Monthly archives: July 2007
Ten Recordings You Would Bring if Stranded on a Deserted Island
I know this isn’t the most revolutionary idea for a piece, but finding out what 10 recordings they would bring if they were stranded on a deserted island shines a light on a person's inner workings. For example, in 2004, when General Wesley Clark answered that his favorite record was Journey’s Greatest Hits, I knew that I could not support him. I know this sounds a bit superficial, but to list Journey’s Greatest Hits as your favorite…
So I have listed my Top 10, with a bonus wild card. The rules here for your list are as following.
Your choice can be a double, triple, etc. album, as long as it wasn’t a compilation. The bonus wild card album is set up for you to put something on the list that is a guilty pleasure that you would want to bring. Call it the Wesley Clark special, but this choice is designed so the cool kids around here don’t go completely Pitchfork on the list. Finally, my list is in no particular order.
Beatles White Album- Hard to top this one, as I find it superior to the more highly touted Sgt Peppers. Being a double album puts it a notch above Revolver.
Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers- While I think the Stones reach higher peaks on Let it Bleed, I’m think this is their most consistent record, with the album closing out with the haunting songs Sister Morphine, Dead Flowers, and Moonlight Mile. Bonus would be that the album cover comes with an actual zipper that might come in handy.
The Who Who’s Next- Baba O’Reilly and Won’t Get Fooled Again are 2 of the 10 greatest pure rock songs of all-time. There is absolutely no filler on this record.
Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced?-This is easily the greatest debut recording of all-time. Give me some headphones and I think I could forget my troubles, while listening to this acid trip put to vinyl.
Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti- While classic rock stations have burned me out on some Zeppelin tunes; this double album sounds as fresh today, as when it was released.
Queen Night at the Opera- This was the first album that ever connected with me from beginning to end and it is still influential as the latest by Muse and My Chemical Romance demonstrate. Sure the album was bombastic, but the incredible range of style and sound still is magical.
Prince Sign of the Times- Sign is a diverse collection of styles that no one else on this planet could have done. It's hard to name a better pop song, with a dynamic social message than the title track. When I need funk or soul music, this would be my elixir.
U2 Achtung Baby- While Joshua Tree is hard to beat; the music on this 1992 release has more of an industrial feel that puts it over the top.
REM Automatic for the People- Man on the Moon is a brilliant look at people who live outside the mainstream, while Everybody Hurts and Nightswimming are the two best ballads of their career. Are they America’s greatest rock band of all-time?
Radiohead The Bends- One seamless piece of music, marrying U2 dramatics, with Beatlesque harmonies. Actually, this album reminds me some of Who's Next, with great rock songs, High and Dry and Just, plus delicate ballads like Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit.
Jude Cole I Don't Know Why I Act This Way- Power pop singer who had a couple marginal hits in the 90’s with Baby It’s Tonight and Start the Car, this was his 4th and final major label release. Great hooks as usual by Cole, but what makes this record really connect with me is how he explores the concept of failure, as he seems to understand that his career will never reach the peaks he and others might have expected. Cole now runs a record label (Rocco DeLuca, Lifehouse) which he co-owns with Keifer Sutherland. If you like roots rock/power pop music, I recommend you check out Jude Cole's solo work.
My list seems a bit too skewed towards rock music, as no rap or country is on it. I just couldn’t see excluding any of these to put someone else on it. CCR, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Clash, The Pixies, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and, Michael Jackson would have been on my next 10. If the list was also based on what I might need for visual help, I would have added an Ohio Players album, just for the cover.
Now is your turn. And remember on the wild card that this is the place to list your favorite guilty pleasure.
Born in the Wrong Decade
Sometimes an artist has great talent, but the time period in which they would most be appreciated has past. I'm not a classical music expert, but the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might be out there writing great new symphonies, but he is 200 years too late to find any kind of mass audience. While singer Michael Buble isn't that far removed from the swinging 60's vibe he cultivates, his talents don't receive the attention they deserve.
Buble has just released a new CD titled Call Me Irresponsible. The first single, Everything, has a cool pop vibe that seems to be getting a little bit of radio play and even VH-1 is showing the video. While I recommend his latest CD, Buble's previous release, It's Time, is the one you should pick up first if you are new to him. It is one of the best albums of this decade.
Buble is a standards singer from Canada, who despite his young age, has a tone and phrasing that is the best I've heard since Frank Sinatra. It's Time has the kind of versatile swingin' feel to it that Bobby Darin was doing back in the 60's. The song Home from this album has become a staple on American Idol, as it has a romantic feel to it that only the best ballads of George Michael could match during the past 40 years.
Since he is a good-looking cat who sings standards, many have compared him to Harry Connick Jr. I think Buble is a much superior singer, as Connick Jr. often seems to be doing a kareoke version of the Chairman of the Board. If Michael Buble would have hit the scene during anytime between 1940-1964, I think he would have been one of the biggest selling artists of the period. Instead he is a moderate success, playing to very enthusiastic, if smaller audiences.
Another person that I have long thought fits the "Born in the Wrong Decade" description is Chris Isaak. Isaak is the complete package as he possesses pin-up good looks, a great singing voice, good song-writing skills, and is charismatic as hell. His self-titled cable series that appeared on Showtime between 2001-2004 was a gem, as Isaak and his bandmates made this unlikely show one of the best things on television.
How most people know of Isaak's music is because it has been used often in motion pictures. The reason for this is because his songs have such a visceral and dreamy quality to them. Outside of his hit, Wicked Game, that was greatly aided by Director Herb Ritts' sensuous video of Isaak and Helena Christensen rolling around in the sand, most of his music gets little radio airplay.
Tell me one characteristic needed for stardom that Elvis Presley had that Chris Isaak doesn't? Oh yeah, timing. Isaak's great mix of rockabilly/cooner would have put him in the mix with such rock and roll legends like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison back in the 50's, but during the time his career has spanned he has been largely overlooked. Isaak is one of the greatest live musical performers I've ever seen, so if you ever get a chance to see him, I highly recommend it.
We often hear about artists that were born before their time. I would like to hear from you about some artists that were born after their time.
He Might Not be Sabermetrical, but Podsednik Equals Wins for White Sox
In one of those "I've never seen that before", during the bottom of the ninth, Scott Podsednik led off the inning with a single. Josh Fields attempting to move him into scoring position bunted to the right side, which Tigers pitcher Zach Miner tried to throw to first base. The ball sailed away from the covering Placido Polanco, going into right field. Podsednik's speed enabled him to come all the way from first to home, just beating the throw and giving the White Sox a 4-3 victory. Yes, the old walk-off sacrifice bunt.
I'm not the biggest Scott Podsednik fan, as he is a one-dimensional player, but he was the key to the 2005 championship year. His ability to score in the first inning of so many games seemed to mean the team would win the game an amazing amount of times. I know this isn't very sabermetrical, but after doing some research on it, just look at the White Sox record when Podsednik played and when he didn't.
Sure I know this type of win/loss differential couldn't even be the work of just one leadoff man, even if it was Rickey Henderson during his prime. Having said that, it is really amazing to consider the remarkable record the White Sox have when he plays. Hey, I'm not sure I would even re-sign him, but considering the rabbit's foot he brings to the park, I guess I would have to offer him a contract. Scott Podsednik is a guy who has blessed with a lot of luck.
Note: My math might be off a bit on this one, but even if I'm off by 20 percent, the win/loss differential is still amazing .
My Cup Boileth Over
...98,99,100. I know I've been spoiled over the past decade, as only once have the White Sox not won at least 80 games since 1996. (They won only 75 games in 1999.)
Fucking bullshit!. This is what generally comes out of my mouth around the seventh inning, as the planet's worst bullpen since May offers up run after run. Outside of Bobby Jenks, the Sox staff doesn't have one reliever that you can feel any confidence in. Now I know what it feels like to be a Devil Rays fan. Hey, I'm all for learning to empathize through life experiences, but understanding a little of what it is like to root for the D-Rays is not something I needed to add.
When your team has the kind of record that the White Sox have, you would expect that you are going to be out of many games early. This is the beyond frustrating part, as the White Sox starting pitching has been really good (except for Contreras), so generally the team is up or down by a run going into the 6th inning. In the cases of Buerhle, Vasquez, and Garland, they often get through the 7th inning with the lead. This is the vicious trick that the 2007 White Sox team offers, as you can watch most of the game thinking today will be different, only to have the bullpen blow more opportunites than Nina Hartley.
I could be wrong
Look, I realize that this is just one year. I realize that the White Sox failures will not have an impact on the War in Iraq or global warming. This kind of logic doesn't seem to help me much, as I still, if not externally feeling like going postal, I'm internally filled with moments of rage at my team's failure. And this comes from a man who's generally non-violent and very even-tempered, except when dealing with hecklers or car salesmen.
Since the rest of the season promises to be a long one, I plan on joining a Lemaze class, so I can learn to breathe through the pain. If that doesn't work, I will see if I can get someone to administer an epidural to me during the 7th inning stretch. I mean the 2007 White Sox bullpen has left me feeling night after night like I've been the victim of William Ligue.
Hey, I will try to focus more, R. Waldo. As a man, I realize how much happiness can be achieved in 60 seconds. I mean, who really has the time for Tantric sex anyway?
Author's Note: How often to you read a piece that includes Jefferson, Twain, Emerson, Johnny Rotten, Nina Hartley, and the Charles Manson of umpire muggers (Ligue)? This is the kind of baseball analysis that you will never get anywhere else. Overall, I'm guessing that this is probably a good thing.
Changes at the Juice Blog (Do you want to be linked?)
Nothing major, but I have spent the last couple of days going through the work I've posted here in the past and have linked the best stuff on the sidebar.
Personally on the Juice are stories which are of a personal nature. (Hey, it's kind of like playing the 100,000 Pyramid with these topic titles) The rest of the titles are pretty obvious.
Wanted to mention that I plan on doing the link section next, so if you are a reader here and want your site linked, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are my requirements to be linked here.
Did I mention that you ought to order my 3 Ring Circus DVD?
Really Funny Clip on Myspace
My friend Dan Cummins, who I have touted here before, has a great little short he posted at his Myspace page. It also features Tommy Johnagin, who you might have caught on Last Comic Standing last week. (Tommy also wrote a piece for this site last year.)
I want to thank those who have ordered my DVD. The $9.99 offer is good through this weekend, so keep that in mind. I'm a little disappointed in a few of you who haven't ordered it and I think you know who you are. So come on people, don't make me beg. (wait, too late.) Click on the damn icon on the sidebar. Come on, it's your civic duty. I want 3 Ring Circus to be the Cracked Rear View of the DVD world, filling the bargain bins at Used DVD stores across this nation.
Who the Hell is Scott Long?
Born to teenage parents in Iowa, Scott has risen from his meager beginnings into being solidly lower middle class! Life in the Cornstalk Ghetto of Iowa taught him strong moral values that he has for the most part, ignored. His motto is when life gives you lemons, take a big bite into it, because the world will generally leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.
A graduate of the University of Iowa, Scott tried working a couple of real jobs, only to discover that the business world likes you to get up before noon. Editors Note: Hey, I'm not kidding, they do. For the next year or so, Scott wandered around aimlessly, considering such soul-sucking professions as Terminix bug man and Honey Baked Ham manager.
After attending a comedy show, where he was not too impressed with the entertainment, Scott decided to give it try himself at an open-mic. Within a couple of years, Scott was starting to work the Midwest comedy circuit. Scott has performed in 35 states during his career. He has just briefly made a couple of television appearances, as his already inflated ego would be insufferable if he added TV star to his many accomplishments.
Scott will be starting his 5th season as a writer for the NFL on Fox pregame show, helping craft the comedy that appears in the Frank's Picks segment.
In April of 2004, Scott joined Will Carroll Presents and partnered with Will through a couple of name changes until the site name became the Juice Blog. Scott has been the sole writer at the site since August of 2006, as Carroll left to focus on writing projects that actually include a paycheck.
