The CH3 Eye on TV: Rick and Morty

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I switched off the Vizio and sat there a moment in the quiet.

I’d just been filled with 18 hours of heartbreaking imagery, stories from people still shattered by a world’s shameful actions.  I looked down at the dog, and she looked back at me but would not come close for a scratch:  probably pissed that she, too, had to endure those horrific images painted by an inferior breed.

That was some necessary Television, once again reminding us of the very power that the glowing screen can have.
But later that night sleep is impossible, and I whisper for Alexa to play Straight to Hell  for the eighth time in a row before giving up and switching on the tube once again.

Let’s tune into SportsCenter, see what’s going on in the good ‘ol NFL for some lighthearted fare, shall we?




And then it seems Dear Leader has taken to the airwaves yet again, like a drunken Uncle commandeering a Thanksgiving table with his vast repertoire of racist knock-knock jokes, and turned our mindless escapism into a political shitstorm–Nice!

I’m in need of some comfort food from the Cathode Ray at this point.
What I wouldn’t give just to see Lucy stomping grapes or Gilligan getting bonked on the head with a coconut, yeh?

This week: Walt and Jesse cook up a new batch

Television has changed to the point we can’t even call it TV any more.

We are now all isolated in our own video bubble, with personal playlists backing up the DVR, Netflix series watched in narcotic marathon sittings.
The next episode starts in 10,9,8–o shit.
Well, maybe just one more episode, just one more hour of life surrendered to the couch.
Might as well order up some fucking Papa Johns and give up the last of the dignity.

We haven’t watched a commercial at normal speed in four years, and suffer the anxiety of being left far behind if we’re not careful, ashamed we haven’t even watched a single episode of Game of Thrones.  

Gone are the days of reporting to the den on the hour for a shared evening of family entertainment.  Just try to make your daughter sit down and finally watch Caddyshack with you as it is rerun yet again on TBS. 

….so I’ve got the going for me, which…Hey! Where’d you go?

It’s not 25 minutes into it, you cracking  each golden quote aloud in sync with Carl the Groundskeeper, before you turn to get a reaction and find you are alone on the couch.  She has silently escaped upstairs to catch up with her beloved Housewives on Bravo on Demand.

I get it.
It’s a real commitment of time and effort to take on a new show with all this content, but there’s something you need in your life, one golden corner of actual cable that is punk rock in animated form:


Awwww yeah!   Rick and Morty, son!

We finally have the anti hero we need in these dire times.

Forget about Tony Soprano and Walter White, the central characters with Character, who you gotta root for regardless of their horrors.

It’s an animated show, sure.  And the late night time slot on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim may have you writing the show off as just another crudely drawn yuckfest for the dabs and Jack in the Box crew.  But it is a lot more.

Rick and his goofy grandson Morty have taken us along on a magical journey all right, though a lot of the realities we visit seem to have a lot to do with fart jokes

But Rick Sanchez does Not. Give. A. Fuck.

While we think we need the answers to the daily problems that seem to be cursing us all, the racial strife, the world disorder brought down on us by dotard maniacs, Rick has bigger fish to fry.

Rick stands guard over the very construct we call reality, and is probably the only thing that keeps us from being absorbed by some grasshopper corporation or slipping  into a dual reality where people have butts for faces, but what ya gonna do?

Rick stands on the very ledge of the existential void, has seen and done it all.

And it apparently is not pretty.  He stays drunk most of the time, not wanting to ponder the meaninglessness of each reality, the horrors of every plane of existence that he visits or creates.

He is GG Allin with portal gun.  Take a shit on the floor, indeed! 

Besides, Rick has that hair favored by so many of your more mature punk rock stars. Hell, put him in a Propaghandi tee and cargo shorts and he’s ready to rock the RiotFest yo!

Each episode finds some nugget to melt your mind, and will have you feeling along the drywall as you walk the hallways, lest you fall through a portal to woogy oogy land or some goddamned Cronenbergian nightmare.


We are dealing with the very fabric of time and space here, but that doesn’t keep R&M from also dealing with very Earthbound issues like family dynamics and haunting regrets.

And fart jokes. So many fart jokes.

….everyone’s got one, but how is it made?

Can it really be time for the Season 3 finale already?  Oooo weee!

But what will we do without Rick’s bitter lessons, how will we get through the madness of this absurd existence without his reluctant leadership?
Are we left alone to make sense of a war fought for so little that costs us so much? Can we really be this close to global destruction again, the fates of innocent youth in the hands of egomaniac imbeciles?

Perhaps it is Morty who put it all in perspective for us, finally, with this heartbreaking speech to Summer from Season one.

I’m better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says “Don’t run.” Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.

And with that, I turn off the box and finally sleep.


Joe gettin around-Liars Club Chicago

An 8am boarding call means a 4:30am wake-up call, when yer talking LAX!

Oh sure, we usually take to the skies from our beloved Long Beach airport, where the leisurely small town atmosphere allows you to saunter in just minutes before your flight.

We sometimes arrive in pajama bottoms 12 minutes before doors close and get waved through TSA precheck with just a chiding nod: Barney letting Otis come in to lock himself up after a night of hanging around some white trash moonshine still.

….do you at least have your boarding pass?

But we all fall victim to our sensible greed when choosing those Expedia flights months before.

Why, here’s Spirit Airlines going to Chicago, same time as Jet Blue, and at half the cost!

It’s not until the morning of flight, whilst you are stuck in the middle of a cattle call in front of Marriott’s 40 dollah a day parking that the regrets begin.  That budget airline is now asking for 50 bucks per carry on and  4 dollars for a cup of water.  You curse your former self for not shelling out for the Even More Room seats on Jet Blue-blah.


Sir, if you’d like to bend your knees that will be an extra 6 dollars. Debit or credit?


Hah–luckily it’s no big deal, these early mornings, as we’ve become infected with that Old Man superpower of getting up way too early every day.

Left to our own, it’s bedtime 9:45 on the Laz boy Recliner as Stranger Things scrolls through a whole season while we snore away , oblivious.  But we’re up and clattering around the kitchen at 6am, whistling show tunes to the delight of every hungover teenager trying to sleep upstairs.

Mmmm! Revenge, is this what it tastes like?



New terminal 5 LAX

We hit Chicago in plenty of time to enjoy the late Summer weather, but the town is packed.

The ol CH3 luck of booking a show in direct competition to another show across town holds true. Tonight we are the spiky little Liar’s Club, while across town there is some sort of little gathering called Riot Fest?  Hmm, shall have to google that one!


But it turns out  a fine night indeed, a packed room of the true knuckleheads of Chicago and beyond.

Our pals in Airstream Futures kick it off with their guitar driven fury. Really excellent stuff, and when their new album is finally released sometime in the next decade you should check it out-hah!

Rock AF!

And then it;’s our Midwestern bro homies, Destroy Everything take to the stage and do that thing: bratty punk vocals over tasteful guitars, a Midwestern sound as familiar as Mom vacuuming outside your doorway as you try to masturbate with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.


Destroy Everything patrol car.  Yo, where’s Morty?!
w/ Springa and Herb!

Vandalizing the country, one city at a time!

These turn and burns are somehow even more exhausting than proper tours, the constant movement in so little time.

It seems we were just jolted awake by some digital peep minutes ago on the infancy of a new day, a few thousand miles away.  Hours are lost in mid-flight, we play and have precious time to catch up with friends and then it is suddenly 4 am.

We’re now out on the sidewalk alone, and  the sudden lack of movement threatens to topple us over as if the sheer momentum of the planet’s rotation has finally caught up.   A sensible late night snack at Shwarma Inn and to bed by 5am.

Just a snack please.

Out on the road at noon, and we set our inner autopilots North toward our beloved temple of the Moo Cow, the Mars Cheese Castle!

Nicky has not been yet, and we regale him with tales of golden blocks of Cheddar, creamy Bries and nutty Comte’ blends.  Of the communal vat of pub cheese that sits atop the bar, into which Anthony threatens to insert his face and not come out until lactose sated.

But as we pull up to the glorious gates, we are met with disastrous news:



Anthony jumps out and begins licking the block walls of the castle, though I keep telling  him they are simply asbestos laced cinder block.  He is beside himself, so we mosey over to then neighboring cheese shack and let him gobble up 3 pounds worth of cheese and sausage samples.


It’s no castle, but it’ll do!


Disaster averted, it’s a short jaunt up the 94 to Milwaukee and the Harley Museum.



Oh, you know our feeling toward the American brand, its embodiment of Kid Rock in clunky V twin form, but haven’t we always held a soft spot for those goofy AMF years and the  wacky Italian 2 strokes they used to shill under the HD brand?

Why, what I’d do to have that Rapido back in the garage!


Imagine pulling up to Hog Night in Van Nuys on this baby!

Besides, they do serve a decent burnt tips app in the cafe, so we call it lunch break before taking the museum tour.





The swanky Hampton Inn, Green Bay boasts Serta brand foam top mattresses, decent sheets within the acceptable 800 count range, and hypoallergenic  pillows (available by request).

