Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rocktober Begins Tomorrow!

Rocktober is nearly upon us!  As I do every October, I am going to inject you with a daily dose of rock, at least on the weekdays where I'm in the office or have access to a computer.  This year, I'm calling it the Glorious Ladies of Rocktober, and I'm featuring a different song each day by female artists or female-fronted bands.

I have two young daughters, and I try my best to expose them to awesome music.  It's inevitable that they will hear popular music, and that most of the female-sung music that they will hear will be pop, R&B, or hip hop.  I have nothing against those genres, but I try to make it a point to show them that not all women in music are signing about how boys like a little more booty to hold at night, coming at you like a dark horse, or never ever ever ever getting back together.  For instance, when, say, Heart comes on the radio to tell them, "These are two sisters.  One sings, and one plays the guitar.  They rock."

There is a misconception that women can't rock, and I feel it's my parental duty to show my girls that women can play instruments, write their own songs, kick ass, and most importantly, be more than just a pretty girl on stage.  So, even if they know too many Taylor Swift songs for a kindergartner and a preschooler, they can also recognize "Barracuda" within the first few notes of that magnificent riff.

Remember that this is Rocktober, so these will all be songs that rock.  The intent is not to highlight the many great female artists other genres, like pop, soul, R&B, blues, jazz, or folk.  Rather, the intent -– as with all Rocktobers –- is to highlight rock and fucking roll.  There will be hard rock, classic rock, metal, grunge, garage rock, punk, and alt rock, among others.  I am going to try my best to feature bands and artists that are rock-focused, as opposed to bands or artists that may trend more poppy and have a handful of harder rocking songs.  So expect Janis Joplin to make an appearance, but don't expect Stevie Nicks.  Expect Pat Benatar, but not Sheryl Crow.  Veruca Salt, but not The Cranberries.  You get the picture.

As always, Fridays will feature songs from the hair band genre (and yes, there are women that fit that mold), and the week of Halloween will feature songs with dark, evil, or macabre themes.  Retro Video of the Week will be suspended during Rocktober, but Hair Band Friday will continue to thrive.

Retro Video of the Week: "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis

This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Oasis's second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which vaulted the band to international superstardom and has sold over 22 million copies worldwide.  This is definitely (maybe) the first album I remember from Oasis.  It peaked at #4 on the Billboard album charts, and it featured classic Oasis songs like "Wonderwall," "Don't Look Back in Anger," "Champagne Supernova," "Morning Glory," and "Some Might Say."  While "Wonderwall" was the highest-charting in the U.S., hitting #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it's the song I equate most with Oasis, I'm going with "Don't Look Back in Anger" for the Retro Video of the Week.  I love both songs, but I feel like "Don't Get Back in Anger" gets as much love as it should.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Bowls I Expect IU to Go To This Year

It's not always easy to be an Indiana Hoosiers football fan.  We have suffered through plenty of heartbreak, and even though we tend to expect the team to overachieve each year (and bear in mind that overachieving for us is usually somewhere between 4 and 6 wins), our dreams are almost always shattered by injuries, untimely lapses in judgment, or porous defense.  But not this year.  

In case you aren't a die hard fan and, therefore, have no reason to know this, my beloved Hoosiers are 4-0 for the first time since 1990.  Running back Jordan Howard leads the nation in rushing yards, and wide receiver Ricky Jones, Jr. leads the Big Ten in receiving yards, with a ridiculous 22.8 yards-per-catch average.

Based on those odds, I may not have the ability to write a post like this again until I'm 62, so I'm going to go ahead and enjoy this moment, as the Hoosiers welcome #1 Ohio State to Memorial Stadium this Saturday (3:30 EST, ABC), with a chance to shock the world.  It's the first time IU and Ohio State are meeting when both teams are undefeated since 1942, when both teams were 1-0.

IU hasn't beaten O$U since 1988 -- a 41-7 trouncing in Bloomington to bring their record to 4-0-1, a year after the Hoosiers beat the Buckeyes 31-10 in Columbus, causing Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce to declare it was "the darkest day in Ohio State football history."  Believe it or not, the Hoosiers were considered Rose Bowl contenders back then.  Of course, IU didn't go to the Rose Bowl that year, settling for the Liberty Bowl after finishing the regular season 7-3-1 and 5th in the Big Ten (with a final ranking of #20 to boot).

