Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stage Fright

Rick Danko has always been my favorite member of the Band. Richard may have been a better singer. Robbie was a better songwriter. Garth was a better musician. But that heartbreaking crack in Danko's voice will get me every time.

These two videos are from March 1st, 1991, on CNBC's "Real Story". Watching Danko here, I feel a little sorry for him. He patiently answers lame questions from a hack TV host. He sings into a crappy microphone, trying to get a few people to sing along. He soldiers on.

I missed a chance to see Danko play live, shortly before he died in 1999. He was at a club on Clement Street in San Francisco. I couldn't believe he was playing such a tiny place. And I could have walked there but didn't make it for some reason.

In his book, This Wheel's On Fire, Levon Helm blames Robbie Robertson for Danko's death at age 56. Helm rails bitterly at Robertson throughout the book, claiming he and the other Band members were screwed out of songwriting royalties.

But the hell of it is, Rick still died with his money in their goddamned pockets. That's the hell of it. If Rick's money wasn't in their pockets, I don't think Rick would have died because Rick worked himself to death. Rick liked to live with his family the way they liked to live, and to live that way he had to work all the time.

I know he's in a better place and all that bullshit. My beef is that he didn't have to be there yet - not at fifty-six years old. Rick worked too hard. He wasn't that old and he wasn't that sick. He just worked himself to death. And the reason Rick had to work all the time was because he'd been fucked out of his money.

I hope that's not true. I hope at least part of the reason Danko was still out there touring and playing music was because he loved it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama in the Comics

Our new president is apparently a Marvel guy. Barack Obama has said he collected Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comics when he was growing up. Now the comics industry, recognizing a fellow geek, is making Obama the star of many comic books.

Image Comics especially seems to have embraced Obama. He's appeared on three of their covers, and he won the all-important endorsement of the Savage Dragon during the campaign. Marvel got into the act when Spiderman swung by the inauguration festivities. Spidey takes down an Obama imposter, and gets a fist-bump from the new president.

Considering the challenges Obama is facing, he's probably going to need a few superheroes on his side.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Left of the Dial

Here's a short snippet of a radio interview I did with the Replacements in 1985. This was recorded backstage at the Bowery in Oklahoma City. Everyone was very drunk. When I or my friend Bill asked a question, the first response was usually, "fuck you!". Then Paul Westerberg would try to give us an answer. It was a good old time. In this clip they talk a little shit about Alex Chilton.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Holy Crap! "Crossed" is one twisted comic book. This is almost your standard zombie apocolypse scenario, but these zombies are apparently smarter and hornier than the George Romero variety. Crossed is published by Avatar Press, written by Garth Ennis with artwork by Jacen Burrows.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Drop the Big One...See What Happens

Here are a few scans from a 1955 civil defense pamphlet, with instructions for residents of Portland, Oregon in the case of a nuclear attack. Evacuees will find "reception areas" near Hood River, Sandy, Estacada, etc. I hope they'll be serving stiff drinks.

With God On Our Side

Here are a couple scans from the latest issue of The Umbrella Academy. The Dark Horse comic book is written by Gerard Way, with artwork by Gabriel Ba. The man on horseback is apparently "God", and he looks a lot like Bob Dylan.