Category: Music

Brainiac On Banjo: Mike’s To-Do List!

Brainiac On Banjo: Mike’s To-Do List!

Well, I’ve been down to the river, I washed away my sins. Well, every day’s a nice, clean slate, for me to fuck it up again. Yeah, I’ll probably fuck it up again. — from “Do It Again”, written by John Shanks and Sheryl Crow.

I decided I should make a “To Do” list. I ain’t getting any younger and I ration out my brain power, so this seems like a good idea. So I’ll do just that, you know, instead of writing a real column this week.

To do:

Reread the first nine issues of the current JSA miniseries, just in case DC decides to finish publishing it before I die.

Ask Bill Sienkiewicz if the British government contacted him about doing over King Charles’ official portrait.

Do some genetic research. I am convinced that the lunch cook at Riverdale High School, Miss Beazley, is closely related to Popeye, the Sailor Man. Possibly separated at birth.

Check and see if Trump died yet.

Write a hopefully not-too-long piece about what an unbelievably great cartoonist Dick Briefer had been.

Order our Deadpool & Wolverine tickets.

Offer to comp Marty Scorsese on the Deadpool & Wolverine tickets. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Mike’s To-Do List!”

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

The place was the scene of some kind of horrible crime; another postal worker had lost his mind. Couldn’t stand the tension, lost his pension, afraid of growing old out in the cold, no one to hold. As he did his stalking, that Glock did his talking, he settled the score up and down the floor. SWAT team sniper caught him at the door. The mailman put in a fresh clip, turned and slipped through a crack in the universe. “A Crack in the Universe” written by Wayne Kramer.

If America had only one musical Mecca — and we have about a dozen — that one place would be Detroit, Michigan.

Among the many talents who get their start or made their bones in Detroit, in politically-correct alphabetical order (more or less): Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, George Clinton, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Bootsy Collins, Alice Coltrane, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Glenn Frey, Marvin Gaye, Grand Funk Railroad, Bill Haley, John Lee Hooker, Tommy James and the Shondells, Yusef Lateef, Little Willie John, Martha and the Vandellas, MC5, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Phil Ochs, Parliament-Funkadelic, Wilson Pickett, Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Patti Smith, Edwin Starr, The Stooges, The Supremes, The Temptations, Sippie Wallace, The White Stripes, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder…

The MC5. Photo by Leni Sinclair

…to name but a very, very few. I could triple this list without looking at the internet; the total would run longer than the entire roll-call for The Avengers. If there’s anybody above with whom you might not be familiar — that’s why we’ve got search engines. It’s worth the effort.

I’m not going to play the “who’s best / who’s most important game” because it’s childish, stupid, deceiving and totally irrelevant. My guess is that your AI-based streaming service devotes an incredible percentage of its playlists on these Detroit performers. But I will note the efforts of Wayne Kramer, frontman for the revolutionary hard-rock group The MC5. Their stuff was to the point, it encouraged not only awareness but action, and by today’s standards some of the least woke stuff engraved in wax since “Barnacle Bill.” Don’t mention this to the MAGA Party; it’ll destroy their tiny little minds.

Ahh, screw it. Tell them anyway. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God”

Brainiac On Banjo: What Goes Around…

I kicked the blankets on the floor. Turned my pillow upside down. I never never did before, ‘bause I was tossin’ and turnin’, turnin’ and tossin’,a-tossin’ and turnin’ all night. “Tossin’ and Turnin'” written by Malou Rene, Richard A Ziegler, and Ritchie Adams.

Back in 1961, John Kennedy was President, Wagon Train, Bonanza and Gunsmoke were America’s top three television shows, the year’s top three tunes were “Tossin’ and Turnin'” by Bobby Lewis, “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline, and “Michael” (no relation) by The Highwaymen, and Don Martin was covering Mad Magazine with a tale of its time and ours. Ahhh, great days.

Please have yourself a very aspirational 2024. Work hard at it. Save the world.

It’s the only place we’ve got.

As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind

“And don’t try to dig what we all say” — Pete Townshend, “My Generation”

I freely admit: when I first heard the word “woke” as a positive definition of the human condition, I did not care for the term. “Woke” implies that everybody is asleep but for the lucky few who are smart enough to understand the difference between a bowling alley and a thunderstorm. I’m way too egalitarian for that.

I do not mean to suggest that DeSantis is less than truthful about his beliefs. Not at all. To quote Maya Angelou, the award-winning poet/writer/actor/dancer that Governor Ron has banned from his school libraries: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” After all, about two out of every three Americans think that Nazis are not good people, while some on the far-right object to being called Nazis, or even fascists. Evidently, these people banned the dictionary before they got through “F.” Continue reading “As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind”

With Further Ado #242: SXSW Part 2 – Flatstock

South By Southwest (SXSW), the business + music festival that seemed an awful lot like a giant comic convention to me, was stuffed full of an almost incomprehensible amount of many things to see and do. It isn’t conceivable that anyone could do everything there – even if they figured out a way to forgo sleep.

Flatstock was one of those events-within-an-event that I’m really happy I got a chance to experience. Continue reading “With Further Ado #242: SXSW Part 2 – Flatstock”

Brainiac On Banjo: Superman and the Dingleberries of Society!

Number forty-seven said to number three: You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see. I sure would be delighted with your company, Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me. — “Jailhouse Rock, by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, 1957.

Bill Maher has a segment on his show called “I Don’t Know It For a Fact, I Just Know It’s True.” Here’s my contribution.

The smaller your mind, the more likely it is to fall out your nose. This is why you’re called “blowhards.”

Case in point: the pathetically predictable response to Jon Kent’s coming out as bisexual. You’d think they discovered a couple dozen missing votes for Trump.

Ignoring the facts that Jon Kent is a fictional character, that the audience is familiar with the concept of bisexuality and aren’t likely to “convert” anybody just because a comic book character kissed a member of his own sex, and that the only thing that noticeably drives comic book sales is its perceived collectability, it’s kind of amazing that so many fools totally lost their little minds when they heard this story.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy watching people like Tucker Carlson go apeshit over “dog bites man” stories, although it’s becoming as boring as it has been predictable. If they think this is a recruitment issue for the White supremacists that are in our face 24/7, they’re preaching to their own choir. To be fair, these self-absorbed dingleberries of society are indeed the only ones who would listen.

Since I love tossing rock lyrics around, let me assure you Pete Townshend was right. “This is no social crisis. Just another tricky day. You’ll get through.” I don’t think Warner Media execs or even AT&T stockholders will, to quote Flo and Eddie, “pull their heads out of their own puke” over this one. It won’t kill their Discovery deal.

These toadlickers are still pissed that Heimdall has been played by a Black man in the Marvel movies for a bit more than a decade. To them, that’s heresy… which is weird, as American White supremacy is a movement that appears to mostly attract Christians (but no, not the other way around; give me a break). However, every controversy is fraught with comedic potential: I explain to these numbskulls that, given the turf and the times, Jesus Christ absolutely had to be Black — so why not Heimdall? Then I watch the nuclear cloud blow the top off of their bald, teensy brain pans.

Yet, somehow, these same neverlaids get stimulated by Joan Jett’s cover version of “Crimson and Clover.”

My advice to Jon Kent, who I remind you is a fictional character, is to fly above the bullshit. You know these psychopaths are simply jealous.

And, yes, my tighty-Whities. I did start this one with a Bill Maher reference just to piss you off. Like I said, you’re pathetically predictable.

(Mike Gold will be joining our own Bob Harrison as guests at the Baltimore Comic-Con, October 22 through 24, at — go know — the Baltimore Convention Center. If you would like to discuss the above words of wisdom, remember: you’ll be in public, even if you’re wearing a mask.)

Z2 Producing Blondie Graphic Novel from Comic Legends Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and John McCrea

Z2 Producing Blondie Graphic Novel from Comic Legends Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and John McCrea

In recent years, Z2 Comics has committed to partnering with music artists in efforts to create original graphic novel productions. Today, they announced that they are working with the groundbreaking rock band Blondie to create a one-of-a-kind imaginative oral history of the band called “Against the Odds“.

