Dancing With Myself

The theme for this week’s Twisted Mixtape is make a playlist for a friend who’s blue to cheer them up. I looked at this assignment two ways. http://jenkehl.com/music/songs-about-feeling-better/


1) Most of my friends are my age so I kept the songs to the 1980s and early 1990s because nostalgia makes people feel good, most of the time.

2) I’m making them happy. If someone sent me Clash or Nirvana songs, it would make me somewhat happy (I never get happy happy, like blue skies and palomino ponies, so perspective, here).

*sidenote* – I stepped down from writing for Raisedontheradio.com, no drama to report, I’m just finishing the sequel to The Ballad of Helene Troy, titled Woman of Troy, and committing full-time to my politics and pop culture site, www.leftypop.com with my friends Linda aka @modmomelleroy of www.elleroywashere.com and Natalie aka @singingfool1224 of www.thecatladysings.com,my posts will appear there Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am as well as special op-ed pieces here and there. Please come see us.


On to the list. Hope this makes one of you happy, otherwise I get an F, my first one since college algebra 24-years ago.

You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC, 1980. I’ve been to parties of all kinds and have NEVER, NOT heard this song. It brings everyone to the dance floor or table top, every time. That’s the power of thunda from down unda.

Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol, 1981. the formerly William Broad swear this song is dancing around by yourself to lift your spirits. I prefer the rumors it’s about “self-love”. If you’re a parent you know it’s the opening number to Flushed Away, the animated movie about a rat in a sewer. Sex Pistol Steve Jones plays the guitar solo.

Gettin’ Better – Tesla, 1987. All of the 1980s hard rock formula is represented. Overlong, slow, virtuoso acoustic guitar opening to engage the ladies, riffs that punch you in the gut for the dudes, then a screaming chorus that gets you pumped more than Eye of The Tiger. All of my friends should own the album Mechanical Resonance and think that Nikola Tesla got ripped off by Tom Edison and be angry about it.

Love Shack – B-52s, 1989. If you’ve never been in a Chrysler that seats about 20 rolling down the Atlanta Highway, then you haven’t lived a full enough existence. THat’s how living in Georgia is better than where you are. Try NOT screaming TIN ROOF RUSTED!

The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground, 1991. Shock G tells a heart warming story of supreme self-confidence and getting busy in a Burger King bathroom. Seriously, listen to this party rap classic and try to not smile and dance around. I dare you.

No Diggity – Blackstreet, 1996. Dr. Dre  produced and layed down a hella rap, and this song makes you move, no diggity, no doubt.

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com




A little over six years ago I visited a place called Pigeon Key, Florida, a ghost town a few miles south of Marathon and it’s desolation and insouciance to time reminded me of something; the internet between Christmas and the new year. There are a fraction of the people who are usually on the web during this week. They’re taking down the tree like my crowd did yesterday or dealing with the aftermath of multiple family trips to relatives and people they won’t see for another twelve months. There’s a really weird bunch trying to blog right now. I belong to this band of whackadoos.


While we deserve credit for trying to entertain you during tumbleweed blowing time, I’m going to break my arm patting myself on the back for not doing a list posts, “best of” reruns, or real/fake awards. I love reading those posts so please, if you’re doing them, give me more. But contrarianism makes the heart grow colder or something so I’m just going to reflect on my year in writing, promote my books, and tell you about what this blog and it’s writer (could I be any more pretentious?) have in store in the catorce.


I wrote two books in 2013. I can’t believe it. If you read this space over the past 363 days, neither can you. But in February, The Ballad of Helene Troy, a rock and roll underdog story, became a reality. It’s available at amazon.com for kindle or Lulu.com in paperback.


After going o-7 with publishers, I decided to be like my favorite punk bands, and created my own imprint, Pound Publishing. My initials are L B, so now you see the whirlwind of creativity that happened. Like the story; a gritty, sometimes profane, tale of a struggling artist trying to make it on her own terms, Helene’s ride has been a bumpy one. Sales have been okay, reviews have been great, and I think there were a few trips to Applebees on y’all’s dimes and I appreciate it in ways I can never describe and I’m supposed to be a writer. Her sequel, Woman of Troy, should drop (as the kids say) in February 2014, exactly one year from the first book. It will be another 150 page novella.

In June I had the chance to meet my writing partner on the Millicent and Pauley female assassins series, Tar Rah aka @Tara_R in Panama City, near where she lives, My wife and two of my daughters were on a weekend vacation. I also met Lisa and Jessie and their families while we were there. No one was killed with an ax and the ability to talk about writing and other shared interests was amazing. I didn’t have to contain the freak like I do around my family and non-writer friends and acquaintances back home. All of the sarcasm was understood and celebrated. The same stuff happened 2 months later when my longtime friend Marsha aka @tinfoilmagnolia and her husband visited us in Atlanta.

In August, I published my second book, Soul To Body, a much different tale of love and loss through the emotions of a former 1990s rock guitarist and his teenage daughter.


Good grief, something else with my name on it. The zombie apocalypse is close. Sales and reviews mirrored Helene’s, despite the difference in style and story. The best part was taking the books to my 25th (yes, I’m old) high school reunion two weeks after Soul To Body’s  release and my lifelong friends didn’t run away from me for fear they’d catch the weirdo writer cooties. A couple of people even stole copies. I was honored. Kurt Vonnegut used to tell people to steal his books, I think. If not, then I just made that up and it seems really cool.

During the summer I helped launch www.raisedontheradio.com with my music loving pals Jen @jenkehl from www.jenkehl.com and Linda aka @modmomelleroy from www.elleroywashere.com . We’ve gotten great response on our playlists, music opinion columns and my review of Lisa Marie Presley’s concert I saw at Eddie’s Attic in October was featured on her website, lisamariepresley.com . My Thursday columns will continue in 2014.

retro casette music player and red headphones

Sprocket Ink, the political and pop cultural website I was honored to be a part of for two years, closed it’s internet doors in October. The end was sudden but it takes a special kind of responsible crazy to run a site like that. The good news is two of my friends from Sprocket – Linda aka @modmomelleroy of www.elleroywashere.com and Natalie aka @singingfool1224 of www.thecatladysings.com and I have decided to try the responsible crazy paradigm. We’re launching a politics and pop culture site that leans left called Lefty Pop www.leftypop.com . You can follow us on the Twitter @lefty_pop , email us leftypopone@yahoo.com or friend us on Book with all of the Faces https://www.facebook.com/leftypop . Some of the great writers from Sprocket will be featured in the magazine style site that will have a morning post, an afternoon post, and plenty of stuff on the sides.


My goals for the catorce include the release of the Helene sequel February, making leftypop.com and raisedontheradio.com killer keyboard clicks and hitting Blogher in San Jose in July.

I’ll be guest posting on Friday for Aunt Becky over at www.mommywantsvodka.com so expect me to break something.

This is about 900 words so it’s time for my usual level of music snobbery. The song, band and album you should’ve been listening to and buying in ’13 was Arcade Fire and their CD, Reflektor. I think it’s signature song fits my year perfectly.


Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you the reason they take time out of each day to deliver hundreds of words for people to read is because there’s stuff inside their head that has to come out so they can achieve something that resembles sanity. Before posting on the internets started happening somewhere around 1995 (2005 for me) people picked up ink pens or pencils and wrote in diaries. In between diaries and blogs, was Eddie Vedder and his left arm. Pay attention to the 2:30 mark of this 6:20 YouTube video.

What was that? It was Ed proclaiming his support for women’s choice over their own bodies during an instrumental break of Porch, the 8th track off their legendary “Ten” album during a 1992 MTV Unplugged Performance. Since the lead singer of Pearl Jam didn’t have a blog, he spent thirty seconds doing something some us would take an thirty minutes or more to type on a computer. The message was powerful. Elvis Presley,  Jim Morrison or Diamond David Lee Roth never supported women’s rights while rockin’ out.


If you pay close attention to social media, talk show hosts (specifically right wing ones), and “traditional” news outlets, bloggers get a very bad rap. To be fair, President Barack Obama even took a shot at us recently, although I think he was referring to people who post things with a political point of view opposite of his. I find it interesting that as I write this piece, he’s blogging for Huffington Post about gay rights legislation http://news.yahoo.com/obama-turns-blogger-to-make-pitch-for-gay-rights-bill-063547333.html , I think his bill is major league important and I’m pleased he decided to go to writing on the internet to stress it’s need for passage. See, Mr. President posting stuff on the web isn’t so bad is it?

Bloggers are important. We matter.

There is a lot of misinformed people in the world. If you want to call them stupid, go ahead. I prefer “dumb”. Dumb can be corrected. Dumb just means they haven’t been provided smart. Stupid people can be handed smart then reject it and thus be more than dumb. This is what makes what Eddie Vedder’s arm so impactful. Twenty-one years ago we learned that rock stars, formerly thought to be mindless hedonists with nothing more to say than “sex, drugs and rock and roll”, had meaningful voices. Some of them in the early 1990s - Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Zack De la Rocha, and others- had great things to add to the culture. They just needed a way.

If you google “blogging” or “bloggers” there are dozens of entries about how this forum is dead and we should all go get real lives, whatever those are. Instead of paying attention to the message and or the messenger, anti-bloggers (I refuse to use the word “haters”) always point to how it’s rendered. Because it comes from someone’s computer and not filtered through a new agency or pulpit or government, then it must be wrong. I’ve personally never posted anything on My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog or my other blogs, the defunct Sprocket Ink, or the current Raised On The Radio ( www.raisedontheradio.com) without hours of research, reading, planning, and editing. Can I say the same for some other corners of the innerwebz? Of course not.

From 1988 till 1994 I worked in the news business. I found employment and training through five different radio stations, one newspaper, and one television station. By the end of my six and a half years I learned one basic thing that I use now.

Never lie.

This means don’t:

reveal sources who request anonymity

fill in blanks with stuff that doesn’t exist

present yourself as something or someone you are not

worry about what other people think as long as you’re telling the truth and or what’s in your heart.

With the demise of Sprocket Ink, my outlet for political and pop culture opinion is stunted, but I’m going to try to quench that thirst for the next couple of months until my new opportunity becomes a reality.

What I do here, every day, whether fiction or non-fiction, is climb up on my stool and draw on my arm with a magic marker.

Porch isn’t a song about issues or the news. It was originally written by Eddie Vedder as a tune of regret for not having a relationship with his birth father. Most people use it as a break-up song. But when I play that video, I always think about walking out on my porch and watching my daughters, aged 17, 10, and 9, playing in the front yard or arriving home after being out in the world. Suddenly Porch is about protecting them and showing them an example of someone who isn’t afraid to express their opinion.

This is what makes blogging bad ass and I’m proud to do it.


I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com


Shadow Stabbing

Rain streamed down Helene’s face and arms, falling over the white knuckles of her balled fists. Ramona walked out on the stoop of the brownstone and Helene stepped toward her. Her fists still formed, she charged toward Ramona and

My nine-year-old daughter appears in the threshold of my darkened bedroom.

“Daddy, mommy said your show is about to come on and you need to go in the living room with her and let me have this room.”

I sigh then smile and pick up my laptop to go to my summoner.

came to within inches from Ramona’s lips.

*knock on my front door* It’s our teenaged neighbor.

“Hey, can Carly (my nine-year-old daughter) and Taylor (my seventeen-year-old) come over and make smores with us.”

My wife handles the situation then I start thinking of the next sentence when a Twitter “@” pops up on my screen. Then an email. Then a Facebook response to a post.

This is how I write. Distracted, obsessed, irritated, focused in moments, led astray in others is how the “magic” happens with my writing style. There’s a number two pencil and college ruled notebook in my car at all times. I scribbled scenes, ideas, moments later turned into prose while I wait in line to pick up children from school. I’ve written in fast food drive thru lines, red lights, and in my work’s parking lot, waiting for the building to open. The bathroom is not only NOT off-limits, it serves as a de facto office in my home since I don’t have one. I write when I can. I believe that if you want to write then you will and I really want to.

In the past twelve months I’ve written 3 1/2 books, publishing two, and look to finish one in December, the sequel to my first novella, The Ballad of Helene Troy, with the current working title of Woman of Troy. The sentence around the family machinations you read above (in bold type) are from that work in progress. I have a real job, as a project manager for a communications company. I also am a columnist for Sprocket Ink www.sprocketink.com , do writing prompts for Trifecta Writing Challenge www.trifectawritingchallenge.com and now am helping my friends Jen and Linda with a new website about music called Raised on the Radio www.raisedontheradio.com

The most common question I get asked, online and off, is;  “where do you find the time to write?”


The answer is inside the scenario played out, above. I don’t have the time, I take it, like one of the 300 Spartan soldiers in the Battle of Thermopylae. But my King Leonidas is my embattled, obsessive compulsive, attention defected bi-polar mind and my Greece is my family, who support me no matter what. But, I don’t have time to get the abs of a Spartan soldier. So, this is all very metaphorical and  a lot of wishful thinking.


The Helene sequel will get done. So will my Tuesday and Friday columns for Sprocket. I’ll squeeze in something for Raised On The Radio. But most of all, my nine-year-old has a softball game Tuesday where she may be making her debut at third base. Then Wednesday is my ten-year-old’s judo class and her drums practice is Thursday. On Friday night we travel an hour an a half to the thriving metropolis of Danielsville, Georgia to see my teenager cheer her high school football team, the Lanier Longhorns, to victory over the Madison County Red Raiders. Maybe, I’ll be able to chicken-scratch a chapter and half or something funny about a song I heard for the music buddies.

I figure it out. Sometimes I’m not patient with my wife and kids but I’ll always here or there or wherever they need me to be. I don’t mind running errands when they ask. The red lights and the grocery store parking lots provide plenty of opportunity and inspiration.

There’s a song by the band Cake off their Comfort Eagle album from a dozen years ago called Shadow Stabbing. It’s a deep cut, meaning you didn’t hear it on the radio or on MTV the way you did Short Skirt/Long Jacket, the hit off that record. But Shadow Stabbing is about writing. It’s about the struggle to find the words when life is going on around you.

Art is hard. I’m lucky to have people around me that ultimately support who I am and what I want to do. Do they interrupt me every five minutes, yes. But they also help me put my books together, email me stories they find on the internet that I might find useful, and tell everyone they know about my writing. I may feel like a Spartan soldier going into dangerous battle, but my shield and helmet are not just whatever talent I possess but also what I have around me.

You can find The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body for amazon kindle downloads here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_sabc?url=search-alias%3Daps&pageMinusResults=1&suo=1379291858959#/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lance%20burson&sprefix=lance%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alance%20burson

and in paperback from Lulu.com here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=lance+burson&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=&x=0&y=0


I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Here’s Cake.

100 Word Song – And She Was

You can attribute it to me living with women, but I changed my mind. Leeroy and I weren’t going to post 100 word song today because on the calendar’s date. There are amazing posts, new and old, about what this day means and I encourage you to seek them out. My friends Nancy http://t.co/N09dik0Q6I / and Kath  http://katstheoryofmusic.blogspot.com/2013/09/remembering-tribute-in-lights-tribute.html did some strong stuff with a tough subject, today.

But we write here. There are words, prompted and otherwise, and we talk about fiction, music, and inspired thought. Before I get to my 100 words based on the Talking Heads song, And She Was, I want to thank all of you who come here and give your hearts. It takes a bad ass to write for everyone to see. Art is hard. My writing partner, someone I admire greatly, Tara aka @Tara_R from http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com picked this week’s song. She’s the shining example for all of us. So, thank you. And I appreciate the hundreds of birthday wishes on the Twitter, Book o Face, Gram o instant, text, and in person. That meant the world to me.

Now, on to Silas and Olive and “Light of Day”, my short story about teenage ne’er do wells, on the run. This is also for velvet verbosity’s “Faith” 100 words http://www.velvetverbosity.com/

Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/100-word-song-graceless/

She stroked Silas’ arms. Her fingertips lifted goose bumps on his skin. His hands stopped shaking. The policeman stepped toward them, handing back Silas his license and car registration.

“Alrighty, everything checks out. Now, there’s a Waffle Hut two streets over. It’s open 24 hours. They have pay phones there for you to call your friend. But move this car and be safe?”

He didn’t wait for them to answer before getting in his cruiser. Olive turned around and looked into his eyes.

“Never lose Faith in me.”

And she was in darkness, walking to her side of their car.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog
As always you have 7 days from NOW to write 100 words inspired by And She Was, by the Talking Heads and chosen by Tar Rah. Use Mr. Linky below then social media out your link and tell a friend or fifty.


The chair I was trying to not sleep in was brutal and the nurse assigned to the room had the personality of a prison guard, but when she threw the pea soup green scrubs at me and snarled “put these on and meet me outside, your baby’s coming out in the O.R”, I smiled and followed orders.

