Sunday, November 22, 2009

I've recently considered writing a book on procrastination, but I found myself stalled at the first paragraph. Went to make some coffee, put on a record, went to work for a couple of weeks, caused a couple of pregnancies and now here I am, back at square one, so I'll blog about a show I saw last night at the Oak St Speakeasy in Eugene.
I'm a fan of Testface, basically my friend Dave Snider and a revolving cast of players over the years. Last night was a great line up of Dave on bass + singing, local guitar hero Jake Pavlak from Yeltsin on guitar and a good drummer I am not familiar with named Rob I think. Moody indie-flavored rock with soft and loud parts and Dave's understated vocals and trippy lyrics is how I would describe it. Worth checking out. I seen 'em many times, in large and small configurations, but last night was a good show; good crowd, too - about 75-80 people by my count. I only notice because the Underlings struggle to bring folks down every time we play and we've only had good crowds at the Speakeasy a few times, but 75 people seems to fill the room nicely.
Next up was Ape Machine from Portland. I seem to recall that they once contacted us about doing a show together, which didn't happen due to schedule conflict at the time, but I would definitely play with them sometime. Total classic rock in the Sabbath/Zeppelin realm, but they did it well and the singer looked like an Ozzy-head I used to know in high school. Stoner rock with great 70's guitar sounds and a bashing, Bohnam-esque drummer. Also comparable to Pearls and Brass. We stayed for about half their set and then headed home, Tina and I, since I'm feeling old and she is feeling 8 1/2 months pregnant.

alright, talk at you cATS later,


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I have to say that I’ve really been diggin’ this nice fall weather that is blowing through right now - sunny and warm during the day; cold and menacing at night. Our front yard pumpkin patch is the envy of the neighborhood, with 9 jumbo pumpkins turning from green to orange; let’s hope some high school hoodlums don’t get the wrong idea and stomp ‘em, lest there be hell to pay.
I might as well blog about the Underlings’ trek down to NorCal and back, since that was the most recent thing of note to happen around here. We rented a cargo van on a Friday to haul our asses down to Medford to play at a place called Johnny B’s – a nice, clean little joint with a rockabilly orientation. The cats who hung there said they had a greaser band called the Psyclones. Good food was also to be had at this joint.
Pony Prance – Tina, Raenie and Kelani - came down to play also and used our backline to rock the room in their own PP style. It was amusing that Raenie’s dog was hanging outside the club while they played, making friends with the cigarette-huffers outside. We, the ‘Lings, took the stage next and blurted out a thorough set, complete with drunken, couples-oriented slam-dancing. Our set was finished after a hazy hour of string and stick wrangling; when it came time to get paid, we all laughed at our good fortune – all of $13 which we offered to split with PP but they declined. Woo hoo! We put it in the band kitty and went to catch some ZZZs at the local main strip hotel. Of course, I didn’t actually get any sleep because Louis was there and tossed and turned all night, sleep-thrashing from his little floor sleeping area to our bed and back, almost on repeat. Oh well. I was so high on life and being out of town that I really didn’t care.
We split ways with the ladies and Louis after the one-star continental hotel breakfast and sped off down the freeway, back towards Grants Pass and the possibility of good coffee at a drive-through there. Mmmm. Coffee in hand, we further sped down 199 towards Cave Junction and the Illinois river.
Bryant had the forethought to bring his book of topographical maps of the area and also local fishing regulation leaflets, so we were prepared when we made a right turn off the road south of Selma and headed up the Illinois river canyon about 10 miles. We found a delightful little spot with a bridge crossing that offered good fishing and swimming opportunities for the ‘Lings, as well as a chance to meet some local boondocks stoners who were asking for a ride back into CJ. After a quick band meeting, we deemed them harmless and gave them the OK to ride with us when it came time to split. Fortunately, they got a ride in a tweaker car piloted by someone they knew that just happened to come roaring, Dukes-of Hazard-style, around the corner. We bid them, “smell ya later” and headed back on our trek.
After a predictably plastic lunch at the Denny’s in Crescent City, we blazed a trail of farts down the final, tree-studded length of the drive down into Arcata turf. ‘Round about Orick we spied a young adult black bear crossing the road in a fast yet lumbering fashion. The local nature and woods and surf where charging our ion batteries whilst we buzzed by in the van towards our destination.
Arcata: my former home and location of much of my musical schooling. It had been 8 years since I last came down to Humboldt for a visit. Not too much had changed, although there were a few new storefronts and new paint on some buildings. We parked and dis-embarked to check out the town square, which was full of folks enjoying the North Country Fair – kind of akin to our Eugene Celebration, but free, with music, food, vendors and TONS AND TONS OF PEOPLE, unlike our fair city’s somewhat depressing rain and banjo fest. We checked in at People’s Records and Wildwood Music Co and goofed off and drank more coffee until load-in time.
After parking outside the venue and taking a break in the van, we pounded on the door of the theater and were let in. We stuffed all our gear in a corner, met some nice folks who ran the joint and then met with our Humboldt bros, James and Jeff and Sean from Splinter Cell. We read our little write-up in the local rag and laughed a bit before heading up to my old radio station KHSU for a brief interview and mention on the air. Not much had changed there – they still had thousands of records, although they got rid of approximately 1/3 since back in the day. The DJ was Mad Doctor Matt, and he played a good mix of contemporary and older-school rock, folk, punk and pop. He asked me some questions and it was nice to be back in the old hallowed halls again.
Back down to the venue, we checked Nipplepotamus, a noisy Sonic Youth-style trio who eventually burned a hole in my brain and caused at least one elderly patron to fall over and vomit (perhaps too much malt liquor? I don’t know). I dug them over all.
Splinter Cell rocked it next. Bassist James Forbes set up the show and is a friend of mine since way back. He is blind now due to a degenerative illness but his playing and singing was great. He is one of my favorite punk rock bassists and he really ripped it up. Sean on guitar and Jeff Langdon on drums punched it up and sounded great. What to compare it to – I don’t know – a power trio with pop influences. They covered Joe Pop O Pies, Catholics are Attacking which was funny as hell and sounded great.
We wasted no time getting onstage and doing what we do. Our set was well-received and it was awesome to see some other friends show up, most of all my friend Crusher from upper Mendocino county – thanks, Crusher, for coming! Dave's gal Mandy and her bff Roxanne also made it and helped us vend our t shirts - thanks, ladies.
Damn, this is a long post! We bedded down for the night at James house in Eureka and then took in the sights in Old Town on a sleepy Sunday morning the next day, complete with bagels and coffee from Los Bagels, something I’d been dreaming about for months. Turning the van north, we headed up the long road back to home, stopping to enjoy the ocean near the mouth of the Klamath river for a spell.
Best of all, after dropping off Bryant and Dave, I opened the door to my own home just in time for dinner, with a delicious and aromatic French tart thing that Tina had made. Mmmm! Thanks Tina, for rocking my palette with your delicious flavors.
Okay, I’ve made a long story here – hope someone enjoys. Peace ‘n out!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer has been nice so far. Aside from the usual gig business and family dogpile-action, I've been working a ton, actually feeling useful for the most part, servicing various Willamette valley growers with supplies as well as keeping a keen eye out for systematic flaws that can be neutralized. But, I am off for two weeks starting tomorrow, yay! We've got a few rural and/or family and/or Rock and Roll oriented plans. Glad to blow out of town for A BIT Whizzzzzzzzzzzeeeeeeee.

C-ya later -

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Check this cool poster that Sean Goblin made for the Underlings - rad! He has a flickr photostream here.

I am burnt out on work this week. I'll be glad when Country Fair madness comes to an end. Every year, tons of folks pile into the parking lot of the organic produce warehouse and load up on anything and everything that isn't tied down - bins of watermelon, pallets of oranges, boxes of pineapple, cherries, peaches, veggies - they pile it into a mish-mash of Mad Max-style hippie caravan machines, pile it high like the Beverly Hillbillies and roll out to Veneta 15 miles away for the biggest dirt-based hippie art/music/bra-free/smells-like-a-wild-pack-of-humans festival that half the population of my town + 30,000 visitors from out of the area go to. I'm mostly glad that I live in an Alternative Community tm but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere more normal, where the only weird thing that happens is a turtle crossing the road.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Underlings went to Salem last night to play at a crusty college-aged party, complete with a backyard teepee, hobo kids and vegan sausages frying in a pan in the World's Dirtiest Kitchen. Yes, there was a PA and, thanks to Dan Jones' buddies Les Nunes, there was also a microphone. Dan played a great set of mostly new songs on his acoustic - Panther Girl, Pink Pansies, the Doggie Song and a really great song about painting 52 landscapes in a year. I recorded the set but oops! I recorded over when the other bands started playing. The Underlings had a real fun time during our 10 song set, which took about 35 minutes. The crusty kids danced to our pop songs a rocked to our rock songs. Really nice, and we loved looking at the wall-art as we played. The Salem group Phantom played next and they were absolutely savage. A really fantastic, raw rock and roll group. I would have liked to have heard the vocals better, but I could tell that the screaming sounded pretty good. THe Shy Season, a band purported to be from LEBANON(!)(one of them told me nervously that they were or Portland or something, as if it were shamful to be from LEBANON!) went last and they were good, kind of indie rock with great teenage hair. I recorded some songs from both bands on my cassette recorder and I noticed some other kid had an old-school tape deck also. There were all these 80's metal cassettes of artists like Dio, Black Sabbath, the Descendents, Yngvie Malmsteen. I got inspired and busted out my boombox and cranked a tape I had of side 3 of Husker Du's Zen Arcade in between sets because nobody else was playing anything. I think perhaps some ears perked at hearing some classic angst music that doesn't get heard much by today's generation, but really the room cleared out pretty fast ha ha! I felt like a fucking geezer, but I always think, it's good to be true to whatever music or culture or whatever you think is cool, not worry too much if what you like is out-of-sync with the times. The same savage emotion of Husker Du's rock was present in the music the bands we played with last night; maybe the times don't change as much as anyone ever thinks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I watched Emperor of the North for the first time last night, the movie that my friend Slayer Carl refers to most often as his favorite movie, and he's seen a lot of movies, so he should know a good flick. I loved the trains and the sadistic hobo-beating character played by Ernest Borgnine. I loved the fight scene at the end - so f-ing brutal! And believeable, with no crappy special effects to muck it up. Thanks for the reccomendation, Carl.
I was reminded constantly throughout the movie of my dad, and how he probably watched this movie, too, being that he was an avid enthusiast about all things pertaining to old trains. The Lee Marvin character, A-number 1, even looks, talks and dresses like my dad, so you can imagine my piqued interest in the story. It's funny how the older I get, the more my interests in music, books and movies goes backward to the generations that preceded my own. I've been loving Steinbeck's East of Eden, which I find time to stick my nose in every day lately. The first half of the 20th century had so many characters in it's basic make-up. I know there are characters these days, too, but they're often looking for love with a fake tan on some tv show or practicing their original gangsta' speak for their dj gig.
It's funny that all things point back to dad - I relate everything I read and think back to the old man. Being that he lived through both world wars and the depression between them, he saw first-hand the events that were the foundation of American culture. In the beginning of the 20th century, America was still a free-for-all frontier. Lawlessness was common. Brutality of all kinds was the rule. But also simplicity, basic values and kindness were in there somewhere. In the lean years of war and depression, people got by any way they could, skimping on basic needs, growing their own food if they could and surviving alone and in clumps. All the generations leading up to the baby boomers strove so hard to make it, and since then, subsequent generations have had it easy. We don't have access to the kinds of experience and memories of hard times that our parents and grandparents lived through.
Has this new depression taught us anything yet? Are we truly poor enough to really be desperate for change? And, is the decay of our collective character any worse than it has been in past times?

Time for my coffee break!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Posting in between bouts of counting in the 36-degree f apple cooler - blueberries, peaches, pears, cherries. Summer is on, baby, and it feels cold to me! Exercising the fingers bringing the life back inta these old hands.
Reading Dan's latest blog post, I laughed myself silly. Perhaps because I've been watching too much Bert and Ernie during my morning routine with Louis AND complaining (like an old-timer) about the lack of soul and bass in modern college-oriented rock. Now, if I could just get my hands on a time machine and some pcp...
yes, the apple cooler is counted. No, I am not slacking off, no matter what PZ sez.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

No one really reads these blog posts anymore, save a few die-hards who are not yet enmeshed in facebook, myspace or twitter. I'm considering moving all my informational dispatches to either smoke signals or conch shell. Or perhaps Morse code. dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot-dash-dot-dash-dash; in other words,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

vid from Yeltsin's performance at the Cuthbert Amphitheater on Saturday

Monday, May 18, 2009

New cool stuff happening all the time. Work is great - I love the business that comes along with the advent of warm weather in Oregon. I get to deal with several different farmers, all of them eccentric and most of them funny as hell, as I put together their supply orders. I make reams of labels for organically grown vegetables and send them off to farms. I eat and sample fruits, vegetables and melons all day long and have a laugh with my friends about every 15 seconds, listen to tons of good and bad music, exchange emails with pictures of vegetables in various states of dying and/or rotting, or "blowing" as we say. I've also been digging my new tape recorder, a vintage JC Penney/Panasonic mono tape deck that really weighs a lot and is so much coole than an ipod. I've been making all kinds of recordings and playing back vintage punk tapes from high school and college. I love the way obsolete technology is so cheap right now and yet well-made and built to last. I'll post some pics and videos soon! Must go on walk now.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blogging has taken a backseat to pounding my head against the Facebook wall. Things in the life of this humanoid are well. Tina, Cosmo and I went over to Chez Random for a splendid feast on Saturday night. My memory is not the best, but let me recall for you now some of the delicious items we dined upon: mussels on the 1/2 shell, cheesy puff-balls, scrumptious mixed greens salad with warm goat cheese encrusted with nuts, delicious baked chicken leg-wings on a plate that were beyond belief good! Yuuummmm!! Also included were several good wines, both champagnes and a red and coffee, coffee, coffee with a chocolate tart with pecans. Thank you, Mr and Mrs Random! Your house is our favorite dining spot in town. 'twas nice to leave post-toddler Louis at home, courtesy of DJ Sleeve's babysitting service.
Other things that happened this past weekend are lost in my short-term RAM cache. Band practice happened with Underlings and it was rad. We've been working hard at birthing some new material since we are tired of playing off the same ol' set list. We have a 7" offer from a bona-fide record label that needs to be discussed amongst the band's quality control contingent. If the offer passes strict criteria, a new Underlings product will be headed to record store shelves before too long.
Stay tuned for more rock and roll news from planet Eugene!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

I really enjoyed this band I saw in Dan and Tracy's living room last night - Gather Round Us from Portland:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Interesting it is, being at this stage of my physical existence. This weekend, I attended an organic convention in Portland, straining the limits of my cynicism control mechanism. The food and drink was delicious, as were some of the folks and the accommodations. While waiting for a music store to open(so's I could return some rental gear) I embarked on a nice long walk of the PDX neighborhoods just north, east and south of the Lloyd Center Mall. A great way to avoid spending money and/or avoiding intake of unnecessary food and/or coffee. I also enjoyed having a chance to sit and collect my thoughts on paper for a spell in my hotel cell.
In other news, I am psyched that I received in the mail and then installed a Harmonic Designs p90 pickup for my new Telecaster, so's I might create duller yet more rocking tones from my American made hunk of wood and wires. Pretty fucking fun, busting out the old soldering iron and playing surgeon on my new guitar. At first, I was afraid, but then it dawned on me that it was indeed my instrument and I could take it the hell apart if I felt like it, so I did. Much better than eating ice cream and hoping to view some late-night program that might make me laugh.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Yesterday was the Eugene Record Convention at the Eugene Hilton, an event I prefer not to miss. I made it this year and it was totally rad. The vibe was right and the tables seemed to be teaming with cool albums, spilling out in piles of faded, thrift store covers, musty smell and all. Some dude selling dvds in the back was blasting horrible music - Skynyrd, Allman Bros, Cream - stuff that was annoying to most passers by, who were trying to peruse their punk, jazz, rockabilly and country without the benefit of too-loud, over-played classic rock. That aside, I scored some good records this year without going over my meager$60 budget:

1. Stooges, Raw Power; an absolute classic, in really nice condition. I'm sowly replacing my Stooges cds with lps. @ down, 1 to go.
2. The Dictators, Bloodbrothers; I've never owned any Dictators, so this is my start. Haven't played it yet - I'll wait until after work tonight.
3. Dickies, Dawn of the Dickies; this one already put me in a good mood for the day.
4. The Sonics, Original Northwest Punk lp; I love the Sonics when I need some raw-ness in my ears.
5.Out of Sight comp on Pickwick records, a $1 score. It features an early Lou Reed song, Cycle Annie.
6.Phil Lynott, Solo in Soho ; a gift from Scottk (Thanks!)I've been told this album is hit-and-miss, but I dig the song Ode to a Black Man.

That's it! I'm off to work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I had a great time last night at the Meat Puppets show at WOW hall. I have to admit, I was not expecting the show to be the interstellar return to form that it ended up being. The last real Meat Puppet shows I saw were in 1988 and this show blew those away. Having the Kirkwood brothers in the same room playing music is like tripping on peyote while riding a dirt bike - totally freaked-out, unpredictaBLE FUN. I was happy to see so many old and new friends at this show. Thank you, Rulers of the Universe for allowing this event to happen.
Here are some vids from the middle of their set: