Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FBO: 'The Best of FBO 2008'

It's been a busy 2008 for the Failed Bands of Oklahoma:

--> The FBO noted that Oklahoma designed a really dumb quarter.

--> The National Automobile Museum purposely endorsed some old car race that went out of its way to snub Oklahoma. Hence the FBO asked for an apology and never received one.

--> The FBO recognized the danger of naming the new OKC NBA team, offered pre-emptive suggestions (that ended up better than the final verdict).

--> The FBO -- fed up with critics' negativity -- responded by falling in love:

--> The FBO tried to like REM again, then listened again to Hear-n-Aid's curious 164-second guitar solo.

--> The FBO took issue with Virginia's quarter, which noted the death of Jamestown.

--> The FBO, in Bulgaria, responded to critics at the same hilltop it released FBO news in 2006. Then created a poem -- using a disrespectful act to a pet to work as a proxy rebuttal -- in a Bulgarian rental car for the ongoing criticism FBO receives without warrant.

--> FBO's first member Tall Tales played their first show in 14 years.

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

Monday, December 29, 2008

FBO: 'Rather Upset with SE Hinton'


If you've not seen it yet, editors Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey put together a fine new hardcover book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, with essays by 50 writers of the 50 states. It's fashioned -- with its neat cover and concept -- as a reprisal of the WPA Guides, a Federal Writers' Project during FDR's administration. Some pieces are great -- Dave Eggers' spirited case for why Illinois is the best state (because of skyscrapers, Lincoln, license plates, friendliness) is hilarious, and rather convincing.

Others are awful. Anthony Bourdain reinforces the image of Jersey suburbia -- a slave to New York City -- in his ultra-personal history of New Jersey, and misses an opportunity to talk of its actual rural heart (unseen from the turnpikes). His call, I guess. Meanwhile, Said Sayrafiezadeh from New York's Lower East Side stumbles through the most obvious South Dakota sites, akin to 'City Slickers,' without saying anything meaningful of a state with pink highways or touching on anything beyond the obvious. OK, maybe, in another venue, but unsatisfying for the purposes of this book.

The worst, so far (we're not finished reading), is Oklahoma's chapter, written by Tulsan SE Hinton, who remains Oklahoma's turn-to writer though she's only known for a handful of teen books written three to four decades ago.

In her four-page entry (the briefest in the book), she explains why she still lives in Oklahoma. She quotes Will Rogers a few times, talks about how meteorologists are 'demi gods' there, throws an offhand note that 'no state is prouder of its Native American heritage' (without giving an example). It comes off like back-cover blurbs, designed to sell a guidebook ('Oklahoma has all kinds of terrain...'). That she wrote it (in a day?) while being iced in her Tulsa home during the December 2007 ice storm makes it feel more like a break from her boredom. A crossword puzzle for her to pass the time.

Other writers bother to return to their homes for the story, talk with locals to give life or other perspective.

Suggestions for what SE Hinton could have talked about:

* Oklahoma has the best state shape in the country. And the reason is because Texas wanted slaves. After the Missouri Compromise forbid slavery over the 36-30 parallel, so they just sliced off the top of their panhandle.

* Oklahoma has the best state flag in the country. And the only one devoted to Native American themes.

* Rand McNally once famously forgot to include Oklahoma in a road atlas.

* John Steinbeck immortalized Dust Bowl Okies' move west in The Grapes of Wrath, but didn't bother to check much about the setting. He described a dusty flat plains for the Joads' hometown, but placed it in the hilly, green east of the state.

* Oklahoma is named for the Choctaw word for 'red man,' has more Native Americans than any other state (per capita), is planning a huge Native American museum in downtown OKC, and the state's nickname openly acknowledges law-breakers, the Sooners.

* That Oklahoma, like Kentucky, is a state without a clear region. It's sort of Great Plains (but with a FAR more diverse population than any state north of it), too western to be Midwest ultimately, and not south at all. In the end, Oklahoma is part of what I call the Texas sub-continent, linked to its rival big brother more than any of its other neighbors.

* Oklahoma's 'black towns' like Boley, which hosts a 'black rodeo' annually -- all legacies of towns settled shortly after the Civil War.

* Oklahoma is redder than any state -- election-wise (all counties went McCain in 08) -- yet OKC did the unthinkable by voting in a one-cent sales tax that helped improve itself more than any other American city in the past decade (eg Art Museum downtown, new library, putting water in the river, Bricktown canal, Ford Center, Flaming Lips Alley...)

SE Hinton calls Oklahoma a 'great place for a writer, a free place for a writer.' It's too bad she made her case without leaving her home. A missed opportunity.

--> The FBO encourages all writers interested in writing about Oklahoma or North Dakota to contact the FBO before-hand.

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

FBO: 'Acknowledges Canadian FBO(BT)'


The Canadian site -- Five Bucks On By-Tor, curiously beginning with 'FBO' initials -- focuses on less-than-heralded non-failed music heroes north of the border. We applaud the focus, even if it snubs failed bands of Canada (a note will be written to them).

--> Finder's acknowledgment to Tom C-- of Wisconsin.

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

Postscript: We've sent the following message to FBOBT:

A quick message here from a different 'FBO' -- the Failed Bands of Oklahoma -- which tries to trumpet failed, unheralded bands of all US states, Canadian provinces and other territorial divisions worldwide. The FBO appreciates your efforts here, and you have been acknowledged on our Dec 27 issue.

If you have suggestions for failed Canadian bands -- bands that were never 'signed' to a label, played at least 75% original music, and began at least 10 years ago -- we'd love to hear about them.

FBO Admin

Thursday, December 25, 2008

FBO: 'It's a New Christmas Video'

In celebration of the holiday season, the Failed Bands of Oklahoma releases this packaged video -- culling snippets of worldwide Christmas celebrations -- into a 53-second track 'Christmas is for Christians.'

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

FBO: 'Baby Books on Watchlist'

Christmas comes tomorrow, and with it much talk of one of the most famous babies of all time. The FBO, however, is concerned with a disturbing trend in 'baby books' of dropping any article or modifier for reference to a -- emphasis 'a' -- baby.

Examples include:

* 'caring for baby'
* 'adjusting to life with baby'
* 'dressing up baby'

This is wrong and offensive. And tragically yet more ammunition for the small-scale anti-baby movement out there. What's wrong with saying 'your baby,' 'my baby,' 'our baby,' even 'the baby' on occasion?

