Monday, April 30, 2007

sunday, sunday, sunday

was reminded i've got _three_ sets to play at fred's fest. first, stoogeaphilia will play an extremely condensed (half our usual length) set of teeth-bared, white-knuckled proto-punk ramalama. then, impulse of will will perform a set of jam "standards" with somewhat more premeditation than we did on an hour and a half's notice last year. finally, i'll once again don the piss-stained grey jumpsuit of the asian media crew to join rat and calvin in providing superfluous distraction to the final show of the mighty me thinks' spring tour trifecta. (it'll be interesting to see how the boys do after playing their "drinko de mayo" show at the wreck room the previous evening.) then my sweetie 'n' i will abscond to celebrate 5.6.07 on our own. oh, yeah, and i'll have copies of the wreck room book, too.

further busted gear update

zasko sez he'll throw the 'meercun strat harness in the indo squier gratis (since he got it for free) and me-thinks "spiritual advisor" will risinger sez he'll let me borrow his dr. z for fred's fest. bless them.

Andrew Hill

The late Andrew Hill came to the piano late (aged 13), commenced his recording career in the epochal year of 1959, played in every context that Blue Note had to offer -- from hard bop to avant-garde -- in the '60s, and spent years in academia without having his creative edge dulled. He was experiencing something of a resurgence (including a reissue program, tribute discs from pianist Jason Moran and guitarist Nels Cline, and an elegiac Blue Note album, Time Lines) when he left the planet, aged 76, from lung cancer. You can check out an audio/video recording of his last concert, recorded three weeks before his death at Manhattan's Trinity Church, here (gotta have Windows Media, which means I can't).

provenance of quote

to both comment-posters: ok. it was prince, from the song "wild and loose," recorded by the time on their second alb what time is it? in 1982. when i was in korea guarding freedom's frontier 1982-83, it was my second fave rekkid after george clinton's computer games. so there.

here's the time on snl, playing a different song. this was such a good live band, they could afford to make themselves look ridiculous.

aden bubeck in the ny times

fort worth bassist aden bubeck, of bertha coolidge fame, made the august pages of the ny times via this article (with iconic pic -- he's the one on the left sporting the scissorhead mohawk) on country singer miranda lambert, with whom he's been touring. way to go, aden!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

busted gear update

zasko (bless him) is coming to pick up my gtr the amp i blew up tom'w. he has the guts to an american strat that he's offered to put in the indo squier, but i have to wait to see what the damage is going to be on my amp first. he said it's still making noises like a popcorn popper with new tubes he just put in. he's sending it out to the same guy in hurst who just fixed the amp i blew up. i may wind up playing one of lee-boy's m&m specials for fred's fest. on the positive side, my dtr's b-f james (bless him) has a telecaster he's offered me on extended loan. luckily, the li'l roland remains reliable for jam usage. not sure what the final stoogeband amp solution is gonna be quite yet. film, as they say, at 11.

bet you don't know the provenance of this quote

fellas! where's the party at?
right here under your shoes!
fellas! what time is it?
time to get wild and loose!


Listening to Andrew Hill (R.I.P.) last week led inexorably, as it always does, back to Thelonious Monk, whose angular melodies with their wide intervallic leaps influenced Hill plenty. There are a ton of Monk records out there to choose from: the original Blue Notes from the '40s, which are where it all began, but constrained by the length of a 78 rpm single; the sides he cut for Riverside and Prestige in the '50s, which take full advantage of the longer track lengths made available by the LP medium; and the '60s Columbias, which continued to explore a repertoire that wasn't expanding quite as fast by then as it had in prior years. The Riverside/Prestige sessions are my favorites. On Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane and Monk's Music, you get to hear the future (Trane) and the past (Coleman Hawkins) of the tenor saxophone standing side by side in the studio, trying to figure out Monk's charts. Dig in particular the two men's contrasting approaches to my favorite ballad, "Ruby My Dear." The title tune to Brilliant Corners, with its built-in tempo changes, was so daunting to musicians that it had to be recorded in sections, and the players in involved (Sonny Rollins, Ernie Henry, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach) were certainly no slouches. That album also includes my fave Monk ballad after "Ruby My Dear": "Pannonica." Those tunes, and others like "Epistrophy," "Crepuscule With Nellie," "Well You Needn't," "Bemsha Swing," "Jackie-ing," are timeless. I can listen to those records back to back, over and over, for days.

Randy Holden

Dan McGuire said it, and I believe it: "Randy Holden always reaffirms my will to live; he is the ultimate example of getting fucked and coming back for more." Holden's a seeker in the same realm as Coltrane or Hendrix; his particular grail was the perfect tone. Commencing in Baltimore in the late '50s and moving to California in the early '60s, he played his way through every contemporary style of American rock guitar -- surf (the Fender IV), garage-psych (the Sons of Adam), hipi-psych (the Other Half), and heavy psych (Blue Cheer for half of one album) -- and every permutation of equipment (Jazzmaster/Dual Showman, Les Paul or SG/Marshall, finally settling on a Strat with _16_ Sunn amps chained together for his epic 1970 album Population II, a collaboration with drummer-keyboardist Chris Lockheed and no one else; no wonder Jon Teague likes this record). On Population II, Holden echoes Hendrix, Clapton (back when it wasn't shameful to cite him as an influence; one song follows the spirit, if not the letter, of Blind Faith's "Had To Cry Today" quite literally), and Beck (Holden's use of semitones and harmonics prefigures latter-day Beck-ola as much as his use of sustain and Near Eastern-sounding scales is redolent of the Brit guitarist's Yardbirds daze) while resolutely remaining His Own Guy. After cutting his magnum opus, Holden dropped out of music for 24 years; he didn't even know that Population II was released, and an unscrupulous equipment manager sold off all of his gear. The Japanese rediscovered him; Marble Sheep guitarist Ken Matsutani released Holden's comeback album, Guitar God, on his Captain Trip label in 1994, and since then, Holden's established himself as a little cottage industry, recording and releasing albums in limited editions and selling them through his website, playing a glass-necked (!) guitar his artist wife had built for him. Happy ending.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

radio birdman in dallas

after careful thought 'n' consideration, my sweetie 'n' i decided to go see radio birdman in dallas vice austin because it'll cost a lot less money. also, the palladium, while it has the same name as the place where i saw the clash, the ramones, iggy, et al. back in the day, is actually a lot easier to get to from fort worth. presale for birdman tixxx starts on thursday, 5.3.2007.

even more final fred's fest lineup

one significant *change* to the first day, plus cover info. quite a week coming up at fonky fred's, what with the eric mcfadden trio playing both tuesday _and_ wednesday, and honky on thursday. about the fest:

Patio Cover Charge
$5.00 or $3.00 with 3 cans of canned food to be donated to the Tarrant County Food Bank

9:00 *James Hinkle*
8:00 Dirty Pool
7:00 Mule Dixon
6:00 Carey Wolff/ Magee Payne
5:00 Thief
4:00 Telegraph Canyon
3:00 Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang
2:00 Darrin Kobetich
1:00 Okay James
Noon John Burleson

8:00 Darth Vato
7:00 The Gideons
6:00 Howling Dervishes
5:00 The Me-Thinks
4:00 Impulse of Will
3:00 Stoogeaphilia
2:00 Merkin
1:00 Tongue

wow! it's nora, the piano playing cat!

underground railroad/addnerim reminder

bill pohl writes:

The Underground Railroad plays tomorrow night, Saturday, April 28th, at Soundstage/Competition Music @3136 E. Lancaster in FW.
Also appearing will be Addnerim and Di Meliora Ferant. Admission is five bucks. All ages are welcome. BYOB for 21 and up.

Do it.

proof that i have parents

missed the me-thinks/blood of the sun show last night because my middle dtr and her b-f stopped by. these days when i see her it's usually at the wreck room when i'm preoccupied with playing or shilling books or some such shite, so it was nice to have an opportunity to get caught up on everything that's going on in her life (and there's lots). plus james is going to lend me a telecaster.

anyway, she brought over a pic of my parents, yoshio and kimie, that she found at her big sister's house. my sweetie scanned and james (who works in the photo lab at target) color-corrected so now all three sisters will have copies. yaaay! this was taken on mom 'n' dad's wedding day in may 1955. it's kinda trippy that in this pic, my father is nearly 20 years younger than i am now. they live in new joisey now.

my dad's father, the third son of a mining engineer, wound up in hawaii after his father was killed in a demolition accident while trying to build a railroad tunnel through a mountain. in japanese custom, the first son inherited everything, and the second son was already in hawaii, so that's where my grandfather went. my grandmother was a "picture bride;" they met when she got off the boat in honolulu. he sold fords for awhile, had a flower shop, and wound up working for some japanese import company that let him have an office and no responsibilities into his 80s. she had been a schoolteacher in japan when she was 15 and taught japanese school in hawaii for many yrs. then she worked in a department store until she started getting forgetful and they "laid her off." she had alzheimer's back when they didn't know much about it. when she died, a couple thousand people came out to her funeral -- her old students.

the day after pearl harbor, the fbi came and locked up my grandfather, who was kind of a wheel in the local japanese community. my father spent the duration of his ww2 army service writing letters to the war department protesting my grandfather's incarceration. he went to language school at camp savage, minnesota, which is kind of funny, since he grew up bilingual and attended japanese school after regular school (as all the japanese kids in hawaii did back then). he was commissioned an officer in the signal corps, spent some time guarding italian prisoners-of-war, and did cryptography without a security clearance, breaking bullshit japanese naval codes. after japan surrendered, he was in tokyo and nagasaki with the u.s. strategic bombing survey, interviewing survivors of the firebombing in the former (where he saw edo, the neighborhood where his mother grew up, reduced to ash with nothing vertical but light poles) and the atomic bombing of the latter.

he'd studied engineering at the university of hawaii but after the war, he used his g.i. bill to get his master's in physics at harvard and his ph.d. at rochester university, then he went to work for the atomic energy commission at brookhaven national laboratory on long island. in the '50s, he was building mainframe computers with willie higinbotham, the guy who's credited with inventing the first video game. in the early '60s, he got interested in applied mathematics and started working on an arcane problem in math that he's devoted his life to ever since (even though the scientific community at large believes it was solved by two east germans in 1973).

he also got roped into administration and spent the next ten years as the chair of his department, which entailed doing lots of traveling and stuff like going in to the office at 3am to talk to the graveyard shift when they were having union problems. he taught at the university of illinois at champaign-urbana for one year when i was six and in hannover, germany, for two when i was in high school. (the rest of the family stayed on long island.) he took early retirement in the late '80s and has spent the years since then obsessing on the three things he cares most about: that arcane math problem, german opera, and stamp collecting.

my mom's father was a blacksmith who was already married and had four kids when he went to hawaii to seek his fortune (or so he thought) making parts for the trains that carried the sugar cane from the fields to the refinery. unfortunately, ww1 started not long after that and he was there by himself for seven years before he was able to bring his family over. after that, he and my grandmother had three more kids -- my mom and her two youngest brothers. she grew up on the mcbride sugar plantation on the big island of hawaii. in the '60s, they used her old neighborhood as the setting the julie andrews movie of james michener's hawaii. by that time, they were tearing down the houses as the occupants died off our moved out. before the war, my mother's family had moved to the island of kauai, and still later to the town of wahiawa on oahu.

when my sister 'n' i were little, she could still remember the names of every member of every family that lived there and the names of every kid in her class every year at school. one of my abiding regrets is that i never sat her down with a tape recorder to capture those stories while she could still remember 'em. her father was a well-respected man on the plantation. once one of the overseers rode up on a horse and was berating him for something. my grandfather brooked no bullshit, and when the white guy on the horse hauled off and struck him with his riding crop, my grandfather pulled the dude down off his horse and KICKED HIS ASS. the next day, the cat was at his front door with a basket of fruit to apologize. he was a real stoic cat; my grandmother was full of fun. she sent us the same letter every week for years and years. (none of my grandparents could really speak or write english.)

my mother was the "old maid" of her family at 27, working for the hawaii visitors' bureau in honolulu, when she and a girlfriend decided to travel around the world. at the last minute, her friend got cold feet, but she went ahead on and took a boat to san francisco, where her sister was; then a train to chicago, where her brother was; then to new york, where she ran out of money and wound up having to get a job to earn enough to pay for her passage to europe while sharing digs with some filipina gals up in harlem. (this was before the bad junk time in harlem, when it was still safe to stand on the elevated train platform at 125th and lexington at midnight.) she never made it to europe. instead, she met my old man at a party, found him "very charming," and wound up stuck on long island raising a couple of kids.

my mom educated herself out of the public library so she'd be able to converse with the people from work that my father brought home. i remember her watching the brit shows on pbs-tv when i was little, trying to sound her vowels the way the tv people did. she read voraciously about every subject you could imagine. she used to buy books that were nothing more than lists of books and leave them around the house for my sister and me to discover. it was really from her that i acquired any curiosity and love of learning that i possess. she's an avid letter-writer and stays in touch with various 'n' sundry relatives of her large and widely scattered family -- people of great ease and warmth whom i dig much.

they're where i come from, and i imagine that my sister 'n' i are the best and worst of them in the same way that our kids are the best and worst of us. (click on the pic to make it big.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

when did we all...

...become a nation of speedfreaks (between coffee, red bull, ritalin, adderall, etc.)? maybe the article i read in u.s. news is right. i know lately i've seen more sleep-deprived ppl than i can ever remember. and i usedta think it was just me...

imus and the first amendment

proof positive
(as if any more were needed)
that "can" and "should"
are not synonymous

ftw 4.27.2007

walking to work, i saw colors
almost lysergic in their brilliance,
which my sweetie attributed to
the rains washing away
the haze that usually covers this town
and all the surfaces not being covered
with their usual layer of dust 'n' pollen.
an awesome sight.

box & ship: a true testimonial

i'm very happy to have box & ship the corner of camp bowie and western. it's nice having a place i can walk to in the neighborhood to mail a package or buy stamps, and it will become even more so when the little post office at arch adams and west 7th closes, which it's supposed to later this year. box & ship has usps, ups, and fedex options available, and you can make copies or send a fax there, too. plus they're nice folks.

suburban aphorism

if the grass is always greener
on the other side of the fence,
it's probably because your neighbor
has more dogshit on his lawn.

some self-aggrandizing bullshit

my sweetie was telling me that
at the woodeye show last sat'day,
she was having fun watching
all the little knots of ppl
gathered around copies of
the wreck room book, exclaiming
"hey, i was at that show!" etc.

it's like their high school yearbook,
which is fitting 'n' proper,
since it's almost graduation time.

me-thinks/blood of the sun reminder

ray liberio writes:

The Me-Thinks will be opening up for our good friends Blood of the Sun, fresh off their European tour, tonight at the Speakeasy. Located underneath Competition Music @ 3136 E. Lancaster in Fort Worth. Just go around back and you'll see the cars and hear the tunes. It's BYOB but I do believe there is a small cover which I have no idea what it is.

There will be an afterparty but it'll be right at the Speakeasy so no need to go anywhere until 6 in the morning. I believe it will be Marcus Lawyer and his merry band of Shhh...Top Secret musicians jamming into the wee hours of the morning.

Make it out and see the new incarnation of Fort Worth's shittiest band...the Me-Thinks.

ya mo' be theah -- maybe you, too?

poetry, recycling, fear, and the "war on terror"

my big sis, who was a solid bush supporter the last time i checked, forwarded me this. evidence, perhaps, that the worm is turning.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


about last night's stoogeshow:

1) my amp was in the shop at sessions, so zasko let me borrow richard hurley's old jtm-60 3x10 combo. i've never liked marshall combos, but beggars can't be choosers.

2) during soundcheck, my guitar died. chris fisher, who was running sound (and is about to go on the road for three months as gtr tech for the burden brothers, a.k.a. "those of whom we do not speak"), said it looks like the solder joint on one of the volume knobs is hosed -- a two-hour fix. marlin from the me-thinks (bless him) brought me his les paul custom to use. this, however, necessitated a period of waiting.

3) the mavericks game was on tv, so even after the replacement guitar arrived, we couldn't start until carl said there were only a few seconds left in the game. more waiting.

4) two songs before the end of the set, my borrowed amp died, so that was the end of the show. this has happened before, at the black dog, when jon broke his snare drum head. this band has broken more stuff than any other i've ever been in -- including four bass strings in one night, but then of course matt did that _intentionally_.

we're playing at fred's fest on sunday 5.6 at 3pm, then (if allah is merciful and fortune smiles) at the wreck (if they're still open -- i made forella promise me the date) on 6.28, which will be my 50th birthday. what better way to celebrate half a century on the planet than rolling around on the floor in front of a feedback-belching amplifier? after that, we're gonna sit down and discuss whether we want to continue this project. originally, we weren't even going to play out, then it was only supposed to be five shows. that was over a year and 17 shows ago. we'll see.

carey wolff, reggie rueffer

speaking of el wreck, there's a worthwhile fwac acoustic monday coming up april 30th: carey wolff (fresh from playing a kickass woodeye reunion show last weekend) and reggie rueffer (whose old band spot played an outstanding reunion show in the same venue a few weeks ago that was taped for an upcoming dvd release). you won't find two better singer-songwriters (or bitter middle-aged men) on a single stage anywhere else in the fort on that particular night.

Wreck book update

The first printing of WRECK ROOM STORIES is essentially sold out...I have two copies left that aren't spoken for. If'n I told you I'd hold a copy for you, it's at mi casa...we'll get 'em to you eventually, promise.

