The Heathens have regrouped with a new bass player named Ben. This cat's
background includes Jazz & Peruvian music (along with more traditional Heathen
We're getting prepared to rock NYC. Much work ahead, but the potential is there
(&beyond). Our debut is June 14th! Tonight was our first rehearsal. 4 songs down,
400 to go.
We (me & Julian) just played the L.E.S. Festival of the Arts (sponsored by Theater
of the New City). This was some real upfront confrontation/conversion shit. The
sound system was wired for actors, poets & belly dancers, not for loud assed,
slamming snot assed, hung over maniacs. The results were positive though. We
managed to work beyond any technical difficulties & reach the people man.
We finished up with Star Spangled Banner (a combination of Hendrix & Thrash w/ vocals too). It's amazing how that song works as hardcore (early 80's). I guess the violence of the lyrics cut & meld to that speed. It turned out that the legendary David Peel (John Lennon produced is "The Pope Smokes Dope" album back in 72) was there & went nuts after we played it. I was blown away by that. He had a camera crew documenting every move and
everything. After we finished, he embraced me and said that "Now I'm a patriot". He's a cool dude too; not nearly as insane as his public persona. I kept yelling for "The Pope Smokes Dope" during his set. He played "I wanna
I'm in the early stages of doing that obligatory Antifolk European thing. I'll make sure to update everyone so they can yearn to do it as much as me.
I've played a shitload of shows since my last report from hell. I'm a gig addict. I have to play or I explode (or maybe implode). No matter how frustrating a show may be (like tonight, but I'll get to that later), I moved to this hell (aka NYC) to play shows, and by Jah, that's what I'm doing. It's been great for the most part too. It's always the ones that you think are going to be the worst that turn out to be the best.
A couple of weeks ago was the Antifolk fest. It's always fun to play the fest. I had a great time at Tompkins Square rockin' "Kids Don't Wanna Rock" & "Star Spangled". Watching the bums to that junkie dance was cool too. As weird as it is playing a day gig that's outside, it has it's own kind of craziness. I play extra hard on these occasions. The ex wife was giving me shit about using that 'cookie monster' voice. As a matter of fact, she said I lost my voice (in her never ending attempt to crush my ego). I taped it and thought it was good (so did the audience), so fuck it.
August 23rd 2002:
I was so looking forward to the Heathens show that week for the fest. Well, that show was trouble in the works. Our bassist had some mental shit happening. Some idiot/savant/amnesia/bi-polar shit; all happening onstage!
Example: I was introducing a song, counting off the damned thing, he interrupts me, right in my face & says "no, tune up!!". I just waved him off and played. That was weird, but nothing could prepare me for the weirdness
that was yet to come. It was our last song, the encore, Lach was passing around the tip jar and...our bassist broke an A string. This should be no problem, since the song is in drop D tuning & he could play the whole thing
on that, but he insists on changing the string WHILE WE'RE PLAYING! Now that's not bad enough, but he starts TUNING the string full blast through his amp WHILE WE'RE PLAYING! After the song was over, he looked at me and said "OK, now I'm ready to play". I just said "That was it" and it certainly was.
The next night I had a solo fill-in booking up in the Bronx in this real hard-core Irish bar called An Beal Bocht Cafe. It took almost two hours to get there from the East Village. When I walked in, I felt a little nervous. The patrons consisted of everyone from people in there 80's to 20's (& everything in-between). I didn't know what to expect. I was opening for Johnny Seven (w/his band-they fucking rock), but couldn't imagine doing my thing in front of these people. I got up there & did a spontaneous sound check. I made up an Irish reel on the spot, but soon heard a sound coming from the side. It was this old dude jamming with me on his tin whistle. I just went over to him and started to groove. When I introduced my first song ('I'm Here To Sell You Beer') I actually got a round of applause. That's a first. This gig ended up being one of my best solo shows in my life. I'm glad I taped it & will be burning this to CD (with a possible release). I made more dinero than I ever did before at a gig (they were quite generous with the tip jar). Big respect to Johnny Seven who played a mighty & rowdy set. The Irish rock. There doesn't seem to be a generation gap in their culture. They actually respect their elders. I look forward to playing there again.
Back to reality. I'll spare you a review of each show. They do kind of blur together (which is cool really). I like to play as often as possible. I find myself developing a set like I'm writing a song on the spot. I never play the same set twice.
I want to fast forward to tonight. Tonight is the reason that I'm even writing this. I have to deal with it, get it out of my system. I just finished playing at Bar B. It's a Lower East Side venue that's just strange. The stage is this tiny rectangle with benches (I was jumping off of them). The bar & room is really long. I mean fucking vertical! I also heard that you can hear people talking really loud due to bad acoustics: the narrow room turns everything into a fucking speaker. The set started off as I expected: people just talking. That soon changed as I pulled out my bag of tricks. It was going really well. I had the crowd, it sounded good & I was really into it. After 6 songs something happened to my guitar signal. It just started to cut out. At first I thought it was my cable, so I changed it, but it still happened. Then I switched guitars. Same shit. It was the direct box or the soundboard. I've had trouble in the past with these things. At the pseudo.com show something similar happened, but this time there was no fixing the problem. The strangest thing happened with the audience though. They got completely silent. I commented "So now's you're chance to talk, go ahead, you know you were talking while I was singing so talk all you want. You're so quiet. I should start playing." I never did start playing. After 5 minutes of frustration I just said "Fuck it, goodnight" & left the venue. It was a real dick tease. Unrequited, almost consummated but inevitably frustrated.
I hope you have enjoyed this latest update of my very own never-ending NYC tour. I have a band gig coming up on Saturday at that nasty old Baggot Inn. Lach & The Secrets will follow. This is the first time in about 15 years
that Lach & I have played the West Village on the same bill. Who the hell knows what will happen? I'll keep you posted.
NOtEs From hEll
May 16th 2002:
It has been awhile, but I am a busy man.
Busy bouncing, strolling, working & playing.
Busy sucking & licking & always paying
I played a gig recently. I was the 'in between' act for these punky types at this place called "Otto's Shrunken Head" in the East Vill. It was Mother's Day. I had less than zero expectations. Turns out that I followed this all Female (plus the obligatory Male drummer) Stones tribute band called "Some Girls." They brought in a nice crowd, rocked & it was fun to follow their set. NYC Malltown has kind of turned into an anthem or something. Maybe a catalyst, I don't know, but it does get a response.
I'm finishing the next solo record. I'm in that mode-between reality & my reality-surreal? real? reel? I'm hoping to finish it soon. I keep writing though. You get on a roll then go. Still, I'm shooting for that Summer Antifolkfest Release.
Yeah, I'm just starin' at the blarin'
patriotic commercials selling' car services in the name of Iraq