Tag Archives: anniversary

It’s been 5 years already.

yeah! 5 years ago this site was born. The reason perhaps was the most stupid one of all, but I thought it was a good idea. Till I stopped posting self-pity crap because it was too depressive, and then I started focusing on the things I live, or the things which hit my head from time to time.

Never been good at keeping a diary, I’m terrible at being constant except for music, my friends and drinking beer. I never give up on those, many of you can tell. Thus I’ve been absent for some time, perhaps too much, and many of you won’t be interested in what I have to tell anymore. And I can understand it.  But as long as I have energy and have to say something I will recover this blog and will write whatever sprouts from my mind, with mistakes and lack of sense sometimes, but with passion and love, not feeling a slave of this, not thinking of this as a burden. I might write often, or seldom, who knows, but I won’t apologize anymore. I got a life outside, even though many of you think I’m so hooked to social networks I don’t have a life of my own, or I expose too much. I’m much more than this, and really, I live, and enjoy, and suffer, and get upset, like everyone else.

toi

This stupid statement said, after few beers and a terrible day behind, is just a confession that in the end does mean nothing, but I feel much better now, which is what actually matters… to me.

Thanks to all who’ve been supporting me on this.

25 years of Goodfellas

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster

With this sentence, Henry Hill starts telling his story of rise and fall inside a mob family. It’s not fictional, Hill was a mobster for real, and passed away not too long ago. As fascinating it is, the responsible for delivering it to the mass on a silver plate was Martin Scorsese, who masterly directed one of his best films, and I dare to say, one of the best films in the history.

godfellas

Believe me if I reckon I’ve watched it more than 20 times, and I still find it awesome. One of those films every time you watch them you discover some details which you didn’t earlier, from actors, to locations, or any tiny detail. I never get tired of Ray Liotta laughing at Joe Pesci at the Bamboo Lounge, and how he scares the shit out of him.

This week it’s been celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie. It’s nice to see the cast gathering for the celebration of a great project, and it’s sad at the same time because you can see time does not forget anyone.

Is Goodfellas the best Italian mob film? Probably not, if you start thinking of The Godfather or Once Upon a Time in America, but it’s definitely one of the best.

The dynamism of a story told in 146 minutes is brilliant, separating the most remarkable episodes in the life of Hill. How he started being the kid running errands and grabbing an umbrella to protect one of the big bosses, the time he’s a successful young guy “well positioned” and falls in love with Karen, the Lufthansa Heist planned with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, and the devastating consequences for most of the people involved, the jail time, the drugs…everything supported by amazing performances by Liotta, DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino, among many others, a terrific soundtrack, and many other features a good film analyst would be able to list.

I love the way Scorsese introduces the viewer to the family, as if making us one of them, going through all the Bamboo Lounge greeting everybody. The little man repeats this formula several times, one when Henry takes Karen to Copacabana, and instead of using the front door, they get into the restaurant by the kitchen access until a table is immediately set for them right at the moment they reach the lounge. Everything filmed with a steadicam, and the other at their wedding, when Karen tells about how overwhelmed she was with such a large family, so many people and so many envelopes.

Goodfellas was also the seed for David Chase at the time of creating The Sopranos. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco were considered as candidates to play the roles of Tony and Carmela, but the idea eventually was turn down, although Bracco became Dr Melfi, Tony’s shrink, proving what an amazing actress she is. Also many actors were hired for the series, from Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti to Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo or Tony Sirico, the great Paulie Gualtieri.

I think there’s nothing else to say. If you don’t like Goodfellas you’re missing a hell of a great film.

The first time I listened to Black Sabbath

What a shitty week, ugh! Since my last post I’ve been embraced by a huge attack of flu which has finished off all my energy, forcing me to spend the week sleeping and vegetating basically, not being able to focus nor getting concentrated for long periods of time on reading, listening to music or watching TV. Really I haven’t been so fucked up in years. As if I’ve wasted my life and time this week, being non productive at all. Moreover because this fuckin’ virus was so tough and contagious, you can imagine I haven’t seen anyone these days. All the time on my fuckin’ own. What a horrible penitence. I NEED BEER ASAP!

Seems that I’m feeling better today, Friday 13th (UUUH), and leaving aside the birthday of a legend, Jason Voorhees, there’s something more relevant to celebrate: the 45th anniversary of the debut album of Black Sabbath.

black sabbath vinyl

Just few months ago I recovered this album to talk about the bells in rock, remembering the intro of ‘Black Sabbath’, with the storm and the bells, as one of the most sinister and overwhelming record openings in the history of rock/metal. Those bells make me think of the end of the hippie era, together with Vietnam (Nixon era) and the Manson family crimes. As if all related, all these facts created the portrait of a dark future ahead.

45 years after its release, this album is still mindblowing, with the same intensity as back in the day. I cannot recall of those days, but at least I have fresh in my memory the first time I listened to this album, followed by Paranoid, 20 ½ years ago.

I remember the year and the month, end of June 1994. Any given summer night, sitting in the copilot seat of my boyfriend’s car, actually his parents’, parked anywhere. You could go to a park or wherever, but the car has the stereo and we could listen to tapes. He asked me if I had ever listened to Black Sabbath, and I felt very ashamed when admitting I hadn’t yet, even though I knew it was one of these classic 70’s band I HAD TO listen. You know how things work when you are a teenager. It’s a constant struggle trying to show the world you know things, you’re an adult already, and you’re worthy of respect.  Thus, at this point someone asks you about a band or something you don’t really know, you can cheat assuring you know, putting your status into risk, or you can admit you don’t know, swallowing the shame and trying to recover your status the soonest. I chose the second option, as I knew he could catch me in a lie, especially related to music, very easily.

So more or less, the conversation was as follows:

-Hey Toi! Which band you prefer, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath? (this is the equivalent question to “are you studying or working?”, huh?)

-Eeeer! I love Led Zeppelin, but I can’t really say about Black Sabbath. Never got the chance to listen to them, and I don’t know anyone who can tape me any stuff. (shit! I’ve fucked it up!)

-Oh, wow! So you haven’t ever listened to BLACK SABBATH!!! (Dude, don’t stare at me as if I was a fuckin’ freak)

-No, man, I haven’t yet. (Toi sinking in shame. SHEEEEEIT!)

-You want to listen to them RIGHT NOW? I got a tape here!

-I’d love to if you feel like, sure. (feeling better?)

– I really feel VERY JEALOUS OF YOU RIGHT NOW. You’re about to listen to BLACK SABBATH!!! for the first time in your life! That is AWESOME!

-Yeah, man. Seem so. (Uuuf! He’s not gonna dump me…yet! Great!)

 

After searching for a tape, the moment of truth arrived. Not only I was to discover Black Sabbath, but also at the same time I was being tested by a guy I liked a lot, and I couldn’t disappoint him. Not that I had to be a yes girl saying the band was absolutely incredible, and blahblahblah, which in some way I had to pretend in case I didn’t like the tape, but the real trick was managing to sound convincing.

The tape started rolling, but no music sounded. He told me to “wait”, so I was staring at nothing focusing all my senses to something it was about to start. And then rain pouring, thunder, a church bell tolling coming closer, to introduce the scariest and most wicked intro I’ve ever listened  to up to date. Fuuuuuck! What the hell was THAT? First lines of the lyrics could perfectly define what I was thinking at that very moment “What is this that stands before me / figure in black which points at me”. Holy shit! I had listened to Megadeth, Iron Maiden or Slayer, but that, that was a way on top different league. Guitar riffs were terrific and threatening, drums and bass super heavy, Ozzy’s voice was that of an evil wizard…I was overwhelmed.

