WWE’s Damien Sandow Does New Jersey Like A BOSS!

After floating around on the card aimlessly for a while with no true storyline, the multi talented WWE Superstar Damien Sandow is finally coming into his own, well not really his own.

Sandow has been getting over pretty big ever since he’s been impersonating other characters. He’s been showing up as everyone from X-Men villain Magneto to Davy Crockett. This week on Monday Night Raw was his biggest highlight yet as he showed up as Vince McMahon himself barreling down to ringside.

Tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark, during a live Smackdown taping, Sandow showed up as none other than New Jersey’s rock and roll icon, The Boss BRUCE Springsteen! Now I can’t wait to watch the broadcast this Friday on WWE Smackdown!

We thanked our good friend Kenny for the tip and photos on this since he was reporting live from Smackdown and he replied back just as Sandow would with a sarcastic…YOU’RE WELCOME!

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"I Really Gotta Take a Leak!" – Gov. Christie’s Traffic Jam

The stuff Jimmy Fallon has been doing since he got his late night spot has been tremendous and I’m happy to see him become host of The Tonight Show. I’ve usually been catching Fallon’s show on Hulu, but I really missed a doozy this time. Miss Sexy Armpit alerted me to Fallon’s recent Bruce Springsteen parody of “Born to Run” where he changed the lyrics to poke fun at Governor Christie’s “bridgegate” scandal.

Fallon’s impressions are always dead on, especially when they involve him singing or playing guitar (you must see him as Jim Morrison in The Doors singing the theme song to Reading Rainbow), but his wig and ’80s Springsteen attire put it all over the top. I didn’t think it could get any better until THE BOSS himself walked up to the adjacent mic, all duked out in the same ’80s Bruce-wear that Fallon was rocking. Even if you’re not a Bruce fan, you’ve got to give it up for the fact that he was game to do a parody like this. It shows he has a sense of humor about the old days and he’s also not afraid to take a jab at the Governor, even though it’s been well documented that Chris Christie is an obsessive Bruce fan. I’m sure the Governor has caught wind of it and feels like more of an idiot now. Anyway, it’s a phenomenal parody and I want to watch it like 30 more times right now.

This video is literally all over the Internet right now, but not everyone is on point with their reporting of it. The New York Daily News website reporter Chiderah Monde clearly knows NOTHING about Bruce because this is what she included in her report of this performance:

“…By the end of their parody, Fallon and Springsteen had the audience laughing and cheering, but maybe not everybody shared the sentiment on the “Bridgegate” scandal — towards the end, it sounded like they may have garnered a few boos.”

Seriously Chiderah? They were screaming BRUUUUUUUUUCE not BOOOO! Clearly she’s never seen him perform before. Can I wager that she’s never watched the New York Giants Victor Cruz score a touchdown before either? CRUUUUUUZ sounds like BOOOO as well. C’mon, she works for a tri-state news outlet. GET WITH THE FRIGGIN’ PROGRAM!

*Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band’s new album is called High Hopes and it’s available now

The Dirty Pearls Cover Springsteen’s "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" at Holiday Show

Last night The Dirty Pearls began their holiday celebration early. And they didn’t do it alone. As they headlined Irving Plaza in New York City for the first time, they were joined by a packed house of their loyal fans. They threw in a few new songs, many of which they’ve played in concerts previously, but what’s a holiday concert without a Christmas song?

The ‘Pearls pounded their hits out to the audience as if it was a good ol’ fashioned Scut Farcus beat down session. They didn’t chintz out one bit as they included all the tracks they’re known for including “Who’s Coming Back To Who,” “Static,” and their big one “New York City Is a Drug.” Toward the middle of “Sucker for a Sequel,” they tore into an awesome break down which featured Tommy Mokas literally shredding his guitar while going back and forth with Tommy London and special guest Brian Newman on trumpet.

After blasting through a speeding bullet of a set, the gang, also known as The Rivington Rebels, departed the stage. Nobody in the audience moved a muscle because they knew there was a gift in store. Personally, I was positive the band would perform a Christmas tune, but which one? Would it be the rocking “Run, Run, Rudolph,” or the often covered by rock bands “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)?” Ultimately, their selection was a true gift, especially for me!

Personality plus drummer Mr. Marty E. asked the crowd if they wanted to hear more. Judging by the shrieks and applause, obviously they did! The band returned to the stage. When amped up front man Tommy London began hinting at a Christmas song, my mind started running through all the possibilities. I hoped it wasn’t just a quick bar of “Frosty the Snowman,” as a joke.

I was enthralled when guitarist Sunny Climbs started into the opening notes of Springsteen’s CLASSIC version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” The Dirty Pearls made this song their own by adding their own rock edge while still remaining true to The Boss’ version. With little nods to the original, this was truly a phenomenal surprise gift for their fans! Of course, I loved it even more since Springsteen’s Christmas songs are legendary around these parts.

Top 30 Christmas Songs Chosen From My Holiday Playlist

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Blame Dinosaur Dracula for this whopper of a post. He created a holiday monster over here by listing his top 5 Christmas songs over at his Tumblr Mummy Shark and I immediately thought it would be cool if I continued that meme, although there was no way humanly possible that I could pick just 5 songs. That’s ludicrous considering the following introduction to the list of my Top 30 Christmas Songs is over a thousand words, so there was no way I could possibly cheat you out of the other 25 songs.

Just like during Halloween season, music is a crucial aspect of creating the proper atmosphere of my holiday season. Currently, I’m in the middle of a soft launch of my diverse and hefty holiday playlist. This week, I’ve been sprinkling in a Christmas songs into my regular playlists, with a full-on Christmas music bonanza most likely hitting the speakers tomorrow.

From mid-November until the very last bit of Christmas Day, I only listen to Christmas tunes. Yeah, I take it seriously. There’s never been a Christmas when it was any different either. My father started this tradition in our family once cassettes became standard in the household. He would record all of our favorite Christmas songs off the radio, essentially making mix tapes for us to listen to the entire holiday season. We had about 5 or 6 tapes chock full of awesome Christmas music. Once we got a more advanced stereo system we even started to “dub” (No, not dub-step kids. At one time dubbing referred to copying or recording) Christmas record albums (younger kids only semi-know what these are) onto cassettes.

My parents had an extensive record collection. A decent chunk of the collection included some pretty awesome Christmas records that provided me with an endless amount of musical discovery when I was really young. I remember going through stacks of records and finding a bunch of different Christmas compilations that my parents got through gas station promotions. For some reason gas stations used to give you full kitchen silverware sets, glassware, and LPs. It was a peculiar, yet f*cking amazing time in America. I guess gas was a tough sell back then? Now all you need to do is announce that there’s a gas shortage and there’s a line of cars 3 1/2 miles long down Route 9.

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And, no…”R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas” did not make the cut.

The moment November arrived, I hounded my parents incessantly for permission to bring the Christmas decorations inside. We used to keep all of it in the garage and being that we were one of the only families I knew who actually parked their car in the garage, it was sort of a bitch to get all the huge heavy boxes down off the shelves when there was a big brown Buick in the way. Plus, it always seemed to be very cold, not like nowadays when we’ve been getting random stretches of 65 degree weather. So, my parents took all that into consideration and they would attempt to dissuade me every time, but Christmas overcame me. My Christmas force power was too strong even for my parents who were firm when they wanted to be. As soon as they relented and gave me the exasperated “Go ahead…bring it in,” approval, I would instantly start playing Christmas records.

Christmastime was like a state of mind and a drug to me, and it still is. The excitement of the season overshadowed everything else. It was the fact that everything seemed different and better during the holidays. The music, the food, the decorations, the TV specials, the family get togethers, it was all a total blast to me. What was old became new again although this magical feeling would never work without the music.

