Category Archives: Eye Opener

Story Of The Year Pay Tribute To The Troops

Recently pop punk rockers Story Of The Year released a very heartfelt video for their song titled “Terrified”, a song off of their 2008 release The Black Swan. This is one of those songs that can bring some tears to your eyes and the video just adds even more potential.  With Independence Day this weekend the band recently created the video in honor of all the men and women who are or have served in the armed forces.

The band talks about the video:

“The video for “Terrified” is pretty much a direct interpretation of the lyrics,” explains singer Dan Marsala. “A story of a husband who is off at war, scared of the fact that he might not ever make it home to his wife and family, and a pregnant wife who is left at home, not knowing if she will ever see her husband alive again. It is an extremely touching subject because there are hundreds of thousands of families in America going through this exact scenario as we speak. It has to be one of the most terrifying situations that any family could ever experience. I think the video is a great representation of the story told in the lyrics and it is our tribute to all the families who suffer through this situation every day.”

“What excites me the most about this video,” adds guitarist Ryan Phillips, “is that it takes an enormous issue our generation is facing, the war in Iraq, and instead of getting political we honed in on the human aspect of the situation.”

Story Of The Year – “Terrified”

This pop-punk ballet got me going a little as one of my friends / co-workers who was serving overseas was injured thanks to a roadside bomb in Iraq.  As I will not reveal his identity for personal reasons I can tell you that the kid’s life will be changed forever and he is currently in Washington D.C. at a hospital.  He will survive but will never be the same.  He is a brave man for doing what he did and I am so glad he was able to return to the states to his family.  I just wish it was not because of the injury.

My thoughts go out to him and his family on a speedy recovery.

Danger Mouse And Sparklehorse Team Up With David Lynch

Are you scratching your head about this?

David Lynch, Sparkle Horse, and Danger Mouse
David Lynch, Sparkle Horse, and Danger Mouse

Danger Mouse has teamed up with Sparklehorse and David Lynch creating an album that may never be officially released.

Still scratching that noggin’?

Just listen to the album then already streaming in its entirety on  The head scratching will stop some.  This is a really interesting concept album of sorts.

Read on about this interesting idea of an album:


May 15, 2009 – When the first cryptic bits of news about Dark Night of the Soul began trickling in earlier this year, it all sounded too good to be true. Though the whole project was shrouded in mystery, it appeared that Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous, two of the most inspired artists making music today, were collaborating on a new album. That alone was enough to get our geek gears spinning with excitement. But there was an unusual twist that few of us at NPR Music could make sense of: Director David Lynch was somehow involved.

It all started back in March, at the South by Southwest music festival and conference. A number of us on the NPR Music team had noticed strange posters around downtown Austin, Texas, that read “Dark Night of the Soul.” They looked like movie posters and had David Lynch’s name on them, alongside names of some of our favorite artists, like Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse, Vic Chesnutt, Jason Lytle and more. We wondered if it was some sort of musical film.

Soon after our Austin trip, NPR Music received copies of the mysterious posters in the mail. No return address. Someone was messing with us. I tried to find out more, but had zero success. Then, weeks later, I finally got a note from a publicist with all the details we’d been waiting for.

It turns out Dark Night Of The Soul is an album and the songs were written by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, though the myriad singers featured on each track also had a big hand in composing and producing the work. The album was initially going to be packaged with a book of photos taken by David Lynch. But now there’s word that the music may never be officially released at all.

An unnamed spokesperson for Danger Mouse says that “due to an ongoing dispute with EMI” the book of photographs will “now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: ‘For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'” When contacted, EMI declined to comment and wouldn’t confirm whether the label is even involved in the project.

You can order the book, sans music, from the official Dark Night Of The Soul Web site. In the meantime, you can hear the entire album here on NPR Music as an Exclusive First Listen.

