Turn the page…

Discovering Bob Seger was cool once
was a lot like discovering
Steve Winwood had played with Hendrix
when the only thing I had heard was
“Higher Love” 
and then discovering Traffic and Blind Faith.
On the 60’s channel on the satellite radio at work 
they would occasionally play this song,
“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”
I loved it, and finally was able 
to stop whatever candy related work I was doing
in time to get over there and see who it was by –
The Bob Seger System.
The Bob Seger System?
Started hunting for it – Kurt and Kevin at Soundex
couldn’t help – some guy at Sig’s told me that it
was outta print and I could find copies on amazon
for 30 bucks or so…  yikes!
then a couple of weeks ago I find a torrent –
“Bob Seger – 1966-1975.”
it included 3 albums by the system,
a collection of early singles, and a lot more…
So I’ve been listening to The Bob Seger System
and wondering how you get from this

to this

Sure, I liked “Old Time Rock’n’Roll” back in the risky business days, and “Katmandu” made me think maybe he was o.k…

but discovering the old stuff makes “Turn the Page” make sense…
Some of the stuff in this collection wouldn’t be out of place on a 60’s psych comp with the likes of The 13th Floor Elevators,
other songs just plain rock…  Too often there is bad psych panning (guitar solos move back and forth a LOT) but overall the records sound great – fat bass and drums that sound like drums and killer organ!
I wish somebody would remix/remaster and rerelease these records.
The early stuff really gives you the sense that these people were FREAKS.
Listening to the early stuff I no longer wonder why they got hassled in coffee shops
all over detroit and where ever else they traveled in rural and industrial america.
but how do you get from there to Beverly Hills Cop II?
is it just age?  hunger for a hit? what?
I could talk about Bob Seger all day…
but I’ll stop now as I have to get ready to go be an extra in a student film!

Ooh La La

Hallo. Ron Wood here. I recently got myself one of these computers ’cause it was just getting too hard to live without one. I was always the last one to get the news. Mick and Keef email each other scheduling stuff and nobody ever gets ’round to telling ol’ Woody about anything. Thanks, guys. Anyway, I took my laptop down to the pub (don’t tell Mick, he thinks I’m in rehab), where they have wi-fi so I could check my email. I still don’t have the internet in my house. So I get this email from a mate of mine. In the mail he tells me about this cool thing he found on the web and that I should “click on the link.” Well, fuck me, I’ve never done anything like that before. I clicked it an’ this whole other screen comes up. It looks like it’s gonna do something, but then it doesn’t, so I sit there and wait for it. I’m not sure if this is what it’s supposed to do, but I know there ain’t nothing cool about it.

I wrote my mate back to tell him that his link was either broke or it wasn’t very cool. He wrote me back almost instantly. I can’t believe people these days. Do they ever turn their computers off? Anyway, he told me I might need to upgrade Flash to make the thing work. I don’t have to tell you that I had no idea what a Flash was, so I wrote him back to tell him and he sends me back a list of instructions with bullet points and everything. When did everybody start doing stuff like that? I thought it was just Mick.

I followed his list and I finally got the damn thing to work. And he was right, it is pretty cool. It’s some kind of sound manipulation. I don’t know how any of this stuff works–for all I know there’s little elves playing guitars in my laptop. But if it’s elves, they take instruction well.

I wish I had something like this on the side of my guitar. I could make it sound like anything. well, maybe not anything, but at least better than Keef. Not that that’s hard.

Anyway, I gotta get back now. I just thought you should see this too. Don’t forget to check out some of the other links there. This internet thing just might catch on.

Toasted Wednesdays

For some reason when I was reminded that today is Ash Wednesday, I went back and looked at the last two Ash Wednesday Posts.

Last year’s Ash Wednesday post concerned my grandfather who had just passed on. It brought back a tear to my eye to re-read that post.

The year before that, I came out of the Snobbish Buffoon Closet and spoke freely for the first time about snobbish buffoonery. I neglected completely to note that it was Ash Wednesday, but it is a timely entry in tangent with Stacey’s current post.

So it comes to this, that today is my day of reckoning.

Is this, Ash, the only Wednesday of annual note? Had I more foresight might not I have chosen Fat Tuesday as my day of days? Good Friday (but poor Thursday) whilst Saturday needs no speciality, nor Sunday. Meanwhile Monday is the beneficiary of many three day weekends –thus the Happy Mondays.
No matter. Ashes to ashes, funk to funny…

*Thank You Roberto for finding the above image many Wednesdays ago

Ghost in the Machine

Who are the people who blog? I think about this as we wonder about our status here at this blog. I thought about it today as I pondered some other bloggers I know who actually do it as a living.

Bloggers are a curious bunch. The audience seems to be a big issue with quite a few of them.

I think some bloggers at this place want to think that their words have more meaning if somebody else reads them, but is it more that a lot of people read them, or is just a few good enough?

I don’t know who it was that said a person is not whole unless their creative side has spoken too, but it is a very curious phrase. So life is more than just eating and drinking and sustaining itself? And even more than having relationships on top of that? One must express one’s creative side?

How do people even know what their creative side is?

All of this to say that I write on a blog because the act of writing and the act of reading is enjoyable to me. I wouldn’t mind knowing if I did something good, and I pretty much already know when I’ve not done the best job I could do. I don’t need that double negative. An audience is an interesting thing to consider, but I really like a small intimate gathering. There’s already more than enough stories and music coming out of this blog to keep me occupied for a long time.

It’s the act of doing that works for me. And when I get tired or shy, I have the podcasts to fall back on! (I’m shooting for every two weeks on those, btw. Gives time for people to make song suggestions. hint, hint)

But back to creative expression… It’s so awesome how doing things one enjoys is not only acceptable but needed. Seems to be needed by the person doing it and a receiver. I mean, you can’t go out and eat a ton of cookies everyday, but you can express your creative side all day and all night and you’re good to go!

And usually at least one person will listen to you, and that’s not bad.

Short Break

Hoping to have a guest poster today but in the meantime enjoy this animated short from the folks who are bringing you Lavatory-Lovestory, an Oscar contender in the Animated Short category.

Somebody keeps putting L-L up on Youtube and it keeps getting taken down. It’s up as I write but you better look quick:

Sunny Day

When I was a very young youngster of three, I had only a handful of toys. These are the joys of being dirt poor. Among these toys were a Sesame Street Roosevelt Franklin puppet and a smaller Roosevelt Franklin finger puppet. I suspect that the only reason I had the former was that Roosevelt Franklin wasn’t a very popular character and so toys with his likeness were on sale. Later I had to have the finger puppet because it was a smaller version and I was fascinated by these things that were the same, but yet different sizes.

Since I had these puppets, Roosevelt Franklin became my favorite character on Sesame Street. It was a treat for the three year old me to watch him and look down at the puppet and compare differences. The T.V. Roosevelt, for example, was made out of a soft material that made the face expressive, while my puppet was plastic and lifeless. They did both have awesome hair and striped shirts. Clearly he was an influence on me. This may be a false memory, but I think I remember wondering if the classes that Roosevelt Franklin taught were what school was really like. And I don’t remember this specifically, but I bet I was pretty disappointed when my teachers’ lessons weren’t in the form of song.

Real life was never as awesome as Sesame Street. These videos are pretty awesome though.

want piano

Amongst the recent flood of tag-your-it notes overwhelming FaceBook is a challenge to name 15 albums that changed your life. I found this a far better exercise than most of the other FB notes floating about most of which have to do with setting your music player on random. Of course it may be a silly superficial exercise to begin with;and all the mélomanes’ notes readily admit it’s not a long enough list. I enjoy the obstacles presented (and I’d rather not read somebody’s unrestricted list, good god how long would some go?).
What was overall disappointing in reading the lists of my friends, is how little folks deviated from their chosen genre. One would read a list, and have to admit that all the albums presented were indeed important works, but in the great scheme of things the albums varied little. –indie rock classic, indie rock classic, indie rock classic.
This is an unscientific observation but in my experience, persons of musical note rarely have influences that can be bundled so neatly. A rocker hears Thelonius Monk for the first time and it changes his idea of phrasing. A classical composer hangs out in the East Village in the 70’s and his work takes on the minimalism of a three piece punk band. The Who adds their version of Terry Riley’s In C right smack dab in the middle of one of their greatest rock anthems Baba O’Riley. It doesn’t mean Pete Townshend wanted to become a minimalist composer upon experiencing this revolutionary sound. The point is I don’t think much musical innovation comes from within a genre but from without. So listing your fifteen most influential albums that are essentially of the same ilk, even as an audiophile and not necessarily a musician, is false, stubborn and lacks creativity.
Now here is a piano composer who takes his inspiration in a well rounded way and if you are not an idiot you might also learn a thing or two from him but I highly doubt it.

The pitchfork interview (for those who use no other source).

All his free downloads are worthy. 

But if you must be selective, here is one possibly taking inspiration not from a fellow musician at all but from the minimalist painterly poet William Carlos William, Red Pencil.

On Myspace, just hit play and enjoy.

For the backlighting.

For the vantage point and demonstration of his prepared piano technique.

From the album Ferndorf, animated video – one in series.

Podcast of the Week

Finally, after a very long time, I am back to making the podcasts.

Thankfully, last week I had an already prepared mp3 podcast so it was easy to post, as opposed to my tech problems on this side. But, forgoing any detail on my tech issues, I finally am able to make my own podcast and we had a lot of contributors this week. Awesome!

Last week I posted music from my old college. This week we find out what happened to that band and the members. After the huge success of the Moaners, and mainly getting together to play regularly for at least three years of college, no small feat (as many of you know), they went off to play in a band called The Chickens. Included in our podcast is a special cut, “Dolores.”

After that, they made a band that included a horn section and was called The Merchants of Venus. They played Austin and Houston circa 1994, and I actually saw them at Rudyard’s once.

Though John also played in Elektrolux, I have no track from that, but I do have a track of him in a play called Rats singing about being a naked mole rat who’s lonely. I have to say it’s my favorite track out of all of them.

Nowadays all members are spread out across the globe and some don’t even play instruments anymore, but that’s a painful detail we won’t go into. That any of them wouldn’t just hurts my sensibilities. Some members are in Austin and I hear there is a play that involves foil suits that is coming up shortly. Intriguing!

(By the way, there is a burlesque cupcake event happening at Emo’s in 3 weeks. Another Austin event I may just have to try and attend.)

To honor The Cramps and one of their fallen, Unspeakable contributed with one of their most awesome tracks.

Conor served up The Pogues, Justin sent in Buddy Holly and Kilian sent a couple of tracks in as well, the Hauschka is one of my favorites. To round out representation in the nap, Roberto sent some Latin flavors, one of which has rocked my world with the unlikely title of “Yogurt.”

My friend Jared answered my call to contribute with a song by Paul Newman. Janna, another friend, submitted one of her favorites, this one by Bettye LaVette. Stephen, a friend who is doing the art work for my cookie store, also is a person who I source music from and he contributed a song. I simply chose a few songs from another friends latest music mix that he sends out somewhat regularly. Thanks Lee!

The last song is a dedication to Cherry Blossom. Contributing music to a blog and serving yourself up to people is not easy. It’s hard enough to find the words to write, and it’s another job to deal with what comes back once you put something out there so I can understand at least that much about her decision to not be a part of our blog anymore. This song is just a nod to her for giving it a go. It just reminds me of her, or, my perception of a part of her.

On that note, if anybody reading who is not already posting regularly to the blog and would like to, please respond and let us know. A Sunday spot is available. You can write about anything but very short stories seem to be enjoyed quite a bit, in addition to actual music blog posts.

On to the music!

Two ways to listen – the player below, or download it to iTunes.


Under Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast – and enter this code:



As you were

This is my last post for the NAP. I am looking forward to the continued fun here, especially on Sundays. Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting and giving me the opportunity to share stuff with you.

In case any of you are wondering what ever became of the fire truck, it was rescued from the NJ turnpike truck repair shop (where it last broke down) on Friday and is poised for the next leg of its journey from Kentucky. The next stop will be a shop in NH to replace the starter and several relays and to overhaul the electrical system. Then it will be ready for its final leg to Boston.

As I was sitting in an awesome talk on circuitbending last week by Peter Edwards

of casperelectronics and thought of a way to enhance the original plan for filling this truck with music instruments and recording equipment to take around to kids. The new part of the idea is to have the truck itself evolve as a musical instrument and have the kids help build things onto it and in it that make music/sounds that happpen when it’s driven. We could also build recording devices to automatically record the sounds and then teach the kids how to choose samples, loop them, and build songs out of the sounds that the truck and its instruments make. We could make organs or attach accelerometers/sensors in various places. I dunno – some of the guys at the Media Lab are really good with this sort of thing, so I’ve proposed to do a brainstorming workshop at an upcoming research conference to see what people might want to come up with. Hopefully, by then the truck will be home safe and sound.