We're going to do a second printing of 100...hopefully by Wednesday night next week. I'm calling Alphagraphics tomorrow. Will post another update when we have them back. Thanks to all who have expressed interest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

anybody heard...

...any good black dog rumors lately?

radio birdman u.s. tour dates confirmed

...including 6.24 in austin and 6.25 in dallas. woo-hoo!

15 things kurt vonnegut said...

...are here. damn, i need to re-read cat's cradle and mother night and slapstick. and many read some of those later ones, too, that i avoided because i thought they'd be bullshit.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

fred's fest lineup

here's the final no-fooling lineup for fred's fest:

9:00 Josh Weathers Band
8:00 Dirty Pool
7:00 Mule Dixon
6:00 Carey Wolff/ Magee Payne
5:00 Thief
4:00 Telegraph Canyon
3:00 Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang
2:00 Darrin Kobetich
1:00 Okay James
Noon John Burleson

9:00 Darth Vato
8:00 Poo Live Crew
7:00 The Gideons
6:00 Howling Dervishes
5:00 The Me-Thinks
4:00 Impulse of Will
3:00 Stoogeaphilia
2:00 Merkin
1:00 Tongue

eric mcfadden trio @ fred's 5.1-5.2

former george clinton sideman eric mcfadden bringeth his trio to fonky fred's for two nights next week. jennifer chandler writes:

Tastes & Tunes of Texas
915 Currie Street
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 332-0083

Eric McFadden Trio
Tues, May 1 and Wed, May 2
Also, Thurs, May 3 - HONKY !!!
Sat and Sun, May 5 & 6 - 6th Annual Fred's Fest

The Inside and the Patio are Open:
Monday Thru Saturday 10:30 a.m. - Midnight
Beer, Food and WINE til MIDNIGHT !!

more texas punk vid

but wait, there's more. here be the big boys from austin. i was hired at record town in dobie to replace tim kerr, who was still a nick drake-loving folkie when i met him. r.i.p. biscuit.

and here are the huns, who put the austin punk scene on the map by getting arrested seemingly every time they set foot onstage. in two parts:

dallas punk video

woke up this morning to a veritable cornucopia of dallas punk vid from back in the day, which the i-94 barman found on forums. thanks, mate!

first, here's a little sociology from the local tv news ca. '79, featuring bobby soxx (r.i.p.) and stickmen with rayguns:

here's bobby singing "scavenger of death" with the teenage queers at zero's in fort worth in 1980:

and here's "christian rat attack" from the same gig. wonder if the beefheart vocal influence was intentional:

here's really red from houston playing "suburban disease" in 1982. interesting how much the music changed in just a coupla yrs. also that there was once a good band from houston.

the telefones from dallas (seen here performing their hit, "the ballad of jerry godzilla," at the hot klub ca. '81) were my future ex-wife's fave band. they were awesome live; kinda had more of a '66 garage thang goin' on. plus jerry dirkx was the best gtrist in any of these bands besides the nervebreakers' mike haskins. and their sax player will clay (r.i.p.), who was already gone by this time, usedta work at the same rekkid store as i did in dallas.

finally, here's some unsynced vid of the skuds playing at dj's in dallas in october '79. these guys "meant it" more than most:

Monday, April 23, 2007

other stuff we've been listening to

billy bragg and wilco - mermaid avenue
charlie haden/quartet west - haunted heart
a proper introduction to howlin' wolf: memphis years
thelonious monk - monk's music
thelonious monk - brilliant corners
tom waits - homemade compilation cd-r

iggy turns 60

tammy gomez blogged a link to a story about iggy stage diving at the warfield in san francisco on his 60th berfday last sat'day. my 'net bud ig (pronounced "eye gee") very generously offered me a ticket to the show, but i told him that my sweetie 'n' i are trying to save coin and besides, expenses aside, it was the same night as the woodeye reunion show at el wreck; i wouldn't have wanted to have been anywhere else. while i'm glad to see the stooges making bank, getting some props, and apparently kicking much ass on their ongoing tour, i'd always rather play than watch, no matter who it is, so i'm just gonna try and do justice to their canon with the stoogeband this wednesday.

new status seeking

cellphone talking and
arguing over who'll pay
for whose groceries

ftw 4.23.2007

in my neighborhood
the scent of honeysuckle
fills the morning air

Japan 3 - Mainliner "Mellow Out"

I've had to work harder at hearing this record, which I copped in vinyl reish form via Forced Exposure, than any I've heard since John Coltrane's Ascension (which was the _first_ Coltrane record I ever bought, hahahahaha) or Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica (which Bruce Wade introduced me to _a track at a time_: "Um, you like blues; this is called 'China Pig' " etc.). At first the ultra-distorted mix is all you hear, then after awhile the song forms become apparent, as does the realization that there are more sonic similarities than differences between psychedelia, punk, and free jazz. In certain situations, at lower volume, the white noise actually becomes _soothing_. Dan McGuire says, "Listen to Mainliner on a Walkman the next time you have to go to a party where you don’t know or like most of the people. You’ll like it much better for its ability to obliterate all the idle chatter. I've actually done it and it worked beautifully."

r.i.p. andrew hill

innovative jazz pianist andrew hill, who made his initial impact in the '60s recording for blue note and continued composing and performing until three weeks ago, left the planet friday, age 75, of lung cancer. think i'll spin his point of departure alb in memory of.

me-thinks, blood of the sun, underground railroad, addnerim

two great bills at competition music (3136 east lancaster) this weekend.

friday night, 4.27, it's the mighty me-thinks, fresh from having all of their equipment stolen from their practice pad of 13 years, with mike bandy from barrel delux making his debut on "another gibson guitar." sharing the bill will be the equally heavy blood of the sun, who just returned from touring europe and have a bad-ass new cd in blood we rock.

sat'day night, 4.28, it'll be prog-meisters the underground railroad in their three-piece format with kurt rongey on drums, sharing a bill with young upstarts addnerim, who have a stunning new cd of their own (that'd be the potential threat for them who keep track of such things). yeah!

art of the jam, wreck book, daddy's soul donut, woodeye

an eventful few days. had a pretty cool night with the jamcats at the wreck room wednesday night. the men of the hour were cameron from merkin and jerko dabelic from sunward, who did yeoman work on traps and spacey gtr, respectively. pink floyd's "set the controls for the heart of the sun" was particularly worthy. lucas white from confusatron stopped in after celebrating his 31st berfday with the sardines folks and tried a little keith moon action on the jam-meister's long-suffering drumkit; it may yet recover. this week (4.25), the jamcats will be pre-empted by the stoogeband (making up the date we got bumped from by the burden brothers), with a special jam to follow that will include former members of yeti and a bassplayer to be named later.

got the tee-tiny press run (100 copies only) of wreck room stories: true tales from the home of rock 'n' roll in fort worth as told by the people who were there back from alphagraphics and sold a few of 'em at the woodeye/daddy's soul donut show saturday. i still have plenty left, so if you want one, lemme know. reasonably priced at just a ten spot. you'll thrill etc. i hope i've done my subject justice, and sincere apologies to anyone who's miffed that they weren't included. when one of the editorial considerations is the size of our income tax refund, some hard choices have to be made and it's inevitable that some folks are going to be slighted. mea culpa.

daddy's soul donut sounded great. i'd never heard them back in the day, altho i knew of their name from playing with nick girgenti and frank logan, who loved them, woodeye, and spot most of all. i'd gone to some sportsbar (prolly bronco's) in the mid-cities to see 'em on nick's recommendation, but the game went into overtime and my g-f at the time didn't wanna hang around. i had a connexxxion with them, tho, because jim kisselberg used nicky's fender concert amp for about two years, the same one i used for about two years after i sold my twin. but i digress. jim played great, stinging gtr, and after only ever having seen them in velvet love box, it was strange but good seeing neil schnell standing up and playing guitar instead of bass, and brandon bumpas playing a regular drum kit instead of his massive percussion rig. this wasn't just a reunion show, either -- they're a "real" band again, are writing new material, getting ready to record, etc.

the reunited "ok, ok, uno mas" woodeye were awesome and perfect, on just one rehearsal. go fig. scott davis and kenny smith were already warmed up from playing to 3,000 people with jason eady at larry joe taylor's texas music festival in stephenville earlier in the day, sounding like the pros they are, with scott's backing vocals sounding better than ever. graham richardson had his hair cut short to tend bar at finn maccool's, displaying the ineffable cool that's always made him one of my sweetie's favorite photographic subjects. carey wolff was in great spirits and voice, stalking the stage and sangin' all the songs we came to hear (in my case: "what's the matter with me," "mr. goodenough," "stupid man," "our song," "the fray," "west texas sunset," "how to lose," the replacements' "can't hardly wait"). only non-snazz aspect was the belligerent asshole that tried to call carey out in the parking lot after the show. oh well. as winston churchill said, it doesn't take all kinds, there just are all kinds. carey has a cd release show for i'm still the darkness coming up in may, at bronco's, with velvet love box as his backing band. i never, ever venture out that way anymore, but might have to make an exception to hear carey sing "nineteen years" with such top-flight accompanists. ooh yeah.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

uno mas woodeye pics

here are some of the pics my sweetie shot last night at the wreck room. (click on 'em to make 'em big.) much love and respect to carey wolff, graham richardson, scott davis, and kenny smith, who looked as though they were having the time of their lives.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

fate lions

fate lions is a new project involving all of the members of the snowdonnas/destination venus crew. bysshe mourningstar, who's playing bass this time out, writes:

It's Jason Manriquez's project, the guy whose wife does those zines. He's been playing with Doug Burr and Greg Pherigo. He and I also have done an acoustic night at 4 star, not together but our own respective material. He's writing, singing, and playing rhythm guitar. Niki is playing lead guitar, Otto is playing drums, and I'm doing bass. My wife thinks it's kind of folky/alt-country. I think it's a bit Americana too. Jason has a good voice, interesting lyrics, and a somewhat catchy writing style. He's earnest, and a bit twangy just strumming out jangly chords. Niki [Saukam] is doing a Johny Marr on codeine impression, Otto [Bahn]'s trying to stay in the pocket like Ringo, and I'm doing my best to channel the spirit of John Paul Jones while keeping the image of Sting from David Lynch's 'Dune' in my head. It sounds like it'd be a trainwreck, but it actually seems to be coming together pretty naturally and cohesively. Now if we can get that down in the digits remains to be seen. [Snowdonnas frontguy] Tim [White] is engineering the recording, and possibly mixing it as well. It's all very incestuous as the scene will be.

Japan 2 - High Rise

To listen to the music of Asahito Nanjo, bassist-vocalist with the Japanese band High Rise, is to be reminded of Ian Gillan's famous aside on Deep Purple's live Made In Japan album: "I want everything louder than everything else."

High Rise's sound is the logical extension of the pure-noise potential implicit in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer, and the Stooges' music, reflective of both the Japanese national propensity for excess (as manifested in their TV game shows, wherein contestants are subjected to treatment far more dangerous and degrading than the most unscrupulous Western producers would ever dream of, and the hotel at the end of the bullet train line, which caters to businessmen who got so shithammered on the train that they fell asleep and missed their stops) and the ability of latter-day bands to take the salient characteristics of older bands' signature sounds much, much farther than the originators ever dreamed of. (Poetry rocker Dan McGuire recently described the band Mammatus' sound to me as "a crushing progressive hard rock, more menacing, pounding, and crushing than anything Sabbath ever did" by way of explaining why he chose to use a track of theirs on his upcoming Phosphene River CD.)

Take Mellow Out, the 1995 debut album by Mainliner, a collaboration between Nanjo and Acid Mother's Temple guitarist Makoto Kawabata. This grouping supposedly came about because Nanjo felt that High Rise guitarist Munehiro Narita's Detroit influences were holding the band back from exploring their full noise potential, and Mellow Out certainly does that. Imagine if the Stooges' epochal Funhouse album _started out_ with its climactic "energy free-form freakout" apocalypse "L.A. Blues" and then got even _more_ intensely out of control for 35 minutes. All of Mellow Out's sounds are so distorted as to become a sonic blur -- even the drums!

The same dynamic is at work on High Rise's Live from 1994, which features a similarly assaultive, all-needles-in-the-red-at-all-times mix (if Gary Kellgren, who engineered the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, were here, he'd be turning in his grave), but with more recognizable song structures and the added plus of the aforementioned Munehiro Narita's fuzz-and-wah-saturated guitar, which, with all its crazy glisses and hammers-on, sounds for all the world like Jimi Hendrix at the end of his tether, Blue Cheer's Leigh Stephens with a better tone, or the Stooges' Ron Asheton with more ideas. Or maybe a better analogy would be Sonny Sharrock running roughshod over the Hendrix Experience rhythm section. This sucker _smokes_, and you won't believe that three cats could play this hard for this long, but they do. (In some ways, I prefer the less-distorted mix on High Rise's Disallow album, from which a couple of the songs on Live are drawn, plus the drummer on Disallow can rawk like Mitch Mitchell in 6/8!)

This is some of the most intense rock music ever made; next to it, almost anything else sounds weak and thin. You can hear echoes of High Rise's approach in Boris' more uptempo efforts, but the latter band seems relatively restrained in comparison, sonically speaking. Nanjo-san provides in spades what Deep Purple's Gillan asked for only in jest.

To be continued...

Friday, April 20, 2007

spot doco, website

local videographer phil lee is in the process of putting together a dvd documentary, deconstructing spot, about the band spot's recent 10th anniversary reunion show at the wreck room. he also has a website devoted to the band -- what reggie and chad rueffer did before the hochimen. phil writes:

I got involved in all this totally out of a love of their music, starting with Mildred [the Rueffer brothers' early-'90s band] and continuing with Spot. I lost track of them for the last 10 years and then recently I dug out an old documentary I created back in 1991 about Deep Ellum [in which] Mildred makes a brief appearance. I put it up on Youtube and it got me thinking again about whatever became of those boys, so I started doing some online research, finally hooked up with Reggie just in time to see that Wreck room show.

I came away that night thinking, "How in the hell did this not make it?" There is so much inferior stuff on the radio, so many bands with far less talent that have been successful. I assumed they never made it out of Dallas. With more online research, I discovered that they indeed toured and played before large crowds, and received far more airplay than I ever imagined, so the mystery grew more confusing. Once I found out more, I could no longer sit on my hands; their story must be told! Surely there are fans scattered across the country that still care about the band.

The reality is that I am just not ready for Spot to die! Maybe I am dreaming, but I would at least like to try and reach other people out there that are still interested in this music. I can listen to those tunes now (as I often do) and the music holds up to this day. My 18 year old son loves it -- he was at the Wreck Room show as well, and came away as impressed as I was, so I know their time has not passed in this world.

sounds good to me.

good for you, tcu

we didn't make it to monday's performance of the verdi requiem at the bass hall, but the caravan of dreams reports that it was dedicated to the virginia tech shooting victims. good onya, whoever made that decision.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wreck Room Stories

I'll have copies of WRECK ROOM STORIES: True Tales from the Home of Rock 'n' Roll in Fort Worth As Told By the People Who Were There at the Woodeye/Daddy's Soul Donut show this Saturday (4.21.2007) at the Wreck Room (where else?).

Sort of an indie equivalent to a quickie exploitation paperback and my way of saying "so long and thanks" to my beloved second living room, it's packed with my interviews with musicians, bar staff, and hangers-out, along with Kat's photos, a foreword by TCU sociology prof/author (Empire of Scrounge, Tearing Down the Streets) Jeff Ferrell, cover art by Ray Liberio (Me-Thinks/Pussyhouse Propaganda), and a poem by William Bryan Massey III. We only got 100 printed because that's what our income tax refund would pay for, and they're selling for $10 apiece.

If you're not going to be at the Woodeye show and think you might want a copy, let me know and I'll put one aside for you. (David Daniel, you are already covered. Thanks!)

Otherwise, I'll see you at the Wreck on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

uno mas woodeye

another classic wreck room poster for the no-fooling, last-ever woodeye show. artwork by jesse sierra hernandez, design by ray liberio. you can click on the pic to make it bigger.

bobby zanzucchi, carey wolff, ph7, woodeye

i won't be there, 'cos i'll be playing up the street at the wreck room with the jamcats, but ex-sleepy atlantis frontguy bobby zanzucchi will be swapping songs with carey wolff at 6th street live tonight, accompanied by pablo and the hemphill 7 / stoogeaphilia gtr wizard steffin ratliff.

i will, however, be at 6th street this friday, when pablo and confusatron kick the 4.20 gong around, and at el wreck this sat'day, 4.21, when carey reunites with woodeye for one last time (altho i won't be able to hear him sing "nineteen years" then, dammit).

on the virginia tech shootings

want to know what i think?

the guy that did the shooting --
the bad playwright
who killed 32 human beings,
including himself?

fuck him.

erase his name from history.


remember liviu librescu,
who survived the holocaust,
emigrated to israel,
went to virginia on a sabbatical year in 1985,
and died, age 76, putting his body
between his students and the shooter.
his was a life of consequence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

the zimmers' "my generation"

i really can't add anything to this...

oh yeah...they're on myspace, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Is Japan the New Scandinavia Or What?

For an unreconstructed music geek like me, there’s nothing better than discovering new-to-me music that rips. Since stumbling upon the rawk of Orstralia (through an assignment to interview Deniz Tek for a fanzine) and Scandinavia (via a post by New Christs guitarist Al Creed on the Divine Rites e-mail list) a decade or so ago, it’s been clear to me that Yanks ‘n’ Brits hold no monopoly on music that rocks. However, it’s taken me longer to discover the rawk of my ancestral homeland, Japan.

My earliest exposure to western-influenced music from Japan was the Tokyo Happy Coats 45s (big hit: “Forevermore” on King Records, same label as James Brown back in the day) my grandfather sent me when I was a kid. I also witnessed a performance, at La Mama in Off-Broadway, of Golden Bat, a Hair-like “rock musical” by the Tokyo Kid Brothers, an adventurous troupe whose album Throw Away the Books, Let’s Go Into the Streets Julian Cope likes a lot. (Cope’s Head Heritage website is an invaluable resource for information on Japrock, as will his book Japrocksampler: How the Postwar Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock ‘n’ Roll be when it’s published later this year. Also useful: the web tendril of the currently inactive New Zealand-based noise rag Opprobrium.)

Fort Worth Teen Scene compiler Larry Harrison had made me tapes of mid-‘60s Group Sounds (analogous to Nuggets-style U.S. garage punk or English freakbeat) bands like the Spiders, and when I was writing for the I-94 Bar, I heard CDs by scads of mostly lousy post-Guitar Wolf garage revival outfits, the best of whom, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, were actually a big band on a major label at home, but had their records released by an indie (Bomp) Stateside and played the rawk toilets when they toured here. MC5 Japan webmistress Yukiko Akagawa sent me cool discage by Slunky Side, a band that neatly straddle the line between Hendrix/Cream-inflected psychedelia and Stoogian punkitude.

It wasn’t until Jon Teague pulled my coat to Boris, though, that I started to get a clue that there was something going on here beyond fashion and novelty. (After the late-‘90s glut of MC5-aping Scandinavians, the mere presence of airbrushed flames on a CD slick is enough to land it in my straight-to-Half-Price-Books-without-listening pile.) Ex-Yeti/current Great Tyrant drummer Teague’s a scholar of history as well as music, and when he declares, “The World War II Axis has psychedelia down,” he knows whereof he speaks (‘70s Krautrock also being a big influence on his own music). Besides Boris, Teague also turned me on to the folkloric musical collective Geinoh Yamashirogumi and acid-folkie J.A. Caesar, who was in the Tokyo Kid Brothers and supposedly once won a contest for having the longest hair in Japan. But I digress.

Boris usually gets tarred with the “doom-metal” brush, and it’s true that a lot of their music is both heavy and slow, but they’re hardly one-trick ponies, equally adept at slammin’ punk and something approximating mid-period Pink Floyd psych. Their numerous and mostly hard-to-find albums come in two flavors: the “one-long-song” variety (Absolutego, Flood, Feedbacker) and the kind that feature more, shorter pieces (Amplifier Worship, Heavy Rocks, Akuma No Uta, Pink). That’s not to imply that the former are totally monochromatic in sound, either. Boris brings majesty and beauty to a music that sounds at times like the spaced-out, feedback-and-Sun-Ra side of the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams taken to its farthest extreme. Myself, I think they’re the most interesting band in the world right now.

Frequently mentioned as precursors of the doom-metal and stoner-rock genres are the early ‘70s aggros Flower Travellin’ Band and Blues Creation. In the fullness of time, it’s become clear that Black Sabbath was probably the most influential band of their era, but it took westerners a lot longer to catch on to that fact than it did these two bands of Jap brats. It was Sabbath, not Jesus, that hit Japan like an atom bomb in 1970, causing formerly Brit blooze-aping crews like FTB and Blues Creation to put aside their Howlin’ Wolf records and start composing original music that incorporated some of the tonalities of their native land (which is probably what makes it sound so “advanced” for its time today). FTB’s Anywhere album featured covers of the eponymous title song from Sabbath’s first album and King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” along with a jacket photo of the four band members riding motorbikes in the nude; the one after it, 1971’s Satori, is the one that’s best known to folks in the west and a sizzling slab that puts me in the mind of the best of early ‘70s psych-tinged hard rockers like SRC and the original Amboy Dukes.

The atom bomb reference above isn’t just smartass bad taste, either; like the original Godzilla, both of these bands had songs to remind Yanks of our lost moral imperative (“Hiroshima” on FTB’s third album, Made In Japan, and “Atomic Bombs Away” on Blues Creation’s awe-inspiring second album Demon and Eleven Children). FTB frontman Joe Yamanaka had a scream to rival Robert Plant’s and an Afro to rival Rob Tyner’s. His father was an Army of Occupation GI; it’s somewhat disconcerting in latter-day videos to see Joe as a suit-wearing Japanese man pushing 60 with a Bob Marley dreadlock ponytail. Blues Creation was primarily a vehicle for heavyweight guitar-slinger Kazuo Takeda. In the mid-‘70s, they got to play with former Cream producer/Mountain bassplayer Felix Pappalardi, and it was that incarnation of the band that had an album released in the States. It was far from their finest hour.

While the MC5 might have spouted half-baked blather about “dope, sex, and fucking in the streets,” the band Les Rallizes Denudes -- a feedback-and-lightshow simulacrum of the Velvet Underground in its Exploding Plastic Inevitable stage that came together in ’67 and didn’t fold the tent until ’96 -- were associated with the leftist Japanese Red Army faction, to the extent a couple of band members were implicated in an aircraft hijacking by that group.

Poetry rocker Dan McGuire of Jamnation/Unknown Instructors fame says Fushitsusha “sounds like the soundtrack to entering the gates of hell (in a good way).” Funnily enough, that used to be my operational definition for the Mahavishnu Orchestra when they were good (e.g., around The Inner Mounting Flame/Birds of Fire time), but McGuire’s an astute cat and I have no reason to doubt him. Fushitsusha’s a vehicle for Keiji Haino, a resolutely underground figure who sings and plays guitar and whose messy psych noise supposedly shows a strong Blue Cheer influence (weird how the Cheer, long reviled in the west, are regarded in Japan with a reverence approaching that of the French for Jerry Lewis). According to Opprobrium, the Fushitsusha sides to get are the 1991 double live album on PSF Records 15/16 and the band’s first recordings from 1989 on PSF 3/4. Will have to cop from Forced Exposure when I have some scratch.

Try as I might, I’ve been unable to find the way into the sprawling Makoto Kawabata/Acid Mothers Temple discography, although people I know whose opinions I respect swear by ‘em. Their music just seems too monolithic and impenetrable to me. It’s been suggested that the best route might be via the Mellow Out album from 1995 by Mainliner, a power trio consisting of Kawabata on “Motor Psycho” guitar, bassist Asahito Nanjo from the band High Rise, and free-jazz drummer Hajime Koizumi, but that sucker goes for 50 bucks on Amazon, so I might have to wait awhile on that one. (Well, maybe not so long...Forced Exposure has vinyl reish for somewhat less.) In High Rise, who were originally known as the Psychedelic Speed Freaks (from which the PSF label took its name), Nanjo has worked with guitarist Munehiro Narita and a Spinal Tap-like succession of drummers. Mr. Cope likes their 1994 Live album on PSF real much.

To be continued...

Friday, April 13, 2007

the verdi requiem @ bass hall monday

the fort worth-tcu symphonic choir and tcu symphony orchestra, conducted by ronald shirey, will perform the verdi requiem (a dramatic and intense piece of music) at 7:30pm, monday, april 16th, at bass performance hall. the performance is free, but seat reservations are required. call 817-257-6349 or go online to

a little stooge movie

here's a promo clip for the new stooges rekkid, with lotsa cool archival live vid and stills, courtesy of the i-94 barman. thanks, craig!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

another blog

"cities on flame with rock and roll" was, of course, a song on the first blue oyster cult album. it's also the name of the blog of a dutch cat who's currently undergoing chemotherapy and appears to know a hell of a lot about japanese rawk music, my current obsession o' the moment. worthwhile reading.

wreck room book update

saw the proof today. because i'd forgotten everything i learned while i was a testicle biter, er, technical writer for radioshack, it didn't occur to me that you gotta have pages in multiples of four when you print something in a 'zine format like this is gonna be, so there are a coupla blank ones at the end. i figure if you buy a copy, you can ask people to sign there, just like you did in your high school yearbook. will definitely have copies at the woodeye reunion show on 4.21.2007. i figure a box of these will make a great spot for my cats to recline on, when they get tired of sitting on top of my amplifiers.

free "hecho en tejas" fiesta @ rose marine tomorrow

tammy gomez writes:

Hey, I just got back from our HECHO EN TEJAS event at UTA, sponsored by CMAS (Center for Mexican-American Studies). It was awesome. Tomorrow's party to celebrate the book and introduce you to some of its authors will be pretty cool too. We got cases & cases of donated beer to share w/ you and some slammin' Tejano/a lit tambien.


besitos, TammyG


“Hecho en Tejas: Palabras del Barrio” to celebrate the release of new anthology of Texas Mexican literature with author readings & reception
What: Reading/performance/booksigning/reception
When: Friday, April 13th, 7:30pm - 9pm
Where: Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N. Main Street, 817.624.8333
Cost: Free admission/open to the public

HECHO EN TEJAS (UNM Press, 2007) is a groundbreaking collection of literature by Mexican-Americans in Texas which was released on February 10th of this year.

The event, titled "HECHO EN TEJAS: Palabras del Barrio", will feature readings and performances by six authors from the anthology--including editor Dagoberto Gilb.

A video-poem by poet Tonantzin Canestaro-Garcia will be screened, and a performance by Austin musician David Garza (whose lyrics are included in the anthology), will also be presented.

Special guests: Tony Diaz & Daniel Gomez of GOODWIN.

Copies of HECHO EN TEJAS will be available for purchase during the reception and booksigning in the gallery. (30 bucks a copy.)


Six authors and performers will represent HECHO EN TEJAS at the Rose Marine Theater event:

Dagoberto Gilb (Austin) is the editor of Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature. He is also the author of four books of fiction and nonfiction, including the 1994 PEN/Hemingway Award-winning The Magic of Blood, as well as The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, Woodcuts of Women, and Gritos He currently is on the faculty of the Creative Writing MFA Program at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas.

Macarena Hernández (Dallas) is an editorial columnist for The Dallas Morning News. She has co-produced a PBS/Frontline World documentary for PBS and written for publications such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. She is a graduate of Baylor University and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.

Christine Granados (El Paso) is the author of the short story collection Brides and Sinners in El Chuco (2006). She works as a freelance journalist and is a recipient of the 2006 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award. She earned an M.F.A. from Texas State University in San Marcos.

Tammy Gomez (Fort Worth) is a small-press publisher (Tejana Tongue Press), activist, and arts educator. A 2007 Texas Medal of Arts award nominee, she graduated from Goucher College (Maryland) in 1985. Her literary performance works include the award-winning “Maya Matematica” and “Malinchuca”.

Davíd Garza (Austin) is a critically acclaimed musician with a mastery of many styles and has released numerous CDs including: “This Euphoria,” “Overdub,” “The Four Track Manifesto” and “A Strange Mess of Flowers.”

José Angel Gutiérrez (Arlington), professor of Political Science at UTA, is the author of several nonfiction books, including “The Making of a Civil Rights Leader”, which is included on the New York Public Library’s list of “Books for the Teen Age 2007.”

For more information:

Dallas Morning News book review by Tom Dodge

Houston Chronicle book review

Texas House of Representatives Declare “Hecho en Tejas” Day

Texas State University - San Marcos article

Texas Observer article by HECHO EN TEJAS editor Dagoberto Gilb

what's good

1) sitting in the chair at 7th street barber shop listening to george jones singing "he stopped loving her today" while i get my ears lowered.

2) stopping by wreck west for lu's happy hour and talking to cary blackwell, tad gaither, and michael contreras.

3) stumbling upon autocratopolis, the 2005 ceedee by local metallers urizen, who have a name inspahrd by william blake, a definitely ungeneric keyboard-driven sound (the band's helmed by the gtrist thomas drinnen and his brother daniel playeth keys), a 1984-ish dystopian album concept that's illustrated by the nifty fumetti (photo novel) in the cd booklet (all graphixxx by the drinnens), and a drummer (julio escamilla) who's twice been voted "fastest foot in dallas" -- his double bass-pedal escapades have to be heard to be believed). they be's at the ridglea theater on camp bowie on june 2nd and 10th. so there.

4) listening to flower travellin' band's satori and thinking about how nice it is to still be able to find new-to-me music that rips, nearly four decades after i got obsessed with this stuff.

r.i.p. kurt vonnegut

sad to hear kurt vonnegut, jr. left the planet yesterday, aged 84. hard to believe he only wrote 14 novels. can't think of a writer who did more to form my worldview when i was a snotnose. if you haven't, by all means read slaughterhouse-five, cat's cradle, welcome to the monkey house, god bless you, mr. rosewater (from whence comes the passage below), and so on.

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

boris with michio kurihara

at a time when i can't stop listening to boris' feedbacker, it's of great interest to me to discover that my current fave band has released a collaboration with the cippolina-esque guitarist michio kurihara from white heaven.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

me-thinks on a podcast

as they scour the flea markets, ebay and craigslist looking for their recently-stolen equipment, the mighty me-thinks have a track ("burnout timeline") featured on the i-94 bar's drunk & disorderly podcast.

wreck room book

...went to the printers today. should have a proof by thursday, and copies in time for the woodeye reunion show on the 21st. funny: the cat who waited on us usedta play in parasite lost with darryl wood (now in confusatron, returning from semi-hiatus to share the stage at 6th street live with ph7 on 4.20.2007) and the drummer who was also in the gideons at the same time. he's moving to north carolina in a month. we invited him to the woodeye show.

sardines jazz in may

just heard from jhon kahsen that special events are returning to sardines next month. the avant-garde evenings will resume on a monthly basis (not bi-monthly, as they had been), the first tuesday of each month, starting on mayday with a lineup of kahsen (piano), jaelun washington (drums), joey carter (vibes), chris white (bass), leonard belota (trumpet), and pat brown (trombone). sunday, may 20th, will feature a program of ornette coleman compositions, with dave williams (saxophones), chris white (flute and trumpet), paul unger (bass), and dennis durick (drums) playing two sets, beginning at 6pm.

jamnation on itunes

oh, duh. dan mcguire's jamnation cd (on continuous repeat at mi casa for days now) is available on itunes via cleveland indie label smog veil.

Music Is Revolution

A life-threatening accident led to a detour into philanthropy for a musician whose career had already followed a long and circuitous path.

Bassist Michael Davis gives the lie to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s assertion that there are no second acts in American lives. In fact, by now he’s well into his fourth or fifth act. Born June 5, 1943, in Detroit, he survived the meteoric rise and flameout of iconic ‘60s rockers the MC5 – now revered as heavy metal and punk precursors, but once reviled by the music industry for their antiwar, anti-government stance – as well as heroin addiction and prison to build himself a new life in the ‘90s, performing with indie rockers Rich Hopkins & Luminarios while working at a natural history museum and botanical garden in Tucson.

That’s where he met Angela McCormick, a music publicist and artist manager who was working for the Luminarios’ label. They were married and Angela – president of Svengirly Music, Inc. -- became Michael’s manager. With her three children, they moved to Pasadena, California, in 2003. Davis and his surviving MC5 bandmates, guitarist Wayne Kramer and drummer Dennis Thompson, subsequently regrouped and toured the world with a revolving cast of guest artists, playing over 200 dates under the rubric DKT/MC5 (sometimes jokingly referred to as the “MC3”).

“At first, it was really exhilarating, and it still is really exciting,” said Davis of the reunion shows. “But at the same time, we’re in a different place now, so it’s not exactly what it was; it can’t be. The first time, it was about discovery. The best part about it is the audiences, who have been so appreciative and are just beyond happy to see us.”

Davis has also mentored and produced bands from around the world: Italy’s OJM, Sweden’s Dollhouse, Spain’s Tokyo Sex Destruction, Israel’s The Mother’s Anger, Japan’s The Gimmies, and L.A.’s The Lords of Altamont.

In the spring of 2005, Michael was diagnosed with the Hepatitis-C virus and underwent months of grueling interferon treatment. Fully recovered from his illness, he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on an L.A. freeway on May 8, 2006. During his recovery from that near-death experience, he and Angela were inspired to found a non-profit organization, the Music Is Revolution Foundation, to support music in public schools.

“A guy in San Francisco, a biker friend of mine, offered to do a benefit to raise money for my medical bills,” Davis said. “I told him we had it under control, that we didn’t need a benefit, but he insisted – he wouldn’t take no for a answer. Angela and I had been talking about the Music Is Revolution idea for awhile, so we decided to create the foundation and make the benefit our first fundraising event.”

Davis, whose musical career began with cello lessons in the fifth grade, explained the foundation’s ethos: “The MC5 had lofty revolutionary goals, but we were too confrontational in our approach. The approach we’re taking now [with Music Is Revolution] seems more feasible: keeping things streetwise, very punk, without a lot of complexity. We’re making $500 mini-grants available to any public school teacher in the U.S. who has a viable plan to use music in their classroom, whether it’s teaching music history, buying instruments, anything that allows kids to experience the feeling of performing music.”

He continued, “We’re conducting musical instrument drives, collecting orphan instruments. If they’re broken, we have a vintage music store that’s doing the repairs. We’re holding benefits where bands play and skaters put on exhibitions. We’re raising funds by selling Music Is Revolution merchandise. Anyone can organize a benefit; we’ll provide the PR stuff. We’re accepting direct donations. We’re looking at pursuing federal and corporate grants, donations from musical instrument manufacturers.”

Mathew J. Bartowiak, a Michigan State University doctoral candidate and member of Music Is Revolution’s board, elaborated on fund-raising efforts. “Funds are being raised through monetary donations from individuals and the business community,” he said. “All levels of giving are appreciated and have ranged from a few bucks to several thousand. Donations are coming from folks who are fed up with the way that music has become a disposable extra in education.”

I’d been thinking about the importance of music in schools since emceeing a tribute to the late tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, earlier this year. Dewey graduated from I.M. Terrell, the only high school open to black students in the segregated Fort Worth of the late ‘40s. There’s a long list of Terrell alumni who went on to make significant contributions to the jazz and pop music of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. All were former students of band director Mr. Baxter, a perfectionist who had them playing Sousa marches on the football field in the fall and challenging classical scores on the concert stage in the spring.

But even teachers of other subjects can use music to involve students in their lessons.

Take Phillip Overeem, an English teacher at Columbia, Missouri’s David H. Hickman High School. Named Outstanding Middle/Junior High Educator by the Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence in 2002, the same year he was cited as “the teacher who most inspired or challenged” a former student who was selected as a Presidential Scholar, he’s long used music as a way of showing students living examples of what T.S. Eliot (in Choruses from “The Rock”) called “the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of incantation.”

While teaching at Smithton Middle School in Columbia, Overeem would assign students to investigate and analyze earlier musical figures who’d influenced their current-day heroes. “I taught a class in rock and roll history for 6th and 7th graders,” he said. “But even before that, I’ve always tried to include music which is some reflection of history, and used it to show kids examples of linguistic devices like metaphor, simile, and allusion.”

When Overem moved to Hickman, he sponsored the Academy of Rock – a student club whose membership has included up to 10% of the student body at Missouri’s largest high school. The Academy began when a pair of student musicians wanted to create a networking forum for their similarly inclined peers. “When the kid first pitched me the idea, I told him, ‘If you’re just screwing around, I’m really busy, but if you can show me you’re serious, I’ll sponsor you.’ And he did.”

The annual Hickman battle of the bands – a throwback in an era when most high schoolers prefer DJs to live music – has become the club’s signature event. “The first year we had it,” Overeem recalls, “the plan was to get the concept down and then do it the following school year, but by mid-February, we were so excited about it that we decided, ‘Let’s go ahead and schedule it so we have to do it; why not?’ That’s been the spirit of the club since then. We wound up having a huge crowd and raising a ton of money, and that success gave us the confidence to try more things.” Hickman student bands have benefited from media coverage of the school’s band battles. Local club owners now routinely call them to open shows for touring national and regional acts.

Academy of Rock members have enjoyed in-school concerts by major league rockers like the Drive-By Truckers and New York’s The Hold Steady. Overeem explained, “Since March 2004, we’ve had a monthly showing of a music documentary or music related movie in Hickman’s little theater. At one of our club meetings, one of the kids said, ‘The little theater is great, why don’t we get a band to play there?’

“The first band we approached was Social Distortion, but their schedule didn’t allow them time to visit the school. A couple of the kids who are alt-country fans asked about the Drive-By Truckers. I told them to try e-mailing the band’s publicity person. They did and she responded, ‘I think the boys might be interested in this.’ Our original hope was to get Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley to come out and talk to the kids about songwriting. Then their publicist e-mailed me and asked, ‘How long do you want them to play?’ I told her about an hour, unplugged, and just asked that they say something about how each of the songs was written and any other information that’s germane. They played for free, unplugged, and they were awesome.”

Since that show, said Overeem, “we’ve had lots of local Missouri bands, and a lot of emo, because it’s of interest to the kids. We bought a PA with some of the proceeds from the battle of the bands, so we don’t need to use the music department’s equipment.”

Overeem also co-sponsors the school’s radio station, KWPE-FM. “We broadcast out of the old in-school detention room in the basement, next to the janitor’s closet. Our equipment cost us less than $1000. We’ve got a turntable, a computer, and a CD player. The FCC limits our broadcast range to within a mile and a half of the school. Our biggest problem has been logistical. It’s hard for kids to listen to the station or DJ while they’re in class. We have set DJs every morning, during the two lunch periods, and after school until 4pm. Some of our better DJs are now recording their shows on Audacity [an open-source audio recording and editing program].”

The KWPE kids have taken over the studios at local college station KCOU on several occasions. “I was friends with one of the KCOU DJs, Jason Cafer,” said Overeem. “It was actually Jason who suggested that the kids take over the college station. What was amazing was how good they were, untrained. They did all the public service announcements and intros as well as programming the music, and they selected very interesting material. The KCOU DJs were on hand solely to help them with technical issues. We’ve done it about seven times so far, once a semester and once in the summer.”

In January 2007, Overeem applied to Music Is Revolution for a grant to expand the school library’s music collection. “We currently have 375 discs in our media center, focusing on the development of American music between 1894 and the present,” he said. “We still have some holes to fill, particularly the period between 1980 and the present day, but our last grant brought us into the 21st century. I get [circulation] reports; the CDs move faster than anything else in the media center.”

Overeem’s application almost didn’t happen. “I still haven’t figured out who copied the grant application off their website and put it in my school mailbox,” he said. “I read it and put it to the side in a tray on my desk, then didn’t look at it again for three months. By that time, the semester was over and I saw that the deadline was in January. The way they’ve got it set up, it’s a really easy grant application to write.”

That was by design, said board member Bartowiak: “The applications are short and highlight for the decision making body: the project, its intended use, materials needed and desired outcomes. The grants are given to those who have put together a specific and directed plan/program to further music education at their institutions. We want to see some kind of guarantee that these funds or instruments will directly be applied and will reflect the direct action ethos of the Foundation.”

In February, Overeem continued, “I e-mailed Angela [Davis], and she told me it usually takes 90 days for a grant application to be approved. I wasn’t 100% clear that what she had told me was that my grant had been approved, but they were still trying to raise the money to fund the grant.”

The application process has been streamlined this year, Bartowiak explained. “Originally there were several dates in which the applications were due and processed. Due to the great response, we have begun to process applications as they come in. We can get back to applicants within 60 days on the status of their applications and send approved grants to them within a month.”

After receiving his check for $500 on April 9th, Overeem remarked, “I never dreamed that I would find funding for my extracurricular rock and roll club from a former member of the MC5 and his cohorts, but, now that I think about it, it makes sense -- and I am certainly grateful!” Music Is Revolution founder Davis hopes more teachers will follow Overeem’s lead. “We need applications so we can show the need to corporate entities, instrument manufacturers, other foundations,” he said. “If kids are presented with something accessible that sparks a chord in them, like art or music, that can be as important as any subject they’re taught.”

Monday, April 09, 2007

plans for my 50th trip around the sun

so it looks as though i might be getting to see radio birdman in austin after all. my sweetie's last day of school this year is june 21st, so she and i are thinking of taking a couple of days (assuming i can get sunday and monday off from the market) and heading down there to begin the celebration of my half-century of existence. then, if allah is merciful and fortune smiles, i'll get to play a stoogegig at el wreck on the actual day (june 28th), if the j'int still be open by then.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

leonard cohen lemmy

"leonard cohen lemmy," the "hidden" dan mcguire / fuzzhead track from the site, is also on the music player on facemop's myspace thingy. new "collaborative compilation" alb phosphene river soon.


rolled out of the rack late and made a beef stew with a li'l red wine 'n' jalapeno to keep the house warm, then we watched bloom again. my mom called in the middle, right where i fell asleep the first time we watched it, and got off the phone right around when i woke up, so i guess we'll have to watch it again. i'm up to page 60 in ulysses now, but plan to have it finished by bloomsday (june 16th).

radio birdman in tejas

now this is interesting. radio birdman, the band that (with the saints) brought punk to orstralia wa-a-ay back in '74, reformed in '96, released a new album and toured extensively last year, be's at emo's, the dump i've always considered "america's live music capital"(R)'s answer to club clearview, on sunday, june 24th. inasmuch as i don't make pilgrimages to see bands anymore, this is one i'd definitely make if i did. this is far from a nostalgia act, and founder-gtrist-songwriter deniz tek is one of _the guys_ imo. dig the vids on their myspace thingy for proof positive.

the fort in the new york times

picked up this link from the caravan of dreams. now that we're in the times, does that mean we really exist?

mc5: a true testimonial

a federal judge ruled in favor of the mc5: a true testimonial filmmakers in their messy legal squabble with mc5 gtrist wayne kramer over licensing of the band's music and kramer's claim that they reneged on a promise to employ him as music director. however, as the i-94 barman points out, the ruling doesn't mean kramer has to grant them the license, so the film still probably sleeps with the fishes. pity, as it's a great piece of cinema and a fine tribute to the five's legacy, and they say they have enough material in the can to make a new edit or dvd that's significantly different from the numerous bootleg copies floating around.

more equipment theft in the fort

at 5am today, somebody smashed the window to jam-meister lee allen's explorer in front of his house on west 7th and stole his big amp (ampeg svt 5 pro). there are only a couple of these in texas, so if you see one for sale, it's probably hot. if you know anything about this hit lee up on his myspace thingy or catch him at fred's or the wreck room. or you can post a comment here and i'll pass it on to him.

guard your gear, kiddies. that means humping it inside your house at the end of the night instead of leaving it in yr vehicle. be careful, too, who you let in your practice pad. there are some heartless bastards out there, and if you invite them in, they _will_ fuck you over. or better still, don't store your gear any place that's not secured. and if you keep it at home, don't call attention to the fact that it's there. a wise man i know once said: "playing loud = invitation to thieves." and keep a sharp eye out if you frequent ebay, craigslist, pawnshops, flea markets, etc. we've got to stop these bastards.

fred's fest tentative lineup

here's the tentative lineup for this year's fred's fest, may 5-6, from the mind of fest-meister lee allen:

9:00 Josh Weathers Band
8:00 Dirty Pool
7:00 Mule Dixon
6:00 Carey Wolff/ Magee Payne
5:00 Thief
4:00 Telegraph Canyon
3:00 Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang
2:00 Darrin Kobetich
1:00 Okay James
Noon John Burleson

9:00 Darth Vato
8:00 Poo Live Crew
7:00 The Gideons
6:00 Howling Dervishes
5:00 The Me-Thinks
4:00 Impulse of Will
3:00 Stoogeaphilia
2:00 Merkin
1:00 Tongue

jamnation review on the i-94 bar

my review of poet dan mcguire's (unknown instructors) cd of facemelting poetry rock jamnation is online now at the i-94 bar. lately, i can't stop listening to this cd (or to feedbacker by boris).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

hecho en tejas: palabras del barrio

tammy gomez writes:

HECHO EN TEJAS: Palabras del Barrio
Fort Worth celebration -
Friday, April 13th
Rose Marine Theater
1440 N. Main St.(5 min. N of downtown)
7:30pm - free & open to all!

Readings, performances, eats & drinks!
Video screening of video-poem
"DreaMachine Lullaby" by
Tonantzin Canestaro-Garcia.
Live music by FW's Tony Diaz
of Goodwin. Live music by
Austin's David Garza.

Beer & booksigning! Meet the authors!

Dagoberto Gilb - published in Harper's Mag, TX Monthly, author of WOODCUTS OF WOMEN and other story collections.

Macarena Hernandez - former editorial columnista, Dallas Morning News, now working on big investigative project with that daily.

Tonantzin Canestaro-Garcia - performance poet and vocalist. last visited FW at the BYOB (Blast Your Own Breath) at the Ridglea Theater.

Jose Angel Gutierrez - professor of political science at UTA, founder of La Raza Unida political party, prolific essayist, author of Chicano Manuel on How to Handle Gringos (Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2003).

Christine Granados - Her collection of short stories, Brides and Sinners in El Chuco was published by University of Arizona Press in 2006. She is the winner of the 2006 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award, a grant given by Sandra Cisneros to further the aspirations of new writers.

kill the next thief

with typical aplomb, the me-thinks have rush-recorded a tribute to the scumbags that cleaned out their warehouse the other night. appropriately entitled "kill the next thief," it's downloadable from their myspace thingy (reachably by clicking on the link above).

ADDENDUM!!! duh. sir marlin von bungy clarifies:

I put an old loco gringos song on our page. It seemed appropriate. I wish we wrote it, but I cant take credit for somebody elses talent. I also am not smart enough to get it to say the artist is the loco gringos and not the Me-Thinks.

But I bet we start covering that tune pretty quick.

me-thinks stolen equipment update

this from me-thinks drummer trucker jon. it broke my heart reading this list. these cats have always been more than generous in sharing their space and gear with other musos. they've been out in that warehouse for 13 years because they simply love to play. now it's finished. that knowledge makes me even sadder than the wreck room closing.

here is a more complete list of the things taken from the me-thinks warehouse ...some serial numbers, better descriptions, a few more things remembered, etc...

1 Mid 80's Marshall JCM800 bass series 100w amp head (Says "Marlin" on front instead of Marshall, one of a kind)
1 Mid 80's Marshall JCM800 Lead series 50w amp head
1 Early 70's Ampeg V4B 100w bass amp head (Haltom City Booze sticker on front)
1 Late 90's Marshall Plexi Superlead 100w amp head
1 Mid 80's Marshall JCM800 Bass Series Speaker Cabinet 2x10 1x15 ("The Me-Thinks, Haltom City" painted on back of each speaker cabinet)
1 Late 70's Ampeg SVT 8x10 Speaker Cabinet ("The Me-Thinks, Haltom City" painted on back of each speaker cabinet)
1 Late 80's 1962 model straight Marshall 4x12 Speaker cabinet ("The Me-Thinks, Haltom City" painted on back of each speaker cabinet)
1 Marshall 1960v vintage slant Speaker cabinet 4x12 ("The Me-Thinks, Haltom City" painted on back of each speaker cabinet)
1 early 80's fender concert combo amp 4x10
1 early 70's fender rhodes 73 concert electric piano
1 early 70's fender rhodes concert electric piano speaker cabinet 4x12
2 peavey pa speaker cabinets 1x15 & horn (One missing gill on one cabinet)
1 Early 80's Ampeg b215 speaker cabinet 2x15 (Covered in Britney Spears stickers)
1 Late 70's fender bassman 135 4x12 speaker cabinet (Red and gold molding down each side on front)
2 shure column speaker boxes w 2x10 and 4x8
1 ross 12 channel mixer
1 90's crown 600w power amp
1 Tom Sholz Rockman Power Soak
1 90's alesis nanoverb reverb unit
1 1950's Klipsch Klipschhorn stereo speaker (Wood )
1 80's EV 15 & horn stereo speaker (Black)
1 Shure sm58 microphone
1 Korg DTR-2 digital rack tuner
1 Furman M-8 power conditioner
1 Smoke/Fog machine
1 Yamaha pa speaker 1x12 & horn + speaker stand
2 Daleletroc DanEcho Delay pedals
1 Vox distortion pedal
1 Roger Mayer voodoo distortion pedal
1 Electro-Harmonix Green Vintage big muff distortion pedal
1 Electro-Harmonix Black Russian Big muff distortion pedal
1 MXR Blue box octave pedal
1 Electro-Harmonix Small Stone pedal
1 Green Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal
1 Gibson Goldtone Channel Selecting Switch foot pedal

2006 Tama Superstar bronze mist metallic all matching 6pc drum kit w/
10x8" rack tom
12x9" rack tom (s/n 059080)
13x10" rack tom (s/n 065513)
16x16" floor tom (s/n 058861)
22x20" bass drum (s/n 058738)
5 1/2 x 14 snare drum (s/n 065871)
14" Sabian vault hi hats (top and bottom)
19" Sabian vault crash
20" Sabian aa medium thin crash
21" Sabian Phil's choice hand hammered raw bell dry ride #000150-160, possibly #158 (Phil Collins)
14" Zildjian amir II hi hats (top/bottom)
14" Zildjian amir II hi hat top cymbal(worn logo)
14" Zildjian new beat hi-hat bottom cymbal
16" Zildjian z custom medium crash
19" Zildjian z custom medium crash
20" Zildjian k custom dark ride
16" Wuhan china
Tama Iron Cobra jr double bass drum pedal
DW 5000a accelerator bass drum pedal - single
Pacific/PDP 2-leg hi-hat stand
black cymbal bag

Premier xpk red vinyl matching 4pcs drum kit (22", 12", 13", 16")
covered in stickers in a matching mars music drum bag set
1 Chrome Premier 6.5x14 snare drum & hardshell case with assorted bells
1 Cosmic Persussion Chime set and case
1 Brown drum throne
1 Pork Pie leopard print drum throne
2 Tama cymbal stands (boom) w/ starcast mounting
2 Pearl cymbal stands
Roadrunner 5 pc standard drumbags
1 Tama tom mount arm
1 18" Remo roto-tom
1 Black & red LP cowbell
1 Orange Pearl clave block
1 Denon stereo reciever
1 Sony Double tape deck
1 Sony cd player single disc
1 black boom single mic stand
1 mic stand w/ goose neck top
1 short black boom mic stand
1 Latin Percussion steel drum shaker
1 DD drumdial drum tuner tension style tympanic
1 Tama drum tuner tension style tympanic
1 Tama snare stand
1 Bach coronet style trumpet & mouthpiece and case
1 broken Daewoo VCR

please send a message with any info to:

(if you're not on myspace, post a comment here and i'll pass it on -- donwanna post anybody's e-addy without their knowledge/consent.)