Thursday, December 28, 2006

FBO: 'Listening to James Brown'

We so often forget to tribute the greats until they die. James Brown's catalog of music is likely going to see a bump in sales following his Christmas Day death at 73, but probably for the wrong songs. James, these days, seems best known for his early 1960s haircut and songs like 'I Got You (I Feel Good)' and his landmark live album Live at the Apollo recorded in 1962. But he got more interesting as the '70s began, with Bootsy Collins on bass and deep-voiced back-up vocalist Bobby Byrd to echo his points ('that's right', 'yeah!,' 'keep on singing') in songs that regularly passed the eight-minute mark. The key was horn-accented, bass-driven grooves that had no particular parts -- songs could as easily end three minutes as 10 minutes.

If you're looking for some dollar JB downloads to tribute the 'godfather of soul' check out these, only one of which makes his 20 All-Time Greatest Hits CD:

Get Up, Get Into It & Get Involved Best call-and-response and guitar/horn interplay of all time. All seven minutes... gold.
Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing Listen for his response when the band follows his instruction: 'Stop! ...that was good!'
Soul Power Everyone is doing their own thing and it works.
The Payback Enter the wah wah.

And if you don't have it, you must have this hit:

Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine

I never saw James Brown live, but visiting Trump Hotel near Central Park last year, a sudden stir came across the gaudy all-gold lobby, and in came The Man. There was no mistaking him. In a full red suit, hair primped into its famous wave, sun glasses on, and quick boot-heel clicks on the marble floor. The entourage stuffed into a gold elevator and up to a gold suite. Today James Brown's body was on view, in a golden casket, in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He arrived in a horse-driven wagon along 125th St, where thousands of fans came to pay their respects. One last grand entourage. I really should have gone to see it.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, December 18, 2006

FBO: 'Tributes the Perpendicular Rocker'


The FBO are exhausted at the lack of inventiveness it's seeing on rock stages of the non-failed and failed rock world. Rolling into Stillwater, for example, a band unloads equipment, and then -- without thought -- set up drums center stage, toward back.

In a word: no.

Night Ranger's exceptionably talented Kelly Keagy receives a retroactive FBO Ribbon of Choreographical Merit for setting up his drums differently. Whether backing Jack Blades on 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me' or pouring a bit too much emotion on the never-caught-on catch phrase of 'you're motoring, mo-to-ring' with fist pumps at the end of the bombastic 'Sister Christian,' Kelly does it like you want him to: PERPENDICULARLY, at the SIDE OF THE STAGE, drum set pointed inward toward the chest-bearing rhythm-guitar prowess of Jeff Watson, allowing the crowd full site of his skin-pounding chops and forehead-perspiration below a tuffle of frizzy hair:

Kelly also deserves special praise for his daringness in concert attire, as the following photo (taken in St Louis in 2000) attests:

Night Ranger deserves praise for meaning what they do -- no matter how misguided -- and for creative stage design. I saw them -- with Ratt opening -- in 1985 and was so impressed that I bought a white muscle t-shirt with the 'Midnight Madness' cover on it. Time passes though and Night Ranger, these days, add considerable strength to the age-old argument that San Francisco may be rock'n'roll's worst rock'n'roll city (Starship, Santana, Huey, G-Dead, Steve Miller, Night Ranger are among the 'highlights').

Night Ranger, Kelly... we just want to thank you.

Props also to photography by Ellen Kozisek (

Let's all make 2007 a PERPENDICULAR YEAR!

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

FBO: 'Failed Song a No-Go'

Regretably, the plans to record the FBO anthem, 'The Failed Bands of Oklahoma,' this week have been scrapped due to low show in interest. The song still waits production, but the challenge to Kansas' failed bands will have to wait until FBO's second year of existence in 2007.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, December 14, 2006

FBO: 'Tendencies of Lazy/Successful Map Pointers Exposed'

Watch any pirate or explorer or WWII film and you see it. Characters pulling out a worn map, rough on the egdes. They lay it out on a giant wood table and with candle light search out the possibilities for the next plot point to take place. Then point it out with not one, but two or three taps of the carefully unmanicured fingertip. THIS is what irks us at the FBO -- that they ALWAYS pat their finger at the destination with two or three pats. Why?

-->If we point to the cupboard that keeps the glasses to a visitor do we point towards it twice? No.

--> After laundry's done, do we set a folded t-shirt in the dresser twice? No.

--> If a car pulls in front of you dangerously, they get one middle-finger flip-off -- possibly held for effect -- but the gesture is rarely made twice.

Once again, the FBO has spotted a gesture that has become popularized from bad television or lazy film-making. We copy what we see. All the more reason -- as is the FBO plan -- to steer fans and members towards healthy, reponsible entertainment and away from lazy things like movie remakes, sequels or TV-to-film adaptations.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, December 08, 2006

FBO: 'Contemplates NFL Helmets'

In the last 15 years we've seen a few things where unforgiveable acts have led to success from previously failed franchises of the National Football League. Consider this:

* Denver Broncos changed from mostly orange uniforms to 'more macho' navy blue with Nike stripe swoops on pants (won Super Bowl twice)
* Baltimore Ravens sold out historic Cleveland Browns and swapped orange helmet for 'macho' black raven helmet (won Super Bowl)
* Atlanta Falcons sold out franchise-long red helmet for 'macho' black helmet (appeared in first Super Bowl)
* Tennessee Titans sold out Houston Oillers, macho-ed up uniform (appeared in first Super Bowl)
* New England Patriots took off ball-snapping patriot from helmet for USFL slick helmet (won three Super Bowls)
* Tampa Bay cut the sissy peach uniform pattern for the most aggressive macho-ized uniform (won Super Bowl)

(The Seattle Seahawks uniform change -- slightly changed color -- got them into last year's Super Bowl, but the color change was a wise call.)

And note teams that haven't sold out their uniforms and apparently will never wreak any sort of success:

* Arizona Cardinals (did sell out St Louis)
* Detroit Lions
* Cleveland Browns II (re-instated best helmet in the NFL, a striped nothing of orange)

Some of you wonder, is failure synonymous with status quo, or maintaining of tradition? Not necessarily. But change must be justified, and never a calculated move to 'aim down' to perceptions that fans can't stomach riskier uniform decisions. Even if that means you won't have success.

The FBO endorses these uniform changes -- all retro decisions:

* New York Giants --> return from ugly blue 'Giants' helmet to the old softer-blue 'ny' helmet
* New York Jets --> scrapped inexcusable ugly-green 'jets-->' theme for retro Namath uniforms
* San Diego Chargers --> when they wear the old retro white helmet, gold bolt with number uniforms
* Buffalo Bills --> when they wear the retro OJ-era, all-red buffalo helmet

Consider cheering for these teams, and never root for those on the easy-way-out-to-Super-Bowl list above...

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, December 04, 2006

FBO: 'Lyric Ideas for Future-Failed'

FBO's semi-permanent headquarters are tucked away in Brooklyn, across the East River from Manhattan. In the rock world, Manhattan namedropping is common occurrence. Listeners who've never visited New York, know about 'Broadway,' 'downtown,' 'uptown girls,' the Chelsea Hotel, the 'A train.' To score heroin, you follow Lou Reed up to 'Lexington 125' (125th Street and Lexington, in Harlem). If you're pondering a life as a 'playboy' and hang around in gay bars, follow Mick Jagger to 'the west side of town.' Beach-bound follow the Ramones to 'Rockaway Beach.' Hipster youth know NYC cops are 'not very smart' from the Strokes, or that NY is 'forever kitty' from the Sonic Youths.

Yes, LA gets its nods, Chicago a couple. But save from a Huey Lewis song or 'Route 66,' or a regretable song by the Eagles, the rock world tends to ignore about every other place else on earth.

In the hopes of improving rock listeners' geography, and spreading out the lyrical in a more even-handed manner, the FBO believes this should change. Simply naming a town (the Band's 'Look Out Cleveland!') is not enough. The rock world needs more below-the-surface references.

--> Tips:

* Write songs name-dropping everyday street intersections in your town, which will feel insidery and cool to those outside your town: 'You're a woman, I'm a male; let's go take PCP at 41st & Yale'

* Talk about geographic features near your home (note that Tom Waits has mentioned Lake Tenkiller): 'kids, children -- there's a lot of foes that will face ya; shrug'em off or throw 'em off the Black Mesa'

* Neighborhoods or counties are good too, or obscure highways -- 'Bye bye Ada, hello Atoka crack park; betwixt the two: heartbreak, Highway 3, 47 miles of tire marks' (Hwy 3 connects the two towns; apparently the author drives with the brakes on)

* Include local festivals: 'In jail. Refusing arrest. One too many. At Tulsa's Mayfest.'

* Don't mention generic 'mall' or 'store' or 'hospital' for settings, instead go for specific local convenience stores or mini-chains: 'Bad luck and angst. At the top of my bio. I broke my finger on the Zingo, I birthdayed at Taco Mayo'

**Note: If you use any lyrics included here (and please do), we will find you and ask for 40% profits of any sales.**

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY