4-20-06, 8:45 AM -
Rainy days & Thursdays always...something something.
Maggie & the Ferocious Beast is on the tube as Nathan grunts his way across the floor. He's not crawling per se, but improvising. For several weeks now he's been mastering the art of flipping over. He had the flip onto his stomach down pat, and could even hold his head up really well, but hadn't quite gotten the reverse flip onto his back. Today's the first day he seems to have really mastered both flips, and consequently, he's now on the move, rolling anywhere he wants. The rolling seems to require grunting, though, which makes it sound like he's either weight training or pooping all the time.
Rained like a sumbitch last night, with more in the forecast for today. Texas can certainly use it, dry and chappy as it is. Still, I could do without crashing thunder & gale-blown tree limbs battering the windows all night.
During our stay here in Crowley while the Wifely's job search continues, I've been scouting potential recording clients in Fort Worth. In the process, I've come upon an interesting realization: Fort Worth is not the Fort Worth we left four years ago.
The town was experiencing a great deal of renovation at the time we left in 2002, but a good portion of that was mere theory. In the last four years, though, most of those theories have in fact become realities. The tornado-ravaged Bank One tower has indeed become a high-rise condo development. And that's far from the only downtown residence option. Big shitloads of new apartment complexes are going up within walking distance of Sundance Square. Totally unheard of a decade ago.
What's even more amazing is the area just across the Trinity River where the Cultural District begins. The Montgomery Ward building housing the company that not coincidentally went out of business the year after the death of my grandfather--the world's most loyal Montgomery Ward shopper and simultaneously the most vehement critic of its crappy appliances--has also now gone condo. That's on top of the Super Target and other colonization that's gone up in its shadow.
Some things, though, remain the same, for better or worse. On the better side, there's the perennial greatness of a night spent on the patio of Fred's restaurant, a few blocks south of the aforementioned Monkey Ward. Bottle of Shiner Bock, plate full of Fredburger & fries, and unpretentious jazz on the stage, you're all set up.
Also in the good column is the Cellar, the appropriately named basement bar underneath Panther City Coffee Company near TCU. This place has the weirdest layout and some of the most laid-back clientele in town, not to mention a mini shuffleboard court. One evening while enjoying beverages down there with my friends Gustavson and Shithead, I was informed that T-Bone Burnett's God-daughter was in the joint. The problem with being me is that I cannot possibly find a way to make gravy out of that state of affairs. This is why I still have to eat the store brand cereal.
There is one gripe, however, that has not lost its currency since last I roamed the FW nightlife landscape. To be sure, it makes me sound like Grampa Simpson, and did even when I was in my 20's. But after my NYC experience, I believe more than ever that it lies at the crux of Fort Worth's perpetually problematic music scene.
It boils down to one thing: Shows in Fort Worth never start before 10PM. And that's the opening band. By the time they get around to putting the headliner on, you're well into the next day. On weekdays, even. How in the hell do you build a music scene when all potential audience members with 9-to-5 jobs can't come out to see the bands?
The answer: You don't. When I played opening slots in NYC, which has a thriving--if dysfunctional--music scene, I seldom went on past 9PM. Usually it was earlier. Consequently, people who had to get up and...I dunno, WORK in the morning could come and see the show. Just something to consider, bankruptcy-flirting FW club owners.
Which brings me to the goodness that is MacHenry's, site of an upcoming return appearance by the matthew show this Friday, May 5th. Showtime? 9PM, yo. This show will feature the trio format, and is guaranteed 100% Jimmy Buffett free. But wait, there's more. Come out and request a Van Morrison song and I'll take a gigantic dump right on the stage. I figure that'll get me enough press to afford the real Honey Bunches of Oats.
Many thanks to all who came out to the last couple of shows. The Panther City gig was especially fabulous, thanks to our good friends Tomasland and Midge. They performed a stunt that was not only clever, but obscure as hell.
During the 3 years that I was working on texas, I would periodically send mix tapes around to get opinions on the album's progress. Since the Wifely and I were living with Tomasland and Midge at the time, they got a good number of them. On one of these was a trial version of an old Wings tune called Mull of Kintyre. However, I didn't always label my tapes very well, and so the titles of the tunes were not always clear.
So when the two of them showed up at Panther City with t-shirts displaying the words "Mulufkin" and a picture of a tire, I was a bit perplexed. Nonetheless, once its significance became clear, I was of course obligated to perform "Mulufkin Tire" in its entirety. Those in attendance can be the judge of whether I remembered it correctly 5 years after recording it.
4-25-06, 8:15 AM -
We got Dora the Explorer on now. A bit shrill and shouty, but a decent enough show, and Nathan likes it.
Had a great day of recording yesterday. The new album is taking some definite shape now, and I've allotted at least one day per week to getting it done. I had thought that the learning curve would be considerably lower this time around, but it seems that there's always something new to figure out. I'm also one of these who has a periodic cockamamie idea and has to follow it through, which sometimes leads to cool stuff and sometimes just creates something else to go on the oops pile. The ratio is at about 50/50 right now, which is about par with last time.
Many thanks to Mom & Dad for watching Nathan on recording days. He enjoys it, since he has to look at my mug for the rest of the week.
We took ourselves and our young'un to Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival on Saturday. As usual, it was hit-n-miss, but there were some cool booths. Nathan loved the hell out of it. He likes looking at other people, and seems to like noisy places. I think being born in Brooklyn did that to him. But he also likes trees, so he's got some balance there.
My friend Little Jack Melody played the festival on Thursday, and my other friend Jen caught the show. According to her, Jack's music is good for drinking wine while standing in the kitchen and cooking with your panties on. I have no good way of verifying this.
10:01 AM -
Got Democracy Now on. That's more like it, good liberal claptrap to stew in. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, you gotta pay attention as long as Commander Cuckoobananas is still in charge.
This kid is sleepy as hell, but he won't go to sleep. Stubborn like his old man. Though nowadays, I'd give up a kidney for some good sleep. Gotta take that up with the kid once he gets some language skills. I can live on 6 hours a night for the next year or so...
5-2-06, 1:50 PM -
Coupla musical notes before I wrap this rambly thing up.
The first is something I've been looking forward to for a few years now, and that would be the release of fellow Naive Music labelmate Mocha Lab's debut album, The Coffee Cellar. This record is truly one-of-a-kind, and has gone a long way towards inspiring many aspects of my new album. I call it docu-pop, but you can call it whatever you want once you go buy your very own copy. It's available on iTunes as well as most other digital retailers, and of course in physical form on CD Baby.
It would be impossible for me to overstate how much you need to buy this record. I'm always hearing people talk about how nobody's doing anything original anymore. Get The Coffee Cellar and be pleasantly proven wrong. I could describe the sound, but really, you should check out the clips on CD Baby and/or iTunes to get the best picture. It blew me away when I first heard it in 2003, and it still cracks heads today.
The second bit of musical news I have is just to inform DFW residents to keep an eye out for any show featuring James Dunn & the Western Set. As some of you know, James was in my first band, the Average Deep, ages ago, and I've kept occasional contact with him over the years. But what I saw last Saturday at a tiny club called Banter in downtown Denton was a whole new world order. Together with my own trio rhythm section, the mighty Gustavson and Shithead, Mr. Dunn proceeded to completely rock the bricks out of the wall. This is country-rock at its most raucous, most sincere, and most intelligent, not to mention its most melodic and innovative. They do a version of the Eurythmics' Here Comes the Rain Again that'll make you slap Annie Lennox. Or maybe Dave Stewart.
I regret to say that at the moment, this phenomenon has no real web presence, but we here at Naive Music are currently working on that, and will inform you once something launches. In the meantime, scan your local listings and make the effort to come out whenever he's playing. It'll kill you graveyard dead.
Time to skedaddle, got a rehearsal tonight with the boys in the band for Friday's Cinco de Mayo show at MacHenry's. Looking forward to seeing you Texas types there. More info here.
May Pete bless you and send you a happy new month. Now I'm off to practice singing the national anthem in Nepalese...