Scarfin’ It With The Armpit 3: “Authentic” Jersey Cuisine

Jersey Grub Truck

Eating in a Thai restaurant with nondescript decor and being served by a teen aged white kid with those huge black circular gauged earrings stretching his earlobes doesn’t make for an authentic Thai experience. Even restaurants in the world showcase in Epcot center employee waiters and chefs from the countries that they recreate. But what makes food authentic? Is it the way the food is prepared, where you eat it, who it’s served by, or all of the above?

Today I’m going to give you directions on how to make authentic Jersey grub. First, grow a five o’clock shadow, grab a cigarette, gain about 30 lbs and begin sweating. As the stereotypes dictate, this is a cook at a Jersey diner. If the stereotypes continue, he only knows how to cook up a pork roll egg and cheese sandwich, or anything greasy that has peppers and onions slathered on top. Despite what many “foodies” (I’m sorry to all my foodie friends but I hate that term) will lead you to believe, Jersey doesn’t really have it’s own cuisine since we are lucky to have a huge mish mosh of everything there is to offer. Sure we have about a half a million diners in our state, but the majority of our signature meals are very basic and nothing to describe as “mouthwatering” or “savory.” That’s not to say that meals at our restaurants can’t be described that way, it’s just that many of them don’t actually serve the type of “Jersey Grub” that THE JERSEY GRUB TRUCK offers.

Started by a Jersey guy who moved to the west coast, The Jersey Grub Truck can be seen all around Los Angeles. We are known for our blueberries and cranberries, but the Jersey Grub Truck serves mostly fat sandwiches. For instance, an L.A Weekly post highlighted that one of the menu items is The Fat Jerz Sandwich, which is hamburger, egg, pork roll, and BBQ sauce. Is it the pork roll that makes it Jersey? Can you incorporate salt water taffy or pork roll into any meal to give it that Jersey zest? Wow, that’s a stretch. The Sexy Armpit has already glossed over New Brunswick’s fat sandwiches featured on Man vs. Food, and that is essentially what the Jersey Grub Truck serves. The Jersey Grub Truck stole the idea of The Grease Trucks and brought it to Hollywood. If there’s one thing that Jersey is NOT, it’s Hollywood, and if you have not left Jersey that is precisely the reason why. Not only are we on opposite sides of the country, but we lead extremely different lifestyles. Regardless of our differences, I’m glad there’s a little more of Jersey being spread around L.A!

To get “real” Jersey grub, you don’t need to sing “Born To Run,” while cooking or stop at a catering truck. For tips on the best Jersey cuisine check out Jersey Bites and also read Pete Genovese’s book, Food Lovers Guide to New Jersey. But the best way to find authentic Jersey cuisine is to discover it for yourself. Your best bet is heading down to that family owned neighborhood dive, it will surprise you.

You can friend The Jersey Grub Truck on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter.

Brittany Murphy is December’s Garden State Playmate

Brittany Murphy NJ

The Sexy Armpit was extremely saddened by the recent death of actress Brittany Murphy. Although she was born in Georgia, she grew up in Edison, New Jersey. Murphy attended Herbert Hoover School in Edison, NJ and the Verne Fowler School of Dance in Colonia, NJ. At only 32 years old, Murphy was too young to die, but thankfully she left us with many memorable performances which may only receive the credit they deserve now that she’s not with us anymore. Life is kind of f-cked up isn’t it?

Brittany Murphy NJ

Many of us remember Brittany Murphy as Tai in 1995’s Clueless, but prior to that she appeared in Drexell’s Class, an episode of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, as well as an appearance on Kids Incorporated among many other shows. Standout performances in Don’t Say a Word, 8 Mile, and Sin City finally helped garner Brittany Murphy some much deserved credit. You can say what you will about Just Married, but I saw it in the theater when it came out just based on her starring in it and I actually enjoyed it. She was dating her co-star Ashton Kutcher at the time and it definitely showed on screen. (Upon learning of her death, Kutcher tweeted “2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine…” and “see you on the other side kid.”) Since then Murphy continued acting in addition to lending her voice to Happy Feet, King of the Hill, and Futurama.


