Archive for the ‘Whatever’ Category

“2 Bass Hit”

by Spike Emerson

I’ll never forget the crisp fall day back in ’12 when Henley asked me to join one of his bands.  There we sat in my basement listening to music like so many times before.Sometimes we would talk about approach notes. Sometimes we would reminisce about how in the past we drove the identicle make, model and color of the Honda Civic Si (super car) and sometimes we would just laugh a lot. On this day however, Henley was telling me about an idea of a funk band revolving around both an electric and an upright bass. I was like…wow man, that sound will be pretty cool!  He went on to tell me that he already had both bassists: David Walker, long time bassist to Henley’s many bands on electric bass. And Jabari Reynolds, Henley’s 19 year old nephew from Detriot, here attending Berklee. John Iltis, the other half of Henleys rhythm section on drum kit and percussionist Matt Pert. I excitedly said,” I would like to see this band!!” Henley replied,”Dude, I want you to be IN this band! plus our first gig is already booked for November.”  I would have been a fool to say no to Henley so I excitedly said “YES!!”. A few hours later after I realized what a great opportunity this was going to be  I wrote Henley a text message: Gr8 Hang 2day. I AM DEF IN! i can comp n i can burn!!  As I pressed send,  I knew damn well that the last two statements weren’t exactly true.

11.16.2012 In a Pigs Eye, Salem Ma. Two Bass Hit’s first gig. Besides a short meeting with Henley and David to run down a few tunes, the six of us hadn’t actually played together before. That  isn’t uncommon in the world of  local gigging but can still be unnerving.  And I shouldn’t have been surprised at the dozens of people interested in seeing Henley’s new band…or “contraption” as he would often refer to it. One  stark difference between what I was used to and this genre is that the improvised rock solo is generally 12 to 16 measures but for the 2BH guitarrist, the improvised solo is at a minimum 64 measures. I think I was aware of this fact and thought I could easily stretch out a tasteful solo, but when the first solo section from the first song came around to me, all tact flew out the swinging door of the Pigs Eye. I played just about every lick I ever knew over the first 8 measures and tried to then slickly pass the solo to David. “Keep goin’”, Henley yelled over to me. So I muffled through another 8 or so measures before then trying to again pass it off to David. “KEEP GOIN!’” Henley again yelled. I fumbled through another 8 measures before finally getting let off the hook. I could actually FEEL the other 5 guys thinking: Where did Henley find this guy? For the rest of the night,  I both figuratively and literally “kept my head down.” I went home relived to have gotten through the gig and yet humiliated at how unprepared I was for it.

The next gig wasnt until after New Years . I was getting to know Jabari a little better driving him to and from practice a few times. Besides both of us having family we missed back in Detroit, we both have a particular rambling ‘n stambling speech pattern that in some way made it very easy for us to understand and communicate with each other. I would imagine a fly trapped in the car must have been like “What the F#$k lanuguage are these guys speaking?” In many ways he is the most articulate man I have ever met.

I know it doesn’t look like it from this picture, but Jabari really does like me!

 1.16.2013. In A Pigs Eye, Salem Ma. Besides learning some of the nuances of this genre and making damn sure my solos were the appropriate length, I was starting to pick up some jargon that I found useful to know in this setting. When Henley says “Lay Out!”, that means that all intruments should stop playing and groove to the drummers as they break down the  beat. But if Henley shouts “Hang me (or another band member) out” all players are to stop and let the soloist play freely and indefinately. I also learned that what a rock musician might call a “Buddy Holly beat” or what a blues musician might call a “Bo Didley Beat”was refered to as a “Second Line groove” when you’re running with Henley. One more thing to factor in when in Henley’s house: Plan on really good surprise guests to seemingly appear out of nowhere to join together with the band. Sometimes I’d look out in the audience and wonder if the lady with the goiter is gonna sit in and wail on a marimba at some point tonight?

 

backstage run down of the set.

2.2.1213 Vic’s Boathouse, Salem Ma. This one fell right in our lap. The bar manager contacted me a week before asking me if I knew a funky band that coud make a bunch of people dance? Do I ever!  By this time the band was still in its infant stage. David and I had begun to develope a section where I would start the solo and run with it,  then we’d cut heads before  he’d take us out of the solo. Jabri and John were also now more accustomed to each other. Matt was playing a conga like Tito Puentes’ and Sheila E’s love child. All this while being led by the guy playing the alto sax. The contraption that Henley had referenced at the first two gigs was now in motion.

 

“solo trade off?” more like me bailing your ass out!-Delicious Dave

2.15.2013 In a Pigs Eye, Salem Ma.  I usually feel most at home in a trio but must admit I enjoyed the comraderie of a sextet. I walked around the Pig that night like I was part of a gang. Especially on stage.  That being the case, I probably looked like the guy about to get whacked for ratting  when Henley called out “On the Strip”, a song i’d never heard before. I quickly asked David, “What Key is this?” He answered, “G minor, Latin feel” just as John counted off the song. In some ways it was exhilerating to be in the thick of it using just my ears, and lucky for me, soloing over a minor vamp is in my wheel house.  So besides keeping a heads up for the occasional surprise guest, I will expect the occasional surprise mystery song choice as well.  Do you think we played “On the Strip” at our next gig? You bet your balls we did. Do you think I was ready for it this time? You bet your balls I sorta was.

“Enough about comraderie, just get trough the friggin’ song without blowing the solo”

3.8.2013 In a Pigs Eye, Salem Ma.  On the way I picked up Jabari. He played me a hilarious saved voice mail of a half prank, half drunk dialed call from Matt doing all sorts of voices and impressions. Then Jabari himself launched into a dead on impression of Barack Obama giving an address about the pot holes on Derby Street and how more work needs to be done. Jabari’s impression of the Commander in Chief would make its way into future 2BH sets.  By now the band was just hitting its stride. John Iltis was now known in the band as “Ill John” laying down such tasteful grooves with ”Delicious Dave Walker” and  Jabari “Dr Detroit”( i just made that up now) playing off of each others bass lines. For the first time I wasn’t completely terrified to play in this band.  This show featured  a guy named Brian Coger on Trumpet. During the band intro, Henley told the audience a quick story about how two young, beautiful women approached Brian once after a recent  show and propositioned him with ”breakfast.” To which the young Trumpeteer replied, “actually, only one of them was beautiful.”

3.15.2013 Chianti, Beverly Ma. I had never  played in an actual Jazz club before. This was a “get” for this band. There are a hundred players who would give up masteaurbating to play on that stage. Unlike other gigs where the room might start out empty then fill in as the night goes on, this room was filled an hour before we started and just kept getting bigger. And unlike other gigs where the band isn’t always the focal point, it seems as though at this place the band was the only thing anyone focused on. I had to loosen my clip on tie.  To add to the pressure, My Wife, Lady Spike was in attendance and I really wanted to impress her. During the first song I was taking advantage of a chair that was at the edge of the stage where I was set up. I figured that’s sort of a jazz guitar players move to be sitting. Just as I was starting feel as though I was pulling off being cool.  Henley looks over to me and yells “Spike, UP!!!” I  thought  he wanted me to stand up, so I shot up to my feet as quick as I could. Henley then yells “NO! TURN UP!! so I turned the volume up, closed my eyes and did my best to blend in on a stage reserved for a different caliber of guitarist. Maybe that was the trick because for the first time in my life my guitar playing wasn’t about me, it was about the group. I looked out into the audience and saw that Lady Spike was pleased. The band had hit a new apex  and to top it off the club booked us for the next 3 months. Henley’s contraption was oiled and contraptioning. Yes, contraptioning is a word!

The shirt and tie say “This guy is stuffy” while the red hooded sweatshirt says,”This guy is poor”

4.18.2013 Chianti, Beverly Ma. Up to this point, Two Bass Hit had only gained momentum. I think we all were just expecting a similer experiance as our gig here last month.But considering the Boston Marathon bombings happened just days prior and the chaos that ensued over that week I shouldnt have been too surprised to look out to see an audience of 8 somber people. Just as we were heading to the stage I caught a glimpse of breaking news…MIT officer shot by terrorists. My stomach sunk. We went on to play two sets that no matter how hard we tried just wouldn’t click. We ended the second set and did not return to play an encore as we has done every time before.  It appeared that the contraption was now stalled.

