Monday, May 29, 2006

next coupla wks

this sunday, i'm gonna get to play with sleeplab again on the occasion of jesse sierra hernandez' birthday bash at el wreck. wednesday that week (june 7th), we're doin' another "stooges at midnight" stoogeaphilia set at the wreck's wednesday night jam thingy. then that friday night, june 9th, darth vato and the me-thinks be's at the wreck, and saturday the 10th, sleeplab be playing an early evening (5:30-7:30pm) mixer at the kimbell art museum, where they have their entahr permanent collection on display all summer long.

"stooges under the stars"

because i'm a shitty scene supporter, i missed the last weekend of "taming of the shrew" at teatro de la rosa, as well as the hochimen at the black dog and the top secret...shhh vinyl release party at the metrognome collective, but i can't feel bad about it, since the evening was spent enjoying dinner outside with family 'n' friends, and once we opened the second bottle of wine, it was apparent that we weren't going anywhere else. you gotta decide for yrself what's most important to you, and do it.

that's why it doesn't bother me that only 20 or 30 ppl showed up for the stoogeaphilia show at the rose marine. ppl have their own customs 'n' traditions for the holiday (often including cooking out and drinking beer). hell, we in the band have our own traditions too, such as eating pizza from big joe's in haltom city (conveniently located on the way to the me-thinks' practice pad where we also rehearse). i was reminded of this when we were loading out at the black dog a coupla wks ago and jon teague remarked, "damn, i wish we had a pizza!" since the kindly folks at the rose couldn't afford to pay us, we were working for burger 'n' beers, and jon doesn't eat meat, so enroute to the theater, i stopped off to pick up a coupla pies that the non-carnivores on the set could scarf.

the folks at the rose just got a brand-new p.a. system, the last pieces of which chris fisher had _just_ picked up from gtr ctr that same afternoon, so everything was working great altho there were the usual last-minute firedrills when certain parts 'n' pcs weren't on hand and adaptations had to be made. luckily, stoogeaphilia's drummer's also an experienced sound tech, and between him 'n' fish they were able to sort things out. we actually had monitors, so we at least could hear ray's sangin'. as long as i can hear ray and cue visually with jon 'n' steffin, i'm happy.

i was a little concerned going in about playing so close to a residential neighborhood, but it wound up not being a big deal. (the phrase that pays: "memorial day weekend.") we set up against the wall, blowing toward the street, rather than in the li'l amphiteater, and while the gtrs sounded extra super loud to us, sleeplab mastermind jeffa told me later that we coulda turned up! go fig.

as stoogeaphilia performances go, it was more subdued than the tranced-out catharsis that was the black dog show. i kept waiting for matt to shed clothing or go to the ground; these things he did not do. steffin even stayed on two feet for the closing "little doll" feedback apocalypse. in general, the sound was more controlled than in previous performances, without the between-song washes of feedback that are all over matt's minidisc recording from the black dog. (thisun, unfortunately, went undocumented, since he remembered to bring the mic, mic stand, and cord, but not the recorder. feh. we're hoping to get a high-quality andre edmonson audio / video recording when we play at the wreck room on june 7th and again on june 28th. while we're on that subject, we'll also be at the black dog june 29th and july 27th.) still, ppl seemed to dig it, and we didn't get any noise complaints. afterward, the rose marine folks spun 'n' danced to p-funk and fela sides as we attempted to help them drink up all the beer they'd bought.

while there were few ppl in the crowd, i was particularly pleased to see my dtr, her b-f, and her cousin (who told me later that next time we play, he'll bring out his apparently several friends from western hills high school who dig the stooges -- who'd a thunk it?); the couple with their baby who wandered over from one of the restaurants in the neighborhood and wound up sticking around for the whole shabam; the half-dozen sub-teen boys from the 'hood i saw standing up against the wall to my left for a coupla songs, checkin' it out; sam ward from ohm, lee from brother tex, and clay stinnett from ghostcar, who was driving by when he heard us starting, thought, "wtf?!?!? stooges music!!!" and stopped to listen. (at the black dog, we were honored to have ex-mazinga phaser gtrist / soul-r&b deejay extraordinaire eric hermeyer and ex-wayward girl bassplayer _dr._ dawn miller -- visiting the fort from memphis and penn state, respectively -- in da house.) we actually got invited back, so p'rhaps there'll be another early, all-ages oppo for my nephew and his posse to come hear da stoogestuff before too long.

Friday, May 26, 2006

r.i.p. desmond dekker

jamaican 'riginator desmond dekker, the man who sang "the israelites" -- a bona fide u.s. hit, heard it on wabc-am back in '69 or so, my first taste of reggae 'n' i didn't even know it -- went to join bob marley and peter tosh this week. go easy, mon. (follow the link to samples of his music, see?)

boris, geinoh yamashirogumi

my exploration of noise from my ancestral homeland continues wit' dese two, the first the latest (not "new," per se -- their 'meercun label southern lord tends to put 'em out about a yr after their japanese releases) by boris, a trio that rolls together the heaviosity of the melvins, black sabbath, blue cheer, and then some, mixes it together with punk energy and a soupcon of psych and comes up with the most massive rawk sound you'll hear this yr. compared to their previous releases, pink is pretty varied 'n' surprisingly melodic, and also the _sexiest_ music i can imagine (mirroring as it does natch'l body riddims much more so than, say, kenny g does). this one'll stay on continuous repeat for awhile.

jon teague laid the osore-zan alb by geinoh yamashirogumi on me with a cryptic warning: "give it some time." first time i fired it up, first thing on a sleepy morning, i was immediately jolted to consciousness by a blood-curdling shriek several levels of intensity past anything yoko ono ever committed to tape. things settled down after that, tho, and got more interesting. the lengthy pieces evoke all kinds of associations, from classic japanese noh plays to gregorian chants to balinese gamelan music to harry partch. and i swear, the solo gtrist sounds just like me (or vice versa). maybe we're genetically coded to play like that. fascinating, hypnotic stuff, and totally baked.

art of the jam ADDENDUM

oops! saw lee last night and he said he posted the wrong date on myspace. the big rob marruffo event will be on _june 7th_, not may 31st. guh.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

art of the jam 53

an abbreviated sesh this week, as start time was delayed by the first game of the nba west series (i must admit that i know _just_ enough about sports to feign interest when i see 'em on tv in bars w/the sound off), after which jam-meister lee allen was proposing a set of "basketball music" (think rhcp's "magic johnson"), but the mavs lost and the expected celebration, replete with multiple rounds of shots for the band, failed to materialize. feh.

wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson and i were in a mellow mood when we arrived, in my case possibly due to residual sleep deprivation from a last week that included stoogeaphilia prac monday, jam wednesday, stoogeaphilia gig of gigs at the black dog thursday, and sittin' in with sleeplab on sunday at a wake for muso / wreck room happy hour bartender michael contreras' mom (sorry for yr loss, country). 'twas quite a shift from the teeth-bared, full-on fury o' the stoogeband one night to the chill acoustic vibe o' jeffa's minimalist crew a coupla days later, but all in all, it was not a bad way to spend yr sunday afternoon. was also my first real oppo to play with matt skates (for all the times he's been to the jam), and it's always a pleasure to share the stage with my friend, painter / congero jesse sierra hernandez. biggest surprise to me was michael contreras' mandolin playing -- he really hit on some nice licks, and i got the feeling that somewhere, his mom was smiling real big 'n' proud for her son. i just tried not to get in the way.

back to wednesday night, while the wreck reg'lars were going apeshit and beating on the bar watching the mavs lose to san antonio by _this_ much, confusatron was playing at fred's to an audience consisting of owner / outlaw chef terry chandler, his bride jennifer, and manager quincy. (if a jam goes down and nobody hears it, did it really happen at all?) when the final buzzer sounded, the jamcats took the stage: the jam-meister, me, and scott copeland's sidetracks drummer brandon wallace, a crisply groovin' player 'n' active listener who, in his first coupla visits to the jam, has already propelled some of the freshest improvisational flights we've had in the last few months. (hope he keeps coming back.) after an appetizer of funkadelic "cosmic slop," with wreck impresario brian forella and jam godfather carl pack flowing rhymes, it was "variations on a theme of E-to-A," with a coupla different approaches that included an attempt by me to remember a line i usedta play in "the occasionals" with ron geida a million yrs ago, and a melvins-y ascending exploration o' the phrygian mode (that's no sharps or flats, for all the civilians 'n' musical illiterates like myself before da jam-meister put me wise).

there weren't many prospective jammers or, indeed, human beings of any description in the house when the jam-meister sidled up to me at the bar after we'd taken a break and announced, "i wanna go home."

"me too," i replied.

