Friday, 26 October 2007

Introducing Sparks... At Last!

A 30th Anniversary Review, with exclusive comments from Sparks!
Before I start this weeks post, I would just like to say a very special ‘thank you’ to Ron and Russell Mael, who although currently very busy in the studio, took the time and trouble to answer a couple of questions I had whilst writing this article. Those of you who have read my article when bands go bad, will know I am a big fan of Sparks, so receiving their reply really was very much appreciated.

Has there ever been a band that were so ground-breaking, so influential, so innovative, so consistent, so experimental, so prolific… and yet so underrated (in comparison) as Sparks? Don’t get me wrong, they have a massive and loyal fan-base, but for some reason seem to go fairly un-noticed in the ‘outside world’.

A career spanning five decades (yes really!) has seen them continually pushing the boundaries and challenging their listeners ears. How many other artists can say that? Indeed, how many artists are likely to have their 19th studio album sited as quite possibly their best to date by both critics and fans alike?! This is what happened to Sparks when they released Lil' Beethoven in 2002, more than 30 years after the release of their first album. And what an album it is too, crammed with lush layers of orchestral arrangements, choirs, some inspired lyrics and a healthy dose of wit! all mixed in with that unmistakable Sparks 'sound'. Record Collector magazine here in the UK, a well revered and respected publication, even went as far as to say "one of the best albums ever made" - praise indeed.

It took a few bands names and line-ups before brothers Ron and Russell Mael finally became Sparks (Moonbaker Abbey and Farmer's Market in the mid 60's and Urban Renewal Project in 1967), but it was as Half-Nelson (formed in 1968) that they would release their first album. Heavily influenced by the British Psychedelic sound of the late 60's, this little gem is actually very listenable, and although there is an early Floyd-John's Children-Kinks-early Quo kinda vibe going on, the fact that this is a (future) Sparks release is clear to the ear - particularly on Wonder Girl which with the right arrangement, could fit in on pretty much any of their albums. And I think this is one of the things I love most about Sparks, they have this unique way where they can hugely diversify their sound, yet be instantly recognisable, all at the same time - the Mael 'seal of approval' on every release!

It sometimes makes me grumble when Queen's 'magnum opus' Bohemian Rhapsody is ritually dragged out and put on a pedestal, with the same arguments pulled out time and time again… it's rock, it's opera, it's grand, it's over the top, it's creative writing second to none. Yet Sparks have been quietly banging out their own brand of Bohemian Rhapsody's for the best part of 40 years! Take last years Hello Young Lovers album for example, and the opening track Dick Around. A breathtaking track, and every bit as creative as This Town Ain't Big Enough (32 years its senior!). If it’s easy, background music you're after, then Sparks is not for you. Their music is complex, and demands your full attention. Right from the opening bars, Dick Around is one intense track, building and growing as it progresses over 6 haunting minutes. By the time the menacing guitar riffs start kicking in half way through, you need a cigarette to calm down (and I don’t even smoke!).
Over the last couple of years, we've been treated to quality re-releases of some of Sparks finest albums, Kimono My House (1974), Propaganda (1974), Indiscreet (1975) and Big Beat (1976), have all received '21st century edition’ releases, complete with extra tracks, interviews and booklets overflowing with information. But of the 20 albums released to date, there has always been just one album suspiciously missing from the CD set, 1977's Introducing Sparks.

At the time of release, it received mixed reviews (I wasn't old enough at the time to appreciate such subtleties!), and has always seemed to be treated like the black sheep of the family. But like a fine wine, it has matured over time, and finally after 30 years, the wayward son is coming home.

This is a unique album, wedged between the previous ‘Glam-esque’ releases (although to be fair, Big Beat was starting to head towards a more American sound), and prior to their full blown move to the Euro Electronic sound. By the mid 70’s, Sparks were pretty big all over Europe (particularly in Britain), and the band were keen to make inroads in their own backyard, so this album was to take on the US market – even the title seems geared to their prospective new audience, although knowing their wicked sense of humour, it was more likely just a piss take title for their seventh album! I asked Russell and Ron to spill the beans on how they ended up with it, they told me “We just felt it a propos to title our 7th album Introducing Sparks. Most bands don't name their 7th album 'introducing'. That's probably what appealed to us. In fact, most bands don't even have a 7th album!”.

No expense was spared for this Columbia records release. The very best session musicians of the day were brought in to perform, and although some say this made the album sound soul-less, you can’t help but appreciate the lavish quality of these recordings. I asked Sparks what their thoughts were of this album 30 years on “It's been a long time since the recording of Introducing, in both a time sense and in our sensibilities as musicians. We still have a fondness for the album, even though we've moved on musically since then” It certainly has a unique sound, there is a definite West Coast\Surfin’ kinda feel to the album (particularly ‘Over the Summer’ which just about out-surfs the Beach Boys!), mixed with that MOR sound that Alice Cooper was experimenting with around that time. But the Sparks humour is very evident throughout, and no better than in Occupation where various job options are raised and then instantly dismissed by Russell:

We athletes run around and round,
We moan and groan and hit the ground,
And when we get to 35,
We sell cosmetics and survive

We salesmen can sell a storm,
We sell you blankets when you’re warm,
And if you’re really really warm,
We’ll sell you two, we’ve got that charm!

Whilst there is no doubt that the songs on Introducing Sparks have a very different sound to anything that came before or after, lyrically (as the above lines show), they could fit just about anywhere in their vast back catalogue. For years, I’ve always been interested to know if these songs were all written especially for the album, or if any were unused tracks from earlier in their career. But Ron and Russell confirmed to me that “All the songs were written especially for Introducing”. This was a bit of a surprise to me, as I can almost hear a Kimono\Propaganda style version of Occupation in my head! But when I asked the boys which song from Introducing Sparks they would most like to re-record today, Occupation wasn’t mentioned, “Those Mysteries could fit into a contemporary context and sound great re-recorded today”. Finally, I asked if in hindsight, they had learnt anything from the making of Introducing Sparks, the reply was short and sweet “The only thing we learned from the experience is, don't trust session musicians!”

At the time, this release didn’t trouble the charts on either side of the Atlantic, but once again, perhaps the boys were ahead of their time. Look how cool Brian Wilson is again these days! Introducing Sparks is Ron and Russell’s very own ‘Smile’! Buy it, enjoy a piece of history, and marvel at just how unique this Sparks ‘missing link’ is.

INTRODUCING SPARKS IS RELEASED ON 5TH NOVEMBER (and you can even pick a 'Ron' or 'Russell' cover!)

If you’re a Sparks fan, then you may be interested in a great new band I recently discovered. They are called Silvery, and are certainly very influenced by Ron and Russell! They have just finished recording their debut album, and are currently looking at offers to mix it (one of which could be Kimono My House legend, Martin Gordon!)

Have a listen to this demo of the track Horrors and see what I mean:

Silvery are signed to Blow Up records: Link to Silvery at Blow Up

While you're here, why not have a read of my reviews of the recent 21x21 shows. The Propaganda review is here, and the Hello Young Lovers review is here

Also, don't miss my EXCLUSIVE, extensive interview with ex-Sparks member Martin Gordon, and he had plenty of interesting Sparks stories to tell! part 1 is here and part 2 is here

Want more Sparks? Check out the 'Graphik Designs' Fan Page, quite possibly the most detailed Sparks site on the web Sparks Pages

Below is the video for the shortened version of Dick Around by Sparks:

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

It was to be the sweetest revenge. 30 years on from when the Sex Pistols were conned out of a number one single, finally they were going to get their just deserts. Back then, the Pistols were robbed by an oversensitive nation who in 1977 felt that 'God Save The Queen' going to the topper-most of the popper-most would overshadow her Maj's Silver Jubilee celebrations (indeed, it was actually thought the song would somehow topple the establishment…..??!) . So the chart was apparently 'nobbled' and Rod Stewart's 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' was given the crown in dubious circumstances.

But 30 years on we can just about handle the outrage of the Pistols finest moment, and a campaign to finally get the single to the top of the charts commenced. And what a campaign it was too… magazines backed it (NME in particular championed it with great enthusiasm), music celebs endorsed it, websites promoted it, radio stations covered it and even one or two broadsheets commented on it (even the Queen and Prince Philip were up for downloading it… probably). Everything was looking good for the fairytale ending.

Not since the 80's have I been so keen to hear the latest chart run-down ('Kid' Jenson no longer does it apparently…). In my day it used to be unveiled of a Tuesday lunchtime. Years later it moved to Sunday afternoons (presumably to spice up the flagging 'top 40' radio show, which up until that time was always promoting a chart just about to be superseded). These days however, Monday is the big day (is it a big day for anyone anymore?). So on Monday this week I was there, Union Jack party popper in hand, ready to celebrate a real achievement of 'people power'. On tracking down the new chart, I even looked at it in reverse order, just to try and re-create the excitement of the 80's! The further up the chart I got, the more excited I became… into the top 10 and still no mention… top 5… top 3… it's not number 2! They've done it! And this weeks number 1 is…. The Sugababes. The fuckin Sugababes??! A wider search for the full top 75 showed the Sex Pistols as a new entry at number 42.

So what happened? In a world where you only need to sell a couple of dozen singles to get in the top 10, how did all the hype and promises of buying multiple copies fail so miserably? To me the answer is fairly clear, it was virtually impossible to actually buy the fucking thing!

I really bought into this campaign, and despite already owning the track a dozen times or more on various singles, LP's and CD's, was happy to do my bit for Queen and country… BUT (and this is a big, age-showing BUT) for me to do my bit, I need something tangible to show for my money. I'm sorry, but 79p for the privilege of downloading a track I already own is not going to tempt me. If I'm prepared to show willing, and buy something I already own, then I need the record company to meet me half way and offer me something in return, to make it worth my while. ‘God Save The Queen’ on CD single would have been nice, but it was not to be. Still, they did decide to pump out a 7” single with the original sleeve artwork, so that was the way I’d make my vote count.

A visit to my local Virgin on release day (8th October) was fruitless. They no longer stock 7” singles (which they only started stocking again 18 months ago!), only CD singles. No matter, HMV is close by… However I discovered they no longer stock chart singles, but I was informed that there was a 7” single section at the back of the store, so off I hurried. Describing it as a ‘singles section’ was somewhat over-egging it, as what I found was more reminiscent of a car boot sale than a national music chain-store. The ‘section’ referred to was infact a grubby box of dog-eared singles, precariously perched on the edge of a display counter. Still, it was good to see they at least carried them, and ever more heartening to see so many new releases in this format. And what a bargain too, all at 99p each! I used to pay more than that in the 80’s! Spurred on I flicked through the box, and finally, right at the back, there it was.. ‘God Save The Queen’ on 7” single in original artwork sleeve… FOUR QUID!!!

It sums up the music industry perfectly for me. A buzz had been created by the general public to right an longstanding wrong. But rather than saying “some good publicity here lads, pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap”, the greedy bastards push it out at full mark-up. Every time HMV or Virgin has a sale (most months!) The Pistols classic album ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ is always there at £2.99, so £4 to purchase one song from it can hardly be seen as good value – especially as the vast majority of the people who were up for buying it, already owned it! I didn’t buy it, and judging by the lowly chart position, not many others did either.

I’d like to think that Virgin Record Company will learn from this, but know full well they won’t. It’ll just be used as an excuse not to press further vinyl releases in the future. No doubt they’ll be continuing with their main hobby of pleading poverty and moaning about illegal downloading, without once seeing the irony.

As a consolation prize, I downloaded a (free!) God Save The Queen 30th anniversary wallpaper for both my PC and my phone… anarchy eh?!


Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The Trouble With Tributes

To be honest, I was never a fan of the tribute band scene. The whole thing seemed kinda tragic (hey, possible name for a bad Queen tribute there!), as flat chested Dolly Partons, balding Robert Smiths and 6ft 5 Princes across the country gave it their all. It all seemed a bit too 'Stars in Their Eyes' for my liking, all that was missing was Matthew Kelly appearing at the end of the show to tweak their elbow and say - in his most insincere manner - "… you were great you were".

As a passionate music fan, I seemed to have some sort of inbuilt snobbery within, that automatically looked down on this type of act. Remember the famous John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett sketch on the British class system? Well John Cleese was my 'proper music' looking down on him - Ronnie Corbett being my 'tribute act'!

I'd always imagined that the people who went along to these shows, couldn't really be 'true' music fans if they were happy to settle for these impersonators. Why the hell would you wanna go see a Bowie tribute act when the real deal still tours? I concluded that the audiences must be made up of the same people who as kids, bought those 'Top of the Pops' albums from Woolworths, crammed with all the latest chart hits, but alas, performed by session musicians (I fuckin hated them too!).

But you know what? Finally, I get it! And although I'll never be replacing all my 'legit' gigs with tribute ones, I now see that they can really serve a purpose. The tribute scene has certainly got a lot smarter over the years, which has helped its cause no end. Originally it was just belting out the 'hits', but now a number of acts are using their talents to re-create the past. A time machine back to the 1960's and 70's for £6 and the price of a pint - what a bargain! Yeah, Bowie still tours, but he's no Ziggy Stardust anymore (more Ziggy Stairlift), and even if he does still sing material from that album, you'll be lucky if it's anything more than the title track. So tribute acts such as Jean Genie, who do a whole set that replicate the shows from that period of Bowies career, do fill a legitimate gap in the market. I absolutely love Bowie, but his Ziggy period was way before I was old enough to go to gigs, so other than watching some grainy ol' footage, Jean Genie is the closest I'm ever going to get to sampling this part of his career 'in the flesh'.

There are also some pretty shrewd tributes (particularly for some of the more 'worthy' acts, Who, Floyd, Zeppelin, Stones etc) who are now picking different 'sets' and eras for their performances. 'Whos Who' are known to knock out the whole 'Live at Leeds' album set (including the missing tracks), which is predominantly tracks from the Tommy album. So unbelievably you can now have the same grumble of a tribute as you can of the real McCoy ("can't believe they didn't do…") - but personally, I think the homing in on particular periods and sets is a smart move.

So what was the epiphany that finally won me over to the dark side? It was the Marc Bolan tribute act Too-Rex ( Evan as a big Bolan fan, I doubt I'd have ever bothered to check 'em out, were it not for the fact that a mates band (none other than Mr Planet Mondo himself ( got a support slot with them a year or so ago. We wandered along to provide some moral support, and of course, you might as well hang around for the main act. And that was it! We've been to see then 3 or 4 times now. Although a 4 piece, Too-Rex is essentially Bobby T and a backing band. Bobby is the only member who dresses for the occasion, whilst the rest of the band are happy to take a back seat in their civvies and provide the faithful reproduction of that T-Rex sound (if not the sight).

Despite what it says on his birth certificate, Bobby T IS Marc Bolan. Not only has he got the basics required (the voice, the outfits and some 'stick on' glitter), he got the stance of Bolan, his walk, his facial expressions, he's the same size and build as him, he looks like him, and incredibly even has his teeth and smile!

Bobby was a Bolan fan in his youth, and his love of the man shines through. Yes you get all the hits, but the set list regularly changes, with b-sides, album tracks and rarities all making an appearance. And if this can introduce new, younger fans to the world of Marc Bolan and keep his music alive, how can this be anything but a good thing?

The biggest compliment I can pay Too-Rex is that I take them seriously. It's not a case of leaning at the bar and sniggering, these are top quality musicians (find me a better drummer than Steevi Bacon!), who have completely nailed Bolans look and sound. Within a few minutes of them taking to the stage, your brain starts to play tricks on you (you know like the way it'll suspend belief during 4 Die Hard films, to let you think that ANY of the content could be remotely believable!), you forget Bolan died 30 years ago, you forget you've gone to see a tribute act, tonight Mathew, they ARE T-Rex.

If you are still one of the disbelievers, check out the clip below that I took a couple of weeks back at a Too-Rex show (on 30th September, the date, bizarrely, that would have been Bolans 60th Birthday).

And if you fancy a bit more, this if far better than the dodgy clip I filmed on my phone. Too-Rex performing Jeepster earlier this year:


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Ross Noble - Live Review

Ross Noble - Nobleism. Live at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend - 8th October 2007.

Before we start, let’s get one fact straight, Ross Noble is a comedy genius.

Like Frank Skinner (see earlier post!), I go back further than I care to remember with Ross, and again it was at our local comedy club that he first came to my attention. As someone who has watched live comedy for over 20 years, seeing hundreds of acts in the process, Ross is probably the comedian I most admire. The vast majority of comedians turn up with the set memorised, heckler 'putdowns' written, and the jovial audience banter well scripted (and the next time they turn up you can hear it all again word-for-word!). Ross Noble however pretty much just turns up and wings it!

The evenings at the Joker comedy club where we were lucky enough to have Ross as a compere, will probably be the funniest nights the club will ever see. All Ross ever needed was to see something and he'd be off - someone's T-shirt, a bit of d├ęcor in the room, a late comer sloping in, anything! - a springboard into the ad-libbed pool of comedy, each topic providing a link to yet another piece of on the spot improvisation. There was always a bit of scripted material in the back pocket for emergencies, but to be honest, it was rarely needed. If you've never seen him perform, don't go thinking that the guy must be a lazy good fer nuthin’ who can’t be bothered to write material. The stuff he creates live before your eyes is nothing short of stunning, and every single show he performs is totally unique. How scary must that be?! Walking out to deliver two hours of carefully crafted material is probably nerve-wracking enough, but walking out to ad lib for two or three hours??!

Fast forward to today, and Ross is arguably the hottest comedy act on the ‘big venue’ circuit. Married to an Australian, he has set himself up with the perfect life -- 6 months in Oz, six months in the UK -- and in both countries the majority of that time is spent on tour. It's genuinely what he loves to do.

Unlike some comedians who move on to the big circuit, Ross has never felt obliged to reinvent his act for the large audience -- essentially he does what he always did in the small smokey clubs, just walk on stage and see what happens! The announcement of a new tour for most acts heralds the arrival of fresh material -- but with Ross you get that every night (bar the odd bit of scripted material shoehorned in). Back in 2002, my partner and I followed the Sonic Waffle tour for a bit, seeing four or five shows in the space of a couple of weeks, and every show was at least 90% different.

Noble’s ramblings were once again up to his usual high standard, he does close on 3 hours tonight, and the whole time he paces the stage, like a caged tiger looking for a way out. Caught in traffic on the way to the venue he tells us that he found himself stuck outside the Jehovah's Witness church in Southend, leaving his mind to wander on how they would react if he had to knock on their door in the event of an emergency… A line about his own funeral arrangements had a friend and I in serious trouble - both unable to control our laughing for several minutes after he had moved on! And all he said was he's thinking of being placed in a coffin with sausages down his trousers, a few chops down his pants and a pound of mince meat under a top hat. He said he liked the idea of everyone salivating as the coffin rolled slowly into the flames, roasting the contents to perfection…. You probably had to be there, but his overactive brain throws this stuff out all night long.

Nope, Ross is as good as ever, yet something has changed, and not for the better. Ross relies on his audience to provide him with the raw material for his act, but in the last couple of years a worrying trend has started. People (and for people read 'wacky student types') seem to have decided it's not good enough for Ross to get his comedy from unsuspecting subjects (couples arriving late, the woman in the front rows lovely scarf etc), and they now wants to be the 'stars' of the show. We've seen a marked rise in youngsters in the front few rows sporting stupid hats, knowing full well Ross won't be able to resist the bait. But the ridiculing of someone who wants to be ridiculed somehow is no longer fun. By far the most annoying trend has started during the half-time interval, where armies of wacky ones leave all manner of shite on the stage; funny notes (I use the word ‘funny’ in the loosest possible way), crappy homemade T-shirts, pieces of popcorn, sweets, you name it – whatever it is, they all have the same thing in common, they ain't funny. But like a junkie walking out to see 30 lines of coke set up for his pleasure, Ross can't help himself, and will always make a beeline for this tat. Tonight was the worst I’ve ever seen, the stage was covered, and it took him just over 45 minutes of the second half to work his way through all the rubbish that had been left there. The truth is, it's funny for one or two people in the audience (i.e. the twats who put it there), for everyone else it’s boring. How funny is someone's bus pass going to be for an audience of 1500 people? Of course the owner of the bus pass goes home feeling like ‘Charlie Big Potatoes’, thinking (wrongly) he was the star of the show.

The second half of Noble gigs are starting to become a bore I’m afraid, as he methodically works through these 'gifts' – and the rest of the audience loses out on 45 minutes that could have been filled with good material. And of course, each time he does it, he seals his fate for the next time he returns to the venue, as those who see it this time plan to get in on the act next time around.

How we got in this mess I don't really know -- Ross really shouldn't pander to these cretins, he has the audience in the palm of his hands and could stop the trend almost immediately, yet instead chooses to alienate the vast majority of his audience by allowing it to continue. Personally I'd walk on stage with a bin liner, chuck the fucking lot in and then carry on the act is normal... or better still have a stage hand walk out and clear it before returning for the second half.

Everyone I've spoken to who went to tonights gig has said the same thing (without any prompting from me) the first half was genius and the second half was tedious whilst he went through all the crap left on stage.

So there you have it, Ross still is a comedy genius, his new trendy audience however are far from it -- and are in danger of ruining his act for him.


Here's a clip of Ross in Action that you can view from the comfort of this blog, rather than hiking it over to You Tube.. enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The Nervous Wait

Well, the time is nearly here, in just a few short weeks, the long wait will finally be over, and things will never be quite the same again. But that hasn’t stopped the worry, nerves and sleepless nights kicking in already…. The imminent arrival of my first child? Nah, another of my favourite comics is making the dangerous move to the big screen!

It really does make me very worried when a story I’ve cherished (often for many years) is turned into a movie. On the whole, they are unmitigated disasters (I draw the jury's attention to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), with the - often complex - story lines dumbed down to make it ‘lowest common denominator’ fodder. This really pisses me off on two counts;

1) Something I’ve loved for years has now been ruined, and will be tainted by this balls-up forever. The producer, cast and crew will move on, and probably never cared about the original in the first place anyway, but the original fans of the comic are left to face the music and the smug looking smirks handed out by the rest of the office.

2) It gives critics yet another excuse to ridicule comics (like they need another one!). It really annoys me when comic books are dismissed as ‘superhero nonsense’ and ‘kids stuff’. It is also a really lazy description, at least 25 years out of date.

Comics have been doing a lot of growing up since the 1980’s, and the general target audience for most titles are now adults. Yeah, there are still plenty of superhero titles on the shelves, but even these have become darker and more complex, often stripping away the insecurities to show the vulnerable person behind the mask.

There are some truly inspiring comics out there these days, and just like you can buy a novel on pretty much any subject, the same can be said for the comic (the ‘graphic’ novel).

So which title has been selected for the latest round of Hollywood Comic Book Transformation (otherwise known as Russian roulette)? 30 Days of Night.

On the whole, I am not that crazy about the horror comic book genre, but I love this title. I love the fact that back in 1999, a newly formed independent comic company (IDW) took a gamble and picked this untried story as their first ever release. I love the fact that the faith they showed resulted in a money making cult following, that has spawned a number of sequel comics. I love the fact that on the back of this title (and the money it brought in), IDW have become a real force in the comic book market. Oh, and I love the fact that 30 Days of Night is probably the scariest fuckin comic I’ve ever read!!

Written by Steve Niles and drawn by Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of Night is set in Barrow, Alaska, where at 12:50pm on November 18, the sun dips below the horizon and is not seen again until 11:51am on January 24 (true). The simple (but none the less genius) idea is that a bunch of vampires decide this would be one handy place to chow down for a month, without that pesky sunlight getting in their way. It falls to Sheriff Eben Olemaun and his wife Stella to try and save the town.

The story is short, but great, with some accurate historical vampire ‘facts’ woven in, but it’s the artwork that gets me. There is a real edginess to the drawings, they are harsh and not nice to look at, leaving you feeling a little disturbed at the end - a bit like when you used to watch a horror film when you were 11 or 12. You’d brave it out and (try to) laugh at it, but afterwards it all felt a bit creepy, and the dark walk to the bedroom was a killer! For a comic book to be able to convey that uncomfortable feeling is a real accomplishment.

So what will the film be like? I imagine it’ll be an over the top bloodbath horror, that loses the subtleties of the original storyline, but makes up for it with, mmm I don't know, more blood perhaps?! Josh Hartnett and Melissa George are playing the heroes, but the handling of this film will determine whose side I’m on this time around!!

30 Days of Night gets its UK release on 1st November 2007 (19th October in the US).

UPDATE: The trailer for 30 Days of Night has just been released, and y'know what, it looks ok!! Not a drop of blood in it either! Check it our right here at Start The Revolution Without Me: