Flangers! Phasers! Fuzz! How Misusing Gear Gave Birth to Your Favorite Guitar Effects

Give creative people knobs and they will twiddle them. Instruction manual? What’s that? Don’t exceed recommended settings? Yeah right! Like a stock car racer, the first thing they do with a new piece of gear is to punch it to the max and see what that baby’s got. 

Creative types also like to play with things that would get their hands smacked at engineering school: manipulating actual tape with their grubby paws, tinkering with busted circuits, and slashing speaker cones while voiding warranties left and right.

From Dimebag Darrel’s metal distortion to  the gated reverb on Phil Collins’ tom-toms, sometimes too much is the perfect amount. They can’t describe why it’s cool, they just know it when they hear it again. And before long, someone would make the pedal version and cash in.

Here are five effects invented when the boss wasn’t around.


Who Invented It: Believe it or not, Country Western music gets the credit, both for inventing fuzz, and then immediately abandoning the effect. While Glenn Snoddy was recording Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry,” a transformer blew on the recording studio’s giant mixing board, mangling the signal. They fell in love with the sound, but only as a one time novelty. Once Hendrix got a FuzzFace pedal, it was all over.

How It’s Replicated: The fuzz pedal replicates the blow circuit by clipping either a silicon or germanium transistor, according to taste. Chopping off the peaks this way turns the naturally rounded peaks into jagged square buzz cuts that generate new frequencies while distorting the signal.

The First Stompbox: The Gibson Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone in 1962. Keith Richards used one  on the Rolling Stone’s I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. 

A Classic Example:  


Who Invented It: In the 1940’s, blues musicians figured out that if they cranked amps all the way, it literally put them into overdrive and sounded rad as hell. Ike Turner is credited with creating distortion when his amp fell off the back of his truck on the way to the studio, tearing a hole in his speaker cone on his way to record “Rocket 88”. Years later, Link Ray went Norman Bates on his speakers with a pencil for his song “Rumble”, inspiring The Kink’s Ray Davies to take a razor to his cones for “You Really Got Me.”

How It’s Replicated: There’s no need to slash speaker cones anymore. Distortion pedals use transistors and op-amps to boost the signal to the point of distortion before it even hits the guitar amplifier. Now, guitar amps could sound cranked to eleven when turned down to three, making live sound engineers around the world rejoice. 

The First StompBox: Both the Boss Ds-1 and Proco Rat came out in 1978. 

A Classic Example:


Who Invented It: In the 1940’s, French collective Musique Concrète  stumbled on the delay effect during their avant guard sound experiments with portable recording decks. Across the pond Sun Studios owner Sam Phillips, the same guy who discovered Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, recreated the effect by chaining two recorders together. Before pedal versions came out, Ray Butts made the effect portable with Echosonic, a delay unit with a built-in speaker.

How It’s Replicated: The pedal records the signal and plays it back along with the original signal.  Knobs can adjust the time delay in milliseconds.

The First Stompbox: Electro-Harmonix Memory Man in 1976, used on U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Classic Example:


Who Invented It: Acoustic innovator, Steven Reich, created the effect when he noticed that two signals would start to flange in a cool way if one was even slightly faster than the other one, creating the phase effect.

How It’s replicated: A circuit is used to split the signal. These signals are then modulated so that when they are recombined, the frequencies either reinforce or cancel each other out, creating a crazy sweeping effect.

The First Stompbox: in 1968, Shin-ei invented the Uni-Vibe to replicate the Leslie rotary speaker that cost as much as a used car. The Uni-Vibe didn’t sound like a Lesie, which actually spun their woofers and tweeters around to create the effect, but had its own cool vibe.

A Classic Example:


Who Invented It: The same guy who invented the harmonica holder, multitrack recording, and the Les Paul Guitar. Les Paul set up multiple recorders and wound one tape head slightly faster with his fingers, creating the effect.

John Lennon is credited for coining the term “flange.”

How It’s Replicated: Like the delay pedal, a second signal is added, but this one has a low frequency oscillator combined with one of the signals. 

The First Stompbox: Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress in 1975.

Classic Example: 0:48  in

Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit – all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.”

  • Brian Eno 

Further Learning:


King Khan and BBQ Show, with Miranda and the Beat@Underground Arts. September 9th, 2022.

Formed from the ashes of their old band, Spaceshits, Montreal’s The King Khan and BBQ Show have been rocking garage punk since 2004. Both guys do double duty.  BBQ playing drums with his feet like a one man band, while King Khan plays guitar and sings doo wop bass lines, when he isn’t singing lead.  I’m also a fan of King Khan’s soul band, the Shrines. 

The geniuses behind Waddlin’ Around have played everywhere, including a kick ass session on KEXP. Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson personally invited the boys to play the Vivid Festival. (If that isn’t bragging rights, I don’t know what is.) 

Tagging along were NYC’s Miranda and the Beat, who joined the headliner onstage during the dance off segment of their show. Ain’t nothing but a party.

Miranda and The Beat kicked off the proceedings right. Miranda shreds a little harder than one would expect from a singer. She could play lead guitar in a band. Wearing only a mesh shirt under her suit jacket, her nipples played peek-a-poo, making this the most nipple centric show I’ve ever seen. (More on that later.) Very burlesque-esque. 

The Beat’s rhythm section was tight and tasteful and the whole band had a cool aesthetic.

Their keyboard player was a little much for me at first, with his white boy ‘fro and late sixties garb. But later, I got a whiff of his cologne as he walked by. Now, that is commitment to a look. I’ll allow it. All in all, their set was a good time.

If there is one thing to know about King Khan, it’s that he doesn’t give a fuck.  The body positive rocker went topless, wearing some kind of animal skins on his head and groin area, nipples flowing in the breeze.

Freeing the nipple is a trademark of the boys’ show.  BBQ had nipple holes cut out of his shirt, sporting a look I like to call the anti-paiste. 

 These guys love to talk between songs. Even BBQ Show made fun of their endless banter, comparing their show to a Henry Rollins spoken word set. You can tell that they are both usually the guy who does all the talking in their other bands.  Between songs, there were flashes of mutual annoyance like two youngest children competing for attention, as they both jockeyed for the spotlight. But while they played together there was nothing but love, baby. L-U-V.

Most of their chit chat was hilarious, the highlight being about the song that made their publicist drop them. The lyrics involved their wanting to have taste buds on their genitalia and buttholes, to savor every taste. I hope the door didn’t hit the publicist on the way out. My buddy Chip was there, and he agrees. Chip may not play instruments, but he knows bad management when he sees it. 

Some kid staged dived and the audience dropped him, just like they did to the singer from Viagra Boys when I saw them at Underground Arts. 

King Khan was amused. “That’s what we love about Philly. They drop you, but then they pick you up again.” 

There is a metaphor in there somewhere. 

Their cover of the 1978 Johnny Thunders classic, “You can’t Wrap Your Arms Around a Memory” had me singing, to the disappointment of everyone around me including Chip, who stood a couple people away for a while. 

The boys brought the bartender on stage for everyone to applaud. To a novice, that might seem like a cheap ploy to get into her pants. But judging the size of their bellies, I’d say it was a cheap ploy to get free drinks. Respect.

Make sure you check both these bands out next time they come to a venue near you. And don’t forget to tip your bartender. 

Do Your Part! Report Unlicensed Elvis Tribute Artists!

Graceland wants to require Elvis Tribute Artists to have official licensing. This isn’t a good idea. It’s a great idea. That’s the difference between an Elvis impersonator and an Elvis Tribute Artist. Graceland has been cracking down on ETA’s, especially at Vegas wedding chapels. The sacrament of marriage is still sacred, Goddamn it!

It’s one for the money. Two for the dough. Three to get money, now go cash, go!

Why License?

Elvis Licensing is important, not only to the performer, but also to the paying public. If one doesn’t have quality or control, then how can they have quality control? Proper Elvis licensing offers:

Population Control. This prevents the classic “too many Elvises and not enough Colonel Parkers” scenario. 

