Tuesday, January 31, 2006

phil overeem, village voice

my friend phil overeem -- who teaches high school and keeps the rock'n'roll faith in columbia, missouri; whose website i usedta scrawl for; and who had the decency to put me up when i was on the road with nathan brown, and buy us a pizza (altho his repeated requests for velvet underground songs while we were playing on the street were puzzling, to say the least) -- wrote to inform me that he and i are both quoted in the village voice music poll ish (which i responded to this yr primarily out of a desire to see jhon kahsen's name on the voice website).

after indulging my shakey vanity to read the two (!) priceless pearls of wisdom the editors extracted from my ballot-accompanying rant, i read the following from phil:

My favorite rock and roll moment of the year happened in March when the Drive-By-Truckers played free for 125 kids at the Missouri high school where I teach. They rolled our their tour bus, set up in about 10 minutes, and played a brilliant acoustic set filled with songs (like "Outfit," "Never Gonna Change," "Lookout Mountain," and "The Day John Henry Died") that they'd specially selected for the audience. In between, Hood, Coley, and Isbell talked about the inspiration behind their writing and dispensed much wise advice for budding rockers. Afterwards, they signed autographs over cafeteria chocolate milk for 20 minutes, talked one-on-one with several student musicians, and at their show at a local venue that night, dedicated a song ("Buttholeville" -- the choice was inspired not by the song's subject matter but by its killer riff) to the kids.

Phil Overeem
Columbia, Missouri

and that shit really 'n' truly made my day. so there.

dave karnes - machenry's - thursday 2/2

who cares if the groundhog sees his shadow?

who cares if we have six more weeks of winter?

who cares about the state of the union address?

hear live jazz! with dave karnes! clint strong! and oaklin bloodworth! at machenry's! 7618 camp bowie blvd! this thursday!

you go there!

one reason why i married who i married

overheard my sweetie on the phone with one of her oldest / dearest friends, expounding on the topic "merle haggard rawks _much_ more than waylon jennings."

my wife: i think i'll keep her.

groundhog day

l.a. bassist 'n' political wag doug lunn writes:

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."

Monday, January 30, 2006

pearls & brass

i grew up playing in three-piece "power trios" inspahrd by the likes of cream, mountain -- on lawn guyland ca. '71, there musta been almost as many bands with a fat guy in a leather coat playing a les paul jr. a la leslie west, as there were around the metromess a decade or so ago with a skinny guy in a cowboy hat playing a weathered strat a la srv -- early jethro tull and blodwyn pig, even: the way blues-based, riff-oriented rawk usedta sound before the voxxx took a turn toward shrill and the sound morphed into metal. even after queens of the stone age made this kinda sludgy rifferama quasi-acceptable again a coupla yrs ago, it's still astonishing to me that there are bands in existence in 2006 that sound like pearls & brass, a buncha 20somethings from the weedgrown wilds o' nazareth, pennsylvania, who've been playing together for literally half their lives. i'm glad there are, tho. the schitt still sounds _badass_.


moris tepper was playing gtr in captain beefheart's magic band both times i saw 'em back in the late '70s. since then, he's also played with tom waits and frank black, in addition to working as a graphic artist. i haven't heard 'em all yet, but there are some interesting toons ('n' vids 'n' images) on his site, including a new (!) collaboration with don van vliet.

top secret...shhhh

about two yrs ago, bassist marcus lawyer invited me to participate in a "top secret" recording project he was undertaking. the concept: take a buncha local musos (ultimately 35 of 'em), have 'em record, separately / in secret / late at night without any advance prep or even knowing who they were playing with. all on real cheap analog gear. so now it's finally finished, and the result is online here. marcus is putting the toons online four at a time (the myspace standard; i play on a track called "i'm in the mood...swing"), but promises a vinyl / cd release (and party!) soon. after that, he's gonna do _another_ one, utilizing the talents of all the folks who signed on for the first one but couldn't participate due to schedule conflicts etc. enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

god only knows

man, i sure love the beach boys' pet sounds alb -- so much so that personal superstition has made it the first piece o' music i make it a point to listen to when moving into a new place. so i was stoked to find this acapella version of "god only knows" from the new official website of singer / arranger petra haden, in the manner of her petra haden sings the who sell out alb from last yr. besides having an amazing voice, petra's got an incredible ear for tricky harmonies. her collaboration with gtrist bill frisell, also from last yr, is similarly worth checking out.

wreck room calendar blah-blah

the skeleton key show on february 18th is now officially one not to miss, boasting as it does both confusatron and the great tyrant on the undercard.

and michael preble sez sleeplab has the big stage on thursday, february 9th. so there.

zeke's fish and chips

reading this b-log, you might get the idea that the only place i ever eat is fred's, but it's not true. thar be several other classic fort worth chow pads which are also worthy altho not frequented as regularly by me. among 'em: the montgomery street cafe, kincaid's hamburgers, and zeke's fish and chips (sorry no website), a veritable westside institution that's been serving up the humongous slabs o' batter-dipped icelandic cod and justifiably-legendary fried okra at 5320 curzon, just off camp bowie blvd, for going on 30 yrs now. i introduced my middle dtr to the joint yesterday (she was raised as a non-fish-eater, but is coming around) at the start of a day of cowboy bebop viewing. she decided that the "snack plus" (one piece of fish with hush puppies or fries, cole slaw, a drink and a brownie) trumps the "short combo" (one piece of fish with yr choice of 2 veggies and pups) by virtue of being more generous and a whole buck cheaper. myself, i gotta stick with the special (two pieces o' fish w/fries and pups, to which i usually add a cup o' slaw, altho i didn't this time). a not-heart-healthy guilty pleasure and a li'l on the pricey side (hard to get away under $20 when you add drinks), but when you're in the mood for it, nothing else will do.

dry drunk emperor

wow. i didn't think they wrote political rocksongs like thisun (released last yr as a free download in the wake of katrina) anymore. i dunno much about the band tv on the radio, but you can bet i'm gonna check 'em out. lyrics strong, music sounds like radiohead with p-funk choral voxxx. yeah. there was a writeup in the december arthur ish, but i read s-l-o-w.

Friday, January 27, 2006

brokers! wreck room! sunday!

local reggae-skatalites the brokers, fronted by new papa adrian vasquez, be at the li'l wreck room this sunday. also appearing: afrobeat/reggae/ska hornband liquid cheese and punkabillies the scary mondelos. y'all come, hokay?

no knife

inspiring stuff: a "local band" from san diego with a 10-yr trajectory and a shitload of releases, who've even toured japan. they make smart, moody pop-rock with vocal harmonies (and the audible influence of '80s mtv dahhhlings the fixx!!!). (dig "the red bedroom," for starters.) is it any wonder goodwin / underground railroad bass master matt hembree would dig 'em? (tks 'n' a tip o' the hat to matty for the link.)

new black dog is go for sat!!!

this just in from shaggy mccormick:


The New BLACK DOG at 2933 Crockett St. in Fort Worth will be open on Sat. 1/28 w/ The Invincible Czars from Austin playing at around 10pm-ish. Come Check us out.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

caroline collier, villain vanguard

i don't normally read the fweakly since i stopped having to do so in order to find out how much $$$ i was gonna have that week, but i made an exception this week to peep caroline collier's piece on villain vanguard. caro's a good writer and thoughtful observer, so having her insightful commentary on local music is like a breath of fresh air in a stale, stale room.

art of the jam 36

having a hellride of a week at work and my sweetie is headin' out of town for a few days to attend a conference in the mission city of san antonio (which i haven't set foot in since my basic training town pass, way the hell back in 1982) after a hellacious week of her own fightin' the powers that be in the local public school system, so i was kinda ambivalent about steppin' out to make my li'l indonesian strat go weedly-weedly-wee. but when she pointed out that she'd prolly just be packing her bag, jumping in the shower, and hittin' the rack, i felt a li'l less guilty about it. plus ron geida needed a ride, and i'd gladly go a coupla blocks outta my way for a chance to jam w/ron geida on gtr _anytime_.

most locals reading this prolly know ron from kulcha far i and jasper stone, but he's been in loads of other foat wuth bands before that, including the civilians (who weren't a christian rawk band but sure looked like one, whose ex-frontman has now reinvented himself in noo yawk city as something called "the matthew show" and whose ex-bassplayer occasionally plays solo acoustic spuzz at machenry's), second hand soul, fake jerry, the dirty mac, blueprint, and lots more. even an instrumental band called "the occasionals" that was your humble chronicler o' events' one ill-advised stab at trying to be a bandleader. thirteen months, seven gigs, three bassplayers, two drummers, and one nervous breakdown later, i realized that i am _one of nature's sidemen_ and damn happy to be one. anyway, there was this band that started out with me and ron going to see the allman bros. with derek trucks wiping the floor w/poor ol' dickey betts the same way that bro. duane usedta and thinking "we could have a band like this: one that could play long and _let the grooves breathe_" but wound up being a tight-assed li'l fake jazz band where everyone took two choruses on every song. but i digress.

this week's jam was supposed to be a sorta road test for melee mouth, the foat wuth supergroup-of-sorts consisting of wreck room wednesday night jam-meister lee allen on bass 'n' voxxx, his fort worth academy of music partner-in-crime dave karnes on drums, and "confusajohn" steven on gtr. confusajohn, a groovin' and blues-drenched axe-slingin' mofo from way back when, played his first gig at the old dogstar on berry street at age 15, second on the bill to the visitors, a band with his future confusatron bandmate justin pate on drums, and has since played his way through smokehouse, nuthin' special, the merchants and i forget what-all, but he's super-stoked about this project. "i just wanna _turn it up and rawk out_," sez confusajohn, perhaps chafing under the limitations of working in the free-flowing but dense forest o' sound that is confusatron. jam-meister lee has even been writin' actual toons for this project, something he does only infrequently, and it sounds like the outfit's debut (that'll be friday, february 24th, with rahim and sunward -- a kind of "all dave karnes" night at the li'l wreck room) will be one not to miss.

the early preview / rehearsal wound up not eventuating at this week's jam, though. while all the players were in da house when the proverbial curtain went up, joe "drumzilla" cruz (back from a coupla wks of illness and misery) was not about to relinquish his spot behind the traps, so karnes split, taking with him lee's idea of having a "revolving trio" night. after a quartet set (john, lee, drumzilla, me) that included the swamporific version of, um, depeche mode's "personal jesus" (or as i prefer to think of it, "personal elvis") that's becoming a jam standard and a guest vocal turn by rose marine theatrista claudia acosta on a portishead song that the jam-meister apparently knew altho the rest of us did not (as always, we faked it), mr. stevens decamped for the torch (where the black dog tavern regulars are awaiting in exile the reopening -- maybe next weekend, john sez -- of tad gaither's fonky basement in its new location a block from fred's and within walking distance of el wreck; we live in hope), leaving his strat and groovy new 15w class a ampeg rig from sessions music for the jammers to tear down at the end of the night.

other set highlights: a three-gtr "come together" and a torrid zappa "sexual harassment in the workplace" that featured slithering linearity from ron, monolithic slabs o' distorto bass thunder from lee, and splintered blooze lixxx from me in da solo sections. (note to self: must remember to call jane's addiction "mountain song" the next time lee asks what i wanna play.) second set started out with a cat who introduced himself to me as "mojo" and to lee as john something-else-i-can't-remember-right-now, who played left-handed acoustic gtr and sang. his gtr was pretty tight, with a real active right...'scuse me, _left_ hand, and we made a noble effort at following him on a coupla I-IV vamp-olas after his solo mini-set. second set ended kinda anti-climactically when we all thought it was 1:30 but it was really only 12:30.

the jam-meister's theme o' the night appeared to be "stirring the pot." we avoided playing a lot of what's become "standard jam repertoire" ("bobo," "cissy strut," "manic depression," "maggot brain," "war pigs") in favor of some different schitt like a "sunshine of yr love" that started at land-speed-record pace before slowing down to the "normal" tempo, hendrix "fire" done pert near straight rather than hyperdriven chili peppers fash i thought lee would favor, the rhcp's "stone cold bush" with ron shreddin' over the top even tho he didn't know the form (kinda like confusajohn had done earlier on "standing on the verge"). most, um, _interesting_ moment came at the end of the night, when we finished what we reckoned was the last song and a drunk girl the jam-meister dubbed "roberta plant" got up onstage and started some solo yoko ono-esque wordless vocalismo. a moment of awkwardness ensued before wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson fired up his vocal f/x and the jam quartet launched into a feedback-laden "dazed and confused" / "whole lotta love" medley to end the night, proving the verity of the jam-meister's words in his most recent myspace bulletin thingy: "you pick the tunes or grooves -- we destroy them." 'twas big fun, y'all. if you weren't there, you missed it.

amy royer

...just took over darrin kobetich's old friday night happy hour gig at the li'l wreck room. great pipes, good toons, and maybe some heavy friends sittin' in. i say check her out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

me-thinks / darth vato / wreck room / march 4th

this new ray liberio design kinda plays on the "kim hunter-in-planet of the apes" erotic thang i've always struggled with.

Monday, January 23, 2006

tom delay: wit 'n' wisdom of

thanx 'n' a tip o' the hat to l.a. bassist extraordinaire doug lunn for fwding the following:

FYI. Self explanatory. Is it even possible that Bush
looks good by comparison?

The Wisdom of Tom Delay

1) "So many minority youths had volunteered, that
there was literally no room for patriotic folks like
myself." -- Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP
convention why he and vice presidential
nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War.

2) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
-- Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from
New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9.2005.

3) "I AM the federal government." -- Tom DeLay, to
the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being
told to put out his cigar because of federal
government regulations banning smoking in the
building, May 14.2003.

4) "We're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper
power." - Tom DeLay, explaining why America must
topple Saddam Hussein in 2002 interview with Fox News.

5) "Nothing is more important in the face of a war
than cutting taxes." -- Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003.

6) "Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile
violence. The causes of youth violence are working
parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching
of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who
take birth control pills." -- Tom DeLay, on causes of
the Columbine High School massacre, 1999.

7) "A woman can take care of the family. It takes a
man to provide structure. To provide stability. Not
that a woman can't provide stability, I'm not saying
that ... It does take a father, though." --
Tom DeLay, in a radio interview, Feb. 10, 2004.

8) "I don't believe there is a separation of church
and state. I think the Constitution is very clear.
The only separation is that there will not be a
government church." -- Tom DeLay (date unspecified)

9) "Emotional appeals about working families trying
to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996]
are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not
exist." -- Tom DeLay, during a
debate in Congress on increasing the minimum wage,
April 23, 1996.

10) "I am not a federal employee. I am a
constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of
the United States, I am not a government employee. I
am in the Constitution." -- Tom DeLay, in a CNN
interview, Dec. 19, 1995.

Does DeLay makes the president look slightly less
stupid by comparison?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


these guys sound like the me-thinks of orstralia, and they're named after the guy that produced funhouse. best of all, they're playing a show of stooges covers with mike watt, who's down under this week playing with the actual stooges. how fuckin' cool is _that_?!?!?

this damn town, the strange attractors

ex-dead sexyite jeremy diaz checked in from austin (for whence he unassed the fort a few months back) to report that his current [main] band, this damn town, is prepping for a two week tour in march with portland's new fangs, starting at sxsw and winding up in, um, cincinnati, including a stop at the wreck room on monday, march 20th. so there.

jeremy also reports that he's playing in a new project, the strange attractors, with his old dead sexy bandmates kevin pearce and jen tran, altho he's careful to point out that this new outfit sounds nothing like the old denton-based glam-punkers. film, as they say, at 11.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

strange movies

my dutch punkrock pal tony slug sent this link to some of the sho' nuff strangest '70s movies in existence. proof positive (as if any more were needed) that reality is much stranger than anything you could possibly make up.

wicked pickett kicks it

r.i.p. wilson pickett, 1941-2006. when i was growing up on lawn guyland, all the slightly-older cats in my german-italian-irish catholic 'hood dug this man's music, even tho he represented precisely the kind of assertive black masculinity that scared the living shee-it out of them when encountered in the flesh. if i live to be a thousand, i doubt i'll ever want to hear "midnight hour" or "mustang sally" evereverever again due to their oldies radio / coverband overoveroverexposure, but i can't say the same of "i found a love" or "funky broadway" or especially "i'm in love." go easy, sir.

sh*t we're listening to now

"so, what cd's are you listening to obsessively these days?" my middle dtr wanted to know. she knows me too well. here's what's currently sitting in the on-deck circle by the cd player at la casa:

elvis costello & the attractions - armed forces: philly-based rykodisc deserves big props for their reishes of the costello, david bowie, 'n' frank zappa catalogs. the bonus tracks on thisun, i believe, originally constituted the muy desirable live at the el mocambo promo e.p. wotta songwriter! wotta band!

nels cline - ash and tabula / out trios volume three (with andrea parkins and tom rainey) and destroy all nels cline: the first is spontaneous improv that sounds composed, by a trio of the wilco gtrist and a coupla obscuro lower manhattan avant-jazz types that only plays together once a yr. the second is said gtrist's compositional foray into the land of eclecticism, touching bases that include musique concrete, avant-garde classical, freeblow, fusion (proximate models: early mclaughlin and abercrombie), and wetton-era king crimson. i can't wait to dig nels' shredarama on the banyan rekkid i just got in the mail.

mark growden - live at the odeon: clean 'n' sober now, and touring only sporadically. his twisted east euro cabaret is truly a unique sound, best experienced live. boy do we miss him here in the fort.

various artists - do the pop!: the australian garage rock sound 1976-87: not quite "all the orstralian dee-troit metal-punk you 'n' yr family will ever need," but close, and a good place for neophytes to start.

sunburned hand of the man - the trickle down theory of lord knows what and rare wood: lately this is the last music i wanna hear before i fall asleep (not a slam) 'cos it makes me feel like i'm already dreaming. had to take no magic man out of rotation, tho, 'cos all the creepy talking parts were bugging my sweetie.

gang of four - entertainment!: spiky brit politico-funk-punk w/jagged gtrs and big clunky riddim section damage.

the me-thinks - double e.p. rough mixes and napoleon complex demos: c'mon!

da kobe

"too many people in the acoustic genre want to live in the past. tradition is necessary to learn from, definitely, but it seems a lot of these 'purists' tend to forget that tradition was something new once, before it became acceptable. hell, any genre, for that matter."

that's darrin kobetich talking, and he should know. the forward-thinking gtrist -- who spent his early yrs on lawn guyland, noo yawk, before moving with his family to weatherford at the ass-end of the '70s (altho you'd never guess it from listening to him tawwwk) -- is gifted with a restless, probing musical intelligence that's led him down some deep rabbit holes indeed over the yrs. darrin's musical tastes 'n' influences run the gamut from country bluesmen to solo acoustic pioneers to old-school '70s hard-rock bands to obscuro metal outfits (of which he's played in a couple his own self: hammer witch and amillion pounds). these days, he keeps a _very_ busy gig calendar, weaving webs of acoustic wonderment -- replete with dropped tunings, drones, lightning-fast modal runs 'n' octaves that plumb a deep well of emotion, and an unbelievably dextrous 'n' powerful right hand -- on his own, and pickin' bluegrass and mountain string music on dobro and mandolin as well as gtr in the electric mountain rotten apple gang with his brother, graphic artist adam kobetich. whew!

last night, big d. played his last friday night happy hour at the wreck room after two yrs of holding down the gig. besides several solid sets of solo-gtr pyrotechnics, there was some hot jam action that put me in mind of some of the "acid-folk" noise (really an amalgam of free jazz 'n' psychedelic rawk influences with lotsa chanting 'n' drumming) i've been listening to at la casa lately. after a nice mellow country-blues turn by darrin's pal kavin allenson, backed by darrin and sleeplab snare drummer michael preble, some uncooperative equipment resulted in a drum circle of gtrists (darrin, a-hummin' acoustical acupuncture's daniel katsuk, sally majestic's scott vernon, me) beating on bongos and a djembe while a weatherford gal whose name i didn't catch strummed 'n' sang and lee allen (another inveterate jammer whose playing always includes trace elements of metal) held down the harmonic / melodic underpinnings on bass. absolute high point of the evening, musically-wise: blind harpman vinny, who walked in off the street to blow some little walter-sounding shuffles 'n' jump toons over the drum circle and lee allen's blues walk. i asked him if he'd come back and do it again some wednesday night. we live in hope.

after awhile i took a walk around and heard some of pleasant grove and centro-matic (regrettably, i was on the li'l stage while stumptone was up on the bigun; gotta catch 'em another time) while wading thru the _thousands of ppl_ who came out to hear 'em. proof positive (as if anymore were needed) that i'd be the world's shittiest a&r man: none of the sounds i heard emanating from the big room moved me nearly as much as those i'd heard ('n' briefly been a participant in) over in "wreck west." this thought occurred to me around last-call time, watching darrin 'n' daniel katsuk throwin' down on gtr and drum, two cats imbued with the spirit o' the jam, riding tidal waves of sound that originated from their very own heads / hands / hearts.

darrin's upcoming gigs include the texas tea house in dallas, fred's, hip pocket theatre, and panther city coffee house here in the fort. a-hummin' acoustical acupuncture and sally majestic be at the li'l wreck room on saturday, february 4th. y'all come, hokay?

Friday, January 20, 2006

google to whitehouse: drop dead!

wow, do you think that google mighta been serious 'bout that whole "do no evil" thang? 'course, i s'pose that depends on yr definition of "evil"....

last time around

b.b. king just announced his farewell tour. he's 80. he's been touring for 60 yrs now. sez b.b., "sinatra sang about 'the september of my yrs.' i'm in the _november_ of my yrs." and that, friends, is the way to grow old.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

art of the jam 35

the evening started out on a sad note, with the news that elvis, the bartender from "wreck west," was in the emergency room at j.p.s. (that's john peter smith hospital, for out-of-town folks). hope you're better soon, bro. we played "maggot brain" for you.

again this week, there was actually a crowd that hung around for most of the evening. (mini-hype from texasgigs.com a factor? _you_ decide!!!) among 'em: black dog tavern bartender shaggy; sunward gtrist jerko (pronounced YAIR-ko), who's playing in denton this weekend with a radiohead cover band; fred's outlaw chef terry chandler, whose fiery valentine's day feast looks like it might give the one he cooked up on new year's eve some competition for the honor of "best meal i eat this yr;" and rose marine teatrista claudia acosta, who sez teatro de la rosa's upcoming production of casa rio opens january 20th and sounds like one not to miss. (claudia said she was improvising spanish rhymes in her head during "maggot brain;" maybe next time she'll get up and do it on-mic.) one audience member even tipped the band generously (a first), and bought a cd of last week's jam that wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson had handed me earlier in the evening. i hadn't even listened to it. hope it didn't disappoint.

not many jammers this particular night, just gooduns. joe "drumzilla" cruz had been fighting a nasty strep infection since the previous weekend, so jam-meister lee allen's fort worth academy of music pardner dave karnes stepped in on traps, while ron geida of kulcha far i / jasper stone fame is becoming a jam reg'lar on gtr. i've been kinda gettin' my ass kicked this week by work / life stuff, but any opportunity i get to listen to ron geida shred all night qualifies as a winner. for my money, he's the most inventive rawk player in town, with exquisite chops, beaucoup fretboard knowledge, and a fair degree of humor in his ripping solos. karnage, of course, never half-steps, whether it's rawk or jazz he's playing, and it was a kick seeing his reaction to the poster ray liberio designed to promote his jazz gigs (the next ones are at machenry's on the 2nd and 23rd of february).

absent carl pack, dave's pal riley shaw did the vocal honors on "come together" and, um, "hotel california." besides "maggot brain" for elvis, there were several other developing jam traditions honored: p.j. fry's vocal turn on his band sally majestic's "bobo;" the "pepper"-into-"sweet emotion" segue; an ultra-abbreviated "back in black;" a deja vu reprise of "war pigs" with geida 'n' karnes (proving that what you don't think is possible can become a habit if you let it). kulchafarian john shook took over the jam-meister's 5-string bass for part of the last set, steering it through an uptempo blues ("messin' with the kid") and a _s-l-o-w_ "chameleon," in contrast with the jammers' usual "speed-metal" version. dre was testing some new toys, and i had fun playing with the harmonic feedback from the monitor, altho it took me awhile to get used to its in-yr-face sound (and playing standing up again, minus "das boot").

we started late, and the next thing i knew, it was last call. no matter what else is going on, it's _always_ better to play than not to play.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

slow down week, january 15-21

typically, i found out about this halfway into it, but anyway: slow down.

"earl" and "boots"

perhaps coincidentally w/the whole frank mcculley thang, my sweetie and i have recent experience w/papier mache, via the costumes we wore to the ph7 show at the moon on halloween.

Monday, January 16, 2006


remember segregation.

thanks to phil for the link.

"wild things" - fwcac - feb 4-27

dig my sweetie's pics of frank mcculley artwork. these things have to be seen to be believed. re: the komodo dragon, frank sez, "he's been a good friend. now i just need to find him a good home."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

maren morris, frank mcculley, goodwin, briley, eaton lake tonics

fell by fred's to chow a fredburger and pick bassist / restaurateur / attorney eric zukoski's brain re: some musicbiz stuff. normally a jazz cat, eric was playing with maren morris, a 15-yr-old singer-songwriter wunderkind whose cd walk on has caught the ear of major label ppl. she's showcasing for some of 'em at ritzy xouba lounge in arlington this coming thursday, but the folks at fonky fred's (just a few blocks away from will rogers center, where stock show madness is currently underway) seemed to dig her just fine. _teeny-tiny_ li'l gal with a _b-i-g_ ol' voice -- think bonnie raitt, joan osborne (who?), patsy cline even -- with impressive songwriting skills (she's been doing it since age 9, for goodness sakes), stage demeanor 'n' riddim gtr chops (even though she's about as tall as her flat-top, and could barely get her hands around its neck). hearing that kinda vocal power 'n' heartache emanating from such a tiny teen was quite an experience, as was seeing eric playing an electric bass and drummer cooper heffley working with someone he actually looked older than. maren's mos def a big talent and one to watch in future. if it seems like the stuff o' showbiz pipedreams, think back to when a similarly youthful reba mcentire was getting booed offstage at the stock show a coupla decades ago.

other reason for our fred's foray was to hook up with jim yanaway, who'd arranged a visit for us to sculptor-painter frank mcculley's home. (i'm helping jim with a press release for frank's upcoming show -- that'd be wild things at the fort worth community arts center from february 4th-27th; the center's open from 9am-5pm monday-friday and 10am-5pm saturday.) mcculley's a neighbor of ours in arlington heights who played bass in local bluesbands, got a master's degree in painting from u.t., taught art at carter-riverside high school for 25 yrs, and fabricates the most amazing, large-sized papier mache animals. you've gotta see the pieces to believe 'em -- not just the scale, but the details 'n' textures as well. he's got a house full of 'em and is hoping to sell some to make room for new work. a must-see for anyone who digs the truly unique 'n' original in vis arts. my sweetie's going back there to shoot some photos later today; just hoping it doesn't rain, so she'll be able to get the giant komodo dragon in frank's backyard out from under wraps.

after making arrangements to return to frank's today, we headed to (where else?) the wreck room to hear goodwin, briley, and the eaton lake tonics. goodwin evil dictator daniel gomez' wife is a coupla wks out from delivering their new baby, and perhaps incipient papahood has el presidente in a reflective frame o' mind. he showed up nattily attired in a bindle t-shirt (the band he "had to quit, so they could get good") and admitted that with the help of copious quantities of highland mist at a recent goodwin practice, he was actually able to listen to and even appreciate some of the bindle tracks he played on ("i usedta hate listening to 'em, but this time i found myself admitting, 'hmmm, that was clever' "). he's putting the finishing touches on the sophomore goodwin cd (altho he insists "we still have a coupla new songs we need to track"), but his level o' confidence and satisfaction with the band's current performance level was indicated by the fact he'd made arrangements to record the evening's show to 16-track from the board. (in the event, someone -- do you detect a hint of self-censorship here? -- forgot to press the "record" button, so none of it was captured save the last song, but the point remains: the goodwin boyzzz are at an ass-kicking peak right now, and gomez knows it.)

also, all three bands were videotaping, and there seemed to be more ppl equipped with cameras than non-photographic civilians in the house. goodwin's tony diaz and damien stewart had augmented the wreck's usual bare-bones lighting setup with strings o' white christmas lights down the center of the room and behind the backstage curtain, for optimal vid and photo effect. the battalion of fashion-forward folks (so many guys in dark suits w/black t-shirts that i felt like i was at sxsw or something) whose ringleader was the cat in the chico marx lid (my sweetie said she saw one of the other cats _get up_ out of the hat-wearer's chair when he returned from a trip to the bar) were there for the eaton lake tonics, i do believe. (it's not just entertainment, it's sociology.)

i'd seen the eaton lake tonics before, but this time they seemed a lot more focused and idiosyncratic, almost like a solo singer-songwriter with intermittent riddim accompaniment (lotsa rests for the bass 'n' drum dudes while the frontguy carried it). local-music visual referents abounded -- bearded, bespectacled frontguy played a telecaster and looked for all the world like bubba kadane from bedhead, while the muttonchopped drummer bore a distinct resemblance to graham richardson from woodeye (hey kid, lemme hear ya say, "so _i'm_ the asshole here?!?!?") -- while the songcraft, replete with intricate wordplay and folk-blues styled constructions, put me in mind of all those saddle creek bands my middle dtr digs. less burrito-ish country rawk action and pop-punk (matt hembree sez "weezerish") moves than in previous sets. clearly a band that's finding their feet, in a good way.

briley was up next with a totally different take on the evening's topic, "different things to do with three instruments." these three marshallites martial a more thunderous (tho still melodic) attack, characterized by brittle gtr textures, math-y interlocking gtr and bass lines, and an added plus: actual vocal harmonies! they share several influences with the goodwin boyzzz: foo fighters, jimmy eat world, weezer, and i gotta check out this roma 79 band whose t-shirt front briley-ite jeff stark was sporting. their sound is all big powerful dramatic sturm und drang ramalama. they're tight and they play hard, with intensity.

the goodwin boyzzz (attired in contrasting outfits of black 'n' white) brought all of that, with an added element: abandon. that's the collateral benefit of being well-rehearsed to the point of automaticity (which recording tends to provide) -- you can put it on automatic pilot onstage and have _fun_ with it. and they do. tony diaz is such a cutup that it's easy to forget what a great singer he is -- a paragon of presence, power 'n' passion. gomez wrestles great fistfulls o' harmonic-rich thunder from his brace of semi-hollow yamahas, while hembree employs a _massive_ bass sound ("probably an indication that my equipment is about to give up the ghost," he quipped) to punch through the wall o' gtr in unexpected places, and master showman damien stewart (wearing a giant "s" beltbuckle like the superhero you always knew he was) drives and lifts the music while making it appear effortless. this is about the sixth or seventh "best" goodwin show i've witnessed, which sounds like bullshit, but it's not -- these cats keep raising the bar for themselves. they started the set at a level most bands finish at, and after that...well, if you weren't there, you missed it. (note to e.p.: just tell andre to press the button next time. sigh.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

jim yanaway, frank mcculley

got a call from jim yanaway, expat fort worthian now living in austin. besides promoting progressive country shows in the early '70s, founding amazing records ("if it's a hit, it's amazing"), deejaying an r&b radio show ("finger poppin' time") on kchu-fm, and producing / managing the legendary stardust cowboy, jim provided me with my first exposure to stevie ray vaughan (a scorching live-at-the-bluebird tape he played me just before i moved to austin in '79; he's also in possession of a recording of u.p. wilson at tack's fun house that's justifiably legendary). he was on his way to the fort to catch bob dylan's touring gtrist denny freeman (a cat who owns a big piece of texas music history, having played in legendary austin bands like southern feeling and the cobras) at j&j's blues bar and do some research for a piece of historical fiction set on the northside in the wild-and-woolly jacksboro highway days. (he's a helluva storyteller, but modestly says, "this story really tells itself.")

yanaway pulled my coat to an exhibit of sculpture by local artist frank mcculley that'll be at the fort worth community arts center (the old museum of modern art location) from february 4th through the 27th, with an artist's reception to be held from 7-9pm on february 10th. mcculley's known for his large, fantastic papier mache animals, and his show should be worth checking out.


"i need posters," said the lady from machenry's.
"in the next coupla days."
"sure," i said. "no problem."
reaching up my ass, i found nada.
"hey haltom city spuzz," i e-mailed ray.
"if i send image, how long it take you?"
30 minutes later he wrote back:
"how's this design look?"
"fuckin' awesome," i replied.
leonel the cat at kinko's
had just moved back to the fort
after 10 yrs in alpine
in time for the stock show.
"i'll run those for you right now," he said.
i love it when a plan comes together.


fell by machenry's to drop off some posters for da upcoming dave karnes gigs. the rogues were playing, buncha cats with two bagpipes and a coupla drummers. they didn't actually wear kilts, but they had that sound that you're supposed to hear when you've sipped a truly noble scotch. anyhoo. nice room, nice sound, nice vibe. most impressive thang: evabody in the good-sized crowd was focused on the stage, as if they were at the bass hall or something. my sweetie remarked that even caravan of dreams crowds weren't that attentive. true dat. almost sci-fi, but i could dig it.

an added plus: big mike richardson has monday nights there in february.

Friday, January 13, 2006

art of the jam 34

don't tell anybody, but we're starting to get a crowd. not _thousands of ppl_, but more than a handful that consistently make it out on wednesday nights to dig the jams and hopefully order lotsa beverages from graham so they can tip him handsomely ('cos as jam -meister lee allen sez, "he's a handsome man with a handsome baby that he needs to feed"). seventh street samurai rod dove sez it's "mostly musicians and ppl who like to listen," altho there was one cat who grew bellig and stormed out after turning over a table ("maybe mad 'cos he didn't get to play," one wag suggested) and one muy borracho muso who thankfully was persuaded to crash at a friend's house rather than risking the drive home. art of the jam applauds the jam cats for looking out for each other -- why else are we here, after all? also the gal who was at the bar early saying she had work in the morning and needed to get home to rack but wound up calling a bunch of her friends and staying till past midnight -- even if one of said friends persisted in telling me how much we RAWWWKED "even tho you have a gimp in yr band." (_jayzus_, li'l dude. i _get_ it. ha.)

before we started, i was semi-resigned to the notion that the night would wind up being a comedown from the ridiculous high of saturday's impulse of will show -- as the jam-meister put it, "dave karnes with accompanying musicians," or in damien stewart's words, "the dave karnes drum clinic." (note to jazzfans and drum aficionados: karnes and his trio will be kickin' out the classic jazz jams at machenry's on camp bowie on february 2nd and 23rd; owner deanna scotland sez she wants to book him there a coupla thursdays every month.) i shoulda known better than that, though -- it wound up being a gas, thanks to the zoo music posse, a buncha cats who presently or formerly worked 'n' taught at dave anderson's zoo music off camp bowie, where i usedta trade when i got back into playing a decade or so ago, where two of my kids took gtr lessons, and where i used to marvel at the wall of ancient fender amps that owner dave bought "to keep the japs from getting 'em." this week's jam was truly a special occasion, because in addition to zoo boyzzz and jam stalwarts "confusajohn" stevens and kulchafarians ron geida and john shook, we were also favored with a rare appearance by gtrst jeff "honeyboy" / "wild wild" west, who replaced me in the band of bluesguy hosea robinson (they've got giggage upcoming in february after a long hiatus) and whom i replaced in a shitty coverband that usedta play a weekend a month at, um, tucker's catfish haven in north richland hills. jeff's been keeping a low profile since becoming a daddy (he now has a 2 1/2 yr old and a 1 yr old), but he can still burn righteously on the 6-string. now if we can just get paul boll to sit in...

in the house but not playing: karnes' sunward bandmate, gtrist jerko (scoping out the joint in preparation for his band's gig there february 24th) and the boys from dogs with sticks, who now have a full-time bassplayer and an upcoming gig at the moon with catfish whiskey next thursday. their frontguy doug reports they had a debacle of debacles at the ridglea lounge not long ago, when they and merkin tried hooking all of their gear together. jeez, you'd think these guys were the melvins or something. when they started singing "you've lost that lovin' feeling" to one of the video machines, it became clear they prolly weren't gonna do any jamming on this particular night.

brokers bassist mark mcpherson, on the other hand, said he wasn't gonna play but thought better of it when the jam-meister stepped out for a minute. mark's got a side project with his high school bud, ex-bindle drummer kevin geist, that sounds intriguing. goodwin / ph7 drummer damien stewart made his first jam appearance in too long, and lit some fires like the groovin' mofo he is. (goodwin be headlinin' the wreck tom'w night, january 14th. ya mo' be theah. maybe you too?) later, when sticky d. (whom i'll claim responsibility for converting to a brian wilson SMILE fan) told me "i've been wanting to play 'good vibrations,' " i suggested he call it the next time he's onstage with geida and shook, who played it as an instrumental to open kulcha far i's set at soundclash '04. towards the end of the evening, the jam regulars (that'd be lee, me, and joe "drumzilla" cruz) took a blind headlong rush at the red hot chili peppers' "stone cold bush." (one of these days, i gotta remember to show the jam-meister frank zappa's "magic fingers.")

entering its ninth month, lee and carl's invitational jam has been through a multitude of changes. if it's more song-oriented and less freewheeling than it once was, that's prolly for the good -- most civilians don't have the attention span to sit through 30 minutes of "theme and variations on jimi hendrix' 'manic depression,' " as groovy as that might have been to play last spring. (one thing this is _not_: a "jam band;" the only phish we like are the ones that terry chandler cooks on the grill at phred's.) it's been suggested that we oughtta institute a sign-up sheet to make sure everyone gets to play, and circulate a setlist so cats can bone up on the jam "standards" before they come out. both of these ideas imply a level of premeditation that isn't really operative here. the "invitational" concept means "come talk to lee if you haven't been invited." other than that, what's desired here isn't accurate replicas of toons offa rekkids. (we don't play covers, we fuck 'em up.) automaticity is the enemy of spontaneity, and this schitt works best when known elements are spontaneously recombined in new ways. chops 'n' material are merely means to an end. the surplus value of the jam (what the audience receives) exists in the interstice between the musician's intent and what he executes in the moment while listening 'n' responding to what's going on around him -- other musos, lee's direction, audience feedback. as charles ives mighta said, this music ain't for sissies. in 2006, art of the jam hopes the jamcats 'n' the listening crowd keep coming back, and maybe some new players bring some fresh ideas to the party.

the final countdown

proof positive (as if anymore were needed) that not everybody can sing. and not all keyboards are created equal.

back online tonight

puter cats said they can't get the powerbook to make the li'l spinning colored wheel o' death, so my sweetie told 'em no fault no foul but we need it back tonight. so i'll prolly blog art o' the jam then. did some preliminary scrawl in a notebook this a.m. remember when i was a pencil 'n' paper cat and that was the way it was all the time. funny how reliant we get on technology.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

altamahaw ossippee

i didn't make this up. coworker actually grew up there.

limited shelf life for burned cd's?

i dunno, but this has "industry-promulgated urban legend" written all over it. remember back in the '80s, hearing that cd's were only supposed to last 15 yrs?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

wreck calendar update

hooray! the li'l wreck room calendar is finally fixed, with lotsa good news.

january 20th: stumptone is playing first. that means i can get home early!

january 21st: second on the bill with the great tyrant is professional juice!

february 24th: not 18th is mealy mouth / rahim /sunward!

not on the calendar yet, but ray liberio sez me-thinks / darth vato is march 4th! and i believe him!

downloading = listener apathy?

some interesting food for thought here. i kinda usedta think the same thing about the number of venues here in the fort that don't charge cover to hear live music. devaluing the currency and all that. i dunno.

thanks to paul boll for yet another link.

Monday, January 09, 2006

it can't happen here -- or can it? (part 2)

if this post bothers you, let me apologize in advance.

it's now against the law to annoy someone over the internet.

639 year concert lets loose 2nd chord

good old john cage makes bands like earth and sunn0))) sound like the chipmunks.

it can't happen here -- or can it?

before we go, tho...if you're not hip to the concept of data mining, it's mos def food for thought. the reasonable expectation of privacy is pretty much a 20th century notion.

thanks to todd for the link.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

signing off for a coupla days

my sweetie is takin' the 'puter to the shop tom'w after school, so i'll prolly be offline for a coupla days. should be back in time to write this wk's "art o' the jam," tho.

impulse of will addendum

i'll be dipped in shit. he wasn't kidding. it _is_ a conducting term. live and learn.

goodwin, stumptone, the great tyrant

not to worry the point to death, but just a friendly reminder that goodwin will be at the wreck room this friday, january 14th. the rest of the card: briley and the eaton lake tonics. drummers damien stewart (goodwin / ph7) and chris cox (briley) were at the impulse of will show last night checking out dave karnes. who can blame them? not i.

further, exploratory dentonites stumptone, now with the added goodness of sub oslo gtrist frank cervantez, will be at the li'l wreck the following friday, january 20th. also on the bill: centromatic, pleasant grove. plus, that night is the last hurrah for darrin kobetich's acoustic improv thang at "wreck west."

finally, it's not on the club's online calendar or the band's myspace thingy yet, but noted drummer / sound cat / bookseller jon teague sez the great tyrant (his current project w/pointy shoe factory cat daron beck and ex-yeti bandmate tommy atkins) will be wreck-ing it on saturday, january 21st. and i believe him. mr. teague was most recently heard complaining about having to serve as "grandpa counterculcha" to all these young shoegazer scum who dig music but are not wise to its provenance. that's what you get for stickin' around long enough, i guess.

noise can craze

here's an incredibly convoluted example of "viral marketing".

impulse of will

the austin gtr player 'n' singer wound up begging off the date, so lee had to scramble to try and find other players. confusajohn was in austin, and when i called ron geida, he said he was going there as well, to hook up with some friends from massachusetts that were in town on biz. i'm not sure if lee called vikingo or darrin, but the final lineup was him, me and dave karnes, and some cats from dallas playing first (i didn't catch the name of their band, but robert played bass, casey played gtr, and jimmy played drums; all three of 'em sang). basically, we were just filling a date for brian forella.

dunno what the dallas cats' deal was, except that the bassplayer plays in the symphony and the drummer is in a buncha bands. they were muy tight, and i was impressed that they had some zappa toons in their repertoire -- we heard "dirty love," "cosmik debris," and "magic fingers" (from 200 motels), which they played twice in the same way we'll sometimes play "standing on the verge of getting it on" two or three times in the course of a night.

lee had sent me a setlist with 15 songs, and i actually spent some time 'shedding on saturday (wanting to make sure i had the forms down on toons by black sabbath, jane's addiction, and the chili peppers that we wound up not playing -- the dallas cats did "stone cold bush," tho). funny, we do this every week with absolutely no thought beforehand re: what we're gonna play, but having a "real" gig made it seem more important somehow. lee's wife anne told me he was actually dinking around with the bass during the day more than he usually does, too.

we wound up playing maybe half an hour's worth of jam standards: "standing on the verge," an abbreviated "cissy strut," "maggot brain," then joining forces with those guys for "manic depression," "come together," "if you want me to stay," and "back in black." after that, lee invited them to play another set (i got the impression that they don't play out a lot in this configuration). he sang 'n' played a few with them, and carl pack was up a few times in the course of the evening, with us and them -- always a good thing. when it was over, karnage said he wasn't embarrassed, and i was actually happy with how we'd played: we left some blood on the stage. and now i wanna play "stone cold bush," "mountain song," and "magic fingers."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

hero of my lai dies

hugh thompson, the army helicopter pilot who rescued vietnamese civilians from fellow g.i.'s during the my lai massacre, died friday from cancer. he was 62.

Friday, January 06, 2006

me-thinks fun facts!

now that they're within stone-throwing distance of completing their long-heralded double e.p., it's prolly as good a time as any to review what we know about the me-thinks, haltom city's kings of self-deprecating bullshit and steamroller rockaroll. make no mistake: while these boyzzz may style themselves as "fort worth's shittiest band," what they really are is _masters of life-as-performance-art_ -- an endless floating crapgame / 15-year running in-joke involving a buncha good, old friends that like to get together and dress up funny, spin vinyl records, consume copious amounts of distilled spirits, and play a loud, aggressively punkoid strain o' metallic ramalama, infused with hazy cosmic jive and tongue permanently planted in cheek. (sample song titles: "super fucked, big drunk" and "bong macgyver." you get the idea.)

1) there are three of 'em: ray plays bass and sings. sir marlin von bungy plays gtr. will a.k.a. boyo plays drums. they used to be the pine barrens, then hasslehorse. while boyo was in the navy, ray was the drummer and marlin was the bassplayer. there are a coupla former members. we won't talk about them. (eat yr heart out, martin tamburovich.) when the moon was still the dog star, they used to have "haltom city nights" there and play as three different bands with the same guys in them.

2) either they or woodeye were the first band to ever play the wreck room, depending on who you talk to. recently, ex-woodeye bassist 'n' wreck bartender graham richardson was talking about the fort worth bowl and how "they oughtta just have unt and smu play it every year," which one barroom wag compared to having woodeye and the me-thinks playing the wreck every yr.

3) _of course_ they're all rekkid collectors. ray digs punk, but also classic old school stuff like live at leeds grand funk railroad. he sometimes blogs his current faves on the news page at me-thinks.com. a pretty interesting mix. marlin is the token metalhead. (there's even a song about it: "permanent krokus.") his first band actually wore _capes_. ex-new wave kid boyo confesses he could listen to nothing but the beatles, the who, and the kinks all day long. he's also getting into jazz: lotta bill evans and dave brubeck recs at his pad. and, um, depeche mode.

4) will, whom the others freely admit is the me-thinks' "secret weapon," has a side project called napoleon complex. he writes and records ditties like the fave rawk anthem o' the moment at mi casa, "god bless haltom city," in a style reminiscent of scandi power poppers like the yum yums and the wonderfools that will has never heard of. being the astute judges of material that they are, the me-thinks are co-opting "god bless haltom city" and recording a rawked-up version of it for the double e.p.

5) all three of them dig turbonegro a lot, even tho the norwegian "deathpunks" have gotten poppier on their last coupla albs, and no longer go in for the gay shtick quite so much. marlin actually flew out to l.a. last yr to see them live. like turbonegro, the me-thinks are masters of viral marketing. what they lack that their idols have: sponsorships. other me-thinks faves: desert rawker brant bjork and austin punkers the yuppie pricks.

6) they have formed a kind of mutual admiration society with another local three-piece with whom they share punk roots 'n' a sense of the ridiculous, darth vato. they're playing a show together at the wreck in march. don't worry, i'll remind you. maybe the vatos can give them a hookup for a dickies sponsorship.

7) re: their asian media crew (of which i am an honorary mbr), rat a.k.a. "joe smith" works in a haltom city convenience store that's also a video store -- kinda like a cambodian version of dante from clerks. calvin a.k.a. "captain pineapple" is an architect who once got beat down for jumping on the jesus lizard's stage by david yow and whoever the bassplayer was. "they bumrushed me just like a cartoon character," sez calvin. "i still remember their roadie telling me, '_chill out_, little man!' before throwing me out the door."

8) calvin and ray are also famous / notorious as "gorak" and "lokar," the "art criminals" of pussyhouse propaganda. they do lotsa rawk posters for the wreckroom, axis, and other venues here in the fort, plus murals and etc. my sweetie took a pic of carl pack singing with isaac hayes pointing a gun at his head from calvin 'n' ray's '70s blaxploitation-style mural over in "wreck west." you have to have _some_ way of compelling carl to sing beatlesongs. i also have a pussyhouse pin that i like real much on my gtr strap.

9) like b.b. king's lucille, ray's [bass] gtr has a name. it's "laverne." like lucille, laverne was made by the gibson company. ray sez she's been exceptionally well behaved since john at sessions music scoped her and set up her action.

10) while the authenticity of their "recording contract" with indian casino records is somewhat suspect, they do in fact have a benefactor, who is _not_ a beer-sodden galoot from british columbia, but rather an employee of a software concern headquartered in the 'burbs of seattle which some in the industry have compared to satan. of course, like all residents of the evergreen state, he does brew his own beer.

get your war on

now this is indeed some twisted schitt.

bo diddley

here's a vid of bo diddley (or "mr. diddley," as the new york times would have it) playin' his eponymous hit on the ed sullivan show. nobody made that "shave-'n'-a-haircut" beat rawk like elias mcdaniel.

thanks 'n' a tip o' the hat to tony slug for da link.

r.i.p. derek bailey

a titan of improvised music, gtrist derek bailey, died december 29th from motor neurone disease. at 75, he was younger in his mind than lotsa ppl a fraction of his age.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

after the war

interesting scrawl from howard zinn, author of a people's history of the united states.

art of the jam 33

art of the jam starts the new yr with an attitude of gratitude. besides good friends and the world's greatest rock'n'roll dump to make noise in, there's also wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson to be thankful for, now that he's back from his latest sojourn in colorado and finally recovered from the nasty inner-ear thingy that was kicking his ass last week. consequently, we were back on the big stage last night (altho for want of a tape, the evening's proceedings went unrecorded -- a sitch we need to remedy before next week).

'twas a night o' gtrists -- six of 'em, to be exact. "we've got the whole historical spectrum covered," jam-meister lee allen astutely observed, when it was all over. dig: there was dru webber, who holds down thursday nights at fred's with his acoustic fingerstyle 'n' open-tuned slide blues thang, but can also spank a mean telecaster; yr humble chronicler o' events, who learned his chops back when, um, the earth had just cooled and jimi hendrix was still drawing breath; "confusajohn" stevens, who very graciously told me at one point that it was while jammin' with me 'n' ron geida as a teenager that he realized "it's more about feeling than technique -- i'd rather listen to a stevie ray rekkid than one by steve vai anytime;" metal maniac darrin kobetich, who recently vacated his regular friday acoustic happy hour at the wreck to explore other gig possibilities (and spend some quality time with his dtr), and bonded with regular jam drummer joe "drumzilla" cruz over their mutual affinity for early scorpions; and mr. geida his own self, who adds some jazz sensibility and rampant chromaticism to the mix. also on hand was scott copeland sideman and sessions music proprietor john zaskoda, a berklee grad who plays his blues licks bare-fingered but with a surprisingly percussive attack, handled the vocal chores on a spirited version of bill withers' "use me," and helped me out with a busted string issue (thanks, z-man).

also onstage in the course of the evening: wednesday jam founding papa carl pack, who kicked things off (as he's wont to do) with a "come together" the fab four could never have imagined; sally majestic's p.j. fry, who once again did the vocal honors on the jammers' deconstruction of his band's "bobo;" kulcha far i bass scientist john shook, who split low-end duties with lee, then spelled the jam-meister on a fonky blues (and has some gigs upcoming with bluesman hosea robinson); and eric "the boy" nelson from jayhawk bluegrassers the dewayn brothers (they're are at the wreck tonight as both themselves and their jamband alter ego loco macheen), who blows a mean blues harp. in the house but not performing: ghostcar / history at our disposal drummer clay stinnett; sleeplabbers jefa and jesse sierra hernandez; burning hotels chance 'n' wyatt, who just finished recording some digital audio wonderment for their legion o' fans; anti-hero artiste william bryan massey III and fonky fred's outlaw chef terry chandler.

we prolly coulda had more cats up, but start time was delayed by the texas longhorns' last-minute destruction of u.s.c.'s trojans (which i dunno, being a non-sports fan, but i heard referred to on the radio today as "the best rose bowl ever, possibly the best college football game ever;" all i know is the trojans' drum major had nipples on his bronze breastplate, which was either amusing or creepy-weird). also, the second set had to be curtailed when one of the beaters from drumzilla's infamous double-bass pedal went through the long-suffering bass drum head and the jam-meister had to run home to find a suitable substitute in the rock camp closet. (finally saw the rock camp vid, which is a real hoot and not that dissimilar from what lee does with the wednesday night jammers, minus the beer.)

looks like the austin gtrist and possibly the singer could be non-starters for this saturday night's "impulse of will" gig at the wreck, but not to worry: lee's got his pick of shit-hot foat wuth axe-slingers to choose from, and dave karnes to boot. ya mo be theah. maybe you too?

here are some views of what went on, courtesy o' kat: 1) red-headed bluesman dru webber, confusajohn, ron geida, drumzilla; 2) harpman eric from the dewayn bros. of emporia, kansas; 3) classic kobe -- he hadn't had the pedalboard out of the house since the summer; 4) darrin 'n' the jam-meister face off; 5) just a coupla asshole lawn guylanders in tejas.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

welcome back, 14th century

without a doubt, brit-turned-angeleno mick farren is my favorite conspiracy theorist. well, after tad gaither.

d. boon is dead -- long live d. boon

the minutemen's singer-activist died on this night 20 yrs ago. political cartoonist david rees spiels about how d.'s band could be his life.

goodwin - wreckroom fwtx - saturday 1.14.2006

it's on. first goodwin show o' the new annum. with briley. and the eaton lake tonics. be there. aloha.


do superannuated rockstars continue treading the boards long after it's become detrimental to their health out of 1) greed, 2) vanity, 3) boredom, or 4) all of the above? discuss.

dave douglas

talking to karnage's pal dave from jersey, was made aware of dave douglas, a trumpeter / composer who's been making waves in da real jazz world the last decade or so. dave recommended douglas' series of sextet recordings in which he pays tribute to various influences like pianist mary lou williams, tenorman wayne shorter, and trumpeter booker little, not just by playing their toons, but by penning homages to their compositional styles -- a much trickier proposition, in the manner of mingus tipping his hat to morton ("my jelly roll soul"), ellington ("open letter to duke," among others) and parker ("gunslinging bird"). will have to check 'em out.

impulse of will - wreckroom fwtx, sat. 1.7.2006

lee allen's austin band "impulse of will" plays the li'l wreckroom this saturday night. shredaholic metal gtrist, leather-lunged vocalist, lee on bass, dave karnes on drums. i'm sittin' in for a few at the end. ya'll come, wontcha?

Monday, January 02, 2006

something i forgot about the pablo show

i'd seen the setlist, but it didn't quite click in my head until i actually heard them playing it that the next-to-last song o'the night (after "rude boy," my fave, and before "green light girl") was the u2 song, "new year's day."

howdy milt

here's a link to li'l quicktime movie my sweetie made for dave karnes' pal milton mermikides after we learned that he had to postpone his trip to the fort due to illness. thanks to all who participated, esp. the bands and fans at the new year's eve pablo and the hemphill 7 / confusatron show. we now look forward to meeting milt sometime this spring.

in case i forgot to mention it, milt's a great, upful cat from the u.k. who's fighting a very aggressive form of leukemia and kicking its ass. his site is a must-read for anybody who's into music, life, love, positivity, an' like that.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

craig wallace

way back in 1978, newly arrived in texas, i worked in a dallas rekkid store with interesting folks including nervebreaker mike haskins, blues scribe tim "mit" schuller, eccentric record cat's record cat james "big bucks" burnett (later semi-notorious for his associations / obsessions with mr. ed, tiny tim, and ronnie lane), and a gtr slinger named craig wallace. turns out craig's still got his hands in music -- he recently did some amp work for ph7 gtrist steffin ratliff, and apparently has a cd release in the works. will have to keep an eye on his website to see when that finally eventuates.

milton's new year's resolutions

as previously stated, i'm not a big believer in new yr's resos, but this cat made some gooduns...worthy of emulation, i'm thinking.

nye postmortem

overall, one of the better ones i can remember.

started out with dinner at fred's. outlaw chef terry chandler was puttin' on a special new yr's eve feast -- something that could become a new tradition here in the fort, judging by the responses of all the folks who were fortunate enough to partake. the deal was reservation-only, with candlelight and servers snappily attired, transforming fonky fred's into the five-star joint you always knew it was.

each successive course was a new medley of flavors: oysters rockefeller-stuffed 'shrooms on toast with just a hint o' wasabi; wild greens with balsamic vinaigrette and an agreeable collision of goat cheese 'n' walnuts; a duck soup with roasted tomatoes and green chiles that was both smokey and spicy in a way that lingered pleasantly. the bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin in a port wine au jus was the best piece of meat i've eaten in a yr, while the grilled swordfish in buttered pear sauce my sweetie had was full of subtle pleasures. for dessert, the chocolate papito torte with dark chocolate guinache and raspberry sauce was almost _too_ good; i'm a dark choco fanatic anyway and as my sweetie pointed out, mixing chocolate and raspberry was pure genius.

thanks to terry, every meal i eat in 2006 is gonna get compared to this one. they're not taking reservations for next new year's eve yet, but as soon as they do, we'll be among the first to sign up.

while we were waiting to be seated, the electric mountain rotten apple gang did their bluegrass 'n' mountain string music thang (one of these days adam kobetich is gonna explain what the diff is, but that day was not yesterday) to waiting diners and confusatron musos / friends (vibing up for their wreck room extravaganza). because dinner ran a li'l late, we had to forego stopping by saloui's to see dave karnes' trio (with clint strong on gtr), but instead went straight to el wreck, where the confustron boyzzz were already hittin' their groove. c-tron's jams are like terry's food: a combination of distinctive elements that compliment each other well. as always, they threatened to levitate the joint, and were gracious enough to help us out with a li'l surprise we're preparing for dave karnes' brit pal milt, who had to forego a planned visit to the fort this week. and then pablo.

we stopped by jesse sierra hernandez' studio to see some new work, hear the recording of sleeplab's "live rehearsal" from a few weeks back, and say hi to jesse's pal greg riley and his lovely wife, visiting from espana, where greg now has legal residency. woo-hoo!

there seems to be an epidemic of marriages breaking out. sally majestic front scott vernon was in the house with his new bride of, um, about 7 hrs (they tied the knot at 5pm yesterday -- congrats!). goodwin frontguy and fort worth arts consortium mainman tony diaz stopped by fred's to announce _his_ impending nuptials to his g-f michelle (and remind us his band is headlining at the wreck on saturday, january 14th), while pablo and the hemphill 7 frontman joe vano proposed to _his_ sweetie carrie on christmas day, and she accepted. looks like we're gonna be going to lotsa weddings in '06.

was happy to receive an invite to ph7 bassist marcus lawyer's third "speakeasy" afterparty, as it sounds like a fun 'n' musically interesting event, but had to pass this time 'cos we have a brunch and another party to go to today (at which my sweetie plans to do more milt-related stuff), plus it didn't seem like a good night to be driving crosstown at the same time all the bars were closing. next time.

if the rest of 2006 goes the way last night did, it's gonna be a real good yr indeed.

roky erickson and the nervebreakers on ceedee

wow. somebody in france reished the '77 live recordings roky erickson made with the nervebreakers on cd, along with another disc of an '87 show from the ritz in nyc. who'd a thunk that in 2006, roky would be alive 'n' healthy 'n' living in austin, and that ex-nervebreakers mike haskins and barry kooda would still be treadin' the boards as the punk rock dinosaurs? not me, that's fer sure.

fz on crossfire

happy new yr!

here's a clip of frank zappa on cnn's crossfire back in '86 (when he was still, y'know, alive), talking about censorship with a somewhat overwrought cat from the washington times. am i totally off-base, or are some of his remarks kinda, um, prescient (in the same way as the movie network was prescient)?