Wednesday, July 27, 2005

the dedicated staff at st. sadie's of the greater sparks

take me down to the hospital

all went great for s.a. at the hospital! thanks to all that sent regards, it seems to have worked very well indeed. it should have been a 4-day-bed-stay, and she waltzes out in 2, (she had the 'l-4' disc in her back replaced, big time ouch, and they went in thru the front! i'd stayed a month).

s.a. is one tuff lil' cookie, all the nurses and docs were astonished and raved at how fast she was up and about. i thought they were gonna give her a standing ovation when we left, (they'll prolly put up a plaque at the nurses station and use s.a. as an example. . . 'man, now you can do better than that, we had this one girl in here that was outta here in 2 days! now c'mon and walk!').

i gotta tell ya, i have done my, (and others), fair share of time in e.r.'s, wards and semi-privates, but it's horrible to be waiting for someone in surgery. i was so damn nervous. the 2 1/2 hrs felt like it took forever. i shouldn't have worried tho', she nailed it.
we lucked out as they let me stay in the room with her, (i had to juggle some things on my busy schedule and i somehow managed to make the time), so we brought enuff stuff for a week's vacation. we always pack too much crap, every place we go. one flight to new orleans we got fined there and back for the steamer trunk s.a. was lugging about.

the poor girl slept for most of the 2 days, so i spent my time sneaking in some wine and sneaking out for some 'fresh air' in the parking lot, (i can only sit in a hospital room voluntarily for a short time, like i said, i did my time).
i zipped thru my new copy of 'the da vinci code', (what a really great read, especially the illustrated edition), raided the nurses kitchen for supplies when i could and soaked up my tape of rock and roll hospital songs called 'bed pans, sponge baths and a morphine drip', (another is 'anesthesia', you can only imagine what is on there).

...we're back home and i am so grateful it all went well, (she has been up and down the stairs, trying to cook dinner . . . i may have to strap her to the bed!).
still, i really don't like hospitals and try to avoid them at all costs, but i always end up there, like it or not. i kinda liked it this time.

(s.a. is sleeping it off and i'm gonna rip a cd from the anesthesia tape, put it in the deck upstairs, crawl in the bed, hug her gently, then fall asleep . . . nite all.)

an mp3 taste of 'bed pans...'
the rolling stones - sister morphine (from 'sticky fingers')
the replacements - take me down to the hospital (from 'hootenanny')
doctor ross - boogie disease (from 'sun records 50th anniversary')
the beatles - doctor robert (from 'revolver')
new york dolls - pills (from 'new york dolls')

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

looking at the peaches!

Monday, July 25, 2005

the only crime i ever did was play some rock-n-roll!

i feel very lucky to be the middle-aged punked rocker i am. i look around and what do i see? not a whole lot musically these days. maybe it's because not a whole lot really shakes my boat. i find myself buying up cds of vinyl i already have, or filling up a bands old cataloge.
i gobble up all the new stuff posted on all the mp3 blogs i frequent, but in the end it is like panning for gold. only a few nuggets in a lot of dirt. bands like the decemberists, billy harvey, bloc party, the motel beds and the scientists catch my ear, not much else, (and will they be around a year from now? i hope so!).

we live in such disposable times, and nothing seems to stick to this old hide.

i mean no harm to none involved, it's just that no single thing is rockin' anyone's boat it seems. no big thing. no next big thing on the near horizon either. kinda like the dog days on the horse lattitudes. where are the new beatles? i really don't see coldplay filling those shoes, too formulamatic, they just have no edge, fuck the hype. . . (there is not even a 'trouble' on the new record. nothing is sticking.)

but i do have vast resourses of my own to pick from, (thank dog i don't rely on the radio!).
yesterday i needed to make a necessity run for much needed supplies and grabbed some old cds for the trip, (reno is not big by any means, but a ride to sparks is still an adventure. long and hot and dusty . . . . and did i say hot?), and so being a long hot summer it was of a bit of importance to find something that reminded me of summer . . .

i picked up the cds of little feat's 'feats don't fail me now' and the strangler's 1st, 'IV rattus norvegicus'. i stuck in the strangler's cd and was again brought back to the summer 1977, (i think my fave summer of all time, it was the music, and the whole punk thingy going).
the stranglers were not like all the other punk crap filtering from that silly island at all. these guys were punk w/out even trying . . . dark, forboding and wild music, unlike the punk rantings about the dole. on the 1st and best lp, these guys were writing songs about being a rat on the beaches and in the sewers, and making it sing-along. it was like the summer of love, in the midst of flower power and hearing the doors doing 'the end', something so different and yet very compelling, and scary as shit. funny, cos it seems they got together thru the melody maker ad list. weird how things fall together. . .
'peaches' is the ultimate beach tune for watchers and lookers on a hot cocoa-butter laden day in front of the surf, seen from the eyes of a rat.
and 'get a grip (on yourself)' kinda sums up playing in a rock outfit. being sorta married to 4 or 5 guys you really don't like for less than government wages whilst holding down a day job digging holes then filling them back up again. (how i miss that dearly!).

well, that is my summation yer honor. i now need to bring the missus to the hospital. she goes under the knife today. she's all twitchy and i am nervous as hell. . . updates to follow!

some summer strangler tunes to hang onto the beach to! from the 1st lp(by way of yousendit!):
the stranglers - peaches
the stranglers - get a grip (on yourself)

(. . . i'll fill in the gaps at a later date, if ever . . . other than that, yer on yer own. . . i'm headed to the hospital, see ya'll in a few days.)

Friday, July 22, 2005

honey . . .

deep blues

one of my daily reads in the bog-o-world is 'pre-war blues', (or as the running title says, 'honey, where ya been so long?'). as i am a confirmed blues fanatic and always on the lookout for new old stuff, this site just fills that hole so perfectly. these guys have the best of the stuff ya really can't find anywhere, and i mean everyday of the week is something new and exciting and old as dirt. i really don't know how they do it but i am so glad they do.
peter, (the sitemaster), asked for a measley 3 dollars to help with cost as a way to upgrade, hell, i threw a 10 spot his way to confirm i would still get my daily dose. and he has really come thru with excellent videos of 'lightnin' hopkins', (a bunch of 'em from the early 60's), and a short flick of roy smeck in 1926 doin' some unimaginable guitar and harp work.
it is worth a look see! (but only donors get the look see tho').

and moving along with the blues thingy, we just got the rest of the wonderful 3 part dvd series 'american folk blues festival 1962-1969'. what a godsend! all the viddys are in pristine condition. they look as tho they were filmed last week. they capture some of the greatest blues artists ever, at the prime of their careers. willie dixon, muddy waters, howlin' wolf, john lee hooker, sonny boy williamson, and one of the only filmed performances of my harp hero little walter . . . unbelievable!
the stuff is pulled from old british and german t.v. specials, (america had yet to embrace their own at this point in time), and has these guys in all elements. they are playing in front of old south plantation sets, caught backstage playing to each other. . . .and to see big momma thorton belt out 'hound dog' is worth the price of admission alone, classic! if you love the roots, this is it.

oh, and one more thing. a few years ago i picked up the book 'deep blues' by robert palmer, (not the one you think). it is the definitive story of the mississippi delta blues. i think i have blazed thru it at least 4 times now, it is like taking a cruise with a dobro and harp down thru history, and makes you wanna dig up all the references just to listen to while you read thru his wonderful prose. a must!

ok, gotta go plow thru my new copy of husker du's 'new day rising', (i love gettin' cds of my records that are too well plowed, so clean and undanced on, for now). . . a review to follow, as soon as we get 'flip your wig', to complete the trilogy (those 2 with 'zen arcade'. . . the rest were just not up to the cut) . . . well, talk about tangents. . .

back to the blues, (some of my fave blues cuts on mp3, for a limited time via yousendit):
muddy waters - louisiana blues
robert johnson - terraplane blues
charley patton - spoonful blues
the mississippi sheiks - sittin' on top of the world

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

the reno second line . . .

the big queasy fest

we went to the annual 'big easy festival' in sparks saturday. they set up a few stages, they sell cheap beads, overpriced jambalya and the standard crafts junk. they tell us it's like a piece of new orleans in northern nevada. i don't know about that, but it was pretty fun and they do have some good music.

but reno ain't new orleans, it's too hot, (103 degrees), and no muggy, (love the muggy). and after working too many fests in the easy, i felt i needed to help these misguided promoters fix the stuff that needed fixin'. the lack of music, the food was lackluster, expensive and minimal. and that is just a bit of it. (s.a. convinced me to just walk around and play my harmonica subver-silly). still, i am really surprised they have gotten away with the thing for a few years now.

one band we did enjoy was 'gumbo'. the paint job on their van read . . . 'from crowley la. and oakland, ca.' i just found this profoundly funny, what a fuckin' commute.
i asked a few of the guys hanging with the band, (it was easy to figure out, they were of the black persuasion), what was up with that. i was told they had moved to the bay area to make a new start. good enuff. they had the crowd rockin' with such cajun faves as 'hello dolly' and 'mack the knife' . . . jeesh!

the locals sucked it up, hell, most of them are dissilute cali throw-aways trying to get away from the monster that cali has become, (this town now reeks of cali ex-patriots, all the time trying to make reno a bit 'o cali, go figure).
we actually almost made it 'til they end, but the nighttime heat was still oppresive, and i just wanted to get home to listen to some real new orleans music, get some wine, get stoned and count the days 'til i get the real thing!

sorry, no music tonite. it is kimmy's birthday, she got a i-pod shuffle and we found a bunch of new stuff i need to go thru, (the strokes and husker du cds, and elvis c. and hendrix dvds, whew!), so i need to absorb some stuff then absorb more. . . peas, out!

Monday, July 18, 2005

what the fuck?

some stuff for an insurgent summer

the wrecks did a new tune, 'hot baghdad (insurgent summer)', but soundclick is being a bitch and not lettin' this tune get an upload, (probably 'cos it is a subversive bit of bric'a brac, or it could be the heat).
no explanation needed for the song, it speaks for itself, (can you count how many car bombs affect this tune?).
but until soundcheck figures it out, it will only be available on yousendit.

and in other cool new internet music news, my good friend, mr. stephen griffin, has a site with his extrordinary sounds. a very nice place, with his tunes divided into a kinda mini-genre-mini-mall. i really can't describe his stuff, other than to say i really like it. it is a myriad of styles, from sensual accoustic to funky dance, crunchy dj mixes to acid ambience. worth a look and a listen and download.

mr. griff le riff is of the blog 'last night an mp3 saved my wife'. if ya never heard of it, you should hang your head in shame. go now and go fast. always entertaining and informative, '. . the wife' is handled by 4 or 5 guys in the u.k. and has ample doses of mp3s of every kind, new, old, known and obscure, but never boring. it is a daily must here in the wreckroom.
give 'em a hit and a nod. they love comebacks, and always have a witty comment in return.

well, i need to go to sleep now. it was a rough and hot weekend and i am still licking my wounds. i'll return when i recover from the 'big easy fest'. . . more later. . . until then . . .

here, thru the wonders of the web . . .
the metry wrecks - hot baghdad (insurgent summer) (ruff mix)
stephen griffin - cul de sac
stephen griffin - brainticket

mr. stephen griffin's music site

tooldle loo a lumba! tooldle loo a lumba!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

dread at the controls

no elvis, beatles or the rolling stones!

