Fantastic Four and Changing Characters Race and Gender

Let’s talk about something completely different.

There has been a lot of talk about movies changing the ethnicity and gender of specific comic book characters and whether it is ok or not. Of course, it would be frowned upon to make a movie about Ronald Reagan and cast Denzel Washington to play him but it is ok to make a movie about The Fantastic Four and cast Michael B. Jordan to play Johnny Storm.

That is because Ronald Reagan is a real person and The Human Torch is not. Therefore, a fictional character can be changed to be anything you want it to be. When James Bond was cast to be a blonde haired Daniel Craig, petitions were made to demand it be cancelled. Why? Because James Bond is not a blonde.

That seems silly to me. So, with that being silly, why does it bother me that The Human Torch is not a blonde haired, white guy?

Honestly, my problem comes with changing a fictional characters back story. Johnny Storm and Sue Storm are blood siblings and that is part of their character’s history. To make Johnny an African American and keep Sue a blonde white girl means they need to change their history and make Johnny adopted or give them a different parent on one side or the other.

Now, a lot of people say this is no big deal because it gives a minority a chance for a major role. That is understandable except for one thing. I am a writer – a creator. What these people are saying is that a character created by someone should be allowed to be changed in any way possible by people in the future who had nothing to do with the character’s creation. This – to me – is a big F-U to the men and women who created the characters that became icons.

However, it gets blurry because I don’t always feel this way. For one thing, characters change ALL the time in the comic books themselves. After years of behaving one way, another writer will come along and decide he doesn’t like it and will have that character completely change for no reason.

But, back to movies and actually changing a character’s back story.

Fantastic FourWhen the Daredevil movie decided to make The Kingpin a big, muscular Michael Clarke Duncan instead of a big fat white guy, I loved it. I thought having an African American as the Kingpin of Crime was brilliant. In my own mind, I saw him starting out as a low level street thug and becoming the most powerful crime lord in NYC.

But, at the same time, that is crapping on the origin that was created by Stan Lee. So, now we get to where I am labeling myself a hypocrite.

If I create a character and then someone takes that character later and completely changes the history that I created, I don’t know how I would feel. I guess I could be like Stephen King and say that a movie made about his story is completely separate from his stories. That means that the upcoming Fantastic Four movie (which also might have a female Dr. Doom – WHAT?) in reality could have nothing to do with the real Fantastic Four. They are just using the name from the comics to sell their movie and have no respect for what the team is really about. Or maybe they do have respect for it and feel that the changes to the creator’s characters might make the movie better than it could have been.

Fantastic FourI mean, Chris Evans was a great Human Torch in the first Fantastic Four movie and people seem to really hate the movie. I do feel that Michael B. Jordan will knock it out of the park in the movie acting-wise, so don’t think I am discounting his skills. But, if they are going to change the ethnicity of Johnny, they should change Sue’s too.

Does the creator even matter anymore? If you are an author and create a character, and then sell the movie rights and the director just trashes everything you created and creates something completely different, would it bother you? Or, would you just swim in your money and say “screw it” – I still have my books and the money they paid me to make something that has nothing to do with what I wrote.

Here is something I read once on author John Sandford’s website about his Lucas Davenport “Prey” books:

There have been, to date, two Prey movies, both for TV: Mind Prey, with Eriq LaSalle as Lucas, and Certain Prey with Mark Harmon as Lucas. Neither one was cast by the author, or featured actors recommended by the author, or had scripts approved by the author, or anything. He was not asked for consent, because it was not required. The author did not have the rights.

For the Prey series, the author did not individually sell the rights to Mind Prey and then later Certain Prey. No. He sold the rights for Rules of Prey — just that one, since there were no others yet — way back in 1990, but those rights included a James Bond clause. The rights included exclusive license for the Lucas Davenport character in all books as yet written, and all yet to be written.

And every original character that appears in that book.

And every original character that appears in any book Lucas is in.

And every book that those original characters appear in.

And while people may say that it’s not fair to the authors, or that the authors shouldn’t sell out like this, the truth is that this is how it’s done all the time. This is how Hollywood works. If you’re an author, you do not get to pick and choose anything about a potential production. You sell the rights to a company you probably don’t know anything about and hope that they get it right. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. But you won’t know until long after you’ve sold those rights.

That is what is going on here. Stan Lee created a superhero called Spider-Man, who was a teenage science nerd who ended up marrying a beautiful supermodel named Mary Jane Watson.

Fantastic FourIf Sony, who owns the rights to Spider-Man and ALL the characters in his world, wants to make Peter Parker gay and turn MJ into a male character – they have the right to do that and nothing that Stan Lee says will matter. If they want to turn The Human Torch into an African American and delete the fact he and Sue are blood relatives, Fox can do that. If they want to make Professor X a giant African American and cast Shaquille O’Neal to play him while making Wolverine a little person with Peter Dinklage in the role, then Fox can do that.

Nothing the author and creator does or says matters in Hollywood. I guess that is the lesson to learn. Plus, if you are a fan that feels Dr. Doom should be an evil male dictator and Fox wants to make the character into a female, you might as well get over it. This has nothing to do with the characters you love and grew up with. It only has to do with screenwriters and directors wanting to add their unique touch to something in order to make characters they had nothing to do with into their own.

Month to Date

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (month to date: 0)
  • Writing (article writing): 200 words (month to date: 40,800)
  • Renegade Cinema: 1 edited / 1 written (month to date: 56 edited / 27 written)
  • Movies Watched: N/A (total movies watched so far in 2014: 19)

Finished so far this year:

Feedreader Gives Writers a Perfect Tool to Find Ideas

This is a post that describes a product that I use every day when I am looking for stories and ideas to write about. Its an RSS feed program called Feedreader that really blows away Google Alerts. There are also other programs like Feedly and I will talk a little about those here too.

Google Alerts

Lets start with why I am tired of Google Alerts when used on its own. Honestly, I click on Google Alerts and it allows me to have the alerts emailed to me once a day or when they happen or it can be used as an RSS feed. Most people use the email alerts.

If you have it sent once a day, you can get some good ideas for writing, but most of the alerts are from the day before. If you have them sent to you as they happen, you might wake up and have over 200 emails in your in-box you have to somehow work your way through. If your job is to find things to write about, that is a time killer you don’t need.

That is why RSS feeds is still the king.

Setting Up Feedreader

That brings me to Feedreader. First off, I have no association with Feedreader and I am only a customer, so this is simply a review and a how-to for using the product. I get nothing if you decide to use it and this is just here to help you.

The first step is to head over to get Feedreader. Now, there is a Feedreader product you can use directly online, but that has less tools for you to use and – honestly – it is better to have it on your computer. You can download Feedreader here.

When you get it downloaded, just install it on your computer.

After you open it, it will remain open working in the background on your computer so you will get instant notifications in a small popup box at the bottom corner of your computer monitor when new news comes, so you can be on the ball for breaking news.

But first, you have to set it up. When you open the program, here is what it looks like (you will see mine is already fully setup and loaded with feeds – yours will be empty to start):

Feedreader

The first thing you will want to do is load in all the sites you get your news from. As you can see in the left hand column, I have folders (sports, books, movies, etc…) so you can keep them organized.

Most sites have a clear RSS option. The first thing you should do is make sure whatever browser you are using has the RSS extension on. In Chrome, I use one called RSS Subscription Extension. This adds the orange RSS symbol in the actual URL window of your browser.

feedreader

 

So, when you have a site you follow with that button, just click it. It will take you to the actual RSS page but not the actual FEED page. You will want to click the LINK hyperlink in the top right corner of that RSS page.

feedreader

Click that button and you will come to the actual feed page. It looks something like this:

feedreader

Copy that URL and head over to Feedreader. Click on FILE>NEW>FEED. Then past the URL there and hit OK.

feedreader

You can then click on the added Feed name in Feedreader and drag it to your folder you want it in. You can see under my Movies feed, the large number of movie sites I follow. You should honestly keep it limited to a handful of sites for a topic or it could overwhelm you and make it harder for you when all is said and done. If you can multi-task easily, add as many sites under a topic as feels comfortable for you.

feedreader

Next, you can add your Google Alerts if you have specific ones you feel are important to make sure to get all the news, even if your favorite sites haven’t got to it yet. To do that, head into your Google Alerts page and change the format for getting them from “email” to “feed.” That looks like this:

feedreader

After that, just right click on the ORANGE feed box by that Alert, click “COPY LINK ADDRESS” and add it to Feedreader in the same way you did the rest.

