Friday, October 08, 2004 at 12:17:52 (EDT)

Send in the clowns
The longer I'm around, the less I understand the CMJ Marathon. Is it just supposed to get bands more exposure? To whom? For what purpose? What it amounts to for most of us is several days totally crammed with shows, a neverending parade of bands all over town, threatening to make us never want to see another band again as long as we live. But then, isn't New York always like this?

Maybe it isn't as concentrated as it will be during the next week, but this city is already full of bands, full of clubs, full of people who want to see bands in clubs. I guess we're supposed to be especially impressed that the bands at CMJ have passed muster with the organization, but come on, that doesn't exactly guarantee that every show's gonna be a slice of fried gold. Many bands will suck at this thing, just as many bands suck at any show you might see. I just don't get it.

Of course, the occasion of the marathon will mean that a lot of record industry lowlifes will be sleazing their way across the city as well. Is this an actual function of CMJ, or just an unsavory side effect? I dunno, maybe some of the bands that play CMJ will get some kind of deal that makes their lives better. Most won't. Then again, a band playing at a club on any other night might come to the attention of somebody in musical authority as well. Seems like a crap shoot either way.

So I still don't really understand its function, and I feel that what I do understand is of dubious value. That said, there are still tons of good bands playing next week, so you might as well support the scene in any case. Here's my planned itinerary:

  • Wednesday, Oct 13: Birdman Records Showcase at Lit. The Apes and Modey Lemon are playing, two really great bands that prove a keyboard can actually rock if you play it right. If CMJ can do anything for bands, I hope it's Modey Lemon, if only so they'll come to town to play more often.
  • Thursday, Oct 14: What a line-up! UDET, The Carlsonics, The Forms, The Desert Fathers. This may be the most cohesive show of the marathon, as far as I'm concerned, at least in the fact that I like all these bands a lot. This show is also at Lit.
  • Friday, Oct 15: STUPID at the Luna Lounge! I don't even care who else is playing this show, I'm going for Stupid (starts at 9) and then maybe I'll hang around for the other stuff. By the way, shows at the Luna Lounge are still free during CMJ so there's really no reason to miss this.
  • Saturday, Oct 16: Okay this isn't a CMJ show but it might as well be: MOTICO at the Backroom (Freddy's Bar). We're finally doing a show at our beloved Freddy's, voted "Best Endangered Speakeasy" by the Voice recently. You know this joint may not be long for the world, so you gotta get your jabs in while we still can. This show is also free of course, and besides Electric Turn to Me at N6, there's nothing much else going on worth mentioning. Plus, chances are it's near where you live since it seems most folks I know these days live somewhere within the radius of the club. If you've never seen us before, it's a low-impact way to introduce yourselves; if you've seen us before, get ready for a new take on your old favorites. Fearing noise complaints, the bar is asking bands to keep the volume down a bit, so we're working on reining in our ferocious cacophony in favor of equally pleasing sonic textures. I have no idea what I mean by that, but we'll kick butt.

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Thursday, October 07, 2004 at 16:25:35 (EDT)

I shot the Sherriff
Hey office drones, has this ever happened to you? Over the past couple of months, I noticed that the people I usually work with have slowly been replaced with newer, stupider versions of themselves. This is really saying something; I thought the last group was pretty dim. These new people appear to have no understanding of the internet (forgivable if annoying), or Microsoft Office (come on now) or our company itself (say what?). They don't have the foggiest idea about company policy, the bureaucratic channels through which things should move, and worst of all, there's no stopping them! Far be it from me to pledge my support to corporate red tape, but I'll say this for it, it gives the dolts something to do besides pelt me with emails and phone calls asking dumb questions and giving me conflicting directions. I fear they think I am some kind of expert on something and will firmly guide them. Hey, I'm just some guy sitting in his bedroom in Brooklyn, doing my best not to just go back to sleep.

I should direct all these fools to my boss, but guess what? He's one of the worst offenders! He doesn't know how to do anything except put that little "Urgent" tag on his outgoing emails, or better yet just forward emails to me from other people with no comment whatsoever. I believe this is called 'passing the buck.' I'd like to pass the buck, but the trail pretty much ends at my desk. If only those bucks were real money, then I'd be getting somewhere.

In the meantime, I'm exercising my one last job privilege: sneaking off and riding my bike around the neighborhood, stopping off at the Salvation Army to buy stuff, and enjoying the surreal, 'this line is going nowhere' feeling of the local post office (which compared to my job right now is like a trip to an amusement park).

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004 at 10:29:59 (EDT)

When I get loaded, I gotta go off!
I feel like such a wimp! The weather gets a little nippy and I fold faster than Superman on laundry day. But it wasn't just weather, I woke up yesterday with what I first assumed was just another hangover (hmm, now there's a red flag), only to retrace my steps and recall that I didn't go out boozing the night before. In fact, my dad was in town so we had gone to McHale's. Good burgers, but they're wayyyyy too big as far as I'm concerned. Those guys at Schnack are probably onto something by modeling their burgers on sliders from White Castle. The era of the large-diaphragm entrée is on the way out.

Anyway, all yesterday I had a nasty sinus headache. I suffered from immense pressure behind my left eye for most of the day, threatening to pop it from its socket like that scene in Evil Dead II.

This crisis averted, I now have to focus on more important matters. All my creative energies will be directed towards songwriting as I prepare to perform in the next WYSIWYG Talent Show at PS122 on October 20th. The theme for the evening is "Psychos I Have Dated or Worked for, or Both!" I'm trying to come up with something for the Psycho Boss end of things, as I feel I've pretty much run out of material in the ex-girlfriend realm department.

The only problem with taking this tack is the fact that I have not physically seen my boss in at least a year. He's sort of a 'hands off' manager, that is to say, he's completely ineffectual. But maybe there's some material to mine there. He certainly has taken a normal business conference call and bloated into a surreal happening, something resembling a Ray Johnson performance art piece. And lord knows, that guy was nuts. Come out on the 20th and hear what I come up with!


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Monday, October 04, 2004 at 14:54:31 (EDT)

With the quickness

I can't take this much culture. Friday I attended the NY Press party at the Puck building, along with party-crashers Heather and Josh. We had to wait forever on line for some reason and then the party itself was sort of lame. Then we noticed the Suicide Girls walking around with trays of free shots. Ten minutes later the party seemed like the greatest time ever. Hmmm. Weirder still, we ran into an old office acquaintance of Heather's and discovered he's in a band named Alger Hiss. This was actually one of the names we considered for our band a year ago before finding out it was already taken. Small world!

Saturday was the Chile Pepper festival. The weather was very British and therefore did not really lend itself well to an event centered around brightly colored hot peppers, but we made the best of it. I was a little disappointed that the food for sale was not particularly hot, so much so that I had to buy some hot sauce to liven it up. But it was good to spend some time in the Botanic Garden while stuff is still sort of growing. I've only been there when it's free in the winter months because all the plants are dead.

Sunday was a marathon. I was meeting up with some folks for the Pickle Festival, but the F train was all screwed up so i booked through Chinatown to get to Orchard Street (nothing makes you feel more like you're in a film noir movie than dashing through busy chinatown streets). Then we gorged ourselves on pickles and other pickle-related products (there actually seemed to be more hot peppers present here than at its namesake festival). Then we went to One and One for several rounds of Guinness.

After that I headed to Freddy's, stopping off at the Flatbush Street Fair. It was basically over but there was a band finishing up who really rocked, but I have no idea who they were. At Freddy's Stupid's street team was hard at work making pins and stickers. It's funny, they started off as simple strips of duct tape with the word "STUPID" on it in Sharpie. But because the ink tended to rub off too easily they moved up to using those paint-filled pens, attempting to approximate the look of a regular marker. Ah, technology!

Then I met up with some folks at Brooklyn Social. Soon Smith Street will be nothing but bars!

See many large photographs illustrating the above (except for the last part, when photography had become tiresome).

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Week of October 3-9, 2004

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