Do you see people?

These are the things that matter to us now, keep your goddamned minibars and local hallucinogens–we need naps!




But it’s not 12 minutes into REM when we hear the racket from the street–

Tonight only, from Hollywood California, supporting Chicago’s own Destroy Everything…

Ah jesus, now what?


Ah jeez, really?


And there on the streets of lovely Green Bay, those goddamn Destroy Everything kids have commandeered the very aural airspace to hype the show with their Blues Brother Speaker set on the patrol car.

Sleep is now impossible.

I peer down at the streets, see whole clumps of conventioneers holding palms to their ears, shielding their children’s eyes to the sight.

It sounds like an Ice Cream man reading his suicide note aloud over a continuous loop of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Top o the World Ma!

Ah well, time to hit the night anyway.

We make our way over to The Lyric Room on Green Bay’s revitalized Broadway district.

It’s a proper lounge with a music hall attached, and the vibe is very up indeed for this Saturday night.

We’re not sure why, but we have somehow earned a little pocket of goodwill way up yonder in this tight Wisconsin community.  We’re told that these hearty Midwesterners even forgive us for the outlandish hair and costume jewelry of the Enigma Records era.

Hell, they even seem to enjoy those songs!

And so when Kevin Neal came into the club with the Airborne canvas that his late brother Brian had painted as a young lad years ago, it was a our very honor to hang it up as backdrop for the night.



Nick in front of the bird!

And that’s the kind of night it was.

In the name of–god help us— Scoobfest!, this was a night of remembrance and reunion.  We were thankful to witness these old friends catching up after so many years, and though we didn’t know every face in the room, it was a true honor to think we may have lent some soundtrack to the wild memories they all shared.

We are taught yet again: a new thing to take home, to take to heart, to guard as a shiny family heirloom given to us with graciousness and with love.

And once again the night has gotten very late, very quick.

We have every intention of begging off, slipping away to the sublime comforts offered by the corporate motel chain, while the party rages on behind us.

But no.

We are, as always, the last in the club, and the last on the deserted street after.

Chatting with the last of the laughing locals, intoxicated on lagers and friendship, amidst piles of guitar cabinets scattered on the sidewalk like toys tossed aside by a cranky child unwilling to go down for her nap.

Plans are made to hit the all night diner for a last meal, a last chat with friends.

Turns out we’re not ready to go down , not quite yet, either.


My Dinner with Danzig

Every parent faces this day.
The daughter comes home on a blustery December day, gray but for the gaudy Christmas decorations that graffito the suburban landscape.
She’s maybe 6 or 7, and asks the question you just knew was coming.

Hey Dad-Dad, is there really a Santa Claus?

This is Baby’s first existential crisis, the first questioning of the only reality she has known, a view of an alternate world – colder and darker –  brought forth of recess gossip.
She is about to enter the cynical world, and it will not be long before she sees her first Kardashian or some fucking little bastard offers to show her a penis.


News item:
The original Misfits will be appearing at  Forum in Inglewood CA for their upcoming December 30th concert.
And the shit hits the fan.

We are 138….thousand smackeroos richer that is!

The punks online have become divided, incensed that the band has reunited for another one-off and sold out spectacularly.   Others, not so lucky to have seen them in the grimy clubs way back when, have bought out the room in a day–I mean, c’mon–The Misfits!

I suppose there was a time when you would smile at such news, be it a bemused smirk or facial tell of joy, and then go about the day.  But then along came a little thing I like to call The Internet-catchy, yes?

Have we become so cynical as to put down every small victory for the tribe?  Has social media made it so easy to post up any slight immediate judgement before introspection and digestion?  Be it an indictment on a band’s movements or a misguided defense of right-wing nationalists? Ahem

Yeah yeah, I know it’s hard to ignore the missteps the Misfits have taken, the public squabbles and Kiss-like merchandising.
And it’s just too damn easy to take the piss out of acts that are supposed to be serious or, god forbid, scary.

Is it a defense mechanism against the darkness?
I dunno, but why do you think Elvira has those glorious tits?

Those songs though.
How can you discount the long nights in the van, headlights carving out a tunnel though the moonless night, and everyone singing along whoa-ohs! to the gems we were gifted.
50’s melodies and crashing guitars, the perfect mix to transport yet another boring summer night driving through the tracts into a memory of youth.

And with Danzig, hell–there’s no need to spend precious time trying to decipher these lyrics.
For surely when Westerberg talks about rabbits In the yard, those aren’t rabbits, and there is no yard.

The Misfits want your skull.

