Dec 9, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again

Happy Holidays to all of you!  More specifically, Merry Christmas. Not because I'm Christian and feel the need to differentiate because the world revolves around me and my religion, but because that's where the, money is and I'm cashing in!  You see I'm an Atheist, which means I need to let you know about it every chance I get.  No matter what your faith is, this is always a special time of year when everything is pepperminty and gingerbread spiced.

Here's some of my latest holiday season inspired designs for you to buy buy buy.
Coffee Holiday is available on various items and apparel exclusively at Society6.com . Use this link to get $5 off and Free Shipping for a limited time.  http://society6.com/kirkshelton?promo=Q92DZF3HKBZQ

Smells Like Christmas is also available on various items and apparel at Society6.com and Redbubble.com. Use this link to get $5 off and Free Shipping for a limited time.  http://society6.com/kirkshelton?promo=Q92DZF3HKBZQ




Don't forget these classic designs only available at Redbubble.com 
...also redbubble has stickers. 


ORDER NOW TO GET IT IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! 

Nov 27, 2014

Artifact Movie Quick Review

30 Seconds to Mars were really cool guys when we toured with them.  More importantly, this documentary is a really good look into the music business and the current state of affairs of the music industry.  It's shown from a perspective I can relate to as a former member of a rock band who was signed to fucked over by a major label. It brought back a lot of memories from around that time in my life.



Check it out on Netflix.

Nov 19, 2014

Payola: Still a Problem

A friend of mine and fellow musician Gentle Jones has come across a new kind of payola. The major labels are careful these days to be clever in the way they pay off radio and media outlets but the independent artist is getting fucked in a different and quite blatant way.  The internet, after all this time is still new territory for music.  Back in 1999 my band was cutting edges being on Mp3.com and Napster was still flying under the radar.  The industry has changed so much in 15 years and has steadily adapted and found new ways to help and rip off artists every chance they get.  Which is why many have elected to bypass the major labels. Some like Gentle Jones are going through smaller independent labels and some merely do it themselves.  Technology has made creating and distributing music cheap and simple but there are apparently still obstacles. Jones's article highlights first hand what he's been dealing with in trying to promote a new album he's been working on with High Elders called Forest Of Pencils.

Exerpt from http://gentlejones.blogspot.com

I sent the video to several music blogs and the response was incredible! Hot Press Magazine called the video, "Stunning... Eye-popping... Fabulous!" However, among these blogs I emailed were several who directly asked me for money just to post the video! This type of payola is increasingly common online these days. Many of those payola blogs are just automated content retweeted by cheap twitterbots and of no real value to an aspiring artist because real people don't actually check the content. Here I've posted a few of the emails I got in response to the video just to give other artists and music fans an idea of what its like to be independent in today's music business and the sorts of predatory folks who will try and juice you, many of them openly admit they are using twitterbots to promote your content:

--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

$100 it'll be up by midnight and emailed to other blogs affiliated with me--

-----------------------------------

--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders - Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

For general posts we charge a small fee of $10.00 for standard placement and $25.00 for featured placement which includes a 3 day tweeting of the video on our Twitter page personally.

If you are unable to pay we will put the video/song in consideration for placement. As we get 100's of emails a day for artist placements. If you are selected we will email you the link to the video on our site and will tweet it out one time after being posted.

If interested please send the payment via Paypal to Aotds@hotmail.com

Thanks,--

Man, what scumbags.

Check out Gentle Jones:
Twitter @gentlejones
Gentle Jones Facebook
Gentle Jones Youtube 

Watch the video for Surrounded By Lights here make sure to subscribe and let him know what you think.


Also read my 2005 post from my Boycott The Music Industry blog telling my personal story with major labels, payola and a bigtime payola lawsuit that Sony Music quietly lost.  http://boycottthemusic.blogspot.com/2005/12/payola.html

Nov 14, 2014

Director's Cut

You probably know I was in a band called Fingertight. I've talked about it here before.  We had some success in the late 90's early 2000's. Record deal, tours, etc.  One of the many things that I got to do during that time was make a real-deal-hollywood music video.

Old news right? You have probably already googled the phrase 'Fingertight guilt video'   and watched the same one everyone else has- of us dramatically flailing while enthusiastically lip synching to a medium tempo song cleverly shot in front of an industrial backdrop.

What most of you don't know is that what the record company let you see in that video is only about 60% of what was filmed.

When we approached the very talented and then up and coming artist Jeff Soto to create an album cover for us we never imagined the story it would tell on it's own. One that fit the story we were trying to tell with the songs on the record.  Later fates aligned and another skilled artist Mike Sloat was chosen to direct our music video.

The cover consisted of four folding panels to reveal the full painting. 
 Sloat embraced the artwork of Soto and made it come alive.  He created a cast of costumes and backdrops that matched the album art.  Continuing where the music and artwork left off, the video told more of the story.  But much like a lot of the bittersweet battles we found ourselves in during this time, our artistic vision was beat down by the record company once again with the final edit of the video. They swooped down from their dark castles in Gotham and took out anything meaningful and artistic leaving all of us with four dancing monkeys.

I dug up the original director's cut of the Guilt (Hold Down) music video and have posted it here the way it was meant to be seen for your viewing pleasure.  This was a true work of art all around and shouldn't be left on a cutting room floor.

Side note: I've posted this once before several years ago on Youtube but the record company had it taken down. I don't know how long it will last here so watch it while you can.  The battle never ends.

  Enjoy.


video

Nov 10, 2014

Exodus: Bringing Thrash Back From The Dead

Exodus's new album is probably the first album by a late 80's Thrash Metal band released in the last 20 years that doesn't completely suck zebra balls.  Slayer's had some ok stuff but I believe it's never been on par with even Seasons In The Abyss.  Metallica has been a total joke since 1993.  Testament kind of changed gears and went a little darker. I dont know what the fuck Death Angel is now but I definitely wouldn't call it Thrash. Megadeth is just out of gas putting out disappointment after disappointment. Anthrax completely fucked up by hiring John Bush. The last one with Belladonna was okay but still nothing like Persistence of Time. I think Pantera has sucked since The Great Southern Trendkill but that's a controversial opinion I know. Anyway, now they're dead.  Kreator's was a valiant effort but it actually sounds like an album performed by 45 year olds.  Who else is left?  GWAR? GWAR gets a pass even tho they don't need it. GWAR can get away with anything because of how completely awesome they are. If there were any others then they don't matter because they obviously weren't memorable to me.

Then there's Exodus — who really, back in the day was not a top shelf thrash name.  They were one of the many powerhouse bands coming out of the elite SF Bay Area Thrash Metal scene in the mid-late 80's coming up in the shadow of Metallica.   Personally their 1998 effort 'Fabulous Disaster' was my favorite tape for a while around that time, (yea I said tape but by the time they came out with "Thorn in My Side" ...it was the same old watered down radio metal everyone else was doing at that time.  Fast forward to 2014. By now I'd completely written them off just as I did all of my thrash metal idols from my youth.  When I heard they were doing a new album I had the same reaction I have when any of the aforementioned bands say they're putting out new shit.  A big "meh" and a courtesy listen and be glad I didn't buy the album.

So I hear Exodus of all names is doing a new record and I wait for a single or youtube clip to drop and have a listen.  My first reaction is that it's not bad... not bad at all.  Then by the fourth or fifth listen I'm air drumming and fist pumping in my car chanting "blood in - blood out!"  Finally I pick up the full album and track by track I'm totally digging it.

It's been in my car's CD player a week or so now and I've come to the realization I mentioned at the top of this review.  This is the first real Thrash album that's come out in 20 plus years.  There's been several so-called  "modern" thrash bands like Toxic Holocaust and others that to their credit have clung to a genre that's seated firmly in the past but they just can never really be as authentic as the originals.  Exodus, a group of over the hill rockers have succeeded to create a collection of music that my 16 yr old self would completely accept an enjoy. This album welcomes back Steve Souza whose vocals are as fresh and shrill as ever. He sounds like he did in 1989. The rest of the band, who are essentially all members who go back with Exodus to the 80's which is a big part of why this album sounds like it could have been made in 1988.

 I was driving home from work today just blasting it thinking to myself "this is thrash... this is legit 80's thrash... that was made now"   Exodus did something that none of the other big thrash bands of the day could do.   Bottom line; Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out is an honest to goodness, no bullshit, kick ass Thrash record.  Call in sick, drop the kids off at school, put the CD in the big living room surround sound home theater, turn it up to 11 and do the toxic waltz in your living room around the coffee table while your cat looks at you like you're mad.



Nov 6, 2014

Blind 70yr Old Man Kills Bear Then Gets Drivers License

Today I met Dr. Dean Edell. That was pretty friggin cool.  If you don't know who that is then it doesn't mean much to you but I was a big fan. You should Google him.  I was a pretty avid listener to his show just before he retired. He was a pretty hard core motherfucker, especially when he ripped on Oprah and Jenny McCarthy about vaccines-- but in a completely different way than the person I learned about today. 

I got a text from someone who was doing some legal work for a local gentleman.  The message described a man who broke the jaw of, then killed a bear. I asked if it was with his bare hands and they weren't certain but replied "I think with his hands, he had to get a shit-ton of stitches"  This man is also 70 years old.  I also learned that he's legally blind.

Illustration by Kirk Shelton


Now, in my mind I'm picturing an elderly, silver-eyed, stubborn, beast of a man with bloody bandages wrapped around his hands sitting in a courtroom today on trial for beating a bear to death.  Although unfortunately for this post I later learned that the altercation with the bear happened sometime in the past and wasn't what he was in need of legal aide today, He's still among the elite few humans on the planet who can say they killed a bear with their hands.  According to the internet only two men are documented to have doing this. Unfortunately I wasn't able to ascertain our man's name nor have no way to confirm these claims but my source is reliable and seemed convinced.

But bear killing aside, this man is a hardcore motherfucker because despite being old and blind he went to the DMV to get a driver license (or possibly a renewal)- took the written test and passed, then while legally blind took the driving portion... and passed that!  The DMV had to take it under review but eventually administered him a drivers license.  So if you get cut off by some old man...before you road rage on him, check his hands for scars in the shape of a bear's mouth.  He might be a hard core motherfucker you don't want to mess around with.



Nov 5, 2014

It's About Dot Com Fucking Time

Not that any of you care but after nearly 10 years I've finally secured (for at least a year) a real URL for the Noggins.  

Update your bookmarks kids!  www.kirknoggins.com is a real thing. 


Finally when I tell people I have a blog I don't have to say "dot blogspot dot com" it's so embarrassing at all the fancy tech parties I don't go to.

Oct 23, 2014

Primus's Chocolate Factory

Primus has a new record!  Primus and the Chocolate Factory With the Fungi Ensemble.  

I was excited when I saw this announced.  But apprehensive, because the last several albums from this group have been somewhat of a let down.   I guess I've been waiting 20 years for Seas of Cheese part two and have been starting to realize that its probably never going to happen.  Then I found out that it was a studio version of their New Year's Eve 2013 show at The Fox Theater in Oakland. A  cover album of the 1971 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie soundtrack.   Now I'm really on the fence. I didnt go to that show or hear anything about it.  It's classic songs from a classic movie that Tim Burton already fucked up once.  Now let's see what Primus can do with these songs.  But this isn't 1990's Primus, well, it is if you consider that it's the same lineup reunited... but it's coming from a Primus whose recent stuff has been lackluster.  So here we go...


While this is unmistakably Primusesqe, this could have easily been called Les Claypool and the Fungi Ensemble because to me it doesn't feel like the band Primus.   If you want to call it Primus I'd say it's done in the style of all of my least favorite Primus songs.  I fell asleep both times trying to listen to it.  The songs are classic but this reimagining does little justice to the originals. Same could be said about  the buildup of it being the classic Primus lineup of Les and Larry rejoining with Herb. Like I said before it feels like a Les Claypool side project. 

Every other song is the same Oompa Loompa song with different lyrics.  It never peaks with something incredible or unexpected. The whole thing is the same repetitive drone with Claypool talk singing very well known lyrics but with less of the melody were all used to. Tim's drumming, a staple in the Primus sound that made them famous, and a big part of the promotion, is almost non-existent in this record.  

What I see here is a lot of hype and promotional extras such as Wonka themed everything,  hidden golden tickets and candy bars for what is essentially a mediocre, boring cover album. I'm hoping to see what these three do after spending some time writing together again. (If they even do that) But I'm not getting my hopes up.  

"Primus Sucks" is getting less and less sarcastic. 

Oct 11, 2014

PYMHM The Almost Dead Hooker Story.

Post You Might Have Missed from Aug 23, 2007

In a conversation about gross jobs, Dog Groomer came up. Only because you have to "express" dogs anal glands. My dog was having problems back there and the vet suggested I try to do it myself. Armed with rubber gloves and a roll of paper towels I went for it. I won’t go into the details but it was one of the most disturbing moments in my life. Definitely a top five. That got me thinking about what would be on my top 5 most disturbing moments. It’s tough because I don’t gross out that easily. But strangely, ketchup and bleeding open wounds gross me out to no end. One thing for sure that makes the list is my almost dead hooker incident.

I've told the story quite a few times but there’s no better place than here to put it down in sans serif for all of you to read.


The Almost Dead Hooker - by Kirk Shelton.
Based on true events.

When my band was on tour we saw many things and met many people. There were a small group of people we would travel with and get to know throughout the tour. Band members, tour managers, techs, roadies, etc. One of the types of people you never really talk to or get to know are the truck drivers. If you’re on a bigger tour the headliners have a full 18 wheeler truck that they cart around their equipment, stage, lighting and everything else you get when you have a real tour budget. Mudvayne was nominated for a Grammy, they were one of those bands.

We first became aware of Mudvaynes truck driver in Allentown PA. The venue’s loading dock was down a side alley and we were pretty impressed with the skill it took to get that huge trailer down in there. We saw him kind of wipe the sweat from his brow as he hopped out of the cab.  He looked at us with a face of pride and relief. We looked back and gave him a thumbs up to his good driving skills. We said something like "damn man good job, I don’t think I could get my car in that spot" All the while thinking to ourselves that he probably does stuff like that all the time and it was probably not that big of a deal to him. Later as we started moving our gear into the club we began to have loading issues of our own. This place was the most unorganized club we'd ever played. load on was a pain in the ass, and loading off down roped off corridors, down stairs and through a sea of sweaty, drunk, self-riotous Mudvayne fans wasn’t a walk in the park either.

As we finally settle down and cool off from being so frustrated at the loading situation we see the truck driver walking away from his truck with a duffel bag. Before our encounter earlier we wouldn’t have noticed but now we kinda knew this dude. He told us he was off the tour and going to work for some other better paying tour. Well that sucks, we all thought to ourselves. Right about then a new driver gets dropped off by a taxi and starts to check over the truck. We walk over to him and make a point to casually introduce ourselves since we had just gained a new respect for truckers. He had a little rougher, unshaven, leathery, unkempt appearance than the last guy but what the hell, he was a trucker. That’s how truckers are supposed to look right?  He hopped into the cab and after he gets settled he starts to pull out of the alley to get on the road for the next stop on the tour. As he pulled out we started to hear this loud scraping tearing metal sound and suddenly our images of seemingly magical skilled masters of the fine art of maneuvering 70 feet of steel and rubber were fading like this new driver’s blurry, blue prison tattoos. As if he didn’t hear what we were hearing he kept pulling forward. We went around to look and we saw his truck inch by inch ripping the steel framed canvas awning from the front of the club right out of the concrete wall. He finally realized what it was and stopped. Not before there was hunks of stucco and painted plaster coating the sidewalk and the hood of his semi. Welcome to the tour!

This is the guy who Mudvayne is depending on to get their gear from town to town!? 

Jump a week, five towns and five shows later. We had just played El Paso, Texas which borders Juarez, Mexico. A big group of guys from the other bands and crew went over to Juarez. Juarez is where members of another band we had toured with went and came back with tales of the "Farmacia", pain medication abuse and drunken gun shooting. ahh México es bueno. So now we’re further east of El Paso, playing a show in another border town. McAllen Texas, which is pretty much Mexico. English was the second language there. For some reason, as I was hanging out at the merch table, explaining to the Mexicans that we can’t accept Pesos for T-shirts, I start having a conversation with the crazy truck driver who now had been with us for a week without incident. Half paying attention to him as he just keeps rambling on about stuff he mentions that he just got out of prison like 5 years prior. He tells me how he used to run meth and cocaine for the Hells Angels in the 80's and got busted. At this point I realize this dude is totally out of his mind, but being naive like I was I gave him the benefit of the doubt and didn’t fully give up on this guy. There had to be something good and noble left in him. After all he had a pretty decent trucking gig for a pretty big band. Right?

Wrong.

A couple days later we find ourselves in Las Vegas. The buzz was hot in the air about Mudvayne heading south to Mexico to play some huge rock festival. But the tour is coming to an end. One more show in LA and we head home, Mudvayne to Mexico. We got to Vegas early and while Mudvayne had a ton of gear to set up we were just waiting around. Hanging out backstage and in the loading dock with the other band and some of the crew. It was early afternoon, which was practically morning for us. We were comparing how sleeping is tough on the road. V-Shape Mind, the other band on the tour, was still in a van and got hotel rooms. We were in a tour bus but it was a pretty crappy tour bus with little to no amenities, while Mudvayne and their crew had new top of the line Prevost busses with DVD players and stuff in each bunk. At this point crazy trucker jumps in on the conversation and says "you have trouble sleepin? ‘cuz I got some pills for that when we were south of the border" I tried to end the conversation and said "no I sleep pretty good.. Sometimes I oversleep" then he quickly countered excitedly, "well, I got pills for that too!!  Wake you right up!" I’m thinking this guy is a complete nut, but again, rolling with it. He overheard us talking about the cool stuff Mudvayne has in their bus and says "hey you should see what I got in my cab". I was curious and interested since I’d never really been in a real big rig before.  So I followed him to the front of his truck which was backed into the loading zone. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was the only one to follow him. The group of dudes I was talking with seemed to conveniently disappear.

"Hop on up" he kind of chokes out with a voice reminiscent of a pack of Camel Non-Filters. I climb up and sit in the well weathered driver seat. I bask briefly thinking it was kind of cool sitting up there. Then he says to take a look. I look around in front of me and to the passenger seat and don’t see anything unusual. Just another worn out seat and a slightly more complicated dashboard than I’m used too. But nothing I didn’t expect. I look at him like "what am I supposed to be seeing here?"

He then points behind me toward his sleeper cab. "oh yea, his bunk" I looked around at eye level for some kind of cool TV or video game set up. Seeing nothing I was about to look back at him ... then I saw it.

As my eyes moved down, to about the level of my knees. With only the dim daylight shining through the windshield into the unlit sleeper cab, behind the driver seat, on a shitty foam mattress the width of the cab, I saw a woman. She was completely nude laying on her back half covered at the waist by a dirty blanket. She had the physique of a holocaust victim. Very emaciated and greyish. It might have been the lighting but she looked like a dead body you’d see on CSI. As I take in all of these observations all within a few glances I realize she isn’t moving. Instantly I freak and think "oh my god she is dead!!!! This guy has a dead hooker in his truck oh my god, holy shit!!!" I think I even squeaked out a little girl scream. Then as I'm about to jump and run as fast as I can, she moves. Slightly like when you’re about to gasp for air. She doesn’t wake up but inhales quickly. Her whole body shudders violently, yet still unconscious she gasps for air in a breathy, but fast 'eeeghhhhh' then a second later she does it again.

I think to myself. “What the holy hell am I looking at? What the fuck?” Then I exclaim to the truck driver out loud "What the fuck man?!!" as I stare in shock and awe. He then replies... "You can have her man, go for it, she aint gonna wake up for a good 2 or 3 hours...."  Back into my inner monologue “Holy shit this is a hooker?” Instantly visions of all those truck stop prostitutes stumbling between semis I’d seen while on tour for the past year and a half surfaced in my memory. He continues "...yea, she won’t wake up, I gave her some of those pills I got in Mexico. You can do whatever you want to her and she won’t wake up"

UGH........completely disgusted, freaked out and slightly frightened I slunk out of the seat while saying as politely as I could “uhh no thanks man I'm cool" then once on pavement I walked as fast as I could back to the stage door. I saw the group I had been talking to before and said "dude that guy is fucked, he has an almost dead hooker passed out in his cab!" then I gave a brief recount of what had just happened.

They all laughed jokingly asking "so how was she?" laughing more as they said "why do you think we didn’t go over there, that dude is fucking nasty man" Thanks for the warning assholes.

I don’t think I’ve been the same ever since.


Oct 1, 2014

I'm In a Band

Some of you know I play rock n roll drums.  Here's my punk rock band. 





were called Dead Drift.










We're playing tonight