Archive for December, 2011

“Last Thoughts on Allen Ginsberg & Bob Dylan” by Ben Simon (originally published in Beatdom Magazine #7)

December 29, 2011

My favorite of Bob Dylan’s legendary Basement Tape recordings is probably the most bizarre piece of the puzzle that is Dylan’s (and definitely the Band’s) discography: two takes of an improvised parody song known as See You Later, Allen Ginsberg. Later dubbed “reefer run amok” by Band leader Robbie Robertson, it’s easy to see why these laughter-heavy takes never joined the original versions of Tears of Rage and Too Much of Nothing on The Basement Tapes, Columbia’s decidedly Band-pampering 1975 compilation. For many, this jam would feel out of place everywhere but a Weird Al Yankovic demo tape recorded live at the waning point of a campfire. What I enjoy about this song is not the haphazard references to “crocogators” and “your bile,” but the haphazard reference to Allen Ginsberg, perhaps the one reference in the whole discography puzzle to one of the most prominent men in Dylan’s life.
In 1963, Allen Ginsberg returned to New York City from the Beat Hotel in Paris. Upon meeting Ginsberg in a Greenwich Village bookstore, Bob Dylan invited Ginsberg to join him on the Freewheelin’ tour. Ginsberg declined this invitation, but regretted his decision after Bob Dylan became a household name.
Besides the aforementioned See You Later, Alligator spoof and a flattering (though equally haphazard) mention in the liner notes to the Bringin’ It All Back Home album, Bob Dylan did not make as much of an effort to eulogize Ginsberg as he did for his previous idol, Woody Guthrie. There is no Song to Allen, no poem entitled Last Thoughts on Allen Ginsberg. He did, however, generously contribute to Ginsberg’s primarily spoken-word box set, Holy Soul Jelly Roll. While Dylan plays a minor role on the average track included on this box set, he does duet with Ginsberg on such underground classics as Vomit Express. As one Dylan scholar, poet James Cushing put it, “Ginsberg was a smart cookie: he knew that anything with the name ‘Bob Dylan’ on it sells.” But Ginsberg saw Dylan as much more than a franchise—he saw him as a friend.
Ginsberg would only have a handful of other collaborators in the music world. Paul McCartney contributes to Ginsberg’s swan song, The Ballad of the Skeletons, helping to raise it from the grave with a spooky melody to back Ginsberg’s meandering yet thoroughly pointed lyrics. Ginsberg makes a guest appearance on the Clash’s album Combat Rock, far more famous for its inclusions of Should I Stay or Should I Go, Rock the Casbah, and Straight to Hell, a lesser hit with a riff later jacked by M.I.A. for Paper Planes. Thus speaking, Ginsberg’s physical role in music is limited. Several artists do, however, pay tribute to him. They Might Be Giants’ I Should Be Allowed to Think, a satirical song which mocks the self-righteousness and pretentiousness of undergraduate English majors, parodies the opening lines of Howl. Rage Against the Machine have performed Ginsberg’s protest poem Hadda Be Playin’ on a Jukebox several times in concert.
In addition, there are hundreds of works by Bob Dylan, America’s most influential musician, in which Ginsberg is an influence. Dylan’s minor novel Tarantula, written in the same style as the liner notes to four of his early albums, contains his attempts to write as a junior Ginsberg. While Ginsberg himself appears in the background of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues music video, that song’s text reads like vintage Ginsberg.
In these ways, I see Ginsberg and Dylan’s relationship as akin to the one between Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart: two free spirits, both too unique to play in the same band, but with a professional friendship resulting in a mutual sharing of influence and the occasional collaboration.



