Five Bands You Should Check Out…

Do you remember the good old days, before internet and smart phones? The long forgotten days when us kids had to read a magazine, watch Much Music (for we Canadians, hey) or MTV to find out about our favorite bands, and for that fact, discover new bands. Now it is as simple as a Google search or logging into iTunes to get information and find your new sound. I can honestly say that the ability to find new music on the World Wide Web is an amazing privilege. This method, and going out to see live shows has given me the pleasure to discover some great new acts. I would like to share a few of these bands with you. I am sure a lot of you will have heard of these outfits, but not everyone is a music nerd (snob) like us folk. Please feel free to share some of your favorites with me.

We Hunt Buffalo (Vancouver, B.C.) Self-described as “dirty, grimy, fuzz rock”, these guys are right up my alley; big riffs, big sound, and Canadian. I have been listening to We Hunt Buffalo since late last year, although they have been around for a spell longer. These guys, along with Anciients and Bison, have made Vancouver one of the best scenes for heavy music over the last few years.

Barn Burner (Montreal, PQ) Disappointingly, Barn Burner is no longer together and have been inactive for a few years. I had the pleasure of seeing this band live, along with Bison at a club show four years back. I was absolutely blown away by how tight they were. They looked like they were having a hell of a good time performing for the hundred or so people that came out to see the show. Barn Burner truly were what the title of their debut album suggests; “Bangers”.

 Pallbearer (Little Rock, AK) Personally, I am a sucker for melodic doom metal. For me, Pallbearer does not disappoint. I purchased a vinyl copy of their debut album Sorrow and Extinction, and have been hooked since. A lot of you who are into the same type of music as me have probably heard about this band, but I figured I would mention them anyways. Pallbearer will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you drink the same tea everyday, life gets boring.

The Shrine (Venice, CA) The dudes in The Shrine seem like the type that would show up at your house party, play an hours worth of blistering rock ’n roll, drink all your beer, make out with your girlfriend, spray paint a dick on your fence and then leave because your party was lame. I had an opportunity to see The Shrine play as part of Calgary’s Sled Island festival last year. I felt violated after their set, but in a good way. Cool fact; The Shrine recorded their debut album, “Primitive Blast” on a reel-to-reel machine. Old school!

Chron Goblin (Calgary, AB) At the risk of sounding like a total homer because they come from my home city, Chron Goblin is another band that deserves more recognition. I have seen them play around town a handful of times, and they get better each time. Locally, they have opened for some great bands like Fu Manchu, 3 Inches of Blood, and Vista Chino. Chron Goblin is a band that will keep heavy music fresh, whether it is locally or they achieve the wider success they deserve.

T.

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Pro Wrestlers Turned Horror Film Actors… My Five Favorite Roles for Wrestlers.

Over the years, professional wrestlers have tried to cross over into the world of acting. A few have been successful; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might currently be the reigning box office champion with films like San Andreas and Fast 7. On the other side of the coin, many wrestlers have struggled to make the transition, such as Hulk Hogan. Films like Santa With Muscles and No Holds Barred did everything but run wild at the box office. Sure those movies were pretty bad, but you would think that the late 1980’s drawing power and popularity of the “Hulkster” would have translated into Hollywood gold. I guess people do appreciate substance over muscles at the cinema. Today, the world lost one of the all-time greats, and a fine actor in his own right; “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at the far too young age of sixty-one years of age. The Hot Rod could play the hated villain, booed by thousands, but could play the hero as well. adored by the fans who paid to see him in action. Tonight, in Roddy Piper’s honor, I have decided to bring you my top five film roles played by professional wrestlers. Rest in Peace, Hot Rod.

Diamond Dallas PageBilly Ray Snapper (Devil’s Rejects 2005)DDP” was a superstar in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s in the now defunct World Championship Wrestling. In Devil’s Rejects, Page plays one half of the “Unholy Two” with his partner being the incomparable Danny Trejo. The sheriff hires these two to bounty hunt the Firefly Family. Diamond Dallas plays a great greasy, dirty ex-con creep. One of my favorite films.

