Wednesday, October 31, 2007

mc5 on "detroit tubeworks"

speaking of detroit, here's the mc5, live at tarter field in detroit, july 1970. it gets no better (silly hipi hostess notwithstanding).

chamber music in the fort

this from bassist extraordinaire paul unger:

"I wanted to let you know that I am going to be playing at two Spectrum Chamber Music Concerts this month. The piece I am playing on is called 'Cafe Music' by Paul Schoenfield. It is a very cool, jazzy piece for violin, piano and bass violin. Joining me will be Steve
Harlos on piano and Allesandra Flanagan on violin. Here is the info. I hope you can make it.

"Spectrum Chamber Music Concerts
Monday, November 5th, 7 PM at the First Methodist Church (located in downtown Fort Worth at the corner of 5th and Henderson Streets)
Monday, November 12th, 7:30 PM at the First Unitarian Church (located in far west Fort Worth, just south of I-30 at 1969 Sandy Lane)"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

r.i.p. marchel ivery

texas tenorman marchel ivery's song was stilled this morning at 5:30am. he'd been hospitalized only last night, diagnosed with pneumonia. he was 69. when i first moved to texas in '78, we used to go see his quartet with fort worthians thomas reese on piano, charles scott on bass, and walter winn on drums at the recovery room on lemmon avenue in dallas. sometimes red garland, miles davis' '50s pianist who served as a mentor to marchel, would sit in. marchel recorded for the dallas-based leaning house label in the '90s, and would occasionally trek over to the fort to play at the black dog or sardines. he will be missed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

rivercrest yacht club @ blue grotto, 11.17.2007

that'd be the fort's answer to the beastie boys at that place next door to sardines on university that used to be saloui's. so there.

oh btw

our computer is hosed right now, which means it's not handling graphic-based formats very well and i have to open explorer (instead of firefox like usual) to read gmail. also, i can't apply formats in blogger unless i type html, which i'm too lazy to do except for links, so i'm using quotes instead of italics for titles (like the i-94 barman does). just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wasted Orient

Just got done watching the DVD of "Wasted Orient," Kevin Fritz's documentary film about the Chinese punk band Joyside. Fritz is a self-described Van Halen-loving "farmboy" from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who bullshat his way into a scholarship to Beijing University at the dawn of the millennium, met the beer-and-gin-swilling, Johnny Thunders-loving no-hopers of Joyside, and shot this film documenting their first national tour for the equivalent of $2500 US.

It was probably inevitable that in the decade since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule, the pox and curse of western rock 'n' roll would invade the middle kingdom's youth. What's immediately striking about these bad-acting boys is how much like their western counterparts they seem, not just in their antics (opening beer bottles with their teeth, belching, farting, puking, etc.), but also in their thoughts and concerns, as when frontman Bian Yuan calls rock 'n' roll "an addiction to chaos," bassist Liu Hao talks about his complex relationship with his retired military parents, or drummer Fan Bo waxes philosophical about how getting drunk allows him to talk to God. It's also notable how innocent their barely competent cacophony -- heavily influenced by the NY Dolls and Dead Boys -- sounds, and how pure the audience's response to it seems. In many ways, it reminds me of scenes I experienced in Austin at the ass-end of the '70s. (It'd be interesting to view this back-to-back with, say, "American Hardcore.")

One wonders what the students who faced down the tanks at Tienanmen Square in '89 would think, seeing this film. (Actually, some of them are probably involved in trying to capitalize on bands like Joyside and their ilk, in this new China where the Communist Party now says it's a virtue to be rich.) It occurred to me while watching this that part of having "freedom" is owning the ability to make bad decisions while finding your way in the world -- scary but necessary, I think. In fact, by the end of the film, the band seems to be reaching for something approximating professionalism, firing their Japanese guitarist Yang Yang (a highly entertaining comic presence on screen) in favor of a more reliable but less interesting player.

Even for non-punk fans, "Wasted Orient" has a lot to offer; besides the interesting milieu and characters, the cinematography is superb, particularly the way montage effects are used to render performance footage more compelling. No socio-political analysis here; none needed. In the words of the subtitlers, "Cow pussy (awesome)!"

mixed emotions

thumbing through the cd racks at half price books today, i was surprised to find the current releases by both the fellow americans and the me-thinks there. on the one hand, i felt sad that they'd wound up there; on the other, i felt proud that they've now _arrived_ and are in the same league as counting crows, r.e.m., and the red hot chili peppers.

The Hydromatics' "The Earth Is Shaking"

I’ve got a whole shelf of Scott Morgan records at home: the Rationals album from 1970 (in both vinyl and bootleg Italian CD versions); the Sonic’s Rendezvous Band box set; the Scott Morgan Band album on Revenge (vinyl and CD); the two Scots Pirates albums on Schoolkids; the Dodge Main album with Wayne Kramer and Deniz Tek; the Hydromatics’ Parts Unknown and Powerglide; the Rendezvous Band live “reunion” disc, career-spanning Medium Rare compilation, and live Ann Arbor Revival Meeting with Powertrane, Deniz Tek, and Ron Asheton on Real O Mind, the Solution’s soul-flavored Communicate (which was actually a hit – in Sweden); the studio Powertrane Beyond the Sound that languished so long before its release on Motor City Jams earlier this year that the drummer on the record has been out of the band for two years. (And that’s not counting all the dubbed tapes and burned CD-Rs I’ve received from buds and the man himself over the years.) Teenage garage king and blue-eyed soul brother supreme, Brother Scott’s carried the flag for high energy Detroit rock ‘n’ roll longer and truer than anybody else. The fact that there’s not a lot of sonic variation between many of these records is superseded by the sad reality that most of them are now unobtainable, the labels having folded as fast as they could sell out their DIY-size pressings. Now I’ve got one more.

The Hydromatics were the brainchild of a pair of Detroit-obsessed Europeans: Entombed drummer/Hellacopters singer-guitarist Nick Royale and 6’4” Dutch punk-rock pioneer (Nitwitz/BGK/Loveslug) and history buff Tony “Slug” Leeuwenburgh. Back in the ‘90s, they hatched a scheme to record some songs from the Sonic’s Rendezvous Band catalog that they’d learned from lo-fi audience tapes in the years before this stuff finally started surfacing in spiffed-up CD form eight or nine years ago. By the time they brought their plan to fruition, they’d managed to connect with and recruit Morgan, who’d shared the writing and singing duties in SRB with Fred “Sonic” Smith. The wheels came off the Hydro juggernaut following a European tour in 2003, but earlier this year they regrouped with a lineup that featured Morgan, Slug, and a new member: guitarist Kent Steedman from Australia’s Celibate Rifles, one of the most individuated and adventurous bands to draw inspiration from the Stooges’ primal fury. Previously, Steedman had contributed crucial creative spark that made Le Bonne Route the most interesting album in Radio Birdman mastermind Deniz Tek’s solo catalog, and the Antipodean’s input (as player and producer) promised to radically differentiate this new Hydros offering from, say, the Powertrane record, where the presence of longtime Mitch Ryder guitarist Robert Gillespie pulled things in a relatively more conservative direction.

The results don’t disappoint. The sound of The Earth Is Shaking is raunchy, rowdy, rough and ready, lacking the studio polish of the last Hydromatics outing, but not to the music’s detriment. Gone also are the horns that adorned the first two Hydros releases and were a key component of the Solution’s sound. This is a rock ‘n’ roll record, and more of a “band” effort than anything Morgan’s been involved with since the Dodge Main session, with several distinct songwriting voices audible (including three items that are credited to the full band), even though Scott’s the only singer. Kent’s solo composition “Speechless” has a turned-around beat that makes it sound like an outtake from the Rifles’ Blind Ear, and it flows seamlessly into a cover of the Stones’ “All Down the Line” that shows Morgan’s Exile On Main St. obsession (clearly audible in Powerglide’s “Soulbone” and “Tumblin’ Down”) is unabated. (The other cover here is “Baby Jane,” from punk-era Brit R&B revivalists Dr. Feelgood.) “Power and Glory” is a better-than-average example of the heartland Americana that Morgan first rolled out on his Rock Action album back in ’89. Scott only once dips into the SRB song bag that’s sustained him for so long, to resurrect “Mystically Yours,” a song from that band’s earliest incarnation which rocks out with a slightly faster variation on that familiar Stooges “Funhouse” groove, the three principals’ guitars sparring until the rhythm boys seem to lose the thread for a moment. The band-composed “Streets of Amsterdam” boasts some rib-thudding breaks and more dueling guitars from Slug and Steedman. The shuddering jam in the middle of “Detroit Leaning” takes the proceedings even further into the red. The Aussie and the Dutchman collaborated on “Funball,” which careens along with a cheerful abandon worthy of its name, and the surprising instrumental closer “Monumental.” Overall, I’d rank The Earth Is Shaking up there with Powerglide and Medium Rare among my most favored post-SRB Morgan outings. Cop from Scott's online store or Suburban Records.

"fiddurah on the loof"

i've often secretly dreamed of an all-black production of "fiddler on the roof." here's an all-_japanese_ production of jerry bock and sheldon harnick's classic show.

last night at the market

...dave millsap's bassplayer randy hammond, who played in larry & the bluenotes of "night of the phantom" fame back in the '60s, got to share the stage with his guitar-slinging son, who just got back from serving in afghanistan and iraq. not a bad 60th b-day present, i'd say.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

five years ago

...i was fond of telling people that fort worth felt more like austin had when i lived there at the ass-end of the '70s than austin itself did now, and how it seemed that the fort was "on the cusp of something." unfortunately, i'd forgotten exactly what it was that happened to austin in the '80s. duh.

my name is albert ayler

wow. my name is albert ayler, swedish director kasper collin's film documentary about the free jazz innovator who died mysteriously in 1970, is playing u.s. cities including austin between november and january. wonder if there'll be a dvd?

ellen fullman @ will rogers today & sunday

should have posted this yesterday. forwarded by fort worth symphony / flipside bassist extraordinaire paul unger:

Composer-performer Ellen Fullman brings her Long String Instrument (approximately 300 feet) to Fort Worth for the first time. She has presented her music across North America, Europe and Japan, solo and in collaboration with Kronos Quartet, Keiji Haino, and Pauline Oliveros, among others. For her Fort Worth debut, Fullman will perform a new solo composition Event Locations, for Long String Instrument and spy cameras, as well as duos and trios with cellist Theresa Wong and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn.

“The instrument is deceptively simple: a loom of long metal wires played by one or more players who walk the length of the instrument, rubbing their fingers along the lengths of the strings, exciting it into vibration much as you would to get a crystal glass to sound. The sound is arresting-so much so that Fullman, who was a sculptor when she made the sound-making instrument, had devoted her energies over the decade she has lived in Austin to refining the sound...” -Jerry Young, Austin American Statesman

Performances are scheduled for Friday & Saturday, October 26 & 27, 2007 at 8:00 PM and on Sunday, October 28, 2007, at 2:00 PM, in the Special Exhibit Space of the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Tickets for this performance will be available at the door for each performance: $20; $15 for students and seniors. For this event, we can accept cash or checks only. The performance is in the Southwest corner of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, just east of the National Cowgirl Museum, just south of the Amon G Carter Exhibit Hall, in the Exhibit Area between the Sheep Barn and Cattle Barn #1. The closest parking is west and north of the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall.

Upcoming Other Arts events for the 2007/8 season at the Van Cliburn Recital Hall include pianist Louis Goldstein performing Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories (December 2, 2007) and John Cage's Sonatas & Interludes for prepared piano (December 3, 2007); live electronic music by Carl Stone (March 7 & 8, 2008); and Wayne Horvitz' Gravitas Quartet (April 4 & 5, 2008).

Friday, October 26, 2007

thursday night live

'twas nice to see so many of the wreck room peeps out at the market for eleven hundred springs last night. been feeling kinda disconnected lately and that made it less so, even though i was only pouring (not drinking) beer.

rivercrest yacht club

oh my. what hip-hop nerds rivercrest yacht club have done with carey wolff's song "untold stories" (from his i'm still the darkness e.p.). go ye to their myspace thingy and check out "thunderbird carey wolff."

Robert Wyatt's "Comicopera"

I don't know why my Zappa-loving college crew wasn't more into Soft Machine. In the fullness of time, it seems like the Brit Ur-undergrounders' early (first three albums) confluence of benthead psychedelia (they were, after all, Canterbury mates of Pink Floyd's), electronic experimentalismo, and Coltranesque jazz woulda been right up our alley. Oh well. Following the exit of fellow founder members Daevid Allen and Kevin Ayers, the man with the plan was Robert Wyatt, who was that rarity -- a singing drummer who didn't suck. Wyatt bailed after Thirds and had formed a new band, Matching Mole, when he fell out an open window during a party, plunged three stories, and broke his back, winding up permanently paralyzed from the waist down. By all accounts he took this event philosophically, continued making music, and battled the BBC to be allowed to appear on Top of the Pops singing his first solo single, a cover of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer," from his wheelchair rather than a regular chair. Much of his music-making has reflected political concerns; he's a Communist and antiwar activist who famously covered Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" as a protest against the Falklands War.

Wyatt's name came up when Dre and I were over at Jon Teague's house, and when I saw his new album Comicopera at the Princeton Record Exchange, I picked it up. It's an intimate-sounding record, reflecting the influence of Wyatt's wife and longtime collaborator Alfreda Benge, who found Soft Machine's music cluttered and encouraged him to pare down and simplify, as well as Wyatt's desire to capture the sound of a group of musician/friends playing together in a room (in this case, his home or ex-Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera's Gallery Studio).

The "opera's" three acts have to do with loss and betrayal in relationships ("Lost in Noise"), England at war in 2007 ("The Here and the Now") and Wyatt's rejection of it ("Away with the Faeries"). The first act includes a song ("A.W.O.L.") about an aged dementia victim that's particularly resonant for me in light of my dad's condition. The second includes a melody that appears twice ("A Beautiful Peace"/"A Beautiful War"), first to turn rustic English pastoralism on its head, then to depict a British airman on a bombing mission; Wyatt's vocal recalls quintessentially English pop voices like Ray Davies' and Ronnie Lane's -- until you listen hard enough to hear the lyrics (It's a beautiful day to see my prey / It's a beautiful day for a daring raid ... It's a shame I'll miss the blaze, but I'll see the film within days). In the next song ("Out of the Blue"), you hear the voices of the bombs' victims (You've planted your everlasting hatred in my heart). There's also a dig at organized religion ("Be Serious") with ex-Jam/Style Council modfather Paul Weller on jazzy R&B guitar.

In the last act, Wyatt turns his back on England and sings in Italian and Spanish, including a text by Federico Garcia Lorca (whom Wyatt described to an Italian interviewer as "a homosexual surrealist who was shot by the fascists") and Carlos Puebla's ode to Che Guevara performed with an Italian ensemble. The three instrumentals (one per act) are evocative mood pieces, not opportunities for musical exhibitionism. There's still a degree of experimentalism present (sampled voices used as musical instruments, f'rinstance), but not in a way that calls attention to itself. This is thoughtfully-constructed music that tugs at the heartstrings.

gideons update

according to noted gideons drummer, dj, and robert wyatt fan terry vernixx valderas, the gideons lineup will now feature two, count 'em, two bassplayers: johnny singularity on low-end and lee allen on lead bass. sounds good to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

change of life

you know you're getting older when
you see your children and occasionally think,
"it's always a work in progress,
as long as they're still walking around,"
but view every parting with your parents
with the same blend of fear and solicitude
you once felt when dropping your kids
off at school.

eleven hundred springs @ central market tonight

the last fw weekly-presented "thursday night live" of the season will be at central market tonight. amy royer plays at 6pm, followed by eleven hundred springs from 7-9pm. should be a good night.

what i'm listening to this week

got a package in the mail yesterday which my brother-in-law in new jersey mailed to us last week (thanks, mike), containing all the vintage vinyl that we copped during our recent visit to the princeton record exchange (cd's and dvd's came home with us in our carry-on baggage). they don't do any mailorder or online sales, so you'll have to take my word for it unless/until you have occasion to visit the home of my b-i-l's alma mater, but i grew up shopping/working in mom 'n' pop rekkid stores (or mainstream stores like sam goody's that were like libraries, back in the day), so i dig the record exchange real much, and feel quite at home there. i suppose the closest local equivalent would be forever young, but i visit grand prairie even more infrequently than i do new joisey; sorry, fellas.

our vinyl finds this time out included cecil taylor's silent tongues on arista/freedom (a monumental solo recital from the 1974 montreux jazz festival and my fave taylor except for live at the cafe montmartre, which i actually found on vinyl at the ridgmar half price books earlier this year -- hooray!), the james cotton blues band on verve/folkways (my fave blues harp rec after little walter's hate to see you go and junior wells' hoodoo man blues: produced by barry goldberg, michael bloomfield, and norman dayron from the era when cotton was starting to play the hipi ballrooms, with a band that includes guitarist luther tucker of "flutter-picking" chess records session fame and drummer sam lay, who played in the paul butterfield band with bloomer, was jim osterberg's pre-stooge role model, and infamously shot himself in the balls while coming to cotton's aid in a westside chicago bar fight; featuring lotsa reminders -- in the form of cover tunes associated with bobby "blue" bland, sonny boy williamson II, and little junior parker -- that cotton was a memphian and sun records star before making the trek to chicago and joining the 1960 muddy waters band); and a double lp kinks kompilation with the self-explanatory title lola, percy & the apeman come face to face with the village green preservation society...something else! (they had a copy of the kink kronikles, too, but this had more songs and i've become enamored enough of mix tapes/cd-r's that this just seemed like a real good vinyl simulacrum of one covering my fave run of kinks albs, inexplicably skipping arthur).

The Perfect Rat's "Endangered Languages"

No doubt about it, some of the most interesting rock music happening today is in the heavy arena: new sides by Sleep alumni High On Fire and Om, f’rinstance, rank among the best 2007 releases I’ve heard as this year winds down. The Kyuss bloodline’s been fruitful as well, Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age having performed a similar function for “stoner rock” to what Nirvana did for “grunge,” albeit on a somewhat less earthshaking level.

I first heard guitarist Mario Lalli back in 2002, on an album by ex-Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork (Brant Bjork and the Operators on Music Cartel) that I reviewed for the First Church of Holy Rock and Roll. Lalli, whose regular band is Fatso Jetson, is also a veteran of another Kyuss offshoot, Homme’s Desert Sessions series of recordings, a floating crapgame in the manner of the Denton rock lottery. In 2005, another desert muso, Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce, drafted Lalli for the sessions that produced The Perfect Rat’s Endangered Languages, a collection of heavy psych jamarama with occasional spoken word interjections by Saccharine Trust frontman Jack Brewer. Released this year on Alone Records in Spain, it’s available domestically via Cobraside Distribution.

Brewer’s no stranger to this poetry-rock stuff, having been an original participant in Ohio poet Dan McGuire’s Unknown Instructors project (with Saccharine Trust guitarist Joe Baiza and the Minutemen/fIREHOSE engine room of Mike Watt and George Hurley) as well as versifying over S-T’s challenging, thrusting, punk-funk-jazz jams since 1980. Here, he speaks verse by L.A. poets Steve Abee, Florence Raush Ehlers, and Dennis Cruz, as well as one of his own. The texts are a varied lot. Abee’s “The Saint of Lost Things” is an evocative nocturnal urban vignette. Ehler’s “Clouds” overflows with imagery as lush and expansive as the garden she describes. The apocalyptic voice in Cruz’s “Tropical Depression” recalls that which Brewer’s used in some of his own work. Brewer’s “Why Do We Lose” (which he recites over the track “Chewing Metal”) has the same air of introspective self-doubt as Eliot’s “Prufrock.” (Don’t take my word for it; you can read ‘em all in the blog on The Perfect Rat’s Myspace page.)

The real big news here, though, is the man behind the four-string axe. That’d be Greg Ginn, inventor of the, dare I say, business model for modern DIY rock as founder of SST Records and guitarist-evil dictator of Black Flag. Because he’s a conceptualist as much as a player, Ginn knows not to overplay the way a lot of guitarists do when they’re forced to pick up a bass. Instead, he furnishes ribcage-rattling slabs of sound to serve as a launching pad for Arce and Lalli’s explorations. (Is there a “Take that, Chuck” in there somewhere? Only Mr. Ginn knows for sure.)

The Perfect Rat’s music surges and roils, its scope stretching from dark, droning things like you’d expect from these guys (“Painted Canyons”) to modal rock explorations of a sort that I suppose originated with the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” (the dervish-dance “Semi Nomadic,” wherein Tony Atherton’s sax rides atop the mix of guitars). At times, the music’s slightly dissonant metallic clangor and tectonic-plate shifts, as well as drummer Bill Stinson’s eccentric accents, recall yet another desert outfit: Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band circa Strictly Personal and Trout Mask Replica. As a longtime fan of Uncle Don’s declamatory style and lit Brit/ex-Deviant Mick Farren’s “evil Jeremy Irons” (my oldest daughter’s phrase) act, as well as an appreciator of guitar-centric extended psych jams in general, I found Endangered Languages to be right up my alley. So may you as well.

happy dagger

this from jazz gtrist extraordinaire sam walker:

I am taking part in the premier performance of an original jazz opera entitled "Happy Dagger" at Tarrant County College - NE Campus - written by Edwardo Perez. All of the characters from Shakespeare's plays that committed suicide are in purgatory and that's where we begin. Opening night is Halloween night.

Tarrant County College - NE Campus
Center Corner in the Student Center
828 Harwood Rd.
Hurst, TX 76054

he who carries death in his pouch

fela anikulapo-kuti, whose name meant "he who carries death in his pouch," was a nigerian bandleader-protest singer-politician who made euro-american "political" rockers like u2, the clash, and the mc5 look like pikers. a sort of afrobeat dylan-marley-james brown, his band africa 70 could out-groove the j.b.'s, the family stone, and p-funk with their half-hour-long, horn-chorus-and-percussion-laden tribal stomps. in his days, he was repeatedly beaten and jailed, and had his compound (which he dubbed "the kalakuta republic") raided by government forces, who killed his mother and destroyed his equipment and master tapes. he delighted in taunting the government with sides like "zombie," "coffin for head of state," "unknown soldier," "expensive shit," and "international thief thief." he died in 1997 from complications of aids.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the pungent sound

this from artiste, muso, bon vivant-raconteur, and hard-core haltomite raymond liberio:

As many of you know every year I make a trek up to the Northwest to visit with my old buddy and Indian Casino Records president Jack Bensonhurst in Seattle. Every year Jack and I party our asses off until we're almost dead and then roll some tape and record a song. The first year I went up there Jack and I witnessed a murder. True story. Some crack deal gone bad or whatever but we saw a guy get his throat slashed and then had to identify the dude that killed the other guy. We even saw the slashed guy i his death rattle. Not really pleasant at all but that's life and death for ya. It was my first trip to Seattle and nothing, not even witnessing a murder was going to ruin my vacation. I earned it! After the ending of lives and the capture of the other guy we went and had sushi. We recorded our first song entitled "Murder and Sushi" thus starting a tradition of recording a song together at the end of my visit. We have since lost Murder and Sushi and a few others in some moves and computer crashes but I thought it'd be nice to share what we've been working on for the last couple of years.