"no," he said emphatically, "i mean _right now_."


so, for the first time in weeks ('cepting the one i took off to celebrate 4/5/06 with my sweetie), i was home before one o'clock on a jam night. before i did, tho, i was handed an invite to the wedding of ex-woodeye bassist / wreck bartender graham richardson 'n' his sweetie / kai's mom robin, one which we'll be more 'n happy to attend. all we ever need is something to look forward to, and jam-wise, we've got a lot to look forward to next week, when the jam-meister hosts a birthday celebration for his pal / velvet jive bassist rob marruffo -- an event so big it's starting at 8pm, a time when the jamcats are usually just beginning to thank about rolling out of la casa. in addition to impulse of will and velvet jive, lee 'n' rob's college band "the kind buds" (311-ish heaviosity with two basses!) will make a rare appearance, and as a special added attraction, there'll be another exciting installment of "stooges at midnight," as the stoogeaphiles return to the wreck after engulfing the northside in a blanket of feedback (which will occur at the rose marine theater plaza, sunday at 8:30pm). be there or turn in your ears!

rory gallagher

here's proof positive (and yes, more _is_ needed) that the phrase "irish blues-rock gtrist" isn't an oxymoron. thanks 'n' a tip o' the hat to richard from blood of the sun for the link. (dude, you guys got a website?)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

armchair martian, flower traveling band, me-thinks

one thing i love about stoogeaphilia prac (or what my sweetie has come to refer to as "the music nazi club") is that i usually come away with some new extracurricular toonage to listen to. last night's was no exception.

top of the stack this time was a cd-r compilation of armchair martian, a band from fort collins, colorado, of all places (evoking memories of an ill-advised winter i spent there at the ass-end of the '70s) who split up a coupla yrs back. while the classification "pop-punk" doesn't usually float my boat, what i've heard so far sounds like the rekkid bob mould mighta cut if he'd kept sugar together instead of losing his mind: the same confluence of aggression, melody, 'n' crunchy gtrs that i find so appealing in goodwin is in ample evidence here. no surprise, then, 'twas goodwin bassist matt hembree who turned me on. i'm told they also have some countryish uncle tupelo influences, too, which is hardly a bad thing. gotta like any band that makes a concept alb about their inability to keep a bassplayer (especially if they're not gov't mule).

listening now to satori by the flower traveling band, an impressive slice of early '70s psychedelia from japan, of all places, which itinerant arizona poet logan phillips laid on me a few wks back. regrettably, i'm too techno-illiterate to use the files he sent, but luckily for me, great tyrant drummer jon teague had the rec and burned it for me (tks, jon). here exists proof positive that vintage asian psych stands up as well as anything that originated in the states, u.k., or europe -- it just never got distributed over here. a li'l later tonight, i'll check out the '71 osorezan alb by the geinoh yamashirogumi collective that jon also shared with me. it's now clear that acid mothers temple was no fluke -- there's a long history of this kinda stuff 'riginating from my ancestral homeland. who'd a thunk it?

gotta admit, tho, my fave listen o' the moment is by a crew from much closer to home -- to wit, haltom city's own me-thinks. they've finally completed tracking 'n' mixing of their long-awaited double e.p., and a coupla the finished tracks are up on their myspace thingy now (including the anthemic "still in the hc," which the band co-opted from drummer / evil genius will risinger's napoleon complex solo project). my tip for the top: "burnout timeline," which starts out sounding like it might be just another me-thinks got-drunk-'n'-puked lyric until you listen closely and it becomes something _entahrly other_. "raise your glasses high," ray liberio sings, "let the phone just ring...stick a needle on a record, turn it up to 11 and pretend / that it's 1997 again" before going on to summon up the ghosts of the dogstar (and spending all yr money there on "a thousand beers") and the loco gringos in a way that's evocative 'n' heart-tugging even if you weren't part of those scenes. fuck broooce springsteen, if we must have rock 'n' roll nostalgia (and we must, at least until the last coupla generations o' music listeners shuffle off this mortal coil to where all the big band and doowop fans went), then let it be the kind whose amps go all the way up to 11. so sayeth me.

clifford antone

...was just 25 when he founded the austin blues club that bears his name. he left the planet today too early, at age 56. texas music loses another true original.

Monday, May 22, 2006


oh, wow. the hochimen are playing at the black dog on saturday night -- their first appearance since the no-fooling release of their sterling sophomore cd tierra del gato (an early candidate for my 817-centric "best of the yr" list). decisions, decisions.

katboy's stoogeaphilia archive

...est ici la. your one-stop shop for multimedia stoogey goodness, updated as new stuff becomes available.


expat fort worthian jim yanaway of "finger poppin' time," amazing records, and legendary stardust cowboy fame writes:


I know it is not logistically possible for you to attend these meetings, but I want you to know about a new plan hatched in Austin that could be beneficial to many recording artists you know.

Here is some info about organizational meetings of the Texamericana group that Barbara K from Timbuk 3 fame is putting together to promote Texas Music via non-commercial radio (not to exclude commercial, but the focus is on non-commercial for now). The administration of the organization is non-profit, but everyone else would make money from it. Barbara has some really well-thought plans for this she has been working on for the past 18 months.

It sounds like it very easily could be a win-win-win-win-win situation for promoting nationwide Texas musicians (or ones that perform in Texas) via monthly compilation CDs sent to radio stations, income-producing and attention-getting for the musicians or participating record companies, income production for financially-strapped community radio and the compilation CDs able to be used as fund-raiser bonuses to non-commercial station financial contributors focusing those persons toward the artists own full CDs for full retail sale, and links through the Texamericana website to the musicians or record companies for direct sales of their own CDs, along with consigned CD availability through a Texamericana website store.

( Boy, that looks like it should be a personal record for me on compound sentences with hyphenated words !!! )

There is far too much solid info for me to convey it all in this short E-Mail. If you are interested, Barbara K can certainly fill you in on details. She is hosting organizational meetings at Threadgill's WHQ Central, 301 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas, Wednesdays in May and June from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. There are already a lot of very experienced, accomplished and bright people getting involved, and this does seem to be very feasible.

I think the basic concept would be profitable in many ways for many deserving persons, and it is likely there would be other beneficial gains from the connections anyone might make through the participants in the organization. With the caliber of persons likely to be involved, it could be productive on many levels for a lot of people. I guess just about anyone could do even better in all this business, no matter how well any one might be doing already. It's definitely worth checking in to to see how it might benefit individual goals.

If you know Barbara K, you will realize a major motivation of Barbara is just to help as many persons as she can, and the concept is borne from well-grounded realistic altruism. Also, since she travels worldwide so often, she clearly sees how the US commercial media is a propaganda machine for Bush and his band of pirates. She is a major advocate of grassroots freedom of speech through non-commercial radio in light of the Clear Channels and Emmises taking over the US and trying to thwart anything other than the corporate party-line spew. (That last part is my own viewpoint, but I am guessing you know what I am talking about.)

Barbara K can explain the entire concept much more thoroughly in a very concise and understandable way. If it is pulled off as she has envisioned, it could be immensely beneficial to many, many people and organizations.

You can get more info from the links below included in an original E-Mail from her I am now copying and forwarding.

This, I believe, is worth checking out.


Jim Yanaway

>From The Original E-Mail About Texamericana Sent Out By Barbara K:

Howdy, Pardners!

Recording Artists and their music business associates are cordially invited to The TEXAMERICANA SOCIAL HOUR, at Threadgill's WHQ Central, 301 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas, Wednesdays in May from 4:00 to 5:30 pm.

An afternoon soiree of conversation, coffee and cobbler, compliments of Eddie Wilson and Threadgill's, The Texamericana Social Hour will present and allow for open discussion the Goals and Activities of TEXAMERICANA - a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to create additional sources of funding for charitable organizations through encouraging musical and cultural diversity.

Texamericana's First Goal:
Posse Up and Protect the Voice of Freedom - Support Public Radio

Recording Artists are making their music available to become an additional source of funding for beloved community sponsored Non-profit Public Radio Stations across the USA.

By simply consigning some extra CDs to, an internet non-profit music store, Recording Artists are enabled to designate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their CDs for a donation to the community sponsored non-profit radio station of the purchaser's choice.

Ask not what radio can do for you, ask what you can do for radio.

For more information, please contact Barbara Kooyman, e-mail:, phone: 512.263.8599.

Don't be shy now. See you Wednesday.

