Friday, April 30, 2004 at 13:04:28 (EDT)

He ain't heavy, he's my roommate's cat

Hey, Mr Bones is starting to show up elsewhere on the web!

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Friday, April 30, 2004 at 12:40:21 (EDT)

Hush, keep it down now
I've been a little cranky for a couple days now, and it's all because of my rock'n'roll lifestyle. I've got a super irritated throat which I first thought was a sign of an oncoming illness. But no sickness came, only the sore throat remained. So I looked up possible causes of a sore throat, and gingerly skipping over the horrifying, worst-case scenarios, compiled this list of likely suspects:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Singing improperly
  • Shouting above background noise

But I've been been getting drunk and hollering for years! Why should it become problematic now? Well, I probably have some minor sinusitis, but I get that from time to time.

Then it occurred to me that never before have I done everything on that list with such precise repetition for so many months. The band practices at least twice a week, and before we start I usually have a drink and a smoke. Then I go down in the basement and screech like a stuck pig for 3 hours. Quite a system. And of course, several nights a week, I'm out at some bar, trying to shout over either the band or the jukebox (or at the Alibi on Thursday night, the Pratt students). With all the attendant drinking and smoking. And I've been doing all this with little variance since last August. I'm probably lucky I lasted this long.

Cutting back on the booze & smokes plus purposefully singing in a lower register at band practice last night already seems to have helped. Also I'm sticking my head into a humidifier every so often, which is kind of fun for a while. My goal here is just not to be miserable at our show on Sunday at the Knitting Factory (in the Main Space, we go on at 2pm), or worse yet, lose my voice entirely. That would suck, as people would miss out on all the amusing remarks I utter with such wit and consistency. What a shame.

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Thursday, April 29, 2004 at 11:34:10 (EDT)

Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant
For those of you who live in the city, this time of years mostly means the weather improves and life doesn't seem to suck quite as much as it did when it was nearing absolute zero during the winter. But out here in the country, the warmer months mean, among other things, the return of a variety of life forms into our home, most of them insect in nature. Here's a list of bugs that have been spotted at least once in my home:

  • Ants
  • Click Beetles
  • Crickets
  • Daddy Longlegs
  • Fireflies
  • Flies
  • Wasps/Bees/Bumblebees
  • House Centipedes
  • Ladybugs
  • Mosquitos
  • Moths/Butterflies
  • Nightcrawlers
  • Roaches
  • Spiders

Obviously, not all of these insects are pests. Everybody likes butterflies and fireflies, especially the cats. But a lot of the others can be annoying. Now, nobody who visits seems to appreciate this, but we have a built-in solution. More than any other insect, we have a lot of house centipedes. They're creepy-crawly and kind of repulsive, but they eat nearly everything else on the above list.

Most of the time they keep to themselves, but they occasionally surprise us in the bathroom or scurrying across our toes while we relax on the divan. But as long as we remain too big for them to eat, I will tolerate them because I know I'm a slob and I totally deserve to be infested with something. I mean, something besides centipedes.

Best of all, when they do make their presence known, more often than not Decatur will chase them around and then eat them, thus completing our own Circle of Life.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004 at 13:39:14 (EDT)

My brain is hanging upside down
WFMU is having its semi-annual Record Fair this weekend! We're probably gonna go Friday night (starts a 7pm) to try to get to the good stuff before its gone. Of course, I could pay $20 and be allowed in early, but that just seems a little bit desperate to me. Anyway, there should be plenty of interesting stuff there no matter what time we go. There will be hundreds of dealers, each with sizable collections of weird stuff.

Sounds great, except for one thing: I totally lose it when I shop for records. When not in a record store, I constantly think of records I want to buy, but as soon as I walk into a shop, I can barely remember my own name, let alone remembering to find an original copy of Maggot Brain. And here I'm just talking about little record stores like Wowsville, holes-in-the-wall that carry a limited selection. I keep thinking that going to this record fair is going to melt my brain altogether, and then at the next record fair I'll be one of the weird, scruffy guys selling mildewed copies of Peter, Paul & Mary records and making inept sexist jokes (I'm just sure this is how it happens).

