Monday, October 31, 2011

The greatest maze ever scribbled sends a shaken echo in and out of all the places it used to emanate from.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thick and Thin

Last summer on a drive into Italy I witnessed something funny happen at a rest stop. We were driving from Geneva, and instead of stopping in Switzerland to pay 8 euros for a bag of nuts (regrettably i did this) and some second rate pastry, we decided to wait until we were in Italy to get slightly cheaper and far superior highway food.

The drive is among the most beautiful one can take through Europe. Four wheels and a distended payload have never so happily struggled its way through mountains, valleys, and hairpin turns. There are very few places to stop and eat, though, so once we crossed the border, we navigated to the first trough we could find. There were more than enough choices to combat the painfully ubiquitous "Cold Cheese Sandwich" that occupies most of Europe's road stops, but being at the gartered thigh of "the boot" one leaps for what's local: pizza.

While I was waiting in line for my slices, I quietly observed all of the voices around me, mentally resetting my internals towards my strongest foreign language, Italian. I eavesdropped on people speaking Italian to help me remember phrases, but the loudest voices were coming from English speakers, too hard to ignore...even deep in character of my caricature. It was not just English, though, but thick, baudy, greasy, clattering Scottish voices. Real rough and tumble. Even the ladies, whose high voices ought to have been soothing counterparts to the combustion of the other mouths, sounded like gears grinding together. The other language being spoken was money. Commerce in this cafeteria was cut in two and divided equally: leave it to the italians to try and peddle a swindle, leave it to Scotland to rally for the cause of logic.

We were all lining up for pizza, and making our orders at the cash register. As intended, I pretended to not speak English so I wouldn't have to get involved or have to take part in empty commiseration with other foreigners. While it's really enjoyable to 'blend in' at some place that isn't your own, it was mostly so I could just watch it all happen. The first group, three young males, tried to order a "BEGG PITSUH. REET?? A BEGG WUN" and the painted cashier obliged "Ah, yaysse. A beeg-a Pizza. Hokay. Heighteen Uros." Eighteen euros was paid and the group of Scots waited patiently down-counter for their food to come out of the oven. I had ordered "Due trancii di Margherita, e un cafe" and efficiently followed the herd with my false identity intact. As they got further towards the end of the counter where one picks up their order, they seemed to take particular notice of the pricing signs in front of the various slices of pizza for sale: EU3.60 per slice. This is our moment of conflict. A man in the group with a particularly char-grilled eyebrow turned to his mates and said "ACH WAIT A MENNET. IF THOSE ER THREE SEXTY A POHP, AND OUR PIZZA IS AYTEIN YOOROAS, WE'RE GETTIN REPPED OFF. WHERE'S THE MATHS IN THAAA." -- Then there was mass confusion and panic as the message spread in the group, part gossip and part poison.

The woman responsible for delivering the orders came over and started asking who was waiting for slices. The scots queued with new determination -

"BEGG PITSUH! REET HEEYAR." The waitress had a look at the receipt and replied

"your teecket saysse you ownly orderred 4 slices, and that you've (pointing to another person) only ordered 3. Szo, 7 slices total?"


and the rebuttal "Ah boot, it sayse 'ere that you only have ordered 4 zlices"


--and so this continued back and forth until finally two pizzas of identical size emerged from the oven. One was sliced in to four, and delivered to those waiting for slices. The other was put in a box, cut in to 8, and given to the Scots, who were understandably vexed at the division of provision. Begrudgingly and with visual condemnation of the outcome, they accepted the begg pitsuh, but before they left grillbrow stepped forward to spek his peace - "LOOOUK. WE'VE PAID, IT'S ALRIGHT, BUT I JUST WANNA SEH WAN THENG. SLICES, THREE SEXTY A POHP, 4 SLICES EN THESS PITSUH, BUT IT'S 18 YOOROAS. SHE GOT THREE SLICES, 3.60 A POHP, SHE PAID 10.80. HOW EXAHCTLY DOES THA WERKK? IT'S OOT OF ORDERR."

He hands her his receipt. The woman, stared at the receipt and in a moment of deliquescent bureaucratic death, she looked up and said to the chef, in Italian, "He's right...this makes absolutely no sense." I was stunned. There are few people more stubborn than Italians, and i'm not sure any of the stereotypical warmth and compassion so typically applied to the Italian national identity stems from border dwellers in the north. So she turns to the supervisor, and says "what's going on with these pizzas? A large is the same size as one divided up for slices, and it costs twice as much, it doesn't make any sense."

For this glimmer second, of all the microcosms of upset people in the world, it looked like someone on the INSIDE was finally going to listen and deliver justice. I think everyone in line with any comprehension of English, Italian, or sympathy, was holding their breath in anticipation of this bid for recognition. The boss, and then the cook in turn, stepped to the microphone, so to speak, and responded.

"They are all crazy. Go tell them not to be crazy. Stop it. A slice costs what a slice costs, a pizza costs 18 euros, everybody knows that. Tell them to learn the rules."

In those Scots paying for that Pizza, one witnessed one of the faces on the many heads of the world, and it was saying: I know you're wrong, and I know i'm right, but I suppose it doesn't matter..." For a  fleeting moment, rationality tried to battle governance, and endured a small victory. There was hope for the world (maybe just the pizza eating world)! Sadly, in the endgame of baked dough and melted cheese -- and perhaps more relevant for the world we're inheriting -- though, another "uprising" was wrapped up, sliced apart, and handed straight back. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Poisonous Nostalgia

Hey here is something I penned on a ferry to be seen on the music rag, Wheel Scene.

When you consume a great quantity of music at a great pace in a relatively great period of time, the standards by which you define "impactful" seem to change not only in their source, but also in their impact. You often hear people talking about "phases" is their life of listening to music -- "I'm having a techno phase" or "i'm so into prog right now" -- and truthfully, after a while that's what it's like. Stations of focus for the sake of a broader understanding of the waves that music make through time. There is a time in every persons life, though, where those waves are only just reaching our bows, and every pitch, yaw, and shudder that comes our way is a memorable one. By no means can I truly narrow this down, but here's a snapshot of a few high points:

Motorhead - On Parole

Listening to this record led me to the epiphany that there is room for a lot of finesse in otherwise bludgeoning and heavy music. This is far from the most violent and wild Motorhead record, but in the wrong hands, these songs could have been a lot worse off. Particularly, I focused on the drumming. If memory serves, the story goes that the original drum tracks on this record are by someone else, whose fate was sealed when his performance in the studio did no better than to track ink all over an invoice. WIth an unusable LP in their hands, Animal Taylor stepped in like rhythms' bespoke tailor and turned a potential mess into the crafty, flexible, swagger that Motorhead would blast into in the next decade (and beyond). So what does finesse have to do with impact? Well, it's important to have learned that force can be accompanied by craft. Even though it's the least iconic, I listen to On Parole more than any other Motorhead record (Overkill is actually my favourite, favourite), if only for the good graces and untamable, civilized, forcefulness of their playing. TRACK PICK: "MOTORHEAD" better than the s/t version imo

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger

This is one of the first cassettes I ever bought that was a real rock band. I believe some member of my immediate or extended family preceded the ok'ing of this purchase by asking "this isn't some of that devil worshipper music is it?" Anecdotes aside, I was absolutely floored by hearing this record. I was lost in a sea of trying to figure out pre-teen and understanding how to get plugged into the things people were talking about and for some reason, buying this cassette made the most sense as a startup. I worshipped it and played it until the tape was transparent. Basically my whole introduction in to rock music (i discovered classic rock/punk etc well after this tape) was "Rusty Cage" and "Jesus Christ Pose." In fact I made my first friend in middle school (Carter Smith) when he walked up to me and asked "what are you into?" and I said "Soundgarden." In something that could have been cut dialogue from Repo Man he said, "Cool. Let's start a riot." Though, instead of turning the trash upside down, I went back to the record store...


Nirvana - In Utero

For someone my age (29) Nirvana will most always grace a list like this. They were just THE most important band you could imagine, and every record delivered. I had already heard 'Nevermind' at summer camp and was pretty hooked (also a fine cassette purchase), but this one came home with me on a solo mission to "Sam The Record Man" (a now gone-bust music institution in Toronto). After hearing this record, the rest of rock music made perfect sense. The one thing they all had in common is that they weren't as good as Nirvana. Heart Shaped Box was the most frightening thing I think i'd heard. Again, sort of coming back to force and finesse. I had no idea what he was saying, and even if I could read the lyrics, I don't think I then understood what they meant. It was incredibly loud, the drumming reaches Bonham territory...but it's also dynamic. All the info about Nirvana was distributed in magazines and TV, most of which I didn't have access too, so there were so many rumours and questions floating alongside every listen to colour the experience. This is still my fav Nirvana record, even though Incesticide is probably the more punk choice ha.

TRACK PICK: "TOURETTE'S" which at the time I thought meant "short stories about tour." I am naive.

Sex PIstols - Never Mind The Bollocks/Ramones - s/t

These two are a must, of course, and therefore get equal footing. Never Mind the Bollocks was the first punk record I ever bought (also on cassette). It was purchased on a school trip to Ottawa (Canada's capitol) in grade 9 (age 14). After I bought it, I went to the "IT STORE" and bought some orange hair dye in a spray can and came home a punk. I couldn't shower or else the dye would wash out, so I also came home smelling like garbage. Possibly also punk. TRACK PICK: "SUBMISSION"

The Ramones record was inherited from a good friend whom i'd often accused of being too "trendy." But when it came to liberating this classic punk album from a lot of inherited LPs, and saving it from certain trendy death, I suddenly didn't mind him being so on the up and up. My reaction to this record was monumental, and actually came in three waves over the next 10 years, each wave intensifying and reshaping my whole identity as a "punk," then a music fan, and then as a song writer. One of the most important records i've ever had the pleasure of listening to. TRACK PICK: "I DON"T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU"

Infest - Slave

This is maybe an odd choice. Infest's first LP really doesn't have anything directly in common with the other picks on this list, and lets face it, you might not even know who this band is. They are a hardcore band from Southern California that were mainly active in the mid to late 80s, slightly inched in to the 90s, too. The reason this LP is on this list is because of my experience playing it for the first time. In any number of documentaries about the Ramones, there will be a section of talking heads discussing the first time they heard the s/t album. The reactions ranged from maniacal laughter to determination that they were listening to the greatest music ever recorded. In any scenario, though, people are flabbergasted and silenced by the new sounds they're hearing. I bought "Slave" in high school on the same day as my closest pal. We both brought our copies home to my place and rushed up to the stereo to break out this slab of wax that we'd been hearing about for so long, but had never heard. The wax whooshed silent for a few seconds as the groove started out and then Infest smashed through the wax for the most intense fifteen minutes of my life. I thought it must be a joke. The vocals were barked, the drums sounded like popcorn popping, it was SO fast...the guitars screamed out of control, the bass sounded like a bandsaw breaking, and tempos changed on what seemed like completely nonsense turns. My friend and I sat there SCREAMING with laughter throughout the whole thing until the run off grooves crackled away on "Fetch the Pliers." We wiped our eyes and caught our breath and then with all seriousness looked at each other and said "play it again." Infest is some of the most undeniable USHC ever produced, and all of their records are classic and crushing too. LP TRACK PICK: "HEAD FIRST" (NON LP PICK "JUDGE ME")

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pt 2 -- Insides

June 25th of this year, we played in a semi re-done warehouse space in NY. The sort of place that straddles my own fantasy of shadowy neglect, and a future oriented occupation of a modern ruin. Cracks within the cracks. The heat outdoors had finally receded to a tolerable perspiration. People lined up and poured inside with immediate convection of any and all humidity available. You can imagine that the set was equally as damp and airless. Not a suffocating sensation, but more of a race to see who could breathe the first last and only particles of oxygen left in this box of human precipitation. I speak for myself in saying that while performing a physical feat like playing drums at high speeds for an hour in such a challenging climate, the mind slows and lags while limbs move on their own at the appropriate pace. The heat is a laggardly nemesis to any efficiency your body can produce. The only way to suffer with dignity is to simplify and concentrate so that you don't pass out or vomit (ps i threw up the next night in Philly mid song)

After the set, there was a mercifully cool hallway behind the stage to stand in. I rushed out of the gig-room to breath any kind of cooler air, and burst through the door, rudely interrupting two people slyly making out in otherwise off-limits area. The hallway had about four directions to go in and some sharp corners to hide behind. I made myself scarce, not so much out of courtesy but because I needed to change into dry clothes which requires a temporary moment of bare assed-ness.

TOUR TIP: never play drums in your underwear/jeans in summer. They just won't last a full tour and they will stink forever.

I emerged from my own private corner of NY architectural shadow clothed, dryer, and comfortable only to find my only exit blocked! The couple that were sweetly pecking on a summer night were now up to something else. Shoes and socks exposed bare legs. A nude lower half obscured by a crouching partner. I turned around and walked back to my impromptu change room, out of sight. Instead of taking a minute to think on the nature of interstitial space and shady cracks and othering of industrial spaces (more than enough of that), I did my best to figure out a discreet escape. Didn't have the courage to walk through them and say "excuse me" nor did I want to hang around waiting for them to finish or proceed. So I took to my heels and to the halls and dodged out the back door, and left the shadows to cast themselves in the dark on bended knee.

Late Pass: Thoughts about a drive into NYC from four years ago PT 1

New York City takes on layers and layers of character. With every visit you can see the simultaneous painting over and peeling back of its history. Some relics are architectural, other relics tell you about what it meant to be a 'pioneer' there in the 20th century. I mean pioneering only in an internalized sense, specific to one's own tribe. The first of the evolution of a private history, facing up what's requisite of the research, exploration, and combat of a new place. This of course is speaking to the storied immigration of the first half of the 20th and the hopeful borderless migration of citizens toward another life in the big city.

One visit, while arriving in the city I must have photographed at least a dozen signs that sold the sort of "raw material" for living that in some ways doesn't "belong" in Manhattan any more. Scaffold, rubber, cement, cork, asbestos, bracketing, masonry...The landing party, frontierism of new life in the United States' cities is in an entirely different form now. One inherits the product and has to learn how to use it, rather than gaining the land and being required to create a space to live in. Dirty resourcefulness gets pushed into the orbits around the cities, and 'diy' gets imported for maintenance.

Without sounding nostalgic or like i'm lamenting a by-gone era, there are of course still frontiers left in NY City. The redefinition of the interiors whose facades define the ageless face of Gotham, and the spatial interpretation of all the veins and tissue that help balance such a place remain a challenge and a truly exciting temporary space in one of the most 'permanent' cities in the world.

Fifteen years ago when I first was able to visit New York City, I would stare at some of the abandoned buildings and crenellating public spaces and wonder what they were like when they were first built, when their purpose was fully realized, and their order of things was functioning and established. Now, those same buildings have houses, new factories, theatres, cafes, retail, and a litany of other repurposes ensuring their existence. So much so that, like striving for a sense of frontierism in a finished place, you wonder if any shadows still exist. Any dark corners that haven't been swept up or tidied yet.

Above all, BEAT LIFE

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dancing Kings and Queens

For the moment of coordination to have arrived, when ones limbs can move independently of one another, is a great gift. Some people use it to their advantage, and some use it to please themselves. I may have reigned in the flail enough to keep time, but I don't think i'll ever learn to move like them. I guess i'll have to dance, then, on my own.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


After nearly 4 years of deliberating, Career Suicide has finally reached an accord and have properly released the Cherry Beach e.p. With the exception of "Double Life," the four songs that appear on this record have been written for what feels like an eternity. Whatever the last song on this record is called (shows what I know) is so old, it's first iteration was committed to tape in the same session that produced the split 12" with Jed Whitey. Now that's old! That session also produced a shimmering Real Kids inspired powerpop song that I can only assume is permanently lost. Jazzmasters, Telecasters, Marashalls, and HiWatts were used. If you can crack the mountain of insanity that is the archive at Audoilab Studios in Toronto, perhaps you should find it and bootleg it.

Moving on, this record was originally released in very limited quantity to coincide with our UK/Ireland tour in 2008. A very storied summer indeed, and actually, one of the best CS tours ever, if not one of the most fun i've been on, period. So to update and make relevant the reproduction of our past efforts, we re-recorded the two songs that appeared there, included two new ones, and did the whole thing up in an actual studio with the Master of Loudness himself, Jon Drew. One of these tunes (same on that was demo'd during the JW session) is definitely a different feel than we're used to and has been through many comparative strokes. I think I originally wrote it to sound a bit like "I Don't Wanna Go Out" by Australia's X crossed with Wire but has thus been referred to as:

-Sex Pistols Song
-Rap Song
-Anarcho Song
-Killing Joke Bridge


It's an honour to work with Dirtnap, and a pleasure knowing that these old-arse tunes finally have a good home.

Go to to check out a track, or visit the Dirtnap Records website to get more info.


Hey Toronto,

We're giving you the opportunity to support 2 great local record stores that have been really good to us over the years...

We just got a mystery shipment from Dirtnap records of red vinyl editions of the Cherry Beach EP. We're not sure how many were pressed, but there can't be many (we'll post on here when we sort it out)... to make things even more stupidly rare, we numbered 6 of the red vinyl records and split them between Hits and Misses and Rotate This.

The records are available right now at the stores, BUT you need to spend at least $25 at one of the shops to get to buy the red vinyl Cherry Beach EP. Yeah, we know record store day was last month, but screw Hallmark holidays! Also, we're a bit slow and didn't think of this until now.

So, go buy some records... then ask them for a copy of the "red vinyl" Cherry Beach EP (which should be 6.99 and waiting for you behind the counter). First come, first served ...1 per customer, yadda yadda, gabba gabba hey!

Hits and Misses: 799 Queen St West
Rotate This: 801 Queen Street West

Career Suicide

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Farewell Mad Men

On April 2nd, 2011, the band Mad Men -- which has nothing to do with the television show of the same name -- played their 10th and final show. The previous 9 and former existence of this band spanned six lineups, three years, three cassettes, two continents, two compilations, two mesh shirts, one t shirt, one bootleg, and one official vinyl release.

The germ that birthed the whole mess was a conversation with NJHC luminary Bob Shedd after surfing in Point Pleasant, NJ in 2006. We both agreed that the undergrowth of these fiercely local punk scenes in the 80s kind of lent itself to the most interesting conversation and let the imagination run wild. With the bigger names in punk history, you can dream all you want, but a lot of the visual imagination and folklore is already filled in via all the documentation that went on. Musing about the zebra mussel losers that opened a show in some shore town in NJ, the reaction to the reaction's reaction of punk, is what really got us laughing and talking until four words spilled over: Let's do a band. We named the band "Square Glasses" which is about as nonsense and useless a band name as you can get, fitting for the underachieving fiction of our band. I'd play all the instruments, Bob would sing. The name changed a few months later during a tete a tete with HC magnate, Brandon Ferrel. Thanks Brandon. Needless to say Bob didn't really work out as a vocalist or as a band member, but i'm sure he's happy being the finger that flicked the first domino. Thanks Bob. I still strive towards the effortless accidents and natural "just be" of those bands.

Throughout its existence, there was a passive effort to keep things a little bit secret and out of the spotlight (including still referring to MM in the third person at the hour of the tell-all, as if i'm not involved). As you'll note, the subtext of this blog is "The Humble Narcissist" and perhaps Mad Men were the ultimate first steps out. Be at the centre without being at the centre. The whole ethos of the project was to create something anonymous and 'normal' that would go through the same steps that any other band would have to. A product more of itself than of something else. In 2007, I was in two well known bands, both of which were pretty prolific, and had already done a side project (Pinkeye) to which I was actively credited. Doing a solo project is gimmicky enough, let alone catching up on rest-on-laurels and so in the eternal combat of self vs the projected self, the 'minimalist' approach to Mad Men was born.

Mad Manifesto ver 1.0 -
-Cassettes only
-do not credit yourself directly
-maximum reference to Mental Abuse
-no particularly conventional art/delivery methodologies (within reason)
-garner minimal attention outside of efforts to make a release
-stay local

The first cassette came out during the weekend of Halloween 2007, and took about a week to get rid of one way or another. 7 months later we played our first show in Brooklyn, NY at an after party for Systematic Death, with an all American lineup. Rule six completely broken.
The second cassette was released the very same night.

Mad Manifesto ver 2.0
-10 show (or less) expiry date

Fitting that after one performance the end was already in sight, but I thought that the temporary restrictions of the band would make it work harder to be more of a special thing without diluting what it had to offer. Like i said, other projects I was involved in were arguably overseasoning the meal with countless releases and tours (all in stride these days) and so a laid back approach was probably best. Plus, if things burnt out fast there'd be time for the next project, and if they took too long at least there would be a way out. Knowing the day you die is also a good reason for people to get involved/interested...assuming you're going to give them something worth living for.

Show 1 - Government Warning + Parsons and Jonah minus Kenny
Show 2 - Ditto
Show 3 - Omegas + Jonah
Show 4 -Jonah on drums/vocals, Jon Sharron, Ben Cook, Justin Smalls
Show 5-10 aka the real Mad Men - Jonah, Jon, Ivan, Ben, Erik
Wildcard (another rule broken): St Louis w/the Abused - Rob Ruz, Ben Smith, Andrew Diaz, JF, a guy who time forgot.

Mad Manifesto ver 2.5
-it's O.K. to be on a compilation

Compilations, bar a few, are generally the landfill of any musical output. The regional compilation is something different. A regional compilation is like a well timed photograph. Do it right and you've got the most wonderfully composed, interesting, well coloured moment in time captured. Do it wrong and you've developed the photo where everyone is blinking.
Regional efforts almost always focus on the lesser-knowns, and that tends to be where you find the green bits in the desert. They act like a resume or a letter of intent to the music consuming world or maybe like an ad in the back of a newspaper or in Variety. Simply 'something' amongst everything else. So Mad Men were on two compilations, both focusing in some way on Toronto/Southern Ontario: "Toronto's Burning," and "City Limits"

Mad Manifesto ver 3.0
-get over yourself and just do a record

After 3+ years of playing and existing, a bootleg of both demos, and the cat really being out of the bag about who the band was and what the band was, it was time to give up on the artifact ban for Mad Men. The last two songs MM had written were really good, I thought, and deserved better than just a cassette and some poorly ripped mp3s, or Stigma forbid, another bootleg (respect to Noel, regardless...oops!). The ethos of the underachiever had to go out the window a little bit as well, but not so much that the previously shattered 'stay local' rule couldn't be patched together for the single official Mad Men release on Slasher Records. Depending on who you talk to, and whether or not they were in the Slasher Records club, this choice might also fall into the underachiever category ;)

So there you have it. An extended description of Mad Men with a few images to help it along. As a reward for making it through this post, HERE is the official Mad Men mixtape, to be released by me, forthcoming.

Here's the tracklist:

SUSPIRIA (orig. by Goblin)****
NOT (orig by NYC Mayhem)*
NO GODish (orig by Mental Abuse)*
GO FOR IT (Orig by Chronic Submission)**
TOO HOT Clevo Intro***
SLAPPED IN THE FACE (Orig by NY Hoods)***

*Live at Sneaky Dees Sept 10/09 recorded by MTM
**Rehearsal Tape at E.E.R. mid '09
***Live at Sneaky Dees 3/25/10 recorded by MTM


Photos by MTM, the author, Sarde Harde. Original artwork by Ryan Hogan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I was recently asked to write up a brief account of the touring experience at Soundwave Festival in Australia. Below is the result, and is the first in a hopefully continuing series of eyelets of information from me for the Rock Sound blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This is out but you can't get it because there were only 50, and they self destruct once you listen to them. Will it come out again? Yes. Will it be a real single one day? Yes. Enjoy.

Lonely Wholesome - Vanity by jonahfalco

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vol. 1

Grooming is both a great irritant and a great pleasure. The procedure is an important part of enjoying any activity. Ritualistic aspects of any task make it more enjoyable, and the more one can codify, the better. Closeness to ones own body without trappings of eroticism or scatology is rarely achieved, and so while one could consider any such fixation on 'order' a kind of manifested OCD, simply imagine a tailored experience that can be unfolded, folded, unfolded, and folded time and time again. What a way to roar out of the gate.