The book is being written by comic book veterans Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art from the amazing John McRea. There are multiple covers available and the project is available now for pre-order with pricing options available to suit the casual fan to super-groupie.

This project is definitely exciting. The combination of the publisher, comic creative team, and musical subject seems like a match made in rock heaven.

The book will be distributed in the Fall of 2021. You can check out the order page here, and the full press release from Z2 comics is below.


Press Release:

BLONDIE AND Z2 COMICS PARTNER FOR ALL-NEW GRAPHIC NOVELAGAINST THE ODDS DETAILING THE EARLY YEARS OF THE NEW YORK’S MOST ENDURING ROCK & ROLL, ART AND FASHION ICONS

Blondie Announce Their Comic Book Debut in the Midst of A Huge Year for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers, Set to Include the EP & Film Release of Their Groundbreaking Trip to Cuba, Their First Archival Box Set, and More

‘Against the Odds’ to be Written by famed ‘Harley Quinn’ Creative Duo Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, and Available to Preorder Now

NEW YORK, NY –Legendary New York fashion and music icons Blondie announce their partnership with Z2 Comics to produce their first-ever graphic novel! Inspired by some of their most iconic tracks, along with a few “deep cuts,” this book is sure to deserve a place on the bookshelf of every music fan.

Jimmy Palmiotti says “I think it would be impossible to give Blondie and the downtown New York music scene the proper respect and visceral representation it deserves if I didn’t live through it. My life was comic books and music and there was no more exciting time in my life than when Blondie hit the music scene. Amanda and I are having a blast telling the story of the band and how they went from killing it on stage in small clubs to becoming an unstoppable worldwide sensation.”

Amanda Conner continues “When I was a growing up (and still pretty much, to this day), a few of the things I loved were music, comic book heroes, ultra-cool style, and a wicked, wild, and weird sense of humor. Blondie embodies all those things, and when I listen to their music, I can’t not dance. Or if I have to sit and work for long hours, I can’t not at least bounce and bop along in my seat. As a teenager, Debbie Harry was one of the super-heroes I wanted to grow up to be. In fact, I still wanna grow up to be her.” Continue reading “Z2 Producing Blondie Graphic Novel from Comic Legends Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and John McCrea”

With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen

With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen

Some people are just overflowing with talent, and when it spills over to other media, it’s a truly wondrous thing. Mark Wheatley is one of those people.  You may know him as an award-winning comics creator, a frequent exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con & Baltimore Comic-Con, or as an industrious entrepreneur.  Knowing all those things about him, I was even more impressed when he told me about his newest project, a song & music video called The Witch of Everwhen.  Checkout the teaser trailer:

 

 

Wheatley is working out the details for the full-fledged Witch of Everwhen video debut. The announcement should be made soon, and you can keep up with it all here at the Mark Wheatley Gallery.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised because he’s created music videos before for previous projects like Dance with Your Brothers , Surrender and Earth’s Farewell.  But nonetheless, I had to find out more.

Ed Catto: This is a fascinating project – tell me how The Witch of Everwhen came about!

Mark Wheatley: I have been composing and recording music for as long as I have been writing and drawing comics professionally. In my early days looking for work in New York, while I was beating the pavement to show my portfolio to art directors and editors, I was also sending demo tapes to A&R reps at the various music companies. I was doing this right up until I landed my first monthly comic series, MARS.

The only musical “success” I had during that period was one of my tunes was picked for airplay on WNEW and one of their DJs was calling me to brainstorm how I would get more attention for my music. But when Marc Hempel and I signed our MARS contract [with First Comics], I decided that the time required to write and pencil a monthly comic was going to eat my life, and I stopped recording and sending out demo tapes. So, of course, two weeks after I signed the MARS contract Capitol Records offered me a three record deal, and I had to turn it down. A few months later, Columbia Records offered me a one record deal. Both of these offers would require me to also hit the road for live tours, so it was just impossible. After that, aside from recording some soundtrack music for radio and TV commercials, my musical efforts were limited to recording theme songs for my comic book creations. Continue reading “With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen”

Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?”

Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?”

One day I feel so horny / Next night I feel so bleh / Guess well have to take the whoppee! / along with the bleh / Each night I ask the moon up above / Why must I be a septuagenerian in love? ––Tuli Kupferberg, “Septuagenerian in Love,” from The Fugs Final CD, Part 1, 2003.

Well, this is goddamned strange. Not at all what I expected.

It’s not that I’m big on birthday celebrations. I have a hard time remembering such events; it’s an often embarrassing failing. The only reason I remember my own is because I’ve renewed my driver’s license approximately 18 times, thereby making it a habit. Well, I’ve just put my new driver’s license in my wallet – which was kinda fun because I didn’t have to break quarantine to get it — so unless something terminal happens in the next 24 hours, I turn 70 tomorrow. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?””

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind  #95: Gee, They Were So Young

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #95: Gee, They Were So Young

Whatever gets you through your life ‘salright, ‘salright / Do it wrong or do it right ‘salright, ‘salright / Don’t need a watch to waste your time oh no, oh no — “Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” written by John Lennon, 1974.

When it comes to sorting Americans into tribes based upon political beliefs — and we are so desperate to divide up into tribes — if you are thinking along the lines of “well, those [whatever] usually tend to be [whichever tribe you like, such as young conservatives, young progressives, young Libertarians, or jocks]…, you are most certainly full of two things, one of which is yourself.

We hear a lot about Gen-Z being very politically active and very progressive. Of course that’s not completely so. Like all previous generations, the largest subgroup are those who just don’t give a damn. These kids are much more politically active than the previous two, but they seem to be motivated not as much by some old fart’s progressive agenda as they are by the philosophy “You are destroying my planet, and I’m the one who is supposed to live here in the future. Not you.” And… that’s fair.

The younger you are the more cynical you might be, but I am living proof that cynicism is most likely to be a permanent lifestyle. For one thing, it’s more fun. This is a good thing: it’s easier to fight the good fights if you allow yourself to appreciate your victories, keep a sense of humor about absolutely everything, and never think about Sisyphus. It’s good to remember the words of some Joker: “Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face!”

So it came as no surprise that when I watched Donald Trump’s two pep rallies earlier this week, I saw a whole lot of kids. Almost entirely White kids, but there always are a few non-White people are there, some of whom were hired just like the large group of cheering fans at Trump Tower when the Donald floated down his escalator-from-heaven back in 2015.

Granted, the second of these sessions was held at a college, so it’s not a great an indication of teen-age lack of death-perception as the first. But both had this in common with our recruitment policies for our military: the younger you are, the less likely you are to be aware and protective of your longevity. By and large, if you were, say, a 45-year-old carrying a bayonet, and you were ordered to assault that well-protected Hill 59, you might hesitate. Then your problem becomes getting out of the way of the 19-year-olds who are much less concerned about maintaining their personal franchise.

It is at the core of military training: your master says jump and do not think, you jump without a thought as to your own mortality. 19-year-olds, by and large, have yet to fully develop that sense. I did all kinds of dangerous shit back when I was 19. And 18, and 20. I look back and smile, but I’m not smiling about those stupid risks. I smile because I’m still around to look back at all that dangerous shit. My actions were, and still are, quite serious. My cause is quite serious. My attitude is more “Why so serious.” Whatever gets you through the night.

So we’ve got several thousand southwestern young’uns shoulder-to-shoulder, in weather-appropriate dress (the southwest in late June demands less clothing), jumping up and down and shouting and screaming and cheering and carrying on, maskless, as though they were at the Titanic of high school pep rallies. As the Jefferson Airplane said back in my day, “bless their pointed little heads.”

Many of them think Covid-19 does not affect them because they are not old. Well, dig this kids: when all this plague stuff started, some Black people believed they couldn’t get it either. It was a big deal — a very big deal, until some of them folks started dying. Well, die and learn. Now we know that younger people are merely less likely to come down with Covid-19 than us old people who have little to lose but our memories.

Well, that’s America for you. This nation of ours is your go-to place if you want to age out of your own tribe.

Besides, our planet was overcrowded about five billion live-births ago. Soylent Green does not have to be made out of old dead bodies. I’ll bet the young dead bodies taste better.