"In 1977 I hope I go to heaven.
'Cos I been too long on the dole,
And I can't work at all.
Danger stranger!
You better paint your face!
No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones."
('1977' - Strummer/Jones)

it seems to be clash nite in the old wreckroom tonite.
not that s.a. has much to say, i am the dread at the controls.
she is wrapped up in an internet chat party and i am left to my own devises, uh-oh . . .

i just got the jr. murvin cd of 'police and thieves' today. and yes, it is so cool to hear his falsetto all nice and clean with no scratches, (except for the excellent lee 'scratch' perry production).
so that lead me to pull out old 45s and show 'em off, though she wasn't looking. so i guess i'll share with ya'll . . .

i have all the early clash 45s, with the covers. these guys really did a wonderful job putting out singles during the punk movement, prolly some of the best. the records always had an obscure b-side that was just as good as the a-side, (the white riot/1977 45 is still one of my fave singles of all time . . . 2 sides, 4 mins and the most powerful rock statement!). and the covers were very punk art. and very clever.

and i just loved the attitude the clash had, they loved all kinds of music. they tried all every influential style on 'london's calling' then threw all the money they had to buck the industry and release a sprawling 3 record set about revolution and partying called 'sandinista!', (even having the balls to designate the record # with the prefix 'fsln', the call letters for the nicaragaun liberation front). very ballsy.

and they embraced the power of reggae and twisted the punk to make it fit. the clash enlisted the jamaican artist mikey dread to give the reggae they were playing some depth and credibility, and it worked. the stuff he did with the clash on a few singles and the sandinista! album is smokey and muggy like a warm island afternoon on ganja.

i loved reggae as soon as i bought the first wailers lp on a whim, (the one that looks like a zippo). we would have these rasta parties in the '70s where everyone put up for pot and we made a huge spliff, (according to rasta rules, made with corn husks and jutting about a foot from your face), played all the reggae we had and.. just.. drifted... mon.
so when the clash started this kinda hybrid punk-reggae, i was all into that too . . . as early as the 1st lp they were rippin' on jr murvin's 'police and thieves' and later it just got better.

'sandinista!' is the pinnacle tho'. the vastness of the music, the mistakes and majesty, it seemed they were just hanging on a ledge, nekkid for the world to see. it is so ambitious musically, touching every base, with style and surpassing anything any 'punk' band has tried to do. the lp came with a very cool double-sided poster w/ lyrics and bizarre art work and contains the best of the songwriting of joe strummer and mick jones. in fact jones really shines here with very graphic portrayals of late 70's life in britain. songs like 'police on my back', 'up here in heaven' and somebody got murdered' resonate with the feel of london today. and to me 'something about england' is up there with 'waterloo sunset' as the archetypical british songs of the post ww2 era.
the album reminds me of the 'white album' on steroids. too much to take in at once, hell, i am still trying to digest it.

the follow-up, 'combat rock' seems undone, (i think they spent more on the cover shot than recording. . . ). and the last one, 'cut the crap' was done right dissed by strummer and the bass player paul simonon after it was released, (jones had quit to form b.a.d. by then).
i caught the clash at the warehouse for the '82 tour and they were just exhausted, (this was like a week after strummer went m.i.a., he was 'found' just before the new orleans show). by this time the band was lyrically subversive, but the music lacked the primal punch of the earlier stuff, it was as tho' the band had given everything to put out 'sandinista!', and there wasn't much left. they put out that one last uber-lame lp then broke up officially in 1986, but it really was over after 1980.
but they did live up to the hype, for awhile.

some mp3s from 'the only band that matters':

mikey dread and the clash - rockers galore. . . u.k. tour
the clash - 1977
the clash - something about england
the clash - police and thieves

bonus mp3:
junior murvin - police and thieves

get the clash and junior murvin!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

how appro po . . .

dennis the menace

well, it looks as though dennis is gonna bitch-slap the gulf coast pretty hard. it is just a matter of less than a day before alot of people are gonna get their lives majorly disrupted. but it looks now like new orleans has dodged another bullet, (for now, whew!).

for those of you that have never experienced a hurricane let me tell you, it is very nerve wracking. you have to decide whether to stay or get the fuck outta metry. and it usually comes down to a flip of a coin . . .
(my sisters left the hubbies in the easy, high-tailed it to galveston, texas last year and spent the better part of the next 24 hrs in a parking lot called I-10. my brother-in-laws laffed
their asses off later, but they were really just lucky.
i woulda left too, but taken the backroads north to memphis. it may be in the path later, but i'd rather die drunk in memphis than in a gridlock on the way to texas.)

having personal interests in metry and not being there is even worse. there is absolutely nothing you can do to prepare. i just hope the knuckleheads renting our house have battened down all the hatches. last week, after cindy blew through we got an e-mail from the boys telling us a tree had blown over into the neighbors yard, and that was just a tropical storm.

fuckin' dennis is gonna smash everything in it's path . . .

it has been a long time since the easy was in the crosshairs of a biggie. camille was bearing down on the city in august of '69, and veered north at the mouth of the mississippi river, totalled the towns of pass christian and gulfport, miss. and by the time it was over camille had killed 256 souls as it ripped along from the gulf coast to the appalchian mountains.

the last hurricane to hit new orleans was betsy on september 9, 1965. she claimed 75 lives in florida and louisiana, (it had a eerily similar path as andrew in '92), and completly inundated the city. it was the water more than wind that did the most damage, (ya gotta remember, new orleans is in a bowl, an average of 5 feet below sea level . . . which is a good reason to always stay drunk when there).

i am sure my sisters will get out if need be, but these things really do whatever they want, usually at the last minute, and dennis is gonna be very close.
the best thing is just to get . . . i hope they do and take my silly bro-in-laws this time too!

some weather related tunes to evacuate to:
led zeppelin - when the levee breaks
roy brown - let the four winds blow
randy newman - louisiana 1927
charley patton - high water everywhere

Thursday, July 07, 2005

land of hope and gloria...

mr churchill says

i watched in disbelief all day, like everyone around the world, at the horror that was inflicted upon the innocent people of london. these are very scary times in this world, but london seems the most prepared for anything thrown at them. i am not sure that any city in the states would have handled it so well. the british are a very resiliant breed and have been through worst than this . . .

Well Mr. Churchill says, Mr. Churchill says
We gotta fight the bloody battle to the very end
Mr. Beaverbrook says we gotta save our tin
And all the garden gates
And empty cans are gonna make us win

We shall defend our island
On the land and on the sea
We shall fight them on the beaches
On the hills and in the fields
We shall fight them in the streets
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few
'Cos they have made our British Empire
A better place for me and you
And this was their finest hour
Well Mr. Montgomery says
And Mr. Mountbatten says
We gotta fight the bloody battle to the very end
As Vera Lynn would say
We'll meet again someday
But all the sacrifices we must make before the end

Did you hear that plane flying overhead
There's a house an fire and there's someone lying dead
We gotta clean up the streets
And get me back on my feet
Because we wanna be free
Do your worst and we'll do our best
We're gonna win the way that Mr. Churchill says
Oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! Well Mr. Churchill says
We gotta hold up our chins
We gotta show some courage and some discipline
We gotta black up the windows and nail up the doors
And keep right on till the end of the war

the kinks - mr. churchill says

god bless that tough little island. . .

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

ben, my friend

the outside children

the trio 'outside children' are quite unlike most bands in the new orleans area, musically diverse and always sounding like a 4 or 5 piece instead of 3. they never settle for playing their instruments, but would rather work them, using every part to get the sound they need. these guys take chances with their music. not content to be stuck with a lable, (which is kinda hard to do in less than 10,660 words), 'the children' like their style just fine, thank you, without any sort of mis-leading interpretations.

watching 'outside children' at work in the studio is a little like visiting romper room for the mal-adjusted out to lunch. the interplay within the band, both on a musical and personal level, is pretty unique. the atmosphere around them is always loose, with an undercurrent of tension.
ben waugh, the children's vocalist and guitarist extrdinaire likens them as "the shakiest band in town". it's not as if they're undependable or anything like that, you just never know what to expect from them at any given moment. incidents such as the now-famous halloween block party have only confirmed that this group would prefer to have people speak about them than say anything themselves.

mr. waugh is 'the children's' main songwriter and just so happens to be one of city's hottest guitarists. his onstage antics, like impromptu rapping, stoned ramblings and audio re-creations of historical events such as the fire bombing of dresden, have made him the toast of the town and put him at a great demand for every party and social event til the turn of the century. owing much to growing up in sub-urban metry, ben's musical taste varies from the subtle to sublime. anyone from miles davis to captain beefheart, or xtc to the golden paliminos and the db's, or the the and the soundtrack for the film 'attack of the mushroom people', can be found on mr. waugh's hi-fi at any given moment. his technique on the guitar shows styles as diverse as the music he listens to. if asked for an infuence he invaribly yells out, "jimi hendrix!!!'. and that shows in the knowledge of his instrument, the effects he uses to achieve the sound he wants, and his dedication to the music. and like jimi, ben feels himself a cast-off of society, (hence the name of the band!). the boy really does have the knack and should good far in this business.

mr. carlo nuccio is also somewhat notorious for his extra-curricular activity around town, in and out of bands. his 'atomic' drumming is the back-bone of 'the children'. using his gretch set and linn drum unit in sync is something that turns heads when they appear, sounding like an african war tribe on mardi gras day.
carlo's influences? you can hear the stewert copeland off beats, mitch mitchell's power kick in the bluesy originals and as carlo says, "i like buddy rich , 'cos drummin' made buddy rich". and the jazz is there, in a subtle manner, but that really can't be helped, playing music in new orleans and all that.

mr. lenny jorns, of bass and a 2 1/2 octave range voice, seems to hold things together, both on and off stage. he is the perfect foil for mr. waugh, singing melodically to ben's cracked, machine-gun-like vocalizing, using the bass to enhance, and sometimes take control of the whole feel of a song.
basically a quiet sort of fellow, lenny has been known to fly into fits of dressing up as silly animals and run around bothering people, (and getting paid for it!).
lenny's a real fun guy, but the music always comes first. playing with a number of local bands
in the past, (in fact he is also plays for another local act which will remain nameless), lenny is surely one of the city's premier bassists. he seems to be everywhere on the bass at once, (those who have seen mr. jorns, know from where i speak). and he will no doubt sweep the votes as 'nice guy of the band' , (he's got mine).

like many other groups in town, 'the children' aren't too concerned with playing a whole lot of dates in the near future. they want to concentrate on recording, (carlos is in the process of moving his '1st take sudio' in with 'pace sound'). they are also throwing together a 6 song e.p. to shop around, (they have a few connections that they asked to keep under the table for now, so i will, for now).
they say all this with the bitterness that comes from playing the same few clubs. tired of bickering with owners who act as tho no one is worthy of playing their club on a saturday night without a top ten hit, ridiculous, huh?

after only a few gigs in the area 'the children' have gotten a great response, mostly word of mouth, but positive none-the-less. and they deserve it, because these guys are the making some of the best and innovative music around these parts.
ya know, jobs in town like opening for 'the red hot chili peppers' at jed's, (which they do on the 11th of this month), will only help these guys convince people in town that there is alot of great music here, and that the outside children are an up and coming force on the local scene.
that is unless they have to leave here to do it first.
let's not let them do that. . .
(reprinted from the 1984 x-mas edition of 'background noise', thanx tim and penelope)

p.s. 'the outside children' did move to cali around easter of '85, looking for some fame. ben came home often, usually missing the simplicity he was trying to get away from, and, i guess looking for the comraderie .
he died on all-saints-day 1985 in metry, after a kick-ass show by a children splinter band outta l.a. called 'the shite god squad', from circumstances of an odd nature, (i won't go there now).
the band disintegrated after that, but they left behind some unfinished demos recorded in l.a. from the fall of '85 and a handful of songs done for the e.p. in '84. . .
i play them often still. . .and i miss ben more than god will ever know.

the outside children ep (via yousendit):
hey l.a.
america (redman)
jeanne marie
fade away
ghost town
repeat and fade
(and a bonus,for those that care)
icy blue (undone l.a. demo)
(all these songs are highly advised as they're very good)