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Dream Suit

June 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I took this photo at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville over Memorial Day weekend. I want this suit (and shirt) so badly that I can taste it:

Dream Suit

I’m not sure if it would detract from a story, though. I kind of try to be as relatable as possible, and this might push it. On the other hand, if Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton and pretty much every other country star can pull off a brain-burning suit like this one in contrast to an “aw, shucks” personality, who’s to say someone else can’t?

Here are a two shots of Gram Parsons’ infamous Nudie suit, just for kicks:
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Pre-Show Nightmares and Andy Ross Singing

April 2nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

It’s gotten down to this: now I have nightmares about the And I Am Not Lying show.

They said we were going to be in a big basement theater with ampitheater seating. Then we get there, and the floor is a solid concrete slab, two-thirds of which tilts toward a flat part at a 40 degree angle. There are no seats except for a pile of folding chairs in the corner.

People are filing in, not enough people to fill the room or even have a decent crowd – just enough to make it so that we can’t cancel.

I’m running around the room setting up folding chairs on the slanted part and Cyndi’s trying to make change for people that are paying at the door but her makeup’s not even all the way on. Then people actually sit in the chairs and start sliding down the concrete ramp, sparks shooting from the chairs’ metal legs until they hit the stage part of the concrete with a jerk and fall forwards.

Still, the show’s got to go on so we get started. But while I’m telling my story, right when I’m getting to the hard part, some guy in a baseball hat with two kids walks right up to me and says “excuse me, how do I get to Bryant Park?”

I’m stunned. I tell him and he leaves, and then some woman says “does this thing go uptown on weekends” and I realize that we are not, in fact, in a basement theater. We’re on a subway platform.

Then I wake up and it’s 4:30 in the morning and I stare at the sparkly things floating in my eyeball fluid until 7, when I get up and go to work.

So yeah, we’re having another And I Am Not Lying Live show tomorrow night at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Show’s at 8, ten bucks, tickets are here.

I’m really excited to have my friend Andy Ross on the show, reading and performing some of his short comedic pieces. This is a video of a story he told at Union Hall one time, about the time he sang both parts of “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” at a talent show. And the amazing thing is, he gets the whole crowd to sing along with him. It’s both hilarious and oddly uplifting.

Hope we see you there.

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Telling Stories at the Slip/Lovitt Day Party Featuring Sleepytime Trio Reunion at SXSW

March 2nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I’ve got a real love/hate relationship with Virginia’s post-punk and hardcore scene. When I look back on it, I find the scene as a whole creatively constrained and kind of stifling — it was this kind of styleized suburban orthodox dudefest of screamed vocals and far-left political statements set to guitar feedback and complicated drums.

But look, man: if you hated sports a little and frat-culture a lot in the late ’80s and early ’90s, what else were you going to do? Punk and hardcore had a low barrier to entry then – just get yourself a guitar, a garage and couple other guys and add a few metric apeloads of sweat and willpower. You could turn a pizza parlor, VFW hall or urine-soaked living room into a mothership full of people that were just ROCKING THE FUCK OUT with you at the helm.

My musical efforts at that time were stranger and less accessible.

I met almost all of my best, tightest, life-long friends at these shows. We made bands, made tapes, played records, took road trips to the Black Cat in DC and Twister’s in Richmond together, and ate a WHOLE lot of hash browns at truckstops in the middle of the night together. I went to a lot of weddings and I’ll go to a lot of funerals because of the people I met back then. We shepherded each other along the messy, complicated path into adult life, and I plan to return the favors on the way out.

Some of my best friends in college – the kindest, strangest, funniest guys in the world – formed the Sleepytime Trio. And when they played in our tiny living room in Harrisonburg, VA, the energy was Thor banging his hammer on the ground. Lightning bolts connected everybody and people dove off the mantle and jumped out the windows … before opening them.

Everytime they played, something got broken, someone got hurt and everyone in the room took a malt-liquor shower together and we smiled about it real hard, too. Because we all knew that nothing this awesome was happening for hundreds of miles around this tiny little mountain town and we all made it together.

Here’s the Sleepytime Trio playing at ABC No Rio back in the late ’90s. This looks and sounds a LOT like my living room did when I was in college.

So I’m really, really honored and exceptionally stoked to be MC-ing the Slip/Lovitt Party at SXSW on March 15th — featuring a rare and raw Sleepytime Trio reunion. There are 8 bands, and I’ll be telling stories between all of them. You don’t need a badge or anything, just earplugs. And maybe some extra deodorant.

Slip/Lovitt Party at SXSW

See, that love/hate thing – it’s not really hate. It’s the natural flipside of a nurturing relationship. You will always resent the thing that makes you just enough to get out on your own. It’s scary out there, and if you didn’t push yourself away, you’d still live in your mom’s attic.

For me, this thing’s like coming home for Christmas. We’re all grown up, and we’re all going to rock this thing as hard as we know how.

For the rest of you, the show ought to be really fun, especially if you like hanging out with dudes in cargo shorts who still buy 7″ records. Hope you can make it.

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Reggie Watts Covers Maroon 5, Improvises and Raps In A Death Metal Style at “Heart of Darkness”

January 10th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Creaghead and Company is pretty much Caroline Creaghead. And Caroline Creaghead is pretty much awesome. She helps to book and produce the And I Am Not Lying Live show, in addition to a bunch of others. One of the other shows in Caroline’s stable is “Heart Of Darkness” with Greg Barris. According to Flavorpill, Heart of Darkness (with the live band the Forgiveness) is a

psychedelic stand‐up show … a visceral experience from the downtown comedy underground. Accomplished thinkers, authors, poets, and artists join Barris and his band to become one seamless, improvised comedy freak show.”

I caught the sold-out show at Union Hall last Saturday. What I could see of it was really, really awesome, when I could see around a pillar. Everything sounded great, though.

Reggie Watts dropped in at the last minute and did a hilarious set, improvising all kinds of hilarious music and completely surreal standup that made perfect sense and told right-on truths as long as you didn’t listen too closely. If you did, you’d realize he was riffing on the kind of played-out onstage cliches you hear from most hip-hop and rock ‘n roll stage banter.

Here’s a pretty sweet clip. In it, Reggie Watts covers Maroon 5′s “Moves Like Jagger,” freestyles and improvises, and raps like the lead singer of a Cookie Monster death metal band:

Reggie Watts – Touching Songs Improv – Heart Of Darkness – 1.7.12 from Karmalize Productions on Vimeo.

In this clip, Reggie, Greg Barris and the Forgiveness improve a long jam about slack friends, vampires, teen smoking and more:

Reggie Watts & The Forgiveness – Improv Jam – Heart Of Darkness – 1.7.12 from Karmalize Productions on Vimeo.

Both clips were shot and edited by Alex Gaylon of Karmalize Productions.

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“Give It To Me” at the Fulton Street Subway

December 9th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I got off at the wrong subway stop last night on the way back from telling a story about Rick James at Luca Lounge. But as it turns out, it was so the right stop. These guys were just blowing out some serious funk underground, after midnight, for the entire world. The whole experience felt exactly like the mental image I had of New York in the decades before I moved here. And naturally, I requested that they play some Rick James.

Brother, did they ever deliver:

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Joseph Mulhollen’s Album “Problematical Animals” on Kickstarter

November 4th, 2011 by D.Billy

I’ll try to make this short and to the point:
Singer / songwriter Joseph Mulhollen makes music that I really really like. A lot. To provide a frame of reference: If you’re at all into stuff like Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Elliot Smith, and Beirut, then there is a VERY good chance that you’ll be into Joseph Mulhollen. I’ve dropped a few tracks and videos at the end of this post as a little Joe-sampler.

Mr. Mulhollen is just about finished recording his third album, Problematical Animals. And from what I’ve heard, it is excellent. BUT he still needs to get it mastered, pressed, and released, and pay the other talented musicians who contributed to the record, and the album cover artist. And this is where WE come in. Joe has set up a Kickstarter page to gather funds to get Problematical Animals out there, and to allow YOU to preorder the album. And the more support you pledge, the more B-sides and other goodies you get along with your copy of the record. He’s in the home stretch, with only a few days left to go. I’ll turn it over to Joe:

Now, aside from being a spectacularly talented musician, Joe is also one of my favorite human beings on the planet. In 1998, before we actually knew any-damn-thing about one another, Joe dragged me up onstage with him at the Old Main Inn in Fredonia NY, and asked — nay, told — me to play drums on a song of his that I had heard maybe once before. It somehow worked out not-too-terribly, and I’ve the honor of playing with him off and on for the past thirteen years. Nine times out of ten, one of us has just gotten into the town where the other one lives, and we have ZERO rehearsal time. And just like at the Old Main, it kinda works anyway. If nothing else, I have more fun playing with Joe than doing just about anything else. I would be super stoked to see Problematical Animals on many of your playlists in a couple of months, and trust me, you’ll be glad it’s there too.

As promised at the top of this post, here are some tracks and performance videos of Joe in action, to give you a kind of cross-section of his ouevre. Enjoy, and please help support this guy!

Matter Of Division (demo) by Joseph Mulhollen

Searching For Corners In Circular Rooms by Joseph Mulhollen


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Don’t Call Me ‘Rock Star’

June 7th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Two visitors leave the office along with me tonight. They’d had a meeting that went pretty well, apparently, well enough to break the silent force field that most people turn on in large New York elevators.

I’m also wearing shorts and carrying a bike helmet, so maybe they think I’m a bike messenger.

“Well that went well,” the man says, his voice lingering on the “well”, with a pause meant to cue his female partner. “Oh I KNOW,” she says, her hands fluttering, “you were just awesome in there! Especially how you stood up and gestured and threw all those comps to the side and everything — you’re such a ROCK STAR!!”

Whenever someone says “Rock Star” in an office setting, Keith Moon’s spirit buys a pair of pleated khakis at TJ Maxx.

My soul groans a deep and lowing tone, the sound of a majestic redwood that’s about to just give up completely. When I worked as a business banking researcher, my manager would refer to (other) members of our little team as “Excel Rock Stars,” or “research Rock Stars.” She would also leave photocopied prayers for strength and forgiveness on the office copier. Later in our relationship, when she was letting me go, she told me while shaking her head that I “just didn’t have a passion for banking research.”

“I think she’s buttering me up a little, don’t you,” he says, “trying to get some free drinks out of me before the train leaves for Connecticut.” She giggles a little more, and looks at me, saying “no, he was a Rock Star in there, he really had it together! It was incredible!”

“What do you think, man, is she putting it on a little here or what,” he says, totally milking her for more elevator-appropriate adoration.

What I think is:

Nothing says “you will spend the rest of your life in a beige and climate controlled purgatory” like being called “Rock Star” for showing up on time with a succinct PowerPoint presentation.

But I don’t say that. What I say is, “well, you have to be careful when you hear that phrase at work. It usually means something’s coming. I always brace for it whenever I hear that term.”

“Oh, stop,” she says, looking at her partner and laughing still. He’s looking at her, but asking me, “what is it, then?”

“In my experience in office settings, ‘Rock Star’ is the steam wafting off of a pile of corporate bullshit,” I say, before I can stop myself.

But look, people. We’ve got to think about our language a little here, go a little deeper into the subtext. Real Rock Stars show up at least an hour late and blow the hearts and minds of thousands of screaming people. They writhe and sweat, they put their hearts on the line night after night and leave the stage in a hail of cheers and underpants and then shower women way better looking than themselves with champagne at dawn. It’s the reward for years and years of having heart and eating beans, of nurturing the flames in their souls long after it’s time to compromise, shave and get a day job.

Every time someone calls me a ‘Rock Star’ it reminds me how far I am from that. And man, it just burns.

Archives Posts

“The Bender” by Schaffer The Darklord

December 10th, 2010 by Brad Lawrence

A friend of mine, Schaffer The Darklord, who is very creative, asked one of our other creative friends, director Burke Heffner,  to help him do something very funny. Then they asked a bunch of other folks from the burlesque scene to lend a hand (including Cyndi and me – though I have a lens flare for a head, thank you Burke – Peter Aguero, Magdelena Fox, Jenny C’est Quoi, Boo Bess the Baroness, Rosie 151, Mary Cyn, Stormy Leather, Victoria Privates, Big Heath, and the list goes on.)

Anyway, they succeeded in making something very funny. It is an over the top parody of the life of a Nerdcore rapper who can’t decide if what lies before him is a slippery slope or a toboggan run. The result is goofy, fun, and not necessarily safe for work.

Our journey begins with Nelson Lugo and Hard Cory trying to get our protagonist home safely…

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Christmas in July: The Worst Holiday Special Ever, Star Wars Style!

July 27th, 2010 by Cyndi Freeman

Back in the 1970′s someone talked George Lucas and the poor actors of Star Wars into doing a The Star Wars Holiday Special. I saw this on a cold December Friday night, I was 12, I was mortified to tears. What had they done!

Years later George Lucas was said to have made this statement “If I had the time and a hammer, I would smash every copy of the Holiday Special.”

Doug Karo and the Late Night Explosion have watched the full two hour show, bless them, and they have then edited the worst 5 minutes together for our enjoyment, bless them again.

Meet Chewbacca’s family, listen to Carrie Fisher Sing lyrics to the Star Wars theme, and don’t forget special guest stars Art Carney, Bea Arthur and The Jefferson Star Ship!

And if you really want to geek out, did you know that there are lyrics to the Buck Rogers Theme song? in 1979 the tv-series pilot had a theatrical release which included this epic intro… and I mean epic. When I was 13 I loved this song so much I bought the sound track album – which I still have. I also wanted all of the silver-space-babe outfits. Especially the bikini. *note to self, make silver space bikini.

BTW: The people at won’t let me embed this video so click to link below – enjoy!

Buck Rogers Movie opening

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Nothing Will Ever Sound the Same: Francis and the Lights & The Gaslamp Killer

July 27th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Nothing blows my skirt up around the earlobes like exciting new music. I’m not talking about a new album by a band that sounds like something that used to be awesome 30 years ago and is repackaging it for kids that don’t know any better. I’m talking about something strange and wild that pricks up the arm-hairs and makes you wonder what the hell kind of strange wind blows on the planet where these songs are sung.

I can’t get enough of the following two acts, so I thought I’d share ‘em with you guys …

Francis Flips

I first met Francis a few years ago when we nearly got into a fight at a bar in Williamsburg. I’m not proud of it. I doubt he is, either.

We got over it, fast, when Francis got on the stage and delivered some of the most heartfelt and refreshing jams I think I’ve ever seen live — before or since. Francis is a white dwarf of soul and meaning, performing with maximum density and immense heat and pressure, fusing hilarity and passionate funk. The end result is a diamond the size of Jupiter’s core — multifaceted, mysterious, worth a hell of a lot more than the ten bucks you’d get charged to take a peek.

Francis and the Lights have a new(ish) album out. It reminds me of those hits I heard on the radio in springtime in the ’80s, back when I had my first crush and the warming air made anything seem possible.

It’s embedded below (or after the jump), but I strongly recommend purchasing the album from iTunes. I particularly like “Tap the Phone” and “In a Limousine.”

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