Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I really like music. I really like films. I really like comic books. I listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of films, but don't read as many comics as I'd like. Here's a breakdown of my thoughts on all three in the past year.

Let it be said (as if it isn't obvious), all of this is my opinion. I know for a fact there's a bunch of people who will disagree with me, that's just fine. Also, there's probably plenty of stuff I missed out on from this year, so this is all based on what I put my ears and eyes on. Feel free to leave your thoughts, or tell me how much my taste sucks. Just be respectful, eh?

For your convenience, I linked to the records/songs/trailers, so be sure to click away!

TOP 10 RECORDS of 2013
10. The Creepshow - Life After Death
9. Wringer - Bullfighter
8. Plow United - Marching Band
7. Caves - Betterment
6. Harley Poe - Pagan Holiday
5. The Flatliners - Dead Language
4. Not Half Bad - Good People
3. Off With Their Heads - Home
2. Iron Chic - The Constant One
1. Get Dead - Bad News

Atrocity Solution - Lost Remedies
The Filaments - Land of Lions
The Infested - Eaten From The Inside
Red City Radio - Titles
Swingin' Utters - Poorly Formed
Superchunk - I Hate Music

FAVORITE EPs of 2013
The Flatliners - Split
Ghetto Blaster - Tales From Twisted Minds
Harley Poe - Man of God
pageripper - s/t

TOP 10 FILMS of 2013
10. Stitches
9. Sign Painters
8. Here Comes The Devil
7. Elysium
6. Insidious Chapter 2
5. The Conjuring
4. Sightseers
3. Prisoners
2. The Kings of Summer
1. The World's End

100 Bloody Acres
Billy Club
Drinking Buddies
Pieces of Talent
The Rambler

This is a list of stuff that came out previously but I had not seen until this year.

TOP 10 COMICS of 2013
Disclaimer: These were my favorite out of what I read, doesn't mean they were released this year.
10. Nowhere Men (Image Comics)
9. Snapshot (Image Comics)
8. Witch Doctor (Image Comics)
7. Screamland (Image Comics)
6. Bedlam (Image Comics)
5. Daredevil: End of Days (Marvel Comics)
4. Punk Rock Jesus (Vertigo Comics)
3. Hawkeye (Marvel Comics)
2. Revival (Image Comics)
1. My Friend Dahmer (Abrams Books)

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I'm one of those weirdos who can hear a song/album and instantly remember where I was when I heard it, who was with me, what the weather was like, how the air smelled, and sometimes, what I was wearing. Yeah, it's odd, but it's true. Try as I might, but I can't help associate certain albums with respective seasons.

Since the fall weather has finally rolled into town (which, by the way, is my favorite time of year), I figured why not put together a list consisting of the records I have the strongest nostalgia for when it comes to these months. This is not all of them, mind you. Just a nice little collection.

Click on the album artwork to hear a choice song from each.

Angry Johnny and The Killbillies What's So Funny?
There's a handful of albums that stayed in constant rotation for days, if not weeks (okay, more than a handful is a better way to put it). This is one of them. Bought it in October, listened to it for a least two straight weeks. More specifically, "High Noon in Killville" quickly became my most played track on iTunes (and I usually don't like to just listen to individual songs). Feels like a crime to listen to What's So Funny? on a warm, sunny summer day. Thanks to the film 11:14 for introducing me to Angry Johnny (the opening track, "All-American Girl," is used in the film and I anxiously sat through the credits to find out who sang it).

Arms Aloft Comfort At Any Cost
It was the day before Thanksgiving, I was still co-owner of a screen printing shop, and we had to ship a massive order before 6pm. As we were burning the screens, and in great timing, our power washer took a shit on us.  While I was frantic and stressed, Adam was getting ready to flea the shop to get a new one, not before he plugged in his iPod and said, "I'll only go if you listen to this." Assuming it was going to be his regular dose of metal, indie rock, or Rush, I was not prepared for what I was about hear. Sometimes I'll just put this EP on repeat and go for a long walk in the breezy fall nighttime, my favorite way to experience it. Oh, and for the record, we did ship the order on time. 

Bigwig Invitation to Tragedy
I remember going to The Exclusive Co. (which was in its previous location) on a Tuesday in September with nothing in mind, just looking for something new. Little to my knowledge, the new Bigwig came out that day, and I was stoked beyond belief. I hardly say "stoked" so take that as in indication how pumped I was. This record still makes me think of that old store; the uneven hardwood floors, the cool draft squeezing past the front door, the smell… That was a record store. Miss that place. 

The Misfits Static Age
Um… Because why wouldn't The Misfits show up on this list? If you're unsure why this would have connections to my favorite season, well, just go listen to it.

Osker Idle Will Kill
For their second release, Osker swapped out their rawness for a little more of a mature feel, which at first didn't sit well with me. After repeated listens, I was able to ignore the contrast, and appreciate the songs as they were. There's a certain mood to Idle Will Kill, that in a way I find depressing, which perfectly compliments gloomy autumn days. Still one of my go-to records when I'm down.

Slapstick Slapstick
I discovered Slapstick way later than I should have. These 25 songs could essentially be labeled the soundtrack to my junior year of high school. I could not get enough, and still can't all these years later. I associate driving my '88 Toyota Camry to work (at Cousin's Subs) during a downpour as the sun was setting with these songs. Still the best ska-punk record I've ever heard.

T.S.O.L. Dance With Me
Being a teenager and hearing Jack Grisham proclaim "I want to fuck the dead!" (in the song Code Blue) on Punk-O-Rama Vol. 2 was more than enough to catch my attention and want to hear more. It was just happenstance that I bought this record during the fall, as everything about it screams fall weather, but it is required listening.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


June 30, 1998. It was the summer before my freshman year of high school, and I ended up working for my mom's boss, painting the exterior of their building. It was my first taste of "full-time" work, as I worked Monday through Friday. Can't remember if it was eight hours a day, I think it just might have been. I do recall, however, that I had to be there at 9am, which completely sucked. I mean, after all, this was summer break. Who wants to get up that early during summer? As I quickly found out, those carefree summer days we all loved were over.

On this particular day fifteen years ago, a Tuesday to be exact, I woke up extra early to make a slight detour before work. Much to my anticipation, the new Rancid record, Life Won't Wait, was coming out, and I had to be the first one to buy it (not to mention I wanted to listen to it all day at work). Now, when there was a new record coming out that I excited about, I used to go to the Exclusive Co. about thirty minutes before they opened, to ensure I was the person there to buy it. That is, of course, if Sam Warnke didn't beat me to it. Actually, my work was only a few blocks away from Exclusive, so it wasn't as much a detour as it was a brief stop. 

Just a few weeks prior, I caught the world premiere of the music video for "Bloodclot" on MTV's 120 Minutes (which I used to sit up and watch until 2am every Sunday night during the summer). As if I wasn't pumped enough, that video pushed me over the edge. Lucky for me, I taped it when it aired, and basically watched it daily until the release of the record. On top of that, just a few weeks later, I'd be catching Rancid live for the first time at Warped Tour. In other words, the first half of summer was all about Rancid.

The opening line of the intro wasn't lying when it said, "The phenomena you are about the witness could well revolutionize your way of thinking... Prepare yourself for the evidence that will follow." Something I was unaware about was what I got myself into when I made my purchase that morning. Not only is Life Won't Wait my favorite Rancid record, but it's one of my all-time favorite records period. With …And Out Come The Wolves, the band started to explore elements of their influence, dabbling into ska and reggae. With Life Won't Wait, they took it to a whole new level. Not only were they busting out tracks of all styles, they were executing them perfectly. It seems that this direction steered a fair amount of fans away. I still find myself in conversations where people shoot Life Won't Wait down. That's fine, to each their own, but for me, it doesn't get much better than this. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


On my way home from the bank, I decided to swing by the grocery store to pick up a few items. Before I ventured home, I was standing next to my bike, no more than thirty feet from the entrance to the store, munching on trail mix. This upperclass trophy wife (not so sure if she actually was, but that's the image she was putting out) attempted to walk in, but the automatic sliding doors weren't opening, for whatever reason. She paused awkwardly, backed up a step, and tried again. Nothing, doors didn't open. At this point, it was obvious she was getting a little frustrated and annoyed, and began to get all anxious.

