JOHNNY TAYLOR'S "TANGLED UP IN PLAID" IS HILARIOUS
Taylor isn't like many comics you've seen or heard. He commands the attention
that Sasquatch might if he lumbered to the stage and grabbed the mic. An
imposing hulk of a guy with a wild beard and a rough stare that looks like he's
simply had enough. You could imagine he's hitchhiked to Hell. And after a couple
of hours of sitting in the back of the club, pounding down some cheap beer, he's
had enough of shitty comics and wants to show them how it's done.
After just two years on the scene, Stand Up! Records signed him for a
multi-record deal, the first of which which debuts today is the way too good,
"Tangled Up In Plaid". Recorded in his home town of Sacramento at The Punch
Line, Plaid is a great listen that's full of hilarious jokes and stories that
Part of Taylor's charm is that he can come out you with tough guy material, then
reveal a frail side that takes you off guard. And when he lulls you into a calm
with his charm, and you think the material is going to veer in one direction,
the joke suddenly stops with a sucker-punch to the gut you weren't expecting.
The one hour album has humor that ranges from hecklers, the hell of the
workplace, the horror of discovering a parent's dildo collection, and the
difficulties he faces his lazy eye.
The comedy club audience really digs the performance, and you can often hear
gasps of bemused shock from the audience with outbursts like "WOW!" and "GROSS!"
periodically through the set. But it's a fantastic "WOW!" and "GROSS!" that
makes it a great listen.
One brilliantly maniacal story starts with watching Magic Mike and descends into
a B-Movie climax that involves sucking a guy's dick to save the life of a baby
that about to be obliterated by a band saw at the end of a conveyor belt.
Another track talks about his real struggles with death anxiety, and going to
bed each night worried that his parents would die. It's another punch to the
face that you don't expect, then smile in awe in the aftermath.
Johnny Taylor's come a long way in a short amount of time and has already worked
with some really big names.
It's only a matter of time when he's going to be one of those big names that
other folks will be hoping to work with.
Check out "Tangled Up In Plaid" at Amazon, iTunes, or from standuprecords.com.
You can follow Johnny on Twitter at @hipsterocracy.
JOURNEY SUCKS- NEW WAVE RULES
In 1983 I had to give a presentation in my 9th grade English
class, so I chose to do it on New Wave Music. I stood in front of the room with
a sturdy school district portable phonograph player with a built in speaker. I
was nervous and not so great at public speaking yet, so it was a horrific and
scary endeavor. I took a deep breath and began.
“A lot of people like Journey and Def Leppard, but they are horrible.
New Wave Music is taking over and bands like them won’t be around anymore.
Some people think New Wave Music all sounds like this…”
At this point I had Devo’s “Time Out For Fun” from their OH, NO, It’s DEVO!
Album cued up. It’s a great song, but I thought it was a good typical dorky
synth beat that would get the class on my side. I only played the first 15
seconds, because the song actually starts kicking major ass at that point and
didn’t want to undermine my argument. I continued…
“But there’s a lot of great New Wave Music out there. Like this great song by
Sparks and Jane Weidlin called “Cool Places”
I played “Cool Places” (which I still love so much) and stood there, staring at
the class, while the song played in its entirety. I wrapped up with, “So there
it is. Don’t be surprised when we’re all listening to New Wave Music soon!”
I went to my desk, records in hand, and wondered what the hell I had just done.
The presentation made no sense at all, and the premise was basically, “Journey
Sucks/Sparks is Awesome!”
Oh how I’d love to watch a video of my 14 year old self giving that presentation
Jerrold Wergeland’s English class at Arroyo High School was actually very
important for me as a performer and a writer. He encouraged us to get out of our
shell and had us read poetry to the class. One assignment was to find a song
that reads well as a poem and read it out loud. I chose The Police’s
“Synchronicity II” (which I’ve since memorized) with great lines like “Every
other meeting with his so called superior, is a humiliating kick in the crotch!”
Mr. Wergeland also had us write short stories. I was obsessed with Tales From
The Crypt, Edgar Alan Poe, and about every DC Horror comic book ever made, so
most of my work was horrific and goofy spooky tales with some sort of ironic
Twilight Zone twist at the end. He liked them enough where he’d read them to the
other classes, and I’d often get stopped at recess by someone who really liked
I recall one day when Mr. Wergeland was telling us about “The Hero’s Journey” in
a story, something the character has to overcome to make a compelling tale. He
said, “For example, give me an obstacle in a story about a woman who wants to be
a dancer”. I replied, “She has no arms or legs!” The class laughed and he shook
his head with mock disgust but he told me after class that his was hilarious.
One day we had to read an excerpt from a book we were reading in front of the
class. I decided to go for maximum shock value and read a portion of the book
Alive, about a rugby team that had crashed in the Andes Mountains and had to
resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The portion I read went into
sickening detail about how they ate brain stew out of someone’s skull.
Jerrold Wergeland was an awesome guy with a Vincent Price demeanor about him
that I truly dug and he was a major inspiration to me. He passed away a few
years back, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral, but my friend Randy Waage
went there and told them how much I personally dug the guy. I wish I would have
hung out with him as an adult and talked about spooky stories some more.
And Journey still sucks.
SEE HA HA HEATHENS IN NY
Here's a fun flyer I made for my friend Keith Lowell Jensen's
comedy show in NY on September 19th. I had the pleasure of performing the San
Francisco show last month. Check it out! Keith's CD/DVD "Atheist Christmas"
comes out this November on Stand Up Records.
Mr. T's EROTIC BUTTER TRICKS
A year or so before I started retroCRUSH, I wrote for Matt C's
great pop culture humor site, X-Entertainment (which is still on the net, but
has morphed into the wonderful and regularly updated
Dinosaur Dracula!. At the time, it
was quite a fun thing for us to tell comic strip style stories using action
figures and toys we had lying around the house. I specifically bought this
gorgeous 12" Mr. T figure just to use for articles of this sort. Anyway, I was
digging through some old articles and read it again it was horribly written and
contained references barely made sense, but there was something so fun and silly
about it that I decided to clean it up and modernize it. I with the photos were
bigger, but this was written in a time where people were still using Dial Up
Modems and bandwidth wasn't cheap, so we kept the photos grainy and small so the
pages didn't take forever to load up.
CLICK HERE TO ENJOY THE REST OF THIS TIMELESS CLASSIC.