Staying alive

Mötley Crüe and some dead guy.

Mötley Crüe and some dead guy.

Dead or alive?
I’d like to think I have lots of years left on this kooky little rock. But, ya never know … guess I should lay off the burritos, Otter Pops and cheap beer. Anyway, I’ve been thinking—not only about how fragile life can be, but how so many things endure and live on well beyond their expiration dates (The Rolling Stones? KISS? Me?). Then, of course, there are those people we thought were long gone who come back many years after they were dead in the dirt, drawing flies.

Yes, in this column I will delve deep into our own mortality. Come along; we’re in this together … till the end.

The Birds are back in town
I’m not a spiritual person, but I think the return of Chico’s beloved instrumentalists Birds Of Fire might be some sort of divine revival for those involved. Yes, Birds Of Fire is back from the dead. The band, which was a huge draw at venues all over town during its two-year run, called it a day back in May of 2006.

Chief songwriter Matt Daugherty has assembled a new lineup, which includes local drummer-of-all-trades Jake Sprecher and La Fin du Monde/Ol’ Yeller guitarist Adam Scarborough, along with original bassist Zach Ahern. Reports from the practice shed sound promising, and the band is already gearing up for a Sept. 5 show at 1078 Gallery with Dr Yes! and Pat Hull. Birds Of Fire … alive and well.

Oh so Crüel
I just about crapped my Calvins when I saw that Mötley Crüe’s new record, Saints of Los Angeles, was sitting all snuggly-wuggly at No. 53, between U2 and Mariah Carey on the Billboard charts. (It’s 1987 all over again!) The album actually debuted at No. 4, for chrissakes! What’s going on here?

I guess I haven’t looked at the charts in some time, ’cause I was shocked to see all kinds of familiar blasts from the past, whose careers have been resuscitated … ahem: John Mellencamp (No. 16), Journey (No. 21), Candlebox (No. 32), Alanis Morissette (No. 55) and … [deep breath] Counting Crows (No. 66), Jewel (No. 77), The Offspring (No. 76) and The Eagles (No. 93).

Now that’s a motley crew.

Play dead
Question: How many women out there have looked through the pages of Playgirl magazine? Heterosexual males comparing penis sizes? Gay men? While it might still appeal to the latter two groups, the magazine’s print edition is getting the shaft, and will go Web-only at the end of the year. The final penis will be put to paper in the January/February 2009 issue, and will be released Nov. 18.

Yes, Playgirl is dead … at least in the classic sense. Meanwhile, print media are on life support.

The Mae Shi: Scary good.

No life on planet live
I’ve been going to a fair number of shows in Chico in the past few months, and I must say, there aren’t any local bands really doing it for me live. This feeling usually comes in the aftermath of seeing an out-of-towner play—Imaad Wasif, HEALTH and The Mae Shi—acts that absolutely immerse themselves in what they do, and can captivate an audience … frighten people, even.

The Shankers and The Secret Stolen come close to that genuine, unhinged stage presence. So do The Makai and Zabaleen (Jimmy Lo rules).

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t any talented bands in Chico … not the case at all. But live, there’s simply not much life. Just an observation.

Live and let live