Monthly Archives: July 2008

Seriously… you don’t hear that?

31 July 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  pensive

You rang?
Since I last wrote, I have been severely stressing out about the ringing in my ears.  I won’t go into details, but going into last weekend, I was on the verge of cracking up.  I’ve been joking the past few months about how I’m getting older and my body’s falling apart.  But this is the first real chronic health issue I’ve ever faced in my life.  The idea that this might never go away… well I think it’s so distressing to me because it’s the first time I’ve had to accept something wrong with me that I have zero power to change.  And having to redefine my self image to incorporate this new reality.  It’s the proverbial first ding on what was, up until recently, a shiny new car.  And this is surely just the first of many such “dings” that I’ll be enduring as I get older.  But the first one always hurts the most, you know?

As I feared, the doctors told me that they can’t do much for me.  It may still go away over the next week or two, but beyond that, it sounds like it’s going to be more permanent.  But no hearing loss, according to a hearing test, so that’s good.  I got fitted for some custom musician’s earplugs that I’ll be wearing at every practice and show from now on.  If nothing else, it’ll keep things from getting worse.  I understand that stress can make the ringing worse too, and since I’ve been focusing a lot of attention on it lately, it’s been really affecting me.  As I said, I was about to snap last week.  But this week, I’ve found that I can live with it a little better.  And I’ve been able to go for hours at a time without even thinking about it or noticing it.  Which gives me more confidence in my ability to ignore it, and so on.  Eventually, maybe I’ll be able to go days and weeks without it even crossing my mind.  And on that note, let’s stop talking about it for now.

Teddy Bear Picnic
Over the weekend, we had somewhat of a family reunion type picnic at my folks’ place in the mountains.  I wasn’t feeling very social, but if you can’t let your guard down with your own family, then who can you?  I had the cursory catch-up conversations with aunts and uncles and family friends.  We played some music including my sister singing “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and mom singing “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and both of them doing “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.”  It’s nice they knew the words… but the rest of the family wasn’t really getting it.  Oh well.  Grama had a few drinks and sang some dirty country songs from her youth.  A good time was had by all.

The experience was sort of bizarre for me though.  Everyone in my extended family, even those younger than I am, they all are having kids now.  They all live in the suburbs or the country.  This San Francisco city life.  This gigging and working in the FiDi and general night life.  I am the only one of my kind in my family tree.  It’s the life I’ve (happily) chosen, but it makes it increasingly difficult to relate to my kin.  I mean, my… social skill set… that is to say, the mode I have to be in for 99% of my daily life… from dealing with the relatively-fast-paced corporate world to walking city streets and dealing with every kind of character (and cuisine) imaginable… from dance club etiquette to keeping up on the music scene… from the parking problem to the homeless problem.  All these things that are a part of every day life here, they are so out of place at my family reunion.  These things that are critical to my urban survival are almost silly in the context of talking to my family.  I felt like a soldier coming back from war, where I have just spent all this time in a kill-or-be-killed world with a completely different set of rules, suddenly to find myself back in the alternate reality of the peaceful ‘burbs, dealing with laundry and the kids’ soccer practice.  You know what I mean?  I’m used to being pretty close with the fam, but for the first time, I felt a bit like the odd man out.  Like my interests and issues exist in a world completely outside of their reality, and vice versa.  I don’t mean to imply that  one is any better or more important than the other, but somehow just… incompatible.

Well, at least you’ve still got us…
Paul (of The Ghost Of Curtis) has joined TCB full time as our permanent Andy Rourke, and we’re thrilled to have him!  He’s a lot of fun to have around, and the Moz Krew seemed to like him OK, so you know.  Unfortunately… er… fortunately(?)… he’s getting hitched soon.  This means that we’ll need a substitute for our massive Slim’s show coming up on August 29th, and who better than our old friend Wally!  We’ll miss Paul for sure, but at least it’ll be nice to share a stage with Wall-E once more.  We’ll be pulling out all the stops for this show, and the special flyer is currently in the works.  More to come on that!

Strange, we finally get this big Slim’s show, and so many of the tribute bands have, ironically, disbanded!  Some confirmed and some rumored.  Over the last month or two, Northern California’s tribute scene has inexplicably been blighted by the apparent sudden loss (or indefinite shelving) of Spellbound, Sing Blue Silver, For The Masses, The Ghost Of Curtis, Spinout, and Modus.  Hopefully some of these guys will reform in some way… that’s a lot of great live bands I will miss!

And that’s all for now, kiddies.  The quote of the week comes from a bumper sticker I saw today:

Gwar is not the answer.”

What, you don’t hear that?

20 July 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  worried

The Good News
I expected this weekend’s shows to go well, but even my high expectations were surpassed.  It was a couple of amazing nights, including Saturday’s which is among my favorite shows we’ve ever played.  I will surely forget a lot of details, but here goes…

In (a very warm) Sacramento, we played solid and unveiled some new songs.  The crowd seemed to be really into it, and we had no shortage of stage invasions.  Sus and Shel joined us, as well as many of our Sacramento friends from past shows.  The Choir Boys were out in full force, and there was even someone from SoCal who just happened to be in town… and had seen us way back at the famous Hully Gully show in Spring of 2006!  It was a fine night, and we all ended up eating at Ink afterwards, amongst the meatheads.  I believe there are some good after-show pictures that will likely surface here soon.

After a nice brunch in Sacto, we all made our loose caravan trip down to Fresno, where it was well over 100 degrees.  Apparently the Radisson was the hip place to stay, because the band and many of our friends all ended up there.  I had been looking forward to returning to Fresno for many months, and I was not disappointed… when we pulled up, there was a line out the door, and the place was packed!  A second consecutive sell-out show there!  A ton of people waiting for us to go on, recognizing us as we entered the room… well sorry, but that’s about as cool as I ever get to feel.  (Is that ridiculous?)  In addition to Sus and Shel, Fresno friends like Blanca, local friends like Deanna, and even the Moz Krew all came to join us.  We blew through the set, again in top form, and had some pretty wild stage invasions here too.  The pit even migrated to the stage during “Miserable Lie.”  I’m hoping we end up with some video of the madness.  It was a blast from start to finish, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it all turned out.

I have a feeling the post-show pictures in Fresno are even more incriminating.  I’m afraid to see what Majik and Booty Lou end up posting here.  What can I say?  After such a fun show, with the Moz Krew in attendance, things can get out of hand.  A few of us made it out to Denny’s afterwards, and after 4am, when things were only just starting to cool down outside in Fresno, it was time for bed.  And after a long drive home, here I am.  Thanks to everyone who came to see us, and especially to our great friends who make these trips even more enjoyable!

(By the way, does this mean I’m now “Fresno Famous?”  It seems my reverse windmill will be immortalized in Fresno library micro-fiche forever!)

The Very, Very Bad News
For about a week and a half now, I’ve had a constant ringing in one ear.  This is not uncommon after a loud band practice or a show, and I realize that ringing of any sort means some damage has occurred… but this is the first time it’s lasted more than a day.  This is called Tinnitus, and is often… permanent.  I feel like I’m awfully young to be facing this already, and I have had relatively little loud noise exposure compared to most people I know.  There are a lot of possible causes, and some “coping” strategies.  But no cure.  Turns out several famous musicians have it and have discussed how much it’s impacted their lives and careers.  So it looks like I’m not alone, but I may be pretty fucked.  Playing shows this weekend made it a lot worse.  Whenever I’m in a quiet room, particularly when trying to fall asleep, I hear this constant ringing.  It’s literally driving me mad.  I’m gonna try to go see a doctor this week, but it is possible I will never experience the essential peace of true silence ever again.  Which has me pretty fucking freaked out.  Depending on what I find out from the doctor, it might hinder — or even end — my days of playing electric guitar.  I don’t mean for that to be so melodramatic, but it sounds like other musicians have been forced to do the same, and if it does comes to that, I’m not going to risk going deaf over this.  Wish me luck.  🙁

At least the quote of the week (from Wally) is uplifting, if not entirely coherent:

“God bless your cotton socks, boy.”

We Have Lift-Off

15 July 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  sore

A blog in three weekends:

The Past
A couple weeks back, I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing The Legendary Shack Shakers with Sus and Shel.  I knew a little of their music and that they had close ties to RHH, and kinda figured I’d like it.  But it was nothing like what I expected.  The band was good, but nothing particularly amazing.  However, it’s worth noting that:

  • David Lee (who recently got his own signature Gretsch, that lucky prick) has recently left the band, so we didn’t get to see him in action.
  • The standup bassist’s “shit-house bass” which was a knotty-looking double bass, but instead of f-holes, it had a moon and star… effectively an outhouse-themed bass.  So clever!

Anyway, the star of the show was far and away the singer.  This boney little guy that kept up an insane amount of energy all night, playing the hell out of his harmonica, making cartoonish facial expressions and poses, dancing like a leprechaun, ripping out his own chest hair, and spitting water all over the place.  At one point we all got sprayed with water from his water bottle — which normally would have mortified me — but I was so entranced with the show that I didn’t really care that much.  If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is.  Afterwards, I swung by New Wave City, where I ran into Deanna (and friends) and Nick/Charlene (and friends).  Bish!  I caught a bit of Joel Streeter Sunday afternoon too, relaxing in the back patio of Park Chalet.

The Past Also… but more recent.
This last weekend was our first show in Monterey, at a cool little place called Monterey Live.  Due to circumstances beyond our control, the show time got pushed back (which is extremely frustrating for us and for the people who’ve come to see us).  The place is right in the heart of the busy downtown area, with lots of tourists and meatheads meandering about, but the crowd in the venue itself was great.  It was strange playing tp a room of people sitting down, but in the end we got them dancing.  The opening band (Novela) were all really nice, and they put on a great set, especially in light of the weird situation with the venue.  Despite the bad omens early on, it ended up being a great night, and we sold the place out.  I crashed at a little motel, and then headed back in the morning.  When I got home, I caught Hellboy II (me gusta) and did some work for NASA with Orlando.  I’ll explain shortly.

The Future
Well I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while.  TCB is going to be making one our nearly-famous Sacramento/Fresno trips to the Blue Lamp and Club Fred.  We’ve always had a great time at both of these venues, and I think this will be our 4th trip to Blue Lamp and our 3rd to Fred (following last September’s sell out).  I know I’ve said it before, but I fucking love playing Fresno.  The crowd there is great, and these trips always involve all of the gang hanging out and road tripping like old times.  And I hear the Choir Boys and even the Moz Krew will be well-represented too.  We’ve got some brand new songs, and some that we haven’t played in ages.  And we’ve got a new bassist to unleash on all of you.  It’s going to be a hell of a weekend, bitches.  Bring extra socks, as I plan on rocking them to pieces.

This weekend, I’ll also get a chance to debut what is tentatively being called “NASA 2.0.”  After a list of problems with my pedal board set up over the years, I had been toying with finding a new solution.  At our shows, fans are dancing around on stage and stomping on my shit… beer gets spilled on it… flower petals get lodged in there.  All kinds of mess.  So I did my research on the internets and found a better way.  Or at least I think I did.  The new set up will be field tested this weekend.  Thanks to Orlie for help in piecing it together (he is a Yoda in this department).  If all goes well, I will be asking Majik and Booty Lou to help me with some special decorations.  (Girls, remind me to talk to you about this.)

One final bit of important TCB news… we have confirmed a headlining show at Slim’s!  Details are still being worked out, but it’s going to be Friday, August 29th.  This is huge, so above all other shows, I expect my friends and enemies from far and wide to all show up and support us that night.  Start making the necessary arrangements to be here.  Plenty of promo in the near future (including a very special flyer), but for now… couldn’t you just pee!?

And the quote of the week comes from our resident Virgo, Booty Lou.  To say “she likes to plan trips” is an understatement.  Within minutes of booking her flight, the folder creation began…

“Can you hear me stapling???  Nothing to highlight yet.  Yet.”

For The Fore Four

4 July 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  pensive

The 4th of July, 2004.  I had just turned (*sigh*) 25.  I was out with Jared and some of his family.  We went to the top of Coit Tower to watch fireworks, but it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment because the fog was so thick that all we could see were some occasionally lit up clouds and fogbank.  I came home late that night and ended up in front of the computer, where I met Frenchy.  She somehow convinced me to finally join MySpace (which I had been resisting for months).

So here we are, four years on.  It’s obscenely foggy outside, and I imagine that as I write this, my friends out on the wharf are being similarly disappointed by the obscured fireworks.  I’ve just turned 29, and it has been an amazing four years.  That’s not to say that I’m not feeling older and wondering if I’ve really made the most of the last few years, but I could have done a lot worse that’s for sure.  I don’t talk to Frenchy too much these days, but for what it’s worth, happy anniversary!

Moving on… I had one of the best birthdays in recent memory last week.  Jen took me out to a fancy lunch at a great Italian place downtown called Perbacco.  Then that evening, Majik (and her assistant Booty Lou) organized an awesome dinner with just a few close friends.  Everyone was so thoughtful, and it was amazing.  Thank you all!

The next night was Billy Idol at the Fillmore.  I went more to see Steve Stevens, and I was not disappointed.  Someone said that going to see Billy Idol these days is like going to see a Billy Idol tribute band, and that pretty much says it all.  This tour, they’re playing all the hits, and Billy’s up there looking like it’s karaoke.  But I mean that in a good way.  After all these years, they still look like they’re having the time of their lives.  I think it was the bass player — a big biker fella — that looked happiest of all.  Steve was phenomenal of course, theatrical and even cornball at times, but it was perfect in context.  With the piercings and Keef hairdo, he looks like Johnny Marr’s evil twin.  He rocked a theremin during his big guitar solo number (on a nylon string no less!).  Some interesting takes on classics, like a rockabilly “To Be A Lover,” a stripped-down “Sweet Sixteen,” a jazzy intro to “Eyes Without A Face,” and an acoustic opening to “Rebel Yell.”  By the end of the show, a backup drummer had taken over, and all five of the main guys had guitars on, though I think the keyboardist’s wasn’t plugged in.  Ha ha!  Great show, and really all you could ask for from a Billy Idol concert.

By the way, on the television in the other room, I can hear that Steve Byrne is fucking funny.

I know I was talking about four years ago, but you know what happened just about five years ago?  I bought my car… which means that I just paid the last payment!  If that’s not worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.  That extra money every month will go a long way toward mitigating the current $70/tank cost.

TCB has some good stuff in the works.  Our newest bassist is Paul of The Ghost Of Curtis.  We’ve got some new songs.  Some hard songs.  And as always, you can expect the real deal (for those of you who know the difference… and prefer tribs that don’t fuck around).  Coming up next weekend, we’ll be in Monterey for the first time.  This place “Monterey Live” I guess is like a real sit-down place, with dinner and all that.  Not our usual thing, but we’re looking forward to it.  Then the following weekend is Sacto and Fresno, but more on that next time.

And the quote of the week comes once again from Jamie, who at this point is surely my most frequent quote:

Me: My body is a temple!
Jamie: Yes, your body is a temple that gustas ice cream, Rice Krispies treats, Ovaltine, MHL, and Tums.

What can I say?  I enjoy the “malternatives.”  They’re an excellent source of vodka.  Does that make me less of a man?

Don’t answer that.