Saturday, December 31, 2005

last post o' the yr

gettin' ready to head out for the evening's festivities

if you go out tonight, be safe and watch out for all the amateurs

remember to cultivate an attitide o' gratitude

see you in 2006

Friday, December 30, 2005

git shit

nels cline has this quote from lydia lunch on his website: "the only thing worse than a gtr is a gtrist." hahahahahaha.

talking to _any_ gtr player is like reading a fuckin' gtr player interview. who gives a shit?

i know you don't care, but anyway:

1) i refuse to participate in the collector-driven commodification of what are, essentially, work tools. i play cheap gtrs _exclusively_ -- mostly black stratocaster clones w/maple necks, because they are the only $150 gtrs left on earth. (i like strat-style gtrs, even tho they're shaped like toilet seats, because all the spring-loaded crap that holds the whammy bar in place makes the strings feel a li'l more elastic than on other gtrs.) i like to tell ppl that i only play gtrs i get for free out of cornflakes boxes, and when they break, i just buy another box of cornflakes. there isn't a piece of wood on earth that's worth $30,000 (which i was incredulous to hear they were charging for a stephen stills signature model martin flat-top 10 yrs ago), and why anyone would bring an instrument that costs as much as a car into a club, where drunks can knock it over or spill beer on it, is beyond me. (and we won't even get into the instrument-theft issue.) when my future ex-wife and i split up in '93, i immediately sold my groovy '66 cherry red gibson sg for what i'd paid for it in '78. i phoned in a classified ad and before the paper even ran, some dude came knocking on my door w/cash. a coupla months later i was at craig's music in weatherford (the town where the parking meters still take pennies!) and found the same model / yr axe on sale for over 10X what i'd gotten for mine. that's what i get for not staying in touch w/the marketplace. guh.

2) if i could have any gtr in the world, i'd prolly pick a gibson es-330 (the b.b. king "lucille" styled body, but with p-90s instead of humbuckers). i had one when i was a teenager. the headstock had been broken off and repaired. i foolishly traded it to a cat i usedta play with for a stratocaster. alternate choice: an old danelectro. (the new ones suck.) ppl usedta throw them away, but i think they really had character.

3) i like single-coil pickups, even tho they're noisy as shit. prolly 'cos the first good gtr i owned (a '65 sg) had p-90's. i also tend to favor the throatier sound of neck pickups to the treblier one of bridge pickups (altho i've learned to adapt, depending on what the mix of frequencies is onstage), because that same gtr had a bum bridge pickup that i never replaced.

4) possibly because i'm a musical illiterate who's spent an inordinate amount of time focused on _tone_ rather than _technique_, i agree with frank zappa that if you have a good tone, you can't play anything wrong. then again, i don't think equipment is that important because i believe that every experienced player has a set of freqs that sound good to his / her ear, and will tend to gravitate toward those freqs no matter what gtr /amp combination is being used.

5) i usedta have a real good amp -- fender '95 reissue twin reverb that the previous owner had modified so the normal channel was just a li'l bit hotter than the vibrato, and you could use the footswitch with either channel. the thing was way overpowered for the clubs i was playing, so i never ever ever ran it with the volume over 3 (except for one time in the store when i was having it worked on; i cranked it up to 5 and sent the kid running out to the street with his hands clamped over his ears). the downside: you couldn't turn it up loud enough to make it break up, so after a few yrs of playing straight-thru-the-amp in bluesbands and using the knob on the gtr to regulate volume, i started using boosters -- ibanez ts-9 tube screamer and danelectro daddio. later on i started getting back into analog stompboxes, basically the same ones i'd used as a teenager: dallas arbiter reissue fuzz face (a red one, which i wound up trading jim crye back for a dod overdrive 'cos my wah wouldn't work with it for some reason, no matter what connection sequence i used), vox wah (basically the same pedal as the crybaby but just a little more rugged in construction), mxr phase 90. i had a dunlop jh-1 "jimi hendrix" wah for awhile; hated it (narrower sweep than either the crybaby or the vox, with a distinct break point in the middle like a mu-tron or envelope filter, rather than a smooth effect). and for awhile i used a sansamp that made little solid state amps sound like they were about to blow up.

6) i sold the twin, along with my last two gtrs (peavey raptor tele clone and epiphone les paul jr.) to pay an attorney a coupla summers ago, then i made two nathan brown tours on borrowed gear -- a lone star strat and fender concert amp belonging to nick girgenti (whose gear i used on more gigs between '97-'04 than i used my own; thanks, nicky) and paul reed smith generously lent by daniel gomez thru some piece o' shit no-name bass amp nathan owned. then keith wingate (bless him) gifted me an indonesian squier strat w/rosewood fretboard and li'l roland cube 60 amp for my b-day in '04. while i've always preferred tube amps, the roland has the best tone i've enjoyed since my idjit ex-brother-in-law destroyed my tweed deluxe while i was overseas '82-'83. for the longest time, i couldn't take the thing out of the house w/o getting compliments on its tone. it's real thick, dark 'n' warm, except for certain occasions when we're playing in the li'l room a.k.a. "wreck west" w/the curtains / blinds open. it has an inline overdrive that sounds like ass, so i never use it (same reason i keep the tone on the dod pedal on zero at all times). i keep the gain on 10 and the master volume set according to the level the other players are at (or wherever andre tells me to set it). treble, mids, and bass are usually between 11 and 1 o'clock, except for the aforementioned "wreck west" contingency, in which case the treble comes down, the mids / bass go up, and the tone on the gtr gets rolled off. best part: when i am intact, i can carry all my shit in / out of the club in a single load. what's not to like?

7) i never change strings until they break. (i usedta wait until i broke _two_.) this is partly because i'm lazy / cheap, partly because with strat-style gtrs, it takes so long for strings to get seated in after you first put 'em on. since my sweetie bought me an in-line tuner a coupla yrs ago, onstage outta tune-ness is less of a prob for me than it usedta be, but who needs the grief? also...

8) i never practice. well, only when i'm learning material. lately i've been trying to play some acoustic gtr around the house, but i never really practice songs i'm going to play at the jam or anything. (once in a blue moon i'll hook up the "amplet" with all my toys for the sheer joy of making shitloads of noise in my music room, but most of the time, that seems like too much work.) next yr, however, i think i'm gonna buy a copy of mick goodrick's the advancing guitarist and work on expanding my admittedly primitive knowledge base and technique. i've been bullshitting my way through on stuff i learned when i was a teenager for so long, i only recently started feeling like maybe it woulda been better if i'd learned more than rudimentary theory (e.g., enough to sorta communicate w/other musos on the stand) when i was young. i've just gotten to where i feel like it'd be nice to have more choices onstage when i have to get from point a to point b. we may not be perfectable, but we damn sure oughtta be improvable.

darrin kobetich

wowzers. just learned that lawn guyland-to-weatherford expatriate, metalhead-turned-eclectic-acoustic muso darrin kobetich will be vacating the friday night happy hour slot he's held down at the li'l wreck room for the last coupla yrs.

for his last hurrah on january 20th, he promises a guest-star-laden free improv extravaganza that'll start at 7pm and prolly run past the usual 9pm quittin' time 'cos it's over in "wreck west," even tho centromatic will be playing the big stage that night. ya mo' be there. maybe you too?


one of my fave things i wrote for the local giveaway rag (which they wouldn't let me take a byline for, 'cos it was an "advertising piece" and they wanted to preserve the separation 'tween advo and editooreal, while i just wanted to make a coupla bucks) was a piece entitled "8 things to do on new year's eve" that came off the top o' my noggin on a yellow legal pad on my sweetie's kitchen table about 3 months after we met. i thought about going out in the shed to dig up a copy (since it ain't on the rag's website) to rework for the blogosphere, but then i thought better of it (fun is fun, but there are limits). instead, here are some thoughts on the upcoming garrruuunnnk-fest / collective nervous breakdown we endure annually on the occasion of the clock advancing another yr (some of which will undoubtedly duplicate the earlier piece, 'cos i'm not that imaginative and have a very poor memory for what i write once it's done).

1) i fuckin' hate new yr's eve. it's prolly my least fave holiday after st. patrick's day. imo, waaay too much of the world's misery is due to ppl believing it when other ppl who are selling shit tell 'em they should be having a better time than they are and the ensuing depression at the disparity between the fantasy good-time-that-doesn't-really exist and the sad reality of their true lives, which results in the even-more-feverish pursuit of the nonexistent ideal, usually fueled by lotsa booze. fuck that. nobody, but nobody, tells me when i should be having a good time.

2) worst nye of my entahr life: the one in between the u.s.a. bicentennial yr and the (first) "year punk broke," which i spent in some old man bar in my backwater town on lawn guyland where i was astonished to discover that, at age 19, i was the oldest person in the bar besides the bartender and the 40something garrruuunnnk brawd who walked in around the time the big ball started descending in times square and started kissing all the garrruuunnnk teenage boys w/tongue. i left when she started dancing on a table, holding her skirt over her head.

3) second worst nye of my entahr life: the one that ushered in the '80s, which i celebrated by punching a poured concrete wall while extremely fukkked-up on vodka 'n' quaaludes. i woke up the next morning to discover that the bones in my right hand were shattered and it had swollen to three times the size of my left. luckily for me, there was at the time cheap medical care for non-locals in aspen, colorado (where i'd foolishly gone after some old ny associates called me in austin and suggested we make a band), and i was able to parlay my injury into a promotion from dishwasher / prep cook to, uh, maitre d' of the shitty overpriced rib joint where i was working, before being run out of town on a rail by the aspen police (an "interesting" story in its own right that i'll have to tell you some other time).

4) why would anyone in their right mind wanna be out driving on the one night a yr when significant numbers of ppl who only get garrruuunnnk once a yr do so, then go out to try and operate motor vehicles? it doesn't matter if you have a designated driver; it's those _otha_ mothafuckas you gotta worry about. today's paper included stories of a 14-yr-old kid who was burned to death when he crashed his pickup into a tree at 3am and some middle-aged shitheel who ran another motorist off the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle, killing two ppl, then just _drove off_. this with his wife 'n' four kids in the car. ever feel like a fugitive from the law of averages? it's no wonder so many ppl i know (including one who has an alter ego named "partyboy") are foregoing the nightlife for an evening at home this yr.

5) if you're gonna drink on nye (or anytime), for gawd's sake, eat something substantial first and intersperse yr alcohol intake w/drinks o' h2o.

6) the best bartender in fort worth once made me walk a line to get out of his place when i wasn't even that hammered. (bless you, jimmy.) it's unfortunate more cats 'n' chixxx in his line of work aren't as responsible.

7) if you get too inebriated to drive, call a fuckin' taxicab or sleep in yr car. celebrating the new yr is pretty pointless if you don't wake up to enjoy it. or if you spend the first quarter of it in the graybar or scheduling yr activities around court appearances / probation appointments. (been there, done that.)

8) i usually do a lot of taking stock this time of yr. (fuck new year's resolutions. they're lame. i prefer _daily_ resolutions.) when doing this, i try to be as honest as i can w/myself. it doesn't always feel good, but i think i'm better off doing this than not.

9) my dear old grey-haired mom told me (and i believe) that what you do to see in the new yr, you'll be doing all yr long, so i try to make it something good.

10) on this day (and every day), make sure to tell the ppl you love that you love them. there will come a time when you can't and if you don't do it now, you'll regret it.

nels cline

i first became aware of nels cline via his stunning gtr work on mike watt's "punk opera" contemplating the engine room. i'm so ign'ant of mainstream pop kulcha that i was unaware he's now a mbr of wilco until i read it on his website. guh.

besides being a master of edgy outside noise / freeblow improv wonderment in a variety of contexts (his own band, the nels cline singers; the group banyan with watt and ex-porno for pyros drummer steve perkins; a multiplicity of duos 'n' trios; sesh participation in heavy-duty projects like ex-geraldine fibbers front carla bozulich's re-imagineering of willie nelson's red-headed stranger alb and the rova saxophone quartet's similar re-jigging of coltrane's ascension), he's also a good writer and (apparently) mindful cat. i'm looking forward to checking out more of his work in '06.

dave karnes - 2/18/06 - wreckroom fwtx - hold the date!

it's awhile from now, but saturday, february 18th, will be _dave karnes night_ at the wreck room. on the card that night will be three, count 'em, _three_ bands w/dave on traps: rahim quazi, sunward, and mealy mouth, a foat wuth supergroup comprising dave on drums, wednesday night jam-meister lee allen on bass, and "confusajohn" stevens on gtr. hold the date!

dave had a swift li'l gig last night with his jazz group (this time out: brandon nelson on bass, paul boll on gtr, dave williams on tenor, and oaklin bloodworth on voxxx) at machenry's. he was impressed by the listening crowd and sez it looks like this could be the start of somethin' really nice.

unfortunately, a bug he caught on christmas eve forced dave's brit / berklee pal milton mermikides to cancel his planned visit to the fort, but if milton can't make it to the fort, we're working on a way of getting a piece of the fort to milton. film, as they say, at 11.

mo' jam pixxx

here's some snaps my sweetie took at the last coupla wks o' jams on the li'l stage at "wreck west." top to bottom, the folks in the pics be: 1) john stevens and lee. i've known john since he was 19 and he's always been a natch'l, soulful player. since he joined confusatron, he's really come into his own. 2) john shook and matt skates. shook's prolly the best point-to-point bassplayer in the fort. good gtrist, too. there doesn't seem to be anything skates can't play. on this night, he played gtr, bass, and drums. he also plays trombone. well-rounded muso, and sober now, too. right on, matt. 3) jon hill and carl. jon-boy's main thang is supposedly singer-songwriter spew, but he sure can light up them strings. 4) skates on drums (told ya) and mark mcpherson from the brokers, the fort's best new reggae outfit. mark also digs jazz 'n' the minutemen. that's his highly-coveted hollowbody vox. 5) ron geida taught two of my kids gtr. we had an instrumental band once that, over the course of 13 months, 7 gigs, 3 bassplayers, 2 drummers, and 1 nervous breakdown (mine), convinced me i should never try and be a bandleader. he's still one of my fave cats, tho. 6) wyatt's band "the burning hotels" is a contender for "next big thang" here in the fort, but he's a nice, level-headed young (21! jayzus!) cat who respects the old shit and has never turned down a challenge, musically-wise.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

pilot deposits garrruuunnnk asshole on island

is the customer always right?

according to lu, who bartends at the wreck room, yes. "but," she adds, "_i_ get to decide who's a customer."

one who'd prolly agree with her: the pilot of this transcontinental jet, who diverted to an island off the coast of west africa to eject a passenger who'd become abusive after being refused a bottle of wine.

jack rose, bola sete

lately i've been diggin' the acoustic stylings of jack rose, a virginian gtrist whose "now that i'm a man full grown" (from last yr's kensington blues cd) i recently heard on my pandora john fahey radio station, and bola sete (ne djalma de andrade), a brazilian jazz cat who performed with the likes of dizzy gillespie and charlie brown christmas soundtrack creator vince guaraldi before cutting an alb of dark mysterioso solo pieces for fahey's takoma label in the mid-'70s (ocean, reished in expanded cd form as ocean memories), marveling at the depth of expression these cats were able to achieve in the solo gtr format (same territory where darrin kobetich operates). also found this vid of bola sete jammin' in a more straightahead jazz context (with the guaraldi trio, i think). dig him.

art of the jam 32

we wound up playing the little room a.k.a. "wreck west" again this week 'cos wreckroom wizard o' sound andre edmonson was laid low by some sort of inner-ear malady upon his return from touring the snow-capped peaks of colorado with a-hummin' acoustical acupuncture last week. (feel better soon, dre.)

the absence of joe "drumzilla" cruz (holidaying in noo yawk) was more than offset by _a whole night with dave karnes kicking the traps_. jam-meister lee allen's fort worth academy of music pardner, a ubiquitous presence on the local jazz (dave and daver, his own trio) and rawk (sunward, rahim quazi) scenes, has been a jam participant before -- indeed, that's how he met lee at an earlier incarnation of the jam 7-8 yrs ago -- but never for more than 15 minutes or so of late, so this was a rare treat.

at first it seemed like it was gonna be a night with nothing but bassplayers in the house. eventually, a coupla gtrists -- clear thinker ron geida (fresh from rehearsing w/jasper stone, who'll be joining catfish whiskey at the moon tonight) and soulful groover john stevens (vibing up for confusatron's end-of-yr extravaganza with pablo and the hemphill 7 at the wreck this saturday night) -- made appearances. always dig playing with both of those cats, whom i met hangin' out at zoo music nearly a decade ago. since then, we've all been through loads of blooze 'n' cover bands before coming over to "the dark side." if i was a li'l more reluctant than usual to cede my onstage spot, it was only 'cos i dig playing w/karnage so mightily, and haven't had many oppos to do so since the nathan brown tour i wound up quitting almost 2 yrs ago. while i've been even less satisfied than usual with the sounds emanating from my amp since i fukkked up my leg (amazing what slaves we are to our biomechanics), playing "maggot brain" with dave throwing an elvin [as in jones] groove on it felt like somethin' special.

ok, bassists: to begin with, sally majestic's p.j. fry has been hangin' at the wreck more than usual in recent weeks, the better to promote his band's upcoming gig there (that'd be this friday, the 30th), so it seemed the thing to do to open with our slowed-down, reggaefied version of sally's peppy ska toon "bobo." after timely pause, the jam-meister was able to coax p.j. up to the mic to sing a verse before returning to his video game. kulcha far i / jasper stone low-end theorist john shook was propping up the bar during the first set and had his axe in tow, but wound up splitting before we could get him onstage. feh.

head me-think / pussyhouse propaganda art criminal ray liberio was in the house, too, fresh from his victory in the "mustachio 7" costume contest, his pal wheatley in tow and his voice raw from recording more tracks for the much-anticipated double e.p. (i dreamed i was playing stooges songs with the me-thinks in my maidenform bra.) also on hand were a coupla brokers: bassist mark mcpherson and trombonist marcus brunt. in the event, mark wound up not playing, but marcus did. (i never imagined i would finish out a jam night playing "war pigs" with ron geida, dave karnes, and a trombone player. but as ray pointed out to my sweetie, there's actually precedent for such a collision of black sabbath 'n' brass -- cf. the set the extra action marching band once played at the wreck, wherein they covered the entire first sabbath alb in marching-band style.) mark told me he did high school jazz band with future bindle drummer kevin geist, and that he's thinking about starting a side project modeled on jamaican ska-jazz gtr ace ernest ranglin's trio. sounds intriguin'. in the meantime, the brokers (fronted by new dad adrian valdez) will be at the wreck on sunday, january 29th.