Barbara Kooyman
Executive Director, Texamericana

Some folks still believe in the power of music.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

art of the jam 52

a good night, and the closest to the 'riginal spirit o' the jam that we've experienced in a few months -- lotsa different cats playin', lotsa spontaneous improv shite happenin' and a minimum of covers (altho the wreck room's very own wednesday night jam-meister lee allen was doing lotsa on-the-fly structuring and direction o' the musical goings on, as is his wont, calling chords 'n' changes to the jamcats in the moment).

at first, it appeared that the cosmic tumblers might be in alignment for a woodeye reunion, when carey wolff, scott davis, and kenny smith stopped in during graham richardson's shift behind the bar to celebrate carey's berfday (scott, kenny, and graham gifted him the jesse sierra hernandez painting that jesse created for the last woodeye show poster). 'twas not to be, tho -- the boyzzz headed out bar-hoppin' before the drums were set up and the jam-meister arrived (which mighta made it possible for him to spell graham behind the bar for a coupla songs). feh.

a few new ingredients in the musical stew, starting with brandon wallace, drummer for scott copeland's sidetracks. departing sidetracks gtrist / sessions music impresario john zaskoda recommended brandon when joe "drumzilla" cruz proved to be unavailable for the evening, and brandon proved to be both a groover and a listener. art of the jam hopes to hear him jammin' more in the future. with brandon behind the traps, lucky listeners got to experience a merchants reunion of sorts, as zaskoda was joined on gtr by his former bandmate "confusajohn" stevens (after i made the fascinating discovery that my tuner has a half-step and whole-step flat option, which accounts for the fact that on the first song, which the jam-meister announced was in A, i was in B-flat; gotta remember to read the damn manual next time i buy a piece of gear), the z-man's finger-picked lines contrasting nicely with confusajohn's liquid-silver sound.

in another wednesday-night first, pablo and the hemphill 7 gtrist steffin ratliff made a rare jam appearance, joining the jam-meister, stevens and his confusatron drummer lucas white. steffin added a li'l reggae chuck to the proceedings, and soloed melodically in contrast with confusajohn's effect-laden explorations on zaskoda's jazzmaster 'n' new vox pedalboard. my contribution to "maggot brain" (which has evolved into a vehicle for claudia acosta to flow verse over) was dedicated to jacoby chambers, a student at my sweetie's school whose name evoked an nba all-star and who left the planet this week; i tried to represent his ascending spirit through feedback washes.

the evening ended with metallic modal wonderment featuring the jam-meister on gtr, backed by confusatron / electric mountain rotten apple gang / caffeine chemistry bassist matt skates and great tyrant drummer jon teague. lee explored _all_ the possibilites of his chosen modal field while teague created a constantly shifting riddimic landscape, then quickly unassed the joint when it was done. it were awesome.

a heads-up: the june 7th edition of the jam will start _way_ early -- like 8pm early -- as it'll be a birthday celebration for velvet jive bassist rob marruffo, and will feature performances by velvet jive, rob 'n' lee's 311-ish college band the kind buds, and maybe bluesman texas slim in addition to whoever's in impulse of will that week. see ya next wednesday...

stoogeaphilia black dog post mortem

we played at the black dog on thursday. had maybe 50-60 ppl in the house (as predicted by pablo and the hemphill 7 frontman joe vano). we made about 20 bucks a man; my bar tab was $40. we got two more dates out of it (see the stoogeaphilia myspace thingy for details). i was higher than i've ever been onstage (on the natch, over 'n' above any other substances that mighta been ingested), and i've been doing this for a real long time. we got in the _trance state_, yo. in other words, a real good night.

it started out with clouds o' feedback (a recurring theme of the evening), and ended with all three string players (steffin ratliff, matt hembree, me) rolling around on the floor in front of feedback-shrieking amplifiers. steffin played with us for the first time ever at practice on monday. in between our first tentative foray onto the evening stage at the wreck room a month ago, his lvl of involvement progressed from, "i donwanna insinuate myself into yr band, just hang out 'n' play some music" to "just pick the songs you're comfortable with and play on those" all the way to "dude, you're playing on _every song_ -- no discussion." steffin's such an instinctively great musician he can think of things to play that weren't on the 'riginal rekkids but compliment the mistakes we learned so laboriously quite well. and his gtr makes the sound _big_ and _powerful_ in a way it didn't before he came, particularly during solo time. he only takes a coupla those himself -- he's a melodist, at heart, not the kinda cat to make yards of spaghetti onstage, and that's fine. he _completes_ us.

matt hembree is the same kind of musical craftsman that steffin is, but in stoogeaphilia, he gets to go _off_ and play the fool in ways that've previously only been hinted at in certain goodwin performances. that is to say, he gets completely _immersed_ in the spirit o' the music to the point at which he totally loses himself, and things get _interesting_, as they did when he 'n' i went to the floor in a somewhat premeditated bit of stage biz during "tv eye." the whole episode was s'posed to last 16 bars but wound up going on for 24 to 32 before matt came back from wherever he was. "i opened my eyes," he said, "and realized i was still playing." greatness. before we even started, he was holding his bass up like a viking's halberd and i _knew_ it was gonna be a good set. at the top of the second set (which i deliberately planned to open with the two songs i figured we were most likely to trainwreck on, with the idea that what came after would be so cosmic that ppl wouldn't remember the tankage later on), he already had his shirt off, and looked like he couldn't wait to get on the ground. "if we ever come up with a third set," he said later, "watch out, 'cos the pants are gonna _have_ to come off -- not 'cos i'm an _exhibitionist_ or anything, i just donwanna be _bound up_ that way." you've been warned.

it occurred to me afterwards that in the past five nights, i'd seen jon teague play his ass off four times: sunday night with his own band, the great tyrant; monday night with us at the me-thinks' rehearsal space in haltom city (which we've come to think of as "the music nazi club," where we gather to eat big joe's pizza, drank beer, trade burned cd-r's of obscuro jams and talk story, as well as play music); wednesday night at the wreck room's invitational jam; and then on the stoogeaphilia gig itself. besides being a versatile, powerful, and creative drummer, jon's got great arrangement ideas, too -- the dual-gtr feedback meltdown at the end of "little doll" that ended the second set was his suggestion, f'rinstance.

if ray liberio tried to act like iggy, then stoogeaphilia would suck, but he doesn't -- he just sings his ass off and is himself. understand the black dog's p.a. wasn't really equal to the task of getting ray's voxxx up above two gtrs 'n' a bass that don't really have "quiet" settings, but next time out at the dog, we plan to use jon's p.a., and at the rose marine theater on may 28th, wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson has graciously consented to operate the rose's new sound system on our behalf. ray's his own worst critic, and has always tried to mix down his own voxxx on me-thinks recordings, but his bandmates will and marlin have always overruled him, and we plan to do the same -- they're too good to bury. at the black dog, matt 'n' steffin were pretty much limited to hearing each other and jon, which is fine, because they have _the lock_ anyway; myself, i couldn't really hear much besides jon 'n' ray with _just_ a li'l bit of matt, which is also fine, 'cos i mainly cue off of the voxxx 'n' drums anyway.

i've been playing a little of what nels cline would call "amp du jour" of late, between using marlin's marshall (thanks bud) at stoogeaphilia prac and will's dr. z at fredfest (ditto). for the black dog, it was obvious that my roland cube 60 "amplet" was not gonna be adequate, so matt (bless him) generously allowed me to borrow his peavey classic 50, which i was pleasantly surprised to discover has a lot more balls 'n' midrange than, say, a fender twin, and actually has a pretty crunchy clean sound sans f/x (altho i still employed a big muff, courtesy of the great tyrant's tommy atkins, to supply the requisite over-the-top fuzz factor most of the time).

as incongruous a group of individuals as stoogeaphilia might appear to be, i've never been in another band where the members were so in synch, musically 'n', um, _philosophically_. in our heads, musos of a certain bent try and make every band we're in a li'l utopia when it starts, only to become embittered later on when it doesn't meet our expectations. can't really see that happening with thisun -- we're already talking about what to do once we exhaust the stooge repertoire (and as jon teague points out, the rubric "stoogeaphilia" covers a whole lotta law, as their influence has been so ubiquitous). all i know is, i've been waiting 35 yrs to play this music (which the cats in the rekkid store always usedta laugh at me for liking back in the day). for now, it's wish fulfillment at its best -- like seeing ron asheton play these songs with mike watt 'n' j. mascis ca. y2k, and again with scott morgan's powertrane and deniz tek in ann arbor, 2002. may it always be so.

prolly the high point o' the night for me was after we'd finished, when i was standing talking to ray 'n' matt when the dead kennedys' "california uber alles" came on the jukebox. they both immediately started screaming the lyrics in each other's faces; ray even had all of jello biafra's vocal inflections down. matt told a story about seeing the dk's at a deli in knoxville, tn, he usedta frequent back in his college days. his roommate got knocked out cold by a stage diver, so matt dragged his inert form out of the room to keep him from getting trampled, then ran back inside to see the rest of the show. the next day, ray said he couldn't remember hearing the song or the conversation. perfect.

justin pate

wow! looks like busy pablo and the hemphill 7 / confusatron / monday-night-at-the-moon solo guy justin pate has a new band, with a pert damn impressive lineup: his past 'n' present bandmates steffin ratliff (bindle, ph7) and john stevens (c-tron) on gtrs, and the old daddys soul donut / current velvet love box riddim section of neal schnell on bass and brandon bumpas on gigundo percussion rig. yeah!

Friday, May 19, 2006

barber mack

so, it appears that jazzy reggae rockers barber mack be's playing the first thursday of every month at fonky fred's. a match made in heaven? most definitely. the next confusatron? we'll see.

pere ubu, unknown instructors

this from smog veil records. well, two outta three ain't bad. even if they call david thomas "david thompson" in the ubu blurb.

Smog Veil Records
2006 Release Schedule

RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2006
ALBUM TITLE: Devastation Of Musculation
RECORD LABEL: Smog Veil Records
TOUR DATES: Sept-Nov 2006
Willie Adler of Lamb of God enthuses ³Thor -- T.itans, H.ellions,
O.ver-the-top, R.ambunctious² and Henry Rollins adds ³No one rocks like the
mighty Thor.²
Features in Blender, Village Voice, SF Weekly cover story, Revolver, Creem,

RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2006
ARTIST: Pere Ubu
ALBUM TITLE: Why I Hate Women
RECORD LABEL: Smog Veil Records
TOUR DATES: November tour currently being booked
David Thompson says of the album ³It is my take on the Jim Thompson pulp
fiction of the Œ50s. In some ways I believe it to be startling. It is dark.
It is obsessed. It hurts. The production is violent and, uh, differentŠ"

RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2006
ARTIST: Unknown Instructors
ALBUM TITLE: (title is as yet tentative) Better You Than Me
RECORD LABEL: Smog Veil Records
Band is comprised of Minutemen/fIREHOSE rhythm section George Hurley and
Mike Watt, Saccharine Trust guitarist Joe Baiza, and frontman, Dan McGuire.
Album features tracks by David Thomas (Pere Ubu, Rocket From The Tombs) and
Raymond Pettibon (renowned contemporary American visual artist).


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

cats 'n' dogs

listening to the great tyrant playing the other night, i was searching for a simile that would encompass tommy atkins' fervid bass ostinatos, jon teague's powerful-but-precise percussion-pummeling, 'n' daron beck's distorted keybs 'n' psychodramatic voxxx. except for the last 'un, the answer came in the mail next day, when a copy of king crimson's red i found online arrived at mi casa. i'm unable to top the best description i've heard of this band -- "a vampire backed by two monks" -- so i'll just say that they had a great crowd for a sunday night, and i appreciate the humor in the "i'm so gothic, i'm dead" sticker on one of daron's keyboards.

had prac for the upcoming (black dog, thursday, 10:30pm) stoogeaphilia show last night, with the added goodness of steffin ratliff (bindle, pablo and the hemphill 7) on gtr. sounded big 'n' dangerous with two gtrs, and afterwards, we were all real o mind. wish i could fast-forward to thursday night.

read in the paper the other day that on this date 40 yrs ago, both the beach boys' pet sounds and bob dylan's blonde on blonde were released, so i'm listening to pet sounds (first rekkid i play in any house i move into) now while my sweetie sleeps, wondering whether it's really true that they just don't make megalomaniac geniuses like they usedta, or maybe it's just that the mass comms of our time have changed the scale 'n' scope of things so much that it's impossible for a rock rekkid to have the kind of global 'n' enduring impact that those two did. also digging the realization that all my heroes today are ppl i know or knew.

and this w-e, i'm looking fwd to possibly seeing all three of my dtrs and my granddtr for the first time in awhile. life is good.

metrognome collective

inasmuch as i am basically a parochial westside mofo (i just happen to be partial to stuff that's within walking distance of mi casa), it seems like i've been remiss in not making it to the metrognome collective, an edgy 'n' eclectic eastside artspace located on 1518 east lancaster, near the union gospel mission.

that might be 'bout to change, tho, on saturday, may 27th, when metrognome plays host to the 6th annual thrift art gallery show and auction from 8-10pm, followed by the long-awaited vinyl release party for marcus lawyer's top secret...shhh project.

then on tuesday, june 6th...well, i'll let tammy gomez speak for herself:

I, Tammy Gomez, am interested in receiving such submissions of writing for

probable public display and performance presentation

on the 6th day of June, in the year a.d. 2006 - a rare day indeed,

(at the Metrognome Collective Warehouse on E. Lancaster St.)

Any and all should diligently and prodigiously send their literary productions, treating this theme--however humorous, serious, theatrical, or philosophical--in the quickest haste to:

Am hoping for the most intellectually-broad treatments of this theme.

Questions? Please ask them via the addresses provided above, or post comment below.

(signed) Tammy the literary-thing-make-happener

music communities form themselves

interesting shite from wired blogs:

Music Communities Form Themselves
Topic: People
This post concerns The Fall, but really, it be about any band, for the purposes of argument. This particular band is on a tour that, even by its own standards, has taken a few shambolic turns. Frontman Mark E. Smith reportedly ashed a cigarette on the head of the tour manager in the van, erupted in anger after a banana thrown by the lead singer of the opening band hit him in the face, and may have done other things to contribute to the coming dissolution, but the fact remains: the rest of his band abandoned him mid-tour (aside from the keyboardist, to whom he is married).

American Fall tours are canceled as often as not, so this wasn't a surprise. But the plot thickened, as three Fall labelmates stepped up to fill in for those who had fled, learning to play the songs practically overnight. I downloaded MP3s of the new band's first two shows, and was overjoyed to find that they sound great, if a little unrehearsed.

What struck me about all of this was that I accessed all of this news and music using purely old school Internet technology -- email lists and online storage lockers.

Despite all the hype about the opportunities that exist in the realm of online community, the latest news and files are still promulgating through self-made communities that exist outside of the framework of monetization. Sure, both of the lists that gave me this Fall information are now on YahooGroups, but they're simple mailing lists that could just as easily still exist as independent listservs (available since 1986). Although Yahoo has added features to the mailing lists, most of them go unused, as evidenced by the fact that the live MP3s were posted outside of that system.

Despite online music companies touting community features, they seem unable to keep up with the homegrown variety. No commercial operation could have sent reviewers to every Fall show in the country and then secured the necessary licensing deals to host unprotected MP3s of each show starting the morning after. However, a patchwork community of fans was able to do exactly that, in lightning speed. And for whatever reason, those patchwork communities are loth to set themselves up entirely within a closed system (unless it's something like YahooGroups, which mimics a free system except for the little ad inserted and ignored at the bottom of each post).

If you had told me in 1999 that by 2006 nothing would have changed about how I followed a Fall tour online, I would have said something like "You must be joking. Surely there will be several companies webcasting shows from all major venues for one-tenth of the ticket price, with the audio for any show freely downloadable by anyone who holds a ticket for another show on the tour."

But I would have been mistaken. Either the companies trying to make money from music communities have been going about it all wrong, or else they will simply never be able to compete with a network of actual fans who are technically – though insubstantially – breaking the law.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

readin' 'n' listenin'

been re-reading clinton heylin's essential tome from the velvets to the voidoids -- a music book that changed my life more 'n any other save nik cohn's rock from the beginning (if only by belatedly validating my fandom for all the stuff the guys in the rekkid store usedta make fun of me for listenin' to back in the day) -- in its revised 2004 edition, which thankfully doesn't tamper with the 'riginal text, only updates the reader on the semi-revival of the 'meercun pre-punk underground that occurred after its original publication (hence the completely overhauled discography). i find i'm still skipping through the same chapters that didn't mean much to me the first time around (never had much interest in the talking heads, blondie, the ramones, or patti smith, as riveting a performer as patti was when i saw her at the gypsy tea room ca. y2k), finding heylin's analysis of post-'97 reunions etc. _fairly_ accurate (i mean, james williamson wrote _himself_ out of history, by putting down the gtr and focusing on his family, but i gotta agree with the author re: the, um, "mc3"), and thinking that maybe the cleveland crews of peter laughner et al. were the most titanic of all (and wishing i hadn't let some mofo "borrow" my copy of the heylin-compiled laughner comp take the guitar player for a ride, which now goes for like 70 bucks online -- who knew?!?!?).

on a trip to half price books the other day, i unearthed a coupla gems: pristine vinyl copies of jerry lee lewis' old tyme country music (on sun!) and the rolling stones' december's children (and everybody's).