Paul Levesque (Triple H)Jarko Grimwood (Blade: Trinity 2004) Paul Levesque or “Triple H” has held the WWE world title over ten times and now runs a portion of the WWE along with Vince McMahon. In the second Blade sequel, Levesque plays an unstoppable henchman for the Blade’s most powerful enemy, Dracula. The character is pretty wooden, but Triple H does his best with what he is given. This is a pretty stacked cast, but the former WWE champ still manages to get noticed. Blade wins in the end, but I bet Triple H would show him a thing or to inside a steel cage.

Glen Jacobs (Kane)Jacob Goodnight (See No Evil 2006) In the world of pro wrestling, Glen Jacobs has played Kane, an evil disciple from hell tagged “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” for close to twenty years. In See No Evil, and plays a psychotic recluse who stalks the hallways of an abandoned hotel. Not too much of a stretch as far as stepping outside of his acting comfort zone, but at seven feet tall and three hundred pounds, he plays a mighty imposing slasher. I actually thought this was a well done, if unoriginal, horror flick.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura Blain (Predator 1987) Before “The Body” was a reclusive conspiracy theorist, he was the Governor of the state of Minnesota. Even before that, he tried his hand at acting. After a career as pro wrestler and a WWE color commentator, Hollywood called. Ventura starred in a few action roles, and even played a “Man in Black” in an episode of X-Files. His best, and quite frankly, most macho role was as “Blain” in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic Predator. A total bad ass complete with chewing tobacco, Gatling gun, and absolutely no time to bleed.

Rowdy Roddy PiperNada (They Live 1988) In John Carpenter’s underrated classic They Live, Piper plays a drifter who finds a pair of Ray Bans that reveal a pretty big secret. Through these sun glasses, Nada can see who is human, and more importantly, an alien. The world is controlled by these creeps, and the Hot Rod must stop them. A much taller order than having a boxing match with Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2. And just like in life, in They Live the Hot Rod came to do two things…chew bubble gum and kick ass. And he is all out of bubblegum.

T.

Top Five Favourite Halloween Movie Deaths

The Halloween film franchise has always been my favorite. Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th are close seconds, but there is something more appealing to me about Michael Myers. “The Shape” has the expressionless white mask, and seems to be a more “hands on” murderer. A knife or a simple choking always seem to be his go to methods. The series has gone down hill in quality and originality, but the original Halloween and Halloween II are classics as far as I’m concerned. I even enjoy Rob Zombie’s 2007 Re-imagining, with a much larger and imposing Shape (played by Tyler Mane). A few of the sequels are decent, but lack the charm and atmosphere of the 1978 John Carpenter classic. The second sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch is an entertaining watch, and actually quite original, but has nothing to do with the Michael Myers storyline, so I have not included any deaths from it in this list. These five deaths are not the most brutal, or most gory of the series. These are simply my favorite for reasons I will give with each one. Please enjoy!

5. Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)   Oops! – Ok, so this is technically not one of Michael Myers’ kills, but he is indirectly responsible. Basically, Michael returns to Haddonfield after 10 years to finish off his only remaining heir. The town’s rednecks are getting shit faced at the local tavern and learn through a television newscast that Michael is at large. Well, now it’s time to take the law into their drunken hands. The posse storms out of the bar and goes to make a citizen’s arrest. It goes badly. Poor Ted Hollister is creeping around some bushes and becomes the victim of mistaken identity. Please, if you are drunk and decide to go out and mob an escaped lunatic, make sure you ask questions first, and shoot second.

4. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)   Batters Up! – A young Michael Myers could have made the Major Leagues with a swing like this! Poor Steve Haley was famished after having sex with Michael’s sister Judith. So when you are hungry, you make a sandwich in the kitchen. Unfortunately at the Myers’ house, even snacks are danger. His thirst results in a crushing baseball bat blow to the top of the head. This one makes me cringe each time I see it. Lesson? Michael Myers is not a fan of you banging his sister. Or stealing his lunch meat.

