Author Archives: Doug Brumley

Doug Brumley

About Doug Brumley

Don’t be too jealous, fellas, but freelance writer and editor Doug Brumley has been paid to play video games, he’s lived and traveled with a popular pop-rock band, he’s worked for an NHL franchise and he brews beer. (You can follow his pursuits of the latter at his blog, FledglingBrewer.com.) A longtime Nashvillian who's passionate about music and film, Doug is also a caring husband and father—unless there’s hockey on TV.

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“On the Cover of the Rolling Stone”: Magazines in Music

playlist_rollingstone_300.jpgHow are magazines playing an informative, entertaining role in the world of music? Check out our playlist of songs inspired by magazines.

Music is certainly well represented in the magazine world. But how about the reverse? How are magazines–those publications that can play such an informative, entertaining role in our lives–represented in the world of music?

Quite well, in fact. A search of lyrics on the website songmeanings.net brings up 50 pages–nearly 1,000 songs–that mention the word “magazine” in some manner. There was even a band named Magazine, an influence on the likes of Radiohead, Morrissey and U2.

If you’re looking to stock up your iPod with some magazine-related tunes, the following list–by no means comprehensive, nor intended to be–will get you off to a solid start.

“Vogue” by Madonna (1990)
The Material Girl not only name-checks (indirectly) one of fashion’s most recognized magazines in this song’s title, she also confirms just how important magazine covers are as taste-makers and definers of beauty.

Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Dietrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

“Cover of the Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show (1972)
Songwriter Shel Silverstein took a lighthearted shot at the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle–the groupies, the drugs, the limos and more–in the verses of this song while simultaneously celebrating what most musicians would see as career peak in the catchy chorus:

Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Incidentally, the song’s performers, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, were featured on Rolling Stone magazine‘s cover on March 29, 1973, a few months after the song’s release. Country legend Buck Owens recorded a re-worked version in 1974 titled “On the Cover of the Music City News.”

“Billionaire” by Travie McCoy (2010)
This reggae-styled pop/rap track has recently been making a name for itself on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 and Pop charts. A parental advisory warning is in order for a few F-bombs and more, but no one can deny McCoy’s logic that you’ve truly reached billionaire status when you’re “on the cover of Forbes magazine / Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”

“Cover of a Magazine” by Deana Carter (2003)
This country artist, who had a runaway hit with “Strawberry Wine,” tackles a variety of magazine-related subjects in this song: body image, advertising and consumerism, and what magazines are best at–escapism (“For $2.99 you get to sink your hooks / In the lives of heroes, in the lives of crooks”). Yet the ultimate goal remains being a glamorous cover model herself.

“Centerfold” by J. Geils Band (1981)
“I’ll Wait” by Van Halen (1984)
“Cover Girl” by Cheap Trick (1985)

This rock ‘n’ roll triumvirate of prurient obsession with female magazine models offers insight into what was on guys’ minds in the early ’80s–and just about every other time period before and since. J. Geils Band best sums up the stereotypical male’s powerlessness against the draw of certain come-hither covers at the newsstand: “Oh no, I can’t deny it / Oh yeah, I guess I gotta buy it!”

“The Girl on the Magazine Cover” by Richard Beavers (1948)
This oldie, written by celebrated composer Irving Berlin and sung by Richard Beavers in Berlin’s 1948 musical “Easter Parade”–starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire–is essentially the G-rated, gentlemanly version of Cheap Trick’s “Cover Girl.” Somehow I doubt Berlin’s line “It seems they painted her just for me” packed the same punch in its heyday as Cheap Trick’s “Biting her lips, shaking her hips / You know she looked so fine” did in ’85.

“In This Skin” by Jessica Simpson (2003)
Serving as an antidote and response to the ogling, scrutinizing nature of the previous four tracks, this cathartic song showcases Simpson trying to learn to be happy with herself, ultimately ignoring the expectations and pressures imposed by others.

They see me in a magazine
I’m the one they want to be
Still don’t feel I’m good enough
Still don’t feel I’m thin enough

“Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John (1973)
Featuring what is easily the most famous four-syllable pronunciation of “magazine” (MAG-uh-zah-EEN), this enduring hit includes a discussion among friends who become hip to a new female-fronted musical act (and attitude) through word-of-mouth and magazine coverage.

Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful
Oh Bennie she’s really keen
She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine

“The Way We Get By” by Spoon (2002)
This superb rock tale of disaffected youth confirms, like “Bennie and the Jets,” the role of magazines as a herald of new trends: “We found a new kind of dance in a magazine / Tried it out, it’s like nothing you ever seen.”

“A Magazine Called Sunset” by Wilco (2003)
In a testament to the power of magazines, like music, to become intertwined with memories and emotions, the band Wilco taps into the spirit of a publication that captures the inspiration and imagery of the Western United States: Sunset magazine.

There’s a magazine called Sunset
And a tape machine that won’t let
Me ever forget this impossible longing for you

Have a favorite magazine-related song that didn’t make this list? Let us know about it in the comment section below.

 

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Selena Gomez Discusses Leaving “Wizards of Waverly Place,” Loving Bieber in June/July Teen Vogue

teen_vogue_magazine_subscription_june-july2011.jpgAfter six months of hiding her relationship with teen heartthrob Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez is ready to admit she’s in love. The “Wizards of Waverly Place” star is talking with Teen Vogue about love, heartbreak, and life after a “Disney high.”

Walking away from a successful Disney sitcom is bittersweet. She tells the magazine, “It’s like starting over. I was trying to explain it to one of my friends, and he was like, ‘You’ll be fine. People believe in you.’ ”

Still, Gomez is realistic about the immediate future of her career. “When they’re putting together a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, I don’t think they’re going to go, ‘Selena Gomez would be great for this!’ I’m not an option,” she says. “It’s humbling, having to go from this Disney high back down to having to fight for roles.”

One thing she doesn’t have to fight for is the love of one Justin Bieber. She confides, “At this moment in my life, I’m at a point where I want to be in love, to give my all and fall head over heels.”

But teens around the world need not worry (or send death threats via Twitter). Gomez is quick to add, “I’m 18. I’m not going to marry anybody I’m with, and I know that.” So, Bieber is technically still up for grabs.

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Open Sesame: DRAFT Magazine’s Packed Holiday Issue Includes a Simple, Practical Helper

draft_bottleopener.jpgThe November/December 2010 issue of DRAFT magazine is packed with everything you’d expect from a holiday issue covering the world of beer. There’s the cover story on the year’s top 25 beers; 12 breweries to watch in 2011; recommended beer gifts for people ranging from the wine snob to “the relative you don’t really know”; beer/cookie pairings; travel stories; and much more. It’s a really well put together issue.

But for my money, the most practical article is also one of the shortest. Located two pages from the back of the issue, the Style department walks you through MacGyvering a bottle opener from a block of wood and a pan-head screw.

Sure, it may not win you as many bar bets as opening a beer bottle with a napkin, but there’s something rustically charming about this simple tool, which DRAFT says originates in Brazil’s dive bars and has the added bonus of not bending the caps it removes–a plus for those of us who collect cool bottle toppers for an amazing craft project to be determined later.

So this holiday season, when you’re stranded at that wine party thrown by your significant other’s friend–yeah, that friend–and you’re surrounded by obnoxious strangers and desperate for the comfort that only a good beer can provide, remember this post and how you should have taken five minutes to make the amazing Brazilian MacGyver stick as you ask the host if you can borrow a napkin.

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Good Grief: It’s the Little Things That Help Mourners Make It Through the Holidays

christmas_vacation_cover.jpgThere’s one thought running through my head right now as I stare at a blinking cursor on a blank computer document: Why the heck did I take an assignment to write about grieving through the holidays? What was I thinking? Where do I even begin?

In other words, I’m stuck.

For one thing, I’m a quiet, reserved guy–not the type that makes a habit of broadcasting my seasonal sadness across the Internet. Secondly, what makes me any kind of authority on the subject–well, aside from the fact that I still can’t make it through the movie “Christmas Vacation” because it reminds me too much of my dad. He passed away 13 years ago this November.

As it turns out, I’m stuck there too.

Last week a friend directed me to an article about coping with holiday grief in the December 2010 issue of Redbook magazine. In it, writer Meghan O’Rourke, whose mother passed away on Christmas Day 2008, quotes clinical psychologist Therese Rando, author of “How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies,” about the odds everyone is up against this time of year: “We have extraordinary expectations of the holidays, culturally–a Norman Rockwell image of family being together. These are unrealistic expectations even if you’re not bereaved.”

After reading through some magazines and searching the Internet, I’m finding that the solution to getting past my emotional block is similar–at least metaphorically–to that of surmounting my literary block (an obstacle I’ve triumphed over many times before): You’ve just got to open yourself up, not force anything, and consciously work through it a bit at a time.

Of course, such vague advice for emotional closure could use more specifics, hopefully something a little more significant than, “Try not to feel bad about feeling bad,” which I actually read in one online piece. (OK, I’m already feeling better about my qualifications for this article.) As you might expect, though, suggestions for healing are as varied as earth’s inhabitants. A coping mechanism that lifts one person’s spirits might send another into a downward spiral.

For example, while some of those who have lost loved ones will want to start new traditions, some will want to adhere strictly to old ones. The common thread that emerges, though, is not to shut down or suppress your emotions.

“It’s healthier to feel the sadness and loss than to detach yourself from it,” says licensed psychologist Susan Apollon, Ph.D., in a Dec. 2 article on the website selfhelpmagazine.com. “It’s right and normal to grieve; just don’t make it the dominant part of who you are.”

The key, it seems, is to make time to embrace the grief. Experience the occasional catharsis. Holding it in is only asking for trouble down the road. “You might even set aside an evening to get in touch with your grief,” Apollon says. “Fix the cocoa you used to drink with your mother or go through your photo albums.”

In the Redbook article, writer O’Rourke discusses baking an apple pie on
Thanksgiving using her late mom’s recipe, feeling “palpably connected
to her.” She recounts the story of another acquaintance who wears her
late mother’s gold charm bracelet to holiday parties and on Christmas
Day.

Such simple rituals are what Rondo and Apollon prescribe for getting some sort of handle on the grief, recasting it to allow mourners to eventually find pleasure–and maybe even joy–in the holiday season again.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an appointment with Mr. Clark W. Griswold.

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Spreading Holiday Cheers: Gift Ideas for Beer Lovers (and Fans of Other Strong Drinks)

beer_guide.jpgHave a beer lover in your life? Do him or her a big favor and don’t attempt to guess what kind of beer your picky imbiber might like as a holiday gift. Stick with a gift certificate to a nice draft bar or bottle shop, or better yet, accessorize!

There is no shortage of beer-related items these days and I’ve selected a few of my favorites, starting with glassware. True beer geeks know that drinking from a can or a bottle is a no-no; you’ve got to pour that aromatic goodness into a glass so your nose can get a whiff and accentuate the taste. There are many glassware options–each one most appropriate for a specific style of beer–but for a good everyday compromise I’d recommend the Samuel Adams Boston Lager pint glass. You’ve likely seen it featured in the brewery’s commercials, and unlike some innovations that are little more than marketing gimmicks (I’m looking at you, Miller Lite Vortex Bottle), this one delivers on its promises.

A solid complement to the Sam Adams glass is author Randy Mosher’s insightful book, “Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink.” After summarizing beer history, the brewing process, and the science of tasting, the book covers what to expect from different styles of beer and suggests food pairings.

book_tastingbeer.jpgArmed with a good tasting glass and Mosher’s helpful direction, your giftee might want a method of recording details of all the great beers he or she will now thoroughly explore. Here is where a small, innovative notebook called 33 Beers comes in handy. With room to document–you guessed it–33 beers, each pocket-sized book provides space for vital statistics and notes plus a clever “flavor wheel” that lets you create a taste snapshot of a beer by ranking terms like “sour,” “sweet,” “burnt,” and “hoppy.” And if you’ve got wine and coffee lovers on your shopping list, you’re in luck: 33 Wines and 33 Coffees books are available too.

Now let’s say–and this is strictly a hypothetical here–that you left behind a fist-sized hole in your friend’s bonus room drywall during the waning hours of his most recent “epic” beer party. If you have neither the money nor carpentry skills to patch the Sheetrock, a great looking beer-themed print could be just the solution. Measuring 18 by 24 inches, “The Very Many Varieties of Beer” poster designed by Pop Chart Lab details all the major styles of mankind’s favorite malted adult beverage in family-tree fashion. It also offers example brews for reference, and is way more entertaining to look at than Spackle.

rotorcaps.jpgIf you prefer to shop for beer art that’s wearable, look no further than Rotorcaps.com. This is the online store for Philadelphia artist Jen Roder, who fashions recycled bottle caps into cool cuff links and adorable pendants and earrings. Featured brands range from hip (Pabst Blue Ribbon) to obscure (various regional craft breweries). Still, you may want to caution the recipient against wearing these to his or her next job interview, just to be safe.

Of course, beer magazines are always solid gifting options–the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. For general beer news, culture, travel and recipes, go with All About Beer or DRAFT Magazine. The publication Brew Your Own, meanwhile, is perfect for anyone interested in making beer at home; it has regular features aimed at all skill levels.

For beer drinkers who give equal time to wine, spirits and coffee, Mutineer Magazine covers drinking culture and its intersection with pop culture–all through a prism of hipness that can be inviting or a little off-putting, depending on your perspective. To its credit, Mutineer did feature the coolest gift idea I’ve seen this holiday season (albeit not beer related): Teroforma whiskey stones that resemble sugar cubes and replace the need for ice in your drink. As the magazine’s gift guide says: “Whiskey should be enjoyed slowly and contemplatively. Ice, however, conspires against your plans…. The Vermont milled soapstone cubes don’t take away anything from the flavor of your beverage. They do, however, add awesomeness to your glass.”

Here’s hoping you and yours find lots of awesomeness in your glass this holiday season. Cheers!

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Beer and Reality TV Finally Hit It Off

draft_july-august2010.jpgAs my friends stuff their TiVo’s full of episodes of “Deadliest Catch,” “No Reservations,” “Chopped” and the like, my TiVo sits empty, its owner (that’s me) not yet having fully embraced any of these successful TV reality series presented by Discovery Channel, Travel Channel or Food Network.

“Three Sheets,” in which host Zane Lamprey travels the world to get drunk and subsequently cured of his hangover–all according to local traditions–is intriguing, but honestly Lamprey’s personality kind of rubs me the wrong way. The closest I’ve come to getting hooked is Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food,” in which host Adam Richman constantly pits himself against some of the biggest food challenges in the country (such as a race to finish 50 wings in 30 minutes in Boulder, Colo.).

Richman is a funny, likable guy on the show, and my respect for him grew when he showed up on the cover of my August 2010 issue of DRAFT magazine and I learned that he and I share a passion for craft beer. It turns out that Richman, a Brooklyn resident, grew up around beer: His grandfather was a successful beer distributor in the New York area. The Q-and-A interview touches on his toughest food challenge, some of his favorite bars around the country, how he pays close attention to his health (“You can’t do a show like this with a cavalier attitude,” he says), and why he doesn’t see a “Man vs. Beer” spinoff in his future.

All hope isn’t lost when it comes to beer and reality shows, though. It looks like Discovery Channel will finally start clogging up my TiVo–and maybe yours too–this fall when it launches “Brewed,” a new reality show featuring Sam Calagione, the charismatic founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. When I visited the Milton, Del., brewery last month for a tour given by Calagione himself, he stated that “Brewed” cameras had been following him since June.

For a preview of how compelling “Brewed” might be, check out the documentary film “Beer Wars.” It highlights the struggle between small, passionate craft breweries and the deep-pocketed corporations behind Budweiser, Coors Light and Miller Lite, and it features Calagione and his David-vs.-Goliath story prominently throughout.