4.19.2013  In Pigs Eye, Salem Ma. The next night the area rejoiced in the capture of the remaining terrorist. The people at In a Pigs Eye seemed especially excited and the band seemed to have shaken off the figurative funk from the night before. Henley’s alto sax was being repaired so he brought his barritone sax instead. The “Barry” sax covers a lower range of musical notes. While most guitarrists would relish having the entire upper register of notes to themselves, I, on the other hand learned just how well I didn’t know the upper chord voicings on my fret board.

I called this the “Henley Band Rig”

5.9.2013 Chiante Beverly Ma. This was a subdude evening. The band having not played together in almost a month took a more relaxed approach to each composition. Henley would use the term “cool school” when it came to the musical approach as well as the volume. I would often laugh thinking about the funk band jargon and how it might relate to other real life situations. Like what if when one was standing before a stern Judge for yet another speeding ticket and just as Old Judge Penis Face is about to launch into some tirade about doing 65 in a School Zone being unsafe…You could simply yell,”Lay out!, Lay Out” and he’d promptly shut his stupid Judge face while you wail on a solo.

“If you don’t stop saying ‘Lay Out’ while playing air guitar, I will find you in contempt of court!”

5.31.2013 In A Pig’s Eye, Salem Ma.  By now, a gig here was “old hat.”  We had weeded through many songs to find two sets of what I thought was interesting instrumental music peppered with a Matt Pert signature  vocal song here and there.I felt a subtle change in my guitar playing too. It was still really sloppy and undisciplined but it didnt seem to bother me as much as it did before. But just when it looked like the “contraption” was running properly again, Henley alerted the audience at the end of the first set that this is Jabari’s last night here and he’d be heading back to Detroit in the morning. The crowd let out a collective “awwww!”  I realized that Two Bass Hit is going to be on indefinate hiatus after our next show.

6.7.2013 Chianti, Beverly Ma.  This was the last booked show of 2BH and I couldn’t think of a better place to close this chapter then at the wonderful Chianti. I loved so many things about the place. They really value musicians in a way that i’m not accustomed to in the world of local Rock. While many venues view a bands worth on how many friends they can persude to buy that establishments alcohol at an extremly high mark up, Chianti seems to actually value it’s musicians.  Knowing this would be the last time I’d be playing the cool jazz club for a while, I ate my comped Pumpkin Ravioli extra slow and ordered three pints. For this night, Rather than  finding another stand up bass player, Henley opted for loading the night with heavy guest stars. At one point a guy named Mike Tucker and another fella named John Aruda joined the band on  saxophones and even Brian Cogger came to “show up” Henley one final time before heading to Denver. On the way home I thought about the numbers. 11 Gigs over the span of 8 months. 6 musicians all working towards getting Henley’s contraption to run so effeciently that it lifts right off the ground.

 

A few days later Henley sent me a text: We’re gonna let 2BH chill for a while. Have a great summer.

I sent him a return text: No Doubt. 2BH reunion 2014!

 

4.15.13

Three days after another day of infamy we are still putting the pieces back together. At this point there hasn’t been a suspect named though the three media companies claim that information is imminent. I couldn’t believe the gall of one news reporter who whined on air that the FBI was keeping them in the dark thus putting the public at risk. While many people want those same answers and pronto,  I cant help but think that if it became policy that after a terrorist is caught we change their name to something randomly generated or better yet voted on then at least maybe one ego maniac will be deterred knowing his act might get credited to “Big Fucking D Bag” as voted by the good people of Suffolk County.We do however know that the two bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon were made from every day pressure cookers…which will be outlawed.

Like so many times before, I found out about this late. It would have been later if my wife who had just gotten home from work a couple hours early hadn’t shouted, “quick, come see this!” down to the basement where I was organizing paint cans.  I knew from her voice it was either something really, really, really good or something really, really, really bad. The first time I saw the footage it was almost unbelievable. Each time after that it felt like another grim reality of the world  where we live in light of the world people my age and older once lived in. Then after the explosions every one ran except those whos instinct it is to run in to help, many of which were there as spectators. I wonder if the terrorist factored in that seconds after the explosion victims were being cared for. I wonder if he factored in that the identity of whomever planted the bomb would unwittingly captured in high definition by a couple hundred cell phones. But in the here and now all I can really think about are the victims and the people who helped the victims. While I would like to think that if I was there I would be courageous enough to run in and help as opposed to run for my life, I never thought it was anything other than a hypothetical question. That’s probably just another stark contrast to the world my generation can only lament now brought on by another viewing of the explosion on the news. Speaking of which, At this moment all network channels are telecasting live from an inter-faith service at Holy cross Church. President Obama is there as well as every face of Massachusetts government as well as family of victims and spirtual leaders. It seemed a little weird to have  so many figures in one spot just a few blocks away from the the bombing all on live television. I turned off the TV. Sometimes its just better to be last to know.

