Monday, October 31, 2005

mike richardson

so we went to see nathan brown at the wreck room and wound up running into mike richardson, the cat who played bass in the underground railroad both after and before matt hembree (it's a convoluted history). as it happened, u.r.'s prog was not where mike's heart was at (his first musical love: classic rock), but railroad honcho bill pohl sez mike can play anything and puts together cover bands in his native denison at a moment's notice. he's also got a coupla regular solo gigs here in the fort: wednesday nights at the moon (which i will never see until lee allen either loses the wreck room gig or fires my ass) and sunday nights at the flying saucer downtown. he's also playing this friday at saloui's (or whateverthehell the new mgt is gonna call it) just south of sardines on university. as my sweetie and i are gonna be peregrinating around the old neighborhood, perhaps we'll have to fall by in between james hinkle at the museum of modern art and funky fred's for a fredburger and saint frinatra.

dave and daver w/oaklin bloodworth @ fred's saturday

when a door closes, a window opens. so no sooner do dave and daver unass wednesday nights at the blackdog than they start saturdays (on an ongoing basis? film, as they say, at 11) on the patio at funky fred's. with oaklin bloodworth vocalizing, no less. ya mo be there. maybe you too? starts at 7pm.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

rap translation

occasionally, when you need to find some funny schitt, the internet provides. kinda reminiscent of the barbara billingsley "i speak jive" riff from airplane (and is it my imagination, or does this blogger kid from montana look a little like justin pate, fort worthians?). other stuff on his site is pert damn funny, too.

the call up

don't really have anything to say today, except that i saw a bud last night who holds a commission in the army reserves. he just got the telegram that he's supposed to report for a pre-mobilization physical in a month or so, then off to fort bragg and prolly iraq. while he's not real red-white-and-blue at the prospect, he's not the running-away-to-canada type, either. push comes to shove, he'll do everything he can to get out of it, but if he can't beat it, he'll go do his thing with honor. it just makes me wonder how far down in the bottom of the barrel the powers that be are gonna have to scrape to be able to continue their adventures in afghanistan, iraq, and now, apparently, iran and syria before they're forced to re-institute the draft, which is prolly what it will take to get the electorate in this country riled up enough to stop 'em.

james hinkle @ the modern

if you wanna rub shoulders w/the upper crust and hear a jazzier, loungier side of james hinkle's texlectic thang, go ye to the museum of modern art this friday, november 4th, between 5 and 8pm. he'll be holding forth there with joey carter on vibes and eric zukowski on bass.

mr. hinkle hisself actually pulled my coat to this a few wks ago, but since i suck at remembering, thanks to paul boll for the reminder.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

teatro de la rosa

btw, the "kids' theater" performance we attended the other night was nothing short of stellar.

the li'l kids in birds of a feather were as charming and energetic as you figured they'd be without being annoyingly stage-precious (and directors yvonne duque and claudia acosta were drilling 'em hard right up to curtain time), but the teens in maricela and the magic shoes were nothing short of revelatory.

the story takes place on a real southside block that was prolly playwright rob bosquez' childhood stomping ground, and centers around a girl who finds a pair of shoes from her early childhood that miraculously still fit and give her magic powers (like hiding from her dad when she doesn't wanna be discovered). being of good heart and giving spirit (the legacy, one gathers, of her dear departed aunt tencha, played in a cameo by poet / activist tammy gomez), maricela uses the shoes to help her best friend win the boy of her dreams via karaoke (!), a blind lemonade vendor to see the colors he'd previously only imagined, her martial artist-wannabe cousin fight off local bullies, and her ancient-but-beloved pet dog michael jackson to be young and dance again. but when blind lalo and michael jackson ultimately reject her gift, maricela realizes that perhaps some things were just meant to be as they are. playwright bosquez deserves props for taking universally familiar situations and making them evocative in surprising ways (both comic and otherwise) and as he was sitting right behind me, i hope he was happy seeing me wipe my eyes during maricela's dance w/her pet. gtrist nick serna provided sparse but moody instrumental accompaniment. breanna herrera's performance as maricela merits special mention -- she seems uncommonly at ease on the stage (which is to say, in her own skin) for a performer so young. hopefully we'll see her again soon.

teatro de la rosa teaches theater arts to kids aged 8 through 18. if you know someone who might be interested, contact the troupe at 817-625-8333.

the (slight) return of the [pretend] king

for a guy who made his mark being all avante-garde and experimental in bands like carrierwave (with future american analog set and theater fire ppl), anne hand (with future underground railroad ppl), and ohm (with future yeti mastermind, the late doug ferguson), self-styled "bandwrecker" nathan brown has pert unusual tastes: he'll admit he digs billy ocean, f'rinstance. after reinventing himself as a cheerleading, occasionally drag-wearing and rafter-swinging prince / darryl hall simulacrum under the rubric nathan brown's r&b, playing grungy rawk with pretend king and low-budget electronica with ac identity, nathan decamped from the fort, first for brooklyn, thence to fort smith, arkansas, where he currently resides. he'll be back in the area this weekend, tho, playing at rubber gloves rehearsal studio on sunday and the wreck room on monday. his show is always surprising, and the fact that he's playing the little wreck room on halloween makes it almost too good to pass up.

smoke on the water 2k


two thousand gtrists are gonna get together at the hard rock cafe in melbourne, australia, to play "smoke on the water" to break a record previously held by 322 gtrists up in canada. the axe-slingers are each paying a $5 entry fee, which will be donated to charity.

i imagine it was a tough choice between that toon, "sunshine of your love," "stairway to heaven," "enter sandman," and "smells like teen spirit."


Thursday, October 27, 2005

dia de los muertes! children's theater! free!

my sweetie and i are prolly gonna lay low tom'w night -- gotta work on our halloween costumes for the pablo show on sat'day. but not before we trek up north main to the rose marine theater round about 7:30pm to see the teatro de la rosa students (aged 8-12) perform two plays. one, maricella and the magic shoes, was written by local playwright rob bosquez, while the other, birds of a feather, is based on mexican folktales. if you enjoy this type of thing, it won't cost you a penny, and hopefully you'll be reminded of the truism (which is also true) that "theater is life, film is art, tv is furniture."

"citizen dj's" at the cellar

drummer / intellectual hipi chick / cellar bartender caroline collier's got a good idea. monday nights at the long-lived berry street underground bar, from 9pm till closing, "citizen dj's" will have the opportunity to hear three songs or 15 minutes of toonage they've programmed on their ipod or mp3 player broadcast over the house system. music-makers are encouraged to bring samples of their work and use the forum to plug upcoming gigs. and the beers are a buck and a half. what's not to like?

art of the jam 24

you never know when the good stuff is gonna walk in the door. that's a recurring theme at the wreck room on wednesday nights. as lee and carl's invitational jam enters its sixth month, the thing that keeps me coming back is that you never know what's gonna happen. a night that looks like it's gonna be a dead dog can turn out to be...something entahrly _other_.

starting out last night, things didn't look too promising. c.s.s. -- that's the confusatron side-project consisting of sometime-wreck-room-jam-participant josh clark on traps and the skates brothers, andrew and matt, on gtr and bass respectively -- was being recorded by darryl wood over at the black dog, where they've evidently taken over wednesday nights from dave and daver. (fear not, real-jazz fans; wreck room jam-meister lee allen plans to book karnes 'n' williams' crew on the patio at funky fred's.) that meant that a lot of prospective jammers and audience members would prolly be over at tad gaither's soon-to-be-relocated watering hole and not at the little wreck room. indeed, after playing our first set, lee and i briefly considered bagging the jam for the night and heading over there ourselves. later on, we were mighty glad we didn't.

(i should say here that i see it as a strong _positive_ that on more frequent occasions, i'm having to choose between two or more good options when i wanna go out and catch some live music -- a sign that the scene in this town is gaining, not losing vitality. dig it: what we have is _working_, ppl; we don't need a music ghetto like austin or dallas.)

the other theme o' the evening: spontaneity without simultaneity. when damien stewart showed up with his kit, wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson discouraged him from setting up. "it's too loud with two kits," he said, perhaps a tactful way of saying that the string players tend to turn up too loud when there are two trapsets churnin' and burnin' onstage. in any event, it was decided: whatever drummers showed up would play sequentially, not in tandem. and there were a few of 'em, too. besides damien (who provided his trademark scintillatin' trapwork through much of the first set) and joe "drumzilla" cruz (who was a consistent percussive presence through three sets), there was bukowski-esque scribe and recent fort worth weekly coverboy william bryan massey III, who led the house trio into something raging and cacophonous that somehow morphed into a mutated "manic depression;" jam veteran wyatt, who courageously accepted the challenge of "la fiesta" and wasn't disgraced, even though he inexplicably apologized when i went up to thank him for sittin' in later; and a left-handed cat who tested the house kit during a break and elected to sit out (dude, come back next week; it's okay if you wanna move stuff around).

a real treat was the plethora of singers that showed up and performed -- a first in my experience outside black blues clubs, where the jams tend to focus more on hot-shot singers than on gtr-slingers. as jam-meister lee likes to point out, everything that happens on the jam-night stage is extemporaneous and completely off the top of the jammers' heads (and sometimes out of their asses). sure, there are some standard forms that get used as jumping off points for improvisation and invention: the aforementioned "manic depression" and "la fiesta," f'rinstance, or funkadelica in the form of p-funk "maggot brain" and "standing on the verge of getting it on" (the latter of which holds the record for consistent repeat plays in a night -- and that by request, not just 'cos we ran out of schitt to play), the chili peppers' "freaky styley," or the fonky meters' "cissy strut;" local heroes sally majestic's reggae-tinged "bobo likes to do it from behind;" even the heaviosity of system of a down's "aerials." all of the above are warped and twisted at will to meet the needs o' the moment. as often as not, when lee's singing, he's overlaying lyrics from one toon onto another, or the music is being moshed up by the jammers into a form other than that in which it originated. (you shoulda been there for the trip-hop "come together" last week.)

what's rarer is to have a vocalist onstage improvising lyrics in the moment while the jammers blow in the background. ex-pop poppins gtrist bill hitri has done it, altho he's been scarce on jam nights for a few months. last night, wreck room patrons had the pleasure of hearing _four_, count 'em, _four_ singers doin' the spontaneous-creation thang onstage (altho not at once). first up was a kid named daxx from a band whose name, of course, escapes me (i suck), who had impressive gtr chops as well as vocal and lyrical skills. (and daxx, if you're reading this, i'm _not_ pissed off about the string-breaking thang. the 15 minutes it took me to change it just gave lee and joe a chance to go off into bass 'n' drum-land. no worries, bro; all part of the fun of the jam.) pablo and the hemphill 7 frontman joe vano (who's writing the introduction to a new bryan massey book about the dog star, where vano first hosted open-mic poetry a few yrs back) couldn't sleep after watching his beloved astros blow the world series, so he came out to the wreck to extemporize reggae lyrics while lee provided dub-spacious accompaniment. kyle "monkey brainz" showed off a nice organic approach to sangin' and acoustic gtr playin', including a pretty groovy solo style. and john price, who was the unwitting victim of a last-set trainwreck last week, when lee and i failed at great length to agree on a key, allowed us to redeem ourselves last night before a crowd of ppl seemingly imported from the torch (not that there's anything wrong with that).

haven't heard the tape yet, but my preliminary impression is that energy-and-vibe-wise, if not always musically, this might have been the best jam night yet. the next oppo to crash 'n' burn or shine comes next wednesday night around 10pm. y'oughtta come out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the mcgurk effect

no, this is not the title of a robert ludlum thriller...rather, it's proof positive (as if any more were needed) that things are not always as they seem.

yet another jeremy hull find.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000th fatality - protest at the federal bldg 4:30pm 10/26

well, it finally happened: the 2000th american servicemember killed in iraq since the 2003 invasion. if this upsets you, you might wanna go to the federal bldg in downtown fort worth (east or throckmorton side) and let ppl know how you feel.

this from local poet / performance artist tammy gomez:

Tomorrow--Wednesday. 4:30pm and on from there.

Bring your banners/candles/handmade signs/
and cameras/camcorders (we'll need documentation, espec. if we
get hassled...).

This is a legal gathering; we intend for it to be a nonviolent action as well.
Please spread the word---soon.
We have to restore the balance, not only for "red state" Texas, but for the
planet and its inhabitants as a whole.

Perpetuating militarism in the name of corporate profits and blind nationalism
is only hurting us, our neighbors, the earth...

See you tomorrow.

amor y rabia,


Tammy Melody Gomez

writer-performer/producer/sunlit doorway

might also wanna take quarters to feed the meters.

Monday, October 24, 2005

r.i.p. rosa parks

yeah, you better believe that rosa parks -- who just passed, age 92 -- will ride in front of the bus to heaven.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

saint frinatra, xouba, goodwin, sunward

the patio at fonky fred's was still packed w/ppl from a live radio broadcast when we strolled up around 7 on friday night, and brian sharp and the rest o' the boys in saint frinatra rose to the occasion and played their best -- funny how that works. chris white had his electric upright on hand and dr. frank hailey pulled out some of his most exquisite pianistics on his 'riginal "cornwall's corner." the sometime saint frinatra riddim team of danny chacko and jozef bobola was in the house, but only danny played, even tho chris' wife brought up his trumpet and flute so he wouldn't have to sit out if the fiery youngster got up to play. one got the feeling it was 'cos jozef didn't wanna usurp chris' place on the stand. nice to see someone so talented who's also so humble.

speaking of occasional saint frinatra riddim boyzzz, bassist eric zukoski is part of a partnership that just opened xouba (pronounced "shoo-ba"), a latin-asian fusion restaurant with a "live and house music" policy, in arlington. eric's moved his trio there from my martini; they hold forth on thursday nights. maybe another oppo for fort worth jazz ppl to gig nearby. it's at 2301 n. collins st., arlington, phone 817-462-3777.

"goodwin acoustic" turned to be "goodwin without damien stewart," with daniel gomez and matt hembree plugging in electric axes at radically reduced volume. hearing them in this format highlighted just how crucial the drums are to the rawk. my sweetie and i wound up mentally filling in sticky d's sweet thunder. the best moments of the evening proved to be a previously-unreleased toon that tony diaz sung accompanied only by matt's bass (which sounded bindle-icious and could appear on goodwin's projected teaser-for-the-real-cd) and another newie that sounded like the perfect set-closer with or without drums.

daniel 'n' matt's old muffinhead bandmate dave karnes is now playing drums in sunward, a band fronted by ex-tabula rasa violinist doug kershaw. listening to their set and their cd, ladies and gentlemen, start your horses -- which doesn't have dave on it but does have curious cartoon cover art by bassist david perry -- the proximate models, i suppose, are the flaming lips and grandaddy. the sound's a lot, well, proggier than anything i'd ever imagine dave karnes being associated with, and i had to wonder about 1) the raccoon eye makeup worn by the gtrist and keyboard player, and 2) the single white spotlight shining on doug kershaw, rendering the chordal instrument players shadowy and the riddim boyzzz invisible. i'm sure wreck room soundman jon teague wouldn't have done that if he hadn't been instructed to. curioser and curioser.

waterloo sunset

my current fave song is "waterloo sunset" by the kinks. i've been listening to it a lot lately on an italian vinyl reissue of something else by the kinks that was seemingly packaged by the anal-retentive chef: thick plastic collector sleeve, deluxe gatefold cover, cardboard inner sleeve, plastic inner sleeve. dealing with the many layers is enough to make listening to it a serious proposition, what with all the toiletry one has to go through to take it out or put it away.

when i was young, i was too stoopid to appreciate the kinks after their early racka-racka stuff, but in later yrs i've come to dig the period from approximately face to face to lola versus powerman and the moneygoround real much. ray davies is proof positive, as were lennon/mccartney, that nick hornsby was correct when he observed that the major difference between anglo and american rockers of the '60s was that the brits liked their parents better. working off the same basic set of cultural referents as the beatles were (english music hall, the goon show, the carry on comedies, chuck berry), davies had a finer eye for detail (in a way that predicted elvis costello a few yrs later) and worked in a kind of splendid isolation owing to the fact that the kinks were barred from touring the states during the crucial yrs 1965-69. i saw the kinks twice, once during their overblown opera daze ca. '74 -- when some idiot hit ray in the head with a beer bottle while he was singing "alcohol," the head kink manfully soldiered on and finished the set -- and again in '80, when they'd dumbed their act down to a gtr-heavy arena-rock roar. it's real interesting to me know how certain '60s figures, particularly ray, brian wilson, and tim buckley, seem like the precursors to much of the sad bastard music my middle dtr likes to listen to today.

i actually learned how to play "waterloo sunset" so i could accompany her while she sang the words, which she learned off a live elliott smith version she found online. someday i'm gonna have to make good on a promise to her to record a tape of all the songs i usedta sing to her and her sisters when they were little (pert near the only playing and did between '83 and '91), if i'm only able to overcome a lifelong fear of making noises with my larynx near a tape machine. (my children, on the other hand, sing like angels. who knows where they get these things from?) the only time i ever really had fun doing that was singing beatlesongs w/my oldest dtr a coupla yrs ago. we haven't done that in awhile, tho.

weird dream

had a dream last night that involved mexican police, car chases, and guns. in the dream, there was a mexican police chief with a .357 magnum he called "ozomatli," as in "perhaps _ozomatli_ can speak your language?" before shooting out an engine block. of course, when i woke up, i googled ozomatli, and found that it's the name of a band (of course), as well as the nahuatl monkey-god of dance. why am i not surprised?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

my father's eyes

saw a photograph of myself the other day
and was surprised to discover
i have my father's eyes.
he and i don't see eye to eye on a lot of things
but when you add it all up, what matters is
he brought me here and did the best he could
to get me to where i could be happy and secure,
which i suppose is the best that anybody ever does.

i went to the doctor the other day and was told
i have the body of a 52 yr old man
which got my attention cos i'm "only" 48.
not as big of a deal as seeing a 30 yr old
with the body of a 60 yr old
(like i usedta tell my kids, there are no old speedfreaks,
just speedfreaks that look that they're old),
but i guess it just goes to show
that there was a cost associated with all those yrs
of bad food, not enough sleep, not enough exercise,
too many smokes, too much liquor, too much worry.
too much.

at the end of the day, i guess
you become who you become, regardless of
what you might have intended.

Friday, October 21, 2005

date night 2

so tonight me and my sweetie are gonna go celebrate the (hopefully) good news from my stress test by walking down to the black dog to hear goodwin acoustic at the goodshow 5th anniversary thingy (stopping by funky fred's to grab a fredburger and say hello to lee allen, who'll be tending bar on the patio), returning home via j&j's hideaway 'cos that's what we did the first night we met, almost two yrs ago (10/25/03 to be exact) -- the goodwin / black dog / goodshow / hideaway part, anyway. only non-snazz aspect: brian sharp won't be tending bar at the hideaway 'cos he'll be playing at fred's with saint frinatra, so we'll prolly head back there next tuesday and hoist a couple while he's pouring the dranks.

funny how sometimes life gets better when you don't even expect it to.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

new kid daniel blog location

damn, two days in the blogosphere and already david "kid" daniel's blog has a new location. the man is just tricky that way. he's also writing songs and looking for musos in corpus christi whose tastes run more to the velvet underground than the eagles. good luck, kid.

art of the jam 23

'twas a night o' drummers and performing bartenders at the little wreck room last night. and there were more ppl in the bar than i've seen on a wednesday night in awhile (prolly watching the ballgame, but whatthehell).

besides joe "drumzilla" cruz, there was josh from c.s.s. (confusatron side project w/the skates bros. -- catch 'em tuesday nights at the black dog), who's leaving soon on that carnival cruiselines gig i alluded to in a recent post, and dave karnes, whose regular wednesday-night gig (with dave and daver, also at the black dog) is on hiatus until tad gaither's estimable watering hole reopens a block from funky fred's mid-november. josh brought his trapset and percussion rig to augment the well-worn house kit.

to these ears, the three-percussion attack worked better than these things usually do when all hands are actually playing, thanks to lee's active direction of the percussion section. and it was nice to hear il karnaggio playing da shit out of rawk and funk like i hadn't heard him do since we spent some time together on the road with nathan brown a coupla yrs ago. my sweetie and i will be back at the wreck this saturday night to hear dave play with sunward, a band about which i know nada except that it's led by the fiddle player from tabula rasa who has the same name as a more famous cajun fiddler. the bass 'n' drum duet dave played with jam-meister lee allen was prolly the evening's musical apex.

besides all the percussion, there was tony chapman (ex-sivad, ex-ghostcar), who added his synth and gtr to the mix starting with the second set, and ali from the band dogs with sticks (a coupla spirited detroit lads who came to the fort via the navy and seattle) manfully hoisted the indonesian strat for a coupla his own jam-originals after imbibing sufficient quantities of alcohol. toward the end of the second set, graham richardson (soon to be ex-woodeye, sigh) took over on bass while lee relieved him behind the bar. graham and joe cruz even did their own little bass 'n' drum thang at the end of the set. on our second break o' the evening, i joined jam-meister lee and wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson in a foray over to the torch (a place i generally try to avoid) and returned with john price, taking a break from behind _that_ bar to do some sangin'.

having spent most of an extended weekend listening andre's jamtapes and in the process having several negative perceptions about my own playing validated, i came back to the jam determined to try playing some different schitt. we'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


imagine this: there are a growing number of "spam blogs" or "splogs" on blogger! so _that's_ where all those bogus comments are coming from.

(btw, if you click on the link, you'll get a pop-up ad inviting you to take some survey. it's almost enough to make a person wanna buy a notebook or something.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

yet another fz link

apparently, warren cuccurullo and terry bozzio are performing together again. this is bigger news at my house than dweezil 'n' ahmet touring their dad's music. lotsa other yammer on the page, too.

Monday, October 17, 2005

russ, impulse of will, radidio

when i was setting up my equipment at the little wreck room last wednesday, i found a trio of new russ walton cd's sitting on a table off to the side of the stage. one of 'em in particular caught my eye 'cos it listed the names of a buncha jam participants from "karl and lee's jam, wreck room, 6/22/05," including a coupla folks who i was pert certain had never shared the stage at the same time. whatevah, i took it home and gave it a listen. i remembered the night 'cos damien stewart had invited russ to play but was unable to make it himself, and when i came offstage sometime in the middle of the last set, russ was sitting there with his equipment. i spoke to him briefly and went off to the bar. what he recorded was the last 30 seconds or so of some (last) song, followed by the sounds of musos breaking down their equipment and wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson talking to russ while the recording of the previous week's jam played over the p.a. the other tracks i've listened to consist mostly of drunk bar patrons heckling various local performers, mainly at the cellar. i don't know why, but it's become the cd i stick in the player whenever i can't think of anything i wanna listen to. i can't explain it.

i just spent the last four days brainwashing myself with andre's videotapes of wednesday night jams going back to may. he and i had been bugging jam-meister lee allen to come over and help us wade through the hours 'n' hours of material in order to compile a cd-r's worth of good stuff so we'd have something to give away and maybe help promote the gig a bit. i e-mailed lee some suggestions and wound up getting deputized to vet andre's mountain o' tapes. so far i've only listened to about half of what exists and i think i've already got enough material picked out to fill 80 minutes. some of the stuff i remembered being real good, wasn't, while i've also stumbled onto lotsa good stuff i'd totally forgotten. some of my fave pieces are much too long for cd inclusion (part of the idea being to highlight as many jammers as possible in segments that aren't _too_ attention-taxing), a couple are plagued by tech issues (on one late june recording, darrin kobetich is visible on screen but frustratingly inaudible on the audio track), and anything we played in the little room survives only in memory. the dogshit-to-diamonds ratio is about what you'd expect from any live, extemporaneous performance, and while some nights are more stellar than others, most have at least few moments that are worthy of preservation. once andre can transfer the toonage from tape to disc, we'll start churning and burning and what i'm optimistically calling impulse of will: wednesday night at the wreck room, volume 1 in my head wil be a reality.

88.7 ktcu-fm has been remarkably well-behaved of late. last weekend was the mighty me-thinks' studio appearance on the goodshow (altho their appearance was marked by more hijinks 'n' jive than dialogue 'n' music, as is often the goodshow guyzzz' wont, but i'm an old-school music nerd, so whatevah). this past weekend, black dog / wreck room bartender, music nerd's music nerd, and fort worth-bay area connexxxion billy wilson was guest deejay and elevated the level o' discourse 'n' toons as much as he does in almost any situation when he's not pouring dranks. the goodshow celebrates five yrs on the air this friday at the black dog and hellz yeah, ya mo' be there. best of all was the electric mountain rotten apple gang's segment on the "choice pickin's" bluegrass show, especially the solo segments by individual bandmembers (mark deffebach's "becky" was a particular treat, altho i always loves to hear expat lawn guylander darrin kobetich's orgy of chiming harmonics, percussive tapping, and strange-ola chords on "playing in the hedges") and adam kobetich's revelation that his discovery of bluegrass had given him "something _else_ in common" with his and darrin's dad. family unity and love wear the white stetson.

next sunday, i gotta return to my usual practice of digging dr. paul slavens' sunday-night festival o' eclecticism on 90.1 kera-fm. doc paul informs us via e-mail that next weekend is his one chance to show the powers-that-be at the station he actually has listeners, so we plan to tune in and pledge until it hurts, again.

scott copeland ADDENDUM

this from the man his own self:

that was cool. but i wasn't a goddamn ex-sooner.

i went to oklahoma state. we hate the sooners.

fuck ou.
fuck ou.
fuck ou.

take it easy,


dig kid daniel blog

david "kid" daniel, noted foat wuth writer-bullfight aficionado-muso (fort worth cats, icicle and the kid) now living in corpus christi, recently entered the blogosphere. dig him.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

the brokers, confusatron, ph7

took a walk to the little wreck room to hear some reggae 'n' funk sounds. todo el mundo it seemed was there and it all felt very fine 'n' mellow. was afraid we'd miss the brokers' set 'cos the myspace invite thingy they sent out said 9:30pm and we didn't roll up to the wreck until 10-ish, but we needn't have worried -- _no one_ starts at 9:30. _no one_.

the theme o' the evening appeared to be _evolution_, starting with the marked changes in the brokers since we saw 'em at the ridglea opening for ph7, well, prolly _too many_ months ago. most noticeable: the absence of kbds and the replacement of the sax player with marcus brunt of tcu / black dog jazz ubiquity providing a little rico rodriguez action on trombone. gone also is the austin drummer who saved their ass on that ridglea gig even tho "he couldn't play reggae worthashit," according to brokers frontguy adrian valdez (who should know, having kicked the traps for sin-c). for them that keeps a record, the new man on drums is eric yacula, and he and bassist mark mcpherson moshed it up real fine, earning praise from ph7 stickman damien stewart, among others. adrian and his cohort in crime jesus garcia split the gtr 'n' vox duties and have a buncha new toons that tickle those blue beat 'n' rock steady ganglia just fine (so fine i had to start this morning with a spin of the king kong compilation, vintage sides from the late chinese-jamaican recordman leslie kong's late-'60s stable). when adrian sang the song 'bout the neighborhood chica who likes to go down and got to the bit about goin' upside her head, it was a little too, um, pimpadelic for my taste, but then again, in a certain way, these young cats come across like the _real_ ppl the darth vato boyzzz only play on teevee.

i'll admit that it's also been a few months since the last time we saw confusatron -- ever since their thursday nights at the black dog became so popular that you need a spatula 'n' crisco to make yr way thru the crowd, we've missed quite a few, i'm sorry to say. 'cos the unit that hit the wreck room stage friday night was as far from the mightily groovin' but still somewhat shambolic outfit we'd seen last time as that band was from the three-piece that usedta busk on houston street in front of the old coffee haus. a few months ago, confusatron was in transition from a pure "jam" band to one with strong improvisational skills and real toons that showcase those strengths. since then, they've trimmed the fat from their sound and focused their attack even more. (dig the four! part! band! vocals!) now, they're capable of inducing collective ecstasies on a sub oslo level, with a polyphonic spree-ish strain of positivity and upfulness. after they were finished, saxman brian batson asked me, "how did it make you _feel_?" i don't remember what i really told him, but i _shoulda_ said, "happy to be alive." at times when the whole band would be hammering on one chord while brian wailed over the top like a mad muezzin, it felt like the building was about to levitate.

while brian's sax and matt skates' bass are still the cornerstones of the sound, the band has developed some new fulcrums. musically, a lot of the direction and focus seems to be emanating from justin pate's keys. (one muso remarked, "i dunno how justin has time to do anything -- he plays with half the bands in town" and that's almost true, between these guys, ph7, darth vato, horses, and his own monday night solo thang at the moon.) visually, loose-'n'-limber gtrist john stevens is a show all by himself, seemingly having more fun than any 10 other ppl in the house. (he's the newest bartender at the black dog, and perhaps his extreme state of relaxation was due to the happy hour shift he worked immediately before the show. perhaps not.) he's got scary chops and a tone that'll take the top of yr head off (even playing thru steffin ratliff's rig), but more than anything else, he projects _groove_ and _ease_. a natural. back on traps, lucas white was kickin' it like a d.c. go-go drummer ('member bands like e.u. and trouble funk that usedta carry _three_ drummers 'cos they'd wear 'em out in the course of a three-hour set w/o breaks?). it'll be interesting to see what these guys do when skates steps out for a few months to play on a caribbean cruise ship (shades of ghostcar's karl poetschke). will they be able to maintain the same momentum with another bassplayer (chuck brown, say, or john shook)? or will they put down for the duration and reconvene on skates' return? film, as they say, at 11.

by now, pablo and the hemphill 7 should be comfortable with their status as daddies of the scene. their live shows are the gold standard of roof-raising groovaliciousness. man for man, they're prolly the best band on the set (even more so because they don't go out of their way to prove it), and frontguy / poet / strategizer joe vano has always taken an interest in mentoring up 'n' coming bands (like the two that played before ph7 last night) and creating bona fide events like the soundclash extravaganza (coming up again in november, hooray, at the axis, feh). they earned their following the old fashioned way, slogging it out on four-hour gigs, playing for anyone who'd book 'em, then spent the next coupla yrs honing their original material and releasing a pile of band-bootleg cd-r's (a mixture of live cuts, straightahead studio expositions of their toons, and dub experiments -- a dangerous play for a band with big ideas but no "legit" cd). now they've scrapped the results of earlier abortive attempts at cutting a debut disc and are in rehearsals for a no-fooling studio foray. i'm betting that when they do, the results will be as amazing as their live shows routinely are.

Friday, October 14, 2005


so scott copeland, the fort's fave ex-sooner football jock turned singer-songwriter, has a song ("lighthouse keeper") on the new cross canadian ragweed alb. when ccr (sorry, mr. fogerty) played to a record-breaking crowd at billy bob's, scott got to sit onstage, from whence he could count the 9000-odd heads and estimate his share at 7 cents a hit, since admission was free but cd purchase was compulsory to see the show. good onya, big noggin. maybe this means he'll finally get to release the cd that was originally supposed to be out this time last year and we'll be able to hear what we call "the tornado song" (scott's rawkin' take on the "voodoo chile" i'm-a-badass riff) in the privacy of our own home.

came home from seeing scott and his berklee-edjumikated gtrist john zaskoda (who's opening a music store where white settlement rd. intersects roberts cutoff that'll offer gtr lessons for a reasonable $65 a month) to chow down on a roast chicken with the world's greatest seasoning -- that's sea salt, black pepper, ginger, and garlic -- that makes everything taste good (steaks, salmon, roast pork) but is particularly good with a whole chicken that's also been soaked in lemon juice (with the squeezed-out halves inserted in the body cavity to keep things moist). we ripped into it with bare hands, savoring the crispy-sweet-salty skin and tender meat. dug it so much we might have another one tonight, before stepping out to the little wreck room to hear darrin kobetich at happy hour, followed by the groovin' trifecta of the brokers, confusatron, and (climactically) pablo and the hemphill 7. ooh yeah.

drifted off to sleep last night after multiple listens to my current fave song o' the moment, "this house is empty now" from the elvis costello / burt bacharach painted from memory disc. you gotta respect a writer who can use tiny-but-significant details to paint a picture so evocative that it can make you recall memories you don't really have. and my gawd...did he _really_ just sing, "does the extinguished candle care about the darkness?!?!?" or, "meanwhile all our friends must choose / who they will favour, who they will lose?!?!?" the only thing comparable in my experience is a toon off a lou reed alb from a coupla yrs back where the singer creates a whole imagined past and then obliterates it. powerful stuff. i'm gonna have to start listening to lyrics more. or sooner.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

last dance - last chance

it's true.

november 18th. wreck room. woodeye. for the very last time.


art of the jam 22 ADDENDUM

the question raised by this dichotomy: is music fundamentally a _competitive_ or _cooperative_ endeavor? is life itself?

art of the jam 22

takin' a coupla days off from work, so i'm sitting here at la casa after dragging my lazy ass out of bed around 11, eating an egg 'n' cheese sammie on english muffin, drankin' hot black coffee and listening to the fonky meters -- gawd, i lurrrve me some 180-gram italian audiophile pressings like a goddamn manhole cover with lush packaging and great graphics; rekkid-wise, at least, italy is the new japan -- while compiling a list from previous "art of the jam" bloggage of stuff that i think might be worthy of inclusion in a cd-r comp (which will be done one of these days, if the lord be willing and the creek don't rise).

wreck room wizard of sound andre edmonson had to work a show at axis last night, so we set up on the little stage at "wreck west": jam-meister lee allen on 6-string bass 'n' vox, matt hembree (goodwin / underground railroad) on yr regular 4-string bass, steve huber (fw symphony) on violin, joe "drumzilla" cruz on skins, me on gtr, and a new addition to the roster o' musos who've played the little jam: tony chapman (ex-sivad / ghostcar, among others) on synth and gtr. (there was another drummer who i believe plays with the symphony and may actually have been to the jam before, but because i suck, i missed his name. he was good, though.)

perhaps the convo over dinner of thai soup w/shrimp had put me in a contemplative mood, but i spent more time on the stand _thankin'_ than is usually my wont. (if things are hittin' on all cylinders, the entire night blows by in what seems like minutes and when it's over, i can't remember a damn thing i played.) maybe it was the (iraq or something damn near like it) war drama being broadcast over fox onto the big-screen teevee facing the stage in the back of the room (mighta been a good idea to turn it off, but whatevah). maybe it was the presence in the house of ex-johhnny reno sideman / current soundtrack composer paul boll, a thoughtful and literate muso with whom i've often chewed the fat over similar subject matter. anyway, the topic o' the evening inside my head was the dichotomy in jam-land between two competing aesthetics or approaches: the virtuoso and the groove.

if you accept the premise that all human behavior is a form of either 1) looking for sex or 2) running away from death, it's not too hard to figure out where the virtuoso tradition came from. it's the impulse that says, "look at me! i'm _wonderful_!" (see frank zappa's take on it in the real frank zappa book: spooo!) and the jam is where it manifests itself most fully, the self-realizing outlet for musos who are, um, between bands, or who ply their trade in more restrictive formats. it's a venue conducive to excess: "i've been sitting here for three hours waiting to 'spress myself, and i've got maybe 15 minutes to show all these ppl just _what i can do_." now, don't get me wrong -- i think technical ability is _good_: the more facility you possess, the more expressive you can be. but therein lies the dilemma, because while listening to all this unbridled expression can be exciting, it can also be fatiguing. the end result can become, as willie the shake said, "a tale told by an idiot...sound and fury signifying nothing."

that's where the groove comes in. think of the groove as the glue that holds the whole thing together. as joe carducci might say, it's the surplus value found in between the notes. it's what made the gestalt of individual elements contained in the music of the meters, the jb's, booker t. and the mg's, parliament / funkadelic, the stooges, black sabbath, the ramones, black flag, the john coltrane quartet, etc., much more than the mere sum of parts. it's the reason why vinnie colaiuta was zappa's favorite drummer: his ability to play regular meter behind wild-ass solos, rather than speeding up (as lotsa riddim players tend to do when they hear fast notes). virtuosity is _event_-oriented; groove is _process_-oriented.

these contrasting approaches are not mutually exclusive and can, in fact, be complimentary. this was evident to me last night listening to lee allen and matt hembree play together. lee's a virtuoso, classically trained, a disciple of jaco, victor wooten, and flea. he uses six strings 'cos he can't get out everything he wants to say with just four. other side of the coin: matt's no slouch technically, as anyone who's heard him play with underground railroad can attest. he is, however, strictly riddim ("like the dire straits song," he sez). his ears are big enough to allow him to appreciate bela fleck and the buena vista social club, but he teethed on the three r's: rem, the replacements, and da ramones. his contributions are always solid and inventive, but subtle enough for undiscerning ears to miss.

the key to melding these two approaches into, um, _music_ is _listening_. styles or genres aren't important. ability levels aren't important. that is, if all the ppl involved use their ears to listen and their judgment to leave space for the others. listening can make the difference between a clusterfuck and a rarefied improvisational moment. i guess what i mean to say is: empathy wears the white stetson.

speaking of which: txu is kicking tony chapman's ass right now. if you're in the market for a real nice '82 rickenbacker bass and wanna help a brother out, go see him at milano's on west 7th st.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

jhon kahsen's "love's bitter rage" online

those of you who aren't lucky enough to reside in fort worth can now cop the new cd by the artist formerly known as johnny case online at if the link doesn't work, just go to the cdbaby site and search for his new name: jhon kahsen. fans of bill evans, john coltrane, peace and freedom should dig it.

carducci sst scrawl

for fans of punkrock history, here's sst records survivor / rock and the pop narcotic scribe joe carducci on them glory days thru the prism of the late photog naomi petersen's life. thanks and much respect to watt for the link.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

they mow the grass if you pay the cash

live in arlington heights and need yr lawn mowed or edged? the texas trimmers will come to yr house -- with _their own equipment_ -- to mow, rake, or weedeat (sorry, they don't have edgers).

my sweetie said they came to the house, dressed pert near like they are in the pics on their site, and offered to mow our mos def oversized lot at a cut-rate price. (but don't take advantage of 'em, hokay?)

while i kinda dig lawnmowing as a zen-like activity (turn off yr mind, relax and listen to the drone of the tiny fossil fuel-driven motor), i might have to hire these guys to rake leaves whenever texas winter arrives and deposits all the leafage from the trees on the ground overnight, just 'cause.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

mind if we dance wit' showdates

i better write these down before i forget 'em:

ph7 at el wreck w/confusatron and the brokers, friday, oct. 14th. then at the moon's halloween party on saturday, oct. 29th.

tim locke opening for the chemistry set at the moon, friday, oct. 21st (maybe can work in if goodwin plays late at the black dog), then fronting coma rally at the aardvark, saturday, oct. 22nd.

chatterton at the moon on friday, oct. 28th.

james hinkle at the modern art museum's "first friday" happy hour from 5-8pm, friday, nov. 4th. then at the bluebird on saturday, nov. 5th.

he's not running, he's walken

i don't care if this site _is_ bogus. he's still got my vote.

now playing

just so you won't think that the james hinkle and johnny case discs are _all_ we've been listening to around la casa lately, here's what's on the top o' the cd stack:

charles mingus -- the great concert of charles mingus: the 1964 european touring band w/eric dolphy. i usedta buy anything i could find by this lineup. this is one of the best.

glass insects -- cool and unusual punishment: thirty-five minutes of deniz tek from radio birdman doing interesting things with gtr feedback in a montana studio a few yrs back.

iggy and the stooges -- year of the iguana: while i will prolly go to my grave thinking funhouse is the greatest rawk rekkid of all time, the james williamson / "iggy and the..." incarnation was arguably a step forward in terms of music as well as violently self-destructive substance abuse patterns. over the yrs, the oeuvre has been repackaged unto death (including a recent 6-cd brit release that i'm deliberately avoiding); this concise sampler is one of the better ones (altho it lacks "search and destroy" and "gimme danger"; nobody's perfect). listen to "i got a right" and "gimme some skin." marvel at the fact they were recorded in 1972. anyone who thinks punk started in england (or new york) is underinformed.

gang of four -- entertainment!: artschool brits discover politics, beefheart, and the ghost of jimi hendrix. a sound like splintered shards of glass. later they went disco. now they've come back to cash in. this was their finest hour.

skip james -- she lyin': the most delicate-sounding of delta bluesmen, and the most bloody-minded.

son house -- the original delta blues: both robert johnson and muddy waters learned from him. i don't even care that alan wilson had to re-teach him his own songs when he was rediscovered in rochester, ny, ca. '64. as rory gallagher said, "an ace album."

elvis costello and burt bacharach -- painted from memory: such gorgeous melodies. such great singing. there are lines in this as good as anything in, say, fitzgerald. pick hit: "this house is empty now."

harry partch: the harry partch collection, volume 2: when i was a kid, i spent a yr in champaign-urbana, illinois, where (i later learned) harry partch's disciple danlee mitchell was an artist in residence. in college, we used to go the the library to listen to partch's "u.s. highball" to the amazement of our peers, who'd ask incredulously, "you listen to this for yr own pleasure?" i still think of the out-of-print columbia recording of "barstow" like a great hit single. i used to own his book genesis of a music before i had it swiped by a guy who paid $35 to have his name changed from "flynn" to "o'flynn." an outsider artist, a grand visionary, a crazy old hobo, take yr pick.

dave and daver -- jazz lines: a great homegrown jazz rec, who'd a thunk it, in the grand style of '60s blue notes by miles alumni. dave williams' toons stick in yr head like hancock and shorter's did, and the band (karnes, williams, jonathan fisher, sam walker) puts 'em across with the same combination of musical muscle and finesse. a year ago, dave karnes promised a sophomore outing with the crazy forward motion of a club set, with lotsa noisy drum solos (in the manner of joe henderson's four). bring it on.

sinead o'connor -- throw down your arms: the eccentric irish chanteuse sings classic roots reggae (peter tosh, bunny wailer, burning spear) from the old days, accompanied by sly and robbie, and doesn't disgrace herself. she seems to be singing from the middle of her range more these days, and thankfully, she hasn't grown dreads. (thanks to caroline collier for the turn-on.)

date night

so my sweetie is in the middle of a two-week break from school (she's a speech-language pathologist at a school for multi-disabled kids, which some ppl would think was a bummer gig but she'd have none other). this means that she can do stuff that entails hanging out late on school nights. and i've been meaning to get my lazy ass out from behind the puter in the evening times. so the recent spate of tol'able weather has worked out advantageously. instead of driving, we be walking to lots of our fave spots to hang which are a coupla miles from la casa.

this does a coupla things besides making me feel and sleep better. when you're on foot, you just naturally notice things that you don't when you're in the car. you're more aware of yr surroundings, and you can detect changes in 'em that you wouldn't if you were zipping by w/yr eye (hopefully) on the road ahead, other cars, etc. it makes you, um, more engaged in yr environment. which i see as a good thing -- better than living yr whole life inside yr own head.

so last night we walked up to fred's for the third time in as many days (thursday: checkin' out redheaded bluesman dru webber in his natch'l [read: acoustic / solo] environment; friday: eating terry's phenomenal roast duck in a wine reduction sauce, observing the new decor with strings o' lights hanging on the new fence and "rustic flagpoles" providing enough heat to keep the patio open until it freezes, or maybe even after, while digging saint frinatra's sounds and schmoozing danny chacko and jozef bobola [who weren't playing but came to hang after playing at the modern art museum with saxman johnny guadarrama] into maybe coming out to the little wreckroom jam next week [jozef to danny: "if we do this, _no eight notes -- only sixteenth notes!" -- sounds like i need to prac a bit this w-e]) to dig james hinkle with lee allen on bass, gunzi trevino on drums, and my fave ivory-tickler, professor robert cadwallader, on keys. i once played w/perfesser catwalladoo in a band where 3/5 of the guys thought his name was robert "cat" waller, hence their wondering "where's 'cat'?" anytime he was late for a gig. it's gratifying to know that he still doesn't rehearse, even more so that his classic blues pianner and hammond b-3 sounds have only gotten more sublime since the last time i peeped him onstage. these days, james is adding more jazzy picking to his already eclectic (a la doug sahm or the juke jumpers) mix of jump blues, swing, rockabilly, and whatever else suits his fancy, one reason why his recent straight-ahead blues? cd has taken up semi-permanent residency in the player at la casa.

lacking the scratch for the cover to see the southern rawk three-piece honky immediately after hinkle, we stopped by blockbuster to cop a movie, then headed up to sardine's to hear byron gordon play bass with johnny case. also on the stand last night: saxophonist art castillo, a sardine's waiter who apparently saved the day at johnny's recent cd release party for love's bitter rage when sylvester jones, who played on the cd, proved to be unavailable the night of the event. (other highspots of that night at arts fifth avenue, per johnny: the percussion duets between joey carter and mondo drummers honcho eddie dunlap, and an impressive and highly musical trap set solo by carter.) seriously, this castillo cat bears watching. for a young muso, he has a wonderful historical sense; you can hear lotsa pre-bop influences like ben webster (such a tone!) and lester young in his improvs. johnny sez you can now cop the cd at record town, and shortly, online at cdbaby.

after that, we finished out the night at the wreck room, where we learned that graham richardson _didn't_ take the test to appear on jeopardy at the state fair yesterday. teevee's loss...

so tonight, we'll have to pry ourselves away from dr. paul slavens' show on 90.1 kera-fm to tune into the good show on 88.7 ktcu-fm at 10pm so we can hear the rawkin' me-thinks' unique brand of buffoonery and call in to demand that they play "god bless haltom city," the rawk anthem we've always known they had in 'em and number one on the hit parade around our house. after that, we'll head over to the black dog to hear dave karnes play the sunday jazz (if he doesn't sub out after crashing bill pohl and kristi bowsher's wedding -- congrats, kids). gotta remember, too, that on friday, october 21st, the good show will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at the black dog with a bill that includes goodwin. that's only four days shy of two years since i met my sweetie at the very same venue for the very same event with the very same band. how time flies.

raymond pettibon

wow, there's a piece on graphic artist / cali punkrock fellow-traveler raymond pettibon in this week's new york times magazine, of all places. the link includes a cool slideshow. thanks and a tip o' the hat to watt for the link.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

art of the jam 21

while somewhat abbreviated (due to a james hinkle-ponty bone rehearsal that preceded it and some equipment problems during the second set), this week's jam featured a broader spectrum of players 'n' styles than the wreck room has seen in a few wednesday nights.

new jammers included goodwin / underground railroad bassist matt hembree and fingerstyle blues artiste dru webber (whose thursday night solo thang at fred's is not to be missed). also on hand were hinkle (who confided, "the last three hours were _work_; this is _fun_" before taking the jam stage) on gtr and vox, damien stewart on drums, and the usual "impulse of will" suspects (jam-meister lee allen on bass, joe "drumzilla" cruz, and me on gtr).

instead of having one massive clusterfuck (or sublime gestalt opportunity, depending on how you look at it), lee elected to showcase the jammers in a number of different configurations. first came a two-gtr blues quartet of webber, hinkle, allen and stewart (wherein dru demonstrated that it's possible, indeed sometimes _necessary_, for the spirits of john lee hooker, slim harpo, and black ace to inhabit the body of a gangling redheaded whiteguy who plays and sings the electrified delta blues with plenty-plenty grit and soul). next up was a fonky quintet (hinkle, hembree, stewart, allen, and me) that essayed a land-speed-record "chameleon" and a "cissy strut" with a hinkle solo that was an object lesson in dynamics, a kinda "tension-and-release 101." sans hinkle, the same musos (with and without allen) proceeded to "pull some reggae out of our asses" courtesy of bob marley and sally majestic. (note to matt: i _just_ thought of the countermelodies i should have been playing on "stir it up.") hembree showed off some fonkier chops than he usually gets to flaunt with his _real_ bands, and his presence allowed lee's 6-string bass to function as another lead gtr. before the break, the gtrist from transplanted seattle alt-rockers dogs with sticks got up and lit some trio fires with hembree and cruz.

during the second set, "standing on the verge of getting it on" had to be aborted when lee had amp (actually cord, he said later) probs -- a disappointment for me 'cos there were latin express ppl in the house, but prolly just lee's rig rebelling against having had to play the toon _three_ times the previous week. feh. in my own setup, there must be a 9-volt or two fixin' to give up the ghost, because the controllable harmonic feedback was really happenin' on my other fave toon, "maggot brain." webber joined in for a "manic depression" that almost came off the rails before jam-meister lee jumped in on vox to salvage it. dru finished things out with steppenwolf's "the pusher" -- a little biker-rock to cap off an evening of blues, funk, reggae, and gtr dementia. my sweetie and i were home by 1:30 -- proof positive (as if any more were needed) that just enough is never too much. i can't wait to do it all again next week.

avedon exhibit

faces weathered by life
eyes drained of all hopes and dreams
tell me your story, friend
how did you come to be in this place?

boo hiss

apparently great tyrant (new band w/ex-yeti and pointy shoe factory musos) is _not_ opening the sleepytime gorilla museum show at axis. feh.

somebody give this band a gig already!

all asians look same dotcom?

ever politically correct, my sister sent me a link to this site, which features a quiz where you try and spot the diff between chinese, japanese, and korean ppl. go ahead. try it. i did and scored better than avg but still "bad." sigh.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

pancake mountain

forget stevie wonder and b.b. king on sesame street, iggy 'n' syd straw 'n' marshall crenshaw on pete and pete. from the evidence in these clips. pancake mountain just has to be the coolest kids' show ever.

thanks and a tip o' the hat to randy for the link.

Monday, October 03, 2005

my mom was right

laboratory tests show...watching tv can damage yr brain.

ike was right

if you think all repugnicans are evil, remember: the first person to warn (in 1961) of the perfidious influence of the military industrial complex was dwight d. eisenhower, a general and president who knew whereof he spoke.

puss in boots

while in walmart yesteday, we acquired, for seven bucks, a dvd (prolly released direct to video) of, um, puss in boots -- a live-action version starring _christopher walken_ in the title role. it seemed like a p.r. flack's dream come true: "these boots were _made_ for walken!"

ADDENDUM: even better -- it's a _musical_!!! "all singing, all dancing, all walken!"

spam fan

i almost joined the spam fan club yesterday. not the internet annoyance, but the luncheon meat manufactured by the hormel corporation. this thought stayed my hand: what sane person gives their e-addy to a purveyor of spam? and yet, and yet. guilty pleasure: i love the gelatinous and meat-like goodness of spam. probable cause: my parents were both raised in hawaii, and i grew up eating it accompanied by balls of rice wrapped in dried seaweed. yum! hawaiians, after all, eat more of the stuff than anybody (but not anything; still plenty of room on their plates for poi and teriyaki burgers). maybe i could use the hotmail address?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Love's Bitter Rage

Jazz pianist Johnny Case has held down Fort Worth's longest-running jazz gig, at Sardines Ristorante Italiano, for over 20 yrs. So when he announced last fall that he was changing his name to the "muslimized" Jhon Kahsen in protest against U.S. military adventures in Iraq, some sensible folk on the set figured he must have been either 1) kidding or 2) out of his mind. "My name-change is no joke," sez Johnny in the liner notes to his new CD, and having visited with him a few times in the past year, I'd say he's still in possession of his faculties. He is, I think, putting his political convictions on the line in the most appropriate manner -- that is, creating a work with programmatic content that the listener can take on whatever level they choose, rather than haranguing the diners at Sardines. Lotsa musos will tell you one-on-one that they oppose the current administration's foreign policy. I can't think of any others offhand who've chosen to comment on it via their art (and no, Spector 45 re-recording the Nervebreakers' "My Girlfriend is a Rock" w/new lyrics as "My Girlfriend's in Iraq" does _not_ count)., Jhon's new CD, Love's Bitter Rage, is subtitled "A Peace and Justice Suite" and was inspired by the testimony of a Guatemalan woman whose family was murdered by death squads trained at the School of the Americas (since renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) at Fort Benning, Georgia. To get the backstory, you can read the essays in the accompanying booklet by Ramsey Sprague, Maureen Tolbert, and Kitty Case. There's all kinds of precedent for this kind of statement in the jazz canon. Just think of Billie Holliday's "Strange Fruit." Or Mingus compositions from "Fables of Faubus" and "Meditations" to "Remember Rockefeller at Attica" and "Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi USA." Or Charlie Haden's "Song for Che" with Ornette, which got its composer arrested at the airport in Lisbon after he dedicated the piece to Angolan freedom fighters during a 1971 concert there. Or Haden's series of albums with his Liberation Music Orchestra.

Case / Kahsen has released a slew of rekkids over the yrs, encompassing everything from straightahead jazz to free improv to country to western swing to musique concrete. Never one to damn with faint praise, I'd say this one has the feel of a masterpiece. The main theme, with its Spanish tinge and air of elegiac melancholy, appears no less than four times, in trio and quintet versions and in vocal arrangements with the lyrics sung (in English and Spanish) by operatic sopranos Chelsea Coyne and Claudia Gonzalez. As one who was force-fed on Strauss and Wagner operas as a youngster, I'll admit that's not my fave style of vocalismo, but the Ellington-inspired vocal pieces (with bassist Byron Gordon on first-time cello, no less) provide a suitably weighty setting for the text. The somber mood of these pieces gives way to a feeling of freedom and openness on the Tyneresque modal piece "Global Jubilation" (which appears in trio and quintet versions) and the pensive "No Little Lament," a dedication to the trumpeter Booker Little (who played on Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite, an inspiration for the current project). The free improv "Run Free" sounds like it could be an outtake from one of Cecil Taylor's classic '60s Blue Note albums (that'd be Unit Structures and Conquistador). In between the toons, Joey Carter (whose crisply-swinging trapwork throughout the album gives the music a lift) contributes percussion interludes that alternately evoke African, Near Eastern, and Latin American root sources.

As always, Case / Kahsen's playing is harmonically rich and lyrical, and his accompanists appear to have dug particularly deep for these sessions. Bassist Byron Gordon came to the jazz fold from the TCU Symphony, the Jim Squires Band, and countless Tim Locke projects, initially motivated by his love and respect for his predecessor in Case's trio, the late Charles Scott. He says he's proud to have played on this album, and he and Carter (who we're more accustomed to seeing behind the vibes with four mallets flying at the Black Dog on Sunday nights, or playing keyboards with Bertha Coolidge whenever they reconvene to do their funk-fusion thang) provide solid and sensitive support for Johnny's explorations. I haven't heard much of tenor saxophonist Sylvester Jones; my bad -- he's a player of great feeling and invention, with the Texas tenorman's trademark big sound. To these ears, the big news here is Chris White's standout work on flute and trumpet. Chris is a ubiquitous presence around town, whether he's playing bass in the pit band at Jubilee Theater or with Saint Frinatra at Fred's, or adding his solo voice to Dave and Daver's front line. He's even recorded with Johnny several times in the past, but I doubt I've ever heard him play as beautifully as he does here, particularly on the Booker Little dedication and the flute feature "Orphan World."

One thing to remember: If you want this CD, you're gonna have to go to Sardines when Johnny's playing to cop it. So far, it's not available from Johnny's website, and it wasn't on the wall devoted to his stuff at Record Town when I was there the other day. Then again, that's not a bad thing; myself, I'm always looking for an excuse to scarf some good Italian chow while listening to great jazz. When you get yr copy of Love's Bitter Rage, you might wanna ask Jhon to play "Adrift" or "No Little Lament" or even the title track from the CD to pique the interest of some of the other diners, too.

it's _not_ just johnny case

burt bacharach is apparently making an anti-bush protest album. elvis costello and dr. dre have volunteered their services. i'm not making this up. i'm not that imaginative.