Sunday, April 30, 2006

gideons pixxx

my sweetie was busy at the wreck room last night. can't wait for fredfest.

loco macheen, gideons, me-thinks

fell by fonky fred's enroute to the third night of ninth anniversary festivities at the li'l wreck room to scarf some good chow (outlaw chef terry chandler's cooking his justifiably famous specials agin, as well as the famous fredburger) and hear emporia, kansas-based jamband loco macheen. (the kansas kidzzz have an alter ego band, bluegrass warriors the dewayn brothers, in much the same way as some of the dead usedta moonlight as the new riders of the purple sage back in the day. two bands for the price o' one, what's not to like?) the machine tears it up in the classic style, with a good bit more energy than lotsa blissed-out, tie-dyed outfits. eric "the boy" nelson has sat in on blues harp with the wreck's wednesday night jamcats, while joshua finley's electrified wah-wah mandolin is worth the price of admission all by its lonesome. they remind me of a band i woulda heard playing on a flatbed truck in a park in albany, ny, ca. '74. in the best possible way.

then, onward to the wreck to hear the gideons and me-thinks.

"we don't get a chance to do this much anymore," said carl pack to open the gideons' set, "so you all can line up and suck my dick." i never got to see the gideons back in the day (they were 'riginally a band between '96-'98, when i was still working three jobs and playing in shitty blues and coverbands), altho i usedta moonlight at borders with their bassplayer hardy and i've been present on a few occasions when carl got up to front gtrist chuck rose's latter-day band brother tex. if their rep to date has been that of a crew with the correct punk-rock spirit that was pretty chaotic, to put it mildly, on a musical lvl, their new lineup (carl, chuck, tcu philosophy prof "johnny singularity" on bass, and new drummer scott) surely qualifies as the most improved bowler in the local band sweepstakes. the proximate model is prolly black flag in the way they seesaw back 'n' forth between punk and metal, with chuck and johnny locking in tight on the riffage before the gtrist takes off on fuzzed-out stratospheric flights. as my sweetie points out, johnny bears more than a passing resemblance to fort worth cats bassist david "kid" daniel, except johnny's stage trip is more leanin'-fwd-and-headbangin', in contrast to kid's splay-legged, bent-back modified rockabilly stance. having come close to destroying the stage at the wednesday night jam following gideons prac, carl was gassed, stoked and ready to go, but sober (drankin' water in place of ice 101), and was able to project the proper 'tood in his snarl whether hopping in place or occupying the piece of stage in front of the monitors. afterward, he was heard to remark, "this is even better when you're not fukkked up." p'rhaps he's discovered the endorphin rush that performing brangs 'n' alcohol masks. or maybe he was just diggin' the validation of having a big crowd diggin' his band, 10 yrs down the road.

the me-thinks have finally finished tracking their long-awaited double-e.p.-on-a-single-disc, and will prolly mix the last three songs in the week between their wreck room stand and fredfest. the months in each other's pockets in the studio have tightened 'em up, and they played one of their tightest shows ever. onstage visual focal point sir marlin von bungy rolled out some new moves (raising a foot in the front as well as his trademark leanin'-fwd-on-one-foot-like-a-statue; drankin' a beer while trilling away during every solo). drummer / evil genius will risinger was more vocal than usual, callin' the toons and makin' the onstage announcements, while frontman ray liberio played most of the set with his eyes closed, riding the big wave of sound. they opened with turbonegro's "dungaree high" and "denim demon" and then tore through most of the double e.p. toons. high point o' the set for me was hearing the live debut of "god bless haltom city" ("hell yeah, hell yeah"), the rawk anthem in praise of their stomping grounds that the band co-opted from will's napoleon complex side project.

after those two performances, headliners dixie witch wound up coming off as the least individuated band of the night, altho the singing, double-bass playing drummer reminded me of what it might sound like if wednesday night jamcat joe "drumzilla" cruz was also a vocalist. in any event, my weekly allergy-induced sinus headache had made its appearance midway through the me-thinks' set, so my sweetie and i opted to tab out and head home to fall asleep listening to harry partch's "u.s. highball" and thankin' about the characters from rob bosquez' paloma (which the cat in the startlegram panned this morning, but then again, that paper's reviewer also said that three kings was "the film of the year" or some such swill, so you gotta take that stuff with a grain o' salt the size of lot's wife or something). full circle.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


i've gotten accustomed, over the yrs, to hearing great bands playing great sets to eight people, five of whom were in the other band, one of whom was running sound, and another of whom was tending bar. but there's so much work and so many more ppl involved in mounting a theatrical production that no matter how inculcated they might be with the ol' "show must go on" ethic, it's gotta hurt when actors take a stage to play to an audience that small.

that was the case this afternoon, at the premiere performance of rob bosquez' new play paloma at the rose marine theater. the show was mounted by the butterfly connection, a local outfit that specializes in performing new works and adaptations by local playwrights _for free_ to try 'n' expose more folks to live theater, and brilliantly staged by director adam justin dietrich, whose performance was one of the highlights of bosquez' a tale of los ninos cinco at teatro de la rosa last yr.

as a playwright, bosquez is the best-kept secret in fort worth theater -- one of those cats who, to paraphrase one of his characters, "dreams while he's standing up" and lets us share his incredible-but-oh-so-evocative visions. as my sweetie pointed out after watching paloma, "he does non-linear narrative better than most mofos," and she's right: in bosquez' world, past and present, dream and reality intermingle in a way that draws the viewer in without ever obscuring the essence of the story. paloma unfolds in three acts, each of which raises more of the curtain, so to speak, on a tale of love, infidelity, guilt, and murder, set in dusty west texas in the '20s.

music's an integral part of the performance, with recordings of classic western swing that play in between scenes and live singing and playing by cast members anson f. norwood (a particular standout as lester burke, the drifter at the center of the action), hip pocket theater veteran dick harris (paul), and alaina appleby (birdy). the cast is uniformly excellent (besides the above-mentioned, david conard and jennifer cleghorn were outstanding as a pair of doomed lovers) and they deserve to be playing to packed houses, not the paltry handful of theatregoers they had this afternoon. so if you dig seeing real life and hope and dreams played out on the evening stage, get you out to the rose marine tonight or the next, or to fort worth community arts center may 4th-7th. and if you've never partaken of the live theater experience, turn off the damn tv and go check it out -- you owe it to yrself. truly.

stoogeaphilia update

in addition to the may 18th black dog show, stoogeaphilia be's playing at 8:30pm sunday, may 28th (memorial day weekend) in the plaza outside the rose marine theater. two sets both nights. if you go to the myspace thingy, there be mp3's thar from the debut performance at lee and carl's jam at the wreck room a coupla weeks back.

head stoogeaphiliac ray liberio will be playing at the li'l wreck tonight with the me-thinks, while this very same evening, stoogeaphilia drummer jon teague be's at hailey's in denton with the great tyrant.

dfw music podcast

wowzers. just stumbled on the site of dfw music podcast and found a buncha interviews with mainly fort worth ppl we know 'n' love like daniel katsuk, jim colegrove, james hinkle, tim locke, scott copeland, and kevin aldridge. gotta dig that.

Friday, April 28, 2006

lou reed, george jones

for a coupla yrs when i was in high school, i had a running argument with a cat named donnie h., with whom i usedta sit in the back of english class, screwing around and drawing cartoons, over who was a better songwriter: lou reed or john denver. donnie was the john denver partisan, but he got a pass, 'cos when he was 10, he'd come home from school and found a note from his dad, instructing him to stay out of the garage and go get his mother. being an inquisitive kid, he ignored the note, and so he found his father's body swinging from the rafters post-suicide. with that kinda background, i figured he was entitled to listen to "poems and prayers and promises" and "country roads" if he wanted to. myself, i'd just started reading creem magazine, through the pages of which lester bangs pulled my coat to all kindsa good stuff like ornette coleman, captain beefheart, and lou. sure, i thought the fey pseudo-decadence of transformer (for all intents, a david bowie rekkid except for the tuneless, half-spoken voxxx) kinda sukkked, but the first and third velvet underground albs were a revelation. so it goes.

by now, lou reed has had the collective rockcrits of the world kissing his ass and proclaiming each new release "the best thing he's ever done" for over 30 yrs, but in reality, his oeuvre is as hit 'n' miss as, say, spike lee's or oliver stone's is. over the yrs, he's been pompous and overblown (berlin, the overrated blue mask, um, the raven, by which time -- post-marriage to ur-art chick laurie anderson -- flatulent self-importance had kinda become his calling card), pandered unashamedly to the lowest common denominator ("walk on the wild side," the arena-rawk rock and roll animal), and displayed more outright contempt for his audience than any performer rightly oughtta (the four sides of unlistenable white noise he released on rca's _classical_ label as metal machine music, his between-song torrent of vitriol 'n' bile on the live take no prisoners). and yet, and yet. when he's good (the aforementioned first 'n' third velvets elpees, the track "street hassle," legendary hearts), his most transcendant music combines gritty reality with human warmth in a way few songwriters can.

some of my faves we've been listening to a lot lately: his first eponymous alb, which consisted mainly of songs he'd written during the velvets daze and was produced by hack-married-to-rockcrit-brawd richard robinson in england with backing by a buncha moonlighting prog-rockers and session hacks and shoulda been terrible but was quite the opposite, especially the second side, containing as it does one bona fide underappreciated classic ("wild child"); american poet, a live recording of a transformer-era concert that was broadcast live on good ol' lawn guyland rawk station wlir, which is pert damn fine, crackling with energy in spite of the fact that lou's backed by the tots, yr archetypal shitty lawn guyland bar band ca. '72 -- my gawd, they're almost as bad as the buncha bowery losers i saw john cale touring with a coupla times ass-end of the '70s; 1989's new york, the alb that got me back into rawk near the end of my decade spent guarding freedom's frontier (i was stationed in abilene and found a copy in the same mall store where i got my first cd copy of funkadelic's maggot brain, read the legend "you just can't beat two guitars, bass and drums" on the back and was immediately hooked again); and most especially, 1991's magic and loss, a gentle rumination on mortality (by this time, lou had developed a kind of electric chamber music he'd referred to in a musician magazine interview a coupla yrs earlier as "the loud soft sound") that seems very relevant around mi casa of late and just might be my fave work of his.

it's funny getting older and finding myself capable of being moved to tears by a song on the radio in the car on the way to work, but it was happening with disturbing regularity for awhile when the local "classic country" station kept playing george jones' "he stopped loving her today" ("...and put a wreath upon his door") during my morning drivetime. i've spent yrs harassing local solo singers from tim locke to hank hankshaw for versions of "she thinks i still care," and eons trying to find a possum compilation that had those two songs as well as "the window up above," "the grand tour," "two story house" (with tammy wynette), and most crucially, "a good year for the roses." now i've got one: the essential george jones: the spirit of country -- two cd's worth of all good stuff that i can put on before or after johnny cash's prison albs and 24 of hank williams' greatest hits and cry into my beer in the privacy of my own home, anytime.

rob bosquez

the butterfly connection's production of paloma, a new play by foat wuth magician rob bosquez, be's at the rose marine theater at 2pm and 8pm, tomorrow 'n' sunday, then moves to the fort worth community arts center may 4th-7th. looks like my sweetie 'n' i have something to do tomorrow before we head to the li'l wreck room to hear the me-thinks and gideons. could i write a paragraph with more links in it? i think not.

minutemen video

dig the vid d., watt, and george made for "king of the hill". thanks 'n' a tip of the hat to robopirate for the link.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

art of the jam 49

...and a mighty time was had by all.

the one-year "jamniversary" of lee and carl's weekly wednesday night invitational event fell last night (jam-meister lee allen reckons that i first visited the jam about three weeks after its inception), and the jamcats celebrated with a more diverse 'n' varied program of musical delights than wednesday night listeners had enjoyed in awhile.

the festivities kicked off with dallas hotshots velvet jive playing a set of chopped 'n' channeled frank zappa covers that included "pygmy twilite" off roxy and elsewhere, a favorite of mine from the zappa canon. bassist rob marruffo was a college pal of the jam-meister's and plays in symphonies, while drummer jimmy velvet gigs with bluesmen jim suhler (who, jimmy sez, still plays "are you experienced?" on wah-wah dobro) and texas slim. i'm not sure who gtrist casey plays with, but i dig the contrast between his precise technique and super-saturated, sweathog sound - muy appropriate for zappa material. plus they all sing. the jam-meister contributed backing voxxx, including some delivered from wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson's booth in the manner of the central scrutinizer from joe's garage.

unbeknownst to lee, gtrist ron geida (james and myles / jasper stone) had planned a _special_ entertainment: to wit, a bellydancer, who was told it was the jam-meister's birthday (which, technically, it is in a few days, so whatthehell). i'm not sure what he thought when he walked by her while she was waiting at the bar -- you don't see many veiled wimmin with swords in the li'l wreck room. at any rate, after velvet jive's set, a special place was prepared for the "berfday boy" in front of the stage, and the bellydancer did her thang for a good half hour (good value for money, those bellygrams), pulling leezus and his bride anne into the act.

watching lee express his one-fingered appreciation to the audience of mainly musos, my sweetie remarked, "there's a lot of talent in this room." at the risk of making the jam-meister projectile vomit when he reads this, i gotta say the room seemed suffused with a warm glow as the long-bearded bandleader / edjumikator's ritual embarrassment was witnessed by a coupla dozen folks that, well, he brought together. while it's always better when there are more civilians than players in the house, it felt fitting and proper that this moment should be shared by the small, highly dysfunctional family of musical artistes that the jam 'n' the jam-meister fostered. to restore his dignity, lee picked up ron's les paul and led the velvet jive riddim boyzzz thru a bone-crunching assault on fishbone's "servitude."

next up were the reg'lars: lee on bass 'n' voxxx, joe "drumzilla" cruz on traps, steve "vikingo" huber on violin, ron geida 'n' your humble chronicler of events on gtrs, joined by jeremy hull on stand-up bass (whose bowed solo added a lyrical note to "maggot brain") and a succession of vocalists, including jam godfather carl pack (who, perhaps in preparation for the upcoming run of gideons shows, concluded a performance of "come together" by tossing aside his crutches and hopping around the stage until he fell into the monitors, taking some curtains with him) and ray "war (or is that george?) pigs" liberio (whose band the me-thinks will share bills with the gideons at the wreck this saturday and at fredfest on sunday, may 7th).

after hard-workin' wizard o' sound andre repaired the stage, a triad of local luminaries -- gentleman james hinkle, squeezebox king ponty bone (whom i first heard with joe ely at armadillo world headquarters in austin, 1979, opening for the clash), and a wreck jam newcomer, the fiery gtrist holland k. smith -- accompanied by ponty's gtrist, lee, vikingo, and drumzilla, played a hot set of blues 'n' zydeco wonderment. an unexpected highlight: probably the only version of led zep's "communication breakdown" ever played with an _accordion_. trombonist marcus brunt, playing from the wings, was prolly as loud as anything onstage -- cat can really move that big column of air. after timely pause, shredaholic addnerim gtrist tyrel played his crowd-pleasing rush set, joined on "yyz" by jeremy hull on lee's bass. the icing on the cake was a "teen town" with barber mack honcho john shook and the jam-meister doubling the line on gtr 'n' bass, while jeremy provided the underpinnings on bowed upright.

non-snazz aspects of the evening: the art of the jam deeply regrets that a number of jam-veteran drummers -- in particular, pornstar-'stached dave karnes, burning hotel wyatt adams (who mighta been saving it up for tonight's wreck room stand with his own band), and caroline collier (fresh from jammin' with shook and sessions music impresario john zaskoda) -- were in the house during the course of the evening, but didn't get to play. and appy polly logies in particular to sleeplab mastermind jeffa, who set up at my behest but was never called up. mea culpa, jeff.

art of the jam was also sad to learn that ron geida, whose gtr prowess i've been inspahrd by for eight or nine yrs now, will prolly be bowing out of wednesday nights at the wreck when his tuesday night gig at the moon moves to _our_ night. completely understand ("it's the difference between _making_ $25 and _spending_ $25," quoth ron), but will nevertheless miss his fleet fingers 'n' quick brain. it's been a privilege being able to stand onstage next to ya agin, bro.

lest we forget, big love to the ppl who _really_ make the jam happen: wizard o' sound andre, and graham, elvis, and lu pourin' the dranks. y'all had me at hello. or some such shite.

and finally, some thangs _i'd_ like to see at the jam in its second yr:

1) lee playing jaco's arrangement of "blackbird" with gary grammer on harp

2) the return of damien stewart, brock miller, and brian sharp

3) a night of true free-form, non-cover-based improv

4) some new jamcats ('n' chixxx) to add some fresh voices 'n' ideas to the musical goulash

oh, yes: my sweetie stuck around for most of the evening (even wif it bein' a schoolnight, she was mindful of the occasion) and took some pics. (1) velvet jive's rob marruffo. (2) lee as a character from die zauberflote. (3) carl, recumbent. (4) "war pigs" with the regs: me, jeremy hull, ron geida (invisible), ray liberio, joe cruz, lee allen, steve huber. (5) marcus brunt, 20 feet from the nearest mic and the loudest thing onstage. (6) ponty bone.

Monday, April 24, 2006

carey wolff, hochimen, wreckroom anniversary, fredfest

in the days to come, i shall have little time for bloggage. i don't even really have time to say much about the past weekend, except to note that we had a better-than-just-okay meal at cachonga's while diggin' a rare bertha coolidge performance (always a joy to see great musos cracking each other up on the stand while playing awe-inspiring music), and that marcus lawyer is _this_ close (well, maybe a month) to unleashing the top secret shhhh rekkid (the clear green vinyl magnificence of which i beheld up close 'n' personal sat'day night) and ceedee on an unsuspecting world.

that said, a few upcoming events i'd be remiss if i didn't note:

1) ex-woodeye frontman carey wolff and current hochimen reggie 'n' chad rueffer (whose new tierra del gato cd is an early contender, along with the calhoun rekkid, for my foat wuth-centric "best of 2006" list) be's playin' the fwac acoustic monday thingy tonight at the wreck room.

2) lee 'n' carl's one-year "jamniversary" be's this wednesday at the same venue.

3) the wreck itself be's celebratin' its 9th annniversary this week, with events to include the flametrick subs and electric mountain rotten apple gang on friday, dixie witch, the me-thinks, and the gideons on saturday, and a cookout with sleeplab on sunday.

4) the line-up for fredfest the following weekend (may 6-7) is a virtual "who's who" of bands i like. you'd best believe that me 'n' my sweetie will be hydrating extra special good 'n' slathering on the sunscreen, both days.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

james vernon

when johnny case suggests i check out a jazz pianner player, better believe i listen. so when the self-released house of jazz ceedee by the james vernon trio arrived over the transom, i was prepared to listen, johnny having pulled my coat to it a few weeks in advance. dallas-based vernon is classically trained (cites bartok, stravinksy, and nancarrow as inspirations), but his most audible influences are the posse of late-'60s / early-'70s miles davis sidemen that include herbie hancock, chick corea, and keith jarrett, and the whole contemplative-meditative school o' playing that we associate with the ecm label (for whom jarrett cut in the '70s). now, some of that stuff veered dangerously close to the kind of insipid pastoralism that we associate with "new age" musick, but you needn't worry about that where mr. vernon is concerned. au contraire, his shiny silver disc opens with the most oblique refraction of "my favorite things" you're likely to hear in this lifetime -- enough to make coltrane's classic modal deconstruction of the toon sound like "music box dancer" or one of those -- and in general, vernon's music stays considerably to the left of george winston territory, thank de good lawd. vernon's serious about his craft -- he lists the _microphones_ they used in recording this, for pete's sake -- and with whom he chooses to collaborate (in this case, bassist kyp green and ex-master cylinder drummer, current mondo drummers mastermind eddie dunlap). a worthwhile listen whenever you're having a ponder, and you can cop it online from cdbaby.

Friday, April 21, 2006

derek trucks

hahahahaha. ever the astute businessman, famous beer salesman eric clapton has hired a gtrist who can really play for his upcoming tour.

happy b'day, iggy

wow. it be's james jewell osterberg, jr.'s berfday today. he's 59, and younger than cats with half as many rings around their trunks. go ahead on, bro. ig.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

art of the jam 48

with one more week to go until the one-year "jamniversary" of the wreck room's wednesday night ritual they call "lee and carl's invitational jam," jam-meister lee allen put together an evening tailor-made to remind folks that you never know what's gonna happen on wednesday night.

a couple of the reg'lars were missing in action: gtrist ron geida was visiting his old stompin' grounds of springfield, massachusetts (that's right, he's a red sox fan), while drummer joe "drumzilla" cruz took the night off due to an illness in his family. (hope it all turns out for the best, joe.) fw symphony violinist steve "vikingo" huber was on hand, but he'll be tipping out soon for a few weeks of travel 'n' adventure outside the environs of the fort.

all day long, the local muso community had been stirred up by the theft, from his car in the parking lot behind 7 eleven on berry street, of confusatron / electric mountain rotten apple gang / whatever-else-you-got bassist extraordinaire matt skates' instruments (that's right, you heard right -- both his fretless fender _and_ his stand-up). them was bahstidz what done it, but hopefully, matt's stolen axes will be recovered, and in the meantime, a bunch of his friends (starting with head rotten apple adam kobetich) have kicked in some dinero to help defray the cost of replacing these work tools. to that end, there was a jam at fred's with a buncha cats from groovin' outfits like confusatron, sleeplab, and barber mack who passed the hat for skates and stopped on a dime, pulled up stakes and relocated to the li'l wreck room when it started looking as if the weather was fixin' to turn foul.

between the half-dozen jamcats onstage, you had connections to maybe two dozen fort worth bands. there was drummer josh clark, getting his land-legs back after four months playing on a cruise boat. lately, he's been playing with skates brothers matt 'n' andrew in caffeine chemistry (the band formerly known as c.s.s.), and was the logical choice to fill the drum chair when john shook started putting together barber mack. for his part, new bandleader shook's also been playing bass with hard-luck country-rockers jasper stone (most recent instance: they were playing fred's patio when the cafe went up in flames). pianist-vocalist james norris is in five bands (and counting): the jazzy james and myles, the bluesy standard transmission (the band formerly known as trouble in mind, who appear to have become the de facto house band at the new black dog), the samba-y sleeplab (whose leader jeffa was also on hand for the jam), and miscellaneous weirdo outfits brownbeef and gelfling supervisor, about whom i should prolly know more but don't. there was also a gtrist named cameron whom i'd never heard before and doubtless plays with someone. whew! inspahrd by the presence of this diverse array of players, the jam-meister dug deep in his bag of grooves and led them down several obscure but fascinating improvisational rabbitholes.

as the witching hour approached, the stage was cleared to make room for stoogeaphilia -- of all things, an iggy & the stooges coverband consisting of me-thinks frontguy ray liberio, goodwin / underground railroad / pablo and the hemphill 7 bassist matt hembree, great tyrant drummer jon teague, and yr humble chronicler o' events on gtr. making our debut, i believe we played with a fair amount of energy and conviction, the civilians 'n' fellow musos were unable to detect the minute amount of clamblow (an advantage of playing repertoire with which most folks in the house were prolly unfamiliar), and a good dirty time was had by all. hembree checked in today to inform me that "i've got blisters under my calluses on my right hand. that hasn't happened in years. rawk'll do that to ya, i guess." if you missed, we be doin' it again thursday, may 18th, at the black dog. thanx 'n' a tip o' the hat to the jam-meister for lettin' us break the seal on his night, and to james for playin' one-fingered pianner on "i wanna be your dog."

so anyway, next week is the "jamniversary." if you're a muso / singer / spoken word artiste who's ever performed at the jam, c'mon out 'n' do it agin, why doncha? and if you're a civilian, especially one who's never been, trust me, you owe it to yourself. you really never do know what's gonna happen on wednesday night.

stoogeaphilia pics

here are some shots my sweetie took at the wreck room last night. mo' at the stoogeaphilia myspace thingy when theiir server gets un-busy. (you can click on 'em to make 'em bigger.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

sly stone, calhoun

nobody's fandom outweighs anybody else's, and the mere fact of "i like this" doesn't by itself persuade anybody of anything.

that said, it's been really interesting this week, re-reading lester bangs' psychotic reactions and carburetor dung (bought a new copy to replace one i lent to a friend whom i know will never read it) and listening to sly and the family stone's there's a riot goin' on. doing these two activities concurrently reminds me of how much people used to care about and invest in music, what now seems like a very antique preoccupation to me (and prolly even more so to you). it's hard to believe now what a stir there's a riot goin' on caused in the rockcrit community when it was released, way back in '71. creem magazine, which i'd just started reading, reviewed it _three times_, assigning it to different staffers, panning it one month and praising it to the skies the next. rawk writers used to do that -- display in public their internal struggles coming to terms with a piece of work by a respected artist. lester his own self did it with the stooges 'n' mc5 (if nothing else, to keep from getting his californian ass kicked by his housemates in walled lake, michigan). it's funny, because now, in the fullness of time, this rekkid sounds _inevitable_ (perhaps because of the historical impact it's had). sly had already turned what usedta be called soul music on its ear with a series of hits and an orgiastic gospel-driven exorcism at woodstock that, um, cleared the way for what we now knows as funk acceptable to white folks, not to mention setting the stage for a full-on revolution in black music. dig: evabody but evabody -- from the fonky meters to james brown to miles davis -- was influenced by sly's innovation; just at motown, f'rinstance, the late-'60s masterwork of norman whitfield with the temptations woulda been unthinkable without sly, to say nothing of stevie wonder and marvin gaye's early '70s apotheosis, the whole careers of george clinton and prince, etc., etc., etc. but there's a riot goin' on, at the time at least, sounded like something entahrly other -- a retreat, perhaps, or even a downright admission of defeat. (if that doesn't make sense, read the social history of the united states between 1954 and 1970.) "where are the hooks?" de yoof wanted to know. "where's the non-stop party fun?" sly had taken the bouncy groove of his greatest hit, "thank you (falettinme be mice elf again)" (which, i suppose, is responsible for the whole trend of prince and the collected hip-hoppers of the world not being able 2 spel gud) and slowed it down to a crawl, so that it sounded less like the sound of a party than that of a junkie nodding off in an opiated haze. sly made it possible (indeed, necessary) to depict, as graphically as possible, a certain type of urban reality. curtis mayfield was listening. i'll bet the geto boys were listening, too, a little later on. so there's a riot goin' on was maybe the first r&b rekkid to be designed less as a collection of hooks and danceable grooves and more as a total sonic environment, a movie for your ears, a bath in which you have to immerse yourself. and in that, it operates in much the same way as all the music i dig the most: the stooges' funhouse and van morrison's astral weeks and miles davis' in a silent way and the beach boys' pet sounds (which i've come, over the years, to think of more as a soundscape than as a collection of songs).

but then again, you might think it's boring.

these days, you can count the number of "artists that matter" (e.g., those whose new releases people anxiously await and spend hours / days / weeks figuring out how to incorporate into their lives) on a few digits: in rock, say, the flaming lips, wilco, radiohead, then who? there isn't the _consensus_ there was back in the day because there isn't a single unified audience (or at least the illusion of one) and maybe that's a good thing -- segmentation of the marketplace through mass media and techno advances has opened up all kinds of interesting interstices for "unsigned" artists (which is like 90% of the people who make music) to market themselves and find listeners, down the street or around the globe. maybe i had that wrong -- maybe the number of "artists that matter" has grown geometrically; the thing is, each listener has their own set.

one of mine lives just around the corner from me. when tim locke finished the new calhoun record (which is apparently entitled finis; i don't know song titles, either, because all i've got's a cd-r and tim's songs are _never_ called what i think they are), he told me, "it's done. i hate it. last week, i loved it." i came home one night last week to find my sweetie diggin' the copy he'd left in our mailbox. after listening, i e-mailed him, "dude, you went and made a wilco record...a big surprise, in the best possible way." meant it, too. it's been quite a journey, following tim's career the last five years or so. with each new set of recordings, he's redefined himself in the same way sly did with there's a riot goin' on: from the extreme-close-up intimacy of 2001's love songs for the very low; to the overly-rich, everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink approach of calhoun's 2003 debut the year that never was; to the still-unreleased sides he cut with a west coast producer called "the count" that totally reimagined tim's songs and gave them a glossy sheen which somewhat eclipsed the performer's personality; to the surprisingly hard-edged rawk of coma rally; to the stripped-down sound of the 18 songs he demo'ed early last year, which i took as an indication of the way this record would sound. wrong! instead, finis borrows the best elements from all of the above to create something entahrly new -- a tweaked, modern sound that's stripped down at times and hyper-real at others, almost a "dub" version of tim's music. a lot of credit for the changes has to go to tim's newest collaborator, jordan roberts, formerly the big brain behind / most interesting thing about the audiophiles. he's filled the tracks with surprising colors and textures, including lotsa electronic drums which, who'd a thunk it, don't grate and detract from the feel of the music they way they can. the songs i've been hearing acoustically for years are completely transformed, and the unfamiliar ones all reveal new facets on each hearing. it's going to take awhile to digest all of this, but it'll be a fun ride. "easy listening" is for squares, after all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

brad thompson band, bertha coolidge

who are the people in your neighborhood? they're the people that you meet when you're walking down the street. tonight, it was muso's muso joey carter, who we encountered on our evening constitutional. joey was enroute to rehearse with the brad thompson band, who're playing at 6:30pm saturday on the sundance square stage at the main street arts festival, in between brave combo and patti griffin. (don't tell anybody, but they're gonna play "won't get fooled again," which joey sez makes monk's "brilliant corners" look like a cakewalk, from a keyb player's perspective.) so we know where _we're_ going after spending a coupla hrs at the airport visiting with my sweetie's li'l sis and her younguns.

later that same night, most of the thompson band -- minus bassist aden bubeck, who's off making bank with miranda lambert (substitute danny stone; not a bad deal) but with prodigal drummer rich stitzel, who's back from chicagoland for a spell -- will be appearing at cachonga's (within walking distance of mi casa, wouldn't ya know) in _literate_-but-groovin' form as bertha coolidge (as close as my sleepy li'l town ever came to producing an answer to ten hands). good to have such nice neighbors.

idgy vaughan

my buddy jim yanaway, late of the fort and currently of austin, has been managing idgy vaughn, a kerrville folk festival vet who has a new ceedee out called origin story that i haven't heard yet. the samples on her site sound engaging, tho, and her backstory sounds like a screenplay in the making. she's opening for tish hinojosa this saturday at 8pm in the jefferson freedom cafe at first jefferson unitarian universalist church. (be advised: it's $15 advance, $18 at the door.)


oh, by the way: we're lifting the veil on the stooge thang this week. that's right, stoogeaphilia will be bogarting an hour of the li'l jam at the wreck room this wednesday night. what we have in mind is a little "stooges at midnight."

a little further down the road, we'll be playing two sets at the new home of the black dog tavern (that's 2933 crockett st., corner of norwood) on thursday, may 18th. we'll start around 10:30pm and there's a $3 cover. the noted raconteur and bon vivant billy wilson be pourin' the dranks.

Monday, April 17, 2006

logan phillips

met the cat that wrote this poem on sat'day morning and heard him declaim it on the magnolia st. sidewalk. earlier, over breakfast at benito's, he told us all about about his recent travels in cuba. nice cat, from flagstaff, az. hope to hear more of his spiel the next time he's in the fort.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


because i suck, i missed gigs by the rueffer brothers, quaker city, lady pearl's b.t.a. band, and sunward this weekend.

was feelin' under the weather friday night, then saturday, we received word that my sweetie's uncle alan sprenger had passed up in columbus, ohio. uncle alan was a catholic priest of the old shoe-leather variety. he founded syntaxis youth homes back in the '70s and made a diff to a lot of kids, as well as regular parishioners he served over the yrs. he also played a role in integrating the public pools in columbus (yeah, they have racial boo-shee in the north, fo' sho'). he owned a succession of dobermans, all named "john." i had the pleasure of meeting alan and "johnny quatro" at the family lakehouse in ohio a coupla summers back. a good man who didn't talk religion-talk all the time, just lived his life the way j.c. told his ppl to. as my sweetie sez, he lived a life of consequence, and incidentally, he (and her li'l sis) inspired her to follow the course she's taken in life (working with disabled kids).

anyway, i bought my granddaughter an easter dress and saw my youngest dtr yesterday, which i don't get to do all the time. aside from the sad news from ohio, it was a pretty good day.

went to two different half price books and scored big on the vinyl: a clean copy of fz's overnite sensation, a great hank williams sr. comp (i'm gonna tape "why don't you love me" off it for lee allen to prove that the chili peppers didn't write it), sly's there's a riot going on, an okay faces comp (but one with "ooh la la," a song that's been on my mind much lately), an old bob seger alb that has a song on it i usedta call the radio station in my idiot town on lawn guyland and request _every single night_ the summer i turned 15 (they never played it, either), and jim colegrove's panther city blues.

had stoogeaphilia prac this evening, so now my left hand hurts like hell again from playing barre chords (only four hours this time). we sweated our balls off in the shed tonight -- it was supposedly 93 degrees out. burnt up one fan and only discovered another as we were knocking off. we're breaking the seal on this project during this week's wednesday night jam at the wreck room -- it'll be "stooges at midnight," in between whatever else is going on. also trying to get a thursday night at the black dog, since billy wilson's booking the bands there in what used to be confusatron's slot. and impulse of will might play a norml benefit at the wreck room on may 28th. calendar's getting "busy."

next weekend we're supposed to go to a cookout on a ranch someplace east of dallas. inasmuch as i am loath to drive an hour in any direction, i am somewhat ambivalent about this. film, as they say, at 11.

barber mack

just found out via myspace that barber mack, which debuts at fredfest on may 7, is actually the "ernest ranglin project" (he's a jamaican jazz gtrist, in case you're wondering) that bassist john shook's been talking about the past few months. brokers bassist mark mcpherson had the same idea around the same time, but shook got there first in terms of actually puttin' some cats _together_ (altho i don't think they've rehearsed yet). also on board: gtrists andrew skates (confusatron) and ron geida (ex-kulcha far i, jasper stone, tuesday jazz at the moon, wednesday whatevah at the wreck room) and drummer josh clark.

Friday, April 14, 2006

gtr solos on rawk rekkids

i was once fired from a band for "not playing more like the guy from radiohead." snotnoses. while i _intellectually_ get the "f/x as colors in a painter's palette" idea, i went to a different school -- the one that sez "put any collection of wood 'n' wires in my hands and it's gonna sound essentially the same 'cos it's me playing it" (which i learned from listening to players like buddy guy, jeff beck, hubert sumlin, an' like that). it's a generational thang: i grew up digging the kinda vocalic, blues-inflected solo playing (jimi hendrix was the water we were _all_ swimmming in) that was virtually outlawed on rawk rekkids around the time it became not such a good idea commercially-wise to sing real good. early '90s, say -- around the time the first pearl jam alb sounded like a pretty good idea until i realized the only reason i responded so favorably to it was that the cat on gtr (mike mccready?) would take, say, the imprinted-on-my-brain solos from the doors' "five to one," jimi's "hey joe," and alice cooper's "i'm 18" and kloodge them together into one of his own ("alive"). fuuuuuck. nothing new under the sun indeed, and i _hate_ seeing the strings while i'm being manipulated. then the whole 7-string-gtr-tuned-down-to-C-sharp development happened and i kinda lost interest in the whole thang for a coupla yrs. still, there are a small handful o' gtr solos that somehow made it onto '90s rekkids that continue to make me drive faster when i hear them while punching buttons on my car radio. to wit: 1) the one with all the insane stops 'n' starts that richard lloyd (ex-television) played on matthew sweet's "sick of myself" -- you know, the one that sounds like the world is coming off its axis in the same way the best jimmy page solos ("nobody's fault but mine," f'rinstance) did; 2) both of the ones whatever-the-fuck-his-name-was that played in the black crowes (another band that seemed like a good idea at first, in their case until i heard the yayhoos) did on their version of otis' "hard to handle" (at the beginning of the second one, you can almost hear the gtr _grunt_); and 3) the second one dave navarro (the last "new" gtrist i could relate to on any lvl) played on "been caught stealing" by jane's addiction. so there.


okay now, let's get this straight -- the brokers are _not_ split up. that's right, they're together again...again!

jayzus christ, i've had girlfriends that weren't this flakey -- NOT!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

art of the jam 47

kind of an abbreviated sesh this week. we quit by 1am and by 1:30, wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson and i were back at mi casa, chowing down on leftover beans, rice, tortillas, and pico de gallo. even joe "drumzilla" cruz found the evening "kinda mellow," in spite of the presence of a small, mostly-female drumzilla cheering section. (whassup wit dat, joe?) this was in contrast to the previous week, when gtrist ron geida reported that jam-meister lee allen was "on fire," especially on gtr, and the velvet jive boyzzz from dallas showed up to play a fishbone set.

jam-meister lee's been busybusy reopening fred's patio and booking fredfest, and he's got his work cut out for him the next three months, what with rock camp taking up residence at the ridglea theater for the summer (an inspahrd pairing, as the parents of most rawkkidzzz here in the 817 are already accustomed to dropping off their spawn at the camp bowie landmark, site of more worthashit all-ages shows than anyplace else that springs to mind). since the jam-meister was resting his voice, voxxx were pretty much limited to p.j. fry's traditional cameo on "bobo" and a spoken word interlude by teatrista claudia acosta.

we'd started out with a larger complement of civilians than we usually get early in the evening. kicked off with a "maggot brain" that i played for funkadelic gtr 'riginator eddie hazel, who woulda been 56 on monday had he not checked out back in '92. there were _instrumental_ versions of "standing on the verge" and "come together" as well as a minor frank zappa blues ("sexual harassment in the workplace") and a little bass 'n' drum jam with me 'n' ron commenting periodically. 'twas relaxed 'n' loose and we got into some of the kind of extempore improv we usedta do more of before a repertoire started to coalesce. a fun set, for me anyway (coming back from a week off to let my hand recover from playing barre chords for five hours rehearsing with stoogeaphilia).

second set i sat out while a cat named jimmy, 'riginally from shreveport, who works at zoo music (yet another one -- john shook was prolly rehearsing his new band with josh clark and andrew skates for their debut at fredfest, while tyrell from addnerim was trying to shake a nasty flu bug in preparation for a weekend gig). took awhile for the jamcats to settle on a toon to essay, but then bro. jimmy to' it up real fine. matt skates showed up for the first time in awhile and played some trip-hoppy groove stuff while lee sang the lyrics to chili peppers' "why don't you love me?"

two weeks from now (that's april 26th -- write it down) will be "lee and carl's one-year jamniversary" (we discussed and decided that the _real_ first one was three weeks before the first one that i saw). the plan is to try and get _every muso who ever played at the jam_ to come out and sit in, so if you're one of those, hope you can make it. i'm told there'll be some other, um, "surprises" as well, altho what that could possibly mean, i can't imagine.

fredfest may 6-7

this from patio-meister lee allen:

Artists Booths still available, sell you crafts, art, trinkets, clothes, whatever... message to fill your spot @ $20 per day.


12 John Burleson
1 Hankshaw
2 Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang
3 Confusatron
5 Sally Majestic
6 Barber Mack
7 Scott Copeland
8 Honchie
9:30 Goodwin

12:00 Amy Royer
1:00 Randy Brown
2:00 Maren Morris
3:00 Darrin Kobetich
4:00 Jasper Stone
5:00 Standard Transmission
6:00 The Me-thinks
7:00 Gideons
8:00 BAGG
9:30 Stephen Pointer Band

"hope being a state of mind independent of the state of the nation"

transcript of a radio int with cleric / activist the rev. william sloane coffin, who checked out yesterday, age 81. the news report i heard said that when he left, he was sitting in the sun with his family around him. i hope that's true. cat lived a big life, and loved freedom. respect.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

b.t.a. @ the bluebird

lady pearl's b.t.a. band featuring miss kim and ray reed be's at the bluebird blues club at horne and wellesley in como on the following dates:

saturday, april 15th
sunday, may 14th (special early sunday show for mother's day and sam's birthday)
saturday, june 17th

how the language changes

more geekage: a piece from the new york times about how editorial styles in the mainstream press are changing to get stories picked up in internet search results.

fred's specials back

this from jennifer chandler:
915 Currie Street
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 332-0083

In addition to burgers, we will be serving
daily lunch and dinner specials
on the Patio !!

The Patio is NOW Open:
Monday Thru Saturday
hours of operation: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
beer until midnight


howard zinn

here's people's history of the united states author howard zinn on the u.s.-iraq dilemma, from the progressive.

thanks to l.a. bassist-political crank doug lunn for da link.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

rueffer brothers

the rueffer brothers, chad 'n' reggie's honky tonk country outfit formerly known as the insiders, be's at the li'l wreck room this weekend, opening for 1100 springs. you can purchase copies of their fine, fine, supafine ceedee me and my heart and my shoes direct from them at the show or via cdbaby. come to think of it, you can cop the hochimen's debut cd totenlieder there too (at a bargain price, no less).


if you're not interested in the machinations of big biz, you might wanna skip this classic 2004 article from fast company. if, on the other hand, you harbor any curiosity about how schitt really 'n' truly happens in the world of commerce, check it out...

(thanks 'n' a tip o' the lid to katboy for the linkage.)


...lotsa weird shit lately. last night i dreamed i was breaking up cigarettes and flushing them down the toilet. i want my chest to stop hurting. fuck this bullshit. deliberately doing stuff that makes you feel bad is idiotic.

Monday, April 10, 2006


i'm a cat guy, so i'm predisposed to like any rekkid called tierra del gato, even if it comes with cover art of a space-nightmare-weird kitty. i'm even more inclined to dig it if it's by the hochimen, a band whose debut disc totenlieder is still in regular rotation at mi casa (and based on the evidence of a few spins, this 'un might be even better).

the hochimen are so elusive that they make live performers as infrequent as woodeye (r.i.p.), sub oslo (don't say goodbye, just say so long) and the me-thinks seem overexposed. they take their time in the recording studio, too; in fact, it took 'em so long to record this album -- two years 'n' change -- that drummer pete young left the band halfway through. not to worry, tho; his replacement joey lomas (who works as house engineer at charlie pride's studio and co-produced tierra del gato with hochimen head honcho reginald rueffer) does as fine a job behind the traps as he does behind the board, and based on the evidence of the band's pre-sxsw stand at the wreck room (they weren't actually _goin'_ to the austin musicbiz confab themselves, mind; rather, they were just providing local color for some south-by-bound nashvillians who couldn't even be bothered to do them the courtesy of staying in the room during the hochimen's set), he's brought new energy 'n' focus to the band's stage trip.

when i say that tierra del gato might be even better than its predecessor, i mean that in terms of pure sonics, not songs; it's gonna take awhile for a couple of the toons to really sink into my noggin in this form, altho i've been hearing most of 'em (notable exception: the lovely closing acoustic-gtr-and-violin-with-percussion "hymn to them all") for a coupla yrs worth of hochimen shows (that'd be four or five, i guess). and make no mistake, this is a great _sounding_ rekkid. joey lomas might make his bread 'n' butter cuttin' country sides, but you can tell his ears know big rawk and more importantly, how to record it well. which means the sophomore disc is a li'l less "indie" sounding than the debut. that doesn't imply any degree of artifice here; no mutt lange drums-drowning-in-reverb or any such nonsense. instead, you can luxuriate in the clearly recorded sounds of real voices 'n' instruments -- a very "live" sound indeed. for proof positive, compare the new version of "gore vidal gomez" here with the one from the first alb. the difference is a whole world of depth and dimension. particularly noteworthy are the layers of gtrs supplied by original hochiman / ex-unt jazzcat ed mcmahon and reggie's brother and ex-bandmate in mildren and spot, chad rueffer, who provide their respective inputs (edgy atonality in ed's case, pure melody in chad's) with aplomb.

the real story, of course, is reggie's songs 'n' sangin', absent which this'd be just another rawk rekkid, which it clearly is not. i've been to shows where i marveled, while hearing the hcm perform songs like "the funeral trip" (an exploration, as are most of the songs on totenlieder, of one man's religious doubt) or "60/40" (which is sung from the perspective of an abortion clinic shooter) in the manner of red-era king crimson, "he thinks he's writing _pop songs_!" hearing the tierra del gato songs in recorded form, it's easier to glom onto their pop dimension, as quirky and arty (but _not_ proggy) as they remain. i have to say it: a couple of 'em ("good fences," say, or "do it clean") sound like bona fide _hits_ -- or what _could_ be hits in a world where it was permissible to have more than one melodic idea per song. reggie composes melodies that remain memorable through numerous surprising twists 'n' turns (follow the mellifluous contours of "in an old house," to get an idea of what i'm talkin' 'bout), on top of which he overlays some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics around. the printed lyrics give you the opportunity to separate the words from the songs (altho you might need a magnifying glass to do so) and _they stand up_. (try this trick with "gold dust," say, or "agree to disagree.") even better, he sings 'em in a voice that yearns the way the human heart yearns, which is to say with hope 'n' humility. no overemotive croak for this boy!

do whatever you have to do to get this rekkid. you could venture into deep ellum for the cd release party at the gypsy tea room this thursday, april 13th. or hit reggie up via the not-yet-ecommerce-enabled hcm website. (if you don't already own a copy of totenlieder, ask him about that one as well. you know you need it.)

"the dean" gets one right

i normally disdain the scribage of robert christgau, the self-styled "dean of american rock critics." however, even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes; to wit, the following description he penned of early '70s brit hitmakers / e.l.o. precursors the move: "no other band better evokes a giant mechanical lizard." pure fucking genius. i almost pissed my pants laughing when i read that, and i'm at work.

fred's fire sked

this from jennifer chandler:
915 Currie Street
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 332-0083


The Patio is Open:
Monday thru Saturday
for burgers and beer !!

hours of operation: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
beer until midnight

04-06-2006 JASON EKLUND
04-07-2006 SAINT FRINATRA - (cool Jazz band)
04-08-2006 KEVIN BANFORD
(Honkeytonk country singer)
04-13-2006 JASPER STONE
04-14-2006 SAINT FRINATRA - (cool Jazz band)
04-15-2006 LOST COUNTRY (rockabilly band)
04-20-2006 FLASH
04-21-22 SAINT FRINATRA - (cool Jazz band)
04-22-2006 RAMBLIN BROTHERS (Ruff Ruffner's Band)
04-27-2006 TBA
04-28-2006 SAINT FRINATRA - (cool Jazz band)
04-29-2006 DEWAYN BROS. (phenomenal bluegrass band)


spanglish sandwich

speaking of health, i stopped eating bacon awhile back, but this sangwich was mos' def the best part of the silly-ass adam sandler movie whose name it bears. yum.

shaking the nic jones

that's it, goddammit. i'm out. no mas. no matter what happens to fuck up my week. tired of it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

sub oslo, darth vato, ph7

yeah, i know wall of sound was this w-e, but i have a problem with _bigness_, whether it's the vegas strip or sxsw. too much sensory overload is not good for my already overtaxed synapses. shee-ot, i stopped going to the black dog on confusatron nights 'cos i don't dig having that little elbow room when i go out to hear toons.

that said, i had to brave the crowds in my living room (a.k.a. the wreck room) for two shows this weekend: the final (or at least penultimate, if they can get something happenin' in their original stompin' grounds of denton before bassist miguel veliz decamps for cali) sub oslo show on friday, and the darth vato / pablo and the hemphill 7 double bill on saturday, which marked goodwin / underground railroad worthy matt "katboy" hembree's debut in pablo's crucial bass slot.

myself, i'm inclined to agree with ph7 / goodwin drummer damien stewart, who sez, "bands shouldn't have to break up -- why can't they just _not gig all the time_?" in sub oslo's case, the level of live activity had diminished pert drastically the last coupla yrs, most tellingly when they didn't play the wreck this past new year's eve -- an annual ritual that, perhaps, pablo will now take over. sub oslo's deep, hypnotic dub explorations and visually stunning stage presentation (especially for a buncha cats that mainly sit down while playing and _never_ talk to the audience) won them overseas attention, and if you doubt that they've been influential locally, just look at the number of groove-oriented units with lotsa ppl onstage that have come along in the decade since their inception: spoonfed tribe and confusatron, fo' sho, and more recent outfits like sleeplab and the alarm clocks as well. for all of the parts 'n' pieces involved (multiple samples, keybs, melodicas, percussionists, and live on-the-fly mixage and f/x in addition to the basic riddim trio), sub oslo's sound is never cluttered and even at their most free-form, they have the ability to turn on a dime in the middle of a lengthy excursion, making a change so seamless that it sounds like an edit on a '70s miles davis alb. they're used to playing _with_ each other, listening and using space (altho quincy holloway on traps is the one cat in the band who never stops playing and it seems at times as if he's physically carrying the weight of the whole juggernaut on his shoulders). anyway, safe travels to miguel and we await the next oppo to experience sub oslo's vibe, even if it takes a few yrs. we're patient that way.

the darth vato boyzzz -- who were skedded to play wall of sound the next afternoon, and will be back at the wreck on june 9th with the me-thinks -- have come a long way as a band, and now seem firmly in command of the various forms (reggae, ska, skater-punk) that they kloodge together in a crowd-pleasin' melange. their yout'ful fans even started a mini-moshpit in front of the wreck stage, prompting relative old man steve steward (who grew up in lodi, cali, in the '90s listening to epitaph bands) to remind them of the rules o' pit etiquette; to wit, "if somebody goes down, _help 'em up_!" there was a nice moment o' collegial solidarity when front vato kerry dean busted a string and before you knew it, ph7 gtrist steffin ratliff was there to swap out kerry's strat for his own.

pablo's performance was all about that kind of musicianly brothahood. marcus lawyer, who departed the pablo fold earlier this yr to concentrate on projects like top secret...shhh and the alarm clocks, has a musical history that's been intertwined with damien and ph7 frontguy joe vano's since root 420 daze, and he and damien had previously worked in harness as the brasco riddim section around the time pablo was coalescing from the remnants of root 420 and bindle (whose former members matt, steffin, and justin pate now make up half of pablo). so pablo will continue, and marcus is off doing other good, creative stuff. the only regrettable aspect to all this remains that the original pablo lineup never released a "legit" ceedee (altho "band bootleg" cd-r's abound). matt wrote in his myspace blog, "if i can be half the bass player [marcus] is, i'll be doing pablo proud." he needn't have worried. onstage, from the opening "steppin' razor" to the final encore "rude boy," the pablo musos looked ecstatic as they attacked their repertoire with fresh verve and energy, and their crowd responded in kind. besides bass science, hembree's presence adds three-part backing vocal harmonies to the hemphill 7's arsenal of strengths. afterwards, steffin remarked, "i haven't felt this comfortable onstage in months," while for his part, matt allowed that "i've been waiting for three and a half years to do this." more than just a continuation, this felt like a renewal.

anyway, a good coupla evenings' worth o' music. and i slept till noon the morning after both shows.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

da best 4/5/6 ever (a coupla days late)

dinner under the stars
just you 'n' me
and a cowboy chef
with a story about
each 'n' every recipe
("i told him, 'cook the fish
like yo' mama would!'
and he did")
and hobo signs
(echo battery 2/10th marines
were sho' nuff
some thievin' mofos)
and messkin horse races
(a matched race like
dragracing on northside drive)
thankin' about how
our life is pretty good

Thursday, April 06, 2006

he fought the law

think the u.s. has a monopoly on homeland security estupidity? think again. this cat got thrown in the slammer for singing along with the clash's "londing calling" in a london taxicab. if joe strummer was here, he'd be laughing...or crying.

thanks to katboy for the link.

acid mothers temple

wow! legendary japanese psychedelic weirdoes acid mothers temple be playing at hailey's in denton on april 29th! the great tyrant be opening! i rarely venture that far north because everytime i do, something _untoward_ happens (last time, a tree limb fell through the roof of my house), but in this case, i might have to make an exception.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

the phone

waiting for it to ring
(and the news that it brings)
ties my stomach in knots
i've spent too many hours
sitting waiting on
mr. bell's worst invention

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

peter helms feresten

dig the work of a great fort worth photog. i'm especially fond of his pic of lady pearl at the 4050 club.

eddie hazel

oh, by the way: next monday, april 10th, woulda been eddie hazel's 56th birthday. for those who don't know, mr. hazel was the 'riginal lead gtrist in funkadelic, the cat who laid down the gut-wrenching (but sparse, like all the best blues is) acid-blooze sprawl on the classic '71 version of "maggot brain" (that's Em-D-Bm-C, gtrists). while he undoubtedly experienced some real blues in his life, he's away from all that now (checked out right before christmas, the year i got out of the airforce), and his masterwork on that toon (and "red hot mama," and "free your mind and your ass will follow," and "funky dollar bill," and "i wanna know if it's good to you," and all o' those old gooduns) remains transcendent. you can bet i'll be thankin' about him the next time i pick up a gtr (as i do each 'n' every time).

mozart wasn't poor?

apparently not, according to this. another cherished misconception bites the dust. i suppose this means the movie amadeus wasn't de literal troof. da-a-amn, if you can't trust filmmakers, who _can_ you trust?

new york doll

out on dvd today: a documentary about arthur "killer" kane, who played bass for the new york dolls, wound up working for the church of jesus christ of latter day saints (a.k.a. the mormons) in salt lake city, and picked up his axe again for the dolls' reunion before checking out for good in the summer of 2004. the clips look interesting, to say the least...

Monday, April 03, 2006

jackie mclean

so long to alto saxophonist jackie mclean, who left the planet last friday. what a life this man had: played with the cream of the bebop aristocracy as a harlem teenager in the '40s; made his mark as a sideman to miles davis, charles mingus, and art blakey in the '50s and as a free-thinking leader on blue note in the '60s; starred in the play the connection (about drug-addicted musos) after shaking his own jones; went on to a distinguished career as an educator who worked with inner city youth. not a bad way to spend 74 yrs.

art of the jam 46


since i'm taking the week off to celebrate 4/5/06 (my sweetie and i have a custom of celebrating sequential dates, e.g., 2/3/04, 3/4/05, etc., and this year, we plan to set an alarm to wake up in time to do something silly at 1:02:03 on 4/5/06), it seemed a good idea to do my li'l bit o' jam bloggage for the week early, since i don't have to wait for the actual jam itself to go down to set down some generalized impressions / observations, and perhaps debunk some myths, too.

to wit: while the wreck room wednesday night ritual might go by the moniker "lee and carl's invitational jam" (after jam-meister lee allen and occasional vocalist / ex-gideons frontman carl pack), _you don't need an invitation to play_. there are _no invitations_, unless you count the ones the jam-meister occasionally posts on myspace (where the relevant page is under the name impulse of will, which actually refers to a much larger floating crapgame of musos from austin, el paso, and elsewhere). whoever's been calling wreck bartenders lu and graham and harassing them about "how can i get an invitation?" -- please stop. such thangs don't exist. the pool o' invited musos / singers / spoken word artistes is large but not stagnant; if you wanna participate, just _talk to lee_. he's the tall white dude with the long beard; kinda looks like a mad scientist behind the mic and a five- or six-string bass (greedy bastard, him; four wasn't enough). lee is _not_ the older asian dude (altho i usedta use a fake i.d. that belonged to a black cat named joe lee, a million yrs ago when i lived in another state that didn't have a picture on its driver's license -- but i digress). that's me, and it's _not my gig_. i'm just there as gtr strangler 'n' chronicler o' events, and that's fine by me. i donwanna be the boss, i'm just happy to have a gig that doesn't require 1) rehearsal, 2) extensive time spent hangin' out / gettin' up-close-and-personal with other bandcats, 3) traveling more than five minutes away from mi casa. so remember: no invites; talk to lee.

to quell another vicious rumour: the jamcats don't diss ppl who show up to play, and i can only remember one instance of anyone being "thrown offstage," which occurred when the individuals involved didn't, um, talk to lee. think about it: you wouldn't just walk onto somebody else's stage and set up yr shit without at least _asking_ 'em first, wouldja? jam or not. c'mon. for real. courtesy is contagious.

what makes this jam different from all other jams? first 'n' foremost, the jam-meister hisself. he's got a degree in conducting and he's better at directing a random assemblage of cats that haven't played together before, doing material with which they're unfamiliar, than any bandleader i've ever witnessed. admittedly, that's happened less frequently as the "reg'lars" got more familiar with each others' styles and a limited repertoire of toons over time (the night marcus lawyer told me, "you guys are getting _really good_ at playing _those songs_," it occurred to me that the mandate of heaven might have shifted a li'l bit), but there are still nights when it happens (like the recent "order by key and mode" set over on the li'l "wreck west" stage).

of course, lee's ability to realize unique, extemporaneous improvisational events out of the damp clay of simple musical forms has a lot to do with the quality of the jamcats. there are no slouches onstage; over the past 10 months and change, the jam-meister has played host to legions of players from across the spectrum of foat wuth music. what's in the resultant musical gumbo from week to week depends on who shows up and what they bring to the party. to date, participants have included members of pablo and the hemphill 7, goodwin, confusatron, the burning hotels, sally majestic, sunward, the me-thinks, the collin herring band, saint frinatra, chatterton, the brokers, kulcha far i, jasper stone, addnerim, ghostcar, and i'm prolly missing a few. spoken word artists william bryan massey III, claudia acosta, and rob bozquez have performed.

color the music rawkfunkreggaebloozemetaljazzbluegrass. sometimes it's not what you'd expect: f'rinstance, jam audiences have heard bluesman james hinkle wrestling clouds of feedback from his hollowbody axe on a version of funkadelic's "maggot brain" (a jam standard), while on another memorable night, woodeye / chatterton mainstay kenny smith showed off his skills as a fonky fatback drummer side by side with some confusatron musicians. some good things have come out of chance meetings: metalhead-turned-'meercun-primitive darrin kobetich and electrified paganini steve "vikingo" huber first duetted at the jam, and before sleeplab was a band, the principle members tested the waters at the wreck on a wednesday night.

while there's room for skilled copyists, the _best_ jamcats are those who can listen and respond in the moment to what's going on around them and take direction on the fly (drummers: when in doubt, _watch lee's foot!_). and, um, regulate their stage volume. perhaps this spirit is best exemplified by gtrist ron geida (kulcha far i, jasper stone), who sums up his approach thusly: "i contemplate the quality and team attitude vs. the 'it's just a jam' attitude." in other words, it's s'posed to be a _conversation_, punky, not a monologue, and one in which spontaneity is of the essence, which is one reason there's no "setlist." while a few old standbys remain, the repertoire has gone through a few evolutions over time. if the jams have become more structured and song-oriented and less free-flowing than they once were, that's prolly not a bad thang: many good musos don't dig the discomfort and ass-showing potential of performing unrehearsed, without a net, while most listeners donwanna sit through 30 minutes of "the 'manic depression' variations." on the other hand, don't show up expecting to hear "brown eyed girl" or "mustang sally," either.

last but not least, there's the wreck room's wizard o' sound andre edmonson, who lovingly tweaks the tones whether the action is on the big main stage or the li'l one over in wreck west, and records the proceedings as well (when they're happenin' on the big stage, at least). now that it's been established that the copyright in myspace's terms 'n' conditions refers to _recordings_, not _compositions_ (as demonstrated by the presence of cover material in some bands' mp3 selections), perhaps we'll see some sound snippets on the impulse of will page sometime before i die. or perhaps not.

"people will come, ray"

in general, i know enough about sports to feign interest when they come on tv in bars. however, i'm a sucker for the american myth of baseball. first vivid memory: '61 series, pirates vs. yankees, mickey mantle and roger (asterisk *) maris in the home run derby o' the century. thanks to paul boll for reminding me of this.

"we jam econo" dvd

so i went back to mike watt's hootpage and saw that these are the ppl who are releasing the minutemen doco on dvd, supposedly on june 27th (didn't see any ref to it on the site, but maybe i'm just slow / myopic). signed up for their e-mail list. film, as they say, at 11.

sub oslo, ph7, bertha coolidge

so apparently sub oslo are playing their last show ever at the wreck room this friday. seems bassist miguel veliz is moving to the west coast to roadie full-time when he's not playin'. the denton dubmeisters' new year's eve shows (which threatened to levitate the li'l wreck) are justifiably legendary. end of an era.

saturday, matt "katboy" hembree (goodwin, underground railroad) makes his debut at the bottom end of pablo and the hemphill 7 (also at el wreck, with darth vato). this reunites matt with his former bindle bandmates steffin ratliff and justin pate and should make you feel pure and happy inside.

finally, elusive fort worth fusioneers bertha coolidge are playing at cachonga's on camp bowie blvd on saturday, april 22nd, minus bassist aden bubeck, who'll be off miranda lambert-ing. in his place, the estimable danny stone will be sharing the stage with messrs. carter, metzger, and stitzel.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

anancytheurbanspider addendum

...not only that, he's really sayin' somethin', too.

mo' monk

good news for real jazz fans here in the fort: saxophonist dave williams checked in to say that in the wake of the recent thelonious monk-evening there, arts fifth avenue apparently wants to hold a monk festival annually, starting this october. once again, kudos to gtrist sam walker 'n' crew for pulling it off. we want mo'!

happy berfday, d. boon

today woulda been d. boon's 47th birthday. if you dunno why you should care, read david rees' blog-ola that does a much better job of 'splainin' than i ever could. happy b'day, you april fool.