Hello. The tour of Spain is over, shame it seemed to go by so quickly. Spain is Spain, Espana Va Bien.
I didn't find any email over there, but I did find plenty of coffee and fiesta. I've written a brief (VERY LONG) tour diary outlining my daily duties.
For now, I am taking it easy for the holidays. I prematurely fulfilled my desire to work on music during the holidays, when everyone's out of town. "Go!" was mixed on Christmas 1995.
Looking forward to the new year. 2002: the year of rock.
Hi. I'm going to Spain next month, to accompany my new retrospective record out there. It features songs from my first five CDs, and is titled "The Knight of Lines and Proses." Criminal Records has arranged a two week tour featuring a band. Apparently they're rehearsing as you read this. I gave them chord charts.
Finally, I'm trying to finish the new cvs record, titled "Wild Horse." I have most of the tracks, and now I'm just putting the final touches on and mixing. I promise it will be longer than everything else last year put together.
In October, I went to Los Angeles to sing on John Wesley Harding's new album. We spent longer than we expected, but as a result, got many layers of our voices on the songs. I'm looking forward to hearing it, as I was not allowed into the control room, and got to hear only the choruses where I sang. In fact, I never actually saw Wes, he was in a different wing of the building (I think.)
Just kidding. I did see Wes, and we celebrated his birthday. Then Sammy, Kirk Swan's pit bull terrier, broke my skull with his snout one morning as I lay sleeping.
Best wishes to everyone. Of course, this week in September 2001 has been equally frightening, confusing, and disillusioning for me and probably all of us in America, if not much of the world. The unprecedented level of terrorism has effectively scared everyone to a level not known since the A-bomb paranoia of the 50s.
The first day, after watching in horror the repeated images on television, I went to the studio and mixed "Downtown," my cover of the Petula Clark hit. Ironically, the lyrics suggest that the noise and hurries of the city seem to help a worried person!
During the 4th of July weekend, I ventured boldly to Orcas Island in Washington state for another performance by the Orcas Blues Band. This group features Gary (of Cinema Paradiso, the best local video store in Eastsound, WA); Joe, the first-string drummer; Dan (Orcas cable guy) on bass, who I think is a dead ringer for our current Prez when he speaks; Charlie (local island stud and sub drummer who specializes in encores and star time moments, keep his sticks visible in back pocket at all times); John, the sax player who swore a solemn blood vow on a beer keg to not quit the band ever; and me, making up tunes and lyrics while facing a patient, tolerant and adoring crowd of nip-sipping bar patrons.
That day, July 7, I played nearly five hours of music we made up on the spot. Some of it was good. Following the historical parade, we got on the back of a flatbed truck (after waking up at 6 a.m. to drive it into the park) and played two sets. First song featured a blown circuit, and I had to run into the beer store to trip the breaker in order to continue. The daytime show was a little stiff, but we got greased on beers and then hauled the gear across the green to Vern's Bayside in preparation for the night show. After a short nap and a demonstration of Gary's laser light apparatus and paraphernalia, we went to the club, sheepishly preparing to unveil whatever it was that was about to happen.
I vamped. Gary screamed. Dan slacked. Charlie subbed (and soloed in a song named after him). Joe watched my backside and followed with a steady hero beat. John, the mature elder statesman, got down on his knees, blowing hard. He told me later that last time he did that, some woman straddled his neck and wouldn't get off, so he had to play the whole song that way, on the floor. My fave moment was when John played an extended solo in the key of F while the rest of us rocked on in E. He's now playing with Billy Idol.
The best part is that I recorded all five hours of this, on a hidden ADAT machine, without the band knowing. Gary just had to reveal it to Joe, but they kept it a secret so Dan wouldn't get nervous and make mistakes. Back in SF, I mixed and boiled that recorded mess down to about an hour of unbelievable blues onslaught. I was truly possessed, or legally bombed on beer. Like the Live Start Living CD, it's a high fidelity experience that just happens to be in a bar. Should we make this available on the website? I think so.
I played three Mondays in August at Bruno's in San Francisco. Every week I planned a different show, unique songs, and as it worked out, different bass players. Paul Collins came to SF, and we backed him for a set of his material on Aug 20. The next week we had a reunion of The Sportsmen, playing all of the songs on "Spirited." We'd only played as a group three times, and that was the summer of 1999, before the record was released. Dave Gleason has improved so much on the guitar that I didn't even bother playing mine. I wish we could do more shows. Before the show, I did a photo session with plenty of poses in the chic urban setting of Bruno's.
September has me recording new material, experimenting with various styles. John Stuart of Map of Wyoming and Flying color has brought his drums to the studio, filling in after Derek Ritchie's sudden departure from the CVS scene. John and I spent an entire day recording new songs, and subsequently I've been toiling day and night on finishing the tracks.
A "Best of CVS" compilation is to be released in Spain this fall, on Criminal Records. It features songs from my first five CDs, and is titled "The Knight of Lines and Proses," a pun on an album title from a long time ago. I need to give credit either to Henry Mancini or Steve Wynn. The "Knight" CD will be accompanied by a CVS tour of Spain in November.
John Wesley Harding and I wrote a couple songs together that are slated to be included on his new CD, which he's recording this fall. Like the "Confessions" CD, I'll probably sing some backing vocals with Wes on some songs.
Wish me luck in finishing my new record ,please!
Well, hello friends. Summer is here. I just got back from a cvs show in Minneapolis, the midwestern wonder city where the people are so considerate and sweet that cars there don't have horns installed. However, a waitress there did say, in her Minnesota accent, that it's just a veneer, and if you get on their nerves, "Minnesota Nice Ends Now."
Straight off to Seattle and lovely Orcas Island, where I'll be in the Orcas Historical Parade. Islander Gary Bauder and I will cruise the parade route in his accessorized sports car. I would have settled for the back of a mule.
The reason for the trip is because my new island experiment, The Orcas Blues Band, is playing on a flatbed truck after the parade, and then later that night at Vern's, where the O.B.B. tore it up a few months ago. Of course we don't have any songs we could call by title, and I'm not sure of our drummer's name!
Oh, and I sleuthed out the reason for the rising sales index. Evidently the London Payne, 2 cute, and Live records got reviewed in Goldmine Magazine last month. Right on!
The ongoing new album recording is coming along, new tracks, overdubs, etc. Neko Case came down for a couple days of singing with me, I might have put her on every song.
Hello lovely people. Much appreciation from me in response to all the recent CD orders though my website. Why the sudden interest, I wonder? Was it the gossip column or the rumor mill or just the word on the street? Either way, it's got me looking at getting the new CDs made in mass quantity.
I suppose one reason for the recent boost could be that I've been playing shows again. Not in my hometown of San Francisco, of course, but everywhere else I can. Last week I was with John Wesley Harding again, this time in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Toronto. I opened some of the shows with the solo CVS show, which is always massive fun for me on top of playing bass and singing with JWH.
On the SF homefront, I've been in the studio. Every day is a new day at the Ordophon, time for a new recording.
Drummer Derek Ritchie said yesterday, "Where's the record, mate? Haven't we recorded a thousand songs already, how many discs are in this new one?" I maintained that it needs to be better than what we did before. This goes along with my belief that most music made in recording studios is garbage, and recording the songs is only the beginning. The hard part is deciding whether or not it's any good!
On that note, we've begun work on the Bigwheel CD again. Khoi-San, when not traveling the globe, is in the Ordophon studio, finishing up the tracks we started...a long time ago.
Along with my daily CVS recording, I'm helping people with projects. A record by Earl Zero (Reggae!), and the Iveys (Badfinger) demos CD.
I've left the Saturn V Featuring Orbit. I'm looking forward to an exciting reunion show, and the only way to do that is to leave first. Orbit helped in this, actually, by firing me. Everyone remains friends.
Expect a full band performance this summer at the IPO and Baypop festivals.
The day I was heading out on the 2nd John Wesley Harding USA tour, I squeezed in a demo session for new CVS songs. Derek Ritchie, Tom Heyman, Rob Douglas, and Famous Khoi-San came down for a few hours. We tracked two songs, barely finishing, when the van showed up to take me away for several weeks of gigs.
The JWH tour was pretty fun, we had some laughs and quite a few good gigs. Much of the tour was playing shows with Blue Rodeo from Toronto. (Not Beat Rodeo from the 80s) Also three dates with The Soft Boys. I'm playing the bass and singing with this JWH band lineup.
After we got back from the States dates, a London trip was planned, and the band went to England for a week. We did some radio, an in-store performance, and a celebratory gig at the Borderline.
On that trip, the schedule was fairly relaxed, so we all had time to go do our own things. I visited the Minus Zero/Stand Out! shop. Played a 12 Bar solo CVS gig, thanks to all that came to that late-night affair. The power outage during my set was not a "rolling blackout" as we have in California, but some guy using the alarmed fire door to escape my show.
Then some of us went down to Hastings, Wes's hometown, on the south coast of England. It's a sweet and funky little town, a tourist stop by the seaside. The buildings by the pier all from the 20s, falling apart somewhat. It all looks much like the photo book inside The Who's Quadrophenia LP. In Old Town, the places are older, like a few hundred years older, not falling apart as much. We played a gig in the "First In, Last Out" pub on High St., which is of course the narrowest street in town.
Back home the next day to San Francisco, pockets full of coins that I can't exchange. Straight back into recording, I've got the beginnings of a new CD, but I'm not sure what it is. No, it won't be another concept record.
My lord it has been ages since I cleaned up this website, took out the old news, changed "is" to "was" and made my commentary more serious, since I've matured since I've started this site.
I am home, back in SF after being away on various trips. New Year's Eve with the Saturn V, Christmas in the desert of New Mexico, on tour with John Wesley Harding in November and December. (JWH tour diary)
More travel to come in this new year, starting with a trip mid-January to Seattle, yes, another solo show at the Gordon Biersch Brewery.
The Live Start Lifting CD is moving out the door, thanks all who bought that this past autumn. I just discovered that the reason tracks 7 and 8 were mislabeled was not a mistake in the printing, but rather, the CD sequence had accidentally been altered. To quote London Pain, it is "a laurel mystery prepared."
I have compiled a CD of cover songs, titled, "Cover Songs Vol. 1." I thought maybe I'd give the fans a break and not put out another CD just yet. I've been recording more covers than anything else the past few months. However, I miss the routine of a new release every month, so if there's enough demand, perhaps I will make it available.
For those who are wondering what is going on with the next "proper" CVS record, here's the news: I'm starting now on picking through my latest material and writing new songs for a 2001 release. I'm going to take my time, record a full length CD of original songs, and even let other people play on it. I figure it won't take very long since I have a title, a cover, and I've nearly visualized the thing. The only real task is deciding the appropriate channels to promote it in. Pete Straus once said that it seems like I finish a record, mix it, sequence it, then go out in the backyard with a shovel and bury it.
Speaking of which, I spoke to Heyday Records the other day, and I'll be acquiring the last of the Big White Lies CDs once that contract runs out with them this year. At that point, all of my back catalog will be out of print, so get your copies while you can!