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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Love L.A.

My wife and I were driving home from the video store this evening when we spied a Microsoft billboard with a picture of the Kaiser Chiefs on it. “BrandNewWave,” it read. We thought it was funny because neither Microsoft nor the Kaisers are that “Brand New,” and while we love Bill Gates, his sound is somewhat—if not very—similar to some of his Brit-pop predecessors. (And the Kaiser Chiefs blatantly ripped off their operating system from Xerox, if we’ve learned anything from Anthony Michael Hall’s portrayal of them in the made-for-TV Pirates of Silicon Valley.)

Even if they’re not BrandNewWave, however, the Kaisers are certainly successful. The only other band I’ve heard of in a high-profile computer advertisement are U2, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve sold as many records as Apple has iPods. This begs the question: Are the Kaiser Chiefs as popular as Windows? (The computer operating system, not the thing you open to let the stink out.) Or an even better question: When is a band really, really big?

These quandaries are suprisingly easy to answer. I phone my mother.

“Mom, have you heard of U2?”
“The rock group?” she asks.
“Mom, have you heard of the Kaiser Chiefs?”
“Not here,” she says, “but we have bagels.”

So it’s settled. The Kaiser Chiefs are incredibly popular, but have yet to take residence on Olympus. (Their less-than-godlike status has not prevented me from cuffing my jeans like Ricky Wilson, though. I mean goddamn, it looks wicked awesome.) Why any of this matters remains a mystery.

Our friends at recently invited me to give their readers a rock 'n' roll tour guide of Los Angeles—the bestest city in the States—and I enthusiastically obliged. It includes a few priceless quotes from our Zachary, as well as a night-by-night guide of things to do in our hometown, so I say it's well-worth a reading (and maybe even a leeds).

I've also written the definitive TBA biography for City Rockers Records, which can be found on their site: The page has a sparkling new message board as well, so it's sure to keep you occupied, off the streets and away from those people your mother is always warning you about.

The entries for the 'blog redesign contest have been nice, but not exactly what we're looking for, so I'm extending the deadline to this Friday. (Don't worry, everyone who's entered already will still receive a mix-CD.) For details see the "Contest!" entry below. Got it? Do it!

It's summer and it's beautiful outside, I'm off to the beach!

-Ben Lee

Saturday, June 11, 2005


The band is in the studio right now, mixing and mastering the album demo into a better-than-demo version. According to Zachary, this consists largely of endless games of Monopoly and I Love Lucy reruns.

In the meantime, it's been brought to my attention that someone actually transcribed a speech I made in college and posted it on their 'blog. It's most effective when read in front of a large crowd of stiff, white, fifty-somethings. For a good time, click here and print it out: Adam Riff.

Keep the page designs coming--the deadline is June 20!


Ben Lee

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid this page layout is making me numb to the outside world. So much white, blue and orange, such a sterile font... It's a veritable morgue, and its deadness is dumbing me down, compressing my brain into a lame caricature of its former self. I need your help.

Your mission: Redesign this diary into something more representative of the Blood Arm. Something daring, something sexy, something new. Something with photo hosting.

To enter: Simply go to and design a page under your name, and email a link to by JUNE 20.

Reward: If selected, you will receive autographed 'Say Yes' singles in both colors, free entry with a guest to the next TBA show in your town, and the satisfaction of seeing your hard work every time you log onto this page. And everyone who designs a page will be sent a personalized mix CD mixed by yours truly.

Worth it? Yes.

Remember, send your pages to by JUNE 20.

Ben Lee

Oh! Maximo Park - the Blood Arm dates:

June 28- San Diego/ Casbah
June 29- Los Angeles/ Troubadour
June 30- San Francisco/ Popscene
July 2- Portland/ Dante's
July 3- Seattle/ Crocodile Cafe

EDIT: The Popscene date is still unconfirmed, I guess. We'll be sure to let you know if it's happening ASAP, but all you San Franciscans should buy tickets regardless, as MP are amazing live!

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Professor of Indie Rock

Backstage at our first Los Angeles show with Franz Ferdinand, everyone in the Blood Arm camp had the same question on their lips: Who’s that girl? The dressing rooms were quite crowded, but we all had our eyes on the same person (Dyan and Wife included). That girl was a tall, leggy blonde, killer body, wearing black, knee-high, patent-leather high-heeled boots, a short plaid red skirt and a tight white button-down shirt. It seemed the uniform of a cold-hearted dominatrix, but there was something—maybe her quickness to laugh—that had us convinced there was more to her than that. We positioned ourselves next to the food-spread in such a manner that it was possible to eavesdrop on her without making our intentions excessively overt. (In retrospect, however, it was quite obvious that everyone in the room had exactly the same idea.) She was ranting about the “Coital Calvary of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’” in relation to Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, or something. We heard Nick from Franz refer to her as “Professor.” We were intimidated. We were intrigued. My dreams for the following ten days were soundtracked by Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher.’ I thought, even if she is a cold-hearted dominatrix, I could live with that.

Weeks later, when the Franz boys returned with the Futureheads—a show I guest MC-ed (tut-tut)—we were confronted by the same vision, this time donning white, knee-high, patent-leather high-heeled boots. As I returned to the side of the stage after completing my duties, the mysterious Professor was sharing a laugh with Dyan and Kate (a.k.a. Wife). I started to panic. The Professor was laughing. With Dyan and my wife. If they were laughing at me I would die. (Both my wife and father—doctors—have informed me on numerous occasions that if one is laughed at by the three hottest babes he has ever seen, his hair will turn white and his heart will drop straight to his stomach. The ridiculed man will perish slowly and painfully as his stomach acids systematically reduce his heartbeat to bile.) Lucky for me, FF’s aging guitar tech was the one to change colors and collapse, and I lived to be introduced to the Professor.

The Professor, it turns out, is a Professor indeed. The Professor of Indie Rock. Wendy received a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from UCLA, where she taught for a spell before moving to England to do research for her first book. This research entailed becoming the first employee at Domino records, helping to orchestrate the unprecedented rise of Franz Ferdinand, and making the UK an even smaller island—the collective drool of the men of the country poured into the ocean and raised its water level a solid meter. Now Wendy has completed her manuscript and she’s back in the States, where she’s just as fast to smile and laugh as she is to parse Hume or Kant, or for that matter, Zepp or the Stones.

Over the past year, Professor Wendy has become one of the Blood Arm’s bestest friends in the whole world. She’s been a shoulder to cry on when we’ve needed to cry, the first to high-five us when there’s cause to celebrate, the one to feed us when we’ve been hungry, the one to spank us when we’ve been naughty. (OK, the spanking hasn’t happened yet, but I’m trying. I’ve been bad, very bad.) And now—brace yourselves—for the first time in far too long, the Professor of Indie Rock is s-i-n-g-l-e.

She may have more brains and hots in a fingernail than any of us could hope to achieve in a lifetime, but if one can ever build up the guts to approach her, it’s quickly apparent that Professor Wendy is one of the most approachable people God has ever put on his green Earth. Gentlemen, please be gentlemen… When you see her at the next TBA show, call her “Professor.”

-Ben Lee

Oh! Speaking of people we’re totally crushed on… The lovely lads of Maximo Park have invited us to support them on their tour up the left coast, and we’ve wholeheartedly accepted! You heard it here first.