Known Johnson

February 29, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio with opener Saul Zonana

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 11:17 pm

Going to the show, I had no idea who was opening for Adrian Belew last night in Phoenix at the Rhythm Room. I only heard the guy at the door pronouncing the guy’s name to someone in front of us – “Like ‘banana’ with a Z . . . and an O.” (more…)

Favorite Friday

Filed under: Favorite Friday — Tom @ 2:20 pm

New thing! Well, okay, old thing! I tried this a while back, probably on the old site, and then forgot about it. It’s back – favorite-stuff Fridays! Things I liked this week:

The big African-American dude with the mohawk I saw on the way home the other day – he was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt under a big polka-dot dress.

The girl walking on the side of the road wearing pants with so many chains on them that she had to hold the chains, all bundled up, in her hands, to keep them from swinging.

Victory for the independents: Glen Hansard (of The Frames) and Marketa Irglova win Best Song at the Oscars for their Once contribution, despite being up against really terrible, overblown productions from Disney’s Enchanted and that cheese-fest August Rush, proving that big budgets don’t mean a damned thing. Here’s hoping they get a huge upswing in sales from this exposure. They deserve it.

Birthday – duh, obviously. But beyond that, it was fun to give Alissa a brand new 8gb Ipod Nano to replace her old 20gb Ipod. It’s smaller in storage, yes, but giving up the worries of a hard-drive and gaining the space in her purse afforded by the small form factor are two big pluses, at least as I see it. Hopefully she does too. The new generation Ipods have a very cool new navigation/screen layout, too. I like the screensaver that features the album covers of your music, and I REALLY like seeing the tiny covers next to every album as you scroll through the lists. Believe it or not, this really makes a big difference to a music freak like me. Cover art is important.

And, equally obviously, seeing Adrian Belew last night – but I’ll have a report on that later.

How was your week?

But what does searching for Bananafishbones get you?

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:43 am

Wow, is AllMusic messed up right now or what? It’s kind of like Russian roulette at the moment – type in any artist name and you’ll just get a completely random offering. Want to look up Adrian Belew? Here’s everything listed under “capella” instead! Try it again and get the enigmatic “Mandre.” Saul Zonana yields “Bananafishbones.” Helpful if you want completely random information.

February 28, 2008

Band of Gypsies reunion nearly complete

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 9:00 am

With Jimi Hendrix waiting up in the afterlife for some of his favorite cats to jam with, drummer Buddy Miles has opted to rejoin the band. They’re only waiting on bassist Billy Cox now. In the meantime, Experience bassist Noel Redding will be filling in.

(Okay, fine, that was crass – I was actually shocked to read this. Band of Gypsies’ material is some of my favorite Hendrix stuff, however little of it there is. What’s that line about a big jam up in heaven? Now it’s gonna groove.)

February 27, 2008

I am not a target market (anymore)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 4:10 pm

First off, happy birthday to my wife Alissa – yes, we really do have birthdays one day apart. We’re just separated by three years.

As of yesterday, I exited the coveted 18-34 year old target demographic that businesses like to market their products to. It’s pretty exciting. There’s something kind of funny about demographics – I have more money now than ever before, and I can spend it, and they don’t want it. They just want to keep aiming all their efforts at the fickle market that struggles to make and keep their money when they’ve got a bunch of people who are perfectly willing to buy things with less of a marketing push. Well, whatever.

So now I don’t have to pay attention to commercials, or ads, or billboards, or anything, really. I can look at them and just instantly dismiss them. “Oh that? Eh, it’s not for me.” This is why men eventually start wearing very long, dark socks with shorts. And sandals. Marketing stops targeting them and telling them that fashion says no, don’t do that and we slowly learn to stop paying attention. To everything.

I took the day off of work. It was pretty nice. I told myself last year that if I had days to spare I would, because I didn’t take the day off last year and it was really rather disappointing to spend my birthday at work. It always is. So I stayed home with Amanda. We took my truck to the car wash where she watched the spaghetti wiggle all over my truck and get it clean, then looked at the giant fish tank that all car washes inexplicably have in them, she fell in love with a goofy giant-wheeled VW Beetle toy that I bought for her, and then hit Walmart for some necessities.

Because Alissa and I practically share a birthday (Not only that, but it’s also my parents’ anniversary today!) we celebrated with her family this weekend (mine will be this upcoming weekend. It’s too much to handle in one weekend.) So it’s like a week of eating bad and people giving you stuff – all this cake and dinners out and presents, all this celebration spread out. Really, there are less nights of “normalcy” between last Saturday and this upcoming one. One of my gifts from Alissa, probably the coolest by far, consists of two tickets to see Adrian Belew tomorrow night. I’ve been kicking myself for missing him the last time he was here, and just kind of resigned myself to not seeing him, and she courageously got tickets for which she will have to endure a night of guitar gymnastics – but fun ones, I promise. Adrian’s a guitar god, for sure, but he’s an unusually playful, humorous, and fun one for even people outside of the genre.

Too many other things to list at the moment, but I’ll comment on a couple of note: the Pixies Surfer Rosa from Mobile Fidelity? Awesome – I really didn’t think it would disappoint, but I’m stunned at how amazing this sounds. Now I just need an SACD player to take advantage of that layer and its even higher fidelity sound resolution. And the complete Dr. Katz box? Holy shit, that’s one impressive BOOK of DVDs (13, and it’s bound like a book in clear DVD trays. Never seen anything like it. Daunting.)

February 26, 2008


Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:53 pm

“Back in the USSR” : “I Am the Sea” as “_______” : “5:15”

February 25, 2008

R2 and the shiny guy

Filed under: General — Tom @ 12:43 pm

February 24, 2008

Oscars the grouch

Filed under: Movies — Tom @ 8:35 pm

The Oscars are on right now. It’s hard to be too invested in it when we’ve only seen something like four of the seeming thousands of films that came out last year, and I don’t even know that any of them were nominated beyond Once. I’ll watch parts of it no matter what – Jon Stewart did a great job last year and I doubt he’ll be stretching for material this year, and, besides, it’s a great excuse to check out many of Hollywood’s hottest ladies lookin’ super hot most respected actors and actresses gathered together to honor each other’s great achievements. Ahem.


I’m a little peeved that one of the few films I saw last year is not nominated – the beautifully handled documentary about the Apollo astronauts, In The Shadow Of The Moon. It’s compiled from new interviews with most of the remaining living men who walked on the moon (sans the enigmatic Neil Armstrong, who maintains the hermit-like lifestyle he adopted immediately after his historic flight even for something this special) and archival footage that no one has seen in 30+ years. It was fascinating and beautiful, and for something that took as much time and effort to put together as this did, it is a travesty that it has been overlooked entirely, especially after garnering rave reviews from practically every critic. If you watch this and don’t come away thinking we did amazing things back then and don’t feel like we need to continue doing amazing things in space, well, I’d be surprised. It’s about more then 12 dudes who walked on a grey dustball in the sky.

The others we saw, in case you’re curious, were Knocked Up, The Transforming Robots, and, on DVD, Once. Of them, Once is up for best song, The Transforming Robots is nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. Knocked Up got nuthin, but does that really surprise anyone? (Update: Holy crap, Once won! I figured that dorky-ass Disney crapfest was going to take it, with three songs nominated, but Alissa thought early on that those three songs might split the vote. She might be right, but I’d like to think taste won tonight.)

Do yourself a favor. Take $5 down to Blockbuster and pick up In The Shadow of the Moon, put it in your Netflix queue, whatever. Just watch this movie. You will see amazing, beautiful things and hear incredible stories. And then you’ll be amazed and maybe even pissed that the Oscar nominating committee overlooked this.

February 23, 2008

Advice from the psychic airwaves

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 11:03 pm

I’ve listened to King’s X’s Dogman two full times in the past 24 hours, which is really weird because I haven’t listened to the band in ages. It’s really great to revisit these guys – what a great band that unfortunately got overlooked due to so many factors that it’s impossible to pin it on one thing. Bad management, fickle tastes of radio listeners, their own bad moves – they all added up to a number of things that basically turned the tide against them even when tons of huge bands were praising them (I remember not only Pearl Jam name-checking them back in the Vs. days or thereabouts but also Alice In Chains, saying that the down-tuned sound everyone attributed to them was really due to their love of King’s X.)

This got me wondering where the band is right now. Their last album, the goofily titled Ogre Tones came out three years ago, so they’re overdue for a new album. Well, according to their new official site, the news dated Feb. 17 says they just finished working on a brand new album. Maybe the band has some sort vibe-generator that re-ignites interest in them, because that’s pretty weird timing.

While listening to this today, it got me thinking how glad I am to have the CDs. There had been much talk of remasters years ago of their early albums but it’s pretty clear nothing of the sort will ever happen. More likely is that the current albums will simply disappear as the labels they’ve been on stop producing them, and this is something that is going to happen with everything. So as a general warning from someone who watches CDs like a hawk, I am urging you – if you want CDs of anything you have ever liked, you need to get out and get them now. They’re cheap and plentiful now, but in a few short years, old CDs are going to be like gold as people realize what has happened. They’re going to see that in their shortsightedness to get cheap (free) music via mp3, they locked themselves into a format that cannot do anything but give them what they already have, and told the music industry that they don’t want that high-quality music any longer. Those CDs many scoff at right now as unnecessary annoyances are slowly being taken out of production in favor of future mp3 downloads (or the band’s music is simply becoming obsolete.) Your options in the future will be re-buying higher quality downloads, like what’s going on with Itunes Plus right now that still will not be as good as your original CDs, or seeking out hard-copies on CD at ridiculous collector prices. I am telling you: if you love something, but it now while you can. It will not be around forever and you will regret it later one when people start realizing that those mp3s they downloaded and sometimes bought sound really terrible on their nice home theater systems*.

*This boggles my mind. People spend ridiculous amounts of time and money to have great sound systems for movies and TV shows, but don’t give a crap about the sound quality of music they’re putting through it. They’ll complain when movies’ sound is not up to snuff but somehow don’t notice the flat and lifeless sound of those 128kbps AAC files they paid the stupidly high price of 99 cents each from the Itunes store. What are you more likely to spend more time with? A movie or music? Music, of course – it can go everywhere. Movies you watch when you can rest at home. Music suits every situation, and yet people treat it like meaningless dirt. Sad.

February 22, 2008


Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:25 pm

There are just those times when nothing comes to me, and this is one of those times. I’m filling my quota by simply saying I have nothing much to say. You see, I’m as creative as I am unfocused, and, if I do say so myself, I am wildly unfocused. When I put nose to grindstone, bear down, and any of many other applicable cliches, I can do many things, but it is rare that I actually have the needed attention span to do so. I have a lot of plans, as it were, but very few finished projects.

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