Here's a link for that Ben character I was talking about the other day. An amazing slide guitarist and really nice guy! If you want to read more about Keith Brown, check out my interview page.
posted by Greg 2:31 PM
Hey check out these pictures of Keith from when we were in high school:
The www.popsicko.com website seems to be missing, hopefully it will come back soon. Aloha!
posted by Greg 10:15 AM
I'm pretty stoked about it. I know it's dangerous buying guitars on the internet, but it's a new model and I've played quite a few of them in stores, and I like them quite a lot. I've been waiting for a white one to come around and here it is. What makes it "Nashville" you ask? Well, there's an extra third pickup in the middle there, and a 5 position switch, so that it's configured more like a Stratocaster, while still retaining that distictive tele skwank. I'm thinking of rewiring it a bit and adding some other pickup/phase options, if I can do it without altering the guitar cosmetically. We'll see. Last night was quite a night. First we went to a nice cocktail party at Matt and Emmanuelle's house, where I finally met the master weblogger/editor Josh and got to hang with many other good intelligent honest well appointed friends, including the awesome steel player Ben and his very nice friend Amy. I think I annoyed everyone by asking them if they knew any good bass players, but what's new?
M+E are heading off to Italy this week for some kind of family / history vacation which sounds super fun. They told me that they decided to go to Italy because of the Oscars: If Traffic had won best picture, they were going to Mexico. If Erin B won, they were going to Palm Springs. If Crouching Tiger won, they were going to China. If Gladiator won, they were going to Rome. Gladiator won, so off they go! (the above story is totally made up! Except for the part about them going to Italy.)
After that we piled a bunch of folks in the car and drove over to the Opium Den to see Psoma rock the house. They were very good, as usual. They keep getting better and better, it's exiting to watch. Then we again got in the car and headed over to Spaceland for the last installment of Champion's residency there. Very fun and rocking!
In the car I made everyone listen to this great Woody Guthrie song about working, called "Talking Work Blues" and we all laughed and shook our heads, saying, man that Woody guy sure knew a thing or two about telling a story!
Faji is coming to town this weekend and we're going to see the Mother Hips play, maybe twice. And if we have time we're gonna record some dirty, filthy, nasty stinking down out mud crusted blues!!!
posted by Greg 9:21 AM
Read Matt's Story about his sister and the Greek system and Bush. It made me laugh/cry.
Last night at the great Champion show, The Power of Rock and Roll was again revealed in the awesome performance by The Waking Hours. They are a 4 piece power pop band with some soul influences, and incredible energy, songwriting, musicianship, and harmonies. The drummer in particular was awesome - shades of Steve Coulter but even more stipped down, a minimal kit with maximal poundage. He smacked his Cheap Trick checked drums hard and solid, bobbing his head constantly, and turning to the mic to belt out tight harmonies. I guess he couldn't get enough air while singing so much, cause after every song he looked like he was gonna barf. (Just like Hank from the original Pennywise when Keith played with them.) The singer was great too and full of whoops and hollers, and the guitarist was right on with his playing and harmonies. Great catchy pop songs that rocked, and an epic cover of Carly Simon's "Nobody Does it Better." It's so great to see a hot band when you're not expecting it, and they were having so much fun, it was infectious. At one point the guitarist said, "Thank You LA! I've always wanted to say that, and now I can." Apparently they just moved here from Richmond VA, but I learned from their website that they've been together for awhile and have a couple CD's. I'll be checking them out again real soon.
In other news... Todd and I are half way through recording 5 more songs, and it's going good. Here's a guide: The Helium Stream - This was composed as my first real jazz song, but it's quite poppy so I decided to write words for it so I could use it in the band. It's a science fiction fantasy, inspired by my visit to theAckermansion. Wooden Sky Waltz - This is a minor key waltz in 6/8, a fantasy about Death. I imagined computer generated scenes of the apocolypse when I wrote this one. Haunted - This is a song about deep regret, and how to deal with it. Kill the Monster - This is a song written for a girl who's going out with a guy that's a dick. It's saying, "I don't want to tell you what to do, but in case you were wondering, I think you should dump that guy." Bully Beef and Bisquits (in a Beaucoup Billet) - This is a song about life during WWI, inspired by the move All Quiet on the Western Front. It is sung from the perspective of a British soldier on the night before a big attack.
posted by Greg 11:14 AM
Sunday, March 18, 2001
Holly's a really great fotographer: Frau Farbissina:
I got the great Spinal Tap DVD in the mail from netflix yesterday. Must be at least an hour of deleted scenes in there, very funny. Plus commentary from the band which is almost as funny as the movie. I forgot to say that Champion rocked last monday at Spaceland, and they'll rock again this monday. It was Ben's birthday (Happy Birthday Ben!) so we started there with Matt, Emmanuelle, Tony, members of Psoma and Tsar, and other fine people who don't have websites that I know about. but no Ken Layne. Great seeing Tony, who says he may be moving out to our neighborhood. We also talked about collaborating on a concept album.... Did I say how great the new Mother Hips record is? Naming your record after a Heinlein novel is always a good move.