Comedy Clubs Scott has Appeared at:
IMPROV (Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Irvine, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Tempe, Washington DC) Funny Bone (Baton Rouge, Buffalo, Columbus, Des Moines, Green Bay, St. Louis, South Bend, Springfield MO), Loony Bin (Little Rock, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Wichita), Comedy Zone (Charlotte), Punchline (Atlanta), Minnesota Comedy Club (Twin Cities), Zanies (Chicago), Giggles (Milwaukee), Chaplins (Detroit), Joey's (Detroit), Stanfords (Kansas City), Crackers (Indianapolis), Comedy Caravan (Louisville), Go Bananas (Cincinnati), Stardome (Birmingham), Rivercenter Comedy Club (San Antonio), Laffs (Tucson), Comedy at the Bob (Grand Rapids), Connections (Lansing, Toledo), Hilarities (Akron), Gary Fields Comedy Club (Battle Creek, Kalamazoo), Comedy Forum (St. Louis), Snickers (Ft. Wayne), Jokers (Omaha, OKC), Charlie Goodnights (Raliegh NC), Cozzy's (Newport News VA), Penguins (Cedar Rapids), Jukebox (Peoria), Comedy Gallery (Grand Forks)
Special Price for Readers: Get Scott's New Comedy DVD
My new standup comedy DVD just came out and I have set a special low price for readers at the Juice Blog. For the next week, I will be offering it up for $9.99 (plus 2 bucks S&H). Go to the sidebar and click on the link to order. I will try to ship it out within the week.
The DVD is titled Scott Long's 3 Ring Circus. Why I chose this title was because the show is the kind of free-for-all I specialize in. At one point, I actually drop the mic to go after a heckler who won't shut-up. Tell me a time when you've seen that on Comedy Central? The DVD features a 45 minute set I taped in March 2007.
If you like to watch comics who tell dysfunctional family stories, go on celebrity rants, improv with the crowd, and offer up intellectual dick jokes, 3 Ring Circus is designed specifically for you. Order now, operators are standing by!
The Best Stand-Up Comic in America (and Others You Should Check-Out)
Many readers have asked me in the past to give my opinions on who are my favorite standup comedians. I’ve been a bit reticent to offer up an answer, as judging others in my field didn’t seem like a particularly good business decision. Well, I recently heard a comic’s CD that was so great I wanted others to get hip to its brilliance. The title of the disc is called Good Day to Cross a River. The comic who created this incredible set of comedy is Greg Giraldo.
Giraldo has been around for awhile, best known for his appearances on Comedy Central, especially his regular panel slot on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. I’ve always been a fan when I’ve caught him on TV, but Good Day to Cross a River is the best satirical piece of comedy I’ve heard since Chris Rock’s Bring the Pain. Really smart, really funny. Not one false moment in Giraldo's act.
Here’s a little secret. Since I perform comedy pretty much on a weekly basis, I rarely watch much of the comics’ show that I work with. I almost never go see a comic, when I’m off for the night. Hey, I’m around it all the time, what do you expect? Below are some other comics besides Giraldo that I would definitely leave the house to watch in person. One note about my list is that these are all club comcs. They aren’t huge TV stars that only perform in big auditoriums.
Dave Attell- No person has ever made me laugh harder than Attell. His CD, Skanks for the Memories, has more hard laughs than anything I’ve ever heard. His rhythm and timing are amazing, plus his material is completely unique.
Bill Burr- I first became aware of him when listening to the Opie and Anthony radio show. Burr’s 2005 HBO comedy special was the best live stand-up I’ve seen on the network in quite awhile. His bit on going to visit his girlfriend in Harlem during the middle of the night is Pryor-like in its storytelling art.
Todd Barry- Extreme low-key delivery coupled with incredibly acerbic material is Barry’s formula for laughs. He is not for everyone, but I think he has been one of the best for quite awhile.
Christopher Titus- His Fox sitcom was underrated, but it was only a mild version of the power of his live show. What he brings to the stage is a cross between standup and a one-man play. Titus’ dysfunctional family material is like something out of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
D.L. Hughley- While I was not a big fan when I first caught him hosting BET’s Comic View, he has grown into one of the top political satirists around. He stacks up well with others stand-ups who take on the world like Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Marc Maron, and Lewis Black.
Daniel Tosh- His latest Comedy Central special is remarkable, as Tosh’s ability to be mean-spirited, but charming is an amazing tight-rope he walks. I think the show loses some steam by the end, but the first 35 minutes is pretty amazing.
Jim Gaffigan- As prolific of a writer as any comic I can think of. Gaffigan uses the voice of a disgruntled audience member who constantly is evaluating the material he offers up. This inner voice gives his show a completely unique rhythm. No one breaks down the silliness of everday life better than Gaffigan.
Brian Regan- Regan is someone that it reverentially loved in my business. He has a uniquely goofy charm. I’m not a big fan of really clean comedy, as I think the greatest thing about stand-up comedy is that it is the last place where edgy truths are not being squashed by corporate interests. Regan and Gaffigan are the 2 best comics in not needing adult content to get big laughs and managing to be witty while doing it.
Frank Caliendo- If anyone had any doubts, the Impressionists Week on Late Night with David Lettermen clinched it. What Caliendo does is a whole different art-form than what other impressionists have done in the past. He has the most dynamic show in standup comedy.
Below are 5 other comics that I’ve worked with in my career that I think are among the best in the biz. I highly recommend anyone to check out their websites and find out their tour schedule.
Dan Cummins is a rising star, as his dark, twisted material takes you on a hilarious ride during his show.
Only twice have I worked with comics so funny that they made me dislike my own act by the end of the week. The 2 comics that brought this about are Robert Hawkins and David Crowe. I’m hard-pressed to name 2 more relatively unknown comics who are funnier than these 2 guys.
I worked with him only one time, but was really blown away by the fervent style and material of Auggie Smith. His rapid-fire rants on society I thought were great.
One week when I was performing at the Irvine IMPROV, the MC was a comic who was working on his second appearance on the Tonight Show. His name is Juston McKinney and I have never had to work so hard in following someone in my career.
During my 15 years in the biz, I’ve worked with hundreds of acts. There are many really funny comics out there, but above are the 15 comics I’ve either seen on TV or worked with that I put at the top of my list of who I would recommend you go check out at your local comedy club. These are the type of performers who make me feel inspired and challenge me to be a better comedian.
Please Explain: Rappers in Concert
After watching Kanye West do everything in his power to wreck The Police's set during their Live Earth appearance, it dawned on me that I've rarely heard a rapper good in a live setting. Let me mention that I'm not a rap hater. While I do think the whole genre has been pretty stale over the past few years, rap music has produced a lot of classic works. The one thing rap hasn't done is consistently produce compelling live performances.
During the early 1990's, musical festivals were at their peak, providing some of my favorite musical memories. My greatest musical experience was 1992's Lollapalooza, which featured a lineup of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, Ministry, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The only mediocre performance of the day was by Ice Cube. Ice Cube was at his peak at the time, with a number of great songs in his playlist, but he couldn't come close to translating the power of Amerikkka's Most Wanted or Death Certificate in person.
My second favorite festival show was at WOMAD 1993, which featured James, Crowded House, Lenny Kravitz, and Peter Gabriel joined by special guest Sinead O'Connor. Not only were these acts uniformly top-notch, but rap-inspired groups PM Dawn and Stereo MC's were every bit as good. While nowhere as influential as an artist like Ice Cube, these bands had the ability to present their rapping with some musicality.
This is the major problems with most rap acts in a live setting, as the best samples and turntable gymnastics don't translate well in a live setting. It seems to be harder to actually rap than it is sing in front of a live audience, considering how so often the vocal elements of the genre becomes a monontony of "Party People in the House Say Oh Yeah" time after time after time.
The only rap acts that consistently make for good live performances have brought instruments to the party, like the Roots or the Beastie Boys. Two of the greatest live acts in the history of rock and roll music are James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic. Both also happen to be among the most sampled artists playing in the beats that have appeared on rap records. As great as bands like Public Enemy and De La Soul were, they lost some of what them made them special when they played live, as the samples and turntables just don't translate well to the live experience.
Despite how badly most rap music sounds during a live performance, all award shows feature the top stars in the genre. Outside of a rare performance like LL Cool J, whose charisma and power sold Mama Said Knock You Out or the amazingly cool style of an MC like Rakim, most rap performances fall flat, without a live band supplementing them.
So throw your hands in the air...and wave them like you just don't care. When an MC says this at a concert, it's like they are reading my mind, because I truly don't care...don't care to hear rap music from a stage.
Please Explain Rap Music during a live performance. I dig Beck, but why I should appreciate just 2 turntables and a microphone, when I'm at a concert hall?
Kudos does go out to Cameron Diaz and her sexy legs going on forever in her short shorts. When she introduced Gore, I felt a serious case of global warming going on in my shorts! (Can I get a drummer, please?) Yes, whatever you say Mistress Cameron. I must buy a hybrid and use only 2 squares of TP per day.
MLB Post All-Star Break Predictions
Now that we are at the All-Star break, I thought it was a good time to examine my SWOBODA prediction system and tell you what it sees for the rest of the season.
SWOBODA made the bold prediction that not only will no team in the AL win 95 games, only one (Red Sox) will win over 90. The Red Sox being the best team looks pretty solid and considering that they have the best record in the league with only a .609 winning percentage, the better than 95 wins will be tough to reach. Since the Red Sox seem to have the AL East locked up, they will have less incentive to get over the hump. In the AL Central, the Top 4 will beat-up on each during the second half keeping them from 95 wins. I rated the Angels the second best team in the AL, but still might have underrated them, as they have an excellent chance to wind up with the best record in MLB. SWOBODA predicted at the start of the year that 88 wins would get you the wild card. I think that will be right around what is needed.
Below SWOBODA will predict the rest of the year for each team, with a 0-5, 5-10, etc. over/under .500 for the second half. The first number in parenthesis is the SWOBODA pre-season power ranking for the team and the second number is what PECOTA (w/ BP adjustments) predicted.
Loss for Words
I don't usually link political stories here, but I read something today that sickened me so much that I couldn't help but bring it to your attention. Of all the disgusting things this current administration has been behind, no testimony has been more damning to me than what the former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, offered up to the Senate on Tuesday.
Top 50 Comedy Sketch Performers in TV History
Unlike choosing the top players in any sport, selecting the best sketch comedy performers in television history is very arbitrary. There are no stats to guide you, just what you witnessed in your lifetime and how these actors made you laugh. The only parameter I set for the list was that I had to have watched you during my lifetime. This basically sets the bar at anything Monty Python Flying Circus and after. Python was the most influential sketch show of all-time, as it was revolutionary in the way it used comedy. Anything before it was safe, so I feel confident that this list possesses the best sketch comedy performers.
1. Will Ferrell
2. Jim Carrey
3. John Cleese
4. Eddie Murphy
5. Martin Short
Top 10 SNL Weekend Update Anchors
Please Explain: Jimmy Fallon
Hatred is not the concept of Please Explain, as it's just about me trying to find out why someone/something has greater popularity than I can understand. Now Jimmy Fallon... it's all about the hate.
A lot of comics hate Pauly Shore because of the amount of success he has had in life and while I do think he's enjoyed a much longer career than he has deserved, I think the guy has had moments. Shore created an original character in the Weasel that fit the times of the early 90's. Sure he often looked like a straight version of Richard Simmons, but the movie Son-in-Law had its moments. Like Carrot Top, Shore has been self-deprecating enough about his talent that I give him pass, despite not being a fan.
Jimmy Fallon did one character on SNL that I thought was consistently funny, Nic Burns. Burns was a computer technician who had the proper mix of sarcastic nerdiness and technical intelligence that made the character very real. His other characters were often showy, but only worked if the other people in the sketch did the heavy lifting. Fallon was billed as an impressionist, but his mimicry was on the level of an opening act at a Comedy Club B-room.
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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Personally On the Juice
Scott Takes On Society
Kick Out the Jams (Music Pieces)
Even Baseball Stories Here
Link to Scott's NSFW Sports Site