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, 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