Thursday, August 31, 2006

The band MAYSTAR

Who are you?

The band MAYSTAR.
I know all bands say this, but we're really serious: we don't really
fit into any genre. It's really frustrating not being about to
identify with any certain kind of sound. It makes describing our
music a chore and booking shows with similar sounding bands
impossible. It's not like we are *that* different, but in a way we
are. We're like shoegaze with out all the instruments, indie rockers
without the rock, gothic without all the black, alternative, but we
just don't sound like Alanis Morrisette. Although a few confused souls
did compare us to Nirvanna.
Others say our sound is kind of like a spine-tingling stripped-down
Pinback and old Black Heart Procession meets Blonde Redhead, Denali,
Deerhoof, and Siouxie. That stripped down part is definitley the thing
that makes our sound hard to categorize.

I am May Jacob
and Abe DeLeon is the other half of the band. He's currently making
out with his guitar somewhere.

Where are from?

From. That's a hard question. I've moved over 40 times in my life,
first because of my mother's restlessness, and then because of living
in foster homes. I've lived many places in California, including Morro
Bay (in San Luis Obispo), Nevada, and a couple places in Alaska. I
currently live in San Diego.

Abe is has lived in San Diego his whole life.

What do you do?

I write lyrics, melodies, and sing. But I guess it's not just singing,
our show is a little bit like going to see a play. I have my degree in
Theatre and I think the years of theatre classes come out when I sing.
Like laying down on stage for parts of songs, and kind of acting the
songs out, in an almost gothic way, kind of. I also design the dresses
I wear for our shows. And I do drawings and graphic design for our
CDs, shirts, flyers, and the web-design for our site and myspace. I'm
secretly a MAC nerd, but shhh, don't tell anyone! ; ) One step in
the other direction and I may have found myself a computer programmer.

Abe plays guitar, keyboards, and drum beats. He kind of does a little
bit of everything. We have all these things we do for our live show,
and he played construction worker for them to come into existence. Abe
used to play drums for Soul Junk. He also played guitar and other
instruments in San Diego's Jupiter Crash and The Verso. He mostly
wrote all the parts for both bands. He's really an amazing guitarist,
he comes up with these guitar parts that no one else around here can
even play.

Why do you do what you do?

I have no idea. I've been writing songs and poems ever since I was put
into foster homes at the age of 11. They were always just written
songs, but as soon as I turned 18 and got away from the foster homes,
I started putting them to music.

Abe plays guitar because he loves it and it's his way of expressing
his feelings. Abe's reason for living is music. Really.

What are you working on?

Right now we're supposed to be working on recording new songs, but I'm
really sick and so Abe is recording what he can by himself. Yeah, the
sick person gets to do the interviews I guess.

What's next?

Next we're thinking about touring some more, and writing some more
songs. We also have a lot of filmmaker friends and keep talking about
making a music video, but so far there hasn't been any time for that.
We always get all sorts of ideas for all these things we want to do,
and there are just so many that we are just all over the place without
any specific direction. We do what we feel. Logic and creativity
always get all mixed up together with this band. Whether that's a bad
or good thing, I don't know yet.

When will you be here? With who?

We'll be playing at the Alibi on Sunday, September 17th.
I've had at least five of my friends tell me to say hi to Ian for
them when we're there, so I take it this must be a good place with
good people.
Apparently we get 5 free pitches of Olympia. If you want free beer,
you should come talk to me. Seriously.
The other band we're playing with is Meru.

Who's that?

I was told that they are from Portland, but their website says
Olympia, Washington. Olympia, like the free beer!

Website? MySpace?

Our website is
I boycotted myspace for at least a year, but finally put up a profile
in late 2004. Abe boycotted myspace until just a few months ago.
We've just now begun to really use it:

Anything else you want to add?

I really like carrot juice. Hint, hint.(haha)
Let me know if there is anything else you need from me!xoxo

Monday, August 14, 2006

James Brown - Please, Please, Please

incendiary snip from the T.A.M.I Show (try to ignore the indecipherable banner, it goes away)

My musical taste was not really formed in 1965. I was entering high school and had gone from being a Cali-surf rock fan (and dressing in Madras shirts) to discovery of The Rolling Stones, who I saw as somehow cooler than The Beatles and other British invasion bands. I knew a little bit about Motown from listening to Top-40 on my little AM radio, but for the most part black music was still a mystery to me.
A movie came to play at the El Rey Theater in my hometown that summer, something called The T.A.M.I Show with the initials standing for Teenage Music International. It was aimed right at me. Jan and Dean were the hosts. The Beach Boys were one of the featured acts along with a duck-walking Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes and Marvin Gaye (inexplicably backed by the uncredited Crystals). A few other acts played at the concert videotaped at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a couple of forgettable Brit bands and proto-garage rockers The Barbarians, who I recall had a drummer who’d lost his hand and replaced it with a drum stick.
Waiting for the Stones to close the show something earth-shattering happened. James Brown came on -- and blew my mind. He did two or three songs, but it was “Please, Please, Please” that stopped the show. An appeal to a lover who’s going to leave him, it ends with James begging “baby please don’t go; please, please, please.” He becomes a man possessed, he can’t let go, not just of the woman who wronged him, but of the audience, and the song itself. He grabs the mic and falls to his knees — hard. His handlers put a cape around him and start to walk him offstage. He stops, throws the cape off and stumbles back to the microphone to resume his plea. He falls again, they return with the cape, he throws it off, tears off his houndstooth check coat, cries out, leaves once again and returns, singing, “please, please, please…” He the word chants 37 times hitting every beat until he is spent.
I know now that the song was almost 10 years old at that point, and that the cape business was a routine part of his act, but he had me hook, line and sinker. I went out and bought his then-current hits, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and I felt good. I picked up Live at the Apollo Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and eventually a couple of dozen other albums by Mr. Brown, many of which have since been appropriated by my son who knows timeless funk when he hears it. Sure, he’s a lot older now (73 to be exact) and even crazier. He demands odd things like ice cubes frozen from Mountain Dew, and he probably lets his band carry most of the show, but I’ll bet he can still dance 1,000 time better than I ever did, and I’m guessing he can still milk an audience for all it’s worth. So I’ll be there dancing in the aisles of the Van Duzer Monday night when he opens the new CenterArts season with a sold out performance. And I know when he’s done I’ll feel good.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

RIP Arthur Lee

I bought the first Love album when it came out in the Sixties, saw the band as doing something like what was going on in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time. In retrospect I see that what Arthur Lee was up to was quite different, and way ahead of the times.