Do we ask 'you have sister in Cleveland, don't you?' or 'you have a sister in Cleveland, verdad?'

Why should it be any different for a baby?

In dropping the modifier, such baby books as Humble Bumble's Baby Journal: A Keepsake Journal for Baby's First Three Years are openly mocking foreigners who speak English as a second or third language -- and not used to modifiers as 'the' or 'a.'

Meanwhile, some book titles use a modifier on the covers -- eg The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know about Your Baby from Birth to Age Two -- then sneakily drop the modifier with all references in the text. This is even worse.

The FBO asks these baby-book publishers to apologize and make edits, and reminds us -- everyone --to modify all babies as yours, or theirs etc.

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

FBO: 'Grading the Underachiever Triplets'

Guns'n'Roses new album Chinese Democracy came out a few weeks ago, and I was quick to download it. Anyone -- pretty much anyone -- who spends so long (14 years) with so much pomp and self-destruction to make a rock record is, as a rule, interesting, and occasionally pretty good. It's very easy to root against Indianan Axl Rose, but the thing is, the album is fairly remarkable. When do you have a lead single that requires Wikipedia to get all the references (Falung Gong anyone?).

Things are often overblown -- tripled lead vocals, guitar leads peppering any gap, sound bytes in the horrible 'Madagascar' range from Cool Hand Luke to Martin Luther King Jr. But the biggest surprise is that it's actually a real Guns'n'Roses album, a blip back to a different rock'n'roll era, despite the Nine Inch Nails sound effects and electro beats picked up over the 14-year sprawl-in-the-making (not to mention the Terrence Trent D'Arby dreads!?). It's better than the mess of a double album Use Your Illusion (1991).

-->Axl's Underachievement Score: A-. Guns'n'Roses have three studio releases of original material over a 20-year period.

Fourteen years in the making, Chinese Democracy only wins silver in an album's delay. The gold honors go to Brian Wilson/Beach Boys' Smile (2004), which took nearly 30. In 1967, Wilson tried to one-up the Beatles' Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band -- which had tried, and failed, to one-up the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (aka 'best album of all time,' 1966). The Smile project was flooded with over-thought arrangements and lyrics, which led to Brian's madness (more or less), an eventually scrapped album, then a jarringly barebone follow up Smiley Smile that (other than 'Good Vibrations') barely hinted at what the vision had been. Brian Wilson assembled some studio musicians to 'finish' (re-record) the original Smile in 2004, so unlike Axl's, the finished work wasn't continuously worked on and re-tooled over a long period of time; it was merely scrapped, forgotten, then returned to. Notably, the final version of Smile didn't show any real changes from leaked demos from 1967 -- no funk guitars, wah wah pedals, rap breaks, slap bass or four-on-the-floor disco beats had been picked up along the way. It's interesting, but there may be a reason Brian got frustrated (and crazy) in 1967 -- he was reaching too far.

--> Brian's Underachievement Score: D-. Brian needed 27 years for Smile, but no apology needed for churning out breathtaking song after breathtaking song through most of the '60s. He also re-emerged from the Smile disaster to make a few worthy songs here an there, particularly on 'Honkin' Down the Highway' in 1978. Plus he can use illness as an excuse.

Brian and Axl's other separated triplet of underachievement is Tennesseean Quentin Tarantino, who burst with promise with a two-fer of 'isn't violence funny?' movies: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994). Then he ran out of ideas. Three years later, he did a version of an Elmore Leonard novel with the so-so Jackie Brown (1997), then waited six more years before bringing out an original story again with Kill Bill Vol I & II (2003 & 2004), which seemed to stem from a Pulp Fiction joke about a TV pilot of the 'Fox Force Five.' He's talking of adding Vol III & Vol IV in another ten years.

-->Quentin's Underachievement Score: B-. If not for Kill Bill, Quentin would lead Axl.

Failed Bands of Oklahoma sympathize with the creative trappings of these nonfailed artists, but do ask for an apology from each.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

FBO: '(In Defiance of all the Critics) New FBO Band Makes Debut Rehearsal'

The new Failed Bands of Oklahoma band -- The Failed Bands of Oklahoma -- practiced last night as a four piece, after one of the five members (Eric Davison) had to step down from band participation due to scheduling conflicts (despite some reports, he was not fired).

Here is a sample of the goods to come in the double B-side single in early 2009:

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FBO: 'Why Don't Future-Failed Bands Talk with Us More?'

Budding new bands miss out on an untapped resource for plotting out how to name their band, design promotional materials, think of themes for songs, and where to insert guitar solos: failed bands.

The FBO is always available to offer for free consultation to new future-failed bands.

The 'digital revolution' of recent years -- with Garage Band mini-studios on every Mac, and blogs to post videos and MP3s -- essentially allows more people to be 'in a band' and write/record music than every before. Even ten years ago, perhaps 15, you really had to want to be in a band -- now just tap the fake-sax on your keyboard.

It's good, but leads to a bunch of junk too.

One thing that caught the FBO eye is teenage Italian goth-metal band Soul Cry, who had two members (an 18-year-old singer and her 16-year-old brother) STAB the guitarist 50 times for 'playing badly' in rehearsal (see story). Unbelievably, the guitarist is doing OK.

The FBO appreciates the band's attention to detail, but only wishes that Soul Cry had contacted us first. Stabbing bandmembers is a no-go.

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

FBO: 'North Dakota Week (Hidden Track)'

North Dakota is used to false reports and misconceptions and an unfair shake of things. It's the least-visited state, and most who stop to consider it at all think of it as the coldest (it's not) or by the actors portraying Minnesotans in the film Fargo. Last week, USA Today one-upped the ante, with an article, following up on the Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich story, that slams the 'Peace Garden State' as the nation's most corrupt.

That'd be fine if it were at all true. It's not. And North Dakota is rightly furious about it.

The editorial pages of the Grand Forks Herald called it a 'laughable claim,' and the state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called it 'patently ridiculous.' The Bismarck Tribune added if the claim is true, then 'there are legions of elected and appointed officials from other states who can walk on water.'

There's some facts on their side, apparently. Some half of the 'guilty officials' sited as corrupt of the state's 600,000 residents, were local, not state, officials, including many officials from a Chippewa reservation (which operates outside the state jurisdiction). The Grand Forks Herald claims the last North Dakota state official to be found guilty of corruption was in 1954. In a New York Times article on the controversy, the Herald editor said he could only recall a state legislator being charged for shoplifting some peanuts, back in 1981.