Quality Control. This will prevent hacks like Dread Zeppelin from taking the King’s name in vain with some crazy ass litigation. At Elvis University, students will learn how to walk backwards (never turn your back on an audience), take upper lip sneering workshops, and vibrato singing lessons. This ensures a safe, regulated, Presley-approved experience for the whole family. Without proper training, a rookie might start asking the audience for their scarves back after the show. Can we say ‘amateur hour’?

Don’t click on this video.

Peace of Mind. What if the hunka hunka burning love starts to spread? Can you trust a scab Elvis to be fire safety certified? Licensed ETAs are certified every three years.

How to know if a Tribute Artist is Licensed. 

  1. Look for the ear identification tag, which could be hard to spot if the ETA is wearing in-ear monitors or ear muffs.
  2. Check for a certificate of graduation from E.U. at the DJ station, probably next to a tin of Pomade.
  3. Inspect the back of their neck for a barcode tattoo.
  4. Ask them. If they start running, be suspicious.

Do NOT attempt to detain illegal Elvi on your own! Elvis karate can be lethal, and I’d say a good 90% of Faux Kings are packing heat. (The better ones have guns with pearl handles.)

Let the professionals with no kill traps baited with barbiturate-laced fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches take care of it.

Report all unlicensed Elvis tribute sightings to dirtysnitch@aol.com. Then rat out your neighbors for smoking weed and stealing cable while you’re at it. What not?

Thank you. Thank you very much.

These Deconstructed Covers Sound Like Totally Different Songs!

The best thing about playing someone else’s song is the unwavering faith in its brilliance. At least that is taken care of. If people are booing, it’s not the song’s fault. Also, the chance to take a trip in someone else’s skin. 

Recreating someone else’s work is frowned upon in other mediums. Comedians don’t say, “I’m going to do a couple classic Rodney jokes and get out of here.” And when painter’s try it, Interpol gets involved. Both the band and the government agency. 

Some bands like to make cover songs their own, taking more liberties with the tune’s DNA than Trump’s accountants. Here is a list of amazing renditions where the artists totally made the song their own. I tried not to list any songs that were done for parody, but, you know what Yoda says about the word “try.” 

Elvis Presly: Blue Moon.

The king took this doo-wop number from the Marcels and made it strange and etherial enough for David Lynch to include in his masterpeice Blue Velvet. Man, that old school slapback echo on his voice is to die for, especially on the falsettos at the end. 

Will Oldham: Am I Demon?

I don’t think anybody expected the man they call Bonnie Prince Billy to rock out to Danzig, let alone cover him. Somehow, his use of acoustic guitars dialed up the evil. Love the yodel into the  second chorus. 

Klaus Nomi: The Twist

When Chubby Checker asked people to “twist again like we did last summer,” this ain’t what he had in mind. Nomi took the dance for the remedial and turned it into an operatic order for us humans straight from Alien High Command. Also, Nomi’s “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” is worth the price of admission. 

Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole: Somewhere over the Rainbow.

The big man with the little ukuleleI added a unique phrasing that even Judy Garland would approve of.

I know this somber version was oversaturated a couple years ago, but if it hadn’t been, every hipster worth his Buddy Holly glasses would be spinning it at artsy parties. 

Angélique Kidjo: Once In A Lifetime

An african woman appropriating the Talking Heads appropriating african music. How can you lose? It’s definitely not the same as it ever was.

Viagra Boys, Featuring Amy Taylor: In Spite of Ourselves.

The Viagra Boys flipped this John Prime classic on its head, adding 90’s lofi drums and messy guitars. Amy Taylor proves to the world once again that she is nothing if not a good sport. I wouldn’t want to piss her off, though. The watermarked stock footage in the video gets me every time. They did the pandemic remote thing right.

The Defibulators: This Charming Man.

Ever wondered what the Smiths would sound like as a bluegrass band? Wonder no more. Listen to those harmonies!

The Pet Shop Boys: You are Always on my Mind. 

The Pet Shop Boys take on this  Elvis classic, composed by Wille Nelson, annoys the ever loving shit out of my wife. Needless to say, it’s on heavy rotation whenever I’m feeling contrary or acting out for attention.

Gwar: Get Out of My Dreams.

