Sunday, January 29, 2006

Verse Chorus Verse Chorus or making peace with making rock

[What happens when your main discussion is marred by a bad decision to be histrionic and over the top? Repost your one possibly interesting idea in your own blog.]

I have always had a hate/love relationship with Rock music but I will say this. People always say "Well rock songs are predictable it's Verse Chorus Verse Chorus..." People always critique that structure but then never say "Why am I restricted to Twelve notes!" The point being not that one should become Harry Partch, but that there is a lot of acceptance of structures within music. Listen to a lot of folk music and, my god, fuck Verse Chorus Verse Chorus...often times it's just one melody line with a simple melodic conclusion. Just listen to Woody Guthrie's Car Song - a fuckin' brilliant, hilarious, and simple song. Listening to stuff like this makes me have less issues with musical structures. When you look at buildings you don't say "Goddamn, Walls and Roofs! Walls and Roofs!" No, what people say when they see a nice house is "Wow, that is really beautiful." or "Cool, let me take a picture." In other words it's not the structure, it's what you do with it. The reason someone like Nickelback is so contemptible is because they are the architectural equivalent of functionality without expression.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fucking Bots!

Since I keep getting bot comments like "I read you website and it seems pretty interesting. You should check out my blog" Umm...fuck you, you loser! Now I have to have people go through the hassle of "word verification" if they want to make any comment because your marketing strategy is so pathetic.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kickin it James Joyce Style.

So, the time before band rehearsal can be pretty dull. I’m usually in the office making up for my late morning arrivals but lately my job is so frikkin lame it’s pretty hard to stay for until 8pm. Once you realize that you are more of a disposable cog in a big corporate wheel than even you thought, it’s pretty hard to give much of a shit. Mercifully, I was able to get Clinton to meet me at Rudz before rehearsal - a great excuse to blow the joint at 7:30.

The great thing is that, as I’m the total pussy liberal and Clinton’s the total closet fascist, we can talk shit for hours. It’s much more fun to listen as someone tries to make arguments for Bush’s NSA fuck-up than sitting through any conference call. And ya know, I tell ya what, a Guinness, Onion Rings, and Fajitas (Clinton got the Fish and Chips) may not be the healthiest meal but fuck yeah if it didn’t breathe some life back into my soul. Drink, eat, chat for an hour then go to rehearsal. That ain’t bad. Plus after practice I know that Orion and Rosa will be at home. That’s even better. Hell, nix the shitty job and life would be sweet.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I love Amy's Ice Cream

Woohoo got the flyer for the next show. I was pretty happy with how it came out. You’ll note that, we were trying to do a poster that invoked the great Akira Kurosawa. Rosa did a bang up job with the photos which made the layout that much easier – most of my time was spent trying to find a font that most closely resembled that of the titles in Rosa’s Criterion edition of Yojimbo. But if you’ll note, I moronically grabbed my Wu Tang shirt. For some reason my get-dressed brain was thinking Shaw Bros. So now when I look at the photo and think “gee spot the cultural idiot”! Oh well!

I did the usual flyering spots Rudz, Brazil, Sound Exchange, Cactus, Amy’s, Valhalla, and KTRU. At Sound Ex, I ran into Scott Butt who asked for a copy to put at Poison Girl (Awesome!). Nice to know the Sound Exchange thief was caught (Awesome! Awesome!) But the biggest kick I got was going to Amy’s Ice Cream. While doing my ritual - nixing for flyers with old dates and shifting posters around so I can fit mine in a manner that doesn’t obscure mine or anyone else’s flyer – a guy walks up and says “Hey man, we made too much chocolate…you want a peanut butter Ice Cream on a chocolate dipped wafflecone?” Hell Yes!!! (Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!) Not fuckin’ bad considering that I was broke and had no money to pay for posters (thank you office color copier) much less dinner. Man, I couldn’t complain - free color flyers, I hit all my locations, and I got dinner! Sometimes, being in the Lp4 can pay off.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jan 21st - Welcome to the land of Pete Townsend.

Wow, I am impressed at how utterly incompetent the backstage soundguy was at the Meridian. Everyone else was really nice (no dis against everyone else from the club) but the backstage soundguy was a fucking moron who probably gave me some permanent hearing damage.

It all started pretty well; the main soundguy was very cordial and funny which put me at ease. He did a good job with Whorehound’s sound so I felt we were in good hands. The monitor mix (controlled by the backstage sound guy) was weird but I just moved to the middle so I could get some physical queues from Clinton or Larry if I needed. The first three songs went off well then we hit the new song Old Crow. Being a new song I rely heavily on Clinton’s guitar for queues; if I can’t hear him resolve his solo I have no clue where to stop and sure enough that is what happened – everyone blew the break and the end of the song. I could see it coming and tried to give a hand signal to the sound guy to turn Clinton up but to no avail. So what do I do after the song? I jump on Charlie’s Mic and tell the backstage soundman that I really have to be able to hear Clinton in the mix and to turn him up. The asshole then proceeds to blast Clinton so loud that I can’t hear anyone else. I think to myself that this has to be a joke. I mean it’s clearly frikkin so loud that everyone is backing away from the monitors. I see Charlie signal him to turn it down to no avail. We finish the song and I figure it would be bad manners to berate the guy over the microphone. I figure, as we have one more song, I’ll bitch him out afterwards but the next song is a disaster. I am so discombobulated from the volume that I just give up and put my amp on stand-by while the rest of the band finishes as best they can. Utterly worthless! The second the song ends I shut down and pack up.

On packing up I see the backstage soundguy and call bullshit and tell him I had asked him to turn Clinton up not blast him to the point of pain. He claimed ignorance – that he’d just barely turned it up – but that was bullshit the more I think of it. He was an asshole, a moron, or both. How could you not tell that it was so much louder than everything else? How could you not see us backing away from the monitors? Bullshit and unprofessional bullshit. I‘ve played a lot of crappy places and this was supposed to be a cool professional place but fuck that. Sorry to the nice people at the Meridian (the main soundguy, for example, was pretty concerned at what happened) but all it took was one guy to make me say “Fuck this.” My right ear is processing sound much quieter than my left and my left has a big ass ring in it. I play music to have fun not have my hearing jeopardized by idiots.

My best to everyone else at the club, I’m sure this is a-typical, but I won’t be coming back and I don’t think you could blame me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Man I was feeling crabby all day. I'm talking Lucy Van Pelt but without the motivation to even bother pulling out the football. I may as well have just sat in bed all day as I would have accomplished the same amount of work. As it turns out, a good cure for crabbyness is a Marshall 100 watt superlead cranked up to where your ears bleed! Thank you James Marshall. Now if we can just gave one installed in my office, I'd be set.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Just Shoot!

“We had divided the world into two categories: there was flyers and there was the gig. You’re either doing the gig, which is like an hour of your life, or everything else to get people to the gig.” …Mike Watt (Our band Could Be Your Life by Micahel Azerrad)

The photo shoot for the February 18th Rudz show went surprisingly well. I woke up early to run to El Carrousel on Hilcroft to get some tamales for the troops; it was a bit of a trip but a dozen really good tamales for $7.00 is hard to beat. I made it back and, to my surprise, everyone pretty much made it on time: The Jonx, The Powers of Light and Darkness, Linus Pauling and the Red and the White. The Jonx arrived first. Nice lads and you have to admire a band that refers to their car as the Jonxmobile. The Red and the White appeared not long after. You have to love a band whose first conversation with you is one in which they try to convince you that one of the most expensive coffees in the world is excreted from an animal’s ass. [It turns out it’s true - see this article] John Cramer arrived with family in tow while the LP4 arrived here and there. Steve, easily the most rock and roll member of the LP4, was hardly happy about having to arrive for a photo shoot at 10:30am. To wake up before midday is such a rarity for him that I believe that the ancestors of the Ngati Kahungunu iwi of New Zealand were said to greet such an unusual event with trepidation if not despair. Combining the early awakening with the fact that he had a 1pm studio session was simply a recipe for one bitchy dude. Luckily, he was tired enough to make his frequent announcements of “You got me for another XX minutes.” almost inaudible.

The shoot itself was pretty straightforward. I’d grown tired of the hacky idea of taking a still, painting, or photo and putting text on it. Photos seemed be a good way to highlight, not just the closing band but, all the bands and since Rosa just got into photography it seemed foolish not to try this approach. Here the idea was pretty simple, have the opening band (John Cramer’s solo effort The Powers of Light and Darkness) be the main focus simply to turn the whole poster-listing thing on its head. We decided to cast John in the Toshiro Mifune role and have the other bands “go at him”. Simple idea, but try and get 3 bands and one guy to follow instructions and it can be a bit tricky. The classic example was Will (of the Red and the White) menacing John by putting his hands in his pocket or hiding behind Lucas. But I will say that it’s pretty hard to do a shoot when you are in the East End of Houston with guys slowly driving by in pick-up trucks looking at you like you are from planet Pendejo or Maricon. Such is the price of trying to get people to come to a rock show.