Showing posts with label Friday Night Videos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday Night Videos. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Bruce Heard and The Calidar Soundtrack

Tonight is a very special night here at the Other Side.

I have +Bruce Heard  helping me out with the Guest VJ spot tonight.  He is sharing some of the songs and tracks that would make up a Calidar Soundtrack.

So without further ado, here is Bruce!
--
Hi, I’m Bruce Heard, the creator of Calidar, a game world inspired from the Voyage of the Princess Ark stories I used to write for Dragon Magazine in the 80s and 90s.  Some of you may remember me as the direction behind the D&D’s Mystara Gazetteers at old TSR.

I had a chat with Tim regarding Calidar and the Kickstarter campaign for my present project, “Beyond the Skies.”  It is a massive compendium about the gods of this universe, their shenanigans, and a monstrous peril plotting their doom.  Writing about this conjures a number of thoughts in my mind, among which music takes an interesting dimension.  During the past decade I developed an interest in movie scores.  Keeping with my focus on fantasy, sci-fi, action, and adventure, my tastes target certain titles particularly.

As a go through “Beyond the Skies,” the first that comes to my mind is Highlander’s “Who wants to live forever.”  This is especially true with the first part of the book, which describes the gods, their personalities, and their motivations.  It also alludes to Calidar’s epic heroes brought up in the first book, “In Stranger Skies.”  They stop aging as long as they qualify as epic heroes, their first step before aspiring to become demigods in the service of a divine liege.



There are of course the dwarven gods, and I had a good laugh when I described them as steampunk space warriors.  The best score for this, in my mind, was from Jerry Goldsmith, Star Trek’s Klingon Battle theme.  Kragdûras dwarves sound a bit like Klingons and pretty much behave like them.  They’re just shorter and hairier.  They don’t use dilithium but rather a kind of coal they mine on their moon.  So yes, they use steam-powered dreadnaughts.


Other fine neighbors are Calidar’s version of the Norse, best described as space Vikings who collect abandoned alien weapons.  With their giant longships, they hurtle through the “Great Vault,” raiding both known and lost worlds, in search of fortune and forbidden technology.  Another one from Jerry Goldsmith, “The Warriors” theme from the 13th Warrior truly seized the image for me.



Naturally, when talking about the gods of the Norse, my hand reached for Thor’s “Sons of Odin” theme from Patrick Doyle.  The deities portrayed in Calidar are alter-egos of those from real world mythology, and they know it!  These gods are aware that they ascended from the minds of mortals (who’d been abducted to Calidar from the real world), and they debate whether they should endorse traditional sagas or forge for themselves an entirely new fate.  Some believe that Ragnarok still hangs over their heads while others argue that it does not have to be so.



There is a section of “Beyond the Skies” that dwells upon the Dread Lands, Calidar’s giant living wilderness that fights off intruders.  It is connected to the planet’s World Soul, a semi-sentient pool of magic binding the souls of all sapient creatures to the worlds on which they were born.  For this, James Horner’s theme “Climbing Iknimaya, The Path to Heaven” from the Avatar movie was unavoidable.



The Calidar series feature a recurring skyship theme, as they draw their inspiration from the original Princess Ark stories, D&D’s idea of what Star Trek would be in a medieval high-fantasy world.  This led me to enjoy various Pirates of the Caribbean themes from “At World’s End,” especially Hans Zimmer’s “One Day,” a big favorite of mine.



Another score that I do like a lot is Klaus Badelt’s “Time Machine.”  The movie itself wasn’t immensely popular, but the music is great for an adventurer/explorer genre, especially the “Eloi” theme. This one reminds me of forgotten worlds and the nature-loving tribes dwelling in the Dread Lands.  Their secret is that they’ve learned to adapt to this monstrously dangerous place and tap into the magic of the World Soul.



In the genre of lost civilizations, another well know score works well, and is also a favorite of mine: David Arnold’s “Stargate.”  It does fit well in that Calidar has an ancient culture generally inspired from ancient Egypt.  Though part of it was conquered by another power, another escaped into space where its people attempt to regain their lost glory.  Ancient Egyptians in space—no doubt about it!




The topics are endless.  For Calidar’s Arabian-style setting, I relied on “The Mummy” with Jerry Goldsmith’s “Camel Race” theme.  This also connects with the ancient Egyptian setting mentioned earlier.  These two genres are directly related in Calidar.  Many others come to mind, such as Maurice Jarre’s classic Lawrence of Arabia main theme.


Then we have Calidar’s “bad guys,” at least from everyone else’s point of view.  The Nicareans are (very) loosely inspired from the early Byzantine with a strong strain of Spanish Inquisition-like behavior.  They are conquerors in their own right, and with them, when they march to war or line up their skyships for a fight in the Great Vault, it’s Vangelis’s “Drums of Gaugamela” from the “Alexander” motion picture that comes to my mind—huge, fearsome, glorious, and rousing!  It’s one that I play when I get discouraged or run out of steam.



This is turning into quite a long article, longer than I first expected, and I don’t believe I’ve made a dent in the pile of music that I can think of when writing for for this setting.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the elves of Calidar.  Their lunar empire of Alorea is more akin to a tree-hugging tyranny, somewhat like Star Trek Romulans turned totalitarian biologists, for which Hans Zimmer’s “The Battle” theme from the motion picture “Gladiator” works well.  Imagine a three way space battle between Nicareans, Kragdûras dwarves, and Alorean elves.  That’s an awful lot of drums!


The elves of Calidar’s main world, on the other hand, are much more peaceful, and their theme ends up being Howard Shore’s “Evenstar” composition, from Lord of the Rings’ “The Two Towers.”  We all know this one I’m sure, and it stands as a peaceful, friendly manner to part ways.  Hope you enjoyed this journey across fantasy, space, and popular movie scores.



