Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FBO: 'REM Album is Appropriate Apology -- But No Ticket for Panhandle Show'

REM's new album Accelerate is a reasonable effort. The songs are short. Michael Stipe seems inspired and angry. And there's a 'togetherness' to the sound, as if it were recorded in someone's living room with an analog eight-track recorder. In Athens, Georgia.

But is it good?

The FBO can't decide. The Rolling Stones tried with the last studio album A Bigger Bang a couple years ago -- tried as hard as they could -- but it wasn't really enough to be good. REM's album is better. They might have done better without 40-something Pete Buck compressing so much 20-something distortion. The songs could have sped along their REM-y path as effecitvely, if not more, with a more Reckoning style sound. But they're the professionals.

After actually listening to the full songs, we'd like to change our FBO rankings on each:

What to make of it then?

--> The FBO sees REM's Accelerate as an appropriate apology for a decade-plus of poor work. (See our call for an apology here.) But it doesn't necessarily reinstate REM to 'friend' status. In the meantime, REM is welcome to observe FBO goings-on online, but we'd prefer if REM did not attend the panhandle show in Guymon, OK on July 14.

Meanwhile, we're looking forward to a little less REM in coming weeks.

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

FBO: 'Who is FBO's Top Fan?'

Suddenly, a long-held truth, is being questioned. Should Rich Trott, whose carelessness in trying to ban Mark Knopfler of Les Dire Straits, nearly got the Failed Bands of Oklahoma banned from the Internet Waves, really be deemed as the 'FBO top fan'?

There is room for debate. Clearly. Please vote in the link to the right to determine who will hold the FBO 'top fan' honors for the spring and summer season.

Voting will continue for one week.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FBO: 'Trying to Like REM Again: A Music Video Presentation'

When the Failed Bands of Oklahoma launched 'Trying to Like REM Again: A Tri-Week Journey,' there was never any doubt that one of the best way to present the case was through music video. But the question was whether the music should be original or borrowed -- and if so from what period? After two weeks of consideration, the FBO believes the best way to consider REM is through a two-part time warp: using images taken from the era that REM made its mark (= sentimentality for us) PLUS a borrowed song/melody that would have been sentimental for THOSE performers of that era.

The video:

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

Monday, April 21, 2008

FBO: 'Tom Petty Apologizes to FBO, Revives Failed Band'

Super Bowl halftime entertainment is normally reserved for a few songs and some flash -- enough to keep non-football fans and football fans tuned into the event. This year it turned to something bordering on outright contempt, as Tom Petty asked his band, the Heartbreakers, to play a set of 75% Tom Petty solo songs, and only 25% Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers songs. With each guitar strum and stoned glance, he seemed to say: 'I got this on my own, I just got you free tickets, bandmates. I don't need you.'

The FBO promptly put Tom Petty on three-week probation, which ended on February 25.

In the past, we've asked for apologies from the Rolling Stones and the state of Connecticut, and received none. But we're impressed with Mr Petty. He's not only shown remorse for his Super Bowl mistake, but followed the lead of the Failed Bands of Oklahoma by reforming his own failed band from the pre-Heartbreaker days Mudcrutch, as featured in Sunday's New York Times.

The band, which played Gainseville (Florida) bars and fraternity parties in the early '70s, did mostly covers early on (thus disqualifying them from FBO membership). They started a two-week tour of the West Coast, snubbing Gainesville entirely for some reason, last week. One person quoted in the article says, 'Really it makes no sense.'

One member of the band thought it was a prank when Mr Petty called about reforming the band.

--> The FBO invites Mudcrutch to attend (not perform at) the Failed Bands of Oklahoma Panhandle show on July 14.

In other news, the NY Times writer of the piece, Alan Light, is banned for two weeks for mistakenly saying Mr Petty hasn't played bass since Mudcrutch. Mr Light forgets Tom Petty was the bass player for the Traveling Wilburys. See the video:

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

Friday, April 18, 2008

FBO: 'A Response to Lonely Planet Controversy'

Many have heard news of a Lonely Planet author who traded drugs for dirt bikes and roomed with prostitutes and used his business cards for free booze and rooms in Brazil. FBO member Robert Reid reads the book and responds on today.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Induces Member #004 To Record Songs; That's Right: ASYLUM Is Back!'


Hear that creaking noise? It's the FBO critics, shuffling in their wood armchairs, one-upped once again by the FBO's ongoing successes.

FBO Member #004 Asylum is reuniting, per bassist Terry Waska. He tells us:

We (FBO #004, Asylum) are going to get together and work up a few unrecorded songs from the end of our non-illustrious career. Looks like it will be me, Stacy Dave and original drummer Derek. Not sure when the recording will take place, but Dave already has $500 saved up to pay the bill, so it’s a semi-sure thing... I’m not sure when we’re going to record. We’re going to do it at Armstrong Studio, which is run by Stephen Egerton (guitartist for Descendent and All).

He adds:

I went to visit Dave on his birthday and we drove thru Guymon again. No arrests this time. And I littered.

The FBO applauds Asylum's succumbtion to the cause, and welcomes this space for any videos, in-studio documentary footage or mp3s from the recordings.

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

FBO: 'Critic Swift-Boats T-Shirt, FBO Responds By Video'


Asylum's revival and testimony towards REM's merits are causing continual unease for some FBO observers. When 'comments' were made regarding an FBO-endorsed t-shirt, it was time for a response.

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

Monday, April 14, 2008

FBO: 'It's Shwebo!'


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

Sunday, April 13, 2008

FBO: 'Launches the Battle FOR New Orleans'

The FBO has a hard time understanding why it's taken two years and counting to get Katrina victims new homes. It would cost -- per FBO analysis -- less than three days' budget of the Iraq conflict to at least get victims into better housing from the FEMA trailers they now live in.

Some stats to consider:

* 275,000 homes demolished during Katrina
* 30,000 families still living in temporary housing (ie trailers), not including families who left Louisiana and Mississippi for good
* $32,000 cost of far-better, furnished 'Mississippi cottage' housing
* $1 billion cost to get each person in those families a Mississippi cottage -- if two people live in one, the cost would be $500 million
* $341 million spent in Iraq every day

--> To get families living in trailers from Katrina would take, using NY Times statistics, about three days of the Iraq war expenses.

If ALL 275,000 homes were replaced with $100,000 homes, that would cost $275 billion, about half the cost of the Iraq war so far.

See this article for some figures used.

Maybe we need Andy Jackson to save New Orleans?

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

Friday, April 11, 2008

REM: 'Trying to Like REM Again: A Tri-Week Journey (Part 3)'


Video Commentary & Other Points:

* Download pricing schemes change daily. The FBO asks for more transparency in pricing. (Disclaimer: in posting the differences between prices at iTunes and, the FBO is not 'pushing Amazon sales' as a certain Mr Nymous has suggested -- but merely pointing out where FBO observers can save costs. However, it should be noted that a crashed 18-month-old iMac led to the loss of many old FBO scans and documents recently.)

* Also in an effort for expanded transparency, the FBO bans all 'hidden tracks' and 'bonus tracks' in the CD format. If you feel something's worthy, put it on. We are uncomfortable with nonfailed bands dishing out their failed music at a CD's end. It is one thing, speaking as a representative and press-garnerer of failed bands, to witness nonfailed bands' public attention, it is quite another for them to subject us, the failed, to routinely their failed music. Please stop it.

* In Guymon news, Asylum is 'in' for the July 14 Panhandle show, and Soul Shaker plans a 'new song.'

* The FBO is pondering listening to the full REM album for comment, but will next look at REM's past to understand why they ever were once worth something.

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

FBO: 'Trying to Like REM Again: A Tri-Week Journey (Part 2)'

Examples of Pete Buck's guitar styles:
* (J) "Sitting Still," "Driver 8," "Fall on Me," "Shiny Happy People"
* (OSL) "These Days," "Pretty Persuasion" (plus a bit of J)
* (FSN) all those dissonant outros live, debatably stuff like "Feeling Gravity's Pull" or "Finest Worksong"
* (FAERO) the terrible "Monster album"

Examples of Michael Stipe's lyric themes:
* (C&K) Pretty much everything that's hard to understand
* (G&K) The wink-wink lyrics that you're not supposed to say if you're artful, but are artful because Stipe sings them: "Stand," "Shiny Happy People," "Man on the Moon" ("goofing on Elvis"), "Pop Song 89" (hi, hi, hi), debatably the pre-Joel "It's the End of the World"
* (L&NK) You know, when he seems to mean it too much or the soarers, eg the most-mocked song of all time "Everybody Hurts," "The One I Love"

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

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

FBO: 'Trying to Like REM Again: A Tri-Week Journey (Part 1)'

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

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

FBO: 'Notes iTunes Mark-Up'

For those who aren't aware, now allows mp3 downloads of many albums, and unlike iTunes, even has a 'preview all' album for a one-touch preview of every song. Older albums, such as Rush's Grace Under Pressure ($7.92), go for the same price as iTunes, but many many new ones are considerably cheaper on

In its efforts to look out for failed bands, and consumer underdogs, the FBO has long cast a suspicious gaze over a music industry that asks us every eight to ten years to re-purchase our full catalog. As technology becomes less expensive to produce -- from cassettes and vinyl to cheaper CDs, from cheap CDs to 'air files' of MP3 downloads without even printed-out covers -- and the price has not fallen. CDs were twice the cost of records, and many invisible mp3 files go for the same price as CDs.

The FBO asks, 'Is there any possible excuse?'

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

Monday, April 07, 2008

FBO: 'FBO Reviews Rolling Stones Review'

The following is an interpretation of the New York Times review of the Rolling Stones film Shine a Light: see original story here.


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

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

FBO: 'Gives Stern Warning to Historical Biographies & Historical Biographers'


The single worst thing to happen to the rock music world was the advent of the CD. The 'advance' in technology meant albums moved to 60 minutes in length from a perfect 43 minutes (which nicely filled half a 90-minute cassette for easy stereo-to-car transfers, and matched the average attention span of most rock listeners). The music industry was able to cut production costs by several times, yet charge the consumers more. What's worse is the albums, or CDs, bands put out got worse. The bonus 17 minutes is routinely just filler content, and CDs increasingly came out every two or three years, rather than annually, as had occurred from Elvis till Yes' 90125 in 1983.

The FBO has issued the rule that any song over 2:15 in length must JUSTIFY each second, otherwise it's an affront to the listener. We, as listeners, cannot complain about a 2:05 song -- such as 'The FBO Is Falling In Love' -- no matter what we think of it.

A similar rule clearly needs to be extended to HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES.

Yes, it's been occasionally enjoyable watching the HBO series John Adams, that shows vice president #1 as a pudgy, grumpy chump, and Jefferson as a brooding, silent guy with a dead wife and dead daughter in the background. And that George Washington looks like Nicole Kidman in The Others.

It comes from David McCullough's 768-page book John Adams. And, as interesting as that may be, who has time to read a 768-page book about John Adams? Go to a bookstore and look up biographies, and you'll find some of the chunkiest books available. Random picking: reading about Alexander Hamilton takes 832 pages, FDR 880, Mao 864 and Ho Chi Minh (an apparently impossible in book format) 695. C'mon!

The FBO asks HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHERS to 'cut back' the scope. If you can't tell us all we need about James Madison in 340 (or 420 at the most!), don't count on us for readership.

--> If a shift downward hasn't occurred by April 2, 2009, the FBO will ban historical biographies for 15 years.*

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

* Some exceptions will be made. Just as we agree that Spandau Ballet's 'True' earns every sax-filled second of its 5:40 span, some biographies about huge characters (eg Napoleon, Stalin, Genghis Khan) perhaps warrant upwards of 600 pages. BUT! If we deem a figure as being over-indulged in biography (eg Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln!), no new take over 340 words will be tolerated. Authors, if in doubt, contact us before you write.