Monday, December 17, 2007

Slash's Autobiography

I'm one of the biggest Guns N' Roses fans in the world, and basically started playing guitar because of Slash, but I was a little underwhelmed. Not because it wasn't well written -- that wasn't the case -- but mainly because Motley Crue have already done the definitive L.A. metal autobio.

While I'd rather listen to GNR in most cases than the Crue, I rate "The Dirt" higher than "Slash" for a few reasons.

One, it came out first, and completely raised the bar for tell-alls about sleazy metal band behavior. There have been other books about bands raising hell -- the Led Zep bio "Hammer of the Gods" is probably seen as the standard bearer -- but most of those books, "Hammer" included, face some serious challenges to their authenticity, none of which have been leveled at Motley. Frankly, if it hasn't already, "The Dirt" is probably going to replace "Hammer" as the one that critics refer to most often in the future for a while when referencing historic rock debauchery.

I'm not saying that the Crue seemed crazier than GNR, did more drugs, drank more drinks, etc., but other than his alcohol intake at the peak of his alcoholism (almost a gallon of vodka during the day followed by shots of whiskey and beer chasers all night), there wasn't much that made me raise an eyebrow Slash's book.

Also, the Crue tome is also more effective in that it presents the perspective of each member of the group, whereas Slash's book is a more conventional autobiography that just has his take on his career. Slash deserves a certain amount of credit for noting that Axl has his own take on things every time he blasts Axl's selfishness that ultimately led to the demise of the band in everything but the name. But I was left wondering what Axl would have said...or what Steven Adler or Izzy Stradlin or Gilby Clarke would have had to say.

Another disappointment is that you get very little insight into the music, beyond some of the obvious stuff ("My Michelle," in case it wasn't obvious, is about a girl whose dad worked in the pornography business and mom o.d.'d. But you probably already knew that if you had ears to listen to the music or eyes to read the lyric sheet). Even though Slash wrote a lot of the music, it's not necessarily too informative to read something like "Me and Duff wrote that one while jamming in Chicago," or whatever. I guess that for the most part we'll have to wait for Axl's book...hope it comes out faster than "Chinese Democracy."

One interesting tidbit in this area though is the origin of the "Where do we go now?" bit in "Sweet Child of Mine" coming from a discussion in the studio of where to take the song, not of, say, where the relationship with said girl might be headed.

All that said, the book accomplishes what Slash set out to do with it -- set some memories to print in case he forgets them later, and explains to all of us the hassle of dealing with Axl Rose and thus why we shouldn't ask him "dude, when are you getting the band back together?"

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Insane Cost of Autographs

Just read on the Boston Globe site that Jacoby Ellsbury is signing autographs tomorrow -- cost is just $125 for him to sign a baseball or photo, and $150 to sign a bat or a shirt. In each case, you supply the item.

I can see this going on if ALL of the money is going to charity, but there's no mention of that. On one hand, I can understand the frustration of a celebrity who by signing an ordinary item with little value turns it into something worth much more, and doesn't get a cut. But these guys make millions -- Jacoby might not have his yet, but with his recent signing up with Scott Boras, they're clearly on the way. And in the mean time, I'll bet his contract with the Sox more than pays the rent.

I'm getting a little tired of the Globe and other media outlets covering the player's salaries -- and team profits -- in an exhaustive, breathless fashion, while rarely taking up the cause of the fan. More on that another time.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Santana Sweepstakes

Am I the only one who thinks it's remotely possible that the Sox have been out of the running for Johan Santana for a while now, but that the team and Boston Globe are colluding to feed the perception that it could happen at any moment in order to drive up hits on the Globe site?

Given the 17% stake that the paper has in the team, is this harder to believe than the idea that the teams have really been going back and forth for the past week or whatever?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Random Things I've Been Obsessing Over

1) Those asinine cell phone commercials with the smirky youngsters who blab about needing a phone that works in some smashing together of several cities. If I had three wishes, one would definitely be to punch every single one of those actors in the face so hard that the writers who came up with the commercials felt it.

2) Why did Black Sabbath make a huge shift from slow, doomy metal godliness to fast, generic L.A. metal (not that there is anything wrong with that) when Ronnie James Dio joined? Seriously, the music is almost unrecognizable as Sabbath when Dio joined. Say what you will about Sammy-era VH, but Eddy sounds like Eddy, even if not the same Eddy as before, if that makes any sense. I would normally chalk it up to a switch from pot to coke, but Sabbath had already made their LA coke album, in Los Angeles of course, with Vol. 4, which features the tip of the hat to coke with "Snowblind," so unfortunately I can't necessarily blame LA for this...

3) While it was romantic for Stevie Ray Vaughan to sleep with his Strat, was that really comfortable? Really?

4) And speaking of SRV, which is funnier -- people paying $8,000 for the limited edition "Lenny" Strat that is a replica of a guitar purchased at a pawnshop for $350 in 1980, or people spending $250 or more on replica cigar box guitars that are supposed to be like the ones that poor bluesmen started with? I say its a toss up -- the Strat is more expensive, but the cigar box guitars are just mindblowing....I would love to go back in time 60 years and tell the guys in the Delta that couldn't afford the cheapest of guitars about that one...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Et Tu, Papelbon?

Remember when the Sox were trying to get A-ROD and dish Nomar at the same time, and one of the Red Sox -- Kevin Millar, wasn't it? -- said in an interview when it looked like a done deal that the deal sounded great and he'd probably rather have AROD than Nomar at short, and Nomar got all hurt?

How would you feel if you're Jon Lester or Coco Crisp, and you have Papelbon not only saying he likes the idea of the deal for Santana, but that Ellsbury is the one untouchable guy here? And that while the young players have promise, that you don't know if they can be on a championship team, especially when Lester won a Series game?

Pap was in a tough spot though. Other than no comment, there's probably not much to say there and not hurt anyone.

Anyway, the deal is probably a good one if it leaves out Jacoby and Clay Bucholz. But for some reason, my New England pessimism has me worried that Santana would come here and then blow out his arm or something.


Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon likes the idea of trading with the Twins and having Johan Santana on his team next season.

“I like it,” said Papelbon on sports radio WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan show this morning when he was asked about his thoughts on a possible trade that could send center fielder Coco Crisp, lefthander Jon Lester, shortstop prospect Jed Lowrie, and righthanded pitching prospect Justin Masterson to the Twins for Santana, Minnesota’s prized lefthanded ace.

“Here’s how you gotta look at it, it’s simple, you put together a team to try to win a championship every offseason right?” Papelbon said. “OK, if you can do that, and obtain a guy that could help you do that, which you know he can help do that, you do it. Yes, you do have a lot of faith in these young kids, but whoever may be in the equation as a young kid, you don’t know what they’re gonna do at a big-league level. You don’t know if they’re capable of being on a championship club. You know that with Santana.”

While Papelbon seems OK with sending teammates Jon Lester and Coco Crisp packing for Minnesota, he’s hesitant to part with rising star Jacoby Ellsbury.

“No, you keep him,” Papelbon said.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No More Office?

I read something somewhere this morning about how NBC is out of new episodes of "The Office."

While I realize that being a scab is uncool, I'm willing to offer my services to write the show -- for a price, of course. I'm willing to forgo residuals on DVDs, etc.

Here' s a sample of what I have to offer:

PAM: Michael, corporate just called and said they want to move up the meeting in New York. They want to do today.

MICHAEL: That's what she said.


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Trouble with Red Sox Fans...

I'm hardly the first person to suggest that Red Sox fans have been spoiled by the team's success in 2004. But it never really bothered me until this weekend, when I was strolling outside Fenway and soaking in the Sox/Yankees atmosphere with my favorite sports writer.

Seeing and hearing the fans on the street and in the nearby bars set some thoughts in motion that I sputtered to express to Dan, but finally have become a little clearer to me.

What bothers me the most about the change in mentality of Sox fans is that they now expect the team to win the World Series every year. I'm not saying that I miss the days of waiting for the inevitable choke -- I definitely don't. But I thought that the Sox victory in 2004 would have simply erased the assumption that a collapse was inevitable, making it easier to relax and enjoy the action.

I did not want nor do I now enjoy this new attitude surrounding the Sox. The Globe sports writers, perhaps because 17% of their paychecks or whatever come from the Sox, haven't done much to quash it, as most of them have perpetuated the notion that the Sox would be going all the way this year, ignoring the collapses of even the past two years.

As an aside, am I the only one who is disturbed by the Globe's hawking of Sox merchandise through its own online store -- advertising is one thing, but this seems a little over the top when the sale of such merchandise directly benefits the paper's bottome line, and doesn't help to dissuade those who speculate that the writers give the Sox management an easy time because of the paper's stake in the team or whatever.

What Sox fans should have taken from '04 was a lesson never to give up, particularly after the dramatic comeback against the Yankees. That, coupled with the flipside of that coin from '03, '86, '78, etc, should have provided a healthy balance regarding the whole it ain't over til it's over thing.

Instead, the fandom is basically a mirror image of its Bronx counterparts, with slightly better accents.