Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Raising Hackles

You're reading Books, Beer and BLOGshit! It's the only blog that enjoys breaking down cheesey 80's metal videos! I am your Aqua Netted blogger, Mr. Frank!

We have a guest writer on The BLOGshit for this installment. The catch? They aren't going to discuss writing. They are going to discuss Ratt's definitive rock video, Round and Round. That can only mean one man, Douglas Hackle, author of CLOWN TEAR JUNKIES will be joining us to give the ultimate break down of Ratt's 1985 video of Round and Round, one of the crowning achievements of MTV's heyday.


As a special treat, Douglas Hackle also appears in the newly published installment of Tall Tales With Short Cocks, Vol. 4!  Listeners to the Books, Beer and Bullshit Podcast may recall our review of Tall Tales Vol. 3. This new collection is chock full of great names in Bizarro Fiction and could prove to be the best collection of 2013! We implore you to check this and Clown Tear Junkies out.

So watch the video along with Douglas Hackle and pause at the appropriate time stamps in the video breakdown below.

0:02 - What would you like more than anything to be in that silver bowl?

Mashed potatoes and gravy. Nah, scratch that—I changed my mind. A miniature
version of one-hit-wonder, Canadian rapper Snow performing his hit song “Informer”
(accompanied by a miniature, dancing, batwinged, fetal polar bear cub with a Chicken
McNugget for a head.)

0:17 - Would you rather sport Stephen Pearcy's hair style for one month or have your entire
wardrobe consist of Stephen Pearcy-cut shirts for an entire season?

Alas, although it pains me to admit it, I think I actually had that hair style at one point.
Folly of youth and all that. So I guess I’ll go with the Stephen Pearcy-cut shirts. I’d just
avoid going out in the sun while wearing them, lest I get a really stupid looking tan line,
what with those necklines going all the way down to the bellybutton.

0:43 - Does this video still hold weight if Uncle Miltie isn't in it?

Uncle Militie exits the house and, consequently, the video rather early on—right at
about the 1:07 mark—after he decides he can no longer endure the loud rock music
being played by Ratt up in the attic. But, however briefly we get to see the man, Milton
Berle remains a powerful cultural, psychological, political, and aesthetic force in
the video. Even after he leaves the premises accompanied by himself in drag (Uncle
Miltie was doing that sort of shit decades before Eddie Murphy ever thought to do
it), his presence is still felt through the duration of the video, all the way up until its
denouement. The director of the video achieves this enduring presence-through-absence
effect, this lingering atmosphere of power-through-gender-obfuscation, using a film
editing technique borrowed from early 20th-century German expressionist cinema. The
technique is known only by its untranslatable German name: rechtkaftfahrzeugerung-sesellschaftensschutzversichhaftpflichtversicherungrechtkaftfahrzeugerungsesellschaften 
agungschwindigkeitsbegrenzün. Indeed, apropos of this technique, many believe “Round
and Round” represents the finest modern example of it usage, or as French philosopher
Michel Foucault once declared, “Un, deux, trois, Pepe Le Pew, Francois-Pierre-Jean-
Claude, Le Freak C’est Chic, bon appétit, crème de la crème, Van Damme, soup du jour,
faux pas, French fries yum yum, Savoir-Faire is Everywhere, Pierre!!!!!!!!!!!!”

1:08 - Do you think synchronized rock moves need to make a comeback?

Man, I don’t even know. What I do know, however, is the only thing that is quite
possibly more bad-ass than a good old-fashioned Duran Duran table flip is busting
through the goddamn ceiling, falling onto a table, and sticking your guitar is someone’s
face while shredding that shit like mozzarella cheese, yo. Take that, ya fancy-pants,
richy-rich assholes!!

1:26 - Is that Pee Wee Herman’s bicycle in the foreground?

No. However, that bike is on display at the official Ratt Museum, which is located in the
city of . . . of . . . my imagination. *hangs head in shame*

2:00 - As a juggalo yourself, do you think these guys have too much make-up on or not quite

Frank, do your homework before you do these interviews: I’m a bruggalo. Or a
juggaroni. Or…or…or something. Regardless, I believe that federal law should require
U.S. citizens, even babies (especially babies) to wear clown make-up 24/7/365. So to
answer your question, not nearly enough.

