last night was the first night i didnt drive uber on halloween

im immersed in the secret project and i have no desire to do anything else.

i want this to be great. it reminds me of the three other times i was totally into something:

when i was in high school in the marching band and we won State

when i was in college and we won all the newspaper awards.

and when i ran LAist.

the only difference on this one is im pretty much alone.

i love teams, especially fantastic teams. i miss having a team.

but every video game is different. on this one you’re mostly alone.

so be it.

today is Licensed to Ill’s birthday, it’s 30

licensed to ill

i dont remember if i was still working at the record store or selling car radios at federated group

but i do know that once i did start selling stereos there was no better tape to demonstrate speakers

especially subwoofers than

“slow and low”

(white castle fries only come in one size).

anniversaries like this can make some feel old. but it makes me feel grateful.

im glad i was of age to see this record become the biggest debut ever for a trio or a group or a hip hop group or someone.

but it was also fascinating to watch this brand of rap evolve from Run DMC to LL to this.

and it was so obvious right away how much of an improvement it was to integrate the bells of DMC, the aggressiveness of LL with the led zeppelin and Mr Ed samples and just straight up tomfoolery to make this record

and live: all they did was run around the stage spraying budweiser cans on each other and the fans and sliding around in their adidases.

im so grateful i got to see their first show at the Paladium. im so glad i got to see them in college graduate to Pauls Boutique and then Check Your Head

and what a small world that i was in Atwater Village when they were in Atwater recording Ill Communication.

but it all started with the three bad brothers you know so well.

and they were so so def right from the jump.

happy birthday baby

who i would replace Brian Johnson with

The-Darkness-Justin-HawkinsLong time AC/DC crooner, Brian Johnson, has been told by doctors that if he continues fronting the hard rock group he will go deaf.

Instead of retiring, now that his brother Malcolm Young is back home due to dementia, and his drummer Phil Rudd can’t leave Australia due to bizarre criminal allegations, lead guitarist/atraction Angus Young seemingly still wants to travel the world blowing the roof off the mother.

So here’s who I think should be the next singer of my favorite rock group

10. Glen Danzig – he’s probably a little too heavy for AC/DC but maybe that gruff could add a little edge to the aging group

9. Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) – this dude was born to front a real rock band. Don’t get me wrong, I think The Darkness is incredible. But because it’s sooooo derivative of 80s hair metal groups, many think they’re a joke. I believe. Justin is one of the few that could hit the high notes and the idea of a triple guitar attack on numbers like “Shoot to Thrill” or “Bad Boy Boogie” is fascinating.

2014-12-27-AndrewW.K.byJonathanThorpe2013APPROVED8. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) – there aren’t many singers who could add even more power to AC/DC anthems. Bruce could. And he could fly the damn plane.

7. Kid Rock – If there is any complaint about the dynamics of AC/DC music it’s that it’s one dimensional. Kid Rock could add a layer of Southern rock and warmth that hasn’t been there since Bon Scott died in 1980. Imagine what he could add with piano on tunes like “Have A Drink On Me” and “The Jack”.  And what about harmonica on “It’s a Long Way to the Top” instead of bagpipe?

6. Andrew W.K. – The only downside of Andrew W.K. leading AC/DC is he’d be so great at it that kids would think that he wrote all the songs. And his energy might kill Angus.

5.  Ad Rock & Mike D. – Everyone loved the original mashup of Aerosmith and Run DMC. What if you were treated to a night led by the remaining members of Beastie Boys with the live accompaniment of AC/DC on songs that maybe might include some new freestyle verses.

4. Kim Gordon – Some say Joan Jett is the perfect female singer/guitarist to front AC/DC but I’d rather have Kim Gordon who would give a spookier take on “She’s Got Balls” and “Inject The Venom”.

3.  Jack Black – It would be the funniest AC/DC show you’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.

2.  Jack White – It would be the sexiest AC/DC show you’ve ever seen and the dual lead guitar duals would be legendary.

1. Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) – hopefully they’d play a half hour of Rage tunes as an encore.

Zack de la Rocha

dear tony, what do you do when things look utterly dire?

girl falling

first, start by knowing that when you die you go to Heaven.

second, start watching sports.

what we love in sports is the team who comes back from an impossible deficit, with their star or unlikely star on the ropes, partially injured, undersized, outclassed, who no one believes in anymore

who makes magic happen when it matters.

and wins by a narrow margin.

no one loves the blowout. no one cares for a team that starts strong and finishes strong.

even the angels and saints want drama, despite what you want.

speaking of… third, read the bible.

theres all the stories about david and goliath, but that’s a red herring because david was never the Everyman, he was a superstar with no peers from the get go.

the better stories are the ones like shadrach meshach and abednego who straight up Trusted the Lord and stayed true to who they were when they were led into the fiery furnace.

always stay true, ponyboy.

it’s easy to whine, it’s easy to say oh woe is me, it’s easy to say damn it sure feels like forces are lining against me, but fuck that. life could be a million times worse. theres people with missing limbs, theres people who have babies and the babies are all effed up. theres people who have terrible things that have happened to their faces and brains and imagine what it is like for them to try to find a job

or try to get a girl to go with them to the dance or even a hay ride.

crappy as things might be for you, odds are you could find someone to go on a hayride with you.

start there.

then remember if parts of life weren’t tough we’d never have poetry or shakespeare or hbo or rage against the machine.

winter IS coming, fyi

are you just gonna sit there and whimper and look over at your neighbors green grass and envy what you think is going on over there.

i’ll tell you whats going on over there

none of your business is going on over there.

you have your own life to deal with, and it’s a full life, and it’s yours.

you are bigger than your struggles.

you have a terrible flu, youre in utah, and you have the ball.

do you really want to be known as the black dude who lost a basketball game in utah?

or do you wanna be known as one of the three bad brothers who casually danced into the firey furnace

and then breakdanced inside it?

theres a reason you learned how to pop lock

theres a reason the Good Lord smiles when He hears your name.

theres a reason when you walk down the street all the little pretties wave their hand.

it’s because you can pull off the crazy ass shit

with style

that no one thought was even possible.

which makes them believe They can.

so if you ever feel like giving up on yourself,

remember you’re giving up on them as well.

Gage asks “What song best represents you at age 20, 30 and now?

beastie boys license to ill

the year was 1986, i was selling car stereos and audio at a crazy electronics store.

i was paid only commission so not only did i need to know my stuff, but i had to hustle.

the one tape i went through every six weeks was the beastie boys’ debut, licensed to ill.

not only did i love everything about it: the humor, the stories, the beats, the samples

but dat bass sold me more crappy 12″ pioneer subwoofers and alpine amps than i could keep in stock.

the new style is what i put in on any demonstration.

id say, some voices have treble and some have bass

and id turn up that volume and the beasties would put their voices right in our face.

heres an unreleased video of them in 2004 doing it for Dave Chappelle

that was when i was 20.

when i was 30, i was living in san francisco with my beautiful girlfriend

i had friends all around me, three jobs, a great pad, a ford explorer

but two things sorta bothered me: 1) i was no longer living in isla vista

2) sammy hagar was ruining van halen while david lee roth was sitting on the bench

fortunately santa barbara native parry gripp had just recorded

exactly all of my thoughts n feelings on the self titled debut nerf herder album

and especially on “van halen”.

now id say it’s probably say miley’s “we cant stop” best describes my vibe

because, you know, we run things – things dont run we

thanks for the great question gage!

my poor momma is distraught about miley

and i was trying to explain to her that the mtv video music awards is great because its shocking

i reminded her that madonna really catapulted her career when she dry humped her wedding dress at the vmas

and then later kissed both britney and xtina while wearing a tuxedo

therefore miley is just an extension of that.

one of the most shocking (at the time) moments though had nothing to do with sex, but with politics

mcawhen in 1998 mca of the beastie boys, three years before 9/11 criticized then-president Clinton that his retaliation to the US embassy bombings was a bad call.

“Those bombings that took place in the Middle East were thought of as retaliation by the terrorists and if we thought of what we did as retaliation certainly we’re gonna find more retaliation from people in the Middle East. From terrorists specifically I should say, because most Middle Eastern people are not terrorists,” Yauch said.

And then he brought it home by warning against Islamophobia: “That’s another thing that America really needs to think about is our racism, racism that comes from the United States towards the Muslim people and towards Arabic people and that’s something that has to stop and the United States has to start respecting people from the Middle East in order to find a solution to the problems that have been building up over many years, so I thank everyone for your patience, and letting me speak my mind.”

the three bad brothers you know so well always knew how to shock in different ways, true.

but when they were miley’s age they were bragging about doing it like this, doing it like that

and doing it with…

which is why i am totally fine with letting 20-year-olds be 20-year-olds,

especially on my MTV

this is my JAM

good thing i dont have a child ready to get borned real soon cuz id name it

charles deadgiveaway ramsey pierce the third

now some of my people cringe when they see some of my people, lets say, being so colorful

and soulful like the hide your kids guy

or Sweet “Aint Nobody Got Time for That” Brown

or Michelle “Kabooyao” Clark.

they’re worried that it suggests black folks are only interesting if they’re acting cray.

“It’s difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform,” Slate’s Aisha Harris writes.

i totally understand her concern but here’s my belief.

i believe that we’re here on this weird crust for a blink of an eye.

and as an aspiring storyteller, if one day i am blessed with the opportunity to tell an interesting story

and i can do it in such a unique way that people are compelled to autotune it and love it

for whatever reason

then mission accomplished.

thank God babies and kittens and michael jordan and angus young and sunsets and Wrigley Field are not afraid of allowing themselves to really be themselves and not some watered down


half assed version of themselves.

thank God they let us love them for who they are for being confident in who they are.

like my man Kai, the homeless hero

Ruslan Tsarni the uncle of the two suspected Boston Bombers

even Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver

as a journalist don’t you prefer when people keep it real even when the cameras are rolling? i do.

just as a person i prefer that.

isn’t life difficult enough trying to figure if people are being 100% genuine and forthright with you?

why suggest to some that they have to anglicize their speech, actions, and behaviors

so that it makes you feel more comfortable?

to quote a white rapper, “you think im gonna change my style just to fit in?”

and even before he said that The Untouchables recommended that we free ourselves. and i agree

beastie boys on touring with madonna

pbs digital studios, the people who brought us mr rodgers singing from the grave,

has now dug up an old interview with the three bad bros you know so well

and animated it for her your pleasure.

i wish they had a little better interview to work with, but we get to hear them talk about their first tour

and how many other white rappers were around back in 1985.

but the best is hearing them be defensive about being labeled “suburban rap”.

(which they def were for a while)