Here’s 10 bucks. Bring me the hair of Ariana Grande.
Three Gigs, a Gaze and a Cheese Place
This past weekend, Jar’d Loose did a string of shows with Oakland, CA’s Lecherous Gaze, an amazing, sleazy, ’70s-influenced rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut featuring former members of west coast thrash rockers Annihilation Time. Now, I knew these dudes were from Oakland, and was salivating at the thought of me interviewing them about the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders always have had the most badass music dudes as fans: Scott Kelly, Robb Flynn, Easy E. Also, how has somebody not thought to put Kerry King’s face in the Raider logo yet? That’d be a kickass shirt and/or Facebook profile pic. Lecherous Gaze rolled through Chicago on Thursday night for a show with us and the great White Mystery. I don’t like playing shows on Thursday nights because it interferes with me watching Thursday Night Football, but yeah, I was there.
On Friday night, we played Milwaukee. On the way up from Chicago, Jar’d hit the Mars Cheese Castle, a huge castle that sells cheese off I-94 in Wisconsin. My band cannot pass it without stopping and getting lost for an hour trying to find it, even though it’s literally right off the highway. While at the Mars Cheese Castle, I found a knife. I noticed a dude in an Aaron Rodgers jersey sitting at the bar having a Molson and eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery. I asked Jar’d’s guitarist, Nate Madden, if he could take a picture of me creeping up behind the Packer fan at the bar with the knife in my hands. A big Bears/Packers division game was looming on Sunday (which I had tickets for), and I thought it would make for a funny picture for my column. He said his phone was having trouble getting reception, which actually makes no sense because I was only asking him to take a picture, not upload anything. My guess is he just didn’t want to get wrapped up in the whole “ me sneaking up behind a stranger with a knife” thing.
In Milwaukee, I saw Jon Liedtke from Toby Wong (who we played with that night). He also played bass for Sexual Atrocities, theremin for Inter Arma, and is a Packers fan (two out of three ain’t bad). We began reminiscing about the Bears/Packers NFC Championship game from 2010. He and a few friends had come up from Milwaukee in full Pack gear and had snowballs thrown at them after the Pack pulled out the victory, eventually leading to a Super Bowl championship. Talking with Jon reminded me of something Mike Ditka said on the Waddle & Silvy (a local ESPN radio show) this week: “The Bears/Packers rivalry, above anything, is based on a mutual respect.”
Saturday we were in DeKalb, IL for our third and final show with the Lecherous boys; it was the day we were going to have our epic Raiders conversation. If you haven’t been to DeKalb before, it’s the perfect place for a football roundtable: a college town filled with drinkers, hellraisers, juggalos, pizza pros and dudes in weird football gear, which explains the dude at our show who wore a Brian Griese Broncos jersey. Side note: I’m in the process of making a shitty ex-quarterback jersey scavenger hunt game. I’m ranking all the shitty ex-quarterbacks of the last 15 years on a scale from 1-10 (1 being Chad Pennington shitty; 10 JaMarcus Russell shittiest). If you run into a person wearing a jersey of one of the QBs on the list, take a picture with him. Most points at the end of the season wins.
Right before the show began, I saw the Lecherous Gaze dudes sitting together. Now was the time for our big talk. I went up to them and asked them, “So dudes, you guys like football?” Their response, in unison:
“Naw, man. We’re from Oakland. The Raiders suck.”
What a swerve.
As if Lecherous Gaze willed it, the Raiders got blasted by the mediocre-at-best Miami Dolphins on Sunday, reaffirming that they do, in fact, suck. You know what sucky management of sucky teams do when their sucky team sucks more than usual? They fire their sucky head coach. The Raiders did that on Monday when GM Reggie McKenzie fired head coach Dennis Allen after this season’s 0-4 start. It was the second head coach fired by McKenzie in two seasons. Ideally, in a two-year span, you fire no head coaches. But yeah, the Raiders do things differently out in Oakland. “[We have] a roster that could win,” said McKenzie in response to Allen’s lack of wins as a HC. Former Dolphin head coach and current Raider assistant head coach Tony Sparano has taken over the role.
Within the next five years, the two best teams in the AFC West, San Diego and Denver, will be in rebuilding modes. The Raiders HAVE to have their shit together by then. Enough is enough! It sucks because the Raiders have tried to do this, but have had an amazing sIew of bad luck over the last decade. Absolutely nothing has panned out for them. The obvious bust is Russell, but what about first round wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey, who they reached for in the 2009 draft over dudes like Clay Matthews, Brian Orakpo and Brian Cushing. Or Rolando McClain, the linebacker drafted eighth overall in 2010 over Jason Pierre-Paul, Maurkice Pouncey and DEZ F’N BRYANT! Dude was supposed to be their defensive leader for years to come. He was released two seasons into his Raider career (more about McClain in the Dallas section below). So yeah, it’s serious plan time for the Raiders now, and here it is:
1) Find your new head coach from college
The last sort-of-proper hire by the Raiders was USC’s Lane Kiffin in 2007. The whole JaMarcus mess really put a damper on what could have been great tenure (Al Davis fired him after one season). Also, Kiffin’s sort of a puss. He ran back to college and jumped at the first chance to become Nick Saban’s bitch. The Raiders need a traditional, smart, non-progressive college coach who wants to be in the pros for the long haul. He also must stress discipline and fundamentals, recognizing teams are up a creek without said qualities. As tempting as it may be to hire Sparano if he pulls out some wins, or a guy like Rex Ryan once the inevitable happens [fuck you: ed], The Raiders need a man looking to carve a NFL legacy, not live in one he’s already created. My choice would be Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.
2) Find a franchise QB in the draft in the next three seasons
The Raiders will have high draft picks these next two years. They need a QB out of those. I wouldn’t draft a QB in the 2015 draft. Marcus Mariota is an overrated, a poor man’s Colin Kaepernick who game may not translate. Florida State’s Jameis Winston, though talented, is a disciple problem that a team like the Raiders will not be able to change. No one else is franchise-worthy.
3) Draft/pick up long-term, non-QB leaders on both sides of the ball
Even mediocre NFL teams have notable leaders in production on both sides of the ball. Can you name the number one Raider offensive weapon this year? Can you name the Raiders’ most productive defensive player this year? Can you name said players for 20 other teams, like I can? Therein lies the problem.
4) Maybe move back to L.A., if they want you there.
You want to stop playing on a baseball diamond, or no?
5) On the eve of home games, have Lecherous Gaze take the opposing team out and get them wasted, so they’re hung over and/or don’t make the game.
Check out this track from Lecherous Gaze’s new album, Zeta Reticuli Blues, out now on Tee Pee. They’re on tour in Europe from October 9 through November 2. Amazing dudes. Amazing live band.
I’ve never seen a team enter a season with the deck stacked against them and persevere to play such well-rounded, fundamental, game-winning football like this year’s Dallas Cowboys. Experts not only predicted them to have the worst defense in football this year, but potentially one of the worst defenses in NFL history. Remember that guy the Raiders dropped who I mentioned in the last section, Rolando McClain? Well, he’s currently leading an overachieving defense in tackles. His career may be revitalized. Who do we attribute this to? I’d say new Cowboy’s defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. If you’ve followed Marinelli during his career, most notably in Tampa and Chicago, he’s a player’s coach that stresses fundamentals and scheme execution; both things Dallas was horrible at executing last year under DC Monte Kiffin. Then there’s the Boys’ offense. It’s old-school and balanced. DeMarco Murray could have an MVP-type season. The run opens up the pass for Dez Bryant, and emerging legit number two receiver Terrance Williams, who had an amazing game against the Saints on Sunday. Then there’s the — get this — mistake-free Tony Romo. Week 1 against the Niners sucked for Romo. But in his last three games, he has six TDs and only one pick. His passer rating was 137.4 this past week. Who is this guy? Who is this team? Where I am? What year is it?
Are You There ESPN Monday Night Football Commercial-Makers? It’s Me, God.
Why the hell did you guys make the soft-ass Kansas City Chiefs look like hardasses in the MNF commercial this week? You’re lucky they opened up a can on New England or else you would have looked like idiots, and I wouldn’t have bailed you out this time. Don’t pull that shit again, goddamn you.
I’m an Old Man. I’m Confused.
OK, I’m getting sick of the Baltimore Ravens’ Steve Smith constantly saying how old he is since he joined the Ravens. First off, he officially changed his name to Steve Smith, Sr. He said it’s because his son, Steve Smith, Jr. was born in July, but come on! We all know it’s because you want to seem older so it looks cooler when you burn a 20-year-old cornerback. He did light up his old team from Tarheelia this weekend with 139 yards and two touchdowns. But did he have to say in the postgame press conference, “I’m 35 years old and I ran around those boys like they were schoolyard kids”? What’s next, a cane?
Shouldn’t You Be Wearing the Bucket?
I don’t really have much to say about the Bears/Packers game I went to this weekend. The one where Aaron Rodgers torched the Bears’ secondary for 302 yards and four touchdowns while Jay Cutler threw two interceptions. The whole thing is sort of a blur. I will say this though, I’m DONE with the kids outside the stadium that bang on buckets with drumsticks. Any novice drummer can do what they do. It’s not a special talent. Also, banging a hollowed-out plastic tub is not sonically pleasing at all. Do not tip these kids. This needs to end!
The Friendly Rivalry From Hell
So, the aforementioned Bears/Packers “Friendly Rivalry” reared its friendly face after the game as I was leaving the stadium with thousands of depressed Bears fans and a few happy-faced Packers fans. As we were walking back to our respective vehicles, a Packers fan wearing a camouflage Clay Matthews jersey (nuff said) and his drunken girlfriend were gloating about the victory. He couldn’t resist dragging me in to the mix of his drunken gloating. He directed his attention to me and said, “Look at this guy. You don’t look like a sports fan.” At the time I was wearing a Bears jersey, a jean jacket, and yes, I happen to have long hair. So yeah, no way I’m a sports fan, let alone a guy who writes a weekly sports column.
Now the initial comeback that ran through my head was, “Well, I assumed you we’re straight until I saw your boyfriend” (pretty creative, both attacks his manhood that he loves so much and his girlfriend’s looks). But, in a stroke of genius, I came up with the perfect comeback on the spot to smoke that guy that you are all now free to use in your personal lives when you see fit: I looked a him in a grossed-out fashion and said, “Dude, you have something on your face,” and proceeded to walk away grossed out. In horror, he ran to his girlfriend (who was digging through her purse for a tampon at the time) and said, “Hey, whats on my face? What’s on my face?!” She looked baffled and said, “What?! Nothing’s on your face.” Now further down the path, I locked eyes with him. He realized he had been swindled. I smiled and waved. This comeback will work on any douche in any setting. As much as they want to start shit for no reason, they cannot live with the idea of having something on their face that may potentially embarrass them in front of the clan of supermodels they are certain to run into any minute now. They’ll sprint to a bathroom or any place to check their face, and feel violated when they realized they were played.
By the way, if you’re reading this, Clay Matthews fan with camouflage jersey, even though I already conquered you once, this isn’t over. I plan on finding you on Wisconsin soil and beating the shit out of you. Then I’m going to steal your girlfriend, take her on a romantic weekend getaway to Afghanistan, throw her passport in a river, and leave her there. Just thought I’d let you know.
Pick of the Week
New England -2 ½ over Cincy