On the wish list front, I would craft a very detailed list for Santa each year. Months prior to December, I’d cull from the jumbo catalogs that arrived in the mailbox from stores like JC Penny and Sears and very neatly copied down item numbers and descriptions – wouldn’t want those elves f*cking everything up now would we? Frankly, none of that really mattered, I just revelled in being caught up in the season. It was the one time a year when everyone seemed to honestly set aside their differences (for the most part), have a few drinks, and eat some Christmas cookies. I had so many great Christmas seasons with my family and friends and they were all set to music.

Back to those mix tapes. They lasted for years and we played them over and over again. We also started collecting the Very Special Christmas compilations when they started showing up in stores. To have those official releases were great, but Dad’s mix tapes were LEGENDARY. Songs would abruptly cut off and then pick up in the middle of another song, and then other songs would end and he’d forget to stop the tape, so for 8 years we were able to recite Casey Kasem’s post-song banter. Then there’d be songs toward the end of the tapes that were regular top 40 music so we’d go from “Last Christmas” into “Just a Gigolo” by David Lee Roth. It was quirky for sure, but we waited all year to listen to those tapes.

My Christmas music tradition was enhanced when I got my first iPod back in 2004. Christmas playlists were never the same. Gone were the mix tapes that my father made us, but they are fully reflected fully in my playlist. Essentially, this playlist is just a modern version of those old tapes.

Presently, just to give you an idea of what kind of Christmas freak I am, there’s 433 tracks in my Holiday Playlist, some are IDs with Christmas greetings from people like Kevin Smith, Alice Cooper, and others, and a few are sound clips from Christmas movies, but the majority of the tracks are songs. Keep in mind that I’m not one to rip full albums – especially Christmas albums because there’s usually a lot of filler. To clue you in, the only full album I have on my christmas playlist is Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift To You.

You can’t imagine the difficulty I had choosing these songs. What it came down to was, if I had to delete 400 some-odd songs, what are the 30 that I’d keep in the playlist? I tried to narrow it down to 10 and 20, but there were too many that I absolutely couldn’t part with. Once you get down to around the top 15 there’s a more solid rhyme and reason behind why I chose the songs in that particular order. Some are comedic, some are sentimental favorites, others are rockers, but all of them are nostalgic to me and bring to mind memories of the Christmas season. Not everyone is as anal about Christmas music as I am, so, below, I’ve shared my favorite songs with you and also my thoughts on each one.

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30. “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas – An actual, fully produced non-ironic song based off the SNL sketch with Horatio Sanz, Tracey Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Jimmy Fallon. Just the idea of it made me happy inside. I’m an SNL fanatic so this is great. Julian definitely put his own spin on it and it worked.

29. “Silent Night” by Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Not only is it a Jersey thing, but Aqua Teen is also hysterical, especially Meatwad. I love Meatwad. I wish he could be my real life meat-friend. I love his voice and his laid back nature. I also really love when he starts telling everyone how he’s “the Boss of music” in this version of “Silent Night” from Have Yourself a Meaty Little Christmas, the Aqua Teen Christmas album.

28. 12 Days of Christmas by Bob and Doug McKenzie – A staple for me every Christmas since it came out. I’m not really a big fan of any version of the 12 Days of Christmas because they’re usually pretty monotonous, but this song is never unfunny to me. It’s Canadian humor went completely over my head when I was a kid. I didn’t grasp it at all when this was all over the radio. I just knew they kept talking about beer and thinking tuques, which I thought was funny. Bob and Doug’s interaction set to the sounds of the ’80s keyboard always warms my heart. Hoser.

27. “Christmas Is All Around” by Billy Mack – Romantic Comedies are no friend of mine. I try my best to watch one with Miss Sexy Armpit every couple of years. I give it my best shot, but I usually wind up despising every second of it. One that I did appreciate was 2003’s Love Actually. It’s a good movie for the ladies and it’s more than tolerable for guys as well (i.e. there’s boobs). Plus Bill Nighy sings “Christmas Is All Around,” which gave him a “Do Not Pass Go – Go Directly To My iPod” card.

