Monday, November 3, 2008

09: Not Enough Time to Get Anything Halfway Done

Back in the mid-90's Braid played with Boilermaker a few times on tour. They were all amazing and very genuine guys, including the band they were on tour with at the time, The Camera Obscura (from San Diego, not the indie-pop band from Glasgow who are currently active). I had a personal infatuation with The Camera Obscura because skateboarder Duane Pitre (who at one time rode for Alien Workshop) was in the band. At the time, I was still an avid ripper and was stoked to meet him.

I grew to love Boilermaker over those few days and fondly remember the shows in Atlanta and Louisville circa 1998. Terrin, the singer and bass player had a unique right-hand technique while playing that I found really interesting and they were unlike any band I had ever seen. They were always on and great live. We had met many bands from San Diego before; we knew the Spanakorzo guys and had stayed at the Wrenched Records house a few times and later befriended No Knife. We were also intrigued by the whole San Diego sound in general - we felt we were doing something similar at the same time in the Midwest, yet not quite as noisy as Swing Kids or later VSS and Clikitat Ikatowi. Befriending Boilermaker seemed natural and they immediately felt like old friends.

I stayed in contact with them for awhile after we met and followed their tour schedule. Once while home briefly from tour, I drove an hour and a half to see them play at a pizza shop in Peoria, IL. The next ten years or so flew by after that, and I stayed in touch with Terrin, mosty trying to shake him down for a copy of In Wallace's Shadow on vinyl, their masterpiece. They had done something very similar to Braid's first album with that release; they had taken old album covers and screened them and put their records inside so each individual copy was homemade and unique. That release was pretty hard to find and not many were pressed, so I continued to bug Terrin via e-mail for months about it - then gave up. He always responded and was always positive. He would say he knows he has an extra copy somewhere and it's mine as soon as he can find it.

For the next few years I would get messages from him randomly and out of the blue saying "I didn't forget about you, I'm still digging for that copy", as if my request long ago continued to weigh on him daily, like a monkey on his back. We'd jokingly swap a few messages about it and then I wouldn't hear from him for another 10 months or so. This went on for years, and at one point I didn't have the heart to tell him I had stumbled across a used copy at Amoeba in LA and pounced on it. Fulfilling a much needed want and adding a gem to my collection.


I had heard he had become pretty sick during this time, but we rarely talked about it. He was still playing and releasing music; with Chris from No Knife in The Jade Shader and playing off and on with Pinback. I received a last message from him in early October via Facebook, mentioning the record of course, and saying hello. My response was wishing him the best with the cancer treatments and asking him to stay in touch and offering him a home if he's ever back through Milwaukee. I hope he got to read that message.

He died last week at the young age of 34. An accomplished musician, loving father and amazing person. Terrin was a staple in several greatly underappreciated bands and this is a huge loss to the underground music community. You will be missed, friend. R.I.P. Terrin Durfey.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

08: Break Up Your Band

I've been listening to a lot of Chavez lately. An underrated band, if there ever was one. Shiner carried the torch afterwards, definitely wearing their influence on sleeve, and I love that band too, but Shiner is a whole post of it's own. Anyways, I listened to Gone Glimmering twice today while doing stuff around the house, stopping occasionally to air guitar. There are a handful of records that get me pumped. This is one of 'em. Amazing.

It's a beautiful summer day in Milwaukee and I've got a lot accomplished so far: I went to the bank this morning, checked my po box and just got back from Cameron and I putting a muffler on Katie's car; fulfilling my manliness for the week. Usually our weekly softball match fulfills that on Thursdays. Yes, I've joined a bar league softball team. Don't get excited, it's co-ed slow pitch. It is super fun though, and I think we are doing Burnhearts justice with a 1-2 record. Well, what did you expect from a bunch of washed-up rockers and has-beens?

I also got some cooking done today. I love to cook, and it's hard to on weekdays when you don't get started until 6 o'clock at night after work, so I try to cook a few times on the weekends when it's less hectic. Now, the last few things on my list this evening are to watch the season finale of Lost I taped last week and to alphabetize about 100 records I've bought and been listening to over the last 6 months that I've neglected filing into the collection. That will happen once this thing wakes up:

Coco Sleeping

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

07: Throw Me the Idol, I'll Throw You the Whip

The Indiana Jones movies are some of my favorites of all time. I think I could get pretty close to quoting Raiders all of the way through word for word. Thanks to Spielberg, the movies are cinematically breathtaking and intelligently written; one of the few series I could watch over and over and never get bored.

I partially blame my fascination with Indy in my love for Han Solo, err, I mean Harrison Ford. The characters of Han Solo and Indy have the same problem in that they are thrust into certain situations of bravery not by qualification or choice, but because it is the only option, a last resort. Both characters have resilience, the ability to recover readily, as from misfortune, in nearly every situation. Ford pulls this off beautifully in both characters and that is why they are so likeable.

In praise, Braid even had a song called Harrison Ford. So, I guess that shows our infatuation with the character and movies in general.

On a similar note, Last year I was lucky enough to see a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It is a fan made movie, an adaptation of Raiders, as close to a remake as three 12 year old kids could get with limited supplies and a budget based on a weekly allowance. The story goes that after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, they began filming their own shot-by-shot adaptation in the backyards of their Mississippi homes. It took them seven years to complete and it is pretty brilliant given their restraints. Of course, there are flaws (no airplane scene where the bald thug boxing Indy backs into the propeller blade and they had to substitute the monkey in the film with one of the neighborhood dogs), but you have to admire their ingenuity and commitment. Remember, they are teenagers with no adult supervision, going through puberty and different hairstyles right before your very eyes. It is pretty amazing.

Anyways, the screening I saw was one of very few where the kids, now in their mid-30’s, were there for a Q & A after the film. This was where it got fun. Listening to them describe the process; talking about asking for gold spray paint and video tapes for their birthdays to complete scenes, dealing with non-stubble-faced prepubescent Indy and coercing the neighborhood kids into supporting roles.

This kind of dedication makes the film more of a landmark, and it was finally recognized fifteen years after completion, in 2004, when Hollywood producer Scott Rudin announced he had purchased the life rights of the 3 main kids involved to make a biographical film about their experiences making the adaptation. Paramount is to release it at some point.

This post was inspired by the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie, which I will be seeing opening week. Oh yeah!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

06: Doesn't Mean a Thing to Me Anymore

I like Georgie James. It is a nice change for John Davis. It seems I've known John forever. Braid played shows with his band Corm back in the day and Hey Mercedes has shared the stage with Q and Not U. We used to stay at his house a lot in the DC area all the time when through on tour. The good news is Cake Parade, the second single off of their debut, is now available digitally and as a limited edition 7" on white vinyl. The two song 7" also includes a download card for all 4 songs that are on the digital single. How cool is that? Otherwise only those who bought digitally could have those extras. Or, remember when there was the option of a 7" single versus CD single? The CD patrons always came out ahead with a song or two. It's good to know people are looking out with the popularity of download coupons in records these days.

If you didn't hear about this it is pretty weird. When animals attack.

Monday, March 17, 2008

05: We’ll Aim for the Stars

I was looking through tour dates this week and came across I'm From Barcelona playing at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on April 27th. This made me laugh out loud. Why? Because this would be a fun show to see, I rather like them and heard they put on a terrific show, but the catch is the venue. Maxwell's has an extremely small stage and is normally crowded for a band of 4 or 5 people. For those who don't know, I'm from Barcelona is a 29-person band from Jönköping, Sweden. I'm not kidding: 29 people.

Crowds can change the atmosphere of a show and make it a party. This will be a super fun one for sure. I remember playing at Maxwell's and other venues that where too small and crowded with Hey Mercedes. The walls would sweat due to the humidity and moisture in the air. We'd all be completely drenched and it was hard to breathe. People were elbow to elbow and it was hot and crowded. Miserable but exciting. All the tape we used to secure our pedals and cables would be useless and peeling up. Everything was soaked and had to be thoroughly wiped down and cleaned before the next show so it would stay functional. Unfortunately, electronics and water don't mix that well. It was annoying loading out afterwards into the cold night trying not to catch pneumonia and then getting to where you were staying and hanging up your clothes hoping they'd be a little drier and wearable the next day. They never were, so for the next few days the van is filled with smelly, sweaty clothes hanging all over the place and that morning you put on wet jeans. Then you get to your next show and open your guitar case, which has served as a tomb of funk for your stinky dank instrument and it's smelly strap which is slowly turning white from the salt sweat. It's pretty strange what becomes normal on tour.

Anyways, here is an idea of what to expect at an I'm from Barcelona show, and here is what their debut album Let Me Introduce My Friends looks like. It's good.


It was released as a Swedish import a year and a half ago, and the vinyl was on Swedish label Dolores, limited to 500, and contained the bonus track The Painter. Keep your eyes out for it if you can find it. The Good news is Mute snatched them up soon after and released Let Me Introduce My Friends domestically on CD with the US only bonus track Glasses and the aforementioned vinyl only track The Painter.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

04: Put the Keys in My Hand

Fu Manchu seemed tired. Maybe it’s because they’ve been around for 17+ years and are playing a crappy bar in Cudahy, WI on a Tuesday to 150 people. Maybe I expected too much after seeing them play twice in 2000 and they smoked. They were so energetic and on point then. All in all, I did enjoy the show and they were spot on musically. I just was looking for some more energy from them, given how much their songs rock.

The highlights of the set were Mongoose, Evil Eye, Weird Beard, Squash That Fly, King Of The Road, and Saturn III and they closed with Hell On Wheels. I was disappointed they didn't play California Crossing, the opening jam from the album of the same name released in 2002. I love that song, and blame the drummer for that one. Sadly, California Crossing was the last album Brant Bjork played on. I don't think they've been as good since he left. The new guy is solid, but he is no Brant Bjork.

The show was made more fun with pool buddy and old friend Dan Keehn tagging along for the night. Thanks for hanging out Dan!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

03: I Side With the Defender

The debate of analog versus digital will continue as long as Steve Albini is alive. He is the analog role model and defender of the cause if there ever was one. You can argue both sides until you are blue in the face, but it all really comes down to personal preference and what you are willing to sacrifice for convenience and mobility, I suppose. Digital technology now has the software to emulate many analog respects, amps and features to create computer generated analog sound. It's pretty crazy.

On the analog side of things, have you ever seen anyone splice 2" tape with a razor blade while editing? It takes skill and talent. It is a sight to behold. A sight that makes me cringe whenever I see it. Exciting and scary.

On the subject, here is a cool little segment taken from the PBS show Wired Science featuring Steve Albini and Ken Andrews talking about the ongoing sound battle. It discusses the digital sound difference, tonality and quality. Some of the footage they use is from Reckless Records in Chicago and look for a cameo from the 90 Day Men's Rob Lowe. View it here.

I'm going to see Fu Manchu tonight. Full review soon!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

02: Leave Me Paralyzed

I was turned onto The Notwist in 1998 when Braid was in the middle of a grueling winter tour of Europe. It was harsh. I felt like I was freezing cold for six weeks straight. I took 2 showers the whole time because every club or place we stayed had little to no hot water. It was a joyous and miserable experience being in Europe for the first time during some of the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced combined with some of the worst touring conditions. One night in Italy we slept in a squat on the stage we played on. It was filthy. There were mangy dogs everywhere. I had corn on pizza for the first time that night. Some things you just never forget and it’s usually because of the weirdness of the situation.

This is why I remember The Notwist. On that tour at some point we were given a cassette dub of the album 12. A German kid at a show passed it along saying it was the best German band of all time. We threw it in the pile of cassettes in the van (yes, before we had a CD player) and discovered it later after we got back home, thinking it was a demo at first. We grew to love it, which didn’t take long. We all became fans that year. Shrink came out soon after and I played it non-stop at the record store I worked at. I feel personally responsible for turning many people on to that band. They were amazing, how could no one know who they were? I couldn't stop talking about them. I found everything I could by them, buying their back catalog and all of the side projects and singles. It took me a few years but I even finally tracked down the holy grail of Notwist items, a vinyl copy of the hard to find Your Choice Live Series LP, which I had to mail order sketchily from a small shop in Germany.


In 2003 The Notwist finally made some noise. They appeared on many top 10 lists in the US that year with Neon Golden, another fantastic effort and their most commercial to date. When this album broke in the US I had worn out my import copy months before. I was extremely happy to see them finally get their due stateside. The best part about this newfound popularity was that it finally brought them within distance, and I finally got to see them perform at The Metro in 2004.

Needless to say, I’m excited that The Notwist are ending their unbearable leave of absence; they will be releasing their first album in nearly six years entitled The Devil, You + Me. It is due in June via Domino. I Cannot wait. Click here to listen to the new track Good Lies.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

01: Welcome to the Occupation

Where to start? Well, after two full years of procrastination I have decided to start my very own blog. This will be my first solo venture. I was a frequent contributor over at the Hey Mercedes blog Are You Wearing a Wire for many years, one of the first band weblogs to rear our ugly heads almost 8 years ago, but unfortunately that has tapered off considerably since our break up in 2005. The two re-union shows in 2007 sparked some hits but honestly, I don’t think many people go there anymore. I can't blame them, it's been quite a wasteland with everyone going their separate ways since we decided to call it quits. Sure, we all keep in touch but who has time to post on a blog who's band doesn't even exist anymore?

Some of you might know I also run a small record label called Grand Theft Autumn that releases a record or two every few years. There is a blog on that site too, but it is associated with the label and again, sparsely updated. This is another reason I'm starting fresh. This new undertaking is independent of those outlets, yet connected. My intention is to have this be my new homebase.

This page will be about nothing and everything. Music mostly. Records. Food. Annoyances. Things I hate. Movies. Milwaukee. Weather. Television. Cats.

You get the picture.

So here is Dust & Turpentine, unveiled in all of it’s uneventful glory!!

Insert audio and visual of a single bottlerocket fizzling to a dud.

This is my outlet to vent and ramble. So check back now and then. Hopefully it will encourage me to write more and keep something updated. I make no promises on how often it’ll get maintained, but when there is something on my mind it’ll be online too.