A win on Saturday would be program-defining, but I'm not holding my breath, even though the Hoosiers control their own destiny for the national championship.  A mere 11 more victories, and that Dr. Pepper trophy I see on those commercials every Saturday will be ours.  It's just that easy.

But seriously, the Hoosiers need two more wins to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007.  Looking at their schedule, they have 2 to 6 more winnable games, depending on how the football gods feel like treating them.  IU's 4-0 start has not gone unnoticed by the college football press, as the most recent bowl projections by a host of websites have the Hoosiers go bowling:

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Bleacher Report, USA Today)
Pinstripe Bowl (Jerry Palm of CBS Sports)
Quick Lane Bowl (Brett McMurphy of ESPN, SB Nation)
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Mark Schlabach of ESPN, Campus Insiders, Sporting News, College Football News)
Music City Bowl (Crimson Quarry)

I will be inconsolable if IU doesn't go to a bowl this year, but rest assured, I'll be going to any bowl the Hoosiers play in (okay, Jester?).  With that, here are the ten bowls I expect IU to go to at the end of this season, listing the bowl, location, and date:

10.  Orange Bowl (Miami, FL; December 31)
To get to the Orange Bowl, all the Hoosiers have to do is finish in the top four of the college football playoff standings.  That starts with a win over Buckeyes on Saturday.

9.  Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA; January 1)
The Hoosiers have only been to the Rose Bowl once, following the 1967 season, when they lost to future murderer OJ Simpson and USC.  To get to the Rose Bowl, all the Hoosiers have to do is win the Big Ten Championship game and not finish in the top four of the college football playoff standings.

8.  None (nowhere; never)
Based on my past heartbreaks, I have to expect the worst.

7.  Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL; January 1)
To make it to the Outback Bowl, IU would probably have to win 8 or 9 games, which would make this season one of the most successful in program history.

6.  National University Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA; December 30)
I would murder you to go to San Diego on December 30.  Also, the Holiday Bowl is the site of the Hoosiers' first bowl victory.  Lee Corso coached IU to a 1979 triumph over previously undefeated and #9-ranked BYU, after IU's Tim Wilbur returned a punt for a touchdown with less than 7 minutes left and the Cougars missed a field goal with 11 seconds left to give the Hoosiers a 38-37 win.

5.  Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN; December 30)
I've never been to Nashville, and from what I've been told, I would love it.  I would especially love it if my first trip there was to see the Hoosiers play in Nissan Stadium.

4.  New Era Pinstripe Bowl (New York, NY; December 26)
Last year, Jester and I went to New York on New Years Day, so it would make sense for us to leave our children at home on Christmas Day this year.

3.  Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara, CA; December 26)
A weekend in the Bay Area wouldn't be too bad, save for all the hippies.

2.  Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX; December 29)
Fort Worth is Dallas's bastard little brother, but I'm sure it will be warmer on December 29 than Chicago will be, and that's good enough for me.

1.  Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, MI; December 28)
Detroit in late December.  A guy can dream, can't he?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 9/25/15

1.  "The Lumberjack" by Jackyl

2.  "Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen

3.  "One More Reason" by L.A. Guns

4.  "Life Goes On" by Poison

5.  "Bang" by Gorky Park

6.  "Goodbye" by Night Ranger

7.  "Long Way Home" by Junkyard

8.  "Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds" by Ratt

9.  "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" by Def Leppard

10.  "Dream Warriors" by Dokken

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Slave to the Grind" by Skid Row

For this week's Retro Video of the Week, I decided I would go with the first song (with a video) that randomly played on my iPod today that fit the parameters of the Retro Video of the Week (i.e., between the dawn of MTV and 2000).  That song happened to be "Slave to the Grind" by Skid Row, which is the title track off of the band's second album.

Released in June 1991, the album is famous for being the first metal album to debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts after the institution of the SoundScan system.  If you don't know, the SoundScan system changed the way Billboard chart positions were calculated, using a far more accurate system to track album sales, as opposed to the previous system, which -- I kid you not -- involved calling records stores and asking them about sales.  

If you were a fan of metal or hard rock in the early '90s, you may remember that it was a pretty big deal that Slave to the Grind debuted at #1.  While metal and hard rock (particularly hair bands) had been popular on the charts for several years, it was rare that a metal band had a #1 album (dating back to 1983, only 8 other hard rock or metal albums reached #1), much less that it would debut at #1.  It was a testament to the fact that metal was more popular than radio airplay might have indicated.

The album was much heavier than the band's debut album, and "Slave to the Grind" is a perfect example of that.  It's definitely closer to thrash metal than glam metal, and it has an empowering message:  "you can't be king of the world if you're a slave to the grind." 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Yogi-isms

I was too busy to post a Tuesday Top Ten yesterday, due to work, parenting, couch sitting, and, of course, presiding over the sacrificing of three goats and a gypsy virgin to Pomona, as I do every autumnal equinox eve in my backyard.  

But alas, the day's delay has provided an opportunity for a great Tuesday Top Ten.  This morning, Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra died at the ripe old age of 90.  In addition to being a 3-time MVP, 18-time All-Star, and 10-time World Series champion (which I don't think will ever be matched), Yogi was perhaps best known for his "Yogi-isms" -- funny comments or sentences often plagued by contradictions, malapropisms, and tautologies.  For instance, "It ain't over 'til it's over" was coined by Berra when he coached for the 1969 Mets, who rallied from nearly ten games back in July to win the NL pennant by 8 games over the extremely cursed Cubs, and "It's deja vu all over again" came after witnessing Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs multiple times.

Here are my ten favorite "Yogi-isms," in no particular order:

1.  "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

2.  "You can observe a lot just by watching."

3.  "He hits from both sides of the plate.  He's amphibious."

4.  When asked whether some streakers on the field were men or women:  "I don't know.  They had bags over their heads."

5.  "Baseball is ninety percent mental.  The other half is physical."

6.  "I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

7.  "Always go to other people's funerals.  Otherwise, they won't go to yours."

8.  "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

9.  "If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them."

10.  "I never said most of the things I said."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 9/18/15

1.  "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)" (live) by Tesla

2.  "Let It Go" by Def Leppard

3.  "Four In The Morning" by Night Ranger

4.  "Long Way From Home" by Britny Fox

5.  "No One Like You" by The Scorpions

6.  "Mutha (Don't Wanna Go To School Today) by Extreme

7.  "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Poison

8.  "Night of the Long Knives" by AC/DC

9.  "Blaze of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi

10.  "Bullets to Spare" by Dokken

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Killer on the Loose" by Thin Lizzy

Continuing the Thin Lizzy love fest from yesterday, I decided to go with "Killer on the Loose" as the Retro Video of the Week, even though it's technically outside the parameters of Retro Video of the Week since it was released before MTV came into existence.  But shit, it's my blog.  I don't even give a care.

Released in September 1980 off of the Chinatown album, "Killer on the Loose" is a frantic, almost punkish rocker about, well, a killer on the loose, with references to everybody's favorite serial killer, Jack the Ripper.  The song hit #10 on the UK charts (the band's last Top 10 hit in the UK) and #5 on the Irish charts, although not without controversy.  When it was released, the Yorkshire Ripper had been terrorizing British women for several years, and between August and November 1980, he murdered two more women and attacked three more.  Needless to say, the references to Jack the Ripper and stalking victims in the song, as well as the trench coat worn by Phil Lynott and the images of women in the video didn't sit well with an already edgy public.  Worry not, they caught the Yorkshire Ripper in January 1981, so all's well that ends well -- not for his 13 victims or their families, I guess.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Thin Lizzy Studio Albums

As I'm nearly done with the Thin Lizzy biography I'm reading, I thought I would pay homage to Ireland's greatest rock band.

I didn't truly discovery Thin Lizzy until 2006, thanks in large part to Def Leppard's cover of "Don't Believe a Word" on their covers album, Yeah!  The song was great, so I checked out the original, liked what I heard, and checked out more Thin Lizzy and continued to like what I hear.  How had this band not been huge?

Thin Lizzy is a criminally underrated band.  Most people only know "The Boys Are Back In Town" and maybe "Jailbreak" –- both of which are fantastic songs –- but I'm guessing the vast majority of those of you reading this didn't realize that the band wasn't a two-hit wonder.  Between 1971 and 1983, the band released twelve studio albums, and they were wildly popular in the UK and their native Ireland.  Due to some bad luck (ill-timed illnesses and injuries, forcing U.S. tour cancellations), the band never caught on as much as they should have in America. 

Had lead singer and bassist Phil Lyontt not died in 1986 (several years after the band broke up), from the book I'm reading, it seems like the band may have gotten back together.  If that had happened, I see no reason why Thin Lizzy couldn't have enjoyed the same successes as the Scorpions -- European band with a great hard rock catalog in the '70s, who then burst into international stardom in the '80s.

Starting as a trio, with Phil Lynott on bass and vocals, Eric Bell on guitar, and Brian Downey on drums, the band had some mild success in Ireland and the UK in the early '70s.  Lynott's songwriting was excellent from the start.  He creates worlds and characters like Springsteen, drawing you into both his imagination and his reality, depending on the song.

Bell left after the third album and was replaced by two guitarists:  Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson.  With that, "the Thin Lizzy sound" was born, with Gorham and Robertson playing twin lead guitars, rather than the traditional one-lead-and-one-rhythm-guitarist structure.  While they were certainly not the first group to have twin lead guitars, they were the first hard rock group to do so, and I think those twin lead harmonies are more synonymous with Thin Lizzy than any other band that has had twin leads.

Guitarist Gary Moore floated in and out of the band several times, but never became an official member until the late '70s when he replaced Robertson, and even then, he only lasted one album.  His successor, Snowy White –- who, incidentally, did not do drugs, belying his name –- didn't fare much better, lasting only two albums before being quitting and being replaced by John Sykes, who played on the band's final album before joining Whitesnake.

I decided to rank all twelve of the band's studio albums, which I've listed below, along with the year the album came out, who played on each album, and YouTube clips with my two favorite songs from each album.  Go forth and discover Thin Lizzy if you haven't already.  As Henry Rollins (a huge Thin Lizzy fan) once said, "If you like big rock music with great vocals and tremendous guitar, there's at least five Thin Lizzy albums which you need to run out and get, like right now." 

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Robertson (guitar), Downey (drums)
This was Thin Lizzy's first album with the band's "classic" lineup, with Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on twin lead guitar, but you wouldn't know it if you heard it.  This is a very mellow record compared to the rest of the band's catalog (and some songs almost have a loungey feel), and even the band members have expressed their displeasure with the album.  It does have a few gems, like Lizzy live staples "Sha La La" and "Still in Love With You," as well as a nice little instrumental called "Banshee" that foreshadows the twin guitar harmonies to come.  Overall, however, it's my least favorite Thin Lizzy album.
Two favorite songs:
"Sha La La"
"It's Only Money"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Bell (guitar), Downey (drums)
The band's debut album features some more bluesy, funky, and folk rock songs, with some lingering remnants of psychedelia mixed in.  There are also hints and flashes of hard rock, indicating the direction the band would eventually take.  The version of the album I have contains bonus songs from the band's New Day EP, which includes my favorite two songs from the album I own.  I realize that's kind of cheating, but to the extent you're going to purchase any of these albums, you're most likely going to buy the remastered ones with bonus songs.
Two favorite songs:
"Things Ain't Working Out Down At The Farm"
"Remembering Part 2 (New Day)"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Bell (guitar), Downey (drums)
With their second album -- named after the band members' previous band names (Shades and Blue Orphanage) –- the band continued to improve, getting a little harder with their sound, even if the album is a little incohesive.
Two favorite songs:
"Baby Face"
"Call The Police"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), White (guitar), Downey (drums), Wharton (keyboards)
I don't have anything against synthesizers per se, but there is a time and a place for them.  Sure, 1981 might have been the time for synthesizers, but a Thin Lizzy album was not the place.  Nonetheless, Darren Wharton was added as a full-fledged fifth member of the band for Renegade.  Some of the songs on Renegade sound a little cheesy and dated as a result of the synthesizer.  That's not to say there aren't some good rockers on the album.  "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)" is a great, high-energy song, the title track starts slow, but gains steam, "The Pressure Will Blow" sounds like a classic Lizzy song and would have fit in well on any of the band's previous four albums, and "Leave This Town" is a nice foot-stomper.
Two favorite songs:
"Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)"
"The Pressure Will Blow"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Bell (guitar), Downey (drums)
The band's third album –- their last as a trio and their last with original guitarist Eric Bell –- was another step in the right direction.  It was more focused than their first two albums, and a bit more rocking.  The reissue features "Whiskey in the Jar," which had been released as a single a year earlier, spending 17 weeks at the top of the Irish charts and going Top 10 in the UK.  You know I love that song.
Two favorite songs:
"Whiskey in the Jar"
"The Rocker"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), White (guitar), Downey (drums)
Thin Lizzy's first album of the '80s and first with Snowy White on guitar was a pretty solid rocker.  Members of the band and media have described the second side of the album as mostly filler, but I think they are all pretty good songs.  All in all, though, I'd say the album is very good from start to finish.  Highlights for me include the title track, "We Will Be Strong," "Sweetheart," "Killer On The Loose," "Having a Good Time," and "Hey You."
Two favorite songs:
"We Will Be Strong"
"Having a Good Time"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Robertson (guitar on three tracks), Downey (drums)
Before Bad Reputation was made, guitarist Brian Robertson left the band, although he came back to play on several of the album tracks.  Bad Reputation is a solid hard rock album.  The title track was featured in Guitar Hero II, and it is a nice ballsy rocker.  Other highlights on the album include the frenetic "Opium Trail" (one of Lynott's several songs addressing his drug dependency), the catchy, leaving-home likeability of "Southbound," the funky "Dancing in the Moonlight," and rocker "Killer Without a Cause."
Two favorite songs:
"Opium Trail"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Sykes (guitar), Downey (drums), Wharton (keyboards)
Thin Lizzy went out with a bang.  After getting John Sykes to replace Snowy White, the group turned their sound from hard to harder.  Sometimes referred to as the "Thin Lizzy metal album," Thunder & Lightning is a fast-paced album befitting of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (the genre from which Sykes came).  I really like this album.  There may be a couple of ill-fitting keyboard solos here and there, but all in all, it is a pretty damn good metal record, and an appropriate coda for a band that influenced so many hard rock and metal bands that followed them.  It's also bittersweet listening to the album -- especially the last song, "Heart Attack," in which Lynott sings "mama, I'm dying of a heart attack" –- knowing that a mere three years later, Lynott would be dead as a result of heart failure and pneumonia brought on by years of heavy drug use.
Two favorite songs:
"Cold Sweat"
"Heart Attack"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Robertson (guitar), Downey (drums)
After the success of Jailbreak (see #1 below), the band put out another great album in the same year.  Johnny the Fox picks up where Jailbreak left off, with a great mix of hard rockers, with a couple more poppy songs tossed in for good measure.  "Johnny," "Rocky," "Massacre," and "Boogie Woogie Dance" are legit hard rock songs.  "Fool's Gold" is a great song about the Irish Potato Famine and subsequent flight of many Irish to America.  I have always loved "Don't Believe a Word," which is barely over two minutes, but provides a hell of a lot of food for thought, as Lynott is basically telling the subject of the song "don't believe me if I tell you I love you or if I tell you I wrote this song about you because words are just words."  It's a brilliant display of non-commitment, allowing the song's narrator to back out of the relationship because he is an admitted liar, but at the same time shielding himself from getting hurt because if she rebuffs him, he can always say, "well I told you not to believe me anyway, so when I said I loved you, I was just kidding."
Two favorite songs:
"Don't Believe a Word"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Robertson (guitar), Downey (drums)
Now this was more like it.  The band's second album with their "classic" lineup was their strongest to date.  Kicking off with their brilliant cover of Bob Seger's "Rosalie," the album was decidedly more hard rocking than any of their previous four albums.  Songs like "Suicide," "Fighting My Way Back," "Freedom Song," and "Ballad Of a Hard Man" showed the world that Thin Lizzy had arrived, foreshadowing the mix of hard rock and Irish-inspired pop rock that made the band so great.
Two favorite songs:
"Fighting My Way Back"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Moore (guitar), Downey (drums)
For me, it was a very tough decision between Black Rose and Jailbreak for #1, but I ended up going with Jailbreak because it is the more popular and recognizable album.  Consider Black Rose a near #1 in my mind.  Top to bottom, it's as strong as any Lizzy album.  From intro of "Do Anything You Want To" to the bombast of "Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend," Gorham and Moore's twin harmony guitars are wonderful, and Lynott paints his honest and gritty picture of life on the streets and life as a drug addict.  More important is that this album was made in 1979, at the height of disco and just after the height of punk.  Rather than trying to change their sound, Thin Lizzy put out a straightforward hard rock album that featured tales of empowerment ("Do Anything You Want To," "Get Out Of Here "), sex ("S&M"), drugs ("Got To Give It Up"), and crime and violence ("Toughest Street in Town," "S&M," "Waiting For An Alibi"), an epic ode to Irish folklore and literature ("Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend"), and a seemingly misplaced tender ballad dedicated to his daughter ("Sarah").
Two favorite songs:
"Toughest Street in Town"
"Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend"

Personnel:  Lynott (bass and vocals), Gorham (guitar), Robertson (guitar), Downey (drums)
If you only buy one Thin Lizzy album, it should be Jailbreak.  It was the first Lizzy album I bought, and it is their masterpiece and their centerpiece.  It features their two biggest hits, "The Boys Are Back In Town" and the title track.  On top of that, there are other Lizzy stalwarts that should have been bigger hits (in my opinion, anyway), like "Cowboy Song" and "Emerald."
Two favorite songs:
"Cowboy Song"

Friday, September 11, 2015

Road Rouse-y

As you may know, I am a huge fan of the movie Road House.  It has everything a guy could ask for in a film:  a tormented hero, awesome fight scenes, great lines, a merciless villain, boobs, and vengeance.

Based on the number of emails, texts, phone calls, MySpace messages, telegrams, and angry questions from strangers on the train I have received in the past few days, it has become clear that you, fair readers, want my opinion and analysis of the recent announcement that MMA wunderkind Ronda Rousey is slated to star in a reboot of Road House.

My immediate reaction was that I was okay with this news.  With The Fabulous Moolah nearing 93 -- and long dead-- and Wendi Richter retired and out of the public eye, Rousey seems like the natural choice for the female lead in a Road House redux. 

Of course, there is a bit of uncertainty here.  Rousey obviously has the physical tools to play a credible cooler, but will her acting chops stack up to the inimitable Sir Patrick Wayne Swayze?  Sure, Rousey starred in her own biopic and had a cameo as a bouncer in Expendables 3, but there's a big difference between playing yourself (or smashing a glass on someone's head during a short fight scene) and playing (presumably) the love child of Dalton and Dr. Elizabeth Clay for (presumably) three and a half hours.

I'll reserve judgment entirely until I find out more details. The movie hasn't been written yet, but will allegedly begin production in 2016.  There are two paths the writers can go down:  (1) have a similar story arc, but without any references to the original; or (2) relate the story to the original somehow, whether that's through mutual characters (or their offspring) or mutual locations.  If they call it "Road House 2," it sure as shit better have some relation to the original movie.  No matter which direction they take, if they just call it "Road House," I'm not going to be happy.  Because it will never be the real Road House, even if it included a boot knife.  Calling the reboot "Road House" would basically be spitting on Wade Garrett's grave.

Also, regardless of the direction they take, the plot will make or break it for me.  (I realize that's rather obvious, since that describes everyone's reaction to any movie.)  It can't just be a movie about a bouncer (or cooler) cleaning up a bar.  For me, the key to Road House wasn't Dalton; it was Brad Wesley.  Without Wesley's psychopathic behavior, smug smile, and dastardly control over Jasper's businesses, the movie would have fallen flat because there would have been no real conflict.  You see, Dalton was so much more than a bouncer.  He didn't just resurrect the Double Deuce.  He resurrected the entire town, saving it from Wesley's grip.  The reboot needs a villain like Wesley to make it work -- someone who is such a bastard that you want to reach through the screen and choke the life out of him or her.

So there you go, mijo.  I'm interested to see how this whole thing shakes out, and particularly whether any character in the reboot will tell Rousey's character that he or she used to fuck girls like her in prison.  

Hair Band Friday - 9/11/15

1.  "Stick To Your Guns" by Bon Jovi

2.  "Black Tiger" by Y&T

3.  "Finish What Ya Started" by Van Halen

4.  "Jaded Heart" by Dokken

5.  "Mistreater" by Great White

6.  "United" by Judas Priest

7.  "In Your Direction" by Ratt

8.  "Living On The Edge" by White Lion

9.  "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)" by Mr. Big

10.  "Ring Of Fire" by Def Leppard

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC

Once again, my commitments on a Tuesday prevented me from posting a Tuesday Top Ten, and given that I am going to see a little band called AC/DC next Tuesday evening, it is safe to assume I won't be posting a Tuesday Top Ten next week either.  My sincere apologies.  In honor of my impending first AC/DC concert, here is the video for "You Shook Me All Night Long."  Interesting tidbit:  Australians refer to AC/DC as "acadaca."  Either that, or my Australian friend is yanking my chain.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 9/4/15

1.  "Makin' A Mess" by Skid Row

2.  "You're Too Bad" by Firehouse

3.  "She Wants Money" by Ratt

4.  "Rescue Me" by Y&T

5.  "Fear" by Bon Jovi

6.  "(You Can Still) Rock in America" by Night Ranger

7.  "Goin' Home Tonight" by White Lion

8.  "Rodeo" by Mötley Crüe

9.  "Good Enough" by Van Halen

10.  "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" by Judas Priest

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.

Apologies for the lack of Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was too busy with my weekly caber toss practice.

This past weekend, I finally saw Straight Outta Compton, the biopic about N.W.A.  I have been a fan of N.W.A. ever since I had the tape of Rap Masters 9: The Best of the Hardcore, which was an oxymoronic title, since it featured ten "hardcore" rap songs, all of which were edited and contained no swears.  Nonetheless, I was particularly drawn to N.W.A.'s "Gangsta Gangsta," which prompted me to buy their full album, Straight Outta Compton on tape.  Even as a white, middle-class suburbanite, I could appreciate the grittiness and truth in the songs.  Beyond the swearing (which, as a 13-year-old, I thoroughly enjoyed), the songs had a message and talked about a reality and perspective that had never really been talked about (or, at least, not so bluntly).  I can still recite pretty much every song on the album, word-for-word.  

Needless to say, I was excited when I heard a biopic was being made, especially since both Dre and Ice Cube were involved as producers.  I really liked it, even though it glossed over a few important details:  Eazy-E's debut album; the existence of Arabian Prince (who I don't remember being mentioned in the film); the group's second studio album, Niggaz4life -- or Efil4zaggin, as it was titled in the reprints of the Billboard charts that I would read in the Chicago Tribune "Friday Section" each week -- which hit #1 on the Billboard album charts; the rather public feud between Dre and Eazy-E in the early '90s (see, e.g., "Fuck Wit Dre Day" by Dr. Dre and "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" by Eazy-E); and Dr. Dre's issues with domestic violence (which weren't mentioned).  I also thought that MC Ren's contributions to the group were downplayed.  That said, I understand that you can't include everything in a film, and even without those details, it was almost two and a half hours long.  One thing was confirmed:  I never want to meet Suge Knight.

With that as the backdrop, this week's Retro Video of the Week will be "Straight Outta Compton."  A few weeks ago, I was at a wedding, and the DJ played this (for reasons that are unclear to me, since we were in a small town in Indiana), but I took the opportunity to rap all of the lyrics.  Cube, Ren, Eazy? I was all of them.  This resulted in a lot of confused and amazed looks from millennials, given that I had been dancing with my children a mere hour before I was explaining to no one in particular that I'd "shoot a motherfucker in a minute / or find a good piece of pussy / and go up in it."  Then again, I'm a crazy motherfucker from the streets, so what did they expect?

I'm including both the explicit and clean versions of the video because I find it hilarious that they made clean versions of any of their explicit songs.