Tag Archives: Michelle Lawlor

Green Day and Friends – New Banner! Thanks Violeta!

GreenDay.com Banner Awesome as Fuck

Green Day’s new live album “Awesome as Fuck” is out next week. Seventeen of the songs are streaming at NME. It’s available only in the US and UK, but someone from Canada was able to listen to it, too. The official release date is 4/22/11 but there are two special pre-orders right now, an album version from Adeline Records in pink vinyl with a nice T-shirt (releasing 4/26) or the CD/DVD combination from Interpunk records with a nice poster (releasing 4/22)! Interpunk suggests that you buy a poster tube to keep your poster safe in transit. The record released in some South American and European countries already, and a live screening of the DVD portion of the video happened in select European theaters this week.

It’s great to have Green Day back as a band with the new live album, but I’ve also been thinking about the various people that make up the Green Day band of friends… Foxboro Hot Tubs, Pinhead Gunpowder, the Frustrators, even the Network… who do it for the love of music! Yea, I know, they really aren’t “those other bands” but, y’know… whatever. Billie Joe tweeted the other day that he, Mike, Tre, and Jason White were piddling around in the studio the other day. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve been working on! These guys never stop playing music.

If we’re lucky here in New York, maybe we’ll get some awesome small shows when Billie Joe ends his run as St. Jimmy in American Idiot as it sadly closes next month. He’ll be coming back to the show for the final weeks, from April 5-April 24. (The one-year anniversary of the Broadway show run is April 20th.) It would be awesome if Pinhead Gunpowder played in New York City. Come on guys! You can do it! I’d take some Foxboro Hot Tubs, some Frustrators, and heck, even a surprised appearance by the Network, too. Where ever they may be!

In honor of this band of friends who make great music together, Violeta Kalfova created a banner to honor all of the bands.

Thanks Violeta!

Green Day and Friends - Banner by Violeta Kalfova

Photos (Thanks!):

  • Foxboro Hot Tubs – (Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt, Jason White, Kevin Preston, [Jason Freese]) – xGeneralxS (Don Hill’s, New York, NY 4/18/10)
  • The Network (Wilhelm Fink, Van Gough, The Snoo, Captain Underpants, Balducci, Z, Doctor Svengali) – Arohex (Somewhere deep in Los Angeles, CA)
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Frustrators in the Bay: Music, Punks, Love – 924 Gilman in Berkeley

Frustrators at Gilman - Pillow Stuffing? Where did that come from? - Photo by Kerry Harris

I’m sure you’ve been holding your breath wondering if I made it to the East Bay to see the Frustrators. As I wrote earlier, the trip wasn’t working out financially. However, luck and confluence happened and I was able to scrape together the funds from donations to go. If you were following my Green Day Mind Twitter feed, I shared some snaps and whatnot of the four Frustrators gigs from 2/18-2/24 at 924 Gilman in Berkeley, the Phoenix in Petaluma, the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, and the Phenomenaut’s Command Center in Oakland. The Frustrators were joined by some amazing East Bay and Los Angeles-based bands as well as the legendary New York City-based crusty punks, Star Fucking Hipsters. I also got to see Prince in Oakland, too.

Extra Special Thanks to Christian!

Thank you, Shannon, Mel, Mary, David, Eileen, and most especially, Christian, for your help. I’ve got a couple of Frustrators buttons and one Jason Chandler-created show flyer for each of you who helped as a small token of my appreciation. Needless to say, it was one of those weeks filled with music and great people, as well as some hardcore injuries that I suffered, including a thrice-stomped on pinkie toe at Gilman (most likely targeted by vicious Gilman waifs, lol), a bum back, and a black eye. Yep… I got punched in the face at the Frustrators’ last East Bay show at the Command Center. All I can say is… what a wonderful time it was… oh and as usual, this post is long. Deal with it!

Get Me to the Gilman on Time

Frustrators at Gilman - 2/18/11 - Flyer by Jason Chandler

Getting to the East Bay could have been more stressful than it was. In fact, it was beginning to look that way as the Frustrators gigs were planned around the President’s Day holiday on 2/21, and that means a three-day weekend which means the ridership of airplanes goes up triple-fold and the stand-by seats that I fly on go down by as much. As the time to fly got nearer (2/18), the standby seats diminished, as would my hopes of going to the shows if something quite strange hadn’t happened. The Sunday before I was to leave, a friend sent me a message saying she dreamt about me hugging someone in greeting with sheer joy in seeing that person or persons again. She apparently often has such dreams, but usually they come with a more ominous nature to them, and she relayed that the dream was one of the happiest that she had ever had about people. I took it as a sign that I would get out to California, but exactly when was another story.