--
Thanks Bruce! That is really an epic soundtrack.

Don't forget to check out his Kickstarter tonight as well.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ambreville/calidar-beyond-the-skies

Friday Night Videos: SNEAK PEEK!

Tonight is a very special night here at the Other Side.

I have +Bruce Heard  helping me out with the Guest VJ spot tonight.  He is sharing some of the songs and tracks that would make up a Calidar Soundtrack.

Please join us tonight at 11:30pm Central time to see his list of epic songs for Calidar.

Don't forget to check out his Kickstarter tonight as well.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ambreville/calidar-beyond-the-skies

Bruce has a lot of great music tonight.  For me though Calidar has more of a mystical, prog-rock feel.  My Calidar soundtrack includes Uriah Heep's "Traveller in Time".


See you all tonight!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Celebrating 3000 posts

Well I did not have much time today to get videos together or a theme.  So I figure why not take a moment and celebrate the fact I have made 3000 posts.

That's a lot of text really.

So let's celebrate this milestone with some videos about hit the mark, getting there or 3000 in general.

Let's start with the best known, if only, 3000 in the music business.  That would be Andre 3000 of Outkast.  Here is "Hey Yeah" with a multitude of 3000s from their epic two album release The Love Below.




Can you imagine me training for this?  Running up steps, punching keyboards hanging from the ceiling?  Tangling with other games and blogs? No. Ok maybe not.  But let's be honest "Eye of The Tiger" from Survivor is an awesome fight song.




All month, I have counting down to this.  You know what that means, right?




In truth not only can I not complain, but I get to do something I enjoy AND others seem to enjoy it too. So as long people want to keep reading what I have to say I'll try to keep saying it.  Like Joe Walsh says, "Life's Been Good to Me (So Far)".


Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Conceptual Continuity

Welcome to the Friday Night Videos salute to Frank Zappa.

Earlier today I posted some people and things from Frank Zappa's Conceptual Continuity.

Here are the songs and videos that inspired them.
Note: Not all of these are part of Zappa's actual Conceptual Continuity, but they are good for this.

My python boot's too tight.  "Stinkfoot" appears on the 1974 FZ album Apostrophe ('), which is now usually sold as a combo CD with Over-Nite Sensation.   Stinkfoot is very much part of the Conceptual Continuity. I also think it might have been the first Zappa song I ever heard.  I am sure that my brother Mike was the one that introduced me to it.




One the same album St. Alphonzo and Father O'Blivion can be heard on "St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast" and "Father O'Blivion" respectively.    Funny thing, the next song on that side "Cosmik Debris" was one of "inspirations" for the Aquarian Tradition of Witchcraft.






Speaking of the Aquarians.  Over-Nite Sensation from 1973 introduced us to The Short Forest in "Camarillo Brillo" a tale of a magic mama that could throw a mean tarot.    I decided that the woman in Camarillo Brillo was the same as the Witch of The Short Forrest and likely Dinah-Moe Humm from the same album.  Camarillo Brillo, by the way is not the witch's name, it describes her hair.




The idea of her sister drowning comes from Zappa's 1982 album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.  This is the album that gave the world "Valley Girl".




"Goblin Girl", is not really a goblin, but gobbling or gobbl'en.  What she is gobbling...well you listen and decide.  But it is one of the best songs on the completely fantastic You Are What You Is from 1981.  For me she looks like Gren Razortooth from YAFGC.




Her suicidal behavior comes from the same album in the form of "Suicide Chump" and "Jumbo Go Away".






Going all the way back to 1968 we have the classic Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money.  One of my favorite songs on this album  is "Absolutely Free" which teaches us that "discorporate means to leave your body."




We go back to Over-Nite Sensation and end with Zomby Woof, which should be self-explanatory.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Paint it Black

In "honor" of Black Friday here are some of my favorite songs/videos about black.


At least make an effort to stop at your FLGS this weekend.




"Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones takes us all the way back to 1966.  I will contend that this is the first "Goth" song recorded.




"Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin




"Back in Black" by AC/DC




"Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles.  Alannah Myles was the hottest thing on MTV for a while. She still is.




"Black" by Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam was the biggest thing in the 90s. This is either one of their most iconic performances or one of their most self-indulgent.  Either way cool song.




"Black Sunshine" by White Zombie. I do enjoy some White Zombie.




"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden.




"Blue on Black" by Kenny Wayne Sheppard




And of course no discussion of black is complete without "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention


Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Women Rock!

Growing up I had a friend that knew every actress' name, movie she was in all these details about their lives.  In college I had another friend who did the same thing with all these supermodels.

When asked who I found attractive or "liked" I would always say names like Stevie Nicks, Deborah Harry or Joan Jett.  For me it was always about the rock girls.

It is also no surprise that most of the female PCs and NPCs I have or have had were based on the women whose albums, tapes and CDs I would buy.

So with the new Supergirl show on now and Jessica Jones on tonight in the US here are some of my favorite ass-kicking superheroines.

This should not be a surprise to anyone I have already featured great performers like Shirley Manson of Garbage, Stevie Nicks,  So here are a just a very few of my favorites.

I have always loved Joan Jett.  She is just so goddammed cool and can rock with the best of them.  She has SOOO many great songs, but this one always gets me going.  Plus it is the "theme song" for the Grazzt/Iggwilv love affair.  That's their dirty little secret...they actually love each other.




Ever hear a song and thought "man I need to do something with that!",  Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night" from 1982's Get Nervous was always that song to me. It is very, very likely that the "Midnight Angel" later became Nox.  I always loved her and yes I did have a witch character that looked like her in the 80s.   I never liked the video for it to be honest.  If had been thinking about this I should have made my own video with footage of her on Charmed.  Yes. She was on Charmed for an episode.




Speaking of Nox. "Because the Night" was written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen thanks to the manipulations of Jimmy Iovine (who is immortalized in my games as well).   Patti Smith is such a powerful singer that most people can't do this song justice.  Bruce can.  Natalie Merchant did a good job, so did Shirley Manson.  But they can't compare to her version.   This is one of my favorite songs.




I was once asked if I thought Siouxsie Sioux was attractive. I said yes without hesitation and then I showed them the video for "Kiss Them For Me".  It's not the most iconic Banshees' song, but I really like it.




One of my favorite bard characters looks just like Aimee Mann. What can I say, she is so damn cute and more talented than a truckload of pop-princesses.




Even Darth Vader loves Blondie.  "The Tide is High" is not really related to any gaming, but damn. Deborah Harry in her prime.




What do a Gateway 486, an HP Desk Jet and Hormonally Yours all have in common?  They were the essential ingredients to the first time I sat down to collect all my notes for the Witch class.  I mention the printer because I still have that printout with a couple hundred hand written notes.
Hormonally Yours was the second album from Shakespears Sister featuring former Bananarama singer Siobhán Fahey.  "Stay" was a big hit with me in 92. I thought she was so hot back then, still do in fact.




Very, very, very few people (not just singers) have left such a mark on my psyche as Sinéad O'Connor.  Seriously. I can divide time into two very distinct and very different points. The time before I heard The Lion and The Cobra and the time after.  I have talked about Sinéad before, but the amount I have talked about her doesn't reflect what her music has meant to me.  "Troy" is not my favorite song on this album, but it is damn close.



I think this a good place to stop.  I can do a part 2 later!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Jason Vey

Tonight we have a special guest VJ Jason Vey!

He is here to share songs that influenced him or motivated him while working on Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG.

Jason and I have known each other for years. We worked on Buffy together, playtested each other games and respected each other enough to say when a bit of game design was total shit.

I was a playtester on this in the early days but I really can't say anything about it other than I am REALLY excited it is coming out.  So without further rambling on from me, here is Jason.


--

Greetings, night stalkers, vampires and Weepers! I’m definitely NOT Kasey Kasem. I’m Jason Vey(sem) and I’ll be your guest veejay for this week’s edition of Friday Night Videos on the Other Side.

Tonight I’m going to talk about the music of Brimstone and the Borderhounds – my RPG that’s currently in Kickstarter through Troll Lord Games. I’d like to share a few little ditties that are inspirational or otherwise appropriate to this particular game which falls solidly in the urban fantasy genre. But before we do that, here’s a quick primer from the Kickstarter itself:

Forget everything you know about the afterlife. Good guys don’t always go to Heaven and bad guys don’t always end up in Hell. The multiverse is one giant amalgam of giant corporations that humans know as afterlives. Heaven. Hell. Valhalla. The Happy Hunting Grounds. Some might look prettier than others, but in the end they’re all at war for the greatest commodity in the multiverse…Human souls.

It doesn’t matter much where you end up when you die; your lot in life is one of slave labor in one of these afterlives, doing whatever you might have done best (or didn’t know you were best at) in life. That could be constructing buildings or architecture. It could also be mopping up in a strip club. In Hell these human souls are called Weepers. Some win their freedom and earn a meager living in the dregs of society. Others try to escape, either to join terrorist groups known as Kittens, or to get out to another afterlife or even back to Earth. When that happens, crack teams of bounty hunters called Borderhounds are sent out to the Wastelands to bring them back in. The best of these teams is known as XiBalba and is led by Brimstone, the half-demon son of Hell’s Grand Architect.

Using the acclaimed and easy-to-learn SIEGE engine mechanic, the Brimstone and the Borderhounds RPG lets you play as Brimstone and his allies, as a new team of Borderhounds hunting down escaped Weepers and battling corporate espionage from other afterlives (or engaging in a little of your own), or play as a psychic, mystic, occult investigator or Earth-bound hero, battling supernatural incursions from the other worlds as our planet becomes a battleground in the greatest corporate war the multiverse has ever seen. Wield Helltech weapons, call upon Forza Infernis (the powers of Hell) or draw forth alien magic and psychic energies. The sky (or the Pit, as it may be) is the limit when you play in the world of Brimstone and the Borderhounds!

So there you have it, kids. Brimstone and the Borderhounds is an urban fantasy game using the same rules that power Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. If Buffy-meets-Cyberpunk-in-Hell sounds cool, then B&B is just for you!

Now let’s take a look these happy little numbers that were inspirational or are otherwise appropriate for this game.

1. The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
A classic of heavy metal by one of the most important bands in the genre, this nightmarish story about a guy hunted through the woods by the devil himself is uniquely suited to a game about, well, souls escaping from Hell!





2. The Road to Hell - Bruce Dickinson
This may be cheating, since it’s by the lead singer of Iron Maiden and sounds a bit Maiden-ish, but it’s a relentless, driving tune that’s perfect background music for chasing down those Weepers or battling incursions from the other Afterlife Realms!



3. Seasons in the Abyss - Slayer
Sensing a theme, here? What did you expect? It’s a game set in or revolving around the theme of HELL! This is a classic of dark thrash metal from 1990. Its minor key and chilling, dark vocals are a great mood setter for a campaign revolving around those first discovering how the multiverse works.



4. All Nightmare Long - Metallica
Kind of a new record, and sure, Metallica has probably had better tunes, but this one is a worthy entry into their oeuvre. The video is as chilling as the lyrics and like Road to Hell, it’s relentless and driving and would be great for that climactic battle against whatever enemy your GM cooks up.



5. Faster - Within Temptation
Led by singer Sharon den Adel, Dutch metal masters Within Temptation are one of the more underrated symphonic rock bands out there today. This song is actually a single from their album The Unforgiving, which would completely unto itself act as a great soundtrack for a B&B campaign. It’s also tied to a comic book limited series, which you should totally check out as it dovetails neatly with the themes in Borderhounds.



6. Welcome to my Nightmare - Alice Cooper
Seriously, need you ask? What game about hell and monsters is complete without a song about the gradual degradation of sanity and the horrors of the madhouse? Nobody has ever captured the mood of horror and nightmares in music like Alice Cooper, and likely no one ever will. Here’s a creepy live clip of that one.



7. Holy Wars - The Punishment Due – Megadeth
The connections here are several. Thematically, this is about terrorism in the Middle East…and the Marvel Comics’ character The Punisher. Strange pairing, but there it is. The idea of “holy wars,” however, is a great fit for a game about corporate espionage between Heaven and Hell, and the driving, never-quit force of it is another excellent soundtrack for action and adventure, while the comic connections are obvious.


There you have it: seven songs to get you in the mood for Brimstone and the Borderhounds, Kickstarting now! Check it out—back if you like, and spread the word!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/brimstone-and-the-borderhounds-rpg

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Scary Songs

And now some scary songs/videos with a strong Halloween theme!


So here are 13 Scary songs and videos to keep you going till Halloween. Presented without comentary for your enjoyment.
Play at your hHalloween Party!


Not scary, but part of the season.




































And what I consider the first goth song.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Spooky Songs

Very loose theme tonight. A bunch of "Spooky" songs and songs that remind of an old friend who has a birthday coming up this weekend.


So without further ado....

When I think "Spooky" I think Classics IV.
I used to have this on a 45 rpm.





Is it spooky? Not really, but it has a cool vibe to it and it is the Season of the Witch. Plus Donovan is cool.




Raven hair and ruby lips, sparks fly from her finger tips...What is not to love about that?




Cream are pretty much rock and roll royalty.  This is one is one my favorite songs of all time.




For the previously mentioned spooky friend here is some of her favorite band.



Find some wings.



She's come undun.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Thomas Dolby

October 14th was Thomas Morgan Dolby Robertson's birthday. Known in other circles as Thomas Dolby.

Why should that concern you?  Well Dolby and I go WAY back.
I got his first album "The Golden Age of Wireless" when it first came out. It was the album that introduce America to TMDR's breakout hit "She Blinded Me With Science".  It was something of my "theme song" back in the day.

I also picked up all his albums that followed including the rare European version of "Golden Age" that did not have "SBMWS".

But what strikes me now, 33 years later, is that Dolby was so far ahead of his time.  He had one of the first websites on the internet and one of the first virtual reality websites. He help design the software used in cellphone ringtones and tons of other geeky things.

But how does that relate to gaming?  Well Dolby was also pretty much the first cyber-punk musical artist and one of the first steampunk looking ones.  I have been inspired by many of his songs in may games.

"She Blinded Me With Science" is the theme song to every mad-scientist everywhere.  This is the 12" single version that also appeared on the first recordings of Golden Age of Wireless (there are five versions of that album, I own them all, I won't get into which version of "Radio Silence" is better).  This is the 7-minute long version.  I also feel cheated when I hear the short American-radio edit cut.  Growing up I thought I would become the scientist like Dolby was playing here, but instead I became the psychologist.




Another song from Golden Age, "One of Our Submarines" sounds steam-punky, but is filled with Cold-War agnst. Today it is easy to forget that for a time in the 80s the Russians were going to nuke us while we played D&D in our basements.




The Flat Earth is a totally underrated album in every sense of the word. It is softer, but darker and far more mature.  "Mulu The Rainforest" mixed with some articles I was reading in Dragon and this old horror story I read from India of all places about a small, furry vampire.  Rainforests can be scary ass places.



Also from The Flat Earth, "I Scare Myself".  No reason. I just really like this song and this album.



Aliens Ate My Buick came out when I was in college and endless opportunities were open to me. I really loved this album, but it lacked the punch of Flat Earth.  "Budapest by Blimp" was featured here during my vampire songs marathon back in April.  It's eerie and haunting.  You could almost think of it as a requiem for the Cold War.




The fact that more people don't know about Astronauts & Heretics is criminal.  Actually I get it, it was very experimental even for Dolby. The world wanted Grunge in 1992 not experimental electronica.  We had to wait almost 10 more years for that from Moby.   "I Love You Goodbye" is one of the best songs on the album really. The cajun vibe of the song inspired two different adventures during my long Buffy campaign; The Enemy Within and Under a Cajun Moon.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Night Videos: The Pale Emperor

ITS OCTOBER! THE MONTH OF HALLOWEEN IS HERE!!!

Can you tell I am excited?  Something about a crisp chill in the air makes me want to pull out the World of Darkness books and play Vampire or Mage.
(BTW have you seen the Mage 20th Anniversary edition? I looks insane!)

Fall make me think of World of Darkness and WoD makes me think of Marilyn Manson!

There is just something about Manson singing "This is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas. It seems so perfect.



From Smells Like Children.  I always loved this cover.


The World of Darkness is all about drugs. Blood. Magic or what have you these are the drugs of the game and that is what the games are all about.



Another great cover, but also a pretty cool video.   Reminds me a bit of Cult of Personality. Well if "Living Colour" was a heavy goth band.  Course the original by Depeche Mode works just as well.


I have featured this one before.   Likely will again.



There are more. But this is good for now.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Happy Birthday Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner

Today marks the 64th birthday of Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, better known to the world as Sting.

Growing up (and still now) I was a HUGE fan of the Police.  In fact my first folder I kept my character sheets in had the symbols from Ghost in the Machine scribbled on them.

When Synchronicity came out it was such a shift in my thinking that I can barley quantify it.  From this I read Jung, which would lead to degrees in psychology (undergrad and graduate). I read Lolita (thanks to "Don't Stand So Close to Me") which lead me to read other literary greats.
(Seriously. Read Lolita. It's dark, messed up, and brilliant.)
When I got married the song playing "for me" was Sting's "Fields of Gold".

So yeah. I am a fan.
Plus he went to St Cuthbert's Grammar School, so how could I *not* associate him with D&D?

But there are a lot of good songs I associate with gaming.

Back when I was working on the Buffy RPG we were working on a series of linked adventures about a Djinn.  The first few appeared the core books and my adventure "The Dark Druid" was supposed to be Episode 1.  It never quite came together for the reasons these things don't but I wrote a lot for it.  Some of those adventures later became part of "The Dragon and the Phoenix" and "Season of the Witch".

"Desert Rose" from Mercury Falling was one of many songs I listened to then to get me in the mood.  This video represents that crossover.  In both the Djinn arc and Season of the Witch the characters have to find their answers in the desert in the adventure Desert Rose.  Plus I love the bits from Algerian Raï singer Cheb Mami.  Sounds so cool.   Plus is that the same driver from the Duran Duran video "The Chauffeur"? (no I know it's not...but I imprinted in the 80s).




Often with me music will inspire some idea, plot or character.  Sting's "Shape of my Heart" from Ten Summoner's Tales is not his most upbeat song.  I remember listening to it and thinking of a man who was a gambler decided to deal with fate. He became the instrument of fate, loosing his eyes in the process and everyone he loved.  He knows that the fortunes he deals for others are just as much about him and one day he will find what he lost.  That character became The Dealer and he can be found in Halfway.




The Soul Cages might be Stings best sounding album from a audiophile perspective, though I also like the vinyl version of Dream of the Blue Turtles.  It is also (naturally) a dark album.  Lots to do with death and transitions and how fathers die and sons become fathers in turn.  Nothing lays the pathos bare better than the song of the same name, "The Soul Cages".  I always considered this a "Ravenloft" album.




What do Zenyatta Mondatta, Dream of the Blue Turtles and Bring on the Night all have in common?  All have a slightly different version of Sting's own "Shadows in the Rain".  The later, jazzy versions don't share the darker edge of the 1980 Police version, but all are still good.  This song also was the inspiration for a rather pivotal episode in both the Buffy Djinn arc and later in the Dragon and the Phoenix.





Anytime I want to get in the mood for some Celtic-themed gaming you can do worse than listening to the Chieftains.  The Chieftains and Sting together is something rather special.  Having them sing "Mo Ghile Mear" is fantastic.  I swear I can hear Éire herself singing.




Speaking of hearing Éire.   Going back to Ghost in the Machine for a bit, the Police's "Invisible Sun" has haunted me for years.  I have wanted to use the imagery from this song for years.  It was one of the many influences on my Ghosts of Albion adventure Blight.  It is a main part of my current D&D 5 game, Come Endless Darkness.   I like the Ghost version best, but here is an extremely gratuitous version with Sting and Bono.  No one chews up a stage like Bono.


Happy Birthday Sting!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Long Live the Queen!

Not really 100% yet, but I am sitting here at home reading through some witch material for Strange Brew. Which also has me thinking of my War of the Witch Queens adventures.

So I think then is a very good night for one of my favorite groups ever.  Queen!

Queen might not be the first band you think of when you think about RPGs, but I played the hell out my Queen tapes back in the day.  So lets start with some good game-mood setting songs.

Not a lot of talk tonight. Just music.

Since this is a Queen mix I always begin with "Let Me Entertain You" from Jazz.



Here is "Dragon Attack" from their first 80s album, The Game.
Ok I am pretty sure the song is about heroin and not actual dragons.




"Ogre Battle" was always one of those songs that painted a very cool picture for me.  So much so that when it came time to do an epic battle in my game the army was full of ogres.  From 1974's Queen II. If you really want some music, listen to the first three Queen albums.  Freddie was a lyrical god.




From the same Album is the short, but mystical, "Seven Seas of Rhye".  Both songs were later sampled on Queen's own The Works album 10 years later.




Speaking of The Works, one of the best songs on the album is "Hammer to Fall".  Played at the first Live Aid nobody had ever heard it before and Freddie got everyone to sing along.  That's showmanship.




A Kind of Magic might have been one of their biggest albums.  At least in terms of over the top theatrics.  "Princes of the Universe" was something a of D&D anthem or least for our characters.  Yes, this is the song from Highlander.




"I Want it All" is another anthem from a now dying Freddie. I am not trying to be maudlin here, Freddie's death really shook me.  Another "character" anthem it is easy to relate to the "adventure seeker, on an empty street."  From The Miracle or as friends of mine working at EMI at the time used to say "it will be a miracle if it sells".




The connection to gaming and this next song is thin at best.  But I don't care. The album Innuendo was Freddie's good-bye to us all. Who else gets to write their own Requiem?   The title track is epic as anything he ever wrote in the 70s or the 80s.  Musically it is the flip side of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and it is as good as a send of as anyone should hope for.   Plus a ground breaking video from a bad that HATED doing videos.  You can see clips from previous videos in this one as well.



Long live the Queen!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Fall into Autumn

The first day of Autumn is Wednesday Sept. 23. Though the first day of Meteorological Autumn was Sept. 1 and Labor Day, the unofficial start of Fall (what we call Autumn in the US) was Sept. 7.

So however you look at it, Autumn is in the air.
I love Fall/Autumn.  I am still wired so much into the academic calendar to feel like Autumn is the start of a new year.

So here are some songs celebrating Fall and the end of Summer.

Was there ever a song more about September than Earth, Wind & Fire's "September"?  Do you remember the 21st of September?




I will admit, I liked Green Day back in the day, but right around the time American Idiot came out I had kinda out grew them.  Still this is not a bad song.  This is not the 8 min long minin movie version.




And the summer became the fall, I was not ready for the winter.

I have posted Stevie before.  This is a triple rarity.  This was a song on "Solid Gold" that was not lipsynched. It is also a video that was never as far as I know ever shown on Friday Night Videos. Also it featured a very strong performance from Stevie's own sister in law Lori Nicks. Lori sang the chorus here, but on the album Stevie sang both parts.  I really like Lori's voice and love it when she sings duets with Stevie.
Here is Stevie Nicks, the White Witch of Rock & Roll, with "Nightbird" from The Wild Heart.



I talked about John Cougar Mellencamp a while back.  Growing up in the Midwest Fall also means Harvest. Well....it means that everywhere, but just as my rhythms as an academic are defined by the school year, the harvest is very much part of the world I grew up in.
Plus it is great fucking song from a great album.



I have said it before, but Led Zeppelin is pretty much AD&D in music form. OR is that AD&D is Led Zeppelin in RPG form?  "Ramble On" from Led Zeppelin II is one of those songs that just cements this idea.  Part ballad, part metal, it could be a song about an adventurer "mine's a tale that can't be told" complete with Tolkien references.





Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" was just one of those songs that was always on the radio the Summer of 1985 and it was the perfect song for that time too.  Building the Perfect Beast was a fantastic album, but I will talk about it another time.
Here is the Atari's version.  I have actually seen a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac.




AND just because today is Casandra Petersen's aka Elvira, The Mistress of the Dark's birthday today.
Yeah....I did actually listen to this song when came out.  You can't judge me.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Sojourn in Hell, Part 2

A while back I posted some songs to a "mix tape" I was calling "A Sojourn in Hell".
One of the things I didn't mention in the first post is how the collection of songs got together.

On September 10, 2001 I was working at my dream job at a dot com.  Yeah I'll admit it, I was making a ton of cash. It was the near the end of the Clinton economy and we were rolling investment capital.  And then the bottom dropped out and the dot com crash happened.  I was laid off and went home for lunch.

A year before I picked up the D&D 3.0 Player's Handbook, so I thought I would sit down and finish up my new 3.0 witch book, Liber Mysterium.  Napster had just died and had a ton of MP3s.

Then I sat at home the next day, September 11, 2001 and watched TV in horror.
What began, for various reasons that I will get into on a later date (if at all) my own Sojourn in Hell.

Today I can listen to these songs and they now mean something else to me.  They represent part of my life where I was deep into writing gaming material and producing it at a rate I have not matched.

One of the videos I loved the best in the early days of MTV was Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey". The video was legitimately creepy and Gabriel was the only one who seemed to know how to use this new medium.  The Nu-Metal band Coal Chamber teamed up with Ozzy "Prince of Darkness" Osbourne to do a cover of this song.  It's good but lacks something the original had. Still though I really enjoy it.




For reasons I am not entirely sure of myself I really enjoy Eminem.  It's a guilty pleasure.  Kinda like listening to Spice Girls...er wait. Maybe not.  But the deal with Marshal is he is actually pretty damned talented.  This song has nothing to do with me getting laid off. Nothing. Really.
Plus I have to admit that Dr. Dre looking over to Eminem like he is an idiot throughout this video is great.




I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down
no fault, none to blame it doesn't mean I don't desire to
point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over.

Tool is the thinking person's dark metal. Lateralus should go down in history with such albums as "The Wall". "Schism" is another song that spoke to me a lot during this time.




There is a rumor/story that when Trent Reznor first heard Johnny Cash's cover his song "Hurt" he was silent for a few minutes and then said "yeah. That's what I meant."  You would have a very difficult time convincing me that Cash's version is not the TRUE version.  Much like "All Along the Watchtower" is Jimi Hendrix's song and not Bob Dylan's, despite what the liner notes say.
This is, as my brother Dan says, like watching an old man slowly die before your eyes.




"Tales of Brave Ulysses" seems the odd one out here, but not really if you consider the feel I was going for in the books I working on then.  I guess to say it makes sense to me.




Deep Purple was always one of those bands I felt that people either got or they didn't. A little like Uriah Heep. "Hush" is notable for being the first song to go into the "Sojourn in Hell" folder on my old Gateway.



I wanted to end the collection on an upbeat note.  I figure I could do worse than the Wiseguys "Start the Commotion".


Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Iron Maiden, Part 2

A while back I put up a bunch of Iron Maiden videos.

I figured since they have a new video, album and tour coming up it was time for that Part 2.

They cool thing about Maiden having new material out is the number of people that I have seen excited about it.  The cross-over with the people that I know who are all old-school gamers is both a little expected and cool at the same time.

Plus I am planning on some Amazing Adventures this weekend and Iron Maiden IS the official band of Amazing Adventures.  Ok, not really. But they should be.

Let's start off with their newest "Speed of Light". The video is an homage to all sorts of video games and styles from the last 4 decades. Even if you don't like Maiden this is a cool video.




"Run to the Hills" is one of my favorite Maiden songs. Another great from Maiden's golden age of Number of the Beast.  I have not seen this particular video for it before.




"Holy Smoke" is a fun video. Plus it is a great message that rang pretty clear to a young atheist.  From No Prayer for the Dying.




1984.  We played D&D while outside the world inched closer and closer to nuclear armageddon.  Maiden knew this even while tried to ignore it.  "2 Minutes to Midnight" from Powerslave reminded us everytime we played it.




Ever play a fighter? Ever play one in 1983? I bet this song came up at least one or twice. "The Trooper" from Piece of Mind.




I mentioned it last time but "Wasted Years" is one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs.  So imagine my delight when I find an all girl cover band The Iron Maidens doing a killer cover of Wasted Years.
Irons Up ladies, cause you fucking rock!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Haunted House

I have always had this reoccurring nightmare of haunted house.
I love horror of course but this dream was quite the horror story.

Over the years I come to call it my "Very Haunted House".

Of course I had to turn it into adventure.  So I am running it for the first time tomorrow!

Here are some musical inspiration for the adventure.  No. I am not going to play Ghostbusters or Thriller.

I have mentioned many times about how much I enjoy the music of Eric Burdon and the Animals.  "House of the Rising Sun" is top of my list of not just Animals songs, but all songs.  I have featured it many times in many adventures.




Back in High School and College Genesis was a big deal.  Not the Peter Gabriel version, but the later pop friendly Phil Collins version.  "Home By the Sea" is about a house full of ghosts.  It maid it's way into "Ghosts of Albion: Blight" and now in my new adventure too.




Growing up in the midwest in the 80s it was not possible to turn on the radio and not hear the Eagles.  "Hotel California" is not their best song. It's not even a great song. But it is ubiquitous and it is evocative of Hell.  Thus it always stuck with me.




Too Much Joy was the ultimate College band when I was in Grad School.  They are fun, they sing about things that college guys like, namely drinking, girls, drugs and girls.  "Sort of Haunted House" is not a song about a real haunted house. It's about a breakup, but when I was having this nightmare this was the song that was always on.  BTW I am sure the nightmare was stress related due to defending my thesis, breaking up with my crazy ex girl friend, moving up with my new girlfriend.  So in a way it fits.  Plus like my haunted house this one has a "ghost in every room".  One of many great hits of the critically ignored Munity.




I don't have a lot to say about Rockwell.  His "Somebody's Watching Me" makes for a crazy paranoid one hit wonder.  Notable because Michael Jackson sang backup on the track.  But the video is properly creepy and that's a plus.




"Shadows of the Night" by Pat Benatar from her wildly popular Get Nervous album is not about ghosts.  But don't tell that to my 12 year old self listening to it while rereading the Cook/Marsh Expert book.  Shadows of the night were real shadows, as in the monster that could be turned in AD&D but not in D&D.  For years I have always wanted to use this song.  So this adventure reintroduces a similar monster, the Memento Mori.




Another song that featured prominently in Ghosts of Albion: Blight is the ethereal voice of Loreena McKennitt.  "The Old Ways" features a woman and her evening spent with a ghost, or maybe it was an old druid.  Either way a gulf of time separates them.  From the haunting The Visit.




Happy Hauntings.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Carlos Santana

Whenever I put on music to either get my creativity flowing for writing or game or just just mind in the right spot, I usually have themes. Typically this is things like metal or Iron Maiden for D&D. Classic rock or newer hiphop for modern supernatural games.  70s hard rock for other games and so on.

But one performer/band comes through for me for nearly everything.  That is Carlos Santana.

Santana, either as a solo act, part of the Santana Brothers or with his band Santana, always has such a sound.  Yeah it is latin, but it also classic rock and 80s and new millennium ... well for a lack of better word, groove.   Listening to Santana is like driving at night, the world is familiar, but also very, very different.  Santana has had nearly 50 year career, I am going to focus on the songs that most people know...and the ones that have videoes of course.

Let's get into it!

"Evil Ways" was one of Santana's earliest hits. From his self titled album Santana, it's about what all good Santana songs are about, a woman.   Here is his career making turn at Woodstock.




Abraxas, Santana's 2nd album, might be one of the best albums ever recorded.  Certainly in my own top 25.  If I want to write about magic and just get into the right mood then I put on Abraxas. This album gave us the hits "Black Magic Woman" and one of my favorites "Oye Como Va".






The  bulk of his 70s catalog is very jazz-inspired and cool, but not what I need when I want a little darkness.   The next album of Santana's I really enjoyed was the double album Moonflower.  In truth this is where I first heard Black Magic Woman as a live song.  But the stand out song for me was a cover of an old Zombies song "She's Not There". Again, Santana is at his best when playing or singing about a woman.




Shangó is another one of those career changing albums for Santana. I listened to this album so many times in Jr. High.  In fact it was playing around the exact time I was first playing D&D.   "Hold On" is another song about a woman, but also about a particular time and place.  This song always reminds me that "Now" will never happen again.




Supernatural became Santana's next biggest album and one of the biggest of his career. It was also one of the albums I had playing on constant rotation while working on the d20 version of the my Witch book and then later Buffy and Angel.   "Smooth" was just one of those songs that pulls you right in.  Plus it features a then somewhat unknown actress Rosario Dawson.



"Put Your Lights On" written by and featuring Everlast was actually the first song I heard from the album.  I was a big fan of House of Pain in college so this was a nice a little treat.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Supernatural Collection

So my family and I binge watched Supernatural this past summer.  And by binge watched I mean just that. Nine Season on DVD/Blu-Ray all summer long.

I watched the show when it first came out but it freaked my wife out.  I kept up with it on my own for a bit, but that is hard to sustain really.  I followed the fandom more than the show itself after that. Had the RPG, sold it for something like $100 later on. Wish I had kept it though.

So my sister is really into the show and she let us borrow her season DVDs.  Well the rest was history.  My youngest loves it. Around Season 3 my wife REALLY got into it. Around Season 5 my oldest did too.  IT became our Summer Friday nights really.  Order pizza, watch Supernatural till past 11.  We only stopped for Gen Con.

Of course one of the best features of Supernatural is not just the good writing and characters that are likable and relatable, but also the music.

