A special bulletin from the desk of Uncle T in accordance with Hawkins National Laboratory (HNL):
The fine, trusting folks in lab coats over at HNL were kind enough to drop off a Domino’s personal cheese pizza just for me on this sunny afternoon. Strangely enough when I found it, the pizza pie was deliberately placed on top of a neighborhood sewer grate which I first questioned, but then remembered that iconic scene in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie when the Domino’s Pizza delivery guy passes the pizza through the sewer grate and mutters to himself “ugh I gotta get a new route”. Great scene. Works for me.
Apparently Domino’s are the next company to climb aboard the Stranger Things promotional juggernaut and I could not be more happy. The pizza company has developed “Mind Ordering” technology in which customers are given the opportunity to order pizza with their mind if they posses the right amount of telekinetic powers. This was discovered in 1986 by scientists in Hawkins. The software is available from your computer cellular devices from a something called an “app”. All the details are here.
But let’s just talk about this beautiful box for a moment. Domino’s finally smartened up thanks to Stranger Things and the box is just like the glory days of the iconic pizza company. Makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside when these companies return to their roots. Never change. Let’s hope it stays this way, just like Burger King, Pizza Hut and Miller Lite seemed to have done. Order yours today!
And yes, there is an area of the box not pictured here that features “The Noid” mascot, but because I’ve always loathed him I won’t even show him an ounce of respect by posting his photo. I know he’s supposed to be annoying but I’ve just always thought “Donny Domino” got the short end of the deal. He wore sunglasses and he rules.
Now for the grand finale, before you jump into Stranger Things Season 4 when it premieres next week, check out these ancient photos of a Domino’s Pizza Delivery dude and his buds. Big thanks to Ray Conrado (flickr) for the memories! (main pizza boy in all the photos).
Hungry for more? Add some music to your week with two TNUC mixtapes revolving around pizza and Stranger Things:
#1 ‘Ooey Gooey Cheesy Pizza Mixtape’
Everyone’s heard of ‘THE POINT’. Even if you don’t know from personal experience, surely you’ve heard the stories, the legends, moments and magic that supposedly happened up on that hill. Old timers, friends, parents, older bothers, townies, local icons, denim warriors….hell, even your sister probably has something to say about The Point that you might not want to hear.
Basically The Point aka “Make-out Point” is a sacred, promiscuous location that is spiritually engineered for turning up the heat and getting frisky with a loved one, your crush or random stranger of the night. The real old-timers called this activity “parking”.
It’s that spot up on the hill that typically overlooks a stretch of woods, city skyline, valley or body of water. But history has shown that it can be anywhere you want it to be. Parking lots, old farmhouse, drive-in theater, the 50-yard-line of your high school football field, under the bleachers. You name it. All you really need is the right ride and the right tunes.
To quote Part 1 of this series, there are some simple ground rules when choosing songs for your night at The Point. “When it comes to picking songs, don’t choose anything too obvious. NO TYPICAL LOVE BALLADS. NO TOP 40. NO STAIRWAY! Deep cuts and hidden gems are the key. Nothing dorky or too progressive though. You need to impress your hellcat. You want chunky riffs that also boogie. You want swirling, celestial guitar solos that sound like they’re being played by long-haired, bong-ripping angels in heaven. Essentially “dad rock”…but not corporate dad who drives a Saab and can’t even build his own campfire. We’re talking about Union Carpenter dad. The one who spends his free time in the garage with the music blaring over a crappy stereo that he refuses to part with. He’s in there doing blue-collar activities like welding some cast iron with his shirt off, engulfed in fumes as a cigarette dangles from his bottom lip.
Ease those seats back, crack some beers and listen loudly under the open sky…”
6) Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Sunburst
This song represents “the great escape”. Mom’s upstairs sleeping and dad’s passed out drunk on the La-Z-Boy chair. You tip-toe out of the house, open the garage door, hop in the station wagon and set the gear in neutral to reverse as quietly as humanly possible out of the driveway without starting the ignition. If your older sister comes home and witnesses this, she’ll rat you out in two seconds flat, so time is of the essence. After all, Jenny is waiting.
The wood-paneled doors glisten from the street lights as you push the car a little further past the house. Precisely when the 2:08 minute mark happens in Bob Seger’s “Sunburst”, you peel out into the night. Your mother’s 8-track player rattles and hums like it’s going to explode and you also think a hubcap just rolled off one of the tires, but there’s still not a care in the world. What’s important is that bottle of 151, Brut cologne and the Astroglide. Jenny is waiting.
Moment of Climax: 2:08 in the song
Preferred ride of choice: 1976 Chevy Chevette
Buy the album: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Night Moves (1976)
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5) Thin Lizzy – Wild One
This song plays directly when twilight hits and those purple and orange skies meet. Maybe it’s really as beautiful as it seems, or maybe it’s that ancient ziplock bag of mushrooms you found under your car seat speaking now. Whichever the case, you want this feeling to last forever. The dream woman by your side, a pack of smokes, the open sky and a cool breeze. Every so often when you go for another sip of warm Lowenbrau in between necking, you hear the sweet echoes of Scott Gorham’s guitar and Phil Lynott’s vocals lifting you up to new dimensions of immortal freedom.
Moment of Climax: The opening, soaring lick
Preferred ride of choice: Unknown crusty van
Buy the album: Thin Lizzy – Fighting (1975)
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4) Wings – Let Me Roll It
If that bassline within the first 20 seconds doesn’t turn your lady into a snake-charmer before your crystal eyes, I’ll be damned. The quiet and naïve girl you picked up during daylight hours has turned into a ritualistic voodoo child. The two inches of ash dangling from the skinny joint she’s smoking is dangerously close to falling on your purple shag carpet interior but you just let it go. Statistically it’s a known fact that songs like this transform everyday people into the sex panthers they were destined to be. There’s a very good reason why these songs mostly come from the 1970s. There’s a certain grit and groove from the guitar that summons a primal instinct. Play this one LOUD.
Moment of Climax: The call and response when the bassline stops and guitar crunch begins
Preferred ride of choice: 1965 Buick Riviera
Buy the album: Paul McCartney and Wings – Band On The Run (1973)
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3) Joe Walsh – The Confessor
This is one of those monumental songs that you remember an uncle playing when you were 8 years old in his smoky basement. He tells you he’s blown out several copies on cassette and this one was “for his old lady”, even though you don’t remember him ever having an old lady. Then one night he confesses that one time during the war he visited a prostitute and his life has been a living hell ever since.
The title track to Joe Walsh’s 7th studio album “The Confessor” is a monster that will zonk your brain out whether you ate that handful of ‘ludes or not. Walsh was 7 studio albums in at this point in his career, plus the 3 James Gang records that preceded those. As much of a household name Joe Walsh is from The Eagles, his solo albums do not get the praise they deserve. Hop in the front seat and rev the engine a few times when that riff comes crashing in.
Moment of Climax: The moment you realize you should be listening to more Joe Walsh
Preferred ride of choice: 1980 GMC Jimmy
Buy the album: Joe Walsh – The Confessor (1985)
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2) Blue Öyster Cult – Divine Wind
Here comes the moment in the night when you and the lady friend start talking about astronomy, burritos and laser beams. You bring up the repeated story about how ever since you got shot in the head by that massive laser beam at the BÖC show last year, life hasn’t been the same. The feeling was scary for a while but now you’ve just accepted it. She usually laughs when you tell this story but this time she pauses and gives you a look that makes your leather pants shift to the left.
The only issue with choosing a BÖC song for this list is there are too many to choose from. They are truly the ideal band for Songs from The Point. One of the most underrated bands in rock history with some albums that I consider to be masterpieces. Songs about death, ancient mysteries, women, bikers, vampires and the occult.
Moment of Climax: “If he really thinks we’re the devil, then let’s send ’em to hell”
Preferred ride of choice: 1976 Dodge Tradesman Van with the little teardrop window in the back.
Buy the album: Blue Oyster Cult – Cultosaurus Erectus (1980)
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1) Balearic Sabbath Mix
When someone talks about Black Sabbath they’ve probably never used the term “Balearic” in the same sentence because A) it’s not relevant and B) they might catch a beating. But think about all the little acoustical numbers Sabbath has peppered into their albums through the discography. Balearic music occupies an island state of mind and is a broad range of music that fits best by a poolside or a mystical beach. “Still, how does this relate to Sabbath’s music?” Just listen.
A producer by the name of Robert E Lee rounded up all of Sabbath’s slower, folky songs and put together an excellent mix that you won’t believe after 35 minutes that you’ve been listening to the inventors of heavy metal.
A perfect wee-hours/early morning listening session as you drive home from The Point…
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If there was ever a time when synthwave music needed a good ol’ fashioned beatdown, it’s right now. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the dreamy/psyche/neon-swirling sounds that so many have mastered to perfection these days, but sometimes we need a dip in the darkness. It’s a refreshing feeling to wander down the seedy back alleys and find the gritty stuff like Carpenter Brut’s new album ‘LEATHER TERROR’. These twelve tracks are a nuclear reminder that synth music can be heavy, violent, uplifting and danceable all at once.
From the rebirth of this genre some years ago, the projects that really stick out are the ones that take you someplace else. Exotic locations. Forbidden lands. It’s very visual music. You’re lured into a new world and distracted from the bombardment of content, screens and nonsense around you. It demands your attention and keeps you thirsty for more.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what Carpenter Brut has done over the years in terms of creating a series of absolutely killer songs and concept albums that exist in a world of Italian horror, post-apocalyptic landscapes and heavy metal high school attitude. I’m thrilled to report that I’ve heard the new album, LEATHER TERROR and they’ve taken us on another nasty 3am car ride with Bret Halford at the wheel.
Yes, LEATHER TERROR is a continuation of the story of that dastardly dude Bret Halford who we were introduced to on 2018’s ‘Leather Teeth’ album. While that record was more glam rock in spirit and cleaner sounding at certain points in the tracklisting, now the tables have turned and Bret is out for blood. Literally. These twelve tracks tell the story of a serial killer on the rise who wants to take revenge on all those who mistreated him when he was younger. Back with a vengeance!
From the opening Robocop stomp of “Opening Title” into the Giorgio Moroder-joins-Megadeth number “Straight Outta Hell”, we’ve already ventured into new, deadlier-than-ever territory. CB have always flirted with heavier sounds and atmospheres, but this is opening up a new portal and beefing up the synths to rival the gnarlyness of most twin guitar attacks (without the use of actual guitars). This level of massive synth distortion took me off guard for a moment, but then I realized it’s because I haven’t heard this be done before. Major props to them for breaking new ground in the genre and perhaps even heavy metal itself.
A number of guest vocalists collaborate on the next few tracks, which take CB’s sound in a new direction while sounding more massive than ever. Ex-Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato brings a new dimension on “Imaginary Fire” which feels like something plucked from the New Romantic-era but bathed in blood.
Other highlights from the album include the tracks “Day Stalker” into “Night Stalker” which will make fans of the previous albums very happy. “Paradisi Gloria” is maybe the most cinematic feast he’s made since the first EP. It will bring you back to black-gloved killers creeping around aerobic studios under Dario Argento lighting. This is Carpenter Brut firing on all cylinders and doing what they do best. I can’t help but visualize what the live shows will be like.
Speaking of live shows, the band will be hitting the road soon for a big US & European tour. For an Uncle like me who likes to float between rock shows and disco nights, the seamless blend of both of those genres in a live setting was a serious experience. People dancing. People headbanging. On paper it doesn’t make sense but go experience yourself and you’ll see.
‘LEATHER TERROR’ arrives Friday, April 1st
The world needs to be talking more about Donny Benet. After all, he’s the smoothest man in music today and his disco-lounge compositions are goddamned exceptional. In a music scene filled with people trying to emulate a sound of the past, Donny glimmers and grooves high above the rest. He carries an air of authenticity that is so rare when comparing with most of his genre contemporaries.
Uncle Don keeps things light and humorous but there’s a genuine layer to what he does and it’s this very thing that sets him apart. Plus, his silky basslines are the sultriest I’ve heard in decades…
Now let’s talk about the look. The head of hair on this iconic human being is something not many could ever dream of pulling off. Donny seems to do it with effortless ease. When I first watched the above music video, I almost fell out of my seat. Was this guy cryogenically frozen in 1983 and thawed out thirty years later? Not only does he posses the look, but he’s got the energy and songs to back it up. We are almost not worthy,
I had the pleasure of catching one of his live shows last weekend during the start of his US tour. He didn’t bring his backing band so you could say it was more of an intimate evening with The Don. Just him wearing a brown leisure suit and a synth thingy he had plugged in, crooning to the crowd for 90 minutes. The audience erupted in a dance frenzy from start to finish.
While Donny’s had great success in his native land of Australia as well as in Europe, he still isn’t on everyone’s radar like he should be. Hell, I just found out about him about a year ago from my good friend Mike Ballermann.
I cannot recommend highly enough picking up his last two albums The Don (2018) and Mr. Experience (2020). Then watch ALL his music videos. If you don’t admire Donny Benet after that, I simply cannot connect with you on any emotional, intellectual, spiritual or mental level. Goodbye.
Lyrically Donny tackles all the appropriate subjects. Passion, romance, seduction, exotic destinations, food.
— 2022 US & CANADA DATES —
10 Mar Turf Club, Minneapolis, MN
11 Mar Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
12 Mar Globe Hall, Denver, CO
13 Mar Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
15 Mar Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
16 Mar Independent, San Francisco, CA
18 Mar Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
19 Mar The Crocodile, Seattle, WA
20 Mar Imperial, Vancouver, BC
They say you never forget the first time you fall in love. For me it was at Squaw Valley during the winter of ’91. The air was cold and passions were hot. I never did catch her name.
That year I trained for Squaw Valley’s annual ‘Downhill Invitational’ like I’d never trained for anything in my life. Dumping my life savings into training regimens and expensive gear, while neglecting my own family and friends because my fight to the top was so pivotal. At no point during this focused determination did I realize that all of my hard work and discipline would be completely wiped away once I got a glimpse of that bare long-butt racing down the mountain.
The day started at 10:00 am — the sound of the gun going off at the starting line felt like ice in my veins. I was off like a Japanese bullet train, pummeling down the double-black diamond trail like 185 pounds of cold-blue steel and sex appeal. Nobody could catch me. At this point when my confidence level couldn’t have been any higher, suddenly everything came to a screeching halt when a beautiful figure was directly in my path like a desert oasis. I dropped to my knees in the snow.
A perfectly tanned, glistening long-butt was tearing down the mountain in front of me. Not just a long-butt, but a perfectly carved, chiseled-by-the-Gods, impervious to cold temperatures long-butt. My eyes and my heart started to simultaneously ache. I began short circuiting from sensory overload. Now helpless from its power, I had no choice but to follow this immaculate, natural beauty. At certain times she would look back at me and either wink or tip her shades down to see if I was still there. Questions entered my mind. Where did she come from? Why wasn’t she wearing any pants? Was I still in this race? Then I realized quickly…none of it mattered.
I looked back and remembered I had been competing in the invitational. By this time I had veered way off the trail due this horny vortex. I was caught in a web of mountaintop-long-butt fantasies (something I didn’t know existed). “Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride” I told myself.
When I approached the bottom after carving slopes at nearly 200 miles per hour– steamrolling through trees, moguls and any obstacle in my path — the long-butt-lady and I crashed into each other. We tumbled down the hill while taking out spectators, judges, advertisement banners and some small children. We locked eyes, saxophone started playing out of the PA system and she said something in another language that I didn’t understand. At that point nothing else mattered. We rode the enclosed ski lift for the rest of the afternoon and never got off until sunset. Windows were steamy.
TNUC’s TOP OF THE HILL mixtape is dedicated to all the fun you can have up on the mountain. Whether it’s throwing back pitchers of beer at the lodge or getting steamy in the hot tub with a lady friend, this mixtape will turn up the heat and get you out of the cold!
*A massive thank you Chad Allegro, Dan Gray (for the artwork!), Warren Miller, Dave Marshak, Squirrel Murphy and The Fantasy Inn in Tahoe City for their hospitality*