Friday, March 31, 2006

Play Ball! plus more

Well, baseball season starts Sunday. Spring is in the air. I rode the bike to work today, much more pleasnt than when I did it in December.

With Spring, not only are blossoms appearing on trees (stay tuned for the resumption of BillyBlog's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" series), but the illegitimate love children of major league ballplayers are also showing their faces, most notably on the cover of Wednesday's New York Post. Randy "Big Unit" Johnson may not have brought the Yankees a World Series title, but he most certainly has provided us with tabloid fodder. And another great headline from the Post.

Today, incidentally, is the 21st anniversary of Iron Maiden playing the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu on their Powerslave tour.

A little fun with a new feature that I saw on the VH1 Best Week Ever blog, the first five songs on the BillyPod shuffle:

"Zig Zag" by George Harrison (from the album Cloud Nine)
"It's a Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock & Roll" by AC/DC (from the Bonfire box set)
"Nutrition" by The Dead Milkmen (from one of their greatest hits albums, Death Rides a Pale Cow)
"Wings of a Dove" by Nancy Griffith (no idea why this is on the pod, but it is)
"Hey, Johnny Park!" by The Foo Fighters

Feel free to share your first 5 songs on your shuffle, should you feel so inclined.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Love for u is found 1ce in a lifetime, continued

For an explanation, see the end of yesterday's post.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Found at 59th Street Subway Station, Brooklyn, March 23, 2006

I found this folded up on the subway platform last week, at 59th Street in Brooklyn. It is the work of what I assume to be a teenaged girl, as she deals lyrically with the loss of a boy's love. This was composed from 12/13/05 to 3/21/06. I call it by the title in the heart on the front of the page: "My Love for u is found 1nce in a lifetime."

Whoah, you may be thinking, I can't read all that. It's so tiny. Fear not, for I will transcribe it here. Note I would not do so if the lyrics were not so pure with angst and misery.

I had a woman named Vivian, at work, translate the Spanish sections. Note the following abbreviations: 1ce=once, ur=you are, etc. What text messaging has done to the English language!

And now, without further ado:

My Love for u is found 1ce in a lifetime

When you left I lost a part of me/Its been so hard 2 bealieve/come baq baby plz.

I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky/I'll be there/And I swear like a shadow thas by ur side/I'll be there.

Cross my heart/and tell no lie/no1 is leaving behind/Juss because/we sed goodbye.

I am your wifey/and u r my man/Let's just start all over/Pensalo bien [Consider this well].

Baby I noe/we've been going/through some pain/But the sun is always shining/even wen it rains.

I got it bad/wen u on the/phone u hang up/and u call right/Back.

Boy I hope you can see/We juss can't go on/Pretending that we get along/Boy how u not going 2 see it.

I'd give my all/It's never aright to say goodbye.

Cross my heart I do believe in my thought/and im my dreams I'll be taking u with me.

When you feeling lost in the night/when u feel ur world juss aint right/Count on me I me/I will b waiting/call for me/I will be there.

In Spanish: If I don't have you/may the whole world fall on top of me/may my paths be thorns/and may I burn in an inferno if you are not around.

My whole life has changed/since you came/I knew right then u were that special 1/im so in luv/u make ur life complete u r so sweet no1 competes/im glad u came into my life

I will cross the ocean for u/I will go and Bring you the moon/I will be your hero your strength/any thing you need/I will be your sun in the sky/I will light your for all time/Promise you for u I will.

That ends page 1, the flip side continues:

I can't sleep at night/when you are on my mind.

I swear I'll follow/A second chance wid u/I dont know wat to do/I'll probably check myself/In some kind of clinic/I couldn't b alone because without u I'm sick.

I'm thinking of you/I'm sleepless solitude tonight/If its wrong to love you/Then my heart just wont let me be right.

In Spanish: You want to dance and provoke/I get closer to give you/more and more/on the mouth I had to kiss you.

My love is all I have 2 give/without u I don't think I can live/I wish I could give the world to you.

Cross my heart and tell no lie/no1's leaving u beh8ng juss because we sed goodbye/Cross my heart I do believe/In my thoughts and in my dreams.

Love can be a many splendid thing/can't deny the joy it brings/dozen roses diamond ring/dreams for sale and fairy tale./It makes you here a symphony/And u juss want the world to C/well like a drug that makes u blind/It'll fool u evritime.

I'm feeling all out of my element/throwing things cryin/Tryin to figure where the hell I went wrong/the pain reflected in this song/aint even half of wot I'm feeling inside/I need ya Back in my life.

Its never a right time to say goodbye/but I have make first cuz if I don't/gunna start hating me/Cuz I dont feel the same way I 1ce felt about u/Boy Its not u its me/I gotta figure out wat I need.

I can have you 4 sure and/You'll loving me holding me kissing me/So boy dont tell me wat Im feeling is make believe.

I'll let BillyBlog readers absorb this and will discuss in part 2 of this post.

UPDATE 03/30/2006:

OK, I was already to analyze this piece of paper and the torutred lyrics.

You all know BillyBlog loves to show off stuff it finds.

When the page from yesterday's post was found last week, I was pretty ecstatic. Then I read it and thought it was juvenile, poorly-written, and sad. Then the pendulum swung the other way. I composed this for Thursday's post:

I'm glad I posted it and here is why:

"My Love for u is found 1ce in a lifetime" - I alluded to this yesterday, but I'll reiterate, this is quintessential high school, updated for the 21st century. The butchery/abbreviation of language is fascinating. Initially, I regarded it as a sign of, well, ignorance. You can't take the English major out of BillyBlog. But, upon closer examination, our unknown composer spells words correctly that had been previously abbreviated.

Also, despite the emotions, some of the imagery is quite evocative, especially the two Spanish "stanzas":

If I don't have you/may the whole world fall on top of me/may my paths be thorns/and may I burn in an inferno if you are not around.


You want to dance and provoke/I get closer to give you/more and more/on the mouth I had to kiss you.

Perhaps it is the fact that the words are translations that they seem more powerful. Perhaps I am reading too much into this.


Then, something nagged me and I went to my friend google, where all things true are made true and all things false are revealed:


Love can be a many splendid thing/can't deny the joy it brings/dozen roses diamond ring/dreams for sale and fairy tale./It makes you here a symphony/And u juss want the world to C/well like a drug that makes u blind/It'll fool u evritime.


"Love can be of many splendid things
Can't deny the joy it brings
A dozen roses, diamond rings
Dreams for sail and fairy tails
It will make you hear a symphony
And you just want the world to see
But like a drug that makes you blind
It will fool you everytime"

Written by Kelly Clarkson/Evan Rogers/Carl Sturken

Fabulous. BillyBlog has vetted itself.
And it gets worse. Remember

I will cross the ocean for u/I will go and Bring you the moon/I will be your hero your strength/any thing you need/I will be your sun in the sky/I will light your for all time/Promise you for u I will.

There's this:

"I will cross the ocean for you
I will go and bring you the moon
I will be your hero your strengh
Anything you need
I will be the sun in your sky
I will light your way for all time
Promise you,
For you I will."

That's from a song called "For You I Will" by Monica.

And my daughters ask me why I don't like pop. Uh, because it can pass as the angst-ridding whinings of forlorn teenagers.

I'd research all the other snippets, but I'm too busy being reminiscing about the time I spent transcribing the pages for BillyBlog. Time that could have been better spent cleaning my shower or contemplating my BillyButton.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Top 20 Books, #2

My penultimate book in the top 20 list is Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

I was introduced to Tom Robbins' landmark book Even Cowgirls Get the Blues my junior year at Occidental College, and I was enthralled with his language and writing instantly. His use of simile and metaphor were astounding to me, as they were so out of the box. "Who thinks like that?" I thought. Just take a gander:

Siwash Ridge had become as quiet and inanimate as the geology book that might describe its formations. Indian summer, the ham, was taking yet another curtain call, and the hills, warmed into an expansive mood, heaped bouquets of asters at its feet. Goldenrod, too. And butterfly weed. Giant sunflowers, like junkie scarecrows on the nod, dozed in one spot with their dry heads drooped upon their breastbones. Their lives extended another day, flies buzzed everything within their range, monotonously eulogizing themselves, like the patriots who persist in praising the glory of a culture long after it is decadent and doomed.

I had never read anything like this. Comparing sunflowers to "junkie scarecrows"? Wow. So evocative. At the time, I was dating the person who had introduced me to the book. Summer dawned and we saw each other only on weekends. During the week, we talked on the phone and read the book together. At the time it seemed romantic, but in retrospect, it seems geeky and pathetic.

However, I did not let that, or what turned out to be a dismal failure of a relationship sour me on Tom Robbins. Instead, I read and read and read some more. For many years, I regarded him as my favorite author.

Someone else who went to college at Occidental, a woman named Laurie Parker (but not the one who was a producer on the Cowgirls movie), was also a big fan of Tom. I still remember her telling me about when she had met him, doing an interview for a publication in Seattle. Laurie was a well-traveled woman, and was editor-in-chief at the school newspaper. She knew her stuff, and she was not easily impressed. When I asked her what Tom Robbins was like, she stared intently at me and said "He was incredible and oozed sexiness. I would have [expletive deleted] him on the spot." That was indeed a lofty compliment, and I held the author in even greater esteem having heard that.

After Cowgirls, I read Jitterbug Perfume, which I consider my favorite of his books. In a nutshell, JP's plot summary goes like this:

Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle is actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop of two left.

The summary doesn't do the book is a wild, free-ranging romp through the annals of history. And it's all about beets...and perfume...and so much more.

You can read the opening of the book here on

Robbins' earlier books, Another Roadside Attraction and Still Life with Woodpecker are also good, but paled next to the wonderfulness of Jitterbug. It wasn't until Skinny Legs and All, a wonderfully prescient novel, published in 1990, that Robbins again nailed his stride. I still recall driving to a Crown Books in Monrovia to pick up my fresh copy that same month. Not sure why I went to Monrovia to get it, but I did. And I recall temping at that time for Ralph's Grocery stores, working in an industrial park off of San Fernando Road in Glendale. I read Skinny Legs before, during, and after working some crazy 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM shift data-entering biographical information on check-cashing card customers.

When Half-Asleep in Frog Pajamas came out in 1994, it was a bit of a let-down, although still great Robbins reading.

And then, the wait. In May, 2001, he released his next novel, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. It was then that I got to finally meet Tom, at Barnes & Noble, Union Square, in New York.

He did a reading and answered questioned. I observed from the front row, disappointed that my friends Janet and Jill, both big Robbins fans themselves, couldn't be there to enjoy it with me. At the signing afterwards, Tom inscribed all I had for him, and this is one of my best author signing stories...

He signed my paperback copy of Cowgirls, a first edition that was published in paperback simultaneously with the extremely rare hardcover edition, my Woodpecker, Jitterbug, Skinny Legs, and Frog Pajamas. I also had him sign a paperback original of the book for Gus Van Sandt's scripts for My Own Private Idaho and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. My friend Brian in Toronto had Van Sandt sign it to me previously "To Bill, Love, Gus Van Sandt." Tom Robbins added his signature as well, with the inscription, "To Bill, With Love from me, too!"

But the story gets better. My friend Janet was a huge fan of Robbins' novel Still Life with Woodpecker because its protagonist was a redhead, as is Janet and, for that matter, Tom.
I had him sign her copy of Fierce Invalids and showed him a photo of Janet I had brought along to see to whom he was inscribing the book. It was a nice picture of Janet and Tom wrote one of the best inscriptions I have ever seen:

"To Janet...Thanks for that night in Istanbul! Wow!! --Tom Robbins"

As one might guess from my lengthy post on this book, it as much a testament to Jitterbug Perfume as it is to its author, Tom Robbins.

Stay tuned for the final installment of my Top 20 Books list!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Poem, "The Why," for Goblin and Trillian

The following is a poem I wrote for both my cats, shortly after the Northridge earthquake in 1994. It appeared in the May 1994 issue of Mind in Motion:


My cats stare with human eyes,
begging me to stop.
They are tired of all this nonsense
and have proceeded beyond
the how and are wondering about the why.

Goblin is completely black with autumnal yellow eyes.
He arches his back like Halloween
then stops, mid-stretch,
as he senses the movement
and flees like a snake
slithering for its hole.

Trillian is calmer and will actually stay still
as I make the walls speak,
but her green eyes give her away
as they become even deeper and wider.
She flicks her head like a bullwhip
and humanly grasps for stability
on whatever she is perched.

“Why are you doing this?” they ask me silently,
“What did we do wrong?”
There is no response from me but sympathy
as I squirt adrenaline and wish the room
would stop shaking.
It is not my fault,
yet my cats continue to blame me, as God,
leaving me with no one to blame
but the Universe.
It’s a concept I couldn’t even begin to explain,
especially to my cats,
who just want it to stop
so they can stare at birds
and sleep in peace again,
as they did before
I became angry with them.
They still haven’t figured out why.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Goblin, 1992-2006




We'll miss you, Goblin.

Love, Billy, Melanie, Jolee, and Shayna.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Memed by Maine

My Aunt Lee in Maine tagged me with this meme. Feel free to join in if you like.

Four jobs you have had in your life [to make it interesting, I have added the stipulation that the jobs should be ones that not many people may know about or remember]:

1. Door-to-Door Canvasser for Voter-Revolt, grass roots political organization in Southern California
2. Botanist's Assistant (Summer Job, Occidental College, 1986)
3. Stuffer (Assembling Sunday papers for the Los Angeles Times)
4. "Hand Dip" (Ice Cream Scooper for Thrifty's Ice Cream)

Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. The Outlaw Josey Wales
2. This is Spinal Tap
3. Highlander
4 . Apocalypse, Now

Four places you have lived:

1. Honolulu, Hawaii
2. Canyon Country, California
3. Pasadena, California
4. Brooklyn, New York

Four TV shows you love to watch:

1. Best Week Ever (VH1)
2. The Daily Show
3. Miami Ink
4. Dog the Bounty Hunter

Four places you have been on vacation:

1. Israel
2. Springfield, Illinois
3. Hawaii
4. Maine

Four websites I visit daily (that I am willing to admit here):

1. The New York Times
2. VH1 Best Week Ever Blog
3. Poetry Daily News
4. BillyBlog

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Beef Ribs
2. Salsa
3. Candy Corn
4. Skinny Cow Silhouettes

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. Pa'auilo, Hawai'i 2. Tahiti 3. Kenya (on safari) 4. The Galapagos Islands

Four visitors to BillyBlog who I think will post their reponses:

1. Melanie 2. Jill 3. Jenise 4. Anonymous

Friday, March 24, 2006

Last Night at the Housing Works Used Books Cafe.....

Last night, I went to the Housing Works Used Book Cafe to hear Jeff Chang and Touré speak.

Jeff is the author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation and his website is a fixture on my sidebar here at BillyBlog. The book, which won an American Book Award last year and went into multiple hardcover printings, just came out in paperback. The event celebrated its paperback release, along with Touré's Never Drank the Kool-Aid, a book of his essays.

I went primarily to see Jeff, who I have known since, gee, 1972, when we were in kindergarten at Iolani together. The success of his book is astounding, as I saw it listed on several top 10 lists for 2005, including Blender's best book of 2005, and New York magazine's best music book of the year, to name just a few.

The subjects of discussion ranged all over, from Matisyahu, the state of hip-hop, Flavor Flav, Lauren Hill, Kanye West, etc etc. I have neither the wherewithal, nor the time to elaborate further, but I strongly recommend checking out either writer's book, and check your local calendars to see if they're in your neck of the woods.

One event I'd recommend is the L.A. Times Book Festival on April 29. That's always a manic monster event and worth the price of admission.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

In 1959, French director Alain Resnais released the film Hiroshima Mon Amour .

In June 1961, Marguerite Duras' screenplay of the film, with illustations from the movie, was published in the U.S. by Grove Press.

On June 5, 1961, the copy pictured was purchased, inscribed by the purchaser, and given to an acquaintance.

On March 22, 2006, the same copy was purchased for 69 cents, before tax, at a Salvation Army in Bay Ridge. It is a first edition, but the condition of the copy renders it of little value.

The inscription, however, is priceless:

If you're having trouble reading it, it says:


I saw this at the bookstore today...

you know I don't wholly approve of you but ...

I wanted to give this

to you



Gift inscriptions is books are usually very sweet and tame (and boring). Not this!

To whom did Allan give this book? Why didn't he approve of the recipient? Yet, he thought enough of the person to shell out $1.95 for the book.

Makes you wonder......

Thursday, March 23, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Photos

These are not good pictures.


Yet, by being out of focus and imcomprehensible, they seem somewhat appropriate. One is not out of focus and I really like it for its feel of the city.

I will leave their content open to interpretation.

Feedback warmly appreciated.

Brooklyn Shark

This some graffiti spray-painted on the wall outside the nearby 7-11. I don't know what it means, but I find it fascinating. And quite artistic, in a simple, provocative way. It's still there and has not been covered up, so who knows?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lifted from McSweeneys

This bit is taken from the McSweeneys website here. For those of you who don't know, McSweeney's is the journal founded by Dave Eggers, novelist for generation Y. I thought htis was clever and brilliant and scary enough to reprint here.

Parallels Between My Living Through Two Years of Middle School and the Two Terms of the Bush Presidency.
- - - -
The radical changes going on around me make me uncomfortable.

I am unhappy about the way things are, but feel helpless to do anything about it.

Shame is my dominant emotion.

I feel very insecure and vulnerable.

Others supposedly feel as I do, but whenever I turn on the TV it seems otherwise.

At times, I wish I lived in a faraway country.

I want to rebel against anyone in a position of authority.

Social mobility is a fallacy.

I find myself frequently watching sports for comfort.

It's totally unfair that when I screw up I get in trouble but when my superiors do, nothing

What I represent is repugnant to foreign women.

Flying is much more terrifying than it should be.

When I talk to friends on the phone, I'm afraid someone is listening in.

People tell me things will only improve after this, but I don't believe it.

I constantly think the world is going to end.

I really dislike the arrogant popular guy elected as my president.

French is considered lame.

From the Dumpster

Several months ago, Jolee and Shayna's favorite restaurant, the Regal Beagle, closed its doors. It is now a posh nightspot called "Echelon" with chandeliers over its bar. It used to be a family restaurant with a replica of the Partridge Family bus inside, with tables on the bus at which one could dine. The food was average, but the 70's-themed eatery was fun, with disco and other 1970's genres playing on the sound system, and decor straight out of the era.

About a month or so ago, a huge dumpster was perched out front and a loud ruckus emerged from the space formerly known as the Regal Beagle. The bus was being cut apart and removed piecemeal into the giant receptacle.

No, I did not take scrap metal, no, not at all. However, a few weeks later, the dumpster overflowed with other debris, including several LPs that had been framed, under glass, as wall decor. Now, they were laid out on the top of the heap, under broken panes of glass.

I rescued a few. Why? Because they were there. I'm sorry. I can't help myself. They deserved better. The records were still in their sleeves. At the very least, I thought, I could share them on the blog. So here, for your entertainment, is what I recovered:

It's really not that remarkable, except for the two Osmond albums. I gave Donny's LP the center stage because it has the most, well, interesting look. Also, some of the song titles: "Sweet and Innocent," "I'm Your Puppet," "Hey Little Girl," "Don't Say No," and "So Shy," all on side one, are so sacharinne and gag-induicng, that they are blogworthy. Side two is not as over the top, with songs like "Flirtin'," "Burning Bridges," "Time to Ride," and "Wake Up Little Susie." But, side two opens with a ditty called "Lollipops, Lace and Lipstick," one of the great song titles of all time, in my book. Keep in mind, Donny was 13 when this album was released in 1971.

Anyway, these albums, once destined for the landfill, are most likely on their way back to the landfill. There's not much market for these, despite being immortalized by BillyBlog. The exception is the Stevie Wonder LP. Shayna has taken a shine to Stevie, thanks to her music class rehearsing his songs for the year-end musicale. She wants the LP art on her wall, and I want to nail the record up there too. Old LP's make great wall art. I learned that on Trading Spaces.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

10,000th Song Added (Again)!

OK, this time it's official...the 10,000th song added is.....

Surprised? Me too. I added it last night after Jolee asked me to sing her a song and this one spewed forth, until she abruptly stopped me.

OK....I had Tuesday off, so I cleared out the blogdrums, and I have 4 more posts queued for release, so look for a flurry over the next few days.

Monday Melange

What a day!

At lunch, the CIO and I walked briskly from 30th and 6th to 14th and Irving to the newest Trader Joe's. It was crowded. It was big. It was, perfect.

Not to beat a dead horse, but you have to have loved Trader Joe's to begin with, to truly appreciate and revere such an event in the Big Apple. Sure, a lot of what I bought could be found in some form or another at Whole Foods, but hardly for the same price, and surely not without the warm, tingly feeling that Trader Joe's gave me.

Listen up. And here, I raise my BillyBlog voice, I am a salsa man, and I like salsa with variety. Since I am not in the Southwest and cannot appreciate the real, hardcore, authentic salsa, I have been dieting on Pace, Mrs. Renfro's and Goya's Salsa Verde.

I love Trader Joe's salsa selection, and Whole Foods can kiss my gringo okole. (A lot of my pent-op hostility is directed at pal, Ian, who thinks I am nuts for being nuts about Trader Joe's. But he's not all bad, he sent me the link for that survival test. So thanks, Ian. Let me know if you find any good salsa at Whole Foods. I bet it costs more than any of the four, count 'em four, jars I bought today.

I bought the 4 jars to the right, including a corn and chile one, tomato-less, that I'd never seen before. I bought the big canvas bag that carried them home. I bought a thing of apricot/mango non-fat yogurt for Ian, and a curried chicken salad for me (Trader Joe's customers know it well). All of that, for under $16.50.

And that, my loyal readers, was why Monday was a good day on the first day of Spring in this fair city.

Then, this is what the pod served up as the soudtrack for my commute home:

R. Kelly, "Trapped in the Closet, Chapter 1"
The Jackson Five's "I'll Be There"
"American Woman" by The Guess Who
"Karma Police" by Radiohead
"Myxomatosis (Judge, Jury & Executioner)" also by Radiohead
Alice in Chains' "Angry Chair"
"Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules"
"What a Wonderful World" by Joey Ramone (from the Freaky Friday soundtrack)
"Thunder" by Wayne County & the Electric Chairs (from a super compilation circa 1989 called These People Are Nuts!
"Cornholio Techno," a random techno mash-up of quotes from Beavis, of Beavis & Butthead fame
Oscar-winning song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" by Djay & Shug
"Slide it In" by Whitesnake brought me home....

Of course, then I discovered our cable was out, and we missed the latest episode of 24. But I fortuitiously have a day off tomorrow, and will be here when the cable guy (hopefully) shows up.

But at least I has my salsa!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Pearl Jam's new album cover, or is it?

Pearl Jam's new album, cleverly entitled "Pearl Jam," comes out on May 2. Their website, along with that of their new record label, J records, shows this cover art:

But, last week, someone goofed, or teased, or joked, and both the fansite and the label showed the following artwork as the new album cover:

Now, a few other fans I have spoken too have been ambivalent about this. I personally like it. I am also fully aware that very few, if any, of loyal BillyBlog readers give a tinker's dam about what the album looks like. Many of you may even be surprised Pearl Jam is still around. Surprise!

So, who knows? Maybe the album art leaked accidentally, and they're scrambling for a "new" cover. Maybe not.

I still like it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

She Wants Revenge

I recently came across a new band that really drew me in.

I think I had gone to MSN to watch a video by the Arctic Monkeys, and the video ended, and a new one began. At first I was confused. The new video started off with the cursive phrase "She Wants Revenge":

The video then began in earnest, with a narrative story of a girl getting picked up by a guy to go to a school dance. Throughout, there is a strange dialogue between the two, all expressed with subtitles under the haunting lyrics of the song.

It turns out that the band is called She Wants Revenge, which is a pretty cool band name, in my humble opinion, and the song is called "Tear You Apart." I later learned that the video was directed by Joaquin Phoenix.

She Wants Revenge, whose website is linked above, is a relatively new band out of L.A. (they founded in 2005) and seem poised to reach even greater heights in the upcoming months as they open for Depeche Mode, a concert I wouldn't mind going to, but I already blew my live entertainment budget on 2 Pearl Jam shows in New Jersey in June.

I thought they reminded me a bit of Depeche Mode, but according to their wikipedia entry, they are compared more often to Interpol and Joy Division, at least vocally. I was also reminded a bit of Bauhaus.

Their new eponymous album is pretty good, from my eclectic perspective. I played several tracks for Melanie yesterday, and she didn't say anything about them, so I'm not sure if my opinion is shared in the household. If you don't want to check there videos out on their website, or on various other video outlets (MSN, Yahoo,, they are going to be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in a couple of weeks. I'd love to hear some other opinions from readers about what they think of these guys.

One co-worker watched the video and seemed moderately interested. Another heard the music coming from my office and thought it was "weird."

I particularly like their lyrics, this one from "Tear You Apart":


Got a big plan, this mindset maybe its right
At the right place and right time, maybe tonight
And the whisper or handshake sending a sign
Wanna make out and kiss hard, wait nevermind

Late night, and passing, mention it flipped her
Best friend, who knows saying maybe it slipped
But the slip turns to terror and a crush to light
When she walked in, he throws up, believe its the fright

Its cute in a way, till you cannot speak
And you leave to have a cigarette, your knees get weak
An escape is just a nod and a casual wave
Obsessed about it, heavy for the next two days

It's only just a crush, it'll go away
It's just like all the others it'll go away
Or maybe this is danger and you just don't know
You pray it all away but it continues to grow

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breasts, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

Then he walked up and told her, thinking that he'd passed
And they talked and looked away a lot, doing the dance
Her hand brushed up against his, she left it there
Told him how she felt and then they locked in a stare

They took a step back, thought about it, what should they do
Cause there's always repercussions when you're dating in school
But their lips met, and reservations started to pass
Whether this was just an evening or a thing that would last

Either way he wanted her and this was bad
He wanted to do things to her it was making him crazy
Now a little crush turned into a like
And now he wants to grab her by the hair and tell her

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breasts, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

What I particularly find transfixing is the violent language of the last line of the chorus which seems to contradict (or correspond to?) the teen-age angst/lust combination that drives the song. It seems to arrive at a crescendo of emotion, and despite the imagery it evokes, I don't interpret it as a misogynistic cry for physical destruction, although strict structural feminists may disagree.

Anyway, look for these guys in the future to seep into a more recognized mainstream, as they get more notice, more airplay, and go out on tour.