Richmond’s finest, Gwar, polluted Billy Ocean faster than us mere humans polluted the Atlantic and Pacific.

Extra credit: Speaking of Pet Shop Boys, here is Gwar with their new singer, doing their version of West Ends Girls. At the end, they do a tear-jerking tribute to their fallen leader Oderus Urungus (RIP). 

XTC: All Along the WatchTower

XTC took this Bob Dylan classic in a different direction than the Hendrix version we all know and love, giving the song a caffeinated nervous disorder. Andy Partridge sings it like he ate speed and ran just out of beer. That organ creeps like the orgasmitron from Barbarella and the guitar is nails on a chalkboard. Love it.

Devo: Satisfaction.

Of course, Devo is number one. Devo is always number one, spuds. (Except if you are Jon Spencer.)

Devo pondered, “Are We Not Men?” The Rolling Stones answered, “You can’t be a man because you do not smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Fair enough. Actually Jagger was reported to be “up dancing within thirty seconds” of his first listen.

The video feels like Monday morning. 

Know your Ramones Drummers: A Comprehensive Guide.

1-2-3-4! The Ramones took the 60’s bubblegum pop of their childhoods and gave it teeth with distortion and lyrics about lobotomies, sniffing glue, and male prostituion. Johnny and Dee Dee played their guitars using all downstrokes at lightning speeds. “Never bore us. Get to the chorus!”

Playing drums in the Ramones wasn’t as easy as everyone thinks.These guys had chops to spare, but chose not to use them. Both Rickie and Marky played in prog bands before the Ramones, notably Marky’s band Dust. In this video, Marky shows off his ability to play fancy Bonham triplets before blasting into an upbeat punk beat. “It’s all about stamina. You try playing this all night long.” 

Sure, the differences between the Ramones drummers may seem subtle at first, but when knowing what to listen for, it adds a whole new depth to the listening experience.

Tommy Ramone (‘74 to ‘78)

Albums: Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia

Standout Tracks: “Lobotomy,” “Beat on the Brat,” “Pinhead.” He also wrote “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and co-wrote “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

Signature Style: Tommy was the originator, the guy who set the template of no frills, no fills drumming that defined the sound of punk rock. Tommy had the lightest touch of the Ramones drummers, barely hitting the skins.

Why He Quit: He suffered a mental breakdown on tour, probably from dealing with all the other Ramones. 

After the Ramones: Despite sustaining hearing damage on the road, Tommy went on to produce future Ramone’s records and the classic Replacement’s Album Tim.

Fun Fact: Tommy was born in Hungary to photographer parents who were both holocaust survivors. 

Marky Ramone (‘78-83)

Albums: Road to Ruin, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, End of the Century, Pleasant Dreams, Subterranean Jungle, Brain Drain. 

Standout Tracks: “Pet Sematary” “Chinese Rock” “I Wanna Be Sedated”

Signature Style: The blitzkrieg of drummers, Marky had the longest tenure and is widely considered to be the quintessential Ramones drummer. He was the first to speed up the songs live and drove the band like a human jackhammer.

Why He Quit: Kicked out because of booze.

Fun Facts: He used to sell his signature pasta sauce at shows. Just what every mosh pit

needs: breakable glass containers. He also played with Richard Hell and the Vovoids on the seminal Blank Generation album.

Ritchie Ramone (‘83-’87)

Albums: Too Tough to Die, Animal Boy, Halfway to Sanity

Standout Tracks: ”Animal Boy” “Warthog” He wrote “Somebody Put Something in My Drink.” 

Signature Style. He was more of a garage rock drummer, bashing his ride cymbals rather than the closed high-hat like the other guys. Richie took the band’s live set from Marky’s ridiculous speed to ludicrous speed. He also was the only drummer who could sing.

Why He Quit: Pissed off that the other guys wouldn’t cut him into the lucrative t-shirt sales, Ritchie hopped into a rented limo after a show and fucked them over for the rest of their tour. Quite possibly the most boss way to quit a band.

After the Ramones: Ritchie still tours playing Ramones songs with his own band. When it’s him singing and playing guitar, they sound like a decent Ramones cover band. When he sings behind the kit, they sound just like the Ramones.

