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Alex Magnussen – lost last blog posting

JC Penny (me) introducing ourselves at Dirty Penny's first ever kids rock show

Hey.  Sorry haven’t written in a while.  Have been writing songs. Planning a new website for the band. It’s summer and we usually take a break from each other.  I don’t even want to be writing right now but I found something crazy in this blog system.  I can’t sleep these days and so I thought I’d check on the blog if there was any more hate mail.  I really liked the last one.

Anyways, I found something crazy: remember our disturbed biographer/journalist Alex Magnusson?  The dude that got arrested at our kids show last year because he was caught dressed in women’s clothing hiding at the back of the gym?  There were kids screaming and 3 big fathers sitting on him til the cops came.  Boy.  I wonder how he’s doing…  Read  Goodbye, Alex for the original post about this incident.  Also any post on this, our band blog, before that post was all Alex’s. 

The great thing about WordPress (the software of this blog thingy) is that it automatically saves a draft every few minutes.  And I guess Alex had wireless internet because I found an unfinished draft of his last blog.   It must have saved it to the server before he was mauled by families (“mauled by families” would be a good band name).  I know he didn’t finish it a later time after the incident because I saw his smashed laptop all over the gym floor.

Anyways, the guy is fucked (probably literally) now and seeing that he did a decent job while he was a free man at documenting our band activities, in his honour I’m publishing the fragment of his last post.  Plus he was a pretty hard core fan of ours.  That alone…

Dirty Penny School Benefit Concert – wed oct 22

It’s autumn all over the place. The bike racks of Hawthorne II elementary school are dead leaf magnets. There are construction paper pumpkins and witches in the class windows. The sun has already disappeared behind the working class homes here in Toronto west and it’s only 6:30. What happened? Was it a good summer?  The parents that have gathered at the school entrance this evening would probably say “I don’t know. I gotta get the kids to school then I gotta go to work for 10 million hours and somehow fit in taking my mother to the doctor oh then there’s hoping my goddam car doesn’t die before friday..”

Tonight is a soirée of baked goods, raffle tickets, committee signups, sing-a-longs, face painting, 200 parents and kids in a school gym and Dirty Penny. Yours truly is very curious to see this. Half of their songs cannot be played to children or the lyrics have to be changed. However, the other half is very child friendly. “Tada!” 2007 was a surprise hit with the kids. “Bubble Juice” and “Noah” are always requested by my nephews. My informal interviews with fans at club shows have concurred the kids appeal. “Hip Hoperation” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain” are the other big faves.

I have to be very careful tonight. I am still banned from attending the shows since the Nidhan (aka Grimlock) interview (see 3 posts down) however I cannot just hang around disguised in drag as I usually do for shows at dark night clubs. I would so get my ass thrown in a police car here. To be a suspected pervert caught at a kids school in the back of a cop car doesn’t necessarily mean they’re taking you back to the station.  I once read an article about the Toronto homeless where one interviewed referred to it as “when they take you to Cherry Beach”.  That’s when you know your officer got beat by his father, he in turn beat whomever he could all the way to high school.  Now he does coke and no one tells him what to do and fucking up a person holds many vintage emotions for him.  And they come in pairs.

That is a legitimate nightmare come true. So I have managed to sneak in, in drag, but I’ve found a hiding spot behind a row of stacked chairs at the back of the gym. I am laying on my stomach in a little forest  of chair legs.  It’s dark and there’s no chance anybody’s gonna look here.  I have my laptop and I am doing my job. I am a graduate of the Ryerson University school of journalism! It’s only a matter of time before DP are recognized internationally and I will have the definitive Dirty Penny book ready for the shelves, then I can go back to grad school in style.

I can see the stage but just barely.  Luckily it’s raised so I can see Dirty Penny are getting ready over the crowd of families and teachers.  JC Penny has taken the mic. He and each member have all donned little propeller head beanie hats! It’s an awesome idea and I think I can suss the intention: they are no longer a group of strange men playing loud rock music, they are little boys. What an incredibly simple and effective device for this context.

They have chosen “If I Wuz a Cat” as their first song. Ha! Penny has changed the words. I’m going to try and transcribe them..

Took my toys
And lined them up
And smashed them with a car
Made a lego monster with lasers
Blew up my sister’s dolls
Play my games the way I want to

The way I play with that
is scaring the cat
The way I play with that
(not sure)…

Now it’s Godzilla time
And all my


And that’s all there is.  Alex’s last post.  What a weird, weird guy.  I have to say: he was insanely good at hearing me sing words.  I’ll always respect him for that…

The end of that story is apparently some kids had begun to play hide and seek around the chairs where he was hiding.  We were still playing our set.  A little girl screamed, Alex panicked I guess and tried to get out of the chairs too fast because the next thing that happend was that hundreds of pounds of chairs started crashing down everywhere.  Everything and everyone just stopped.  Alex slowly emerged from under the chair mountain (“chair mountain” is good).  His clothes, dress and blouse, we’re torn up and you could see his briefs and thighs.  His face was all red and smeared.   Luckily none of the children were hurt.

I haven’t heard any news in a year so I guess he’s still alive in prison.  I hope they have a place for the transvestite pedophiles away from the killers there.  I’m sure they do.  This is Canada for fuck’s sake.  He’s prolly fine.

Oh yeah: the other good band names I’ve thought of lately are

1. Brown Rainbow
2. I love you, poo
3. Wendy Barbara

Our NXNE gig, the “Better Living thru Rock” show

I liked it.  Louie not as much.  Candy liked it.  I forget to take Yoko and Grimlock’s temperatures on it. The OAM (Original Act for Mankind) theme for this gig was a corporate training session entitled..

Better Living Thru Rock

We all wore acrylic, ugly sweaters.  We figured we’re too ugly to try and look cool anyway.  I constructed a flipchart presentation to introduce every song or “agenda item”.  Most were composed of formulas like “99 virtues < 1 vice” or “fucking = 1/killing”.  A brief explanation was offered and we went into the song.  Yoko liked this bit, so did the stage manager, Chris Ritchie.  Nobody else offered praise.  Louie complained about the sweater.  I highly enjoyed delivering better-living training in tandem with our rock show.  I may break our OAM rule for each show and do that again.

Chris Ritchie, fooled

Chris was the stage manager for our venue, The Reverb.  He did a good job.  We liked him.  He got to know me before the show in a white shirt.  For the show I put on the sweater and then took it off as soon as we were done.  20 minutes later I’m hanging out with my beer and Chris comes next to me “Hey dude.”  I say hey.  “That last band was awesome, fuck, I really liked them.  So not what you expect you know and that lead guy with his whole presentation thing?  It was like a Talking Heads show.  You know how David Byrne mixes in different..”  I wondered for a while if he was playing me.  I waited until I was absolutely sure he didn’t realize he was talking to me about me.  Then I let him go for another minute enjoying the surreal experience.  Then I told him.  He was like “fuck off, no, you’re, oh shit, really, I, fuck, HA!” with hands over his eyes looking at me between his fingers with difficulty.  Hee hee.

Triggerfinger from Belgium, I am sorry

The second band after us was Triggerfinger from Belgium.  The lead guy looked like Wayne Coyne.  They we’re an awesome trio.  They we’re old men like us going epileptic all over the stage, art meltdown sounds that just worked.  We we’re watching and loving it.  All of a sudden: tragedy.  “Lets go checkout what’s going on at Lee’s Palace” someone says.  The sparkle of venue hopping crushes all common sense.  10 minutes later we’re at Lee’s watching… it doesn’t matter.  Spilled milk.

2 Videos released, 1 Interview, 1 EPK, some hate mail, and new album in works for 2010

Sorry haven’t posted in a longtime.  Yes, you.  The person that once promised me he’s added our blog to his RSS feed.  This one’s for you, darling…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  I should have because I promised the guitarist who is the Paul Mcartney of the band I would.  I’m the singer/poet/autistic of this band.  I’m JC Penny.  I have a thousand drawings.  A hundred paintings.  10 websites.  1 mouth.  No money…

I used to refer to Lovely Louis, the guitarist, as the Lennon of the band but recently found out that Lennon was actually a mediocre musician.  Great songwriter.  Crappy musician.  That’s me so that’s why the change.  Also I used to think I was goofier than Louis but I don’t think so anymore.  I recently changed my mind on me in one crucial aspect: I’m not actually funny at all.  All these years…  Anyways, another reason why I’m no longer the Paul.  I don’t think Louis’ gonna like this but he doesn’t ever read this anyway.

2 Videos

“Declined” and “Magic Tricks”, 2 of our strongest songs on SATM, have been released as videos.  They we’re directed by Spookey Ruben who was voted The Greatest Canadian (remember that hugely successful publicity stunt the CBC ran a couple of years ago?  I hope they gave the worm that thought of it a raise) by one black man from Atlanta.  See them here:

Magic Tricks


and see the black man from Atlanta

Am I being a little racist? Should I just say “the man from Atlanta”? Am I furthering racial stereotypes by foregoing the policy of “colour blindness” with regards to all other human beings on spaceship earth? Watch the video. That’s a black man from Atlanta.

1 Interview

Toromagazine has balls and brains.  The pudding: they reviewed our last album “Sage Against the Machine” correctly.  They got it.  They identified it’s genus, family, species, likelihood of cancer, everything.  Brian Borzykowski did the same for our 2007 release but didn’t venture so many words.  Then they had us in to do a song unplugged.  We did “Declined” and I decided to show a large painting of Pope Benedictus with some balls hanging off the bottom.  The Pope had issued a statement earlier that week that the Nazis never used gas chambers and that the holocaust was greatly exagerrated.  Ha!  “Declined” happens to finish with the line “I hate the Pope why not he’s old and his buddies with soft hands and cocks that coil around the minds…OF A BILLION DECLINES” We went there and we played it and they filmed it and I didn’t think they’d air it given that they are after all Canadian (we’re not big on risks).  Boy was I ready to kneel for the bull when they did.  They even ended the thing with a closeup on the Pope’s nylon potato pair.

Anyways, they also filmed an interview on the same day and have just released it. Check the Interview


An EPK is an Electronic Press Kit. That means it’s an elevator speech for the internet. An elevator speech is the thing a young buck full of piss and vinegar would say to the president of the company if he happened to bump into him on the elevator. 30 seconds, Jeremy. Don’t fuck it up. Ours is 2 minutes but you can sit there and put your mouse in your ass and really get into your own B.O. while it plays and judge us silently.


Some hate mail

In a previous post I talked about our gig with Jay Spectre and Run With The Kittens. I think I said that Jay Spectre wasn’t my cup of tea and then went on and on about RWTK. If I said something really nasty I apologise but I don’t think I did. Not my style. I think it got as bad as “tea”. Someone, prolly THE JAY SPECTRE, found my post and just flamed us. They said the “meger” crowd we drew thought we sucked. FYI, we didn’t draw any crowd at all that show so thanks for yours ;) However, every show we do someone really hates us but REALLY hates us. That’s cool. He also said that Jay Spectre and RWTK are twice the musicians we are. Absolutely right. Can’t argue with that. But I wore elf ears and blew my nose that whole show. I insulted the audience because I was pissed off that Santa laid me off after 700 years of service. I had a Curious George garbage pail on stage for my kleenexes.

New Album

We’re recording demos for our new album. The working title of it is “Sorry”. We’re already shopping for a producer, gonna record in the fall. That means the thing should be available before my heart attack at 43. I am writing grown-up songs for this one. I have to get it out of my system, as with every album. Every album is something an artist(s) gets out of his system. There is some serious shit going on in the world today and all our poets have to say is “baby, baby”. Even the goddam indie darlings got nothing to say about Afghanistan, the biblical floods in our lifetime, the oncoming ice age in our children’s lifetime. The economy is silly. Just wait.

Get me drunk one night and I’ll tell you what the other albums we’re about. Ya, you.

“Declined” unplugged – the Pope and Toromagazine has balls

We did a song for Toromagazine’s weekly broadcast “Garageband”.  Our performance included some questionable things.  We showed a painting of the Pope with a pair of balls hanging from it.  The song itself ends with the line “I hate the Pope why not he’s old and his buddies with soft hands and cocks that coil around the minds, of a billion declined”.

I wasn’t sure if the peeps at Toromagazine had the balls to pony up the performance.  We shot it.  They smiled.  We left.  As Canadian artists, we are accustomed to being gelded by other Canadians that work in media, but three weeks later there it was.  The final edit was as twistedly, born-again christian as we’d intended.  It was as if we had said to Toromagazine ‘suck my balls’ and they simply replied ‘present them’.

See it

Two Days with Spookey Ruben

Spookey (yellow top, skipper hat) confers with DOP (Dave?), and JC Penny at back near phone booth and bubble machine

Spookey (yellow top, skipper hat) confers with DOP (Dave?), and JC Penny (me) at back near phone booth and bubble machine 

Spookey Ruben is a great artist. He can write music and sing almost as good as I can. However, he does one thing that I suck and fail at time and time again: he makes films. He’s made lots of them and if you’ve ever tried to make a film, even a short one, it probably sucked. Spookey’s made lots with almost no money and they all range from good to gem.

It’s one of the hardest artistic disciplines out there. It’s not like painting or singing where you get to the fun part right away. You walk around talking logistics and administration to the people you’ve hired to do labour (as I saw Spookey do) and you laugh out loud when no one else is (as I saw Spookey do) or stare and mumble at the garbage (as I saw Spookey do). A director must maintain a full living drama alive inside their head over a long period of time while dealing with things like an injured leg (as I saw Spookey do) and choosing chicken or beef for lunch (as I saw Spookey do). I am not sure how they maintain their enthusiasm for the art when so much of it seems like bullshit. They’re probably just the “planners” of the artworld. I paint. I work in the tradition of “Neuve Invention”. It’s a branch of outsider art. It means literally “new invention”. It means you make it up as you go along, like a child. That says something about me. I’ve been painting for 15 years. Fuck me.

Louis dollies Yoko through bubble mountain

Louis dollies Yoko through bubble mountain

So for 2 days in November at Bite Television studios Dirty Penny and Spookey Ruben shot 3 videos. When we hired Spookey we had only one suggestion “do whatever you want” and we kept our promise and so did he. We showed up there and he’s wearing a skipper hat and a banana yellow tracksuit. I was actually a little shy about meeting him. When Louis proposed we hire him I checked out his myspace and watched several of his films.  I was immediately grumpy.  I don’t like it when there’s someone that can out-absurd me. That’s MY spotlight, motherfucker..  Anyways it turns out he’s a quiet sort of regular guy. He’s got a sort of mumbler thing going on, like jazz musicians.

He was nice throughout the 2 days. When he asked us to ride children’s bikes through 12 feet of Mr. Bubble it was like he was offering us a coffee. When he asked me to lypsinc “Declined” from inside a phone booth wearing a dinosaur head it was really nice. When he asked us to join him in one of Bite’s meeting rooms and threw fruit and planes at us over and over again then we got mad. He apologized right away and said “n-n-n-oh-sno-what I, uh, hey I’m sorry, eh. Bammo on me. I was just trying a little thing ah-do.” I never saw him smoke pot.

Dirty Penny (left to right) Yoko, Lovely Louis, Candy, JC Penny, Grimlock

Dirty Penny (left to right) Yoko, Lovely Louis, Candy, JC Penny (me!), Grimlock

It’s weird being a director to begin with. Imagine being Spookey Ruben. I imagine beating Spookey Ruben all the time, in an art fight. It’s a conversation I have with myself that goes almost exactly like this: “I’m actually a really good director (I lied) but more junior than Spookey. I’ve made videos that also range from good to gem, but I’ve only done 5, Spookey’s done dozens. I think the only place I got Spookey is illustration in general. I think the place he’s got me is musicianship. He can play guitar AND sing. Probably other things, too. If we were in a cage match it would be close. I’ve got size but he has the tracksuit. I wonder if he was a dropout? I was an A student until my burnout in my first year at university. I’m thinking he was a typical misfit with low grades in school. That would put me in the winner’s circle, right? The class math genius that burns out at 19 and becomes an artist?” No, it doesn’t. What business does my head have on top of a body with a wallet like mine?

By the way, I have no idea if Spookey likes the term ‘absurdist’. He and I didn’t talk much. I’m an absurdist. It’s what I tell people because it’s close enough. The truth is more of a scream/giggle/Turrets thing with a kiss at the end. That said I’d like to confess something about our 2 days with Spookey: I couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed. With access to hundreds of thousands of dollars of production equipment, we jerked off. We inserted no messages of hope, no commentary on the human condition, no furthering of awareness of the plight of the less fortunate.. We rode through bubble mountains and threw plastic fruit around. We did what we did for the same reason dogs lick their balls: because it feels good. That’s fine. We don’t have to be responsible for the world. We can’t all be Bob Marley or whatever, all they have to do is shit and the world gets slightly better.

But if you are a citizen of heaven like me, that is, if you live in a developed country that respects human rights and you don’t worry about what you will eat today, while the other half of the world is in hell, do you not think that Dirty Penny and Spookey Ruben should have used their tremendous privileges of time, education, and technology to at least try and make a difference? This is a personal thing that I continually wrestle with. This is what my girlfriend says when I mention this issue: “Oh, please..”

Get SATM on + FREE compilation album download is a great new canadian online music store.  All of their albums are 8.88$  and come with a printable hi-res pdf of the cover.  Get our new album “Sage Against the Machine” here
And they have good taste.  They’ve chosen our closing track “Maximum Sherpa” to feature on their free compilation album.  Other cool track I heard on this was “Good Sense” by Owl Farm.

Get this Free compilation album of fresh new music here

RWTK, Jay Spectre @ the Horseshoe, the elf with a cold show, dec 13

We played with Run With the Kittens and Jay Spectre last night at the Horseshoe. I threw up this morning but remembered to rip the elf ears off my head before going to bed. My original act for mankind last night was to be an elf with a cold. I already had a cold so decided to build my performance around it. I brought my daughter’s Curious George waste basket and a box of Kleenex. I sang our set as a sick elf. Has anybody ever seen a sick elf before? Better yet: has anyone ever thought of a sick elf before? Lemme know.

Anyways, I think we we’re good cuz everybody bought me drinks after that. Jay Spectre were great musicians. I love the sound of horns and rock together. I didn’t like their show, though. I like edge and risk. They were just straight up roots rockers. However, plenty of people loved them. They got a better reception than we did. Proof is in the pudding.

Run With the Kittens were dressed in santa suits. They closed the night and rocked a packed Horseshoe. They share a large part of the blame as to why I was throwing up this morning. That was me, the elf drinking and sick pumping the air like a brother for 90 minutes, their whole set. When frontguy Nate Milk stated that it was time to elevate the sex appeal of the evening and peeled off his santa suit to reveal a matching two piece bikini, I elevated my drink on. He was starting to look good that Nate.

Later Nate told me he didn’t tell his band that he had a bikini under the santa suit and I know exactly why. When you’re a frontguy, your band sort of hates you in a very loving way. They shoot down your crazy ideas because they’re sick of them and a little sick of you, but they love it when you go ahead and do it anyway.

Dirty Penny lead guit Lovely Louie told me he was happy about my more serious than usual stage presence. Lovely Louie doesn’t like Ween.

Once again: last night I dressed as an elf and blew my nose and threw my tissues into a waste basket on stage with my band, Dirty Penny. That’s a happy memory. I hope that flash gets magic trick status at the movie I go see in my afterlife.

Playing with Run With the Kittens, dec 4 @ The Starlight

So I’ve been talking about Run With the Kittens since I saw them by accident six months ago at the Cameron House. I just did a gig myself at The Horseshoe and my dick was swinging, breaking car windows on Queen St. I went into the Cameron for more dick swinging juice and there they were crammed on the tiny stage area of the Cameron’s front house. I was there with Carl Hamfelt and my lady, Lesley. After a few minutes I said to my friend Carl “They’re way better than us” and he replied “Stop, they are not.” A few more minutes went by and he said to me “Okay, they’re better than you.”

RWTK are a tight, telepathic multi-genre loving posse of four ugly clown boys that turn lead into gold, and then gold into milkshake. They do jazz, rock, disco, and meringue all in one song and make it look easy. They can tell a joke just with instruments. I’ve always admired musicians that can do that. Zappa’s stuff does that. You can just be sitting there listening to some horns, guitar, and drums and you’ll suddenly laugh like at the punchline… Well, I do.

Anyways, we played with them at the Starlight in Kitchener, Ontario. That’s an awesome place. Picture The Horseshoe on Queen but with really nice sofas, expensive lighting, same hi-fi sound and less urine smell. Also, a lovely newly finished huge dance floor with no less than 6 professional disco balls. The place seats about 100 comfortably, really comfortably. They mostly do DJ dance nights but will do bands once in a while that are touring nationally (which reminds me, I must ask my publicist how she landed that gig).

The next time me and my baby have nothing to do and no kids and a hundred bucks, we’re going there. And you should, too. It’s worth the 100 km drive.

Oh yeah, and the staff are nice and friendly. I nearly shit my pants when the bartender said “what can I get ya?” and smiled SINCERELY. Also chatted with door guy, manager, sound guy. No discernable attitude or ego. No need to wipe my face after. Going to Kitchener is great because you’re reminded how our cool metropolitan international city of Toronto sucks. The nickname ‘T-dot’ sucks, too.

And the final thing that makes Toronto suck more than Kitchener: nobody knew RWTK or Dirty Penny in Kitchener. We are complete unknowns. FIFTY COMPLETE STRANGERS CAME OUT TO SEE THE SHOW. I was beginning to think people didn’t like music anymore until I went to Kitchener.

Anyways, Dirty Penny and RWTK rocked the place. We gave a really good show. You could see it in everybody’s faces and when they came and talked to us after. This is no surprise since both bands were feeling awesome by the time we went on. The venue actually made us chips and dip AND gave us four beer tickets each.

Thank you, Kitchener. Thank you, Starlight. Thank you, Bernard the manager and staff.

By the way, we are playing with RWTK again at the Horseshoe on Dec 13th. That’s a saturday