R.I.P. EARL ROOT, 1962-2008

I am saddened to hear this.

I remember the first time I heard the Root Of All Evil. It was in March of either 1989 or 1990. Pat Harrington, Lee VanNyhuis and myself had traveled down to "the Cities" (with Lee's parents) for the Minnesota Boys Sate Basketball Tournament. On a late Saturday night we were laying in our hotel room-each of us with our Walkmans on. Being in the big city, and coming from the land of the horrendously bad WTBX, it was a requirement to scan the local radio stations. Mostly, because we were Bigfork High School's resident wiggers, it was hip hop that we wanted. So we'd tune in to "the Power Station", 89.9-KMOJ. Lucky for us (or at least me) just a few clicks away, at 90.3, we happened upon Earl Root and his band of misfits. These guys were jokingly talking shit on the metal that they were playing (a trend that I adopted while hosting a punk rock show-aptly titled 'Puke Rock'-many years later) and laughing at the drunkards that were calling in. I think we all landed on it at the same time but individually listened to it without letting the others know. Then, when we couldn't contain ourselves any longer, in unison, the three of us looked around at each other with facial expressions that were equal parts confusion, intrigue an disgust and someone spoke. The conversation probably went something like this:

"Dudes, are you hearing this shit?"
"Yeah. What the fuck is this?"
"What the hell are the callers saying?" (The callers would gargle same gibberish words over and over. I would later come to learn that this was affectionately referred to as a 'Gore Check.' I do not posses the literary skills required to explain it any more in-depth here, but if you ask me in person, I'll give you my best Gore Check and a proper definition of the term.)

I was aware of Speed Metal and crossover thrash, and of course I owned Metallica, D.R.I. and Megadeth cassettes. However that night was probably the first time I had ever heard Death Metal. I chose to hide the fact that I was fascinated by this show from my buddies and kept on listening while they probably tuned back to KMOJ. I've been listening to the Root Of All Evil ever since. Periodically, over the years, I'll throw in a blank cassette tape during the first hour and pass out on the couch. Later, around 4am or so, I'll wake up, flip tape over and hit record again. (That's when all the Black Metal gets played.) I still have all those cassettes. One of my favorites was one from the early 90's that was taped while Earl had the (long since defunct) local rap-rock band Mondo Trasho in the studio with him, taking phone calls from listeners. My brother and I damn near wore that tape out trading it back and forth. Some of my favorite parts of the Root were when Earl interacted with callers. And the man had unparalleled production skills, as evidenced by his on-air spots and promos. I have been disappointed in recent years that Earl has (understandably) been on the show less, but of course I've kept on listening...and will continue to do so. This week I'm going to dig out those cassettes and pay my respect to the man. Rest in peace Earl. "It's six, six, six big minutes past the big hour....."


At home he feels like a tourist: Best Of 2007~Part 3

...continued...Movie-Ian Curtis and Joy Division come back to life in the bio-pic Control. The film probably doesn't appeal beyond a small circle of people that are/were fans of the band, but it's pretty deec nonetheless...Concert-Apocolypticrust Festival. Karlos from Shamen Records organized 2 nights of crusty, thrashy, hardcore punk at the Black Hole in Chicago. My personal favorites were Appalachian Terror Unit, Riotous, Catheter, Protestant, Tierra De Nadie, and Coaccion...Movie-Superbad. Hi to the larious! Seth Rogan was hot this year. Knocked Up was good, but Superbad was outrageously funny. I laughed just as hard the second time, as I did the first. "McLovin!" And of course, how could you not love the awkward, nerdy, former George Michael, Michael Cera? He also does a great job in...Movie-Juno. Although it was really funny, what I really liked was the underlying story of a family that bonds together to make the best of an otherwise undesirable situation. And Ellen Page was fabulous too...Concert-The third annual installment of the Doomtree Blowout took over the main room at First Avenue. I personally could have used a little less Mictlan and Dessa and little more Cecil Otter and Paper Tiger. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jesse Greene (and her legs) make an appearance, as well as Crescent Moon. Unfortunately there only seemed to be one good mic working and POS had some technical difficulties that slowed down momentum. Overall though, it was still a hype night of local Hip Hop...Sport-Mixed Martial Arts have been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years, but the sport blew up in 2007. Pride FC bit the dust but numerous other promotions have popped up since then and MMA is all over television. IFL, Bodog Fight, EliteXC, K1, WEC and of course, UFC, all had TV this year...MMA Fights-Bisping vs. Hamil (UFC 75), Dan Henderson vs. Quinton Jackson (UFC 75), Randy Couture vs. Tim Silva (UFC 68), Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Ganzaga (UFC 74), Chris Horodecki vs. Shad Lierley (IFL 6/1) and Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva (UFC 79)..Fighters-Quinten Jackson, Anderson Silva, Roger Huerta, Thales Lietes, Chris Horodecki, and Urijah Faber....Fighter of the Year- is a tie between George St. Pierre and Randy Couture. Even though GSP started the year with a surprise loss to Matt Sera, he still proved what a dominant fighter he is, in his wins over Josh Koshcheck and Matt Hughes. Plus I loved his pro wrestling style promo he delivered following his submission of Hughes for the interim welterweight title at UFC 79; saying he doesn't accept the title until he beats the real champion Serra. Couture gets it just because he is simply the best. He retires after a second knockout loss to Liddell in 06. A year and a month later, at 44 years old, he comes out of retirement, moves back up the heavyweight division and challenges Sylvia. Not only does he beat the taller, heavier, younger man, but he does so in a dominating fashion. Five months later, Couture does the same thing again, against Gonzaga (another larger, younger man) and retains his championship. He has since vacated the title because UFC is unable to sign Fedor Emilienko, quitting UFC while he's on top...CD-Against Me! released New Wave this year amidst crys of sellout from former fans. Having not really been a fan of them before, I was totally able enjoy this album. I had seen them once before, but didn't really familiarize myself with them until my brother burned me a copy of this. I have since checked out all of their old albums from the library. I don't listen to much "pop-punk" these days, and New Wave is a fairly polished album, compared to their previous releases. However, it is my introduction to the band and I like it...CD-Bad Brains~To Build A Nation. What can I say? I'm a Bad Brains fan. The reggae parts are superb. MCA, from the Beasties produced it...OK, that's enough for now. I need a break. This is exhausting. Stay tuned; the fourth and final installment is on the way...


At home she's looking for interest: Best of 2007~part2

...continued...CD-Brother Ali dropped The Undisputed Truth this year to rave reviews. What can I say that hasn't been said already? Believe the hype. I believed the hype a bunch of times. I don't have an exact number, but I know I saw Ali at least 3 times in...Concert-First Avenue twice. The first, for his amazing homecoming show, and again for the Paid Dues Festival tour, where he stole the show. He also headlined the Black Dog Coffee Block Party in Lowertown, St. Paul. Due to rain, the party was moved indoors to Station 4. It was hot and humid but that didn't stop the crowd from staying late for Ali. It was worth it. Also noteworthy, is the performance on Conan with Mint Condition as the back-up band. While I'm on the subject...Concert-Paid Dues Festival @ First Avenue. A literal who's who of indie hip-hop, including a rare performance by Slug and Murs as FELT. Also featured Cage, Brother Ali, Sage Francis, Living Lengends, Blueprint, Hangar 18, and many more...Movie-Darjeeling Limited. Immediately following the credits, my uncle Robert told my mother and I his impression of the film. "A family that smokes together, stays together." We laughed. Wes Anderson does it again...punk Concerts-As you probably already know, If you're a regular reader (or homie) of mine, one of my favorite things in the world is a good punk show. This year I was yet again privileged to see a bunch of bands from not only around the country, but from around the globe. Standouts include: La Fraction and Iskra @ the Triple Rock, Dropdead and Regulations @ the Bedlam Theater, and Stormcrow, Pisschrist and Wolfbrigade @ Memory Lanes...Art show-Ta-coumba Aiken @ Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Inspiring on so many levels...Bike Gang-The coolest bike gang in the city was formed over this past summer. We call ourselves The Coolest Bike Gang In The City. We are awesome. Our rides take us all over the city, lasting for hours, stopping for art shows, beer, pizza, ice cream, graffiti, whathaveyou. Speaking of...Graffiti-Last year it was the Eye. This year it's the Face. I'm seeing it pop anywhere form hidden drainage pipes to freeway overpasses. Of course Duece Seven was hot too. Besides bombing the whole city, as well as NYC, he had an opening at Soo Visual and press in the Village Voice, City Pages and Urban Decay. 27's wicked characters seemed to be everywhere. My favorite street art though, is the simple drips of solid colors that have decorated the short stretch of I94 between 35W and the Lowery Bridge. NYC had the Splasher this year, but the TC had, what I am calling, The Dripper. I love the simplicity of this particular "vandalism." It looks as though full cans of house paint have been dumped and allowed to drip all the way to the ground. Very similar but less deliberate the KR. (Shit, maybe it is KR?) I'm glad the city hasn't cleaned it up yet. I still need to get some pics...stay tuned. I'm only about half way through...