26. “This Christmas” by Christina Aguilera – This is the one time a year I will listen to a Christina Aguilera song. Aguilera’s cover of the Donny Hathaway song is an excellent update to the 1970 holiday classic and still gets a lot of airplay 13 years later.

25. “Best Part of Christmas” by American Angel If there’s a cult classic status for Christmas songs, this one is in the top 5 for sure. This Jersey band had some decent buzz on MTV in the late ’80s/early ’90s, but was predominantly know for their huge local fan base. You may not have realized it, but their first Christmas song is solid. It’s a bit schmaltzy, but probably the best Christmas song to come out of the 80s rock scene. Think Survivor meets Honeymoon Suite.

24. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” by The Whirling Dervishes Another New Jersey band with a kickass rock rendition of the Grinch theme. If you don’t have it, get it, you’ll love it.

23. “Christmas All Over Again” by Butch Walker Not much of a detour from the orignal, but this is a bang up job covering Tom Petty. If you are a Butch fan you will love this. Very fun and upbeat.

22. “Christmas Tree” by Lady Gaga – Coming off her fantastic performance on SNL and awaiting her holiday special with the Muppets, fill the void with her electro-pop Christmas romp full of double entendres the way only Gaga can do it.

21. “Silver Bells” by Twisted Sister – There was a trend several years ago where a lot of the popular metal and hard rock bands of the 80s began to record their own Christmas songs and albums. Twisted Sister was at the forefront of this trend. Their A Twisted Christmas album was well done, often tongue in cheek, and actually worked since Dee Snider and Co. didn’t make it a joke, they made a legitimately good rock Christmas album.

20. “I Wanna Rock You Hard This Chrismas” by The Dan Band – You may remember this band singing an expletive filled version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the movie Old School. They continued their legacy with an original Christmas rock song filled with F-bombs and sexual innuendos.

19. “Jingle Bell Rock” by 38 Special  – There’s a story about this one. When I was in my first year of college I was driving to class in my old Corsica and the stereo reception was extremely fuzzy that day. I was tuned into New York’s Classic Rock Station Q104.3 and I was making out little snippets of a rocking version of “Jingle Bell Rock.” With all the fuzz and the noise from the highway I couldn’t make it out well at all, but a small part of me thought that David Lee Roth was covering “Jingle Bell Rock.” If that was the case, it was imperative that I verify it. Why didn’t I know about this already? This began a several year quest to figure out what song this was. I called 3 DJs at the station about this. I researched their playlists, I scoured the Internet (which was not as advanced back then obviously) and I couldn’t find it. I searched every rock band’s discogrpahy that I thought it might be, but to no avail. Finally a couple of years ago, I was looking at a Christmas album on iTunes from a band who didn’t even enter my mind as a possibility back then. It was 38 Special. Definitely not anything like David Lee Roth, but with all the interference on the station I cut myself some slack. It is a really good rocking rendition of the song and I dig it eve though I still wish it was DLR. This mystery lasted almost 10 years, finally the case is closed.

18. “Rockin’ Christmas Time” by 40 Foot Ringo – You may know this band as a modern offshoot of the New Jersey band Trixter. This bouncy rocker just conjures up all kinds of awesome memories for me. The original Trixter lineup has been promoting their latest album Tattoos and Misery for the last year – check it out, it’s good stuff.

17. “We Need a Little Christmas” by New Christy Minstrels – This specific version was featured on an old album my parents got from a gas station. It’s upbeat with their signature folk sound and it gives me that nostalgic feeling. It was always the first song I kicked the season off with.

16. “Things I Want” by Sum 41 and Tenacious D – In this song there’s a ridiculous Christmas list that comes off almost like a bunch of weird ransom demands. “A Motley Crue Lunch Box filled with sticky buns.”

15. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams I refuse to acknowledge that Scott Weiland recorded a cover of this. This is the Jaws of Christmas songs because it’s such a damn classic that it shouldn’t be remade.

14. “Back Door Santa” by Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi saturated this popular Christmas song with their ’80s pop metal sheen replete with silly banter, synthesizers, and guitar solos. This was when the band was having fun before it became a weird corporation run by an egomaniac with more interest in politics than rock and roll.

13. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Dean Martin – The kind of music to get snowed in to. And toasted.

12. “White Christmas” by Darlene Love – Possibly the ultimate Christmas song from the greatest Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector. It’s pretty damn perfect from the arrangement to Darlene Love’s vocal performance. Many people prefer “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), but if I had to choose, I’d go with “White Christmas” in the end.

11. “Winter Wonderland” by Johnny Mathis Another case of not being able to choose just one, I love mostly all of Johnny Mathis’ Christmas songs but this one is the most memorable to me thanks to it’s superb production quality and the songs ability to literally make me feel like I’m sledding in the middle of Hoth.

10. “Oi to the World” by No Doubt An energetic cover of the Vandals’ Christmas song.

9. “Christmas Vacation” by Mavis Staples – In the vein of ’70s R&B that she was known for with The Staple Singers, this theme song to one of my favorite Christmas movies ever was an instant part of my annual celebration. It accompanies the fun animated intro sequence to Christmas Vacation. Originally, before I was able to find a good copy of it, I started playing my Christmas Vacation VHS tape and held my boom box next to the TV speakers and recorded the song while the movie was playing. I used that for a few years before I was able to get it on a real cassette.

8. “Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters – The Carpenters can do no wrong. Karen’s voice was soothing and calm and brings to mind sitting by my Uncle’s fireplace on Christmas eve, staring at the tree and the stockings, wondering what Santa would bring me in the morning. Plus the line “Christmasing with you” FTW.

7. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses – Belive it or not I grew up hating this song while my sister loved it. I would beg her to stop singing it. It didn’t take long for me to realize I actually adored it too and I was in denial. Originally it seemed kind of annoying, but I just looked past it. Sure it’s goofy, but it gets stuck in your head. It’s so familar now that it’s a holiday classic that you hear in tons of movies and commercials.

6. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney – For some reason this song gets a lot of flack. First of all leave Paul alone. This song is an ’80s Christmas classic, in fact, there was a huge blast of Christmas songs in the ’80s that wound up becoming perennial favorites and this is one of them in all of it’s synth glory. Watching him perform it on SNL last year was awesome too. While listening to this track it’s tradition that I get a small paper cup of spiked egg nog and march around the apartment like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the intro to Real Ghostbusters.

5. “Christmas Celebration” by Weezer – I’ve been a fan of Weezer since they debuted, and to the opposition of many fellow loyal Weezer fans, I actually still really dig their modern output, maybe even more than “classic” Weezer if you can fathom that. They recorded a couple of early Christmas tracks, but years later, around 2008, they released an EP on iTunes called Christmas with Weezer. I love all of their renditions of Christmas songs because they maintain the traditional arrangements but plug in electric guitars and incorporate their signature harmonies.

4. “Christmas In Hollis” by Run DMC – I lost count how many times I’ve rapped along to every word of this song. Using a sample of “Back Door Santa,” Run DMC concocted the greatest rap/hip-hop Christmas song of all time. I can never get enough of this one.

3. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by BRUCE Springsteen This song makes you feel like you’re down on the boardwalk in Asbury on a cold December day and you’re being introspective like Bruce would be…thinking of whether you’re going to be on Santa’s naughty or nice list. It’s a pure Jersey Christmas song and it’s a synonymous with the Christmas season for me.

2. “Last Christmas” by WHAM – Haters gonna hate, Sexy Armpit gonna love. Agree to disagree.

1. “All Alone on Christmas” by Darlene Love – Wall of Sound. CHECK. E-Street Band. CHECK. Recaptures the Phil Spector magic. CHECK. Tugs at your heartstrings. CHECK. Sax solo by THE BIG MAN. CHECK. References to her own song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” CHECK. Nobody ought to be all alone on Christmas. Tell ’em Darlene.