Less than thirty minutes later my daughter was pulled from her mother’s caesarean opened belly and my reaction was “oh my God, she’s beautiful, where’s the rest of her?”

Ten years ago, at 3:25 am, Lyla, sometimes known on this blog as Bug, became a thing and changed her father’s life in ways she’ll never understand. But I’m going to explain them to you anyway. Because this is my place, and you clicked.

A decade ago, I was in a marriage that wasn’t meant to be from the start but because I like to make life as hard as possible, I stuck it out for eight years. Toward the end, a child was created, ostensibly to save the marriage, but instead, that child saved a guy, me, and made him, errr me, better for the woman and two other children who followed a few years later.


I wasn’t a very good person in August, 2003. I was miserable, mentally ill, and half the man, or maybe less, than I am today. There’s no reason to dredge up the past, you know, as Chris Tucker’s Smokey would say in Friday “talk about old s***” but I was so low it took something or someone special to shake me loose from the Hell I’d created to live in. Her name is Lyla and she only weighed five pounds.

Her mom was sick, undiagnosed eclampsia, so Lylabug basically didn’t eat the last few weeks she was inside her mom’s stomach. When the doctor pulled her out, I thought she was half the baby we were supposed to have and it freaked me out. I got to hold her first, it seemed like forever, and when I changed her first diaper and fed her first bottle I vowed to change every one of my selfish, destructive, and loathsome ways.

To see her now, you’d never believe that tiny baby in the wee hours of the morning of August 30, 2003 ever existed. She’s tall, athletic, fierce, funny, a brown belt in judo, a drummer with a seven song repertoire, and the emotional glue to the family we now live with. It’s a cliché to write that children change you for the better. But when you were as low as I was ten years ago, I’ll wrap myself in that cliché and say that five years after, in 2008, three more women, my wife and two other daughters changed me even more.


Lyla is an unusual name. It was derived from a villainous character played by actress Stephanie Romanov on the television show Angel, named Lilah. But to show you how cool my kid is, she still found her theme song, and it comes from one of her dad’s favorite bands, Oasis. Eighteen months after barely making it into the world, Noel Gallagher and the boys released “Lyla”, off their Don’t Believe the Truth album. The story behind the song mirrors my life. “Lyla” was the sister of “Sally”, the woman mentioned in Oasis’ legendary breakup tune, Don’t Look Back In Anger. I used that one to get me through the subsequent divorce and “pull myself up from the bootstraps” mentality to make me a better father for Lyla and my other daughters who followed.

If all of this doesn’t show you why music means so much to me, then you’re reading the wrong blog. Happy Birthday Lyla. You read daddy’s stuff, so this isn’t a waste of time. Welcome to double digits, kiddo. I love you more than you’ll ever realize.

Turn this up really, really loud. It works better that way. Lyla from Oasis.

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots – 100 Word Song

We’re a little late with this week’s 100 word song. I had a death in the family and I’m still helping plan my reunion while working my real job. I asked my music loving friend Jen from http://www.jenkehl.com aka @jenkehl to pick this week’s song and she chose the quirky, weird, and well played Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The great Flaming Lips.

The first thing that jumped into my head was an incident that happened about 3 weeks ago, right before my kids went back to school. Maybe 10 percent of this is fictionalized to fit the song. But something like this really happened at my house full of female imagination.

Soul To Body, my second book, is out. You can find it on amazon.com for your kindle and at lulu.com in paperback. Personally signed copies are available, inquire within.


Here’s my 100, this week, linked to my friend velvet and her 100 word prompt this week, Lights

Everyday’s different with my daughters. My wife was working late so my seventeen-year-old was watching her eight and nine-year-old sisters. The lights were off, her blue nail polished toes were hanging off the back of the couch, and she was watching some movie about evil machines.

“Where are they?”

She sighed, pushed pause of the remote control and muttered with disgust.

“I made them go downstairs because they were being so obnoxious.”

I laughed then heard a tandem yell from below.

“Beat those evil pink robots!”

I sat on the adjacent couch and pointed to my daughter to hit play.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words inspired by Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips. Link up to Mr Linky below then tweet, book of face, google plus, smoke signal, gold pan, pony express, US Mail, email, shout, and town meeting your response to as many people as possible.

