Monday, May 28, 2007

Valiant Arms debut at Slabtown.(R-L: Diane Rios, Eric Jensen, Rob Jones)

U-lings darkly rocking

Dan McClure and myself.

Some things never change. Like spending nights in a club with your friends and your friends' bands, rocking out in an art-filled room filled with (thankfully ventilated) smoking people, sipping beers and scarfing fries.
We (the Underlings)had great fun driving up to Portland to play with our friends,The Valiant Arms and seminal PDX art/noise/bassline rockers Wow and Flutter. The night was only slightly marred by the fact that the sound wa sso bad that no vocals came through at all for the first two bands (VA & us). Worst sound experience ever. Go back to your day job, you lame-wad sound geek! Valiant Arms music sounded like a mix of the three musicians' bands - Oswald 5-0 meets Pellet Gun anxiety-rock + artsy/indie Beltline guitar. It would have been cool to have heard the words at all, but it was hopeless - I could barely make out Diane and Rob's singing. Oh well - better luck next time. The sound may have been awful, but the mood was high - it was great to see so many of our Portland and Eugene friends out to support and hang out. I'll spare you, dear reader, the name dropping, but I saw some friends I hadn't seen in years and it made me say..."hmmm...I'll probably be doing the same thing for the rest of my life." Hanging out in bars and other venues, playing music with my friends, just like Willie Nelson or Kurt Cobain or Marilyn Manson or Pete Seeger- just having great times with other old geezers just like me.
P.S. Wow and Flutter were great and had great distorted basslines and angular rhythms. Hadn't seen them in awhile and I was happy to check 'em.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm excited to go to Portland and play a show at Slabtown tomorrow night with the Valiant Arms and Wow and Flutter. I haven't had a band road trip to Portland in, like, two years or so. It is nice when working at meaningless slave-jobs to have a vision in one's mind of getting away from the routine things in one's life - like work - and playing riffs loudly in a cool room with the ears of others filling with your frequencies. It's the best way to be savage in an urban setting. Savagery through multi-frequency rock and roll!!
Tina has been laid-up with a kidney stone. She has been in pain for 2 or 3 days. At one point, she was in so much pain that we went down to the hospital for a couple of hours, where her midwife, Michelle and her nurse, Judy took care of her until they figured out what was wrong. I hate to see my girl in so much pain, but I think she's on an upswing now.
Our child is due on July 13th. We are almost completely prepared for the expansion of our domestic tribe. We just have to finish painting one room in our teepee and then we also need to get a gunny sack to carry the little bugger around in when we're out scavenging for remnants of civilization with which we would then burn for warmth and for cooking the charred bones of our enemies... uh, I mean, we're generally ready. Gotta get a car seat for the tractor and then we'll be good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I often think of how hokey this whole modern rock-promotion shtick has become. Everyone is entitled to have their own band page on myspace and promote themselves - I do it; you do it - but what is this all about, really? 10+ years ago, when you did a gig out of town, you called all your friends in that town, sent your press kit to the local paper and hoped like anything that your song would get played on the college radio station in Bumfucksville so that some people would come down to Scrawny Ronnies Peephole and Sub Shop to see your half-hour set. Now, potentially thousands of folks can see your promo online, but do any more people actually come out? I know I hardly do, even though I'm bombarded with e-promo. Maybe we're just all a little de-sensitized by this whole digital age thing.
I still like rock and roll.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pat and I watched We Jam Econo tonight. I highly recommend. I know I'm sounding old-mannish here, but what the fuck has happened to all the kids these days? Why aren't they totally pissed about the generic music that is making i's way onto their ipods and computers? It's a different world than it was in the 70's and 80's , when groups like the Minutemen and Husker Du and Mission of Burma and Wire were really pushing some boundaries, reacting to the glut of over-produced hair-metal and stadium cock-rock. Punk rock still exists, but it's become a category, not a state of mind. The walls young musicians face these days are in their own minds, not in the oppressive quantity and low soul-quality of commercial rock. The internet has made our current world an instant place, where true nobodies can become popular overnight from their youtube video, but the soul content is what is lacking. WHERE THE FUCK IS WOODY GUTHRIE WHEN YOU NEED HIM???

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I might complain about my job, but I actually enjoy working all the time - at least in the sense that I'm contributing my time and energy to a working-class cause (Organics) that I actually care about, with people that are cool. I've always identified strongly with working class ethics and people, more so than white-collar, business-types, as necessary as they are for the structural integrity of our society (let's hear it for lawyers - hip, hip, hooray!)
Last night, at band practice, we started working on a cover of the Minutemen's "This ain't no picnic" (go and search it on Youtube for their funny and profound video from 1984). The lyrics to that song really hit home with me, the same way Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan would for some folks:

Working on the edge
losing my self-respect
for a man who presides over me
the principles of his creed
punch in punch out
8 hours 5 days a week
sweat pain and agony
on Friday I'll get paid


Hey mister don't look down on me
(for what I believe in-
I got my bills and the rent)
I should go pitch a tent
but our land is not free
so I'll work my youth away
in the place of a machine


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Our show went smashingly well last Friday night. I often hate being a self-promoter, but you do what you gotta do to get people down to the clubs. After numerous emails and myspacey postey things, we actually had a good amount of people down to see us. The Crosswalks from Portland were excellent - really good dynamics and three-way vocals. I highly recommend them if you get the chance.
Other than werk and music, I've been enjoying going to Cosmo's baseball games. His team, the Pleasant Hill Billies, have been kicking butt the last several weeks. Watching pro games on tv seldom interests me, but seeing a bunch of 13 and 14 year-old boys playing their hearts out is a blast. Plus, you get to see some of the finer sports fields of greater Lane County.