the jam-meister actually went to the extent of preparing a setlist for the evening, which in the event got left at home, so we wound up winging it (as per usual), pulling a set heavy on fonk and old-school rockaroll quotient out of various orifices. absent carl pack, dave's pal riley shaw fronted the band for "come together," and later on, lee sang a version of "pepper" that wound up morphing into, um, "sweet emotion" (which we'd actually discussed having riley sing at one point, but by the time we played it he was gone -- maybe next time). on january 7th, lee's austin band "impulse of will" (with karnes on drums) headlines at the wreck, doin' a similar thang to our wednesday night deal but in a more metallic vein. we may get to do an opening set, too. film, as they say, at 11.

oh, yeah -- congrats to wreck bartender and ex-woodeye (r.i.p.) bassist graham richardson, who announced last night that he and his squeeze / kai's mama robin are tyin' the knot on june 30th. "so her mom asked me, 'was it planned?'" he said in his best "so _i'm_ the asshole here?!?!?" voice. "i told her, 'yeah, we're both slingin' drinks for a living, we figured this was a good time to start a family. we've been thinkin' about it for...weeks...."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

reasons not to drive like an asshole

i was at work, doing some (i swear) biz-related reading, when i stumbled on this. food for thought, esp. if you're often in a hurry / distracted / emotional / all o' the above behind the wheel.

latest sign o' the apocalypse: genesis reunion imminent

the original lineup. at least that's what their gtrist says. wonder if peter gabriel will wear the flower costume again?

ridin' the holiday rollercoaster

been a few days since i really had time to post. holidays are always a mixed bag for me, emotionally-wise, and this one's no exception. my ex-father-in-law started dialysis today after experiencing complete kidney failure on christmas eve. an admirable cat -- one of eight kids, grew up on a ranch in west texas, at 15 he was stringing phone lines up in the dakotas, lied about his age and enlisted in the airforce, supported his infirm in-laws his whole married life until they passed, retired from the military and went to work for the postoffice for 30 yrs, raised his grandson too from young times 'cos the boy's parents weren't up to the task, then took his son in when _he_ had substance-abuse related illnesses. went back to work not long after his second retirement. at a time in their lives when he and his wife figured they'd be relaxing and traveling, they're still working hard taking care of other ppl. this man might have had a selfish thought at some point in his life, but you'd never know it to look at his track record. when they checked him into the hospital i'm sure he was scared, but he was asking the nurses to make sure they had a teevee in i.c.u. so he wouldn't miss the cowboy game and told the minister that he missed church on sunday 'cos he was ashamed he'd run out of seasonal ties. a good man; keeping him in my thoughts this week.

spent most of the holiday w-e chillin' at home, as a result of which my leg is feelin' much better. the gel-padded bike gloves my sweetie got me have mitigated the effect of the crutches on my hands, so jammin' tonight should be a relative breeze compared to the last coupla weeks o' misery. still have to wear das boot for another 3-4 wks, but can feel the swelling and stiffness beginning to subside.

friday night we were honored to be guests at the me-thinks' "mustachio 7" party, for which the mbrs of haltom city's masters of self-deprecating bullshit and high-octane rockaroll, along with a few of their friends, annually grow elaborate molestachios and dress up outlandishly (coupla '70s leisure suits this yr, along with host / pussyhouse art criminal ray liberio's great white hunter and his co-conspirator calvin abucejo's turbaned indian) to enjoy libations, toonage, and um, fun 'n' fellowship. got to meet the _real_ entrepeneur behind their label "indian casino records" (visiting from the pac nw) and sample some of his home brewed beers. it was just nice being around a buncha folks who have known each other for yrs 'n' yrs and have a certain ease between 'em. sir marlin von bungy favored me with a cd-r of some tracks the me-thinks have cut for their long-awaited double e.p., but i promised him i wouldn't write about 'em...yet.

saturday night we spent at the home of jazz pianner titan johnny case and his wife kitty (who, like my sweetie, works in special education) with a buncha ppl young 'n' old. was talking to one cat a few yrs older than me who recalled his teenage fascination with the sound of jazz chords that led him to pick up gtr (in the same way a fascination with the sound of hot lixxx 'n' feedback motivated some of us). for the last five yrs, he's been studying the sitar with a teacher he met thru the d/fw indian classical music circle, and he enlightened me with fascinating tidbits o' info such as the fact that in a classical indian raga, the _sequence_ of notes in a scale is what defines the piece (rather than a set of chord changes), and that the order might be different in a descending scale than it is in an ascending one. and these cats will take a structure that simple and embroider on it for 30 minutes or more. interesting stuff. also talked at length with a young cat, the son of a local muso, who's attending film school in bozeman, montana, of all places, and wants to make documentary films. he told me about one piece in particular he'd done, an int w/a retired navy seal he'd met at the local vfw in bozeman that i'd be curious to see if he could ever find a way of doing something with it.

was thinking about my kids last night, having seen all of 'em (rather than just the middle one whom i still see _fairly_ often) at the hospital on sunday, and so last night i went and borrowed an acoustic gtr from wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson and sat around after my sweetie hit the rack trying to remember some of the fingerstyle stuff i learned in between putting down after i got back from korea in '83 and picking up again around '90 or '91, as well as some of the songs i usedta sing my kids when they were little (which the middle one has asked me to tape for 'em, which i may do someday). not something i'd ever do in public, but nice to give that set of synapses a spin after not doing so for a real long time.

earlier in the evening, we went to pick up a (late) christmas present for middle dtr's b-f and use a gift card my sweetie's li'l sis sent me at half price books. the vinyl racks were kinda picked over, but we found a vid of to kill a mockingbird, an intact paperback of catch-22 (to replace the disintegrating one i co-opted from my middle dtr a few months back), and a coupla budget-line cd's that include the complete charlie parker dial sessions (on four discos!) and the complete savoy master takes -- basically all the best shit that bird ever waxed. mr. parker of k.c.'s late-'40s innovations (exploring the harmonic possibilities implicit in tin pan alley songcraft and subdividing the 8th-note dance beat of swing into an idiom typified by flurries of 16th notes, paving the way for trane's "sheets of sound" and later, 32nd-note fusion insanity) became the template for jazz in the '50s until ornette and cecil and ayler arrived to take it to yet another level of abstraction. like ellington, i can listen to this stuff endlessly.

now that i'm all done working for this yr, i'm looking fwd to some downtime spent with friends and family, nye dinner at fred's and the ph7-confusatron show at el wreck, and avoiding all the amateurs who get garrruuunnnk and try to operate motor vehicles once a yr. it's been a good yr, all in all, but da-a-amn, it sure went fast.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

jam pixxx

since may, my sweetie (her name is kat, if i haven't introduced y'all)'s been takin' photos at the wreck room's wednesday night jams whenever she can get there (it's late for a school night). one of these days (maybe sooner 'n later now that she got photoshop elements for xmas from her li'l sis), she's gonna start a photo blog, but not this week. in the meantime, here are some of her jam pixxx i dig the most. (thanks 'n' a tip o' the hat to mikey for the tech tip.) you can click on 'em to make 'em big, the better to see how handsome we all are.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

christmas eve fwtx 2005

sittin' here listening
to robin's music
while my sweetie cleans up
the kitchen in preparation
for watching "dr. zhivago"
and waiting until midnight
so we can hear the cats talk

thinking about
my ex-father-in-law
who's in hosp w/kidney failure
and hoping he pulls through

thinking how next yr
i need to stop being
such a lazy ass and start
practicing gtr again
and more importantly
how i need to work harder
at being a better person
for the ppl in my life

'cos we're not given tom'w
not hardly

peace on earth
good will toward men

r.i.p. robin syler

was saddened today to read that robin syler, a stone fort worth original who played the fire out of blues, surf music, and rockabilly, died at home on december 16th at age 54, an apparent suicide. whatever troubles he had during his time here, may he find peace now.

pixxx: not this wk

damn. i went to download that hello software that lets you post pixxx to yr blog, but found that it requires windows and explorer (and, at la casa at least, i'm a mac / mozilla kinda guy). feh.

red book story a hoax

ok, so now it appears that the student who claimed to have been visited by the feds for checking out mao's li'l red book from the library was lying. it nevah happened. he made it all up. damn, what's the world coming to when you can't believe shit you read on the internet?

man: the tool user

so i was in the shower when my sweetie left to take my middle dtr to work yesterday. had lotsa fun washing my hair w/one hand only (other was holding onto the railing that la casa's previous occupant had installed, which i formerly derided but now greatly appreciate; think i might have to use the kitchen sink for shampoo purposes until i am healed), then when it came time to get out of the shower, i suddenly realized that i'd left my crutches in the corner, kinda out of reach from where i was. so i very carefully (to avoid the further ignominy of slipping and cracking my skull on hard porcelain) leaned over to the bathroom sink, grabbed my glasses, and used them to hook a crutch, which i was then able to use to balance on while extricating myself from the bathtub without pulling / tearing / falling / busting anything else. i feel so competent now. poor planning needn't be a problem for man, the tool user.

watt's bass scholarship

mcnally smith college of music just announced the establishment of a mike watt bass guitar scholarship, to be offered to an incoming bass major each year starting in the fall of 2006. a minuteman in academia! who'd a thunk it?

Friday, December 23, 2005


here's a heartwarming countercultural christmas story i wrote on spec for the local giveaway alternarag a coupla yrs ago.

one way to get a gig, i suppose

the second amendments, a rock band made up of members of congress, will be entertaining the troops in europe and the middle east this holiday season. dunno what they sound like, but it'll prolly be better than the entertainment we got when i was in the airforce stationed in korea: lou rawls (who bitched about, um, having to play in an airplane hangar) and foster brooks (redundant on a base full of functional alcoholics). or the japanese elvis presley impersonator i saw in the nco club in japan, enroute back to the states on midtour leave.

art of the jam extra!!!

ok, so my sweetie was sifting through the many piles of paper that have been taking up loads of space around la casa, preparatory to stoking one huge-ass bonfire at the me-thinks' "mustachio 7" party tonight and i found this list i made (i know, how high fidelity anal) of all the musos that have played at the wreck room's wednesday night jam this yr. i _think_ this is evabody:

lee allen - jam-meister, 6-string bass, voxxx, gtr, drums
carl pack (ex-gideons) - voxxx
damien stewart (ph7/goodwin): drums
unknown drummer - studio cat?
unknown kbd player
steve "vikingo" huber (fw symphony) - violin, voxxx, gtr
kevin(?) brock - gtr
jon hill - gtr
john stevens (confusatron) - gtr
marcus lawyer (ph7) - 5-string bass
justin pate (ph7, confusatron) - drums
graham richardson (woodeye) - bass
darrin kobetich (electric mountain rotten apple gang) - gtr
mike padilla (ex-el salvador birthday bash) - drums
andre edmonson - wizard o' sound
jeremy hull (collin herring/jason davis/galen jeter): standup and electric basses
brian sharp (saint frinatra): trumpet, fluegelhorn
cadillac fraf (mockingbird cartel): voxxx
brian forella: voxxx
kenny smith (chatterton): drums
brian batson (confusatron): alto sax
joe "drumzilla" cruz: drums
jesse sierra hernandez (sleeplab): congas
james hinkle: gtr, voxxx
tony diaz (goodwin): voxxx
mark neumann (bombshelter): gtr, voxxx
mark deffebach (electric mountain rotten apple gang): gtr
caroline collier: drums
dru webber: gtr, voxxx
ray liberio (me-thinks): drums
bill hitri (ex-pop poppins): voxxx
clay stinnett (history at our disposal): drums
cody: acoustic gtr, voxxx
fernando palomo (sleeplab): nylon-string and electric gtrs
jeff arsenault (sleeplab): nylon-string gtr
monkey brainz (ex-spoonfed tribe): acoustic gtr, voxxx, electronics
leo saenz III (ex-latin express): bass, gtr, fluegelhorn
josh clark (c.s.s.): drums, percussion
jonathan irwin (confusatron/ph7): percussion
ari (dogs with sticks): gtr
ron geida (kulcha far i): gtr
john shook (kulcha far i): bass, gtr
jeffrey williams (kulcha far i): drums
andy brown: gtr, voxxx
egress (band): 311 covers
riley shaw: voxxx
shaolin death squad: gtr, drums
darryl wood (confusatron): electronics
austin: djembe
dave karnes (dave and daver, sunward, rahim the band): drums
matt hembree (goodwin, underground railroad): bass
tony chapman (ex-ghostcar): bass, gtr, synth
daniel gomez (goodwin): gtr, drums
dax (ransom): voxxx, drums
william bryan massey III: drums, spoken word
john price: voxxx
joe vano (ph7): voxxx
wyatt (burning hotels): drums
vic: voxxx, gtr, drums
amy royer: voxxx
david daniel (ex-fw cats, icicle and the kid): bass, voxxx
meredith: voxxx
paul: gtr
matt skates (confusatron, electric mountain rotten apple gang): bass, gtr, drums
mark mcpherson (brokers): bass

get ready for mozart's 250th

january 27, 2006, marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of boy genius composer wolfgang amadeus mozart. while i suffer from an aversion to german opera (result of early exposure to the works of strauss and wagner at pain-threshold volume via my old man), still dig mozart's, esp. the magic flute (which i fucked up and missed when the dallas opera performed it a coupla yrs ago). will have to find a copy of amadeus, the movie that did for mozart what barfly did for bukowski, to screen in honor of his day.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

art of the jam 31

like terry bozzio in baby snakes, i feel like i've been hitting my fuckin' hands with a hammer. it's from walkin' w/the crutches. the other day i walked about a block from work with the crutches to go to lunch and it wore my ass out. i don't know how carl pack does it. plus the building i work in has no elevator, so i have to negotiate a coupla flights o' stairs on the crutches to get to the j-o-b. yesterday i took a tumble down a coupla steps. this morning (not related to that incident), i noticed my leg and foot are suffering some major bruise action. went back to the doc, who advised i stay off my feet (but not on my ass in bed all the time, to avoid blood clots -- scary). next week, i need to talk to the i.t. dude at work about gettin' me set up to where i can work from la casa. and i may need to sit out the jam for a coupla wks. bummer.

that aside, last night's edition was, as jam-meister lee allen said, "great for musicians" -- not so great for elvis the bartender, as we all had drink tickets and there were maybe 10 non-playing civilians in the little bar (a.k.a. "wreck west") at any given time. on a purely musical level, though, it was stellar. four gtr players! (a fifth showed up but didn't get to play -- sorry, paul.) an equal number of bassplayers! (nearly all of whom also played gtr at some point.) two drummers! most importantly 'n' best of all: more varied combinations of different ppl playing together in a single night than we've had in awhile.

a few of the highlights:

matt skates, who plays bass with damn near everyone here in the fort (confusatron / electric mountain rotten apple gang / c.s.s. / johnny case / maybe a new project with scott that usedta drum in confusatron), picked up his c-tron bandmate "confusajohn" stevens' strat and led a pickup quartet including kulcha far i-ans ron geida (gtr) and john shook (bass) and regular jam drummer joe "drumzilla" cruz through an impromptu funk romp and a truly _nasty_ sounding blues.

a little later, ron was calling the toons with jam-meister lee on bass, dave karnes on drums, and confusajohn on gtr (the last three of whom _might_ start gigging together on a regular basis under the rubric "mealy mouth") when they essayed john coltrane's "impressions" (jesse sierra hernandez' portrait of trane has been hanging up behind the big stage for so long that it was about time somebody played some coltrane music at the wreck; now they have) and frank zappa's "sexual harassment in the workplace" (on what woulda been fz's 65th b-day; me-thinks / pussyhouse propaganda art criminal ray liberio said he didn't even realize what day it was when he donned a zappa t-shirt that morning). geida is maybe the best point-to-point rawk player in the metromess, with a style that encompasses classic rock, blues, and jazz virtues, while stevens has evolved his clear-white-light sound from blues-rock roots through jam-band extensions. both of 'em had to hang on for dear life, though, as lee 'n' dave took off on an improvisational foray that showcased their near-telepathic rapport while veering from straight-up funk to '70s-milesian mysterioso (sorry, dave).

jam co-founder carl pack got up to lend his distinctive aura to a coupla jam standards (beatles "come together" and butthole surfers "pepper"). also in the house but not playing: visual artist / sleeplab congero jesse sierra hernandez, fresh from his band's debut "real" gig at experience the art of music (at the soon-to-sleep-with-the fishes axis) and confusatron / ph7 percussionist jonathan irwin, with his brother joshua from nashville in tow.

mark mcpherson from reggae upstarts the brokers was a first-time jammer whose vintage vox hollowbody (with a neck, i swear, skinnier than a hagstrom gtr's) was the envy of every bassplayer in the house. he struck some sparks with long-absent jam stalwart jon hill and some crippled-ass mofo on gtrs and drumzilla on traps. somewhere in there, this very spaced-out dude who'd been dancing near the stand all night got up in the middle of a slow blooze to blow very out-of-toon harp and, uh, scream. it was real, um, aesthetic, and maybe the reason why jon-boy and drumzilla didn't seem to wanna end the toon -- not inspiration; rather, distraction. then skates was on bass, shook on gtr, drumzilla on traps, and the jam-meister on geida's les paul for some more fonky fun, including a bolero-rific assault on "the little drummer boy." finished up with lee on gtr, the kulcha cats, and skates on drums (jayzus, is there anything that boy _can't_ play?!?!?) for some mutated reggae.

it was big fun watching the jam-meister keep re-shuffling the deck of some of the fort's best musos. this kinda action seems to be catching on here in the 817 area code, what with ph7 bassist marcus lawyer's "speakeasy" sesh and the one scott copeland gtrist john zaskoda wants to start at his sessions music store up in white settlement (yes, out-of-towners, that's actually the name of a westside 'burb of the fort). next week, the wreck jam will be back in the "big" room, as wizard o' sound andre edmonson will be back from three weeks in colorado with a-hummin' acoustical acupuncture. ya mo be there, even if i can't play. (gotta chronicle the haps, after all.) maybe you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


two of my heroes have berfdays this week. mike watt completed his 48th circuit o' the sun yesterday, and frank zappa woulda completed his 65th today. jam night tonight. have to think of a suitable way to commemorate. (my hands hurt like hell from the crutches. and i lurrrve brushing my teeth while hopping around like a goddamn idiot. bitch, bitch, bitch.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

house to censure bush, cheney?

waitaminute! is the house of representatives really about to censure the president and vice president for lying about iraq and possibly violating international law? film, as they say, at 11.


after only a year and a half, i finally figured out how to put a list o' links over in the right margin of this blog. woo-hoo! i tried to confine myself to ones that 1) have a steady infusion of new content, 2) have lotsa lotsa content, or 3) have content so good (imo) that you've gotta check 'em out at least once. so there. have fun.