If you happened to see Abby Elliot do an impression of her on Saturday Night Live about a week before she passed away, then you know that Murphy was one of a kind and quirky. In many of her roles, Murphy evoked an innocent, loveable quality similar to Drew Barrymore’s demeanor while still being undeniably sexy. What’s most disappointing about her death, is that she won’t be able to celebrate the premiere of The Expendables, one of the most anticipated films of 2010, starring a who’s who of action stars. If the film is a success, her stock in Hollywood may have went up.


Back in 2005, everyone I knew was buzzing about how Brittany Murphy came back to Edison for the tree lighting ceremony and was given the key to the town. The article reporting her death also mentions this event.


New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.10: What NOT to Watch This Halloween: Dark Ride

I should’ve known that any movie the Sci-Fi Channel airs that’s not an established classic usually sucks ass. I wish I would’ve watched their presentation of After Dark Films 8 Films to Die For: Dark Ride (2006) before I unwittingly purchased the DVD.

I admit I was enticed by hearing that there was finally a horror movie about a Dark Ride. Who doesn’t love Dark Rides? If it was up to me, when you walk into my condo you’re automatically invited onto a boat and take a dark ride through the place. The only catch is that the only way to get around the condo is to take the dark ride. I’d wake up in the morning with my pajamas on and my eyes half shut and take the boat over to the bathroom. I’d do my thing, wash my face, and then hop on again over to the kitchen for breakfast as I narrowly escape some robotic monsters trying to kill me. What? It’s time to go to work? This boat is damn slow and we aren’t even passed the walking corpses and the Pinhead animatronic display! I hope I make it to the front door in time! I know, I know…keep my feet and hands in the ride at all times. Forget that, we can do it cartoon style and I wouldn’t even have to take a real shower anymore. I’d hop on the boat and have water jets and soap spray me down after I go through the Dr. Satan exhibit. Shit, I may as well make the upstairs into a fountain of youth ride. Anything’s possible in dark rides, except for making a good movie about them.


Now that’s acting!

Jamie Lynn Sigler was the real grabber for me in this one. I think her performance would’ve resonated more if she video conferenced all her scenes in from her bedroom at home. Her work on The Sopranos is masterful and glorious compared to the hack job she turned in on this film. What a mess! I’m usually a fan of really bad movies like this one, especially of the horror genre, but so much of this movie let me down. It seems like the casting folks on this film tried to get Sigler because of her eternal connection to her starring role as the daughter of a mob boss from New Jersey.

Now that’s acting!

Being a lifelong native of New Jersey, I was excited to see that the movie was based in Asbury Park. The dark ride itself was in a haunted house on the boardwalk. One dark and spooky night a bunch of “meddling kids” broke into the attraction to pull a prank on Jamie Lynn Sigler’s cheating boyfriend. But as it turns out, there’s a killer on the loose that lives inside the Dark Ride! How much more dull can we be here? The male stars are actually the better actors in the film and that isn’t saying much.

Now that’s acting!

Now that’s acting!

Oh, and if you thought I was too harsh on Sigler’s performance, you have no clue what you’re in for with David Clayton Rogers performance. Here’s another idiot that thinks he’ll get further in his career if he has 2 first names. This kid redefines that old addage “don’t quit your day job.” Before he decided to become an actor I heard he would sneak into public ladies rooms and steal the money out of tampon machines. What a dick! That money benefits autistic children, doesn’t he know that? Despitef his previous career as a complete loser, someone actually let him be an actor. The fact that Hollywood is still letting him practice this craft is completely beyond me. I hope and pray to the Gods of Film that I never have to witness an atrocity such as David Clayton Rogers ever again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish anything bad to happen to him, I just wish that he would realize he sucks and try his luck at another career. Isn’t there a Jack in the Box or a Carl’s Jr. you can work at?



OK, I feel like I’m being too harsh. Dark Ride does have some redeemable qualities but what stunk most about this film is that it could’ve been so much more. Being from Jersey, I was blessed with some of the best haunted houses and dark rides ever. Take Castle Dracula in Wildwood or the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure for instance would make great stories. Because of lame producers, filmmakers are constantly dumbing things down. This movie is not one that a fanboy, or an X-E fan would enjoy.

After feeling guilty that they didn’t film in Jersey,
they flew their film crew to quickly take some footage of Asbury Park and The Stone Pony
Why didn’t the producers hire Weird NJ to hop on as consultants? Let’s talk urban legends, local myths, etc. Any film about the Jersey Devil has sucked and now they’re sucking any coolness out of dark rides from Jersey as well! C’mon…The Jersey Shore used to be famous for it’s haunted houses! It’s interesting to note that the majority of this movie wasn’t even filmed in New Jersey, but in Los Angeles and at the Santa Monica Pier. That’s most likely because it’s so damn expensive to film in Jersey.

Horror Freak from Oregon on IMDB claims that he didn’t see the twist at the end coming at all. I think he may just be completely out of his mind. This was the most predictable movie, possibly as predictable as a Full House episode. I hate this movie so much, if I keep writing about it, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to blog again. So in an attempt to save my hobby from the clutches of the evil movie Dark Ride, my little boat ride stops here.

The Sexy Armpit’s Review of The CW’s 90210

I’ve admitted so much embarrassing stuff about myself on this blog that relaying my anticipation for the new 90210 rehash wouldn’t make things any worse. Earlier tonight the new 90210 hit the CW airwaves and it would be wrong if I didn’t share my thoughts on the show with you.

Sequels and spin offs have made entertainment their bitch. This 90210 redux could have easily been the CW’s new generic teen drama for the fall season, but with a few tweaks and script changes, presto changeo…we have 90210. Again. Obviously I’m not opposed to seeing the famed characters I grew up watching like Brenda and Kelly return. One might consider them milfs at this point but I’m pretty sure they were just thrown in to grab the old school viewers of the original series. For those who were on board in the ’90s, the show uses a new recording of the same theme song, Kelly has evolved organically into a guidance counselor, and Nat still runs the Peach Pit.

The Wilson’s are a family who have moved from Kansas to Beverly Hills so Dad (played by Silk Stalkings Rob Estes) could take a principal job. Puhlease! If the girls I knew in high school had been in school with a principal who looked like Estes they’d all be mastering the art of getting called into the principals office so they could play the naughty little school girl. It seems unrealistic to me, but this is Beverly Hills we’re dealing with. Rob Estes is married to Lori Loughlin who is a fine woman and I’ll leave it at that, I’ll keep my comments to myself since she’s still ignoring my calls. Loughlin is a bit stiff in this role and I’m hoping she’ll loosen up a little as the season unfolds. Let’s face it, no wife in her right mind would be as calm and collected as Lori Loughlin was after finding out the secret that her husband has a grown child from a previous relationship.

The family lives with Rob Estes’ mom, a former Hollywood actress played by Jessica Walter of Arrested Development. Her role isn’t that much different from that of Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. As Tabitha, she’s a Long Island Iced Tea lovin‘ grandmother. She loves to tell anecdotes about her days as an actress, specifically one about the time when Ricardo Montalbon cracked an egg on her ass.

Shenae Grimes plays Annie, the main character. She looks exactly how I’d picture the daughter of Estes and Loughlin to look so the casting was brilliant there. Annie isn’t the hottest chick ever so it’s more believable as she stands out from the rest of the girls in Beverly Hills, (you know the old adage that girls from Kansas can’t be as hot as those in California.) Coming from Kansas you’d think Annie’s mom would be just a little bit happy that she has adjusted at Barry Allen speed. But no! Let’s get all up in arms about our daughter meeting a rich guy and having him take her out to an expensive restaurant that happens to be far away in his own JET. That’s every mother’s dream and Loughlin is all angry about it. Come on Lori, stop being Rebecca! I wonder if she’d like it better if Annie wound up dating a creepy rapist?

There’s no badass guys like Steve Sanders or Dylan Mckay, but we do have Ethan the manwhore played by Dustin Milligan. He got head in his car even though he’s got a girlfriend, and he tried to make up for it by giving his girlfriend a limp rose. What an asshole! Milligan reminds me of a young John Travolta mixed with the pothead from Road Trip. And guess who plays his grandmother? Linda Gray, SUE ELLEN FROM DALLAS! Seeing that surprise was possibly the highlight of the entire 2 hour premiere. Anyway, I command you to bring back Ian Ziering or Luke Perry! Absent are the badass guys that I used to look up to like the Dylans of the world. These f’n new guys are all apologizing and emotional and in touch with their feelings! What happened to all the west coast assholes? Grow some balls 90210! We need some danger!

Gushing about this 90210 rehash is not what I’m here to do. I did have a few complaints. First, there were a few moments where the “California talk” was played up a little in the dialogue. These kids just moved from Kansas and you would never know it. They were from Kansas? If there’s a Beverly Hills in Kansas then I’d believe it! Yeah totally…to the max! Also, the show seems to be playing to a younger crowd than it’s predecessor. With shenanigans like copying book reports, not making the lacrosse team, and letting pigs loose onto the football field, I wonder what other kind of wacky Saved By The Bell hijinks will be happening in future episodes? Why not get Screech in on this while we’re at it? Hopefully the drama gets trumped up a little because there’s some stiff competition with shows like Gossip Girl. Might I say that The O.C blows all of these shows out of the water in terms of acting, and dialogue? Yes I might.

Apparently I don’t wish they all could be California girls anymore. It seemed like Brenda was thrown in as an afterthought even though she was pretty much the main character in the original series. In one scene of the premiere, call me crazy, but Brenda appears to have horrible teeth and long sideburns. And blogger extraordinaire Silver played by Jessica Stroup looks ridiculously emaciated. Can we get her an In and Out Burger or something? I thought girls in Southern California were smart enough to know that anorexia isn’t healthy nor cool? I could see it now…on a very special 90210…

Judging by the premiere, 90210 wasn’t so bad and I’m definitely going to give it a few more episodes to work out it’s kinks. But if the sound keeps cutting out on my Comcast HDTV I’m going to freaking blow the set top box up cause they f—ing suck ass. I love paying close to $200 bucks for shitty cable service. I should be swimming in the Wilson’s pool in Beverly Hills, that’s how good my cable service should be for that kind of money!

Lost Boys: The Tribe: Movie Sucks, Corey Feldman Wins, and Film References Galore!

“Better late than never” movie sequels seem to be the latest trend in Hollywood. In the past couple of years we’ve had to deal with sequels to movies like Rocky, and Indiana Jones, both of which were 15 years tardy. It’s not to say these films aren’t without merit. Personally I get excited when a film gets released after its franchise has been missing from theaters for close to a score. You can imagine the hefty amount of anticipation that builds up. What if the movie sucks after this huge gap of time? All that anticipation morphs together into one huge glowing energy ball and launches itself out of my stomach and rips right through the movie screen. Well, not exactly but it would actually be better if the ball traveled to the movie studios and knocked these stupid film producers right on their asses. They have no sense sometimes.

Did you ever think you were going to see a sequel to Better off Dead? Probably not, right? Well 23 years after the film was in theaters is a better time than any I’d say. Why not a sequel to The Secret of My Success (1987) while we’re at it? Or Real Genius? Any movie is fair game. The big wigs in Hollywood are so asinine that they think a lame unrelated sequel to an old school franchise is automatically going to be successful. That unfortunately isn’t the case and I’ll speak for the greater population while I say that we’d all like some new and refreshing plots and engaging films. Did you ever think of how scared movie producers are to invest their money? A smart way to sell them an original script is by saying they could package their movie as “Wes Craven Presents” or as “The Lost Boys: The Tribe” like today’s shameful example. The film was 21 years too late but lucky for us it only sucked about 90 minutes of our time away from our lives. Shit, I almost became a vampire by watching it because it sucked so much life out of me. Oh yeah…and it just sucked in general.

I’m a loyal fan of the first Lost Boys, and seeing it in theaters when it was released really had an impact on me. I would say that regardless of how many Universal horror films and Dracula movies I watched as a kid, that The Lost Boys started my fascination with vampires. That’s a heavy load to carry…a load that smells like Frog juice (for those of you with a wet bar: mix raw egg, garlic, and holy water).

Lost Boys: The Tribe was a lame excuse for a sequel. It basically just used the name “Lost Boys” and the character of Edgar Frog played by Corey Feldman. The rest of it is “The O.C meets The Lost Boys.” The characters, especially the villains, get killed off quickly and we don’t even get much of a chance to love them or hate them. The introduction of Edgar Frog seems uneven in the film. Personally I think the script was written as a typical vampire film and then reworked after the producers lured The Feldster back in the mix. Well who cares, as long as Corey Feldman is back! He’s the man in this film and the highlight of the entire movie. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun playing Edgar Frog again and it’s a damn shame that he doesn’t have, at the very least, the success of his Goonies counterpart Sean Astin.

Speaking of The Goonies, utter suckyness aside, Lost Boys the Tribe spent a lot of time referencing a bunch of films. The blatant references became ridiculous at times. It seemed like the filmmakers wanted to name drop movies to be cool with the hipsters. You know those people…the ones who latch onto things way too late but they think they discovered something new.

Here’s a list of movie references from Lost Boys: The Tribe

10:12 Yes, The Tribe references…wait for it…The Lost Boys! There’s a short montage reminiscent of one in the original where various “strange” people around town are shown. This guy is clearly supposed to represent how Tim Cappello’s (greased up sax player singing “I Still Believe”) character would look 20 years later. The Tribe only wishes they had something as cool as a greased up WWE looking sax player singing that badass song. It would’ve worked wonders. If The Tribe is a hideous zit, then greasy Tim Cappello is the Clearasil.

13:23 “…Yes leave our address at the creepy Texas Chainsaw Massacre trailer, it’s a good plan”
17:11 Besides Corey Feldman’s flawless performance, this reference is the films only saving grace: “You mean to say the two of you have never heard of The Goonies? You are in for a very serious treat.” Truer words were never spoken! Maybe 17 minutes into the film the DVD player actually just starts playing The Goonies instead and Lost Boys The Tribe was actually all a big joke! That’s marketing genius. Let’s sell more copies of The Goonies! I wonder if the same people who made Vice Versa and Trading Places feel like making “Edgar Frog meets Clark “Mouth” Devereaux?” If so then I’m offering to direct it.
18:48 “…ties the whole room together kinda like that rug in The Big Lebowski
1:00:39 You don’t get much more blatant than this: “Warriors! Come out to Play-ay!”
1:10:12 While it’s not really a movie, I had to throw it in: “That’s still something I can see on my Girls Gone Wild Box Set…”

All the movie references in the world wouldn’t have saved this piece of trash, even Haim’s bizarre appearance in an alternate ending. Please, someone important hire Corey Feldman so he can finally get his due! And get all of us who watched Lost Boys: The Tribe a mind wipe from that Haitian guy on Heroes so we won’t have to remember sitting through it.

The Batcut

Harry Potter has been a phenomenon with young kids and adults for years now, but does that mean people have been going to their local hair salon and asking for “The Potter?” Kid and Play and Vanilla Ice have had influence on trendy hairstyles but neither of them had the type of impact to make a guy do THIS:
Aside from Beatlemania, I doubt anything will ever be bigger than Batmania. I’m glad I was around for it. Sure, we’re all eagerly anticipating The Dark Knight’s release but the feeling is nowhere near the feeling that came over the world in 1989 when Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was released. It could have been that it was almost 20 years at that point since Batman was blasting onto the small screen. The Batman TV show was cancelled in 1968 and Tim Burton’s version didn’t hit theaters until 1989. It’s almost legendary how bad producers in Hollywood wanted to get a Batman movie going after the success of the Superman saga.

Like Tom Petty once said, “…the waiting is the hardest part” and I guess finally getting what we were waiting for made us do some pretty outrageous things like shaving bat symbols into our heads. It’s possible I might get reprimanded at my job if I pulled a stunt like this, so in honor of The Dark Knight’s release I’ll continue to obsessively write Batman related entries until the films release. Pictured above is a clip I scanned from my collection. It was printed in a local newspaper in ’89.

The Dark Knight Roller Coaster at Six Flags

Even though since my trip to Hollywood I’ve bashed the hell out of New Jersey, one cool thing we have that I’m looking forward to is the new indoor Dark Knight Roller Coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. I get a season pass each summer and I’m usually disappointed at the new attractions they feature each year. Hopefully this time around I’ll be in awe of all it’s batty goodness. For all you haters of the first Batman coaster aptly named “Batman: The Ride,” I actually enjoy it. Of course it’s no Superman the Ride, and it can’t hold a candle to my favorite coaster ever, NITRO. I’ll give my thoughts on The Dark Knight Coaster after I ride it but in the meantime, GEEKS OF DOOM, a site I enjoy, has an excellent post on the ride with video.

Goin’ Hollywood

From the swamps, fumes, toxic sludge, and the congestion of New Jersey, The Sexy Armpit flew all the way across the country to Los Angeles, California. Like alot of other kids I knew, I grew up with a bit of an inflated idea of Hollywood. As a kid, I pictured famous people everywhere, hot girls galore, and bright sunny days. Regardless of my love for the state I was born and raised in, Hollywood sits on a gold encrusted throne high above any other city I’ve ever visited. There’s a slew of reasons why this town offers so much more than just the random celebrity sightings. (Mena Suvari, Ian Ziering, and Rebecca Gayheart just to name a few) If you’re trying to keep up with “the scene,” then you know that everything in Hollywood IS based on you’re look. It seems like the only people there who aren’t beautiful are some of the tourists, excluding myself of course…ahem. joke. I looked like a mutant compared to some of the natives. Those hot, hot, natives. Even the f’n mannequins are hotter there.

The most minuscule details of life in Hollywood seem to make everything about my life in New Jersey seem meaningless. I’ve always complained that “nothing cool ever happens in Jersey.” Of course that’s a generalization but it’s mostly true. It’s a disservice to say that the only thing cool about Hollywood is that there are celebrities all over the place. Actually, celebrity sightings just added to the amazing times I had there. In fact I don’t know if I can say I’ve ever had that much fun doing anything in New Jersey. If I stood on one leg eating a leftover bowl of macaroni in the middle of a street in Jersey and then did the same thing on the Sunset Strip…something tells me that it would be about 250,000 times more fun on the Strip. Maybe it’s because it’s called “The Strip?” It’s no coincidence that The Strip is home to the illustrious gentleman’s clubs that Motley Crue’s Vince Neil shouted out in “Girls, Girls, Girls” like the Seventh Veil, and The Body Shop. I couldn’t believe I was walking past places that are mentioned in a song that I’ve sang along to about 4,000 times! Screw you, that was exciting to me.

North Jersey guido’s or Jocks who are still re-living their high school football memories need not even visit Hollywood because they won’t fit in. The freaks, the flamboyant, and the filthy rich create the city’s aura and keep it’s blood pumping. New York was always said to be the city that never sleeps but Hollywood is way more of a constant party. There’s always an after party, and you’re never at a loss to find somewhere else to go. The people of the town are way more sociable than the angry, uptight NY/NJ people. Being a lifelong Jersey native and a person whose hung out in New York more times than you can imagine, it’s a fact that we’re a cold, aggressive bunch of folks. Even with smog blocking the sun on some days, Hollywood keeps it’s positive, go getting, adventurous atmosphere. That atmosphere may be what fuels people to go there to follow their dreams. Whether it was playing in a band, or acting, everyone seemed to have talent and ambition to “make it.” Believe it or not, just going out and showing your face consistently gives you your own “fun size” sample of star power.

Going to New York to follow your dreams may only land you a job on Wall Street or at a corner store selling fruit, energy drinks, and flowers. New York City in comparison to Hollywood is nothing but business. Not too much fun to be had there in Manhattan. You like Opera? Show tunes? Working your ass off? Traffic and honking? Getting lost? Then Manhattan is the place for you. Hollywood is all about a laid back, party atmosphere and it looks like not much has changed there in quite a long time. We even stayed in the Hyatt, West Hollywood because of it’s rich rock history. Click the link for a great rundown of facts about the hotel at Wikipedia.

In any local establishment in NJ all you hear over their sound system is Rhianna, Leona Lewis, John Mayer etc. All I had to do was travel 3,000 miles and in every establishment, EVEN MEXICAN RESTAURANTS, you can hear a whole slew of ’80s rock. Everywhere I was I heard Motley, Guns, Van Halen, Poison, and Bon Jovi. Even though it was only a few days, it gave me hope that at least some place in the world still likes to ROCK! Jersey sure as hell doesn’t remember that one of it’s own stereotypes was BIG HAIR!

The rock music scene is still alive and flourishing. While there seems to be no place for rock in New Jersey, Hollywood wears their rock rags proudly. Whether you wear eyeliner or high heel boots, everything rock is accepted. In fact, all kinds of music get their fair share of stage time on the strip. New York and New Jersey are famous for certain venues but I guess I missed their golden age. Music venues in Asbury Park, Atlantic City, and Hoboken have become historic because of the artists that would frequently play there. Heck, even the Izod Center in East Rutherford and The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville constantly has huge concerts with all the big names. The problem is, they aren’t the type of places you go to just hang out and coincidentally catch an awesome band who might hit it huge in a few years. Regardless of the fact that Manhattan is home to the most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, as well as places like Roseland, Hammerstein, and the defunct CBGB’s, the good stuff takes a while to travel over to the East Coast. Perhaps it’s the vastness of the metropolitan area that hinders it from being as great as Hollywood. You can’t walk down a street and choose between 3 concert venues all featuring several solid acts. I can’t imagine how far it would be to walk from Starland Ballroom in Sayreville all the way to the Izod Center in East Rutherford. (According to mapquest it’s about 36 miles and it would take about 50 minutes depending on traffic…bummer) In Hollywood I can walk from the Viper Room to the Key Club, to the Roxy all in a matter of a few minutes. Venues like the Whiskey-a-Go-Go and all the clubs on the strip are legendary for the great bands and artists that have played there. When you visit the Jersey Shore, you can hit up Jenkinson’s and check out a cover band, and then also check out Martell’s Tiki Bar and then…check out a cover band! Now don’t get me wrong I love cover bands but after you had the time in Hollywood that I did, Jersey pales in comparison.

In about 4 days here’s the rundown of all the bands I got to see, and it wasn’t even a festival! Check this out:
The Donnas 15th Anniversary show, a very intimate gathering for the Donnas hardcore fans, and family members. Wow, these girls have worked hard for 15 years already and they’re music and performances just keep getting stronger. Back in ’01 I got to interview Torry, (The Donnas drummer) for my radio show and finally got to meet her in person at this show. Their latest album Bitchin is a kick ass rock party album and is in stores now.

Vains of Jenna – I first heard about these Swedish guys a few years ago on Stevie Rachelle’s Metal Sludge site and I picked up their CD (which was released on Bam Margera’s record label) as soon as it came out. I’ve always been a fan of Swedish rock bands (like Dogpound) because the folks in Sweden eat, sleep, and bathe in rock and roll. They are so obsessed with it that they study rock music that was popular in the ’70s and ’80s in the U.S. You might ask, for a bunch of guys so serious about their craft how can they be bad? Unfortunately I was actually disappointed in the recording quality of “Lit Up, Let Down,” and there wasn’t that many tracks that blew me away. It just seemed like a bunch of guys doing throwback sleaze rock from the ’80s. WAS I WRONG! Have you ever heard the old adage that you have to experience a band live to make an accurate opinion on them? Remember how the first few KISS albums weren’t big sellers but after people started seeing their explosive, loud, rocking live show the band started to blow up. This is exactly how Veins of Jenna is going to do it. They played one blistering set of tunes that sounded almost completely separate from the tracks on the album. Their CD does not do them justice. They also threw in a cover of Tom Petty’s Refugee which was heavy and friggin‘ amazing.

I also got to check out The Atomic Punks – The Tribute to Early Van Halen with lead singer Ralph Saenz, who coincidentally is also the lead singer of STEEL PANTHER. For those who have been under a rock for the last 8 years or so, Steel Panther (formerly Danger Kitty, Metal Shop and Metal Skool) are rock’s reigning kings of the sunset strip. Their original brand of Hair Band Parody sells out every Monday night. They play ’80s hair metal from Bon Jovi to Poison and always throw in one of their original comedy rock songs like “Death to All But Metal” or “Fat Girl.” Celebs are known to show up and sing with them from time to time like Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Simpson, and Pink. I was lucky to see Matt Sorum introduce the band, Scott Ian from Anthrax join them onstage, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, and Whitfield Crane formerly of Ugly Kid Joe/Another Animal.

Some of the other amazing bands I saw during my stay in Hollywood: Franki’s Broken Toys (Franki Doll=great frontwoman), Mack Winston and the Reflections,(original, pretty damn mesmerizing music) The Binges (BEST band I’ve heard in years) and the hard driving Bullets and Octane. And more! I don’t think a feat this cool could ever be accomplished in NY/NJ or for that matter, anywhere on the east coast. There’s always a band to discover there before it makes it’s way east. I originally intended the name of this site to embrace the good stuff Jersey offered but, man, I’m not far away from making it all about how it’s so not as cool as Hollywood. But really…not many places are.