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Current Mood: sore
Note: This one turned out to be really long. I know not why. But if you really loved me, you’d read it all anyway. Every last word.
We’re a couple days past April Fool’s Day, but were any of you affected by the phenomenon known as getting “Rick Rolled?” I didn’t dig too deeply into it, but I guess the website YouGotRickRolled.com explains it best. The gist of it is that you send a link to someone under the pretense that it’s a link to something else, when in fact it’s a link to a Rick Astley video. The goal is to lead people to a Rick video against their will. How bizarre is that? But apparently it’s catching on and was all the rage this week for April 1st. Well, if you’re going to do something like that, who better than Rick Astley, right?
Last week was Louder Than Bombs. It was a big crowd, presumably for Gary Day (you sycophantic slags!). It was great to see everyone and loosen up a bit. By the end of the night, I was getting pretty tired, and I think I fell asleep in one of the Beauty Bar’s hair dryer chairs. Actually, Christ… there’s probably a picture of that on someone’s camera. Thank you for not sharing. Then Friday, I ended up seeing a Western swing band at the Knockout with Orlando. It was a really interesting crowd. There were a lot of rockabilly (?) kids around my age, tattooed and all, but dressed more like Calamity Jane than like 1950’s teenagers. The girls all had button up shirts, skirts, and cowboy boots. The guys had button up shirts tucked into their jeans. Very clean cut. Looked like nice Southern boys from the 60’s. Monica informs me that this is not uncommon in SoCal. This same bar apparently has a monthly doo wop night. Anyone interested? I wonder what that crowd will be like? Just think about all these groups of good people in the city that I never even knew about!
OK, so then Saturday was the Phenomenauts and the Lovemakers at Slim’s. The Phenomenauts were great as usual, but it was an all ages show. Lots of teens there who don’t have “show etiquette” yet. Bumping into you and pushing past you rudely. Generally loud and obnoxious, etc. They all seemed to know the words to the Phenomenauts songs, so I guess there’s a big following there. The Lovemakers were one of the opening bands… not in top form though. They were visibly irate and defeated. Losing that record deal has been quite humbling for them it seems. For some reason, they had to do their soundcheck in front of the crowd immediately before their set. The usual Flashdance water antics were augmented with some playful (?) splashing of each other that looked like it might just as easily been mean-spirited. I couldn’t tell if they were actually having a passive/agressive fight on stage? And with no keyboardist this time, there were a lot of things sequenced, which I wasn’t a big fan of.
Later that night someone destroyed one of my car’s sideview mirrors while it was parked and dining at Sparky’s with Shel. I just got it fixed today and it’s fine, but it was some time and deductible money out of my pocket. Thanks, dick. On Sunday, I was planning on going to a surf show at that tiki bar in Alameda, but there was a ton of traffic leaving the city… then I heard there was a line out the door at the show, so I just stayed in the city and skipped it.
I feel a rant coming on… I apologize in advance.
I have spent ridiculous amounts of time and energy working out Smiths songs lately. I think I mentioned before that Peter and I went back and forth on “This Charming Man” but eventually settled it? Yeah, we had several more conversations about it, and I think all told I spent four consecutive nights playing guitar from the time I got home till the time I went to bed, working mostly on that song, occasionally ringing Peter for a conference call. In the end, I am very happy with what was decided on, and I’m confident it is closer to what Johnny played than anyone else I’ve ever heard, tribute band or otherwise (and yes I occasionally take a peek at what the other tribs are up to). And sad to say, there is only one tribute band guitarist out there who is even close, and it’s the guy from “These Charming Men” in Ireland. Kudos to you guys. Though I didn’t make it to the convention last weekend, I heard good things, and your YouTube videos, by and large, are ace. Your guitarist is my new competition.
As for the other tributes, and even the solo guys on YouTube who are supposedly putting on a clinic for how to play this stuff… whatever else you think you have going for you, it does not include the correct “This Charming Man” guitar line. Bitches. (God, I’m an asshole. Sorry.) OK, so is it totally pathetic to be competitive in a tribute band? I guess maybe it is, but the Smiths to me are a special case. This music deserves the utmost reverence, and playing it half-assed is blasphemous.
The sad part about that is that realistically, no one will notice or care. I’ve spent all this time lately revisiting the songs I thought for years I already knew, and finding parts I’d missed, changing this or that note, and improving on what and how I play. I’m re-learning all this stuff! And after all is said and done, there are three people on the planet who would even hear the difference: me, Peter, and Johnny Marr himself. But hell, it’s fun I guess. You know, over and over again, as the pieces fall into place and the bigger picture of what’s going on musically in a given Smiths song becomes clear, there is always that “ah ha” moment where you’ve finally sussed out what Johnny Marr was doing, and you think “oh Johnny, I got you, you sneaky bastard!” Of course, you’re always wrong because there is always more to learn. Always. You seriously never have one of these songs figured out completely. (And if you’re a non-Smiths fan guitarist reading this and thinking “it can’t be that hard,” I defy you to figure out This Charming Man or say The Headmaster Ritual. It’s like WWII codebreaking.) Anyway, that might make a good tattoo someday. Just that phrase. “Oh Johnny, you bastard.” Although I suppose I’d spend a lot of my life explaining it to people.
It’s getting late. As I re-read those last few paragraphs, I sound absolutely insane. I will probably regret writing them in the morning.
Well at least I got my guitar. Meet “Goldielicks,” of the Les Paul variety. It’s heavy as fuck, with a thick 50’s profile neck… frankly, it’s just a whole lotta mahogany to strap around your shoulder. But I spent a couple hours in the studio with it tonight, and it sounds amazing. I guess it’s those pickups, but the full frequency spectrum is represented beautifully. That separation and punchiness made it sound almost in stereo on its own. It may not be my go-to for the more fleet-fingered arpeggiated stuff, but it’s definitely gonna add some serious balls to the overdriven numbers. It is, as Wally might say, the mutt’s nuts. Look for its debut soon!
So remember last time I was talking about the Johnny Cash cover of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” that I got stuck in my head? Well when I was looking for that video, look what I found! I started by just seeing this video (which it’s not going to let me embed unfortunately) but I appear to be the only one who’s never heard of Ysabella Brave? Turns out she’s a YouTube phenomenon that got so much traffic and attention with her singing that a record label picked her up! Holy moly… watch that video. Smoking hot. If any of you SoCal friends of mine know her, I command you to fess up!
On TV the other morning as I was getting ready for work, I saw a story/interview on a group called “Rescue Ink” which is apparently a group of tough biker types that go around fighting animal abuse. And I guess when necessary, they resort to unorthodoxed methods of getting their point across. I love the idea, but visiting their very polished website, I wonder how much of this is just publicity and show. What’s the angle, I wonder? According to the site, they’re all from the streets so they know how to operate in the streets. And most of them are strict vegetarians too. It just occured to me… I bet they’re trying to position themselves to get picked up for a reality show… fill “Dog, The Bounty Hunter’s” shoes maybe? Well, they’re half way there — they have the fancy website and the professional photos. I hope they don’t turn out to be fakes.
So kiddies… it’s almost the weekend. This means two things. First off, Saturday is Jamie’s birthday… so go wish her a happy birthday, bitches! Second, New Wave City is happening on Saturday night, and though it’s supposed to be a Smiths tribute night, I think we both know they’re just gonna play whatever the fuck they want and it will not include any more Smiths than usual… but everyone’s gonna be there, and really what else is there to do? See you there!
And finally, today I ran across maybe the best Smiths bootleg video I have ever seen on YouTube. Check it out — you will be astounded!