Friday, March 31, 2006

Strange Emily Artwork April 1st...

> Saturday, April 1st!
> Comic Castle of Eureka California presents
> their first Arts Alive evening event with...

> An Emily The Strange exhibition
> Strange Artwork by Emily Illustrator
> Buzz Parker
> Featuring paintings, silkscreen prints, original comic book art,
> flyers, art dept scraps, a binder full of Herstory, black licorice
> and red hots, travel pictures from the recent Germany Book Signing
> Tour, rock music, playing cards and Jason Voorhees
> ...AND props to my partner in crime Rob The Reger for creating
> Emily 13 years ago!
> ------------------------------
> O n e N i g h t O n l y
> April 1st, 2006
> 6pm to 9pm
> Comic Castle
> 407 5th Street, Eureka, California
> (Open late for April 1st Arts Alive)
> Stay up later @ >

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Boots Riley from The Coup and Music for America 3/27

Working on the club calendar yesterday I ran across a Jambase listing that said The Coup is playing Humboldt Brews, March 27. It didn't make sense -- they're too big for the club and they weren't included on the calendar the club's owners sent me. An e-mail came in today from Passion Presents and now it makes sense. The event should start at around 7 p.m. Here's the press release: 

GET INVOLVED!  The Coup and Music for America Hit the Road to Combat Apathy and Engage Young People to get Politically Active.

 Also Previewing The New Coup Album, “Pick A Bigger Weapon”.

 The Coup’s Boots Riley and activist organization, Music for America (MFA) are teaming up for a series of speaking engagements around the country to urge young people to get involved in the political process.  Attendees will be able to register to vote and opt-out forms will be available for high-schoolers, allowing them to opt-out of an obscure provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that forces public schools to supply high school students' names and private contact information to military recruiters.

“Public schools can't, out of one side of their mouth, tell students that they want them to have a bright future after high school and out of the other side of their mouth tell them that it's okay for them to go kill and die for a profit-making war machine,” says Boots on military recruitment. “That's why I support the "Opt Out" campaign promoted by Music for America.  I think conscientious school administrators should choose not to release student's personal information to military recruiters."

Boots and MFA volunteers will also be educating the audience with minimum wage “issue cards” containing facts and actions to take.  "Putting music into action is something that both The Coup and Music for America are all about,” says Riley, “so it's only fitting that we work together in this way. What we really need are militant unions at fast food places and chain retail stores, but until then, we need to substantially raise the minimum wage because people are struggling, not only in their every day existence, but to make enough to pay for gas and parking to get to work in the first place."

MFA is a nonprofit engaging young people in progressive politics through partnerships with musicians and music communities.  MFA aims to provide the cultural capital and political savvy for America’s youth generation to reinvent progressive politics.  The organization has 60,000 members, more than 325 partner bands, and has reached 3 million young people at more than 3,600 concerts since 2003.

"If you want to reach our youngest voters, you have to go where they hang out -- the local music and arts scene -- precisely the sort of places in which Music for America does its incredible work." said Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the popular Daily Kos weblog.

The idea behind this tour is to channel the excitement of music into something proactive and positive.  MFA’s central principle is that every young person is a member of a music community.  And every community, with the right tools, has the power to effect huge change. Boots will be bringing advance copies of the highly anticipated new Coup record, "Pick A Bigger Weapon" to preview to the crowd and then discuss the album and the issues fans and local MFA folks from every community the tour hits.

Want more?
I interviewed Boots back in 2002 for a story published in Panache Magazine:

The Coup — silent “P” — coup as in coup d’état, the overthrow of the government — revolution. Why does the Coup’s lead rapper Boots Riley feel like revolution is in order? He explained in a call from Oakland the day before he appeared on the late night talk show Politically Incorrect and a few days before he came to Eureka to share his views on stage at Club West.

“Right now the government in place is supposed to serve the people, but we know that it’s really there to protect the interests of a few people — the big bosses, the ruling class — from the rest of the people. Not that there aren’t good people trying to do good things in government, but the way that’s the way it works. We need a system that’s a real democracy, in which the people not only elect one person to make decisions for them, but we need for the people to democratically control the profits that they produce as workers. That’s real democracy, economic democracy. I would say we saw one peep of the truth with the election of George W. Bush as President. The Republicans said that it’s not really a democracy. The idea that they’ve taught us in school is just something to make high hopes for the people.

