Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tribute to Ram Ayala

Gilbert Garcia recounts some stories of the legendary bar owner in the San Antonio Current. There are links to past articles about the man.

Jeff Smith, a musician who played and booked countless shows at Taco Land, met Ayala in 1982, while Smith was playing in the group Bang Gang. Ayala dubbed him "The Original Punk Rocker."

"Our drummer Arthur knew some drug dealers in the neighborhood," Smith recalls, with a laugh. "We had been playing shows at various one-off bars that ended up in some sort of fist fight between a bunch of flyboys, the owners, and the bands. Every club lasted about one-and-a-half shows at that time. So Arthur said, 'Let's go play at this place called Taco Land.' We asked, 'We're going to play at a Mexican restaurant?'"

Bang Gang played at Taco Land's first punk show, along with Millions of Dead Cops (MDC, for the squeamish), Offenders, Marching Plague, Billy Bob Faggots, and special guests the Butthole Surfers. According to legend, Ayala sold plenty of beer that night, so he had no objection to the noisy, anarchistic invasion of his club.

His connection to the punk scene, however, went much deeper than dollars and cents. The young punks were provocateurs, and Ayala intuitively understood that because he liked to provoke people too. His provocations surfaced whenever things got too slow, whenever spirits flagged a bit, whenever he sensed that things needed to get stirred up.

Ramos recalls the soundcheck for a Taco Land gig by Austin's ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead in which Conrad Keely, armed with a monstrous stack of amplifiers, cranked his guitar up to ear-bleeding decibel levels. "It was ridiculous, it was so loud," he says. "I remember they had played at the North St. Mary's Brewing Company and they got the cops called on them for playing too loud and a mini-riot almost broke out. But at Taco Land, Conrad's checking his guitar, it's ridiculously loud, and Ram yells out, 'Is it on?'"

"Is it on?" was part of Ram-speak, a shorthand language built on idiosyncratic phrases that alternately served as warnings, warm greetings, and sarcastic rejoinders. His most famous expression, "Don't Be a Pussy," had many interpretations, but at heart it was as much a punk mantra as "Kick out the jams" or "Never mind the bollocks." It goaded you into dropping your inhibitions, not for a political agenda, but for the sake of pure fun. That's why a Taco Land patron once described Ayala as "the guru of good times."

Ramos first played at Taco Land in the early '90s with the punk band Glorium. The group's members were all in their teens. No one knew who they were. They had not yet written any original material, so they played nothing but covers that night. Ayala showed his support at the end of the night by handing them a 12-pack of beer.

When Ramos and his wife Rosemary married in 2002, they headed straight to Taco Land after their wedding reception, where Ayala showed both his gruffly humorous exterior and carefully concealed soft streak. "She still had her wedding dress on," Ramos recalls. "She told him that we were married, and Ram asked her, 'Why'd you marry him? He's ugly.'

"We didn't know he was doing it, but he passed around a collection jar, so he surprised us with this money when we were leaving. So we went to Taco Cabana and paid for all our friends to eat with the money he collected."

Limewire Owner interviewed

One of the most closely watched U.S. Supreme Court cases this spring was MGM v. Grokster. In it, the Court heard arguments on whether Grokster and other makers of software used to share music and video files over the Internet should be shut down because of users' illegal copying of copyrighted material. Aerospace engineer turned Wall Street options trader Mark Gorton runs Lime Wire, maker of the popular file-sharing program LimeWire. He spoke to TR late this spring about the pending ruling.

Downloads of LimeWire software are running well over a million copies a week. The legal threat isn't hurting the file-sharing business?
I doubt most of our users even think about it.

The music industry certainly does.
They need to get over it. Look at the history: every time there's a technological innovation, someone says the sky is falling. But it never does. The way the music business makes money today is different from what it will be 10 years from now, but that's not unhealthy.

But don't they say that 90 percent of file-sharing traffic is pirated?
I don't see copyright infringement as a discrete issue. File sharing is a net good for society. It lowers the cost of distributing music. The fact that practically everything that's ever been recorded is now available at everyone's fingertips is amazing. When I tell people I run an options-trading company, their eyes glaze over. When I tell them I do LimeWire, they get excited.

Even if the record companies lose this battle, won't they still go after individual downloaders?
They have the right to file 10 million lawsuits. Whether they have the societal backing to do that is another question. If 20 kids on every campus in America are being sued, will there still be public support for more-stringent copyright law? But it's not just political calculation: these are their customers.

read it all

Crocus Behomoth Got His Start at Alt. Paper

The Cleveland Scene remembers David Thomas in its 35 years retrospective - here's a clip:

For sheer girth and ambition, Crocus Behemoth had no rivals. The son of an English teacher, the Tri-C dropout was a bushy-haired hulk with the physique of a refrigerator and an uncanny thirst for vodka.

Hired as the paper's art director, he was also its best wordsmith, and he bitched constantly about the typos he carved from the paper with his X-acto blade. Crocus, like most everyone associated with Scene in the early '70s, soon nudged his own byline into print -- first with record reviews and interviews, then with a weekly gossip column. Originally called "The Phlorescent Crocus and Rickie," it was later renamed "Croc O' Bush" -- the "Bush" a reference to frizzy-haired co-author Mark Kmetzko.

A bulletin board of local music events -- but primarily a sounding board for Crocus' warped intellect -- the column became a centerpiece of each issue and a precursor to the long-running feature Makin' the Scene. Skimpy on actual news, it read mostly like a collection of bizarre non sequiturs scrawled during an acid trip.

"I want to tell you about my fake arms," went the opening line of his 1972 debut. "I want to bore you. These are the pictures of me kissing Auntie. Here, I'm selling a turnip. Here, I'm talking to Mr. Sun. Here, I . . ."

The 35 retrospective (this link is current only for a week) includes some early photos of Thomas.

Don Letts Interview

Rocker In Da House: Don Letts on "PUNK: attitude"

When Don Letts is in the house, you know it. For one thing, he's got dreadlocks that hang all the way to his butt. He also might swoop into the room — impressive dreads and all — still wearing his shades, and announce himself: "Don Letts is in the house." The director of IFC's original documentary "PUNK: attitude" is good at getting noticed. In the 70s, he was the DJ famous for introducing the London punk rockers to reggae. His relationships with bands such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols led to another career making movies about them, like "The Punk Rock Movie"(1978) and "The Clash: Westway to the World," before expanding his range to direct music videos and the narrative feature "Dancehall Queen" (1997). He also formed the band Big Audio Dynamite with the Clash's Mick Jones, before leaving to form Screaming Target in the early 90s. Letts' latest, "PUNK: attitude," includes interviews with such scene stalwarts as Chrissie Hynde, Henry Rollins, Jim Jarmusch, Jello Biafra and Tommy Ramone, examines the attitude behind the inflammatory movement. IFC News' Andrea Meyer asked the multitalented punk nine questions.

to be read here


From the New York Press

In a recent issue of New York magazine, Keith Gessen summed up the absurdity of Hilly Kristal screwing up his lease at CBGB's. It was a fine piece, but Gessen left out a few details on how Hilly—now with a CBGB clothing line pulling in an annual $2 million—screwed up the chance to buy his building for $4 million. There's a mention of Hilly's attempts at rock management, but let's not neglect the clubowner's own bid for rock stardom.

New York Press has had Hilly's three-song demo for over a decade now. We first listened expecting some kind of demento blues. Instead, it's rap—in the same sense that CBGB pioneers the Tom Tom Club are rap. "Mud" is a backwoods beatdown where Hilly raves about the titular substance: "People like the fragrant spring/With flowers in the wood/But I like nature's mother earth/To me, it smells real good." There are plenty of slurping sounds, too. "'Sno Joke" is similar quirky fun, while "Rock + Roll Sir Jackson" is a barrage of synths celebrating old-time music. The most consistent theme is ludicrously long running times.

Our cassette doesn't offer any more info than Hilly's name, the song titles and CBGB's phone number. We'd dismiss it as a hoax if that rapping backwoods bumpkin didn't sound so familiar. And, to be fair, the tape's a fun batch of novelty tunes. Hipster icons such as Kim Fowley have made whole albums of worse crap. Let's just hope that no rent money was lost in the process.

Volume 18, Issue 26

©2005 All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bad Songwriter Gloats Over Grokster Ruling

Don Henley Comments On Grokster Ruling

by Paul Cashmere

28 June 2005

Eagles founder and president of the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC) Don Henley says artists have been vindicatde in court today as a result of the ruling against Grokster.

"By ruling against Grokster, the Supreme Court has vindicated the rights of artists, songwriters, and copyright owners" he said. "There is no more important case for the future of our business. These unauthorized P2P systems promote copyright infringement on an unprecedented scale. They make millions of dollars in advertising, but pay the artists nothing."

Rage Against the IPod

Little white device new source of angst for Bay Area writers.

It's time to rage against the iPod

SOME QUOTE Shakespeare. Others, Catullus.

My go-to is Beck.

It's from a profile written about the rocker about 10 years ago in the pages of Spin magazine. In it, Beck goes on this epic, absolutely brilliant rant on the angst of grunge musicians, or at least their lyrics.

"Oh, the tragedy and the anguish," he said. "You just gotta Rage Against the Appliance, man. The toast is burning and you just gotta rip it out and free it before it fills the house with smoke. Rage Against the Toaster."

Yep. Rage Against the Toaster. Over the years, I've wielded the phrase when I've been particularly aggravated, especially by modern inconveniences. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the appliance nuance to the phrase. But confronted by a serial cell phone chatterer cutting me off on the freeway or stymied by an Internet connection that's gone on the blink, out it comes.

Rage Against the Toaster.

There's a new object of my Rage Against the Toaster, though. And believe it or not, it's the iPod. Yes, the cute little white thing that has replaced the Walkman. The cute little white thing that has those cool television ads that make you want to discover your inner break dancer and join the dance party. The cute little white thing with the cute little signature white earphones. The cute little white thing that, you wait and see, just might be Time magazine's Cute Little White Thing of the Year 2005.

I hate it.

David Grubbs Memorial update

We are still planning to petition Congress and the Washington DC City Council to erect a David Grubbs statue in DC. A plot of land is being eyed. Target date is 2050. More on this later. Until then here's Grubbs' Wikipedia entry.

Bumbershoot Lineup

The line-up includes Devo and The Decemberists and lots of arty shit that supposed to be good for ya. It's Labor Day weekend in Seattle:


Devo + Ani DiFranco + Son Volt + Tift Merritt + Brazilian Girls + Digable Planets + The Decemberists + Ted Leo/Pharmacists + DeVotchKa + The Gospel Hummingbirds + Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion + Keren Ann + Sonny Landreth + Billy Preston + The Duke Robillard Band + Billy Joe Shaver + Mavis Staples + hundreds more to be announced!

The Court Has Ruled So Enter The Geeks

It's only fitting that I'll clip Jon Pareles entire article on the SC ruling - but the whole thing can be read here.

The Court Has Ruled So Enter the Geeks

Published: June 29, 2005

The Supreme Court's unanimous decision Tuesday in the Grokster case means trouble and potentially ruinous judgments against commercial file-sharing services, but it has also established a new standard for software innovation: don't ask, don't sell.

That is, don't ask for or gather information on what users are doing with the software you write, and don't sell ads that profit from access to copyrighted material.

The court found that the file-sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast could be sued for copyright infringement because they offered marketing and technical advice that clearly induced their customers to share files illegally, so the companies could attract larger numbers of users and thus more advertising.

But the court did not give the movie and recording businesses much ammunition to attack the Robin Hoods of the Internet: those software geeks and culture fans who really just want to share. They are online right now building Web sites that don't make a dime and spending hours writing and editing "mp3 blogs" - Web page collections of downloadable songs. They hook people up, basically because they can and because people want access to art.

File sharing software designers learned "don't ask" from the federal court judgment that shut down Napster in 2001. Napster's legal problem was that it could ask, and every request went through a central server, so Napster presumably knew what users were trading, thus abetting copyright infringement.

The geek response was decentralized programs like the software behind Grokster and Kazaa. But those are ugly programs because they don't just connect people with files to share; they also install spyware and adware to sell advertising and profit off the traffic in (primarily) copyrighted files.

Enter the geeks again, who came up with ways to stop ads from displaying or engineered stripped-down ad-free versions of the software like Kazaa Lite. In a charming move, Kazaa tried to stop distribution of Kazaa Lite, claiming it was a copyright violation.

Then the geeks came up with programs that established independent, ad-free networks or, like Bittorrent, facilitated multiple individual connections. The court's decision may torpedo the parasitical, ad-pumping services like Grokster, Kazaa and Morpheus, but no one's going to miss them much. There are plenty of geek alternatives that were devised not as business startups, but for the programmers' satisfaction and the users' sense of connection.

It's a completely alien mentality for profit-focused companies that still dream of being paid every time someone hears a song. Reality has never exactly worked that way, from radio to the Internet. In the United States, songwriters are paid for radio air play, but performers and recording companies are not, on the theory that having a song broadcast sells recordings and concert tickets.

That uncompensated use built a huge recording business. And while most radio is supported by advertising - like Grokster - it feels free to listeners.

So does the Internet, where people share everything from chocolate-chip cookie recipes to the details of last night's date. Motives for sharing music and movies are more complex than a grab for free goods. There's no doubt that getting entertainment free is a huge lure, but so is the access the Internet offers potentially to everything ever recorded or filmed.

Someone has it, and with the right hookup, so can you.

A few thousand CD's and DVD's at the mall no longer seem comprehensive. Even huge catalogs of paid downloadable music like the iTunes Music Store have notable gaps - the Beatles, for instance - and arrive with digital rights management encumbrances that can be confusing or worse.

Marybeth Peters, the Register of Copyrights, recently suggested a complete revamp of the overlapping licenses that have made it so complicated to get rights to put music online legitimately. That could take some time. In the meantime, a little digging can find even the most obscure material free and easy to use.

File-sharing software allows people to download without sharing - the logical thing to do if all that matters is getting material free. Yet millions of people open up shared folders anyway (which also opens the sharers up to lawsuits from the Recording Industry Association of America).

Why? To flaunt a collection. To spread the word on music they care about. To give back something for what they get. To feel cool. And while there is no doubt that some people are downloading copies of the latest Mariah Carey album, there are also people who grabbed a track of something they'd never hear on the radio, thus turning them into fans.

Copyright holders seem determined to shut down the buzz that builds stars. They want file-sharing technology to go away, refusing to recognize that the Internet itself could be defined as a file-sharing network. The Recording Industry of America has helped raid stores selling the mix tapes that build reputations in hip-hop, made from material supplied by the acts themselves. It sends cease-and-desist letters to fan blogs posting too many songs or lyrics and proselytizing for the music they love. Yet meanwhile, its member companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote a song into a radio hit or to make a video clip destined for MTV, where people can listen and watch free.

Six years after Napster arrived, it should be clear that geeks and fans are simply going to bypass a legal framework that was built for sales of sheet music and discs. As they did with radio and television, copyright holders should make those volunteers their allies in marketing because, try as they may, they're never going to find the Off switch.

All the Critics Don't Love You in New York

Sasha from the New Yorker has a crush on Jack White but hates Meg:

White may be a walking American songbook, able to mimic Ralph Stanley and Burt Bacharach, but he comes up short as a producer, and the album sounds muddy and obscured, as if recorded in a room covered with wet felt. Meg White may be his muse, best friend, or soul mate, and she exudes a steady and positive energy onstage, but she is a lousy drummer and only a passable singer. (Not to point this out would be weirdly sexist.) Why couldn’t White pair himself with someone like Cindy Blackman, the jazz-trained musician who has performed with Lenny Kravitz and knows from simple, thunderous straight-time drumming?
Also, a show review from "Old Leningrad" (Wow, the Village Voice is still hurtin' over that whole fall of Communism thing)

Jack's hat comes off, and Meg's drumming begins to unravel. It may be jet lag, but she's missing cues, changes speeds—and all this in service of a stunningly simple beat.

Xylophones emerge for "The Nurse," a quiet track without guitars from the new album, and poor maligned Meg's deterioration continues. But after "Just Another Asshole," there's another address from Jack: "My sister's very sick today," he says, "but we didn't want to cancel the show."

With that, they leave the stage. The crowd explodes, chanting "White" (pause) "Stripes"—over and over.

The first encore is " Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself," a solid sing-along that, as the chorus inflates with the power of a 2,000-person choir , the White Stripes suddenly feels like a band of consequence.

Then there's "Seven Nation Army," to my knowledge the band's flagship property, and Jack White goes totally nuts, writhing across the stage, stressing the chords with an awesome urgency. Even better is the next song, "Ball and Biscuit," the strongest effort from the entire show, and evidence that two white kids from Detroit can blur genre boundaries—in this case bicep-curling guitar rock with black man's blues—and not crawl back home from the scene of the crime, intestines dragging and fingers bleeding.

All Hail Electroshockbox

Music keeps one-man band sane

Humberto J. Vergara
El Paso Times

John Sweeden, aka Tron-D, wakes up in the morning to coffee and cigarettes.

Then he spends a few hours writing new beats on his custom-built Dobro Theremin -- a loud string instrument that dominated popular music in the 1920s -- and works designing custom furniture.

At the end of the day, he makes what he calls a small sacrifice and hangs out with his demons. During all these activities, his heart and soul are focused on one thing -- his music.

"Being a musician keeps me sane," he said in a phone interview from Tucson, his voice deep and raspy. "It keeps me grounded. It is my relief."

Tron-D is a one-man band known as Electroshockbox. He will perform alongside Mano Sol and Aztec Zodiac at 10 p.m. Thursday at the T Lounge, 1218 Texas.

"I think El Paso is one of the best places to play music," he said. "Last time I went down there, I had a good show at Moontime Pizza. El Paso has great, intimate venues."

Sweeden's interest in music sparked in 1992 when he moved from Muskogee, Okla., to Tucson for his senior year in high school. It was there that he created Electroshockbox "after being exposed to LSD and the herb."

With a combination of funk, electronica and goth music, Sweeden made Electroshockbox's newest release, "Panther Master," a symbol of his own personality.

"I like to call my music Satan- tronic -- that is music that deals with voodoo and bringing humanity back to its feet, but in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way," Sweeden said.

Tron-D's infatuation with the black arts prompted him to name his album after an emblem he created of a half-demon, half-human creature who is torn because he loves and hates humans at the same time -- the "panther master" was born.

"I think the song '(...) On My Back' is like no other song I've ever heard. Tron-D has a fearless energy about him," said Rodolfo Romo, an electronic media major at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Bands such as Helios Creed, the Butthole Surfers and the Carpenters -- yes, the Carpenters -- have influenced Electroshockbox's music. "In general, gospel music has influenced me. But I'm not religious. I just like the music," Sweeden said.

The name Electroshockbox originated from an animated sequence in a nickelodeon in Tijuana. After dropping five cents, the image of a dancing chicken receiving electric shocks on a box stuck with Sweeden.

Nowadays, he carries an artificial mold of a chicken with authentic feathers everywhere he travels.

Crystal Robert, booking director for the T Lounge, booked Electroshockbox to perform because of the two local opening acts.

Mano Sol, an electronica-rock band, and Aztec Zodiac, a jazz fusion band, will complement Tron-D's incendiary music. "I was looking for electronic music, and it sounded like these bands would work well together," she said.

She said El Paso has a community of electronic and funk music lovers.

"I'm excited about this show because we are bridging the El Paso and Tucson community," Robert said.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My Summer Book list (UPDATE)

Updates in italics

  • "A Game of Thrones" - Little Bro' gave this to me to read eons ago - I finally picked it up on a coast-to-coast flight. Pretty good fantasy set in an imaginary midevel world.
  • "Art of the Mix Tape" - Fun book
  • "The New X-Men" - Grant Morrison's take on things has been collected into several books. He's held back a bit by Marvel's stupid universe continuity bullshit but he gets to add his new mutants -- such as the guy whose skinflakes turn into Golems that freakin' fight, man.
  • "The Night Torn with Mad Footsteps" - Bukowski. Need I say any more. Random grab stanza quote: "Death is not a problem / waiting around for it is."
  • "F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference" - Brucolli, ed.
  • "The Great Gatsby"
  • UPDATE: "Kill Me Now" edited by Legs McNeil jumped into my hands at a bookstore and said README
  • I'm also enjoy Thurston's Moore's "Alabama Wildman" though his definition of "wildman" is very relative (hint: he's a geek)

I saw that there's a collection of Elmore Leonard's Western Stories (I really dug the "Cuba Libre" book - we need more hardboiled Westerns set in Cuba!) when I was flipping through the channel and came across that Pamela Sue Bigtits (is her last name Anderson or Lee?) show that set in a bookstore.

Ha, what a way to find out about books. Anyway, I may get that if I finish these before summer ends.

It was bound to happen


The stupidist idea I've ever heard of this week. The reason people are supposedly flocking to podcasting (I'm not, it's all hype) is because they are sick of current radio and all the advertisements.

Glastonbury Blog

Looked like a lovely time:

The flooded campsite at Glastonbury today. Photograph: MJ Kim/Getty

Well done to the technicians. After gloomy announcements that the first three acts on the Pyramid and Other stages were to be cancelled, power was restored in sufficient time for the third act on each stage to play. With a piece of Glastonbury magic this meant the Undertones - billed third - opened the festival with Teenage Kicks, which will now always sound like a tribute to the late John Peel. The crowd were wet but their spirits lifted as the first bars rang out.

Read it all at the Guardian...

Dinosaur, Jr. (Yawn)

I was a big fan of them since their second LP and I even bought the reissued 1st CD (which is alright).

But I don't think I'll be going to see them this time. The concert is pretty expensive and its at the 930 club which only suits me when its not crowded. Of course the paradox is that this show isn't sold out so it won't be crowded.... however, it might have been sold out if it were cheaper. But my main objection is that their reunion is only a nostalgic chimera. When Mission of Burma reunited, it was to pound out some new songs but I just can't get into these bands that reunite and play their 20 year old material. Why not just join an oldies troupe and play the state fair circuit?

They just finished touring Europe and are kicking off their US tour.

Here's the clip:

Dinosaur Found In West
Updated 01:46 PDT Mon, Jun 27 2005 Dinosaur Jr. has wrapped its return as a band - over in the U.K., that is. Now the trio of J. Mascis, Emmett Jefferson "Murph" Murphy III and Lou Barlow have announced they'll be launching a string of West Coast dates, starting off at the House of Blues in Las Vegas August 13.
The alternative rockers were a critics' darling before they disbanded 15 years ago, and Mascis changed the landscape of guitar heroes. Instead of a stack of Marshalls a mile high, Mascis set up a variety of amplifiers across the stage, with enough cable to run the Eastern Seaboard.
Dinosaur Jr. debuted, again, at Hollywood's Spaceland in April, and their three albums were recently re-released on Merge Records.
The band visits San Diego, Anaheim, Hollywood, San Francisco, Portland (Ore.) and Seattle. The last date on the books is the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver August 22. We'll bet dollars to donuts, though, that this isn't the last we'll hear of them.

Monday, June 27, 2005

My Current Shuffle Playlist

I'm not really a ritual person but then again I'm not overly spontaneous. I think on the Myers-Briggs test I scored right on the border the trait that corresponds to spontanity vs. routine. (For the record, I'm an INTJ but am high only on the "T")

But since I got my Shuffle, Sunday has become my weekly ritual of loading up the iPod and charging it up. I really like the Shuffle. It's light and fairly unoptrusive for my afternoon walk/runs (mostly walks) and the sound response seems better than the 20Gig model I now regret buying. It also keeps a charge for a long time - supposedly 12 hours though I've never been so anal as to measure it. At any rate, it's a lot longer than the 20 Gig model.

Here's my current playlist (and yes, I am a music buying addict, a friend of Lester B.):

  • Lowlights - Lowlights
  • Clap You Hands Say Yeah - s/t (yes, I have fallen for the hype machine. They remind me of a nastier mid-80's Talking Heads)
  • Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
  • Burd Early - Falling Feather EP
  • Jennifer O'Connor - The Color and the Lights
  • Lullatone - Little Songs about Raindrops (yes, really, children's music)
  • MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ - Souvenior De Mauve (my new niece's name is Maeve... concidence???)
  • MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ - Blues du Jour
  • My Pal Foot Foot - BlACK Knight,Black Tie...Where DO THE Strangers Meet?
  • Hope and Anchor - The Geography Of Goodbyes
  • Selected Songs from Paste Magazine Sampler 16
  • The Flaming Lips - Wedding Crashers song leak
  • Apothecary Hymns - Trowel & Era
  • Josephine Foster - Hazel Eyes, I will Lead You
  • Oneida - The Wedding
  • M. Ward - Transistor Radio
  • Chin Up Chin Up - We Should Have Never...
  • Various Artists - Esopus #4: Imaginary Friends
  • 13& God - self/titled
  • Antony & The Johnsons - Hope there's Someone

Taco Land To Close For Good

Taco Land and slain owner get mournful goodbye

Web Posted: 06/27/2005 12:00 AM CDT

Karisa King
Express-News Staff Writer

Grieving musicians and patrons loyal to the legendary San Antonio bar Taco Land gathered Sunday night for a concert tribute to the club's slain owner, Ramiro "Ram" Ayala, and bid farewell to one of the longest standing underground music venues in Texas.

The epic history of the club, which started in 1969 and came to represent a segment of San Antonio culture in its rawest form, abruptly ended early Friday when Ayala was shot to death during what police say was an apparent robbery attempt. Now, those closest to Ayala say the bar will close for good.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Two Show Reviews

I've become pretty picky in what shows I go so. I'm trying to avoid the Black Cat and 930 Club because of the crowds, the noise and the smoking.
The Tidbits @ Velvet Lounge 6/23/05 - Many years ago, Esmirelda, who sang dirty ditties and funny folk songs while seated on a toilet, became an offbeat opening act for many a shock rock outfits, opening up for Butthole Surfers, GWAR and even my old band (well, we opened up for her).

Now she's all grown down and become something of a shock rocker herself. Combining theatrical elements with one of the more positive and bubbly personalties around isn't always a great equation for rock and roll and partic. "shock and roll" (oh, ha ha ha, I'm tittering like a nun) but she pulls it off quite well and without the gore and only a little glitter make-up (alas).

She still has her "you can't sing that!" knack for songwriting and offending the blue bloods among us. Now it's like bigger, funner, stronger, meatier, did I say funner cuz funner's not really a word and louder, loud, loud, loud. Kinda like Hedwig (who isn't a real band or person), Cher (who unfortunately IS a real person) and AC/DC (whose video was playing ALL NIGHT LONG in the bar below) rolled up into one band of merry dirtballs. There's the stoic backbeat drummer, an aged hippy dude playing effortless lead guitar smackingly well and a competent androngynous bassist (everyone has to get one of those). Visit their website for latest gig info.

My first time at the Velvet Lounge and I'm not overly impressed. The music is in a tiny dark room at the top of the creaky stairs - the whole place just has this stoney frat boy turned tatooed rocker vibe to it. Though I suppose there's worse things frat boys could turn into.

Rachel Jacobs / Hope and Anchor / Bellafea @ Warehouse Next Door 6/25/05 - This was part of a festival put on by Exotic Fever records, a local label run by three ladies. It was their fifth anniversary. I got there when Ms. Jacobs was starting. For the Angry Girl with a Guitar And Little Life Experience and A Charming But Off Key Voice, she sure apologizes a lot to the audience for her f-ups. Yo, punk rock, sister, punk rock. I liked her last song - I believe it was called "Friends Overseas"...

Hope and Anchor set up themselves in a circle in the middle of the room and invited everyone to sit around. Apparently, they're new to Exotic Fever and recently moved from Portland to North Carolina.

A three member group - two girls and a boy, they trade off instruments from song to song and seats and they did a set of quiet, acoustic folk with occasional smatterings of psyche. instruments included a toyish accordian, brushes on drums, bass, guitar. Each song had a slightly different instrumentation. They left the vocals unmic'ed which when the girls sang together I was oddly reminded of my sisters screaming "are we there yet?" from the back of the station wagon on summer vacation. The songs were very short little tone poems (I'd say alot of them were under 2 minutes) and left no room for any soloing or improv. Some very nice stuff so I bought their $10 CD...

have that tasty CD EP, an ambient-ish folk psyche CD that makes for good late night listening... they were the headliners for the night. A two person band - a girl on guitar and a guy on drums, the girl seems to do the songwriting and all the singer. They face each other on the stage giving the impression of confrontation. The girl starts out with a quite repetitive piece that just tightens the tension while the drummer patiently waits. Then they explode together in an angular and controlled, smash and slab of feedback that mostly goes on for the next several songs, none of them sounded very familiar even though their CD has been in heavy rotation in my car. The final song was once again the girl alone with her guitar, the drummer walking off the stage at that point. One of the audience -- I think one of the label owners -- asked for "Seasons" (off their CD) and the girl admitted she hadn't played it for a while and didn't know if she could remember all the words and so it seemed to be sung halfheartedly - the only, uh, dischordant note in the set. For the most part, a fine set & glad I went.

Exotic Fever Records.

Addendum: Someone else was at the show and wrote about it or at least wrote about the people there. I think I'm the "creepy guy" she refers to. I try really hard to give off that creepy vibe and I'm glad I have succeeded. Now Jamy is linked to my creepy blog.

Radio Guy Behind MP3 Blog

A radio man dips into music of the blogs

As program director of the influential WXPN-FM, Bruce Warren reaches an audience of 300,000 devoted fans a week. So why would he maintain a music blog where on a good day 50 people drop by?

Because when he goes home at night, he doesn't want to listen to Indigo Girls.

"While I respect what the Indigo Girls do, and they have a lot of fans, my favorite music tends to be edgier," he says.

Which is why when you visit Some Velvet Blog - - you're likely to read about the Transplants, El Presidente! or Scrabbel.

To say that the site, named after Lee Hazelwood's 1968 "Some Velvet Morning," has evolved is like saying the Beatles' music got more interesting. His first post, on Dec. 31, was a cut-and-paste of a 663-word Wall Street Journal report on record sales. No comments, no trackbacks, no nothing.

But Warren, 47, was experimenting. He knew he wanted in on the action because as a serious music head, he loved how other fans were discovering new music, writing about what moved them, and offering full-length songs for download.

At first Warren didn't post music, just links to Web sites. He had read about the recording industry's lawsuits against fans who shared music for downloading, and its efforts to stop the use of university servers as giant copying machines. He was cautious.


Selfish Cunt Scene Report

Will M from SoundsXP writes about the guy who's his own gig idiot:

An hour or so later, and controversialist and self-declared Selfish Cunt, Martin Tomlinson finally takes to the stage, shaven-headed, manic-eyed, with a ragged T-shirt slung over an emaciated torso. Visually, he’s actually worryingly reminiscent of Pete Doherty, if he not only failed to kick crack but also mislaid his considerable talent. Because if Tomlinson does have a talent, it’s for inciting public disorder, as he bounds and snarls his way through the audience, howling lyrics in our faces, hell-bent on chaos.

It’s all like a studied mockery of The Others’ much-publicised crowd-interaction - this isn’t getting up onstage with the band in a good-humoured stage invasion, this is a screaming, six-foot-plus maniac in your face. Suddenly, one longs for a return to the separation of fan and performer.

And as for the utterly secondary matter of the music? Well it’s really pretty disappointing, especially considering that on record, songs like the chilling “I Love New York” accurately conjure up the kind of sneering, brave-new-world paranoia that the Cunsters spend the majority of tonight's set limply scrabbling around for. Anyway, for some reason they don’t play it tonight. Neither do they play infamous debut single “Britain Is Shit”.

Actually, fuck knows what they do play. The band feedback themselves into screeching oblivion for what seems like hours, occasionally stretching to a disconnected, flailing garage riff before regressing again. Meanwhile, against this effectively irrelevant evil-muzak background, Martin prowls through the crowd spitting vitriolic, looping slogans.

What they’re actually trying to achieve is unclear - his words are far too fractured and childish to have any real effect on anyone. And musically, it’s nothing new - The Velvet Underground were making similar experiments in tone and volume before Tomlinson was a psychotic glare in his father’s eye.

Anyway, I suspect he leaves satisfied, target reached, as after an hour of sound-torture and audience abuse, everyone is pissed-off, intimidated or simply bemused. Even I’m slightly needled at Martin’s parting shot - a sneering jibe about “indie haircuts” apparently directed at me. We’re open-minded folk, here in Tunbridge Wells, but even we have limits.

So, Selfish Cunt - an arty, challenging, thrilling live band, go and see them while you have the chance. Just don’t bother taking your ears.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Little Blue Smurfboy(tm)

Matthew Wilder lays into mantropy in the current arts scene in the Minneapple City Pages:

Boys in the Corner

Son of Big Bruiser, I name you LittleBlue SmurfBoy™--after the fetish of your patron saint, Donnie Darko, the most sensitive and martyred of your kind. I take this moment to examine the markings of your race, as evinced by your most applauded manifestations: novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, filmmaker Wes Anderson, and musician Conor Oberst.

Of all the celebrated SmurfBoys of the moment, 24-year-old Oberst is for sure the most little and most blue. I can't recall a single live performance that filled me with as much rage as Oberst's unsmiling warm-up for Belle & Sebastian at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, in which an anti-Iraq war variation on his current song "Road to Joy" climaxed with Oberst closing his bright eyes and rendering the mock-ecstatic windup--"Let's fuck it up, boys, let's make some noise"--as a literally shivering paean to his own too-raw nerve endings. "Let's fffffuckitup, boys!" Oberst shuddered, his plosive F a talisman of his too-sensitive-to-live fragility. (Even serenading Leno with "When the President Talks to God" can't redeem that long evening.) On his early 2005 album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Oberst the composer devises variations on Robbie Robertson's shambling antebellum melodies that have a crawling-kudzu creepiness, like Matthew Brady photos of carpetbaggers staring shell-shocked into space. But damned if every song isn't shellacked by Oberst's penchant for teen-drama-queen melodrama. No lyric clink of image-shards or exhausted wheeze of Jon Brionesque hurdy-gurdy is permitted to stand its own ground. No, all must be subjugated to the sniffly one's deluge of sensations, impressions, and feelings. (Maybe that's why the title suggests the first, early a.m. words of a demonically overprecocious child.)

Voodoo Music Experience Lineup Announced

So I wonder if Joss Stone and Trent Renzor will participate in the Atone Pain Tribe when she plays Voodoo Music Experience... it would be worth more than the price of admission, the hotel room, etc. Posted by Hello

This Week's Interesting Items


ARTHUR: #17 July 2005 MAG (ARTHUR 017) 0.01
On the cover: Tomorrow's Perfect Occupant: Brian Eno, interviewed by Kristine McKenna on the eve of the release of his first solo album featuring vocals in decades. Plus, a tribute to Eno by Alan Moore. Features: "Be Your Own Guru" - by Douglas Rushkoff; "No More Oil, No More Lies" - Daniel Pinchbeck on the approaching end of day-to-day life as we know it; "Closest to the Edge" - a journey to a squatter's village on the wild side of Maui; Jeff Lint's "The Caterer," two pages from one of the strangest comic books ever published. Plus: reviews by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore. Arthur is a free publication and you may add a copy to your order at no cost while supplies last.

BB 72007

VA: Soul Sisters: The Sights & Sounds of the African-American... CD (BB 72007) 14.00
...Underground. "Not just another blaxploitation soundtrack compilation, this is a collection of music taken from 1970s X-rated African-American films and made available for the first time anywhere. These X-rated films feature less 'by the numbers' funk and more improvised grooves and 'avant garde' textures than the typical blaxploitation soundtracks. Using mainly jazz musicians from Oakland, CA (where many of these films were made), these recently uncovered master tapes (and the 16 pages of color photos) are sure to delight your eyes and ears."

EMI 81412CD

BARRETT, SYD: Crazy Diamond 3CD BOX (EMI 81412CD) 48.00
1993 release, instock again for the first time in a while. Luxurious UK-only box consisting of Syd's two real LPs, both released in 1970, (Madcap Laughs (with 6 bonus tracks), Barrett (with 7 bonus tracks), plus Opel, (with 6 bonus tracks) (the 1988 album of leftover material). All bonus tracks are made up of alternate takes not legitimately released before. Also includes a 24-page full-color booklet that includes a bio on the making of these three records, full of photographs and lyrics


LOW: Low In Europe DVD (PLEX 021DVD) 20.00
"Low is a trio from Duluth, Minnesota, comprised of Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Zak Sally. The band has been stunning audiences with their mesmerizing harmonies and quiet intensity for over ten years. Director Sebastian Schrade joined the band on a string of live dates from Germany to the UK, as they toured in support of the album Trust. Told through van ride conversations, backstage banter, hotel room chats and late night revelations, Low in Europe is an illuminating portrait of a group making music at the height of its powers."

New Aquarius Wishlist

#216 is out if you are counting... some highlights:

album cover V/A Thai Beat A Go-Go Volume 3 (Subliminal Sounds)
It's beginning to appear as though Subliminal Sounds' well of amazing undiscovered Thai Beat music might be bottomless! We were a bit surprised when they managed to pull off a second excellent collection of Thai bubblegum psych tunes from yesteryear, but now a *third*?? "Is it just as good", you ask? Well, heck yeah, it is! It doesn't seem as though they culled the best for the first, or even the second, collection. This third volume may in fact be the best -- though it's hard to choose. This one has about the same ratio of purely weird and inimitably Thai "pop" to off-kilter covers of your favorites from the golden era of rock (including "Hang On Sloopy" and another Elvis number "Heartbreak Hotel"), but add into that mix a great deal of seventies funk & disco and even some Santana-esque rock, all with a Thai twist and lots of fun. But the real gems on this collection are two tracks -- "Thai Boxing" and "Siamese Boxing" -- by Jiraphand Ong-Ard which nearly bookend the anthology and completely fill their own void of strange rock. Both tracks pay homage to Muay Thai boxing and raam muay -- the traditional music that accompanies boxing events. The music of raam muay features a Thai reed instrument that sounds like a kazoo run through a Marshall amp. Both the tracks use this music as an odd bridge mixed in to them -- almost arbitrarily -- in such a way that they sound bi-polar. In addition to all the cool music on this collection is album's cover, which looks as though it were taken from a 70's Thai B-grade horror film. A "scary" looking dude in blue slacks, red sweater, and dracula fangs is lightly held back (or is he dancing with?) two sexy Thai girls wearing matching green skirts and white knee high boots. WOW! is our reaction to that, and the whole disc as well!

album cover WHITE, JIM Jim White Presents Music From Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus
Wow, this is fantastic! All on its own (i.e, even without the film for which it was made) Jim White's soundtrack to Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus is one helluva stunning, evocative collection. The odd thing is, the film itself (by British filmmaker Andrew Douglas) was inspired by one of Jim White's previous albums. Funny how things come full circle, innit? Anyways, this will surely appeal to fans of Calexico and Giant Sand. The artists certainly weave similar musical tapestries, but whereas those Arizonans' music is drenched with Southwestern desert sunsets, Jim White's is conjured from the humid Deeep South. In addition to his own material, this cd includes songs by many AQ faves such as David Eugene Edwards of Sixteen Horsepower, Cat Power, Johnny Dowd, Maggie Brown, Handsome Family, Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, Lee Sexton, Trailer Bride's Melissa Swingle, David Johansen, Larry Saltzman, and spoken word from Harry Crews (one of Andee's favortie authors EVER!). Steeped in rich imagery with plenty of soul searching and haunting gothic chills, each individual artist's contribution converges magically with the rest, making for a deeply moving and cohesive aural journey. Really, if this soundtrack's impact is even a fraction of that of the film, we're gonna totally love it. Recommended!

album cover COLLEEN Golden Morning Breaks (Leaf)
Golden Morning Breaks is the second album from Parisian electronic-folk abstractionist Colleen (alias Ms. Ceclie Schott). Her first record -- Everyone Alive Wants Answers -- made use of a plethora of keyboards, music boxes, glockenspiels and guitars, astounding many a listener with her playful if occasionally dark constructions of post-Harold Budd / Brian Eno ambience. Golden Morning Breaks picks up where that earlier album left off with gentle music box-y electronica that depending on your state of mind can be thought of as light'n'summery or creepily unsettling a la '70s Italian horror movie soundtracks. Regardless, this is lovely stuff.

File under fatuous bullshit

Cover Art from some australian website

Joni Mitchell explains her unusually lengthy writers block:

Joni Mitchell, who signed up for the Starbucks series, explains on the shop's website: "By the end of the 20th century, it seemed to me that the muse had gone out of music and all that was left was the 'ic'. Nothing sounded genuine or original. Truth and beauty were passe . . . I quit the business. I volunteered to take part in [this project] in order to force myself to review the songs and compositions that, over the course of my life, really got to me."
Here's Joni's pre-1977 selections. Included among the songs that "really got to [her]" are "Johnny B. Goode", "Saturday Night Fish Fry" and "Third World Man" (Steely Dan).

I am so friggin' jealous

Well, not about Laura Cantrell... I have too much shit to do that weekend so I can't get on the train and go see this FREEEFREEEFEREE show... NYC, you suck!

Matador Rock July 4th with Free Show
Jun 24, 2005

Matador Records will pay tribute to the United States' 229th birthday with a free show in New York.

The show brings Yo La Tengo, Steven Malkmus and the Jicks and Laura Cantrell to New York's Battery Park. Best of all, since Indpendence Day is a big ole celebration of freedoms or something, it's a free show.

The schedule is:

2 p.m. - Gates open
3:30 p.m. - Laura Cantrell
4:20 p.m. - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
6 p.m. - Yo La Tengo

Friday, June 24, 2005

Details on Stooges Reish

The Stooges - news image (Iggy Pop)
Real cool time

Stooges Reopen "House"

Deluxe editions of Detroit rockers' first two albums due

Expanded versions of the Stooges' howling, hard-rocking first two albums are headed for record stores on August 16th. Rhino Records' double-CD deluxe editions of 1969's The Stooges and 1970's Fun House will feature the original album plus a bonus CD of demos and rarities.

The bonus disc of the Stooges' eponymous debut contains alternate takes and mixes of classics like "I Wanna Be Your Dog," while its Fun House counterpart also includes two songs, "Lost in the Future" and "Slide (Slidin' the Blues)," that did not appear on the original release.

<read the whole thang>

(Posted Jun 23, 2005)

Cassette Culture Lives On...

From The Stranger:

While the recent rise of CD-Rs threatens to beat out tapes for the lowest production cost, Demeter sticks by his chosen format. "[Cassettes] are still pretty cheap to make," he says. "I find tapes a little bit better to deal with than CD-Rs. I like the way they look better and the ways you can package them." Releases in the tape underground often comprise such ridiculous packaging as cases made out of lacquered wood, plaster, and odd mutations of plastic drizzled with spray paint. Since 1972, however, packages cassettes of challenging music and out-there sounds in black cases with j-cards featuring mangled Xerox art.
since 1972

"Zombies, man. They creep me out."

The other George is back...

John Leguizamo keeps his head when fighting zombies in John Leguizamo keeps his head when fighting zombies in "Land of the Dead."
Photo Credit: By Michael Gibson -- Universal Studios
Related Article: 'Land of the Dead': Yuppies Add Zest to a Zombie Feast, page C01

NextFest Review

The Handsome Family's Brett and Rennie Sparks, on the other hand, had to win over a chatty throng. (As scene veterans will note, this may have made the former Chicagoans feel right at home: For years the pair took their lumps and made their bones on local stages, most of all Lounge Ax.)

They were in fine form Wednesday. When Rennie wasn't wrapping airy harmonies, melodica and meandering banjo lines like vines around Brett's guitar progressions and his baritone tales of deserted motels and crying ghosts, she was slinging deadpan humor with an emphasis on the dead.

In a sense, the Handsome Family was an apt choice for an event nominally oriented to the future; their songs are frequently concerned with fate, or the day when rabbits finally inherit the husks of our shopping malls. To hear them tell it, that day is coming sooner than we think, and actually, it doesn't sound so bad

read it all - Tweedy Sees A Future...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Morvern Callar soundtrack

The first part of the movie revolves around a mix tape a dead boyfriend makes for Morvern as his going away present (that and his 100,000 English Pound novel).

But the whole movie is one big ultimate mix(ed-up) tape full of zombie-like people, bugs and death. Absolutely killer.

Here's the soundtrack listing:

1. I Want More - Can I Want More - Can
2. Goon Gumpas - Aphex Twin Goon Gumpas - Aphex Twin
3. Everything You Is A Balloon - Boards Of Canada Everything You Is A Balloon - Boards Of Canada
4. Spoon - Can Spoon - Can
5. Blue Milk - Stereolab (edit) Blue Milk - Stereolab (edit)
6. I'm Sticking With You - The Velvet Underground I'm Sticking With You - The Velvet Underground
7. You Can Fall - Broadcast You Can Fall - Broadcast
8. Gamelan Drumming Gamelan Drumming
9. Cool In The Pool - Holger Czukay Cool In The Pool - Holger Czukay
10. Hold Of Death - Lee "Scratch" Perry Hold Of Death - Lee
11. Some Velvet Morning - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood Some Velvet Morning - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood
12. Japanese Cowboy - Ween Japanese Cowboy - Ween
13. Fragrance - Holger Czukay Fragrance - Holger Czukay
14. Nannou - Aphex Twin Nannou - Aphex Twin

music outfitters

Drugstore Cowboy Does Factotum

from Burroughs to Buk in 20(?) years...

Last update: June 23, 2005 at 1:22 PM

Matt Dillon does it all

Colin Covert, Star Tribune
June 24, 2005 HERBIE0624.BAR

LOS ANGELES -- "Factotum" is a two-dollar word for a jack of all trades, a worker with the skills to do any number of odd jobs. That's the title of the noirish Charles Bukowski drama that Matt Dillon filmed in the Twin Cities last summer, and a pretty good description of the eclectic actor.

At 41, he has been a star for two-thirds of his life with a career path full of unexpected turns. He has grown from the Tiger Beat heartthrob of "Tex" and "The Outsiders" to the unrepentant drug fiend of "Drugstore Cowboy"; evolved from the toothy comic foil of "There's Something About Mary" to the writer-director-star of the atmospheric Asian thriller "City of Ghosts," and followed a breakout role as a racist L.A. policeman in this spring's ensemble drama "Crash" with a zany turn as Lindsay Lohan's NASCAR nemesis in "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

Dillon had just returned from France, where "Factotum" premiered as part of the Cannes film festival, and Scandinavia, where he was promoting the film with its Norwegian director, Bent Hamer. "Factotum," the story of a drunken blue-collar poet, is the second feature Dillon has made in Minnesota. He filmed the romantic dramedy "Beautiful Girls" with Mira Sorvino and Uma Thurman during the winter of 1995.

read rest

It's leeeeakkked

new flaming lips song

Pirner and Murphy Euologize Mueller

Seems like the first one from 80's gen to die of so-called natural causes? I was never a huge fan of this band but they did have their moments.


Grieving friends of Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller remember how to smile

Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
June 23, 2005 MUELLER0623

It was the kind of funeral where they quoted from the Bible and the Clash.

A who's who of the Twin Cities music scene and many other friends and fans gathered with family members Wednesday at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel in Minneapolis to honor Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, who died Friday from complications related to cancer treatment.

A founder of one of Minnesota's most successful rock bands, Mueller, 41, battled throat cancer for a year.

His bandmates Dan Murphy and Dave Pirner each delivered eulogies at the noontime service.

"Karl made the cramped quarters and the hard times easier," Pirner said, recounting the band's early years driving Mueller's beat-up truck, nicknamed Clarence, to gigs. The group formed in 1981 as Loud Fast Rules.

When Soul Asylum made it big a decade later with the 1992 hit "Runaway Train," Pirner recalled, Mueller was likely to "grab a couple beers and head back to the hotel to call his wife Mary Beth" instead of enjoying the richer backstage scene.

Murphy did remember one night when the bassist hung out with rock legends Keith Richards and Tom Waits.

"Karl kept asking [Waits] what his name was," Murphy said to laughs from the crowd, which overflowed the chapel.

The guitarist ended his eulogy by tearfully quoting the Clash's "Stay Free," Mueller's favorite song: "I'll never forget the smile on my face 'cause I knew where you would be/ And if you're in the Crown tonight, have a drink on me/ But go easy, step lightly, stay free."

Pirner also fought back tears as he sang "Morning Has Broken," a song popularized by Cat Stevens also used at the funeral of Mueller's father, Gary.

Mueller's body was cremated before the service. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, Mary.

Afterward, the crowd moved to Dixie's by Lake Calhoun, a restaurant that Mueller -- who worked in construction and cooked during the band's off time -- helped build.

Virtually every major Twin Cities rock band of the '80s and '90s was represented at the gathering, including members of the Jayhawks, Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Babes in Toyland, Suburbs, Gear Daddies, Honeydogs, Polara, Run Westy Run and Magnolias. Many local club and radio employees and former KARE-11 anchor Paul Magers, a friend of the family, were also on hand.

Former Soul Asylum drummer Sterling Campbell, now in David Bowie's band, said Mueller was a "prince" about teaching him the group's songs when he joined in 1992. "It didn't take long before we found the pocket," he said. "We had a lot of really amazing shows."

The stage is usually where Soul Asylum shined brightest. Fans were reminded of this in October, when the band performed at an all-star Rock for Karl benefit concert in Minneapolis.

Soul Asylum spent the past year finishing its first studio album since 1998's "Candy From a Stranger." The CD's producer, Steve Hodge, said Mueller played on each of the record's 12 tracks despite his chemotherapy treatment.

"At first, it was tough for him to even stay awake, but by the end we had to kick him out of the studio," Hodge said. "My impression was Karl always worked hard like that."

Pirner and Murphy have not yet publicly addressed the future of Soul Asylum, but everyone close to the band believes the group will carry on. Mueller even reportedly gave his bandmates a short list of replacements he thought would work.

Either way, Pirner made it clear that Mueller's passion was often the spark plug behind the band.

"Many times Karl would look me in the eye and say in all clarity: 'I love to rock.' "

Chris Riemenschneider is at

L.A. Chicks: Satan is a Breakup Record

J: You can never tell — there’s so much mythology with this band. Now that he’s had a movie-star girlfriend, and he conjures up the specter of Rita Hayworth — is she the stand-in for Renée Zellweger? And the song “The Nurse” —

K: Right — Renée Zellweger starred in Nurse Betty — the girl who couldn’t tell the difference between TV and real life.
J: This is a roman à clef. In that song, the nurse poisons him — “The poison is delivered by trust.” Excuse me, but this is a breakup record. It’s a concept album about breaking up. It’s also the shifting finger of blame — there’s not one point of view in all his songs. He’s trying to figure out where he went wrong, or where she went wrong. And the whole thing about the ghost [on “Little Ghost”]. It’s just like the Zombies’ “She’s Not There.” He’s in love with an apparition, an image on a screen.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Man and His Mr. T. Dolls

amazing collection... ever possible variation on B.A. ... as found on e-Bay...

hot tip from mama

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech

...dropping the usual cynical veneer of the VMCS, this is kinda inspirational. He talks about following your heart and your curiousity and, surprisingly, that he was diagnosed with cancer last year:

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Download the audio here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lamest Looking Record of the Week

Chancellor, Walter, Jr. - Smooth Sax Tribute To Lauryn Hill CD

buy it you're a moron here