Saturday, September 30, 2006


a few yrs back, i did a lot of research and scrawl on dee-troit bands of the late '60s/early '70s like the stooges 'n' mc5. back then, i was in contact a lot with david c. thomas, a chicago-based filmmaker who was working on a documentary film about the band, mc5: a true testimonial. since then, that project has been scuttled in welters of acrimony and litigation between the filmmakers and band founder/gtr terrorist wayne kramer -- withdrawn from release and still tied up in the courts. pity. i recently got to see the flick and it's every bit as good as the 7-minute trailer i caught at sxsw in '99 indicated it would be. the filmmakers do a worthy job of telling the band's compelling story, replete with flash, high energy, police harassment, riots, drug addiction, betrayal, and a sense of historical moment. it's a gas to see the live footage of the band in action, the young wayne like a white james brown; lead singer rob tyner the geeky sci fi-beatnik-boho jazzfan nerd transmogrified into an avatar of pure, unselfconscious joy; gtrist fred "sonic" smith both with and without his superhero costume -- in their moment, these guys delivered the goods. listening to the latter-day interviews with the surviving bandmembers (rob and fred both checked out in the early '90s, r.i.p.), it's hard to be unimpressed by both their intelligence and the different ways in which they've handled the loss of that moment: wayne the polished raconteur and mythologist, drummer dennis "machine gun" thompson still embittered over events 30 yrs past, bassist michael davis seeming to have attained the greatest sense of acceptance and peace. every band starts out as a little utopia, and the inevitable fall is often accompanied by a sense of betrayal and loss. the five raised the stakes higher than most, then and especially now, and so perhaps it's inevitable that the fallout from their demise would have a longer half-life. while i still think the stooges' music has stood the test of time better (dennis thompson: "they couldn't even play their instruments! raw power? blow me!"), the five managed to epitomize better than any other band both the promise and the ultimate failure of the '60s counterculcha. they earned every bit of the approbation they've belatedly received.

Friday, September 29, 2006

this weekend and the next

because my sweetie 'n' i need some downtime, i'm gonna miss blood of the sun at the li'l wreck room tonight, but i'm looking forward to playing a stoogeaphilia show with them at fredtoberfest on october 14th.

other stuff that's coming up:

bertha coolidge is gettin' the band back together at the black dog sunday night, october 1st. while you're there, buy a "free shaggy" t-shirt to support the shagmeister, who's gonna be a temporary resident of the pokey in parker county for a few weeks.

next friday, october 6th, pussyhouse propaganda art criminals ray liberio and calvin abucejo will be among the artists exhibiting at studio 817's second annual fall art showcase. sleeplab will be supplying music and chill vibes. and my sweetie's big sis will be here from illinois!

the following night, we're gonna take betsy to the opening night of fredtoberfest to hear the electric mountain rotten apple gang, cowboys & indians, jasper stone, and at least part of the dewayn brothers' set. after that, tho, we'll have to hotfoot it over to the wreck, where goodwin will be holding forth after what feels like an eternity. bet they don't have a music scene this diverse in the quad cities.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

blah blah blah

just got back from a work trip to nyc, where i got to reconnect w/my bud jay hardesty, who's been working for the past 15 yrs or so on a sci-fi piece of music software that allows users to overlay parts of different pre-recorded toons on top of each other, then modify the riddimic / harmonic / melodic structures -- real lifehouse-type stuff.

while there, i realized that the two musics that best evoke that city for me are the velvet underground and thelonious monk. we listened to monk over beers at jay's pad down by washington square, and earlier, i heard the velvets' "here she comes now" (along with clash "julie's on the drug squad," replacements "i will dare," r.e.m. "radio free europe," and other noise i dig) in the gleaming bar where i went for din-din with the work folks that kinda reminded me more of someplace in dallas than the city i 'member from the '70s. randy antin aka bluestninja, a painter cat from el lay via ann arbor and san francisco whom i met thru the j-o-b, assures me that said city still exists -- mainly down on the lower east side and across the brooklyn bridge in williamsburg. next time in the apple i gotta make time to visit those quarters, as well as eric "roscoe" ambel's joint the lakeside lounge down in alphabet city.

haven't been this happy to be home since i got back from the second tour i did with nathan brown, who, as it happens, is playing at the li'l wreck room thursday along with opening act the underground railroad, just returned from a week-long jaunt up the eastern seaboard. i won't be there, tho, 'cos stoogeaphilia will be holding forth at the black dog after the poets, and i'm a stoogeaphiliac. so there.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


from his comments in an int with the fort worth star-telegram's chris vaughn, it sounds like the door's wide open for ornette coleman to perform in his hometown. will the jazz by the boulevard folks take the bait? film, as they say, at 11.

Friday, September 22, 2006

lately...'s been all work w/me. going to nyc on biz early next week (back for the stoogeshow tho). didn't jam this week 'cos lee-boy had to work late and when i fell by el wreck, it was dead (almost as much as i was) so i had a coupla drinks and bailed. slept good. thinking about a coupla writing projects and what else i could do playing-wise (besides the stoogethang, which remains the funnest shit i do).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the who

today at my dentist's office, sirius radio was playing non-stop who, and not just the same three songs (you know which ones) that "classic rock" radio does. in an hour, i got to hear "heatwave," "under my thumb," the live "i can't explain" from leeds, "water," "boris the spider," and bits of quadrophenia. deep planing and scaling have never had a better soundtrack.

sunrise 9/21/2006

red sky at morning
and a nice grey overcast
makes for a good day

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

i'm in hell

inspahrd by mick farren's sterling example, i'm trying not to smoke. (i don't say i'm quitting anymore 'cos i've said that _so many_ times before.) i'm tahrd of feeling like shee-ot due to something i can control. even though the jones is like a non-stop screaming siren in my head. wheee!

katboy's underground railroad tour blog

suffering from an o.d. of caffeine and mike watt tour diaries, bassist extraordinaire matt hembree checks in from the first leg of the underground railroad's jaunt across these united states. will the valiant prog lads get to play in indianapolis? you'll have to tune in tom'w to find out!

holy shit - zappa plays zappa in texas!

here's an oppo for me to test my ambivalence about venues where you have to look at a jumbotron to see the performers sweat:

Dear FZ Lifers and Newfers,

We believe these dates to be self evident and confirmed. But right now we're
just giving you an ears up. Soonly we will post an official confirmation and
ticketing information.

12-10 Boca Raton, FL: Mizner Amphitheater --- Public on-sale 9/29 through
12-11 Orlando, FL: Hard Rock Live --- Public on-sale 9/29 through
12-12 Atlanta, GA: Tabernacle --- Public on-sale 9/30 through
12-13 Louisville, KY: Louisville Palace --- Public on-sale 9/29
through Ticketmaster
12-14 St. Louis, MO: The Pageant --- Public on-sale 9/29 through
12-16 Dallas, TX: Nokia Theater --- Public on-sale 9/29 through
12-17 Houston, TX: Verizon Wireless Theater --- Public on-sale 9/30
through Ticketmaster
12-18 New Orleans, LA: House of Blues --- Public on-sale 9/30 through
12-20 Vancouver, BC: Orpheum Theater (onsale TBA, will keep you posted)
12-21 Portland, OR: Roseland Theater --- Public on-sale 9/29 through
12-22 Seattle, WA: Paramount Theater --- Public on-sale 9/30 through
12-30 Cabazon, CA: Key Club @ Morongo --- Public on-sale 9/29 through

Accept No Substitute!


"'The present day composer refuses to die'" - FZ quotes Edgard Varese

"Music is the Best!" - FZ, Joe's Garage, 1979

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

guy with a weedeater

whatthefuck are you bringing
that shit back here for?
don't you know who i am?
i'm a _dog_, goddammit
and i will _bite that shit_
if you bring it near me.

today my youngest dtr's 18th b'day
(happy berfday, sweetie)
and "national talk like a pirate day"

Monday, September 18, 2006

scott morgan on web-accessible tv this wednesday at 4:30pm

speaking of sonic's rendezvous band, ex-srb frontguy scott morgan's gonna be on internet-accessible cable tv this wednesday at 4:30pm est:

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 19:29:14 -0400

Dear Mr. Morgan,

Just wanted to make you aware of this and of course feel free to pass on to your contacts. You can access this on the web at and selecting channel 56. High speed connection required and Windows software seems best suited. (Apple software doesn't get it, it seems, though I could be wrong on that.) Segment on you is toward the end and much too short -- but it's there! I'd like to do a full feature on you sometime -- if you're going to be in NYC, please get in touch.

The Hellacopters and New York City bluesman SaRon Crenshaw will be featured on the debut program of the new series SOME REAL MUSIC on MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network), on Time Warner cable channel 56, RCN cable channel 84 and on the internet at (select channel 56), this Wednesday, Sept. 20 @ 4:30 pm (New York time). (Not the best timeslot so set your DVR, TiVo, VCR!)

There will be live footage of The Hellacopters from their Bowery Ballroom (NYC) show of March 10, 2006, as well as interview segments with Nicke Andersson and Robert Eriksson. Also a quick look at Nicke Andersson's collaborations with Scott Morgan (The Hydromatics and The Solution) is featured.

The series SOME REAL MUSIC is produced and hosted by Joe Chonto, freelance music critic (weekly newspaper column, former senior editor Modern Keyboard, etc.) and drummer whose latest project was co-founding the band Tripwave with guitarist/songwriter Dino Sorbello.

SOME REAL MUSIC is a series dedicated to great musicians of almost all genres. Mainly rock and jazz artists will be featured, but there will also be blues, folk, funk, soul, country and eastern music artists.

Some of those artists are Mission of Burma, New York Dolls, The Buzzcocks, The Mooney Suzuki, Nebula, Acid Mothers Temple, Radio Birdman, The Detroit Cobras, The Ribeye Bros., George Clinton, classic (and contemporary!) soul/gospel singer Candi Staton, Chicago bluesmen Dave Specter and Lurrie Bell, Melvin Sparks, bluegrass
singer/songwriter Greg Garing and jazz artists Dave Douglas, Sam Rivers, Charles Gayle, Rashied Ali, Billy Bang, William Parker, David S. Ware, Jaleel Shaw, Andrew Cyrille, Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake and numerous others.


NOTE: Mid -December there will be a timeslot change to something more prime.

Kind regards,

Joe Chonto

bush is a post turtle

got this li'l snippet o' folksy texas humor from expat fort worthian jim yanaway, currently in exile in austin:

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher, whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to former Texas Governor George W. Bush and his elevation to the White House.

The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Bush is a 'post turtle'." Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.

The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just want to help the dumb shit get down."

(the preceding cheeseball humor was dedicated with great respect to ann richards, a great lady and the last governor of texas i liked.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

cats and dogs

because i suck, i completely missed the entahr jazz by the boulevard festival this yr. dave williams pinged jeremy hull on friday and asked him to tell me that they were doing a reprise of the thelonious monk trib we dug so much at arts fifth avenue a few months back: two sets, starting at 6:30pm. guh. i'd had a hella wk at work and by the time i got home, it wasn't really on the cards. instead, we went to fred's for green dragon pork and convo w/jesse sierra hernandez, then home to collapse in an exhausted heap.

sat'day, i spent some time hangin' out at sessions music and had fun jammin' with some of john zaskoda and lucas white's students before running over toons with z-man, john shook and brandon wallace for a gig with their blues trio, which has the same name as my college band (dirty pool), at the mule pub that night. after that i headed back to the house for some downtime w/my sweetie before we fell by the black dog (whose owner didn't even realize his employees billy and shaggy maintain websites for him; he thought it was all _word-of-mouth_ that was brangin' all those ppl out, hahaha) for tony diaz's wedding reception. saw matt hembree, about to depart on a week-long tour with the underground railroad; godspeed, pal. hung out with ray liberio and jesse (who'd played the jazzfest with sleeplab that afternoon) again. chowed some good 'que from red hot & blue and had a shot called a "royal ho'," courtesy of jimmy rodriguez, the fort's finest bartender, then we had to cut out before the music started to get over the the mule.

i hadn't been in the mule since it was the pig 'n' whistle about 12 yrs ago, and vaguely remember a friend tending bar in what i _think_ was that location ca. '79. the crowd was heavy on tcu ppl and i was glad tcu won their game against texas tech; otherwise, it coulda gotten _ugly_. i sat out the first set. zasko, shook, and brandon have a nice band dynamic together. z-man's a powerful singer and impressive gtrist with an interesting style: he has a real percussive right hand, but doesn't use a pick. he knows his gear, too, and is ace at getting a great tone out of whatever he happens to be using at the time (in this case, an epi les paul and 50w marshall combo). a complete gentleman, he brought along a fender deville for me to play thru along with my indo squier (which he'd done a set-up on that afternoon) 'n' pedals, so all i had to do was plug everything in and play. we managed to run evabody off during the second set, but then ron geida and jeffrey williams showed up and ron 'n' i jammed some of the stuff we used to play as "the occasionals." shook keeps threatening to learn "in memory of elizabeth reed," so maybe that'll happen next time. the bartender told me we'd definitely get booked back, even if we ran evabody off, so i guess i'll be back there if zasko wants me to be.

today we slept in late, then walked around in the rain distributing newsletters for our neighborhood association. i procrastinated as long as i possibly could before finally writing an article for work that i thought was due thursday but i found out late in the week is due tom'w. mission accomplished.

sonic's rendezvous band

it arrived this saturday, like a candygram from the gods: the new six-disc box set of sonic's rendezvous band, compiled by ex-creem magazine photog robert matheu and released on the brit easy action label. it retails for around 80 bucks american, but i got mine for free 'cos the dude who was originally s'posed to provide liner notes reneged, so at the suggestion of my pal dave champion, the canadian king of scandi rawk, they used part of an ancient article i penned for the aussie i-94 bar webzine. (wow, is this a global village or what?) but i would contend that it's a worthwhile investment for anybody that's into real rockaroll thrills, moreso than, say, the much pricier rhino handmade stooges funhouse box, the value of which imo was chiefly to confirm the wisdom of whoever made the selections for the original elpee. but i digress.

sonic's rendezvous band were a legendary outfit that coalesced ca. '75 from remnants of detroit heavyweights the mc5, the rationals, the stooges, and the up. the wheels had kinda come off the detroit rawk juggernaut from a combination of the heroin plague that descended on the city ca. '70, massive record company indifference following the flameout of the mc5 and stooges, and tough times for homegrown rockaroll in general. (sure, bob seger had his biggest success concurrently with srb's trajectory, but that only proves the point, since he had to cut his balls off to do it; the mullethead who crooned "night moves" was scarcely recognizable as the tnt-drinking, dynamite-smoking singer of "heavy music," "ramblin' gamblin' man," and the rest of his '60s masterwork.) during their existence, they released but one recorded artifact, a locally distributed single with the same song -- "city slang" -- on both sides. subsequently, they've been represented in the marketplace by an ultra lo-fi bootleg, strikes like lightning, a track on a detroit compilation cd, and a coupla full-length cd's that appeared on the mack aborn rhythmic arts label ca. y2k and are prolly worth big buxxx on ebay now. mostly, they've been known via fourth-and-fifth generation cassettes and later, burned cd-r's of board tapes and audience recordings that circulated from hand to hand, fan to fan, from stockholm to seattle to sydney. yet, they've been covered by aussie bands like bored!, the celibate rifles and asteroid b-612 (who took their name from an srb song). sweden's hellacopters based their whole sound on srb's, and returned the favor by rescuing morgan from obscurity when they hooked up with him on tour in the states in '97. i've got a bunch of those old tapes 'n' burned cd-r's that i can now consign to the revered artifact hall of fame in the hall closet at mi casa.

