Hey Rob,
> Hi how are you? I'm a little upset about the
> party last night. I
> should of had a party list but, when I called Erik
> he said he had
> everything. So you know you are at a 30th Birthday
> and first my boyfriend
> walks into happy birthday sweet sixteen. He is a
> man not a teenage girl.
> For a party you normally play cha cha slide the
> electric slide, he played no
> party music. I had to go up to him tell him to play
> something more upbeat
> my guests were falling asleep. Then one of guests
> went up to him to tell him
> he was 30 not 60. The most disappointing what DJ
> don't speak. For futher
> hires so people don't have a horrible time like my
> guests did please inform
> them that the DJ's you are giving to them don't
> talk. That's why I hired a
> DJ so he could get people moving on the dance floor
> have fun not just sit
> there and be bored. I'm sorry if this is rude, but
> he was awful. My mom
> has friends at work that were going to get married
> and I told him that he
> could of at least tried, but no he didn't. I really
> wish I didn't pay him
> lst night. I just hope for further peoples parties
> that he does you inform
> them that he does not talk on the microphone.
> Janice Sxxxx

For the record:

- The music they were "falling asleep to"? MOTOWN. FUCKING MOTOWN. If Motown doesn't make you move, you OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO SOUL. If Motown makes you fall asleep, you just might be related to Satan directly. And yeah, you're gonna tell me you've never heard the Jackson 5 at a fucking wedding? I can only imagine the poor sap who had to DJ that one.

- Not once did anyone request the Cha Cha Slide or the Electric Slide. I'm fairly positive no one would've danced to it anyway.

- And "Janice" did eventually request some music. CLUB MUSIC. "Do you have any club type music?" Which I did actually play. Daft Punk's "Around the World". A genuine dance-party ringer. No one danced.

- I personally think playing "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" for anyone over the age of 25 on their birthday is hi-larious. But then again, I'm pretty sure I have a soul and a sense of humor. What's even more funny is that this was emasculating to him, and she took personal offense.

- She notes: "I wish I didn't pay him". She didn't. She went so far as to write me a check, then put a stop payment on the check.

- And this "talking on the microphone" business. If only she knew that I also do a radio show, I could've just done my radio DJ schtick the whole time!!! Now that would've been fun... "All right! A little Iron Maiden right there with 'Run to the Hills' off the 'Number of the Beast' LP from 1982! That's goin' out to Bob at the table in the back over there... good rockin' Bob! Right now in Old Bridge, it's Eleven fifteen in the P M, 43 degrees and cloudy... Comin' up next, a little two-fer Saturday with Neil Diamond!"

This isn't a fucking bar-mitzvah. All DJ's don't stand up there and try and get a bunch of drowsy 60 year-old parents and apathetic 30 year-olds to dance to Iron Maiden and the Cha Cha Slide. We play the music you ask us to play.

Now, I feel terrible that these people had a bad time. Never before have I felt so bad about my abilities as a dj. But communication is something I've been working at making myself better at for some time now. I'll take this as a learning experience on several levels. I can't relate/type out all that I've learned, but take this little bit of knowledge and wisdom I learned the hard way:

If you're paying someone lots of money to play music for you,


Here's the kicker:

The theme of the party? "Party Like a Rockstar". They had balloons and banners with that printed on them, they even had shirts printed up for all the guests that said "I partied like a rockstar at Jxxxx's 30th birthday".

If there's a bright center in the universe of rock stars, these people are on the planet furthest from.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From Brooklyn to Bordentown, part III

Ah, Saturday night at the Elks Lodge in Bordentown, NJ. Nothing more glamorous for a working DJ such as myself. After two nights indulging in mid-to-late 20's yoof culture, you'd think a night with some respectable, well-mannered adults would be a welcome respite from the insanity of binge-drinking twentysomethings.

I always hold older people in high regard. "Respect the elders" is one of the mantras of celebrated freeform radio host Vin Scelsa, and what Vin says, goes. Part of being a DJ is being cordial and maintaining a sunny disposition, and respecting your audience, and more often than not, those of adult age (read: your parents' age) are very respectful and cordial in return. However, some of the "adult" members of the celebrated Elks Lodge don't give a flip about being nice.

Whereas rudeness at the Harvest Moon would be someone asking me for the 40th time when their song is up, and rudeness at Last Exit would be some snot-nose loser from Dayton, Ohio who pretends he's "from" Brooklyn, NY telling me I suck, rudeness here in Bordentown is some guy literally grabbing the microphone out of my hands while I'm singing... because I'm singing "his song". Then all of his buddies laughing about it. Cue a clip of Michelle Taner saying, "how rude!"

Again, this is the exception, not the norm. The Elks are great people, and my only gripe would be that I'd expect a "social club" to be a little more rollicking on a Saturday night, but maybe that's because they live in Bordentown, which is neither a suburb of New York or Philadelphia, just some place out in the sticks where there are still rude mofo's, and people still love karaoke.