art of the jam 58
busy week, one without a lotta time for bloggage, what with some out-of-town action for my straight and more-than-usual music playage. wednesday was the 49th anniversary of my arrival on the planet, so what better way to spend it than with a gtr in my hand for seven hrs? to wit: first, the "josh clark and fort worth's finest" jam at fonky fred's from 7 to 10pm, then lee and carl's jam at the li'l wreck room at 10:30, culminating in yet another installment of "stooges at midnight" with stoogeaphilia. then the next night, a full-blown stoogeaphilia throwdown at the black dog. to facilitate this, my sweetie had kitted me out with an assload of 9V batteries, 6-inch patch cords (replacing my old rat's nest of cords), and a stainless steel slide (been wanting to reacquaint myself with what rev. gary davis called a "cheating way of playing" since digging da kobe slithering around with a slide on his les paul at last week's wreck room extravaganza), all of which she procured from new-father-o'-twins john zaskoda at sessions music. (only afterward did i realize i shoulda asked her for a gtr stand too. guh!)
learned that outlaw chef terry chandler and i share a berfday, which jam-meister lee allen was gonna celebrate with a surprise (for terry at least) party and jam event at el wreck, but at the last minute, the josh clark portion was moved back to fred's ('cos you can't get a fredburger at el wreck). i busted out of work around 6 and made a mad dash to la casa to load gear and pick up my sweetie and thence to fred's, where josh, barber mack leader-bassist john shook (who be's at the wreck with pablo and the hemphill 7 and sleeplab tonight), gtrist-luthier cameron streck, and the jam-meister were already setting up. i parked my borrowed peavey classic 50 (thanks, matt) on the stage, plugged in all my pedals, and headed for the bar to get a beer. after timely pause, violinist steve huber and trombonist marcus brunt arrived, and the jam kicked off. 'twas kind of an amorphous thang, moreso (quoth the jam-meister) than in weeks past when i was using the time to chill out at la casa before heading to el wreck. josh's trapwork was as crisp and groovin' as always, and cameron's an inventive player with a highly tweaked sound. steve was mostly inaudible to me, while big marcus brunt was his classic self on his big bass trombone. myself, i wasn't really feelin' it yet, but 'twas interesting to see the jam-meister in the role of a regular sit-in jamcat, rather than driving the bus. anyway, 10 o'clock rolled around pert darn quick, so lee-boy 'n' i loaded out and headed for el wreck, where wizard o' sound andre edmonson was already preparing a place for us.
villain vanguard gtrist bryce harp was there too, sporting a shiner he'd received in the parking lot at j&j's blues bar from some cat that wanted to sit in with the villains on drums and was irate when bryce didn't recognize him. living well's always the best revenge, and bryce went on to play two more sets, channeling all dem negative vibes into 6-string transcendental bliss, but jayzus -- you gotta wonder 'bout the fragile egos on some folks. as gawd is my co-pilot, i swear that sometime in july (prolly after my sweetie 'n' i get back from visiting my folks 'n' the bucolic li'l community where she spent her wonder yrs in new joisey), i'm gonna sit in on bryce's tuesday-night solo gig at the halo lounge over by tcu. marcus brunt showed up, thoughtfully returning the brand-new slide i'd inadvertently left at fred's in my first-but-hardly-last sloppy-ass loadout o' the week. bless him. also in da house: goodwinites daniel gomez 'n' tony diaz, there to see their bandmate hembree take his shirt off 'n' get on the floor.
da jam started out wit' bryce and a cat on drums whose name i didn't catch (shame on me) who i think usedta play wit' the gideons. played through some jam standards like "if you want me to stay," "sexual harassment in the workplace," "standing on the verge," and "come together" (the last two with jam godfather / gideons front carl pack vocalizin'). my sweetie (abetted by fellow stoogeaphiliac / ph7 gtrist steffin ratliff) brought out my cake and i got to blow out 49 candles (the one in the top right was giving me grief for a sec but in the end, i prevailed). long-absent jamcat joe "drumzilla" cruz briefly returned to the fold for a toon or two. in what seemed like a brief flicker, 'twas time for stoogeaphilia.
because i was lame and didn't write a setlist, i suggested to frontguy / graphic artist extraordinaire / me-think ray liberio that he call 'em as he went along, but jon teague (who also kicks traps with the great tyrant, if ya didn't know) had a better idea. "let's just play funhouse," he said. jon's full o' ideas -- the feedback meltdown that's become traditional at the end of stoogeaphilia's set was his, too. (note to self: _earplugs_!!! hunh?) highpoint o' the set for me was seeing daniel gomez lying on the stage shooting pixxx of matt, his 15-yr bandmate from muffinhead, uncle pete's parade and bindle before goodwin. and banging my gtr on the amp so hard it apparently bent the E string at the fifth fret so badly i had to change it before it was playable at the black dog the next night. jeez, i don't know my own strength. not bad for a mothafucka almost half a century old. hembree sez his minidisc recording turned out well, especially "1970." can't wait to hear and maybe put up on the stoogeaphilia myspace thingy.
spent most of thursday recuperating (my straight lets its employees take a day off for our berfdays, bless them) before stepping out to sardines for din-din wit' my sweetie 'n' my middle dtr. piano-meister / activist johnny case had left a msg while i was still conked, informing me that his bro. jerry was in town from l.a. and would be sitting in on gtr. i ate my usual thangs -- calamari appetizer, which ray liberio sez looks "like fried spiders," and zuppa di pesce; our waiter mark brought me a complimentary berfday cannoli in place of my customary tiramisu -- and dug much hearing the confluence of johnny's deep well of invention, his brother's ultra-smooth attack, byron gordon's always-surprising walks 'n' solos on bass, and don sowell's economical swing, which seems to become more aggressive in the presence of another solo instrument. saint frinatra percussionist ron thayer, who usedta play with jerry case back in the day, was in the house shooting pixxx, and eminently tasteful axe-slinger sam walker came strolling in moments before we had to depart. 'twas almost enough to make me wish i didn't have a gig that night. _almost_.
stopped back at la casa long enough to take a call from hembree, who was at the black dog and had just discovered that another band had absconded with one of the p.a.'s speaker cables. a hurried call to wizard o' sound andre and a stop off at the wreck room later, 'twas taken care of (note to self: return andre's cord to el wreck!). proof positive bands are lame, if not larcenous: why would somebody load out something they didn't bring with? (answer: alcohol + endorphin high = sloppy loadout.) the crowd was about half the size of our previous black dog stand, and half of 'em (including a buncha outta town peeps from liberio's straight) left in between sets (possibly to go next door, where jazz gtrist keith wingate and the heffley brothers were laying it down -- damn, is thursday becoming a good night for live music in da fort or what?!?!?), but no matta. i bought jon teague a pizza to compensate for the fact that i'd fukkked up and neglected to bring a coupla pies from big john's in haltom city (another stoogeaphilia tradition but prolly not politically correct, since johndavid bartlett's slinging righteous chow at the black dog cafe).
ray "ordered from the menu" (that's to say, called toons from our setlist from the last time we played the dog) and we blew through "real cool time," "down on the street," "loose," "1969," "no fun," "i got a right," and "search and destroy" in what seemed like no time, mellowing down easy into the break with "dirt," our one slow song. my dtr and her b-f were in da house for the first set, as was mi amigo frank logan (who usedta work door at the aardvark and played with me in two bands that never got out of the prac pad; he got called up by the army reserves last december and just got back from afghanistan, where we're hoping he won't have to return). second set featured all the extended workouts. started with "not right," followed by "raw power," "dog, i wanna be your" (with lotsa gtr pyro from steffin), "tv eye," "1970," and "funhouse," culminating in a shuddering "little doll" feedback apocalypse. hembree's minidisc crapped out for most of the set, but he sez he got some interesting audience-talk snippets from after we finished, including me telling standard transmission bassist chuck brown that "this is the only band i've ever been in in 35 years where i get endorphin buzzes at practice" and "we practice making noises and feedback." matt also said that right before "little doll," there's a female voice yelling, "that was bad ass! you guys rock! you rock baby! bring it on! lay it on the table baby! bring the music on to me baby! i feelin' that orgasm comin' on!" (that's right, kids -- stooge music is _sexy_. then again, i also think cecil taylor and boris music is sexy, so whatthehell do _i_ know?!?!?)
stoogeaphilia be's at the dog the last thursday o' the month for the rest o' the yr, and we're also playing fredtoberfest october 14th. trying to hook up a show at the darkside lounge in deep ellum, too; film, as they say, at 11. next coupla months are packed with extracurricular hoo-hah, what with me goin' to joisey next weekend, ray going to seattle and jon to japan in august, and matt touring with the underground railroad (whose gtrist bill pohl is back in action after surgery to correct tendonitis and is performing with eric martin, 99 names of god's mark cook, and contemporary dance fort worth at the modern art museum at 1pm this sunday) in september. soon as thangs settle down a bit, we wanna start breaking in some new material, possibly by stooge-influenced outfits like pere ubu, the voidoids, and black flag (as teague sagely points out, the name "stoogeaphilia" covers a whole lotta law).
so friday night we went to the southside preservation hall to see ex-woodeye bassist / wreck room master o' libations graham richardson 'n' his sweetie robin get hitched by none other than his pal carey wolff, who's apparently got a certificate of ordination from some online non-denominational religious entity. their former bandmates scott davis 'n' kenny smith are now backing singer-songwriter jason eady as well as playing in chatterton; a positive thang, since those cats can make _anybody's_ song sound better. 'twas quite a heart-tugger looking around the li'l chapel and realizing, "wow, almost all our friends are here," and watching graham 'n' robin take their first dance at the reception, where the velvet love box boyzzz were holding forth.
vlb looks like a li'l acoustic outfit but sounds like a big rawk band. scott cloud uses more devices than yr average acoustic-plunker to light up them strings real fine, while brandon bumpas presides over the world's largest percussion rig that sounds like a trap kit at times, owing to his quasi-telepathic communication with bassist neil schnell (whose lower-register thumpage does a pert fair job of replicating the sound of a kick drum) and all three of 'em sing like angels. watching the army of li'l kids dancing (and even stage-diving, sorta) as brandon kicked on the bubble machine -- kinda like a variant on marlin von bungy's sterling smoke-machine manipulation with the me-thinks -- i couldn't help thinking, "love wears the white stetson." yeah, it truly does.