janradder: (Default)
Here it is -- the new documentary I'm producing: Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart. Grant is the former drummer, singer, and co-songwriter of pretty much my all-time favorite band ever, Hüsker Dü, so it's a bit of a dream come true to be able to work with him. If you're so inclined, head on over to our Kickstarter page (click the link below) to learn more about the project (and if you'd like to help fund the project, there's some truly amazing rewards there). If you like what you see, please spread the word -- word of mouth really does amazing things. Thanks!



Apr. 29th, 2011 09:59 pm
janradder: (watt)
Words cannot describe how happy and geeked out I am about this. Our local radio station, 89.3 The Current, has named Wednesday, May 4 "Replacements Day" to celebrate the Minneapolis premiere of the Color Me Obsessed. Along with promoting the film, they've added an entire page with a Placemats quiz, a poll to vote for your favorite 'Mats' LP, an entry form to win a reissue CD of on the Replacements' last four records, as well as info on our screening and the after party taking place at the 7th Street Entry. I am so, so, so, so, so, so freaking excited I think I want to scream.
janradder: (Superman)
When I was in fifth grade, I was horribly and mercilessly abused by a boy who had been my best friend. Why he turned on me, I still don't know. He just did. And over the following months he made me feel lower and less like a human than anyone ever has in my life. And he convinced just about everyone else in the school to do the same thing to me. I wandered the playground each day, trying to avoid the other kids, because as soon as one of them saw me I knew I'd have to listen to his or her taunts and ridicule. And there was never a safe place for me to go, because someone always found me -- either Robbie, or one of his toadies, or just some random kid that felt like making me feel like shit. I sometimes joke about it now by saying how the kid in school who everyone made fun of, made fun of me, but it was true. And the things that happened to me in fifth grade have haunted me for the past thirty years.

Last fall, our son Éiden came home telling us that someone was bullying him, and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach because here was one of my worst fears coming true -- that one of my sons would have a childhood like mine. We called the school and spoke to his teacher, and the school handled it as well as anyone could hope -- they put a stop to the bullying, and made sure that Éiden was okay. And he was okay.

But I wasn't. I started having flashbacks to fifth grade. And for two days I became unable to do anything but sit on the bench near our door and cry and rock and remember what had happened to me and feel that same fear and dread and self-loathing I felt when I was ten. After two days, I'd stopped crying, but I started struggling with issues of self-esteem again. And I've been struggling with those issues ever since, which is why I finally went to see a therapist again a few months ago.

Over the course of our sessions I agreed to write a letter to Robbie, though I said I'd never send it to him. I wrote a letter, and then I wrote another one. And then I realized that I really did have to send him something, because part of what had been bothering me all these years was that I'd never stood up for myself. I'd fought back when he or someone else started a fight with me, but I'd never told him off. I'd never said, "I'm done with you." Instead, I'd futilely hoped that he'd come to school one day and tell me that he was my friend again.

So I wrote another letter.  And this afternoon, I mailed it to him.

I don't expect a response from him. Honestly, I don't care if he responds. After sending that letter, for the first time in thirty years, I am finally free of Robbie Grahame. I've been carrying him around for so long, listening to his words and taunts and put-downs, and letting myself believe them. And I've been going back to that place in my life over and over, reliving it again and again. I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from me. And I've felt so incredibly relieved and happy and proud of myself.

When I walked out of the post office and turned on the radio in my car, I heard the line, "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999," and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to be playing. I went home, ate lunch, and then smoked a cigar on my front steps to celebrate what I did. And I thought about my past, and how I'm done with that kid. And instead of thinking about all the crap I went through, I thought about the good memories I have from that year, like my friend John Lucas, who was on my baseball team, and all the great times we had at each other's houses talking about comic books and drawing and looking at his superhero collection. And I haven't thought about those memories enough. But I need to.

This evening, I went and found a photo of myself, taken on a fifth grade field trip. In the photo, I'm sitting on the steps of a church in my home town, and I'm smiling. I look genuinely happy. Every time I've looked at it before, all I've thought was how this was taken during the worst year of my life. But when I looked at it today, I didn't see that at all. I saw myself smiling, and happy. I've been holding onto that image, because it's just as much a part of my life as the bad stuff. And it's time I start giving it just as much room in my life as I've given all the crap.

janradder: (watt)
As pretty much anyone who knows me in real life or who's read this blog can attest, I am a huge Hüsker Dü geek. Anyway, being a huge Hüsker Dü geek, I was talking with a friend about their last record, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. My friend was of the opinion that it was kind of a bad record. I agreed that it was the weakest of their output, but I've always thought that it suffered primarily from the fact that it should have been a single rather than a double LP (and the only reason it was a double, was because the Hüskers had a contract that said they could put out whatever they wanted and it was just a way to thumb their noses at the record label) and because of that there was a lot of chaff. So here I am separating the wheat from the chaff and imparting my opinion of what would have made a great record. Here it goes -- the ideal Warehouse track listing (and yes, I do know that this is one of the dorkiest entries I've ever made, but please bear with me, or at least just quietly ignore me while I embarrass myself -- thanks):

1. These Important Years
2. Back From Somewhere
3. Could You Be The One
4. Too Much Spice
5. Friend You've Got To Fall
6. She Floated Away
7. No Reservations
8. She's a Woman (And Now He Is A Man)
9. Up In The Air
10. You Can Live At Home
janradder: (yaz)
I can't remember if I posted this a while back or if someone else did but I came across it again and thought I'd put it up here since Friday is opening day. Yes, it's baseball related, but you really don't have to be a baseball fan at all to enjoy it. As the description says, it's "in celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey." So, enjoy!

janradder: (Default)
When I was twenty-three I wanted to teach high school, but I had no teaching degree or license, and because of that I couldn't even work as a substitute high school teacher. So I took the only job I could find in the field of education -- assistant teacher in a daycare. At the time I was terrified of little kids. They seemed to like me, but I really had no idea what to say to them or do. My first day was spent cautiously playing with the kids in the four and five-year-old room and helping out the head teacher however I could. And as the week went on, and then the next week, and the week after that, I realized that I absolutely loved being a preschool teacher. At the end of the school year, when all those kids left to go to kindergarten, I waved goodbye to them all, then got in my car and sobbed uncontrollably as I drove home. And though I wound up eventually becoming a head teacher and working in daycares for the next eight years and teaching countless kids, I've never forgotten that first class. Which is why it was kind of shocking the other day when I realized that those four and five-year-olds who I last saw heading off to kindergarten are now either already in the workforce or getting ready to graduate college this spring. It's kind of strange to think about how those kids who I spent almost every day with for a full year are now about the same age I was when I taught them and I have no idea what's become of any of them. And I wonder if they or their parents still remember me or if they wonder about me like I wonder about them.


Mar. 16th, 2011 03:58 pm
janradder: (axe man)
tagged by [livejournal.com profile] silk_noir

1. Make a list of 5 things that you can see without getting up:
--A pile of papers that is so much smaller than it used to be but which still covers most of the desk.
--Small herds of dog hair grazing languidly across the vast wasteland of the hardwood floor.
--A wall of books that inexplicably continues to grow in spite of the fact that I stopped buying books several years ago.
--The backyard, still covered with snow except for a few places where the grass has finally started to peek through.
--The records in my collection that don’t fit in the living room.

2. How do you style your hair?
First I wash, rinse and repeat. Then I add a healthy amount of conditioner that I leave in for a few minutes so it has a chance to soak in all the way to the roots and then rinse that out as well. Once I’m out of the shower, I carefully squeeze out as much water as I can and then use a hair dryer set to low to finish drying it. When it’s all dry, I add a little styling gel to give it that mussed and tussled look. When I'm done, I admire my work proudly in the mirror and remember I haven’t had any hair for the past seven years.

3. What are you wearing now?
~suave look~
Nothing but your imagination.

4. What's your occupation?
Professional gadfly and ne’er-do-well.

5. What do you hear right now?
The sound of silence, which is never all that silent because of my tinnitus.

6. Who was the last person you hugged?
Haddayr, this morning, because the radio was playing Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

7. What is/was for dinner?
Beef, of course. It’s what’s for dinner.

8. What did you do today?
Less than I should.

9. Dog person or cat person?
Most definitely a cat person. I try to like dogs – I really do – but I kind of find them annoying.

10. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

11. What was the last thing that you bought?
A headache?

12. If you could afford to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The Scottish Highlands. It's one of the most amazing places I've ever been. Honestly, it felt like home.

13. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Sitting in this exact same spot wondering where the last five years went.

14. Where's your birthmark?
Oh, wouldn’t you like to know.

15. What are you doing this weekend?
~suave look~
I think you mean who am I doing this weekend.

16. If you could play any musical instrument, which one would you play?
Honestly, I’d love to play the piano but I’ve failed miserably each time I’ve tried. Well, maybe not miserably, but I’ve failed nonetheless.

17. What's one thing you wish you could tell someone right now?
Pick the red one. On the left. No, you idiot. Your other left.

18. What is/was your favorite thing about today?
The swizzle sticks. Definitely the swizzle sticks.
janradder: (dork)
Swiped from [livejournal.com profile] silk_noir

You were born during a First Quarter moon

- what it says about you -

You like to make up your own mind. You may find it hard to relate to mainstream opinions on issues, and you definitely don't always like what's popular. You can work out solutions and give birth to big ideas when left to yourself, and other people will be impressed with your conclusions even if they're not sure how you arrived at them.

What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at Spacefem.com

But everyone who knows me, knows I always love the popular stuff. That's what I'm all about -- fitting in.
janradder: (Default)
I started listening to this record last summer a little bit before the film crew came out to Minneapolis to shoot the interviews I'd set up for Color Me Obsessed. This was the first trip out tothe Twin Cities for the film's director, Gorman, and he wanted to see a show at First Avenue while he was out here and the Black Keys happened to be playing that week so we got tickets. In advance to the show, Gorman sent me Brothers because it was the album they were touring. I listened to it and I liked at the time. But I didn't go crazy about it. Over the past months though, it's grown on my more and more, and I'm finding it's my favorite album of last year, if not one of my favorites of the last several years. There's this raw, nasty sound to it. There's these amazing grooves that get deep down into your body like all the best soul and blues does. On songs like "Next Girl," the guitar is raunchy and mean, and then on songs like "These Days," it sounds heartbreaking in its quiet and simplicity. Really it's an amazing record, and I can't believe that I still like it more each time I hear it again.
janradder: (godzilla)
So according to Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and the other congressional Republicans behind the recent hearings looking into the domestic radicalization of American Muslims, they are doing this to encourage Muslim leaders in the US to confront Islamist-inspired extremism and violence.

Here's my question -- when are we going to do the same regarding the radicalization of American Christians? Or how about the radicalization of right-wing conservatives? Because, you know, it wasn't Islamist-inspired extremists who shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, Dr. Barnett Slepian, Robert Sanderson, Shannon Lowney, Lee Ann Nichols, Dr. John Britton, James Barrett, or Dr. David Gunn. Nor was it Islamist-inspired militants who, since 1977, have been responsible for for 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings, 175 arsons, 96 attempted bombings or arsons, 642 bomb threats, 1993 incidents of trespassing, 1400 incidents of vandalism, or 100 attacks with butyric acid ("stink bombs") on abortion clinics across the country. No, those would Christian-inspired extremists. How about the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, or the shooting of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., or the recent attempt to detonate a shrapnel bomb filled with rat poison during a parade in Spokane, Washington honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.? Islamist-inspired extremists? No, right-wing-inspired extremists.

So I ask, why aren't we looking into the those groups and asking their leaders to confront the extremism and violence their beliefs inspire? Well, for one, those groups are mostly, if not all, white, and you know, white people just can't be terrorists, can they? But for another, those groups support the same causes and beliefs espoused by the curent breed of conservatives -- anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-government. Which I guess, in the opinion of those who hold those views, makes it somehow okay. Like Rep. Peter King, a staunch long-time supporter of the I.R.A., a known terrorist organization, who says it's okay for him to support the I.R.A. because they've never killed a US citizen (which, by the way, isn't true), and because their violence was justified. But you know what? It's not. None of this violence is.

What's going on in Peter King's congressional hearing is nothing more than a witch hunt and demonization of an entire group of people for the actions and beliefs of a few. It's the search for a scapegoat and a frightening return to McCarthyism. Which apparently doesn't matter to Rep. Peter King, who calls that comparison a "badge of honor." Mr. King, you and your cronies sicken me, and the fact that you are members of Congress makes me ashamed of our country.
janradder: (watt)
Pitchfork has a write up on Color Me Obsessed in their news section. Which is really kind of awesome and makes me all kinds of happy. You can read it here.
janradder: (solidarity)
The Wisconsin GOP just railroaded through their union busting bill.


I only hope it helps the recall efforts there.
janradder: (watt)
List your top ten albums from September of your freshman year to June of your senior year.

RULE: Only list albums you were aware of during your high school career. Example: I like Earth's first record, but I didn't know who they were in 1990. Therefore, not permitted.

Purple Rain, Prince
This was the beginning of my obsession with Minneapolis. I think I might have listened to this record every single day I came home from school for a long part of my freshman year. I always thought the title track was kind of boring but man, the rest of the album, especially "I Would Die 4 U," was amazing.

This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get, Public Image, Ltd.
I still remember the very first time I heard this record sitting on the floor of my friend's bedroom. It was the first time I'd really heard punk. That music could sound as different as I felt was a true revelation. And yeah, John Lydon/Rotten is an asshole, but he still helped save my life.

Plastic Surgery Disasters, Dead Kennedys
This was maybe the second punk record I ever bought and it quickly took the place of Purple Rain as the album I listened to every day after school. The music was fast and angry, but between the black political humor of the lyrics and the snide obnoxiousness of Jello Biafra's voice it was funny too.

My War, Black Flag
I absolutely hated this record when I first heard it. Yeah, the first side was sort of okay, but what the fuck was going on with the second side's slow, sludgy metallic mess? I still remember my friend Matt playing this to me over the phone after he bought it and both of us listening in disbelief. What had happened to our beloved Black Flag? And then it clicked, and totally got it. This album was the soundtrack for my high school years -- dark, depressed, suicidal, homicidal, angry, alienated, pissed-off-at-the-world, ready-to-kick-ass or ready-to-run-away-from-it-all. No record better described how I felt as a weird, lonely teenager or made me feel less alone than this one.

New Day Rising, Hüsker Dü
"You got your hardcore in my 60's pop." "You got your 60's pop on my hardcore." Listening to this record opened my ears to a whole new sonic landscape where noise and ugliness could become a thing of glory and intense beauty. I used to run my stereo through my bass amp when I played this and turn it up as loud as it would go, feeling the music wrap around me tight, like a blanket of sound.

Murmur, R.E.M.
When I turned sixteen, my mom bought me an old 1978 Chevette for fifty bucks. It had no stereo in it so I used to drive around town wearing headphones and listening to my Walkman, and more often than not, in the fall of 1986 it was this album I listened to. It didn't matter that I could barely understand a word Michael Stipe mumbled, it was the sound of the music, and the impressions I got from the little I did understand. I used to listen to it and drive around town imagining I had the courage to ask a girl out. And listening to this record made me almost believe that was true.

Master Of Puppets, Metallica
I'd been a huge metal fan in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. I loved Ozzy and Black Sabbath. I loved Judas Priest and AC/DC. But when bands like Ratt and Mötley Crüe came around I gave up on metal. I couldn't stand the looks of LA glam-metal, and I didn't really like the sound either. Metallica brought me back. This record took everything that was great about heavy metal and mixed it with the intensity and speed of hardcore punk. It's too bad Cliff Burton died when he did, because I think he was a large part of why this album is so great. Metallica has never approached the greatness of Master of Puppets since.

Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello
Truly, I can't think of a happier record that I listened to in high school. It's bouncy, it’s peppy, it’s full of life and energy. Anytime I was in a bad mood or feeling depressed, this album almost never failed to cheer me up. I still put it on to this day and can't help but smile.

Double Nickels on the Dime, Minutemen
The guitar had no distortion but was as kick-ass as any guitar I'd heard, serving as a high, trebly counterpoint to Mike Watt's fat bass. While d. boon attacked, prodded and cajoled with his six-string, Mike bounded, bopped, popped, and leaped with his bass, laying a foundation while at the same time telling his own distinct story. Beneath it, George Hurley's drums tripped out rhythms more akin to funk or jazz than punk rock -- snapping, rolling, and pounding each point home. The songs they told were short and angular yet fluid with an intensity that matched any hardcore band. There was nothing I'd heard in punk that came close to sounding like the Minutemen. Hell, there was nothing I'd heard in any music that sounded like them.

Ragin', Full On, fIREHOSE
When I first started playing bass I only did it because we couldn't find a bass player for our band. To me, the bass was boring and plodding. It was a necessity that anchored the sound and nothing more. The real flash and fire came from the guitar or the singer. Then I heard Mike Watt and what he could do with just four fat strings. From the moment I heard this and the Minutemen's Double Nickels I never looked at or listened to or played another bass the same way again. The possibilities of what that seemingly simple instrument could do were endless.
janradder: (watt)
The World Premier of Color Me Obsessed will be at the 2011 Gasparilla International Film Festival (where Gorman's last movie, Friends (With Benefits) won the top prize for narrative features). The screening will be Saturday, March 26th at 7:30pm at the Muvico Centro Ybor, 1600 E. 8th Ave, Tampa, FL. It's a small venue, so it's suggested you buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale if you plan to go. The website for the festival can be found here. FYI, this will be the only screening in Florida.
janradder: (watt)
Color Me Obsessed, the documentary about the Replacements that I've been working on, will be playing the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, WI on Saturday, April 2 at 6:45pm (in the Chazen Theater).

Tickets go on sale this Saturday at noon. You can buy them here.

Seating is incredibly limited (289 seats, to be exact), so if you plan on going get your tickets early before they sell out.
janradder: (Default)
Lately, Haddayr and I have been remarking on how big Éiden is getting -- how he doesn't really look like the little boy we know anymore. There's times when you can almost see the teenager-to-be peeking out through his curls, and his body seems to grow longer and take up more space. It's fun to see, and imagine the man he'll become, and delight in how much older he's getting.

At the same time, there's days like today. I sat next to him on the couch as he watched Scooby Doo because he was home sick from school with a fever. He seemed so small next to me, so tiny. When I asked him what he wanted for lunch, he looked up with me and there was no sign of that teenager-to-be. Instead, it was my little boy that I saw peeking out, who used to watch his big brother go off to school each day and follow me around the house. He seemed delicate, almost like I had to be careful with him so I wouldn't accidentally break him, and he took up so little of the couch that he sat on. Honestly, it was a nice feeling to sit beside him and remember that he isn't all grown yet, and that sometimes he still is my little boy. So I sat with him, after making him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and just enjoyed that feeling for a little while, drinking in all its deliciousness for as long as I could.
janradder: (Default)
I know I wrote about this a couple years ago, but I thought I'd do it again. On Valentine's Day in 1989, my friend Mike and I, both of us bitter at the fact that neither one of us had ever had a girlfriend and convinced that the prospect of that changing was nil, decided to bombard every happy couple we saw on the street with soggy toilet paper and water-filled condoms from Mike's eighth floor dorm room. Petty? Yes. Nasty? You betcha. Kind of pathetic? Probably. But I have to admit, it was a hell of lot of fun too.
janradder: (watt)
My Favorite Song At This Time Last Year

A year ago I was listening to X a lot. It's hard to pick just one song by X, but the one I kept gravitating to last year was "Beyond and Back." I love the skiffling snare and the rockabilly riff, and how it makes me want to get up and dance and not really give a rat's ass about who sees me or what they think. There's so much energy and verve in this song, it's hard not to feel infected by it. Like I said, it's hard to pick one favorite song by X but this is definitely in my top 5.

janradder: (watt)
A Song From My Childhood

When I was a kid, I absolutely adored Billy Preston. My mom had his album, Everybody Likes Some Kind of Music and I don't know if it was that the cover of it was so colorful, or that the picture of Billy Preston showed him giving a big, goofy thumbs up, or that he looked like he could have been one of my parents' friends, or that he looked sort of like he should have been on Mr. Roger's or Sesame Street, but there was something that appealed to me, even beyond the music. My favorite song off that record was "Space Race," and I often requested that she play it on weekends when I was home from school. The song was just so full of life, and goofiness and energy -- sort of like the album cover. Plus, it was about a space race, which made me imagine spaceships flying through the stars, each trying to beat the other to some sort of finish line. Or something like that. I just know I loved that song, and each time I hear it I think of warm Saturday afternoons in the spring, after the Saturday morning's cartoons were over, when that song would play, and everything in the world seemed to be just perfect right at that very moment so that I'd want to curl up inside it as if it were a warm, snuggly blanket and drift off to sleep in its sweet, downy comfort.

janradder: (watt)
A Song That Makes Me Feel Guilty

For a lot of my time in college I was cursed with some pretty horrid roommates. There was Danielle, who communed with the cockroaches in the kitchen (I'm not exaggerating or using hyperbole either -- she actually talked to the damn things) and who would sit in dark rooms without giving off any vibes at all so that when you came home you had no idea she was there until you turned on the lights, made something to eat, maybe went to the bathroom, and sat down on the couch or at the table when she would finally emit an eery, "Hello . . ." from the corner of the room where she'd been sitting the whole time. Then there was Kevin Jon, the misogynist commie who lived by the creed of "we all share," which really meant that he didn't buy shit for himself but instead lived off you by using all your toiletries and eating up all your food from your dishes that he never washed while spouting a steady stream of woman-hating proclamations. And then there was Sam, who was bat-shit crazy, who kicked a hole in the wall of the bedroom for no other reason that it was there, left his alarm set to half-way between two stations and turned up to full volume so that it sounded like the radio station was broadcasting from Hell but never bothered to turn it off until at least ten minutes had elapsed, and whose bare ass I awoke to each morning staring at me from the loft bed directly across from mine, peeking over the pair of pants he'd worn the day before that he'd pulled down to his knees at some point in the night. Near the end of his first semester, he was kicked out of school for an incident in one of the buildings. I'm not really sure what it was, except that he was told that if he ever returned to that building the police would be alerted. He disappeared for a few days, leaving all his things behind in the room, so one of my other roommates and I decided to swipe a few of his records before he came back to retrieve them. One of the albums I stole was Vivaldi's Four Seasons. No, Sam wasn't the worst (that was Kevin Jon), he was just crazy and unpleasant, which is why I often feel guilty when I hear anything from that suite.


janradder: (Default)

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