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The return of SHAW 'NUFF (for Mike's birthday) [Apr. 2nd, 2005|04:19 am]
[Current Mood |somnambulent]
[Current Music |Beck "Guero" -- not happy with this one so far]

Did you miss the one-and-only January '05 performance of this rag-tag batch of NYC Garage Superstars, Has-Beens, Geriatrics and One Babe-A-Licious Keyboard Player? At the Greg Shaw Tribute/Memorial/Benefit in Brooklyn this past January?

Do you recall my saying, at the time, that "you REALLY need to come to this thing. It's a one-shot, this bunch of folks will likely never all be on the same stage again."

As I so often am, turns out, I was wrong.

Whom are we talking about? Quoting:

SHAW 'NUFF -- A one-shot [not] NYC super-group of sorts, featuring:

Peter Stuart (bass, vocals) -- veteran of the 1980s NYC garage revival, with The Tryfles and The Headless Horsemen. Appeared at Cavestomp '99 with The Standells, Cavestomp 2000 with The Beau Brummels and The Blues Magoos, and in September 2001 with Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. Currently a member of Special Pillow. If Peter doesn't know the song, it probably isn't worth knowing.

Kurt Reil (drums, vocals) -- founding member of The Grip Weeds (new album "Giant On The Beach" out now on Rainbow Quartz Records) and Jim Babjak's Buzzed Meg. Appeared at Cavestomp 2000 with The Beau Brummels, and in September 2001 with Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. If Kurt can't play the song, it probably can't be played.

Mike Fornatale (guitar, vocals) -- Has played and/or sung with The Monks, Moby Grape , Kelley Stoltz, and Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. Has stood in at soundchecks for Alana Amram and Arthur Lee. (Listed in descending height order.) Currently a member of Richard And The Young Lions. If Mike doesn't know the song, give him a minute.

Michael Lynch (guitar, vocals) -- Has played and sung with The Lynchpins and The Anything People. Featured artist at International Pop Overthrow shows, 2003 and 2004. If Michael knows the song, he's also intimately familiar with all nine re-mixes.

Wendy Fornatale (keyboards) -- Has only appeared once [well, twice, now] in public since college, on 9 May 1987, with The Wendytones. Wearing a bridal gown and veil. Well, it WAS her wedding after all. Seventeen years later she's out of retirement and it's about damn time. If Wendy doesn't know the song, she will bring sheet music.

If you missed this show, well, then, it can safely be said missed this show. And you were never going to get another chance either.

But an awful lot of people were crying after we finished up, and we weren't quite sure why. So we're returning to the scene of the crime to see if we can figure it out.


Magnetic Field, 97 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
- (718) 834-0069
Magnetic Field on MySpace

Saturday, 4 June 2005
(what time? We dunno yet. Early, though)

The Special Occasion:
It's Mike's Birthday(*) (**) (***)

* -- well, that's not quite as important globally as Greg Shaw, but it means ALMOST as much to me.

** -- actually Mike's birthday is June 3rd, but this is pretty close.

*** -- Truth be told, June 4 was the first Saturday Magnetic Field had open.

We intend to play two full sets and not repeat anything except maybe one or two hand gestures.

More info as we make it up. We wanted to give you ample warning to mark your calendar NOW!

(By the way -- if you DID miss the Greg Shaw Tribute show in January, there's a 12-minute video excerpt here. )
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...and now MY BALLS ARE PURPLE [Mar. 15th, 2005|10:26 pm]
[Current Mood |chromatically challenged]
[Current Music |Meagan Brothers]

No, seriously, they are, all nine of them!

The lesson to be learned is this: if you're making matzoh ball soup from scratch, and you decide to put some wild rice in it, you really do need to cook the rice separately. And rinse it really well.

It tasted great, though...
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Is it art? Or not? [Mar. 12th, 2005|04:06 pm]
[Current Mood |LITERAL]
[Current Music |Judee Sill "The Donor"]

You're supposed to look at each example and decide if it's an actual accepted work-of-art or something a four-year-old did, and then they score your answers..

Me, I reject the entire concept. If two four-year-olds can create something that can stand next to a deKooning and FOOL somebody, (anybody!) then the entire concept of abstract art vanishes in a blinding flash. (A blinding flash which, of course, would not LOOK anything like a blinding flash.)

I'm not saying you're not a valid artist if you can't draw me a pony that looks like a pony, but in the last 50 years it's become impossible to tell the soul-driven creators from the complete fucking charlatans. I say please go back to painting girlies, apples, and yes PONIES.

I love ponies.

And while I'm at it, have they removed the last of those fucking International-Idiot-Magnet Shower Curtains from Central Park yet??
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A visit from Cerberus the hell-hound, (I think) [Feb. 11th, 2005|10:02 pm]
Someone on one of the lists I read posted a link to someone's blog, a 22-year-old guy who moved back in with his mom only to discover that she had essentially lost her mind and started filling every square inch of the house with unusable junk, none of which she would throw away, and kept buying more junk (and magazines she had no interest in) on eBay.

Those pictures gave me chills.

There's a house right up the road from us -- well, it's more like a "compound" really, there's a main house cut into four apartments, plus a couple of out-buildings cut into more apartments -- all perfectly legal because they're grandfathered. The house is just about ready to fall down and is one step ahead of the building inspector (who visits OFTEN.)

Wendy's aunt is the "caretaker," as it were, of this pile-of-stuff that used to be a house. The woman who owns it is now in a nursing home, to which she was dragged forcibly. She still thinks that at some point she's coming home.

Wendy got involved in the caretaking aspect because it was just too much for her aunt (who had befriended the old lady at a VFW hall or some-such.) Wendy mows the lawn and tries to contain the poison ivy (she usually "contains" it by bringing a triple dose of it home with her) and her aunt collects the rent and stuff of that nature.

Anyway, not just the house but the entire property was like the "eBay addict" house -- or worse -- when they finally took the poor old lady to the nursing home. She and her husband had owned a dry-goods store in Hackensack NJ back in the 1940s. They had had lots of friends and had big parties and such at the house. Finally her husband died, and all their multitude of friends slowly moved away or died.

And that's the kind of person who, eventually, slowly goes quietly mad in his/her sealed-up house.

She had come here from the Ukraine, I think, in her early 20s, and certainly knew how to be frugal. She made all her own clothes, grew all the fruit and vegetables they needed, etc. etc. -- but of course, when she was younger she also knew how to throw stuff away...a skill she lost quite some time ago.

When Wendy first went into the old lady's part of the house (two floors, the whole back half of the building) she couldn't believe what she saw. Floor-to-ceiling piles of stuff like you see in those pictures, but not nearly as well organized. And none of it from eBay or anything like that, the lady wouldn't have known eBay from Old Bay or Bay Rum. It was simply everything she had ever owned, stacked neatly throughout the house.

In her closets were row upon row of Franken-Clothes -- completely unwearable bits of clothing that were made up of OTHER clothing. Stuff that had become too worn-out to mend any longer would get portioned and used in some other way. She would lovingly stitch a red sleeve and a blue sleeve -- different lengths, sometimes -- onto the trunk of a third garment, hang it in the closet, and leave it there forever. Every gum wrapper she had ever opened was placed carefully in a pile. Clipped coupons, box tops, you get the picture, and I'm only scratching the surface.

In the back yard were two out-buildings, long low shed-shelters really, half-buried in the back of a hill. Probably designed originally as root cellars or cold-frames or who knows what. They are now full of sticks of wood of all possible lengths, sizes, and sorts -- none of it in any conceivable way usable. 50 years worth of firetrap and yet, miraculously, never a fire. And she won't let them throw anything away. "I'm going to need that wood when I get home."

In her second bedroom were about 20 canning-jars -- you know, with the airtight seal and the Grolsch-type lids -- full of put-up apples. ON THE FLOOR, RINGING THE RADIATOR. From the layer of dust I'd guess they had been there for about ten years. Absolutely unbelievable that they never exploded. Wendy said "If I try to throw them out they WILL explode." So we carefully crated them and brought them home -- I opened them carefully and dumped 'em out on the compost pile. (This was in March.) But you know what? They smelled fine. Like they had been put up last week.

I can't even begin to catalog the incredible piles of junk in and around that house -- I've repressed the memory of most of it. The place really gave me the creeps. Which brings me to the punch-line:

Last July Wendy was over there working outside, and I drove over to bring her a Snapple or something...I don't remember. She had just discovered a very very old raccoon carcass (so we surmised -- could have been anything large and rodent-like, who knows) sprawled on the ground behind one of the root-cellars.

Well, it APPEARED to be sprawled on the ground. It wasn't. It was in fact sprawled on top of some long lengths of guy-wire, fallen saplings, and sticks, that weeds had grown over. So when Wendy said "What do you think that animal was?", and I leaned down to get a closer look at it, she of course backed up and stepped on the end of the pile of sticks, causing the dead animal's skull and pelt to LEAP UP AT MY FACE LIKE IT HAD BEEN LAUNCHED STRAIGHT FROM HELL.

Let's just say I "reacted."
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The Greg Shaw Tribute Show [Feb. 4th, 2005|10:11 am]
Went pretty well, I thought. Lenny Kaye introduced us, and as we played he was periodically dancing on top of a chair, which I've never seen him do. Musta been good!

The song list went over pretty well also -- as each song started, there was a "They're gonna try and play THAT???" gasp from the audience.

Hope I can get this same bunch of NYC Garage-Band Superstars together again for something similar, without having to wait for one of our heroes to die again.

We couldn't hear a thing up there, for some reason, so the singing is a bit "approximate" at times -- but considering how bad a great show usually sounds thru a camcorder mic, this seems to have gone really well.

Here's a 12-minute video excerpt:

And now from the "A River In Egypt" department:

1) We couldn't hear our vocals at all, and I mean at all...

2) I think Joel thought that Wendy and I wanted him to tape just us and not the rest of the band... ;)

3) I choose to believe that the spot on top of my head is not anything near as visible or dramatic as it appears to be under that @#$!! red French-Fry Light which was unfortunately positioned directly above it.
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Workin' in a record store (decades ago), part one [Jan. 10th, 2005|10:46 am]
[Current Mood |trochaic/anapestic]
[Current Music |Flys (UK) "Night Creatures"]

There was a thread on one of the lists I read, about customers and employees of record stores -- who grab rare stuff and "hide" it in the wrong spot so no one else will buy it before they themselves can afford to. That reminded me of a story...

I worked at Sam Goody in Paramus NJ in the late 70s and early 80s. Sam Goody, back then -- for you YOUNGER PEOPLE -- wasn't what it is now. It was a "deep-catalog" store. We sold EVERYTHING. If you wanted a record and we didn't have it, it was a fairly unusual day. The Polka section alone was about twelve feet long, and was actually separated into the different types of ethnic Polka. Polish, Lithuanian, Czech, blah blah. Also (thanks to ME OF COURSE) we were the first chain-store to stock British 7-inches, back in the Punk Era...

Anyway, enough backstory. In our aforementioned large store, in the 70s, underneath each browser rack was a two-shelved understock section, where the reorder cards and any extra stock were kept. It was sorted alphabetically by label, and then numerically within each label, for re-ordering purposes, and only one copy of each item was up in the browser bins. This underneath-area was where employees would hide their "stashes" of stuff they intended to buy later, and sometimes it would stay there for months. This -- especially if it involved expensive import LPs -- contributed to an inventory problem, causing the store to exceed allowable stock levels, blah blah. Eventually someone was deputized to go through all the understock and clean out the stashes. Of course, his own stash and those of his friends were left intact.

So finally they got angry and sent some district-manager guy out to the store, from his office, to clean 'em out himself. You may imagine he was a bit annoyed -- his desk-job pretty much involved sitting at his desk all day and trying to get free stuff from record companies and distributors. Now he had to sit on a homemade rolling cart, with a piece of ratty carpet stapled to the top, and roll slowly through miles of aisles (as it were) for about a week, pulling out stuff that wasn't supposed to be there. (It WAS, in fact, worth the company's time, and his, to do this. About 40 people worked there, and they were all -- as you might assume -- record geeks, and hoarders.)

By the time he got to the letter "S" he was well and truly pissed off. At some point mid-alphabet he had actually started demanding to know WHO had hidden each pile he found, and in many cases we all knew who it was just on the basis of what had been hidden there, though of course everyone played stupid.

Finally he got up near the end of the "S"s, and we heard him laughing uncontrollably. I knew why he was laughing, but no one else did.

He had found my stash -- about ten LPs, as I recall (way less than most) -- stuck right next to the separator card for the jazz reissue label called "Stash." He stood up, saw me, and said "This would have to be yours." I nodded and smiled, and instead of pulling them out and throwing them angrily in a cart, he said "just buy them by the end of the week."
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WFMU-FM has officially run out of D-List Celebrity Guests... [Jan. 2nd, 2005|05:30 pm]
...and now apparently they wanna talk to ME... mark your calendars. Tuesday Jan 11, noon to 3PM EST.

You can listen to WFMU on the web, either live or archived later on. To find an archived show (usually later that same day) go back to that same page. To listen live, go here:

[Post-mortem addendum: pretty damn good time was had by all, actually. I've stuck an MP3 of the entire three hours here:]

[This will sound better than the streamed version FMU keeps on their website. Plus, at the end, you can hear all the "and um's" in one excruciating minute-and-a-half segment. ;)]
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Greg Shaw Tribute/Memorial Benefit (NYC) [Dec. 15th, 2004|07:33 pm]
Subject: GREG SHAW Tribute/Memorial Benefit (NYC).

One of Greg's last signings to his Bomp! label... "With a vocalist who sounds a lot like a ghoulish, meth-wrecked Ray Charles, the Coffin Lids specialize in sweaty, gritty, and trashy garage rock'n'roll burliness with a lo-fi horror-boogie edge. A manic maelstrom of stripped-down, volcanic guitar riffs uncontrollably broils and rampages in an unrelenting, voluminous blast of bass and drum rhythms. And it's all frenetically driven along by the sporadic, spine-shivering flashiness of a spooky, house-haunting Farfisa organ." -Under The Volcano

A one-shot NYC super-group of sorts, featuring:

Peter Stuart (bass, vocals) -- veteran of the 1980s NYC garage revival, with The Tryfles and Headless Horsemen. Appeared at Cavestomp '99 with The Standells, Cavestomp 2000 with The Beau Brummels and The Blues Magoos, and in September 2001 with Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. If Peter doesn't know the song, it probably isn't worth knowing.

Kurt Reil (drums, vocals) -- founding member of The Grip Weeds (new album "Giant On The Beach" out now on Rainbow Quartz Records) and Jim Babjak's Buzzed Meg. Appeared at Cavestomp 2000 with The Beau Brummels, and in September 2001 with Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. If Kurt can't play the song, it probably can't be played.

Mike Fornatale (guitar, vocals) -- Has played and/or sung with The Monks, Moby Grape, Kelley Stoltz, and Mark Lindsay's Cavestomp Redcoats. Currently a member of Richard And The Young Lions. If Mike doesn't know the song, give him a minute.

Michael Lynch -- (guitar, vocals) -- Has played and sung with The Lynchpins and The Anything People. Featured artist at International Pop Overthrow shows, 2003 and 2004. If Michael knows the song, he's also intimately familiar with all nine re-mixes.

Wendy Fornatale (keyboards) -- Has only appeared once in public since college, on 9 May 1987, with The Wendytones. Wearing a bridal gown and veil. Well, it WAS her wedding after all. Seventeen years later she's out of retirement and it's about damn time. If Wendy doesn't know the song, she will bring sheet music.

Plus: DJ action from IRA ROBBINS (Trouser Press) and EVAN DAVIES (WFMU),
who will both be spinning the very best from Shaw's Bomp!/Voxx/A.I.P. labels.

Emcee to-be-announced.

Saturday, January 29th
7:30pm - $10 (entire door
goes to Shaw's widow and son)

Magnetic Field, 97 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY - 718.834.0069
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Overheard in Tower Records, Paramus NJ, just now... [Dec. 13th, 2004|07:20 pm]
[Current Mood |smarter than HER at least]
[Current Music |Judee Sill "The Donor"]

...and it's even a better story because I only HEARD them, I couldn't see which CD he was holding...

Guy: You would prolly totally like this.
Girl: Yaa?
Guy: They're all the rage now.
Girl: Whaa? They're "alright?"
Guy: No -- they're ALL THE RAGE now.
Girl: Whaa, like, they changed their name?
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What to listen to... [Dec. 6th, 2004|11:27 am]
December again -- time to put up the decorations -- and therefore, time to pull out the "December '79" mix-CDs whilst I climb up in the trees tossing little colored lights over branches. And also the front porch.

Why? I dunno. Just one of those traditions that belongs to no-one except me, I suppose. In '79 I was working at Sam Goody (a DAMN GOOD record store at the time) and a whole bunch of amazing music came in right at the beginning of December. Consequently while decorating (just a room, back then) I was listening to all that instead of The Usual December Fare. And it somehow stuck as a tradition.

So here it is, in no particular order. Discuss.

Fingerprintz -- 1st LP and early singles (with the original singer, including the sublime "Who's Your Friend" and "Dancing With Myself," which pre-dates the Billy Awful song of the same name by a few years) And at this late date they STILL get my vote for best-ever Beatles cover with their deconstruction of "Do You Want To Know A Secret." Again with the original singer. O'Neill was never as good as that guy, whose name I forget. I SUPPOSE I COULD LOOK IT UP.

Flys -- "Own" (and "Waikiki Beach Refugees," which I had missed the first time around.) I think these are two of the very best LPs of the late 70s...and they're available again, with bonus tracks, from Captain Oi.

London Calling, DUH. I cannot enjoy hanging a string of C9 outdoor lights without bellowing for all the neighbors to hear "Ha! Getalong gitalong..."

The Skids, "Days in Europa" (original mix only) and "Scared To Dance" -- which, again, I had missed when it first came out. I still think Adamson's guitar on the song "STD" is the missing link between British new wave and the first Blue Cheer LP. ;)

Cowboys International. Great singer, Lockie. Anyone who insists that the guy from Interpol sounds like Ian Curtis (and, um, I guess there are a FEW people who think so) hasn't heard this. Without the song "Pointed Shoes" there's pretty much no 1980s and not much of a 1990s either. It woulda been all hair-metal bands otherwise.

A couple of Police songs...yeah, sure, I know, but some of their early singles and B-sides are still great. "Fall Out," "Nothing Achieving," "Dead End Job" and especially "Landlord." Wow. If they only would have kept making records like those.

Tom Petty "Damn The Torpedoes." Ignore the radio songs, there's still a lot of great stuff on here.

The Doll. I was suckered in by "Trash," which of course sounds nothing like anything else they did. Last year when "The One Kiss" came on, Wendy & I were laughing about how much we still like this album despite how much it sounds like everything we hated about the 80s. No explanation available, it just is what it is.

Garland Jeffreys. I'll confess I had missed him completely throughout the 70s. But then I heard "Wild In The Streets" and devoured all three A&M LPs immediately. "Lift Me Up" and "She Didn't Lie" are great songs to howl along with while you're atop a fiberglass ladder in the dark.

And it wasn't only December '79 that was unusual. There was, oddly, a whole spate of amazing stuff that hit the racks right after Xmas, in January '80, and this is what I listen to when taking the decorations back DOWN:

Gang Of Four, "Entertainment." Again, DUH.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux (R.I.P.) -- first LP, plus the Rosa Yemen EP. I can't figure out why someone hasn't hooked "Jim On The Move" for some harebrained fashion commercial. It's perfect.

Lydia Lunch "Queen Of Siam." Yes.

Little Bo Bitch (called "The Lonely Boys" on the USA release) One song for the ages: "Take It Easy." ("Loights out ova Londonnnnn, loights out ova Londonnnnn,")

Stevie Wonder "Secret Life of HA HA HA HA HA
No, seriously, there is exactly one great song on here, "Outside My Window."

Madness -- 1st LP. Ahhhhhhhh.

Pretenders -- 1st LP.

Punishment Of Luxury, 1st LP. Wow. Why were these guys not huge?
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More Spain [Nov. 27th, 2004|11:32 am]
[Current Mood |tryptophanous]
[Current Music |Libertines, "I no longer hear the music"]

Some odds and ends, more to come later.

Oddly, due to the 24-hour commute I guess, absolutely NO jet lag in either direction. How about that?

Unfortunately, Iberia Airlines LOST MY GUITAR on the way there...took 'em a whole day to find and deliver it, so that wasn't a good day. Everything else was just golden. Except the buffet at the hotel. And I NEVER complain about food. But...Benidorm is, apparently, where all the English (and some German and Dutch) pensioners (retirees) go on holiday in the off-season. Now, heck, some of my best friends are etc. etc. etc. and all that, but HOW DO YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE SURVIVE ON WHAT THEY FEED YOU?

As I stared at my plate in wonderment (more than once) I was informed (by someone who would know) that the fare on offer was more than typical of a "Bad English Buffet." By the third day I opined that, if they could figure out how to do it, the English would fry water. In fact they seem to fry just about anything they don't boil, except -- wait for it -- bacon. From what I could see, the way they cook bacon is by placing it on a rock in the sun for an hour.

Poor Adam (new Monks drummer) finally couldn't stand it anymore and went out in search of pizza. Unwisely, he bought several slices instead of testing the [fried] water with just one. He found, to his horror, that the "sauce" on his slabs appeared for all intents and purposes to be what you would get if you poured a can of Heinz Baked Beans thru a colander.

Oh yes, the beans. Canned beans are omnipresent. I think maybe some of the walls and ceilings may have actually been stuccoed with them.

Well, never mind that. On our last night there, Dietmar Post (Monks documentarian) took us to a couple of tapas places and that was exquisite.

I'm well aware that modern-day English fare has some of its roots in the shortages engendered by both World Wars. Spam literally kept the British people alive during WWII. Fine, but hell, it's been SIXTY YEARS. YOU CAN GET FOOD NOW. GET IT!!!

Now that I'm done picking on (and at) their food, EVERYTHING ELSE about the (huge percentage of) English folks that we met over the course of our week in Spain was just great. Even the pensioners were entertaining...though the Monty Python Travel Agent sketch was running through my evil head pretty much constantly. And as was pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago, you can't even GET Watney's Red Barrel anymore.

Josh and Babz, the promoters, are simply the best. Wonderful folks, wonderful organization. Wonderful bands. The Embrooks -- whoa. Now I've seen them three times before, but they have just become monsters. And the new album is their best work yet, do get it.

I'll talk about the other bands later, I'm still wrestling with Thursday's Tryptophan Coma.
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USA Today -- "Box Set Causes War Among Beatles Fans" [Nov. 26th, 2004|11:05 am]
[Current Mood |get offa my lawn you damn kids]
[Current Music |"I Feel Fine," the RIGHT way]

Mr. Howard is right on the money here, on all counts. Next time I see Martin Lewis I shall give him a right scolding.

The reason I prefer the American records is NOT because I heard them first. It's because they're BETTER.

I'm never a slave to nostalgia. I've heard plenty of remixes that I like better than the originals. (Sure it takes some time to get used to 'em. But quality is quality. Case by case.)

What's so great about the USA mixes? Easy. POWER. They sound like they're roaring out of a twelve-story transistor radio.

"Faithful to artist's vision," "Less studio trickery," "More natural-sounding," ah, bullshit. I reject this argument completely and with prejudice. You want natural-sounding? Okay, then the drums have to be louder than everything else and the vocals have to be almost completely inaudible. That would be "natural."

The entire essence of electric music is that sounds are bent, tweaked, and F'ed with. An electric guitar, when first invented, was never meant to sound like the opening to "Twist and Shout" does, even in the veddy veddy accurate, sterile, white-lab-coat George Martin mix. The original inventors and visionaries who came up with the guitar pickup and amplifier would have been horrified at that sound. So let's toss out those guitars and play on our Gibson J-200 acoustic models exclusively. Beatles Unplugged. Good luck being heard over a basher like Ringo, they'll have to get Andy White back on the kit.

Lewis, and everybody who feels the way he does, should go put on their smoking jackets and listen to some nice latter-day Steely Dan records. No, Dave Grusin. Yeah. And leave the rest of us to savor the best things about rock and roll. Phhpptttppt.

Mike F.
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Hey! I´m in Spain, being treated like royalty! [Nov. 19th, 2004|07:03 pm]
[Current Mood |ole!]

Hellish 25-hour (real time) voyage. Weirdness: on the plane, Sam from the Mooney Suzuki had the seat literally right behind mine. As we grumpily headed for our seats, we caught each other´s eye and we each had one of those ¨what? that can´t be him¨moments.

After that it all went pear-shaped, as our British friends say. Iberia lost my guitar somewhere -- didn´t find it till the following day. Late plane, lost luggage, therefore missed train, had to pay extra for LOCAL train three hours later. Ugh.

After that, all good. Ran Into Linda Ferguson, haven´t seen her in 3 years. Pre-weekend party last night was way too smoky/noisy, a couple of awful bands played. Ran into Dietmar Post, just in from Germany, and THE MONKS DOCUMENTARY IS FINISHED. And....HE HAS IT WITH HIM! WE´RE GOING TO SEE IT ON SATURDAY!

I don´t know if any of me (with my old glasses, it was five years ago) made the final cut. I didn´t ask.

Tonight (Friday) is when the real show starts. Embrooks and Music Machine. Can´t beat that.

Rehearsals went well, Monks sound great. Treated like absolute gods whenever recognized in public. And why not.

Our set is the last one on the last night (Sunday.) 1AM local time, 7PM New York time. So please grit your collective teeth, squint hard, and send me psychic energy bolts from 7 till 9 (just to make sure you cover the whole set, we may start late.)
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WHOA! Original lineup Gang Of Four reunion [Nov. 13th, 2004|11:44 am]
[Current Mood |buoyant, for a change]
[Current Music |Ha ha, what do you think?????]


Gang Of Four, one of the most influential post-punk
groups of the late 1970s, has bowed to ongoing
pressure from fans and industry supporters and will
reform with its original lineup. The band has
confirmed five U.K. shows so far, beginning Jan. 23 in Manchester.

The quartet of Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar
and vocals), Dave Allen (bass) and Hugo Burnham
(drums) have not worked together in that combination since 1981, by which time its place in the vanguard of the British new wave had been established thanks to the 1978 debut EP "Damaged Goods" and the albums
"Entertainment!" and "Solid Gold."

Since then, Gill has become an in-demand producer of such artists as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Killing Joke and the Futureheads. He and King launched a new version of Gang Of Four in the '90s, releasing the albums "Mall" (1991) and "Shrinkwrapped" (1995).

This year, Gang Of Four has been the subject of
renewed interest thanks to the success of Scottish
rock act Franz Ferdinand, to whom its music bears a strong stylistic resemblance.

[Um, Mike speaking here -- I dunno about that so much a lot]

tour dates: (UK only, so far)

Jan. 23: Manchester, England (Academy)
Jan. 24: Leeds, England (Leeds University)
Jan. 25: Bristol, England (Academy)
Jan. 27: Birmingham, England (Academy)
Jan. 28: London (Shepherd's Bush Empire)
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VOTE DAMMIT, TIME'S UP! [Nov. 2nd, 2004|09:06 am]

Also: Those of you who have been clicking on these links and getting the same one over and over: that's not me, it's your browser. Clear your cache and your cookies.

If you don't know how to do that, or don't have time, just go here:

...and click on the files one at a time. That'll play the right ones for sure.

I think.

NOW GET OUT THERE AND DO IT (if you haven't already...)
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Vote dammit, part four [Nov. 1st, 2004|10:44 am]

and this one, which is truly subversive:
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Vote dammit, part 4 [Oct. 31st, 2004|08:35 am]
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Vote dammit, part four [Oct. 30th, 2004|11:30 am]
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If you see anythng weird at the polls on Tuesday... [Oct. 29th, 2004|05:49 pm]
...that would give you the idea that anyone is tampering, attempting to influence or intimidate potential voters, or anything else weird, IMMEDIATELY whip out your phone and dial this number:

1 866 MY VOTE 1

Please re-post this if you can...
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Vote dammit, part two [Oct. 29th, 2004|12:35 pm]
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Vote dammit (part one) [Oct. 28th, 2004|10:46 pm]
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OFFICIAL -- Biggest Asshole in History Of Show Business [Oct. 25th, 2004|11:09 am]
[Current Mood |disgusted]
[Current Music |Freddy & The Four Gone Conclusions]

My comments follow the article (yeah, I saw the show...)
Did 'SNL' Gaffe Expose Simpson Vocal Aid?
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK - Singer Ashlee Simpson (news)'s "extra help" may have been exposed when a "Saturday Night Live" audience heard her voice — singing the wrong song — while she held a microphone at her waist.
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Hmm, wonder who died?? [Oct. 11th, 2004|06:56 am]
[Current Mood |reprehensible]
[Current Music |Libertines]

...some "music industry executive," apparently...

Well, whomever it was, I've been waiting 24 years for him to call me...

If this seems at all interesting, look here too:
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Well, I didn't think it'd end THAT way... [Sep. 12th, 2004|11:49 pm]
[Current Mood |gassed]
[Current Music |I never want to hear any music ever again.]

I swear this actually happened, and just last night. I'm changing the name of the band, their individual names, the name of the bar, and everything else -- for reasons which will be obvious. But it's all true. And believe me, it's worth reading all of it.

Read more...Collapse )
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A moment of silence (but with a slight hum) [Sep. 7th, 2004|03:23 pm]
[Current Mood |Spinning slowly]
[Current Music |"Gimme Some Lovin'," a much better example!]

D. J. Leslie, speaker inventor, dies at 93
Device gave organ music new sound
By Marshall Allen, Staff Writer

ALTADENA -- Donald James Leslie invented the speaker that made the Hammond organ famous in jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll music, but the instrument's creator never appreciated his contribution. Leslie, who had more than 50 patents in his name, died Thursday night at his Altadena home. He was 93.

The Hammond B-3 is still heard every day on the radio in rock 'n' roll songs like "You Shook Me" by Led Zeppelin and "Smokin" by Boston. Jazz greats like Joey DeFrancesco also highlight the organ's sound.

But according to Bob Mitchell, 91, who has been a professional organist since 1924, the Hammond sound was originally only good for church music and comedy. The Hammond was missing vibrato when it was introduced in 1935, Mitchell said.

When Laurens Hammond introduced his organ it sounded a "perfect electronic tone," said Jim Leslie, 40, one of Donald Leslie's sons. The sound was dull, shrill and still, he said.

Mitchell recalls that he was working as a staff organist at KHJ radio in Los Angeles in 1937, when Donald Leslie introduced him to his invention, now known as the Leslie Speaker. The speaker had a distinctive "heart-throb sound," a vibrato that a pipe organ also featured, Mitchell said.

"He revolutionized the electronic organ," making it possible to use for entertainment, Mitchell said. "He was certainly a wonderful genius."

The speakers were unique because they projected sound into two rotating horns, one for treble, another for bass. The rotating horns could spin at slow or fast speeds and caused sound to be projected 360 degrees.

Leslie offered to sell his speakers to Hammond, but the organ maker refused.

"Hammond was very personal about his invention of the Hammond organ and he didn't want any outsider fiddling with the sound," Jim Leslie said.

In the mid-1940s, Leslie started his own company in Pasadena, Electro Music, and began selling his speakers. Leslie and Hammond's inventions had a symbiotic relationship. The Leslie Speaker was designed to be used with the Hammond organ, but the items were sold separately.

Hammond tried to shake the connection, Jim Leslie recalled. He installed speaker connections that were incompatible with Leslie speakers, which Leslie then matched. And Hammond did not allow his dealers to sell Leslie Speakers, Jim Leslie said.

Hammond's attempts to ditch Leslie only made the speakers more popular, Jim Leslie said. Leslie never had to advertise.

"Everybody loved it and they wanted the Leslie speaker along with the Hammond."

Leslie sold his company to CBS in 1965 and stayed on as a consultant until his retirement in 1980.

It was not until 1978, after the death of Laurens Hammond, that the Hammond company honored Leslie's contribution, Jim Leslie said.

Leslie also was a pilot and held patents for radio control of model trains and control and chlorination systems for swimming pools.

Leslie also is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn, 73; a son, Scott, 47; a daughter, Jeanine Sherlock, 48; and six grandchildren.
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911 Is A Joke, or did someone already say that? [Sep. 5th, 2004|07:06 pm]
[Current Mood |apoplectic]
[Current Music |Monks, "Monk Time"]

I hope I never really NEED to call 911...

...And you'll hope YOU never do either, after you read this shit.

This happened last night (Saturday, September 4th) at around 8:40 PM, on Route 80 Eastbound in Teaneck, NJ -- right at the exit ramp that curves off to the right and goes to I-95 South. As you approach this ramp, there's an overpass in front of you, and a small grassy area in the triangle formed by the highway, the ramp, and the overpass. Anybody who's ever driven a car anywhere in Bergen County NJ will have been past this spot a thousand times, you almost can't help it. In front of the grassy area there's a section of white-striped blacktop to warn drivers away from going up over the curb and smacking into the overpass.

It was already dark out. I was on my way to see Muck And The Mires at Desmond's in NYC. I was approaching the exit ramp, about to veer off onto I-95, and suddenly here's a man, DRESSED ALL IN BLACK, standing in the MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY (I-80 East -- right before the overpass) walking around in a circle, waving his arms. He wasn't facing the traffic -- he was facing AWAY from traffic. I imagine he was either mentally disturbed, or TRYING to get hit by a car. There was no disabled vehicle anywhere nearby, and therefore I couldn't come up with any good reason why there'd be an apparition standing in the middle of an interstate highway, waving his arms one.

I didn't see him till I was scary close. Luckily, I was in the exit-ramp-only lane and so I missed him by at least 15 feet -- but it was pretty disconcerting. By the time I got my wits about me again, I was already on 95 heading south. I picked up my phone and dialed 911.

A man answered in about six rings. I explained what had just happened, and where it had happened -- and he said he was going to transfer me. To whom, I wondered?

After about six rings, again, a woman answered. I told her the same story again -- and, to my surprise and anger, she said she was going to transfer me again. This time, at least, she said WHERE she was transferring me -- to "The State Police for that part of the highway."

Eight rings this time -- and a man answered. I told the entire story a THIRD time -- figuring that, by now, the guy on the highway might be just a crumpled heap of quivering bone fragments under the wheels of a truck -- and when I was finished, the man on the phone asked if I could give "more details on the location" (a spot which, like I said, anyone who's ever driven in Bergen County knows like the back of his hand) "because I don't think that's OUR part of the highway."

I was livid. I yelled into the phone that some guy was wandering around in a circle on an interstate highway and I was now talking to the THIRD person who didn't seem interested in doing anything other than palming the problem off on somebody else. In my frustration, I said something like "I've now told THREE of you exactly where the [FCC] he is, and I don't feel like telling the whole [FCC-ing] story again," and hung up. It didn't seem, frankly, like there was any end in sight.

I scoured the Local section of the Sunday paper this morning, hoping NOT to find any stories about a pedestrian struck by a car on I-80...luckily there weren't any.

Now, I certainly understand the need for 911 operators to transfer the caller to another operator in some circumstances. There will often be a need for the dispatcher (who will actually send an officer to the scene) to speak with the caller directly -- especially in medical emergencies -- and/or keep the caller on the line till help can be sent. But clearly this was not one of those circumstances. I had already left the area and had very clearly described the location -- three times. In these cases the 911 operator should simply deal with the situation swiftly and get it taken care of.

Meanwhile, here's me, right? On the cell phone while driving. Which y'ain't allowed to do. I don't know how my usual Pattern Of Luck didn't kick in and have me end up getting pulled over and getting a ticket. Which would certainly have resulted in harsh words being exchanged between myself, who does NOT have a gun NOR is allowed to shoot people with one, and ANOTHER person who is not laboring under the same set of constraints.

Oh well, the show was great and they yanked me and Twig up onstage to play "Open Up Your Door" -- and then suddenly, Evan shouts in my ear "Glad All Over! In D! You sing it!" Well, I've never played (or sung) that song before, but that isn't a good-enough reason not to. I got all of it right, too, I'm happy to say. As we approached the final verse, I thought to myself, "I wonder if they do that key-change that's on the record?" and just as we got to that spot, the bass player looks at me and points his headstock "up," and raises his eyebrows. Nice!

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Randall's Island Schedule (allegedly) [Aug. 11th, 2004|09:19 pm]

This purports to be the correct schedule for Saturday.

If you're still not planning on going, whaddaya, nuts? This, for $20? That's $1.66 an hour!

And do please be there at 1:20 PM to see ME...

10:30 The Sexy Magazines
10:45 Davie Allan and the Arrows
11:00 The Chains
11:10 Star Spangles
11:20 Gore Gore Girls
11:30 The Swingin Neckbreakers
11:40 The Fuzztones
11:50 Caesars
12:00 The High Dials
12:10 The Fondas
12:20 The Contrast
12:30 The Singles
12:40 The Fleshtones
12:50 Jarvis Humby
01:00 The Blackouts
01:10 Muck and the Mires
01:20 Richard and the Young Lions
01:30 The Flaming Sideburns
01:40 The Boss Martians
01:50 The Charms
02:00 The Cynics
02:10 Lyres
02:20 The Stems
02:35 The Woggles
02:45 The Chocolate Watchband
03:00 The Shazam
03:10 The Electric Prunes
03:25 The Cocktail Slippers
03:35 The Creation
03:50 The Chesterfield Kings
04:00 The Mooney Suzuki
04:15 The Paybacks
04:25 The Pete Best Band
04:40 The Forty Fives
04:50 The D4
05:05 The Romantics
05:25 Nancy Sinatra
05:45 The Dictators
06:05 Big Star
06:25 Bo Diddley
06:55 Raveonettes
07:15 The Pretty Things
07:50 The New York Dolls
08:35 The Strokes
09:35 Iggy Pop & The Stooges
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New stuff on website/website's moved [Aug. 3rd, 2004|09:39 pm]
There's a rather exhaustive "new" (meaning old) story online, with lots of pictures, about my adventures last October with the Arthur Lee & Love mini-tour...

Also, "a certain university" which had promised its Webmaster Certification Class graduates free web space "in perpetuity" has reneged, and therefore I've had to move all my stuff (as the sharp-eyed among you may have noticed by the URL.)

The main page is now:

Those of you who bookmarked the old one ( etc.) please change it. Those of you who couldn't give half a rat's ass may continue to not do so. This is America, after all.

I promise to update it more often than once a year. No really.

Mike F.
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"Guitar Face" [Jul. 20th, 2004|09:41 pm]
[Current Mood |Fretful HAAAH!!!!!!]
[Current Music |The Sports "Terror Hits"]

Seen on the Refugees List today:

Subject: Re: Best Guitar Face

<< think about it...when someone is onstage making "Guitar Face," some people claim that a person's "guitar face" is the same face that person makes during sex >>

And immediately I thought, that makes perfect sense. When I look at pictures or video of myself playing the guitar, the look on my face very clearly says "What on earth do I do next??"
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Brilliant !!! [Jul. 16th, 2004|03:16 pm]
On WINS news-radio just now, they had an absolutely marvelous sound-bite.

They were interviewing K-Mart shoppers about the Martha Stewart sentencing.

So this woman says something like "I'm glad she got what's coming to her because she's not a very nice person and she treats people badly."

To which someone in the background responds, "That's just hearsay."

And the woman retorts -- wait for it:

"It's not hearsay! I know some people that worked for her!"

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