The Wild Horse is done. Thanks to Kelly Niland for getting the cover art done, and to John Greenham for mastering the audio.
It is set for release in Spain on Criminal Records on Jan. 21, 2003. Soon everyone will be able get it here at the merchandise page, at domestic prices.
The Baypop festival was held last week in San Francisco, I played with the Pop Gem Factory CVS backup band, and we did some classic gems, including songs from my 1st record. We shared the bill with three other bands. Someone, please, remind me not to do that again on a Tuesday night.
The next day Derek Ritchie, Rob Douglas, and I tracked 6 new songs to join the 11 we did last month. Now I really have a lot of work to do to finish them. Then I discovered 3 other masters that have yet to be finished. So, now I’m procrastinating by updating the web site and writing emails to loved ones. Then I can rake the leaves, kill that mole that’s destroying the yard, and then sweep the kitchen. Maybe do the neighbor’s laundry. Then the minute something important comes up, like helping friends or making money, and it conflicts with today’s procrastinating, I’ll resent that such unimportant crap is ruining my creative life.
Nov 21 I played at the Easy Street Records in West Seattle, one of Barbara Mitchell’s 3rd Thursday events. It, as usual, was a good time, with all the usual Seattle suspects present. I managed to somehow request my slot, and by some retarded fate, went on last again. Oops!
Hi. I am working on more recordings in the Northwest Ordophon. I’m writing new songs that were meant to be light-hearted pop tunes, and of course I screwed it up, and I’m writing fairly unveiled emotional songs that may defy my tradition of borderline bubblegum delivery of mysterious, self-loathing and hypercritical songs.
The Wild Horse, my next release, is going through some tailoring, being mastered and having cover art made. I made an acoustic record as well, and both are sitting in the queue awaiting their debut. Of course now I’ve abandoned those records, and I’m off on the new one. There are some sneak previews of both of the aforementioned CDs on the mp3 page.
NP: Leonard Cohen: Songs From A Room
It really feels like summer, I just knew this year was going to offer something better than the typical 59 degree foggy freezer of most years. Why did this happen? Because I got out of San Francisco for some gigs. The week of July 8 has been sunny and warm in Seattle. But before I bore you with the tedious weather report, let me tell you about my Northwest trip.
I don't usually take early morning flights out of SFO, preferring a 1:45PM flight or something. I got a 7 AM plane to Seattle, which meant I was late in waking at 4:45. I scrambled around, couldn't find my spectacles, I guess I'd slept on top of them since they were now BENT and it's still dark outside. I was awake for 30 seconds, then my phone rings wth an automated message telling me, "Your van will arrive in...one...minutes."
I got to the airport with no less than an hour to spare, but that didn't keep me from cutting the entire line at check-in. Bring an odd-sized bag like a guitar case with you, and you can cut the line. In fact, go ANYWHERE with a guitar case and a decent haircut, and you can skip the line, plus one.
We got up to the ferry landing later in the day. The weather was great, the boat did not sink, and we arrived at a cookout. We swam in a large man-made swimming hole. That area is near Canada, so at 52 degrees latitude north, it stays light until nearly 10PM. I started to fade by midnight, I'd been up all day. I fell asleep sitting up, while the others were inside the trailer partying and drinking, playing loud music, pinball machines, jukeboxes, and a laser light show.
Like last year, I had to wake up early enough to get the sound system set up, the flatbed truck in position, and then up and into the parade line. Since I planned to only play solo this year, I didn't have to deal with extra equipment like drums and amps. The sun started to beat down. Gary and I rode in the parade, this year driving a '58 Volvo 444. Like the other cars crawling along the parade route in the sun, we started to overheat, the needle pegged all the way. We and the car were announced from the podium, and of course my name was mispronounced. We got through the parade, and then the car stalled out. We pushed it to a real estate parking lot, and headed for the stage, next to the crafts bazaar.
I set out to play 45 minutes, but played an hour and 10 before stopping. I was supposed to go on at 3PM, but we didn't want to lose the crowd after the oompah band finished, so I hit the stage at 2. That way the folks who missed me would have to go to the Outlook Inn (named after the Outlook Express program) at 8PM. That gig went well, then I got behind the wheel and ripped up the neighbor's lawn.
The traffic returning from all those July 4 festivities made for a missed boat back, so I was late arriving for my Seattle gig. Our trusty promoter was standing out on the sidewalk when we pulled up. I was opening for Ken and Jon (acoustic posies) and a full room of...oh, about 75 people. I walked straight from the car to the stage, started playing, didn't even bother to tune.
I went to a recording studio with the best lighting EVER. It was rigged with the DJ lights you see advertised in the Guitar Center mailers. Black lights lined the perimeter. Plus, flashing spotlights, dazzling laser lights, and even a smoke machine, which filled up the 10x12' room pretty quickly. We tracked a song by Gary Bauder's Inkwell (I'm pressuring him to rename the band BLUEBEARD), he and I played the instruments. It was a warm day, so our engineer Steve didn't wear his lab coat. He looks great in it.
Gary and I went to the Rendezvous, and suddenly Jon Brion walked in. We all chatted and had some drinks, tried to say that I've been trying to get a gig with him for about five years! Gary and Jon fell deep into a music discussion. We saw Jon again at the sold-out Neil Finn show, he sat in on piano.
Seattle got HOT that week. I was fading a bit from the heat. I played the Tractor Tavern on Thursday, with Carla Torgerson, and Terry Lee Hale. I played 30 minutes, most of which seemed like I was talking and making jokes. It worked alright, since I needed to open the show and maybe loosen up the thin crowd. I did two songs with Carla during her set.
Over the weekend, I went to the Capitol Hill block party, and saw the all female AC/DC tribute band, Hell's Belles. They're like the original band (at 7 and a half on a scale of 11) with Tina Turner singing. I didn't stick around for Mudhoney.
From now on, I'm writing a set list, whether I use it or not. The 2nd Sunday Showbox opener for Ken & Jon was reportedly a good CVS set, although it didn't feel like it. I was drifting in and out of playing a show, part of the time working out a comedy routine. Some of the wait staff and apparently, local journalist Barbara Mitchell, were carrying some chairs through the only pathway in the room, right next to the stage. I created, in the middle of "Don't Worry Now," a conCHAIRto to accompany their task. If that didn't rile up the crowd, my cover of Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven" did (insert moans here). I guess Ms. Mitchell didn't like the attention. She'd been wanting to throw a shoe all weekend, she told me, after nailing me in the back of the head with her size 5 (3?) as I stood peacefully at the bar after my set.
I closed with a dedication to Ken & Jon, a cover of the Big Star song "Thirteen." So then at the end of their set, they called out a dedication to me, and played the same song! Then they played a great rendition of "Feel." It reminded of the days back in Syracuse, when all the bands were covering "Slow Down" by Larry Williams. I'll leave Big Star to the Posies- I'm moving on to Thin Lizzy and Gordon Lightfoot.
I went over to the Sit & Spin to watch an unannounced Mudhoney set, which was surely much better than the outdoor thing I'd missed. A lot of baseball caps in the audience, T-shirts, Chuck Taylors. Mark Arm played a Hagstrom, the guitar I had when I was in high school. It had the same thin reedy tone!
Then I left. Thanks to Scott, Gary, Sean, Carla, and Babs (ouch!) for helping everying come together in a fun way.
Once again, I'll be performing at the IPOLA festival coming up soon! My show date is Aug. 1. See the IPO schedule
The responses to the new CVS merch are mostly questions about why one would need a BBQ apron emblazoned with my likeness. The truth is that they are NOT for barbequeing, but instead are for cleaning up around the studio, taking out the trash, and making coffee without fear of soiling oneself. Fellas, don't worry about looking like a lady, aprons can be very BUTCH.
Summer is nearly here, another 2-3 days. I try to start out the season with some sunbathing sessions. Those pesky tan lines are hard to even out, so I usually seek out some private rooftop or tolerant beach to get the photons spread all over. Forgive me if I don't include any pictures. We Americans are a prudish bunch.
Last week, I had Derek Ritchie in the studio for some recording. Is it the beginning of a new Sportsmen CD? Could be, it depends on how much soul momentum we can build up with the other Sportmen members. We also tracked some new cvs originals.
The following day, I got together with Flying Color/Map of WY drummer John Stuart for another go at our improvisational recordings. I like to think of it as a free form session to come up with some ideas. John says it's music for people to smoke pot to. Maybe it will be the next GAP ad. Wade Grubbs sat in on bass, I haven't seen him strap one on since 1995.
In July I will be in Seattle for a handful of dates. See the live show listing for details. Also, I have been invited to Orcas Island again, to participate in the historical parade and bazaar. Not sure if I'll be able to get *into the parade* again this year, but I will perform outdoors. Last year I put together a marathon 5 set day for the Orcas Blues Band, but this year I'll likely play my own songs by myself. Who knows what could come together later on the night of July 6 at Vern's; I could get some new cats together and spontanaeously form the Orcas Dixieland Band. Trombone was my first instrument.
Of course, I'll be performing at the IPOLA festival later this summer. My show date is Aug. 1. See the IPO schedule
I've been told that a cvs mug is very cute and "beats a cup of coffee for starting out the day."
April 4-8 I participated in the International Pop Overthrow in Chicago, a/k/a the CHIPO festival. The name "Chipo" didn't really catch on, but that's what I called it. I guess nobody wanted to be associated with a cheap-o, maybe. The only thing cheap at IPO was the Schlitz beer in a can (for a buck) at the Beat Kitchen shows.
April 6 I played a solo cvs set, including some new songs from Wild Horse. I saw some other bands including Hutch, The Andersons, Michael Carpenter, all the bands associated with Jeremy Morris, well, I saw everyone actually. My pal Tim and I spent more on taxis than on beer, and that's saying something.
What's new? Well, the new John Wesley Harding album is finished. The problem is we don't know when it will be released. Mammoth maintains a website, but as far as I know, they are no more, and their new releases are in limbo. So I have less on my calendar this Spring than I thought I would!
Wild Horse should be released in the USA and some of the cvs-friendly countries abroad. Click here for a sample of two songs from the new cvs disc.
Currently, I have been producing some acts, engineering some sessions at the studio, and in June I'll set up a remote studio for some recording of new cvs songs.
Lastly, I have put some new cvs merchandise up on the web, through a company called CafePress.com. Have a look!
Hello again everyone. I've returned from a week in Tokyo, where I played two shows and agreed to release The Wild Horse in Japan later this year (sample songs click here). I've written a daily journal of the Japan trip, compare that with the Spanish tour diary.
Tomorrow I leave San Francisco for the second leg of my sabbatical, this time going to NYC, and upstate NY to catch up with friends and family. April 4-8 I will attend the CHIPO festival.