Revelry – Twisted Mixtape Tuesday 2006 – 2013

Twisted Mixtape Tuesday has become one of the most fun things I’ve ever done on the Internets. While my writing partner, Tar Rah aka @Tara_R , and I take a break from our Millicent and Pauley killers , getting to show y’all some of my favorite songs and the types of tunes that mean something to me has definitely filled the void of writing about murders. But in tribute to mine and Tara’s lethal ladies, the first three songs of this playlist are in their honor. They also came from the year, 2006, when I was going through a pretty awful divorce. Make your judgments and cast your aspersions. We’re all friends, here.

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

AFI – Miss Murder

30 Seconds To Mars (yes, that’s Jordan Catalano) – The Kill

Things started to get better for me, meeting my now wife, and filling out my family of 3 daughters was close at hand. My second favorite band ever, Radiohead, and a what I thought was going to be a good rock act from the south, Kings of Leon, provided wonders of a new day.

Radiohead - Bodysnatchers

Kings of Leon – Revelry

Then things then got weird. Musical direction were splintered and after an 11 year break, I started writing again – *waving*. Thanks to everyone who’s hung around for the past 3 1/2 years.

Pearl Jam – The Fixer

Cage The Elephant – Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked

Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

And finally, if you don’t own The Black Keys’ El Camino or Japandroids’ Celebration Rock albums, there’s something seriously wrong with you. They’re brilliant and they proved that rock and roll isn’t dead, and it’s on this damn blog. Crank these two.

The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling

Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

Please go see my music freak sister from another mother and father, Jen, at http://www.jenkehl.com ( Jenkehl.com ) aka @jenkehl on The Twitter. You’ll meet some fun, interesting and unique audiophiles who will make you laugh.

Also, we’re less than 3 days (August 9th) from the release of my second book, Soul To Body, about a widowed musician and his headstrong teen daughter. It’s a cool, easy to read, reasonably priced novella, available digitally at amazon/kindle. smashwords.com, Good Reads and in paperback (the best way) from Lulu.com or a signed copy from Pound Publishing headquarters (inquire within). My first book, The Ballad of Helene Troy is still available at all of those outlets, too! Get that one. It’s musical all the way.


All Of My Best Friends Are Dead

It’s a forty-five minute drive through uninspiring locales with the final destination being the loss of one of my daughters for several days, so music gets me through. Being divorced, remarried, with three daughters who have multiple parents means you become an expert in sacrifice and compromise. If there’s one thing divorced parents have better than “traditional” ones its expert ability to handle the flux of change and negotiated ideals. So, when it’s the end of a vacation week with my middle daughter, who’s a month shy of her tenth birthday, and we have to make the long drive to drop her off, I let her have control of the car radio. And like her dad, she’s learned to hang at the intersection of endurance and diplomacy.


“What are those two stations that play all the music you like, daddy?”

I smile and know that for this trip, there will not be any Demi Lovato or Taylor Swift.

“105 and 103, baby. Flip between both of them. Maybe we’ll hear the songs I played for you when you were little.”

It’s been a while since we’d performed this ritual, well over a year, in fact, but we a hit a mother lode of trusted tunes. The Beatles’ Ticket To Ride, The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated, The Clash’s Rock the Casbah and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit high-lighted the ride. I sprinkled in commentary and answered my daughter’s questions in between. Then she said something that was meant to be funny but turned poignant on a dime.

“Daddy, I like how you talk about these music people like they’re your best friends.”

She waited for me to respond before hitting the seek button. I manufactured a laugh and smile.

“Just listen to them, honey.”

Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobbie McGee, played.

One of my writing heroes, the late music critic Lester Bangs, once asked;

“If the main reason we listen to music in the first place is to hear passion expressed- as I’ve believed all my life-then what good is this music going to prove to be? what does that say about us?”

I don’t know about you, but music means I’m never alone. It means that as long as there are three-minute or fewer pieces of brilliance that show talent and heart, then my life can forever be affected.

My daughter opened up the car door as Janis stopped singing. She always notices the tears in my eyes when she leaves. She leaned back inside the car for a hug then left me with a nugget of truth.

“Listen to your friends, daddy. They’ll make you feel better.”

I didn’t have the heart or nerve to tell her John Lennon, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Lester Bangs were all dead. I just turned up the radio and waved goodbye.

john lennonjoey-ramone-456-b-41511-1302888438joestrummerkurt-cobainjanisjoplinLesterBangs

One Alive Kool Thing – Twisted Mixtape Tuesday

The best posts just happen. They dance off your fingertips, the automatic editor works, and right before you hit publish, you have hundreds of great words, pictures, videos, and feelings that will transfer to the reader. This one isn’t like that. In fact, it’s the most belabored one I’ve ever been involved with because it concerns an era of music that should be titled “Lance’s Damn Wheel House”, Twisted Mixtape Tuesday 1990s, Part One for http://www.jenkehl.com ‘s weekly blogging dance party.


As I started researching what to write and teach you all about, I found myself with four different genres, nineteen different artists, and twenty-seven songs. Not even I, a music junkie, would read that.

For me, the music that changed my life, forever, happened between the years 1988 to 1994. Everything I like, now, I found during those years, and I still obsess over today.

Before I list a few songs and videos. I want you to know that in 1988, Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, then in 1989, Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique and Stone Roses debut album meant a lot to me. I played all 4 records hundreds of times. They stay in my car or in heavy rotation in my computer all the time, today. All 4 albums are revolutionary in production, sound, style, guitar-playing, and prompted other bands to steal from their brilliant ideas.

The early 1990s saw music from bands with ideas and deep beliefs. Ideas like writing pro-choice on your arm, blasting the horrible sexism that permeated hair metal and rock in general, and promoting racial harmony like when Anthrax worked with Public Enemy. I miss that time. It’s dormant, now…at least the activism.

Kool Thing – Sonic Youth, the legendary indie rock band broke down, signed to a major label for their 1990 release, Goo. The best song came from bassist Kim Gordon who essentially killed the pretention of 1980s rock stars by taking a bad experience interviewing arrogant and sexist LL Cool J, and delivering a guitar blaze of smart-assness and perverse, hipster coolness. I wish Kim Gordon had married Kurt Cobain. Think of how the world had been a better place.



Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode – I didn’t “get” the 1980s electronic indie darlings until they put some guitars in the group, wrote lyrics on their 1990 album, Violater, that were both provocative and alternative, and suddenly I was an admirer of the risk taking Dave Gahan and his heroin fueled songs about alienation and gay rights, a year before Seattle happened.

Enter Sandman – Metallica – Testosterone has been the fuel of rock since Elvis and Chuck Berry. A few years before Metallica cut their hair and sucked, they put out their mainstream pop hard rock album and it rocked, with a black cover of a coiled snake and song after song of ass kicking music. When you hear the brutal rhythm section of Sandman, you know trouble’s coming and you don’t even try to stop it.

Seattle Reign:

Everyone else will play these bands and I write about and play the songs of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees, Bikini Kill, Hole, Candlebox, and more. They changed the game in 1991 and made wool caps, bad attitudes, flannel, and smack so cool, we all couldn’t get enough. I’m going to show four videos of songs I listened to constantly and still do.

Lithium – Nirvana

Rusty Cage – Soundgarden

Rooster – Alice In Chains

Alive – Pearl Jam


Siva – Smashing Pumpkins – Gish isn’t their best album but it has Siva so it will always be a good record. The Pumpkins were doing their stuff in Chicago, well before the Seattle snobs put their records out and yet, you can see how the scenes traded influences. This is just a great song.

One – U2 – Believe it or not, the biggest band in the world with the lead singer who gets nominated for Nobel Peace Prizes was about to break up in early 1991. Achtung Baby, their excellent album, was almost abandoned due to creative conflicts within the band. One, a song Bono has written for an AIDS benefit was reworked, slowed down, and helped the four Irish dudes find their fastball, again. The lyric “Have you come here for forgiveness, have you come to raise the dead, have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head”, shatters the idea that rock music is frivolous and not poetic. This is one of my favorite songs, period.

This was to hard. I’ve left out so much and these songs cover 1990 through 1992. Next week, we talk about Britpop, hip hop and Rage. Part two may put me in a mental facility.

Looking for a fiction book about music that will fire you up? Try The Ballad of Helene Troy, available digitally on amazon/kindle http://www.amazon.com/The-Ballad-Helene-Troy-ebook/dp/B00BJOMM84/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1374021856&sr=8-1 on in paperback from Lulu.com or a signed copy straight from Pound Publishing Headquarters like this one: