Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guy Clark @ the Kessler, 10.21.2010

Jeff Liles sends again. These guys aren't kidding.

Esteemed songwriter Guy Clark is set appear in the second installment of "Storytellers at The Kessler" on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

For over 35 years, Clark has proven to be a prolific composer, writing such songs as "LA Freeway", "Desperados Waiting For A Train", "Oklahoma Borderline", and "Blowin' Like A Bandit".

Over the years his compositions have been covered by a wide variety of established recording artists, including Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, David Allan Coe, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffet, Alan Jackson, Bobby Bare, Asleep At The Wheel and John Conlee. He was also a mentor and inspiration to young songwriters like Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell.

Guy Clark's 2006 collection "Workbench Songs" was nominated for Grammy Award in the category of "Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album", and in 2007, he toured with Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely and John Hiatt.

Clark, who wrote the song "The Guitar", is an accomplished luthier and craftsman who often plays instruments that he has built himself.

Known for his definitive style of poetic storytelling and charismatic performances, Guy Clark is a natural fit for the ongoing "Storyteller's at The Kessler" program.

8.31.2010, ftw

speaking of vanity googling: according to google's stats for this site, had 13,000 page views since july, 6700 from the u.s., 3200 from south korea. wtf? if true, glad someone reads the shit besides my wife.

PERSPECTIVE: these aren't uniques, so if one guy clicks 50 times (i'm thinking of you, hickey and mckeever), each one counts as a page view. oh well. "the only wisdom we can hope to attain is the wisdom of humility. humility is endless."

ADDENDUM: worst of all possible scheduling contingencies. sent home at 10:30a and told to return at 5p, thus working all the hours of the day when it's tolerable to be outside. absent inspiration, undertaking an unplanned and pro bono freelance project, and contemplating another very limited edition of wreck room stories, if i can fix the master file and get the production process doped out.

FURTHER ADDENDUM: or maybe not. maybe i don't know where the master disc for the book is. maybe i imagined seeing it. i don't know. i suck as an archivist. feh.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" @ Rose Marine Theater

This is going to be something. Rob Bosquez does Tennessee Williams on September 9, 10, 12, 17, and 18 at the Rose Marine Theater. Vids by Logan Gilpin.

Cat on a hot tin Roof Trailer from Logan Gilpin on Vimeo.

Big Daddy Birthday from Logan Gilpin on Vimeo.

Storytellers @ the Kessler - Marc Ribot, 9.25.2010

Jeff Liles sends:

On September 25, guitarist and composer Marc Ribot will be the featured performer at the first "Storytellers at The Kessler", an ongoing presentation featuring legendary musicians performing live at the historic Kessler Theater in Dallas, Texas.

Ribot is perhaps best known for his collaborative work with Tom Waits, The Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, and Elvis Costello.

"Raising Sand", an album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, features Marc Ribot's work prominently. In 2009, the CD won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Over the last two decades, Ribot also contributed compositional score to a number of TV and movie soundtracks, including material for the films "The Departed", "Down By Law" and "Mystery Train".

On September 25, Marc Ribot will be celebrating the release of his new album "Silent Movies". Ribot's performance at The Kessler that night will include a live film score for the Charlie Chaplin silent movie "The Kid".


"Storytellers at The Kessler" is a performing arts initiative driven by the motivation of providing valuable insight into the actual creative process.

The Kessler Theater is also a teaching institution by day, offering music and dance lessons to young people in North Oak Cliff. The featured performers in the "Storytellers" series will offer a glimpse into their own particular creative endeavor, either though a brief moderated post-performance onstage interview with a local arts journalist, or as Ribot will do on this particular night, with an fully interactive multi-media aesthetic collaboration.

When asked about the new "Storytellers" initiative, Kessler Theater owner Edwin Cabaniss said this: "The ongoing Storytellers at The Kessler series offers a unique opportunity for legendary artists to provide the audience with valuable insight in to the motivation, circumstances and backstory into the individual creative process. The intimate showroom at The Kessler will set the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime connection between the artist and the audience; a real behind-the-curtain look at the creative experience."

From Kessler Theater artistic director Jeffrey Liles: "This series will feature performers from various genres of the artistic spectrum. The motivation here is to inspire the next generation of creatives by offering an insightful glimpse into the uniquely individual approach that each artist takes on their way to making their particular artistic statement."

Tickets for this inaugural event are $25 (plus $2.00 service charge) at Prekindle.com, and will also be available during regular business hours at Cliff Notes Prolonged Media Book Store in the Kessler building.

the italian kid has a short story online

...at sleepingfish.net. dig it.

St. Lester, "Zoot Allures," Adrian Belew, Psychodots

Just re-read Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis' bio of Lester Bangs, and am in the process of surfing Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung and Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste, anthologies of his scrawl. Although I read him in Creem as a snotnose and in the Village Voice as an adult, I didn't realize what a great writer he was until Carburetor Dung appeared in '87. (I gave my first edition to a cat I know who showed promise as a writer. He didn't dig it, and soon quit writing himself. You win some, you lose some.)

Reading Lester now, he seems naive, quixotic, and easily swayed, all because he wanted so badly to believe in the music, the way I did when I read him the first time, when I badly wanted to believe in him. (In somebody/anybody.) What stands out now is his command of the language. Amid the untutored rant-torrent, there are phrases as elegantly crafted as anything in Twain or Joyce. It matters less that the aesthetic he championed (punk and metal si, singer-songwriters and prog no) actually and improbably won out in the end: 40 years down the road, Funhouse and Paranoid still resonate more than most rock records released in 1970.

While Carburetor Dung remains a classic, I find Mainlines (which I bought in Lawrence, Kansas, while waiting for Nathan Brown to show up for a gig there) indispensible, containing as it does Lester's scrawl on the Rolling Stones (back when I still gave two shits about 'em), Miles Davis, reggae, and Captain Beefheart (the last thing he wrote that I read while he was still living). You needn't choose.

All that said, it's been a long time since Les was a major influence on what I listen to. Since Stoogeaphilia started (four years and change ago, imagine that), I'd rather play Stooges music than listen to their records (because I'd rather play than listen to anybody). I listen to a lot more Zappa than Beefheart. As great and true of an innovator as Don was, he was also kind of a one-trick pony; FZ just gives you more to wrap your head around. And I listen to the early Jeff Beck Group a lot more than I do the Yardbirds. Something about having a singer and drummer worthy of the name.

These days, it's people I know that pull my coat to more music than any writer. I don't even read the music rags much. I let my sub to The Big Takeover lapse when it started to seem kind of silly to me reading men in their 50s arguing about who started punk. These days I get Razorcake for the quality of the writing (which is mostly conversational in the great fanzine tradition) and Ugly Things for the quality of the scholarship.

I recently snagged a copy of FZ's Zoot Allures I saw at Doc's because Jon Teague says it's his favorite Zappa album, even though when it was new, it seemed like The Beginning of the End to me. It was a funny time. I'd only been a dyed-in-the-wool Zappaphile for a couple of years then, influenced by cats I knew at college, and at that time I was still the kind of fan that thought the early Mothers of Invention were the best (still believing in the artificial separation between technique and "feeling"), even though we all loved Roxy and Elsewhere. After that band's seamless classical-jazz facility, Zoot Allures definitely sounded like a retrograde movement -- the first FZ record to include "stupid"/ironic rock 'n' roll songs like "Wind Up Working in a Gas Station" and "Disco Boy" (although Frank's on record saying that he thought the "satirical" pop songs on Freak Out! were commercial).

I remember being nonplussed by the "sinister" vibe of "The Torture Never Stops," replete with more of Frank's close-mic'ed low register vocalismo a la Apostrophe and the Donna Summer-esque fuck-noises, which now sound as innocuous as, say, Alice Cooper's Killer. And sitting in a bar in Smithtown with John Wilmshurst singing along with "Find Her Finer" the same night we heard Queen's "We Will Rock You" for the first time and fell out of our chairs laughing. In the fullness of time, though, what the album really seems all about is 1) Frank getting his guitar tone together ("Black Napkins," "Friendly Little Finger," title track) and 2) the arrival of Terry Bozzio, the best drummer he ever employed IMO (whom I'd seen in Albany on the Bongo Fury tour, but Zoot Allures was really a duet between FZ and Bozzio in the same way Hot Rats was an FZ-Ian Underwood duet).

Bozzio's all over Baby Snakes, the doco of FZ's 1977 Halloween show at the Palladium in New York (which I missed but had recapped for me over the phone by Brian Quigley -- lucky bastard!) that my sweetie 'n' I view every Thanksgiving on the living room floor, sharing our holiday feast with the cats. So is Adrian Belew, providing visual comic relief, singing "City of Tiny Lights," "Jones Crusher," and the outro to "San Ber'dino," and playing stunt Stratocaster. My sweetie saw Belew on his tour promoting The Lone Rhinoceros, which I had on cassette in Korea along with King Crimson's Beat (second and my fave in the triptych of albums he made with that band before they folded the tent for the second time).

Belew combines a gift for quirky pop songwriting with a guitar style that synthesizes all the elements that made Jimi's Axis: Bold As Love great: the crystalline arpeggios, the fluid backward guitar warpage, the wild whammy bar/harmonic/feedback rides. There's a bit of his style in Reggie Rueffer's Hochimen masterwork, and the Crimso lineup that featured him is my fave. (Mr. Fripp evidently agrees, as he's kept Belew in the band for 20 years now.)

Derek Anderson recommends Belew's Power Trio with brother/sister riddim team of Julie and Eric Slick (Eric played on a Tim Motzer ceedee I recently reviewed; small world!), while Jerko Dabelic from Sunward has good words for their album e, which appears to be available via Belew's website exclusively. I shall have to hear more.

During the late '80s, Belew also played in The Bears with a trio of Cincinnati musos who'd formerly worked together as the Raisins and went on to perform sans Belew as the Psychodots. (Whew!) At one time, the Psychodots were my drummer from college's fave band, and he sent me a cassette which had their first, self-titled album on one side and a recording of him playing with an R&B horn band in Boulder (!) on the other. Back in '97, when I was driving to Dallas two or three times a week to sit in at open jams, I listened to it constantly. Their guitarist-singer Rob Fetters is like a slightly more mainstream Belew (bluesier, less avant-garde), and has an interestingly-shaped head. Bless him.

psychodots from Tribeca Flashpoint on Vimeo.

Howzat for a ramblin' rant?

pssst! hey, kid! wanna see a sun ra documentary?

via ubuweb.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

8.29.2010, ftw

since i can neither write, nor book a stoogeshow or even a prac, i've been doing some vanity googling, and unearthed archives of my ancient scrawl from the i-94 bar and the first church of holy rock and roll. who needs to create in the now when you can glory in past indiscretions? read 'em and weep.

8.28.2010, ftw

lunch yesterday at formerly fonky fred's, with hungover scott copeland and gary grammer on the stand. while it no longer feels like the place we remember, the canopies over the patio are a definite plus, especially when there's no seating inside, and the young couple at the table up front very kindly offered to share their table with us.

it's been kind of disconcerting the last couple of times we've seen scott perform -- he seems to be on every time we go out of the house now, which is indicative of how few gigs we see these days -- that he's become more of a _professional entertainer_ than i'd ever have imagined back when he used to swap songs and jibes with carey wolff at the wreck room.

thankfully, at lunch yesterday, scott was more like his old cussin', audience-baitin' self, and it was nice hearing him play his own songs and covers (dylan, van morrison, townes van zandt) with just gary's harp to accompany him. apparently he just had a record, due for imminent release, produced by a band called the dead horses, and he's got a radio show on 95.9 the ranch on sunday nights at 9pm. good for him.

happy to report that fredburgers with sriracha sauce still taste delicious. best time i've had in "the curmudgeon zone" in awhile.

i like this video because the painting behind scott hangs in my music room now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

8.27.2010, ftw

the first anniversary of my father's death was also dia de los nutballs at work. in the first 15 minutes of my shift, i heard an older white lady proselytizing to a pair of korean women who obviously didn't understand english. then i noticed some guy buttonholing a couple of the kids who work for our in-house vendor, at extreme length. when i asked jerome, he told me the cat told him, "you have to vote republican. i know you don't want to. it's the only way we're going to survive." then the religious lady came back and asked me, "are you japanese?" i told her my grandparents were. she told me, "i had a pinched nerve in my back and i was healed by a japanese man speaking in tongues over me." i told her nothing like that had ever happened to anyone in my family.

here's a joke i learned from tommy vincent: a shark and his son are going out to dinner. the shark tells his son, "we'll swim out near the beach and look for legs kicking near the surface. when you see some, go up top, poke your dorsal fin out, and swim around 'em a couple of times. then we'll grab them by the legs and eat them." the son says, "but pop, that sounds like a lot of work. why don't we just grab them by the legs and eat them?" the shark replies, "because they taste a lot better without all that shit in them."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jeff Beck @ LuAnn's in Dallas, 7.17.1968

Pssst...hey, kid: Wanna hear the 1968 Jeff Beck Group (Beck-Stewart-Wood-Waller) rippin' it up on Greenville Avenue back in their Truth-era heyday? Go here to download.

ADDENDUM: I could spend days listening to bootlegs of this band (as I could with the '64 Mingus band). The Motown covers on the BBC sessions demonstrate what an R&B outfit they were, a facet that didn't really make it onto either of their albums, and the live stuff reveals that they used to play "Hi Ho Silver Lining" onstage. A lot.

Violent Squid

For good or evil, I'll be playing guitar with these guys (the brainchild of wine salesman and all around good Dentonite Ty Stamp) at 1919 Hemphill on 9.10, before performing with HIO. This'll be different.

Robert Brokenmouth

Robert Brokenmouth from Mike Retter on Vimeo.

Who is this guy, anyway?

Robert Brokenmouth's South Australian scribe who once wrote a book about Nick Cave (and here's his review of Cave's novel And the Ass Saw the Angel). He also writes for the I-94 Bar when the spirit moves him.

He recently sent me a CD, Inside Outdoors, which was "recorded on our days off during 2009" and self-released under the rubric Robert Brokenmouth and The Hell With You. We'd communicated online a bit before that. He asked for links to The Great Tyrant and Pinkish Black's stuff, so my ears perked up when I was listening to his CD's opening track and heard him intone "Everything went black," which just happens to be the title of every song on Pinkish Black's debut album-in-progress.

Indeed, his wails and sobs on "Comet" (accompanied by a wall of electronic noise, not unlike what HIO laid down in the Kessler green room back in March, which creates an aura of dread and malaise) sound like a more unhinged version of Pinkish Black's Daron Beck, which is to say they sound like Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop" pushed entahrly over the edge, or a man being flayed alive. Which makes it even more puzzling when he says "Thank you" at the end of the piece.

On "Begging Hat," he adopts the persona of a backwoods (outback?) character, a refugee from Cops or The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, accompanied by banjo, of course: "I'm gonna show up for court in the morning / Bow my head yes sir, no sir / Stomach full / Then walk to the beach for the day / My begging hat on my head." "This Ain't L.A." takes the piss out of the cult of celebrity to a sequenced backing track, while "Tuesday Night" is a Zappaesque mashup of Varese-inspired percussion, random toy piano tinklings, and windup toy machine noises. "Coat" pits a delicate piano ostinato against an arcing feedback guitar solo, while Brokenmouth attempts to seduce with a creepy menace reminiscent of Rob Younger on the New Christs' "Bed of Nails": "Take the drink girl / You interrupt the process."

Brokenmouth works the same territory as Mick Farren (Deviants), Dan McGuire (Unknown Instructors), and Jeff Liles (Cottonmouth, TX). Comparisons being odious, on the pieces included here, he's less of a wordsmith than any of the aforementioned trio, and his delivery tends toward a mock dementia that becomes monochromatic after awhile. Taken purely as sound, though, his vocal performances contribute to the atmosphere of Mike Bananiac and Anton Becker's soundscapes, which are pulseless, atonal, and right up my alley.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Palabrazos 2010 Festival of Performance Poetry

Tammy Gomez sends:

Hope to see you at the THIRD annual Palabrazos Festival of Performance Poetry.

This coming Friday and Saturday, August 27th and 28th - at 2 different locations:

Friday night - at Embargo Bar in downtown FW.
Saturday night - at the Arlington Museum of Art in Arlington

$5 suggested donation - helps support the festival, pay our guest performers

HEADLINING ARTISTS: madmedia AND Peace Posse (from San Antonio)

plus: Asani Charles/Giselle Robinson/Cainam/Poindexter/Imaginary Friends

video poems: performed by Amalia Ortiz (L.A./San Antonio) and Corinna MacNeice (Santa Fe/London)

JB vs. Sun Ra

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Paul Unger - "St. Tropez"

Here's a track from bassist Paul Unger with drummer Max Oepen and poet Tammy Gomez. Paul and Max may be doing a mini-Texas tour with HIO soon.

The Up on Easy Action

Some liner notes I penned for a CD/DVD release of early '70s material by the Up (the White Panther "house band" after the MC5) are on the Easy Action Records website now. They're moving their offices this month, but release of the package is imminent. Film, as they say, at 11.

Herculaneum's "Olives and Orchids"

Chicago's been the home to a lot of forward-looking jazz, from Sun Ra to the AACM to Mike Reed's People, Places, and Things, and now you can add Herculaneum -- a little sextet that could in the manner of the classic Mingus units -- to that list. While the players (two saxes, trumpet, trombone, bass, and drums) are all able soloists, on Olives and Orchids, due for an October 26th release, it's the compositions -- by drummer Dylan Ryan and altoist David McDonnell -- that are the music's real focus.

Ryan and McDonnell get the most from their four-horn front line, creating rich voicings and contrapuntal lines that recall vintage Andrew Hill as well as the aforementioned Mingus and Sun Ra outfits. "Temporary Orca" opens with dense chords, then the brasses play the melody against a unison ostinato by the saxes. "Puerto Jimenez" overlays shifting time signatures with a dirge-like melody in the manner of Ornette's "Lonely Woman." On "Mad Anthony," the horn polyphony and Afro-Cuban drums behind the trumpet solo recall a '50s Sun Ra side. "Over Easy" concludes the program on a gentle, ruminative note, with Ryan on vibes, tenorman Nate Lepine on flute, and guitarist John Beard sitting in.

I was resisting the urge to call this "a herculean effort." Oops.

8.21.2010, ftw

the other night at the bull & bush, bassist extraordinaire paul unger made the interesting observation that all chords are basically major or minor, and that all polyrhythms, no matter how complex, always refer to a pulse. wish somebody had told me that back when i was trying to learn how to improvise. put that way, it all makes sense.

teague sent the stoogeband a link to download some songs he considers worth playing. i got to hear both sides of a '77 single by the killjoys, a band i'd never heard of before which contributed kevin rowland to dexy's midnight runners. nice to still be able discover something "new" and good from an era i thought i knew something about. also some tunes by NEU! and can that'd be interesting to add to the set, although they're a little different from what we've been playing. interesting to hear what jaki leibzeit does with the "down on the street" beat in "mother sky."

Tim Motzer

I never heard of Tim Motzer, a composer-producer-guitarist based in Philadelphia, before I got a package of his recordings from his publicist, perhaps because he's made his name in "nu soul," hip-hop, and electronica, but he's studied with jazz great Pat Martino, worked with Can drummer Jaki Leibzeit and Ornette's Prime Time bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma. Two new releases on his 1K Recordings label show that he's up to some interesting stuff.

On Descending, Motzer and German touch guitarist-composer-producer Markus Reuter render spectral soundscapes reminiscent of the ones Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays crafted on As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. Also on board are Brit steel guitar eminence B.J. Cole (whom I saw at Caravan of Dreams with John Cale a decade or so ago) and sometime King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto.

Goldbug's The Seven Dreams is a collaboration between Motzer, bassist Barry Meehan, saxman/flutist Theo Travis, and Adrian Belew's drummer Eric Slick. "The Departure" is a taut, tough blast of fusion funk, with Motzer inhabiting the ethereal realm staked out by the early John Abercrombie; his notes and tones float, rather than hit. The 11-minute "Scratching the Third Eye" opens with burbling electronics before settling into a groove reminiscent of Miles circa Live-Evil. The equally leisurely "The Past Is Still Present" explores an Arabian mode -- imagine mid-period Pink Floyd with better musicianship.

Both discs are worthwhile, and the second is particularly recommended.

Video From Hell

I used to own a dubbed version of this '87 VHS tape until a cat I worked with at RadioShack borrowed it from me, then moved. I just found one on Amazon. As Zappa videos go, it's not as exalted as Baby Snakes, Dub Room Special, or 200 Motels, but more interesting than Does Humor Belong In Music?, adopting as it does the collage format of a lot of his best records. Much of this stuff has been Youtube'd by now (FZ conducting the Australian TV audience, f'rinstance); the "official" vids of which this was supposed to be a sampling either were never released or are now long gone.

