Tag Archives: Memories

Talkin’ Bout My (Black Shirt) Generation

Chances are if you have been to a concert, you are like me and have purchased a concert shirt.  It’s a way to support a band while at the same time show everyone who it is you listen to.  It is almost a bragging right if you think about it – there is nothing more satisfying then sporting a concert shirt the day after the show.  If you are lucky, someone will notice it and ask you how the show was (face it, you love it when this happens).

It’s a form of expression.  People will judge you for the shirt you wear.  Trust me, I know this. 

The concert shirt, for me, has become almost a staple in my life.  I have tons of them and they all carry certain memories.  For the longest time, I made sure that I purchased a shirt at every show I went to.  It was an obsession, an addiction that I just adored.  After having counting over 400 shirts one day I decided it was time to chill on the addiction and even pack some up and donate to Goodwill.

I can not tell you how difficult that was for me… 

Sure, a lot of the shirts were ones I hadn’t worn in years and were by bands that were meaningless to me, but there were a few that held such fond memories I just could not let them go even though I knew I would never wear them again. 

I took about 50 or so of them and jammed them in a giant Rubbermaid tub and put them in my attic.  I’m no pack-rat, but I know sometimes you should not get rid of something when it holds a fond memory of a good time… 

I know I am not the only who shares this addiction / ritual.  There is at least one other person I know who does.  Her name is Sara and she started the blog Black Shirt Generation.  The site is great in that she shares the same love for the concert shirt but has turned it into a project, if not a mission, to find out all the fellow concert tee lovers out there as well as collect their stories.

Rather than sit here and tell you why she started it, I figured I would give her the honors; so Sara, take it away:

Black Shirt Generation is an idea that’s taken me some time to figure out.  A long time ago, someone, on some drunken night downtown, put a little idea into my head that one day I was going to “write teen anthems”.  Not believing him for a second, I quickly dismissed him…but I must admit, almost 10 years later, I still thought about it.

A few months ago, I was standing in my closet, trying to figure out what I was going to wear, and I started cracking myself up.  I have probably 100 black band t-shirts in my closet.  I only wear a dozen or so of them, and it STILL takes me forever to pick out one of them.

It got me thinking about how many other music fanatics were out there with the same issue.  Closets and drawers chock full of nothing to wear – but also full of memories and stories of days gone by.

From there, the ideas started coming in about maybe THIS is what I was “meant” to do.  This was going to be my outlet to the world.  It might not be a “teen anthem”, so to speak, but it’s definitely the voice of a generation.  My generation, my voice, my story, my memories…

That being said, I wanted the scoop on others’ takes on their love affair/obsession with music as well.  Punk rock, rock n’ roll, tattoos, booze, fighting, heartbreak – everything that comes with that uniform of black cotton with your heart and soul silk-screened on across the front. 

So I’m looking to you, your friends, their friends and anyone who wants to make it known why they love that holey, frayed shirt that was black at one point in time…and why you or they never got rid of it – even though it would never be worn again.

Thanks Sara.  Very cool idea.

Got a fond memory you want to share?  Head over to Black Shirt Generation and let her know!

Dirty Thirty Punk Rock Band

Cheers to Bad Religion who are celebrating their thirty year mark as a punk rock band.  To celebrate, the band offered a free download of live material this past week.  If you did not get it I was able to find this link that may help.  The live CD is incredible and is just a simple testament to all that even after three decades of being a band, they have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.  To prove that point Bad Religion are currently in the middle of recording an all new album.  Can you say The Awesome?

If for whatever reason you can not download it, head over to Spinner where they are streaming the album in it’s entirety.

You know what else is awesome and turned thirty?

The little yellow chomping head that eats ghosts after popping pills turns the big 3-0 on Saturday.  This will always be one of the greatest games ever created.  It was simple and to the point.  I remember when my father decided to take me to Randal Park Mall one crappy Cleveland winter when I was just a toddler and picked up the game.  If I am not mistaken he dropped about $70 on the 2-bit cartridge.

The version we got was for the Atari 2600 and it was nothing like the arcade version but we all played the hell out of it regardless.  I blame that game for starting my addiction to video games and still play it every once in a while.  The nostalgia that game brings is like no other.

Here, play it for yourself and bring back some memories…

Sans Label: Taxicab Racers (Chattanooga/Nashville)

Today’s Sans Label band comes from the beautiful Tennessee city of Chattanooga.

I know Matt is snickering right now.  Adam may be too.

Why?  (Story time…)

I am not sure if any of you remember but back in June I along with Matt and Adam ventured to Tennessee to attend Bonnaroo.  You can read about the Bonnaroo adventures here, here, here, and here if you would like to know the whole deal of the trip.

The thought of Chattanooga puts a sneer on my face and it has nothing to do with the attractive city at all.  It has to do with a major detour that was endeavored on the first day of Bonnaroo thanks to Matt and a band called the B-52’s.

It’s my fault, really it is.  If I was not such an ass to Matt this little detour never would have happened.

You see, while enjoying a free breakfast at the glorious Holiday Inn located in Kimball, TN I spotted a Chattanooga newspaper that had a picture of the B-52’s on the cover.  Knowing that Matt is an uber fan I pushed the paper in front of him and poked fun at the band.

I have nothing against the B-52’s by the way.  They are not my type of music but they happen to be one of Matt’s favorite bands ever.

So putting this paper in his face was a terrible mistake because his eyes lit up.  To make a long story short I dropped Matt’s ass off in Chattanooga and took myself and Adam to day one of Bonnaroo.  Some eight hours later I returned to Chattanooga and picked up Mr. Rock Lobster.

It’s true I was annoyed.  Anyone would be annoying to drive out of the way especially since it was really out of the way.  As annoyed as I was though I knew I made his day if not his summer by dropping him off by the river so he could see his band.

So when I hear the city of Chattanooga brought up in any conversation or read it in an email immediately my memories go back to the day where I was a taxicab driver for Matt.  It was worth it to see him happy and if I really did not want to do it, I would not have.  You can’t blame me Matt for putting up a fight.

Where am I going with this story you ask?

Well a couple weeks ago I received an email from a Chattanooga band called Taxicab Racers.

I laughed out loud when I read it.  Not because of their content or because they had a funny song.  Just seeing the words Chattanooga and taxicab in the same sentence was beyond hilarious to me.

Without hesitation I checked out the attached MP3.  I wanted to make sure that they had nothing in common with the B-52’s and they did not.

Taxicab Racers is a electronic / rock act started by Michael Roddy who later was joined by his friends Nathan, Adam, and Josh turning the mostly one man idea into more of a pop rock electronic act that heavily hints on New Order and Phoenix which in my book is perfectly ok with me.  I love electronic rock acts so to hear the similarities made me that much more interested.

The first song they sent me titled “Turnpike” comes from the four song EP the band recently released titled Turnpike.  The song not only has a great flow throughout but the thoughtful lyrics in the song almost become a little dreary to listen to as it’s clear the song is about confusion in relations.  This is a good chill out song to listen to when you are just having one of those days.

“Time And Place” did not strike me as hard as the previous track but still kept a happy vibe full of uptempo creating danceable qualities.  The remaining two songs proved that the band has come a long way from being a solo project to a four man team.  “Take It Easy” was almost techno at times with heavy synthesizers but kept the balance down enough where it was not a repetitious annoyance to listen to.  “Houses” had hints of Postal Service at times with the signing and simplicity to the song and I especially loved the drawn out ending.

With the band recently relocating to Nashville I have a good feeling that these guys will be taking their Turnpike EP and utilizing it in a positive way to create a full length debut album worthy of talking about.  Fans of indie rock with an electronic edge will be digging these guys in no time.

DOWNLOAD THIS!Taxicab Racers – “Turnpike”

Visit the band’s MySpace Page to check out the rest of the EP.

Memories of The Veil and looking forward to the Way Of Life

Sometimes I absolutely hate social networking websites.

I can care less about the constant status posting of some people on Facebook.  I do not need to know how many steps it took for you to get your mail this morning or how tired you are and wish you could sleep in some more.  Truth is some of these posts are just TMI, too much information.

I also love social networking websites too.

These days it is so much easier to reconnect with friends of the past without driving all over the city to find them.  There is no awkwardness in finding old friends on social networking websites.  All you have to do it request to be their friend and suddenly you have reconnected instantly.

In the case of this post I have reconnected with a old friend, rather friends and I owe it to the social networking site Facebook.

When I was just a young punk kid I had the pleasure of hanging around a high school band foursome called Witch’s Veil.  I remember going to a certain house I am sure a lot of my high school friends remember having good times at and would watch them play in the backyard garage.

Years later after high school and a break up, the band re-grouped with a most of the original members and called themselves The Veil.  By this time I had become pretty good friends with the band and hung out with them on many occasions.

At my young naive age I wanted nothing more than to be in their band but alas there was no room for me.  Jacob, Norm, Jamie, and Bryan were all great friends to me but they had control of the direction of the band and honestly they knew I could not play an instrument had my life depended on it let alone needed an extra person to their band. I could sing some, but they already had two great singers that took control of the songs.  I knew it was not happening but I never stopped thinking of how fun it would have been to partake in band practice.

I understood and never really bugged them about my short lived dream.  Still, I was fascinated with being around them so I hung out at their practice space and watched them do their thing.  I loved the process of a jam turning into a 4 minute rock bash complete with guitar solos and drum solos.

Still I wanted to be in that damn band so badly.  I remember one night I grabbed a tambourine and started keeping with the beat.  They guys got a kick of it and before I knew it I was labeled “Tambourine Man”.  From then on I would grab a tambourine and a beer at every practice and play along to all of the songs.  I became an unofficial member of sorts…

Soon they invited me on a  world tour and I would supply the hardest tambourine solos everyone had ever seen….no…that did not happen.

Hell, I did not even play live with them it was just a practice thing for kicks and giggles.  The truth is they did not need a live tambourine man, and I knew it.  They did however need a friend and a fan to support them.  I was pretty good at doing that.

They would invite me to their shows and I as well as a good group of friends would attend as many as we could.  I hung out with them before the shows, and drank with them after.  I was almost a roadie of sorts but never helped them move their equipment but did drink their beer.

The band later broke up because of indifferences but still remained friends throughout the years.  After all the foursome knew each other since high school.  They still remained friends but just did their own thing musically with some staying in bands and others starting families.

I did my best to keep in touch with them all but sometimes you just can’t help what happens over time.

When you grow old your life changes and everyone know that.  You meet new people, move in different directions, and sadly lose touch with good friends.  I lost touch with the members of The Veil but not completely.  Once in a blue moon I would run into them and they were just as happy to see me as back in the day.  The term friend for life comes to mind when I think of them.

In 2007 the world lost an amazing person as Bryan Collyard lost his life in an accident.  I can honestly say he was one of the more friendly people I will ever have had the pleasure to have in my life.  He and hung out a lot throughout the years before, during, and after The Veil.  He was a good man and everyone who knew him would say the same thing.

I heard rumors of the rest of the band getting together after Brian’s passing and jamming out.  A couple of weeks ago Jacob messaged me on Facebook letting me know that the band regrouped and were going to be playing a show.  Someone who I have not kept in touch with for years found me online and informed me of plans with the rest of the band.

Jacob informed me that he, Norm, Jamie, and friends created Way Of Life after jamming out a bunch of times after Brian’s passing.  The remaining members of the band knew that Brian wanted them to go on and after two years of intense jam sessions they decided to start playing out live.

This Thursday Way Of Life will be playing at the Beachland Ballroom at around 8:30pm.  I will be in attendee and would not miss this for the world.  Tickets are only $5.00.

To get a small taste of their music head over to their MySpace page.

Band Bio:

Way of Life is a “Straight up Rock n’Roll” band in the vein of the Stones, G n’R, and Social D. Norm, Jacob, and Jamie originally played in the popular Cleveland 90’s band The Veil, regularly selling out venues such as the Odeon and Peabody’s and opening for national acts such as Creed and Days of the New. James Genero has also been a long time Cleveland musician.

In the original band, Jacob played drums, Scott played bass, Jamie sang, and Bryan Collyard played guitar. After the passing of their loved long time friend and guitarist Bryan in January of 2007, the three, without really much effort at all, started getting together and ‘jamming’ some of the old tunes they use to play together. Being a group of friends that enjoy getting together by a good camp fire and breaking out the acoustic guitars and hand drums and having jam sessions, they in this case also did so, getting together at the houses, the three all playing acoustic guitars and singing the old songs. After getting together a dozen or so times, they realized it felt good and somehow was just right- they liked the positions they assumed instrumentally, thus deciding to keep those roles and seek out a drummer and bass player. They have found the perfect bass player and drummer.

After two years in the making, Way of Life is ready to come out. Way of Life stands for exactly what the Cleveland music scene is; a Way of Life…………