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Basement Songs Revisit: The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”

A quick update. I didn't expect six weeks to pass between postings. I have half of my Cyndi Lauper entry already written! However, I was out with the flu for a week, I had to do a revision of the Christmas drama I wrote for my church, I went through a week or anticipation of officiating a wedding, and then I married two young people! I became a year older, my son got a year older, I got sucked into revising a portion of the novel I'm writing, then it was Thanksgiving. Oh, and work. And here we are! Me, me, me, me. Get over yourself, Malchus! The public demands your opinion about Cyndi Lauper and masturbation (they're linked, but "She Bop" fans know that). I promise I'll post by the end of next week. A special t6hanks to the one person who reached out to see if I'd be continuing the series. I do have a habit of starting columns and letting them peter out (just check out my Popdose history). But I promise that I'm dedicated to seeing this one through to
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A Trip Through the "My 90's Tapes" Collection Pt. 2: Nirvana "Bleach"

I can't say that I heard of Nirvana before "Smells Like Teen Spirit" changed the musical landscape and altered pop culture in the 90s. However, I can say that I heard Nirvana and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" before the song and band impacted the world. In the fall of 1991, after spending a summer in Los Angeles listening to KROQ and their their mix of west coast alternative, I asked a classmate named Dean to make me a mix tape. He was one of the few "alternative types" I knew at BGSU, as well as a fellow film student with similar cinematic tastes. Little did I know that Dean was more inclined to listen to brooding, darker songs than anything I'd heard all summer. The tape that Dean made me, entitled "On and/or Over The Edge Muzik," contained the likes of Primus, Mr. Bungle, Skinny Puppy, Bad Brains, Ministry, plus "Smells Like Teen Spirit" recorded off the radio, Detroit's 91X! That tells you the time period, sometime in mid-S

A Trip Through the "My 90'sTapes" Collection Pt. 1: Foreigner "Records"

I was gifted a nice piece of artwork called "My 90's Tapes" by an artist named Jeff Klarin . The picture is  seen below and available to purchase at the artist's website ( . Klarin has five versions of this theme of his cassettes from the era of the late 80s/early90s, the others are more genre based, but this one felt like I'm looking at my own collection at that time. As you can see, it's a mix of rock/classic rock, pop, new wave, punk, dance, heavy metal and soundtracks. I love it so much that I have it hanging above my desk at work. As I've struggled to get back into blogging, I decided to use this artwork as a writing prompt to review all 115 albums pictured and share some personal anecdotes along the way. Consider this me dipping my toe back into the Basement Songs pool. I hope you enjoy it. Actually, I hope I enjoy it because there is some music on here I don't look forward t

Basement Songs: Robbie Robertson, "What About Now"

In the fall of 1991, Robbie Robertson released his second solo album, Storyville , to glowing reviews, including a four-star feature write up in Rolling Stone ("a mature and masterful work that lends additional luster to the formidable legacy Robertson shaped with the Band). A month later, Nirvana's Nevermind was released, and we all know which one went on to be considered one of the most important albums of all time. Robertson's Storyville is all but forgotten, which is a shame, because the record's atmospheric tribute to New Orleans contains one of his most beautiful songs, "What About Now." I'm not sure what prompted me to have my best friend buy me Storyville for my birthday that year, most likely Anthony Curtis' review in Rolling Stone, but "What About Now" was also receiving minor airplay on, of all places, the AOR radio station in Toledo that I listened to while finishing up my senior year at Bowling Green. Initially,

Writing is Writing, and Art is What You Like

I’ve often struggle about what I write, that delving into the artistic merits and importance of film and television and comics and trying my own hand at writing for those mediums wasn’t serious art. To some extent, the same holds true with music. I felt that about rock ‘n roll. I think it must have been in the 5th or 6th grade, when I was still naïve and influenced by the people I looked up to and respected, that I became critical of the kind of art that I considered “serious” and what was simply “pop.” In other words, expendable.  I admire people who grew up loving genre films like horror or science fiction and held on to those passions as they grew into adulthood. I wish I‘d been brave enough to be vocal about what made me feel something rather than hiding it. But if I was going to be a writer, it had to be serious. It had to be ART. Even though I loved laughing my ass off at The Naked Gun and Blazing Saddles , I didn’t appreciate those movies for what they were accomplishing. An

The End of the Explanation

I don't want to drag this out for a series of extended posts; there's no need to go into the minute details. So I'll wrap up my ongoing mental health journey with this post. After I basically quit writing, I began the work on myself. From 2017 to the middle of 2019, the only things I wrote were 10 minute dramas for our church, and let me tell you, even those were a challenge. But when God gives you a deadline, you don't mess around. There was a real depression that came with the relief of not writing or worrying about writing scripts. Again, if I wasn't writing, what was I doing? I really struggled with this question because we had moved from Ohio to Los Angeles so I could pursue a career in film. Even though I'd written and directed a movie, and sold a script, in my mind that wasn't good enough. I couldn't appreciate all of the great things in my life, and the solid career that I had forged in animation over 18 years. It took some real work: a lot o

The Middle of the Explanation

My second panic attack took place in the middle of my daughter Sophie's high school graduation party. Because one isn't good enough, my body decided to take me on that thrill ride once again. It was June 2017. I'd already started going to therapy once a week, and I also saw a psychiatrist who sat with me for five minutes every couple of months and regulated my new antidepressants. We found a medication that works for me and I no longer walk around as if I have pins under my skin and feel like I've had seven too many cups of coffee. That's the best way to describe my anxiety. Anyway, the panic attack hit while we had guests in the house and Sophie's favorite songs were playing. Without saying anything to my family, I escaped up to our bedroom and closed the door. Luckily, I had started meditating and was able to work through it. When it was all done, I channeled my pride and excitement for Sophie to restore the energy I wanted to celebrate my daughter. At this p