What is your favorite track from Equinox EP?

Monday, November 24, 2014


On January 23rd, 1984, Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik to win the WWF (know called WWE) World Championship. This began a phenomenon lovingly referred to as “Hulkamania.” It also set off one of the more interesting periods in professional wrestling, and in pop music, which came to be known as the Rock & Wrestling Connection.

Having inherited the WWF from his ailing father in the early 80s, Vincent K. McMahon was setting out to make wrestling history in a variety of ways. For those unfamiliar with early pro wrestling, the sport was controlled and promoted on a regional level prior to the rise of the WWF. These regions were called “territories.” McMahon’s power base in NYC and his substantial financial clout enabled him to poach talent from these territories, eventually eclipsing and subsuming them into his own.

After inheriting his father's wrestling promotion, McMahon would go on to turn it into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

One critical weapon in this conflict was the insertion of the WWF into 80s pop culture. Men like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage became household names, and this was done in part by making pro wrestling “cool.” By tying it in with popular music and other cultural fixtures, McMahon made the WWF name a drawing point in itself, a sum of the colorful characters and bigger-than-life storylines.

In 1985, Hulk Hogan began hanging around with 80s pop sensation Cyndi Lauper on televised wrestling. Dave Wolff, Cyndi’s boyfriend and manager at that time, was a huge fan of pro wrestling growing up, and helped to engineer the deal with McMahon and the WWF. Prior to this, Wolff had recruited WWF personality “Captain” Lou Albano to star in Lauper’s video for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Things were about to heat up, however, and Cyndi’s involvement in sports entertainment was about to deepen.

Wendi Richter, posing with her manager Cyndi Lauper

For the buildup of the inaugural Wrestlemania event, Lauper declared that she was managing WWF Women’s Championship contender Wendi Richter.  At Wrestlemania, Richter marched to ringside as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” blared over Madison Square’s sound system, and beat Fabulous Moolah for the Women’s Title. In addition, she began “feuding” (the term used within wrestling for a staged, extended rivalry or conflict) with both Albano and infamous WWF bad guy “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.  A match was even hyped and shown on MTV, called “The War To Settle The Score,” which also involved Piper’s fellow heels (wrestling bad guys) Bob Orton Jr. and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, as well as TV celeb Mr. T coming to the aid of Hogan. In his autobiography, Piper recalls being tempted to hurt Cyndi Lauper for real; it was suggested by an unnamed WWF employee that “the end of Lauper’s career could be the beginning of yours.” Piper, however, went easy on Lauper but developed some real-life heat with Mr. T. The two went on to have an (allegedly) semi-legitimate boxing match at Wrestlemania II, in which Piper claims (in his autobiography) that his hands were purposefully misplaced in his gloves so as to handicap him.

Hogan and Mr. T prepare to battle Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Also pictured is WWF Superstar Jimmy Snuka.

Cyndi Lauper was not the only 80s rocker to make appearances at WWF events and get involved; the subsequent two ‘Manias had cameos from famous rock icons as well. At Wrestlemania II, The British Bulldogs, a popular tag team consisting of Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid, were joined by not only Lou Albano but the infamous Ozzy Osbourne. While he refrained from biting the heads off any small animals, Osbourne did stay ringside with Albano as the Bulldogs took the Tag Team Titles from the duo of Greg “Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. At the third Wrestlemania, dark rocker Alice Cooper accompanied Jake “The Snake” Roberts to the ring to confront the Honky Tonk Man and try (unsuccessfully) to unseat the Elvis-gimmick villain as Intercontinental Champion.


Jake and Alice, pictured with Damian the snake.

Celebrity cameos and involvement at major WWF events would continue well into the 90s and the modern era, but nothing could hold a candle to the craziness that was the Rock & Wrestling Connection.  While the WWE is currently very popular, not to mention a very lucrative company, it owes its initial launch into mainstream entertainment to the brilliant mix of pop culture and sports entertainment that took place in the mid to late 80s. It was a formula that made people take notice, and that put, in wrestling slang, “an ass every eighteen inches.” That is to say, the tickets sold out and the plan was a success.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014







OGRE – 195 is Cinematic and Striking

While listening through OGRE’s most recent release, particularly the funky “Job For A Cowboy”, my girlfriend walked by and said something interesting: “Are you listening to 80’s soundtracks again?” This was interesting because as I listened through 195, one word kept popping into my mind. Cinematic. This album is completely cinematic from start to finish. To be honest I have a lot to say about this album. Both musically and stylistically it really brought a lot up in my mind. I will try to keep this from going off on too many tangents.

The first two things that you will notice about this album are the large amount of songs and the short duration of each song. This is something interesting and I feel it represents a gradual shift that will continue happening in music. We still define and structure music in terms that were born in the vinyl era. I love listening to vinyl; it has warmth that is hard to replicate digitally, but that paradigm doesn’t always work with age of digital releases and Soundcloud. In the case of 195, this isn’t an issue. The short song lengths keep the overall length comparable to other full-length releases, but it is vastly different from other albums in so many ways. The songs are separated and aside from a few tracks all have a distinct feel, though the transition between songs is often seamless and makes everything feel continuous. For example, I felt like the album really kicked off (and punched me in the face) on “Don’t Call Me a Hero”. The thing is, that’s the third track. It never actually feels like the third track, and listening to it on its own doesn’t feel as satisfying as listening to it immediately after the two songs before it, and at a combined total of 1:43 it never feels like a chore to do so. The album would not work as well if you played it on shuffle; I’d even go as far as saying it wouldn’t work as well to not listen to the entire thing.

Musically, the album is similar in a lot of ways to Ed Harrison’s 2009 OST release NeoTokyo, an album I consider one of the finest overall pieces of music created over the past 15 years.  195 fills me with the same kind of wide-eyed awe and sheer excitement to be basking in a piece of music. These songs do not have a traditional verse-chorus structure and take such dramatic turns that it is really hard to not find your interest piqued throughout. Because of the cohesive nature of the album, it becomes difficult to label songs as the best on the release. There are several moments that I would define as noteworthy and exceptionally interesting. The aforementioned crashing of “Don’t Call Me a Hero,” the haunting middle of “Sneaking Suspicions”, and the return of an other worldly melody that peaked in an earlier song that comes full force in “Sentai” are a few that I can immediately recall. As I have mentioned and will continue to mention, the cinematic scope of the album is in high gear in these moments, the extent that I feel as though “Sentai” contains a motif.

The short song lengths, while distinguishing the album from OGRE’s contemporaries, sometimes feels like a hindrance. Several times I found myself really intrigued by a melody or felt a strong reaction from a song and just as I was really getting excited by it, the song would end. It sometimes feels like the really exciting and memorable moments aren’t given their full opportunity to be explored and elaborated and the tone can feel a bit rushed as a result.

This album nails aesthetic style, which, while not being the music, is an important aspect of any form of art for me. The artwork for 195 is beautiful with what I believe are references to both Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion. The figure on the motorcycle overlooking the city feels like a shout-out to the former, while the ominous gargantuan figure very reminiscent an angel from Evangelion. I would have loved if Rebuild of Evangelion had used this or similar music as a soundtrack. This movie-like / narrative quality to the music is further complimented by the short exposition OGRE has on bandcamp about the world of the album.

Any fan of NRW, fans of old anime, or anyone who can appreciate cinematic and complex music need to check this out. It is fairly priced and definitely worth it. It is introspective and brooding and moving all at once.  I make certain to not throw the word “epic” around. This is an epic album. Something metallic and monstrous lurks underneath the surface of OGRE’s full length 195.

 - Joey Edsall (@JoeyEdsall)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

REMEMBER THIS... #4 [Rated MA]

Remember This…?
          Episode #4: The lost art of VHS or the ways analog has programmed my thinking patterns.
            It’s that time to Remember This… and continue the stroll down memory lane while examining the current theme loosely revolving around that wonderful black box you had in your living room; the one with the warm slit and the dust cover just begging you to insert some rigid plastic rectangular VHS tapes inside it. Push play here.
 "The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun" is a 1984 song by American singer–comedian Julie Brown parodying 1950s' "teen tragedy" songs.

            Instead of romancing those dirty things filled with more random data than a mnemonic courier, let’s talk about what we actually recorded on them. The smut, the MTV, the sporting events, the aerobic shows, political speeches [yeah sure] and whatever else you could cram into your TDK. Let’s focus on the smut first.

           This was before the internet and chances are if you never saw it then you might never get the chance. Remember feeling curious on those days your parents weren’t home and you started rummaging through their personal drawers and closets? Didn’t you feel like Indiana Jones? The fixed cable box if you had one never quite worked after a while and all you had was that fuzzy scrambled signal and the hint of nudity just behind the static line. Sometimes you had friends and when you had them, you might even trade tapes and watch them with the sound off. Those were the days, the days when biological functions were both science fiction and a circus sideshow. You had them unmarked, or scratched in some way, so you could recognize them. They were hidden behind your drawer, in your closet, inside a shoe box or in the garage. If you didn’t want to watch a scene you had to sit there and fast forward or rewind. Two hour tapes became six hour tapes and so one. Scenes were cut and paste together like a William Burroughs production; fake tits and cocaine pricks that were only overshadowed by the wooden acting and Aqua Net hair. Those weren’t skeletons in your closet; they were the stains of youth after dark.
         Remember Public Access television? Before podcasts or whatever the new thing is nowadays we had a set of channels (free channels) on our televisions where anyone could get a half or an hour long show on the rotation. It didn’t matter if you had talent or not because we all know most Americans don’t. Anything you could imagine was on it and people took advantage of it with ease. Because you favorite custom VHS tapes were in a way a microcosm of what Public Access was (some cases still is). It was low budget but entertaining. While your family watched Dallas, you were watching random insanity and self-exploitation. And it was beautiful as it happened.
Here are some examples of the insanity I am talking about. I am going to make you experience the thinking process and patterns of a tape head… an insomniac tape head. I’m going to take you on a journey through my mind and my youth. You’ll recognize some of the places and some of the things but in here they are sexy and mutilated and without guilt. TALK HARD.
-Sam Haine

-         Viewer Discretion Advised Then Dies.

The infamous almost X-rated show that ran
for nearly 30 years on Manhattan cable. This is part 1 of an interview between the late publisher and pornographer Al Goldstein with Otto & George, the adult-themed comedy team composed of comedian Otto Sol Petersen (July 29, 1960 – April 13, 2014) and his dummy George.

CONCRETE TV- Concrete TV is a NYC-based public access show that aired on Channel 67 combining sex, violence and art into video collages set to music. This half hour program is produced by Ron Rocheleau, known as Concrete Ron. It is shown Friday nights at 1:30 AM. Episodes are heavily thematically based in 1980s video, hearkening back to the early MTV days, in a mash-up art style.


  The Dangers of the live cable access program

"New York Hot Tracks" [with retro commercials] - A syndicated music television series which aired from 1983 to 1989, and achieved the number one music variety show spot in the United States. 

SANDY KANE BLEW SHOW - Ex-stone age stripper turned AA qualifier turned cable icon who sings song parodies and lights her inverted nipples on fire while exchanging banter with her vibrator.

 That concludes this session of Remember this, Retro Lovers. And until the next time keep your finger on the rewind button. Or call 555- KVETCH.