Sunday, December 31, 2006

new year's eve

another yr bites the dust. i asked, "where'd thisun go?" and my sweetie said, "this one sure took its time." things i'll remember from 2006:

1) grief and loss, and awareness of mortality (my own and others'). when you reach a certain age, this becomes the price of the ticket to see the show. gotta get used to it.

2) new grandkids. two of 'em!

3) watching my kids becoming the ppl they'll be, with some trepidation, some satisfaction, and always, lotsa hope.

4) sticking my feet in the gnarly old atlantic with my sweetie, and seeing some places from her growing up.

5) leaving a job that was making me ill, and starting a new phase that i'm really hoping i can make work financially, doing work i like, that i think i'm good at, that's meaningful to me.

6) having the band i've always dreamed about having.

7) reconnecting with ppl from several previous lives (one of the rewards of sticking around to a certain age).

8) getting to be a full-fledged member of the asian media crew.

tonight we're going to fred's for a pricey dinner that we know will be worth it 'cos terry chandler's cooked more "best meals i've ever had" than anybody. then we're stopping by the wreck to wish lu a happy b-day, having one drink, and heading back to la casa before all the amateurs hit the road. after losing one of their own to a drunk driver a coupla wks ago, fort worth's finest are unlikely to be lenient with garrruuunnnk shitheads behind the wheel, and i gotta say (yeah, my own d.w.i.-having ass), i think that's fitting 'n' proper. prolly watch a movie or something. life's good. be happy and safe.

yardbirds documentary

teen a go go director melissa kirkendall sent these links to a cool british documentary on the yardbirds, a band that will always have lotsa esteem at mi casa. lotsa archival footage i hadn't seen before and ints with all the important principals (except for the late keith relf, r.i.p.). nicely done!

"this was not a serious bullet"

wow, hank rollins interviews werner herzog.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

overheard at the wreck room ADDENDUM

so after we left the wreck last night, apparently some other scrotal sack who was getting impatient waiting for his drinkie-poo made a crack about how service was slow because "that cripple [meaning carl, who can move faster on one leg with or without crutches than lotsa ppl can on two] can't get his shit together." carl reached across the bar and smacked him -- not hard, but enough to get his attention. lucky kid; there was a time (before he became a daddy again and stopped drankin' so much) when carl woulda come across the bar over something like that. when confronted with assholism, maturity wears the white stetson.

i always know i'm in the wrong room when ppl start complimenting me on my "look." on my way back from the wreck west growler last night, i had a guy tell me how my glasses (which were issued to me in basic training, 1982, and which i wear now because they allow me to drive without getting headaches, read most printed matter at arm's length, and didn't cost me anything when my last pair disintegrated on my head in the bar a coupla yrs ago) make me look real cool, "along with you being asian and stuff."

it reminded me of the time i was sitting in the old south with the italian kid that usedta be my editor and a black dude he usedta work with at the local alternaweekly in houston. this kid came walking up to our table and i was about to duck when i saw his hand going in his pocket, anticipating a gun, when his hand came out filled with change. "i just wanted to compliment you," he said, "on having the most ethnically diverse table in the old south." without missing a beat, the black dude said, "gimme a quarter." the kid did. i need to get better at capitalizing on those opportunities in the moment when they arise.

the night before, at the stoogeshow, there was a girl who asked if my hair was my natural color. i told her that my granddtr had asked me once why my hair was "old," to which i replied, "because i am old," adding, "and if you stick around long enough, it will come to you as well."

i don't understand ppl who invest money and effort in their "look." then again, i also play a squier through a peavey, and only change strings when they break.

FURTHER ADDENDAGE: silly me. jesse sierra hernandez. lee allen. robin syler. may the good lord shut my mouth and open up my mind.

idgy vaughn

my friend, recordman-raconteur-bon vivant jim yanaway was in town from austin over the holidays, a fact i twigged when i got home from the stoogeshow the other night and found an idgy vaughn ceedee in my mailbox. these days, jim is doing promo for idgy, as well as working with the nonprofit texamericana (whose mission statement thingy sez they're "a texas nonprofit corporation whose mission is to create funding for charitable and community nonprofit organizations by supporting musical and cultural diversity"). back in the day, jim usedta work for slim richey's rekkid distributorship on west vickery, and he recorded the juke jumpers, the legendary stardust cowboy, blues gtrist denny freeman and an all-star sesh that reunited ex-ray charles bandmates/metromess sax titans david "fathead" newman and james clay (return to the wide open spaces) on his amazing records label ("if it's a hit, it's amazing"). jim's also the custodian of legendary live recordings of srv at the bluebird (my first exposure to stevie, prior to moving to austin in '79) and u.p. wilson at tack's fun house that _somebody_ oughtta release.

jim's trying to hustle a gig for idgy at machenry's, a good venue with excellent sound, humane management, and a listening crowd which seems an ideal venue for the singer-songwriter, especially since they relocated to magnolia, in the same quadrant of the city as benito's, spiral diner, and panther city bicycles, a big improvement over their old locale. now, i myself am not a big fan of singer-songwriters per se; i've never been at one with the sara hickmen and roberts earl keen of this world. that said, idgy can prolly survive without my aging fort worth-'n'-noise-centric music-snob approbation; her career has already had a trajectory that's cinema-worthy (briefly: single mama songwriter, slaving as truckstop waitress, gets her debut recordings funded by a customer who hits the lottery), and she's huge in england, where they're nuts about roots-americana stuff. but her debut disc, origin story (which has apparently been re-released with new artwork), certainly has its beguiling moments, and i dig the song "attic window" (which inexplicably reminds me of bob mould's "compositions for the young and old" in places, for some reason) real much. her voice is all ache 'n' twang, and she gets points for naming the title character in her autobiographical song "truckstop waitress" kitty cat. here's hoping the smiling folks at machenry's at least give her a shot.

the godfather goes home

dig cary conover's village voice pics of j.b.'s last apollo show.

carrot juice the trucker speed of health concoctions. so sayeth me.

homer henderson

phil bennison, aka homer henderson, is a richland hills native, currently living in exile in dallas, who attempts to answer the musical question, "can the spirits of link wray, jimmy reed, bo diddley, and george jones coexist inside the body of an eccentric 50something white man with under-eye pouches that make him look like one of the undead from a '50s zombie flick?" i first laid eyes on him at the ass-end of 1998, at the keys lounge, where he was playing thumping one-note bass for robin syler. i subsequently learned that he's actually cut rekkids with nick tosches, maybe the greatest american writer of his generation: biographer of jerry lee lewis, dean martin, and sonny liston; author of country and unsung heroes of rock and roll, two of the most disturbing music books you can find the next time you're perusing the shelves at half price; equally adept at fiction -- his mafia novel trinities is as stunning a depiction of pure evil as you'll read anywhere, while i need to give in the hand of dante, which the author considers his best work but i abandoned after reading 30 pages of nick bitching about his agent, a second chance. but i digress.

i recently connected with phil when i got the idea of writing a bio of syler, which i'm gonna do as soon as i get unbusy with teen a go go stuff); he also gave me loads of good info for the flick, which makes sense, as he first caught the rockaroll bug around the time the beatles played on sullivan in '64. he adopted his homer persona 20 yrs later, taking the name from a dallas street sign, played bass with the original teddy and the talltops, and cut a series of singles documenting his own left-of-center compositions with titles like "pickin' up beer cans on the highway" and "lee harvey was a friend of mine" (collected in digital form on his greatest flops and golden filler ceedee, with liner notes by tosches, no less). what homer's not: a total nutball like the legendary stardust cowboy; phil's much too self-aware for that. rather, he's one of those guys who's swallowed a few different musical traditions (redneck rockabilly, blues sleaze, honky tonk country) whole and spews 'em out at will with skewed, un-p.c. lyrics on top. (at a recent wreck room stand, his maraca-shaking accomplice, a petite combination of bo diddley's accompanists jerome and the duchess, minus the bass, sang a song about "my bald, hot, wet, aching pussy...what a friendly little cat." you get the idea.)

these days, phil/homer performs as a one-man band, exemplifying the "less-is-more" aesthetic like a mofo. he plays a battered telecaster through an octave box into two different amps, triggers a snare, kick drum and attached cymbal with pedals, and blows a harp that's duct-taped to his vocal mic. the resultant racket is _huge_ and driving and otherwordly in the same way as howlin' wolf's memphis sides, and he's been doing this since before local h, bob log III, the immortal lee county killers, the white stripes, the black keys, or any of those rockaroll minimalists ever hit the boards. playing to a diverse crowd at the bottom of an eclectic bill headlined by shtick-rawkers honchie, he introduced "death of an angel" (on obscuro kingsmen b-side) as "a teenage suicide song," perhaps as a sop to fans of new kids stella rose, who followed homer and proved to be a pretty good little rock'n'roll band with a female bassplayer who kicked much ass and a drummer whose black gloves prompted phil to comment, "like the music machine!" (but those guys only wore _one_ black glove, no?)

overheard at the wreck room

proof positive that rockarall crowds ain't what they usedta be:

so the bar is fuckin' _slammed_, carl and billy have been running their asses off since nine o'clock, and it's three deep when this dipshit comes up and wants to order a drink.

dipshit: hey. hey! HEY! HEY!!!

carl: fuck you!

dipshit: hey, maaan, what's your attitood about?

carl: i don't like fucking getting yelled at!

dipshit: is there like a manager around here someplace?


dipshit (deflated): oh.

after he finishes taking care of his other customers, carl goes over and takes the kid's order, but jayzus! little dude, here's the deal: there's no "why, i'll have your job!" in rockaroll. especially when you're talking to the man (or one of 'em, at least) who built the house that you're standing in. take your bullshit-ass sense of entitlement (like certain musos who've decided that they and however many of their friends they wanna bring, even if they're not playing, don't evereverever have to pay cover and aren't afraid to give the door girl shit about it, because other musicians don't need to get paid and being rude to the hired help is s-o-o-o fucking cool) down the road to bennigans, or better yet, just stay home, put on your rockaroll clothes, look at yourself in the mirror and jerk off. interacting with other humans is a futile path. forget i mentioned it. end of cranky old-man rant. where are my khakis? where's my shotgun?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

art of the mix

here's a link my sweetie found in thurston moore's mix tape tome for those who wanna further explore mixtape culcha.

the greatest album of all time

when i moved back to fort worth from colorado in 1980, i briefly shared half of a duplex at 309 winthrop, just up the street from where gallery 414 is today, with a coworker from the rekkid store named j.d. fields. j.d. was a deejay, and he and i used to fantasize about bootlegging james brown's live at the apollo because it was the greatest musical artifact we could think of that, at the time, wasn't in catalog anywhere. what stopped us from infringing on the godfather of soul's intellectual property (besides the fear of retribution) was the fact that neither one of us could afford the price of a clean copy, assuming we were able to find one. not long after that, solid smoke reished it, along with a pert righteous single elpee compilation called can your heart stand it that did a respectable job of summing up '56 through '69 and opened the gates for the subsequent flood of reissues that culminated in the star time box in '91.

it seems particularly fitting that j.b. is currently lying in state at the apollo theater in harlem, because live at the apollo -- the original one, recorded 1962, released 1963 -- made his career, and his record company didn't want to release it. he recorded it on his own dime, and after that, he made the records that he wanted to. it's short, 32 minutes, and it includes most of his hits from the preceding six yrs, presented seamlessly, with instrumental bridges, by a band that's as tight 'n' tough as a patent leather shoe. like ray charles live and b.b. king live at the regal, live at the apollo totally epitomizes a certain kind of black showbiz excitement that white rockarollas could only aspire to, altho a handful would certainly try to duplicate it (cf. the stones' performance in the t.a.m.i. show, when they had the unenviable task of trying to follow j.b.'s entahr "please please please" routine with the capes, etc.; or, um, the first side of the mc5's kick out the jams).

myself, i was most affected by the period in j.b.'s music that he initiated in '65 with "papa's got a brand new bag" and jimmy nolen originating the kind of chicken-scratch riddim gtr that the whiteboys in my neighborhood used to snicker at but none of 'em could play. (they might not have been really listening, but d. boon and andy gill surely were.) a few yrs ago, when i very briefly played gtr with vernon garrett, he'd tell me to pare down and simplify any riddim part i came up with, because he'd learned from j.b. that the funk comes from the interlocking action of a bunch of simple, almost skeletal parts -- got to respect _the one_. j.b. taught us that every instrument is a riddim instrument, including the voice, and he used his voice that way, when he wasn't using it like a force of nature to obliterate everything in its path. (and those skinny legs in constant motion -- graceful bastard!) without him, not only are sly, george clinton, and prince's achievements unimaginable, but so is fela's. and '70s miles'. and public enemy's. and...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


this entry from wfmu's beware of the blog has more j.b. links than you can shake a stick at. too much is never enough.

we got a juicer

...(thanks andre) and an electric mixer with a bread hook (thanks betsy 'n' dave), so we figure that as we juice our way to health, we'll also be baking stuff like carrot cake and cranberry bread and who knows what-all. life's good.

remembering being a jazz snob

i always say it was punk that made being a fan fun again, after i'd given up on rock and started going to monday night wrestling at madison square garden instead of rock shows, but in reality, it was discovering jazz in the mid-'70s that got me stoked about music again: reading gary giddins in the village voice and later, rafi zabor and bob blumenthal in musician magazine, and ordering stuff from the new music distribution service catalog. also seeing a very subdued mingus with jack walrath, ricky ford, jimmy rowles and dannie richmond; the gateway trio (abercrombie-holland-dejohnette); sam rivers with bob stewart and bobby battle (all of the above at stony brook ca. '76-'77); tony williams with the "lifetime" incarnation that included allan holdsworth at my father's place; cecil taylor and mary lou williams at avery fisher hall; and old and new dreams (ornette alumni) with arthur blythe's in the tradition at town hall the first time i went back to ny in '79. those and the connecticut station that usedta play four hours of ornette 'n' related musics every sunday. stirring times.

j.b. on the 'tube

here's the classic '64 clip from the t.a.m.i. show, and another from paris '71 with bootsy collins on bass, his bro catfish collins on _very_ funky gtr, fred wesley on 'bone, and the man himself spanking the keys. phenomenal stuff.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"with congress away, bush reasserts independence"

mingus cat toilet training method

too weird to be anything but the truth: not the fact that charles mingus, in addition to being a brilliant, innovative jazz composer-bassist, was also a cat guy. (i mean, what else would you expect -- right, matt?) rather, that he was also a pioneer in the field of cat training and hygiene. dig: years before the recent spate of intarweb instructions on how to toilet train your cat -- as far back as 1972, in fact -- mingus pubbed this cat toilet training method in his wife susan graham's mag changes. so there.

Monday, December 25, 2006

dave douglas

also interesting: the prolific trumpeter dave douglas just recorded his quintet's full repertoire in six night of shows at the jazz standard in noo yawk, and released all twelve sets as mp3 albums via his label greenleaf music. you can even download liner notes 'n' tray cards in pdf format. samples are free, mp3 tracks are 99 cents, and hour-long sets are seven bucks a pop. pretty darn neat, i'm thinking.

ear of the behearer

now _this_ is innaresting: a wiki devoted to "jazz and creative music recorded between 1970 and 1989," taking its name from a dewey redman side. read and learn, or add your two cents' worth.

christmas at fred's

j.d. chandler would prolly kick my ass if he knew i was posting this, but nonetheless...the folks at fonky fred's were cooking turkey dinners for those less fortunate this morning, as is their wont -- one of our most fave holiday traditions here in the fort. steve sinich told me they put out 635 dinners. not too damn shabby. gilbert vera was there, too, btw. we drank a toast.

r.i.p. james brown

this has sure been the yr to contemplate mortality at mi casa, and christmas morning is certainly no exception, bringing as it does the news that the godfather of soul, the hardest working man in show business, the original sex machine, mr. "please please please," james brown, has left the planet, aged 73. proof positive, as if any more were needed, that even forces of nature can be stilled. as his augusta, georgia, homeboy little richard told msnbc, "he was an innovator, he was an emancipator, he was an originator." sock it to 'em, j.b.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

we went to a party

stuff we're listening to this week

1) the complete charlie parker dial sessions. i got this (on four cd's) at half price last year. when i first came to fort worth in '78, i had a cassette with just the master takes that got me through a cold winter in my shitty apartment in the shadow of ridglea bank. this is the music i hear when i think of parker. i don't even care if all the alternate takes are grouped together. this is one good thing it's impossible to get too much of.

2) mc5 1965-1968 (on vinyl, baby). the five's pre-white panther garage-band beginnings maketh the perfect soundtrack for editing interview transcripts from the teen a go go flick.

3) sonny rollins, a night at the village vanguard. recorded in the year of my genesis, this was the first live alb ever taped at the august greenwich village nightspot. a coupla yrs ago they released this as a double cd with all the alternate takes included as part of the rudy van gelder remaster series. this usedta be my least-preferred option among the rollins discs on my shelf, but lately it's become my most-preferred, prolly 'cos (like ornette's town hall 1962), it gives you the best oppo to hear the central improvising intelligence unencumbered by other soloists (other than the riddim boyzzz) or chordal instruments. sure, sonny's got other trio dates in catalog, but i'll take wilbur ware and a young elvin jones over, say, ray brown and shelly manne on way out west anytime.

4) charlie haden, haunted heart. this was part of the pretty-good gitanes jazz series that verve had out a decade or so ago, which also included some interesting joe henderson sides. on it, ornette's classic bassist and petra's dad creates the soundtrack to a '40s film noir that exists only in his head, in the company of stalwart angelenos ernie watts, alan broadbent (m.v.p. on this date), and larance marable.

5) billie holiday, lady in autumn: the best of the verve years. sure, her voice is cooked, but her phrasing and musicality remain intact.

with these on the box, i don't even miss the seasonal presence of vince guaraldi, jose feliciano, brenda lee, or the robert shaw chorale. so there. gotta go, the spaghetti sauce is almost ready. peace and goodwill.

it's christmas eve we have to stay up till midnight to hear the cats talk. this was actually something i made up to amuse my kids when they were small (and later, to convince them that no, i wasn't going to be lonely being by myself on christmas eve), but then i discovered it's true (altho they usually say things like, "hey, are you going to finish that sandwich?"). clever bastards.

freddie cisneros

if you wanna hear where a whole lotta fort worth blues came from, dig the toon "jump'n with junior" on the myspace thingy belonging to big daddy d and the dynamites, a prescott, arizona-based bluesband that includes expat fort worthian freddie cisneros aka lil junior one hand. freddie usedta throw down with robert ealey & the five careless lovers back in the '70s, and helped countless foat wuth musos including james hinkle and johnny reno find their way. today, he operates the mercy guitar hospital in prescott. there are plenty of flashier axe-slingers out there; none more soulful. (for proof, dig the first solo.) much respect!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

blood of the sun, cactus, buffalo

in these daze when post-grunge snotnoses couldn't identify a I-IV-V chord progression if it bit 'em on the ass, it's instructive to remember that once there was a time when heavy rawk was not immune to blooze 'n' berry influence, and not just here in these united states, either. watching blood of the sun at el wreck last weekend, it warmed the cockles o' my heart to see henry the singing drummer's cactus tee. wa-a-ay back when (ca. '69), cactus was s'posed to be a transcontinental supergroup, bringing together the riddim boyzzz from the vanilla fudge with jeff beck and rod stewart (who's looking more 'n' more like bea arthur from maude of late). in the event, beck was sidelined by a car wreck, stewart went on to the faces 'n' solo stardom, and the ex-fudgers recruited a coupla motor city madmen (that'd be jimmy mccarty, ex-gtrist in mitch ryder's detroit wheels, and rusty day, who tore his tonsils in front of ted nugent's amboy dukes) and had an interesting run for a coupla yrs. to understand why henry's wearing their t-shirt 35 yrs down the road, just compare, say, the demo-derby cover o' mose allison's "parchman farm" from the first cactus alb with van halen's similarly-structured "hot for teacher" jizz-spew from a few yrs later. no 'bout a doubt it, the cactus jam has it all over ted templeman's bouffant-haired charges in terms of sheer drama, danger, and menace which had some basis in reality (rusty day, the guy who sang "i'm sitting over here on parchman farm / and all i did was shoot my arm...i'll be down here for the rest of my life / and all i did was pull my knife out," was shot to death in '82 following a drug deal that went bad).

blood of the sun just recorded a song for a tribute album to the aussie band buffalo that's about to be released down under, and wouldn't you know it, reished versions of the third and fourth buffalo albs (that'd be mother's choice and average rock 'n' roller) just showed up in my mailbox courtesy of the aussie aztec music label. while my appreciation for oz rock pretty much starts with radio birdman (the band that created an alternate universe version of the u.s., where the bands i usedta get shit for liking from the guys at the hipi rekkid store where i worked thru high school -- e.g., the stooges, the mc5, the dolls, the velvets, the nuggets groups -- were revered rather than reviled), i also remember the metalhead kid who usedta come into my store in '76 or '77 to order the first recs by aussie proto-metalers like ac/dc, angel (they called 'em angel city stateside), and rose tattoo. buffalo predated 'em all, and on their first two albs, their sound and rep were "heavier than sabbath."

