Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why Batman V Superman is really a battle of Fans V Critics. Spoiler: The fans won.

Last night I recorded an episode for my podcast, Band Geek.  My wife and I were joined by 4 of our friends in my home studio.  Our mission: to give our review of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I knew most of us liked the movie in general, but I was expecting there to be a good deal of debate.  We were down there for 3 hours!  However, this 3 hours wasn't spent arguing casting choices, or discussing what the movie was missing.  Instead, we went through every major plot point and screamed at each other like little girls in excitement.  Just the mere re-telling of the events of this movie gave us all goose bumps and nerd boners.  We were all tired, we wanted to wrap things up, but we couldn't. We were having too much fun re-living the experience of being in that theater.

Back in April of 2015, my buddy Ray told us that they'd be showing the new trailer for Batman V Superman (BvS) in an IMAX theater 45 minutes away in New Jersey. So my friends and I piled in a car and drove out there to watch 1 minute of film on a giant screen. Were there better ways to spend our time? Sure, but this was a lot of fun. To reward us for our geekdom, director Zack Snyder appeared on screen and informed us that everyone in attendance would be rewarded with FREE advanced IMAX screening tickets. What a great way to treat your fans!

When the movie was released last week, Zack made good on his promise. My friends and I, joined by several other mega fans wearing their Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman merch assembled in the IMAX theater 3 days before the movie was released.  We were collectively blown away.  The look on everyone's face was that of supreme satisfaction, like they just ate a giant Thanksgiving dinner.  As we sat there in our seats, unable to move, we all agreed, "they finally got it right.  Marvel people are going to shit all over this."

Before I really go into it, let me explain how I feel about Marvel movies, specifically Marvel studios movies.  I really like them.  My favorites include The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier, and Iron Man.  I don't really want to discuss Marvel movies in this post, but since everyone else feels compelled to draw comparisons, I can't avoid it.  Marvel studios movies are great.  They're filled with visual spectacles, lighthearted fun moments, characters cracking jokes at each other and of course Scarlett Johansson in a skin-tight suit flipping her body around thugs as she kung fus the crap out of them. I enjoy all of it.  Marvel's universe building technique has proven incredibly effective, with every movie revealing a small piece of the big picture. I totally dig all of it.  However, while watching the Avengers together on screen, at no point did I ever think, "This is exactly what DC should be doing."  Sure I wanted to see the Justice League assembled on screen, but I didn't want them to do anything lighthearted, and this is at the core of the split between Hollywood and the fans.

If you haven't heard by now, BvS has received some of the worst possible reviews from critics and even nerd culture ambassadors like Kevin Smith aren't thrilled with it.  However, this movie is tremendously successful at the box office and it hasn't even been out for longer than a week. How did this happen?

When I started seeing all the negativity emerge, I couldn't believe it. Did these people see the same movie I saw?  How could anyone give this a 28%? When I started reading what these people were saying I started to doubt my own opinions.  It really soured my whole experience. I left that theater flying high, but when the reviews came out the next day I was completely deflated.  But then I went to twitter and searched #BatmanVSuperman.  What I saw restored my hope. Sure, there were plenty of people with Thor profile pictures who clearly hadn't seen the movie yet tweeting about how awful it was, but the amazing thing was the amount of fans who gathered around this movie and defended it from the onslaught.  Fans V Critics was on.  Sure, critics have their platforms in newspapers and popular websites, but fans have money, and using our money, we've already won this battle.

Poor critical performance can hurt a franchise, but like Superman, Zack Snyder's franchise is bulletproof. While the critics are using their snarky reviews to tear down Man of Steel and BvS, Warner Brothers is going ahead with TEN more DC Universe movies.  That's right...TEN!  Will they all be panned by critics and Marvel fanboys?  Probably. Will they all make bank?  Probably.

Fans V Critics is really a matter of how nerd culture is perceived by Hollywood. When I say Hollywood, I don't mean only filmmakers, but the entire industry including executives, media publications and critics.  Nerd culture is hot right now.  Video games are a huge industry, Star Wars is back in full force, one of the most popular sitcoms is the Big Bang Theory, and I can watch a different superhero show every night of the week.  Hollywood has found serious money in the pockets of nerds.  They've also managed to make some our favorite things mainstream.  People who don't get any of the deeper references can still enjoy an episode of Big Bang Theory, or get a few chuckles out of Guardians of the Galaxy.  I think all of this is great.  And no, I don't think my favorite indie band has "Sold Out."  As far as I'm concerned, the more content in this genre, the better.