-Mike Pratt

Poster for the Second Issue’s Release Party

12.14.12

As always, I seem to be the last guy to hear the news. As I walked downtown to the nearest mail box to mail another student loan payment,  I noticed a stranger from about 30 yards whose body language made it apparent his intention of engaging me in some manner. “Did you hear the news?”  The stranger inquired. In that moment I knew that I wasn’t gonna like this news. My stomach dropped. “Another School shooting” he went on to report to me. “In Connecticut, its really bad.” Sensing both he had no further information and the fact that I didn’t even WANT any more information just yet,  I thanked him and moved on . As I walked home, it occurred to me…this happens to be the anniversary of the time a deranged gunman hijacked a lecture center on the campus of SUNY Albany.

Besides learning to memorize my social security number, my very last day of the 4.5 years I spent at SUNY was a probably the only memorable day I had there.  The day was typical grey for December in the Northeast.  The campus of Albany State University was as I remember very Roman in architecture.  A huge fountain pool in the center surrounded by many lecture halls where like me, students were enjoying the last day of classes before winter break. This happened to be my very last day since I needed an extra semester to graduate so you might imagine how a 22 year old might have felt just a little more excited about this particular day.

Around 10 am, I was in one of the many rooms on the sprawling campus listening to pre-recorded samples of classical music on cassette tape for my final music final. On my way out of the music lab I noticed a large line of students waiting to get in what was a typically under attended lab since it still used old audio tapes instead of CDs. I asked the attendant who was in the process of giving me back my ID, “Why so many people?” She said, “There’s a hostage situation in one of the lecture centers, so all the labs in that area are closed forcing them to come here.” Why am I always the last to know? I thougfht to myself even tought this information actually didn’t make much sense to me at the time. Partly because it was my last day of college and I really didn’t give a fuck about a longer line into a room i’m never stepping foot into again, but also given it being the mid 90′s and as a society we were unaccustomed to such violent acts, I pretty much thought that “the hostage situation” was a new name for some sort of computer glitch and went about my way. As I walked towards the campus center the faint sound of helicopters became louder and louder until it was almost deafening. As I approached the campus center a swat team had already formed a perimeter around the fountain and abutting lecture centers.  It didn’t take a guy about to earn a bachelors degree to figure out this was an actual hostage situation.

On December 14th,1994. 26 year old psychology student Ralph Tortorici walked into the last day of his Greek history class with a hunting knife and a high powered hunting rifle. Just as the class was beginning, he locked the doors from the inside with fire hose and fired a shot into the air before announcing that he was taking the class hostage. He sent the professor to alert the media and local congressional representative while talking to negotiators over the class room intercom. His demand: He wanted to speak to President Clinton. Before the SWAT team could act, a group of heroic students took down the gunman however one student did suffer a gunshot wound to the groin. , Tortorici, who had a long history of mental illness, had sought help in prior months for a micro chip that he claimed was implanted in his head even  going as far as showing up at a local police barracks seeking help in removing said micro chip. It is even documented that he visited SUNY Albany’s health center two years prior to the ordeal complaining about, you guessed it, micro chip.

I mingled with the thousands of students now gathered around the perimeter buzzing about what they had heard. We all cheered when the SWAT team brought the gunman outside to rush him away in a state trooper’s patrol car. Later that night Tom Brokaw covered this story on the national news.  In 1999, Tortorici would hang himself in prison while serving his 15-40 year sentence.

Sadly, this is tame considering how far we have come in 16 years. The media will inundate us with all the proper intel over the next week with a new name to associate with terror and speculation as to why he did it. As if there could be one. The one constant among the Connecticut school shooting and the SUNY Albany Hostage situation as well as any other mass shooting tragedies is guns. Until we stop glorifying the gun,  the tragedies will get worse and become more and more common place.  Just 5 months ago a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater.

