If somebody asked you what Mark Wahlberg's first film was, I bet you wouldn't know it's The Substitute. I doubt many folks have seen The Substitute. Heck, I haven't even seen it--and I spent hours on Vancouver sets doing interviews for a Fangoria story when it was shot here back in 1993.

It was a TV movie, mind you, which makes the chances of seeing it even slimmer. And even if you did happen to catch the broadcast--or view it later on VHS--you might not have recognized Wahlberg because he was still known as Marky Mark.

I normally try to avoid songs like Sam Smith's Grammy-nominated hit, "Stay With Me". It's not that I'm a hard-hearted wretch who can't stand a bit of sappiness, but, really, would it have killed the guy to throw a wailing guitar solo in there somewhere?

The song is infectious, I'll admit. I find myself going for coffee and whistling its melody, before forcing myself to give it up for strangers' sake. But before I do I notice that the tune reminds me a lot of that old Tom Petty song, "Won't Back Down", the one with Ringo in the video.

Apparently, Petty noticed the similiarity too, because he mentioned it to his people, who mentioned it to Smith's people. Smith's people explained the situation to Rolling Stone last week: 

Apart from the ominous tone of its name—and the fierceness of its music—Black Sabbath as a band hasn't been known as the rowdiest of legendary rock acts.

When I interviewed guitarist Tony Iommi way back in 1984 he seemed like the perfect gentleman on the phone.

I have no interest in building a Squarespace website.

I just love Jeff Bridges.

You figure it out.

I've long complained about the lack of worthy horror flicks being made in and around Vancouver, but in recent years Hollywood has upped its game considerably as far as the Great Fright North is concerned.

The film version of Stephen King's terrifying 1983 novel, Pet Sematary, sucked the biggie. I reviewed it way back in the spring of 1989, describing it as "a dead dog that deserves no last rites."

But apparently, according to abc7.com, some cat out in Florida named Bart just loved the plot about a graveyard where felines and humans alike can score a new lease on life. 

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay released a statement explaining what happened to the unfortunate critter after his owner discovered that he had been hit by a car:

Most of the Vancouver-shot movies I covered during my time as a freelancer for Fangoria magazine actually made it into theatres. One that didn't was The Resurrected, which was based on the H.P. Lovecraft novella, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

The movie--aka Shatterbrain--went directly to video, but that's okay with me. The main reason I wanted to cover it, apart from the Lovecraft angle, was that it was directed by Dan O'Bannon, who horror freaks may recall wrote the screenplay for Ridley Scott's Alien.

In other words, the guy was hot shit.

Here's a heavily edited version of my set-visit piece which ran in the September 1991 Fangoria, a special Lovecraft issue.


Great news for Vancouver's old-school rock fans: Rush has just announced that it will play Rogers Arena on July 17.

Can I get a fvckin-AAA!!!

Here's some promotional bumph:

Over the course of their amazing career, Rush has lived a lifetime together, providing an influential soundtrack to many of their fans’ lives. Some have been with them since the start, while others have discovered them along the way and delved into their incredible body of work.

To quote Dave Grohl from their momentous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “Rush built their following the right way. No hype, no bullshit, they did it from the ground up. Their legacy is incredible and their influence undeniable.”

In a story posted on the Ultimate Classic Rock website today, rock historian Greg Renoff—who has a book on Van Halen coming out this year—writes about the artwork that almost became the cover of the band's monumental debut album of 1978.

Apparently, the powers-that-be at the group's label, Warner Bros., wanted it to have more of a punk-rock/new-wave image than a heavy-metal one.

Wouldn't that have been a major f**k up!

Twenty-five years ago today—on January 18, 1990—Alice Cooper played the Pacific Coliseum, touring behind his 18th studio album, Trash. It featured guest appearances by members of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, as well as guitar hero Steve Lukather, and spawned the single "Poison", the Coop's first top-10 hit in over a decade. 

I interviewed Cooper in advance of the show and asked him a bunch of questions about one of my fave subjects, horror movies.

We also talked about music a bit.

Here's the story that ran in the Jan. 5-12 issue of the Straight under the headline: Rock's King of Nastiness.