At some point I realized I wasn’t alone inside that car and tried to pull myself together, noticing I had been observed all those 6minutes and something, so when I lifted my head and turn my face to the left to him, my mouth was open in amazement, half smiling, and the only word I could articulate was, of course “FUCK!”. No need to say I passed the test, and brought the cassette home to copy it, with Paranoid on the other side, and a couple of songs of Masters of Reality.

sabbath 1970

This old story works for explaining what this album means to me at all levels. It’s not my favorite Black Sabbath album even though I’d include it in a top 5 list of the band, however I reckon it’s one of the most influential records in my life. I’m not a musician, so I won’t tell you stories about how much it inspired me to write lyrics, and I don’t consider myself a metalhead either, being this album probably the milestone of heavy metal. But listening to those 7 songs, one after the other, ‘The Wizard’, ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’ (oh man, the drum break at the end, I could listen to it nostop for hours!), ‘N.I.B’, ‘Evil Woman’, ‘Sleeping Village’ and ‘Warning’ blew my mind completely, and opened the gates to another musical dimension, heavier, darker and more powerful, and the word riff came to my life to stay for good. How awesome is that, huh?

45 years since Black Sabbath shocked world, and 20 ½ years since it overwhelmed me, and I reckon there will be lots of other teenagers who will hear this album for the first time in their lives and will get crazy about it in the same way I did, because the power of this masterpiece remains intact, thanks to the timeless magic it was created with.

Satan bless Black Sabbath!

RockZone 10th anniversary party

aniversario

The 10th anniversary of Rockzone Magazine started with a party held at Rocksound last Thursday. Last year I also played some music when celebrating the #100 issue, which also meant the change to digital and free publishing, which has been a huge success, thus it was a huge pleasure to be invited to share stage dj’n with Turbolovers DJs and Danko Jones.

Lots of friends, collaborators, familiar faces and other remarkable personalities in the rock and press scene came to celebrate these 10 years of existence of the magazine, which, considering the difficult times press is going through lately, especially since the internet era, is a great achievement. My contribution to the mag hasn’t been for too long time, but I’m thrilled for being part of it, and I really hope it lasts, and I can improve my input.

rockzone team

It’s hard to open for a party, but I tried my best to get people warmed up for Danko Jones’ session anyway. I took record of all my first session, but when I joined the Turbolovers DJs there was too much fun and booze, so this time the playlist is a bit short, but believe me, it got wild in the end.

Congratulations to Jordi and Richard for their amazing work!

10 years in Barcelona Shitty

Few nights ago, while talking to my friend Tani, I realized that on June 11th 10 years ago I arrived Barcelona with a suitcase, ready to start a new life in this city. Time goes so fast! It’s unbelievable!

The main reason for moving to a big city was that I needed to live in a more musical and cultural scene, looking for something resembling my experience in London, but this time being an adult and with some lessons already learnt. I had been working for a toy store chain for 2 years already in my hometown, and had requested a position in Barcelona, which took some time, but was firm. It was great this happened at the right time, when I was recovering from my 10 year relationship breakup, so I had new horizon ahead and cool expectations, so as the willing to have fun and live new experiences.

Sagrada Familia

As with every change, the beginning wasn’t 100% easy. I had a couple of incidences with some people until I found a decent place to settle, but I remember that summer as one of the funniest and craziest ones.

Sometimes I think of the reason why I chose Barcelona instead of Madrid, and the only certain explanation is that I knew the city and how to handle living in it, and I got friends. Plus it was a time I used to go to the beach. Not anymore. I don’t regret my choice either, but it’s curious how friends change depending on the kind of live you carry out and most of the close ones back then have disappeared, except for Jaume, one of my main pillars.

Let’s start with the result of a quick brainstorming related to ramdon personal facts:

1. When I arrived it was taking place the Universal Forum of cultures. I never visited it. I’ve been in the place attending festivals afterwards.

2. First series I watched on TV was Falcon Crest.

3. I moved 6 times. Sant Antoni, the current hood I’m living in, is becoming quite fashionable. I love this area anyway.

4. I lived with a hooker for one month. She never admitted her activities, but there were lots of signs which which proved it.

5. I’ve had 7 different employments and spent 6 months unemployed.

6. I must have attended approx. 600 shows. Wish they had been more.

7. I rarely speak Catalan no matter I studied this language at college in my hometown.

Barcelona port by Toi Brownstone

8. I hate the popular fests in the city. I hate national popular fests anyway.

9. I don’t have a favorite bar nor restaurant here.

10. The fact that they don’t serve free bread without requesting when having papas bravas or any other tapas still pisses me off. A lot.

11. I met some of my best friends during these 10 years.

12. It’s been said Barcelona people are close and cold, and it’s true, however I’ve never felt aside or rejected. Completely the opposite.

13. I don’t discuss about politics and even less about independence of Catalonia with anyone.

14. I support any soccer team but Barça just to break balls.

15. I hate humidity. Don’t get used to summer weather.

Festes de Gracia

Will I celebrate another 10 years in this city? Who knows. Right now I’d say yes without hesitating thinking of the kind of life I have, but you never know. Truth is that Barcelona has lost lots of its essence and charm on behalf of becoming one of the most touristic places in the country and in the world, so lots of business, commodities and services have focused on this money target, so the locals are getting more and more disappointed.

We’ll see…

INK CELEBRATIONS

Nowadays, with all these business closing down due to bad economic situation (I hate abusing of the word crisis), it is really a great pleasure being able to join the celebration of the 13th and 5th anniversaries of my two favorite tattoo studios in Barcelona, Aloha Tattoos and Barcelona Electric Tattoo.

electric tattoo

The quality of many of the artists working there is outstanding and their work worldwide renowned, as they are constantly on the move, attending conventions and working as guests at other studios: El Monga, Javi Castaño, El Carlo, Tai Iglesias…I’m very proud of getting inked myself by Alvaro Llorar and Rotor myself. Those who are into this world can feel very lucky to have such great artists so close at hand.

david tejero

Parties were held last week and both were a blast. Probably the first one, Aloha’s at Nervermind was wilder, because expectations weren’t so high and took us by surprise. Contests, very cool decorated walls, gifts, free tattoos, Black Thunders live performance…and Toi volunteering as a beer drinking contender. Of course I didn’t win, and didn’t aim to, but it was insane and I had a laugh. And got wasted.

On Saturday, the party took place at BeGood. There was still a trace of the previous party so everybody took it easier, but the live performances, including a mini burlesque show, really cheered us all up. I flipped with Tort especially, with their new singer and guitar player. The show was impressive.

tort

What I particularly enjoyed was the comradeship among the artists, who attended each other parties, and the community of tattooists from other cities in Spain who joined the celebration. It was very interesting to know other people, their working style, and the humility to admire others’ work. I felt observe, but in a good way, and I was given some business cards to bear in mind. Never been able to attend a convention, but this was in fact a great experience.

I tend to admire what’s abroad first, rather than what’s at home, but after quite some time observing and getting acquainted with the tattoo world, I have to admit Spain has a great bunch of fantastic artists. Still there are some things to improve, which do not have to do with them, but us and the society we are currently living in, and our narrow mindset. I only hope tattoos are not a temporary fashion, society stops regarding tattoos as something weird or bad, and these studios remain open, allowing these wonderful artists to stay here, so we can celebrate many more anniversaries.

aloha tattoos

I’ll go to Aloha Tattoos to get my 13 drop inked soon. It’d be great I’d be able to get another one celebrating 25 years.

Keep up the excellent work and good luck!

CHINESE DEMOCRACY. 5 YEARS LATER.

It is time for another exercise of nostalgia. This time it has to do with the last release of my favorite band, or better said, of the current project under the name of my favorite band, Guns N’ Roses, led by Mighty (and nutter) Axl Rose. I’m talking about the infamous Chinese Democracy. The cursed album which took about 15 years to be completed, or again we could say it took Axl 15 years to feel it was ready to come out.

chinese democracy

I don’t think an album was surrounded by so much controversy as Chinese Democracy did. Fans were divided already, after the split of the band, with Axl as the only former member remaining, who acquired Guns N’ Roses rights and decided to go on like that, hiring a bunch of super musicians as his mercenaries. You know, Buckethead, Dj Ashba, Bumblefoot, Richard Fortus, Robin Finck, Josh Freese, Bryan Mantia, Tommy Stinson…and so on. Guns N’ Roses were divided into pro Axl versus pro Slash, quite supported after his revelations included in his autobiography. And then this album split opinions even more.

I don’t think Chinese Democracy has much to do with the former GN’R style. Of course Axl is there, and his unique singing style will prevail throughout the years, but the introduction of new resources, recording elements, crazy and overwhelming layering, and more industrial and electronic sounds, didn’t fulfill may people’s expectations.

Yesterday was November 23rd. 5 years ago FINALLY Chinese Democracy became a reality and it was released worldwide, even though some of us had already our copy, as in Spain, album releases are set on Tuesdays. We loved it. We loved it HARD, and to be honest I reckon if Axl had released an album with songs inspired in my hometown folk, we’d have loved it all the same. Arguments, tension in forums, excitement and emotion, it’s unbelievable such landslide of situations came from the release of an album. If you think of it, this is the greatness of Chinese Democracy. It was capable to turn the world upside down, and Axl was responsible for that.

Many would like to kill the ginger, others think he lost his mind long time ago, and his eccentricity has been blamed for destroying the last great rock band in the world. Probably everybody’s is partially right, but I love Axl just because he’s done whatever the fuck he’s wanted any time, facing fans, critics, record labels and band members. He’s never justified his acts and decisions through statements, or autobiographies for laving. And I respect him for that. He’s always doing it his own way, even though I might not follow him as closely as I used to.

Back to the release of Chinese Democracy 5 years ago, I remember that time clearly. I even arranged a DJ’n session for celebrating the final release of the album so many times we had bet  against it seeing the public light. My life was completely different back then, and my “half orange” was as excited as I was, thus the memories of those days are funny.

I hope he doesn’t get upset or something but one of the greatest things witnessed on a music forum was my later friend Joaquin creating a profile for Axl in the forum we used to participate. Rumours were saying that Axl was chatting in forums with fans, so this guy started impersonating him and addressing to his fans in English, asking what we thought of the album and stuff. It was awesome!

Now it’s the end of 2013. Axl is still performing, no video from the album was ever broadcast either, and apparently a new albums is being recorded. Hope for a reunion has vanished. And my life is completely different.

What do I think of Chinese Democracy 5 years later? I seldom listen to ir, but from time to time I like spending some time with its 14 tracks. I still like it. I love it, partly because of the good all times I enjoyed related to it, because it’s Axl’s, and finally because there are great songs included.

artwork chinese democracy

As some sort of tribute I’ve decided to write a comment on every song, to rate it accurately. Hope I don’t get you bored. It’d be awesome if you were trying the same yourselves and wrote your input here, but I know you won’t. Anyway, let’s start with the experience.

1. CHINESE DEMOCRACY

The gates of Axl’s universe open really slow, and the increasing Chinese buzz touches your ears. Everything is sort of apocalyptical, as if it as the starting of a new era. You know? It makes me think of the futuristic Blade Runner.

The opening riff, with the echo, is damn powerful, and starting Axl’s yell is so high pitched and acute I just can believe it. I adore Axl’s low voice.

Very good starter.

2. SHACKLER’S REVENGE

Or the videogame song. I always visualize a video as some sort of arcade videogame. It sounds super artificial and industrial, with lots of special arrangements, and Axl’s voice in chorus layered thousands of times, but it’s still impressive.

Buckethead’s main solo is overwhelming and excessive.

3. BETTER

I don’t think I will ever get tired of Better. This was one of the first songs to be leaked and I’ve listened to it in all the possible ways. Verses are awesome, and lyrics talking about broken hearts are priceless “A broken heart provides the spark for my determination”.

4. STREET OF DREAMS

For many this is one of the best songs of Chine Democracy. For me it’s weird because there are parts which do not drive me crazy, but there are others I love much. it’s an in crescendo song, so by the end I always think it’s great. Axl’s falsetto is brilliant, and piano parts are very nice.

5. IF THE WORLD

On the other hand most people admit If The World is crap, but I have a huge thing for it. It really turns me on. I don’t know whether is the Spanish guitar, the exotic rhythm or the lyrics, so fateful. If the world would end today I’d see myself dancing this song naked, holding someone really tight and grabbing a bottle of something. Decadent and desperate.

6. THERE WAS A TIME

THE song of the album. Excessive, grandiloquent and HUUUUUGE. This is a song of hate, and lyrics couldn’t be sharper. Orchestral arrangements, piano, guitars… I just love it.

It’s always driven me crazy this verse:

Social class and registers, cocaine in the hall
All the way from California on the way to your next call
To those non-negotiations to stimulate a cause
For the betterment of evils and your ways around the laws
That keep you up and sitting pretty on a pedestal or bed
And now you’re sleeping like an angel near the man who you give head

Brilliant!

7. CATCHER IN THE RYE /8. SCRAPED

Catcher overrated song (same as the novel). This is probably one of the songs I like least. I don’t need it, and right now I’m changing to the next song which is Scraped and always saturates me. Next, please.

9. RIAD N’ THE BEDOUINS

It might sound contradictory that I say Scraped saturates me and immediately after I state that Riad is terrific, because it’s one of the most overproduced songs in the album, but I can’t help it, when I listen to Axl yelling “Oh my salvation, and all my frustrations, caught in the lies no one had wove as well, somewhere in time where only I could tell”, I feel up!

10. SORRY

This is a song whose greatness is inside its lyrics. Another song of Axl’s in a revengeful attitude. Probably Beta advised him to channel his anger in beautiful and calm down songs so everybody could get the message clearly.

I’ve always wondered how many times it took to Axl to record that “But I don’t want to do it”. At least 3 months.

11. I.R.S

It’s a great song that I think with the passing of the years has lost strength comparing to other songs. Chorus is still powerful, and I’m sure on stage it has to be a bomb, but at home I miss more attitude and raw sound.

12. MADAGASCAR

Another magnificent song with that orchestral intro combined with a programmed electronic base. As soon as guitars start, this song takes off and it turns into something really big. That moment with the sequence of samplers including  “What we got here is failure to communicate” and “Free at last, thank God almighty we’re free at last!” still gives me goose bumps.

13. THIS I LOVE

I don’t need This I Love when I’m aware that Prostitute comes next, so…let’s go for it.

14. PROSTITUTE

Stephanie Seymour, you really fucked Axl. Not that I blame you for it, but after the whole album and especially through this song, it’s confirmed that he didn’t take it well you eventually turn him down. Wow! You defeated WAR and it’s impressive, but you also inspired one of the most powerful love revengeful songs ever written.

Axl starts almost apologizing trying to express he tried to do well but as the song advances he starts vomiting pearls I’d really like to know how his ex swallowed things like this:

I told you when I found you if there were doubts

 You should be careful and unafraid

Now they surround you and all that amounts to

Is love you fed by perversion and fame.

It’s been said sad and anger caused by love failures are especially useful to enhance creativity. In this case it was the ignition point Axl needed to write a whole album, and it worked, and kept truly intense after 15 years of recording.

I love the Fade Out end of the song. When I reach the end since the very first time I listened to Chinese Democracy 5 years ago, the same thought comes to my mind and is this:

BRAVO AXL, YOU FUCKIN’ MADE IT AGAIN!

axl