Tsar is on the cover of the LA Weekly today

here’s a portion of their feature article:

“Hello Tokyo! Hello Australia! Hello Africa!” Tsar’s mascara’d main man, Jeff Whalen, hits the Roxy stage with a skinny swirl, launching his band into a frenetic flash of power-pop paradise. In taut Navy-grunt shirt, white Levi’s and sneaks, the Compleat Rock Star edition 2005 whips his grand little combo harder, faster, furiouser, windmilling his ax in twin-guitar bliss with lead guitar dude Daniel Kern. Blamblamblam!

“It’s about being born to be alive!” Whalen bawls, stripping down to a sweaty T. And then Whalen, Kern and new members Derrick Forget (bass) and Chuck Byler (drums) lay out a ripping “Wanna Get Dead” from the band’s recent Band-Girls-Money album (TVT Records), followed by “Wrong” (“which is,” Whalen says, “always pronounced wrong”).

Yes indeed, and if you cast half a squinty eye at the band’s cheezee flash-bulbed TSAR logo, you quickly grok his POV. Tsar segues from one potential hit single to another, rarely pausing to breathe or even to allow the adoring hordes to properly hail the group with whoops and hollers. Which is too bad, ’cause if any band currently struts a stage with gleefully awesome power, grandeur and majesty, it’s Tsar. Exhausting, almost, or it would be if the band’s shtick weren’t so damn funny, so very pertinent and so very, very rocking.

Sure, they’re good-humored and cuddly cute in a Banana Splits kinda way, but Tsar’s visual comedy comes loaded with a decidedly heavy rock slam and twisted, even sinister lyrical undertones — call it pathos, if you must.

Here’s a band, meanwhile, where the entire family can have hours of fun spotting the influences. Go ahead, give it a whirl: Mott the Hoople, Cheap Trick of course, Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Sweet, T-Rex, the New York Dolls, the Stones, Aerosmith, even the Archies; Ramones, ELO, Buzzcocks! BOC! BTO! (Huh?) Twin guitar leads? Aw yeah, it’s Thin Lizzy!

“We used to do a lot more of the twin lead stuff,” says Whalen. “When we first started doing it, it was cracking us up — ‘oh, we can’t do that’ — but it’s so weird how the things that started as jokes, how quickly you forget that it’s supposed to be funny.”

Whalen’s songs are the most brain-warping boiling pots of every classic rock sound from the ’60s and ’70s, but like the giants before him, he leaves the footsteps of his own eminence by smelting these influences down, so it never comes off as mere pastiche.

Stumbling out of the band’s cheapo rented maroon van — we’re talking intimate/stinky, not one of those Dolly Parton complete-with-bidet-type things — on one of their innumerable cross-country tours to drum up a little support for the glorious Band-Girls-Money, Whalen calls me from a skanky hotel room somewhere in exotic Canada. He’s eager to talk about this righteous rock & roll ragout we like to call Tsar, and the man is not at all jaded and bored and glum. You might say he’s a little too happy, considering he had to do all the driving today, from Baltimore all the way up to Ontario.

“You know,” he says, “when you’re in the van, and it’s just the band, you gotta split it up, regardless of how hung over or how much chicken you’ve eaten.”

No chauffeur, eh?

“We don’t have a liveryman as of yet, but, you know, this way we ‘keep it real’ — real tedious,” he laughs.

… read the rest here

great pics from the troubador show via ice cream man + h/t koganuts + my pics

last night i had the pleasure of having dinner with lots of my friends

to honor the arrival of mr henry copeland of blogads here in hollywood.

there was mr matt welch, his lovely wife and fashion model emmanuelle, there was bonnie and charlie and lil bea, there was the host of this blog mr oswald j mcgillicuddy, science blog ben sullivan was in the hizzy, as was my boss mc marc brown.

we ate at a restaurant whose name escapes me but it once was called the Crest and then Good and now its called something else.

whats fun about this place now is that they had a special called “mystery beer” for $2 a bottle.

even though i’m a fairly experimental man in regards to booze for some reason i didnt want any damn mystery beer, as my supposition was it would probably be a pint of some random fucked up homebrew bullshit created by some dumbass college kid in his mommas basement.

but it turned out that it just meant that they would give you a bottle of a random beer of their choosing.

so when six of us ordered six mystery beers, they came out with six different bottles and we all chose which we’d like.

and to be honest, to me, all beer tastes the same so i didnt give a fuck.

anyways we drank, we ate, we chatted, we caught up, we kissed lil bea’s sweet lil cheek and we took turns thanking henry for not just creating blog ads which have paid most or part of our rents, but for being a swell guy personally and professionally.

there are many reasons to like mr henry copeland but one of the reasons its fun to talk with him is cuz he truly knows the internet, he truly knows bloggers and blogging, and he truly knows about business and advertising.

so in a matter of 5 minutes we could throw out 20 bloggers and what theyre doing and what theyre writing about and who theyre linking to and talking about and what theyre not talking about and henry is right there with you. i swear in one minute we bounced from the instapundit to lgf to ann althouse to moxie to annika to raymi to bunny mcintosh to madpony to jason toney to the science blog and henry knew em all and had interesting things to say about each of them.

focusing on the fact that when madpony and i met at sxsw he could feel the sparks fly and the love in the air and thought that she and i would be together forever.

sadly life isnt fair, but fortunately life isnt fair and even though all the young bucks and future millionaires wanted to hang out with miss oklahoma, she had driven eight hours to see me and hang with me.

for some reason i had repressed that part of the visit since it was so heartbreaking but thanks henry, you pointed out the nice portion of it.

he also clued me into some of the interesting parts of pajamas media, off the record, and what was so funny was he phrased some of it by saying please dont blog about this, which is interesting since i dont usually blog about other peoples business. especially their personal or financial biz since its really not any of my business, but im glad that he said things like that because when youre at a table of journalists and bloggers its probably a good idea every now and then in between mystery beers to remind people that everythings off the record.

professionalism, due dilligence, politeness. i love my friends and i love the people who they know, and if you pay any attention to the santa barbara mafia, and the 14 years that we’ve all been together, you wont see many flareups among us. which i think is rare.

anyways because we’re nerds, afterwards on the cold street, mc brown and i brainstormed for 45 minutes in the wind about how to make buzznet better.

but something that i forgot to ask my friends was what should i do with my mattress and box spring.

let me explain.

my best friend christine rene is about to go to africa to volunteer for the peace corps. she leaves LA tomorrow to go home for a few months to prepare. she is giving me her $1,000 mattress and box spring which ive had the pleasure of experiencing and its un-be-lievable. although it may have been the company.

however, when she and i split up four years ago i was forced to get a new mattress and box spring for a few hundred bucks. an unemployed bachelors super firm mattress and box spring which over the years ive broken in in ways that id have never expected.

the ladies… the miracles… the history… the memories… that that mattress has been part of makes it difficult to just sell for $50 on craigslist like some dumb old lamp or donate to Goodwill like some stupid sweater.

if this were isla vista id give it a proper burial in a dumpster with the aid of some gasoline and a blowtorch.

but this is hollywood and they frown upon such rituals.

so perhaps you, dear reader, can provide some advice as to what i can do with my bedding, which has been my secret good luck charm these years, and has been broken in perfectly.

jay + flirtblog + bored housewife