December 29, 2011

“The diesely eyes of Desiree” –Stone Temple Pilots, “Plush”

“On a sailor’s Sudan cat” –The Velvet Underground, “Heroin”

“Stop in the neighborhood” –The Supremes, “Stop in the Name of Love”

“Let’s do this like Buddhist(s)” –Homestar Runner, Strong Bad Email #61 “monster truck”

“The grass is always greener where the dogs are shitting” –Soundgarden, “Outshined”

“A secondary motion” –Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “I Second That Emotion”

“I’m your fetus, I’m your fire” –Shocking Blue, “Venus”

“Korea, Korea, Korea!” –Pavement, “Cut Your Hair”

“Be a simple condom man” –Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Simple Man”

“Long Beach is the spot where I serve(d) McCain” –Snoop Dogg, “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”

“Tattooed on Hi-C” –Pearl Jam, “Black”

“She keeps a puppet straight in my heart” –Nirvana, “Aneurysm”

“Fellow pissants” –Velvet Revolver, “Fall to Pieces”

“Give you my dog surprise” –Cream, “Sunshine of Your Love”

“From a Greyhound” –Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”

“I don’t even care if your dad’s a he” –Frank Zappa, “Wowie Zowie”

“I have this dream I’m being chaste” –Simon Joyner, “Cole Porter”

Squirm’s Unpopular Popular Music Opinions

December 29, 2011

* Lemon Demon’s latter four albums, Hip to the Javabean, Damn Skippy, Dinosaurchestra, and View-Monster, trump everything They Might Be Giants were working on at that time (sans “Experimental Film” from The Spine).


* The Ziggens trump their much more popular sister band Sublime.

* Sublime’s self titled album is only popular because Bradley died.


* The only tracks on Sgt. Pepper that make it a classic are With a Little Help From My Friends, A Day in the Life, and the title track.  The rest is often entertaining but not essential.


* “Come Together” is the worst of the Beatles’ #1 singles.  “Yellow Submarine” is only bad because it disrupts the flow of Revolver like “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” disrupts the flow of Abbey Road.


* Weird Al Yankovic was no better in the 80s than he was in every other decade.

* The only consistently good “Weird Al-bum” is Bad Hair Day.


* Exile on Main Street is not the best Rolling Stones album of the 70s.  Sticky Fingers and Some Girls are.


* The Sex Pistols were a “singles band.”  Nevermind the Bollocks is bollocks, just get “Anarchy in the UK,” “God Save the Queen,” and “Holiday in the Sun.”


* Radiohead hasn’t been very good since OK Computer.


* None of Bob Dylan’s work after “Hurricane” is relevant.


* Nirvana’s Bleach might have been released on the indie-as-fuck Sub Pop, but it’s significantly worse than Nevermind, In Utero, or even the rarities compilation Incesticide.


* Green Day’s B-sides compilation, Shenanigans, contains material on par with their album tracks.

* Their first album, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours flat out sucks.

Squirm’s Top 100 Albums

December 29, 2011

1. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica

2. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!

