Saturday, October 25, 2008

please send assistance

the inlaws are in town and i am dying... dying... *help*...........

Friday, October 24, 2008

talking to the darkness

when i was 15 i did a monologue in my actor's studio class that got a ridiculous response. a friend of mine at the time told me about how he used to turn off the lights in his room and just sit in there and talk to anyone and no one in particular, just to say things that were bothering him out loud. i basically did the same thing in my actor's studio class- turned off all the lights and started talking. i had no idea what i said, but it got a really good response as i remember. it was probably incredibly revealing. there really wasn't too much to me back then- i was just discovering things about myself without realising it or putting much thought into it. i'm beginning to feel like i'm doing that with this blog.
i post on several message boards, but usually don't responded to too often. not a huge deal as who really wants to be an internet message board celebrity (you know what i'm talking about if you've ever been on one of these things), occasionally it's just nice to be acknowledged. i don't know- maybe not. on the other hand sometimes it's the best thing to be one of the people on those things who's ignored.
i got a cease and desist email through blogger from the dmca. basically i'm not 100% sure that it's a good idea to continue posting live recordings that i've taped here to share with people. i actually know for a fact that the bootlegs i've posted here have circulated beyond my little tiny circle- i once found a link posted on a message board that i had never been to or heard of. the idea behind posting the shows here was to share them and make them easy to access by people who troll for live recordings- the main reason being i'm one of those people. it's similar to the reasons i make music- i'm just trying to reach myself out there because i know that there must be some people (however few) who feel alone and alienated and totally out of sorts with pretty much everyone they come across in this life. so now i'm kind of bummed because of that new legislative internet copyright act gobbledygook blah-blah blah crappola has kind of pooped my party and my attempts to give back. that's why the first nick cave recording is gone. that's why the second night recording never popped up here (a shame as the second night was better than i thought and the recording turned out really well).
last night i went to see 'w.' before going to see it i had been wondering what the point was on oliver stone making a movie about george w. bush. it seemed kind of ridiculous- sure, oliver stone has made a career out of making politically heavy-handed movies about historical figures, but george w. is still in office- it seemed a little too soon and that there would be a lack of objectivity due to how close the workings of the bush white house still are. in high school an english teacher of mine (who was really terrible and irritating as a teacher- this is the only profound thing i think i heard her say while she was my teacher) said that when you're writing about something it's important that you write about something when it's all in the past because if you're still in the midst of it you won't really have enough distance to look at it clearly and objectively enough to write about it with any kind of direction, clear intent or purpose and it will come out completely incoherent. i didn't listen to her and wrote a train-wreck of a paper about what was going on in my life at that time. it was really bad- the only paper i've ever gotten a c on. lesson learned. what i'm getting at here is that i thought that oliver stone was making the same mistake by making his 'w.' movie. then i went and saw it. i have to say that i was really impressed with it- as a whole it really wasn't what i was expecting at all especially from oliver stone. i thought it would be built around that whole conspiracy theory that the bush administration orchestrated and faked the 9/11 attacks, but it wasn't at all. for anyone who hasn't seen it i recommend watching the trailer- that actually is the best indicator of what the movie's about. the movie is very sympathetic with george w. bush as a person. basically it depicts him as a directionless little boy who's incredibly gung ho to do... something. the tack it takes is that because of his connections and his family and his relatability by average joes he was used by a group of people with some very unwholesome intentions and aspirations- duped into doing something and manipulated by people much smarter than him because he seemed to lack the foresight to see a disaster before it arrives. jeffrey wright as colin powell was pretty awesome- the only voice of reason in the whole thing. i hate to cast the whole thing as being completely true because i feel that the truth is sort this mythical long extinct creature that you grew up hearing about but that never really shows up anywhere because even if it did exist at some point it's been gone for so long no one's actually seen it sitting right in front of them- kind of like the dodo or fucking unicorns. i kind of thought that the film could be used as support for this idea. we live in fucking terrifying times right now. my god.
i can't remember what day nov. 4th is but i believe that it's a day that i have to work. if the polls open early enough i'd really like to go cast my vote before going to work- but that would put it somewhere in the 6am mark and i severely doubt that.
stefanie's parents are now officially in town. this is my only day off this week- i have to go back into work tomorrow for a five-day week. on wednesday night i leave to come to kansas city for some recording and then come back on friday night and go straight to work from the megabus right into another 6-day week. i was so wiped out from yesterday- it was quite a long day.
stefanie is probably waiting for me though and i should try and meet up with them soon. i've probably missed lunch already- they always eat so early. we were supposed to go to hot doug's today, but they are closed for vacation. i'm personally very relieved- i was supposed to reserve an igo car and go pick them up at 10:30am. i woke up at 10 today and i was not ready to get going by then.
i guess all of these busy times will help get us closer to christmas time- hopefully a relaxing visit (haw haw haw). it's going to be a quick one. the record bar offered us a show on the 29th, but sadly that is the day that we will be leaving town. i was even going to check flight info to see if it would be plausible to change our flight so we could do it- i do love playing at that place. i guess we'll just keep trying.
that's pretty much that for now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