maybe 30 percent of what's on sonic's rendezvous band (as the box is cleverly titled) appeared on those long-gone mack aborn releases (sweet nothing and city slang); the easy action label's famous for releasing much-bootlegged mc5 and stooges material with superior sound and deluxe packaging, with the added plus that they appear to be on the up-and-up as far as paying royalties to the participating musicians (or their families; srb namesake-gtrist-singer fred "sonic" smith shuffled off this mortal coil in 1994). the 1978 show from the second chance in ann arbor that fills disc four and some of the live stuff on the last two plus-sized (near 80 minutes apiece) discs sound basically the same here as they did on those earlier releases, and remain essential, and the '78 second chance set is prolly the best-_sounding_ live recording of the band extant, but there's plenty of other stuff here that's equally cosmic or even more so. as far as redundancy goes, there aren't more than three versions of anything here, and the coupla quibbles i have with track selections are minor (why isn't there a version of scott morgan's "heaven" here? and i've got a better version of "empty heart" than the one they chose on a tape i got from a detroit expat bud in s.f. wa-a-ah, wa-a-ah, wa-a-ah.)

the jewels in the crown here are three complete sets from different venues 'n' periods of the band that comprise discs one thru three. the first, from chances are (the earlier name for the second chance) in 1975, features bassist w.r. "ron" cook, ex-mitch ryder's detroit (whose version of lou reed's "rock and roll" was played by seemingly every idiot band on lawn guyland back when i started playing in the early '70s, in the same way as every detroit band from the same era was still covering the stones' "empty heart"). he's also on some basement recordings that appear on disc five; from '76 on, gary rasmussen (ex-up) manned the four-string axe. back in mc5 daze, fred smith always kinda got eclipsed by wayne kramer, gtr pyrotechnic-wise. sure, there was that great "battle hymn of the republic" solo on "the american ruse," unfortunately, fred's best five-era fretwork was on their last 'n' best alb, high time, which sounded like it was recorded underwater. by the time he formed srb with ex-rationals frontguy scott morgan, sonic had evolved into a fire-breathing monster of a gtrist whose approach, it's said, derived from listening to coltrane solos, with a great, throaty tone and massive vibrato that'll take the top of yr head off (heard to good effect on the version of ray charles' "i believe to my soul" on disc one).

there's a lot more chuck berry chug to the '75 stuff than you hear later on, when sonic 'n' scott had established their identity as writers more firmly. on these discs, you can get a taste of morgan breaking in a repertoire that'd serve him well for the ensuing 30 yrs, on albs like rock action, revolutionary means, and the retrospective medium rare in addition to latter-day transcontinental bands like the hydromatics (with nicke hellacopter and dutch punk godfather tony slug). morgan's always had key rolling stone cats (detroit native dave marsh and later, david fricke) in his corner, and i've always thought that properly marketed, he coulda been an '80s populist-rock contender a la springsteen 'n' mellencamp. if only.

second disc is drawn from a '76-era show at a detroit area high school (the audience mbrs yelling "rock 'n' roll!" in between songs help establish the date 'n' place). the sound is as clear and full of presence as the chances are show, and there are some songs here (fred's "hard stoppin'," scott's "irish girl") that had disappeared from the setlist by '78. one highlight: a version of "like a rolling stone," sung by scott with fred taking a verse, that trumps the 'riginal, if not jimi's '67 monterey autodestruction of the song. (scott, of course, sings it better than either dylan or hendrix did.) the set climaxes with "slow down (take a look)," released as a morgan single in '73 and again in '00, which he also sang on a hellacopters alb. the third disc is the shortest one in the set and also the shakiest sound-quality wise. (really, besides this disc and the version of "empty heart" on disc five, everything else sounds amazingly awesome. you can actually hear voxxx! and bass! and kick drum!) recorded at a big venue -- detroit's masonic auditorium -- in '78, it presents some of the same material as the second chance set from the same era plus their set-opener of the time, "electrophonic tonic," performed with an added bump of energy that prolly came from the adrenaline of playing in front of a big crowd.

the "classic" srb sound, as represented by the masionic auditorium and second chance shows, was a vastly different beast from the somewhat-forced hysteria of the mc5, the sexy menace of funhouse-era stooges and the out-of-control ferocity of that band's raw power incarnation. at their peak, firing on all cylinders, srb's attack was characterized by relentless forward motion, becoming a kind of rock 'n' roll trance music at times. on songs like "sweet nothin'" and "city slang," the band would lock into a groove with the intensity of dervishes and ride it until they (and anyone within earshot) were spent. there's a kind of, dare i say, spiritual cleansing that takes place from that kinda catharsis. i felt it watching fred's widow patti (of whom i was _not_ previously a fan) performing at the gypsy tea room back in y2k. she seemed like someone who'd passed through fire, of whom grief 'n' loss had made something far deeper than the opportunistic art-chick she seemed like back in '76. i get the same vibe listening to this music now.

disc five runs over 79 minutes and is entitled "the melancholy (various basement tapes and live rarities)." starts out with five tracks recorded in morgan's parents' basement with ron cooke on bass ca. '75. (what, did they have a recording studio down there? you'd think so, hearing the quality of these tracks.) "succeed" (which starts with country-blues pickin' but quickly morphs into a berryesque rocker), johnnie taylor's "hijackin' love" (which morgan later cut for his rock action alb on the french revenge label), "mystically yours," "take a look" (again), and "electrophonic tonic" are all mighty fine and represent, with the "city slang" single and '78 take of "electrophonic tonic," the band's entahr "studio" (as in "not live") output. the other high spots of the disc include versions of claudine clark's "party lights" (sung by fred) and the stones' "flight 505" (sung by gary) from a particularly uproarious club gig that's indicative of the kind of shows the band was playing (fred's previous project, ascension, once played a bowling alley). "goin' bye," dedicated to a neighborhood kid killed in 'nam, is prolly fred's finest song, and appears to have inspahrd some madonna song the name of which escapes me but has the same melody. plausible, since ms. ciccone was a dee-troit gal, altho she currently affects brit pretensions, and prolly saw srb at bookie's club 870 back in the day.

disc six's title, "too much crank (the best stuff you have and haven't heard)" refers to a remark fred makes to an audience member in his spoken intro to "clock with no hands" (a revamped, slowed-down version with new lyrics of the toon heard elsewhere here as "it's alright"). fred's audience patter (replete with off-the-wall asides and bad jokes -- duh, i just now realized that disc five's title comes from a bit of fred chatter on "party lights") is a recurring theme of the live material, as are scott's onstage telecaster tune-ups (this is what folks did before digital tuners, kids). in a just universe, fred's "you're so great" woulda been a hit single. the take of "empty heart" here is inferior, imo, to one with fred singing from the same gig as "party lights," but scott's vocal on thisun _is_ better, i suppose, and the overall energy level is higher. plus it's shorter, and even tho this disc is _only_ 74 minutes 'n' change, they prolly wanted to save the room for all 16 minutes of "american boy," a low-key, moody extended piece that features fred on minimalist, coltrane-influenced tenor sax. the piece was only played a few times live and fortunately somebody happened to roll tape one of those times. the disc and the set ends with the '78 studio takes of "electrophonic tonic," the intended b-side that wasn't, and "city slang" itself, as if to say, "yes, there was this, but before this, there was _so much_ more."

oh, yeah -- the photography, by executive producer matheu, sue rynski, and kenneth alfastsen, is shit-hot, vividly bringing the band to life for those who knew 'em in the day and those of us who were less fortunate. kudos to easy action for giving this treatment to music that so richly deserves it. in case you were wondering, this is what real rockaroll sounds like.

the great tyrant rekkids coming

our favorite "vampire-backed-by-two-monks," the great tyrant, has a buncha recording projexxx in the works (links on their myspace thingy):

7 inch due late fall from Dada Drumming

Cunt Tree Records will be releasing a Graves at Sea / The Great Tyrant split picture disc in 2007

We will be contributing a cover of Weidorje to an upcoming Magma tribute compilation being released by Post Replica Records and Daft Alliance. Also appearing on the compilation are Zombi, Upsilon Acrux, Guapo, and many other fine bands. This is scheduled for a Winter 2007 release.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the move

in the da capo book of rock & roll writing (originally the penguin book of rock & roll writing), there's a story by jonh ingham entitled "tripping down blackberry way," about a fictitious so-cal teenager (one _len_ zeppelin, haw haw haw) who becomes obsessed with a band he's never heard (in this case, the move) after reading about 'em in '60s rock mags (specifically, in nik cohn's column). i'm here to tell you: i was that kid, in the same way i was the obnoxious muso-wannabe rekkid store clerk jack black played in high fidelity. maybe even more so. as a weird, asocial middle schooler, i was bookish, alienated, and rock-obsessed, and when i stumbled on a paperback copy of cohn's rock from the beginning, it changed my life. i shit you not, jim.

cohn was the brit who went on to write the new york magazine story on which saturday night fever was based, but forgive him, for when he was 22 and figured the whole thing was over, he sat down and wrote the entahr history of rock from his own highly opinionated perspective in a single long weekend of manic inspiration. it's still one of my favorite reads, and it's where i first got wind of the move, a brit band that never meant a whole lot here in the states, which made them _just my meat_. (i'll admit it: i was one of _those_ ppl, who didn't dig the beatles and later led zep 'cos they were _too popular_.) like slade and t. rex a little later, they had a long string of hits in the u.k.: "night of fear," "i can hear the grass grow," "flowers in the rain," "fire brigade," "blackberry way," "curly," "brontosaurus." on this side of the pond, though, they were considered "underground." cultic, even.

anyway, back to cohn. the best rock scribes can make you wanna hear music you know you don't like (in my case, greil marcus writing about the band -- y'know, bob dylan's old backup band? robbie robertson? a buncha canadians with beards? ahhh, fuggedabadit -- has that effect), and cohn was up there among 'em: one persuasive mofo, he was. dig his scrawl on the move: "they stood in a straight line, four-part harmony, and they were natural rockers; they wore capone gangster suits, and they looked mean as hell. eternal brummers, dour and monosyllabic...ace kefford, a guitarist [actually bassist, to be technical], was the singing skull itself, his flesh eaten away, his jaws clamping endlessly on gum, his face set rigid in infinite boredom." so, i thought, where do i sign up? you could say my interest was piqued.

when i finally heard 'em, they didn't sound anything like what i expected, but i still dug 'em. (same thing happened when i got the who sell out; while it hardly matched the word-picture cohn had painted inside my head, it sounded good, forever conjuring images of a fictive english summer. i only had to wait a little while until live at leeds showed up, delivering all the noise and outrage he'd promised in the pages of the new york times, of all places.) the move were poppier than cohn's description (which focused on _image_ and their early penchant for publicity stunts) might have led you to believe, and roy wood's songwriting was downright _quirky_. (one colossal irony: a lot of their lyrics had a recurring theme of mental illness, and ace kefford, the singing skull, apparently wound up spending 30 yrs wrestling with those demons after freaking his way right out of the move following a tour with hendrix in '68.)

now "brum" is what the locals call birmingham, an industrial town in the english midlands which is approximately the brit equivalent to detroit and the birthplace of the move. a heavy town, thatun -- home of john bonham, black sabbath, cozy powell, and lots more like that, but all of the move cats had been playing in old-fashioned (even in 1966) beat groups, and they wanted to do something hipper. unlike most of their brit contemporaries, who drew their inspiration from blues and r&b, the move's influences were an amalgam of '50s rockers (elvis, eddie cochran, and jerry lee lewis) and contemporary american west coast bands (love, the byrds, the beach boys, moby grape). in the fullness of time, wood and his latter-day co-conspirator jeff lynne (whom he recruited from a lower-division birmingham psych band called the idle race) got obsessed with chasing the beatles, specifically the claustrophobic sound of "strawberry fields forever," "i am the walrus" and the white album.

besides wood's songwriting, what the move had going for them from the git-go was their vocalismo -- five, count 'em, five lead singers that could harmonize in a style that was beach boys-influenced but distinctively british -- and a killer bass sound that was really the only "heavy" thing about 'em. it's funny, too, 'cos they employed a string of bassplayers over the yrs; musta been more a function of wood's musical vision than of any one particular cat's instrumental prowess, starting with the herky-jerky descending line that's the centerpiece of crash-and-thump psych masterpiece "i can hear the grass grow" (which i played the shee-ot out ouf on the secondhand 45 i got from the store where i usedta work as a high schooler). on the move's pop hits, wood employed basslines like music hall trombones in the manner of the kinks. later, bass become a sinister undercurrent in move music, evoking '30s cartoon soundtracks in shazam's "cherry blossom clinic revisited" and culminating in the clanking rickenbacker that underpins the move's finest hour, the message from the country alb. on that rekkid, whoever's playing bass (wood? lynne?) contributes low-end countermelodies with the inventiveness and sheer musicality of john entwistle (or matt hembree), effectively serving as a lead instrument.

all of this rhapsodizing is occasioned by the re-release, on the 40th anniversary of the move's formation, of message from the country, widely held (at least by me and the guy who wrote the liner notes to this reish) to be their very finest work evah, ironically so because it was recorded as a contract-filling stopgap while wood 'n' lynne were hatching the, um, electric light orchestra. but hey, some of my favorite rekkids (the rationals' 1970 alb, the zombies' odessey and oracle) were produced under zackley such circumstances.

by this time (1971), the move had ceased touring and were pretty effectively committed to folding the tent as soon as some legal/publishing _issues_ surrounding lynne could be resolved. in the meantime, they passed their days fucking around in the studio, experimenting, and generally having a high old time. that spirit (not unlike the beatles on let it be minus the acrimony and with a lot more overdubs) informs the music on message from the country and raises it head 'n' shoulders above their previous two elpees, the much-touted shazam! (wherein 'riginal frontguy carl wayne's affinity for lounge-smarm vocalismo -- over there, they call it _cabaret_ -- bumps heads with wood's desire to improvise at great length on a variety of axes -- not just electric gtr, but nylon-string, banjo, even sitar -- to a degree that might tax a non-lysergically-enhanced listener's attention span a tad) and the merely godawful looking on (which features not-so-great material and the muddy production sound that's marred all of wood's post-move studio endeavors).

so, whaddaya get for yr entertainment dollar? merely scintillating songwriting 'n' imaginative arrangements; well-executed late-period beatles pastiches; bone-crushing rockers; touches of mock-classicism; humorous stabs at '50s rockaroll, c&w, and music hall; and, as bonus tracks, their last handful of contract-fulfilling singles, all of which i bought with great relish as a 15-yr-old snotnose and played until the grooves were as worn as those on my slade 45s. a couple of 'em hark back to the sound of the move's pop-chart-topping heyday, while one was subsequently covered by cheap trick (now appearing at a county fair near you on the "how-the-mighty-have-fallen" tour), and another was re-recorded to considerably greater stateside effect by e.l.o.

listening to this music today almost makes me unashamed to have been such an annoying elitist asshole at such an early age. _almost_.

(on the move's website, there are interviews that carl wayne did with his ex-movemates kefford and trevor burton for the bbc, a coupla yrs before he checked out from late-diagnosed cancer in 2004. i always say that all musicians' stories are the same, but my favorite ones are about ppl growing up together through music. reading these ints, it's readily apparent the regard and friendship that existed between these men, even many yrs after they ceased to be in the same band, and in spite of my snide dismissal of wayne's singing above, i couldn't help but feel, um, moved.)

ADDENDUM: unfortunately, the move's official website doesn't keep online any old content that doesn't relate to whatever current re-release they're plugging, and so carl's ints with ace and trevor have gone to the widowmaker. pity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

radio birdman

dig the start of aussie punk (and a hawaii five-0 reference) here. now back on the road in europe, where the wheels came off the first time. stay out of vans, guys.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

r.i.p. johnny heff

i deliberately avoided as much of the 9/11 anniversary news coverage as i could. too much politics, too much bullshit, too much tragedy to wrap one's mind around, esp. with stuff happening locally / recently here in the fort like the road rage killing of the brother of one of my dtr's friends, the shooting of a 15-yr-old high school student by a fort worth cop, serial rapists 'n' robbers, etc. but i was reminded of a cat i hadn't thought about in a long time: johnny heffernan a.k.a. johnny heff, a dyed-in-the-wool noo yawk punk rocker who first played cbgb's as a teenager way back in 1981. since '97, he'd led a punk band called the bullys, but like most musos i know, he also had a dayjob -- in his case, as a new york city firefighter. heff died in the collapse of the world trade center on september 11th, 2001. punk magazine honcho john holmstrom memorializes him here. go easy, bro.

sales tax exemptions for texas record producers

this arrived in the stoogeaphilia spambox, from whence i registered the band with the texas music office (sounds crazy but a friend swears he's gotten gigs as a result of being listed in their directory) and appears to be legit. i couldn't reproduce the pdf links, but i'm sure the forms are accessible via their website.

Dear Recording Industry Professional:

Many items purchased, used, rented or repaired during the studio master recording process are exempt from the 6.25 percent state sales and use tax, as well as local sales and use taxes. These exemptions are included in the Texas Tax Code Section 151.318, and the Comptroller of Public Accounts Administrative Rule 3.300.

Texas Sales & Use Tax Exemption - Short Form PDF file

A producer may claim 100 percent exemption from state and local sales and use taxes on qualifying machinery and equipment purchased, repaired, leased or rented and used directly in the production of audio recording masters. If the equipment is exempt, any parts, repair or maintenance labor is also exempt.

For a list of exempt items, please visit the Sales Tax exemptions section of our website.

NOTE TO RETAILERS & ARTISTS: Bands who produce themselves and purchase gear in the process also qualify for this exemption.


Casey Monahan, Andrew Leeper and Stephen Ray
Texas Music Office
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 13246, Austin, TX 78711-3246
512.463.6666 / fax 512.463.4114

**You Can't Hear American Music Without Hearing Texas**

blood of the sun! dixie witch! wreckroom! 9/29!

local '70s throwbacks blood of the sun, currently hard at work on new discage, emerge from studio isolation to open for austin-based power trio dixie witch at where else, the li'l wreck room next friday, september 29th. b.o.t.s. are a must-hear for aficionados of prime [evil] d. purple, cactus, captain beyond 'n' like dat. b.o.t.s. gtrist richard hurley sez the witch have a drummer who throws down on actual double basses, and they do a mean line in southern boogie that includes covers of the james gang ("the bomber"!!!) and lynyrd skynyrd ("on the hunt"). i'll be real o mind from playing with stoogeaphilia the night before, but ya mo' be theah. you too?

mikvah project

prolly the coolest thing we saw on gallery night was the mikvah project, a traveling exhibit of photos and stories relating to the jewish rite of immersion in a ritual bath (at the fort worth community arts center thru october 20th). while looking at the pics and reading the testimonies, my sweetie was struck by how many transformations have taken place in her life in the past decade or so. one of the nice thangs about ritual is it gives us a way to acknowledge 'n' celebrate those events.

Monday, September 11, 2006


this week the song i wanna hear over and over is "days" by the kinks. it's a bonus track on the ceedee of the village green preservation society i got from me-thinks will (thanks, buddy). my sweetie informs me that elvis costello covered it on the kojak variety, too. previously she had just thought of it as "the elvis costello hymn." when i hear the words ray davies wrote, they remind me of my ex-father-in-law. and myself. and all of us.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that lights on you believe me.
And though you're gone,
You're with me every single day, believe me.

Days I'll remember all my life,
Days when you can't see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me,
But it's all right,
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.

I wish today could be tomorrow,
The night is dark,
It just brings sorrow anyway.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

Days I'll remember all my life,
Days when you can't see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me,
But it's all right,
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that shines on you believe me.
And though you're gone,
You're with me every single day, believe me.

sonny rollins

an unexpected surprise: here's a vid of sonny rollins playing "52nd street theme" in rome, '62, with henry grimes (bass) and ex-ornette sidemen don cherry (trumpet), and billy higgins (drums). cool even tho it ends in the middle of higgins' drum solo.

bands i have been in 1973-2006

the last express (high school soul band); rage (high school shitty rock band); dirty pool (college blues-rock band); an unnamed college annoyance that would set up on the quad and play until we heard police sirens; a band the name of which i've forgotten where the bassplayer stole my amplifier when he learned i was leaving the state, from which the lead singer and i were both fired for "not being committed to the material;" an extremely misguided attempt at forming a rockband in aspen the winter of '79-'80; the kunsan crusaders (r&b showband while in the airforce in korea); the about time band (aka "the conditions of probation band" - rocked-up country while on dui probation); the midnight believers (blues); the occasionals (instrumental r&b - 13 months, 7 gigs, 3 bassplayers, 2 drummers, 1 nervous breakdown, and a partridge in a pear tree); black land farmers (alt-country w/frank logan; a good idea that didn't work for some reason); spotted eagle crowd (alt-rock w/friends of my dtr); texas toast (shitty rock covers); blue house (more blues w/ex-midnight believers frontman; some sub work before he fired me); lady pearl's b.t.a. band (blues; pretty much the only one i'm not currently playing with of which i have primarily fond memories); vernon garrett's a-1 crossroads showband (still more blues for one nightmarish gig); nathan brown's r&b (two tours w/a six foot whiteguy who wanted to be prince and did cheerleading routines); horses (ostensibly a soul band, really a huey lewis wannabe; got fired via e-mail); impulse of will (wednesday night jamcats); stoogeaphilia (iggy & the stooges covers). i'm still playing with the last two.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

more old shit i've been listening to lately

perhaps reading the crawdaddy book has made me nostalgic about the past, but whatever the reason, i've been going back and listening to stuff i was into when i was still a snotnose, some of which i hadn't heard in 30 yrs or more. my punk rawkin' honky tonk gal rolls her eyes white upwards when she hears some of this "hipi music," but (bless her) still puts up with me. f'rinstance:

butterfield blues band - east-west: paul butterfield was the template for every white blues guy w/greased-back hair and shades, a lawyer's kid from chicago's north shore who started going down to the south side to hang out 'n' learn from urban blues masters like muddy waters, howlin' wolf, little walter, junior wells et al. around 1960. by 1965, he'd mastered blues harp well enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned giants. his band (including gtrists mike bloomfield and elvin bishop) achieved some notoriety by backing bob dylan when he "went electric" at the '65 newport folk festival. bloomfield was a trust fund kid (his family's company manufactures the coffee makers still used at every mcdonald's, guh) who came to electric blues thru the folkie backdoor and was _the_ rawk gtr hero for 15 minutes until clapton 'n' hendrix came along and usurped his mantle. the 'riginal butterfield band's finest hr was this alb, from 1966, on which they started branching out from basic I-IV-V blare into the wider improvisational realms of jazz and raga. the title track, which sounds kind of dated now, was a revelation in its time simply 'cos bloomfield was extemporizing at length in modes other than the pentatonic. the san francisco bands were paying close attention, so i guess you can blame butter 'n' bloomer for the whole jam band development, from the dead 'n' quicksilver up to phish and who knows what-all. after east-west, both of 'em discovered acid 'n' kinda went soft, but this remains a watershed for those with a sense of historical moment.

animals - animalization and animalism: elsewhere i've railed against "the mentality that produces reductionist marketing bullshit like lists of the 'top 100 albums of all time' or radio stations that attempt to distill 50 yrs of music down to 3 songs each by 100 artists." case in point: the animals. while clear channel radio and licensing deals have assured that i don't need to hear "house of the rising sun" or "we've gotta get out of this place" evereverever again, these guys (fronted by eric burdon, who devolved, post-acid, into enough of a hipified joke for him to serve as the model for lorenzo st. dubois in the producers) still played r&b better than any of their brit contemporaries, and burdon (like van morrison with them) could actually sing the shee-ot out of it, too. these two albs, produced by tom wilson, who'd also done dylan's "like a rolling stone" and invented simon & garfunkel, are prolly the animals' strongest and most consistent, and indicative of how confusing it can be sorting out the discographies of '60s brit bands. most of animalization appeared in the u.k. as animalisms (plural), minus three u.s. hits that are its finest moments: "don't bring me down" (a kind of follow-up to "it's my life"), "inside looking out" (electrified field holler later covered by grand funk), and best of all, "see see rider" (dig the big tension-building intro, the sassy strut of the gtr-organ unison riff, the "jenny take a ride now, hey hey" fillip eric throws in). animalism (singular) came out in the u.s. as the wheels were coming off the band and wasn't even released in the u.k. by this time, burdon was covering donovan and fred neil as well as ray charles and howlin' wolf, and even collaborating in the studio with frank zappa (who gets a writer's credit on my cd copy for "all night long," even though it's derived from the same blues root source as the yardbirds' "lost woman"). sure, he went on to perpetrate atrocities like "san franciscan nights," but that was later. this is the air i was breathing when i started playing music.

pretty things - come see me: the very best of the pretty things and s.f. sorrow: these guys, contemporaries of the stones and yardbirds, didn't make it to the states until the '70s, but in their heyday, they could bang out endless bo diddley-style crash 'n' thump better 'n anybody. their gtrist, dick taylor, had played bass in an embryonic version of the stones, while their drummer, viv prince, had the same drumkit-falling-down-the-stairs attack and penchant for misbehavior as the who's keith moon. their earliest singles (most notably "rosalyn" and "don't bring me down") are chaos incarnate (in a good, punk-anticipating way); a little later, they got their shit together enough to cut more coherent (but still wild) stuff like "midnight to six man" and "come see me." around '66, taylor and frontman phil may started striving to improve as writers (chasing the kinks, indicative that they at least had good taste), and they replaced a coupla founder mbrs with newbies (wally allen and jon povey) who could sing tight harmony. shameless trend-hoppers, they went psychedelic with a vengeance on singles like "defecting grey" and "mr. evasion" before cutting their magnum opus, the "rock opera" s.f. sorrow. pete townshend admitted (then subsequently denied) that sorrow was an inspiration for tommy; when it comes to revisionist history, he's almost in the same league as lou reed. the alb was cut at abbey road around the same time as sgt. pepper and the piper at the gates of dawn with norman smith producing; how could you go wrong? sorrow's ur british psych, song (rather than jam)-focused, a lot less utopian than pepper and a lot less twee than piper; in fact, it's pretty dark, as things like this go. listening to this for the first time in awhile, i'm struck by the way dick taylor's gtr on "balloon burning" sounds downright frippertronic, the arrangement on "trust" sounds like something the 'oo might have done, and the heavy rifferama on "old man going" anticipates sabbath. throughout their career, these guys were such archetypes that they coulda been the blueprint for spinal tap or something. but my buddy geoff in philly saw 'em when they toured the states a coupla yrs back and said they were the real deal, playing everything from "rosalyn" to sorrow and beyond. i believe 'cos i wanna believe.

jefferson airplane - after bathing at baxter's: in spite of the fact that they quickly devolved into strident hipi polemicists and wound up sucking much arena-rock ass thru the late '70s and into the '80s as jefferson starship, i still find this summer of love artyfact pleasing to the ear, and its best moments really exhilarating. while not as archetypal as s.f. sorrow, in its own idiosyncratic way, baxter's represents the ultimate flahring of 'meercun psych. at the time of its release, paul williams saw this alb as the culmination of the byrds-butterfield-lovin' spoonful development in american rock ca. '65-'66, wherein folkloric roots were wedded to experimentalismo, and that kinda makes sense in light of the '67 airplane's confluence of clever 'n' imaginative songwriting, three strong lead singers who also harmonized well together, an agile 'n' inventive riddim section, a lead gtrist who was figuring out how to incorporate distortion and feedback into a blues-based concept, and an overall willingness to take musical risks. while you'd expect self-indulgence from hipis (and indeed, the airplane were milking their record company's largesse they'd earned with a coupla chart-topping hits, booking hours of studio time over five months and developing material as they went), the toons 'n' arrangements here are surprisingly well-crafted and focused. there's a lot going on, including an affinity for push-pull / tension-and-release dynamics that you don't need to be, um, _experienced_ to appreciate. i first heard this around the same time i was discovering live at leeds and funhouse and didn't listen again for over 30 yrs. i suppose for me, it owes a lot of its resonance to crawdaddy editor williams; it reminds me of the time when i was starting to _think_ about music.

now it's time for me to start listening to stooge-related musics again and woodshedding toons to learn in time for matt's return from the underground railroad tour.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

fredtoberfest 2006 band sked (tentative)

SAT 0CT 7, 2006
Noon - 3:00: Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang
3:00 - 5:00: Cowboys & Indians
5:00 - 7:00: Jasper Stone
7:00 - 10:30: DeWayn Bros

SAT 0CT 14, 2006
Noon - 3:00: Stoogeaphilia
3:00 - 5:00: Gideons
5:00 - 7:00: The Me-Thinks
7:00 - 10:30: HONKY

SAT 0CT 21, 2006
Noon - 3:00: Marty Christian
3:00 - 5:00: Rambin Bros
5:00 - 7:00: CATFISH WHISKEY
7:00 - 10:30: PEACH TRUCK

SAT 0CT 28, 2006
Noon - 3:00: Darth Vato
3:00 - 5:00: Poo Live Crew
5:00 - 7:00: CONFUSATRON
7:00 - 10:30: SALLY MAJESTIC

art of the jam 64

it was elvis the bartender's b-day the previous monday, so last wednesday night at the wreck room, jam-meister lee allen opted to hold the weekly invitational jam on the "wreck west" side where el was working in the hopes that we could help him pick up some coin.

but first, we had to go find a drummer. with me in tow, the jam-meister drove over to fonky fred's, where josh clark and "funky town's finest" were in full effect. (they just pubbed the sked for fredtoberfest, btw. keep sat'days in october open. you've been warned.) walking up to "the fort," aka fred's patio, we heard ultra-fluid jazz-tinged lines on gtr and wondered "who the funk could _that_ be?" turns out it was jasper stone gtrist ron geida, who'd promised to make it to el wreck for el's party. also up: cat named ruben i've met at the blackdog on fuzz bass, shook on his fretless, cat from villain vanguard on trumpet and keys, steve huber on violin, james norris on keys, and marcus lawyer on mandolin. they was cookin' alright. "we just make this stuff up," said josh before calling lee-boy up for one. i spoke with jeffrey williams from jasper stone and he agreed to come down to el wreck after to man the traps for a spell.

back at el wreck, took lee awhile to sort out mics 'n' stuff, then we started with peach truck republic's evan jones behind the house kit showcasing unheralded rawk power. i broke an A string on the first song (guh), so more delays ensued. daniel katsuk's g-f jordan, who's becoming a regular jamchick her own self, got up and played a couple with us. she's always creative and happenin' but we (read: i) were too fuckin' loud, so the jam-meister suggested she play a couple solo. i was back to using my roland "amplet" after playing my last coupla shows (jam and stoogeaphilia) with various peavey classic 50s (one i borrowed from matt hembree and another i wound up buying from brandon wallace). i think my ear must have gotten used to a higher volume that was totally inappropriate for the li'l room. plus i discovered my brand-new russian big muff is too grungy for el jam. was thinking of something smoover 'n' creamier like a ts-9 and pinged sessions music honcho john zaskoda about scoring one, but he convinced me that my old reliable yellow dod overdrive is just as good. (z-man is always a friend first, salesman second, which i 'preciate mightily.)

after timely pause, william bryan massey III (wandering in from the fort worth arts consortium mtg in the big room) replaced evan behind the drums. i've always thought of massey as strictly a full-on, balls-out punk drummer, but on this particular night, he was getting into areas of funk 'n' groove i'd never heard him explore before. sounded good. even played a credible reggae one-drop, but unfortunately we were unable to coax pablo frontman joe vano onto the stage until somewhat later.

while we were on a break, marcus lawyer stopped by and told me that he's put together a band (himself, josh clark, lucas white, john shook) to play the top secret...shhh rekkid live for some in-stores and possible club shows in austin, dallas, and here in da fort. he's hoping to get some of the other performers that played on the rec to recreate their parts, too. sounds intriguing. i told him that his rec is the only one i have on my 'puter at work that doesn't annoy the living fuck out of my coworkers. it's _accessible_.

ron geida set up his gear and then sat out most of the night. his musical twin shook picked up his les paul for "teen town" and played most of the rest of the night. me-thinks / stoogeaphilia frontguy ray liberio, taking a break from gallery night preparations (he and his pussyhouse propaganda co-conspirator calvin abucejo are showing at studio 4 behind the wreck), got up to sing "war pigs" (but again, unfortunately not before my sweetie, who'd requested it, split to get some sleep before a bizzy, bizzy dat at school). we finished out with jeffrey on traps and had vano up to sing sally majestic's "bobo" 'cos lee-boy refuses to play "stir it up." hopefully el had a good night; by the time we got to' down and loaded out, he was gone, gone for the night.

next week we'll be back on the small side 'cos there'll be singer-songwriters in the big room. i promise to turn down. promise. and up-and-coming space-rockers okay james might be back, too, to rock the space.

music after hours at the kimbell

if you're into supporting the arts, dig hearing live music in smoke-free settings during early-evening hrs, and can swing with the $10-for-nonmembers ticket, keep the second saturday for every month free between 5:30 and 7:30pm. the lineup for the kimbell art museum's after hours at the kimbell evenings through the end of the year:

september 9 -- dave karnes quartet featuring oaklin bloodworth (classic jazz w/voxxx)
october 14 -- johnny guadarrama jazz band (legendary northside saxman)
november 11 -- los noviembres (eclectic new project of gtrist paul boll w/female voxxx)
december 9 -- sleeplab (brazilian jazz-flavored groove with a recently-pared-down lineup)

the underground railroad, lonely fire

went out to the soundstage behind competition music at 3136 e. lancaster (aka "the speakeasy") for the first time ever last night (even tho i've been invited to a few after-parties there before; i can't do anything that _starts_ at 3am anymore) to hear the underground railroad warm up for their upcoming week-long tour of the eastern u.s. just being in that 'hood took my mind back to 14 yrs ago, when i briefly worked at st. theresa's boys center across the street (now closed). i had the 10 to 6 shift and usedta have to walk the parking lot every hr to make sure nobody's car had gotten broken into. but, the soundstage is a good-sounding room, decorated in the style of a mid-'80s deep ellum rawk dump. plus they had free popcorn, soft drinks 'n' water (it's byob there). there were about 20-30 ppl there in the course of the evening; "not bad for u.r. in fort worth," a muso observed.

after parking the car in the rock-strewn vacant lot behind and checking out the remains of the restaurant next door that caught fire 'n' burned to the ground on tuesday (thankfully leaving competition unscathed), we strolled up to the open door, through which we could hear the strains of mark cook's trio lonely fire (or "lonely fahhhr," as drummer jason spradlin suggested they'd be known "if we were a country band") emanating from within. we also encountered u.r.'s three members -- gtrist bill pohl, keyboardist and now drummer kurt rongey (who emphasized that "we didn't fire john [livingston]; in fact, i'm using his kit tonight"), and bassist matt hembree. rongey seemed undaunted by the fact that until u.r.'s recent spate of rehearsals, he hadn't played drums in 15 yrs. "i have some new influences," he said. "back then, i didn't have [magma drummer] christian vander in my life, for example." also on hand was piano man mike richardson, famous for forming coverbands at the drop of a hat, who replaced hembree on the four-string axe in between the recording of through and through and the origin of consciousness and was running sound this particular night.

onstage, lonely fire was, um, burning. playing the double-extra-wide-necked warr gtr, which has two sets of strings and is played by tapping with both hands, mark cook is always amazing, occasionally sounding like all three string players from discipline-era king crimson at once. at times, he'll play sinuous sustaining lines on the top neck while underpinning them with complex ostinatos on the bottom; at others, he'll play furious unisons that might inspire a lesser player to wonder, "dude, why don't you just buy an octave pedal?" cook's bandmate from 99 names of god, jason spradlin, gets as organic a sound as i've ever heard from electronic drums (if i could just get used to seeing a guy hitting a little pie plate-shaped thingy and getting cymbal sounds). and multi-reedman bob fisher applies an arsenal of f/x to his flute and alto to create spacey 'n' ethereal textures which he contrasts with episodes of frenetic freeblow. between the three of 'em, they weave a dense thicket of sounds that are prolly at least partially composed, but sound spontaneous. afterward, cook said "it was all a big accident." maybe, but a happy one.

i was curious what underground railroad would sound like as a "power trio," since drummer livingston announced he wasn't going to be able to make the tour (on which they depart monday, september 18th). mike richardson pointed out that "it really doesn't sound any different," since all of rongey's keyb parts are still heard through the miracle of sequencing. i'm as wary of bands that play with pre-recorded tracks as i am of e-drums, but if anything, u.r.'s stage trip with rongey on traps is more dynamic and exciting than i've ever seen 'em before. don't ask me how kurt 'n' bill can sing while playing the complex chord changes and difficult time signatures they do. i've always thought of anything i know is real but can't understand as magic; perhaps that description applies here. still recovering from hand surgery, pohl has traded in his trademark red gibson sg for a music man gtr with a thinner neck that's easier to negotiate. when he got on his knees in front of his amp to play with harmonic feedback, i kept looking at hembree expecting him to shed his shirt the way he does in stoogeaphilia; he didn't. i think matt is my favorite musician that i know, not just because he's so versatile, but because he clearly loves to play so much. it's nice that he's been getting to do it _a lot_ of late. while the u.r. repeatedly made it clear that "this is just a rehearsal," the last few wks of intensive practice have obviously paid off. opener "the canal at sunset," "mars," the knotty "julian suite," and closer "may-fly" were particularly fine. safe travels, fellas.

Friday, September 08, 2006

dewey redman memorial at jazz by the boulevard

really fuckin' busy, but not too much so to post stuff tammy gomez sends via myspace:

Because you are a musician and music/writer person, i assume you know that Dewey Redman just passed away.

You probably also know that he was slated to be one of the headlining musicians for the upcoming Jazz Festival on Camp Bowie confab.

What's being planned now, in light of this major change/loss, is for a SAX PLAYER tribute to Dewey, which Gracey Tune was busy coordinating yesterday. It's gonna happen on Saturday, September 16th at 2:30pm. Various horn players (some local wunderkinds as well as notables/populars like Michael P.) are being asked to do solos on sax, one right after the other.

This musical tribute will then be followed by a JAZZ FUNERAL PROCESSION (i guess like a NOLA second line thing).

Also--on each day of the Fest, at some appointed time, there will be a "moment" of silence to honor Redman----a hush over the festgrounds will be heard.

+++ also Gracey mentioned that Redman had been planning to come back and do some event in October with "Ornette." do YOU know anything about this?

[i don't but i'm trying to find out something from the jazz by the boulevard folks]

here's some clips from the FWST article on Redman:

"He was planning to play a charity benefit in Fort Worth, said his brother-in-law, music producer Velibor Pedevski.

On his hospital bed, Redman told Pedevski that he was coming home to help raise money for a new jazz history archive at the Fort Worth Public Library: I must make those concerts.

In 1994, Redman told Star-Telegram writer Christopher Evans about growing up on Leuda Street at the corner of Tennessee Street, across from a small jazz club where he could hear the music of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller or Louis Jordan."

HEY---i think my friend Greg lives in that house on the corner of Leuda and Tennessee...!

over and out,

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

spillway sonata premiere - gallery night

tammy gomez writes:

Sound Culture presents


a butoh performance in commemoration of the Katrina victims and survivors

Gallery Night - Saturday, September 9th, 2006

6:30 pm - Rose Marine Theater - outdoors in the Plaza
1440 N. Main St. - 817.624.8333

8:00 pm - Arts Fifth Avenue - indoors in the dance studio
1628 Fifth Avenue - 817.923.9500

FREE/open to the public @ both locations

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


oh yeah -- got an advance listen to the me-thinks' long-awaited double e.p. (which is actually gonna be on _two cd's_, not one like i previously thunk) from ray liberio the other day. undoubtedly the rawk rekkid of the yr at mi casa, and i don't even own a copy yet. what's it sound like? lemme just say that everytime i go to ray's house, he's either got turbonegro's reserection or the who at the isle of wight in his dvd player. and he's got other dvd's, too. get the picture?

r.i.p. dewey redman

dewey redman, a fort worth native and jazz saxophonist best known for his work with ornette coleman and keith jarrett, left the planet saturday, aged 75, from liver failure. donna van ness from jazz by the boulevard forwarded me his new york times obituary. last time he was in town, she asked me if i would interview him for the fort worth public library's jazz history project. i told her i was too busy. an object reminder that before you put off something for "next time," remember there might not _be_ a next time. it was a stone pleasure, at least, to see dewey play before a big, listening crowd at the festival in his hometown a coupla yrs back.

underground railroad - friday @ the speakeasy

low-end theorist matt hembree writes:

It may or may not be your cup o'tea, but the Underground Railroad is playing a rare show this Friday here in Ft Worth at the Speakeasy (underneath Competition Music). Opening will be Lonely Fire, one of the many side projects of Mark Cook & Jason Spradlin (both of 99 Names of God -

We're playing the show as a warmup for our tour later this month up through the northeast US. Of all the bands I've played in, I never thought THIS would be the one that got me out on the road for the first time.

Soundstage @ Competition Music
3136 E. Lancaster, Fort Worth, TX 76103
Park around the back
$5 cover, BYOB. Show starts at 9pm.

about my ex-father-in-law

i'm gonna miss that man
he showed me how strong love can be
and that you're not less of a man
if you show it

thank you cowboy

Sunday, September 03, 2006

date night

went downtown last night to see little miss sunshine at the amc palace. good flick. on the way, we stopped at benito's to eat our fave food there (her: migas; me: pork tostadas) and saw professor robert cadwallader, who usedta buy me lunch there all the time and i hadn't seen since we ran into him and his wife at sardines the night of our wedding. he was playing the freddie king tribute in dallas with james hinkle and then rushing back to the fort to play j&j's with second hand soul. robert's wife denise was the person who gave me the idea of freelance writing about music for a living after i got shitcanned from radioshack. he was the muso who told me, when we had an instrumental band together six or seven yrs ago, "we can't go out without a singer; they'll _kill us_!" 'twas good to see robert again. he bought our dinner; we need to set up a time to return the favor to him 'n' his wife.

ran into chris blay and his dtr in the barnes & noble, and marcus and jen at the movie. that's what i like about living in a small town like fort worth: you can't go anywhere without running into somebody you know. there are street musicians playing around sundance square again. i heard a cat playing pan-pipes and another blowing blues harp within a block of the starbucks at the old coffee haus location at 404 houston. nice. pablo and the hemphill 7 were playing at the flying saucer, so we went in for awhile. pablo sounded great and it was a nice cool night for a change with lotsa breezes; perfect.

on the way home, we stopped at the li'l wreck room to tell rod dove that kat was gonna be making quiche the next day. talked to jesse sierra hernandez about his upcoming solo show at gallery 414; he's got twelve out of sixteen planned pieces complete. saw ray liberio and jon teague there; jon was running sound, and ray was talking with jesse about the show they're going to have at jesse's gallery 4 behind the wreck for gallery night next week. we watched a silly band called lazer who were like hans and franz from snl, only the joke went on way too long. (i did like the gtrist w/the television over his head, however, and the guy in the red army uniform whom i thought was a mannequin at first.) chuck stephenson from honchie gave me his leftover pizza and garlic bread from milano's. we stayed for a coupla honchie songs, then went home and slept the sleep of the dead. it was a real good night.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

radio birdman, last of the bad men

this yr, it seems like 30-yrs-on reunions of punk-era icons have supplanted katrina benefits as the genre o' the moment, and i'm having mixed feelings about that. the new alb by the new york dolls is fine for what it is (namely david 'n' syl gettin' together to reprise their classic selves) but the missing guys' absence is muy conspicuous (and not just 'cos of the new york doll arthur kane doco). for different reasons, i dunno if i really wanna hear a new stooges alb (i can live without hearing the asheton boyzzz backing iggy's post-bowie opera voice).

and then there's radio birdman, the band that pert near singlehandedly (yeah, yeah, i know -- the saints) started punk in the antipodes around the time the wheels were coming off the stooges and the ramones were taking their first toddling steps as a band. birdman has been regrouping periodically since '96 for the aussie festival season, and principals deniz tek and rob younger even joined forces a few yrs back for the second deep reduction album, but zeno beach is their first bona fide studio alb as a band since they folded the tent back in '78 before they could even release their second alb living eyes (which didn't see release in orstralia until '81). on that rekkid, tek kinda established the style as a writer that's sustained him through the next two decades of music-making (with some time off for a stint as a u.s. navy flight surgeon) that included incarnations with the visitors, the deniz tek group, deep reduction, the three assassins, scott morgan's powertrane, and the golden breed. for his part, younger's fronted various lineups of the new christs and produced recs for loads of other acts.

what's different this time around is that dr. tek has ceded some of his compositional hegemony (which wound up being a bone o' contention the first time around) to his bandmates, with mixed results. it's impossible to listen to this alb without being reminded in places of the deniz tek group, the new christs, and old-school birdman. the opening "we've come so far (to be here today") sounds like an outtake from the dtg's classic outside alb, while "if you say please" wouldn't have been out of place amid the rawkin' experimentalismo of the solo band's le bonne route. the mysterioso sunset boulevard saga "heyday" woulda fit right in on the new christs' slow-burn masterwork distemper (surely one of the most emotionally intense rawk albs of all time), while "subterfuge" rocks along in its loping way like something off the nc's lower yourself. for my money, the best moment here is "locked up," with its stoogey riff and distorto tek solo that kinda defines the curious expression "face-melting." most valuable players: the new engine room of longtime tek collaborator jim dickson on bass 'n' you am i drummer russell hopkinson.

this is dark stuff, thematically. take song titles like "found dead" and "die like april" (with nasal everyaussie lead voxxx by second gtrist chris masuak that make it sound like it was the hoodoo gurus or something; thisun woulda benefitted from some of "last angry man" younger's vitriol 'n' bile imo); add lines like "this is how it feels with seconds to go...everything screams it's over...let go, baby" (from "heyday") and "death is just a drumbeat away" (from "hungry cannibals," a slice of garage grunt with "she's about a mover" farfisa organ from keyb man pip "dr. gonzo" hoyle) and one could say, as "c. and d." recently did about boris in arthur, "this one's a real death-affirmer."

pip hoyle even gets a coupla writing credits here, for the alb's least-snazz moment besides "die like april," "the brotherhood of al wazah" -- really just a vehicle for dr. gonzo to extemporize at length on the ivories in the manner of "man with golden helmet" on birdman's epochal debut radios appear, with lyrics about an insidious, mafia (or is it al qaeda?)-like secret society -- and the title track, which evokes the cali surf mythos in the same way as birdman classics like "more fun" and "do the movin' change." as "zeno beach" fades out with its "woo-woo" backing voxxx, you can imagine the birdmen riding the wild surf into the mists of history.

being the perpetural overachiever he is, tek's also a member of the last of the badmen, a sort of skate-punk supergroup with the godoy brothers art and steve (ex-exploding fuck dolls and tek's golden breed, legendary skaters 'n' tatt artists who, wouldn't ya know it, went to l.d. bell high school in euless, tx, for a semester back in '83), vocalist danny creadon from cleveland's curb slappys and bassist troy zak from canada's daggers. it's retro, hard-edged stuff, a lot more redolent of '77 england than anything i'd have associated with dr. tek, which probably just goes to show the limits of my imagination.

(thanx 'n' a tip o' the hat to dan l. lightner, the last of the old-school recordmen, for the birdman cd.)

gallery night reminder

busy art-guy ray liberio writes on the me-thinks website:

Fall Gallery Night is next Saturday the 9th from 2-9pm. Calvin and myself will be showing some artwork along with Jesse Hernandez, Grag Bahr, Kate McDougall and Chris Blay down at Studio 4 (side of the Wreck Room). There should be free beer, wine and food some come on down and get yer culture on bitches!

Friday, September 01, 2006

haiku for al

man could make you laugh
showed me what a father is
go easy, cowboy

los noviembres

band to watch for: los noviembres, the latest project of gtrist-composer-teacher paul boll. besides playing gtr in saxophonist-lounge lizard johnny reno's band, paul was also in pioneering fw metalheads boss tweed back in the day. and he's playing with hank hankshaw at the li'l wreck room on september 6th. on the subject of his new project, paul writes:

Our first gig is at the Kimbell (Nov 11) but we'll be doing a few warmups before than. Most likely at the neighborhood Starbucks. After the Kimbell though we would like to play about two gigs a month...We're doing lots of bossas, Mexican boleros, and Argentinine tangos along with lots of Hank, Buck, Julie London and straight up jazz. The singer, Angie, sings the Portugese and Spanish "spot on". We're also doing Elmore James, Slim Harpo and Little Walter.

sounds intriguing, to say the least.