3. The Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime

4. Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

5. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

6. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles

7. Dan Bern – Dog Boy Van (EP)

8. The Clash – London Calling

9. The Dictators – Go Girl Crazy!

10. The Melvins – Lysol

11. Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II

12. Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory

13. The Dead Milkmen – Death Rides a Pale Cow

14. Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes

15. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs Vol. 1

16. The Mountain Goats – All Hail West Texas

17. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

18. Patti Smith – Horses

19. The Raincoats – The Raincoats

20. The Monks – Black Monk Time

21. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention – Absolutely Free

22. Elliott Smith – Either/Or

23. Beat Happening – Jamboree

24. Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era

25. Dan Bern – Dan Bern

26. Operation Ivy – Energy

27. Nirvana – Nevermind

28. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico

29. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

30. Nirvana – In Utero

31. Love – Forever Changes

32. The Velvet Underground – White Light White Heat

33. Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters

34. The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)

35. The Mountain Goats – Sweden

36. The Stooges – Raw Power

37. Built to Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong with Love

38. Beat Happening – You Turn Me On

39. Red Red Meat – Bunny Gets Paid

40. The Vaselines – Enter the Vaselines

41. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

42. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

43. The Ziggens – Pomona Lisa

44. Meat Puppets – Up on the Sun

45. Tom Waits – Small Change

46. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

47. Camper Van Beethoven – New Roman Times

48. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation

49. Meat Puppets – Huevos

50. X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents

51. Crass – Penis Envy

52. Beat Happening – Beat Happening

53. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

54. Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me

55. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

56. X – Los Angeles

57. Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted

58. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

59. Andrew Jackson Jihad – People That Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World

60. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Safe As Milk

61. X – Wild Gift

62. Beat Happening – Dreamy

63. Saccharine Trust – Paganicons

64. The Ziggens – Ignore Amos

65. The Stooges – The Stooges

66. The Velvet Underground – Loaded

67. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen

68. Mudhoney – Mudhoney

69. Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes

70. Beat Happening – Black Candy

71. Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand

72. Secret Hate – Vegetables Dancing

73. Daniel Johnston – Yip/Jump Music

74. Nirvana – Incesticide

75. The Clash – The Clash

76. Camper Van Beethoven – Tusk

77. Various Artists – Let Them Eat Jellybeans!

78. Various Artists – Wanna Buy a Bridge?

79. Elliott Smith – Figure 8

80. Simon Joyner – Retrospective

81. The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle

82. The Sonics – Here Are the Sonics

83. The Ramones – The Ramones

84. The Stooges – Fun House

85. Weezer – Pinkerton

86. Lemon Demon – Damn Skippy

87. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree

88. The New You – Here’s Where Things Really Turn Around

89. The Sonics – Boom

90. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

91. Nirvana – Bleach

92. The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us

93. They Might Be Giants – Flood

94. Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs

95. Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire De Melody Nelson

96. The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee

97. Andrew “Skip” Spence – Oar

98. Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper- Bo-Day-Shus!!!

99. Steven Jesse Bernstein – Prison

100. Various Artists – Kill Rock Stars

Excerpts from Squirm’s Dream Journal

December 29, 2011



The majority of my dream involved me attending my first week of classes at a fictional university that uses helicopters as transportation.  I ran into Mr. Miller, a real-life teacher of mine from high school, who was rocking out to ZZ Top, and informed me that one science teacher was far better than the other.  I ignored his advice, however, and stayed in the allegedly bad teacher’s class.  I also picked up a Richard Brautigan book at a creepy on-campus library, making this the 2nd or 3rd dream I’ve had to include a book by Brautigan.  Before I woke up, I found out that I had failed at least one of my classes, although it is a class that I passed in real life.




At the beginning of my dream, I was in a French hotel with my parents.  I then observed my dresser, and every drawer in it reminded me of old relatives, many of which were fictional.  I was told that my (in real-life deceased since the early 90s) great-grandfather Zayde Yussell had remarried again.  Then I recalled elementary school, where I was constantly penalized for not drawing the same shapes as other students.  The most vivid part of the dream was when I arrived at a “DIY punk” ice cream and baked goods shop in SLO which I vaguely remember encountering in previous dreams.  Unlike previous dreams though, where the ice cream shop was full of customers, this time it was out of business and locked.  I met up with the owner of Dr. Cain’s Comics who was able to pick the lock.  Then we went to the backyard of the ice cream shop where there was a large basketball court and a hiking trail.  Myself, the owner of Dr. Cain’s, and many people I went to Camp Newman with such as Matt Hennagin played an intense game of soccer on the basketball court.  However, while I was playing, I unexpectedly morphed into my great-grandfather Zayde Yussell.  I woke up when the game ended.

another amusing anecdote from the “BS Mon”

December 29, 2011

Y’see, I was just treading through the uncharted San Luis Obispo City-County Library today, when I chanced upon an abhorsome foursome of juvenile delinquents turned runaways sifting through the library’s uncannily diverse audio-visual repertoire.  At first, their musical inquiries were strictly, banally, and/or trivially laughable, such as the black sheep among black sheep’s tedious tirade toward the supposedly scrumptious quality of “Geeky Barduli” (it was not until he categorized the name with the genre “gypsy punk” that I knew it was a mispronunciation of “Gogol Bordello”), but my heart broke when he and his comrades praised a magnum opus-laden compilation of the Dead Kennedys.  Dear Lord be praised!  In a world where Anthonys everywhere flee from federal clutches, even the lowest of lowlifes bow to the prophet that is Jello Biafra!

