Bubblegum Damage...The Blog!

Punk rock, politics, pizza, pro wrestling, and potpouri, from Shawn Carpetbagger of infamous Austin, TX punk band, The Ape-Shits!

Monday, May 02, 2005

You May Not Be Interested in Politics, But That Doesn't Mean Politics Isn't Interested In You

So here in Austin a new ordinance is being proposed that would prohibit smoking in all bars and nightclubs. Proponents Onward Austin claim to represent workers who will "no longer tolerate unnessecary exposure to second hand smoke in public places". With that claim being made, you'd think they'd have broad grass-roots support from the innocent bartenders & musicians they are trying to liberate from the evils of nicotine occupation.

According to their website, they have the support of "rockers" like Marcia Ball, Shawn Colvin, Sara Hickman, and...uh...well that's about it. Clubs that support the proposed smoking ban include...well, at this point there are none. Supporters include the usual suspects like the American Lung Association, curmudgeonly ex-Austin mayor Gus Garcia, and the soccer mom contingent. Oh yes, the cliche "what about the children!?!" mantra has been sounded as Onward Austin vows to "improve the lives of youth" with this ridiculous ordinance and the useful idiots that make-up overprotective mothers and well-meaning dupes have responded predictably. But there are more of us than there are them!

In fact, the overwhelming consensus from the people this ban would most effect, the bartenders, club owners, and musicians, is a strong opposition the likes of which I have never seen in this town. This is life & death for a lot of people and will really hit your favorite clubs, their employees, and bands where it hurts the most...the pocketbook.

I play music because it's fun and it's amusing that people will pay to watch me get drunk on stage & bang out a few chords for 20 minutes. But that doesn't mean the dollars and cents don't matter. Even at the lowliest street level, it costs money to be in a band. Things like band equipment, equipment repair, recording costs, t-shirts, gas money, tour expenses, etc., etc., all cost money and when you aren't making a lot of dough at your day job to begin with, every dollar counts. The point being, whether someone is there to watch my band or smoke & pick up chicks, I get their money either way, and those are the only notes that count in the end!

And the same holds true for music clubs & their employees. Many of your favorite clubs are struggling to pay the rent and their employees. They count on the money that cigarette smokers pay at their clubs. This ban may be the fatal blow that a club like Beerland or Room 710 can't get up from. If you vote for this ban, you are not hurting the evil tobacco industry, you are kicking the little guy when he's down. As the smokers stay home, the bartenders need to reach further down into that tip jar for change to pay the bills, club owners become more hesitant to book new, unproven bands that aren't huge draws, and clubs can no longer afford to keep their doors open. And the next thing you know, that pesky punk rock club is long gone and a nice smoke-free Starbucks has taken it's place. Sounds like a real estate scam to me...

Economics aside, I have a problem with people who think the world needs to bend over backward to not somehow offend them. Jesus, I'm not a smoker either but I'm thinking of taking it up just to piss off the arrogant anti-smoking crusader lot. I find it extremely condescending that these people are taking up the anti-smoking cause for people who didn't ask for it...the bartenders, door guys, and musicians. We may act like children at times, but we will not be treated as such! If freedom of choice insn't exercised, what does it all mean in the end? Nothing.

This whole anti-smoking crusade is just another shot in the culture war being waged in America these days. From Janet Jackson's tit & the FCC, the Drug War, the Patriot Act, gun control, and Ten Commandments in every school room, it's cut from the same cloth. The next step is Big Brother decides what you eath and if your lifestyle is worthy of insurance coverage. Enjoy your new freedom. I don't know about you, but I'm stockpiling firearms, buying cartons of smokes & cases of Budweiser, holing up in the Carpetbagger Compound in the lovely Coronado Hills neighborhood, digging grooves in my Dils' records, watching pro wrestling in my boxers, ready for the shit to go down. How does it feel to be in the middle of a culture war?

For more info on why you should Vote No on the proposed smoking ban this May 7th, visit Keep Austin Free.

Shawn C.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

You Drive Me Ape!

Long time no hear, eh? Been very busy with typical life stuff, watching pro wrestling, and the band. Speaking of the band, The Mood Killers name is dead…we are now known by the name that the American-Statesman XL dares not print…The Ape-Shits! Seriously, we’ve played three shows since the name change with our name absent from their show listings. Really fucking silly. And we have a new drummer, Robert. This guy is solid as a rock and overall a legit dude. No drama whatsoever with him.

We just finished recording our 1st single for Max Dropout’s (of Let Them Eat Lead notoriety) as yet unnamed record label. Should be out this summer. We were recorded by Emo’s sound guy extraordinaire Dana inside of Beerland. I can’t tell you how convenient it was to record in a bar. The Lone Star did flow and the result was the hit singles “Lazy 3 Ft.”, “Year of the Monkey” (written before I had any idea we would have a primate-influenced name), “Dirty Hand Stomp”, and “Fuck the Pigs”. It still needs to be mixed, but it’s gonna be a rocker and I know it will pass the jukebox jury test.

The ball is really rolling and we’ve got some cool shows coming up. We are playing Saturday, February 5th at the Double Wide up in the Great White North, Dallas, Texas. Should be good fun as we are playing with This Damn Town featuring Alex Cuervo formerly of Blacktop & A Feast of Snakes and my great friend Jeremy Diaz who I replaced in the Riverboat Gamblers only to be later replaced by him. Ha! Ha! They are great blues punk in the Texas tradition reminding me at times of Fireworks, the Velvet Underground, and the Misfits! Really fucking great stuff. And I’m really looking forward to the drinking session afterwards.

Ghostwriter will be opening the show. I can’t say enough good things about this guy. One man bands like Scott Biram and John Schooley get a lot of ink around here, but I think Steve is every bit as good if not better than those guys. He is a great storyteller and his songs are dark in a way that can’t be contrived. His show isn‘t so much a musical performance as it is a one-man therapy session. Steve, the civilian, is a really nice, pleasant person. The contrast between Steve & Ghostwriter is so stark but I can’t help believe there isn’t some overlap there somewhere. But I suppose that is between him and Dr. Freud. You can purchase his CD here. Do it, dudes!

Friday, February 11th we return to Beerland to play with a top secret mystery band. I’m taking bets on who you think it is. Wanna take a gamble? If that clue isn’t a blatant tip-off, than God help us all!

Saturday, February 19th we are playing a house party with The Nervous Exits and Viva le American Death Ray. I suppose an address would be handy, but I don’t have that info to provide at this time. More info when it becomes available.

Saturday, March 19th we will be playing a free show at Sound on Sound Records with The Clorox Girls (from ???), The Observers from Portland, and The Tyrades from Chicago.

I’ve got a few things I need to get off my chest, so there should be an update in the near future.

Shawn Carpetbagger

Friday, October 15, 2004

Choose and Lose

If John Kerry comes across as an elitist East Coast blue blood asshole, it’s because he is. Supposedly, Bush has the “Every Man” thing down. I watched the last three debates, and if this is George W.’s take on the “every man”, than what does that say about what he thinks about you?

They both come from what amounts to American royal families. This isn't what Washington & Jefferson had in mind for American democracy! I live in Texas, so my concious is clear, but if you live in a battle ground state, than you have a bit more soul searching than a Texan like me has to do, but neither of these clowns is getting my vote. The fact that you are not Bush isn't good enough. Sorry John. Vote for a 3rd party or don't vote at all. If you think you are bucking the system by voting Kerry than you are at the very least naive or a self-righteous asshole at the very worst.

There are alternatives. I plan on voting for the most qualified candidate for the job, someone I truly believe in...myself!!! And if that wont' do, Nader & Badnarik are suitably nutty and have more balls than Bush or Kerry. Demand the impossible!!! How long until the Chelsea Clinton vs. the Bush twins presidential election!?!

We are all doomed,

Monday, October 04, 2004

God Save Shawn Carpetbagger

I found this warning from Catalyst4Christ in the Bubblegum Damage...The Blog! comments field...

"Where art thou gunna spend thy Eternity, brother? Very soon, God Almighty will send the human race a WARNING in His Mercy...until that time, my URL will help you if you want heaven."
It's too late for the likes of this lost soul, but save yourselves while you have a chance.
And my friend Anita forwarded this site on to me. Enjoy guilty white liberals!
Shawn Carpetbagger

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Johnny Ramone

I remember the 1st time I came across the Ramones. I was in junior high and my friend Nick stole this tape from his older brother. We were at lunch and he was cracking up going on about this band called The Ramones that had this hilarious song called “Weasel Face”. He showed me the cover for the tape Halfway to Sanity. What struck me immediately was how incredibly ugly they all were…the Ramones & I already had a lot in common!

I thought a lot about the tape cover and The Ramones. Apparently, the Ramones had something to do with punk rock, which at that point in my life meant very little to me. I was raised on a steady diet of the Beatles and Mott the Hoople, I didn’t even associate “punks” with music. My grandparents had gone on vacation to the UK and Ireland a few years earlier and all they went on about was the “punks” with green hair. I just thought “punks” were morons with Mohawks…which of course they are.

