Posted in from one town to the next - live shows, music and the music business

meet mister dave…

ok, so i know i’ve been quiet…and there’s much to tell from this past week.

but…

for the moment, i just have to pass this along.

standing next to one of the all time top five greatest musicians in rock and roll history (or any other genre, for that matter)…

with David Lindley at Sellersville Theater

more to come…sooner than later, i hope.

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Posted in from one town to the next - live shows, rants - political and otherwise

it could be woodstock…or it could be altamont.

now playing: game two, world series

so, with sunday almost over, let’s just think about this for a moment:

how much must it suck to be the san diego chargers this season?

if they had any idea of what it means to hold a lead, they’d be the talk of the NFL right now. instead, they’ve just managed today to blow yet another close game in the waning seconds. we saw them manage to lose to pittsburgh just a few weeks ago by allowing them to stomp down the field and kick a game winning field goal on monday night, and today they handed the game to the eagles by giving up a turnover as they were preparing to score to tie the game – this right after the eagles blocked a field goal that would have put it away for them and ran back the ball for a touchdown.

i’ve been thinking that this was gonna be the chargers’ year – especially since it’s appeared that the pats would be in a transitional state this year, what with having lost both charlie weis and romeo crennel to other coaching jobs, and losing a lot of players to free agency and health problems and the like. but boy, oh, boy – the chargers just cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to keeping the lead through the fourth quarter.

ah, well.

dylan came to spend the weekend with us – it was supposed to be his mothers’ weekend, but he didn’t feel well on friday and didn’t go to school – then on saturday, he called me rather early in the morning and asked if he could come to my house…and he was here until just a couple of hours ago. he’s become fascinated with a forum on the internet where people design customized cars, interchanging parts and customizing bodies and the like. it’s become a pretty serious fascination with him. but he also spent time on the drumkit and with the guitar while he was here this weekend – and we went out this afternoon after the football game and spent some time at the baseball diamond in west reading, pitching and catching and batting and slinging mud around – while wendy was batting, i was trying to stay in behind the plate, but there was a puddle right behind the batters’ box and dylan kept dropping his pitches into the puddle. i was covered in mud droplets by the time we were done, and had to come home and shower before we went to dinner.

‘course, it wasn’t the only mud encounter i had this weekend.

i had committed to play a party with blake this weekend for friends of his brother in law, and after having watched the weather reports, i was convinced by the night before that we probably weren’t going to be playing – it was raining most of the day on friday, and was to continue to rain on saturday, and when i got up on saturday morning – sure enough, it was raining cats and dogs. i went to a friends’ house at 10am on saturday and called blake when i left there to see what was going on, and he said that there was supposed to be a tent and that it was gonna go down either way – whether it was still raining or not.

that, having been said, kinda set the tone for my attitude for the whole thing – i hate – hate – playing in shitty weather. i mean, blake and i had already talked a bit about the fact that we were starting at 8pm for an outdoor gig in late october…and that it was gonna be cold outside, that people were going to be starting to trickle out before then – essentially questioning why he’d have us outside starting that late…but when the rain was factored in, it just seemed insane to follow through with this thing. but – we were written in ink on this thing, so we didn’t really have much choice in the matter.

at some point, blake said, “well, it could be woodstock…or it could be altamont.”

when we got there, it was bedlam – there was a tent in this guys’ backyard where everyone was crammed in, and we were to set up in the corner of this tent that was down the slope of the backyard…where the water that drained down the yard accumulated before the hay that piled around the inside of the tent stopped the water and pooled it in the corner – which was where i got to set up and stand while we played. so, i figured, what the hell – might as well have a couple of beers.

so i did.

after we’d played a few songs, i settled in and was ok – i was playing bass and singing, and that was pretty much it – i was originally going to play mandolin and lap steel on a few songs, but after we got there and i got a load of what the scene was, i called a huddle and said to the guys, look – i think that, under the circumstances, we just strap up and play some rock and roll and just get through this thing as best as we can…and essentially, that’s what we did. in the end, it was fine, for the most part – i still haven’t unloaded my mud-infested equipment from the trooper yet, because i haven’t really felt like dealing with it. i know that i’m going to have some maintenance to deal with once i get it out anyway, and i just haven’t felt like going down that road today. it’s been much easier to just hang out with the gang and let the day take care of itself today.

however, there is a plan for the week.

i have a scene from a movie that i’m doing a brief score for, and i’m going to get that done tomorrow night after work. once that’s done, i’m going to set up the files in the system for the poco tribute record and get clicks down for tempos and the like so that the project files are all in place for the individual tracks. i think we’re going to go straight to “childs’ claim to fame” first, because it’s a relatively simple song and there aren’t a lot of tracks involved in it.

i also have to get some transportation arranged for a basement find that i’ve stumbled upon this weekend – which i won’t be elaborating on until it’s safe in my own basement. there are a number of unknown factors surrounding it at the moment, anyway – it may turn out to be a complete albatross, but i’m thinking that this isn’t going to be the case.

details soon.

 

Posted in music and the music business

ok, so maybe it’s not really friday anymore…

now playing: jackson browne, “the fuse”

which brings us, in fact, to today’s Friday Top Five All Time List:

Top Five Recorded Moments In David Lindley History

(ok, ok, i know…it’s not really friday anymore, but this is the first chance i’ve had today, thus far….)

in no particular order, as usual….

1. (obviously) jackson browne, “the fuse”

this song just wreaks of drama and musical tension…it builds about as perfectly as a song can, and lindleys’ haunting lap steel is perfect on this tune…it starts off as an ornament early in the song, and then begins to build as the song does, kicking the rest of the track in the ass as the song builds to an abrupt, jarring end. there is something of a solo section in the song, but the steel fits the track so perfectly that you never really notice that the instrument has taken the lead.

this song is the leadoff track on jacksons’ album, the pretender. lindleys’ steel is featured on other songs on other albums before this one, but his work on this song set the standard for his tone for the rest of his recorded work with jackson. there’s a fluidity and a smoothness that’s missing up until that moment. after this song, though, it never went away.

2. warren zevon, “play it all night long”

were it not for lindleys’ steel part on this song, i wouldn’t be the least bit fond of it. it’s a nice chord progression, and it’s got a hook, but it’s one of warren’s blatant nods to his penchant for not really giving a shit whether he steps on any toes or not. it’s pretty raw stuff, lyrically. but i can ignore that, thanks to mister dave.

3. the bottle rockets, “rocket in my pocket”

holy shit.

really, that’s about it. holy shit.

if you play guitar at all, you owe it to yourself to hear daves’ work on this song. it’ll rip your head off.

that is all.

4. david lindley, half the tracks on win this record

this was the second el-rayo-x album, and it’s full of lap steel…from the ripping solos on the leadoff track, something’s gotta hold on me to the solo acoustic hawaiian weissenborn guitar piece that closes the record, look so good. it’s the textbook for anyone who’s feeling ballsy enough to tackle the instrument with even the slightest modicum of passion or intensity – if you still want to play after listening to this album, then you’re equipped with the proper amount of chutzpah to pull it off.

5. jackson browne, “hold on hold out”

ok, yeah…there are two jackson browne songs on the list.

but the fact is, i could’ve done a top twenty list like this with nothing but jackson browne songs on it. but i wanted to avoid all the obvious moments. i mean, really – singling out the amazing solo david contributed to running on empty on a list like this is akin to naming jeff spicoli as one of the pivotal characters in fast times at ridgemont high…i mean, isn’t that one obvious enough without me singling it out?

well, maybe to some people, i dunno. but not only that one…there’s also his solo on you love the thunder, his track on of missing persons….that one time only gnarling tone that he got just as his speaker was disintegrating into small shreds of cardboard on that girl could sing – i mean, all those songs deserve to be on this list. but they’re such obvious choices that i chose to go with the ones that i felt absolutely had to be on here.

the solo itself in the song hold on hold out is a master class in note selection and solo composition. it starts off with a phrase that gets your attention and it ebbs and flows with an absolutely zenlike precision. not a note too few or too many, and if you heard the song yesterday, you could hum the solo today.

it really is that good.

but then again, so are most of his solos. and fans of lindley will realize that i’ve singled out just one instrument for the list…i mean, we’re not even delving into fiddle territory here…that could be another entire list.

but, as phil donahue once said, that’s another show…

big day tomorrow (later today)…will try to break with tradition and sit down this weekend and catch up a bit more.

 

Posted in music and the music business, yesterday. today. tomorrow.

cocooning

now playing: james taylor, “london town”

i was leaning toward remaining silent today until this song came on:

“when i grow too old and dull to rock and roll
i’d like to hold on tight to you, darlin’…

and when my fires have all burned out
i’d like to think i could still think about
the things i used to sing about
when i was spending all my time alone
by myself and on my own
seldom seen and quite unknown….”

i’ve heard from a few people that i used to play with during the course of the past week, and have gotten myself a little psyched about the prospect of being in a band again – i heard from quin, the hammond player from stone road, and from charlie degenhart about the prospect of putting a band together for gigs around christmastime (which i’m working on at the moment) – i’m trying, right now, to remember the last time i played in front of people as part of a band, and i’m drawing a blank. i’m playing with blake at a private function of some sort this weekend, which will be fun. hell, i may just play bass for the whole thing, based on how rehearsals went last week – because we have a drummer for the show, and it might be kinda splashy and thin sounding if i switch back and forth between bass and other stuff…so i guess the jury is still out on what my role is for this gig. honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me – i like playing blakes’ stuff so much that i’d probably stand there with one of those little plastic eggs and sing harmony if it came to that. same thing with charlie.

blake actually came out to viva this past wednesday for one of my happy hour gigs and sat in with me for most of the show – it was a little muddy, running us both through my little amp, but it was a lot of fun. more fun than standing there for a couple of hours by myself and not knowing how i’m being perceived. when there’s more than one of you, you can at least play off each other and enjoy that, if the crowd isn’t necessarily interested in what you’re doing.

speaking of charlie – now that i’ve gotten the studio back up and functional to the point of being useful, i found a bunch of solo acoustic demos that charlie had given me ages ago…some of the songs on the demo made it onto his april’s fool EP, and i had started – at about the time he gave them to me – working on adding tracks to them after i’d imported them into the PC. i found the tracks i’d done, but immediately dismissed them and decided to try my hand at adding parts again, now that i’d evolved to the point that i had with equipment and know-how. i got started with the one song i was most familiar with from having played it, “our crooked roads”. i got rid of the old canned drum track, and started from scratch with nothing but the vocal and guitar. i added a bass part, a lap steel part, a twelve-string guitar part, an electric rhythm part, and started putting an electric lead part on it before i got distracted by the clutter and moved on to other stuff. i’m gonna finish it up when i get the chance to get those baffles moved into the house and set up in the second room.

i want to try to get pictures posted by this weekend, too.

i guess the thing that i’m noticing – about myself – that’s starting to make me nervous is the whole cocooning wave that’s broken over me since i started this studio rennovation. the studio project, coupled with football and the baseball postseason, has made it damn near impossible to get me out of the house. and this is a very new phenomenon – literally just a couple of months ago, it was near impossible to find me at home at all. i want to take the easy way out and declare that to be the source of my craving for “at home time” and leave it at that, but i think that it might run a little deeper than that.

i think the actual truth of the matter is that i’m actually enjoying being at home with nothing to do on the weekends.

i do think this to be short-lived, and it does have the feeling of a phase that will pass in time. it’s somewhat conflicting, because i do want to get out and start playing with a band in front of people again – but considering the things that have been on my plate since the theatre runs ended last month, i haven’t been in much of a rush to do so. i’m finding that i’ve been very content to be at home with the family, working in the basement, watching tv, and generally just being in my space. i think i have the trip to maine to blame for it, to some small extent. it certainly showed me where the brake pedal was on the floorboard, and it’s been nice to be able to feel that figurative plastic under my feet of late. because of some personal commitments that i’ve made regarding the work to be done in the studio once it’s up and fully functional, running the way i want it to be, i still feel that sense of unfinished business regarding the work that’s yet to be done…but i feel like i’m a lot closer to the finish line than i was just not that long ago.

i’ve been debating whether or not to post works in progress on the site – not sure what the benefit of that would be, other than to allow others to monitor progress on the record…but i’m sure i’ll eventually talk myself out of that.

i doubt it’ll be hard to do.

 

Posted in music and the music business

all time top five friday

now playing: counting crows, “perfect blue buildings”

as a continuance of a conversation i had earlier this morning…and in honor of one of my all time, top five favorite movies of all time (high fidelity), today i present you with the first in what will become a series of personal all time, top fives:

top five, all time worst guitar solos

5. blue rodeo, “five days in may“.

the short version of this song is exquisite – concise, melodic, haunting – and the long version could have been an extension of that, but – sadly, no. the solo at the end sounds like an extended noodling session by a first year guitar student. it goes on far, far longer than it should for a solo that sucks as much as this one does. it sounds like the guy was trying to go for some of that raw, neil young energy but without any instrumental finesse whatsoever – seriously, just really, really awful.

4. sheryl crow, “every day is a winding road“.

“wow, look at that! someone left a pedal steel all set up and ready to go in the studio, here! hey, jimmy – do you still have that aluminum crack pipe on your keychain? cool! come take a couple of swipes at this with it while i go roll tape, ok? it’ll be totally fuckin’ bitchin’, man!

no, seriously – it’ll be a big hit! not because of your caterwauling on the slide guitar, but because the public has been successfully programmed to think that she’s packing some peculiar brand of indie credibility, and they’ll lap it up whether you suck or not!”

thankfully a short solo, but packs a LOT of annoyance into a very short timeframe…echoplex on steel guitar played really badly (dunno if it’s pedal or lap, it’s that bad) and not very well in tune, jerking wildly between open notes and high squealy ones.

a really bad idea that no one weeded out in time to save us from it.

3. anything…anything…by george thorogood. worst. tone. ever.

2. concrete blonde, “caroline“.

a great riff, great vocal, great song…but completely shitty guitar tone and accompanying solo. i have this problem with a lot of their music, but this song in particular stands out as a squandered opportunity to kick some serious guitar ass. pissed away by means of a nasty, nasal Pointy Metal Guitar Moment that completely ruined the song and took away all the momentum that the arrangement built up for it.

johnette napolitano kicks ass – i wish that the things she’s doing now got the attention that the band did in its heyday.

and number one (today) is:

john gorka, “blue chalk“.

i know that most of my friends are picking their jaws up off their spacebars right now – but yeah, a john gorka song made the list.

this is why.

the first time i heard john sing this song was on a sunday night at the legendary godfrey daniels at an open mike with maybe a half dozen people in the audience. he did “blue chalk” and “two good reasons” right about the time he was probably getting ready to make between five and seven, and i was sitting maybe eight feet from him, and the song just killed me. it’s been one of my absolute favorite gorka songs since that night, and that version is the version i hear in my head when the song crosses my mind.

which is part of the reason this song is on the list, but the real reason lies in the recorded version.

if i’d been home watching tv that night, and hadn’t seen that performance, there’s a chance i’d like the song, but the tandem wanking by the mandolin player and the guitarist on the recorded version of this song is absolutely inexcusable – especially from seasoned session players who are supposed to know better. the primary reason these guys get the calls is because they’re supposed to have some sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not – and believe me, there’s no thought wasted on tastefulness on this song. if you think that fleet-fingered instrumental masturbation is strictly the domain of the near-extinct poodleheaded headbanger, then by all means listen to the last sixteen or so bars of this song…a folk ballad gone terribly, terribly awry.

it still irritates me every time i hear it.

anyway….

maybe this could be a regular thing, huh? all time top five fridays?

lately i don’t seem to be at a loss for things to rant about…privately, anyway…

 

Posted in yesterday. today. tomorrow.

cameron crowe is watching

now playing: jackson browne, “your bright baby blues” (from the new live album)

ok, so i just got back from opening night for the new cameron crowe movie, elizabethtown, and it was your average, run of the mill crowe flick – amazing.

i’d recommend it.

unless…unless – you perchance happen to be a native southerner/expatriate whos’ spent most of your adult life elsewhere who may have returned home recently to bury a parent.

if that’s you, then wait for the DVD and spare yourself a very public emotional breakdown.

jus’ tryin’ to help, man. that’s all.

 

Posted in yesterday. today. tomorrow.

what’s in a name, really…

now playing: john gorka, “blue chalk”

deja vu.

i had started a long entry, gotten most of the way through it, and everything went black. i came back to the computer and had to hard-boot it to get it back up.

ashes to ashes, dust to dust…ones and zeros to – well, never mind.

had to put something mellow on – i had a scramble of a playlist up for the longest time, and i just went from “golden country” by REO speedwagon into “don’t you ever get tired of hurting me” by ray price, and that was that. enough.

this is better.

anyway…

my apologies to anyone who might’ve stopped by these past few days looking for the inevitable “red sox – wtf” rant…i had one in me, but it felt a bit like stating the obvious. i feel as though i’ve known for some time that they didn’t have it in themselves to repeat. i started getting that inkling before the regular season was out, when they took it upon themselves to blow their lead in the AL east and ended up settling for the wild card, but i knew beyond all reasonable doubt at the moment that graffanino let that ball go through his legs. i could hear the subconscious heavy sigh of red sox nation and the cloud of “here we go again” rolled in and that was it, really. if a clincher was necessary, though, it was when they loaded the bases in the sixth of game five with no outs and failed to squeeze a single run across.

this is not the 2004 team.

it looks like them, they dress alike, there are a lot of the same faces there…but it ain’t them.

this team didn’t play like a team that had been robbed of a trip to the world series the year prior – this team played like a team that just won the big one and felt as though they were entitled to a return trip. no fire, no hunger.

they didn’t have the eye of the tiger, man.

and if the playoffs were determined by the number of men left on base, i think the sox would be playing the now-eliminated yankees for the title.

ok. rant over. short and sweet.

my little corner of the world got its own taste of hurricane season this past weekend – it rained hard from friday all the way through saturday night…a total of between 7 and 9 inches, according to the newspaper. it hadn’t been so bad on friday, or so it seemed…i woke up on saturday and lay in bed for a while just listening to the rain outside – but eventually the thought of checking the basement for water got me to my feet and down the stairs.

longtime readers will remember that when wendy and i first moved into the house, we had a strong rain that filled the basement with water. the cause was determined after the fact to be a clogged storm drain, and we managed to clean everything out successfully – but had it not occured to wendy to check the basement when she did, there would’ve been extensive damage to the contents of the room. we had just moved in, and there were guitars on the floor in gig bags, studio equipment sitting on the floor, albums piled on the carpet – it could have been a disaster, if she hadn’t gone down to see how things were holding up. as it was, it was enough to scare me into building a shelf to keep the albums up off the floor (that also doubled as guitar storage) and put wood down in the closets to keep the instruments up off the carpet in the room that had been most affected by the water.

the basement had been the clincher for me, in terms of the decision to move into the house. i knew that my friend justin, who had lived there before me, had kept a studio in the basement, and when i went to look at the place, it seemed like the perfect space to set up in – two separate rooms, plenty of space, out of sight of the rest of the house – i couldn’t wait to move from the cramped room i was using into the new space and set up shop.

but the water thing, to put it mildly, freaked me out. it put The Fear in me, and i was pretty reticent to move forward and set everything up properly. i set up the equipment and finished my work on the blake allen record there, but i never threw myself into it the way i’d expected to.

but time passed, winter came and went without incident, and not another drop came into the space – and i started to allow myself to think that maybe it really was just the result of a clogged storm drain, and that i didn’t really have anything to worry about.

so when the concept for this new project came up, it didn’t feel as though i had anything to worry about when i decided to get the space together and set it up properly as a legitimate workspace. so i set about doing it, and i’ve gotten a lot done up to this point. i’ve also managed to grudgingly accept the fact that it’s always going to be a work in progress and that there’s never going to be this “finish line” that i’ll arrive at where it’ll be “done”. but i do feel as though it’s becoming the very thing i’d envisioned it being when i allowed the concept to motivate me to move there.

anyway…flash forward to saturday morning….

i went downstairs, barefoot, and walked around the rooms and – nothing. the carpets were completely dry in both of the main rooms. good.

i opened the door to the front room, though – where the oil tank is, and where i have a few things stored – and there was water on the floor. not a lot, but water nonetheless.

sooo…i let out a heavy sigh and went for the mop. soon, though, it was becoming obvious that the water was coming in faster than i was mopping it up. i’m watching it actually start to pool in the floor…not gushing, but at a gradual rate. so i went upstairs and got a square tupperware container and started actually baling the water into a bucket and carrying it back to the storm drain in the back of the basement (which was bone dry, oddly enough). after repeating this exercise about sixteen to twenty times (at 2 1/2 gallons per trip), wendy stepped in and saved my ass by going to sears hardware and picking up a wet/dry shopvac and bringing it down. we made five trips (at 12 or so gallons per trip) back and forth from the room to the drain before we brought the rise of the water under control…but not before it could creep out into the second room through the doorway.

we figure we probably removed somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred gallons of water from the basement on saturday. and there remains some dampness in the carpet where the water crept out – first in a smallish, horseshoe shaped pattern, but later spreading out into a larger, scrotum-shaped wet spot that runs about five to six feet out from the door. i have the dehumidifier on 24 hour duty right now, removing the moisture from the carpet as best as it can, and i ran a space heater in its general direction for a while over the weekend as well, but the carpet has a nice brown patina to it where the water made it in…

…and i’m a little spooked again.

i’m grateful that the whole thing unfolded when it did, because i’d planned on setting up the drums on saturday, and they would’ve been well within the reach of the deadly scrotum stain – but as it was, i never got that far, and they were spared from the reach of the water. i will, however, be building a platform to set the drums up on – in light of the fact that the first leak obviously wasn’t an isolated incident and that the basement isn’t as impervious as i’d really, really wanted to believe it was.

by last night, when i retreated to the basement to watch baseball and football at the same time and continue working on the studio, the carpet itself was no longer wet – there was still some dampness, but you could walk on it without your feet getting wet. the scrotum stain is still there, though. i’m concerned about whether or not i’ll be able to get it out – i’m going to try to scare up a shampoo unit within the next couple of days to see if i can purge the space of the ghost of the scrotum stain, but i wonder if it might not be here to stay, now that this has happened twice.

on friday night, i had sat down at the kitchen table and made a “to do” list for the weekend of all the stuff i’d wanted to accomplish over the weekend. on saturday night, when wendy and i went back upstairs after busting ass to beat back The Flood, i was sitting at the table while she talked to her parents on the phone…and my eyes glanced over to the list. i pulled the pad over to me and scratched everything out and wrote at the bottom of the list – “suck water”.

as i was talking to my buddy todd on monday about the whole ordeal, i told him about the revised list and said that i was actually thinking about that for a name for the space. it kinda had a ring to it – “suckwater studios”. and while utilizing the term “suck” in the name might have certain negative connotations to it, i can’t imagine it being worse than something like, say…”scrotum stain studios”.

maybe i’ll just stick with the name blake saddled me with and not give this whole incident too much power.

i do expect to be up and running by this weekend. hold me to that, so i actually get it done.