So if everyone is going nuts for nerd content, why are we getting a backlash on BvS?

When I read a DC comic, specifically Batman, I'm not transported to a bright and shiny place where lighthearted humor is strategically placed between large action sequences.  I'm in the shit.  Batman: The Animated Series actor Kevin Conroy's voice is in my head conveying that the weight of this bleak and hopeless world is on the shoulders of a man with no meta human abilities. He's cruel, he's brutal and we love it. 

Meanwhile Superman has all of these wonderful abilities, but he's still tortured.  He can't save everyone, people are afraid of what he can do, and he'll never have a normal life with the woman he loves. In recent versions of the comic he becomes so alienated that he simply walks through America looking for meaning in what he does.  Bleak... and we love it.

No disrespect to Lynda Carter, but Wonder Woman is not American in the comics. She doesn't have the accent of a person born in Arizona.  She's from a hidden island which presumably exists somewhere in the Mediterranean.  She has fought Gods and she has fought men. She is a warrior. She punches first and asks questions later.  We love it.

This is the disconnect that we're seeing with BvS. While the non-nerd population thinks all comics fans are reading funny papers, we're actually reading serious stories. We enjoy the mass appeal of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, but when we turn off the movies we re-read our copies of The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Identity Crisis, Flashpoint, etc.  None of this is lighthearted reading. In fact, it's borderline depressing...but we love it.

Seeing how popular the Marvel Studios movies are, I think a lot of us assumed we'd never get to see the "real" versions of these DC characters on the big screen.  I don't think we expected Batman to dance around at a crime scene while listening to "Come and Get Your Love," but we always knew we'd be getting some watered down version of the characters.

We were wrong.

With BvS, Zack Snyder showed that he is one of us.  He reads these dark comics and agrees, this is what these characters should be.  Could he have done a lighter version? Sure, but instead he gave the fans exactly what they wanted.

Ben Affleck is perfection as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. I feel like I have to thank Zack Snyder for proving most of us wrong in this department. Watching Ben Affleck move across the screen in his hulking frame and incredible costumes makes me feel like I'm playing the Arkham video games and that's a very good thing.  There's a complaint about Batman killing in this movie.  I admit that this seemed to be an odd choice, but it's not a new choice.  Even though Batman has a famous "no-killing policy," the death toll has been piling up since 1989's Batman movie.  Watch it again and tell me no one dies when he fires machine guns into a parade from the seat of the bat-wing.  In the Nolan trilogy, Batman even talks about his no killing policy, but then kills dozens off people.

While they don't come out and say "Batman kills" in this movie, they do address that in his older years he's become increasingly cruel after 20 years in Gotham and has been pushed over the edge by the catastrophe in Metropolis.  I can nerd-splain away all these issues, saying maybe these people are just unconscious and that batman uses rubber bullets in his vehicular weapons, but it's really not a huge point worth harping on.

Let's talk about one of the biggest attractions of this movie, Wonder Woman! While I was one of the people who thought Gal Gadot might have been a bit too slender to play Wonder Woman. That thought did not once cross my mind while watching this movie.  She owned the part.  I LOVE the accent.  That's how it always should have been.  I can't wait to see her upcoming solo film.

Jeremy Irons was a really cool choice for Alfred.  There's a shift going on in the comics and in the Gotham TV show making Alfred a bit more of a bad-ass and I'm way on board for this.

Henry Cavill remains to be my favorite Superman.  I realize he's very different from some of the classic interpretations but luckily we have 4 Christopher Reeves movies and 4 seasons of Lois & Clark to revisit for that version if you're feeling nostalgic.

Jessie Eisenberg delivered an unorthodox Lex Luthor performance.  I probably would have preferred something closer to the Clancy Brown version of the character, but I found this younger internet-era version to work really well for the movie.

Amy Addams remains to be the one casting choice I'm not totally into.  I think she's a terrific actress, and she's fine in this movie, but it just seems like an odd choice.  I guess I just always want Teri Hatcher to be Lois Lane.

I don't want to go too much into the entire cast, but I also enjoyed the performances of Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane and Holly Hunter.

One major complaint of this movie was its length and pacing.  I agree to a point, but as a lover of classic Japanese films, this was nothing new to me.  One of my favorite films, Samurai Rebellion, is 90% talking. The main character gets pushed and pushed to his limits until the last 10 minutes of the movie where he unleashes a bloody assault on all of his enemies.  I felt BvS had a similar framework, but I would have preferred a few more action sequences to break things up.

Speaking of action sequences, this is by far the best superhero action I've ever seen on screen.  The two standouts for me are the rescue scene which is straight out of the Arkham video games and the DC trinity scene which had the entire theater applauding.  After watching this movie, it's hard to not want a grappling gun of your own.

Another complaint is the use of dream sequences. While I didn't necessarily love these parts, I think it's foolish to judge them at this point.  I have a feeling these scenes are going to connect to future movies in a significant way, especially the "Am I too soon?" dream.

Being a musician I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the score.  Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL have delivered a fittingly epic musical accompaniment to this movie.  I bought the soundtrack right away and have been listening to it non-stop.  My favorites are "The Red Capes are Coming" and "The Wonder Woman Theme."  It's in 7/8!  Awesome!

One term I'm seeing quite a bit is that this movie has a "lack of fun."  I find this sentiment particularly irksome.  The characters in this movie are not having fun.  It's a serious story where people do seriously twisted and psychotic acts.  Again, this isn't Guardians of the Galaxy and it absolutely should not be.  Batman's world is broken.  In the comics, people do horrendously awful things, and I'm not just talking about obscure comics, I mean the big ones.  For example: In Killing Joke, the Joker beats a young woman with crowbar and paralyzes her for life.  This is not fun to read, it's horrifying, but this is a hugely successful comic book.  A lighthearted, fun movie taking place in this world does a disservice to the source material and to the fans who love it.  Even though there are many brutal moments in this movie, it doesn't mean I was appalled or depressed while watching it.  I was having....(wait for it)....FUN.  Why? Because someone cared enough to bring the demented world of DC comics to life without filtering it or watering it down.  I was in awe.

Another thing to consider is that Zack Snyder had an awful lot of setup to do in this movie and I think he handled it rather well.  Especially the way he reveals the other Meta-Humans.  Again, people were cheering at the screen.  I think it's a safe bet to assume that once the Justice League is established, these characters will get a littler more chummy and perhaps we'll see some lighter and friendly banter between them.  But for where we are in the overall story, BvS is exactly what it needs to be.  This universe is dark and hopeless and the only way to fix it is for its heroes to unite.  I can't wait!

Richie Castellano is a professional musician and producer.  He also reads comics, builds lightsabers and hosts a riotcast show called Band Geek.  When he's not being a geek he plays guitar and keyboards in Blue Oyster Cult.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

No, not Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, just "The Force Awakens."

Once again, I find myself in the minority of Star Wars fans.  I'm super stoked about a new movie coming out, but I find Disney's marketing campaign to be really tacky.  (Although on a sub-conscious level, maybe I'm just pissed at them for cancelling Tron 3.)

As I've stated many times before, I don't hate the prequels at all.  No, they didn't recapture what it felt like to see Star Wars as a 5 year old boy, but I thought they stood just fine on their own.  In fact, I like some of the stuff in the prequels better than the some of the stuff in the originals (blasphemy!!)

In case you were wondering, here is MY ranking of all 6 currently available Star Wars movies:

  1. Revenge of the Sith
  2. Empire Strikes Back
  3. A New Hope
  4. Attack of the Clones
  5. Return of the Jedi
  6. Phantom Menace
Feel free to flame me for this in the comments.  No I don't hate Return of the Jedi, I just like the other ones more.  Personal preference.  And, even though I know Phantom Menace has a ton of problems, I love Qui Gon and Darth Maul, so I'll still watch it just to see those two awesome characters go at it.

The Force Awakens is projected to earn 2 BILLION dollars!  That's really incredible that in 2015 a franchise started in the 70s is still so relevant.  Yes, Disney is really pouring it on with the promotional material and the toys.  They definitely know what they're doing.  But the thing that I find annoying is how they're not-so-subtly distancing themselves from the prequels.  If you don't know what I mean, check out this video:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Comic-Con 2015 Reel

"Real Sets. Practical Effects"  Blah Blah Blah.  To my overly sensitive ears, this is a blatant attack on the prequels.  The more I hear about this movie, the more I get aggravated by this theme.


So I read somewhere that this black wearing, red lightsaber wielding guy, Kylo Ren, isn't a sith in this movie.  Why not?  Because Sith is a prequel word.

JJ Abrams said no mention of midichlorians will be made.  Because midichlorian is a prequel word.

Even the lack of an episode number shows the blatant distancing of this movie from the Lucas movies.  It just annoys me. 

There are several other fans that feel the same way as me.  I've read several other blog posts echoing my sentiments.

Even though this weird marketing tactic is irritating me I'm still excited for the Force Awakens.  I guess there is some validity to Disney's pandering to the cry-baby prequel haters.  They're trying to win back the incredibly small percentage of people who actually will consider skipping The Force Awakens because of their prequel hatred.  All of the prequel lovers will go see The Force Awakens regardless of how much Disney insults our taste.

On December 18th, I will going into the theater to see The Force Awakens with an open mind.

With that being said, here are my list of demands:

1. Luke MUST be the main character of this film.

2. We MUST see Luke do awesome "prequel-worthy" Jedi feats and not the lame original trilogy stunts.

3. Yoda MUST appear as a blue glowie to advise Luke,

4. Liam Neesons MUST appear as a blue glowie to advise Yoda.

5. George Lucas MUST appear as a blue glowie to advise JJ Abrams.

6. We MUST see 58 year old Carrie Fisher in a metal bikini.

7.  Leia MUST use the force.

8. JJ MUST explain why having those incredibly dumb looking crossguards on that dumb looking lightsaber is neccessary

9. Han Solo MUST survive through this movie.  

10. Boba Fett is dead and will remain that way,

11.  Lando

Like I said, I'm going into this movie with an open mind.  But if all of my simple demands are not met, this will go below Phantom Menace on my list.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman comments

Nerd Post:

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Grant Morrison.  I don't always love everything he does, but there's no denying his genius.  He has a way of presenting classic characters in new and interesting perspectives.  Some of these characters are over 70 years old, so evolution is a necessity. However, his recent comments about Zack Snyder version of Wonder Woman really annoyed me.

According to Mr. Morrison, the warrior princess iteration of the Wonder Woman character is not what the original creator, William Moulton Marston envisioned for his character. This may be true, but who cares?!?  This character is 73 years old.  Of course it's going to go through several interpretations.  If Wonder Woman stayed exactly the same this whole time, people would lose interest.

Based on a nearly 4 minute trailer in which Gal Gadot appears as Wonder Woman for a total of 1 and a half seconds, Grant Morrison has decided that this version of the character is going to be too much of a stretch from the original creator's vision.  If you don't believe me, go back and watch the trailer again:

She appears in the costume for less than 2 seconds!

Now, I don't know if Mr. Morrison has access to more info than the general public, but if this is the basis for his hypothesis, then it's pretty silly.

But even if he is correct in assuming that this version of the character will be all about busting skulls and kicking ass, is that so bad?  Wonder Woman was sucking wind for a very long time until New 52 creators, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang made a few tweaks and saved her from obscurity.  Their interpretation is probably the best thing to happen to the character since the animated Justice League series.  If you like Wonder Woman, and haven't read their run, I highly recommend it.


In this New 52 Version, they play up the Greek Mythology end of things with Wonder Woman being a demigod.  It's revealed that the whole "you were formed from clay" story is a lie.  Her mother, Hippolyta, was impregnated by Zeus, and desperately wanted to keep it a secret, so she concocted this clay story.  When Diana (Wonder Woman) finds out about this, she is forced to deal with her half brothers and sisters on mount Olympus as she is drawn into their petty power plays. This is a particularly bloody and violent interpretation of the character, and I think that played no small part in the series' success.  At one point she even becomes the God of War, and it's awesome!

So, Grant Morrison, who's made a career of looking at characters from different angles, thinks this version is too far from the original creation.  Again, I love Grant Morrison.  I've bought a lot of his work, but I 'm calling shenanigans on this.

Grant Morrison is coming out with his own Wonder Woman book.  I'm very excited to read it and I'm sure it will be awesome.  His version of the character is supposed to be in line with the original version.  I think that his comments about the Zack Snyder version of the character (of which we've only seen 1.5 seconds) are nothing more than a promotional tactic.  Every comics blog posted about him, and here I am writing about them, so obviously the guy knows what he's doing.  So even though Grant Morrison may be the greatest comics genius of our time, he's not above using cheap promotional tactics to sell books.  In fact, this was my big problem with his recent Multiversity series.  It felt like a sales pitch to me.

Things that don't evolve eventually become extinct.  Look at how many different interpretations of Batman there are.  This constant re-interpretation is what makes the character relevant year after year. Because we live in a time where everything is preserved, you can stick with your favorite version!  If you hate Christian Bale, you can pull up the Michael Keaton version on Netflix!  Think Keaton is too dark?  Well, the Adam West episodes have all been digitally restored!  Is Adam West too corny?  Well, then pickup the animated series and experience Kevin Conroy's performance.  We have options!

Zach Snyder is carrying the torch on this characters.  He is re-imagining them for new generation.  As anazing as the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman was, you can't have that kind of character in a serious comic book movie in 2015.  The character has to evolve.  Look what happened when Bryan Singer tried to re-do the Christopher Reeves Superman in 2006.  It was a horrible bomb.  The character has to evolve.

If you prefer Lynda Carter to Gal Gadot, or Christopher Reeves to Henry Cavil or Michael Keaton to Ben Affleck, then guess what?  All of those videos are easily accessible.  Knock yourself out. They're all great.  There's also a possibility that we will see more traditional interpretations of these characters on the big screen in the future.  But for now, Zack Snyder's version is what these characters need to keep them alive in 2016 and beyond.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What A Great Time To Be A Fanboy

Last week was a great geek-week.  We got a new Star Wars trailer, a Batman V Superman Teaser, and a Battlefront 3 Trailer.  I'm super excited about all of the comic book, sci fi and fantasy games and movies on the horizon.  I'm even excited to go see Fantastic Four, which doesn't look promising based on the trailers, but it's a comic book movie and I'll happily pay my $15 to go enjoy it.

I'm also eagerly awaiting Avengers 2 which comes out soon.  I really like all those Marvel Studios movies.  The movie I'm most excited about, though, is Batman V Superman.  I'm a big fan of Zack Snyder's style and I definitely lean toward DC in my fanboy tendencies.  I think seeing the 3 biggest superheroes of all time share the screen will be an epic event.  If Snyder puts the same love into BvS as he did in making a panel by panel recreation of Watchmen, this will be truly incredible.

I know some people didn't care for Man of Steel, but I loved it.  I also though Bryan Singer painted Superman films into a corner with his sub-par take on the character.  Zack Snyder played the only hand he could, which was to distance himself from Christopher Reeves and Bryan Singer as much as possible.  The result was a dark, violent and sort of tragic movie with heaping portions of Superman whoop-ass.  I absolutely loved the Russel Crowe sequences on Krypton.  I thought Michael Shannon's off-beat Zod was great, and the epic battle at the end was incredible.  To the people who complain about the collateral damage in that movie, I say this....It's a movie!!!  I want to see stuff get blown up!   And I have a feeling that there will be repercussions for Superman's recklessness in the movies to follow, so don't get your panties in a bunch just yet. 

I'm also hearing a lot of people say that BvS is going to suck...after only seeing a teaser.  This is really silly.  Why would you want a movie to suck when you know you're going to pay to see it? From what I've seen so far, I'm very satisfied.  It looks like Snyder is really bringing Frank Miller's Dark Knight into the real world.  Affleck looks totally jacked in that batsuit.  And his anti-Superman suit looks like it walked right off the pages of Miller's Dark Knight Returns.  I even went to that special IMAX trailer screening just to see 4 seconds of extra footage....and it was awesome.

On the TV end of things, Arrow and Flash continue to crush.  I'm really enjoying their shared universe.  Gotham is still finding its footing.  I'm not 100% in yet, but I'm finding more things to like about it.  I'm even enjoying some Marvel shows.  Agent Carter was an excellent mini-series which I highly recommend.  I'm also a few episodes into Daredevil which is also really good.

Basically, were at the point where you can watch new superhero content every night of the week.  How cool is that?

I haven't had much time for gaming lately with my work/podcast schedule, but I continue to sneak in Artemis sessions with my friends.  That game is really amazing and if you're a Star Trek fan, you owe it to yourself to get 5 friends together and try it.  It's cheap, fun and excellent.   It can be a little glitchy at times since it's  designed to work on many different devices, but the occasional restarts are a small price to pay for the amount of joy this game creates.

My wife is back into Diablo III.  She's playing with my friends and I maintain that that's the best multiplayer console game ever.  It's so easy to jump in and out of games with your friends which is so important.  I think every game should be like that.

I'm looking forward to Arkham Knight and Battlefront 3 as I mentioned earlier. I'm really hoping Battlefront 3 offers that persistent ground to space transition that was rumored in the early development stages.  We'll see.

Meanwhile there are a couple of crowd-funded games that have caught my attention.  Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen both look like tons of fun.  I haven't had the chance to play them yet, but I have been watching other people play on twitch.  Twitch is a great streaming service for spectating video games.  It sounds like a silly concept, but I really like it.  It's a great way to really see what a game is like before spending any money on it.

So now that the geek stuff is out of the way, I have a busy musical schedule coming.  After a month off, Blue Oyster Cult is back on the road with plenty of shows coming up.  I'm also doing a solo show opening for Eddie Money on May 31st at the St. George Theater in Staten Island. NY.  I'm very excited about that.

We also have some great stuff coming up on my Band Geek podcast.  If you haven't seen our ridiculous Michael McDonald video, please check that out here:

To subscribe to Band Geek, go to www.riotcast,com/bandgeek


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Copyright Thoughts

Here are my thoughts on the Robin Thicke thing.

The way I was taught copyright law, you're only violating copyright if you use the same words or melody.  That's really all you can own in a song.  In the case of Sam Smith and Tom Petty, it's clear cut copyright infringement.  This example is not, because the melodies of the Robin Thicke song and the Marvin Gaye song are totally different.

However, I think this case goes beyond a simple copyright dispute.  From my understanding, you are also allowed to own the contents of a recording.  This is why it is illegal to use samples of other people's records in your music without their permission.

But again, this is not the case here. Blurred Lines doesn't use any samples from Got To Give It Up.

So what is the deal here?  If according to copyright law, you can only own words and melody, then that leaves all the other musical contributions in a song up for grabs.  This is because the copyright law is an outdated law written at the birth of published music. Since sheet music only contained words and melody, the right to copy that sheet music only protected words and melody.

So even though Blurred Lines doesn't copy melody or lyrics, when many people hear it, they immediately think "this sounds like Got To Give It Up."  This poses an interesting problem. Should production, arrangement and accompaniment ideas be something you can own?  As someone who does both these things for a living, I'd say yes.  But this is a tough thing to judge.

For example, Stacy's Mom copies a production genre.  So should that be illegal?  I don't think so.  In that case, Stacey's Mom sounds like a Cars song, but not a specific cars song.  It's not overtly using the same groove, or chord progressions, but it's definitely trying to sound like a song the Cars would record.

Blurred Lines, copies a specific song so I think they're asking for trouble.

I don't think Robin Thicke did anything wrong under the Copyright laws as I understand them.  But I do think it's time to revisit these laws and create more specific language regarding what artists, writers and producers can own.

Pop and R&B have become the wild west of rip off artists, and I think it's time to start dropping the hammer on some of the more blatant offenses.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Band Geek

What is Band Geek?

It's me!

I'm a Geek and I play in a Band.  So...Band Geek.  But, seriously, Band Geek is the name of my Podcast.  I've been listening to Podcasts of all kinds for a few years now, and I decided to give it a try.

This Podcast is basically what happens when I hang out with my friends.  We talk about games, movies and comics, and then play music.  I also teach some of the songs we play.

To my knowledge, this is the first Podcast with a house band.  We take requests from Facebook and Twitter and play them live on the show.  This is sort of like what I used to do at the Red Lion when I was playing gigs there.

The Band Geek podcast is available at

It's also up on the iOS podcast app.

Give it a listen, hit us up on facebook and twitter.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Artemis on the road!

I was reading a bunch of blogs today and then I thought...wait...I have a blog too!

So here I am.  Not sure if anyone reads this considering I do most of my posting on Facebook, but I have a blog, it's here, it works, so I should fill it with words.

Right now I'm in a hotel in Wendover, NV.  We got in last night.  Our show is tonight with Foghat.  Last night, was amazing.  I organized a game of Artemis in my hotel room.  It was incredibly fun.

I'm a little obsessed with Artemis at the moment.  It's probably the best multiplayer sci fi game ever made.  It's simple and kinda lo-fi by some of today's standards, but the game is so incredibly good that you barely notice that you spent most of the time looking at graphs and blips.

I was going to refrain from describing the game on my blog, but I love talking about this game, so why not.

It's a starship bridge simulator.  You can connect up to 36 computers or mobile devices to a single router or you can play online.  I haven't tried online play yet. To be honest I think this game is best played by people in the same room.

You can have 6 stations on each ship.  Captain, gunner, pilot, communications, engineer, science.  There's a main viewer which gives you the space graphics that we all know and love from Star Trek.  The captain gives orders and the rest of the crew has to carry out those orders on their respective control panels.  It's easy to play, but has enough nuance that you can get really strategic with it.

So last night we played a game with Eric, Jules, Andy, and Jimbo from Foghat.  It was really fun. A great time was had by all.

Go here for more info