Sam: ...I swear man; you gotta update your cassette tape collection.
Dean: Why?
Sam: Well for one they are cassette tapes, and two— (Pulls out a few cassette tapes) Black Sabbath? Motorhead? Metallica? It’s the greatest hits of mullet rock.
Dean: (Grabs a cassette from Sam and pops it in the player) House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole.

I can totally relate. Growing up on a steady diet of metal and classic rock it was what growing up in the midwest meant.  I know my wife and kids don't get that part like I do, but that is fine.  Besides my kids love the music.

The best thing?  The music of Supernatural already plays like my "Greatest Hits" anyway!

If I ever get around running Chill again each adventure/episode is going to be named for a different classic rock song and I'll play it before we play.  Cheesy? Maybe. But I like cheese.

AC/DC are pretty much the go-to band when one mentions classic rock, Supernatural and even gaming.  Back in the 80s when D&D was getting a bad rap, AC/DC was right there with us.
"Back in Black" was featured in the pilot episode and is appropriate for the storyline.  From the album of the same name it debuted in 1980 and was the first to feature new lead singer Brian Johnson.  In fact can usually tell the age of an AC/DC fan by whether or not they still refer to Brian Johnson as "new".




Rush has enough street cred with gamers that there is little need anymore for me to give my reasons for posting this.  But "Fly By Night" also from an album of the same name, has a little bit more than average.  It was featured in the Episode 2 of Season 1 of Supernatural. Ok. It was featured in episode 2 of the Dead Alewives skit on D&D with an elf singing "Fly by Night" while carrying Mt. Dew.
Flyby Night was also the song I was listening too in the weekend I had my very first overnight D&D session in 8th grade.  I also listened to it when I wrote the very first draft of the witch.




Another group that barely need justification is Blue Öyster Cult.  Many songs from BÖC have been a part of Supernatural, my gaming and geekdom in general.  I could go on and on about the level of importance that "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" has had to my games, but that song has not been in the show yet.  One song though stands out both in terms of Supernatural and in my gaming life.
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was one of the first songs I ever heard from BÖC and band I associated with D&D from the earliest days.  It was also featured in Supernatural as a "theme" song for the Reapers, Angels of Death and psychopomps for souls.




CCR might not come to mind right away when thinking about RPGs or D&D but they are a staple of classic rock.  "Bad Moon Rising" has been used by me in any game that has a werewolf in it and I am certain I am not alone.  This song bridged Season 1 to Season 2.




"Hammer of the Gods...Valhalla I am coming..."  Was there ever a more D&D song than this?  Well...maybe "No Quarter", but either way it is Led Zeppelin. "Immigrant Song" has been played here before, buy like I said, just like the original Friday Night Videos, there will be repeats.




There are a lot of reason why Def Leppard needs to be included in this rather august group.  First, "Rock of Ages" was played in a very pivotal scene in Season 5 (and also in season 1).  Also Def Leppard was ALWAYS on MTV back in the days where we played D&D with MTV on in the background, hopping to get that one Iron Maiden song.  But also, and lets be honest.  Watch the video.  It's obvious they had no clue what the hell they were doing but who cares. Big swords. Big hair. Filmed in dungeon. Hooded cultists. A maiden playing chess with death.  This might not be the most 80s video out there.  But it is up there.




I don't recall if a Motörhead song actually appeared in the show or not.  I know Dean (or maybe Sam) used the alias of "Lemmy Kilmister"  but fuck it. Here is "Ace Of Spades".




"Carry on Wayward Son".  This song has been with me for so long.  I mentioned before I first heard it when I saw the movie Heroes, the Henry Winkler and Sally Field one.  Supernatural has really made this song their own.  This will feature in the season finale of what ever supernatural-like game I run.



Have not seen Season 10 yet.  Waiting for the Blu-Rays.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Happy Birthday Paul Dini and Larry Elmore!

Today is the birthday of writer and producer Paul Dini!

If you spend anytime here at the Other Side you know I am a fan of Paul's work going all the way back to his days on "Masters of the Universe".

This week also saw the birthday of TSR Uber-artist Larry Elmore.  The man has made a career on drawing dark haired witchy women. He even talks about it here; "I've sort of been plagued with the image of a dark-haired, woodsy kind of woman - a witchy woman. She's always been on my mind, starting when I was about 22 or something. That's why I do a lot of witchy looking women"

So to celebrate the birthdays of the only people I know who likes magic girls and witches more than me.

We learn in Power Girl #23 that Zatanna's ring tone is "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the Police.  Quite appropriate I think. Especially since the very first Zatanna I ever did was titled "Zatanna, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic".  This is one of my favorite songs from Ghost in the Machine.




Steve Miller's "Abracadbra" is one of those songs that remind me of witches in general, but Zee in particular. I can't help but think that this song plays when Paul is writing or Larry is painting.




Zatanna meet Santana.   No relation.  But I am sure "Black Magic Woman" is not directed at you.  Interesting note, this song was actually an early Fleetwood Mac song.  This song appears on Santana's album Abraxas; the demon of magic and where we get the word Abrabcadbra.




Speaking of Witchy Women, no one describes them better than The Eagles.  Raven hair, Ruby lips. Sparks fly from her finger tips?  Yeah. That's my girl. Or Paul's. Or Larry's.




America is like the least Goth band on the planet.  Maybe only the Beach Boys are less dark.
But I love "You Can Do Magic".  Yet another song about a witchy woman.




No one really remembers Classic IV, but I do and their "Spooky".  Love a spooky girl..




Paul Dinin is not just known for his magic girls. In fact his biggest contribution to DC comics might be Harley Quinn. I could go on about her, but here is a video featuring Arleen Sorkin, the voice of Harley and the genesis of Harley Quinn.




Happy Birthday gentlemen!!
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