Saturday, December 25, 2010

Neat Neat Neat

I've been listening to alot of my old records from the late 70s and early 80s lately, and two of the best are The Damned and the Code of Honor/Sick Pleasure split L.P. Both bands were kind of beyond their peers in wildness and sheer song writing ability/live performance antics. For me, Captain Sensible and Michael Fox were guitar players to look up to, unpredictable and without any rock cliches. If you haven't heard these albums, ask Santa Claus for them next year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Written Word

This year I had two little writings published, one in a major exhibition catalog and the other a foreword to my good friend Brad Hayes' new book of paintings and skate philosophy, But I Did. I was very gratified to be asked by both the National Building Museum and by Brad to contribute to their publications.
If I had to choose between the two as my favorite, I have to choose the foreword to somebody else's book, which is always a real honor among writers. Both were killer, do not get me wrong, but to write the foreword to your best bro's work is the ultimate writing gig, that is, it's really hard to write about your best friend's artwork! The essay on the NMB catalog is scholarship, which I consider kind of like work and the result of years of scholarly training. You can purchase either publication on my link list, Yale University Press for Designing Tomorrow and Sharklahoma for But I Did.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

End of a Year

The record release party for Wartime Sugar was awesome last Saturday night at the Opolis. The best thing about playing a gig is seeing all your friends before and afterward, with the performance itself a weird interlude of Bergsonian intensity. These photos are courtesy of Brad Hayes and Chuck Ivey.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wartime Sugar

After three years playing guitar in my garage rock group, Zombie vs. Shark, we will release our first recording, Wartime Sugar. It's a 12-song L.P. we recorded with Trent Bell at his studio in Norman, Oklahoma called Bell Labs in January of this past year. The tunes are straight up garage punk. Trent did an awesome job engineering and mixing the album, as well as his easy demeanor to have us try some new approaches to our songs. It was very fun and we will do a 4-song, 7" vinyl single at his studio again sometime in the early summer.

You can purchase Wartime Sugar online in digital form by song or the whole album at Bandcamp on my link list to the right. You can also buy at physical copy of the CD from our label, Modern Peasant Records through the Bandcamp portal. It is $5.00 for the album with $2.00 in shipping. We may press a 12" vinyl edition sometime next summer in 180 gram colored vinyl, so stayed tuned!

Our friend Tara Malone's friend Aaron took these photos below from our gig with Debris' and John Wayne's Bitches at The Opolis in Norman on July 10, 2010. We will have our record release party on December 11, 2010 at The Opolis with those same bands. Hopefully we'll see everyone there!

Zombie vs. Shark, The Hi-Lo Club in April 2009.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Whole Day

This album by Roy Montgomery and Flying Saucer Attack, "Goodbye/and Goodbye/The Whole Day Song" has been a soundtrack for my life the last 3 years. Montgomery, a great New Zealand experimental psych guitar player, and Flying Saucer Attack created this amazing compositional and instrumental guitar album, a beautiful maelstrom of melody and guitar feedback some time ago. It is probably as significant, compositionally, as Igor Stravinksy's The Rite of Spring.

While I travel, I have my iPod loaded with Flying Saucer Attack tunes, since I miss Spencer, my kid, when I'm away. The Whole Day Song is etched in my mind with memories of the walks and explorations that Spencer and I take around Lincoln's badlands and railyards, finding weird stuff and the strange corners of the city. Its pretty, desolate sound evokes the barren western landscape of the Plains, and impresses our solitary treks on the edge of the urban fringe in my mind so I can recall them while I'm away from him. For us it is always the whole day.

This album is worth having in your record collection, one of the great compositions ever written for a traditional four-piece rock formation.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

End Hits

I haven't posted in awhile, since my desktop is busted and can't download our summer photos on my laptop. So here are some "end hits" from the past year. Spencer has gotten "super bigger" as he says and the proof is here.

Street sesh at Bradley's.

At Cooper Park

Slide into the snow from our multiple blizzards last winter.

Spencer and his buddy, Abe.

Grooving in the Flint Hills, after the Norman Music Festival.

Flint Hills land sea.
Post skate sesh at Bradley's. Rad bowl cut!

Chuck Ivey, original punker.

Phil Rodriguez at NMF.

At Grandma's house.

Uncle Frankie, the man who introduced chocolate milk to Spencer.

Tabby with Spencer.

This stroller ended up at the bottom of a pond, eventually.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Guitar Cabinet Theory of Life

Every person generates their own system of value based on their various obsessions. Avid gardners look at the payments for a new car, and probably think "that payment is akin to 10 oak tree seedlings, or a season's worth of annuals and perennials." I know my friend Brad, the skateboarder/artist dude of Sharklahoma, probably waits in line at the grocery store and looks at the total, going "my week's food is worth three skateboard decks." I think my friend Dave, who plays bass in Crowds and Power, looks at his bar tab sometimes and thinks, "I just spent one-eight of an Ampeg SVT cabinet this evening." I know my brother Phil likely looks at his municipal bill from the City of Berkeley, and wonders, "Is that worth a 32nd of the airfare to New Zealand?" People are screwed up when they view the world through the lens of their passions and obsessions.

I'm much the same, because when I ascribe value to the mundane and inane things we need to buy in life, I measure them by guitar cabinets. I like guitar cabinets since they are loud, a vehicle for amplifying artistic creation, and they are somewhat artistic/architectural in their design. For a thing that sits on the ground, it can have amazing power emanating from it when hooked up to a 100 watt head, which can cause something akin to hypnosis by sound. They are also something I use everyday, more so than my car or other big ticket items that people acquire for themselves. My favorites are Marshall and Vox cabinets, since they are loaded with celestion speakers, and also old vintage guitar cabinets like this Ampeg cabinet I bought from my friend Johnny Morrill, which I think is from the late 1960s. But any guitar cabinet with good speakers loaded in it sounds good.
So when someone asks why my wife and I don't have a new car, we always say we don't drive much, our cars are kind of like motor-driven grocery carts that little old ladies in South Philly drag behind them to the store, since we tend to drive once or twice a week living in Lincoln. But there's more. When I look at new car payments, I'm like "that car payment is equal to one Marshall cabinet, no way!" A year of car payments is an arena setup of guitar cabinets, 12 to be exact. Why have a new car when you don't drive, and ride your bike everywhere? Exactly, you catch my drift. This same mentality also rules our gardening and landscaping at the new house, and also painting and remodeling our house ourselves, "that's' a 5-gallon quantity of paint," "that's 4 rose bushes." I'd rather live in a garden oasis of a house than have a flashy new car that costs 2 years of college tuition to service!

I've met other mentally-deranged people that measure value by things like the equivalent of a Gretsch hollowbody guitar or Les Paul Standard; by tubes of oil or acrylic paints; by digital and film cameras; by skateboard wheels; by obsessively hoarding books and enshrining them in their home; and also by the lumber required to build a halfpipe in your backyard. Then there's people with designer clothes and expensive sports cars, and the like, and I guess they are accepted as normal.
Yet is doesn't cost much to play your guitar or skate an irrigation ditch either....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flinthills Spring

After a brutal and long winter, Tabby, Spencer, and I spent some time in Oklahoma with our friends and to see the Norman Music Festival. We had snow this year on the ground in Lincoln from December 8 to March 7, so it was great driving down I-77 through the Flint Hills and seeing the country in springtime bloom, especially the dogwood trees.

On the ocean-sky of the Southern Plains.

Mehgan Hayes sessioning in front of the Hayes compound in Ponca City.

Spencer giving the skateboard a try.

Brad Hayes, master craftsman and sesh master. Check out his new book of paintings, But I Did... It's for sale on his site, Sharklahoma.

Susan Shores at the Norman Music Festival. We were hanging out in front of the Opolis, waiting to see the legendary Debris' play. All of our friends were there and it was a pretty fun time.

Phil Rodriguez.

Ron Haas.

Matt Bokovoy.

This James, our friend Mac's son.

Spencer playing at James' house in Moore.

Jeremy Gragg.

Charlies Shores and the dudes from Debris'.

A gas tank in Stillwater, OK.

Our friends Crystalline and Joey's acreage.

Joey took Spencer fishing in their pond, and this is the catch for the day.