January 31, 2012

Quote of the year:

Money owns the Republicans and rents the Democrats...

January 29, 2012

shufflin' the deck

I love the artwork for the new Humblers CD. The music is excellent, of course.

January 25, 2012

Hyde Park


This photograph is from Life magazine, August 1939. I've been reading through the year 1939 to see how the magazine covered the advent of Hitler's invasion of Poland and the beginning of WWII. Along the way are glimpses into American culture like this one.

The woman who quit the D.A.R. because they would not let Marian Anderson sing kept three "cheap china pickaninnies" on her dressing table. What could they have signified for her?

January 24, 2012

joe and tom

ladies and gentlemen... Summer Thieves.

Why I remember back when these guys had to share a guitar because the studio was so small... yeah, Joe would strum and Tom would play the chords, same guitar... yup, it was tight!

January 23, 2012


Callista and her friend.

I bet it's no fun to wear one of those suits...

January 19, 2012

I spent some time tonight moving things around. Gotta get that fung-schway thing happening... I've got a spotlight on the playing area now.


Here's how it really looks...


So clinical! I can remove splinters easily...

January 16, 2012

Hey! We had our first session in here last Thursday!


Ruby and Bruce recorded bass and vocal for one of her bass-capella things, and then they did the Woggie-Noggie wiggle for a while.

Things turned out real good in the new space. Timing recording around the heater was no problem, and I found I could listen through the speakers at my station while they were recording about 15 feet away. What a luxury! Where else can you park your car AND make a record all at the same time?

January 13, 2012


January 11, 2012

Not a lot going on- I hung some ornately framed photos of dead ancestors last night. It's good to get them out of the dark old attic and let them witness for a while.


Sort of like those scenes in movies where the paintings hang in the castle, only I can't name them, and have no stories of famous (or infamous) deeds they've done. I'll have to make something up.

January 09, 2012

They keep missing.

Yesterday WXPN ran a discussion program (with Ben Vaughn I believe) about the online music business (and the music biz in general). All the talk was about capturing eyeballs and getting mobs of people to pay 99 cents for a download. Who will invent the best system for this? Google? Apple?

They even touched (briefly) on the idea that record companies are a thing of the past- but Ben pointed out that they will always be needed to "manage copyrights". Not to discover, support, or promote artists- but to manage their copyrights. This is where the money is, after all.

In passing, they noted that the Lady GaGas and the U2's will always be with us, but that it takes big big money to create these trans-national, trans cultural sorts of acts. Ben allowed that there was more room now for smaller acts to build an audience online, and that there was a place for that as well.

Pretty generous of them, don't you think? They were being realistic, as far as they could tell, but they miss the point that selling gobs of units of music for pennies apiece is a rotten way to support music. It can only happen with tons of cash thrown in to promote the acts, to place their copyrighted material in movies, on TV, and to sell those jingles as commercials.

I can understand why this is acceptable to two guys who are making their livings supporting this system. Why is it acceptable to the rest of us?


January 08, 2012

I like anything that looks behind the scenes. I like movies about how records get made, with lots of studio footage (especially all the really boring parts). To me this video, of a rehearsal of the song The Weight, is priceless.

(wish I had Argento handy to help me write this) Well, The Weight is a modern American hymn (even if it was written by a Canadian). It's a song that every musician has jammed on, and it's an easy song with just enough potential to fail that it's always interesting to jam on. Hearing these guys work through the variable bits (how long to hold that last "and..."? What to play behind the descending riff between the chorus and the verse? Who sings which verse? What harmony part goes where?), just as I've done countless times with different bunches of people through the years, really makes me smile. This is what we do. It isn't the finished performance, the final product, but the getting there that's fun.

Mavis is perfect as the focus, setting the tone beautifully, but the first thing that knocks me out is how Nick channels Papa Staples on his verse- just nails it! Tweedy is in a tough spot- he's trying to be both Robertson and Danko at the same time- but then, that's just when he's best, when he's working out irreconcilable things.

The band (not the Band but the band in the room) are also a lot of fun to listen to, but there's no doubt that they've played this one a time or two together. And hell, it's Wilco. The only person I'd love to add to this mix would be Hidalgo...

January 07, 2012

tube amp

This is interesting. Bob gifted me this chassis, and another one, which were amps for a big electronic organ. Once I figure out how to power it up I'll let you know what it sounds like. The other one uses 6L6's as power tubes- could get nasty! I think what I'd like to do is to turn these into effects, rather than use them as amps. I could add selector switches to change the bias voltage, plate voltage, and other things to add distortion. Then I'd run the outputs through a power soak, and feed a line-level signal back to the board. Sort of a tube-distortion effect. We'll see how much time I have to spend on this.

We witnessed some more live music tonight! Rick Emery was playing at the Lost Cajun Kitchen, and man, can he sing and play! I'll see if I can get him in here sometime.

January 06, 2012

I'm doing a lot of listening in the new place. Last night I listened to Bob Marley and the Wailers LIVE! which is a pretty old recording.

It's a little uneven. Sometimes it's nice and airy and you can picture the band onstage, at other times things close down- probably an indication of the many uncontrollable conditions of a live show, like guitar volume creep and stuff.

It's fun to hear the band, not quite so polished as they were to become, but with all the vital energy, and it's great that you can hear the playful interplay between Marley and the I-Threes on backup vocals as they try to follow his lines on Them a Bellyfull... and it's great to notice the hand-claps from them that I never noticed before. Aston Barrett is my favorite bass player of all time. Those lines he plays make everything flow.

What they were doing seemed to come out of nowhere, but it follows straight from what Toots was up to in songs like 456 Was My Number. I found this rough and ragged Wailers live recording from The Matrix in San Franscisco from '73, which is even closer to that earlier sound. Small Axe, another one of my favorite Barrett basslines!

Also one of my favorite lyrics. What is the small axe that will bring down that haughty tree? Whatever it is, in these times we must understand that most of us (99%?) have more in common with the denizens of Trenchtown than with the oaks of Wall Street.

January 05, 2012

Echo Back SoundEcho Back Sound

Here's a nice looking place I found on Craig's List this morning- Echo Back Sound in New Holland.

I had my old Mac Plus working last night, with the Rock Band drum triggers and the Alesis drum box, making funky noises. It's nice to be able to set things up and leave them there without a big hassle moving around them!

Also have been gifted a portable sound level meter, with which I measured the average sound level of my heater (71 dB, C weighted) and the outdoor traffic noise (around 61 dB, C weighted). Inside, with the heater off, the traffic is audible but it is too low for the meter to register (< 50 dB). Now to get Joe in here and measure the spls on some bass guitar!

January 04, 2012

who's driving

On to New Hampshire!

January 03, 2012

Caught Stu's open mic at Symposium last night. Fun times- it's been a while since I've gone out on purpose to see live music. I have no excuse now- it's about a mile from my house.

Anyway, it was good to see some old friends, and to see AJ Grey again. Kregger and I shared a bill with them a couple of years ago at Bube's and they are still intense. Smoking Section was a lot of fun, and of course, Kregger has a new one called Cloud Walker that covered some interesting tunes.

Naturally I recorded the whole thing... The main thing I liked was that, for a Monday night, everyone was excited to be playing, and the crowd was into it. Good old rock and roll music...

January 02, 2012

Devonian fishes

New year, new look.