I was fifth of five on the standby list for the 6:50 AM flight out of Newark airport. The direct flight ended up being late, full, and re-directed from a direct flight to a refueling stop in Denver due to strong headwinds in the Southwest. I moved up to fourth on the standby list after the original fourth dude stormed off when told that the flight was full instead of waiting until the airplane doors closed, the real final say to not getting on the plane. This turned out to be the luckiest move of the day. Though there were chances of flights connecting through Houston to San Francisco, or waiting for the next direct flight, I didn’t want to think about that possibility, so I hoped for this flight. The gruff desk folks grumbled their way through the passenger list (they were having a rough morning due to the delays and such). They finally got to the standby list… and called the very last name… mine. I hopped up, got my boarding pass, talked with the other stand-byers on how lucky we were, stored my bag, sat in my pretty good seat, and promptly fell asleep.

The flight was non-eventful and smooth despite the weather and the stop in Denver. We got to San Francisco Airport a little than it was originally due, and being San Francisco, it was rainy and cold when we landed. I took the BART from the airport to the Alamo Car Rental place on Mission, where I rented a deposit-less car for 1/2 the price than at the airport. It was a cute little economy powerless steering Ford that got me around the Bay perfectly for $221 for six days with insurance. My R/T airfare was $210. I stayed with friends. I ate at Burger King. At lot.

I plugged my iPhone into the car’s audio system, blasted the Frustrators’ Griller, got my bearings and as I drove across the Bay Bridge, I started to cry a little bit. The tensions of the week, despite the happy and encouraging dream of my friend, overwhelmed me, as did the beauty of the Bay. The East Bay is where I want to die one day, so it’s always hard to visit knowing that I’ll have to eventually leave.

Nicole getting her Goth on at Gilman

Usual Suspects

I headed to my friend’s place where I crashed through Monday, took a shower, sat down for a spell, and texted with Michelle Lawlor of Lucky 17 Photography, who arrived the night before. Michelle and I had experienced two epic musical events together previously, Pinhead Gunpowder at Gilman in February 2009 as well as the Party! Party! Party! Tour with Honah Lee and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra… you know, that tour where Honah Lee and the Cobras opened for the Foxboro Hot Tubs at Don Hill’s in April 2009. Michelle came out to take photos of the Frustrators (whose pictures of the night’s festivities can be found at her website here), plus to hang out with friends in the Bay. She was staying with Nicole, my Montreal Green Day roadtrip buddy who I first met at that Don Hill’s show. Nicole is a massive Mike Dirnt fan, made moreso by his kindness to her son at Green Day’s show in Holmdel, his first ever concert. During the show, Nicole and her son spent some time sitting on the stage near Mike and Mike gave her son a pick. Mike made sure that he would get to keep it by putting it in his little hand, and closing his hand up around it to make sure no one snatched it out or that he didn’t drop it.

The Gang - Photo: Kerry Harris

I arranged to meet them around 4:00 at the Pyramid, the bar/restaurant across the street from 924 Gilman, that night’s show venue. It was still raining out but there were about 20 people standing in line for the 7:00 PM doors to open. I grabbed a table inside, ordered a quesadilla and a beer and waited for Michelle and Nicole. They finally arrived, along with Nicole’s friend, Elizabeth, a New Jersey transplant now living in the Bay area, and we talked about our trips, laughed and got drunk since you can’t get drunk in the no-alcohol Gilman venue. As time wore on, other people who I’ve met on my Green Day adventures came through to use the bathroom, including Jordan, Beth S. Hannah and Lulu, who all live in California. It was great to see them.

Part of the Gang

We eventually paid our bill and headed to line up about 6:30. There I saw Amber from Tennessee, ToniAnn, Fallyn and Mary from New York, Tony from England, Doc Kerry and the Aussies, and Justin, who now happily lives in the Bay after escaping the confines of Utah. It was freezing, but the doors finally opened, and the losers like me bought our monthly cards for Gilman while the cool kids already with cards lined up to pay for their tickets in another line. There was a short kid about the age of 12 helping sell member cards, who kept making snide remarks about the new people, in essence, snide remarks about Green Day. It got to the point where I just wanted to punch his little face in, but hey, the sign on the door does say something about no violence, so I made a few snide comments under my breath. He was showing his elitism and arrogance, two traits that I’ve found are way too prevalent at Gilman for me, and I was so tired that I had no patience for some child’s crap. I must remember that Gilman is stupid like that and move on. It’s a great place with a bad attitude.

The Show

Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

All of the Frustrators shows from the Bay to LA held a bevy of talented bands and acts. I was impressed with each night’s lineups and all of it was due to one incredible guy, Corbett Redford III, of Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits. He put together four nights of great bands at wonderful venues and he and Dan Abbott of Bobby Joe Ebola were MCs to each night’s show. The fantastic lineups were primarily local California bands from the Bay and Los Angeles with the exception of New York’s Star Fucking Hipsters. The bands ranged from young punks like Disabled Intent, the Pillowfights, and Emily’s Army to mid-known bands like the Bombpops, Mystic Knights of the Cobra and Bryan McPherson to more well-known names such as the Billybones, Kepi Ghoulie, and of course, the Phenomenauts and a special appearance by Jesse Michaels with Classics of Love. Major kudos to Corbett for his putting together the week’s lineups and herding a bunch of punks, both not easy tasks, by far, to do.

Disabled Intent - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

For this night’s show, the first band up, Disabled Intent, impressed me from the word “go” with their young chops. The lead singer/bassist was very engaging and they did an amazing cover of Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” that completely worked and held the audience enthralled. I wish I had taped it as the song is one of my favorites from last year, and the band translated it well to the punk format.

Sometime after their set, I started to look around for one of my favorite all-time people, Jason Chandler, lead singer of the night’s headlining Frustrators. Chandler created the “Rocktober” logo for the giant meet-up of Green Day fans that happened in England during their tour leg through Europe. I had gotten my Rocktober (which technically doesn’t refer to that band but to “Godzilla Doesn’t Understand Korean,” uh…) hat to wear at the two O2 shows in London. I wore it the last time I went to Gilman to see PHGP, losing it in the crowd at one point only to find it bedraggled outside the venue, across the street and under a car. Once the Frustrators started talking about making a new record, I asked him if I could write about it, and have continued to write about them since. The irony and wit of Frustrator’s lyrics speaks volumes to me and I always get a good laugh on their Facebook page as well. I met up with him in San Francisco when I was there for an extended trip last September. We sat and talked and laughed for a little bit in a bar early in the morning and drank Irish coffee while watching some tourists’ illegally and just-parked car get towed by the police. Good times.

Frustrators - BillyBones Tour Shirt - Design by Otis Link

I didn’t see him as I made my way to the merch table, where I eyed not only the great merch created by Chandler for the Frustrators, but also the tour shirt that the Billybones band had made for their Frustrators/Billybones tour. I coveted it from the moment that I saw it on the Billybones’ Facebook page. Don’t get me wrong, I coveted a lot of the other merch, too, particularly Chandler’s t-shirt and hat designs, but there was something about “The Credibility of Stupid” shirt (if I heard correctly, the title of the Billybones’ upcoming album), that spoke volumes to me. There were only 96 of them made, too. I bought one and headed out the back door of Gilman to put it in my car.

Outside, people and band entourages were gathered under a tent to smoke and shoot the shit, but there was no sign of the Frustrators that I could see around. They had come earlier in the day to unload their stuff and weren’t back yet. I stored stuff in the car and then back into Gilman, stopping to warm up under the giant heater near the front door. I headed toward the merch table again when, I saw him! The J-Man Grilla Gorilla himself, Jason! He looked up and saw me, too, and the hug I got was probably one of the best hugs I’ve ever had in my life. Warm, friendly, funny, and full of love, particularly when I told him that our good friends from across the Big Pond in England who have known him through Frustrators forums and Facebook for many more years than I have, but have never gotten the chance to meet him, Netty, Lis, and Sharon, wanted me to give him a giant monkey hug from them, too. My friend’s dream from earlier in the week of greeting someone in sheer joy and happiness had completely come true.

Jason and the Aussies - Photo: Kerry Harris

Weird and wonderful. This tour was like that for everyone. The Frustrators, Mike, the giant “we worship you” rockstar, Terry, the crazy-eyed shredder guitarist, Art, the quiet power and not-feeling-well drummer and Jason, the reluctant-but-loving-it frontman, opened up their hearts and love for music, laughter, small venues, and people throughout the Bay tour. They were so damned happy to play together again after such a long hiatus that it was  infectious, like a disease. If I had to choose a name for the entire portion of the tour that I followed, it would have to be something like “Frustrators Love of Fun Disease Tour 2011″ or some variation thereof.

We talked for a moment about how nervous he was. It had been a long time since he sang in front of an audience, and from previous conversations, he was concerned about whether his voice would hold up throughout the week. I felt a little awkward trying to avoid an impending fangirl moment, so I left him there as the next band, The Pillowfights, were about to start. They were cute and quirky, and as their name implies, they brought pillows to… uh… fight with. They threw them out into the audience, and it was funny, but I don’t know if they were prepared for what happened next: the waifs of Gilman tore their pillows apart, leaving them in shreds with pillow stuffing all over the place, on the stage, on the floor, even hanging from the ceiling. Oh Gilman, slay those pillows!

The Pillowfights – “Talk Shit Get Hit” – 924 Gilman 2/18/11 – Bring them new pillows at their next show – See request on their Facebook page.

Next up was Emily’s Army, whose drummer is some famous dude’s son, but really, every time I see this band play (it was my second time, the first being at The Bowery Electric in April 2009), I am impressed by how that doesn’t matter. These guys get tighter and tighter as a band and as performers, and as I’ve written before, I look forward to their potential long careers in the music industry.

Emily’s Army – 924 Gilman 2/18/11 – And the pillow stuffing keeps flying joined by toilet paper!

Emily's Army - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

Mike - Just Hangin' - Photo: Kerry Harris

Their set was vibrant and the Green Day fans and Gilman waifs alike were having a giant mosh fit, and yes, there was pillow stuffing still all over the place joined by toilet paper. Their set ended and folks milled around again and at some point Mike jumped behind the merch table to sell stuff and talk with the fans. Unlike back at Gilman when Billie Joe performed with PHGP, there was a much more relaxed atmosphere around him, a tentativeness at first from fans to go up and speak with him, but the longer he stayed there, the more people came up to talk with him. Like Billie Joe at Gilman, the vibe that he gave off was not a superstar’s vibe, but one of genuine down-homeyness, a mellowness that attracted even moreso than his newly dyed-hot pink hair, which shined like a beacon everywhere he went.

BillyBones - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

The Billybones were up next and I had never seen them perform. I met the lead singer, Steven William Fortuna, aka Billy Bones, very briefly when I ran into Kevin Preston of Prima Donna and him at Green Day’s show in Irvine. He certainly looked like the seasoned punk rock star who’s been around since the late-1970s when he was in one of Los Angeles’s first punk bands, The Skulls. Kevin not only was in a 2000 formation of the Skulls, but also produced the Billybones’ 2008 7″ We’re Selfish. I was sitting and talking with Elizabeth when Billy Bones and his band walked into Gilman before their set, and Billy, who was probably one of the oldest people at Gilman, really stood out in the crowd. He had the air of punk legend about him because, well, y’know, he is a legend, and still rocks out, giving a dynamic performance that stirred the crowd up to no end. Sadly, there’s no video footage that I can find of the band from Gilman. But Michelle Lawlor of Lucky 17 Photography captured them perfectly through her photos at her blog.

Eight Years is a Long Time…

Frustrators - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 Photo by Michelle Lawlor

Mike

Terry

If the headlining band was nervous, they didn’t show it. As the Frustrators got ready to perform onstage together in front of an audience for the first time in eight years, what was there to be nervous about? Well, a lot, but the excitement in the room compensated for any nerves as a room full of Frustrators (and of course, Mike Dirnt) fans were excited as hell to hear songs from the band’s first two recordings, Achtung Jackass and Bored in the USA as well as the new Griller, for the first time in years.

Art

Jason

They ripped right into the set’s first song, “I Slept with Terry.” The Frustrators had warned on their Facebook page that anyone who dared to be at stage front better know the lyrics to the song, and the crowd huddled around Jason’s feet didn’t disappoint. And it was a good thing, because at times, Jason barely remembered the lyrics to some of the songs himself. Luckily, he got better as the week went by, ha!

Jason's Gilman Setlist - Not too practical, but it worked for him - Until the tea and sweat got in the way!

Jason announced the next song from the setlist written on his hand (YFrog photo here), “Trout,” recorded for an Adeline Records compilation “Might as Well, Can’t Dance” over a decade ago. I haven’t heard the song too many times played forward… it’s also on the band’s Achtung Jackass, but recorded backwards. “Tuort” is the one I’m used to. I asked Jason once why they recorded it backwards for Achtung Jackass and he said that they thought it “sounded as good backwards as it does forwards.” Well, I’m going to have to agree with that, so it was great to hear it in the forward position. Terry gave the first of many guitar thrashing moments at the foot of the stage, and it was fun to throw our hands up in the air and worship his guitar power chords. It was just about this time of the night that the Gilman crowd started to go completely wild in the moshpit, joined by Emily’s Army, the Pillowfights and Disabled Intent. I received the first of THREE TREMENDOUS STOMPS on the same pinkie toe… and while I winced in pain the first time, by the third time, I had to leave the dance floor as it felt like my toe had burst like a grape. I swear those Gilman waifs targeted my pinkie toe on purpose!

Might as Well, Can't Dance - Adeline Records Compilation 008

After “Trout,” the band asked for more drums and less snare in the monitor, and Jason said, “can we get more applause in the monitor, too,” and of course, the obliging crowd did as commanded. The next song up was “Stigma” from the new Griller, and Mike and Jason joked that the song was off their new “1/2 of an album” and that they only released four songs after eight years because “We love you that’s why we give you half of what we have” and that “We love you like a family, that’s why we give you half of what you deserve.” And all the while, Jason kept wiping the sweat off his brow thereby destroying the setlist written on his hand.

Mike Let's the Kids Play with Stanley - 924 Gilman - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

From there, Mike told the story of the song, “.25,” and of having to have someone put a bullet through the head of his 17-year old Japanese Akita dog after it got a bad case of mange, told with jazz interlude by the band. When the audience went “eeww,” Jason had to tell everyone that the “dog was fine,” but when you hear the song, well… you know, the dog wasn’t fine in the end. Heck, all good things must end, y’know? Afterwards, Stanley the Chicken made his stage entrance as Mike told the audience that they could play with Stan, so it was all good again as the band moved into “My Best Friend’s Girl.” I heard that later on in the tour, Mike realized that the story of his dog depressed people. I’m sure, though, that it wasn’t as depressing as having to actually put your dog down like that. And at least we get a great song out of it.

Don't let him fool ya! He's a rock star! - Jason Chandler - 924 Gilman - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

The next song, “Hide and Seek,” about working and not working at the same time, is pretty much the story of my life and it was followed by “Stupid,” with its refrain of “I feel stupid.” Yep. Both of ‘em pretty much sum me up in a nutshell. The rest of the set went by in a blur since sometime between “Stupid” and “Pirate Song,” (an incredibly fun song to dance and scream the super-fast pirate lyrics to), I got my pinkie toe crushed for the second and third times. The third time, I had to leave the pit and I headed toward the backdoor of Gilman, standing between the door and the merch table and wincing in sheer pain. I’m pretty good in pits and I’m been known to throw down in the craziest of them, but having the same pinkie toe stomped by coincidence was weird. I was sure that if I looked at my toe at that point it would be a bloody burst of mess. So, instead, I didn’t look at it and pretended to be cool in the corner when all I wanted to do was scream in pain.

Mike's Gilman Setlist - Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

The gig ended and the band had successfully gotten through their first live show in a thousand years, and they and the audience, were happy as clams. The bands hung out and talked with fans and sold merch, and eventually the night ended and we all said our goodbyes. Besides the music, the funny quips were what I loved the most about seeing the band, as Mike, Terry and Jason were full of one-liners throughout this and all of the shows. It’s kinda what I love about their music, the hint of intelligence, the whimsy of seriousness, the storytelling of odd situations, irony, laughter and a throbbing beat with a good sing-along melody. Having fun is the best disease of all.

The Frustrators recruited Greg Schneider to film the week’s shows and hopefully, one of these days, if we’re lucky, God willing and the crick don’t rise (heck, we’re still waiting on the new Frustrators website!), we’ll get to see the tour as well as back and front stage antics professionally filmed and edited. Though, if we have to wait eight years for it, we will all be awfully frustrated. Until such time comes, enjoy the HueyCam videos below of part of the show.

Frustrators at 924 Gilman – HueyCam – Pt. 1

Frustrators at 924 Gilman – HueyCam – Pt. 2

Stay Tuned for More Frustrators…

Stayed tuned for more about the shows… as soon as I get around to writing about them! Sorry that this is so long. I’ve said before how much I need an editor! Feel free to share your memories of this show if you were there in the comments!

I also have one copy of the Frustrators’ Griller that I’ll be giving away next week, so, brush up on your Frustrators history if you want to win it!


Happy Anniversary American Idiot and Billie Joe Armstrong at AI Idiot University

First of all, Happy 6th Anniversary today, American Idiot! The album was released on 9/20-9/21/04 in the UK and US, so take some time to revisit the album and say, happy anniversary to it!

Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer, and some cast and crew of American Idiot on Broadway held a series of “talkbacks” last week at the St. James Theater, moderated by David Cote of Time Out New York, after the show happened from 9/14-9/19. I was lucky enough to attend three performances of the show (thank you Jenne and David! much love to you!) and all five talkbacks (two of which I…uh… just walked in on), and I have to say, it was a special and wonderful time to not only see Billie Joe talk about the show, but to hear great discussions regarding the creative processes of the show itself.

My blog was mentioned at the talkback! Woot! David Cote referred to my interview of Afghan war vet and hardcore Green Day fan, Dawn71, using it as a basis to relate how the show of American Idiot (see video below at 1:01-2:32) reflects real life in terms of war and the impact that it has on life. In the clip below when Green Day Mind is mentioned, Billie Joe kind of shrugs and laughs, saying that “He had never heard of the blog,” but it was pretty amazing for me to sit in the audience and have David refer to the blog in a very serious manner. My blog is kind of strange — a personal journey of sight, sound, performance and life — all from the viewpoint of this past year following Green Day. I’ve put a lot of work and love and rage and time into this crazy blogging project, and though it was a bit strange to have him chuckle at first, it was awesome to hear one of my more serious blog posts used to highlight one of the serious themes of American Idiot. Dawn71 was hella happy to know that her love for the band and a story of her life was mentioned as well. Watch the video below to see!

David Cote mentions “Green Day Mind” at American Idiot Talkback (1:01-2:32)- American Idiot on Broadway — 9/15/10 — sundaymorning6am

The talkbacks themselves, minus the impromptu audience questions, were pretty awesome. I heard some things about the creative process of the show, particularly from the designers, that I had never heard before, and it was pretty great to have the mix of actors come into the talks to discuss the show from their viewpoint. It was all about Billie Joe, though, who was at the center of the maelstrom, and as the week of talkbacks wore on, questions from the audience stopped being serious ones asked about the show, but devolved more into, “can you sing ‘happy birthday’ to my daughter, ‘can I have a hug,’ and ‘can I give you something, Billie Joe?'” It was cool, though. Most folks never get the chance to meet Billie Joe in person, and hey, if you have the opportunity, you have to go for it!

Though American Idiot itself is more of a personal journey and not necessarily a political one (I’ve always looked at it politically moreso than personally, but the album itself is as much personal as anything else), I have to say, that the album literally dragged me through the latter years of the Bush Administration. I truly don’t know what I would have done without it. Thank you, Green Day, for being one of the few bands of the day that dared to speak out against what Billie Joe referred to at one point as the “regime of the Bush administration.” Billie Joe refers to the time of the album being written and the political and social happenings of those dark days after 9/11, below:

Billie Joe, John Gallagher, Jr. Talks About the Depiction of War in American Idiot on Broadway and the Response of War at the Release of the album, American Idiot– bwaddel996

All in all, it was a great time spent with Billie Joe and the people involved in the musical. I was very happy that I had the opportunity to witness the talks. I also went to see John Gallagher, Jr. perform at Rockwood Music Hall on 9/19, and he’s such a nice guy that he talked with a bunch of us crazy fans after the show. He really is a sweet kid! My friend Michelle, of Lucky17 Photography, took a bunch of great pictures at both the final talkback and at John’s show, and when she posts them on her blog, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, I have a few blurry photographs that I took, but a couple of them I just absolutely adore.

Billie Joe with PBR Cans for Autographs - Photo by Green Day Mind

I have never asked the band to sign anything — I sorta hate getting autographs — and the only two pictures I have of me with members of the band were taken by other people (Billie Joe and Mike Dirnt, which was actually taken by Dirnt himself without me asking, good times!), but I just felt that I had to get at least one thing signed, so I did… a new variation of “AWESOME AS FUCK” that Abbey (who Billie Joe tweeted at that he loved, lol, good for Abbey!) came up with, “IDIOT AS FUCK.” Thanks, Billie Joe! UPDATE: Abbey asked Billie Joe and Michael Mayer a pretty long and intense question at the talkback, and I loved the answers given by both men regarding the show. See the video below:

Idiot as Fuck Signed by BJA

Abbey Fox (aka abbie) Asks Billie Joe and Michael Mayer a Question — Whiting1ful

All in all, these talkbacks, combined with Billie Joe and Michael Mayer interviewed by Jordan Roth of the Jujamcyn Theaters at the 92StY on 9/19, were… how shall I say… awesome as fuck, and at times, Idiot as fuck as well. Thank you, American Idiot for the good times! Billie Joe left New York on Monday, to head back to the Bay. Have a great vacay before you head off to South America, and say hello to Mike and Tre for us! I missed them.


These Lineups are Bad for Your Liver – Prima Donna with Mystic Knights of the Cobra (San Francisco Bay Area), Insubordination Fest (Baltimore) and Skatopia (Rutland, OH)

This past weekend I missed a bunch of things that were happening in New York and New Jersey. This coming weekend, I’m heading out to the San Francisco Bay Area to see Prima Donna with the Mystic Knights of the Cobra. The Insubordination Fest in Baltimore and the Skatopia Festival in Rutland, Oh are also taking place this weekend as well.

What I Missed Last Weekend

Lucky Seventeen Photography Display - Arts All Night 2010, Lawrenceville, NJ

Punk Island 2010 - Governors Island, NYC

Last weekend in New York, historic Governor’s Island in New York Harbor turned into “Punk Island” for the weekend. A bunch of local bands (LINK – BAND LIST) took over the former military installation and played loud and fast in the blazing sun for the entire day. I missed the event as I also missed Michelle Lawlor hanging out at the fabulous Arts All Night in Lawrenceville, NJ (here’s a review link via Michelle with examples of art works presented) as well as Honah Lee playing in a lineup at the Mill Hill Basement. Honah Lee is on a bit of a break after the Party! Party! Party! Tour, a mini-tour of the Mid-West, and gigs for the past two weekends. Tim, the lead singer and guitarist, is getting married this month! Congrats, Tim, and all the best to you!

I also missed the Queen of all Events, the Annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. This year’s King and Queen of the Parade were Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. Visit the Mermaid Parade Flickr Pool for incredible photos from this year’s parade. UPDATE: Some of my friends, formally known as the “Andi Warholas” teamed up this year with the “Sandy Warhols” for Factory fun and mayhem on the beach. Check out some photos here and here

Three liver-damaging music events are happening on both coasts as well as in America’s heartland this weekend.

Prima Donna with the Mystic Knights of the Cobra – San Francisco Bay Area, June 25-28, 2010

Prima Donna and Mystic Knights of the Cobra in SantaCruz, June 25, 2010

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out the Mystic Knights of the Cobra and Prima Donna playing a four-show mini-tour. The bands will be making stops in Santa Cruz (with Luxury Sweets and SA90 at the Blue Lagoon, 6/25), Oakland (the Uptown 6/26), San Jose (Voodoo Lounge 6/27) and Sacramento (16th Street Cafe 6/28). I’ll be at two of the shows, and I can’t wait! More info on the gigs can be found at both MKOTC’s Myspace and Prima Donna’s Myspace pages.

Prima Donna is on a States-wide tour at the moment and will be playing New York City’s Bowery Electric on July 25, 2010. They’ll be touring the States until August 21st and then head off to Europe starting on September 30 until November 6, 2010. As Tre Cool said, Prima Donna are really big in Spain and Portugal (and all points in between). Don’t miss them here in the States and in Europe, too!

American Skate Skatopia 2010 – Rutland, Ohio, June 25-26, 2010

Punk Globe writer Lisa Booth sent out a reminder that Interpunk.com presents American Skate Skatopia 2010 in America’s Heartland on June 25th and 26th. Tickets may be purchased here. Fishbone AND Gwar! You cannot go wrong with those two bands alone.

Interpunk.com Present American Skate Skatopia 2010, Rutland, OH, 6/25 and 6/26, 2010

Insubordination Fest – Baltimore, MD, June 25-26, 2010

Closer to home here on the East Coast, this year’s Insubordination Fest is also taking place in Baltimore. Here’s the lineup for Friday, June 25th and the lineup on Saturday June 26th.

Insubordination Fest 2010 - Baltimore, June 25th and 26th, 2010

Any one of these three shows and festivals can kill your liver! Be kind to it and have a great time whatever you do this weekend.


Pinhead Gunpowder – Show of a Lifetime – 924 Gilman, 2/12/10

I started writing this right after the Pinhead Gunpowder show happened on February 12, but a few things got in the way, including the death of my Uncle while I was still in California. So, I know it’s been a while, but enjoy nonetheless.

Pinhead Gunpowder. Photo by Michelle Lawlor, The Rock and Roll Picture Show - http://therocknrollpictureshow.com/?p=681

Update: 924Gilman posted the raw file of this show on 3/13/10. While the board levels are all over the place, nonetheless, the file reflects the rawness and intensity of the show. A great night. They also posted a great set of photographs from the stage. The link to those may be found here. The Green Day Community editorial regarding the show, written by J’net, can be found here. Michelle Lawlor’s blog post and pictures can be found here. Photographs from Lawlor may be purchased and all proceeds go to help Anandi Wonder with her cancer treatment. A gallery of photographs by me, mostly of attendees, can be found here.