i just don't know what to do with myself

i got too much done yesterday. now i have nothing to do today. i guess i should be glad. i always do this though- try my hardest to not have jack shit to do on my days and then what happens- i get bored within thirty seconds. maybe i'll have time to watch a movie then. that'd be nice. that's kind of a rarity these days.
i bought another mic yesterday. it was horrible- you know how when you buy an item and you're finishing paying for it through ebay and they have those little displays of other items you might enjoy? yeah, it was in one of those. a great deal on a bass drum mic- i just couldn't pass it up- it was what i always hoped for but never seems to happen on ebay- an item at a reasonable buy it now price. it was $130 for a $220 mic. two down at least three more to go. i guess there really shouldn't be too much of a rush- i probably won't be able to get to kc to do more recording until march or so.
writing in this thing makes me feel like i'm getting more and more boring as the years go by. a lot of what i used to be so preoccupied with i haven't had to worry about for almost 10 years now. namely girls. i used to do tons of agonising over girls that i liked and since i haven't had to in a long time i have nothing else to think about but music and recording and it is making me boring to about everyone else i meet. at work for some reason i seem to be witty and quick. i guess it just takes all of that side of me away from me. it's a shame i can't save a little bit for this blog. i have a feeling no one really reads it and anyone who does come here comes here for the bootleg downloads. i have no qualms about that. mostly this is a way to keep my friends updated on what's on my mind when they are so inclined to keep up. i have no problem with that at all.
i'm going to go back to the girl-craziness. the truth? i still have it. i still see good looking girls and get all gooey about it. i just keep it in check somehow. what i usually think to get myself out of being gooey or whatever is just to think 'i have a beautiful, awesome girl that i'm really ridiculously happy with who i share everything with and who accepts me whole-heartedly for who i am flaws and all and never at any point wanted to change me' and i figure that that is something that the minority of people my age have, and then i think of how if i were to ever date again what a horrible nightmare it would be and how i would be permanently locked in to being a pathetic little coward with no confidence and how NOT fun that would be. it isn't difficult to talk myself out of and keep a realistic view. what i've kind of found is that pretty girls are about a dime a dozen. when you have one that really loves you and accepts you then that's something that nearly no one in the world has. i get hit on a fair amount now too, which didn't happen before. i think it's because since i am in a stable relationship i have more confidence than when i did before i met stefanie and i radiate it more. a tip for single dudes- confidence is more important to ladies than looks. i don't mean cockiness. i mean confidence. there is a big difference. this makes sense to me now. i wish someone had told me this when i was younger. i'm sure someone did, but i was either too stupid or bull-headed to accept it. probably both actually. a moot point now. in an interesting way i was right all along- i figured that someone had to come along who would accept me for who i was and then it happened- i was just keeping my eye on the prize. stubbornness is often rewarded. at least that's my theory and the theory i've been operating under making music and releasing records for the last four years. wow, it's only been four years... that's a bit sobering... how have i managed to keep this going for that long?
i sometimes wish i could go back to writing stories and novels and all of that other stuff, but the more i try to do that i find that i'm not as satisfied with the results. the reason being that i'm not focused enough on it to really give it the time that it deserves. in another way i've been proven right in this area- writing is something you can always come back to, music is something that must be done immediately while i'm still young. i don't know why that is, but it is.
on to find more fares. megabus here i come.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

trying to get back to the land of the living

i'm at the coffee shop. writing emails and such. the first email has been sent in an attempt to secure a christmas time acoustic show. i'd like to try and get more string players lined up for such an event, but don't know any in kc. it would probably be wise to get the show firmed up first and then try and find people to play so as not to put the cart before the horse. i almost wrote 'hearse' there. haw haw.
i have a lot to do music-wise. last week kind of became a fog. post tour doledrums set in something awful last week. i might have pulled out of it at the end of the day on wednesday. i was grumpy all day and had been for pretty much all of the previous day. next week is a 6-day work week. kind of a drag, but i definitely need the money. some unexpected money seems to be in the process of coming in. nothing huge, but i'm hoping that anything extra will help. the week after that i'm going to kc for some recording with billy. i'm really looking forward to it. every time i get strings for these songs recorded i come away from the sessions incredibly inspired and so filled with a satisfaction and assurance that i just don't get to see too much because 90% of the work is done just by me. it's a bit difficult to tell if what you're doing really is any good after a while. i'm hoping i'll have enough time today after doing the dishes to get a little work done- some vocals, a teeny drum part and possibly a glockenspiel part. it'd be nice if i could get stefanie to do some work tonight too- i have some drum parts for her to do. i wanted to try and fix the drums on 'ada' so that i could give it to someone to put on a zine mixtape. the song would work well i feel and it was a bit of a shame that it didn't make the album.
i finished our sxsw application the other day as well. i put together a reasonably decent press kit. we got two nice-sized articles since the last time i applied.
doing the dishes today will provide me with an opportunity to burn cds of the second nick cave show. i checked the level last night. the pile is nothing if not frightening. i also have to go to work to pick up my paycheck and then i have to go to the bank and deposit my paycheck as my credit card payment is scheduled to go through at the end of the day today. the tightrope continues to be walked- but this should be the final daring feat.
i'm selling my spiritualized 'songs in a&e' green vinyl on ebay and so far it looks like i'm going to get the money back that i paid for it, which is all i really want to be honest.
other than that i'm having some minor high school-type flashbacks. i ran into claire durwood on the street while i was walking with will, sido and brad to go to celtic crown for $2 burger night. that was kind of strange. elizabeth had also written me an email telling me that she had found a copy of my 'novel' that i wrote in high school asking me if i wanted her to send it to me. i told her to just burn it because i have far too many copies of the damn thing floating around. ironically i had found an envelope when i went home in august for our show at the record bar and when i opened it it was full of letters and notes that elizabeth had written me and a copy of her manuscript for her play that she did senior year. it had an ornate and beautiful drawing in crayon on the cover. i wanted to toss it, but i just couldn't. now i don't know where it is and i offered to send it to elizabeth if she wanted it.
somewhere out in the ether in chicago is my friend kyle. i wonder if our paths will ever cross. since i would actually like to run into him i severely doubt it. this neighborhood is fast becoming our island. it's difficult to get us out and about. we wanted to go see a tundra at high concept labs, but ended up not going because it was on a weekend night and therefore the red line was rerouted to the elevated tracks meaning that the train wouldn't stop at north/clybourn but instead sedgwick. that is enough to give us an excuse not to leave our house. sad but true. the only reason being that high concept labs is within reasonable walking distance from north/clybourn, but sedgwick (which is down north ave. just above a half mile i'd guess from north/clybourn) required us to make a bus transfer and therefore renders the whole thing too much on a night when i have to be in at work the next day. we live so far away from everything that the slightest variable, no matter how simple, can and has rendered what should be a simple trip to be too much of a chance to take. we once went to a show at the radish patch, which was down by where we used to live in logan square. getting there took us about 45 minutes- red line down to fullerton, fullerton bus the rest of the way. once the show was over the fullerton bus wasn't running as much- we decided it'd be better to walk to the western blue line, we took the blue line, there was only shuttle service left to downtown, so we had to get off and get on the most slow-moving shuttle of our lives and then we got home finally. i think it took us nearly 2 hours. on the way home from the warlocks show we waited for forty minutes for the fullerton bus, gave up and then walked to the logan square blue line station where we waited for another 30 minutes. i think that trip ended up taking about 3 hours. ridiculous. in 3 hours you should be stepping off of a train/bus/car whatever in another town, not 10 miles away. in the interest of this i actually am hoping for the proposed circle line that has been tossed around as an idea. that would help us sooooooooo much. but for now it's just a plan and thus at least several years away as a reality.
well, i have much to do today, so i guess i should get going.