by the time buffalo cut mother's choice, however, "uncontrollable" axeman john baxter, architect of their early sound, had been ousted in favor of slide specialist norm roue, and their sound was more antipodean boogie (think of an orstralian foghat), complete with "little queenie" cover and another toon that borrows its opening riff from jimi's "red house." on the positive side, lead singer dave tice still sounds like he gargles with sulfuric acid. (while a lotta aussie bands' frontmen -- i'm thinking hoodoo gurus, men at work, midnight oil -- seem to have the identical nasal twang, cats like tice, bon scott, and angry anderson could actually make fire and water-era paul rodgers sound like a sissy wimp, no mean feat.) bassist pete wells couldn't take it, and abandoned buffalo to take up slide gtr duties in rose tattoo. by the time buffalo waxed average rock 'n' roller (its very title a kiss of death), there'd been yet another change of gtrists, this time to a brit named chris turner whom the rekkid company had instructed to make the band more commercial. he did his work well; "rollin'" is absolutely archetypal mid-'70s country rock mung that even dave tice's tortured tonsils couldn't salvage. by the time the alb was released, the band had folded the tent. i'll be looking forward to hearing blood of the sun's take on buffalo's toonage, and checkin' out their earlier (and apparently stronger) work.

Friday, December 22, 2006

petra haden

and here's petra haden and her choir, the sellouts, performing the who sell out at tonic in nyc.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


here's fresh vid of mike watt and the missingmen, essaying minutemen toonage in sweden. stirring stuff.

why mommy is a democrat

wow. kids' books have sure changed since i was reading 'em. i especially like the page where the mother squirrel is protecting her younguns from the passing elephant. nothing like subtlety.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

dewey redman trib @ sardines?

according to fort worth business press scribe mike price, there's a tribute planned in february to the late cowtown tenor sax giant dewey redman. mike sez it'll be at sardines. (where else?) film, as they say, at 11.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

appeal for redress

hmmm, for the first time since '69, active duty g.i.'s come out against a war they're fighting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

fast, cheap & out of control

just watched fast, cheap & out of control, the '97 errol morris doco about four men with quirky careers: two that try to control nature for entertainment or aesthetics (an animal trainer and a topiary gardener) and two that try to understand it, for different reasons (an expert in the rare naked mole rat who wants others to share his wonder at the creatures and a robot designer who wants to comprehend life and intelligence so he can replicate it). the four stories are intertwined, beautifully photographed (particularly dig the shots of the topiary garden on a rainy night) and spliced with snippets from old movies to make a whole more cohesive than you might think was possible from the preceding description. being the film ignoramus i am, i don't remember hearing about thisun when it was new, but it definitely raises my interest in checking out some of morris' other work.

u2 on youtube

i'm not what you'd call a fan of u2, but my sweetie found this music vid of theirs that's like la ultima youtube thang, between the "power of music" theme, the selection of iconic images (interesting to me they lead off with fz and employ several mc5 shots) and the way it's synced so some of the singers look like they're mouthing bono's lyrics. pretty snat. (if you're _really_ "like me," you might wanna turn the sound down before you view this, altho you will miss out on some of the impact by doing so.)

teen a go go

saw the just-completed rough cut of the teen a go go doc for the first time last night. after spending a coupla wks wrestling with troublesome tech issues, melissa kirkendall and sterling johnson did an amazing job (in a whirlwind 10 days) of editing over 50 hrs of interviews 'n' archival footage into an easily watchable hour-and-change narrative flow. still have a few bits that need tweaking, but what's there now is good enough to submit to the sxsw and afi filmfests next week, and tribeca in january. nicely done.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

me-thinks foto fun!

99 and a half

on their myspace thingy, blood of the sun have a cool cover of "99 and a half," the last wilson pickett song i can stand to hear. (sorry, wicked one; yrs of playing in shitty barbands have ruined my appreciation of "mustang sally" and "midnight hour" FO-EV-AH.) when i asked richard hurley if he'd ever heard the version by houston psychsters fever tree (of "san francisco girls" fame), he allowed that he'd never heard that 'un; rather, b.o.t.s.'s version is a note-for-note cover of one by boomerang, the band formed by organist-singer mark stein after the wheels came off the vanilla fudge. while i never heard boomerang back in the day, i do remember reading an article about 'em in circus, part of the thing of which was that in this new band, stein was no longer sporting the wig he'd worn while fronting da fudge. (apparently that didn't last for long, tho.)

back in my german-irish-italian 'hood on lawn guyland, da fudge were, in their day, bigger 'n the beatles (as were the young rascals and four seasons before them, and for precisely the same reason: the preponderance of italo-american musos in the lineup). they even played at my future high school back in '68, but i was too young to really be interested. (around the same time, the rascals played at the high school one town over; a glance at stein's website reveals that a reunited fudge just played there a coupla months ago. jeez.) later on, every idiot drummer on da island musta taken drum lessons from carmine appice (as in "i take from cawwwmie"), but it'd be no exaggeration to say the fudge were a crucial influence on the birth of heavy rawk, largely because led zeppelin opened so many shows for 'em on their early 'meercun tours (back when page & co. had to resort to playing their whole first alb twice when crowds demanded more and the zep boys didn't have any other material). listen to the early ("hush"/"kentucky woman" era) deep purple albs side by side with the fudge and it'll become clear whose thunder _they_ were copping.

richard sez the new b.o.t.s. alb should be out by the end of the yr. we live in hope.

me-thinks hi-lites

1) i got my own jumpsuit now. even tho it doesn't have my name or the asian media crew logo on it yet. i assume that it's grey (rather than yellow) because i am old.

2) the three guys that were shaken down by the unt police in the bombay company parking lot didn't get arrested. (umm, i don't think campus police have jurisdiction on that particular block, do they?)

3) the me-thinks always toast onstage, among themselves and with audience members too. often, marlin does this while he's playing a solo.

4) with trucker john on drums and will playing gtr now, marlin can solo more, and last night, he finally did.

5) "burnout timeline" and "god bless haltom city" continue to sound better live every time i hear 'em.

6) at the end of "texas gigalo," marlin handed his les paul to richard hurley from blood of the sun, who played the solo on the rekkid and happened to be standing right up front. richard to' it up, even considering that he didn't have a pick and had to lean marlin's gtr on the monitor.