I’ve listened to the record all the way through at least a dozen times, and can confirm that Dark Night of the Soul delivers in every way you’d hope for. It’s beautiful but haunting, surreal and dark, but sometimes comical and affecting, with ear-popping, multilayered production work. It just gets more mesmerizing with every listen.

In addition to Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, other artists appearing on Dark Night of the Soul include James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

Check out the Dark Night Of The Soul official website where you can pre-order the book associated with the release full photography and a blank CD-R.  The blank CD-R is there for you the reader/listener to add whatever music you see necessary.  Freedom of choice.  I like that.

I would rather see this entire album be released but that shall be determined.

For now head over to where they are streaming Dark Night Of The Soul and see what the fuss is all about.

Track Listing:
1. “Revenge” (featuring The Flaming Lips) – 4:52
2. “Just War” (featuring Gruff Rhys) – 3:44
3. “Jaykub” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:52
4. “Little Girl” (featuring Julian Casablancas) – 4:33
5. “Angel’s Harp” (featuring Black Francis) – 2:57
6. “Pain” (featuring Iggy Pop) – 2:49
7. “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” (featuring David Lynch) – 3:10
8. “Everytime I’m With You” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:09
9. “Insane Lullaby” (featuring James Mercer) – 3:12
10. “Daddy’s Gone” (featuring Mark Linkous and Nina Persson) – 3:09
11. “The Man Who Played God” (featuring Suzanne Vega) – 3:09
12. “Grim Augury” (featuring Vic Chesnutt) – 2:32
13. “Dark Night of the Soul” (featuring David Lynch) – 4:38

UPDATE:  Looks like EMI bitched out and canceled the two videos below that I posted.  I swear if this album is not released then fingers should be pointed at EMI for reasons why the music industry is struggling.  I listened to the stream 3 times now and think the album is brilliant and may be one of my top 10 for 2009.

Do yourself a favor and check it out before EMI sucks harder and pulls the stream from

NOT an official video, but still pretty entertaining:

I also found this interesting site that I will not mention what it is about but it may interest you.  I am not sure how long it will even stay up…

CKY Sneak Peek / True Story

This to me is exciting news…

Roadrunner Records and CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) are bringing their fans an early sneak peek of their new album, Carver City, with a FREE mp3 download of “Hellions On Parade” starting on 4/15. The digital single goes up for sale on 4/21 but you can  hear it first at and!  Just visit the page and supply your email address and you will get the download in return…

I’ve have been a longtime fan of CKY and I have Bam Margera‘s CKY skate videos to thank for that.  Back in 2000 a kid I worked with at Borders found out I liked skateboarding and made me a VHS tape that had Landspeed : CKY & CKY2K on it.  I remember taking that tape home and watching it twice.  Once for the shock factor and hilarity and the second time to find out more about some of the music that was chosen for the soundtrack.

One band in particular on the videos was CKY.  For those of you who may not know, CKY is a band that Bam Margera’s older brother Jess drums for.  The band caught my ear in a good way and before I knew it I was doing everything I could to find their CD.

It’s been 4 years since the band last released new material so needless to say I am really looking forward to their new material.

While I am on the subject I might as well tell you all a little story about stupid ol’ me…

I think it was October 2002, in fact I am pretty sure it was then.  CKY came to Cleveland and I was overexcited to finally see them live.  They played Peabody‘s in Cleveland with Atreyu and other bands on a week night and I made sure I bought 2 tickets seeing how I missed them the previous time they played at Blossom Music Center opening for some band that does not come to mind.  For all I know they played Cleveland even before then but I missed it…  The point being, I finally got to see this band that I quickly became a huge fan of.

It turned out that CKY brought along their friends Ryan Dunn and Rake Yohn from Jackass fame and being the generous guy I was I bought them drinks.  A lot of drinks.  I also drank a lot and I mean A LOT.  Drinking with people on shows I adore is fun.  Forgetting how much I actually drank before I left was not fun; more on that in a second.

I befriended former CKY touring bassist Vernon Zaborowski that night who kindly introduced me to the band before their show (more on him at the very end of this blog).  We chatted and drank and drank some more.  I felt like I was a rock star that night…woo.

Let me stop here.  I am pretty sure the following clip is an exact portrayal of how I was…

I’ve learned that when you drink a lot you do not act how you think you do…  For all I know I could have been annoying the hell out of the band.  I know drunk people annoy me these days and I don’t even drink anymore!  Point being, I am pretty sure I was making an ass of myself that night.

Throughout the night I hung around the bar with Ryan Dunn, Rake Yohn, and the lead singer of Atreyu even, who by the way was really nice as well.  I don’t even think I left the bar stool while CKY played.  I was too busy talking and sharing drinks with Ryan Dunn and Rake Yohn.  I watched the band from afar and kept to my debauchery.

I do remember CKY owning the night.  They sounded amazing live and had more energy on stage than I had seen in any band for years.  The fans, or CKY Alliance, were full forced as well surrounding the stage and singing along with fists in the air.  It was indeed a rock show that night.

After the impressive show my friend and I were invited upstairs to hang with CKY some more.  One of the members, I think it was Chad Ginsburg, later asked me if I was ok to drive home when we were saying goodbye.  I thought I was, my friend who went with me thought I was too…

I should have listened to Chad Ginsburg because apparently I was not.

That night I got my first, only, and last DUI.  I honestly thought I was ok to drive or else I never would have gotten behind the wheel.  I was not too far from home when I was pulled over.  When I got out of the car I suddenly felt real drunk.  Being the honest guy I am, I admitted drinking and when I felt myself stumbling I just gave up and was arrested.

I regret my poor decision in life and paid my fines, did my time, and moved on with life being a little smarter with how I do things.

A couple years later CKY returned to Peabody’s and the band remembered me.  Chad Ginsburg asked me if I ever made it home that night.  When I told him no he, rightfully so, laughed and took me back to tell the rest of the band.  We had a good laugh at my expense.

True story.  I am an idiot, got hammered with CKY, and got a DUI as a result.  Let this be a lesson to you kids.  If you want to get hammered with a band, go ahead, but make sure you have a sober friend who will drive your drunk ass home.  It is a lot cheaper.

Speaking of cheap.  How about free videos?

I was wondering what ever happened to Vern and found out he is currently in a band called Eastern Conference Champions.  Check them out on their MySpace page.

Eye Opener: Heavy Metal In Baghdad – Documentary

While away this past week I finally caught the rockumentary about one of the only metal bands in Baghdad and their struggle with following their dream.  I kept seeing reviews and positive comments about Heavy Metal In Baghdad, a documentary about a band playing forbidden music in a war-zone also know as Iraq. Trust me, this was something I am glad I watched and any fan of music should check this out as it will make viewers realize how lucky you have it here in the USA.

The program surrounded the band Acrassicauda (Latin for “Black Scorpion”) and followed them through their struggle to do what they loved to do, play metal.  Inspired by bands from the United States such as Metallica and Slipknot they attempted to start their own band in 2001.  The band was only able to play three shows before the war in Iraq started and soon thereafter the band faced accusations of being devil worshipers and at times had to live their lives in secrecy to save their lives.

During the three years this documentary was filmed bans were created by the clerical council forcing the band and fans to cut their hair, not wear Western attire (American clothing), and end “music-filled parties and all kinds of singing”; basically the band was forced to quit or deal with consequences. Insurgents and religious fundamentalists would not hesitate to take their lives if the band or fans were seen in public and the documentary clearly shows the efforts made by the band to risk their lives and also live their dream. Through power cuts to stop the band from playing to avoiding death daily, this was a first hand look at the struggle they faced.  Just hearing them talk about the war and the attempts of others stopping them showed how determined they were to continue.

Weeks would go by at times before vocalist/guitarist Faisal Talal, guitarist Tony Aziz, bassist Firas Al-Lateef and drummer Marwan Reyad would even get to see one another let alone practice. Constant threats and even a missile hitting their practice space did not hinder Acrassicauda who claimed to be the only Iraqi metal band in existence.

