NFL Week One Wrapup: Breaking Chalk

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by Ryan Meehan

When I was a kid, my sister and I loved to draw with street chalk.  It wasn’t until years later I realized that “chalk” is also a sports term used to describe a pick that went precisely as planned.   This week (aside from a few exceptions) someone left the chalk out in the street.  The garbage truck ran over it, as evidenced by some of the predictability-busting results.  So let’s take a look at what happened in week one of the 2014 NFL season, and which games caused you to take out a second mortgage on your house. Continue reading

7 Questions with JT Habersaat

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by Ryan Meehan

A native New Yorker currently calling Austin, Texas home, JT Habersaat has headlined and curated the Altercation Punk Comedy Tour since its inception in 2008. Since then, JT has acted as direct support for comedic powerhouses such as Doug Stanhope, Brian Posehn, Andy Dick, Kyle Kinane, Joe Sib, Jeanine Garofalo and many more, and remains one of a handful of comics ever invited to share the stage with Black Flag’s Henry Rollins. Habersaat is also a consistent performer alongside many of Stanhope’s Unbookables crew, including Kristine Levine, Andy Andrist, Henry Phillips and Norm Wilkerson. In addition, JT remains a requested support act for many bands, recently performing with such notable peers as Teenage Bottlerocket, Sloppy Seconds, The Murder Junkies, Krum Bums, The Adolescents, Lower Class Brats, Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, M.O.D., Riverboat Gamblers, Dead To Me, Off With Their Heads and D.C. hardcore legends Scream. JT has performed at just about every major festival, including Fun Fun Fun Fest, Hell Yes! Comedy Fest New Orleans, Akumal Comedy Festival Mexico and The Fest Gainesville. He is also one of six comics ever invited to perform on the nation-spanning Vans Warped Tour. JT has appeared on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade as well as acted opposite Ron Jeremy in Troma Films’ Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie. JT is currently signed to Grammy-winning label Stand Up! Records. His debut album Hostile Corporate Takeover was released in 2013 to much critical acclaim, boasting tri-colored vinyl and cover art courtesy of legendary Black Flag / Sonic Youth artist Raymond Pettibon. Habersaat released his first book The Altercation Archives in May 2012, and also contributed a chapter to Chuck Ragan’s (Hot Water Music) new literary collection The Road Most Traveled. JT’s first authored stage play ‘Starting From Scratch’ was performed at the 2013 Short Short Fringe Festival. Most recently, JT appeared in the zombie apocalypse short 17 Minutes in Texas (winner of the ‘Best Comedy Short’ at the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival), co-headlined the ‘Inflammable Material’ comedy showcase at the 2014 Punk Rock Bowling Fest Las Vegas, and was tapped to headline Doug Stanhope’s ‘2014 Super Bowl Comedy Kickoff’ in Bisbee, Arizona. He loves bourbon, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Zack Simmons of Goatwhore

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by Ryan Meehan

It’s been seventeen years since Goatwhore reared its menacing head from the swamplands of New Orleans, Louisiana – a city rife with urban tales of voodoo curses, witchcraft and hauntings by souls of the damned. Spawned by former Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet in 1997, their winding legacy follows a dramatic, at times traumatic, sequence of personnel changes, fatal injuries, paranormal activity, natural disasters, and a collection of other misadventures large and small. In 2005 seemingly plagued by bouts of disaster, “A Haunting Curse” found the revised Goatwhore lineup of Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons (ex-Nachtmystium) and bassist Nathan Bergeron, fleeing the ravaging flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. Delayed but determined, Goatwhore‘s first Metal Blade production proved their most vicious yet. Relentless in speed, precision and brazen hostility, and fittingly crowned “down and dirty, heavy and blasphemous,” (Sputnik Music) the band’s rabid blackened death thrash hybrid fully embraced their long-avowed Hellhammer and Venom devotion without pirating it. By 2009, Goatwhore dropped the nefarious craftings of “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” upon unsuspecting ears. A behemoth offering in sound, mind and spirit, the record ranked among the year’s most worthy metal albums by fans and critics globally, debuting on the Billboard Hard Music chart at #33, the Billboard Top New Artist (Heatseekers) chart at #16, and the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart at #34. No small feat for a blatantly non-mainstream band. Decibel Magazine crowned “Carving Out The Eyes Of God”, “the band’s tightest, most guitar-driven offering to date. An unholy smorgasbord of rigid tempo shifts, gargantuan hooks, blasting black mass anthems, and Falgoust’s soot and venom snarl…,” Outburn likened it to, “a modern day, ‘roid-injected sword fight between Celtic Frost and Venom,” while MetalSucks proclaimed “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” “the catchiest album Goatwhore have ever released.” Closing out a near perfect run of riotous adventures, Goatwhore was named Best Hard Rock/Metal Artist of 2010 at The Big Easy Awards, a deserving honor based on performance throughout the year. Resting only long enough to conjure more audio chaos, the band unleashed the chart-topping “Blood For The Master” long player in 2012. Two years later we were graced with the diseased hymns of 2014′s “Constricting Rage Of The Merciless.” Captured at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with audio magus, Erik Rutan at the helm, “Constricting…” serves as the band’s first studio effort to be tracked to two-inch tape. A more challenging approach that demands performance over pro-tooled perfection and leaving little room for error, the ten-track, 37-minute offering marks Goatwhore‘s most well-executed, sonically devastating manifestation to date, its warm, organic production harnessing the thick, monolithic, war-ready tone and energy of their live performance in a way previous recordings have not. A multi-faceted record that traverses a broad range of moods and emotions both musically and thematically, “Constricting Rage Of The Merciless” reflects the duality of its creators, adopting a more punishingly urgent, ominous and reckless vibe than its predecessors. From the combatant onset of “Poisonous Existence In Reawakening,” and the tense, hammering momentum of “Unraveling Paradise,” to the punkish urgency of “FBS” and the fiendish cascades of “Schadenfreude” (literally meaning the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others), Goatwhore spew their unadulterated, subterranean metal as channeled through the historic likes of Motörhead and Bathory, with the insatiable hunger of a pack of wild boars. Due at least in part to the sheer synergy that comes from living in a van together for weeks on end, “Constricting Rage Of The Merciless” is razor sharp in musicianship literally writhing beneath the weight of its own sonic enormity. When Falgoust howls, “WE ARE COMING TO SMASH YOUR IDOLS!” (in traditional metal rager “Baring Teeth For Revolt”), souls weaken, forests die, planets implode. That’s exactly the kind of carnage that leads me to say I’m proud to have drummer Zack Simmons as my guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

NFL Week One Preview

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by Ryan Meehan

We’ve been clawing our skin off trying to figure out what to do with all of our precious free time since the opening play of Super Bowl 48, but now the waiting is finally over.  The NFL is here and the withdrawals have finally ceased.  It’s about goddamn time.

You’ll notice there are no records next to the names of all thirty-two teams that all playing in week one.  You can look at this one of two ways:  1) That all 32 of these teams are starting with a clean slate and anything can happen, or 2) For the most part we’re well aware of which teams are going to be solid, and which ones will spend January in Cozumel where they can’t get real DUIs.

I think this year it’ll be more of the latter.  With the exception of maybe one or two surprise teams (think last year’s Panthers) I think we’ll see a lot of chalk picks hanging around come playoff time.  But nonetheless, it’s going to be exciting as hell and it starts right now.  This is what I’ve got for Week One.    Continue reading

5 Questions with Robert Hawkins

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By Ryan Meehan

You know, an enormous number of comics—including the vast majority of those who pass through the friendly little place we like to call Cap City—maintain career objectives that include aspirations toward acting in a sitcom, or writing for one. But hell, Robert Hawkins has already done both—in the same series, no less: the late, lamented “Titus.”  Indeed, he was hired as a story editor, which means he wrote a script or two per season, and contributed mightily to the scripts written by his colleagues, adding jokes, improving dialogue, etc. Before long, his work in the writers room so impressed the Fox show’s producers—who also knew of his acting aspirations and abilities (a few years prior, he had landed a development deal with Fox)—that they cast him in a recurring guest role as Titus’ brother-in-law, Michael.  So when it comes to working in network television, while we wouldn’t exactly say “been there, done that”—we’re guessing that under the right circumstances, he might be persuaded to return to such work—he has logged that experience, and his passion for stand-up has never wavered.  Not coincidentally, perhaps, he’s always had a tremendous flair and a considerable gift for it. One measure of this would be his results over the years in comedy competitions, or similar enterprises.  In 2001, he was voted one of the 25 top comics in the country in a poll of comedy club owners nominating candidates for the American Comedy Awards. And, perhaps needless to say (given all these victories, achievements and accolades), he’s starred in his own Comedy Central half-hour special, appeared on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and a slew of other TV shows.  Still, when all is said and done about his work—cable TV, network TV, writing, acting, etc.—Robert Hawkins’ first love is performing comedy in a club in front of a live audience, and obviously he’s pretty damn good at it.  He’s also my guest today in 5 questions.   Continue reading