-Mike Pratt

“Day of Suny Albany Hostage Crisis”

 

2012 Year in Review- by Mitt K. Earp

It’s that time of year again when we reflect upon the last twelve months. Many of us look to the past year for knowledge and wisdom gained from another trip around the sun on this blue spinning rock. Others make resolutions at 11:59pm on New Years Eve never to huff cleanser again…but we all know that never works. Your best bet is to decide whatever it is you are good at  and do that thing. Like I told my 12 year old nephew visiting from North Carolina this past summer, “You can have ANYTHING you want- but you can’t have EVERYTHING you want.” In the mean time,  Here’s a run down of 2012 month by month:

January,2012

Jan 1. The year begins as Dodge Street Bar and Grill officially closes its doors after two decades as Salem’s premier music venue. Anyone who had ever been part of the Dodge scene stopped in New Years Eve to see The Hate Fu*#ers  close down the venue. Opened in 1991,  The club changed ownership three times over its 20 year existence, starting with Bob, Peter and Allen Berzofsky, who had the vision of a restaurant that featured the best in local music.  In ’99,  two guys called Nick and Jim bought the restaurant but rumored in-fighting caused them to cut and and run in ’03. Enter the last owner, Frank Presutti. He would take the reigns for the final 9 years. Unlike any of the former owners, Frank was a musician. The benefit of this rarity was that he could relate to the struggles of the working artist. The draw back being that his brash and public critiquing of each and every artist that ever took the stage made him infamous in the music scene.   The Presutti administration would be responsible for expanding the restaurant that featured live music nightly into a bonafide music venue by renovating a couple of old storage rooms into a good sized stage in a room that could hold 150 of your closest friends.  During the party and into the morning, the patrons were encouraged to bid on any of the wall decorations as a memento of a simpler time thus making it the single highest grossing night in the history of the music club.

“This is the last worthless evening that you’ll have to spend”

 *

Jan 13. Italian Cruise Ship Costa Concordia runs aground, causing the ship to scrape a reef off the Tuscan Coast , consequently flooding the engine room and power generators while the boat meandered for the next hour before it finally capsized.  32 people perished. What was most unbelievable was that Captain Francesco Schettino, known for his machismo especially when it came to impressing young female passengers was actually trying to show off for a particular Fighetta as well as abandoning the cruise liner while a few hundred passengers had yet to be rescued.

“I’d do it all again for Un Pompino”

*

Jan 22. Legendary college football coach Joe Paterno dies from cancer. In July ’12, Penn State removes the 7 foot tall bronze statue of “JoePa” from the campus amid the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal. Later in 2012 the man at the center of the controversy was given 30 years in a federal penitentiary.

this guy wont tolerate any “funny business”…well almost any.

 

February,2012

Feb 11.  Singer Whitney Houston is found dead the  bathtub of the Beverly Hills Hilton suite where she was staying for the next days Grammy celebration being held at the Staples Center. Grammy night turned into a solemn night of remembrance as many of the biggest pop stars of the day paid tribute to the beloved Icon. Days later Sony  raises the price of two different Greatest Hits CD’s but claims it to be a  pricing mistake when outraged Houston fans threatened to riot.

“I had this outfit picked out months ago!! Who’s an idiot for wearing a suite of meat now?”

 *

Feb 14. Wellesley College publishes steamy love letters between Victorian age English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett on line to the delight of nerds world wide. Many of the love letters address   Elizabeth’s dickish father’s dis approval of his daughter running off with of all else, A POET!

Her?

*

Feb 29. Once Teen Idol Davey Jones dies at age 66 of a heart attack while horseback riding in Florida. Jones enjoyed success as the lead singer of fictitious TV rock band “The Monkees” which originally debuted on NBC in 1966. The band’s popularity would make many resurgences as re-runs of the classic show would find its way on National TV in the 70′s  and then again in the mid 80′s when the blossoming MTV would air the shows to a new generation of pop culture fans.

Now I’m A Bereaver

 

 

March,2012

Mar 2.  The meta-analysis of over 40 studies now prove that chocolate may actually have beneficial properties for the human heart and the bodies circulatory system. Still, some of the negative affects of over consumption of Chocolate are: Diabetes,osteoporosis and lead poisoning.