Friday, December 15, 2006

mix tape

while we were in half price the other night, my sweetie picked up a slim volume entitled mix tape: the art of cassette culture, edited by sonic youth guy/rawk scribe thurston moore. when we met, pert near all of the music she owned was on mix tapes she'd received or recorded herself o'er the yrs, and of course, being _that kind_ of high fidelity music nerd who attempts to use toonage as a tool o' seduction, i started making her tapes straightaway. even now, one of the funnest things i do musically-wise (besides playing in stoogeaphilia) is making mix tapes for her to blast on her walkman at the gym or in her vw that still has a cassette player instead of a cd (my saturn is similarly equipped). i do the same thing with cd's for various of her friends 'n' coworkers, altho curiously, not so much for my friends (except in the context of "here's the next batch of songs we wanna cover"). in re: industry paranoia over taping/downloading, thurston has this to say: "trying to control sharing through music is like trying to control an affair of the heart -- nothing will stop it." amen, bro.


because i don't go to big concerts anymore, i was unaware that there are sometimes military recruiting booths at such events nowadays. i learned about this and how the band tv on the radio objected to being used as a hook for marine recruiters in the new arthur, which i copped from forced exposure (where you can get one for a penny if you buy something else), altho there were still some that justin left at the wreck room last time i was there. also in this ish, an int w/ex-black flag bassist chuck dukowski (who now plays in a band with his wife and son) on the topic of all-ages shows, important since it's become harder in recent yrs for de yoof to have the crucial (i think) experience of having their clothes moved around by air molecules from a vibrating drum or speaker. along with some interesting agitprop on the difference between the ak-47 and the m-16, and a lot of stuff in tee-tiny print that i'll need new glasses to read. it's just nice to know that there's an alternarag out there that's still pubbing 10,000-word pieces about _something_.

fancy cheerios

when i was a kid, my mom would rehabilitate cheerios (still my fave b'fast cereal, right outta the box w/o milk) that had gone stale by heating 'em up in a frying pan with butter 'n a li'l salt. my middle dtr dug 'em too, when i fed 'em to her as a kid. now my wife finds it hilarious that i like to eat "fried cereal." simple pleasures for simple minds.

what's good

listening to the recording of the mc5 essaying their room-clearing "free-form" freakout "black to comm" at some high school in the dee-troit 'burbs, ca. '66, and remembering this bit from an interview they did with loraine alterman for the detroit free press in early '67:

The reason "psychedelic" or "new music" or electronic rock is becoming so popular is because it's the "next step in the progression of music," according to [MC5 singer Robin Tyner]..."It's kind of a fad," Wayne [Kramer] admitted. "It's easy to do," Fred ["Sonic" Smith] pointed out. Why? "Because it's easy to make noise," Wayne explained. Many young kids who can't play the guitar very well just turn up the volume and think they are playing psychedelic.


was talking to jon teague the other night about the fact that while the five tried a lot harder, the stooges still beat 'em every time. this is largely due, i think, to the five's having been better (e.g., more self-conscious) musicians. in the words of the romanian writer emile cioran (quoted by jon on his myspace thingy), "talent is an obstacle to the inner life." it's about tapping into that reptilian brain, see.

while the five would later cite james brown and coltrane as influences, in their formative stages, they were more of a yardbirds-them-who derivation in the manner of the shadows of knight or one of those (which is not a bad thing in my opinion). conversely, iggy played drums in a blues band (the '66 equivalent of being an art snob), while ron asheton had a band that got offered an opening slot when the rolling stones came to town, in spite of their never having played outside of somebody's bedroom (or without the rekkid player to jam along with).


i've started doing research for the oral history of the wreck room i wanna write. one of the themes in this tome is gonna be a few strands of underground music here in da fort from the '90s up to now that i'm fascinated by, including the infamous haltom city-riverside crew that includes not only the me-thinks but also their compadres in helldamncrap, shotgun messenger, one fingered fist, blood of the sun (whose gtrist richard hurley usedta play in guy 2000 with me-think ray), to name but a few.

so anyway, last week i browbeat ray liberio out of a copy of the hasslehorse cd the chicken factory. released wa-a-ay back in '96, it sounds a whole lot different than you might expect it to, based on the me-thinks' propensity for marrying rawkin' ramalama with silly horseshit in the manner of their heroes the loco gringos and turbonegro. according to ray, "we were really influenced by pavement and guided by voices, except we played through huge stacks," and indeed, you can hear echoes of those precursors all over the chicken factory. (remember the golden days of the afghan whigs, the archers of loaf, sebadoh an' like dat? remember how lame you thought they sounded way back when? in the fullness of time, tho, some of that stuff holds up a lot better 'n the whimpering emo donkeys and formulaic "pop-punk" boo-shee that's followed in their wake. look out, kids...the '90s as nostalgia are _right around the corner_.)

upon hearing this ceedee, a local muso of note commented, "when the first song started, the singer sounded so much like a very young lou reed that i had to check the credits to make sure i'd gotten the right cd," highlighting the fact that practically every post-r.e.m. amerindie outfit shoulda been paying royalties to lou, specifically for the third 'n' fourth velvet underground albs -- or perhaps that's just my incipient codgerhood talking. (vinny pimentel as lou? john frum as doug yule? i've heard weirder comparisons.) a fort worth weekly scribe, hearing this disc, apparently panned frum's "septic prince albert" voxxx. (whatthehhell does that _mean_, anyway?!?!?) i'll say this much: if the post-cobain era can be viewed as "the age of the non-singer," then hasslehorse were a band very much of their time. and ratsamy pathammavong's "mr. sincerity" vocal on the closing "what would chu say?" is a big part of the track's distressed charm. besides, i'd rather hear intonation that's a little wobbly at times than some pitch-corrected plastic automaton from american idol. it's the _human sound_, like some hillbilly or sharecropper that harry smith or alan lomax done unearthed. so there.

instrumentally, this is a pretty intriguing stew, including dulcimer and sitar, even. i understand that sir marlin von bungy played keys for these guys live, prolly 'cos they couldn't get ray's mom audrey (who played piano on the opening "caribbean amphibian") out of the house to gig. ray was kind of a busy drummer for this kinda stuff, but his assertive traps keep the mainly medium tempos from lapsing into somnambulant strummarama. frum and vinny play a lot of 12-string, which keeps the sound pretty full, and the snippets of effect-laden psych gtr that swim out of the mix give a pretty good idea who mike bandy in helldamncrap was inspahrd by. (these days, of course, vinny 'n' rat play in helldamncrap with mike, while frum sends occasional musical postcards from seattle under the rubric of the denver strangle or the pungent sound.)

what's consistent from hasslehorse to the me-thinks is the sensahumour, the h.c. civic pride, and the ray liberio graphixxx. (if you had him in _your_ band, you'd make him do all the artwork, too. es verdad.) from then to now, the whole package is brilliant, um, conceptual art. (con art?) if you're curious about this disc, just ask ray...he's still got about 500 of 'em under his bed.

stoogeaphilia, me-thinks, teen-a-go-go, underground railroad, blood of the sun

i went ahead and blogged wednesday night's show on the stoogeaphilia myspace blog thingy, so you can read it there if you're motivated that way.

once again tonight, i'll proudly don the piss-and-fish-sauce-stained yellow jumpsuit of the asian media crew as the lovely me-thinks mount the stage of the li'l wreck room for their second attempt at a cd release party for the double e.p., this time with actual cd's on hand to sell. don't miss it.

sat'day i've gotta go out to arlington, where director melissa kirkendall will be screening the rough cut of the teen a go go doc for the investors. hopefully that means that i'll soon be able to start transcribing interviews for the coffee table book tcu press is gonna pub in conjunction with the flick.

after that, if allah is merciful and fortune smiles, i'll be able to make it to the li'l black dog in time to see the underground railroad open for merkin and addnerim. bassist extraordinaire matt hembree reports that u.r. mastermind bill pohl sez they "_might_ be able to squeeze in a rehearsal on friday night," in spite of the fact that they haven't played since october and their music is challenging enough to make most pickers' fingernails fall off, demonstrating what i like to think of as a nice lack of intensity about success. or something.

sunday, it turns out that the band slots for the wreck room xmas party are extra super double early (first band hits at 7pm), so maybe we _will_ get to hear blood of the sun and honky play after all. in my neck of the woods, b.o.t.s.'s newie is the most anticipated ceedee release of 2007 after, um, goodwin's.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

sardines avant-garde evening in january

because my sweetie was under the weather, i chumped out and missed jhon kahsen's last avant-garde evening at sardines. luckily for me, jhon sez the next opportunity to check it out will be tuesday, january 9th, after which the event will revert to its second-tuesday-every-other-month sked.

r.i.p. ahmet ertegun

sad day. ahmet ertegun, founder of atlantic records, checked out today, aged 83. one of the last of a vanishing breed: recordmen that actually knew and appreciated music. go easy, sir.

art fein an l.a. rockaroll guy i met at sxsw a coupla yrs ago when i was researching a story on the legendary stardust cowboy. art looks a little like joe pesci. he has a tv show and online column (_not_ a blog, sez art) called art fein's poker party that's one of my reg'lar monthly reads. in this month's edition, henry rollins recalls his first rekkids / shows, and elsewhere art writes, "Today’s pop records are cut to conform to contemporary FM and CD standards, with exacting and precise rules so they all sound the same. The good news is that, history tells us, within a couple of years THE MUSIC ITSELF will roar up and leave the standards behind." we live in hope.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

monk tribute date correction

just heard from gracey tune that the correct date for the monk tribute at arts fifth avenue is friday, march 2nd, rather than the following evening. so there.

Monday, December 11, 2006


in what's already a busy week, gig-wise (what with jhon kahsen's avant-garde evening at sardines tuesday, stoogeaphilia wednesday, the me-thinks friday, and underground railroad sat'day), just found out that ghostcar will be bringing their hypnotic improv wonderment to the li'l black dog after the poets this thursday night.

monk trib redux in march

saw dave williams playing xmas music in the stockyards the other day when we took my sister-in-law's fam there to see the li'l cattle drive (for some reason, my brother-in-law didn't wanna ride the mechanical bull, and the kids didn't wanna get their pixxx taken on the back of the photo op steer). just daver 'n' another cat on twin tenors and his wife sonya (who usedta vocalize with dave and daver on occasion) playing the snare drum; no santa lids this yr. daver informed me that there's gonna be another performance of thelonious, the monk tribute put together by gtrist sam walker, at arts fifth avenue on saturday, march 3rd. i just confirmed the date with gracey tune at arts fifth avenue, so there's another date to mark on yr brand new 2007 calendar. daver sez there's talk of doing a mingus trib as well. we live in hope.

lady pearl

perhaps it's significant that all i've been listening to around mi casa the last coupla weeks is muddy 'n' the wolf, but an email appeared yesterday from the fort's very own blues diva, miss kim, announcing that the fourth annual berfday tribute to her mom, the late lady pearl, will be held sat'day, january 13th, 2007, at the bluebird blues club, corner of horne 'n' wellesley, south of camp bowie. pearl's b.t.a. band (that stands for "better than average"), now fronted by miss kim and her uncle ray reed on gtr-vox, is the most legit blues thang you're gonna hear in the 817 area code, so i think you should hold the date. i know i'm gonna.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

welcome to the 21st century

because my brother-in-law, who's much more tech-savvy than either my sweetie or myself, upgraded our browser and flash version (thanks, mike), we can now watch this vid of the happiest bassplayer on earth. hooray!

Friday, December 08, 2006

silly string in iraq

amazing. so now g.i.'s in iraq are using silly string to detect tripwires in house-to-house searches. while their leaders are another matter, anybody who thinks soldiers are stupid hasn't spent any time around 'em.


seems weird it was 26 yrs ago today
phony beatlemania bit the dust for real
i woke up to the news on the radio
and spilled a glass of water on my head

my future ex-wife showed up
and as we were leaving my apt complex
we noticed that during the night
somebody had torched the apt office

cat that murdered him said
he did it 'cos he wanted to be famous
which is why i shall always refer to him as
"nameless motherfucker that shot john lennon"

julia's boy sure had a hell of a run
when all he really wanted
was to rock it like chuck berry
offering ppl hope is dangerous business

Thursday, December 07, 2006

best moment of the day haiku

watching two black cats
basking in pools of sunlight
in the afternoon

like a candygram from the gods...

...the folks responsible for my two very fave shiny silver discs o' this yr (actually of 'em's a double e.p.) are both performing on a night when my sweetie can make it out to hear 'em (that'd be next friday, december 15th). the non-snazz aspect: they're playing at different venues. the li'l me-thinks are having their no-fooling cd release party at el wreck, where they're playing second. if allah is merciful and fortune smiles, this will allow us to catch reggie rueffer of the hochimen, who's been added to the good show thingy at the black dog, before or after. we live in hope.

also noticed that the underground railroad, featuring evabody's favorite bassplayer, is playing a rare show at the black dog the following night, opening for addnerim and merkin. myself, i plan to go stand there and _count the notes_.

ADDENDUM: further -- blood of the sun, who are seeing lotsa outta town action of late, bring their '70s rawk heaviosity to the wreck room xmas party that sunday, along with honky, whose gtrist i need to thank for covering for my lame ass at fredtoberfest. yeah!

i took a walk... the custard place to get a hotdog.
doing something healthy to get something unhealthy:
ah, the yin-yang of it all.

bro mud

one of my favorite memories of my brief, truncated career as a college student is the time when i had all of our band's equipment in my dorm room and i hooked up my record player to the p.a. so i could blast muddy waters out to the street below through the giant voice of the theater speakers. there was some indefinable quality -- maybe the ambience of those early chess recordings, maybe the wobbliness of muddy's pitch when he sang "long distance call" -- that made that music sound otherworldly to me. it still does.

i saw muddy play three times: once at my father's place in roslyn, lawn guyland (same place and around the same time i saw captain beefheart and john lee hooker), once at the palladium on northwest highway in dallas, and a coupla nights later at the dallas convention center, opening for eric clapton. (i was standing near the stage at the dcc when i saw muddy's gtrist "steady rollin'" bob margolin peer out from behind the barricade at the throng of ppl in the audience. "a few more than the other night, hunh?" i asked him. he agreed. i watched the muddy band do their 45 minutes and then walked out on clapton.) a few years after that, i wrote the following, which i entitled "blues singer," for b.d. (ben) trail when i was taking a freshman comp course with him at tcjc. sometimes it amazes me how much better i usedta write in my 20s than i do now.

He took the stage haltingly, tentatively, on wobbling, calcified legs. He rested his bulky frame on the stool at stage center, a colussus in an incongruous salesman's polyester suit, and surveyed the scene before him like a monarch from his throne. His hands, which gingerly held the toy guitar, were huge, gnarled, calloused things, weathered by years of hard labor. His eyes, sunk deep in his ursine head, framed by deep furrows, regarded the world with a profound weariness. Behind him, the musicians were clock-punchers, automatons, rooted to the boards where they stood, eyes shifting uneasily, oblivious to the drama about to play out before them. Before him [i know...lotsa "befores"], the audience drank and joked uproariously, a worldly congregation awaiting a secular exorcism. The music started and he was suddenly transformed, his limbs suffused with new strength, propelling him across the stage like some demented wind-up toy. The music lurched and rumbled out of the sound system like a primordial beast, the metallic jangle and whine of the guitars its cry, the monotonous thump and clatter of the drums its pulse. He bent and strained as if under a great burden, the collective suffering of all the world's people resting on his broad shoulders. He ignored the rivulets of sweat that creased his brow and cascaded down his face, soaking his white cotton shirt. He clenched his fists and struck out at the air, railing at invisible demons. He sang, and another presence slowly overtook him, battling its way out of its prison inside the old man's body, using his voice to bellow its masculinity.

when i wanna hear mud, i usually reach for his all-acoustic folk singer alb, but when i read in robert gordon's muddy bio can't be satisfied that folk singer don't _move_ mr. gordon, i was curious to hear what did, so i copped a coupla recs he liked that i found for cheap: otis spann's live the life on testament, and a live disc called hoochie coochie man on laserlight (a cheesy label, but one for which junior wells cut good stuff his last coupla yrs on the planet). the spann has a buncha tracks with the mid-'60s muddy band, including a version of "i wanna go home" that has spann singing with mud in a way that reminds me of ray reed and quincy brown from the b.t.a. band singing "rock me baby" with lady pearl or miss kim. the laserlight alb, recorded in '64, rocks in spite of the fact that the bassplayer on the first four tracks is having what can only charitably be described as "serious intonation problems." by the time i saw him in the late '70s, mud would always play the exact same gtr solo, but the laserlight at least has some interesting variations on the theme. what makes it and the spann work is the intimacy 'n' depth of their performances, even in a concert situation -- there's nothing showbizzy about this music (well, okay -- 'cept for justaminute at the end of "long distance call"), and i suppose that's why it satisfies better than more "uptown" blues and most of the rock that attempts to directly cop its essence.

no art o' jam this week

jam-meister lee was sick...sounded like flu
the velvet hammer wasn't into it
me 'n' john shook met at el wreck
josh clark and brandon wallace weren't answering phones
jeffrey williams was in vegas
justin pate was at embargo's
we didn't have a number for evan jones
and ray liberio was busy doing art stuff
so no drummer
guess i'll have to wait till next week
to see how it sounds w/o the drum riser

back to dee-troit...again

old obsessions die hard.

between '97 and '02, i spent what lotsa folks would consider an inordinate amount of time researching the mc5 and the stooges, idols of my misspent yoof ('cos they made the who sound _tame_) who finally got proper recognition starting with the publication, in '93, of clinton heylin's from the velvets to the voidoids (the pre-punk history i've re-read more times than please kill me because, i suppose, i giveashit more about music than i do about anybody's sexual proclivities/substance abuse patterns). after five years of interviewing folks and chasing down every bit of minutiae i could in regard to said bands, i guess i kinda burnt myself out on the subject and didn't really listen to a lot of dee-troit stuff for a few yrs; was even kinda indifferent to the band reunions that commenced in 2003. this yr, however, after playing in stoogeaphilia, hearing the easy action sonic's rendezvous band box, and finally getting to peep the mc5: a true testimonial doc, i've gotten _re-obsessed_.

looking on amazon today, there's a sheeitload of books about da five 'n' stootches, so many in fact that it's enough to make one's head spin (myself, i'm holding out for ex-mojo editor paul trynka's igbook, fuck all the dumb shit), and an equally dizzying number of cd 'n' vinyl reishes (altho a sane 'n' sensible person would prolly just buy rhino's the big bang five comp and remastered funhouse and forget about all the rest). if you have any interest at all in this stuff, you should snap 'em up quick, 'cos just as the plethora of bootlegs in heylin's 'riginal discography was replaced by all those bomp/alive/total energy versions in his revised edition, so _those_ in turn have since been superseded by easy action's more-logically-sequenced boxsets and their vinyl versions on the italian get back label (kinda like xeric did with revenant's captain beefheart box a few seasons back). of those, i'd be most interested in get back's mc5 1965-1968 double elpee, which covers the trajectory from basement rehearsals through early singles (the era documented on total energy's '66 breakout) into pre-elektra sinclair/trans-love energies daze and is a lot more r&b-heavy than you might expect.

a reasonable way to approach the morass of five bootlegissimo is via easy action's single-disc best-o'-the-box purity accuracy, compiled by hardworking yukiko akagawa (owner-operator of the mc5 japan site; dig her splash page). opens with some outtakes from best five alb high time: "gotta keep movin'" is the same version that appeared on roir's babes in arms (from before rob figured out the lyric would work better if he slowed down his delivery); "baby won't ya" lets you hear fred's (inferior) vox and his pristine gtr track before wayne's overdubs were added; "sister anne" sounds like the high time version with better sound; "pledge song" is the same toon the salvation army band plays at the end of "sister anne," with different instrumentation. "train music" from the gold soundtrack anticipates saccharine trust as well as wayne's epitaph output. back in the u.s.a. is represented by "tonight" and rob's "human being lawnmower" (best track on that silly mistake of an alb besides "shakin' street"), followed by the "looking at you" single and miscellaneous live wonderment from the sinclair years, "black to comm" from saginaw, new year's '70, and "skunk" from the 2003 london "mc3" reunion show. not a bad hour's worth of noise.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

american generator

wow! the me-thinks are in a movie...sorta. it's called american generator, kind of like a lower-budget reality bites without wynona rider, with some dude that looks like jeff buckley as a struggling artist and two, count 'em, two me-thinks songs on the soundtrack. plus sir marlin von bungy has a cameo that's shorter than jimmy page's in blow-up, so don't blink or you'll miss it. apparently the director was a cat that ray went to artschool with, and ray-boy did some of the graphic design for the flick. i'm just tellin' ya.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

reggie rueffer

graham the master o' libations was wearing his boss martians t-shirt, which is fitting 'n' proper, since i'd seen those seattle brats play one of the best shows i've ever seen at el wreck to like eight people one mid-week evening three or four yrs ago.

see, when current hochimen/ex-spot and mildred frontguy reggie rueffer came out to do the fwac acoustic monday thingy last night, it was for an audience of about ten or so, half of whom dwindled away in the course of the performance, leaving reggie's pals jim 'n' frank, his charlie pride riddim section mate derek spigener (also a badass jazz drummer, i hear), fwac honcho/goodwin frontguy/good show co-host tony diaz (whose band will be opening for spot when they hold their reunion show at the wreck in march, usedta go see 'em everytime they played deep ellum back in '96 and once interviewed them for the uta shorthorn, and wants to broadcast a full-on electric hochimen show live from the good show studio, if allah is merciful and fortune smiles), and yr humble narrator o' events.

reggie played a mix of faves from spot ("horse's head," "moon june spoon") and the hochimen ("my lame ass" from debut disc totenlieder; "do it clean," "brush with religion," "in an old house," and "hymn to them all" from tierra del gato, which might just be the best new rekkid i've heard this long-in-the-tooth yr) along with several new 'riginals from the new cd "that i don't know what to call yet," mainly dealing with recent turbulence in reggie's personal life, just him and his taylor acoustic with highly sympathetic support from percussionist george esquivel. ("next time i might wanna add a solo instrument -- maybe a uillean piper," says reg.)

the wreck on a monday night is a good laboratory to work out the kinks from new material; occasionally reg would double back, cracking himself up when he missed a lyric. every request from the audience was invariably met with a self-deprecating "i dunno if i can get through that." memo to reggie: don't sell yrself short, brah. you're definitely my favorite songwriter. who else can weave such dense thickets of chords, overlay them with aching, arching melodies, 'n' top 'em off with lyrics that somehow manage to be deeply personal as well as intelligent and thought-provoking? now if you can just start doing this on a regular basis, and we can work on getting some ppl _you don't know_ out to hear...