3. Halloween (1978)   Oh Brother… – This is the opening scene of Halloween, and really sets the tone for the entire film. The scene is ninety-five percent shot as it was from a young Michael Myers’ perspective.  Judith is supposed to be watching Michael on Halloween night. As it turns out, she is entertaining her boyfriend in her upstairs bedroom. We follow Michael’s perspective as he observes his sister’s promiscuity. After he waits until Judith’s suitor leaves,  he goes into the kitchen to retrieve a large knife. He makes his way upstairs, pulls his mask down and stabs his sister multiple times. All this done while dressed in his clown costume. His parents return home to find their son standing on the sidewalk holding the knife that butchered Judith. I am not sure if Carpenter intended this as an homage to the famous point-of-view shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but the result is as effective. A very simple and personal introductory murder for the young psychopath Michael.

2. Halloween (1978)   Annie’s Death – The original John Carpenter’s Halloween was great for numerous reasons. The music score was perfect, the acting was believable, the tension and suspense was beautifully done, but I feel the best reason was the simplistic nature of the film. The film was believable because it was not over the top and gory. The killing was minimal and done in a personal manner, which made Michael Myers have a human element. Annie’s death is a great example of a smart, simple, and suspenseful film work. While you are watching, you know Michael is there, stalking Annie, but you don’t know when. Michael is a smart, patient predator that waits until he knows Annie is absolutely alone and vulnerable. The detail is pinpoint, right down to the steam on the inside of the car windows that is generated by Michael’s breathing. The shot of young Tommy witnessing Michael carrying Annie’s lifeless body across the front yard is a nice touch.

1. Halloween II (1981)   A Real Lady Killer… – Michael seems to have a real problem with people’s promiscuity. Nurse Karen decides to take her break with ambulance driver Bud…naked…in the hospitals hot tub room. This should have been Bud’s lucky day, but it wasn’t meant to be. Things are getting hot and heavy in the tub, too hot for Karen actually. She send Bud out to turn the thermostat down (which Michael has cranked right up). Bud is easily dispatched while Karen waits for him to return. Michael enters, Karen thinks it is bud standing behind her and she begins seducing “Bud” by sucking on his fingers. “Do you want to go for breakfast after?” she asks. She doesn’t know that Michael is only hungry for death. Michael drowns/burns Karen by repeatedly shoving her face into the boiling hot tub water. This is my favorite death because it was the first attempted seduction of Michael Myers, and because it is the first time I remember being exposed to a half nude woman when I was a child. Those types of milestones are exciting and not easily forgotten. (I have included the PG edited version video. Sorry fellas.)

T.

Top Five Guilty Pleasure Songs

Everybody has a few of them. Songs that are a guilty pleasure. It’s not that the artists are not held in high regard, because they are, but these are artists that are generally not in my wheelhouse when it comes to my typical listening habits. This was a list that was suggested by my brother. After much more thought than it should have taken, here are my five favorite guilty pleasure songs.

5. Mr. Big – To Be With You (Atlantic 1991)  I’m not really sure why I like this song, but it’s kind of catchy. It’s a typical hair rock ballad, which is probably why there is a soft spot for this song. Also, it reminds me of high school.

4. Duran Duran – Girls On Film (EMI Capital 1981)  I suppose Duran Duran as a band is a guilty pleasure.  Their lyrics don’t really make sense unless you base song writing on the ability to make verses rhyme. I am a sort-of-proud owner of their greatest hits album, and this is the best song as far as I’m concerned.

3. Bon Jovi – Let It Rock (Mercury 1986)  When I was ten years old, we went on summer vacation to some small town that I don’t recall. My grandma bought me this tape from some five and dime store. I played the shit out of the first side, got sick of it and never really listened to it again. I don’t really care for Bon Jovi now, but this song rocks. If you are ever going to play “air key-tar”, the intro to this song is the perfect choice.

2. La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover  (Baby Records 1980)  Why the hell not? You’ll understand after viewing the video.

1. Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen No More Love On The Run) (Jive 1984)  When you hear this one on the radio, you have to turn it up and sing along. This is not only my favorite guilty pleasure songs, it just might be my go to 80’s song. I can’t explain it, Caribbean Queen is embedded in my soul. ‘Cause we’re sharing the same dream, and our hearts they’ll beat as one…

TOP FIVE DESERT ISLAND ALBUMS

I am sure we have all played this game. Stranded on a desert island, or anywhere remote without anyone to save you. The five albums that you would take with you. It is not a very realistic game; what would you play the albums on? Where would you get the power to run the device? Rules are kind of stupid, so let’s ignore them and play anyways. These albums mean different things to me, fond memories, times in my life. So here in no particular order here are the five albums I would pack if I was ever to become a castaway.

Appetite

GUNS ‘N ROSES – APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (Geffen 1987) You would hard pressed to find a better hard record than this beauty. No other album brings back as many fond memories of growing up than Appetite. The attitude and bite of this debut is unrivaled. If you are between the ages of 35-45, you probably know the words to every song on the album. Also, this is the first time I remember hearing the word ‘fuck’ on a rock song. I have probably owned this album ten times over.

Lullabies

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – LULLABIES TO PARALYZE (Interscope 2005)  It was hard to choose the QOTSA album that I would have on a desert island. I love them all, but a decision had to made. I chose Lullabies because it was the record that blends the bands raw desert rock background with the new wave type sound they have adopted for their last two albums. This is also the last album that Mark Lanegan has a large contribution on, as well as the debut of drummer Joey Castillo and multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen.

Angel Dust

FAITH NO MORE – ANGEL DUST (Slash 1992)  Faith No More pretty much do what they want when it comes to recording albums, and it works so well on this one. Angel Dust is beautiful and ugly, complex and simple, accessible and confounding all at the same time. This was Mike Patton’s first real contribution to writing songs with the band, and it shows brilliantly. If you took almost every style of music you could think of, put it in a blender and mixed it up, you would end up with Angel Dust. RV is one of my favorite songs ever. Also, the album artwork, inside and out, is amazing and disturbing.

Dopesmoker

SLEEP – DOPESMOKER (Tee Pee 2003)  Not be confused with the album Jerusalem, which was released in 1999, chopped into multiple tracks and released without the bands input or permission. Dopesmoker is a titan, with the title track timing in at 63:31. This is Sleeps final album as a band, even though they released a single last year. This is a powerful, slow, heavy prophecy of doom, delivered by the high council of “stoner metal”. The only thing that would top listening to this on a lonely island would be to have Sleep perform. I also have a soft spot for this album because guitarist Matt Pike a guitar giant, and one of my favorites.

Bubblegum

Mark Lanegan – Bubblegum (Beggars Banquet 2004)  I’m not sure what about this album that draws me in. It could be because Bubblegum is perfectly flawed, and from the heart. Lanegan’s gruff, soulful voice seems to make the songs have more meaning (see Tom Waits). The album features a long list of guest contributors featuring the talents of P.J. Harvey, Joshua Homme, Nick Oliveri, and Alan Johannes. A very dark, intimate record, but beautifully crafted. It is also one of the CDs I go to when driving on the highway.

T.

TOP FIVE DEATH SCENES – FRIDAY THE 13TH EDITION

JasonWho doesn’t love a violent death on the big screen? Jason Voorhees sure does. The goalie masked maniac has been carving up campers for more than 3 decades. Jason has hacked, slashed, choked, impaled, disemboweled, bludgeoned, and crushed his way through 120 plus victims. He averages over 10 kills per film. He’s a machine. Here are my five favorite Friday the 13th kills.

5. Knock Out Punch (Friday The 13th Part IIIV) – Brave Julius decides to stand up to Jason on a Manhattan rooftop. Jason let’s him get in a few good licks before scoring a first round TKO.

4. The Great Divide (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday) – Deborah decides the best way to spend an evening in the woods is some good old fashion tent sex with Luke. If Jason shows up, she may have to split.

3. Frosted Face Smash (Jason X) – Even in space, Jason is pissed off. Especially after he’s just woken up from a hundred year nap. Poor Adrienne finds out that Jason is not a morning person. Why there is a sink full of liquid nitrogen, not sure. But it is a good death regardless of details.

2. Sleeping Bag Lumberjack (Jason X) – There are three things you need to know about Jason Voorhees; he does not care for camp counselors , he does not endorse the use of drugs, and he sure has hell has a problem with premarital sex. He lets two attractive female campers know just how he feels.

1. “This Shit Box is Gross!” (Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning) – Demon had too many enchiladas, so he has to use the restroom. After a little crooning with his soon to be deceased girlfriend, Anita, Demon finds out just how Elvis Presley felt, dying on the toilet. This is my favorite, not because it’s the most violent or inventive, but because the whole scene is hilarious. “Now you’re gonna get it, bitch!”

T.

TOP FIVE FAVORITE HORROR/COMEDY FILMS

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I watched Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell the other night. In the tradition of Raimi horror films, this one is pretty campy, like Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. So I thought I would come up with my top five films of this co-genre. Keep in mind, these are not judged on the film making merits or acting performances, they are simply my favorites for various reasons. Feel free to comment with your own list.

5.  What We Do in the Shadows ( Dir. Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi – 2014) Pretty fresh, but highly entertaining and clever. I had not laughed at the cinema like I did while watching this film earlier this year. Mockumentary about four vampires renting a flat together in New Zealand. The scene where the Vamps run into a pack of werewolves in the park is very funny stuff!

4.   Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Dir. Tobe Hooper – 1986)   The very campy sequel to the classic 1974 horror Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Dennis Hopper (yes, thee Dennis Hopper) is tracking the infamous Sawyer family. Bill Mosley (Devil’s Rejects) provides plenty of creepy comic relief as Leatherface’s chrome-domed brother, Chop Top. Not a huge body count, but violent and funny.

3.  The Cabin in the Woods  (Dir. Drew Goddard – 2012)   A very original and very pleasing film.A group of young adults head out to a remote cabin for a weekend of fun. They discover a book in the cellar, and things go wrong. Sounds familiar (Evil Dead)? Rest assured that it is what you’d expect.  Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers) is a tremendous comedic actor, and delivers in The Cabin in the Woods. Plus Joss Whedon co-wrote.

2.   Gremlins   ( Dir. Joe Dante – 1984)   I shouldn’t assume that anyone reading this list has seen Gremlins, but I’m sure you are all aware of what a Gremlin is, and who Gizmo is. Billy gets a gift from his dad, and is given 3 simple rules. Never get it wet, never expose it direct sunlight, and for god sakes, do not feed him after midnight.  Well, Billy screws up, gets Gizmo wet, and then feeds his brothers after midnight. Terror and comedy ensues. A very charming Christmas film, complete with green little ghouls getting piss drunk in the town pub. The Gremlins themselves offer up most of the laughs, but the film also features a young Corey Feldman. A nice trip back into the ’80’s.

1.   Evil Dead II   (Dir. Sam Raimi – 1987)  This movie has everything. “Dead by Dawn” features blood, guts, books bound in human flesh, Bruce Campbell battling his severed hand, and mounted deer head cackling like a psychopath. Ash (Campbell) battles demons in a secluded cabin, and loses a few body parts along the way. This is a chaotic, nerve-biting, bloodbath that you will thoroughly enjoy if you have a soul. Bruce Campbell is absolutely amazing, as he takes Ash from a shivering coward to a certified Deadite ass-kicker. Groovy!