Sunday, July 19, 2015


In case you missed it, this slab of horror rock from The Mangled Dead and Stranger faves Wolfmen of Mars is now available in glorious 12" vinyl and it roooocks!

Hit up Wolfmen's Bandcamp page HERE to purchase.

Check out a track from each band, if you don't already know them...
Mouth Like a Pirahana
Frankenstein Pays The Rent


Although there's no footage to see yet, the forthcoming Ghostpuncher (in preproduction) from writer/creator Jordan McCloskey, sounds super fun! A fusion of Evil Dead 2, Poltergeist, and The Frighteners.

"Ghostpuncher is the story of a single father and his son who move into a house that is EXTREMELY haunted by three spirits known as The Collombelles (a mother and her two daughters who were serial killers in 1897.)
At first the ghosts are playful and harmless, but when the spirits become menacing, eventually possessing dad, the son turns to the ONLY place he can think of for help... THE INTERNET.

There he finds a desperate, down and out exorcist calling himself the "Ghostpuncher" who claims to have a gift that allows him to PUNCH ghosts and send them BACK to the netherworld. He is willing to perform this exorcism, for a price of course, but quickly discovers the ghosts in the house won't go down without a bloody fight."

That flat out sounds like a good time! I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie. I mean, look at that poster above! And check out the theme music below;

Keep an eye out for this one, fiends and follow the movie's twitter account @GhostpuncherXL. And I'll post news and trailers as they come in!


My relationship with Lou Reed's music goes back to my freshmen year of high school with The Best of the Velvet Underground; The Words and Music of Lou Reed. Since then, Reed's music has been a longtime and important companion, up there with Alice Cooper and Black Flag.
I thought it would be hard to choose my favorite of Reed's solo albums, after all, New York, Magic and Loss, Set The Twilight Reeling, Street Hassle, and Coney Island Baby are all "essential" albums that everyone should have in their collections, but it's Berlin that I suppose I have the strongest emotional connection to. Not only do I believe it's probably Reed's strongest album (with or without the Velvets), but I discovered the album during a time that straddled two awful and destructive relationships and Berlin got me through some very long nights.
Reed's lyrics were always very influenced by literature, particularly by the works of his old college professor, Delmore Schwartz (who seems to have a heavy influence on Berlin especially), Hubert Selby Jr, and William Burroughs. Berlin is Reed's strongest literary statement, particularly since it's a rock opera. Although, a few of songs were Velvets songs and Caroline Says is a rewrite of their Stephanie Says, so it's more like a collection of songs that fit together thematically and suggest a story, but it works.
Berlin is about a doomed marriage full of drug addiction, domestic abuse, and eventually suicide. Reed had said he was also inspired by the city of Berlin (Cold War era, before the Wall came down), he loved the idea of a divided city. According to Victor Bockris's book Transformer; The Lou Reed Story, Reed had told former-Velvet Nico that he'd written Berlin for her and let her come live with him, only to treat her horribly. (To me that book is pretty suspect, I'm sure a lot of it is true, but Bockris comes across so catty and vindictive for most of the story, not even trying to hide his open hatred for Reed-fun read regardless, mostly for how nasty it is.) Berlin, seems to be set in an earlier era, which is sometimes suggested by the music more than the lyrics, but none of the songs really scream 1970s; like the opening/title track-full of disconnected voices that begin to sing Happy Birthday accompanied by a big band before fading into the actual song Berlin, a piano ballad, seems to suggest the 1930s or 40s. The closest to 70s glam rock (for which he'd been gaining new found stardom with a connection to David Bowie) Berlin ever approaches is the song How Do You Think It Feels, a song about the lows of shooting speed. The orchestral arrangements also make Berlin stand out from the rest of Reed's discography; it's the biggest, lushest, album he ever recorded. (But as a fan of his guitar playing, I can't help but wonder if Berlin wouldn't have been better served if Reed had approached it as more of a rock album.)  
I think it being an album out of time has helped Berlin age better than Transformer, which feels trapped by it's era. It was certainly panned on release and didn't sell well, only to be embraced three decades later by the same rock magazines that shat on it. It's been called the most depressing album ever recorded, which is pure hyperbole. It's also the closest Reed ever came to fulfilling his desire to write albums that were like Dosteovsky novels.
For me personally, when I found the album I was trying to break away from one girl while pursuing another that would just lead me down another path of heartbreak. Sad Song, the album closer, seemed to especially speak to directly to my situation with the first; "I'm going to stop wasting my time, someone else would have broken both of her arms..." It didn't help that I had fallen into deep depression at this time and started abusing alcohol and over the counter stimulants and hit the beginning of a six year period where I couldn't write, either. Through the next several years I found comfort in Reed's music and Berlin especially was very close to my heart. As a writer Reed probably influenced me as much as any novelist and his music was certainly a good drinking buddy.
How Do You Think It Feels
Caroline Says II
The Kids
Men of Good Fortune

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Some of you may be wondering if there's a point to all these essential album posts that have been popping up here recently and yes there is; This world sucks. I mean really, what a bunch of selfish, self-destructive, sociopaths we've got stomping around out there. Just a roving shit storm of ugly, right? So why not focus on the little things that bring us happiness and/or distraction from those assholes? At Stranger With Friction this is the summer of the essential album. Those gorgeous aural gems that raise our spirits when we just want to set things on fire.
Yesterday we saw the first guest post (ever?) from Chris Cavoretto, the mastermind behind Stranger favorite Werewolves In Siberia (check out his music HERE), as he tackled Misfits Collection I. It's funny, I had a very similar reaction the first time I heard the rawness of that album. After listening to The Damned, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash, Misfits sounded kinda awful, until the third song when my ears started to acclimate and from then on there was no looking back.
There are more guests coming over the summer and I'm going to keep posting a few more from own schizo collection, but I've got some new horror movie pieces coming too. Yea, I haven't been posting a ton lately, because I've been busy with a couple of books and I've been writing for Pop Shifter on the side.
I hope you fiends enjoy our summer series and you find some new music to love or at least get inspired to back to something you haven't listened to in a while!  
Werewolves In Siberia...Night Of The Flesheaters 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


The Misfits' "Collection I" album is probably the most essential album out there for me.  It embodies my love of horror, rock and roll, lo-fi recordings and being outside the mainstream all at once.  There's a story to my love of this album.  It starts when I was fifteen.

In 1993, I was learning guitar, playing in my first band and completely obsessed with Metallica.  They were the epitome of Bay Area thrash and I was quickly diving into as much of their music, home videos and info on the band as I could get my hands on.

Thanks to the popularity of the live version of Mother getting airtime on MTV, I was exposed to Danzig around this time.  These guys played a heavy, metal-edged rock and had all the imagery that grabbed my attention instantly.. skulls, long hair, black clothes, cool guitars, etc.  At this point, Danzig and Metallica were, without question, my two favorite bands.  I couldn't get more of their music into my collection fast enough.  If I had extra money, it was going to them.

I noticed the infamous Crimson Ghost in tons of Metallica pictures. They were always wearing Misfits shirts but I didn't know anything about the band.  You couldn't just find out anything you wanted to know on the internet at this point.  Through a Metallica biography, I came across the fact that Glenn Danzig was the singer for The Misfits.  I was sold.  I didn't need to know anything more, I just needed a Misfits album.

I found a few CD's at the record store the next time I was there.  "Legacy of Brutality" had cool skeleton art on it.  "Walk Among Us" had an awesome ode to B-horror movies going on with the cover art.  Then, there was "Collection I".  The cover art was a little more plain but it had twenty songs on it.  Twenty songs!  That was mine.  I got home and immediately called my friend, Adam (the drummer for my first band).

"Dude, I got a Misfits CD.  You need to come over and check this out with me."

He came over right away and I put it on for our first listen.  She is the first song on the album... and it was... weird.

"What the hell is this?"  "Did they record this in their garage?"  "This is Danzig's old band?"  These are all thoughts that immediately came to us and I'm pretty sure each one of these phrases spewed from our mouths.

By the time the second song, Hollywood Babylon, was done, we were hooked, even singing along already.  We weren't used to recordings like this and, though it was dark subject matter, it didn't sound angry, it sounded fun.  Once the shock of something new and completely unexpected wore off, the simplistic genius set in.  It sounded bad, but it sounded right sounding so bad.  This was completely unpolished, full of 50's-style rock and roll chord progressions, crooning, yelling on key, a little thrash towards the end, a healthy dose of punk rock attitude and a ton of horror movie influence all in one.

Last Caress was the song I knew because Metallica covered it live (someone I knew eventually dubbed their "Garage Days" cassette for me so I could have Last Caress/Green Hell, but I don't think that had happened yet) .  Last Caress wasn't on "Collection I".  I think that made me a true fan.  It made me listen to the whole thing instead of seeking out the one song I knew and listening to it repeatedly.

As a horror fan, the imagery is right, the subject matter is right.  That unpolished sound, even though it took about a minute and a half to get into, really just works for me.  Glenn Danzig's almost Elvis-style vocals with the dirty, lo-fi sound; it all fits together so well.

Metal and punk rock are definitely complimentary for horror fans but no one's ever done horror rock (or horror punk) like The Misfits.  Legions of horror punk bands have popped up since.  Most try to sound like The Misfits.  Hardly any could hold a candle to them, though.

This album, in particular, influenced my song writing so much as a teenager and still it does.  Almost every band I've been in where I was sort of the "guy in charge" covered at least one Misfits song.  Even in my current project, Werewolves in Siberia, I covered Halloween and London Dungeon in a completely different fashion; turning them into horror synth songs that fit in well with the rest of my WIS stuff.

There are a few Misfits songs I'm not too into but, for the most part, I really dig their entire catalog (original Misfits, anyway).  It doesn't matter what mood I'm in, you can throw on The Misfits and I won't have a problem with it.  "Collection I" was not only my introduction to them, but having twenty songs on it, it was also a great way to get a grasp on the band, as a whole.  This makes it THE necessity for me, rather than picking one of the albums they originally released.

There are so many iconic songs on this album.  She, Hollywood Babylon, Skulls, Where Eagles Dare, Die Die My Darling, Vampira, I Turned into a Martian, All Hell Breaks Loose, London Dungeon... I haven't even begun to scratch the surface here!  It's just awesome.  It's probably the most listened to album in my collection (in any format).  It just fits, no matter what, anytime.
Where Eagles Dare
Die Die My Darling
Horror Business
Green Hell

Saturday, July 4, 2015


The last album recorded by husband and wife duo, Richard and Linda Thompson, was also their best and one of the best albums of the '80s. Sadly, their marriage was also over by the time the album hit the shelves. The raw emotional state of the lyrics and vocal performances are pretty stunning, with every song, if not autobiographical, feeling at least pretty damn truthful. And the three strongest statements made are sung by Linda; Walking On A Wire, Just The Motion, and Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed. These are not songs written from a happy or secure place. She was also pregnant at the time. I don't know what the hell happened between them, but it's hard to feel too bad, since Shoot Out The Lights is one of the most solid and re-playable albums I've ever owned.
Richard came from the folk rock scene and recorded some solo albums. Linda sang on his album Henry The Human Fly and they soon married and started recording as a duo. Commercial success alluded the Thompsons, even when the critics were kind, but Shoot Out The Lights was the break through.
I wasn't even aware the guy existed until my friend played me REM's cover of Wall of Death. Holy shit, that was a good song. On Shoot, Wall of Death closes the album and comes like a sweet remembrance of a really good date, after going through all the turmoil of the previous songs.
Sad as the album is, I don't think it hurts the playability a bit. It's just that good, even a bit cathartic. I play it a lot at work, especially on stressful days when it feels like everything is going wrong.
The album opens with the galloping country rocker Don't Renege On Our Love, before shifting to low gear with sweetly fatalistic Walking On A Wire. The tempo swings back up with another mid tempo rocker, Man In Need, which is about packing your bags and hitting the road without a word ("Well I've sailed every ship in the sea, but I've traveled this world in misery) only to crash again with the even sadder Just The Motion. The up and down of the first half of the album is really compelling. Its great drama and nearly flawless. The second half has three rockers and one ballad (Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?). It seems somewhat less personal than the first half, but still very emotional and dramatic, even has a bit of noir edge to the storytelling in Shoot Out The Lights, Back Street Slide, and Did She Jump..? The album closer, the aforementioned Wall Of Death is a sweet reprieve from the earlier downers and a song that I've added to several mix tapes.
(Bonus, check out Thompson's Rumor and Sigh from 1991. His 1952 Vincent Black Lightning might be one of my favorite folk songs ever written.)
Walking On A Wire
Man In Need
Wall Of Death


X-4th of July
Alice Cooper- Lost In America
Circle Jerks-Stars and Stripes
Good Riddance-Flies First Class
Dead Kennedys-Stars and Stripes of Corruption