A list of songs that draw their name from the world of finance (updated periodically)
Bitches & Money (Master P featuring The Real Untouchables)
For the Love of Money (The O’Jays , Utopia)
Gold (John Stewart & Stevie Nicks)
Last Dollar On Earth (Utopia)
Lawyers, Guns and Money (Warren Zevon)
Money (Pink Floyd)
Money For Nothing (Dire Straits)
Money Talks (AC/DC)
Take The Money And Run (Steve Miller Band)
The Big Money (Rush)
Rich Girl (Hall & Oates)
Ghost Title Songs: Where the title is NOWHERE to be found lyrically and nebulously floating in the ether (updated periodically)
5150 (Van Halen)
A Sort Of Homecoming (U2)
Atlanta Lady (Marty Balin)
Baba O'Riley (The Who)
Long Train Runnin' (The Doobie Brothers)
Ride The Lightning (Metallica)
She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
The Clairvoyant (Iron Maiden)
The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
Witch Hunt (Rush)
A list of artists that draw their name from the world of finance (updated periodically)
David Lee Roth (IRA)
Gary U.S. Bonds
Uli Jon (Ulrich) Roth (see also David Lee)
Rod Argent (Argent means money in French)
A list of songs that draw their name from the animal kingdom (updated periodically)
A Horse With No Name (America)
Alligator Woman (Cameo)
American Horse (The Cult)
Animal (Def Leppard)
Beast Of Burden (The Rolling Stones)
Birdland (Weather Report)
Bird Mad Girl (The Cure)
Black Cat (Janet Jackson)
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)
Blackbird (The Beatles)
Buffalo Stance (Nenah Cherry)
Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent)
Catepillar (The Cure)
Cold Hearted Snake (Paula Abdul)
Crocodile Rock (Elton John)
Dixie Chicken (Little Feat)
Dog And Butterfly (Heart)
Dog Eat Dog (Ted Nugent)
Dogs Of War (Pink Floyd)
Elephant Talk (King Crimson)
Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller Band)
Fox On The Run (Sweet)
Free Bird (Lynryd Skynryd)
Great White Buffalo (Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes)
Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult)
Grey Seal (Elton John)
Hair Of The Dog (Nazareth)
Hound Dog (Big Mama Thorton, Elvis Presley)
Hungry Like The Wolf (Duran Duran)
I Am The Walrus (The Beatles)
Mary Had A Little Lamb (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Monkey (George Michael)
Monster Mash (Bobby "Boris" Pickett)
Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)
Peace Frog (The Doors)
Piggy In The Mirror (The Cure)
Rock Lobster (The B-52's)
Rocking Robin (The Jackson Five)
Rocky Raccoon (The Beatles)
Shake Dog Shake (The Cure)
Shock The Monkey (Peter Gabriel)
Spiderman (The Cure)
Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats)
Union Of The Snake (Duran Duran)
Waiting For The Worms (Pink Floyd)
Walk The Dinosaur (Was (Not Was)
War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Werewolves Of London (Warren Zevon)
Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Wild Horses (The Rolling Stones, U2)
Wooly Bully (Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs)
Question: Why wasn’t this tune all over the radio? “American Son” is an INSTANT classic rock anthem. I knew it the first time I heard it. It’s all there—all the ingredients—the edgy bust your ass lyrics, funk styled bass and groove, brutal brass knuckles blues riffs, piston punching pre chorus, and nasty chainsaw wielding chorus. It’s just plain badass. There’s SO much great music out there it’s criminal that tracks like the Bihlman Bros. “American Son” don’t scale the white picket fence of musical mediocrity that often passes for top 40. By contrast, this track is a bellicose ballet on barbed wire.
“American Son” is uptempo take no prisoners power blues at it’s finest. Jabo Bihlman’s vocals are ballsy, lionesque, delightfully masculine. There’s depth and a musical quality to the wails and howls making it a raucous rodeo of melodic belligerence—and you ride that bull right out of the gate kicking and snorting. You’d better bring balloons to your cowboy hat at the ICU.
The intro riff is a slutty black fishnet wearing hook that you just can help starring at. And I mean that in the best possible way. The build up is the sound of a python ready to strike, slinky and uncoiling:
It’s a great open road tune that could ride shotgun with Steppenwolf’s“Born To Be Wild.” I weightlift and exercise to this song as well. It’s in my workout mix along with tunes from Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Henry Rollins (Rollins Band), Shadows Fall, etc. So for a band to be in there that’s NOT actually considered Metal, says something about the energy and intensity fermenting within this tune. It’s an unapologetic tornado of testosterone. I wouldn’t brush my teeth to it if I were you.
“American Son” is a track off their 2006 release also titled American Son. The Bihlman bros. are a Northern Michigan based power blues rock outfit consisting of Jabo (Jeff) Bilhman on guitar and vocals and Scot (Little) Bihlman on drums and backing vocals. Not little as in Gimli (Lord of the Rings), little as in younger brother. Both are alums of the famed Musicians Institute (MI) in Hollywood. Scot Bihlman is also an actor on the side. Here he is in the Burger King “Simpsonize Me” commercial a few years back. Scot is seated on a bench then morphs in Otto, the heroic headphone wearing headbanging school bus driver of Springfield:
The Bihlman Bros. have toured Europe and they also play in a band with Kings X frontman Doug Pinnick called Grinder Blues (remember the King’s X tune “It’s Love” off of their 1990 album Faith Hope Love?). They also won an Emmy for the soundtrack on the 2009 film Love N’ Dancing which starred everyone’s favorite Titanic villain Billy Zane along with Amy Smart and Tom Malloy. Seven tracks from Their 2009 album What U Want were featured in the film.
The breakdown from 2:46–3:28 on “American Son” is where Jabo and Scot get all quiet and you think you’re safe from the impending stampede of sonic bombardment. It’s a loaded freight train in the distance building up steam only to drown you in it’s deafening Doppler wave.
But you just know they’re going to build and kick you in the nuts again with the riff and still you’re defenselessly asking them please do so. It’s like a Fraternity you want to join to willingly get tarred and feathered like that initiation scene in the college comedy classic Revenge of The Nerds. You will endure the humiliation and beg until the Bihlman Bros. bring it again with the riff. It’s musical S&M of the highest degree. You will lick the Bihlman Bros. black leather boots…
Music Video for “American Son” (Union Street Station in Traverse City, MI):
Okay maybe I’m getting a little carried away here. “American Son” is such a rocking mix of kinky belligerence like a fine Joe Walsh riff, a guy who always plays straight from the hip. It feels a bit like The Eagles “Life in the Fast Lane” riff but sounds like you’d rather to drive a battle tank to it—over a sportscar. Are you with me so far? “American Son” could have been written in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s—it doesn’t matter. It’s a timeless and dateless anthem existing in that eternal jukebox in the sky. A sky with way more than 50 stars for everybody to enjoy the underlying current of this song’s collective primal freedom.
A list of bands and artists that draw their name from the animal kingdom (updated periodically)
A Flock of Seagulls
The Black Crowes
Blue Oyster Cult
Echo & the Bunnymen
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Greg Hawkes (The Cars)
Hootie & the Blowfish
John Cougar Mellancamp
Los Lobos (The Wolves)
The Partridge Family
Pet Shop Boys
Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band, solo)
Temple of the Dog
Three Dog Night
Toad the Wet Sprocket
One of the things I love about college radio is you hear all kinds of songs you’ll never hear anywhere else. You’ll hear things before you’ll hear them on mainstream radio. And things you’ll never hear on mainstream radio but are cool enough to be there and even better than much of the stuff on there. Such is the case with “Where The Hell Are My Friends” by LANY, a track they released as a single in 2016 on the internet not connected to any particular album they did.
That said, I do like how artists have more control over making and releasing music these days. LANY used the same do-it-yourself ethic punk rock groups employed decades earlier because back then radio and recording companies wouldn’t give them the time of day. And college radio is as do-it-yourself as you can get along with Low Power FM (LPFM/Community Radio) stations. It’s just students and residents with their music collections and NO CAR COMMERCIALS. What a concept. Wow, there is a God. You can sing about a Little Red Corvette or a Little Deuce Coupe but I don’t want to hear any crap about 0.9% financing, capisce?
College radio is where I first heard the Disco Biscuits before Camp Bisco became a major stop on the tour map. So wherever I am, if I’m there for a few weeks or months, I try to find the local college station(s) and look up their program schedule. I can stream my favorites online as wherever I am as well. It’s a fountainhead of new music straight from the horses mouth. Compare that to the beached whale of Clear Channel that swallowed up numerous independent stations across the airwaves. They only play songs by heavily promoted major label backed artists. You won’t hear the next “Where The Hell Are My Friends” on their dials because their band width is pretty anorexic as far as variety goes.
LANY is made up of Paul Jason Klein (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar), Les Priest (keyboards, guitars, vocals), and Jake Goss (drums, percussion, programming/sampling). If you can tell by looking, the band name isn’t another first or last name like Adele, Beyonce, Prince, Madonna, Britney, Usher, The Jacksons, The Ramones and the like–It’s a combination of two cities: Los Angeles and New York said like “Laney.” Stylistically, my ear tells me there’s a few New Order and Depeche Mode albums in their music collections.
The vocal triplet staccato line “And I don’t, and I don’t, and I don’t know why” is a neat hook which gallops like a horse in the beginning of the verses. The chorus is sung honestly and questioningly where Paul Klein is actually inside and merged with those lyrics. “Where The Hell Are My Friends” is a neon soliloquy in the moonlight of one man’s mind who speaks the thoughts of thousands of men and women who’ve encountered similar moments of isolation. And not just LA but especially places like LA and being a recent transplant to the “City Of Angels.” Places like that can quickly magnify one’s sense of loneliness, difficulties making connections and fitting in, and feeling out of place:
The song contains some daring lyrics for an unassuming sounding pop song. LANY seems to have taken a page from Professor Sting on that one as he was always slipping in topics, references and concepts beyond what’s typically required for pop music lyrics. “Every Breath You Take” is a classic example of this. It’s actually a song about a stalker. Yet it’s more often “re-purposed” for Valentine’s Day radio station dedications and wedding playlists. I’ve bit my tongue at more than one wedding behind a camera because of Mr. Sting.
“Where The Hell Are My Friends” also crosses a cultural red line. It’s almost sacrilegious to utter a discouraging word about the film and entertainment capital of the world. But for those who’ve been to LA (even the tongue in cheek tune for “losers” out there who value exercise, “Walking In L.A.” by Missing Persons), moved there recently, have lived there for any amount of time, the lyrics will resonate with you to varying degrees. “Where The Hell Are My Friends” is kind of an electronic music version of the Guns N’ Roses L.A. County tourism classic “Welcome To The Jungle.” The theme is similar even decades and genres apart. It captures that state of mind, the inner unspoken dialogue, the doubts and disorientation of being in LA wondering if it was mistake:
Am I starting to hate California Why am I in LA 40 million in California No one cares if I stay
There’s not much middle ground with a place like LA. People either love it or hate it I’ve found. I have friends who moved there, moved back, went to music school there (MI–Musicians Institute), went there to “make it”, and friends who still live there. Paul Klein is voicing some common experiences which don’t often get said out loud. It breaks the taboo in pop culture to express any doubts about the hallowed home of the film industry, the zip codes of Brenda and Brandon Walsh, the beaches of Baywatch. Friends of mine who grew up or live there are often surprised at how overly impressed people are when they tell them they live in Southern California. It’s not surprising: California in pop culture has had decades of impressions on the world often at odds with the everyday social and economic realities of being there as natives and residents will tell you.
Alienation. Like Phil Collins and Genesis said “Its no fun being an illegal alien.” Its no fun being a legal one either. LA is a place that can easily happen in. Stranger In A Strange Land in your own country. Like Roddy Piper in John Carpenter’s They Live but with shades that suddenly make you privy to all the plastic people with plastic boob surgery.
The song also walks the tightrope of how you can love the place and still have outsider status with the people–wandering the meandering hedgerows of social cliques. Duff McKagan remarked in his book It’s So Easy: And Other Liesof how playing the L.A. club scene in the early days of Guns N’ Roses was being in front of some of the most judgmental people in the world. I had friends tell me it was difficult to meet friends when they moved there and network. My thoughts echo back to those conversations with them hearing the lyrics “Where The Hell Are My Friends” and “No one cares if I stay.”
People I know who grew up in California have said to me, “It’s really easy to leave but hard to move back.” What they mean is that if your family doesn’t own property to pass down multigenerationaly, the pricing of housing and cost of living is prohibitive to most transplant hopefuls. Unless of course you have wads of cash you’re laundering for Mexican cartels through your amp stacks, not that I would know anything about that.
I spent time in LA and the surrounding areas and had many of these same thoughts. LA certainly wasn’t like it was on TV and movies. The first glaring dose of reality beyond Beach Boys anthems was it looks so much greener on screen than with your own eyes. I quickly realized that I didn’t need to live here. I found my California in the Bay Area. It resonated with me more on multiple levels, which it’s understandable how you can have a love–hate relationship with such a big state like California like “Where The Hell Are My Friends” describes. California is like several states in one hence the chorus lines “Am I starting to hate California” and “But, god, I’m so in love with this place.” Geographically, there’s only 3 states on the west coast whereas 14 states touch the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast.
Am I starting to hate California Why am I in LA 40 million in California But, god, I’m so in love with this place
“Where The Hell Are My Friends” is an ambivalent narrative that strikes a chord with genuine experience. It speaks to the suspended animation of being a permanent tourist and outsider in “Hotel California”: The conflicting thoughts and feelings with no neatly wrapped up resolution unlike how the film industry likes to package it’s products for mass worldwide consumption. Like 90210’sDylan McKay (Luke Perry) the undisputed James Dean of primetime teen soap opera TV would say, “I’ve been there.”
This is one of those moments where as a photographer you say to yourself “Like this is EVER going to happen again…”
The story: I flew into Seattle for a Yoga retreat in the northwest corner of Washington in the Puget Sound area right across the water from the Canadian border. The next morning after doing some photography in downtown Seattle, we met up with another friend to make the drive together to the retreat. When we got there, I scoped out the area and walked to the shoreline to take some pictures. On my way back to the retreat center, I saw several deer walking in a residential neighborhood and couldn’t believe Mother Nature was about to pull an Abbey Road right in front of me. I quickly snapped off this photo laughing inside in disbelief at the moment knowing that nobody would believe what just happened.