Best Bands You Never Heard of: The Four Horseman

fourhorsemen
The Four Horsemen

The Four Horseman were a hard blues/hard rock ensemble active in the late 80’s and early 90’s. A combination of outstanding musicianship, Frontman Frank Starr’s one-of-a-kind swagger, and tragedy made them a “must have” for me and their first major release, “Nobody Said it Was Easy”, in still in my regular rotation.

I once read a story where Lizmi, who had recruited all the members of the band save a lead singer, was having a few with producer Rick Rubin and had stepped outside for fresh air or to fire up a spliff or just for conversation when a barroom brawl spilled out into the parking lot. Two gentlemen had agreed to “come to scratch” and settle their difference by fisticuffs and at the conclusion of said match the winner – in a pair of corduroy bell-bottoms no less – and heavily out of breath, was staggering back into the bar when Rubin stopped him

“Can you sing?” Rubin asked.

The victor nodded. “Yeah, I can sing.”

“What’s your name?”

At that the still panting champion turned around and pulled his shirt down to expose his shoulders and upper back across which was tattooed – in letters writ large – “S-T-A-R-R”

That’s pretty goddamn Rock and Roll.

The band never really got into the groove they could have. Frank Starr did multiple prison stints on a variety of offenses, missing a lot of time, and was in a serious motorcycle accident in 1995. He remained in a coma until he passed away in 1999. Ken “Dimwit” Montgomery – one of Canada’s three famous Montgomery Brothers (Brother Chuck Biscuits played in DOA, Danzig, Social Distortion and other bands you have heard of), died of a heroin overdose in 1994. (As an aside there is an excellent documentary out there called ‘Bloodied but Unbowed” about the early Vancouver punk rock scene that has the excellent section on the Montgomery brothers – watch it at YouTube Here.

At any rate – that’s the Four Horsemen. You can find ‘Nobody Said it Was Easy (release date was in 1991) on Ebay – and depending on the condition it can be an expensive proposition.

At any rate – if you ever run into Dave Lizmi shake his hand. They made great music.

I’m going to leave with “I Need a Thrill/Something Good” because I have lived it, and loved it.

Rock on Compadres. I’ll be back soon with links to more of my own published stuff as it appears.

Steve

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Broke (Redux)

The Magnificent Bastards at Sunstruck Magazine out of Denton, Texas, have put up a direct link to my short story “Broke”.

You can read it here .

I love the illustration and as you already know, the pic at the end of the story was supplied by me from the family archives – that’s my real Granddad and his dogs circa 1934.

Stay savage, followers, I’ll be back soon

Steve

 

There Have Been Others (I Rocked the Chair)

Yellow Chair Review out of Waco, Texas has a weekly poetry challenge called “Rock the Chair” in addition to their regular quarterly publication schedule. This weekend my poem “There Have Been Others” won the challenge  – so y’all can go on and read it here

I’d like to take a moment to dedicate this to anyone who ever suffered from a little unrequited love.  Let me know what you think.

I’m very pleased with this – it’s things like “Rock the Chair” that make poetry fun – so much thanks to YCR and their stalwart Editorial team.

Above LA
The Moon, Venus and Jupiter(?) above LA, circa late 2014, early 2015.

Valentine’s Day 2016- In the Reign of Cynara

English Poet Ernest Dowson (2 August 1867 – 23 February 1900) liked poetry, wine, and his muses on the pubescent side. He is believed to have coined the phrases “Days of wine and roses” and “Gone with the wind” in his poetry. He died at age 32, the cause of death could be summarized as “complications of lifestyle.” Fellow poete maudit Oscar Wilde eulogized him as:

“Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene. I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew what love was”

 

Picture - Steve Dallas
Gustav Dore-style engraving of Dowson, (c’mon, use your imagination) at the writing desk, in a moment ‘twixt libation and inspiration

 

Dowson left us this – the only Valentine’s Day poem you will ever need.

Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

“And I am desolate and sick of an old passion.” Yes, anyone who has ever loved, from a great distance and without hope, should understand. I doubt Cynara even knew who Dowson was and I’d bet the only thing she knew about “poetry” was that it was hard to spell, but there is no explanation for these things and really, there need be none.

“In the reign of Cynara, kind and fair” is the English translation of the poem’s title. I think Dowson way too kind. (Dowson’s title was taken from a line in a poem by the Roman poet Horace.)  Muses come not to create but to destroy. You get to try and make something out of your own ashes after that.  Have fun with that. Let me know how it goes.

Dowson died on February 23, 1900. I like to think that he died on Valentine’s Day, just that he was so goddamn besotted with wine and an old muse he didn’t realize it until the 23rd . Either that or no one noticed until the 23rd, and that was the day they used.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Steve

Bruiser

Bruises Luchadores
This picture is a screen cap from the video for Band of Skulls song “Bruises”. It bears zero relation to the story – But I love that band, that song, and that video, so go check it out on YouTube. If Band of Skulls asked me to take this pic down I would and I would still love them.

It’s a back-to-back jack kind of week for me: My story “Bruiser” is up at Rum Punch Press.

Wrestling, chihuahuas, and nihilism. Fuck yeah.

You can read it Here

Much thanks to the editors at Rum Punch Press.

Let me know what you savages think after you have read it.

Savages.

Steve

Broke

SunStruck-February-2016 2.1 Wonder.jpg

My short story “Broke” is now available in Starstruck magazine issue 2.1 (Theme: “Wonder”) and can be viewed via downloading the pdf Here

“Broke” Begins on page 49 and yes, the picture at the end of the story captioned “My granddad and his hunting pack” is my granddad and his hunting pack. I supplied the picture.

“Broke” addresses themes of unemployment, failure, graft, violence, and hunting coyotes. I could not get this story published in Canada.

Sunstruck is out of Denton, Texas, and unafraid.

Much thanks to Caleb and the crew at Sunstruck. They put out a bold, beautiful product and I am flattered to be a part of it.

Feminism: The Rising Tide That Lifts All Literary Boats

Steinem Quote

 

I have spent too much time on Twitter lately and have eye-strain from eye-rolling.

Look, I’m going to lay it out as simply as I for those who do not understand: Feminism has been the rising tide that has lifted all literary boats.

Practicing some exclusionary hierarchy as far as what gets published does not aid male authors in general – only the few supported by the ruling elite. This is a clique-ish business full of pedants. Feminists are not taking your place in the literary elite from you – it was never yours. What feminists, and feminism has done, is to broaden the literary platform for everyone.

Without a doubt I would not have the publication credits I do without feminists. Those feminists who taught me, beta-read for me, and selected my work for publication. Those feminists who wrote, edited, and then, at no financial gain at all, started a publication, a blog, a ‘zine.

The idea that feminism is exclusionary of men is preposterous. The idea that women in literature are “social justice warriors” and not “real writers” is beyond preposterous. Social change as represented in literature is to be lauded. What vision of the future have we had that was not first provided in literature? What story of an unacceptable present has not moved the reader towards a sense of genuine social justice?

Feminists have not taken anything from anyone – and they have given much.

Your obligation as a reader is not to look at the name and decide about the story right then, your obligation is to read the story. Crying on social media is amusing but not in the “we’re laughing with you” way.

I sometimes think that there are two different languages being spoken, one by certain men who think only of the language of rejection – “my stories get rejected too, wah” and the language of exclusion which is well familiar to women and minorities – human beings who never get a chance in the first place. It bothers me to think that there are still female writers who do not submit because they have been intimidated. The idea that someone won’t read sci-fi because it was written by a woman or a brown-skinned person is odious.

A literary community that is better for women will be better for men.

The option is to condone someone else’s hierarchy and live by their rules – which will almost certainly exclude you.

I’ll be back to post when any of my recent sales/placements go live and for a really sad Valentine’s day post full of poesy if none go live before the world’s shittiest, saddest “holiday”.

Steve