 

What if a site doesn’t have a RSS icon?

Let’s look at what you have to do if you have to search for an RSS feed or if a site has multiple choices . If you head over to ESPN, you will want to find where their feed links are listed on their website. For ESPN, it is at the bottom:

Feedreader

If you just clicked on the ESPN RSS button in the URL bar, you are just getting the main feed. If you want specialized feeds, you need to do it this way. On ESPN, there are a bunch of choices from here, such as Top Headlines, NFL Headlines, ESPNU, and more all the way to specific sites, such as GatorNationEspn. Each one has a link and when you click on it, you go to an RSS page. This is not what you want to put into your Feedreader. Follow the instructions I posted above about how to find the actual FEED page and add it to your Feedreader.

Using Feedreader

With all your stuff in Feedreader, here is how to use it. You get news articles the minute they are sent to their RSS feeds, and the best sites do it immediately. You can choose how it looks under “VIEW” > “VIEW LAYOUT.” I use the “Wide” format, so that is what you will see in mine.

You can look at your articles all at once (which is too much for me), look at them by folder (such as sports) or look at them just by site (such as the photo below with ESPN). The first column has all your feeds, the second has the articles in the feed(s) you are looking at and the third column as either the article or a snippet.

feedreader

Now, if you click on the title of the article in the second column, the article will show up either in full or as a snippet in the third column. You can do one of two things here. You can click on the title in the third column and it will open in Feedreader and look the same as it does on the Internet.

I used to do this, but my computer has so many processes running that it sometimes hangs up and locks up when I do this. Instead, I right click on the title in the third column and click “OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW.” This will then open the article in your browser of choice (Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc…).

The articles are listed with the newest articles first and are split up by “Today”, “Yesterday”, “This Week”, and “Last Week”, and – I think – “OIder.”

It makes it a perfect one stop to find the news or topics that interests you and it saves me a ton of time every morning when I am coming up with topics to write about.

Other Options

There are other RSS options, I just prefer Feedreader for my writing needs. However, I also use the Feedly option in Chrome for something else. I like to follow blogs about writing – both by writers as well as blogs about writing itself. This is something I like to read when I am in bed or just out with my tablet.

That is why I love Feedly, because it is more of a magazine format, which is great for reading blogs. I liked it so much that I tried it for my writing ideas but it seemed to hard to just scan through to find ideas. Others might find it works better in the magazine format.

It is all about the writer. I like to read from Feedly better but when it comes to researching article ideas, Feedreader is best for me.

Anyway, this method is just a way to make searching for topics and ideas to write about quicker so you can spend more time writing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me using the methods over on the right side of the blog and I will answer any questions you might have.

Throwback Pic of the Week: WWZJD

I hate the fact that so much went wrong in post production for this movie. Don’t give up on seeing it, though. Stranger things have happened.

WWZJD

Matt, Ray, Brandon, Carl and Blake in ‘WWZJD’

Month to Date

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (month to date: 0)
  • Writing (article writing): 2,100 words (month to date: 40,600)
  • Renegade Cinema: 2 edited / 1 written (month to date: 55 edited / 26 written)
  • Movies Watched: N/A (total movies watched so far in 2014: 19)

Finished so far this year:

Authors Earnings Website Opens Eyes About Money

Man, writing is hard.

I don’t mean that I have trouble when I am writing, because that comes pretty naturally for me. However, when bills need to be paid and money is tight, the hard part is finding time to write as much as I need to write.

Normally, I save this for the end, but I will throw it up here to show how much writing I have been doing since my last update to this blog:

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (month to date: 0)
  • Writing (article writing): 23,300 words (month to date: 38,500)
  • Renegade Cinema: 38 edited / 18 written (month to date: 53 edited / 25 written)
  • Movies Watched: Night of the Demons and Witchboard (total movies watched so far in 2014: 19)

The month isn’t even halfway over with yet, and I have almost wrote enough non-fiction articles to equal a short novel. If I had the money I needed to move away from article writing and just write for Renegade Cinema and my books, I could write a novel every other month. Think about it…

This week’s big news was all about the new Author Earnings report put up by self published author Hugh Howey. Read about the Author Earnings report here, see the actual Author Earnings report here, and then watch JA Konrath take another editor to task for making it sound like the report was worthless.

All that I am going to say about it right now is that the entire “us vs. them” war is getting old. Some authors want to go traditional and that is their rights. There is nothing wrong with them. Some writers want to self publish and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when one side says the other is stupid or one side spreads lies about the other (hello agents), then there is a problem.

There needs to be as much information for the authors out there as possible, but it seems like publishers and agents want to hide the information so no one knows what is really going on. That is how price fixing occurs. Why agents and publishers want writers to remain dumb about the numbers still puzzles me. Actually, I know why – it is because the publishing companies make a killing while paying authors as little as possible.

Would I publish Dollar Deal with a traditional publisher when it is finished? Yes, I would. But only if the numbers looked fair and it looked like the best deal for me. We’ll have to wait and see, but I am paying close attention to everything so I can make an educated decision and not just blindly believe what people tell me.

 

The Writer’s Life – Day 19: Been Sick

Being sick sucks. It means your head isn’t wanting to operate right to get work done and it means you can’t make it to great press screenings like tonight’s Monuments Men screening. Hopefully I get better soon.

Anyway, catching up and then getting more sleep.

Just catching up to date for this month (the last 3 days):

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (month to date: 0)
  • Writing (article writing): 8,200 words (month to date: 15,200)
  • Renegade Cinema: 10 edited / 3 written (month to date: 15 edited / 7 written)
  • N/A (total movies watched so far in 2014: 17)

The Writer’s Life – Day 16: Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

It was like I was living in the ’80s again. I remember well back then, the NFC would always come into the Super Bowl against a powerhouse offense from the AFC and then just decimate them. With Peyton Manning on offense, I never would have guessed that Denver would lay an egg like they did.

Just, wow…

Well, enough about the Super Bowl.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

This morning I woke up to the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman died at the age of 46, found in his bathroom with a drug needle still sticking in his arm.

That last item is what most people will be talking about. I might as well talk about it too.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a drug addict at a very young age, long before he was even a popular movie star. He went to rehab at the age of 22 and cleaned himself up. He did. He was then sober and clean for 23 years.

If you have never been around someone who is addicted to drugs, you have no idea how big of a deal that is – staying clean for 23 years. He relapsed last year and checked himself into rehab. It was said the drug was heroin. That is a tough one.

On Feb. 2, that addiction won the battle with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s life. Anyone who dismisses his death because of that fact has either never known an addict or just has no heart.

I have been close friends who two people who were addicts. Almost 25 years ago, my best friend at the time became addicted to crank. That is a cheap version of cocaine and is highly addictive. Over time, he lost a lot of weight, the smell of food made him sick and he couldn’t stop – he tried, but he couldn’t stop for the longest time.

I refused to turn my back on him and gave him a friend who was there for him. He finally got off of it and moved on with his life. I don’t know if it snuck back up on him in later years because we haven’t even seen each other in person in about 19 years, but I know he is doing well now.

I had another friend, much more recently, who was addicted to meth. Honestly, I was watching as it was destroying his life and everything he had worked on was crumbling around him. I learned from someone else that I know, who was at one time hooked on meth, that it is the hardest drug in the world to break an addiction to.

I have also learned over the years that you don’t one day stop being addicted to something, and it is something you have to fight your entire life. Meth. Crank. Heroin. Alcohol. Cigarettes. You name it, an addiction is something that can follow you for your entire life and can kill you.

Addiction killed Philip Seymour Hoffman and I will never dismiss his death because of that. The fact that he was an addict was a horrible thing, and while some will say he killed himself, I prefer to look at it as if he was killed by his addictions.

While it is not important in the grand scheme of things, Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the greatest actors of his time. He starred in my favorite movie of all time in Magnolia and also turned in amazing performances in Boogie Nights, Doubt, Along Came Polly, The Master and many more fantastic movie.

That is where his loss effects me. That is nothing. He has a long list of friends, family members, and loved ones who have lost someone near and dear to them. That is more important than me never seeing him in a movie again. They will never talk to him again.

Because of an addiction.

His co-star in The Master, Joaquin Phoenix, lost his brother River Phoenix over two decades ago to a drug overdose. An addiction. Last year, fans of Glee mourned as Corey Monteith died of a drug overdose. Sid Vicious. Lenny Bruce. Jimi Hendrix. Chris Farley.John Belushi. Janis Joplin.

Too many deaths due to addiction in the entertainment industry. Thousands upon thousands of more deaths for people that are only known to their family and friends. According to one report, 20,000 people die each year due to illegal drugs.

I don’t know what caused Philip Seymour Hoffman to relapse last year and I don’t know what led to his drug overdose and death today. I do know, from first hand experience, how drug addiction can change and hurt someone – how it can hurt those around them who love them.

I can’t imagine what he was going through, but I wish his family and friends all the strength in the world as they say goodbye to him in their own way. I also hope the rest of the world refuses to give in to the impulse to demonize a man for his addictions. RIP.

I am starting this over each month, so this will be only starting from yesterday

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (month to date: 0)
  • Writing (article writing): 3,600 words (month to date: 7,000)
  • Renegade Cinema: 2 edited / 1 written (month to date: 5 edited / 4 written)
  • N/A (total movies watched so far in 2014: 17)

Finished so far this year:

The Writer’s Life – Day 15: The Flu Can Kill Momentum

I was doing so good, but life can sometimes get in the way. The fact that I went from Day 12 to Day 15 isn’t that great, I guess, but I can explain it away by saying my wife and son both came down with the flu and things have not been nice around the house.

Anyway, after two days of not writing much of anything (which hurts for money since it was the end of the month – plus I failed to get Alternate Takes in for 411mania), I tried to get this month started strong by writing a lot today.

My review of The Fifth Estate Blu-ray

Oh yeah – that short story I was talking about – Red Riding Hood - remember, it was a flash fiction assignment where I chose a fairy tale and re-wrote it in a specific genre.

Lego MovieI also saw The Lego Movie today at an advanced press screening. It was an experience because I took my son (who is on flu antibiotics) and got to watch him projectile vomit all over the floor of the press row before the movie started. Sigh. At least the movie was clever and pretty good.

I’ve got a couple of classic horror movies on Blu-ray to watch and review in the next couple of days from Shout Factory (Witchboard and Night of the Demons) and the Super Bowl is tomorrow (go Denver).

But, nothing else going on here but my writing for the month to get started and hoping my wife and son start to feel better.

Stats for Days 13-15

  • Writing (creative writing): 0 words (to date: 1,000)
  • Writing (article writing): 6,200 words (to date: 28,200)
  • Renegade Cinema: 8 edited / 6 written (to date: 39 edited / 21 written)
  • The Lego Movie (total movies watched so far in 2014: 17)

Red Riding Hood (Short Story)

I was on my third scotch and water when she walked in. Although I didn’t know it at the time, she was about to lead me on my final case.

She was wearing a red dress, stopping above her knees, a long set of legs stretching to her neck. Couldn’t be more than 21, but with the fake id’s kids get now, she could have been a teenager.

I went back to my drink, knowing she was too young and out of my league.

That didn’t stop her from walking up, waiting for me to acknowledge her existence. When it was clear I wasn’t biting, she sat next to me and touched my arm.

I flinched, just a bit, enough to make her remove her hand and place it on top of her other hand, nails painted as red as her dress.

I finally turned and looked at her. She was pretty, not one of the made up gals that paint on their face before leaving the house. Her’s was a natural beauty, punctuated by her big brown doe eyes and her wavy blonde hair. She had simple little ruby red studs in each ear.

“Not interested in what you’re selling.” I tried to return to my drink.

“I need help,” she responded. “I think a wolf ate my gramma.”

I stared at my glass, one cube floating around water with only the slightest hint of scotch. If the drinks here were stronger, I might have stuck around. However, the story of a granny-eating wolf had my attention.

**

We were walking down Park Avenue, the yellow street lights casting shadows across the too-clean street. I remember when I used to walk the streets after a night of drinking, things were dirtier. A girl like Red wouldn’t be caught dead walking these streets at night or she’d end up in a body bag.

The city cleaned up these streets years ago and now they are too clean – sanitized. Nothing out here is real anymore.

“The wolf…”

Red walked a little too close to me, grazing my side. It made me nervous, not as scared of the little girl as I was about someone who might wonder why someone like me was with someone like her.

Gazing at her feet, “I was going to see my gramma.” She nudged a pebble with her bright red shoes and I thought of The Wizard of Oz.

“I live just outside of town and my gramma lives just a little ways further in the country. I was walking because it was such a pretty day.”

I was starting to get itchy feet and my knee was starting to ache. It coulda’ been the rain that was coming but I figured it was my body trying to warn me something wasn’t right.

“I got to her house, the front door was ajar. I pushed it open and called for gramma, but no one answered. I went to her bedroom and saw her in the bed. At least I thought it was her.”

We reached the end of Park Avenue and headed towards a parking garage where I leave my car when I come downtown. “I park here.”

Big brown eyes stared out from the dimly lit night. “Could you at least come to see that I’m telling the truth?”

“You haven’t finished your story.”

**

We were driving out of town and into the country before she continued.

“When I went in, I saw the thing in bed wasn’t my gramma, but something dressed in her clothes. It looked at me and asked what was wrong.”

“Nothing gramma.”

“Why don’t you come closer,” it said, so I did.

“What big eyes you have gramma.”

“Better to see you with, my dear.”

“What big ears you have gramma.”

“Better to hear you with my dear.”

“What big teeth you have gramma.”

“That is when the wolf smiled at me,” Red continued. “It told me that made it better to eat my gramma – and I was next.”

**

We pulled up to an old house and parked. I didn’t believe her story but wanted to see what was here. We got out and started to walk to the house.

“Could I ask you a question?” Red asked with a small smile.

I froze and knew I had made a mistake.

“Sure.”

“Did you wonder why I chose you to help me?”

I had wondered that, but her story of the wolf piqued my attention. “I figured someone told you I was a detective.”

Red smiled. “They did. My gramma was Lois Peterson.”

I was stunned. Lois Peterson was the secretary of a client of mine. She disappeared five-some years ago without a trace. Some thought my client killed her but I helped clear his name.

I turned to look at Red.

“A wolf ate Lois Peterson?”

“Well, kind of.”

The front door of the house opened and Lois Peterson walked out. She looked the same as the last time I saw her.

“You helped him get away with it,” Lois said.

“You disappeared.”

“And now so will you.”

I glanced back at Red. “She doesn’t look like a wolf to me.”

Red smiled – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Her eyes went from brown to blood red. Her ears grew and her teeth began to sharpen. I wanted to scream, but choked back a whimper. I turned back to Lois and saw that her eyes were bigger, better to see me with. Her ears were bigger, better to hear me with. Her teeth were bigger.

That is when I felt Red’s teeth latch into my shoulder, tearing out a chunk of flesh. As I saw Lois racing towards me, I knew what was coming next. As the teeth bore down, I knew they were better to eat me with and I finally screamed.

The Writer’s Life – Day 12: Motley Crue and New Fiction Coming

Well, I did it. I just wrote my first work of fiction in over six months. It’s for a Flash Fiction challenge by Chuck Wendig, where he challenged writers to take a classic fairy tale and re-write it in a random subgenre. I chose the detective genre and the story Little Red Riding Hood and then added … well, wait and see. It will be up on the site tomorrow night because I plan to sleep on it and touch it up some tomorrow.

I will say this – the most challenging part was the 1000-word limit he imposed. That meant I had to remain economical with my words and it was tough cutting stuff – in some cases entire scenes – to get it to that limit. It was a challenging and fun exercise.

Anyway, it felt good to write something just for fun. Be on the lookout tomorrow night.

Courtesy of PMKBNC

Courtesy of PMKBNC

After spending the past few day’s posts talking about writing, I wanted to just chat and reminisce today, if I can indulge you.

Motley Crue announced yesterday that they were splitting up and dissolving the band. According to the band members, they were going to start one last tour in 2014 and then finish up in 2015 and call it quits.

They even made it official by signing a legal agreement (“Cessation of Touring”) while making the announcement. The band said that they see too many bands who keep going and only have two original members left while playing county fairs. They want to go out on top and as a unit.

This saddens me because Motley Crue has been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid and there won’t be another record from them despite Saints of Los Angeles being one of their best albums since Dr. Feelgood.

Dr. Feelgood.

Motley_Crue_-_Dr_Feelgood-frontThe year was 1989 and Motley Crue was releasing their fifth album called Dr. Feelgood. At that time, metal was still a big deal and grunge didn’t sludge in to kill it for another two or three years. Older people will remember something that used to exist called music stores. This was before everything was bought on iTunes in an era where no one leaves their house anymore.

Anyway, my best friend at the time Bill was a HUGE Motley Crue fan, probably bigger than even I was. I loved a lot of their old stuff like “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Smokin in the Boys Room,” “Shout at the Devil” and “Home Sweet Home,” but damn if Dr. Feelgood didn’t just raise the stakes.

Well, Bill and I jumped in his truck and headed to the biggest music store at the time – Sound Warehouse – and both bought the new cassette tape of Dr. Feelgood. Yeah… I am that old.

Anyway, the album blew me away. “Dr. Feelgood,” “Without You,” “Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Rattlesnake Shake,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” and one of my all-time favorites – “Kickstart my Heart” saw Motley Crue at the top of their game. It was great from start to finish without a week track on the album.

Things got even better when Motley Crue came to Oklahoma in January 1990. Bill and I got tickets and headed to Tulsa to see the band on the Dr. Feelgood tour, which included the opening act of Warrant (another of my favorites at the time). It was an amazing concert. We were on the floor – no seats – and security spraying people with water to keep anyone from overheating.

We saw an amazing show, including one of Tommy Lee’s areal drum solos to Zeppelin tunes, and more than our fair share of beautiful topless females. Motley Crue knew how to put on a great show and it was as much fun as I have had at any concert.

Both Bill and I had the time of our lives, so much so that after hitting the souvenir stand we headed back home only to realize that neither of us had any money left for the turnpike back to OKC. That meant we had to take the historic Route 66, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t almost midnight and there was countless towns with 20 mph speed limits along the way. It took us hours to get back home, but damn it was worth it.

Well, there will be only one more chance to see Motley Crue in concert for most people before the band calls it quits. There will be at least two chances in Oklahoma as well – with the band playing in Tulsa on July 13 and then in Oklahoma City on Oct. 10 with Alice Cooper as the opening act. The tickets are slightly outrageous in price but it might be my last chance to see a band that still ranks in my Top 3 favorite bands of all time.

Even if I don’t make it, I have some great memories.

Stats for Day 12

  • Writing (creative writing): 1,000 words (to date: 1,000 words)
  • Writing (article writing): 800 words (to date: 22,000)
  • Renegade Cinema: 2 edited / 3 written (to date: 31 edited / 15 written)
  • The Fifth Estate (total movies watched so far in 2014: 16)

How about some Motley Crue for the day…