16th Apr2006

Shakira Is Mesmerizing

by Will

“I should feel tremors of psychitude rock my body like a seizure. That was like a declawed pregnant cat on a porch swing idly swatting at a fly on a Sunday afternoon. Show me your psych!”

I swear, watching Shakira move is a religious experience. Whether she’s doing her “robot having a seizure” dance, or her “watch my boobies and hips move in differet directions” dance, I can’t look away. Nor do I want to. Come, Shakira…come take me back over the border with you!

06th Oct2005

Runaway – Hong Tat Tong (feat Will West)

by Will

“It’s so hard, to say goodbye…”

So, without much fanfare, I announce my retirement from the recording game. Sure, this doesn’t mean retirement from music, per se, but it does signal the end of the recording. I wouldn’t close the door on the possibility of a comeback, but for now I believe I will focus on other projects. I will continue to tour the country, possibly at a karaoke bar near you, but the recordings will cease for the foreseeable future.

With that, I leave you with my final track. It’s actually more of a “Hong Tat Tong, featuring Will West” track, but it’s me, and it’s recorded. It’s a different sound than you’re used to from me. I tackle that R&B genre, with mixed results. I’m happy to have a new track, but when you hear this, you won’t miss me much. Trust me. So, fill your ipods with the old stuff, and remember to tell your grandkids about the days when you could easily download the latest Will West track off the i-net. Yup, this is that monumental. Anyway, snatch it while you can, ’cause I don’t know how long this site will be up:

http://box.net/public/t2/files/751820.html

18th Aug2005

How Did Ryan Seacrest Surpass Carson Daly?

by Will

“Dave even enjoys some hard rock bands like Genesis and Rush.”

So, in the Great American Radio Tool Off, who’da thunk that Ryan Seacrest would edge out Carson Daly?

First of all, what is UP with Carson? He’s joked that he’s on the Lindsay Lohan Diet, which I guess means he’s now a cokehead. But he’s lost SO much weight. Now, normally, this would be a boon, but it just serves to make his head HUGE. I mean, he’s got quite the cranium. It’s like he’s thinking for three now.

What happened to the Carson of yore? The Carson who may have been a tool, but he was OUR tool. He WAS TRL. Hilary? Go back to “One Tree Hill”. Quddus, or whatever the hell your name is, Justin Guarini called and he wants his head back. 5 yrs ago, if you’d asked me where Carson would be in 2005, I’d have said “President of MTV”. Now, he’s gaunt, he’s got a show that NOBODY watches, and he’s got his little radio countdown. Poor guy. He had it made. He wasn’t looking for competition. Which is exactly how he was broadsided by Seacrest.

Now, I have followed Ryan Seacrest for MANY years. I mean, pre-Idol. I remember all of his terrible kids game shows, like “Gladiators 2000”. I remember his radio countdowns. If you’d asked me where he would be in 2005, I’d have probably predicted he’d be hosting a revival of “Classic Concentration” on GSN. Boy, would I have been wrong!

Not only has he got the Idol gig, but he’s got Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40 Coutdown”. Frickin’ Casey Kasem! Shaggy, himself! The man is an institution. All Carson did was replace Bill Bellamy. Plus, with the Idol gig, Seacrest gets to host every other special that Fox decides to have that involves music and/or teens.

But just when I thought he had nothing else up his sleeve, Seacrest dealt the killing blow to Carson: He just signed a deal to co-host and produce Dick Clark’s “Rockin’ New Years Eve” through 2009. And, in this contract, it’s stated that he will take over the show once Dick Clark steps down. But we know that really means it’ll happen when Dick Clark’s batteries die; those Cold War model cyborgs can take quite the licking, I’ll tell ya! Seacrest saw poor Dick after his stroke, and he saw an opening. Ever the opportunist, that smarmy bastard…”Rockin’ New Years Eve”! Not only has Seacrest bested Kasem, but he’s set his sights on “America’s Oldest Teenager”.

Seacrest is playing tracks and taking names! Dont be surprised if you come home one day, and find that your parents have traded you in for Ryan Seacrest. He’s THAT much of a bastard! He must have some kind of Charm Powers but all I know is that we should be afraid. Ryan Seacrest will stop at nothing until he has taken over all forms of media with “America” somehow prominently named. Next, he’ll go for “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, which wouldn’t be too bad ’cause Bergeron is NO Saget. But then he’ll go for “Good Morning, America”. And that’s just the beginning.

These are SIGNS, people! Seacrest is the Horseman of the Clear Channel Antichrist, and we’re just lapping it up. Wake up and rebel! He finished off Dick Clark! That’s like someone kicking your cool, hip grandpa in the nuts. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

10th Aug2005

RARB Likes Me! They Really Like Me!

by Will

“I love Connect Four. If my entire family died and a stranger offered to play Connect Four with me for a full afternoon, I’d skip the funeral and blame it on car troubles.”

Well, RARB has put up the review of “Straight Up”, Last Call’s latest CD. I had NO part of this CD, so it’s not like it makes or breaks me, but they’re still my boys, so I care.

http://www.rarb.org/reviews/554.html#

The BEST line of the whole thing: “Straight Up provides the most heterosexually dubious track list I’ve ever seen from an all guys group.” Not only do I agree, but that about sums up my entire life…

Anyway, I NEVER thought I’d read LC compared, favorably, to Off the Beat and the ‘Bubs. Who’da thunk, right?

Well, it’s certainly an ambitious album, as most of the reviews will attest. It seems like they’re catching Hell for using the a cappella equivalent of Kanye West and The Neptunes to produce the thing. All they did was start doing what every other group with a wad of cash to blow did. But I guess people expected more of LC or something.

Anyway, the CD never really screamed “Last Call” to me, but I liked it. Plus, the girlfriend liked it and outside of a few UMD Faux Pas references, I think she may be embarassed by the whole a cappella thing, so I guess the CD’s got “convert potential”…

24th Jul2005

Lance Armstrong Stole Sheryl Crow From Me

by Will

“Tell ’em ‘Large Marge’ sent ya!”

I would like to congratulate Lance Armstrong…for making me feel like a complete and utter failure. C’mon, the dude had ball cancer! I’m sorry, that’s crass. He had “cancer of the balls”. And he STILL managed to come back and win 7 times. 7 TIMES! The only possible explanation is that Lance Armstrong hates me, and thoroughly wanted to piss on me.

It all started back in 1994. Sheryl Crow was MINE! I found her! She made it more than clear that all she wanted to do was have some fun. And next thing I know, here comes Armstrong, stealing my girl. And what does he do for an encore? He wins the frickin’ Tour De France 7 TIMES!

I just know Lance has something against me. Maybe he knows that I’m secretly a Greg LeMond fan. But this just proves it. Lance Armstrong’s mission in life is to make me feel like shit.

OK, Armstrong. You won. Isn’t it enough that you’ve taken over the world with your bracelets? EVERYONE has one. Everyday, I see thousands of little yellow reminders of how you’ve won and I have failed. I AM that yellow bracelet. But 7 times? I got the point back in 2001. You really didn’t have to go into overdrive.

I’m getting my shit together, Lance. I got the hint. But it’s hard for me to build up when you are just racing by to bring me down. I WILL survive. I’m gonna be a success. But you don’t have to show me the peak of human performance. I’ve got Batman for that. I’m not gonna let you keep me down, Man!

So, why don’t you and Sheryl go soak up some sun, and we can all get on with our lives. 7 times? God, Lance! Some people can be so petty…

04th Jul2005

Patriotic Justice: Beaten With A Flag

by Will

Mini Rant

-So, McDonald’s accepts credit cards now. Yeah, I know this isn’t a new development, per se, but still…Just what Americans need: the golden opportunity to get fatter and deeper into debt.

-Hey, welcome back, Coldplay! How we’ve missed you. A new track, you say? Wow, that certainly IS the “Coldplay sound”. Hey, Chris Martin, how about something NEW next time 🙁

-So, I get home the other day, and what do I find? A flag planted in my yard by Tom Powers, the local realtor. Now, Mr. Powers and I go way back. You see, he’s always leaving trinkets on our porches, such as apple butter, yard sticKs, flags, etc. It’s all bribery, so when we decide to sell the house, we’ll think, “Well, that nice Powers guy was always giving us stuff. Let’s choose him!”

But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. When I was younger, I didn’t get spanked much, but when I did, my mother made sure that it counted But see, Mommy was older and not as strong as your mothers probably were, so she always needed some sort of…well, weapon, for lack of a better word. And what did she usually grab? A yardstick, or a flag. Yeah, she beat me with a flag. Broke the flag stick on my ass. God Bless America, indeed..Generally, she grabbed whatever was sticking out of the umbrella stand. Hence, my discipline sessions were reminiscent of a WWF Hardcore Match. And who, pray tell, do you think supplied most of the armament found in the umbrella stand? You guessed it, Tom Powers. So, unbeknownst to him, Tom Powers is my worst enemy.

04th Jul2005

Back To The Minors: From A Cappella To Karaoke

by Will

Today’s Episode: “Back to the Minors”

So, let me tell you about the cutthroat world of karaoke: you’re only as good as your last performance. And, you see, my problem is that I never know when to stop…when to leave well-enough alone.

About every 6 months, I feel the need to get back in the saddle and sing. Since I no longer have an a cappella outlet, I usually find myself at karaoke. My normal place is Cafe Japone, ’cause Eduardo and I kinda “discovered” it a few yrs ago.

Anyway, I usually go around a holiday, and I go alone. As much as it may surprise some, I’m still very shy and get stagefright with the worst of them. I’d rather be with strangers than with friends.

So, i normally sing about 3 songs, and it’s that third one that I should always leave off the list. You see, my first two songs are “One More Try”, by George Michael and “Hello”, by Lionel Richie. Now, I’ve got to say that I’m not usually a favorite a karaoke. The key to success is picking a “crowd song” that everyone wants to sing, like “Sweet Caroline.” But I dont play by the rules. I’m the guy who has to sing the slow songs. But don’t knock my choices. I’ve almost had marriage proposals for singing those songs, I shit you not! But what happens is, I get off on the accolades from the first 2, and usually choose a bad song for #3. Normally, it’s song I’ve never done, but have enjoyed singing along to on the radio. And, normally, it bombs, and it’s amazing how quickly your “fans” turn on you.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I was bored as crap, Shelly was having a “girls night”, and nobody else was returning my calls. So, I found myself at Cafe Japone. I got my drink, and chose my songs. Sure enough, I chose “One More Try” and “Hello”. Due to lack of shuffle, they ended up back to back. At first, the crowd didn’t know what to make of me. The night had been dominated by some kind of South American summit, and they had commandeered the playlist. My songs came on, and they warmed up to me. Yup, still had it. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I HAD to choose a risky third.

While I was choosing my comeback track, this chick came out of nowhere and kicked ASS on Leann Rimes’ “How Do I Live”. Now, that’s also my Karaoke Achilles Heel: competition. There are 2 kinds of people at karaoke: 1) The Crowd Song Drunk and 2) The Competitor. You see, I usually enter the arena as the latter, but it’s only good when everyone else is the former. When another #2 enters, it’s “Oh, shit.” It’s kinda like when another Black guy would enter that frat party back at Cornell (C’mon, y’all have seen “Not Another Teen Movie!). Anyway, it blows the wind out of my sails and makes me all self-conscious.

So, she knocked the song out of the park, and the lines were drawn in the sand. It was between me and her, and she had the advantage that she was in the party of South Americans. Her fanbase was loaded (Nice, play on words, Will). So, it was time for my encore, which I had already decided would be my final song of the night. Go out on top, right? WRONG. What did I choose? “Flying Without Wings”, commonly known as a Ruben Studdard song.

Now, I say “commonly known” because the Ruben version is the one that 9 out of 10 people know. But anyone with knowledge of European pop (and I figured the South Americans might know this, too) knows that it was originally a #1 hit by Irish boyband, Westlife. Now, this was my first mistake: choosing an obscure song. My next mistake was trying to reinterpret it. I’ve always hated Ruben’s version. I felt he played it safe. So I decided to sing the Westlife version, but the backing track was for Ruben. Also consider the fact that there were different chord progressions, and it’s not like I had practiced it before. I was singing without wings, and didn’t have a parachute.

So, I got up, did my thing, but my thing wasn’t good enough. Early into the song, the South Americans were booing me, as if I’d scored in the wrong goal or something. I persevered, and finished the song. My reward? A lone clap from someone in a corner. Everyone else had either intensified their conversation or just forgotten that I was even up there.

Now, let me tell you about my fans. There was this “reverse 3’s company thing” going on next to me at the bar. This chick was there with her 2 gay guy friends, and they were just chillin’ with some sushi. After my first set, they were like, “You were awesome!” I went on to tell ’em it was only because of a cappella. They asked where I’d gone to school/sung, and I told ’em Cornell. The girl had actually heard of Last Call, and I instantly had friends. Another guy friend showed up, and he leans over and says, “So, I hear you’re incredible at this”. Now, this was following Clone Leann had done her song, so I wasn’t feeling too confident. I told him, “Well, it’s really all about your song choice.” Man, was I sorry to be right. My song choice, “Flying without Wings” was NOT a good one, and my new friends did not notice me again. In fact, you could tell they were going out of their way to not really look at me, so as not to have it be awkward. Funny how that works…

So, I got my check, which took forever, and I walked out into the DC night. I only do this every 6 months because of nights like this. It takes me that long to get back on the horse again. I wondered if I still had it, I found out that I did, and then I took it too far. During the 6 months, I’ll go to the redneck karaoke and hone my skills. The “minors”, if you will. You see, at redneck karaoke, everyone’s a drunken crowd singer. You might get the “pro”, but he’s not competing. He just brings his own CDs, and REALLY gets into the songs. But it’s all about him, and no one else in the bar. It’s a good place to get your courage back because your ability to make friends and fans is directly proportional to how drunk you’re all willing to get. And that’s never a problem. DC karaoke is chock full of former a cappella, Capitol Hill interns, looking for one last shot at glory. And they always kick my ass. I don’t know if it’s really a vocal thing, or if it’s the thoughts in the back of my head saying, “They have great jobs and great lives. They don’t NEED this. They’re doing this for fun.” I wish I could say the same, but I put all my eggs in this basket ’cause I’m an attention whore. I NEED this. I think back to the college days when I was singing and happy, and the world was my oyster. I was gonna rule the world when I graduated. Well, I kinda ruled a department at H&M for a while, but that was about it.

Karaoke, to me, is a test to prove that my college career was not in vain. Most people use college to network and study; generally plan for their futures. I, on the other hand, used college for singing. It brought me confidence and took the stress off, but a cappella’s what consumed my college career. So, unlike a graduate degree or some specialized skill, what I took away from college was singing. And karaoke is the only place I can get any use out of this. Wow, I guess college WAS in vain. I know, some of you are gonna say, “Don’t sell yourself short, Will.” And, I guess you’re right. But, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go practice. I’ve got a rematch in December…

01st Jul2005

RIP Luther Vandross

by Will

Today, the world of music lost the beautiful voice and soul of Luther Vandross. He made us believe in the power of love, and he will truly be missed.

Wherever you are, Luther, I hope you’re getting that chance to dance with your father again.

27th Jun2005

Trapped In R. Kelly’s Closet

by Will

R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet Pts. 1-5” are the most enjoyable and innovative thing about music today. Forget Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku girls (why haven’t you written about them yet, Jenn?). Forget Li’l John and the Eastside Boyz. What?!! OK! Forget about Usher and the fact that he’s “man enough to admit he was wrong.”

I am all about Mr. Kelly. The man hasn’t missed a beat. Peed on a minor, on tape, and now he’s hiding in closets and singing about it.

Most people would start singing about Jesus or something to show they reformed. Yeah, Kelly tried that, but then he realized he had to keep it real. He likes cheatin’ on his women, and every now and then he gets in some shit for it.

And talk about plot twists! This song-saga is like “Passions”, but with more Black people and no creepy midgets.

Bless you, R. Kelly! You’re a man who knows what he needs and knows what he wants. While other celebrities might change their ways following a trial like yours, you refuse to put up a facade. When I see you takin’ a sip of a beverage I see that glint in your eye, and I know what’s next on your agenda. Just make sure you take care of that before you find yourself trapped in your next closet…

26th May2005

What Would Jesus DRIVE?

by Will

So, if you read my Comments section, you’ll see that Shel responded to my last post. Apparently, she feels that Jesus would’ve liked the Mustang they gave Bo and Carrie on Idol. I’ve gotta say that I disagree.

You see, I always felt that Jesus would drive a Jeep. And not a Grand Cherokee or any of that mess. I mean a Jeep, plain and simple. In fact, I kinda thought it might even be an Army surplus Jeep, you know, for the irony of it all…

A Jeep’s kinda unassuming, and JUST crunchy enough to get the job done…

What? You think Big J would be cruisin’ in an Escalade? A Lexus? I think not! He’s Jesus, not Kobe!

A Mustang? Oh, Shel, Shel, Shel…