posted by Greg 9:15 AM
Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Correction: Amy doesn't ride a "hog," (and i'm a pig for saying so!) She rides this:
I'm feeling very Moreau tonight. Part of my work tonight is to monitor a video transmission from Japan over fiber-optic stuff. It's either a game show or a talk show or both, and it involves guests making funny noises, a jeopard board with faces instead of questions, some acrobat type guys twirling an umbrella and rolling some kind of hexagonal wheel across the top, the slow unveiling of blown up photographs, and of course, a puppet. I'm working the swing cause I had a travel day today after attending the Deep Sea Collective's glorious debut of The Beth Champion Band and Fojimoto in San Francisco last night. It was a great night, filled with great people, art, and music. It was an intimate setting, a flat in the shadow of a giant Pac Bell switching station in the Mission, basically a classic SF living room show. Acoustic guitars, bass and drumz. It was a benefit for Beth and Rico's bike ride for Leukemia, complete with a showing and silent auction of amazing drawings by Jake Pruitt. The music was great, with Ryan and Jon pulling an impressive rhythm section double doody and adding thick servings of harmony to every song. The BCB was powerful and magnetic - I perdict great things. Dean's an incredible guitarist and Beth's voice is amazingly strong and expressive. And Fajimoto had the crowd groovin the whole time. Marwan, their singer/guitist, has a full bag of hooks. Got to see Sherry Sly, the funniest comedianne I know, and my good buddy Pete, and got to see Amy ride her hog. Afterwards, no one would listen to my demos, but curiously they insisted that I perform "1913 Massacre" by Woody Guthrie. Go figure! All and all a great trip!!!!! (see, I didn't mention my traveling companion once!)
"I am dominated by one thing, an irresistible, burning attraction towards the abstract. The expression of human feelings and the passions of man certainly interest me deeply, but I am less concerned with expressing the motions of the soul and mind than to render visible, so to speak, the inner flashes of intuition which have something divine in their apparent insignificance and reveal magic, even divine horizons, when they are transposed into the marvellous effects of pure plastic art." (Gustave Moreau)
My good friend Emmanuelle has quoted me on Napster in this article. Here's my quote: Gregory, Los Angeles «J'ai téléchargé 1 500 chansons en six mois» 32 ans, musicien. «J'ai attendu d'avoir une ligne haut débit, il y a six mois, pour me mettre à Napster. Depuis, j'ai dû télécharger 1 500 chansons, au rythme d'une fois par semaine, pour y dénicher surtout des enregistrements pirates de concerts. Même si le son est souvent pourri et la résolution faible. Je n'achète que les CD incontournables, ou d'artistes que je respecte, pour profiter de la qualité sonore et des pochettes. Je suis moi-même musicien, mais j'essaye d'éviter d'acheter des albums, car je suis vraiment furieux envers la RIAA (l'association des maisons de disques américaines) et leur attitude anti-Napster. J'ai mis mon propre album, un opéra rock (mcilvanity.com), sur Napster.». I'm not really sure, but I think it says that I'm boycotting the RIAA because they don't release enough live albums. And "Napster good." Or something like that.
posted by Greg 3:30 PM
This is Forrest J. Ackerman. Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit his Ackermansion and experience his Ackermuseum filled with sci-fi and horror memorabilia that he's collected in over 50 years in the sci-fi biz. It was an experience I'll never forget. Thanks to Kelli and John for taking Molli and I. The mansion is located in the Los Feliz Hills, just off Vermont. As we drove up we saw the line of about 25 people waiting to get in at 11:00. As we waited and surveyed the cool spread, Mr. Ackerman drove up and smiled and waved Hi! He entered the front door, and pretty soon the side door opened and we entered the house on the bottom level, walking past the trash and collectible debris scattered outside. The house is an 18 room, 3 level Mediterranean style with some Spanish overtones. I don't think he lives there, but he could, there's bathrooms, a kitchen, a laundry room. I didn't see a bed anywhere though, but perhaps it was hidden. You start out in the Library. This is not like most museums, which are clean and orderly. This was like an adolescent's bedroom run amok. Every surface was covered with movie posters, fantastic illustrations, promo photos, Star Trek collecter cards, autographed pictures. There were tons of bookshelves lined with sci-fi paperbacks, long runs of old magazines, and dust covered piles on the floor of all that stuff. On every surface (including much of the floor) there was a toy, an old prop, or a mask having something to do with sci-fi or horror. One had to step around a green-gray alien that lay in the middle of a hall. Off the library was a room with lots of props, costumes, and models from movies, including decaying foam rubber rodent/pigs from some king kong type movie from the 30's, a minature white house with a flying saucer crashing into it, about a dozen plaser death masks, and the monster's hand from the original Star Trek pilot. Up the stairwell, again lined with countless posters, pictures, and paintings, to the main floor, where again every