There's a lot of music from then-current releases, such as the MTV-banned vid for the title track from You Are What You Is. "G-Spot Tornado" from Jazz From Hell plays behind a dizzying montage of late night/carnival footage; the Synclavier sounds dated and cheesy compared to the warmer, woodier realizations FZ would achieve on Civilization Phaze III. "Night School" from the same album fares better, accompanied by footage from the filming of 200 Motels at Pinewood Studios (including a Live At Leeds-era Keith Moon). Jazz From Hell's live guitar solo "St. Etienne" appears with synced video, interrupted by footage of a French street performer eating cigarettes. There's also a live "Stevie's Spanking" which is inferior to the one on Dub Room Special because Steve Vai's guitar is more audible.

The original MOI are present in archival footage from the Garrick Theater, the We're Only In It for the Money photo shoot, and the road (no synced live performances, unfortunately, although a lot of European TV has surfaced since); Don Preston does a monologue from Uncle Meat. Some of the "sociology" (especially Al Malkin's interminable blowjob rap) is pretty worthless, but FZ's testimony before the Maryland legislature quoted in full in The Real Frank Zappa Book is interesting to watch, reminding us just how much the '80s were really the '50s redux, with uglier clothes. A real mixed bag.

Friday, August 20, 2010

8.20.2010, ftw

good stooge prac last night. we hadn't played since the fw weekly showcase on 6.27. broke in "attitude" by the misfits, "kill from the heart" by the dicks, and "some new kind of kick" by the cramps. have shows booked 9.16 (matturday @ doc's records) and 9.25 (the moon with e.t.a. and china kills girls). we've progressed from playing music of my childhood to music of their childhoods. with 50 shows (!) under our collective belt, it's good to be back in action.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8.19.2010, ftw

my sweetie found my lost notebooks, but now i dunno if i can stomach reading stuff i wrote 13 years ago. went for a run this morning for the first time in weeks. hot and humid but not hellish. i took it slow. i like the way running puts you in touch with your immediate environment in a way that even bike riding doesn't (but gardening does).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

8.18.2010, ftw

my creative edge seems to be coming back, and with it, insomnia. i've been thinking about/listening to old bands, and now i'm thinking about old scrawl, as well. somewhere around here is a binder full of all the stories i wrote right after i started playing out again in the fall/winter of '97. i think i'm finally ready for the skin-crawling disquiet that reading them again will probably bring.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8.17.2010, ftw

discovering that i'm not quite ready yet to resume writing about my old man. still striving to write every day to get my chops up, though. he'll be gone a year on the 27th and he's still kicking my ass. perhaps it'd please him to know that.

WTF: A House Show in _Benbrook_?!?!?

Michael Chamy of Zanzibar Snails sends:

Fat Worm of Error is a crazy unpredictable live experience touring on their way from Albequerque (long drive!) so it'd be nice to have a show of support.

Plus, how many Benbrook shows are there, really ....

white heat/black mass in a schizophrenic rock format from Ryan & Justin Talley of Ashes/Smile Full of Ale and Brandon Young of Colossi

they have a chance to be a BIG DEAL in FW if they so choose. Best rock band I've seen from FW in .... forever?

SAT, Aug. 21
The Leisure Womb
6805 Valhalla Dr.
Ft. Worth, TX

FAT WORM OF ERROR [Northhampton, Mass. - Load, Recipiscent) - PSYCHEDELIC MESS.





The spot is off Vickery, two blocks west of 183 and the Neighborhood Wal-Mart. This should be interesting.

The Ballad of PFFFFT!

Nostalgia for the recent past is a strange thing, and something I try to avoid, but lately, I've been thinking about PFFFFT!, the rock-based improv outfit I played in with Matt Hembree, Clay Stinnett, and Tony Chapman for eight months in 2008.

It was a year when I was playing a lot -- my dad was ill, and I think I was booking every show I possibly could with Stoogeaphilia to keep my mind off it, although I wound up drinking so much that I can only remember about half of them. The Wreck Room -- our second living room for five years -- had closed the previous fall, and the building it had inhabited was demolished on New Year's Eve 2007, leaving us as "stateless people." I started booking shows at the Chat Room until Ben Rogers advised me that they "weren't booking any more shows" -- a lie, but a kind one, I suppose, although it wouldn't have hurt my feelings if he'd just shot me straight and told me, "You guys are too fucking loud and you're running everybody out of the bar." Then we moved further down Magnolia to the Fairmount until they folded the tent at the end of the year.

PFFFFT!'s genesis came with a chance meeting at Fred's Cafe. I was eating lunch there when Clay Stinnett blew in like a character from a Larry McMurtry story. Clay's a preacher's kid from Boswell High who went to UNT to get his fine arts degree and drummed with Ghostcar and History At Our Disposal. He looks different every time I see him. This time, he had slicked-back hair, a mustache, and a big Stetson, and he informed me that he'd just gotten back from Austin. We'd played an improv gig at Lola's the previous fall under the rubric Kamandi, with two drummers, two guitarists, Aaron Gonzalez on stand-up bass, and Tony Chapman on vocoder: a noise-and-feedback apocalypse replete with raining broken drumsticks.

"We ought to make a band," he said. I agreed and made three phone calls: One to the Chat Room to book a show (on 4.20, hahaha); one to Matt Hembree, who'd been playing bass with me in Stoogeaphilia, and whose work with Bindle, Goodwin, The Underground Railroad and Pablo & the Hemphill 7 I admired greatly; and one to Tony Chapman, Clay's Ghostcar bandmate and the chaos factor (on guitar and synth) I thought the project required. Hembree was skeptical about playing improv at first but wound up really digging it.

On the set, the band worked off the interaction between Clay's extremely assertive drumming (the real bandleader) and Matt's melodic bass (and quest for order), with Tony and your humble chronicler o' events hanging on for dear life. On the track "Chaoseptic" I've been listening to lately (archived, like every show we played but one -- Matt was visiting his mom in Tennessee and Jeremy Hull sat in -- on Hembree's katboy.com site), Matt starts off tentatively, mitigating between Clay and me as we blow up against the back wall, then adds a Jack Bruce-like complexity behind our ongoing rant-dialogue. (It's worth remembering that Hembree probably played more notes on his track on Marcus Lawyer's Top Secret...Shhh record than all the other bassplayers combined.)

I think that the people at the Chat really did like us, but we were _fucking_ loud (and I was just using my li'l Hughes & Kettner back then, but I'd been listening to Last Exit and Les Rallizes Denudes a lot) and folks tended to gravitate toward the patio when we were up. We would do stuff like playing along with the jukebox music when we were getting ready to start. One night while we were taking a break, some kid got up and started jamming on Tony's synth, so we all got up and joined in with what he was doing. It was that kind of band.

Once at the Chat, Eric Harris from Yeti came and sat in with us. Another time, at the Fairmount, Daniel Huffman from Ghostcar did the same. Toward the end, Marcus Brunt from the Brokers, who used to come out to the Wreck Room jams when I played there with Lee Allen, started bringing his bass trombone, and Matt Hickey from the Fellow Americans surprised me by sitting on the floor behind me playing inaudible synthesizer. When we had sit-ins, we would modify the band name. For example, when Jeremy subbed for Matt and Eric sat in, we became "PFFF(F)(F)T!"; when Daniel sat in with the core lineup, we were "PFF(F)FFT!" And so on.

I think that we got better at playing with each other as we went along, but as we did, our audience dwindled. It might have had something to do with the fact that the Fairmount was about five blocks east of anything else that was open by the time our evenings there started, and the neighborhood still had a semi-sketchy rep -- in fact, a bassplayer that performed with Bill Pohl one night when Bill played before us had his pedalboard stolen out of his truck _while he was loading out_. And it's possible that in the way of lots of noisy improv, our stuff just wasn't as much fun to have to sit through as it was to play -- I have no perspective on this.

In any event, the last three months we played at the Fairmount, we knew the jig would soon be up on our regular one-Thursday-a-month stand there. I even told the guy that booked us that we'd understand if he pulled the plug. The Day of the Locust finally came the night we played to the bartender and soundguy, and when we took a break, one of them asked if we were going to play a second set. When I responded affirmatively, he said, "But we want to _go home_!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

8.16.2010, ftw

my sweetie goes back to work today. end of "summer of slack." sigh. off tuesday and saturday this week, close friday, work at 10:30a every other day. that's not hard to remember, is it? spoke with the youngest daughter the other day. her baby's due on the 26th. middle daughter and husband joining us for din-din tom'w night; i'm cooking what elvis would have called "a mess of fra diavolo." because i suck as a grandfather, we slept in sunday instead of going to the oldest daughter's house to take the oldest grandson his b-day prezzie. going to do lunch with them saturday. HIO drinkie-talkie with bassist extraordinaire paul unger tomorrow, maybe stooge prac the following night.

The return of the rock 'n' roll secretary


9.16 @ Doc's Records (Matturday)
9.25 @ the Moon


9.4 @ the Majestic Dwelling of Doom (Denton) w/The Panic Basket and Breaking Light
9.10 @ 1919 Hemphill
10.10 @ Doc's Records w/Cottonmouth, TX w/Breaking Light
11.11 @ The Phoenix Project (Dallas) w/The Pointless Forest

FZ Top Ten

1) Uncle Meat
2) Hot Rats
3) Weasels Ripped My Flesh
4) 200 Motels DVD
5) Dub Room Special DVD
6) Lather
7) Baby Snakes DVD
8) You Are What You Is
9) The Yellow Shark
10) Civilization Phaze III

REVISIONIST HISTORY: As much of a gas as it is to see the live footage of the '74 band in Dub Room Special (including the actual tracks used for two One Size Fits All songs), nothing can ever replace Roxy and Elsewhere for me. And Burnt Weenie Sandwich uses the same distinctive flavors as Hot Rats (Ian Underwood, Sugarcane Harris), adds some doo-wop and Stravinsky, and is a great morning record (woke up this a.m. to FZ's guitar solos on "Theme from Burnt Weenie Sandwich" and "Holiday In Berlin, Full Blown").

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Top 10 Whosongs

1) Tattoo
2) I'm One
3) Drowned
4) Disguises
5) Blue, Red and Grey
6) I Can't Reach You
7) So Sad About Us
8) Heaven and Hell
9) Young Man Blues
10) Love Reign O'er Me

"Summer of Slack" Top 10

My sweetie goes back to work tomorrow, and I've burned the last of my vacation days for the time being. Tomorrow I start implementing my plan for getting off my ass and back into writing/running/playing shows (and the rock 'n' roll secretary's been hard at work booking shit the last few days). Here are the things I dug the most the last ten weeks or so:

1) Leisure. It's trite but it's true: not having anything to do rocks. Sure, I've been going to work for most of the last couple of months, but having an extra day off every week that I wasn't actually "on vacation" has been a bonusburger. I can honestly say I've promoted more slack this summer than at any time since I was 20 or so. And along with that, I've had plenty of time for...

2) Sleep (The Act). My middle daughter theorizes that the reason my short term memory is so bad is that I lived through an ongoing sleep-deprivation experiment for 20 or 25 years. As she says, "Those short-term memories never got downloaded into long-term memory." Perhaps there's truth in this. Time was when I'd get up at 6am even when I didn't have to. Lately, I've been sleeping until 9 or 10am on days I didn't have to work earlier...unprecedented in my experience. And I'm dreaming more (as I've noted in some earlier posts). I could get used to this shit. Being a relative gentleman of leisure has given me lots of time to explore some favorite musical rabbit holes, such as...

3) Jeff Beck. Idol of my youth, a veritable Zen master of the electric guitar, I got back into _the other_ JB via his live-at-Ronnie-Scott's DVD last year, and was even more floored by his Emotion and Commotion CD this year. These days, the man deals in pure melody and feeling; his technique, while jawdropping, is transparent. Where once he bulldozed his way through the blooze, now he essays Italian opera arias. And I've also been going back and listening to bootlegs of his Truth-era band, my pick for the best rock band in the world in 1968 (MC5 notwithstanding).

4) Joe and the Sonic Dirt From Madagascar. Solo vehicle for my HIO cohort in crime Matt Hickey, I've waxed ecstatic on this blog about his Research and Development: 2006-2009 and A to E Are X, Why, and Z. I've never been in a band whose recordings I liked to listen to as much as I do HIO's; even when I don't like what we're playing, I like that we played it. And while Terry Horn has been more influential on me, I've never played with anyone who recorded stuff that astonished me as much as Hickey's stuff astonishes me.

5) Pretty Things. Getting the new Ugly Things mag (which, this time around, includes Laurent Bigot's in-depth e-mail int with the Nervebreakers) always catches me up with the newest Pretty Things developments, which this time included a deluxe reish of their 1970 album Parachute, once which always played second fiddle in my personal cosmology to their '68 psych masterpiece S.F. Sorrow. As fortune would have it, I was able to score a '70s double LP reish of both albums from Doc's, and spent an inordinate amount of time this summer getting up close and personal with Parachute. Big Mike Richardson accused me of hipsterism for saying I dig the Pretties more than the Stones and the 'oo, but there it is. I like what I like.

6) The Kinks. Speaking of the new Ugly Things, this time around, they've run Jon Savage's unedited interviews with Ray Davies, which he conducted in support of an '84 Kinks tome that I haven't read. Which of course sent me back to my Kinks kollektion (on vinyl of course) of goodies from Face to Face through The Great Lost Kinks Album. Is there a better song than "Strangers" from Lola vs. Powerman? I think not. But "God's Children" from Percy via The Kink Kronikles comes close.

7) Miles, Ornette, Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz. Howard Mandel's tome on the three most significant jazzmen of their time takes a more personal and idiosyncratic approach than most of his other scrawl. Mandel's the only jazz scribe besides Francis Davis that I've read with regularity since Hentoff moved on to First Amendment issues and Gary Giddins folded his "Weather Bird" tent. I think O.C. and C.T. both have legitimate claims to being the greatest musos of their time, bar none. Luckily, while were in Princeton, I was able to score a nice stack of Ornette vinyl, including Dancing In Your Head and Of Human Feelings, and after reading Mandel's book, I found a copy of Cecil's Burning Poles vid from the '80s (his dreadlocks-and-Tony-Oxley phase) online for less than I thought I'd have to pay.

8) Frank Zappa. Sure, he made more than his share of shit music (as a means to finance the stuff he really cared about). And his stuff was derivative of, well, all those people that he listed in the liners to Freak Out! But the whole "Beefheart was the _real_ avant-gardist" thesis seems spurious in light of the fact that all of Don's stuff was through-composed, with the help of _significant others_ (Messrs. French and Harkleroad), while FZ followed his own muse wherever it took him, from Varese/doo-wop pastiche to aleatoric improv. Hearing his conductions, as documented on Weasels Ripped My Flesh and in the Baby Snakes film, prepared me for Don Cherry, Harry Partch, and ultimately, HIO. Lather and You Are What You Is remain undervalued masterpieces.

9) Flicks. I'll admit it: I don't like hanging around in bars much anymore. I don't feel like I'm missing something if I don't go out. This means that I generally only go out to shows when I'm playing, and I only go to bars when I'm having drinkie-talkie with HIO. I prefer sitting at home with a book or a crossword and a cat in my lap. Or a flick. We've watched a shit-ton of them this summer. We're old fashioned. We don't like movies with lots of things that blow up, much graphic violence, CGI F/X, or shock horror. We prefer flicks with interesting characters and realistic situations. And evenings with like-minded friends. I just ordered us a DVD of Mary and Max after my sweetie watched it with Laura while Darrin and I were talking music, 'puters, and families last night.

10) Spending Time With My Sweetie. I'm a lucky asshole. Really.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Yardbirds' "Little Games"

It seems incredible that in 40 years of collecting Yardbirds records, I'd never owned this one, but it's true. Sure, I owned most of the good stuff on the skimpy (five songs a side!) '70 Epic double elpee anthology Featuring Performances by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, but being an aficionado of _the romance of the artifact_, I'm pleased as punch to finally have my mitts on the 'riginal vinyl now (having passed on the expanded-with-outtakes double-CD Sony and EMI versions back in the oh-ohs). Thank you, Sir Marlin Von Bungy!

Little Games is, of course, the Jimmy Page-era Yardbirds' terminal offering, which the record company considered such a dog they didn't even bother to release it in the UK. In fairness, by '67 the Yardbirds were spending a lot of time out of the country, and were probably a bigger deal Stateside than at home. There are a few conflicting influences at work here: pop producer Mickey Most's desire to make hit singles (all of which flopped everywhere); recently-liberated sessionman Jimmy Page's desire to record some of the wailing sounds he'd come up with after supplanting his pal Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist; and acid-eating founder members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty's desire to pursue psychedelic experimentalismo.

In fairness to Most, the Yardbirds weren't exactly prolific songwriters; their forte was sonic experiment, as demonstrated by their epic -- no pun intended -- string of singles starting with "Heart Full of Soul" and culminating in "Happenings Then Years Time Ago" that incorporated fuzztones, feedback, Near Eastern modes, mock Gregorian chants, and studio apocalypses, or their one true studio album Yardbirds aka Roger the Engineer, which they pulled out of their collective asses in a week a la Mark I Deep Purple without the benefit of much more than their own collective imagination and a smidge of blues bowdlerization. While it ain't Revolver, it holds up a whole lot better and is a lot more forward looking than most rock rekkids made in 1966.

This is probably heresy, but inasmuch as Beck was a true innovator who went on to morph into a veritable Zen master of electric guitar, the available aural evidence (BBC sessions, Euro TV videos, and suppressed documents like the '68 live-at-the-Anderson-Theater LP or the hideously rare Cumular Limit) indicates that Yardbird-era Page was a more consistent player, and had a more mind-melting sound (compare their solos in the iconic "Stroll On" clip from Blow Up and tell me I'm wrong).

On Little Games, you can hear Page's acid-blues-raga spew in full effect on the title track, "Smile On Me" (a cross-bastardization of Slim Harpo's "Scratch My Back," which the Yardbirds had previously ripped off as Roger's "Rack My Mind," and the shuffle portion of Otis Rush's "All Your Love"), and "Drinking Muddy Water." "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor" foreshadows Led Zep in its power-chorded electric 12-string intro and bowed-guitar solo, and the acoustic Bert Jansch-ismo of "White Summer" remained Page's party piece well into the Zep years. (I even learned it in a futile attempt to impress the really neat girls in my college dorm.)

"Glimpses" is the most psychedelic moment here (featuring Relf singing through a wah-wah pedal over drone, chant, and found sounds), while "Only the Black Rose" is an OK sensitive-guy ballad (reminiscent of Roger's "Farewell"). Of the tunes I hadn't previously owned, "No Excess Baggage" is a nothing song written by the same writing duo that gave the Animals "It's My Life." "Stealing, Stealing" is a so-so jugband blues, and "Little Soldier Boy" is pop pap and about as inauspicious a way to end a major band's recording career as one can imagine.

To folks that teethed on Sabbath and Zeppelin (or Black Flag and the Melvins), this stuff might sound tame or even quaint. This isn't the Yardbirds I'll reach for when I get the itch -- that'd be Roger the Engineer, Raven's Happenings Ten Years Time Ago 1964-1968 comp CD, or for the Page era, Cumular Limit (good luck finding thatun) -- but it fills a long-empty space on my shelf, and satisfies the completist asshole in me.

Joe Morris and Nate Wooley's "Tooth and Nail"

Connecticut Yankee Joe Morris possesses the most intriguing guitar approach this side of Elliott Sharp. Like Sharp, Morris specializes in angular, oblique melodies with less blues and grit in 'em than your average Les Paul user, his playing more redolent of Derek Bailey or Keith Rowe than John McLaughlin or Sonny Sharrock. His bands employing "traditional" instrumentation (e.g., bass and drums with or without another soloist) might remind you of a guitar-led Cecil Taylor Unit (extreme technical virtuosity and improvisational intensity) or one of those "shred" videos on Youtube (only the most tenuous connection to conventional melody), depending on your frame of reference.

On Tooth and Nail, a duet with 30something avant-trumpet eminence Nate Wooley (just released on Portuguese little-label-that-could Clean Feed), the rhythmless duo format affords both men a quieter space in which to extemporize, free from the constraints of "lead/supporting" expectations. The two musicans interweave and overlap colors and textures as well as melodies. At times, Morris plays highly percussively and employs "extended techniques" such as string scraping and bowing (he has a parallel career as a standup bassist), while Wooley is also adept at exploring all of his horn's sonic possibilities. A shiny silver disc to make you cogitate.

Joe and the Sonic Dirt from Madagascar's "Research and Development: 2006-2009"

All ye rejoice, for Matt Hickey has made the entahr recorded output of Joe and the Sonic Dirt From Madagascar, his solo alter ego, available for free download via Bandcamp. I've previously ranted about A to E Are X, Why, and Z, his meticulously-punctuated early 2010 release (which would be on my top ten list for the year even if we weren't the kind of pals who give each other haircuts, lend each other money, push each other out of windows). Equally astonishing was the follow-up single, "Out Into the Abyss of Night" (which, upon re-hearing, reminded me of nothing so much than "A Dream" from the Lou Reed-John Cale Warhol remembrance Songs for Drella, which I'll bet Hickey has never heard).

Maybe best of the lot is Research and Development: 2006-2009, which chronicles the evolution of the project from an outlet for material that other members of Hickey's last rock band, The Fellow Americans, deemed unsuitable, to a vehicle for exploring outer realms. The first two tracks, the titles to which are anagrams of their creator's given name, are saturated with Brit post-punk weirdness. "Dog Boofer" and "F" are extremely convincing simulacra for the Gunslingers and Les Rallizes Denudes, respectively. "Just Another Indie Alt Rock Song" is a fine example of truth in advertising, which Hickey delivers in his best Kermit the Frog voice. (He also does a wicked Carl Sagan and Jimmy Stewart; a recording exists of him singing the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" in the manner of the Harvey star which Terry Horn and I, at least, find hi-larious.)

Over time, JATSDFM (or "Sonic Dirt," as it's known to its fan) has gotten both more minimalist ("Parts I and II," _not_ an Isley Brothers cover) and more noisy ("Slavyansky Bulvar"). Matt Hickey remains a real fine Anglophile, ruralist, and Gorillaz fan to know and be associated with. If you've read this far, you owe it to yourself to check out his musick.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8.10.2010, ftw

making some changes.

social networking has pretty much killed this blog. as the last regular reader of whom i'm aware just signed up for facebook, i'm going to stop posting one-paragraph entries or youtube vids here. those with a desire to continue seeing such from me can "friend" me on "the heroin of the internet" (if you haven't already). henceforth, this outlet shall be reserved for blather of _some substance_.

along with that, i'm going to stop submitting reviews to the other websites/publications i've been contributing to on an irregular basis for the past few years. it doesn't make sense to keep doing so for the sole purpose of staying on the gravy train with labels/press agents whose releases i like. i already have more music in my house than i can listen to, and i have no problem paying for what i want to hear.

finally, when _the laziest summer of my life since high school_ is over (i.e., when my sweetie goes back to work), i _am_ going to resume writing with some regularity and discipline, but only on a project that's probably of no interest to anyone outside my family, which i'll probably spend the rest of my life tinkering with.

while i'll continue writing about music, at this point i'm more interested in trying to hustle gigs for the bands that i play in (if it's always better to play than to watch, it's _definitely_ more interesting to play than to _write about_ playing or watching). who wants to read "a vitamin salesman's opinion about music," anyway?

so there.

Monday, August 09, 2010

terry bozzio plays fz's "the black page"

fz in budapest, 6.30.91

probably his last recorded guitar solo, backed by hungarian musos. my sweetie sez, "knowing how he died, it hurts to see him smoking."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

rock death

1) the day jimi hendrix died, my mom came and picked me up from middle school; i usually walked home. my ex-best friend, who'd moved upstate the summer before eighth grade, wrote me a letter saying he was sorry that "bobby hendrix" had died.

2) when elvis died, i showed up to open the record store where i worked and found a line of tearful middle-aged folk, waiting to handle precious artifacts like having fun with elvis onstage, the album which consisted in toto of the king's stage patter.

3) the morning after john lennon was murdered, i woke myself up by spilling a glass of water on my head just as my clock radio turned on and i heard npr's announcement of the ex-beatle's death. my future ex-wife came to pick me up to go to work. on the way out of the apartment complex, we noticed that overnight, someone had torched the rental office.

4) when ron asheton of the stooges died, of a heart attack at home, my buddy geoff from philly called and said, "the music's over."

dom mariani - "rewind and play"

hmmm...new "semi-acoustic" album from the aussie power-pop maestro (and italian kid lookalike) reprises faves from the stems and his other vehicles. should be interesting trying to find this.

raymond scott - "soothing sounds for baby"

pioneering electronic music, ostensibly for kids. top of t. horn's wish list.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

leo kottke

one of my all-time favorite guitar recs, leo kottke's 6 and 12-string guitar, will ever remind me of the record store where i worked my last two years of high school.

8.7.2010, ftw

another day off spent lazing around la casa with my sweetie. almost out of vaca days to burn, and she goes back to work in a couple of weeks, but we're enjoying our summer of slack while we can.

bought some produce from the new public market (for now, in the parking lot of in the garden at the intersection of hulen and camp bowie). then spent a couple of hours going through a stack of cd-r's from the old "lee & carl's invitational jams" at the late, lamented wreck room (chronicled in this blog under the rubric "art of the jam" from 2005-2007). i'd been trying to find 'em for a few weeks so i could burn selected stuff for brock miller, a former jam participant, and today my sweetie remembered seeing them in a box up in the hall closet.

i found the bits i was looking for almost immediately: the 30-minute version of "manic depression" where we played the riff for like 15 minutes before marcus lawyer got frustrated and started playing the form, then cadillac fraf started singing; the version of "maggot brain" with four guitars; and 40 minutes of a trio consisting of lee allen, damien stewart, and myself, with a guy named dax vocalizing for a few minutes. a very mixed experience listening to this stuff. i miss those days, but i like my life now more, and _most_ of the people i knew back then seem to be doing better these days, too.

now listening to five hours of bootleg neil young i got from either frank or kavin, i can't remember which. tomorrow, looking forward to spending some time with old friends and seeing the art educators of north central texas 20th anniversary show, which hangs at fort worth community arts center until 8.30. our friend jodi theodore has a piece hanging. maybe next year terry horn will, too. (he just got a job teaching art at eastern hills high school.)

ADDENDUM: no jodi artwork, but still a cool exhibit. to get our $5 worth for the parking garage, we decided to take in the museum of science and history, too. only $14 _apiece_! but worth it, i suppose. lots of cool interactive stuff for kids. the natural gas propaganda exhibit was a non-snazz aspect, howevah.

huns, austin, 1979

i saw these guys a few times when i lived in austin briefly at the ass-end of '79, before making the extremely ill-advised move to aspen to, uh, make a band. phil tolbert single-handedly put austin punk on the map by getting arrested for wearing his assless chaps seemingly every single time they played.

Friday, August 06, 2010

paul butterfield blues band - "east west"

will wonders never cease. joe nick patoski posted this well-recorded live version from the fillmore west, 1966, on facebook. before duane and dickey, there were mike bloomfield and elvin bishop. first part takes about 1:30 to get started and then it's all elvin; bloomer's solo starts at the beginning of the second. a scorcher!

this is what i do instead of having a calendar

tonight mr. hickey comes to din-din. sunday we're meeting big and li'l marlins for brunch at fred's. on sat'day 8.14, we're tentatively planning on din-din with da kobe and his bride. on sat'day 8.21, we're going to big marcus and _his_ bride's joint b-day party at a skating rink in haltom city. on thursday 9.9, we're going to the rose marine theater to see rob bosquez as big daddy in cat on a hot tin roof. very sociable us!

mo' underground railroad @ lola's, 7.30.2010

apparently the cat that posted these took down the two with voxxx because bill pohl told him he wasn't a fan of the vocal performances. so only this one still remains.

american beauty

i'm not a deadhead, but in the winter of 1970, i spent what seemed like several weeks flat on my ass with a respiratory ailment, a tank of oxygen, lord of the rings, and a new discovery: free-form fm radio. (the previous summer, when wabc-am played a song called "my baby loves lovin'" seemingly every five minutes, cured me of wanting to listen to top 40 radio forever.)

i looked forward to hearing the who live at leeds, hendrix at monterey, and the stones gettin' their ya-ya's out; the only thing that could get me out of bed was bloodrock's "d.o.a.;" i'd crawl across the floor to turn the radio off when it came on.

i also developed a curious affinity for the grateful dead's american beauty, an album which to this day can still calm me down. when we were in new joisey recently, i was pleased to discover it in a pile of vinyl that my big sis sent home with me.

i think that this album and the velvets' loaded must be cousins. perhaps it's the gentle way they rocked, or maybe it's the harmony vocals. never have non-singers attempted more.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

mo' dream time

not sure why i'm remembering so many of these things lately. i usually don't. maybe it's because i'm sleeping more. had three last night:

1) saw a guy i knew in elementary school, who's my only facebook "friend" from that era (although we never communicate). in the dream, he was kind of a bully, although i don't remember him being that way back when. he was also very short and very round.

2) saw jon teague working at zeke's fish and chips, which in the dream had been bought out by half price books. he was sitting at the register eating french fries. he said that hpb was rotating people in and out of there so they wouldn't become too "bookstore-centric."

3) was doing inventory at work (which will be happening for real tomorrow, except we hire an inventory company to do it). they had me counting t-shirts, which is funny, because we don't sell t-shirts. i woke up before i finished counting 'em and thought i should go back and finish.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

n.y. dolls in b&w, doo-dah, doo-dah

recent c.t.

8.3.2010, ftw

running yesterday, i noticed that motorists gave me a wider berth than usual -- sometimes moving all the way to the other side of a residential street. probably a consequence of the death last week of a 61-year-old woman who was struck by a city bus while crossing the street downtown. apparently she was a coworker of a friend of hickey's mom (ok, so that was _three_ degrees of separation, not the two i usually claim for fort worth). hickey said the bus camera video showed that the pedestrian had the right of way -- which, i pointed out while we were having drinkie-talkie, doesn't do her much good now. i never step into the street until i see the oncoming vehicle slowing/stopping, and preferably until i've made eye contact with the driver.

watched the cecil taylor vid burning poles last night (and listening to the audio as i type this). a late '80s studio production with his "feel trio" (william parker - bs, tony oxley - ds), plus a superfluous second percussionist. cecil starts out dancing and intoning (probably a warm-up for his acrobatic attack on his "88 tuned drums"), with minimalist percussion/flute accompaniment, then launches into one of his long-form exorcisms. i'm glad to have this, since i've only seen him live at carnegie hall from about halfway back, and the video allows you to see his highly evolved technique, which doesn't stop him from performing with exhilarating abandon.

(ADDENDUM: also listening to momentum space, a tempestuous three-way c.t. collaboration with ornette's late homeboy/sax foil dewey redman and a triumphantly thunderous elvin jones, in what might be his greatest latter-day performance this side of sonny sharrock's ask the ages.)

terry and i have been reviewing video of HIO performances like high school football coaches -- i'm particularly enamored of the raw footage jeff liles shot in the kessler theater green room in march, with all three of us playing cigarbox guitars, which was a real watershed for us -- and hembree just posted his audio recording of our 7.30.2010 lola's stand to his HIO archive. you can hear the drunken fratboys goofing on us as we create a feedback-and-percussion apocalypse that only augie rodriguez and hickey's mom could love. it occurs to me that it's possible we play louder in places like lola's because of all the unsympathetic noise from the crowd. in comparison, at the other arts showcase back in may, we played very quietly -- below the level we soundchecked at, in fact.

both terry and i are impressed by the way a schooled muso like marcus brunt can get so into our naive way of playing. in dre edmonson's vid of our good show showcase appearance at lola's back in february, marcus' trombone and hembree's accordion and small instruments are the most interesting part of the performance. (well...there's also hickey's singing easter card...) but hembree doesn't like playing with HIO. i'm not sure whether it's the unstructured nature of our music or his discomfort playing instruments he doesn't know how to play. terry told me that after we finished friday, marcus was still thinking and talking about different things he wants to try with feedback. his contribution is immeasurable. hard to believe we have 20 shows under our collective belt now, and every one of them has been different.

Monday, August 02, 2010

the underground railroad @ lola's, 7.30.2010

a new and more crimsonoid side of the railroad rears its head. yeah!

dream time

last night i dreamed i asked midnight why he likes to rub his lips and whiskers against all the books he sees. he told me, "i'm just _facebooking_, boss!"

the night before i dreamed i had two little mouths with sharp little teeth above my regular teeth. it was pretty disgusting.

8.2.2010, ftw

having the most slack-ass summer of my life since i was about 16. burning beaucoup vaca days at work, not going to many gigs, not writing, not playing (although i'm starting to try and book stoogedates for the fall, at the usual glacial pace). ray is dealing with some health issues and jon is recovering from a motorcycle accident, so it's a good thing the stoogeband didn't sked anything for the summer. miss seeing those guys and jamming, though. going to try and do lunch with jon and dinner with matt this week.

mainly this summer i've been enjoying spending time with my sweetie and the cats. when school's in, we sometimes see each other an hour a day, and it's just been real pleasant hanging out at home, eating good food (which she's been cooking; i'll start cooking more when she's back in school in a couple weeks), watching movies, reading, doing crosswords, etc. trying to get some running in when it's not too godawful hot.

hoping to get an HIO date at 1919 in august, and want to plan a recording sesh with jeff liles in the near future. playing at lola's the other night was different from the last couple of times, which were relatively quiet. this time, we were louder than fuck, creating a feedback symphony that augie rodriguez, at least, liked real much. hickey's mom, too. terry forgot the violin bow and the recording equipment malfunctioned, but big marcus is getting into using feedback more and was able to play trombone again after recovering from his dog bite. terry was processing my signal, treating some stuff in real time and sampling/looping other stuff.

ramsey sprague (aka "the shortest distance") opened with a set of social responsibility-focused singer-songwriter stuff and brought a few people out. the underground railroad played 50 minutes, including lots of new material. kurt looks like lex luthor with his head shaved, and their lead singer "the kid" was playing his last gig prior to moving to california. he wore a necktie with a t-shirt and had aluminum foil around his forearms and legs. i couldn't watch him. terry and hickey went for wendy's.

it takes me longer to recover from alcohol consumption/sleep deprivation than it used to, so we elected to forego james hall at the kessler theater in favor of to sir, with love on our new second-hand tv (courtesy of my middle daughter and her husband). wanted to do a kurosawa fest the next day before i had to work, but it appears that my son-in-law borrowed some dvd's, so i'll have to see about getting those back. absent rashomon and the seven samurai, we opted for the commitments. i feel like i'm turning into matt hickey.

the cavalcade of slack will continue until my sweetie goes back to work on the 23rd.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

novartis "reflections" campaign

from photography served. guess which one reminds me of my mom.

tokyo happy coats on ed sullivan, 1966

oh. my. gawd.