The Josh Wells Weekly, Episode 23

The Michael Jordan of newsletters

Disclaimer: I don’t really think I’m the Michael Jordan of newsletters. But there’s absolutely nothing else I can think of when it comes to the number 23. Jordan completely owns that number.

Here I am telling jokes at Dingbatz. It’s a rock and roll club in Clifton but sometimes they do comedy too.

Random Thought

I’m going to see Atmosphere live tonight. For those that don’t know, Atmosphere is an indie hiphop duo from Minneapolis who’ve gained some traction the past couple of decades or so. I’ve seen Atmosphere a bunch over the years. I consider myself a big fan (even if I haven’t been absolutely crazy about their three past albums, but more on that in just a sec).

I just had this random thought though about how long I’ve been a fan. Atmosphere’s been around since ‘97 at least, but I didn’t really get on the bandwagon till 2003 (the same year they released the album, ‘Seven’s Travels’). This album blew me all the fuck away. It was incredible. It felt like this dude was rapping my life. I would spin this CD into near oblivion. It might be the final straw that finally pushed me into digital music formats because when that CD became unlistenable, I still needed to get my fix. That album got me through drama, sadness, girls, bad friendships, jobs, drugs, good times, bad times… all of it. This is probably one of the top five most spun albums in my lifetime so far. I feel like I grew up with that album in a way.

And then I listened to every consecutive release (and went back to the old stuff). It feels like each album since has been a parallel to my life. I’d hear lyrics that’d relate heavily to things I was experiencing, lessons I was learning, ways I was growing as a person, and ways I was fucking up. Atmosphere was there the whole time, a soundtrack for my life.

The past few releases have strayed with me. I don’t think it’s bad. I just don’t think Atmosphere is talking about my life anymore. Slug (the emcee of the two) is settled down with kids doing the family thing. And that’s totally cool. But I’m not doing that. I’ll still hear lyrics I can connect with, it’s just not as overwhelming as it was up to and including, ‘Southsiders.’ I feel like the music matured more than I did in the past few years and maybe I’ll catch up and learn to really appreciate the later stuff at a later time.

I remain open minded and I still remain stoked as fuck to see the group that helped me get through so much, live tonight in NYC. For Atmosphere, I will always have nothing but gratitude and appreciation.

Movies I Watched Recently

No Alternative

This movie takes place in the early 90’s, y’know grunge and all that. So right there, I was in. It’s pretty decent. It’s about two kids, a brother and a sister (Thomas and Bridget), who both get into performing music but both in their own unique way. Thomas starts a hard rock, grunge-ish type band and Bridget does some avant-garde rap-type thing. The family is going through some issues. Bridget is suffering from some mental issues and is probably over medicated. Their dad is a judge who just took part in a controversial decision and is suddenly worried about the safety of his family. The mom is working hard trying to keep it all together. And Thomas is juggling all that along with band drama and girlfriend issues. It’s a real sorta sad coming of age movie.

The music in this movie is not bad. I usually cringe at movies that try to come up with original music for fictional bands. But I didn’t totally hate the music. I don’t know if you’d catch me bumping the soundtrack in my car (although the closer, ‘My Dad is a Republican,’ is a low key banger), but it was mostly okay.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a nostalgic trip back to the malaise of early 90’s grunge-sadness, give it a watch. And if you’re looking for something even grittier, try the movie, ‘Mid 90s.’

TV shows I’m currently watching

King of the Hill

C’mon Dale! This is getting ridiculous. John Redcorn is having sex with your wife and is the father of your son!

Although, I will say there are a few, rare moments between Dale and Joseph as father and son that are pretty touching. Maybe Dale isn’t really his father and maybe everyone knows that except for him and Joseph, but to him and Joseph, that shit’s the real deal. Sometimes it’s not about bloodline. That’s one of the underlying strengths of this show. It’ll sorta throw in these moments here and there that’ll get all up in your feels.

Book I’m Currently Reading:

Acid For the Children / Flea

I’m having a lot of fun reading this book. Since Flea moved to LA and started making friends and hanging out, the stories have gotten wild. Flea was a wild man way before his RHCP fame. But he also has a heart of gold. He does some kinda rotten things, but you can tell he’s troubled by his own moral compass when he does fuck up. So many fun adventures and misadventures as well, like his awkward prostitute experience or shooting up cocaine with Anthony Kiedis.

There’s also some heavy stuff in here. Like his thoughts on Hillel Slovak (who died of an overdose in 1988). You can feel the sadness and heaviness it takes to write about someone you love and the budding of that friendship when you know how his part of the story is going to end. It’s like I feel sad for Flea but also I feel sad for anyone who has to lose a friend in such a sad manner. The finality of it all, it just sucks.

Album(s) of the week

Eminem / Music To Be Murdered By

Okay, so if you follow my social media, I may have thrown a little shade on this album… well not really the album, but the hype around it.

The thing is, I just don’t know if I can identify with Eminem’s music anymore. I was an angry young dude when his stuff first started dropping and I didn’t know how to properly channel anger (I probably still don’t fully have that mastered) so Eminem was a great outlet for me at that time.

So I probably haven’t listened to an Eminem album since The Eminem Show (2002, time flies). I’ve heard the hits and that track he did about Mariah Carey. I just never sat down and gave a full album a spin.

I tried stepped into this with an open mind. And I gotta tell you, Eminem is trying. He’s not a slacker. He could just sit on his fortune and put out a mediocre 45 min album here and there and say, “See? I’m still here.” But he doesn’t do that. This album shows heart. It’s also a little over an hour long and pretty consistent the whole time. There’s maybe two tracks I can do without, but the rest of it is at least pretty good to great.

He’s still a great rapper and one thing in particular I enjoyed is that he tried to mix it up and take on some new styles in hiphop in some of his verses. These feel like the traits of a dude who doesn’t wanna mail it in and I respect that.

Eminem is considered by many to be one of the all time greats. A lot of people in that position could rest on their laurels. This album is a defiant gesture against that notion.

Random sports thought of the week

Derek Jeter is in the Hall of Fame. He almost got a unanimous vote except for one (the count was 396 of 397). So of course, people are pissed about the one dissenting vote.

Eli Manning is retiring. Already people are arguing whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Halls of Fame are so weird. One day we’re arguing whether one dude belongs in a HOF or not. Another day we’re arguing that another dude isn’t in the HOF hard enough. This is all in a two day period in the New York City metro sports area. We’ll never be happy.

Random pro wrestling thought of the week:

Been spending most my week thinking about who I want to win the Royal Rumble. My heart says Keith Lee (an NXT upstart with a lot of well deserved hype right now). If he can’t win, I’d at least love to see him throw Brock Lesnar out of there and have a showdown between those two down the line.

Image result for keith lee

Bask in his glory!

Women’s Rumble: I think it should be Shayna Bazsler. She’s incredible, possibly one of the best pro wrestlers in the world right now. She’s done all she can do in NXT. It’s time to give her a big time, “main roster” push.

I’d also be happy if Io Shirai or Sasha Banks won (Sasha for the showdown when she challenges her best friend Bayley to a Wrestlemania match).

I’d like to add Asuka to the list but she’s in a title match that night and I doubt she’ll get the call for double duty.

Weekly Top 5 List: Top 5 Albums I’ve Listened to the Most in My Life

Disclaimer #2 of the day: I do not have the actual data to back this up. This is all guesswork on what I believe are the albums I’ve listened to the most in my life.

1- Nirvana / Nevermind

2- Red Hot Chili Peppers / Blood Sugar Sex Magick

3- Atmosphere / Seven’s Travels

4- Radiohead / OK Computer

5- Pink Floyd / Dark Side of the Moon

I barely listen to Radiohead anymore, but when I did, ooh boy did OK Computer get a disgusting amount of spins.

Motivational Quote

“Just cause you're an emcee doesn't mean that you get to be an asshole.”


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