.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} <$BlogRSDURL$>

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


That's the name of a neighborhood in the Bronx, it's Dutch, and it means either 'spit at the devil' or 'spitting devil', either way it's also the name of the greatest drinking establishment in New York. Located on Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (cross st. Havermeyer). Featuring the finest beers you've never heard of, they also serve wine, port, cidre, mead, and awesome tapas of meats and cheeses. Everything is imported, and served with dedication and a dirth of knowledge by Joe. I can't even begin to describe all the different types of drink they serve, or the varying methods of distllation, storage, importation and serving, but Joe can, and he's itching to tell you about it. Look for the red door, behind it lies civilization.


Calling it the 'Loaves and Fishes' plan, Bush plans to stop buying Arab oil by simply having The Lord increase our own domestic supply. He also intends to use an antiquated technology called Transubstantiation to turn California wines into natural Gas.


Once upon a time there was a great band called Genesis. Then the singer left, then the guitar player left, and then they became utter crap. Before those events transpired, however, they made their opus, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. It was Gabriel's swan song with the band, and certainly their creative highpoint. The album is flawed, though it contains the best material they have to offer - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, The Cage, The Carpet Crawlers, and of course Back In New York City - it also contains a goodly amount of filler. I just can't get into Cukoo Cocoon or Lilywhite Lilth. According to Gabriel:

"In fact there are parts of it which are almost indecipherable and very difficult which I don't think are very successful."

It seems to be another one of those double records that should have been culled down to one. During the making of the record Gabriel actually quit, ostensibly to make a film, but he was brought back into the fold to complete the album. The impending spectre of his departure did not leave, and thusly the album feels a bit rushed, as if they needed to get it out before he quit again, which he did.

Gabriel: "The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our songwriting became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. To get an idea through "Genesis the Big" meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation. On a large scale it needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide."

The band would go on to make three good records (Trick Of The Tail, Wind And Wuthering, ...And Then There Were Three) But then came Duke and 'Misunderstanding' and a load of crap followed (read 'the eighties'). What the fuck is Paperlate anyway? Abacab - I get it , the chord structure, wow that's witty! Then there's Phil solo, let me just say Susudio and leave it at that.

Gabriel on the other hand went on to make four outstanding records, Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel, and Peter Gabriel (subtitled Security), followed by two massive hit's (So, and Us). He spent some time in Georgia making music with monkeys, and he put out a new record last year which I haven't heard, so I won't comment.

Anyway, with the newfangled computer gizmos, you can download the good stuff, leave the crap, and be happy.

"You gotta get in to get out"


I must add that I do like Trick of The Tail quite a bit, which reminds me of an amusing story about Princess Dianna. When Genesis (the lame eighties band, not the cool seventies one) played one of the Prince's Trust concerts in the late eighties, after the show upon meeting Phil, she (Di) asked him why they didn't play any numbers off Trick of The Tail. Indeed Di, indeed.


First off, I love making records, and I consider myself lucky to be in a position to do so. Mixing, however is my least favorite part of the process. I much prefer the recording itself, putting up mics and getting sounds. Mixing is tedium and repetition. Even the greatest song ever get's annoying after the hundredth playback. It's so easy to lose perspective. Chris and I have developed a pretty good method of sharing the burden. I call it 'deaf cop, blind cop'. One person (deaf cop) drives (operates the keyboard), deals with minutia, and makes the adjustments called out by blind cop, who sits behind deaf cop with his eyes closed listening to the BIG PICTURE. When madness begins to set in, we switch. Using this method we were able to get through two New Creation (Lifeteen, aka The Christians) tunes in two hours last night. I can hear Tony now, "Two songs! What the hell is going on up there?" My answer - Making records.

Monday, April 25, 2005


I found this on Hue's 'I Hate Huezine' blog (www.huezine.blogspot.com) about the Autism Action Alert, which is a cause that Hue is passionate about, and I commend him for it....

Unfortunatley Anonymous said...

"Nice love fest, I am so glad you and blogosphere have kissed and made up. You both have a soft spot for retards, isn't that special.

I still think your blog sucks.

You slam Republicans every chance you get then all of the sudden you like Rick Santorum because of he is sponcering a bill for retards! You are a joke!

You like republicans as long as they back your lame causes?

There are a lot more important things in this country to worry about other than tards."

Anonymous is a Coward. Austism is not a lame cause. Anonymous hates 'tards'. Anonymous can't spell sponsor. It seems to me, and I 'd love to be shown an example of Liberal Hate Blogging, that all the hate I see on the comments comes from the right. I have never seen a hate comment come from the left.

UPDATE: This just in from Huezine's comments:

"first of all, go fuck yourself jackson." - Anonymous

I'm first! Before anything else, I get to fuck myself, yay! Would if I could Anonynous, would if I could.


My mother reminded me that Ratzinger (thanks Clarkie!), Pope Benedict XVI, was the Cardinal for the German diocese we were part of when we lived in Heidelberg. At the time (1980) Ratzie censured famed theologian Hans Kung for advocating contraception, female preists, and clerical marriage. Silly Hans. Well actually silly Ratzie, because that controversy has set up Kung as the leading secular theologian of our time. Google him, he's quite an amazing guy. Anyway, the fact that this guy (Ratzie/Benedict) was John Paul II's number one, his right arm, his heir apparent, says quite a bit about ol' JP II. Meet the new Pope, same as the old Pope. I hear that the decision to elect Ratzie was to give some time for JP II's legacy to gel. Legacy? What travel? I'm sure they want to cannonize him, so we can look forward to Saint John Paul, the Patron Saint of Sky Miles. In the meantime, more repression, more unwanted pregnancies, and more death in Africa from AIDS. No hurry, guys.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I have become an official Gospel freak, and as is usual with me, I came to it backasswards. My introduction to Americas most emotionally expressive music came from two notorious english drug feinds, Keith and Mick, and then furthered by another english junkie, Jason Spaceman. In the end they brough me back to Mavis, who had impressed me years earlier in the The Last Waltz.
Let's go back to 1979 shall we. I was living in Germany with my parents. We did a load of travelling about europe that year, and my dad is a thrifty sort of chap, so we stayed at every Army base we could find - cheaper lodgings. In the Army, every base has a movie theater, and they show movies about 6 months to a year behind what's in the theaters in the states. They also only buy one copy and just send it along to another Army base after they show it (once, maybe twice). Thusly, I was able to see The Lat Waltz about ten times that year. It was everywhere we went. I loved it. It presaged my love of the blues (Muddy), Neil Young, The Stones (Ron Wood - great shirt Ronnie!), Bob Dylan (Baby Let Me Follow You Down - Oh My God) and Mavis Staples and The Staples Singers. Some of you may be getting tired of me going on about her, but c'mon, listen to ANYTHING she's sung, Talk about Jesus having wept. Anyway, I was fifteen, and SERIOUS into metal, so although I never forgot Mavis (or any of the others mentioned) I went on about the buisness of being a metal-head when there was no such terminology. Mostly that's buggin' mom by blasting Double Live Gonzo from my room during breakfast ("anyone want to get mellow they can turn around and get the fuck outta here, alright!")
Cut to 1984, me and Tony Alva driving around in his tiny little Colt (Those that know Tony, his stature, and his love for little cars will find this notion amusing) listening to Sticky Fingers. That was a true life changing moment for me. A sense memory I find extremely potent. Who knew then where this music would lead me. Directly it led me to a record store in College Park, Maryland, where I would, over the course of a year, buy the entire Stones catalog (on vinyl of course). Indirectly it led me to a fascination with Keith, drugs, and a habit. Like Johhny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Steve Tyler, Joe Perry, Slash, and Izzy, I had to go there. I couldn't worship from afar. I had to taste it firstahnd. The glory, and the depravity. It may seem that I'm digressing, but stick with me here. In 1971, the Stones began work on their follow-up to Stcky Fingers. The recording of what would become Exile on Main St was witness to excess on a stupefying level, and it gave birth to absolute glory. Bear witness to 'Shine a Light', 'Lovin' Cup', 'Let It Loose' - Gospel music. Real Gospel, not the fake wanna-be Gospel of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' or 'Salt Of The Earth', but the real deal with the real passion, and the real sounds. It helped that they had connections like Billy Preston and the Texas Horns (Jimmy Price and Bobby Keyes) to help them enlist the right singers, not to metion, along with Nicky Hopkins, a level of musicianship that could take the Stones to the Altar so to speak. To me, the Gospel tunes on Exile are the record, and the rest is dressing, great dressing indeed, but somehow secondary to the real quest that was going on in the basement of Nellcote. That quest was for truth, the dirty truth of their lives, and the glorious truth of salvation.
1998 was a dark time for me. I had fallen. I capitulated. My flirtation wit the devil had taken hold. Why? I had to know. During that time I listened to a lot of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3. Soothing junkie drones. But what was at the bottom of all that feedback and wash? Gospel. The lord. Every song Jason Spaceman has written is about God, love, and heroin. They are all one and the same to him, his Holy Trinity. The Gospel of Spiritualized is as true as that of Mavis, or anything that came out of a southern church - it's just very electric.
Today things are good. I hear that Jason has cleaned up his act as well. That's good too. My Baby turned me on to cool vinyl store in Rockville MD (Joe's Record Paradise), and there I found a copy of the Staples Singers 'Be What You Are', Ah, me and Mavis together again. I took the long way home, but I got there. Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Somebody asked me how I liked the new Pope. What? He hasn't done anything but have his picture taken, give it some time eh? I do, however, like his eggs, so on that note here's my recipe for Eggs Pope Benedict XVI:

Fry eight eggs over easy. Fry and slice some German Bratwurst. Place the slices on 4 (8 halves) toasted English miffins. Place the eggs on top, and douse with a gallon of Hollandaise (egg yolks, butter, lemon juice). Eating this should kill you in about the same period of time as the Papacy of Pope John Paul the First.

Friday, April 08, 2005


That's the title of my little rock record that I've been working on. It's an ode to the band that most influenced the record, as well as an admission of the state of mind I was in while working on it, like that's news, anyway, my Baby asked me to write a little bit about who does what on the record, premature liner notes if you will.

There are actually six songs in contention, and I haven't yet decided whether they all will make the cut or not. I'm of a mind to keep them all on the record, but who knows at this early date. I do know this:

The first song on the record will be 'If'n You Say So'. I once saw a band open for the B-52's who played all instrumentals except for their closing number who's lyric was simply: "And I'll say just what I like". I found that highly amusing, and quite memorable (it was twenty-three years ago!). 'If'n You Say So' is my ode to that band whoever they were.

'Get It' is my attemp at writing in a style I fear may be gone for good, the early eighties metal song about fucking. Rob Halford is my all-time favorite belter of sexual swagger, and this song is my 'Living After Midnight'. I now have to convince myself that I am king god fuck man so I can sing these severely sophmoric lyrics with conviction. Hey, If Rob convinced a great many that he was into chicks, I can convince myself that I'm good in bed, right?

'The Women In My Life' is by far the most challenging number for me. It's one of the better things I've written, but the melody is sort of complex and for the life of me I can't sing the damn thing. I've contemplated farming out the vocal duties, but I'd rather get a take I can live with, or at leat one I can auto-tune without sounding like Cher or Madonna.

'Supplies' is a quirky number about hitch-hiking (another lost genre). Musically it's the most together tune, and I was successful in apeing both Keith Richards and Marc Bolan. Score!

'Stoned Again' will be the centerpeice of the record. It's one of those songs that wrote itself. Well, credit must be given to Rob Machold for divine inspiration. Rob is the preferred drummer at Smoke and Mirrors. One must understand what a machine he is to understand how this song came about, but suffice to say all I had to do was wait, and he gave me the song I was waiting for. More on this later.

'Long Goodbye' is heavily influenced by the Stones (Dear Doctor, Sister Morphine, and Far Away Eyes) and Pat Phillips' penchant for bluegrass/folk (Harlon, Long Black Veil). It's about a man dying from a war wound, and it tries to have a certain Kentucky flavor (or maybe Lynchburg Tennesee, though I'm a Jamesons man).

The way it worked was like this; Chris went back to work, and I didn't. I had some time, and some golden Machold beats. You see, when Rob comes in to lay down tracks, for whatever project he's working on, he leaves us with them. Pristene drum tracks all done to a click, and arranged. Though the arrangement is in his head, it comes through, and can be easily felt. The transitions are there, breakdowns, B-parts, you name it. All one need do is pick up a guitar and start playing along, before you know it, bam, a song is born. Rob is a gift. Manna from Rock Heaven. My method was simple. I wrote the chord changes on my 5-string Keith tuning Junior, and I'd record that. Then I'd write a second guitar part in standard tuning and I'd record that with my Tele. For amps I used either the Fender Bandmaster or the Marshall, with a Shure SM57 on the grille. Then I'd do the bass, direct, and re-amp through the Bandmaster. Hopefully by this time a vocal melody and or lyric would form. Then I'd get real high, and work out the words. Sometimes I'd improv on the mic to get ideas flowing. When I was comfortable with the lyric, I'd record my vocals, then I'd cringe on playback and curse my shorcomings as a singer. Then I'd get real high again and write another damn song. After a few songs were worked up, I approached Chis and asked him to mix it for a hundred bucks when I was done. This was an obvious ploy on my part to get around his ideas and still have his skill at my disposal. Chris saw through my ruse and has good naturedly teased me about the whole thing. Chris has also donated some backing voices (much needed!), organ, and two guitar solos (Stoned Again, Supplies). I'm hoping to get Andy Rock to play a lead on 'Get It'. I've treid a few passes at a solo on 'The Women In My Life', but my penchant for heavy guage guitar strings has come back to bite me in the ass. Being as I haven't been in a band in almost two years now, I'm afraid I'm out of shape, and man these .13's are hard to bend.

This record was a much needed release. After a year and a half of The Wall and Brain Shivers, I needed to something simple, and that I had more control over. My thanks to Chris for his patience and time, and when he wants to do the same, I'll be happy to mix it for a hundered bucks. He could save himself the cash and do a better job himself, but it's the thought that counts!

Tony, I've got work for you.....


God's Mum (Mrs. Badcramble): God, you'd better get up, you'll miss the best part of the day."
God (James Mason): "But I haven't invented the best part of the day yet, ah, got you there Mum, boxy clever I am."

You have to do the voice, it's funnier that way.

Eddie Izzard (www.eddieizzard.com) has been using James Mason and a host of others to conquer the world of comedy. It's working. He's got a mess of DVD's out now in the U.S., and they are all worth buying. I find his act to be extremely re-watchable, and that's what I look for in a DVD purchase. His approach to success in America is as unothadox as his attire. He avoided the comedy clubs, and instead booked long runs in small theaters, like the Westbeth here in NYC. He's since graduated to a larger scale. His strategy worked, much like that of Paul McGuiness (U2's manager). Tour, tour, tour. Get on the Telly. Tour, tour, tour. Eddies been makin' movies lately, but he's still churning out the stand-up. It's not stand-up in the classic American vein, it's more stand-up philosophy, historical based humor with the standard Seinfeldian 'Have you ever noticed..." observations thrown in for good measure, but remember he's English, so he measures in liters and such. I reccomend starting with Dressed To Kill, his 2000 award winning HBO special, taped in San Francisco, it's tailored to an American audience. Check out his site (above), it's a gas, and he even sells his own brand of wraps, that's right, IZZLA'S.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Over the years I've championed bands that weren't exactly welcomed by my freinds. We've all been on one side of this equation at some point. My appreciation for prog rock alone sets me up for this time and again, but I reatin my convictions fairly well. Yeah, it's true that I have made some questionable album purchases in my day, W.A.S.P, Icon, Coney Hatch, Tank, Anvil, M-80, the list is long, but nothing ventured.....Anyway, there are other bands that I've been passionate about, but failed to go over with the gang, as I've said, good bands, and my favorite of my Lonely Fan bands is Marillion. Folks just don't get it. They've been succesful accross the pond, but to Americans Marillion is like the fucking plague. Admittedly, and as is par for the course, I stopped buying their records when the original singer left, but they're still around. I gave some of those old Marillion records a listen recently, and I was happy to find they've aged well, better than say....Krokus. I am listening to Uriah Heep as I write this blog, and it occurs to me that they are in the same category, and so would be Budgie, if I really listened to them, but I don't, really, no, Really! Well, they are better than Coney Hatch.


There's a lot happening out here at Smoke And Mirrors. Not only are we mixing the Lifeteen record, but the esteemed Chan Chandler (www.chanchandler.com) has brought us a number of songs he wants us to record, we begin tracking on Saturday. We also have been working with a local band, Geek Farm, on a full-length LP. KIDD's rercord is coming along, and I'd say it's the best work he's done. Our own Brain Shivers record has resurfaced after a few months of dormancy, and I've started my own EP of good old fashioned Rock tunes, all of which were written on my 5 string Keith tuning guitar. Someday, I suppose I'll go back to my day job, but for now, well let's just say unemployment has kept me real busy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I know a little German...he's sitting right over there. As much of an anglo-eire-phile that I am, I'm mostly German, and I love the Scorpions. I was first introduced to this Cologne (Koln) based quintet when I was in Germany in 1980. I had already discovered UFO and was delighted to find another Schenker to rock out with. (See "A Tale Of Twin Guitars') The album was 'Lovedrive' and the cover said it all to a fiftteen year old male (www.the-scorpions.com). One thing about the Scorpions, they were never ambiguous, and their album covers were the fodder for Spinal Tap's 'sexy vs. sexist/stupid vs. clever' schtick. I've been getting reaquainted mit there catalogue as of late, and as is usually the case, I'm discovering all those songs that I never realized were so fucking awsome when I was fifteen. The Scorpions made a name for themselves with ballads (Still Loving You, Winds of Change) party anthems (Rock You Like A Hurricane, Big City Nights), and perverted rockers (Another Piece Of Meat, He's A Woman She's A Man, Don't Make No Promises Your Body Can't Keep), but their forte are the massive epic mind blasting compositions like China White (Blackout 82), Animal Magnetism (Animal Magnetism 81), Crying Days (Virgin Killer 77), Living and Dying (In Trance 76), and Fly To The Rainbow (Fly To The Rainbow 74), or the just palin damn good songs like Alaways Somewhere (Lovedrive 79), When The Smoke Is Going Down (Blackout 82), and Loving You Sunday Morning (Lovedrive 79). I'm particular to the 74-78 lineup featuring Ulrich Roth on lead guitar, and I urge serious rock folk to get serious about this period of the Scorps. I saw the 80's lineup with Mattias Jabs in the lead guitar spot and they blew my mind, and they blew Rainbow off the stage. It was the first time I ever saw an opening act make a headliner look silly, and I'm sure it was the last time the Scorps opened for anybody. They are still out there, still German, and still ready to rock you like a hurricane.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Tony Alva sent the ADATs (3 sets of 3) and last week Chris and I started the process of loading in 13 songs of about 18 to 24 tracks each. This is the Record that Chris and I went down to Tony's Grey Cat Sound, just outside Atlanta, to record. Lifeteen is a Catholic youth organization, and the Holy Trinity parish (Peachtree I think???) has this kick ass band, and, well, Tony somehow roped 'em into recording, and now the thing has really taken off. There's a lot of interest and participation from the community, and it's just a pleasure to a part of something that so many people are very serious about, and at the same time manage to keep a sense of humour and fun about the project. It also sounds good. We made two trips down last fall to do the basic tracking, and Tony finnished up tracking final vocals and guitar overdubs over the winter. Now it's our time in the sandbox. Once the songs got dumped into our computer, Chris and I began to make nominal mixes to get our heads wrapped around it. I am very pleased to announce that it's sounding Reel good, ha ha, I wish. Real good is good enough, and that's what it is.


I was down in DC this weekend, and yet again I didn't stop off at the 9:30 club on Saturday to check out Bob Mould's weekly romp as house DJ - Blowoff (www.modulate.blogspot.com). I always say I will, but never do, the fact is I just want to meet Bob, not dance, so I guess it's better that I blowoff Blowoff. I did however hear a shit-ton of U2 on the radio. The Radio is a bit better in DC (avc.blogs.com), so we keep it on in the bathroom, and you hear it through out the day when you're in the kitchen and whatnot. A virtual metric shit-ton of U2, enough to make me, normally, want to throw up, but I didn't. Because they derserve the hype. They were 'The Hype', and in a way, even though they dropped that moniker in favor of U2, they really have always been the hype. To me, the early eighties was the last frontier of the rock band. The last time we heard anything truly unique, truly new, in a rock band, was when we first heard U2, REM, Husker DU - the post punk eighties. Of those bands, U2 are the dominant band. Their methods of arriving at success were as methodical as their practice of the values and vision that they held for what a band COULD be. A band COULD be ethical in it's business practices. A band COULD be successful if it worked hard, toured, and played from the heart. Talent was a word only associated to the drummer when they began, but don't all humans have some kind of talent? Something to offer? That was the U2 Ethos, offer something, and in return be given something back. I am happy for them. I haven't purchased a U2 record since 'Rattle and Hum', but many others have.....many, many others.


As Chris and I begin the final wrapping up of the Lifeteen Project, which is sounding great, not withstanding a certain matter concerning the Kick drum on a few tracks - don't worry, it's not a big college town - I see that the Pope died. Historically speaking, there's no doubt that he's the best Pope ever, but he was still the leader of one of the most evil institutions man kind has developed, and we've developed some whoppers. I mourn the man, but despise the position and all it represents. Until the Catholic Church owns up to is various and sundry crimes against humanity, it continues to be a blight upon it. An institution so widespread, so ubiquitous, it has the power to do awesomely good things. Instead it uses it's consolidated power to repress and subjugate it's faithfull.
Jesus Is way cool. I'm way into Jesus. He get's quite a bit of coverage on the Lifeteen record, and I feel good to be a part of something good. This is the way I pray, and Jesus digs the sound.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?