Made it to the fuckin’ Fabulous Forum, people!
Home of Showtime, the temple where we once saw Keith Moon come out at a Zeppelin encore and smash Bonham’s kettle drums.

When Cheap Trick finally made it to headliner at the Forum there was a bit of a sting.
The band we first saw at the Whisky was now lost to the masses-but that is a different sort of discontent, isn’t it?
We had to admit an almost parental pride in our boys making it to Inglewood on their own merit, the rest of the world catching up to our great taste.

Who are we to begrudge anyone such an honor?

The long 1983 tour, we sweated through the Southern continent through July and finally made it up to Yankee territory just as the year surrendered to August.
We’d been in the van a month by now, and needed a night of gold star stature to remind us just what the hell we were trying to do here.
And so Kimm had somehow made some calls from Jack Rabid’s place and made arrangements to make a stop before the gig.

We pull up at a regular old NJ suburban pad, and after a polite knock that rattles the screen door, who answers but goddamn Glenn Danzig!

Oh sure, we’d met a few times before, on their West coast jaunts and at the disastrous NY eve show Irving plaza 1981, but now here we are standing in his basement as he rinsed out glasses to serve us tap water!
I dunno why this seemed strange, as we’d accepted the hospitality of a half-dozen punk rock heroes by now. Hell, I could still savor the soothing deliciousness of a pbj Biscuit had made me after a late night gig in Austin.
But I just somehow thought Glenn would live in a haunted castle or at least a trailer on the edge of a graveyard.

We had our waters and chatted a bit, he dug out some EvilLive t-shirts fresh off his screen and we traded merch. Then he yelled goodbye to his Dad upstairs (in a throaty roar, natch) before jumping in the Blue and White with us.

He pointed out local landmarks, (Here’s where Jimmy got clobbered, that there’s where Tammy flipped her Camaro)
And not to get too Springsteen on your asses, but it was pretty great driving through that golden Jersey landscape with Glenn in the van, he guiding us to some cool place to pregame before the show.

We thought he was taking us to some underground dungeon or at least a dive bar with Thriller on the jukebox and AB negative on tap.
But when we pulled into a strip mall parking lot, we got out and discovered ourselves at, of all things, a goddamned video arcade.
And no beer in sight?

Glenn jumped out, looked into the flashing parlor, then back to us to follow.
He was just a kid like us after all.

And yes, that is how we spent the day, late afternoon rolling into darkness, in a bleeping booping video arcade, a stack of patina-ed quarters in hand.
And ya know what? We had a goddamned blast!

I rediscovered my love hate relationship with Centipede as Doug challenged all comers to Ms Pac Man. I think Jackie and Jay took on the local Jr High kids in a fierce air hockey tourney that is still talked about in certain circles as Glenn and Kimm went to the old school pinball gallery.

We were a band that relied-heavily-on drinking in the local flavor before a gig. And by local flavor I mean copious amounts of booze, sometimes to disastrously hilarious result.
Yet here we were reconnected to the inner child that welcomed a night off the bottle.

And when we finally encountered the all new Dragon’s Lair game in the corner, really a ground breaker back then  that incorporated movie graphics in a rather clunky choose-your-path sort of game, we gathered around it and watched: amazed.
I saw Glenn staring at the game, and could imagine his thoughts, the world of fantasy where he roamed, merged with a new technology.  Bringing the experience ever closer to the cinema that he loved.

And at the gig that night, he jumped on stage during the closer of Wetspots, and was promptly dog piled on by the local knuckleheads, keeping him in check, all  in good cheer.
We had found the night that we needed.


Kimm singing along, 1982?



Now, who told you there was no Santa? I’m asking, the old stall tactic that every parent knows.

The kid only shrugs while looking away, a look betraying the shame and burden of understanding.

I could only pick her up and swing her onto my shoulder, and then we stand before the big mirror in the living room.  It’s the spot where I’ve held her since she was just an infant, to show her the reflected world:  non-existent yet identical.

And then, together, we look and look back at once.
Dad and kid, one generation literally sitting atop the other, a man she will some day have to bury.

And then I ask her.

Well, what do you think is better?  To live in a world there is no Santa?
Or to live in a world where Santa Claus will always come on Christmas?

She thinks for a moment, then she smiles.

Save Music in Chinatown

We’re in there, Kimm and I– afterschool , after hours- at Faye Ross Junior High.

It’s the usual group of geeks gathered in the classroom, the kids who would actually stay after 6th period bell rang instead of bolting like all the sensible kids.  They  were probably already in the garage sniffing paint fumes or shoplifting Penthouse from Village Liquors, but we were in here with big acoustic guitars smothering our corduroyed laps.

Mr. Misajon is walking around the room, checking on each student as they struggle with the concept of tuning to the A he kept blowing through a pitch pipe.

He’s the cool teacher, all stonewashed flares and Puka Shells, and he takes this curse of teaching beginning guitar with ease.

“It’s like this, here and here,” he says, guiding our nubby stubs onto the impossible cables arched high above the warped necks.    We give the strings a tenuous strum, but the strings yield only a skreech and awful clunk, like the distant thud of a drunken clown finally hurling himself out of a fifth story window.


Haven’t changed a bit!


Perhaps the very best thing we do in this punky community is come together for a good cause.

Oh sure, we’re all split into our different factions within any given scene, the straight edge and the boozers, the goths and the gutters, but it seems as though we all do indeed stand united against the normal world out there. And when one of our own needs some help, hell, where do we sign up?


I came to the first Save Music in Chinatown show 5 years ago, with no real expectations or explanations.

It just seemed like a nice way to pass a Sunday afternoon in a part of town I hadn’t visited since Madame Wong’s closed their doors for the final time in the mid eighties.

The space at Human Resources was all white, and somehow that made it an even more fitting blank canvas, to be colored and themed by the people and music brought together that day.   That first show we all sat like children in a school cafeteria, hushed, mindful of our neighbors’ space, and listened as Bob Forrest struggled to make Sammy Hagar Weekend palatable to the 5 year olds that listened, rapt.


Bob Forrest

It is a Sunday afternoon, we are eating cookies and drinking coffee, and seeing the people we usually only encounter in noisy nightclubs: shouted hellos into each other’s ear canals the only sense of community.
Like strange creatures brought up from the depths of the sea into the light of day, we all stood there blinking in the afternoon light, and had the chance to say, Friend!  how have you been? and hear the actual response.


The next time it was our turn in the white room, and we found ourselves facing that toughest of all audiences: sober people and their children.  Kids have the most open and honest reaction to music, and when a crew of earplug-wearing toddlers started their own little mini pit at our knees, it was probably the moment of validation that we had been chasing all these years.

Sangin’ with Tony


It is such a rare treat to see these bands in such a setting: The Gears bouncing around the room, as if playing to a more innocent time long gone.  There’s Jimmy Decker of the Crowd  getting loose and wild  and sharing some curse words these kids had probably already heard, but perhaps not by a dancing man in a suit, and said with such glee.



The gals of BadCop BadCop rocking hard, inspiring a new generation of little girls to pick up guitars.  And The Adolescents playing for a crowd that is able to sit and watch, actually watch the magic of Kids of the Black Hole being coaxed out of wooden guitars and drum shells.


The show moved across to Grand Star, with Bruce Lee standing guard out front.   A newer generation of bands, always eclectic, mirroring Martin’s wide range of musical appetites, are always represented on the bill.  I imagine these are discoveries made on his impressive journeys into the LA night scene,  often accompanied by flyer artist Eloise, a kid that has more stories to tell on any given Monday morning than most of the staff at Castelar.


with Uncle Steve

These shows have become such an institution on the Los Angeles music calendar, and an honor to be invited to play.  You almost have to remind yourself that they are put on foremost with a purpose: a sincere effort to save music education in a public school.   In these days when the Arts are in very real danger of being cut in the name of efficiency, we are faced with  the threat of what is truly lost in the absence of art.


Alley Cats

Sure, those first songs we learned in the after school program were corny– Baby I Love Your Way and Country Roads!– but it is because of that program that we are up there playing our own corny songs today.

We were given the possibility to sit under industrial fluorescent tubes and have a patient man, used to teaching kids already, show us the magic and thrill of bringing something out of the string and wood.  It’s a trick that never fails to astound.

And if that is something that can be accomplished in a few lessons, you consider what else a child capable of, with maybe just a little bit of help.


I hit the strings again, bearing down, but could still only coax a muted question mark.  I turned and watched Kimm as he clamped down onto the strings so hard his tiny cuticles turned white.

We chewed our tongues and eased off a bit, and followed Mr. Misajon’s  gentle advice.

“Yeah man, don’t try to strangle it.  Relax, that’s it, just push when you need to.”

We took deep breaths and shook the cramps out of our wee paws, and assembled fingers on the staircase again.

We strummed down, and heard for the first time that chime and sparkle of steel string against neck, the strings kissing the wood between frets with just  enough contact to make the chord sing.  
We looked at each other, astonished, and hit the strings once again, calling the religious alarm that would follow us home and into our lives to this day.