Monday, August 28, 2006

Commentary on Yester(Fri)day's News #4,903

Dear Pluto,

As far as I'm concerned, you will always be a planet to me. Those scientists, who should be curing cancer and inventing teleporation, have really done it this time. I am cancelling my subscription to Popular Science, the Christian Science Monitor and I will never listen to Oingo Boingo again. And you want to know what else? All of the astrophysicists who voted that you weren't a planet were only like 5% of the total number of astrophysicists. I know! That's what I said! It is a huge pile of crap. You should probably launch some missiles. That seems to be the answer to everything around here.

Your friend,

--The Robo-Pirate

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Self Aggrandizement in the Form of a Pre-edited Music Review

This will come out either tomorrow or the following week in the FW Weekly, but I really like this band and really didn't want to wait in case anyone was on the fence about them and happened to be doing some searches.

Valient Thorr
Legend of the World

Remember Nu Metal, that genre comprised of suckass Jock-Jam bands like Korn and Godsmack? When they weren’t busy making huge, multi-zippered, idiot-pants fashionable, they were supposedly breathing life into the tired, leathery lungs of Regular Metal. What they really did was ruin everything cool and dangerous about hard rock, in a much more damnable way than anything ever perpetuated by Sammy Hagar. In other words, they sucked the fun right out of it.

Fortunately, a handful of bands have managed to reset the whole genre through their own sweat, toil and blistering arpeggios. You’ve probably heard about Australia’s Wolf Mother, who fuse stoner rock and Kansas into fuzzed-out glory. Perhaps you’ve found Early Man on MySpace and added them as friends because they sound like Mercyful Fate covering Maiden. If you’re lucky, you’ve seen The Sword, who out-Sabbath Sabbath, making wolves and cursed blades the coolest hipster trend since PBR and mustaches. If you nodded your head to any of the above references, load your bong and cue up Legend of the World, the second album by Valient Thorr.

Valient Thorr are from Venus by way of North Carolina (which makes perfect sense when you think about it). They have a backstory. It involves a stolen time machine or something. Mostly, it’s amazing nonsense, but not as amazing as their serious devotion to anti-war politics and Southern Rock riffage.

Legend of the World opens up with the bombastic stomp of “Heatseeker,” a paranoid middle-finger to government intrusion, shouted by frontman Valient Himself over speedball blues riffs that sound as if they were made to chain someone to a nuclear missile. From there, it’s pretty obvious what the rest of the album is gonna sound like: basically, it’s a fantasy rock-genre draft combining a leftist punk singer with a Judas Priest tribute band and making them play Lynyrd Skynyrd songs at full-throttle. If not for obvious slashes at Dubya’s foreign policy, you’d swear this album came out thirty years ago. It makes you want to buy a case of the beer your old man used to drink.

Unfortunately, a lot of Legend blends together if you aren’t a fan of the solos-in-lieu-of-choruses formula chiseled by Black Sabbath in times of lore. The riffs are righteous: Guitarists Odinn and Eiden Thorr wield laser-perfect, harmonized shredding that wouldn’t be out of place on a Thin Lizzy album, but because it’s everywhere, it starts to become indistinguishable. Same for the earnest, sermonized shouting of Himself’s delivery, which is a bummer, because he’s shouting about ending the Iraqi war and cleaning up the planet. It’s not exactly Joan Baez, but a progressive message borne on high-octane cock-rock is paradoxically easier to hear. Why Venusian Vikings give a crap about American foreign relations is never explained, but at least somebody cares about this stuff. Add a song about the destruction of the primeval world (“Fall of Pangea”), and the record is pretty fun.

Legend of the World is the aural equivalent of a drinking a sixer of Shaeffer’s; it goes down easy and rocks hard. Your head might hurt later, but that’s the beauty of Valient Thorr—rock ‘n roll that doesn’t kick your ass a little is kinda lame. Luckily, Valient Thorr will kick your ass all the way back to ’76.

--The Robo-Pirate

Friday, August 18, 2006


So I went to Chipotle for lunch today and when I went to the bathroom, do you know what I found in the toilet? Lettuce. Just floating around. Like someone had been feeding a tiny manatee in there.

Which is funny, now that I think about it, because manatees do sort of look like poop.

--The Robo-Pirate


You know that song "Just Dropped in," about checking in to see what condition one's condition is in? Well, did you know that it was performed by Kenny Rogers? He of the Roasters and of the knowledge of appropriate times to hold and fold? Technically, it was a band called First Edition that recorded it, but those are his pipes on the track.

Boy am I hungover!

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My new power: Invisibility!

I was ignored today. I made what I thought was a valid suggestion and a viable offer of assistance, and I was directly ignored. So I've got that going for me.

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Grampus, My Beloved Mobile Oven

I finally got around to taking the Grampus into the shop to get its A/C fixed, having been told by Will the brilliant but unreliable mechanic who works with my friend Cliff that it was likely just a short.

Quoth Ruben, who looked into the matter today, "I checked it all, but the compressor doesn't work."

Apparently, compressors do not grow on trees. Ruben told me it would be about $1,100 to get a new one and install it. Now I don't mind driving around sweating, as I have been doing it since May, but Kerry and Eric (said in that "duh!" voice children are so fond of using) think it's better to drive without losing ten pounds of water weight. Pussies, that's what I think.

Anyhow, there is no way I'm fixing that thing if it costs eleven-hundred fucking dollars. Now Kerry, who doesn't know how much this will cost said a month ago, "Maybe we should just buy a new one and make payments," implicitly expressing a rather optimistic view of our band's potential longevity. Ain't gonna happen, nor will fixing the A/C. Sweat we shall.

--The Robo-Pirate

Monday, August 07, 2006

Starry, Starry Night

Dear Dr. Berhard's Office,

You know how Canada's healthcare is supposed to be free, but the drawback is that you have to wait for a long time before you can get in to see a doctor?


I'm about to cut my goddamn ear off rather than wait for my appointment tomorrow morning!

Sure, I guess I should have gone to the appointment I made for last Monday on the PRECEDING FRIDAY, but my ear ache went away over that weekend. Bank hours are more accessible than yours. And why was the office closed after noon? Was there a holiday I was unaware of? Why couldn't I have been passed on to the partner? Have you seen Resevoir Dogs? Because I'm about to tie myself to a chair and call Michael Madsen.

I'm just saying is all.

Maddeningly yours,

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A conversation I had a couple days ago.

I finally made it into the doctor's office. As I suspected, I have a very busy case of swimmer's ear. He prescribed some drops. While there, I read an article in Time about why the Middle East is never going to to quiet down, and it reminded me of a Yahoo article I read and a blog I wrote in response, which mysteriously went unpublished. So here it is again.

A Conversation with God

"Hey, God?"

"What, Steve."

"Um, I bought another lottery ticket."

"The answer's no."

"Hahahaha--no no, see I'm not wanting to win the money. This one's a PAC-MAN lottery ticket, and if you scratch off the ghosts and uncover a Pac-Man, you win a Pac-Man cocktail. I want to use it as a coffee table."

"Look, Steve, first of all, you have a perfectly good coffee table."

"But the legs are all wobbly!"

"Second, you're really not my favorite person right now. I know you went to that titty bar the other night, and I caught you looking at pictures of that Hindu deity."

"But she's rad! She has a sword and a trident and she's riding on a tiger. You have to admit that Jesus is pretty boring, compared to her."

"Did she die for your sins?"


"All right then. Look, I'm really kind of busy right now."

"Doing what?"

"Helping Hezbollah fire rockets on Tel-Aviv. Apparently they aren't able to do this on their own."

"Oh. Um, don't Your chosen people live in Tel-Aviv?"

"Yeah, but it turns out the Muslims are right."

"Right about what?"



--The Robo-Pirate

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sorry mom, but I have to talk about this because it's kind of cool.

Darth Vato has been in the studio this week recording two new songs. They sound pretty good. For me, recording bass tracks is little bit like taking off all my clothes, putting a flashing light on my head and trying to read Mandarin while being simulcast across the globe. And of course, hearing my tracks over the expensive and super crisp (but not super golden crisp) studio monitors is a great way to remind myself of why I have a day job.

Anyway, I did my best.

The best part about this week is that I have taken most of it off from work, which means I have spent considerable time reddening beside various apartment pools and drinking beer. If there is one thing I am getting good at, it's getting sunburned and fatter. Seriously, I'm glowing like a brake light.

In other news, something really special happened on Monday night, and it happened at the naked lady bar. Now, I want to make it clear that I don't normally frequent gentleman's clubs, as great as their promises of low-priced steaks and Def Leppard sound. It's because I'm not interested in paying money for something I could see in my imagination for free. Also, I'm never sure what sort of face I'm supposed to make while standing in front of a naked lady displaying ultimately impractical limberosity. Do I grin? Do I make eye contact? Do I manifest an aura that obviates the fact that my personal vehicle is a van whose side doors do not open from the inside? In any case, I went with Eric, our rockstar/producer friend Jordan and Maunder, who owns the Moon. Prior to leaving, we speculated on the hats allowed/not allowed policy, deciding that they probably weren't. Eric said, "Crap. Now I'm gonna have to fix my hair," to which Jordan said, "You don't have to fix it, you just have to pay 'em." Truer words were never spoken. Except for in the Bible, of course. And on FOX News--BA-ZING!!!

Anyway, we get there and fork over a bunch of money for over-priced unleaded Buds and the privilege of ogling cheerfully naked ladies. We had heard from the girlfriend of this dude we know who's in a different band that "strippers fucking love guys in bands," so of course, we bided our time for the perfect moment, and then played that card like an UNO Draw Four Wild. Eric gave "Jo" twenty bucks to ask the DJ to play a song off the EP we made last summer, telling her that if the DJ didn't want to, that she could just give him another lapdance instead. So she did, and the DJ loved it, and Maunder got a lapdance to the tune of "Seven Seas." Naturally, we thought this was the most fantastic thing in the history of the universe, and I sent a confusing mass text message to a bunch of people who mostly replied with, "What are you talking about?" What was really cool, however, was that he went on to play two more of our songs free of charge and asked for more CDs to pass out whenever he played it at the club, which we did the next day during happy hour. Predictably, the parking lot was at 5:15 already filling up with trucks sporting rebel flags and Calvin-Peeing-On-Things stickers.

"Man, the creepy pervert factor is pretty high," I said.

"Yeah," said Eric, "and it's about to increase by two."

--The Robo-Pirate