“Damn Susan…you are such a health nut!”

*

Mar 5. Apple Store celebrates 25 billion downloads. The family of  the late Steve Jobs were sad at the fact that the genius behind Apple never got to see this mile stone. They were also sad that the most downloaded song of all time remains: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

“Please Do NOT Shove…you will all get a chance to empty your wallet at one of our many convenient “I-Check Outs”

  *

Mar 17. Pope Benedict XVI launches an internal investigation into leaks of confidential documents alleging corruption, financial mismanagement and power struggles among senior church officials. Over the next months it would be learned that a disgruntled butler of the Pope was behind the leak and removed from the powerful position. And we’re very sure that this is the last time the CC will ever be embattled in controversy.

But what did you expect? He’s got a new album dropping.

 

April, 2012

Apr 11. After 45 days of public outrage, George Zimmerman is arrested after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Originally not arrested based on Zimmerman’s account that the un armed boy was the agressor, he now faces second degree murder charges. His trail is planned for June, 2013.

“Judge Ito, my client is mis understood…like OJ was.”

*

Apr 16. Thirty five years after it’s original release date, “God Save The Queen” is re-released in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee held in June. The song was originally banned by the BBC in 1977 coincidentally in conjuction with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

What kind of dick face hates Pink Floyd?

*

Apr 25. News of a U.S. Military Scandal breaks when three Marines on a US Embassy security team and one embassy staff member pushed a female escort out of a moving car after a dispute over payment. All three Marines were demoted and given no ointment for the many shanker sores that they contracted from an unrelated incident.

“What the F&@K is a Groupon?”

 

May,2012

May 4. Adam Yauch, also known as MCA of the Beastie Boys dies of salivary gland cancer at age 47. Yauch was a practicing Buddhist and a Vegan, a stark contrast to the early days where he fought for all our rights to party.  Though widely criticized for the homophobic and misogynistic lyrics of their early career, In 1999, he and the other Boys of Beast publicly apologized in an issue of Time Out New York.

RIP

*

May 9. Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis” sells for $37,000,000 at Sothebys. Created in 1963, there are only 22 original prints in existence, all of which are distinguishable by the space between both Elvises (Elvi). Assuming they are all worth roughly the same at auction: Andy Warhol, by creating 21 extra  original pieces, an act that would take an experienced silk screen artist like Warhol no more that 5 extra minutes,  created an extra 700 million dollars in the 2012 Art Market!

“If you give one more annoying market speculation we will both shoot”

*

May 29. An art gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa remove an image from its website called The Spear after thousands marched in protest. The image portrays South African President Jacob Zuma in a Leninesq pose. Zuma, elected in ’09 has been riddled in controversy. Some of the speed bumps in his personal life include: Fraud, rape, racketeering and corruption.

I dont really get why this is so controversial…oh wait, now I see.

 

June, 2012.

Jun 1. Madonna kicks off MDNA concert tour in Tel Aviv, Israel. The 12th studio album from Madge covered topics like Sex, Drugs, Violence and bullying. The Material Girl was accused of using the tour to gauge new living locations since her banishment from England.

“you know what Israel needs?: Madonna.”

*

Jun 3.  Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace marking 60 years of polite oppression over 16 sovereign states! 1/3 of the world celebrated this milestone by lighting billions of candles and taking almost a week off of work. In three years “E2″ will surpass Victoria as the longest ruling monarch.

is anyone else getting a Headless Horseman vibe?

 *

Jun 24. Legendary TV Game Show host Alex Trebek suffers his second heart attack but will go on to make a full recovery! This marks the second time he has been hospitalized with a heart related condition. In 2011 he snapped his Achilles tendon while fending off a robbery attempt of his San Francisco hotel room.

“Help! Send Ambulance at once!!”

“ohhh, im sorry. Your response to:”Hello, LA County 911, this is Kathleen” wasn’t in the form of a question.”

 

July, 2012

Jul 4. The City of Salem celebrates a rainy Independence Day with their annual fireworks display over Salem harbor. This year Pete and Ted of Britannica were featured acts as well as Julie Dougherty and a special pops concert by the 42 piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra.

Fireworks explode over the Friendship. (photo by Scott Lanes)

 *

Jul 20. A midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado turns into a deadly shooting rampage leaving 12 dead and 58 wounded. The shooter also rigged the unlocked front door of his apartment with bombs and timed his stereo to BLAST music at midnight in a vain attempt to trick his neighbors into entering his apartment thus triggering the bomb blast.

Now that’s a bad neighbor.

*

Jul 28.  The city of Salem celebrates Local Music with the 9th annual Witchstock and the 1st Annual Sky Party. Over 25 artists participated in the two events. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t cooperate as both events are affected. The Sky Party would be moved to Old Town Hall and two thirds of the Witchstock concert was held in the pouring rain…oh yeah, and the 2012 Olympic games held its opening ceremony on this day too!

“Hummmm what’s the best way to kill a booking Agent?”

 

“The heavy stuff wont be coming down for a while.”

 

 August, 2012

Aug 18-19. The Salem Jazz and Soul festival celebrated the non-profit’s 5th year. The Salem Willows Amusement Park hosted the two day rain or shine event.Featured artists included: Jaimo of Allman Brothers fame as well as (once) local drumming hero Russ Lawton.

Would it kill any of you guys to play the correct notes?

*

Aug 22.  An elderly church volunteer in Northern Spain decides to touch up a one-of-a-kind 19th century fresco by the Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez. The repair goes awry and the painting is left almost unrecognizable. Later that month, the disgraced artist would file a law suit claiming that  she deserved royalties from up swing of tourists paying to see blasphemy.

Look close, can you even tell them apart?

 

*

Aug 24. The US Anti-Doping Agency announces its plan to strip 7 time Tour De France winner, Lance Armstrong of all titles after an investigation discovers performance enhancing substances were used by the once celebrated athlete. By the years end, Armstrong would end all ties with the Livestrong foundation.

“F$#k you! Its not against the law to drink while cycling…oh, you were talking to the driver.”

*

Aug 25.  Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, dies at the age of 82. Armstrong, who served in the Us Navy before attending Purdue University would later become a test pilot at California’s Edwards Air Force Base. There he would fly many test missions before being recruited for USAF’s Man In Space Program in 1960. He would go on to pilot Gemini 8, Gemini 11, Apollo 8, Apollo 9 and finally the historical Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20,1969.

“Oh, you made history on Earth? cool story Bro”

 

September, 2012.

Sep 5. After nearly a year and a half, one of the members of Seal Team 6 releases “No Easy Day”, a tell all book about the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound and the last moments of the wanted terrorist’s life. In his accounting of the events, the Navy Seal also divulged classified military training methods. In the book, he writes,”It was strange to see such an infamous face up close. Lying in front of me was the reason we had been fighting for the last decade. It was surreal trying to clean blood off the most wanted man in the world so that I could shoot his photo. I had to focus on the mission, right now we needed some good quality photos.” Jihadists on al-Qaida websites have posted purported photos of the author, calling for the his murder.

“It was pretty gruesome Bra!”

*

Sep 30. English singer and founding member of Wham! George Michael cancels the Australian leg of his tour due to “major anxiety” believed to be the result of acute pneumonia. The singer did however make a special appearance at this years Olympic celebration in London.

Or maybe the anxiety was caused by the ten doobies and box of wine he consumed daily?

 

 October, 2012.

Oct 4. Salem kicks off it’s annual Haunted Happenings with a parade through the city. Haunted Happenings is a month long celebration of “miracle tourism” and “goth pride” leading up  to Halloween day, or what local businesses refer to as “The only reason to set up shop in this God forsaken town.”

File Footage from Mayoral debate

 

*

Oct 28. Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record makes landfall in Atlantic City, NJ. Having great impact on all mid Atlantic and north eastern states. President Obama issues a Pre-Landfall Emergency Declaration for Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick ordered all state offices to be closed October 29.

253 people died. But you gotta admit this is a pretty funny meme!

*

Oct 31. The city of Salem celebrates Halloween on the heels of Hurricane Sandy finally dissipating. The city enjoyed a little more subdued gathering this year as many in the region stayed home either without power, without the means to get here or they simply realized they weren’t in kindergarten.

“this is how i usually dress, you perverts!”

 

 

November, 2012.

Nov 6. Barrack Obama narrowly  wins second term as United States President against the laughably stiff and overly white Mitt Romney. Every bit of momentum that Romney built would inevitably be undone by a gaff of equal proportion. Whether it was wagering ten thousand dollars that he best understands the working man, or his attack on sesame street after his first and only favorable debate.

Not only did Mitt lose the 10k bet, he also had to stand still for “0ne swift kick to the nuts”-a gentleman’s agreement from the third debate.

*

Nov 16. One week after the BCTG (just look it up!) Union strike, Hostess announces the company will file a motion in Bankruptcy court and sell off all assets. While I haven’t had a twinkee in about ten years, I always felt just  a little safer knowing they where always near.

“You F@#king Shot me!”

*

Nov 21. Flaming Lips front man and visionary Wayne Coyne is detained at Oaklahoma’s Will Rogers Airport when a screener noticed a hand grenade in the singers suite case.  Turns out the grenade was hollow and spray-painted gold, something Coyne claimed to had swiped from a wild house party the night before where it was being used as a book end.

“lets use these to strangle the f***ing a** hole who delayed our holiday travel by another 7 hours.”

*

Nov 26.  In what has become an American Black Friday tradition, A Georgian man dies after over deputized Walmart employees tackle him to the ground suspecting him of shop lifting two DVDs. In Tallahasse, Florida. 2 people were shot in a Walmart parking lot as a result of a dispute over a parking space.

“Ok rookie. Next, lets go ahead and put your shin right on the back of his neck…That’s it!- Man, do i love this job!”

 

Wow, What a wacky year! Some of that could have been made up. Wicked Hawt magazine would like to wish you all the merriest of holidays and wish you all a safe and most prosperous new year!-WH

Joker Men

Bob Dylan/Mark Knopfler

11/18/12 Boston Garden

Neither artist gave the audience what it wanted. The filled Garden adored Mark Knopfler, former Dire Straits founder who after every song the crowd seemed to over applaud in what I believe was attempts by the collective audience to politely imply: You have our attention; now play some fucking Skate Away. I was tipped off by one of my pals who had been following the set lists on line for the past month that there would be but one Dire Straits song in the set. So when the only words he uttered directly to us in response to the many requests being hurled at him between first and second song was, “I Aint Playin’ any of em.” The crowd erupted in laughter. I knew he wasn’t kidding. So not having my hopes up, I was able to accept that I’m going to be hearing all new stuff (to me) and was able to sit back and listen. He brought  an arsenal of guitars that he switched out for every song. There was the Strat, the Les Paul, the Danelectro, the Dobro and I think I recall him ripping on a PRS too!  While I said he didn’t give the audience what we wanted, what Mark Knopfler gave was great and at the very last song when he finally played the one and only DS song, So Far Away From Me, the entire Garden erupted with joy. He dragged the three chords and chorus out for what seemed like fifteen minutes and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Like so many, I love Bob Dylan. I’ve seen him a handful of times over the last twenty years. Each time I see Bob Dylan, I can’t help but remember the first time seeing him perform and noticing the stark contrast between what I was expecting and what I saw. Back then, I wanted him to give faithful renditions of his songs as I and maybe other first timers knew them. I soon realized those days were long gone. The songs were hardly recognizable and that was twenty years ago! As a teen ager I was pretty bummed out, but went on to enjoy many Bob Dylan shows with a more realistic sense of how he has adapted songs that he wrote half a century ago to fit his modern day mood. He has boiled his songs down to the basics with just the chord progression of the popularly known version. Or using the I-IV-V Blues form many times forgoing all melody to make lengthy verses now fit into 16 bars. It’s a very interesting style unique to Dylan himself. I liked how Knopfler sat in with Dylan’s band for a couple songs. During Things Have Changed Dylan did what seemed like interpretive dance, or the dance you might witness in vaudeville times. Whatever it was,  the crowd was definitely into it. I got exactly what I expected but I still couldn’t help but long for the sound and style that he once favored. The closest we got was Visions of Johanna.

When I think about it, A way to make everyone involved (including the audience) happy would be if Mark Knopfler was to perform the songs of Bob Dylan. This way Knopfler doesn’t have to play Dire Straits songs, which im still unclear as to why he all but ignored his catalogue, The audience gets legible versions of songs sung pretty close to how Dylan once sang them and Bob Dylan can take a long overdue night off…he is 73 years old after all.

-Tim Raptke