69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Three

This one wasn’t really a “moving find” per se, since it’s been hanging on my wall since returning from the first time I went to Iceland in 2011. Jón Sæmundur Auðarson is an Icelandic artist who created the Dead project in 2003, nine years after he was diagnosed HIV positive. The message behind Dead is simple: live life to its fullest. More specifically: “He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life.”

I had seen locals all around Reykjavik wearing the shirt which had the saying in English, Icelandic and a host of other languages. My new friend, singer/songwriter Myrra Rós told me Jón’s story and where his shop – which doubles as a gallery – was located. I checked it out, hung with Jón and talked about his friendship with Brian Jonestown Massacre leader Anton Newcombe.

This original oil painting was hanging up in his shop and I purchased it along with a couple other items. The next time I came through town, I got a tattoo of the skull. Everything behind Dead resonates deeply within me, and as I prepare to go return for my 10th time to the country, look forward to seeing him again.


AC/Donsie? Hope Not.

Following a whirlwind weekend where I flew out to Chicago for this year’s edition of Riot Fest to catch a reunion by the Misfits with Glenn Danzig, Social Distortion do their album White Light, White Heat, White Trash in full and a slew of other acts over a three-day period, I made a quick pit-stop in Philadelphia to visit with friends one night and witness what might very well be the final performance of AC/DC – ever – the following at the city’s Wells Fargo Center.

I had seen the band a few times before, but things have been pretty upside down in their world over the past year or so, culminating this past April when singer Brian Johnson had to abruptly leave the road or face total hearing loss. Dates were postponed on the lucrative Rock or Bust world tour, but the show went on with yet another singer, the incredibly unlikely choice of Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses.


This tour had the distinction of being the first time I had covered – and shot – both the opening date (for Vanyaland in August 2015) and the closing date, the latter for Ultimate Classic Rock magazine.

Honestly, as notoriously prickly as Rose can be – especially in a live setting – I’d never, ever dreamed I’d get to shoot him live. But, like I said, the unlikely has happened quite a bit lately surrounding him. Even his harshest critics have begrudgingly praised how he seamlessly stepped in and saved the AC/DC tour, and I for one hope they continue on in some form. Whether it’s taking a risk on new material or just touring every few years, there’s an undeniable chemistry between the singer and guitarist Angus Young.

Plus, not too many hardcore fans were complaining about long forgotten chestnuts like “Live Wire,” “Riff Raff” and – in Philadelphia – “Problem Child” getting pulled out of the treasure chest.


69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Two

I’ve become so deeply immersed in the education of the suicide prevention movement over the past six years that it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t involved. My reasons for initially discovering the campaign were both serendipitous and personal, and it turned out to be, what I believe to be, one of the most meaningful accomplishments in my life.

Six years and five overnight walks later for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I’ve heard stories of loss that would break the most jaded heart, traversed more miles in the name of a cause than I ever though possible and met some of the greatest and strongest people imaginable who I now consider the best of my friends.

While on the 69 to 99 Moving Finds expedition, I came across the shirt for the first walk I did in late June of 2010, and it definitely brought up some memories.

first-overnight Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Two”

69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part One

“Moving sucks” is an oft-repeated phrase which I can’t add to in any way.I’m currently in the midst of leaving a place I’ve been in for 10 years. That’s a large chunk of time. Certainly the longest I’ve ever been in one place for any one period of time. Hell, maybe ever.

My old address is 69…moving to 99.

I’m digging up some things I haven’t seen in quite awhile that I thought would be interesting to post and reminisce briefly about. An early business card is up first, story behind it after the jump.

OG Business Card MC

Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part One”

“I Was Spinning Free…”

This week marks the 15th anniversary of Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough effort Bleed American.  To mark the occasion, I did a short piece on the record for Diffuser. But personally, the album remains one of those which represents a particular period in time; in this case the summer of 2001.

Having just graduated from college, there was a glaring sense of, “Alright, now what?” I shoulda traveled the world then, but have always been a bit behind when it comes to those sorts of things and would wait a few years for that part of my life to begin. What I did end up doing was heading out on a fairly destination-less cross country road trip with noted culture vulture the Ninja. It was a sense of lingering adventure to do something “big” before entering the so-called real world.

When I say there was no set plan, there was absolutely no set plan. It was for the most part a bit like an Abbott & Costello episode (those who still have both grandparents living can ask them to define that reference). We crashed in random dorms, shelters, hostels and on various couches. There was one concrete idea to attend the Green Party affiliated Campus Greens’ “Rally for Radical Change” held at Chicago’s Congress Theater on August 10.

An e-mail about the event was sent to college mailing lists which stated:

Confirmed speakers and performers include Ralph Nader, Winona LaDuke, Robert Miranda and Jello Biafra.

Invited speakers and performers include Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Ani Difranco, Radiohead, Common, Chuck D, Zach de la Rocha, and many, many more!

“Holy shit!!” the Ninja and I collectively thought. “That ‘invited speakers and performers’ list is ridiculous.” Radiohead! Chuck D! Zach de la Rocha! Michael Moore! Howard Zinn! The “many, many more” could only make the whole thing even astronomical.

Off we went to take part in this thing and pick the brain of Chuck D.

Bleed-American-cover Continue reading ““I Was Spinning Free…””

‘Even Gods Must Die’

It was announced this week that the 15 year running River Gods in Cambridge, MA would be shuttering its doors for good. This came a a massive disappointment to many in the area, as it was a place which had great food, a better atmosphere and music for anyone’s taste. Each night featured a different DJ doing a different kind of music or theme. Dream pop. Soul. Deep house. Electronic. Vintage Rock and Roll.

I started off there partnering up with Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald doing “Prom Nights.” The way it was setup was to take a high school name from a famous film and play the music from the era in which it was set. For instance, ‘Prom Night: Lee High School, 1976’ took the high school name of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, and we spun rock and roll from the mid-70s.

Fun times.

Eventually I started coming up with my own nights, first doing soul and funk, calling it ‘Cold Sweat,’ then kicking it up a few notches with rock dubbed ‘It Might Get Loud,’ but nothing too crazy. Eventually I started doing an ‘Across the Pond’ theme which fully allowed me to embrace Brtipop and anything else from Europe. The sets were accompanied by images and film shown on a big blank wall, like when doing a funk night, I’d have The Night James Brown Saved Boston playing along with the music. I’m gonna miss that hot, tiny little booth that overlooked the Central Square crowd of revelers.

Here’s a flyer I did for the last Across the Pond event, and after the jump are some of my additional favorites.

Dec 9 Continue reading “‘Even Gods Must Die’”

Voltage Factory Playlist 30 June 16

One of the bands I fell really hard for in the mid-90s was Sponge. They’d had a hit with “Molly (Sixteen Candles)” and “Plowed,” at which point they were on my radar, but nothing more. Then, in 1996, the Detroit outfit put out their second album, Wax Ecstatic, and it resonated for some reason. It was just one of those time and place things I suppose. Sponge played the Tower Records in Philly during an in-store, then I saw them while I was spending some time in California at Slim’s in San Francisco that summer. I thought the record was excellent, which is why it’s featured in the Classic Album Spotlight this week on the occasion of turning 20.

Things kicked off with the Stone Roses, and the show was broadcast from NYC where I went to see them at Madison Square Garden. Brilliant time. The second segment went out to all the madness in England with the Brexit vote coming down, beginning with the Killer Cover of Motörhead taking on Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen.”

It’s also the last show before a short summer break, so I tried to fit a little bit of everything. New music from Crash Midnight and Filter, and some heaviness courtesy of Iceland’s Dimma and the Vintage Caravan and a doubleshot of Iron Maiden.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: Sponge – Wax Ecstatic (20th anniversary)
Volt Vault: The Cult – “Love Removal Machine (Peace Mix)”
Killer Cover: Motörhead – “God Save the Queen” (Sex Pistols)
Double-shot: Iron Maiden

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the wrap-up here before the rebroadcast. New editions of the Voltage Factory on VanyaRadio run every Thursday night at 8:00pm EST with an opportunity to hear it again the following Monday at 10:00pm EST. This week’s full playlist is after the jump.

Sponge Continue reading “Voltage Factory Playlist 30 June 16”