A Separate Peace

A long shadowed October afternoon.
Jimmy Carter is still President, the Sex Pistols have already broken up.
In Mom’s garage making noise before an evening shift of folding corduroys at Wild West store.

We’d been at it a few weeks, Kimm and I trying to get the hang of electric guitars through amplifiers. The garage rang with feedback and ungodly clang; asbestos leaden particles floated down from the rafters.
We were creating weather, not music.
Somehow the open chords we’d domesticated on the acoustics became wild animals, unleashed somewhere in the 1/4″ shielded cables between pickup and speaker and free to howl.

We soon learned the barre chord was the way to go, and after a few tries were able to start and stop a whole song together. As we hit the final A-D-A there was just a pause, a silence more meaningful than a note, and we grinned at each other.
We just played Blitzkrieg Bop.

The feeling of pioneering accomplishment, probably shared by a thousand other boys and girls in their garages at the very same moment: We are all, to start, in a cover band.

I’ve always been surprised and really honored when someone chooses to cover one of our songs. To be sure, those events have been very few, but maybe that’s what makes it such an honor, no?
I mean, ya think Leonard Cohen still got a hard on every time another joker butchered Hallelujah?

But for us, to hear brainy indie heroes Yo La Tengo cover Out of Control, hey now!
That’s a big deal for us.
And though I was prepared for a bit of patronizing smirk in their version, it comes across as earnestly rockin’ enough, and if nothing else got some of the goddamn wags from Pitchfork to finally acknowledge our existence.

So when our pal Zoli from Ignite called and told us his plans to reinterpret Separate Peace with his new project, we were flattered. Besides being one of the most solid cats out there, Zoli has the vocal chops that put all of us hardcore screamers to shame.

His take with the new band Ocean Hills is a cranker in the alt-metal vein: musically years different than anything we might think up, a reinterpretation rather than a cover.
And the lyric video kills me, a nice platform to see some words I haven’t really considered in a long time.

A pretty heavy story of a family in disintegration, no one escapes the blame in this cheery little Christmas newsletter.
Indeed, it is written in the form of a letter, social distancing way before its time.

I remember my Mom fucking hated this song. The mother in the song is a car wrecking drunk, and though Mom never touched a drop, she was afraid that people might digest the words as non fiction.
And no, my brother did not OD and die.

I’ve been asked if I ripped the title off the John Knowles’ book of adolescent angst, but it really comes from that Hemingway notion in A Farewell to Arms.
Our man Henry is on the train to Stresa, dressed as a civilian now, giving absolutely no fucks to the consequence of escape.
A truly separate peace. I liked that.


Posh put the track on the third Rodney on the Roq compilation, I got a copy to give to my Dad.

I went down to his office in LaPalma, hoping really to just drop it off with the receptionist and make it away.
But he saw me in the hallway, between patients, and waved me back to a private room. We seemed to be family now only by those shared awkward moments of Father and Son separated by divorce.
Meeting the new girlfriend, pretending to care what the other was up to.
We shook hands and smiled, I handed him the album and pointed out our track in the lyric booklet.


He looked over the lyrics and then looked at me.
You got a lot of anger in there, he said, pointing at my chest.

No, I said.
I don’t know.
Maybe.

Dear son, how’ve you been? I got your card and the bottle of gin
What’s new, let me see
Seems there’s no love left between your mother and me
She gets half the house, I’m getting my share Of half this life we’ve built in twenty-three years
But there’s no guilt, I’ve opened my cage
You’ll like my new girl, she’s about your age


Can you blame me? Separate peace
I’ll do what’s right, what’s right for me
And I’ve found my separate peace
Understand me, can’t you see, I don’t care

And son, your mother’s just fine, I see her in the market from time to time
She got drunk, wrecked the car
Trying to get home from the corner bar
This life’s too cold to be straight
I guess a little drink, it helps her escape
She’s gave up, disillusioned in men
But in that little bottle she’s found a new friend

Understand me, can’t you see
Let me go, just set me free


Oh son, I almost forgot Your brother left his body in a parking lot
I guess it happens all the time
These goddamned kids cross the needle and line
What happened? I can’t understand
He left so early, he was such a young man
Oh well, now he’s just gone
And are you coming home for the holidays, son?

True West

Ah parenthood.

Is there a more defining moment in the Father/Daughter cultural exchange than when you sit upon couch next to the kid and she starts watching her favorite show….

....wha tha? Did the tubby one just wipe her ass on TV?!
….wha tha? Did the tubby one just wipe her ass on TV?!

Alright, alright–we get it—the lead chick is big and beautiful, proud of her body and all that.
But still, would it kill her to put a shirt on when I’m trying to eat my Pasta Puttanesca on a Sunday evening, hmmm?

Listen, if this wistful peek into the world of young woman in the city is based mainly on Lena Dunham stomping around the apartment naked and cussing like a neutered GG Allin, so be it.
Just don’t expect Dad to sit there and listen to this crap—-I’m going upstairs with my Huell Howser dvds yo!

You try to raise your children right.
The rule was: For every track she would download off Itunes I got to choose one for her as well.
And her ipod was soon filled not only with Miley and Demi Lavato, but also Cramps and Rezillo tracks….it takes a village!

But soon enough, when they go off into the brutal wilderness of High School and beyond, they are attacked on all sides by terrible, terrible influence.

Forget the bullying and drug abuse, I’d like to know who’s suggesting they all get tickets for the goddamn 311 concert huh?!

Oh my gosh, they're white kids! I thought it was a bunch of Rastas straight outta Kinsgton!
Oh my gosh, they’re white kids! But them heavy grooves—–
I thought it was a bunch of Rastas straight outta Kinsgton!

And then comes the sterile little Itunes receipt in your inbox, and the following texts (our preferred method of communication these days-much easier to ignore teenage sarcasm through Helvetian-font alphabetical character ) look something like this:

Dad: ??
Kid: yeah popop..?
Dad: Um, this bill I have here..wish to explain?
Kid: U said I could buy a whole album!
Dad: Yes, but..Sublime? really? Do you know how old that goddamn album is?
Kid: LOL
Dad: And am I hallucinating here, or is there a Blink 182 song on my account?
Kid: Their so good!
Dad: THEY’RE……and yuck.

I can almost hear her eyes rolling across cellular connection…..all is lost.

So it was quite the shocker when I received this text last week:

Kid: Hey da–that song True West? IS that U? I like it-
Dad: who is this?
Her: LOL–is that you? it’s good–it dzznt sound like you!
Me: Gee-thanks…?

But it sends me to the internet, and sure enough there it is on YouTube, where more than one wag has seen fit to somehow digitize this song and post it up for the world to hear:

We reported to Mad Dog studios in Venice, oh, let’s call it late winter 1984?

Having been left adrift for a season since fulfilling our Posh Boy contract and letting our glorious hair grow out beyond the approved hardcore standards, we’d come to an agreement with scrappy Enigma Records to lay down some magic.

Around this time, there were a lot of burnt out punkers out there in the wilds of Southern California.
Jaded veterans of the music biz at the age of 23, wandering the burnt out club scene for a spark of the past like post apocalyptic Zombies fighting over the last gray fragment of brain.

And Enigma was right there, with open arms, allowing us all to commit to vinyl and film the embarrassments that would haunt us ad infinitum.
The what? Internet ya say? Never heard of it–hah!

...ah jeezus--the Aqua Net is getting to 'em!
…ah jeezus–the Aqua Net is getting to ’em!

A good crew, we now had Jay Lansford in the band full time, easing us into a world where the guitars were not always distorted and pegged, where the lyrics were not always screamed…..and the hair looked fabulous!

Banging on the drums around this time was wildman Mat Young, who besides having such awesome Pokemon’ styled locks was one of the greatest drummers ever.

..and this was before anime' was such a big deal with the kids!
..and this was before anime was such a big deal with the kids!

On tour Mat’s good looks kept the girls close, just wanting to cuddle him and take him home to give him a hot bath…..

And when Mat would inevitably run away due to his shyness and a girlfriend back home, well, I guess old Uncle Kimm was right there to pick up the pieces, eh ladies?!

1984: CH3 version 2.1
1984: CH3 version 2.1

At the helm in studio was rock solid Dusty Wakeman at the knobs and the nutty man about town, Ron Goudie acting as producer.

Ron living the good life in Amsterdam--And I mean, really, the good life!
Ron living the good life in Amsterdam–And I mean, really, the good life!

And so in just a few nights we lay down those tracks that would eventually become the Airborne EP—-unanimously agreed upon as our declaration of mutiny aboard the sinking S.S. Hardcore!

air13

But I sit there, and give it my first listen in a decade I guess.

The drums swing, Mat actually playing a song on those skins.
Some different things going on, now, in terms of guitar as a condiment instead of a porterhouse.
Some jangly accents, and empty spaces where the song is allowed to breathe– this was new stuff to us!

I have to type out the lyrics, reloading the track over and over, as I can’t find any trace of them: Any copies of the ep with lyric sheet intact have been sacrificed to attic or Ebay long ago.

And though I cringe a bit as I dictate the over-earnest lyrics, thematically cliché’ as they come, I can somehow forgive my 23 year old self for being focused enough to jot down an idea that somehow fits the music:

True West (Lansford,Magrann)

I never took a dime, My eyes were clear and blue
Wanted nothing more, Than Love and God and Truth

You wait for dreams, you work toward goals
I’ll pay with youth, I’ll sell my soul

Followed setting suns, Knew my wrongs from rights
Funny how it all Turns dark as country night

I never knew what morals were
Until I realized I had none

True West…
They never tell the truth about frontiers
Another dream is tossed to the Sea

Had my fill of lies. And California dreams
Ain’t that how life works-It’s never what it seems

From airline windows
Oceans glow blue and green, you know…
From the beach they’re dark as sin

True West, I’m standing on the coast again
True West, I’ll never be the same again
They never tell the truth about frontiers
Another dream is tossed to the Sea

I like it!

And who knows, as we climb on the stage next, armed with our setlist of 30 year old songs and stale stage banter, we might just surprise ya.

And in between playing Manzanar and Got a Gun for the twelve thousandth time, we may just turn the guitars down 2 notches, and give it a whirl….

Dad: Yeah, that’s us—cool
Kid: I thought you guys were punk..?
Dad: ARE PUNK…
Kid: But it’s not fast like wot you play…?

Dad: ….sigh.

Blue Christmas

News item: Denver Channel 7 News:
DENVER — An atheist group is planning to put three billboards up near the nativity scene at Denver’s City and County Building.
“There should not be a government supported religion. And that’s exactly what this is,” said Marvin Straus, a Boulder-area atheist.
The signs will say, “Stop government support of religion, move this Denver nativity scene to a church.”

Wha tha Fa?
Oh come on now! Are we gonna let some goddamn correctist wackjobs put a stop to our traditional Christmas?

If yer like me, nothing says Christmas is comin like some Chinese made figurines, hand detailed with lead paint by a 8 year old slave, set on some asbestos straw and displayed on your dangerously overheated Korean cd changer. It’s tradition, am I right?

Alright, so maybe the religious hayride is a little too much for you hipsters. But work with me people!