Monday, December 04, 2006

avant garde tuesday 12/12 sardines, of course. jhon kahsen is recovering from a broken shoulder, so it's not for sure he'll play, but it's still on. see you there?

jubilee theatre, ovation, howlin' wolf, record town

tagged along with my sweetie's jubilee theatre group on friday night and got to see the ebullient ensemble's xmas extravaganza, langston hughes' black nativity. the cat in the paper didn't seem to like it much, but i found it pert inspiring, combining all the signature jubilee virtues: high energy, vibrant music (altho all singers are _not_ created equal), a fair amount of humor, and creative use of the theatre's intimate space. artistic director ed smith continues to build on the foundation rudy eastman built, and i could feel rudy's presence in the house that night.

before that, we stopped for dinner at ovation on camp bowie, where executive chef keith hicks has successfully transplanted the concept from cachonga's (fine dining and bluesy-jazzy live music an incredible seven nights a week) to a better space and location, substituting upscale soul food for the previous endeavor's southwestern cuisine. the blackened salmon with shrimp and jalapeno-cheese grits was ace, but next time i'm going for the fried chicken and waffles with cinnamon butter 'n' blueberry-infused syrup, accompanied by full-bodied collard greens 'n' julienned sweet potatoes that my sweetie said are "more of a texture than a flavor." keith's gumbo is legendary, too.

been re-reading robert gordon's muddy waters bio, and heard about a documentary about howlin' wolf that was worth seeing, so i went to cop it from sumter bruton at record town on sat'day. was talking to larry harrison the previous day about how mc5: a true testimonial is _the best rockumentary you'll never see_, but don mcglynn's the howlin' wolf story is every bit as good. besides the ints with "big foot chester"'s daughters and his longtime gtrist hubert sumlin, i particularly dug the way the filmmaker used period footage to give the viewer a sense of the mississippi delta, memphis, and chicago as his subject knew 'em. i'd never seen the wolf when he was alive, so the performances from the 1964 shindig tv show he played at the rolling stones' insistence, the american folk blues festival from europe the same year, and the 1966 newport folk festival (where he talks story and chastises a sloppy-drunk son house in addition to playing his ass off) were a revelation, as was drummer sam lay's soundless home movie footage showing wolf clowning in chicago clubs. i'd read in a story paul trynka wrote for mojo a decade or so ago that wolf was into self-improvement and usedta study his nightschool lessons in between sets at the clubs (in addition to studying music, he learned to read 'n' write in his 50s), but i'd been unaware that he drove himself out of the south in his own car with $4000 in his pocket, that he paid unemployment insurance for his bandsmen, or that he was such a dedicated family man. a titanic figure who transcended his time in more ways than one, and one worthy of emulation, even. who'd a thunk it?

at record town, there was a brit fella researching b.b. king rekkids who talked about having seen wolf in london three times during the late '60s. turns out he was johnny staines, whom i'd met when he was doing a&r stuff (he signed dire straits to warner bros.) around the time i came to the fort. apparently he's living in austin now, running a reissue label. gotta love the "saturday morning music club" at sumter's.

Friday, December 01, 2006

institute for the study of the neurologically typical

behold the site of the institute for the study of the neurologically typical, created by an autistic activist in orstralia (those aussies are definitely diff'rent -- must be something in the water down under). it's pert darn hilarious, especially if you've spent any time surfing medical/scientific sites.

sivad on myspace

karl must be _really_ bored, 'cos here are three toons from '90s improv signifiers sivad, a band that included future members of ghostcar, sub oslo, and flipside trio. an embarrassment of riches, this intarweb is.

good place to be from

was looking at fark when i noticed this story about the town where i grew up. nice to know things haven't changed much in the last 28 yrs.

we're not cokesbury, dammit!

something i've discovered since i've been working outta my house again: how many calls we get for this religious bookstore that apparently usedta have the same phone number we have now. we've been in this house for _two and a half years_, but i suppose that just goes to show how infrequently folks shop for a new bible. or whatevah.

larry harrison

today i get to go interview larry harrison and david campbell (the cats who wrote the kicks magazine article "cowtown calamity!" back in the late '80s and subsequently compiled the norton records fort worth teen scene compilation series) for the teen a go go flick. a decade or so ago, i usedta moonlight with larry at borders, and even after that, he remained my go-to guy (pre-ecommerce) when i wanted to order reishes of early brit/garage/detroit obscurities. he's also the cat who first pulled my coat to fanzine culcha, and convinced me that writing about music might be something i could do. for that, i owe him bigger than anybody this side of b.d. trail (my tarrant county college writing mentor, r.i.p.) and denise lands (my buddy robert cadwallader's english-teacher wife, who first suggested to me that after doing this for free on the internet for yrs, i might wanna see if i can make a payday doing it). much respect all around.

captain beefheart, john french

listening to the vinyl reish of the trout mask replica "house sessions" from the captain beefheart grow fins box set (which i usedta have but sold when i was hungry). as a listening experience, this is considerably more rewarding than hearing 22 takes of "loose" that aren't as good as the one they finally picked to go on funhouse. for one thing, the sound is much bigger 'n' fuller than what wound up on the 'riginal alb, which, as great and unprecedented as it was, still sounded kinda thin. for another, it's now possible to hear what was happenin' instrumentally behind don's occasionally-overwhelming vocalismo. plus it makes for a kinda nice audio verite documentary in the manner of sunburned hand of the man's wedlock, to use a recent (if obscure) example.

at the same time, reading an int with beefheart drummer john french from the brit vanity project site. besides being an outstanding 'n' original percussionist whose polyrhythmic creations bring to mind the crazy, off-kilter stuff howlin' wolf's drummers usedta flog, french also penned the extensive liner notes for the grow fins box (thoughtfully provided in "libretto" form with the vinyl, which i regrettably need a better pair of glasses before i can read) and seems to have done a good job of recovering from his experiences in the cultic atmosphere of the magic band. good writer / incisive commentator, too.

karl poetschke

the weather was bad and ghostcar's wayfaring trumpet dude was bored, so he put up four tracks of wintry improv wonderment on his myspace thingy for our edification 'n' enjoyment: the last love mini-e.p. his ennui is our gain.