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Tuesday, February 27, 2007


It's been a heavy few weeks at Smoke and Mirrors.

We've been working on Tony's Harlan, Chan's musical and Chan's NY Rock LP, putting the finishing touches on the long awaited Geek Farm record, some french Hip Hop, Nadine Miller's new song "Jesse Custer", and a few hours here and there, as it were, working on our own stuff.

Andy Rock came down from Rock Land to join the Surrogate Band for the tracking of three Chan numbers on Saturday, then came back on Monday to do overdubs.

We put his 70's Les Paul, as well as an old Aspen double cut away with crazy DiMarzios through our 65 Bandmaster - oh such sweet sweet tone.

It's all about tone and vibe. The Surrogate Band has great vibe, much of which is supplied by Rob 'Dr. Robert' Machold Drum Genius.

Mike Dot stopped by on Saturday to 'hang around back-stage like a real rock n roller' so we put a bass in his hands for the third Chan tune of the day.

Andy and I vibed on ZZ Top tone.

Chris and I vibed on the 'Nothing's Shcoking' record.

Mike Dot worshipped at the feet of 'Three Days', but i don't dig the tones or vibes on the 'Ritual De Lo Habitual' record. Navarro plugged straight into the board for that record - he doesn't remember it anyway.

George's armies surrounded everybody's armies.

Rock is dead, long live Rock.


I like John Edwards . I like what he says, and I like what he doesn't say. He may very well be lying, if so then I like the way he lies. I certainly prefer it to the non-commital, non-accountable fluff coming from Hillary, and the way Obama has been handling himself only supports my belief that he's a good man who's just not ready yet.

I mean, what's wrong with John - other than he's white, and a man.

John says (about his voting record on the war - and I do paraphrase) 'I made a mistake, I was wrong.'

Hillary says 'I was mislead'.

Obama - I think he was still in college........

Sunday, February 25, 2007


The Legal Diva and I have gone pecto-veg for Lent. That is to say no land meat. So far it's fun, a new adventure......with more beans.

I've decided to start soaking beans.

The Legal Diva made portobella mushrooms taste like, well, 'meaty' in a stroganoff.

Last night we had incredible curry fish. We do take-out too.

There's an upside to everything.

So far so good, I only regret the White Castle I'll have immediately come Easter.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


It's snowing, I pulled out some vinyl.

CITY BOY - 'Dinner at the Ritz'

Awesome '78 issue from British 'prop' band (prog meets pop) City Boy. Produced by Robert John Mutt Lange - it was this band that he cut his production skills on prior to success with AC/DC and Def Leppard.
A unique line-up featuring two vocalists (how does that work?), and the legendary licks of guitar whiz Mike Slammer, City Boy banged out a few records in the late seventies, and called it quits in the early eighties, but not after leaving us with two great records. 'Dinner at the Ritz', and 'The Day the Earth Caught Fire' in 1979.
The title track ('Dinner at the Ritz') features fellow British cult faves Van Der Graff Generator.
City Boy is another Brian Spears Legacy record - thanks Bri - miss ya.....
And, yes Fred, they are available via download here.
Best songs: 'Walk on the Water', 'Narcissus', 'Momma's Boy'.
MOTT THE HOOPLE - 'Brain Capers'
In 1971, Mott the Hoople recorded their last LP - 'Brain Capers'. Mott the Hoople had been inhabiting the bottom of the barrel at Atlantic/Island for three years releasing four records to little recognition outside their die hard east London fanbase.
It was on tour in support of Brain Capers in Zurich on March 26th 1972 that the band finally packed it in.
Destiny had other plans. Mr. David Bowie stepped in, got them back together, gave them a song ('All the Young Dudes'), produced their next record (All the Young Dudes), and set them on the path to glory.
Three albums later they really would break up, but those three records gave us most of what we recognize as Mott classics - 'All the Way to Memphis', 'Dudes', 'Ballad of Mott the Hoople (Zurich, March 26 1972)', 'Ready for Love', 'I Wish I was Your Mother'.....
'Brain Capers' is a warm sounding (thanks Andy Johns) record with fan faves 'Angeline', 'The Moon Upstairs', 'The Wheel of Quivering Meat Conception', and a nice cover of 'Darkness Darkness'.
Available for download as a shitty mp3 or some such digital file, much inferior to vinyl or CD, here.
Bob Marley and the Wailers - 'Rastaman Vibration'
Bob Marley & The Wailers, Rastaman Vibration
If I had to pick a favorite Bob Marley record, I'd have to pick 'Babylon By Bus' for sentimental reasons.
The first two Island releases; 'Catch a Fire', and 'Burnin' are the two that feature Bunny and Peter, so they are sacred, but when I listen to 'Rastaman Vibration' I can't help but hear a band at it's peak.
This is the band that toured Europe and recorded 'Babylon By Bus'. By 1976, when 'Rastaman Vibration' was recorded, Bob was in charge, no English session guys hired by Chris Blackwell to 'whiten' up the sound here. No, it's just Bob and his amazing band featuring the Barrett brothers - if not the greatest rhythm section ever, then certainly the greatest sibling rhythm section ever - Aston (bass) and Carlton (Drums).
This is some serious tight shit, produced by Bob, mixed by Aston and Chris Blackwell.
Featured cuts include the title track ('Rastaman Vibration'), the Rita penned 'Rat Race', Sinead's favorite 'War', Joe Strummer's fave 'Roots, Rock, Reggae', 'Who the Cap Fit', and of course 'Crazy Baldhead'.
Available here in crappy mp3 format for those who don't care how their music sounds.
The Dead Milkmen - 'Bucky Fellini'
Dead Milkmen - Bucky Fellini
In 1987 Philly's The Dead Milmen released this opus, they followed it with their masterpeice 'Beelzabubba', then cane Metaphysical Graffitti, they followed that with falling apart, but for a while, The Dead Milkmen were on a serious roll, and it begins here.
Standouts include the Daniel Johnston penned 'Rocketship', 'The Pit', "The Badger Song', and the greatest song ever written about chemical polution - 'Watching Scotty Die'.
I know a kid
His name is Scott
He's goin' blind
And his blood just will not clot
The doctors line in rows
To stick tubes up Scotty's nose
There is the field
Where Scotty used to play
Until Ortho Orange Number 42
Was dumped in it one day
I think it's so funny
I laugh until I cry
Just me and God
Watchin' Scotty die
Just me and God
Watchin' Scotty die
The chemical plant across the street
Leaves off steam that colours our white sheets
It's been happening for years
Now I'm crying rainbow tears
One day my dog went out to play
Instead of grey he came back coloured yellow
The chemical men said stay mellow
It happens all the time
Now Scotty's skin is lime"
That is f'in poetry....

Sunday, February 11, 2007


A few years back the Drunken Fool gave me a jar of Branston Pickle.

I got another yesterday in the Brittish section at Food Emporium.

I want to use it on everything.


That's the only thing I can think of - they must be blind.

"buying a cd is the same thing as buying unprotected mp3s there is no difference almost everyone rips the CDs to get the songs on their iPods and other digital music devices"

Geez....so many wrong things going on here.

The person who wrote that knows where to put periods, commas, and which words to capitalize, but he neglected to do so. Why? Because he is no longer concerned with such conventions.

He is no longer concerned with such conventions.

Conventions like right vs. wrong.

A compact disc is NOT the same as a mp3. Not nearly. Not remotely. There's a huge difference between an aiff and a mp3.

The main difference is in size. One can easily be sent about the ether, the other is a bit more difficult to e-mail, download, whatever.

What we are talking about, after all, is a sense of entitlement that has swept the users of technology. Since they are the very web they worship, they feel that anything that the technology allows is morally acceptable.

Technology does not have inherent conscience.

It's up to us to be the conscience, and the loudest voices are saying: give it to me the way I want it, free of cost, or I'll just be forced to steal it.

That is unacceptable.

I don't care what you do with something once you've bought it - I just want to make sure you bought it AND the proper percentage went to the person who made it.

What is value when effort is taken out of the equation?

Is convenient better?

And, finally, to Papa Robbie -

It's cool to say screw the system, screw the bastards, they screwed us for years - all true, BUT I think in time you'll miss that system, because those bastards were the only friends we had.

Certainly by the mid eighties it was over, but for a time, twenty to thirty years, artists were nurtured by labels, when they weren't busy trying to screw Ray Charles, they were providing him with a platform in which he could, and did, develop his art, enriching us all.

Nobody does this now.

Rock is Dead.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


So Steve Jobs recently implied that he's no fan of protecting the rights of songwriters and musicians either, and he's apparently set on finding a way that will allow Apple to fuck over the people who actually make the music.

I guess the excess associated with Rock music over the past few decades has come back to bite us - though I never personally blew an advance on hookers and blow, I still live in the hope that I can make some sort of a living making music.

I suppose I'll have to sell all my recording equiptment and just concentrate on playing live.

Will the Technocommies allow me that? Are they gonna come after the live thing as well?

I don't know how they could, but I'm not as smart as they are. They'll come up with something I guess, because they hate me.


Sunday, February 04, 2007



Jackson approved of the Prince half-time show.


Billy Joel - Bodog

Billy, you need to stop. You've hurt enough people with this behavior. Billy, put the piano down, for God's sake.


Super Bowl Sunday deserves a great meal..... a great meal with meat.

I made Chili. The Legal Diva supervised.

I used ground beef, and cubed beef.

I began by seasoning the cubed beef. I took a large freezer bag and put in a mixture of about 12 spices, including, but not limited to; black pepper, chili powder, Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and jamaican curry powder. The Legal Diva suggested the addition of some powdered meat tenderizer. I put the beef in, sealed it, and shook the shit out of it.

In a large saucepan I fried up some sliced bacon. When it had cooked through, I removed the bacon (which The Legal Diva and I ate), added some olive oil to the bacon grease, and, at the Legal Diva's suggestion, seared the cubed beef on all sides. After, I pulled the cubes out and set them aside.

I then sauteed up: onion, garlic, poblano pepper, cubanel pepper, green bell pepper, and roasted red pepper. There was butter involved, again in conjunction with the olive oil.

When the veggies had cooked through, I put most of it aside with the cubed beef while I browned the ground beef in the pan with a small amount of the sauteed veggies. I drained the fat as I went along - not all, but most.

Back in went the cubed beef and veg, to which I added a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, a 8oz can of Goya sala picante, a 120z can of stewed tomatoes, two roasted plum tomatoes, a can of Goya red beans, and a can of Goya dominican red beans.

I let that cook a good while, at least two and a half hours, stirring frequently.

At that point we made chili dogs. We boiled the hot dogs in beef broth, to which I added two more roasted plum tomatos. After, I combined with the chili, along with a half cup of red wine, a splash of red wine vinegar, a splash of worchestershire, a dab of low sodium soy sauce, and a smidge of nuoc mam (fish sauce).

We will eat the chili with grated cheddar, fresh bread, chips and beer while we cheer on the Bears.

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