Monday, February 26, 2007

More From The 33 1/3: Exile On Main St.

Jagger never liked printing lyrics. This is a lesson taken to heart by R.E.M. on their early records: write some enigmatic phrases that sound good musically, mix them low, and let the listeners bring their own perceptions to the table. It's a nice formula that produces great results in the right hands.

The tone of the record is set within the opening seconds of the first song on side one, disc one, "Rocks Off." It begins with one of Keith Richards' trademark open G-tuned riffs. But precisely one second into it, we hear a stray bit of percussion. It sounds like someone hit a cowbell too early. Someone jumped the gun. It also sounds like a vocal microphone was left open during the mix, with some shuffling sounds before the band kicks in. This is the sort of extraneous noise that has traditionally been masked out during the mixing process, even back before computer programs like Pro Tools made automated mixing "moves" a cinch. Jagger (or whoever it is) seems all right with it, as after the first snare drum hit, we hear him growl comically "oh, yeeeeeeahhhh."

On "Happy," the Human Riff unleashes one of his absolute classics. Keith opens with that sort of tension-filled guitar figure that bops and weaves all around the beat, making the listener wonder how he is finally ever going to make it into the beat itself. He has a way of swinging guitar riffs so severely that they sound like false starts, paying as much mind to the upbeat as the down, small aural tricks that dip and rise dynamically. Taking his sweet time to introduce the song, his open-G-tuned guitar ringing that identifiable four-note lick on one side, doubled by a slide part off on the other, the song is all Keith..."

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I proudly can say I have now eaten at The Varsity at 61 North Ave in Atlanta. And, it was mmmmm, mmmmm good! I had the #1 (2 chili dogs with onion rings and a Varsity orange drink), and took a chocolate shake for the drive to Augusta.

I'll start with last things first: the chocolate shake was delicious. I ordered it at the same time as everything else, so it sat (stood?) on the table the entire time I ate (approx. 20 minutes--hey, I was soaking up the atmosphere), and yet was still too thick to suck through a straw without applying enough force to nearly blast out my own eardrums. Wonderful.

The chili dogs were excellent, too. Just the perfect blend of chili meat sauce (no beans) and mustard, great dogs, and soft, but not soggy, buns. The freshly diced onions are good enough to eat by the spoonful by themselves as a snack. Speaking of tasty onions, the onion rings are a thing of beauty: light, flaky breading, and onions that melt in your mouth.

The Varsity kicks ass! And, it's an easy drive from the airport: I-75/I-85 North to the exit at 14th & 10th, right on 10th, then an almost immediate right on Spring St...The Varsity is on the right hand side. Then, when you're finished, you can make a right on Spring St, go a couple of blocks and veer left to get to I-20 East to head to Augusta, GA...if that's where you're stuck for the week (like me).

Thumbs down to I-20 between Atlanta and Augusta: boooooooor-ing!

Thumbs up to the general flow of traffic in the Atlanta area, though. People seem to enjoy driving at a quite speedy pace (average speed was at least 80 mph, with 95 mph far from unusual).

Hey, someone tell me who wins the good awards tonight. I can't stand watching all those egomaniacal fuckers tripping all over themselves to kiss each other's asses.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gimme Shelter (Pop Go The Sixties 1969)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Let's Just Merge These Stories

Pictured: Britney's baby daddy.

K-Fed will be appearing at an emergency hearing seeking custody of his two babies, now that Ms. Spears has left rehab after one day for the second time in a week.

I think he should claim to be the father of Anna Nicole's baby, and move to have her body released, not for further DNA testing or even for burial, but rather to have her head shaved to match Britney's.

Meanwhile, this judge in the Anna Nicole circus is the worst grandstander I've seen in years. Note: Woody Allen should play him in the soon-to-be-filmed Lifetime movie (c'mon, you know the pitch is already being made), as the voice is a dead ringer.

Some guys from New Zealand caught a colossal squid...I'm still figuring out how to work that in to the story.

Seriously, this shit is getting so ridiculous that I actually was excited to see coverage of a high speed chase in Broward County, FL on Headline News (the channel always on our company's cafeteria TVs--unless there's a fresh batch of company propaganda to pipe in) yesterday at lunch.

PS - Tried to read Ann Coulter's latest column, but couldn't get beyond the opening words, "Rumored ex-Marine John Murtha..." Ann, you f*cking slut bitch. Now, "rumored ex-Air National Guardsman George W. Bush" would make sense to me. But, you know that already, you flappy-c*nted whore. I try to keep up on what the queen of the right-wing Tampax saturators is spewing (a 'know thy enemy' type of tactic). But, damn, what a thankless process that can be!

PPS - To Saxdrop: Sorry, I just noticed you'd left a comment on my "William F. Blowhard, Jr." post (my blogging has been somewhat erratic lately). Hey, I'm certainly not in support of an attempt at heightening the burden of proof to the point that more of the truly guilty criminals are found not guilty, just to approach the point of zero wrongful convictions. In fact, that's exactly why I believe that Buck-nuts has engaged in a logical fallacy, by implying that the proposal to repeal the death penalty, as justified by past wrongful convictions, somehow indicates support for such. He says, basically, that people shouldn't use wrongful convictions as an argument against the death penalty, because to prevent all wrongful convictions would be impossible, or at least a net detriment to justice. I say, "Bullshit!" I say that I agree that wrongful convictions are inevitable, and precisely because they are inevitable, the death penalty sucks. I think the tables should be turned on Bill Buckley: If he were to be able to prove that wrongful convictions could be prevented without letting guilty people free in droves, then he would have set up a legitimate argument in favor of the death penalty. For him to say, in effect, that's too hard to do, so you don't get to use that against me is bullshit. This isn't one-on-one basketball, Haahnster vs. Shaq, where I would certainly want to forbid all sorts of things (like allowing Shaq inside the 3-point line at any time). In debate, I don't believe you should just say, "well, that argument is too effective, so you can't use it."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


To me, the question is not, "Is Bill O'Reilly an asshole?"

To me, the question is, "Is Bill O'Reilly the biggest asshole in the United States?" Perhaps, the question is even, "Is Bill O'Reilly the biggest asshole in the history of the United States?"


To me, the question is not, "Is Sean Hannity an asshole?"

To me, the question is, "Is Sean Hannity the biggest asshole in the United States?" Perhaps, the question is even, "Is Sean Hannity the biggest asshole in the history of the United States?"

Haahnster's Favorite Remakes of Dylan Songs...

(...that I can recall right now, off the top of my head.)

Ranked (quite hastily)

10. "Blowin' in the Wind" -- Peter, Paul & Mary (Hey, I needed a 10th song.)
09. "It Ain't Me, Babe" -- The Turtles (Bubble gum Dylan)
08. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" -- Television (Note: This would rate much higher if it had been officially released. The guitar solos are sublime. I'd be shocked if Gn'R claimed never to have heard it!)
07. "Maggie's Farm" -- Eleventh Dream Day (See note above, as it regards to lack of official release. Also, this gets special mention because I saw them perform it live at the long-since-defunct Trito's Lounge in Champaign, IL. Musically, it was akin to The Clash remake of "I Fought the Law.")
06. "Mr. Tambourine Man" -- The Byrds (Squeaky clean, but nicely done)
05. "Mighty Quinn" -- Manfred Mann (Fond memories of hearing this one about 1 million times on classic rock radio in the '80s)
04. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" -- Guns N' Roses (I remember being late to both class and work MANY times while waiting for the recorded-live video of this--from the Whiskey A Go-Go maybe?--on MTV in late '90/early '91. When the album version finally came out on Use Your Illusion II, I remember thinking that the added histrionics were an unncecssary distraction. But, the guitar rocks, and Axl's unique vocalizations still kill me.)
03. "Blowin' in the Wind" -- Neil Young (Let me set the scene: January 25, 1991, America is still embroiled in Bush I's Gulf War. Some friends and I have made the approx. 1 hour road trip from University of Illinois over to Illinois State University's Redbird Arena. After several years as a relatively intense fan, I am going to see Neil Young & Crazy Horse live in concert for the first time. Coincidentally, Neil is BACK in a BIG way, fresh off the releases of Freedom and Ragged Glory. Just a few songs in, and the rest of Crazy Horse drop back for a break. Sounds of air raid sirens and gunfire are piped through the PA system. Neil steps to the microphone alone, armed only with a feedback-drenched electric guitar. "Blowin' in the Wind"...In a word: P-E-R-F-E-C-T. That a similar performance was released a few months later on the live album Weld was just the cherry on top.)
02. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" -- Them (Van Morrison arranges, plays on, and sings this perfectly haunting Dylan cover. It was the greatest Dylan remake EVER...for a couple of years.)
01. "All Along the Watchtower" -- The Jimi Hendrix Experience (What can I say that hasn't already been said? Here it goes: quite simply, I still get a spine-tingling chill that runs up the back of my neck during the amazing wah-wah guitar solo, as it zips back and forth between the left and right speakers. Electrifying.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Top 50 Cover Versions of All-Time?

My brother emailed me this link some time ago, and it seems appropriate blog fodder. I wholeheartedly agree with the choice for #1. In fact, I have previously stated that I feel Jimi's version of "All Along the Watchtower" is the greatest remake ever.

I haven't been able to study the entire list, although I will say that the mere presence of Clapton's putrid take on "I Shot the Sheriff" (#43) undermines the lists' a BIG way.

Also, the Sex Pistols doing "My Way" makes the Top 5? I always thought that was an interesting novelty song, at best. A fun song to be sure. But, as a lark. A whim. Certainly not in my Top 5.

I need to do some research on #7 ("Woodstock"). There's no question that Joni Mitchell wrote it. There's no question that the CSNY version is considered definitive. However, I think the CSNY version actually beat Joni's first recorded version to release, which is interesting. Also, the article here states that Nash stole the song, which is a stretch to say the least. Joni, who chose to appear on The Tonight Show instead of performing at Woodstock, wrote the song based on conversations with Nash (and others who were actually there). I'd never read the situation interpreted as "stealing" before. Usually it's said that she gave her blessing. (Lord help me, I'm defending CSN. I must be afraid of Neil being considered guilty by association.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

33 1/3

Today, we will discuss briefly a most wonderful series of entertaining little books, the 33 1/3 series. I first discovered these little bundles of joy when my brother gave me #30 Paul’s Boutique as a gift. I think Rolling Stone got it right when they stated, “Ideal for the rock geek who thinks liner notes just aren’t enough.” Well, I’m most certainly a “rock geek,” and I simply looooove liner notes. So, there you go.

Now, I’m reading #18 Exile On Main St. This one was written by Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom. Check out this brilliant description from pp. 8-9, also featured on the back cover: “Exile is exactly what rock & roll should sound like: a bunch of musicians playing a bunch of great songs in a room together, playing off of each other, musical communion, sounds bleeding into each other, snare drum rattling away even while not being hit, amps humming, bottles falling, feet shuffling, ghostly voices mumbling on and off-mike, whoops of excitement, shouts of encouragement, performances without a net, masks off, urgency. It is the kind of record that goes beyond the songs themselves to create a monolithic sense of atmosphere. It conveys a sense of time and place and spirit, yet it is timeless. Its influence is still heard today. Keith Richards has said, tongue in cheek, the record ‘was the first grunge record.’”

This line totally cracks me up: “‘Royalty’s having a baby,’ was a refrain often heard from a sneering Keith Richards down in Nellcote, while Mick was off with Bianca during her pregnancy, concurrent with the recording of Exile on Main St.

More to come…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

WARNING: I have been coerced into switching to "New" Blogger. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

Also, Happy Valentine's Day to all, but especially to my special Valentine, Shelly (my loving wife). Now, back to work in lovely & scenic East Chicago, Indiana. And, me without my bulletproof vest...


Sunday, February 11, 2007

William F. Blowhard, Jr.

William F. Buckley concludes his latest column, the subject of which is his unwavering support of capital punishment, thusly: "It is a pity that arguments on the question are so often made by citing the number of people who are discovered, years later, to have been innocent. To attempt to devise a criminal justice system that absolutely ensures against mistaken verdicts is to guarantee the immobilization of justice."

Some might argue that the true pity is Buckley's callousness towards those wrongfully convicted.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Words Of Another Stones Fan

OK, so I know I said I'd be posting on the Stones, then seemingly ran out of steam quickly. Hey, circumstances unexpetedly changed a bit. So, I'm going to buy some time by borrowing the words of a passionate music fan. He posts under "WaldoQ" on a Neil Young fan list to which I'm subscribed. This was one entry in a recent Beatles vs. Stones debate, and was, at least in part, a response to someone who was somewhat dismissive of the Stones while describing the music of the Beatles as "GREAT ART" (in all caps).

"...As for the product- you may not consider the Stones' music great art (even in lower case); you may consider Salt of the Earth, or Dead Flowers to be only entries into the great book of songs; Jumpin Jack Flash and Gimme Shelter to be rollicking good tunes, and no more. I, for one, am grateful to the Stones for what I consider to be GREAT ART, because they went places the Beatles (and nearly anybody else with a major public image to lose) didn't dare go.

The Stones got down to the core- they embodied raunch, lust, sexuality, dirt, sweat, and fire- in short, rock n roll. They did not keep the gloves on, and they still don't. They took risks that the Beatles never dared take. And while the Beatles may have been able to sit in a glass booth for weeks and hammer out a nice piece of art that they could then put on display, the Stones created much of what came to define rock n roll: they gave it swagger, they gave it grit, they gave it defiance, they gave it honesty, and they kept giving it these things in person. Their live shows are STILL excellent. The Beatles preferred to stay at home. Didn't somebody say something about live music being better(1)?

Of all the things we know the Beatles were into, all the drugs and sex, all the political and social causes they cared for- how often did they brazenly put songs about those things on their albums, or even talk about them in public? The Stones sang "Let's Spend The Night Together" in 1967, they sang about drugs, they sang about sex, they sang about activism- they didn't ride the line. They made music about what mattered to them and to a lot of people without couching it in anything, and I've gotta say that music still sounds great 40 years later, even the newest of it. The Stones are the most pure form of rock- more than Elvis, more than Berry, more than the Beatles. They are it, in my opinion. The Stones ROCK!"

And, Haahnster says, "WELL PUT!!!"

(1) As this was posted on a Neil Young list, this is clearly a reference to Neil. For those who are unaware, Neil Young has repeatedly stated that live music is better. In fact, in the song "Union Man" on the Hawks & Doves LP, he uses the line "'Live music is better' bumper stickers should be issued."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I Stumbled Upon This Relic

Look what I found, kids! It's my old college ID photo!!!

Reason # 127,546 that corporate life sucks: I'm now expected to comb my hair.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This Is Post # 357...

This is post # 357 in the history of HH. This seems oddly appropriate, as I would like to point a .357 magnum at my temple and splatter my bloodied brain matter on the wall.

Actually, it's just a football game. I'm glad they made it to the Superbowl. I just wish they could've represented themselves better in the 2nd half. [Note: That means YOU, Rex, with your fumbled snaps and floating passes that looked more like punts...easiest interceptions in football history! And, also, a note to the coaches: Was there something about the 52-yard run that Thomas Jones gashed the Colts for that you didn't like? Hello. RUN THE DAMN BALL!]

Hats off to the Colts. If your team has to lose, it's probably best to lose to guys like Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, and Marvin Harrison. In other words, thank heavens it wasn't the Patriots!

Manning as MVP? Bogus. Clearly, it should've been Addai & Rhodes as Co-MVPs. But, whatever. They whipped our asses anyway. Memo to da Bears "D": Why did you save all those missed tackles for the freakin' biggest game of your lives?

Cedric Benson: BUST, it's official. Carries the ball twice, gets tagged twice: one fumble, the second time "Ooooooh, I'm hurt. My knee. My knee." B*llsh*t.

Note to the NFL: Feel free to book Prince as the halftime act EVERY year! He was excellent. How stoked are the Foo Fighters, sitting around eating nachos, and Prince busts out part of their song in front of a billion people on TV?!? Sweet.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Some Dude With A Ukelele Shames Clapton

Friday, February 02, 2007

Beware The Mooninite Threat

For The Record...

I do NOT believe it is racially insensitive for caucasians to drink malt liquor. (I'm partial to Mickey's myself.)

I do NOT believe it is racially insensitive for caucasians to drink malt liquor on or around the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

I, however, DO believe it is racially insensitive for caucasians to drink malt liquor on or around the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday while some are wearing "blackface."

In fact, I'll go on record as being against wearing "blackface" in general.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

YouTube - "Salt of the Earth"

STONES!!!! (Again)

My 9:00 AM meeting was (mercifully) cancelled. So, I thought I'd squeeze in another quickie (OHHH!!!!).

Over the next (I'm not sure how long, exactly), I will be posting quite a bit about the Stones. Other events (particularly if a certain game down in Miami goes a certain direction) might inspire unrelated posts. Otherwise, it's Stones time, people!!!

As some of you might recall, I did a mini-series of 4 posts a while back about what I dubbed the greatest "creative outbursts" in rock music history. [You can read them here: 4th place...3rd place...2nd place...Numero Uno] I prefaced the whole thing by giving the Stones albums pictured above an "honorable mention" as opposed to a spot in my final four, mainly based on the presence of 2 full-time songwriters in the Stones, as opposed to the largely solo songwriting efforts of my "Top 4."

HOWEVER, when I now shift gears into incredibly timeless, ultimately listenable, flat-out excellent albums, it's hard to top the 5-in-a-row (4 if you stick to studio-only) of Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out [Live] (1970), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile On Main St (1972). Not to mention, it's not like Goats Head Soup (1973) and It's Only Rock'n Roll (1974) are exactly could include them as well. One can argue greatness/influence of various groups (read: Beatles). However, when it comes to actually listening all the way through the albums, give me these Stones discs over Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt Pepper/"White Album"/Abbey Road any day!!!

Let's Drink To The Hard-Working People

'Mickboy' has done it again! He (finally!) set his sights on Beggars Banquet, one of the all-time classic Stones albums.

Our friend Keith Kennedy did a nice write-up on the original LP a while back (Click here--you'll need to scroll down to the entry from Friday, October 13, 2006). I'm too lazy to search for any other links right now, and I haven't the time to do a proper write-up of my own, either. So, for now I'll just tell you that the extras are cool. And, in the last 48 hours I've listened to "Salt of the Earth" about 2,467,327 times!!! The acoustic guitar intro, the lead-off vocals from Keef, Mick adding vocals, Nicky Hopkins just pounding the piano keys, Charlie's joining in with drums, the acoustic guitar continuing to be so in-your-face in the mix...BRILLIANT!!! "...Let's drink to the salt of the earth..."