Monday, May 31, 2010

5.31.2010, ftw

been listening to blues -- specifically muddy waters and related musics (sonny boy williamson, otis spann) -- for days now. it's instructive to remember how different my musical world is from the other cats in the li'l stoogeband, most of whose interest in music started with hardcore. (actually that's not completely true; hembree had lefty folkie parents and hurley's awareness of '60s and '70s rock styles is unusually deep for someone in his 30s.) still. for me, it was brit invasion to blues to detroit to zappa/beefheart to free jazz/classical to punk to funk. and while i haven't seen that many shows for someone who's been into music as long as i have, two of the most impactful ones were muddy waters (three times, actually) and john lee hooker, both in the late '70s. while i don't really participate in the subculture anymore, there are times when that music is all i wanna hear.

byron coley

attention rawk scrawl fans (are there such animals?): colossal four-part int with the influential forced exposure/arthur and almost every other rag you can imagine from the late '70s to now scribe, from perfect sound forever via t. tex. part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here.

5.30.2010, ftw ADDENDUM

had to have a nap before heading out. lately, it seems my sweetie 'n' i have swapped sleep patterns. she wakes up in the middle of the night, while i nod out listening to records until i finally crash around 10p and sleep like a brick until way later 'n usual.

headed out to lola's 6th via calvin 'n' cary's bbq. saw jesse the painter and his sweetie, phil hemsley, and various me-thinks. hated missing china kills girls and skitz o'fuel's sets, but i can't go the distance at these all-day (or long evening) events if we're playing last. the burrito bene was well-attended and raised over a grand for a good cause. kudos to amy kadleck for making it (and the project) happen for the last couple of years.

got my ears pinned back by e.lvis t.ook a.cid (the band formerly known as end this all) who had the slot before the stoogeband. these guys play a balls-out brand of metallic hardcore that's totally ready for prime time and made us work our asses off like nothing since we had to follow the dangits in the stockyards last november. yeah!

drummer philly the kid slams the skins relentlessly, a whirlwind of stick-spinning kick/snare/hi-hat action with phenomenal endurance; they opened with three fastuns with nary a break between 'em. guitarist johnny trashpockets fills every hole in the sound with intricate right-hand-muted picking, chordal thunder, and up-the-neck skree, and to top it all off, has a stage-dominating presence like the title character from predator. up front, brooks holliday tortures his tonsils while spitting out lyrics a lot more literate than your standard punk-rock fare; the lead track to their 2008 cd is a catcher in the rye reference, for chrissakes.

the e.t.a. boyzzz gots shows in ftw on 6.11 (the alamo) and 6.26 (the aardvark), with a tour of colorado in between. better believe the stoogeband will be doing some stuff with them when we return from hiatus in the fall. inspahrd by their example, we hit with an intent to earn our headline slot. we felt juiced enough to play fast 'n' loose with "funhouse" for awhile, and played "tv eye" and "i'm 18" after the setlist ran out just 'cause. ray's pre-show apprehensions about performing sans alcohol (doc's orders) proved unfounded; my man is rockaroll incarnate. jon's drumming is the most focused violence imaginable, hembree explodes out of himself with the sheer joy of playing, richard's guitarissimo adds a '70s hard rock edge that i find indispensable. i love this fucking band. see you in september.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

dennis hopper/gorillaz

5.30.2010, ftw

still in a bluesy mood: still mo' mud, otis spann.

sir steffin and cammi's wedding yesterday was one of the nicest we've attended. a beautiful evening in a lovely setting (the where house cleans up nicely) with the sweetest people i can imagine.

thankfully, ray's health issue, while not completely resolved, won't prevent us from playing the burrito benefit tonight. lasties until september. unless we play music awards. tonight, young ben marrow will celebrate his berfday by blowing tenor with us on "1970" and "funhouse."

off tomorrow. hoping for a run and lunch with miss aimee.

mo' mud

r.i.p. dennis hopper

another great one is gone. you know his big achievements.

my two favorite performances of his: the twilight zone episode where he plays an american neo-nazi who meets hitler, and the alcoholic basketball assistant coach in hoosiers.

and it turns out he didn't learn this just for apocalypse now.

woodeye reunion vids

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5.29.2010, ftw

laziness with a purpose. soundtrack today: muddy waters, folk singer and complete plantation recordings; sonny boy williamson, king biscuit time.

what a happy circumstance that the whole trajectory of this man's career was documented, from earliest semi-pro plantation days to stuff like this. no one ever led a better band.

the birds - "that's all i need you for"

compulsory listening this week: the collector's guide to rare british birds, anthology of ron wood's neighborhood band before he went on to play with santa barbara machine head, jeff beck, the creation, the faces, and england's meanest old man. cool brit mod r&b, just a notch below early who and small faces. yeah!

Friday, May 28, 2010


holy kind of blue, batman. apparently bluesman robert johnson's classic 1936-37 recordings were mastered at the wrong speed. once the hubbub dies down, there's a link where you can hear "come on in my kitchen" the way he actually played it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a veritable bonanza of my scrawl in the fw weekly

reviews i penned of new cd's by paul slavens, the cush, the panic basket, and joco are in this week's paper and online now.

richard thompson's "dream attic" out in august. sign up here to get email updates and a free download. thanks to t. tex for the link.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the kessler theater in oak cliff

best music venue in the metromess. so says me. sign up for their email updates and you could win free showtixxx. yeah!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Up till now I've been as oblivious to the hubbub surrounding the latest oppo for some corporation to make money off Exile On Main St. as I've been to the last episode of Lost. (I was slightly more attentive to the similar hubbub over the latest oppo etc. off Raw Power, my least favorite Stooges album, which still meant more to me personally, then and now, than anything the Stones ever did.) But now, listening to some live Stones from '72 (thanks, Frank and weshotjr), waiting for my kitchen and bathroom floors to dry, I suppose a few words are in order.

I wasn't a Stones fan back in the day. An elitist weirdo even as a snotnose, I suppose the Who and Hendrix were my Beatles and Stones. My ex-wife loved them to the exclusion of nearly all other music. I liked everything else. But I understand that back in '65, they were the grand avatars of Pissing Off the Grownups for lotsa Ameriteens -- without Brian Jones, no Ron Asheton. Sure, Eric Burdon (with the Animals) and Van Morrison (with Them) were better singers than Mick, but only Mick (the London School of Economics scholar) had the unmitigated audacity to ape James Brown's stage trip (having earned his stripes via the unenviable rite of passage of having to follow The Hardest Working Man In Show Business on The T.A.M.I. Show), and they (Brian?) had the integrity to insist on Howlin' Wolf's inclusion when they appeared on Shindig.

It was the Stones' peculiar blessing/curse to be the biggest band standing (the Beatles having abdicated the position -- consider the human cost of celebrity on that scale) at the precise moment (post-Woodstock) when the suits realized just how much money there was to be made off the "youth culture." Hence, the "world's greatest rock and roll band" hype, which the Baby Boomer sheep audience has bought into for years. (Who else -- the Eagles?) It didn't hurt that Keef had just hit his stride as a writer, fueled by an open G tuning he learned from Ry Cooder, a country vibe he caught off Gram Parsons, and a propensity for dissolution that's since been emulated by generations of impressionable young people, at their great peril.

(I'm ambivalent, to say the least, about that "junkie glamor" bullshit. I still get goosebumps when I hear some kid from Baltimore singing, "Keith don't go / To the town of Toronto / Keith don't go / Don't take away my fun" after Keef got popped in Canada and had to do the New Barbarians tour as his "community service." But I also know a couple of kids that died trying to live up or down to his example. So do you. And I say shame on him for that -- I don't care whether he told them to or not.)

The '69 Stones were the proximate model for just about every idiot band I heard when I was starting to play in the early '70s. The clean lines of Mick Taylor's solo style provided the template for slick lick artists like Steve Hunter and Rick Derringer -- a big leap forward from the early Stones records, where Brian and Keef's guitars were always a li'l bit out of tune. Even after they started performing mainly their own material (from Aftermath onwards), the Stones were still chasing the Beatles and Dylan, which they continued to do on Beggar's Banquet, their first of four great albums.

As great as I think Banquet is, I don't _ever_ need to hear "Sympathy for the Devil" again (thank you, "classic rock" radio), and one need only view Gimme Shelter to observe the results of Mick believing his bullshit press and "flirting with the dark side." Altamont must have scared the shit out of him, as the end of the '60s did a lot of people, and after that, the Stones have been ever more harmless entertainment ("My Grandpa Went To See The Rolling Stones and All I Got Was This T-Shirt"), the Stars ever more distant from their audience. (Ever seen the films of Robert Kennedy riding in an open car through L.A. on the day he was killed?)

"Street Fighting Man" is still a great song (even though the drums were recorded on a cassette player and sound like it), but it's a middle class opportunist's ironic comment on the Zeitgeist, not the call to arms many impressionable youngsters took it for back in '68, at their great peril. As much as I love "No Expectations" and "Parachute Woman" and "Prodigal Son" and "Factory Girl" and "Salt of the Earth," there's also the interminable Dylanesque "Jigsaw Puzzle" to kill the buzz at the end of the first side. (Kind of like "We Will Fall" on the first Stooges album, hmmm.)

Let It Bleed sounds even less like it was made by a _band_ (obvious multiple overdubs, producer Jimmy Miller's hamfisted drums on a few of the tracks). The anchor songs ("Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want") are stronger, and suffused with a compassion that was absent from their counterparts ("Sympathy" and "Salt of the Earth") on Banquet, but the songs in between just aren't as strong.

Sticky Fingers _did_ sound like it was made by a real band (touring tightened and toughened 'em up), and might just be their best album, notwithstanding the fact that I don't _ever_ need to hear "Brown Sugar" again (thanks, "classic rock" radio). It's an album full of interesting departures: the weird rhythmic flow of "Bitch," the Santana jam on "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" (which I was very impressed to hear executed note-for-note by a band at a high school dance ca. '73 that also did Beach Boys covers), the beautiful "Moonlight Mile."

It's instructive to remember how roundly Exile was panned on its first release (although the collective rockcrits of the time expended almost as much time/energy/effort forcing themselves to like it as they did Sly's There's A Riot Going On). It only became a "classic" in the fullness of time. Part of it is the similarity of tempo and tonality between the toons. Only a couple of real rockers here -- "Rip This Joint" (the strains of which I have fond memories of crossing the Mississippi River at Memphis with Tom Vincent and Brian Quigley to), "All Down the Line," "Happy." But the rest of the album is like a sonic bath, which is how most people that listen to albums (rather than just songs) treat them now, I think -- what else can you do with an 80-minute CD? (So no Exile, no Sandinista!) In that regard, Exile was ahead of its time.

I have no desire to hear the additional shit they're hawking with the new Exile: If you have a perfect record, what do you need to add to it? And re-recording/overdubbing old tapes seems more than a tad dishonest, although it'd be decent of M. Jagger to throw M. Taylor a few bones -- just look at Iggy's example, fella. But I may go out and score me a vinyl copy of the 'riginal, which I haven't owned in several years. (The closest thing to a Rolling Stones record in my house is a compilation of blues artists covering the Stones. I bullshit you not.) And I'm going to try and convince Terry Horn (who thinks the Stones are as unimportant as the Beatles and Elvis were -- another elitist weirdo) that HIO needs to make a recording entitled Exile On Montgomery St. So there.

pssst! hey, kid! wanna hear some live stones from '72?

if so, go ye to we shot j.r. and scroll down to the post titled "not new music" (the pic of keef is a dead giveaway) to download the stones' performance from houston, 6.25.72. yeah! thanks to frank cervantez for the coat-pull.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5.22.2010, ftw

today: slept in later than planned, which was marvelous. tonight: work. tomorrow: drag the big trash down to the street, mow grass (have to get a key to the back gate from dre so i can mow the alley), maybe a run.

Friday, May 21, 2010

5.21.2010, ftw

talked to jimmy recca, who played bass for the stooges in 1971, for two hours last night. spent eight hours transcribing the interview for easy action records today. label honcho carlton sandercock says when it's printed, the booklet containing the int will be sent out free to folks who bought the you want my action box set, and probably be made available as a free download for evabody else. nice.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

jeff beck - "over the rainbow"

just incredible...


you can't top the pop. just ask hank.

a new functional definition of "milking it" here.

why gen-y can't read nonverbal cues

from the wsj.

jeremy rifkin: "the empathic civilization"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

listening jack rose's kensington blues on vinyl. funny how one record can define an artist, even one that recorded prolifically (which jack unfortunately didn't live long enough to do). think bola sete's ocean, or sonny sharrock's ask the ages.

also: the first small faces album, on 180 gram vinyl that's like a damn manhole cover. as i wrote elsewhere, "the perfect blend of mod pop with r&b-based, feedback-laced rave-up ramalama."

townshend @ the secret policeman's ball, 1979

the who @ isle of wight, 1970

hearing this song on live at leeds when i was 13 changed my life. truly.

the high numbers @ the railway hotel, 1964

from these seeds...

the who @ forest hills, 7.31.1971

i was at this show.

5.19.2010, ftw

today i wrote five record reviews for the fort worth weekly, walked/ran from my house to my buddy's house on the other side of camp bowie from uncle julio's to the weekly office and back to mi casa, dumped greywater and compost, got the a/c serviced, did laundry, and had HIO drinkie-talkie at the bull & bush. tomorrow i'll work, then (if ceiling cat is merciful) do the interview that didn't happen a couple of weeks ago, probably sleep half the day, and wake up in time to meet the service tech who's hopefully going to be able to stop our fridge from leaking. yeah!

happy berfday whonose. sixty-five years young today. glad you didn't get what you said you wanted when you were 19.

guitar tech vs. local crew

adio, dio

ronald james padavona (1942-2010) was surely the only singer in history whose c.v. included both greasy '50s doowop and black sabbath. as augie rodriguez said, perhaps ronnie's jamming with cozy powell (see below, with ritchie blackmore's rainbow) as we speak. go easy, man.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5.17.2010, ftw

had the unusual experience of having a customer at the market tell me that she enjoyed HIO's performance at "other texas music." shit you don't think can happen, can happen.

my scrawl on the i-94 bar

a review i penned of the tweenage shutdown compilation -- primary school kids from sydney playing garage-rock classics -- is online now.

5.15.2010, oak cliff/5.16.2010, ftw

i asked for a weekend off, and for my sins they gave me one.

the stoogeaphilia show at tradewinds social club wound up being a goodun. was a little dubious when we showed up to load in, as the parking lot is the size of your ass pocket, and there was a sign warning patrons against parking in the lot across the street, as the owner of that lot was out of town and had failed to instruct his tow truck driver on the arrangement with trades. plus i forgot that every bar looks like shit in daylight.

we walked over to a taqueria to get some chow. the counter girl spoke only spanish until my sweetie spoke spanish back to her. then she switched to english. barbacoa burritos were succulent and filling.

then we discovered that tradewinds doesn't have a p.a. i saw hank tosh from the bipolar express, who'd played the night before, and he said they'd brought their own. this could have been a deal breaker, but as luck would have it, wanz dover was spinning records between sets and agreed to let us use his p.a. for voxxx. if we'd had singers less chill than ray liberio and daron beck (the latter performing in the guise of his "country" alter ego, d. wayne grubb), it might still have been a problem, but both of those guys like their voxxx low in the mix. in fact, once it was clear that wanz's p.a. was gonna be adequate for the task, daron told his accompanist dave coates (a.k.a. cut-throat thompson) to turn up.

d. wayne plays an open tuned guitar layed across his lap with a bar slide, while cut-throat strums away at the chords, using the identical rhythmic attack on every song. their repertoire was an unlikely batch of covers, starting out with iggy's "real wild child" and including some misfits toons and the motels' "only the lonely" -- the last note d. wayne sings on this one is otherworldly, like elvis' version of "blue moon" or something roy orbison might have sung. (daron says, "anything's country if you sing it low enough and slow enough.") hank tosh said they sounded like "an acoustic beasts of bourbon," and i wouldn't disagree. their between-songs dialogue was worth the price of admission all by itself.

hembree and i were sweating the size of the crowd -- not a lot of folks were there while d. wayne was playing, but a few filtered in while wanz was spinning a nice mix of garage, krautrock, and assorted oddities like beefheart's "click clack." and this:

hembree said later he counted 10 people; i counted twice that number, but some of them had come with us from the fort and some were probably regs at the trades. still, the bar must have done well, because both we and wanz got a payout -- hopefully daron too, but they cut out early -- which wasn't part of the original "pizza and beer" deal. (the pizza turned out to be excellent, too.) daniel gomez from goodwin (who lives a few blocks from the trades) was there, as were clay stinnett from the black dotz, alex atchley from naxat, and oak cliff photog david worthington.

before we hit, richard hurley said, "we're going to have to stand right here [indicating a spot in the middle of the floor]; it's gonna be a punk rock show." and for sure, it was. something about proximity to the audience makes us play harder, like we did on our stockyards extravaganza with the dangits. the sound in the room was good and tight, and we know how to balance our sound live. i could actually hear richard, which i can't lots of places we play.

the two sets we played were (i thought) a pretty good cross-section of what we do. daron guested on keys on "raw power" and "i wanna be your dog" to end the first set, while wanz blew tenor sax on "1970" and "funhouse" in the second. would dig to play the trades again, and do more shows with both d. wayne and the black dotz, when the stoogeband resumes gigging in september. (we're knocking it on the head for the summer after the fort worth burrito project benefit at lola's 6th on 5.30.)

i don't know if it was a function of the week i'd just had, which was filled with the kind of emotional highs that can be draining, even though they're good, but i wound up sleeping most of the following day, rising only to attend a graduation party at eagle mountain lake for the daughter of one of my sweetie's coworkers (who went to high school with clay stinnett and justin robertson; uncle walt was right!) and watch funny face with my sweetie later in the evening. a good weekend overall.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

scott morgan - "i need you"

d. wayne grubb

my scrawl on the i-94 bar

reviews i penned of new albums by scott morgan and james williamson & the careless hearts are online now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

the like me's

khmer pop rules!

marley + cash + strummer = perfection

the unifics

Friday, May 14, 2010

lou reed plays for dogs

no, i'm not making this up. from crawdaddy.

big muff pi

i've been borrowing one of these from ray for stoogeband use. it just sounds more lethal than the bluesbreaker, even though the bluesbreaker's switch is reliably operational again (thanks, marlin). might have to throw down some buxxx to get one over the summer.

5.14.2010, ftw

out pounding the pavement
hoping for more inspiration
and my morning runner's high.

pushing hard
gulping air
feeling my legs
push off
like pistons --
it's getting better.

the light mistthat falls
as i hit the last block
is a gift from god.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

we funk radio

great streaming funky music. thanks to katboy for the link. homepage here.

works in progress (at least in my head)

conversations with my father: inspahrd by my middle daughter (going the distance and shooting for her ph.d) and encouraged by the italian kid, i'm gonna try and make a book of this. i'll probably spend the rest of my life picking at it like a scab, which might provide my old man with a posthumous chuckle.

the color of the sound: a treatise on music and race in america: pretty pompous title. more a collection of observations from my life in music. inspahrd and encouraged by jason carney.

wreck room ghosts: see previous post.

5.12.2010, ftw

planning a run this morning, then have a long list of tasks in preparation for miss aimee's graduation dinner tonight. i was bragging on her to someone at work when they said something about "you're probably happy to be relieved of the financial burden." i made it clear to them that she did every bit of this by herself -- graduating magna cum laude and getting inducted into phi beta kappa while working at starbucks (to keep her and james' medical insurance) and looking after her sisters, her niece, her mom, etc.

auggie has a morning ritual where he walks around touching things with his front paw -- the bathroom door, the shower curtain, the kitchen wall, me -- as if to claim them.

sometime soon, whenever i have a day off when there's nothing else going on, i'm taking my notebook over to the old wreck room site and i'm going to sit there and write awhile. want to do it before they build some bullshit on the site. for lotsa folks i know, the wreck was just one in a series of spots they inhabited for a time, but as i sat out the '80s guarding freedom's frontier, it looms particularly large in my personal mythology. while i'm grateful to still have spots where my bands can play without having to hustle too hard, playing lola's palooza last weekend made me realize just how gone el wreck realy is.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

new gutterth podcast w/sarah jaffe online now!

listen here.

tweenage shutdown

best thing i've heard this month: tweenage shutdown, a compilation of '60s garage snot classics covered by primary school kids from sydney. review on the i-94 bar to follow. no novelty record here -- this stuff rips!

velton hayworth's stoogeaphilia pics from lolapalooza

...start here. apparently there was also a documentary about fort worth music being shot during the 'palooza. saw ray-boy talking to one of the interviewers before we hit. dre edmonson sez there were multi-camera shoots and multi-track recordings made of all the bands that played indoors, and most of those that played outdoors (ironically excluding his band, trailer park princess). film, as they say, at 11.

exit through the gift shop

a banksy film, playing at the angelika in dallas through 5.20.

Monday, May 10, 2010


now: a ramones biopic

from new york magazine.

Do You Make Jesus Want to Vomit (remixes)

the owl and the octopus remixes HIO. stream it now. limited edition cd's available soon. autoharp! kalimbas! field recordings! you'll thrill!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

pssst! hey, kid! wanna read a robert fripp bio?

thanks to jim conrad for the link.

forever young

a conversation between joe strummer and robert fripp

via arthur. i remember reading this when it first ran in musician back in '81 -- one reason why that was the last music rag i read with any regularity.

a whole shitload of HIO remixes

kavin allenson just posted his remix of our 5.1.2010 "other texas music" performance at fwcac here. t. horn just posted the first of several remixes here. yeah!

5.8.2010, ftw

a good day. saw my middle daughter graduate from tcu. looks like she's going the distance -- grad school with her eye on a ph.d. it'll be challenging while her husband is serving his active duty commitment after nursing school graduation in december, but i think she realizes now what i've known for a long time: that she can do anything she puts her mind to. i'm very proud of her. taking a day of va-ca on wednesday so we can cook her graduation dinner. and her big sister starts working at the market this week.

i'm doing a phone int with a guy in l.a. at 4am on tuesday. i asked him what time was best for him, and he said 2am. i forgot that it's two hours _later_ there than here. b'deah, i'm an idiot.

lola's palooza with the stoogeband at 8pm tonight. i should go to sleep, but sleep is eluding me, for some reason.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

amazing upside down guitar playing woman!

thanks 'n' a tip o' the fedora to big mike richardson for the link.

pssst! hey, kid, wanna hear a 79-minute grateful dead mix?

from arthur.

new coltrane doco

rock stars with their parents

...from life magazine, 1971.

luc ferrari and otomo yoshihide

Friday, May 07, 2010

jesse the painter gots a new website

...and it's here.

5.7.2010, ftw

realized i misread my niece's itinerary, and so i had time to run before miss aimee brought her cousin here from the airport. trying to do what t. horn suggested and listen to the music of everyday life more. with fresh eyes, every day is an explosion of light, color, and sound, to a degree i didn't fully comprehend as a consciousness-expanded snotnose (it's not the drugs, it's _life_, stupid). running the uphills on avenue de lafayette, saw more kids bagging school, and realized that when i was following the "bad influences" in my life, it wasn't in them that the "influence" resided, but in me. don't blow it, boys.

5.6.2010, ftw

went running and saw some stripling kids bagging school. put me in mind of my own school days. disappointed at my inability to find anyone at work who's seen slc punk, so i can tell them there was a customer who reminded me of mark.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

HIO on tonefreak podcast

we're on kavin allenson's tonefreakin' podcast #1. yeah!

my scrawl in the fw weekly

because i didn't get any line edits, i didn't find out that the weekly was running a couple of reviews i wrote awhile back (along with one by fine fella cole garner hill) as today's music feature until a coworker asked me about it. but they did.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

HIO in the dallas observer

jesse hughey runs the rule over HIO's a box of hentai in this week's observer.

Out Into The Abyss Of Night

Download the new track from Joe and the Sonic Dirt from Madagascar. Reminds me of the background music to the Warhol dream sequence from Lou Reed and John Cale's Songs for Drella.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

5.4.2010, ftw

read something i liked very much in the 4.28.2010 "hearsay" column in fw weekly:

"Listeners willing to embrace a wider view of what constitutes something as primal as music might open themselves to a more generous view of life in general. The world is much larger, much more complicated, and much less black and white than anyone can truly comprehend."

listening to a recording of the stooges a couple of nights ago in london. james' guitar has more bite and mackay sounds better integrated than they did in the 4.17.2010 lille show. sure, it's more entertainment than life-or-death now, but these guys earn it every time out the box. the stooges always win.

"watch out for your ears!"

Monday, May 03, 2010

carl orff - gassenhauer

this is the music the 3/4 shit we were playing at fwcac reminded me of. i first heard it in terrence mallick's film badlands. go fig.

5.3.2010, ftw

tried unsuccessfully to make contact with the interview subject for writing project #3, so did some tinkering with writing project #2, then realized there was no way in hell i was going to recapture the flow of writing project #1 this week, so now i'm drinking wine and waiting for the clothes to finish drying. feh.

other texas music pics online

ross reitzammer's pics of friday and saturday night's shows are here. check 'em out.

stooges last night

pinkish black

thunder road bites the dust

a little snippet of fort worth history from josh alan friedman.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

5.1.2010, ftw

mayday is lei day in hawaii, and 5.1 was the second date of "other texas music," other arts impresario herb levy's anthology of "new music in uncommon genres by north texas composer/performers." i had to close friday night and so missed gerald gabel, the duo of sometime HIO collaborators tammy gomez and ramsey sprague, stashdauber buddy kavin allenson in his "breaking light" guise, and david bithell. spent saturday morning writing (but not the way i thought i would) and didn't get to attend my granddaughter's birthday party as i'd hoped (politics, i think) before mr. horn fell by to pick me up to ride over to the fort worth community arts center, where we'd be performing in the sanders theater.

these days, i just bring my amp and cord bag with an assortment of stomboxes and beaters to HIO gigs, and play whatever is in terry's toybox that particular day. we had a 4pm soundcheck time (for a 10pm set) that hickey couldn't make because those animals just have to eat at 5pm every day, no exceptions. the sanders theater is the same space where tammy had her bike play performed a few years back, and it's a good sounding (if fairly acoustically dead) space -- a big change from the li'l room at the kessler and especially the vortex, where we last performed.

terry and i plugged in and ops checked our respective rigs and the three live mics we'd requested, then adjourned to j&j's oyster bar for some grub and the grotto for some beers, then walked back to the fwcac, where we met hickey, unloading his gear. he drove us to the bull and bush and we walked over to doc's (where jenkins has small faces and jack rose vinyl on order for me), then back to the b&b for pre-gig drinkie-talkie. dan mcgraw was there and terry captured some "field recordings" for use during our set. i ran into tom and jodi theodore (happy anniversary, kids!) while coming back from the can and returned to find that terry had taken off for dairy queen to get steak fingers. i hate waiting to play more than almost anything.

we made it back to the fwcac midway into james talambas and paul thomas' set. i first encountered james when he was playing percussion with the theater fire at the wreck room and jumped offstage to play a very energetic solo. he used to mix sound at the firehouse gallery, and now dj's at the usual (for which he had to unass early this particular evening). he played a variety of prepared guitars, autoharps, and other instruments while paul did a chalk drawing. at times, his musical accompaniment was inaudible. during the best moments, the two of them locked in rhythmically, and the results were interesting both musically and visually.

swirve followed, chris curiel blowing trumpet and triggering samples while his wife tamitha flowed verse. (drummer gerard bendiks was m.i.a.) i saw chris with ghostcar six or seven years ago, while karl poetschke was away on one of his cruise ship adventures. he uses electronics extensively, layering harmonized parts and blowing sparse solos over the top. i would have dug it if i could have heard tamitha's verse better, but she's an energetic and engaged performer.

after an intermission (during which hickey set up his shit, then he and terry adjourned to mickey d's for coffee), curiel's ex-flipside bandmate paul unger played a bass-and-drums set with max oepen that was my fave of the night. while in a sense it was just "jazz cats doing improv," with max employing some extended techniques and paul running his upright through a battery of f/x, their set had a good flow and some incandescent moments. would dig to hear them doing some more of this, and i sense that that's more than a possibility.

i was very unsatisfied with our performance while it was going down. i could hear terry only intermittently, and when hickey had problems with his equipment, i had the impression that i was the only one playing. i moved between plastic and wood flutes, acoustic and electric kalimbas, percussion and CBG, although of course nothing functioned the way it had during sound check. afterward, both herb and his wife carol told me that we were quieter than at sound check, to which i responded, "that was because i couldn't hear terry." i should have told him to turn up when i went over to ask him if he wanted to do anything with the dvd player and monitor he'd brought. oh well.

listening to terry's recording this morning, i realized that there was a pulse in 3/4 that he was playing which reminded me of the theme music to _some_ film about children, the name of which escapes me and which i was locked in with, even though i couldn't hear it. there was also a sound (overlaid kalimba parts in 3/4 plus CBG-through-computer) like a ticking clock that reminded me of the climactic confrontation scene from the movie hook. it created a nice tension in the music. my sweetie said the first part of the piece where i'm blowing plastic flute over terry's computer-generated rumbles sounded "like a train station," which put me in mind of partch's "u.s. highball." so i guess it wasn't a total failure.

afterward we adjourned with the other musos, herb and carol to the b&b, where i opined that HIO needs to start drinking at places where they serve food. hickey suggested the flying saucer and edelweiss. i dunno about those in particular, but it seems like a no-brainer to me. unless t. horn just likes having to go walkabout for food.

HIO @ "other texas music," 5.1.2010

audio from last night's show is online now at

ADDENDUM: mr. horn changed the title of the piece to "do you make jesus want to vomit?" HAHAHAHAHA.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Nice Chat with Michael Henry Tillman

Michael Henry Tillman’s music is soulful, saudade, and soothing without being saccharine. This past Thursday at the Kessler Theater, I watched him perform two sets – one just solo guitar, the other adding his own vocals (for an example, see Jeff Liles' vid below).

Tillman's technique is classical-Spanish-cum-jazz; he plays pianistically in the manner of cats I dig like Bola Sete, Lenny Breau, or solo Joe Pass, with some flamenco-derived fireworks and a lot of percussive right-hand action. He sings well, too, in a strong, clear voice that’s less individuated than lots of songsters, but also less mannered. This morning I yakked online with the Dentonite while burning CD-R’s and procrastinating on another writing project.

K: The repertoire you select is interesting and I'm curious how you came to be interested in the styles you play.

M: It's a bit convoluted. I started on a Gretsch electric.

K: So not afraid of big fat bodies.

M: Had two lessons from John Hyatt in 1990, before he moved to LA. Then I moved to Yorktown, TX, to live with Dad -- no teachers. Began teaching myself.

K: What was your original impetus to play?

M: A classmate, Dan Phillips. Played Metallica and was a b-a-d-a-s-s. I saw him play and for the first time saw an avenue that would let me “be cool,” if I were like him. I was a pretty loner kinda kid for various reasons. Starting with allergies -- no sports. After moving to south Texas, I played lots of love ballads and found a friend to duet with on stuff at UIL events. We learned very quickly what the value was of being the only two guys that girls would actually crowd around. My junior year, I thought i was gettin’ pretty good. So I wanted to compete. I was told it had to be classical.

K: So you were playing fingerstyle already?

M: Whoops -- can't skip that. Yes, I started playing fingerstyle a Christmas before because I was trying to make a Christmas tape. The electric was running away from me, but I happened to have a classical borrowed from mom. I start playing it and found I could bite into the notes, control them, make them do what I wanted. I made my tape and never went back from fingerstyle. Then for UIL, I still had no teacher. They gave me a list (it had to be classical if I was to compete); I went to Victoria and found the sole album of classical guitar [there]. I learned a piece off of it -- Scarlatti's Sonata in Em. “Wrong” positioning and a steel string guitar, but I still put in a good performance. But I learned the piece completely by ear, and it turned out correctly.

K: Paul Quigg and I have talked about that – the expressiveness of the nylon-string.

M: I love the subtlety of nylon strings. I love jazz on nylon. But it's rarely done well.

K: You do that solo Joe Pass pianistic thing really well.

M: That is the best compliment I have ever received! I usually have to explain to people who Joe Pass is.

K: That was the first thing I noticed when you were playing in the li'l room at the Kessler.

M: Well, I went from that to having a fall out with Dad, so no music school. But five years later I was still floundering at A&M, had a panic attack, walked of campus and never looked back. Starting gigging five nights a week. But while at A&M, I met many students of different nationalities because of the nylon guitar. Nylon strings are more common in mainstream music in pretty much every country. Except us.

K: I was about to say -- the universal language of guitar.

M: But that was my intro to Paco de Lucia, Gipsy Kings, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and I would get CDs from Koreans, Turks, South American, Spanish, French, Austrian students. And try to play the songs for them to impress them. The “Desperado” song, for one. “Bamboleo.” “Girl from Ipanema.”

K: A pretty good way to get a musical education.

M: Then I used the internet to search like things and build a repertoire of different pieces of music. For a long time I did a lot of classical repertoire; problem is it’s rather stiff compared to jazz. But the Brazilian music -- very good combination. Rhythmic, jazzy, nylon.

K: Very sensuous. And lets you play all the music, rather than just "guitar."

M: So after being flustered with flamenco for so long I finally realized -- I want to be “Brazilian” more than anything. Now, I do sing lots of Spanish, but there's a pretty strong Brazilian influence in it. However, all the rasgeado -- that comes from my time trying to learn flamenco.

K: Very fiery and dynamic.

M: At some point I'll give it a stronger go, but there’s only so much time in the day to learn “absolutely everything about guitar playing.”

K: That's a lifetime study. How fluent are you in Spanish? Conversationally, I mean.

M: Not fluent enough, but I'm working on it. Spanish fluency is one of my major summer projects this year.

K: Are you supporting yourself through music, or do you have another gig?

M: Well, I was supporting myself solely through guitar playing 'til 2008. Then disaster struck.

K: How so?

M: Love. I stopped playing completely, got a job, and then, via discussions with my “love,” decided to go back to music school and get a related job so that when we were married, I would be happy and have a stable job (teaching, or something similar, but a steady paycheck as goal.) My grades being bad from A&M, I went to Brookhaven. Got straight A’s. She was in law school and moved to Austin. which was only a 2 year deal. But that was long enough for her to get tired of me. She left me the day before I got accepted to TWU. I held on hard, but I was always the one with the positive outlook. She was afraid she'd have to pay for my schooling. But anyway, now I'm in TWU, I'm studying music education and am going to finish with cello. Depending on how much sense it makes, I may or may not go for graduate study. Ideally, I learn the cello well enough to pursue grad work and eventually get symphonic work and do gigs/recordings when possible.

K: Have you done any recordings of your guitar/vocal stuff?

M: I'm recording an album of originals now (all guitar.) Once that is done, I’m going to do another album that will be vocal covers (like the Buena Vista Social Club’s “Chan Chan” [see Liles' vid below]), but they will also feature lead work. I have about 16 originals to record once school is out. And an accordion! Any instrument you play adds something to your primary instrument, assuming you’re engaged and not just screwing around with it.

K: Sounds like a busy summer.