A Show? There’s Going to Be a Show?

I had heard that there was going to be a super-secret benefit show by Pinhead Gunpowder at Gilman and I became obsessed (or as I like to say, focused) on the possibility of seeing a Green Day-related side project band in a small and intimate, show. My friend who introduced me to Billie Joe at Fake New Year’s in Los Angeles back in November keeps telling me that I heard it directly from Billie Joe himself that night because Billie Joe told him about it and I was standing there when he said it, but hell if I remember that happening. That night, all in all, is a bit of a blur.

After going to London in October to see Green Day at the O2 and then missing the Foxboro Hot Tubs by a bloody week, I became determined to head to my now favorite place on Earth, the East Bay, to see the band. PHGP is a band that I was only slightly aware of (shoot me) seven months ago and I wanted to see my friends in the Bay. As an extra bonus, the Mystic Knights of the Cobra (MKOTC) were playing at the Uptown at some point during the weekend, too. (I’ll be writing about that show in the next week.)

The rumor machine had PHGP playing on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at first, and MKOTC were rumored to open for them. However, it became evident that MKOTC weren’t going to open as they had been… Uh… banned from Gilman from the last time they played there. Then MKOTC booked a show at the Uptown for Saturday and were certainly not playing with PHGP and everyone’s attention somehow obsessed (focused) on the rumor that the benefit for Anandi Wonder, a friend of PHGP’s who was suffering from breast cancer, would happen on Friday, February 12, 2010, instead.

There had been some hard and fast talk saying that if news of the show came out too early and too furious, that the show would be canceled. I’m paranoid and pretty good at keeping a secret, but after a bit of sidestepping around the subject, a group of, shall we say… well-researched folks… from the Green Day Community somehow found themselves planning a weekend in the Bay.

I asked a friend to help me out (again) with a cheap buddy ticket on Continental, asked my friends in the Bay if I could stay with them, rented a car and prayed that nothing like a blizzard or anything would stop me from going. I had no cash, really, for any of this, and the cheap Continental ticket was a godsend that eventually turned into a nightmare.

Pinhead Gunpowder Crowd

And while everyone was busy keeping their mouths shut, Billie Joe himself, who is not known for keeping some things quiet, spilled the beans the night before the show on Twitter…

02-11 – PINHEAD GUNPOWDER TO PERFORM FRIDAY
Having band practice with PHGP today! Can’t wait for friday night show! -Billie

… and greenday.com was geeky enough to actually twit about his Tweet. It always cracks me up when they do this.

Snowpacalypse 2010

There was one giant glitch in my crazy plans: Northeast winters and their ability to make things go a bit haywire. The week before the February 12th show, a storm caused major disruptions in transportation and life in the Maryland and DC areas and I literally thanked my lucky stars that it hadn’t reached NYC. Of course, I still had a week to leave the city so anything could happen, and yes, it did.

On Wednesday, February 10th, two days before the show, with people heading to the Bay from the East Coast on Thursday and Friday, a proclaimed “Snowpacalyse” poised itself to hit the East Coast again and this time, NYC was destined to be in the eye of a twenty-four hour storm. Just. Fucking. Peachy.

A few folks including me were slated to fly standby. Standby works only if the airline does not sell out seats and they end up distributing tickets to friends and workers for a nominal fee at the gate. And I mean, nominal. If a storm disrupted service for a few hours, we still had good chances of getting the cheap seats. Any longer than that, and we were screwed. Wednesday’s 24-hour storm busted the best of good intentions for people WITH tickets, let along dweebs like me catching a good deal.

Larry Livermore posted on his Facebook a declaration that the storm had better be a doozy, because he had just given up his spot on his flight after being told that he couldn’t get booked on any other flights. Read more on his story, which sums up a lot of my own feelings about the Snowpocalypse here.

Anyway, long story short, by the time my flight was suppose to leave the East Coast on Thursday, we had such a blanket of storm that my satellite teevee went out on Wednesday, which hardly ever happens. I had already changed my original Thursday flight to Friday in anticipation of the airline industry shutting down on Wednesday (announced on Tuesday), and I went into work on my vacation-day Thursday, hoping in vain that I would actually get on a Friday standby flight. I was, to say the least, freaking out.

Another person who lives down in Virginia was slated to leave on Thursday, but her flight out of Dulles was canceled, and another friend helped her rebook her ticket by way of multiple destinations. I could feel the entire weekend that I had looked forward to for so long becoming something that would not happen if I didn’t take action. So I did.

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