So Abby says I need to make a list (she reputedly carries so many lists that she makes lists to keep track of them). I have made lists in the past, but I'm really bad at following them, or even remembering that I wrote them. But I'll give it a shot again. Does anybody have any suggestions of what I should look for? Think eclectic, rare, out of print. Right now I'm thinking of stuff like Os Mutantes and other weird stuff from 30 years ago, but there's tons of stuff I need from all eras of recorded musical history.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at 16:00:51 (EDT)

I ain't no artist I'm a business man
We played a show at this bar a couple weeks ago. We got the gig by answering a craigslist ad asking for "Hipster Bands." We felt a little weird responding to it in the first place, as counting yourself as a 'hipster' these days is tantamount to self-immolation. Who wants to be a hipster? And who would want to hear their bands, no doubt lame and derivative as the name implies? But we needed gigs, so we took it. The organizer of the event managed to get several other bands to also brand themselves hipsters for this show at his venue. It was to be a sort of audition; he booked us without even bothering to find out what our band sounded like. Based on our performance, he would decree whether or not we'd be asked back for a 'real' show at his hard-to-find, overpriced-whiskey bar.

The guy keeps advertising on craigslist for more shows like this. While he's not a complete moron, he seems to have a really skewed perspective on how live music shows should work. Here's his newest posting:

AUDITIONS WILL TAKE PLACE THIS THURS, APR 29, 2004 FROM 7:30-10PM FOR MUSIC SHOWCASE. THE ACTUAL SHOWCASE WILL BE MAY 14, 2004. THERE ARE NO FEES BUT ALL ARTIST CHOSEN MUST SELL 10 TICKETS @ $10 A PIECE. THIS IS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR ASPIRING ARTIST TO PERFORM AND NETWORK WITH OTHERS. ALL WHO WOULD LIKE TO AUDITION THE ADDRESS IS LISTED BELOW. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Let me remind you that this bar is in a decidedly non-hip part of town, not easily accessible by subway or pedestrian. The bar is basically one large room (so there is no escape for sensitive-eared bar patrons), with an okay-sized performance area. The drinks are wayyyyy overpriced for the location, and almost nobody even knows the place exists. Near as I can tell, they don't advertise their shows, so nobody knows about them.

His spirit is partially acceptable. It is a nice idea that musicians would get together and 'network', and I suppose it makes him feel good that he's doing something for the 'aspiring' artists in town. But come on, I like my own band, but even I'd have to think twice before buying a $10 ticket just to see us, let alone getting 9 other people to pay that (and this is assuming we could pass the audition part of it). And what's this about 'no fees'? Who would bother to pay-to-play in a city with so many better spaces? I suppose if this was some kind of sponsored A&R event, the bands might come running. But there's no mention of any possible benefit here, your band just gets to play at this little bar.

I dunno, maybe there are tons of new bands in this town with lots of rich friends who can't wait to hotfoot it to the boondocks to pay out the nose to see them play. I'm still not sure I'd wanna see it.

The organizer guy contacted us recently about setting up another show. Admittedly, we'll probably do it, but if he puts any weird stipulations on it, we may have to write an especially surly song about him.

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Monday, April 26, 2004 at 12:55:15 (EDT)

You're always laughin' way down at me
I'm hoping all this rain helps the plants grow in the backyard, it's gotta be good for something. Still, I'm a little concerned at how cold it suddenly became yesterday, as I just planted another batch of temperamental flowers outside. But not counting the rain, we are experiencing the only time of year when it is pleasant enough out back without any falling mulberries or too many bugs. It's all downhill form here.

We had another small cookout this weekend, more preliminary grilling to prepare for the summer party season, when Chez Legs will become Your Number One Party Destination. That's right, not only will MRK and be constantly beseeching you to come to our band's shows (May 2nd, 11th, and 17th!), but we will also be hassling you to come to our parties. Of course, there are still some things we need to work out. Lesson learned this past Saturday: to grill, one needs charcoal and lighter fluid. This minor oversight led to a death march-like grilling session, as we first put everything remotely flammable on the grill and then had to wait an eternity for the food to cook. I assure my ever-patient guests that this will be corrected at future gatherings.

On the organ front, I received the amp that matches the Lowrey T-2 organ Zack and I found abandoned on the streets of Williamsburg a couple weeks ago. You may remember that I had no way of knowing if the thing would work because it needs its own amp with its proprietary power cable. With this in place, I still didn't know if either the amp or organ would be functional (the guy on eBay couldn't really test it either, as the power switch in on the organ but not the amp, which has absolutely no controls whatsoever). I was pleased that the appropriate lights lit up when everything was connected, but still there was no sound from the organ. It finally dawned on me that, like the amp, the organ's volume is controlled by yet another proprietary device, a volume pedal which will be hard to track down. Luckily, the organ has a line-out jack which I hooked up to another amp. Presto! I'm rocking out on "96 Tears" in no time! And all it takes is one gigantic organ, two amplifiers, and a whole helluva lotta cables.

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