Friday, March 29, 2013

SSW, Mr Roberts, 3/28/2013

We played with Compact Duo and The Part Time Bums.

It was your typical nobody there Distortion Thursday gig at Mr. Roberts. A handful of SSW loyal friends came by after the Thurston Moore show ended and that was nice. A couple of drunken regulars stuck it out too.  We went on around 12:30 and played for about an hour.  I used my stripped down black kit with my crappy cymbals and was totally happy with it except that I really should take the towel out of my floor tom.  Setup and transport was easy breezy. 

I wasn't feeling like playing much, but I played well. Overall we sounded surprisingly good in general given how ill-prepared we were, but I supposed we had weekly rehearsals for almost 4 years before essentially stopping them all together 6 months ago. Some things I played different than normal because we haven't rehearsed much since September (when our last show was) and I don't practice these songs on my own anymore. But doing things differently wasn't bad, interesting in some spots. I was playing a different setup than I've mostly been playing lately, so there were also on-the-fly rearrangements, which are probably good for my brain sometimes. I probably should do some pad exercises to get back my fast single-stroke roll, but I don't use it for much and it'll always be there if I wanna get it back, so meh.

I was feeling pretty cough-y but managed to sing pretty okay. RS lost his voice towards the end which isn't surprising since he was sick and we sang Pixies last night acoustic without mics for three hours.

I didn't drink all day and have 10 days of that behind me now. It's been a pretty recovery-heavy week and I actually had a pretty personally significant visit to the local Shambahala Center last night before the gig. So we'll see how that goes. But it was nice to be able to load out of my car to my house at 2am last night and get everything put away instead of artificially passing out...and to be able to get real sleep once I layed down...and I was pretty happy when the alarm rang this morning at 6:30am that I didn't have a hangover. I ate a good dinner last night and added a walnut burger from the Harmony on top of it at 10pm to combat the staying up late bought of heartburn that I seem to get lately if I don't eat something (and which ruined my night at TD cd release party).  The bartender at the Harmony remembered me in a "long time no see" kind of way and it made me realize that I don't think I've set foot in that place for almost 6 years now...after having been a regular once a week drunk there for 3 preceeding that. She's either got a good memory or I was a real asshole back then. Probably both.

Setlist to come.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Acoustic Pixies

Last night CJ tried playing acoustic. It was the first time we've done this other than a drunken impromptu set at beer fest last year in which I played drums. Last night again we were sans drummer due to illness, but we solidered on and I (mostly) stuck to bass. We are prepping for a busking event in about three and a half weeks...and a likely acoustic summer show at some local coffee house in town. It was also just on our to-do list. "1)Learn all album tracks 2)play a Doolittle show 3)play a set in alpha order 4)play acoustic show"...ya know, just trying to keep up with all the little gimmicks the kids have tried. We try to be loyal to our source material whenever possible.

I had been worried that it would be hard to hear the bass and that I'd strain my voice, but neither turned out to be true. It mostly went well. Of course...with drums and playing outside and with street noise...all bets are off. But I guess we're in better shape than I'd feared.

Playing acoustic is interesting because it changes the way you hear the songs. I found this to be the case last summer when SSW went unplugged. It made me realize times when the bass is key and times when we are all doubling parts. It made me notice places where there is opportunity for dynamics. It made me notice when the drums are important and when they aren't. Overall I was glad that we had a chance to run things once without drums because I was really able to hear so many things that I've never heard before and that will surely be covered up a bit by drums, no matter how delicately the drums are played.

Given the choice I think I'll always want to be amplified, but playing unplugged is an interesting exercise and it probably a good thing for anyone to try here and there.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It was only a matter of time...

Someone with the skills (particularly in the vocal/guitar department) and demeanor to pull it off just said "Breeders tribute" in a sentence in reference to me and her.

I smell an October scheduling conflict in my future...

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I find myself in the odd position of putting the brakes on a recording process. This has never happened to me before. Usually I'm the one pushing to record.

I think that, if you are going to record, you should only do so when you are playing about as well as a unit as possible. The songs should be tight. The group should be tight. And that requires practice. Some groups require more practice than others...but hitting the studio on just half a dozen rehearsals total (nearly none of which that have included the entire band) that have been spaced over 9 months...that's not a good idea. You can play a gig like that...but recording means...recorded. For posterity. Forever. Why waste the engineers time (even if he IS a friend...perhaps ESPECIALLY since he is a friend) and the time of everyone in the band in order to produce something that you can't totally be proud of.

I am willing to be out-voted, but that's how I feel. I'm not sure why everyone wouldn't feel that way. Perhaps they over-estimate how good we sound and I under-estimate it. Still...I can't see how being prepared is ever a bad thing.

Monday, March 11, 2013

td, Frequency, 3/9/2013 (cd release)

Tyranny Is Tyranny and 4 Aspirin Morning played too.

We sold 6 cds and made $95 at the door (our band share). A decent number of people were in attendance despite the rain but not busting out the sides or anything.

Two beers before, one after. That's three beers too many...but it was not a factor in my performance. It was, however, a factor in my heartburn, lack of sleep later, and general feeling of repeat stupidity.

We played well. The drums were miced well and sounded great. I bled. Missed intro to Gun in Your Grave cause bass pedal was stuck on snare stand but fixed quickly enough so that no one but us noticed. Threw a stick clear over to RS. Forgot to go to outro on HSUL but my ever-helpful bass man gave me the eyeball and I was in it soon enough. Overall I played very well (could not have hoped to play better really) and the evening was a success.

Overwhelming impressions of the least half of the people who came up to me to say hello who obviously I was supposed to know I did not have any idea who they were. Context clues got me through. Clearly I ignore most people that I meet in life and am an ass.

After gig interactions with crowd were annoying as per usual but in new and different ways. Again, clearly I am an ass. I probably should never leave my house.  That said, plenty of people said we sounded great and I believed them and was not annoyed by them. As always, it is the people who want to reflect on gender and gender roles and to make more out of things as they are than there is that annoy me most. And drunks (present company included). And those with communicable deseases.

Setlist to come.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finishing Out the Albums

Just a note that next week CJ will attempt to play the last two album cuts...Havalina and All Over the World...and then we'll have tried all the album cuts that there are (though a handful of these have yet to be played at a gig).  It will have taken just shy (by a couple of weeks) of 3 years to do.

It leaves the following untouched as of yet:

 Bailey's Walk
 Bam Thwok
 Boom Chicka Boom
 Make Believe
 Rock A My Soul
 The Thing
 Theme from Narc
 Ain't That Pretty at All
 Born in Chicago
 Evil Hearted You
 I Can't Forget
 I've Been Waiting For You
 Wild Honey Pie

As well as the 3 questionable tracks:
 Hang on to Your Ego
 All Around the World
 Brackish Boy

For a long time I didn't think that the boys would push through the entire catalog, but it is starting to look like we very much just may do it...or at least pretty darn close to it.  We seem to go in waves of excitement and apathy, and right now, despite having no shows on the books, we all seem engaged.

Not sure what will happen when we've tried them all, but for a split second last night, I ALMOST thought we were gonna write a song together.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Nick hits it on the nail yet again. What a guy. Sigh.

The other day there was a joke fest going on about all of us who play crazy punk rock type stuff now who grew up listening to ridiculous soft rock or mainstream drivel or what-have-you.  It is also regularly true that, at CJ rehearsal, someone will mention this or that band in a "well of course everyone knows this band or this album" and my answer 100% of the time is "I've heard of them, but have no idea what they sound like." This is always met with total disbelief and a not-so-subtle sense of "well you really kind of suck."

How this happened I do not know. I bought 2 cds a week in the summers of 1990 and 1991. This is the basis of my frame of reference...and yet I don't even know half the bands in the genres that I was glued to from those summers. My music collection now is 100s deep...but I know almost nothing. I had big brothers with great taste and also was glued to my radio throughout the 70s and 80s. But until a few years ago I could not have even told apart AC/DC, Led Zep, and The Who. I can tell them apart now only because you really can't take rock drum lessons and not learn that.

I think that my musical background is narrow...but deep. I know a great deal about the bands that I know about...and I know nothing else.

I really don't know how it is that people read every comic book, watched every movie, and listened to every album that ever came out. And still have time to know about cars or their jobs or educations or what have you. Clearly I mis-spent my youth daydreaming about cute girls.

Anyway...who are my song-writing or instrument-playing influences? Fuck I don't think I have any. I steal what I can but basically do whatever comes out. It's probably a mis-mash and I barely understand enough to even be ABLE to copy others.