Monday, July 28, 2008

when i was 5

J's operation is set for next friday
we're thankful because they had originally mentioned doing it on gavin's birthday
that would have been terrible
now it's just down to waiting
and hoping for the best

sunday night lefler and i played some of the my songs at barley
it was a lot of fun
i also really enjoyed my wednesday night set
with holt
i think i might be making more impromptu appearances there over the next few months
we had so much fun in fact that
lefler's going to sit in with me for friday's show
at the city tavern
opening for jayson bales

the last few days have been good
but a bit strange
a wave of nostalgia swept over me
and on saturday i got caught up in the project
of tracking down all of the late '60s and early '70s photos
of my childhood
that were scattered in various places
they were in shambles
spread out in old rotting scrapbooks
my parent's had

once i rounded them up
i put them in a decent new book
in chronological order
it got me thinking about these days right now
with our son
about to turn 5
and how fast they're going
it doesn't feel like i was ever 5
that child i was
only here so briefly and then morphed into a teen
and then a young adult
and so on
i can't help but think of how much i'll miss the gavin
i know right now
with all of his sweetness and joy
i know i'll love the next phase of his developement
but it's always hard to let go
we're always letting go
always saying goodbye
or getting ready to
i want to hang on to these days for as long as i can
but they're always gone so quickly

i remember almost nothing of being 5
so many beautiful moments
just gone
without a trace
only a handful of photos that offer a glimpse
the only proof i have that they ever even happened
as i look at the pictures
of that child i used to be
i wonder about how many happy times i had with my father
that were only washed away by the angst of adolescence
washed away to yield nothing but a strained adult relationship
and more bitter and bad memories than good
the young child remembers almost nothing
but the parent always remembers that beautiful child
and how much they loved them
and that's why we document these moments
to try and hang on
and remember somehow
i wish i could crawl into those old photos
for only a minute
and be there again
just to know how it felt to be 5
and love my parents with all of my heart

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the waiting

i crashed holt's weekly barley show earlier tonight
we rolled through a 5 of my "oldies"
with eric neal on bass
"so down"
"the world is full of people"
"don't be afraid"
and then 2 that i'd never played with chris or eric before
"be here now"
and "in the blink of an eye"
eric had never even heard either of them
i thought he did a commendable job following us
no wonder he was up for best instrumentalist with chris
they're both major talents
it was a lot of fun for me
and at least 100 times more fun the my saturday night show
it felt good to break that streak
i hadn't played barley since jayme's birthday
in february
i think i'm going to go back up there on sunday
to play again
because i want to wish a good friend of mine
a happy birthday

i was planning on staying out until at least 2 tonight
once my friends the bonner brothers ducked out
it was time for me to go too
so here i am now
type typing away
it's only 1
i don't feel like sleeping right now
i'm feeling restless again
maybe because jayme meets with the doctors tomorrow
to decide when her operation is going to be
and go over the plan
we're still kind of in a daze about it
i'm not sure it's hit me yet
i can assure you though
if it were me going under the knife i'd be in the fetal position somewhere
trying to sort out my feelings
i admire her strength
she's actually not only my wife
but a hero of mine too
hospitals are scary
operations too
we all hope to avoid them
i guess eventually
we all have to spend time there
i'm hoping for the best tonight
please send jayme some of your good luck thoughts
this could end up being a really minor thing
or a big deal
that's why it's so weird right now
we just don't know anything yet
we're in the dark
and hoping for the best
i guess that's the way life is most of the time

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ok - i accept

thank you to all of you who voted
for me
looks like i won best producer again
3rd year in a row
i do really appreciate it
and am honored
i didn't want anyone to misinterpret
"dangerfield syndrome" as me not being grateful
i am
i don't take it for granted
it's nice to be recognized for doing good work
i went many many years without those kind of
i suspect i could've easily continued down that path
if it weren't for people like jayme and rip
coming into my life
i appreciate you both everyday of my life
(thank you also to lisa for all your efforts in spreading the word!)

to all the talented and cool musicians that have graced pleasantry lane
over the past year
without each and every one of you
this studio of ours would've been lonely
and sad

becky middleton
owen obel
winslow bright
the cut-off
flat people
the last ones on earth
the old 97s
jayson bales
travis hopper and elkhart
fate lions
the spring standards
rachel bazooka
dave little
carter albrecht
john kenny
john lefler
jay gummer
pat mckanna
chris holt
eric neal
daniel hopkins
richard martin
rick nelson
john dufilho
don cento
james driscoll
tj prendergast
black tie dynasty
blackheart society
rahim quazi
and johnny citizen

i love you all


Monday, July 21, 2008

dangerfield syndrome

casa nourallah is wiped out today
my voice is gone
my hands are sore from playing guitar last night
i feel like crap
jayme is much worse
for 6 months she's been living with a pain in her stomach
that keeps getting more intense
today it's so bad she can't get out of bed
next week the doctors decide when the operation
is going to be
she's been in pain for so long i don't think
she remembers how it feels to wake up
and feel normal

yesterday's multiple fiasco's have left me with a bad taste in my mouth
d.o. nominees were told to PROMPTLY show up for photos
yesterday at noon
anyone arriving past 12:30 would be excluded - with !!!!
when i pulled up about 30 rockers
were standing on main street
sweating their asses off in the boiling sun
most of them wearing black
the backsliders wearing black suits!
so everyone stood around for half an hour
no photographer in sight
no one from the observer either
j. bonner cracked "right now i bet they're somewhere else
taking the winners photos - they're just gonna speed
past us and snap a pic outta the window shouting - LOSERS!!"
mind you
this is already a beleaguered group
anyone who's tried to play music in this town for more
than 5 years has been beaten down to a certain extent
by the general apathy
so we might be a bit more sensitive to insults
than - let's say - our seattle equivalents
at 12:40 here comes the photographer shuffling up the street
i wish i had a photo of all the dirty looks he got
when we got inside to ahhh - air-conditioning!!
it became clear this was gonna be a long afternoon
he scurried around trying to get his lights set up right
then explained the plan
he wanted to shoot each musician individually
then do a couple of different group shots
i predicted this would take between 3 to 4 hours
i unfortunately had to split
so he graciously snapped my pic and i left
later on i heard they were asked to pose with clown
noses on and then take a group shot in front of an american flag
i thought both of those ideas sounded inane
i'm glad i wasn't there to decline both invitations

when i got to stout around 10
it was even worse than i had imagined
a dirty pub with no stage
the slack was set up on the floor
trying to make due
the volume of the p.a. was earsplitting
if i was there to see a show
i would have lasted .3 seconds
and left
how could i expect anyone to actually enjoy our set
under these circumstances?
dallas musicians are already stuck in a town where things are difficult enough
non-existent support from local radio
and a music press that has reluctantly handed out kudos
and ignored scores of deserving and talented musicians
it's no wonder that so many dallas musicians suffer from a bit of
dangerfield syndrome
feeling like we get no repect
i couldn't help but think to myself
"so this is the reward for dallas musicians?"
a half-assed "showcase" spread out between 5 dive bars
on lower greenville?
sponsored by hooters?
3 of the 5 clubs are not even actual music venues
the other 2 dubious at best
instead of it being a triumphant celebration
it was just a sad reflection on the current state of dallas music
10 years ago we would've been in deep ellum
standing in real music venues with real p.a.'s and stages
lights even
can you imagine that?
but it's all over now baby blue
deep ellum went from thriving in '98
to almost dead in 2008
and no one seems that interested in trying to save it
i don't understand why the observer couldn't have
taken a chance and done something in deep ellum
tried to inject a much needed shot in the arm
to that area
would that have scared off the hooters girls?
between dada, curtain club and liquid lounge
they'd still have 3 clubs within walking distance that would've been
better than sugar shack, stout and the billiard bar
was it too radical to consider this?
or did the dollars and sense just not work out
to their benefit?
i'd like to know...

our set at stout was only saved by the rabid enthusiasm
we were greeted with
a line of girls right up in front
singing along and smiling at us
their happiness was inspiring
so i pressed on with a good attitude for them
i ignored the meatheads requesting freebird
and repeatedly calling out for lynard skynard
i just made fun of them instead
i ignored the worst sound i've experienced in 20 years of performing
(i actually stopped playing guitar because it was pointless)
i ignored the fact that i couldn't even hear the sound of my own voice
or anything other than the boom-crack of drums
no fault of the soundguy either
that's what you get when you try to do live music in a venue not designed
for it
our fans made it bearable
that was the only reason
i just wished they could've been treated to a better sounding show
in a better setting
they deserve at least that much

so there you have it
my thoughts on the dallas observer showcase '08
whether you wanted them or not
i'm not trying to be a critical jerk
or bitchy bastard
i just think it's important to speak out about these things
if we ever hope to make it better
i think if the d.o. polled the other musicians involved
in this showcase
most of them would agree
it was a bummer

Saturday, July 19, 2008

the analyzer

i never thought i'd say this
it sure feels good to be back in dallas
actually it feels good to be HOME
the dallas part is neither here nor there

i'm playing a dive bar called stout on lower greenville tonight
with the noise
it's part of the dallas observer awards "showcase"
i'm looking forward to seeing the guys
and making some racket
it's been 2 months since our last gig
and tonight i feel like it's been
almost been forever
the new record has been buzzing 'round my head non-stop
these past couple of months
so it felt a little weird running through
a few of my "oldies" earlier today
i was trying to re-fresh my memory on how a few of them went
now that i haven't played them in a while
i wish we were playing something new tonight
i guess it's time for me to start thinking about that
and what i want to do as far as performing the next record
always plans to make
always another step to take
G wanted to hear polaroid tonight on the way to grandma's
it had been a long time since i'd last listened to that one
he intently took it all in
sternly sucking his thumb and concentrating on the sounds
i'd glance in the rear view mirror
and it almost looked like he was studying
with his little furrowed brow
after "everybody wants to be loved" he asked me
"dada - is that one about me?"
i told him "yes,
i wrote that for you when you were still in moma's belly..."
"why?" he said
"well, i wrote this whole cd while we were waiting for you gava
because knowing that you were coming made me think about and feel alot of things
i'd never felt before"
by the time we got to "we did some things"
we were in plano
listening to polaroid i couldn't help compare it
to the new one
is it really any better?
how would i ever be the one to know?
time has such a weird way of warping our senses
it's only been 4 years since that record came out
such a big step for me
my first solo record in 36 years
i meticulously thought through each mix
slaved away at it
for months
before i finally signed off on it
it was so hard to let go
and send it out into the world
i wanted it to be perfect
today i wonder...does anyone even still listen to that thing?
my dad's never even heard it i bet
joining most of the rest of the world
in a rousing sigh of "who cares..."
all that work
for what?
why do i make these things?
what keeps pushing me onward?
i guess i've always just pushed forward
i do it because it's in my blood
it's all i know to do
whether anyone else notices or cares
i keep going
my son's interest made me feel good
it made me feel glad i've done this with my life
that i've spent my life making these little records
instead of something else
it doesn't matter after all how many people hear them
it's how he feels about when he grows up
it's how my wife feels about it
it's how i feel about it
and it's also you that matters to me as well
if you like 'em
then i'm flattered
and honored

thank you for tuning in



Friday, July 18, 2008

the end of round 3 feels like round 15

bruce hughes showed up around 12:30
with a giant upright bass
crammed into his blue bmw sedan
i'd seen him over the last 10 years many times
at bob's shows
but never really got to hang out with him much
he was all smiles
and really gracious
a phenomenal bass player
and pleasant gentleman
we brought up "endless dream days" first for him
it was interesting playing it for him
and getting his reaction
because i haven't played this stuff to anyone
he said at first it made him think of sigur ros
but then he realized it wasn't that at all
he seemed to like it
which made me feel good
this guy's heard a lot of tunes in his day
and i knew he didn't throw compliments around lightly
we did 6 takes of bass on dream days
the last one with him bowing a bit
for something different
the stuff he put down sounded great
i think it was just what the song needed
to finish it off
after that we brought up "saint georges"
he listened to it once
then we rolled
he pretty much nailed it on the first pass
but then we rolled another take just as a "safety"
billy had to split at 3 so it was perfect timing
at 6 billy and i re-convened for some rough mixes
by the time we said goodbye around 9
i realized this past week had taken a lot outta both of us
we were mentally exhausted
i couldn't stand another second of the sound of my own voice
warbling these tunes
i wanted to erase every vocal i heard and start over
i know it was irrational
but i was worn out
a lot of time and effort went into what we did these past 8 days
carefully adding to these recordings
walking the tightrope we'd laid out
trying not to fall off on the wrong side and mess things up
trying to make a decent record is a painstaking process
i love being here but
i'm ready to go back to dallas
i need a decent night of sleep
i miss our home
i miss our routine
i need time to consider where this record is at
and what needs to be done to finish it
right now i feel like i need to step away from it
for at least a week or two
before i can objectively see it for where it really is
it's only the end of round 3
but it feels like i've been tko'd in 15

Thursday, July 17, 2008


i knew by the smile on billy's face
when he opened his front door
that today was going to be better
he was almost perky
maybe just shy of it
right away he suggested that we have a go at
"stranger in my own skin"
"we can play the bass and drums at the same time - it'll be fun"
i agreed
i stood and played my fender p-bass
in the control room
while billy played the drums in the garage
it was the first session this week
that had the energy of our first two weeks
time flew by
it felt good
even though this song proved to be quite the bitch
we worked on the drums for almost 6 hours
both of us pretty tired by the end of the day
but still feeling good
we tried all kinds of things especially at the beginning
of the song
to try and get the drums to fit in right
i think it was worth the time and effort
in the end i left feeling really good about our day
even though that's all we worked on
tomorrow bruce hughes is coming over
to play upright bass on "endless dream days"
he's a fantastic bass player
i've never had the upright on any of my records
so this will be a first for me
i imagined it on this song
but wonder if it'll fit
we have a lot to do tomorrow
so billy wants to get started at 11
other than the bass we've gotta make rough mixes
of the entire record
it's been a crazy week
J and G are here now and i don't think i could've waited
another day
i was so happy to see them drive up this afternoon
i felt like it had been a month
i'm really glad i don't have a job that takes me away
from them often
just another thing i feel very grateful for

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

lisa and lee plus the funmaker

well richie came through
kind of
i still spent 2 hours staring at the ceiling
wide awake
before i drifted off
to noura-la-la land
i even sang his song in my head
to try and bring on the big sleep
but hundreds of thoughts filled my head instead

when i woke up this morning it was tough getting going
but once i did
i felt much better
even like a human being again!
i went for a nice run
with some really good tunes coming in on shuffle
"helicopter" by bloc party (which was a great one to start to)
"human kindness" by neil finn
"ali in the jungle" by the hours
just to name a few
when i got home billy called and asked if we could
move our start time back to 2:30
so lisa and i had some extra time on our hands
we had lunch which she'd kindly prepared
it was excellent as always
she's a fabulous veggie cook!
then we went to the post office and mailed the last
of the promo cds she's been sending out for me
she's been diligently working on trying to spread the word
sending snowing in my heart out to radio stations
coast to coast
without her efforts it wouldn't hvae been done this time
i don't feel like i have the proper words to thank her
or show my all of my appreciation
i am deeply grateful to her though

in case you didn't already know
lisa and lee are a significant reason as to why i'm here
making this record with billy
without their generous friendship
and hospitality
i wouldn't be here
the fact that they live less than 2 miles from
billy's house is not just a freaky coincidence
but also the final sign that screamed at me
to come do this
it still amazes me that we met one SXSW 4 years ago
while waiting to see the trash can sinatras play
i had no idea that striking up a conversation
with these 2 people would end up changing my life
so much for the better
was it fate?
who knows
but it was definitely good luck
they've both been at the center of everything i've done
these past few years
thank you L and L i love you both very much

as far as recording today
well our beleaguered middle aged protagonists
were a bit better today
i felt a lot better than yesterday at least
we worked some more on "pictures"
and billy finally played his orange framus electric
the coolest guitar i've ever seen
he ran it through a vintage delay pedal
and it sounded really cool
i think some of the parts he put down were good
but for some reason i was reticent in jumping in with
any opinions or guidance
i also re-cut my bass part
with billy's rickenbacker
once again i was sort of zoned out
i don't know how the part turned out really
i guess it was acceptable if not terribly inspiring
when we signed off on the song i was only tired of listening
to it and had no perspective what-so-fucking ever as to whether
it was worth a toss or not
i can only cringe when i imagine how sick of it billy must've been
welcome to the highs and lows of recording!
we brought up "the wrong road" next
billy added an organ part straight from the wurlitzer funmaker
that was pretty awesome
it was the best moment of the day
i think we both even smiled a little
the organ greatly improved the vibe of the track for me
and made me wish again
that i had my very own funmaker
maybe someday...
one can only dream right?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

will sleep come down?

i'm really messed up today
i only slept 2 hours last night
it's been 4 or 5 days in a row now
with hardly any sleep
it's beginning to add up in a terrible way
i feel worse than horrible
when i got to billy's at 12:30
he looked like shit too
he said he was feeling down
i didn't know what to say
we were both the walking wounded today for sure
there are bound to be good days and bad
this one fell on the latter half
so we limped along
it wasn't gonna stop us
just slow us down a bit
i was feeling really guilty today that billy had to play drums
it's just that i'm done with all of the things i do ok
like singing acoustic guitar and bass
i wished i could play the drums today
i would've given the poor guy a break
but he was a trooper
as always
with a gentle smile
and positive attitude
even though i knew he was hurting
he cut some acoustic guitars on "pictures collected"
then sang some really nice waterloo sunsetish backing vocals
i was sitting on the striped orange chair
listening with headphones
when he came in after fiddling with the mix for an hour
all i said was "it sounds you know jeff healey died?"
i think it made him feel like i wasn't appreciative
i was
but i was just f'ed today
morose and stupid
i felt bad again after that happened
we spent awhile on the drums
a couple of hours at least
it was taxing us both
we were like to sumo wrestlers in quicksand
grasping for something to pull us out of the sludge with
billy had to call it at 6:30
because he's playing with bob at the saxon
i can't imagine going to play a gig tonight
in the state i'm in
i felt bad for him again
i'm going to try and turn in early tonight
and pray to richard butler
that sleep comes down

Monday, July 14, 2008

the beat detective

i got out of bed at 10
i could've said "woke up"
but i never really got to sleep
it was more like passing out for brief periods of time
and then coming to over and over again
my legs were wobbly when my feet touched the carpet
i felt like utter and total shit once again
but i forced myself to lace up the sneakers
strap on the i-pod
and go for a run
that's the best idea i had all day long
i promise you
L and L's neighbourhood is perfect for running
with jogging trails and parks galore
it felt great to do it
and it was easy
i think i went further than ever before without stopping
at 11:30 we went back to _______
how about you guess it?


my 3rd day in a row
i was ready for the staff to greet me at the door
ushering in their newest devotee
and just in case you're dying to know
their breakfast tacos were good
but i'm still holding bolden creek at number 1 in austin