North Dakota Attorney General: 'These groups that grade states should be graded themselves. This group deserves an F.' (Referring to Corporate Crime Reporter, who -- in 2004 -- called North Dakota the second-most corrupt state (after Mississippi).

The FBO sees many comparisons between failed bands, lack of awareness of failed bands, and frequent dissent over failed bands' collectives such as the FBO -- and with the barrage of disrespect given to North Dakota over the years.

We side with our adopted state on this issue, and ban USA Today from linking to our site for eight full weeks.

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

FBO: 'North Dakota Week (Conclusion Postponed)'

Despite overwhelming positive reaction to the FBO North Dakota Week, the concluding portion -- including a music video -- must regrettably be postponed at least one week.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FBO: 'North Dakota Week: NAM's Center'

I went well out of my way, on May 10, 2001, to reach Rugby, the geographical center of the North American continent. A little on a Great Plains map can mean hours -- and I didn't question my decision for a second.

Here's my journal entry from that day:

The Rugby visitors center is why you travel.

Located across the road from the cute stacked-stone geographical center of North America marker, the worker here -- dressed in a 'Rugby - Geographical Center of North America' jacket -- is a serious, bald, 35-year-old local who sells Mexico and Canada flags along with US ones to keep the North American focus. He takes that seriously. He pulled out travel planners he's painstakingly collected from all 50 US states and much of Canada -- to have onhand, as a defacto representative of North American travel, here in a sad wind-swept town far from an interstate.

'It's something,' he said in an eager monotone, with a trace of a Fargo accent. 'You really learn which states have the highest tourism budgets and which don't.' Which have the least? 'Oh Virginia, definitely. They sent us just one guide. Said if we wanted more we'd have to pay postage,' he added without a trace of resentment. 'But New Jersey, they sent us cartons of magazines and brochures. They sent us 1000 New Jersey maps.' I laughed at this, but he clearly saw no humor in it.

Rugby wants to create a new visitors center, but ran out of money. He showed me three separate artists' renderings of a new proposed center. I left to check out the North American stone marker across the street, first asking if it really was the real geographical center.

'Oh no,' he said. 'The actual spot is 16 miles south -- in the middle of a swamp.'

The FBO is considering a failed bands show in Rugby.

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

Monday, December 08, 2008

FBO: 'North Dakota Week T-Shirt'

FBO fans ask for an official North Dakota t-shirt. And one is delivered. It can be ordered here.

Careful observers will note a Dakota swap in the clip art. (Only South D was available.)

More North Dakota-related posts will resume tomorrow.

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

FBO: 'Launches North Dakota Week'

The USA's least-visited state -- sometimes misinterpreted as the coldest of the contiguous 48 (Maine is colder, for instance), and made fun of by a movie that takes place in next-door Minnesota (Fargo) -- is getting the last laugh on the rest of us, it appears. According to a New York Times article a few days ago, North Dakota is, more or less, taking a bypass around the recession. It enjoys a $1.2 million budget surplus, the nation's lowest unemployment rate and a recent rise in real-estate values. Good for them.

The FBO has particularly been a fan of the state's punk-rock threats of renaming its state -- from 'North Dakota' to simply 'Dakota,' which pops up in its state legislature every couple years. Predictably South Dakota -- the more famous twin -- gets furious over the notion, but the FBO thinks more states should remain fluid with its nomenclature. Some examples:

*New Jersey --> York. The only thing that could possibly make New Jersey cool is upsetting New York (the Boss certainly hasn't done it). Another option would be simply Manhattan.
*West Virginia --> Authentic Virginia. No one will know which came first after 80 years.
*Oklahoma Panhandle --> Actual Massachusetts

We visited North Dakota in the tender days of early 2001, arriving in Fargo's proud, just-opened tourist information center -- fashioned from a giant grain elevator, and excited to launch a full tourism campaign for a state everyone skips -- the same day USA Today slammed the city as the 'country's ugliest city.' That's just mean.

The FBO adopts North Dakota. And bans the USA Today editorial board for three weeks.

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

Thursday, December 04, 2008

FBO: 'Failed Bands of Oklahoma Band Meets'


Despite the critics' calls for the Failed Bands of Oklahoma to stay away from rehearsal spaces and livehouses, the FBO band -- a five-piece featuring (so far) Joe Guerrero, John Whitaker, Eric JJ Davison, Doug Russell and Robert Reid -- met, talked, discussed instruments in possession and set plans to write/record a 2009 FBO Anthem 'Be in a Band.'

There is also the possibility of an 18-minute conceptual recording called '1812 Mind Control.'

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

Monday, December 01, 2008

FBO: 'Responds to Critics'

Here we go again. The latest FBO initiative -- to form an all-new, short-term FBO band in the semi-permanent hub of Brooklyn, New York -- has unleashed a storm of criticism, who wonder why the Failed Bands of Oklahoma should bother.

The FBO responds:

Meanwhile, the FBO would like to welcome an outgoingly positive new fan -- one who could potentially top our Top Fan in a future poll -- Sue Seeger, who is an artist.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

FBO: 'How to Make a Pilgrim Hat'

Over the years, some stories in our world histories get exaggerated and amended beyond any recognition to the truth of the tale. One example that has NOT been changed is the fact that the first American pilgrims wore very interesting hats. Solid-gold or solid-silver, or some cheap proxy thereof, buckle in front of a gallon-top black-felt hat.

To tribute these heroes, the FBO recommends -- this Thanksgiving -- to make and wear a hat.

Here's how:


* 10x13" black construction paper
* 9x12" gray construction paper
* some tape, some glue


1. Cut a big oval out of the black construction paper.
2. Cut a strip of paper to make a band to put around the boy's head, tape it. Put that circle (slightly oval) on the paper to trace the inner circle. Then draw a circle around it. Leave about a 2" brim on 3 sides and about 4" on the "front".
3. Draw the trapezoid, and cut out the gray parts. (see photo)
4. Cut out a band and band and buckle out of gray paper.
5. Glue the hat band on the hat and then the buckle on top of the band.
6. Bend the hat piece up and try on the child.
7. You may need to adjust the opening to fit the individual child's head.
8. On the underneath side, apply tape to the two points where the hat bends. This will help reinforce the stress point, and hopefully prevent tearing.

