Thursday, December 23, 2004

Where is my pizza?

Jim here. Awesome recording session at Mark’s the other night! This was such a good idea. Not really all that rehearsed or thought out, but that has been the MFA motto so far and part of what makes this whole adventure fun. I want to be credited as “synthesizer sound engineer” as the sounds I picked for “The One That Got Away” were quite awesome if I do say so myself. While this won’t be the glossy production that we hope to get at Inner Ear, there is something really nice about having a song mostly done in one day. You guys will love it. Matt finally got to play keys on something, which I am sure he was dying to do. He’s eying my keyboard a little funny these days so I made sure I put it away and out of his reach in a safe place.
Back in 1998, I recorded a song at Pitt’s radio station, WPTS. I played Drums, Guitar, Bass and sang and my friend Kyle played lead guitar and keys. I was quite proud of the way we recorded that tune and I am sure Matt is feeling the same way about this effort as well. Matt, Mark and I all have the same reverence and appreciation for music. I can’t of a better group of guys to be making music with. Anyway, I’ll leave the holiday rock sappiness behind as I make my way to Pittsburgh this evening. Happy Festivus today.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Busy Bee

Matt here. Last night went to dinner with somoe really good friends at an unspecified Italian eatery of vast proportions. To narrow it down, it's in DC, usually has a huge line out front, and you have to get there early, as it is the only good pasta restaurant in the area. Anyways, there is nothing quite like seeing people you don't see much anymore, yet the connection is always there. Call me some holiday sentimentalist, but friends' quirks provide me endless entertainment/thought/fodder, always wondering "why don't I see these people more?" Durst is back from Brooklyn for a while, and was a surprise addition to dinner with Bruce, Tammy and Philip. Pat called it the "Zero Beat Dinner" ha.

Replaced Sister Lovers/Third by Big Star (savagely stolen from my car last week) at Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan. Infinitely better than #1 Record/Radio City with is infinitely better than anything else that came out at the time. I prefer my Memphis soul to be with fake brit accents, which is odd, because fake brit accents on american bands now drives me nuts. Go spend money at Crooked Beat, for the love. DC needs more good record shops, Tower be damned!

Ended up playing Halo 2 until the wee hours of the morning. Okay, not being a videogamer-type, I got my guts handed to me by Bruce. For someone who couldn't beat Super Mario Brothers, playing any game that requires full use of both thumbs on some swivle stick pad thing and pulling triggers simultaneously proved too much. At least Philip and I beat Galaga 2 before that, or else I'd have left with my 12 year old inner self in tatters.

Not once did anyone exclaim "the button won't let me shoot!" a la my true 12 year old inner self.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

And December gets Weird…

Pixies at Constitution Hall: completely satisfied with the level of rock. The encore alone could power 10 lesser bands for about a year.

The on-stage murder of Dimebag Darrell: Not being the biggest Pantera fan (listened to Far Beyond Driven some back in the day), or metal fan for that matter, I do not have any personal attachment… other than the sense of how wrong this is/was. It really freaks me out that whatever spat occured in Pantera's demise could provoke someone to actually want to kill one of the parties involved… not to mention in front of 250 people.

This has really weighed heavily on my conscience today, much the same as the Great White show in Rhode Island almost two years ago (which coincidentally has me scoping out potential exits every time I go to a show).

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Chavez, and GBV

Saturday night we ambled over to Irving Plaza for the recently reunited Chavez opening for GBV. It was a shame, but we witnessed a "moment." You know, one of those times where you are there to witness something that could be definitive and the only thing you have to rely on is your memory from that point on. Well, sadly, this moment was the last song by Chavez. Having not played together for a while, before the last song, Matt Sweeney announced "well, this is our last song, and since it very well could be our LAST song…"

It felt as if a bizarre chapter in obscuro-90's rock had closed… with nearly inaudible frequencies crushed out by a hollowbody guitar, leaving us with bands nowadays who try on genres like clothing. There was something more genuine from when bands churned about approximating Sabbath, but even then by a longshot.

And then on to GBV. The songs are there. The words are somewhat a kin to marshmallow fluff (taste good, little nutritional value). The music is poppy, ambitious, mod at times. And so was the booze. After the pompous, retrospective slide show, the band was not in any hurry to take the stage. Once they did, they were not in a hurry to get anywhere… and played a heavy handed collection of obscure EP tracks. They definitely played for the hardcore audience (ie, the crowd that cares they are going away), as opposed to me– someone who will be happy with their "best of" CD, and the idea of the band, not the reality. I like the idea you can just go out and do it, that you can take up at any point in your life and follow some passion to the point of people actually believing you. The reality, of course, being that when you release every song you ever write, a few of them will be great. In GBV's case, Bob Pollard has been at it long enough to have a lot of those great ones… and a ton of forgettable crap (either by content or fidelity).

The stage "banter" which went from adversarial to incoherent between audience shared swigs of tequila, only underscored my own hunger. Actual hunger. From having not have eaten since noon. Strangely, the songs held together (I guess they have practice with beer soaked performance thing) and we stuck around long enough to hear "Glad Girls" and the hilarious PA mic interplay between Matt Sweeney of Chavez and a ridiculously inebriated Pollard ("keep it together, Bob, play a song"), but things could only get worse by blood alcohol content standards, or by pompous stage move decency standards. Flying kicks I dig. Mic-twirling I dig. Teasing the audience with cigs and miller lite is so… so… uh… incredibly juvenile and lame.

I have now invented a new standard by judging performances:
How Much Of This Would Offend My Brother
"Punch the guy next to you if he bought a Counting Crows CD": signs point to neutral
The whole soliloquy about trusting people who drink, not trusting people who don't (and audience/pogrom roar): signs point to yes

Ah yes, and now into the afternoon of international shipping. There could be a GBV title in there somewhere!

Tis the season

matt here again…

Just remembered this: while looking for a gift for my nephew last night, I came across a child-size replica of Ron Artest's Pacers jersey at Marshalls in Pentagon City mall. Any takers?

Monday, December 06, 2004


Friday night was the most fun I have had out in a very, very long time. Not just because the band was playing, but there were good vibes everywhere. We feel fortunate to have the friends we do, and thank you deeply for your support. We were so happy, we were babbling on the mic. Yes, yes, y'all, mic's are fun.

Sean Winter played a great set, closing with "Angeles" by Elliott Smith. Very nice. Laura Burhenn pulled "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star out of nowhere. Without that lonely slide guitar, at first I thought it was lacking. Then I couldn't stop fixating on the sound of the keys. Utterly gorgeous.

The best part of the night came late in the game. We had finished our set and were 80% done loading out. Being the responsible gear hauler I am, I was also playing DD… we had bought the bartenders some shots in gratitude, and WHAM, Russ is on the underside of a stool, spinning around and around like some bizarre, whirling dirvish rodeo. His friends (whose names I forget) also joined in, attempting the feat, but the rest of us stood around in awe, hilarious captivating, spell-bound, laughing hysterically in awe of Russ' talent/skill/revered showstopper.

More posts as the week goes on. If you want to know the setlist, drop us an email and we'll crank it out to you. NYC was a quick trip (more on that later) capped by visiting David Durst who is living in Brooklyn now. It sounds strange to say "visiting" but it is such an insipiration when friends pick up on their destiny and follow it, regardless of logic. A friend of a friend is gone on tour, and very kindly let us stay at her place for the night… David was saying Jenny Toomey had stayed the week before. We felt like royalty.

More shows coming up! Stay tuned!