billy and i started the day with "be here now"
we're in the weird part of record making
that is super slow going
billy put it like this..."we've already made the magic
now adding to it is just a process of not fucking things up"
i wholeheartedly agree
the bulk of this record is finished
the vibe is there
most things are really working well together
so now we have to be pretty careful about not adding
the wrong elements and throwing the whole thing outta whack
we both agreed "be here now" was basically finished
even the rough mix sounded pretty close
we just needed to replace some of the canned drum loop bits
with real drums
billy put his 60s ludwig kits in the amp room
because i thought we'd get a less roomy sound in there
due to the heavy velvet curtains and thick carpet
i was really happy with the drum sounds
but still liked our "fake" kickdrum sound more
we ended using a combo of the real sidestick
with a mixture of fake and real kickdrum sounds
(sorry for losing the none musicians here!)
next song up was "in the blink of an eye"
which already had one of the best rough mixes going
we needed some drums at the end though
and i knew they were going to be tricky
this time we moved them into billy's converted garage
a room we hadn't really used yet
it's located adjacent to his living room
and has thick shag carpet in it plus a high ceiling
and rectangular bass traps on the walls
it's also really hot in there because there is no
air vent
i knew billy was gonna sweat his ass off
and i felt kinda guilty about it
i'd been hearing a loud thumping floor tom part
on this song for 2 months
and after letting billy try some ideas
i suggested it to him
we worked on the drums to just 45 seconds of this song
for over 2 hours
trying to get the right part down
it was tricky stuff
billy ended up tracking the kick
and toms on separate tracks to give us more mix options
also because we weren't really sure of which parts we
really liked
if they had all been done at once it would've been
impossible to pick and choose
then he used the beat detective to sync 'em all up right
watching the detective was pretty boring stuff
man i hope i get some sleep tonight el catzu!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

head games

billy didn't get home from his gig until 5:30am
and i didn't get to bed until 4am
because of some bizarre extenuating circumstances
maybe i'll tell the tale someday but right now
i can't bring myself to do it!
b.h. and s.n. were both a couple of sorry
worn out middle aged rock dudes today
i had low expectations for what we would accomplish
that's for sure
we kicked it off with a 12-string electric snippet
i had for "don't mind me"
then i played a little bass
after that billy added some nice juno-60 keyboard pads
and then sang some really high airy harmonies
on the chorus
we fiddled around with the mix some more
and took out the bass and drums entirely
we weren't blazing any tracking trails but considering
our previous night's experiences with lack of sleep
i'd still say we did ok
billy had another show tonight with bob schneider
this one at gruene hall
about an hour south of austin
we split at 6:30 to go to dinner
we had a fair amount of time to kill
'cause he didn't need to be at gruene until 10
he wanted to hit this mexican place across from mother's
but when we sat down he figured it wasn't gonna take long enough
it was more like a fast food joint
so we just went across the street to mother's
i wasn't protesting
that's for sure
i had a veggie burger
the menu said "voted austin's best"
it was really good but phil's has got them beat by a mile
(sorry mother!)
after dinner we went back across the street
to a coffee shop
we sat outside while a dj spun soul records
and pathetically scratched
to an odd assortment of hippie beatniks
billy gingerly sipped his black expresso
'cause i think it was a little strong for even him
at 8:30 we headed to gruene
i gotta say when we pulled into this small texas town
crawling with frat boys and their girlies
i started having flashbacks
way back to the old M.F. days when i had last traversed
this part of texas in my rock'n'roll band
to say the least it never really worked out for me
and i've been sheltered in my little pleasantry lane
bubble ever since
i remembered for the first time in many years
2 terrible trips to san marcos
at our 1st gig tommy and i were threatened in the bathroom
of the club by a bunch of 15 year old's
pissed off by the fact that our long haired rock band
was crashing their quinsenera
then at the end of our terrible gig
the elderly club owner (who looked a lot like santa)
begged us to take a check for our $500 guarantee
i thought to myself "there's no way this kind old man is a crook!"
man i was wrong
his check bounced higher than the empire state building
once we got back to big D
turns out he'd also rooked foghat reo speedwagon and triumph
we were in dubious company for sure
our next trip to san marcos we loaded all our gear up
3 flights of stairs
to then have the bar manager ask us if we'd take $80
to go back home to because it was spring break and no one was
actually left in town to attend the show
the 80 bucks barely covered our gas and we didn't get to denton until 3am
we ended up driving almost 10 hours round trip
for absolutely nothing
anyway gruene brought back a flood of these poignant memories for me
actually making me feel really good about where i am now
and thankful beyond words for the fact that i have jayme and gavin
in my life
i also thought about how truly out of touch i am
with playing music for college kids who just want to suck
down miller lites and party all night
i have absolutely zero interest in trying to appeal to that
kind of audience and even find it hard to be in the same place
despite these feelings
i actually enjoyed watching bob and co. play
they steamrolled through an impressive set
that worked the crowd into a sweat soaked frenzy
the band rolled into each song without a moments hesitation
they were like a musical iron fist
no b.s. in-between song banter
just hit after hit
it was fun
it sounded great
billy bob and the band all looked like they were having a great time
and i was proud of my friends
proud of bob for what he's accomplished over the years
he's worked harder than just about anyone i know
to get what he's got
by the end of the night his set actually stopped me from disappearing into
my own head space
which is a very tricky feat

and i was very thankful for that too

Saturday, July 12, 2008

brother make me a b.b. and j please!

i spent the night waking up every 2 hours
almost on the dot
i'd be straight up in bed
staring at the clock
then plop back down and pass out again
it was kind of odd

billy and i worked a short day because he had a gig
in houston with bob s.
we put some bass and drums on "don't mind me"
neither of us were sure if we liked it any better
i guess tomorrow we'll see how we feel...

i went to dinner with L and L
and my friend marc yeadon
we ate at mother's
one of my favorite austin restaurants
i'm an admitted breakfast taco fanatic
and it only took one look at their brunch menu
to start my mind racing with delightful thoughts of culinary debauchery
i asked L and L if we could come back sunday for breakfast
they said "yes"
i was happy
since mother's only serves it on the weekend
i even know what i'm gonna order sunday
so there!
a full report is forthcoming

marc was thumbing through the chronicle at dinner
and saw my old friends fastball were playing
at the continental on congress
L and L were going to see peter murphy at emo's
so we parted ways and marc and i headed south
it had been many years since i'd last seen
miles tony and joey play together
it was good to see them again
i'll never forget how blown away i was
when i first saw the band
way back in '98
a rockin' 3 piece with duel harmonies throughout every song
they were a fantastic pop punk band
i have lots of fond memories
hanging out and playing shows with them

the continental show was unfortunatley marred
by terrible earsplitting sound
so loud it made me feel almost queasy
i wanted to pulverize the deaf soundguy
who was boppin' along behind the mixing console
like he actually knew what he was doing
instead i just walked outside
and stood out front
i listened there
it sounded way better on the street

bobby bare jr. played after fastball
doing a pixies cover band thing
the happiness factor played a trees show with him
and superdrag 10 years ago
after the show bobby tried to get our drummer john jay
to join up with him
at least he had good taste in beat keepers!
john jay was a great one
a tall lanky ball of energy
who used to regularly put his left foot up on the high-hi stand
and smoke with his left had while he kept a ferocious
rock'n'roll beat going
with just one hand
it truly had to be seen to be believed
just another one of my rock'n'roll friends that could've (should've)
been famous!
the thing that was most obvious to me
when hearing bobby bare jr. try and tackle the pixies tunes
was how great a singer mr. black francis was
trying to sing that material
is definitely no job for the weak throated
poor b.b.j.
make me a sandwich instead brother!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

let's go back to 1974, oh yeah

more work today on "it's not enough"
i guess this song is shaping up to be the epic of the bunch
a long bridge/dream sequence has made it a handful
after 4 hours
listening to it over and over again
i was even beginning to get sick of it
the repetition involved in recording can sometimes be mind numbing
to say the least
i tried to re-sing the lead vocal
make it better
but it didn't work
what we had was better than i'd thought
so then billy messed around with trying to find the right effects
for the old vocal
he eventually got it to work
then he pulled out a cherry red 1969 fender jazzmaster
and plugged it in to his sixties fender deluxe
and let some electric guitar rip
most of it was cool
i'm not sure how much we'll use though
i was beginning to be over run by the overwhelming sensation
that this song still needed a lot more work
not so much in the tracking department
but it needs a long trip to mixville
for sure
i suggested "western hills" next
something easy breezy
it's the last song i wanted billy to add backing vocals too
it took him about 15 minutes
and they were all magnificent
sending the song up another rung on the ladder
then we tried carter's 12-string electric
on the chorus'
but it sadly didn't sound right
so billy plugged his nashville tuned acoustic
into the deluxe
and it was instant BAM!!!!
just what the doctor ordered
5 minutes later
we had one of the most useful guitar parts we'd put down
it tied the song together like a sweet silver christmas bow
time for dinner
a little greek joint on burnett
(hi bucks!)
then we came back a tried carter's guitar again
on "don't mind me"
this time it worked
with some speedy tremelo action
and a nice dollop of reverb
tomorrow we're going to start the day fresh
by trying to finish this one off
when i got back to L and L's house
we started talking about the shibboleth 70's covers
record that i'd started with them 2 years ago
mr. cento and i have recently agreed that
we must
in all good conscience
finish the record this year
so i've been wracking my brain trying to find the right tunes
to round out the record
don and i have been shooting ideas back and forth lately
so we fired up the i-tunes and stayed up until midnight
listening to everything from "ku fu fighting" to
"love is thicker than water" laughing at the silliness
and reminiscing to the little river band
man they sure knew how to write the BIG CHORUS in the seventies
sometimes i think they ruined it for everyone else
by hogging up all the best melodies
damn you hall n' oates!!!!
our latenight seventies party brought back so many memories
of my childhood
and even though i never owned any of the records we listened to
they were all ingrained in my psyche
i knew almost every word and every lick
feel free to send in your votes for the final 4
salim vs. shibboleth tunes
letting the voting commence!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the return of harvey danger

well i'm back in austin
for my 3rd visit with dangerous billy harvey
it's been 6 weeks since i was here last
it feels like yesterday
it feels like a previous lifetime
a lot of action went down while i was away...
i helped finish 4 records (even one of my own)
got so down
came back around
ran 100 miles
moved into club dada
strummed and strummed
played and played
reconnected with a dear old friend
waved goodbye to my wife as she went to london
kissed her when she got back
watched G money dress like a knight
a robot
david bowie
and countless other characters from his vivid imagination
he also grew...
i had some kung fu fighting
a haircut
watched our beloved backyard tree get chopped down
bought a ton of rocks
missed hearing my song on bad TV
saw a ghost
ran out of things to say on my blog
and ate 2 of the best meals of my life at the new ali baba
that's the short of it
now that i'm here again
back in austin
it's time for me to slow down
breathe in
breathe out
clap on
clap off
now where were we?
i think i was making a record...
but the lights are off
i think we're almost done tracking
we spent 4 hours today
working on a bass part for "it's not enough"
billy was a trooper
he didn't get frustrated
even though it was a bit of a whipping
a tricky one to put down
and i passed on being the bass player
'cause i knew it would be
i don't think we've spent this much time
on any single track on this record
but in the end i think it was worth it
billy's phat fuzzy lenny kravitz bass groove
hoggs up the low end like biscuits soaking up gravy
on a hot sunday evening
how's that for some creative writing 101?
after that we were both a bit worn out
so we went to "zen" and had rice bowls
ahhhhh to eat in austin again
such a delight
so where do you go from zen?
well it was kinda downhill from there
i cut my hottest track of the day
synthetic handclaps on "love is all around"
(pancho and the cut-off know-my specialty)
and then we knocked it on the head
billy thankfully sent me on my way with a movie to watch
"cigarettes and romance" written and directed by john turturo
the first movie i'd seen james gandolfini in since
the sopranos ended
the role christopher walken was born for
the whole cast excellent
it was hysterically funny
and deeply touching
you'll laugh
you'll cry
you'll want to order pizza and calzones
it was amazing
and for all of you out there in cyber land
a definite must see
trust me
have i let you down so far?
go rent it now
you won't be sorry
but one word of advice
don't watch it with your parents
unless they like a lot of dirty bad words!!