The documentary really sucked me in as directors/journalists Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi traveled to Iraq to find the band and interview them while in turn have their own close calls with local militants.  Upon arriving to Iraq at one time the journals were told to expect to be shot at.

The journalists take their dangerous surroundings in stride with most of the time being held in a hotel just outside the war areas for safety. When they travel they are accompanied by armed guards and wear bulletproof vests. While filming gun shots and bombing can be seen and heard in the background during the active war. Their real-time reporting only made Heavy Metal In Baghdad that much more interesting.

Eventually the band flees to another country becoming refugees to save their own lives.  The difficult choice was a smart choice for them.  Eventually the band meets up with the journalists once things calmed down a bit and candidly talked about the chaos they lived in. With everything going on they did not give up their dream but rather put it on hold.

The band, once settled, was able to play a live show in one of the countries they fled to and I must say the people who showed up really showed their love to the band after a few songs into the show.  All the hell this band went through was rewarded by cheers and applause by others who share the same common love for a said forbidden genre of music.

You would think that the band has a happy ending and plays sold out shows at metal clubs and recorded a platinum selling CD.  The happy ending at the end of the documentary was the band saving their lives and continually fighting for what they wanted to do.  At the end they were in small living quarters and had sold their equipment just to pay for rent.  Since they were refugees it was difficult for some of the band to acquire jobs.  Not what I expected to see but it made sense.

With war going on during the filming of this documentary I could only think of how easy I have it living in the United States.  The interviews of the band showed how hard it is for them to be a metal band in Iraq and even harder to be a refugee.  Their love for metal was more of a secret as they did not want to risk their families or their own lives.  It was truly sad to see their expression cut by others.

In the United States I can wear what ever I want, play any music I choose, and roam my streets without worrying about being executed or caught in crossfire of a seemingly never ending war. I am lucky that I do not have to flee my country to save my own life for my beliefs and do not have to sell my own belongings just to pay a month of rent because I am a refugee. Sometimes I forget how good I really have it here.  The members of Acrassicauda did not have this luxury by any means.

I did learn after viewing the program via the movie’s website that the band was eventually relocated to New Jersey of all places.  Looks like the band finally got that happy ending they deserved.

Here is a blog from the band dated 02/09/09:

Friends, fans and family… as many of you heard lately we made it to the States, all four of us.

After 8 years of waiting and struggling it feels good now that we all made it and we’ve got high hopes for the future that maybe after all what we’ve been through it’s time to become 4 musicians instead of 4 refugees and finally to stand on stage steps away from everybody that helped us and supported us and believed in the band and its quest.

We’re finished being in purgatory not knowing what’s next, tormented by the bad thoughts of not being able to finish what we started 8 years ago. We were so afraid to let our dream go, so afraid to let it slip away and get sucked in to the bureaucratic black hole by the people that tell you what to do and what not to do, but I guess we were blessed cuz we had you on our side. Each and every one of you brothers, sisters, wives and husbands, moms and dads, friends and our idols whoever that might be stay true to who you are, you are the reason that we wanted this dream to come true even when it felt impossible cuz we felt that every one of you guys wanted it just like us (or maybe more).

From the bottom of our hearts, that pump every bit of iron and Metal into our veins, we salute you no matter who you are… Arabic, American, German, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Norwegian, Danish and many more. I have seen many people from all over the globe getting under the flag of metal and music in general and becoming one. We just had an idea, no more, but you made it happen, you are the true inspiration. Many times we sat and read your emails and comments and many times I saw some of the guys in Acrassicauda getting tears and space out for many minutes looking at your emails.

Now that we all sit and think about our future as a band we know that every thing that we had been through in the past years of our lives was totally worth it. We set out goal and now we know what is worth living for and what is worth to dying for.


Here’s the trailer to the documentary now available on DVD: