Wednesday, August 31, 2005

pray for the ppl of nola

here's a link to the local tv station there. blog is updated fairly often. not sure how they're staying online.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

gallery night / jazz by the boulevard

ah, the change of seasons. it's starting to feel less like the surface of the sun outside, and ample oppos are just around the corner to show yr friends in other parts of the country why the fort is such a center of, um, arts 'n' culcha (sorry, chris).

first of all, gallery night, saturday, september 10th. this year, for a ten spot, you can avoid having to fight all those escalades and beemers on your way to your next glass of boxed wine by riding a bus chartered by the fort worth arts consortium, stopping at the firehouse gallery, art space 111, heliotrope, westbank landing gallery, the william campbell contemporary art gallery, arts fifth avenue, and studio 4. the bus leaves from the wreck room at 4pm and returns around 8pm for a reception at studio 4 (the estimable jesse sierra hernandez' studio, located behind the wreck). again, cost is $10, benefitting experience the art of music. reservations can be had by emailing (btw, if you're _off_ the bus, darrin kobetich will be playing at salon moda that night, so you can experience the art of _his_ music while getting yr cucumber facial or whatevah.) gallery night itself, of course, won't cost you a penny (unless, y'know, you decided to actually _buy a piece_ or something).

the lineup for this year's jazz by the boulevard festival, scheduled for september 16-18, is a mixed bag. while those who'd rather listen to kntu than the oasis might be a tad underwhelmed by the headliners (that'd be ex-jazz crusader joe sample and latin jazz superstar eddie palmieri), there's a lot of good local stuff on the cards -- f'rinstance, a reprise of paul unger's miles davis tribute, featuring musos of the caliber of tom reynolds, jim sangrey, dave williams, leonard belota, joey carter, and dave karnes. local gtr legend sumter bruton and fort worth business press journo mike price (who's as ubiquitous at this yr's fest as, um, stanley crouch was in the ken burns jazz doco) will perform with their swingmasters review, and black dog stalwarts dave and daver will get another chance to play the big stage if it don't rain. speaking of the black dog, the dfw poetry slam team will be there in full effect, as will the jazzmonsters big band. also on the card: mondo drummers, la feet tap ensemble, fort worth western swing expat slim richey, and the confusingly-named booker t. washington latin jazz ensemble. oh, yeah: best of all, it's _free_.

Monday, August 29, 2005

sharon jones and the dap-kings

while i might (no, i _do_) hate "mustang sally," that doesn't mean i don't like (make that love) soul music. au contraire. it's the music i grew up listening to. the very first live band i ever saw was a buncha black kids in the cafeteria of my junior high school at lunchtime. the gtrist's strap kept breaking, and the pint-sized front man did a pretty fair imitation of j.b., joe tex, or one of those. one of my fondest memories is watching the junior magistrates -- "little brother" band of the supreme magistrates, the big black band in my town -- throwing down on "sweet soul music" at a high school dance ca. '72 or thereabouts.

the other night i was watching andre's video of sharon jones and the dap-kings, from a show eric hermeyer (ex-mazinga phaser gtrist and beloved wreck room d.j.) promoted right before he moved back home to memphis. sharon jones is _the real deal_. my streaming radio station at work likes to play her version of "this land is your land," in which the woody guthrie folkie standard is essayed in the manner of the early '70s j.b.'s. she's also covered janet jackson's "what have you done for me lately," and written a song called "what if we all stopped paying taxes?" her tight, tough band is slick and sharp as a patent-leather shoe.

sharon's a native of augusta, georgia -- james brown's hometown -- who migrated to brooklyn as a teen, worked as a studio singer, and wound up employed as a corrections officer before being discovered by some stone soul aficionados who had a record label. the guthrie cover is on naturally, her second full-length release, but her debut, dap-dipping with sharon jones and the dap-kings, boasts "pick it up, lay it in the cut," a virtual primer of soul band strokes (killer interlocking riffs, relentless groove, band vocals and all). they even have vinyl. only non-snazz aspect: you gotta have a paypal account to order online.

the po'k sammitch of yr dreams

(this one's for you, paul boll)

unlike me, my wife _never_ dreams about food, so when she does, it's a bona fide _event_ at my house.

one night last week, she dreamed she was eating a roast pork sandwich with "some kind of sweet chutney and an herb that looked like fennel." when she reported this, i took it as _my mission_ to try and replicate the experience for her in a conscious state.

the herb dude at central market said it wasn't fennel; apparently, you don't eat the tops of those, you eat the big bulbous thing at the bottom. feh. he suggested dill; no dice. too bitter. we finally settled on sweet basil, which we happen to have copious quantities of growing in the back yard.

the roast pork in question was rubbed with garlic and rosemary. we sliced the leftover slab into quarter-inch pieces.

in the dream, the bread was thick and crusty. we used our fave three-seed bread from that market whose name i said before, where we also found an apple-cranberry chutney with big pieces of fruit swimming in it.

once the bread was toasted, one slice was spread with a thin layer of chutney, just enough for the diced basil to adhere to. then the pork was laid on. the top slice of bread got a more generous portion of the chutney.

while it didn't make the top of our sandwich hit parade (that distinction is reserved for a bacon, lettuce, and tomato with avocado slices -- a b.l.a.t.!), she said it was every bit as good as the one in the dream. and that, gentle readers, is good enough for me.

on hating "mustang sally"

if you think "classic rock" radio can condition you to hate certain music, try playing in bar bands for a few yrs.

if you're a musician of a certain age, who doesn't like to rehearse much but likes to make money, it might seem like an attractive proposition at first. sooner than you think, though, you'll wind up telling yourself, "i'll slit my wrists if i ever have to play 'brown eyed girl' / 'johnny b. goode' / 'pride and joy' / [insert name of loathesome overplayed chestnut here] again." trust me. i know. i have.

by far the worst of these, number one with a bullet on my hit parade of songs i'd rather pull my eyes out than ever have to play / hear / be on the same planet with again is -- that's right -- the 1966 wilson pickett hit "mustang sally."

an admission: i used to _like_ "mustang sally." where i grew up (on lawn guyland in the '60s), _everybody_ did, because the young rascals covered it. (in my neighborhood, the rascals, the four seasons, and the vanilla fudge were all, in their time, bigger than the beatles -- because they were _italian_.) that was a long, long time ago.

a few yrs ago i was in a bluesband, playing in some shit-dive downtown that's since deservedly gone the way of all flesh. the bassplayer was an italo-american kid from lawn guyland, maybe ten years younger than me. fool that i was, i assumed that because of his heritage and place of origin, he was hardwired from birth to play the stupid song, because of the rascals connection. (how was i supposed to know he went to high school in _richardson_?!?!?) little did i suspect that his musical referents were pretty much limited to the beatles, pink floyd, and pearl jam. imagine my surprise when, instead of riding the I chord forever the way he was supposed to, he made the IV change as if it was a normal bluessong. a friend of mine who was there said he could hear me yelling "one!!! _one_!!! ONE!!!" over the band, all the way from the back of the room.

a coupla yrs ago, i was playing on the street in omaha with nathan brown. we only made two dollars in four hours, but i had an opportunity i'd been waiting over 30 years for.

a street saxophonist saw us setting up and approached. "uh, what's the name of your band, man?"

"nathan brown's r&b."

"r&b, huh? um, do you know 'mustang sally'?"


the _only_ good version of the song is the one in the commitments. "roid, sally, roid," indeed.

it's on

icicle and the kid.


thursday, 9:30pm.

be there.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

smoking suxxx; biscuit

so here's the deal...i've said before that i'm not feeling real red, white and blue that i've started smoking cigarettes again. i hate feeling like shit all the time, i realize that the anxiety i feel in some situations (like, um, conference calls) is more a function of my butt-hunger than any real stress i associate with what's going on outside of me, i don't enjoy the fact that smoking has enabled me to start the day with the same symphony of gacking/gagging noises that usedta amuse me so much when my old man was making 'em when i was a kid. the kicker, though, is this: since i got married back in march, i reallyreallyreally donwanna croak earlier than i need to and leave my sweetie alone and sad. (she's way too realistic of a person to try to browbeat/nag/guilt me out of this, but it's a definite consideration.) so, i've gotta find a way to shake this jones. i dig my life way too much to give it up because of my own stoopid compulsions.

separate but related topic: apparently, the death of randy "biscuit" turner, graphic artist and ex-front for legendary texas skate punks the big boys, was due to complications from hepatitis-c. if anyone you love is using i.v. drugs, slap the shit out of them.

vinyl 4, arthur, swedish psych, dropkick murphys

i've been having uncannily good luck at half price books lately. i think "jeff beck," and immediately damn near his entahr catalog appears in the lp bins at south hulen, ripe for the picking. one night i'm having a convo w/darrin via the wonder of myspace (that's right, i'm out there with all the 20somethings waxing nostalgic about the good old days back when music was _real_; y'know, when jibe and tripp fontaine were still out there sho' nuff doin' it) re: terry reid, the leather-lunged brit who turned down the lead singer slots in both led zeppelin and deep purple before riding off for shoulda-woulda-coulda land and the next day i find his second lp move over for terry reid, a nice organic-sounding slab of late-'60s brit r&b-flavored rawk, in the rack at ridgmar. (i just read in the new arthur -- pick one up by the door at the wreck room before they're gone -- that somebody in the u.k. has released a double cd comp on terry that's available through

one night i'm listening to the rhino handmade thingy by the stalk-forrest group (precursor to blue oyster cult that recorded the same album twice for elektra, who inexplicably declined to release it) and the next day i unearth a clean copy of tyranny and mutation, the one b.o.c. alb that lived up to all the hype writer types like lester bangs and r. meltzer (who had an ulterior motive, being the band's sometime lyricist) were giving the band in the pages of rolling stone and creem ca. '72. the same night, i'm ruminating on the paul butterfield blues band alb east-west, which, the same arthur ish notes, raised the curtain on the whole west coast psych-jam development, and the next day i find not east-west is own self but fathers and sons, a late-'60s production that paired butterfield and his original lead gtrist mike bloomfield with authentic chicago blues heavies muddy waters and otis spann. as all of the above are now deceased, it truly makes no diff, as the saying goes, whether they were black or white, and in the fullness of time, it seems like butter (the lawyer's son turned southside hardass turned beatific acidhead) and bloomer (the self-described "fat little jewish child" whose trust fund bought him a career as maybe the first authentic '60s 'meercun gtr hero) could surely play the shit. as rabbi frank would say, "it's a blessing."

i shouldn't shit-talk myspace too much, because that's how (on marcus' recommendation) i was able to discover dungen, this great swedish psych outfit that's actually touring the states behind the release of their new alb ta det lugnt (that's right, kids, they sing in swedish, which might be a little disconverting for ppl who -- unlike me -- listen to lyrics first) and will be in dallas at gypsy tea room on september 24th. dungen's built around gustav ejstes, a multi-instrumental whiz with a rustic upbringing who recently told arthur that he's subsisted for days on just popcorn, and why doubt him? there are moments when his band sounds like hendrix playing techno music, while at others, it has the same happy hipi vibe as the polyphonic spree, only with loads more instrumental ear candy, which after all is what makes good psych melt in yr brain, not in yr hands -- it's all those different colors and textures that make for such good architecture in yr head. (my buddy irv once questioned how i could call frank zappa's gtr-playing "psychedelic" if frank hisself had never been, um, _experienced_, to which i reply, "psychedelia is in the mind of the behearer.")

turns out that long before the '90s, when the hellacopters and what seemed like a zillion bands with '70s muscle car fetishes invaded these shores, blaring hyperthyroid dee-troit ramalama (sorry ray), there was an active psych scene in sweden, led by bands like the mecki mark men and hansson and karlsson (whose song "tax free" hendrix covered). last year, a bunch of 50something swedes who go by the monikor trad, gras och stenar (trees, grass and stones) played the wreck room (where graham richardson taught them how to do tequila shots). i didn't make it to the show, but i have one cd of theirs that john bargas brought me back from a visit to the west coast (thanks, uncle johnny) and while it's a lot lower-energy and less groove-oriented than dungen's work (think fairport convention or the 1969 velvets), it's still hypnotic in its way.

last but not least, steve steward let me borrow the dropkick murphys' blackout. while i have reservations about any punk band with a bagpiper (still recoiling from the horror that was the outfield back in the '80s -- remember that band from philly that used the irish pipes? i think it has something to do with the mummer's day parade, but i'm not sure), i checked 'em out and was surprised to find that they didn't suck. these boyos are from baaahston, but prolly more the, um, good will hunting 'hood than haaahvid yaaahd (altho the frontguy claims a coupla ivy league pedigrees in one song). what this is, is _electric folk music_ (steve sez they cut a song w/sean mcgowan from the pogues a coupla yrs back, which makes perfect sense). as i've always been partial to punk that sticks close to the folkloric roots o' the music (the clash when they were good, the minutemen), i like this real much. proof positive, as if any more were needed, that you never know _where_ the good stuff is gonna come from.


hahahaha...i just discovered the acronym page on much is now explained.

goodwin did, indeed, rowco at the little moon last night. best part: the room filled up around the time they hit the stage, perhaps an indication that the daily skiff story last week did its job, i.e., alerting the incoming freshmen class at tcu that the goodwin boys do, indeed, exist. the snotty french waiter was a nice touch, and afterward, daniel gomez said that they're within a couple of tracks of finishing their long-awaited sophomore cd, which he says should be out by the end of the year. in the meantime, el presidente promises a teaser e.p. consisting of one song from the cd, a handful of oddball tracks that wouldn't ordinarily make it to a goodwin release, and maybe a movie. a movie?!?!? sounds intriguing.

before, the house was rawked by austinites wan santo condo, whose leader apparently plays gtr in pudge zeppelin and whose wall-of-sound approach damien stewart compared to early brasco. one of them spilled an entire pitcher of beer while watching headliners darth vato. hope he wasn't driving home to austin that night.

speaking of dv, apparently dan malone from the fweakly is writing a cover story for this week's paper about the police raiding the party the vatos were playing last weekend. a noisy party complaint as front-page news? musta been a slow week or something. when kerry dean 'n' company hit at the moon, the 10-foot line o' death in front of the stage that persisted through goodwin's set finally disappeared, and one couldn't help being impressed by the high percentage of audience mbrs who knew the words to all the songs, as well as the way steve steward and eric dodson have tightened up their pocket. plus it's always fun to watch steve do his scared-japanese-peasant dance during "ska song." we left before the second set; hopefully the several rounds of jager shots provided by a fan didn't diminish darth vato's motor skills overly much.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

great tyrant - hold the date

the debut performance of the great tyrant, the new band composed of ex-yeti / pointy shoe factory musos, is tentatively planned for october 25th at the axis, opening for sleepytime gorilla museum. more as it develops.

Friday, August 26, 2005

fw haikus (work in progress)


with intent of will
looks like a mad scientist
makes the six-string talk


played in da drumline
most sensible man i know
right on, sticky d


god's man in fort worth
tcu don't school poets
how did you get here?


son of the northside
this cat invented himself
you got some style, brah

steve s.

i'm jealous because
he can write better than me
and he's from cali


don't fuck with my man
he may only have one leg
but he'll kick your ass


make something useful
and beautiful from nothing
then you'll be andre


yeah he slings the drinks
but he's really a rockstar
and a real good dad


sing a funky song
throw your hanky in the air
fly on lady pearl


warrior for hire
what else can a man do with
infantry training?

tony a.

looks like a biker
but inside he's a poet
still waters run deep


the night you asked if
we could talk for a minute
my life got better


always remember
i am very proud of you
the best part of me

k1 & k2

always on my mind
i'm sorry that i failed you
but we still have time

matt h.

when i die, burn me
then go spread my ashes on
ev'ry stage i've played


anyone that thinks
that cooking ain't a fine art
is a goddamn fool


stands like a statue
rabbinical student beard
marlin von bungy

johnny c.

through nimble fingers
the heart of a country boy
cries out for justice


such a bitter kid
but he sings like an angel
that can break your heart

big g from philly

knows good rawk from bad
my rabbi and good conscience
let's get real o mind


lawn guyland homeboy
he's a modern day minstrel
light up them strings, bro


the little red fox
makes magic music happen
dressed like hunter t.


me and my best friends
got somethin' good goin' on
in haltom city


an angry sun god
a benevolent despot
got any sweet tea?

tony d.

gotta work the room
with my big heart on my sleeve
leggo my ego


do ya like the jazz
as well as you like the rawk?
well, why the hell not?


nathan browningham
has better and worse luck than
anyone i know


i've been doing this
for longer than anyone
but i can't get props


he runs a good bar
this cantankerous old yank
tobacco smoke air

the razor

my gtr hero
it ain't just what you can do
it's how you do it

Thursday, August 25, 2005

new blogger haiku

my mind grows weary
word verification on
ain't blog spam the shits?

word verification on

ok. i turned on this feature blogger calls "word verification" that requires you to type a word that appears on the screen before you can post a comment. a stupid inconvenience for which i apologize, but i'm tahhhrd of having to delete bullshit-ass blogspam from this thingy with increasing frequency. why, in the hour or so since the last post, i've gotten _three_ of 'em. feh.

when propaganda fails

so i was hangin' out at the bar, talking to these friends of clay's about how much i hate that i'm smoking cigarettes again, and what i really need is for someone to make a movie like supersize me about smoking (even though i've been watching anti-smoking propaganda since i was six or seven). after seeing that movie, i told 'em, i stopped eating fast food almost immediately.

"i dunno," one of clay's friends said. "i watched that movie on dvd at my buddy's house, but i only got through the first disc. all it showed was lotsa different kinds of fast food, then i had to leave before the second part. after that, all i wanted to eat for two weeks was fast food."

art of the jam 15

oh. my. gawd.

i was feelin' kinda beat down when i got to the wreck room for lee 'n' carl's invitational jam last night, but my night immediately got better when i saw jesse sierra hernandez moving his conga drums from his studio to the stage. i set up my gear and walked out into the bar, where my night got even better when i saw clay stinnett, drummer for ghostcar, history at our disposal, and prolly half a dozen other denton bands, sitting at the bar with a coupla buds. they'd been over at fred's and got bored, so they came to the wreck, where clay had (unbeknownst to me) heard some of the previous week's jam. i knew he'd been out of action for a few months, but i also knew that he'd recently bought a new set of drums. when i asked him about it, he informed me that he'd played a party the weekend before and still had his drums in the car.

so the night started out percussion-heavy, with clay set up center stage and joe cruz on the house kit. (next time, wreck room wizard o' sounds andre says we should set up both kits on the stage -- better balance that way.) a young cat named cody, who plays monday nights at the saffire lounge, showed up with an acoustic (his main axe) and a paul reed smith that wound up staying in the case for the night. it wound up being an acoustic-string-heavy night, too, when jesse's high school buddy fern and his pal jeff showed up with their nylon-strings. later on, darrell from confusatron and kyle aka monkey brainz from the spoonfed tribe showed up to add their electronic treatments to the stew. for the second set, pablo and the hemphill 7 bassist marcus lawyer joined in on some unamplified percussion. with all the musos and gear on the stage, andre started running out of inputs, so steve huber's violin went out sans his beloved pod effects (which is fine, imo, in keeping with the evening's preponderance of acoustic textures and the fact that if i had an instrument that sounded like that, i sure wouldn't put a bunch of f/x on it).

best of all, there was actually an audience -- probably more civilians than we've seen at the last month's worth of jams, in fact. (if you were one of 'em, please come back -- and _bring your friends_.) having ppl in the house always has a salutary effect on musos, and the large group brought out the best in jam-meister lee allen, who used his conductor's chops to structure and direct the goings-on in the moment. it could have been a clusterfuck, of course -- improv's always a crapshoot -- but luckily, everyone involved knew how to use their ears and leave space for others to fill. after a brief duo interlude by the nylon-string players, the rest of the musos returned to jam with them for a coupla toons and wonder of wonders, actually managed to regulate their volume to the point where the acoustic instruments weren't overwhelmed. there was plenty of interplay and nonverbal interaction, too -- and lotsa happy smiling musos. i haven't heard dre's recording yet (i've been trying not to bug him for jam tapes since he got back from colorado, but this time is gonna be an exception), but i'll prolly be skying on the endorphin buzz from last night until...well, until next wednesday's jam.

