The CH3 Eye on TV: Survivorman

We’ve had several complaints directed toward the CH3 Entertainment staff about our lack of TV coverage this year, so let’s get right to it:

Yer right, of course.
Television has become nothing more than an appliance:
We check into yet another moldy motel room in yet another grouchy city, and we flick on each light, harsh yet supposedly green in its twisty fluorescent garishness.

We toss the guitars on the beds, their spreads decorated beyond their original paisley swirls with suspect biological stain.

And, with a sigh, it’s TV on, as the soul yearns for the glow of the hearth, yeh?

Then it’s an meandering journey the unfamiliar channels, looking for Sportcenter , which has become the soothing common thread that unites this wide continent.

But surely, with this discriminating American intellect there must be tonnes of worthy programming on the ‘ol box these days, am I right?

Let’s take a quick look, shall we:

Note to Editor: No caption necessary

Ah, reality television:
Just what is this shit?

People like to blame the Europeans for the Big Brother template and the Japanese for their grotesque game shows, but the finger always comes back to us for the The Real World and Cops, two shows that are probably still on the air for all I know.

… come this show never went to Fullerton, hmmm?

But you’d be hard pressed to find them,as it seems every other show is a reality these days……


Kim Kardashian shaving her Persian bush?
A Father and Son living a fake feud while building the fucking ugliest motorcycles ever?

….oooh, bitchen!

This is Television?

To what do we owe this stream of excrement?
The high production cost of the scripted show?
The lack of any new ideas from the sea of young writers raised on a steady diet of music videos and Playstation?

No, it’s the proliferation of cable networks–and the need to fill those hours with cheap and mindless fluff:
No snooty writers necessary here, brother!

Now this is scripted television!

Oh sure, there probably is some quality stuff out there—we couldn’t make it through the week without our Good Eats or Top Chef, and yeah, a lot of you wags out there like to hold us up to Anthony Bourdain as a reference point.
Yeah yeah, boozy snide comments and fatty snacks–we get ya!

Sadly, Ant B has lost a lot of credibility in our eyes this new season–
I mean, how can you go from the smoking, boozing cook that hangs out with fucking David Johasen, Bill Murray, and-seriously!-Jim Harrison!– to barbecuing at SXSW with the hideous Sleighbells?!

…now yer talking!
……soul sold.

But the number one badass pimp out there in the reality landscape has got to be our man Les Stroud:

You knowSurvivorman!!

Have you seen the show?
No no, not Survivor, where the whiny contestants merely try to outlast each other as if they were annoying people sharing adjoining cubicles, ratting each other out to HR and pissing in the coffee pot.

No, this is motherfuckin’ Survivorman, where Les heads out to a harsh landscape by himself for a week, armed only with a backpack full of cameras and a stick of beef jerky.

Yeah, the easy comparison is to Man vs Wild, but we now know about camera crews and luxury hotels employed by that show, as well as the suspicious manscaping

…obviously stayed at the Radisson last night…

Nah, ol Bear (Bear!) Grylls is far too dapper for us, with his rock climbing shoes and jaunty way of crawling into a planted moose carcass to spend the night—yeah right, like that’s how I’m gonna get through a night after I’ve lost my car keys- again! in Jumbo’s Clown Room.

No, not some sexy ex British Special Forces, our man Les is just yer ordinanry Canuck shlub.
He always looks hungover and ill-prepared for the task at hand, which is perfect when ya think about it.

….awww–he brought his pet along this time!

I mean, are you really gonna be wearing your Columbia outer wear and packin’ 200 ft. of five strand nylon braid when you get caught off guard?

No, probably like us, you’ll be wandering around the woods outside a Jersey rest area in your Converse high tops and a Hawaiian shirt, nothing more than a Starbucks card and 2 Xanax in your pocket, an orange House of Blues all access around your neck.

But Les shows us how it’s done, how to rip the stuffing out of your car seat to make ear muffs and how to kill a badger to extract your own personal lubricant.

And when he inevitably makes a fire by any of a dozen different wacky methods, the money shot on any episode, the joy in his eyes is contagious.

Look, fire! And just using moose dung and pubic hair!

But most notable is no camera crew!
What many of the idiotic viewers of these so called reality shows forget, is these people dealing with their solitary struggles are actually surrounded by 5 camera guys, 2 lighting men, a grip, sound man and assorted Israeli makeup guys—-come on!