This year we had a Breathalyzer to document just how much damage we did to our bodies and how much over the legal limit we still were when we woke up the next morning. I believe at the height of recording these tracks both of us were blowing in the .33/.35 range so it's actually a miracle these songs even exist or were recorded at all.

We'll add a new one every year, but you can go ahead and make you pre-orders now for the album should be done around 2015.

Enjoy The Pungent Sound,
Ray and Jack

halloween at the chat room

an admission: i'm so 76107-centric that i've never even set foot in the chat room (at s. lake and magnolia, near benito's). but i think i'm gonna a week from tonight, 10.31.2007, when cadillac fraf and the flugelbinders (who knows?), the panther city bandits, and the great tyrant will hold forth there.

gideons! me-thinks! 6th street! thursday after xmas!

this just in from the lovely and talented terry vernixx valderas:

"Well well can never tell", as the late Jerry Garcia once said.

I was just informed by our bassist, Lee "Sexy Drawers" Allen, that The Gideons & Me Thinks are booked at 6th Street Live for December 27th...that big Thursday after Christmas when stakes are high (and so am I). This may be a night to remember...or forget depending on your inebriation levels and such.
Gideons are also looking into a booking for that week-end. Looks like this Gideons thing may be a sporatic but regular occurance in Funkytown. Praise Jah...

Terry Vernixx Valderas, esq.


...was the date when i met my sweetie for the first time
at an acoustic (!) goodwin show at the black dog (r.i.p.)
and my life got much better. four years ago tomorrow.
seems like longer than that somehow (in a good way).

that 1 guy/professional juice @ 6th street, 12.1.2007

behold the magnificent splendor of that 1 guy at the li'l wreck room last march 21st. he returneth to 6th street live on december 1st. "thank you, friends."

also in the house (on both old and new dates): professional juice.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

doyle bramhall cd review @

the review i penned of doyle bramhall's new cd is it news is live now at doyle playeth at the granada theater in dallas on november 9th.

bill pohl guitar lessons

if you wanna learn to rip like underground railroad axe monster bill pohl (think holdsworth/mahavishnu/eric johnson), call zoo music at 817-377-4411.

pretty baby

further wowzers: foat wuthians dave karnes (of sunday night jazz, sunward, rahim quazi, nathan brown, king friday, tony and tina's wedding and what-else-am-i-forgetting? fame) and daniel harville (sugarbomb, coma rally) have teamed with ex-rockstar contestant zayra alvarez to make a band called pretty baby that's even more '80s-evocative than black tie dynasty and perhaps unsurprisingly, reminds me more 'n a little of the nathan brown band i played in with dave. what next?!?!?

p.p.t. garners 3 (count 'em, 3) grammy nominations...well, MAYBE

wowzers. metromess hip-hop heroes p.p.t. have been nominated for grammy awards in three (count 'em, three) categories. can this be a sign that there's justice in the universe? film, as they say, at 11.

ADDENDUM: well, they're at least in the running -- nominations not final yet. guh.

last night

...i warded off an incipient sinus headache with benito's tortilla soup, liberally laced with pico de gallo -- prolly because it caused me to slam down five or six glasses of water in a hurry; must remember to hydrate more, even when it's cool outside. and determined to check out my friend gustavo's taco stand, which serves "real mexican-style food," including ceviche, in a supermarket parking lot at altamesa and mccart during the week and at a local flea market on weekends.

Monday, October 22, 2007

moving on

my sweetie noticed that
the blister on her thumb
which she got digging pablo's grave
was gone.

"outside heals faster
than inside," she said.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bindle "live rehearsal," 6th Street Live, 10.20.2007

"This is the best band you never saw," said Justin Pate's dad Greg just before the reformed Bindle broke the seal on their set at 6th Street Live last night. And he was right.

They've been rehearsing at his lake house for the past couple of months, and they're scheduled to headline their own bona fide gig at Wreck Room impresario Brian Forella's new spot on 11.16.2007. Pablo & the Hemphill 7 frontman Joe Vano, whose gig they were opening, pulled my coat earlier in the week. On every level, it was wish fulfillment at its best.

I never got to see Bindle back in their day (1998-2002); back then, I was busy chasing Detroit echoes from Europe and Australia. But while scribing for the local giveaway arts rag, I had the experience of being transported by music made by people I knew while listening to bands like Woodeye, Pablo, and Goodwin, and I knew the latter two were built around ex-Bindle musicians. I wrote a lengthy Bindle "history" on this blog around the time of its inception, and had been trying to agitate for a Bindle reunion ever since bassist Matt Hembree started letting me hear some recordings of the band via a secret (now less so) web location. Last night, I finally got to hear some of those songs live. It was everything I hoped for, starting when they opened with the song I'd been singing in my head on the way home from work that night: Standing in the market of moon and star / Farther from myself than I ever was / Voices like stones break this heart / The sweetest lullabies ("Yusuf"). Dre Edmonson was running sound, and Daniel Gomez (Goodwin evil dictator and original Bindle guitarist) plugged his mobile recording deck into Dre's board.

Bindle music's melodically and rhythmically complex, almost prog-like at times (as on "Helicopter," "Robot," "Spinning," and "Automatic"), but also funky (dig "Blink" and "Mosca"), aggressive, and overflowing with raw emotion; after all, frontguy Tony Diaz is the original "Mr. Heart-On-Sleeve" -- an advantage in this context, where his almost operatic crooning summons the spirits of Ibrahim Ferrer and Jeff Buckley. When he sings stuff like We are robots, walking around with insides so wired that just a hello would shut us down, you believe him. He and Justin Pate -- who supplanted Tony in the band's final incarnation, just before an abortive attempt to record a "real" studio CD -- blend their voices well, and Justin solos on his own Ben Foldsian ballad "Next Year," besides adding depth and color to all the arrangements with his arsenal of keyboards. (One wonders if they're gonna have "Red Hair," a popular favorite on their Myspace site, stageworthy by next month.)

Drummer Kevin Geist is the band's "X the unknown factor;" alone among 'em, he had been musically inactive since Bindle's demise, but he was the one member whom all of the others agreed no reunion could take place without. He demonstrated why with pulsating polyrhythmic power, locking it in the pocket with Hembree's ever-inventive bass. Steffin Ratliff proved yet again why he's the most underrated guitarist in the Metromess, utilizing a highly syncopated attack and an array of effects ("Why would I want to play straight through the amp when I can add all these complications?") to weave melodic magic and add the sting to relatively straight-ahead rockers like "State of Girl" and "Pop Tart." What the musicians perceived as nervousness came across to the crowd as energy, regardless of any rough edges. Better rock music would be impossible to imagine. And issues of complexity and public taste aside, "Yusuf" and "10,000 Miles" still sound like hits to these feedback-scorched ears.

Remember the date: November 16th. Bindle at 6th Street Live. You have been warned.

(Speaking of wish fulfillment, Gomez says the Goodwin CD is finally mixed, and goes out for mastering next week. Film, as they say, at 11.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

mix tapes

just sent a coupla mix cd's to a friend of my dtr's who's in iraq and dug the tom waits mix my sweetie burned for him before he left. this time, he'll get some stuff from wes race (wichita, kansas expat/ex-hound dog taylor road manager/boho poet 'n' spoken word artist), mark growden, howlin' wolf, and the hal willner tributes to monk 'n' mingus. remembering my own days as a barracks rat in korea '82-'83 with miles 'n' trane, burning spear and bunny wailer, captain beefheart, little walter and junior wells on my boombox (courtesy of charles buxton, bless him) and wondering what the cats he's with over there will think of this music.

sun ra

while blowing my bonus check from the market at the princeton record exchange, one of the gems i stumbled on was sun ra's double cd the singles on evidence, which spans '50s through '80s and has the arkestra backing doowop groups and blues singers as well as realizing its leader's cosmic creations. space weirdo or musical visionary, the man of whom george clinton once said, "he's out to lunch -- same place i eat at," as much of an ellingtonian as charles mingus was: ladies and gentlemen, i give you herman "sonny" blount of birmingham, alabama (a.k.a. "the magic city") and, um, saturn.

another one fingered fist video

hardcore punk from weatherford? yes. embrace the fist.

Friday, October 19, 2007

reasons to read the paper

fonky fred's got a favorable writeup in today's star-telegram, and the s.p.e.a.k. project garnered ink from both the star-t and fw weekly's hearsay. hooray!

bindle before pablo this saturday?

a little bird told me that the reunited bindle (that'd be matt hembree, kevin geist, tony diaz, steffin ratliff, and justin pate) will be lifting the lid on their set at 6th street live this saturday night, 10.20.2007, before pablo and the hemphill 7 plays (which makes sense, since three of 'em are in both bands). i gotta close the market that night but will make every effort to be there to hear. so should you. their bona fide 6th street gig is on 11.16.2007.

100 fridas - sunday, 10.28.2007 - location tbd

tammy gomez writes:


to honor FRIDA KAHLO, seminal artist of Mexico,
whose 100th birth anniversary is being commemorated this year.
Sound Culture (a FW-based creative event producer)
is inviting 100 participants to join together in a
Day of the Dead 2007
event to focus on the life and legacy of one of
the most important artists of the 20th century.

WHAT: 100 FRIDAS - a time-based art event


HOW: Arrive at an appointed time & location (TBA)
dressed as Frida Kahlo (however you choose to interpret that).
Further directions will be provided during the event.
Visual documentation will be involved.
Men as well as women are welcome to participate.

WHY: This is a free, non-proprietary event. Not sponsored by
a corporate entity or company. Art is you. Show up
and it happens. Plus, it would be cool to be surrounded
by 99 other Fridas, wouldn't it?

FMI: Reply to this bulletin or send a message via with SUBJECT: 100 FRIDAS.

p.s. I swear to you that I thought of this independently of
Mexic-Arte Gallery (Austin), which is also coordinating
a similar project. I dunno, 100 monkeys, 100 Fridas....but
that's just an aside.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

one fingered fist on youtube

here's a clip of one fingered fist live at the wreck room (r.i.p.) last november. looking forward to playing a stoogeshow with them and the fellow americans at 6th street on 11.30.2007.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

music law boot camp in dallas, 10.26.2007

this from the texas music office:

The Dallas Bar Association Sports & Entertainment Law Section presents:

Music Law Boot Camp - What Every Musician (and Lawyer) Needs to Know About Music Law

Friday October 26, 2007, 1:00p - 5:00p / Live Entertainment 5:00p - 6:00p

Poor David's Pub, 1313 S. Lamar Street, Dallas, Texas 75215


Linda Septien - Septien Entertainment Group (Addison) - Working with young artists/minors, parents, contracts, production, marketing, touring.

Tamera Bennett - Bennett Law Office/Farm to Market Music. / Music licensing lawyer, copyright administration, etc.

Casey Monahan - Director, Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor. The Texas Music Office serves as the information clearinghouse and promotion office for the Texas music industry.

Craig Barker - - Austin, Texas. Music lawyer, musician, road manager, extensive experience in music industry.

Live Entertainment (at conclusion of CLE presentation) by K. M. Williams, the "Texas Country Blues Preacher." Learn more about K. M. Williams at


$35 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

$20 for all others (including students, Dallas Songwriters Association, etc.)


Through Oct. 19, register by mailing a check for the registration fee, payable to DBA Sports & Entertainment Law Section, to Craig Crafton, 1717 Main Street, Suite 2300, Dallas TX 75201.

After Oct. 19, you may only register at the door.

Space is limited - please register early.

princeton, n.j., 10.16.2007

behold the starbucks-swilling,
ipod-wearing leaders of tomorrow
as they scurry between ivy-covered halls,
eyes cast resolutely on the future.

Monday, October 15, 2007

my favorite things

...include the classic john coltrane quartet playing that song from the sound of music. with the added goodness of eric dolphy on flute, even.

flying fish

flying fish seemed to appear out of nowhere a few months ago, at the corner of vickery and montgomery, right across from the railhead smokehouse. we finally checked it out last night on a takeout basis. while it's not gonna replace zeke's when we get _that craving_ (no cod on the menu, which mainly features catfish, shrimp, and tilapia, although there are other offerings, notably salmon and grouper, with a healthwise emphasis on grilled-not-fried selections), the stuff we ate was good -- a shrimp kabob with crisp grilled veggies and fish tacos (paid a buck more to sub tilapia for catfish) that came with a good cole slaw (this chain has a memphis location) along with the pico de gallo -- and it's right around the corner from la casa. an added plus: they have key lime pie.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

the perfect rat

it's not every day i get an email from ex-saccharine trust/unknown instructors frontguy jack brewer, but today i did. jack wanted to pull my coat to a new project he's involved in, the perfect rat. jack spiels over hot jams by desert mofos gary arce (drowning man) and mario lalli (fatso jetson), with former sst records honcho/black flag evil dictator greg ginn on bass. there's a ceedee on alone records out of espana, distributed here by cobraside. gonna have to check into this s'more when i get back from new joisey.

more hendrix vid

ha. farren posted this vid of hendrix hijacking the lulu show on brit tv in 1969. see jimi pushing against the constraints of being in an english pop group! hear him play what at the time was the first song every tyro gtr player learned to play! admire his balls of brass! who today can match them?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

bindle @ 6th street live, 11.16.2007

that's about it...bindle (that's matt hembree, kevin geist, tony diaz, steffin ratliff, and justin pate) at 6th street live on november 16th. ya mo' be theah. maybe you too?

original member daniel gomez being unavailable for rehearsals, they'll only be performing material from the "mk II-IV" lineups of the band. which means there'll be another show at a later date to cover the "mk I" material. for reasons why you should care, check out katboy's bindle archive, where hembree has just posted a hot ridglea theater show from 2.24.2000. this band really was something special, in all its incarnations. even when tony sang stevie wonder's "i wish."

Friday, October 12, 2007

machenry's closing tonight

while i've never been a big frequenter of machenry's, that fine foat wuth acoustic-music venue, i've always liked what it represented (a room with a _listening_ crowd) and figured that with the move to magnolia street from the wild west side last year, things there would be picking up. now owner john walker sez it'll be "temporarily" closing this friday, october 12th. damn, damn, damn.

hendrix @ woodstock on obey videos

you can buy this on dvd, too, but for a minute, at least, somebody has streaming online the near-complete jimi hendrix set from woodstock. in the fullness of time, robert christgau and matt hembree have convinced me that this was a better performance than monterey: he's so in control of his material, his improvisatory abilities soaring to coltrane-like peaks, with a lot on his mind. never mind that you can't hear the two conga players and the second gtr (larry lee, a 101st airborne bud just back from the 'nam); figure that they at least contributed to the _vibe_ that got jimi to this cusp of what'd be his most interesting musical period. hear him work out the ideas that'd become "message to love" and "stepping stone." hear the way he pulls "the star-spangled banner" out of the coda to the loosest and best version of "voodoo chile (slight return)" imaginable. (he tells the other string players "it's in E," but nobody follows.) hear the rambling improv that follows (which got cut out of the movie, duh) which is even more all-over-the-map than townshend's "my generation" coda on live at leeds until he slides into the stately gabor szabo minor-blues beauty of "villanova junction." greatness. he was 26 years old, with just over a year left to live. dig what he was, and think of what he might have become.

me-thinks break the seal on 6th street

oh, by the way: it's not on anybody's website, but haltom city heroes the mighty me-thinks make their first appearance at 6th street on a wednesday night, 10.17.2007, opening for the moistboyz. i never heard of 'em, but sir marlin von bungy (who stopped by the market with young marlon to see 100 damn guns a week early) sez they're a side project of dean ween's. so there. regrettably, i'll be out of town and so will miss the action, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


today it occurred to me
that if i hadn't been so fired up
about chronicling the wreck room's finale --
absurd, really,
since i'm a grocery clerk with a hobby,
not a journo on a deadline --
we might have been more attentive
when our little boy got sick.

my sweetie says it's not so,
but i'll tell you this:
if i could have just one of them back --
our old favorite spot
or our little fancy man --
i'd be moving his furry back
off my keyboard right now
to type "see you at lola's."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

daniel tcheco @ sardines this sunday

jhon kahsen writes:

Special Event - The exciting polyrhythms of
South African percussionist Daniel Tcheco will be
heard in a natural blend with the contemporary
jazz concepts of pianist Daymond Callahan,
tenor saxophonist Pat Franklin and trumpeter
Chris White this Sunday (Oct. 14) beginning
at 6:30 P.M.@ Sardines Restaurant, 509
University Drive in Ft. Worth. No cover charge.
To make reservations, call: 817 332-9937

storycorps in the stockyards thru 10.20.2007

you can record an oral history interview for storycorps in the fort worth stockyards thru the 20th. tammy gomez did; here's her testimony:

I booked a recording timeslot to interview my mom
at the MobileBooth that has been parked in the
Stockyards area of Fort Worth since September 27th.

We did the interview, in the tiny airstream trailer,
this past Sunday at 5:30pm. It actually was a very
cool experience. My mom was a little bit nervous,
which is unimaginable, because my mom usually
has no problem with talking (to me, to strangers, etc.).

I guess the fact that we would be recording our
conversation, and that it would be archived for
posterity (Library of Congress) was a bit intimidating
for her.

It was fun, though, to grill her on her childhood, her
teen years, and lots of stuff in between. The facilitator
who sat there taking notes and monitoring the high-
quality recording was very helpful and sweet (Hillary
was her name). I told her where to get Thai food in
town--I could tell that being parked in the Stockyards
area and having to hang out there everyday for her
job was not the most thrilling thing for her or her
co-worker. (She mentioned having been to the
Spiral Diner and appreciating that experience--she's
from Chicago.)

By the end of the 40-minute interview, and after all the
waivers and forms had been completed (painless and
quick, actually), me and my mom left with a burned
cd of our conversation and a feeling of having contributed
a little bit of history to the archives in D.C. Most importantly,
to me anyway, I felt that I had gotten a chance to honor
my mom and celebrate our family connection in a way
that was pretty unique. She talked about other stuff,
which I know someday I'll try to put on tape/film...

So, dear friends & colleagues in Fort Worth----
don't miss out on a cool opportunity to interview a loved
one before October 20th. Read on!



A few basics---

How to participate in StoryCorps at a StoryBooth or MobileBooth:

Choose an interview partner, like a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend.
All participants must be at least ten years of age.

Make a reservation for a StoryCorps recording session.
See our reservations and locations page to make a reservation online,
or call our reservation line at 800-850-4406 (it's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The suggested donation is only $10.

Conduct your interview or tell your story. You'll have forty minutes for the interview. Our Facilitator will sit with you in the booth, making a digital recording with broadcast-quality equipment.

Take home a copy of your interview on CD. With your permission,
a copy of your interview will go to the StoryCorps Archive, housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. You can also make your interview available for broadcast on your local public radio station.

About the FOUNDER of StoryCorps, Dave Isay:

Dave Isay is the founder of StoryCorps and its parent company Sound Portraits Productions. Over the past two decades his radio documentary work has won nearly every award in broadcasting including five Peabody Awards, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow award, and two Livingston Awards for young journalists. Dave has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994), a MacArthur Fellowship (2000), and a United States Artists Fellowship (2006). He is the author (or co-author) of four books based on Sound Portraits radio stories including: Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago (Scribner, 1997) and Flophouse (Random House, 2000).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

tentative va-ca playlist

my sweetie reminded me that we need to pick out what cd's we're taking to new joisey (since we're too techno-illiterate to have an ipod). my tentative selections:

celibate rifles - comp cd-r
japrock comp cd-r
buena vista social club presents ibrahim ferrer
long live the wreck room comp cd-r
om - pilgrimage
miles davis - in a silent way
van morrison - astral weeks
velvet underground - third album
tom waits - beautiful maladies
litte brian - thrash funk
dennis gonzalez yells at eels - geografia
hal willner - weird nightmare: meditations on mingus
skip james - she lyin'
rochereau - tabu ley
john coltrane - meditations
monks - black monk time
kinks - village green preservation society
replacements - pleased to meet me
john cale - vintage violence
introducing...ruben gonzalez
yeti - volume transcendence oblivion
neu! - 2
jimi hendrix - woodstock
television - marquee moon
elvis presley - complete sun sessions
joe strummer - streetcore
a tribe called quest - midnight marauders

might also fall by the princeton record exchange if we have time while we're there.

soft machine, robert wyatt

while teague was cooking dinner last night, he spun soft machine's thirds, prolly the pinnacle of that band's modal jazz incarnation.

earlier on, fronted by aussie nutbag kevin ayers, they were more in the realm of their canterbury mates pink floyd during their syd barrett phase. legalisms got ayers stuck in france following a '68 tour and he formed gong there. i usedta have a vhs tape with these ayers-era clips of the softs, which has been languishing at ray liberio's house since i asked him to give it to richard hurley a coupla yrs ago.

subsequently, drummer/singer/songwriter robert wyatt fell out a window, broke his neck, and came back paralyzed from the waist down, playing keybs and composing interesting songs. he just released an alb, comicopera, that some say is his best.

galen jeter & dallas' original jazz orchestra's 34th b-day

this from busy bassist jeremy hull. big band jazz aficionados take note:

If you're not booked this Sunday night, how 'bout heading over to Dallas to celebrate the 34th birthday of the Galen Jeter and Dallas's Original Jazz Orchestra? We play from 7 to 10 at the Village Country Club, at the intersection of Caruth Haven and Southwestern Boulevard.

We just put out a new CD too, called "Messin' with Texas". All Texas songs, some done straightahead western swing, some done REALLY out there.

amy sez bye to the wreck room

amy kadleck has been to more impulse of will and stoogeaphilia shows than anybody. here's her take on the closing of the wreck.

kree evans @ machenry's friday

this from kree evans:

This Friday, Oct. 12
Fort Worth
9 p.m.
Sharing the opening set with Jason Nored, opening for No Class

And I'll go ahead and mention Nov. 3 too...
8 p.m.

I'm new to playing in Austin, so I could use some friendly faces. My Fort Worth friends, how 'bout an excuse for a road trip? eh?

last night - today - tomorrow

last night: dre and i went over to jon teague's house for some outstanding vegetarian stir-fry, excellent refreshments and music that included a dvd by the japanese zeuhl band koenji hyakkei. who knew prog could be so visceral?

today: woke up to make fresh carrot juice for my sweetie's breakfast, slept some more, wrote a little, cut the grass, bought groceries, tried to pick up the new futon my sweetie ordered for my mom's visit (it wasn't in yet), and finally got to try out the tuna bunwich recipe i found in the doctor's office magazine back in august. we dined al fresco.

after dinner, fell by 6th street, where carl pack was just winding up his happy hour shift and billy wilson was getting ready to tend bar for the evening. 'twas good to see carl and i couldn't wait to shake his hand. gave billy a coupla prints of wreck room pics my sweetie wanted him to have. brian forella was hangin' out with oze, watching the hip-hop honors on vh-1. it was cool seeing brian and carl groovin' to a tribe called quest.

for the first time, the room felt like home and it made me realize how that feeling has less to do with the room itself than with the people in it. this friday the 12th is "wreck room night with dj carl pack." ya mo' be theah. maybe you, too?

tomorrow i'm gonna be shop vac'ing the house in preparation for my mom's visit, and going with dre to pick up the new futon. after that, who knows?

speak project @ ridglea theater, 10.20.2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

roy loney review @

the review i penned of ex-flamin' groovies frontguy roy loney's shake it or leave it is here (you gotta scroll down below the barman's review).

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I'll admit that I figured William Burroughs had flipped his wig when he published his cat book towards the end of his life. And not a week ago at work, I had much marathon hilarity with a coworker when I discovered the existence of condolence cards for pet owners.

That laugh died in my throat when I came home Thursday evening and my sweetie told me that our beloved cat Pablo had slipped away that afternoon. By Monday, I could just about speak his name without falling to pieces. I was supposed to work outside that day, pushing carts at the market, and I looked forward to spending some time on the move, sweating, away from people, my entire shift a gigantic sob.

Sometime this week, my sweetie and I will take a walk to visit Pablo's papi Don Rodolfo, the King of Catalonia (part of the elaborate legend we concocted for him, which also included his 17 sisters and his disgraced 18th sister Esmeralda Tiger Lily). I think we're both about ready now. I mean, what would people think if they saw two middle-aged people bawling their eyes out at the feet of a poured concrete-and-steel lion that sits on the sidewalk in front of a store?

Our sweet little boy came to us via Paws & Claws, an animal rescue organization that a coworker of hers has been active in for years. Around the time we moved into our home, Shadow, the elder of my two black cats (always two -- they're social creatures, but three is where the trouble starts), passed away. We buried him in the yard of the new house, near a stump where I could sit and talk to him. My sweetie's coworker Diana was sympathetic and promised she'd look for a suitable replacement, and a couple of months later, she called to let us know she'd found the one.

At first, Tia Diana offered to allow us a trial period to see if Midnight, the survivor (who was seven years old at the time), would accept the new cat. She talked about bringing the new guy over in a cage, maybe a few times, so Midi could sniff him out and get used to the idea of another cat. In the event, it proved to be unnecessary: the first time the little guy came spilling out of his carrier and began to scurry, and skitter, and scamper around the floor, it was clear that Diana's instincts had been sound. Pablo and Midi became fast friends almost immediately. In the fullness of time, they'd frequently get together and make The World's Largest Black Cat with Two Heads.

Because he was rescued near a rec center on the Northside, we named him Pablo de Leon del Norte -- a big handle for a little guy, but he soon grew into it: a robusto, deluxe creature with a wide, leonine nose (which early on earned him the nickname Magilla Gorilla), long whiskers, big paws with tufts of fur in between his pads, a lush, luxurious coat and magnificent tail. The combination of long hair and wide nostrils also made him our little sneezeling. He had a lot of work to take care of that coat, but he did a good job of it. He smelled like a plushy toy. We used to joke that he was every animal: a llama, an alpaca, a teddy bear in a cat suit (with big button eyes), a fu dog, a Chinese temple dragon. He was the funny car to the graceful and elegant Midnight's Mercedes. A Davy Crockett hat. A samurai helmet. And on and on.

Over the years, he was known by many names: Pablito, Pabmulo, Mamlo (based on the idea that cats couldn't make a hard "P" or "B", if they could talk), Mamlito, Mamaluke, Mamalucious, Mamalicious, Mamaleek, Pabmucifer, the Pabmucatti (a papal nuncio who was "evil incar-r-rnate"). It takes a lot of names to cover all the ways we love the ones we love.

Pablo was extraordinarily sweet-natured and affectionate, rushing out to greet us on our arrival home, chirruping and presenting his back to be petted. My sweetie would scoop him up in her arms and he'd wrap his paws around her arm or her shoulder and cling to her. When she lay in bed, he'd come massage her scalp (the origin for the sobriquet Senor Pablo, the hairdresser). When he'd sleep on our bed, he was totally relaxed, sprawled out on his back with his feet in the air, his furry underbelly exposed. He always wanted to be wherever we were. He'd sit on the coffee table and watch movies with us. He'd leap up on the kitchen table (a.k.a. the petting platform), not to beg table scraps, but just to be near us (although he did display a fondness for gingersnaps and lemon yogurt). I was particularly delighted the first time he climbed into my lap while I was reading. (Before that, I fancied that he might consider me his rival in his capacity as Meezlady's black-lipped husband; now, of course, I realize that we were all "husbands.")

When he wasn't loving on us, his favorite activities included intently watching and reporting his observations on goings-on around the house. He was particularly intrigued by workmen and would serve as contractor cat on those occasions when we had plumbers, electricians, painters, tile men, AC technicians, and so on in the house. His vocalic repertoire was unusually wide-ranging, including chirps and squeaks as well as "normal" cat-sounds.

Not long after Pablo's arrival, we noted that someone was knocking objects on the floor, nibbling the leaves of our houseplants, and digging in the dirt in our big flowerpots. We attributed all this activity to Pablo's alter ego Chaos Cat. Pablo would show extreme dedication in digging items out of the pigeonholes on our desk; if thwarted, he would persist for minutes until he was able to remove the items and push them off the desktop. The picture at the top of this post shows him with his friend Bambu, who finally had to be moved from the kitchen table to the top of the refrigerator to prevent Pablo from eating his leaves (and then Pablo's mighty leap developed to the point where he could actually ascend to the fridge-top). Our large houseplants all have protective collars of chicken wire which my sweetie devised because she couldn't stand the thought of using hot peppers or other irritants to deter our sweet boy from digging, in the same way as she now can't stand the thought of removing them.

Pablo's other vice was drinking our water. Sure, there was always plenty of fresh water in the yellow bowl in the middle, but somehow it just always tasted better to him when he drank it from our cups (in his role as Subcommandante Mamlo of the Agua Liberation Front). He'd always massage with his paws while he drank, a habit we referred to as "the Pablo shuffle" (also reminiscent of the line in that Red Hot Chili Peppers song about "do a little dance, then drink a little water").

When he was little, Pablo's favorite toy was a stuffed bee which he would carry everywhere. Later, when she noticed that he liked to play with ribbon whenever she wrapped a package, my sweetie started Pablo's Ribbon Monster, a collection of scraps that hung from one of the drawer handles in our kitchen. We buried Mamaluke with his bee and Ribbon Monster, along with one of his toy balls, in Meezlady's big round sewing box that he used to like to curl up inside while she was mending things.

Like a lot of cats, Pablo was always fond of small spaces, and he particularly liked our bathroom, where he'd frequently spend all night in his role as our restroom attendant. ("Please enjoy our amenities, Senor. Gratuities are not required, but always appreciated.") Maybe that's part of the reason I didn't twig it when he got sick and started spending more time in his small spaces and the bathroom. I should have noticed that he wasn't using his stinky box out back as often as usual, either.

This week, Midnight's been sleeping on the chair in the living room where they used to sit together, and he'll prowl around the house raiiihhhrrring as though he's looking for his friend. "Come out, Mamlito, and we'll take turns chasing each other and thumping each other on the head again."

We grieve when animals die because they love us unconditionally, and by doing so, they give us permission to love them back unconditionally. Because Pablo's legend is something my sweetie and I crafted together over the brief time -- just over three years -- we had him in our lives, losing him provides a foretaste of what it would feel like to lose each other, which is not a pain either of us could probably endure. We're neither religious nor superstitious, but somehow, it still provides us comfort to imagine our whimsical little man somersaulting through the air on a cotton-candy cloud, surrounded by a rain of Skittles. If only we'd been able to teach him that "When you don't feel good, tell the humans and they'll take you to the vet so you can feel better." As it is, we'll definitely try to be more attentive to the signs the animals we share our home with show us.

Pablo liked to sit on the kitchen counter or the windowsill in our room and watch the birds and squirrels and Maggie the Dog outside on his Jumbotron. My sweetie put this picture in a glass frame on our desk, where Pablo used to like to lie and sleep while I was writing. With the lamp on behind it, you get a fair representation of the quality of light in our house in early afternoon that will evermore remind me of him.

ADDENDUM: We got a pet owner sympathy card in the mail today from one of my sweetie's coworkers. It was a real nice gesture.

tanka on om's "pilgrimage"

got the new record
by the riddim boyzzz from sleep.
arabic pink floyd
style drones and prayer-like chants:
it's a doom a love supreme.

brian sharp's 45th b-day @ fred's, 10.19.2007

saint frinatra trumpeter/singer/bandleader and longtime j&j's hideaway bartender brian sharp celebrates his 45th b-day at fonky fred's from 7-10pm on friday, 10.19.2007. the jazz combo also performs from 8-11pm every wednesday and thursday at duce.


behold gedo, kings of japanese biker rock since 1973. julian cope compares 'em to hipi-era brit festival bands like the deviants and the pink fairies; my sweetie hears the mc5 in their jams, and i'd say a li'l grand funk, too. you pays yr money so you takes yr choice.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

pink floyd, far east family band

while clear channel has made it unnecessary to ever hear pink floyd's work from dark side of the moon on up ever ever ever again, hearing stuff like boris' flood and feedbacker and the new om pilgrimage has made their older stuff resonate for me again. here's a snippet of "echoes" from the album meddle and the movie live at pompeii, which i originally saw on pbs and then again with my drug buddies when it was released to theaters after they became a commercial proposition post-dark side. this was from the era before they had a whole 'nother band onstage with them. nice gear.

here's a clip of the far east family band, a '72-'77 japrock outfit that worked with klaus schulze (ash ra tempel, tangerine dream) but definitely had more than a bit of floyd influence.

darwin says, tom waits plays

darwin is the custodian at the school where my sweetie works. the other day, he saw her when she went in early so she could finish a report before she left to take pablo to the vet. today he asked her, "so, how's your cat?"

"he didn't make it," she told him.

"so, what are you going to do now?" he wanted to know.

"be sad," she said.

"the reason you're sad," he told her, "is that you got too much love left. you need to get yourself another kitty, so you can give it the love you got left."

i just got up in the middle of the night to find this song because i knew it would make me cry. how weird is that?

Friday, October 05, 2007

rachella parks foundation fundraiser 10.20.2007

this from rachella parks:

Sarcoidosis Foundation of Texas
Presents Our 3rd Annual Fundraiser
Songs in the Key of Hope 2007

Special Guest
Actress Irma P. Hall
Best known for her roles as Big Mama in the movie “Soul Food” &
‘Tom Hanks’ “Lady Killers”

Keynote Speaker Belinda Fenter
Guest artists Chuck Smith, Majik Touch
Ricky Risby, Katrina Armstead
Lawrence Robinson, Rachella Parks and more

October 20, 2007 6:00p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Botanic Garden Center Lecture Hall
3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth TX 76107
Tickets $25.00 each, tickets can be purchased at the door or
Pre-purchased by contacting SFOT @ 682-561-1516

If you are unable to attend, please send Donations to:

Sarcoidosis Foundation of Texas
3515 Sycamore School Road Suite 125-327
Fort Worth, TX 76133

Our Mission:

To enhance the quality of life of Sarcoidosis survivors and their families
through community awareness.

Our Focus
• Education – Sponsor activities and other forums in which medical professionals can inform the general public about the disease and create awareness
• Support – Provide support to the families of those suffering with the disease and to those who are actually going through the day-to-day pain and distress of the disease
• Data Gathering – Interviewing and archiving information from patients to share with medical professionals for study and treatment; to provide real life facts regarding the different effects of Sarcoidosis on patients

About Us:

Rachella Parks-Washington and Laronda Parks, with the support of family and friends established the Sarcoidosis (SAR-Coy-DOH-Sis) Foundation of Texas after Rachella was diagnosed with this mysterious disease. Sarcoidosis is defined as a complex multi-systemic disease characterized by the formation of granulomas, which is a collection of inflamed cells, that appear as nodules or lumps in the body. As the disease maneuvers through the body, these granulomas create scar tissue and block the function of vital organs causing permanent organ damage. Since little research has been done on Sarcoidosis the cause is not known at this time and furthermore, THERE IS NO CURE.

After a considerably amount of research we found that there is no resource center or support groups in TEXAS. This led us to establish this nonprofit 501 c3 organization to promote community awareness and research while providing support for patients with the disease and families of those who continuously struggle to survive this crippling disease. As a foundation we also will provide counselors, literature, and support groups.

wasted orient

just got this bulletin from plexifilm:

WASTED ORIENT: a film about JOYSIDE by Kevin Fritz

On DVD Now!

"Joyside are the alcoholic, poverty-stricken frontrunners in China's just-sprouting punk scene." - City Pages

"Wasted Orient debunks the perception that most of the country is looking toward a hopeful and prosperous future." - The Patriot News

"A hearty, greasy helping of Chinese that is best consumed with a few beers." - China Daily

Plexifilm is proud to present the release of WASTED ORIENT, the story of Beijing punk rock band JOYSIDE and their first tour in a country not exactly ready for rock n' roll. Obsessed with Johnny Thunders and the philosophies of American punk, Joyside spread their beer-soaked message of apathy across the countryside, filming every minute of it. The boys share their views of a bleak modern China through interviews in public toilets, countless binge drinking sessions, and in their songs ("I Don't Care About Society!" "I Wanna Piss Around You!"). Director Kevin Fritz captures an equally hilarious and uncompromising view into a Chinese subculture through a group of silly, sloppy and hopeless punks, outsiders in their own country.

Buy It Now

More Info:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

taj mahal travellers

those with an interest in japrock and long attention spans get to reap the benefits of my insomnia with this 102-minute documentary that follows spacey drone specialists the taj mahal travellers on a 1971-72 tour that took them from amsterdam to the taj mahal itself via vw microbus (of course).

The Very Last Weekend at the Wreck Room ADDENDUM

Apparently it took the folks in the city bureaucracy responsible for "graffiti abatement" one day to color-match the walls and paint over the graffiti that my sweetie photographed at the Wreck on its final day. An object lesson in how quickly the wheels can turn in this town when the folks with the lucre are calling the tune and the changes. Anybody remember the 7th Street Theatre?

adios, senor pablo

it's like a grief-and-loss marathon around here.

this afternoon, pablo leon del norte,
prince of catalonia,
our beloved little teddy bear in a cat suit
left this life.

just a couple of days ago we were saying
how agile and graceful he'd grown
since he came into our lives
on 7.25.2004.

back then, he was all ears, whiskers,
paws, and tail. but he grew into them.
now we only wish we'd realized
that he could get so sick, so fast.

he was a beautiful, affectionate,
highly communicative creature
who gave lots of love and amused us with his antics
(both real and those we imagined for him).

now i can't walk around my house
without seeing him everywhere
and i reckon he'll stay in my dreams for awhile:
"lo-o-ok, meezlady, now i can fly for real!"

goodnight, sweet boy.

we love you forever, with all our hearts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

hank 'n' otis

i told myself i wasn't gonna spend the whole day today mourning the wreck room -- that's what yesterday was supposed to be about. but whatthehell. home nursing a sick cat, with a little help from hank williams the elder and otis redding.

self-tuning guitar

why in the fuck would i wanna pay $900 for a guitar that's smarter than i am?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

going back to new jersey a coupla weeks, so it'll be time for me to concentrate on being a son and brother for awhile. my mom's coming back to spend a few days with us, then heading on to california and hawaii. i'm hoping that being around folks will do her good. then it'll be time to reactivate the stoogeband.

still more wreck room pics

while we're speaking of that, here are chairman mel's and darrin's.

gideons on youtube

yep, it's out there...

wreck room pics @

fifty, count 'em fifty images are live now here. long live the wreck!!!

the nomads

the nomads from solna, sweden, one of the very best live bands anywhere, have a live dvd coming out in november, on munster records from espana.

the last me-thinks show at the wreck room

here are some shots i took while asian media crew-ing at the last-ever me-thinks show at the wreck room. my sweetie took a bunch more, friday through sunday nights, and she'll have them online soon on her photo blog.