It’s Al’s birthday and we discuss the fun time he’s having and the cool presents his wife got him. Per usual, we discuss the cool swag he’s received.

There is a lot of music. Of course, it takes us 20 minutes of talking to even get to that point, but it’s how things roll in geekery.

Stephen recently attended the PulpFest and got an almost complete set of Tarzan stories. Our friends John and Jim from Flinch Publishing were there.

Are you looking for a new TV? Alan has done some research because his blew up – great story – and he wanted to make sure to find one that would be great. There are a lot to choose from and low price doesn’t give you the best television.






Stephen: morning. Happy birthday. Thank you very much. Happy birthday

Alan: to

Stephen: me. Yeah, I think I was like, he mentioned something last week that we may have to play it by ear this week, and I think it was ’cause it was your birthday.

Alan: Exactly. We did just have the Colleen once again outdid herself.

She was amazingly generous and nice. And she so much knows what kinds of things I like. So I got some new tunes and some new books and some new things to wear and some new puzzles and, she just really and I, it’s funny I need to be able to post things occasionally to our our gig here.

She does amazing wrapping and especially bows. She makes her own bones. She’s gotten all kind e exactly that. No nobody handles the turntable like her with her waxed fingers. So

Stephen: big shades and gold chains.

Alan: But it’s funny. It, I don’t know, as a brief aside, when I’m trying to imitate a rapper, I don’t think that I am mocking them.

I’m trying to imitate them. When somebody chooses to wear a big clock or somebody has the big glasses or something like that, it’s not that we’re making, we’re not trying to appropriate their culture. We’re not making fun of ’em. That’s what they do To stand out. I need to have like my was it deaf mouse?

Most ne not most deaf mouse something mouse, danger mouse. I need to have my helmets or I need to have you

Stephen: know what I mean? It, I think it it automatically becomes a mocking parody just because we’re old white guys. Old white guys can’t rap. White men can’t jump.

Old white guys can’t

Alan: rap. Exactly. I, this is very, parody music. Immediately jumps on latest trends and stuff like that. So I, it’s we’ve never talked about this before. A couple times I’ve been to the festival in Chicago called Thep, the funny music. It’s really excellent. It’s not only weird Ell Yankovic, which is probably the best known practitioner, but there’s all kinds of other guys throwing toasters and worm Quartet and I, boy, there’s so many good ones that I don’t wanna leave anybody out in my list of who I want to give.

There’s the let’s see bards Library, bards, and all kinds of stuff. And because they really stay current, it really is funny to see if not old white guys, middle-aged white guys. Trying to wrap it up and you, you look like you’re jumping the shark from the word go.

You’re just, you don’t have whatever that thing is of you don’t look dangerous, look,

Stephen: I do not see a posse. Exactly.

Alan: And yet some of the stuff they do I, like I said, I so much don’t insult but there’s some people that are really, they’ve done there’s parody is understanding the style the kind of music that you’re making well enough so that you pay homage to it.

You sound just like it while you’re teasing a little bit. Or the lyrics are a different subject matter than what you had started off. So weird. Al is fantastic about that. All of his songs sounded like the original stuff when you hear smells like Teen Spirit, it’s just the Nirvana version.

Except taken to an extreme here. You know what I mean? And there, that kind of thing. And

Stephen: so he did the white and nerdy from white. White and nerdy charm millionaire, I think.

Alan: Exactly. And where he’s around, going on the seg, not the most rap thing. So there’s a guy named Luke Ski that was one of those like early white guys rapping, and you’re like you’re not quite Eminem.

But he’s really witty and he really the, to me the most impressive thing about rap is they’re great rhymers. You know what I mean? It really is that they can like one of the things they often show in movies about people, I. Proving that rap is a form of music. I know that’s a terrible way to say it, but there’s a couple movies that have had scenes like that and that they’re so agile in terms of just lay down a beat for them and they start talking about rapping about a certain subject and it just flows out where it’s got the right rhythms and it’s got the right rhyme schemes.

And it really is. And it isn’t just robotic, it doesn’t sound like g p t put this together. There’s emotion to it. They really have emphasis on the right syllable so that it sounds edgy and yeah. You know what I mean? I really love people that whatever that talent is that some people have, second City has always been incredibly impressive in this way.

They just make up a song on the spot, someone will, they’ll just start singing in a certain rhythm. And it might be that it sounds kinda like sury with the fringe on top or whatever that song type is. But they will just immediately have funny lyrics and. And I’m pretty sure that it’s not that they have these preloaded and that they just create the opportunity to do things they’ve already thought of.

It really is improv where they just start in real time, do things that have the right to it and the right rhythm and the right. I love it. I love and I believe like that in

Stephen: real time. So I believe I’ve been seeing it’s the 50th anniversary of hip hop officially saying it’s the anniversary.

I think there’s a documentary

Alan: on it

Stephen: exactly right. You. Hip hop and all that. I know you you’ll get the metalheads, you’ll get the classic Rock guys, you’ll get the classical piano guys, you’ll get the bare Manalow people or whatever. Whoever is saying, oh, that’s not music, that’s, horror.

But that’s what they said about Elvis when they were coming from big band. That’s what they said about Elvis when they went to metal. It, it all is. And I’ve been seeing this pop up more and more lately just because rap and hip hop is considered a different type of music and an art form of its own.

Doesn’t make guitar rock or classic rock or prog rock any less musical or any less artistic. It just, it’s

Alan: totally different. The big, the bigger umbrella, if you will. Yeah. You know what my biggest, and it’s not a criticism, but it just is a fact for me, and for Colleen especially, I. Tend to like melody as much as I like rhythm and things that don’t have both of them don’t work as well for me.

So when I hear something that seems to just be a beat and variations on a beat, but it doesn’t have singing to it, it’s spoken word stuff. Some of that doesn’t seem as musical to me. I like it where it’s the combination because they I, that’s just it moves me differently. It gets, it is more memorable to me.

It stirs me differently. And so I, there’s a number of rap, hiphop, house Jungle. I have. Dip my toe in. ’cause I love music of all kinds. And the best of it rises to the top. Sturgeon’s law, 90% of everything is crap. So there really is a top 10% of the best of rap. And so I try to listen, and this is an odd thing too.

One of the reasons that I don’t necessarily like certain genres of music is being yelled at for minutes at a time. So I don’t like death metal, really dark stuff where the guy’s got the growling voice and he’s yelling at you.

It’s not, or that it’s kind. I. I swear pretty liberally. And yet when a song is nothing but swearing and it really just seems to be incredibly angry, the fuck the police type stuff, I don’t know that I love the police more than I love music. So it’s not about, oh God, support our boys in blue. It really is just, it seems lazy to me, and maybe, and that’s a terrible thing to say, I don’t have their experience in life where they really have forever not had police be a good force in their life.

They’ve actually had them be a danger and a and a. So I can understand why that has to bubble out in their music. When people, where people sing about folk singers sing about, their protest songs or their love songs or whatever else it might be, it’s ’cause that’s their experience in life, right?

They were there, the riot and rock and roll is about, you name it rebellion. Rebellion, maybe a little bit of getting laid,

Stephen: Whatever. It’s sex, drugs and rock and roll sex

Alan: drugs and rock and roll. And so I get that there’s different kinds of musics that speak to the various different experiences and maybe that’s why it doesn’t connect to me that much because I didn’t grow up in a dangerous place.

I I understand that. I don’t want those places to exist. And the incredible. The thing that can spawn that kind of anger and despair. Let’s fix that.

Stephen: Let’s get that to go away. Yeah. I think that’s, that’s,

Alan: but this’s not my music. It’s just not my music for right

Stephen: there, there are definitely some rap artists and some rap songs, some albums that I like.

There are particular songs I may like of an artist, but not most of the other stuff or an album or whatever. There may be a few I like of a style of rap, hip hop, but not some of the other artists in that style. And that’s like anything. And, it’s just not my style of music.

But I also, I, and again, like you said I didn’t grow up whereas having the fear, the police coming in and beating me or something like that, I didn’t, I just, I didn’t grow up that way, so I’d never make a good rap artist like Vanilla Ice, let’s just, but on the flip side, when you get some of these rap artists that have been around for 20 years, and they’re approaching their forties and they live in a $4.45 million mansion and drive Bentleys that Yeah, I, I don’t know if I really believe that.

They’re like, what they’re rapping about any longer is part of their world either.

Alan: It’s really, rock and roll has always been about rebellion, as you said. And so there’s a certain amount of, that is exactly the course that was plotted in terms of life experience and rap had a different experience, but it was still about this world sucks and let’s, let’s fix it and let’s fix it through maybe like rioting and destruction, not negotiation.

So police for instance, had all kinds of songs earlier in their career that were pretty much the shoddy state of the world. They’re growing up in Britain when it was at some of its lowest economic and socio socioeconomic point and stuff like that. U two also U exactly, U two and U be 40. U be 40.

The band was named after the unemployment form. You know what I mean? So having said that, what you just said, when you get to be 40 and 50, you just don’t have that. In your gut. Rage against the pain has some great stuff, but if they’re still doing that when they’re turning gray, it’s gonna seem a little odd.

It’ll be like self parity almost. Sting grew out of the police. He made more beautiful music and more adult music. And I think that one of the reasons that I read that they really aren’t looking to do police reunions, if you will, is because it’s really hard to put on that really angry shirt again when you haven’t worn it for 20 years and you’re like, oh, this is ridiculous.

I’m not this guy anymore. So I, there’s been a number of, let’s see, what’s his guy named? Rob Pian does a great song about not only later when you’re 50 years old, but even while you’re like, Let’s say you’re 25 years old and all of a sudden you’re making a ton of money. It’s hard to be in spiritual Congress with all of your downtrodden friends when you got the $5.4 million mansion that you just mentioned.

You know what I mean? It paid off to be about rebellion. And then I wonder, so who was it? Malcolm McLaren. He was, there’s some people that have been amazingly cynical about what’s the next group that’s gonna tell the rest of the world to go to? Hell then I can put together, I know it’s gonna sell records, Alice for a certain point.

Like he did all that to be the shock rocker. Yeah. That he knew it was gonna be the one that your parents aren’t gonna let you listen to this

Stephen: and pavement

Alan: business folks. Exactly. And made good music despite it, some of the This album was held up well and stuff like that. And there’s others that really seem to be their only about the rebellion.

And then when they stop having things to rebel about, maybe that’s why they have not much left to say. So there’s a whole bunch of musical theory going on there but I think that’s really true. There’s some people, Woody Guthrie, wrote all kinds of protest songs because it was terrible conditions in the United States.

And I think that not enough of that changed that he didn’t sing those things like through his fifties, sixties. I’m trying to think how long he lived. And his son, Arlo Guthrie took on a lot of that mantle because there really still are those income disparities and bigotry and whatever else might be going on.

That’s, I think you know this, right? Irv Berlin wrote America the Beautiful. And it’s a manifest destiny song, if you will, that white people get to take over the world and push everybody else like off the coast into the water and what do you go through wrote this land?

Is your land in response to that to say it isn’t about who owns things, it’s that we all our citizens, right? And we all own this. And it’s, some of those things are so wow. Perfect that they are a forever song. You know what I mean? That, that, that’s something that speaks to the American spirit so much that I don’t know that you can be any generation and not still say, yeah that’s how I want my country to be.

Stephen: The more things change, the more they stay the same about. And, we talked about this before sellouts you could say if the police got back together, they wouldn’t be that funk, ska sound. They’d be something adult contemporary and Oh, they’re sellouts. No, not really.

They’re just different stage of life. Music reflects life. And there are, and always have been groups put together because, oh, it’ll make money. Some of the super groups, which of the seventies, a lot of them had good music. But a lot of times they were put together. ’cause they’re like we’re in between projects with our main bands and we know we’ll make money.

But even beyond that, we look down upon like the boy bands, they, most of the time they’re not very, they can’t. Write the music. They learn how to dance, they learn how to sing, and they look good. But that’s,

Alan: they’re the monkeys of a generation later.

You know what I mean? Yeah.

Stephen: They’re the, which, oh, I got a trivia fact about the monkeys actually. Okay. But but that’s not to say that it’s still not part of the music scene because it does speak to some people. And some people enjoy that as part of what music is to them.

Alan: Let it go. Not to some people, like they sell out stadiums. That’s a very popular form of music is the K-pop from Korea or the board band, the instinct and all that kind of stuff. I agree. It’s I always find it. There’s not enough to it. That it is too much.

Sounds the same. It bubblegum pop. Exactly. Bubblegum. So it’s not my favorite kind of music, but there’s still, there’s very catchy things and I have no problems with it except that. Wow. It seems a little manipulative to have the Bengali behind it all. You know what I mean? It

Stephen: does. But you could find examples, maybe not a whole genre of musical artists created just to be pretty looking boy bands and make money.

But you have examples of that all over. I, me and Colin were just talking about this parliament Funkadelic a great funk band that was very influential of the seventies. George Clinton that man was a producer. He put the band together to make money and have a, have a sound that would bring in money.

The same with the Combat Rock album. Was it the Clash or the Clash?

Alan: London calling and combat

Stephen: Think they, I be wrong on one of those. Punkish bands, they were just sitting around. It’s what type of band can we put together that’ll make us a lot of money? And that, I’ll have to look that up.

The Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols. Sex Pistols. Yes. Yes. That’s it. Sex

Alan: Pistols. That’s Malcolm McClaren, who I mentioned a while back. He’s the guy that had put together we’re gonna have this be just as rebellious and as the formula for what will sell to kids of a certain range, because, like the God saves the queen version that isn’t really respectful. That’s what England needed at the point. Exactly. Yeah.

Stephen: And I’ve heard stories of Nirvana, not that some big producer put them together to be that way, but the band had their stage image and then their offstage image because Kurt Cobain was that emo gothic kind of grungy figurehead.

You’re over the eyes

Alan: looking

Stephen: down. Exactly. Okay. But from several interviews I’ve heard of other people when he was backstage, he was light, happy, joked around, had a good time. But, the audience, like my whole life is based on you. I’m going to be like that 24 7. But like Alice Cooper, he wasn’t like that 24 7.



Alan: Maybe that So the, so I love how things always weave in on each other. Colleen and I are gonna go see three Dog Night on Friday night. Nice. I’ve never seen them live and I like them a lot, but they’re absolutely one of those that like whoever was there, Leader, their producer was very good.

They didn’t write their own tunes. And I think some of them, it really is like the three main singers and they had a fantastic backing band that was kinda like the wrecking crew, it was the best of what they had to offer. But having said that, they sure were prefabricated. They bought songs in particular, they thought were gonna be Three Dog Night ish.

And the fact that there’s a dozen of them speaks to the skill with which the people that put that music together said, I know what America wants, A nice three and a half minute. Perfect little, a joy of the world and one, and like I said, we’re looking forward to seeing it ’cause we like so many of those songs.

But I have no illusions that it was, this guy’s the best guitarist of all time. This guy’s the right. You know what I mean? It really is a manufactured sound if you will. And then have said that on Monday, I can’t believe this is so cool. Extreme is back together. Yes. Kinda like cease to be when Gary Sharon went to join Van Halen for the ill faded van ha three.

But Nuno Bettencourt has been one of my guitar heroes forever. First time I ever heard him do Flight of the Bun Bumble Beyond Guitar. It’s like this there, is there anything this guy can’t play Him and Steve, I, we can start going into our favorite like Yeah. Unherald bit, but fantastic guitarist.

They’re back and I think it’s everybody in the original group. At least it is that voice and that guitar.

Stephen: I’m pretty sure

Alan: it is. And the fact that like they’re the more than that porno graffiti album is so fantastic. That’s a perfect album, not a bad cut on it. So we’re going to Detroit to see them with living color opening for

Stephen: them.

Oh man. I’ve been listening to Living Color again lately. Honestly, cult

Alan: to personality. They and two groups that really for the time were Fanta, I’m getting chills at how much, how excited I am about this show. So I’m just so happy that they’re still around. And that Extreme did a fantastic thing where they put out a video where they’re showing him like being just an amazing shredder with Eddie Van Halen’s passing.

There’s a whole bunch of people that are saying who’s the successor? And some people are saying look right over here. This guy’s been doing fantastic stuff for 20 years. Now, if. Finally, maybe I’m sorry that Eddie’s gone, but that amazing shadow that he cast over being the guitar player of all time.

There’s plenty of other shredders, there’s plenty of other ama can this guy play more notes? He’s just an amazing

Stephen: creative, so have you heard, have you listened to the new album?

Alan: Yes, exactly. Rebel and everything else? I just, I’m I can’t wait to hear. It’s funny. Colleen and I were just talking about so many times when you go to a concert, you’re like, when they say, and now from our new album, the whole crowd goes, ah, I can’t wait to hear the new album because it’s good, much quality.

It’s so fantastic. Whatever they were doing to. Lurk and save up their best material until it came out in a big salvo. A big burst Man. That new album’s fantastic. I

Stephen: point to Ron Howard they totally break what we just said about, as you get older and life changes because these guys are in their fifties.

And they

Alan: Absolutely. I’m just, I’m the contrast between three Dog Night, it’ll be a really gentle sing-along type show and then I’m looking forward to having my face melted off by these guys rocking out with me. Yeah. And I dunno, some of the quality of a bandee, am I willing to drive to Detroit, Pittsburgh, Columbus, not only Cleveland.

I got, when I looked at, they weren’t coming to Cleveland, it was like, I’m not missing this. I have to go. I found out about him in time. So it was Monday. It really could have been that somehow I didn’t find out about the tour until Tuesday and now they’re going out to California.

Stephen: Yeah. I miss wearing you ladies that way.

Oh, I hate when that happens.

Alan: So that’s Colleen got me new music for my birthday and some of the stuff like one is Robert Plant and Allison Kraus. Oh, that’s a great album. Yeah. And I’m trying here I can actually do look it. Yeah. Lemme see. I can get the glare off of it. Yeah.

It’s what was it called again? Raise the Roof. Exactly. And what an interesting that they discovered each other, that their voices meld or that they take turns so well they enjoy each other’s company. I’ve not seen them live together. But that’s, Robert Plantes, led Zeppelin Right is one of the great voices of all rock and roll.

I thought that he might be the rock and roll voice even more than Freddie Mercury. But Freddie Mercury had different kings he could do besides the rock and roll. But having said that, his voice still holds up really well. It’s Finally aged bourbon or something like that. He hasn’t gotten scratchy, he hasn’t lost his voice.

He just sounds like he’s still going. And now he’s got even more soul in his voice. So can’t wait to listen to this. And as soon as we’re doing this, I got the new yes. Mirror to the sky and same situation, yes. Is, has changed Steve, how is still there. And they’ve got, they’ve replaced many of the other people like, I don’t know.

And having replaced, there’s still people like Jeff Downs has been in various difference of Yes. Or Asia for a long time Asia. But 30 years Billy Sherwood’s been with Yes, for a long time. But having said that, there’s any number of bands that are just, now they tour and they tour what they know, the song, the songs that the kids are gonna love and the kids being you and me, that they’re oldest fans and yet this is getting rave reviews that like, wow, they still had another great album in them. Who knew that you can be like 70, that you still rocking out at 70 and Progressive Rock is not. Three chord rock. You gotta be able to play. Yeah. Steve has to be able to do amazing chops techniques on guitar.

He’s still got the chop. So did I’m looking forward

Stephen: to that. Isn’t it interesting? It just hit me. I’m thinking of it, a lot of the classic bands from the seventies and into the eighties. The nineties were a down point for all of that, that there wasn’t a lot of coming out. And a lot of the albums that did come out didn’t hold up quite as well.

And that’s also the same time that the comic book industry was on a big downturn and we only almost lost Marvel, that there’s not a lot of good individual comic issues from the nineties that people collect. The nineties were definitely a downtime for pop culture, it seems. Yeah. You


Alan: to seek things out.

A, again, referencing 90% of everything is crap. There really is that top 10%. So I’m trying to think like for nineties and comic books, wasn’t that some of the best Moon nights? Wasn’t that some of the best, there really were certain titles Oops. That came to before then. And certain artists and writers that.

That if that they started or they continued things that were going on in a fresh way. So it’s not that everything was bad, but you’re right. As an industry, it really started to seem derivative. Yeah. And they don’t know what to do, so they’re gonna keep churning things out, but not making big breakthrough type stuff.

I characterize the nineties maybe as being black and white. They flooded the market. ’cause all of a sudden you had different distribution schemes and everybody could make comic books because prices came down and stuff like that. And that’s especially why 90% of everything is craft is ’cause not everybody is a good artist.

Not everybody is a good writer. It takes the talent to write the right story structure and the right rhythms and it hits the right, it has got good story arcs and hits the right beats so that you, like you have a cliffhanger ending and you can’t wait for it instead of saying, eh, it was okay.

Was Alan Moore doing good things in the nineties? Yes. I guess Grant Morrison like some of the, maybe they had great odd comics ’cause they were in response to. I’ve already read 500 Supermans and there’s nothing new happening Superman, but I’m gonna do Doom Patrol better than it’s ever been done or something.

I’m trying to think of. I wish I could difference for sure. Between the eighties and the nineties.

Stephen: I think the big name comics, Batman, Superman, spider-Man, those type of things. I think those were really taking a downturn. For the ones that were the most popular.

Alan: Flagship titles were getting tired and they had to do interesting new things over here.

Yeah. You know what I mean? But I’m trying, when did what Keith Geffen’s run on Justice League and then I’m trying to think of certain things that might be okay. And in music tears for Fears did a lot of great stuff in the nineties. Thompson twins did when the synth pop bands came along, and maybe that was late eighties going into the nineties.

They were like, oh my God, anybody that can play a synthesizer now has a band and it’s all tainted love, which I hate because it’s so simple

Stephen: and terrible. Have you ever heard the original? No, I haven’t. That’s actually the eighties. That’s a cover. I just recently did that. Who learned about the original?

Who did? Who did? I’ll have to go look it up. I just we’ll look it up. Okay. Yeah. I just recently learned that it’s actually a cover. Okay. And the original is a way different sound. ’cause a buddy and I were talking about cover bands or cover songs and how, why do a cover song if you’re gonna make it just sound like the original.

What’s the point?

Alan: And again, to digress a little bit, I hate coverage where it’s wow, you didn’t really get what made the first one great. When I hear Drift Away and it, and from Dobie Gray, it’s so soulful and it, and then the, maybe the newer one is like a little bit too pleasant.

It should be more about despair and about world weariness. Yeah. And about. Finding faith or whatever else it might be. And then some people just don’t get it. So here the next thing I got, yeah, I got Kansas and it’s unfortunately, is it upside down Kansas? The anthology and I think it might have one or two cuts that aren’t.

So that’s why it was worth having said that Kansas is a band that went away and I really will rant sadly about this. They went Christian Rock for a while. Kerry Lidgren really went. Him and Dave Holte went very Christian. And whatever was the good depth they used to have in their lyrics up through like audio visions, it became oppressively.

If you weren’t a Christian, it really was like, wow, I’m really being. If not preached at it softened them, or it just made them sound more generic. And g, when Carrie Livery went away and Steve Walsh came in and Steve Morse came in as guitarist who as from Wow, Dixie drags in deep purple and he’s he won the, they had to retire the award, right?

Guitar Player Magazine because he won 10 years in a row. It’s like nobody, nobody can beat this guy. They did a couple great albums and I think it was early nineties, maybe late eighties power and in the spirit of things and Freaks of nature that were some of the really good a return to Good Kansas.

So again, I’m I don’t mean to be, belabor, there really wasn’t terrible music all in the nineties, but you had to seek it out. Yeah. And sometimes it came from surprising places where if you had written Kansas off because they got bigger and bigger went arena and then they sputtered out super cramped.

The same could be set of after Breakfast in America. They never had another great album, in my opinion. They had individual cuts that were really good, like Cannonball or something like that. But, and I think because there, Dave Davies and Hutchson split and whatever dynamic they had, and maybe it was a little competitive or combative and that’s why they split.

But that must have lent something to their music that made it, that they didn’t recapture that. And maybe it’s Roger Hodson. Boy, I hope everybody’s taking notes about this because you should get these albums. Roger Hodson had an album called high, if I remember right. No, it’s Let’s see. That was Wonder Nature.

It’s the eye of the storm. I have to do that. We have to go through the lyric and remember how to


Stephen: CU Sail away. Comes

Alan: Exactly. Come sail away. So he has a great album. That sounds like what the next Supertramp album should have been. So maybe Hodgkin was all along. Really the good part of, and I don’t think that because the band Hellel and stevenburg and debut of course, who am I missing?

They really did great stuff together as a band. So it couldn’t have been only Hodgson, but over carried that torch forward. It’s kinda out of Sticks. It really wasn’t Dennis the young, in his older days, he became like a show tune guy. Whereas Tommy Shaw and the boys and j y Tim Jung are continuing to do rock and roll instead of kinda like show tunes.

You know what I mean? That’s, and we’re making it into that. But there’s a whole thing about the. Tracing the evolution of groups and how the addition of some people is sometimes a spark plug. And sometimes the losing a key person really is, oh, that goes the soul of the group.

Right? And I talked about this before. There’s a great book called Rock Family Trees by Pete Frame that shows in a family tree style, the various different versions of a band. And so for some things like Pink Floyd, it’s okay, SSID Barrett or not, and then you’re done. If you look at Deep Purple, there’s like deep Purple Mark one through Mark 10.

They had all different kinds of different guitarists, different lead singers over the course of time and deep purple’s. Fantastic. ’cause when you had Richie Blackmore and Tommy Boland and Steve Morris, so like all the people that have been in this group, like man, they always had a great guitarist, right?

That I anybody in there it’s cool then to say is there a particular version of King Crimson that is my favorite? Because sometimes there’s a through line and they sound pretty similar sometimes it’s wow, they really did change and became, you name it, more modern, more synthesized, different versions of Jethro Tall have sounded quite different based on who else was in the band or when Ian Anderson’s voice started to go a little bit and he did a different kind of music.

’cause he didn’t have the Bard of Rock and roll range that he used to and stuff like that. Because I just recently listened to Crest of a Nave and Broad Sword and the Beast. They’re really good, even though they’re not that well known. So anyway, you I got take notes folks. You gotta get broad The Beast, man.

Broad story. And the Beast has, ah, has a great song called Flying Colors about couples breaking up. And there’s a lyric in that, here’s what I’m gonna do this without crying. Did our friends all catch the needle match? Did we want them to tell me that as an, in how many couples you’ve seen that are not getting along?

Yeah. And they just keep it to themselves. They have to have the fight in front of other people and it’s so uncomfortable, but it’s so human. Yeah. To do that, to, to get your digs in to, to not be able to stop when you’re unhappy. I don’t know, I just. That’s a heartbreaker for that one. So anyway.

Stephen: Got it.

Okay. I, two, two actual things and I forget the name, forgive me. I know this is horrible. Who were the members of The Monkeys? I know Davey Jones. Oh, Davey

Alan: Jones, Mike Michael Nesmith, right? Yes. Mickey Dolans and Peter

Stephen: Torque. So Michael Nesmith without the Monkeys, he was a millionaire anyway,

Alan: because I didn’t know this because the mom invented whiteout. Yeah. Something like

Stephen: that. She was a secretary aqui

Alan: paper or something like that. Yeah. That’s one of those things. As soon as I read that was one of the things I wanted to share with my friends. And the same that you’re doing now, because what a cool story is

Stephen: That is cool.

It’s wow, he gets to be a millionaire for two different things, what about the rest of us? Okay. But then another thing I found out with two of my favorite properties MacGyver and Rush. So down in Brazil when MacGyver aired in the eighties they replaced the theme song with Tom Sawyer from Rush.

Alan: That’s a great. Why would they have done that? Is there any, do you have, did you

Stephen: read any explanation? No, that’s all I got.

Alan: Really a cool combination. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That’s cool.

Stephen: Yeah, I could see how the lyrics and that’s what’s cool about too because the lyrics, I could see how they fit MacGyver’s whole persona and style,

Alan: exactly that. Because mind is not for rent and we call America. Exactly, yes. Okay.

Stephen: Yeah. And that’s funny because so often people don’t get the whole context of lyrics to songs as a whole. They focus on a line or the chorus and that’s it. And we mentioned the police Sting Forever was saying, why is everybody slow dancing?

The the what? Every breath you take, every breath you take. ’cause it’s about a stalker.

Alan: Exactly. It’s a song

Stephen: about obsession and stalking. Yeah. So that, that always cracked me up thinking about that. And it’s funny because there’s a, and you mentioned melody earlier. I will like a song, I will enjoy the music and think the melody’s great.

But I couldn’t always tell you what the lyrics were at all either ’cause I’m not paying attention or they’re hard to understand. Because it’s just

Alan: that maybe you wouldn’t like the song as much. Yeah, that’s

Stephen: true. There are,

Alan: right. It’s a testament to America’s blindness about that. How many presidents or how many people have tried to say, Hey Bruce Springsteen, can I borrow born in the u s A for my campaign?

It’s have y’all listened to it? It’s not a celebration of the United States. It’s about the horrible conditions that we created where people like had to go to war. That was the only alternative they had, and then they died. So really that’s the,

Stephen: That whole album, you wanna talk about rebelliousness, that whole album is absolutely a little bit dark, even though the songs are super catchy.

Alan: Yeah. And honestly, does anybody have a better talent than him for taking I don’t know, starting with. Born to Run, that’s a, an anthemic song, and yet it’s got lyrics like, baby, it rips the bones from your back. It’s a death trap. It’s yeah. Woo-hoo, let’s go. I just it’s in fact who is it?

Robert Wool actually did a comedy routine about that, where he was like, have you read some of the lyrics that you guys are often like, raising your hand in anthemic love and stuff like that? Yes.

Stephen: And

Alan: he, not only that, the river darkness at the edge of town. Yeah. But there’s a whole series of them where there, there’s so much pain in his life and in this country, and he captures it so well.

And so he really is maybe the guy that found a way to make that stuff palatable, that we’re really willing to listen and even sing along to it. And only when you realize that, you have celebratory songs, she’s the one in Rosa, I’m trying to think. Rosalita, but even that is My, my dad says that if I become a rock and roller, he’s gonna disown me.

That’s not the happiest lyric around. You know what I mean? But I got this guitar and Oh and I learned how to make talk. You know what I mean? I just there’s, he’s really always had good rebellion in his songs. Yeah. Capturing again, the teeny spirit of it. And then he actually grew up and as an adult, had some very adult-like band Nebraska is as bleak an album as you can get.

I think it might be one of his least selling because it really was mostly acoustic and even the topic was. Bleak. It was about being like, out in the Dust Bowl. No hope. You know what I mean? Oh oh good.

Stephen: So I had a conversation with some friends at one point. A lot of people point to Bruce Springsteen as like the Spirit of America music and artists.

But a bunch of these people were saying now, to me it’s more John Mellencamp, he’s more of my spirit of America artists that I listen to. So it’s an interesting, I never thought of it, but they’re very much similar in that way with the music.

Alan: This is, so how would I differentiate that Springsteen is kinda like the New Jersey version of America and Mellencamp is the Indiana, the Midwest version?

Yeah. East Coast, Midwest. You know what I mean? That there’s a difference as to what are you escaping from or what’s the biggest problems going on when Scare Co when Mellencamp sings about Scare Co, about farm foreclosures and stuff like that really wasn’t a New Jersey phenomenon. You know what I mean?

They each have their strengths, and something, there’s a lot of crossover because America has a lot of problems everywhere. You know what

Stephen: I mean? My, my opinion, what I say, they’re both wonderful. Just listen to both. You’re good. Absolutely.

Alan: Why are you picking between?

Yeah. Remember Mullan Can has this song called Paper and Fire. Yeah. That has that great little ePEP, whatever that little riff is on mandolin

Stephen: or something like that. It’s, yeah.

Alan: I’m trying to think. It’s Piercing and ordinarily it’d be like, oh, I don’t need to hear that a lot. ’cause it’s so piercing.

And yet it lends such energy and urgency and frantic nature to that song that it’s just some people know how to pick out exactly the right synthesized sound or exactly the right different tuning on a guitar so that it sounds discordant a little bit. And that’s what they’re trying to capture in the song anyway.


Stephen: both very reflective of Americana. You can say that if nothing else.

Alan: Exactly. I regularly more so with Springsteen than with Mellencamp. I will start with his first album and I’ll listen to him all the way through. ’cause I love seeing the growth of him as an artist and the travel log of America, the, the history of America.

Yeah. Written in what he was writing about and his personal life, when he was in love and then not in love, and then back in love that there’s different kinds of songs, it. Boy, how can you be like, he was divorced and then remarried. He got his rumble doll, finally Patty sfa and he got together.

But Juliet, right? I think not Lewis, doesn’t matter. Yeah, like how do you fall in love with Bruce Springsteen and then fall out? I know that he’s not only the person, he is on stage. Everybody has, I’m not always me. I have different versions of me and stuff like that. And yet that’s just so sad that everybody else that America would hold up to as like the hero.

He writes great music. What a life. He and he was his own man. He did not sell out. He did this and this, and then you find out. Yeah, but he had broken hearts too. He had lost love too. It, and maybe. Maybe that’s the way it had to be almost, for him to be able to write about that.

But he had lost love early on and stuff. I just, I don’t even know where I’m going. Except it humanizes him even more to me that he didn’t have a perfect life. He had some dings in his life. You find out that somebody got cancer and recovered. It’s like he really understands mortality now. In a way that he couldn’t have before.

You know what I mean? So

Stephen: anyway the fact that him and Obama hang out is, just the coolest thing to me.

Alan: Exactly. I have good friends, Warren and Wendy that loved, have loved Springsteen all their lives. We actually got him as a concert at Champaign Urbana and, we star course the student run organization that did concerts.

We got to run stage crew backstage stuff. Nice. And I just, Warren was so unbelievably happy that he got a chance to meet the man. And it wasn’t only then, he’s now actually, he’s one of the guys that will like, find out what hell Hotel Springsteen is staying at and go and hang out there. And after a while they recognize him, that his Bruce recognizes Warren and says, Hey, you wanna talk for a while?

And so they had a chance where they like went and laid down on a grassy knoll, not that one. And like how cool is that, that he was so cool with his fans. And that morning, Wendy really. Did all the right things. Not worshipful stuff, and not please sign this so I can sell it on eBay.

Yeah. That they really have been like, tell me about this latest lyric. Tell me about what’s going, and they were friends. They became friends. How cool is that? That’s very cool. What happens with some people that, that remove, that you have to have as a rockstar? Some people let it drop and are re regular people too.

So hats off toward, and Wendy, wonderful friends of mine and hats off to the. For being so human,

Stephen: yeah. So you mentioned listening the albums all the way through that O c D starting at the beginning. My son has that a lot and he’s done it with many things. And we were talking this weekend like Batman.

He said I wanna read Batman. So he sat down and researched to get every Batman title and when they appeared, blah, blah, blah, and then found them all one way or another he’s got like the DC online, infinite, he has a bunch himself. He’s bought Omni Buses and so just tried to collect everything.

There might have been a few Great. That’s

Alan: underneath Pass, going all the way back to

Stephen: 39 through the 40, and he read them all. He cataloged it and marked them and read them all. Yeah, I’ve

Alan: never done that. That’s fantastic. Yeah, I many things since I was alive, which would’ve been 59 and on, did I delve back into the thirties and forties very.

Not at all near completely.

Stephen: Okay. He, he’s definitely showing his O c D there. He did the same with Green Lantern. Okay. And he’s just, so now his new thing he’s discovered some of the pulps and he has taken all my Conan my books and my comics, both the Robert Howard and the Lynn Carter and the Sprague and all those others.

Sprague de Camp. Exactly. Thera. Yeah. And along with that, he John Carter of Mars and call and Solomon Kane and so that brings up this weekend we were down at Pulp Fest. Yes. Ran into friends of the show. Jim and Jim Beard and John Bruning. They both had a, their thing there.

And I got a bunch of their books. I think I’ve got almost all their books now. Okay. So they gotta keep coming out with more, I’m

Alan: not sold. They sold out of the Six gun, the new westerns anthology. They sold out. That’s sold out.

Stephen: So we were down there. So Colin was looking for all the Conan stuff and he got quite a large chunk of it.

And this is the place to go. The funny thing was we were looking around, he is I think I’m the youngest person here.

Alan: Honestly, if you’re at a pulp Con, it really is. When would they publish thirties through the fifties. Yeah. You’re already talking. And even the things you’re mentioning when you’re looking for Conan and Tarzan and Nick Carter and like the original publishings of those.

That isn’t recent. That’s a hundred years gone.

Stephen: Yeah. You know what I mean? 90 years gone there’s a ton of reprints of all that stuff through the years. And so my big

Alan: lance are paperbacks for Conan, for instance, which are like first publishing in a non pulp form if I remember correctly.

And those are distinctive ’cause they got all the Retta covers. Yeah. Wonder they left off the shelves because those are some excellent painting for those

Stephen: covers. Okay. So my big find was I got almost a full set of the Edgar Rice Burrows Tarzan that. The prices range greatly. There’s some places that definitely have collector available items that are going for good money in bags and they look mint perfect and all that.

I wasn’t that interested. I wasn’t even really go buy anything like that. ’cause like I told Colin, I said nothing against any of these guys, but Gutenberg project has all the Tarzan stuff if I want it digitally, and then I’m not cluttering up the house anymore.

Alan: But that, there’s something about sitting there with a book, reading

Stephen: with a book.

There is, that O c D thing kicks in again too. So it, oh look, they’ve got number three for $4. That’s great. When I gotta get one and two and oh, there’s 20 more to get. I can’t get just one or two. It’s very difficult. So I either gotta not do any of them or whatever. I ran into the one place.

They were just trying to sell a bunch of used books. A modem. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I found one of Bill’s books that I didn’t have, star carrier, like nine I think or something. Okay.

Alan: Bill Keith, friend of the show everyone. Bill Keith, yeah. Writes great military sci-fi. Okay. I’ll see

Stephen: him in a month.

That’ll be nice. But, so I was just looking through and I’m like, oh my gosh, there’s almost the complete run of Tarzan with the Neo Adam covers. So I was like, oh. And the guy goes, yeah, we’re about to have a big sale. I’m like, what do you mean a big sale? Because they were already a buck a book. And he says a whole he said a whole Basket they had made up for 10 bucks.

Oh really? When are you doing that? He says, oh, like right now. I says, okay. So I’m like, yeah, they were already all in the one box, so I just took it and, and it had a bunch of Acer double books that,

Alan: yeah, I have a bunch of those. And honestly, I didn’t buy those. All of them. But I look for certain things because that’s where the first works, the first appearance of a character or that kind of stuff.

A lot of are first featured as a tryout in the Ace Doubles. Yes. You explain this online, but for those who don’t know, an ACE double is, it’s a paperback, but it’s actually two books and you read one, and then you flip it over upside down the other way is the second book, so they can be this thick, but it’s actually kinda like two paperbacks

Stephen: joined together.

Yeah. And they’re a little squat. They’re cute.

Alan: They, the theory was that, hey, we aren’t sure about these two authors. Some people will say one of these two has to be good for 75 cents. Back then when paperbacks were like 50, 60, 70 5 cents. That was two stories,

Stephen: two fantastic novels for 50 cents.

Oh my God. Yeah. Yeah, so I got, I was like I wasn’t going to buy Edgar Rice boroughs, but for $10, and I got, I think I need 27, and then the last two and that’s it. Or 17 and the last 2, 26, 27 or something. Yeah.


Alan: It’s I just read my first Travis McGee book Okay.

McDonald. And he’s been gone from 96, he’s gone already 25 years plus. Yet he wrote, I think like 50 Travis McGee books or Novelettes that might’ve appeared and stuff like that. I think there’s 27 maybe. And of course the reason that you and I say those numbers is because I know that I’m gonna have to get ’em all now.

And it’s funny you say it as Ooc D, but I almost thought that was just the collectors gene. If you have something, you want to have one to end of it. Yes. It’s a story. It’s a river novel as they sometimes call it. And I don’t want just this little tiny bend of the river. I want the whole thing.

I wanna see how it started and how it ends all,

Stephen: I guess it’s a point of view thing. Exactly. Exactly. Depends who you’re talking to. If you’re in that room, it’s a collector thing. If you’re laying on your analyst couch, it’s an O c D thing. I guess

Alan: that’s, so I, and it’s what, having said that I bought one from Amazon that’s like an older version of it, but was in fantastic condition and it’s hard, they’re hard to find.

Most of them have the breaks in the spine and they’re reader copies, they’re chewed on and stuff. And what I thought was I know I’m gonna have problems finding everything else in equal condition. So I’m faced with what you just did. Am I gonna try to, I’m gonna get not only the regular form paperback, but they reissued ’em as like quality paper.

Oh, mass market paperbacks, quality paperbacks. I’ve lost the different names they use for these various different things. And when they reissued ’em, they have united covers. They all look the same. And so maybe that’s how I’m gonna get all the rest. If I can find them, not for 15 bucks, but for five bucks and I’ll just say, oh, if I line ’em up on the shelf, they’re not gonna be a perfect set, which is what I like to see.

They’re gonna jump around in terms of what factor, form factor. Yeah. But they’re good enough that I want to have ’em all. And having said that, I remember, I love when people tell me about that, that they When someone told me about the Pray Books by John Sanford and like when you discover, oh, there’s not this one, there’s 30.

I get to go haunt the bookstores. I get to go on Amazon. I get to go find a good copy of all these things and make ’em my own. And in fact, when I saw this copy of the first Travis ebook is so nice. But what I said to myself was, this is the joy that someone’s going to get when they buy my books.

’cause I’ve got things that are, I’m 64, I just did 64, today’s my birthday, woo hoo. And I have things that have gotta be 54 years old that are in fantastic shape. So they’ve made it half a century without a breaking a spine without a dog ear. Wow. Maybe the pages, the edge of the pages might have changed color a little bit because they’re exposed to the air.

But you look open, it’s like a little bit, but they’re clean white pages inside. Someone’s gonna be really happy with my James Bonds, my Doc Savages, my Perry, Rodan, my, all those things that I was buying when I was young. My mad magazine paperbacks. They’re fucking ecstatic when they see my collection.

Stephen: Absolutely. Yeah. So if anybody’s, taking notes and, oh, big collections. Let me tell you about Mack Bo and the executioner like that. I think

Alan: I know I bought at least the first 120 or something like that, as well as Able Team and Phoenix Force, which were signoffs of his and hey, speaking of what was good back in the seventies and eighties, there were tons of these men’s adventure paperbacks coming out.

And I didn’t just get Mack Boland, I got, in fact my like, even better, the destroyer, the Remo Williams side. Yes. Fantastic. Death merchant was pretty good. The smuggler, there’s all, there’s probably 20 different series that I got that were variations on. Guy used to be in the Army, now he fights.

Yeah. He’s gonna kill all the mafiaa or he is gonna stop all the human traffickers or whatever else it might be. Sometimes anti-heroes were like, especially the Punisher that is the version of the executioner that Marvel did. He’s a mad man. He’s not really a noble guy. He’s kinda I’m gonna kill a lot of people and thank God I’m killing the right ones.

You mean I’m killing the criminals? But he didn’t really care about collateral damage. He wouldn’t fight Captain America. There’s a fun fact to know and tell who’s the only marble guy that the Punisher would not fight. Catherine America because he believed in him. You know what I mean?

Stephen: Anyway. And another a, to add that list, the Death Lands series. Yes. Many of those is that dystopian fun one, which like a lot of these, obviously they’re all by James Axler, but James Axler is like a different ghost writer. Every issue, every one, same with Mac Mullen. There’s 300, 400 of those now, and they’ve been going on

Alan: forever.

For a long time. It was Don Pendleton. He really wrote all of them. And then at some point, I think when Bear With Me, Eagle took ’em over they were published maybe by Signet or Bantam, I’m trying to think who the publisher was. But then Eagle is the company that started to put out all the spinoffs and everything.

And I think that they did the same thing. That it wasn’t just Don Penton anymore, it was. Ghost writers of various different kinds, though Don Pendleton’s name might have stayed on the cover, they do that a lot. Kenneth Robeson, it was never Kenneth Robeson for Doc Savage.

It was Lester Dent for 160. Out of the 181 of those, I think Maxwell Grant was mostly alter Gibson for the shadow. Yeah. And there’s 600 of those. And I I, everything that’s ever been published as a paperback I have of the shadow, and they’ve taken multiple runs at it, but I’ve never seen the effort to put all those 600.

So if you really wanna read the old shadows, you gotta get the pulps. You gotta

Stephen: go to the

Alan: pulp Fest. I’ve never made that a top. I and I, honestly, I, I really will next year. This was a crazy weekend for how many things were going on. Pulp Fest was going on. Fan Expo, maybe that’s this coming weekend in Chicago.

There was like, multiple GenCon was going on in Indianapolis. And man, if you’re a geek, Why did you, couldn’t you guys talk? Couldn’t you not have to make me make a choice as to all these three different things going on? But that’s in, in even ever a freer schedule that Colleen and I now have.

She’s okay once in a while when I’ve gone and done, my pinball fest, my comic book fest, my prog tober fest. Now I’m going to Prague stock this year, by the way. So that’ll be my cool prognos. And then she gets to like, have the ladies over for tea, take a weekend, long bath, whatever it is that ladies get up to when the guys aren’t around, do all those things,

Stephen: I’m sorry. I was gonna say Colin had a couple really good finds. He got a couple green lantern pages that were the color reference charts that they did. So those are, so they had

Alan: book material. Okay,

Stephen: that’s cool. That’s a little bit, but his, the finds he was like so excited about was he found some Will Eisner the spirit.

Yeah. And it wasn’t a book, it wasn’t a reprint, nothing like that. It was a newspaper that there were only like three newspapers in the world that printed that when it came out on full size newspaper. And he got a copy of one. So he was so excited. ’cause they’re like ultra rare. He didn’t even know they existed.

They were so rare. So I had that

Alan: happen. Good for him. There’s nothing like being a collector when then you go to a fest and you’re like, I didn’t even know this existed. Of course, I now must have. Yeah. That’s when you talked earlier about. Ace doubles. We talked a little bit about this before.

There’s a whole these heroes have inspired multiple people ’cause they, they didn’t fall into the public domain, but they have knockoffs. So for instance, doc Savage has Doc Caliban and Doc, there’s a couple versions of him. There’s one where he’s like a Celtic hero doc.

She, SS I D H E. And having said that, Philip Jose Farmer wrote a cool biography of Doc Savage called Doc Savage, his apocalyptic life. And he actually did a couple books that were continuations of the Doc Savage side, but his doc Caliban and wove it into that. There really are secret societies that have been around forever, and as one of his big the big thing that he started was the Wald Newton Universe.

That all those heroes are connected in by lineage, by, all the way back to the Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage and Tarzan. Doc Savage and Tarzan are brothers according to these. And one of those books that I looked for forever was an Ace double that had Lord of the Trees on one side and the Mad Gobbled on the other, and they were his knockoffs of Lord Grays stroke, gray Stoke Tarzan, and Doc Caliban on the other side.

And like, when I finally found it, I really was like, this is the grail. I’ve looked for this forever. I, and that’s, I love when. I knew that existed and I was looking for it, but occasionally there have been things at the comic cons or the pulp shows where like the first time that I bumped into John Burning and found out what his company Flinch was doing okay, midnight Guardian akin to the pulps and he’s kinda like the shadow of the Whistler that, you know, yeah.

There’s any number of people. And I couldn’t wait to buy ’em and read ’em. And the fact that they proved to be really good was like I, I bought another series at that was like a science detective and boy, they weren’t as good. They

Stephen: needed an editor. Is that Sergeant Janus? That

Alan: doesn’t ring up Bell.

No. Okay. Pull out and but you have and it weren’t from Fleet Publishing. Oh, okay. Okay. Publisher. But and a lot of times, I dunno, I’m a. As soon as I had money, I was a soft touch for sure. I want to buy a copy of your book to encourage you to do more and let you fulfill your dream of being a sell a, an author, a real, good selling author and stuff like that.

And my discovery is, again, 90% of everything not that good. Once in a while, something was they had it, they had an idea of how to build suspense. They had an idea of, that the character has to be like, consistent throughout the book. You can’t just, it doesn’t matter my criticism, it matters that there’s a difference in quality and you can tell if you read a lot, when something is hollow, it’s rushed.

It’s not it doesn’t hang together, it, there isn’t a good vocabulary that it’s repetitive. You know what I mean? When you read, somebody uses the same Battle the word battle again and again instead of how about maybe a couple thesaurus words, so you could say a struggle or a, that kind of thing.

Things that matter to me in terms of the craft of writing and some people are just kinda wow, this is not college level. This is high school. Maybe junior high. I’m glad that flame is burning in you to get a story out of you, but maybe you need to go to some of the cool writers’ workshops that you go to.

Own your craft. Yeah. Get back at it. Let people who are your friends tell you what’s good and what’s bad, and be willing to knife the baby

Stephen: and take

Alan: out the bad parts, rewrite the bad parts, whatever else it might be. Oh, I just fest might be one of those places where you really get more of a taste of that.

Maybe any independent book fair is where you get that, that it’s not the, it’s been through multiple sets of is and editors and it’s gonna be bestseller quality, at least in terms of the editing. The spelling and stuff like that. And sometimes that also means that it’s had the angrily good bits chopped off of it.

So it’ll be the perfect music like we were just talking about. You know what I mean?

Stephen: Sellable, novel.

Alan: I wonder,

Stephen: I was gonna say there, there’s a lot of good looking new pulp out there. Besides Flinch Publishing, which has some good stuff I ran into a guy that had a new pulp King Kong story.

And he had a doc Savage King Kong crossover. And I, I think Tarzan. Okay. Yeah. Which he actually wrote a couple of the short stories that are in a couple of the flinch anthologies, so that’s why I was looking at his stuff more. But I, I told Colin, I said These look really great King Kong, cool. But it’s like a 300 page book that’s like almost a full sheet of paper size. I’m like, weren’t pulps like really thin, short? You know what I mean? They’re not right. They

Alan: were meant to be disposable quick fiction. Yeah.

Stephen: Okay. So I’m like, to me, if you wanna really capture pulps, you’re doing short, punchy stories, not long drawn out novels.

That’s really

Alan: true. And is there now a standard for Hey, if it’s too flimsy of a book, people won’t buy it ’cause they think it’s a pamphlet.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. There’s all sorts of weirdness with that too. Yeah. Okay.

Alan: Yeah. Let’s see. I otherwise for my birthday I got the new Tom Papa book. You know what I mean?

Sometimes. Oh, really? Stand up. Comedians can really be good at their craft on stage, but maybe they’re not great writers. Nope. Tom Papa’s really a good writer too nice. I got that one. I, boy, I should have opened the show with this, so I got a really cool, a huge album book. Of a series I got the first of four and I wanted to try it instead of buying all four of them, even though I’m gonna have to called Space Bastards.

It’s about an intergalactic postal service that the mail will always get through. And of course, when you know, you open up the universe to be well, this is a hostile to life planet. This is a crime planet. This is a planet about to go nova, almost like Dr. Huish type plots. But the characters, all these, the mailmen that do this apparently, honestly I bought it without knowing a lot about it, except Derek Robertson does the art and he did the art for the boys and various other series that I’ve really loved.

And so I’ll have my, my biggest most expensive comic book that I bought in a long time is Space Bastards. And so I’m hoping that it’s good. ’cause once in a while you do buy a pig in a poke. It’s the artist did the best he could, but. If you’re not working with Garth Ennis or Warren Ellis Yeah.

Or someone great. You’re not guaranteed to have the story match the quality of the art. And I’m hoping that it does. Because that was a fun thing and nice. What else did I get? I got a pair of lounge pants that have Smucker’s things on it. We went down to the s Oh, we went down to the Smucker’s Outlet store.

And that’s true. In brief this weekend was like, Hey, we went on brain freeze. We had ate a whole bunch of different ice creams all around Ohio. Yes. And so despite not being able to make it to Pulp Fest, it’s ’cause we had these other cool things going on. And that was fun.

We went to a show on Friday night called Once On This Island. That was a, the most fantastic set I’ve ever seen. They had transformed the stage to look like an island with palm trees and Wow. And we were, we had amazing seats. I didn’t realize how good a seats I had gotten this. We were right at the front row.

And so there’s a lot of dancing and sometimes that can be overwhelming ’cause you’re not seeing all the choreography. But boy, when you can see. All the expressions and hear all the voices. Not just micd, but real voices and see that little trickle of sweat ’cause someone’s dancing hard and earning that show.

We had such a great time. We knew nothing about it going in and it was joyous, joyful, nice. Which were, and like a fable about love and lost love and colonialism and the gods interfering in people’s lives and just for all of that kind of sounds a little mishmash, but it really worked. It was entertaining as all hell.

And I love one of those shows where you walk out and you’re like, you’re stopping people on the street. I think it’s running for a few more weeks. You gotta go catch this show. It was great. So if it this, if this co if anybody can still see it while it’s here in town or if it actually goes to other cities once on this island, trust me it’s when you see the shows and it stands out.

Stephen: We’ll make sure and put a link in the show notes.

Alan: Exactly. That’s a z Our TV just blew up. We have a Samsung that we’ve had for a long time, and we’re watching something and all of a sudden, no lie, like a rifle shot. Wow. And then the smell of burned electricity. And we were, oh God, please don’t set the house on fire.

Yeah. And so we jumped up and we pulled things away so that it didn’t have things around it. And then I, it didn’t burst into flames luckily. So I reached around and without getting shocked to death, was able to pull the plug out. So now the tv, and I think it was the TV as compared to it wasn’t the outlet.

’cause that really would’ve maybe gone in the walls and everything else. So it’s funny, once in a while things start to give you little signs of distress that they get a little artifact over here that they get a little fadey. Yeah, no, this one gave up the ghost with a very definite.

With a bang. With a bang. Exactly that. So then we had to like we need a new tv. We’re not TV addicts, but it’s nice if we’re gonna have all these yeah, Amazon and Netflix. You wanna have something to show ’em on besides our, your phone and to watch things together? Exactly. Without going into it a ton hit consumer reports, hit all kinds of review sites, and the one that I really wanted was the Roku TVT from T C L.

And it’s not available. It’s gotten such great reviews that everybody bought ’em. Wow. And so it’s I don’t wanna wait for and it’s not even like backlogged that you can’t sign up and say when one is available, it just says an up filled out. So piss. I hate that. So it’s I got a Roku box.

Can I get the equivalent of that with the Google? TV thing and then still be able to just attach my Roku box to it? Nope. Apparently t TCL L is making great TVs. So in short, I ended up buying a high sense one, which was actually a savings of a few bucks. And out of the big six TV manufacturers, it’s the smallest but the fastest growing because it’s doing good quality type stuff.

And wow, it’s been 10, since 10 years, at least since we’ve lost this tv. So you have to learn all the new now. It’s not alter hd, now it’s X HD with the four K and the, and yeah, whether it takes at t s C two or three for what kinds of things you get attached to it, does it take Dolby or Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision.

And so the big spreadsheet of what factors you’re looking for keeps growing. And so after a while you’re like I’m gonna trust some review sites that really seem to be coming, bubbling certain ones up to the top. And that’s why I was willing to go with the high sense without knowing a lot about it, except that it’s made in China.

And so here’s hoping that. Nothing against Chinese products. You have a ton of tiny stuff without knowing you’ve got Chinese products. I just don’t want there to be like availability weirdness that even though I was able to buy it on Amazon, then they’re gonna come back to me and say, oh, that boat is stuck because of conflicts in the South China Sea and that, it’s not on the boat that’s stuck in the Red Sea when that guy turned sideways and was right fucking the Suez Canal. You know what I mean? All that kind of stuff. So having said that, this is one of those things like we talked about this a little bit last or the previous episode. If you really do a little bit of research and make the big decisions like buying a house, like buying a car, like that kind of thing you don’t worry about candy bars, you don’t worry about this costing two versus $3 a TV that we’re gonna have for 10 years, hopefully.

And that costs, this costs $800. It’s not a small thing. You still wanna make sure that you get your money’s worth, right? You mean, oops, I made a mistake, I’ll just piss away another $800. But for those who are wondering just, as of August seven, Al did his research and for what was based on availability and quality and all that kind of stuff, T c L was really looking good.

We had a Samsung and it lasted long until the Big Bang. And as long as we have the Roku box, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re buying Samsung’s, oss or Google or TV or Apple. We actually looked at the Apple TVs and they’re not as flexible. I think I could still attach a Roku to an Apple tv, but they, there’s still a certain amount of premium you pay for Apple devices and there wasn’t enough quality.

To get to the premium that you’re willing to pay to get to that. So I’m hoping that when I book up the high sense that I’ll be able to say, yep, I made a good bet, as opposed to, oh, I gotta rebox this MF and send it back because,

Stephen: oh and lemme just, comment on that. There’s probably people listening that go, $800, I can go to Walmart and get a 75 inch for 127.

There is a difference. There’s some, there’s a lag in those, there’s colors that get issues. There’s just not as bright a quality a picture and all of that.

Alan: So it’s funny, it really is one of those things where you see the big list of all the different factors. For instance, where we watch is in our TV room, and we don’t have to worry about side angle viewing.

It really is, we’re gonna be staring at it from the front. And so things that fade out with quality l e d versus O L E D versus Q L E D and that kind of stuff, whether they’re really black and really pop bright colors, if we’re not in a well lit room, almost always we have the shades down while we’re watching in that room.

So I could dismiss a couple of the factors that if what they’re talking about is we’ve got the most lumens of everything, it’s we don’t need that in spades. What I always try to do is buy a future-proof one. I don’t want the one that’s just come out with new technology, it’s gonna be superseded soon or that.

A lot of times where you can get the bar bargains is that it’s older technology, right? And it isn’t the best, but it’s half the price. And it’s weird. I’m now in my sixties, I really want things that are going to help my eyes not hurt them. So anything that has motion blur, anything that has where nothing RAs anymore, it’s all l e d, but where you can see artifacts that the things don’t line up perfectly or that there’s a delay.

That the refresh rate is still, honestly between 60 and one 20. And I know that I’ve been at monitors, you know how you do this. You just kinda look over here and then you see if you can see that the monitor is shimmering, it’s like that’s not a fast enough research, a refresh rate that it will not give you ice strain over the course of time.

So all those factors that you just talked about brightness and. And also I, for instance, a lot of things were about gaming. I usually don’t game on my big tv. I play here up, on my silly, don’t trouble, Colleen with it. Rig upstairs here in Skynet. And so all the things that they had about gaming capability and whether it works with the Xbox and the SS n e s or whatever else is an S N E S.

Anyway, that’s 30 years ago I was gonna say. Yeah, exactly. It’s who are the biggies now? It doesn’t matter. I really could say that much. That doesn’t matter as much to me. It matters that I can do both movies and TV shows, and then if they have the four K and the H D R and whatever, they have the kind of separate resolutions and stuff like that, I want it that it’s gonna automatically do that for me instead of my having to say, oh, now I’m watching something on Hulu and I gotta lower the resolution.

Or it looks even worse because it’s artifacting. ’cause it’s trying to convert on the fly. And so I want the smarts of a smart TV to be that it takes care of all those little tunings and choices in the background and that it’s like if I just put it onto movie mode, if it has different resolutions of movies, it won’t.

That I regret. There’s only one movie mode and I really wanted four, that kind of thing. Like you said, I don’t, and I don’t know it, there were things that were costing $2,500 and there were things that were costing $300 and whatever that trade off is of, I really don’t want the as big a screen as possible if it still looks murky, fuzzy, I need the screen real estate. And in fact, there’s even a factor of where am I gonna put that in the room? I wanna fit it in between two other bookcases. I’m really gonna move the bookcases because you

Stephen: can’t move bookcases for tv. That’s sa religious. No, exactly. And you gotta look at things like the shielding for the E M I interference because that, that makes a difference that we don’t even think about.

People don’t realize, you could have a really big TV with really bad electronics that are just blowing out e m i all the time. And your router’s there and you’re wondering why you can’t get connected and slowing down your speeds. I, so that is an issue that people don’t think about.


Alan: Anything, it’s invisible. You know what I mean? Yes. It really was that it g glowed as when it was getting interference. I say I don’t, move it far enough away so that the goal fades to nothing. But they don’t have human factor ways of tuning that usually. A little bit about, signal strength does drop with the square of the distance, so the farther away you can put things, almost all those, you’ll cure your problems, but you can’t have it just leaning up against

Stephen: it.

You know what I mean? And I always tell people Yeah. When I talk, when someone asks me, Hey, I want a new computer, but I wanna make sure it can handle things. And I’m like, trust me, anything you do, any computer’s go handle, you’re fine. But then they talk about I can get this computer, but I wanna upgrade the C P U and have the fastest C P U.

And I’m like, you’re wasting your money. Because 90% of the time that C P U is throwing things in memory or waiting for things to come back from memory or worse, throwing things on the hard drive and waiting for things to come from the hard drive, that’s a hundred times slower than any memory. Yeah, exactly.

So with. The new TVs. I tell people, look, look for a great nice tv. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, but get a good quality sound system if you don’t have one. The speakers, that’s where they save money a lot is cheapo speakers and movies really are enhanced by the sound, by surround, by hearing the little nuances all over.

Alan: Exactly. I’m gonna, I didn’t get that with the tv, but they sold it so that you can get the soundbar that’s supposed to be well matched to this tv, but I also know that Roku makes a good soundbar. Yeah. That also has then all, capability that it talks to the Roku box in a perfect, so I’m gonna have to like, find a direct comparison between, or see which one I go with.

We currently have a Sony, if I remember right, soundbar and, but it’s got weirdness in terms of. It doesn’t, it isn’t fully compatible with everything as you change modes. And I don’t want to have to reboot my soundbar or change anything within my settings to do that. So as much as I’ve had this guy also for 10 years, he didn’t blow up, but it might be, you’re just not as compatible because things have gotten better and better over the, of these years.

I want my electronics to be like, take care of me, what I want a virtual, me a virtual expert that’s good about setting the settings and getting rid of all the problems and that it does that for me automatically instead of my having to find the okay, go in. Where’s resolution?

Where’s, I’ve seen sites where they actually have. People that are really wonderfully obsessive about this. And they go in and they say, for these, all these various different kinds of TVs, here’s really the optimal settings so that you get good flesh tones. You get good. No Boen buller when you’re watching your Fast and Furious movie or whatever else it might be.

You don’t want to have the quality of that movie degraded.

Stephen: Yeah. And some people, the only factor they look at is how big It’s how big it’s exactly. That’s it. And then they’ll say hey, I got a good deal on that. It was on sale for $86. It’s a 300 inch tv.

Yeah. I’m like, yeah, it looks like crap. It,

Alan: Hopefully whenever they have the Black Friday sales and stuff like that, I don’t think it’s the latest and greatest. Almost always it’s the things they’re trying to clear from inventory. Because honestly, you can get, man, if you can get a fantastically large TV for 300 bucks, that really is pretty cool.

And yet, In all the ways we’re talking about, it might be that you’re gonna regret your choice when you go over to your friend’s house and he spent 500 and makes yours look a little dated. You know what I mean? Absolutely. Oh, alright.

Stephen: Okay. So happy birthday man. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Alan: What are we doing tonight?

Going to a ball game. The Lake Erie crushers are playing Noli, the Washington Wild things. Alright. So about that. And we got a ticket where it’s all, you can eat hotdog

Stephen: and hamburgers. That’s dangerous.

Alan: So it’s I, it’s not like I need to eat more, but it just, it’s. It’s for a birthday. It’s just so nice to be like, you know what, I feel like a bag of peanuts.

Thank you for a bag of peanuts. And so I don’t think we’re gonna gorge ourselves, but it’s just gonna be like, I feel like a licorice whip. You have licorice whips. That’s what I, we’ll see. It’s a silly birthday thing to do. Yeah, I’m good. Let’s see. How much should a hot dog be? Two bucks. I need to eat a dozen hotdog to get my money’s worth for

Stephen: something.

Are they two bucks at this?

Alan: Don’t really, A ballpark hot dog is like nine. Yeah. So what am I saying? It’s,

Stephen: yeah. Okay. Alright. Cool.

Alan: Always a pleasure, Steven. See? Yes. And my next week, let’s see, we’re gonna be in Detroit, so it might be that I’ll ask us to bump onto Wednesday or something like that instead of taking a break while we’re in Detroit.