Category Archives: Music / Rock

live music, festivals, musicians and music history – curated links about the above – your mileage may vary

Curious Cameo: Smiley & Underclass “We all get like this” / music vid

Another curious cameo, this one in a speedy lockdown montage video collage by a punky reggae band from London called Smiley and the Underclass and their song “We All Get Like This” from their EP “The Way To The Bomb” (Bandcamp) released July 1st / + FB & YT

It all flashes by rapidly but if you look sharp, you might see your old pal in the grain barn studio lip-syncing along to the chorus.

Continue reading Curious Cameo: Smiley & Underclass “We all get like this” / music vid

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, gatefold

Bad Wougar is/was a hard rocking band in Vancouver BC with four fine gentleman who practised diligently in a room called the “the Den” which I’ve visited several times – occasionally playing some drums, especially extended jams to “Cortez the killer”. The name “Bad Wougar” came from a campfire myth about a dangerous animal which was a mix of a wolf and a cougar.

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, cover

On a trail walk one day, I recorded a myth about the creature for the bands use and amusement. They then invited me into the glorious brand-new Monarch Studio (which has an origin story to share another time) to record a few snippets from the riff for the songs. In all, my voice/words appear in two tracks on this final release which was distributed on CD with a paper gatefold cover (i have 2, Mac Kobayashi has 1).

For the record, released: February 28, 2014 (noting this was a high point in an otherwise tough tough year).  As mentioned, the four members of the band (including a non-related Olson) were each fantastically kind, interesting fellas as well as quality musicians and it’s a privilege to know them.

So it goes, folks have other commitments and adventures in life so they don’t play anymore but I hope this CD/album is more widely distributed in future / Kind of band that would be big in Europe.

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, back with track list

 You can check the Bad Wougar Bandcamp or Soundcloud + Youtube Discogs + a review in UberRock, a snippet: 

… every time I sling this album on the stereo I can’t but feel like I’ve been transported to a wood-panelled backwoods bar where the band are plying their gnarled rock ‘n’ roll trade in such a fashion that the venue’s customers are worried that the whole place will go up in flames, the sounds so incendiary….

There’s a grubby charm to this band and its self-described brand of hard charging rock ‘n’ roll. It’s garage rock by way of the forest and you can’t really ask for anything dirtier, earthier than that.

As the stoner-like riff of final track, ‘Spoke Too Soon’, rattles the fillings out of my teeth I’m left wondering if maybe what I just listened to was part of a crazed fever dream. Then I look up and see the album cover, the eyes of the Bad Wougar appearing to follow my every move…..

Another review in Permanent Rain references my spoken-word bit, ergo:

This spoken kick off made me realize I was in for a fun ride, just as if I was watching a movie–and I was not disappointed. …

The album itself has a delightfully punk element to it, often mixing with elements of classic and progressive rock. It could have been released in 1984, 1994, 2004, or 2014 and reflected the music of its time period.

Subpop HQ: photo, sticker, poster wall collage / Seattle, 2010

Who can you name? Mark Arm, front and centre + Dean H, thanks eh / Subpop, 2010

Yeah i know the pics aren’t great but just to document my trip to Subpop HQ, Seattle (of course)… in March 2010 – I was in the city for a conference, gig, start-up internet-y meeting or some thing, I remember eating some Hawaiian/Japanese hybrid at an izakaya and a few other activities but importantly, visiting Subpop.

The photo strip booth was broken now but so many notable humans capture in instant b&w goodness

Note: This was the third company I had SubPop (OlyWa, Zhonka, Hootsuite) as a customer and received a warm familiar welcome and buncha questions about social marketing for bands/labels strategy. Felt useful.

all the sticker! i cover doors and suitcase and laptops with stickers and enjoy a satisfying collage / Subpop, 2010

Carrying on anyway,… i had visited the old HQ years ago (with Banghi and scored a Sebadoh “Zippo” and other treats) but this time got the full tour, especially loved the walls various photo strip booth and instant-photo collages – So many faces from bands I know and appreciate over decades, I’ll present it in a style that’s right out of my playbook.

Plus various walls of silk screen posters (silkscreening done on site), walls of stickers (yeah my style!), bunch of other neat stuff like original invoice for the Nirvana 7″, original loser ads, the framed “Wood Records” for bands it sold fewer than a gold record, some of the gold/platinum records are displayed in the toilet, and, at-the-time-just-recently framed and hung properly B&W Charles Peterson (who rocks the instagram like whoa) classic photos.

Posters, handbills, promo sheets – much of which done right on premises, love the DIY goodness / Subpop, 2010

I left with a box of CDs, bunch of posters and other ephemera, most importantly it Mudhoney double signed by fcking legend Mark Arm of Mudhoney who works as a shipping warehouse wrangler (and to whom I asked a stupid question about his other band Monkeywrench) PS thanks Dean.

More posters including Iron and Wine and Flight of the Conchords, not who you first think of right? / Subpop, 2010
Mudhoney (my fave) + shade of The Constantines, Sleater-Kinney, couple more i dig / Subpop, 2010

Digression: Remember back when Subpop was a column in the fine alt/news-weekly “The Rocket” (thanks Marty) and Olympia/ Evergreen was sort of where Poneman/Pavitt started it up, and most of the bands first came through, a lot more to say about this but you probably know already… (see also: Go With the Flow).

PS yeah or nay on the part 2?

Once the photo strip booth konked out, they switched it up to Polaroid and markers, dig it / Subpop, 2010

Media: Jerry Garcia’s Legacy / PDN, Guam, Aug. 18, 1995

Summary: Woke up to the news, quit my job, went to a candlelight vigil, passed one around, talked to some geeks from Pacific Daily News newspaper, learned about the Internet, signed up for class the next day, started making websites about hemp in Japan, got a new job, quit, went to Palau and Yap, went to Olympia, met some Internet hippies… somehow its today.

Where were you?

Media: Jerry Garcia death / PDN, Guam, Aug. 18 1995, part 1
Media: Jerry Garcia death / PDN, Guam, Aug. 18 1995, part 2
Media: Jerry Garcia death / PDN, Guam, Aug. 18 1995, part 3 (detail)

See also: “The Internet Age Began on August 9, 1995” / via Litkicks (with comment)

Letter: from A-Ha (band), SLC, 1991

Artifact: Letter from A-Ha (band), SLC, 1991

Received while busking with Chris Sullivan, downtown Salt Lake City, Utah > folded and dropped into guitar case with no comment /

Note: A-Ha is/was a popular Norwegian band with a huge hit “Take on Me” which still circulates widely #royalties

Artifact: “DOA and Friends Coloring and Fun Book” – ca. 1984

Artifact: “DOA and Friends Coloring and Fun Book” – ca. 1984

Note: Merch for legendary Vancouver-based punk band fronted by Joe “Shithead” Keithley who is now Burnaby Municpal Councillor.

Stapled, still in plastic, each page majestic / so many bands plus various puzzles like “help Dimwit find his drums maze” / musta been from 1984. 

Noting: This was my fave lineup of the band + Dave Gregg and Brian “Sunny boy” “Wimpy” Goble are passed on (rip)

Memento: with Tegan and Sara, Vancouver, 2012

who is Tegan? which is Sara? Dave is one with the Jack Kerouac shirt and handmade Mavilli scarf
yes, these charming humans listened with rapt attention as we discussed lost tracks and the creative process

Note: Tegan and Sara performed a special promo gig for a Vancouver radio station in Dec. 2012 to which i was invited. Later had a nice chats with the affable twins and exchanged signed items and riffed about “early tracks” and the evolution of the creative process. Recently they re-recorded/re-released some early days tunes and i am moderately convinced the impetus was sparked that day :) 

Artifacts and Birthday Greetz to Dan Mangan

Musician and pal Dan Mangan shares a birthday (april 28) with my sweet wife Ryoko (he’s a year older) and while we were in birthday mode for wife, and in the the kura (barn) studio, whipped him up a friendly video with various records and posters of his and other amusements for his, and possibly your, amusement. 

Bonus: here’s me and Dan and (at the time) Mayor Gregor Robertson at a charity street hockey game in Vancouver (Five Hole for Food) in 2011(?)

Artifacts: Rock shirts, vol. 1 (1980s Bowie, Clash, REM)

While sorting through archive in the kura/barn studio, came across a mighty bin of t-shirts from bands/tours, mtn bike races, trips, handmade goodness, or just quirky/weird. Of course many/most didn’t make it to this point but several did

Not surprisingly, rather delicate and need a freshening up. Considering some sort of craft project for these (a quilt? stretched over wooden frame? leave as is?) but in the meantime, a couple quick snaps of a few treasures which create a chronology from the early 1980s. 

Call this: Front/back quick snaps, part 1 (without annotations):

  • David Bowie 83
  • The Clash 84
  • REM 85 & 86 (iirc as i saw many times and all a bit hazy)

 

 

 

Artifacts: DIY cassette goodness

 

To me, there is importance in preserving the efforts of “small time“ artists putting their goodness out into the world in a true DIY style.

This stash includes:

* “Houseboat” and “Filterland” /4 track recorded cassettes (with a lot of doubling up and bouncing… really fantastic) by Chris Jacobson (who I met in Guam but he’s from Rhode Island and I’ve lost track of him)

* Chris Sullivan / who I played in a band with in Salt Lake City, he’s in Kentucky (i think) after going to Alaska to catch crabs (the kind from the ocean) or something like that… Fantastically versatile musician and charismatic front man

* “ARCO Hotel” by Joe Williamson who I knew in North Burnaby, BC years ago. He’s a deep jazz and classical (mostly) upright bass player with training at McGill. Cassette was recorded on New Year’s Day (I think) at eponymously named hotel in Amsterdam. Every once in while I see him pop up in European jazz circles doing important, eccentric things

* JahWah (demo), my pals from BC playing some funky punky reggae goodness / Chris Gee and renegades (Rob T & Merlin)

* Metal Planet and Scandoll, a couple of metal bands – who shared members – from my first go around in Tottori, Japan in 1993

* Francisco Fernandez’s band “the ferocious few “ / purchased from him busking on the streets of Austin at SXSW. He’s still out there doing his thing, give him some support

* Stony Curtis and the pipe dreams, one of many submissions when I was making Hempen Road documentary film… This one didn’t get used but I appreciated the effort.

* Another radio show on which I talked about hemp cannabis somewhere someplace somehow, have a lots of these sort of things
… and worth noting a lot of these tunes were used in my documentary films, various podcasts and pop up here and there, or sometimes not. 

Most of these, I suspect there’s very few original/organic/analog versions floating around, maybe a few others stashed in forgotten shoeboxes in various basements, attics and closets. Proud to be a curator.

And yes, I’ve course I have more, a whole box of cassettes and CDs labeled “dude, you got to hear my band…”

Peaches for John Prine (rip)

On April 8th Japan time, i wrote: 

“Digging loads of John Prine recently… he’s a funny as fck and exceptional songwriter / here’s him singing for his hero Gordon Lightfoot. The banter and songs are both top-level” and shared:

and a few minutes later, learned he’d passed from the “this g0dless plague”

so i wrote: 

Now ole postman John gonna drink a vodka and ginger-ale, smoke a cigarette 9 miles long, find mom and dad & good ole brother Doug and cousin Jackie…, and momma’s sister cause that’s where the love starts… take this wristwatch off my arm whatcha gonna do with time when ya… bought. the. farm.

and later added a lyric along with our peach tree growing in the backyard while we wait for our lil human to arrive, ergo: 

Throw away the paper
Move to the country
Build yourself at home
Eat a lot of peaches
Etc.

For dear old John Prine with admiration, respect and fondness

Continue reading Peaches for John Prine (rip)

Concerts: assorted, annotated, alphabetized

 ticket stub diary a gift from Mikala, Backstage Rider (its in the archive somewhere, i assume)

Notes (yes i overthink things):

  • resisted urge to list how many times (or at least “once, a few, several, loads), and places, approx years and what not
  • also have satchels full of tickets stubs one of these days will surface (update: added a few handy ones)
  • considered making multiple list vaguely by genre and this is exercise in futility
  • filed alphabetized by first name (decided after consideration about how to file artist+band, i.e.: “Jerry Garcia Band” or “Booker T and MGs” – just too confusing otherwise
  • so many more especially when considering festivals like SxSW, Rifflandia and WOMAD in which saw untold dozens of bands
  • of course hundreds more bands in bars and un-ticketed shows
  • and the 6 band bills in early 80s Vancouver punk rock (some are listed)
  • and sneaking into shows at Park West in Utah
  • added the bands from the Tracks on Tracks trip
  • this is just “something” not everything, tried to stick to ticketed show and just what came up in a single brainstorm… that is until i add more :)

Allman Brothers Band, AOT, Afghan Whigs, Arctic Monkeys, America, Adaline, Acoustica

Buffalo Tom, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Billy Bragg, Bob Dylan, Bear Mountain, Black Uhuru, The Black Angels, Booker T and the MGs, Black Francis, Blues Traveller, Broken Social Scene, Barenaked Ladies, Built to Spill, Belle Game, Black Flag, Blue Rodeo, Bad Yodellers, Burton Cummings, The (English) Beat, Bill of Rights, Bela Fleck and Flecktones, Bosephus King, Beat Happening, Bad Brains, Ben Harper, Big Mountain, Beck, Boom Booms, Barney Bentall

The Clash, The Cramps, Camper Van Beethoven, Chainsaw Running, Carolyn Mark, Chief, Colin James, Current Swell, Chixdigit, Cage The Elephant

David Bowie, Dead Kennedys, David Byrne, Dinosaur Jr. DOA, Death Sentence, Dave Matthews Band, David Grisman, The Dead, Dan Mangan, Donkey Show, Doobie Brothers, David Lindley, Debbie Harry, The Darts (US), Drive by Truckers, Daisy Chain, Dehli to Dublin, Don’t Mean Maybe, Dharma Bums (NYC), Dharma Bums (Portland), Dirty Birds, Devo, Deadmau5, Death, Dustin Bentall

Elvis Costello, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, Ed Hall, Eek a Mouse

fIREHOSE, Flaming Lips, Flat Duo Jets, 54-40, Frank Black and Catholics, Furthur, Fred Penner, Frequency db, Fugazi, Fishbone (plus Angelo solo poetry reading) 

Grateful Dead, Guadalcanal Diary, Green Day , Grape of Wrath, Guess Who, Gwar, Goo Goo Dolls, Geoff Berner, The Golden Dawn, Galactic, Gordon Lightfoot, Gov’t Mule, Garbage, Galactic, GD/BC

Hot Spit Dancers, Hanson Brothers, House of Commons, Hey Ocean, Hot Tuna, Hot Hot Heat, Henry Rollins (spoken)

I, Braineater, Irie Heights, ICU/IQU, Indigo Girls

Jerry Garcia Band, J.F.A., Jesus and Mary Chain, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Jeremy Fisher, Jeremy Wilson, Jim Byrnes, Jill Barber

Kiss, Kool and the Gang, Kathryn Calder

Link Wray, Los Campesinos, Levon Helm, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lava Hay, Los Lobos, Little Feat, Loverboy, Liam Finn, Lenny Kravitz

Mudhoney, Mike Watt (with Secondmen, Pair of Pliers,  Missingmen etc), The Melvins (including with Leif Garrett), The Matinee, Mae Maes, Macklemore, Michael Shrieve (workshop), moe., Misfits, Mother Mother, Mojo Nixon, Matt Mays, Matthew Sweet, The Muffs, Michael Hedges, Metric

Nirvana, Neil Young (various bands), No Means No (including with Jello Biafra), New Pornographers, Neville Brothers, NRBQ, Numbskulz

Oingo Boingo, Oka, Oysterhead

Pixies, Pursuit of Happiness,  Peter Gabriel, Pearl Jam, Phil and Phriends, The Police, Phish, Portage and Main, Petty Booka, Posies, Pointer Sisters

Queensryche

Replacement, R.E.M., Ramones, Robyn Hitchcock, Robert Hunter, Rusted Root, Ry Cooder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rita Marley/I-threes, Reggie Watts, Rich Hope, Richard Thompson

Soul Asylum, Sonic Youth, Social Distortion, Steel Pulse, The Stills, Sebadoh, Santana, Steve Miller Band, Sidney York, Shred Kelly, Swim Herschel Swim, Spot, Sarah McLachlan, String Cheese Incident, Suicidal Tendencies, Slack Tide Currents, Skid Row, Said the Whale, The Smithereens, Shad, The Samples, The Spores, Spin Doctors, Silversun Pickups, Sarah Harmer, Susan Tedeschi, Stu Allen

Tragically Hip, Third World, Throwing Muses, Tom Tom Club, Tegan and Sara, Te’vaka, Topless GayLove Techno Party, Trees, TSOL, Ted Nugent (yes really), Trey Anastasio Band (soundcheck set), Taj Mahal, Tokyo Police Club, Tankhog

U {nothing, yet}

Vampire Weekend, Violent Femmes, Van Morrison

Wilco (with and w/o Billy Bragg), Wall of Voodoo, The Who, Widespread Panic, The Wailers, Weezer

X

Young Fresh Fellows, Yellowman

Zolas, Ziggy Marley