My dad joined one of those record clubs where you get the first 5 records for a penny a piece. I picked up a copy of Ramonesmania and played it over and over again. Not because I liked it so much as I was trying to get my head around it. I wasn’t curious as much as I was confused. The guitar parts were so simple. Were these guys serious? Were they retarded? They seemed like “Weird” Al with leather jackets. Real rock bands sang about mature stuff like partying and rock & rolling, not shock treatment and sniffing glue. It took a few months, but as my complexion got worse, the world became clearer…I finally got it…it wasn’t that the Ramones were mental retards, it’s that they were more clever than everyone else.

Too many people pick up on the worst parts of the rock n’ roll lifestyle, like the drug habits and the playing dumb, and would do well to emulate the positive. There were plenty of admirable things about Johnny. Johnny Ramone wasn’t no hippie and was always stone cold sober, mentally sharp, business savvy, and driven with ambition. A strict taskmaster by all accounts, his demeanor on and off the stage was cool.

Johnny was in the news a few months ago, the press seizing on what even the most casual of Ramones fans have known for years, that Johnny was a card carrying Republican. Maximum Rock n’ Roll even reprinted the article in their political “News” section, the implication being clear--this line of thinking isn’t acceptable “punk think”. Quiet a few people have picked up on this. Check out any punk rock internet message board for the past few months and whenever the topic of Johnny Ramone comes up, at least one asshole chimes in with the typical “it sucks that he has cancer…too bad he’s a Republican.” Even in death, it’s more of the same. To these people, a big “fuck off!” The Ramones were made up of a bunch of guys who shouldn’t have gotten along (and most of the time didn‘t), the liberal Joey, the conservative Johnny, and the apolitical, off the charts Dee Dee, who came together, despite their differences, to create something that meant a lot more than the empty political rhetoric spewed by these Johnny Come Lateleys. Rest in peace Johnny Ramone!

Gabba gabba hey,

Monday, August 30, 2004

Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions...

I've been watching a lot of pro wrestling lately...I mean a lot. Not only on television, but I've got the great Mick Foley DVD set, the Ric Flair DVD set, The Monday Night War DVD, and Wrestling's Most Incredible Steel Cage Matches DVD set. The last few books I've read have been wrestling related (most recently the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair's top notch To Be the Man, I'll be posting a series of reviews soon) and I'm even picking up copies of Pro Wrestling Illustrated at 7-11 whenever I fill up the tank of the Lumina on the way home from work. My wife thinks I have a problem. I'm toying with the idea of starting a pro wrestling related blog, but in the meantime, I'll be commenting on the sport here from time to time.

Most pro wrestling sites on the internet are worse than porn sites when it comes to the pop-ups, not to mention the phony headlines that send you to other pay sites. It makes it hard to keep up with the latest pro wrestling gossip. Message boards are even worse because the average pro wrestling fan is a lot like the average punk rock fan, a 16 year old know it all jerk off who has problems typing a complete sentence. So when I want some quality pro wrestling discussion, I go to the Wrestlecrap message forum, the official message board of the hilarious Wrestlecrap website. The Honky Tonk Man has an excellent site as well, with some great commentary that doesn't pull any punches, and the occassional op-ed from the greatest Intercontinetal Champion of all-time himself!

On the baseball front, the St. Louis Cardinals are perched high atop the National League Central with perhaps the most potent lineup in Redbird, hell, Major League history. These ain't the Runnin' Redbirds I grew up with in the '80s, the likes of Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Renteria, Walker, etc. are truly in a class of their own. Their pitching staff makes me uneasy, so a nervous breakdown is a possibility for me come playoff time, but the Cards are due! If they get hot going into October, watch out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

One Year

Bubblegum Damage...The Blog! has been up and running for a little over a year now. To mark this anniversary, I've added a Greatest Hits sidebar. These blog post links range from the controversial "Communique from the Dude Ranch" to the popular "Shawn's Dad vs. Punk Rock" to personal favorites like "Handshake Deal". I've also added my favorite reads to the links list and, of course, I recommend checking those out.

Another change has been made as well, the Blogger comments have been ditched in favor of the returning Squawkbox comments field. The inability for non-Blogger users to post comments with their names has proven to be problematic and I think it discouraged readers from posting comments. Of course, the rule still stands, any comments or criticisms are welcome, but anonymous posts will be deleted.

Reporting for duty,
Shawn Carpetmuncher

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