ADDENDUM: ok, i've gone completely apeshit with the music links, but it's supposed to be a music blog so wtf. tried to concentrate on those which have sound clips, but there are a couple that don't which i included for historical reasons or just 'cos i dig the ppl involved so much. also added linxxx to some old shit i wrote. enjoy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

my village voice critics' poll thingy

as previously noted, because i am _not_ a man of my word, i went ahead and voted in the village voice critics' poll after saying i wasn't gonna, only because i take perverse pleasure in seeing the names of local artistes on the webpages of big, indifferent national publications. in the interest of full disclosure, here's da shit:

1. Jhon Kahsen - Love's Bitter Rage - Goddamnation Expose (15)
2. Unknown Instructors - The Way Things Work - Smog Veil (14)
3. Dungen - Ta Det Lungt - Subliminal Sounds (13)
4. James Hinkle - Straight Ahead Blues? - Blue Lights (12)
5. Dave and Daver - Jazz Lines - NO LABEL (11)
6. Sinead O'Connor - Throw Down Your Arms - Rocket Science (9)
7. Mars Volta - Frances the Mute - Universal (8)
8. Boris - Akuma No Uta - Southern Lord (7)
9. Fast 'n' Bulbous: The Captain Beefheart Project - Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind - Cuneiform (6)
10. Matisyahu - Live at Stubbs - Or (5)

if i had waited another wk to post this, then undoubtedly something by sunburned hand of the man woulda been on there. oh well. maybe next yr. maybe not.

ADDENDUM: i fucked up and forgot to include mercury rev and petra haden/bill frisell. i suck.

FURTHER ADDENDUM: also sunburned hand of the man's wedlock and no magic man.

wreck room virtual drive-by

for those of you not fortunate enough to live in fort worth, here's an exterior view of the illustrious wreck room, my favorite rockaroll dump on earth, courtesy of amazon's new online yellow pages thingy. scroll yr mouse over the li'l pics below the bigun for some "virtual drive-by" action.

weezer, hahahaha

for those who are keeping track, weezer frontguy rivers cuomo is officially the shittiest rockstar of all time.

yet more gimpage

prac'ed gtr yesterday and discovered that it is poss for me to play and trigger stomboxes w/o using right foot while sitting on a stool (altho body position in relation to pedals becomes more important. shortened strap to where it now hangs like a bib right under my head. wtf. after a half hour or so my left hand started to hurt -- from lack of play action (no jam 2 wks ago and only played about half the night last week) or diff muscle movement from using crutches? we'll see.

also tried taking a "walk" to the mailbox a few blocks away. made it about halfway there -- fatigue. on the way back, became hyperaware of approaching traffic, and when neighbor dog barked, started working out strategies for thumping him over the head with a crutch before he could take a bite out of my ass.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

it can't happen here (or can it?)

was semi-flabbergasted to read the story of a college student who got a visit from the smiling folks at homeland security when he requested a copy of mao tse-tung's "little red book" from his university library for a research paper he was writing on communism. with that in mind, you might wanna reconsider if you've been wanting to download the burt bacharach '60s hit by manfred mann and / or love.

sbhotm linxxx

went surfin' for some info on my current obsesh, the band sunburned hand of the man (ah, the thrill of discovery) and found the following:

1) 2004 (?) int w/founder john moloney from brit rag artrocker

2) lengthy moloney-penned rant from dusted rag ca. 2003

3) some good reviewage of selected product from u.k. distro volcanic tongue

4) some showpixxx by writer/photog/latin teacher sheri hausey (jeez, do they have enough gtrs or what?)

5) a page with some vid on sonic youth cat / arthur scribe thurston moore's ecstatic peace label / publishing house site (there ya go, mikey)

ADDENDUM: been checkin' out some of the live vid from ecstatic peace, traveling down some fascinating floyd ummagumma / beefheart strictly personal alleys...

Saturday, December 17, 2005


milton mermikides is a british muso and educator (head of music technology at the royal academy of music, jazz gtr professor at the royal college of music) who went to berklee with dave karnes. last yr, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. sounds like a ballsy cat: "make no mistake, as an unwanted physical guest leukaemia knocked on the wrong door," sez milton, "and I am kicking its arse." a talented and funny one, too. he'll be visiting the fort later this month. i'm looking forward to meeting him.

neil is for real

speaking of canadians, on the way to/back from the place where i fukkked up my leg, we were listening to the bridge: a tribute to neil young from back in '89 or whenever and thinking about what a fine, fine, supafine canadian _he_ is. dig:

1) he's had a career spanning 40 yrs based on doing zackley whatever it is he wants to do at that particular moment (take _that_, mr. geffen).

2) he was once in a band (the mynah birds) with rick james (beeyotch), before rick, who was awol from the u.s. navy (it was 1965), got deported back to the states and thrown in the brig.

3) is there a better evocation of the '60s countakulcha's early-'70s drug-fueled entropy than his series of albs beginning with time fades away and ending with tonight's the night? i think not.

4) is there a more intense (in terms of _emotion_, not _velocity_) gtr-driven rawk song than "cortez the killer"? yes, there is: "maggot brain". but you know what i mean. (btw, the 21-minute version on built to spill's live trumps neil's, but i have a feeling he would dig that.)

5) is there a better career retrospective than decade? i think not. six sides o' vinyl i can (and often do) throw on and listen to, front to back, without cringing once.

6) alone among rawkers of his generation, he had the foresight to salute punk while it was happening in a genuine, authentic way, as opposed to a pete townshend "i'm desperately clutching at straws in an attempt to remain relevant by any means necessary" kinda way.

7) is rust never sleeps not the best rawk concert film of all time? i think so. (remember, baby snakes has all them claymation sequences.)

9) as "godfather of grunge" (hahahahaha), he had the decency to inflict sonic youth upon the reactionary aor-listening concertgoers of america (who really just wanted to hear "heart of gold" or something) around goo time, when their feedback assault sent many of said concertgoers fleeing the sheds, hands clamped firmly over their ears.

9) as if to prove a point (no shit), he had he perversity to release an entire album's worth of shrieking feedback (his own) called arc in the aftermath of the aforementioned tour.

10) he has two disabled sons. after rust, he spent 14 hrs a day for 18 months teaching one of 'em to crawl. he designed a special remote control to allow the other one to play w/his beloved model trains, and later bought the lionel train company when it looked like it was going under. when it comes to his family, he isn't kidding.

above all, he's proven that burn out, rust, whatevah, it's possible to get old without losing yr teeth. long may he run.

Friday, December 16, 2005

i know a rockstar

at the risk of being outed as a techno-geek, i'd like to direct those with an interest in e-commerce arcana to the seo rockstars web radio show of my coworker todd "oilman" friesen -- a pert entertaining listen if you're into, um, search engine optimization and like that. todd's own oilman promotions site is pert damn funny, too -- if i'd stumbled on it by accident, i woulda thought it was a goof like huhcorp, but it's not. all in all, he's _one fine canadian to know 'n' be associated with_.

ADDENDUM: oh, btw, he's got a blog, too.

william bryan massey III, mike watt

two men of words 'n' music i dig and respect who were born in the same yr as me: poet-sculptor-drummer-spoken word artist william bryan massey III and muso-raconteur-diarist mike watt.

i was invited to a party/jam at massey's place out in aledo last friday but had to chump out due to previous commitments w/my sweetie and my reluctance to drive 15 miles to get garrruuunnnk. looks like i missed a big time, tho, from these pixxx -- just _look_ at the meat he was using to make his chili -- and i'm determined to make it out there for the next throwdown. massey and his boy motel todd are prolly performin' at experience the art as i type this. damn.

while web surfin' last night, i discovered that i was actually written about in one of watt's tour diaries -- specifically the one for the "more light" tour he did with j. mascis and the fog back in 2001 (just peep the last graf in the entry for saturday, april 21 in dallas). makes me doubly disappointed to be missing the we jam econo doco screening in denton tonight.

dave karnes giggage

the dave karnes trio w/oaklin bloodworth has these dates in december:

saloui's: friday, december 23rd and new year's eve (we're planning to stop by in between din-din at fonky fred's and ph7 at the wreck room)

machenry's: thursday, december 29th (according to paul boll, it's a nice room with good p.a., and they're starting to book some of the old caravan of dreams road acts like brave combo, sara hickman, austin lounge lizards, etc.)

if you dig good jazz, you owe it to yrself to check him out.


on a less (more?) serious note, here's a band that plays songs from old nintendo games, '80s rawk style, with lotsa harmonized gtrs. i give you...the minibosses.

thanks yet again to jeremy hull for the link.

senate nixes patriot act extension

wowzers. i don't believe in santa claus, but could the senate's refusal to extend the patriot act be indicative the worm is turning here?

or is that just nat hentoff in a santa claus suit on the roof?

further gimpage

because i suck (or, more precisely, because my leg is hurting more after clumping around for the last 5 days and stomping on my wah-wah pedal wednesday night), i think i'm gonna have to sit out experience the art this w-e. woke up this morning and the leg felt worse, not better (as it had been for the last few days). damn. really wanted to hear sleeplab, dave and daver, massey, tammy, et al. but occasionally, i suppose, doctors know what they're talking about.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

art of the jam 30

ok, skipped a week due to weather. back in the little room ("wreck west") this week 'cos wizard o' sound andre edmonson is still in colorado with ahummin' acoustical acupuncture. i'm kinda bummin' 'cos i tore my right calf muscle doin' something stupid (if you ask me, i'll lie), so i get there earlier 'n i need to so i can figure out how i'm gonna work my pedals with this monstrous giant ski-boot looking immobilizer thingy on my leg (funny what creatures of habit we are). it kinda blows but at least when i walk around the house i get to make noises like captain ahab and scare the bejeezus out of the cats. in the event, i discover that i'm incapable of playing gtr sitting down and wind up doing a lot of bending fwd from the hip to try and work the wah. ng. gotta practice this or sit out a few weeks, as much as i'm loth to. fuck.

the li'l room sounds extra super trebly for some reason (curtains cracked? dunno and no andre to help resolve this); all night long, there's not a shred of low end on _anything_. jam-meister lee allen opines that maybe he needs to bring his big bass rig over to the little side, or something with a 15-inch spkr in it, at any rate; the 12- in his small rig (which he's used in bluesclubs and been asked to turn down) is clearly unequal to the task of cuttin' through two gtrs, violin, and drums.

steve "vikingo" huber's back on the set with his mad gypsy-country hoedown-near eastern reelin' fiddle, and the string players from kulcha far i -- that'd be ron geida on gtr and john shook on bass -- are back to add their flavors to the stew. so is paul the left-handed gtr player cat who got up to jam for the first time two wks ago, and when mark mcpherson from the brokers gets up to check out jam-meister lee's bass at the end of the night, i tell him he shoulda gotten up earlier. maybe next time. joe "drumzilla" cruz is holdin' it down with his dbl bass pedal for most of the night except for a brief interval when wyatt from the burning hotels (who seem to be playing a gig every time i turn around these days) takes over for a coupla toons and later on, when the jam-meister gets up to kick the traps behind kulcha cats and vikingo. it ain't always pretty, but connections are being made.

we get an extra helping of spoken word action when claudia acosta, actor-playwright-director and latin arts association outreach coordinator, gets up to try out a coupla politically-themed poems she just penned (i particularly dug the one on "patriotic assimilation"). william bryan massey III is there as well and recites one over the jammers, then does another with, um, miminalist accompaniment from me and wyatt at the request of the wreck room regular for whom he wrote it. in fact, the thing i'm digging the most is the way the li'l jam has kinda become a meeting place for creative folk of all stripes -- from poets like acosta, massey, and tammy gomez to graphic artists like jesse sierra hernandez, ray liberio, calvin abucejo, and fernando palomo (gettin' their pieces ready for experience the art of music at axis this weekend) to filmmaker phil fagan (visiting the fort from chicagoland, where he's hard at work on a feature that he sez might be his best work yet). there's even a city councilman hangin' out in the main bar (maybe next time _he'll_ get up to jam). even better (for me, at least), my sweetie, my newly-legal middle dtr, her b-f and a high school friend who did basic training in between junior and senior yrs and just got back from iraq and afghanistan (glad you're back, collin -- hope you stay safe in germany).

as for the jam-meister, he's in a _seasonal_ mood, and his fave part of the evening's ebb and flow is the oppo he gets to conflate jam standards with christmas songs, most memorably in the unholy hybrid of "ba dum" (the name he bestowed on a funk jam in E), the beatles' "helter skelter," and the "carol of the bells" that he conjured in the first set. if you weren't there, you'll have to take my word, 'cos there's no recordage going on until wizard o' sound andre gets back christmas week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

latest sign o' the apocalypse: sir jimmy page

those celebrity-mad brit royals will seize on any excuse to knight aging rockarollas -- in this case, outreach work with brazilian kids. who'd a thunk it?

what we're doing for the rest of the yr

with only 2 wks of 2005 left, it's now poss to definitively state:

this w-e: experience the art of music at axis -- buncha bands, spoken word, and graphic arts for a good cause

christmas: feed the homeless at fred's in the morning; chill out at home, watch santa claus conquers the martians, and hope to see my kids rest of the day

nye: dinner at fred's, then pablo and the hemphill 7 at the wreck room

new year's day: eat blackeyed peas at a friend's house...oops, that's 2006

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

new sleeplab toonage online

...from their 11/28/05 "live rehearsal" at the wreck room. click on the link and scroll down to "puro."

lady pearl's b-day trib set for saturday, january 14th, at the keys lounge (5677 westcreek) -- altho it's not on the venue's calendar yet, her dtr miss kim e-mailed to say it's so. besides miss kim, her uncle ray reed, and the b.t.a. band, lineup should include a buncha blues usual suspects like james hinkle, johnny mack, holland k. smith, paul byrd, wes race, et al. me too. maybe you too?

minutemen doco in denton

ok, ppl. it's this friday @ rubbergloves. doors at 10, a five spot to get in. also the first night of "experience the art of music." (deep sigh.) who's down?

Denton, TX
December 16, 2005
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios
411 East Sycamore
Denton, Tx. 76205

Monday, December 12, 2005


i feel like such an idjit.

i pulled something in my right calf while doing team-bldg activities at my company's christmas party. it was during, um, the orange race at field day. i took off runnin' w/an orange under my chin and immediately felt something pop. i looked back to see who'd kicked me and realized it wasn't anything from outside. ouch.

luckily, i have a doc appt tom'w to follow up on cholesterol test so i'll see if i can get the two-ailments-for-one deal. right now i'm just wondering how i'll negotiate playing wednesday night (could siddown a la robt. fripp i suppose but i always thought that looked stoopid) and esp. how i'm gonna handle ascending multiple flights of stairs when i go back to work wednesday (burning some va-ca before the end o' yr).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

ph7! flying saucer! tonight!

we've been laying low since the weather turned cold, but tonight my sweetie is meeting w/her work buds for din-din and to check out the new jubliee theatre production (that'd be their holiday extravaganza auntie explains x-mas). looking at the fwac calendar o' events, i noticed that pablo and the hemphill 7 are playing at the flying saucer in sundance square tonight, so we figured it'd be an ideal place for us to meet apres show.

some of the cats in the band don't dig these three-hour money gigs anymore, but playing such venues is how pablo made their considerable rep when they were first starting out four yrs ago, and i figure any oppo to hear pablo's jams filtering out to the whole square has to be worth paying the saucer's inflated drank prices for a _little_ while, anyway.

sunburned hand of the man

lately i've been checking out sunburned hand of the man, an arty, amorphous troupe from boston whose sprawling, anarchic jams put me in mind of stuff like harry partch, frank zappa's "return of the sun of monster magnet" (only less structured), eugene chadbourne in a rustic free-jazz mood, the "field recordings" on trout mask replica, don cherry's eurojazz-meets-gamelan experiment eternal rhythm, and even local eccentrics like russ walton, or cadillac fraf's sunday night midnight cd-r. back in 2003, they took a roadtrip up to alaska to play at a wedding on the longest day of the yr, which they recorded (on vhs tape, just like wizard o' sound andre edmonson does w/the wreck room wednesday night jams) and released as the wedlock double lp. some of it's audio-verite collages of the ceremonies, some of it's tribal 'n' percussion-heavy, some of it sounds like extremely acid-addled psych. equally useful for vibing up first thing in the morning or drifting off late at night.

Friday, December 09, 2005

daily adventures of mixerman

haven't had a chance to peep this yet, but busy bassplaying dude jeremy hull pulled my coat to the online narrative of the trials 'n' tribs of a recording engineer, charged with the task of recording a young band whose mbrs already hate each others' guts. (apparently it's also available in book form.) does life imitate art or vice versa?

o.c. jamblog round 3

so mikey at dirtsmoke broke the seal on his second cd-r of wreck room jam wonderment. apparently his young son have pert good taste in muzhik, too.


notwithstanding the fact i couldn't listen to his music for 20 yrs after college because of all the dimwits i knew there who addled themselves on acid in his holy name (worst: the cat who had a strat / marshall / fuzzface / crybaby / univibe and could make all the same noises but play _not one lick_ of music), watching joe boyd's a film about jimi hendrix is a potent reminder just how strong and 'riginal jimi's thang was (his '67 monterey performance is still awe-inspiring -- how powerful, organic, and in control of his material / instrument / audience he is) and what mega-success coupled with bad decisionmaking cost him (his '70 isle of wight performance is almost painful to watch -- how phased-out, burnt-out, out of synch and just plumb exhausted he seems). also striking: what self-serving shits almost all the interview subjects cone across like, how anxious they appear to bask in his celebrity and _vibe_. (exceptions: his dad and harlem g-f fayne pridgeon.) good thang about the dvd: you get to see some of the ints that didn't make the original cut, like mitch mitchell (who was on-screen in the released film for something like 10 seconds) and road mgr gerry stickells. for gtrists of a certain age, jh was like the water we grew up swimming in. it was easy to miss his influence 'cos he was everywhere. since then, only van halen and stevie vaughan have been nearly as influential, and compared to jimi, they seem like pale shadows.

streaming jazz

mikey at dirtsmoke pulled my coat to kkjz 88.1 fm out of long beach, cali. pretty cool streaming jazz station (check out their "88 greats" list), or at least a big improvement over most of what passes for jazz radio programming these days. i mean, unt's kntu 88.1 fm is cool, but you get the feeling sometimes that the on-air kids don't really know their music that well, and don't control their playlist. far cry from what dennis gonzalez usedta do over at dallas' npr affiliate kera 90.1 fm. (don't get me started on "the oasis.")

sure, these cali ppl might have just played a big-band version of "a day in the life," but at least i haven't heard the bad plus doing nirvana. not yet, anyway.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

movie fun

was in supertarget the other night buying xmas prezzies, including a dvd of to kill a mockingbird. now, i'm a great fan of harper lee's timeless classic, having had it read to me by my mom when i was 4 or 5 and seen the movie for the first time a yr or two after that. it was a nice surprise when the gal runnin' reg (who was prolly the same age as my middle dtr) went on 'n' on about how much she dug the book and flick and had introduced her younger bro 'n' sis to 'em and how her 20something older bro was coming over to her mom's house to peep the flick with the family.

conversely, it was, um, not exactly disturbing, but definitely eye-opening to view another longtime fave, cool hand luke, last night (instead of jamming). i first saw that 'un when i was 14 or so (a club i belonged to showed it at our high school) and had always found its depiction of man's indomitable spirit in the face of dumbass brutal authority pert uplifting (in the same way as one flew over the cuckoo's nest can be). last coupla times i watched it, tho, the spin my mind put on the story made it seem more like the tale of a cat who doesn't fit in thru no fault of his own (altho there are allusions to what happened to him during "the war," which'd be ww2, from the vintage of the flick) who winds up being broken, then destroyed by the powers that be, just to show that they can. feh. leave it to growing up to take all the fun out of moviewatching.

the day john lennon died

i woke myself up spilling a glass of water on my head as the radio kicked on
then my future ex-wife came and picked me up to go to work
as we were driving by the apt ofc i noticed someone had torched it overnight
was working in a rekkid store then
arrived at the j-o-b to find a line of the saddest beatlefreaks ever
worse than the elvis fans at my store in ny the day he croaked

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

no jam tonight

old man winter shut us down
when i walked out to the street around 8:30pm, it was covered w/a sheet of ice
jam-meister lee posted a "shut it down" msg on myspace at 4:30, but my dsl was out
my dtr and her b-f came over and helped us eat chicken 'n' rice casserole
then my sweetie and i wrapped xmas pkgs while midnight 'n' pablo watched
twas kewl
right now drinking mocha (well, coffee w/ovaltine) and listening to ellington
tom'w i'll laze around la casa until the roads are clear
she won't find out if she has to work until 6:30 or so (they're funny that way)
all in all, not a bad way to spend a wednesday eve if not playing

o.c. jamblog round 2

mikey at dirtsmoke apparently listened to the rest of his first jamdisc and makes s'more pert astute observations re: the jam process.

jeremy hull's wilco story

jeremy hull just got back from nashville, where collin herring is recording his next album with ex-wilco drummer ken coomer producing. (jeremy sez it's gonna be a rawker.)

anyway, at one point, collin suggested to ken that he wanted to get "a wilco vibe" on the song they were working on.

"well," said ken, "which one of you just got out of rehab? and which one is about to o.d. on pills? and which one is too drunk to play? and which one is banging somebody else's wife? and which one just ran off with your manager's girlfriend? _that's_ the only way you can get 'a wilco vibe'."

johnny case

you can (and should) now cop johnny's last two cd's, love's bitter rage and waiting for the moment, direct from his website, which has recently had a facelift.

more jamwords from the blogosphere (not mine)

he's up to his eyes in seasonal shite at his ups straight, but mikey at dirtsmoke (one of three, count 'em, _three_ blogs he currently works -- definitely an overachiever) still found time to weigh in with some kind thoughts / words on "art o' the jam" discage i sent his way.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

i'm a renegade...i'm f*cking beau geste

i got my village voice critics poll thingy in the mail the other day and decided i'm gonna renege on my pledge and vote in the fuckin' thing one last time, just 'cos it will give me a certain perverse pride to be the only mothafucka in the whole country (unless fortune has gotten kinder since last time) that votes for johnny case, james hinkle, and dave and daver. of course, i'll also come clean about not reviewing rekkids anymore, so it's entahrly possible they'll discard my ballot. kinda like the reps at south high mount did with my presidential ballot. oh well. gotta love those futile gestures.

he did it again

that kid daniel. he changed the name of his blog from officephantom to the fog pavilion. i'll bet he's changed it back by the time you look, tho. he keeps doing this to make ppl think i'm crazy. but i'm not crazy, y'know.


what will they think of next? a blog devoted to "acid folk" music and, um, the gilmore girls. and i thought _i_ was weird. gotta love it.

farewell old dog

i missed the last night at the black dog
but it still lives in my memory

i've seen the new place and it looks grand
still, it feels like the end of an era or something

i'm gonna miss that stale beer stankin' basement
that usedta be hq for the tarrant county dems

where i met my wife one night two yrs ago
and where i heard a ton of righteous toons

where jimmy rodriguez made me walk a line once
before he'd let me leave the bar (bless him)

and where i usedta go to drink in the afternoon
when i was freshly unemployed (it was cool and quiet there)

Monday, December 05, 2005

secret satan

when head me-think / pussyhouse art criminal ray liberio sent me the link to this music vid by a "metal band" called, um, karkis, i thought fer sure it must be a goof. i mean, fuh cry sakes, the drummer has _three_!!! _bass_!!! _drums_!!!

digging a little deeper, i found this press release that at least _appeared_ to be legit. scrolling down the search page a little further, though, de troof was revealed. jeez, i said to myself, is advertising the devil's work or what?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

new black dog location

so apparently tad gaither's permit probs were finally solved and the black dog tavern is moving. according to shaggy, they're shutting down tonight, and reopening in "2-3 wks." the new location is at the corner of crockett and norwood -- that's on the northwest corner of the block just west of fonky fred's. if you go by there now, there's a sign on the front of the bldg that sez "the new dog bites," just in case you were wondering.

thursday 12/8 update -- pro juice no, chemset/coma rally si

ok, so here's the deal: the professional juice show at the black dog this thursday was never confirmed, which is prolly just as well, since unbeknownst to pj mastermind cory, his _main_ band the chemistry set was already booked to play at the wreck room with coma rally. whew! either way, we get a nice show to go to. so there.

winter, more end of year rekkid shit, lawrence rawks

it finally got cold (as in freezing) down here. we were at fred's last night watching the electric mountain rotten apple gang and the temp musta fell about 20 degrees in an hour. and me walking, with just a thermal 'n' t-shirt. feh. terry's firepit helped, but after that i smelled like woodsmoke (explaining why the cats were so happy to see me when i got home, i guess). decided on a quiet night at home, since the next coupla wks are full of holiday obligations. came home, showered, watched apocalypse now redux. the 'riginal was better, except for the bit where they steal robert duvall's surfboard.

so now i'm sitting here procrastinating on starting an article i need to ghostwrite by tom'w, waiting for my dtr to come over for early dinner. was sitting on the crapper earlier reviewing old arthur ishes and noted a coupla recs i prolly wanna cop: akuma no uta by boris and it's only yonkers by michael yonkers.

boris is a japanese doom-metal trio that's existed for many yrs and released scads of recs, most of which are scarce as hen's teeth here in the states. i got a burned copy of akuma no uta from jon teague, but as my house eats cd-r's, it appears to have gone the way of all flesh. it's a goodun, tho. leadoff track is all stately plod 'n' sludge, giving way to raging dee-troit inspahrd ramalama and other flavours. made for a boss listen cruising around downtown while waiting to pick up my sweetie from the tobacconist in the sinclair bldg before she quit smoking a yr and a half ago.

yonkers is a '60s gtr dude from minnesota who went thru the same evolution (surf to brit r&b inspahrd garage snot to psychedelia) as cats like randy holden and merrell fankhauser did. he cut down his telecaster to a plank yrs before steinberger gtrs were even thought of, and recorded an alb ca. '68 that re-emerged on de stijl and sub pop labels a coupla yrs back sounding like feedback-laden early punkrock skronk -- def lightyears ahead of its time. he made another in 2004 that's apparently more o' the same. (nice when these old dogs don't lose their teeth over the yrs -- kinda like the late link wray, r.i.p.)

p'rhaps i'm so favorably disposed toward mr. yonkers because of the way i was introduced to his music. that'd be two yrs ago, in lawrence, ks, where i'd gone to play a gig with nathan brown at the 8th street taproom. i'd been out with nathan a coupla wks earlier and we did so well at the taproom that when he invited me up to play a second gig, i said, "sure." i left the fort around 8pm the night before, drove until i yawned three times, found a rest stop somewhere in oklahoma and crashed, woke up the next day and drove up through the seemingly endless rolling plains o' kansas to lawrence, the sleepy li'l collegetown where ol' bill burroughs lived 'n' died. (i saw his house, a remarkably unassuming little red clapboard structure in a quiet neighborhood.)

the cat who booked us at the taproom was one jeremy sidener, a longtime lawrence resident (he sniffs contemptuously at ppl "who think _ohio_ is in the midwest"), rekkid collector and muso (bassist in the danny pound band and arthur dodge and the horsefeathers). i spent a very pleasant afternoon with jeremy, waiting for nathan to show up. i was sitting in the middle of a vacant lot across the street from the taproom, reading a book i'd just copped at borders (dumbshit, lawrence is full of _real_ bookstores and i go to the local tendril of the evil empire from ann arbor to find something to read while waiting), when i saw jeremy lock up his bike in front of the bar and come walking towards me.

he was heading to borders to pick up some beach boys ceedee reish that'd come out that week. we went for beers at a local micropub and a great old 19th century hotel, scarfed some fine messkin chow at a family-owned local eatery (lotsa ppl o' mexican heritage in kansas 'cos of the railroad, apparently), then back to the taproom, where i sat 'n' read in a booth basking in the drowsiness-inducing afternoon sunlight as it filtered thru the dusty bar window while jeremy swept up and spun recs on the turntable behind the bar (featuring a sign that read, "we don't take requests -- just enjoy what we play"), including the yonkers microminiature love slab. while it's doubtful i'll make it back to lawrence anytime soon, i still harbor fond memories of that room and hanging out at jeremy's crib after, listenin' to rekkids 'n' shit. many thanks and much respect, bro.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

the first video game

...was built by willie higinbotham at brookhaven national laboratory on long island, according to this story. back in the '50s, my dad was building computers with willie. his son billy, who was my age, wound up joining the airforce too, i heard. i'm sure you're thrilled to hear.

ancient artifacts

walked to the post office
to mail a promo pack
to this restaurant where i'm trying
to help my friend get a gig.
on the way back,
we stopped at the kimbell
'n' spent some time strolling around
looking at the antiquities:
pictures that were painted in china
back in the 13th century
'n' like that.

on the way home, it occurred to me
that the digital media
so popular today
aren't really designed to survive the ages.
google wants to put every book in the world

it seems to me
that placing the fate of western civ
in the hands of a coupla corporations'
worth of technocrats
is the best way of ensuring
that our culcha becomes
extinct'er than the aztecs
when that technology goes away
or becomes unsupportable.

somebody told me
that prior to the advent
of digital photography,
the average shutterbug
took maybe 200 pics a yr.
now, they take thousands.
but i can easily imagine
future archaeologists
scratching their heads 'n' wondering
why it was that ppl in the 21st century
stopped taking pictures.

at the rate we're going,
all that will survive
will be the works of stephen king
'n' tom clancy
'n' all the other hacks
pubbed by
the only publishers of hardcopy books
that'll be able to stay in biz
once google gets their wish
'n' making a living publishing books in print
becomes as untenable as making a living
publishing a print newspaper.

my sweetie sez that then
the only artwork that survives
will be the stuff that massey
pounds and hammers
out of junk that he finds
on his peregrinations around the city.
maybe that's not such a bad thing.

as my friend farren likes to say,
"the aztec calendar just ran out."

Friday, December 02, 2005

jamwords from the blogosphere (not mine)

fort worth expat david "kid" daniel (now living in corpus christi) changes the name of his blog more often than some ppl post in theirs. this week, he writes about visiting the wreck room on the jam night before thanksgiving. now i know that what he was singing instead of the "real" lyrics to "wild thing" was "get it off your chest," a fave toon of mine from his old band, the fort worth cats. hot diggity!

professional juice! black dog! thursday 12/8!

it's on! ya mo' be there! maybe you? (helpful hint: they hit at 10:30pm, after the poets.)

pomes 'n' blues choruses

i dunno if backing william bryan massey III at the jams has whetted my appetite to hear boho poetry 'n' rawk, but the arrival at mi casa of the way things work ceedee by unknown instructors couldn't have been more timely. el disco features spiel by spoken word cat dan mcguire and ex-saccharine trust frontguy jack brewer over music by ex-s.t. gtrist joe baiza and the onetime minutemen/firehose engine room of mike watt 'n' george hurley. existential ramblings plus knots of jazzoid punkrock (or punkoid jazz) equals one fine, fine, supafine listen.

hearing me spinning this, my sweetie suggested i chase it with kicks joy darkness, a compilation of jack kerouac poetry read by ppl ranging from jack's familiars allen ginsberg and lawrence ferlinghetti to neuroto-comic richard lewis and big-lipped movie star dad steven tyler. i always thought jack's life was more compelling than his fiction (not a bad thing, really, if you think about it), but his verse has the feel of mighty whitmanesque oaks, a visionary feast for ears.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

art of the jam 29

if i've said it once, i've said it a coupla dozen times: you never know what's gonna happen at the wreck room on wednesday night.

for the last go-round in the big room for a spell -- wizard o' sound andre edmonson is heading back to colorado for three weeks with ahummin' acoustical acupuncture, and jam-meister lee allen prefers the li'l room (aka "wreck west") when dre's not behind the board -- it looked like it was gonna be an all-strings evening. on the plus side, violinist steve huber, aka vikingo, aka "mr. dry hump burn," was returning to the jam after a few months' absence (during which his fiddle was heard around town with darrin kobetich and saint frinatra, as well as on his regular fw symphony gig). on the minus side, it looked like we were gonna be without a drummer. joe "drumzilla" cruz was in the process of moving house (he's now a resident of the firestone, and, um, he's single, ladies). damien stewart was out of town on bizness. dave karnes was on a date (and not the musical kind). jam-meister lee put in a call to wyatt from the burning hotels (who spectacularly saved our asses last week) and was prepared to man the traps himself if need be. _that_ would be facilitated by the presence on bass of mr. jeremy hull (collin herring, jason davis, galen jeter jazz orchestra, etc.), who was heading to nashville the next day to make a collin herring record with ex-wilco drummer ken coomer producing, but stopped by the jam to lend his skills on the four-stringed instrument. (jeremy's a player who can cover the whole waterfront, from classical to jazz to rawk to country, and he got to do a little bit of all of it last night.)

in the event, of course, drumzilla showed up to take his place behind the long-suffering house kit, a little beat down himself but still ready to play. then around the time the musos were starting to assemble onstage, who should appear but leo saenz III, ex-latin express and currently gigging with a funk/r&b outfit i haven't seen yet. he'd been playing a church gig all day and had all of his gear in the car, so he decided to fall by the wreck (having briefly visited the jam once before). as there were plenty of bassplayers present, he left his four-string axe in the car and only brought in his stratocaster and fluegelhorn. it was a gas hearing leo laying down funky riddimic jabs and dirty, dissonant solo splatter on gtr (using one of those dunlop jh-1 wahs that sounds like a mu-tron or envelope filter with that real distinct breakpoint right in the middle of the sweep) or blaring brassy blasts of post-bop abstraction over the general racket (and even in between toons, as when he and jeremy busted out a bit "scrapple from the apple").

similarly, it was a joy to hear mr. hull holding down the bottom end, allowing jam-meister lee to solo at will on 6-string bass or gtr (to best effect on an abbreviated "chameleon," intended to give dave karnes an oppo to show off for his date), and displayed impressive solo chops of his own on both stand-up (arco and pizzicato) and electric axes (a vintage kent hollowbody with a dod overdrive zackley like the one i used duct-taped to it -- greatness!). musical high point of the night for me was a version of "maggot brain" (gawd, no matter how many times we play that toon, i never get tired of it, 'cos it's always different, depending on who's playing it that particular week) that started off with an achingly beautiful solo statement from jeremy on bowed bass and worked its way through gtr (mine) and violin episodes before william bryan massey III took the stage, poetry book in hand. massey lit a cigarette and had a woman bring him a beer before beginning his recitativo, pausing dramatically between stanzas (he's getting accustomed to this spoken-word-over-jam thang to the point where he can have fun with it). as massey's intensity built to a crescendo, leo leapt in with a gtr solo that was pure fire. then the band took it out. 'twas neato, as the jam-meister would say.

missed oppos of the night: when i came offstage to make room for paul the left-handed gtrist and saw brian sharp at the bar. brian's lent his trumpet and fluegelhorn to the wreck's wednesday night mix in the past, but not since the summer. "leo saenz is up, and he brought his fluegelhorn!" i told him. "get up onstage now!" unfortunately, mr. sharp was with a lady friend and about to head elsewhere. maybe next time. and dammit, i shoulda said "tomorrow never knows" when lee gave me a chance to call one during the first set. i'd actually thought about that in the car on the way in. oh well. from the bar, i got to hear meredith, the woman who'd brought massey the beer onstage, do a pert credible job of sangin' "simple man" (which jam-meister lee keeps in his back pocket to appease the inevitable calls of "play some skynyrd!" that always seem to follow his invitations to the audience to make requests). she might not have known all the words, but she did a better 'n just o.k. job of hitting all the notes and puttin' some soul into it.

like i said: you never know what's gonna happen at the wreck room on wednesday night.