Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm pretty good at this one

There’s tons of good websites to do this: Ryze, LinkedIn, Orkut, FriendCircles, Friendster, MySpace, etc. This isn’t the real world at all, but it represents who you know. Actually, meeting people in person is much better for your real social network.

Beautiful enough!

Nothing too fancy, but still simple and nice. It’s my Geocities website

No work yet, but maybe later… It’s not as nice as my blogs, but I did write the code from scratch.

This has been done for awhile!

I’ve gotten at least 3 or 4 times my usual number of hits to my blog, so I’m happy with that.

Plaxo and Birthday Alarm

Just a couple websites I signed up with to help achieve this goal. Hope it works!

Just did!

I’ve been having insomnia lately, but this time it actually helped me achieve this goal.

Road Trip

Me and my brother are planning to drive back down there today. I am happy to be able to see my sister, nephew, brother-in-law, mom, and cat today. My dad is already down there to visit my grandma. It’ll be nice to be home again, even if for a short while.

Test post

I am doing 43 things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I was there last month!

There was a Vegetarian Bistro Crawl for my Alumni Association, it was okay. I think I ordered the wrong dish, next time I’ll have to try something else. It’s not far from where I live, so I hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nick Jago of BRMC @ Northumbria, 10.16.05

Originally uploaded by nickpickles.
This is nice photo because he kind of looks like he's smiling here. Plus, it's usually hard to see Nick behind the drum kit. Either way, it's a very nice photo.

Monday, October 17, 2005

M Theory Photos, 2nd Annual Sonic Summer Bash, 8.13.05

This was the event I was pretty excited about a few months ago. I got the photos from a member of the Swervedriver mailing list. As much as I like Ride and Catherine Wheel, I somehow was a bigger fan of Swervedriver. Unfortunately, traffic was pretty bad getting down that day, so we missed half of Adam's set. I've heard some live acoustic mp3's of Toshack Highway before so I know what he sounds like unplugged. Anyways, it didn't make a huge difference since the store was too small and crowded for us to get inside. These photos are all inside and close up, which makes them all the more interesting. The photos me and my brother attempted to take from outside the store were pretty bad. It cleared out a little during Mark Gardener's set, but we were still outside. That was fine since there was free food.

Adam Franklin (Swervedriver/Toshack Highway)

Rob Dickinson (Catherine Wheel)

Mark Gardener (Ride)

I found these BRMC photos from a BRMC group on MySpace. There are actually four groups, and I joined them all! It's funny how someone on the BRMC forum said I was obsessed because I posted all those interviews yesterday. It's true, but I just said it's because I have a fansite. Actually, I probably started the site because I'm obsessed! I do like having all the information at hand, it's also been helpful in keeping my own concert dates organized. Plus, I enjoy reading my silly writing about all the festivals I went to in 2002! Going to a UK Music Festival was one of my silly teenage dreams that I put off until after college, but it actually came true! It was neat running into Robert at Leeds, but I didn't even want to bother him. The Welsh girl I'd met named Pip made me ask for an autograph. Then she called him a twat or a wanker for not saying anything! I think he just wasn't used to being approached by fans back then.

Robert and Peter @ the Garage, London, 8.22.05

Nick and Robert @ Virgin Megastore, London, 8.23.05

Peter @ Virgin Megastore, London, 8.23.05

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My undying love for Echo & the Bunnymen

I've been talking about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club so much, that I forget that I was and always will be a huge fan of Echo & the Bunnymen. This explains my screenname, which is loosely based on their Porcupine album. The title of this blog Heaven Up Here is also named after that Bunnymen album. Echo & the Bunnymen formed a year before I was born, so I obviously couldn't get into them until the early '90's when I first became a serious listener of music. Before that, I would just listen to whatever was on the radio - like everyone else.

My first Bunnymen album was "Ocean Rain" on cassette, which I probably picked up for the cover alone. It's a beautiful photo of Echo & the Bunnymen on a boat in a blue cave, but the music is what really blew me away. After that, I got the grey self-titled (breakup) album and Songs to Learn and Sing. Ocean Rain will always be my favorite, and it possibly is "The best album ever recorded" as it was originally advertised. Later, I got "Porcupine," "Crocodiles," and "Heaven Up Here" - each of which have some good songs, but aren't my favorites. I even got Ian McCulloch's 2nd solo album Mysterio and the Ian McCulloch-less "Reverbation" on cassette. I kind of liked Noel Burke's voice, but he could never replace Ian.

