Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Every year (well, usually a few times a year but specifically on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve) I sit down and re-watch one of the greatest Christmas movies ever made.


I can't remember when that tradition started, but it's been going strong for at least a decade and probably a bit longer. Not sure where this movie would rank in my list of "Top 25 of All Time" because I don't think I could actually make one of those, but it's on there.

It's definitely on the list of "Movies I will watch whenever it's on TV, no matter how far in it is" along with THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE FUGITIVE, THAT THING YOU DO, APOLLO 13 and THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

I love everything about DIE HARD, so I figured in the spirit of Christmas sharing, here are a few things you might not know about it.

Originally, John McTiernan was hired to direct COMMANDO 2. While that was being prepped, Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked to reprise his role. He turned it down, so they scrapped the sequel and moved on to an adaptation of a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever. That book was actually a sequel to another novel that had been turned into a film in 1968 called THE DETECTIVE. The lead actor in that film had a clause in his contract that gave him first option of reprising his role should a sequel ever be made, so because they had to, the first actor asked to play John McClane was 73-year-old Frank Sinatra.

Fortunately, he turned it down and paved the way for a score of other actors to follow his lead.

Because McTiernan was actually tasked with making COMMANDO 2, his first official choice (after Old Blue Eyes, anyway) was Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he said "No" to this one too. So did Tom Berenger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Richard Dean Anderson, Robert DeNiro and Nick Nolte.

Eventually Bruce Willis landed the part, but since he was still filming MOONLIGHTING he could only work on DIE HARD at night after he was done filming on the set of his day job.

The teddy bear that never makes it out of the limo is the same bear that Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) takes home at the end of McTiernan's follow-up movie THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.

There's more, but these are the best ones. Besides, what are you doing on the Internet? Get back to your new toys.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Candace Jean is one of my favorite artists and also, one of my oldest friends. I've been a fan of her artwork for as long as I've known her and I used to convince her to use her talents to help my old band Cherem make merch. She did that on more than one occasion, helping us with t-shirts and the first ever demo that I still have a copy of in a box in my closet. There's even a dude with a tattoo of her stuff on his leg. That's dedication.

She and I have also been threatening to make a comic book together called GRUDGE CITY since sometime around 2005. I have the outline ready to go, but haven't scripted it yet. I keep putting it off because sometimes I feel silly having her use her time drawing a giant super hero battle (for free) when she has so much else on her plate. You know, things like working two jobs, being a mom and making amazing other pieces that make her booth at Craft Lake City a huge success each year and her online store an awesome place for gifts the rest of the year.

She has a new solo show opening tonight, December 11 at the Downtown Library. It's called 'Fictitious' and is full of her own renditions of famous children's book characters. Max in his Wild Thing crown, James and his Giant Peach, Mowgli and his jungle fame, Pippi Longstocking—everyone is represented in her gorgeously detailed style.

I'd show you some sneak peeks, but then you might not go see them in person. You can take a look at her Instagram (@candacejean) and Twitter (@mycandacejean) for a little bit, but you should really come out to the opening party tonight and see it all in person.

(I would have just stolen a few pics from the actual Instagram website, but it's down just like it always is.)

So there you have it. Come out to her art show, visit her website, her web store(s) and take a look at some awesome artwork. The flier is up top there, but here are the details again:

Opening Reception, December 11, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
SLC Downtown Library, 210 E. 400 S.
Downstairs next to the Children's Department

And here is her website, so you can get all your Christmas stuff from there.

c a n d a c e j e a n 

P.S. She's incredibly shy, but if you walk up to her and tell her how much you love her stuff she'll be forever grateful. Also, if you could slip in that you're really looking forward to that GRUDGE CITY comic, that might put us both on the fast track.

Below is a little video that SLUG made in the run-up to Craft Lake City last year. It gives you a little behind-the-scenes look at how she does what she does. Enjoy. I'll see you tonight.


I followed a random link on the Internet the other day and came across the kind of thing I love. Now, I hate movie websites that focus all their attention on what actor might be cast in a role, but I love stories of actors that were almost cast in a role. I've written before about Tom Selleck getting but not keeping Indiana Jones, Kurt Russell almost getting Han Solo and Eric Stolz getting but not keeping Marty McFly, but here are a few others that never came to pass.

All of these actors turned down these roles, by the way.

Sean Connery as Gandalf in LORD OF THE RINGS and Morpheus in THE MATRIX: I don't know exactly how much different either of these films would have been, but probably a lot.

Emily Blunt as Black Widow in IRON MAN 2 and subsequently THE AVENGERS: I'm in love with Emily Blunt, so this would have been awesome for me. Had to turn it down because she was already attached to the Jack Black masterpiece GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.

Kevin Costner as Andy Dufrense in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION: Tim Robbins killed it in this movie (one that I will watch from any point whenever it's on TV), so I'm actually really glad Costner passed on this to make his critically-adored, award-winning magnum opus, WATERWORLD.

Molly Ringwald in both PRETTY WOMAN and GHOST: She passed on both of these and no one has heard from her since.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Dirk Diggler: Leo says this is his biggest regret in regards to roles he turned down. I love Marky Mark, but if hadn't gotten this role, we not have to hear about him starring in another piece of shit TRANSFORMERS movie. I don't know which way I lean on this one.

Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller: He probably would have been awesome, but it would have been a much, much different movie. Ferris would have had some deep-rooted emotional problems that would have dwarfed anything wrong with Cameron Frye.

Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone: Not the biggest fan of THE GODFATHER movies (I like them, I just don't worship them), but I definitely think Nicholson would have done more harm than good here.

Matt Damon as Harvey Dent in THE DARK KNIGHT and the lead in AVATAR: Happy he turned these down. Neither of them fit what he does as an actor and he must have known it.

Richard Greico as Jack Traven in SPEED: Another movie I will watch any time it's on TV and dare I say it actually has a lot to do with how good Keeanu Reeves is in it. It's the perfect movie for him. Greico, not so much.

Will Smith as Neo in THE MATRIX: Just think about Will Smith talking about weird shit with Sean Connery for a minute. Would we have had to watch two shitty sequels with such high expectations with these two in the lead roles?

Mickey Rourke as Axel Foley in BEVERLY HILLS COP: I think this was the movie that turned Eddie Murphy into a superstar. It would have been just awful with Rourke trying to crack wise while stuffing bananas in tailpipes. Great actor, but this movie would have suddenly not been a comedy.

Nicolas Cage as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in THE WRESTLER: Cage had this role then dropped out in order to pursue a string of weird, awful and forgettable movies. Much to the delight of Rourke who had been kind of MIA since passing on BEVERLY HILLS COP.

Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson in TITANIC: McConaughey waxing intellectual about high school girls while drowning in the Atlantic might have made this movie more watchable for the first and third hours. The middle part, when the boat is sinking, is actually pretty awesome and enjoyable. I hate everything else about this movie, but McConaughey might have given it a little comic relief just for being so out of place.

Burt Reynolds as Han Solo in STAR WARS: Harrison Ford was probably their last choice and the only guy not famous for his mustache.

I love this kind of thing. I'm sure there are tons more, but we'll save those for another day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We're getting the band(s) back together, dudes!

If you haven't heard—and you should have, because you're on the Internet all the time and pay very close attention to the hardcore scene, right?—both Tamerlane and Cherem are playing the annual Sub For Santa show that a few of our friends put on every year. You know, the one I wrote about for SLUG? It's at Club Sound on December 8, which is this weekend. Which is weird because it's already December and that means that 2012 is just about over. Crazy.

This one is actually the second of two shows this weekend. The first one is on Friday night with a few other local bands, so check that one out too, if you're interested.

This is probably it for Tamerlane. We never officially broke up and we probably never officially will, but it gets kind of old dragging out the same six songs once a year or so and it gets harder and harder to get everyone together, too. So this might be it, but never say never. We convinced Daryl, the bass player that played with us the longest, to take a break from studying cadavers and reading horribly boring med school text books to play again this year, so it should be pretty good. If you've never seen this band, and you're at all curious, you should come watch us.

Cherem, on the other hand, might be back together for real. Or at least as real as it can get for a bunch of dudes in their 30's. We've got both this weekend's Sub for Santa show and another one lined up on December 21. Bill moved back from NYC at the beginning of September and his first order of business was getting the band back together. Cherem hasn't played a show with Bill singing since July of 2007. We played a couple of shows that fall with a fill in vocalist, because the shows were already booked and Bill had to cancel his trip home at the last minute, but that was it. He recruited a couple of new guys to round out the lineup and we're pretty close to being ready to play live again.

I poured a good portion of my early and mid-20s into this band, so it'll be fun to shake the rust off and seen if it's still as much fun as it used to be.

Not quite sure how things play out after these couple of shows, but for now we're just going to have fun play some songs that nobody's heard live for 5 or 6 years. Should be a good time.

There's a couple of videos below. Unfortunately, I don't have time to get the beard back in time. Too bad.

Tamerlane - "Descend"

This was right after we wrote this song, back in 2008. Probably my favorite of the Tamerlane songs, too. We don't play it very well in this video (we play it much better now), but it's the best video we have of it.

Cherem - "Retribution"

This was the tail end of our only extended tour. It was recorded at one of my all-time favorite venues, the Showcase Theater in Corona, CA. That place was always like our home away from home.


I'm stealing this idea.

In the future, anyway. I mean like way in the future. There are A LOT of steps that need to happen before I get to a point where I can successfully steal this idea, but still. It's going to happen.

Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, Cassanova), one of my favorite comic book writers, got his kid into monster movies this year. Then his kid became obsessed with them. So for his birthday party, Fraction used cardboard boxes and spray paint to build a small city in their backyard. Then all the kids in attendance dressed up as monsters and trashed the city.

He posted a bunch of pictures on his Twitter feed the day he did it and so did a few of the other people in attendance. He lives in Portland, where a ton of cool comic creators live, so a lot of them were there with their own children. Fraction's wife, Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) posted one or two and in the background of one photo, you can see Brian Michael Bendis (All New X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man) with one of his kids. It took probably a week to build and all of two minutes to destroy.

It's probably my favorite kids birthday party idea of all time. And I will steal it one day.

Wait! I just remembered that I have a nephew now! Stealing this idea just became a lot more feasible. Now I just have to find out when his birthday is and convince his parents that this is as awesome of an idea as I think it is. 

Fingers crossed.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Walter Shreifels is one of my musical idols. Mainly for Quicksand, but also for many, many other reasons.