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 95: Kermit Springsteen

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Kermit The Frog Born In The U.S.A T-Shirt

It’s not 1984, but Bruce Springsteen AND The Muppets are having a pretty damn great year! Bruce’s latest album, Wrecking Ball, (not with the Electric Mayhem, but with the E-Street Band) debuted at #1 on the charts last month and his concerts are selling out like crazy. According to Billboard, this album marks Bruce’s TENTH number one album, which ties him with Elvis for third most number ones in history, behind only The Beatles and Jay-Z.

Also enjoying continued success are The Muppets. For many of us, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzy, and Animal have never left our lives, while others were delighted to see their resurgence. Their 2011 comeback film, The Muppets, was the most lucrative film in the Muppet franchise, even nabbing an Academy Award for best song.

The t-shirt pictured above is a Muppet styled parody of Bruce Springsteen’s most successful album ever, Born In The U.S.A. Forget about the “Rainbow Connection,” there’s definitely a Bruce/Kermit connection that needs to be discussed. In both Bruce songs, “Rosalita,” and “Wrecking Ball” he references “…the swamps of Jersey.” A long time ago, Kermit the Frog was born a little tadpole in the swamp so it’s very possible our little green felt friend may have been born here in Jersey rocking out to BRUCE with his banjo!

Bruce Springsteen Exhibit in Philadelphia

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I had no choice in the matter. I had to go to Philly. Don’t get me wrong…there’s a lot of great people and things to do in Philly, but I’d just rather be in Jersey. Hell, I love New York too, but ultimately I’m a big fan of my surroundings. Not many things would entice me to visit a neighboring state, but the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Museum was definitely one of them.

Miss Sexy Armpit mentioned the exhibit to me a while back as an idea for my birthday trip. My first reaction was, “Why isn’t it in Asbury Park??” That would’ve been too easy! I had to work a little for this one. Actually, getting into Philly was a piece of cheesesteak, it was getting out that was the problem, but I’ll get to that later.
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If you consider yourself even remotely a fan of Springsteen’s work, you will enjoy this exhibit. If you are a hardcore Bruce fan and you haven’t made it there yet, you NEED to go, seriously it’s that good. And finally for those who don’t love or hate Bruce, but are fans of good music, this exhibit spotlights the career of an American icon, THE BOSS! 
From the meager club shows in various local bands to selling out stadiums and getting nominated for awards, this exhibit is an all encompassing tribute. You will witness fascinating photos, memorabilia, outfits, and notebooks plucked from Bruce’s long musical journey. One of the literal artifacts that left an impression on me was the original exterior sign from The Stone Pony in Asbury Park where Bruce played so many of his early shows and still makes surprise appearances at ’til this day. There are also listening stations to hear unreleased songs, early live recordings, and video stations to watch archival footage of documentaries and concerts.
We spent about 30 – 40 minutes in the exhibit. The walk through can take as long as you want it to, or you can breeze right through it depending on how much you want to take in. I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. When we left the building and saw a gorgeous sunny day waiting for us, we wanted to stop at another Philly attraction, but we spent about 2 hours in traffic! Unbeknownst to us, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was about to take place, so several main streets were blocked off causing major gridlock. Aside from the insane amount of traffic, the Bruce exhibit made the trip worthwhile! I highly recommend going! The exhibit closes on September 3rd, 2012.

BRUCE Springs From The Coffin!

YouTube member StonePonyClub has great quality footage of the intro of a Bruce Springsteen concert (possibly the 2007 Magic Tour?) that took place on Halloween eve. This spooky lead-in to “Radio Nowhere” reminds me of The Undertaker’s entrance. So cool of Bruce to be creative like that for Halloween! That’s why he’s the m’fn BOSS! He was also cool enough to record a song called “A Night With The Jersey Devil,” which he gave away for free on his official website in 2008. Aside from it’s release on vinyl for Record Store Day in 2009, I’m not sure where to legally get the single at this point, but the video is available for download on iTunes. Whatever you do, try to track it down because it’s a must for your Halloween playlist!