my mom was all, i thought i saw you at the oscars

i was like ma thats tom morello from rage against the machine

who not only looks like a thinner, wealthier, healthier me,

also happens to be a damn guitar hero.

as in, he’s one of the guitar heroes you have to face off against in the billion dollar best selling video game guitar hero

born in harlem, but raised in naperville i think.

like chicago, his mom is half italian half irish and his dad is from kenya. but the good part of kenya. his great uncle was the country’s first elected president. i guess they had kings before that. who knows. who knows anything?

tom probably would. he graduated from harvard and then found his way in one of the most powerfully aggressive hyper political heavy rock bands of the 90s. the singer zach de la rocha had this wild afro and stormed around the stage exactly like you would if you were trying to incite a riot.

riots were incited.

only one guitarist in this band that sounded like it had 80. and that one was tom. he plays solos like no one else.

it’s painfully sharp at times.

it sounds like what electrocution probably feels like.

the music is meant to get under your skin. the bassist has a stylized filled in giant tattoo of all black.

also, tom is a cubs fan. also, he played in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for a little while, and on eight tracks of his album “high hopes”.

when chris cornell left soundgarden for a little while, rick rubin suggested that he hook up with tom and rage because zach had left them to do something far more interesting than be a super star singer of a incredibly important band

chris and tom and tattoo guy and the drummer (who has been dating juliet lewis for a while) made a band called audioslave which showed us what rage would sound like with an otherworldy singer instead of a dynamic rapper shouter.

they kicked ass.

audioslave’s first record went triple platinum, and their follow up went regular platinum. they had a medicore third record, broke up, and tom found himself in a band with the dude from cypress hill and chuck d from public enemy called prophets of rage which was an interesting thing on paper but weirdly… bruce, chris, chuck d, b real, there was something very different about tom and zach

it was a one two punch in the middle of grunge that took it up a notch. for years if you wanted to put a little spice into a huge festival youd have the red hot chili peppers, but on a night of say 15 bands, if rage was on the bill they better be put on last because how are you gonna follow a hurricane of angst and power and barbed wire solos?

which brings us to sunday. some devout fans of rage and tom thought that presenting at the oscars is the opposite of punk rock, and to wear a tuxedo is not very rock n roll.

but anyone who has listened to him in interviews would know, he’s not really here begging for you to love him. he’s just here to save the world.

looking forward to the live action shorts tomorrow

Went to the movies tonight as my last chance to see a nominated film before the Oscars. I saw they were screening all the nominated Live Action Shorts, so I went. Mama mia, what an intense experience.

4 of the 5 nominees are about kids in grave peril and the other is about a sweet old French-Canadian lady on her death bed. So: tearful to say the least.

The two though that really stood out for me were “Skin” which is about hate crimes based in racism, and “Detainment” where two kids are accused of killing a 2 year old.

Walking out of the theater I was giving the edge to “Skin” because it was told slightly better, but the performance of 11-year-old Ely Solan in “Detainment” is tremendous and when I got home I watched the trailer just to see him do it again.

If there was a Juvenile Oscar like they had back in the day, this kid would have walked away with it. Not just because he can bring the waterworks but because the script was based on the interrogation transcripts, so this lad embodied history and spit it out as if it was truly happening to him.

But, alas, there’s controversy about this film. Turns out the parents of the victim are super pissed that they weren’t consulted, and feel like this 30 minute short humanizes the pair. Apparently there was a petition created once the film got on the short list and once it got nominated people, like me, started paying attention. Now a quarter million people are demanding that the director or the branch or whoever has the power can get it pulled from contention. But what up n coming director wants to work on something and then give up right before crossing the finish line?

Which is why I bring it to your attention. It’s a totally compelling movie of a super tragic incident and young Ely is such a natural in this role as an child being drilled by cops into slowly telling this grisly tale. Merely for acting sake it’s worth watching.

Also it’s a weird little lesson in perspective. From this side of the pond it’s one of the best short movies of the year, and from that side it’s, I guess, a skeleton in the closet that very few want exposed and retold.

So it will be very interesting to see, if it wins, what backlash, if any, will come from the UK onto the director when he brings the statuette home. I’ll also be curious how this affects his career as a director. Will he have to move to America? Change his name? Become an Uber driver?

All of the UK will be watching that oft-overlooked category extremely closely.

if i wasnt so lazy

If I wasn’t so lazy,
I would start a GoFundMe to buy Fox News
I’d change the name and play music videos on it all day
hosted by VJs.
There would be a daily dance show,
one about Hip Hop,
cartoons and a game show called Remote Control.
On Fridays there would be concerts.
First a half hour by a small band
then a half hour by a medium sized band
then an hour from a giant band.
On Saturdays at midnight there would be a midnight movie.
There’d be news but it would be about music.
I’ll need about $5 billion, it seems.

the secret to growing communities that grow

i have been so lucky to have been able to work at some of the coolest online ventures around. from LAist to the LA Times to the Oscars. but it all started here on this very blog, the busblog.

one thing i learned at LAist was – it helps if you love the content as much as you love the audience.

when you love something you do it with rose colored glasses. so you might miss some of the issues. but thats ok because when you notice that certain things are bad, you will rush to fix it. not out of any weird power trip but because you want everyone else to enjoy the thing you’re making with them.

so the first thing is love. love it, love them. otherwise it’s just work and you can tell if something is being run by someone who loves it compared to someone who is just doing it for the money and health benefits.

the next thing is be open to change, be open to creativity, be open to possibilities, be open to things that are scary, be open like youve never been open before.

if America wasn’t open to expansion we would never have had the Louisiana Purchase and we would have never made it to the Golden State. And now California is as mighty as most foreign countries. it pays to be open. it pays to figure out ways to grow. will there be growing pains? of course. don’t freak out. as the hitchhikers guide wisely advises: dont panic.

at every group blog ive seen or worked with there were more than a few superstar writers who some thought were irreplaceable. we are all irreplaceable. the yankees have won championships without Babe Ruth. the Lakers have won without Magic. life goes on without tony pierce and all the rest. and thats ok. what is freaky is how quickly life can go on without this star or that one. it’s been over 35 years since SNL lost John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray and that show still trends every Sunday.

the show will go on. so dont fear change. if you wanna be punk rock, embrace it. and if you wanna be new wave: be the change.

which brings us the my favorite facebook group Howard Stern for Fans who Actually Like Howard Stern.

no one asked for this group. i started it last year, wellllllll into the last stages of his career. he only has a show 3x a week, 2x a month. there were already at least 100 howard stern groups, and yet suddenly ours is on pace to being the most popular one on Facebook. how?

because i have set rules. i enforce the rules. it’s just me plus some superfans who let me know via flagging or instant message when people are being rude. and i allow the group to metaporphisize into whatever it’s gonna be. and i will call bullshit on certain trends. and i am not afraid to boot people or protect others.

but i really think the secret sauce is i love howard’s show and history, and i know it, and ive been around the block in regards to social, so i can see trouble before it happens.

what i love about this chart on the tippy top is, anyone can have good numbers in your first 6-7 months cuz youre new and cute. but if you suck people will bail out and stop telling their friends. whats interesting about this group is it started hot, and has continued to be hot for the last 6-7 months too. even though howard has had hella vacation, even though more stern groups have sprouted. even though ive been obsessed with a secret project. the growth is growing at a pace of 61%.

every week we are getting between 250-350 new members. and theyre staying. lots of posts.

i had one guy say, how many admins do you have? i said me. he said, im in this group but i admin another one about a cable TV show and we have 4 admins. how do you do it? i say, i let them be. he said, no way would that work with us? i asked why? he said the founder of the group wants everything approved. that takes time. and the quality is better.

i said how do you know if the quality is better if its always been one way. maybe when people are free they write better or they say things that omg that One guy doesnt like or the other 3 admins. thats a lot of ways to get vetoed. here i only have a few ways to get vetoed: poop, disparaging howard robin or beth, politics and a few others. most people are cool with that and it allows space for people to be free.

freedom is everything for growth. give a tree a lot of space, a lot of sunshine, and tons of water and that baby will grooooooooooooow.

now bababooey to you all.

tony what is the purpose of anything?

dear tony, why should we try? why should we try to push the boundaries, the envelope, whatever you want to call it? why shouldn’t we just march in formation and do whatever the person with the loudest bullhorn says?

dear sweet reader,

i don’t know about you. but when i look at the map of the USA my eyes move from right to left. often very quickly.

when i look at the East Coast i see the past. i see a bunch of smooshed up places all knotted up with each other and really only one or two of the places matter. boston knows it doesnt matter which is why theyve flooded the place with colleges so they could figure it out.

but ive figured it out. we need progress, which is why the eye moves from right to left on the map. from the past to the wholesomeness to the wild west. the west is the future. somewhat the present but more the near future.

we need that progress to live. ask Payless and Sears and Circuit City what happens when you are not constantly progressing. you die. you die right there in the rut that you buried yourself in.

is it exhausting to be ahead of the pack? isn’t easier to just lay back and coast along with the middle? yes. and fewer bugs hit your windscreen. and you’re more likely to hit a pothole or black ice or a swarm of bees.

but is also provides the best view, the most excitement, and schools aren’t named after followers, they’re named after leaders, explorers, warriors.

do your job. live up to expectations. make magic when no ones looking.

and get fucking schools named after your ass

heres the thing you cant worry about

you cant worry about Google. people may search you and read the wrong thing. but they might read the right thing too. so you cant worry.

what you should worry about is being good. are you a good person? is your heart in the right place? are you kind? are you trying?

on a different level you can worry about are you doing interesting things or using whatever gifts you have or are you underachieving. but that first part is more nuanced than most of us realize. and by us i mean me of course.

good is fine but theres another level. are we there yet ice cube?

i have a rule that if anyone on the street asks me for money i’ll give it to them. but the other day there was this guy in a doorway, sitting on cardboard, it was cold and wet. and he never asked. we passed him and said hello. he said nothing. and when we passed him again he said nothing. i should have given him something.

but sometimes i think anything i do for this guy is meaningless. what’s a dollar or two gonna matter. but i gotta tell you, when i was driving uber, a $2 tip would completely fuel me for two hours. any instance of positive reinforcement is welcome in my life, why would that guy be any different?

so thats what i mean about a higher level of goodness. and thats just a dumb example. theres way more personal and important ones.

for example i should go to yoga with my gf. she would like that.

it was valentines day

so i watched a bunch of movies for an interview ive gotta do

took a shower

got some texts from the girl that she would be home soon.

listened to the rain and then lack of rain

threw on her robe and my new cubs spring training cap

and met the nice femme at the door with a smile and a small plan.

because she goes to work so early in the morning, she can be back at a reasonable hour which allowed us, in this case, to be at this nice italian restaurant before 6pm, which on vday

in los feliz,

is the perfect time to be there, especially without a reservation.

but ive gotta tell you, i wasnt blown away by the place, Lil Doms. big prices for small dishes is a trend that should go away. if a man is gonna order spaghetti and meatballs, maybe sell them the LA size plate for $18, like they do, but they should also sell a midwestern size for $4-5 more.

how much does a few more balls and noodles really cost.

got home, started a fire, and ate four slices of toast because Dom doesn’t give you free bread either.

odd place.

cozy, dark, decent music, and perfect for a 6pm vday dinner but maybe thats it.

fuck yeah greg mcilvaine

last night, in a beautifully appointed rented soundstage in atwater village

greg vaine, your boy, invited bandmates from groups he’s rocked with since he was a teen,

to his time in isla vista,


and now back in LA.

there were reunions, surprises, cover tunes, a taco hat,

multiple costume changes,

it could have gone on all weekend.

it’s a testament to how loved greg is and how many different genres of music are better when he’s on guitar.

i hope we do this every 50 years.

what if the what ifs are right

what if the voices are speaking from the future and they know and theyre there to protect us and especially you then what do you do what do you say what if they know

which is an excellent question for this weeks ask tony and i know the answer to that perfectly and here it is

there are two songs on the playlist. neither are good. the one is the mopey sad scared boring panicking drone that says its not gonna happen everyones out to get you the end of the world is nigh

the other is saying oh but youre the exception to the rules youre the chosen one youre the golden child incapable of failure, try, try, try all will be well, and then vacation a little more you deserve it!

dont you think basketball players at the free throw line hear the people booing and shouting and trying to distract them

of course. and they know theres nothing good in listening, so they listen to the other song, you can make this, you can do this, you have done it, youve done it millions of times, just hit it and smile on your jog back down the court

practice your acceptance speeches, not your defenses

prepare for success, not death

seek out the fuck yes