in stranded, greil marcus claims that the lewis is actually from jerry lee's audition tape for sam phillips. to these feedback-scorched ears, the recording quality sounds a little too clear to support that, but whatevah: as proof positive that the killer could sing the memphis phone book, or a passel of yr grandmaw's folkbound faves and make 'em sound like a soundtrack fer sinnin' (not a consideration to be taken lightly by a country boy like jerry lee, who had the fundamentalist fire 'n' brimstone drilled into him as a lad in louisiana), it can't be beat. i can listen to it endlessly.

as for the stones, as much as i loathe what they've become in later yrs (since, i dunno, say right after exile on main st.: "my grandparents went to see the rolling stones and all i got was this #$%?&! t-shirt"), i love this alb in the same way as i love having a rave up with the yardbirds, and not just for the influence they both had on the nuggets-era 'meercun teen-snot bands. whoever the hacks were at london records that compiled albs like thisun and flowers from assorted detritus ("real" album leftovers, e.p.'s, b-sides), they knew their stuff better 'n, say, the hacks at decca responsible for the who's magic bus atrocity. not only does it contain their most archetypal hit ("get off my cloud"), my all-time fave waxing by them (cover of larry williams' "she said yeah" that was widely imitated by teenage yanks in its time) and a coupla live cuts that wipe the floor with anything on got live if you want it (hell, for that matter, on get yer ya-ya's out), there are a buncha jagger-richards compositions from the period when they were _just starting_ to chase the rubber soul-era beatles, before they had the balls to release an alb of _all 'riginals_ that included a song ("goin' home") that's like _nine fuckin' minutes_ of dick dagger jerking off on himself. (better nine minutes than _30 fuckin' yrs_, but hey...) in other words, the end of an era.

oh well. time to go to the wreck room and hear the great tyrant.

sam walker

talking with johnny case over dinner at sardines the other night, i gained a little insight into the development of some local jazz gtrists. sure, clint strong might seem like a force of nature _today_, but back in prehistory, before he filled the gtr chair in merle haggard's band in between roy nichols and red volkaert, teenage clint considered himself strictly riddim until his teacher, slim richey, started him out learning howard roberts 'n' barney kessel solos note-for-note. of course, it wasn't long before the youngster had mastered the syntax of bebop sufficiently to make his _own_ statements, and in the fullness of time, to develop the intimidatingly relentless swing 'n' melodic invention for which he's justifiably well known.

i was similarly surprised to learn that sam walker had studied harmony with johnny for awhile, altho on reflection, it makes perfect sense. i only became aware of sam through his work on dave and daver's jazz lines cd of a coupla yrs back, his appearance with them (in front of 15 die-hard fans and a quarter mile of empty v.i.p. seats) at that year's jazz by the boulevard fest, and a walker-initiated tribute to thelonious monk that played to an equally appreciative (but much larger) audience at arts fifth avenue earlier this yr. maybe it's because sam lives in arlington and does most of his work in dallas, while i tend to venture east of benito's as infrequently as i can; in any event, my bad. his trio with bassist kyp green and drummer roy snodgrass has been a thriving concern since 2002, and the individual players have associations that go back considerably farther than that.

while walker might not be the monolithic shredder clint is, or possess paul metzger's blues-drenched facility or keith wingate's filigree elegance, he's an axe-slinger of great musicality and taste whom i like to think of as the metromess' own jim hall. like hall, walker's sound is characterized by fluid economy, warmth, and subtle shadings. you can hear what i'm jawin' about on his sam walker trio plus one cd, recorded at big time audio in dallas back in 2004 and just released. the "plus one" in this case is versatile vibist joey carter, a scintillating improvisor who adds timbral variation and an additional solo voice on several of the tracks. the walker disc is the third outstanding recorded appearance for carter in a little over a yr (the other two being bluesman james hinkle's straight ahead blues? and love's bitter rage, the "peace and justice suite" by johnny case's alter ego jhon kasen).

the toons on sam's disc are a mixed bag: there's a seldom-heard monk composition ("eronel"), a handful of standards (sammy cahn's "i fall in love too easily," henry mancini's "mr. lucky," and toots thielemans' "bluesette"), and a wes montgomery dedication to milt jackson, but the balance are walker originals that cover all the bases, from blues (the opening "who got in?") to ballads ("november") to modal explorations ("weathering the storm"). the recording captures with unornamented clarity the interaction between the trio members, allowing the listener to marvel, f'rinstance, at the ease with which walker and bassist green play unisons and comp behind each other's solos, or the near-telepathic interplay between green and drummer snodgrass.

in its modest way, the cd is a major achievement, making me hope that walker 'n' his men will spend more time on this side of the tarrant county line. (the trio will be at lightcatcher winery up lake worth way on sunday, may 28th, but unfortunately, i'm otherwise engaged that day.) i'm also looking forward to the reprise of the monk trib that arts fifth avenue is supposedly planning for october. film, as they say, at 11.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

ben trail

here's one by the late soldier, teacher, and poet benard doss trail, the man who taught me to be a writer.

CREED by B.D. Trail

I believe in poetry - the dead speaking
to the almost dead, their hearts still beating,
cadenced chanting I am not alive.

I believe Hell is the place reserved
for those who lit no fires in the
Heaven of another human heart.


thanks 'n' a tip o' the hat to terry for sending this.


busy coupla months:

31st: impulse of will, wreck room, 10:30pm

2nd: goodwin, broncos in hurst, 10pm
3rd: the great tyrant, hailey's in denton, 8pm
7th: impulse of will and stoogeaphilia, wreck room, 8pm (rob marruffo's b-day party with "stooges at midnight")
9th: the me-thinks, wreck room, 10pm
14th: impulse of will, wreck room, 10:30pm
18th: the great tyrant, rubber gloves in denton, 9pm
21st: impulse of will, wreck room, 10:30pm
24th: the great tyrant, darkside lounge in dallas, 8pm
25th: pablo and the hemphill 7, fw weekly music awards
28th: impulse of will and stoogeaphilia, wreck room
29th: stoogeaphilia, black dog tavern

1st: pablo and the hemphill 7, wreck room
8th-15th: ken goes to new joisey
21st or 22nd: pablo and the hemphill 7, flying saucer
27th: stoogeaphilia, black dog tavern
29th: pablo and the hemphill 7, black dog tavern

11th: pablo and the hemphill 7, flying saucer; jon goes to japan
last 2 wks: ray goes to seattle

2nd: pablo and the hemphill 7, flying saucer

1st-13th: underground railroad potential tour to ny


"the devil and daniel johnston" at the modern

both jasper stone frontguy ed voyles and my cinema-enamored buddy andrew in philly pulled my coat to this flick; now it's playing at the li'l fort's very own modern art museum as part of their "magnolia at the modern" film series:

May 12-14
Friday 6 & 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday 2 & 4 pm

Jeff Feuerzeig won Best Director at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival for this documentary portrait of manic-depressive genius singer-songwriter-artist Daniel Johnston.

could be too good to pass up.

Friday, May 12, 2006

barber mack

a long time ago, barber mack gtrist ron geida and i had a band without a singer. it didn't last very long, and we didn't gig very often. ron 'n' i got the idea after witnessing derek trucks playing with the allman bros. band, and the original intent was to play long 'n' let the grooves breathe. unfortunately, nobody seemed to believe in the concept, least of all the guys in the band. "we can't play out without a singer," the keyboard player, a wise and prudent man, insisted. "they'll _kill us_." (sure, bertha coolidge were doing it back then, but they were sophisto jazzcats, whereas we were _mostly_ just dumbass rawk 'n' blooze musos who'd grown tired of playing interminable versions of "cold shot" and "midnight hour.")

so i have to say i feel somewhat, um, _validated_ by the latter-day profusion of post-bertha instrumental bands here in the fort: first confusatron, then sleeplab (at least when crystal casey isn't up front), and a number of enterprises built around drummer josh clark, the latest of which is barber mack.

in fact, barber mack is the fruition of a coupla different strains that have run through the last few yrs of foat wuth music: the jazz strain (respect to cats like johnny case, joey carter, keith wingate, dave karnes and dave williams who've kept the fire burning); the instrumental / improv 'n' groove strain (lee allen, marcus lawyer); and the reggae strain (i remember a coupla yrs back, pablo and the hemphill 7 frontman joe vano was talking about reggae taking over the fort, and it damn near did, between his band and outfits like darth vato, sally majestic, the brokers, and kulcha far i -- a band that included future barber mack players ron and bassist-leader john shook).

kulcha far i is where shook and geida pulled it together and formed a tight little triad with drummer jeffrey williams. they brought varied experiences to the partay: ron the transplanted new englander had jazz training before playing in the civilians (whom i originally thought were a christian band but weren't), country rockers jasper stone (with whom he got to tour europe a coupla yrs back and with whom he still gigs), and a plethora of blues 'n' rock cover bands (sometimes several at a time); shook was a teenage bassplayer with bluesman hosea robinson and toured europe with kulcha frontguy chris hakata (for a cat who's only 24 now, he's been around). when shook got the idea of starting a band to play the music of jamaican jazz gtrist ernest ranglin and showcase underrated confusatron gtrist andrew skates, he first offered the drum chair to williams, who's been focused on developing his singer-songwriter chops since the wheels came off kulcha far i while the band was touring the u.s. last fall. jeffrey declined.

enter josh clark, a likable kid who hit the scene last spring and within six months had played with seemingly evabody: ph7, confusatron, the brokers, the wreck room's wednesday night jamcats. he formed a band, c.s.s. (since rechristened caffeine chemistry), with confusatron's skates brothers. he went on the road as kulcha's percussionist, then took off for four months to play on a caribbean cruise ship. he got back in town the beginning of april and barber mack played its first gig a month later.

onstage at the black dog last night, the barber mack boyzzz dug a li'l deeper into their trick bag than they had time to at their fredfest debut the previous weekend. (unfortunately, i had to cut out early as i was feeling the f/x of advanced sleep deprivation, but there'll be other times.) their music has a lope and ease that's redolent of the islands, but there's also a high level of musicianship that never deteriorates into technique-for-its-own-sake wankage. it's easier to hear andrew skates in this sparser soundscape than it's ever been in confusatron. he gets a clean, biting tone from his telecaster, and spins out jazz-inflected, vibrato-free lines that put me a little in mind of mike bloomfield in the prehistoric paul butterfield blues band. in contrast, geida's sound is warmer 'n' darker, replete with bluesy, beckoid bends, smears 'n' chromaticism and employing a few tasteful f/x. i've said before that jaco disciple shook's the best point-to-point bassplayer in the fort; he grooves hard and plays deft, staccato solo lines on his fretless fender.

to these feedback-scorched ears, the big news in this band is josh clark. sure, he doesn't swing like dave karnes, groove like damien stewart, or hit as hard as lotsa mofos whose names you could call, but he does appear to have come up with an approach to the trapset that's as original as, say, clay stinnett's is. josh mixes trip-hop beats with reggae one-drop, and does a good job of simulating spacey dub f/x on the natch. on my favorite toon in barber mack's set, he plays crazy timbale-sounding shit on his toms while around him, the gtrs weave chattering lines that interlock like a zairean soukous band's. his crisp, intelligent solos display as much musicality as they do force and velocity. clearly a young cat to watch. at this point, you can still hear him and shook feeling each other out, learning each other's riddim. mark me: in six months, these cats are gonna be devastating.

shakespeare on the northside -- free!!!

this from claudia acosta:


Please come

May 12th -28th

FRI & SAT 730pm SUN 2pm

Rose Marine Theater Plaza


I am the shrew


it's on! dig ray liberio's artwork. (click on the pic to make it bigger.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

art of the jam 51

i think the wreck room's wednesday night jamcats musta all still been skyin' from fredfest, where we played a muy well-received set sunday evening in place of the cancelled gideons (whose bassist johnny singularity was in da house and promised they'd be back in action by the summer). we actually _hit at 10 o'clock_, which hasn't happened in a real long time, if ever, and played right up until 1:30 with minimal break time.

the plan was for the evening to commence with an unannounced performance by some musos from sleeplab, but when a few of the expected guests were still elsewhere when the clock on the wall said 10, jam-meister lee allen sidled up to the reg'lar jamcats seated at the bar and suggested, "let's play some music."

the goal for the evening was to make it all the way through without playing any of the toons we'd played at fredfest, and we _almost_ made it. jasper stone / james and myles / barber mack gtrist ron "the velvet hammer" geida was making his last jam appearance for awhile (his tuesday night gig at the moon shifts to wednesday night next week), so after some impromptu funk improvs, he called freddie king's "goin' down" and lit up the strings on his epi les paul with some out-of-kilter chromaticism that jeff beck (who famously covered the toon on his jeff beck group alb back before he discovered the _final solution_ to the lead singer problem) would have appreciated. after the fact, ron said the night was kinda anticlimactic for him, but coming off the high of fredfest, what wouldn't have been? and from the coupla songs i watched on video back at the house with wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson, the velvet hammer was still burnin' in fine style (altho perhaps a tad less adrenalized that he'd been on sunday). as for the jam-meister, three grueling days of steering the ship at fredfest had left him ready to rawk, which he did -- kicking on his f/x and wrestling peals of thunder and flashes of lightning from his bass (through two amps, no less).

after an abbreviated romp through zappa's "sexual harassment in the workplace" and an attempt at jeff beck's "you know what i mean" that almost came off the rails before joe "drumzilla" cruz figured out the tricky tempo change, the jamcats vacated the stage to make way for the sleeplab folks -- gtrists jeffa and fern palomo, congero / m.c. jesse sierra hernandez, drummer michael preble, and vocalist crystal casey, joined by bassist chuck brown and violinist tamara cauble from standard transmission -- and i got to hear what jeffa and fern were talking about when they said that andre had made some improvements to the sound out front. i dunno what kinda magic dre did, but i've never heard sleeplab's subtle sound in such exquisite detail before -- the mix out front was full of clarity and presence that brought each finger slide and drum stroke into bold relief (a mixed blessing when fern's gtr had some grounding probs), and they wove their spell like they always do. (afterward, chuck brown, who'd witnessed sunday's energized "impulse of will" set at fredfest, was overheard to comment, "damn, i was all set to play some _rock 'n' roll_." come back again, bro -- it'll happen.)

after the sleeplab ppl's performance, i was pleasantly surprised to see gtrist brock miller, absent from the jam for too many months, setting up his rig. when the reg'lars returned to the stage, jam-meister lee had a headful of requests for the likes of .38 special, journey, foreigner, kansas -- a veritable litany of mainstream '70s rockers that, back in the day, were responsible for my abandoning rawk shows in favor of wrestling for a coupla yrs, and becoming a jazz snob. in typical fashion, the jam-meister handled these by plowing through histrionic snippets of all the audience faves before settling down to a serious trainwreck on led zep's "black dog" (note to self: must check out the form on that 'un), followed by a foreshortened "dazed and confused" with versifyin' by teatro de la rosa director claudia acosta. things got more interesting when violinist tamara joined the jamcats for more zappology -- a surging "willie the pimp" that morphed at the end into a manic country shuffle. no virtuoso tricks here, but homegirl possesses the two essential elements -- a gorgeous sound and a gift for melodic invention -- that mark the most memorable soloists, and she seemed to be enjoying herself (cracking up while playing at the jamcats' onstage idiocy). to close the set, the jam-meister broke his own edict and called jam standard / fredfest retread "manic depression," but instructed the musos that it was to be performed in the hyperdriven style of jazzy-metallic canuck punks nomeansno, which we did with gusto 'n' a fair degree of success.

for the last set, barber mack bassist john shook took up ron's les paul and doubled the line on jaco's "teen town" with lee while drumzilla filled in every nook 'n' cranny of the groove, then ron rejoined the fray for the evening's terminal toon, "cissy strut" by the fonky meters. it seemed the night was over just as it was getting started. can't wait for the next 'un. (and especially hoping that brock, chuck 'n' tamara will all make it out to jam again.)

stop cat typing

i'm not sure whether or not this is legit, but i hope it is. need a way to detect and stop "cat-like typing."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


this makes two years since
you and i moved into our
happy happy home

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

barber mack, the great tyrant

having broken the seal at fredfest, groovin' reggae-jazz outfit barber mack will take us a little bit deeper into their thang this coming thursday, may 11th, at the black dog tavern (where stoogeaphilia resurfaces a week from then, may 18th). they're playing before caffeine chemistry (with whom they share a coupla mbrs), and the right honorable billy whitewater wilson be's pourin' the dranks. sounds like a good deal to me.

then this sunday, may 14th, the great tyrant, featuring ex-yeti jon teague and tommy atkins and ex-pointy shoe factory daron beck, be's at the li'l wreck room. (that's why stoogeaphilia prac be on monday -- jon kicks traps wit' dem, too.) this causes another existential dilemma, as i can only be in one place at once, and lady pearl's b.t.a. band is at the bluebird that same night. think i gotta go wit' the great tyrant in this instance, 'cos i haven't seen a show by them before, and i'm diggin' playin' music wit' mr. teague so mightily. if you dig authentic blues, tho, you owe it to yrself to see b.t.a. so sayeth me.

the dicks

speaking of classic texas punk hoo-hah, the dicks be's playing at the li'l wreck room on friday, may 19th (the day after stoogeaphilia storms the black dog). this creates somewhat of a dilemma at mi casa, since that's the same night triple a and pablo be's playing at the moon. decisions, decisions.

(btw, the same cat that put together the dicks page linked to above also did a nice one for the big boys, whose legendary gtrist tim kerr i once played with back when he was a long [albeit thinnning]-haired, sensitive acoustic-strumming, nick drake-influenced folkie.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

impulse of will at fredfest

we filled the hole, and no one fills a hole better than us. behold: 1) vikingo. 2) the velvet hammer. 3) ray 'n' carl -- "when we went to the bad brains show in '86, who knew someday it'd come to _this_?" 4) and 5) carlos satanic and leecifer -- always keep yr lyrics close at hand, so you can ignore them.

a rational perspective on the immigration debate

this came across via myspace. yes, there's actually more out dere than silly surveys and chain ltrs. thanks 'n' a tip o' the hat to tammy gomez for posting and claudia acosta for reposting.

Carlos Guerra: The Clash of Symbols Often Drowns Out Immigration Debate
05/02/2006 12:00 AM CDT
San Antonio Express-News

Debates over Monday's "Day Without Immigrants" will rage for weeks. And, predictably, media demagogues will deliver simplistic rants to boost their ratings, while closet racists will use their new vocabulary of code to vent their hatred and clueless xenophobes will continue to seek a return to an isolationism that never existed.

So what else is new?

The immigration debate has been raging since the tribal Departments of Homeland Security failed to stop the English, German and Dutch hordes pouring into the Eastern Seaboard. It was later fueled when waves of Irish, Scots, Italians and other Europeans came, eager to take jobs earlier immigrants no longer wanted.

And for the record, the notion that all "good" immigrants of yore embraced the prevailing culture and traded their native languages for English in one generation is false. Were that true, there wouldn't be dozens of communities across the nation where languages other than English or Spanish are spoken widely, and usually by multigeneration native-born Americans.

Granted, we need to deal with border issues, but in a rational, comprehensive manner that first recognizes that our vulnerability isn't limited to our Southern border, or even our other land border. We also need to control the entirety of our coastlines and to develop better ways to deal with the 40 percent of "illegals" who overstay work, student and tourist visas.

Most important, we must focus on substantive issues instead of emotional, symbolic ones.

Amazing, wasn't it, that after the first wave of pro-immigrant rallies drew unexpectedly large peaceful crowds, the fear mongers were left with only the number of Mexican flags to disparage. How dare they demand fairness and wave Mexican flags, the talk show hosts fumed, as if any of them ever went to any Six Flags theme parks to protest at least four of the banners.

Nor do I recall them outraged at orange-white-and-green flags at St. Patrick's Day parades or even the French tricolors at Bastille Day celebrations.

Then, when the next round of immigration rallies drew millions nationally, and American flags outnumbered those from Mexico, the complaint became that immigrants were usurping our national symbol.

The most venomous talk, however, erupted after some Latino stars recorded a Spanish translation of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Even President Bush, whose campaign once claimed that he is bilingual, got into that action, declaring that the national anthem should only be sung in English.

But where was the outrage over "Das Star-Spangled Banner," a German translation published in the early 1900s, or in 1919, when the U.S. Bureau of Education (a federal agency) commissioned a Spanish translation of the national anthem and distributed it widely? And was anyone angry about the 1943 Yiddish translation?

"The outcry over the (latest) Spanish translation of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is an outgrowth of the current political crisis over immigration,"reasons John González, who teaches (wouldn't you know it) graduate and undergrad English at UT-Austin. "Immigration reform has become the surrogate forum for anxieties over cultural change."

So, let's have real, substantive discussions, and leave arguments about symbols to the symbol-minded.

fredfest day 2

in the last 2 days i think i've seen everybody i know in the fort and heard a buncha great music. also got to play some, altho not in a way i woulda wanted. got home from delivering my granddtr's b-day presents to a msg from jam-meister lee allen that impulse of will was gonna be making an unscheduled appearance at fredfest in place of the gideons, who had to cancel when a friend of their drummer committed suicide. (don't know the cat's name; may his soul find peace.) jumped on the phone to assemble the forces; gtrist extraordinaire ron 'the velvet hammer" geida was already on board (appearing earlier in the afternoon with jasper stone), joe "drumzilla" cruz said he'd be there, and violinist steve "vikingo" huber came out of the woodshed (prepping to audition for a higher chair in the symphony) to make the date.

got to fonky fred's in time to catch maren morris' set. hard to believe the girl is only 15; she's got some monstrous pipes 'n' writes her own songs, too. every time i see her, her performance seems more confident and self-assured. having a new lead gtrist in her band didn't hurt, either. they musta been on a roll from playing like three times at mayfest yesterday (that annual fest's organizers seem to be getting every penny's worth from their musical performers this yr, at least according to the sked i saw in the paper).

darrin kobetich said he was still a little shakey at 3pm from a jam-back-at-the-house that lasted until 4am following the electric mountain rotten apple gang's performance the previous day. overheard him and gtrist-composer-edjumikator paul boll talking about pioneering foat wuth metal band boss tweed (with whom paul played back in high school daze) during maren's set. then darrin took the stage for a solo set of alchemical acoustic inventions that included something in the jimmy page "white summer" / "black mountain side" vein and his own hammering-'n'-harmonics tour de force, "playing in the hedges."

by this time, the crowd was primed for some electricity, and they got it in the form of maybe the best set i ever saw jasper stone play. frontguy ed voyles has mos' def been through some trials 'n' tribs over the yrs, but his hootin' 'n' hollerin' persona remains undiminished, his brother treg is doing a better-'n-just okay job on bass, and jeffrey williams is kickin' things along nicely behind the deepest bass drum in the fort. after the previous day's set with barber mack, ron geida's fretboard was on fire, reeling off rapid-fire runs 'n' sounding at times like a fuel-injected fiddle.

there was a minor crisis when the gtrist from standard transmission broke his glass slide, until darrin kobetich offered to lend him one (which i don't recall hearing him use during the set; whatevah). next, the me-thinks jacked up the intensity a few notches, playing a scaled-back version of the set they delivered at the wreck room last weekend, heavy on toons from their new double e.p., with madman dancing by cadillac fraf. sir marlin von bungy somehow managed to manipulate the band's smoke machine while wielding his mirrored flying v like a weapon. the burger-'n'-beer-satiated crowd was hungry for _rawk_, and haltom city's finest didn't disappoint 'em.

then impulse of will. me-thinks drummer will risinger graciously allowed me to borrow his dr. z amp, and it only took me about 10 minutes to figure out that the reason i wasn't getting any signal was because one of my pedals wasn't plugged in. (guh. thanks, marlin.) the jam-meister only wanted "songs we can play without any mistakes" (hahaha), so we hit with abbreviated versions of a buncha jam "standards," starting with failure's "daylight," moving through chick corea's "la fiesta" (minus the "b" section) and fonky meters "cissy strut" into "maggot brain" with claudia acosta doin' spoken word stuff, and the "manic depression theme and variations." then gideons frontman carl pack (whose new dtr stormie we met for the first time earlier that day) commandeered a piece o' the stage to sing backup voxxx on "standing on the verge of getting it on."

the me-thinks' ray liberio fronted the jamcats on "war pigs" (a toon whose lyrics, my sweetie observed, appeared to resonate with older folks who might not have any idea who black sabbath were / are), then carl returned to sing (and leap off the front of the stage during) "come together." all the while, the jam-meister was driving the band hard, drumzilla was kicking up a storm, the velvet hammer was breathing fire, vikingo was inaudible by me, and i felt like i was ridin' a big wave o' sound. in the audience, wreck impresario brian forella beamed beatifically as if to say, "yeah, these are my boyzzz."

afterward, i scarfed my fredburger in about two seconds flat and we said goodbyes all around during bagg's set. (woulda dug to hear more of the denton jamband but by that time the f/x of a day spent drankin' in the sun were beginning to catch up.) kudos to jam / patio-meister lee, outlaw chef terry chandler and his great staff, and most of all, to wizard o' sound andre edmonson for making everybody sound better 'n we deserved to. if it weren't the greatest fredfest of all time, it was definitely the best one i can remember.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

fredfest day 1

we got there late 'cos we had a birthday party to attend, and chumped out in the middle of scott copeland's set 'cos i had a sinus headache and so missed honchie and goodwin (sigh), but from what we saw 'n' heard, patio-meister lee allen and wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson dug deep and came up with maybe the best fredfest yet.

before we got there, fonky fred's got drenched with a brief downpour (of course it did; it's mayfest weekend), but rather 'n initiating a woodstock-style rain chant, the electric mountain rotten apple gang boys just unplugged and invited the folks up under the tarp that was keeping the stage area dry and thus held the crowd. "it was okay," e.m.r.a.g. gtrist mark deffebach quipped later, "but adam [kobetich] has to learn to _yell_!"

by the time we arrived, confusatron had finished an abbreviated set and recent fort worth weekly profile subjects sleeplab were up next with their chill, stylish bossa vibe (epitomized by eternally fedora'd, cigar-chomping congero / painter jesse sierra hernandez) but minus vocalist crystal casey. afterward, gtrist fern palomo expressed concerns that he'd been too loud, but i reassured him that was a near-impossibility, what with their mainly acoustic (except for james norris' rhodes) instrumentation and wizard o' sound andre behind the knobs.

sally majestic followed, working through some mic problems to provide the crowd with a jolt of electricity (aurally, at least) 'n' high-spirited energy. bassist-vocalist p.j. fry had promised "a completely different, family-friendly show" than they'd play later that night at the wreck (booked when fredfest was still iffy following february's devastating fire there), but barefooted frontguy scott griffin still included jam-night fave "bobo" in the setlist alongside crowd-pleasers like the cure's "just like heaven." the sally boys just initiated a bi-weekly acoustic residency at the torch; next one's on may 18th (same night as stoogeaphilia's black dog stand, grrr arrrghhh).

then came the one i'd been waiting for, the debut performance of barber mack, a groovin' new outfit dedicated to the toons 'n' spirit of jamaican jazz gtrist ernest ranglin. the band's a brainchild of ex-kulcha far i bassman john shook and includes confusatron's _other_ skates brother, andrew, on gtr alongside shook's kulcha bandmate / musical twin ron geida, and ubiquitous drummer josh clark. on just three rehearsals, their blend of elements was already intriguing, ron's treated sound bumping up against andrew's clean tone, shook switching at will between bouncy groove and jaw-dropping fretless solo goodness, and josh doing a nice job of simulating head-spinning dub f/x with just his stripped down kit 'n' riddimic imagination. (josh's dad, gtrist jerry clark, was in attendance -- whom i can partially thank for my decision to start playing in bands again about nine yrs ago, after i got tired of getting thrown offstage at the keys lounge thursday jam where jerry was house gtrist.) the ranglin toons they played were unfamiliar to me, and shook sez they also have some 'riginals in the works, but it was a nice surprise hearing familiar standards like wayne shorter's "footprints" and trane's "mr. p.c." rendered in jamaican-inflected style. their next show will be may 11th at the black dog, opening for caffeine chemistry, josh's band with the skates bros.

more fredfest later; right now, i gotta go wish my granddtr a happy b-day (amazing how many ppl i know were born may 5-6-7). be there later on, tho, for darrin kobetich, jasper stone, me-thinks and gideons.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

colin portnuff

sometimes i needs to read something upful, and when i do and i've already checked in on milton mermikides, i'll be checking out the online journal of colin portnuff, a cat who's living with a degenerative neuromuscular disease (the one named after a famous baseball player) and chronicling his experience with clear eyes, courage, and a fair amount of humor.

peter laughner

if you heard wilco's being there and wondered what that line "take the gtr player for a ride" was all about, you need to get hip to peter laughner, talented early '70s cleveland muso 'n' creem magazine scribe who founded the band that begot both the dead boys and pere ubu, and drank 'n' drugged himself to an early grave, before his considerable potential could be realized. his story's been told numerous times, most chillingly in ex-bandmate allen ravenstine's short story "music lessons" (anthologized in the penguin / da capo book of rock and roll writing. read it and weep.

triple a heads north

the vibe quotient of the fort will be reduced significantly when a-hummin' acoustical acupuncture decamps for colorado in june. their last two foat wuth performances (for now, at least) be's at the moon with pablo and the hemphill 7 on friday, may 19th, then outdoors at central market at 5pm on friday, june 2nd. such fridays we may not see again for awhile, so ya most definitely mo' be theah -- maybe you, too?

art of the jam 50

call thisun "the jam that almost wasn't."

a week after the jamniversary, and the scenario was thus: jam-meister lee allen was in austin, jam-father (and no-fooling new papa) carl pack was on baby duty (and maybe saving his good stuff for the gideons' upcoming appearance at fredfest). as designated straw-boss and chronicler o' events, i started shaking the trees for usual suspects. (can't write a good "art of the jam" if there ain't no jam.) it didn't look promising: violinist steve "vikingo" huber had announced he's taking a few wks off from jamdom to audition for a different chair in the fw symphony. gtrist ron "the velvet hammer" geida was committed to rehearsing with jasper stone (who are _also_ appearing at fredfest, where ron will additionally perform with debuting reggae-jazz mofos barber mack). barber mack leader and jam-meister lee's frequent "teen town" twin, bassist john shook, had a last-minute gig at the mule with scott copeland sideman / sessions music impresario john zaskoda. then he didn't. jam reg'lar joe "drumzilla" cruz showed up 10:30-ish, but informed wreck room wizard o' sound andre edmonson that he was feeling under the weather and wouldn't be playing this particular night.

around 11, i told andre to pack it in, though it was pain 'n' grief to me to do so, especially when i subsequently noted the presence in da house of rose marine theater leading lights yvonne duque and claudia acosta 'n' a whole passel of their friends 'n' coworkers; pablo and the hemphill 7 gtrist steffin ratliff (just hangin', not wanting to jam, but still a major event in my book 'cos of the esteem in which i hold mr. ratliff); and jasper stone frontguy ed voyles. in the end, it was john shook who saved the day, and through the magic of shook's cellphone, a drummer (to wit: shook 'n' geida's old kulcha far i bandmate jeffrey williams, who'd been rehearsing w/j-stone and was on his way to the wreck anyhoo) was found, and the jamcats took the stage _late_ (like around midnight). i figured it was the least we could do for wreck honcho brian forella and master o' libations graham richardson: puttin' something onstage to try and hold the smattering of civilians that were hangin' in the bar.

the ensuing set was a sort-of kulcha far i reunion (minus the roots 'n' kulcha, with lotsa groovy fretless improv wonderment from shook and the usual complement of snazzy solos from da velvet hammer) as well as a kinda resurgence of "the occasionals," a band which started out as ron's 'n' my response to seeing the allman bros. with derek trucks and wound up, due to the mix of personalities involved, devolving into a kinda constipated little fake-jazz unit that imploded after blowing an audition at 8.0's but securing a $500 private party, which i wound up giving to another band when the (third and final) bassplayer decided he didn't want to rehearse while the cowboys were on television. (i'm not bitter. really.) most brilliant stroke o' the night imo was when ron called war's "low rider" and actually got some of the rose marine posse up 'n' dancing -- which was the same outcome that always usedta ensue when ron played the toon with ed raso in second hand soul back in prehistory. prior to the actual start of the jam, shook 'n' i woodshedded a coupla jeff beck 'n' allman bros. toons that we might try to bust out next week for ron's (sigh) valedictory jam performance as his tuesday night gig at the moon with myles and james moves to wednesday night.

coming back from a shortshort break, the j-stone boys played three or four toons to give the folks a taste of fredfest a coupla days early. then the jamcats finished up with the s-l-o-w-e-s-t version of "maggot brain" yet played at el jam, with ex-yeti / current great tyrant drummer jon teague (who also kicks the traps for stoogeaphilia and a crew of space rawk-obsessed youngsters called the chimeneas who sound fascinating, but remain unseen by me so far) on the skins and teatrista claudia acosta flowin' some verse. towards the end, things started to veer into unknown territory when i tried coaxing some feedback out o' the amplet and teague started opening up the riddim a la elvin -- a moment i dug much, having "prepped" for the jam by listening to rova::orkestrova's electric ascension -- but the barber mack cats refused the abyss, altho teague 'n' i agreed it's a direction we'd like to pursue again, another time.

proof positive (as if any more were needed) that ain't nobody indispensible in jamdom (altho i for one will be mighty glad to see the jam-meister's long-bearded mug back onstage next week). now, if we can just get steffin ratliff to come out 'n' _play_. and with the end of the school yr just a coupla wks away, can the return to jamarama of darrin kobetich be far behind? stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

barber mack

woo-hoo! barber mack, the new outfit led by bassist john shook (with matthew skates and ron geida on gtrs and joshua clark on drums, playing jams influenced by jamaican jazzer ernest ranglin), now has a web presence. the band makes its debut this saturday at fredfest. ya mo' be theah -- maybe you too?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

stephen colbert

wow. comedy central host goes all "harper valley p.t.a." on bush at the white house correspondent's dinner. transcript with links is here. _almost_ enough to make me start watching tv again.