Ah, but Les is on his own, man:
And he has to set up the goddamn cameras, walk away from them for that artsy man in the wilderness shot, then come back and pack it up!

How very punk rock in his diy ethic is our boy, humping the gear up and down hills, setting it up and then breaking it down.
It’s like nothing so much as loading a Marshall half stack up and down the stairs at Cathay de Grande when ya think about it!

But the show is falling into the common rut, so I’d propose to shake things up on the next season’s adventures:

Maybe Les has to live in Silverlake for a month without wearing Ray Ban Aviators or a lame beard, and has to keep on schedule with his Student Loan payments.

Or maybe we set Les loose into the wilds of Manhattan, seeing if can survive the week on nothing more than 200 dollars a day!
And he has to not only eat decently, but also get passable seats to Book of Mormon and fuck a mid-level runway model.

Les eats a forty dollar truffle outside Les Bernardin

In fact, it would be a great episode if they put Les on the ultimate survival adventure: a Summer on the road with an aging punk rock band….

We’d see if Les has what it takes to travel hundreds of miles a day in a poorly air conditioned SUV with spotty cell reception, surviving on only greasy corporate fast food and poorly attended shows.

He’ll have to sit behind the merch table while the rest of the band eats burritos and drinks shots of Jameson on the patio, and we’ll make him deal with the sad promoter at the end of the night.
And then we’ll see who really is Survivorman !

Watch Survivorman on the Discovery Channel, 4pm Wednesdays PDT

Our Last Gig: HOB Hollywood

We gather on a blistering September evening for the haul out to LA.
The weather has been brutal lately, and the heat shimmering above the city does not dissipate with the fading light: it’s gonna be a hot one, motherfuckers!

You see all kinds of characters on these mean streets!

Tonight’s assignment is a mid level billing at the Sunset House of Blues with Dead Kennedys, JFA, Killroy and Union 13.
Oh, I know,it’s not very punk rock and it certainly ain’t the fuckin’ blues, but hey! where else do we get to play at a corporate shack with decent backstage chow?

Besides, it’s a rare night: a big bill with an amazing lack of dicks in the bands—all good people involved!

Getting off the packin’ 101 early at Silverlake gives us the perfect excuse to stop in to Tiki-Ti’s for that goddamn Zombie we’ve been dreaming about! yer talkin, brother!
..if you make it through the menu in one sitting you get a free hat! (…and alcohol poisoning, but hey! a hat!)

Has it really been 6 years since we said farewell to Ant’s big brother Fred?

Freddy was a good one, a musical mentor and man about town, and he tossed back a few Uga Boogas in this room, don’t you worry!
So we toast his memory with another glass of potent 151 camouflaged in syrupy sweet goodness, and watch as the gaudy decor comes to life….so this is what kids see at the Tiki Room in Disneyland, eh?!


We get to the House o Blues just in time to unload on the curb and hump the gear up a maze of staircases.
Goddamn it’s still hot!

It doesn’t matter how many times we play at this shack, we always get lost in the catacombs backstage, and somehow end up opening a random door only to witness some poor soul giving or rececivng an unwanted blowjob……whoops! Carry on fellas!

Heh, but soon enough we tuck into the backstage spread and watch the proceedings from side stage.

…the shameful secret of old school punk bands–dessert!
Ant and Eric….let’s keep the pants on this time boys!

The run a tight ship at HOB, but we’re all sharing backline gear so turnovers are quick. Between bands we adjourn to the sultry patio on Sunset and let the swampy night air cool the hard earned sweat on our brows…..

Anthony gives us his best get-off-my porch look!

It’s a welcome early set time for us, and we take advantage of our 30 minutes onstage by playing out of tune and forgetting lyrics.
Now that’s punk rock, baby!

Maria bringin it once again!

JFA rippin it up

The crowd is tuned when Dead Kennedys hit the stage.

Oh, I know all the talk about how this isn’t the real band, since Jello’s not involved, etc.
But this has always been a band made up of unique and really, well–fucking good! -musicians regardless of who’s up front singing–I mean these three guys, I’m thinking of like, The Who here, yeah?

And when they rip into Police Truck, Skip singing his heart out and the whole damn room is singing along, you can’t help but be caught up in the excitment and energy that is music!

The DK’s!
DH and Alfie-drummers getting all kissy-poo!

We load out drenched in sweat, the night still boiling around us.
We briefly consider pissing on each other’s carotid arteries to keep from boiling over.

And that’s how it ends, another night on the Sunset Strip, on the fatal side of another Summer.
Another night in the sweet city heat, surrounded by pals and hearing music that makes you happy.

Soon enough we’ll be huddled in the chill, nothing more than cavemen peering out into the unknown darkness.
And this unrelenting heat? It will be nothing more than a desperate but welcome memory.

We’ll sit in the dark and hear the snap of twig and wonder if that noise is food or death.

Land o the Free

What, again?
Is that what yer saying?

Jeez, seems like it was only just 10 years ago these guys put out a new record….
These guys are machines!

Here at CH3, we spare no expense on glitzy promo materials!!

Heh, fuck you.
We’ve been busy, okay?
After all, it’s not easy trying to work new songs into the set while you bastards keep yelling out Wetspots–even after we’ve played it twice!
Back flap credits

Ah, but slowly-slowly!– we accumulated enough odds and ends, Clash ripoff riffs and loopy lyrics stolen off abandoned Mother’s Day cards, to get back into the Studio and grind out some new stuff.

….in Imax 3d ya’ll!

Beside, just count yourself lucky that we don’t subject you to tons of unnecessary and sucky filler every year, yeah?

I’m thinking Green Day here, on the eve of their releasing 3-three!— albums in sequence, each worse than the last–
Uno, Dos and Chúpelo!

Kimm and BJ backstage at a Glee taping.

And now we stand on the eve of our new release, and we’re thrilled the good folks at scrappy Hostage Records have graciously agreed to work with us, the nasty rumors from former staff members of Enigma be damned!

For this next project, we bypass the usual formats and will release initially as a 7″ single that includes a download card of the 7 song ep—-neat0!

What ya think? Will the kids go for this sort of thing or have we already missed yet another train on the tech railway?

Flash it quick at the door and you kiddies can finally get into Alex’s!! Happy?

Oh, we were so thrilled when cds came around–oh, the convenience!
Now, instead of hearing our songs skip to the organic flaws in the vinyl, we were subjected to the digital blips and burps when the binary sequence was disturbed.

And then what about that Napster–what the fuck?
Ya mean the song comes over my phone modem? And only takes 28 minutes to download Jealous Again??

Besides, we all know that you just burn each cd to your pc, which doles out the tracks to your phones and ipods like the recumbent sow connected to so many hungry piglets.
And then what? You throw that cd into the junk drawer, where it will eventually be passed down the trash line until it sits gleaming on a landfill, its half life 2 million years, and that’s if it rains acid!

No, call us, god help us, Green if you need to, but this seems a far better way to inject the music into your little lives!
Oh, I’m sure in a few years we will have a chip that is sent to you on the back of a nano-robotic weasel, or perhaps a handy suppository that downloads the new songs right into your cerebral cortex.
But until that day comes this will have to do!

…oh look, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album is out!

Another cool item on this release if the Hostage Art Damage series, where a small batch of the records are numbered and given the personal touch.

That’s right, if yer lucky enough to jump on it, you’ll get a sleeve that has personally been signed by the boys–oooooh!

So we gather together, four grumpy old fucks on a Thursday night to do our promotional duties, though we’d rather be home catching up with our beloved Honey Boo Boo….

The fellas report for autograph duties

But we make the best of it, as we always do.
Hey, this signing stuff–it’s not that bad!

Lara guards a stack of sleeves as the work commences….

And then we think, hey, these are special, but why not make one of these lucky sleeves really special, yeah?
I’m talking golden-ticket-in-the-candy-bar special here!

….ah, copy #4! Let’s make a night of it, shall we?

So we take one randomly out of the stack –lucky number four!– and he comes along with us on a typical CH3 night of adventure:

And whoever ends up with ol’ number four in hand, yer one lucky bastard.
Oh, the time we had… he’s one of the good ones!

Just keep it away from any black lights, if ya know what I’m saying!

…oh #4, just look at ya now!

And so now we release some new songs into the wilds.

We’ll promote it and tour behind it for a while, and then the new songs become just old ones like all the others.
We’ll sell a few, give away too many to chums.
The harsh criticisms will fly around the internet, and we’ll pretend not to care.

And then we’ll get right to work on that next record, don’t you worry–see you in 2022!

…..and we’re back

Dear readers:
Sincere apologies.
We return from Summer hiatus only to find the CH3 headquarters a shambles.

This is the last time we Summer Lease the place to a Crusty band.

The copywriters’ desks are littered with empty vodka bottles and crumpled empties of Parliaments, the staff lounge is a ruin.
The blackened walls of the galley tell of several recent grease fires, and there, up high on the wall, could it be?
Twin hand prints, apparently dipped in human excrement, slapped up high and sloped down the wall, like the end quotation marks to a desperate and bizarre paragraph of dialogue.

And the blog?
The once mighty CH3 blog has been hacked by yet another Russian Bestiality site…

…on the plus side, readership has gone up 700 percent !

Goddamnit! what have you people been doing?

We leave for the season and the world has, apparently, gone mad.
As usual, we were lulled into a near comatose state by a season off the stage.

It was a, yes, long hot Summer, bookmarked by the twin tragedies: The graceless Miami Heat winning the NBA title and the passing of Phyllis Diller.

…and she never went on ESPN to announce where she was moving, God bless her!

The Olympics come around, and our twitchy National attention shifts yet again: suddenly every drunk in the bar is an instant expert on the Pommel Horse dismount.

Miles above us a billion dollar RC car wanders aimlessly along the red clay of Mars, while here on Earth we lose a man who actually put foot upon moondust.

And you tell me Russian girls languish in prison?
Their crime– playing mediocre punk rock in a public arena?
Heh- Let’s take a moment to thank our stars that’s not a crime here, brother!

The real crime here? This was a pay -to-play gig!

I propose a hostage trade: get those chicks over here for a month-long residency at the Juke Joint, and we’ll send ya a half dozen Long Beach bands that would be better off behind bars!

And when the Dark Knight opens to strong reviews and-truly!– crazed fans, we will from now on watch a movie with one eye on the Emergency Exit, wondering what terrors lurk on just the other side.

But beyond these atrocities, the Summer was long and luxurious, warm gentle nights filled with sweating tumblers of gin and tiki torches flickering down to the wick.

The late night in the backyard with nothing to do but comtemplate the lazy trail of Ursa Minor pawing its way across a purple sky, the lonesome electronic beep of the cricket in duet with the tinkling song of the ice cube kissing the highball glass.

We were only roused from this lethargy by the sight of the once noble Clint Eastwood babbling to an empty chair: The Outlaw Josey Wales, reduced to the crazy man in the subway station, all spittle at the mouth corners and urine soaked trousers.

…oh, time, you fucking rascal!
How does this…..
….become this?

We’ve spent the last few months underground, save a couple wacky adventures we’ll get to later.
Oh sure, in the past a whole Summer off would’ve driven us to madness.
We should be out there, shouldn’t we?, touring the country in a smelly van with no air conditioning, showing them we can still take it!
Playing for slim crowds of kids who can finally cross another name off their bucket list of oldies acts, eating the terrible foods that are offered to the side of that black stream of highway.

But this Summer, as we read about The Adolescents going on day 79 of their tortuous European tour, we only sigh with contented comfort, and toss another bratwust upon the Weber in the style of every other Suburban dad on a Thursday evening.

Away from the strains of being that guy from CH3, we were allowed to let the hair gray and add a dozen luxurious pounds of carbohydrate-derived calories.
And the days, they passed.

Alfie truly becomes the gramps we always jokingly called him anyway.
Ant, confounded by our laziness, starts a new band.

Kimm and I disappear entirely into the woodwork of family and mundane work, letting the guitars gather dust and the messages pile into post-it note pyramids, although the rare sighting is reported breathlessly on facebook:

…omg saw Kimm Gardener outside BevMo in Long Beach! #starstruck

But now, as the days have finally started to shorten and the goddamn shadows are finally spilling across the yard by 7pm, it is time to get back at it.

Oh, you’ll be sick of us in a month or so, as we gear up for the promo push for the new record, and you’ll be suddenly assaulted by shameless promotion at every level.

… will be tired of seeing this very soon!

Gigs are booked, artwork is finalized, and we grudgingly go back on our cabbage soup diets, for this vacation is just about over.

But the days are still warm, aren’t they?
And we still have time- don’t we?– to sit in the backyard again, and drain the last of the clear alcohol in the sideboard.
We can use the plastic tiki tumblers once more, before packing them away and getting out the crystal bourbon buckets for Fall.

And we can stare into the purple dusk one more time, thinking of nothing at all, just waiting for the next creature of the constellation to crawl across the sky.