Interview With TrampStamp Record’s Mick Longstein

As I enter TrampStamp Record’s downtown New York City office building I am immediately greeted by a man named Bruno. Bruno is well dressed, in his early 30’s, slender, and fit. He’s wearing a $3000 Armani suit. Black. He is wearing Ray Ban aviators inside the building. A little wire is dangling off his ear and down the side of his neck. He leans his head to his left and speaks to his shoulder.

“He’s here.”

Pause.

“Ok.” he says to his shoulder.

“Follow me.”

One awkward elevator ride later I am sitting in the waiting room of a posh multi-million office decorated with hallways of gold records, photos of famous musicians, and one fantastic gold plated door that leads to the office of the man who made all of it possible. That man is none other than the legendary Mick Longstein.

Bruno leads me in.

“How you doin?” Mr. Longstein asks.

“I’m good, how are you Mr. Longstein?”

“Please, please. Call me Mick. This ain’t no Wall Street bank aight?”

Moments later, after some small talk and the usual pleasantries I am finally able to get to the reason I am here: to interview a master of the arts.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did TrampStamp Records get its start?
Mick Longstein: 
When I was about 18 years old a few of my associates and myself took over a little night club in Brooklyn. Well, once we had it up and runnin’ we need somethin’ to, you know, draw the people from the neighborhood in to start spending their hard earned cash..with us. I had a cousin who started a little rock and roll/do wop outfit, The Dick Ritchie Valens Quartet, so we booked ’em to play 7 nights a week, 6 shows a night. Well, a few years later and we got all this cash flowing through the club but, you know, we ain’t gonna play Uncle Sam any of that cut. So we started a, umm, a subsidiary. Yea. That’s it. And we figured, hey, let’s expand our empire into this music business. So we started TrampStamp Records.

Let me get this straight, so TrampStamp Records was originally a front? A place to launder your cash?
ML: Hey buddy, who said anythin’ about laundering money huh? I got no fuckin’ clue what you mean by that. Next question!

Ok. Who was the first artist you signed?
ML: Let me think about that one, cause, you know, my memory ain’t too good no more. You know, it was Blue Lou Boyd & The Chesterfields.

Who had the big hit “Am I Lying?”
ML: Yea, that was a big hit for sure. We made our first million off a that one. I bought my first wife a mink coat with those proceeds.

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The Russian Incident

“Two and a half years!”

I am sitting with Gringo Starr, former drummer for Jackie & The Treehorns as he sips an espresso, noshes on a fish taco, and tells me his story.

“Two and a half years I spent in that gulag. Because of him.”

The “him” Gringo is referring to is known simply as Jackie. While many have written about him, few actually know the man.

‘Shady, elusive, arrogant, slutty’ are some of the words Mr. Starr uses when describing Jackie. Then he pauses in quiet contemplation and continues.

“But he’s also a genius.”

In what he now calls his “previous life” Gringo Starr was the drummer for Jackie & The Treehorns. A world-renowned rock group with an enigmatic frontman. While on tour in Russia with the group, Starr was arrested for indecent exposure after being caught receiving oral sex in an alley from a fan. He was sentenced to three years in a Russian gulag. While reports vary and rumors have swirled around the music industry and State Department for years, Gringo claims that only he and Jackie know what actually occurred that night.

“It’s simple. He left me. I was backstage with this super hot Ukrainian chick–cause Jackie always had hot international chicks around–and we were getting down. Well, she was going down I mean. Next thing I know, I’m skinning goats for Siberian farmers in the dead cold of a Russian winter.”

The story goes that while Gringo was encouraged by Jackie to partake in his post-show activities, once in the act, Jackie instructed his tour entourage to leave the venue, essentially deserting Gringo in an unknown land which led to his eventual arrest and incarceration.

“I mean, if he wanted me out of the band, he could’ve gone about it another way. That was kinda harsh, no? I hadn’t even finished yet!” says Gringo while inhaling a filterless Camel cigarette.

He continues, “Remember that scene in Almost Famous where the tour bus leaves the rest stop and Jason Lee’s character chases it screaming, ‘oh, it’s okay, it’s easy to leave me. I’m only the lead singer!!!”, well, that is what I felt like. Then I realized, shit, I’m only the drummer!”

“The Russian incident…it was tragic.” says Heshel Treehorn, Jackie’s long time manager.

“But it paved the way for Jackie’s amazing concept album The Russian Incident. It’s a story of one man’s struggles to cope with being a stranger in a strange land. But it’s kind of like Gringo’s sperm that night: it never got released.”

Jackie himself has refused to comment on the incident leaving his fans and the media with only speculation about what really happened that night.

“I’ve called, emailed, faxed, tweeted, and facebook-friended the U.S. State Department about this and they won’t return my calls.” says über Jackie fan Clarice of the band Clarice & The Lotion Baskets.

“I even put in a formal freedom of information request, but they keep telling me they have no ‘Jackie’ in their records. How is that even possible? Who doesn’t know Jackie?”

Gringo and Clarice will soon get a chance to tell their sides of the story in the upcoming Worthy Bros. documentary The Jackie Movie, which is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release.

“I am looking forward to exposing Jackie to the world for whom he really is.” says Gringo.

An interesting choice of words considering his history.

The Worthy Brothers Present “the guarantee”

We had the pleasure of participating in the 48-Hour Film Project in Washington, DC, where we were given a genre, some required elements, and 48 hours to write, film, edit, and submit a finished short film.

Our assigned genre was DRAMA, and we had to include a character named Denny (or Denise) Murray who had a job as a recruiter, show a set of keys, and include the line “I have just one question.”

We spent Friday night kicking around various ideas for films, and even spent a couple hours writing a script for an idea we threw out the window in favor of doing the film you’ll see below. We did all the filming that Saturday, Jr Worthy did initial cuts and edits overnight Saturday, and then Sunday we finished the editing while Steve worked some original music into the film.

Our entire crew, from writing and location scouting, to filming and assisting, as well as editing and all acting, consisted of a total of 5 people. The 48-hour time limit was enough of a challenge, but we’re also proud of what we were able to accomplish with just the 5 of us in that time frame.

the guarantee made its big-screen debut at the 48-Hour Film Project screening at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring, MD, and now we present it online for your viewing pleasure.  (We recommend you watch the full-screen version by clicking the arrows between HD and vimeo on the player below.)

The Worthy Brothers present the guarantee:

 

 

Bite a Dick You Quivering Douche Bag

In or around 2004 fellow Bums Logic blogger Todd.Levinson.Frank and I had a web site called Eight Track Mind. It was partially our bands site along with what was essentially a blog. We wrote stuff and posted it our site much like we do here. Only that back then blogs weren’t as big as they are today.  When we launched Bums Logic we re-posted some of our favorite writings from that site and dated them as such. Top Ten Most Overrated Musicians/Bands or Pink Floyd’s Discography Review are two such posts now appearing on Bums Logic. A third re-post was of a semi-controversial topic: Top Ten Reasons Why Neil Young Is Better Than Bob Dylan. Ha! What idiocy I have writing such things. So I am a fan of Neil Young and Bob Dylan I just happen to lean more towards Neil. When I wrote the piece I was looking to rile up some online conversations and partially trying to play a devil’s advocate to the oft held belief that Dylan is the bees knees.

The original posting led to some interesting exchanges with readers. Mostly Dylan-loving loyalists who were astonished to be reading such ridiculous nonsense. And let me remind you about this or any other blog: In the end, it’s all ridiculous. Posts are written based on opinions because that is what each and every one of us has that is 100% unique to ourselves: our opinion. It could be ones based on taste: Hey, I like that beat and singer. It could be based on influence: My friend Matt said he heard this band, check em out. Or it could be just a pure gut-feeling about something.

I understand the need for some people to take full advantage of their free speech and post comments on as many blogs as they choose. They are at least making themselves part of a conversation. When it can lead to fluent, thought-provoking dialogue then you have nothing but knowledge to gain from it.  But when it comes to the point where someone feels the need to express themselves by opining on your state-of-mind or throwing personal insults at you, well, then its all fair game my friends.
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Sheer Athletic Prowess

Behold this shit!  People try to act like I got no game when it comes to some motherfuckin’ round ball. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In an effort to shut the mouths of all the naysayers I am putting this display of basketball greatness on the internets for the world to see.  Yeah that’s right, I am taking this shit global son!  Let all of the doubters be told the truth through motherfuckin’ ones and zeros.

I present to you…

My Top Ten…I Mean, 13 Favorite Horror Movies

You're sooooo good lookin

I first have to post a disclaimer: After numerous debates with fellow Bums Logic blogger Jr. Worthy and Ms. FJB, I want to make it very clear that what I define as a “horror” movie is not always in line with what others do. For instance, is Jaws a horror movie? Is Silence of the Lambs? Some say they are “thrillers” and that true horror movies need to contain an element of the supernatural like The Exorcist does. I will argue that mother fuckin Michael Myers has some supernatural powers, okay?

#13 – Hellraiser
Bondage-clad evildoers, skinless-men, some sort of evil box that unleashes demons, and one of the most iconic bad guys in modern horror movie history: Hellraiser. Not the most popular film on the list, but one that made me never want to have my skin ripped off via hooks and chains. Not that I needed a movie to make me realize that.

#12 – The Exorcist
Most critics and fans think this is amongst–if not the–best horror movie ever made. While it’s extremely hard for me to argue against that point, this is, after all, a list of my favorite horror movies. I do love The Exorcist (not loving it is like not loving pizza). Who doesn’t want to watch a child’s head spin 360 degrees while puking on a priest as she tries to seduce him? I won’t even insert a joke here.

#11 – The Blair Witch Project
Let’s get one thing straight: if you are camping out in the woods in the middle of nowhere and you suddenly hear little children playing outside your tent…in the dark of the night…run! That is, unless you want to find yourself staring at images of bloody hand prints on a wall while some witch clobbers your friends and steals your camera.

#10 – Alien
The first time I watched Alien was the first time I almost puked during a movie. When that freakin little fucker came tearing out of John Hurt’s stomach and started galloping around the room like Mick Jagger on acid I had to turn the movie off. Nightmares for months…still have them today! Which also led to me having to constantly ask my mom if there was ever a chance that a baby alien could pop out of my stomach, because every time I got a stomach ache I convinced myself that was the case.

#9 – Hostel
After I watched this movie I had two thoughts: 1. I am never going to eastern Europe and 2. Please tell me these kind of places don’t actually exist.

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An Interview With Filmmaker Josh Bolton

Sometime around 1992 or ’93 I met and befriended a guy from Baltimore named Josh. Josh had a band. I had a band. Our bands sometimes played together. Our bands were friendly with each other.  Our bands sounded absolutely nothing alike.  Josh and I had a short-lived band together called Firewheel. Firewheel was the biggest band around that never played a gig or wrote an actual song. Firewheel is the best band you never heard. A few years later, around 2004, Josh got in touch with me and asked me to contribute some scoring for an East Coast surfing documentary he was filming called Drawing Lines. Since then, there have been other collaborations with music and film. I find Josh to be interesting, funny, and friendly, which means if you’ve gotten this far into this paragraph, you might think so too.

josh-boltonYou have a background in both art and music–and you’re pretty damn good at both–so what got you interested in film?
The philosophical answer is that film is the combination of art and music. But the reality of it was that is was 1992 and my band, Juice, needed a video. Technology wasn’t at a point where everyone had a video camera and Final Cut, actually computers didn’t even have CD burners. So I drove eight hours to a friends college on winter break and put together a VHS compilation video using a 2 channel switcher.

Ok, so not to ask the most obvious question, but who would you say are your biggest influences in filmmaking?
Good question. My answer is probably as obvious as the question. Steve Spielberg, Geo. Lucas, Rob Reiner. Anything I saw on the big screen or the boob tube while I was growing up has been indelibly etched on my memory card.

If you had a choice to work with one male actor and one female actor–dead or alive–who would it be?
I don’t often work with actors, most of my work is done with reality stars and regular people, but if I had to choose…

Male Actor: Zach Galifinikas… because his name starts with a “Gal” and ends with a “kiss.” But seriously, Zach’s not that gifted, but he works harder than anybody else. That resonates with me a lot. It’s not how talented you are, but how hard you are willing to work.

Female Actor: Rashida Jones – she’s hot, she’s funny, she’s Quincy’s daughter. Done deal.

If you were an actor, what filmmaker would you most want to work with?
If I were an actor, I would want to work with Todd Phillips. His movies, The Hangover, Old School, look like a blast to work on and he’s got wicked street cred from his first film The Hated (his GG Allin documentary ). He actually dropped out of NYU Film School to promote it.

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Not So Much a Review – Bad Teacher

So last night I went to see Bad Teacher and overall I have to say I give it a “thumbs up.”  The story, while certainly not the strongest point of the film, certainly doesn’t cause any harm.  Walking out of the theater I thought about what I just watched and while nothing about the plot really stood out as amazing story telling I still liked it and I think any reasonable person that isn’t too high brow would enjoy it as well.

Bad Teacher Movie Poster

Face it, she's hot.

One spot where the movie really shines, Cameron Diaz.  For the life of me I can’t think of why so many people hate on her so much.  If you ask me about Ms. Diaz all I can say is “Yes Please and Thank You!”  Addressing the haters out there, what is there to not like about her?  First of all she is funny as shit.  Can you name another comedic actress working in film that is as consistently funny as her?  Sure maybe, but are they as hot as Cameron Diaz?  Oh, so you don’t think she is that attractive huh?  Well, can you think of another actress that has ever uttered a phrase even remotely as hot and naughty as ‘Honey I am going to suck your dick like I’m mad at it’?  Well?

The entire cast gives good performances and that includes that kid from N’Sync.  Although I hate to admit it, JT is a pretty talented performer.  Those days at Disney in his early years are really paying off.  Another strong performance that can only be discounted due to limited screen time is that of Jason Segal.  That dude is a freakin comedic acting wizard.  I am glad to say that I will enjoy watching his career path over the years to come.  The guy has a shit ton of talent and I would rate his career as a strong buy (not exactly a weak limb I’m stepping out on here.)  If you don’t watch How I Met Your Mother or have never seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall do yourself a favor quit your job and get that shit from Netflix.  While you will still be unemployed after watching all of those disc at least you will have laughed a hell of a lot before you have to start your job search.

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Welcome to Bums Logic

We’re proud to announce and welcome you to BUMS LOGIC, a new online-magazine styled blog, mostly about music, featuring original articles by Steve (Jaded Bitterman), Todd (Todd.Levinson.Frank), Victor (Jr. Worthy), Bill (Lennsakata), Bear, Mike-Eddy, and other special guests. This loose collective has been collaborating on music, film, writing, art, and brewing on and off (we try to always be on) for the last 20 years, and now we plan to throw it all in a digital blender for public viewing.

The concept isn’t necessarily to have all the latest links to news, performances, or downloads, or blurbs about blurbs. Our hope is that it will be a place to read some (hopefully) thought-provoking stuff about music, film, sports, television, politics, books, art, technology, and culture. Maybe we’ll have a few laughs and maybe you’ll write for us someday too.

We call it a magazine, mostly as a nod to the not-too-distant past when we held stuff in our hands, not just the magazines, but the albums and tapes and CD’s they wrote about. While still essentially a blog (and BUMS LOGIC is an anagram for “music blog”), we’ll try to write our own jokes and do our own stunts.

Please visit us today, check out what we have going so far, and bookmark the site so you can check back in. Also, we’d be eternally grateful if you share our link on facebook, twitter, and wherever else you share cool webstuff. In return, we’ll try our best to be cool webstuff.

b  u  m  s  l  o  g  i  c

Why Toy Story Matters

In the first Toy Story movie, we meet Woody, the Tom Hanks-voiced cowboy who’s concerned about being replaced by a shiny new space toy. Then we are introduced to said shiny new space toy Buzz Lightyear, and he slowly realizes that he’s not a real space ranger, but just a toy.

Self-esteem issues and jealousy? Coming to grips with the limitations of reality? Is this any way to launch a kids-movie franchise? I guess so, judging by its success.

Toy Story (and its subsequent sequels) did what most movies aspire to do: inspire children, keep the attention of adults, and somehow really entertain both groups simultaneously (and make loads of money at the box office and with product tie-ins). While bringing toys to life (in often creative and hilarious fashion), it also did something else: it examined not just what we play with, but how we play.

By focusing on how we play, we learn about how we think and the limitless possibilities of imagination. Pretty lofty stuff for a cartoon.

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About the Grading Scale

As I previously mentioned in Making the Grade, over the years I have come up with a grading system when it comes to rating a ‘Teen Comedy.’  Essentially the system is a simple method of providing review in such a manner that no words could be lifted and taken out of context in any manner.

I Love You, Beth Cooper Movie Poster

Without the side boob this movie is an F for failure.

For example, When I say the movie ‘Clueless’ is an A+ any reasonable person, familiar with traditional grading scales used throughout the vast majority of US education systems, could easily deduce that I do in fact think it is a quality movie.  On the other hand, saying something like “Hayden Panettiere delivers an unbelievable, less than riveting, poor porformance,” in reference to the less than average film I Love You,  Beth Cooper could lead to someone simply carefully lifting certain words to say  ‘Hayden Panettiere delivers”…JrWorthy, Bums Logic.

My point is there is no way anyone could spin my grade of ‘D’ for I Love You,  Beth Cooper.  The only reason it doesn’t totally fail is the split second shot of Hayden’s side boob.  Sure she is small and looks like a little kid but she is legal.

Making the Grade

Clueless Movie Poster

Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash and Brittany Murphy. Who wouldn't?

Everyone has their personal favorite film genre.  Bums Logic’s own Jaded Bitterman will be the first to tell you about his love of all things horror.  If it involves some young teens finding themselves in a secluded area with nothing to do but drink and fuck whilst unbeknownst to them a homicidal maniac lurks in the shadows waiting to disembowel them, the you can be rest assured JB loves it.

I, on the other hand, prefer a different genre that involves teens and that is a category I refer to simply as the Teen Comedy.  There is something about the genre that just gets my insides all wrapped up and excited.  I guess it is the 14-year-old girl who lives inside of me that can’t get enough of the angst and hi-jinks of life in simpler times when all I had to worry about was how are we going to get alcohol and where can we drink it without getting caught.  At the very least we threw caution to the wind in regard to the impending bludgeoning at the hands of the aforementioned homicidal maniac lurking in the bushes the moment we decided to reach up her shirt and touch a boob.  Thought bubble, “Now that I am up her shirt do I try to unhook her bra or just try to slide my hand under the cup but over the wire?” Ah, good times.

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RubeFlix: The Best Show On TV Right Now

I'm a very bad man

All too often, when discussing various versions of the “blank blank is the best blank blank blank ever” (fill in movie, music, tv show, book, actor, etc.), people either tend to jump to an already established popular choice (The Godfather is the best movie ever, The Sopranos is the best television show ever; Marlon Brando is the best actor ever, Shakespeare is the best writer, Hendrix is the best guitar player, New York pizza is the best evuh) or try to uniquely identify their tastes by declaring some other off-beat preference, such as, “The Killers are the best band ever.”

There has been a lot of (or perhaps not enough?) talk lately about AMC’s drama Breaking Bad, which is starting it’s highly anticipated fourth season in July 2011. Forget about Mad MenBoardwalk EmpireDexterRescue MeThe KillingGame of ThronesThe Walking Dead, or any other major network program, the realization is, no show is better written, acted, or more intriguing than Breaking Bad is at this very moment.

I am here to tell you that Breaking Bad is the best show on TV right now.

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“Our Time” at Fast Times at Ridgemont High

In 1982 I was 9 years old. Way too young to truly understand the meanderings of stoned high school kids. It would be many years before I understood lines such as “when a guy has an orgasm how much comes out?” and “all I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” I mean, I knew what waves were.

I don’t need to go into the history or backstory of this movie because if you haven’t seen it already, well, then you must hate America and probably don’t support the troops! Let me go out on a limb here and say, at least in my humble opinion, this is the single best high school comedy of all time. I said it: all time. There are plenty of other worthy comedies about teenage escapades but none is as close to my heart as Fast Times is. I have seen the movie a thousand times if I have seen it once. I think Sean Penn should get a retroactive Oscar for his portrayal of stoner/surfer Jeff Spicoli (“doesn’t this stuff give you brain damage?”).

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RubeFlix: “The West Wing”

Long before The Social Network, but not long after A Few Good Men and The American President, Aaron Sorkin combined the latter two movies and created the Emmy Award-winning television drama The West Wing on NBC. The show ran for seven seasons (1999-2006) and covered a plethora of political and personal topics that were both timely and overtly dramatic.

Luckily, for those of you that didn’t watch the show when it originally aired, we now have NetFlix and various other avenues by which we can view an older television series. Now, watching an entire season of any show only requires a rainy weekend and, oh, say about, 10-20 hours of free time to kill. Lucky for me (I think) I was hooked on the original running of the series before it even aired. I remember there being plenty of hype for it before the pilot episode even hit NBC.

One of the most interesting things about going back and re-watching movies or television shows (or music) is discovering if you still feel the same way about it after subsequent viewings as you did upon the initial one. Shows like The Wire or Deadwood undoubtedly grow more and more engaging with multiple viewings, once you are able to absorb more of the dialogue, character development, and plot lines. When The West Wing originally aired, there was no such thing as pausing or recording live tv, no Tivo or NetFlix. If you missed an episode, well, you were screwed (unless someone you knew taped it on their VCR). A relative once asked me what the point is in re-watching a movie you have already seen? My response was, “do you only listen to an album once?”

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