Thursday, February 23, 2006

POISON 13!

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Off to a good start...

I really can't remember a year that has shown so much promise. It's a bit deceiving as most of the good things that are happening to me were set in motion long ago. But that does emphasize the fact that instant gratification is generally fleeting. But enough with the dimestore philosophy, let me elaborate. I played my first gig ever a couple of weeks ago at the Bar of Soap and I'm a little surprised I haven't blabbed about it sooner. It might have something to do with the fact that I didn't freak out like I thought I would. That's not to say it wasn't exciting, or that I wasn't nervous but it went well without any major flubs and people seemed to dig it. We (Saddle Tramp) did get asked to open again next month by Donny Ray Ford, so I take that as a good sign.

I was the first one there, and I'm not big on going to clubs, or bars by myself but I have spent more than my share of time at this notorious Dallas dive so I was pretty comfortable. I should have brought some laundry. (For those of you that might be unaware, the BOS is a bar/venue/laundromat that used to book really great bands and they are starting to again.) It's the place where people like The Reverend Horton Heat cut their teeth back in the dark ages, so even though I couldn't care less about him now it's still a pretty cool factoid in my book. Some of the best shows I've ever seen have been at this festering, watering hole, including: Gasoline (Japanese, soul-inspired garagepunk), The Briefs, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Marked Men, The Deadites, The Deadly Snakes, and a slew of others. I missed some great ones there too, like: The Spits, The Epoxies, and The Mooney Suzuki when they still seemed relevant. If I never play another gig at least I can say I played this one.

There have been a whole bunch of great lesser-known local bands that have played there over the years as well including (but not limited to): The Loco Gringos, The Potatoes, Stickmen with Rayguns, The Necrotonz, The Kickz, Power Squid (Austin), and many more I should probably remember. Speaking of criminally overlooked bands, I'm going to Austin to see the legendary Austin band Poison 13 in that wonderful town this weekend. They were just another great band featuring modern-day renaissance man Tim Kerr of The Big Boys, Lord High Fixers, and even Bad Mutha Goose fame among others. Tim is Austin punk, and soul incarnate and a real inspiration. From the beginning the Big Boys (R.I.P. Randy "Biscuit" Turner) sought to break down the wall between audience and peformer encouraging extreme examples of audience participation and a "We're the band/You're the band" attitude. They would end every show by yelling, "Now go start your own band!" at the sweat-drenched crowd. Poison 13 was a departure musically from the punk-funk of the Big Boys, and they couldn't have been more different than the other punk bands of the time with their slower pace and obvious blues influence. With covers ranging from Willie Dixon, to The Troggs, and The Animals they created the template for the many garage, and few mis-labled "grunge" bands to come. They obviously influenced a young man named Mark Arm, who would go on to form Mudhoney, and later play with Tim in The Monkeywrench. Keep in mind that this was the mid-eighties, not exactly a hot time for the currently en-vogue garage rock sound. They play a reunion show about every six years and this is the first one I've been able to attend so I'm stoked. The Austin premiere of Pot Zombies is earlier the same night, so I might try to swing by there too.

...I also bought my first decent guitar; a Fender Telecaster, but I won't get all guitar geek on you about it. However, I am extra twangy now!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Life Intrudes...

You know that quote about how "life" is what happens to you while your making other plans? Well, if that's the case then I've been doing a whole lot of "living" lately. This might buy me back some points with you, my "readers", while I've been neglecting my blog. Sh*ts been crazy lately, but not all in a negative way...I'll focus on the goodness. And speaking of goodness, how about the one-two punch of beer and great music which is what I'm enjoying right now. I'm listening to my FAVORITE radio program, on my FAVORITE radio station, MUSIC TO SPAZZ BY with Dave the Spazz on WFMU.( I'm drinking Rolling Rock because it was on sale for those playing at home). Dave is an over-the-top DJ but in the best way, not like those schmucks you hate on the top 40 station with the "radio" voice. He's got a thing for chimps and the best "popular" music ever recorded. Everything from doo-wop, jump-blues, rock AND roll, vintage pop, old country, garage, punk and the occasional novelty tune plus some stuff I'm surely leaving out are represented. Check it out! You should also check out the podcasts at Garagepunk.com as they seem to be taking off like wildfire. They're even doing one that's available starting Thursday Feb. 9th for The UNDER THE COVERS comp. I'm on!

I'm thinking about changing the name of the blog to THINGS I MISSED since a re-occurring theme seems to be my complaining about all the great shows and stuff I somehow didn't, or couldn't make it to. Case in point, I'm not at the Texas Frightmare Weekend right now so I missed the world premiere of POT ZOMBIES in which I appear. Now I saw a rough cut of the thing recently so it's not like I really would have been missing anything other than the intense, gut-wrenching laughter of the crowd but I'll get my chance this Wednesday at the Red Blood Club. Another thing I missed this weekend was one of my only chances to see the Denton/Austin/Ft. Worth based "supergroup" THE HIGH TENSION WIRES at Rubber Gloves. They are a side project for members of The Riverboat Gamblers, The Marked Men, and some other extra-rocking bands. You can probably imagine what they sound like if you have heard the other bands they're in.

I did actually manage to make it MR. PEPPERMINT'S 79TH BIRTHDAY at the Granada Theatre the other night despite being sick. There was a semi-entertaining band called Merry and the Widowmakers or something onstage when I got there. They had been billed as "Soccer Moms do Ramones' Covers" and were comprised of women that looked like real-live Soccer Moms. The only problem was that I didn't hear one Ramones song. They did a couple of White Stripes songs, and some originals that all sounded better than I would have imagined but no Ramones!? Well, the unintentionally funny/lame stage show and banter helped make up for it I suppose, what with the singer throwing a laundry basket full of tube socks on the audience and other shennanigans. The performance by Mr. Peppermint and Muffin, and the Bloopers from his Dallas based children's show PEPPERMINT PLACE were worth the price of admission alone. For those unenlightened to the world of Mr P. he's basically the local Mr. Rogers, and the father of BUTTHOLE SURFER Gibby Haynes, whom helped fulfill a dream I've had since I was barely a teen...meeting him. He was very nice and not particularly frightening either even if he was a little more interested in talking to Kara than myself. But this seems to be the usual routine. The same thing happened when we met Jonathan Richman of The Modern Lovers, and Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs. Mr. P, aka Jerry Haynes, has had a long and successful career in both theatre, television, and the movies since the fifties..not to mention his cool trademark red and white stiped suit, hat and striped cane. The bloopers were a real revelation in that they were mostly off-color often with a sexual element to them. As this show is one of my earliest memories of Dallas you can imagine those seminal viewings contrasting with hearing Muffin, the buck-toothed, backwoods stuffed-bear sidekick say that someone told him that if he ate too much ice cream then his DICK would fall off. Great stuff!

I've also been playing some country music with the fine fellers of SADDLETRAMP, as well as trying to learn the songs in time for next Saturday's show opening for Donnie Ray Ford on February 11th at the Bar of Soap. (Friday night they're showing Pot Zombies...so I'm totally RULING the BOS this weekend!)They play old-school country with a little bluesy influence thrown in comprised of originals written by singer and acoustic guitarist Chad Bennett and some cover songs by the likes of Billie Joe Shaver, Johnny Cash, and Neil Young as well as a few standards. Noah Bailey is on banjo, and lap-steel, Matt Powers plays the electrified bass, and I play the electrified six string. Everybody sings back-up vocals, but I'm just getting started with all that...

Here's the Myspace page for the band.

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=47896432

Oh yeah, I also managed to make some use of artwork I've done for the LOOONG delayed Cornman Comic Book for the cover of the 7-inch Justin is putting out. (see top) And for the record that's me and Gibby Haynes to the left. Until next time, take care my fellow cretins...