We gotta protect what we know: Christmas as that wacky tacky time of year, when we can relax and enjoy the traditional rituals we’ve known since childhood.

Christmas is the time to start drinking at an inappropriate hour.
To gorge yourself on fatty snacks, leer at the women in the room and tell your superiors exactly what their fuckin problem is!

In other words, Christmas is the time when all of you can act like we here at CH3 do all year long!!

I gotta gun, man....urp...I gotta puke!

And goddamn it, if we’re not careful we’re gonna end up with some politically correct government holiday where there’s no mention of Jesus, no Christmas trees allowed at City Hall, and worst of all!—no booze allowed at the company party!!

No.
This will not do.

I want Christmas…..I want My Christmas!!
I want the Christmas that we all share, formed by too many nights sitting too close to the tv set, breathing in the toxic fumes of a garishly flocked aluminum tree.

I want Christmas to usher in the cheesy old claymation Specials on CBS, where Heat Miser and Snow Miser do a soft shuffle with baby Jesus!

King of Kings! Enjoy it now, before the Jews get hold of ya!!

And the commercials of our youth? Where’d they go?

When I see Santa comin, he’d better damn well be comin down the slopes on the three floating heads of the Norelco Shavemaster, brother!!!

Weee! Next we're gonna shave someone's balls!

I want the Charlie Brown Special, where he goes and buys the worst tree in the world after he and Pigpen burn a Purple Kush fattie behind the gym!

I want the Goddamn Grinch, and not fuckin Jim Carrey either!
I want the cartoon guy, who gives back all the toys, after he and Max pull the all nighter in the meth lab.
Yeah, we know what’s up with those choppers bub!

...who's got a vcr they need fixed?!

And Rudolph!

Oh gee, remember that one? Where he saves the day with his acne, and wasn’t there a gay dentist in there too? What was that about?
And the abominable snowman?!

This shit is just flooding back to me!
And remember when the CocaCola Bear eats Rudolph in the end??
Good Times…..

*burp* That reindeer is a little gamy, no?

So it was with the holiday spirit in mind that we showed up at The Laundry Room to record a track for the elves over at
Blackhole Records for their newest Holiday platter, Cashing in on Christmas VolII!!!!!

Santa looks pretty pervy without his mustache, eh?

And though it is on a balmy 98 degree October evening that we watch Alfie hump the gear in, in our souls it is the middle of Winter Solstice:
Virtual eggnog courses through our veins and the faint ringing in our ears– normally the pesky onset of tinnitus—-
today those distant chimes are sleighbells!!

Load that shit in Vato! I'm feelin productive!


As usual, when we report to the studio we bring along the black velvet Elvis along for good vibes.
Fun Fact: If you look closely, you will see his teardrop has slowly gotten longer over the years.

Do not question this magic---just accept!

Late in the evening, when energy sags and the take count mounts, we put our boy with Uly’s collection—behold the power!!

And fitting it is, for what holiday gem have we chose for this project?
Blue Christmas!!!!!

Yeh, you got it brother, we tackled a mountain this time!!

Oh ho, clever, clever boys! While everyone else chose more traditional carols and comtemporary classics to defile, yer pals here decided to cover the King’s classic.
I mean, who else would think to attempt such a thing???

Heh….turns out there’s a goddamn internet radio station dedicated to nothing but versions of the song!
Seriously:

Revenge of Blue Christmas!

Whatever.
We pulled off a nice take with this one….respectful but rocking, just the thing to kick off the ol’ Christmas cheer, eh?

So friends, I want you to put on the slippers and the ugliest sweater you have.
Light a candle and break out the fudge.
Give the kids a double dose of Benadryl and put em to bed at 7pm!

It’s time to pour a tall one and ring in the holiday season with yer ol buddies at the CH3 manger:

God Bless us Everyone!


Rejected!

Rejected but well intentioned!

Let’s go back to those glory years, yeah, you got it—-I’m talking about the 80’s people!
The hair was out to there, the cowboy boots up to here, and we didn’t have to worry about drunken cell phone pictures showing up on goddamned Facebook every Monday morning!

It’s been well documented that yer ol pals here at the CH3 stables went through a familiar…… metamorphosis way back when.

You see, the late eighties were a dismal time for hardcore punk. Show after show was plagued by riots and violence, the touring venues got smaller and sadder.
The choice seemed clear: either continue playing at VFW halls with Youth Brigade for a knot of bald fifteen year old boys, or sell our souls and hit the Sunset Strip.

There, the skanks hanging at the The Rainbow had fake leather skirts, real apartments in Venice, breasts like Baked Alaskas, ……..and money!

Hmmmmm….what to do, what to do?

Nice doing business with ya, Satan! Now hand us our fringe leather jackets and aviators, will ya, ’cause we’re fuckin outta here!

…..flagrant abuse of Aqua Net Pink directly responsible for the Ozone gap that hovers over Angola….

Oh, other punk acts found their own way to evolve in those nutty times, but we managed to find a quite unique middle ground: too rock and roll for the punk rockers, and too raw and scruffy for the metal fans.
In other words, we had concocted the chemical equation to alienate any and all fans! Perfect!

Sure, we put out a couple releases on the upstart Enigma label. But we’ll get to those gems at a later date, when the therapy has done its job.
Today let’s go beyond those heady times and see what the fellas did after their desperate grasp at stardom!

See, people always assume we spent those wild years in the Aqua Net wilderness as another heavy metal poof act on the strip.

No, not really.

Oh sure, maybe we started to look a little…different:

Big hair, Flashdance-style ripped mesh top with cowboy boots– your transformation to the Dark Side is complete!

Dropped from Enigma and jobless, we spent countless afternoons watching Cocksucker Blues and The Last Waltz back to back. And although we also watched MV3 in hopes of catching the odd WASP video, I could tell we were intrigued by a slower tempo, a simpler tone.

Jay had been a battle-weary veteran of the early punk years, the Sunset Glam years, back into the hardcore fray with us, and then through the hellish Label Showcase wringer.
He’d been around, and I believe he’d had enough of hearing a Les Paul plugged into a cranked Marshall half stack to last 3 lifetimes.

Jay with the Stepmothers, Sept 9, 1957.

So it was with this mindset, an almost–dare I say it!– punk attitude toward doing just what we wanted, we went back into the studio for a new round of demos. The guitars more thoughtful, the screaming less angry….had we grown up?

Nah. Bored, maybe. Alienated, definitely.

These tapes sat around for several years, and honestly, I hadn’t heard them untill the wags over at Punk Not Profit posted up the Rejected album online.

Buy it Now price on ebay: 4.95 or trade for Disney Space Mountain Pin!

Wot say? Rejected? And you friggin vinyl nerds thought your mylar-entombed CH3 collection was intact, didn’t ya??

Heh, oh no…. there was another one!

Gadzooks-my collection is incomplete! I shall have to sell my Boba Fett cereal caddy and acquire this gem!!

Rejected was an album that came out on the gutsy little Lone Wolf label out of Canada, where head maniac Jill Heath decided it weould be a good idea to let these odd demo tracks see the light of day. Yeah, that’s right, these tracks were recorded on spec, with not a record label in sight—-demos, rejected demos!! Har—do ya get it?? Rejected?…..Oh, never mind.

Anyway, after downloading these songs, probably along with a half dozen pesky Russian viruses, I took a sentimental listen.

And while I’ll spare you the sample, this record contains perhaps my crowning achievenment as a lyricist. I refer, of course, to the somber College of Love, where our protagonist spews thus:

The broken heart is a common flower
Like herpes at a Red Onion happy hour.

Thank you, thank you. No, really, it was nothing.

Maybe because I am currently obsessed with the PBS reality series Circus, one song that I find a strange gem is Carnival Life.

It features a loping bass line, and a pleading harmonica riff.
We were going for, I believe, a vibe similar to the Clash’s Train in Vain.

What we end up with here sounds like a bastardized cross between Johnny Cougar and Dexy’s Midnight Runners—enjoy!

 

 

Carnival Life (Lansford/Magrann)

Well it’s sundown in this small town
12 miles out of Champaign
Seen the same sun set from a thousand towns
But you know it’s never quite the same

The lights come on, generators hum
And sawdust swims the air
Well I’ve been all over the whole damn world
But I never seem to get nowhere

It’s been so long since I’ve seen my Mom
I’m drinking far too much every night
I guess that’s what you’ve gotta expect
From this Carnival Life

I remember one September
This outfit pulled through town
I was a restless kid with no Summer left
So I helped them pull the stakes from the ground

Yeah, but I’m feeling so damn old
My trailer’s so damn cold
What have I missed for a life on the road?
Suburban life, kids and a wife-
Movies on a Saturday night?

Well it’s showtime, see this long line
Have your tickets out please
Guess I always wanted to be a Star
But I never learned to act or to sing

But it’s time now for the next town
Besides what else what would I do?
Ain’t it true you gotta love what you are, in the end?
Even a carny with some ugly tattoos

We’re driving though the night, we’re headin for the Light
There’s a Stuckey’s up ahead to the right
I guess I am just a happy man
Because I love this Carnival Life

So what ya think?

*crickets*

Oh C’mon now—it’s catchy, right?
You tell me we couldn’t sell this baby to Tim McGraw and live like Persian exchange students for the rest of our lives!!

Photos of the Rejected release party w/ Al Bloch, Mike Dimkitch and Ron Wood:


yeah, yeah, those are leather pants—let’s see a goddamn picture of what you were wearing in ’89!!!

But if there’s one tune that really sums it all up, our mindset at the time, it’s gotta be album closer Far From Home.
Basic as any thrash song in 3 chord simplicity, we unabashedly glom the Stonsey vibe and tell the tale of the road. Weary vocals, every goddamn Richards riff Jay could think of, and more than 6 wooos!, this baby was obviously never meant to see the light o day—but I like it! Sounds like a roadtrip, yeah?

Oh yes, we were still touring at these later days, and we went from town to town extinguishing every last drop of Punk Rock goodwill and credibility we had ever earned.
Let me tell you, when I pulled the ol’ harmonica out onstage, more than one mohawked crusty would burst into tears and go running out the club’s backdoor, never to be seen again!

So listen now to this hardy tale of travel, and allow the boys to ride into the sunset as the music fades out at 3:15…..but what tha?
Oh ho, yeah, we got ya, the song fades back in again!! Clever, clever!….and then we fade out again, only to come crashing back for that last terrible, confused coda.

Those final notes.
As if we knew our time on stage was up, and even as we are dragged off stage-left, we claw desperately at the scenery.

Clinging to a final and precious moment in the spotlight.


Far From Home (Lansford/Magrann)

Got a half of tank of gas, some Camels on the dash
And we’re singing with George Jones
Driving though the night and headin for the Light
Of a Stuckey’s down that road

Well God, I love this country in the dark
Where every city looks the same from inside of a bar
Far From Home

And no one knows your name or asks you for some change
For the jukebox on that road
Well, it’s funny how it seems the girls don’t act so mean
Like the ones we know back home

I never I thought I’d see
The sun rising from the Sea
So come and have a drink
With the boys of Channel Three

I Didn’t Know

So we’re cleaning out the ol CH3 storage facilities- nestled safely under the majestic Chino Hills- when we came across these musty old boxes:



Wha? What’s that ya axe, you fuckin little whippersnapper?