As a matter of fact a lot of things we’re taught about the way the system is supposed to work are not true. For instance we’re taught that this country is founded on freedom of speech. Just a little bit of research shows you that when they passed to First Amendment, it did not say that Congress guarantees the right to free speech, it says Congress shall not abridge the right to free speech. The reason they said that was because every city and every state at the time had laws saying that you can’t have seditious speech in public. They made sure that their law didn’t override any of the laws of the states. The reason they had it in there was as a bluff for the people who were engaged in various rebellions up and down the coast against the up and coming ruling class. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries people were arrested regularly for getting up on a soap box to say, ‘We should have a union,’ or for singing songs.

In the 1900s, for instance, people in the IWW, the Wobblies, they would get arrested for singing songs. The folksinger Joe Hill got arrested a number of times for singing basically about joining the union, one big union. None of those laws got wiped off the books until 1928 when somebody on the East Coast, one of the Wobblies, got arrested for speaking out and saying, ‘We should have a union.’ They took it all the way to the Supreme Court and showed how it contradicted the Constitution and they were able to get those laws wiped off the books, but that wasn’t until 1928, and before that, talk about freedom of speech, even in universities, was considered Un-American.

Do you have freedom of speech?

What we are learning is that you can say what you want to say up to a point. But the ability to speak is not just the ability to move your mouth and let words get out, it’s the ability to be heard. That’s why they talk about freedom of the press.

You know what they say, “You have freedom of the press if you own a press.”

Exactly. It’s the same with freedom of speech. It’s not freedom of speech if you can’t be heard. In reality, the viewpoints that are heard in most media outlets are the viewpoints of the people that own them. We don’t hear the sentiments of the people.

You speak your mind on your record, which I must point is put out by a major label owned by a huge multi-national business that probably does not like what you have to say. They don’t stop you?

The way it works is, a few people get to squeak by so that there’s a semblance of freedom of speech. And if it makes money, it makes them more powerful. And in a sense, as soon as they want to cut me off, they can.

The medium you use for your message is hip-hop. Do you think that you are an exception to the rule when it comes to the direction hip-hop is going? For the most part it has become part of the mainstream and people don’t talk about things like revolution.

That goes back to freedom of speech and the ability to be heard. I don’t think the direction you are talking about is the direction most hip-hop artists are going, only the ones that the major corporations allow you to hear. There are so many people who have good music; there are many who have bad music too. There are so many people that you are not able to hear. And not just revolutionary hip-hop, other hip-hop that just talks about identifying to problems that are happening, socially relevant hip-hop. It’s happening, but you don’t hear it. Even when you’re on a major label, what’s thought of as the ‘direction of hip-hop’ is what’s being played on the radio all the time. We know that even if you’re on a major label, unless that label commits hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to paying to the radio stations, you will not be heard. It doesn’t matter if every DJ on a station loves your record. It’s just a matter of how much is being paid to the station. People think payola was outlawed, but it’s only payola if you pay the DJ and don’t pay the manager. If you pay the station manager, and the corporation that owns the station, it’s not defined as payola.

I read about what they call, the independents, the record promoters who pay off the stations. Recently Clear Channel was going to buy the largest independent firm in the country. They already own a thousands of the stations.

And they own a lot of venues and concert promotion companies.

Exactly. If you look at Pollstar’s number for last year you see that Clear Channel was the No. 1 concert promoter, so far ahead that if you added the ticket sales of everyone else in the top 20 together, they were still bigger.

What’s dangerous about this is that they’re the channel that put out the banning list for all those songs. They deny it now, but there are those who work for them who say it was true.

I imagine the Coup is probably permanently banned by Clear Channel.

I don’t know about that. But there was a time when we had a hit on this station KMEL, in L.A. Somebody who was an independent promoter took a liking to the song, “Fat Cats and Bigger Fish” and got it on the radio. It was getting all these requests and because of that it got a lot of requests on the box (TV) and was getting played on BET. We ended up being the No. 1 most requested song on KMEL for five weeks, but they wouldn’t put us in rotation. That station wasn’t owned by Clear Channel at the time, now it is, but it shows you something about the way it works. Clear Channel is a corporation with an outwardly conservative leaning. I don’t know about up there, but down here they own most of the billboards also. And they’re buying all sorts of TV stations.

They’re in the process of buying one up here. And that station just shut down its news department.

This is the democracy we’re fighting for, the democracy of the Bush Administration and the Enron Corporation. They tell us the fallacy that they’re bombing other countries for freedom of speech; they’re bombing for democracy. We see all of that is not true. We’re being lied to all the time. As a matter of fact, look at this war. On TV, they keep quoting these statistics, and they say that so may people are in favor of this war that’s going on. I’ll tell you we went on a tour up the West Coast, into Montana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and into Middle America: Ohio, Missouri. At each place I took time to talk about the war, to say why it is a horrendous thing. At each one, crowds full of people were cheering in support of antiwar statements, and these were areas where people told me everyone was for the war. In some of the shows, you could say we were headlining so, those were the people who came. I would argue that many were college towns where whatever is going on that night is where everybody goes. The other thing is that some were events where we were not the headliner, where people didn’t necessarily come to see us. It was recognizable that people are not as much in favor of this war as the media would like you to believe. That’s just one case of media manipulation.
On this tour I’ve been talking about this friend of mine, Jeremy Glick, his father got killed in the Sept. 11th thing. He has a group of victims families, a large, large group that are all against the war. They say, ‘Not in our names.’ And they can’t get on major television networks. You would think it would at the very least be a human interest story. And we’re talking about 100 families that are against the war. In November there was a march on Washington of victim’s families against the war. The New York Times didn’t show any of the signs that said, ‘Not in our names,’ they showed a picture where you couldn’t read the signs and said, ‘Victims families mourn their loss.’

9-11 also brought you some major media attention because of the album cover. (The original cover of “Party Music” shown above had Boots and Pam the Funkster posing in front of an exploding World Trade Center.) People heard about you that had never heard about you before. What are your thoughts on all that in retrospect?

I think that to some extent we were able to use that to get some ideas that weren’t being heard out there. Bit I have to tell you, I think that the people who had the most animosity toward the idea of the album cover were journalists. I wanted to use the controversy around the album cover to be able to talk about and expose the realities of what the U.S. was about to do — which was bomb Afghanistan — and to be able to expose the reality that the U.S. is the biggest supporter of terror around.
The U.S. was found guilty by the World Court for killing 30,000 innocent civilians in Nicaragua to overthrow a democratically elected government. Right now they are housing a terrorist who was convicted by the World Court, Emanuelle Constance from the FRAP organization from Haiti. They have him in Queens, New York and the rest of the organization that came with him is in Florida. They were being funded by the CIA to overthrow Aristide. They killed thousands of people along the way. Afterwards there was a World Court hearing about some for the massacres they carried out and he was found guilty. They refuse to extradite them to Haiti. He was already being held here, the World Court wanted to bring him to Haiti, and the U.S. was going to comply. Then Constance said he would expose the CIA connection in all of this, and the U.S. said, ‘Okay, we’ll keep you here.’ The FBI actually protects him since there are people here who want to kill him for what he did to their families in Haiti.
Anyway, as I said, I wanted to use that (the controversy about the cover) to bring up these other political topics. All the journalists were all like, ‘How could you do that. It’s so insensitive to use it to put forward a political agenda?’ My answer was, the media right now is using it to put forward a political and economic agenda. As we saw, Coke didn’t stop doing commercials in between shots of the World Trade Center being blown up.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Some Questions for Cirkus Pandemonium

Who are you?
Cirkus Pandemonium... Autumn Augustus, Nemo Lenkin, Noah Fillpot, JRo, Tony Shy Fire and guests.

Where are from?
Based out of Portland for the last few years.  Currently traveling the west coast in our Cirkus Bus The Great Pandamo!

What do you do?
We do firedancing, trapeze, juggling, coreographed fighting, fairy skits and such.  We do a lot of street performing whereever we can find a good spot and a crowd. 
We are featuring our new trapeze rigging that mounts to the side of the bus and we just completed a stage on the roof today! 3-14.

Why do you do what you do?
Because I'm driven by dreams of flitting fairies and dueling demons that are sent from the Gods of Pandemonium.

What are you working on? 
I'm organizing the Anarchist Pagan Beltain to happen in southern Washington.  Also planning a summer tour and organizing our show. 

When will you be here? With who?  
We will be playing at the Synapsis warehouse in Eureka on Sat the 18th.  Tickets are $8, $5 to students.  We will be playing with the Humboldt Circus.

Who's that?
The Humboldt Circus is a great group of Humboldt University freaks.  They are both talented and hospitable in a way that only Humboldt could create.

Anything else you want to add?   
All travelers who wish to visit Pandemonium are warned that while there are many ways into hell, there are scarcely any ways out of it!

Friday, March 10, 2006

DMBQ Q&A 2002

I'm going to go see DMBQ tonight for, what is it, the fifth time. Instead of waxing poetic about overcoming tragedy, I thought I'd share an e-mail I received when I contacted DMBQ lead singer/guitarist Shinji in June of 2002 when the band was on its way here for the second time. I don't remember what else I told him or asked him. I guess I was not feeling well when I wrote, and I probably asked what he'd been listening to...

Date: June 5, 2004 7:31:14 AM PDT
To: Bob Doran <journal(at)>
Subject: Re: Questions from Arcata
I am sorry you have a headache. Are you OK? Please take care. And yes, I am fine. Now I am listening to the Joan Jett's Runaways. Then I am gonna listen to Johnny Smith. My record shelf is in disorder.
OK, here are answers:
What are your first memories of music? My parents had a lot of record and I could listen to them freely when I was child then. I liked the smell of vinyl very much. Even now I like it. Moreover, I liked gazing at rotation of a turntable abstractedly too. So playing record was my favorite thing.  One day I found Lionel Hampton record. It was my first favorite record. Even now, I like the sound of vibraphone very much.
Did you start making music when you were a young boy? In school perhaps? Yes, I started making music when I was in junior high, 13 years old.  I bought an electric guitar with the mail order. Although I am a left-handed, I was not able to buy the left-handed guitar because it was sold 30% up. When I played electric guitar first, I was very much disappointed. It is because the distorted sound like a record did not come out.
Did you listen to a lot of American music when you started making music? If so, what kind of music? What bands inspired you? Yes. And a lot of British rock too. When I was young kids, I loved Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground, Blue Cheer, NY Dolls, Quick Silver Messenger Service, Captain Beefheart, Kiss, PIL, Ted Nugent, Television, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Pop Group, and Throbbing Gristle etc. I had no music friend in school. So I got know music information through magazine or local record shop.
How did DMBQ get started? What kind of music did you want to make in the beginning? I deluded the friends with the word "blues" and formed the band. The "blues" is very convenient word to assemble the friends of rock band. Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, Blue Cheer, Sonics, Led Zeppelin... they are all the child of the blues, right? I wanted to make a rock band full of noises. In short, I just wanted to make the noise which merely has a rhythm. I seldom considered what kind of music I want to make, haha!
Do the initials DMBQ have any meaning? Can you explain? It has no meaning basically. I made the band member gather the favorite alphabet and applied the word to it. Guitarist=D, Bassist=M, Drums=B, and me=Q. Then, I applied D= Dynamite M=Masters B=Blues Q=Quartet. This is the image of a country third-rate band. Since I did not think that this band had continued like this for a long time, I didn't choose the name not so seriously. I repent of a bit.
How has the band changed since the early days? We studied so much thing through the band. The honest performance method of the guitar. The place of a painful musical instrument when kicking. The method of the full power kick which does not destroy amplifier. The safe method of throwing drum set to the audience floor. How to jump down from a higher place without suffering a fracture. The musical instruments are not so burnable. How to discover the audience of the oxygen shortage promptly. How to apologize to neighbors for the complaint to loud noise. Yes, my band changed very much.
 How does DMBQ fit into the Japanese music scene? I know you record for a major label -- is the kind of music you make well respected? Ummm... It is very difficult to find our position in the whole Japanese music scene.  I think it is mere luck that we have contract with a major label. We are from the Japanese underground scene, so we can not yet fit to the major scene exactly. We are heretics clearly in such scene still now. It is easy to find the position on the underground scene. In that scene, we are the same as other underground band and the band respect each other very well.
 I bought a DMBQ CD --  "A Bootleg For U.S." -- at your show at the Alibi. (I like it.) I am wondering about the song titles. What is "Girl Cream"? Do titles like "Go Go Evil" have a meaning, or are they just for fun? Haha, yes, they have no meaning, just for fun! I don't know what girl cream is. It sounds tasty though.
 When you played here you used an electronic device I have not seen before: something shaped like a microphone that you rubbed on your leg and used along with a vocal microphone. What do you call that device? Is it something you invented yourself? Yes, I invented that device. He has no name, but I call him just "noise mic". That is combined handmade steel diaphragm for resonance with a pickup for electric guitar. I'll bring some new noise devices to your town.
Why do you make music? Um, I also want to know it, haha! Having fun, self-satisfaction, desire to expression, destructive impulse, harassment to common sense, yearning loud sound and huge sound pressure, appearance of unusual space, getting a kind of magic, communication beyond language, exposure of an animal instinct, embodiment of the scenery within a brain, dissolution of irritation, calming madness...and more.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Loosening up with Bill Champlin

Back in the ’60s and the early ’70s, long before the age of CDs, the record album was the basic music delivery unit. In heavy rotation on my turntable was one by a band from Marin County, Sons of Champlin titled Loosen Up Naturally. I particularly liked the fact that one whole side of the two record set was devoted to one long-ass song, “Freedom,” a topic near to my heart then and now.
“That was back when we were all too young to know what we were doing,” said bandleader Bill Champlin, a guy who is still making music 30-some odd years down the road. He’s bringing the band to Mazzotti’s this Saturday, March 11, with much of the original lineup intact. Truth is, you may not be familiar with the Sons. While other bands of that time and place, the Dead or the Airplane for example, went on to national prominence, the Sons stayed mostly a regional favorite.
“We missed a lot of cool kind of chances in those days ‘cause we had our head firmly wedged in the dark place.”
As with many bands of the day, the beginnings were as a high school combo, in this case one called The Masterbeats. “That was the Sons original name; no one would hire us with that name,” Champlin lamented. “What was I thinking?”
Even before that there was a Champlin-led band called the Opposite Six. “That was kind of a cool name, but that was in the days where we had the cheap green brocade cuts and the razor cuts; we were doing the steps. That was really early on, before ’65. The Sons [Masterbeats] did an album in ’66, not that it came out or anything. By that time I was already married and had a kid, so all the guys used to call me Father Champlin, so somebody said, ‘Let’s call it the Sons of Champlin.’ And when we played College of Marin, that’s the name they used, not the Masterbeats, ‘cause we couldn’t get the gig with that name. You know Cheech and Chong had a band called A Spic, Two Niggers and a Chink; they weren’t getting any gigs either. It was a wrong move. Once again it was a thing where we ended up with what we ended up with. [Sons of Champlin] was kind of a stupid name but it stuck.”

What set the band apart in my mind was the horn section.

“We always had two if not three horns. We had a trumpet player, but the day before we were to record our album he went totally bonkers on us and ended up at Napa Hospital. It was nuts. I had to tell him, ‘Dude, I’m sorry but we gotta make this record.’ So the first album’s really reed oriented as opposed to brass; I played bari sax on it. In the long run it was probably a good thing because everybody else who had a horn section at that time was doing brass: Blood Sweat and Tears, Cold Blood and Chicago were all doing hard brass stuff, and I’ve always thought reeds were funkier. Listen to some of the early James Brown stuff, it’s not brass oriented, it’s reed stuff, you know. Brass tends to have this sound like Formica, reeds sound more like an organ to me, it’s a little more forgiving.
 “We started off as a five-piece, put out one record, one single that did kind of okay. It was before FM kicked in; we had it on KYA (AM) if you remember that. Then KMPX and KSAN kicked in (the original underground FM station) and the rest is history. It took over.”