surface contained something to look at. One room was dedicated to Lon Chaney, one for Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and a Marlene Deitrich nook. The bathroom was cat movie themed (and included the cat box for the cute guy who was hanging out there.) A lot of the paintings looked like they were originals for covers of one of the sci-fi magazine Ackerman edited for years, such as Famous Monsters. This level contained the kitchen too, which is also filled with memorabilia. I remember a bumper sticker over the sink that read, "If men are from mars, why don't they go home?" Then there's more stairs leading to the top level, with more paintings and posters, and this is where the main living room is. Mr. Ackerman had been walking around this whole time answering questions and talking to folks, and after awhile he came up to the living room and sat in his chair as everyone gathered around. He then started telling some well worn stories about different movie stars and writers. He also got volunteers to act out a few of his favorite scenes from obscure movies. I sat on the lime green shag carpet that was crusty with age. It was time for questions and I asked him if he had any stories about Robert A. Heinlein. His face grew cloudy and he said, well, Bob didn't like me too much, he thought I was an overgrown adolescent. Then he proceded to talk for about 15 minuted about how he got to know Heinlein, and how he loved his writing but that they didn't get along. Apparently Heinlein was a contrarian, which is not a big suprise. After awhile he said it was time for autographs and pictures, so we took some, looked at the paintings again, and left. We'd been there for 2 hours, though it seemed like 45 minutes. I strongly encourage anyone to go experience this. It a completely unique way to see history up close and meet and question a living legend. Basically you just have to call on a Friday, and the tours are on Saturday mornings. All the info is on his site.
After the museum the 4 of us went to the best resturant, Millies in Silverlake. And last night Molli and I went out with Ken and Kim to Joeseph's, great Greek Food in Hollywood.
posted by Greg 9:05 AM
Thursday, March 01, 2001
Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Molli and I just got back from the Crazy Horse show. I'm happy to have her as my guest blogger tonight. Her words will be in Italics! First let me get the fact that the Palladium was hellish in every way out of the way. Draconian entry rules are one thing, but it took us 45 minutes to get in, get wristbands, and get beer. Luckily, right when we got in, Neil went on, as though on cue. I'll let Molli take it from there. Greg put on some Minutemen and it was pissing me off. It's all better now. We put on some Hank III, "Cocaine Blues" All right, I'm ready to write now. I'm desperately trying to remember the set list, like some stoned hippie after a dead show calling his buddy in Wyoming and reading it to him off a zig zag (written in lipstick). Ok, he opened with: sedan delivery (nice), heyheymymy (oh my god-let me mention here that I have never seen Neil at an all ages, GA show - so much better than the seated boomer shows. We rocked out together, all one. There goes that hippie in me again), love and only love, cinnamon girl, fucking up, cortez the killah, hurricane. Hurricane went on for a good ten minutes and ended in a craze light and guitar fury. thanks to cowboy hat sportin' neil! Yeah and Neil broke all his strings in the extra long outro noise thing on Hurricane. The sound was a little trebly, but Neil was definetly on! It was as though he knew he had to get his rocks off in 60 minutes and was cramming all his epic soloing into 7 songs. He didn't say one word. His wife peggi and one other woman (possibly his sister Astrid) sang backups on Hurricane. He played blackie for the first 3 and last songs, and brownie for the others. Let's see what else molli members. Ok I'm not going to get all technical geeky like Greg. Save it for hyperust. I'm getting distracted by Joe Ely singing Gallo del Cielo. Some song about a cock. The show is fading, no not yet. Everyone screaming, "Hey Hey My My, Rock and Roll will never die." I may be getting older, but the crowd was young. Next generation Neil fans. Some guy leaned over and asked how old Neil was. Greg answered, "Early sixties." I'm still laughing. Crazy Horse is really the best rock band out there. We were about 100 feet back, center. The thing I notice about the Horse is the Billy, Frank, and Ralph seem so into it - every bar is played very deliberately. Even though they rock out, they're still concentrating so hard! Over and over the band would build up under Neil's guitar as he moved up the neck, building to a screaming crescendo and then falling back into the deep mountain groove of fuzzed out bliss. His voice was in fine form too! I'm going to sleep with my wristband on. Thelonius Monster was playing when we got there, but we we're still being molested by security by the time their set ended. (7:30) The crowd was a mix of rhcp and neil fans, so it was a little strange. When I looked around, I saw a lot of dropped jaws. Crazy Horse is just so heavy, they just take the audience places, like no other band does really. It's all about overtones and deep heavyness, a rough grinding rolling beauty. They play slow, but deliberately, injecting the magic into the space between beats.