Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chicago Riot Fest 2014...

I have been out of town. At a big rock festival. Word filtered to me second hand "What's he doing, he's not writing in the blog about it." I was recently informed by someone that they really identified with something I had written about music in the blog. So now I am back and I have a little time to write and I am going to write, through my own filters, about this big, mostly punk rock music festival that I went to in Chicago. Even though Riot Fest takes place in several cities around the country Chicago is where it started and remains the biggest event with the most bands. It was extremely convenient for us since it was held in the Humboldt Park Neighborhood of Chicago where our daughter Katie and husband Peter own a house and was just a few blocks walk for us old folk. Say hi to the PK in their festival dress. 
Of course we dressed for the festival also. Note the boots. It rained the first day of the fest. I had worn boots to Chicago but it took a quick visit to the Salvation Army where we found big rubber boots for Everyone else. 

Here's our feet in the mud. Considering the compass my boot is roughly south, Peter is west, Katie in north, Cathy is east and that's an unknown person slipping in at NNE. 
I got some fair photos of GoGol Bordello the band that named this blog. They used to be Cathy's favorite but have fallen. More on that later but they played in the pouring rain. Before they came on the crew used big squeegee brooms to push water from the stage.  

I have been taught that you don't stand in water while playing electric instruments but then maybe there are things that the big stars know that I don't. That's why they are the big stars I guess. 

On the left of the photo friend Dan, Katie and Peter tromp the mud. The morning news from Chicago reports that last year's fest where it rained the last day racked up 50,000 bucks damage to the park. It rained the first day this year and the show was in a bigger area of the park.  

View of the crowd with the city in the back ground. This is just one stage in a photo Cathy took  from the ferris wheel. It was a really well behaved crowd. It was a little rough up front at the stages with incoming crowd surfers but I only noticed about three people requiring a bit of help due to over indulgence and one security issue.  
There was a lot of color to the festival. Check the stage set up for the Flaming Lips set. You will see more on them later. 
And of course there is Cathy's new favorite Die Antewoord. They are a South African group. The name means the answer. 
On yeah, if you are at work don't you tube this group and play it out loud. They are incorrigible purveyors of profanity. I must confess I did not make that phrase up. I got it out of a book I am reading on the roots of country music. It was used in reference to the great country guitarist and Nashville producer Chet Atkins. So even though this is punk not as much about music has changed as you might think. It just depends on your filter.   

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Riot Fest This Weekend...

We will be traveling this weekend and taking our concert going expertise to Chicago for a music festival called Riot Fest. It's going to be a pretty easy event (other that the fact you have to bring your own rocks to a rock concert in the big city) because it's within walking distance from Katie and Peter's house. I don't know most of the bands that are playing (maybe my punk friends can tip me on what not to miss) but we will see the band that named this blog GoGol Bordello. 

Cathy was quick to catch on to this band. They are a diverse bunch playing gypsy/punk/world music with roots of orgin in Ukraine. We have seen them many times in New Orleans, Austin, and Dallas in the smaller venues like Tip's, Emos, Stubb's and the Grenada. Places where you can get up and close except for the time I was recovering from the detached retina and did not mix it up in the front of the stage melee. Places where you get to stand around and talk to the band a little after the show, see them walking down the street at SXSW or get onstage with them to dance as Cathy did one time at Tip's in N.O. 
Hard to believe that photo was about a decade ago. I think despite the passing years she could still do it. She might not because I think she jumped up there because she liked the old bass player. Sadly he's not with the band anymore. But things change and the band goes on to $100 rock and roll haircuts and bigger venues.
We shall see if they are as much fun in the big time as they were in the good old days. 

Reminds me of the 80s and the big blues scare with Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was pretty easy seeing SRV in a Texas road house for a $3 cover. I remember sitting on time at a table in a club and a guitar tech dude (biker looking type) came out, sat at the next table with the famous #1 stratocaster , clipped the strings off across the pickups with pliers, restrung, SRV walked by, grabbed it and took the stage. It all happened as fast as I could write this. SRV went to hanging with Bowie and Jagger and I saw him in a big concert hall from the balcony crowded in with 10,000 people. It was not the same. SRV soon died in a copter crash. That guitar is worth a million bucks. I bet nobody touches it with pliers anymore. As I say, things change. 

One thing that has not changed is Cathy's collection of GoGol art. These are posters that were pulled from utility poles and marquee boards at various venues. Some are hand drawn. They hang in the record room at my house. 

This band is named after the Ukrainian writer Nikolai GoGol. Gogol's writings attempted to smuggle Ukrainian culture into Russian society. The band is smuggling eastern European gypsy music into the English speaking world. I hope I have some luck smuggling my rocks into the festival. After all, the older you will get...

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Finely Got That Powered Rhino Horn I Ordered...

No not really did I order powdered rhino horn. First off they are way to cute even more so that a bramer bull. Then of course they are endangered, you or some one has to kill them to get the goodie part and from there it's just a slippery slope where you then start missing church and next thing you know you are looking at other things from the wrong side and well there you go. Of course I have been feeling a little run down and I do see folks mixing drinks out health food store industrial size type containers and I wonder if there is something other than the 10 cups of coffee I drink each day. By other I mean something that makes me peppy without all the bathroom breaks. I know there is gin, but then we are back to the bathroom breaks and I am in a been there done that situation with that beverage.    

No, rhino horn was not in this package I received in the mail with the Asian writing all over it. 

It was a patch cable I ordered to patch the handheld recorder to the mixing board at church. It never came, it was a small item, very inexpensive and I thought maybe I threw it away.on accident. I went to radio shack and bought one that was a bit more expensive but longer. Little did I know this package was making it's way from Beijing. Ususally I take note when I order stuff these days. Seems like so much on Amazon or EBay is shipping directly from China. No big deal. The Radio Shack cable was also from China. Sometimes I think we would have nothing if not for China. 

By the way the patch cable works great regardless of country of origin. My hand held recorder is from China. Don't know if one of those things is even made in the U.S but like rock and roll, I like it. It's what I make all my home music recordings on. Here's a new ONE
 I like recording one on this little thing at home. Seems like most musicians I know take a look at it and thing "what's he going to do with that little thing." Well I satisfy myself because it seems I get much cleaner recordings working alone than I do with a group. It's like most of my gear. I find out how to get a sound I like and then I break it so it sounds that way all the time. 

Which brings us back to the rhino horn. No Rhino horns broken tonight. Just the silence of the night with an amp and a guitar and a little pep. By the way guitar and amp on recording at made in USA. 


Sunday, September 07, 2014

I Still Get Cards, Comments, Letters, Emails...

This blog has been ongoing for quite awhile. Sometimes I wonder if I have said all I have to say and sometimes it seems as if I don't have time to say all I want. Either was my writings are out there floating around on the internet and I occasionally get feedback from people. Here is the latest comment on a post from 2006:

Firstly, be sure every single day are consumers very relevant
to talk about the electricity and/or gas supply. Unknown to
many people, instead steering the consumers business for a refund, or bundled Internet, builders' associations, there are some
new siding or more to correct. Shi was able to recover payment under
any restriction to the castle such as inflation at 3.

Here is my web page; web site ()

There was no link posted to the web sight. As with most any job not everyone pays good attention to detail. Spammers forget to put a link in just like us normal people. If you know what the content of this post refers to please help me out. Is this selling electric, gas, internet/cable siding? Makes me miss the weird old America of door to door salesmen. You might not know what they were talking about either but as Muddy Waters said at least they had a line to shoot. All I know is that I am open to alternate things. In fact so are my friends. Check out the wind powered truck the mandolin player Kevin drove to a recent Back Porch Band Gig. 
I bet he will sell it to you. 


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

If You Want to Pay Way More for a Cigar Box Guitar Than It's Worth...

If this sounds like a good idea to you well you will have a chance. On September the 20th the Joseph House "Evening in New York Gala" which is being held at Crown Colony will have a charity auction as part of the evenings festivities . The Joseph House is an end of life residential home. It's a non profit. They will have this guitar as auction item. 

I had donated a guitar to a charity auction for the autism school in Longview. It did well and I hope this one helps out the folks in Lufkin. Somehow I have never posted pictures that I could find of this guitar so I don't have a build number for it. 

Here's some photos of a guitar you have seen before. It's one of two of Suzi's dad's cigar boxes she gave me one of which I turned into her birthday present. Here is Suzi in a photo published here before of her playing during our beach vacation. 
Close ups.

No word on how Suzi is jamming but expect an announcement of her scheduled residency at the Pine Knot Music co-op any day. I will precede her appearance each evening with lectures on such diverse topics as "The Sophisticated Man and His Music" and a technological series "Why A Fender Tube Amp Won't Play After the Magic Smoke Has Left It."  as well as other things I know about. 

So don't be saying "nothing to do around here." 

Happy Birthday Brother Glenn...

It's his birthday. He's not on facebook so you got to call him, go over to the house. Check out this old photo from the Wiley photo archive. Left to right, mom, grandma Pinkey, Glenn and me. Not sure what year. It's in my mom's backyard. The bush behind us is still there as is the neighbors house barely in the background. Only the people have changed. 


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Managing the Internet...

It was another busy weekend. This blog, which judging from the comments I get (thanks for reading Steve) that come in person from flesh and blood friends I encounter each day is a fairly widely read document. You may not know that I manage other websites and facebook pages. These pages blew up with comments and likes due to the activity on each one this weekend. 

First off there was the Back Porch Band gig at Shirley Creek. It was well attended, we urged people to check our facebook page, we posted some photos and this created a lot of activity. 

I also manage the St. Patrick's Catholic Church webpage and facebook. Every week the secretaries do the hard work of putting together the bulletin then they email to me and I post it online with a quick synopsis written for the news and events page and then link all this to facebook. Things were especially busy this week as the Church got a new stained glass window and I figured out how to record the homily (sermon for some) and post it to a reverbnation site that groups normally use for music. Here is the results so far with more ideas in the works. Click HERE to hear Father Gavin's homily from the 5pm bilingual Mass this past Sunday. In addition to this there is also the Christian Initiation Facebook page where I post event news. The stats I get from facebook indicate that with likes and shares and all that we often have a "reach" of 3000 or more when there is a bunch of church events and news. 

Also there is a new project that I am involved with. It's a blues band called the Cotton Square Explosion. Members are me, Danny, Jared and Mike.  It's named after the explosion in 1913 that destroyed the Houston East and West Texas Railroad depot that sat along the tracks by old Cotton Square now called Calder Square. You will hear more about this. Our last rehearsal went well and as proof I'll use the comments from a listener "Like nothing I have heard before, sounds like Bourbon Street or the Allman Brothers." Now I have heard both those things before myself but you be sure to like the Cotton Square Explosion on facebook so you can see for yourself.   Here's an old photo of the damage to the depot. 

So hopefully I won't really blow anything up as you see in the old depot picture. I hope you have as much fun and stay as busy as I do. See you in church, at a gig, somewhere...


"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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