Wednesday, January 31, 2007

FBO: 'Top Three Fan Turns 39'

Thirty-nine years ago today the North Vietnamese troops kicked off the Vietnamese New Year's with a surprise attack against US troops at various points in the slender country of Southeast Asia. A world away Mr Bronc, a top-three FBO fan, entered the world. Happy birthday to Mr Bronc.

We think it's no surprise that the week began with Miss Oklahoma winning the Miss America pageant. For the second year in a row. Good things are happening to Oklahoma since the FBO began representing the achievement and hopes of its failed bands. Two straight years Miss Oklahoma has taken the crown: the same years the FBO have been in operation.

Or maybe it's just for Mr Bronc.

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

Monday, January 29, 2007

FBO: 'Tourism Comes to Oklahoma'

It is not escaped the FBO's attention that 2007 is a special year for Oklahoma. On November 16, Oklahoma -- the best shaped state in these United States -- turns 100. It's expected the panhandle state, so nicknamed for the FBO-adopted panhandle, will see a 'bump up' in tourism. Something that all Oklahomans need to brace for.

Meanwhile, the Failed Bands of Oklahoma would like to welcome visitors from other states, provinces and countries -- and particularly hopes that participants and fans of failed bands will take the time to visit Oklahoma's attractions. Three of our favorite attractions/events for this year include: Boley Rodeo, an African-American rodeo southwest of Tulsa (May 26-27); the Oklahoma Centennial Gala/Spectacular (Nov 22, Oklahoma City), which we feel FBO should have an inclusion; and the Price Tower (, a Frank Lloyd Wright 'skyscraper' in Bartlesville that's now a hotel.

The FBO will be soon contacting The Oklahoma Centennial Gala/Spectacular to seek an invitation for FBO members at the statehood gala. More to come...

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

PS -- Photos of tourism are from Tulum, Mexico; a Vladivostok, Russia, ferry dock; and Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam.

Friday, January 26, 2007

FBO: "Celebrating Global Warming (and the Beatles), Part One"

This is the first of a three- or four-part series of the FBO ‘celebrating global warming’ by listening to the Beatles and Wings...

No one ever covers a single song of the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road, one-song-bleeds-to-the-next ensemble that wraps up with the Beatles’ sort of ‘last’ song ‘The End.’ Some say it’s just ‘unfinished ideas thrown together’ – John Lennon among them; others award it a special honor in the Beatles’ catalogue. FBO-member-001 Tall Tales had occasional Beatles flirtations, though it wouldn’t have been known outside of the practice room. Tall Tales once worked up ‘Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey’ (from the ‘White Album’) as an extension to the 90-second original ‘I’m a Rodeo.’ Never played it, regrettably. Bass player Mitch Edward Newlin had to show guitarist Robert Edward Reid the guitar parts, a common occurrence in the back yards of Tall Tales’ music making.

→ I never listen to this so let’s go have a re-listen:

“You Never Give Me Your Money”
The guitar overdubs throughout rule this piano-based song that turns into a wacky boogie break, then a multi-tiered cascade of song parts… Not 100% that it’s not Paul on some of those guitars, particularly that crescendo guitar pick part that’s so integral to the song structure… This song is basically Paul introducing a full-side medley with a one-song medley, so many parts, some of which get picked up later on... Very crafted… Lyrics are meaningless… Paul could write a song, but had nothing to say that wasn’t predicated on the Beatles World… Does he really want some gal to give him money? Am I not getting something here?

“Sun King”
John is barely on this side, but this pre-Pink Floyd-‘Eclipse’-y thing with dreamy, around-the-bong vocals introduces his three-pack... Not memorable, but I give him credit for grammatically abusive intro (‘here come the sun king…’) and the unnecessary Italian verse that name-drops ‘paparazzi,’ an Italiano sarcasmo later picked up by Fred Mercury in the ‘mama mia’ operatic parts of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

“Mean Mr Mustard”
Lovely segway into a one-minute joke song that never really describes, or cares to, tell you why Mustard is so mean…

“Polythene Pam”
Another one-minute joke. Never bothered to look up ‘polythene’ before… it's a lightweight thermoplastic... why not 'Lightweight Thermoplastic Leslie Thorpe?'... lyric: ‘she’s so good looking but she looks like a man…’ Maybe Ray Davies heard that before writing ‘Lola.’

“She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”
Back to Paul and the best song of side two, but it should have been a STEVE MILLER song… Relisten to it: this is Steve Miller. Just imagine California’s most charismatic rocker singing lead with a vest on, bumping shoulder to back-of-the-head with his remarkable 5’4” rhythm guitarist… you know, that guy who looked like Richard Simmons, played a left-handed guitar (volume likely off), sang back-ups a bit too comfortably, and – could this be too good to be true? – played barefoot. Whoever can name that Steve Miller back-up guitarist – and honorable FBO member – WINS… Anyway, those little guitar whipperwhirls to fill the gaps in the verses – must be George – are absolutely gorgeous.

“Golden Slumbers”
I bet that no other Beatle is on this song but Paul. He often did drums, and that opening drum fill is a bit non-Ringo-ish. I’m guessing that this song is a ‘Let it Be’ left-over that never panned out into a song. Like the name of the song.

“Carry That Weight”
Overworked way of reprising melodies from the ‘Money’ song that started this whole mess, but it’s almost OK since they wisely put Ringo’s voice louder than anyone’s on the choruses… I downloaded a fairly recently recorded Ringo solo version of ‘Love Me Do,’ which he had never sang, with Jack X Blades of Night Ranger singing back-ups… there is never a day that that version doesn’t sound good…

“The End”
This song, the most famous of the side, is nearly a Cheap Trick song… listen to Robin Zander style of intro: ‘oh yeah, all right, are you going to be in my dreams tonight?’… Paul sounds good there… that opening burst leads to a chant of ‘love you, love you, love you, love you…’ and the overly famous ending ‘and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…’ which really isn’t true. When the guitar – the under-rated rhythm – comes in with the drums after the drum-solo bit, as good as anything on the side… yet the dueling guitar solos don’t really catch much for me. As a whole, doesn’t hold up to its fame.

“Her Majesty”
Oh Paul. Couldn’t let it end as an ending. Had to put a 17-second blip of nonsense at the end. Sometimes you wonder if the Beatles would have even happened if Paul – smarter than the other boys, a teacher’s pet, a keen student – had been punched to the face, hard, several times, at a cafeteria or hallway, in front of everyone, at the age of 13. Probably Herman’s Hermits would have written ‘Hey Jude.’

Wrap-Up Thoughts
* Not sure John is even involved in half of these songs
* Some particularly remarkable guitar playing by George or someone
* Way overrated, as a whole. The best part is the Mustard/Pam/Bathroom trio… the rest is a little sticky if you’re honest with yourself
* Mitch’s initials spell ‘MEN’

Monday, January 22, 2007

FBO: ´Football Banner Flies O'er Mexico'

A day ago FBO Admin squeezed into the back of a combi van that passed signs signaling Zapatista-run territories on the way to visit Tonina Mayan ruins. At least a couple of the co-horts in the back spoke Spanish poorly if at all -- Tzotzil was more their thing. Today, in touristy Playa del Carmen, FBO Admin found himself during the fourth quarter of the Colts-Patriots AFC championship game, sitting next to a man in a Chicago Bears cap, hoarse cackle from a life of smoking. 'I am Captain Ron. I own this place. Born and raised in Chicago', motions to cap, 'Been here for 10 years. Bought this for $30,000, now it's worth $400,000.' Hanging out were an assorted of 50-something Americans, here to forget about work for a few days, and to lather in the Jimmy Buffet world that Captain Ron lays out for them. 'See? I knew the Colts would win,' he said jabbing fun at a Patriot Buffet fan. 'Been good watching with you,' he said shaking my hand as I left. 'I am Captain Ron.'

Football is everywhere here, it seems. American football. As shown with one of the greatest photographs taken in the 21st century, procured exlusively for FBO by FBO Admin. Taken on the night of the BCS National Championship, betwixt Florida and Ohio State over a week ago, two moustached men, BOTH named Pepe, gave their stoic pre-game analysis of a college game that few locals would know anything about. It was broadcast on the Mexican Fox Sports to the entire nation of 108 million.

Spreading knowledge and promoting the failed,

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Palenque, Mexico

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FBO: 'Is One'

The celebratory flags were up, but no trumpets blared, kazoos hummed, or hands clapped. FBO's own '1-1-1' passed, its first birthday (Jan 11), with no fanfare. But the adherents of FBO members and FBO fans (including Rich Trott), are not phased. 'The year is not made by the birthday, but by what occurs during the year on other days as well,' to paraphrase Eric Harmon of FBO member The Cant/Cinder Biscuits.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Ocosingo, Mexico*

* The heart of Zapatista country; 'EZLN' murals line buildings

FBO: 'An Audience Awaits'

FBO's show in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Planned. Delayed. Planned. Delayed. Jabs from 'Top Fan' Rich Trott. More Delays. Now this: an adherent from FBO Member Asylum David Cantrell is toying with the idea of a mult-band billed show at Cain's or Bob's in Tulsa. It 'could have some elements of failed bands to it,' to paraphrase David. Meaning some bands would actually exist and be pre-failed bands. 'Some bands won't understand the FBO thing,' Cantrell says.

But there is a possibility of some sort of FBO element to a potential 2007 show. The FBO would like to thank David for is can-do, Colorado-based energy. We all need some of that CDCBE.

More to come,

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Comitan, Mexico

Monday, January 15, 2007

FBO: "How to Count Vomits"

While on a promotional trip for the Failed Bands of Oklahoma in Chiapas, Mexico, FBO Admin fell victim to food poisoning and was left pondering how to count vomits in between trips to the (thankfully) private bathroom four feet away. Each "episode" comes with at least four expulsions. Does each expulsion count as a vomit? Do you get to say, whilst showing off in the hostel common space a day or two later, "Man, I threw up 16 times"?

Web search yields little satisfactory result. According to one playful FAQ on vomiting, when one gets sick -- almost always preceded by nausea -- a "wave" of vomit follows, and in the case of food poisoning, one requires three or four "waves" to rid your stomach of the culpritory food or drink. Each "wave" may require six to ten expulsions.

This does not answer the question.

A food-poisoning sickness, or a stomach flu of other sorts, can be counted by the "trips to the bathroom," or a "wave." But is each time your brain signals your stomach, and possibly small intestine, that the latest take is a "no go" -- each time a mad outpouring of stomach content -- is that a vomit?

Sadly the FBO believes that, until other proof comes, that a "wave" constitutes a vomit. And not each expulsion that constitutes each "wave." I explused maybe 18 times over four waves yesterday, but that only counts as four vomits. So: "Dude, I puked four times from those bad tacos." (It was more likely the salsa left out at room temperature for extended amounts of time that gets the blame.)

By the way, vomit tastes bad NOT from stomach acid by from butyl acid from the small instestine, and also the lack of sweeteners, as they are very quickly digested -- and out of reach from the vomitory episode. Also, though we rarely do so, it is best to vomit with your head LOWER than your hips, to ensure no vomit gets into your lungs.

Also, rats cannot vomit.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

FBO: 'Is it OK to Watch Apocalypto?'

Mel Gibson may be a anti-Semitic, drunken loon, but it's hard to overlook the merit of his latest film epic, complete with torture and decapitations and face-eating jaguars: "Apocalypto." Consider this: here in the mobile HQ of Merida, the central plaza is lined with 16th-century buildings made from conquistador-wreckage of five Mayan pyramids -- the Spanish city itself is all older than New York City, yet only a mere newcomer to the city that once rested here from 600AD. Mayan civilization -- with cities of tens of thousands, bigger than Paris or London of its time -- is one of the Americas' finest cultural achievements. And until Mel Gibson got around to it, no one in Hollywood had bothered to touch on it before.

While some of the pre-release banter in the press has claimed some Mayanists are upset with the film -- 'too violent,' 'sacrifices are an exaggeration.' This is mere backlash to Mel the person, not the film. One quote was from someone who had only seen the trailer. Here in Merida, the film is still not released, and I'd love to sit in it with a Mexican audience. Mel being Mel, it's filmed in Yucatec language -- language, not a dialect as some articles claim -- and used no known actors. It's a story of a pre-European American civilization -- the Spanish, with a glaring priest glaring at pagans from a boat -- only appear in the final scene. This from Hollywood, which unravels yet another Rocky film -- what's next Three's Company with Steve Carrell? (Not a bad idea actually.)

Here in Mexico you see Maya cities everywhere -- Chichen Itza near Cancun, Uxmal outside Merida, or Palenque deeper in the jungle. You can wander past some overly renovated sites, even climb a few. Mel's film shows a representation of what it MIGHT have looked like. Slaves sold, slaves coaked in lime powder to build the stones for the pyramids, priests in ornate garb, everyone with multiple piercings, turquoise tattoos. Decapitated heads rolling down the steps of pyramids painted red.

This is Hollywood? Count the FBO in. The FBO is not a fan of Mel Gibson the man, but applauds the film.

In other news, the FBO is surveying potential failed bands of Mexico's Yucatan and Chiapas. So far, it's a no go.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Merida, Mexico

* All photographs taken today at Labna, Kabah and Uxmal sites. The red hand print is supposedly from a Mayan worker at least half a millenium ago.

Monday, January 01, 2007

FBO: 'Best Songs of 2006'

Bob Dylan 'Nettie Moore' Dylan's new Modern Times went #1 and, in this dollar-downloads world, it's hard to pick any song over the other, but the seven-minute 'Nettie' sums up the album's gist -- 'I'm beginning to believe what the scriptures tell' -- and for basing the barebone verse on a unique take of 'four on the floor.' Lots of air and silence around the gruff voice. People forget how much Bob is doing to replay old blues in newly pertinent ways these recent years. And from a white guy without a goatee!

Deerhoof '81+' Perhaps it's a nod to the Rolling Stones' last great year -- or the life following MTV's inauguration -- but Deerhoof's little EP opener, out just a few days before Christmas, gets the now three-piece of spastic start-and-stop rock, with hilariously trumpets peppering various points and child-like vocals (sample lyrics: 'shopping shoppers,' 'joo joo joo joo, beep beep'), a slot in the best of '06.

Califone 'A Chinese Actor' If Today's Huck Finn made a Wilco tribute band, Califone might be what it'd sound like. Dreamy but crusted, Califone's little folk songs are made by guys a heck of a lot nicer and less self-absorbed than a certain Wilco member, guitars get fuzzy and lots of sounds fill the big space they allow each.

Cat Power 'Willie' Cat used to drink a lot, and the effects of last year's breakdown are still evident from unpredictable shows -- a few months ago I saw her sing 'I'm crazy, I'm crazy' a-cappella as the curtain closed on her at a NYC show -- but 'The Greatest' is her best album. Backed by Al Green's former band, it's less indie rock and more VH-1. A highlight amongst several is 'Willie.'

Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'Cheated Hearts' If Joey Ramone and Chrissie Hynde had a kid it'd be Karen O, lead singer and lead fashion-head of the tri-Ys. Somehow their guitar and drum sounds fuller than the White Stripes (overdubs help), and Karen's sense of Pretty Pinky 80s melodies, like this one, ensures unbashful swaying and head-bops at indie-rock concerts for years to come.

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness 'When You Go Out' Sure the FBO can be hip. The disco beat of ILBICD is forgiveable for the Edge/Robert Smith/Ultravox guitar parlay of this bouncy three-minute single. It'll be forgotten by late 2007, but -- hey -- 2006 was only yesterday.

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