Breaking Bruggalo

2:23 - Has there ever been a more convincing look of utter satisfaction in this medium before or

There has not. Nor, I daresay, is that look likely to be bested in the future. Nor would I
restrict the claim merely to the medium of music videos. That facial expression may very
well be the most convincing look of utter satisfaction ever to be filmed anywhere. That
butler my dog.

2:27 - Is it true you are working on a similar entrance for all your book signings?

As I indicated in my answer to the “synchronized rock moves” question above, nothing
quite says “Hello, here I am—betta recognize, bitch!” like busting down through a ceiling
while playing a blaring electric guitar. That as an entrance for a book signing? Aw, hellz

3:02 - Have you ever considered writing a bizarro piece based solely around the setting of this video?

No. However, the song “Round and Round” seems to get referenced in at least every
other short story I write, regardless of what the story is about. The song is even
mentioned in my contribution to the latest volume in the Tall Tales with Short Cocks
anthology series from Rooster Republic Press (Volume 4—the ebook version was just
released on 12/16). Yes, these days it’s difficult for me to pen a short story and not
mention that song. (See below for more on this.)

3:13 - Is it the song or the video that does it for you?

Neither. I think the whole Hackle-“Round-and-Round” phenomenon is the result of
nothing more than an irrational compulsion. It’s what Edgar Allan Poe called “The Imp
of the Perverse”: i.e. the irrational desire to do something self-destructive specifically
because it is self-destructive. In other words, I know I should not reference the song
“Round and Round” in my short stories, I know that absolutely no good can come of out
of the practice, therefore I continue to reference “Round and Round” in my short stories.

3:20 - Remake the band using only people from Rooster Republic Press (bonus points for
creating a stage name for each.)

Lead Vocals – Douglas “D is for motherfuckin’ Douglas” Hackle

Lead Guitar – Arthur “I’m too cool and pretty for Facebook” Graham

Drums – Etienne “How the hell do you pronounce my Frenchy, fancy-pants first name?”

Bagpipes – John “Da Loch Ness Monsta” McNee

Bass Guitar – Danger “Um ... Danger Slater??” Slater

3:58 - Do you like Ratt at all outside of this song?

No. Aside from the song “Round and Round,” the only music I can stand to listen to
nowadays is this defunct Estonian-Indonesian trio that played a mixture of various jazz
styles, baroque classical, Hindustani classical, Celtic-funeral-doom-grindcore-death
metal, noise, psychedelic funk, punk-prog, bluegrass, unhip hop, post-1997 acid techno,
pre-2006 Euro trance, proto-2013 Eskimocore igloo anti-pop, and sampled authentic
whale song. This band didn’t even have a name. What’s more, all three band members
promptly committed suicide after recording there first and only album. I’m the only
person who has ever heard said album. Yeah, what can I say—I’m cooler than most folks.
I’m sorta hardcore.

Douglas Hackle

Douglas Hackle is the author of CLOWN TEAR JUNKIES published by Rooster Republic Press. Here is some wonderful praise for that book:

“Hackle may be the best absurdist story writer working today [...] I enjoyed this book more than

any other book that I've read in a long time." - Bradley Sands, Author of TV Snorted My Brain

"He sits up there with his pen and paper or word processor or baby seal skin and razor blade

(or whatever fucked-up instruments he uses to write stories like this) and he tells us the kind of

tales we didn’t even know we were thirsty for in the first place. The kind of tales that matter,

in their own weird way. The kind of tales that make reading a joy." - Danger Slater, Author of


"You walk away [from Clown Tear Junkies] with a clear feeling of how odd Doug Hackle is.

It's almost like finding an anonymous notebook in the halls of a high school that was dropped

by someone who wrote these twisted little things never intending anyone else to read them. But

share them he did!" - Ray Fracalossy, Author of Tales from the Vinegar Wasteland

Also, Karen Brissette, the #1 reviewer on Goodreads in terms of votes—and she's #1 by an

extremely large margin of votes at that—weighed in on Clown Tear Junkies. Here is what she

had to say:  http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/755536483

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stryper Hates Their Drummer

You're reading Books, Beer and BLOGshit! It's the only blog that muses over resurgent 80's Christian metal has-beens. I am your sinner and blogger, Mr. Frank.

In the past few months I've been finding a new appreciation for the rock band, Stryper. Stryper came out of the 80's glam metal scene and had the unique angle of being Christian rockers. Everything about the band was driven from a near evangelical push for everyone to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The bands name, their look and their lyrics were all driven by their theology.

At the time that really turned me off. To me Jesus was so opposite that everything metal was supposed to be. Metal was rebellious, dangerous and dark. Jesus was the light and the way and love. It just never mixed in my mind and I wrote Stryper off as a bunch of pussies (their super ballad, Honestly, did nothing to help their case either.)

Fast Forward fifteen years or so. The Lord sends to me Armand Rosamilia (yes, that Armand Rosamilia) who begins to instill in me a new found appreciation for what Stryper was and is. He guided me to songs and albums I had ignored or was ignorant to. Two notable albums being an album of cover songs called The Covering and a collection of re-recorded Stryper songs entitled Second Coming. Check them both out you should be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Couple this with an now brand new Stryper album that sonically should put any issues of them being a bunch of 'pussies' to rest once and for all. Their lead single off the album, No More Hell To Pay, is immediately gripping and you can't help but start thrashing your ghostly locks to the beat.

Cue the video. Rock out to it. Get the song into your bones because you're going to need to watch a second time around and really WATCH what's going on in the video because you may be hypnotized by the bad ass music the first time around and miss it.  Go on, Ill Wait. We'll pick up on the other side.

Did you notice it? Did you see it? Once you do it's comical. That's right, Stryper hates their drummer!

Right there, just 9 seconds into the video. There he is, in the middle of the desert. Just him and a bass drum and two cymbals propped up against it. That's all he gets. The WHOLE video. 

I can picture it now: The whole band and video crew parked on the side of a desolate highway in the badlands of Wyoming. The shoot location maybe about a half mile walk off the road. They crew has all these off roading dollies with all terrain wheels and stuff on them. Cameras, lighting, hardware, hardshell cases with guitars all piled on. Then -

"Opps, no room for your drum kit dude. Just grab and drum and a cymbal or some shit and follow us. Grace be upon us all."

"But, wait, I gotta put my stuff on the dollie."

"No time man, we gotta roll, schedules to keep and shit. Just carry the shit and shut the fuck up. Praise Jesus."

"Damnit! Err, I mean Hallelujia!"

So now they are out there, the cameras are rolling. They band is looking all bad ass with their axes slung around their necks, decked out in leather and sunglasses, kicking up dust clouds. Then there's Slappy (I'll call him Slappy because that's all he seems to do in this video, slap shit) in the back of everyone slapping the side of a drum desperately trying to keep up with the image.

The director starts begging him for more -

"Slappy, can you like do something else other than play paddy cake with the bass drum. All praise his name."

"Dude, I don't even have sticks! What the hell do you want me to do?! Err, uhh, to the heavens I pray thee well."

"I don't know Slappy, pick up that cymbal and pretend you're a gypsy or something. Amen."

So now Slappy is getting incredulous. He's marching around in the middle of the wastelands slapping out Cum Ba Ya My Lord on a giant crash cymbal and he doesn't even have drum stick to twirl around and look all bad ass with.

Now Slappy looses his damn mind. The other members of the band are rocking out with their guitars. They look cool. If this were a fair fight the bass player would have like one string tied between two fingers and he would have to try and strum it with his giant schnozz.

Slappy goes apeshit crazy and picks up the bass drum and starts singing One Toke Over The Line Sweet Jesus. He raises the bass drum over his head and dares God to strike him down where he stands like a deranged Lt. Dan in black and yellow striped leather chaps.

The director yells "Cut! Print! We got it. Thanks boys."

Everyone packs their gear back on the dollies. Slappy drags his bass drum through the jagged dust and rocks behind him. His cymbals he leaves behind. He used them as Frisbees at some point when he became unhinged during the shoot. Fuck it all, Amen.

Go on, scroll back up. See it again in a whole new. Praise Jesus.

From Wikipedia:  Robert Lee Sweet (born March 21, 1960 in Lynwood, California) is the drummer of the Christian metal band Stryper. He and his brother Michael originally founded the band as Roxx or Roxx Regime. Robert became known as the "Visual Time Keeper" for his wild drumming and captivating drum kits. Unlike most drummers, Sweet faces in the direction of stage left or right while playing, not straight ahead, so that the audience can see him and not have their view of him obscured by his drumkit. Sweet also played a key role in the visual direction of the band itself as well as being a significant contributor to the group.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Action Zombie Super Force Unite!

You're reading Books, Beer and BLOGshit! It's the only blog that is completely self serving! I am your blogger, the writerly Mr. Frank!

This is a total pimp of a blog post this time out folks. Books, Beer and Bullshit's own Mr. Frank teamed up with The Mayor, Armand Rosamilia and seven other writers to put together a Dying Days anthology. STILL DYING 2 is the result. For the first time, Armand Rosamilia opened up his Dying Days zombie apocalypse world to other writers to play in and the result is breathtaking if this blogger does say so himself.

Each writer adds his or her own personal touch while keeping with the cannon of the Dying Days world. If you are familiar with the Dying Days series you are going to enjoy all the different approaches and voices this anthology allows for. If you haven't had an opportunity to step into the Dying Days world this is a great place to get your toes wet.

Take a look at the line-up of writers, their stories and a brief description of what to expect of each:

Nine authors... Ten stories... nothing but zombie horror!

Dying Days creator Armand Rosamilia invited eight incredible authors to set foot in his world, and the results are creepy and the anthology a page-turner. Enter this zombie apocalypse... if you dare.

How Me And Bozy Became Dads by Patrick C. Greene

A road side inmate clean-up crew find themselves caught in the middle just as a plague takes hold of the city. Small time hoods Randall and Bozy find freedom-which just became worse than imprisonment.

Gator Aid by Frank Edler

Can a popular Floridian tourist trap survive and thrive as an attraction during the end of civilization?

The Trap Line by Sean Slagle

Spencer, his sister, and her boyfriend have been hiding safely in a hunting cabin since the beginning of the apocalypse. But all of that changes when another family of survivors shows up.

Dying Days: Television by Armand Rosamilia

What's more important than television, even during the end of the world?

Flight 509 by Jaime Johnesee

A man is stuck on a plane during the ZA and has no clue how to get out alive.

The Old Man And The Apocalypse by A.D. Roland

He just wanted to live out the rest of his days in peace. With the walking dead stumbling around his retirement community, it wasn't too easy to do that, but he'd managed. An unexpected visitor reminds him, though, that sometimes life isn't just about waiting to die.

The Happiest Kingdom On Earth by Brent Abell

Two men trying to stay alive in a zombie ravaged world find a group of survivors who have taken refuge in Florida's premiere tourist attraction and find out how high the price of admission can be to stay in the "Happiest Kingdom on Earth".

Dying Days: Stew by Armand Rosamilia

Stew and his dog Orion are just trying to scavenge in a restaurant when things get tricky. Can they survive a zombie attack and find hot dogs for Orion?

Lucifer's Revenge by Mark Tufo

A monsignor reluctantly finds himself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Dying Days: Angel by Tim Baker

Angel Godwin must escape her own home or be taken by zombies.

If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. Fans of the podcast will already be familiar with Armand Rosamilia and Tim Baker. The book also features zombie veterans Patrick Greene and the legendary Mark Tufo. Brent Abell, Jaime Johnesee, AD Roland and Sean Slagle are names on the rise. And then there is me, with one of my favorite stories to have written, Gator Aid.

STILL DYING 2 is available on Amazon in digital and print editions TODAY! Go get yourself a copy (or three) and enjoy some top notch zombie fiction set in one of the best zombie apocalypse worlds you're ever going to read!

Keep your ears out for Armand Rosamilia appearing on the Books, Beer and Bullshit Podcast later this month as well to discuss this and a plethora of other new releases.