Brevity’s Rainbow: A Testimonial on Behalf of the Denizens of Something Awful, Ltd. by P. Squirm, Esq.

December 29, 2011

MV Razzmatazz:

Every time someone mentions goons I immediately think of The Goonies.


Surely I cannot be the only one?

Popeye Squirm:

Whenever anybody mentions goons, I automatically think of the Goons. Something Awful. Duh. Why think of anything else? If you haven’t joined Something Awful yet, hoo boy… you’re missing out, my friend, and should worry about whether you’re indeed a valued, functioning member of this society we call Earth at all. Frankly, SA pwns and don’t let any /b/tard tell you otherwise. SA conquered it first, before West Side, before East Side, before Hyphy even! Though some wannabe hipster types claimed the other day that “do you have stairs in your house” is obsolete, obtuse, and obscure, folks around here have a soft spot for all things Goon.

-The Oh Internet Forums (

The Top Ten Most Questionable Character and Place Names in Children’s Animated Programming

December 29, 2011

conducted by the PTC

10) The Silver Spooner (Dexter’s Laboratory)

9) Sedusa (The Powerpuff Girls)

8) Lucky & Pierre (Dexter’s Laboratory)

7) George Liquor (Ren & Stimpy)

6) The Butt-Ugly Martians (eponymous)

5) Mr. Bone (Doug)

4) Dr. Lipschitz (Rugrats)

3) The Chokey Chicken (Rocko’s Modern Life)

2) Wankyland (Hey Arnold!)

1) Mr. Buttsavage (Doug)


December 16, 2011

On that June I went down
From the blunt and perverted
And the looks that I made
Which put me into shame
Don’t worry about my fate no more
It was great only months before
And you’ll find that her ratings soar
With the last of the hope

It’s a tragedy now
I had hope that it wouldn’t be
But popularity wins
In our Disney-esque lives
Unaware how wealth near corrupts
And how looks are deceiving us
We really could have a way
With the last of the hope

With some hope come and gone
And some seed nastily wasted
With some hope come and gone
In a dim flash of light
I will rise up from the hair and dirt
And I will be separate from the Earth
There is hope, but not much
That the world will know

No small remainder of hope
Just the bulky refreshments
And if we all pitch in
I may see most the light
My life really is not half bad
I’m just overreacting and sad
It’s a wonderful life I’ve had
Thanks for all of the hope.

New Stuff for the Sun

December 16, 2011

Everything is tangible beneath the dying sun
Even hippies bought their vinyl and their wagon homes
I’ve spent my time chasing faded jeans and thrown my poems in jars
I can build some new stuff for the bleeding sun

I haven’t known my Uncle Scrooge since his collar was teal
He threw down Sears dolls for real Mattel ones, wherever they did roam
By the time he had his outfit bleached, he’d a queen and king-sized home
He and I can build some new stuff for the bleeding sun

I’ve for years not been accustomed to the higher grass
Sucked in by celebrities, I stared for days until I gasped
“Why is she so haughty?” A reply: “Her parents own the town”
She and I can build some new stuff for the bleeding sun

Sexual harassment is easier done than said
I’m no Casanova, and I won’t drag her in my web
I’m sophisticated, and that’s a word which diamonds label her
Why should I let her build new stuff for the sun?

She’ll lose all her parents’ green once men bankrupt her
Strong and clueless manly men, upper class like her
When she knocks thrice on my doorbell, I’ll laugh and let her down
“I’ve already finished building an intangible sun”

Uncle Scrooge’s company now considers him a quack
His three children are all spoiled, suicidal with envy
There’s not a dot of happiness inside that thick mansion
Shame on you greedy tycoons under for blocking out the sun!

Everything is tangible beneath the dying sun
Even homeless got their whiskey and their cardboard homes
I’ve spent too long chasing children’s dreams and thrown my poems in jars
Which is why I finished building an intangible sun.