(p.s. -- things usually kick off at 9:30pm or thereabouts and run till 'round about midnight. sure, it's a school night, but as robert ealey usedta say, you don't get this everywhere.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

vinyl 3: not larry, moe, and curly

lately i'm just pleased as punch because for the first time in, um, over 30 yrs, i own all three stooges albums on vinyl. it wasn't even my idea: my _wife_ made me do it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

what else is there to write about the stooges? lord (or iggy) knows i've written reams and reams of blather about 'em, starting with my 11th grade english journal (which moved my cute little blonde english teacher mrs. kaufman to ask me, "is everything all right?"), culminating in a night of marathon excess reviewing the rhino handmade complete funhouse sessions box (which i no longer own and now deem unlistenable; you _can_ get too much of a good thing, thanks for asking) for the i-94 bar (strapped to my computer, contemplating the day of acute sleep deprivation that awaited me at my soul-destroying tech writing job while a mad australian egged me on via e-mail, "spin another disc why doncha?!?!?" as yet another take of "i'm loose" blared away in the background).

between 1997 and 2002, i musta listened to a thousand records that tried to sound like these three, and they just weren't as good. the lessons of the stooges are many: that less _is_ more; that bands can develop from stumblebum chaos to assured mastery in a relatively short time if they play a lot, regardless of their substance abuse patterns; that the no-talent losers you're laughing at now could, in the fullness of time, become cultural icons and their horrible noise could become _part of the lexicon_ (i mean, back in 1970, who'd a thunk that 30+ years down the line, black sabbath would be as-if-not-_more_ influential on the rawk-as-it-is than the beatles?!?!?). that it's, um, better to burn out than it is to rust.

in 1967, in ann arbor (mellow-down-easy collegetown about as far from the festering open sewer of detroit as denton is from fort worth or dallas), the psychedelic stooges were a joke, the band ppl used to laugh at or walk around getting a beer to when they opened for touring heavyweights like the cream (uh, that's eric clapton's old band...who's he? y'know the old guy that did the song for that john travolta movie...oh, nevermind). as chronicled in please kill me and elsewhere, elektra records "house hipi" danny fields got 'em signed when label boss jac holzman came to town to sign the mc5 (big hype in rolling stone and they worked real hard, but wound up being totally eclipsed by their "little brother" band) and they went into the studio with ex-velvet underground founder john cale as their producer. sure, they could hardly play their instruments, but that was almost the point: they showed just how much you could accomplish with near-zero technical ability, which proved in their case to be quite a lot.

if you wanna wallow in welters of amplified and distorted primitive noise, you just can't beat the first stooges alb (cleverly entitled the stooges), even though half of the first side is taken up by 10 seemingly interminable minutes of "we will fall," which sounds like the velvets' "venus in furs" stretched to mind-numbing length and performed by nepalese monks (albeit nepalese monks with wah-wah gtr). actually, it reminds me of the music that's playing during the scene in conan the barbarian where james earl jones turns into a snake during the orgy and then aaah-nold tips over the cauldron full of skull soup. but i digress. some of the songs on side two kinda suck, too, but then again ron asheton had to dash 'em off in a big hurry when they arrived in nyc to record with exactly three songs written. but the good stuff is rill, _rill_ good: the blaring fuzz-wah apocalypse of "1969," the ur-punk anthem "i wanna be your dog" (with its velvet-inspahrd one-note piano and _sleigh bells_) and maybe best of all, "little doll," which deconstructs bo diddley into something _really_ primal. and am i hallucinating, or do the handclaps on "no fun" (which iggy claims was modeled on johnny cash's "i walk the line;" can you hear it?) make it sound almost like, um, a _pop_ record or something?

then they went on the road, and a funny thing happened: they learned how to play, and not just almost. ron asheton might only have known two licks on gtr (he subsequently learned a third, around 1981, which australian fans refer to as "_the lick_"), but he made 'em sound absolutely lethal every time out the box, and his brother scott showed a grasp of groove and dynamics rare in a rawk drummer that made it seem as though he had swallowed the entire detroit r&b tradition whole and now the motor city's throbbing pulse was his pulse, too. and iggy...from the acid-addled jester of his earliest performances, he'd evolved into something downright _scary_ (although deniz tek, who saw the stooges a bunch of times as a teen in ann arbor, says there was always a fair amount of humor in iggy's shtick). fuck mick jagger and jim morrison; this cat looked like he was right out there on the edge (of what? madness? transcendence? as iggy his own self would say, "you pays your money so you takes your choice") and sounded like a psychotic trailer-park james brown.

it's all there in the vid of the 1970 cincinnati pop festival, where iggy jumps offstage and winds up walking on the audience's hands, smearing himself with peanut butter. he's pure animal; beautiful, unbridled id. (when i made my last g-f watch it with me, she said incredulously, "you'd like to _be like him_, wouldn't you?" "who wouldn't?" i said.) all of that is on funhouse, my choice for the greatest record ever made, which sounds a lot less dated 35 yrs down the road than most music that's 20 or 10 or five or two years old. it was produced by don gallucci, a veteran of the pacific northwest scene that spawned battalions of killer white hard-rock bands like the wailers, the sonics, the raiders, and his own don & the goodtimes long before the beatles ever played on ed sullivan. cutting live in the studio, with iggy singing through a p.a., little donnie had the sense to let the stooges turn up and do their thang, naked and without embellishment. on the second side, steve mackay blows some anarchic r&b-flavored tenor sax, culminating in "l.a. blues," an echo of the high-energy free-form meltdowns on late-period coltrane sides like meditations.

after that, things began to unravel rather quickly. it didn't help that around the time funhouse was released, a plague of heroin afflicted the cohesive and highly politicized detroit-ann arbor scene (coincidence? _you_ decide!!!), including iggy and scott asheton. then original bassist dave alexander was summarily shitcanned after he forgot how to play all the songs while drunk and stoned onstage in front of 30,000 ppl at the goose lake pop festival and was replaced by a succession of non-musicians. somewhere along the line a second gtrist, james williamson, was recruited, and he quickly subsumed ron asheton's role as iggy's co-writer. the wheels had just off the band when along came david bowie, then in his first flush of fame stateside, who picked up iggy and james and whisked 'em off to england, where they auditioned legions of bassplayers and drummers before finally putting out the call for the asheton bros. to come save the day.

now, there's no doubt that bowie idolized iggy, but that didn't keep his management from using the stooges as a kind of cash cow to get the ziggy stardust train on the rails. they took the stooges' $60,000 advance from columbia and used it to bankroll bowie's ventures, while recording raw power on the quick-and-cheap (when i interviewed ron asheton, he said that the guy who engineered the record didn't even bother to get _levels_ on the bass and drums). the result, as mixed by bowie, is kind of like having somebody stick a knife in your ear: the bowie mix is _shrill_. that said, i'll still take it over the one iggy did for the remastered cd version back in '97, which actually sounds a lot like what a loud rawk band hears onstage in a club where the soundman has a cloth ear: a wall of rhythm gtr. on vinyl, at least you can hear what low-frequency sounds there are to be heard in the bowie mix. the music, however, is beyond criticism. three words: "search and destroy." hard to believe anyone was playing this hard and fast in the early '70s, but they were -- for awhile, anyway.

i got funhouse when i was 14, and played the shit out of it until my then-best friend puked purloined gin all over it _and_ my record player (_not_ stereo). that was during the coupla yrs that my father was in germany on a fellowship and in his absence, my best buddy and i made liberal and indiscriminate use of the contents of his liquor cabinet. by that time, the record was cut-out, so replacing it wasn't an option. (thanks, jon.) it took me a few months of working weekends at the hipi record store to earn enough money to buy a stereo. i got raw power the day it was released, along with, um, beck, bogert & appice and the new johnny winter record. back in those days, it's instructive to remember, the stooges were the _antithesis_ of cool; "hip" people usedta laugh and look at you funny when you said you liked 'em.

by the early '80s, that had changed; punk had hit and stooges rekkids even got re-released. on my first "date" with my future ex-wife (we went to austin to see, um, broooce springsteen _on the bus_ because my driver's license was suspended, and stayed with a guy i'd come down from new york with), i found a weird canadian release that had most of the good songs from the stooges and funhouse. since then, i've been without 'em for spells, a condition i hope not to repeat (my sweetie even approves my desire to cop an extra copy of funhouse to keep in pristine condition for our dotage).

of course, the labels (rhino, the euros) keep re-re-repackaging this stuff, but screw them; for my money, you can't beat the original pristine artifacts. it always makes me laugh when i hear rekkid collectors talking about "upgrading" their fave old gooduns; how can you improve on something that's already perfect?

darth vato, goodwin

shows this week? at mi casa, it's a no-brainer: darth vato, goodwin, and some fuckin' band from austin i've never heard of (who thankfully are playing _early_) at the moon on saturday night. especially since i missed this yr's parade of lost-sheep tcu freshmen making their way down berry street asking "where are the bars? are there any that have live music?" last weekend.

at the bar recently, kerry dean played me the voicemail he got from ian mckaye in response to a request from the vatos to use a sample from a minor threat song on their just-released seven seas e.p. it seems that when kerry called the dischord offices, ian was on the road with his current band, and so the vato boyzzz (who respect their heroes' copyrights) sent their new disco off for pressing sans the mckaye sample. turns out it woulda been ok with the godfather of straight-edge after all, so i suggested to kerry that maybe it'd also be cool to include ian's voicemail on the _next_ dv rec (um, minus his phone number, of course). in response to a suggestion that he send a copy of seven seas to dischord, kerry responded, "um, maybe just the song 'war on the westside' -- they aren't into songs that objectify wimmin."

it seems like the war was on the southside this past weekend, when the dv boyzzz were playing a houseparty in the fairmont addition. one set into the evening, the cops shut it down, and it looked for awhile like darth vato were going to have their chance to be fort worth's answer to the huns, the band that put the austin punk scene on the map by getting arrested everytime they played (thanks in large part to huns singer phil tolbert's assless chaps). "there were three patrol cars," said dv drummer eric dodson, "and i got a ticket for _jaywalking_ -- in a residential neighborhood." we can only hope that kerry dean will use the experience as grist for his songwriting mill and come up with something as anthemic and inspiring as the clash's "guns on the roof," which was written after "the only band that matter[ed](TM)"'s riddim boys got popped for, um, shooting pigeons with a pellet gun.

anthemic is an adjective that can be applied to any number of toons in goodwin's repertoire, and this weekend the new tcu kids who catch their set will get a real edjumikashun in melodic-yet-aggressive, hook-laden rawk songcraft, as well as acrobatic stage business. el presidente daniel gomez and his crew have been hard at work on a sophomore disc for months now, but like orson welles, gomez will sell no cd before its time. for now, we'll have to be satisfied with _just_ their live show, which is never less than stellar and should be even more so in the, um, _intimate_ setting of the moon, where you'll prolly need a spatula and crisco to get through the door by 11-ish.

Monday, August 22, 2005

art of the jam 14

ok, i've been a little delinquent in posting this, which some readers might infer indicates a _degree of exhaustion with the project_. not so; just an ass-whomping _week from hell_ at work and a weekend when my wife rented a stack of monty python dvd's. (i should note here that weeks from hell notwithstanding, i like my dayjob real much and our office is thicker with musos than any employer i've had since, well, blockbuster music back in the days when tim locke and various toadies usedta punch the clock there.)

it _is_ true that absent darrin kobetich and james hinkle, there's been a relative paucity of axe-slingers around the little wreck room on recent wednesday nights. not that i really _get tired of listening to myself play_, it's just that sometimes i think that civilians, not to mention the bandleader, might appreciate a bit more variety (or somebody whose formative influences date from later than 1972 or so). but enough about me. there's lots more to listen to, particularly the violin player and his line 6 pod thingy. and my buddy joe cruz on drums (who's apparently _not_ joining villain vanguard; their loss). last week, when leo saenz III from latin express stopped by with his bass for a brief blow, 6-string-bassmeister lee allen stepped over to gtr and played the fahrrr out of it too, as is his wont. it's just that the visit by leo and a drummer whose name i didn't catch but i believe plays with steve huber in the fw symphony and also hosts a jam at 6th street grill (which i wouldn't know because i've _never ever_ set foot in that particular establishment) seemed more like an _event_ than a _process_, which is what the jam is, i think, when it's hitting on all cylinders. especially when they busted out, um, ravel's "bolero." i kept looking all over for bo derek (or bo diddley, for that matter), but she failed to materialize.

for me, the high point of the night was the last 15 minutes or so, when kyle aka monkey brainz, who's played with spoonfed tribe, got up to add his flutes, voxxx, and f/x to the mix. (actually, the _extramusical_ high point for me was when my dtr and her b-f james stopped by for a minute, but then i had to get back up and play. feh.) for the occasion, we busted out steve's "dry hump burn" in 7/4 (well, after a little disagreement on the meter w/the dumbass gtr player -- sorry, maestro), segueing into a "maggot brain" that lee said (and i agree) was closer to the spirit of the funkadelic 'riginal than any other time we've essayed it (and there've been a few gooduns over the past coupla months, all of 'em very different). sound-magician andre urged kyle to contact tony diaz about playing one of fwac's acoustic mondays at the wreck and maybe he will.

anyway, i was at central market of all places on sunday and ran into brock, the cat who's a manager at gtr center on s. hulen and usedta be a jam regular the first few weeks. i'm hoping he'll show up this wednesday with his bluesy axe, particularly if mr. hinkle is in the house. who knows, maybe carl pack will even grace the stage again. if not, lee's threatening to change the name of the gig from "lee and carl's invitational jam" to "impulse of will." and i think that sumbitch is just crazy enough to do it, too.

the worst thing i have ever done in my life

"get it off your chest...and forget about all the rest."

speaking of the fort worth cats, besides personifying the first stirring of the post-1976 punk development here in the fort (although a couple of 'em had participated in the late '60s version documented in the norton fort worth teen scene comp), they were also the centerpiece of _the worst thing i have ever done in my life_, the story of which was told in the middle of some other long-forgotten story on some prolly-defunct website a few yrs back, so i'll tell it again here (with a few embellishments).

one night in 1979, my roommate the famous penguin head and i were lounging around our sumptuous arlington heights pad (a vintage-1911 house at the corner of collinwood and sanguinet with hedges that were routinely trashed by friday-night drunks coming out of the showdown and which has since been condominiumized out of existence; i arrived on new years' eve 1978 and stayed for approximately nine months before decamping for austin, sleeping on the unheated porch with my rated-to-20-below down sleeping bag) contemplating our lack of funds. we were assistant managers at a record store on camp bowie who liked to do things like spending $9 a month on food and $60 a month on alcohol, but we were in between paydays and things looked grim.

"i'll bet i can get us drunk for free tonight," i said. the play was as follows: the aforementioned fort worth cats were playing at the hop on berry street that night. i would impersonate a writer from new york rocker (i was, after all, from noo yawk); the famous penguin head would impersonate my photographer (he did, after all, own a 35mm camera). in this manner, we would gain entrance to the hop and get shithammered on the band's generosity. we prudently deputized our friend, co-worker, and _king of crowley_ mr. dee-lite to serve as designated driver.

the ruse worked...up to a point. when the band was a couple of sets into the night and we were three (or four or six) sheets to the wind, someone in the cats' entourage had the presence of mind to ask if the "writer from new york rocker" wasn't going to interview the band. so, i sat out on the stoop in front of the hop with mike neal, making gurgling noises that were supposed to approximate interview questions. after a few moments of this, mike asked, "aren't you going to write anything down?" so i took a borrowed pen and proceeded to scrawl illegibly on a bar napkin. (this interview method, by the way, is one i employed with somewhat more success in later years while writing about collin herring, darth vato, the me-thinks, and countless other worthies for the local giveaway alt-weekly.) it didn't take long for mike to realize that he had been had, and even less time for the club management to give me, the famous penguin head, and mr. dee-lite the old bum's rush.

from there, it gets better...or actually, worse. a lot worse.

post-ejection from the hop, we noticed that there was an american flag hanging from every lamppost on berry street. the famous penguin head, being a dyed-in-the-wool _revolooshunary_ (read: a ridglea-bred rich kid with a beef against his old man), whipped out his trusty zippo and torched one. as if by magic, the hangers-out on the sidewalk in front of the hop evaporated. then we rode via mr. dee-lite's short to the apartment (on west normandale, back when there was fuck-all on west normandale) of a co-worker whom i'd once taken to the bluebird and, when he saw fit to observe, eyes darting furtively around the room, that "jeez, we're the only white ppl here," had responded, "who the fuck is _we_?" now we hammered on his door for long minutes (it was around 4am) demanding that he come out and drink with us. when he (probably wisely) refused, we responded by tearing up every shrub and bush that was planted around the foundation of his building, stacking them up in front of his door, and pissing on them.

the next morning, we rolled in to work and found our boss, the man who brought me here, reading the paper. the headline said something about flag desecration on berry street. it was -- you guessed it -- memorial day. "you guys didn't have anything to do with this, did you?" he asked. just then, the coworker whose front porch we'd vandalized walked in the door, glared at us, and stalked off in a huff.

my favorite part of the story takes place a couple of years later, in 1982, when i was in air force basic training and received a fairly condescending letter on the subject of my enlistment from the famous penguin head, then in san francisco, along the lines of "i'm sure you had your reasons." i haven't heard from him since then, but friends told me that he wound up working in the reagan state department. in a strange way, it made perfect sense.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

johnny reno in fw biz press

i'm not a regular reader of the fort worth business press, but i did see mike price's recent cover story on local sax maniac/lounge lizard/prolific soundtrack composer johnny reno. interesting reading.

instant karma on the border

there's non-alanis irony in this story: asshat vigilante pistolwhips illegal immigrant. illegal immigrant sues. judge awards vigilante's ranch (which he'd since signed over to his sister) to illegal immigrant as part of the settlement.

icicle and the kid redux

just heard that icicle and the kid -- that's john "johnny icicle" seibman (ex-fort worth cats...the band, not the ball club) on gtr/voxxx and david "kid" daniels (also ex-fort worth cats, currently residing in corpus christi) on bass/voxxx, along with eric martin (contemporary dance fort worth composer-in-residence) on drums -- will be bringing their surf-punk-rockabilly thang to the wreck room on saturday, september 3rd, and possibly fred's on thursday, september 1st. more on this as it emerges.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

surprise: johnny case is _not_ the only local muso w/a political conscience

This from the letters-to-the-editor section of yesterday's Star-Telegram. It's nice to occasionally read something in our local daily (besides the New York Times crossword) that doesn't make me wanna punch the wall:

Vicki Tidwell's Aug. 1 letter about public broadcasting ("National treasure or liberal mouthpiece") referred to "the agenda-driven left wing of the Democratic Party."

I've read of this "agenda" business in other letters sympathetic to the Bush administration. My question is: Does Bush & Co. not have an agenda? How can anyone operate without an agenda?

Karl Rove and Dick Cheney are as partisan and big-donor-friendly as politicos get. Their agenda is corporotocracy.

Every politician has an agenda, whether it's to serve the constituency or to serve campaign contributors.

It's not hatred of our commander in chief that provokes the "unpatriotic" attacks to which Tidwell referred. Many Americans simply don't like the way that this administration is running their country. There's more patriotism in peaceful dissent than in blind obedience.

Reginald Rueffer, Arlington

(You may know Reggie as the rockin' frontman of Spot or the Hochimen. Or you may have heard him play country fiddle with Charlie Pride or the Insiders. Either way, right on, Reg.)

fort worth academy of music

hey, lee allen and dave karnes' music school (which offers private lessons as well as rock camp) now has a web presence. check it out here.

colorado: what _really_ happened?

read joe vano's first installment of the recent fort worthian invasion of the rocky mountain state here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

yet another reason why i am allergic to newsprint


i haven't been a participant in the fort worth arts consortium in awhile, but that didn't stop me from getting, um, a little torqued when my wife read me the disparaging bullshit-ass comments on the fwac's first anniversary celebration (which kicks off at 7:30pm next wednesday, august 17th at the power plant, 6463 east lancaster) in this week's "startime" section of yr local daily. to wit: "let me tell you, fort worth, this sounds like fun, and if i weren't sleeping, i would definitely not go anyway. but that's just me."

writers: like tits on a bull -- knowwhutimean?

and oh, yeah -- the "startime" folks also fucked up the calendar listing for the wreck room. nice job, boys. (i know this because i go to to get my club info.)

si tihs shullbit ro thaw?

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdenieg. The phaonemneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aodccrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dnsoe't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the hmuan mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azmanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuoht slpeling was ! ipmorantt

Thursday, August 11, 2005

nothing exceeds like excess

maybe i'm getting old or something, but da-amn, they just don't make big rock rekkids like they usedta.

i mean, gimme a break. in these days of 80-minute cd's, when every band seems ready 'n' willing to release every fart, belch, and sneeze they've ever ever ever recorded, it's easy to forget that there once was a time when anytime an artiste took the time 'n' trouble to grunt out over an hour's worth of musica, it was a _big statement_, a bona fide _event -- think only of the beatles' white album, exile on main st., electric ladyland, for chrissakes london calling.

not like nowadays, when the only way to get in the paper for making a rawk rekkid is to pull a move like wilco did a couple of yrs ago and flip the bird to their big-conglomerate label by suing to get the rights to their own masters, then having 'em released by yet another arm of said big conglomerate (in this case, the one that usedta be known for releasing product like baroque music for the recorder an' like that). or to be "controversial," like whimpering brit donkeys coldplay who claimed in print that the stockholders of _their_ big-conglomerate label were "evil." or to dare the dreaded "releasing two albs simultaneously" gambit (already perfected by '80s brontosaurs broooce springsteen and guns 'n' roses) like conor oberst (in his case, the two albs being one of unlistenable electro jive like he was his generation's bob mould or something and another on which the presence of emmylou harris makes it pretty clear that he's pandering to the boomer mom 'n' pop audience, conor perhaps sensing that his sell-by date among other 20somethings with bad haircuts is approaching as inexorably as, well, his 30th birthday).

but i digress.

my fave big rock rec of all time: quadrophenia by the who. unlike its acid-addled predecessor in the "rock opera" sweepstakes tommy, quadrophenia came complete with a quasi-coherent storyline, the universality of which surprisingly wasn't undercut by its very time/space-specific subject matter (to wit, the early '60s english mod cult from which the 'oo drew most of their early audience and the, um, personalities of the individual bandmembers, all of which was supposed to be some kind of commentary on the band's mystical bond with their audience, released right around the time said bond was nearing _its_ sell-by date as the band trudged around the sheds, culminating in the death of 11 whofans in a cattle-like stampede preceding a show in cincinnati a few yrs later). myself, i spent innumerable months in the devastating aftermath of my own first acid trip listening to quadrophenia in the company of some agreeable hooligans from my neighborhood, who'd meet every thursday night at the house of the one with a fake i.d. we'd each bring our 80 cents for our own personal pint of md 20/20, which he'd ride his bicycle to the liquor store to buy. when he came back, we'd sit in his mother's limo and pretend we were rockstars. (she had a hack license and was in fact the airport limo service my dad used whenever he'd travel on business; we were, in fact, the reason for the "puke smell" in the limo he'd always complain about when returning from a business trip.) sometimes our host would get out the super 8 projector and we'd watch one of a series of grade-z porn flicks he'd illicitly procured, entitled hot pussy nos. 1 through 18. mostly, though, i just sat in the corner listening to quadrophenia, not speaking to anyone and feeling overwhelmed by both my own shattered psyche and the fact that the ppl on the rekkid were _singing about me_. and my fellows, bless them, left me alone to do that.

in later years, i haven't gone back and listened to quadrophenia very much. a lot of the music seems pompous and overblown compared to most of what i like to listen to, and there's even something laughable about the high drama of the concept. then again, i put it on not long ago and found myself digging it more than i had any right to expect after, um, 30 yrs. i mean, if we _must_ have classical-influenced rock music, better townshend's britten and purcell pastiche than, say, emerson lake & palmer or one of those horrors. and as my wife points out, it's entirely appropriate that a music purporting to describe the inner world of a teenager should be filled with overwrought emotionalism. anything less would seem, well, a little _inauthentic_. if you don't believe her, just ask phil spector and brian wilson, why doncha?

i mentioned earlier that the clash's london calling was one of those "big statement" albums (and the one on which that band's two key personalities began reverting to type: joe strummer to the rebel rock and personal politics he practiced with the 101'ers, mick jones to the rockstar wannabeism of the true mott the hoople fan he was), but their _real_ magnum opus was sandinista!, the sprawling, self-indulgent mess, a full two hours long, that they produced at electric lady studios in nyc around the same time they played a whole week of shows at bond's casino, a danceclub in times square, instead of playing to the same number of ppl in two nights at madison square garden -- a supremely self-defeating gesture that proved once and for all that, cbs' bullshit-ass "only band that matters" hype aside, their hearts really were in the right place.

sandinista! was the same kind of gesture. the clash's fans might have wanted a tight, punchy platter of two-minute punk ditties; what they got instead was a surfeit of sketched-out ideas and experiments, a coupla sides worth of dub reggae, painfully trendy spector-via-meatloaf operas from mick jones (including a cameo by his careerist 'meercun g-f ellen foley, whose signing to epic i _think_ might have preceded her liaison with the dentally-damaged brit punkboy, i can't remember), timon dog (think johnny-rotten-as-fiddling-leprechaun), and paul simonon's "guns of brixton" sung by children. some choice stuff, too: "the magnificent seven" (at the time el clash combo were swallowing noo yawk city whole, the sound of said metropolis was early bronx hip-hop), the nawlins chestnut "junco partner" reimagined by strummer as cartoon reggae sung by a drunken parrot, "something about england" (the clash as the kinks? unlikely, but it worked).

what i really liked about sandinista! was something strummer said to an interviewer who remarked on its inordinate length: "it's supposed to take you a year to get through." the idea that, for the listener as well as for the creator, a rekkid (or by extension, a book, a painting, a photograph, a film) is a _process_, not an _event_, was heady stuff for me back in 1980. now it's, um, the way i think. and for bringing me that insight, i can _almost_ forgive the clash combat rock.

art of the jam 13

this week's jam was preceded by a coupla days of uncertainty following the disappearance of lee allen's bass head from the wreck room after friday night's sally majestic-catfish whiskey show. luckily, it turned up a few days later, just in time for the little jam. according to lee, the responsible parties said something about having helped an of-course-nameless-and-unidentifiable muso load out and then going to meet him, um, at a whataburger, in the parking lot of which they fell asleep. whatevah. to err is human an' like that. but when you mess up, you 'fess up. dig?

one thing i learned in the course of following this sequence of events is that the police will impound suspected stolen property from pawnshops 'n' music stores if the gear is reported missing, regardless of whether or not the owner has a serial number. without commmenting on the intentions of _those people_, lemme just say that it suxxx when you can't trust ppl around where you like to hang out. (outlaw chef terry chandler's take on it: "that's why i surround myself with ppl i _can_ trust.") i know that in future. i'll def be keeping a closer eye on my "amplet" and indonesian strat clone.

the jam itself marked the return from the arkansas hills of damien stewart on drums, who had the extreme decency to bring his own drum hardware and replacements for some of the house kit's long-suffering skins. as a result, the drumsounds have new depth and power; hopefully, other jammers will treat the traps as kindly. besides damien, who tagged off with joe cruz throughout the evening, the lineup was down to the "regulars": lee, steve huber on violin, and me. a cat named bill joined in to add his highly idiosyncratic vocal stylings and stage moves to a coupla toons. he said he also plays gtr; maybe next time. dre was running some of his board mix into the monitors; i dug the fuller, warmer sound and had fun trying to get harmonic feedback off my signal in the monitor. set was long on jam "standards" (beatles, hendrix, meters, gloria gaynor, a led zeppelin medley), requests (failure's "daylight" for lee's lovely wife, a weezer toon, another by system of a down, "the devil went down to georgia"), and a few in-the-moment creations (including one that started out as reggae and morphed into central european folkdance, tentatively entitled "jerked chicken goulash" by me).

once school's back in, lee's talking about starting later, the better to accommodate the hordes of tcu kids that flock to the wreck room every wednesday night (we live in hope).

the marvelous crooning child

is this creepy-weird or funny as a fish? _you_ decide!!!

gtr shred show

boy, i wish they'd had stuff like this when i was learning how to play. i particularly like the little gtr shaman character's native american headdress and central euro accent.

fz on itms

yet another reason to love itunes (a delivery system frank zappa actually predicted, no shit): they just got the entire zappa catalog. myself, i'm too old school; too into the _romance of the artifact_. but if you haven't heard fz's music, and subscribe to the service, a whole new world just opened up to you. dig it.

(thank you, paul boll, for putting me wise.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

mvb, flicks @ fred's, napoleon complex

went out to the lovely oakhurst addition last night to greet young marlon vaughn lundy, whose dad marlin von bungy is one of those rawk-saturated, good-time-havin' marketing genii from haltom city, the me-thinks. (their latest no-profit marketing coup: me-thinks onesies, of which woodeye bassist/wreck room bartender/new dad graham richardson was a proud recipient before the last time woodeye played the wreck.) the young fella was as handsome in person as his pic. congrats to his mom 'n' 'dad.

on the way home, i got a craving for a late-night burger 'n' beer, so we fell by fred's cafe and were delighted to find that terry chandler's now showing western movies under the stars on monday nights -- in this case the 1961 marlon brando vehicle one eyed jacks. between the flicks, saint frinatra on fridays, the electric mountain rotten apple gang on saturdays, and the new canopy over the stage in the beer garden, funky fred's is starting to seem more and more like a gen-yoo-wine _venue_. right on, terry.

got home and listened to the four-song e.p. by napoleon complex that marlin burned for me. napoleon complex is none other than the solo project of me-thinks drummer will risinger (aka boyo), and it's a goodun. marlon's uncle boyo mines the motherlode of power pop in the grand tradition of the beach boys, the ramones, and sterling-but-obscure latter-day scandinavian outfits like the yum-yums and the wonderfools. if the first song on the disc is maybe a little too referential of haltom city-riverside crew camping trips for average citizens to "get," it _does_ manage to shoehorn in the immortal line "colder than a buttfucker's dick in a snowman's ass." second toon's an ode to haltom city that makes that desolate burg of pho joints, asian video stores, motels and mini-warehouses sound like non-stop good times ("we ain't trying that hard / but we're doing alright"), with a memorable "hell yeah, hell yeah" refrain. third one's the testament of an underachiever ("it's a catastrophe / i sit by idly / watching the calendar pages turning") worthy of joey ramone his own self. (if you can't tell, i think will's lyrics and pop sensibility are way beyond boss.) fourth one's about 40 seconds long in toto but appears to be about a trip to the home depot with mama. not only does boyo play all the instruments, but the whole thing is only ten minutes long, which means you can listen to it six times in an hour, as i am now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

hemingway's weekly music pick

i woke up. i looked at the calendar. the date was saturday, august 13th.

i went to the wreck room. i saw pablo and the hemphill 7 and darth vato. it was good.

sunrise fw 8/8/05

red sun peeks through clouds
brings rain like a gift from god
thirsty plants drink up

Sunday, August 07, 2005

is dubya an "evil bastard?"

yes, according to this new zealand pizza joint. also dig the name of said pizza joint.

electric mountain rotten apple gang, james hinkle, woodeye

went and saw them kobetich boys tear it up as the electric mountain rotten apple gang at fred's saturday night. with matt skates (confusatron) on stand-up bass, adam (banjo/high lonesome voxxx) and darrin (dobro/mandolin/gtr -- is there anything with strings he can't light up?) played the fahhhr out of mountain music, bluegrass, whatevah (adam started to 'splain the diff but got sidetracked), alternately raging like a wild river and tinkling like a mountain stream. at times during his solo set, darrin sounded like _two_ gtrists; cat's the only axeman i know who can play so fast with a flatpick that it sounds like he's fingerpicking alternating bass figures under whatever line he's got going. scary. apparently this is gonna be a regular sat'day gig for them. they had a good-sized crowd that mostly showed up after the kitchen was closed and stuck around when they took their break -- the true sign of dyed-in-the-wool music listeners. 'twas cool. on nights when the music's playing, fred's is starting to have a feel and vibe not unlike that of liberty lunch in austin, back when austin was still, y'know...austin. except you couldn't get a steak like terry chandler's at liberty lunch.

dapper dude james hinkle stopped by fred's enroute to a gig with mace maben. he's got a new cd out entitled straight ahead blues? (an allusion to the jazzy flavor on many of the tracks) which he might be visiting europe to promote later in the year, and is breaking in a new set that'll allow him to add some singer-songwriter type stuff to his tex-lectic mix of rootsy toonage. he's promised to arm-twist his longtime keyboard player robert cadwallader into sitting in at lee and carl's wednesday night jam at el wreck one of these weeks. we live in hope, as robert's a master of classic acoustic pianner and hammond b-3 sounds.

then we headed over to the wreck for woodeye. carey wolff and co. were their classic selves, maybe a little more rockin' than usual this time out 'cos carey picked up scott davis' gretsch after popping a string on his acoustic-electric. new papa graham richardson had a photo of his son kai taped to his bass; perhaps proud papahood has brought newfound maturity to mohawked graham, or maybe it's just exhaustion from late-night feedings 'n' changings, but for now he's sorta relinquished his role of onstage visual focal point to scott davis (who actually _leaped through the air_ at one point).

i'll give the last word on woodeye to my buddy geoff, who's kind of an east coast chauvinist, but one who knows good rawk from bad. geoff checked 'em out at our wedding bash back in march and came away impressed, so i burned him a couple of cd-r's worth of fort worth goodness. last week i was asking him if he'd had time to listen to some more recent burnage i'd sent him. uh-uh, he said: "anytime i reach for one of those cd's, i wind up wanting to hear that 'how to lose' song again." who can blame him?

yet another blog to read (doo-dah, doo-dah)

not sure where this cat ANDREW M. hails from, but he's got a way with words and his subject matter indicates similar obsessions to mine's -- punk rock, bill hicks, ibrahim ferrer, charles bukowski -- which he comments on with an astuteness rare in a 26-year-old.

them was bahstidz wot dun it

that is, copped lee allen's ampeg svt 5 pro bass head in a hard case from the wreck room between 2 and 2:30am on saturday, august 6th, after sally majestic and catfish whiskey played. there prolly isn't another one of these in the fort, so if you see one in a music store, pawnshop, or, um, onstage, there's a good chance it's hot. contact lee via the wreck room, fred's, or and if the thieving bahstidz are trying to deal it off on ebay, i hope their computer blows up.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


frank was a platoon leader in the 82nd airborne,
the "all americans" that jumped into sicily and normandy.
now he's a military police captain in the reserves.
he used to work door at the aardvark
and i usedta play with him
in a band that would play once a week for four hours
in this piece of shit studio over on craig street:
us and four metal bands and the guy who ran it
who looked like geddy lee.
he sounded like the kind of officer
that enlisted swine love to work for,
and other officers mistrust:
the kind that wouldn't have his people do anything
that he wouldn't do himself.

the patio king was a senior airman in the air force,
a mechanic who worked in logistics.
before that he was a punk-rock kid from the fort.
now he tends bar at a couple of clubs
and writes poems and stories
that are as good as charles bukowski
when he fucking feels like it
which lately ain't that often.
he's spending a lot of time with his girlfriend's dtr
which is a fine and honorable thing,
something i can respect.
he was the kind of troop that would always
get the job done, then afterward come and ask,
"hey sarge, _why_ did we have to do that?"

when he was stationed in germany,
he ran into blackwell, who was (i swear to gawd)
an air force cop.
the patio king said that he always used to sweat
driving back on the yard shithammered
until he saw his homeboy working the gate
'cos he knew he'd wave him through.

myself, i was in the air force too
10 years, seven months and 13 days
and then eight yrs in the reserves
until i decided that screw it,
reserve retirement is half of your drill pay
at the time you retire
and you can't draw it until you're 60
(if you live that long) --
i'd rather sleep in late that one weekend a month.

i stopped participating in december y2k
but i got stop-lossed after 9/11
so i didn't get my final separation document
until june 2002, just nine months
before we invaded iraq.
i guess by then they'd figured out
that after two years of inventorying computer equipment
as a master sergeant, they were never
going to have to scrape the barrel
as far down as they'd have had to
to get to where i was.
it took me another coupla yrs
before i threw all my uniforms away.

hell, when i got off active duty,
it took me four years to get over
being on active duty.
i thought i was gonna be a lifer,
one of those guys that does 30 yrs
and has to be dragged out the door
kicking and screaming
then has a heart attack
because he can't handle
being _at ease_.
but things change.

we won the cold war, then like any
other large corporation, we were
in such an environment,
ppl get scared
and scared ppl feel more entitled
to treat each other like shit.
so when they started offering severance pay
to guys in my rank and year group,
i was a gone motherfucker.
better this year on my own steam, i thought,
with money in pocket
than next year on the end
of somebody's boot.

the major lesson i learned
upon my return to the civilian world
was simply this:
out here, there's no loyalty in any direction.
maybe that was true back there, too,
but they did a better job of concealing it.
or something.

but i digress.

we sat in the bar after it was closed
the three of us telling lies
and her listening.

after we shut it down
(as the first rays of sunrise
were starting to poke over he horizon),
i told her,
"thanks for hanging out
and listening to our bullshit-ass warstories."

she said, "no, i like listening
to the way you guys communicate.
it was interesting.
one of you would say something
then the other ones would affirm it
and that'd open the door
to some new level of disclosure."

(the patio king and i, f'rinstance,
both admitted that we'd ruined our marriages
through our dedication to "the mission."
when i got out, part of the crisis i went through
was finding another "mission."
i finally did: it was being there for my kids.
i haven't landed the jet
on that fucking aircraft carrier yet.)

and that, i suppose, is when i decided to marry her.

we had it easy, the three of us.
we won the cold war
(the other motherfucker blinked)
but we never saw combat.
i know one guy from our set who has:
75th rangers, panama, desert storm.
now he's a samurai: a warrior for hire.
what else do you do on the outside
with what they teach you in the infantry?

you see us all over:
not just the old andy gump guys
in the overseas caps on veterans' day
but guys our age and younger
with multiple body piercings and tattoos
pouring drinks
working in law enforcement
playing in bands

i was listening the other day
to that funkadelic song
"march to the witch's castle"
a song of compassion for the 'nam vets.
(i knew guys who were 16 when their parents
signed the papers for them to go there)
thinking about the ones that are there now
in iraq
and afghanistan
and who knows where next
hoping they make it home safe
and that we embrace them when they do
and honor the memory of those who didn't.

art of the jam 12

not many ppl showed up for the jam at the wreck room this week, in spite of the fweakly having given it a mention in "hearsay." (i'm allergic to newsprint, but jam-meister lee allen read it to me in the bar.) mariani...i mean, _hearsay_ said that jon teague was the regular drummer, even though damien stewart was playing on the cd-r he heard at j&j's hideaway, but i guess jon played the first couple of weeks before i started going, so whatevah. (writers: tits on a bull, y'know whut i mean? ha.)

james hinkle showed up to play again, with a gift of peacock feathers for all the musos, and this time he brought his _pedalboard_, along with his goldtop les paul. he uses devices the same way he does everything onstage: with impeccable taste. he was in a traffic frame of mind, having just copped an anthology cd that andre edmonson spun from the booth during the break, and he wanted to play "dear mr. fantasy," a staple of jammers since time immemorial, but in the event, he wound up "refusing the obstacle" when it came time to sing it. (i suggested playing it in b-flat, since that seems to be his key for a lot of things, but he said no -- you wanna have that open e string for the signature lick at the end of the cycle.) still, my wife said it was the best song we played that night -- proof positive, as if anymore were needed, of the difference between what the muso and the listener experience. maybe her reaction had to do with the two solos james played, in (unconscious?) homage to traffic's two axemen -- one sweet and lyrical like dave mason, one ripping off big hunks of meat like stevie winwood in his pre-beer salesman daze.

steve huber had to split to run home and get _his_ pedalboard, but as it turned out, he mighta been better off leaving it there, since his sound was plagued by squealing (unintentional) feedback all night long. myself, i don't see why a violnist would wanna use f-x at all -- i mean, shee-it, half of those boxes are designed to make gtrs sound like violins anyway, aren't they?!?!? i think one week we should have a jam where all the stringed instrument players run straight-through-the-amp. ultimately, it's all about fingers-on-strings, y'know? all that other stuff is just icing on the cake (although i do love me some icing sometimes).

oh yeah: steve brought his gtr, too. it's a jackson. um, it was his birthday and shit, hokay?

my fave moment: lee _singing_ the george clinton monologue in the middle (_not_ at the beginning) of "maggot brain."

new songs played included "rocky mountain way" (by request, with hinkle slithering around on slide) and "helter skelter" (with me watching lee for the changes), a jazzy hinkle toon called "blues walk," and the usual funky stuff quotient. joe cruz has already said he's taking next week off (rehearsing for his premier gig with villain vanguard, at the black dog on friday, august 19th), but damien says he'll be back, which means we at least have the option of playing "manic depression" again.

earlier that week, on tuesday, august 16th, hinkle's got a gig at club jaguar at 1100 s. riverside. poet/bluesfan supremo wes race is promoting the gig and it looks to be good dirty fun on a par with the swing club at evans and allen back when lady pearl (r.i.p.) used to hold forth there. myself, i'm hoping hinkle can coax his regular keyboard player robert cadwallader out to the wreck one night. just take him to benito's and feed him the cheese chili rellenos, james; that should be the ticket. double beans, no rice.

deniz tek

one of my wife's fave spins since i met her has been do the pop: the australian garage-rock sound 1976-87, a compilation of obscure-but-great bands like radio birdman, the saints, the new christs, the celibate rifles, died pretty, the lime spiders, the screaming tribesmen, and on and on. she actually lived in australia for awhile a few yrs back, but hadn't been aware of any of this music. when i first stumbled onto this stuff around '97, it was like discovering an alternate america where all the music i usedta take shit for liking from the guys at the hipi rekkid store where i worked as a teen -- the mc5, the stooges, alice cooper, the velvet underground, the nuggets-era garage punk stuff -- was revered instead of reviled and muy influential.

a convincing argument could be made that they guy who started that whole oz rock ball rolling was deniz tek, a gtr-slinging native of ann arbor, michigan, who gives the lie to poor old f. scott fitzgerald's line of bullshit about there being no second acts in american lives.

picture this: kid grows up in ann arbor, a kick-back collegetown about as far from detroit as, oh, denton is from the fort, listening to the high-energy detroit jams of the mc5, stooges, and like that. goes to australia to attend medical school and starts a band called radio birdman, an intense, uncompromising outfit shrouded in heavy mystique. they essentially create their own scene after being banned from every venue in sydney. inevitably, they blow apart -- on tour, in europe -- with the members making their way back to oz to lick their wounds and form other bands. after finishing med school/internship/residency, deniz joins the u.s. navy as a flight surgeon, spends the next 10 years with marine corps aviation units, and gets checked out behind the controls of pretty much every jet in the inventory. he was at miramar when they were filming top gun there and the filmmakers appropriated his callsign ("iceman") for the val kilmer character, prompting his friend mark sisto to write a letter to rolling stone, informing them that "val kilmer is no deniz tek."

deniz didn't give up playing while he was in the service, either. while in the philippines on one westpac deployment, he played gtr with a band called dust and the rotorheads. dust peterson was a marine helicopter pilot who wound up playing bass on the first album deniz made after he got out of the navy; the drummer on the session was scott asheton from the stooges. deniz once sent me a pic of dust in the '91 gulf war, where he had a coupla hundred republican guards surrender to his chopper, which had a radio birdman logo painted on its nose. after the navy, deniz moved his family to billings, montana, where he worked as an emergency room surgeon while releasing a steady stream of records and touring a couple of times every year. once, on tour in italy, his drummer got an abscess on his leg and deniz operated on it in the van, with a penknife. in 1996, radio birdman reformed for the first of several reunion tours. then last year, deniz and his family moved back to australia and birdman got back together in earnest.

i had interviewed deniz for a fanzine years ago but didn't meet him in person until april 2002, when he came to the states to play a bunch of east coast dates with scott morgan's powertrane. on several of the dates, they were joined by deniz' friend, ex-stooge ron asheton. a few days after that, deniz got to play new york city for the first time.

"you gonna make it?" he asked me in the run-up to the tour.

"pretty busy with work and stuff," i said. "prolly have to wait until next time."

his reply: "how many next times do you think there are going to be?"

point taken. i flew up to philly and hooked up with my buddy geoff, who drove to cleveland (where we saw the show at the beachland ballroom, a real nice old slovak hall on the edge of town) and ann arbor (where we caught the performance at the blind pig -- a block away from the bridge where scott asheton peeled the top off the stooges' equipment van back in '71 -- that geoff wound up releasing on his real o mind label as ann arbor revival meeting). the buzz from those shows was strong enough to sustain me through the ignominy of getting shitcanned from my job a coupla weeks later.

in ann arbor, deniz' younger brother, who'd never seen him perform before, was amazed at the size and fanaticism of the crowd. "oh, this is nothing," den's wife angie assured him. "in australia, birdman would have a thousand people giving the 'yeah, hup' salute when they played 'new race.'" i couldn't make it to the show at the warsaw in new york, but i was happy to hear that there were 800 paying customers on hand for deniz' debut there.

a few months after that, i went down to houston to watch deniz record a track for a compilation cd at sugarhill studios with engineer and former birdman soundguy andy "mort" bradley. he brought with him a beautiful custom-made gtr and showed admirable intensity and focus, putting the track together with a coupla local musos he'd never met before in a couple of hours. then again, he's been pulling bands and records together on the fly for years.

again, fuck scott fitzgerald. by now, dr. tek is into his third or fourth act. the thing i dig most about him, though, is the way his unusual career trajectory proves that playing music and doing other meaningful work are not mutually exclusive.

the law is for the protection of the people

my sweetie went down to the courthouse to get her name changed the other day and discovered that there's a law library in the tarrant county courthouse (the big impressive one at 100 w. weatherford with the stairs in front) that's open to the public. in these days of steadily-eroding individuals rights, perhaps it's time for yr average joes 'n' jills to start developing a more, um, how you say, _personal relationship_ with la ley, and how better to do that than to actually _read_ the stuff? for folks of limited means who think that legal documents read, well, like they were written by lawyers, the tarrant bar association offers free legal clinics (gotta scroll down a ways if you use the link), and there's also an online clearinghouse for legal information (civil, texas type).

the gtr o' the future? _you_ decide!!!

line 6 is famous for making amps and a mega-device (the pod) that can emulate any amp/effects combination extant. now, they've made a gtr that can emulate all of the above plus other instruments. either an idea whose time has come, or the next drum-git.

(thanks, john greer.)


wanna see your name in the form of a famous internet logo? try this!

(thanks, randy. and yes, i suppose this means that i, too, have way too much time on my hands.)

touched by his noodly appendage

evolution, intelligent design, or the flying spaghetti monster? _you_ decide!!!

(thanks, matt. you really _do_ have too much time on yr hands.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

mcgarrett's music pick o' the week

woodeye. wreck room. saturday. be there. aloha.

Monday, August 01, 2005

rock the tube, vinyl 2, 101'ers, please kill me

so we haven't been going out that much. part of it is that we're trying to save money. part of it is that since i've started playing at the wreck room's wednesday night jam thingy, my butt-hunger has returned (kinda like i stopped exercising when i started playing again around '97 or so). while i would still maintain that it's _always_ better to play than not to play, and i would rather do so than watch _anybody_, there's a lot of waiting involved in playing, which basically means sitting watching tv with the sound off unless you smoke and/or drink -- and i've always found the instant gratification of nicotine/alcohol more irresistible than, say, playing slot machines. but it's less tempting to smoke when i'm not in that environment, and i like hanging out at home as much as anywhere else. (plus, as i said, it's cheaper.)

so we've been watching lotsa rock video on the tube -- our household idiot box is equipped with neither antenna nor cable/satellite, so it functions solely as a monitor for our dvd player and vcr. to begin with, tommy ware (who usedta play gtr with jasper stone and is looking to put together a band to perform the toons from his new rekkid; if you play bass or drums, you should call him up) generously let me borrow the ny dolls and dead boys dvd's i wrote about here a few months back. tommy and his wife marissa are among the only ppl i know in this neck of the woods who dig stuff like the dolls, t. rex, and like that, so it was a happy accident indeed when they were visiting nyc last yr and stumbled on ex-dolls frontguy david johanson and his current band performing at pier 84. not long after that, david got together with fellow surviving dolls syl sylvain and arthur kane and played a coupla u.k. dates for old times' (and new money's) sake. the whole event (including the resurgence of arthur "killer" kane, who'd moved to salt lake city and become a mormon in the years since dolldom and, sadly, shuffled of this mortal coil not long after the shows took place) was recorded for posterity.

a caveat: it's inevitable that the dolls sans johnny thunders and jerry nolan (r.i.p. both) are a little like non-alcoholic champagne, but nevermind. they music is great, and the pickup musos standing in for johnny 'n' jerry are fine. and yet, and yet. syl remains the same bouncy, corkscrew-headed clown as always (but don't underestimate him; "14th street beat" from his long-forgotten eponymous rca album way back in '78 is prolly the best post-doll waxage of all) and arthur amazes merely by being able to play notes 'n' speak in more-or-less complete sentences. but david...ummm. to say "the years have not been kind" is putting it mildly. cat looks like the crypt keeper. and when he takes his shirt off, guh. unlike iggy pop, who's somehow managed to maintain a fairly buff physique well into aarp eligibility, david looks like the old guy at the end of the bar, with saggy old man skin hanging off his scrawny arms.

the dead boys dvd is, as my grandfather usedta say, a whole 'nother bag of rice. shot for network tv (60 minutes, i think), the dvd brings you a whole set from cbgb's back when it was still, well, cbgb's. i always thought stiv bators was a pathetic li'l iggy wannabe and his band were strictly second-string mc5/stooges, but in light of all that's come down the pipe since then, this stuff sounds pretty good today (even though a little of it goes a long way for me these days). best part of the disc for me is the interview with the present-day eugene richard o'connor (aka cheetah chrome), either about to embark on or fresh from the rocket from the tombs reunion tour. (for those of you who joined us late, rocket was the mid-'70s cleveland outfit that spawned both the punk-rockin' dead boys and the more art-creepy pere ubu.) when gene sez, "i was an idiot back then," you know that he knows whereof he speaks: a proud, happy survivor who can still light them strings up. _almost_ makes me wish i'd seen the reunited rftt when they came through dallas.

still, so disturbed was i by the spectre of david jo that i had to go digging through the boxes of shit in the shed to find the heaps of fourth-generation dubbage of various rockarama that buds have sent me on vhs over the years. on one of 'em, courtesy of clark paull -- the detroit dude who, um, replaced me as the "american correspondent" for sydney-based webzine the i-94 bar -- i found a buncha vintage dolls footage from tv (it was the midnight special, i think, or maybe the brit old grey whistle test), featuring johnny 'n' jerry still alive and david as young and relatively unscarred as he was the time the dolls played dallas in '74 and david campbell saw him stick his head through the club's ceiling.

speaking of my buddy clark, i gotta tellya, since the last time i weighed in on the vinyl vs. cd issue a few weeks back, i've had an epiphany: fuck the dumb shit, rekkids just sound _better_. paul boll even explained the science of it to me, something about all the high-end garbage in digital formats being fatiguing on the ears. and as new dad marlin von bungy said, "vinyl carries more bass. i guess that's why all those dj's love it." while that doesn't mean i'm gonna try and replace all my cd's with rekkids (a fool's errand, and remember, frugality is my byword), there are a few crucial items that i couldn't wait to discover in half price books' bins (helpful hint: the one by ridgmar mall has a much hipper selection than the one on south hulen, i don't know why). one such was having a rave up with the yardbirds, the record which prolly inspired 70% of the bands on nuggets and, closer to home, the fort worth teen scene comp. more to the point, if it's true that all the music i like boils down to a dozen or so records (true for most of us, i think -- everything else we like is just an attempt to recapture that initial rush), then this is definitely one of 'em: one side of seat-of-pants experimentalismo disguised as pop music, another of r&b as pure dirty alcohol-sodden energy. sure, there are bonus track-laden cd versions of this available, but they stand in the same relation to the pristine artifact as the "big montana special" does to the original arby's sandwich.

so anyway, i'm on and i find a nice clean copy for under $20 (my arbitrarily-determined absolute ceiling for high-end vinyl purchases) and wouldn't ya know, the guy selling it is none other than my detroit pal clark paull. so i send him a check, he sends me a record, and a few back-and-forth e-mails ensue. i happen to mention that the day the mailman brought the package, i was listening to bob seger's smokin' o.p.'s (don't laugh; bawwwb didn't always eat the shit -- in fact, the summer of '73, i used to call the radio station in my town every night to request "ramblin' gamblin' man," which they claimed they couldn't play because it _wasn't a hit_, and smokin' o.p.'s boasts killer versions of "bo diddley" and "let it rock," as well as bob's magnum opus "heavy music"). he responds that he was in his local borders last week and had a cd reish of the self-same seger side in his hand, but put it back in favor of elgin avenue breakdown revisited, the sole release by the 101'ers (the band joe strummer fronted before the clash), now on cd.

now, my sweetie loves her some joe strummer -- in fact, his posthumously-released streetcore was one of both of our fave discs the year we met -- so on the way from converting some sub-par cd's she'd culled from her collection into cool vinyl at good ol' half price (where i found a copy of the temptations' greatest hits II which has all the great norman whitfield/dennis edwards-era jams i grew up listening to, including one i slowdanced to with a girl a full head taller than me when i was 12 and thought was _the shit_) i stopped at _our_ local borders and copped it for her. it didn't disappoint, either. clark had hipped me that one of the toons wound up evolving into the clash's "jail guitar doors," and that there were some live covers at the end that were pretty rough going. he was right about it being clash-like -- strummer was clearly a fully-formed performer long before he met mick jones, and well versed in rockabilly, r&b, and rock 'n' roll; there's a direct line running from this stuff all the way to streetcore -- but i had to disagree with him about the live shit, which i thought was pretty boss. in fact, it reminded me of the second side of having a rave up, where the lagered-up yardbirds (including a pre-deity eric clapton, if it matters) rip it up royally, enough to blow the roof off the marquee club where it was recorded. i find it nothing but miraculous that said impulse survived the decade-plus that separated the yardbirds and the 101'ers; i hope it's still alive today _somewhere_.

a sign that i'm getting a few more rings around my trunk: i find that the farther rock (or rawk) travels from black music, the harder it becomes for me to identify with. it's interesting playing with cats who know dream theater but not hendrix, who are conversant with the chili peppers or rage against the machine or, uh, system of a down but not john lee hooker. rock seemed real when it was white trash kids from the wrong side of the tracks or urban ethnics from the 'hood aping the sounds of electrified country blues or gospel-inflected vocal harmony, or even later, when it was kids from the 'burbs imitating cute english guys imitating superannuated bluesmen and early rockers. when it became subsequent generations of kids from the 'burbs imitating previous generations of kids from the 'burbs, i kinda lost interest. punk was actually the last gasp of that: the dolls sure knew who bo diddley and sonny boy williamson were. i guess that's why i like going in record town so much -- it helps me feel connected to the qualities that drew me to music in the first place, as well as the environment where i learned about it. or maybe i just like to talk story with other old men in rock 'n' roll clothes (although i suppose my recent experience with clark provides an online, um, analogue of that).

so anyway, i'm sitting here listening to the stooges' funhouse (wherein acid hoodlums from down the street invent punk-rock) while my sweetie is reading legs mcneil and gillian mccain's please kill me: the uncensored oral history of punk, which larry harrison calls "the best book about music that contains not one word about music." there are other books like it out there -- we got the neutron bomb: the untold story of l.a. punk by marc spitz and brendan mullen, and michael azerrad's our band could be your life: scenes from the american indie underground 1981-1991 are the ones that immediately spring to mind -- but i just don't care about their subject matter as much as i do about the new york-detroit-cleveland '60s-'70s axis that mcneil and mccain chronicled. they do a stellar job of weaving reams of eyewitness testimony into a narrative flow that's near-cinematic, and even succeed at making johnny thunders and jerry nolan seem like tragic heroes rather than the ne'er-do-wells you know they were in life. it's occurred to me in the past that somebody oughtta write a book like this about the fort. but not me, not this week.

eventually i suppose we'll get some coin and leave the house again (except for wednesday nights, when i'll continue driving the five minutes from my house to the wreck to sit watching tv with the sound turned off, smoke cigarettes, drink beers, and play a little music). in the meantime, my sweetie is about to start reading the chapter on the dolls, so it's time to throw too much too soon on the turntable...