Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I haven't done this for awhile - here is something to pep you up for the afternoon:

I can't complain. I'm actually NOT looking forward to death, at least not right now. I'm comforted by the fact that people are taking to the streets in various forms, decrying the injustices of the system I gave up so long ago. I don't know if what is happening now will last, or if possibly it is just a sign of what's to come. More folks, coming together in common outrage against a lop-sided system that promises one thing and delivers something entirely different. It might not be the only way for us on the lower layers of society to effect change, but it's a start. Still, I have not gotten my ass down to any protest anywhere recently, so I am a desktop-spectator at best. Don't trust my opinion, but I am mildly optimistic about the future. In other-world news, I've been having fun, working on tracks for my "secret" forth-coming acoustic CD, as yet untitled, but sure to feature contributions from several of Eugene/Springfield's greatest players, strummers and pickers. Right now, I have 11 songs finished and I might try to squeeze out a few more before the whole thing is finished. This is the reason I love the shitty, clammy weather of the Willamette Valley: it makes it feel right to huddle up, indoors, with a fire crackling and coffee brewing, writing and recording tunes. Hey, I heard Dan Jones was playing down at Cornucopia on 5th with Jessie Meade tonight - maybe I'll shuffle on down and catch a tune or two.

take ya later,

p.s. check out my new myspace-only ep, "Psyche ward cops"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Well what can I say, it's been a great weekend and it isn't even over yet. Stuffed with late-afternoon-lunch super taco tacos and sipping on warm beer while the kids fuss and splash in their (supervised by mom) bath, I am in a warm and happy state. Last night was a fun night out with Dan Jones to go see the replacements documentary, Color Me Obsessed, which I recommend if you are a Replacements geek like I am. The movie held my interest until the end with no music whatsoever, only geeks, contemporaries, has-beens, ex-friends, wives and producers all giving their take on the Replacements' legacy of fun and strife. The film made me realize how much I love the 'Mats music and how it's been awhile since I've shook hands with it. Need to return to some of those crucial albums, maybe have a listening party or g^d forbid a tribute show. It's fun to still have idols from your teen years inhabit your head and heart, and I guess that was the common thread of testimony in the film. To those of us who are true 'Mats fans, we'll always be 'Mats fans. Another Rock and Roll cartoon gone sadly wrong, what can be better than that?
Holy smokes, I just had Amy Danzinger over to practice some cello parts for a new recording project I'm embarking on and it was awesome! We played in the garage for a fwe hours and hones some interweaving parts for four different songs I'm working on. Unbelievably fun it was! I can't wait to work with her and some other different acoustic musicians and then share the results with you all in a few months.
Wishing well-thoughts to all my friends around town who've been rocked by the death of JP from Whopner County All stars. The dude will be missed and many people in the area music community are blown away by the loss. So sad to see another friend leave all-too early. bummer-time.
late for now,

Monday, September 05, 2011

"19 fucking years!", I thought to myself, as I thought there in the dark, listening to Changes by Sugar for the millionth time. I've lived in this town 19 Fucking Years! I've never lived anywhere else for even half as long as that. (I probably spent the most time otherwise in Del Norte county, California, often between the years of 1975-1988) Husker Du was meaningful to me as I prepared to leave my miniscule home-ish town, Gasquet, a place most notable for being on the wonderfully clear Smith River in Nor Cal. (Sorry to throw this at you in this fashion, but this is my association-session, not yours) In summertime mornings in 1987 and 1988, I would wake up with the summer sun streaming in my window in the bedroom of the Old Schoolhouse-House. If the coast was clear, I would throw the needle onto the album that lived on my turntable at that time, New Day Rising by Husker Du. If you know this album at all, you know the sheer power of the opening cut - it sounds like the most beautiful saw imaginable, cutting through your personal layers of life bullshit like a red-hot truth. Full blast, terror and beauty all in one, I would dig that cut and then, still amped and vital, I would run and/or skate to the nearby swimming hole at the convergence of the North and Middle forks of the Smith and dive in, bubbles in front of my face illuminated by the sun in a soda-pop sparkle. Fish swam away, rocks tumbled, birds scattered, the hot dry air blowing down the narrow valley with the scent of hot earth and trees./\ A special time in my life, I still live those moments/weeks/months in my head and I feel lucky that I had some appreciation at the time that this - that that - was as good as it gets. *******************************************************************************************************************
Fast forward to 1992, when I moved to Eugene from Eureka, California: I was a new fish in a new pond. The record stores here at the time were great; there were maybe 4 or 5 great stores, including House of Records and Green Noise and a few others. I awaited many albums as they were being released at the time, but I picked up Copper Blue at a store - I can't recall which - only upon finding out minutes earlier that it existed at all. I wasn't ready and waiting for it; I was utterly surprised by it. I wa sa huge Husker fan, obviously, but I was afraid that Mould had gone down the strong-willed, song-writerly rock ala Richard Thompson. I missed the crunch of the earlier Bob Mould, and now it was in my hand, a real surprise. *************************************************************************************
Eugene has alway been confusing to me, and I often think to myself, "does this town make you more hippy than you were before you moved here? Or more hateful of hippies and all that go with them?" Was this a punk place to be or just another granola-town full of exiles from the 1960s? Of course, it was and is both of those things; now I need to bring it back, to the summer, to the fall of 1992, walking in the early snow that year in my soggy shoes, walkman on, going to my job at Sundance Natural Foods, walkman on, phones on, listening endlessly to Copper Blue, waiting for my yet-to-be born son to arrive, feeling like a boy, not ready for this yet, copper blue, copper blue, Copper Blue. What a perfect album that still kills me in the best way possible, with the shimmering crunch and shine of Mould guitar, sawing, once again, through the layers of personal bullshit, this time like a sweet, emotional icepick through the heart and mind. A sound that re-sounds to me every so often. Like now.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Finally, it seems that summer has arrived in Eugene. It took it's own sweet time this year. I've been out of town for 8 days in the arid heat of east-central California and coming back to Eugene was a breath of fresh air for once. Every year, Tina and the kids and I trip down to Jackson / greater Amadore county area to visit Tina's parents, Lou and Cathie. Most years we trip on over to Tahoe for some lake enjoyment and good food and sights. I wanted to get up in the hills and hike this time but it just didn't happen - it can be hard, breaking away from your 4-year-old and 1.5-year old, even if you know they are in good hands. But the lake was excellent and we splashed and swam and looked at the mountains and guzzled large cans of brewed beverages while snacking on various lovely foodstuffs. I caught some most excellent sleep the whole week and wrote a few oddball songs on a Casio SK-1 and drank far too many beers with Big Lou. *cough cough* my throat feels dry after hanging with the Lou-man, if you catch my drift. Fun times were had.
Holy moly, I turned 41 yesterday. I know what your thinking - another guy who thinks he's special because his age is a prime number - but I have to say, the years of my life that are prime numbers usually end up being really great years, so watch out, all you sub-prime-number suckas, I'm coming to get ya.
I love diggin through old boxes of stuff, because I come up with forgotten gems, like the above pic of me on my birthday in 1984. I was fourteen, in between eighth grade and High School and I apparently had really great taste in Nike socks. My brother Monty probably took this picture. He was 23, about to leave for Kentucky to start a masters program in music. While he was staying the summer at home with Mom and I in Crescent City, Monty and I spent a lot of time together and I still have fond memories of all the things we did - I can remember swimming in the ocean in our tighty-whiteys on a foggy day. Another time, we were exiting the library to find two snobby popular girls from school that were rough on me sitting on the steps, nearly blocking our way. Like a valiant goober, Monty yelled, "C'mon Ederd - jump!" and proceed to leap hilariously over the Del Norte debutantes with me soon jumping after. And most importantly of all, my bro Monty taught me my first guitar chords and basic music theory bits. We played Who songs, him on bass, me on guitar and he gave me an example of how to write a song. I supplied the title - "cooking with gas" - and a few lines of lyrics. He asked for a few chords and I banged 'em out. He finished the words and gave the song a structure. Shaazzam! I was hit with a lightning bolt. He made it look so easy. And it kind of was easy when you have a hyperactive, musical genius brother around - he was like the catalyst for the chemical process of songwriting to start for me and for that I owe my bro a lot.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today is memorial day and the day of our favorite yearly party - the George and Georgia party out near Veneta. G&G are our good friends and landlords as well. George was Tina's boss for years when she worked at Poppi's Anatolian restaurant. The folks that attend are often connected to Poppi's or just local hippies and people often associated with the Country Fair or local food industry. There is always a huge spread of food - mmmm! You know that makes me happy. Olives, pitas, hot dogs, pizza, 10 different kinds of pasta salad, vegan treats and decadent non-vegan chocolate delectables - yummm! Combine that with the good company of old friends and a good latin jazz trio and it makes for a wonderful time. Did I mention that there is also an amazing garden, complete with koi pond and overflowing flowers, a pond for swimming, croquet, bachi ball, a nature hike...yeah it's just about the best thing for one's state of mind. It totally rained half the time and we often cowered under the shelter by the fire as kids ate burnt marshmallows and got smoke in the face. Damn, I am tired now from chasing my own kids all over the place though. Those little duders will wear you out given half a chance.

Ok, back to life now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I watched a great film this past weekend. "Le Trou" is French for "the Hole" and it is a flick released in 1960 about a prison escape attempt. A group of four prisoners in a crowded French prison are presented with a new cellmate, a young pretty boy named Gaspard. After talking with him to find out what he is in for, the group decides to inform him of their upcoming escape attempt and incorporate Gaspard into their plan. Things follow from there and the movie is a riveting piece of work, the last film of influential French director Jacques Becker. The tension is constant, the camaraderie of the cast palpable and the lingering scenes of the inmates chip-chip-chipping their way through the floor are riveting. I found a more descriptive review of the movie here. I personally just love the setting of the cell, the way the prisoners of 1947 France – at least in the movie - are allowed way more freedom than modern-day, dog-kennel-with-tasers American prisons. The cellmates smoke, store food and personal effects in a cupboard and rap with the guards as if they were on equal par. In one scene, the cellblock chief even allows the men to exact their revenge on some thievin’ plumbers who steal their smokes. Also, the movie just aches with the human cleverness of the men adapting to living in a confined environment. The inmates have secret ways of passing messages and goods and I am sure methods of existence in jail have been similar for the last 1,000 years at least.

The best movie I’ve seen in awhile; I highly recommend

Monday, May 09, 2011


The results of my low-budget, monday-after-the-paycheck-lunch. It's a good thing I work at a place where potatoes and onions are usually to be found, rolling around on the floor. Not pictured: yummy avo and tomato chunks and hot sauce ....can you say a starchy mmmmm - MMMM!!! Free lunch = best lunch.

Here's Pat's super-good looking soup: Brocolli, red flat onion, water, lemon juice and half-and-half. That man is a genius, both in the kitchen and in the s@ck.

Scottk just walked in and hipped me to the new Melvins website: http://melvins.com/
Crazy! What can't the Melvins do? They've at least kept their sense of humor intact of the past 2 decades or so.
Things are very monday for me today. I just saw Slayer Carl coming down the stairs with his coffee cup and a gash between his eyes. I asked him if he had had a nice weekend and he rasped, "oh, yes." What a man! Only a minority of my friends come to work with a black eye on a regular basis, but Carl is certainly one of them. Apparently, no one else around here is really taking life by the (Slayer) horns.

OK, over n out

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Watched the movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre over the weekend. Sometimes, it takes me two days to finish a flick and this one was no exception, but it was good all the way through for me. In a nutshell, its about two down-on-their-luck - gringos Bogart and Tim Holt - that meet a grizzly old-time miner in Mexico and forge an alliance and go together to the Sierra Madre (occidental?) mountains to set up camp and mine for gold. Of course, shit goes wrong and the friends , at times, are banded together against claim-jumpers and banditos but the fellowship eventually goes foul and the main players turn on each other. I found it refreshing that Humphrey's character was a bit on the mean and villainous side. This is the movie with the famous line, spoken by Alfonso Bedoya, "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you no stinkin' badges!" Too cool! OK, I read a blogger's review of this movie where it was stated that movie is just so-so, standard 40's fare, but I enjoyed it. I'm slowly working my way through all of Bogey's movies just for fun and this one was not a let-down. See it, gringos! Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt

Friday, April 29, 2011

Last night was a great time at Sam Bond's Garage in Eugene. Most of my friends and I had been anticipating Mike Watt and the Missingmen appearing at our favorite neighborhood pub and the show was satisfying on several levels. My good buds the Golden Motors opened the night with a concise, well-blended rock and roll set. They debuted several new tunes that were totally ace and reminded me both of Television and Thin Lizzy at times, all with Dan Jones' literate lyrics and noodly guitar hooks. Scottk was in fine form on guitar, pulling out leads and single-note riffs that freshened up my ears. Watt and crew appeared after a short set-up time. I couldn't help but think: here's a dude who has earned the highest level of fan and peer respect for just being himself and doing what he does. Among the least pretentious people on the planet, I just dug seeing the man himself checking his bass rig and tuning up while John Coltrane played over the house speakers. The first set was entirely the album Hyphenated Man, a somewhat difficult piece of music with many dynamic shifts and short spiel interludes. I really dug the way Watt barely played his bass at times, just lightly fingering notes with his fret hand and really playing very quietly and minimally to great effect. I noticed that when viewed up close, his hands looked like mechanic's hands, with thick, stubby fingers that were worn down from years of use. He also had a knee brace on over his levis. What a stud - use it or lose it, that's what bodies are for, and for his duration on the planet Mike Watt is using every ounce of himself, gigging and bassing life-long. A good example of a human being. Here's a vid taken by someone I don't know:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I've been building quite a lot of wooden train tracks with the boys as of late. If you are ever shocked out of bed at 6:30 on a Sunday by a happy, babbling 16-month-old, just hunker down on the floor in your sleeping bag and dump out the Thomas the Tank Engine tracks and let the kid go wild. I usually wake up from time-to-time to check the little guys' progress. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I actually become part of the landscape of the island of Sodor and have tracks and tunnels going over my face and torso. That's about when I realize that it is indeed time to get up and avail myself of some coffee.
I arose today somewhat late at 8 and proceeded to hang out on the couch and floor with the crawling kids hampering my every move until breakfast. Afterward, I can't recall what we did - I probably drank more coffee than necessary - oh yeah, we watched Thomas the Tank Engine and Angelina Ballerina on the teevee and then Tina and the boys left to a pre-Easter egg hunt while I got the garage ready for noon band practice. More coffee, more music listening (mostly my own crap; half finished snippets of future songs) and then Dave arrived for Prac time. Prac we did and of course I've been recording practices for a long time but for the last 3 months I've finally been recording Band Prac on multichannel computer-thingy on my garage pc. I've been using a program called Reaper and I have to say that I do like it a lot; a very functional and easy-to-understand multitrack recording program that just fucking works so that's good enough for me.
It might be boring to read about, but all we (the underlings) have been doing lately has been preparing new music to record when we go to a secret studio location in Portland in June. All I will say at this point is... we are going to try and keep the whole process on analog tape when we start laying down those tracks. I haven't done that in a long time and I'm looking forward to it like a methadone-using junkie looks forward to his first real fix of heroin in a long while. The digital world has taken over almost all media aspects - recorded music, video, still photos, graphic layout. 30 years ago things were all analog and when things were good, they looked/sounded/appeared very good. These days, everything done on 'puters looks and sounds very good, but it all sucks in the way that margarine sucks, the way that sacchrine sucks. I don't want the fake experience with a million 1's and 0's, I just want pure fucking analog signal, sound vibrations in the air captured by quality microphones, ran through high-quality tube electronics and stored as real electric audio signal on a long piece of moving magnetic tape. So sayeth the shepard, so sayeth the flock.

ok, now that that's said, please go over and check out the new Underlings band blog, theunderlingsrockandroll.blogspot.com Our marketing department has some new freebies and surprises in store, so tr to curb your enthusiasm but check the blog once in awhile and you might find out some secret news you didn't know you wanted to know, but you did.

Roger that, over n out