Many thanks to Moose Ali Khan for showing up at our gig a couple weeks ago armed with a video recorder, an audio recorder, and a still camera. And many thanks to his wife Alyson who boogied down the whole time. Here is a video of The Drinky Drink:
I’ll post more videos later.
Yes, we had a gig at SLO Brew here in SLO town this past Saturday. It is a nice place to play because it is a real stage with a real soundman and a real backstage. We were the first of 3 bands on the bill. We typically play first, since we are not exactly what you would call “touring quality”. Rather, we are a band of, by, and for the people! When I play, my #1 hope is that someone in the audience will get inspired to do the same thing. I hope they say something like, “wow, a husband and a wife playing really loud, obnoxious rock-n-roll rather poorly. I think I can do that!”
Assuming you do get inspired to do it, please be forewarned that it takes hours upon hours of practice to go from sounding really really bad to sounding just kind of bad, and then hours more to go from sounding kind of bad to just bad. And you may go deaf during this process. And music is a money pit. Maybe not as much as say, yachting, but it ain’t a money maker. We got a babysitter on Saturday ($72) and bought our own drinks (??) and had to schlep our own equipment (drum kid, heavy guitar amp, guitar) and we got paid a big fat goose egg at the end of the night. Yes, it is the proverbial labor of love.
I feel like I am finally able to play at a point where I can trust my capabilities and just get more into the flow, which is a really nice feeling. Singing is coming easier too, but that is still the hardest part by far. It’s only taken 5 long years to get to this point.
I feel really fortunate in that we have a group of friends who always come to our shows. This is quite a kind gesture on their part, especailly considering the ear-splitting product we put out. And on Saturday, Melanie’s best friend Allison came up from LA with her husband Moose. Allison is great because she will dance to anything, so she danced during our entire set, which is always a joy. And Moose is into techno gadgetry, so he brought a video camera, an audio recorder, and a still camera. He is going to email me the video, which I will post when I get it so you can see just how totally rocking the night was.
We have a show in less than a week. And every time we practice my guitar keeps going horrifically out of tune. It is a cheap Epiphone. It is the first electric guitar I ever bought. I got it at Fancy Music in Santa Barbara for about $180. It has been a great guitar. But I have always wanted a Gibson Les Paul. And I ain’t getting any younger. Unfortunately, I do not have an extra $2,500 just lying around during these recessionary times, and there is a lot of debt in line to pay off before I buy such a frivolous item as ANOTHER electric guitar.
I have an Ernie Ball Axis with a very cool sparkly blue paint job (see header photo) that someone gave me in trade for some work I did for them a few years ago, but I never play it. So I think it is time to post it on E-Bay. I also have a Fender Jazzmaster that may soon have to go up on the auction block. These two sales will probably get me about 3/4 of the way to a new guitar.
This week seems to be awash in music. I am in the middle of Keith Richard’s autobiography, which is a great read. Oh, to be a rich, world-famous junkie guitarist. And on Saturday we had a party for my wife’s 40th birthday. It was an AWESOME party. I set up the PA, created a great playlist, and printed out lyrics to the songs on the playlist with microphones at the ready. So, when Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” came on, he or she who had a hankering to sing along with Simon LeBon & Co. could do just that. Or Dancing Queen, or Rebel Rebel. It was a total blast. LOUD music, great songs, maracas, and microphones do a great party make. Oh, and maybe a little bit of booze too. And a firepit. And great friends. And good lighting. And a Saturday night. Anyways, it was a full-on dance party well worthy of a 40th birthday blowout.
And we have this gig coming up on 1/22. Up until today, we had only practiced a couple of times, and they were both awful practices. But this morning we practiced at noon and rocked it. We are hoping to get Butch Boswell, SLO axeman extraordinaire, to sit in on our set and put down some shredding lead guitar. 10 days until the show. We WILL be ready. Granted, it is only 1/2 hour and we are the first of three bands which means we will be playing to emptiness, but that is how it has always been and how I suspect it always will be, which is just as well. If the crowds start to grow I might turn into a rich, junkie guitarist.
2010 was my least prolific songwriting year of the last decade. I think I know the reason: I did not write much. The only way that good songs are going to come is to go through the process of writing butt-cringingly dreadful crap. Then, at some point something good will come out of it. I tried to kick start things over the Christmas break. Our family took a quick trip up to Monterey to spend the night and go to the aquarium. It was a beautiful drive up the 101. Green hills and dark clouds. The section from SLO to just south of Salinas is great. There is little traffic, great scenery and lots of cool little towns. We got off in Chualar and took the back roads towards Monterey. It was nice to get out of Dodge. When I drive through that section it makes me want to just take photographs, write songs, and eat good Mexican food.
Anyways, the following morning in Monterey I went for a jog. The wind was cold and strong off the ocean and there were a few sprinkles. I jogged in a neighborhood above Cannery Row and at some point I got hit with a whiff of chimney smoke mixed with saltwater air. That is a smell that immediately transports me back to the days of traveling and backpacking in Chile. It seems we all have those smells that catch us off guard and take us to a place. It is instantaneous. It is such a great feeling.
I took the Chimney smoke and sea catalyst and started writing a song about it. I spent a few days trying to edit the song and put music to it, but to no avail. The narrative fell flat. It was wordy, rife with cliches, and not very compelling. Oh well. I might revisit it and try to shape it. But at least I tried which is more than I can say for the better part of the last year.
And by the way, my wife and I have a show set up for Saturday, January 22nd and Downtown Brew. We are opening up for Diego’s Umbrella. They are a great, eclectic Gypsy Folk act. Kind of a toned down version of Gogol Bordello. Korie from Downtown Brew called and asked us to play. We have not played Downtown Brew as an electric Duo for at least two years. It should be fun but it means we have to get our shit together. Take care of the kids, go to work, clean the house, exercise, cook, shop for provisions, and somewhere somehow find time to practice.