Fun Fact: Lanky Ritchie failed an audition for making Billy Idol and Steve Stevens look short. 

Elvis Ramones (‘87’)

Albums: N/A

Songs: N/A

Signature Style: His flashy style was considered too jazzy for the Ramones.

Notes:Legendary Blondie drummer Clem Burke (Elvis) filled in after Ritchie left the boys high and dry. You can tell if it’s him from the above link, because this is basically all that exists.

Why He Quit: Elvis was just a temp doing the Ramones a solid, since Ritchie just ditched them in the middle of a tour. Staying true to the album’s versions like most professional drummers would, Elvis played the songs too slow for the other Ramones who got used to the blazing speeds. He didn’t last long.

After the Ramones: He played with Pete Townsend, a guy used to playing with amazing drummers. He’s also playing the upcoming Blondie reunion tour.

Fun Fact. Clem participated in a cardio science experiment while drumming in three-piece-suit. I don’t know much about class, but I recognise it when I see it.

Yanni Ramone. (’96-Present)

Lighten up, people. Life’s short.

Marky Ramone Returns (‘87’s-’96)

Albums: Loco Live, Mondo Bizarro, Acid Eaters, Adios Amigos!

Standout Tracks: “Spiderman” “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” 

Notes: A true punk rock masochist, Marky Ramone put down the bottle and rejoined the band until the bitter, bitter end. He played on Loco Live, which was voted Next In Line Magazine’s top live album of all time, just beating out Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan in a double-blind study. 

Fun Fact: Possibly the funniest Ramone’s drummer, his wit was showcased on the classic Howard Stern Ramones fights. (A must for any tour van, along with the Buddy Rich Tapes.) The highlight was Marky counting into a two-way apology with Joey as if they were starting a song. 

After the Ramones: Marky played on Joey Ramones solo albums, and now fronts Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg. He toured with New Jersey’s finest, The Misfits. Also, he invented the Cell Phone Swatter, a device that prevents annoying audience members from shooting concerts on their phones. 

10 Cheap Recording Studio/Jam Space Hacks

Owning a studio, even a modest basement one, is as expensive as owning a boat. Just a dynamic mics, a computer, and an interface can set you back a couple grand. Here are some cheap hacks that won’t break the bank, so you can go back to saving up for that Neumann U-87.

  1. The Over the Door Shoe Organizer for Mics and Percussion.

This is perfect for storing cables, mic clips, maracas, kazoos, power supplies all the shitty little— things that keep getting underfoot. The clear plastic makes finding stuff a breeze. I just screwed mine to the dry wall with some anchors. Chinese takeout containers make great organizers for little stuff like screws or mic clips.

2. Flexible Cell Phone Holders for Drum Sets.

Want to film yourself giving that all import paradiddle tutorial or play along to the new Viagra Boys album on Spotify? Just wrap this around thingee around your rack tom instead of your shoulders. I can’t believe it doesn’t rattle when you hit the tom, either. A camera shakes a bit  but in a cool way and on beat. They cost about twenty bucks. I found mine at Goodwill.

3. Use A Looper for Setting Your Own Levels.

Ever wish you could play your guitar and dial in your preamp, all at the same time, with no one’s help? Now, you can loop yourself playing a sick riff, step away, and get a good gain structure all by your lonesome. Then you can hook up a mic and loop yourself saying, “Who needs friends?” over and over again.

4.Cheap Shotgun Boom Mics Make Great Universal Mic Clips.

Originally designed for mounting mini booms on cameras, these shock mounts are fantastic mounts for anything from small diaphragm condensers to Shure 57’s. They cost bout ten bucks each online. Try finding a standard shockmount for that price. The brand ZRAMO makes a good one with the mic clip end instead of camera tripod.

5. The Carol Kay Foam Trick.

Venerable studio bassist Carol Kay (Beach boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Mission Impossible theme song) would place a small piece of foam under the bass’s bridge and slide it up and down  to adjust the sustain. Genius. I’ve heard that the dirtier the foam is, the better the tone.

6&7. The String of Usefulness with Color-Coded Electrical Tape.

I learned this trick from a gaffer during my summer as a grip. The string keeps misplaceables such as scissors and tape together, so they don’t run to opposite sides of the room when you aren’t looking. Perfect for clamps, bottle openers, and color-coded electrical tape. 

Along with the standard black electrical tape uses, you can use colored tape to mark the ends of cords, making identification a snap. Not more plowing through the octopus’s garden to find the end of a wonky XLR cable on your snake! 

8. Laptop Stand as a Portable End Table.

I’ve used this stand for pretty much everything but laptops: drinks, picks, cell phones, basically all my pocket litter. It’s cheap insurance against some doofus spilling a drink all over your vintage Farfisa organ. They can also work as speaker stands in a pinch.

9. Interlocking Foam Mats.

Far superior to carpeting, these mats absorb a ton of muddy sound reflections and are a breeze to clean if the water heater goes kaput and floods your basement. (Worst day ever!) Like kitchen stress relief pads, these mats are also comfy to stand on for long periods of time. And I can’t count the times they’ve saved my headphones and mics from accidental drops.

10. Golf Gloves . . . For Drumming?

Apparently, all the billions of dollars worth of R&D that make golf gloves feel like second skin also makes them perfect drummer gloves. (Stupid fucking eczema messing up my hands!) Stewart Copeland from the Police uses Nike, Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick sports Wilson, and Carter Beauford from the Dave Mathew’s band has his own signature Footjoy gloves. I just can’t handle the white ones, because they make me feel like a mime.

Help! The Pandemic is Lifting and I Can’t Stop Going To Shows.

I semi-sincerely apologize to anyone who thought this image was a real upcoming event. To be fair, this fantasy concert kinda/sorta happened for me with just a couple months’ wait between bands. (Just like your standard metal show. So many bass drums and full stacks.)

Shannon and the Clams 

w/ Delicate Steve and Electric Candlelight @ The Union Transfer

October 23 2021

Playing my favorite song!

It was nice for me and the better half to just chill on the balcony with the other old heads including my buddies Chip, Eggs, and Kate.

Electric Candlelight started the processions with a mellow, trippy set. Delicate Steve kept that vibe going with instrumental guitar music.

Shannon and the Clams didn’t fail to deliver their go-go goodness. Damn, that girl doesn’t really need a microphone. What a powerful set of pipes. If she yelled at me, I’d run.

The guitar player, Cody Blanchard, wore an awesome caped costume while Shannon looked stunning in her knee-high boots and retro-sixties garb.

I was surprised how similar Shannon and Blanchard’s voices are. Sometimes, it sounded like he was doubling her vocals, not unlike classic Ray and Dave Davies. I hope the Clams argue less backstage. 

Snapped Ankles 

W/ Gloin and Lady HD @ Johnny Brendas

March 10th, 2022

Sorry, I was too busy getting my groove on to take any footage. The band was as good as they were at this show though, I swear.

I went with my buddies Jay and Pete. Jay just got a new job, so he treated us all to the best Italian place I’ve ever been to, Murph’s Bar. (Yes, you heard me correctly. An Irish Pub has the best Italian.) Then we killed time at Barricade, drinking beers and dropping tokens into Double Dragon and Burger Time.

Johnny Branda’s is probably my favorite Philly venue. I think it’s because I saw Pere Ubu a couple years ago and that show was so transcendental that part of my soul left me and got stuck in the woodwork.

Snoring at our table, my buddy Jay fell into a pasta coma during the Gloin set. But then, halfway through, the band kicked into overdrive, rousing Sleeping Beauty. I wish I remembered what song they played that turned the crowd around. Jay was so into them that he wound up buying a record. 

Irrefutable Photographic evidence proving Jay bought their album. That leather strap isn’t just for his bass, btw.

Up next was Lady HD. They were a good time and are on my list of bands to further explore.

Rhythm is Snapped Ankle’s business and they were clocked the fuck in. Although it’s hard to see their faces under the costumes, Snapped Ankles seemed to have as much fun as the audience. They sound like a battle between Devo and the Daleks from Dr. Who. Glow-in-the dark band members waded through the audience, playing percussion. It felt like more of a happening than a show, but I dug it.