Friday, October 10, 2008

is it a heavenly choir

sam and ben's wedding last night was very very fun. good stuff. haven't been to a friend's wedding in a long time. it was a really cool- i had a good time. i did have to go out onto the patio seating area and sit by myself for a little while and feel a little depressed, but i am beginning to think that that is an inevitable side-effect of being in a giant group of people. hilarious and sad happening- at some point when i was working at starbuck's i gained a bunch of weight that i was never able to shake. none of the pairs of dress pants in my closet fit me anymore. i'd forgotten that i had kept one pair of pants to the side because they were the only nice pants i own that still fit me. i think they were bought to be worn as baggy pants back in the day. it was a bit of a panic moment about 30 minutes before we meant to leave and i was trying to squeeze myself into some nice clothes. i don't fit into the vintage suit that i bought from noah in portland anymore. it fit back in 2005 before we left. i figured since i wasn't drinking soda anymore that i would automatically drop a ton of weight, but so far that hasn't proven true. i probably will hold to this pattern though, despite this sad fact. i also figured i'd lose weight biking to and from work nearly every day, but winter's coming up and i'm going to go back to riding the train to work during that time. i'm not hardcore enough to try and bike in the dead of winter. i like the cold, but not quite that much. i'm pondering going back to doing pilates with stefanie or something- although she sure as shit doesn't need to lose anymore weight.
what else?
i have pretty much the entire to do whatever i feel like doing. not sure what to do with that- do some recording or just literally do absolutely nothing at all. i have some problems doing absolutely nothing these days so i'm sure i'll probably go with the recording side. i'd like to finish the track i'm supposed to collaborate on with james. there are a few other things i could get going as well- i have a few vocal tracks to do. i have some noise parts that i could kick up. i also bought a new pack of cdrs and i burned the rest of the first nick cave show and i could edit that, as well as the bardo pond lp i bought in berkeley.
naturally, just like we knew would happen while we were driving around the fucking country- particularly during that grueling 2-day rush to get home- my mind has wandered over to the prospect of more touring in the future. i figured this would happen. i am making myself hold to my previous idea- tour during next september. do the east coast in around a week- try to get at least 2 college shows so as to pay for the whole thing. nicely done. nicely, nicely. that would allow us to play in kansas city again too- which would be fun. i'd like to play in st. louis again, but i have the feeling that by the time we get around to next september we aren't going to be experimental enough to play at lemp anymore. it's entirely possible that we're not experimental enough to play there right now. registration for sxsw is coming up soon. i've got a couple of good new tracks that would probably be good to share for that deal, not to mention 'down to sleep.' i know we still won't get in. no one in chicago knows who the fuck we are still.
so it goes on. and on. and on.
i'd previously thought that the jolie holland show fell into the spectrum during the two day recording trip, but i just looked at my itinerary and it turns out that it doesn't fall on it at all. i will be leaving kansas city on halloween, in fact. that's okay with me i think- i've never been real into halloween anyway. i guess i liked it when i was a little kid.
i'm now trying not to get gloomy about my sad financial state at this point- and it is most definitely quite sad at this point. i have to do a dance with the devil to get one of my credit card payments in on time. one of those things where you bank on the timing of withdrawals from your bank by the credit card company. they are the same- but whatever... i figure the worst thing that could happen is the payment doesn't go through and then it ends up costing an extra $35. kind of a non-issue- if i wait for the deposit to go through then the late payment fee for the credit card company is $35 as well. it's all semantics. the deal is my credit card payment is due the same day that i get my paycheck. ah, who gives a shit really.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the day after the revolution

i'm listening to the my bloody valentine show right now. i am also wondering what's supposed to happen now? this also came about more from reading the mbv forum, which i am chronic lurker on. it seems that the majority of the people that post there are in their early twenties- they have stories of telling their peers that they are into my bloody valentine and getting responses confusing them with my chemical romance and mentions of a good charlotte song. i've never heard my chemical romance or that good charlotte song. i've only heard a few good charlotte songs. i don't even think that i'd be able to even remember what it sounds like it made so little of an impression on me.
the recording ball is rolling again bigtime. 'dandelions' is nearly done. the strings will be done very soon- just two parts that i need to have billy do in october. i realised today that the recording trip coincides with jolie holland playing at the lakeshore theater. stefanie put things into perspective- i've seen her three times already. she will also come back- she tours a lot. she came through chicago three times in support of 'springtime will kill you.' it still kind of sucks because the new record is so good and i'm anxious to see her play those songs. she played a generous chunk of the album last time she came through- 'mexico city,' 'corrido por buddy,' 'palmyra' and possibly a few others. i'm still not real familiar with the tracklist. i like the weepers the best- 'fox in its hole', her version of 'henry lee' is gorgeous and 'sweet loving man.'
but, unfortunately i do need to go home and do these recordings if i want to maintain some kind of illusion that the record can be done by the end of the year. we're getting stuff started for the next record as well. i might still try to buy some new microphones for the recording of the 'all hope is blind' album even though i've already started the tracks. a little bump up in fidelity would probably be nice. it doesn't have to be huge, but i think that i've reached the zenith of what i'm capable of with what i have and there are things i'd like to experiment with. plus it would be leading up to the day somewhere in the distance a few years from now when i actually have a 16-track studio going.
not much else has been going on in the personal life. i think i might actually be somewhat happy. i haven't had any bouts of depression or anything for a while- which is nice. i hadn't even really noticed. the closest i've come to that is while i was recording with chris i was listening to the playback for 'sleep now...' and how beautiful the strings sounded and it suddenly made me feel incredibly heartbroken to know that in all likelihood once the song was released into the ether how it would be swallowed up and largely ignored and that just made my heart feel just the slightest bit heavy. i just never thought that i'd be capable of writing competent string parts on my own and i always thought that the quality would suffer a bit since i don't really know what i'm doing but so far that has not proven to be true. not even a little bit. it actually turns out that my hard work in that department pays off- it's another department where i have an ability that i didn't think i had. i don't mean to pat myself on the back so unabashedly, i don't think anyone is more surprised than me when i hear how these string parts turn out. it is just beginning to dawn on me that this is not something everyone can figure out how to do. if i wanted to persist in this department i'd imagine that i could probably figure out how to score for an orchestra eventually way way in the future. probably not though since i don't have access to one, so there wouldn't be much of a reason to. i'm just so proud of how i've been able to accomplish and capture this aspect of my music because it's become an extremely invaluable one.
the strings show isn't going to happen this year. i'm setting my sights on the spring for that one now. i think that we're done trawling for shows for the year. i'm going to go for an acoustic show at home. i'd like to play with multiple players, but i'm not sure i know any- i might be able to find a few through friends of friends, but it's nowhere near the extent to which i know people who play here.
we are going to be featured on a blog called rcdlbl which is associated with the folks at the empty bottle somehow. a woman randomly emailed me asking for permission to feature us and post some of our tracks as mp3s. that's a good thing. it's beginning to fascinate me where these discs that get sent out end up. this is the first time we've sent things out, someone has found them, listened to them and liked them enough to pull them from a slush pile that no one listens to and do something unexpected with them on their own. the first 'down to sleep' review resulted from my having sent the album to the radio station in lawrence before our show at the record bar. someone who worked at the station just sort of nabbed it and then wrote us a really nice review. it's nice when that happens. it feels like people are randomly stumbling across us occasionally as well.
tonight is the night of sam and ben's wedding. that will be quite fun. i'm a bit nervous because my old boss will be there, but stefanie has assured me that she wouldn't directly confront me in a social setting like that which has proven to be true so far. she comes in to where i work now occasionally- only a handful of times in nine months (wow- long time). so i guess my policy will be not to worry about it and have a good time tonight. in case you need a little backstory i quit working for this woman via answering machine with absolutely no previous notice right after my review. it's a long, ridiculous story but mainly i think it boils down to someone who doesn't make even a small effort most of the time to treat people (namely her employees) with even a shred of common decency. she's been doing it and getting away with it for so long that she somehow is able to maintain the illusion that people don't mind it until little outbursts occur and she acts baffled like she doesn't understand why someone would want to quit suddenly after being treated like a second class citizen and being picked on for over a year and half for making mistakes that everyone else there makes.
i've now written about three paragraphs i've deleted. i should just let it lay i guess. it was kind of a traumatic experience that i still grapple with occasionally. it's amazing how you can meet people in your life that are such a steam-rolling force of negativity that it almost hijacks your own thoughts and emotions from you. unfortunately i've been one of these forces before. i'm grateful that i was able to recognise the problem and turn it around. it was a bit of a painful experience, but in the end i'm glad i was humble enough and smart enough to recognise it, admit it and be honest enough with myself to know that it was up to me to do something about it and then to succeed. i haven't had a lot of experience like that- i'm usually more the champion of the self-defeatist attitude. most people i've met with this problem aren't secure enough to admit to even themselves that they have a problem at all.
on to other things-
so much new and awesome music. i've bought two old bardo pond lps. i'm loving bardo pond so much lately. i got 'lapsed' and 'set and setting.' there was more stuff at amoeba that i kind of wish i'd bought. some stuff i'd never found anywhere else and didn't even know was released. the new jolie holland is really good, of course. i like it better than 'springtime can kill you' but 'escondida' is still my favourite record of hers. i'm still waiting on the vivian girls self-titled lp to come in the mail. it's been delayed again unforunately, so it'll be another week or two before i get it. i have 9 of the 10 songs on my ipod at the moment so i've listened to it a fair amount and i fucking love it. so beautiful. i hope they come through again soon- of course they've already been through about three times in the last year or two. i've missed all three of course- two were while we were out of town. i'd like to see the black angels play again. i think that i'd really like it if i saw them again. i'm always in the mood to see the warlocks play live. there is a giant question mark dangling over whether the brian jonestown massacre will ever play here again- it doesn't look good. he actually seems to be sticking to his claim that they would only tour europe now since all of their equipment got stolen.

Friday, October 3, 2008

my bloody valentine- 9.27.08- aragon ballroom

here it is, the full meal deal-

living in a shotgun shack

i'm sitting around at the coffee shop once again. the computer died earlier, but someone left a spot with an outlet so i snatched it as i often do if i can't get one when i first walk in. it went from 80% to 0%. very confusing. i guess that that means that the battery is dying- it happened to stefanie's old laptop as well. bummer.
still housesitting. still quite tired. pretty bummed that my weekend is gone now and i've had to wake up to an alarm or a cat being annoying every night. kinda sucks. i guess that's how it goes. strangely enough we have money- we don't seem to have missed a beat on that note, at least not so far. i'm not sure how that's possible, but i'm also not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
stefanie saw a help wanted sign in the window at laurie's planet of sound yesterday. i'm supposed to stop by there today later on. if not to pick up the dog, then to pick stefanie up at 4pm. i'm hoping that it's something that would be extremely part time- like around 15 hours a week or something like that. something for a little extra money- that would be wayyyyy superior to going back to chase. i'm trying not to get my hopes up because the idea of working there seems a bit too good to be true. the idea of having extra money seems too good to be true. i have so much to save up for right now i can't even remember all of it. it's just impossible.
still haven't heard from chris as to whether we will be recording this weekend or not. grrr. i guess i'll shoot another email off today- hopefully he'll respond. i'd really like to hurry up and get this ep done so i can sit on it for a few more months. the extra paycheck is somewhat still hovering in the air- it looks like i might still be able to keep the extra paycheck as an extra- an unexpected surprise that will hopefully result in something- 2-track tape machine or ep mastering? still some stuff left to do, of course... remembering more and more and more now.
i'm not real sure what i'm after at this point with this whole music thing. how many records am i going to release while getting a really tiny response? is it really worth it to pour all of that money into it and not get much in return? are we making any impact at all? are we getting closer to our goal? and then, the big one that i'm realising i never had an answer for- what is our goal? a bit strange to be this deep into working on something and not realising what my goal is. i guess when i started i just wanted to put out records and tour. at least that's what i always said. i guess that my goal has changed and i guess it's to reach as many people as possible, but i'm not sure because that always seemed to me to be one of the most obvious goals in music and in art in general. you're trying to communicate something to people that can't be done through conversation or normal verbal interaction- something intangible that people feel but can't put into words. you're trying to make people feel something. i guess that that's another goal- i just want people to get lost in our music. do they? i think they do. not very many people, but gradually it's working its magic. so what now? i guess that it is worthwhile to continue building on where we are right now- seems to be a good way to operate. i get a bit scared that i've reached my apex already- that i won't be able to do any better than 'down to sleep.' it's quite a piece of work. it really gets my point across in ways that other things i've done don't quite make. the fact that we're pretty much abandoning that aesthetic seems a bit foolish to me at times, but at the same time i don't really know how to repeat something like that- i've already moved on and am already so enmeshed in the direction we're going in next. i also worry that we'll never match this year as far as productivity. it's almost like 2005 all over again- we did so much in that year. this year we did even more. i guess it won't be that hard to top, but nevertheless- a bit nervy. realistically it seems a bit foolish to be nervous or anxious since so few people are really paying attention.
this is a bit of a revelation- an unveiling if you will- i always say that i don't care what people think of me, but deep down on some level i do. most of the time i don't, but if i really didn't i'd never get upset about this stuff. i care, just not enough to play the game. when we were in california after we went to oakland and discovered that the show was cancelled we called my parents to let them know we'd be coming back to stinson beach and they told us that they would be eating dinner at the sand dollar- which is a restaurant in the stinson beach downtown- so we drove and saw them sitting outside on the patio area and we stopped and went in. when we walked in there was a very dapper couple sitting at a table next to my parents' table and when we stopped and started talking to my parents and the waiters were trying to get seats in place for us this dapper couple would not stop staring at me and stefanie- they stared and they whispered to each other WHILE staring at us. naturally we stared back when they would stare at us. at least i did because they wouldn't stop staring at me and whispering and it was so obvious that they were whispering about us and very disturbed by our presence- scruffy and unpolished as we were- it was almost like the fact that we were even there was enough to ruin these peoples' night. how dare we show up at a public place in a hoity toity california beach front community looking the way we did- who do we think we are? the rub of this whole thing isn't that i wanted their approval- i really didn't care if they thought i was scum at all- it was more just that they had the audacity to judge me from where they were sitting and be so incredibly impolite and rude and act with absolutely no decorum or discreetness. they could've at least had the courtesy to make an effort to make it seem like they weren't talking about us and staring at us. it's just amazing to me how people can be so desperate for approval and have such a burr up their ass that they care so much what others think to be so dressed up and be so concerned with appearances. i don't associate with people who think like that at all. they don't associate with me either, but even if they wanted to i wouldn't want to associate with them. i don't want to have anything to do with anyone who's that small-minded and petty. to me that's a person who lives in an ivory tower and who can afford to sit on a hill concerned with their pettiness while reality sits far beyond their view. in my view that's why i hated california so much because it seemed like everywhere we went around there it was like we were being judged that way. even by people scruffy like us. fuck that shit. so that was a nice story wasn't it?
i should probably wrap this thing up and get my ass back home on the off chance that i have to go to lorna's laces and pick up the dog.
i still would like to know where i'm going. sometimes i tell myself that i can't do what i'm doing forever, but then i see people who tend bars for the rest of their lives, or wait tables for their entire lives and i just think 'man that'd be miserable' but really it's just what people do. getting concerned with those things seems to be some kind of upper-middle-class guilt of some kind that's lingering that i just need to try and forget. as long as i'm enjoying myself and can maintain some semblance of happiness or contentment then that should be all i should be focused on. the music i'm making is worth it. it's a unique thing and that's rare these days. it's good.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

dig yourself

ah ha! the evidence- regard-

full disclosure

alright folks. i hope you are comfortable in your seats wherever they may be. i now finally have a few hours to myself so that i can write about all of the happenings of the return week. when we got home on saturday morning at 4:30 am, we got to bed after unloading the car at about 5:30am. we heard a couple arguing. the woman was quite loud. they walked down the street and the woman was giving the man shit about something, not sure what, the man was saying nothing. once we were done unloading i heard the woman walking back up the street toward the train station crying very loudly and saying 'don't you do that fucking shit!' to herself. the man came out and followed her asking her to wait and her yelling back 'leave me alone!' etc. an interesting thing to witness at such an early hour after a 17 hour drive and two week tour. the amount of interesting scenes i have witnessed from our window while on the computer boggle the mind. it's kind of a beautiful thing i guess. saturday afternoon was the couple walk. i saw about five in a row walking down the street arm-in-arm.
the my bloody valentine show. i can safely and honestly say that i have never seen anything like it in my entire life- the sheer physical, sonic and visual force of the thing is something i continue to process to this moment. i've listened to my recording about twice. my conclusion is that it's a decent recording of a bad-sounding show. i'll still probably post the flacs but i don't feel like anyone's going to hear it really. i like hearing it- it's the ultimate souvenir of what was probably the best show i've ever seen. yes- it was ridiculously loud. i actually read the earplugs. i might have braved the thing without them had i not been going to two other shows over the next two nights. the cautionary tales i've read served enough to put the fear in me. at first i thought 'man, this doesn't sound very good with these in' during the first song and i didn't really realise how well i was hearing them until i started clapping and couldn't hear it at all. that's how loud it was. i did take out the earplugs occasionally throughout the night. i listened to all of 'cigarette in your bed' without them and that was kind of nice to get the full impact of the sound, but it was easier to enjoy with them in. it sounded about what a normal show sounds like, but probably a bit clearer even with the shitty cavernous sound of the aragon. while it sounded like a normal show the music was a physical force throughout- the bass beat on your chest, my jeans flapping as if in the breeze the entire time. phantom calls emanating from my cell phone in my pocket. quite a feeling. what no one has talked about at all- which is quite upsetting- is how stunning the show was visually. yes, they don't move around at all except for deb googe the bass player- she is incredibly animated and obviously very lost in what she's playing- she deserves a good deal of credit for how the band sounds- it adds a bit of visceral energy as an undercurrent to all of those sighing vocals and sensual waves of loud, loud, enveloping guitars. colm is a fantastic drummer as well. deb and colm prove to be quite the formidable rhythm section- not an easy task when they had kevin shields' guitar to contend with. i read that 116 db of the 129db or so that they normally play at is kevin shields' guitar. this is why his vocal is usually practically inaudible in the mix- he has about twelve amps running behind him at insane volumes. at least eight of those are marshalls, the rest are vox amps. he switches between different combinations mostly to get the volume. the key ingredient really is that volume- there is a point at which no matter what kind of effects you have on at a really squalling volume the effects even become overpowered and a bit superfluous. it was amazing. jaw-dropping moment- when he switched to that ungodly droning siren-like lead part in the mid-section of 'you never should.' it was amazing the amount of power that he could unleash. amazing.
back to what i'd interrupted myself about- they also had a dazzling light show. it was incredibly ornate and didn't really repeat itself. i've noticed that british bands are always much better with the light show than american bands are. i wonder why that is? this was probably the most amazing light show i've ever seen. they also had some beautiful projected loops that changed for every song. reading in the 33 1/3 book on 'loveless' kevin shields related a time that he was playing with primal scream and a strobe was going off in front of him and he closed his eyes while it was going and it elicited a reaction in his brain that is very similar to a psychedelic drug experience. it's a similar effect to the dream machine experiments of william s. burroughs and bryon gysin. naturally i tried it a few times. what happens is that the light starts to take on the form of swirling shapes below your eyelids and they swirl and evolve around the changes of the lights. some of it is done by the lights from outside, but at a certain point your brain begins to take over and it basically starts to create shapes and colours that aren't there. it was an amazing thing to do throughout the show- with the music and the force of the sound pounding against your body it made for a really beautiful experience. i did this throughout most of 'soon' which was a song i wasn't too excited to hear live but that turned out to be a total highlight.
then there's the noise section of 'you made me realise.' yes, it went on for over 20 minutes. a lot of what happened to me is what people describe- i was anxious and a bit scared for its arrival- knowing it was coming almost made it worse. i love noise, but i wasn't sure i was prepared for this. once it started the first few minutes were mildly panicked. i had a similar experience at spiritualized in portland when they stopped during 'this little life of mine' and kicked up a bit of formless noise for a few minutes while a chain of strobes progressively shot off faster and faster- i began to panic and feel a bit scared as the lights gained momentum. it elicited a very primal reaction. this noise break continued to gain strength and the light show continued to evolve. eventually an eerie calm came over me and a strange bending of time and space- it seemed like i hadn't been there at all for an hour, that this had been going on for around 10 minutes, and it seemed like it could go on forever and i actually kind of wanted it to. you'd think you'd get bored during something like that and your reaction to such extreme noise should be to run away or cover your ears or something, but it was incredibly hypnotic. it was a calm that you don't arrive at much in life. during this section i heard the overnotes and subtones that people talk about- they didn't sound like what i thought they would and i even began to see things in the lights that weren't there. stefanie saw them too- we were talking about it later- at one point i saw these revolving halos of what i would describe as tiny bats spinning around the lights as they moved and they were coming off of every light that was on stage. pretty weird shit. weird, but amazing. the biggest shock came when they finally launched back into the song. people did leave during the noise section. one guy in front of us actually held his ears the entire time. and then just like that they went back into the song and the show was instantly over. i could only imagine what the throng of people coming out of that place looked like- an unending sea of dazed faces.
a couple side-notes- getting in was a bit of a to-do. when i was searched i was searched really thoroughly and the security guards ended up finding my recording equipment, but they still let me in. when i went to will-call they didn't have my tickets there at all and the will-call girl sent me to the woman in charge of the guest-list for some weird reason. the guest-list woman was a bit of a gruff, hard-ass lady and i was sure she wasn't going to let us in, she just looked at my receipt kind of sighed, then just shrugged her shoulders and went 'go on in' and opened the door. i was shaking i was so worried we weren't going to get in. what a nice lady. you have to respect someone who will just take the reins and make an executive decision like that- i was sure it was going to become some long drawn-out red tape kind of grind that would result in us being turned away after a half-hour while we would be able to hear the band playing inside, but thanks to that lady she just let us in. awesome. i almost didn't bring a print-out of the confirmation email with my confirmation number and everything. if i hadn't brought it we wouldn't have gotten in.
so then i had to go to work the next day which kind of sucked, but whatever. nick cave and the bad seeds was that night. i think that the sunday night show was probably better than the monday night one. the setlist was a bit better- seemed a bit more spontaneous and had a bit better of a flow. they started with 'night of the lotus-eaters' which is one of my favourite songs on the new record. they played a decent amount of really old material, putting a fresh spin on what i'd always thought to be clunkers in the studio like 'tupelo.' nick cave and the bad seeds are best seen as a live band- all of their material sounds better live than it does on record. all of it. they got into a groove of playing a few real rocky numbers starting with new songs from 'dig, lazarus, dig!!!' and working back and then they'd pull out a real restrained song (they played 'love letter' for example- very unexpected) and then work back up to the rocking songs and continued that way. it was an awesome set. they ended with 'stagger lee' which i was singing to myself while i was riding my bike home that day. i didn't think they'd play it, but they did and it was so fucking awesome!
i also recorded nick cave both nights. getting my recorder in at these shows was easy. i finally found a good hiding spot for it- in an envelope of photos that i've had in my bag for ages- security guards never open it up. never.
the second night was marred a bit by the crowd- it was a very obnoxious one. it had been quite a while since i'd been at a show with that obnoxious of a crowd. it was kind of like being back in portland. lots of excessively drunk people being loud and annoying throughout the show- tons of floaters and it was impossible to see. there was a couple behind us who talked the entire time. the man in the couple felt the need to loudly explain to his girlfriend what every song was about and which album it was on. at one point they were talking about a friend of theirs who should play the saxophone. stefanie gave them the death glare and it actually worked. right next to them was the 'whoo!' girl. why do these people go to shows? i really don't get it. the second night they did play 'jesus of the moon' and 'more news from nowhere' though which are two of my favourites from the album that seem to scream out 'you will never hear this song live!' but there i am- proven wrong again. bless you mr. cave.
i wish i could've seen more of mr. warren ellis- he is someone who is incredibly fun to watch at work, as is nick cave. greg kot described ellis as a deranged santa claus. yeah, i'll agree with that. it kind of made me hope that he finally goes back to the dirty three and they make another album and do another tour- talk about another band that's a joy to see live.
in short even though the second night wasn't as good as the first it was still a nice solid show. if we'd only have seen that show it would've been just fine. stefanie didn't get to hear everything she wanted to hear. they strangely didn't play 'albert goes west' or 'lie down here and be my girl'- both of which she wanted to hear. they did play every other song off of the album. 'we call upon the author to explain' is a fucking beast live- not a huge surprise- but it's true. they also played a grinderman song, which i wasn't sure they would do. one of my favourite people to watch onstage besides warren ellis was thomas wydler- the drummer who has been in the band almost as long as mick harvey (who's been with nick cave since the birthday party). lately jim sclavunos has become the main drummer in the bad seeds where he used to mainly just do percussion and occasionally play the drum set during one of the 'boatman's call' songs live. basically wydler mostly shook maracas and then would play along with sclavunos- so they had kind of a double drumset warlocks kind of set up- which was bad ass. watching a little german dude shake maracas is pretty awesome, i'll just say that.
so that was an unbelievable run- probably won't be matched ever again- we each got to see our respective favourite bands play right in a row right after a two week tour. unfortunately that night when we got home stefanie gave seth a pumpkin treat that unfortunately made him sick. he kept us up until 2am whining in really weird ways that we'd never heard before and continually coming over to us at the bed- very uncharacteristic. i moved down to the futon for a while, but he came down and continued the whining and weird behaviour. finally i figured he must really have to go outside and pee or something, so at 4am i took him outside and he puked three times and tried to poop several times. he was not in good shape, so then we took him inside and called a 24-hour vet to see what they said and he went back to his normal behaviour so they told us he'd probably be fine. by then sleep was pointless so we laid around until it was time to take me to the train station to go to work. kind of a shame as i had wanted to go see jim's band play at the horseshoe and possibly go see born ruffians with everyone from beans and bagels at schuba's, but after struggling through the day i knew i couldn't possibly make either one. kind of a shame. we went back and slept like logs clear up until 6am. nice. last night was will's welcome party/birthday party for his girlfriend sido who just moved in with him from louisiana. that was a really fun night- i ate two bowls of green chicken chili, about five or six jalapeno corn muffins, drank three beers and got nice and stoned. very stoned. a good night. quite nice.
today after i'm done here i am going to go back to the apartment and attempt to finish up a recording/collaboration for one of james' songs that he asked me to do and i got a lot of awesome ideas from hearing it. the only rule is no guitars. the loop-hole- 6-string bass. i might bow some pots and pans and such as well- possibly. it's going to be fun, i'm really looking forward to it.
i'm hoping to get some shalloboi stuff going again too- hopefully i will be able to fit in a recording session with chris, the violin player. i hope he remembers. i haven't heard from him- i'm hoping that no news is good news. he couldn't make it on the 11th of september, but i looked at that as kind of a blessing since we were so over-extended getting ready for the tour at that point.
speaking of the tour it almost seems like it was all a dream. i really wish that we'd been able to play more shows- we were really in fine form the entire time. jim is talking about throwing a halloween show and if that comes together i'd definitely like to do that. i'm still tossing around the podcast idea- just in the interest of a little bit of closure on the tour- which i didn't really feel like we got so much. the finances seemed to have worked out so far. the payment on my credit card for the car took care of that hurdle for the month- not only did we pay for the card, but now i don't have to scrape together $100 somehow to pay the monthly payment for it and it instantly dropped the balance in one fell swoop. we did pretty well on the tour- if not for the kansas city trip we would've come through without having to charge anything on my credit cards. as it worked out i think that i ended up charging about $340 in gas. that sounds like a lot, but it could've been much much worse. we actually did make enough money from cd sales to pay for gas to get us from portland to seattle and while the minneapolis show was considered a disaster by us for the most part it got us some gas money as well. my parents gave us some money for gas as well, but not very much and jackie and sandor bought t-shirts from us as well- so all in all we did pretty well. we sold something at every show we played. in the past we would show up, play, not get paid at all and not sell a single cd. we must be getting better live. i was always happy with the reaction we got as well- it was always encouraging.
i've put the strings show on hold for now. i'm still going to try. maybe it'll work out in the spring or something. i'm just going to keep bugging them until it comes through. no reason to give up just yet.
as if all of that weren't enough i have a recording session with billy that i'm completely prepared for- the nice thing about the strings show was that it made me sit down and write a ton of sheet music including tons of stuff that needs to recorded. now it won't be saved until the last minute. yay!
today when i woke up i felt extremely tired, but i am feeling much better now- which is a good thing- i was getting a bit whiny. i had to take tilly to the vet this morning as well. we only have a few more days of housesitting left. it made up the difference for the rent just perfectly. i think we might land on our feet pretty easily. it actually worked out that i have an extra paycheck. i thought that it would just work out and i wouldn't miss a beat, but i actually might have some *gasp* extra money. tips were very good last week. i have some money to hold onto for whatever i need it for. if i use the tips to pay my other credit card or my insurance or something it just becomes more money from that paycheck that i can use for whatever. i might start looking at reel to reels for the impending mixdown. it will be nice to not have some huge trip looming overhead to save money for. we might get to relax a bit for the next few months before christmas. imagine that.