Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pulled My Pants Up at the Discovery Green Concert...

Discovery Green is a nice little outdoor park in downtown Houston where they have free concerts. It's good people. We meet Morgan, Ali and Anne to see Paul Thorn with Craig Kinsey opening. Coming up is Rodney Crowell. Though we stayed the night a concert here, especially if you like the people is worth a drive down and back in my humble opinion. If you happen to see Paul though keep your pants pulled up. 

I had a Paul Thorn CD and was already familiar with him. They play a lot of his tunes on WWOZ radio out of New Orleans. He's a Mississippi boy raised Pentecostal and his funky southern rock/soul music has a nice raise the church roof feel good on Sunday morning after being bad Saturday night dark old south Gothic vibe.   

He had a really great band including in the following photo a lefty guitarist who played killer slide. One thing I noted was that there were no amps on stage. In this part of the world Texas Headphones, a couple of road battered Fender amps are the weapon of choice for the guitar players in a band. They had some kind of electronic trickery that sound great including the use of sitar like sounds by the lead player. It all sounded great but as my newest amp was made in the early 1980s and has been retubed with 1950s military grade tubes I am kind of in the dark as to how they did this. If it was 1952 and I had to help Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys set up I could go right to work. I could not help these guys.  

The good old Mississippi feel good boy Paul is tempted him to solve the world's problems a bit from his bully pulpit of the stage. He was getting most of it right as far as I was concerned but when he made a crack about things will be a little better when when the young people start pulling up their pants. Paul, that's just a style. When I was in high school I had a pair of bell bottom pants, and they were big bells and they had cuffs. They were a kind of maroon color.  I might have had two pair but I don't remember the color of the other one. I could have worn those to your concert and then where would you have been? What would there have been left to say? As George Harrison once said in a song "All things Must Pass." I don't think George was talking about styles but they do pass away. I don't think they are the cause of the worlds problems or change the way people act. As they say around here, "you can take him out of those sagging pants..." 

Anyway it was good, sound good and I bought his newest cd. It's called too Blessed to be Stressed and I like that title. From the looks of thinks the Paul Thorn Band is getting good gigs so you will see more from them. 

The other band was Craig Kinsey. Though the started with a Woody Guthrie song they quickley switched to a cabaret style mode that included dancers. Cathy liked this band more than Paul. 

They do get extra points for the girl dancers and the horn player. 

Ok. Just like Paul I had my say. Now I'll put on pants, pulling them all the way up. I am an old man in case I said something here that otherwise made you believe different and I wear my trousers pulled way up high. 

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

People Ax Me All These Things...

Had a great day fishing with Matt, Kellie and Richard yesterday. We ended up with 37 catfish. No great size but just a tube full of eaters. Folks ax me questions about cooking and catching them so I'll try to answer. 

Here's Matt and Kellie fixing to cast a line to out to shallow water spot we call "the place." Nothing there. We had hoped the cooling weather would bring some fish up shallow for slip corking but not yet. 
Kellie catches a fish. So here is a secret. It's pretty cosmic. See the little skinny stick up the boat is tied to? Earlier in the summer when we discovered this spot you could barely get a grip on this little tree top protruding in 28 ft of water. Lake level has dropped so it's easier to grab but be gentle. Don't break it off. You know what that little stick signifies?  It's the road less traveled. Fishermen are going to tie to the big, easy to grab trees. They are going to fish the big points of land jutting into the lake. They are going to fish the obvious spots to hold fish. Don't get be wrong those are good spots but everyone "spots" them. You got to find the place within a place. The spot too hard for others to try. Wow, this turns into a big life allegory. Thanks for reading folks, just Sunday morning tripping here with my morning coffee before the rest of the house rises. It's another one of my hobbies. 
This is Richard. He did not buy a fishing license. I think the trip was fun for him but he did not really say much. 
Me and Matt with a double. There were a lot of doubles, even a couple of triples and a bucket full of undersize throw backs. I think this was the third spot we hit and it was the jackpot. 
Kellie with another. 

Cathy with a nice one. Cathy managed to get a hook barb in her hand but pulled it out. There's an after photo floating around on facebook. She was sorry we did not make a before photo of the hook. 

Me and Cathy pose for the "tub" shot. This was such a good mess of fish some are swimming in our bellies, some will swim in our bellies for lunch today and some went to the freezer to swim in our bellies at a later fish fry. 

Speaking of the road less traveled that's not my house in the back ground. Its just one of the outbuildings on the property. No matter what you may think about me, this blog and the world in general I did sleep in a bed last night, I used a flush toilet, Fender guitars do not sponsor my fishing trips and as much as you would like to believe I drink coffee straight from the pot I am using a cup this morning. 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Got a Couple of Projects Going This Morning...

I am off today and and busy fun planned. Cathy is sleeping and should be up in a minute but in the meantime I have been down in the workshop this morning. Here is a project I finished up. It's a collaboration on an instrument my father in law Bill started. You know Bill, he's my celebrity sponsor.  

Bill had this instrument mostly finished, headstock was not attached, needed a bridge, tailpiece and strings. I fixed all those things. 
The laminated top was very easy to catch and peel up. I think it's a pretty old project and the wood is dried out so I took contact paper and put along the edges to protect them from snags. So far so good.  

That's a mandolin tail piece. 

Tuners and headstock.

I made it an electric instrument. Here's something new I learned off the internets. Embed piezo pickups in bottle caps with hot glue to make a more feed back resistant pickup for an improved electric sound.  

A closer look. That's my brand, O'Douls. It's what you call "near beer." 

I have this instrument like most everything tuned to open E. It could be tuned as a tenor guitar or a plectrum banjo. Lots of possibility. I'll try to get a sound clip up. 

This guitar not for sale. I have another project to sell almost finished. It's for those out there with the munchies. Check back for photos in a few days. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why the Beatles Matter...

I saw the Flaming Lips at Riot Fest in Chicago, In case you haven't followed the Flaming Lips which I must admit I have not but they do have a great spectacle of a live show. I think I own one of their cds, picked up on a whim in a used cd store somewhere because I heard they were a good psychedelic band. The Beatles were a good little band that had some recordings that could also be called psychedelic. The Flaming Lips hail from Oklahoma while the Beatles were English.  

The Beatles never got to have a really great live show that brought the most out in their music. They were the first "boy band" and by all reports the girls screamed so loud you could not hear them playing. That might be the first reason that the Beatles matter because this brought on the birth of the great concert sound system. It's all computerized now a days so no matter where you sit or how loud the girls scream a guy sits at a lap top and clicks an icon for Shreveport, Madison Square Garden, Candlestick Park or where ever you are playing and the computer dials it in. 

Here's some Lips photos I made
Confetti spews out over the crowd. The light show behind the band was not stationary. 

Mushrooms, rainbows, cool blue light. The lips certainly seem like happy people even if they are from Oklahoma. \

The Beatles were one of the first bands who had the power to do just what they wanted. Up until that point bands and singer I think were kind of told what to do by a hit making machine and it was do it or have no backing. I don't think the Flaming Lips have ever had a hit so to speak but they are surely worth listening to and seeing and they do what they want. 
Wayne, the main dude in the band gets in a big blown up thing like a hamster ball and crowd surfs. 
The Lips closed their set with the most killer version of the Beatles tune "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" that I have ever heard. The music, the lights and everything made it the most perfect experience. I am not sure the Beatles ever performed this tune live and I don't know if Sir Paul, who keeps a pretty steady live concert schedule does this tune but it would have to be good to top this rendition.  

I don't really listen to the Beatles much these days. Sometimes when I go in the grocery store I hear a Beatles tune on the overhead. Only problem is when I do hear it in the grocery it is usually followed by something like "Beer, Bait and Ammo" and I think that's over using it a bit.  
In the late 1960s, when I got my first transistor radio I spun the dial around and around to and from the three radio stations it would pick up trying to hear a Beatles tune. It was not easy in deep East Texas. Now they are everywhere and their influence is deep. 
 Give me a sunny day and a fast highway and the bright voiced harmonies blowing out my car stereo speakers matter as I speed down the road.    

I don't know if this Flaming Lips fan that was standing in front of me as I took this shot thinks the Beatles matter or not.   


Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Looper Mayhem...

Here is a little track called CUMBIA for your listening pleasure. It's done by the one man snakes on a plane band. That one man is me. I used a Digitech looper, an Eastwood Baritone guitar, a DeArmond hollow body guitar, a bongo cojon, a maraca, a Boss univibe/lesile pedal, a little reverb and a 30 year old Fender Champ to get these sounds. There's a stinker or two in the lead guitar but I am proud of the rhythm groove.  


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Charity Auction Very Successful...

I donated this cigar box guitar I made to the Joseph House Charity auction. It's the second guitar I have donated to charity events. It sold for $175. 

It's nice to see the money go for a good cause

You can get one cheaper than this. Call me, email, check at the local music store Sound Techs, or at Standpipe Coffee House. I also will have a booth at the St. Paul's Methodist Church Fall Bazaar on Oct. 25th.  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Old Favorite They Named This Blog...

I'm trying to remember when Cathy first started liking the gypsy punk band GoGol Bordello.  Their origin dates to 1999. This blog, which takes it's name from a line in one of their songs began in 2004. We saw a lot of exciting shows by them in the past decade. Somewhere along the way what seems to happen is bands change, move on from what they were doing, get too big, get  $100 rock and roll haircuts instead of cutting each others hair, catch the sue me sue you blues or maybe you get a new haircut or something yourself and it's just not the same anymore. We did see them play at Riot Fest this past weekend so I'll try to review that show as well as put the past 10 years into some kind of perspective. 

I liked the show we saw this weekend. It was pouring rain. We stood in mud. I'm still trying to get the mud from the crowd surfers off my Mardi Gras suit jacket. Not as bad as the Stubbs show that time when I was trying to recover from a detached retina (not caused by punk music) and had to avoid jumping up and down, head banging, crowd surfers and any generalized jostling. Here is lead singer Eugene, the brains behind the operation. 
I like the festival atmosphere but to tell the truth I have not been to but a handful of big light show concerts in the past years. I am usually pleasantly surprised.  Most of the time I prefer music in some dive.   
Here is a full band photo. They have new members
Some of the old members missing are guitarist Oren and bass player Rea.These were some of Cathy's favorites. Once Cathy met them coming down Red River Street in Austin and they stopped her (types always pick her out, it's something she lives with) and in thick Israeli accents asked "where is Stubb's?" She directed them to the venue where they were on their way to catch a set by the Pixies.  Seems Oren and Eugene are in some kind of lawsuit these days. It happens. Ask the Beatles. Also missing is accordion player Yuri also a favorite. He was a bit older and the road grows weary.  

Cathy seems to think the band is a bit too choreographed these days. Everybody hits their marks right on cue. They are not like the old days when two guys would run into each other and fall down or one guy would try the punk rock gobbing thing only to have it fall short and land on another's trouser leg. I thought the show was good. I do play in a band where the marks are sometimes missed and they aint trying to be punk so coming in on time does have it's place. 

At the old club shows one of the band members usually flipped the bass drum over and surfed the crowd on it. And in those days the crowd usually was not as thick as it was at this event. There was plenty of room to stand at the front of the stage and meet the other illuminated few who knew about Gogol Bordello and gypsy music. You know those kind of people. They are not the people who say "I like all kinds of music" and then when you give them a GoGol Bodello cd they say "I did not like that." 

Seems I remember a night and I think it was at Tip's in new Orleans when we stood around a bit with Eugene after the show. I guess he's a bit bigger that that these days. He did jump down after the show into an area between the stage and the crowd barriers. He suddenly had a girl with him but she looked too clean to have come out of the crowd. They walked away. Even more suddenly than this the security people pulled a guy from the crowd and subdued him very efficiently.  It looked like an old guy. Hard to say what he might have done to warrant the security reaction but it was hard for me to see. As I say, things have changed. Maybe some of the people at the shows have changed also. 

So to wrap things up we might be getting to the end of the trail with this band. I'll probably still get thier cds but we picked up some new favorites to follow at this festival. That's good because sometimes I fret I might not be finding out about the good stuff when it comes to new music. I got to remember, the older you will get... 

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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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