Saturday, November 02, 2002 at 12:18:37 (EST)

In which I go into A&R mode, please forgive
A finally arrived after many flight delays and is currently sawing wood on the futon. Despite my ignorance of pretty much every show related to CMJ this weekend, he came armed with a diner receipt listing all the bands he wanted to see. Last night, those bands were all at CBGB's, a place I haven't been for quite some time. Last time I went I was (barring the bartender) the oldest person there, so I've never felt any urgency to return. But that must have been a fluke, cuz last night the place was full to the rafters with old edward-wintery rock'n'rollers, plus a sizable number of my thinning-haired gen-x brethren. We walked in on Boulder, who were loud and Judas-Preisty (I swear you can sing "Breaking the Law" to every song they played). They were okay but kinda lacking somehow. Then Bad Wizard got up there and rocked the party. They kicked ass in that 70's guitar rock way that I like so much. Really groovy riff-driven material. I'll always be a sucker for that. The Cherry Valence came up after them. I dunno why, but I could swear I've been seeing their name for the past year, closely linked to the phrase "The Next Big ..." But while they were setting up, the crowd actually dispersed quite a bit, instead of packing up against the stage like they were no doubt doing down the street at Irving Plaza. By the time they started it had filled up again, and for good reason. These guys took me totally by surprise. I had heard that they played energetic rock. This may be the understatement of the year. I thought they were gonna be another suit-wearin' garage-rock derivation, like every other popular band. But they had no costumes and no apparent attitude. They hail from North Carolina, I guess, so they don't know about that "too cool for school" ideology. Anyhow, they started off with this skinny blonde guy bopping around with a cowbell, while the band started belting out a bottom-heavy groove. The blonde guy sang a couple verses and then disappeared behind the bass player. I got up on my tippy toes to see over the tall dudes in front to find ... the lead singer was playing the drums now. Bwha? How the hell did he get in there so fast? There were no pauses in the rockin', and I didn't see the guy who must have been playing drums before. I could not figure it out until I craned my neck to the other side of the stage, which revealed ... the second drum kit! TWO drummers for the price of one! I know what you're thinking, it's like the friggin' Allman Brothers Band or something. Au contraire, mon frere. There were jams, but no noodling (there is a difference). And because of the extra attention on drums, this band is not just another 70's guitar rock spinoff; they're more like the Dave Clark Five with their big booming sound, and sheer exuberance. And the MC5. And Jimmi Hendrix. And Motorhead.

Blah, blah, blah, none of that matters. It's always so reductive to make these comparisons, but I have never seen a live band successfully get back to that old sound of the DC5. Certainly none of the garage-rock clones are trying that, they all want to be the Sonics (and since the Sonics did it right the first time, really, why bother?). In fact, there was only one retro band I've ever seen that seemed to be interested in playing music from the 60's without that Oh-Yeah! hepcat bullshit, and that's the Revellers from Cleveland. Of course, they had to go and break up, so that sucks.

Anyhow, back to last night, we decamped after the Cherry Valence ended with a weird explosive song that seemed to be a medley of Hendrix tunes. I can't really explain it. We had to leave because B, resplendent in her prep-school jacket and beige turtleneck, was channeling Patti Smith circa 1978. Apparently some "bitches" took the table she was trying to secure for us, and she spent the rest of the night shooting daggers at them and trying to get me to throw my whiskey glass at them. So we went to the E. 4th St Bar, which is not really a very cool bar, but at that point it had what we needed most: places to sit, beer, and a working heater. It is fucking cold in the city! Which is not helping this cold I can't seem to shake. I should probably eat something not deep fried at some point.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Cherry Valence is what I'm Listening to

Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 15:32:46 (EST)

Check ou the article below. Some French woman got angry and took her shirt off at airport security at the little airport in the town where my Mom lives. This is the biggest news to hit this town since they changed the laws allowing the riverboat casinos to stay docked while in operation.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
Holy shit! something actually happens in Evansville!

Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 01:48:27 (EST)

In which I pine to hear "and for this they want a fare hike?"
A most productive music practice tonight. M and I worked on something we wrote on spec, attempting to meet certain criteria. I wanted to do a song that had a guitar part that started its riff alone, then have the drums come in at an unexpected point in the riff (I know there are a bunch of songs that do this, but I can't seem to find any, hmm). M's contribution was to have some part of the song "be like math rock." As neither of us are entirely sure what math rock is, we came up with something that required skill in both the 'remembering how to play' and 'counting' areas. If that ain't math rock, I dunno what is. Okay, maybe it's "arithmetic rock." Anyhow we recorded it so we wouldn't forget it, as people our age are wont to do. Then we discussed blowing wads of cash on computer equipment to make our clandestine recordings more elaborate. If I can find the exact device we need, I'll get it. As discussed earlier, I'm a sucker for stuff like that. Then B and I went to find an all-night drugstore. The nearest one was in the lower east side, requiring 3 trains to get there. 2 of these 3 trains were not running in their normal fashion (which in itself needs work), so this was a great deal of fun. Actually, it sort of was. Working at home all day, I do jones for the anonymous public interaction of the subway. I spoke with some guy from Coney Island (B told me this later, I thought he said he lived in 'Coriolis') who was whining about the subway reroutings and how his transfer would expire as though this is the first time a human in New York had been inconvenienced by mass transit. There is something oddly lovable about that attitude, and we've all had it, even if we don't speak up like Mr. Coriolis. Every time we get thwarted in this town, some part of us thinks for at least a moment that they are somebody's personal target, that this train delay, or that bus strike, or that transformer explosion was somehow directed at You. And so you stomp around, roll your head and groan "Awwwwh." They did it again. They got you. You're not going to get to Kmart before it closes. I just wish I was more the sort of New Yorker who'd start openly bitching about such conspiracies. Maybe give it another year or so on the line.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
Buy me this and live forever!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 16:36:13 (EST)

In which I wonder about pickles in the city
A is coming to town this weekend! This is gonna be so weird. A was the lead guitarist in my old band, co-songwriter and singer. I spent more time with this guy than anybody else the last years I lived in Ohio (except for B, of course). But obviously since moving here, I've only seen him one time. It was also very cold the last time I saw him, as it seems it will be this weekend. We'll just have to be drunk any time we plan to venture out-of-doors. I'm a little worried, as I often get when entertaining people from out of town. Not only do you have to make your life presentable, you have to prove that this city is an okay place to live. A has been here before, some seven years ago, and came back rather spooked about the whole affair. Of course, things were a bit different here in those days, and he was visiting his brother-in-law in Red Hook. Nothing against it (lord knows it has enough troubles), but it's not exactly the most picturesque part of town.

I gotta cram to get a list of stuff to see while he's here. I wanna go to the pickle factory, as I haven't been in months, plus it's neat. I wonder if there are other such pickle establishments in the city. Maybe I should be shopping around. Last night, B and I were to meet at Fanelli's to chow, but I made us go to Milady's, this place down the street. In many ways similar to Fanelli's, it's a big-daddy-step down from the burnished, beautiful, and kinda pricey-for-how-small-the-pints-are at Fanelli's. Not much in the way of decor, but the food was good'n'cheap, and the Guinness went down easy is those big glasses (still not as big as they should be frankly; the Loki lounge offers Guinness in 20 oz. glasses, it fucks me up). The whole experiences serves to remind me not to get bogged down by one place in a given part of town; there are always others. Except maybe in my neighborhood.

So there's the cultural landmarks sort of thing to do, like the Empire State Building or the Met. But if I have to go that damn museum again, I think I may just get into the sarcophagus near the stairs and hide until they put a bar in. I'm glad museums exist, and I really did like the surrealist exhibition they had last year. But I can't keep going to that place! I'm thinking of jumping the velvet rope in the architectural display and taking a nap in the 18th century bed. I'll say I'm doing some kind of Colonial-Williamsburg shit. That reminds me, I need to bring this up with M again: he lives in a studio that used to be a storefront. It has one of those garage door things covering the window that makes up his east wall. I told him he should open it up and then start living his life in full view of the public. To that end, he could paint stuff on the window, like "See the pitiful human in his natural habitat!" and the like. Then ... he could start getting grants! Talk about free money! All he'd have to do is write up some bullshit manifesto about celebrity and the public's insatiable voyeurism. The notoriety of the space will make him famous, and thus even more people will hang around, fogging up the glass as he putters around his apartment, talking to his cat in a comically high-pitched voice. Gripping stuff! Why aren't more people doing this?

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Fort Greene Dog Costume Contest photos are up!

Sunday, October 27, 2002 at 22:26:36 (EST)

In which I make Art
The dog costume contest was cool, though it seemed too sparsely attended. Then again, I think I thought the same thing last time I went. If only they could get the word out better, maybe more people would show. I know there are more dogs in the neighborhood, like by an order of magnitude at least. I found it odd that a lot of people with dogs showed up who weren't in the costume contest. I guess some of them may have just wandered in, but some of those folks knew what was happening. How hard is it to make a costume? Why not tape a piece of newspaper around your dog and say he's dressed as a whitefish? The judges always go for the concept costumes over the elaborate. And they don't seem to like store-bought costumes, either. The winners both times I have seen it have been relatively simple costumes, heavy on the abstract idea. This year the winners were a pair: "Black & Tan." This was a black dog sporting a Guinness logo and a tan dog with a Bass logo. Their owners were also color-coded. Very simple but the idea was cool; you could see how they were sitting around their house trying to think of a costume and realized their pets were a natural black and tan set. This is what goes far in Fort Greene park! I took some pictures but I don't feel like posting them yet.

I spent some more time trying to weatherproof the back porch. I have no idea why I am doing this. When I told B I wanted to build a cat door into one of the windows, she said something that gave me pause: "Fuck the cat door! Leave the door open." Of course, simply leaving the door open goes against my whole plan of sealing up the back porch from wintry breezes. But she has a point: what the hell am I doing? I like the idea of being able to hang out in that room into the winter, but honestly I can't imagine when I'd want to do that, given the option to stay inside the actual house. I guess last winter there were times when I was working on some DIY carpentry and could have used a place to mess up that wasn't subject to freezing rain. But I can do that stuff in the basement now, no? I shudder to think that I'm doing all of this, spending all the money on supplies, spending hours out back putting it together ... for Freddy.

But I think I may be. She's such a nice cat, and has helped control the rat population around the house. Also the mouse and innocent bird population. She should have some place to go when it gets cold. But this seems a little extreme, the World's Largest Cat House. Then again, why do I do any of the things I do? Why have I blown so much dough on musical equipment that I can't really play that well? Why am I hanging 300 rugs in the basement to placate a lame neighbor's noise complaints? Why buy all this computer hardware I hardly use? Why did I spend all summer nursing a houseplant back from the dead? Some answers are more obvious. I was born to rock, so that takes care of everything except the plant thing.

I don't think I know why I do any of this stuff until after I'm done. This may be why so many of my projects go unfinished. So I won't really know what I'm achieving with this back porch thing till it's done. If I could only do it with more flair, I could say it was functional art. Actually, even if I don't have any flair, I might still say it was art. When people see the back porch I shall proudly say "This is my art! And see this thriving houseplant? Art!" Wow, that changes everything!

Posted By Jimmy Legs

The subway opened to the public on this day in 1904!

Sunday, October 27, 2002 at 11:38:55 (EST)

In which I reveal my enjoyment of annoying B
Hey, that Low place is okay by me. So it was like one of those things when people actually reserve a space for a party. That's a smart idea especially in this town. No broken bottles in the couch or barf (other than your own) to clean up. Nice little space under Rice, which I guess is a restaurant. There was some poor schmoe who had to stand at the upper entrance and direct people to the basement. He appeared to be there all night long, with nobody to talk to, and absolutely nothing to do. I've worked the door at bars before, but always to take money for a show, so there was always something going on to keep my attention.

Anyway, the bar was nice enough, drinks weren't too expensive, the DJ managed to walk that fine line between campy music and stuff that is actually okay. A few gaffes included some incredibly long remix of "Venus" covered by Bananarama and some lame Michael Jackson song. I didn't start getting revved up until 1 AM or so, which was interesting because by that time, everybody else was getting tired. I got B to dance for a little while but after a while she started slumping like that doll the guy dances with in the subway station. I think I secretly enjoy it when B starts to get tired and wants to go home, because then every minute I make her stay somewhere is like an accomplishment; and for a man whose life has precious few actual accomplishments, I savor these little things.

Now it's off to PupFest! That's the Halloween dog costume contest at Fort Greene Park. Last time I went Joie Lee was there. She lives around here, always nice to see her. I wish she acted more. Spike, put your sister back on the screen! Stop screwing around!

Posted By Jimmy Legs



Week of
October 27 -
November 2, 2002

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