Just a brief & less-brief note w/r/t the Esopus project...first the brief.
The launch party for the ltd. ed. Esopus Foundation/Magazine project I did w/ the bonkers-ly amazing artist Beth Campbell has been re-scheduled for Monday, Dec. 14th, 7:00-9:00 at Beth's studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And I'll be playing a short-ish solo set including the song Three Types of Reading Ambiguity from the upcoming album, which was the focus of the project w/ Beth...[READ ON]
Yesterday got the mastered&sequenced version of the album back from the mastering guru (haven't gotten to listen to it yet partially because I'm sick of & hate
it but also because the at-home dad's child-bosses do not honor a traditional workday).
Sad-lariously enough, only just realized that it was also exactly 5 years ago yesterday, that recording officially started .
Holy hell. Wasting life in half-decade increments.
Realizing that it's the killer-combo of being not only unimportant in the real goings-on of the world but also, in the ever-going back&forth of "it's almost done, this part is done" etc., both hard to keep up track of and in those details especially, really pretty boring...
but in my dumb mission to post updates on some tiny portion of the everyday work on the record (and believe me, although arguably it shouldn't be, it really is every damned day), Sunday morning I finished & sent off the final-of-many versions of the last song to mastering. Which means that...[READ ON]
I'll be trying to try a new song or two, maybe a tiny tribute to Ornette Coleman if I can pull it off, a cover-of-a-cover or two, and a few of the usual hide-behind-loops solo/wrens things...[READ ON]
I hope your Thanksgivings...
...were great. At my end, well you know how I'm always prattling & whining on about how difficult the record's been to make, how little sleep for 4+ years now, etc. etc.? Of course you do. Yield-wise, it's more my stock-in-trade than releasing actual albums. And while true, even I'm pretty tired of hearing me go on about it.
But all those art-for-crap's-sake life choices came to a head at Thanksgiving. Driving up to Massachusetts that Wednesday, got sicker & sicker, fever, vomiting. Thursday morning felt worse, with a weird & unwelcome Rice Crispie effect to each breath, a cough output I'll only describe as 'cranberry'...[READ ON]
...probably nothing he knows.
For 10 years I taught guitar in a music store in NJ (hi, Woodside Music in Park Ridge), to mostly high schoolers w/ some adults & younger children thrown in. And in those hundreds of students there would always be a few that were better (either more talented or more accomplished, I have yet to crack that one) usually in a "hey, another perfect Led Zep solo down pat" way, which is great and as the cliche` goes, taught me a lot. But there were always a few that seemed further ahead...aesthetically, for lack of a better word, who might end up doing something really cool in the future, either artistically or just more broadly, in life etc., even if it wasn't quite clear (at least clear to me) what that might be.
Luke Wyatt was one of those young'uns...[READ ON]
So Friday morning...
...for the first time in I don't even know how long (years at this point!), we all four got together. The occasion? Well, I realize it's not big news in any sense except to us, but after 25 years as a band and for the first time in 20, we, as they say, have inked a deal. Pens were handed out presidentially. Morning beers were clinked together. The devil wrung his hands in delight & vanished in a smoke puff, laughing...[READ ON]
Last Thursday, July 31st, was a another unlikely milestone for us: the 25th anniversary of our very first show, at a club long-since gone on 42nd St., Manhattan, right next to the Port Authority. And even though there were a few hasty rehearsals first, it being the first time of many that we powered up amps & attempted to 'wow' the non-crowd (also first of many), we count it as the official starting gun.
And typically late to everything, including watch-bestowing self-ceremonies we hold every five years to congratulate ourselves on being even later to breaking up, we didn't get around to posting anything. Heck, I only noticed because I set a calendar alarm. Four years and 364 days ago. [READ ON]
It has been a while, non? Even as four years of work on the album finally wrap up, actually leaving the house to climb on a stage, in front of people and flail a guitar like a man drowning.
Kevin & I (that's charles) are playing a benefit show for P.S. 154, a public school here in Brooklyn at which (full disclosure) our oldest attends kindergarten. So yes, daddy is singing for text books & pencils...[READ ON]
It was half of 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper bought the band a copy of the Meadowlands. Probably for one of his more mature friends and hopefully w/ a discretely included gift receipt.
Meaning yeah, the Meadowlands came out exactly 10 years ago today, on Sept. 9th, 2003, which also means that our 'most recent' release pre-dates things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Democrats in the White House, heck Bush's 2nd term, the show Lost, 6 albums and 3 EP's by Okkervil River, the Dinosaur Jr. reunion, some actual dinosaurs, the careers of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry COMBINED and the over 8400 separate and unique indie music micro-genres that gestated and died a quick bloggy death since...you get the idea. But putting it in any of those terms does feel like saying it came out in the '70s. (choose your own century)...[READ ON]
Posted a very belated 2010-in-review last month here which mostly covered the start of (finally) recording. As promised, here’s a slightly less-belated overview of what we got done in 2011. And it’s shorter...[READ ON]
Tues.: drop kids at school, inexplicably overdub even more guitars in living room in effort to finish recording before more due children are born
Wed.: proselytize on keeping other cities weird
Thurs: use phrase ‘day party’ a lot; eat sensible dinner at our respective homes (NJ, Penna., B’klyn).
Fri.: enjoy commemorative breakfast taco, read up on Austin. Email other band geeks to discuss reforming
Sat.: reflect how everything’s bigger in Texas, especially buzzes
Sun.: feel the burn…of a week like any other. Reflect on what we’ve learned. Look ahead to 2014 when we actually go.
An itemized invoice I sent Kevin, billing him for work done on one of his songs (ok no, not seriously billing him. Althooooough if he cut me a check, I’d probably cash it. For his is a generous personhood, while I am a small grabby man). Greg’s reply to all this: you need to increase your rates....[READ ON]
2010, that is…
Yeah, 2010…actually not a typo. For years we’ve posted a year-end wrap-up of what we’d been up to the previous twelve months (you can pour over a few of those here). They’ve tended to be drawn-out semi-comedic affairs that were long on “we bought a computer” sort of news and short of any announcement of real recording (not counting a band-ful of false starts, laughably optimistically documented here or here, both from four years ago now, for ex.)...
Anyway, the Schumann PLL, that great white whale among guitar pedal enthusiasts is sold. And to Jack Black, no less....
You play guitar for three-plus decades, you tend to accumulate a few pedals along the way, maybe enough to earn the dumb infantile nickname ‘pedalboy’.
I've been putting off cleaning musical-equipment house for maybe oh...two-and-a-half of those three decades now. But finally starting with this, for some tiny sub-strata of musicianly geeks, the jewel in the crown that is my collection - the Schumann PLL, now for sale. If you have to ask what it is, probably no reason to read on. And definitely no reason to ask how much, since that’ll make us both feel weird. Trust me...
Feeling the CMJ burn yet? Tired of indie rock pushing you around? I actually am and I haven’t left the house in years.
Well, if you’ve ever seen us (wrens) play and thought, “wow, I wish the one on the right would just put aside those cloying songs of heartbreak and loss so that I could really take in the guitar work” – ok, the odds you’ve said that without actually being me, are probably slim - then friend, I’ve got a show for you...
fashionably late to our own unfashionable…
…party, here’s a link for one of the list pieces that Pitchfork ran a week or so back celebrating their 15-year anniversary...
Here we are now, Entertain us.
Really nothing pressing here, just pointing, mockingly, to Kev & Charles in Spin, sharing their brief old-man reminiscences of the first time they heard Nirvana's Nevermind, which came out 20 years ago now. Which is pretty bonkers. Almost as bonkers as us in Spin...