This was the time of the Summer of Love and the beginnings of the hippie era. Did you see yourself as part of that?

“Lyrically I think we were going there, but musically we were in a way different spot than the Airplane and the Dead, Quicksilver and Big Brother. We were probably closer to what Janis wanted to do with Big Brother.”

You mean the the soul aspect?

Generally the sort of R&B roots that we had. I was listening to KDIA (the Bay Area soul/R&B station) that was where it was at.

But you were also stretching out your songs out, jamming…

“Probably more then than we do now. What’s weird is now, everybody expects you to stretch. We got busted for it pretty regularly back then, now we’re getting busted for writing songs — by the whole jamband crowd. We definitely open up, but we’re not a jamband, we write songs. We don’t do 45-minute jams, we could but if this band did it, we’d end up sounding like Bitches Brew and lose the audience in a minute. We’d be into jazzland, because we’ve got guys who can do that.”
  I have to point out, one song, “Freedom,” took up one whole side of the Loosen Up record.
“That was actually three songs; the last part we stepped out had solos, but most of it was arranged. There were three songs with spaces between that opened up, which I think is a Sons tradition. We carry that one; we have a lot of places were we let it fly, but there’s a lot of places where we really rehearse it, shed it up so the audience is right in with us. We don’t really play it that often, and there’s a small kind of select crowd that might not know us that well, but they know when they come home from a Sons’ gig they’re gonna come home just groovin’.”
Okay, readers, if there are any out there. I have a lot more to this interview, tales of joining Chicago, life in Nashville, complaints about in-ear monitors, and so on, but it takes time and energy to transcribe, and I’m a busy guy, so if you want part 2, leave a comment and say so and I’ll put some more time into it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

only the echoes of my mind

 While cruising the world of MP3 blogs last night I came across one of my all time favorite albums, the eponymous second release by Fred Neil, a singer/guitar player from Florida who most people have never heard of.
That’s not an accident: Fred did not seek the spotlight, in fact he actively avoided it, at least that’s how the story goes. You’d probably recognize track 6 on the record, two minutes and 44 seconds from a perfect set of songs that runs just a little over a half hour long. “Everybody’s Talkin’” starts off with a strummed 12-string guitar and a couple of plucked notes, then Fred singing, “Everybody’s talking at me, can’t understand a word they’re saying, only the echoes of my mind.” Before the verse is over he’s promising, “I’m going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain, going where the weather suits my clothes. Bankin’ off the northeast wind; sailin’ on a summer breeze; skippin’ over the ocean like a stone.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because you heard the song as part of the soundtrack to Midnight Cowboy, where Ratso, the street-smart New York hustler ends up taking his dying friend, Joe Buck, the naïve Texan on a bus bound for Florida, a land where he figures the weather suits their clothes. 
But wait, you might be thinking, if you have just a smidgen of music trivia rolling around your head, wasn’t that by Harry Nilsson, the guy who wrote that other song about the lime in the coconut? Nilsson is closely identified with the song re-titled in his version as “Everybody’s Talking (the Theme to Midnight Cowboy,”) to the point that a recent documentary about him is called, Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? Nilsson’s version was on the soundtrack, but Fred wrote it.
As the story is told, they asked Fred if they could use his version, but he declined. He figured it would bring unwanted fame, and interfere with his treasured privacy. After reading Rush Evans’ excellent bio on the singer at I realize that the songs on this record pretty much tell Fred’s story. In “Ba De Da” he announces, “I get so tired hanging around this town. This old city life sure brings a fellow down.” And sure enough he sailed off on a summer breeze from Greenwich Village returning to his home state Florida where the weather better suited his clothes.
And what did he do down there? He went searching for the dolphins, just as he sang in the sublime opening to Fred Neil. On Earth Day 1970 he and Ric O’Barry founded something called the Dolphin Research Project, dedicated the rest of his life to stopping the capture of dolphins and releasing those in captivity. 

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

7 questions for zZz

From: "Björn Ottenheim" <>

         Who are you?

We are zZz.

Dot Fox plays his vintage Organ, Korg and Pianet like Beethoven on LSD.

Sir Big Sexy bangs on his 3-piece kit like Bonham and sings like Elvis on acid.

         Where are from?

Amsterdam, born and raised.

          What do you do?

We create mix of violent trance, psychedelic electro wave, garage soul and dirty rock & roll.

         Why do you do what you do?

We actually don't know. It just feels great doing it.

         What are you working on?

We are working on new songs for our second album and preparing for our tour in Japan.

         What’s next?

Our tour in Japan

         When will you be here? With who?

We're coming over March 10th at 6 Rivers Brewery with DMBQ.

And we're gonna play 3 shows on SXSW and record at the Sun Studio 22nd of March.

We return in May. We can't say [with who]...but here is a hint. First name is Fatboy, last name is Slim.

Please mention our website


Monday, March 06, 2006

node records - spencer doran

Link to a page for a new album, Echoplexia, by Spencer Doran and Cloaks, which is actually just him.
Yes, my son is big in Japan...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


A friend was walking around Arcata with his daughter; she pointed out this mini-flyer saying, "That's a bad word." 
This description of their album came from the All Tomorrow's Parties fest website: JOMF's first Road Cone CD, Fig. 5, was a great artistic leap forward for the band and has received heaps of praise for its semi-improvisational "primitivism." What started as a desire to spend comfortably large amounts of time in the basement expanding upon their rock-based, ESP-informed whoosh-loop-jazz fix somehow turned into something else: an anthropological foray into America's musical history, as filtered through the Jackie-O psych treatment. Yet the basement goals remained, and so the album became JOMF's own field recording; they are both inside and outside history, even as they are wholly of it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

10 Questions for Josh Erwin from Packway Handle

  Who are you?

We're a Bluegrass-quintet from Athens, GA playing Bluegrass w/ a vengeance. (Josh plays guitar.)

 Where are you now? Where are y'all from originally?

Right now [2/28] we're in Hailey, ID. We're playing at the Sun Valley Brewery tomorrow night, and Whiskey Jacques' on Thursday. We spent about a week and a half in CO, another week and a half in MT, then this week in Idaho. Our home for the band is Athens, GA. We left there for this tour on January 31.

 What do you do?

We play bluegrass the way we see fit...there's plenty of original compositions we perform at shows, lots of creepy end-of-the-world gospel tunes, some old-time fiddlin', and some bluegrassified ‘80's cover songs by bands like The Cars, Violent Femmes, and David Byrne. [By the way, there's free downloadable MP3s at the "tunes" tab]

 Why do you do whatever it is you do?

Right now, we're touring as a band because the time's finally come to quit the day jobs. We've done tours before, but they've never been able to be more than 2-3.5 weeks long. It will be 5 years this spring since we've been playing together, and our sound has been honed during that duration. There’s value in what we're doing and the way that we play music... I believe that because there really is an original way that we portray bluegrass. It’s definitely not done in the way it was done in the 1950s and ‘60s... We're not trying to preserve the original Bill Monroe's style of playing bluegrass. There are so many more ways we've found to use the standard bluegrass instruments [banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and bass] to play the music we like.

 What are you working on?

Right now, we're working on a standard of quality and consistency of quality from show to show. That's one of the good things about playing & performing music full time in a band- together- everyday at a new venue. Also, there's some new original tunes that we're writing/composing for the spring.

 What’s next?

When we get back home to [be based out of] Athens we're going to begin our 3rd album. This one will be an all original album. There's been some stuff that Michael & I have written that we've been playing for a while, and also some other new stuff that needs to be laid down and recorded.

 Are you by any chance on your way to SxSW?

Yes! We're going to crash the streets w/ the acoustic instruments that whole week. We're working on playing the Flagpole suite. The Flagpole Magazine is Athens, GA's town paper. They get a suite every year and host all kinds of bands, and usually have home town bands come through to play. [By the way, why do you ask about that?] (Educated guess: We’re looking at a slew of bands stopping in Humboldt on their way to or from Austin and SxSW.)

 What's a Packway Handle?

Exactly...think about tourette's syndrome.

 What is going on in the graveyard?

Probably somethin' you've never seen...

 The Packway Handle Band plays Sunday, March 5 at Six Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville and Monday, March 6 at Heartwood Institute south of Garberville,