The Chats

W/ Mean Jeans and THICK at The Foundry at The Fillmore

May 8, 2022

My man is pissed! And not the good kind.

When we bought tickets for the Chats right before lockdown. My wife had a dream that we wouldn’t get to see them for two years. She was right. I think she may be a witch.  

Two years later, we arrived at the Foundry at the Fillmore. The atmosphere reminded me of upstairs at the Trocadero. (RIP)

At the beginning of her set, I thought that the guitar player from THICK was the worst solist I’ve ever heard in my life, but by the end her wackadoo style grew on me like mold. (Mould if you are Australian.)

Mean Jeans have definitely worshiped at the altar of the Ramones with just as much energy, speed, and catchy hooks. Their singer had a lot of personality. I don’t remember what he said, but he made me laugh a couple times. 

When the Chats hit the stage, I was reminded why Philadelphia can’t have nice things. From throwing snowballs at Santa Claus at sports games, to ringing the Liberty Bell with a hammer, to unsuccessfully trying to boo Bill Burr off stage, it’s not the friendliest city. I’ve seen L7 storm off stage and vow never to play “this fucking shithole town again.” Most touring bands hate playing Philly and they should. It’s like going through a frat boy hazing ritual, but without getting any sweet job connections.

In true Philly form, some douche-nozzle pegged singer/bassist Eamon Sandwith in the back of the head with a water bottle before the band even started playing. It still had water in it, so it must have hurt like hell. (More of Will Smith slap trickle-down, if you ask me.)

I don’t know what was up with security at the event, but someone dickhead kept fucking with  Sanwith between songs. Of course, an Australian redhead can only be expected to endure so much bullshit. Sanwith finally shut the heckler up with an attempted boot to the head. 

Totally justifiable, in my opinion. I just wish that his Doc Martins had connected and knocked some smarts into that asshat.

Anyone could tell that incident ruined the whole night for the boys. The Chats steamrolled through their set. I know they have been flirting with a more hardcore sound, but “Smoko” was almost unrecognizable at the clip they played it. The Chats ended early and skipped the encore. Total bummer, but I can’t fault the band. I hope Philly didn’t blow it and The Chats come back again.

Molchat Doma

w/ Wassup Gina at Underground Arts

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

We are Ready!

I’m usually not a big fan of DJ’s unless I’m bearing glowsticks, but Wassup Gina has her charm. 

My wife described her best. “I love how she half-heartedly dances around, like she’s too cool for her own music.” 

Gina ended her set with Joy Division, the perfect segway for the headliner. 

The singer of Molchat Doma has everything you want from a Darkwave band: He’s Eastern European, he dresses like an unemployed  grave digger, and he sings in Russian. I have no clue what homeboy is saying, but it’s mournful and vodka soaked. Dracula would give this guy a hug.

It always creeps me out seeing a band with a machine instead of a drummer. Hey Molchat, when you guys are ready to take your sound to the next level with a real drummer, hit me up. Paradoxically, the less English you know, the easier it will be to hang out with me.

Ever notice that there is always some big head blocking everyone’s view, wearing a stupid ironic hat that guarentees he will never get laid? Notice how his side to side dance provides maximum blockage for the vertically challenged. 

The Viagra boys

 W/ Provoker @ The Underground Arts 

 Apr 2, 2022.

I wished I had filmed this footage. Yes, being there was as fun as it looks.

I really dug Provoker live. I liked watching their drummer play a Alexis drum pad while wearing  long disco ball earrings that swung with every beat. Each member of the band had cooler hair than me.

The Viagra boys brought the ruckus. It was singer Sebastian Murphy’s birthday and, as a gift, Philly dropped the poor guy on his head the first time he stage-dived.

After limping back on stage Murphy said, “You guys drop me on my birthday, Philly? Come on, I’m fat but I’m not that fucking fat!”

Clearly a man who learns lessons, Murphy only jumped into the crowd about six times after that.

Here he talks about Philly, telling us what we wanted to hear. The new song was “Ain’t No Thief.”

I don’t think this guy ever stops practicing his sax, not even on the plane.