Friday, June 12, 2009

Look close and you can see U.L.'s toothpick

I’m almost through with A.J. Liebling’s book Between Meals: An Appetite For Paris. He keeps talking about calvados, which I’ve never had. I don’t know if it’s a wine or a kind of liquor, like brandy, but in his context it sounds essential. I’ll have to look that one up. Major sneezes early, this morning. When I’m sneezin’ while the neighbor’s rooster is crowin’, I figure there’s some serious pollen in the hills. I popped a Claritin while I made coffee and read a DIY piñata article in Bust. Not much energy this week, pretty zapped by family visit.

Last night we had cover band practice. Jamie’s work schedule got changed so it was just me and Chris. I played him some of The Embarrassment, and he picked an old Clash song “Stay Free” and a Depeche Mode “Never Let Me Down,” or something like that. We figured out a reasonable detuning to play a Sonic Youth song, and maybe we’ll do the Depeche Mode in that tuning too. He also spun a Johnny Marr + dude-from-Pet-Shop-Boys record called Electronic or The Electronic. Chris and Jen’s basement is just an awesome place to hang out—amps everywhere, a fully loaded I-tunes, twinkle lights, vocal mics set up in various places for prak, even a Flying V reissue. I’ve been playing a Seymour Duncan amp that is great.

I like my Ampeg but some of that is just loyalty to the idea that you make do with what you have, the amp you could afford when you got it. This relates to “Stay Free” and the often-slighted 2cnd Clash album from which it comes. When my guitar tone sucks, I rationalize it by saying to myself that the guitar tones on the first Clash album sucked too, in a cool way. People bag on the Sandy Pearlman production on that second record, but it got me good, back when I heard it, and the guitar sounds are pretty great. I’m not sure what I’m tryin’ to say here—other than, it’s okay to change your guitar tone. Stay free. Just don’t dabble compulsively and buy tons of crap because you’d be better off spending the money on fliers and gas and French lessons.

There should be a reality show where an indie band wins Slash’s guitar rig and gets to sell it and finance their toil for a year.

I played a solo gig last weekend at the Splinter gallery show (my woodworking buds from the old shop) and Bryce Krehbiel played with his friend Jeff on bass. Bryce is from Kansas and saw The Embarrassment lots of times. We were eating these great cupcakes that a lady brought and I was like..."Bryce, did you ever see The Embarassment?" It’s a Midwestern pride thing, I guess, like me saying I saw U.L. Washington’s toothpick, or Bo Jackson throw out a guy from the warning track. I got gushy like a valley girl: “OMG!!!” I was only twelve or thirteen when The Embarrassment were happening, and wasn’t even aware of them when I got into Big Dipper. The primo Embos anthology is out of print but you can get it on I-tunes.
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