Mar 042014


To celebrate Mardi Gras, let’s conduct a timed Last Man Standing on songs of excess. The last comment in by midnight New Orleans time will win a prize direct from the city of New Orleans, albeit this time next week, when I’m back from a coming trip there. [It turns out I was the last to add to the list before midnight New Orleans time on Mardi Gras, so I win/we lose. We’ll let the LMS carry on as nature intends.]

Do I have to explain what I mean by “songs of excess?” I hope not. If so, perhaps you might want to sit this one out. I’ll kick things off with “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”

Live it up!

Jun 112013

On the drive into work this morning it occurred to me that the English like writing songs involving “chips,” or French fries to us, if my UK-to-US English converter app is functioning properly. I quickly thought of 3 songs from the late-’70s that center around chips. I bet there are a lot more than 3 songs involving chips.

For purposes of this Last Man Standing, songs about either kind of chips will be accepted: the English chips (ie, fries) or what Americans typically think of as chips (ie, potato chips). However, songs specifically mentioning “fries” will NOT be accepted. Fries may go with that shake, but they do not go with this thread. The lyric must be “chips.”

One other exception: songs mentioning some supposedly healthy chips, like baked kale chips, will NOT be eligible.

Jul 032012

Rockin' rat.

Chuck E. Cheese is getting a rock ‘n roll makeover.

The new Chuck E. Cheese that launches this week will be voiced by Jaret Reddick, the lead singer for the pop-punk band Bowling for Soup. The Chuck E. Cheese Facebook page now shows a silhouette of a cartoon mouse playing a guitar.

A rat mascot for a kids’ food joint. A spokesman who’s sung a jokey love song to his “bitch.” Dirtbag Nation, if you ever doubted that Chuck E. Cheese was the place to hold your kid’s next birthday party rest assured: your trash is welcome. But don’t let that perv Pee-wee and his act anywhere near the children!

Jan 252012

Supper's ready!

Tonight is Burns’ Night, the anniversary of Robert Burns‘ birthday, a poet whose work was written in Scots dialect and is largely incomprehensible to anyone reared outside of that beautiful country’s borders. For example, his poem “To A Mouse” begins:

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

It is big business north of the border, the culmination of all of the eating and drinking training that has been put in over Christmas and New Year; here in England it is more often than not overlooked unless it is a very slow news day, in which case the telly will be taken over by burly men in kilts explaining why it matters, generally with the benefit of subtitles for the nesh southerners. I am not proud to admit that I know little of the poet’s work, or his life, other than that he died young and that enough wee drams are sunk in his honour to keep the majority of Scottish distilleries in business the whole year round.

Many cultures enjoy a national dish which as soon as they are able to exercise sufficient mental dexterity to poke a nearby animal in the eye with a pencil they are sworn to a solemn promise under pain of losing their place in heaven that they will never admit to any other human being is completely inedible, but which on at least one occasion a year they have to force into their mouths and keep down. These are usually meat-based, and if ever I am faced with them I thank my secular God that I decided to become vegetarian when I left home.

The people of Iceland enjoy the delicacy known as Hakarl, which is shark that has first been buried in sand for 6 to 12 weeks to “ferment” (or “rot” as non-Icelandic people generally describe it), and then dug up again, cut into strips which are hung out to dry for several months. It is washed down with Brennivin, which is schnapps made from potato. A friend and I went to Iceland on holiday many years ago and I have not forgotten the sensation of drinking Brennivin: it is as close to pouring white spirit down ones throat as I ever hope to experience.

On Burns’ Night the people of Scotland enjoy the Haggis, which to a faint-hearted vegetarian like myself appears to be a huge bloated sausage constructed from parts of animals that even Ozzy Osbourne would hesitate to put into his mouth, bulked out with horse food and whatever is left laying about, served with neeps and tatties, which is mashed swede and potato, presumably so that those who are not drunk have something on their plates which they are prepared to eat.

I have found a recipe for a “vegetarian haggis,” which contains ingredients that I not only recognize but would be prepared to put into my mouth, and thought that I would share it…after the jump…with the Hall, in case anyone is stuck for something to cook this evening.

Continue reading »

Dec 292011

There’s a cool Italian restaurant Philadelphia called Osteria. It’s one of our favorites, on a local list that includes chef Marc Vetri’s other two restaurants. Check it out if you find yourself seeking a fine, pricey meal in Philadelphia. However, as a regular in the Halls of Rock you may be distracted by the off-the-shelf AAA music in the background. It cheapens the hand-crafted food they serve. It’s like the waiter tossed a bag of Harry & David breadsticks on the table. I’ve been meaning to talk to them about this.

Today I’m in NYC, at a Miyazaki film festival. Between movies I ate a bowl of pho at a Vietnamese place playing a Jackson Browne album in the background. What’s wit dat?

Oct 102011

Little-known fact (at least for casual visitors to the Hall): One of the rock nerd community’s never-ending insider conversations revolves around which rocker would be most entrusted to grill a steak. In the right—or wrong, depending on how you look at it—circles, it’s a question that is sure to spark heated debate. Disagreements over this issue are typically so intense that the discussion has never been broached in a public forum before. For the first time ever, Rock Town Hall pulls back the curtain on this topic and encourages Townspeople to play out this topic for all to see.

What rocker would you most entrust to grill your steak?

Years ago a similar debate raged over which rocker would be most entrusted to prepare sushi, but near-unanimous agreement was reached as soon as the first rock nerd suggested Brian Eno. When the discussion turns back to rockers entrusted to grilling a steak, however, agreement is not in sight over even obvious rockers who might be considered trustworthy steak grillers, such as Ted Nugent or Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett. “What about Roxy Music’s Paul Thompson?” some mouth breather is sure to exclaim.

What about Paul Thompson, or Nugent or Garrett, for that matter? Do you have a rocker ready to enter the squared circle, ready to take on any one of these grill masters? Bring it on!

Oct 152010

"Would you like a carob shake with that order?"

The journalistic artist feature article conceit of beginning the piece with a description of the artist’s meal in whatever swank LA/NYC/London eaterie has long bugged me. Do I in any way care that Brian Wilson was eating a “turkey Reuben” and sipping a “diet Dr. Brown’s soda” while discussing his new album of Gershwin covers with some hack from Rolling Stone? Do I learn anything other than the fact that a) Wilson’s a wimp for eating a turkey Reuben and b) the diet soda’s not going to offset jamming any kind of Reuben down his throat? I think not.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these artists actually rock what they eat.

Please describe the meal and drink that any or all of the following artists would be “munching on” at a hip LA/NYC/London eaterie not if but when you interview them for Rock Town Hall.

  1. Donald Fagan
  2. The Boss
  3. Sting
  4. Chrissie Hynde
  5. Chris Squire
  6. Polly Jean Harvey
  7. Nick Lowe
  8. Craig Finn of The Hold Steady
  9. Eddie Vedder
  10. Rod Stewart
  11. Hamish Stuart
  12. Bob Seger

As a bonus question, what would be caked in Walter Becker’s Beard?

I look forward to your responses.


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