Saturday, October 25, 2014


     I'm flummoxed about music media, as a collector and fan.  I don't know what format to spend my money on, or in some ways, whether I am outgrowing the need to collect music. Sometimes I go to the record store and just kind of lock up at the sight of all the thirty dollar double albums by bands without the songwriting chops or chi to justify a double album.  Would it be quaint to ask that we bring back the 12-dollar, 35 minute album, like this David Kilgour album I bought digitally on Bandcamp?  Or this utterly belligerent, hostile progressive punk rock record by Ghetto Blaster, also a Bandcamp buy...

     What we're all still after is music that moves our energy one way or another, sparks our imagination, gets us in motion burning calories and mental fog; helps us shape hostility and release it in a neutral way; makes us feel brave or sexy or melancholy or affirmed and mirrored and resonant with the universe because someone has put our feelings and story into music.  Tommy Can You Hear Me, in whatever format--just personalized vibrating soundwaves.    
     Maybe music collecting for nerds is heading toward media management as a personal profile.  You don't maintain a collection of cassettes, records, 8-tracks, or cd's, as much as you project out your personal listening station and curate your own reality.  Spotify sort of does this,  Bandcamp sort of does this, and social media does this in a segragated way.  But an expressive social networking format that rescues actual music from streaming disposability might be relevant.   And guitars around campfires, drums in garages, trombones on high hill tops, this is where it's at, too.  Format is just a detail.
     I put on a scratchy Yo La Tengo record the other night and made sure all the addresses on my online accounts had been changed, and made a ham sandwich, and thought about my friends who love the New Wave Hot Dogs record, Dave, Steve, and Tom.  I listened to side 2 twice.   The glaze on the ham was made from a third of a jar of orange marmelade, a splash of black coffee, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili flakes, and a couple cloves.  Digitize that, mother f'ers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


     Yesterday I exposed a pretty nice compost pile in our back yard and hacked away at three giant fountain grass clumps, untended for probably years.  I am no stranger to untended fountain grass but in middle age I do not hesitate to cut it down to the ground.  My better half would prefer it 90% eradicated.  This is how I feel about any kind of ivy, only100%.  Shooting it with RoundUp is better than having an XBox.

     I also located the lawn and leaf recycling center on North Chouteau Drive.  It was kind of a long trip because of the KC Marathon, a traffic jam on 71, and my alternate route all the way down Prospect to Independence Avenue to Chestnutt Trafficway.  But I had a nice sense of adventure getting the recycling center dialed in and still appreciate how much of the city I do not know.  When I drive some of those blocks full of boarded up houses I try to envision how this will change for the better because someday it will.  On Woodland I saw an old theatre with a beat old sheet metal marquee and wondered what bands and movies played there.
    Lawn shears, snow shovel, foaming hornet spray for an underground nest--all while flea bombs off-gassed at home--this way my errand-y day.  And of course what errand-y Saturday would be complete without a trip to the carwash?  Always psychedelic.

     Stuck waiting for a train near Knuckleheads in the East Bottoms, I listened to Mose Allison's
Back Country Suite for about the 20th time and read the liner notes, soaking it in after re-discovering it in my cd re-organization and cull. (The Westport library now has our doubles of Sugar, Beach Boys, Flaming Lips, and Son Volt records.)  Witty, intelligent, and narrative with country blues soul, perfect for being stuck by the tracks for half an hour with 9 bags of black walnut yard debris and a gnawing appetite for fried food on a Saturday afternoon.

     For the first time in a long time I have my trombone out on a stand in a music room and I have been playing it for 15 minutes a day trying to get some kind of embouchure back.  The sound comes back, and it is relaxing, like ohming or chanting, just to play long tones.  But attacks are all spitty and florfy after only 5 or ten minutes.  I can't believe I played a whole 25 minute set with Drop A Grand. I don't remember the pain, and don't usually associate low brass with punk rock adrenaline.  Looping back to trombone as a classically trained player who plays self-taught rock and roll has always been really weird.  I immediately assume a strict concert posture even with Steve doing high kicks near my face.  Almost every time I pick up the horn I think of my old KC trombone teacher, Stephanie Bryant, who died this year.


Sunday, October 12, 2014


 The next SquidsKC show--as of now--is at recordBAR on 12/13.  Moving on to domestic concerns:

     I swept and raked and shoveled two full bags of black walnuts yesterday and there is already another pile of them in the street and on the sidewalk this morning.  I think that's why our neighbor Cedric was laughing yesterday, on the porch and talking to a friend on the phone, while I scraped walnut slurry off the street. 

     This happened last weekend too.  I did not learn.  Bushels of these greasy little walnut grenades thumping by the minute.  One knocked the rear window wiper blade assembly off of Tracy's Suburu.  Another broke a Tim Boyden found art sculpture--a guitar headstock epoxied to an old paver with the message "don't fret."  

     I haven't been drilled in the skull (resulting in a great idea for a novel) but that is a matter of time.  With more of that on my hands I could lay in the driveway for hours as a martial arts exercise, waiting to catch the black walnut of enlightenment inches from my face.  If you leave these things in your basement for a year they are good to eat, but it is work.

Royals magic has sure been fun, especially hanging with new neighbors.

I had the pleasure of adding backing vocals to an Ed Cole song, for the new album he is working on.  I played some trombone on it last summer and now it is heading toward mixing.  Can't wait to hear this acoustic Ed platter.  Here is one of Ed's old solo records, and of course you already own both The Underlings albums, which will peel the paint off the front porch of your psyche.