What’s with the funny lookin rims?

Gee mister--how ya suppose to fit that in the usb port?

Oh, I suppose you goddamn kids think you’re the bees knees with yer Power Macs and Pro Tools and Memory cards…huh?
Yeh, I know–ya stay up all night recording your autotuned whine-fests, hoping to be the next Owl City.

But when ya get done mashing that music through your computers til the songs are rendered a sterile sequence of 1’s and 0’s, I ask ya—what are ya left with the next day?

mmhmmm....just what I thought--processed cheese!

Ah, no–that’s not how it went down back in 1981 brother!

We layed that stuff down with a nerve wracking finality. Those flat black ribbons of tape racing past the heads with alarming-and expensive looking!- speed.

And when it came time to master down to a wee, precious 1/4″ reel, the editing wasn’t done on a 42″ Plasma screen with a visual seismograph, no….

hmmm...either one of the guitars are outta tune or I'm having a goddamn heart palpitation!!

It was a razor blade and splicing tape for us!
Holding these 2 inch reels in hand again–the heft of a bible, the coiled menace of a snake– it brought us back to those heady times.

Feel the sound....Taste the noise!!

After meeting with Mr. Fields that fateful evening in the garage, arrangements were quickly made to be at the Brian Elliot studio in North Hollywood that very Saturday.
An EP was to be recorded: Four songs required, that was it. (We snuck Wetspots in just under the wire, heh.)

Alright boys, let's cut a record. Have I told you how sharp you look in those suits?

Brian Elliot? He was a songwriter and studio cat from the day, and had a very nice working studio in a non descript strip mall out yonder. Nothing to write home about, vibe wise—but a good solid room to get the work done.

You fuckin hipsters take notes: That's the way to rock the facial hair!

A year or so after working with him, Brian scored a major when Madonna chose one of his compositions. The song?–yeh, you got it–Papa Don’t Preach….!

I aspire one day to be a sinewy and humorless Brit.

Well, we did the EP in one day with David Hines, and waited for the inevitable Stardom.

We also waited for Der Weinerschnitzel to call back about that part time job, no go on either front!

Let’s skip a year or two, I’m thinkin it’s early 1983.

Robbie has us back for the 2nd full length, After the Lights Go Out. But this time he tells us to report to a different place.
What say? A little placed down on Santa Monica called Gold Star Studios!


That’s right–the Wall of Sound, Sonny and Cher–Eddie Cochran! That Gold Star!!

Let’s check a small sample of Gold Star hits from the Library of Congress’ Official list of American Archival Treasures:

Eddie Cochran. Summertime Blues, C’mon Everybody, Somethin’ Else, Three Steps To Heaven (1958-60)
Ritchie Valens, Donna, La Bamba (1958)
The Crystals, He’s A Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron (1962, 1963)
Bob B. Soxx and the Bluejeans, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (1962)
The Cascades, Rhythm Of the Rain (1963)
The Ronettes, Be My Baby (1963)
The Righteous Brothers, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (1964)
Cher, All I Really Want To Do (1965)
Ike and Tina Turner, River Deep, Mountain High (1966)
Bobby Darin, If I Were A Carpenter (1966)
The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations (1966)
Channel 3, Didn’t Know (1983)

(Alright, alright…so I snuck that last track in there–sue me!)

This was hallowed ground! We walked through the lobby and wandered the maze of rooms, looking for the sound chamber, inspecting the padded walls for bullet holes.
The creepy energy of Phil Spector seemed to be watching our every move……

Alright baby, cut goofin off and get yer ass back behind the mic or I'll murder ya!
Heh--what? A guy can't joke?!

Fuckin Robbie. I don’t know how he pulled off some of these deals, must’ve been that boyish Anglo charm or something!

Jay Lansford was back on board for production, and he’d been working with us on this new collection of faster, darker songs.
And before we knew what was happening we were standing on those same worn planks that suffered under the symmetrical platform heels of Sonny and Cher.

Yep, there's 'ol 2 fisted Lansford showing up for work on Santa Monica Blvd....!

We unpacked the gear wordlessly, like we were setting missals down in the pews of an empty church. Maybe we took a quick swig off a pint of Smirnoff we had in the cord bag, though Robbie didn’t allow booze in the studio……

Guitars in hand and headphones on our shaved noggins, we looked up and saw who sitting next to our boy Jay Lansford at the board but Stan Ross!

Stan was…well, Stan was the Man, dig?

Alright you cats, let's swing this nutty Wetspots number again on the downbeat!

He saw that room through all the glory, and now here he was, workin with us knuckleheads as we assaulted the walls with our own take on Teen angst.
He just kept the wheels rollin and grinned at the cuss words, shook his head at the tempos.

One day he even brought in a nephew and his pals to see how real musicians worked in the studio.
We looked around, eager to see how it was done as well….until we realized he was talkin about us!

I don't know what you friggin maniacs call this stuff--but I like it!

It was a fun session, maybe a couple weeks, and we had all the tracks done.
Robbie came in for the dailies, and seemed to like what he was hearing.

But Jay tugged his elbow as we listened to the roughs one day, telling him to pay attention to this one:
it was a track called Didn’t Know.

I could see the wheels spinning as Robbie listened to the track, could feel the maniacal spirit of a thousand frenzied sessions haunting the room.
This was, well, a Pop song, really!

When the track ended Robbie put on his Spector sunglasses and whispered the fateful words to no one in particular:
I hear abstract background vocals on this one!

Wha?

And that’s how we ended up sitting in the studio the very next day, watching 3 extremely short bald men sing along to the track.

Those little doo doo bops at the end? The Oohs and Ahhs? That, apparently, is an abstact vocal. Again, thanks to the mysterious deal making machine that was Posh Boy, we watched in amazement as these professional commercial jingle singers layed down the sweetest background harmonies.
I immediately had panicked visions of losing all hardcore credilbility we had ever somehow gained. Would there be record burnings and protests outside gigs?

Mmmm...skittleybop shoobie doobie--we're here to ruin your career!

Had we sold out, and worst of all, for no money?!

Oh, we had a little power struggle with Robbie. He wanted the vocals on the whole track, I mean, the whole thing!
I wanted them off altogether, tough ass punker that I was am!

In the end, an uneasy truce, the oohs and ahhs stay, the doo doo bops only at the end.
Nobody ever beat us up for those little sweeteners, so I guess Robbie was right…I guess.

Click here to listen to Didn’t Know and be sure to listen for the Doo Doo Bops at the 4:27 mark!

That girl, she said
I feel used and dead
She whispered I love you
I pretended I was asleep
Deep down, I feel
Confused,the usual
Late nights, soft lights
What’s it all mean

There’s plenty to see
There’s plenty to learn
Without questioning life at every turn
Life means more than the meaning of life
But deep inside all the questions still burn

That man, in black
Said kneel, bow to that
If you want some answers, here read this book
I went, I heard
My prayers were never answered
I know those prayers by heart
But I forgot the words

I didn’t know
And I still don’t know
But I just gotta know
I didn’t know
I still don’t know
I guess I’ll never know

What, then, can we do?
What’s left to see us through
Maybe I’m the wrong one
But I can’t wait too long
What’s real to me
What feels good now to me
I can hold a bottle
But I can’t touch love

Gamblin’ Time!

CH3 in a casino lounge...I bet ya never saw this coming!
Kimm's birthday, a CH3 gig, and Las Vegas...sounds like a peaceful weekend to me!

So the road show rolls into a nutty little town we like to call Las Vegas this weekend, eh?

When you’ve been around as long as yer ol pals in CH3, you develop a certain history with the cities you visit on a periodic basis.
Yeh, we’ve seen this burg grow from a classless little hick hole to the classless monument to excess that it is today!

vegas
This is how we like to remember the joint....

And don’t give me that crap about the Wynn art collection or Tommy Keller’s slop houses raising the cultural bar!
Listen, if I’m gonna drop three hundred goddamn dollars at Bouchon or Nobu, it’s not gonna be in a place where I have to look at a faded cougar on an oxygen tank play penny slots, Brother!

RF5469000
Sure, keep goin' Ma! The kids back home in the holler don't need no shoes this winter!

Besides, you wanna talk about fine dining when any sane man is gonna stroll down the strip for a 99 cent half pound dog at Slots of Fun??!

dog
Ya know what would hit the spot after this? I'm thinkin 25 cent shrimp cocktail and a Heimlich maneuver!

Over the years, we’ve done Vegas a hundred different times and a hundred different ways. From the Bellagio waterfront suites to sleeping it off in the downtown parking garage, this town has always welcomed us with open arms and then kicked our asses back down Interstate 15.

But there’s always been one constant: Yeah, you got it–Gambling!

Nashville_Sevens_Slots
Ah, hell yeah! Tell Alf he doesn't have to pass out the whore flyers on the Strip any more!

What is it about gambling that sets the blood to boil, hmm?

Is it the thrill of risking what you really can’t afford to lose?
The chance—ever so slight!–of winning?

Actually winning— now there’s a concept!

To receive unearned monies, dropped down upon your grateful open palm like a feather. A reluctant gift from the last sad bird of an exotic and now extinct species?

6a00d834a72ef569e200e54f65e03d8833-800wi
Your reward in chips: the reduction of familiar monetary values to meaningless tokens. Kinda like buying a Youth Brigade T shirt!

Nah. We simply gamble for the free booze and this simple fact: They let ya get away with murder if yer gambling!!

I mean really, where else can you stumble through a ritzy lobby (or ride a wheelchair *ahem*), a smelly cigar on your lip and all your junk hanging out of your vomit-crusted trousers without getting kicked out on your ass? Just drop a coin in the video poker and they’ll bring you a bloody mary and a Keno card!!!

casino
Keep yer eye on the tall Jap with the two wetbacks....
either they're counting cards or they're too drunk to count to 21!

It’s the spirit of Las Vegas that we love, that sleazy independence that has survived through shitty lounge acts and white tigers!
Come join your buddies out in the desert, won’t ya?-and give Kimm a kiss for luck.

(Need more push? Click the goddamn arrow below and listen to the coins clatter into the tray—it’s the sound of a million lucky angels with prosthetic wings, baby!!!)

Gamblin’ Time

Didn’t I learn a goddamn thing
Is it only half way through Lent?
This hundred bucks is getting awfully warm
And it ain’t going to the rent

I want a chance at something more
Or something different at least
Gimme a shot, a shot at hope
To get me through one more week

Is it wrong to use that cash
Well, her teeth are really pretty straight
Over under’s at fifty four
That one dude’s groin is strained

All I know about myself is nothing’s never enough
Screw the payment on the truck and the rest of that boring stuff
It’s gamblin’ time

In Sam’s Town I double down
The bitch held back my King

The frickin’ horse dropped down in class
She didn’t learn a goddamn thing

I dream of jet black roulette wheels on a velvet ocean of green
I hold the dice like wounded birds and then I set them free

You Lie!

Well, the fellas at CH3 Mission Control were all in a tizzy when they called me on the landline. Seems a tremendous overnight spike in Channel 3 Itunes activity crashed the entire Apple system, caused by ravenous purchases of the old track You Lie!

