TV Host JJ Anderson on Ronda Rousey and the Persona of the Female Fighter

JJ Anderson

JJ Anderson

There are, as hard as it may be to believe, alternative media voices out there in the MMA media world beyond Joe Rogan’s braying and Ariel Helwani’s wide-eyed enthusiasm.

One such voice is JJ Anderson, host of 3 Rounds With…, a show on Blackbelt TV.

Sarah spoke to her about fighting, television and some of her more interesting interviews.

To read the story head over to Fightland by going here.

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Pink Floyd’s Rap Flirtation: Producer Bob Ezrin Suggested Band Experiment With Genre in ’80s

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

Imagine for a moment you’re in 1987 and listening to your favorite FM rock radio station. It’s playing Pink Floyd’s “Learning to Fly,” the band’s post-Roger Waters #1 comeback hit. As the hypnotic song coasts along, capturing its intended feeling of soaring through the air, suddenly at the 3:50 mark where David Gilmour’s memorable guitar solo is supposed to start, suddenly a beat drops and Gilmour instead throws down a rapid-fire verse about flying high. Pink Floyd… rapping.

It could have happened.

But it didn’t, despite super-producer Bob Ezrin’s efforts to introduce Pink Floyd to new sounds. At the time Ezrin, a co-writer of “Learning to Fly” and co-producer of the Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason along with the band’s Gilmour, was deeply into this new form of music called rap. He even approached Gilmour about including some rap-like elements on the album.

“I became fascinated with it in the Afrika Bambaataa days,” Ezrin tells Spinner of his beats ‘n’ rhymes appreciation. “I’m an early adopter. I actually brought some in when we were doing A Momentary Lapse of Reason. I brought some in to David Gilmour’s thing going, ‘Boy, I think this stuff with a rock beat would be awesome.’”

While Ezrin’s visionary combination pre-dated the rise of rap-rock by more than half-a-decade, Gilmour was having none of it.

“He said, ‘Oh my God, that would be terrible,’” Ezrin recalls with a laugh. “He couldn’t believe it. He hated the idea.”

A Momentary Lapse of Reason was a top ten album around the world, and it did make extensive use of samples — mostly spoken word clips — so perhaps Gilmour took something out of that early rap after all. Though Gilmour probably made the right call considering the album’s success.

Perhaps lost in this whole fanciful adventure, however, is something unfamiliar to most rock ‘n’ roll liner note readers — Bob Ezrin, one of classic rock’s great producers and the man who built his reputation on game-changing albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, KISS’ Destroyer and Lou Reed’s Berlin, is a huge rap fan. It’s a side to Ezrin’s work that’s often overshadowed, but it’s always been there.

“First of all it’s not really a secret,” says Ezrin, who’ll be one of the keynote celebrity interviews at Canadian Music Week in Toronto on Saturday, March 23. “It’s not what I’m noted for… I’m an old white guy. I’m not noted for that stuff, but then a lot of old white guys have been involved in urban music and been very important to it in that. Jimmy Iovine [Interscope, Beats by Dre co-founder] is an old white guy too, but without him the modern rap business would be entirely different.”

Ezrin’s rap roots actually run quite deep. At Nimbus, a music school he helps run, “Beats and Urban Music Production” is one of the marquee programs. He has a producer credit for helping out on Jay-Z’s 2004 documentary movie “Fade to Black,” and worked with Aceyalone’s Freestyle Fellowship on an underground internet radio channel years ago. He’s also helped out with Beat Kangz Electronics, who make “the best production work station for hip-hop producers in the world.”

Mostly, though, Ezrin says it’s about working with “artists,” whatever their stripe. One of his current faves is folk singer/poet/rapper K’naan, who Ezrin helped on the “Wavin’ Flag” Young Artists for Haiti charity single in 2010.

“I met him the first time when I saw him onstage at Live 8 where I produced the finale with Neil Young and all the different artists,” Ezrin starts. “But I was around for the whole day and I saw him onstage and basically went backstage immediately to meet him because I just thought he was so exciting and refreshing and pure and honest and beautiful. I just thought this was greatness, I saw greatness there. So we stayed friends over the years. We stayed in touch and we’ve finally had a chance to work on a few things. I did something on his current album and of course he and I did ‘Wavin’ Flag’ for Haiti, which was a great pleasure. And I consider him a friend and an artist and I’m always there to support in any way I can.”

Ultimately, that’s what Ezrin says he’s after, whether it’s introducing Pink Floyd to rap, composing rock operas with Lou Reed, or making charity singles with K’naan.

“I love to work with those people who can honestly call themselves artists,” he says. “I haven’t been able to at every turn, but mostly I have.”

This story originally appeared March 19, 2013 on the Spinner Canada website.

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Fifty Shades Of MMA Is A Real Thing

50 Shades Of MMA

50 Shades Of MMA

Mixed martial arts erotica is a real thing.

We know this because Sarah spoke to Charity Parkerson, the author of the Undefeated series of novels.

To read the story head over to Fightland by going here.

 

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The Best (And, Ick, Worst) NSFW Music Videos Ever

Beyonce

Beyonce

There was a two week period recently where the only thing you would see on Sarah’s computer was boobies. Boobies all the time, everywhere.

This was because she was researching a list for Huffington Post Music Canada called the “best and worst NSFW music videos ever.”

There are a lot of boobs in these videos.

To see the full list go here.

 

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Talking Star Wars With Oderus Urungus

Gwar's Oderus Urungus

Gwar’s Oderus Urungus

It was a super-bummer morning today when I woke up and found out that Dave Brockie, the earthbound alter-ego for Gwar lead singer Oderus Urungus had died.

I got to interview Oderus once for Chart Magazine in 1999 or so when they put out their We Kill Everything album. To the best I can tell the story was purged from the internet at some point. And I couldn’t find it looking through old back issues of the magazine either, so it may not have even made it in print either (presumably because the interview was too offensive to go on newsstand).

So with a heavy Scumdog heart I’m going to excerpt some of the conversation I had with Oderus back then so that — like the rotting corpse of a zombie baby Jesus — it will live on to terrorize humanity forever…

What’s with all the Mexican Inca crap [We Kill Everything's cover art]?
Oh I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the art department. I don’t design that crap.

I noticed you’ve got a song on the new record called “Babyraper,” we’ve got an intern who’s pregnant and really sassy. What should we do with her?
Rape her. Rape the child before its born. You gotta find someone with a long enough dick. First of all you gotta punch her in her pregnant fucking belly, until the kid is positioned with its butthole at the end of her pussy. Then you gotta get a big long penis. And if you can’t fuck with a penis, then fuck her with your leg. Fucking toe-fuck the kid. Whatever works, I dunno, ram a fire hydrant up her ass. You go with it baby, you go with it.

What’s the deal with the songs “Fishfuck” and “Fuckin’ An Animal”?
There weren’t enough songs about bestial butt sex on the last record. A lot of fans complained about it, they’re like, “Oderous, why aren’t there more songs about beastial butt sex?” I was like, “Geesh, you’re right. Oh, my gosh. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

You guys must be real popular at petting zoos?
We’re banned. Universally banned.

You mention muskellunge, “got a dick like a muskellunge.” Your fans don’t know what the hell a muskellunge is?
I don’t care. I don’t pander down to the legions of retarded fans who call Gwar their gods. Hey baby, no one knows what a Moa-Moa is either. So I’m trying to educate people. My fans are gonna read that and they’re gonna go, “What the fuck is a Muskellunge?” And they’re gonna go look in the Encyclopedia of Fishes, or maybe go to Borders, and they’ll look at it on the rack, y’know, and go, “Oh muskellunge, what an ugly fuckin’ fish!”

How many of your fans do you think fish?
Oh, I don’t know, I mean I’ve never seen a fishing tournament. I’ve never seen a Gwar-sponsored bass boat. It would be great though. I would recommission the Iowa and drop depth charges to capture the fuckin’ fish. It would be spectacular. A lot of things would be spectacular but we’ll never get to do them because people will be terrified.

I was thinking about the song “Penile Drip.” Shouldn’t you get that checked out?
No. Where I come from penile drip is a measure of your masculinity. I mean, you want to cultivate social diseases. Make ‘em bigger, make ‘em better. Everyone’s got a normal looking dick. I want warts, boils, puboils, running sores, pus dripping off the end. That’s what I want. What I get. That’s what I have.

Have you seen that new Star Wars trailer?
Yeah I saw it.

Don’t you think Princess Leia’s mom looks pretty hot in a creepy alien way.
Yeah, but I’ll never forgive ‘em for the Ewoks.

Those are things that deserve kickin’.
They better not be in this fucking movie.

Why don’t you beat the shit outta some of them?
They don’t even deserve to be in a Gwar show the things are so fucking pathetic. Return Of The Jedi made me so fucking mad, and now everybody’s getting so fucking into it — all these fat, balding, double-chined, comic book-collecting morons — I fucking hate it already.

What about when Darth Vader turns good at the end?
…And when they take his hat off, he’s not even fucked up lookin’?! He looked O.K., I mean there was some fucked up shit around the edges [of his face], but c’mon! He should have been way more fucked up!

Where would Chewy fit in Gwar?
Anywhere he wants to.

What about Slymenstra and Jabba?
Slymenstra? Yuckkk. I just see all these sexual things.

None of them pretty.
No, not at all. Slymenstra crawlin’ up inside of him and , ugghh God! Yuck, next question.

What about Slymenstra versus Darth Vader?
Oh, I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about Star Wars anymore.

 

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Kajan Johnson, A Tribe Called Red, The Ultimate Fighter And First Nations Rights In Canada

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red

A little while ago on Twitter Ultimate Fighter contender Kajan Johnson tweeted how psyched he is about A Tribe Called Red‘s music.

This, being a perfect marriage of Sarah’s interests, prompted her to reach out to both of them for an interview about fighting and First Nations rights and issues.

To read that interview head over to Fightland by going here.

 

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Songs: Ohia And The Working Man Blues

Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia

Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia

Songwriter Jason Molina Restlessly Searches For The Unknown

Belching steel mill smokestacks, sooty coal mining towns, busting cities. These are images that define the working man, the simple man. They’re all well-known, easy to understand images.

But while most of the proletariat live these images by trudging along, scraping together their day’s wage, occasionally a few starry-eyed poets manage to escape from that drudgery. These poets are always restless, always searching for more. Jason Molina, the brains and voice behind Songs: Ohia is one of them.

Songs: Ohia records — of which there are at least 11 of them depending on how you count — are defined by this sense of scraping through life. They’re about simple themes: loneliness, restlessness, change. They’re lullabies for the working class.

“I don’t know where that comes from,” says Molina. “It has always followed me. I know that it has something to do with people knowing where I grew up — Northern Ohio in a steel manufacturing town, a shipbuilding town. And in southwestern Virginia, which is sort of a coal mining kind of world.

“It absolutely informed every word out of my mouth. Either in songs or just in my day to day life outside of music.”

Molina’s world is one filled with dark adventure, a scowling, nomadic existence. Despite the roadblocks of an impoverished upbringing, Molina got into fancy art school Oberlin College. He then met up with the Secretly Canadian record label as well as like-minded musical souls Will Oldham, Arab Strap, Cat Power, Steve Albini and assorted other indie record store idols.

The latest album, The Magnolia Electric Co., is the closest Molina has ever come to a populist recording. Loaded with tales of love and those same workmanlike images that inform his world, for this one Molina employs a rollicking backing band. The Bob Seger-esque result is quite unlike the darkly atmospheric Ghost Tropic, the urgent balladry of The Lioness or the Crazy Horse-inspired live album Mi Sei Apparso Come Un Fantasma.

For a man who’s obsessed with the theme of change, there’s one constant that runs through Magnolia and literally every song Songs: Ohia has ever recorded: loneliness. We’re not talking about a transparent, girl-left-me emo loneliness, but a soul-deep world-weary melancholy.

“I hadn’t consciously tried to put that in there,” says Molina. “But reflecting on the material on that record, I think it’s more working through loneliness when you’re surrounded by people who love you and respect you. Somehow this feeling that there’s something you’re not able to take away from situations where you’re physically not lonely, but somehow you feel that you’re not able to take what people are giving you.”

At the risk of playing amateur psychiatrist, that sense of incomplete has a root cause in one thing: travel. Molina’s furious touring and non-stop hopscotching from town to town have permanently infused his outlook with a sense of wanderlust. But it’s that very same wanderlust that makes each new piece of Songs: Ohia music exciting.

“I move around a lot. I’ve never been able to settle down. Maybe I’m part gypsy or something,” says Molina. “I don’t mean to be, because I certainly love places. Even if I’m there for a night or a day being on tour. Since I’ve been on tour for a long time I’ve moved quite a bit. Before I was a touring musician I really had to earn to absorb as much as I could, good or bad, from a place while I was there instead of always worrying about the final resting place. Maybe there’s not going to be a final settling down for me.”

With that, Molina then tries to count the different locations he’s lived.

“I’d say maybe 20 places easily. Twenty different towns. Right now I’m in southern Indiana, a town that’s just outside of Indianapolis called Bloomington. Indiana University is here. It’s also where Secretly Canadian is. But tomorrow morning I’m leaving for a big European tour and when I get back I’ll be moving again… to parts unknown.

Songs: Ohia “The Big Game Is Every Night”
from The Magnolia Electric Co., 10th anniversary edition

This story originally appeared in the May 2003, #146 issue of Chart Magazine.

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