Some time in 1994, I learned of a new Ian McCulloch-Will Sergeant group called Electrafixion. The name was a strange combination of crucifixion and electrocution. In 1995, I heard on KROQ that they would be at a record store in Huntington Beach. This was during the grunge era, so their sound was influenced by Nirvana. I actually really liked their album Burned. I even wish their newer work were a little heavier, though I haven't gotten Siberia yet. So, the instore was pretty small. Ian and Will were very late, but still played a few songs acoustic. After that they did a signing, so I got a few of my albums signed as well as an acoustic guitar! My brother even made me take a picture with Ian McCulloch, though we never did develop the picture since it was in a disposable camera.

We didn't see their show at the Galaxy that same night, which I think was probably only $15. Later, when they reformed as Echo & the Bunnymen, I was really into the band and their comeback album Evergreen. I was always on their official website in college, listening to the rare and live tracks in the library. It's been 4 years since I last saw them in concert, I think my last one was soured by my brother's car getting towed because we parked where we shouldn't have. Here are the 3 concerts I attended:

December 8, 2001: Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs @ House of Blues, LA
October 27, 1999: Echo & the Bunnymen, Other Star People @ the Sun Theatre, Anaheim
November 14, 1998: Echo & the Bunnymen, Longpigs, Subcircus @ The Palace

I've missed them a few times in recent years, possibly due to lack of interest from anyone else wanting to see them with me. Anyways, I think this year on December 5th, I will finally get to see them again at the Fillmore! Echo & the Bunnymen have always been great about touring Orange County, which is so much easier to see them at than LA. I think they played the House of Blues in Anaheim on the last few tours, but I missed them. Well, reading the Ian McCulloch book "The King of Cool" and the Crystal Days boxset have gotten me all excited about them again. I think they've been playing b-sides like "Angels and Devils" in concert recently. That would be amazing!

I could go on and on about how much I love Echo & the Bunnymen, their lyrics and imagery, music videos, and Ian McCulloch's hilarious interviews. The King of Cool actually starts with a story of a girl who met Ian in 1985, and it's a little like mine since I've kind of felt his lyrics speak directly to me - even the song about cucumber, cabbage, and cauliflower! Yes, I am looking forward to Decemeber when I can once again "Lay down thy raincoat and groove."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rodney on the Roq, Indie 103.1 FM, KCRW

Leaders in Los Angeles Radio

September 26, 2005 

The American (rock) music industry is centered around Los Angeles and New York. According to the article "Who Killed Rock Radio?" in Blender Magazine, New York no longer has a commercial modern rock radio station due to Infinity-owned WXRK (K-ROCK) radio switching formats to classic rock. Radio is hugely influential on music today and this leaves Los Angeles radio stations as the main influence on modern rock music. Fortunately, Los Angeles has innovative stations and DJ's who have paved the way for quality music for years.

Rodney Bingenheimer has shaped the LA music scene since the 1970's and continues introducing his listeners to the best local and imported music from around the world. Indie 103.1 FM is a newer station that started just a couple years ago. It has since expanded from having no DJ's to having a number of specialty shows. KCRW 89.9 FM at Santa Monica College is possibly one of the most influential stations in the country, featuring various styles of music as well as National Public Radio and various talk radio shows.

People outside of the LA area might not know who Rodney Bingenheimer is. Most of today's KROQ listeners probably don't know who he is. Why? He's been a "cutting edge" DJ since 1976, being the first to play music by artist such as Coldplay, David Bowie, and the Sex Pistols. Rodney has been a fixture on the LA music scene as a DJ, journalist, club owner, and celebrity friend. but his famous friends and his experience in radio are not what makes him special. The 2003 documentary on his life "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip" only scratches the surface on his tireless search for new music.

Rodney is an unlikely figure to admire because he is still not the best DJ despite his years of experience. His voice is distinctive, but not in the usual professional DJ style. To this day, he still sounds nervous on the air. From listening to his show and watching the documentary, Rodney’s genuine goodness and love of music sets him apart from most industry people. He enthusiastically shares the good music that he finds. His show is now currently on Sunday nights from midnight to 3 AM on KROQ. To loyal fans and listeners, this is a harsh blow because this time slot pushes him to the margins of normal listening hours and he originally played much of the music which has made KROQ popular.

Websites have been made to support Rodney, including an online petition to give him back his old time slot from 7 to 10 PM on Sunday. Such a move would be nice for his listeners in Southern California, but a podcast for people who are not in the KROQ listening area would substantially increase his listening audience. There were "Rodcasts" set up on his Yahoo Group mailing list, but those seem to have disappeared already. Another site is Rodney on the Walk which raised $15,000 (with the help of KROQ's Rodney on the Walk-a-thon on Friday 6/17/05) to get him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As of 7/5/05, the Walk of Fame did not approve the application for Rodney to get a star this year. However, his supporters have already begun the nomination for 2006, which marks his 30th anniversary on KROQ.

Despite KROQ’s seeming indifference to Rodney’s legendary status at the station, recent upstart station Indie 103.1 FM clearly appreciates his contributions and have offered him any time slot he wanted. Rodney is grudgingly loyal to KROQ and is quoted saying, “Then I wouldn’t be Rodney on the Roq.” Despite this offer, Indie 103.1 FM is far from lacking DJ talent. The station features such well-known music industry figures, as Steve Jones (former Sex Pistols guitarist who does a free form lunch hour show),
Dicky Barrett (vocalist of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and host of the Mighty Morning Show, and Nina Blackwood (one of the original MTV VJ’s and host of New Wave Nation). Specialty shows include electronic music on Friday nights hosted by the Crystal Method, a Friday morning legal advice show, a Saturday morning import music show, reggae music on Sunday afternoon, and local music on Sunday nights.

Though Indie 103.1 FM produces many specific shows, listeners who had previously been turned off by competing station KROQ have been pleasantly surprised by the “indie rock” format in regular rotation on the station. Local publications, such as LA Weekly and Cerritos College’s Talon Marks raved about the station soon after it came on the air in mid-December 2003. The initial controversy about Indie was its association with media conglomerate Clear Channel. Online indie music magazine Pitchfork complained about Clear Channel “stealing our favorite underground music away from us” and “forcefeeding the public with incessant ads and crappier muzak.”

According to Talon Mark’s writer Patricia Rodriguez, Indie 103.1 FM is actually programmed by Entravision Communications, one of the largest Spanish-language broadcasting companies. They targeted a male audience by converting 103.1 from a dance station to alternative rock. Clear Channel Communications, owner of 9 stations including KIIS FM, does not own Indie 103.1 FM due to FCC's regulations to ownership limitation. They only sold its airtime to advertisers. LA City Beat writer Joe Piaseki reported that as of April 1, 2005, FCC regulators forced Clear Channel to drop the agreement because it already controls too much of L.A. commercial radio. The newly revised media ownership rules state that one company can have a controlling interest in no more than eight radio stations in the Los Angeles area. Indie’s broadcast as both KDLE out Santa Monica and KDLD out of Huntington Beach meant that Clear Channel had two stations too many. Despite the recent popularity of Indie 103.1 FM, commercial radio is not the only arena for quality radio in Los Angeles.

KCRW (89.9 FM in LA and Orange Counties) is a public service of Santa Monica College and a broadcaster of National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio Internation (PRI), and BBC. The station began in 1945 as a training ground for service men returning from World War II to be trained in broadcasting. In 1978, the station developed a mix of music, news, and talk radio. Today, the station attracts over 500,000 listeners every week. In addition to featuring live in-studio performances by new emerging artists, KCRW also offers cultural programs, local commentators, political analysis, and debate. KCRW is an early adopter of new technology. The station’s website has three program streams (a live broadcast, a 24-hour music stream, and a 24-hour news service), on demand listening, and podcasts of talk radio shows and in studio performances. The station also archives its talk and music programs with both audio and video streams.

Nic Harcourt, host of Morning Becomes Eclectic and the music director of KCRW since 1998, previously discussed emerging music on BBC Radio 1. Harcourt has been influential on music executives stuck in LA morning traffic. KCRW has promoted artists such as Beck, Coldplay, Dido, and Norah Jones. Harcourt’s show is a mix of Latin, Jazz, Pop, Adult Contemporary, and everything else. The evening shows feature a more electronic mix with Metropolis hosted by DJ Jason Bentley (who also works at Maverick Records). The early evening show is a dance exploration of “the pulse of urban life.” Chocolate City hosted by DJ Garth Trinidad continues the electronic beats of Metropolis with funked out bass and a soulful style.

KCRW is supported by 50,000 subscribers and broadcasts throughout Southern California and beyond, including the counties of Los Angeles, Orange County, Indio-Palm Springs, Ventura and Santa Barbara, Mojave and Antelope Valley, Ojai, Banning, Twenty-Nine Palms and Yucca Valley. Details Magazine named KCRW the “Best  Bit of Everything.” Subscribers have the chance to win tickets to concerts every 6 weeks and are eligible for fringe benefits in addition to whatever offer they received for subscribing to the station. KCRW has won many awards for its local and cultural programs including the George Foster Peabody Award, Ohio Awards, the Cindy, and the Major Armstrong. KCRW was twice named “Nation’s Best Non-Commercial Station” at the College Media Journal’s (CMJ) New Music Awards. In 1994, it was the first public station to be awarded a Crystal Eagle Award for community service from the Coro Foundation, a public affairs organization that trains individuals in leadership.

Los Angeles’s combination of an award-winning public radio station and new cutting edge commercial station offers a bright future for the music industry. Though veteran DJ Rodney on the Roq may not hold the influence he once held on his own station, he remains a respected figure to the many musicians he supported over the years, radio broadcasters, and the loyal listeners of his show.

Works Cited

About KCRW. 26 Sept. 2005. <>

Jeremy C. “Clear Channel Switches California Station to 'Indie' Rock:
Also tinkering with "unclear" channels featuring shitty reception,
mumbling DJ's.” Pitchfork: Daily Music News. 7 Jan. 2004. 26
Sept. 2005.

Chan, Liane. “Rodney on the Roq, an unlikely music legend.” It’s All In My Mind. 8 Jun. 2005. 24 Sept. 2005.

Indie 103.1 fm shows. 26 Sept. 2005. <>

KCRW, Wikipedia. 26 Sept. 2005. <>

Piasecki, Joe. “Indie 103.1 rocks on.” LA City Beat. 31 Mar. 2005. 26 Sept. 2005.

Rodriguez, Patricia. “Radio Review: Indie 103.1 F.M.“ Talon Marks. 28
Jan. 2004.  Cerritos College, CA. 26 Sept. 2005.

Sisario, Ben. "Who Killed Rock Radio?" Blender Magazine, Aug 2005: 55-57.

Sullivan, Kate. “Corporate Radio Doesn't Suck: Indie 103, loud and Clear Channel?”
LA Weekly, January 16 - 22, 2004. 26 Sept. 2005.

White, Thom. “Things Shaking at KCRW Radio.” Citizine Magazine. 20 Mar.
2003. 26 Sept. 2005.

Monday, October 10, 2005

An awesome weekend + BRMC @ Brick By Brick, 10/7/05

I've been waking up ridiculously early these days or not sleeping much. This was probably one of the best weekends of my life. Me and Jodi had a great time driving down from San Francisco together through LA to Orange County and then on to San Diego. She is the coolest person I've ever met, and it's been great hanging out with her all weekend. She put up with a whole lot from my mom, like when we visited my grandma at a nursing home. I forgot to offer her any money for gas, but I will email her about it later.

We might go see Depeche Mode with the Raveonettes on November 18th, though tickets are $85! It makes me sad that I missed the Raveonettes at the Great American for only $15. Also, she's totally up for seeing Echo & the Bunnymen at the Fillmore for $25, she thought it was a bargain! I agree since The Dandy Warhols are playing there also for $25 and they used to open for the Bunnymen when they toured as Electrafixion in 1995. My brother taped the Dandy Warhols on MadTV doing their single "Smoke It" and we were both amazed by how awful they were. I really thought they were a good band from their last album, I guess having lots of money to build a nice big studio doesn't always produce good music.

Aside from the shows, which were both excellent - though San Diego was clearly better, we also went to Amoeba in Hollywood. I didn't get anything, but she got a cool Anton Corbijn DVD with some excellent videos including a couple by Echo & the Bunnymen! Jodi is also going to help me transfer a bunch of music videos I've collected over the years to DVD.

Here is the review I wrote about the San Diego show:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Mark Gardener, Cat Martino
Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA
Friday, October 7, 2005

There must have been something in the air that night... it could have been that it was the 50th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Howl reading. Either way, this must have been the BEST show of B.R.M.C.'s U.S. tour! The only San Diego shows I'd been to before were incidentally B.R.M.C. at Cane's opening for Spiritualized and Mark Gardener with Rob Dickinson and Adam Franklin at M Theory in August.

Brick by Brick is the ideal venue for a BRMC gig with only 250 tickets and 299 room capacity. Needless to say, the place was packed completely and sold out. As we waited in line to pick up our tickets, we saw Spike and Peter outside the venue. We met some hardcore fans who had traveled from LA and SF for the show. We shared some concert going stories while waiting for the show to start.

Cat Martino was walking around before the show and got some compliments on her dress when she got on stage. She has a nice voice, which was accompanied by reverb pedals in a very uplifting sound. She was then joined by Mark Gardener and Danny (?). Mark was a member of Oxford band Ride, who Robert often mentions as a favorite band.

Mark was playing a 12 string acoustic guitar accomplanied by Cat on keyboard and Danny with an acoustic guitar. They both had egg shakers during various songs. The songs were mostly from his solo album These Beautiful Ghosts with a band called Goldrush. There were even a few classic Ride songs like the magnificent "Vapour Trail."

Peter came on stage next solo acoustic versions of Complicated Situation, Fault Line, and Devil's Waitin' - during which he was joined by Robert, Nick, and Spike, who's been playing some of the Howl songs with BRMC. The set list was similar to most of the recent shows leaning heavily on Howl and the first album, with the addition of "Rise or Fall."

Throughout the show, every song was played amazingly well with an absolutely mindblowing version of "Gospel Song" - during which Robert nearly crawled over the speakers at the edge of the stage. The band interacted well with the audience and each other with Robert and Peter playing towards Nick during a few songs.

After the show, we saw Nick playing pool. He made some nice shots and said something in Spanish to us. He mentioned how he hasn't figured out how he should sign his signature and said that Peter and Robert's signatures were much nicer than his.

I didn't mention in this review how much Peter was spitting on stage last night or how I was so close to the stage that Jodi thought Robert might hit me in the head with his bass! It was awesome and I got some great video of "Devil's Waitin'," "Rise or Fall," and "Open Invitation." I've put it up on my site in the public folder already, but it's taking forever to sync up to my iDisk. I've been having tons of problems with my computers lately, which makes my brother think I'm stupid for being a Mac user. It's still easier than dealing with viruses and spyware, which don't affect Macs at all. I got an email from Deelilah from the message board, so I wrote a long detailed email about myself and meeting BRMC a few times. I can forward that email to anyone who is that interested in it. Just leave me a comment with your email.

Oh, and I saw the coolest thing in the liner notes of Ride's Nowhere album. It's my name! If you've ever had a slightly differently spelled name, then you might understand how cool that is. I met Mark Gardener after the LA show and got him to sign all my Ride stuff, but he didn't say anything about my name when he wrote it on his new album. He was very nice, it was really cool to shake his hand. I guess now I should go see Oasis and track down Andy Bell to get my Ride and Hurricane #1 CDs signed. I've quote Hurricane #1 a few times in my various websites. I loved the VW Beetle commercials which had one of their songs as well as Spiritualized in them. That's some effective advertising, though I haven't gotten a Beetle. Maybe if they release a hybrid version and I have to live in So Cal again. I like living in San Francisco too much now, so that won't happen anytime soon.

Friday, October 07, 2005

B.R.M.C. @ Brick By Brick

The show is tonight, and I am very excited about going! I’m even looking forward to the long drive down…

I was there in August

For a free “in-store” at M Theory Music

Despite not actually being inside the store, we could still hear the music and we got free food and drink! I also had my share of free pins after the show…

I'll be there today!

I’m driving down with a friend for 2 more B.R.M.C. shows (the final dates of their current U.S. Tour!)... kind of crazy, I know… but that’s what it means to be an overly devoted fan!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mezzanine is my new favorite club!

This club is awesome, great music and I saw some excellent performances by The Double and M83 on Thursday night. It was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve been to, both bands were amazingly good. Here are some of the shows I plan to be at this month:

Upcoming Events at Mezzanine

Oct 05 The National with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Oct 17 Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) with Halou
Oct 21 Calla, Celebration
Oct 26 Minipop, Citizens Here & Abroad, LoveLikeFire (free)