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Man, I can’t believe I publicly announced my new year’s resolution to knock off two blogs a week. I don’t think I made it past week two. For the .2 people watching, sorry about that.
Crazy times around here. I’m not prone to whining–not publicly at least–but I can say with abject acceptance that 2012 so far has been treating me like a baby treats a diaper. Lots of crazy life things going down that, taken one at a time, would be a handful, but en masse, it’s been quite a character-builder. It’s been shared with me, and I’ve often repeated, that times like these are where we tell the world what we’re all about. And yeah, even though it’s felt like I’ve been under attack, out-manned and out-gunned, by a hostile universe, things always work out. This too shall pass.
And truth be told, a lot of exciting things have been going down. I’ve been working on some enormously fun features for a couple of the magazines, not to mention my recent pieces at TNB, which have been getting loads of attention across the globe–particularly my interview with Zakk Wylde and my sort of infamous “Color-coded Axl Rose Letter.”
The interview with Zakk was a blast. His wife called me and put me on the phone with him. I heard “Who? Joe? Joe who?” in the background, before he came on the phone and started yakking with me. I had a list of questions prepared, relating to the music industry, guitar playing, writing, etc. but most went out the window once he started talking. Super down-to-earth, complete with a thick New Jersey accent, I laughed for a good part of the chat.
I had a question teed up for him about the whole Black Label Order thing–sort of a playful question about how rules applied within his fan base. Specifically, I mentioned to him that I picked up a BLS sweatshirt at their recent show here with Judas Priest, and that since buying it my girlfriend wears it quite often, and without permission. Thinking at as a member of the media, I must have received it for free, he mocked me, laughing, “What’d she do–steal your swag?” That’s exactly how my buddies and I bust on each other and I realized that Zakk’s book is anything but an act–that’s exactly how he talks, it’s exactly what he believes and yeah, it’s that funny.
The Axl Rose piece took off a bit quicker than I thought, after someone started re-tweeting it on Twitter. I read the announcement that Axl wouldn’t be showing up at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Man, I could go off on twenty tangents right here, but I’ll stay focused. Sort of. Being a megalomaniacal control freak who seems incapable of admitting things like fear, mistakes, regret, he included a long, rambling letter that basically blamed everyone for…well, the letter isn’t particularly effective in outlining the sort of offenses that might drive his drastic attention-seeking decision. Unless, of course, attention-seeking was his goal. Keep ‘em waiting, then “confuse ‘em and then take your ball and go home” seems to be his strategy.
When I began to read his letter, I thought to myself, “As I read this, I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher in my head, saying ‘Blah, blah, blah…’” Then I read another sentence that sounded whiny (“Wah! Wah!”). and I realized that his entire letter could probably be separated into two categories. It occurred to me that it might be fun to break it out into two columns, but as I re-read it, I found that there were acres of obvious bullshit, as well as a few interesting points. So I wrote down the categories I noticed and began color coding. The rest…well, you know what happened.
In addition to the writing projects currently on my plate, got some more big ones coming next week. Then in May, the Classic Rock Slash fan pack is out, and I don’t think Slash is half as thrilled as I am to see it. Writing alongside the likes of Harry Paterson and my amigo Mick Wall (who, eminent overlord of music journalism that he is, edited the whole shooting match), it looks like it’s going to be a high quality collectible for fans, who get the album, exclusive pictures, and of course, some of the best writing since Exodus (stylistically, it all went downhill after Genesis). Speaking of Harry, keep your grapes peeled at TNB for his debut there, where he tackles one of the gathering socio-political storms in Europe. I won’t spoil the surprise, but not only is Harry a terribly entertaining music writer, but his political pieces read like unlicensed, bare-knuckle brawls in a dirty basement. No frills, no punches pulled–just ten shades of Harry coming your way.
Well, I’ve done it–I’ve composed a blog that talks about Axl, the Bible. On that note, enjoy this pic I took with my iPhone of the view behind my house. California rules…