As she stewed in anger for a few moments (which probably felt like minutes to her), I yelled, "Oh, no. You don't have a soul!" Immediately, her head spins around, and her eyes glare at me. I'm talking a death stare kind of glare. I smirk, and raise my trail mix, as if I were extending a toast. Magically (well, okay, not magically, but you get my point), the doors open. She stomps inside. I resume my snacking.

After thinking about it for a minute to two, I can only conclude two things. She obviously didn't get my Simpsons reference, and some people just don't have a sense of humor.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I don't know about you, but I had one fantastic morning. What's that, you want to hear all about it?! Well, I aim to please. Let me proceed.

It's worthwhile to point out I'm coming off the high of the past weekend. Dead Weight screened in three different states; at the Nevermore Film Festival in Durham, NC, the Gadabout Film Fest in Bloomington, IN, and a special screening in Kansas City, courtesy of my good friend, Jill Sixx of Slaughter Movie House, and the fine folks at Down Right Creepy. Adam and I hopped in the car with cast members Joe Belknap and Jess Ader for the (somewhat) daunting trek to KC. Needless to say, the weekend was filled with awesome people, lots of laughs, even more bodily releases, a super rad screening, delicious foodstuffs, and so much more. Seriously, KC and everyone in the city showed us one hell of a time.

Let's get back to the topic at hand, this morning. For starters, I am not a morning person. Primarily because I am such a "night owl" (aren't all owls night owls?), I don't go to bed until some get up for work in the morning. However, Adam and I were guests on Wisconsin Public Television's show, Director's Cut, and we had to hit the road at 7:45am. Normally, I would not be so thrilled about getting up that before 7:00am, but when you have a good reason to, things aren't so bad.

On the drive down, thanks to modern technology, I checked my email and discovered that Dead Weight is nominated for Best Independent Film in the 11th Annual Rondo Awards. For those who might not know, the Rondos are kind of like the internet Oscars for all things horror. However, there is no Academy, rather those who matter, the fans. I've been voting in the Rondos for the past six or seven years, and to be nominated is just absurd, and immensely humbling. Side note: feel free to vote for Dead Weight, if you'd like. Anyone can vote!

If life was a video game, I would have leveled up at this point. Speaking of video games, we happened to talk about Mortal Kombat for part of the drive.

Skip ahead a bit, we park and shuffle along to the studio amongst hordes of Madison college students, where Adam and I entertain ourselves by trying to talk like college students. A fine example of such nonsense (since you're obviously dying to know):

John: "Did you study for the poli-sci exam?"
Adam: "No, dude. I don't need that shit. Where the fuck are your sweatpants?!"

Okay, maybe you had to be there. Or just sleep depraved. One of the two.

Going into this taping (we were kindly reminded by the crew that it's not "filming"), we had two TV experiences under our belt. The first was on Fox 11's Morning Show (did a quick spot for the premiere), and a great episode of Dairywood for TitanTV (at UW Oshkosh). Even so, we were getting all kinds of giddy walking onto the set. Our lapel mics were clipped on, and then comes the cue, "Fifteen seconds…"

Why did our interview have to be limited to twenty-three minutes?! What a god damn hoot it was. Doug Gordon was a great host, so engaging, we got to talk about some really interesting aspects of the film, and when they showed clips that we talked about, for the first time in ages, I got to experience parts of the film objectively. Feeling removed from the project, even if for just a minute at a time, was quite overwhelming, actually. This huge feeling of pride for everyone we worked with washed over me.

Although, I did make a total ass of myself. Well, maybe not "total ass," but I sure said something stupid. While discussing all the back stories of characters and excessive info we wrote about the outbreak (which never appears on screen), I said "exstential information" rather than "extensive information." What the shit, what does that even mean? IT'S NOT EVEN A REAL WORD! In making fun of me later (we both were), Adam put it best, "When that happened, I thought, 'yep, there's the Pata moment." Words, must you be so difficult and why do I suck with you?

Sadly, our time on Director's Cut came to an end, and we said our farewells to Doug and the crew… And to the seventh floor we went! Wisconsin Public Radio piggybacked an interview with us, so we sat down with Terry Bell to flap our lips about Dead Weight. This time around, I didn't say anything utterly idiotic (at least in my opinion), and matter of fact, said some stuff about character-based horror that I feel darn good about. Yeah, take that, words!

Before we split town, we decided that food and records should probably be in our future. Adam had a coupon for buy one, get one at Noodles & Co. (he sure like that place, we had to eat at one on the way home from KC), so we hit up the one on State St. Believe it or not, the women sitting next to us bought me dinner, too! Alright, fine. She didn't technically buy me dinner. Instead, she ate about a third of her mac & cheese and left the rest sitting on the table. What a total waste, right? I did what any other cheap fucker with no shame whatsoever would do; grabbed a take out box and filled it up. Thanks for the grub, blonde woman in the red sweater with a bright green iPhone case who doesn't understand the concept of taking food home!

Next stop, one of my favorite record shops, Earwax Records. I still remember my first time going to Earwax. I was in seventh grade and I bought Operation Ivy's Seedy (never saw it before, totally freaked out in excitement) and a Rancid Radio t-shirt (which I still wear to this day). Even though their punk rock section is smaller than it used to be (curse you, invisible oranges!), I still have luck, and if anything, love going into a true record store. If you've never been and find yourself in Madison, go there! Without fail, I walked out with five records for just over seventeen bucks. Boo-fuckin'-yah.

Top it off with a satisfying cup of tea for the road, and I had one absolutely enjoyable morning (something strange for me to say). To quote that one Ice Cube song, "We don't wantcha standing on my roof with a rocket launcha." Ha, bet you thought I was going to quote Today Was A Good Day, didn't you?!

On the set of Director's Cut.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I met Aaron Christensen almost six years ago. I was promoting my first film, Better Off Undead, and he was pimping his first book, Horror 101 (which received incredible reviews upon its release). We got along incredibly well, and established a strong friendship which has lasted to this day. He's a dude I respect immensely, have a huge man-crush on, and was honored beyond belief to work with on Dead Weight

He's at that book thing again, this time around with Hidden Horror. It's a collection of essays by horror fanatics about films they believe to be underrated/overlooked. For some odd reason, he asked me to be a part said book. Since I'm no fool, I gladly accepted his invite. 

We do dumb stuff together.
As of just about an hour ago, I finalized my essay for my hidden horror selection, Pieces. I'm in some amazing company; some I proudly call friends, and others I can't wait to call friends. This is my first time being involved in a major book project. And who knows, it could be my last time too. Regardless, I'm humbled as hell to have this opportunity, and couldn't ask for a better commander-in-chief. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to some "smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time" to do.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I really like music. I really like films. I listen to a lot of music, and I watch a lot of films. Here's a breakdown of my thoughts on both in the past year.

Let it be said (as if it isn't obvious), all of this is my opinion. I know for a fact there's a bunch of people who will disagree with me, that's just fine. Feel free to leave your thoughts, or tell me how much my taste sucks, just be respectful, eh? 

10. Calabrese - Dayglo Necros
9. Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds - I'd Rather Die Than Live Forever 
8. Classics of Love - Classics of Love
7. Morning Glory - Poets Were My Heroes
6. The Dopamines - Vices
5. Unfun - Caroline EP 
4. Not On Tour - All This Time 
3. Harley Poe - Satan, Sex, and No Regrets 
2. The Holy Mess - Cande Ru Las Degas 
1. Arms Aloft - Sawdust City