Directions courtesy of

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FBO: 'Failed Bands of Oklahoma to Form Band'

The Failed Bands of Oklahoma seeks four to 12 potential bandmembers to join a short-term Brooklyn-based project to create a double B-side single for the FBO's 2009 thematic composition 'Be In a Band' -- which will be part of the FBO's 2009 campaign to foster the formation of 125 bands worldwide in 2009.

If you are in the area December and January and interested in joining, let us know.

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

FBO: 'Tall Tales Takes Tip from Doors'

The Doors recently re-mixed and re-did their albums -- Ray Manzarek needed the money -- and have done, Tall Tales' Dan Fallis reports, an amazing job and uncovering lost things in the old mixes, like backups and more tolerable keyboard parts from the spectacled Mr Manzarek.

FBO Member #001 Tall Tales, perhaps, may follow suit.

37-1/2 MINUTES?
In its earlier pre-failed incarnation, the band released four 'albums' on cassette only -- Tall Tales, Your Analysis, Crime in a Bucket and Damn Kat (the latter using a discarded artwork of a cat defecating, found at a Tulsa Kinko's) -- then topping it off with a lone CD, the 66-minute, 25-track 69 Minutes in 1993.

As it was the first time in a real studio (ie one with more than an eight-track recorder), TT mixed up the songs; 11 were re-done songs from the cassette albums, the rest new songs or old ones never recorded. Ambitious, but in the end, one could argue, it lost a little cohesion for casual listeners in the expanded 66-minute format. (Before downloads destroyed the idea of albums, CDs in general watered them down by expanding the length from a more manageable, listener-friendly 44 minutes to 60-plus; por ejemplo compare the Stones' Tattoo You with the rambling, awful Steel Wheels or Bridges to Babylon or A Bigger Bang.)

The FBO recommends for 69 Minutes' 16th anniversary next spring to re-package the CD as a download to focus on at-the-time fresh material only. The suggested new song order is:

3. 2nd NEW SONG
11. TIME*

* 'Time' previously appeared on Tall Tales, but the FBO allows one re-hash, and this one has a fully extended outro that qualifies it for inclusion.

--> The new name of the album could either be 37-1/2 Minutes, or Skip the Rock, or Tall Tales Won't Try.

It's possible to download, or hear snippets, of 69 Minutes here.

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FBO: 'Chip Dalby's Size Queens Releases LP'

The trans-national band Size Queens - once chiefly in San Francisco - are very good. Graduates of Glasstown, a remarkable failed band which at least one FBO member contributed to by forming the first fan club band in behalf of (during the premier .com bubble), Size Queens' new album Magic Dollar Shoppe is available in cheat 30-second snippets at their myspace page, or downloaded in full from CD Baby.

Former Oklahoman Chip Dalby plays drums.

A video snippet:

You can also hear some songs at Our Literal Speed.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FBO: 'OKC Flag Exhibit Lacks Professionalism'


There are three great dreams in life, the opportunity to:

* design a sports team name, logo, uniform
* name a band and design an album cover
* make a flag

The 'Thunder' recently offered Oklahoma a chance to chip in on a new sports franchise -- and dropped the ball figuratively with font-less uniforms, then later literally with the team's roaring 1-8 start. Meanwhile, apparently trying to fix the unbroke, the City Arts Center in Oklahoma City recently asked 46 artists to re-create the single best flag of all time: the Oklahoma flag.

The exhibit, '46 Flags,' is on exhibit through December 20, and is free to see (9am to 10pm Mon-Thu, 9am-5pm Fri & Sat). All spin off the 1925 original, a winning flag from a 1925 competition as designed by Louise Fluke -- possibly the best flag-making name of all time as well.

We'd love to endorse the exhibit, but there are some problems.

--> First of all the City Arts Center makes no mention of this interesting exhibit on its website. 'It's been handled with our community outreach department, so it definitely wouldn't be on the website,' a museum employee explained. Instead the website plugs remarkably uninteresting exhibits, such as Oklahoma artists painting Oklahoma City neighborhoods and holiday pottery.

--> Secondly, according to an article in Oklahoma Today, it began when gallery curator Hugh Meade moved to Oklahoma and made his own Oklahoma flag with a single star for the state's independent spirit, black accents for petroleum and green to highlight the landscapes.

Hugh Meade, who apparently is related to Betsy Ross (an overrated flag-maker), appears to know nothing about making flags himself. To quote Michael Stipe, consider this:

* the flag ignores the state's Native American roots; the present flag -- the one he thought wasn't good enough -- is essentially the only state flag that incorporates Native American symbols in its flag (though sadly not its quarter)
* petroleum is NOT black
* over half the state is NOT green

The FBO issues a stern warning to color-blind Hugh Meade regarding flag-making. Perhaps in the future, keep it to the professionals.

--> The above improved 'USA flag' was designed by the FBO in April 2007; look here.

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FBO: 'The Coldplay Bass Player (Pts 2 & 3)


The FBO has learned that Guy Berryman, bass player of Coldplay, has a bit of a following, as seen from this ridiculous website. Hence, Berryman is unfit for further discussion in this forum.

--> Parts 2 and 3 of the previously planned three-part series have been cancelled.

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FBO: 'The Coldplay Bass Player (Pt 1 of 3)

The Failed Bands of Oklahoma holds a special affection for the overplaying bass player -- those who put a bit too much energy into the act of performing mere quarter notes normally used as the backbone for harmless mid-range pop songs, such as the entire Smithereens catalog. It's even better, in our view, when no one knows they exist.

On recent cultural symposia tours overseas, the FBO noticed something surprising: Coldplay actually has band members, including the Coldplay Bass Player (Guy Berryman). In a tender track, 'The Hardest Part,' with a video made that you're invited to laugh at -- it shows a 75-year-old woman dancing for a third-tier cable network -- Berryman's excess energy at the 2:45 mark stood out.

--> See it here:

The first couple Coldplay videos -- you remember 'Yellow' don't you?, 'The Scientist'? -- were distinctive for showing only the nice-but-you-still-kind-of-want-to-punch-him leader singer Christian Martin. No band members. So when they started making an appearance -- as if they really were party of the 'band' -- it felt strange.

The FBO bans Christian Martin from using this site for three weeks. And we urge all bands to show a more fair, representative breakdown of band members in their videos. Though a key player can break away to 'act' a part of the video -- as occurs in Quarterflash's 'Harden My Heart' or in Tommy Shaw songs from Styx's 'Kilroy Was Here' vehicle.

--> If you know of other bands who've made videos that need to be banned, please let us know.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FBO: 'More Talk about the Election'

Oklahoma got a knock on the 'will you vote for a black man?' storyline this week, but it's worth noting how the US is way ahead of the supposedly more progressive places in Western Europe. The New York Times -- doggedly chasing the race issue -- followed up the story with a revealing knock on the south as a whole yesterday, then added a more fascinating comparison with Europe today.

I'm reminded of my days in a fraternity in college -- a not-altogether worthless experiment, I should add (impromptu football games any day of the week are hard to knock) -- and of one of the more embarrassing moments that sticks out from the experience: rush.

In my first year as a 'brother,' I sat out most of the goings-on of the next year's ugly 'rush' process, where incoming Freshman were judged by shoes, haircuts and sporting successes -- or likelihood of scoring at various functions. It was ugly, and I knew it.

Everyone admitted, though, that rush there was one incoming 18-year-old who clearly stood out above all the others. The sharpest, most engaging of the several hundred pouring through the doors -- no one doubted the fact. But our rush-team crew refused to even ask him back for the second phase of rush. He was black. Not sure whatever happened with him -- but our house sure could have used him.

You'd think when you're faced with such situations, you'd rise -- like Al Pacino's spout offs in the blind-guy movie against Ivy League hypocrits. I didn't. Perhaps because I was still a bit unsure of myself, having just joined a house of intimidating older guys who had hazed us all the previous year. But I did say things to friends in-house at the time. Too bad I didn't stand up and say more.

Here's for change.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FBO: 'Tall Tales Played a Show'

FBO spoke with members of FBO #001 Tall Tales about their Saturday night show in Norman. Here's what was gleaned:

* Norman's Deli, while atmospheric, doesn't 'go for' sound checks, so the TTs rushed off with practice amps to have a two-song warmup at drummer Alan Hiserodt's business offices nearby (the music school).
* Alan, meanwhile, was supposedly suffering early on from a chili burrito of sorts.
* TTs played till nearly 1am.
* TTs threw in a surprise rendition of John Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' at one point -- spurred on by singer Danny Fallis (to give his windpipes a break).
* Some CDs of the TTs 'Pot Pie' record were given away.
* One song, 'Tables & Chairs,' began with drums.
* Several members of FBO's Soul Shaker were in attendance.

We're looking forward to hearing more about the FBO-induced performance, as well as posting any mp3s, videos or photos from the show.

If you were there, we'd like to hear about it.

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

FBO: 'How Oklahoma is Perceived'

Oklahoma gets in the news for three things:

* football
* tornadoes
* embarrassing things like book burnings or elected officials saying 'gay people' are more of a threat to our country than terrorists (then getting re-elected)

Last Tuesday, the divide between red and blue votes was as wide as any place in the nation. This could be partly due to the fact that the Democrats didn't spend time/energy/money campaigning in Oklahoma. But the New York Times highlighted a few other reasons in a rather unflattring article Saturday.

It's probably worth reading.


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

Thursday, November 06, 2008

FBO: 'Tall Tales Bracing for Livehouse, More Shows Possible'

Danny Fallis says of this Saturday's show:
"We are really excited to be playing for the first time in 14 years. I only wish that Rob Reid and his Rickenbacker were going to be joining us on stage Saturday night. The other members of the band and myself have been working overtime to try and make up for his absence. We look forward to being able to play with him in the future"

R Reid adds:
"There is always the FBO Panhandle Show!" (tenatively scheduled for May 2009)

Meanwhile, a Tall Tales video flashback with fake live footage, courtesy of Oklahoma's Jim Gibbons:

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colomba

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Member #001 TALL TALES Takes Stage for First Time in 14 Years'

It's been 14 years since Tall Tales has pressed a distortion pedal, hit a tom drum, or skatted in a livehouse. No burned stuffed animals at nuclear-waste-awareness shows in Oklahoma towns with a population of 7000. No 9-string 12-string guitars plucked out of tune. No tripped Chip Dalbys over Stillwater monitors. No hand-out programs with interviews of bass player Mitch Newlin. No choreographed jumps on songs about whaling. No matching orange-plaid jackets. No fake country songs, no impromptu U2 covers. No mullets or moustaches. No 'Dry Paint.' No betwixt-song banter lasting as long or longer as the songs themselves. That changes this Saturday night.

Drummer Alan Hiserodt (not pictured) offered a few sneak previews of what may or may not happen:

* The hit single 'Station' now features a middle drum/Danny hip-hop break.
* The first song may involve trompe l'entendre (trick hearing).
* The final song could include male nudity.

Also, the show will not include songs from the following EP 'LIVE from a Place in Oklahoma' (2006), Tall Tales' most recent release:

The show is around 9pm at THE DELI, Saturday, November 8. Locust Avenue -- featured Todd Walker -- will open.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

Saturday, November 01, 2008

FBO: 'Yet Again Rush Creates Love'

REM's barnburning tour across South America will likely be a hit, and a lot of fun for the three-piece with bad hair, but in no way will it compare with another gringo three-piece band's success down here: RUSH.

The top progressive rock band of all time, according to a recent FBO poll, pulled out peppy classics like 'By Tor & the Snow Dog' to delight over 100,000 mostly 20-year-olds in Rio for a triple-live album. If you don't believe that model-looking young women and men can't go ga-ga for Rush, watch this priceless video of 'YYZ':

I mean, really.

Today in a north Bogota hotel's breakfast area, FBO overheard a young Venezuelan/American couple -- maybe 21 or 22 -- chatting over eggs. The Venezuelan guy suddenly broke into this, copied into the FBO diaries in real time:

'In Canada there's this progressive rock band with an unreal drummer. Some drummers just sound like drum machines [simulating a 10-tom fill], but this band Rush's drummer is different. Neil Peart. I don't have any of their music on my iPod, but I have some songs from my old band like that I can play for you. Our drummer was like that too. It's amazing.

The Colorado blonde countered:
'Sounds cool.'

For REM, everybody hurts. But only Rush fosters young love, young international love.


FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

* More evidence of how well Rush translates to the southern America:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FBO: 'REM Follows FBO (A Bit Late)'


REM is back in South America -- about 12 days behind the FBO -- and their overpriced show at Simon Bolivar Park didn't even make the local paper El Tiempo's arts section. It did make the news section though.

A pic on page one led to a page 16 story that pronounced 'REM se empapo de rock politco,' starting its news-related piece:

'With a dedication to Democratic candidate for president in the USA, Barack Obama, REM confirmed the tendency as a progressive and political group, during the concert last night in Bogota.'

Not very snappy -- my translation -- and certainly nothing new, but apparently Michael Stipe dedicated a so-so new song 'Man Sized Wreath' to Obama. This is potentially upsetting for some of the rich crowd here, who sometimes lean more towards the Republicans.

Or was it? According to*, the Bogota show was 'the loudest crowd of the tour.' Loud in a good way.

Yesterday I bumped into a young lightly bearded reporter for channel 7 here interviewing a black man from Colombia's Caribbean coast about 'human rights' and got to talking with him about travel, perception of Colombia, and why he should use his press card to sneak us both into REM. I mentioned REM often puts politics into their shows, and with Colombia being a surprise issue in the last presidential debate, he could talk with him about it. 'I like what you're saying. Do you want to get lunch?,' he asked. I had an another appointment.

Surely channel 7 is snapping their fingers in disappointment now.

Meanwhile, the FBO appreciates REM's continued attempts to apologize for well over a decade of mediocre work. But they're still not invited to the Panhandle Show in Guymon, OK (tentatively scheduled for May 2009).

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

* Wonder why REM doesn't use So do we. Apparently no one else does either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FBO: 'Bobby Kimball in Bogota'

You thought last week's Toto reference was just for fun. So did we. But magic happens in Colombia, proven by this photo taken during the on-going cultural symposium exchange between the FBO and Bogota.

Let's recap: In the next week: REM, Judas Priest, Ratt's first-ever Colombia show (on Halloween no less), a three-day rock festival featuring South American metal, FBO-acknowledged Kylie Minogue AND Toto.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FBO: 'Colombians Are Nice & Happy (But Some Bite)'

The 70-year-old German who invited himself to sit with me at a orange-and-green restaurant near my guesthouse had bite marks on his finger, his arm and -- he indicated with a point -- his lower leg.

Bogota doesn't always have the best reputation for being a safe place. A couple years ago when I was here, a Juan Carlos (I met more than one) stopped a conversation mid-sentence in a central business office when a loud boom could be heard. 'Oh, you're lucky. It's a bomb!,' he said excitedly. Then after a moment, 'Oh, it was just a blown tire.' Outside a car driver stood by his stranded vehicle, hands on hips.

The German is travelling for half a year around South America, which I managed to understand despite his not being able to understand any English ('how are you?' 'I'm 70!' 'uh, no how are you? are you doing OK?' 'yes, I am 70'). Yesterday, his first day in Bogota, he went on a hike to a nearby mountain through one of the sketchiest areas of the city, and one everyone tells you to avoid. But the German went anyway and when two guys '50 years younger' than him approached he fought them off, and then they BIT him. Eventually he let go of 80 euro and a camera. On the way back, he got robbed again.

This is not the sort of experience I've had so far in this city of the world's third-happiest country. Sticking with busier areas with better reputations, Bogota to me has been a place that when you ender a grocery, museum or cafe, you're pretty much expected to give a smiling 'buenas dias' to whomever you see. People have been patient with my stumbling Spanish, laughing and urging me to continue. I met someone the other day who, when I mentioned I was interested in tejo (a traditional game involving throwing weights at gunpowder in warehouses with free entrance as long as you buy a 'box of beer' and use the urinal with a full view of the games), he immediately drove me -- past the red-light district, where locals and skimpily-clad woman exchanged words on street corners -- to a tejo place where a dignified group of gray hairs in suits stumbled out and warmly shook my hand. 'Ah, you like tejo too?'

--> Meanwhile, the FBO looks forward to seeing the next bit at either the Judas Priest show Nov 2, the first-ever Ratt concert in Colombia next week, or the three-day Rock al Parque (with many South American rock bands) at Plaza Bolivar next weekend.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

Monday, October 20, 2008

FBO: 'This is that Man'


No one figured out that...

That's right! Bobby Kimball, the still-going lead singer of seminal pop/rock-with-southern-hemisphere-themed-singles band TOTO.

No one gets a free ticket to the Nov 8 Tall Tales show; a handshake is on the house though.

FBO Admin
Semi-Permanent HQ -- Bogota, Colombia

Friday, October 17, 2008

FBO: 'Trivia: Who is this Man?'

Trivia: Whoever names this man first gets one free ticket to the Nov 8 Tall Tales show -- and a handshake.

Hint: He will be invited.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FBO: 'News! Tall Tales to Play Norman'


November 8, 2008
The Deli, Norman

w/ Locust Avenue
& The Toothman (featuring FBO's Eric Harmon)

In a sneak preview of Panhandle Show possibilities, FBO Member #001 Tall Tales returns to the actual Oklahoma stage -- an FBO-induced 'live' EP included a fake audience -- a mere 14 years since the last performance. The show may include a 'live feed' of exile member Robert Reid, who will be in Colombia on a FBO cultural symposium in Bogota.

The band has been working up a set of 20-plus songs, new and old. Singer Dan Fallis promises there will be 'lots of grey beards and arthritis, plus tons of new bass equipment' and drummer Alan Hiserodt says one difference of the new era is 'trying to keep up with what I played as a 20-something as a 40 year old.'

More updates on the #001 return to the livehouse to come...

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Celebrates SAGA Week (Days 6-7)'


No one will ever be able to hang any label of 'softie' or 'all talk, no action' on the Failed Bands of Oklahoma. To conclude the first-annual, partially successful first-annual SAGA WEEK, the FBO did something no prog rock fan, or otherwise, has ever done:

Listen to Saga's eight-chapter 'concept album' in order, five times, back to back.

Over each of Saga's first four albums -- the underrated disco/prog Saga (1978), the overworked Images at Twilight (1979), Silent Knight (1980) and the masterpiece Worlds Apart (1981) -- the Ontarian band released two songs subtitled by 'chapters.' They came out in a scrambled order (eg Chapter 6 in 1978, Chapter 2 in 1979 etc). Most songs are gloomy, meandering, synth-based songs -- frequently with chants. Debatably the 'chapter' subtitles provided a prod to what were often the least interesting songs on the albums.

Some notes:

* 7 or 8 songs begin with synths, the other begins with piano -- the full deal is nearly 50 minutes
* 5 of 8 songs are over six minutes, none are under four-and-a-half
* 3 of 8 have clear-cut sissy vocals, while 4 of 8 have very Dennis DeYoung-sounding vocals (no, that's not always the same thing)
* 5 of 8 songs have touches of macho guitar riffs
* 2 of 8 songs have obviously unnecessary musical segways
* 1 of 8 songs sound like the band Europe (who, by the way, still exist and at last have decided to do an 'almost unplugged' record... in 2008)

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--> FBO Observers: Saga never named this Chapters album! We need ideas for a name of the Saga 'Chapters Concept Album.' We'll send on our suggestion. To help the brainstorm, here's an overview of each song.

IMAGES (Chapter 1)
Synopsis: guy sits with chalk drawing pictures that the rain blurs while people circle him and laugh.
Sound: Sissy piano, almost operatic/Antony vocals, hard to pump up at traffic lights, gets stronger at musical outro
Lyrical highlight: the character uses 'small bits of chalk' to draw
Year: 1979

DON'T BE LATE (Chapter 2)

Synopsis: The song (a single, appearing as a live video in early MTV days) is a dialogue between Saga's long-haired, whispering keyboardist (playing a robot/humanbot?) and lead singer Michael Sadler (as The Lead Character/Parcel Carrier). The robot/keyboardist wants the other to 'not be late.' And is really worried about it, it seems. The Lead Character (LC) must deliver 'a parcel' at 10:00 (presumably night) and seems rather blase about it all.
Sound: Spooky, prodding with water-stream keyboards and classical-music outro with distorted guitars. Not unenjoyable in all fairness.
Lyrical highlight: 'can you pick up this slowing pace' -- slowing?
Year: 1980

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IT'S TIME (Chapter 3)

Synopsis: The elusive story plot starts to unravel here, something akin to a prequel to Styx's 'Kilroy Was Here'. The Lead Character has 'metal thoughts' and yells out 'it's time -- make me now!' Apparently he's being transformed from human to machine.
Sound: Sound-wise this again sounds like what Styx would pick up for 'Mr Roboto,' with full synth chords playing off overly busy sissy acoustic guitar fills -- then going into a rather poppy song, and turning into a pre-'Red Barcheta' solo (to simulate machine construction?).
Lyrical highlight: 'Even larger than I dreamed/this metal shift, a perfect shift'
Year: 1979

WILL IT BE YOU (Chapter 4)
Synopsis: Lead Character is feeling good, under a joyful keyboard pattern, and deliriously tells us that 'only one will survive -- 'will it be me? will it be you?' (Apparently talking to the tense keyboardist/robot character, but it's unclear.) In the end, he sassily predicts 'yes! it will be me!'
Sound: Possibly a single if the 'Chapters' album were packaged together (and it should be), with a sing-along chorus but the dreary chord-changing musical bridge should be edited out and brought right into the guitar-chugging last verse.
Lyrical highlight: 'computer dance, metallic romance, it really seems you had no chance'
Year: 1978

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NO REGRETS (Chapter 5)

Synopsis: A classic 'morning after' song with Lead Character pausing for reflection following the narcisstic romp of Chapter 4. Casual listens beckon thoughts of gay human/humanbot sex and abandonments, but it's more likely LC betrayed the keyboard/humanbot by escaping some sort of 'transformation precedure' half done...
Sound: Synthetic bells lead into an unbearably sissy vocal and deceptively interesting melodic lines that lead gradually into the one-time-only robotic chorus 'can you say there are no regrets?'
Lyrical highlight: 'Far down below, he could see the scars, left from the night before.'
Year: 1981

TIRED WORLD (Chapter 6)
Synopsis: The Lead Character wanders into an abandoned city. Hey man, where is everyone?
Sound: Fuzzy '70s keys slip into a rhythmic song with a lot of high-hat action and chants, and a little Brian May guitaring in the unsatisfying chorus.
Lyrical highlight: 'This cry has no one left it can bother'
Year: 1978

TOO MUCH TO LOSE (Chapter 7)

Synopsis: Ah! The Lead Character wakes up from a dream, but 'one picture still stood clear' -- he looks around him and sees nothing but hordes working and working. Apparently on something 'metal' to 'enable its flight.' Matrix? Bladerunner?
Sound: A roaming keyboard leads into a peppy, open-guitar-chord song with uplifting, Queen-style choruses and Brian May-style guitar overdubs.
Lyrical highlight: 'As the numbers grew, their swarm blackened his view'
Year: 1980

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NO STRANGER (Chapter 8)
Synopsis: The keyboardist/humanbot character returns here to confront Lead Character in a 'something is happening here and you don't know what it is, do you Mr Jones?' moment. Apparently they'll both lose their memory of everything; New Character sighs at the end, 'I suppose we'll have to miss what you'll decide to do.' Perhaps sit and draw images with chalk? (See Chapter 1.)
Sound: This song is fantastic: the lost Saga classic you may not know. Again starting with a pokey keyboard softly winds its way into an explosive, summer-single guitar riff with quarter-note piano notes and infectious vocal line. (Unlike Geddy, Sadler CAN sing.) Curious the chorus comes about once, then sits buried under the verse later on. Long meandering musical outro.
Lyrical highlight: 'It wasn't long ago... I was one of your kind'
Year: 1981

And such concludes the FBO's first-annual Saga Week.

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

Friday, October 10, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Celebrate SAGA Week (Day 5)'

Warning: This video cover version of Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' features (successful and failed) gunshots from the footage of the FBO-induced rehearsal for a re-enactement of the Battle for Hutchens.

The video excerpts lyrics from Saga's 'No Regrets (Chapter 5)' from the 1981 record Worlds Apart:

As the clouds
Continued to open
Each vision was hard to believe
Minimal motion
As far as the eye could see
Yesterday held so much promise
Today, only misbelief
And now the task of reconstruction
Salvaging all they could see...
Can you say there's no regrets?

For an explanation of how the collaboration happened see here.

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

Thursday, October 09, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Celebrate SAGA Week (Day 4)'

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Due to budget restraints following a far more lackluster reception than expected to FBO's first annual Saga Week, Day 4 and Day 6 have been cancelled. Day 5 and Day 7 will go on as planned.

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

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Celebrates SAGA Week (Day 3)'

FBO/SAGA COLLABORATION IN WORKSHost unlimited photos at for FREE!
As part of the FBO's first annual SAGA WEEK, the Failed Bands of Oklahoma have collaborated with surviving members of Ontario's Saga (pictured) on a collaboratory cover version of Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.'

If you don't know the song, rent the best 'rock' documentary of all time, Don't Look Back, which follows Dylan on his brief tour of England in 1965. Hovering in the background of the film is the adoration of British press of the 'new Dylan' folkster Donovan, who finally meets up with Dylan in Dylan's hotel late in the film and plays a 'sing a song for you' campfire diddly that Dylan interjects sarcastically 'hey, that's a good song' then takes the guitar and puts Donovan into place with the unsubtle lyric of 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.' It's classic.

--> See it here.

Meanwhile, the FBO offers this video as an explanation of how the song was chosen and how the collaboration happened.

--> Remember to vote through October 11 on who the best Canadian progressive rock band is.

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

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Celebrates SAGA Week (Day 2)'

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Somewhere, somehow -- and soon -- the hipster quotient is going to (re?)discover progressive rock and you'll find songs coming out in 'Chapters' in scrambled order, lyrics discussing outer space or mind control, and melodies happily nicking from Bach's cupboard. Plus they'll let it bounce along enough that the softies can dance to it.

That's where Ontario's SAGA comes in.

Despite busy song arrangements, they never take themselves too seriously on the lyric front. Rush are nice guys, but there's little irony in theirs. Saga's songs tend to deal with confusion or flawed characters. The paranoid 'Framed' from 1981's epic 'Worlds Apart', for example, included this bit: 'Midnight courtroom confusion/The sentence of guaranteed seclusion/(no more Ernie Bilko)'

Ernie Bilko?

In 'Wind Him Up,' a catchy though ultimately revelatory-less assessment of gambling as an addiction, singer Michael Sadler (born in Wales) resists a literary reference to name the lead character something of a 'modern day Tom Sawyer,' and instead gives the guy a name: ALDO. And like Queen's 1980 hit 'Another One Bites the Dust,' the lyric begins by uttering the name (Queen's #1 song famously begins with 'Steve'). It's worth noting that rival Canadian rocker ALDO NOVA whose Top 40 song 'Fantasy' was released the same year, so in a way Crichton is pre-dating Stephen Malkmus' taunting name-drop jabs at Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins in Pavement's 1994 classic 'Range Life.'

--> Read an interview Aldo Nova discussing work with Jon Bon Jovi here.

In between finger-furied keyboard breaks, doubled on the guitars -- while a pounding Bonham-trained drummer ignores any thoughts of breaking into 7/8 time signatures and occasional keyboard overlays that wouldn't be out of place on the 'Teacher, Teacher' soundtrack pepper the scene -- Crichton looks dead serious when he sings (or taps his temple to stress a line), but his lyrics wisely don't strive for Rush's overly lofty themes. That's a subtle art prog rock could use more of. There are occasionally some nice, unexpected details from a prog rocker more keen on musical changes: 'Aldo lights a smoke, he's shakin', from carnation right to the ground...'

Saga also pre-dates Rush by a year with a curious voice-over. In the same song, as Aldo 'leaves the table' a Cockney-accented (it seems) young woman innocently asks 'no luck today?' A year later Rush would have Neil Peart (pictured, writing lyrics) chime in 'subdivisions' during the chorus of its namesake song (guitarist Alex Lifeson only pretended to do the speak-over in the video). This is not an accident. Rush, whom we support (and actively campaign for inclusion in to the flawed Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, was copying Ontario's Saga.

The FBO asks you to decide who the best Canadian progressive rock band is, per a poll through October 11: Rush, Saga, Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Aldo Nova. (See poll to right.)

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

Monday, October 06, 2008

FBO: 'Trivia Time; Launching a Celebratory Week'

Quick. Name a band with three keyboardists who were huge in Germany and Puerto Rico, where a sold-out early performance caused a riot of over 10,000 disappointed, ticket-less fans?

Hint: it's the same band that doesn't shy away from borrowing Bach melodies, and released a Q Tarantino-inspiring, sequentially-scrambled 'chapters' of a concept (that still defies explanation) over its first four albums.

Another hint: They're Canadian.

Their website includes recorded radio broadcasts from the Neal Armstrong's first step on the moon in 1969.

And, no, it's not Rush. Really.

The band is the best band of all time, Ontario's SAGA, who turned 30 years old this year.

The FBO dedicates the week of October 6-12 as FBO Celebrates Saga Week.

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

Thursday, October 02, 2008

FBO: 'European Sense of Pop > American Sense of Pop?'

The long debate of who does rock better, England or the USA, has lingered long after the British Invasion showed the Brit bands seem to cull out memorable harmonies and anthemic riffs in a way that tends to allude American pop bands. What bands -- bands, not solo artists -- can really compare with the Beatles, Stones, Who, Zeppelin, Motorhead ultimately?

(The answer of national supremacy, though, might be Australia. After all, what song is truly better than 'You Shook Me All Night Long' by AC/DC?)

Pop follows the same lines, and it's something the FBO gets a refresher on every time it goes on a cultural symposium tour of Eastern Europe, where VH-1 plays 24 hours daily without commercials. Two huge pop stars -- Kylie Minogue of Australia, Robbie Williams of the UK -- are hourly represented on cafe stereo systems or video hit channels over here. Yet neither make a blip here. One wonders why.

Kylie, who beat breast cancer last year and is the famed ex-flame of Michael Hutchence, has long grown out of being the 'Australian Madonna.' No, she doesn't write her songs, but she's nicer, more attractive, a better singer and a better dancer. And can you imagine Madonna doing a duet with Nick Cave where she's taken to a river and beaten to death with a rock? (Video follows.)

Robbie -- quick, name three famous Robbies* -- is enigmatic to US audiences, and humor. He plays a self-obsessed showman, with a hint of chump-ness that leads the literal to say 'that guy's just a chump,' rather than realize he gets the joke too. He mocks himself constantly. In one video, in fake KISS make-up, he ends with a glance into his leather-studded speedo bottom and shakes his head in disgust.

Pop music is a no-go zone for some, but there are charms in having a hook sung by people you can be generally entertained by. Not sure that Britney or Miley or Madonna can compete with these guys.

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

* Robbies: We need three famous Robbies. The FBO starts the process: Robbie Krieger was the Doors guitarist. You may remember him in the 'Touch Me' video where Robbie's been touched by a fist; note at the 1:06 mark his huge black eye; apparently beaten up for allowing Ray Manzarek in the band.