Saturday, November 22, 2014



This is our last morning at Lake Pomme de Terre and it is very pretty, sunny but cool, and I can hear the boats out on the water, which was one of my favorite sounds as a child.  Should we return we will bring a kettle for boiling water, a good kitchen knife, a domino set, fishing tackle, beach towels, floatation devices, and a 50 gallon drum of bug spray.  I walked by the water at dusk last night with the almost full-moon coming up.  I stood on the dock for a while and reflected on how lucky I am to return to a place I enjoyed as a kid.


I love the new Bob Mould record, best one in a long time.  It has some aggressive, live-sounding tracks on it that are as vital as anything he's done since "Flip Your Wig" days.  And it has some ballads and more mid-tempo stuff that I like as well.  I basically want to listen to it all the time, which is an experience I have not had with a record in some time.


If you take a look at pretty much anything in culture you can take a read on its usefulness, its triviality, its underlying animosity, or the self-regard of its maker.  Nowadays I look at a lot of what we do and the message I see is "this is NOT happening! Sell more shoes!"  The migratory patterns of North American birds are getting all fucked up.  Many species won't survive the adjustment process.  Sell more cars!  The culture of denial, or whatever you want to call it.  I don't believe in being a crank, unless you are a really, really, really good crank like H.L. Mencken or somebody like that.  But we are messing everything up, big time.  That's a weak way to put it.

Later I dreamed Neil Young had a new lost album that required real estate developers to finish.  It was a new Tonight's The Night type record, but apparently was all about sex.  I was imagining the packaging of the sleeve and all of that.  The music was supposedly really great.


I have used journal writing for bloodletting more than once and you end up with writing that you feel you need to burn or throw away.  I wrote it longhand in part to hide the negative commentary that might hurt someone else or make me look like an asshole.  I guess the point is in relationships, whether at work or at home, imperatives and intuitions are there, it's not like you have to write them all down, especially if you are writing them down to get rid of them until they build up again with such force that you're struggling again.  Better to just be present with whatever it is than to feed it, nurse it, drag it out in writing.
    I was thinking I'd make eggplant parmesan tonight, then again I was thinking I might go to the Royals-Red Sox game at the K.


Yesterday I broke my step record of 16K and got close to 18K--that was a good long walk and a bunch of hauling boxes and stuff out to the van and into the basement of the house.  I was reviewing my journal entries and find that I have mentioned the step counter three or four times.   This makes me wonder about Alzheimer's but also tells me that I really like having a step counter on my phone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


SquidsKC have a couple of shows in November.  The first one is at recordBAR on Thursday,11/20 with Knife Crime and Twinsmith

On Saturday, November 22, we'll be at miniBAR, upstairs, with Robot Monkey Madman.  Details and a third band TBD on this. 

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.