...we can't explain it, Sir!  Also, we've been selling an unusual amount of Got A Gun XXL tees in Chino Hills!!
...we can't explain it, Sir! Also, we've been selling an unusual amount of Got A Gun XXL tees in Chino Hills!!

Apparently, the overnight downloads of that track funneled enough monies into Posh Boy’s pockets that he is currently in the market for a new villa in Bordeaux.

Wha? Well, a quick log onto the Huffington Post confirmed our suspicions…that scamp Joe Wilson was up to his old tricks!
Apparently, he tried to get a pit going last night during the Healthcare Reform speech by yelling You Lie!!, and then jumping off the Congressional bannister, knocking a beer out of the hand of Representative David Price (D – NC, 4th District).

I just want some Skank! I just want some Skank!
I just want some Skank! I just want some Skank!

Heh–fuckin Joe! We remember when he used to hang out with his crew at the Galaxy Theatre and yell shit at us from the pit…but when ya called him out on it?
Silence.
Some things never change!
Who the fuck said that, huh?!    Yeh, that's what I thought.....
Who the fuck said that, huh?! Yeh, that's what I thought.....

And now, like clockwork, comes the official apology from Wilson’s office:
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”

Oh brother. Apparently even the Republicans are condemning the outbust now too.

I know nothing!
I know nothing!

Yeh, that’s because the Rebuplicans were salivating over Obama’s lowest approval ratings in months due to the Heathcare issues, and then Wilson decides to get all drunk before the gig and ruin it for everyone!!

Whatever. At least it got a little TMZ-style attention to the issue at hand.

And while we applaud Obama’s tackling of the Healthcare issues, just don’t get us started!
It’s well known that CH3 has been championing total Health Service overhaul since the early 80’s, when we proposed going back to a basic Commodities-based valuation of the Nation’s Healthcare.

In other words, a case of Syphyllis is gonna cost ya a basket of eggs, breast enlargement one veal calf..etc!!

Yes, one vasectomy and and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft for the goat, if you please!
Yes, we have goat....one vasectomy and and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, if you please!

Listen, if Joe wanted to man up and take on the Prez, you don’t just namecheck your favorite CH3 song and then go hide by the chicks’ bathrooms! You gotta go for the stage dive like those nutty punkers over in South Korean Paliament, am I right?

Up the Punx!
Up the Punx!

Then they really get things boiling in the pit!!

Gaaa!  I lost my shoe!!
Gaaa! I lost my shoe!!

Click the shiny arrow to hear You Lie by CH3!!

Larry Walters

So who’s seen this movie, this Up? hmm?

The simple story of an old man, a young boy, latex balloons and a length of garden hose.  Insert pedophile joke here:
The simple story of an old man, a young boy, latex balloons and a length of garden hose. Insert pedophile joke here:

What is it about unpowered flight that fascinates us? Is it the silent journey into the heavens, guided only by the gentle breath of God?

Nah. Merely the primal fascination of man seeing what he cannot do, but very much wants to. Ever see how the orangutans at the San Diego Zoo all start masturbating frenetically whenever a butterfly floats by?

You think floating under a balloon is a legitimate form of transportation?
Really?

Then why is it every billionaire who attempts a balloon journey, with every technology at his fingertips, ends up hanging off an electrical transfomer 10 miles from the launch pad?! Listen, I’d love to walk to Hawaii some time, that sounds like a real hoot.
Shall I see if Richard Branson wants to come along? Alert the Press?

Smashing good fun!  Have them inflate the backup zeppelin, Smithers!
Smashing good fun! Have them inflate the backup zeppelin, Smithers!

But maybe you’ve heard of a man named Larry Walters, somewhat of a personal hero around here at the CH3 base camp.
Larry was a truckdriver who took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft. Dubbed Inspiration I, the “flying machine” consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of 16,000 feet (4,900 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California into controlled airspace near Long Beach Airport.

And this is long before the meth epidemic....why can't you goddamn kids think up something like this?!
And this is long before the meth epidemic....why can't you goddamn kids think up something like this?!

That’s right–you’ve heard of him now, right? The lawnchair guy!
Larry took his little flight and that was about it. But his trip captured the dreams of millions and actually inspired a few imitators. Notably, Brazillian Priest Adelir Antonio de Carli who disappeared while re-creating the legendary flight of Larry Walters. Fater de Carli was well prepared and had flotation, GPS and parachute. Body parts found offshore July 4 2008.

Hey!  I can see my house from up here....no wait--that's my painful demise I'm seeing.   The Spanish tiles confused me....
Hey! I can see my house from up here....no wait--that's my painful demise I'm seeing. The Spanish tiles confused me....

These jokers totally missed the point of Larry’s little jaunt. It had nothing to do with daring or the insatiable hunger for adventure. This was a stunt born of boredom, and I’d bet my goddamn last dollar a little alcohol was involved…..

Yeh right---you're telling me none of them jugs had any booze in em?
Yeh right---you're telling me none of them jugs had any booze in em?

But here’s the real reason Larry Walters is a true American hero: After violating federal airspace, causing an electrical blackout on landing, and being immediately arrested by the Long Beach Police, a reporter asked him the reason for the flight. “Because a man can’t just sit around,” was his reply.

Wha? Because a man can’t just sit around?! Goddamn right brother! That’s gonna be my new motto too! Next time the cops roll around at 3am and ask me why the hell I’m taking a dump on the front steps of the high school, well, ya know what I’m gonna tell ’em!

A man can’t just sit around–duh!

He committed suicide at the age of 44 by shooting himself in the heart in Angeles National Forest in 1993

Larry Walters by CH3
Larry Walters was a man who saw his dream take flight
Have you never been afraid yet told you had to fight?
We all keep dangerous thoughts contained like gasoline
Larry took his bottle of hopes and opened it with his teeth

Take me with you when you fly away from here
Show me the truths that lie just beyond my fears

Larry Walters, how does it feel
When your fantasy becomes real
Larry Walters, is my earth still round?
Larry Walters, don’t you ever come down

I used to sit up on the roof though terrified of heights
I grew to love my neighbor’s dog who growled all through my nights
If only I could fly away and finally touch the truth
I’d shiver in the stratosphere, I’d let go my balloons

I’ve seen your light but I can’t break free of this 9 to 5
Hold the time, it’s terra firma nine to life

Greatness through Stupidity.  We can all learn and live by this, children!

A Time to Kill

Hey kids, here’s a fun news item:

WICHITA, Kan.Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed by an anti-abotion activist Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

Hey Now! You can’t make this kind of comedy gold up, people! Let’s read that again: An anti-abortion activist decides to take out ol Doc Tiller while he was at Church! (or Tiller the baby Killer, as Bill O’Reily liked to call him—what what? Tillah the Killah? O’Reily’s like fuckin’ Ludacris over there at Fox, eh? I gotsta tune in more often!)

Lemme get a hollah from my niggahs on the Wesside!
Lemme get a hollah from my niggahs on the Wesside!

Heh. These guys are so Pro Life they decide to kill someone? That’s like roaming a dark park in Bristol at 4 am and buying all the crack a Jamaican dealer has on him, just so you can “keep it off the street, for the kids’ sake”!

Under hypnosis, Alf was able to remember certain details of the traumatic night...
Under hypnosis, Alf was able to remember certain details of the traumatic night...

Now, far be it for your ol pals at CH3 to take any political sides, though if you are anti-abortion fanatic intent on harming or shaming others with a different opinion yer a fuckin moron.

We actually visited this topic quite a while ago, in a snappy little track we call A Time to Kill. Let’s take a listen:

A Time to Kill

I got Time on my hands
That Time is red I understand
I’ve lost the chance to hesitate
I deal cards like awful fate

All the voices tend to get so loud
The riotous voices of a murderous crowd
To turn away, that would be my sin
I’l never give up, they’ll never win

The endless war that I’ve begun
Spreads like a black spot on a lung
I act alone, that’s understood
I speak for all that’s true and good

To stand for life means there’ll be no Choice
Sometimes you kill to extinguish a voice
To turn away, that would be my sin
I’l never surrender, they’ll never win

The end of my innocence, Lies loaded on the floor
So many children die, I never noticed that before
Come back to me, my innocence, I will not turn away
Salvation’s never cheap, I will not fade away

I act upon God’s will
I aim for endless thrill
This is my time to kill….

So what ya wanna do when dealing with these type of heavy black lyrics is to throw ’em right on top of a peppy Foo-Fighters track and there ya go! Social commentary without the gritty aftertaste!! Enjoy!

Of Scratches and Needles PtII

So now we’re armed with the lyrics and got together to run through the track a few times. I’m knocked out by the line, “And you ask yourself, why can’t I be…..Like the person who has always influenced me?” Fuckin beautiful!

Scratches and Needles
You Display your Scratches, you display your Needles aloud
Just to get the attention from the present crowd
Because you need the attention, it makes you feel supreme
You’d better snap out of it and stop your fuckin’ scheme
Right now

When the Scratches are pain and the needle don’t reach your vein
You begin to question the actions you’ve taken
Then you ask yourself, Why can’t I be
Like the person who has always influenced me?
I Scratch my arms, I’ll poison my blood
Just to get the attention of everyone
I won’t show tears, I won’t show pain
No matter how it hurts
I’ll disguise the Pain
When I’m alone I’ll show the tears
Because the Scratches on my arm are causing Pain
Scratches and Needles tonight…

We had to search for our angle with this track, and I felt the Nils track had a real or imagined sadness to it. We’d be best to pump up the anger, give it a little more spit and piss at the situation, yeah?

Studio day is always fun in my book. We get to make Alf get up early and go set up, followed by 3 hours of him hitting the snare drum to get the sound. Meanwhile, we go and search out the best in suiza enchiladas in the area. Luckily, on this brisk December afternoon, our old producer and partner in crime Jay Lansford was in town, a lil record business judging by his expense-account style accomodations in Bev Hills. We met Jay at Michoacan Carnitas on the Westside and caught up on our lives.

Wonder how the hi hat levels are going?  Oh miss-- Another round...?
Wonder how the hi hat levels are going? Oh miss-- Another round...?

A pleasant hour and a half ride to get across town got us over to Laundry Room Studios, our current favorite hang to lay down the hot tracks. We’ve been working with Uly for a few years now, ever since the traumatic and cleansing One More,,,, Movie, and just dig the vibe over there.

..this one's volume, this one's tone.  The rest?  Not hooked up anyway!!
..this one's volume, this one's tone. The rest? Not hooked up anyway!!

In the past, we would get together for a grueling day of laying down a string of basic tracks, 12 hours straight of trying to get the drum and bass down only to go back over each track ad nauseum for a couple weeks with the dubs. Fuck that, brother! Nowdays, it’s one song per setup, get the drums done and send Alfie down to the store for more Makers and place the bets with the bookie. Then a leisurely guitar session, bark out a few vocals, and kickin it at Jumbo’s by last call.

The track came together smooth, and how’s this for a bonus—saw a goddamn coyote as we were leaving the studio!

ummmm, has anybody seen Tabby lately?
ummmm, has anybody seen Tabby lately?

Do you see? It truly doesn’t take much to excite us any more…. One day we’ll get to ride in the Goodyear Blimp and have a fuckin coronary.