Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!

This is
'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. Two "Battles" per month, on the 1st and 15th. Six days later (the 7th and 21st), I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.

Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!

[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...


Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –

Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)

Alright, let’s get on it...
I'm a little late getting it up, but better late than never, right? (That's not what she said!) OK, I'm a few hours latter'n usual but... I'm butt in the saddle again.

The problem is that I went to my favorite Reno casino ('The Peppermill') yesterday for lunch/dinner and to play a little video poker, but the only thing I won was a cold.

Yep, it seems I was playing a poker machine that some sick beeztard before me had played and now I've got the sore throat, the stuffy nose, the empty wallet... 
From time to time I return over and over again to ponder certain mysteries, such as "Why did N.A.S.A. come to mean 'Never A Straight Answer' and how did they lose all of the Moon landing knowledge and evidence?"

Or "What constitutes an actual 'sport'?" I mean, for instance, we know golf is a game and not a sport, because if golf is a sport then so is bowling... and we know it ain't.

Running is not a sport unless hurdles are involved. If Beer-Drinking were a sport it would be in the Olympics and I'd be a Gold Medalist. Someone once said that anything you can do while drinking beer is not a sport. Is Race Car Driving a sport? You can drink and drive, can't you? No, you're not going to win the race but you could still compete. OK, my mind is tired. I quit... for now.

Here's one I've contemplated for decades: "What was the first Punk Rock song?" I'm not sure there's a definitive answer because Punk as we think of it is comprised of Angry Arrogance and Acne. When did they first come together with loud, poorly played electric guitars?

For some time I've thought that in the "sound" department a good argument could be made for Elton John's 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting' (1973). That "buzzsaw" guitar is, musically, the foundation of Punk Rock.

OK, but what about the cornerstone of Punk? The "attitude"? I would describe it foremost as "hopelessness in the face of the system or machine" plus "anger and rebellion against 'the man' who upholds the system". Until recently I'd been thinking that maybe the first good example was 'Roadhouse Blues' by The Doors (1970). When Jim Morrison sings "I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer; the future's uncertain and the end is always near" that really encapsulates the Punk Rock sensibility.

[FUN FACT: It's been said that Alice Cooper inspired Jim Morrison to write that lyric above. During his drinking years, Cooper would place an ice chest full of beer beside his bed before going to sleep at night so he could crack a cold one the moment he awoke in the morning.]

But within the last couple years I've begun to think that perhaps that Punk Rock attitude appeared much earlier, in the form of that famous song about Summer depression.

In 1958, Rock 'N' Roll pioneer Eddie Cochran recorded 'Summertime Blues' which has gone on to become a classic that's been covered by every singer and singer-wannabe who's ever played in a bar. The song expresses youthful hopelessness against the system maintained by parents, employers, and even the United Nations - an evil organization if there ever was one! And since Summer is now here, I've decided to run with 'Summertime Blues' in this BOTB installment.

What? You don't think Summer has started yet? Tell that to my Brother in Phoenix! Have you seen THIS one?...
Phoenix, Airheadzona, May 2016 temperatures: 9th/86, 10th/91, 11th/95, 12th/101, 13th/102, 14th/101, Today/666?
'SUMMERTIME BLUES' by Eddie Cochran

'SUMMERTIME BLUES' (from 'Live At Leeds') by The Who

Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whoever you are) to vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. 

After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE
@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE.
@ 'HOLLI'S HOOTS & HOLLERS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE. 
And OH DONNA! (the 'Wild Thing' who "makes everything groovy") is joining us today right HERE.

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Yes, I know I said that I'd be discussing our insane dog, Mickie, in this installment, but I think I'll save him for later.

"The League" was a dual engine machine, and that's one reason we stood out everywhere we went. We had two motors that were crazy as phuc. Their names were Torch & Nappy.

Every League member played a role in the whole: Pooh was the court jester; Cranium was the odd science geek; Twinkie, the Blonde-Headed Swede, singer, ladies man and sometimes instigator. I was the Spiritual opiate (according to Torch). But Torch & Nappy were the engines that could make the thing go from zero to six hundred and sixty-six in one-tenth of a second and all... night... long. They were in continuous motion.

Torch, unofficial leader and THE Alpha male amongst Alpha males - about 6'2", maybe a shade taller, bright red hair. Napoleon, 5'6", dark brown hair - the enforcer, tough as hell. Energy? Officially proven in a scientific laboratory to be "off-the-charts!" 

Torch and my brother Nappy were the two most energetic persons I'd ever known - just human dynamos of energy. So, putting those two guys in the same room together (with beer) was just an amazing thing to behold! You never knew what was going to happen - EVERYTHING seemed possible - and all you could do at times was just hang on for the ride and try not to pee your jeans laughing.


A couple of stories about TORCH & NAPPY, and then a song...

In my last installment, I told you about some of our lingo and our favorite dance club, 'THE MUSIC MACHINE'. Well, through me and my Blues albums, the Soul Crusaders learned some Robert Johnson songs like 'Love In Vain'.

One night we were at The Music Machine when a particularly "laminated" (read: drunken) Napoleon asked a woman to dance (although his herky-jerky movements gave the impression he was already dancing with himself). She said no, he got mad and decided to stumble home from The Music Machine. It would have been about a 12-mile crawl, so we got in the van and went looking for him shortly after he stormed out. 

Meanwhile, Napoleon had entered a bar to buy a cigar for the walk home, when some "big, fat feller with some artificial hair" started some crap with Nappy just because he was only 5’ 6”. Well, Nappy – never one to take any crap – reciprocated with some lip o' his own and then left the bar with his cigar.

Fat Feller, figuring he would show his bar buddies how tough he was, went out after little Nappy and took a swing at him. (Ooooh, big boo-boo, Fat Feller! Ya just don’t antagonize “Little Mad Guy”). 

With freakish quickness, Nappy flicked a left jab to set Fat Feller up, and immediately followed that with the right cross. Now ordinarily, Nappy’s right cross is enough to send ANY man to the next lunar cycle, if not to the Moon itself. But in this case, being in the “100-proof condition” that he was, Nappy’s punch merely succeeded in putting Fat Feller’s head into the full-speed Linda Blair Exorcist-Spin Cycle

By the time the headlights of our van flashed upon the two combatants squared off with each other in the street, Fat Feller’s head was just coming to a stop, his toupee was lying in the dirt in the next county, and all of the fight had gone out of him (who knows where it went, but it was later reported that something with its tail between its legs was seen yelping Westbound on Pico Boulevard, moving with great haste toward the Pacific Ocean).

We hustled Napoleon into the van while apologizing to Fat Feller. (Nappy was involved in this altercation, so naturally we had just “assumed” it was his fault. Ha!) But undoubtedly Fat Feller couldn’t hear the apology because of the ringing in his ears. And we drove off singing at the top of our lungs, “Ooooh-Ooooh, all my love’s in vain!”

There was a game that Torch & Nappy played a few times - usually at night in empty beach parking lots - where a laminated Nappy would climb up on top of his van and Torch would drive it like a maniac - going in circles, making sharp right and left turns, suddenly slamming on the brakes - all in an attempt to throw Nappy from the van and onto the asphalt. Torch was the Harry Houdini of drivers - there was almost nuttin' he couldn't do with an automobile - but when the unstoppable force met the immovable object, Torch had trouble bucking Nappy off his own van.

Then there was this game we called "The Space Walk"...
Before Torch acquired "Tiburon" (a 1964 hardtop Cadillac that he blowtorched the roof off of)...

...Torch had a 1962 hardtop Cadillac, and that's the one he used for The Space Walks.

In the Cadillacs, it was always 3 Soul Crusaders in the backseat and 3 in the front, Torch being the driver. The Space Walk was when we were traveling on a long stretch of road, Torch would crawl out the driver's side window, the person next to him would slide over and take the wheel, and the "shotgun" passenger would move to the middle. Then Torch would flatten himself out on the hood or the roof of the car and gradually pull himself over to the other side of the Cadillac and crawl into the passenger's side window.

Yes! We'd switch drivers without even slowing down. That was called "The Space Walk". [Don't try this at home! It should be attempted ONLY by laminated professionals!]

And yes, I've posted this before but it's certainly worth repeating.
ALPHA MALE DAD Takes Down LAPD Officer At Festival
The "Alpha Male Dad" in this video is Torch, many pounds heavier and many years later, after 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' years were ancient history. But it's still Torch very much being "Torch" - you know, knocking a mentally sick cop unconscious, taking his camera and his gun and breaking up his child porn operation. Watch 'n' learn...

If you're wondering how that turned out, well, the Orange County Weekly named Torch the 2007 'Father Of The Year'. You can read about it HERE.
Some folks quickly speculated that Dornan - never known for indecision or loss for words - had overreacted. But the evidence Dornan recovered led to numerous child-pornography and child-annoyance charges, as well as an upcoming trial. "I wasn't going to stand there and do nothing," Dornan told the Weekly. "Not me. That's my daughter!" Excellent.
And now imagine partying with that Alpha Male on a weekly, and often daily basis for years, and add Nappy 'n' beer. Can you hear me now? 
The reason YOUR group of friends were NOT like MY group of friends is because MY group had Torch & Nappy and YOUR group did NOT! We had dual badass engines. I'm sure you had wild, fun times, but did your group of buddies inspire a book, a song, and several poems? Anyone awarded "Father Of The Year" by a newspaper?

The MTV channel was launched in the Summer of 1981, and for those first few years, The League Of Soul Crusaders watched a lot of music videos while drinking a lot of beer. This was usually a daytime activity. By nightfall, we were in full party mode, playing Springsteen albums if we were at the Bay Street house, or livin' large at The Music Machine or Mom's Saloon or The Oarhouse, Yesterdays, The Sunspot, Jolly Jack's, or crashing someone else's house party.

The videos I most clearly remember drinking to were these...
'YOU GOT LUCKY' - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 1982
'THE OLD MAN DOWN THE ROAD' - John Fogerty, 1984
'MONEY FOR NOTHING' - Dire Straits, 1985
However, more than any other MTV music video, the one that most reminds me of the "Bay Street Days" (which were really "years") is 1982's 'COME ON, EILEEN' by Dexy's Midnight Runners. I can't hear this song and see the video without suddenly feeling very much like I'm sprawled out on the living room couch with a 3-beer buzz and all kinds of insanity going on around me...
'COME ON, EILEEN' - Dexy's Midnight Runners

My previous blog bits pertaining to 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' (TSOML) can be found by clicking the links below: 
TSOML #1 - Prelude To An Introduction
TSOML #2- Introduction
TSOML #3 - First Song: 1959
TSOML #4 - 8th Birthday: 1967
TSOML #5 - Summer: 1974
TSOML #6 - Outlaw: 1978
TSOML #7 - M*A*S*H: Late 1978
TSOML #8 - Innocence Lost: 1980
TSOML #9 - A Friend With A View: 1980 

TSOML #10 - The League Of Soul Crusaders: 1981
TSOML #11 - The League Of Soul Crusaders: 1981 - Part 2
For more TSOML participants, visit the blog of GIRL WONDER ('Your Daily Dose') by clicking HERE.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy