Category Archives: Music / Rock

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

By Post: Jack tribute CDx2 & Bob’s Distortion LPx7

Recently by post:

Jack Kerouac “kicks joy darkness” double CD. All songs/spiels about/dedicated to Jack by various artists. ¥401 delivered.

An assortment of “popular music artists“ with songs inspired by, and about, Jack… Will give you a better rundown later.

And, Bob Mould seven (!) Vinyl box set… You may know him from Hüsker Dü and/or Sugar or his various solo/ Trio/DJ projects – from Minneapolis to San Francisco to Berlin.

Includes one which is a 12 inch disc but runs at 45 RPM and has three songs on one side and blank on the other, plus a booklet of credits, lyrics, annotations and a blurb by J Mascis. Really a fantastically crafted box, that even “wishes“ when you pull one of their records out.

Has been on my list but a bit *too expensive* for this hippie poet until it showed up for ¥5000 ish / $47 usd +/-, delivered.

There is also an earlier career box set as well as various Hüsker Dü compilations but as I say, “one revolution at a time”.

(Disjointed) Musings about Kurt Cobain (2014)

Re: Cobain, 2014 / disjointed miscellaneous annotations 

Thinking of poor dead Kurdt today.

Barely bearable. So many memories:

Accidentally fortunate enough to be dialed in to the Nirvana zeitgeist.

I saw Nirvana at a perfect time, before Nevermind but after Dave Grohl joined. They opened for Dinosaur Jr. at the Pompadour (an old church) in Salt Lake City.

Went away with nothing but the thoughts that they were the *most perfect* band i’d seen: i could hum the songs right away (“gramma take me home, i wanna be alone”) and they were loud (i love loud but Dino Jr. afterwards made everyone huddle in a mass at the back with bleeding ears), and *dareisay* charisma & confidence oozed from all three. They knew what they had ready.

I’ve met Krist a few times since and had him sign the poster from that show, he was surprised to see it as it was part of a few show run to stretch the band out before the whole world changed (for them and us) when Nevermind dropped.

My fave jukebox track was playing the last song on NM which was followed by 10 minute-ish of silence to confuse the bar patrons before the psychedelic mystery track melted their heads.

At Subpop HQ

At Subpop HQ

At Subpop HQ

Living in Olympia after he died, his ghost was everywhere and people always spoke in hushed tones about him.

His old house (from where he used to shoot at the Lottery bldg.) was right by my (OlyWa.net / Zhonka) office – the current resident was a customer even – i saw the graffiti he put on the walls of their jam space, drank at the bars he did, spent a year driving to Aberdeen on weekends for college classes and sadness of that town was palatable.

I learned he was dead weeks after it happened. I was in Japan working high in the remote mountains as a mushroom farmer and a pithy Brit mentioned it in a “good riddance” tone around a campfire at a log home builders party. I had to walk away.

{As an aside, i can’t thinking about another Olympia refugee who met an early self-inflicted (yet somewhat mysterious) demise, Elliott Smith. These dudes were more or less my age and i think my best work is still ahead of me at 43 and feel cheated from the songs we’ll never hear from them.}

But the strongest emotion is one is empathy and how i wished i could have helped them navigate the pitfalls of the “machine” which turned their outward projection into something they didn’t want to be.

And we all want to be known as who we really are.

The relentless photo, tours, hangers-on, pressure, misunderstandings. Let him breathe!

Be kind to artists, be kind to battered souls, be nurturing to those who dull the pain with the easiest escapes.

Here’s a peace pipe for us all to pass and remember a remarkable lightning bolt.

The 5 albums (counting Unplugged & Insecticide but not the endless bootlegs, other live, compilations, reissues blah blah blah) are all significantly different and explore so much musical territory in such rapid time is rather remarkable – reacquainting his muse with each release.

We missed the Kurt album with the 20 minute jams, the one where he played with Roma, the one where with spoken word stories, the one with lullabies, the one where he went surrealist, the one where Dave sang the songs, the one when they added an accordion player or a melodica, the one where he played right handed.

PS If you haven’t seen it, watch “About A Son” – a curious doc with intimate voice recordings with Cobain overlaid with scenes of Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle. His voice oozes sincerity, intensity, sadness, elation and confusion.

Artifact: Musical retrospective from desert rambler RJ Garn

Handcrafted USB guitar musical retrospective collection from desert rambler RJ Garn

Proud recipient of the last in a collectible series of bespoke wooden box with carved guitar usb drive with retrospective of desert rambler & guitar slinger & storyteller RJ Garn’s music. I feel am holding a very important piece of #personalarcheology, – very proudly & gratefully.

Reminder: your creative endeavours are important. We are the stories & artfacts we share. Fck Stats, Make Art.

Thanks RJ, say hey to the petroglyphs from Uncle Weed.

PS makes a great set with Larry Harper, ZZyzx Rd cassette, 1990

Quote: Jerry riffs about Jack

“wake now discover that you are the eyes of the world”

 More Jack Kerouac riffs (in case you’re not getting enough) this one from the mighty Jerry Garcia

“I can’t separate who I am now from what I got from Kerouac. I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage or the vision to do something outside with my life – or even suspected the possibilities existed – if it weren’t for Kerouac opening those doors.”

Jerry Garcia, remembering Jack Kerouac who was born in Lowell, MA on March 12, 1922

Riff: Joe Strummer, Silver & Gold

Joe Strummer running London Marathon in 1983 by Steve Rapport as seen in the kura barn studio
^ I spy with my bespectacled eye… {DOA, Billy Bragg, The matinee, Buffalo Tom, David Bowie, Shred Kelly, Ramones, Hunter S Thompson, Allen Ginsberg, The Spores…}

Joe Strummer (Mellor) died around this day 17 years ago, not too old but old enough to leave an exceptionally eclectic legacy of undeniable mightiness.

His silver form hangs proudly in a 150 year old grain barn in provincial Japan in a beloved photo by (Vancouver treasure) Bev Davies from the US festival (the last show with Joe and Mick) in 1983 & has recently made friends with another version of himself from the same year, running the London marathon captured by Steve Rapport (former UK, now Pacifica, California and just releasing a book full of Joe/The Clash photos #PreOrder).

Hopping the stage and singing “White Riot” for the encore in 1984 (yes yes I know ya purists “out of control” wasn’t the *real*… oh forget it… and no way I could’ve got to the show at the Kerrisdale Arena a few years before with The Special’s playing and you know I would’ve loved that but born in 1970 is great for many things)

Take what you can take

and stage diving in front of Joe will always remain near the top of my list of “noteworthy life accomplishments” – I was 13, took the bus in from the suburbs, and stuck my dorky glasses in my jeans pocket and headed into the pit, completely overcome and immersed by this massive sound *and* songs which “really said something”.

I “celebrate his whole catalog ;)” from the 101’s, to The Clash, to Earthquake Weather etc, to the Mescaleros, to filling in with the Pogues, to hanging out at campfires at Glastonbury. And hear his legacy living on through voices from Billy Bragg to Don Letts and so many others.

Route 19 revisited

West Way to the world

The future is unwritten

PS if you need even more The Clash goodness, dig up a BBC audio video collage style film made on the streets of London around 1979, it’s so weirdly awesome great. (I’d’ve pasted here but I can’t figure out new word press blog thingie blah blah blah)

Oh here it is: 

Oh yeah, dig this Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Live In Roseland Ballroom, New York / familair classics with the Mescas world beat flair

 

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: photos, stickers, posters, wall collages etc / 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 stickers! 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, all presented in a style that’s right out of my erstwhile 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 that sold fewer than a gold record or whatever, 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 , a 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 H.

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 so I have some more lousy photos cobbled together in a post but well, don’t know if it’s worth it… 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